8 Apr 2013

TROIKA LUNACY: Time for ClubMed to grow some balls + The Rape of the Depositors

The Slog: It’s been obvious today that the Troikanauts haven’t been remotely chastened by the global outcry in relation to Brussels-am-Berlin’s treatment of Cyprus. Rather, what’s happened since the Rape of Nicosia is the usual Tsunami of anti-Cypriot briefing against depositors and senior pols there, half-truths about the nature of the former Cyprus economy, pressing ahead with global looting via the Greek private pensions, and pushing austerity demands as if society was a collection of vehicles, shops, ports and buildings rather than human beings.
The Greek finance minister Stournaras was (I’m told) moved to ask one Troika negotiator this morning if he’d rather negotiate with Alexis Tsipras. It evoked the usual goldfish-faced blank response. Schäuble’s response to Portugal’s constitutional court throwing out the austerity programme there was to offer a statement suggesting he had full confidence on the Lisbon PM’s ability to ignore the verdict and find a way round it. (The little hobgoblin in the wheelchair gave a similar reaction when the German equivalent said the FiskalUnion was illegal under Bundesrepublik law).
But not too deep down, we have all become used to the reality on these issues: that there will be brinkmanship and threats…followed by Troika victory. Until recently, ClubMed had the excuse that it was genuinely frightened of what disaster might befall them – and the global economy – if they didn’t obey those they increasingly see as the masters…as opposed to the masturbators they really are. That kop-out no longer applies: in terms of economics, fiscal prudence, currency markets and ECB diligence, by far the best option for Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Italy now is to default.

‘Who controls the past controls the future’: Assange presents massive Project K leak

RT: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange formally unveiled on Monday the latest release from the whistleblower site, Project K, calling it the single most significant geopolitical publication that has ever existed.”
Speaking via Skype from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Assange introduced Project K on Monday morning to a group of journalists at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The Lady Who Made Greed Look Good + Margaret Thatcher: four headings and a funeral

Raül Ilargi Meijer: Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street was as much an answer to as a parody of a mind change that had pervaded the world since Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher came to power in their respective nations.

But in the upper echelons Gordon Gekko's "Greed is Good" was never truly seen as a parody, just as the message of the film was completely lost on the people it was about. And still is. It's too convenient when justifying your behavior to yourself and others, like Ayn Rand is again today. The world is full of people who still today will sing the praises of the Iron Lady and The Great Communicator, of the Falklands and Grenada.
Reagan and Thatcher made it acceptable, nay, hip, to borrow one’s way (back) to wealth, or the illusion thereof, and a little cheating and lying was sort of alright on your way to the top provided you lied and cheated while you were already a mover and a shaker. That mindset has never left us anymore.
The likes of Jon Corzine and Fred Goodwin and Angelo Mozilo owe Thatcher eternal gratitude. As does the entire Bush family, obviously. And the dim non-wits who as we speak plunge Britain into its darker shade of pale. You can too borrow it all, as long as you keep a straight face. You can take away the little man's benefits, and still have him believe he's destined for greatness. Which he too can borrow his way into.

Vomit: The Bordeaux Effect

By Mark J. Grant: I have seen it before. God willing, I will see it again. A world that is dislocated, on a different axis, where the economy is doing one thing and the markets are doing something else that is not connected. After almost forty years on Wall Street I have seen a great many imbalances. None quite like this one though; none as distorted.

As political nonsense becomes the world's normal banter; the official language in the Press is little more than printed or spoken noise.

It is all caused by the Fed's outpouring of money into the system which has caused carnage for savers, investors and has pushed the equity markets past anyplace that the economy can rationally support and caused bond compression that is frankly, dumb. The employment numbers on Friday are a good indicator of the real economy; a real unemployment rate of 11.6% that has been fictionalized by the amount of people no longer in the work force so that the data is seriously skewed towards political fantasy.

AMERICAN MARINES INVAID CORFU: Athens confirms Ionian oil & gas finds - Cypriots & Greeks should tell TROIKA to go and fuck their mothers!

The Slog: Yesterday I posted a Smoke Signals on the subject of the oddly secret Corfu visit of American 6th fleet amphibian landing ship the USS Carter Hall (left) twice in the last ten days.
It now transpires that four days ago, the Greek government confirmed that Norwegian seismic surveys in the waters of the Ionian islands have shown that these areas are rich in oil and natural gas. The results were confirmed by the Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change.
Researchers found hydrocarbons in 30% of the samples in a marine area of 225,000 square kilometres.
carterhallSo, um, that may explain the American marines being “told to get out and get a lay of the land and to get to know the culture”. And, er, the fact that the official online itinerary for USS Carter Hall made no mention of docking in Corfu.
This story is important to me in that it smacks of the ‘Great’ Powers dividing up what they increasingly see as a Vassal State…especially after the quasi-annexation of Cyprus two weeks ago.
The first signs of this view of Greece are obvious in last year’s bailout deal.
No wonder Yannis Stournaras, the Greek finance minister, said last night the latest round of Troika talks were ‘difficult’.  
What Yannis should do is tell the Troika to go fuck their mothers. Source

MSNBC: Your Kids Don’t Belong to You

By Michael Krieger: This is such an incredibly creepy video it’s actually hard for me to believe it’s real. Professor of political science at Tulane University and MSNBC host, Melissa Harris-Perry states the following:
We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.  Once it’s everyone’s responsibility, and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.
This clip is very important because it really demonstrates the mentality of a statist. They want to run our lives in every way we can possibly imagine, including the upbringing of our children.  Outrageous. Source

Decentralised virtual currencies like Bitcoin Could replace traditional forms of money! + Could a patent lawsuit take down Bitcoin exchanges?

City A.M.:
Max Keiser
There is definitely a place for currencies like Bitcoin. And it is likely that, over the next ten years, we will see more currencies – operating independent of central banks – competing with traditional money. Bitcoin is an example of Thiers’s Law: good money pushing out bad. And by bad money, I mean currencies like the yen, euro, dollar and sterling. There seems to be no limit to the amount of these currencies that central banks will print. As a result, purchasing power has been collapsing – wages aren’t keeping up with the inflation caused by monetary easing. Bitcoin’s rise simply shows that people want a currency that preserves purchasing power. And as far as I can see, gold, silver and Bitcoins are the only viable means available that can promise to do exactly that. It was Aristotle that said money should be durable, portable, fungible, and have intrinsic value. Bitcoin ticks all of these boxes. Max Keiser is the host of the Keiser Report. 
Charles Cohen
Digital currencies like Bitcoin are a fad. Some have said Bitcoin is like mining gold – but they aren’t making gold any more.

Eurozone Close To Collapse As Portugal Joins Rebels, Capital Flight Confirmed, & Rehn Confirms More Depositor Haircuts,

Evidence of attempts at online news blackout grows

Lisbon’s constitutional court having blocked the country’s planned austerity programme, the euro project now faces a war for survival on myriad fronts: Portugal, Italy, bond market confidence, capital flight, and media coverage. It’s hard to see a way back for EMU now.
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho held an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Saturday following the Constitutional Court’s rejection of four out of nine of the budget’s austerity measures, which the government says are necessary to meet the terms of a eurozone and International Monetary Fund bailout. With opposition parties calling for the government to resign, Coelho was still locked in emergency talks with the country’s President in the early hours of Monday morning.
And despite rumours in Italy last Friday that its President would facilitate an emergency technocrat regime under Mario Monti, sources there are now insisting that there is no possibility of such a move.

Meanwhile, yet more evidence of capital flight is emerging from both media articles and Slog sources on the ground. “Capital flight was enough to devalue the Euro by a half percent per day last week until it stabilised at $1.28,” says one Slogger, We think there was [European] central bank intervention by overt money printing on a massive scale.”
Projected post-Cyprus eurozone capital flight is at a moving rate $2 trillion per year, or $200 billion per month” says another.

Public Disappointed By Destroyed Safe Haven

Trade With Dave: Haven can wait as “reduced holdings” and “no trend” in what was once a “safe” is yet again proved unsafe, but still won’t go down… on a longer term basis.
Soros on gold…
Q: What is your view on gold?
A: That’s a complicated question. It has disappointed the public, because it is meant to be the ultimate safe haven. But when the euro was close to collapsing in the last year, actually gold went down, because if people needed to sell something, they could sell gold. Therefore they sold gold. So gold went down together with everything else.
Gold was destroyed as a safe haven, proved to be unsafe. Because of the disappointment, most people are reducing their holdings of gold. But the central banks will continue to buy them, so I don’t expect gold to go down. If you have the prospect of a crisis, you will have occasional flurries or jumps. So gold is very volatile on a day-to-day basis, no trend on a longer-term basis.

Here’s a link to the rest of the Soros interview in the South China Morning Post:  http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1208805/interview-george-soros
If you’re not familiar with the reflexivity solution (the one where your doctor hits you on the knee with a rubber hammer and you “choose” to kick the doctor), this would be a Soros buy signal for precious metals.

30,000 Greek Households Lose Electricity Each Month

Since the Greek government enacted the remarkable law that property taxes will be enforced via the electricity providers in the beleaguered country, an incredible 30,000 households per month have seen their power supply cut off. Ekathimerini reports that some 700,000 customers have now had their debts restructured (with payment plans) as part of the billing process; but what is perhaps incredible is that while the State has specifically banned 'disconnection' for not paying the property charges, the utility's computer system is unable to distinguish if payment is for electricity or property tax. There are apparently workarounds involving deposits for tax debts but the situation is set to deteriorate further this year due to the increase in electricity rates and expected further reductions in household incomes.

Via ekathimerini,

About 1,000 electricity connections are cut every day in Greece as Public Power Corporation customers are increasingly unable to pay their power bills on time, while accumulated debts to the country’s electricity giant stood at more than 1.3 billion euros at the end of 2012. This is not only due to the economic crisis that has eaten into household incomes, but also to the special property tax paid via power bills.