Links & Briefs For June 29, 2015

Things have gotten very serious in Greece.

Some readings.

Sunday’s referendum in Greece is about more than Greeks’ hope to secure better bailout terms from Europe. It’s about staying in the Eurozone. The pressure is coming from all directions: From The Guardian:

The eurozone’s three biggest countries —Germany, France and Italy— have raised the stakes in next Sunday’s Greek referendum with an orchestrated warning to voters that a no vote would mean exit from the single currency and the return of the drachma.

 But could things really get much worse if Greeks decide that they’d rather deal with the aftershocks of leaving the euro instead of stomaching more shock therapy?

Probably not, wrote Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman, who is urging Greek voters to say “no”. From a Huffington Post summary of his blog post published Sunday night in the New York Times:

“The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone — they made [Greek Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras an offer he can’t accept, and presumably did this knowingly,” Krugman wrote. “So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don’t like Syriza, that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals.”

Also from The Guardian, this lengthy piece on Syriza as it begins what will probably be the longest week of its existence.

The banks are closed, the bailout referendum is looming – and Europe’s only far-left government is struggling to hold on to its mass support. In less than a week, it will either be triumphant or finished.

And this from a very good read on the unflinching banking cabal represented by The Troika that never had any intentions of negotiating, from a self-professed conservative Burkean no less, in The Telegraph:

Personally, I am a Burkean conservative with free market views. Ideologically, Syriza is not my cup tea. Yet we Burkeans do like democracy – and we don’t care for monetary juntas – even if it leads to the election of a radical-Left government.

As it happens, Edmund Burke would have found the plans presented to the Eurogroup last night by finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to be rational, reasonable, fair, and proportionate.

They include a debt swap with ECB bonds coming due in July and August exchanged for bonds from the bail-out fund. They would have longer maturities and lower interest rates, reflecting the market borrowing cost of the creditors.

Syriza said from the outset that it was eager to work on market reforms with the OECD, the leading authority. It wants to team up with the International Labour Organisation on Scandinavian style flexi-security and labour reforms, a valid alternative to the German-style Hartz IV reforms that have impoverished the bottom fifth of German society and which no Left-wing movement can stomach.

It wished to push through a more radical overhaul of the Greek state that anything yet done under five years of Troika rule – and much has been done, to be fair.

It appears that won’t be happening. It’s going to be a long week.

And entirely unrelated:

The True History of the Confederate Flag, by Tom the Dancing Bug.


– Declaring “Equality is unstoppable and equality also will come to Colombia,” Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo called for Colombia to legalize same-sex marriage and the right for same-sex couple to adopt. Cristo spoke before tens of thousands who took part in a gay pride march in Bogota on Sunday.

But don’t expect that to happen any time soon. A nationwide poll in 2012 found that just 28% of Colombians supported same-sex marriage with 66% opposed. Few lawmakers are willing to take on those odds. Maybe those in the U.S. who said they’d move to Canada if gay marriage became the law of the land might want to consider Colombia instead. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005.

That said, Colombia does acknowledge same-sex unions which grant same-sex couples property and pension rights, social security, health insurance, and rights to nationality, among others.

– Today was a public holiday here in Colombia, one of seven countries that takes a day off to celebrate Saint Peter and Saint Paul Day. It was also the third Monday this June that was an official public holiday; the other two, Corpus Christi and Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart), also come via the Catholic Church.

And here on the website:


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