Wednesday 5 April 2017

CONTROVERSY CORNER 2 - financial skullduggery

The following guest post is by Fizzfan. Thanks, Fizz! 


According to historical records, all Empires have a life cycle and last about 250 years. They all have different Ages and they are Pioneering, Conquest, Commerce, Affluence, Intellectual and Decadence. 
We in the West are said to be in the 6th and final one, Decadence. 
It's typified by an over extended military, the conspicuous display of wealth, an obscene gap between the rich and poor, an obsession with sex, and many living off a bloated state.


Well, of the money in the world today, apparently 97% of it is DEBT. So I guess not too badly!

Following the Great Stock Market crash in 1929, The Glass Steagall Act was introduced by President Roosevelt in 1932 to protect the ordinary man in the street by completely separating commercial investment banking and the high street banks used by you and me.
However, in 1999 President Clinton repealed this Act leaving Wall Street and the Banks to play fast and lose with everyone's money again. 

Well we all know that history repeated itself and in 2008 another Crash catapulted much of the world into another recession and we've all been paying for it ever since and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Well they say that crime doesn't pay, but I guess that depends on who's committing it.
In an increasingly desperate bid to keeping pumping air into their already over inflated bubble of credit, they honed in on the poor and duped them into thinking they could afford mortgages whilst glossing over the fact that the 'flexible' rates would soon become impossible to pay. In fact they deliberately TARGETED poor ethnic communities, charged INFLATED rates, and just partied on their huge commissions. 
They then bundled all these mortgages up with better stuff and got them rated as TOP NOTCH instead of PILES OF GARBAGE and sold them on to other banks and investors.
It was clearly just a matter of time before the mortgage repayments stopped coming in and it was realised by the buyers they'd been well and truly shafted.
Result:- Trust was lost between the banks, they all stopped lending to each other and that big bouncy bubble that had to have an endless supply of credit oxygen was suddenly left gasping for air and it just collapsed like a wrinkly old balloon.

No because it seems no one knew it would happen.
Hmmmmmm. Me thinks this is as big a load of garbage as the toxic bundles they'd had upgraded to triple A by their VERY accommodating rating agencies.
On top of which, while the poor were being evicted from their homes that they could no longer finance, Goldman Sachs were rubbing their criminally grubby little mitts in glee because they'd had the foresight to insure these mortgages against failure! BRILLIANT!!!

Films and documentaries have since been made about it. THE BIG SHORT and INSIDE JOB being among the best.

Not that many but you'll be delighted to learn that the restrictions that were put in place are now set to be lifted again by the newly elected Mr Trump! 

Well other than millions of people having to foreclose on their homes, we were forced to save the day in a 700 billion dollar bail out funded with tax payers money to inflate their bubble again. This apparently had to be done because they were too big to be allowed to fail.
In other words, a system has been devised whereby our economies are dependent on just a few banks, and however incompetent, unethical, fraudulent and corrupt they are, we simply can't do without them. 
That sounds like a very good system to me?!  FOR THEM!!!!!

I should mention here that 80% of the American public actually voted against the bail out but it was totally ignored, so hard luck.   That's democracy for you!

So for the favour of us being saved from ruin by using OUR taxes to bail THEM out of a crisis THEY engineered and which some very shady TOP DOGS made a fortune from, we have watched our savings diminish through historically low interest rates, wages freeze and pensions go up in smoke. Meanwhile, the geniuses that caused it have continued to be paid astronomical bonuses and seen their living standards go up.   Seems fair to me!

Well there are actually still people out there that believe this is good economics (namely the rich) and it's called the 'Trickle Down Effect' and it's ummmmmm, well, utter crap really, but it's based on a theory that if the filthy rich get richer it'll trickle down to us mere mortals. 
You can see from the graph below just how sound this notion is. I guess they're going for a VERY long term analysis before recognising it's a gigantic crock of sh*t!


Pretty much, although heroically Iceland took a different approach, and I can't be alone in having a huge sense of envy that they were able to manage their affairs rather differently....

Well, you could be forgiven for reaching this conclusion because it does look very much as if this is the case. Or do the wrong ones just keep getting elected?
I don't know why but the one below was replaced by Hilary Hardface Clinton, who went up against Trump and we all know how that panned out......


Well, seems to me that politicians, banks and corporations have morphed into a bit of giant parasitic monster and we the host are being ever more drained in order to keep it fed and fat.
They keep spewing out words like 'democracy' and 'freedom' but I just don't buy it. I think the control wielded over us by our Governments has become ever more insidious and the same practices are clearly being repeated on a seesaw contested by just 2 parties, each one never succeeding and doomed to be replaced by the opposing one in the next election.
That unmanaged widening gap between the rich and poor is starting to smell like a Plutocracy to me, and I'm very unhappy about it.

Clearly a great deal. The parasitic monster has to be killed and replaced with real politicians who can act independently from the banks and huge corporations.

DO I THINK ITS POSSIBLE?                                                                                               
I live in hope but don't know if things have just gone too far.....but I do often think this.....

I'm not sure what will come after the final Age of our so called Empire. Perhaps an Age of Enlightenment because we refused to vote unless the Trickle Down economy was turned on its head and a Trickle UP one was put in its place starting with the taxes of the filthy rich being increased massively and put to better use further down the Trickle Tier. We also refused to work unless our wages were fair, stopped sending our children to University until it became funded again for anyone other than the filthy rich and took all of our money out of the big banks until they gave us a fair rate of interest again for having the privilege of using it to run them!
I know I'm dreaming, but it's such a nice dream and I just can't stop having it!


One Republic - Counting Stars

PS Another of the documentaries that helped with this is called The Four Horsemen.
It's a freebie if you're an Amazon Prime Member and well worth a watch.

Written and illustrated by Fizzfan.

Thankyou, Fizzfan, and my daughter knew all the words to that song!


Running on empty said...

I think we are due for another recession, and this time the governments will not have the credit to bail out the banks.

Fizzfan said...

It all looks so gloomy and uncertain doesn't it. It's why I get so angry about the Crash in 2008. It did happen because of fraud and corruption within the banking establishments and so much long term damage has resulted from it. The huge banking bonuses they continued to get paid felt like someone twisting a very large knife after it had stuck into our collective backs.

If as they say Banks Are Too Big To Fail, whatever happens, I think we'll just be left to pick up the tab again.
I don't profess to have any expert knowledge of economics, but I do have a very big opinion on the fact that the very rich are paying such low taxes in a time of financial restraints for everyone else.

Most countries have huge debts, but Chinas is said to be a real worry now (277% ratio to their GDP) and doom merchants say it could cause a bigger crisis than 2008. HoHum :(

It's yet to be realised what Brexit will do to us Brits too. Food prices have noticeably increased already, but one thing I do expect is that we will be made to pay for abandoning ship because the EU will need to make an example of us to put off other countries following our lead.

Running on empty said...

What penalties might they give you? Trade restrictions?

Kathy said...

You spelled it out perfectly.....gloomy future...where do we go from here?

Running on empty said...

Good to see you back on comments, Kathy.

Fizzfan said...

The inks only just dried on the paper to leave the EU and there's reports of squabbles over Gibralter that you might know is being hyped up to a potential 'war', and other than that, some kind of nonsense about the word Easter being on Cadburys chocolate eggs!
I'm pretty sure the first ones just manic media hype and the second ones just errrgggghhhh?
Oh yes and very importantly, the colour of Brits passports are going to be Blue instead of Burgandy!

Oh god, we've got at least two years of this twaddle to look forward to.

Yeah I think the trading side of things will be the big haggling match and the other big interest point will be immigration and if those already settled here will be able to stay.
There's still free movement at the moment but as that's the main reason people voted to come out, it will be expected to be clamped down on asap.

Running on empty said...

Good heavens. I did know about Scotland wanting another referendum so they can seperate following Brexit. That is not a surprise, really considering their historical connections with Europe.

Fizzfan said...

Teresa May has said "Now is not the time for Scotland to ask for another referendum"

I think she's got a lot on at the moment! :)

No idea why they want to sever ties with us but the only reason I could find for us not saying 'see ya later alligator' is that we store our nuclear weapons there and it'll cost a fortune to rehouse them.
Other than that it just seems to be a size thing. Biggers best an all that :)

Profound Familiarity said...

I thought this guest post was great by the way, I particularly liked the empires reference and the Bastiat quote as I hadn't heard them before.

When it comes to placing blame, or for want of a better way of looking at it, figuring out the causes of the '07/'08 crash, the bankers certainly played the part of creating these overly intricate or shrouded products and I do think there's some greed and deviance in that. The really problematic collateralised debt obligations, those big bundles of sub-prime loans and even synthetic copies of the loans, generated purely for the purpose of amplifying the sums involved look to be pretty much what caused the failure of the banks involved. It's true that there were people who did know about it, which is why The Big Short is a darn good read/watch.

I think in fairness we might also look at some of the people on the street too. Did the bankers force people to take out interest-only mortgages and run up huge lines of credit? Was the regulator forced to stay out of the way and not drill down into the underlying loans enough to put some kind of restrictions on the practice? I have to say I think that some responsibility lies with those parties as well, which is not to say that their actions aren't understandable. Everyone just wants to do the best for themselves and their families and humans do have a tendency to take things to excess, whether that be taking out a humongous loan, or creating a humongously complex financial product, both backed up by these kind of American dreams of home ownership or rising to the top by working your butt off being a stock broker, much like Will Smith's character in The Pursuit of Happiness.

There's a lot of debt still out there too. I suppose one way things could pan out is that after Trump and Brexit are revealed to have left their populations wanting something more, we see the pendulum swing back the other way and have this kind of beautiful ethical wake-up where the environmentalists and frugalists become very fashionable. The increasing speed with which new ideas can circulate around the world these days could mean that if such a trend explodes in popularity at just the right time, it might mitigate some of the effects of financial bubbles bursting as we move into a kind of hyper-rational, minimalist but still quite techy phase, where everybody cycles to work and iPhones are solar powered.

Fizzfan said...

I love the idea of an ethical awakening! I don't think I'd benefit much from solar powered phones and bikes though because my hair wouldn't stand up to cycling to work on a dreary Brit morning and I don't have a mobile phone:)
However, I'm definitely on board with the concept of natural energies. One thing that never ceases to make me smile (and I have no idea why) is when I drive out of the city and happen across some wind turbines. They look like giant angelic windmills busily making good things in a good way.
Maybe you've hit the nail on the head Dan, we'll finally recognise that fairness and goodness are actually pretty rewarding and true happiness isn't found in greed and consumption, it's found in being ethical and conscientious and each other.
I always remember my Nan used to say that the war years were the happiest of her life....not because of the war but because of the collective spirit of support everyone had for each other. They had nothing but would share it anyway. Their diets were a hell of a lot healthier too!

Yes let's hope we do discover that wealth isnt the holy grail. That song by One Republic is an epic anthem as far as I'm concerned. "Take that money watch it burn, sing in the river the lessons I learned".
There is more to life than money but I despise the fact that some have obscene gluts of it that is of no use to anyone, especially themselves.
I saw a doc once where the guy that owns Amazon said that if one day he saw people with pitchforks at his door baying for blood he would not be surprised. He basically accepted that he was just too rich and it was disgusting.
I don't even know how much difference taxing them more would make only that in Britain since taxes for the richest were drastically cut in the 1980s the gap between us started to grow and that is no coincidence.

Equality is so important to societies and unfortunately we've been sold a mission statement based on the opposite and it's not for our benefit, it's for theirs.
My anger isn't for me, I'm not on the streets, poor or unable to pay bills, it's just a feeling of gross inequality that really really offends me because I expect more of the people that Govern the country I live in.
I know people are greedy, that's why that trait should be managed by taxation, globally.
Until a politician stands up and addresses these issues head on, I will never vote again. I genuinely just want to punch most of them.

Wouldn't it be nice if they were accountable for the promises that make. So Mr Slick, I see your pre election manifesto says you were going to create industry and employment, hmmmmm, that hasn't happened so our promise that if you didn't we were going to humiliate you by televising you being placed in the stocks with the public throwing rotten fruit at you for two days is ON!
My system of justice I'm quite certain would be rather popular not to mention very effective in curtailing their loose lipped laughable lies. I might even start growing vegetable in honour of the occasion!
Viva La Revolution!

Running on empty said...

In Australia, its compulsory to vote.

Fizzfan said...

I don't know what to say about that because it sounds a bit undemocratic to me, but if I had to vote I guess I'd have to go for the Green Party because they are voicing some of my concerns.

Just watched one of my all time favourites on the link below. He doesn't vote either. It's also my way of saying I'm very unhappy with what's on offer. If everyone done it...........

Russell Brand's Revolution: Interview with Owen Jones - Full Length | Guardian Live

Running on empty said...

Although I have never done these things, I know that people who don't want to vote, do the following things:

Cast an informal vote, by submitting a blank or silly one, or putting their name on it, either way it will not be counted

Or cast a donkey vote. This numbers the candidates from top to bottom.

Fizzfan said...

I guess the only way I can express my feelings is by just not voting because if enough people done it WHAT WOULD THEY DO!
It's not because I'm lazy, I used to vote and to my shame I voted Conservative. There is no one to vote for that I feel will take a sensible middle ground that pushes renewable energies, increases the taxes for the obscenely rich and would break the control of the banks and corporations. I also know that our freedoms have been eroded incrementally by stealth and media control. I watched a documentary the other night that hilighted a practice of containing demonstrations now called Kettling. Basically the police surround demonstrators (in this case it was those that objected to the student fees leaping to £9000 a year) and kept them contained without toilet facilities or drinks etc for 10 hours! They also put a ban on the organiser on entering London! They allowed the press to publish photographs of people before any trial, slandering them as thugs when from the footage of the documentary it was clear they were nothing of the sort. One of the demonstrators nearly died from a head injury from the police and he never even received an apology.
All charges brought by the police on those in the documentary were dropped after subjecting them to months of anxiety. Again no apology.
Stuff like makes me extremely worried. It's so wrong, yet the press hail pretty much any demonstrators or people that go on strike as criminals these days. Is it any wonder we're in the mess we're in. We've allowed it to happen.
My own son went in a tourist visit to London a couple of years ago and was kept in one of these blockades for about 3hours without any explanation and it ruined his day.
What the hell has happened to us!

Running on empty said...

You would hope that amnesty international would be mobilising against that kind of practise. It sounds unconstitutional.

Fizzfan said...

You'd hope, but clearly not.
This is where media manipulation comes in. I can remember the demonstrations and really wanted them to be successful but commented on how damning the media was of them. I had no idea about the Kettling but you can imagine how being boxed in for hours on end would definitely incite tension. Cause and reaction. Funny how the cause is so often glossed over especially when it doesn't serve the police or government well.

Most people take in the hype of the media and I don't blame them because why wouldn't you believe what's presented to you.
Unfortunately the real stories are often as not hidden or difficult to find and who has time for that.

A little digging goes a long way and once you do you realise just how controlled we are.

Just watched a half hour doc on some low level Bankers that were put in prison for manipulating the Libor Bank rates (interest rates they use to borrow from each other) They were just following common practice and they were following orders from the TOP rung i.e. slithering snakes like Bob Diamond, The Government and The Bank of England, but they all get off scot free. I'm so sick of this!
How can anyone have faith in systems that are happy to throw their subjects to the wolves just to protect their own greedy sorry corrupt arses.

Running on empty said...

There's always the toe of your sock, or under the mattress.