Greek Politics: The Worst Show on Earth



circusfreaks1As political freak shows go, you just can’t beat Greece, especially when the Three-Ring Circus known as the Parliament in session, if only to see workers paid thousands of euros a month walking around handing out glasses of water and threatening to strike and shut down debate if they’re not exempted from big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions being imposed on just about everyone except the rich and politicians.

As Thomas Jefferson said: “Ridicule is the only weapon you can use against unintelligible propositions,” but even that fails when it comes to trying to describe how asinine and pathetic the shootout-in-the-lifeboats is when the 300 Greek lawmakers are in session, which isn’t often, thank Zeus.

What happened when the Parliament decided to pillory an easy target, former finance minister George Papaconstantinou, and vote to investigate only him for his mishandling of a list of 2,062 Greeks with $1.95 billion in secret accounts in the Geneva, Switzerland branch of HSBC Bank is beyond even ridicule, if sadly expected.

It’s a wonder we didn’t see these snakes in seats and suits shed their skins while they were talking and you could almost hear the carnival barker bellowing, “He walks, he talks, he crawls on his belly like a reptile,” when PASOK Anti-Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos was thundering like a one-man herd of elephants to protest (methinks too much) his innocence and deny any wrongdoing for not checking for tax cheats when he had the list as a previous finance minister. That was at a time when he was doubling income and property taxes, taxing the poor, and exempting mansions from tax hikes. As talking pachyderms go though, it was a pretty good show.

It was surpassed though by the spectacle of Boy Politician Alexis Tsipras, leader of the major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and his mock outrage that Venizelos – who should have been investigated because he had the bank list in his hands – go before a parliamentary committee and ‘splain himself.

Tsipras, apparently still recovering from a failed charisma transplant, tried to convince everyone his interest was justice when it was really just trying to bring down Venizelos. The PASOK leader, who could slide off sandpaper, deserves a fall, but not pushed by a political pygmy like Tsipras – whose Che Guevara undershirt was almost visible when he was trying to be clever with quips. Watching him and Venizelos go at it proved that it’s hard to joust on high horses.

They should have called this 16-hour debate about nothing The Fall Guy because the fix was in before it even began. With so much fury still being directed against the coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the head of the New Democracy Uber-Capitalist Banker party, for imposing more pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions, and rage against tax cheats, somebody had to be a patsy and be sacrificed and it was the easy target.

Papaconstantinou fit the bill if only because he’s so disliked for being almost as arrogant as Venizelos, who immediately ejected his buddy from PASOK, but not until Papaconstantinou was smeared in blood and the wolves were baying for meat.

DON’T BOOK ‘EM, DAN-O

So eager was Samaras to get this sordid affair behind him, and to protect Venizelos, who in other times would be his enemy, that they made Papaconstantinou the escapegoat. Even a member of CSI Athens: Clueless could figure out that if you’re going to protect your relatives and erase their names from the bank list that you make sure you take out a bunch of others too. And once investigators determined that Papaconstantinou’s relatives had declared their income and paid their taxes, the jig was up for the frame against Papaconstantinou.

There were sideshows aplenty. Former prime minister George Papandreou, who appointed both Papaconstantinou and Venizelos, escaped being investigated too and shamelessly sat in a front row seat a few feet from a ballot box with his name on it until he just kind of vanished like the Invisible Man, one of the biggest attractions under the Big Top of the Greek Parliament.

American white-collar criminals could try using the Venizelos Defense when the FBI comes knocking and just proclaim their innocence and hope the G-Men will say, “Okay thanks a lot, now we don’t have to investigate even though you had possibly incriminating evidence in your possession and never admitted it until someone else outed you.” That might play in Athens, where politicians protect themselves at all costs, even if it means throwing one of their own kind overboard.

This affair was almost as long as the opening to a Theo Angelopoulos movie, God rest his soul, and as predictable as a bad formulaic movie or one of those French films if can stay awake long enough to watch them. Papaconstantinou was The Dead Man from the get-go, just like in the Jim Jarmusch movie that made you want to shoot the director or flog yourself as punishment for watching it.

Venizelos said the predictable whitewash to protect him was “a watershed,” and “not just because SYRIZA’s scheming was exposed … but mainly because public life has been relieved of the noose that they have tried to put on it at the expense of the truth, stability and the country’s prospects.” Spoken like a man who has nothing to hide, and since he’s not going to be investigated, who can prove otherwise?

He said Tsipras wanted to bring down the government, which was correct, but that didn’t excuse Greek lawmakers for not having the testicular fortitude to investigate a man who had a critical piece of evidence in his hands and didn’t turn it over until he was exposed for hiding it for more than a year.

If nothing else, Venizelos was derelict in his duty to probe the list for tax cheats. His lame excuse that the names came from stolen data fell apart when Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister and now head of the International Monetary Fund, one of Greece’s international lenders and the person who gave the original to Papaconstantinou in 2010, said other countries had used a larger list to chase tax cheats. But how would Venizelos know that because he’s only a Constitutional Law professor.

Papaconstantinou has nothing to fear however because the Parliament will some time down the road find there’s no evidence that he removed the names of his relatives and declare it’s a mystery that belongs in Eleufsina.

The story will end like the version of Medea proffered in the movie Never on Sunday, by Melina Mercouri’s character, a prostitute, one of the requirements for being a politician. At the end, she pronounced with all the self-deceit she could muster that Medea didn’t kill her children but they all went to to seashore and nobody got hurt. Now that’s a good show, and more believable.


43 COMMENTS

  1. “Tsipras, apparently still recovering from a failed charisma transplant,
    tried to convince everyone his interest was justice when it was really
    just trying to bring down Venizelos. The PASOK leader, who could slide
    off sandpaper, deserves a fall, but not pushed by a political pygmy like
    Tsipras – whose Che Guevara undershirt was almost visible when he was
    trying to be clever with quips.:

    Today Andy Dablis… I applaud you. This is exactly right.

    The communist exploiters are trying to use the mess our middle ground parties made to weasal their way into power.

    Where you go wrong is that while you can see that’s what the communist exploiters want to do, you can’t hold your tongue back and end up overly criticizing our coalition government, “the rich”, and absolutely necessary austarity. In so doing you only play into the hands of the communists.

  2. News Headlines: WHERE IS ANDY? 

    Police are searching to find Andy Dabilis, also known as Andy Tebelis, the renown SYRIZA supporter. Officer Giannis Ligoputsos said that they are very concerned about Andy’s health and have set souflaki traps at every major intersection, hoping that the hunger instinct will take over Andy’s brain and waft him to one of the traps.

    Meanwhile, GreekReporter has substituted a CIA anti communistic trained special forces monkey to write fill in articles about Alex “call me Che” Tsipras and SYRIZA, an abbreviation of the former  political party known as Pamesirizastoxaro.

    Andy was last seen wearing  smoking hot a purple string bikini, simmering pink halter top and fire red Prada pumps. If anyone has seen him ore know his whereabouts  please call the nearest fire department. Please do not try to feed him or hose him down because he has a tendency to bite.  

    Your Truly,

    GreekReporter Staff.    

  3. Alex. This is an unbiased article and Andy really tells it like it is.

    There is nothing wrong with criticizing the coalition government or any other government for that matter. This government is surrounded and embedded in scandals and corruption right up to their dirty necks. As Andy correctly points out Samaras is only playing the political game for his own survival. This does not mean the others are any better. Far from it.

    It is high time that Greek media really started to put the squeeze on the entire political system and began reporting the truth rather than reporting for their own favours and political agendas.

    It is high time the Greek media acted independently with the rest of Greek society and demanded and got a full blown judicial enquiry to investigate and prosecute EVERYONE and ANYONE that has been involved in and responsible for the current mess. The terms of reference should be broad and the powers given to the commission unlimited. No holds barred. But this is easier said than done.

    It is high time brand new poltical parties with brand new names and brand new leaders and members take a foothold on the political scene. The present lot and rot has to be weedled out. They really have to go.

    Greek people deserve nothing less and should settle for nothing less.

  4. Mr. Dabilis decribes “the show” perfectly!
    It is a circus but the tickets are very expensive for ordinary Greeks!

  5. Kudos to Mr. Dabilis for providing some much needed humor about a very sore but true subject that continues to make us the laughing stock of the EU and perhaps the world.  ‘Only in Greece’ will soon be coined by the mainstream media for any and all political scandals and conspiracies throughout the world.  ‘Telling like it is’ should become our new mantra along with ‘zero corruption’ and ‘out with the old and in with the new’, the ‘new’ being a citizen led coalition government that actually works on behalf of the country.  Of course we would need a good old revolution to rid our country of the freak show that passes for a government.  How about this spring – a season of new beginnings?  Book your tickets early as this promises to be a show to remember.

  6. Ohhh, my god…! The “commies are coming, the commies are coming”— Alex grow up, grow a brain and stop…. Your absurd tired out old “commie” line is getting very borrrrring!

  7. I still don’t undetsand why Venizelos isn’t in jail for hiding the List in his home for 2 years, which is a “High Crime” against the State and Greek People… It’s called FRAUD in any court of Law!

    For that matter WHY has Akis Tzahadsopolous not been tried yet after nearly a year in jail?
    Where is the Justice System in Greece and why are they letting this trail date drag out so long?

     

  8. Thanks Andy, another insightful observation with a very obvious conclusion – Here in Greece, Justice is always “served” by the statute of limitations, insufficient evidence, postponement and delay, and if none of that works – released from prison for reasons of health.  Expect Akis to be released any day now.  In a country than cannot enforce the No Smoking law, what else is one to expect.  Truly a circus and a government of clowns that just seem to be elected and reelected and elected again.  Seems to me you get what you pay for….

  9. Andy usually supports the left. So this article is a bit of a surprise. Therefore the onion piece. 

    Do any of you read The Onion? 

  10. Before the rise of SYRIZA and GD most Greeks voted either ND or PASOK. The freak show began with them and now continues with these two. There is not one political party in Greece you could trust.
    They ALL have to go!!!.
    Start with a clean slate.

  11. Yes and I know all too well Leventi.  What I fear the most is the collapse of the present “centrist government” and the exodus to the Thugs and Bullies on the far right, and the balance to the absolute lunatics on the far left.  Both extremes have shown they have weapons and without too much imagination, this could get very very ugly.  I don’t have any confidence in a government that refuses to dispense Justice and enforce the law, and have even less confidence that Theos is going to step in and save us all.  Can only hope for the best and that the people will come to their senses before it’s too late. 

  12. Precisely why unfortunately this coalition government has to be given enough time to stabilize the situation. Hopefully in the near future a new political party will emerge that will put the country on the right tracks.

  13.  There is no way to begin with a clean slate. All hysteria and rhetoric against our coalition government will achieve is the communists gaining power or a civil war.

  14.  Too many whining leftists parasites begging for handouts and violence. Not enough entrepreneurs leveraging technology to build world class companies.

  15. Its ok to criticize some individual,…. it is NOT ok to criticize the entire coalition government as corrupt thieves out to eat the poor. (as if all the poor are “victims”  in the first place)

    The communists want us to attack the government because they will win the next election if they do. We have to be measured in our criticism and make sure the official opposition of incompetent treasonous communists receives the bulk of it.

  16.  OMG… like MAO and Stalin mass murders are so cool. 

    Look at me.. the patriot… claiming to support the Greek people… while waving my little red flag in support of illegals…. Skopians trying to annex 1/3 of my country and delete our identity…. and handouts from the government.

  17. How many times on this website have you cheered on violent far leftist terrorists? It is unfortunate far leftist terrorist supporters like you aren’t in jail.

  18.  Unlikely.  Andy is obviously left on the political spectrum. As such he can’t keep himself from treating “the poor” as all victims and ranting in hysteria about corruption in the coalition governments. This plays right into the hands of communists like Tspiras irregardless if he speaks out against Tsiras as well.

    During WW2, the allies alligned themselves with the communists because at the time the Nazis played a bigger threat. Whether one agrees with all aspects of an ally or not during times of crisis against a bigger foe, one doesn’t undermine one’s allies.

  19. “got a full blown judicial enquiry to investigate and prosecute EVERYONE
    and ANYONE that has been involved in and responsible for the
    current mess.”

    I strongly disagree. This witchhunt mentality against our own government plays into the hand of communists. I would rather deal with corruption than communists (who wish to institutionlize corruption by framing their government oppression and thievery “human rights”)

  20. Excellent article which really explain the current mess in the Motherland and the expressions used by Andy like “a political pygmy like Tsipras” are very funny. Also I like very much the fact that the former 1st minister (and now professor of … Economy at Harvard) Georges “lefta iparxoun” Papandreou hasn’t been forgotten by Andy.

    Also for thoses who haven’t seen it already, here is a picture taken from the Athens minister of finance in 2012 :
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/must-see-greece-explained-one-picture

    Like the article says it, it is tragic …

  21. Ok with you regarding theses 2 crooks but why do many of you leftists don’t also ask for the head of Papandreou ? I know that some MPs at Syriza don’t like “Jeffrey” but Tsipras and many others Syriza MPs stay silent about his case. Why ?

  22. What communist extremist world arts never mention is most of Syriza supporters are former Pasok voters! Our leftist parasites gave up on Pasok when it stopped promising handouts (being responsible for a change). The lazy thieves moved on to communism.

    The same ones that for decades have ranted about government corruption (as they elected the leftist leaders that created our bloated government)…. are the same bunch of crooked freeloaders that now vote for Syriza.

    IMO if we could somehow kick out the 30 percent of the Greek population that vote for letches Syriza (mostly anti-Hellenic communists and illegals given amnesty by leftists), we would have a rapid economic turn around (as happened when communists were shown the door during greek civil war)

  23. “Of course we would need a good old revolution to rid our country of the freak show that passes for a government”

    And who shall we all vote for? Thieving communist oppressors Syriza?

  24. “lefta iparxou”

    Pasok finally came to its senses rather than keep making empty promises to corrupt lazy voters willing to sell their votes to the highest offer.

    So most of Pasok’s former voters moved on to communist Syriza who are now the ones offering them free money. Our coalition government is trying to finally balance our books. (framed as “austarity”) Rather than embrace that change and live within our means…. our lazy far leftists freeloaders that claim to be “against corruption”….now wish to shameless;u live off the backs of EU taxpayers and foreign creditors!

    It would be great comedy if it weren’t so tragic.

  25. There is a way…there must be a way or else it will all be repeated. The current politicians CANNOT be trusted. Things are only beginning to happen today because of outside pressure and because the money ran out. The changes we are seeing, the inquiries into corruption, the reforms, all these things did not happen from a coalition that felt it HAD a moral duty to clean up the country. It would still be business as usual if not for the crisis.
    This is why, the Greek people have to punish these crooks at the ballot box but only AFTER the country has been economically stabilized.

    What should be happening behind the scenes in the meantime is the formation and evolution of a new political party run by young intelligent Greeks not from the left and not from the right that will be ready to take Greece forward if not at the next election but certainly the one after.
    The currrent political mafiosos should not be trusted to run the country indefinetly because just as sure as there will be a Turkish violation of Greek airspace tomorrow they will do it all over again.

  26. ” The current politicians CANNOT be trusted.”

    You are making the same mistake as the communists by trying to lump in every politician as somehow being part of a conspiracy.  Some of our politicians are corrupt. Not all of them.

    Anyone that enourages the idea that they are all corrupt is just playing into the hands of communists (who will fill the vacuum if the current government falls).

    As for the Greek people..  some of them need to tone down the rhetoric about how corrupt our government is… when many of the Greek people themselves are corrupt. There is no line of honesty and guilty between rich, government, middle, and poor like populists that use “the people” claim.  Corruption exists to some degree or another in all sectors of any society.

  27.  If an alternate middle ground parties appear to fill the void that’s an option. Ranting against our coalition government when we know that all that will replace it is incompetent ranting communists that will make things worse… is like killing the patient to cut out a disease.

  28. “Precisely why unfortunately this coalition government has to be given enough time to stabilize the situation.”

    It is an absolute necessity that it be given time when the alternatives at the moment are communism and civil war.

  29.  Incidentally I know you are not a communist. All I’m saying here is don’t play into the communist hand by undermining our government.  Right now we should be strongly supporting it despite the mistakes of past administrations and despite any corruption./

    The fact remains the alternatives are much much worse. There eventually will be no Greece and Greeks if communists take control .Their identity is communism not Hellenism. They are anti-nationalist extremists to the point they are effectively racist against any Greek that tries to hold on to our Hellenic heritage.

  30.  To my fellow Greeks… there are some false flag Skopian ultra nationalist that pretend to be Greek on this website (I’ve also seen this phenomena elsewhere). They support leftists in Greece because they know they can manipulate “human rights” “anti-nationalism” and “anti-racism” rhetoric to get them to treasonous betray Greece (like the communists did during Greek civil war where Greek “anti-fascist”, “anti-racist”, “anti-nationalists”… ended up murdering Greeks for ultra nationalists in other countries!

     In the former Yugoslav  republic though, the same sorts of false-flag Skopian trollers wildly oppose the leftists by overwhelmingly voting for far right extremist and crypto-nazi irredentist Gruesvki.

  31. Come on Alex. You can’t honestly believe that the current politicians can be trusted. I am not saying that they all acted corruptly but by them not saying or doing anything and turning a blind eye is almost just as bad. You see them all scrambling and knocking each other over and out of the way in an attempt to look squeaky clean by pointing the finger at someone else. It’s disgraceful. The whole world is laughing. They have lost all credibility.
    They need to be told at the ballot box that their time (and I refer to ALL of them, ND, PASOK,SYRIZA, KKE,centre left, centre right, middle left and upside down and sideways) in politics is over. They should look for another job. They are not good at what they have been doing.

    I agree that at the moment the best Greece has to offer is the coalition, but surely you can’t envisage this lot running the country with its pathetic past record and history of incompetence in the future.
     
    If you think Greece cannot produce better than this lot, then we may as well give up now. 

  32.  Let the war games begin!  Maybe a flurry of bullets flying through the vouli might be a wake up call that they need.  Ouch, does this offend anyone?  After living in this country for so many years, I now realize how and why revolutions start.

  33. “Come on Alex. You can’t honestly believe that the current politicians can be trusted.”

    You can’t honestly believe every politician iin our government is corrupt?

    I don’t believe Samaras is corrupt. I believe he is a patriot that will do what he thinks needs to be done to protect out country. I trust him far more than another other politician in Greece in the moment.

    “I agree that at the moment the best Greece has to offer is the coalition”

    Then match words to action and support rather than complain about it. Again. only the communist stand to gain if our coalition government falls. I know you are one of the good guys leventi. Don’t shoot us in the foot by playing into the extreme anti-government rhetoric that communists want us to use. In the future no doubt there will be new players but for right now it makes the most sense to strongly support the coalition government not only complain about it.

  34. Papandreou is a traitor who sold an insurance contracted by the Karamanlis governement. Also people of his team (some of them having worked and suspected to still be working for FMI) presented the deficit as bigger as it really was to make sure the FMI intervene so exceptional and violent measures of austerity can be applied to the people with the economic results we all know.
    Jeffery didn’t came to his sens, he betrayed the country.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-09-23/greece-caught-underreporting-its-budget-deficit-nearly-50

  35. “And who shall we vote for?”  That is indeed the 500 million euro question so to speak. For the record, I did not vote for anyone in the last election that brought forth the current ‘political freak show’ also known as the Greek Parliament.  I was perhaps one of the few pleased by those appointed as an interim government.  Sadly none of them could stand for election so unless the current government resigns – unlikely – then I am afraid that the only way we, the honest citizens of Greece (defined as those who pay their taxes, do not take or offer fakelakia, and respect the law) can bring about change is by revolution.  Everything else has been tried and failed miserably.  At least by targeting those responsible for the crimes committed against the state and its people, there will be justice, something that has been lacking in Greece for decades.    

  36. Alex, your are so blinded by your hate and anger you fail to see that your comments contradict themselves. e.g.,
    “Right now we should be strongly supporting it (government) despite the mistakes of past administrations and despite any corruption.”How could we possibly move forward if we don’t the breakdown the shackles of corruption and replace the controlling old guard, which are now pathetically united together in an ever decreasing and weakening coalition?Please, break it down for us?Your romantic notions of Hellenic Heritage or sovereignty or whatever, is in reality, long sold off and gone.Stop making a fool of yourself and inciting racism, division and threats of communists taking over and civil war etc….Evolve you fool….These are desperate and now so meaningless and overused…Don’t you ever see any workable middle ground?Its between your extremism.  Its where the majority feel they are not being transparently represented, and demand democratic change.Grow up, join us in the 21st century 2013, accept the truth and be a rational contributor to the coming inevitable change.or…
    perhaps you will be held accountable for your comments 

  37. Hilarious how you see thinks so narrowly and backwards, and waste your time living in fear, in your fantasy future communist ruled world.
    Keep your fear of the future and insecurities to yourself.Live in the here and now, dude. If you would rather deal with the corruption, then deal with it, for the corruption is long ago institutionalised, . As for loss of Human rights, sovereignty or Hellenic values…?? You are an example of a stubborn and successfully blinded minority of believers who can’t seem to, or wan’t to accept the painful truth.3, 2, 1….Wake up now Alex, burst your bubble, the truth will set you free…..