mercoledì 14 luglio 2010

Facebook Creates Virtual Currency

Facebook Creates Virtual Currency

Facebook is working with MOL Global, a Malaysian online-payment company, to sell “Facebook Credits” through prepaid cards. In essence the partnership makes the purchasing of Facebook Credits a virtual currency. The credits will be used to buy online games and applications on the social-networking site.

These credits will be able to be acquired through MOL’s network of more than 500,000 outlets, such as 7-Eleven stores and cyber cafes. As the virtual currency effort expands it will add value to the Facebook brand’s valuation.

News stories related to the World Bank and IMF

A selection of news stories related to the World Bank and IMF, brought to you by the Bretton Woods Project:

NGOs urge World Bank's MIGA to deny $207 million guarantee for Weda Bay Nickel
Mine Web, 13 July 2010

The IMF's pitiless helping hand
The Asian Age, 13 July 2010

IMF warning: PM requested to hold meeting on sales tax reform
Daily Times, 11 July 2010

Getting rid of social security would be costly
Retirement blog, 11 July 2010

World Bank biggest obstacle to developing countries
The citizen, 11 July 2010

Sri Lanka - early termination of World Bank project raises eyebrows
Sunday Leader, 9 July 2010

IMF tells Zimbabwe to cut spending
The Zimbabwean, 9 July 2010

Groups seek stronger World Bank investment standards to protect poor, 8 July 2010

Historian warns of sudden collapse of American ‘empire’

Writer: Brent Gardner-Smith

Harvard professor and prolific author Niall Ferguson opened the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival Monday with a stark warning about the increasing prospect of the American “empire” suddenly collapsing due to the country’s rising debt level.

“I think this is a problem that is going to go live really soon,” Ferguson said. “In that sense, I mean within the next two years. Because the whole thing, fiscally and other ways, is very near the edge of chaos. And we’ve seen already in Greece what happens when the bond market loses faith in your fiscal policy.”

Ferguson said empires — such as the former Soviet Union and the Roman empire — can collapse quite quickly and the tipping point is often when the cost of servicing an empire’s debt is larger than the cost of its defense budget.

“That has not been the case I think at any point in U.S. history,” Ferguson said. “It will be the case in the next five years.”

Ferguson was conscious of opening the Ideas Festival on such a stark note.

“Walter Isaacson, the leader of this great institution said, ‘Don’t be too dark!,’” Ferguson said.

The affable British scholar tried to keep it light. He used a stage whisper to tell the Aspen Institute audience, “I know you’re not comfortable with the word ‘empire,’ especially just after the Fourth of July, but you are the Redcoats now.”

He said the U.S. is now deeply in the red as a country because of a combination of the Great Recession, the resulting federal stimulus and financial bailout programs, two wars, the Bush tax cuts, and a growth in social entitlement programs.

And economic debt can lead to a sudden loss of military power and global respect, Ferguson said.

“By combating our crisis of private debt with an extraordinary expansion of public debt, we inevitably are going to reduce the resources available for national security in the years ahead,” Ferguson said. “Because as a debt grows, so the interest payments you have to make on it grow, even if interest rates stay low. And on current projections, the federal debt is going to be absorbing around 20 percent — a fifth of all the taxes you pay — within just a few years.

“The item of discretionary federal expenditure most likely to be squeezed is of course defense. And there are lots of historic precedents for that,” said Ferguson, who is the author of “Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power.”

Ferguson said the financial crisis that started in 2007 has “has accelerated a fundamental shift in the balance of power,” with the U.S. shedding power and China absorbing it.

“I’ve just come back from China — a two-week trip there — and the thing I heard most often was, ‘You can’t lecture us about the superiority of your system anymore. We don’t need to learn anything from you about financial institutions and forget about democracy. We see where it has got you.’”

David Gergen of CNN, who moderated the discussion, which also included billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman, asked Ferguson whether it made a difference if the U.S. declined as a world power.

“Having grown up in a declining empire, I do not recommend it,” Ferguson said. “It’s not a lot of fun, actually, decline. To be more serious, a world in which the United States is no longer predominate is not likely to be a better world, actually.”

In what he called his “light moment,” Ferguson said, “I think there is a way out for the United States. I don’t think its over. But it all hinges on whether you can re-energize the real mainsprings of American power. And those two things are technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Those are the things that made the United States the greatest economy in the world and the critical question is, ‘Are we going to get it right?’ Can we revive those things in such a way that in the end we grow our way out of this hole the way the United States grew its way out of the 1970s and of course out of the 1930s?”

The Aspen Ideas Festival continues through July 11 at the Aspen Institute. Such notables as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan are scheduled to appear.

A number of events are open to the public, but tickets were going fast on Monday through the website Aspen Show Tickets. Aspen Public Radio also plans on broadcasting a number of festival events live, including on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and at 1 and 5 p.m.

22 luglio: Conferenza "Morire per Maastricht"

Giovedì 22 luglio 2010, alle ore 12,00
presso la sede della
Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana
(corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 349)
sala Azzurra
(primo piano)


«Morire per Maastricht»: la crisi economica internazionale ed italiana attraverso gli articoli de «il Borghese»

L’editore Luciano Lucarini ed il direttore de «il Borghese» Claudio Tedeschi presentano lo speciale allegato a «il Borghese» di Luglio: «Morire per Maastricht». Il fascicolo raccoglie alcuni degli articoli sull'argomento pubblicati da «il Borghese» negli ultimi anni, nei quali si prevedeva con nomi e fatti quanto poi puntualmente accaduto a livello bancario, finanziario e monetario.

Articoli di Valerio De Lillo, Savino Frigiola, Federico Maffei, Antonio Pantano e Claudio Tedeschi.

Claudio Tedeschi, Savino Frigiola, Franco Jappelli, Antonio Pantano
Ufficio Stampa: Agata Fuso
cell 339/1577353 -
Redazione - Via Gualtiero Serafino, 8 - 00136 Roma (RM)
tel 06/45468600 - Fax 06/39738771 - cell 335/7056141

In questi ultimi anni, «il Borghese» ha seguìto una linea dura contro le banche, nazionali ed estere, contro la politica dissennata della «BCE» e la funzione destabilizzatrice dell’euro all’interna della politica nazionale dei Paesi membri.
In vari articoli, sono state esposte accuse, tesi e proposte circa la corretta gestione della politica monetaria e finanziaria nazionale, europea e globale.
Tutto ciò molti mesi prima che i fatti incresciosi della crisi si verificassero.
Segno che coloro che scrivono per «il Borghese» vedono giusto, per conseguenza coloro che lasciano gestire la politica ai banchieri e loro economisti sono nell’errore.
Tra le varie proposte per uscire dalla crisi: l’abolizione del signoraggio da parte della «BCE»; il passaggio del controllo della «BCE» sotto la politica, in pratica la Commissione europea; l’uscita dell’Italia dall’euro ed un ritorno a battere moneta da parte del nostro Stato, come da consolidata esperienza.
Questo inserto contiene alcuni degli articoli pubblicati in questi anni, per dare modo a chi non sapeva di sapere e chi sapeva di averne la conferma.
Come sempre «il Borghese» ha informato ancora prima che i fatti accadessero. In fondo Giuseppe Prezzolini aveva scritto: «”il Borghese” contro tutti e contro tutto ma quando si vorrà scrivere la storia d'Italia di questi anni, si dovrà andare in biblioteca a consultare la collezione de “il Borghese” per conoscere la verità».
La dimostrazione la si ha guardando la copertina che pubblicammo ad ottobre 2007, quando Berlusconi affermava che tutto andava bene.

martedì 13 luglio 2010



“You all are the house, you're the bookie. [Your clients] are booking their bets with you. I don't know why we need to dress it up. It's a bet.”
- Senator Claire McCaskill, Senate Subcommittee investigating Goldman Sachs (Washington Post, April 27, 2010)

Ever since December 2008, the Federal Reserve has held short-term interest rates near zero. This was not only to try to stimulate the housing and credit markets but also to allow the federal government to increase its debt levels without increasing the interest tab picked up by the taxpayers. The total public U.S. debt increased by nearly 50% from 2006 to the end of 2009 (from about $8.5 trillion to $12.3 trillion), but the interest bill on the debt actually dropped (from $406 billion to $383 billion), because of this reduction in interest rates.

One of the dire unintended consequences of that maneuver, however, was that municipal governments across the country have been saddled with very costly bad derivatives bets. They were persuaded by their Wall Street advisers to buy credit default swaps to protect their loans against interest rates shooting up. Instead, rates proceeded to drop through the floor, a wholly unforeseeable and unnatural market condition caused by rate manipulations by the Fed. Instead of the banks bearing the losses in return for premiums paid by municipal governments, the governments have had to pay massive sums to the banks – to the point of bankrupting at least one city (Montgomery, Alabama).

Another unintended consequence of the plunge in interest rates has been that “savers” have been forced to become “speculators” or gamblers. When interest rates on safe corporate bonds were around 8%, a couple could aim for saving half a million dollars in their working careers and count on reaping $40,000 yearly in investment income, a sum that, along with social security, could make for a comfortable retirement. But very low interest rates on bonds have forced these once-prudent savers into the riskier and less predictable stock market, and the collapse of the stock market has forced them into even more speculative ventures in the form of derivatives, a glorified form of gambling. Pension funds, which have binding pension contracts entered into when interest was at much higher levels, need an 8% investment return to meet their commitments. In today’s market, they cannot make that sort of return without taking on higher risk, which means taking major losses when the risks materialize.

Derivatives are basically just bets. Like at a racetrack, you don’t need to own the thing you’re betting on in order to play. Derivative casinos have opened up on virtually anything that can go up or down or have a variable future outcome. You can bet on the price of tea in China, the success or failure of a movie, whether a country will default on its debt, or whether a particular piece of legislation will pass. The global market in derivative trades is now well over a quadrillion dollars – that’s a thousand trillion – and it is eating up resources that were at one time invested in productive enterprises. Why risk lending money to a corporation or buying its stock, when you can reap a better return betting on whether the stock will rise or fall?

The shift from investing to gambling means that not only are investors making very little of their money available to companies to produce goods and services, but the parties on one side of every speculative trade now have an interest in seeing the object of the bet fail, whether a company, a movie, a politician, or a country. Worse, high-speed program traders can actually manipulate the market so that the thing bet on is more likely to fail. Not only has the market become a casino, but the casino is rigged.

High frequency traders – a field led by Goldman Sachs -- use computer algorithms to automatically bet huge sums of money on minor shifts in price. These bets send signals to the market that can themselves cause the price of assets to shoot up or tumble down. By placing high-volume trades, the largest speculative traders can thus intentionally “fix” prices in any direction they want.

“Prediction” Markets

Casinos for betting on what something will do in the future have been elevated to the status of “prediction” markets, and they can cover a broad range of issues. MIT’s Technology Review launched a futures market for technological innovations, in order to bet on upcoming developments. The NewsFutures and TradeSports Exchanges enable people to wager on matters such as whether Tiger Woods will take another lover, or whether Bin Laden will be found in Afghanistan.

A 2008 conference of sports leaders in Auckland, New Zealand, featured Mark Davies, head of a sport betting exchange called Betfair. Davies observed that these betting exchanges, while clearly gambling forums, are little different from the trading done by financial firms such as JPMorgan. He said:

“I used to trade bonds at JPMorgan, and I can tell you that what our customers do is exactly the same as what I used to do in my previous life, with the single exception that where I had to pour over balance sheets and income statements, they pour over form and team-sheets.”

The online news outlet Slate monitors various prediction markets to provide readers with up-to-date information on the potential outcomes of political races. Two of the markets covered are the Iowa Electronic Markets and Intrade. Slate claims that these political casinos are consistently better at forecasting winners than pre-election polls. Participants bet real money 24 hours a day on the outcomes of a range of issues, including political races. Newsfutures and Casualobserver are similar, smaller exchanges.

Besides shifting the emphasis to gambling (“Why Vote When You Can Bet?” says Slate’s “Guide to All Political Markets”), prediction markets, like the stock market, can be rigged so that they actually affect outcomes. This became evident, for example, in 2008, when the John McCain campaign used the InTrade market to shift perception of his chances of winning. A supporter was able to single-handedly manipulate the price of McCain’s contract, causing it to move up in the market and prompting some mainstream media to report it as evidence that McCain was gaining in popularity.

Betting on Terrorism

The destructive potential of prediction markets became particularly apparent in one sponsored by the Pentagon, called the “policy analysis market” (PAM) or “terror futures market.” PAM was an attempt to use the predictive power of markets to forecast political events tied to the Middle East, including terrorist attacks. According to the New York Times, the PAM would have allowed trading of futures on political developments including terrorist attacks, coups d’état, and assassinations. The exchange was shut down a day after it launched, after commentators pointed out that the system made it far too easy to make money with terror attacks.

At a July 28, 2003 press conference Senators Byron L. Dorgan (DND) and Ron Wyden(DOR) spoke out against the exchange. Wyden stated, “The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it's grotesque,” while Dorgan called it “useless, offensive and unbelievably stupid”.

“This appears to encourage terrorists to participate, either to profit from their terrorist activities or to bet against them in order to mislead U.S. intelligence authorities,” they said in a letter to Admiral John Poindexter, the director of the Terrorism Information Awareness Office, which developed the idea. A week after the exchange closed, Poindexter offered his resignation.

Carbon Credit Trading

A massive new derivatives market that could be highly destructive economically is the trading platform called Carbon Credit Trading, which is on its way to dwarfing world oil trade. The program would allow trading in “carbon allowances” (permitting companies to emit greenhouse gases) and in “carbon offsets” (allowing companies to emit beyond their allowance if they invest in emission-reducing projects elsewhere). It would also allow trading in carbon derivatives; for example, futures contracts to deliver a certain number of allowances at an agreed price and time.

Robert Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce in the Clinton administration and a cofounder of the U.S. Climate Task Force, has warned, “We are on the verge of creating a new trillion-dollar market in financial assets that will be securitized, derivatized, and speculated by Wall Street like the mortgage-backed securities market.”

Eoin O’Carroll cautioned in the Christian Science Monitor:

“Many critics are pointing out that this new market for carbon derivatives could, without effective oversight, usher in another Wall Street free-for-all just like the one that precipitated the implosion of the global economy. . . . Just as the inability of homeowners to make good on their subprime mortgages ended up pulling the rug out from under the credit market, carbon offsets that are based on shaky greenhouse-gas mitigation projects could cause the carbon market to tank, with implications for the broader economy.”

The proposed form of cap and trade has not yet been passed in the U.S., but a new market in which traders can speculate on the future of allowances and offsets has already been launched. The largest players in the carbon credit trading market include firms such as Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital, Fortis, Deutsche Bank, Rabobank, BNP Paribas, Sumitomo, Kommunalkredit, Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch and Cantor Fitzgerald. Last year, the financial services industry had 130 lobbyists working on climate issues, compared to almost none in 2003. The lobbyists represented companies such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

Billionaire financier George Soros says cap-and-trade will be easy for speculators to rig. “The system can be gamed,” he said last July at a London School of Economics seminar. “That’s why financial types like me like it — because there are financial opportunities.”

Time to Board Up the Casinos and Rethink Our Social Safety Net?

Our forebears considered gambling to be immoral and made it a crime. As the Industrial Revolution and the ascendance of capital changed religious mores, gambling gradually gained acceptance, but even within that permissive paradigm, derivative trading was originally considered an illegal form of gambling. Perhaps it is time to reinstate the gambling laws, board up the derivatives casinos, and return the stock market to what it was designed to be: a means of funneling the capital of investors into productive businesses.

Short of banning derivatives altogether, the derivatives business could be slowed up considerably by imposing a Tobin tax, a small tax on every financial trade. “Financial products” are virtually the only products left on the planet that are not currently subject to a sales tax; and at over a quadrillion dollars in trades annually, the market is huge.

A larger issue is how to ensure adequate retirement income for the population without forcing people into gambling with their life savings to supplement their meager social security checks. It may be time to rethink not only our banking and financial structure but the entire social umbrella that our Founding Fathers called the Common Wealth. The genius of Social Security was its recognition of the basic economic truth that real “security” rests on the ability of a society to provide for and take care of those who, because of age, health or economic conditions, cannot take care of themselves.

Deficit hawks cry that we cannot afford more spending; but according to Richard Cook, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, the government could print and spend several trillion new dollars into the money supply without causing price inflation. Writing in Global Research in April 2007, he noted that the U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 2006 came to $12.98 trillion, while the total national income came to only $10.23 trillion; and at least 10 percent of that income was reinvested rather than spent on goods and services. Total available purchasing power was thus only about $9.21 trillion, or $3.77 trillion less than the collective price of goods and services sold. Where did consumers get the extra $3.77 trillion? They had to borrow it, and they borrowed it from banks that created it with accounting entries on their books. If the government had replaced this bank-created money with debt-free government-created money, the total money supply would have remained unchanged. That means a whopping $3.77 trillion in new government-issued money could have been fed into the economy in 2006 without inflating prices. Different proposals have been made concerning how this money should be distributed, but at least some of it could be used to provide adequate social security checks, relieving the pressure to gamble with our savings.

The Federal Reserve has funneled $4.6 trillion to Wall Street in bailout money, most of it generated via “quantitative easing” (in effect, printing money); yet hyperinflation has not resulted. To the contrary, what we have today is Depression-style deflation. The M3 money supply shrank in the last year by 5.5 percent, and the rate at which it is shrinking is accelerating. The explanation for this anomaly is that the Fed’s $4.6 trillion added by quantitative easing fell far short of the estimated $10 trillion needed to “reflate” the money supply after the “shadow lenders” disappeared. When these investors discovered that the “triple-A” mortgage-backed securities they had been purchasing from Wall Street were actually very risky investments, they exited the market, credit dried up, and the money supply (which today consists almost entirely of credit or debt) collapsed.

The only viable way to reflate a collapsed money supply is to put more money into it; and creating the national money supply is the sovereign right of governments, not of banks. If the government wants to remain sovereign, it needs to reassert that right.

Fin de système : Il faut savoir sortir à temps !

LaRouche : « Fin de système : Il faut savoir sortir à temps ! »
13 juillet 2010 - 23:04

Par Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

Le 12 juillet 2010

Depuis ma prévision de l’été 1956, lorsque j’annonçais la soudaine récession qui frapperait en février-mars 1957, je n’ai jamais publié de prévision sur l’économie américaine pour laquelle les faits ne m’aient pas donné raison. La cause en est que tous mes supposés rivaux se reposent sur des méthodes statisticiennes monétaristes, intrinsèquement incompétentes.

C’est ainsi que ma série de prévisions au cours des années 1960 s’est avérée exacte, menant à mon annonce du probable effondrement du système de Bretton Woods entre la fin de la décennie et le début des années 1970. Il en fut de même pour mes prévisions faites dans les années 1980, puis en 1992, 1996-98, 2001, 2004 et fin juillet 2007.

Je n’ai donc jamais fait de prévisions à la manière des statisticiens ; je laisse ces jeux débiles aux parieurs des champs de course et de Wall Street.

Je m’explique.

Le processus qui allait nous mener à la banqueroute générale du système avec l’abrogation de la loi Glass-Steagall, était en marche dès 1984. C’est à cette époque que le futur gouverneur de la Réserve fédérale, Alan Greenspan, commença à comploter pour démanteler le système Glass-Steagall de protection de l’économie. Ceci, alors qu’il était un supplétif rétribué par la banque des marchés de Londres, J.P. Morgan.

L’abrogation du Glass-Steagall en 1999, par ce misérable complice de Greenspan, Larry Summers, a ouvert la voie à une hyperinflation mondiale sans précédent.

Désormais, l’économie du monde transatlantique s’avance vers une crise bien pire que le modeste effondrement inflationniste de l’Allemagne de Weimar.

La crise est hyperinflationniste, dans le même sens que celle qui frappa le Mark entre le printemps et l’automne 1923, à ceci près que la situation est désormais bien pire que tout ce qu’a pu connaître l’histoire mondiale depuis la Paix de Westphalie en 1648. D’ailleurs, l’intention avouée des réseaux britanniques, de leurs dupes allemands et des autres, derrière cet effondrement imminent, est « d’en finir avec le système Westphalien ».

Ce qui a caractérisé les évènements post-2001 sur les marchés transatlantiques a été l’effondrement de l’économie réelle, parallèlement à l’expansion des « actifs » financiers purement fictifs. Leur croissance est telle que personne n’est en mesure de l’estimer précisément. L’on parle ici de millions de milliards de dollars d’actifs pourris qui remplissent les comptes de Wall Street et des structures financières du Commonwealth. Le taux de croissance de la part de ce capital fictif par rapport au capital productif, conforme aux critères Glass-Steagall pour les banques de commerciales, est à un stade hyperbolique.

C’est pourquoi le monde entier, et en particulier la zone transatlantique, est au bord d’un effondrement qui va ruiner la valeur des monnaies de l’ensemble des pays, sur tous les marchés internationaux. En bref, il s’agit d’une rupture globale qui touchera d’abord le monde transatlantique, puis l’ensemble des autres pays.

Face a cela, il n’y a qu’un seul remède ; toute autre « alternative » serait cliniquement folle. Il s’agit de rétablir immédiatement les critères de la loi Glass-Steagall parmi les principales nations, y compris les Etats-Unis libérés de cette marionnette britannique qu’est Obama, afin d’établir un réseau solide de systèmes nationaux de banques de dépôt fonctionnant sur les bases strictes de ces critères.

C’est dans ce but que j’ai avancé une stratégie d’alliance réunissant, pour démarrer, les Etats-Unis, la Russie, la Chine et l’Inde, pour établir, avec tous ceux qui voudront la rejoindre, un système international à taux de change fixe.

Nous sommes à un moment où la situation pourrait vite basculer vers le pire, et pour longtemps. Pour empêcher cela, il faut agir vite, d’ici septembre 2010, pour imposer le remède Glass-Steagall dans les principales nations — à l’exception de cas incurables comme le système britannique du Commonwealth (même si, cela me ferait grand plaisir d’accueillir un Royaume-Uni souhaitant s’orienter vers une alternative plus prudente).

Un monde qui laisserait se développer les conséquences de cet effondrement vivrait, sur deux générations, une réduction drastique de la population, de 6,8 milliards d’âmes, à moins de deux milliards (très sous-développés). Une perspective tout à fait conforme aux vœux du Prince Philip d’Édimbourg.

La question du timing

Il n’est pas très difficile d’estimer à quel moment nous aurons franchi le point de non-retour.

Imaginez l’ordre de grandeur de l’écart entre la croissance de la dette financière, tout ce qui est associé aux produits dérivés et ce qui reste de spéculatif (masse financière « A »), et la portion décroissante de la masse monétaire répondant aux critères Glass-Steagall (masse financière « B »). Leur relation est hyperbolique (ceux qui ne veulent pas reconnaître cette réalité n’ont qu’à se taire). Constatez maintenant le coût des plans de renflouement américains depuis août 2007, – et il en va de même en Europe. Il est clair que le groupe bancaire Inter-Alpha, représentant 70% du monde de la banque, est en faillite. La trajectoire que suit l’Europe, avec son fantasme de l’euro qui a été imposé aux pays-membres, montre que nous sommes déjà aux portes d’une véritable onde de choc au-delà de laquelle il n’y aura plus d’espoir pour une vie civilisé sur terre, à moins d’imposer tout de suite et efficacement les critères Glass-Steagall.

à quoi sert l’Inspection des finances ?

SarkoWoerth : à quoi sert l’Inspection des finances ?
12 juillet 2010 - 14:00

12 juillet 2010 (Nouvelle Solidarité) – Le Figaro et toute la presse à la botte fanfaronnent déjà : le rapport de l’Inspection générale des finances (IGF) sur le dossier fiscal de Liliane Bettencourt blanchit Eric Woerth. Sauf que tout le monde sait que le fond du Woerthgate c’est le Sarkogate. Si ce rapport de l’IGF sert d’instrument idéal de propagande à 24 heures de l’intervention télévisée du chef de l’Etat, il ne blanchit pas Sarkozy et son ministre de trésorier des soupçons de financement politique illégal et d’interférences de l’exécutif dans le processus judiciaire. Mais c’est néanmoins le bon moment pour donner un coup de projecteur sur l’Inspection générale des finances, ce corps d’élite au cœur du compromis historique entre l’Etat et les intérêts financiers.

De la bienséance médiatique

Extrait de la tribune du jour de Daniel Schneidermann dans Libération :

« Pour blanchir son prédécesseur, le ministre du Budget demande un rapport à son administration. Un rapport rapide : il devra être rendu avant la fin de semaine. S’agirait-il de n’importe quel pays étranger, le mot populiste "république bananière" viendrait sous la plume de tous les commentateurs. Leurs réserves de lourde ironies seraient inépuisables. On écrirait : "Le pouvoir a commandé un rapport bidon à un apparatchik du ministère." Mais nous sommes chez nous. Sagement les présentateurs attendent donc, au garde-à-vous, "le rapport de l’Inspection générale des finances". »

D’abord, rappelons que l’IGF est sous la tutelle du ministre du Budget. L’on peut donc s’interroger sur sur son esprit d’indépendance lorsqu’il s’agit d’enquêter sur celui qui les a dirigé pendant 3 ans. D’autre part, c’est une enquête tout à fait réglementaire qui, sans outrecuidance, ne porte que sur l’examen de documents administratifs écrits, et l’on imagine que M. Woerth, malgré sa suffisance, n’est pas assez bête pour transmettre des ordres écrits lorsqu’il s’agit de couvrir l’évasion fiscale d’une de ses relations.

Inspection des « finances » ?

L’IGF, c’est le fief que rejoignent les meilleurs élèves de l’ENA : c’est là qu’on se fait le meilleur carnet d’adresses pour se faire débaucher à bon prix par le privé. Pour cela, la sélection est très stricte : il faut être brillant mais connaître aussi les mœurs de la Cour pour éviter de froisser l’ordre établi. Pour juger du dévouement de ce corps, il suffit de regarder le CV de ses membres (liste non-exhaustive) :

  • Michel Pébereau, président du Conseil d’administration de BNP-Paribas
  • Jean-Claude Trichet, gouverneur de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE)
  • Pascal Lamy, directeur de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC)
  • Frédéric Oudéa, pdg de la Société Générale
  • Baudoin Prot, directeur général de BNP-Paribas
  • François Pérol, président de Banque Populaire-Caisse d’Epargne
  • Philippe Lagayette, pdg de JP Morgan France
  • Gilles Denoyel, directeur général délégué d’HSBC France
  • Pierre Fleuriot, pdg d’ABN-AMRO France
  • François Villeroy de Galhau, pdg de Cetelem
  • Jacques Mailloux, conseiller chez Goldman Sachs
  • Christian Aubin, conseiller du président de BNP-Paribas
  • Bertrand Badré, associé-gérant de Lazard Frères
  • Jean-Louis Girodolle, associé-gérant de Lazard Frères
  • Robert Daussun, président de LBO France
  • Frédéric Lavenir, responsable des Ressources humaines chez BNP-Paribas
  • Guillaume Hannezo, associé-gérant de Rotschild & Cie
  • Gilles Grapinet, directeur de la stratégie du Crédit Agricole
  • Pierre Marini, responsable du pôle Service Financiers chez BNP-Paribas
  • Patrick Thourot, directeur général délégué du réassureur Scor

Si cela ne suffit pas, appelons à la barre Jean Zay, ministre de l’Education du Front Populaire, emprisonné et assassiné sous le régime de Vichy. Il écrit depuis sa prison le 17 janvier 1941 :

« Militaires et inspecteurs des Finances jouent les premiers rôles en France depuis six mois. Ce sont eux qui ont préparé et organisé ce qu’on appelle sans grande conviction « la révolution nationale ».


« Quant à l’inspection des Finances, sa responsabilité dans nos malheurs, pour être tout autre, moins apparente, n’en est pas moins certaine.

« Quand on étudiera les causes de notre impréparation militaire et de la décrépitude du gouvernement parlementaire, il faudra inscrire en bonne place l’orthodoxie financière. De 1932 à 1940 - je parle de ce que j’ai vu -, au milieu de tant de débats désordonnés, il y eut un sujet « tabou » : le libéralisme monétaire et financier ; une discussion interdite : celle du contrôle des changes.

« Vous pouviez librement couvrir de boue le chef de l’Etat et ses ministres, nier effrontément nos engagements internationaux les plus évidents, désavouer le gouvernement de votre pays en pleine négociation diplomatique, donner tort à la France devant l’étranger. Bravo ! C’était de bonne guerre… Mais il vous était défendu de critiquer la mystique de l’équilibre budgétaire, sous peine d’être considéré comme un traître et accusé de provoquer des catastrophes. Une puissante cohorte veillait jalousement sur le respect de la sainte orthodoxie : au premier rang, se distinguaient la presse et ses chroniqueurs spécialisés, les économistes, les banquiers, les partis conservateurs. Mais, derrière ces troupes de choc, se dessinait toujours la toute-puissante inspection des Finances. Le premier résultat de cet état de choses a été la paralysie gouvernementale. »

A noter que la création de l’ENA visait à éliminer la filière des grands corps. Ils se sont vites reconstitués, et c’est sur eux que s’appuie aujourd’hui encore l’oligarchie financière pour savoir à partir d’où il faut s’arrêter d’inspecter, en pratiquant cet art avec le doigté d’honnêtes courtisans.

Du boulot pour vous, citoyens !

Le Glass-Steagall global et le précédent français :

Basel Banking Spectre: a threat to Europe

BIS gold swap signifies a threat to Europe, not to gold


By Michael J. Kosares
Centennial Precious Metals, Denver
Monday, July 12, 2010

Is it just a coincidence that Portugal has (or had) 382 tonnes of gold in reserve and that the amount of gold the Bank for International Settlements recently inventoried via a swap arrangement was 380 tonnes?

Let's put 2+2+2+2+2 together here. (Nothing in the gold market is ever simply 2+2.)

I don't know how many of you watch the "Pawn Stars" on the History Channel, but if you don't, let me introduce you to the key question asked of anyone who brings something into the store:

Do you want to "pawn it" or "sell it"?

A swap agreement is nothing more than a sophisticated version of a pawn ticket. The owner of the property leaves his valuable with the pawnbroker. In turn the pawnbroker offers cash against the item's perceived value. If, in time, the owner fails to reclaim the property, ownership transfers to the pawnbroker.

In the case of the BIS and our subject pawner, the gold is left with the pawnbroker, who issues cash -- in this case, probably in the form of euros.

At the moment there's no way of knowing if Portugal is the party pawning the family jewels at the BIS, but I rather doubt that, as some have suggested, the BIS suddenly went from zero tonnes of gold on its balance sheet to (remarkably) 380 tonnes by piece-mealing hundreds of little gold deals with commercial banks around Europe because of the financial crisis. That's a smokescreen. At the same time, Portugal has been identified as one of the European nations in deep financial trouble (a PIIG, if you will). Some analysts believe that Portugal may be the next domino to topple in the European theater.

That's 2+2.

The real question with respect to the pawn is not as the mainstream press has posited it, a threat to the gold market. It has more to do with what this swap portends for Europe.

It did not come from nowhere. It is not some inexplicable event that simply happened. Something else is going on, the full portent of which we do not yet fully understand.

No one throws gold around like an old suit of clothes, and we need to keep that in mind.

As far as the gold market is concerned, even if the pawn shop (the BIS) is forced to liquidate the gold at some point down the road, it has to be done under the auspices of the Washington Agreement. The BIS has pledged to abide by that agreement even if it isn't a direct signatory. Because it is so charged (which includes a nod toward gold market transparency), I will take the BIS at its word when it says that it is holding the gold under a swap arrangement for future redemption -- another clue that it hasn't come from far and wide but probably from one source.

That's 2+2+2.

Under current circumstances any central bank selling, swapping, or even leasing its gold is not doing it because the bank likes the idea. After all, the bank thus puts at risk the one asset that rises above the tangle of counterparty and systemic risk. If a central bank is pawning its gold, it is because the pawner is runnning out of choices or even has been forced to put its gold on the dock.

Don't forget: Portugal (if it is indeed the pawner here) stands in no different a position than Greece did when it hit the wall several months ago. Portugal cannot print money, so its options are limited. Leaving aside the questionable assertion that money raised through the swap could not go directly to the federal government or to buttress the bond market, it unquestionably could go to bail out a major commercial bank and forestall a rolling counterparty meltdown.

That's 2+2+2+2.

By all this the gold market could once again be signaling much wider economic problems than what appears on the surface, just as the ministrations of British Chancellor Gordon Brown with respect to gold hinted at problems deep within the British banking system in 1999, as well as an imminent increase in gold's price. This writer formulated the Gordon Brown Gold Market Rally Indicator, which predicted a series of gold market run-ups.

In the same way, this situation at the BIS, when all the facts are in, eventually might accrue to gold's benefit. Deductive logic leads one to draw certain conclusions, if only by the circumstantial evidence. It is no surprise to me that the swap appeared as small print on the BIS' balance sheet. I would not have expected this situation to make headlines.

That's 2+2+2+2+2.


Michael J. Kosares is proprietor of Centennial Precious Metals in Denver and host of its Internet forum at

The Financial Crisis and the Developing Countries

Simply Collateral Damage? - The Financial Crisis and the Developing Countries

The report makes an analysis of the effects of the financial crisis on the developing countries, describes the channels of contagion of the crisis and its economic and social consequences. It highlights specific countries, among them China, India, Nigeria, Kenya and Brazil, looks into the systemic causes of the crisis and makes proposals for alternatives.

Staggering Stats About Silver Supply

Staggering Stats About Silver Supply


07/12/10 Tampa, Florida – I got a June 2010 brochure from that contained an interesting fact about SLV, the Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) for silver, which is that Peter Keusgen, the writer, says that SLV is “the main alternate source of storage” of silver and “which accounts for around 50% of world silver inventory”! Wow!

Well, interestingly, he doesn’t get into that whole controversy about whether there is actually any silver in SLV, but he writes that SLV has “been raided heavily over the past seven weeks,” and indeed since February 26, “17.9 million ounces…have been withdrawn from the ETF by authorized participants.”

Naturally, being the typical clueless guy who can’t remember facts, figures or children’s birthdays (“There’s three of them, for crying out loud! How can I possibly keep up with that many dates or names?”), I don’t really know how to evaluate this information, but it becomes a little clearer when he goes on “to put it another way, 3% of the world’s silver inventory disappeared in just seven weeks!” Hmmm!

Immediately, I see that this is something that I can use to wave in the sneering faces of those disbelieving people who scoff at my advice to buy silver! I am almost drooling in anticipation of saying to them, with a nasty sneer on my face and with a voice dripping with contempt, “Now, what were you saying about me being an ugly little troll with crippling mental problems and an apparent fetish for silver? Huh? What about now, ya moron?”

Other interesting facts are that by 2008 worldwide demand for silver was about 900 million ounces a year, having grown by an average of 19.5 million ounces a year for the previous five years, while supply from mining and scrap was only 858.5 million ounces and growing at only 2.2% a year, meaning that supply was being outstripped by over 40 million ounces per year the whole time!

If that is not enough of a supply/demand imbalance to make you jump to your feet in eagerness to buy silver, longer-term it gets more interesting, because “in 1900 there were 12 billion ounces of silver in the world. By 1990, that figure had been reduced to around 2.2 billion ounces,” and now “today, there are less than 1 billion ounces in above-ground refined silver.”

In short, all the silver that was mined and refined since 1900 was used to create the gigantic electronic-based and electrical-powered economies of, mainly, America and Europe, and now that the silver has been used and thus disappeared, here comes China to need twice as much silver as was used by America and Europe! Wowser wow wow!

My few remaining brain cells that are still in, at least, intermittent working order are suddenly operating in hyper speed, conjuring up wild plans to somehow get some money, more money, lots of money, hopefully money acquired without actually working, to buy silver, which is the most ludicrously undervalued asset in the Whole Freaking World (WFW) and such a bargain at current prices that it makes the decision to buy it so easy that one must exclaim, seemingly involuntarily and with great relish, “Whee! This investing stuff is easy!”

The Mogambo Guru
for The Daily Reckoning

Signoraggio: dopo due anni, Cosentino risponde



Dati di presentazione dell'atto
Legislatura: 16
Seduta di annuncio: 48 del 05/08/2008
Primo firmatario: MECACCI MATTEO
Data firma: 05/08/2008
Ministero destinatario:
Attuale delegato a rispondere: MINISTERO DELL'ECONOMIA E DELLE FINANZE delegato in data 05/08/2008
Stato iter:
CONCLUSO il 05/07/2010
Partecipanti allo svolgimento/discussione

Fasi iter:
SOLLECITO IL 05/03/2009
SOLLECITO IL 03/04/2009
SOLLECITO IL 29/04/2009
SOLLECITO IL 09/07/2009
SOLLECITO IL 08/10/2009
SOLLECITO IL 08/02/2010
SOLLECITO IL 03/03/2010
SOLLECITO IL 23/03/2010
SOLLECITO IL 12/04/2010
CONCLUSO IL 05/07/2010
Atto Camera

Interrogazione a risposta scritta 4-00932
presentata da
martedì 5 agosto 2008, seduta n.048

Al Ministro dell'economia e delle finanze.
- Per sapere - premesso che:

nell'autunno del 2002 il ministro interrogato propose di sostituire le monete da uno e due euro con banconote dello stesso taglio, per combattere l'inflazione o, più precisamente, per attribuire il corretto valore di scambio alle monete in questione;

la risposta dell'ex governatore della BCE (Banca Centrale Europea) Duisenberg arrivò, pubblicamente, in ottobre, riportata da numerose testate giornalistiche, del seguente tenore: «Ne abbiamo parlato e in linea di principio non abbiamo nulla in contrario. Mi auguro che il Ministro Tremonti sia consapevole che così perderebbe i proventi del diritto di signoraggio sulle monete»;

sono trascorsi quasi sei anni dalla proposta del ministro interrogato ma, nel frattempo, numerosi quesiti sulle procedure relative alla emissione della moneta hanno fortemente interessato numerosissimi utenti della rete internet, ed anche quest'Aula parlamentare, senza che la questione abbia trovato analoga attenzione sui media di massa;

l'ex Governatore della BCE, Duisenberg, si riferì esplicitamente alla perdita dei diritti di signoraggio;

storicamente, questi diritti, sono stati iscritti nei bilanci della Banca d'Italia prima della volontaria devoluzione della prerogativa sovrana alla BCE;

in seguito alla sottoscrizione del trattato di Maastricht, attualmente essi sono riportati sotto la voce «proventi da signoraggio» del bilancio della BCE;

dalla lettura dei suddetti bilanci si deduce che i diritti di signoraggio rappresentano gli interessi sui titoli del debito pubblico che ogni anno la BCE riscuote, poiché gli stessi sono detenuti nel suo patrimonio;

buona parte di questi interessi tornano alle Banche centrali dei Paesi dell'Unione Europea che detengono quote proprietarie della BCE stessa -:

se al ministro risulti - poiché il diritto di signoraggio relativo all'emissione di monete metalliche è distinto da quello relativo all'emissione di cartamoneta a causa della inesistenza di un nesso tra l'emissione di moneta e l'interesse proveniente dal possesso di titoli del debito pubblico, essendo le monete in proprietà del Ministero dell'economia e delle finanze e non utilizzate per acquistare alcun titolo del debito pubblico - a quale particolare genere di signoraggio l'ex Governatore della BCE, Duisenberg, si riferisse;

se al ministro risulti se il Governatore si riferisse, specificatamente, al signoraggio sull'intero valore nominale delle monete, dedotti i costi di produzione;

a chi si trasferirebbero i diritti di signoraggio, in seguito alla eventuale ed ipotizzata trasformazione delle monete da uno e due euro in banconote dello stesso valore nominale;

se, poiché il signoraggio sulle monete metalliche prodotte dallo Stato è attribuito allo Stato emittente, il signoraggio sulle banconote prodotte dalla BCE sia attribuito alla stessa BCE;

se esistano atti o fatti giuridici che trasferiscano il diritto di signoraggio, astrattamente inseribile nel bilancio dello Stato come utile, concorrendo alla diminuzione del debito pubblico, ad altri soggetti giuridici.(4-00932)
Atto Camera

Risposta scritta pubblicata lunedì 5 luglio 2010
nell'allegato B della seduta n. 347
All'Interrogazione 4-00932 presentata da

Risposta. - Si risponde all'interrogazione in esame, con la quale vengono posti quesiti in ordine al diritto di signoraggio sulle monete metalliche.
Al riguardo, sentita la segreteria del Comitato interministeriale per il credito ed il risparmio, si fa presente che, ai sensi dell'articolo 106, comma 1, del Trattato CE e dell'articolo 16 dello statuto del Sistema europeo di banche centrali (Sebc), il consiglio direttivo della Banca centrale europea (Bce) ha il diritto esclusivo di autorizzare l'emissione di banconote all'interno della Comunità da parte della Bce e delle Banche centrali nazionali (Bcn).
Con decisione ECB/2001/15, il Consiglio direttivo, dando concreta attuazione a tali disposizioni, ha stabilito un preciso schema di ripartizione delle banconote in euro emesse dall'Eurosistema in base al quale alla Bce è attribuita, in via convenzionale, una quota fissa dell'8 per cento della circolazione, mentre il restante 92 per cento viene ripartito fra le Bcn, in proporzione alle rispettive quote di partecipazione al capitale della Bce (capital key).
In contropartita della quota di circolazione ad essa assegnata, la Banca centrale europea iscrive nel proprio bilancio un credito di pari importo verso le Banche centrali nazionali, remunerato al tasso marginale delle operazioni di rifinanziamento principale. Tale remunerazione costituisce il reddito da signoraggio della Bce; quest'ultimo (decisione ECB/2005/11) è ridistribuito alle Bcn in proporzione al rispettivo capital key, a meno che il Consiglio direttivo decida di trattenere il relativo ammontare (in tutto o in parte) a causa di:

a) una perdita d'esercizio della Banca centrale europea o un utile netto inferiore all'importo del signoraggio;

b) una assegnazione al Fondo di accantonamento a fronte dei rischi di cambio, di tasso di interesse e di prezzo sull'oro.

Il reddito da signoraggio percepito dalle Banche centrali nazionali sul restante 92 per cento delle banconote in circolazione contribuisce alla formazione del reddito monetario, disciplinato dall'articolo 32 dello statuto del Sebc che prevede, ai fini della relativa ripartizione tra le Bcn, un processo di accentramento e successiva redistribuzione in base al capital key. In coerenza con gli indirizzi contenuti nell'articolo 32, la Bce ha adottato la decisione ECB/2001/16 (successivamente modificata dalle decisioni ECB/2003/22, ECB/2006/7 e ECB/2007/15), con la quale ha definito in dettaglio la metodologia per il calcolo e la redistribuzione del reddito monetario.
Con specifico riferimento ai quesiti sulle monete metalliche, si precisa che l'articolo 106, comma 2, del Trattato CE, attribuisce agli Stati membri, previa autorizzazione da parte della Bce, il potere di coniare monete; conseguentemente i benefici economici derivanti da tale funzione restano diretto appannaggio degli Stati stessi.
Pertanto, nell'eventuale ipotesi di sostituzione delle monete da uno e due euro, le nuove banconote di pari taglio entrerebbero a far parte della circolazione e sarebbero oggetto del citato meccanismo di redistribuzione tra la Bce e le Bcn. Di conseguenza i relativi benefici economici, in termini di signoraggio, passerebbero dagli Stati membri all'Eurosistema.

Il Sottosegretario di Stato per l'economia e per le finanze: Nicola Cosentino.
Classificazione EUROVOC:
Banca centrale europea, emissione di valori, emissione monetaria, euro, Istituto monetario europeo, moneta

Indagato Cosentino: panico da signoraggio? > Politica > News

Caso Cosentino, premier: fuori Pdl chi vota contro

Bocchino aveva chiesto di valutare eventuali mozioni presentate dalle opposizioni

13 luglio, 2010

Caso Cosentino, premier: fuori Pdl chi vota contro
ROMA - Chiunque votasse una mozione di sfiducia dell'opposizione per chiedere le dimissioni di esponenti di governo a seguito di indagini ancora in corso, si porrà automaticamente fuori dal Pdl e dalla maggioranza. Questa la linea che il premier, secondo quanto riferito da diverse fonti del centrodestra, avrebbe dettato ai vertici del partito dopo che il 'finiano' Bocchino ha chiesto al Pdl di ''valutare'' le mozioni dell'opposizione.
I finiani infatti avevano ribadito in giornata la richiesta di dimissioni del sottosegretario Nicola Cosentino: se queste non dovessero arrivare ''valuteranno'' le eventuali mozioni di sfiducia presentate dalle opposizioni, benché essi non vogliano votare in dissenso dal gruppo del Pdl. Lo ha detto Italo Bocchino, parlando con i cronisti alla Camera.
Pd e Idv hanno annunciato mozioni di sfiducia ai sottosegretari Cosentino e Caliendo coinvolti nell'inchiesta

DI PIETRO, OGGI MOZIONE SFIDUCIA PER COSENTINO - ''L'Idv ha depositato oggi alla Camera una mozione in cui il Parlamento impegna il Governo a rimuovere il sottosegretario Cosentino perche' ha un mandato d'arresto per contiguita' alla Camorra e perche' indagato per la costituzione di un'associazione segreta''. Cosi' il leader dell'Idv, Antonio Di Pietro, a margine di una conferenza per la presentazione di alcuni quesiti referendari, oggi in via del Corso a Roma.

La mozione di sfiducia per il sottosegretario Cosentino, depositata alla Camera, sarà presentata nel pomeriggio, intorno alle 17,00. In sostanza, spiega Di Pietro, ''chiediamo al governo se ritiene di dover chiedere le dimissioni di Cosentino''. Si tratta, prosegue, di ''una mozione ordinaria perché relativa a un sottosegretario e poi perché vogliamo che i parlamentari votino e si assumino ognuno la propria responsabilità'' oppure dimostrino ''se vogliono rimanere supini''. Vogliamo, spiega Di Pietro, ''capire chi ci fa e chi c'è'' e vedere se ''i parlamentari vogliono ancora una persona con queste ombre''.
ROMA - Anche il senatore del Pdl Marcello Dell'Utri e il sottosegretario all'economia Nicola Cosentino sono indagati a Roma nell'ambito dell'inchiesta sulla cosidetta P3 nata da uno stralcio dell'indagine degli appalti sull'eolico in Sardegna. Dell'Utri e Cosentino sono accusati di associazione a delinquere e violazione della legge Anselmi sulla costituzione delle associazioni segrete

TENSIONE NEL PDL SU CASO VERDINI - Intanto e' scontro nel Pdl sul 'caso Verdini'. Il finiano Italo Bocchino, parlando di nuove intercettazioni, torna a sollecitare le dimissioni del coordinatore, indagato con l'imprenditore Carboni ed altri per associazione segreta, una sorta di P3, che avrebbe tentato di esercitare pressioni per favorire nomine di magistrati o di condizionare i giudici della Consulta sul lodo Alfano. Una "dichiarazioni di gravità inaudita", replicano Sandro Bondi e Fabrizio Cicchitto: 'Se Bocchino sa parli'. Ma l'esponente finiano replica "nessun mistero" basta guardare l'ordinanza di custodia cautelare".
Per l'inchiesta sugli appalti dell'eolico in Sardegna intanto, il legale del governatore Cappellacci ha chiesto un rinvio dell'interrogatorio fissato per domani.

CARBONI TENTO' DI AVVICINARE I PM DELL'INCHIESTA G8 - Gli arrestati dalla Procura di Roma, nell'ambito dell'inchiesta stralcio sugli appalti per l'eolico, l'imprenditore Flavio Carboni, l'ex esponente della Dc campana, Pasquale Lombardi e l'imprenditore napoletano, Arcangelo Martino, intendevano avvicinare anche i magistrati di Firenze che indagavano sul G8 e sugli altri eventi affidati alla Protezione civile. Il dato emerge dall'ordinanza dei provvedimenti di custodia cautelare emessa dalla procura capitolina.
ANM, QUADRO DI INQUINAMENTO PREOCCUPANTE - "Sono vicende che al di là del merito danno un quadro di inquinamento preoccupante e quindi non può che preoccuparci e riproporre in modo forte il tema della questione morale all'interno della magistratura". E' il commento di Luca Palamara, presidente dell'Associazione nazionale dei magistrati, agli sviluppo dell'inchiesta della procura di Roma che coinvolge Denis Verdini e Flavio Carboni e sulle pressioni esercitate per favorire la nomina di determinati magistrati in ruoli delicati o di condizionare i giudici della Consulta nel voto sul lodo Alfano. "Il tema della questione morale - ha detto Palamara a margine di un convegno del Csm - va di pari passo con quello della scelta dei dirigenti che deve essere ancorata come non mai al merito e svincolata da logiche di appartenenza". Su questi argomenti l'Anm vuole "chiarezza e nettezza di posizioni". "La magistratura che noi vogliamo - ha spiegato Palamara - non può permettersi di avere al suo interno situazioni di opacità anche quando queste riguardano le nomine di importanti uffici direttivi". Per intervenire, secondo il presidente dell'Anm, bisogna "attivare i meccanismo preposti: Ora c'é un'indagine in corso, bisognerà vedere e valutare il coinvolgimento delle persone e gli organi competenti dovranno accertare con tempestività e rigore quanto è accaduto. Il ruolo dell'Anm deve essere chiaro e netto di presa di distanza da queste situazioni per affermare il modello di un magistrato ispirato ad integrità ed indipendenza e su questa strada non arretreremo di un millimetro perché ci giochiamo il futuro della magistratura".

BONDI-CICCHITTO, BOCCHINO SE SA PARLI - "La dichiarazione dell'On. Bocchino di essere a conoscenza dei verbali di intercettazioni riguardanti indagini giudiziarie in corso, che secondo lui saranno pubblicate a breve sui mezzi di comunicazione, secondo il mal costume in voga nel nostro Paese, è di una gravità inaudita". Lo affermano in una nota congiunta Sandro Bondi, vice coordinatore del Pdl, e Fabrizio Cicchitto, presidente dei deputati del Pdl, su quanto affermato da Italo Bocchino, secondo il quale Denis Verdini "sarà costretto a dimettersi" quando "emergeranno le intercettazioni che hanno portato a indagare lo stesso Verdini". "A questo punto - puntualizzano - l'On. Bocchino ha l'obbligo di riferire come sia giunto in possesso di tali verbali, in che modo e attraverso quali canali. Questa vicenda dimostra a quale livello di degrado e di spregiudicatezza giungano alcuni esponenti politici. Inoltre rivela, se fosse confermata, l'intreccio perverso non solo tra una parte della magistratura e il mondo dell'informazione, ma anche tra ambienti giudiziari e esponenti politici, che utilizzano notizie coperte da segreto istruttorio come strumento di lotta politica. Si tratta di una vicenda dai contorni gravi e oscuri, che ci auguriamo sia chiarita sia dal punto di vista giudiziario che politico".

BOCCHINO A BONDI-CICCHITTO, NESSUN MISTERO - "Gli amici Bondi e Cicchitto possono star tranquilli che non c'é alcun complotto in giro, né misteri": lo afferma Italo Bocchino, vicepresidente dei deputati del Pdl e presidente di Generazione Italia. "Quando ho parlato di atti che a mio giudizio porranno un problema di opportunità politica a Berlusconi sul caso Verdini, mi riferivo semplicemente all'ordinanza di custodia cautelare nei confronti di Carboni e soci, documento in possesso di tutte le redazioni dei giornali. A pagina 50 si parla di un'informativa dei carabinieri di duemila pagine con allegate altre 4000 pagine di atti e documenti, gran parte intercettazioni. Sempre a pagina 50 c'é scritto che il pm allo stato ha formalizzato richieste solo per il reato associativo e non per i delitti-fine quali corruzione, abuso d'ufficio e altro, chiarendo a pagina quattro di aver utilizzato soltanto le telefonate con parlamentari necessarie a sostenere la misura nei confronti degli altri indagati. Tutto chiaro e limpido pertanto - conclude - senza alcun mistero".

CAPPELLACCI, CHIESTO RINVIO INTERROGATORIO CAGLIARI - L'avv. Guido Manca Bitti, difensore del presidente della Regione autonoma della Sardegna Ugo Cappellacci, ha formalizzato stamani la richiesta di rinvio dell'interrogatorio originariamente fissato dai magistrati della Procura di Roma per domani alle 18. All'origine del rinvio un'esigenza professionale dell'avv. Manca Bitti che domani sarà impegnato per tutto il giorno in un processo a Cagliari. Nelle prossime ore i magistrati romani comunicheranno al difensore del presidente Cappellacci la nuova data. Il presidente della Regione aveva ricevuto un invito a comparire firmato dal procuratore aggiunto Giancarlo Capaldo e dal pubblico ministero Rodolfo Sabelli. L'avviso ricevuto da Cappellacci, secondo quanto aveva riferito il difensore, si riferisce "al progetto di realizzazione di impianti eolici in Sardegna" senza fornire i nomi di altre persone coinvolte. Il presidente risulterebbe indagato per abuso d'ufficio e concorso in corruzione.


EU banks offer voluntary rescue fund

EU banks offer voluntary rescue fund

EuroActiv, 13 July 2010

European Banking Federation President Alessandro Profumo yesterday (12 July) offered to set up a voluntary €20 billion rescue fund for failing banks funded by the top 20 EU credit institutions. Although the move follows Brussels' push in this direction, the European Commission reacted warily to his announcement.


To prevent taxpayers from footing the bill for bailing out collapsing banks, the European Commission proposed in May that banks set up "preventive" funds, primarily financed from their liabilities and possibly their profits (EurActiv 26/05/10).

The Commission's proposal is based on the so-called 'polluter pays' principle. It is designed to establish "a system which ensures that the financial sector will pay the cost of banking crises in the future," according to the EU commissioner responsible for financial services, Michel Barnier.

However, the proposal is not supported by all EU member states, some of which fear that Europe's banking sector could suffer from facing an extra financial burden, putting their international competitors in an advantageous position.

Indeed, the last G20 summit in Toronto at the end of June confirmed that there is strong opposition to setting up such a fund at global level.

More on this topic

Profumo's plan aims to satisfy Brussels' requests to avoid making taxpayers foot the bill for rescuing failing banks, as they were forced to do during the last US-born financial crisis, the widespread consequences of which are still being felt by European economies and households.

In exchange for his offer, Profumo hopes to prevent banks from being forced to establish compulsory privately-funded rescue funds, as originally proposed by EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.

Profumo, who is CEO of Italian group UniCredit - one of the biggest cross-border banks in Europe, with sizeable operations in Germany and many Eastern European countries - launched his idea in the pages of the Financial Times.

His proposals carry more weight since he is currently also president of the influential European Banking Federation (EBF), which brings together all the major banks in Europe.

According to his plan, the top 20 European cross-border banks would voluntarily set up a €20 billion fund to help each other when necessary, thus avoiding the need to request help from public authorities, as many banks have been forced to do recently.

His offer represents a surprising compromise, since EU-wide consensus on the issue is far from certain (see 'Background').

Confirming the controversial nature of his approach to the dossier, top German banks reacted in a lukewarm manner to Profumo's proposals, according to sources quoted by news wires.

Barnier wary

German banks were not the only ones to react warily to Profumo's offer.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, who has reignited the debate on a bank levy in recent months, welcomed the move but underlined that the fund "should not be exclusive".

His spokesperson clarified Barnier's point of view. "We do not have in mind any particular voluntary scheme. What we have in mind is something where all banks contribute," spokeswoman Chantal Hughes told EurActiv.

Moreover, Brussels has already made clear that establishing national rescue funds would be more feasible than a unique EU-wide fund.

Despite underlining the differences between his and Profumo's approaches, Barnier hailed the relevance of the initiative and did not refrain from attacking those member states which are still opposed to his own plans.

"I find it encouraging that Profumo considers the fund to be useful, and even more so as some ministers keep considering such initiatives to be useless," Barnier said in Brussels yesterday (12 July).

Bank stress tests

The bank rescue fund debate is of particular significance at the moment, as EU economic ministers are gathering in Brussels (12-13 July) to discuss common methodologies to carry out stress tests of EU banks. Their plans are set to be published on 23 July.

No clear measures have been adopted yet to cope with the possible need for re-capitalisation, which might become necessary for some banks following the publication of the stress tests (EurActiv 12/07/10).

Next Steps

  • Oct. 2010: Commission expected to publish communication on crisis prevention management.
  • Beginning of 2011: Brussels plans to present legislative proposal on bank rescue funds.
Hari Naidu, Retired EU official
Nicolas Mombrial, Oxfam International's EU office


by Barry Chamish

Is it just me, or is everyone's in-box being flooded by groups opposed to the Ground Zero Mosque for moral reasons? The argument in short is, those Muslims killed 3000 Americans on this spot, and damned if they'll build a mosque on our holy cemetery. Jewish groups are the most vocal in their objections, and they had better be wary. If the Muslims were either incidental to 9-11 or not even involved, half their moral justification is gone. And if Israel was involved...oy vevoy lanu! ( I'm not translating it. The meaning is clear.)
Permit me to summarize something close to the real American-Israeli recent history, a portion of which I was responsible for uncovering, and much more remains buried deep.
In the winter of '91, Bush the First ordered Iraq attacked, and Israel was slammed with SCUD missiles. PM Shamir traded restraint for Saddam's overthrow. But Bush reneged on the deal and left Saddam in place to sow his signature murder and unrest. Israel called foul and, whoever really rules the place from the Labor Party, agreed to American conditions and cut a counter-deal for Saddam's body; they would invite the PLO back as partners in "peace." We'll skip the part where every filthy trick was used to get Labor back in power. For that, you buy my books.
In December '93, barely a month after the "historic" Oslo "peace" Accord was signed, I managed to finagle an interview with one of the two Israelis who negotiated it, Ron Pundak. He told me many things, but most shocking was the huge lie about who was sponsoring the Oslo treachery. "Warren Christopher was very skeptical at first but by March he came onboard," Pundak stated. President Clinton was a member of The Council On Foreign Relations (CFR), a 4200 member poli-sci club which, at the top, determines American foreign policy. His Secretary-of-State, Christopher (CFR), was guiding the Oslo talks between Israel and the PLO. The big big big lie came in August '93, when Clinton feigned shock that the Oslo talks took place and wasn't sure whether to accept them or not. Of course, within a few milliseconds he accepted them.
The fabulous folks who brought Israel "peace" helped bring down the three World Trade Center buildings. It was the third, an obscure little 47 storey building, that assures us this statement is true.
George Bush Junior was as much an activist as Clinton was a conniver. The Israelis, unknown to the Israeli public, and I stress, totally acting against the interests of the Israeli people, still wanted their end of the '91 deal; a dead Saddam. But the CFR had a clinker of a clause all ready; the evacuation of Jews from the Gaza Strip. And we know where that predictably led. However, the hushhush leaders of Israel agreed and the deal to get America back in Iraq, with a sidetrip to Afghanistan for mostly unrelated reasons, began.
WTC was owned by two Jews, one Israeli. The ground floor space was acquired by Frank Lowy, a self-confessed Mossad agent, who emigrated to Australia from Israel in 1952, and owned the 99-year lease for the 425,000 square foot retail portion of the destroyed World Trade Center.
The owner of the whole complex was Larry Silverstein.
Silverstein was interested in acquiring the entire World Trade Center complex, and put in a bid when the Port Authority put it up for lease in 2000. Silverstein won the bid when a deal between the initial winner and the Port Authority fell through, and he signed the lease on July 24, 2001, only weeks before the towers were destroyed in the 9-11 attacks. Following the attacks, Silverstein was awarded an insurance payment of more than three and a half billion dollars to settle his seven-week-old insurance policy. In addition, the Silverstein group sued the insurers liable for the World Trade Center for another three and a half billion dollars, claiming that by an obscure clause in their contract, the two planes constituted two separate terrorist attacks. In total, Silverstein was awarded nearly $7.2 billion in insurance money following the destruction of the Twin Towers.
And that's why all the guys call him Lucky Larry.
But that name may not stick for long because at 5:20 PM, in the shadows of the smoldering buildings 1 and 2, Larry ordered 47 storey Building 7 collapsed. And down in came in a perfect controlled demolition.
Larry was proud of his work and bragged about it:
Questions about the highly suspicious nature of the building's collapse remained comparatively muted until January 2004, when a PBS documentary, America Rebuilds, originally broadcast in September 2002, received attention across the Internet. The documentary was made infamous for one comment made by Larry Silverstein on the subject of 9/11. Silverstein states, "I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, "We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse."

Needless to say, it took months of precise engineering work to organize this decision to "pull" the building. So how did Larry know his building was rigged with demolition explosives? Come on, Larry, tell us! HOWDJA KNOW?
The most logical reason why Building 7 had to be brought down was that Flight 93 was supposed to have crashed into it but, inexplicably, crashed instead into Pennsylvania. With fire marshals snooping around, the whole plot would be exposed unless Building 7 was quickly destroyed.
And onward the peace diplomacy continued. Silverstein escaped his blatant crimes and attended a CFR party to raise funds for the evacuator of Gaza's Jews, Ariel Sharon.
A report by Israel's Channel Ten television reporter Raviv Drucker last night provided a detailed report on the Sunday night affair. He related how the organizer and hostess - NIna Rosenwald - sent letters to selected invitees asking for $10,000 per person or couple, and how the 5th Avenue location was closed off for over an hour for what the police described as a "top secret" reason. Only the 15 invited couples were permitted to enter Rosenwald's apartment, after having paid the minimum amount in advance.
Rosenwald is a member of the CFR (Council of Foreign Relations). Among the participants at the dinner were World Trade Center insurance beneficiary Larry Silverstein.
A reporter asked Silverstein on his way out if Sharon had thanked him for his donation. Silverstein replied, "No. But it's not necessary; we're here to support the man."

To those patriots who are fighting the Ground Zero mosque, the Muslims have the pat moral hand and you are just blindly doing the filthiest political work there is: GIVING AID AND SUCCOUR TO THE REAL TERRORISTS.
And that, ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests from planet Bizarro, is the upside down, backwards, but factual truth from dying Planet Earth.


How to Tame the Rapacious Finance Industry?

How to Tame the Rapacious Finance Industry?

Finance is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is supposed to serve the interests of the rest of society, not the other way around.

NEW YORK - It was not long ago that we could say, "We are all Keynesians now." The financial sector and its free-market ideology had brought the world to the brink of ruin. Markets clearly were not self-correcting. Deregulation had proven to be a dismal failure.

The "innovations" unleashed by modern finance did not lead to higher long-term efficiency, faster growth, or more prosperity for all. Instead, they were designed to circumvent accounting standards and to evade and avoid taxes that are required to finance the public investments in infrastructure and technology - like the Internet - that underlie real growth, not the phantom growth promoted by the financial sector.

The financial sector pontificated not only about how to create a dynamic economy, but also about what to do in the event of a recession (which, according to their ideology, could be caused only by a failure of government, not of markets). Whenever an economy enters recession, revenues fall, and expenditures - say, for unemployment benefits - increase. So deficits grow.

Financial-sector deficit hawks said that governments should focus on eliminating deficits, preferably by cutting back on expenditures. The reduced deficits would restore confidence, which would restore investment - and thus growth. But, as plausible as this line of reasoning may sound, the historical evidence repeatedly refutes it.

When US President Herbert Hoover tried that recipe, it helped transform the 1929 stock-market crash into the Great Depression. When the International Monetary Fund tried the same formula in East Asia in 1997, downturns became recessions, and recessions became depressions.

The reasoning behind such episodes is based on a flawed analogy. A household that owes more money than it can easily repay needs to cut back on spending. But when a government does that, output and incomes decline, unemployment increases, and the ability to repay may actually decrease. What is true for a family is not true for a country.

More sophisticated advocates warn that government spending will drive up interest rates, thus "crowding out" private investment. When the economy is at full employment, this is a legitimate concern. But not now: given extraordinarily low long-term interest rates, no serious economist raises the "crowding out" issue nowadays.

In Europe, especially Germany, and in some quarters in the US, as government deficits and debt grow, so, too, do calls for increased austerity. If heeded, as appears to be the case in many countries, the results will be disastrous, especially given the fragility of the recovery. Growth will slow, with Europe and/or America possibly even slipping back into recession.

Stimulus spending, the deficit hawks' favorite bogeyman, did not cause most of the increased deficits and debt, which are the result of "automatic stabilizers" - the tax cuts and spending increases that automatically accompany economic fluctuations. So, as austerity undermines growth, debt reduction will be marginal at best.

Keynesian economics worked: if not for stimulus measures and automatic stabilizers, the recession would have been far deeper and longer, and unemployment much higher. This does not mean that we should ignore the level of debt. But what matters is long-term debt.

There is a simple Keynesian recipe: First, shift spending away from unproductive uses - such as wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or unconditional bank bailouts that do not revive lending - toward high-return investments. Second, encourage spending and promote equity and efficiency by raising taxes on corporations that don't reinvest, for example, and lowering them on those that do, or by raising taxes on speculative capital gains (say, in real estate) and on carbon- and pollution-intensive energy, while cutting taxes for lower-income payers.

There are other measures that might help. For example, governments should help banks that lend to small- and medium-size enterprises, which are the main source of job creation - or establish new financial institutions that would do so - rather than supporting big banks that make their money from derivatives and abusive credit card practices.

Financial markets have worked hard to create a system that enforces their views: with free and open capital markets, a small country can be flooded with funds one moment, only to be charged high interest rates - or cut off completely - soon thereafter. In such circumstances, small countries seemingly have no choice: financial markets' diktat on austerity, lest they be punished by withdrawal of financing.

But financial markets are a harsh and fickle taskmaster. The day after Spain announced its austerity package, its bonds were downgraded. The problem was not a lack of confidence that the Spanish government would fulfill its promises, but too much confidence that it would, and that this would reduce growth and increase unemployment from its already intolerable level of 20%. In short, having gotten the world into its current economic mess, financial markets are now saying to countries like Greece and Spain: damned if you don't cut back on spending, but damned if you do as well.

Finance is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is supposed to serve the interests of the rest of society, not the other way around. Taming financial markets will not be easy, but it can and must be done, through a combination of taxation and regulation - and, if necessary, government stepping in to fill some of the breaches (as it already does in the case of lending to small- and medium-size enterprises.)

Unsurprisingly, financial markets do not want to be tamed. They like the way things have been working, and why shouldn't they? In countries with corrupt and imperfect democracies, they have the wherewithal to resist change. Fortunately, citizens in Europe and America have lost patience. The process of tempering and taming has begun. But there is far more yet to do.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University. Among many books, he is the author of Globalization and Its Discontents. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 for research on the economics of information. He is the co-author, with Linda Bilmes, of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Costs of the Iraq Conflict. His most recent book is Free Fall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy.