Bitcoin is tricky to combat – good!

Bitcoin – what is it? Think of it as a video game. It has rules but, unlike video games, Bitcoin is “distributed”. This means that the rules cannot be changed without every participant of Bitcoin agreeing. This means that the rules won’t change – ever. If there are better rules then a new Bitcoin will develop.

The rules say that Bitcoins can be exchanged, can be created and have a limit – they cannot exceed 21 million. They can be created by “hard work”, called “mining”. Basically anyone who has the funds can invest in computer hardware to create Bitcoins. The more that are created, the more difficult it is to create new Bitcoins. The return on investment, i.e. the return on investing time and money in “mining” Bitcoins, is high at the beginning and lower towards the end (on the basis of today’s technology).

What is great about Bitcoins is that they can be exchanged without banks, Governments and regulators. It is akin to barter and brings power to the people not to the institutions.

Note that should you buy Bitcoins then changing them back to “country currencies” is under attack by Governments. This is Bitcoins vulnerability but also it’s strength – if Bitcoin takes off, why would you ever want to exchange it for another currency!

 

Where have all the “questioning” journalists gone?

This morning on BBC Radio 4 we were treated to the roving reporter (I can’t call him a journalist – sorry), John Humpreys was interviewing some Greek youth. One mentioned that Greece has the largest army in Europe and this warranted no comment from Mr Humphreys. What is true is that Greece has consistently pent almost double the EU average on defence in the last 20 years. Continue reading “Where have all the “questioning” journalists gone?”

Over half Greek debt due to large arms deals!

Greece has spent 3% of gdp more than they should have done on defence for the last 24 years at least. In that period, since 1988, Greek GDP has grown from $80bn to $300bn and still spending has kept pace!

See here Greek spending as a % of GDP since 1988 –graph

See here Greek GDP growth since 1988 – graph

If Greek spending on defence had been 3% lower then well over 50% of Greek debt would not exist.

Who benefited? Continue reading “Over half Greek debt due to large arms deals!”

Does the Arab League really represent the Arabs? Or is it a fabrication of the West?

I would be delighted to hear from any Arabs who believe that the Arab League is truly representative of the Arab world! Run by a New York educated lawyer and its membership stuffed with US puppet regimes (including Qatar of course – the regime behind Al Jazeera).

It is no surprise that Lebanon and Yemen voted against the recent vote to exclude Syria.

If I have one call it is for the Arab world to work together and stop the infighting that has been and continues to be encouraged by the Judeo-Christian developed world!

Rise up O men of Greece!

I will not rest in my pleas to the Greek people to refuse categorically the pernicious austerity measures being implemented by their Government. Do not allow them to destroy generations of Greeks to save the bankers.

Some figures:

Greece joined the EU in 1981 and has spent at least $250 billion in defence spending since then. There debt is around $450bn. Remember that the German and French armament industry have done very well out of this as have their bankers who have lent Greece the money to gorge itself on missiles and such like. Greece is number 23 in the defence spending league!

I urge you to default on this debt! Say no to your Government now and make the Governments and bankers of the EU, the UK and the US face up to the consequences of their greed. Let’s cleanse ourselves and them in the process!

Well-dressed lemmings driving fast cars just go over the cliff faster and looking better!

Markets have started to work out that debt can’t drive consumerism forever. The developed world is over-indebted, disparities between developed and developing countries and between rich and poor within those countries are more extreme than ever. When the poor have more debt than they can handle and the rich rely upon the masses to drive the economy then there is a problem!

Continue reading “Well-dressed lemmings driving fast cars just go over the cliff faster and looking better!”

Nat West freezes Press TV assets

A breaking story today from no lesser source than Press TV that their assets have been frozen by Nat West, a bloated UK bank. It would seem that Press TV is hurting the establishment in the UK with some radical reporting – the great star of course is George Galloway with his Real Deal show – catch a recent episode on Youtube and subscribe – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbbkEEEY2m0.

Thinking of my ancestor John Redmond

I am surfing the web and chasing up on various ideas and thoughts that I have had over the last few weeks. In particular along the theme of that old forgotten chestnut “a terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.

A great friend of mine, Johnny Marsh (Johnny HJ to a few), once took a leak against my Great Great Grandfather’s statue in Wexford, Ireland whilst hitching around that part of the world. He announced this proudly to me over a pint when he returned. It has taken until now for me to determine that in fact it was his Great Uncle who was called by the same name – John Edward Redmond.

John Edward Redmond Junior, still to this day unaffected by the disdain of my dear friend Johnny HJ, was not honoured by a monument but by the legacy of freedom at a big price.

Ireland was a hotbed of subterfuge. Cromwell invaded and injected Protestant Loyalists into the country having massacred many Catholics.  After many years Parliament agreed to Home ruel for the Irsih except for the 6 districts in the North – these would be dealt with later. This area, that had only ever been considered as Ireland and only annexed to England for a temporary period after Home Rule, is what we know as Northern Ireland.

So, we inject Protestants into a country then carve out that Protestant area from the agreement and now claim that because the majority in this area are Protestant that this area must remain separated from the rest of Ireland! Wow!

If we not return to the original thought – what is a terrorist, we can start to see that there really are two sides to the story. Ask yourself the question, are the IRA monsters? The Kurds, are they terrorists? This most simpe of questions that we have all asked no doubt in our youth is forgotten when we talk of Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Uganda  – look at each of the stories here and you will see a much more complex story. Are there any universal truths that can guide us in finding the way forward in these discussions? What would King Solomon have said?

Mervyn King is surprised that people are not angrier! Oh joy, it is nice when someone agrees with me!

See this article in the Guardian

 

Angry at the banks? Of course we are!

Mervyn King misreads the public mood on the bankers. He should look at our Robin Hood campaign

    • Bank of England Governor Mervyn King gestures after speaking during the TUC in Manchester Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, says he is ‘surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has’. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

      When you’ve been going on about something for a while, it is always satisfying to discover that other people agree with you. I have been arguing for the last year that the banks, hedge funds and other titans of the City of London whose gambling got us into this trouble should pay to clean up the mess they caused.

      Now, no less a figure than Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, has laid the blame for cuts in public services and welfare squarely at the door of the City. “The price of the financial crisis is being borne by people who did absolutely nothing to cause it.”

      The evidence supporting him is overwhelming. The International Monetary Fund has warned that British government debt will be 40% higher as a result of the financial crisis. That’s equivalent to a total of £28,000 for every taxpayer in the country.

      But King’s subsequent comment that he was “surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has” suggests that either he had a very high expectation, or that he has misread the public mood.

      I’m an ambassador for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, which calls for a tiny tax of just 0.05% on every casino-style financial transaction in order to help poor people, reverse public service cuts at home and abroad, and tackle climate change. In this role I’ve seen how people’s sense of fairness has been stretched to the limits by the continued spectacle of huge pay increases and bonuses in big companies while ordinary people suffer. Every time people turn on the television news they are bombarded with stories of job losses, disabled children forced into care, public sector cuts or young people left without a future. Meanwhile one of the country’s leading bankers claims “the time for remorse and apologies needs to be over“. If there has been any remorse it has escaped my notice. Of course people are angry!

      Project Merlin, George Osborne’s agreement with the banks last month, was widely ridiculed because people are too angry to accept a backroom deal that does not address the fundamental issue of fairness. Our campaign is supported by Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, along with 250,000 Facebook users and 113 organisations from Oxfam to the Salvation Army. When, last week, I challenged bank chief executives Stephen Hester, Bob Diamond and the others, to visit people at home and abroad hit by the economic crisis, I was inundated with messages of support.

      More dramatically, Barclays – which recently announced a £6bn profit and a 20% increase in pay and bonuses – found 40 of its branches occupied by protesters on the day it was revealed that it pays just £100m in tax.

      Polls show this anger is felt by supporters of all political parties. A ComRes survey, carried out in January before the UK bonus season, found that 80% of people, including 76% of Conservative voters, want additional taxes on bankers’ bonuses. Polls regularly show majority support for a Robin Hood tax – it could be the most popular tax in history.

      Mervyn King is right, though, that this anger has not yet forced politicians to make banks pay their fair share. Perhaps this is unsurprising: many MPs have spent years seeing the excessive profits and bonuses of the City as a sign of economic health. But this does not mean it will not happen. French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel have both responded to public anger by promising to go ahead with transaction taxes.

      Perhaps the biggest barrier to the UK following suit is the fear, endorsed by many commentators, that a higher tax burden would encourage banks to up sticks and leave. But this doesn’t bear scrutiny. According to the Bank of England, the banks benefit from our taxes and the subsidy afforded them by the government to the tune of £100bn every year. They also benefit from the City’s excellent infrastructure. The idea that they are about to give this up to move to Dubai or the Cayman Islands is incredible, especially when you realise we already have a 0.5% tax on share transactions.

      If the public see through banks’ scare tactics, their anger and their desire for justice really will force politicians to act.

 

Continue reading “Mervyn King is surprised that people are not angrier! Oh joy, it is nice when someone agrees with me!”

Public sector pensions – what do you mean you won’t tell me!

Write to your MP or anyone in Government and ask them for the amount that Public Sector pensions represent of total expenditure relative to the Private Sector? Will they tell you? Well your MP doesn’t actually know and can’t find out – the Treasury don’t report their figures like that sorry. They will tell you what Defense spending is but not what amount of Defense spending is related to pensions. Who asks the difficult questions of Government I wonder?

Typically a Public Sector worker will accumulate 1/60th of their final salary for each year worked. If they contribute 5%, i.e. 1/20th each year, so 1/20th of their average salary, and let’s say that their salary doesn’t increase, then for 10 years of work and a total contribution of 50% of their annual salary ONCE they receive circa 17% of their salary from the age of 60 EVERY YEAR!

Total madness whoever thought up this scheme – this is a bigger Ponzi scheme than Madoff’s!

The bail-out was predicated on a hoax

Finally someone from the mainstream, Dan Baker – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/sep/20/tarp-bailout-banks-wall-street has been published stating what many of us knew to be a reality – the banking system was not in crisis, the bankers were!

There is a very strong case for splitting up the casino-type activities of the banks from the commercial activities. The case rests on two key points:

  • Customers deposits are guaranteed by the Government and provide banks with a huge source of capital with which to go and borrow and play at the tables of the casino
  • The core activities of banking that is essential to the economy – managing money and lending to consumers and businesses

There  is only one argument against that I give any credibility

  • If we hamper our banks in that way then a sector that accounts for 15% of tax revenues and 10% of GDP will disappear

Over the last 30 years there has been such a brain drain into financial activities that add no value at all to the society that I would have no fear for its future if the financial sector shrank considerably. I long for the day that an engineering graduate or a maths graduate actually have a wider choice of potential careers. one thing is for sure, they would have more of chance of adding value to society if many of the casino-like activities of the financial sector disappeared.

Another ruse from Obama

Obama is a big disappointment. Never has someone offered such hope and disappointed more. As a master of politics he is becoming rather transparent. Two examples, first a call for a world without nuclear weapons for which he won the Nobel peace Prize (while continuing two wars perpetrated by the Bush regime). Second a call for a total freeze on all settlement growth in Palestinian occupied territories including what is termed as “natural growth”. Both these statements were clearly ridiculous.

Most recently we have “break up the banks!” It won’t happen. If I had the cash I would be long in banking shares and would have been for at least 6 months. Politicians don’t depend upon people’s votes but on the support of business and in particular the bankers. What is wonderful about this statement is that the breaking up the banks if not easy – there is a huge grey area between taking deposits and simple lending and the more exotic activities such as securitisation. This gives Obama a lot of room to negotiate with the inevitable opposition yet still come out with a win or at least what can, in time for the next election be termed one.

In my view banks that take deposits should not be able to carry out any activities apart from lending to individuals and businesses. I would exclude proprietary trading of course and any equity investments. In addition I would exclude any commission-based activities such as underwriting, broking and M&A. The later are best practiced by independent operations with no conflict of interest as it most often described (what I would describe as “unfair advantage or even insider trading”).

Who is going to support that? The people yes but politicians….? You just be joking. Viva la revolucion!

US and its poodles falling into line under Israel’s leadership

At least 12 months before they have to declare its existence (IAEA obliges members to inform them 6 months before nuclear materials are in use) Iran announced on 21st September to the IAEA that it is building a new plant for the production of LEU uranium for use in nuclear reactors and that it is open for inspection.

Why then does the UK press, Obama and others suggest that it was secret? They even knew of its existence before the announcement?

Israel is playing a smart game and the US and its poodles are toeing the line. What better way to distract from continual settlement growth and the damning report of the UN with respect to the Israeli attack on Gaza.

The UK and US press is being completely disingenuous in suggesting that Iran has been caught red-handed and equally is being irresponsible in fueling our fears about Iran. Nuclear materials for a bomb require 80% pure Uranium, Iran produces small amounts of 5% pure Uranium. The difference is enormous and there has been NO evidence of any attempts to increase purity above 5%.

I doubt whether anyone will but I do advise those who are least interested in this issue to listen to Ahmadinejad’s UN speech that so may so disgracefully walked of.

Unlike Obama’s carefully trained delivery this is an impassioned speech that talks clearly and intelligently about what he perceives to be the problems of the world.

Disagree if you wish with his speech but at least sit through it! Certainly don’t bother me with your opinions if you haven’t.