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Hmmm Feb 26 2012

Hmmm Feb 26 2012

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Published by: overqualified on Feb 26, 2012
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A walk around the fringes of nance
26 February 2012
o Subscribe to Tings Tat Make You Go Hmmm..... click 
“Tere are no guarantees that the chosen path will leadto success. It is also possibly not the last time that theGerman parliament will have to consider nancial aid toGreece”
WOLFGaNG SCHaeubLe, Feb 24, 2012
“You never really know a manuntil you have divorced him
Zsa Zsa Gabor
“Each generaon wants new symbols, new people, newnames. They want to divorce themselves from theirpredecessors”
– Jim Morrison
“You cannot really exclude [the possibility of a thirdbailout], although we should not have as a starngassumpon that a third program will be (needed)”
Jean-Claude Juncker, Feb 24, 2012
26 February 2012
enough me, onewould assume it shouldbe possible to build a perfectstructure, but, in the middle of the Piazza del Duomo in Tuscanystands proof posive that, if thefoundaons are imperfect in anyway, the amount of me spent inassembling the structure be
comes irrelevant.Behind the Duomo and the Bap
stry lies a structure instantlyrecognizable to millions of people throughout the world for
on son – nd on son
only – the basic aw in its con
strucon; The Campanile, thefree-standing bell tower of the
Cthdl of Snt Mi assnt othwis
known as The Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Be hon
est, how many of you recognized the structurein the photograph above aer I rotated it soit sat perfectly vercal?Thought so).The Leaning Tower of Pisatook 177 years to completeaer ground was broken on
agst 8th 1173 s  sis
of circumstances dictatedthat work be stopped forlengthy periods.Aer construcon of the white marble towerhad reached only the second oor, in 1178, thestructure began to sink into the so, unstablesubsoil as the shallow (3m) foundaon provedto be a (fairly obvious) design fault. Work washalted and, due to a series of wars betweenPisa and Florence, Genoa and Lucca, nothingfurther was done for almost a century (dur
ing which me, luckily, the subsoil seled andcompacted to the point where connuaonwas possible).In 1272, Giovanni di Simone took over the proj
ect and his engineers came up with the brilliantidea to build the higher oors with stones talleron one side than the other to compensate forthe lt – thus making the structure curved –but, aer defeat for the Pisan navy in the baleof Meloria, construcon was again stopped in1284.It wasn’t unl 1319 that the seventh oor wasnished (complete with a northern staircaseconsisng of two fewer steps than its southerncounterpart) and the bell chamber itself wasnally added in 1372.The tower is 55.86m in height on the low sideand 56.70m on the high side. The walls are4.09m thick at the base and 2.48m thick at thetop and the structure leans at roughly 3.99degrees (which means the top of the tower isdisplaced by 3.9m from where it would be if thetower were perfectly vercal.).
Pio to 2001, th tow lnd t n ngl of 
5.5 degrees.It was on February 27, 1964 that the Italiangovernment announced they were accepngsuggesons on how to savethe famous structure which,experts predicted, was topplingfraconally every year and wasin serious danger of collapsing
if th w n thqk o
a severe storm, and, aer sev
eral irtaons with plasc-coat
-d stl tndons, ndgond
drilling, counterweighng andliquid nitrogen, a process of slowly excavangsoil from under the North side of the tower wasbegun in 1999 which reduced the lt by eigh
teen inches and, supposedly, gave a further 300years of life to the Leaning Tower.
has a habit of pung struc
tures in place that are inherently awedand then trying to come up with all kinds of ways to cobble together a short-term x inorder to survive any immediate danger and, justlike the marble tower in the Piazza del Duomo,the European Union is in danger of topplingover.
“Europe has a habit o puttingstructures in place that areinherently awed and thentrying to come up with allkinds o ways to cobble to-gether a short-term x...”
26 February 2012
short-term x.This week, the Brussels Touts nallyagreed the long-awaited bailout for Greecebut not before some very strange events tookplace that, to anybody watching closely, spokevolumes about what is really going on behindclosed European doors.The UK Daily Telegraph published a refresherfor those of us suering from Crisis Fague andit is a useful exercise to go back and remindourselves just how the whole leaning tower of the EU began to lean:
(UK Daily Telegraph); The rst sign of trouble in Greece was when George Papan
dreou took over as prime minister in Octo
ber 2009 and found that the government had been understang its public debts for years. Two months later Fitch downgraded Greece’s debt to BBB+, the lowest credit rat 
ing in Europe. Financial traders scrambled to work out the implicaons of a EuropeanMonetary Union that contained memberswith such dierent proles as Greece and Germany.But the reality was that the EMU was a very thin veneer over deep economic, polical and cultural divisions.Despite being poor, the Greek government has for decades sought to be generous toits people. Historians point to the war-torndecades, including a civil conict aer theSecond World War that wiped out 10pcof the populaon followed by bloody clashes between Cyprus and Turkein 1974: the Greek state has tried tosoothe its people by creang a bigwelfare state and generous pay and  pensions - including low rerement ageand the famous 13th and 14th monthly salaries.When it came to joining the euro in 2001, it should have been obvious that Greece did not meet the debt condions. But, by spin
ning the numbers, Greece gained entry, not  just to the single market but to debt marketsthat allowed it to borrow as though it wasas dependable as Germany.Greece went on a spending spree on infra
structure, services and public sector wages.Meanwhile, the Greeks stopped paying tax 
es. To Athens’ delight, banks and the nan
cial markets lled the gap by lending billionsof euros. With the onslaught of the credit crunch, Greece’s vast debts were exposed -but so was the exposure of European banks.If Greece went bust, untold damage could be unleashed across Europe and beyond: for a global economy sll shaered from the2008 banking crisis, the prospect of another one was intolerable.
At every bump in the road between 2009 andnow, the circling of the Euro wagons has beenconsistent and, for the most part, the partyline has been toed. We have discussed in thesepages at length just how keen those involved inthe discussions about Greece’s (and, by exten
sion, Europe’s) future have been to convey thenoon that there was no way Greece wouldbe defaulng and no way ANY country wouldbe leaving the Euro. With great fanfare it waspointed out that, when the Maastricht Treatywas drawn up, there were, quite deliberately,no mechanisms put in place for either a with
drawal or an expulsion of anymember state.But, then... Zsa Zsa Gaborpromised to stay to
gether ‘unl death do uspart’ nine mes.Incidentally, Ms. Gabornally seems to havefound a husband whocan maintain her in themanner to which shehas become accus
tomed and nanceher rather extravagant lifestyle.Funnily enough, he is German.But I digress...

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