Hand in Hand

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Hand in Hand

hand in hand

When I was growing up my Mom often spoke of the memories of her mother’s face and tears following the announcement of WW2. Nan remembered WW1 and all it meant. My unhappiness, and tearful face in 1992 having returned from the count was so evident, that my daughter, then aged 10, can remember it clearly even now. Now my daughters weep for their children. Why is the world doing this to the mothers? Or the fathers, the brothers and the sisters? Time people started supporting each other is now. No more listening to the lies about money, deficits, and banks. People matter.

Stand together, hand in hand.

Related

Occupy……

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OCCUPY

In London, New York and Bangkok
Occupy is all the talk
London, New York and Belfast
Wall Street thought it wouldn’t last
The Politicians come and go
Yet we see the movement grow
These banker boys each sold their soul
Now Satan’s minion, is their role
With Ponzi schemes and pension fraud 
They’ve made the Euro, and the Dollar-god
These bankers crawl in self-made slime
Yet think, we see them, as sublime
When the starving masses rise
These idiots look up, in quaint surprise
As if they never, ever knew
Their devilish mix, their mammon brew
Would not bubble and burst, out of their hellish Ponzi pot
Where theft and graft, and greed were got
Right now the 99% do rise
And peacefully surprise
Obama, Blair, Cameron and cronies
Exposing them as Satan’s phonies
The British Bullshit Corporation  tell lies to the whole nation

We can vote X factors best
But starve our weans and damn the rest
We all believe that which we see
Cause it comes out the BBC
Yet it’s a hellish sewer
Shat in by Satan’s biggest whore
In her mouth she gobbles greed
Lies and deception, her biggest need
Then shits out war and poverty
Which then floats past for all to see
Along that sewer from the BBC
Where nothing is as it should be
There is One Truth, then there’s yours, then there’s mine
Until you starve, all things are fine
Till you’re against the wall
Then barriers will fall 
And you’ll begin to see
99% just aren’t free
And life and love is but a loss
Though you 1% should fear
ANON

It’s not the Left that believes in Magic Money Trees. It’s the Right.

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(it’s not satire – it’s the surreal world of banking)

Very often some people on the Right who are less intelligent – or to be more charitable less well-informed – say the reason many on the Left are against the government’s austerity measures is because they believe money grows on ‘Magic Money Trees’.

This accusation stems from the completely mistaken belief that there is only so much real money in the system – in the form of real banknotes and coins – and only hard-headed right-wingers like George Osborne understand there are no Magic Money Trees ready to produce more money to pay off the country’s debts and reduce the deficit.

But actually, it’s the Right who believe in Magic Money Trees.

Government supporters believe our NHS and public services should be cut just so we can pay non-existent money back into a banking system which really does grow fictional money from its numerous branches. Just like Magic Money Trees in fact.

The particular Magic Money Trees we’re talking about here are the ones that make up the enchanted fairy tale forest known as Fractional Reserve Banking – a system in which banks can lend money they don’t possess by creating it out of thin air – and the whole of the World’s financial system relies on it.

The eyes of those “less well-informed” people on the Right are probably already glazing over. Reality is much too complicated for them to understand. They presumably believe that when you sign a mortgage agreement with a bank, the banker goes and opens a vault full of cash and puts real pounds and coins into your bank account.

What actually happens is that the banker clicks a button on a computer screen which activates a direct line to the Magic Money Tree whose roots pass under every single branch of every bank and financial institution in the country – and the Magic Money Tree dutifully produces non-existent money which goes into your bank account.

For a really entertaining and easy explanation of how banks create money from nothing – have a look at this animation:

The Goldsmiths Tale

Most intelligent people on the Left understand all this and the reason most of them are against government austerity is because they also understand that a lot of the government’s cuts are being made in order to pay non-existent money to Magic Money Trees worshipped by governments the world over – in other words financial institutions like banks.

You see, when Barclays or Goldman Sachs executives pay themselves billions in bonuses every year, they don’t carry wheelbarrows full of cash around to their own houses and dump it in their garages alongside the Porsche and the Lamborghini.

They press another little button on their computers with a direct line to the Magic Money Tree and more non-existent money appears in their bank accounts – fictional money which nevertheless they can still use to buy their real yachts and islands and bottles of Bollinger.

So why are so many governments cutting public services to pay money – which doesn’t even exist – to Magic Money Trees?

Because it fulfils a political agenda – not a financial one. The political agenda of austerity is to reduce the welfare state, not to reduce the deficit or pay off national debt.

The UK should do what Iceland did when told to introduce austerity to keep the Magic Money Trees happy.

They told them to f*** off:

Iceland president: Let banks go bankrupt

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For more information about the Great Banking Con, see these links here:

The Goldsmith’s Tale – (full version)

Where does money comes from? … the Bears explain

The market has a name: It is Goldman Sachs

Stephen Hester, Fred Goodwin, Bernie Madoff and the fraud at the heart of our banking system

COMPREHENSIVE REFORM OF THE CITY – Pay, Practice & Structure

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Should more bankers be in prison?

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The question ‘Should more bankers be in prison?’ obviously refers to the US because no bankers are in prison or even criminally investigated in the UK.

What’s Inside America’s Banks?

‘Some four years after the 2008 financial crisis, public trust in banks is as low as ever. Sophisticated investors describe big banks as “black boxes” that may still be concealing enormous risks—the sort that could again take down the economy. A close investigation of a supposedly conservative bank’s financial records uncovers the reason for these fears—and points the way toward urgent reforms.’ (Full article in The Atlantic Magazine)

This video clip discusses an indepth analysis which was made of one of America’s oldest and most trustworthy banks, Wells Fargo:

Accusations of illegal, clandestine bank activities are also proliferating. Large global banks have been accused by U.S. government officials of helping Mexican drug dealers launder money (HSBC), and of funneling cash to Iran (Standard Chartered). Prosecutors have charged American banks with falsifying mortgage records by “robo-signing” papers to rush the process along, and with improperly foreclosing on borrowers. Only after the financial crisis did people learn that banks routinely misled clients, sold them securities known to be garbage, and even, in some cases, secretly bet against them to profit from their ignorance.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/whats-inside-americas-banks/309196/

Film Review of ‘Four Horseman’ – Chomsky, Max Keiser, Stigliz and more

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Informative PressTV discussion about the film ‘Four Horseman’- a debut feature from director Ross Ashcroft which reveals the fundamental flaws in the economic system which have brought our civilization to the brink of disaster… Insights from Joseph Stigliz, Noam Chomsky,  Dr Ha-Joon Chang, Michael Hudson, Herman Daly, Max Keiser, Gillian Tett, Richard Wilkinson, Camila Batmenghelidjh, and many others.  Russell Michaels talks to Nick Dearden, Director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, and Mike McCahill, film critic for the Sunday Telegraph.

“Four Horsemen” Directed by Ross Ashcroft-Cine Politics-03-11-2012

 

 

The film pulls no punches in describing the consequences of continued inaction – but its message is one of hope. If more people can equip themselves with a better understanding of how the world really works, then the systems and structures that condemn billions to poverty or chronic insecurity can at last be overturned. Solutions to the multiple crises facing humanity have never been more urgent, but equally, the conditions for change have never been more favourable.

 

NB I’ve been told that one of the adverts may have caused a browser to reset its size so caution may be necessary. To view film online go to http://www.fourhorsemenfilm.com/watch-now/ 

Major Banks Help Clients like Romney Hide Trillions in Offshore Tax Havens

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Forget the 47 percent. Foreign tax havens—and investment vehicles like those the GOP candidate established at Bain Capital—are robbing world treasuries of billions.

Major Banks Help Clients Hide Trillions in Offshore Tax Havens

Published on Aug 3, 2012 by 

James Henry of Tax Justice Network:  US media and politicians mostly ignore massive untaxed wealth that big banks help rich move to tax havens.

Well, when you look at the distribution of wealth here that’s offshore, we think there’s no more than about 10 million people that really account for about 83 percent of the $21 trillion that is at a minimum offshore. And that’s pretty concentrated. The top 100 are multibillionaires. They account for about 8.1 percent of the total. The next 2,900, billionaires with an average wealth of $1.4 billion, account for another 7 percent of it. So that’s about 3,000 people that already are owning nearly 15 percent of the world’s financial wealth.

And then we have—the next step in the ladder is the sort of ultra high net worth crowd, which are—their average wealth is on the order of $58 million, and there’s about 117,000 of them in the world. And then, finally, there’s another fortunate few, who are about 9.9 million, whose average wealth is on the order of $6.3 million, and they account for about 60 percent of this. So 82 percent of the world’s wealth, then, when you add all this up, is—of the offshore wealth is owned by about 0.14 percent of the world’s population.

So if you look at it from the standpoint of who’s actually benefiting from this industry, you know, it’s a tiny share of the global population. And that group has—in terms of global wealth, which is about $231 trillion, they own about a third of all that global wealth. And so that’s a—you know, 0.14 percent is a tiny fraction owning that much wealth.

 http://truth-out.org/news/item/10825-trillion-dollar-tax-havens-inequality-and-recession-part-ii

James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey & Co., describes offshore tax havens like the “bar scene in Star Wars.” He explains, “Dictators and kleptocrats used them to conceal stolen loot. Arms dealers and drug dealers use them to launder their deals. Google and Apple and Pfizer use them to park their intellectual property and pay themselves tax-free royalties. Banks use them to park lousy loans and stash the offshore accounts and assets under management of their wealthy individual clients, many of which are paying zero taxes back home…And so on.” 

Romney has investments in a number of well known tax havens, including Ireland, Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda. Until 2010, he held a few million in the Swiss bank UBS, which in 2009 was forced to pay the US $780 million in fines and penalties for helping more than 17,000 Americans commit tax fraud by hiding as much as $20 billion overseas. The total value of Romney’s offshore investments is unknown, but his tax returns have revealed that he has at least $30 million invested in the Cayman Islands, in at least 12 different Bain Capital funds. When pressed about the relationship between his offshore investments and his low tax rate (he paid 14.1 percent on $13 million in income, according to his 2011 tax return), Romney has largely declined to answer questions about his overseas holdings other than to say, “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more.” Romney has also denied getting tax benefits from his offshore accounts. He told Fox News, “[T]here was no reduction, not one dollar reduction in taxes by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment. The dollars of taxes remained exactly the same. There was no tax savings at all.”

Similarly, a Romney campaign spokeswoman told Mother Jones that Romney’s foreign investments “are taxed in the very same way they would be if the shares were held in the US rather than through a Cayman fund. No taxes are avoided or reduced. These funds are registered with the IRS and report all income to investors and the IRS, just like domestic funds.”

Romney’s assertion that his offshore investments have not reduced his tax bill has been met with skepticism by tax experts.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mitt-romney-offshore-investments-cayman-islands

Why Barclays and Co “can’t get no satisfaction” from food speculation.

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For real contentment, basic needs need to be met. The obvious basic needs are food, water, shelter, warmth, and social contact with other human beings. There should be enough of all of this for every one of the seven billion people on this planet.

There are some who have this plentifully, yet who still are discontented. Indeed, such discontent exists within their psyche that they gamble, and gamble with other people’s lives. While some gamble with water, energy and house prices there are those who gamble with food.

This recipe is increasingly common for consumers in global food markets. Although unpalatable, it is gaining popularity with investment bankers and hedge fund managers.

Method:

1. Take a bunch of financial regulations, cut off the good parts and water them down.

2. Measure out several thousand tonnes of grain and other staple foods and add them to global markets.

3. Quickly pour in huge amounts of hot speculative capital from investment banks and hedge funds.

4. Watch as basic food prices rise.

5. Serve with fat profits and a large portion of widespread hunger, poverty and malnutrition for the world’s poorest people.

(World Development Movement)

Such a killing is to be made, they cannot help themselves. Their greed is such that though they have more than enough, they ask, “Can I have some more?”

These Dickensian words cannot help but remind us of the injustices of the Victorian days which those like Cameron and Osborne set out to recreate. (16)

The same banks, hedge funds and financiers whose speculation on the global money markets caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis are thought to be causing food prices to yo-yo and inflate. The charge against them is that by taking advantage of the deregulation of global commodity markets they are making billions from speculating on food and causing misery around the world. Guardian

With plenty in their bellies, yet still dissatisfied from their lot, the rich speculate, ( gamble) regarding food and grain as commodities to be bought and sold, hopefully delivering them a nice fat profit. What they propose to do with profits when they already have enough is a revealing question. They embark on more and more speculation, so sinister like some global computer game to see who can harness the greatest score. They may use the word “investment”(ThinkLeft article) but gambling is a much better description of their activities. Such is the basis of capitalism.

Banks, hedge funds and pension funds are betting on food prices in financial markets, causing drastic price swings in staple foods such as wheat, maize and soy.

(World Development Movement)

These markets were originally developed for the benefit of those involved in the production of food, yet over the last 10 years they have changed almost beyond recognition. Deregulation has enabled speculators to dominate, causing drastic spikes and crashes in prices.

Effects of rising food prices

Massive food price increases are catastrophic for people in poverty in the global south, who spend most of their income on food. This results in:

  • Increased hunger as food becomes unaffordable.
  • Malnutrition as smaller quantities of expensive foods such as fruit and vegetables are eaten in order to afford staple foods
  • Increased burden on women to earn more money by taking up risky employment such as sex work or domestic work.
  • Households using up savings, going into debt or selling assets to pay for food.
  • Families unable to afford healthcare and education as more of their income is needed to buy basic food.

This is no computer game. The facts are that their activities have led directly to dramatic increases in global food prices depriving so many from their basic needs. So cruel when there is plenty, so sad when the prospectors already have enough. This is madness. The madness of capitalism which brings happiness to no one and ultimately global disaster to us all.

Indeed, the world’s largest commodities trading company, Glencore is so delighted at the prospect of a food crisis Chris Mohoney boasts (11) about “ the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a “good” business opportunity.” Such a slip of the tongue led to some German banks (4) to withdraw their association from these activities. Cameron’s recent hunger summit (15) coinciding with the Olympic Games amounted to no more than a pretence, political opportunism to give the impression that he is actively opposing such activities. The same companies making a killing out of the Games make their profits at the expense of the cold and hungry.

The banks which are profiteering most from food speculation are the US Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley alongside UK High Street Bank, Barclays. Indeed, it has been revealed that Barclays have made Five Hundred Million pounds from the world’s hungry. (1)

The World Development Movement report estimates that Barclays made as much as £529m from its “food speculative activities” in 2010 and 2011. Barclays made up to £340m from food speculation in 2010, as the prices of agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat and soya were rising. The following year, the bank made a smaller sum – of up to £189m – as prices fell, WDM said.

The revenues that Barclays and other banks make from trading in everything from wheat and corn to coffee and cocoa, are expected to increase this year, with prices once again on the rise. Corn prices have risen by 45 per cent since the start of June, with wheat jumping by 30 per cent.

Independent

Barclays makes most of its “food-speculation” revenues by setting up and managing commodity funds that invest money from pension funds, insurance companies and wealthy individuals in a variety of agricultural products in return for fees and commissions. The bank claims not to invest its own money in such commodities.

Since deregulation allowed the creation of such funds in 2000, institutions such as Barclays have collectively channelled an astonishing $200bn (£126bn) of investment cash into agricultural commodities, according to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Barclays’ dominance in commodities trading is thanks to its former chief executive Bob Diamond, who was Britain’s best-paid banking boss until he was forced to resign last month following a £290m fine for attempting to manipulate the Libor interest rate. As boss of Barclays Capital he boosted trading in agricultural products.

This is something which is affecting us all. We may feel uncomfortable thinking of the hungry in Africa and India, only for the guilt to be dismissed as we rush round Tesco’s or Waitrose. The UK is not immune. The cost of living is rising, it’s going to start hurting the comfortable middle-classes who supported Clegg and Cameron. The number of people directly affected by bank speculators will be the majority.

As Yvonne Roberts writes in the Guardian: (2)

.. we ordinary mortals are facing the most sustained and savage attack on our standard of living for decades, with the poorest inevitably faring the worst. But it’s not just the poor. For the first time, even the once comfortable are experiencing the anxiety of how to pay the mortgage, fill the car, meet the supermarket bill.

Last Wednesday, five million households learned that their fuel bills will increase up to £100 a year because SSE, the UK’s second-largest energy group, announced that its tariffs would rise in October. More will follow SSE. Ofgem, the regulator, reports that the profit margins of power companies are due to increase by almost 14%.

On the same day, Santander, Britain’s second-biggest mortgage lender, announced a rise in its mortgage rate so repayments will jump by £300 a year on average from October, £700 on a £200,000 loan. Many borrowers can’t go elsewhere because they have little equity. Add to that stagnating wages; rail fare and council tax increases; private rents at a peak; the ever-climbing price of essentials such as food and clothing; and the cuts to benefits that include less help with childcare costs and the assault on our standard of living is unremitting.

Since the speculation depends on being fed by the majority, surely it is unsustainable if the majority are to suffer? What will then be the consequence?

Consider what drives a person to such greed, to accumulate meaningless wealth at the expense of his own species? It does not provide happiness or contentment. I believe it is because of deprivation of other needs; we also need friendship, respect, morality and self-esteem. Mankind evolved because of interdependence. (14) Global capitalism is relatively recent in our timescale. Many of us remember the words of Margaret Thatcher, “There is no such thing as society.” Those words may well have been a prophesy for our future. It is no exaggeration to state that unless change is made, mankind is doomed. We need each other.

What can you do?

  • TAKE ACTION AGAINST FOOD SPECULATION

(World Development Movement)

The European Commission and the French and US governments have all said they want to bring food speculation into the open and regulate it to stabilise prices. We need to you to help pressure the UK government to ensure that it backs proposals for regulation and not to take sides with the banks to block reform.

Email George Osborne at the Treasury, asking him to support strong and effective regulation to stop banks from betting on hunger.

The Treasury is the government department which decides whether the UK will support international regulation to rein in excessive speculation on food prices.

There are several banks on the High Street. If a bank is speculating in commodities which is fuelling the rise in food prices, then banking elsewhere may force the banks to change their course of action. Whose money are they speculating with? Who makes the profits? Use your influence.

Think Left: Is Cameron’s Hunger Summit just a Good Photo Opportunity?

Think Left: Unregulated Markets do not make People “Happy”

Think Left: Why Investment not Cuts is Key.

A Recipe for Hunger: How the world is failing on Food : Download Document

1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/barclays-makes-500m-betting-on-food-crisis-8100011.html

2. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/well-make-a-killing-out-of-food-crisis-glencore-trading-boss-chris-mahoney-boasts-8073806.html

3. Rising mortgages and food and fuel bills are bringing home the reality of Mr Osborne’s failing strategy: Yvonne Roberts, Guardian

4. German Bank drops agriculture from fund on food fears

5. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/the-real-hunger-games-how-banks-gamble-on-food-prices–and-the-poor-lose-out-7606263.html

6. http://www.wdm.org.uk/food-speculation

7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/jan/23/food-speculation-banks-hunger-poverty

8. http://www.barclayswealth.com/Images/US_Compass_February_2012.pdf

9. http://www.barclayswealth.com/Images/US_Compass_May_2012.pdf

10. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/931513/a_guide_to_food_speculation_how_to_argue_with_a_banker.html

11.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/well-make-a-killing-out-of-food-crisis-glencore-trading-boss-chris-mahoney-boasts-8073806.html

12. http://www.glencore.com/documents/Glencore-Fact_Sheet.pdf

13. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6d36d9ea-e16e-11e1-9c72-00144feab49a.html#axzz24vkk3L2O

14 http://www.librarything.com/work/11663936/descriptions/77288845 Origins of Morality: an Evolutionary Account, Dennis Krebs

15. World Development Movement: Cameron’s Hunger Summit, Meddling or Medalling?

16. Conservative nostalgia for the Victorian era is dangerous, Timothy Stanley Guardian

17 World Development Movement Recipe for Financialised Food