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Update on “Clausewitzian Health Care”: A Nazi Heads Greek Health Ministry (EUthanasia)

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COMMENT: “The Ham­mer” is back. Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis is Greece’s new Health Min­is­ter.

Pterrafractyl contributes a chilling development in The Cradle of Democracy. In FTR #788, we noted the joint progress of German/EU-imposed “austerity” and fascism in Greece.

With the country’s poverty-driven health care approximating a lethal, slow-motion eugenics program, Greece’s “Clausewitzian Economics” figures to accelerate with the appointment of Makis Voridis, a doctrinaire Nazi, to administer the Greek Health Ministry.

As the German-dominated EMU and EU “bring the hammer down” on the European economy and citizenry, it is grimly fascinating to watch this hands-on application of Von Clausewitz’s theoretical principles.

Generally considered in the context of military strategy and tactics, Von Clausewitz’s concept of Total War lends itself readily to economics and social policy. 

“Yacht Apps and Anti-Semitic Min­is­ters in the Birth­place of Democracy” by Mark Ames; Pando Daily; 6/15/2014.

EXCERPT: Good and bad eco­nom­ics news out of the birth­place of democracy.

The good news: Accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal, Greece is see­ing a boom in tech star­tups. Of course, that boom starts from a very low num­ber, as the Jour­nal reports:

“there were 144 star­tups in Greece in 2013, up from just 16 in 2010. The money invested in them has climbed to €42 mil­lion ($57 mil­lion), com­pared with just €500,000 three years ago.”

Most of the fund­ing is geared towards ser­vic­ing the sec­tor of Greece that hasn’t been ruined by the past few years of EU-imposed aus­ter­ity, which rules out a large per­cent­age of under-35s, the pre­sumed Inter­net gen­er­a­tion. The unem­ploy­ment rate for young Greeks aged 15–24 is 58.3%, while for 25–34 year old Greeks, the unem­ploy­ment rate is 35.5%. Excit­ing new Greek star­tups attract­ing out­side VC cap­i­tal, like incred­i­blue— an online yacht book­ing ser­vice — and Tax­ibeat, a mobile taxi­cab hail­ing app — aren’t going to be much use to them.

Still, Greece’s “boom­ing” tech sec­tor is the good news.

Now, the bad news: Greece’s pro-EU rul­ing con­ser­v­a­tive party, the New Democ­rats, just named an actual neo-Nazi, Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, as Greece’s new Health Min­is­ter. Jew­ish groups are outraged over the news that Voridis—a long­time neo-fascist activist and anti-Semite who has pub­licly pro­moted the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion as wor­thy of schol­ar­ship, and doubted the authen­tic­ity of the Diary of Anne Frank—is serv­ing as a promi­nent min­is­ter in the rul­ing party’s cab­i­net, in charge of an impor­tant min­istry at a time when Greece has been gutting its health care bud­gets, caus­ing wide­spread misery.

I wrote about Voridis in Novem­ber 2011, because I was shocked that a gov­ern­ment coali­tion essen­tially imposed on Greece by the EU and West­ern cred­i­tors would demand that the allegedly tech­no­cratic “aus­ter­ity coali­tion” included mem­bers of Greece’s anti-Semitic, neo-fascist LAOS partyInclud­ing Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, who served as min­is­ter of infra­struc­ture and trans­port.

I call him “The Ham­mer” because photographs sur­faced show­ing Voridis as a Uni­ver­sity of Athens law stu­dent, car­ry­ing a makeshift stone ham­mer in hand which he used to bash sus­pected left­wing stu­dents with. That was in 1985, when Voridis was in a fas­cist group called “Stu­dent Alter­na­tive” which sup­ported Greece’s bloody mil­i­tary coup and mil­i­tary junta that ruled from 1967–1974.

Voridis was expelled from law school for club­bing left­ist stu­dents, and went on to Big Things in the world of neo-fascist Greek pol­i­tics. In 1994, he founded the far-right Hel­lenic Front, which in 2004 formed a coali­tion with a self-described Nazi, Kon­stan­ti­nos Plevris, who openly advo­cated for the exter­mi­na­tion of Greece’s remain­ing Jews. In 2005, Voridis merged his party into the LAOS party, whose leader, Geor­gios Karatzaferis, pub­licly mocked Auschwitz and Dachau death camps as “myths,” blamed Jews for 9/11 dur­ing a speech in par­lia­ment, and said “the Jews have no legit­i­macy to speak in Greece.”

In late 2011, as Greece pol­i­tics col­lapsed under the weight of its debts and the harsh EU-imposed aus­ter­ity mea­sures, the EU imposed a new “aus­ter­ity” gov­ern­ment that included “The Ham­mer” Voridis and other mem­bers of the neo-fascist LAOS party. The aus­ter­ity gov­ern­ment ran Greece until new elec­tions were called in mid-2012. In those interim months, the aus­ter­ity coali­tion pushed through rad­i­cal aus­ter­ity mea­sures that caused LAOS’ fas­cist vot­ers to desert them for an even more vio­lent, more extreme neo-Nazi party, the Golden Dawn Party. One would’ve thought that’d be the end of Makis Voridis.

But Voridis is one of the slyer fas­cists. He joined the aus­ter­ity cab­i­net and served from Novem­ber 2011 through June 2012. In the June 2012 elec­tions, after LAOS was oblit­er­ated for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the aus­ter­ity gov­ern­ment, Voridis aban­doned LAOS and joined the new rul­ing party that won the elec­tions, the respectable right-wing New Democ­racy party.

And now New Democ­racy is pay­ing back the favor to their favorite aus­ter­ity fascist.


4 comments for “Update on “Clausewitzian Health Care”: A Nazi Heads Greek Health Ministry (EUthanasia)”

  1. Is economic optimism really what’s getting exported?

    The Washington Post
    Germany’s major export: economic optimism
    By Harold Meyerson Opinion writer September 24 at 7:49 PM

    If you live in an advanced economy — in Western Europe, Japan or the United States — odds are you’re in a funk. Unless you live in Germany.

    This month, the Pew Research Center released the the results of polling it conducted in 44 nations — 10 of them with what Pew characterized as “advanced” economies (including the United States, France, Japan, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom). The two key questions posed were whether respondents were “satisfied or dissatisfied” with the way things were going in their country and whether they thought the “economic situation in [their] country was good or bad.” Overall, satisfaction with one’s country followed the respondent’s judgment on its economy as the night the day.

    While the noonday sun was blazing in China (where 89 percent judged their economy good and 87 percent expressed their satisfaction with the way things were going — allowing that some may have feared giving negative answers), night had descended on people in the advanced economies. In nine of those 10, people were more dissatisfied than content with the way things were headed, and in eight of them, they felt their nation’s economic situation was bad. The political composition of their government didn’t seem to matter. In Tory Britain, 55 percent said the economy was bad; in the Obama-led United States, 58 percent said the same. In nationalist-Keynesian Japan, the figure was 63 percent; in Socialist France, 88 percent; in conservative Spain, 93 percent. The gloomiest continent (including both its advanced economies and such emerging economies as Poland and Ukraine) was Europe, where 88 percent said their economies weren’t doing well.

    Except for Germany. Fully 85 percent of Germans said their homeland’s economic situation was good. How do we account for this German exceptionalism?

    Let’s start with manufacturing. Like the only two nations with even higher percentages calling their economies a success (China and Vietnam), Germany is an export dynamo, with a huge trade surplus that bolsters its coffers. It owes part of that surplus to the euro, which makes German goods cheaper than they’d be if Germany had its own currency. But part is due to the strength of the country’s manufacturing sector and the concomitant weakness of its financial sector.

    The article goes on to make a number of valid points about differences in corporate structure, general business practices, and wealth distribution between the US and Germany, although the highly beneficial role played by using the euro vs the Deutsche Mark or the impossibility of the rest of the world simultaneously becoming high-tech export powerhouses never get mentioned. Also not mentioned is the “highly explosive” loss of social cohesion due to Germany’s other main export (austerity) recently observed by a new study by the Bertelsmann Foundation. It’s not exactly optimistic:

    Social justice index reveals ‘highly explosive situation’ in Europe
    Published: 25/09/2014 – 14:28 | Updated: 25/09/2014 – 14:29

    The next European Commission must step up efforts to tackle social justice in the EU, as the economic imbalance between member states intensified during the crisis, warns the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

    According to the German think tank’s Social Justice Index for 2014, which compares the 28 member states across six indicators – poverty prevention, equitable education, labour market access, social cohesion and non-discrimination, health, as well as intergenerational justice – equality varies widely across the EU.

    Growing gap

    “The gap between participation opportunities in the still-wealthy countries of northern Europe and in the crisis-struck southern nations has thus significantly increased,” the think tank said.

    “This is a highly explosive situation with regard to societal cohesion and social stability within the EU. Should these social divisions persist for some time, or even worsen further, this will endanger the future viability of the entire European integration project,” it added.

    While the Index shows that there’s still a high level of social inclusion in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, social injustice in countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy and Hungary has increased since 2009.

    Though the Nordic countries, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, as well as the fourth-ranked Netherlands, score particularly well in the areas of poverty prevention, labour market access, social cohesion and non-discrimination, there’s room for improvement.

    For example, these countries lack equal labour market access opportunities for migrants. Sweden and Finland’s efforts to combat relatively high rates of youth unemployment have also not been successful. In Sweden, 23.5% of young people are unemployed, along with 19.9% in Finland.

    Greece at the bottom

    Greece, which is at the bottom of the ranking, struggles with both a youth unemployment rate of nearly 60%, a rapid increase in the risk of poverty particularly among children and youth, a health care system badly undermined by austerity measures, discrimination against minorities as a result of strengthened radical political forces, and an enormous mountain of debt that represents a mortgage on the future of coming generations.

    The Bertelsmann Stiftung said these prospects represent a significant danger to Greece’s political and social stability.

    “These developments illustrate that the cuts induced by the crisis are not administered in a balanced way throughout the population,” the think tank said.

    Alongside the North-South divide, the analysis also shows the growing imbalance between generations. For example, young people are much harder hit by social injustice than those who are older. At the moment, 28% of the EU’s youth population are threatened by poverty or social exclusion.

    If stats like “28% of the EU’s youth population are threatened by poverty or social exclusion” leave you feeling less than optimistic about Europe’s future, keep mind things can change. For instance, the European Commission and OECD just put out a report on what how to get more younger people back into the workforce. The key finding? Young people need to migrate more. Feeling optimistic yet?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 25, 2014, 1:40 pm
  2. “Another reason however, is that Samaras wants to stop possible losses of New Democracy MPs to right-wing parties. He believes that Voridis and Georgiadis can serve as the unifying link between the conservatives and the rightists of the party”:

    Greek Reporter
    Voridis to Represent Samaras in Parliament-SYRIZA Opposition Reacts


    by Daphne Tsagari – Oct 8, 2014

    The three-day parliamentary debate that will lead to a vote of confidence for the government begins today and the MPs will cast their vote on Friday at midnight.

    The first heated arguments have already started as SYRIZA opposition party reacted to the fact that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be absent from the parliamentary debate. Samaras, who is in Milan for the EU summit, appointed Health Minister Makis Voridis to be his representative in today’s discussion.

    SYRIZA party members have expressed their dissatisfaction for the appointment of the minister of health, speaking of “a government set by Voridis”, while the internet was flooded with comments and photos from the time when Voridis was a member of right-wing LAOS party and, before that, member of the junta-friendly party EPEN.

    The attitude of the opposition was denounced by government spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi, who after announcing that PM Samaras would be going to Milan for the EU summit on employment, commented ironically: “We assure SYRIZA that European leaders will definitely ask permission from Mr. Skourletis as to when to hold the next summit. ”

    Before Mr. Voridis, however, the opposition had targeted the other prominent member of the government party who also came to New Democracy from LAOS, parliamentary representative for New Democracy, Adonis Georgiadis.

    SYRIZA has put Georgiadis in “quarantine” and several of its members refuse to participate in discussions with him after a statement he made a few days ago “that he would take his money out of Greece if SYRIZA was elected government.”

    SYRIZA members have also stated that they would walk out of the parliament whenever Georgiadis addresses the plenary. This was one of the reasons the prime minister chose to appoint Makis Voridis to represent him instead of Georgiadis.

    Another reason however, is that Samaras wants to stop possible losses of New Democracy MPs to right-wing parties. He believes that Voridis and Georgiadis can serve as the unifying link between the conservatives and the rightists of the party.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 8, 2014, 11:31 am
  3. “You had better not do that! It’ll be suicide!” That’s basically the attitude expressed by the EU’s Finance Commissioner in response to suggestions that Greece’s debt repayments are impossible to achieve. The EU clearly prefers that Greece sticks to the much slower, more painful form of national suicide its already been prescribed:

    EU: Greek Defiance on Debt Would Be ‘Suicidal’
    ATHENS, Greece — Dec 15, 2014, 12:33 PM ET

    A refusal by Greece to repay bailout debts would be “suicidal” for the country, the European Union’s top finance official said Monday in a clear warning to the country’s popular opposition.

    EU Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici made the remarks after a three-hour meeting with conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    “The idea of contemplating the possibility not to reimburse a huge debt is suicidal ? it’s not possible, you’ll be in default and that’s what we’ve been trying to avoid for years,” Moscovici said.

    Moscovici’s two-day visit went ahead despite stalled negotiations between Greece and bailout creditors, and took place ahead of a parliamentary vote that could topple Greece’s pro-bailout government this month.

    “There is a need for structural reforms. It’s not only for Greece, it’s for all the countries in the eurozone … It would be a pity for (Greece) not to go on.”

    Greek lawmakers will start voting Wednesday for a new Greek president, in a ballot likely to last three rounds through Dec. 29.

    Samaras could be forced to call an early general election if he fails to attract enough support from the opposition for a government-backed candidate.

    The anti-bailout Syriza party is pressing for a snap election, arguing that austerity policies have failed. After a brutal six-year recession, it says Greece still has an unsustainable debt burden which cannot be repaid to rescue lenders in full.

    Syriza retains a lead in the latest opinion poll published Monday by private Real FM radio. It projected a general election victory for the left-wing party by a 5.1 percentage-point margin over the conservative New Democracy. However, victory on such a scale would not give Syriza enough seats to govern without a coalition.

    The political uncertainty has rattled Greek markets over the past week or so as investors have fretted over the country’s place in the 18-country eurozone.

    Note that the first round of votes just took place. Snap elections here we come? Possibly. The vote didn’t go so well for Greece’s government:

    AFP, dpa
    Greek parliament tries to avert disaster in second-round presidential ballot

    Greek lawmakers face a second round of voting after the only candidate Stavros Dimas failed to gain enough votes in the presidential ballot. The stalemate could spell ruin for the nation’s economic recovery.

    Date 17.12.2014

    Greek parliamentarians entered a second round of voting on Wednesday after the first ended in defeat for the only candidate, former EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ ruling coalition, which only has 155 seats, failed to muster the required 200 votes from the 300 members of parliament.

    He only got 160 votes, with many deputies abstaining or remaining purposely absent for the ballot.

    Should a third and final round be necessary on December 29, Dimas will only need 180.

    The high-stakes ballot could lead to snap elections. Although it is largely a ceremonial position, if Dimas doesn’t win the presidential vote, this would pave the way for early legislative elections. This could be a golden opportunity for leftist party Syriza, who wants to change the economic course of Greece, and is currently leading in the opinion polls.

    “Very soon our people will take center stage in developments,” said Syriza leader Alexis Tspiras on Wednesday, adding that the vote was a clear sign the “fear campaign” launched by government had collapsed.

    Worry over the future of reforms put in place to tackle the country’s economic crisis and to receive a 240 billion euro (300 billion dollar) bailout sent shockwaves through the markets, with Athens stocks losing more than one fifth of the value over four days and reducing the value of the euro.

    EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker even took the unusual step of telling Greeks not to vote the “wrong” way.

    The election for president has been moved up from February, a huge gamble for prime minister Antonis Samaras, who barely holds on to a majority in parliament. The ballot was moved to Wednesday to reduce uncertainly when fragile negotiations with the nation’s creditors, the European Union and the International Money Fund, will be taking place.

    A Greek tragedy

    The government was hoping to win over at least six opposition members on Wednesday night, as well as several independents, leading to Dimas’ confirmation. If they fail to vote him in, Samaras warned, it will be “fatal to the European development of the country.”

    It’s worth pointing out that Greece’s economy really pull out of six straight years of recession next year. Not that this would end the calls for more austerity but at least a growing economy would help Greece reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio if the economy can start growing again (refraining from intentionally strangling your economy can do wonders for the debt-to-GDP ratio). We’ll see how it goes.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 17, 2014, 7:35 pm
  4. Days before the second round of presidential voting, charges of bribery were being bandied about when an MP with the right-wing anti-austerity Independent Greeks party alleged he was being bribed to vote for the right-wing pro-austerity presidential candidate

    Financial Times
    Samaras in last-ditch bid to avert snap election amid bribe claims

    Kerin Hope in Athens
    December 21, 2014 7:08 pm

    Antonis Samaras, Greece’s beleaguered prime minister, has offered last-minute concessions to persuade opposition lawmakers to back his party’s presidential candidate, in an increasingly frantic effort to avert a snap general election, deeper political turmoil and quell renewed fears of a Greek exit from the euro.

    The premier’s move came as details emerged — including potentially incriminating audio tapes and a DVD — of an alleged bungled attempt to bribe a rightwing opposition MP to break ranks and support Stavros Dimas, a former European commissioner, in Tuesday’s second-round presidential vote.

    In an unscheduled television address on Sunday, Mr Samaras called for a “consensus” vote for Mr Dimas, urging MPs to “listen to the voice of conscience, national interest and common sense”.

    In last week’s first-round vote, Mr Dimas secured only a handful of ballots from independent deputies whose support is needed to secure a three-fifths majority in the third and final round of voting on December 29.

    If parliament fails to elect a new head of state, a general election would be held in early February before the completion of a final round of talks between Greece and its international creditors. Opinion polls suggest an early election would be won by the hard-left Syriza party, which wants to negotiate a substantial writedown of Greece’s sovereign debt with international creditors.

    Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, accused the prime minister’s office of involvement in the alleged attempt to bribe a deputy from the rightwing Independent Greeks party, who claimed he was offered €3m to switch sides in the presidential election.

    “We have an anomalous situation in the rightwing environment of the prime minister, including accusations of vote-buying and — to put it politely — of foot-dragging by the judiciary,” Mr Tsipras said, echoing statements made earlier by Independent Greeks.

    Officials in the prime minister’s office rebutted the accusations, claiming that Syriza officials had colluded with Panos Kammenos, the leader of the Independent Greeks, to frame the MP accused in the scandal. Mr Kammenos denied the claim.

    Pavlos Haikalis, the deputy involved, denied wrongdoing, while members of parliament’s ethics committee voiced doubts about the authenticity of a DVD purportedly showing the bribery attempt.

    The revelation that the financial adviser who allegedly discussed the payment with Mr Haikalis also worked for Mr Kammenos, which was backed up by pictures of the two men holding a meeting with Mr Tsipras, only added to the confusion.

    One analyst said: “Whoever was behind this affair, it’s clearly cast a shadow over the election process, and must have dissuaded some independents from backing Mr Dimas.”

    So days before the second round of voting for Greece’s president, a right-wing MP, Palvos Haikalis, charges that he was offered a bribe to switch his vote to the right-wing presidential candidate Mr. Dimas. And Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza, echoed those charges. And the evidence for this included a picture showing Haikalis and the financial adviser that worked for Panos Kammenos, the head of the Independence Party, meeting with Alexis Tsipras. Yeah, that’s confusing.

    Also note that Mr. Dimas failed to get the votes he needed in the second round of voting, so Greece is now slated to have a third and final vote on December 29, and if that vote doesn’t pass, Greece’s government dissolves and new elections are to be held in February:

    Bloomberg News
    Samaras’s Call Fails to Lure MPs to Back Nominee, Avert Election
    By Eleni Chrepa and Antonis Galanopoulos Dec 23, 2014 4:29 AM CT

    Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed in his second effort to get lawmakers to back his nominee for president and avert snap general elections.

    With voting ongoing in Athens, more than 100 lawmakers in the country’s 300-seat chamber withheld support for Samaras’s candidate Stavros Dimas, leaving him short of the required 200 ballots.

    If Samaras fails in the third and final vote on Dec. 29, parliament will be dissolved, prompting the calling of early elections. Samaras, who didn’t manage to garner enough support in the first vote on Dec. 17, called on Greek lawmakers on Dec. 21 to join him in the effort to avert early elections, saying Greece “must end political uncertainty.”

    The prospect of early parliamentary elections has roiled financial markets in Greece, evoking memories of the height of the financial crisis in 2012 when the country’s euro membership was in jeopardy. Polls show anti-austerity opposition party Syriza ahead of Samaras’s New Democracy.

    Get ready for a lot more stories like this.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 24, 2014, 1:57 pm

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