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
Well the UK is taking steps to become a true banana republic, bought and paid for by corporates and using accounting fraud to mask the issues of the economy. Don’t worry, Big Dave and hokey cokey Gidion have a plan to include ‘illegal’ activity, R&D spending and a wholehost of other nonsense. Not only does this lead to a monumental misallocation of resources and lulls people into a false sense of security but it gives the corrupt media a siren song to sing about.
Just remember, they’ll tell you it’s raining while they’re stood overhead pissing on you. Courtesy of Allister Heath @ City AM:
FACTS are sacred, unlike mere subjective opinions – or so most sensible people believe. In reality, as every good French philosopher would tell you, what we trust to be objective data-based truths all too often turn out to be social constructs. We are about to see a beautiful demonstration of this with the British economy, where the official statisticians will shortly entirely and drastically rewrite decades of history.
Everything we thought we knew – all the “facts” – are about to change. This is massive news for anybody who cares about the UK economy, politics and public policy; the last time a similar rewriting took place was when the UK’s economic statistics were harmonised with those of the rest of the EU many years ago.
One change will see research and development spending classified as capital expenditure; at a stroke, this will raise the level of the UK’s economic output by a cool £25bn. That’s just the beginning: overall, the statistical deckchair shuffling will boost the size of the UK economy by between 2.5 and five per cent, a shockingly large amount (and a vast range that makes it hard for outside forecasters to be able to predict exactly what the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will come up with).
Nothing real will have changed – but we will all officially be substantially richer. Hurrah – who said economic growth was hard to come by? The changes will start to come into effect this year but there is an “ongoing programme of work until 2017”; the ONS will publish various pieces of research this month and in May. Continue reading
Courtesy of David Stockmans Contra Corner:
The world’s official economic institutions are run by people who believe in monetary fairy tales. The 70 words of wisdom below from IMF head Christine Lagarde are par for the course. She asserts that a new jabberwocky expression called “low-flation” is the main obstacle to higher economic growth in Europe and the DM areas generally and that it can be cured by more central bank money printing.
The first obstacle is… the emerging risk of what I call “low-flation,” particularly in the Euro Area. A potentially prolonged period of low inflation can suppress demand and output—and suppress growth and jobs. More monetary easing, including through unconventional measures, is needed in the Euro Area to raise the prospects of achieving the ECB’s price stability objective. The Bank of Japan also should persist with its quantitative easing policy.
Now there is not a shred of credible evidence that prolonged low CPI inflation causes workers to produce less, businesses to invest less or entrepreneurs to invent less. Since these are the fundamental ingredients of economic growth on the free market, the question recurs as to why Keynesian Kool-Aid drinkers like Lagarde (and the huge staff of IMF economists she lip-syncs) apparently believe that eroding the value of savings by say only 1% per year vs. 2% will “suppress demand and output”.
Obviously, even they can’t believe that falling prices alone cause “demand” to falter. After all, the price of flat-screen TVs, iPads and iPhones have plunged during the past several years, but demand has soared. During the past 27 months, for example, Apple’s revenues have surged from $29 billion to $58 billion per quarter. Continue reading
The NHS is being privatised under the illusion that competition breeds efficiency. What many fail to understand is that the NHS is a monopsony. A monopsony, through its large size passes on savings and cost efficiencies to the patients. Under the guise and instruction of corporations, from Serco, Virgin and private American health care corps they will gut the NHS. Quality of service will go down, jobs will be lost, costs go up and all in aid of private profit which will go up, up and up.
Regardless of what the propaganda in the media betrays, (shame on the BBC for selling us out) the NHS, although not perfect, is one of the best health care systems in the world with many outstanding, dedicated and unsung staff. What our grandparents and parents paid for through their taxes, is being sold off. By an extension of this government action we are all being sold off, welcome to corporate fascism.
What is even more pernicious is TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which harmonises the EU, UK and US. This agreement will allow corporations to sue governments for loss of future earnings, regardless if they kill 10,000 patients through neglect or incompetence. It will put corporations above governments. That’s right, corporations will have more power than governments and the NHS will be privatised for good.
We are sliding into a society where corporations rule, who do you think are pushing these rules through? Corporations are and for who’s benefit? Ours? Nope, for theirs and at who’s expense? Ours. Does not make sense.
All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing (Edmond Burke)
Cognitive dissonance and apathy are no excuse. Do we not all not have a responsibility to hand over an earth/country/economy in better shape than what we received? Through our very own inaction, we are selling our children and their children and their children into corporate slavery.
Next time you look at your child, niece or nephew, ask yourself this one question; could I willingly and knowingly sell another human into slavery. If the answer is no, make your stand. If you answer yes, you should immediately go and boil your head, post-haste.
Do not think that it would be different under labour or Lib Dem, it won’t because whoever is in charge still takes their orders from the Square Mile. The system is the problem and it is this we need to change! We have political parties to give the illusion of choice. There is no choice. It is easy to blame the EU but it’s our supposed elected leaders who are complicit in all this. Yes our MEP’s are not doing their job but we are consistently and indiscriminately let down by those we put our trust in, MPs, media, corporations, education, councillors et al. Shocking is one word to use.
Those that make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable (JFK)
Courtesy of Benedict Cooper @ The New Statesman:
No doubt the launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in June was cause for much celebration in Brussels. The European Parliament is in the process of enabling a historic shift in world economics with countless, far-reaching consequences.
A key part of the TTIP is ‘harmonisation’ between EU and US regulation, especially for regulation in the process of being formulated. In Britain, the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act has been prepared in the same vein – to ‘harmonise’ the UK with the US health system.
This will open the floodgates for private healthcare providers that have made dizzying levels of profits from healthcare in the United States, while lobbying furiously against any attempts by President Obama to provide free care for people living in poverty. With the help of the Conservative government and soon the EU, these companies will soon be let loose, freed to do the same in Britain. Continue reading