Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dear reader

In the next few weeks I'll be closing down this site as I've replaced it with another which if you wish you can visit at:
Thanks for your visits

Con George-Kotzabasis

Friday, May 18, 2012

Obama's Oxymoronic Proposal to Parley with Sponsors of Terrorism

I'm republishing the following to remind readers of the total incompetence of Obama to lead a great country in these critical times for Western civilization.

Hypocrisy On Hamas By James P. Rubin, former assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration

Washington Post, May 16, 2008

A brief reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

Two years is a long time in the life of terrorism! Rubin by giving us the answer of McCain to his question of two years ago that the latter was prepared to talk to Hamas and accuse him therefore with hypocrisy can only do so by disregarding this elementary fact. In these two years Hamas has not even shown a propensity to give the Palestinian people “security and a decent life and decent future” nor “democracy”, to quote Rubin (which incidentally was the rider of McCain’s answer.), and continues to engage unappeasably in violence and terror while it’s in government. In such conditions it would be oxymoronic now for any politician, such as Obama suggested and McCain denounced, to open the door of negotiations with a terrorist government while the door of the war on terror has not closed.

Strategically, politically, and morally, it would not only be dull-witted but also close to treachery for any government that has committed its armed forces to fight global terror at the same time to even hint that it is willing to start negotiations with rogue governments that back and continue to be inflexible in their support and sponsorship of terror.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In the Thunderous Sky of Greece a Lightning Bolt of Creative Destruction is about to Strike the Country

By Con George-Kotzabasis April 27, 2012

History has shown that at critical moments, in countries of advanced and high culture, men of stupendous ability, imagination, foresight, and fortitude, sprang, like phoenixes from the ashes, to salvage their countries from mortal threats. Themistocles at the battle of Salamis that saved Greece from the barbarian Persian invasion, is one example, the other is Charles Martel, who at the battle of Poitiers stopped the barbarian Muslim invasion from conquering Europe. In our modern contemporaneous times, Greece, on the verge of being devoured and crashed by the ‘hungry fangs’ of default and economic poverty, is just as promptly to be saved by a modern-day Periclean statesman, Antonis Samaras.

In the early 1980’s, with the advent of Andreas Papandreou’s socialist government in power, which proved to be the destructive force that brought Greece to its present catastrophe, that immediately started implementing the serial economic crime of a policy of deficits, the country entered the vicious circle of government spending without economic development. By the early 90’s it was glaringly clear that the debt of the country was reaching astronomical heights that would lead it to the precipice of default and bankruptcy. In 1994, Constantinos Mitsotakis, the former prime minister of Greece, in a prophetic speech in Parliament, predicted that the economically crass and thoughtless policies of Pasok would send Greece as a mendicant to the International Monetary Fund to spare it from pauperism. Andreas Papandreou himself was shocked when at a sober moment glanced at the unfathomable debt that the country was in, as a result of his dirigisme economic policies. It was in his presence when his minister of finance Kostas Simitis remarked, in an accusatory and pungent phrase, that this was “the revenge of the economy.”

The false prosperity that had engulfed Greece turned a sizable part of its population to indulge in the charms and seductions of dolce vita at the expense of government largesse. A whole generation of Greeks had been spoiled and became kaloperasakides (the easy life of prodigally good-timers) under the perpetual munificence of the State. In such a social situation the New Democracy party, though imbued with the precepts of The Austrian School of economics versus Keynesianism, and realising, as its leader Constantinos Mitsotakis did, that the country was approaching in a rapid pace the edge of insolvency, had its hands politically manacled and could not implement decisively and with celerity, and with the necessary degree required, policies of economic restraint that would have prevented the transformation of Greece into a mendicant status, since there did not exist even a small constituency on the political landscape of Greece that would contemplate, least of all accept, policies of austerity. The Greeks had been ‘pathologically’ conditioned to the ‘benefits’ accruing from big government, introduced by Andreas Papandreou, and any attempt to small government by any party in power or any opposition propagating such an idea, could neither hold or win government. Who would give up the ‘free tans’ in sunny Greece that so profusely and generously the State was providing? And who would give up the cushy and loafing jobs in the public sector that the party boys and girls of Pasok and New Democracy were enjoying and relishing? This is the point from which the economic tragedy of Greece had started and would continue to its tragic end.

Thirty years of frivolous public spending brought debt-to-GDP ratio of 120%. Since October 2009 when the son of Andreas Papandreou, George, became prime minister and implemented measures of severe austerity as directed from Brussels in the first memorandum, debt reached 168% of GDP. With the continued recession of the country for the fifth year, Greece lost 16%--18% of its GDP since 2009.

From early 2010 the Opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, few months after his election as leader of the New Democracy party, was warning the Papandreou government of the danger that the austerity measures without economic recovery would lead the country into recession. But his was a lone voice in the wilderness. And for his bold and insightful decision to oppose and vote against the first memorandum replete with the leaden heaviness of austerity that would sink the Greek economy as it did, he was vehemently reprimanded both from within and outside the country. The Economist magazine severely criticised him for his stand against the memorandum but only to lament its critique two years later and concede that Samaras was right. Likewise, Chancellor Merkel and many European ministers with whom Samaras had quarrelled and pointed out to them that austerity measures without rekindling the economy would not resolve Greece’s problem but would make it more abstruse and harder to crack. It took two years for the top brains of Europe to realize that the austerity pills that they were forcing into Greece’s mouth to remedy its ills would have the effect of poisoning its body. (In two years of the severe austerity of the Memorandum, as we indicated above, Greece increased its debt to GDP by a great amount and lost a substantial part of its Gross Domestic Product as enterprises closed and unemployment ravaged the country.) And in turn, like The Economist, admitting that Samaras had won the argument, as all Europeans now are calling for economic recovery and development, supplemented by austerity measures that are necessary, as the way to restore a country’s economic strength.

The May 6 Elections of Greece Crucial for the Future of the Country

The impending election that has been called by the interim government of Lucas Papademos for May 6 is of momentous significance for the future course of the country. Greeks will be called to be partisans of the hard climb to the peak of Mt Olympus from where the sun of hope will rise once again over Greece or be partisans to a free fall in a long twilight of despair. The first is the thunderous call of the New Democracy Party under the Gulliverian and imaginative political leadership of Antonis Samaras, and the second is the deathlike mute call of a congeries of small parties from the left and the right led by Lilliputian politicians. These politically ‘pigmy’ parties, among which is the Communist Party, have no policies of rescuing Greece from its woes, except policies that would lead to the exiting from the European Union and return to the drachma that would lead in turn to the absolute poverty of the country, deliberately drop the curtain on all hope on Greece as their sole aim is to sordidly profit politically by their investment in hopelessness.

The socialist party, Pasok, the main opponent of New Democracy, although on the side of hope, even under the new leadership of Evangelos Venizelos, is totally discredited, as it has been the party that led Greece to its present catastrophe by a bout of unbelievable and unprecedented economic and political mistakes, that Venizelos himself was involved in and responsible, during the last two years that was in government. Moreover, the latest decision of the High Court of Greece to apprehend and charge a former luminary of Pasok and right-hand man of Andreas Papandreou, the founding father of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, Akes Tsohatzopoulos, his wife and daughter, and some of his relatives, with bribery and corruption and with being the receiver and beneficiary of millions of dollars as paid commissions, during his tenure as minister of defence, from German and Russian companies to which he had authorized major assignments and projects of his department, has indelibly marked Pasok as venally corrupt; particularly when its present leader Venizelos, at the initial investigations of Tsohatzopoulos, with the stentorian voice of the lawyer, that he is, was defending and exculpating from any knave dealings, and with the usual catch-all alibi of the typical politician, that the “accusation against Tsohatzopoulos was politically motivated.” Hence, inconceivable political incompetence and culpability, and unfathomable corruption on the part of Pasok, will be two major themes that will dominate the elections and which will ineluctably lead to new lows in the polls for the socialists.

In this critical economic and political setting that the country is in and the looming threat of the breaking of social cohesion, Samaras is asking the Greek people to give New Democracy the “auto-dynamism,” by a majority of votes in the elections, so he can have his hands untied to govern the country with decisiveness and clear uncompromised policies that would put Greece on the trajectory of economic recovery and development. He argues cogently, that in the present political situation of Greece when consensus about the necessary economic policies among parties of how to regenerate the economy of the country is absent, a coalition government--which is the designated position of Pasok and according to the polls at this moment the desire of a majority of the electorate--will be politically impracticable, and more importantly, would not drag out the country from its peril but would further engulf it into profounder depths; as one could not govern effectively a country in a crisis and gradually bring it out of it by being compelled to make compromises to one’s political partners, but only by a well-defined plan and decisive and prompt action to implement it without compromises, by a leader who has a strong mandate from the electorate.

Samaras believes, and reasonably hopes with the confidence of a statesman, that during the electoral period and closer to election date, there will be a dramatic shift of voters toward polarized positions, once the crucial issues of the country are spelled out clearly and without lies to the people by New Democracy and by foreshadowing the practical economic policies backed by real numbers that would put Greece on the track of economic recovery, there is a great chance that the majority of Greeks will give New Democracy a strong mandate to govern on its own for the benefit of all Greeks and for the salvation of the country.

Samaras contended long ago, that only through a clear strong authorization given to him by a majority of the people he would be able to radically change Greece. For real economic development entails not only good policies and incentives but a transformation in the views and customs of people toward such development. He puts great emphasis on the value of human capital and entrepreneurship as the prerequisites for the economic recovery of the country. That is why he has promised to re-legitimize private enterprise and effort that for many years now has been delegitimized in the country by communist-led unions, to whom profit has been, as always, the devil-incarnate of the capitalist free market.

The present high unemployment of more than 20% Samaras contends, will not be reduced by mere lower labour costs which already have been decreased by 15% in the private sector while the tax burden on the latter has increased by 50% and energy costs by 450%. Even if Greeks worked for free no one would hire them with such high taxes and energy costs. Samaras in his Zappeio III speech few days ago declared that he would cut corporate tax to a flat rate of 15%, sharply cut pay-roll tax, lower personal income-tax to 32% maximum, and reduce taxes substantially on fuel and tourism. This would ease rampant tax evasion and would unleash the creativity of the private sector and hence commence the gradual reduction in unemployment. He also announced, that he would increase the lowest pensions to 700 euros per month--that were reduced drastically by the second Memorandum under the austerity measures--and would increase the endowment of families with many children which would not only correct an injustice inflicted upon these two weak sections of society but would also have favourable economic consequence as they would increase consumer demand, which is so important in rekindling the economy, as both recipients of this government assistance spend their money in consumer goods. He would do these two things without increasing public expenditure and hence worsening the deficit, but by cutting government wastage that is so massive and profligate in the State’s spending. Further, he will provide incentives to private enterprise in areas where Greece has almost unchallengeable comparative advantage, i.e., in the merchant marine sector, ship building, and tourism; and in the production and merchandise of olive oil and other agricultural goods by the local producers themselves, not by foreign ones as is the case presently, whose development in all the above sectors will vitally affect the resurgence of the economy. He also proposes to provide incentives to entrepreneurs to exploit the rich mineral resources of the country and to give priority to find and tap the vast natural gas deposits under the Aegean Sea, by declaring the Greek AOZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) that could transform the export dynamic of Greece. He intends further, to reverse the present dryness of liquidity in the country by proffering amnesty from any legal penalties to those who withdrew their cash holdings from Greek banks during the height of the crisis and deposited them overseas once they bring them back to the country; and also by immediately paying back the 6.5 billion euros that the government owes to domestic enterprises; these two measures would increase the liquidity of the banks and hence their ability to provide loans to the private sector, especially to small businesses, that are the backbone of the country’s economy. Moreover, the re-capitalization of the banks, Samaras argues, will enable them to borrow funds at low interest rates from the European Central Bank, that were set up by it last December, which would be used to put Greece on the track of recovery and economic development.

It is by this method of supply-side economics, as that wunderkind Alders Borg the Swedish Finance Minister illustrated for his own country that Greece’s economy will rise again. The necessary austerity measures stipulated in the new Memorandum that Greece has to implement must be accompanied by the rejuvenated “animal spirits” of private enterprise. Samaras, consistently has been saying for the last two years that “we need a recovery to jump-start the economy,” and in conditions of recession austerity measures cannot stimulate the economy but on the contrary sink it deeper into stagnation.

The vision and plan of Samaras is to plant radical changes on the whole landscape of Greece. In his Zappeio speech he adumbrates constitutional changes that would separate the three branches of government the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary and thus prevent a member of parliament from being a minister, which has been in the past a malignant link of political corruption and has bestowed ‘asylum’ to members of parliament for their malfeasances. He pledges to bring changes to educational institutions that would reclaim the proud heritage of Greece that tragically has been eroded by the cultural relativists of a left coterie of pseudo-intellectuals and led to the disconnection of many young Greeks from their great cultural origins. He also promises to take drastic measures against illegal migrants, whom he calls “unarmed invaders” of Greece that under the soft immigration policies of Pasok they have occupied the main centres of cities, and remove them to provincial hostels until their eventual expulsion. Another important commitment of Samaras is to transform the bon vivant ethos of many Greeks, which up till now its tab has been picked up by the government, into a creatively productive one. On the new green tree planted by New Democracy, the singing cicadas will be replaced by fecund working bees. As Samaras is fully aware that sustainable economic development cannot be accomplished without transformative changes in the thinking and the mores of the people, especially of the younger generation.

Samaras is “framed in the prodigality of nature,” to quote Shakespeare. He is endowed charismatically both with a high intellect and remarkable moral strength along with the will and determination—all the stuff out of which statesmen are made--to change all things in Greece. But whether this lightning bolt of creative destruction will strike Greece or not depends on the strong mandate that he needs from the people. If Greeks do not fail, at this critical juncture, from fulfilling their historical duty to render to New Democracy a majority of seats in Parliament, then Antonis Samaras, in turn, will consummate the cultural political and economic Renaissance of Greece.

Hic Rhodus hic Salta

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cheney Addington and Bolton Panoramic Figures in American History

By Con George-Kotzabasis

“Scariest stories ever written about contemporary America” is the story that makes some of the political toddlers of The Washington Note to run and cover themselves under their bed sheets. Sans political wisdom, sans political and historical insight, and hence, sans cognitive and intellectual legitimacy they attempt to analyse the world shaking event of 9/11 and the Administration’s protagonists response to the crescent shaped bolt that appeared over the blue sky of America with their childish fears. And for fear to be effective it must have its bogey apparitions. So we have Cheney, Addington, and Bolton wrapped up with white sheets in the middle of the night scaring the bejeesus out of the liberal intelligentsia with their nefarious schemes of “a massive expansion of presidential power” starting an “illegitimate war,” creating “a system for spying on American citizens...sanctioned torture”, and “pushed official secrecy to unprecedented levels.” The critics of Cheney, Addington, and Bolton never learning the abc and never reaching the omega of statecraft are shocked to see and it’s beyond their comprehension that in moments of national crises the expansion and concentration of presidential power is the sine qua non of strong political leadership and a necessary but temporary measure to protect a nation from malicious lethal enemies, both external and internal.

All the above measures that Steve Clemons highlights were instigated by the Vice President solely for the protection of America. It was an unenviable task and it could only be performed by the strong. One must not forget that in hard times only the hard men/women prevail. And Cheney, Addington, and Bolton will be panoramic figures in American history for their political and strategic insight, strength of character, and their indefatigable efforts to shield the United States and the West from the fanatical irreconcilable enemies of Islam.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gareth Evans Doctrine of Bonhomie in International Affairs

By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 24, 2012

Gareth Evans the former minister of Foreign Affairs and presently Chancellor of the National University in Canberra, in an article published in The Australian, on December 26, 2011, under the title Peaceful Way in a World of Grey, argues that a confrontational approach is rarely the best means of tackling serious issues. He contends “that Manichaean good vs evil typecasting, to which George W. Bush and Tony Blair were famously prone…carries two big risks for international policymakers.” The first risk is that such thinking restricts the options of dealing optimally “with those who are cast as irredeemably evil,” and the second is by seen the world in “black-and-white terms” engenders “greater public cynicism, thereby making ideals-based policymaking even harder.” To strengthen these two points he uses the “debacle,” according to him, “of the US-led invasion of Iraq…should have taught us the peril of talking only through the barrel of a gun to those whose behaviour discuss us” (M.E.), while conceding that “sometimes threats to civilian population will be so acute as to make coercive military intervention the only option, ( M.E.) as with Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya.” Conversely, as a non-confrontational smart benign diplomacy he uses his own negotiations “with the genocidal butchers of the Khmer Rouse,” that were “acutely troubling, personally and politically, for those of us involved,” but which “secured a lasting peace in Cambodia.” He caps his argument by saying that one must see the world beyond the “two dimensions, economic and geostrategic,” and add a third: “every country’s interest in being, and being seen to be, a good international citizen.” (M.E.)

This is not Fukyama’s The End of History but the re-writing of history, and distorting it to boot, on a grand scale. Evans by a divinely made eraser rubs out all evil from the pages of history. But let us respond to his points in sequence. It is obviously true that for a policymaker to see the world in black-and-white terms would be utterly wrong. But likewise, to see the world solely in grey colours without the colour of blackness casting its evil shadow in most human affairs is to paint the world in the colours of wishful thinking. The task of statesmanship is to see the world not with the eyes of the ‘good citizen’ but with the piercing eyes of the political scientist who perceives the nucleus of evil that potentially exists in all human action motivated by ideology or extra mundane religious beliefs. It is to identify and separate the irreconcilable from the inconsolable enemy and act commensurably to the dangers issuing from these two substantially different foes.

The attacks on 9/11 were not the attacks of “good international citizens” but of evil ones driven by eschatological divinely directed goals. Bush and Blair promptly and insightfully recognized that they were facing a deadly irreconcilable enemy that could not be mollified by any ‘benevolent’ actions they could take toward him—they were already depicted by this foe as “Great Satans”—but had to be completely defeated in the battlefield. Further, astute strategy would not allow such an irreconcilable foe to become stronger but to defeat him while he was still weak and hence at less expense in human loses and materiel. The invasion of Iraq had this aim, to prevent the nexus of fanatic terrorists with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and nuclear ones supplied deliberately or inadvertently by rogue states rigidly belligerent against America and generally the West. In the aftermath of 9/11 no statesman could underestimate the possibility of such a great threat consummated by nuclear weapons that would annihilate their people. As the success of one such attack against a western metropolis would be the ultimate incentive for Alahu Akbar terrorists to become serial users of WMD and nuclear ones against the West and its Great Satan America. And this can be illustrated comparatively and plainly by the success of the first car bomb that brought in its wake a succession of innumerable car bombs used by the terrorists against their enemies.

Indubitably, the invasion of Iraq would have been a “debacle,” due to serious tactical errors American strategists committed during the initial stages of the occupation, such as the disbanding of the Iraqi army that fuelled the yet to come insurgency, if it was not for the Surge that under the savvy new strategy implemented by General Petraeus, had not turned a potential defeat into real victory. A victory, moreover, that planted the seeds of democracy in Iraq and by establishing a nascent democratic state there soon became the catalyst that disseminated the ethos of freedom and democracy among the masses in the region and the great potential this entails for all the countries in captivity to brutal and authoritarian regimes. And one must bear in mind that the Arab Spring is the legitimate offspring of the American gate crashing of the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein and the transplanting of democracy in Iraq made in the U.S. However, one must not be unaware of the great dangers that could lie in wait in this transformation of democracy among those countries whose peoples in considerable numbers are imbued with the religious fervour of Islam, that Islamists, like Hamas in Gaza, could attain political power through the ballot box. And developments in Egypt after the fall of President Mubarak with the Muslim Brotherhood and extreme Salafists gaining a majority of seats in Parliament at last week’s election, are not encouraging for those sections of Egyptian society that believe in individual freedom and democracy.

There is, moreover, a fundamental inconsistency in Gareth Evans’s argument when he supports military intervention in the case when civilians are killed or threatened to be killed by an authoritarian regime, like Muammar Gaddafi’s, but not when civilians are killed and are threatened to be killed in their hundreds of thousands in the future by fanatic Islamists as it happened in New York and Washington. Lastly, his mentioning of Cambodia and the negotiations with the Khmer Rouse, in which he was directly involved, that brought a “secured a lasting peace” with the backing of “good old-fashioned containment and deterrence,” as a triumph of reason over bellicosity, he overlooks the fact that the Pol Pot regime by the time of the negotiations was already removed from power as a result of being defeated by Vietnam militarily in 1979, and existing as a weak resistance movement in West Cambodia.

It is by such a collage of diplomatic misapprehensions and awkward inconsistencies that the former minister of foreign affairs attempts to breathe life into his narrative of “a good international citizen” and the “cause of human decency” and insert it into the maelstrom of human conflicts often ensuing from Caesaro-Papist sinister ideologies. The doctrine of bonhomie in international relations can only be indulged over a café latte.

I rest on my oars: yor turn now...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bob Carr Sails his Intellectually Floatles Plot in Mountainous McGuinnes' Sea

With the announcement of Prime Minister Julia Gillard that senator-designate Bob Carr will be appointed to the foreign minister portfolio, I'm republishing the following article for the readers of this new blog. The article makes it glaringly clear the second rate foreign minister Australia will have with Bob Carr's elevation to the Ministership.

By Con George–Kotzabasis

The intellectual lightness of former premier Bob Carr’s critique of Paddy McGuinnes lies in the opening of his article published in The Australian, on January 30, 2008., ” ‘Don’t get too close to that crowd of Quadrant’, instructed Paddy McGuinnes…The year …is fixed in my memory as 1976 or 1977, when I was an employee of the Labor Council of NSW”. ( A period when the latter was employing standover goons from the Sydney underworld to bash and threaten the lives of left-wing members of the Labor Party, and which McGuinnes dubbed as the right-wing thuggish Labor Council of NSW.) As if this statement of McGuinnes in 1976-77, would be the ‘fixed’ Gospel truth about Quadrant from which McGuinnes would never deviate with the passing of time. Carr claims that “Quadrant’s anti-communism was too unfashionable for him.”[McGuinnes] As if the latter was picking his political “fashions” from the ‘cat walks’ and designs of other conservatives and was intellectually incapable of designing his own anti-communism, which he did, and during his journalistic career brilliantly articulated and exhibited.

Carr claims that “McGuinnes contribution was a different one” and “deliciously counterproductive”, which the Labor party relished. He was the Godfather of the three deadly sins that would cast the Howard government into the political abyss of Hades: Climate change denial, support for George W. Bush in Iraq, and loss of workers’ rights. “For ten years, whatever Howard did or said he would be supported by a group of columnists…none more bottled-up angry with Labor than McGuinnes”. This was Howard’s “Praetorian Guard”. And “when the electorate wanted Howard to ratify Kyoto and wind back the commitment in Iraq, the symbiotic link with Praetorians made it impossible for the emperor to shift”. It was this attachment of Howard to the orthodoxies of the Praetorians “that did him in”. Carr caps his argument by saying that “McGuinnes and his allies had won their man for their program, but their program had lost Australians”. And “McGuinnes was haunted by ghosts… Women from the Push days, his Labor Party buddies from the past, above all the imaginary leftists who seemed to occupy a large part of his mental space”.

Well let us deal with Carr’s argument about Paddy and Howard’s Praetorian Guard that “did him in”. The three issues that presumably ousted the Howard government, i.e., climate change, the war in Iraq, and WorkChoices were present during Kim Beazley’s tenure as opposition leader without in any way increasing his polls against Howard , So there must have been other factors that brought the Coalition government down that Carr hardly even attempts to probe. And all the pre-election polls had shown that at least the two issues of climate change and the war, scarcely made any ripples in the calm lake waters that the electorate was paddling its canoe. The issues that led to the defeat of the former government did not emanate from the “program” of McGuinnes and his allies, but from a number of tactical mistakes made by the Coalition prior and during their lackluster electoral campaign and its inability to cut Rudd’s populist wings that would make the pigeon land, in the guise of an eagle, on the Lodge.

On the two pivotal issues of security and economic management, on which the Coalition had no peers in the political spectrum and was politically unassailable, the Howard government failed to concentrate the mind of the electorate. Instead of making these two issues the axis upon which the safety and continued economic prosperity of the nation depended, it squandered this political capital it had in its hands by ‘hoarding’ the first, that is, by keeping silent about the great importance of the security of the country during the electoral campaign¬—and considering that the war in Iraq was being won by the Coalition of the willing with hardly any Australian casualties, which was vital to the security of the West, the reticence of this fact was politically astonishing---and by treating the second, i.e., economic management, as a ‘safe haven’ in the electorate’s mind and a safe protectorate that could not be ‘stolen’ by the me tooism economic conservatism of Kevin Rudd.

Rudd owes his victory to the humdrum desires--that had nothing to do with the war or climate change--of Howard’s battlers and to the self-employed tradesmen, both groups drenched with middle-class conservative values. Once Kevin 07 established in the minds of these two groups his economic conservatism coupling this with his promises of lower food and petrol prices as well as ending the ogre of Work Choices, which the unions’ advertising campaign successfully managed to depict, then Rudd was bound to win the race, as the unbreakable momentum of all the polls had shown during the long campaign, without steroids.

Howard’s campaign strategists committed the error of thinking that they could take the wind off the sails of Rudd first by a profligate and luxurious spending, and secondly, by tampering with the Work Choices legislation with the aim of making it more palatable to the electorate, and in the process bungling it, which instead of making it acceptable to the latter it created the strong impression of Howard’s guilt about Work Choices as being an anti-working class measure and hence generating a great distrust of Howard. From this point on whatever Howard was saying was falling on deaf ears and no monetary offers lining the pockets of the electorate would change the latter’s choice to have a go with Rudd. Indeed, “the electorate had moved”, to quote Carr, and ‘de-latched’, from Howard not because of Kyoto and the war in Iraq, as Carr claims, but because of the failure and inability of the Coalition’s strategists to expose the falsity of Rudd’s so called “new leadership” and to take the wind off the sails of his bloated populism, as it’s written in Kevin Rudd’s stars that his “new leadership” will be led by the weathervane of populism.

Carr ends his tirade against McGuinnes by stating that the latter "was haunted with ghosts…above all the imaginary leftists who seemed to occupy a large part of his mental space”. As if he himself and the left in general, were free of their own ghosts planted in their dragons’ teeth by that great intellectual landlord absentee from history Karl Marx, class struggle, the proletariat, capitalist exploiters, the universal man, who would work during the day, play the harp in the afternoon, and write and “practice” poetry during the night. Not to mention its more modern up to date fads such as "make poverty history” in countries such as Africa where political corruption is rife and when one gets on the sleaze racket of a governmental position it becomes a way of life and where a free rein of insatiable cleptocracy reigns.

Just-in-time news, Bob Carr has drowned…It was never wise for lake swimmers to swim in the mountainous sea of Paddy McGuinnes.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Israel's Development Stems from the Cultural and Intellectual Strength of its People

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Israel is no “mercenary of the West in the heart of the Middle East” but an outpost of Western civilization in the midst of barbarians. Besieged on all sides within the short span of 60 years it became culturally, politically, economically, and scientifically the most developed nation of the region and deservedly proud of this great achievement. Moreover as a civilized outpost, Israel is at the forefront of the fight against the holy warriors of Islam, of Hamas and Hezbollah, the proxies of its most dangerous enemy Iran.

The author of the article might be rich in some of his psychological probing but has a very poor understanding of history. Great achievements are not the outcome of “victimhood” but they arise from the cultural, moral, and intellectual strength of a people. And Israel is a testament of that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Is the European Central Bank the Shy Bride of Lender of Last Resort?

By Con George-Kotzabasis—December 1, 2011

It goes without saying, that merely a new European treaty, as proposed by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, no matter how strong its teeth, will not resolve the crisis. But the solving of the crisis might lie in a fecund combination of new rules to be observed strictly, and new bold economic measures, including the ECB as lender of last resort. And Mario Draghi’s hesitation might only be a ruse. His guise of being the shy bride of decisive intervention might only be a pretension, and he may surprisingly shock everybody by sprightly stepping boldly and marrying the groom of lender of last resort. This unexpected nimble move from shyness to boldness will be a powerful incentive to rally the markets behind the Eurozone. And one might not dismiss lightly that “magic” and a Deus ex machina might have a role in this tragic play.

P.S. Since the above was written, Mario Draghi lowered the discount rate of the ECB to 1% and distributed to European banks nearly 500 billion euros to lend to their customers. This is equivalent of using the instrument of lender of last resort by the ECB although doing this by roundabout means and not in a formal manner. And apparently this bold and imaginative initiative of the ECB has stabilized the European markets.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Exchange between Kotzabasis and Professor Varoufakis on the Merits and Demerits of Capitalism

The following exchange between me and Professor of Economics Yanis Varoufakis at Athens University took place on his blog about the capitalist system under the post:

Ending 2011with a fable for our times-December 24, 2011

December 24, 2011 at 03:14 #

Kotzabasis says,

Is Amartya Sen’s absolute prosperity and relative inequality of the capitalist system vulgarly to be replaced by Yanis Varoufakis’s “despicable inequality?”

Professor Varoufakis distorts and defames the whole history of the dynamism of entrepreneurial capitalist wealth that shot up the standard of living of the masses to “Himalayan” heights. To claim that capitalist “wealth …needs poverty to flourish,” is just an ornamental academic trapping empty of history and fugitive from serious thought. Capitalism, like everything else in life, was never meant to be “stable” but a process of Schumpeterian “creative destruction.” But this can only be understood and accepted by realists and not by heroic ideologues, like Professor Varoufakis.

Professor Varoufakis says,

December 24, 2011 at 15:32 #

It is always good to encounter intransigent Panglossian views in the post-2008 world. There is something touching about undying faith, even when of the toxic variety.

December 25, 2011 at 01:48 #

Kotzabasis says,

Professor Varoufakis

Are capitalist entrepreneurial creativity, wealth, and prosperity based on “intransigent” “Panglossian” naivety? And is the history of capitalism to be truncated and concentrated naively and un- imaginatively between 2008 and 2011 for you to make your uninspiring and toxic argument?

Professor Varoufakis says,

December 25, 2011 at 11:56 #

No, capitalism’s wonders have nothing to do with Panglossian naïveté. But your determination to portray it as the best of all possible systems exudes it. As for my assessment of capitalism, and your claim that I truncate the latter’s history to a period around 2008, feel free to judge it. But only after you acquaint yourself with it. (For had you read it, eg either of my last two books, you would have realized that I truncate nothing. And that I go to great lengths to analyse capitalism’s contradictions, something that entails a celebration of its achievements as well as an exposition of its failures.) Till you are prepared to become acquainted with what I am really saying, before you attack it, I shall treat you as no more than a minor Panglossian.

Kotzabasis says,

December 26, 2011 at 02:46 #

Professor Varoufakis

Thank you for your advice how to overcome my “minor Panglossian” status. But unfortunately for me I’m bound to retain it, as your crass defamation of capitalism in your POST, hardly incentivized me, to use a term of your “little man” John Howard, to read your books and be acquainted with your thoughts. And indeed, my preference is to be “treated… as a minor Panglossian” than go through the treat to major on your ‘Pandistortions’ and jaundiced strictures on capitalism.

But to come to the gist of the matter in hand, my riposte to you was not to either of your two books, which, as I imply above I have not read. My reply was specifically to your post where you wistfully and wrongfully write, “Should we dare to hope of a new era in which WEALTH NO LONGER NEEDS POVERTY TO FLOURISH,” and of the illusion that “capitalism can be stable” and where you vulgarly and gracelessly contend that capitalism creates “DESPICABLE INEQUALITY,” and in your reply to my first post where you refer to the “post-2008 world.” It might well be that these ‘populist flourishes’ had not meant to be of any intellectual seriousness and their only aim was na deleazei ( to allure) and enthuse the ignorant to rush and become volunteer workers to your construction of your ‘matchsticks’ good society, as a replacement to the infernal deeds of capitalist society. But could one do this at the cost of one’s intellectual integrity?

And it is most surprising that the Gargantuan, indeed, Cyclopean efforts that you have put in your Modest Proposal(MP)—although one must note that Cyclopean efforts without a Ulysses are fated to be wasted efforts—have the aim to save Europe, a system that according to you produces genetically “despicable inequality.” Fortunately, however, for those condemned to this despicable inequality, but unfortunately for you, Andreas Koutras’s fatal Jovian bolts demolished to ashes the MP, from which no contriving number of revisions to it will give rise to a Phoenix solution that will salvage the European Union from its peril.

Lastly, to state that “to analyse capitalism’s contradictions… entails a celebration of its achievements as well as an exposition of its failures,” is to state the obvious.

Professor Varoufakis says,

December 27, 2011 at 04:33 #

Impressed by your dedication to keep knocking down my (according to you) already demolished, and perpetually ridiculous, arguments, as well as by the amount of time you dedicate to a blog (mine) which you consider unworthy, I shall continue to post your comments. Carry on Sir!

Kotzabasis says,

Professor Varoufakis

With your Kazantzakian character I could never imagine that you would not post my comments.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Iron Ladies never Die they Just Continue to Show the Way

By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 9, 2012

In a hostile world only the strong have the right to indulge in hope. Thucydides

Ah, that memorable, fascinating, admirable, and politically insightful and intrepid subject, Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, that challenges almost all of contemporaneous political leadership that is scrambling on all its fours--with some notable exceptions such as Lee Kuan Yu, of Singapore and Antonis Samaras, of Greece--from Obama to Zapatero to Merkel and Sarkozy, who  instead of standing on the shoulders of political giants, like Thatcher, to command events, they have been overwhelmed and overcome by them.

The characteristic spending profligacy of Labour socialist governments over a number of years, and the excessive borrowing and inflation that resulted by the latter’s policies that brought the UK into economic stagnation gave Margaret Thatcher the opportunity to win the election in 1979 with a sizable majority. Her victory would bring not only the transformation of British politics but would also spawn, with a small astute coterie of others, the seeds of a profound change on the political landscape of the world. Further, by re-introducing forcefully the idea of privatization as a dynamic concept among the economic detritus left by Labour’s deficit-laden nationalization of industries, she would place the country on the trajectory of economic efficiency and generation of wealth for the benefit of all Britons.  To open markets to the world she abolished all exchange controls on foreign currency five months after coming to power. The UK from being the poorest of the four major European economies in 1979 became by the end of ten years under Thatcher’s stewardship the richest among them. In a series of economic policies packaged by Milton Friedman’s and Frederick Hayek’s monetarist theories, Britain’s GDP grew by 23.3% during this period outpacing that of Germany, France, and Italy.
However, to accomplish the latter goal, she would have to confront the power of unions decisively, which, in a ceaseless campaign of strikes and imprudent and irrational demands were ruining the British economy. In 1979, at the apex of union power, Britain had lost 29.5 million working days to strikes, whereas at its nadir, under the robust stand of Thatcher and her strong blows against it that led to the defeat of unions, in 1986, the figure of lost working days was 1.9 million. The Moscow trained communist Arthur Scargill, secretary of the Mining Unions, had unleashed in 1984-85 a myriad of strikes with the aim to obstruct the Thatcherite pro-market reforms that would put Britain on the roller skates of economic prosperity. By the end of that year that shook the foundations of British industry and broke the morale of some of her Cabinet members--that prompted Thatcher in a memorable quip to say to them, “You turn if you want to. The lady is not for turning.”—the red flag became a trophy alongside the Argentinian flag in her collection of victories, as Arthur Scargill conceded his defeat.

In international affairs she questioned Kissinger’s policy of détente toward the Soviet Union as she believed strongly that Communism should not be accommodated but overcome. For this implacable stand the Soviet Army’s newspaper Red Star christened her the “Iron Lady.” Together with President Reagan, she planted the diplomatic dynamite under the foundations of the Soviet empire that would eventually bring the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Lenin’s benign Marxist dream that had turned back to its true nature as a nightmare of Gulags and Killing Fields.  

Thatcher in the 1980’s fiercely opposed the European economic and monetary integration. To her the European construction was “infused with the spirit of yesterday’s future.” In the kernel of this construction laid the central “intellectual mistake” of assuming that “the model for future government was that of a centralized bureaucracy.” And she was prophetic to the current events and crisis of Europe when she argued that German taxpayers would provide “ever greater subsidies for failed regions of foreign countries,” while condemning south European countries to debilitating dependency on handouts from German taxpayers.” She concluded, “The day of the artificially constructed mega-state is gone.”

However, no statesmanship is without its warts. In 1986 prohibition of proprietary trading went out; the separation between commercial and investment banks was abrogated; and ‘casino banking’ took off, which without these changes would not have happened. Her critics accused her of promoting greed which she personally abhorred. Also, the introduction of the poll tax on adult residents was most unpopular among Britons and sparked the Poll Tax Riots on March 31, 1990, that instigated an internal coup against her that ousted her from her premiership.

Margaret Thatcher entered number 10 Downing Street with her strong character and astute political perceptiveness with panache that destined her, like all great statesmen, to “walk beneath heaven as if she was placed above it,” to quote the seventeenth-century French political philosopher, Gabriel Naude. She will enter the ‘gate of heaven’ not as the frail distracted old woman, as she was depicted in the film made by Phillida Lloyd, but as the iron lady who will never die and continue to show the way.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…              

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Radical Leftists are all Millenarian

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Historically and by definition all from the left are millenarians who being terrified with their capitalist nightmares are countervailing them with their millenarian dreams. And if you don’t dream Marxist ‘dialectical’ nightmares but only Kant’s dream of “Eternal Peace,” der Ewige Friede, then that still makes you a millenarian.

All men/women of reason abhor war. But sometimes war is necessary to prevent a greater catastrophe. And it is through war and strife against the enemies of humanity and freedom that mankind can achieve relative stability and peace. “Nothing for nothing,” to quote the economic historian David Landes. I, like him, “prefer truth to goodthink.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Lamentations of Liberals of Turning Around of the War in Iraq

By Con George-Kotzabasis

It’s hardly surprising, that people like Sameer Lalwani, Juan Cole, and so many others from the liberal unimaginative intelligentsia who have been so abysmally wrong about their prognostications of the war in Iraq, now that the war is being won are petulant and sulky and manufacture shoddy and specious arguments by invoking the indisputable evidence of the sufferings of the war such as civilians killed and refugees, to trump the real triumph of the war after the surge and the new political configuration that is dawning in Iraq auguring a bright future for all Iraqis, that could serve, moreover, as a possible model for the whole Middle East. One would have expected after the dismal military situation that U.S. troops were facing in Iraq before the surge that every American would be proud of what their forces accomplished post-surge under the capable and savant leadership of General Petraeus.

Lalwani attempts to overturn this great event with what: With the art of a conjurer. He turns the retreatof al Sadr’s militia facing decimation by American-Iraqi forces into consolidation of his forces; the attack on Iraqi recruits killing thirty-three of them by a suicide bomber is considered by him to be a show of the continued vigour of the insurgency; and the tragic misery and agony of the refugees is a proof to him that the war has accomplished nothing.

Lalwani, Cole, and the aureole liberal intelligentsia, have suffered their intellectual Waterloo in the argument about the war. A Waterloo in whose battle, unlike Napoleon, they were neither by disposition, mettle, and strategic sagacity ever qualified to be in.

Your opinion...

Monday, December 19, 2011

American Liberals Scared by their Own Made Ghosts

By Con George-Kotzabasis

“Scariest stories ever written about contemporary America” is the story that makes some of the political toddlers of America to run and cover themselves under their bed sheets. Sans political wisdom, sans political and historical insight, and hence, sans cognitive and intellectual legitimacy, they attempt to analyse the world shaking event of 9/11 and the Administration’s protagonists’ response to the crescent shaped bolt that appeared over the blue sky of America with their childish fears. And for fear to be effective it must have its bogey ghosts. So we have Cheney, Addington, and Bolton wrapped up with white sheets in the middle of the night scaring the bejeesus out of the liberal intelligentsia with their nefarious schemes of “a massive expansion of presidential power” starting an “illegitimate war,” creating “a system for spying on American citizens...sanctioned torture”, and “pushed official secrecy to unprecedented levels.” The critics of Cheney, Addington, and Bolton never learning the abc and never reaching the omega of statecraft are shocked to see, and it’s beyond their comprehension, that in moments of national crises the expansion and concentration of presidential power is the sine qua non of strong political leadership and a necessary but temporary measure to protect a nation from malicious lethal enemies, both external and internal.

All the above measures that Clemons highlights were instigated by the Vice President solely for the protection of America. It was an unenviable task and it could only be performed by the strong in character. One must not forget that in hard times only the hard men/women prevail. And Cheney, Addington, and Bolton will be panoramic figures in American history for their political and strategic insight, strength of character, and their indefatigable efforts to shield the United States and the West from the fanatical irreconcilable enemies of Islam.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Climate Scientologists Preachers of the Gospel of Truth

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Ironically by the logic of the opening of his article Jones seriously puts in a coma his own argument. When he says that the critics of Dr. Garnaut accuse him of using the so called “discredited science of IPCC” and answering this that “in fact the Garnaut review relied on the Australian climate science community to make its scientific case,” he does not realize that the deduction from his own answer is that the IPCC report is based on “discredited science”, since he replaces the latter with the presumably better scientific credentials of Aussie science. And the relentless vengeance of his own logic leads him to administer the coup de grace to his own argument when he further states, “the science community stands by its science, particularly research following (M.E.) on from the IPCC’s fourth assessment report.” Hence the Australian climate community science is itself based on the rotten cornerstone of the IPCC’s discredited science.

One would have expected from an objective scientist that with the dark cloud of contradictions and antinomies that are hovering over the debate of climate change to have had at least a modicum of doubt about his position, instead of being a preacher of the Gospel of truth.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In Greece Political Midgets on a High Wire Act

By Con George-Kotzabasis—November 02, 2011-11-02

Political midgets, a la Papandreou, have chosen to take the risk of the high wire act by this proposal of the referendum. Hoping that the people will vote for the lesser of two evils, i.e., accepting the debt deal as formulated in Brussels last week and rejecting default and departure from the euro zone. At a time when strong leadership is a prerequisite for diminishing the crisis that Greece is facing, Papandreou abdicates his own and passes it to the people through this future referendum. It’s as if the polloi had somehow a better knowledge and understanding of the critical dimensions of the economic situation and could provide a better solution to the crisis than the expertise of the economically and politically savvy.

Once again politicians, who are more concerned of holding power than of the future of their own country, are ready to prostrate themselves before and pay homage to the idol of the Demos. Papandreou facing in Parliament a no-confidence vote and the ousting of his government promptly announced a referendum that would decide the future of the country, hoping that this would allay the anger and opposition of the people against the austerity measures, imposed by the EU, and at the same time put an end to the disarray within his own government that itself stems from the revolt of the people. It’s clever politicking to avoid defeat and save for him the prime ministership. But he is doing this at the expense of the future well being of the country, as it would take years for Greece to recover from the shock of a default if the electorate voted for it, which is highly likely. This is no less than the revisiting of the ‘sinful’ genius of his pere who himself was the preeminent progenitor of the economic ills that Greece is presently plagued with. The fils merely continues , like father like son, the ‘sins’ of his sire in a more acute form and projects them into the future.

World Bank president, Robert Zoellick said that “if voters reject the plan, it’s going to be a mess.” Economists claim that the immediate effects of a default would probably be a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in domestic demand and a fall of 5 to 10 percent of domestic product. Evangelos Venizelos, the Finance Minister, and his deputy broke ranks and opposed the referendum, saying it would jeopardize Greek membership in the euro zone. Ilias Nicolakopoulos, professor of political science and close to the governing socialist party, stated that a “referendum would put the country in danger of blowing everything up.” In contrast, Henry Ergas writing in The Australian, on November 3, 2011, “Greek Vote a Banana Republic Moment,” praises Papandreou for having the “balls” to propose the referendum, and compares him to the gutsy warning of Paul Keating’s “Banana Republic.” He says, that “to call a referendum on the austerity program is hardly irrational. But he adds the caveat, “true, it is a gamble, and a risky one.” Nonetheless, “the best hope of what comes next must lie in securing a genuine popular mandate.”

Regrettably, however, Papandreou’s proposal of a referendum does not rise from his “balls” but from his impotence. Unable to lead and convince the country, as a weak leader, to accept the inevitable “scenario, Greece must face a lengthy period of austerity and structural reform,” Papandreou passes this leadership to the impassioned people to decide whether to accept or not this scenario. Professor Ergas’ quote of Sophocles, “truth is always the strongest argument,” though generally accurate, is misplaced in the context of a long corrupt electorate that the fiscal profligacy of past governments accustomed it to indulge in ‘free suntans’ in sunny Greece. In such circumstances, the only truth that this pampered electorate will accept is the continuation of these free suntans at public expense. And that is why they will vote NO to austerity measures and thus turn the referendum into an ogre for the future economy of Greece.

Fortunately the proposed referendum like the balloon it was fizzled out within twenty four hours. Under external and internal pressure Papandreou reneged his proposal and withdrew it. Tonight (November 4, 2011), he places his fate on the lap of the god, parliament, on a confidence vote. Even if he survives by the smallest margin his prime ministership is foreclosed.

I rest on my oars: your turn now...