Tag: Greece

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for pushing back against Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democrats for trying to demonize him because he’s a billionaire. Schultz explains how the American dream allowed him to rise from humble beginnings to achieve great wealth – a story Sanders had no interest in hearing of course. They also shudder at multiple reports that the Biden administration’s Navy budget proposal doesn’t even keep up with inflation, we’re retiring vessels critical to deterring Chinese aggression, and within five years China’s navy will have 150 more ships than we do. Finally, they roll their eyes as President Biden acts like he’s an honorary member of another ethnicity – this time it’s the Greeks.

James and Toby have officially passed the hero stage with their kids and are firmly entrenched as “the embarrassment.” The Delingpole lad thinks James is nothing more than a dancing monkey performing for his Twitter followers, while Toby reveals his daughter has changed her surname to avoid being associated with him.

Meanwhile, there’s the latest news and culture to deal with. Piers Corbyn, brother of the former Labour Leader, was arrested and fined £10,000 for organising an anti-lockdown protest, Adele is accused of cultural appropriation and Toby likes Ted Lasso.

This Week’s Book Review: The Story of Greece and Rome


Modern western civilization sits atop a foundation built by the ancient Greeks and Romans. How much do you know of these civilizations? “The Story of Greece and Rome,” by Tony Spawforth offers a short, one-volume introduction to ancient Greece and Rome.

Spawforth starts at the beginning and carries the story to the present. He opens at the dawn of Greek history, and shows the influence these civilizations continue to have today.

The book starts by examining ancient Minoan and Mycenaean societies. Spawforth shows how they grew from societies into civilizations. This includes examination of how they gained, lost, and regained literacy, as well as the development of political systems and art forms.

My Month in Ancient Greece


Wanting to read more this year than last, I kicked off 2018 with a trio of classics: The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, and Anabasis by Xenophon. My better-educated friends are stunned I hadn’t read any of these classics before, but I had the typical public school education. My English teacher would assign hot garbage like The Great Gatsby and I’d go home and read my dog-eared copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

If memory serves, I was assigned Gatsby three times (Lord, I hate that book). Meanwhile, my 10th-grader is reading Rousseau and Solzhenitsyn in her charter school. Not only am I filling my many gaps in the Western canon, if I don’t read, she’ll end up being way smarter than me. (Is “me” right or should it be “I?” I’ll ask my daughter when she gets home.)

I read the trio in the order listed above and the reading got better with each title.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Book Review  Investigating a mysterious murder By MARK LARDAS Preview Open

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 Abandoned buildings in Detroit Four years ago, someone predicted an all out attack on the Church. He traveled to Greece to show the fallout from anarchists, economic instability, battles between law enforcement and inner city residents, a raging heroin epidemic, and it reminded me of our inner city problems today. He predicted many times the eruption of […]

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I wrote some time ago about some implications of a Greek default.  With Greece at risk of defaulting on its debts again, and with a plebiscite on Great Britain leaving the European Union coming up, I thought I’d bloviate a bit on some implications of these for the EU based on a couple of unlikely […]

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Colossal Wonder of the Ancient World May Be Rebuilt


Colossus-of-RhodesThe Colossus of Rhodes was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. But unlike the Great Pyramid of Giza, no one today really knows what it looked like. We do know that the nearly 100-foot-tall statue was built in 280 BC to commemorate the Greek island’s victory over Cyprus, but collapsed in an earthquake just 54 years later.

Many centuries on, artists have imagined how the statue appeared, the most fanciful (and improbable) of which was a massive Helios straddling the entrance to Rhodes’s harbor as warships sailed underneath. (Don’t look up, kids!)

Colossus-of-Rhodes-InteriorNow a group of archeologists, engineers, and salivating directors of the Rhodes Convention and Visitor’s Bureau are trying to rebuild this famous monument in an effort to honor history and make several drachmas in the process.

Nazis. I Hate Nazis.


Strange times we live in when American conservatives — or some of them, anyway —  think it makes perfect sense these days for Europeans to get their Nazi groove on. I’ve been hearing this a bit too much on Ricochet of late, so I thought I’d make what in normal times would be an excessively easy call.

Nazis. I hate Nazis. And so should you.

France and the Iranian Nuclear Deal


2013-11-24T041744Z_559600050_GM1E9BO0XZ501_RTRMADP_3_IRAN-NUCLEAR-DEALFrance’s agreement to the deal reached between Iran and P5+1 represents a change in position. The endless talks temporarily collapsed, in November 2013, when French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius denounced Iran’s position as “a fool’s deal.” They were widely applauded by those opposed to the deal as clear-sighted and brave; they were impugned by those in favor of a deal as short-sighted and corrupt. This was typical of the latter kind of analysis:

… And what happened to some degree over the summer was that Prince Bandar and other Saudi officials began trolling through Europe, trying to figure out if they could pull away some of the countries of Europe in favor of the Saudi position, and essentially the Israeli position, on issues like Syria and Iran. They seem to have had great success with the French, who, of course, have a serious economic problem. They have been struggling trying to get out of this recession. They’ve had a recent credit downgrade. They’ve had high unemployment. And so when the Saudis began to flash some of their petrodollars around, it was certainly something of interest to the French. And the Saudis have recently been signing up contracts with the French for military assistance. There’s a one-and-a-half billion dollar plan for the French to help refurbish some of the Saudi Navy. And you’ve had other Gulf states making other deals with France in terms of buying their equipment, especially their military equipment. So what you’ve got here is the French having a very clear economic incentive to help the Saudis and the Israelis as much as possible.

I expect the commentary will quickly reverse itself: Those who support the deal will now applaud France for taking a brave risk for peace; those against the deal will explain French behavior in terms of the same logic. French firms have been making that kind of analysis easy by openly salivating at the the thought of the business prospects should sanctions be lifted:

Greece Gets the Worst of Both Worlds


greek facepalm-225x300It appears Greece has ended up paying two costs. It chose first to spurn the EU through a referendum and has suffered a banking system shuttered and a major contraction in its economy. It then spins around and takes a deal that is to most observers worse than the one it turned down the previous week. So it pays for a financial crisis and for more austerity.

Heckuva job, Alexis.

So while the European and US stock markets were having fun and the euro was trading down — never mind what happened in the Athens stock exchange — here is some of the mishegas happening in Greece as they approach nighttime.

So is the Greek Crisis Over? Well…


Greece_Time_Shutterstock_500x293So Greece —  in a “pre-chaos state,” according to France’s finance minister  — is choosing the depression it knows over the depression it doesn’t. By all accounts, the new fiscal proposal from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pretty much meets creditor demands in exchange for a $60 billion bailout to cover debt repayments between 2015 and 2018. The voters said “oxi,” but their leaders are saying “nai.”

As outlined by Bloomberg, the Tsipras government more or less conceded on budget targets, conceded on sales and corporate taxes (with some tax changes starting a year later), conceded on eliminating early retirement benefits for pensioners, and conceded on the sales of state assets. What’s more, according to the Financial Times, “none of the documents submitted to creditors, including Mr Tsakalotos’s letter and a separate missive from Mr Tsipras, contain any mention of debt relief.” And if debt relief does comes, it seems more likely Greece will be given more time to pay rather than less debt to pay.

Sounds like a mega-blink.

The Libertarian Podcast, with Richard Epstein: “The Crisis in Greece”


On this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast from the Hoover Institution, Professor Epstein helps us navigate the thorny issues surrounding Greece’s ongoing debt problems, the consequences of last weekend’s plebiscite, and how the European Union should tackle this challenge going forward. And don’t worry — Richard still finds time to take a couple of shots at Paul Krugman.

You can listen in to the podcast below or you take us on the go by subscribing to The Libertarian via iTunes or your favorite podcasting service:

The Story of Greece’s Economic Crisis is More Than a Story About Debt and ‘Big Government’


shutterstock_243975121Greece has been to this dance before, as investment strategist Ed Yardeni notes today:

The first recorded default in Greek history occurred in the fourth century B.C. Back then, 13 Greek city states borrowed funds from the Temple of Delos. Most of the borrowers never made good on the loans, and the temple took an 80% loss on its principal. Greece has defaulted on its external sovereign debt obligations at least five previous times in the modern era (1826, 1843, 1860, 1894, and 1932).

So nothing since 1932? A pretty good run by Greek standards. Anyway, in my new The Week column I point out that Greece’s problem aren’t just about too much debt and crony capitalism. The economy has also suffered from bad macroeconomic policy in the form of a too-tight, inflation-phobic European Central Bank.

The Classicist Podcast, with Victor Davis Hanson: “Understanding the Greek Mind”


How did Greece get to the precipice of crisis? You’ve heard the economic explanations. But in this episode of The Classicist, Professor Hanson — himself a onetime resident of the country —  explores the cultural underpinnings of Greece’s breakdown.

It’s a fascinating conversation and you can hear it by either listening in below or by subscribing to The Classicist via iTunes or your favorite podcast service.

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There’s an excellent piece in Forbes that explains why Grexit is already well underway. Today’s no vote will only accelerate the process. As the author notes, Grexit is a process, not an event. And it is a process that has already begun. Greece’s membership of the Eurozone was partially suspended when the ECB capped ELA. […]

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Tsipras Should Take No for an Answer


shutterstock_194968301In today’s Daily Shot, this paragraph describes what’s happened since I last wrote about Greece:

First, [Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras] left bailout negotiations, insisting on a public referendum on the conditions Greece’s creditors were demanding. Then he let his nation go into default on its debt payments. Then, he suddenly realized how bad an idea that was, so he wrote a letter late Tuesday to other European leaders and the IMF, accepting the terms of their bailout. Then he started telling his voters to reject the measure.

I think the truth is worse than the paragraph suggests. Mr. Tsipras didn’t even accept the terms of the bailout. He made several modifications that were virtually a counter-proposal. The EU rejected this because it was a significant change in plans.

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In all the discussion of the Greek debt fiasco – which has now escalated to an IMF default – the claim has repeatedly been made (and repudiated by the political Right) that the fault lies with the lenders for failing to lend more; but as always when the Left makes huge mistakes, the individual politicians […]

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