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: Spain

Saudi Arabia Losing Influence in Global Oil Markets

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 21, 2017:

As it continues to wrestle with declining oil prices worldwide, Saudi Arabia, the de facto head of the OPEC oil cartel, is giving up ground. It said a week ago that it would not allow any “free riders” to enjoy higher oil prices if they rose due to Saudi’s singular attempt to keep them up. A week later it was reported that the kingdom cut its production by 800,000 barrels per day, 60 percent below its agreement. So much for disclaimers against those “free riders” who continue to violate the agreement by exceeding their quotas.

Now comes news that the kingdom’s exports to the United States for the week ended March 10

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Hanjin Bankruptcy: a Harbinger for the Global Economy?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 8, 2016:  

English: A Delmas operated Container ship NICO...

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping was the world’s seventh-largest container shipping company, moving (until last week) 100 million tons of cargo on its 200 cargo ships from manufacturers to retailers across the globe. Last week, following years of losses as the global economy has slowed, Hanjin declared bankruptcy. That move stranded 90 of those ships as off-loading companies refused to unload them over concerns that they wouldn’t be paid.

Even an offer of $90 million from what’s left of Hanjin (including $36 million from the personal assets of its chairman) fell far short of the necessary $543 million estimated to unload all of its ships that are now circling ports around the world.

Concerns are mounting that

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Fallout From Scottish Vote: European Separatist Movements Surge

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 22, 2014:

St Andrews, Scotland, "home of Golf".

St Andrews, Scotland

In reporting on the Scottish vote for independence last week, the Associated Press noted that, despite the failure, the vote “sets up a whole new political dynamic in the kingdom.” This has turned out to be a breathtaking understatement. The day after the election results were announced, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, said he would not accept his party’s nomination for leader in November and that he would quit his role as

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British PM Cameron Promises “Devolution” of Powers to Scotland

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 22, 2014:

English: Home nations flag of the United Kingd...

Home nations flag of the United Kingdom. A combination of four flags of the four constituent countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to the Scottish independence referendum last week, a new word has entered the political lexicon: devolution. The day after the election, British Prime Minister David Cameron urged the immediate formation of a cabinet level committee to study exactly how much power the UK will “devolve” to Scotland. He doubled-down by saying that that devolution should also apply to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland as well:

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The Bubble in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 30, 2013:

The complacency of municipal bond holders ended in July with the filing for bankruptcy by Detroit, an unhappy town of just 700,000 owing more than $18 billion to investors. Haircuts there have variously been estimated to be between 15 and 60 percent.

Since then, those holders have been looking around to find the next shoe to fall, and they have found it:

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Why are Puerto Rico’s Bond Prices Falling?

Despite the fact that Puerto Rican (PR) municipal bonds are triple-tax-exempt (no federal, state or local income taxes apply on their interest), those interest rates have skyrocketed since the Detroit bankruptcy first ended the complacency among municipal bond investors in July. High quality municipal bonds are paying little more than 1 percent annually but PR bonds, even though they remain investment grade (barely), have spiked

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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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Europe is going into Depression

William L. Watts is a writer for MarketWatch, a division of The Wall Street Journal that posts a robust and highly informative website for avid readers of the economic tea leaves (like me). What’s interesting is that I can’t find out anything about Mr. Watts:

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Spain’s “Carrot” Rebellion

Carrots of many colors.

Carrots of many colors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the first I’ve heard of this. In his article, Dan Mitchell (a writer and scholar at Cato) has not only shed some light on “austerity” in Spain, but also into peoples’ thinking about how to cope with it.

The problem is simply: onerous and in some cases, devastating taxes. Some are so high that they are threatening business survival. Businesses are people organized. If a business goes away, people suffer. That’s why I like the phrase “small business owners” rather than “small businesses.”

Quim Marce owns a theater in a small village in Spain. He depends on it for his and his family’s subsistence. And when the government raised the value-added tax to 21 percent on theater tickets, he saw the handwriting:

This is the end of our theater…

I thought, we’ve got to do something, so that we don’t [have to] pay this 21 percent…

He had an idea: sell carrots instead of tickets! Under a quirk in the law,

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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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What Liberties are We Actually Losing?

Washington DC - West Potomac Park: Thomas Jeff...

Washington DC – West Potomac Park: Thomas Jefferson Memorial (Photo credit: wallyg)

Russ Roberts received an interesting email that asks some important questions about the freedom fight:

You guys have been forecasting the arrival of universal serfdom for about as long as the left has been predicting the collapse of capitalism. Is the Road to Serfdom gridlocked? Did someone forget to gas the car? Has our dashboard GPS unit failed? Or our we just moving really slowly, the better to take in the scenery?

I mean, come on. I’m guessing that you, the readers of this blog are among the freest people in human history. You are free to go pretty much anywhere in the world you wish to go, free to buy pretty much anything that’s available for sale anywhere, free to think anything you want, say anything you want, read anything you want, watch anything you want on TV. And even after you’ve paid for all those dinners in nice restaurants, vacations in nice places, and homes in nice subdivisions, you still have enough left over to own shares of Apple or Google. You’re paying less in taxes than you have in decades. If you get really sick, or suffer a serious injury, you will receive top quality medical care than will not leave you penniless even though you might never be able to pay the full cost of your care yourself– thanks largely to the pre-eminently socialist institution known as “insurance.” And even if you’ve not made or saved lot of money in your lifetime, you will not be destitute in your old age, and you will not be allowed to die like a dog in the street. And so on.

Maybe I’ve missed something. But an itemized list of liberties of which you have been deprived, or that you are at risk of losing, might help me get up to speed.

What might such an “itemized list of liberties” look like if you got an email like this? Or if a skeptic asked you face-to-face?

Roberts fumbles around with

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Bond Fund Manager Says Only Gold Will Survive the Coming Disaster

 

Bill Gross

Bill Gross (Photo credit: jdlasica)

In his October newsletter to clients of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), founder Bill Gross summarized the coming disaster that faces the country, and noted that “only gold and real assets would thrive…” Noting that America is considered the “cleanest dirty shirt” among the major economies, he says that the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio, its excellent credit ratings, and its currency being the world’s reserve currency appear to stand it in good stead:

We have world-class universities, a still relatively mobile labor force and apparently remain the beacon of technology — just witness the never-ending saga of Microsoft, Google and now Apple.

Obviously there are concerns, especially during election years, but are we still not sitting in the global economy’s catbird seat?

As far as America’s imminent demise is concerned, he comments:

Armageddon is not around the corner. I don’t believe in the imminent demise of the U.S. economy and its financial markets. But I’m afraid for them.

Gross manages the world’s largest bond fund along with CEO Mohamed El-Erian, with nearly $2 trillion of assets under management. His clients include individual retirees, pension plans, educational institutions, foundations, and endowments, each seeking safety of principal along with reasonable returns. Accordingly he must temper his words not to frighten away the very people he serves. But he’s courageous enough to tell the truth.

After reviewing reports from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) on the state of the American economy, he says that the United States is no “clean dirty shirt” after all. It is, instead, 

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Spain’s Catalonia Region Demands Independence

Draft of New Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia...

Draft of New Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia of 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every September 11 the people of Catalonia, an independent region in northeast Spain, celebrate their “national day” — Diada — by taking the day off and parading through the streets of Barcelona. In past years the celebration was a festival used by some citizens as an excuse to get some fresh air, make some noise, and have some fun. This year, nearly one-quarter of the region’s seven million citizens used the celebration as an excuse to swarm into Barcelona to protest Spain’s austerity measures, which have raised unemployment in Catalonia — referred to locally as Catalan — to nearly 25 percent.

The immensity of the crowd far exceeded expectations so that parade routes had to be adjusted and parking places found for the more than 1,000 buses chartered to bring Catalans into the city. Most revelers were waving flags that said, “Catalonia: a new European state.” Said Alfred Bosch, a member of the Catalonian government:

All the flags I can see are the pro-independence flags of Catalonia with the lonely star right in the middle of the triangle.

And everybody is wearing these flags. I have never seen so many pro-independence flags in my all life.

Catalonia is a largely autonomous region of Spain with about 15 percent of the country’s population; it generates about 20 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product. It also pays more in taxes to Madrid than it receives in benefits. The fact that Spain levies taxes on Catalans and then sends only some of the money back to the region is galling, especially to those who

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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.

Is a Greater Depression Imminent?

Wayne Allyn Root: Why we are on the brink of the greatest Depression of all time

I am a successful small businessman and a patriot who loves America and always sees its greatness. I am also an optimistic, positive thinker who always sees the glass half full.

But not this time.

English: Wayne Allyn Root

English: Wayne Allyn Root (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s over. It’s done. We’re toast. No way back. Sorry.

I see these kinds of articles a lot in my profession and they do get tiresome. Sometimes they annoy me. Sometimes I think they’re designed to discourage those of us in the freedom fight to keep us from continuing the fight.

I’ve written favorably about Wayne Allyn Root before when he picked Romney over Obama in November. He presented a persuasive case for his prediction, and I wrote about it.

But this time I think he’s wrong. Let’s look (briefly) at his arguments that a “Greater Depression” is imminent. They should be familiar to you (my comments in italics):

  1. In 1929 America was not $16 trillion in debt, plus facing over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Actually, it’s more like $220 trillion, but I won’t quibble here.
  2. 1929, most of our states were not bankrupt, insolvent and dependent on federal government handouts to survive. This is true.
  3. In 1929, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid didn’t exist. The federal government had no such obligations threatening to consume the entire federal budget within a few years. Also true.

What is his solution? Whoops, didn’t he just say “It’s over. It can’t be saved. We’re doomed?” Actually, this is what he said:

This time we are in such deep trouble, the only solution is a radical restructuring of the politicians, the economy, and the way we view personal responsibility versus government handouts. If those changes don’t come then we are facing a long decline and the eventual end of America.

So, even though it’s over, there is a solution:

The solution is actually simple: dramatically cut the size, scope and power of government; cut spending; cut entitlements; cut taxes; cut government rules and regulations that smother, damage and destroy businesses, prevent startups, and kill jobs; reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; reform public employee pensions; stop the wars (we can no longer afford to police the world); end or reform the Fed; end bailouts and stimulus (ask Japan about the failures of repeated stimulus); end the Democratic obsession with green energy and high speed rail (ask Spain about the waste in those two programs); encourage oil and energy exploration; encourage job creation by small business and the private sector; term limit politicians; institute school choice; and back the dollar with a gold standard.

I’ve heard all this before. Most of us know what must be done. The task is huge, the list is long, it will take years, and, no, Mr. Root, it won’t be simple.

Gary North thinks the US will default on these promises, and I tend to agree. But that’s a positive: people will learn how to become self-reliant once again. It will be painful.

But it won’t be fatal.

Bailout of Spain Just a “Credit Line,” Says New Prime Minister

Mariano Rajoy

Following another last-minute late-weekend meeting of European Finance Ministers, Spain’s new Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy happily announced that not only was his country going to get more bailout funds than it needs, it’s coming without any strings attached. This is because, according to Rajoy, the new measures instituted since the victory of his People’s Party last November have been so effective in bringing common sense and prudent behavior back to the country’s financial markets. Those “radical” fiscal, labor-market, and financial-sector reforms that were instituted were the key, he said, adding,

If we hadn’t done this in these past five months, what was put forward [on Sunday] would have been a bailout of the Kingdom of Spain. Because we had been doing our homework for five months, what did happen…what was agreed, was the opening of a line of credit for our financial system.

There is no conditionality of any kind.

According to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Spain needed at least $50 billion to rescue and recapitalize its banks. But the Finance Ministers decided to up the ante significantly, to $125 billion, just to be safe. Said Olli Rehn, the European Union’s top economist, “This is a very clear signal to the markets, to the public, that the Eurozone is ready to take determined action.” He added, “We deliberately wanted to ensure there is some additional safety margin…. This is preemptive action.”

What Rajoy failed to mention is that there are most certainly strings attached, and when

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Eurozone Teetering on the Edge of Recession

The economic growth of Portugal, Italy, Irelan...

With economists predicting the start of an official recession in Europe, the latest numbers from the European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, show that the recession hasn’t been confirmed, at least not yet.

Without Germany’s slightly better economic performance in the first quarter, however, the recession would be official. Two quarters of “negative growth”—or rather shrinkage—is the usual definition of a recession, and it appears that the official declaration will have to wait until July. Germany was expected to grow at a paltry annualized rate of 0.1%—barely perceptible—but instead grew by a modest 0.5% in the first quarter, which followed a 0.3% contraction in the last quarter of last year. Some economists had the audacity to call this a “strong economic performance” by Europe’s powerhouse, but a closer look at the real numbers reveals how close a call it was and that it’s just a matter of time before the economists finally recognize the reality that

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Iceland Says “No” to Bank Bailouts, Enjoys Economic Growth

THE GRAND KREMLIN PALACE, MOSCOW. President Pu...

To look at the streets of Reykjavik, Iceland, an alien would be hard-pressed to see any aftereffects of the banking crisis that nearly bankrupted the country in 2008. The capitol of the 40,000-square-mile island just below the Arctic Circle between Greenland and the United Kingdom is the country’s largest city where nearly two-thirds of the island’s 320,000 inhabitants reside. Unemployment is down, economic growth is positive, and its streets are calm.

But it was the center of the financial crisis precipitated in 2008 when one of its three largest banks had a big loan payment coming due and couldn’t come up with enough krona to make it.

As Iceland’s President, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, said in an interview with Business Insider International:

If a collapse in the financial sector can bring one of the most stable and secure democracies and political structures to [its] knees as happened [here] in Iceland, then what could it do in [other] countries?

When Iceland’s legislature decided to take over the country’s three largest banks—Glitner, Landsbanki, and Kaupthing—it was discovered that, despite all four credit rating agencies giving them A or better credit ratings, the banks owed an amount that approached six times Iceland’s gross domestic product (GDP). Grimsson, who has been President of this parliamentary republic since 1996, had a decision to make: pump government (taxpayer) funds into them to keep them afloat, or

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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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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann