3 Feb 2013

I just phoned the Queen of England

The artist taxi driver

The Putrid Smell Suddenly Emanating From European Banks

By Wolf Richter: By now we should have gotten used to the odor emanating from banks—bailouts, money laundering, Libor rate-rigging, the other misdeeds. But in Europe over the last few days, it was particularly dense. A nauseating whiff came from Barclays today, when it leaked out that it has been under investigation by the Financial Services Authority and the Serious Fraud Office in Britain for illegal fundraising in 2008. Allegedly, the bank secretly loaned £5.3 billion ($8.4 billion) to one of Qatar’s sovereign wealth funds, which then turned around and with great public fanfare pumped that money back into Barclays—a scheme to raise capital on paper to escape a government takeover during the financial crisis.

Then Crédit Agricole, France’s third largest bank, announced €3.8 billion ($5 billion) in write-downs, mostly of “Goodwill” due to the “present macro-economic and financial environment.” Goodwill reflects money paid out for certain items in excess of their value—an expense that, by a quirk of accounting, is temporarily parked as an asset on the balance sheet to be expensed eventually. After the write-off, the bank will still have about €14 billion of Goodwill clogging up its balance sheet, and more write-offs are to come. It already wrote off €2.5 billion last year, when it agreed to sell its stake in the Greek bank Emporiki for €1, which it had acquired with impeccable timing in 2006 for €2.2 billion.
Greek banks... oh my!

The Next Great(er) Recession Now Baked In The Cake!

Michael PollaroMichael Pollaro: It’s basic cause and effect.  Monetary inflation causes economic busts.  And the larger the monetary inflation, the larger the bust.  As brilliantly explained by the Austrians (see here), monetary inflation distorts interest rate and price signals.  As a consequence, businesses embark on projects and consumers make purchases and/or investment decisions that turn out to be mistakes, malinvestments if you will, that sooner or later must be liquidated.  An apparent boom turns to bust.
Founded on Chairman Bernanke’s QE-based money printing programs and now increasingly being driven by private bank money creation too, the US money supply is booming. TMS2 (TMS for True “Austrian” Money Supply), THE CONTRARIAN TAKE’s broadest and preferred US money supply aggregate, posted another double digit year-over-year rate of increase in December, this one coming in at 11.2%.  Give or take one or two basis points, that was the 49th consecutive month that TMS2 posted a double digit year-over-year rate of increase.  This kind of monetary largesse says to us that an economic bust, and a pretty big one is in the offing.  Indeed, the last time we saw anything even approaching a 49-month double digit rate string was the 36-month string that gave us the housing boom turn bust turn Great Recession.

100 Years Of U.S. Federal Income Tax

Tyler Durden's picture On February 3rd, 1913, one of the two most historic events in US history took place: the ratification of the 16th amendment, which established Congress' right to impose a Federal income tax on Americans, and overturned Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution which explicitly prohibited a general income tax. The amendment was brief and to the point, and read as follows: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." And with that, the US Federal Income Tax was born and has been with us for precisely 100 years.
The amendment itself:

Anonymous, Wikileaks, Aaron Swartz...

drinkingwithbob: The biggest threat to OUR FREEDOM is an uninformed population...

PAEDOPHILES IN POLITICS: A Beecher’s Brook of a scandal which may yet unseat David Cameron

The Slog: With the issue of EU membership neutralised for the time being, the Prime Minister neverthless still faces the problem of upcoming Newscorp cases in which he is clearly implicated. But towering above any other obstacle is the emerging depth and breadth of potential paedophile cases linked to the Conservative Party. Is David Cameron about to become the Disappearing Man?
The Daily Telegraph yesterday noted that ‘many of [Cameron's] MPs see a leader who is not a winner, and whose actions – and inactions – are leading the country to disaster and the Tory party to extinction. Away from the public eye, some are actively working to bring him down, while others watch and wait, quietly hoping for his demise’. A little bit of this is wishful thinking by the Barclays of Sark – but not much: as I’ve posted several times since last Austumn, David Cameron is doomed, and the latest he will meet his fate is 2015. But now I can see dark clouds appearing at a faster speed than previously…and hear the sound of thunder foretelling the arrival of le deluge. It’s beginning to look like Dave won’t stay the course.
The Prime Minister has, for the time being, put one major problem – EU membership – on the political back-burner. He did this by saying an enormous number of things all at the same time which amounted to nothing beyond “maybe the day after tomorrow”. Another day, another can….but he seems to have stymied the Ed Miller Band (who now don’t know what to think, again) and largely guaranteed he can go into an election without it being a millstone round his rubber neck. The question is, will he make it to the Election which will be, barring great drama, around May 2015? There are two reasons why he may well not.

Neocolonialism in Africa - Afshin Rattansi with UK ambassador to Algeria, Graham Hand

Europe Banned Press TV: Europe and America are trying to find a way out of their economic crisis by continuing more austerity. Our reporter asks whether Americans should have the right to carry personal nuclear weapons. We talk to former UK ambassador to Algeria, Graham Hand, about the foreign policy of western powers in resource rich Africa. These and much more are all reviewed in this edition of Double Standards with Afshin Rattansi. Source   -   banzai7

Street's all you've got: Heavy-handed UK govt austerity exposed

Britain which was once proud of having some of the most effective legislation in the world to fend off homelessness, now has over 50,000 people sleeping rough. And as the government attempts to battle country's financial troubles, the number of homeless people is expected to rise. RT's Polly Boiko went to meet some of those living on the streets. Source

Silver premiums in 2008 - Wayback Machine!

'Wayback" lets you look at what was on a web page several years ago:

Sandy Hook Gene Rosen 2008 at Fema Camp

Morris: He might well be the weak link in the pursuit of the truth. Widely acclaimed to be ham acting. Now a new piece of the puzzle?
Gene Rosen was preparing children on what to do in an emergency in 2008
all well documented, and one of the girls looks very similar to one who was at Obama's signing of the gun laws. Source

Racist Oppression and Resistance - An African Speaks

Morris: A general overview of the plight of the African person in the modern world by a (seemingly) political activist. High unemployment, High amount of people in prison etc. And the assault on Africa.
In the second part of this interview we learn about the political Prisoner Mumia.
He actually reminds me of the Peter Tosh song "You are an African Dont matter your complexion" ..... Source

Pound sees biggest one-day fall against euro since 2010

BBC: The pound has continued to weaken against the euro, seeing its biggest one-day fall in almost three years, on continuing signs that the worst may be over for the eurozone economy.
At one point on Friday, sterling fell 1.8% against the single currency from a day earlier, the largest percentage fall recorded since May 2010.
This meant one pound was worth 1.1473 euros, the lowest since October 2011.
The pound has also been weakened by fears about the UK's AAA credit rating.
This follows after credit rating agency Fitch warned last month that the UK could lose the top rating if the government does not reduce its sovereign debt.
Continuing concerns about the UK economy, which contracted by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2012, have also hit sterling.
Eurozone improvements At the same time, the eurozone economy is showing more signs of slow recovery, helping to boost confidence in the euro.
Data on Friday showed that while contraction in the eurozone's manufacturing sector had continued in January, the rate of decline had slowed.