2 Dec 2011
The other global strategic thinker with a decent white beard, Bob Janjuah of Nomura, sees weaker growth, weaker earnings and a great deal more volatility in the short- and medium-term for the US. Not a fan of the decoupling miracle, Janjuah explains (following our last discussion of his thoughts) in this Bloomberg TV interview that US data is showing only a temporary improvement with the forthcoming fiscal drag into next year likely to slow the economy to a practical standstill. Noting that 'The worst is ahead of us' he sees the implications of the hard-default he expects for Greece in early 2012 (that is not priced into the market) as very concerning with a cluster of defaults more than possible. Uncomfortably viewing the banking sector as a curse (and not a cure) for our problems, he sees the Japanese Zombie bank experience playing out which guarantees sustainable growth is not around the corner and suggests we would be far better off medium-term if bank defaults occurred and the painful medicine is taken.
The banking sector risks the threat of taking down governmentsand while emerging market financials may seem flush with capital, it is the Western banking systems that dominate. He concludes the interview with some positives focused on up-in-quality and up-in-capital structure allocations, which fits with our view of the world, and notes he has no financial sector debt or equity exposure in any of his portfolios. Source
Senate approves indefinite detention
and torture of Americans
The terrifying legislation that allows for Americans to be arrested, detained indefinitely, tortured and interrogated — without charge or trial — passed through the Senate on Thursday with an overwhelming support from 93 percent of lawmakers.
Only seven members of the US Senate voted against the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, despite urging from the ACLU and concerned citizens across the country that the affects of the legislation would be detrimental to the civil rights and liberties of everyone in America. Under the bill, Americans can be held by the US military for terrorism-related charges and detained without trial indefinitely.
Additionally, another amendment within the text of the legislation reapproved waterboarding and other “advanced interrogation techniques” that are currently outlawed.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a backer of the legislation, says current laws protecting Americans are too lax. Rather, says the senator, anyone suspected of terrorism "should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer."
Graham adds that suspected terrorists, “should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al-Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us,” although other legislation in the bill isn’t exactly humane. Waterboarding, sleep-deprivation and other methods outlawed in the 2005 Anti-Torture Act will be added to a top-secret list of approved interrogation techniques that could be used on suspects, American or other.
Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte said last week that "terrorists shouldn't be able to view all of our interrogation practices online,” and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) added during debate this week, "When a member of Al Qaeda or a similar associated terrorist group, I want . . . them to be terrified about what's going to happen to them in American custody.”
"I want them not to know what's going to happen,” added the senator and former presidential candidate.
Not only won’t they know their gruesome future, but they wouldn’t know their own rights — that’s because they won’t have any.
"We need the authority to hold those individuals in military custody so we aren't reading them Miranda rights," adds Kelly.
While lawmakers rallied with overwhelming support to approve the legislation against terrorists, it can also be applied to anyone, including American citizens, who are even suspected of terrorist-ties.
President Barack Obama has pledged in the past that he would veto the legislation if it made through Congress, and a White House official told the AP on Thursday that that threat still stands. As Obama is faced with a country on the brink of economic collapse so close to Election Day, however, a change of heart couldn’t be out of the question — the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 comes at a price-tag of nearly $30 billion below what Obama had asked for. Source
Sanctions against Syria and looming prospects of an intervention into the country are drawing ever more parallels with the war in Libya. But as it turned out, the “facts” used to wage a “humanitarian war” on Tripoli, underwent almost no verification.
“There’s no evidence to justify the humanitarian war in Libya,” is the conclusion of filmmaker and independent journalist Julien Tiel.
“In the beginning of this story, we got some allegations which have been looked at and said to the UN Human Rights Council and those allegations had never been verified or checked,” he told RT's Tesa Arcilla.” And these had been used also as material for the ICC case against Libya.”
On March 17, UN Security Council Resolution 1973 was passed, imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Accusations were that Gaddafi had bombed his own people from air and land, used foreign mercenaries, ordered the use of rape as a weapon, and killed by the thousands.
“I can’t prove there was no bombing. All I know is that there is no evidence of bombing,” says Julien Tiel. “So I interviewed the man who went to the UN Human Rights Council, Sliman Bouchuiguir.”
Sliman Bouchuiguir was the former Secretary General of the Libyan League for Human Rights and is now the Libyan ambassador to Switzerland in Bern.
On February 25, he went to the UN Human Rights Council to present his organization’s allegations of crimes against Gaddafi’s government. In that session, a decision was taken to freeze Libya’s membership of the Council.
He underlined the number of deaths: 6,000, including 3,000 in Tripoli alone.
When Julien asked Bouchuiguir how these claims can be verified, he pointed to the former rebels – now Libya’s government – as his source.
“I got that information from the Libyan prime minister. Mr. Mahmoud of the Warfallah Tribe who was on the other side of the National Transitional Council was the one who gave me these numbers.” he stated.
Yet there are still those who defend the Libyan intervention, like a former French intelligence officer.
“We clearly have in this case the fog of war. It is very likely that some crimes attributed to Gaddafi were false or exaggerated,” Claude Moniquet told RT. “But we had all the record of Gaddafi for 40 years and Gaddafi was a terrorist, was a criminal.”
On June 27, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Ocampo Moreno’s request for arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and his intelligence chief was granted.
Julien Tiel went through the pages of the arrest warrant application, most of which were redacted. Among the pages open to the public were lists of articles to support the case, one of which was Bouchuiguir’s February 25 speech – the one based on information Bouchuiguir himself said he got from the NTC, with no evidence or documents to back the staggering numbers.
But those who raised questions risked being accused of taking the side of a man seen as a brutal dictator, already labeled by some world powers as “the bad guy”.
“I think that is absurd. If you are against declaring war on a country, it’s not because you like the government,” argues author Diana Johnstone. “So I’m sorry, it’s up to the ones who make the accusation to come up with the proof unless we’re just reversing the whole process of civilization and law.”
But international law, even cheerleaders of the intervention admit, tends to be sacrificed.
“I will tell you something which is not politically correct,” Claude Moniquet, confessed to RT. “I don’t believe so much in international law. It’s just a tool used in one hand and on the other hand for political purpose.”
Regardless, Julien’s point is simply this: with such legal systems in place, any claims, first and foremost, should be thoroughly investigated.
And with UN set to hold a special session on Friday to discuss a report into the human rights abuses in Syria, this point, he hopes, will be heard before the next “humanitarian war” is waged.
Was there ever a peaceful protest in Libya? The answer is NO. Remember on the second day of the CIA instigated uprising there was a suicide bombing of a military barrack and the murder of soldiers who surrendered to the 'protesters' in Benghazi.
Did Gaddafi bomb his people from the air? NO. There is no evidence to prove that, all the bomb craters in Libya are from NATO pilots because his air force was grounded from the first day of the UN No Fly Zone mandate.
How many people died in Libya from the two sides both pro and anti Gaddafi? Human Rights Groups in Libya say 210.
How many Libyans died after the UN mandate and NATO intervention? According to the NTC, they said 30,000 dead and 50,000 injured. The UN should tell the world how many civilians died from NATOs 'Collateral damage' or from bombs that missed there targets since the bombs on landing differentiated civilians from Gaddafi loyalists and mercenaries (black Libyans) as the western media called them.
How many people died from the siege of what is now called 'Sirte-ngrad' where we watched the NTC relentlessly firinglong range missiles supplied by the French against a UN arms embargo on a heavily populated city with NATO pounding the city from the air and sea and Aljazeera beaming it live to our living rooms as if those missiles are not landing on peoples heads.
The intention of NATO going into Libya has nothing to do whatsoever with humanitarian intervention.
Remember the words of KILLARY 'we came, we saw, he died' as if it was part of the UN mandate to murder the countrys leader.
The Western Media who deceived the world into that dubious No Fly Zone mandate have now given a news blackout on Libya not with the Alqueda flags flying side by side the NTC flag in major Libyan institutions including the Benghazi Courthouse headquaters of the NTC.
We must never allow a repeat of the destruction of another nation by the warmongers who are never contented with their own corner of Planet earth, intervening where they are neither invited nor wanted.
Libya intervention was all about stealing Libyan frozen funds and controlling the oil resources and making sure that Africa never discovers its potentials which Gaddafi was promoting in the continent. Source
The Occupy London campaign finally puts some bones in its aspirational tofu.
Six weeks after the protest began in front of St Paul's Cathedral, the Occupy London campaign has come up with some demands, finally putting some bones in the aspirational tofu that we have been fed up to now.
And many people, perhaps including the protesters, may be surprised to learn that the demands are all good capitalist stuff.
The story so far
While it has been difficult to pin down the campaign's position, there has been a general railing against market economics and bank bailouts, despite the fact the bailouts were an example of the state over-ruling the markets in order to avert pain.
Many protesters claim to represent 'the 99 percent against the 1 percent', a unofficial motto that has some unfortunate connotations of mob rule, but all in all the campaigners are a very diverse bunch of people brought together by the fact that they're dissatisfied.
They strive to create a better society, and most rational people are not opposed to a 'better' society, especially when the rules of that new society are left unspecified.
Unspecified, that is, until now.
Finally, some proposals
The protesters have come up with the first three steps to achieve their aims:
1) "We must abolish tax havens and complex tax-avoidance schemes, and ensure corporations pay tax that accurately reflects their real profits."
Abolishing tax havens is a difficult issue, as countries must surely be allowed to compete for business. Should some states be obliged to impose higher taxes just to make themselves less attractive?
But the fact is that many corporations, and many individuals who support capitalist principles, would wholeheartedly welcome a simpler, flatter, fairer tax structure, under which attempting to game the system or shelter profits in a tax haven would be a waste of effort.
2) "Corporate lobbying subverts our democracy. Last year corporations spent £2 billion influencing the British government. We believe exploitative corporate lobbying has no place in a democratic society. Legislation to ensure full and public transparency of all corporate lobbying activities must be put in place. This should be overseen by a credible and independent body, directly accountable to the people."
To make the broad generalisation that corporate lobbying subverts democracy is a bit of a stretch -- much lobbying is done to ensure politicians understand and take into account the issues that are relevant to particular companies and industries. And as long as politicians and regulators have the power to make or break businesses, it's entirely reasonable to allow businesses to make their case.
But it would be naïve to assume that all lobbying never has the intention of gaining an unfair advantage over competitors, customers or taxpayers, and for that reason there could be some merit in this proposal to increase transparency and oversight. The devil, of course, is in the detail: what constitutes lobbying? What exactly must be reported? Do we really want a quango telling us what we are allowed to say?
This is a tricky area, but as a general principle, markets function better when there is openness and transparency, as it reduces corruption and increases competition, and few genuine capitalists would disagree.
3) "Those directly involved in the decision-making process must be held personally liable for their role in the misdeeds of their corporations and duly charged for all criminal behaviour."
Directors are already responsible for making sure their companies comply with the law, and can be personally liable if there is fraud or even negligence. The Bribery Act 2010 also makes directors personally liable in some cases of corruption.
It is not always clear when poor judgment crosses the line into criminality. The directors of many businesses, including banks, made the fatal error of assuming easy access to funding, for example -- were they criminally negligent, or just blindly riding the zeitgeist? We should expect directors to know better, but it is not always a criminal act when they don't.
But to the extent that there was criminal behaviour, a key component of a functioning society, capitalist or otherwise, is the ability to have that behaviour dealt with by the courts, as demanded by the protesters.
The real capitalists?
Monday's statement is to be welcomed for making the protesters' position a little less vague, and perhaps giving us some food for thought.
And it could just be that Occupy London are the real capitalists, even if they'd hate to admit it. Source
The hypocritical British claim to support people around the world that are fighting for freedom and democracy in their countries. At the same time, the British are exporting spy equipment, tested in the UK population, to despot countries, allowing pro-democracy campaigners to be tracked down, arrested, or killed.
Throughout history, there have been a few good-hearted thieves who’ve stolen the hearts and minds of the public — in addition to the physical objects they’ve swiped. Top among them, of course, if Robin Hood. Now, a new gang of Merry Men is setting out to help the 99% through similar tactics.
The world’s two most widely-recognized hacking collectives, Anonymous and Team P0is0n, are joining forces. Their target: the same banks, coporations, and members of the 1% who inspired the#Occupy movement. They’re kicking off the campaign — which is being called #OpRobinHood — under the assumed name of p0isAnon (we see what they did there). Their goal is clear: steal from the rich and give to the poor. Source
Additional: Two hacker groups, the hactivists Anonymous and Team Poison, which made headlines by cracking a UN server, have joined forces to steal from the banks and give to the charities.
“Operation Robin Hood is going to return the money to those who have been cheated by our system and most importantly to those hurt by our banks. Operation Robin Hood will take credit cards and donate to the 99 per cent, as well as various charities around the globe,” the duo said in a YouTube video statement.
The idea apparently relies on stealing personal data of credit card holders and using, just like your regular cyber criminals do, and distribute it to the poor instead of pocketing it. The collaboration, which calls itself Poisanon, believes that the banks will be forced to reimburse the damages caused by the hack and thus will be the ones to pay.
“We are going to make the banks deliver your money back to you with a smile on their faces and hate in their heart,”the statement assures.
Both groups have taken credit for several high-profile attacks on computer networks in the past, which may imply that they have the capability to do what they promise to do. Team Poison said it carried out the hacking of a UN server and stealing logins and passwords of the international organization’s employees.
Anonymous is mostly famous for politically-motivated attacks on organizations and individuals, which they believe violate individual freedoms, the latter including online piracy, according to the group’s beliefs. The latest reported victim of their action was Lt. John Pike, the police officer who pepper-sprayed unresisting protesters during the crackdown on the UC Davis demonstration. Source
Barack Obama may seem calm when he talks about the eurozone crisis, but behind the scenes the financial times reports there is morbid fear about a meltdown in europe, and vice president Biden is heading to greece amidst austerity marches as part of the administration's attempts to quell the panic. But how does what happens in europe affect the Americans at home? It may boild down to the banks. With the housing market back to 2003 price levels, the US banking sector cannot afford more asset write downs from european debt. It is being hit on the one side by a slumping US economy and housing market, and on the other by Europe's debt problems. So how have these banks put us all in this position, and why haven't regulators done anything to fix the problem? Well, a senate hearing on MF Global's failure and collapse is looking into one of these regulators...the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We speak to independent analyst and entrepreneurial investor Reggie Middleton, of Boombustblog.com, to get his take on all of this,and on why he thinks Goldman Sachs -- the "vampire squid" of Matt Taibbi's famous Rolling Stone Article -- may be the one of the most leveraged and dangerous banks on the chopping block after MF Global.
Also covered, some of the lighter stories of the day, including a new baby tax that a london restaurant has started charging customers. It is a 3 pound baby tax which costs a little under five dollars. McDain's restaurant in Monroeville, PA, has taken this a step further already and banned all children under the age of 6 entirely. We also provide viewers with a list of the top 10 most shoplifted items in the US according to a recent study. Source
Thinking about tying the knot with your Jewish-American boyfriend or girlfriend? Don’t let Netanyahu in on it.
The Israel government is sponsoring ads in the US warning young Jews here against marrying Americans and begging them to bid the States adieu.
The Israel government has given the go-ahead to an ad campaign in the United States that, through a series of billboards and online video clips, is urging Jews to come back to Israel and cut ties with Americans, lest they want to be stripped of their identity and insult their religion. Source