Belmont Club

The Case of the Self-licking Ice Cream Cone

France and Italy may need a bail-out. “World leaders must draw up a ‘concerted global action plan’ to deal with the eurozone crisis at next week’s G20 summit as countries including Italy and France may need international assistance, Gordon Brown has warned … There is growing speculation that central banks, including the Bank of England and American Federal Reserve, are on standby to inject billions of pounds into the global economy if necessary on Monday.”

Why not another bailout?  And make it bigger this time. The problem as Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan point out in the videos below is that everybody is bust. Nobody is in a real position to help anybody else out. The bailouts aren’t real because the problem is simply being recirculated through an organism settling into toxic shock. Foreign Policy argues that there are twelve clear signs the world is on the brink of a “Europocalypse”.

Greece will continue to fester, but the real contagion will start in Spain. Fascism is on the rise again in Europe. And this time Germany is content to watch things burn.

“The United States doesn’t possess the inclination, the ideas, or the financial capacity to materially influence the endgame in Europe. Here’s an even less-well-kept one: The White House is enormously concerned about a European implosion damaging the fragile U.S. economy and taking President Barack Obama’s reelection chances with it.” The ratings agencies are realizing the full extent of European bankruptcy. European leadership, far from pulling together, is engaged in a pass the buck exercise — except there are no bucks.

Britain is belatedly pulling up the financial drawbridge. Italy will be the next to go. As Western and Southern Europe implode, Germany will turn east to the former Soviet bloc countries to outsource its labor and market its products. The Russian vulture will peck at the corpse of the EU starting with Cyprus. The Chinese are waiting for the EU’s last gasp, with a bag of money ready to buy everything it can lay its hands on for a bargain price.

Twelve. Count them. Twelve. At least that’s eight more than four and not all of them are riding horses.

In Greece, scenes straight out of the Third World are being enacted. Reuters reports that even now, “Greece’s rundown state hospitals are cutting off vital drugs, limiting non-urgent operations and rationing even basic medical materials for exhausted doctors as a combination of economic crisis and political stalemate strangle health funding.”

Outside one of the 133 state hospitals – whose managers have sometimes been appointed as supporters of whichever political party was in power at the time – a banner put up by protesting staff reads “Hospitals Belong to the People”. Inside, its gloomy labyrinth of corridors tell a different story.

A doctor at the university hospital in the northwestern Athens suburb of Chaidari cites a lack of basic examining room supplies in her own department, such as cotton wool, catheters, gloves and paper used to cover the examining table.

The shortage of paper, which is thrown out after each patient has used it, means corners have to be cut on hygiene.

“Sometimes we take a bed sheet instead and use it for several patients,” said Kiki Kiale, a radiologist specializing in cancer screening. “It’s tragic but there’s no other solution.”

Kiale, 52, said staff cutbacks and a lack of crucial equipment – including a digital mammography machine – meant some doctors were seeing 40 patients during a shift but many patients were still unable to get treatment.

In America, people like Martin Bashir behave as if the Grand Ball, so long in progress is not now winding down to its last few dances as the unpaid orchestra heads for the exits; that it  still has the whole night before it. On that marble floor Obama is his cool self. Romney is square and doomed and Bashir — well Martin we will leave at the punchbowl wondering when the refill will be coming.

Victor Davis Hanson, who is a professor of history and not a TV personality, is not so sure that this is just another temporary lull in the endless dance. He asks, “Are We in Revolutionary Times?”

Legally, President Obama has reiterated the principle that he can pick and choose which U.S. laws he wishes to enforce (see his decision to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and his administration’s contempt for national-security confidentiality and Senate and House subpoenas to the attorney general). If one individual can decide to exempt nearly a million residents from the law — when he most certainly could not get the law amended or repealed through proper legislative or judicial action — then what can he not do? Obama is turning out to be the most subversive chief executive in terms of eroding U.S. law since Richard Nixon … He has thrown down the gauntlet and essentially boasted: This is my vision of the way the new America should work — and if you don’t like it, try stopping me in November, if you dare.

Stop lawlessness? Stand in the way of By Any Means Necessary?

It is doubtful whether the Republicans unaided can. But it is definitely certain that Reality will. And then the Republicans will follow the lead as if it were their idea all along.

When watching the videos of Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan below, it is instructive to remember that neither of these men were able to raise a substantial opposition to the EU juggernaut. They began, remain and will continue until the end to be singular voices in a flock of sheep. For all their panache and daring, the truth is that neither Farage nor Hannan managed to convince their fellow delegates of anything.

But the lack of acknowledgment didn’t stop Europocalypse. It didn’t prevent Greece from going bust nor Spain from holding out a desperate hand. Bankruptcy did all the work.

The European fantasy — and perhaps President Obama’s fantasy — has hit upon the hard rock of arithmetic and reality. In the long history of the world, nobody ever survived a collision with the facts. Not the Titanic, large as it was against the fact of the iceberg, nor did the EU against the reality of its own financial ruin.

Martin Bashir can show all the exploding buses on the Romney bus tour and think it funny; think it decorous; think it responsible. When afterimage of the pretty lights fade there will still be the empty punchbowl.  He might want to try squeezing the lemon rinds out for that last drop of gin. It’s a useful skill.

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