Fashionable Economics

by craig on February 23, 2013 2:21 pm in Uncategorized

The ludicrous thing was that Britain had a AAA rating in the first place.

It is four years since I started pointing out the blindlingly obvious, that quantitive easing would cause inflation and devaluation. Four years ago this blog had far fewer readers than it does now, and I am quite proud of that piece, so do read it.

At the time it was a deeply unfashionable view – in part because it was New Labour doing it, so all the BBC and Guardianista media were backing quantitive easing. Even when I wrote this two years ago:

Inflation as measured by the retail price index remains stubbornly at 5.2%, despite all the obvious deflationary pressures on the economy and continuing weak consumer demand. Strangely, the attempts to explain this being offered by media pundits all miss out quantitive easing, or to use a more old-fashioned term, printing money.

It is deeply unfashionable to hold to the view that simply to create more money reduces the value of the money already in circulation in relation to the supply of available goods; but that is what all history tells us (the benchmark example being the rampant inflation after Spanish opening up of the New World greatly increased the amount of gold coinage in circulation). Common sense tells us that too. Otherwise we could simply solve many of our problems by printing another couple of trillion pounds.

A couple of years ago, I suggested “Enough quantitive easing and we can eventually get back to stagflation”. We are just about there. Why have none of the experts noticed?

nobody much agreed.

Fashion in economics is fascinating. Now every financial pundit on the BBC and Sky has noticed that quantitive easing causes devaluation and inflation. Suddenly they have remembered that if you create a lot of something, it decreases its unit value.

Hey, but the banks have the money that was created, and bank bonuses are back to normal. So all is fine.

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192 Comments

  1. This is what you get when you’re a country under occupation by the Empire Of The Bankers. Its a singular empire – it has no borders, spans no defined territory, has no military, but it does have all the money!

  2. Hurray! All is fine! …..wait a minute – do I detect sarcasm?

    In all seriousness the Economics of the world are so screwed at the moment that in most newsrooms it’s all populist economics that makes the news. The only questions asked is “who can make the shitstorm outside sound the sweetest in the nicest possible sound bytes?” Truth tellers are deemed alarmists and get might be lucky to be acknowledged years later when the inevitable question of ‘What went wrong” is asked and answers are inevitably ignored once again.

  3. “the banks have the money that was created”

    Yes. It wouldn’t be so bad if the money was spent on something useful, like investing in infrastructure or maintaining public services. Printing money is fine if it’s done as an alternative to borrowing rather than as well as. Borrowing involves private banks doing the printing then charging us interest for the service. It’s a monumental scam.

    “has no military”

    Not true. It has the military forces of the USA, the EU and Israel at its disposal.

  4. Surely QE isn’t about fixing anything? Just papering over the bad debt for now until… Until what – that’s the real question.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIWg6CyVKk0

    Robert Hirsch – The Impending World Oil Shortage: Learning from the past

    The US is doing its best to fill itself with more holes with speculative investment propelling ever increasing drilling rates but the Red Queen problem of running faster to stand still will catch up with them and the industry knows it even if some investors don’t.

    Ben Bernanke wrote academic papers on the 70s oil crisis and how to keep the economy afloat during oil shocks.

    Hirsch doesn’t seem to think shale will save us. Despite being one of the world’s leading experts on fusion he doesn’t seem t think that will save us either,

  5. Jimmy Carter Crisis of Confidence Speech 1979 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCOd-qWZB_g – where Carter sets a new way forward. This speech is a must watch even if you recall seeing it a long time ago, watch it again.

    Instead Reagan and Thatcher were elected and the North Sea and Prudhoe Bay were pumped as rapidly as possible and as cheaply as possible and the resources squandered. And now here we are.

    The key decisions that led us here were made decades ago.

  6. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/carter-crisis/

    We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

    President Jimmy Carter

  7. Iceland had the right approach. They let the banks default and sent the bankers responsible to prison.

    Their economy is recovering, ours is sinking.

  8. Was just about to ask about Iceland. Their economy doing as well as I hearing or mostly seeing in memes on Facebook? If it is really should be getting more mainstream coverage.

  9. “Was just about to ask about Iceland. Their economy doing as well as I hearing or mostly seeing in memes on Facebook? If it is really should be getting more mainstream coverage.”

    Their credit ratings are still worse than Britain but they are rising while ours are falling.

    Plus they have the satisfaction of knowing those responsible are behind bars not awarding themselves 12% pay rises and huge bonuses out of tax payer’s money.

  10. Rachel Reeves is the shadow treasury secretary. She has a Masters from the London School of Economics and worked as an economist at the Bank of England and as a banker at HBOS. She has always approved of Quantitative Easing:

    http://labourlist.org/2009/03/labour-must-challenge-the-tories-on-quantitative-easing/

    She is being heavily promoted in the media, and will probably be Chancellor of the Exchequer if Labour win in 2015.

    So there is no end in sight.

  11. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 5:58 pm

    Iran has the right idea. They hang their fraudulent bankers.

    ‘Fashion’ is a sort of zeitgeist. Groupthink is preferable to independence because no one wants to be labeled an ‘outlier’, or a pain-in-the-ass, or out-of-fashion.

    The only reason currency exists is because people believe it has value. The Fed and IMF have been authorizing the slurry of printing to keep the boats afloat. When some start to jump ship, it undermines the public fallacy. Just like the Dot.com boom at the turn of the century, our WW economic system s based on belief, without any genuine foundation of collateral to back up the paper and dross metal symbolism.

    The world economy is but a shadow. It has little substance to support it’s phantom menace.

  12. Dr Euan Mearns, Aberdeen University/The Oil Drum

    Unconventional Oil and Gas: A Game Changer?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XQOS4Sokyg

    [Short summary – no it isn’t]

    Or a funny Youtube video if you prefer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgzMZSmCDfs

  13. @ Craig,
    “It is four years since I started pointing out the blindlingly obvious, that quantitive easing would cause inflation and devaluation. Four years ago this blog had far fewer readers than it does now, and I am quite proud of that piece, so do read it.”
    Printing money and releasing it into circulation without:-
    1. Co-relation of the money supply to gold or other precious metal will cause inflation and a devaluation over time; and
    2. Production in a physical sense or services that earn money being absent or declining will not find an answer in quantitative easing. This merely kicks the can down the road and the problem is greater when next the same underlying economic issues are to be confronted again.
    America has been trying the easing formula, but has one advantage over all other countries , and has been able to do this for a while. The US dollar as the world’s reserve currency permits this temporary recklessness.
    Zimbabwe does not have that privilege and the consequences of recklessly printing money and the immediate results are there for all to see.
    Over time, with a contracted manufacturing sector and too much money chasing non-produced domestic goods and services – not surprisingly, the consequence is inflation.

  14. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 7:01 pm

    Re Iceland : several commenters have stated that bankers in Iceland have received prison terms. Is that really correct – can anyone link to a source for this claim, please?

    The former PM was tried on a number of charges but was only found guilty of (a minor) one, I think, and didn’t get a prison sentence.

  15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland_banking_crisis#Convictions

    Baldur Guðlaugsson, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, was sentenced to two years probation by the District Court of Reykjavík for insider trading. The case was remitted to the Supreme Court of Iceland which upheld the ruling.[167]
    Aron Karlsson was sentenced to 2 years in prison by the District Court of Reykjavík for defrauding Arion Bank in real estate dealings.[168]
    Lárus Welding, CEO of Glitnir, and Guðmundur Hjaltason, Managing Director of Corporate Banking of Glitnir, were sentenced to 9 months in prison by the District Court of Reykjavík for a major breach of trust. Out of the 9 months, 6 are probationary for 2 years.[169]

  16. Habbabkuk, I have a question regarding your translation, here:

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/02/the-appalling-sir-daniel-bethlehem/#comment-395582

  17. To think how bad it would be without North Sea oil. The reason for the deficit of course is inflated public sector salaries and pensions – thats where the money goes. Six months sick on full pay etc. £million payoffs for NHS reorganisation at the mo’. All that hasn’t been touched.

  18. The funny side. We have to laugh because otherwise we would cry.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-22/late-friday-humor-quantitative-easing-simplified

  19. “To think how bad it would be without North Sea oil. The reason for the deficit of course is inflated public sector salaries and pensions – thats where the money goes. Six months sick on full pay etc. £million payoffs for NHS reorganisation at the mo’. All that hasn’t been touched.”

    Here is a picture to put it in perspective.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/nov/27/billion-pound-gram-inormation-beautiful#zoomed-picture

  20. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 9:16 pm

    @ Clark re. translation :

    from the Shorter 0ED, 1973 : “To plead : to address the court as an advocate on behalf of either party”

    Perhaps “plead” should be “pleaded” for the past tense?

    Your alternative translations are OK as well, especially the first one (“represented”)

  21. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 9:31 pm

    @ Clark re. jailing Icelandic bankers :

    Thanks for that info.

    If we take out Aron Karlsson (because his case appears rto have been one of straightforward fraud and not specifically linked to the general econolmic and financial mismanagement), we have a grand total of 3 individuals sentenced, of which only 3 actually did time (a grand total of 6 months between them). Moreover, your source doesn’t mention the really big beasts – eg, David Oddsson (former PM) and those dashing young banking super-tycoons (eg the Kaupting Bank boss)with the unpronounceable names.

    All in all, not enough to justify FRED’s comment at 16h26 “….and sent the bankers responsible to prison…” and FRED’s further comment at 17h32 “…the satisfaction of knowing those responsible are behind bars…”.

    Poor old Fred, he never gets anything quite right, does he. Probably thinking too much about Lord McAlpine to focus properly on the task in hand.

  22. Even funnier is this BoE video which attempts to explain how the prestidigitators do their trick.

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/pages/inflation/qe/video.aspx

    Will the arrival of Mr Carney from Canada in July change anything? I put a search for ‘printing money’ on this document which contains his answers to the Treasury Committee on 7th February 2013 but I got nil response!

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/other/treasurycommittee/other/carneytsc.pdf

    Remember he has been in the UK before when he worked for Goldman Sachs.
    Masters of the Eurozone graphic http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2012/04/Goldman%20Europe%20New.jpg

    Mrs Windsor checked the stock in December before the new boy takes over.
    https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/12/14/article-2247578-167F9E1E000005DC-624_634x394.jpg

  23. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 9:40 pm

    @ Fred himself (17h32)

    “Their credit ratings are still worse than Britain (sic) but they are rising while ours are falling”.

    Technically correct, but a silly comment to make. And meaningless :

    Iceland’s credit rating was at rock bottom and there is nowhere for it to go but up.

    THe UK’s rating has (just – and by one of the three big agencies) been lowered one notch. One should therefore say “it has fallen” and not “it is falling”, which gives the impression that Fred has a crystal ball and knows that there will be further falls. (BTW, this happened to the US and France without affecting their borrowing costs).

    Stick to four letter words, Freddie boyo, you’re better at them.

  24. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    23 Feb, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    The Queen is probably trying to find the dirty rats hiding amoungst the crates.

    I hope she will be succesful and then I think Prince Harry should have a go at them.

    *********

    La vita è bella, life is good! ( get rid of traitorous vermin!)

  25. Fred – there’s a standard pie chart here.

    http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/budget_pie_ukgs.php

    £127.2 billion goes on pensions.

    The NHS gets £104 billion. About 60% of that goes directly on pay. Much on the rest goes on buying services – where again pay will be a large proportion, so the actual figure will be higher. It includes 2 GPs who got about £475,000 each. As I said before they’re making payoffs of up to £1,000,000 during the reorganisation – which is 4x the statutory mininum – giving money away for zilch.

    Education gets £91.7 billion. I would guess the pay element is larger than in the NHS, but I couldn’t find a figure. One primary school headmaster earned £276,000, which is absud. Pay will also be a massive part of other departments spending.

    £47 billion goes on interest.

  26. “Poor old Fred, he never gets anything quite right, does he. Probably thinking too much about Lord McAlpine to focus properly on the task in hand.”

    What an utterly sad little shit you are.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-07/iceland-court-sentences-ex-byr-savings-executives-to-jail.html

  27. “Councils spend £155m on taxis to ferry children to school”. Per year. The public services conduct themselves with such frugality. Not.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9888482/Councils-spend-155m-on-taxis-to-ferry-children-to-school.html

  28. “Councils spend £155m on taxis to ferry children to school”. Per year. The public services conduct themselves with such frugality. Not.

    Well to be fair the government is doing their best to save money where they can.

    http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2012/11/06/work-capability-assessment-and-day-of-remembrance-early-day-motion-687-sponsored-by-john-mcdonnell-mp/

  29. The money system is all smoke screen. Money and wealth is bullshit, our selves in society arw so much more in society than a meaningless concept that is money.

    We are focusing on the wrong kind of wealth.

    Compassion, durability, ethos, hard working good samaritan.

    Money is Bullshit.

    Have a nice day tomorrow.

  30. “Iceland’s credit rating was at rock bottom and there is nowhere for it to go but up.”

    Not quite. It could stay the same.

    The point is that it’s hardly “meaningless” that Iceland, in taking a very different economic course to UK, is now improving whilst the UK is still declining.

    That seems quite significant, actually.

  31. “Money is Bullshit.”

    Bat guano has certainly been used as a currency, but more generally I think it’s best not to use something that has utilitarian value, or is perishable, as a means of exchange.

    Money, as distinct from a currency or means of exchange, ought really to be a store of value, and in this you’re absolutely correct.

    In many circumstances, one can indeed see bullshit providing an excellent store of value.

  32. English Knight

    23 Feb, 2013 - 11:37 pm

    http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock

    So to whom is this $50t debt due and whats the interest?

  33. “So to whom is this $50t debt due and whats the interest?”

    Public debt, that is money borrowed by the government to run the country not to finance a trade deficit, is mostly owed to ourselves. If the government needs more money than they take in taxes they issue bonds which they promise to pay back with interest at some time in the future. The Bank of England buys the bonds which then count as assets allowing them to print more money. When the bonds mature the government can just print more bonds to get the money to redeem them but because there is interest to pay the amount we are in debt will always be going up.

    Who gets the interest? Well as a private company the bank pays taxes on their profits then as major shareholders the government gets 25% of what’s left in dividends.

  34. English Knight

    24 Feb, 2013 - 12:40 am

    BTW – Sovereign debt has TRIPLED from $18t (accumulated over say 100 years)in 2002,to $52t in the 10 YEARS to 2012?!! Something is seriously amiss?

  35. Of course the BoE pension scheme, of which the majority of the MPC are members, have bet the farm on index linked securities. Surprise surprise. Guido Fawkes has pointed this out frequently; Max Keiser has mentioned it too.

  36. Sad to say that the kind of economic system which embraces and relies on QE is at core a life-destructive system. By this I mean that if the goal of an economy and economic relations from the local to regional to global reaches is to provide a better life for all – therein lies the contradiction which when analysed reveals the destructive processes of our economic system.
    Professor Schumpeter’s famed phrase is “creative destruction” . It encapsulates the nature of the beast. War and destruction clear the ground for the creation of new wealth.
    We over-produce; poach from North to South; create domestically skewed distributions of incomes and welfare – then call the whole dysfunctional process – democracy.
    One may care to weigh for a moment the reality of an economy which is failing domestically and the co-relations to the failed or lost ( or assuredly lost via horrendous mutually destructive) wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and then the cross-hair next war – Iran. The amoral constants will continue to unfold – unless people become sufficiently aware to reveal, then act on ( against) the power brokers of the life-destructive system which continues to direct us as a species.
    It is one thing for bankers and financiers to raid pension funds, mortgage portfolios and every accessible source of accumulated capital that can be plundered ; but, then when these processes are the handmaiden to the golden parachute bail-outs and payoffs to the very gangsters who brought the crisis to this point – one, if not preoccupied with considerations about the impact of domestic life-destructive processes – might shed a tear or two for the military equivalent projected in places like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and maybe soon ( Iran?).
    Where are life sustaining processes and practices to be found?

  37. ” There will be growth in the spring.”

  38. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 8:04 am

    re. Iceland

    @ Fred : I stand partially corrected with the other two individuals you linked to, thank you.

    @ Herbie : OK, it could stay still but experience shows that these things don’t on the whole. Iceland is also (re)starting from a rock bottom base.

    Interesting thread on the whole.

  39. @ Jives There will be growth in the spring….

    Green shoots is a term used colloquially to indicate signs of economic recovery during an economic downturn. It was first used in this sense by Norman Lamont, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, during the 1991 Recession. At the time, Chancellor Lamont was criticized for “insensitivity”.

    The phrase was used again by Baroness Vadera, former Business Minister of the UK in January, 2009 to refer to signs of economic recovery during the late-2000s recession, again to criticism from the media and opposition politicians.

    The U.S. media started to use the phrase to describe domestic economic conditions in February 2009 when in New York Times quoted Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase as saying, “It’s too early to get excited, but I think there are a couple of green shoots that say we’re not going down as heavily in the first quarter [of 2009] as we were in the fourth quarter [of 2008].”

    The Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, made the first public use of the phrase by a Fed official in a March 15, 2009 interview with CBS 60 Minutes. Since February and March 2009, it has been used increasingly in the media and by a number of commentators to refer to positive economic data and statistics during the late-2000s (decade) recession.

    :)

  40. “BTW – Sovereign debt has TRIPLED from $18t (accumulated over say 100 years)in 2002,to $52t in the 10 YEARS to 2012?!! Something is seriously amiss?”

    It’s personal debt that is the really worrying one. £54,000 per household. The government happily let the shyster bankers lend cheap Chinese money to the population at high interest and now we, the people are £1.5 trillion in the red.

    They cripple the economy with their greed then steal the benefits of the disabled then send hired thugs and bullies round to illegally throw people on to the street and take their homes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPKOa-5GPPg

    Now, despite the misery caused in America, they are allowing the pay day loan sharks to operate in Britain robbing the desperate.

    Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
    I’ve seen lots of funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun,
    And some with a fountain pen.

    And as through your life you travel,
    Yes, as through your life you roam,
    You won’t never see an outlaw
    Drive a family from their home.

    Woody Guthrie

  41. “Fred : I stand partially corrected with the other two individuals you linked to, thank you.”

    No, if you had stuck to the facts you would have been corrected but as you decided to make derisive personal remarks about me you stand totally humiliated.

  42. Je You speak of public spending and baldly stated, category by category, the sums do look alarming.

    However, the expenditure should be compared to the income* from taxes, which in 2011/12 was £550.6bn which is 36% of GDP.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/25/tax-receipts-1963

    *Revenue relating to activities in the current year, comprising mainly direct and indirect taxes, but also including social security contributions, interest, dividends, capital taxes and profits from trading activities. Proceeds from the sale of assets are not included.

    PS What has the cost of taking children to school by taxi got to do with the price of fish? School buses have been abolished in Surrey. Most of the children concerned are those handicapped, with special needs or living in remote places.

    The Tory types in Surrey County Council abolished a perfectly good school bus service some years back. The Tory troughers at Waverley Borough Council have just voted themselves a 94% increase in councillors’ allowances. Surrey CC have raised their portion of council tax by 1.99%, as has my local council and the police. They chose these percentages to avoid the ridiculous Pickles referendum ie any rise in council tax over 2% triggers a referendum.

  43. Charles Melville

    24 Feb, 2013 - 10:18 am

    The idea that Quantitative Easing is inflationary is predicated on the fallacious arguments of the discredited Quantity Theory of Money. Quantitative Easing is basically an asset swap, and it is designed to increase commercial bank reserves in the mistaken belief that increasing reserves will enable increased bank lending. So it’s a silly policy. See Quantitative Easing 101
    http://bilbo/economicoutlook.net/blog?p=661
    A far better policy would be for the Government to spend directly into the economy? Would you regard that policy also as inflationary? Sigh, it’s as if Keynes had never lived. The progressive views of this blog need to correlated with an enlightened view of macroeconomic policy.

  44. Charles Melville,

    It is the idea that no matter how much money you print, it does not affect its unit value, which is nuts.

  45. Charles Melville

    24 Feb, 2013 - 10:40 am

    Correction : the link to Quantitative Easing 101 should read:
    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=661
    Sorry about that.

  46. A few years ago I bought a book on European history by an ex-German bloke (whose name I forget) and was rather startled by his deadpan description of the C20th as a period when authority was removed from representative assemblies as fast as the franchise to elect people to them widened. I haven’t been startled since, except by realising how long it took me to get the point. The bankers haven’t got politicians over a barrel, they are the politicians and have been made so by politicians who don’t want democracy getting in the way of rule.

    It doesn’t matter to rich bastards that inflation, unemployment, the end of (derisory) social security, ill-health, premature death and negligence flow from their decisions, because that’s where their money comes from. Economic collapse for us, is a tax which is levied to benefit them.

  47. The principle of quantitative easing is sound enough, the Bank of England buys assets from the banks and increases the amount of money they have to put into the economy.

    Where the system falls down is when the assets they buy are bundles of mortgages on ramshackle log cabins sinking into a swamp somewhere in Mississippi and when the bankers decide not to put the money into the economy but instead give themselves huge pay rises and buy out other failing banks.

  48. @ Mary,

    Sorry im not really clued in on economics.My ‘growth in the spring’ quote was from the Peter Sellers film Being There.

    I’d recommend it if you aint seen it. 😉

  49. Charles Melville

    24 Feb, 2013 - 10:54 am

    @Craig,
    Yes, it seems counterintuitive. But it is the Quantity Theory of Money that is nuts. That theory mixes up stocks and flows, and doesn’t get the dimensions of the quantities right. See Joan Robinson (1982) “Shedding Darkness” Cambridge J.of Economics 6(3) 295-6. Getting stocks and flows consistent is important, if one is to understand the effects of macroeconomic policy. Please look up Bill Mitchell’s work on bilbo.economicoutlook.net or Randall Wray on New Economic Perspectives at Kansas. Shed light on economics too. Start from the notion that Income = Spending.

  50. Deliciously, as we speak Labour activists are handing out leaflets saying that an independent Scotland will lose its AAA status.

  51. We know this zero intrinsic, state issued, legal tender, paper money system is hanging in collapse as inflation creeps relentlessly higher (money is just a broken promise).

    That collapse of the same fiat (let it be so) money system happened in china around 10 AD – read here:

    http://www.financialsensearchive.com/fsu/editorials/ramsden/2004/0617.html

    Jean-Luc Mélenchon explains how this dirty mendacious and nasty money system benefits the 1% few, their puppets, their launderers, their crooks and their facilitators, while screwing and pilfering the rest of us pawns (99%), trying to live between the yanks and jerks of a constantly shifting control lease.

  52. Bill Mitchell is a star but he can get mind-scramblingly technical at times. The following article, entitled “Taxpayers do not fund anything”, is as good a place as any to start IMO:

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=9281

  53. Money in itself does not represent an intrinsic value, sitting there in bank vaults as collateral, only when it is exchanged for goods and services will it redeem its value.

    Inflation shadows quantitative easing and in a world of diminished resources can quickly get out of hand, be the result of vigorous trading in limited resources.

    The increased neo colonialism in Africa is down to the pressures on resources, these same pressures can catapult inflation as the richest can and will pay most for goods, if they really want them and can’t get them anywhere else.

    Metals for example, will not go down much in price, maybe readily available iron ore will as there is large recycling base form it, but most other metals will see a rise in price as they get used up with recycling, despite decades of warning noises, still in its infancy, especially in this country were this revenue stream has not really been discovered yet, i.e google enhanced landfill mining.

    Watch the Tory’s great trick, they will paste economic success/petrol prices/referendums/anything on their successful re-election, you can already see the little snippets appear now before the County council elections in May, when they are facing obliteration for their lack of candour, democracy, integrity and adherence to their policy promises.

    Loosing a fake AAA is a little stick being waved at Osborne for daring to steer Britain away from Europe, the US needs its economic lever boy here in Europe and it will use its influences to strafe us into line. All that immense love in this special relationship is really coming out now…..

  54. “It is the idea that no matter how much money you print, it does not affect its unit value, which is nuts.”

    It’s not how much that matters it’s what for that matters.

    A pound coin is basically a share in Great Britain PLC. If a company issues new shares to build a new factory to meet increased demand then it isn’t going to affect the value of existing shares because the value of the company’s assets has increased in proportion.

    If a company issues new shares and uses the money for staff wages and to pay the electricity bill then the value of existing shares is going to fall.

    The most worrying aspect about the financial markets is the number of pieces of paper being bought and sold which do not represent anything of value in the real world. They already have a value greater than all the currency in the world and they were created out of nothing. When that bubble bursts we are all Zimbabwe.

  55. I’m sure you’re right Craig, but I wouldn’t like to say. I hope I’m not dim. Not bragging, but I got into a Russell Group Uni and was an A-grade PGCE student at the same institution. I read books, I think I know stuff, although I’m no genius and not the most articulate of trumpets. But bleeding economics?! I’ve got an ‘O’ level in it, but trying to find a serious introductory text to read that doesn’t either deliver me into a permanent vegetative state or indoctrinate me into the neoliberal cult is proving something of a challenge.

    Recommendations from any economically literate folk?

  56. “Money in itself does not represent an intrinsic value, sitting there in bank vaults as collateral, only when it is exchanged for goods and services will it redeem its value.”

    Hence my interest those local currency schemes which use a rapidly depreciating note in order to ensure that it is passed around quickly before it becomes worthless. I’ve always suspected that somewhere at the back of conventional economics lurks some sort of perpetual motion machine. It can look for periods of time as if it’s working, but it always winds down and stops eventually. QE is an impetetus that might kick it into apparent life for a while, but it will stop again soon.

  57. Vronsky

    Thanks – that cheered me up (about the Labour activists). i hope people in Scotland will get the message when UKIP wipe the floor with New Labour in Eastleigh too.

  58. Anyway, chaps and chappesses, no need to worry. St Vince of Cable says the UK’s loss of its its AAA credit rating is “largely symbolic” and there are “positive” signs for the economy despite the difficult climate.

    The business secretary agreed that attempts to reduce the deficit while boosting growth were proving “tricky”.

    But he said the measures were “working slowly” and rejected calls for the pace of cuts to be slowed or accelerated.

    So that’s OK Vince. Carry on with the quicksteps and waltzs why don’t you!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21564391

  59. Please buy local and boycott Amazon, even if it costs you a few more quid. Would you like to work in one of it’s ‘fulfillment centers’?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/amazon-used-neonazi-guards-to-keep-immigrant-workforce-under-control-in-germany-8495843.html

  60. Excellent post Craig, and interesting discussion.

    Looking at the current average borrowing rates as a gauge of health of each country is a massive oversimplification. What you are missing is that none of the EU countries are buying their own bonds and so artificially depressing interest rates. They are not allowed to do that and are being lambasted by bankers and right wing politicians as a result. In the long term it may actually save the EU once QE is abandoned in US/UK.

    This QE action is being hailed as some holy grail when it fact its just making things worse, although I do admit there seemed to be little or no other choice. As long as the Bank of England buy UK Treasury gilts(bonds) then it has a depressing effect on Government interest rates.

    Higher demand lowers interest rates that need to be paid . However as we deploy more currency we are essentially weakening the pound. This cannot go on forever. Think about that whole process.

    That is why the pound is collapsing against other currencies, if we use the rather primitive analogy that each pound is a share in UK PLC then we’re just issuing more shares, thus diluting those already in circulation’s value. Thus the pound is being silently devalued.

    In Scotland the AAA rating is a problem on 2 fronts, firstly that the Unionist’s made a big deal about it affecting Scotland and now seem to have done a volte face in that its no big deal….

  61. Charles Melville

    24 Feb, 2013 - 12:36 pm

    @ Yakoub

    Try Randall Wray’s “Modern Money Theory” (Palgrave 2012).

    This is written in a straightforward way without maths.
    He makes it clear that no-one has an income until someone spends.

    If you have a good grounding in maths, try Wynne Godley “Monetary Economics” (2007).

  62. The UKIP woman at Eastleigh, Diane James, is not all she seems. She is one of the Waverley Borough Councillors who have just voted themselves a 94% increase in their allowance. She is also racist like the Tory woman who has been parachuted in from Benfleet, Essex.

    – She (James) works in healthcare and campaigns against “the creeping privatisation of the NHS orchestrated by the Conservatives without an electoral mandate”.

    – She’s not local but has a history of doing well in elections from a standing start. As an independent, she won a council seat previously held by a Tory for 18 years

    – On her first day of campaigning, she caused controversy by calling for a temporary halt to immigration to stop Romanians coming to the UK and committing crimes.

    – She has a giant shop on Eastleigh high street and billboard van promoting her candidacy for Ukip

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9870260/The-Eastleigh-by-election-candidates.html

    ‘Works in heathcare’ means that she is a director of this £multi million venture capital outfit, Proven Health Vct Plc.

    It is an ‘Active business incorporated in England & Wales on 20th December 2000. Their business activity is recorded as Activities Of Venture And Development Capital Companies. Proven Health Vct Plc is run by 4 current members. and 1 company secretary. It has no share capital. It is not part of a group.

    The latest Annual Accounts submitted to Companies House for the year up to 31/01/2012 reported ‘cash at bank’ of £1,772,000, ‘liabilities’ worth £133,000, ‘net worth’ of £8,485,000 ‘assets’ worth £3,667,000.’ (Company Check website) and is also a director of a management consultancy.

    ~~~

    Furthermore, UKIP are a shambles. Marta Andreasen the UKIP MEP who attempted to expose the fraud in the EU has defected to the Tory grouping.

    She said of Farage, “Unfortunately, their party leader treats any views other than his own with contempt. Ukip is his plaything to mould and shape in any way he sees fit, regardless of the views of others, myself included. His actions, surrounding himself with an old boys club of like-minded sycophants, are dictatorial in sharp contrast to those of David Cameron, who has shown he can listen, adapt and do what is right for the country, not just for personal gain.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ukip-mep-marta-andreasen-defects-to-the-tories-and-launches-attack-on-nigel-farage-8507960.html

    Andreasen’s new choice of party and her view of Agent Cameron made me smile.

  63. It’s also ludicrous that anyone pays attention to these ‘raters’. But, people do pay attention. And by ‘people’ I mean ‘people who should, and do, know far far better. So, that’s journalists and politicians.

    Credit-rating agencies are a scam. Perhaps once they had a function, but now they are just tools of neoliberalism. And, what’s especially depressing is how obvious it all is. We aren’t talking about faked moon-landings here. The total ineptitude of credit-rating agencies is a matter of public record, and it’s being going on for at least a decade. I say ‘ineptitude’, because I’m being kind. I suspect blatant corruption, blackmail and fraud – but that’s not on public record. What is on public record, though, is bad enough. The agencies have, for a decade, been wrong about almost everything. One may ask why …

  64. “Thanks – that cheered me up (about the Labour activists). i hope people in Sctland will get the message when UKIP wipe the floor with New Labour in Eastleigh too.”

    Actually I don’t think it’s wiping the floor they’ve got planned for them.

    https://twitter.com/andrewjdtaylor/status/304593081649479683/photo/1

  65. Good post Brendan.

  66. Thanks for that little video of Melenchon, Mark, very interesting to see how much mainstream socialism on the Continent has taken up the green localisation and energy agendas.
    It is quiet momentous for me, having left the young socialists in 1973, when the blueprint for survival made me join ‘die Gruenen’ in Germany, having realised that any socially responsible movement can only advocate subsidiarity, decentralisation of power, as well as circular economic patterns based on what is sustainable, recycling economics to a very large extend.

    But the political realities have panned out rather different as decentralising power and living responsible within such a model is an alien concept to all those who have grown up in a consumer society and you will find that many Greens drive to their annual Conference because its cheaper than the train.

    But what was said in the video can be enacted by any political party, any Government should introduce goals and targets, even this minority party coalition of establishment/status quo merchants.

    Together with industry,talks on how to change production processes and allow for recycled materials to be re-used, percentage targets, to radically change the linear model/throw away model. For that we should introduce MSR reactor technology, ideally with France and others, safely cooperate, urgently, and start burning our nuclear stockpiles for energy, the only responsible thing to do for future generations, Clark has convinced me.

    Add to this some precautionary/ job and expertise positive measures, working on the assumption/preparing for sea level rises in the east of England, to safeguard/buy time, for our estuaries, the Fen-lands, were some 5% of our fresh food supplies originate, but also the Thames estuary, the Blackwater and Orwell estuaries, there’s some serious public investment needed, jobs to be created and Dutch expertise thought.

    A Wash barrier and lock system would generate enough tidal power to scrap two nuclear power stations, that is regular power.
    I’m sure the insurance companies paying out billions for flood damage would agree.

    But I digress.

    BTW. Non of these ideas have copyrights and can be picked up by any Government flunky in need of brownie points, please do. And any further questions as top how to carry out the work in an ecologically sound, least impacting way, don’t hesitate to ask.

  67. @ Charles Melville,

    ” A far better policy would be for the Government to spend directly into the economy? Would you regard that policy also as inflationary? Sigh, it’s as if Keynes had never lived. The progressive views of this blog need to correlated with an enlightened view of macroeconomic policy.”

    I thought that when Obama was elected he would have done precisely that – heavily increased domestic spending on public projects – much as FDR did before him. Instead he continued with military over-expenditure and wars.

  68. The problem is neither printing money nor inflated executive pay it is theft of money by the bankers to purchase Zionist foreign policy with the money Thatcher and Brown gave them control over and freedom to move around the world. The power to steal was granted freely to the bankers by these politicians even though it was perfectly obvious what they were doing.

    The bankers were given these powers, supposedly on trust ha ha! on the ridiculous argument that high responsibility deserves high pay. We should hang these two PMs if we hang anybody. But the bankers had already blackmailed them so even if it was you or me in the same position we would have done the same as them if they had blackmailed us the same.

    The reason why we are strugging as an economy is that there has been no quantitive easing. Real cash has been stolen and replaced by QE cash. If the real money and the printed junk were both present and available the economy would be on fast zoom forward as technology accelerates at high speed.

    Unfortunately, Craig and the management class of this country are in problems if they talk about Zionist theft/blackmail and alternative foreign policy. ‘I can do more from within the system than outside it’ is the usual cheerful refrain. Those inside the gate who don’t want to be there are called gatekeepers. If they blow the whistle on Zionist fraud, they do not even get to live to see another day. Craig’s collar was felt and released again.

    One has to ask oneself why our foreign policy is different in the cases of Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad. The BBC was repeating yesterday in our own correspondent the lie that the Alawi sect is part of Islam. It only pretends. Its followers are numerous in Turkey. It is part of the source of the rift in Islam between Sunni and Shi’a, because none of the ideas of Shi’ism have any foundation in the Qur’an.

    The Alawis are the (not necessarily ethnic) remnant of polytheistic Jews who had absorbed the polytheism of East and West by trade, that were destroyed in Jerusalem by the Romans by Allah’s decree in the first century AD. The Alawi are not a sect of Islam nor even of Judaism. They are a sect of Classical pre-Christian polytheism, and still existing Eastern polytheism.

    Alawis and Shi’ism are part of the ancient religion which preceded the reforms brought by Jesus pbuh to the Children of Israel. I am not saying this in order to repeat the claim the BBC repeats again and again that there will be a genocide of the Alawis and the Iranians in the months to come. The real struggle is between A/ Deviance : Alawis, Turkey, Shi’a, the West, India, China, Russia, Sunni Political Islam on the one side and B/Integrity : Those who struggle for justice or believe in God’s Laws and who believe that politics is all lying. The genocide that is looming is the Masonic New World Order destroying the freedom of the world’s population’s hearts and minds.

    The point I am making is that the philosophical allegiances of all Syria’s neighbours, the Classical West ( ancient Rome ), Israel, the current regime in Turkey from southern Turkey, Iran, Shi’a Iraq, the atheist post-Soviet bloc and the atheist Chinese bloc are all with Assad and the Alawis.

    The oil-economic powerhouses of Sunni Islam have paid for material assistance and mercenaries from the above list, for their Sunnis to fight a jihad against Assad who is one of the above list himself. When this war started I thought Assad was just one of the dodgy Muslim rulers which is how he portrays himself and how the BBC still portrays him. In fact, Syria is a battleground of ideas between GNWO and spiritual Reformation. Assad is a very small pawn.

    There always has been a conflict inside the Jewish faith between those who want to redeem themselves by greater adherence to their religion and those who want to achieve success through Macciavellian means, ( bank robbery ). There is a similar rift in Islam. Saudi Islam is also divided between those on the dodgy side of the equation because they want to achieve power through politics and those who want change by the Qur’anic method of self-reform.

    In this practising Judaism is closer to the philosophy of Global Sunni Islam. What we are seeing in Syria is a war between the political minds of the world and the spiritual minds, which includes those who fight for justice and human rights. It is a battle for control of the world between a global alliance of deviance and a global alliance of integrity

    You non-believers who are fighting for justice and truth are paradoxically on God’s side while the Muslim political collaborators/ ahzab are against Him. The important issue is not the genocide of a small ethnic group, the Alawis, but the heart and mindocide of all free honest human beings.

  69. The content of the last sentence of this Guardian article filled me with disgust and disbelief. How callous of this young blood.

    ‘Not all students have immersed themselves in this debate. The Oxford Student newspaper reported that a member of the Bullingdon Club was fined for setting off a firework at a nightclub earlier this month. According to the paper, the student was accepted into the club after an initiation ceremony which included burning a £50 note in front of a tramp.’

    The article is about the furore following Galloway’s walk out from a debate and on whether Oxford will vote to join the BDS campaign against Israel. I think we can guess what the result of that vote at Oxford will be.

    Oxford in uproar over union motion to boycott Israel
    Threatening emails, accusations of racism and walkout by George Galloway follow motion at students’ union
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/feb/23/oxford-union-boycott-israel

  70. resident dissident

    24 Feb, 2013 - 2:02 pm

    Lets not let the facts get in the way of a good argument. If anyone were to bother to look at the monetary statistics – see the link below then they will see that it is pretty clear that it is something other than the level of money supply that is causing what inflation we have.

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/Documents/bankstats/2012/Dec12/TabA2.1.1.xls

    QE, which isn’t printing of money btw – but an attempt to improve the banks’ balance sheets in order to encourage them to lend, hasn’t worked because there is limited demand in the economy for such lending has probably had the impact of making things less worse than they would have otherwise been – the studies I have seen referred to say by 1-2% of GDP. Keynes in the 1930s pointed out that there was a limit to how much demand could be stimulated entirely by monetary stimulus and as Charles Melville has pointed out what we need is the direct injection of demand into the economy.

    If anyone wants something a little less academic on where Keynesians stand today then Krugman’s current paperback on “How do we get out of this depression?” is probably as good a palce as any to start.

  71. resident dissident

    24 Feb, 2013 - 2:08 pm

    Mary

    Why have you ignored the body of the Observer article – do you think that it was right for Galloway to walk out on the debate because he was opposed by an Israeli on the grounds that he does not recognise Isreal or believe that individual Israelis have the right to a platform? the individual concerned was opposed to Israel’s policy on settlement.

  72. resident dissident

    24 Feb, 2013 - 2:17 pm

    Craig

    If you want an example of anti-semitic claptrap on your blog – might I suggest you look at Guano’s (appropriate name) last near Protocols of Zion posting.

  73. @ Resdiss

    Galloway has every right not to engage with who he chooses just as Mary and other users here have every right not to engage with you or the other trolls

  74. “Why have you ignored the body of the Observer article – do you think that it was right for Galloway to walk out on the debate because he was opposed by an Israeli on the grounds that he does not recognise Isreal or believe that individual Israelis have the right to a platform? the individual concerned was opposed to Israel’s policy on settlement.”

    Do you think it was right of our sportsmen to refuse to play against apartheid South Africa?

    Isn’t that the point of boycotting something?

  75. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 2:47 pm

    re George Galloway (various posts above)

    It’s very curious, isn’t it, that he refused to debate with the Israeli, since he’s normally very fond of talking and very fluent when doing so.

    Could the answer be that he chickened out given that the Israeli was nearer to the “scene”, so to speak, than most of the other people he usually debates with and that he was fearful of being out-debated and out-argued for once?

    BTW I agree with Resident Dissident (welcome back!)’s comment about the Guano post : I thought the thread was running rather well, interesting and informative, and then – lo and behold – we’re with the Zionist plot to take over the world again. Pathetic.

  76. resident dissident

    24 Feb, 2013 - 2:51 pm

    Exexpat

    Then might I suggest that Galloway doesn’t go to debates on the subject – that is unless you prefer deabtes of the one hand clapping variety.

    Just as Mary is entitled to point out what she wants – so am I entitled to point out contrary views on what is a public forum, or trolling as you call it.

  77. resident dissident

    24 Feb, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Fred

    “Do you think it was right of our sportsmen to refuse to play against apartheid South Africa?”

    Yes when they were representing the State of South Africa – but in this case Galloway went to the debate and after giving his rant/speech left because he “doesn’t recognise Isreal and he doesn’t talk to Israelis”.

    Do you really think that such an attitude will really ever achieve anything?

  78. Galloway doesn’t talk to Israelis…

    https://politicalscrapbook.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/george-galloway-uri-geller.jpg

    Unless a good photo-op is in the offing.

    Incidentally in the past two years inflation has soared from 5.2% to a mind numbing 2.7%. You’ll have to excuse us but we oldies who lived through the mid-70’s when inflation was ten times that aren’t going to get terribly excited.

  79. “Do you really think that such an attitude will really ever achieve anything?”

    Yes.

    It worked with South Africa.

  80. We’re all in this together.

    Yeah right.

    Bullingdon Bastards.

    Burning £50 notes in front of a tramp may just be an initiation rite to these horrors but to a tramp the indignity,humiliation and pain could easily drive them to suicide.

    How on earth did these bastards get to rule?

  81. resident dissident

    24 Feb, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    Fred

    Not even the Committee trying to organise the boycott agree with Galloway’s position of this. “BDS does not call for a boycott of individuals because she or he happens to be Israeli or because they express certain views.”

    http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/bds-movement-position-on-boycott-of-individuals-10679

    And you are very wrong on South Africa – there was plenty of dialogue at the individual level – just read Mandela’s biography.

    Of course in Galloway’s book it is totally ok to talk and have a dialogue with a mass murderer who you claim to have previously condemned for gassing his own people and his neighbours and then praise him, or to praise another one who you have condemned months previously for shelling a Palestinian refugee camp. The man is a complete hypocrite and utter disgrace – I wouldn’t be suprised if he were to seek to join the Bullingdon Club.

  82. resident dissident

    24 Feb, 2013 - 3:49 pm

    Anyway good luck to Bradford City this afternoon – that city deserves a bit of luck.

  83. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:02 pm

    Hmmm. Could it be there is a nest of Romeros in the Vatican, cleaning House? Ratzinger’s resignation is just the beginning?

    “O’Brien, who is due to retire next month, has been an outspoken opponent of gay rights, condemning homosexuality as immoral, opposing gay adoption, and most recently arguing that same-sex marriages would be “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved”. Last year he was named “bigot of the year” by the gay rights charity Stonewall”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/23/cardinal-keith-o-brien-accused-inappropriate

  84. I put the link up not to discuss the merits and demerits of George Galloway’s action that evening but to illustrate the mindset of a rich and overprivileged male undergraduate at Oxford. Does membership of the Bullingdon Club require a schooling at Eton or another public school? Yes. Whose children go to those schools? The rich and overprivileged.

    http://marissa177.deviantart.com/art/Summon-ze-trolls-303573005

  85. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    Arbed? Are you around?

    “Brown, in federal custody since September 2012, has been jousting with the feds for quite some time.

    Round one of his travails began on March 6, 2012, when FBI agents raided his Dallas apartment, looking for evidence related to the 2011 hack of e-mails belonging to Stratfor—a private firm with substantial links to the American intelligence community. Brown sought refuge at his mother’s, but Special Agents arrived there as well, later in the evening. Although the feds found no incriminating evidence, they continued to harass Brown and his family, threatening to file obstruction of justice charges against Brown’s mother for hosting her son during the raid. This prompted Brown to record an ominous YouTube video threatening the Special Agent in charge of the investigation. He was arrested that evening and held for weeks without indictment, under the claim he was an imminent threat to the agent’s safety. In early October 2012, he was finally charged on a number of counts related to harassment of a federal officer.”

    http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/02/21/the-saga-of-barrett-brown/

  86. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:15 pm

    @ Resident Dissident :

    if you were to propose Gorgeous George for membership of the Bullingdon Club I should be happy to second him.

    Very nice answer to Fred’s question in reply to your question (a frequent device of his), you flummoxed him and left him floundering and gasping for breath like a landed fish :)

  87. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:17 pm

    “”Clearly they’re more worried about what they perceive as his egging people on to go after defence contractors and secret spy organisations,” says Brown’s former attorney Jay Leiderman. “Barrett believes in privacy for individuals and transparency for corporations and government. The government doesn’t like his belief system. And Barrett was effective in expressing that belief system.””

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-01/25/barret-brown-charges

  88. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    @ Mary at 16h10 on the Bullingdon Club

    No, membership does not require an Eton education or rich parents. Radek Sikorski (NO relation to the wartime general btw!) was a member despite being a penniless refugee from martial law in Poland.

    Check your assertions and bite on that viper tongue of yours, deary.

  89. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:28 pm

    I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I find myself dreading the arrival of 16h00 UK time because this is when our fuzzy American friend Ben Franklin usually clocks in.

    One somehow catches oneself wishing that dawn would never arrive in California.

    I don’t mind his ideas, insofar as one can decrypt them, but I do wish he would tighten up his prose and drop the enigmatic, eliptic, oracular style, which is not impressive but merely irritating. He also uses commas in a most boring manner.

  90. Well said, Craig. But the other myth that needs exploding – and which is still fashionable – is that raising government spending inevitably brings sustainable growth. As with QE, spending can be a useful kickstart in the right circumstances, but that is all, in my opinion.

  91. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:30 pm

    “All roads, lead to Rome” History repeats, washes, rinses…..then repeats.

    “[Hersh] charged that U.S. foreign policy had been hijacked by a cabal of neoconservative “crusaders” in the former vice president’s office and now in the special operations community:

    That’s the attitude,” he continued. “We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. That’s an attitude that pervades, I’m here to say, a large percentage of the Joint Special Operations Command.”

    He then alleged that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before briefly becoming the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and his successor, Vice Adm. William McRaven, as well as many within JSOC, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.”

    Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic organization commited [sic] to “defence [sic] of the Faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering,” according to its website.

    “They do see what they’re doing — and this is not an atypical attitude among some military — it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

    “They have little insignias, these coins they pass among each other, which are crusader coins,” he continued. “They have insignia that reflect the whole notion that this is a culture war. … Right now, there’s a tremendous, tremendous amount of anti-Muslim feeling in the military community.””

    http://whowhatwhy.com/2011/02/23/pulitzer-prize-winner-seymour-hersh-and-the-men-who-want-him-committed/

  92. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:33 pm

    Holy Christ !……praise from Caesar.

  93. “Galloway doesn’t talk to Israelis…”

    He hasn’t said he doesn’t talk to Israelis. He said he doesn’t debate with Israelis.

    Debating is George Galloway’s job, it’s what he does for a living, he is boycotting Israel.

  94. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:35 pm

    Now, if I could only attain the heights of relentless ankle-biting; my resume would be complete.

  95. Mevermind,

    I linked a copy of “The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle -An Interdisciplinary MIT Study” a few weeks ago,

    http://mitei.mit.edu/publications/reports-studies/future-nuclear-fuel-cycle

    I posted it mainly for Clark a few weeks ago but if anyone fancies digesting it.

    They totally dismiss Thorium options as a near term option and even then they pretty much ignore Molten Salt designs completely. The amount of waste in long term storage is reduced (but not so much the actual radioactivity and heat generation of the waste). There are far more transuranic and fission products in the system than now. Just more of it is inside a reactor at criticality than outside and sub-critical as now. Decide for yourselves if that is a good thing…

    They point out that the Thorium cycle apparent advantage of reducing Plutonium inventories is just swapped for an equally large amount of bomb capable U-233 cycling around the systems.

    There are other fuel cycles. These fuel cycles were chosen as representative fuel cycles that
    capture the major characteristics of the different options. Thorium fuel cycles were not ana-
    lyzed because they are not believed to fundamentally alter conclusions. A description and
    discussion of thorium fuel cycles is in Appendix A.

    I don’t see Thorium reactors and especially MSR Thorium Reactors being widely used any time soon. Reading between the lines it seems highly likely to me that the US thorium reactor research was cancelled for very good reasons despite what the proponents say. And yes they do reply to the MIT paper but with the same old hand waving as usual once you dig down. IMHO (and that of MIT) anyway.

    And I always like to remind folk that the famous “inherently safe” US Oak Ridge MSR nearly blew itself apart in a U-233 (bred from Thorium) chain reaction decades after it was shut down.

    http://www.ornl.gov/info/ridgelines/nov12/msre.htm

    The reactor facility, called “Ole Salty” by some, was converted to lab and office space as the reactor lay in stand-by status. Then, in March 1994, samples of the off-gases in the process lines unexpectedly revealed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) and fluorine, a highly reactive gas. Where surveyors expected to find part-per-million concentrations, they found concentrations of UF6 of up to 8 percent and fluorine of 50 percent.

    …Engineers then had a more protracted challenge: How to remove both the UF6 that had collected in the piping and the very radioactive and chemically unstable uranium-233 that had collected in charcoal-bed filters for off-gases. Those filters were surrounded by a water-filled chamber, raising concern of a criticality accident that could have spread contamination for miles.

    … “We discovered a highly hazardous situation in 1994M,” Rushton says. “The uranium in the charcoal beds was in an unfavorable geometry that could have led to a chain reaction. If the system had burped, the contamination would have been dispersed over a wide area.

    The more studies we did, the more they showed that it could happen. There was a significant potential for disaster.

  96. Israel has failed for 8 years to change ‘that sort of attitude’ you so dislike in Mr. Galloway, ResDiss.

    Netanyahu has failed to engage and wasted eight years to talk to the most compliant and forthcoming opponent, Mahmoud Abbas, according to his own zionist critics saying so.

    Should Argentina be allowed to drill for oil near the Falklands if Syrian territory is prospected upon?
    a far more interesting question unless you like to join the tabloidal jokers making much column inches of Galloway’s walk out.

  97. “And you are very wrong on South Africa – there was plenty of dialogue at the individual level – just read Mandela’s biography.”

    But our sports organisations still refused to participate in games with them. Which is more akin to what happens at a debating society, a competition, with spectators.

  98. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:43 pm

    @ Fred :

    “Debating is George Galloway’s job, it’s what he does for a living..”

    But not in the House of Commons, it seems (which pays him his generous salary).

    *********

    I’ve now heard it all! Galloway chickens out of a debate with an Israeli and Fred says oh, this is part of the boycott of Israel (presumably the intellectual boycott). LOL

  99. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Feb, 2013 - 4:49 pm

    Does not George Galloway remind one of that hero from the wonderful pre-Thatcherite 1970s, the great Derek Hatton of Liverpool?

    Both are sharp dressers, both are eloquent beyond one’s wildest dreams, and both are utter frauds beyond one’s wildest nightmares.

    The only difference is that Hatton has been well exposed for the fraud he was; Galloway’s turn is yet to come.

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    La vita è bella, life is good! (better than in the 1970s)

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