venerdì 28 maggio 2010
Ecco chi finanzia il nucleare. Gli investimenti segreti delle banche (anche italiane)by GreenReport.it
LIVORNO. Il sito www.nuclearbanks.org pubblica oggi una ricerca realizzata dall'istituto indipendente Profundo e commissionata da BankTrack, una coalizione formata Greenpeace, Amici della Terra, Campagna per la riforma della Banca Mondiale (Crbm), Urgewald, Wise e Antiatom Szene che evidenzia come «Oltre la metà di tutti i finanziamenti all'energia nucleare in Europa arriva da un gruppo di soli dieci istituti finanziari». Tra le banche italiane in testa ai finanziamenti al nucleare c'è la Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (Bnl), seguita da UniCredit e Intesa Sanpaolo.
Al primo posto delle banche amiche dell'industria nucleare c'è naturalmente la francese Bnp Paribas, presente in Italia attraverso Bnl e poi la top ten mette in fila Barclays (Uk), Citi (Usa), Société Générale (Francia), Crédit Agricole/Calyon (Francia), Royal Bank of Scotland (Uk), Deutsche Bank (Germania), HSBC (Uk / Hong Kong), JP Morgan (Usa) e Bank of China (Cina).
In totale, sono state individuate 867 singole operazioni, considerando 124 diverse banche commerciali, dei 175 miliardi di euro di finanziamenti dati al nucleare tra il 2000 e il 2009, 92 miliardi vengono dalle 10 banche prime in classifica.
Oltre a Bnl- Bnp Paribas, le banche italiane non sono nella parte bassa della classifica delle 100 banche commerciali prese in esame: Unicredit è ventitreesima e Intesa Sanpaolo ventottesima e Greenpeace spiega che «Non sono ancora disponibili informazioni ufficiali su quali banche finanzierebbero il ritorno del nucleare in Italia voluto dal Governo Berlusconi», quindi potrebbero anche scalare verso l'alto diverse posizioni.
Per BankTrack «Il nucleare non è solo la fonte di energia più controversa e pericolosa, ma è anche una delle più costose. Per ottenere i molti miliardi di euro necessari per costruire anche un solo reattore nucleare, le aziende elettriche sono costrette a dipendere fortemente dalle banche e dalle società finanziarie. Fino ad ora, molte delle informazioni relative ai finanziamenti delle banche nel settore nucleare non erano note. Mentre, infatti, le banche sono molto propense a fornire dati sugli investimenti in energie rinnovabili, preferiscono non rendere pubblici i miliardi di euro che versano all'industria nucleare. Essendo la maggior parte di questi finanziamenti indiretti, forniti tramite prestiti alle imprese o tramite obbligazioni, le banche riescono a tenere nascosta buona parte di questi investimenti».
Secondo Andrea Lepore, responsabile della campagna nucleare di Greenpeace, «Le banche che finanziano progetti nucleari rischiano di rimetterci soldi e reputazione. Per questo chiediamo alle banche di spostare i loro investimenti da una fonte sporca e pericolosa come il nucleare verso progetti di efficienza e fonti rinnovabili. Greenpeace è pronta a rendere pubbliche le future decisioni di investimento delle banche nel nucleare in Italia. È bene che ne siano consapevoli quegli istituti che stanno pensando di investire in questa fonte di energia dannosa per l'ambiente, per l'Italia e per i suoi cittadini»
La ricerca di Banktrack sottolinea che «Poiché le banche non pubblicizzano i finanziamenti di progetti specifici, il lavoro è stato svolto partendo dall'analisi delle transazioni delle imprese nucleari. È stato selezionato un campione rappresentativo di 80 imprese operanti nel settore dell'energia nucleare in sei continenti (dall'attività di estrazione dell'uranio alla produzione di combustibile, dalla costruzione dei reattori al loro funzionamento e alla gestione dei rifiuti radioattivi) e sono state analizzate le relazioni annuali di queste società e altre pubblicazioni e documenti, come riviste di settore e finanziarie, oltre a database e archivi finanziari specializzati (Thomson ONE e Bloomberg) per rintracciare le transazioni finanziarie tra le imprese e gli istituti finanziari.
Le transazioni individuate legate a progetti nucleari comprendono: emissione di obbligazioni e azioni; acquisto di obbligazioni e quote azionarie; progetti di finanziamento, crediti "revolving" e altri prodotti finanziari. La ricerca mostra comunque solo una parte del quadro generale degli investimenti nel nucleare. Essendo state analizzate solo 80 imprese operanti nel settore nucleare è probabile che molte altre operazioni non siano state rilevate e che quindi le somme offerte dalle banche al settore nucleare siano maggiori. Questi risultati forniscono comunque la prima analisi quantitativa del sostegno delle banche al settore nucleare e indicano quali sono le banche che svolgono un ruolo fondamentale nel finanziamento dell'industria nucleare, consentendo ai cittadini e ai consumatori di fare confronti tra le singole banche.
Greenpeace sottolinea che «I risultati mostrano che il finanziamento di specifici progetti svolge un ruolo molto marginale per l'industria nucleare, in quanto questo tipo di prestiti rappresenta solo l'1% del totale identificato. Il grosso del finanziamento nucleare avviene nella forma dei prestiti obbligazionari e prestiti "corporate". Considerati nell'insieme, questi coprono il 90% degli investimenti individuati. Mentre nel caso dei prestiti corporate il capitale delle banche è potenzialmente a rischio, con la collocazione di obbligazioni e di azioni, invece, le banche sono protette da rischi finanziari. Invece di investire il proprio capitale, essi agiscono come mediatori per assistere le imprese nella ricerca di investitori disposti ad acquistare azioni o obbligazioni. Ma in quanto promotori di tali operazioni, le banche devono essere considerate responsabili per l'entità del denaro che riescono a mobilitare per l'industria nucleare».
giovedì 27 maggio 2010
05/27/10 Tampa, Florida – I was having another nightmare about how the inflation in consumer prices that is guaranteed by the Federal Reserve creating so much money (so that the loathsome Obama administration can borrow and spend it) was some kind of weird replay of The Lord of the Flies, which seems kind of odd since I haven’t read, or thought about, that book since the ’60s when I was required to read it for English class, and I really don’t remember much about it except that there was a pig (which I assume was a metaphor for the Federal Reserve), and everyone reverted to acting like tribal savages, killing each other in gruesome fashion, which I assume was because inflation in prices was raging across the island and food cost so much that everybody was starving, which would explain angry people killing each other! Hey! This economics stuff is easy!
I don’t remember my teacher stressing this obvious metaphor, although, now that we are suffering due to the utter failure of the Federal Reserve, maybe he should have!
So, there I was in bed, tossing and turning, screaming in my sleep, yelling, “No! No! No!” when my wife suddenly jabbed her elbow in my side hard enough to rudely wake me up and/or crack a rib, and yelled, “That’s enough! Go sleep in your Stupid Mogambo Bunker (SMB)!”
Dejectedly, I trudged out into the night to the SMB with my pillow in one hand and my teddy bear in the other. As I approached the door, I was suddenly aware that I could faintly hear, through the walls, the Mogambo Fed Alarm (MFA) ringing its little heart out, going “clang, clang, clang!” whereupon my heart started going “clang, clang, clang!” too, and I was scared, really scared, and I hugged my teddy bear close to me for comfort.
The security system asked for a Secret Mogambo Code (SMC) to open the blast-proof door, and my trembling finger entered 1-27-1756 (Mozart’s birthday). As the door swung open, I raced to the Mogambo Fed Alarm (MFA) to see, you know, what in the hell was happening, clang, clang, clang!
Well, I got shooting pains across my chest and my left arm went numb when I saw that the Federal Reserve had increased Total Fed Credit last week by a whopping $28.8 billion! In One Freaking Week (OFW)! Clang, clang, clang indeed!
Usually, this Fed Credit is pumped into the banks, giving them the power to loan almost 100 times this money, or a 1,000 times the money, or a zillion times the money (thanks to the fraud of fractional-reserve banking gone crazy). This time, however, they used most of the money to buy up (thus monetizing!) $23 billion in debt! Gaaahhh!
I don’t know what it is that the Federal Reserve bought with $23 billion in one week, and I would not believe them even if they told me, mostly because the government has been caught, like Obama, lying, lying, lying to me so long, about so many things, but which I suspect is mostly just another $23 billion of worthless bank debt gone bad and is threatening to drag another bunch of butthead banks into bankruptcy.
My teddy bear looked into my eyes and solicitously said, “You need something to calm down! Take a handful of those pills your doctor is always badgering to you take, and wash it down with something cool and soothing! Like tequila!”
Always ready to take such good advice, I did it, only to discover that taking a long, hard pull on a bottle of cheap, rot-gut tequila is neither “cool” nor “refreshing” which only shows how little teddy bears know about real life, I suppose, and what an idiot I was for listening to him.
So, my throat burning, gagging and gasping for air, I decided that the better route was to look at some other statistical facts and figures, perhaps to find some glimmer of hope that we are not, as I so often say, “Freaking doomed!”
My hopes were not realized, as I immediately saw that the monetary base jumped up to $2.02 trillion from $1.97 trillion last week, too!
Suddenly, with the dangerous direction that the money supply is going, thanks to the Federal Reserve creating so much of it, my brain recoiled in horror and spasmed painfully as I remembered that horrendous inflation in consumer prices is guaranteed by such a huge increase in the money stock.
My mind, in some kind of weird escape-from-reality limbo, was swamped with more visions of flies (“buzz, buzz, buzz!”) and people killing each other (“whack, whack, whack!”) to keep from starving to death (“Let’s go out for pizza!”), and then I remembered that owning gold, silver and oil will protect me! Whew!
Instantly, with this to hold onto, I was back in the real world, and there were not yet any flies, and there were not yet any people killing each other, and there were not yet any people starving because the price of food keeps going higher and higher as the Federal Reserve keeps creating money and the federal government keeps spending the money to help people cope with the higher prices of food which makes the price of food go higher.
And so while there is still time before the collapse because of the madness in government and the Federal Reserve, there is also plenty of time to accumulate the sanity of gold, silver and oil. Whee! This investing stuff is easy!
Dossier Statistico Immigrazione Caritas/Migrantes
Praia, Capo Verde, 20-26 febbraio 2010
LA MONETA COMPLEMENTARE COME STRUMENTO DI SVILUPPO LOCALE
di Nino Galloni, Inpdap
La maggiore occupazione produttiva di un territorio con reddito medio disponibile "basso" (1), può essere ottenuta promuovendo le attività economiche locali sganciandole dal contesto globale. Attualmente tali attività sono limitate e impedite dalla esistenza di un ritardo nella produttività media comparata (2) che rende scarsamente competitiva la gran parte dei beni e dei servizi approntabili su un territorio in apparente ritardo tecnologico; in realtà, il paragone con i beni di importazione viene effettuato in moneta internazionale, per cui appare evidente la convenienza ad importare riso, ad esempio, dalla Tailandia se esso costa al consumo meno di 70$ al quintale contro i 130 della produzione locale dell'Equatore (Congo Repubblica Democratica); ma la gran parte della popolazione (compresa quella che sarebbe abile a produrre il riso) non possiede i dollari. Il risultato, dunque, è che la valutazione comparativa in dollari spiazza la apparentemente meno competiva produzione locale, creando disoccupazione sul territorio ma senza consentire, per mancanza di reddito in valuta internazionale, una importazione capace di saziare la fame.
Una moneta emessa a livello locale, invece, senza velleità di conversione in dollari o in euro, consentirebbe di svincolarsi dai meccanismi e dalle logiche della globalizzazione, a patto che esistano sul territorio capacità produttive inespresse; ma, per la maggior parte dei Paesi africani, questa capacità esisteva ed esisterebbe ancor oggi, nei comparti dell'agroalimentare, dell'abbigliamento, della costruzione di alloggi tradizionali e dell'arredamento, dell'artigianato in generale, dei servizi educativi e di cura delle persone, entro certi limiti, della stessa Medicina. A ben vedere, si tratta proprio dei comparti essenziali ad una società e, per farli funzionare occorrerebbe solo rilevare: a) l'integrazione di tutta la filiera produttiva (infatti, non si possono importare sementi, ad esempio, e pagarle con moneta complementare); b) la presenza di adeguate capacità lavorative (in altre parole di disoccupati disponibili o, anche, di semioccupati interessati ad implementare il proprio reddito).
Una volta saturata la domanda interna di un determinato prodotto, se si realizza un'eccedenza (rispetto alle esigenze del territorio), quest'ultima può venir esportata e venduta in valuta internazionale, ma - ecco il punto - il suo prezzo sarà arbitrario e, quindi, in linea con la competizione internazionale; se i nuovi occupati si riveleranno in grado di produrre un sovrappiù, esso potrà esser ceduto contro quella valuta internazionale che è necessaria allo scopo di importare beni e servizi non producibili autonomamente all'interno del territorio.
Si possono anche ipotizzare esperienze pilota in aree più decentrate o nelle stesse isole, allo scopo di dimostrare la possibilità di sottrarsi all'attuale distruttivo modello economico globalizzante.
Ovviamente, molti prodotti internazionali è bene che rimangano nel loro ambito, ma sottrarre alla cosiddetta globalizzazione i comparti tradizionali (attraverso l'utilizzo di una doppia circolazione monetaria), appare una sfida alternativa all'inedia, al sottoconsumo, alla necessità di ricorrere sempre agli aiuti internazionali che, troppe volte, si rivelano inefficaci e diseducativi se non deleteri.
Un discorso a parte merita la Medicina, comparto che, in tutto il mondo, andrebbe sottratto non solo alla logica del mercato internazionale, ma anche a quella del mercato locale. Le attività di cura della salute, infatti, non andrebbero in alcun caso rapportate alla logica del profitto; ma, siccome hanno un costo, quest'ultimo potrebbe risultare utilmente gestito sostituendo - dove possibile a detta degli stessi medici - le cure di tipo occidentale con quelle tradizionali, esportando rimedi locali (soprattutto di origine vegetale) anche allo scopo di compensare il costo stesso dell'importazione di medicine frutto della più avanzata ricerca sanitaria in tutto il mondo; ovviamente, anche l'abbandono della logica del profitto in questo comparto dovrebbe determinare un sensibile risparmio nella somministrazione di farmaci inutili quanto pericolosi e di cure devastanti e non necessarie.
(1) Il reddito "pro capite" viene definito basso in termini assoluti perchè non consente il mantenimento delle condizioni vitali o di un normale standard di aspirazioni (benessere, crescita, educazione, salute, ecc.) della popolazione; in termini relativi quando esso è comunque insufficiente a raggiungere o mantenere gli standard riconosciuti come tali in una determinata area o Paese.
(2) L'adeguamento tecnologico ed organizzativo consente ad un produttore di raggiungere un livello di costi e/o di qualità uguale o superiore a quello dei suoi concorrenti.
mercoledì 26 maggio 2010
Let’s call the “Greek bailout” what it is: a TARP for German and other European bankers and global currency speculators. The money is being provided by other governments (mainly the German Treasury, cutting back its domestic spending) into a kind of escrow account for the
Greek government to pay foreign bondholders who bought up these securities at plunging prices over the past few weeks. They will make a killing, as will buyers of hundreds of billions of dollars of credit-default swaps on the Greek government bonds, speculators in euro-swaps and other casino-capitalist gamblers. (Parties on the losing side of these swaps now will need to be bailed out as well, and so on ad infinitum.)
This windfall is to be paid by taxpayers – ultimately those of Greece (in effect labour, because the wealthy have been untaxed) – to reimburse Euro-governments, the IMF and even the U.S. Treasury for its commitment to predatory finance. The payment to bondholders is to be used as an excuse to slash Greek public services, pensions and other government spending. It will be a model for other countries to impose similar economic austerity as governments run up budget deficits in the face of falling tax collections from the financial sector being enriched by the translation of junk economics into international policy. So the bankers for their part will have little trouble meeting their bonus forecasts this year. And by the time the whole system collapses, they will have spent the money on hard assets of their own
Bank lobbyists know that the financial game is over. They are playing for the short run. The financial sector’s aim is to take as much bailout money as it can and run, with large enough annual bonuses to lord it over the rest of society after the Clean Slate finally arrives. Less public spending on social programs will leave more bailout money to pay the banks for their exponentially rising bad debts that cannot possibly be paid in the end. It is inevitable that loans and bonds will default in the usual convulsion of bankruptcy.
Greek labour is not yet so pessimistic as to give up the fight. What it recognizes (which its American counterparts do not) is that somebody will control the government. If labour – the demos – loses its spirit, power will be relinquished to foreign creditors to dictate public policy by default. And the more the bankers’ interest is served, the worse and more debt-burdened the economy will become. Their gain is bought at the price of domestic austerity. Scheduled payouts by Greek pension funds and government social spending programs must be to replenish German and other European bank capital.
This worldview already has been delivered to Europe’s northernmost periphery, where it has elicited a fiscal masochism that banks hope to see in Greece. Having fallen on their swords, Baltic governments would be jealous and even resentful to see Greece rescue its economy where they themselves failed to repudiate arrogant creditor demands. “Seen from the eastern rim of the European Union, the looming austerity drive in crisis-afflicted Greece reads like old news,” writes Nina Kolyako. “For almost two years, the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have brought in repeated draconian measures, slashing public spending and hiking taxes to try to dig themselves out of a hole. ‘We learned the lessons very painfully, heavily and effectively, that you need to look after the fiscal situation very carefully,’ Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius told AFP in a recent interview. ‘We understood very clearly that fiscal consolidation was the only way for us to survive.’”
Capitulating in a classic Stockholm syndrome (literally to Swedish banks in this case), Lithuania’s government dutifully tightened to screws so much that GDP plunged by over 17 per cent. A similar plunge occurred in Latvia. The Baltics have slashed public-sector employment and wages, imposing poverty rather than the Western European levels of prosperity (and progressive taxation to foster a middle class) that was promised after the Baltics achieved their independence from Russia in 1991.
After Latvia’s parliament imposed austerity in December 2008, popular protest in January brought down the government (as a similar protest did in Iceland). But the result was merely another neoliberal “occupation regime” run on behalf of foreign banking interests. So what is unfolding is a Social War on a global scale – not the class war envisioned in the 19th century, but a war of finance against entire economies, against industry, real estate and governments as well as against labour. It is happening in the usual slow motion in which great historical transitions occur. But as in military conflicts, each battle seems frenetic and spurs wild zigzagging on the world’s stock and bond exchanges and currency markets.
All this is great news for computer program traders. The average commitment of funds lasts only a few seconds these days as financial markets are buffeted up and down by vast credit waves blown by the storms sweeping today’s financially overheating planet.
Next up: economic dystopia
The Greek crisis shows how far the “European idea” has shifted from 1957 when the six-member European Economic Community (EEC) was formed. At U.S. prodding, Britain and Scandinavia created the rival seven-member European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Even so, the promise of Euroland – at least before Maastricht and Lisbon – was to elevate labour to middle-class prosperity, not to impose IMF-type austerity programs of the sort that devastated Third World countries.
The message to indebted economies is stark: “Drop dead.” And they are obediently committing economic suicide (emulating Japan in the 1985 Plaza Accords) to endorse the Washington Consensus – the class war of finance against labour and industry.
Political, social, fiscal and economic power is being transferred to the EU bureaucracy and its financial controllers in the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF, whose austerity plans and related anti-labour programs direct governments to sell off the public domain, land and subsoil wealth, public enterprises, and to commit future tax revenues to pay creditor nations. This policy already has been imposed on “New Europe” (the post-Soviet economies and Iceland) since autumn 2008. It is now to be imposed on Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain. No wonder there are riots!
For observers who missed Iceland and Latvia last year, Greece is the newest and so far the largest battlefield. At least Iceland and the Baltics have the option of re-denominating loans in their own currency, writing down their foreign debts at will and taxing property to recapture for the government the revenue that has been pledged to foreign bankers. But Greece is locked into a European currency union, run by unelected financial officials who have inverted the historical
meaning of democracy. Instead of the economy’s most important sector – finance – being subject to electoral politics, central banks (the designated lobbyists for commercial and investment bankers) have been made independent of political checks and balances.
Right-wingers in Europe and the United States (such as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke) call this the “hallmark of democracy.” It actually is the stamp of oligarchy, stripping away control over the economy’s credit allocation – and hence, forward planning – while giving high finance a stranglehold over public spending programs.
Iceland, Latvia and now Greece are the opening shots in the resulting global campaign to roll back the great democratic reform program of the 19th century and the Progressive Era: taxation of land and the “unearned increment” of price gains for real estate, stocks and bonds, and subordination of the financial sector to the needs of economic growth under democratic direction. This doctrine was still being followed by the post-1945 era of progressive taxation that saw the 20th century’s greatest rise in living standards and economic growth. But most countries have reversed the fiscal trend since 1980. Tax collectors have “freed” income from public obligation only to see it pledged to banks for higher loans to bid up property prices.
Houses, office buildings and entire companies are worth whatever banks will lend. So populations (and corporate raiders) have responded to the pro-financial tax shift by borrowing to buy houses (and companies) before prices recede even further out of reach. And taxes on labour now are about to be jacked up to pay off the public debts resulting from the asset-price inflation and financial wreckage that property tax cuts have helped cause. This is the cause of national debts. Governments have run into debt as a result of un-taxing the wealthy in general, not just real estate.
Following Western governments in shifting the fiscal burden off property and finance onto labour over the past few decades, Greece’s government is politically unable or unwilling to tax the wealthy, or even well-to-do professionals. But neoliberals blame it and other debtor governments for not selling off enough public land and enterprises to make up the gap. Tax-deductible interest charges make privatizations on credit tax-exempt, so governments will lose the user fees they formerly received – while populations pay higher “tollbooth” charges for hitherto public services.
Just as the U.S. government has done, it has issued bonds to finance the deficit resulting from these tax cuts. The buyers of these bonds (mainly German banks) are demanding that Greek labour (and now German taxpayers as well) should bear the burden of tax shortfalls. German and other European banks and bondholders are to be repaid at the social cost of drastic cutbacks in pensions and social spending – and if possible, by more privatization sell-offs at distress prices.
The riots in Greece have erupted because labour understands what most journalistic reporting shies away from confronting. Growth in real wages has slowed (and has stopped cold in the United States since about 1979). Home ownership has been achieved at the cost of new buyers taking on a lifetime of mortgage debt. And the post-Soviet economies won their political freedom from Russia, only to find themselves insolvent today, dependent on IMF and EU direction of their economies to obtain the loans to pay their foreign bankers that have loaded down their housing, public enterprises, industry and families with debt.
Bondholders and financial speculators have ganged up to demand EU, IMF and US support for them to take their gains before the financial game crashes. The grab can be done most quickly by shrinking economies under IMF-style austerity plans. Unemployment is to rise while driving
economies even further into debt – not only public debt as shrinking markets lead to falling tax revenue, but also foreign debt as import dependency increases.
Creditors are to be paid by letting them appropriate the economic surplus, in the form of debt service at the expense of new capital investment, infrastructure spending, public social spending and rising living standards. Economically, the Greek uprising is a revolt against the policy of sacrificing prosperity to pay foreign creditors in this way.
At the political level the fight is to save Greece from being turned into an anti-state. The classical definition of a “state” or government is the ability to levy taxes and issue money. But Greece has relinquished its fiscal authority to the EU and IMF, which are telling it to violate what political theorists list as the Prime Directive of any government: to act in the long-term national interest. The Greek government is being directed to act on behalf of bank capital, and indeed, that of foreign countries to engage in asset stripping, not to promote long-term growth.
At issue is whether nations will be run by creditors or by popular aims to reap the benefits of economic growth. An oligarchic push for IMF-EU loans to bail out foreign banks and bond speculators at the expense of Greek labour (the intended taxpayers of the future) aims at making labour rather than finance capital take the loss of government arrears resulting from un-taxing wealth. The aim is to enable foreign banks to avoid having to pay the price for acting as enablers in draining the domestic market. Government policy is to be taken out of the hands of voters and subordinated to the IMF and EU acting as instruments of international finance.
This creates a state of affairs in which neither Greece nor the EC are “states” or “governments” in the traditional political sense. The EU and IMF bureaucracy is not elected. And at the point where their foreign-dictated financial plan succeeds, the economy’s capital will be stripped and social democracy will collapse.
On Sunday, May 9, German voters expressed their anger at the government’s role in bailing out German bankers (euphemized as bailing out “Greece”) at the expense of German taxpayers; the European Central Bank [ECB] is not creating free euro-money but is billing national governments). The Social Democrats overtook Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party in North Rhine-Westphalia. Winning only a bit over a third of the vote – a bit less than the Social Democrats (and down over 10 percentage points from the last election, of which 4 points were lost just in the last week when the bailout package was promoted by Ms. Merkel) – the CDU lost its majority in Germany’s upper house.
Many German voters may have wondered whether taxing the poor to pay the rich to engage in usury was really as “Christian” as the party claimed to represent. Or maybe they were concerned that Germany’s tax collector is to pay nearly $30 billion as its share in the bailout of bankers – not all of whom are beloved in Germany, even when they are German. And some no doubt saw the game as a financial deception by the banking sector’s compliant politicians.
Europe’s financial lobbyists used the crisis as an opportunity to promote a broad series of bailouts. For Swedish and Austrian banks, the EU approved a €60bn extension of the balance-of-payments facility already put in place to help Hungary, Romania and Latvia keep current on their debts to Austrian and Swedish banks respectively. To circumvent the Eurozone’s no-bailout principle, this special bailout law is based on Article 122.2 of the EU treaty permitting loans to governments in “exceptional circumstances.”(1)
If we give Ms. Merkel credit for understanding the economics at work, then we must accuse her of lying through her teeth. The Baltic debt problem is chronic and structural, not “exceptional.” Ms. Merkel also must know that she is being deceptive in pretending to help Latvia by extending loans that the EU limits explicitly to support the lat’s exchange rate, not for domestic development. The foreign exchange is to cover the cost of Latvians paying mortgages in euros to Swedish banks, and of Latvian consumers buying food and manufactures that EU governments subsidize while leaving the Baltics in a state of economic and financial dependency.
Latvia thus is being victimized, not helped. The aim is to give Swedish banks a little more time to keep collecting payments on loans that are going to go bad in due course. Foreign exchange spent in facilitating private debt service to foreign banks becomes a national debt, to be paid by Latvian taxpayers. This EU loan thus is an exercise in naked neo-colonialism.
Will the belated shift of German voters to back the Social Democrat red-green coalition with the Green and Left parties do much to stem matters? Probably not. Greek President Papandreou acquiesced in the cave-in despite being head of the Socialist International. So the question is whether Greece really is checkmated, destined to see its public spending, pensions, health care, schooling and living standards rolled back in the way that the Baltics have experienced. They have been an experiment in neoliberal central planning. If they are an example of what the future is to bring, the world will soon see a wave of Greek emigration, Baltic-style.
That evidently is what stock markets around the world anticipated when they soared on Monday morning at the news of Europe’s trillion-dollar bailout. What really was bailed out is the principle that economies should be stripped so that finance capital may rule. But the fight surely is not yet over. It will escalate for the remainder of the 2010s, because it is nothing less than an attempt to roll back the history of the 19th and 20th century’s struggle to replace the power of vested property and financial interests with principles of progressive taxation and public enterprise.
Is this where Western civilization really is supposed to be leading? Confronted by parliaments controlled by aristocracies, the 19th-century reformers sought to take them over on behalf of
democracy. Classical political economy was a reform program to tax away the “free lunch” of land rents, monopoly rents and financial interest extraction. John Maynard Keynes celebrated this program in his gentle term, “euthanasia of the rentiers.”
But the vested interests have fought back. Calling social democracy and public regulation “the road to serfdom,” they are trying to set Europe’s economies on the road to debt peonage. Making an end-run around national elected governments to impose the Washington Consensus IMF and EU institutions have gained fiscal and economic control over governments and their tax policies to cut taxes on wealth – and borrow from it to finance the resulting fiscal deficits.
America’s Tea Partiers and anti-tax rebels have given up the fight to reform governments. Squeezed by debt from which they see no escape, they demand lower taxes – and are willing to see the highest brackets become the major beneficiaries in an even more regressive tax shift. Faced with the corruption of Congress by lobbyists acting on behalf of the vested interests, they reject government itself and seek safety in local gated communities. They see Congress and parliaments throughout the world losing autonomy to the IMF, the EU and other Washington Consensus organizations seeking to impose austerity and shift the tax burden onto labour and industry, off property and off predatory finance.
The only way to prevent a regressive tax shift and debt squeeze is gain control of governments on behalf of the spirit of classical economic and Progressive Era reforms. At least, that is what Greek labour is rioting for. Someone must control government, and if democratic forces withdraw from the fight, the financial sector will tighten its grip.
Last week is still only the beginning of how this drama will play out. The response by the post-Soviet economies, which have retained their own currencies, is to come this summer and autumn.
Michael Hudson is Chief Economic Advisor to the Reform Task Force Latvia (RTFL). He is the author of America's Protectionist Takeoff. This article first appeared in Counterpunch The photo shows a May Day demonstration against the IMF-imposed austerity measures, in Thessalonika.
Remember when little guys robbed banks? Well, now big crooked bankers rob us, thanks to the crooks we put in office.
Alternet recently ran an amazing article on the ten most corrupt capitalists. I take issue with the use of the word "capitalists" to refer to people whose behavior is best described by the term "fascist" or, as my UK friends politely say, "corporatist."
But the point is, as a quick scan of that column shows, if you want to get rich through corruption, the winning formula is to be an investor who is well connected to government officials. The popular bank bailouts, started under G.W. Bush and pursued enthusiastically by the Obama administration, are the quintessence of the concept. The idea is to hit up the taxpayer to make your banking buds richer. Of course, no kickbacks ever occur, because crooked politicians wouldn't stoop that low.
Most of us are vaguely aware that this phenomenon of government-private partnering as part of a get-rich scheme is not just happening in America. It is all the rage in Europe as well, and the following illustrates to just what extent.
Previously, we had run a German language column (no translation yet) at Laigle's Forum exposing a giveaway of hard-earned EU taxpayer money to millionaire investors in Panama under the wafer-thin guise of "carbon credits." I sent the column to a number of outlets and a Swiss publisher asked for permission to reprint it there. Briefly, the column shows that the investors received the cash because they planned to build a hydroelectric plant instead of a coal-fired power plant.
What's wrong with that, you say?
Two things come to mind:
- 1 — There never have been nor ever will be coal-fired power plants in Panama. Thanks to the country's rich water resources, rivers brimming with enormous flows and lakes to back them up, anyone proposing the construction of a coal-fired plant would become laughingstock immediately. Therefore, the incentive is not an incentive.
2 — The same people who want to give the "carbon credits" to Panama for not proposing a coal-fired plant are keen on distributing "carbon credit" wealth to the Tata company to build a coal-fired plant in Gujarat, India under the paper thin pretext that this plant is more efficient than ordinary coal-fired plants.
Now here comes an even taller tale of poor-to-rich wealth redistribution — but a true one (sorry, I was unable to find an English language report on the web).
The report comes from a small conservative blog but is backed up by facts from German radio/TV giant ARD and the widely read mainstream German daily Welt, and my translation follows:
- Banker profits most from bailout?
The billionaire rakes in an additional 12 billion from the billion euro grab in Germany. He's friends with EU Chief Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso. Get the picture?
Naturally, the report by the ARD didn't come out until after mental pygmies in the Bundestag (German Lower House) agreed to the package.
According to the report, the billionaire gets an additional 12 billion euros because ordinary Germans are being forced by greedy hands with long arms and fingers reaching into the multi-billion euro grab bag shoveled in by the Bundestag. Is it insane to wonder whether money is being transferred to certain parties in Germany from these 12 billion extra euros that the billionaire will rake in? Are we out of our minds to think about a secret ugly but juicy kick-back?
Once they have taken our last dime, we may all finally figure things out.
Just don't expect to get your money back.
World Bank gives Pakistan ultimatum - implement conditions or lose $300million
Dawn, 26 May 2010
World Bank's notorious peacebuilding
Jakarta post, 25 May 2010
World Bank and the struggle over who will end hunger
Huffington Post, 23 May 2010
Red flags and red lights for IMF lending to HIPCs
CGD, 20 May 2010
"...the German geopolitical hegemony project was elaborated by the Hitler Nazi élite in 1942, and promulgated via ‘Europäishe Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft’ (European Economic Community), released in Berlin in 1942 by publishers Haude & Spenersche Verlagsbuchhandlung Max Paschke, one copy of which is held by the British Library and another at the Staatsbiblithek, Berlin..."
EUropaische WirtschaftGemeinschaft as published in Nazi Germany in 1942 being the foundations of todays EUropean Union:
by Christopher Story
So, reverting to Frau Merkel’s statement that ‘the Euro is in danger’, the critical point underlying this observation is as follows. Germany has provided a substantial sum of ‘good’ money in loans to help ‘bail out’ Greece (on a temporary basis). Which means that Greece has to pay this money back with interest (somehow).
If Greece were to extract itself suddenly from the Collective Currency, its replacement drachma would naturally be sharply devalued against the Euro – which would leave Greece in an even worse situation, as it would have to repay the Euro-denominated loans with devalued drachmae.
Which means as follows:
• Number One: Greece is caught and can never get out of its bind, short of its entire external debt being written off. Presumably Frau A. Merkel took the risk that, in order to ‘save’ the pan-German hegemony project, the funds allocated for Greece would ultimately be lost: in which case language is not available to describe the cynicism of this move.
• Germany, having reacted in knee-jerk fashion in order to ‘protect the Euro’ has realised that, as Angela Merkel has pronounced, ‘the Euro is indeed in danger’ because Greece’s situation (to be replicated in Portugal, Spain, and Italy, for starters) is now irretrievable.
• The Greeks should have got out of the Collective Currency system straight away, turning down the German loan. A de facto default would be a better option than where they are now.
BUT THERE IS ANOTHER DIMENSION WHICH, DESPITE WHAT WE HAVE PUBLISHED, HAS SO FAR BEEN COMPLETELY OVERLOOKED. CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO FOR AN ILLEGAL PURPOSE ARE NULL AND VOID. Therefore, what the Greeks should have done, if they had had their wits about them, was to declare all the fraudulent transactions conducted mainly through Citibank, Athens, VOID, thereby cancelling the fraudulent debts unilaterally, which they are entitled to do on this basis.
By repudiating the fraudulent debt on this sound legal basis and specifically making it clear that the underlying contracts, entered into under the previous Greek Government, are VOID, they would perform two key functions: first, they would 'get out from under'; and secondly, they would hasten the total collapse of the entire fraudulent derivatives sector, which is happening anyway, doing us all a favour. By acknowledging the validity of the debts, the Greeks have made a fatal mistake. All those debts are null and void because the underlying contracts were entered into for an illegal purpose. Surely there are lawyers in Greece capable of understanding this.
Even at this late stage, the Greeks should repudiate the debts on this sound legal basis, and send the foreign and German money back with a note saying:
'Thanks, but on second thoughts. no thanks'.
A banche mondo servono 1.500 mld dollari(ANSA) - NEW YORK, 25 mag - Le banche mondiali potrebbero aver bisogno di capitali per 1.500 miliardi di dollari entro la fine del prossimo anno. Alcune, poi, potrebbero necessitare di supporto pubblico. Lo afferma uno studio condotto dall'Independent Credit Group su 58 istituti. Allied Irish bank, Commerzbank (Xetra: 803200 - notizie) , Bank of Ireland (Dublino: BIR.IR - notizie) , Royal bank of Scotland (Londra: RBS.L - notizie) potrebbero accusare il maggior deficit di capitale. "Senza un aiuto pubblico queste banche difficilmente riusciranno a raccogliere i capitali."
martedì 25 maggio 2010
di Marco Saba
Se vogliamo cercare di capire la crisi, dovremmo capire dove siamo e come ci siamo arrivati. Per fare questo, occorrerebbe guardare con disincanto al secolo scorso. Alcuni commentatori fanno risalire le origini del secolo orrendo, quello delle guerre più spietate, alla fondazione della famigerata Federal Reserve. E' così che saremmo arrivati all'ipocrisia delle "missioni di pace" dove si vorrebbe esportare il nostro modello corrotto, perché qua sta saltando, con contorno di scorie radioattive, in posti sperduti del pianeta. Se la teoria della eversiva Federal Reserve, quella che fa bonifici in altri paesi, in periodo elettorale, fosse giusta, allora occorrerebbe rileggere le motivazioni che stanno dietro il secondo conflitto mondiale. Non è nemmeno troppo arduo: l'accordo di Bretton Woods risale al 1944, un anno prima che finisse la guerra... Il nemico da abbattere, allora, era l'asse RO-BER-TO: Roma, Berlino e Tokyo. Cosa avevano in comune questi tre paesi alla vigilia del conflitto? Avevano ritrovato la sovranità monetaria nazionale. Germania ed Italia emettevano la loro moneta, sotto forma di Biglietti di Stato a corso legale. Se lo facessimo ancora oggi, risparmieremmo circa 350 miliardi di euro all'anno. Soldi che oggi spendiamo per "servire" il debito pubblico. Bastava una tipografia, ed eravamo ricchi. Bastava lasciare il compito di emettere le banconote al poligrafico di stato ed impedire alle banche di mettere al passivo la massa monetaria che creano, tramite false scritture contabili, in modo da poter così prelevare una somma come rimborso della rendita monetaria allo stato. Riguardiamo il periodo degli anni teenta e quaranta del secolo scorso, scopriamo che la bomba atomica venne inventata in Germania ma che Hitler rifiutò di sperimentarla contro centri abitati... Diciamo ad alta voce qual'è l'unico stato che ha avuto il folle ardire di bombardare una centrale nucleare (OSIRAK). Insomma, non voglio passare per revisionista né per visionista (o sionista, tout court). Ma esiste un dovere che gli storici hanno dimenticato: raccontare i fatti. Non solo gli storici per la verità. Un po' tutti - non avendo capito internet - si ostinano a divulgare una versione malata della realtà. Ed è ovvio che se si insiste a vivere in un mondo di fantasia, il paese delle meraviglie di Alice, allora tutto è possibile. Anche che falliscano le banche - uniche aziende che hanno il potere di creare denaro con la tastiera del computer... in cambio delle lacrime e sangue dei cittadini. ovvio che su internet la verità dilaga. Tra un po' la insegneranno anche all'università, appena quei poveri malati che si ostinano ancora con la propaganda, non si renderanno conto che la loro guerra a bassa intensità - contro la realtà - è già persa in partenza.
Quindi, rileggiamo gli anni di piombo alla luce degli obiettivi raggiunti dai terroristi: 1982 - Divorzio tra Ministero del Tesoro e Banca d'Italia. 1991 - Trattato di Maastricht. Piano piano tutto torna, tutto acquista un senso, alla luce della sovranità perduta. Ed è facile perderla la sovranità - se si passa da monarchia a Repubblica senza spiegare quali sono le prerogative del sovrano, tra cui c'è il batter moneta. Una volta capito che l'Unità d'Italia è stata voluta per consolidare i debiti degli stati-regioni che sono andati a formarla, e che la prima legge unitaria fu la creazione del Gran Libro del debito pubblico... non ci vuole mica John Nash per fare due più due. E' evidente: si è lasciato quasi sempre - a parte il ventennio della rivoluzione fascista - il potere di batter moneta in mano a banchieri anarchici privati. Così si spiega come funziona il bidone vuoto delle famiglie italiane dell'élite: volgari falsari. Piegato lo Stato alla truffa del debito pubblico, le rendite dei nati stanchi sono assicurate. Tutto il resto del paese, sottomesso da uno Stato che appena si rivela nel suo pieno squallore - una specie di mafioso che estorce il pizzo del signoraggio privato ai suoi ignari cittadini - crolla da sè. Perché l'idea dello stato si basa sulla fede. Una volta che la Guardia di Finanza - appoggiata da una magistratura oggi sonnacchiosa - si sveglia e capisce, altro che Yacht di Flavio Briatore!
Dove hanno sbagliato i banchieri che pure avevano comprato tutta l'omertà possibile? Hanno sbagliato perché anche loro sono digiuni del concetto di sovranità moderna. Abituati da sempre a trattare con le corrotte famiglie monarchiche - dividendosi la torta alla faccia dei cittadini - non si sono resi conto che oggi è proprio con i cittadini che dovranno fare i conti. Sarebbe stato facile - e forse lo è ancora - decidere di rimborsare alla cittadinanza almeno una quota del signoraggio depredato, magari sotto forma di reddito di cittadinanza. Oppure, chessò, la banca Centrale Europea poteva tramite le sue occulte Operazione di Mercato Aperto, iniettare denaro direttamente ai correntisti - purché questi ultimi avessero rinunciato - in una nanoclausola del contratto d'apertura di conto corrente - alla gestione diretta della rendita monetaria.
Ma no. Per la Banca Centrale Europea siamo tutti fessi, persi come siamo dietro al campionato di calcio ed alle querelle infinite - quanto inutili - di destra contro sinistra e viceversa.
La BCE crede ancora che la gente creda che la gestione dell'emissione di denaro sia in mani rispettabili. In una élite di illuminati che - rigorosamente per il nostro bene - decide di allocare gran parte del credito nelle mani degli amici degli amici.
Secondo la BCE, le forze speciali non si accorgeranno mai che vengono mandate a morire in inutili guerre radioattive... vere e proprie missioni di usury-keeping. Per i marziani della Eurotower, il business può continuare come prima. Tanto, la truffa dura dal 1694, dalla fondazione della Banca d'Inghilterra, a parte qualche breve parentesi punita con assassinii mirati, tipo Kennedy, Allende e Che Guevara. O Mattei, Pasolini ed Aldo Moro, per rimanere da noi...
Quindi, alla Eurotower, la sede maestosa della BCE, il vero potere occulto, la spectre che ci sta affamando, il vertice della pirlamide bancaria, dormono sonni tranquilli.
Tanto chi vuoi che legga quello che sto scrivendo, ventimila persone al massimo.
Auguri e buona continuazione. Per il buon senso, c'è sempre tempo.
E poi, male che vada, che ci vuole a circondare la torre ed arrestare tutti?
Solitamente da un articolo ci si aspetta una risposta, il raggiungimento di una meta. Se non tanto, un articolo dovrebbe essere quantomeno l’approdo di un viaggio di ricerca, un lembo di terraferma dove rifocillarsi un poco, riprendere le energie e ripartire per ulteriori mete in quella traversata marittima che è la curiosità intellettuale. Spesso è così, ed è un bene che lo sia. A volte però, quando i temi trattati sono talmente difficili, inattuali, lontani, conviene che, invece di dare risposte, con un articolo si porgano domande, lasciandole germogliare autonomamente in attesa di qualche frutto spontaneo. E’ un po’ come quando, vigilando, si butta un bambino in acqua perché in qualche modo impari a reggersi a galla, o come quando una compagnia di sciatori porta il malcapitato neofita sulla cima di una pista rossa e lo lascia lì, fronte alla discesa. Si tratta di metodi poco ortodossi ma spesso, in casi di estrema riluttanza, sono i soli a funzionare. Poi i malcapitati ringrazieranno per sempre.
Il tema del quale tratteremo è tale per cui, chi non ne è assolutamente a conoscenza avrebbe totale riluttanza ad affrontarlo con una guida canonica, almeno all’inizio. Per questo ora porgeremo domande, aspettando che germoglino, e poi torneremo nei prossimi articoli a mettere ordine tra i filari, potare, raccogliere e via dicendo.
Chiedetevi per un istante cosa sapete della moneta, della sua natura, del rapporto con ciò che permette di comprare. Chiedetevi in base a quale principio esiste il denaro e chi decide, e in base a cosa, quanto ce ne deve essere in una società. Cosa sapete di chi stampa l’Euro e di chi stampava la Lira? Chiedetevi se questi enti, le banche centrali, siano organismi controllati democraticamente, espressioni del popolo oppure cos’altro. E poi anche che rapporto c’è tra le monete d’oro e d’argento dell’antichità e i nostri pezzi di carta, e ancora cosa significava la scritta “pagabili al portatore” che era impressa sulle banconote in lire. Chiedetevi anche se le banche che vi hanno erogato il mutuo di casa vi hanno prestato denaro proprio o, se no, da dove l’hanno preso; chiedetevi se quel numero che digitano sul vostro conto corrente, quasi sempre preceduto da un meno, sia vera moneta o pura finzione. Ma soprattutto dovete farvi questa domanda: di chi è il denaro? A chi spetta la sua proprietà? E’ nostro o l’abbiamo solo in prestito, perché appartiene ad altri?
Chiedetevi tutto questo e tutto quello che da queste domande scaturirà come nuovi rami da un fusto e sarete presto sballottati in un mondo astruso, inconcepibile, inaspettato, che rifiuterete di penetrare per quanto sembrerà un’invenzione. Ricercate, in rete, in libreria e nell’esperienza e fate germogliare le domande. Benvenuti nell’assurdo mondo del Signoraggio Bancario e a presto.
On Friday 21st May 2010, Admiral Dennis C. Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, announced his resignation from the top US intelligence post. He gave no reason for his sudden departure in a public statement that he circulated to the 16 US intelligence agencies that he oversaw.
lunedì 24 maggio 2010
Roma, 24/05/2010: “Con l’alto patrocinio del Forum Nazionale Antiusura Bancaria ha avuto luogo in Brescia la conferenza dell’Associazione “Lotta contro tutte le mafie Onlus” che ha visto la partecipazione di oltre 200 imprenditori e cittadini vessati dall’usura bancaria e dallo strapotere delle società di riscossione tributi Esatri, Gerit, Equitalia”. Così l’On. Scilipoti (IDV), sul Forum Antiusura di Brescia. “In apertura dei lavori la dott.ssa Lorena Sacchi, presidente della Onlus, ha illustrato i risultati ottenuti dalla sua associazione con particolare riferimento alle sospensione delle esecuzioni per le vittime dell’usura non solo criminale, ma anche bancaria”. Continua il deputato di Italia dei Valori e presidente del Forum Nazionale Antiusura: “Si sottolinea la necessità di aggregare tutti coloro che hanno subito e subiscono lo strapotere del sistema bancario e delle società di esazioni tributi, per diffondere la cultura della tutela anche individuale finalizzata a cambiare le regole della collettività, unico rimedio per arginare e tentare di porre fine alle collusioni che hanno determinato la deriva del sistema e la perdita di fiducia in tutte le istituzioni”.
E’ stata poi la volta del penalista genovese avv. Riccardo Caramello, che ha illustrato le modalità di rilevazione dei tassi praticati dalle banche, oltre i limiti di legge, che fanno scattare per automatismo il reato di usura, ma ha anche fatto cenno alla lentezze giudiziaria nella conduzione delle istruttorie, che sovente portano alla prescrizione dei reati prima della chiusura delle indagini, in particolare quando si denunziano gli istituti di credito.
L’avv. Domenico Morfeo del Foro di Foggia ha invece sottolineato gli aspetti civilistici dell’usura bancaria e le modalità per contestare le anomalie degli estratti conti, l’anatocismo e gli interessi indeterminati, e per ottenere la restituzione del maltolto e spesso anche del risarcimento del danno.
“Il prof. Francesco Petrino, presidente del Sindacato nazionale Antiusura e docente di diritto bancario, che dal 1995 conduce una cruenta battaglia nei confronti delle banche – continua l’On. Scilipoti - ha esplicitato, per ammissione della stessa Banca d’Italia, che l’usura praticata dalle banche negli ultimi cinque anni in danno di cittadini e imprese ammonta ad oltre 60 miliardi di euro. Ha altresì sottolineato che, nonostante la crisi e la moria delle imprese a causa dei soventi immotivati recessi dagli affidamenti creditizi, i due maggiori gruppi bancari italiani, dopo avere implorato il governo affinché fossero concessi interventi straordinari in favore delle banche per evitare il tracollo del sistema, hanno chiuso i rispettivi bilanci ognuno con utili di 600/700 milioni di euro netti, dopo il pagamento delle imposte. Il prof. Petrino ha continuato sugli abusi delle società di riscossione tributi, che continuano a iscrivere ipoteche illegittime anche per crediti inferiori a 8000 euro e sulla incostituzionalità del fermo auto poiché il mezzo costituisce bene strumentale finalizzato all’attività di produzione del reddito; ha esplicitato gli abusi delle esecuzioni per crediti prescritti o per cartelle esattoriali mai notificate, indicando – conclude l’On. Scilipoti (IDV) - anche le modalità per contestarle ed ottenere la cancellazione delle ipoteche illegittime”.
On. Dott. Domenico Scilipoti
domenica 23 maggio 2010
LBMA gold shorts backed by central banks, Rickards tells King World NewsSubmitted by cpowell on Sun, 2010-05-23 01:08. Section: Daily Dispatches
9p ET Saturday, May 22, 2010
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
Eric King today has a spectacular 15-minute interview with James G. Rickards, senior managing director for Virginia-based research firm Omnis Inc., that has been written up wonderfully at Zero Hedge here:
Perhaps most interestingly, Rickards speculates that London Bullion Market Association members that are short gold are underwritten by central banks. That would confirm GATA's contention that the LBMA is a major mechanism of the gold price suppression scheme. Send that man his tin-foil hat!
You can find the Rickards interview at King World News here:CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
OPERATION SAMSON (OS)
[in memory of all the members of the international Special Forces died as a consequence of Depleted Uranium contamination and their families]
1 - Evoke all the special forces survived to depleted uranium contamination.
2 - Round up your local Central Bank.
3 - Jail all the people inside and substitute them with Special Commissaries.
4 - Establish instantly a BASIC INCOME for all citizens of the country.
5 - Freeze all debts and repay them by new fiat-money.
6 - Be happy and free. And don't forget to thanks the Special Forces participating in the OS with BIG BONUSES !!!
[Remember: 2,500 Italian DU victims in the military forces (as of 2006 !!!) during "UsuryKeeping" missions.]
WE don't forget !
sabato 22 maggio 2010
More Than 850 Banks, Hedge Funds, Companies, Others Deploy 3,000-Plus Lobbyists on Capitol HillBy M.B. Pell and Joe Eaton, CPI, May 21, 2010
Businesses, trade groups and other interests hired more than five lobbyists for each member of Congress to influence financial regulatory reform legislation pending before the Senate, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.
More than 850 banks, hedge funds, companies, associations, and other organizations hired 3,000-plus lobbyists to work on the reform bills, according to the Center’s examination of lobbying disclosure data for all of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. However, public outrage over Wall Street’s role in the 2007-09 financial meltdown blunted industry attempts to win loopholes in the measure now before the U.S. Senate.
Most of the big players in American business lobbying were active as regulatory reform proposals worked their way through Congress. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce deployed 85 lobbyists, including 49 hired from outside lobbying firms. Among financial services groups, the Securities Industry and Financial Market Association employed 54 lobbyists, including 37 from outside firms. The American Bankers Association deployed 53 lobbyists, the Business Roundtable 42, and the Mortgage Bankers Association 29, according to Center data.
In the financial services industry, some 175 companies and groups—ranging from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to CME Group Inc. to the Private Equity Council—hired lobbyists to try to weaken or eliminate reform proposals aimed at banks and the capital markets. A distant second was the energy and utilities sector, with 91 companies and organizations, followed by manufacturing with 66 firms.
The companies and groups that lobbied on financial reform spent a total of $1.3 billion in 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 on their overall lobbying efforts, the data showed. The exact dollar amount they devoted to financial regulation reform remains unclear because lobbyists are not required to itemize how much money in a given contract is spent on a specific issue. But if only 10 percent of that spending was targeted at financial regulation bills, lobbyists would have received $133 million.
In this debate, however, public perception of big U.S. banks as free-wheeling gamblers relying on taxpayer-funded safety nets overwhelmed Wall Street’s lobbying, some experts said. Anger over bailouts, lavish bonus payments to top executives, and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud lawsuit against Goldman galvanized public opinion against Wall Street.
“Political backlash overwhelmed lobbying,” said Arthur Wilmarth Jr., a banking law expert at George Washington University.
“When you see the tsunami of money flowing into Capitol Hill from these big financial players and their customers, it’s hard to imagine that the broader public interest will be taken into account,” Wilmarth said. “Earlier this year, there was a sense that we’ve gotten past the worst of it, so let’s not overreact. Now the fact that all of these (European) governments have taken on all this debt, I think people now realize the crisis isn’t over yet and don’t really want the financial industry going back to taking risks.”
Banks and the financial industry spared little expense in lobbying. Citigroup Inc. deployed 38 lobbyists, Moody’s Corp. 13, and Bank of America 11, all dedicated to the financial reform legislation, according to disclosure documents.
Even with Tea Party protests against Wall Street excesses and Democrats’ push to toughen government oversight for big banks, the financial industry managed to score some victories.
Peter Garuccio a spokesman for the American Bankers Association, said the industry’s accomplishments, at least up to now, include preserving Federal Reserve oversight of state member banks and eliminating a proposal for a $50 billion fund to help pay for dismantling large banks considered too big to fail.
“Some of the concerns we’ve raised have been addressed, others have not, and others have been partially addressed,” Garuccio said. “It’s still an on going process.”
No lawmaker wants to support a provision that could be responsible for the next financial crisis, said Bill Himpler, executive vice president of the American Financial Services Association. The challenge for lobbyists representing banking and finance organizations, which generally support some form of reform, Himpler said, is to demonstrate how various popular provisions do more harm than good for consumers and the financial industry. “I think we’ve got our work cut out for us,” he said.
Reform advocates have their own victories to point to in the legislation’s current form. They include the creation of a federal consumer financial protection bureau, fee limits on debit card transactions, and a one-time audit of the Federal Reserve’s role in the financial bailout. The Senate voted on Thursday to end debate on the bill, clearing the way for final passage.
What happens as the House and Senate reconcile separate versions of reform legislation remains to be seen, but Amaya Tune, spokeswoman for the AFL CIO, which supports reform measures, feels confident that consumers, not Wall Street, will come out on top.
“I think the chances of this staying a strong bill and not getting watered down are pretty good,” Tune said. “That being said, we’ll cross our fingers.”
Staff writers Josh Israel, Aaron Mehta, and Caitlin Ginley and Soles Fellow Dan Ettinger contributed to this story.
NakedCapitalism, May 22, 2010
Simon Schama tonight warns in the Financial Times that revolutionary rage is close to the boiling point in Europe and the US :
Historians will tell you there is often a time-lag between the onset of economic disaster and the accumulation of social fury. In act one, the shock of a crisis initially triggers fearful disorientation; the rush for political saviours; instinctive responses of self-protection, but not the organised mobilisation of outrage…
Act two is trickier. Objectively, economic conditions might be improving, but perceptions are everything and a breathing space gives room for a dangerously alienated public to take stock of the brutal interruption of their rising expectations. What happened to the march of income, the acquisition of property, the truism that the next generation will live better than the last? The full impact of the overthrow of these assumptions sinks in and engenders a sense of grievance that “Someone Else” must have engineered the common misfortune….At the very least, the survival of a crisis demands ensuring that the fiscal pain is equitably distributed. In the France of 1789, the erstwhile nobility became regular citizens, ended their exemption from the land tax, made a show of abolishing their own privileges, turned in jewellery for the public treasury; while the clergy’s immense estates were auctioned for La Nation. It is too much to expect a bonfire of the bling but in 2010 a pragmatic steward of the nation’s economy needs to beware relying unduly on regressive indirect taxes, especially if levied to impress a bond market with which regular folk feel little connection. At the very least, any emergency budget needs to take stock of this raw sense of popular victimisation and deliver a convincing story about the sharing of burdens. To do otherwise is to guarantee that a bad situation gets very ugly, very fast.
Schama knows this terrain cold; his chronicle of the French Revolution, Citizens, made clear what a bloody affair it was. Even so, his account in the Financial Times in some key respects understates the degree of dislocation suffered by many in advanced economies. Schama depicts the crisis-induced change as merely the end of rising expectations, but the shock is deeper than that.
Severe financial crises result in a permanent decline in the standard of living. For some citizens, that has come through contracts being reneged, in particular, pension cuts. Other people see their savings in tatters and have no realistic prospect for being able to fund their retirement. And for many of these individuals, the odds of finding continuing, reasonably paid work are low. Even before unemployment soared, people over 40 face poor job prospects. The idea that the middle aged cohort can earn back losses to their nest eggs is wishful thinking. And the young are not much better off. New graduates also face a hostile job market. Worse, students often went into debt to finance their education, believing the mantra that it was an investment.
And many of the societies suffering these financial shocks have already suffered a great deal of erosion of their underlying support structures. Even before the crisis, in the US and other advanced economies, social bonds have eroded in a remarkably short period of time, roughly a generation and a half. Job tenures are short; employees and employers have little loyalty to each other. Ties to communities are weak. Many families have two working parents, so career and parenting demands leave little time to participate in local organizations. Advanced technology frequently offers an easier leisure outlet than trying to coordinate schedules with time (or financially) stressed friends. But marriage and families are also not the haven they once were, given high divorce rates.
One oft unrecognized factor is that alienation and social stress are directly related to income inequality. This is hardly a new finding, but it seldom gets media coverage in the plutocratic US. And it has concrete, measurable costs. As Michael Prowse explained in the Financial Times:
…..if you look for differences between countries, the relationship between income and health largely disintegrates. Rich Americans, for instance, are healthier on average than poor Americans, as measured by life expectancy. But, although the US is a much richer country than, say, Greece, Americans on average have a lower life expectancy than Greeks. More income, it seems, gives you a health advantage with respect to your fellow citizens, but not with respect to people living in other countries….
Once a floor standard of living is attained, people tend to be healthier when three conditions hold: they are valued and respected by others; they feel ‘in control’ in their work and home lives; and they enjoy a dense network of social contacts. Economically unequal societies tend to do poorly in all three respects: they tend to be characterised by big status differences, by big differences in people’s sense of control and by low levels of civic participation….
Unequal societies, in other words, will remain unhealthy societies – and also unhappy societies – no matter how wealthy they become. Their advocates – those who see no reason whatever to curb ever-widening income differentials – have a lot of explaining to do.
Yves here. If you look at broader indicators of social well being, you see the same finding: greater income inequality is associated with worse outcomes. From a presentation by Kate Pickett, Senior lecturer at the University of York and author of The Spirit Level, at the INET conference in April:
Note in particular where Japan sits on the chart. Some readers have argued that the US has little to fear from deflation and a protracted period of near-zero growth, since Japan is orderly and prosperous-looking, despite its relative decline. But Japan was and is the most socially equal major economy, and during its crisis, it observed the Schama prescription of sharing the pain. The US, the UK, and to a lesser degree, Europe, have done the exact reverse, with both the bank rescues and austerity measures effectively a transfer from ordinary citizens to financiers.
As James Lardner pointed out in the New York Review of Books in June 2007, even before the wheels started coming off the economy, the social contract in the US was pretty frayed, but a concerted
propaganda campaign PR effort promoted the fiction that it was the best of all possible worlds:
To gain their political ends, the robber barons and monopolists of the Gilded Age were content with corrupting officials and buying elections. Their modern counterparts have taken things a big step further, erecting a loose network of think tanks, corporate spokespeople, and friendly press commentators to shape the way Americans think about the economy…. the new communications apparatus wants us to believe that our economic wellbeing depends almost entirely on the so-called free market—a euphemism for letting the private sector set its own rules. The success of this great effort can be measured in the remarkable fact that, despite the corporate scandals and the social damage that these authors explore; despite three decades of deregulation and privatization and tax-and-benefit-slashing with, as the clearest single result, the relentless rise of economic inequality to levels so extreme that since 2001 “the economy” has racked up five straight years of impressive growth without producing any measurable income gains for most Americans—even now, discussions of solutions or alternatives can be stopped almost dead in their tracks by mention of the word government.
Yves here. Having weakened faith in government and made considerable progress towards creating a social Darwinist paradise of isolated individuals pitted against each other, the oligarchs may be about to harvest a whirlwind.