Monthly Archives: August 2015

Greece . . . A ‘Profit Machine’!

At last the media are beginning to accept that Alex Tsipras’s ‘infamous’ U-turn on July 13 2015 was a necessary and responsible action, faced with a Troika threatened collapse of the entire Greek financial system.

The ferocity of their assault was a calculated reaction to his democratic call for a referendum in the face of their threats to ignore democracy and bow to their demands. He is the loneliest person on this Planet as he tries to deal with the frustrations of his people and those in his party, who seem incapable of understanding the sheer power they are up against.

Greek debt is not the issue here. It is a relatively insignificant country, financially, which has found the courage to stand up to this dominant world force and their inhuman actions. This draconian power has had to be demonstrated to maintain their global position.

The consequences to the people is irrelevant with such actions, as they need to deter any thought of future challenges to their power by others, particularly given the rising tide of popularity for left wing politics in Spain, Italy and now in the UK.

Be under no illusion that the EU is a different place since July 13, as it witnessed the surrender of liberal democracy to the brutal forces of Neoliberal Authoritarianism. It is also a place of growing dissent to that surrender.

A recent opinion poll by Opinium showed that 62% of those polled, in seven EU countries, believed that Brussels handled the Greek tragedy badly, compared to just 12% who thought it was handled well. In Italy a whopping 76% of respondents believed Brussels had handled the issue badly and 56% likewise in Germany (one of Greece’s greatest critics!)

It also screams the question as to where Brussels was in all of this, with their burgeoning bureaucracy of overpaid bureaucrats and vast expense accounts, supposedly there to rid us of power politics and create a machinery of integration. Their silence on Greece has been deafening!

The EU has become a bloated power source that is trying to run dysfunctional countries by decree. History has shown that this, like fiat money printed out of thin air, is doomed to failure, whilst the people suffer untold abuse during the process.

This abuse continues unabated with a new bailout for Greece of a staggering 86 billion euros. Little if any of this money will reach the Greek people, or help restart the Greek economy, as its sole purpose is to service current Greek debt! And let’s not forget that interest is a banks PROFIT!

To generate 86 billion euros worth of loans probably costs the banks 50 euros (I would imagine) in hitting the correct keys on the computer keyboard. That is all it takes to place a set of digits in the necessary accounts pages, which Greece is then able to draw on.

So for 50 euros the Troika will be earning a reported 18% interest on this new money and all the other money they have printed out of thin air. Given the Federal Reserve is currently printing trillions of dollars at virtually zilch interest rate, Greece is a ‘nice little earner’ for global banking.

All they have to do is maintain the impossibility of debt repayment and they have a source of perpetual income from perpetual interest. Constantly paying such a staggering amount of interest on such a staggering amount of debt, has turned Greece into a ‘Profit Machine’.

If we then add to this the 50 billion euros of national assets that will be sold off at huge discounts to hedge funds, as additional recompense for such debt, we can see how apposite the term ‘Odious’ debt is.

Here we have the sum total of unregulated Capitalism. All concerned argue and rant over the impossibility of Greek debt repayment and yet nothing is even muted to hit at the very core of these problems, by bringing the banks back under proper control and regulation! They demand independence, whilst proving conclusively that they are quite incapable of the responsible management of that independence. If they are ‘Too Big to Fail’ break them up, DUH!

We may be in the infancy of Neoliberal Authoritarianism and rightly angered by it. However there is also a cautionary note. Brussels may be silent to this brutal abuse but we too are guilty of quickly pointing a finger at the overpowered and helpless victim.

If we are to resist this new authoritarianism we must remain united and not succumb to the historic ‘divide and conquer’ that has had us fighting amongst ourselves for centuries.

We have the means to unite, like at no other time in our history and could now be helping Alex Tsipras back on his feet. Should we not be urging him to keep going, confident that he and others who are equally determined to challenge the growth of ‘Profit Machines’ and fight for our freedom, are assured of our undying support in what will be a protracted battle?

Until the next time.

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

£1 Is Worth £1 . . . Says Who?!

As I survey the global financial scene I become more bemused by the sheer lunacy of it all. Barnham and Bailey would have been quite envious of the antics I am sure. But let me start with a question:

Q. What is the difference between Willie Sutton, an ‘illegal withdrawals specialist’ and global banks, also ‘illegal withdrawals specialists’?

A. One robs banks and the other robs people!

Willie robbed banks because they had something of value and presumably banks rob us because our money is of value. But what is that value I find myself asking?

If we go shopping to buy food we buy by weight and so we know what we are buying. Before pre-packaging, weights and scales were used to assure us that we were getting a correct amount of goods for our payment.

The weights were of predetermined amounts, pounds, ounces etc. and they were regularly checked by government officials to ensure they had not been corrupted. This gave us confidence that what we were buying was authentic and that we were not being ripped off.

If we apply these ground rules to money, it really becomes quite scary to my simple mind. Originally money was assessed in terms of how much was needed to buy a piece of gold. You knew where you stood because you could trade your paper or coins for gold and be sure of its value.

Then in 1972 President Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard and the true value of money suddenly became very vague. For my part, I then began to value my money in what I could buy with it. As an example, in that year I bought my first house for £5,000. Today it would take £500,000 to buy that same house!

In 1971 there were 240 pennies to one pound and they were worth something. In that same year our currency ‘went metric’ and that gave us just 100 (pence) pennies to the pound . . . each of which is now quite worthless!

I’m no economist but rather than leaping for joy at how much my wealth has grown I am concerned at how much the purchasing power of my money has fallen. After all, if the house is how I measured my money in 1972, £5,000 was a good deal. Today the value of my money has reduced a hundred fold, because I now need 100 times as many pounds to buy that same house, which has not changed one iota.

It is still bricks and mortar, with a slate roof but in 1972 I could afford to buy it, whereas today a person of similar age to then cannot. The value of our assets have not gone up but rather the value of our money has plummeted! With a 100 fold reduction in the value of my 1972 pound it is now worth one penny which, as we all know is worthless.

The simple reason for this catastrophe is that when money was tied to something stable and secure, like gold, its supply was limited and so it restricted ‘economic growth’, which was a bad thing for banks and economists. The answer to ‘freeing it up’ was to disconnect its value from gold and for the banks themselves to guarantee the value of money. All we had to do was simply put our trust in bankers, (as we did with those government officials who checked the weights and scales).

A 100 fold drop in the value of the pound in my pocket tells me they are not doing a good job. What is even more lunatic is that we all have to work a lot harder now than I remember in 1972. We are getting stressed out because the value of what we are working for is falling through the floor and we have to borrow to make up the difference.

Is it any wonder we have a global banking system that is bankrupt and about to prove again that it is totally unfit for purpose as we face another imminent collapse, just 7 years after the last one? This is the prognosis of a growing number of eminent economists and clever money people who are now predicting the crash will happen next month or in October. (History shows that the 1929, 1987 and 2008 crashes all happened around this time of year!)

We now know that when it happens the banks will rob us of our money to cover themselves. The legislation is already in force. So it makes sense to take our money away from them and hoard it. Apparently they are wising up to this and there is now talk of legislation to outlaw the holding of cash.

This level of connivance and control, over something that is becoming ever more worthless by the day, is what led to the French Revolution. A subject I shall be returning to soon.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Global Finance and Planet Zog

Space photo

As I left Planet Zog on my Virgin Galactic space shuttle, I realised it is a place where people of all races colours and creeds cohabit in happy union, with a deep love of their Planet and respect for each other and the art of living Life.

As a global Society they have high self-esteem that manifests in pristine healthcare services, education and Social infrastructures that look after the needy when the challenges in Life became overwhelming. Employment demand is high and much of it is directed to the many diverse ways of managing their Planet, which provides the resources for all their needs.

It has not always been this way and emerged from a long battle of change with previous traditions that had enslaved the people and were destroying the Planet. Global Society then had been ruled for eons by Lenders, a sector of Society who were clever in the management of money. They were not different to the rest but just adept at recognising the inherent power of money and skilfully utilising that power for their benefit.

In the beginning they had simply managed and protected the wealth of others by keeping it secure in ‘banks’. As not all the stored wealth was used by its owners the Lenders began lending the excess out for others to use and charging for this service. They then began assisting governments in printing their currencies, providing the means to ‘move’ this money around the country and then abroad.

Eventually they created a global system of ‘money movement’ which they charged all users for. They persuaded governments to let them supply their country’s money and ‘remove any danger of political interference’ in the economy.

In time the Lenders came to control nearly all the money in circulation across Planet Zog. Their real skill however, lay in remaining hidden from public gaze. Few people knew who they were or how money was produced and paid for. This secrecy meant the people were unaware it was not their money but only lent to them for a charge.

The Lenders power increased as they were able to simply agree or refuse to lend their money to governments when it was needed. Their vulnerability came from human frailty, as power driven greed drove them to seek greater control over countries, by cleverly taking their money out of circulation and replacing it with loans.

They did this by vastly increasing their ‘bad’ banking practices and demanding that the people’s good money (taxes) pay for the predicted failures of their irresponsible activity. Governments were helpless. They did not control the money and so became immersed in debt and had to sell off national assets to help pay for that debt.

Again the Lenders cleverly justified this to the people as ‘Austerity’ measures to meet the huge loan repayments. Because of peoples ignorance about how money worked they initially accepted the restrictions they were placed under. Despair set in and many committed suicide

At this time the technological inventors amongst them developed a global communications system that allowed people to talk to each other across the Planet for the first time in their history. The Lenders did not like this new source of people power and sought many ways to restrict its use, by increasing the surveillance of the people as well as reducing their freedoms to speak and demonstrate.

However, this new communications system began to lift the veil on the secrecy of the Lenders, who they were and how they manipulated money. For the first time people saw that it was not their governments who were to blame for their hard lives but the Lenders.

By the simple expediency of removing the secrecy that had kept the Lenders in power for so long people began to work towards a new way for Society to live on Planet Zog. By taking back the power to print and circulate their own money they could build this new Society.

Running their own banks meant the interest, which was previously taken by the Lenders, could now be circulated back into Society. The sums involved were so vast that they would fund undreamt of healthcare and education facilities, as well as excellent cheap public transport and other infrastructures. Their energy supplies became cheaper, as did the cost of money, all of which was possible through strong regulation by new democratically empowered governments.

It took time for change to happen, because the Lenders did not relinquish their power willingly. However, by lifting that veil of secrecy the people at last knew what they were fighting. They could see a future for themselves and their children, free of enslavement to debt. They could now live their lives on a Planet whose plentiful resources would be the reward for its careful management.

Virgin Galactic may not be operating yet but the internet is and we are increasingly lifting the veil. As our ignorance is dispelled the way ahead will, I am sure, open up to us as it did on Planet Zog.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

RBS . . . Osborne’s Having a Laugh!

So, our illustrious chancellor has sold off the first tranche of our shares in Royal Bank of Scotland with a mere £1 billion in losses. (It could be £1.5bn when the actual share price is known on Tuesday). Bet the hedge funds who scooped them up won’t be making any losses. Then again they wouldn’t have been suckered into this odious deal in the first place!

But the real truth of this abusive scam is much worse. We paid £45bn for a bankrupt company that had achieved the largest annual loss in UK corporate history! It was bankrupt when we bought it and it is still bankrupt now, along with all the other private banks. At this week’s prices we will get roughly £30bn back for our outlay of £45 bn, making our losses not £1bn but £16bn . . . all on a company that is worthless!

In the chancellor’s annual Mansion House speech in June 2013 he stated about the sale that – “getting the best value for the taxpayer, maximising support for the economy and restoring them to private ownership” and “Now is the time for RBS to rebuild itself as a commercial bank, no longer reliant on the state, but serving the working people of Britain.”

Does he really believe we are a bunch of Muppets? “Serving the working people of Britain”. Banks have never served us but only screwed us with mountains of debt! How it “maximises support for the economy” when it is bankrupt and returning to the same pool as all the other equally bankrupt banksters is beyond me. Greece and a growing number of other countries will tell you none of the banks are doing their economy any favours!

Then there’s the governments media propaganda machine, who tell us Osborne took advice from James Leigh-Pemberton, head of UK Financial Investments, the body who look after taxpayer stakes. Formerly educated at Eton, he is the son of Robin Leigh-Pemberton who was Governor of the Bank of England from 1983 – 1993. All smells a bit incestuous to me . . . Just saying!

Only a few weeks ago we were told that this sale had the blessing of both the Bank of England (a private financial company) and independent adviser Rothschild. Does this revised information suggest the PR machinery had its knuckles rapped for putting a Rothschild and the Bank of England in the spotlight on such a dodgy deal?

I raise this because the Guardian have reported that the letter from the Treasury recommending the sale was signed by the ‘second’ permanent secretary in the absence of the most senior civil servant in the Treasury, Nick Macpherson. Has this canny mandarin decided to distance himself from such an abusive deal? . . . You decide.

But this, of course, is what ‘Austerity’ is all about. We are made to watch helplessly as our national assets are sold off at rock bottom prices, purportedly to pay the odious debt that all of these very people and institutions have saddled us with in the first place. What really rattles my cage is that RBS was bankrupt when we bought it and has flagrantly continued its dubious business practices, supported by our money.

Fred Goodwin, the man responsible for the collapse of the bank walked away with outrageous benefits that included an annual pension of £555,000 (subsequently reduced to £342,500) and an estimated tax free fund of £2.7 million. To this day he has shown no remorse whatsoever for his aggressive greed and incompetence.

His successor, Stephen Hester, was no better, overseeing senior executive’s demands for a £1.5bn bonus when the company had just made a £1.1 bn loss. Under his watch there was a loss of 34,000 jobs and a disastrous upgrade of the banks computer system which cost £125 million to cover customer compensation and a further £56 million in fines.

For this ‘expertise’ he received an annual salary of £1.1 million, taking home £1.5 million in bonus and pension payments in 2010. Leaving in 2013 he took with him in excess of £1.6 million as his ‘separation’ package.

The financial cost to the taxpayer for all of this incompetence is bad enough but our noses have been rubbed in it through a complete lack of any regulatory infrastructure or morality, by senior banking staff, regulators or government, in protecting our investment.

The 24% who voted the ‘Eton Mess’ into a majority government did so in support of ‘Austerity’ measures. RBS is a salutary lesson to them and the rest of us that we are now being treated as a joke. I don’t know about you but that leaves a very unpleasant taste in my mouth.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

The EU is Becoming Toxic

Central Banks, like the Federal Reserve in US and the Bank of England in the UK are there to come to the assistance of our private banks when they have a cash flow problem. They do this as an essential part of maintaining the trust of the public in our global banking system. We allow our money to flow unhindered across the planet because we trust the system.

Then the European Central Bank (ECB) came into being and it appears the ball game has now changed. The ECB came about to facilitate ‘European Monetary Union’ and implement monetary policy in the Eurozone.

This includes many of the tasks that were previously carried out by our national banks, as well as running the euro currency system. Its owners and shareholders are the central banks of the member states and its president is a former managing director of Goldman Sachs.

So at the heart of the European Union there is a private company controlling the financial requirements of the member states, as well as many aspects of their banks. As a private company it is only accountable to its shareholders and is run by unelected technocrats.

When things get difficult, as I mentioned earlier, the ECB should be there to offer aid and assistance to a troubled bank in preserving trust. In the case of Greece however something very sinister has occurred, resulting in not so much an example of monetary union but the emergence of a sinister controlling device.

When the democratic Greek elections produced a left wing government the ECB turned nasty. The fact that the government was seeking to ease the lot of the Greek people, in their negotiations with their creditors, was irrelevant. The ECB sought to stop the financial support that is always available for the stability of the banking system and thereby close down the Greek banks.

It was the tool by which the Troika finally brought Alex Tsipras to his knees and caused his now infamous U-turn. Trust in this traditional and essential global banking function was broken with the threatened withdrawal of this support and he had no option but to capitulate to the ferocious demands of creditors.

It is also now reported that the Troika have taken control of the country’s tax collection mechanism, although vigorously denied by Brussels . . . Would they actually admit to it I ask myself? This ensures that payments of interest get priority over the normal use of taxpayer money to run the country. Such flagrant autocratic action has reduced the power of the democratically elected government to nil!

What is truly worrying is that the ECB have been guilty of this brutal breach of trust before in the case of Cyprus in 2013, when they forced the government to accept a controversial bailout programme and before that, a similar enforcement in Ireland in 2010. And it was only set up in 1998!

What we have is unelected technocrats exerting their will over that of democratically elected governments. Indeed our own chancellor in the UK, having been told to implement ‘austerity’ measures by the IMF, was then told to ease up because they knew they had got it wrong!

This is raw unelected power being exercised in a manner that is causing human tragedy on a growing scale. In Greece these ‘Austerity’ measures (that the IMF admit don’t work) have caused a suicide every day since 2010. It gets worse as the situation deteriorates, seeing a 35% escalation in suicide rates over the last 2 years, with a particular emphasis upon the unemployed. Source: George Rachiotis MD PhD at the University of Thessaly in Greece.

As I survey the debris from the financial violence taking place in Greece I find myself asking where Brussels is in all of this. There is a deathly hush in the corridors of (power?) where our distant and unaccountable MEP’s are supposed to function. They too are our democratically elected representatives, charged with running the EU for the benefit of the people, by managing our resources for the common good . . . but their silence now is deafening.

This silence and their secrecy over the now infamous TTIP and TPP trade agreements has become untenable to my mind and the antithesis of what trust is all about. I can see no purpose to the EU in what was originally sold to us as a political ‘union’. It is becoming increasingly obvious that it is nothing more than a ‘multi country control mechanism’ that needs to be dismantled at the first opportunity . . . Let’s have a European Referendum Season!!!

Once again I find myself offering a huge debt of gratitude to the Greek government and Greek people for lifting the veils upon the sinister forces that rule our lives. The price they are currently paying can only be justified if we understand and learn from their horrendous experience and  vow to rid ourselves of this toxic cancer of growing abuse.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes