9 Jan 2012

Saved by Global Warming From Next Ice Age: Study

High levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere mean the next ice age is unlikely to begin for at least 1,500 years, an article in the journal Nature Geoscience said on Monday.
Concentrations of the main gases blamed for global warming reached record levels in 2010 and will linger in the atmosphere for decades even if the world stopped pumping out emissions today, according to the UN's weather agency.
An ice age is a period when there is a long-term reduction in the earth's surface and atmospheric temperature, which leads to the growth of ice sheets and glaciers.
There have been at least five ice ages on earth. During ice ages there are cycles of glaciation with ice sheets both advancing and retreating.
Officially, the earth has been in an interglacial, or warmer period, for the last 10,000 to 15,000 years, and estimates vary on how long such periods last.
"(Analysis) suggests that the end of the current interglacial (period) would occur within the next 1,500 years, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations do not exceed (around) 240 parts per million by volume (ppmv)," the study said.
However, the current carbon dioxide concentration is of 390 ppmv, and at that level an increase in the volume of ice sheets would not be possible, it added.
The study based on variations in the earth's orbit and rock samples was conducted by academics at Cambridge University, University College London, the University of Florida and Norway's University of Bergen.
The causes of ice ages are not fully understood but concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, changes in the earth's orbit around the sun (hint) and the movement of tectonic plates are all thought to contribute. Source

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer: NDAA is More Dangerous to Americans Than Iran!

Additional: part 2

Situation in Persian Gulf Just Hit Critical! Wayne Madsen Reports

Alex also talks with investigative journalist Wayne Madsen about the situation in the Persian Gulf. Madsen has written numerous articles for the alternative and so-called mainstream press, including the Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer and others. Madsen edits and publishes the Wayne Madsen Report. Source
Angelo: "The UK are in!" stated as a matter of fact. It is shaping up to be true and this confirms the level of brain rinsing that has been attained in the UK. We barely batted an eyelid as our force waisted our tax payers money to bomb Libya into the stone age (feed the world concert coming up to ease our conscience) and now we are off to do the same to others. The football and Coronation Street are more important. The boundless and destructive greed of the banksters is balanced by the sleepwalking notice no evil monkey masses. A marriage made in hell. Welcome to Fool Britannia.
AdditionalRick Santorum Slammed by WeAreChange - Ron Paul and Lt. Colonel Schaffer Assist

News Anchor Says Ron Paul Has Enough Voters ID'd to Win , Then is Cut Off. PERCEPTION +

Additional: Ron Paul and Rand Paul public discussion New Hampshire

US Bullies Spain on SOPA Like Laws

The Spanish government passed legislation known as the Sinde Law, something that many are comparing to SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act. Public opinion in Spain is heavily opposed to the bill, and in the fight to stop it, the head of the Spanish film academy even quit their position in protest. It turns out that the US government has been heavily pressuring them to do it. So is our government doing the bidding of the entertainment industry, and in turn bullying the world? AaronSwartz, Executive Director of Demand Progress weighs in. Source

Cohan: How Wall Street Turned a Crisis Into a Cartel

Almost 65 years ago, in 1947, the U.S. government sued 17 leading Wall Street investment banks, charging them with effectively colluding in violation of antitrust laws. In its complaint - which was front-page news at the time - the Justice Department alleged that these firms had created “an integrated, overall conspiracy and combination” starting in 1915and in continuous operation thereafter, by which” they developed a system “to eliminate competition and monopolizethe cream of the businessof investment banking.”
The U.S. argued that the top Wall Street investment banks - - includingMorgan Stanley (MS) (the lead defendant) and Goldman Sachs -- had created a cartel by which, among other things, it set the prices charged for underwriting securities and for providing mergers-and-acquisitions advice, while boxing out weaker competitors from breaking into the top tier of the business and getting their fair share of the fees.
The government argued that the big firms placed their partners on their clients’ boards of directors, putting them in the best possible position to know when a piece of business was coming down the pike and to make sure that any competitors were given a very hard time should they dare to try to win it.
The government was spot on: The investment-banking business was then a cartel where the biggest and most powerful firms controlled the market and then set the prices for their services, leaving customers with few viable choices for much needed capital, advice or trading counterparties.
The same argument can be made today.

Even More Powerful

Indeed, following the destruction of Bear Stearns Cos., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Merrill Lynch and countless smaller and foreign competitors during the financial crisis that began in 2007, the investment-banking business is an even more powerful and threatening cartel than it was in 1947.
Today, there are far fewer than 17 firms in control of the investment-banking business. After Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Morgan Stanley, JPMorganChase & Co. (JPM)Citigroup Inc. (C)Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), one is pretty much at a dead end. The investment-banking business is now both much, much bigger -- in terms of revenue and profits -- and much, much more concentrated than it ever was close to being in 1947.
How could that have happened? Unfortunately, in October 1953, Harold Medina, the presiding federal judge in the case, threw the antitrust lawsuit out of court. In an extraordinary 417-page ruling -- a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Wall Street -- Medina decided that the government’s case rested solely on “circumstantial evidence” and that the banks didn’t violate antitrust laws. Yet Medina’s ruling also laid bare the extent to which the 17 Wall Streetfirms would go to defend their turf and prevent other banks from getting access to lucrative, fee-paying clients. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
Today, while there is no inkling of an antitrust lawsuit against Wall Street, its cartel-like behaviour is very much in evidence. The remaining banks have increased their hold over the marketplace and continue to collude when it comes to pricing their services.
Although banks will argue that all fees are negotiable, every corporate issuer knows the rules: Initial public offerings are priced at a 7 percent fee; high-yield-debt underwriting is priced at 3 percent; loan syndications are priced at about 1 percent. M&A deals are still priced off the “Lehman formula,” even though there is no more Lehman Brothers.

A Fateful Offering

There was a moment, in August 2004, when things might have changed, during the high-profile IPO of Google Inc. (GOOG) The old guard on Wall Street was worried that WR Hambrecht & Co., the architect of the so-called auction IPO, might upset the pricing cartel after it successfully arranged -- along with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (brought in for ballast) -- for the IPO of Google to operate in a way that benefited both Google and its investors. (The stock was priced at $85 per share before trading up significantly; it ended last week at about $650 per share (GOOG)).
But after the initial hoopla, the promise of what Hambrecht was trying to do -- give the market, rather than the underwriters, the chance to set the price -- largely faded. None of the recent high-profile, high-tech IPOs either completed (Zynga Inc (ZNGA). and Groupon Inc (GRPN).) or being contemplated in the coming months (Facebook Inc.) seriously considered the Hambrecht alternative. The cartel, now with even fewer members, continues to rule the IPO market. The renewed power of the Wall Street cartel may be the worst consequence of the 2008 decision to rescue Wall Street rather than let it collapse under the weight of its broken business model. Sure, the corporations are struggling a bit now -- profits are down, bankers and traders are being fired in droves and new regulations are being crafted every day -- but when the economy returns to full strength the iron grip of the remaining Wall Street powerhouses will be readily apparent.
In a rare show of backbone toward Wall Street, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department flexed its muscles last year when it sued to block the merger of AT&T Inc. (T) and Deutsche Telekom AG (DT), causing it to be scuttled and hundreds of millions of dollars in fees to be lost. The administration should build on that success. Sixty-five years late, let’s break up the Wall Street cartel and re-establish the integrity of the capital markets.
(William D. Cohan, a former investment banker and the author of “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World,” is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.) Source

What Chase & Goldman Sachs did to Greece

I’ve known about this for a while, and haven’t found the right explanation. So thank you Matt Taibbi, from a post that keeps on giving.
I focused on the hubristic, feet-never-touch-the-ground aspect of banker life in this post. Now I want to look at what Taibbi says about Greece. Greece is most people’s designated Tabloid Demon, one of whom no good can be said and all wickedness is assumed — Michael Jackson’s doctor, for example, or OctoMom. (Tabloid Demons are the opposite of Tabloid Saints, those of whom no ill can be said. Any number of cute white actresses with philandering husbands fill that bill. A Tabloid Saint who deals drugs won’t get called out; a Tabloid Demon who saves crippled kittens will do so unnoticed.)
Greece is the “known bad actor” in the European drama. What “everyone knows” about Greece is that the government was corrupt, the people lazy and spendy, and by running debt high they destroyed their country. What “everyone knows” is that the undeserving of Greece deserve all the austerity they’re getting, and let the rest of the world take note. Well, in that list of Greece’s sins, one statement is actually true — those in positions of power, in the government, were indeed corrupt. And the corrupt are easy targets — and eager partners — of looters.
Enter Jamie Dimon & JP Morgan Chase. Taibbi tells the tale, starting with what Chase did to Jefferson County, Alabama, home of Birmingham (my emphasis throughout):
[Jefferson County] is now in bankruptcy proceedings primarily because Dimon’s bank, Chase, used middlemen to bribe local officials – literally bribe, with cash and watches and new suits – to sign on to a series of onerous interest-rate swap deals that vastly expanded the county’s debt burden. … Jamie Dimon handed Birmingham, Alabama a Chase credit card and then bribed its local officials to run up a gigantic balance[.] … As a result, the citizens of Jefferson County will now be making payments to Chase until the end of time.
What they did to Birmingham, they did to Greece:
Having seen how well interest-rate swaps worked for Jefferson County, Alabama, Chase “helped” countries like Greece and Italy mask their debt problems for years byselling a similar series of swaps to those governments. The bank then turned around and worked with banks like Goldman, Sachs (who were also major purveyors of those swap deals) to create a thing called the iTraxx SovX Western Europe index, which allowed investors to bet against Greek debt.
In other words, banks like Chase and Goldman knowingly larded up the nation of Greece with a crippling future debt burden, then turned around and helped the world bet against Greek debt. … [D]oes a human being do that deal?
Operations like the Greek swap/short index maneuver were easy money for banks like Goldman and Chase – hell, it’s a no-lose play, like cutting a car’s brake lines and then betting on the driver to crash – but they helped create the monstrous European debt problem that this very minute is threatening to send the entire world economy into collapse, which would result in who knows what horrors.
The world of propaganda news — the world of “what everyone knows” (the propagandist’s best friend) — won’t change because you now know what the bankers did to Greece. Yes, the government was eagerly corrupted. But an addict needs a seducer, a leech, an enabler, someone to bleed his wallet in trade for his supply. That leech, that predator, is the international branch of the U.S. banking system. It’s the leech that caused the crisis in Greece; and the leech that marketed the evils of one bad addict as the reason the entire continent needs to go on food stamps for a generation or so.
Sweet deal, being a banker. Sort of a racket, wouldn’t you say? On some planet, they call it organized crime. On others they call it a public-private partnership. Either way it’s looting.
GP Source

IMF Christine Lagarde Pushes Nigeria to Civil War

The new IMF chief is making Nigerians pay as much as Americans for their petrol. The Nigerians are rioting. Nile Bowie explains http://nilebowie.blogspot.com Source

Iran sentences American ex-Marine to death for spying

American Amir Mirzai Hekmati, who also holds Iranian citizenship, has been sentenced to death by a judge in Iran for spying for the CIA, local media reported on Monday. ­The 28-year-old received the death penalty for "cooperating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism," the verdict said, according to the country's semi-official Fars news agency. Last month, Fars reported that the prosecution had applied for capital punishment because the suspect "admitted that he received training in the United States and planned to imply that Iran was involved in terrorist activities in foreign countries" after returning to the US. According to reports, Hekmati, born in the US to an Iranian immigrant family, was shown on Iranian state television in mid-December saying in fluent Farsi and English that he was a Central Intelligence Agency operative sent to infiltrate the Iranian intelligence ministry. Fars then reported Hekmati repeated his confession in court on December 27, saying "I was deceived by the CIA. Although I was appointed to break into Iran's intelligence systems and act as a new source for the CIA, I had no intention of undermining the country." Hekmati was also accused by Iran of receiving training at US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq before being sent to Iran. His family, who live in Arizona, deny the charges against him, saying he went to Iran to visit his grandparents. Source

"Merkozy" - Remember When The Dynamic Duo Was Batman And Robin

Tyler Durden's picture
From Peter Tchir of TF Market Advisors
Remember When The Dynamic Duo Was Batman And Robin
The market is essentially frozen ahead of yet another Merkozy press conference.  I have lost count of how many of these press conferences they have had.  I haven’t lost count of how many resulted in anything particularly useful – zero is an easy number to remember.
So what are we going to get?
Renewed commitment to minimal budget deficits?
That was part of the original deal of the Euro.  That was part of the “compact” that was released late last year.  It seems so long ago, but just last year, the Merkozy had a conference and said a lot of good things that they couldn’t get the full summit to agree to.  Maybe they will promise budget surpluses by 2035?  These “budget” solutions are all so far away that they don’t make a difference to the near term solution, or are so unachievable in the near term that they don’t take pressure off either.
Letting the ECB go ahead with quantitative easing?
That is possible, though it appears that the ECB skipped QE and went straight to QGG (Quantitative Gift Giving).  They aren’t buying too much sovereign debt, but they are willing to lend to banks using any collateral they can scrape up.  They are fully encouraging banks to issue bonds to themselves, get a government guarantee, and post it at the ECB for some fresh money.  I think that while many investors have been staring at the SMP (Secondary Market Programme) and whining that full QE isn’t being applied, the ECB has gone beyond that with other programs.  I remain somewhat confused by why the ECB won’t lend to banks directly and are requiring banks to get government guarantees.  Is it to put added pressure on the sovereign not to default, since a sovereign default would drag the banks down with 100% certainty now?  Is it to put pressure on sovereigns to continue to support banks, since now a bank default could drag down a sovereign?   I’m not sure why they are doing it and why these steps are necessary, but it does seem to ensure contagion within a country, rather than preventing it.
Between SMP and all these weird collateralized lending programs, the ECB has been pumping money into the system, and a big portion of their purchases, and lending, is against assets that are highly likely to default!  Quantitative Easing implies some ability to get paid back or to stop easing by selling assets back to the market.  Quantitative Gift Giving is simply throwing money at assets that will never be repaid.  How did Greece come up with €1 billion to buy preferred shares of NBG? 
Creating a worse bank?
Maybe the Germans will finally relent and agree to some form of banking license for the EFSF?  If the ECB is now the bad bank (and any quick look at their balance sheet show it is), then this would become the worse bank.  It would be a depository for anything and everything that has no real value?  Maybe something like this is announced.  That would provide the biggest pop to risk assets, which should be immediately sold, since it doesn’t fix any of the problems with EFSF, it just shifts them around.
Time to be chastised?
I think there is a chance that Merkozy come out of this meeting swinging.  They use threats to scare the rest of the Eurozone into doing what they are told.  After months of minimal follow through on any of the Grand Plans maybe they are going to try scare the rest of Europe into playing nice.  No one seems to be expecting this, but it may be the only thing that makes sense.  Maybe it is finally time for Merkozy to point out that Europe needs them as much as they need the rest of Europe. Source

Doug Casey: "Its Getting Late in the Day to Diversify Politically, Capital Controls Are Coming"

"All over the world, governments are becoming more repressive." Doug Casey.

Exclusive: Jesse Ventura Demands Fox Retraction for Sniper's Lies

Former Governor: Incident "never happened...someone is out to destroy my credibility" Source/more videos

Angelo: Looks like the US (Murdock) media is going all out against pacifists pre world war 3 attack on Iran.

Police State UK: Presstitute Watch #3

2 articles in the Daily Mail today related to the slow, but inexorable slide towards a U.K. police state. First was a piece of brainwashing to convince readers that it will be "O.K." to introduce lie detectors and to convict people on this basis. Even more serious in terms of its implications was a responsible article, written by David Rose, explaining the dangers of the proposal to hold evidence in secret in courts and inquests. Well done, David Rose. You are a credit to your profession! I hope more journalists will rise to the plate as you have done, regardless of the direction of the newspaper for whom you work. Source