A new report from the United Nations recommends the role of the dollar as a reserve currency should be reduced. Instead, it proposes a new supranational currency.
“There should be a single economic space which should be used as a source of growth for the rest of the world, as the US does now, for example,” Vladimir Osakovsky, the head of Strategy & Research at Unicredit Bank said. “It is possible, in the end. Eventually, we are moving in that direction. But it’s a very long-term task for global policy makers.”
Fraud Caused the 1930s Depression and the Current Financial Crisis
Friday, October 29, 2010
Robert Shiller - one of the top housing experts in the United States - says that the mortgage fraud is a lot like the fraud which occurred during the Great Depression. As Fortune notes:
Shiller said the danger of foreclosuregate -- the scandal in which it has come to light that the biggest banks have routinely mishandled homeownership documents, putting the legality of foreclosures and related sales in doubt -- is a replay of the 1930s, when Americans lost faith that institutions such as business and government were dealing fairly.
The former chief accountant of the S.E.C., Lynn Turner, told the New York Times that fraud helped cause the Great Depression:
The amount of gimmickry and outright fraud dwarfs any period since the early 1970's, when major accounting scams like Equity Funding surfaced, and the 1920's, when rampant fraud helped cause the crash of 1929 and led to the creation of the S.E.C.
Economist Robert Kuttner writes:
In 1932 through 1934 the Senate Banking Committee, led by its Chief Counsel Ferdinand Pecora, ferreted out the deeper fraud and corruption that led to the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
Similarly, Tom Borgers refers to:
The 1930s’ Pecora Commission, which investigated the fraud that led to the Great Depression ....
Professor William K. Black writes:
The original Pecora investigation documented the causes of the economic collapse that led to the Great Depression. It ... established that conflicts of interest and fraud were common among elite finance and government officials.
The Pecora investigations provided the factual basis that produced a consensus that the financial system and political allies were corrupt.
Moreover, the Glass Steagall Act was passed because of the fraudulent use of normal bank deposits for speculative invesments. As the Congressional Research Service notes:
In the Great Depression after 1929, Congress examined the mixing of the “commercial” and “investment” banking industries that occurred in the 1920s. Hearings revealed conflicts of interest and fraud in some banking institutions’ securities activities. A formidable barrier to the mixing of these activities was then set up by the Glass Steagall Act.
Economist James K. Galbraith wrote in the introduction to his father, John Kenneth Galbraith's, definitive study of the Great Depression, The Great Crash, 1929:
The main relevance of The Great Crash, 1929 to the great crisis of 2008 is surely here. In both cases, the government knew what it should do. Both times, it declined to do it. In the summer of 1929 a few stern words from on high, a rise in the discount rate, a tough investigation into the pyramid schemes of the day, and the house of cards on Wall Street would have tumbled before its fall destroyed the whole economy. In 2004, the FBI warned publicly of "an epidemic of mortgage fraud." But the government did nothing, and less than nothing, delivering instead low interest rates, deregulation and clear signals that laws would not be enforced. The signals were not subtle: on one occasion the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision came to a conference with copies of the Federal Register and a chainsaw. There followed every manner of scheme to fleece the unsuspecting ....
This was fraud, perpetrated in the first instance by the government on the population, and by the rich on the poor.
The government that permits this to happen is complicit in a vast crime.
As the Great Crash, 1929 documents, there were many fraudulent schemes which occurred in the 1920s and which helped cause the Great Depression. Here's one example of a pyramid scheme in Florida real estate:
An enterprising Bostonian, Mr. Charles Ponzi, developed a subdivision “near Jacksonville.” It was approximately sixty-five miles west of the city. (In other respects Ponzi believed in good, compact neighborhoods ; he sold twenty-three lots to the acre.) In instances where the subdivision was close to town, as in the case of Manhattan Estates, which were “not more than three fourths of a mile from the prosperous and fast-growing city of Nettie,” the city, as was so of Nettie, did not exist. The congestion of traffic into the state became so severe that in the autumn of 1925 the railroads were forced to proclaim an embargo on less essential freight, which included building materials for developing the subdivisions. Values rose wonderfully. Within forty miles of Miami “inside” lots sold at from $8,000 to $20,000; waterfront lots brought from $15,000 to $25,000, and more or less bona fide seashore sites brought $20,000 to $75,000.”
As DoctorHousingBubble notes:
This Mr. Ponzi of course is the man who gave name to the “Ponzi scheme” that many use today. He laid the groundwork for many of the criminals today in the housing industry. Yet during the boom he wasn’t seen as a criminal but a player in the Florida real estate bubble. Here’s a nice picture of the gentleman:
Charles Ponzi Charles Ponzii
James Galbraith recently said that "at the root of the crisis we find the largest financial swindle in world history", where "counterfeit" mortgages were "laundered" by the banks.
As he has repeatedly noted, the economy will not recover until the perpetrators of the frauds which caused our current economic crisis are held accountable, so that trust can be restored. See this, this and this.
No wonder James Galbraith has said economists should move into the background, and "criminologists to the forefront."
Notes: The Austrian economists point out that it is bubbles which cause crashes. I agree. But as William Black points out, fraud is one of the main things which causes bubbles.
Of course other factors, such as excess leverage, also contributed to the 1930s and current crises.
Scandal is spreading across Wall St. like a very bad case of poison ivy. A rash of fraudulent home foreclosures has exposed some of the nation's biggest banks to an even worse condition ... bankruptcy.
Until late 2007, the money boys on Wall St. made a bundle in the housing market. After the bubble burst, they were just itching to cash in on the down side, calling in all those bad loans they made and selling off millions of repossessed homes. According to RealtyTrac, Inc., which compiles such data, lenders foreclosed on 3.2 million properties in the last three years, 288,000 in the last quarter, the highest number on record.
But evidence came to light, first in New York, then Florida, Maine, Ohio, and other states that lenders were taking shortcuts to speed up foreclosures. Law firms hired so-called "robo-signers," some of whom have admitted in depositions that they routinely signed off on thousands of foreclosure papers they had never read and sometimes forged signatures of notary publics who were not present.
"Why don't we have Mickey Mouse sign the thing, instead of having a human being sign it? I mean it becomes meaningless," New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Schack told PBS "Newshour."
Legally meaningless maybe, but not without consequence for hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been evicted from their homes, many of whom have no jobs, and who were snookered into sub-prime mortgages in the first place.
In the wake of mounting public outrage, attorneys general of 50 states and the District of Columbia have launched a joint investigation into what financial writers are calling "Foreclosuregate." Industry spokespersons have downplayed the controversy surrounding foreclosure mills and "robo-signers." Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase are conducting internal reviews of thousands of foreclosures, but say they believe all the underlying facts in their foreclosures are true and that any potential issues will be quickly addressed.
However, Bank of America and GMAC stopped foreclosures in all 50 states and Chase stopped them in the 23 states where a judge must approve foreclosures. Other lenders like PNC Financial and Litton Loan Savings followed suit in what amounted to a national moratorium on foreclosures. But it only lasted a couple of weeks. Bank of America and GMAC have since started up foreclosure suits again despite the bad press, pressure from bondholders and even the Federal Reserve, which wants big lenders to start buying back the bad mortgages on which they are trying to foreclose.
"The bottom line is not that those properties won't be repossessed. They simply won't be repossessed as quickly," said Rick Sharge, vice president of RealtyTrac. But others predict that if GMAC and Bank of America stick to their guns, they just might go down in smoke.
"This is not simply a glitch in paperwork," wrote Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is heading up the states' joint investigation into the mortgage paper fraud mess.
"This was an industry wide scheme designed to defraud homeowners," Florida attorney Peter Ticktin told The Associated Press.
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray filed a lawsuit against lender GMAC in October that aims to stop sales of all repossessed homes foreclosed with robo-signed documents and to reverse judgments on those foreclosed homes that have not yet been sold. In addition, the suit seeks damages for homeowners and a $25,000 fine for every fraudulently filed court document.
In Kentucky, Heather McKeever filed a class action lawsuit against GMAC on behalf of homeowners there alleging the giant lender, a recipient of $16 billion in federal bailout money, violated the RICO Act. "This is organized crime by people in suits but it is still organized crime," she said.
If other states file similar lawsuits like those in Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi, it could mean billions of dollars in damages and fines, criminal perjury prosecutions of "robo-signers" and disbarment for the lawyers who filed the fraudulent papers. Some analysts say the potential liability of major banks is so large, another financial crisis is a real possibility.
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The fraud allegations raise the question of who actually owns the bad loans. If banks cannot show an unbroken chain of title from the original borrower to themselves, they have no legal right to foreclose. At least that's the argument defense lawyers are making.
"When they tried to industrialize the loan securitization market, which is really what they did, they tried to automate everything they could. They started digitizing loan documents and shredding originals.... and, of course what that means is, we have no clue who owns what," foreclosure expert Walter Hackett told PBS "Newshour."
Hackett turned into a consumer advocate after nearly three decades on the inside. He knows exactly where to bite the hand that used to feed him. And he was referring to a private database lenders have relied on for years to track loans that would be bundled into investment vehicles called mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which are traded back and forth between investors daily.
To collect fees from those trades, Wall Street relies on the Mortgage Electronic Registry System (MERS), which had three million loans listed in its database in early 2001. Today, it has more than 62 million and virtually all of the home loans made in the US since 2005. But since MERS is essentially Excel spreadsheets shared between bankers and brokers, it is really just a bunch of numbers. MERS was designed to make money out of the mortgage market, not parse exactly who owes what to whom.
One foreclosure expert estimates that just 6 to 7 percent of the loans made in the last three years can produce properly recorded title transfers from borrower to final lender. Legally assigning, or recording title transfers was much too slow and cumbersome for the fast-paced trade in MBS, so most banks just ignored those requirements, according to testimony, analysts and consumer advocates like Hackett. On many mortgages, the loan owner's name was routinely left blank, the titles never recorded and title transfer fees not paid.
Banks invented an investment vehicle in 1987 called REMICs (Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits) to allow them to profit from MBS trading. A Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit is what the name implies - an empty pipe that allows banks to collect fees as trustees of MBS' without owning any of the assets that back them. It also allows them to avoid taxes and title transfer fees since they only pass through titles to property held as collateral for the MBS' they sell.
But this is clearly a convenient fiction for huge consumer lenders like Bank of America and GMAC, which are trying to have things both ways. REMICs were a real sweet deal for banks until the bottom fell out of the housing market in 2007, triggering the worse recession in 75 years. Banks soon found themselves going to court to repossess property they had been claiming for years they never owned.
They hired foreclosure mills to retroactively produce documents showing the chain of ownership ended with them. In many cases, foreclosure mills provided affidavits of lost mortgage notes attempting to prove banks' control of mortgages in hopes of winning a favorable judgment.
Banks are in a big pickle. If they can prove they own the title to properties they want to foreclose on, they are liable to the IRS for unpaid taxes and penalties. If they don't, the are liable to be sued by bond holders for lack of due diligence in the bundled mortgages they sold to investors.
This is good news for homeowners facing eviction, and there has been an increase in the number of contested foreclosures in Florida, ground zero of the foreclosure scandal.
Both Bank of America and GMAC got billions in federal bailouts, so playing hardball with borrowers when the Obama administration put up an additional $75 billion to persuade banks to refinance troubled loans may jeopardize their "too big to fail" status in Washington.
Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan told reporters in Washington last Wednesday that the federal government would act soon to force banks to offer loan modifications for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration. (How many?)
Meanwhile, investigations are underway not only by the states' attorneys general, but also by federal banking regulators, the US Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission. A number of lawsuits have been filed in Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, and other states, and all this attention may force banks to renegotiate their loans with more affordable terms for borrowers.
But banks are not heading down that path, instead, they are redoing questionable foreclosure papers they hope will pass muster in court.
"There has been an attempt by some of the major services to indicate there are no problems," Iowa Assistant Attorney General Patrick Madigan, told The New York Times.
"We're not at the end of this process. We're at the beginning," he said.
Only time will tell how the foreclosure scandal plays out. Federal regulators say their investigation won't be completed before the end of the year. And several foreclosure experts agree with Madigan that the fight over foreclosures is just beginning.
Reporting assistance by Ellen Brown.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010
STIGLITZ: We Have To Throw Bankers In Jail Or The Economy Won't Recover
by Washington's Blog
As economists such as William Black and James Galbraith have repeatedly said, we cannot solve the economic crisis unless we throw the criminals who committed fraud in jail.
And Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future. See this, this and this.
Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz just agreed. As Stiglitz told Yahoo’s Daily Finance on October 20th:
This is a really important point to understand from the point of view of our society. The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.
A lot of the predatory practices in automobile loans are going to be able to be continued. Why is it OK to engage in bad lending in automobiles and not in the mortgage market? Is there any principle? We all know the answer to that. No, there’s no principle. It’s money. It’s campaign contributions, lobbying, revolving door, all of those kinds of things
The system is designed to actually encourage that kind of thing, even with the fines [referring to former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozillo, who recently paid tens of millions of dollars in fines, a small fraction of what he actually earned, because he earned hundreds of millions.].
I know so many people who say it’s an outrage that we had more accountability in the ’80’s with the S&L crisis than we are having today. Yeah, we fine them, and what is the big lesson? Behave badly, and the government might take 5% or 10% of what you got in your ill-gotten gains, but you’re still sitting home pretty with your several hundred million dollars that you have left over after paying fines that look very large by ordinary standards but look small compared to the amount that you’ve been able to cash in.
So the system is set so that even if you’re caught, the penalty is just a small number relative to what you walk home with.
The fine is just a cost of doing business. It’s like a parking fine. Sometimes you make a decision to park knowing that you might get a fine because going around the corner to the parking lot takes you too much time.
I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.
So do we have any confidence that these guys who got us into the mess have really changed their minds? Actually we have pretty [good] confidence that they have not. I’ve seen some speeches where they said, “Nothing was really wrong. We didn’t get things quite right. But our understanding of the issues is pretty sound.” If they think that, then we really are in a sorry mess.
There are many aspects of [deterring people from committing crime]. Economists focus on the whole notion of incentives. People have an incentive sometimes to behave badly, because they can make more money if they can cheat. If our economic system is going to work then we have to make sure that what they gain when they cheat is offset by a system of penalties.
And that’s why, for instance, in our antitrust law, we often don’t catch people when they behave badly, but when we do we say there are treble damages. You pay three times the amount of the damage that you do. That’s a strong deterrent. Unfortunately, what we’ve been doing now, and more recently in these financial crimes, is settling for fractions – fractions! – of the direct damage, and even a smaller fraction of the total societal damage. That is to say, the financial sector really brought down the global economy and if you include all of that collateral damage, it’s really already in the trillions of dollars.
But there’s a broader sense of collateral damage that I think that has not really been taken on board. And that is confidence in our legal system, in our rule of law, in our system of justice. When you say the Pledge of Allegiance you say, with “justice for all.” People aren’t sure that we have justice for all. Somebody is caught for a minor drug offense, they are sent to prison for a very long time. And yet, these so-called white-collar crimes, which are not victimless, almost none of these guys, almost none of them, go to prison.
Let me give you another example of where the legal system has gotten very much out of whack, and which contributed to the financial crisis.
In 2005, we passed a bankruptcy reform. It was a reform pushed by the banks. It was designed to allow them to make bad loans to people to who didn’t understand what was going on, and then basically choke them. Squeeze them dry. And we should have called it, “the new indentured servitude law.” Because that’s what it did.
Let me just tell you how bad it is. I don’t think Americans understand how bad it is. It becomes really very difficult for individuals to discharge their debt. The basic principle in the past in America was people should have the right for a fresh start. People make mistakes. Especially when they’re preyed upon. And so you should be able to start afresh again. Get a clean slate. Pay what you can and start again. Now if you do it over and over again that’s a different thing. But at least when there are these lenders preying on you should be able to get a fresh start.
But they [the banks] said, “No, no, you can’t discharge your debt,” or you can’t discharge it very easily.
This is indentured servitude. And we criticize other countries for having indentured servitude of this kind, bonded labor. But in America we instituted this in 2005 with almost no discussion of the consequences. But what it did was encourage the banks to engage in even worse lending practices.
The banks want to pretend that they did not make bad loans. They don’t want to come into reality. The fact that they were very instrumental in changing the accounting standards, so that loans that are impaired where people are not paying back what they owe, are treated as if they are just as good as a well-performing mortgage.
So the whole strategy of the banks has been to hide the losses, muddle through and get the government to keep interest rates really low.
The result of this is, as long as we keep up this strategy, it’s going to be a long time before the economy recovers ….
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16144 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:40 am Post subject:
Cameron warns G20 summit not to repeat mistakes that led to 1930s depression
Duh! - Cameron has just done precisely that! Is he clinically insane or just his speech writer. If he didn't have a script would he be able to give a speech at all? Now that would be funny!
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16144 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:34 am Post subject:
The Irish deficit: where to go from here
By Sean O'Grady - Eagle Eye, Econoblog - Monday, 15 November 2010
I’m not surprised that the president of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams wants to give up his seat in the Northern Ireland assembly and enter politics in the south. Sinn Fein have shown they are good at sniffing out opportunity, and the Republic’s economic mess is just such a chance. The Sinners can see that economic hardship and social unrest gives them, after all a socialist revolutionary movement, a new appeal. Ireland’s danger, in this case, is Sinn Fein’s opportunity.
Unfortunately, Sinn Fein is right. It is difficult to overstate the problems Ireland faces. When George Osborne talks about Britain’s unaffordable deficit it is about 10 per cent of GDP; in Ireland’s case it is 31 per cent. In 2003 that was the level of the entire Irish national debt; now it is just one year’s borrowing. It will send the total debt to 100 per cent of GDP, at which point trying to pay the interest can push an economy into a downward spiral.
The problem the Irish government faces is that anything it does to try and meet its obligations becomes counterproductive; cutting public workers’ salaries and chopping services merely pushes unemployment higher, income tax revenues lower and makes the banks’ bad debts worse. Raising corporation taxes and abolishing investment allowances to cut state borrowing kills the foreign investment that powered the former Celtic Tiger. Even an IMF/EU rescue package would run into similar difficulties.
The fear is that the holders of Irish government and banking bonds will, as part of the “restructuring” of Irish financial affairs be asked to forego some of their capital, in return for getting anything back. Holders of paper issued by Argentina, Mexico, Zaire and many other defaulters will be familiar with the process; it is not suppose to happen in a eurozone member state, even if German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested it was preferably to hitting the German taxpayer again. All this will threaten the stability of the euro, and may lead to “contagion”, to traumas in Portugal and Spain. The latter, unlike Ireland, would be “too big save”, even for the EU.
And it was all going so well. Some of us have more cause than others to know about the Irish Diaspora, a painful experience for the Irish for centuries. As recently as the 1980s – when public debt and austerity were last features of national life – young Irish men and women were still being forced abroad for a better life, sending dollars home.
In the 2000s, though, with interest rates set at German levels but without a similarly virtuous approach to debt, Ireland boomed and became one of the richest states, per person, in the EU: Not for much longer. A proud nation that fought hard for its freedom will soon see its sovereignty in the hands of international bureaucrats. Migration and poverty will return. People will wonder about a system that delivered them into such a fate. No wonder Gerry Adams thinks he’s in with a chance.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
IMF – International Monetary Fraudsters! The Banksters Are Going To Rape Our Country – Because We’re Asking For It!
By Neil Foster sovereignindependent.com
The article below from the Irish Independent, informing’ the Irish people that they must go to the IMF, coming from a former chief economist from the IMF, is nothing less than a pathetically thinly disguised piece of propaganda portraying the pirates of the IMF as benevolent bankers who care for the welfare of the Irish people.
Ask any ordinary person in the Third World after these gangsters have moved in and crippled them with debt if they think the IMF is a good thing and I think you’ll find an overwhelming majority, discounting the corrupt despots running these countries, who have seen their natural resources raped by international corporations, who have looted and pillaged every country they’ve gone into at the IMF’s behest for their international banker criminal cartel, you’ll find a resounding rejection of any such notion.
The so called ‘Irish’ government are as despotic and corrupt as any of the Third World leaders. The only difference is that they don’t openly slaughter large numbers of people in the process, although poisoning of the water supply, our air and our food is also a less overt way of killing off the ‘undesirables’.
Yep, that’s you and me folks and don’t think for a second that there aren’t those in power in Ireland who know this is going on. If visitors to this website can find the information, then surely the apparent ‘creme de la creme’ of Ireland who are supposedly running the country can find out too?
The fact is that they are bought and paid for by the very same psychopathic bankers and corporate whores who want to rape Ireland of its resources and publically owned, or at least semi owned companies, to include all utility companies and our vast oil and gas resources which if used for the benefit of the Irish people would see Irelands debt wiped out overnight and unbridled prosperity for every citizen in the country a distinct possibility. Nobody dares ask the question; What happens when the family silver is sold off for peanuts and we’re still in debt to the same bankers? What do you sell next?
The answer is simple and it’s already happening…..You sell the people through draconian taxes to pay the compounded interest payments on debts which can NEVER be paid off. In other words, a country of slaves now exists in Ireland; not just in this generation but for generations to come if not for eternity.
The article also informs us that the government is actively seeking buyers for toxic banks which the taxpayer has already pumped BILLIONS into. If they are sold will the austerity measures be rolled back? NO!
The measures already in place with more severe austerity….read poverty policies, due to be announced in this December’s budget, it is clear that the IMF is already running Ireland back into the days of colonial oppression and utter poverty and deprivation akin to Third World status.
When will people finally grasp the concept that austerity means UTTER POVERTY? Perhaps when the shelves of the corrupt supermarket corporations start to empty and the fast food poisoners close their doors or perhaps when the power gets rationed, turning off the TV, will people finally wake up to the real world of global corporate crime.
What does it take folks? What’s coming from the IMF in Ireland will devastate the landscape of Ireland economically and societally forever unless the sovereign people of the country stand up and fight back against these psychopathic criminals.
We need to start with the whole political system. Putting it bluntly, the whole thing must be dismantled and a new way found to share the wealth and resources of our resource rich country for the good of a once proud nation. I say once proud because as I see it, if it was still a proud nation, or even a nation at all, then these gangsters and corporate criminals would have been ousted many years ago. Pride has been either sucked out of the people or indeed chemically diluted through the poisoning of primarily our water supple which is heavily contaminated with the industrial waste product known as Sodium Fluoride.
The system has to go and those in the police and military services, whose sole duty is to protect the people from harm, must step forward and use the full force of the law to deal with the criminals in all parties responsible for our current predicament. These politicians, bankers and other corporate fraudsters are traitors to the Irish people and the country.
It’s time for action on the part of those in power who have not been corrupted, there must be a few, to step into the public arena and tell the Irish people the truth about what’s been done to them and what’s being planned for their future of servitude to the world’s bankers.
We do not have time to allow these crooks to have their way with us!
It’s time to stop acting like sheep! The wolves are now circling with their fangs clearly showing and their out for the blood and guts of your families for generations to come.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO STOP THE SLAUGHTER?
By Harry Leech and Nick Webb
Sunday November 14 2010
A FORMER chief economist at the IMF has warned that Brian Lenihan must immediately ask the IMF for a bailout or risk bankrupting the Irish state.
Simon Johnson, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers, has a stark message for the Irish Government.
“For the sake of the Irish people, it’s time to go to the IMF. If you go in now and if you go in with your partners, you will get a good deal. You may not get such a good deal next week. It would have been a much better deal if they’d gone in February because Ireland wouldn’t have had to go through all this discretionary tightening along the route.”
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16144 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:14 am Post subject:
RussiaToday | 18 November 2010 | 96th Episode is a special 'Crash JP Morgan' edition of the Keiser Report. This time Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, look at the call from Eric Cantona to withdraw money from the banks and at the viral 'Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver' campaign by Max Keiser. In the second half of the show Max talks to Alex Jones about Google bombs, naked body scanners and 'Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver'.
Mass illegal immigration for the purpose of utilising a housing
construction boom which aimed to change the nature of the small EU
nation states in an experiment promoted from Brussels has led to a
financial implosion that will lead to a new Dominoes pizza menu, that
of concrete. How easy it will be for the working class to swallow
concrete after being forced to endure it around them in the last
decade will be one of the miracles of modern times now the whole
edifice of debt-induced 'growth' will unravel.
Attacking the government’s plan to take a further 6bn euros out of the
economy, TEEU leader, Eamon Devoy said: ‘When the draconian measures being proposed are heaped on top of the 14.5bn euros cuts already implemented in the last three brutal budgets, life in Ireland will be
‘What we are witnessing is a dismantling of social welfare provision
and pensions for older people and the unemployed, health services for
the sick and open access to higher education for our young, while
creating immunity from pain for the builders, property speculators and
hierarchy of the banking system who are entirely responsible for the
mess we find ourselves in. Over 440,000 are now unemployed and another
45,000, many of them highly skilled, forced to emigrate.’
Memo to Ireland "Tell the EU and IMF to Shove It!"
November 25, 2010, By MIKE WHITNEY
Imagine that Yasser Arafat had succeeded in ending Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Now imagine that 10 or 15 years later, new Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, agreed to hand over control of his country's budget to the IMF so his people's future would be controlled by outsiders. Do you think Palestinians would praise Abbas as a patriot or denounce him as a traitor?
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is Mahmoud Abbas. He's caved in to the demands of foreign capital and transferred control over the nation's budget to the EU and the IMF. Here's an excerpt from a November 24, article in Reuters:
"Ireland's teetering government will announce plans on Wednesday to cut welfare spending sharply and raise taxes to help pay for the country's catastrophic banking crisis and meet the terms of an international bailout.
The four-year plan to save 15 billion euros is a condition for an EU/IMF rescue under negotiation for a country long feted as a model of economic development that has become the latest casualty in the euro zone's emergency ward.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen told parliament no final figure had been agreed for financial assistance, "but an amount of the order of 85 billion (euros) has been discussed.
The finance ministry said the austerity plan would be published at 1400 GMT and posted on the official government website." (Reuters)
This is a black day for Ireland. The Irish people will now face a decade or more of grinding poverty and depression thanks to their venal leaders. As soon as the ink dries on the IMF loans, the second occupation of Ireland will begin, only this time there won't be armored cars and Paramilitaries in fatigues, but nerdy-looking bureaucrats trained in the art of spreading misery. In fact, the loans haven't even been signed yet, and already IMF officials are urging the government to cut jobless benefits and the minimum wage. They're literally champing at the bit. They just can't wait to get their hands on the budget and start slashing away.
And don't believe the hype about European unity or saving Ireland. My ass. This is about bailing out the banks. The bondholders get a free ride while workers get kicked to the curb. Here's a clip from the Financial Times that spells it out in black and white:
"According to data compiled by the Bank of International Settlements, the three largest creditors to the Irish economy at the end of June...were Germany to the tune of €109bn, the UK at €100bn and France at €40bn. These sums amount to 2 per cent of France’s gross domestic product, 4.5 per cent of Germany’s GDP, and 7 per cent of British GDP."
See? Another bank bailout. Ireland is being asked to cut to social services, slash wages, renegotiate contracts, and dismantle the welfare state so that undercapitalized banks in France and Germany can get their pound of flesh. But, why? They're the ones who bought the bonds. No one put a gun to their head. They knew they could lose money if Irish banks went south. That's the risk they took. "You pays your money, and you takes your chances." Right? That's how capitalism works.
Not any more, it doesn't. Not while Cowen's in charge, at least. The Irish PM has decided to bail them out; make all the bondholders "whole again." But who made Cowen God? Who gave Cowen the right to hand over his country to the IMF?
No one. Cowen is a rogue agent kowtowing to international capital. After he finishes his work in Ireland, he'll probably join globalist Tony Blair on the French Riviera for a little hobnobbing with the tuxedo crowd.
It's revealing to watch the way Cowen works, as though the interests of foreign bankers mean more to him than those of his own people. For example, the Green Party withdrew from the government last night calling for new elections, but even though the government is in a shambles, the slippery Taoiseach wants to stay in power long enough to push through a new 4-year budget that will leave Irish workers on the brink of destitution. Who is Cowen working for anyway?
This is from the Irish Times:
"Opposition parties have today stepped up pressure on the Government as it seeks to push ahead with passing next month's budget.
Fine Gael again called for an immediate general election and said the four-year budgetary plan should only be implemented by a Government which has a proper mandate....
"What is best for the country is that the negotiation about a programme for four years be done by a government which has four years to serve, that has a mandate from the public so that it has the authority and the credibility to not only develop and negotiate it but to implement it. I think that is in Ireland's best interest," he said. ("Opposition steps up pressure", Charlie Taylor, Irish Times)
The prospective belt-tightening measures will include the firing of 28,000 public employees, a boost in property taxes, a 10 percent cut in welfare benefits, and higher taxes on low-wage workers. Cowen believes that taxing low income families is preferable to making billionaire bondholders eat their losses. The whole thing stinks to high-heaven.
Is there a way out for Ireland? Economist Mark Weisbrot thinks so. Here's what he thinks should happen:
"The European authorities and IMF can loan Ireland any funds needed in the next year or two at very low interest rates....Once these borrowing needs are guaranteed, Ireland would not have to worry about spikes in its borrowing costs like the one that provoked the current crisis....The European authorities could scrap their pro-cyclical conditions and, instead, allow for Ireland to undertake a temporary fiscal stimulus to get their economy growing again. That is the most feasible, practical alternative to continued recession.
Instead, the European authorities are trying what the IMF... calls an "internal devaluation". This is a process of shrinking the economy and creating so much unemployment that wages fall dramatically, and the Irish economy becomes more competitive internationally on the basis of lower unit labour costs."
It's all de rigeur for the IMF. It wouldn't be an IMF program unless someone was starving. That's the benchmark for success.
Ireland doesn't need structural adjustment programs that shrink GDP, dismantle popular social programs and strip wealth from workers when low interest funding and fiscal stimulus can bring the economy back to life. This is politics not economics. The EU and IMF are using the crisis to push through their own agenda. Their real goal is to crush the unions, shred the social safety net, and roll back the gains of the Progressive Era.
The Irish people are left with no choice but to resist. Presently the Cowen government is collapsing. Bravo. Now it's off to the barricades to see if the damage can be undone. Ireland needs to withdraw from the EU and start fresh. It'll be a bumpy road at first, but there's no other way. Economist Dean Baker sums it up like this in an article in The Guardian. Here's what he said:
"Even a relatively small country like Ireland has options. Specifically, they could drop out of the euro and default on their debt....Like Ireland, Argentina had also been a poster child of the neoliberal crew before it ran into difficulties.
But the IMF can turn quickly. Its austerity programme lowered GDP by almost 10% and pushed the unemployment rate well into the double digits. By the end of the 2001, it was politically impossible for the Argentine government to agree to more austerity. As a result, it broke the supposedly unbreakable link between its currency and the dollar and defaulted on its debt.
The immediate effect was to make the economy worse, but by the second half of 2002, the economy was again growing. This was the start of five and a half years of solid growth, until the world economic crisis eventually took its toll in 2009."
The Irish people didn't struggle through centuries of famine and foreign occupation so they could be debt-peons in the EU's corporate Uberstate. Like Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said, "We don't need anyone coming in to run the place for us. We can run it ourselves." Right. Tell the EU plutocrats to take their Utopian Bankstate and shove it.
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16144 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:49 pm Post subject:
latest LEAP 2020 bulletin is just out
Financial Shocks in Europe and America: Explosion of the Western Public Debt Bubble http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22444
by Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin - Global Research, December 17, 2010
The second half of 2011 will mark the point in time when all the world’s financial operators will finally understand that the West will not repay in full a significant portion of the loans advanced over the last two decades. For LEAP/E2020 it is, in effect, around October 2011, due to the plunge of a large number of US cities and states into an inextricable financial situation following the end of the federal funding of their deficits, whilst Europe will face a very significant debt refinancing requirement (1), that this explosive situation will be fully revealed. Media escalation of the European crisis regarding sovereign debt of Euroland’s peripheral countries will have created the favourable context for such an explosion, of which the US “Muni” (2) market incidentally has just given a foretaste in November 2010 (as our team anticipated last June in GEAB No. 46 ) with a mini-crash that saw all the year’s gains go up in smoke in a few days. This time this crash (including the failure of the monoline reinsurer Ambac (3)) took place discreetly (4) since the Anglo-Saxon media machine (5) succeeded in focusing world attention on a further episode of the fantasy sitcom "The end of the Euro, or the financial remake of Swine fever" (6). Yet the contemporaneous shocks in the United States and Europe make for a very disturbing set-up comparable, according to our team, to the "Bear Stearn " crash which preceded Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy and the collapse of Wall Street in September 2008 by eight months. But the GEAB readers know very well that major crashes rarely make headlines in the media several months in advance, so false alarms are customary (7)!
Net cash outflows from Mutual Funds investing in « Munis » (2007-11/2010) (in USD billions) - Withdrawals were higher than in October 2008 - Source: New York Times, 11/2010
In this GEAB issue, we therefore anticipate the progression of the terminal crash of Western public debt (in particular US and European debt) as well as ways to protect oneself. Furthermore, we analyze the very important structural consequences of the Wikileaks revelations on the United States’ international influence as well as their interaction with the global consequences of the US Federal Reserve’s QE II programme. This GEAB December issue is, of course, the opportunity to assess the validity of our anticipations for 2010, with a of 78% success rate for the year. We also develop strategic advice for Euroland ( and the United States. And we publish the GEAB-$ index that will now allow us to synthetically follow the progress of US Dollar against major world currencies every month (9).
In this issue, we have chosen to present an excerpt of the forecast on the explosion of the Western public debt bubble.
Thus, the Western public debt crisis is growing very rapidly under the pressure of four increasingly strong limitations:
. the absence of economic recovery in the United States which strangles all public bodies (including the federal state (10)) accustomed to an easy flow of debt and significant tax revenues in recent decades (11)
. the accelerated structural weakening of the United States in monetary, financial as well as diplomatic (12) affairs which reduces their ability to attract world savings (13)
. the global drying up of sources of cheap finance, which precipitates the crisis of excessive debt in Europe’s peripheral countries (in Euroland like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, ... and the United Kingdom as well (14)) and is starting to touch key countries (USA, Germany, Japan) (15) in a context of very large European debt refinancing in 2011
. the transformation of Euroland into a new "sovereign" that gradually develops new rules for the continent’s public debts.
Several videos at the bottom of the story...For background for the article below, see this...
* Rothschild Bank AND Goldman Sachs Are Both On The LIST Of Bondholders Getting U.S. Taxpayer Billions In Irish Bailout
This is a very long piece, but well worth your time.
Guest post from Gabriel Donohoe
Editor's Note: Look for the Hank Paulson & Bilderberg references...
Source - Fool's Crow
The Irish Government has recently passed the harshest budget in the history of the State with further austerity promised for the next three years and perhaps for decades. Prime Minister Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan have steered Ireland from the booming prosperity of a Celtic Tiger to a ruined shell of a country where unemployment, poverty, emigration, and despair are proceeding to destroy a once proud, industrious people.
Cowen and Lenihan also bear the ignominy of having brought in the International Monetary Fund who, along with EU banksters, are now dictating Irish fiscal policy. The IMF has long had a vulturish reputation for plundering weaker countries by stripping the flesh of its victims down to the bare bones. This repulsive scavenger is well known for promoting austerity and misery, grabbing national assets for its bankster and corporate friends, and leaving the skeleton of a country’s economy in its wake. The first piece of offal to be plucked from the Irish carcass by this opportunistic carrion eater was the nation’s €20 billion pension fund, the life savings of working people.
As a result of Ireland’s dramatic reversal of fortune the names of Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan are now being reviled as the villains who inflicted horrendous financial disaster upon the Irish people and forced the enslavement of future generations to a criminal cadre of International Banksters.
The words ‘treason’, ‘traitors’, and ‘treachery’ are being increasingly used not only by ordinary citizens but also by certain politicians, economists, business leaders, and celebrities. ‘Economic treason’ was a term used by the leader of the Labour Party to describe Cowen and Lenihan’s blanket guarantee to the banks. And, incredibly, even the country’s ostensibly non-partisan police association, the GRA, accused the government of ‘treachery’ and denounced it as a ‘government of national sabotage’.
Today, Cowen and Lenihan are being compared to other traitors in history like Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian politician who assisted the Nazis to conquer his native country; General Benedict Arnold, an American soldier who changed sides during the Revolution and betrayed his country to the British; and even Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his Master for 30 pieces of silver.
In Ireland, the names of Cowen and Lenihan now evoke the same revulsion as that reserved for Dermot MacMurrough, a 12th century King of Leinster who has been loathed for over 8 centuries as the man who brought the first English invaders to Ireland. In 1167, after a dispute with other Irish kings which led to his forced exile, MacMurrough persuaded an English army under the command of the Earl of Pembroke, known as ‘Strongbow’, to invade Ireland and help him take his kingdom back.
MacMurrough died 3 years later and Strongbow declared himself the King of Leinster. Thus began the beginning of a British military occupation that would last for over 800 years and cause countless thousands of Irish deaths and condemn many generations of Irish men and women to utter misery, slavery, famine, and financial and religious tyranny. It is not easy for anyone to incite more odium in the hearts of the Irish people than that of the back-stabber Dermot MacMurrough.
And yet Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan are reviled with the same detestation as that accorded the traitorous 12th century King of Leinster.
What did Cowen and Lenihan do to earn such public loathing?
On September 29th, 2008, a momentous event occurred. That evening, four of the most senior executives of Ireland’s two largest high street banks, Dermot Gleeson and Eugene Sheehy of Allied Irish Bank (AIB) and Brian Goggin and Richard Burrows of Bank of Ireland (BOI), called to Government Buildings for a hastily convened meeting with the Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, and the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan. Also present was the Irish Attorney-General, Paul Gallagher.
The banksters were frantic. As the property bubble was beginning to burst, their main rival, Anglo Irish Bank, was in serious trouble and the huge loss of liquidity could bring down the country’s entire financial system. Like Anglo Irish, AIB and BOI also had massive exposure to the developers and all were in danger of imminent collapse. The banksters implored the Government to do something, immediately, before the money markets opened the following morning.
Having received such stark news from the banksters, Cowen and Lenihan knew they had to move quickly and decisively. They would have to act, and be seen to act, without bias and without favouring any special interest groups. Their first duty was to ensure the welfare of the nation as a whole and to safeguard the financial interests of all the Irish people.
But in this they failed utterly. One special interest group, the banksters, prevailed spectacularly over the interests of the Irish people. How did the banksters manage to wield such inordinate influence over crucial governmental policy?
A key disturbing fact about this meeting was never commented upon in the mainstream media. On the government side of the table sat Paul Gallagher, the Attorney-General, legal adviser to the Irish Government. On the banksters’ side of the table sat Dermot Gleeson, the AIB chairman and himself a former Irish Attorney-General. But, apart from both men holding the senior law office of the land, a more sinister connection between them remained undisclosed. They were both Bilderbergers.
For those who haven’t heard of the Bilderbergers, they are a brotherhood of unelected international banksters, corporatists, politicians, and others who meet secretly every year to formulate and manipulate world policy in finance, economics, trade, and any other area that they can control for their own selfish, globalist interests.
It may well be that the presence of the two Bilderbergers, Gleeson and Gallagher, was just a coincidence but, considering such incredibly high stakes, it can be argued that Gallagher’s attendance as Attorney-General at such a crucial meeting generated a monumental conflict of interest. His Bilderberger connection clearly compromised him as legal adviser to the Irish Government, especially when his Bilderberger pal, Gleeson, was about to be on the receiving end of a whopping government bailout.
After a surprisingly short discussion with some members of the cabinet, the Attorney-General, and top civil servants, Cowen and Lenihan arrived at an ominous decision. They decided that the Government would guarantee all the liabilities of six Irish banks – not just customer and interbank deposits but also the full exposure of all bondholders! This amounted to some 450 billion euro, an astronomical figure which, if ever called upon, would destroy the country.
With the stroke of a pen Cowen and Lenihan shifted hundreds of billions of private debt incurred by greedy, fraudulent banksters and dumped it onto the backs of the Irish people. This was an incredible act of treachery against the Irish nation. What could possess these two politicians to put their people into impossible debt and penury – perhaps for generations – just to save a few mega-rich banksters from taking a loss on their reckless gambling? Was it utter ineptitude or was it something more sinister than that?
As Marcellus said to Horatio in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ‘Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.’ He said ‘Denmark’, but he might well have been describing present-day Ireland. This bank guarantee deal stinks to high heaven!
Inflicting a risk exposure of €450 billion on the Irish nation was tantamount to state suicide. The willing and needless placement of an entire people into such peril could only be the result of criminal incompetence or criminal collusion. There could be no other explanation, except, of course, criminal insanity. Take your pick. Are Cowen and Lenihan criminally inept, corrupt, or insane?
To put the enormity of the hazard to the nation into perspective let’s compare it to U.S Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s 2008 bank bailout of $700 billion which was then strenuously opposed by the great majority of the American people. The Irish bailout was the equivalent of more than $585 billion dollars, not a far cry from the $700 billion that so appalled and angered most Americans. Consider that the U.S. has a population of 300 million while Ireland only has a population of less than 4.5 million, much the same as the state of Louisiana.
At 3.30am the four bankers left. According to Shane Ross, author of Bankers, they had ‘put the gun to the Government’s head and the ministers had delivered.’
Ireland was aghast. Cowen and Lenihan said the bailout was necessary to preserve Ireland’s creditworthiness with ‘the markets’. This was hogwash and was said so by many people at the time, including leading economists. (The fallacy of the ministers’ thinking is borne out by the approach of the plucky Icelandic people who refused to take on private bankster debt and whose economy is now in a much healthier position than that of Ireland.) But Lenihan persisted with the bailout declaring that it would be ‘the cheapest bailout in history’. Those words, like the ghost in Hamlet, would soon come back to haunt him.
Cowen and Lenihan then proceeded to pour taxpayers’ money into the banks, capitalizing the high street lenders to the tune of some €13.5 billion. This figure did not even include the requirements of Anglo Irish Bank, the biggest culprit of fraudulent lending, who Lenihan said could be saved with a €4 billion bailout. As time progressed the Minister of Finance continually revised his figures upwards, going to €12 billion, €18 billion, €24 billion, and now the figure is hovering around €35 billion. The Irish people will never see a single cent of the tens of billions poured into that black hole that is Anglo Irish Bank. This cannot be described as anything other than an act of outrageous criminality.
Another fiasco in the making, the brainchild of Lenihan and Cowen, is NAMA (National Asset Management Agency), set up to restore the banks’ balance sheets by buying their toxic loans to the tune of some €54 billion of taxpayers’ money. This is another huge and needless risk that is likely to go disastrously wrong and which hangs eternally over Irish taxpayers like the Sword of Damocles. The slightest miscalculation and the sword falls – with devastating effect.
This writer, and many others, pointed out at the time that there was a much better short-term solution to the Irish banking problem. The Government could have let the banks fail – that’s what happens in capitalism when businesses are reckless or make mistakes – and set up a state bank. A state bank could have created all the credit the country needed with a much, much smaller outlay. Through fractional reserve lending, a bank can create some twelve and a half times the amount of credit that it holds in assets. For example, if a state bank is capitalised with €10 billion it can lend out €125 billion. With only €20 billion in capital a state bank could create and lend out €250 billion. This would have boosted Irish businesses and given the economy a huge injection and would have obviated the need to go back to the exploitative money markets.
(It is important to point out that this would be a short-term solution only. The real cause of global financial chaos and prohibitive national debt is the permitting of private banking cartels to create a nation’s money, money that is based on debt and bears interest and which makes an immense fortune for the international banksters – to the impoverishment of the people.)
But Cowen and Lenihan seemed not to be focussed on what was good and efficacious for the people of Ireland but on how to save a few criminal banksters from incurring gigantic losses.
Before the bank guarantees, Ireland had a manageable sovereign debt. But after taking on the private debts of reckless, fraudulent banksters Cowen and Lenihan drove Ireland into insolvency. Interest on Irish government bonds rose dramatically and threatened to destabilise the Euro. Uncertainty about Ireland’s ability to handle its deficit caused unrest in Portuguese and Spanish bond markets. There were concerns too about Belgium and Italy. The EU, fearful that panic and contagion would spread and collapse the Euro, bullied the Irish Government into taking a joint EU/IMF bailout. The high placed members of the self-serving Brussels elite were willing to impose hardship and needless austerity upon the people of Ireland in order to save their precious Euro and to preserve their positions of opulence and power.
The Irish economy per se did not need a bailout, but Irish banks did. The IMF does not lend to banks but only to sovereign countries. (That way, they can force a country to bleed its taxpayers to get their money back.) Cowen and Lenihan then proceeded to sell the idea of an EU/IMF loan to the country as a ‘rescue package’ for the Irish nation. This was a complete lie. It was a rescue package mainly for German, British, and French banks who had recklessly and greedily loaned billions to Irish banks during the Celtic Tiger boom.
David McWilliams, Irish economist, broadcaster, and writer, says of the IMF, ‘It is not here to bail us out; it is here to bail [the banks] out. The bailout is a bailout for the banks of Germany and France and the Irish taxpayer foots the bill. It is that simple. And where will the EU and IMF money come from? It will be borrowed from the very investment banks that will be bailed out. So they will get interest payments from us, in order that we pay for their mistakes.’
This view is echoed by Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, adjunct lecturer in Finance at Trinity College, Dublin, who likens the ECB/IMF bailout to ‘corporate welfare’ (as opposed to social welfare). ‘It’s worse than corporate welfare, it’s corporate welfare with a massive moral hazard loaded on top. This is an undemocratic, corporatist transfer of wealth from ordinary citizens to a tiny group of people: bank bondholders…’
Just who are these precious bondholders that Cowen and Lenihan would bind and bankrupt the country in order to make up their ‘gambling’ losses?
Senator and presidential hopeful David Norris tried to read out their names under parliamentary privilege in the Irish Senate but was quickly silenced. It seems that Cowen and Lenihan and the Irish Government do not want the people to know that they have been put into debt slavery for the benefit of some of the wealthiest, most fraudulent banksters in the world. The names of these bondholders are now a matter of public record, thanks to investigative journalists like Guido Fawkes (www.order-order.com).
Some of the more familiar names among the four score or so major bondholders are Goldman Sachs, one of the most despised banks on Wall Street whose name is synonymous with greed, sleaze, and fraud. Max Keiser, broadcaster and former broker & options trader, says, ‘Goldman Sachs are scum. I mean that’s the bottom line. They have basically co-opted the U.S. Government, they have co-opted the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve functionality. They’ve co-opted the Obama administration. And Barack Obama dances to Goldman Sach’s tune. They are really crooked and abominable in what they’ve done.’
Keiser continues, with remarkable candour, ‘Just remember, Hank Paulson held Congress hostage, took them in the back room and said give us $700 billion or we’re gonna crash the market. He’s an arsonist; he’s an outlaw. And yet he’s given praise. If you go down the list, they’re all Goldman Sachs scum, whether it’s Hank Paulson, whether it’s Geithner…you know Geithner has very strong ties to Goldman Sachs…and of course all these banking bonuses are paid out to all their cronies who are Goldman Sachs scum.’
Another Anglo Irish Bank bondholder is the Rothschilds Bank, Zurich; the Rothschild family are reputed to have owned half the wealth of Europe a century and a half ago – how much do they own now? And most of the remaining bondholders are worth an accumulation of some twenty trillion euro. An Irish default would involve such an insignificant fraction of their wealth that it would hardly cause them to raise their eyebrows. Yet Cowen and Lenihan forced crippling debt upon the Irish people for many years to come in order to repay the banksters every single cent of their reckless investments.
One great irony amid all this debt and despair is the great wealth recently discovered in the gas fields off the west coast of Ireland. The Corrib gas field alone is reckoned to be worth well over €420 billion, enough to pay off all of Ireland’s debts and make the country vastly rich. According to the Petroleum Affairs Division there is even more gas and oil off the west coast, perhaps as much as 13 trillion euro or beyond, enough to make millionaires of every man, woman, and child in Ireland.
What did the Irish Government do with this €420 billion windfall from the Corrib field? They gave it away to Royal Dutch Shell for nothing. Yes, nothing! In an incredible move, the government cut the State’s share from 50% to zero on all its offshore oil and gas and abolished all royalties.
Why would they do such a crazy thing?
For an answer to that you’ll have to ask the then minister, Ray Burke, who was later convicted and jailed for political corruption on other matters.
Royal Dutch Shell, with its monthly revenues fluctuating between $25 billion and $45 billion, certainly doesn’t need the money as much as the Irish people do. Royal Dutch Shell is a key Bilderberg asset; its principal shareholder is Queen Beatrix of Holland, a long-time member of Bilderberg which was founded by her father, Prince Bernhard, a former officer of Hitler’s SS. Giving these plutocrats billions, and perhaps trillions, in oil and gas for absolutely nothing is criminally obscene and utterly enraging. These energy resources rightfully belong to the Irish people and it’s not for individual politicians, whether corrupt or incompetent, to give them away for nothing.
Looking forward, there will soon be a new government in Ireland. It is now time for the Irish people to take a firm stand. In the coming election campaign they must warn incoming government hopefuls that there HAS to be radical change. The criminal pledges of an outgoing government of traitors MUST be dismantled and consigned to the trash can, along with their authors. The people will not stand for more of the same old bs gombeen politics; they are in no mood for mealy-mouthedness or ineffectual tinkering with a failed system. They demand nothing less than clear, decisive, and even ruthless change. They demand leaders of integrity, innovation, and courage. And they demand a decent living for themselves, their children, and future generations yet unborn. There can be no going back!
Pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, domina. (If you know how to use money, money is your slave; if you don’t, money is your master.)
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16144 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:23 am Post subject:
The clock is already ticking for the hated financial elite
Published on 13 Jan 2011
.......The ruthless capitalists of the last century, like Andrew Carnegie the steel magnate, or John Paul Getty, the oil billionaire, cared a great deal about what people thought of them. They did remorse, too. And they spent huge sums trying to get posterity to hold them in high esteem – hence the Carnegie Trust, the Carnegie Halls. Getty endowed countless museums and galleries hoping that history would link his name to great art rather than hard cash.
This lot don’t care a toss. The plutocrats of today seem happy to be regarded as graceless philistines who care only for personal self-enrichment. Yes, some hedge fund managers give to charity – it’s tax efficient after all – and some bankers even claim to be Christians. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs famously said he was doing “God’s work”. Goldmans has just awarded £13bn to its staff in bonuses and remuneration – well, it beats loaves and fishes.
But listen to what bankers say about themselves. “We eat what we kill” is one of Wall Street’s favourite sayings. Any profession that abides by such a morally reprehensible mission statement is clearly beyond hope. But it also means that they are on the wrong side of history. People who are incapable of moral vision are generally brought down by their own myopia. Like sharks, bankers are as stupid as they are vicious. They don’t realise that they need the sea to swim in, and that sea is civil society.
The financiers have achieved a remarkable feat: they have united Left and Right in common cause against financial kleptocracy............
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16144 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:19 am Post subject: At the Crossroads of Three Roads of Global Chaos
The Systemic Global Economic Crisis: At the Crossroads of Three Roads of Global Chaos
Global Research, January 19, 2011
Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin
This GEAB issue marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of the Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin. In January 2006, on the occasion of the first issue, the LEAP/E2020 team indicated that a period of four to seven years was opening up which would be characterized by the “Fall of the Dollar Wall”, an event similar to the fall of the Berlin Wall which resulted, in the following years, in the collapse of the communist bloc then that of the USSR. Today, in this GEAB issue, which presents our thirty-two anticipations for 2011, we believe that the coming year will be a pivotal year in the roll out of this process between 2010 and 2013. It will be, in any case, a ruthless year because it will mark the entry into the terminal phase of the world before the crisis (1).
Since September 2008, when the evidence of the global and systemic nature of the crisis became clear to all, the United States, and behind it the Western countries, were content with palliative measures that have merely hidden the undermining effects of the crisis on the foundations of the present-day international system. 2011 will, according to our team, mark the crucial moment when, on the one hand, these palliative measures see their anesthetic effect fade away whilst, in contrast, the consequences of systemic dislocation in recent years will dramatically surge to the forefront (2).
In summary, 2011 will be marked by a series of violent shocks that will explode the faulty safety devices put in place since 2008 (3) and will carry off, one by one, the “pillars” on which the “Dollar Wall” has rested for decades. Only the countries, communities, organizations and individuals which, over the last three years, have actually undertaken to learn the lessons from the current crisis to distance themselves as quickly as possible from the pre-crisis patterns, values and behavior will get through this year unscathed; the others will be carried away in the procession of monetary, financial, economic, social and political difficulties that 2011 holds.
Thus, as we believe that 2011 will, globally, be the most chaotic year since 2006, the date of the beginning of our work on the crisis, in this GEAB issue our team has focused on 32 anticipations for 2011, which also include a number of recommendations to deal with future shocks. Thus, this GEAB issue offers a kind of map forecasting financial, monetary, political, economic and social shocks for the next twelve months.
If our team believes that 2011 will be the worst year since 2006, the beginning of our anticipation work on the systemic crisis, it’s because it’s at the crossroads of three paths to global chaos. Absent fundamental treatment of the causes of the crisis, since 2008 the world has only gone back to take a better jump forward.
A bloodless international system
The first path that the crisis can take to cause world chaos is simply a violent and unpredictable shock. The dilapidated state of the international system is now so advanced that its cohesion is at the mercy of any large-scale disaster (4). Just look at the inability of the international community to effectively help Haiti over the past year (5), the United States to rebuild New Orleans for six years, the United Nations to resolve the problems in Darfur, Côte d'Ivoire for a decade, the United States to progress peace in the Middle East, NATO to beat the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Security Council to control the Korean and Iranian issues, the West to stabilize Lebanon, the G20 to end the global crisis be it financial, food, economic, social, monetary, ... to see that over the whole range of climatic and humanitarian disasters, like economic and social crises, the international system is now powerless.
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16144 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:44 pm Post subject:
European death spiral – end games
Politics now increasingly dominates economics. Commenting about the EU bailout of Ireland, the Irish Times referred to the Easter Rising against British rule asking: "was what the men of 1916 died for a bailout from the German chancellor with a few shillings of sympathy from the British chancellor on the side". An Irish radio show played the new Irish national anthem to the tune of the German anthem.
In Greece, the severe cutbacks in government spending have resulted in strikes and violent protests on the streets of Athens. Faced with cutbacks in living standards, Europeans are fighting back. The Rolling Stones’ late-sixties anthem has been resurrected in Europe: "Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy/ Summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy."
In many countries, governments, often unstable coalitions, are struggling to pass legislation, implementing necessary spending cuts or tax increases. In Ireland, the opposition parties have promised to re-negotiate the bailout package if elected at an election due early in 2011. In Germany, the paymaster and strength behind the EU, Europe’s biggest tabloid Bild asked "First the Greeks, then the Irish, then…will we end up having to pay for everyone in Europe?"
In December 2010, a special EU meeting, convened to discuss the situation, provided a clear pointer to how events might evolve. At the meeting, the German view, set out by Chancellor Angela Merkel, prevailed.
The meeting rejected any attempt to increase the scope and amount of the existing bailout facilities. The E-Bond proposal was quietly shelved. The EU agreed to formalise the ESM through a short amendment to the Lisbon Treaty. The new facility would be inter-governmental with any Euro Zone member having a national right of veto. The facility was highly conditional, capable of being triggered only as a last resort.
A key element was the requirement for "collective action clauses", effectively forcing lenders to bear losses. The provision, which must be included in all European government bonds after June 2013, would require the payment period to be extended in case of a crisis. If the solvency problems persisted, then further extension of maturity, reductions in interest rates and a write-off in the principal would occur. In addition, new bailout funds would automatically subordinate existing debt and have to be paid back first.
Chancellor Merkel’s position reflects the views of the German constitutional court, which endorsed European economic and monetary union prescribed in the 1992 Maastricht treaty only on the basis of the treaty’s no-bail-out provisions. This influences the need to impose losses on investors.
It is clear that the stronger members of the EU, led by Germany, have decided to limit future liability in bailouts. As membership of the Euro prevents large devaluation of the currency, economic adjustment will require reduction of the budget deficit and deflation. As Greece and Ireland demonstrate, more rigorous deficit cutting may not return the countries to solvency. The EU proposals implicitly recognise that over-indebted countries cannot sustain currency debt levels. The reduction of the debt burden will have to come through restructuring or default, with creditors taking losses.
Unless confidence returns rapidly or the EU changes its position, it seems restructuring or defaults by several peripheral European sovereigns may be unavoidable. Investor concerns that the Greek and Irish did not solve the fundamental problems may be confirmed. The safety nets are now seen as unlikely to be large enough to rescue larger countries, like Spain and Italy, if they require support. Investors will need to take losses.
Large volumes of maturing debt mean that the test is likely to come sooner than later. The heavily indebted European sovereign states face $2.85 trillion of maturing debt in the period to 2013. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain have bond maturities of $502 billion in 2011. The financing needs of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain over the last quarter of 2010 and 2011 are Euro 320 billion, rising to Euro 712 billion if Italy is included. In addition, private sector borrower in these countries face maturities of $988 billion of corporate bonds and $200 billion of syndicated bank loans over the same period. Likelihood of low economic growth, failure to meet IMF plan targets, further banking sector problems and credit downgrades exacerbate the risk.
If Europe muddles it way through the refinancing crisis, then the expiry of existing support facilities in 2013 and the changed regime of the ESM poses new risks and may continue the instability.
A Faraway Continent
In the prelude to World War II, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain dismissed the German occupation of Sudeten arguing that it was "a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing." North American and Asia have been bystanders as the European crisis developed. Increasing concerns are evident, as European problems now threaten global recovery.
China, which contributed around 80 per cent of total global growth in 2010, has expressed growing concern about the problems in Europe. Trade between China and the EU, its largest export market, totals around $470 billion annually, contributing a trade surplus of Euro 122 billion for China in the first nine months of 2010. Any slowdown in Europe would affect Chinese growth. China is also a major holder of Euro sovereign bonds, standing to lose significantly if problems continue. China has indicated preparedness to use some of its $2.7 trillion of foreign exchange reserves to buy bonds of countries such as Greece and Portugal.
A slowdown in China would affect commodity markets, both volumes and prices, and commodity exporters such as Australia, China and South Africa. Minutes of a 7 December 2010 from the central bank of Australia, one of the world’s best performing economies, indicated increasing concerns about developments in Europe.
A continuation of the European debt problems, especially restructuring or default of sovereign debt, would severely disrupt financial markets. Losses would create concerns about the solvency of banks, in particular European banks. In a repeat of the events of September 2008 (when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection and AIG almost collapsed) and April/ May 2010 (prior to the bailout of Greece), money markets could seize up, as trust about the ability of parties to perform contracts evaporated. In turn, this volatility would feed through into the real economy, undermining the weak recovery.
Unless resolved, the European debt problems will affect currency markets and through that channel the global economy. Any breakdown in the Euro, such as the withdrawal of defaulting countries or change in the mechanism, would result in a sharp fall in the new currencies. In turn, this would, in the first instance, result in large losses to holders of debt of those countries from the devaluation.
Depending on the new arrangements, the US dollar would appreciate abbreviating the nascent American recovery. This may compound existing global imbalances and trigger further American action to weaken the dollar. Further rounds of quantitative easing are possible, setting off inflation and de-stabilising, large scale capital flows into emerging markets. In turn, the risk of protectionism, full-scale currency and trade wars would increase. A break-up of the Euro would adversely affect Germany, which has been growing strongly. A return to the Deutschemark or, more realistically, an Euro without the peripheral countries may result in a sharp appreciation of the currency, reducing German export competitiveness.
As the Australian central bank noted in its December 2010 minutes: "… the deterioration in the situation in Europe over the past month had increased the downside risks to the global economy. How this would ultimately play out, and the implications … were difficult to predict. It was possible that conditions could settle down, as they had after the episode of financial instability in May. Alternatively, an escalation of the current problems was not out of the question. If this prompted a fresh retreat from risk-taking in global financial markets, it would probably have more impact … than any trade effect."
Events since the announcement of the bailout package in early 2010 have been reminiscent of 2008. Then, the optimism following bailouts of Bear Stearns and other troubled American banks produced premature. The promise of China to purchase Portuguese bonds is similar to the ill-fated investments of Asian and Middle-Eastern sovereign wealth funds in US and European banks.
Eventually with each successive rescue and the re-emergence of problems, the capacity and will for further support diminished. The EU rescue of Greece and Ireland are also reminiscent of US attempts to rescue its banking system, with more and more money being thrown at the problem. The strategy was defective, preventing the creative destruction required to restore the system to health. The actions may have doomed the economy into a protracted period of low growth, laying the foundations for future problems.
At the time of the Greek bailout, the real question was: "If Euro 750 billion isn’t enough, what is?" Increasingly, markets fear that there may not be enough money, to solve the problem painlessly.
In 11 May 1931, the failure of a European bank – Austria’s Credit-Anstalt – was a pivotal event in the ensuing global financial crisis and the Great Depression. The failure set off a chain reaction and crisis in the European banking system. Some 80 years later, European sovereigns may be about to set off a similar sequence of events with unknown consequences.
Satyajit Das is the author of Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives.
So Mervyn King, Britain’s central bank governor, warned at the weekend that another financial crisis was brewing. He is right. There are five problems with the banks, and none of them has been resolved – lending, tax, pay, rebalancing. On every one of them the banks have faced down the Government. So who’s in charge? These are the facts.
Project Merlin was supposed to ensure that the banks ended the lending drought which has starved businesses for the last 3 years. They finally announced a target of new lending of £190bn, but only to creditworthy businesses and only if the economic conditions were right – judgements that the banks would make and likely to result in little if any increase in lending at all.
Osborne a month ago trumpeted his new levy of £800m on financial institutions, increasing the tax on banks to £2.5bn. This is hardly a serious imposition on banks which have nearly wrecked the economy with direct and indirect costs to the taxpayer of nearly £850bn. £2.5bn amounts to no more than each of the big banks doled out this year in bonuses, it’s less than Labour’s bonus tax last year of £3.5bn, and it’s a mere fifth of what consumers are being forced to pay each year in extra VAT.
Outlandish bonuses are still the order of the day, with Bob Diamond scooping £8m this year even when nearly a million young people are on the dole. In 2009 Osborne declared “It is totally unacceptable for bank bonuses to be paid on the back of taxpayer guarantees. It must stop”. But that’s precisely what Barclays and the other banks are now still doing. Ministers are reduced to the humiliating posture of begging the banks to show restraint – as though they ever will – and the banks are even refusing to disclose the pay of their top earners.
Though it is recognised that other factors contributed to the financial crash – notably an unduly lax monetary policy and overly light regulation – the banks unquestionably caused it by their combination of greed, recklessness and arrogance. Yet the liability for bearing the consequences has been shifted entirely to its victims, the public sector, and the banks have been allowed to escape with impunity by their blackmail that they will up sticks and leave the UK if they are made to pay any due penalty for their folly.
The dominance of the City drew in investment funds from abroad, pushing up the exchange rate which hobbled industry and keeping interest rates low which led to the excessive personal borrowing bubble and the collapse that followed. To rebalance this lop-sided economy the Government should use the nationalised banks to guide investment into the key economic sectors of the future and to prevent the speculation that led to the last crash. But it isn’t happening: the Government lacks the inclination and the will, and the banks are exercising the power to block it. _________________ www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org www.rethink911.org www.patriotsquestion911.com www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org www.mediafor911truth.org www.pilotsfor911truth.org www.mp911truth.org www.ae911truth.org www.rl911truth.org www.stj911.org www.v911t.org www.thisweek.org.uk www.abolishwar.org.uk www.elementary.org.uk www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149 http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp4c1ssTaoI _________________ "Soon after the year 2000 has been written, a law will go forth from America whose purpose will be to suppress all individual thinking. This will not be the wording of the law, but it will be the intent" Rudolf Steiner: Gegenwärtiges und Vergangenes in Menschengeiste (The Present and the Past in the Human Spirit)
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