Sunday, July 5, 2015

Deception in Practice: Getting a Greek Hair Cut

Deception comes in many forms.

Today is the Greek vote on austerity mandates from creditors in Europe.

Greece stands as a monument to socialism and government efficiency, and what continual indebtedness looks like, and, perhaps even a warning to Europe and the United States as socialism has gone from a bad word to a good word for many.

Recently, in the Genesis of Human Nature, I addressed one of the two basic beliefs about human nature:


This means that man is born with a nature prone to do wrong, that is, selfish, lazy, deceptive, and so on, and must be taught contrary.  Part Two will look at the opposing view, that mankind is born basically good, and only does things that are wrong due to environment, but his general inclination is towards doing good for others, over himself.

What you believe about human nature, itself, guides your opinion on what is happening in Greece, today and your viewpoint on what you "expect" your fellow human to do.

Will he pick up the dropped wallet and keep the cash?
Or will he pick up the wallet and head to the nearest police station; cash in tact.
Once there, will the receiving desk officer, himself, keep the money?
Does the finder think that the cop, himself, will pocket the money, influencing his own judgment?
Does one sing to one self, the child's ditty about "finders keepers, losers weepers"?

Left or right, right or left.

In many cases, making no decision is a decision, itself.

This is from the Daily Mail and is about deception in practice.  It is a deception that not only permeates all of society, but allows you to see what a man might choose, given the same conditions.

The view of "instability", or "self-first", says that given the exact same environment, I would be inclined to not report my father's death, and collect his monthly government check for 30 or more years after his death unless I can overcome my natural inclination to be selfish, deceptive, and so on.

Do you know what a "Greek Haircut" is?

It is a "recapitalization of Greek banks."


This is a term that is technically truthful, but is deceptive.  It is similar to saying that the man who is robbing your house is "re-furnishing" his house with your furniture.

The basis of socialism comes from an opinion on mankind's nature.  Which view point?

By the way, we often identify self honesty as "emotional intelligence" because it includes a healthy dose of self awareness and personal frailities that, once owned, may produce humility.  Humility is prized by some; despised by others.

A whole island pretending to be blind to get benefits, 8,500 pensioners who faked being aged over 100 and lawyers who claim to earn just €12,000: New book reveals how Greeks cheated THEMSELVES into ruin

  • James Angelos' book looks at widespread tax evasion and benefit fraud 
  • Includes case of the island where 498 people pretended to be blind 
  • Also reveals how super-rich bought camoflage for pools to avoid tax 
  • Greece is on the brink of collapse as it decides whether to reject EU bailout

Published: 08:44 EST, 3 July 2015 Updated: 10:51 EST, 3 July 2015
Greece in teetering on the brink of ruin - and it is hard not to feel sympathy for the pensioners crying in the street and the mothers facing empty supermarket shelves. 
Yet those reading a new book may find themselves feeling a little less compassionate towards the Greeks. It reveals an eye-popping catalogue of benefits scams and tax avoidance schemes that have robbed the public purse.
James Angelos' The Full Catastrophe: Travels among the New Greek Ruins lays bare the corruption which filtered through all levels of society - from the islanders who pretended to be blind, to the families who forgot to register their parents' death and the doctors who 'earn' just €12,000 a year - yet live in Athens' most exclusive neighbourhood. 
Scroll down for video 
Distress: An elderly man cries outside a bank in northern Greece this morning, after queuing to take out his pension this morning - which has been reduced to 120 euros this week. Some claim Greece is going to run out of cash within days if it does not accept the bailout offered to the country
Distress: An elderly man cries outside a bank in northern Greece this morning, after queuing to take out his pension this morning - which has been reduced to 120 euros this week. Some claim Greece is going to run out of cash within days if it does not accept the bailout offered to the country
Fiddlng the system: But a new book has lifted the lid on widespread benefits fraud, and tax avoidance - both of which contributed to a budget deficit which runs into billions of euros. Pictured: Pensioner at a bank
Fiddlng the system: But a new book has lifted the lid on widespread benefits fraud, and tax avoidance - both of which contributed to a budget deficit which runs into billions of euros. Pictured: Pensioner at a bank
It was the rumours of an 'island of the blind' which first bought Angelos, a journalist, to Greece in 2011.
He had heard that on Zakynthos, something like two per cent of the population were registered blind.
All was not quite how it seemed, however, and it transpired that 61 of the 680 'blind' residents were quite happily driving around the island.
In fact, an astonishing 498 of those 680 were not blind at all - or even partially sighted. 
But being 'blind' had its advantages - in particular, the €724 paid in benefits once every two months, and a reduction in utility bills. 
It was a scam which could be traced back to one ophthalmologist and one official, which was estimated to have cost the country €9 million.
And, as Angelos discovered, it was only the tip of the iceberg.
How big is the problem of disability benefits fraud, Angelos asked the then-deputy health minister Markos Bolaris.
'Very big,' came the accurate, but short, reply.
Indeed, when those claiming disabilities were asked to present themselves at government offices so records could be updated, 36,000 failed to do so.
That translated to an immediate saving for the government of €100m a year. 
Fraud: One of the most famous examples is that of Zakynthos, the holiday island (pictured) where almost 500 people pretended to be blind in order to get benefits and discounts
Fraud: One of the most famous examples is that of Zakynthos, the holiday island (pictured) where almost 500 people pretended to be blind in order to get benefits and discounts
Widespread: When the Greek government took a closer look at those who were claiming disability benefit, they realised as many as 36,000 were claiming the handout, despite not being entitled
Widespread: When the Greek government took a closer look at those who were claiming disability benefit, they realised as many as 36,000 were claiming the handout, despite not being entitled
But the fraud was certainly not confined to just disability benefits.
When the government chose to take a closer look at who they were paying pensions to, they found a slightly suspicious 8,500 pensioners had surpassed the milestone age of 100.
An even closer look revealed, 40,000 pension claims were fraudulent. It seems people were forgetting to register their loved ones' deaths.
It's not that these scams were not known about before, of course. 
A Daily Mail investigation in 2011 revealed the subway system was essentially free for the five million residents of Athens - because, with no barriers, it relied on an honesty system which few were honest enough to use.
It described street after street of opulent mansions and villas, surrounded by high walls and with their own pools, which, on paper, were the homes of virtual paupers.
They were all allowed to declare their own income for tax purposes - and officially, they were only earning €12,000 - or a paltry £8,500 - a year, below the tax threshold. 
Apparently, only 5,000 people admitted to earning more than £90,000 a year - prompting one economist to describe Greece as a ‘poor country full of rich people’.
The lengths these doctors, lawyers and businessmen would go to to hide their wealth from the government was, it has to be said, impressive.
According to official records, just over 300 homes in Athens' most exclusive neighbourhood had swimming pools, and had paid the resulting tax for such a luxury.
Tax evasion: But it is not just people claiming benefits when they shouldn't. Some of the richest people in the country go out of their way to avoid paying tax - claiming they only earn £8,500 a year
Tax evasion: But it is not just people claiming benefits when they shouldn't. Some of the richest people in the country go out of their way to avoid paying tax - claiming they only earn £8,500 a year
Desperate: Indeed, they even bought tarpaulin to hide their swimming pools from tax inspectors
Desperate: Indeed, they even bought tarpaulin to hide their swimming pools from tax inspectors
But when the government decided to have a look on Google Earth, it became clear these residents hadn't been totally honest.
The real figure for swimming pools in the area is believed to be closer to 20,000.
But instead of coming clean, there was a boom in sales of camouflage tarpaulins to conceal their existence from the tax inspectors flying over the gardens. 
And then there are the tales which seem to be more down to incompetence, rather than actual fraud.
In particular, there is the tale of treasury employee Savvas Saltouridis, who used an Uzi submachine gun to murder the mayor of his Greek mountain town in 2009, who remained on the municipal payroll for years afterwards - even though he was languishing in jail.
He was taking advantage of the complex disciplinary system
Angelos, then working for the Wall Street Journal, was told by retired clerk Apostolos Tsiakiris, who took over as mayor after the killing: 'You can't be a murderer and keep getting paid.
'That doesn't happen in any other government.' 
But what do when so many are cheating the system? It is estimated tax evasion alone might be costing the country as much as €20billion a year in lost revenue, while years of benefit fraud will certainly have added up.
But when Angelos suggested punishing those who tried to play the system, he was given a straight forward - if depressing - answer.
'If you start putting people in jail, maybe you'll have to put half of Greece in jail,' an official said.
  • James Angelos' The Full Catastrophe: Travels among the New Greek Ruins is available to buy on Amazon.


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Anonymous said...

Well then. I guess they'll be getting what they deserve. In the end, people aren't really as clever as they think they are. Only thing is, they aren't all guilty. Sad truth is, the innocent always suffer for the guilty.

jen-d said...

Wow! I thought my country's system is effedup. We actually have a relatively decent system.

jen-d said...

Pensioners have to suffer for rich people's sins?

Tania Cadogan said...

The concept of a united europe and a united currency has been tried before, several times and each time it fails.

I tell people germany tried violence twice to rule europe and failed, this time they used money and politics and succeeded.

Most of us in the UK want out of europe.
We were lied to when we were originally told we were signing up to a common market which made it easier to trade between countries.
The plan all along was a united europe.

Ireland voted on the lisbon treaty which ratified the constituion and said no which brought the whole ratification process to a halt.
Europe didn't like this so they broke the text up and hid amll the bits that ireland didn't want in the text and made ireland vote again and this time they voted yes. ( basically if you vote against europe they will make you vote again till you get the right result)

In the UK tony bliar (deliberate spelling) signed us up to the human rights act despite everyone telling him and new labour it was a criminals charter.
he denied criminals would benefit from it and lo and behold we now can't deport criminals and illegals because of said act , in particular article 8: the right to a family life which has been used to stop deportation which such classics such as i like cricket, i have a pet cat, i have kids (even though he was separated from his current partner and had no contact with any of his kids)
We are trying to get out of it and change it for our needs.

We want out because unelected officials are creating laws that supersede ours.

We have been promised an in out referendum (yay) and putting aside eurosupporters dirty tricks we will be out.
Luckily we refused to sign up to the euro.

Greece is currently asking to borrow money in order to pay off the interest on previously borrowed money (yeah really)
It cannot carry out the cuts needed by europe and, i hope, will end up leaving the euro (though euro supporters are saying it could come back later)

Once Greece leaves then it is likely Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland will also end up leaving are their economies are stuffed.
Most countries having lied about their economies to join hence all the problems today.

Previously countries could tinker with the economy to keep it on track, today it is one size fits all and it isn't working, just like it has never worked before.

Europe wants to be like America and just as powerful, forgetting that America is one single country with 50 states all working to the same rules and with the same currency working for the one country.

it will never work in europe since it is 28 countries all vying for money and for everything in their favor to the detriment of other countries rather than getting a share of everything and working for the good of the continent.

There are 5 countries on the road to membership and 2 potential candidates.

Lots of east european countries signed up once the USSR collapsed and their ecomies were in dire straits plus they saw lots of money being made availables - isn't greed a wonderful thing. :)

We have major probems now with illegal immigration and open borders (fortunately we didn't sign up o that.
Illegals can arrive in one country make their way to france and then try and get to the uk where we throw money and housing at them.
France catches and releases them as the french don't want them there so encourage them to come here.
Once they are granted asylum in whichever country, they can eventually move to the uk due to the free movement laws.

italy is getting hammered with thousands of migrants making the sea crossing.
Instead of towing them back to the country of departure, the Eu is rescuing them and sticking them in Italy.
There is thus no incentive not to travel and the smugglers benefit knowing their cargo will be rescued once they abandon ship.

How long will it be before the whole unstable pyramid collapses and we have all out war over money, immigration, resources, wanting to leave?

Anonymous said...

Enough is enough. People (EU) can not keep bailing them out. They have had money thrown at them left right and center, and they are still in the proverbial. Give a man a fish and he will feed himself for a day, give him a fishing rod and he will feed himself for a week. Or, in Greece's case, they will break the rod and ask for another!!

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Interesting, Tania.

The justification in Greece regarding the inflow of money from Germany is "reparations."


Simplicity said...

Agree with Tania.
I'm very pro-Europe, but equally anti-EU, something most people can't get their heads around. The 'media' uses the words Europe and EU interchangeably.
Although they are are far from perfect of course, the two most socially and economically successful countries in Europe are not in the EU, ie Switzerland and Norway. So of course the 'media' never mentions them. Or that fact.
I don't think there will be a referendum in the UK; some political trickery and nonsense will make it 'unnecessary at the present time'. Maybe there'll be another 'essential war' to distract our attention...
As for Greece, they should just leave. It will help them mature, and save the EU a fortune in time and money. Best for all in the medium to long term.

Tania Cadogan said...

By trying to keep Greece in, all they are doing is prolonging the inevitable.
Greece will end up leaving the euro and the eu. this will then cause several other countries in a similar bind to say sod it , we're off as well, so bye bye Spain, Portugal,Italy and Ireland.
This will have a knock on effect on the remaining countries.

Germany and France will end up being the only two able to cooperate and manage , in effect France will have done its usual and surrendered to Germany.

Eastern european countries will see the benefits allowed by free movement across all states and head to the UK same as they are now for work and all the beneifts they get.
Prospective 9nes may decide they don't want to join after all when they realsie the true cost of being a member, when they become a net donor rather than a net recipient.

Russia will continue to try and recoup its lost power and try and grab hold of all the countires that dumped it.

The euro will die a death yet again as no ecomies can survive on a one size fits all when perhaps they need to raise taxes or whatever and can't.

it is getting messy here.
Brits want out, we want rid of the human rights act so we can enforce our own laws and handle immigration etc the way we want ( plus one day perhaps bring back the death penalty ( something we can't do whilst in europe since tony bliar signed us up to abolish it forever. we had it for high treason and piracy i think.

Everything the States does regarding being PC we do it bigger and better and having worse effects on the nationals, letting illegals get away with literally murder.

Tania Cadogan said...

No mention is made of Greece forgiving Germany's debts in the 50's.

it is like watching a car crash in slow motion.
Everyone can see it happening but no one will do anything to stop it except take video and talk about it a lot.

Grece does have issues , little export and pensions from a younger age.

There was and is plenty of corruption and it is now coming home to roost with the public being the ones made to pay.

Too long they had higher than average benefits with little to provide the income for it since most is fro tourism.
The result is the ones getting the benefits don't want to give them up especially if they retired at a younger age than in their late 60's.
cuts need to be made but not just in one area, it needs to target everyone including politicians etc who usually have gold plated pensions and perks.

Once Greece is out, it will still face problems, it will be able though to make changes to its currency rates, taxes etc that will work for it rather than have to use something designed for a country with a healthier economy.

Tania Cadogan said...

Greek voters have delivered an overwhelming 'No' in a crucial bailout referendum that could ultimately decide whether the country leaves the euro.

Some 61% rejected EU demands for further austerity and crippling cuts, compared with 39% for the Yes campaign.

Celebrations took place in Syntagma Square in Athens with flags flying and thousands of people cheering the news.

"The party is just beginning and is likely to go on for some time," said Sky's Economics Editor Ed Conway, in the square.

One woman told him the result proves Greek people "are not slaves" and "we are free".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his convincing victory allows him to push for a better bailout package from Greece's creditors - the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

He said he would return to the EU negotiating table on Monday, and stressed the referendum does not necessarily mean Athens will leave the eurozone.

"This is not a mandate of rupture with Europe, but a mandate that bolsters our negotiating strength to achieve a viable deal," he said.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Greece will now look for "common ground" with its creditors, and said a restructuring of the country's debts was needed.

"Today's No is a big Yes to democratic Europe. A No to a vision of the eurozone as a boundless iron cage for its people," he said.

However, Germany's Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said new negotiations with Greece are "difficult to imagine" after the No vote.

EU leaders have previously warned a No vote could push Greece out of the euro - forcing a return of its drachma currency.

Eurozone leaders announced they would hold talks on Tuesday to discuss the crisis

Mr Tsipras spoke with French President Francois Hollande on the phone as 'No' campaigners celebrated their victory.

Mr Hollande also talked to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is due to fly to Paris tomorrow for urgent talks.

"Both were in agreement that the vote by the Greek people be respected," said a spokesman for Mrs Merkel.

Greece's Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis said turnout was over 50% and voting took place with "only a minor amount of problematic behaviour".

Mr Tsipras had indicated he would step down if the Greek people voted Yes - showing they are in favour of budget cuts and tax increases in return for more financial aid.

Greece's creditors had asked for major reforms and spending cuts in exchange for extending its bailout deal until November in an offer worth several billion euros.

When talks between the government and creditors collapsed last week, the extension was refused and the bailout ended as scheduled on 30 June.

Greeks have therefore been voting on an offer which is no longer on the table.

On Friday, Greece was officially declared in default by the European Financial Stability Facility - days after the nation fell into arrears with the IMF.

Banks across the country have been closed over the past week, with customers only able to withdraw €60 a day from cash machines.

Earlier, Mr Varoufakis arrived at a polling station in Athens, he was asked by Sky News why people should believe his claim that banks will re-open on Tuesday when they are running out of money.

He replied: "You're spoiling a celebration of democracy with your impertinent questions."

Experts say Greece's banks will not be able to open unless they receive further cash from the EU.

Tania Cadogan said...

Greece has voted no in their referendum regarding accepting the deal offered by the EU in relation to austerity cuts etc.

The question was convoluted and the problem is the deal they were asking the Greeks to agree to no longer existed having been replaced by a different deal, and possibly one in the pipeline.

It is going to get real interesting now as to what the next move will be, will there be a grexit?

So much for it being too close to call :)

Anonymous said...

OT: It would appear that a branch of the Dugger Family has created another problem for themselves. This time it's animal abuse. A husband of one of the Dugger daughters was out sledding with some sort of butt sled attached to his fanny when he went gliding down the slope of a hill straight into the path of a cat who was sitting in the distance peacefully facing the other way and not bothering a living soul.

The sled careened right into the poor cat. Saw the video myself. Now the Animal Welfare League is investigating for animal abuse, and rightly so. It was awful, with relatives standing around and laughing as the sled with rider struck the poor cat. He ran away, seemingly unhurt but one never knows when a cat is scampering off, running for his life. I can't imagine; they thought this was funny!

Anonymous said...

Police hope someone can ID girl found dead in bag

I wonder how long the girl has been dead. My first thought when I saw her picture was Haleigh Cummings. I recall the Croslin's had relatives in Massachusetts and Haleigh was tiny.

Anonymous said...

Another article says the police said she has been dead a short time.Its been a week and this child has not been able to be identified.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Motel 6 Shootout" it is pretty obvious that this was a fake staged event and that she is lying. Her own statement makes this obvious.

Anonymous said...


Does Ember Graham’s Father Know Where She Is?

The search for Ember Graham is entering day four, and there have been no reported updates indicating where the missing baby might be. Meanwhile, authorities have confirmed that the infant’s father is their person of interest. The Record Searchlight reports that Matthew Graham is the only official person of interest in the search for his 6-month-old baby girl. However, his loved ones — including the child’s mother — are standing behind him in support. Does Matthew Graham know what happened to his father, or are police wrong to call him a POI?

With it getting closer to a week since the baby was last seen, authorities are reportedly offering a reward in the amount of $10,000, but there have been no reported sightings over the course of the search. Meanwhile, the baby’s mother is trying her best to focus on the search, while apparently staying supportive of her husband (along with his family). Jamie Lee Graham talked to reporters about the arrest of her husband and the search for her baby.

“He’s not somebody who you would ever fear, not somebody who I was ever concerned about being around our daughter or even afraid that he would do something to her. There’s never been a thought in my mind that he would ever hurt anybody. I’m not concentrated on them accusing him. I don’t think he had anything to do with it, honestly.”

Matthew Graham’s father told the media that the man admitted to police that he smoked marijuana, which led to his arrest. He added that his son has a prescription for medical marijuana, however.

Fox News reports that Ember Graham was allegedly last seen in her crib on Wednesday night. However, police have confirmed that inconsistencies in Matthew Graham’s story led to him being declared a person of interest in her disappearance. At this point, it’s not known with complete certainty if the missing infant was truly last seen Wednesday night, or what may have actually happened between the time she was last seen and when she was reported missing on Thursday morning.

Authorities haven’t clarified on whether or not there have been extensive ground searches for the 6-month-old infant. However, supporters of the infant’s father have been searching and handing out flyers in hopes of getting to the bottom of this disappearance. Authorities in Shasta County want the public to call if they’ve made any unusual sightings that could pertain to this case, or if they think they may have information regarding the child’s disappearance.

rob said...

It seems like the US is following the same path as Greece. How long till we can no longer pay the interest on the debt? Till there are more drawing out than paying in? Till other countries no longer believe we are worthy of their investment.
My belief is that it is closer than we all think. If we don't get Obama out of office soon, it could be here now.

C5H11ONO said...

Can we do statement analysis on some of the Circleville letters? At least those where we have statements from. The above link contains Freshour's letter to FBI and it contains statements, but no reliable denial (sadly:
Letter to FBI from Paul Freshour.
Notice no denial.
“Sheriff Radcliff informed the Columbus Dispatch newspaper that I admitted to writing 40 or 50 of the obscene and threatening letters, but I never did. He claimed I admitted this on the night of my arrest. On the night of my arrest he recorded me on a little red recorder. Why didn't he record this confession on tape, which would have been scientific evidence? This recording would have been it, a confession on recording, but he couldn't because I never confessed to any letters, yet this was headline news in the Dispatch.
Copy of article in fact shows he said that.,6595580&hl=en
Sarasota Herald-Tribune 3/5/1983

Note to Paul Freshour sent to him in prison for attempted murder:
To Paul, The Circleville Letter Writer wrote: “Now when are you going to believe you aren’t going to get out of there? I told you 2 years ago. When we set ’em up, they stay set up. Don’t you listen at all?”

Also the pdf document by Freshour contains questions given to him on poly:
1. Are you withholding from me the name of any person involved in writing or mailing these letters? No
2. To those officials, did you write or mail, even one of those letters? No
3. Was BCI correct when they said you printed the letter they examined? No
4. Since 1983, did you plan with anyone the writing or mailing of the letters to those officials? No
5. Have you now told me the entire truth about your involvement with those threatening letters? Yes
Why is the fourth one worded "Since 1983". Why not eliminate that? Was this his polygrapher?

JC said...

@ C5H11ONO


I noticed, right up until he is imprisoned, the author uses the first person "I" taking ownership. It is not until he is imprisoned that the pronoun changes to "we"( "I told you 2 years ago. When we set ’em up, they stay set up. Don’t you listen at all?”) sharing responsibility . This suggests more than one person was involved?

Statement Analysis Blog said...


we are many years away from Greece, though we are on the same road. What is ironic is those who deny religion, yet this, Statism, itself, is a religion. It's god is of unlimited wealth and resource. It's moral judgment, always the final arbitrator, even though it changes, sometimes even in the same generation. It provides security, even socially, to its inhabitants, from cradle to grave. The state as mankind's messiah is why so many politicians have the messiah complex.

Yet it is that the laws of nature "own" us all, and school us when we drift too far from them. One of those laws is that you can't spend more than you take in forever. There does come a bill due, even after many bailouts.

Philosophies can be viewed generational, or even longer, by historians. Even a few of a few hundred years can be small in the big picture of history.

Rome once ruled the earth.

Egypt once ruled the earth.

The Nazi thought they would; but didn't last two decades, while some empires lasted centuries.

Man is one funny creature. It loves to tell him how good he is, even when he is doing wrong. Then he tells him that wrong doesn't exist. :)