Saturday, April 26, 2014

A New River Flowing Through Greece?

My recent article about To Potami prompted long and interesting comments by an anonymous reader which I reproduce below (with thanks to the reader!): 

About "To Potami" ("The River"). It was "invented" out of nothing (apparently), as a "one man show”, less than one month ago. It has seen unprecedented media support by apparently opposing sides (more fiercly from ex-PASOK supporting media but a gentle boost from center-right media, too). Mind you, the people behind those media are the same that have been in cahoots for 30 years with PASOK. The same people that don't pay their fees for state TV frequencies, that are bankers, own football teams, oil and construction companies. The people that have been making the money with that establishment. The same media, up until a few months ago, were trying to resurrect PASOK or it's new masqueraded transformation called "The Olive Tree" (Elia). The "Elia" experiment was a last ditch effort by Venizelos to make forget the voters that he is PASOK. Alas, the euro-elections are closing and polls show that neither PASOK nor Elia seem to work.

And lo and behold! Instantly, "To Potami" appears, with one man who has worked for years for the same media magnates (and an ex-PASOK member in "his youth", as he says). One day BEFORE the foundation of his party, when nobody knew what his positions would be, newspapers already had polls out giving him no less than 7%!!! Everyday you could find 3 newspapers, with 10 page coverage of a party that nobody knew about! There are other parties that get born and die and nobody writes 5 lines and suddenly Theodorakis comes and 10 pages in all the ex-PASOK supporting newspapers. The TV channels (owned by the same people) even plan to invite him in the pre-electoral debate, although, in all past debates, the rule is that in the debate are invited parties that are already represented either in the national or european parliament. He is none of the two but they want to invite him. He is running all around Greece, when someone asks him "where does he find the money to found a party, finance publicity" etc, he replies "we have no money, we have small donations from friends and keep it simple". There is a joke about this actually because everywhere he repeats "I have been working since I was 16 years old". And someone from the crowd replies "I have been working since I was 16 years old and now I am a pensioner, but I still don't have money to make my own party".

You ask him where he stands politically, he replies "we want to govern, either with left or with right, and if people want to, why not, I could become the PM". Still to this day, his "founding program" is a vague collection of trivialities and generalizations that seem to be written in part by George Papandreou and in part by Tsipras.

You want a hypothesis? The Greek elite is watching Samaras' goverment trembling, as PASOK is in shambles and Samaras lately lost some MPs that wouldn't vote for goverment policy. Samaras is now down to 151 MPs and PASOK doesn't seem in position to be able to help New Democracy form a new goverment after the next elections. The next national elections, however, are close. More probably in autumn. Worst case, in April 2015 because Samaras will need 180 votes to elect president of the repubblic and only has 151. The same elite doesn't want Tsipras to take power alone. They see that PASOK can't be resurrected despite the "Elia" trick. So what do they do? They jettison PASOK and create "To Potami", which stays intentionally ambivalent. So that in ANY case, it may form a goverment with either ND and SYRIZA, so that the Greek elite can maintain its grasp on things.

How does it sound to you? Too conspiracy-like? Well, I don't know. How often do you have in Austria 10-page reviews for a party out of nothing, with no positions and headed by someone who only knows to smile well to cameras and attract women with a gaze to the infinite, while using theatrically studied gestures with his hands? By the way, in a poll, 75% of Potami's voters are women. Exactly because Theodorakis was always the kind of "glamour, smooth operator" type of TV journalist that appealed to feminine audiences.

To Potami aims to a) cut votes from SYRIZA, specially the more center-left voters that once voted PASOK, b) be vague enough to be able to cooperate with New Democracy without being called traitor of its positions, and c) if all goes south and SYRIZA wins the elections, to be needed by SYRIZA to form goverment and thus become the controlling factor and, as last resort, make the govermet fall if SYRIZA follows the "wrong way".

And consider that I am usually a liberal voter with a deep personal disgust towards Tsipras. But that doesn't stop me from trying to find a logical explanation behind miracles. Do you know that the founding conference of his party was transmitted LIVE through internet by the biggest center-left circulation newspaper and 2 more big portals (one of which center-right)? Things UNPRECEDENTED in Greek political history. About 3 hours live transmission on the first page of three of the biggest Greek portals. Do you know how many newly founded parties would beg for just 1 portal to do that? Do you know how much MONEY it costs to occupy for 3 hours such portals?

I doubt Theodorakis awaits for your advice. Judging from the powerful Greeks that promote him through their media on a daily basis like the best thing since sliced bread, I bet he has an entire army of professional image makers. But as I said, he has a precise role to play, so be patient with him and do not despair. His mission is not to start a blaze right now. His mission is to put out SYRIZA's fire.

Just so that you learn a bit of the inner facts, I managed to find the first page of one of the several newspapers that shamelessly promote Theodorakis. This newspaper was supporting PASOK. As PASOK started declining, it started supporting New Democracy more. Now it's supporting New Democracy and Potami, against PASOK. It's a top selling newspaper in Greece.

Title of the front page: "The River is washing them ashore! This "transmission" threatens to finish off PASOK! Venizelos a simple spectator. DIMAR (Democratic Left) inside the vortex. SYRIZA also wet! Internal polls give even double digit percentages!"

As the blog's title says, "8 pages of apotheosis for the River".

But take whatever you like. From Alafouzos' group (Kathimerini, SKAItv) to to Ethnos, to any other "establishment's" media group, they are boosting him like there is no tomorrow. SKAITV was one of the portals showing him live for hours. Don't expect to see Tsipras treated the same there.

Greeks always have the "lost vote" syndrome. They don't want to vote for a party that won't make it to the 3%. So this is why the media already gave Potami 7% before we even knew that it existed. Now they give it 10%. Give it another month, they will give it 20%.

And Theorodarkis plays for the villagers the story of the "poor, independent guy who tries to make a party against the bad Greek elite", etc.

The owner of the newspaper in the link was prosecuted for money laundering and tax evasion, after he was caught at the French-Swiss border with 4 mln euros in his trunk. Now he moved to Switzerland. He bought an estate with 2 residential complexes outside Zurich, in Kilchberg.

In Switzerland he can be certain he will have less legal trouble in the future, he has various murky cases haunting him. Like we say in Greece: "show me your friend and I will tell you who you are".

Put yourself in the shoes of a woman 18-45 for a minute. Be honest. Wouldn't you want to vote for him and as a bonus have him save you at the same time?

This is how Alexis Tsipras started, too. With the difference that Tsipras didn't have acting talent and wasn't trained to lean his head to one side and look at the camera at 3/4 profile, so you concentrate on 1 eye only, the other being lost in a semi-shade, which is the preferred studied look by Theodorakis and makes women melt.


  1. Since you flatter me, Mr. Kastner, i will throw you a bonus piece!
    I am sure you have been DYING to know what Theodorakis carries in his backpack. Worry not, there was a tv interview for this and promptly newspapers wrote an article:

    To quench your thirst for this paramount information, i will give you a quick translation:

    He carries: a computer, newspaper articles, pencils, notebooks, glasses and coupons for the financial support of his party.

    If you don't believe my translation and want to see for yourself (he shows everything) here you go, directly from television:

    Personally, i was more interested to know the sort of pants he wears, but i don't lose hope, sooner or later some tv show will tell us.

  2. Obviously, if you have the major media behind you, you don't need a grassroots, bottom-up organization of motivated people (many volunteers!), specific policy positions, shared value structures and a clear vision of what kind of a country one would like to see in a generation from now. But then you don't have a 'new party' but a 'new puppet' instead.

    1. Of course, mr. Kastner... Let's not kid ourselves. Media rule the world. Think of how many wars have been made across the seas, with media-support to justify the action. You expect that they can't promote a man?

      Go to youtube and see how many videos in the last 15 days (that more or less we 've known about the party), already exist.

      Out of these, try to observe how many have a watermark. They are from tv transmissions. All channels love him. Another thing you may want to observe, in his public speeches, is how... few the people listening to him are. For a party that the media say has reached 11% in some polls, it is very odd to see so few.

      Today he was in Komotini to give speech. How many people according to you can fit in that room? Why doesn't he go to public-open space or rent a wider space?

      See also here:

      It becomes more obvious. He attacked only SYRIZA in his speech. That's the target. Odd, considering that the goverment is headed by New Democracy, isn't it? After all, he is supposed to be an aspiring opposition party... Or maybe not...

      He also took some clear political positions while in Komotini:

      About immigration: "Greece can't have open borders" (really, an earthshattering proposal for an issue that has flueled Golden Dawn!)

      As you may observe, he also follows stricly the "Andreas Papandreou etiquette", when he goes to tour the province. When you are at the beginning, no suits, simple clothes, the man next door you want to vote, because he could be your friend.

      In a moment, where virtually the entire population is loathing the "old parties", it is a very good moment for someone with high media support, to come forth and present himself, as a simple man, who cares for you. Like he says "I can walk amongst people, can those in the parliament do the same?". It's not much of a political argument under normal circumstances, but these aren't normal circumstances.

      And you know the best part? The River works! One month ago, the polls were giving SYRIZA up to 2% in front of New Democracy. Yesterday, polls were saying that it's still a hair in front, but for national elections, is now 0.7% behind ND. Of course, the reliability of polls in Greece is another story, but let's say they 're true.

      If you ask me, the River, will eventually fill a good portion of the space that was once PASOK and erode maybe ND too. But it's intentionally vague, so that it can act as "wild card" and do whatever is needed according to how things evolve.

      That "Greece can't have open borders", is a position that can allow him to cooperate tomorrow in a goverment that ranges from extreme right to extreme left.

      Likewise "we are a pro-european party", allows him to cooperate with ND and SYRIZA, since SYRIZA also says that isn't against EU. But, to give you example, suppose SYRIZA wants to make a tough bargain with Germany and is threatening even to leave euro. And the River is in the goverment. A position of "we are a pro-european party" can "allow" him to say "i am leaving the goverment, i will not help you leave the euro, i have been honest all along in saying that i am pro-EU".

      You can do many things when you don't show your cards openly.

    2. Posted Sunday May 25:

      We probably need not woory too much about the River. If Theodorakis chooses to collaborate with the government coalition, it would only add to the fury of the opposition with further destabilisation as result.

  3. Just for another taste. He recently said "there is no point in saying whether we belong to the right or left part of the political spectrum. We belong to the logic".

    This, is a very good mediatic-smart reply, that could even pass as brilliant. But only apparently. Because if you think twice about it, it implies, that all other parties, that declare with precision their stance, are "not logical". This is why he can't choose a clear stance like the others do. He doesn't want to abbandon logic, like the others did.

  4. I agree with all of this. However, I would like to add that it is a pitiful condition of Greek society and polity. At a time of economic crisis that has shattered people's lives, families, careers and any sort of social cohesion, there is still no political movement with a strategy for Greece.

    Instead, we continue with platitudes and mere words, in place of solid thinking and any sort of vision of where to take Greece. The old Greek pattern of patromonial clientelism -- where the voters are manipulated and bribed for their votes -- pertains. The only difference wrought by the crisis is that instead of openly offering benefits, the parties threaten the voters with the hardships or catastrophe that their rivals would cause. The Germans and the European Commission play the same game, now as in the last election.

    Really, Greece has no chance with the lacklustre crooks who are on display for election. One can begin to understand why people are considering voting for Golden Dawn -- simply because everything else is so corrupted and self-promoting. That is a foolish strategy, though, since Golden Dawn are infinitely worse than any other party and plan to drag Greece into a fascist condition. It may yet happen -- with or without their contribution.

    1. Mr. Guest (Xenos)

      I have no illusion that something "revolutionary" can come up, while the country still lives in an uncertainty. It is like asking some revolutionary goverment while a country is at war. When at war, people seek security. How many do you think voted New Democracy because they love New Democracy? They voted simply because they couldn't trust SYRIZA, that can't make up its mind on what its position is. Moreover, in our days, the media are powerful and on their turn, the media is ruled by people with great interests in a situation.
      If you want my opinion, even the usual, old political greek elite, wants some modernization. Things have been done that seemed impossible to imagine up to a few years ago. No goverment would normally take such high political cost that threatens its own survival (as PASOK has showed). Still they did.

      The difference, is that the elite, wants things to change, to the degree and extend, that will allow a return to normality and for them to keep being the elite. Take for example the "Greece 2021" plan presented by Stournaras the other day. It is in the direction that mr. Kastner was hoping. A long term plan. But, if you look at the pylons, you see also the "traditional ones", including shipping. One has to wonder what more can a goverment offer to shipping magnates, besides their tax immunity already in place. They haven't even paid the 400 mln of emergency contribution that the goverment has asked them to give voluntarily. Still, there is also some talk for constitutional revision. Some things, if applied, seem positive. On the other side, you can see the impossibility to completely part with the past. They say they want to reduce parliament members to 200 (positive), but introduce a Senate, with 200 more. So instead of 300 , there will be 400 representatives. And the Senate, only want it to better be able to control the political game through obstructionism. Same for electing the president of the republic directly from the people. It's good, but at the end, they do it, in order to avoid political impasse, where a goverment can't elect a president of its liking. Or, the rumour that a minister can't be also parliament member. This, if applied, will be a good collateral effect, of their attempt to sweeten the pill for introducing a Senate.


    2. 2of2

      Meanwhile,it is obvious that the handling of this crisis caught unprepared both the elite and the political parties. They 're not used to it. Golden Dawn that you mention, could have been predicted and averted many years ago, if it wasn't for the blind eyes that the elite from the rich northern suburbs of Athens, was doing towards the endless waves of illegal immigrants that was making the lives of the "poor bastards downtown" a hell, compared to the past. Golden Dawn started substituting the state in those areas and thus gained ground. And now that has become an electoral threat, what do they do? Do they act on the problem? Do they try to expose better Golden Dawn's ideology or methods? No. Do you try to modify your policy in order to "set free" Golden Dawn's voters and offer them a democratic alternative (since 500.000 people didn't become fascists overnight?) No. You have the "Baltakos Gate", where Samara's right hand and for 32 years personal friend, as well as general secretary of the goverment, admits on the (hidden) camera, that the prosecutions against Golden Dawn, are without real evidence and are political driven because they cut votes from ND and threaten thus to have SYRIZA win and that the judges are taking orders from ministers to do that. And what happens? Baltakos resigns... And the judge implicated orders an investigation about... the illegality of using a hidden camera... You can't say "these are fascists, don't vote them", when yourself, use methods that are the same that Golden Dawn would use if it felt threatened by you. I don't expect Golden Dawn to suffer any loss in the coming elections. I am afraid of the opposite. Because, as you say, if anything, they gave the official stamp on Golden Dawn, that it is not "part of the system".

      For something to change radically, in the form of a non controlled party, one must wait for a period where the voter will stop having uncertainty over the ground he stands on. And even then, i have my doubts, because of the media power. How many new parties do you see emerge in today's Europe that aren't in some form connected with powerful interests? People are "guided" more or less like a herd of sheep by media. They are just free to choose between different herds, but more or less , they are all controlled. Those that stray, are isolated by the media. It's already surprising that despite media support, PASOK is effectively a zombie party and New Democracy won't be able to rule on its own in the forseable future. For you it may pass as something unnoticed, but for Greece, after 30 years of 2 parties changing in power on their own, this is a striking change in the way people vote.

  5. Mr. Kastner,

    To return to your proposal. The difficulty to the party you describe to succeed, even in normal times, is again, "publicity". This isn't the 60s or 70s where people didn't watch television and their main source of information is a good word passed from mouth to mouth and a newspaper. Back then, it was easier for someone to be noted, because even a single newspaper couldn't have high crowd penetration. That's why candidates were going all over Greece, village by village (literally) to speech to 20 people at a time.

    Nowdays, it's all about the media. If they boost you, you get elected, if not, you 're lost. If nobody knows you, he won't vote for you easily. If you are an open enemy to the establishment, all media will not just ignore you, but turn against you.

    Speaking with friends or relatives, for many years now, the repeating question is "and who is there to vote?". If you by any chance propose some obscure tiny party that just emerged, the reply is "and who knows them?! How do i know who these people are, what's their agenda...".
    I mean, there have always been about, i don't know 40 parties in the elections, when you go to vote, but the 30 you 've never heard before. You only know of the 10 that are in TV...

    Let me give you a more tangible example... Suppose i told you that mr.X, a new party, is a very good man, honest, with love for his country and a plan. And then you went to Kathimerini and even worse, to an Austrian newspaper and read the opposite, for days and days. Who would you believe? Me, Kathimerini or your own austrian newspaper?

    Had i not spent my time searching in google for more "solid proof" and instead written "Mr. Kastner, you are wasting your time if you think that you are talking about a "noble, independent warrior that is ready to struggle against the greek elite", who would have you believed? Me? Kathimerini or your austrian newspaper? You would have liquidated me as "ha, yet another fanatic greek".

    Because, you know, the tv channel that reveals the contents of his backpack, is owned by Germans. Not even your usual greek crooks.

    Mr. Kastner, in Greece, only 2 parties can get out of the "media oblivion", because they both have military hierarchy: KKE and Golden Dawn. Otherwise, a mr. Nobody, can't find "volunteers" sufficient enough in numbers, to overcome a media war. If you think about it, SYRIZA going from 3% to 22%, was a reaction, towards the "least dangerous" path.

    The only country where something "unpredicted", that doesn't involve extremes, has occured, is Italy, with Grillo. But Grillo, isn't mr. Nobody. Consider him as an equivalent of the Monty Pythons in Britain, that one day, decide to use internet to raise a movement. Had they not been Monty Pythons, would have they succeded? And Grillo was also fought by the conventional media.

    The only certain way to turn around a political system 180 degrees, is either through dictatorship or revolution, when things have reached the last extremes of tolerance. Meaning, when a critical mass of the population can't feed its children.

    Otherwise, the way the society is structured today and works, with the mass influence of the media into forming public opinion, there isn't much room for spectacular events. There is hope for slower change in a deeper interval of time. Even in the fact of SYRIZA going up or even in Golden Dawn appearing, there is still a good side, as the ancient greeks were saying. That the elite is being forced to "do something", because of the fear of further events that won't be able to control at all.

  6. To give another trivial example... A friend of mine, can't wrap around his head, the fact that the american electorate, isn't still tired of electing presidents, that wage wars on false pretexts, which on turn cause the US to be the most loathed country in several places of the world. You know, the self-appointed "world policeman". He was saying "don't they want this to stop?! Don't they have guilt for the people their govements kill?".

    My answer to him, is simple: "If 2 parties have been monopolizing the power for decades, there must be a reason. Who do you expect them to vote?"

  7. And if you don't mind, a last comment. The problem with mass media, today, is that they don't show "news". They show "opinions", in order to form opinion. Back when i was a little boy, i still remember a school excercize, where the task was to separate the news, from the journalistic comment. It was a very wise thing to teach to a little boy. I am sure they will have abolished such things in the greek educational system nowdays.
    Today, the media show an opinion as "news", as "fact", as "truth". It's no longer "news". It's propaganda. News is to present for instance, that, "according to our internal poll, made with a 1000 person sample, party "Y" is at 5%". Presenting as "spectacular rise for party "Y", it is already biting into party "Z", great start for the new leader, who has unleashed his electoral campaign and is meeting with simple people", while showing him in flattering fotos, is propaganda. It is no coincidence, that in a bankrupt Greece, virtually every 3-4 days, somehow, the mass media (the same that sack employees, because can't pay them and have shalshed in half the salary of the rest), find money to pay poll companies, that, by the way, if it wasn't for these media, they wouldn't be able to earn their daily bread. It's amazing that in a country that lost 25% of GDP, there are STILL about, i don't know, roughly 10 different poll companies and none has shut down...

    The voter, comes back at home tired from work, opens the TV. He doesn't have time to investigate for mr.Nobody and his friends, that no tv will ever show them, to find out if they are good people worthy to vote or not... He will pick one of those served on the tv platter.

  8. Mr. Kastner,

    And one more, that you will like, because of your banking past. A few days ago, a journalist and now candidate with New Democracy for the europarliament, said on tv something that oddly enough, passed unnoticed. One would expect a huge media blowout, but no. It remained as a small anecdote in one tv transmission. That in summer 2012, the Greeks were withdrawing money from the banks, too fast. So fast, that the Bank Of Greece, was desperate. Had no way to keep up.

    What happened was this. Military cargo airplane, was going all the time from Crete to Italy and back, loaded with fresh banknotes and resupplying the Bank of Greece. She, admitted, that she, as well as other specialized reporters, knew about it, felt bad about it, but "we couldn't take the responsibility to make this public". She only revealed it now. It's amazing for a country where we say that no secret can be kept for long. And in fact, it is now revealed, but still, it is as if all mass media had come to an agreement to stop this leak and they did it! Which also shows, how much "compact" the mass media system is in reality, despite their efforts to show that they are opposing forces between them.

  9. Here another for you, mr. Kastner. A well known woman tv journalist, that obviously invited Theodorakis to her tv transmission, couldn't wait to upload to twitter her self-photo with the hottest-hunk-politician of the moment and of course, promptly, newspapers also made an article just for that:

    In case you think that there is an odd greek tradition of tv journalists taking self-photos with the guest in the background and upload them to twitter for historic reasons, i assure you, there is no such tradition.
    Because, you know, she wants to be able to tell to her friends, "i have a photo with Stavros, look at his smile!"

    To this day, polls give up to 11% to the River, while people have only seen on tv one man. A 1 man party with vague positions. Oh, and another, Nikos Dimou, who though suffers from his usual problem, he likes cameras and himself too much, so he started as usual doing his own agenda and had to resign within 15 days from the party, because Theodorakis didn't cover him politically. Of course, Nikos Dimou said that he knew it all along (he knows everything, always) that it would end that way, he had predicted it, because at the end, what is an "intellectual doing in a party...". Of course if he really was as wise as he thinks he is, instead of informing us that he had predicted it, he should have avoided trying to become a politician. What good is claiming to be wise, if you can't follow your wisdom... Unless of course, Dimou was also "recruited" by the same media magnates for which he also worked for years, but i don't believe that he would fall so low. So it must have been just his ego that he always had trouble controling and the thrill of being under the tv lights again. Because, besides the prophetic charisma, i don't think any serious intellectual (of those that are serious enough to avoid using the term for themselves, feeling the weight of such term) would rush to become politician with that leader...

  10. The handsome politician, in his interview, didn't forget to mention that "simple citizens stop him on the street asking him not to betray them" and that contrary to all other parties, he was not given an state money for his electoral campaign. He added, that this is fine by him though, because has very low expenses, using buses and trains instead of limousines and that his entire expenses won't exceed 100.000 euros, so he doesn't need state money after all.

    How lovely. Of course, he forgot to mention, that... by law, his party did not have any right to money for electoral campaign anyway, since such money is reserved to parties that are already either in the national or european parliament. Τhe law doesn't predict that a newborn party will be financed just because the mass media give polls that say that the party is successful. But why lose a golden opportunity to play the role of the victim of the system, that doesn't even give him money he is entitled to...

    Here is also his first election tv commercial:

    It's a shame you don't follow greek politics closely. His "innovative" proposals, are a mixture of things that either have already happened or have been already anounced or someone else has already advocated them. One of the best is "elections every 4 years". In case you don't know, in Greece the electoral system, already predicts that the normal term for a goverment is 4 years. Reduction of parliament members to 200 (it has already been in the media 6 months ago as a discussion between PASOK and ND). Pour the ESPA money to businesses (the current goverment has already done so in great extend and in recent visit the european official that supervises the program, stated that either one likes it or not, the next ESPA will go to businesses. So what's the point in asking something that has been already decided by the european officials? Ah, but the viewer at home won't have noticed such small news, when the offical was in Greece, so there an innovative idea! The level of triviality, is thus almost irritating. The other interesting part, is that said tv commercial, is geared towards national elections, not europarliament elections. Everything that "proposes", is as if he was talking about national elections.

    These are the videos presenting the Rivers' candidates for the europarliament. It is a fortunate occasion to see someone else besides Theodorakis, because it doesn't take much to start wondering whether this party really exists or not, since on tv only one speaks.

    Maybe they are shy and thus let Stavros do the talking. Very professional looking, isn't it? If i didn't know better, i would vote for them. Fresh, honest-looking faces. Even a well known waterpolo player looks like fresh out of Harvard. Amazing how you can do your electoral campaign with 100.000 euros and still get people to know you.

  11. To these, mr. Kastner, Samaras is going to tell that he has a success story, but he must increase further the primary surplus, up to 4.5%, because this is how the troika has decided that the greek debt must be 120% in 2020. Why 120% in 2020 and not 110 or 100%. Why on 2020 and not 2018 or 2025? Βecause someone in Brussels and someone in Berlin said that this is the threshold.

    Greek farmers distributed fruits and vegetables for free to the population. As you see, a lot of people waited under the rain to get one bag of potatoes or apples. And to them, Samaras will try to convince that the troika's plan on debt reduction is a success story.

    People will vote any kind of odd river, mr. Kastner, at this point. Before, Samaras could say "but, what do you want me to do? we don't have primary surplus". Now what will he say?

    Mind you. Samaras, even if unwillingly, did perform a big reduction of state expenses and did some very tough reforms (health for example, where there were huge interests against). But, it arrives a point, when you must either grow a spine and change attitude towards creditors or River or no River, your strength will erode. Maybe the River will become in time the next big party, who knows. But, in the coming elections, i believe we will see some odd things happen.

  12. Now mr. Kastner, time ago, you may remember mentioning "Dimiourgia Xana" .

    Why isn't it at the Rivers' place? Is it more vague than the River? No. Does the River have more quality amongst its candidates? No. It has media. Dimiourgia Xana remains greatly an unknown party, that polls always give it below 1% and Greeks won't vote for parties with less than 3% (parliament threshold). I couldn't even convince my own relatives to vote for it, because "polls give it at 0,something%). The old lady in the mountain haven't heard of it. Its leader is a dry character that doesn't know how to smile on camera, become a glamour magazine cover.

    Το give you an example. Dimiourgia Xana together with Drasi, submited a legal document asking the Bank of Greece to say whether ND and PASOK have been given state finance for the elections. If yes (they have), they ask whether they satisfy the credibility criteria and banking rules of the law, given that they already own 270 mln for old loans. They ask whether the Bank's assessment is that they can replay these loans and if not, why don't they confiscare this new course of money to cover their old unpaid loans.

    Don't you find it more interesting and more useful as news than what's inside Theodorakis' backpack or the self-photos of the charmed tv journalist with Theodorakis? But nobody knows about it, unless you visit the website of the Dimiourgia Xana or Drasi or unless you have subscription to their newsletter. Literally, this is not "news" enough. And rest assured, that nobody intends to invite these leaders to the electoral debate, because they are non parliament parties.

    More or less, mr. Kastner, that's how life goes. Maybe in Austria you are informed about your small parties from the mass media, i don't know. Here you don't. And certainly you don't get to know about those that the establishment considers enemies. For instance, in case you don't know, virtually every Golden Dawn member is in jail awaiting trial. The leader is already 6 months now and a few days ago, it was renewed for another 6. They plan to keep them all in jail up until the national elections at least or declare the party outlaw. The only justification really, which makes other parties look the other way, is that they are fascists. In the last elections, Golden Dawn took 7%. I bet you that despite all this, it will go higher this time. Because amongst other things, they are also morons. The Greeks hate something "forbidden". When the right wing goverments outlawed the comunist party, it only made the left become stronger. Now they do the same error.

    1. This is what I wrote about DX a couple of years ago:

    2. Unfortunately Mr. Kastner, Tsipras' political position is far, far away from DX. But, unlike DX, even Tsipras has some media with him. DX has none. This is why at distance of time from your comment above, Tsipras is close to becoming PM, the River is close to becoming 3rd party in just one month, while DX remains a largely unknown party. Those who 've heard of it, are usually people who dig up on their own in the internet.

    3. And to give you a taste of how polls are conducted and presented. Usually, they phone you and give you the option to vote one of the "known" parties. Suppose a flash comes on your mind and you say "DX". They may answer to you "there is no such option, we only include the known parties" or in the best case "then will include your vote under other parties". When the poll is presented in the newspaper next day, the reader will see all the known parties he already knows from television and will not see any of the small, unknown or non-media approved parties. They will be under the vague title "other". And this is how small parties without media support, slowly pass into oblivion. Under the label "other".

  13. When the old is new. Another interesting short story. Theodorakis, was considered close to Simitis (PASOK and Prime Minister 1996-2004). During that period, he even managed to become for 2 months, director of a tv station.

    Here Theodorakis at Simitis' summer estate, invited by the PM of the time, for interview, with Simitis' wife Daphne and their dog. Traditionally, greek politicians rarely invite journalists to their summer estates and they prefer inviting for home interviews journalists that are "close" to them. You know, because this was 2000, before the elections and a politician wants a "friendly" journalist, asking "friendly" questions, to make a good appearance, together with the "family atmosphere" of the "family man".


    You may also not know that Theodorakis also has restaurant, where tv personas go to eat, together with other persons of high society.

    This is an interesting article of 2011, where there was no suspicion of River or his interest for politics:

    The Athens mayor (at the time supported by PASOK), dining in Theodorakis' restaurant, with the directors of Ethnos and Vima newspapers (both PASOK). The article said that amongst other things, the mayor this way wants to stop rumours about construction irregularities to Theodorakis' restaurant.

    Now you may protest, saying "is it prohibited for a journalist to have a personal relationship with the prime minister"? "Is it a proof of something if media directors and politicians dine at his restaurant?".

    Of course not. But on the other hand, a suspicious mind, can't stop wondering, how the same men, end up always on the same side and mingling with the right people. But maybe i am overly suspicious.

    1. Hey Anonymous, you are not overly suspicious but a hero. And maybe I mingle with the 'wrong' people but absolutely everybody I know thinks the same as you....despite, (or perhaps in Greece today, because of) the media, the restaurant, the joke of 7% support before the party was announced. Theodorakis is a transparent media invention & given the German and American coverage a ruse dreamed up abroad and handed over to the government & banks (btw banks bankroll the media since advertising collapsed, apart from being cronies) for immediate application.

  14. "The most recent example of such a type of political formation in Greece, is the "River" party of the former journalist Stavros Theodorakis, which seems that it is a creation of the Greek banking-media establishment."