Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: European Central Bank

Treasury Refuses to Sell Its Gold Even in the Event of Default

It took more than six months for the Department of the Treasury to answer Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch’s questions about how the Treasury would respond to a government shutdown or the failure of the Congress to raise the debt limit. But its response is revealing:

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Staff Report from the IMF Blames the European Union for Mishandling the Greek Crisis

The report from the International Monetary Fund is remarkable in its candor: efforts to bail out Greece were fumbled as the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank all tried to promote their own agendas with little regard for the lowly Greek citizen.

Happily the disclaimer appeared on the front page:

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If you were sick, what would you do if your doctors told you this?

You’re sick. You’ve been sick for several weeks now. You’re long past the “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” protocol. You’re jaundiced, you’re not sleeping well, you’re losing weight, people are asking if you’re ok, the whole deal. You decide to find a doctor. You find four, all in the same office.

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Bank of Cyprus Expands Robbery of Depositors’ Money

Outrage upon outrage. Audacity upon audacity. In an email to its depositors last week, the wonderful amazing Bank of Cyprus informed its trusting depositors that it was going to take more of their money. Instead of limiting the theft of amounts over $130,000 to 40% the BOC is raising the amount of the robbery to 60%!

But there’s good news!  37.5% of the theft will be converted into ownership in the wonderful amazing bank with – ready? – full voting rights! And, in addition – wait for it! – they will receive any dividends the bank might declare in the future accruing to that ownership!

Oh, but there’s bad news as well. Sorry. The wonderful amazing BOC is going to withhold “temporarily” an additional 22.5% to “ensure” that the bank can meet the terms imposed by its new true real owners: the Eurozone commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

It gets even better. The BOC is setting up a commission (always good to hear that) to study 1) just how long that “temporary” hold will be, and 2) the possibility that that additional amount will also be converted into ownership of the wonderful amazing bank. Here’s how Bloomberg phrased it:

The Central Bank of Cyprus will appoint an independent valuer for the commercial lender and all or part of the 22.5 percent additional haircut may also be converted into shares within 90 days of that process being completed, according to the statement. Any remaining amount will be returned to customers with interest, the central bank said.

But not everyone gets to participate in this wonderful amazing opportunity to own a part of a wonderful amazing bank. Only if you have more than $130,000 in your account do you get to participate. If you have less than that, well, too bad, you’ll just have to muddle through without being offered this grand opportunity:

The so-called bail-in won’t apply to Bank of Cyprus account holders whose debts to the lender bring their net balance below the 100,000-euro threshold, according to the statement. Holders of accounts at other banks on the Mediterranean island aren’t being touched.

Well, shoot! It must mean that only depositors at the wonderful etc. BOC will be able to participate. This is discrimination! This is unfair! There ought to be a law!

The message being sent via email by the BOC is being received by every bank depositor in the world: your bank can take your money and keep it. That’s just how things are these days. Get used to it.

 

 

 

Cyprus Deal Turns Bank Depositors into Lenders, Abolishes National Sovereignty

Late Sunday night the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, was officially informed of the deal the unelected Eurogroup had come up with in order for Cyprus to receive its bailout from the European Central Bank. Anastasiades flew to Brussels on Sunday to meet with Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Jose Barroso, the president of the European commission. The meeting was run by Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council. On his way to the meeting, Anastasiades admitted that

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Making Sense of Europe’s Nonsense

The official emblem of the European Parliament.

The official emblem of the European Parliament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anthony Wile is at it again. While most were caught up in the national election and the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy and General Betrayus, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, explained what the implosion in Europe is all about. In speaking to the European Parliament last Wednesday, she shed all cover and told all who would listen what’s really going on:

Of course the European Commission will one day become a government, the European Council a second chamber and the European Parliament will have more powers – but for now we have to focus on the euro and give people a little more time to come along.

Wile has been saying this for years. That’s part of why his blog has grown so rapidly: he sees with a view and an insight that truth seekers appreciate. Out of 644 million active websites  Alexa ranks www.thedailybell.com at 16,991 in the United States. More than 6,700 people come to his Switzerland-based website every day. And his readership has grown 60% just in the last three months.

He’s like the 500-pound canary: when he speaks, people listen!

He notes that the European Union was always, from the very beginning, designed with

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The Trouble with Outright Monetary Transactions

Mario Draghi presents his credentials as candi...

Mario Draghi presents his credentials as candidate ECB president (Photo credit: European Parliament)

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), spoke before Germany’s Parliament on Wednesday, defending his decision to purchase government bonds from member states needing financial assistance but without unleashing inflation. Similar to the Federal Reserve’s continuing attempts to stimulate the economy through the purchase of government securities, called Quantitative Easing, or QE, Draghi’s Outright Monetary Transactions, or OMT, “will not lead to inflation,” he claimed in the closed-door session. He said:

In our assessment, the greater risk to price stability is currently falling prices in some euro-area countries. In this sense, OMTs are not in contradiction to our mandate; in fact, they are essential for ensuring we can continue to achieve it.

This is utter nonsense, wrote Mish Shedlock, in his blog Global Economic Analysis. Since Draghi’s “mandate” is similar to that of the Federal Reserve — that is, to maintain price stability along with low unemployment — it’s impossible to increase the supply of money by buying government bonds with credits created out of thin air without eventually unleashing price inflation at the consumer level in the economy. Shedlock wrote:

The problem with such nonsense is you cannot break the law while screaming you are upholding it. Draghi now sounds and acts like hypocr[itical] US presidents of both political parties.

Both President Bush and President Obama (as well as the treasury departments under each administration) have shown little concern for the law. Increasingly presidents are of the mind [that] “we have to destroy capitalism [in order] to save it” or as President Bush stated and Obama practices: “ I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”

What the members of the German Parliament wanted to hear was that Draghi would not be

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Quick! Who is the Most Powerful Person on the Planet?

English: EPP Congress Bonn: Podium discussion ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mario Draghi. Who? According to Matthew Lynn, writing at MarketWatch.com, “measured by what [he] can actually do, the most powerful person will soon be the president of the European Central Bank, the Italian banker Mario Draghi.” He explains:

In the last few weeks, we have seen an extraordinary expansion of the European Central Bank’s powers. It can now set interest rates, control financial markets, and effectively dictate tax and spending policies across what remains — despite its current difficulties — the world’s largest single economic bloc.

To explain how this former Goldman Sachs executive  ascended to such a high perch in the world of international finance would take far more room than we have here. Suffice to say, the path to power has been under construction for decades, and deliberately planned, going all the way back to

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German High Court Approves Step Toward European Dictatorship

English: European Central Bank ECB Eurotower i...

English: European Central Bank ECB Eurotower in Frankfurt a.M. Germany Deutsch: Europäische Zentralbank EZB Eurotower in Frankfurt a.M. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The decision on Wednesday by Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court that clears the way for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to extend its power over the national sovereignty of the eurozone’s member states was celebrated as a victory to save the euro.

It was nothing of the sort. It was instead a political victory for dictatorship in the name of the euro.

By putting some temporary limits on just how much the German government can contribute to the ESM, the decision made it appear to be prudent and careful and protective of Germany’s national sovereignty. The court said that Germany’s contribution cannot exceed the currently agreed to amount of $250 billion without approval by the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament (roughly equivalent to the House of Representatives in the United States). And the court also required that funds given to the ESM must be

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Spain is Bleeding to Death

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Deposit flight from Spanish banks smashes record in July

Data from the European Central Bank shows that outflows from Spanish commercial banks reached [$92 billion] in July, twice the previous monthly record. This brings the total deposit loss over the past year to 10.9 percent [of deposits]…

Mariano Rajoy en Bilbao. Imagen tomada por Ike...

Mariano Rajoy en Bilbao. Imagen tomada por Iker Parriza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In any capitalist economy, bank deposits represent capital in liquid form. Spain is bleeding to death. Evans-Pritchard quotes another expert:

This is highly significant. Deposit outflows are clearly picking up and the balance sheet of the Spanish banking system is contracting.

This is called deflation: a contraction in the supply of money.

I give blood on a regular basis. But I’m only allowed to give one pint at a time, and I can’t go back in less than six weeks to give another pint. Once, when I was into bike racing, I was reminded by Penrose Hospital that it was time to give blood again. I waited until after the race was over. I wanted to be at my best.

The politicians in Spain don’t know about bike racing, and I have serious doubts about their understanding of capital flows. They’re much more interested in continuing to spend other peoples’ money without hindrance.

Says Evans-Pritchard:

The drip-drip of grim figures came amid fears of a constitutional crisis after the Spanish region of Catalonia requested a €5 billion rescue package yesterday from the central government but refused to accept any political conditions.

There it is in a nutshell: loan us more money so we can keep spending, but without conditions on the loan!

Evans-Pritchard reiterated:

Nothing can happen until Spain requests a loan package and signs a “memorandum” giving up fiscal sovereignty. It remains unclear whether Mr. Rajoy [Spain’s prime minister] will agree to this.

It’s the socialist mindset: only banks and governments can revive the sinking economy. Investors with their own funds in the banks see the lie, and are getting their money out while the getting is good.

Spain is bleeding to death.

Group of 20 Balks, Stalls and Dithers

Español: Foto de familia de líderes del G20 en...

The Group of 20 meeting in Mexico City over the weekend decided that the best course of action was inaction, putting off making any decisions on how to “rescue” the European Union from its financial and economic difficulties until next month at the earliest. The statement justifying kicking the can down the road for another month or so was breathtaking in its obfuscation: putting off any decisions, it said, “will provide an essential input in our ongoing consideration to mobilize resources…” This is how finance ministers and world economic experts explain that, after two days of meetings, the best thing to do was nothing at all.

There were great expectations before the meeting ended that something of substance would come out of it. The plan was not only to pave the way for the second bailout of Greece but for each of the G-20 members (including the U.S. and most of the other industrialized nations on the planet) to pony up additional taxpayer funds to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which would then be used, at its discretion, to bail out over-indebted countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain, and others as they need them. Expectations were that commitments totaling $1 trillion would be made before the end of the meeting on Sunday.

Plans went awry when Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, responding to pressure from more sensible voices, said Germany would be unable to participate in any further assistance. This reluctance no doubt stems from the fact that the German parliament, the Bundestag, still hasn’t

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The Greek Deal Saves the Banks

Map of Greece with EU flag

Following a 13-hour marathon session on Monday, eurozone ministers announced an agreement to loan Greece another $170 billion, which saves the banks while punishing private investors and damaging Greek national sovereignty.

The bailout brings the total spent or committed to save the eurozone countries of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal to $500 billion with little assurance that more won’t be needed very soon. Details of the agreement require that 90 percent of private bondholders agree to take a 53-percent haircut on their investments by exchanging old bonds for new. It requires acquiescence by Austria, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Slovenia to allow the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to part with the funds. And it forces Greece to accept permanent and rigid enforcement of debt service payments by outsiders monitoring government revenues and expenditures and forcing debt service payments to be made ahead of any other government commitments.

The parties who come out whole on the deal are, naturally, the European Central Bank and other banks that hold Greek debt. Their holdings will be paid off at par.

Observers with chips in the game were decidedly guarded in their enthusiasm. Joerg Kraemer, chief economist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said, “Greece will find it difficult to shoulder even the

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Plans Revealed for Greek Default on March 23

March 25 - Greece Independence Day

Writer Bruno Waterfield’s claim that Germany has drawn up plans to deal with the inevitable Greek default was published in the British newspaper The Telegraph a little after 8 p.m. Saturday night. Within hours his claim was confirmed separately by blogger John Ward with times, dates, and consequences all spelled out by those drawing up the plans.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has increasingly voiced his opinion that the economic implosion taking place in Greece would result in its bankruptcy despite official protestations to the contrary from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. One official close to Schauble said, “He just thinks the Greeks cannot do what needs to be done. And even if by some miracle they did what has been promised, he…[is] convinced it will not pull Greece out of the hole.”

Schauble’s opinion gained increasing credence by a report issued last week by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (EC, ECB, and IMF—the “troika”). According to their report, even if Greece were successful in accomplishing all that it has promised in order to secure the next round of financing, it will still fall far short of bringing down its debt load to manageable levels. Waterfield went on to say that Schauble, behind the scenes, is pushing Greece to declare itself bankrupt and demand a 70 percent “haircut” from the banks holding the bulk of its debt.

The timetable is pushing events inexorably forward: Greece must receive the next round of financing in order to pay debt service of $20 billion on March 20. Without it the debt will default and government checks will start bouncing. But it will take at least four weeks to get a formal agreement on

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Eurozone Recession Accelerates; Moody’s Piles On

Board of Governors - International Monetary Fu...

Economists polled by Reuters predicted that the recession in Europe that began late last year would continue into the new year and they weren’t disappointed. Reuters announced that economic output in the 17-member eurozone declined by 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2011, the sharpest since the second quarter of 2009 at the start of the recession. Those same economists are now predicting that European GDP growth will stay negative at least for the rest of the year with only modest chances of improvement in 2013.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has the same negative expectations, predicting at least a 0.5-percent contraction of the eurozone countries next year. Even Germany, long the anchor to windward and the engine of growth for the European community, went negative in the last quarter compared to its modest growth rate of 0.6 percent in the third quarter.

Investment banking firm ING admitted that the decline caught their forecasters by surprise. Carsten Brzeski said the economic contraction “turned out to be weaker than expected.”

The Netherlands declined into recession (defined as two quarters of declines in GDP, or “negative growth” in economic parlance) with its third quarter contraction of 0.4 percent followed by another 0.7 percent decline in the fourth. Italy’s economy dropped by 0.7 percent in the last quarter with little improvement expected for at least a year. This puts Italy into the same recessionary camp as Belgium, Portugal, and Greece.

Portugal may be looking for another bailout as its economy suffered at 1.3 percent decline in the fourth quarter, more than double the 0.6 percent decline from the third quarter.

But Greece is the basket-case poster child for economic performance, with a stunning

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Printing Money Doesn’t Work in Britain Either

United Kingdom's Flag Looking Like Canvas

The long-awaited announcement of another bout of money printing in England on this Thursday will prove once again that experience doesn’t modify behavior on the other side of the pond either. The initial round of money expansion, called Quantitative Easing (QE) in the States, of some $320 billion last year in the United Kingdom had little measurable effect.

And so another boost of $80 billion is expected in Thursday’s announcement. This round, according to George Buckley, a UK economist at Deutsche Bank, might not be the last: “If sentiment and activity hold up this could…be the last round of QU, although the fragile nature of the recovery and the situation in Europe could mean [that] the programme continues after May.”

The trouble is that “sentiment and activity” is slowing, pushing England’s GDP into negative territory with downward revisions for the balance of the year expected. The British Office for National Statistics reported “negative growth” (American translation: decline) of 0.2% in the last three months of 2011, and there is little hope for any change in direction for at least the next two years.

Roger Bootle, writing for the British paper The Telegraph, wondered out loud what good additional printing would do. He asked rhetorically three weeks ago, “Once it has completed the current authorized dollop, the Bank of England (BoE) may soon conduct yet more QE. But

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European Fiscal Pact: Closing the Ring

Graphic "When Greece falls" presente...

Monday’s meeting of the European Union in Brussels resulted in agreement of 25 of the 27 member states to inflict upon themselves and their hapless and increasingly powerless citizenry the tools of international fiscal dictatorship.

The purpose of the “fiscal pact” is to enforce “budgetary discipline” so that the present euro crisis can be contained and future such crises averted. In the short run that means granting the European Central Bank (ECB) additional power to expand its reserves so that bailouts to failing countries can continue, subject to enforcement rules. In the longer run, the pact puts in place the primary tool of coercion, the European Stability Mechanism, to be effective in July.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said that initially the ESM will be limited to just €500 billion ($650 billion) but that the ultimate number “will be reassessed down the line.”

Critics say that’s the entire purpose of the ESM: to set up the mechanism of control under the guise of providing bailout funds to members in need while installing ruling class elites (bankers with ties to Goldman Sachs) out of reach of the taxpayer class. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and mouthpiece for the ESM, was clear: “It is an important step forward to a stability union. For those looking at the union and the euro from the outside, it is very important to show this commitment.”

She failed to mention that Great Britain and the Czech Republic have both

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Greeks About to Learn the True Cost of Bailouts

Ευάγγελος Βενιζέλος, συνέντευξη τύπου στα μέσα...

Greece’s Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelosrejected the German idea of imposing a eurozone “overseer” as part of the agreement to keep bailout funds flowing to his country.

He said that the proposal, floated late last week as a condition for Greece to receive another $170-billion bailout from the European Central Bank, would force his country to choose between “financial assistance” and “national dignity.” He said that forcing Greece to accept such an overseer—with the power to veto Greek tax and spending decisions and make sure that debt service is paid before any other government expenditures—“ignores some key historical lessons.” An unnamed official privy to the conversation put it even more clearly: “If you went with that model, you’d do away with the normal democratic decision-making in a member state.”

Venizelos failed to be explicit about those “key historical lessons,” but the threat was clear: Here was Germany trying to enforce its version of financial austerity and “behavior” onto another sovereign nation, just as it did in the 1930s. It was also a reminder of the continuing failure of the EU, which was sold initially as a way to keep the German threat from rising again in the years following the Second World War.

Greece has so far been successful in negotiating a 70-percent “haircut” with private bondholders as part of the deal to bring its national debt down from the current 160 percent of Gross Domestic Product to an allegedly more manageable 120 percent by 2020. The bond holders will exchange their current bonds for new bonds that have 30 percent of the value of those they exchanged. They have agreed to take a loss of 70 percent of their original investment. But the Greek economy continues to languish, and its shortfall in tax revenues is widening rather than shrinking, putting into jeopardy another part of

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World Economic Forum in Switzerland: Global Elites Celebrating Hypocrisy

Davos, Switzelrand, Klaus Schwab, Founder and ...

Global elites—many of the 2,500 of them billionaires—are spending a few days in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum (WEF), a group founded in 1971 “committed to improving the state of the world.”

The state of the world doesn’t appear too rosy. The recent downgrades of major economies, the clamor over perceived income inequality, the crisis in the Eurozone, and other concerns are weighing heavily on the participants. Vikas Oberoi, chairman of India’s second-largest real estate developer, observed, “Many who will be in Davos are the people being blamed for economic inequalities. I hope it’s not just about glamour and people having a big party.” Azim Premji, chairman of India’s third-largest software company, was equally somber: “We have seen in 2011 what ignoring this aspect can result in. If we don’t take cognizance of it and try to solve this problem, it can create a chaotic upheaval globally.”

Not just the movers and shakers were expressing concern, either. Mainstream economists were of one mind about the world economy, agreeing with the downbeat report from the International Monetary Fund on January 24 which reduced its economic growth outlook for 2012 significantly, predicting at least a “mild recession” in Europe and the rest of the world to slow further from its current tepid pace.

Carmen Reinhart of the Peterson Institute for International Economics agreed that there will be a “serious economic crunch [with] another sub-par year of stubbornly high unemployment, weak growth and delayed recovery in general in all the advanced economies.” Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, also on the roster of attendees, said that the IMF might be underestimating the projected difficulties and that the crisis will be “all the worse because of the weakness of appropriate government response.”

Manpower CEO Jeff Joerres admitted, “Twelve months ago we were all looking forward to a pretty good 2011. Twelve months later, here we are in a completely different world.” That was the tone set by the founder of the WEF, Klaus Schwab, in his opening remarks. The problem is that capitalism, according to Schwab, is failing and that

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Could Hungary Break the Back of the EU?

Pál Schmitt: "We should unite not fight i...

The European Commission on Tuesday threatened to take legal action against Hungary unless it revised its brand new constitution to allow the country’s central bank to operate without interference from the Hungarian government. The EC’s threat requires a response within 30 days.

Hungary’s new constitution was a long time coming. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, Hungary’s constitution was amended numerous times, allowing more and more freedom for a free market economy to grow and making other provisions that limited government power. In 2010 the process of developing a new constitution began in earnest which included questionnaires mailed out to all Hungarians for their input and opinion. Nearly one million questionnaires were returned and provisions in the new constitution were either added or deleted based largely on that input. In April the Hungarian parliament approved it overwhelmingly and it was signed into law by President Pál Schmitt, to take effect on January 1, 2012.

Noteworthy are the limits on spending until the public debt drops below 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (it is now about 80 percent) as well as the president’s power to dissolve parliament if acceptable budgets aren’t approved. The life of a fetus is protected from the moment of conception while marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. It reduces mandatory retirement for judges from the current age of 70 to 62, and limits the powers of the head of the country’s central bank. In addition, its preamble contains references to

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Latest Numbers from Germany Confirm Recession

English: Night view of the euro monument (euro...

The announcement from the German Economy Ministry over the weekend confirmed that the long-awaited European recession has officially begun: German factory orders dropped to the lowest level in three years, down nearly five percent in the past month. The ministry also revealed that orders from outside the EU dropped by 10.3 percent.

Said Jennifer McKeown, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, “It’s quite clear that we’re heading into a pretty sharp downturn in Germany, which has been one of the strongest of the eurozone’s economies. Orders are very clearly on a downward trend, as is industrial production itself.”

The German economy is the fourth largest in the world, generating nearly $3.5 trillion in goods and services annually. Most of its trade is inside the eurozone, resulting in its position as the second-largest exporter in the world. Despite its strong economy relative to its neighbors, its debt-to-GDP ratio is 142 percent, and it is running an annual deficit of almost nine percent of GDP. It nevertheless retains its AAA rating from the three major credit rating agencies, which is strong enough compared to its eurozone partners to have caused a strange anomaly in the markets: yields on its six-month bonds have gone negative.

Translation: Banks are so nervous that they would rather

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.