Wednesday, 24 June 2015

08:40 – The paper this morning is full of articles about state governments banning the Confederate flag and retailers pulling Confederate flag merchandise from their shelves. I’m not sure what the furor is about. I understand that the Confederate flag offends many people. So what? There’s no Constitutional right not to be offended. There is a Constitutional right to Free Speech. If retailers choose not to sell Confederate flag merchandise, fine. That’s their right. But the government does not have the right to ban its production, sale, or display.

To those who claim that the Confederate flag is a racist symbol, I say bullshit. There were two major symbols that represented the two sides during the War Between the States. The Union flag represented just that: a powerful centralized government usurping States’ Rights. The Confederate flag represented just that: a confederacy of sovereign states. That’s it. Period. It had nothing to do with race. Both whites and blacks fought voluntarily on both sides. Union soldiers were fighting to force sovereign states to abdicate their sovereignty in favor of a centralized federal government. Confederate soldiers were fighting to preserve their states’ sovereignty. The bad guys won. It’s that simple.

The Greek farce continues. Yesterday, briefly, it seemed that Greece, or at least Tsipras, might be ready to give in to the Troika demands. The problem is, Tsipras reminds me of the reason the Brits don’t trust the Irish. Back in the day, the Brits and Irish had many pitched battles. The Brits might capture the Irish chieftain and demand surrender. He’d surrender, but the Irish troops would continue fighting on. Their position was the the chieftain had surrendered on his own behalf, but he certainly wasn’t authorized to surrender on their behalf. So the Irish would elect a new chieftain, and the Brits would be left holding the bag. Think of Tsipras as that Irish chieftain. He may surrender to the Troika, but the Greeks will simply throw him out and elect someone new. Which is what’s about to happen to Tsipras, and he knows it. So today he’s a lot more intransigent than he was yesterday.

And it gets worse, because the Troika is not a monolithic bloc. The real problem now is that the IMF rightly says that Greece’s debt burden is unsustainable and the only option is to write it off. The IMF won’t participate in any further Greek bailouts unless the EU and ECB write down their Greek debt holdings. But they can’t do that, even though they know Greece will never pay them back, because recognizing the loss makes it obvious to their taxpayers (AKA voters) that their governments have wasted their hard-earned money by giving it to a deadbeat. So, no deal without the IMF, and the IMF won’t participate unless the eurocrats commit political suicide.