War has and always will be a racket….
George Osborne at the start of the European finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Wiktor Dabkowski/Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Corbis
Courtesy of Ian Traynor @ The Guardian:
George Osborne won more time to settle an outstanding and highly contested £1.7bn EU budget bill and went on to make a disputed claim that he had halved the money owed by factoring in Britain’s budget rebates in Europe.
The chancellor’s position was immediately challenged by the European commission, which made clear that the UK has long enjoyed a system of budgetary rebates, so a discount on the controversial surcharge was always going to be applied.
Osborne did succeed in persuading his European counterparts to allow the UK to pay the money in two instalments by next September, delaying payment until well after the general election. Cash had been due by 1 December. David Cameron had loudly and repeatedly insisted he would not pay the £1.7bn demanded and flatly rejected the December deadline, after suddenly being presented with the demand during an EU summit a fortnight ago.
The row over whether the bill had actually been reduced continued after a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels , when Osborne factored in Britain’s automatic rebate on gross contributions to the EU budget – which have operated since 1980 – to argue that he had succeeded in halving the bill.
However, several participants in the meeting said no one, including Osborne, had contested the correctness of the £1.7bn surcharge demanded from Britain and said no discount had been awarded. Continue reading
Courtesy of Tom Harper @ The Independent:
A highly questionable deal between a major British bank, the previous Labour government and UK financial regulators resulted in the publication of misleading information that led the public to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in the failing bank.
An investigation by The Independent on Sunday has found the Treasury and the Bank of England were funnelling billions of pounds worth of loans to HBOS (Bank of Scotland) when it raised £4bn – without informing potential investors that it was surviving on life support from the state.
In a desperate attempt to keep its head above water at the height of the financial crash, the bank issued a £4bn rights issue, where new shares were issued to investors, in April 2008. This outlined its financial position in a prospectus signed off by UK financial regulators.
However, HBOS failed to mention anywhere in the 194-page document – which is supposed to detail all possible risks to potential funders – that its balance sheet was so dire it was being propped by billions of pounds in state loans.
Legal experts and MPs expressed astonishment yesterday at the omission, which may have seriously misled the markets and appears to have been approved by Gordon Brown’s government, raising disturbing questions about possible collusion between UK financial regulators and a major British bank. Months after the rights issue, HBOS went bust, forcing taxpayers to cover a £25bn black hole in its finances.
Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling An investigation by The IoS can also reveal that the current Bank of England review of regulators’ historic supervision of HBOS – mysteriously delayed for years – is refusing to investigate the implications of the HBOS rights issue, despite it being central to its terms of reference. Continue reading
Courtesy of Bernie Suarez @ Sleuth Journal:
Quietly, disconnecting your mind from the influence of mainstream media news is one of the most powerful singular actions you can take to not only change the world around you but to change the perception and vibration of the people around you. Mass media hypnosis is known to be designed to keep you in the matrix of lies that humanity is under. Anyone who breaks away from the mass media spell will confirm how it completely changes your mind, your thoughts, your perceptions and thus your overall experience as a human being on earth.
Get connected to the zeitgeist of the truth and freedom movement. Use your brain, face your fears and break out of the chains that bind your mind. This is just a reminder that the control system which has most of humanity under its spell has been in place before any of us were born. A lot of practice and perfection has gone into maintaining this current status quo which is now losing its influence with every day that goes by.
Life is too precious for you to allow yours to be controlled by six private corporations that are controlled by the Council of Foreign Relations and the Central Intelligence Agency. Yes, life is much more than any of these ideology groups can throw at you. You need only to realize their deception and manipulation to experience a genuine awakening. So why not start now?
See the deception with your own eyes. Follow alternative news and social media anti-mainstream media news for key stories and key arguments to follow up on yourself. Don’t believe anyone just because they represent a certain logo or website. See the stories, see where mainstream media is being exposed in real-time, then test these arguments for yourself and soon you’ll see that the criticisms against the controlled mainstream media that are coming out every single day are very legitimate. You’ll soon realize you’ve been had. Continue reading
A view of London’s financial district, as seen from the Shard. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Courtesy of Owen Jones @ The Guardian:
Socialism lives in Britain, but only for the rich: the rules of capitalism are for the rest of us. The ideology of the modern establishment, of course, abhors the state. The state is framed as an obstacle to innovation, a destroyer of initiative, a block that needs to be chipped away to allow free enterprise to flourish. “I think that smaller-scale governments, more freedom for business to exist and to operate – that is the right kind of direction for me,” says Simon Walker, the head of the Institute of Directors. For him, the state should be stripped to a “residual government functioning of maintaining law and order, enforcing contracts”. Mainstream politicians don’t generally talk in such stark terms, but when the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg demands “a liberal alternative to the discredited politics of big government”, the echo is evident.
And yet, when the financial system went into meltdown in 2008, it was not expected to stand on its own two feet, or to pull itself up by its bootstraps. Instead, it was saved by the state, becoming Britain’s most lavished benefit claimant. More than £1tn of public money was poured into the banks following the financial collapse. The emergency package came with few government-imposed conditions and with little calling to account. “The urge to punish all bankers has gone far enough,” declared a piece in the Financial Times just six months after the crisis began. But if there was ever such an “urge” on the part of government, it was never acted on. In 2012, 2,714 British bankers were paid more than €1m – 12 times as many as any other EU country. When the EU unveiled proposals in 2012 to limit bonuses to either one or two years’ salary with the say-so of shareholders, there was fury in the City. Luckily, their friends in high office were there to rescue their bonuses: at the British taxpayers’ expense, the Treasury took to the European Court to challenge the proposals. The entire British government demonstrated, not for the first time, that it was one giant lobbying operation for the City of London. Between 2011 and 2013, bank lending fell in more than 80% of Britain’s 120 postcode areas, helping to stifle economic recovery. Banks may have been enjoyed state aid on an unprecedented scale, but their bad behaviour just got worse – and yet they suffered no retribution.
Contrast this with the fate of the unemployed, including those thrown out of work as a result of the actions of bailed-out bankers. In the austerity programme that followed the financial crisis, state support for those at the bottom of society has been eroded. The support that remains is given withstringent conditions attached. “Benefit sanctions” are temporary suspensions of benefits, often for the most spurious or arbitrary reasons. According to the government’s figures, 860,000 benefit claimants were sanctioned between June 2012 and June 2013, a jump of 360,000 from a year earlier. According to the Trussell Trust, the biggest single provider of food banks, more than half of recipients were dependent on handouts owing to cuts or sanctions to their benefits.
Courtesy of Monty Pelerin @ Economic Noise:
Economic laws are not optional. They are like the laws of physics – inexorable!
Economic laws are less precise in terms of their timing and effects, only because they deal with human behavior rather than physical particles. Human beings alter their behavior to cope with changing conditions. Particles do not. Free will and the survival instinct make prediction, especially regarding timing, very different and difficult in the human realm. Nevertheless, the laws are immutable!
Long-time readers of this website know that no recovery is possible given past and current economic policies. Initially, it was argued by some that government intervention was necessary and would effect an economic recovery. By now, even the dullest of Keynesians know their policies failed. Yet they continue.
Why would failed policies continue? The political class argues for their continuance, but not on the basis of sound economics. Their arguments are motivated by political self-interest. The appearance of a recovery is more important for politicians facing another election or a legacy than the damage being done to the economy. Remember when the focus of the Clinton campaign against George H. W. Bush claimed that it was the worst economy in fifty years? That was not true, but it was effective.
Stopping the Federal Reserve juice threatens what remains of our economy. No one wants to be known as the “new Herbert Hoover,” although someone will inevitably be tarred with that association.
This website began in September 2009 recognizing the futility of applied economic efforts to “cure” the problem. The very first post appeared on September 7, 2009 and was entitled No Exit From Economic Mess. To put matters into perspective, the government claimed the recession had ended in June of 2009. This economic lie was apparent to anyone who had a modicum of economic understanding or common sense. The more of the latter one possessed, the less of the former was required.
Over time I have come to believe that the two types of knowledge may now be incompatible — a sad commentary on how the economic profession has been hijacked by the political class. A good rule of thumb is to ignore any economist who is involved in politics. Unfortunately, with government grants, that includes much of the profession, including those never directly employed by government. Continue reading