Wednesday, June 20, 2012

G20 summit: Barroso blames eurozone crisis on US banks

EC president says European leaders have not come to Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy

José Manuel Barroso at the G20 summit
José Manuel Barroso at the G20 summit. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images
The opening day of the G20 summit was threatening to deteriorate into a fractious row between eurozone countries and other non-European members of the G20, notably the US, as EU commission president José Manuel Barroso insisted the origins of the eurozone crisis lay in the unorthodox policies of American capitalism.
As Europe's leaders came under intense pressure to act decisively to cure the euro's ills, and a campaign gathered pace to relax some of the austerity programmes laying waste to countries with unsustainable debt levels, Barroso said Europe had not come to the G20 summit in Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy. Asked by a Canadian journalist: "Why should North Americans risk their assets to help Europe?" he replied: "Frankly, we are not here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy.
"This crisis was not originated in Europe … seeing as you mention North America, this crisis originated in North America and much of our financial sector was contaminated by, how can I put it, unorthodox practices, from some sectors of the financial market."
Late on Monday , Antonis Samaras, the Greek election victor, announced he had agreed to build a coalition with the head of the socialist Pasok, Evangelos Venizelos, with aides saying they expected negotiations to be concluded by Tuesday. The moderate Democratic Left party may participate as well.
The European council's president Herman Van Rompuy, speaking alongside Barroso, said a draft G20 communique showed "support and encouragement for the euro area countries and leaders and for the European Union as a whole to overcome this crisis".
"We are not the only ones that are so-called responsible for the current economic problems all over the world," he said.
Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, is under pressure to soften her hardline stance on the austerity measures Europe imposed on indebted eurozone members, which the British chancellor George Osborne has claimed has killed economic growth. Barroso said he expected G20 leaders to "speak very clearly in favor of the approach the EU is following."
After the Greek election at the weekend, which may have shifted terms of the debate over how to shore up the euro, world leaders meeting in Mexico focused on the European crisis amid strong signs of big trouble brewing in Spain.
Madrid's 10-year cost of borrowing went through the 7% barrier on the bond markets for the first time in the single currency era, the level at which borrowing becomes unaffordable. The Spanish government demanded intervention from the European Central Bank.
Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, is expected to ask for up to €100bn in eurozone bailout funds for Spain's stricken banks at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday, senior Eurogroup sources said. Voicing exasperation with the European response to the debt crisis, Robert Zoellick, the outgoing American head of the World Bank, warned the G20 summit in Mexico of a growing rift between the Europeans in charge of the bailouts and the IMF.
"The world's waiting for the Europeans to say what they want to do," said Zoellick. He predicted a showdown between the IMF and Europe by the end of the summer in the absence of any decisive action.
Barack Obama was expected to press Merkel, in Mexico on Monday night on the issue of eurobonds – the pooling of liability for single currency countries' debt. But there is no chance of Merkel agreeing to underwrite the debt of other European countries for the foreseeable future.
Britain might have to seek fresh export markets outside the EU as the euro crisis was now facing such entrenched political obstacles that it could be impossible to resolve, he warned. "It may be that the eurozone crisis is going to continue for some time, in which case the UK must do all it can to put its own house in order and link up with the fastest growing parts of the world."
He said a longer term roadmap for a more stable single currency was going to be hard to achieve.
Fresh from his victory in the Greek election, the centre-right leader, Antonis Samaras, promptly tabled demands for a softening of the draconian austerity programme that Greece has to implement for the eurozone bailout.
Samaras, the prime minister-designate pledged to stick broadly to the Greek bailout terms but added: "We will simultaneously have to make some necessary amendments to the bailout agreement, in order to relieve the people of crippling unemployment and huge hardships."
Politicians and officials in Brussels and Germany appeared to suggest that the new Greek leader's demands could be at least partly satisfied by extending the repayment schedule on the bailout loans or lengthening the target deadlines for cutting the budget deficit.
There were also reports that the terms underpinning Ireland's bailout could also be relaxed, giving Dublin a much longer repayment schedule on the loans. The talk of rescheduling the Greek bailout terms surfaced quickly on Sunday night, with the German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, suggesting the Europeans could alter the timings. That triggered a row in Germany among the political class over the pros and cons of going easier on Greece.
In Brussels, the respected Bruegel thinktank said: "It is now increasingly clear that the [Greek] programme is severely off track. The [Samaras] victory doesn't change this fact and it has become unavoidable to open a discussion about the shape and form of a new Greek programme. This is a fact now broadly acknowledged by policymakers and in particular by German officials who have openly discussed the possibility of stretching fiscal targets."
Martin Schulz, the German social democrat who presides over the European parliament, added: "The new Greek government will be able to count on our constructive cooperation in possible fine-tuning of its reform strategy and economic targets. If Greece sticks to its commitments, the EU can examine what could be done further to solve the crisis."
From Mexico, however, Merkel appeared to dismiss any easing of the Greek conditions. "The new Greek government has to implement the commitments entered into by the country. The programme framework has to be kept."
The eurogroup source said that Samaras was expected to show up in Luxembourg on Thursday for the meeting of eurozone finance ministers which will grapple with Spain and how to respond to the Greek election results.

Millions will see pensions slashed by up to 20% as new EU rules are set to send annuities plummeting

Millions of people could see the value of their pensions slashed by up to 20 per cent because of new EU rules.
Those with a £100,000 pension fund could be more than £1,100 per year worse off in retirement because of the reforms, research has shown.
The Solvency II rules, which are due to come into effect in January 2014, will force pension funds to hold a higher proportion of 'safe' Government bonds.
Historic lows: The returns on Government bonds have fallen to record lows - which will hit pensions when new EU reforms are brought in
Historic lows: The returns on Government bonds have fallen to record lows - which will hit pensions when new EU reforms are brought in
As the bonds - called gilts - have such low rates of return it will drive down the returns on retirement fund annuities, which are used to pension income.
The reforms are designed to make pension funds safer and reduce the risk of them going bust.
Annuities, which set retirement income for life, have already fallen to historic lows because of the impact of quantitative easing.
At present, a pension annuity fund may invest 20 per cent in low-yield gilts and the rest in riskier corporate bonds which have a higher rate of return.

But under the new EU rules, annuity funds will be forced to hold a higher percentage of gilts.
New research by Deloitte suggests annuity rates will plunge by between five and 20 per cent when the directive comes into force in January 2014.
A £100,000 pension pot currently gives an income of £5,837, but once the regulations come into effect they will be between £292 and £1,167 a year worse off.
Plummeting pensions: New EU rules forcing funds to hold more Government bonds could see millions worse off in retirement
Plummeting pensions: New EU rules forcing funds to hold more Government bonds could see millions worse off in retirement
The return on government bonds has fallen in value because the Bank of England's quantitative easing programme has involved buying them up to inject an extra £325bn into the economy and investors are moving their funds from risky countries like Greece to Britain. This extra demand drives up their prices but consequently means that interest rate yields plunge.
Yields have fallen to historic lows, and the situation could get worse.


The Daily Mail City team looks at the effects of the new EU rules that could force companies to hold more capital in case of emergency.
Solvency 2, not solvent abuse. It is a controversial new set of rules for insurance companies from the European Union.
Shouldn’t all firms stay solvent?
Yes. In the case of insurance companies, regulators like to know they have enough money to pay pensions, car insurance claims and the like.
So why the new rules?
At the moment there are different solvency rules across the EU, and the authorities would like to harmonise.
Any other problems?
There are worries that Solvency II might force insurers to hold more capital against annuities, which would mean smaller pensions – another blow for people retiring.
Dr Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga, said: 'As a result of quantitative easing which has forced gilt rates down so pensioners are getting less in retirement for the money they have spent their whole lives saving.
'The EU rules will make the value of pensions fall further. Its a series of pieces of bad news for British pensioners.
'As a result of these rules everyone will get much less pension out of their fund. We don't know exactly how much less.
'We are anxious that the UK Government should stand up for UK pensioners.'
She added that plunging annuity rates are putting young people off saving for retirement.
In a double-whammy for male pensioners, new rules banning gender discrimination could hit retirement incomes.
At present, men get higher annuities because of their shorter life expectancies.
Richard Baddon, insurance partner at Deloitte, said: 'Annuity rates will also be affected by the EU gender ruling, due to be implemented at the end of the year.
'Men and women will be offered the same rates and although it isn’t yet clear how this will impact insurer pricing, it could mean that annuity rates fall for men and rise for women.'

Curing American Workers Of Green Card Blues And How Harvard Selects Students

John Williams of Shadow Stats tells us that the real US unemployment rate is 22%. Even the controlled press tells us that the youth unemployment rate is over 50% this summer.
A couple of months ago an attractive woman told President Obama that her husband was an electrical engineer who was unemployed for over two years. The President told her that he had been told that Green Cards are only issued after an employer could not find an American citizen to do that job. He promised to look into her husband’s case. Two months later her husband was still unemployed.
President Obama did give her and the rest of us an answer of sorts. On Friday he said he was going to ignore the law and allow illegal aliens to stay in America and attend college. The media sound bite sounded like it was for students., But it applied to any illegal under age 30 who came here in the past 14 years. By giving them two years to do whatever, he was granting them permanent residency. All they have to do is have a baby who will have instant citizenship.  That way they can get a drivers license and under the Motor Voter law of the Clinton era they can register and vote for Obama. They will qualify for affirmative action and get into professional schools and displace the younger generation from any hope of a career. That would allow the illegal aliens to replace citizens in the upper reaches of American society and power.
The younger American generation does not have many opportunities for a career that will pay them enough money to marry and have children. To date no Presidential candidate has bothered to address the fact that illegal immigration and affirmative action are robbing our young people of any ability to raise a family.
Green Cards have been given to illegal aliens who have been convicted of violent crimes in American courts. They are also given to illegal aliens working at manufacturing sites after they have been raided and the owners fined. To be fair this was standard practice under Bush and will likely continue under Romney.
All of these problems could easily be solved by honest and intelligent politicians. Unfortunately we have none in America.  My modest proposal is that all jobs held by Green Card holders be put up for open competition by listing them online and at local state unemployment offices so citizens could apply for actual existing jobs. After WW II returning soldiers were guaranteed their old jobs. All they had to do was walk in the door and the boss had to release whoever was filling that job. That is how the program to replace Green Card holders should work today. Of course the illegal aliens with criminal convictions in either the US or overseas should be immediately deported.
You might want to ask any congressional or senatorial candidate you are able to corner what they think of this plan.
I might add that I have attended lots of American universities and have seen affirmative action first hand. Most of the blacks attending Harvard are either  immigrants, have one white parent or are the children of Harvard graduates. Most are not from the American black community. of working people you see in your everyday life.
This is how Harvard selects students.
They first take care of the children of graduates who have made substantial gifts to the university. Then they take care of the children of the university’s professors. They also have to take care of the children of the National Security State. If your father is a general or is an assistant director of the CIA, FBI or the IRS, you go to the head of the line. I had a friend whose father had a high level IRS job and was interviewed by a professor whose research lab was so secret that my friend could never find in four years of looking. The Military Industrial Complex spends so much taxpayer money researching plagues, mind control other fun things to oppress the Gentiles. They feel this entitles them to giving their children admissions to the best schools. After these special people are admitted, they give out seats based on affirmative action for blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians. Then they take care of a few native residents of Massachusetts because Harvard owns a lot of the real estate in the the state  and their exemption from property taxes is a hot local issue. Then they take care of the Jews. As an after thought, they give the remaining seats to whites. The Jews are not listed under  affirmative action. They hide amidst the whites.  But on a disproportionate basis Jews take white positions. This discriminates against the people whose ancestors died fighting to protect Israel in favor of those who have no relatives serving in either  Iraq or Afghanistan.
My regular readers are aware that I am convinced that Israel did 911 and that the Jewish owned media covered it up. That is treason.. It follows that I see no reason for Jewish students to be allocated seats in a medical or law school reserved for whites. Their tribe declared war on America. Why should we sacrifice for the people who declared war on America?
If you ever want to end affirmative action, just pass a law requiring that Jews be allocated no more than twice their numbers in the general population. So if the Holohoaxers say 2% of the Americans  are Jews then no more than 4% of the medical students at Harvard should be Jewish, Currently, the Jews claim only 25% of those students in Harvard professional schools are Jews, But I had a Jewish friend who made it into Harvard Med on affirmative action as she was a female.  Her father was a publisher and her mother a New York lawyer. She was one crazy woman. Other Jews said she she should not have been accepted. She told me she was told to tell the Gentiles she was a lapsed Protestant so the Jews could pretend they were only 25% of the student body.
We need a serious debate on affirmative action and illegal immigration. If we cannot get it when the unemployment rate is 22%, when will we get it? When the Gentile unemployment rate is 27%?  30%? Or maybe 33%?  Or maybe never.
Notes: Israelis are insane. If you doubt me read this before commenting. John McCain does not always tell you the truth.
5 Minutes To Self-Immolation Of The Israeli Empire
There Never Was An American Empire Only A Machine That Consumed Us All
One of my most popular articles about the pond scum otherwise known as bankers was:
25 Reasons To Absolutely Despise Bankers And Their Minions
If you never studied the Holohoax, now is the time. Israel should no longer be allowed to use it to justify their war crimes.
Holy Holohoax. My Government Wouldn’t Lie To Me.

Greek Workers Keep Working Without Pay

The stereotype of the lazy Greek worker, putting in long hours but not producing much, and not declaring everything to the taxman, has dogged the country’s efforts to get international sympathy.
Andreas Solaro | AFP | Getty Images

And this cliché has permeated public opinion elsewhere. Greece is perceived as the least hard-working country in Europe by the British, the Germans, the Spanish, Poles and Czechs, according to a recent survey by Pew. Greeks who were surveyed pointed the finger at Italy as the laziest country.
Yet the picture is far from clear-cut. Greeks have less vacation time, and their retirement age is rising from the current average of 61 under the terms of the bailout.
The average Greek worker puts in 2,017 hours per year, more than any other European country. This is partly because there are more self-employed people, who tend to work longer hours, and fewer part-time employees to drag down the average.
There is also a problem with low productivity, particularly in the public sector, which employs around one-fifth of the population. Asked about the public sector, workers in the private sector mutter darkly about inefficiencies.
As the economic crisis deepens and the second Greek election in two months looms on Sunday, CNBC met plenty of Greeks who are belying the stereotype of laziness working without being paid. 

 Staff at the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens are still working despite being owed five months pay. The hospital’s new management team, parachuted in in February, has brought in a 15 percent pay cut – agreed with unions – but cannot even pay this until a tranche of financing comes through.
The hospital is in this predicament because it is run by a charitable foundation which used to get around 5 million euros ($6.3 million) annually. These funds have dried up following the euro [EUR=X  1.2688    0.0113  (+0.9%)   ] zone crisis. The private medical procedures which helped boost revenues have also shrunk dramatically.
“Some people are working because they hope their pay will come through. There’s also a problem with finding another job elsewhere. And there’s also a sentimental thing where they’re attached to their jobs,” Constantinos Mavrantonis, head of General & Colo-rectal Surgery at the hospital, told CNBC.
One of Greece’s best-known newspapers, Eleftherotypia (or “freedom of the press”), probably the closest Greek equivalent to The Guardian, all but closed down in December after the family business which backed it ran out of cash. Its staff haven’t been paid since August, yet around 600 of them (down from 850 last August) are planning two special editions of the newspaper around the election this weekend.
“We keep on working because we work in a business that has always been very liberal, we like the environment of the newspaper, and it is a newspaper that we truly believe in,” Katia Antoniadi, one of the journalists at Eleftherotypia, told CNBC.
“Of course, we also know that if we go out and look for another job we will get nothing, because the media in Greece is in crisis.”
Written by Catherine Boyle, CNBC. Twitter: @catboyle01
© 2012

All Over America Government Agents of Tyranny Are Forcing Preppers Back On To The Grid

Michael Snyder, Contributor
Activist Post

In recent years there have been huge numbers of Americans that have sought to go "off the grid" and live a more independent lifestyle. It has been estimated that there are now approximately 3 million "preppers" in the United States, and many of them just want to be left alone so that they can take care of themselves and their families on their own land. But that is not the way America works anymore.

In many areas of the country, government control freaks have essentially declared war on preppers and are attempting to force them back on to the grid. In some states, "nuisance abatement teams" are conducting armed raids on off the grid properties. Property owners are being cited for "code violations" and are being told that they are "bothering the neighbors". In some cases, trees and gardens are being forcibly removed. In other cases, entire structures are being relocated or torn down. And in the most extreme cases, property owners are actually being forced off of their properties completely by these control freaks. 

You see, the truth is that in America you don't really own your property. You are essentially renting it, and you can only do with it what the government allows you to do. And the government does not like people disconnecting from the grid and living an independent lifestyle. So these battles over property rights are probably going to get even more intense in the years ahead.

These days, many Americans are choosing to grow "survival gardens" as a way to help feed their families and become more independent of the system.

 But in some areas of the country these survival gardens are being forcibly ripped out by government control freaks. Just check out what happened to one unemployed woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma....

A Tulsa woman is suing the city's code enforcement officers after she said they cut down her garden with no cause.
Denise Morrison said she has more than 100 plant varieties in her front and back yards and all of them are edible and have a purpose.
She knows which ones will treat arthritis, which will make your food spicy, which ones keep mosquitoes away and treat bug bites, but she said none of that matter to city inspectors.
Last August, Morrison's front and back yards were filled with flowers in bloom, lemon, stevia, garlic chives, grapes, strawberries, apple mint, spearmint, peppermint, an apple tree, walnut tree, pecan trees and much more.
The government agents left her with nothing. They ripped her garden to shreds. She was relying on that garden for her food and her medicine. Because she is unemployed, she doesn't have any money to go to the store and buy all those things.

Now she is absolutely destitute....
'I came back three days later, sat in my driveway, cried and left,' Morrison said.
Oh, but at least the government agents can report that "everything is now up to code".

What is happening to this country?

In the state of California, armed "nuisance abatement teams" are intimidating property owners into getting connected back into the grid, and in some instances they are forcing homeowners off their land entirely.

When I first watched the videos posted below I got quite angry.

This first video is about government control freaks driving people off their land in the California desert....

This second video is also about what is going on with "off the grid" properties in California....

After watching those videos, it is easy to understand why millions of people have been leaving the state.

Those who are running things do not want us to be independent. Rather, they want us completely and totally dependent on the "nanny state" from the cradle to the grave. They want us as "connected" to the system as possible so that they can watch us, monitor us and control us.

Sadly, most Americans do not even realize that the United States is slowly but surely being transformed into a giant prison control grid.

This is happening in thousands of different ways.

For example, eventually all of us will not be able to go anywhere without our faces being recognized and recorded.

Yes, just like the movie Minority Report. In fact, facial recognition advertising billboards are already being used in Japan.

Facial recognition is even being used on the Internet. Facebook recently purchased a facial recognition startup company called This startup company has technology that can positively identify you in any photo and can even guess your age.

The following is from an official statement on the website....
Facebook has acquired! Our mission is and has always been to find new and exciting ways to make face recognition a fun, engaging part of people’s lives, and incorporate remarkable technology into everyday consumer products. If you’re anything like us, Facebook is a part of your life every single day. We keep up with our friends and family, share interesting (or mundane) experiences from our daily lives, and perhaps most importantly for us, we share a LOT of photos.
The truth is that nothing any of us do on the Internet will ever be private again. That ship has already sailed.

We still have a lot of freedom to say what we want on the Internet, but that window is rapidly closing as well.

Internet censorship in the United States is growing at a very fast pace, and it is only a matter of time before entire websites start getting shut down for political reasons.

The following is from a recent CNN article about the explosive growth of Internet censorship....
In the last half of 2011, U.S. agencies asked Google to remove 6,192 individual pieces of content from its search results, blog posts or archives of online videos, according to the report. That's up 718% compared with the 757 such items that U.S. agencies asked Google to remove in the six months prior.
If they don't like what we do on the Internet, they will just come in and wipe it out.

If they don't like what we do on our land, they will just come in and chop it down or forcibly remove it.

We do not live in the "land of the free" anymore.

"Amerika" is becoming a prison state.

And every single year the prison grid gets tighter and more oppressive in thousands of different ways.

If you are doing something "out of the box" on your own property right now, you might want to keep it very quiet.

If the wrong person finds out, an armed "nuisance abatement team" might just show up at your door one morning and hit you with several dozen "code violations".

I don't know what country we are living in, but it sure isn't America.

This article first appeared here at the American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

A Silver Bullet for the World Economic Crisis

Obama is in Mexico for yet another G20 meeting of the international socialist politburo.  We are told the discussions at the meeting are centered on the European economic crisis.
The United States government is set to spend about $2.4 trillion this year.  The mainstream propagandists are telling us that if Spain and Greece fold on their debt, it will wipe out our economy.  Spain is in debt $2.4 trillion and Greece is in debt $553 billion.  These are not little numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact remains the total is about $553 billion more than we spend in a year.

Considering we do not owe the Greek debt nor the Spanish debt, how could this relatively small amount wipe up out?  Are we a part of some kind of bizarre international insurance pool wherein the guy across town totals his Volkswagen and we lose our farm?
This is all not but one big con.  Since when did we the people of the United States become responsible for the debts of other nations?  You will say we are not being told we have to pay that debt, but the fact is the central banks in Spain and Greece have already gotten billions in bailout moneys from the Federal Reserve borrowed in our names.
We are being told that the people of Germany are going to have to bail out Greece and Spain.  If so, what would any of it have to do with us?  Have we become nothing more than just another entry on an international elitist’s portfolio and when one of his stocks/countries loses wealth, the entire stock portfolio goes down?
I guess the US economy is going to have to completely crash before the US citizenry pulls its head out of the clouds and looks down to see the 101 elitist hands rummaging through its pockets.
Our debt, Spain’s debt, Greece’s debt, every debt of every country around the world has been created through what is an admitted fraud and all we seem to be able to do is listen to the thieves, who created the fraudulent debt, argue as to how we the people are going to pay to further finance it.
There is a silver bullet don’t you know.  It is right there in plain sight.  And every scum sucking one of these parasites that make up the insurgency in control of our government knows what that silver bullet is.  The fact is the silver bullet has already been used and has worked flawlessly.  But you will not hear about it through the mainstream banker owned propaganda machine.
So are you ready for the big secret?  Well here you go.
Iceland, on the verge of bankruptcy, fired the silver bullet.  They arrested the central bankers in their country, got rid of their central banks, and simply deleted the fraudulent debt that they did not owe, as it was created through an international criminal act.  And now the Icelandic economy is booming.  Go figure.
God bless the Republic, death to the international corporate mafia, we shall prevail.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I started out with nothing...

Eurozone crisis: Spanish debt fears cut short markets' Greek relief

Traders look at computer boards at the stock exchange in Madrid
Traders study charts at the stock exchange in Madrid. Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters
A rally in financial markets at the result of Greece's election lasted barely an hour amid growing fears that Europe's worsening debt crisis was about to engulf Spain.
Interest rates on Spain's debt rose sharply to hit 7.26% at one point as relief at the possibility of a pro-austerity government being formed in Athens quickly faded.
Dealers quickly had second thoughts about the impact of the second Greek poll in two months, selling shares and driving up bond yields in anticipation that Spain will become the fourth eurozone country to require a full-scale bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Share prices in Spain and Italy – the two countries seen as most vulnerable to contagion from Greece – fell 3%, while an early rise in the City fizzled out to leave the FTSE 100 just 12 points higher at 5491. Interest rates on Spain's borrowing are at levels that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek outside financial assistance, and in a day of nervous trading, risk-averse investors sought out the traditional safe havens of the Swiss franc and German bonds.
Stephen Lewis, of Monument Securities, said: "The Greek election result averts the most immediately alarming scenarios for the eurozone but makes no fundamental change in the medium term outlook."
Markets have become increasingly concerned in recent weeks that the austerity programmes in the eurozone are causing a vicious circle of recession and higher levels of debt. One analyst said Greece's problems were so intractable that a new pro-austerity government was unlikely to remain in office until the end of the year.
Graham Turner, of GFC Economics, said: "By common consent, there will be another election within six months, when Syriza is widely expected to take control. However, whoever governs Greece will be faced with a similar compelling logic. A second debt restructuring will be required to keep Greece within the single currency."
The Greek election provided a sombre backdrop to the gathering of developed and developing nations at the G20 summit in Mexico but the inability of previous summits to resolve the debt crisis meant markets were sceptical about the outcome. Instead, the immediate focus was on whether Madrid would be able to sell up to €5bn (£4bn) of bonds in two debt auctions this week, starting with one on Tuesday.
Markets were left confused by the mixed messages from European capitals, with Berlin first seeming to be willing to grant Greece more time to put its public finances in order then pouring cold water on the idea. Discussions between Athens and its European creditors will begin as soon as a new national unity government is formed.
Ben May, European economist at Capital Economics, said the result in Greece, which left the centre-right New Democracy party with most seats in the new parliament, was the best realistic outcome from an election in which markets had predicted immediate mayhem had victory gone to the anti-austerity Syriza coalition. He added, however, that Greece could still be forced out of the single currency by the end of the year.
"What's more, policymakers will need to take much greater action, perhaps including significant steps towards full fiscal and banking union, to prevent a bigger, more damaging form of break-up."
Neil MacKinnon, a VTB Capital analyst, noted that Greece "remains in a debt trap and the economy is still stuck in a depression." He concluded "ultimately, the scenario of a Greek exit from monetary union remains in place."
Reports from Dublin said that the Irish government, praised by European policymakers for its willingness to adopt tough austerity measures, will get more time to pay back the €85bn it has borrowed from Europe and the IMF. Under the terms of its bailout, Dublin is supposed to clear its debt within 15 years but the likelihood that much of the 17-nation eurozone will soon be back in recession has prompted a rethink that may see Ireland's loan repayment period extended to 30 years.
Oil prices fell sharply on expectation that the eurozone crisis will lead to weaker global demand. A barrel of Brent crude was trading at just over $96 a barrel, more than $30 down on its recent peak in March. Germany's DAX closed 0.3% higher at 6,248.20, France's CAC-40 fell 0.7% to 3,066.19, while the Dow Jones industrial average in New York was down 14 points in afternoon trading. Interest rates on Italy's 10-year bonds rose to just over 6%, prompting a call from the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, that urgent action was needed to prevent a domino effect across Europe.
Writing in the London Evening Standard, Balls said: "The eurozone must admit that muddling through, patching up bank vulnerabilities, country by country, while sticking to the ideology of austerity has failed and is now building to a catastrophe." Balls said there needed to be a recapitalisation of troubled banks and a role for the European Central Bank as a lender of last resort in order to restore confidence in the financial markets.
"That deep uncertainty is why last week's bailout of Spanish banks has not restored confidence. And it is why, without a proper firewall to stop contagion spreading to other troubled economies such as Spain and Italy, a disorderly Greek exit would be catastrophic not only for Greece but for the rest of Europe and the world economy."

$4 Trillion In Secret Bailouts Given To Fed Members Own Banks!!!! We Now Have Names!!

'How would a Jewish person feel if you put a swastika on a shoe?' Adidas under fire for unveiling new trainer with orange 'shackles' like those worn by black slaves

  • JS Roundhouse Mids have bright 'shackles' that fit around wearer's ankles
  • Many have compared devices to those worn by black slaves in America
  • 2,000 label design 'offensive, ignorant' and say Adidas 'sunk to new lows'

Adidas has come under fire for creating a pair of trainers with ‘shackles’.
Critics have compared the ‘JS Roundhouse Mids’, to be released in August, to the chains worn by black slaves in the 19th century.
The firm unveiled the trainers on its Facebook page. They feature plastic orange ‘shackles’ attached to the ankles by chains in the same colour.
The shoes have sparked an angry debate online. More than 2,000 Facebook users have commented, with many calling the design ‘offensive’ and ‘ignorant’, saying the firm has ‘sunk to new lows’ with its ‘slavewear’ product.
Outrage: Adidas has sparked anger and been accused of 'promoting slavery' by creating a new pair of trainers which have bright orange 'shackles' that fit around the wearer's ankles
Outrage: Adidas has sparked anger and been accused of 'promoting slavery' by creating a new pair of trainers which have bright orange 'shackles' that fit around the wearer's ankles

BBY48R Captives being brought on board a slave ship on the West Coast of Africa (Slave Coast). Wood engraving c1880
Controversial: Many have said the shoes have connotations of the slave trade (left) and prisoners (right)
One, ‘Kay Tee’, said: ‘It’s offensive and inappropriate in many ways… How would a Jewish person feel if they decided to have a shoe with a swastika on it and tried to claim it was OK in the name of fashion?’
Dr Boyce Watkins, writing for Your Black World,  said: 'Shackles. The stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable.

'Most of which were never documented in the history books and kept away from you in the educational system, all so you'd be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it.'
The Professor at Syracuse University said he accepted some people would accuse him of overreacting.
But he added: 'There is always a group of negroes who are more than happy to resubmit themselves to slavery.
Anger: More than 2,000 people have labelled the design 'offensive' and 'ignorant' and say the firm has 'sunk to new lows' in its 'slavewear' product
Anger: More than 2,000 people have labelled the design 'offensive' and 'ignorant' and say the firm has 'sunk to new lows' in its 'slavewear' product

'I'm offended by these shoes as there is nothing funny about the prison industrial complex, which is the most genocidal thing to happen to the black family since slavery itself.'
Others have likened the shoes' orange 'bracelets' to the shackles worn by prisoners across the America, or said the firm is 'promoting slavery'.
Kay Tee added: 'Regardless if the company was saying the shoes are so hot you have to chain them to you, or they were capitalising on the whole prison style popularity.
'But corporate business has a social responsibility above all to consider these perceptions before releasing a product like this.
Adidas has not yet commented.
It seems Adidas did not want to be outdone by fierce competitor Nike in the controversial shoe design stakes.
Controversial: Nike has provoked outrage by launching a new Black and Tan line of trainers for St Patrick's Day
Controversial: Nike has provoked outrage by launching a new Black and Tan line of trainers for St Patrick's Day
In March, Nike was accused of 'huge insensitivity' for launching a £70 'beer-themed' trainer called 'The Black and Tan' in time for St Patrick's Day.
The firm apologised, saying it was an innocent name designed to chime with the often boozy celebrations for Ireland's patron saint.
To others, however, it was a historical affront reviving bitter memories of a British unit sent to Ireland to suppress revolt in the 1920s.
That is because the Black and Tans was the nickname given to the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, which became notorious for a brutal crackdown during the independence war.
One outraged Irish American claimed it was the equivalent of calling a shoe ‘the Al Qaeda’.
The trainer is officially called the Nike SB Dunk Low, but has been nicknamed The Black and Tan for its colourings. An advertisement for the shoe says: ‘Tis the season for Irish beer and why not celebrate with Nike.
Crackdown: British police, known as Black and Tans for their mix-and-match military outfits of dark wool and khaki, hold a suspected Sinn Fein member at gunpoint and search him for weapons
Crackdown: British police, known as Black and Tans for their mix-and-match military outfits of dark wool and khaki, hold a suspected Sinn Fein member at gunpoint and search him for weapons
‘The Black and Tan sneaker takes inspiration for the fine balancing act of a stout on top a pale ale in a pint glass.’
Others Irish Americans criticised Nike for being ‘oblivious’ to the historical connotation.
Six years ago ice cream firm Ben & Jerry’s caused a furore when it launched a Black and Tan flavour. The product was quickly withdrawn.
Athough only deployed from 1920 to 1922, nationalist Ireland still associates the Black and Tans with murder, brutality, massacre and indiscipline in the years leading to southern Ireland's independence
Historians say there is no dispute that 'the Tans' killed and destroyed on a large scale, and recorded that when a Tan was killed in Cork, they burnt down more than 300 buildings.
The Catholic cardinal of the day called them 'a horde of savages, some of them simply brigands, burglars and thieves'.

Bankers steal Greek Elections - More bailouts and austerity coming

Gore’s eco-friendly firm lands $16M contract to manage NYC pension funds

Here’s an inconvenient truth: New York is greening the wallet of Al Gore.
Embattled city Comptroller John Liu has delivered a $16.56 million contract to the former vice president’s environmentally friendly investment firm, Generation Investment Management, to help manage hundreds of millions of dollars in city pension funds, The Post has learned.
The Comptroller’s Office had previously awarded Gore’s firm $12.8 million in pension-fund business under Liu’s predecessor, Bill Thompson.
Since 2009, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has approved $6 million in contracts to the firm, co-founded and chaired by Gore. Generation now manages nearly a half-billion dollars of state pension-fund investments, records show.
GETTING GREEN: A financial firm chaired by Al Gore, here in his film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” has been tapped to manage city pension funds.
JOHN LIU Grants contract.
In total, that’s more than $35 million in greenbacks to Gore’s firm.
Liu’s office proposes investment-management contracts to the board of trustees of the city’s five major pension funds. Generation is an investment manager for two of them: the New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS) and the Police Pension Fund.
But the Gore connection has been a closely held secret.
One NYCERS trustee said he didn’t even know Gore’s firm was a city investment manager.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gold Deposits Of USD 1 Billion To Be Collected By Turkish Bank

Today's AM fix was USD 1,589.25, EUR 1,271.40, and GBP 1,025.65 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,593.00, EUR 1,264.79, and GBP 1,023.45 per ounce.

Gold climbed $5.60 or 0.35% yesterday in New York and closed at $1,600.20/oz despite stock markets giving up early gains on misguided optimism regarding the Spanish “bailout”.

The risk of contagion remains real and European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro.

GoldCore Gold Bullion XAU/EUR 1 Month Chart – (Bloomberg)

While the technicals are poor, the fundamentals remain sound with the euro zone debt crisis far from resolved. Indeed, the euro zone debt crisis will likely morph into the global debt crisis in the coming months when markets turn their attention to the Chinese property bubble and the poor fiscal position of Japan, the UK and the U.S.

GoldCore Gold Bullion Gold USD 1 Month Chart – (Bloomberg)

Turkiye Is Bankası AS, Turkey’s biggest bank by assets, plans to collect $1 billion of gold in its deposit accounts by the end of the year, citing deputy chief executive officer Erdal Aral.

As much as 5,000 metric tons of gold is stored “under the mattress” in Turkey, Aral said, according to the Istanbul-based newspaper.

Gold has always been seen as money and as a store of wealth in Turkey and now the country is leading the way with regards to the remonetisation of gold in the 21st Century.

Silver is trading at $28.53/oz, €22.91/oz and £18.44/oz.

Platinum is trading at $1,440.00/oz, palladium at $615.90/oz and rhodium at $1,200/oz.

Americans are the Losers in the Blame Game

In the private sector job loss continues, more 401Ks are gone, and more houses are being foreclosed upon.  Of course the blame is being placed on the public sector, which is now seeing jobs cut and pension plans eliminated which will be followed by home foreclosures.  With the further loss of revenue in consumer spending there will be more job losses, ect. ect., in the private sector leading to decreasing tax revenues and calls for more cuts in the public sector.
Why can’t those still left in the middle class see these evident events occurring right in front of their eyes?  Why do they continue to cut one another’s throats to the benefit of the power elite?  In the world of supply and demand we now have about 10,000 individuals competing for every job still left in our economy.

Wages are falling, benefits are falling, and the US standard of living continues to plunge as the brain dead Americans just stand around parroting the slogans and buzz words being fed to them through the mainstream propaganda machine, which is aiding in the destruction of America through the never ending application of the false left-right paradigm (the blame game).
It has now been four years since the discovery of the fraudulent derivative scheme that has resulted in the theft of some $35 trillion from the American people.  This was a swindle, a fraud, a robbery.  These are crimes.  Yet as we the American people are held to a standard of zero tolerance for violation of the most menial of policies like the seatbelt law, not one, zero, zip, zilch, not a single one of these international criminals has so much as been investigated, let alone prosecuted, punished, or made to return what they have stolen.
Why?  Because the American people are just too weak and cowardly to force the issue.  It is much easier and safer to accept the theft and blame the condition of the economy on one another and the most severely affected victims of the swindle.  It is much easier to take Social Security from old people and food from the mouths of poor children than to confront and stand up the international corporate bullies.
There is going to be a revolution in this country.  There is no way to stop it, as none are willing to admit to the truth of the situation until it has dragged them down to the ground where they can actually see the corporate elite spitting on them as they grind them under their heels.
God bless the Republic, death to the international corporate mafia, we shall prevail.

Bad Balance: US women paid less than men despite calls for equality

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"The REAL Reason Wisconsin Failed To Recall Scott Walker" - M.O.C. #147

Or, Wisconsin Is Just The Beginning.

Now that corporations not only 'are people' but also can spend infinitely obscene amounts of the money they stole from us on slick high tech election propaganda, political corruption is transforming the political landscape in America in much the same way that, after the 3/11 nuclear crisis,  radioactivity is  affecting Japan.   It has not even begun to get bad.

Here is an excerpt from the video below, another excellent Moment of Clarity by Lee Camp.  If for some reason you prefer to avoid strong language, the safe-for-work-and-kids version is here.

"And I'm not saying money is the only thing to blame.  The Democratic establishment abandoned wisconsin like firefighters letting one area burn to ashes in a last ditch effort to save other area.  Wisconsin is just the beginning of billions of dollars dumped into our system.  How much does it cost to convince the people that Darth Vader is just misunderstood, and would make a great senator? Or that Jeffrey Dahmer was just an eccentric lover of exotic foods, who would kick ass as Governor? How mush would it cost?  I don't know, but we're about to find out."

"Really, Wisconsin?  Scott Walker?  Has all that cheese fermented inside your goddamned skulls?  You watched a man come into your house, steal your money,  sell the contents of your fridge to his billionaire friends, smack your kids, and kick your dog, and then, when you had the chance to make him leave, you said, 'Hold on.  I think he has some good ideas.'"

One more thing, about money being the root of all evil. If you were curious as to how or why this is the case, think about this:

The original Latin phrase is "radix enim omnium malorum est cupiditas" (a phrase Chaucer, in the Pardoner's Tale, quotes from the vulgate Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10). Here's a rundown of the Latin: Radix, root; enim, truly; omnium, all; malorum, of all evils; est, is; cupiditas, avarice or greed.

So properly understood, the root of all evils is not money but the love of money.  Avarice is the root of all kinds of evil.  

Allow me to extend my initial analogy -- let's see if it applies. Is it that it isn't radioactive elements that are the problem, it is the inherently unsafe nature of the nuclear fuel cycle?  Or is the root of all kinds of evil the inevitable regulatory capture that prevents any meaningful oversight of the nuclear industry? Or is it instead the tacit unquestioned priority given to a military industrial complex addicted to the guarantee of continued sociopolitical superiority offered by weapons of mass destruction?

No wait, actually, come to think of it, properly understood, the root of all evils is not money but the love of money.  Avarice is the root of all kinds of evil. 

Not very comforting, given the economic situation.  Which, by the way, has also just begun to get bad.

Be seeing you.

Fitch downgrades Spain's Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao

Fitch credit ratings agency has downgraded Spain's two largest international banks Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) from A to triple B plus.

The international credit agency said on Monday that the downgrades were primarily because Spanish sovereign debt ratings had been downgraded to BBB- from A- on June 7 and also due to forecasts that Spain's faltering economy would remain in recession throughout this year and also in 2013.

The downgrades "reflect similar concerns to those that have affected the Spanish sovereign rating, in particular, that Spain is forecasted to remain in recession through the remainder of this year and 2013 compared to the previous expectation that the economy would benefit from a mild recovery," Fitch said in a statement.

The move comes just two days after eurozone finance ministers agreed to help Spain’s troubled banking sector with a 100 billion euros loan.

On Thursday, Fitch downgraded Spain’s long-term foreign and local currency rating by three notches citing the country's banking crisis, mushrooming debt and recession as the main reasons for the downgrade.

Spain’s central bank reported last month that the country's economy will shrink in the second quarter of 2012, with the recession expected to continue until at least mid-2012.

Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs. In May, Spain fell back into recession.

Gerald Celente: American dream debunked

Family net worth plummets nearly 40%

Family net worth plummets 40%
Income and net worth fell from 2007 to 2010.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The average American family’s net worth dropped almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, according to a triennial study released Monday by the Federal Reserve.
The stunning drop in median net worth — from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 — indicates that the recession wiped away 18 years of savings and investment by families.
The Fed study, called the Survey of Consumer Finances, offers details on savings, income, debt, as well as assets and investments owned by American families.
The results, though more than a year old, highlight the marked deterioration in household finances brought on by the financial crisis and ensuing recession.
Much of the drop off in net worth — to levels not seen since 1992 — was attributable to a sharp decline in housing values, the Fed said.
In 2007, the median homeowner had a net worth of $246,000. Three years later that number had fallen to $174,500, a loss of more than $70,000 on average.

Families who reside in the west and south, where the housing market was especially hard hit by the recession, were worse off than their peers in the rest of the country.
Making matters worse, income levels also fell during the tumultuous three-year period, with median pre-tax income falling 7.7% as earnings from capital gains all but disappeared.
The loss of income and net worth appears to have impacted savings rates, as the number of Americans who said they saved in the prior year fell from 56.4% in 2007 to 52.0% in 2010 — the lowest level recorded since the early 1990s.

 t the same time, some families were able to escape from debt, as the share of families with debt decreased slightly to 74.9% over the three-year period. Credit card use was down, and the median account balance fell 16.1%.
Meanwhile, families who did report carrying debt showed little change in the degree of indebtedness over the period.
Lower interest rates helped keep debt levels down, but the number of Americans who had fallen more than 60 days behind on debt payments still grew from 7.1% to 10.8% in 2010.
The report also indicated that families with more assets at the start of the recession were able to retain more of their net worth than less fortunate families.
Families in the top 10% of income actually saw their net worth increase over the period, rising from a median of $1.17 million in 2007 to $1.19 million in 2010.
Meanwhile, middle-class families who ranked in the 40th to 60th percentile of income earners reported that their median income fell from $92,300 to $65,900 over the same time period. To top of page

Wall Street Shrugs as JPMorgan Trades Lop Off $27 Billion

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon plans to testify before Congress this week about his firm’s $2 billion trading loss. His Wall Street colleagues don’t understand why.
“Occasional losses are inevitable,” said Blackstone Group LP (BX)’s Stephen A. Schwarzman, 65, CEO of the largest private- equity firm. “Publicly excoriating JPMorgan serves no purpose except to reduce people’s confidence in the financial system.”

The loss sliced $27 billion from JPMorgan’s market value in the month after the May 10 disclosure, while triggering at least five federal probes and two planned Capitol Hill hearings with Dimon. It also renewed debate about whether curbs on trading by bankers were tightened enough after their wrong-way bets pushed the system to the brink of collapse in 2008.
Executives, lobbyists and analysts said in more than a dozen interviews that the public stir is an overreaction to a minor misstep.
“I kind of shrug,” said Bill Archer, 58, a former co- chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s capital markets committee and now a partner at buyout firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson LLC in New York. “That’s just the way the world is.”
JPMorgan shares dropped 17 percent through last week after the New York-based bank, the largest in the U.S., disclosed the losses on credit derivatives held by its chief investment office. Dimon, 56, had shifted the unit from a conservative manager of unused cash into a profit center that bet on riskier assets, former employees have said. Some wagers became so large that they were driving prices in the $10 trillion market and couldn’t easily be unwound, Bloomberg News reported.

Bigger or Safer

U.S. banks can be tiny and safe or big global competitors that make mistakes, Archer said. “There are wrongs that come with too-big-to-fail, but there are a lot of rights,” he said.
Executives who say the loss is small for a firm that earned $19 billion last year are missing the warning it represents about unwieldy large lenders, said Richard Sylla, a financial historian at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
“Even a great banker like James Dimon can’t really manage such a huge operation,” Sylla said. “They convince themselves that everything is fine because they’re making money.”
U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry told the Senate Banking Committee last week that the loss raises “questions about the adequacy and rigor” of the bank’s risk management. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner last month called it a “pretty significant risk-management failure.”

U.S. Probes

Government investigations include the Federal Reserve studying organizational issues, the comptroller looking into trading, and the Securities and Exchange Commission examining why the bank changed internal risk gauges earlier this year. The Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are also conducting inquiries, Bloomberg reported.
Joseph Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman, declined to comment for this article.
Dimon, who averaged more than $1.9 million a month in salary and bonuses in 2010 and 2011, dismissed initial concerns and news reports as “a complete tempest in a teapot” on an April 13 call with analysts. Dimon later said on May 10 when he disclosed the loss that he should have paid more attention.
The market’s response and media coverage since then have been overwrought considering the size of the loss and its actual impact, said a JPMorgan executive who wasn’t authorized to speak on internal views. Quarterly profit is projected at $3.7 billion, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

‘Everyone Screams’

“If they had made $4 billion no one would have noticed, but everyone screams when they lose $2 billion,” said Jay Dweck, who led a modeling group for sales and trading at New York-based Morgan Stanley until last year. The alarm “is irrational and unfair,” he said.
Richard Marin, former head of asset management at Bear Stearns Cos., which was taken over by JPMorgan during the 2008 financial crisis, would recommend shares of the bank to anyone who has traded them away. “If you sold the crisis, buy the reality,” Marin said. “Lapses do occur.”
Losses come and go every few years, said Philip Keevil, a former head of European mergers at Citigroup Inc. (C) Advocates of tightening the so-called Volcker rule, which restricts banks’ proprietary trading, want “to use it for their own ends” and have been “piling on,” said Keevil, now a partner at Compass Advisers Group LLC in New York.

‘Small Beer’

“I don’t think it’s a big issue,” BlackRock Inc. Chairman Larry Fink told CNBC June 7. Steven Rattner, co-founder of private-equity firm Quadrangle Group LLC, mentioned his friendship with Dimon in a May 14 Financial Times commentary before calling the JPMorgan loss “small beer.”
The bank still has support of analysts including Wells Fargo & Co.’s Matthew Burnell, who affirmed his buy rating the day of the loss announcement. A 6 percent after-hours drop in the stock price was “somewhat outsized,” he said then. In the days that followed, Credit Suisse Group AG and Royal Bank of Canada labeled the loss a “blemish,” with RBC and Goldman Sachs repeating their buy ratings in reports that both called JPMorgan “down but not out.”
“Anyone can run the numbers and see,” Citigroup said in a May 21 report, calling JPMorgan an “absolute buy.” Estimates of losses more than doubling are “getting a bit carried away.”

Regulatory Reaction

Investors and bankers, including Dimon, have speculated that the loss may hurt efforts to soften restrictions imposed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and its Volcker rule, which were designed to head off a repeat of the financial crisis. Dimon will face the Senate Banking Committee on June 13 and the House Financial Services Committee June 19.
“Everyone needs to take a half step back,” said Rob Nichols, CEO of the Financial Services Forum, a Washington-based lobbying organization. “Since the crisis there have been numerous reforms that have improved the safety, the soundness, that make our system more safe and more secure.”
His group, led by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, includes heads of 20 global financial firms. Dimon is a member.
The market’s punishment of JPMorgan’s stock is effective and an “argument for less regulation,” Hester Peirce, a researcher at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, wrote last month. Mercatus is funded by billionaire Charles Koch, according to the Koch Family website.

Losses Happen

“There is no law that says you can’t lose money,” said H. Frederick Krimendahl II, chairman of New York-based real estate investor Petrus Partners Ltd. and a former Goldman Sachs management-committee member. “The reason that I shrug is that I don’t think anybody got badly hurt in this” except JPMorgan.
Schwarzman, New York-based Blackstone’s chief, said losses can’t be prevented “by legislation, regulation, supervision or other forms of planning.” JPMorgan’s loss amounts to about 7 percent of its pretax earnings expected this year, he said.
Dismissiveness is dangerous, according to Simon Johnson, a former International Monetary Fund chief economist who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Complacency was at the heart of the problems that almost brought down the system,” he said. “No one considered that there was a serious problem.”
Analysts who’ve expressed concern include Chris Wheeler at Mediobanca SpA, the Milan-based investment bank, which downgraded JPMorgan to neutral on June 6. Bank analysts tend to be positive about the industry because they work in it, said Wheeler, who co-wrote the Mediobanca report.
“I’m not screaming from the hilltops that Jamie Dimon has major problems,” he said. “But, in this particular case, something went very badly wrong.”


Ron Paul: The CBO Sees the Economic Cliff Ahead

Ron Paul  Last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its annual long-term budget outlook report, and the 2012 numbers are not promising. In fact, the CBO estimates that federal debt will rise to 70% of GDP by the end of the year– the highest percentage since World War II. The report also paints a stark picture of entitlement spending, as retiring Baby Boomers will cause government spending on health care, Social Security, and Medicare to explode as a percentage of GDP in coming years.
While the mainstream media correctly characterized the CBO report as highly pessimistic, they also ignored longstanding errors of methodology in CBO estimates. And those errors tend to support arguments for higher taxes and government spending, when in fact America needs exactly the opposite.

As Paul Roderick Gregory explained in a recent Forbes column, CBO has always applied wrongheaded assumptions inherent in Keynesian economics when forecasting future deficits – no matter how many times both history and economic theory have proven such assumptions incorrect. In particular, CBO seems wedded to two enduring Keynesian myths: First, that higher taxes necessarily increase federal revenue and have no negative effect on the economy; and second, that lower government spending hurts the economy.  Neither is true, of course.
CBO also fails to factor in unexpected wars and expensive foreign entanglements, and we should not assign too much validity to predictive models based on peace. Judging from the actions and rhetoric coming from both parties in Washington, new military entanglements in Syria and Iran may well spike military spending in coming years.
Despite these sobering budget realities, the CBO report suggests that a solution is possible with merely a few minor adjustments in the way Congress handles economic issues. But what we need are not minor adjustments, but rather a fundamental shift in our philosophy of government.  If we could come to our senses about the proper role of government in America, and what level of government interference is appropriate in a free economy, we would quickly find that there is no reason for government to spend so much, borrow so much, and tax so much.
If we simply allowed markets to work free of governmental or Federal Reserve interference, bad debt would be liquidated relatively quickly and malinvestment would be curtailed. Scaled-back regulations would encourage businesses to expand. Lower taxes would jump start investment and spur job creation.
This is not rocket science, it is Economics 101. All it would take is for government to get out of the way. There would be some short term pain, of course, but only by allowing the bubble to burst and bad debt to liquidate can we ever hope to begin building a real economy again.
The CBO report was alarming to most simply because they know neither party will take the steps necessary to avoid eventual fiscal calamity. Instead, despite their rhetoric, both parties want to maintain the fantasy that “deficits don’t matter.” But the CBO report, combined with what is happening in Greece and the European Union, should finally make the undeniable case that economic realities apply even to industrialized first world economies. We must take concrete steps today to avoid having America become the next Greece.

The Central Banks Are Buying Gold Like It’s 1965 (GLD, SLV, IAU, PHYS)

Andy Hagans: This week’s Barron’s points to recent World Gold Council data showing enormous gold purchases by central banks over the past year. These purchases are most likely not a temporary tactical move, but rather a powerful long term trend that will continue for years, if not decades. But wait: don’t the central banks want us “normies” to buy up more equities, invest and spend with record amounts of fiat currency, and heckle the gold bugs for their hilarious foolishness? It appears to be a case of “Do as I say, not a I do.”

Related: Jim Rogers: Buy Commodities Now, Or You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Not that we’d suggest you make investment decisions based solely on the words or deeds of a central banker [see: Jim Rogers Says: Buy Commodities Now, Or You’ll Hate Yourself Later]. This sustained buying by central banks however is no longer a “scoop” for Web journalists such as your humbler writer, but rather a significant, semi-permanent factor in the overall supply-and-demand equation that will determine the price of gold over time.

Central banks increased their gold hoards by 400 metric tons—each equal to almost 2,205 pounds—in the 12 months through March 31, up from 156 tons during the prior year… The council “is now confident that central banks will continue to buy gold and has added official-sector purchases as a new element of gold demand,” writes Austin Kiddle in a report for London-based bullion dealer Sharps Pixley.
This steady flow of gold into the vaults of central bankers is notable for both the size and consistency of its volume. Indeed, this type of official purchasing last occurred in 1965, when the global monetary landscape hardly resembled the current all-fiat experimental system.
So what does this mean for retail gold investors?
…consistent buying of 10% of annual supply can’t but help keep the price elevated… But that’s only one big change. The second: Short-term speculators have fled the market. Open interest of managed futures funds, considered a good proxy for all speculators, has dropped a staggering 28% since the beginning of September…

Related: Warning: Ignore Bill Gross’ Hard Money Prediction At Your Own Risk 

Less liquidity will tend to make gold prices more volatile. On the other hand, sustained, large-scale gold purchases by central banks can’t help but build the bull case for all precious metals, and especially gold, over the next decade or two. Many retail investors who can’t justify buying gold as an investment, might consider buying a smaller amount as a hedge [see: What Are The Most Popular Gold Bullion Coins?].
The old maxim “don’t fight the Fed” can apply to many different trading scenarios; the implication that you should be long the yellow metal may simply be a sign of the times.
Related Tickers: SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA:GLD), iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV), iShares Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:IAU), Sprott Physical Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:PHYS).
Written By Andy Hagans From CommodityHQ  Disclosure: The author is long gold.
CommodityHQ offers educational content, analysis, and commentary on global commodity markets. Whether you’re looking to speculate on a short-term jump in crude or establish a long-term allocation to natural resources, CommodityHQ has the information you need.

U.S. Government Bond Bubble to Burst, Faber Says

Is a global financial collapse coming?