Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Financial Repression Coming to America: El-Erian

The co-CEO of the world’s largest bond fund has warned America that it faces a combination of higher inflation, austerity and financial repression over the coming years as policy makers grapple with the impact of the financial crisis and the subsequent policy response.

Mohammed el-Erian

“Think of the debt overhangs in advanced economies where projected rates of economic growth are not sufficient to avoid mounting debt and deficit problems,” said Mohamed A. El-Erian in speech at a PIMCO forum on growth.

“Some are already flashing red, and they will force even more difficult decisions between restructuring and the massive socialization of losses, like Greece,” he added.

“Others are flashing orange, like the US, and already require future sacrifices, most likely through a combination of higher inflation, austerity and, importantly, financial repression,” said El-Erian, who classifies financial repression as seeking to impose negative real rates of returns on savers.

This policy will undermine the real return contract offered to savers and, in El-Erian’s view, come instead of any bold moves to address structural problems and imbalances.

“Secular baseline portfolio positioning should minimize exposure to the negative impact of financial repression, hedge against higher inflation and currency depreciation and exploit the heightened differentiation in balance sheets and growth potentials,” El-Erian added.
© 2011

French sex scandal to break public taboo

Former president Francois Mitterrand kept his second family with his mistress secret for years [GALLO/GETTY]

It's a country known to turn a blind eye to the affairs of politicians and public figures, long arguing that private lives have no bearing on a person's professional performance.

But the accusations levelled at Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF and leading Socialist candidate for next year's presidential campaign, look set to change the French tradition of keeping politicians' personal lives private.

The allegations of attempted rape are several steps too far for a public generally non-plussed by what their leaders' get up to in their spare time.

"France is experiencing its first Anglo Saxon-style sex scandal and is suddenly entering an area of public debate that, until now, whether because of cultural exception, the 'Latin' identity or 'democratic weakness', was previously confined to rumours and gossip within a small circle of initiates," French newspaper Liberation wrote on Monday.

"Unbelievable, incredible, inconceivable," Le Figaro newspaper said.

'Fidelity, non'

In the past, private lives of politicians have been kept that way, and if leaked, are not treated in the tabloid manner that often occur in countries such as Britain and the United States.

Francois Mitterrand, the former French president, famously replied "So what?" when a journalist asked him about rumours that he had a love-child with his mistress Anne Pingeot, ending the conversation on that topic.

Eric Besson, the French industry minister, said "Fidelity, non" during his wedding vows, according to a book written by his former wife who broke the French taboo by exposing the couple's private life.

And Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, became the first president to divorce and remarry while in office, in a move that didn't help his popularity but did not end his career.

Elsewhere, reactions to extra-marital affairs have not been treated in the relaxed French fashion.

In Britain, former interior minister David Blunkett was forced to resign after media storm erupted around an alleged affair with Kimberly Quinn, a magazine publisher, with accusations that he fast-tracked her nanny's visa.

Bill Clinton, the former US president, faced months of tough questioning over his affair with Monica Lewinsky and in the end made a serious apology to the nation in order to win back public support.

Strong morals and family values are seen as pre-requisites for leaders in many nations. But Agnes Poirier, French journalist and author, believes the French are "more mature" when it comes to affairs of the heart.

"They realise in their own lives that being married is difficult, it's not their neighbour's business. In the French line you can be perfectly professional but be a serial lover," she told Al Jazeera.

The French also have a long tradition for tough privacy laws that prevent newspapers and magazines publishing any intimate details of public figures' lives. For example, the French press kept Mitterrand's mistress secret for years.

Criminal act

"The French people are quite relaxed about a president or politician having mistresses and so on," Christian Roudaut, a French political commentator and writer, said.

"But we are in a different category here, we are talking about attempted rape, we are talking about criminal acts. This is why it's taken so seriously and it could be the end of Dominique Strauss-Kahn."

Poirier adds: "There is just one type of sex scandal in France. For a man to have an extra-marital affair, for a man to have a penchant for the opposite sex, it's not a scandal. A mistress is not considered news ... it doesn't have an effect on public life.

"Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a totally different thing, it's a sex scandal worthy of being treated in the public sphere. We're not talking about consent, we're talking about attempted rape, therefore it's a scandal."

More often in France, money is seen as a dirtier word than sex.

Last week, a picture of Strauss-Kahn being driven around in a Porsche set off the French press and political camps.

"There was a mini-storm because a Porsche costs a lot of money and the guy is a Socialist, and therefore he should be seen as having a less flamboyant lifestyle," Poirier said.

"Capitalism is a bit of a dirty word, it's seen with suspicion.

"In the latest polls, after the Porsche incident, people said they couldn't care less. But the next poll is likely to be very different."

Conn. man who ran $100 million Ponzi scheme gets prison

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man who tricked hundreds of investors into giving him more than $100 million on a promise of fat profits on diamonds and distressed properties has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Michael Goldberg was also ordered to undergo substance abuse and mental health evaluations. He must report to prison by July 18th.

The 40-year-old Goldberg pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud charges. Authorities recommended a 12- to 15-year sentence as well as restitution.

Goldberg's lawyers sought a lighter sentence, saying he turned himself in before authorities started investigating him and cooperated with investigators.

His victims lost $30 million in the scheme. Some said at a sentencing hearing earlier Monday that they lost homes, retirement savings and their children's college funds.

©2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The Dirty Old Man and the IMF

Saturday was a bad day for the New World Order.

New York police boarded the first-class cabin of an Air France jet bound for Paris to collar Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, a Grand Master of the Universe and the Socialist Party's hope to defeat President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.

Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he is known, was hauled back to New York and identified in a police lineup by an African maid at the Sofitel hotel as the man who emerged stark naked from the bathroom of his $3,000-a-night suite and tried to rape her.

DSK's political allies are howling entrapment. Yet his rap sheet is long. Called the Great Seducer, he was charged with the sexual harassment of a co-worker at the IMF and accused by a young French novelist of behaving like a "rutting chimpanzee" and trying to rape her when she contacted him about a book she was writing in 2002.

The novelist, Tristan Banon, now 31, is a goddaughter to DSK's second wife. She took a lawyer's advice not to file charges then. But, says the Guardian, Banon is about to file them now.

Monday, The New York Times wrote, "As the impact of Mr. Strauss-Kahn's predicament hit home, others, including some in the news media, began to reveal accounts, long suppressed or anonymous, of what they called Mr. Strauss-Kahn's previously predatory behavior toward women and his aggressive sexual pursuit of them, from students and journalists to subordinates."

What is this satyr doing running the IMF? How was a man of his Eurotrash reputation approved by the United States government? Such conduct may be pooh-poohed over the pond, but has our country dropped that low?

As is not infrequently the case, Rep. Ron Paul nails it: "These are the kind of people running the IMF, and we want to turn the world's finances and the control of the money supply (over) to them?"

Indeed, there are issues here far beyond the corruption of character that drives aging compulsive lechers to criminality when their prey resist.

One of those issues is: Why is the IMF still being funded by the United States?

With the World Bank, the IMF was birthed at Bretton Woods, N.H., in 1944. In the monetary order established there, the U.S. dollar would be tied to gold, and the free world's currencies would be tied to the dollar, all at fixed rates of exchange.

All would contribute funds in their own currency to the IMF. America would make the largest contribution. As its birthday gift, Uncle Sam gave the IMF 103 million ounces of gold.

When member nations faced balance-of-payments problems and had to devalue, the IMF would tide them over with bridge loans. The loans would be repaid as the troubled nations' reduced exchange rate led to rising exports and reduced imports.

The system worked until 1971, when through a series of guns-and-butter budgets during Vietnam, the world acquired an immense pile of excess dollars. The British decided to cash in several billion for U.S. gold.

No way, said President Nixon. He slammed the gold window shut, cut the dollar loose and let it float against the world's currencies. The Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates was dead. And the IMF, established to maintain it, should have died with it.

It did not, for as Ronald Reagan reminded us, the closest we come to eternal life on this earth is a government program.

For 40 years, the IMF has soldiered on, backed by both parties, plying its new trade – endless transfers of U.S. and Western wealth to bail out failing non-Western and anti-Western nations.

Under DSK, the IMF took on a new role that enchanted Europe.

It joined with the European Central Bank to provide hundreds of billions to bail out Greece, Ireland and Portugal, so these nations would not default on their debts and bring down the European banks that are stuffed full of Greek, Irish and Portuguese bonds.

Through the IMF, U.S. taxpayers are bailing out European nations to save European banks, just as U.S. taxpayers, through the Federal Reserve, secretly bailed out European banks throughout 2009 and 2010.

This is why the socialist Strauss-Kahn was a hero in the capitals of Europe. He was their agent in our capital.

Consider the winners and losers of this globalist racket.

The people of Greece, Ireland and Portugal endure austerity and recession for years, while the European banks are assured 100 cents on the dollar for their bonds. And the deal-makers like DSK are put up at $3,000-a-night hotel rooms, fly first class and get tax-free salaries larger than those of the president of the United States, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

Saturday at the Sofitel, we saw up-close the sense of arrogance and entitlement such privilege induces in our global elite.

Time to shut down the IMF and get back what's left of our gold.

Debt ceiling drama

The Cisco Kid Frottage with the Gangbanging Ponchos.

Dog Poet Transmitting.......

‘May your noses always be cold and wet’.

Where’s my Profiles in Evil, some of you might be asking that? I got to be in the mood. Sooner or later, probably after what I expect to happen shortly, I can get to that (grin).

Ahroooooooooooo! Most of the heavy breathing is going on in the banking community. After all, they run the world. They would be Cisco and the religious leaders and the politicians would be kind of a dual, Siamese Poncho. All of these units, in their pecking order, have gotten so used to screwing the pooch (that would be you; apologies to my dog Poncho) that they figure, “why not go mainstream with it and just take who we want, when we want them”?

This is why they want to give the Executive- administrative branch- full war powers and that is why they are covering legal access to themselves by manipulating those nine vultures, sitting on the dead branches of The Constitution, to grant them not only immunity but the right to do whatever they please, wherever they please; like in Indiana with Judge David. How did he go from the person he couldn’t possibly be in that blow-job, fluffer-op, to the heinous villain of personal rights that he just morphed into? Do I have the wrong Judge David? Please let me know. It won’t affect the rest of what I have to say (no idea what that will be) so I’ll just go on as if he is the one I’m talking about.

Well, I did a quick check and he is the very world class, slime ball I am referring to, so, never mind, or, maybe I’m wrong...

As I said, the really heavy breathing is coming from the top down through the Rothschild Vampire clan to all the nits and lice in three piece suits that do the marionette work with the Ponchos, on down through the dead branches of the ugly tree, that was once beautiful because The Constitution and Bill of Rights flowered on it, to the men and women in black, who bugger the laws in open court and then say, “sorry, no returns and no refunds and no lubricant, it’s the law”. What they are saying is that it is not enough to grope you in public, based on terror acts they committed, for that purpose; now they want to come into your house and hose you up against the washing machine (yes, as a matter of fact, you should have it running in the spin cycle) for their less than discreet needs.

Well, when you are all about plunder and milking and control and you have built empires of bullshit currency, game rigging, whatever... you know, shit happens and I can only hope that world leaders would do the right thing for those whom they serve... would that be the people? Would it be a higher or lower hierarchy of intent? Look closely folks... a whole lot of people have combined in a contributory way, with certain agendas and they are coming up against each other in some frightening ways and there is the tragic-comic factor too.

Listen up bankers; politicians, lawyers, entertainers, religious funda-dundas and sundry. It’s coming up through the ranks, down through the power lines and there is nothing you can do about it. Be wise and make the necessary changes, so that your country and people might prosper and survive.

Keep on doing what you are doing and, understand, you are walking to the gibbet, or Madame Guillotine, under your own power. Who is making you climb those stairs; walk that corridor and so on and so forth? You are. It would be best to come clean now and do yourself and the world a great, great favor. Do the right thing. Check yourself, because... well... here we are, aren’t we?

Some might say there is a conscious ruling force and some have another opinion. However, if you think about it, it still comes out the same. Something is moving now. Is it dominoes, the ineffable, numbers and letters, random-just sort of happened like this, where’s my dinner? Well, to each that is left for your own discrimination, analysis, conscience or lack thereof. It’s up to you on that account. What are you doing right now? I know some of the people who actually need to be reading this are hearing about it. May I suggest you cut your losses as much as you think you can, short of just letting go altogether?

Was there ever a time and a precipice like there is now? Surely there has been but... you are there. If you come clean, as much as you can and do the right thing, it will go well for you. Otherwise, well, surely you have some clue. You are not stupid. You got this far manipulating to your limit. Cut your losses and turn on your fellows, or wind up like that fellow from the IMF and worse than that is coming. See, it doesn’t matter what you believe is real. What matters is, what IS real (is that a pun?). Let me put it this way. You are standing in a niche in a subway tunnel. You think the train will just pass by you. What you do not comprehend is that that niche is mysteriously pressing outward now and there will soon be nothing but wall; no niche. Imagine in the piazza at Fiorenze (Florence), where the statues of Machiavelli and the other are recessed, if they were to be moved forward into the open. Yes, that is what you face. I have given you the only alternative. Throw yourself upon the mercy of the real court, since you have compromised the other.

Some of you are already doing what you can. Perhaps Iceland is an example of this. Some of you are wrestling with it and some of you are determined otherwise. Mark my words; the hour is late for you. Take the mercy that is there and be a hero to your people. Much can be forgiven if you act now. You are walking up those steps. Consider well.

Besides the one who moves among you now and throws your plans into confusion; who turns your dancing zombie, Bin Laden’s into jack in the box misfortunes, there is Nature to consider. You have aroused that which cannot be placated by any other means. Is it under control? Is it random? We shall see, won’t we?

Of course, some of you will not listen and the great herd is numbed by your sonorous and mesmerizing voice of fear. You are responsible for that. Note that your former protections and assurances are being removed. It is right in front of you. Will you continue, believing that you have the will and the might to force your template upon this sacred Earth? We shall see. I expect to hear; “Hey Poncho”! “Hey Cisco”! from a few of you as you do a Thelma and Louise off the cliff but... for many there is hope and never a better moment to cut your losses. You don’t want to be the lice in Donald Trump’s hair when it catches on fire.

This will not go away. We will not go away. It will not go away. It approaches. It is announcing itself. You can hear this. What are you doing? You are churning faster. You are pushing the fellow below you out into the traffic and you do not realize that someone is standing behind you. You no longer have the currency. Your protections are failing. Is it just a momentary waning of the moon? No, it is not.

This is a Sirius Song and it is coming down from Central Command. The old days are over and the ring of power and the reins are in transfer. Make your peace and do the right thing, while you still can. The time will come when that window will close and not open again for a long, long time.

For every soul who can hear, it is time to adjust your rhythm to the change in the score, to the arriving tempo; being out of step, increasingly so, leads directly into harm’s way. You are not the conductor. You have only been going through the motions and now your temporary place of power is losing its charge. Read the writing on the wall before you are put up against it and asked for your final words.

End Transmission.......

Song: And We Could All Be Free

Pay gap returns to Victorian levels as fat cats get 145 TIMES more than their workers

  • Average employee is paid £25,816, but the boss gets £3.75m
  • Salaries of corporate elite are 'out of control', says commission

A typical FTSE 100 executive enjoys a pay package of £3.75million – 145 times more than their workers receive, a report reveals today.

The High Pay Commission goes on to criticise fat-cat bosses for their ‘out of control’ pay.

The commission’s initial findings warn that income inequality has returned to levels not seen since Victorian England.

Income inequality has returned to levels not seen since Victorian England, pictured here in 1872 by Gustave Dore

The great divide: The High Pay Commission warns that the majority of people are struggling while a tiny percentage enjoys an increasingly lavish lifestyle

As a result, a tiny number of people are enjoying gold-plated pay packages while the majority of the country struggles to make ends meet.

The top 0.1 per cent of earners will see their pay rise to an estimated 14 per cent of total national income by 2030, according to the commission.

Its chairman, Deborah Hargreaves, said: ‘The gap between pay of the general public and the corporate elite is widening rapidly.

‘It is out of control. We have to ask ourselves whether we are paying more and getting less.’

Asked what they think about executive pay, more than 70 per cent of adults told researchers that it makes this country ‘grossly unequal’.

The rich get richer: The top 0.1 per cent of earners can expect to see their pay rise to an estimated 14 per cent of total national income by 2030

The rich get richer: The top 0.1 per cent of earners can expect to see their pay rise to an estimated 14 per cent of total national income by 2030

The average worker is paid £25,816, but their boss typically gets 145 times more with a £3.75million package.

The pay gap between the bottom and the top of the corporate ladder has widened considerably in the past decade. In 1999, the boss typically earned 69 times their worker’s salary.

By 2007 – the year the credit crunch struck – it peaked at 161 times. Despite the recession and banking crisis, it has narrowed only modestly.

The scale of the pay packages is eye-watering, with most of the winners working in the finance industry.

At Barclays, for example, 231 people scooped a total pay pot, including long-term incentive plans, of £554million. This is an average of £2.4million each. By comparison, a typical nurse is paid around £27,000.

The report comes after Sir Richard Lambert, former director general of the CBI business lobby group, warned bosses of big firms that they risked being ‘treated as aliens’.

He said: ‘It is difficult to persuade the public that profits are no more than the necessary lifeblood of a successful business if they see a small cohort at the top reaping such large rewards.

'If leaders of big companies seem to occupy a different galaxy from the rest of the community, they risk being treated as aliens.’

The High Pay Commission was set up in November to look at pay in the private sector. A final report will be published this autumn.

Strauss-Kahn sex scandal obscures real IMF story