Summer vacation is over and things are about to get very interesting in Europe. Most Americans don’t realize this, but much of Europe shuts down for the entire month of August. I wish we had something similar in the United States. But now millions of Europeans are returning from their extended family vacations and the fun is about to begin. During August economic conditions continued to degenerate in Europe, but I figured that it wouldn’t be until after August that the European debt crisis would take center stage once again. And as I wrote about last week, if there is going to be a financial panic, it typically happens in the fall. The stock market has seen quite a nice rally over the summer, and many investors are nervous that we could see a significant “correction” very soon. The month of September has been the absolute worst month for stock performanceover the past 50 years, and it has also been the absolute worst month for stock performance over the past 100 years as well. Of course that does not guarantee that anything is going to happen this year. But things in Europe continue to get worse. Unemployment rates are spiking, manufacturing activity is slowing down, housing prices are crashing and major financial institutions are failing. What is happening in Europe right now appears to be an even worse version of what happened to the United States back in 2008.
But most Americans aren’t too concerned about what is happening in Europe.
In fact, most Americans don’t believe that a European financial collapse would be much of a problem for us.
Well, just remember what happened back in 2008. When the U.S. financial system started coming apart at the seams it sparked a devastating worldwide recession which was felt in every corner of the globe.
If the European financial system implodes, the consequences could be even worse.
Europe has a larger population than the United States does.
Europe has a larger economy than the United States does.
Europe has a much, much larger banking system than the United States does.
If Europe experiences a financial collapse, the entire globe will feel the pain.
And considering how weak the U.S. economy already is, it would not take much to push us over the edge.
What is going on in Europe right now is a very, very big deal and people need to pay attention.
The following are 18 indications that Europe has become an economic black hole which is going to suck the life out of the global economy….
British people with homes in France were today warned that the property market is in ‘free fall’.
A combination of factors including the election of a tax-and-spend Socialist government means that prices are tumbling.
It means an end to the boom years, when thousands of Britons poured money into rental or retirement investments across the Channel.
#5 A slow-motion bank run is happening in Spain. The amount of money being pulled out of the Spanish banking system is absolutely unprecedented. The following is from a recent Zero Hedge article….
The central bank of Spain just released the net capital outflow numbers and they are disastrous. During the month of June alone $70.90 billion left the Spanish banks and in July it was worse at $92.88 billion which is 4.7% of total bank deposits in Spain. For the first seven months of the year the outflow adds up to $368.80 billion or 17.7% of the total bank deposits of Spain and the trajectory of the outflow is increasing dramatically. Reality is reality and Spain is experiencing a full-fledged run on its banks whether anyone in Europe wants to admit it or not.
If this pace keeps up, more than 600 billion dollars will be pulled out of Spanish banks by the end of the year.
Keep in mind that the GDP of Spain for all of 2011 was just 1.49 trillion dollars.
So by the end of this year we could see the equivalent of more than 40 percent of Spanish GDP pulled out of Spanish banks and sent out of the country.
In case you were wondering, yes, that is a nightmare scenario.
#7 The yield on 10 year Spanish bonds is up to 6.85 percent. This is an unsustainable level, and if rates don’t come down on Spanish debt soon it is inevitable that Spain will end up just like Greece.
#8 On Monday it was announced that Spanish banking giant Bankia will be getting an emergency “cash injection” of between 4 and 5 billion euros. Apparently “cash injection” sounds better to the politicians than “a bailout” does.
#9 The housing crash in Spain just continues to get worse. It is being reported that some homes in Spain are being sold at a 70% discountfrom where they were at the peak of the market back in 2006. At this point there are approximately 2 million unsold homes in Spain.
#10 There are persistent rumors that the government of Spain will soon be forced to officially ask for a bailout from the rest of Europe. But who is going to bail them out? Most of the other governments of the eurozone are on the verge of bankruptcy themselves.
#11 Manufacturing activity in Europe has contracted for 13 months in a row. The following is from a recent Reuters report….
The downturn that began in the smaller periphery members of the 17-nation bloc is now sweeping through Germany and France and the situation remained dire in the region’s third and fourth biggest economies of Italy and Spain.
“Larger nations like France and Germany remain in reverse gear… the (manufacturing) sector is on course to act as a drag on gross domestic product in the third quarter,” said Rob Dobson, senior economist at data collator Markit.
Markit’s final Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell from an earlier flash reading of 45.3 to 45.1, above July’s three-year low of 44.0, but notching its 13th month below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.
#12 Chinese exports to the EU declined by 16.2 percent in July. U.S. exports to Europe have been steadily falling as well.
#13 Slovenia and Cyprus are two other eurozone members that are in desperate need of bailout money. The dominoes just keep falling and nobody seems to be able to come up with a plan to “fix” Europe.
#14 Even the “strong” economies in Europe are being dragged down now. For example, unemployment in Germany has risen for five months in a row.
#15 According to one recent poll, only about one-fourth of all Germans want Greece to remain a part of the eurozone. The odds of a breakup of the euro seem to rise with each passing day.
#16 It is now estimated that bad loans make up approximately 20 percent of all domestic loans in the Greek banking system at this point.
#17 The suicide rate in Greece is more than 30 percent higher than it was last year. People are becoming very desperate in Greece and there is no end in sight to the economic depression that they are going through.
#18 Large U.S. companies have been rapidly getting prepared for a Greek exit from the eurozone. The following is from a recent New York Times article….
Even as Greece desperately tries to avoid defaulting on its debt, American companies are preparing for what was once unthinkable: that Greece could soon be forced to leave the euro zone.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable. Ford has configured its computer systems so they will be able to immediately handle a new Greek currency.
Every time European leaders get together they declare that they have “a plan” that will solve the problems that Europe is experiencing, but as we have seen things in Europe just continue to get worse with no end in sight.
A key date is coming up in the middle of this month. On September 12th, Germany’s Constitutional Court will determine the fate of the recent fiscal pact and the ESM. According to UniCredit global chief economist Erik Nielsen, if the court rules against the fiscal pact and the ESM the fallout will be catastrophic….
“If they were to surprise us by striking down Germany’s participation, I would think it’d be an utter bloodbath in markets”
But that is not the only thing that could set off a full-blown panic in the financial markets.
The truth is that Europe is teetering on the edge.
One wrong move and it is going to be 1929 all over again.
As I have maintained all along, the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and this time the epicenter for the crisis is going to be in Europe.
But that does not mean that things are going to be easier for the United States than last time. We have never even come close to recovering from the last recession. Most Americans families are just barely getting by. In fact, 77 percent of them are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
Right now there are millions of Americans that have lost their jobs and their homes in recent years and that feel forsaken by society.
After this next wave hits us there will be tens of millions of Americans feeling the pain of economic desperation.
The last wave of the economic collapse hurt us.
This next wave is going to absolutely devastate us.
Watch what is happening in Europe very carefully. What Greece, Spain, Italy and France are experiencing right now is going to hit us soon enough.
September 4, 2012 – EUROPE - A growing number of global and European health bodies are warning that the introduction and intensification of austerity measures has led to a sharp rise in mental health problems with suicide rates, alcohol abuse and requests for anti-depressants increasing as people struggle with the psychological cost of living through a European-wide recession. “No one should be surprised that factors such as unemployment, debt and relationship breakdowns can cause bouts of mental illness and may push people who are already vulnerable to take their own lives,” Richard Colwill, of the British mental health charity Sane, told CNBC. “There does appear to be a connection between unemployment rates and suicide for example,” he said, referring to a recent study in the British Medical Journal that stated that more than 1,000 people in the U.K. may have killed themselves because of the impacts of the recession. “This research reflects other work showing similar rises in suicides across Europe.” According to Josée Van Remoortel, advisor to the European organization Mental Health Europe (MHE), the financial crisis is affecting “all areas of life,” not just economies, and its impact on mental health is creating a “deep chasm in our society.” “The credit crunch [has] had one unexpected consequence and one that reflects a deep chasm in our society – a sharp rise in mental health problems, largely caused by uncertainty and fear for the future,” he writes in a paper entitled “The Sane Approach.” A recent survey of general practitioners (family doctors) in Britain by the Insight Research Group seems to support Van Remoortel’s view. The data showed that out of 300 family doctors surveyed, the majority reported that austerity was damaging their patients’ health. Seventy six percent said their patients were unhealthier due to the economic climate and 77 percent said more patients were seeking treatment for anxiety. The doctors surveyed relayed an increase in the incidence of alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression and requests for abortions due to economic reasons, anecdotal evidence borne out by statistics for anti-depressant requests in the U.K., which have risen 28 percent from 34 million prescriptions in 2007 to 43.4 million in 2011. Wolfgang Münchau told the Financial Times in July, the debt crisis in the Eurozone could likely last 20 years. -CNBC
The holocaust of civilians was an essential and deliberate calculus of the terror threat that these powers (the US and UK) have retained.”
Political analyst Finian Cunningham
In a Thursday article published on Press TV website, Finian Cunningham pointed to the 67th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Japanese cities and argued, “Britain and the US innovated state terrorism during World War Two on a scale never seen before. This policy culminated in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
“The holocaust of civilians was an essential and deliberate calculus of the terror threat that these powers have retained ever since,” he added.
The article pointed out that the WWII atomic bombings by the US were not merely terrible acts of war, but they also signaled “a US policy of holding the world hostage to its global terrorism.”
Hiroshima was devastated on August 6, 1945 after the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing an estimated 140,000 people instantly or gradually from radiation sickness and cancers. Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing more than 70,000.
Cunningham pointed to the records which corroborate the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were deliberately exempted from the American carpet bombing of other Japanese cities with conventional weapons and incendiary devices during 1944-45.
“This was because the cities to be targeted with the atomic bombs were required to be intact – in order to demonstrate to the rest of the world the singular shock and awe of the new weapon in the American arsenal,” Cunningham pointed out.
“The immediate military target of America’s nuclear power in August 1945 may have been Japan. But the political target was the threat of annihilation to the rest of the world,” he added.
The analyst expressed regret that over 40 years after signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), “Washington stands more than ever in breach of its international obligations,” as not only has the US refused to get disarmed, it “has also proliferated its nuclear arsenal thousands-fold with the creation of a new generation of so-called mini-nukes.”
Iain Martin is one of Britain’s leading political commentators. A former editor of The Scotsman and deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, he’s currently writing a book about the financial crisis. As well as this blog, he writes a column for The Sunday Telegraph. You can read more about Iain at iainmartinpolitics.com.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony: a game of two halves
The transport system is not melting down, London is quieter than expected and a wonderful wave of optimism is consuming the capital. The athletes are a pleasure to watch, and on the evidence of the post-event interviews they provide a lovely contrast with our vulgar, egomaniacal, overpaid professional footballers.
Like millions of others I have been sucked into watching sports on television that only a few days ago I cared nothing for. Oh look, the archery is on. I interrupted writing this to bound (not very athletically) into the room next door, where the TV is tuned permanently to the Olympics. I heard the rising excitement of the commentary team and had to see what was happening. We’ve come first in the men’s rowing eights! It’s a gold! No, it was the heats.
The backlash on Twitter and elsewhere against those expressing doubts (and I don’t mean the daft rantings of Aidan “let’s invade Poland” Burley) reminded me a little of what it was to be a non-believer in the week following the death of Diana.
I didn’t hate the Opening Ceremony. It was, in the end, a game of two halves. The first half was about Britain, and was very much Danny Boyle’s creation. I liked that it amounted to a full-throated rejection of the ahistorical, history-has-nothing-to-teach-us Blairite analysis, which gave us the Dome, with its millenarian madness. Boyle’s production was much more British, plundering our history and literature. The show wasn’t going to please everyone, but Boyle had a good go and came up with a collage which was visually stunning. It isn’t true that Churchill was ignored. Perhaps his appearance was too brief, but his statue was there, saluting the Queen as she made her helicopter ride down the Thames with James Bond.
It was when it got to the NHS passage that it really went off-beam. It was Nigel Lawson who said famously that the National Health Service is the closest thing the English have to a religion, and this applies to the Welsh and the Scots too. In health policy, we are in a land beyond reason. It baffles those from other European countries with better-performing systems.
Most Britons will not accept the truth about the NHS. It is not that it produces uniformly terrible results, as its harshest critics say. The truth is that its performance, in terms of comparison with sophisticated mature economies, is middling. Yet, just as the minority of critics tend to overdo it, so its defenders sound completely barmy when they hail it as the best and the envy of the world. It isn’t.
The British make a compromise on health care. For many the NHS is a unifying idea, part of an idealised notion of what it is to be British. In return for that warm, fuzzy feeling they tolerate OK-ish health care (with pockets of disastrous failure and some examples of excellence).
In the opening ceremony Boyle fed the myth, with three giant letters spelling NHS in the middle of the Olympic stadium. For many of those watching, it seems to have been the high point. To me it looked like irrational, smug self-congratulation. Anyone attempting to make the system more responsive to consumer demand – to drive improvement, innovation and productivity and thus deliver better health care for patients – can forget it for another 20 years.
After that there was the athletes’ procession, and a few inventive flourishes aside, it ceased to be an authentically Danny Boyle production. The ceremony moved from being about Britain to burnishing the Olympic myth. This was the stuff that made me most uneasy, although I can see that it was visually compelling. I cannot stand being told what to think, or hectored, especially by people like the IOC, who are merely spending other people’s money and using it to celebrate their own power. When watching the climax of proceedings, with its fake religiosity, burning torches combining into one giant flaming inferno and the sinister burbling about “one world” and one Olympic family, one word came to mind: creepy.
Anyway, I must dash. The men’s table tennis is on.
It’s official: an Englishman’s home is no longer his castle.
In a move that is hardly witnessed in wartime, let alone in peacetime, the UK’s military establishment has been given the green light to quarter residential homes without any permission or notice.
In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics in London, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has taken the unprecedented step of erecting surface-to-air missile batteries on top of multiple residential locations around East London.
A group of local council tenants from Leytonstone, East London, lost their high court battle to prevent the military missile encampment from being stationed on the roof of their tower block before and during the Olympics. The action to use their residential block as a military base was signed off by the British Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Defence Secretary in ‘Defence of the Realm’.
Residents were then also refused permission and blocked from applying for an appeal via judicial review because the case falls under the guise of national security.
The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, was accused by the residents of the block of Breaching Article 8 and Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European convention on Human Rights. These protect an individual’s right to a private life and peaceful enjoyment of their home.
At no point beforehand were any of the residents given consultation by the MOD. Moreover, the ruling against the residents has set a number of new legal precedents in favour of the military, including a ‘zero notice’ policy whereby the MOD has no obligation to inform or consult residents beforehand, nor do they have any legal obligation to offer any compensation if they choose to commandeer a private property to set-up a forward operating base.
David Enright, a human rights lawyer and Partner of Howe and Co. who represented the residents, explains the danger of this new ruling, “Let’s be clear. Whenever the government (or military) takes a power over the civilian population – they never give it back.”
Critics are pointing out that the both MOD and the government agencies had 7 years to prepare and plan their operations, but intentionally left it until only three months before the games before revealing their operation – limiting the time to launch any legal challenge against them.
The residents of the Fred Wigg tower block were concerned, amongst many other issues, that surface-to-air missiles on their tower block could make them a terrorist target. The MOD rejected their claim by saying that missile deployment as part of the security measures for the Games was ‘legitimate and proportionate’. David Forsdick, who appeared in court on behalf of the MOD, said “The MOD, intelligence agencies and the Metropolitan Police do not consider there is any credible threat to the Fred Wigg tower from terrorism”.
It is somewhat ironic that the MOD, intelligence agencies and the Metropolitan Police do not consider there is any credible threat to the Fred Wigg Tower from terrorism. This was probably the case before they put missiles on the roof, but few would argue that this is still the case.
The Judge presiding over the case, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, maintained that the MOD had no duty to consult with residents, nor would they responsible for their relocation or any compensation as a result of the domestic military operation.
Prior to the case hearing, it was also revealed that Judge Haddon-Cave who was appointed to the case, had clear links with MOD. He had worked for, maintained ties with and even lectured for the MOD. He declared his interests at the beginning of the trial but for reasons unknown, his conflict of interest was not contested.
In what has been described as patronising at its worst, Judge Haddon-Cave claimed that although the residents of Fred Wigg tower had expressed ‘shock, anxiety and worry’ over the prospect of missiles being stations on top of their building, they had been under ‘something of a misapprehension’ about the nature of the equipment to be deployed and the risks deployment would bring.
Judge Haddon-Cave justified the MOD’s brash move by claiming there was no need for the MOD to negotiate with residents, as there were ‘no other alternative site for missiles’. Residents and citizen advocates have since rubbished the Judge’s spurious claims pointing out that there are literally thousands of huge open spaces- parks, vacant office buildings, industrial waste land, car parks, construction sites, school playing fields, and ships on the Thames, all of which would suffice if indeed, ‘air defence’ was indeed the primary issue at play here. In addition to all these other options, there are also hundreds of secure government buildings all over London which could be available for use in military operations. Instead, the decision by the MOD to opt instead for residents’ homes as domestic military staging areas places residents firmly into the category of ‘human shield’.
Journalist Brian Whelan, 28, previously posted a video on Telegraph website showing the British Army leaving crates of missiles, rockets and other military equipment outside the entrance of his home, Lexington Tower in Bow – completely unguarded. The MOD responded to the report by insisting that they were ‘dummy missiles’ and no risk was incurred by residents. Whelan was then promptly evicted from his council home after his report went public.
The result of Whelan’s early eviction from his home in Bow, has been that residents in the Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone have been afraid to speak to the media regarding their plight for fear that they too might be made homeless for speaking out against the state’s power structure – a disturbing new trend which can only be described as institutional intimidation. This new reality was confirmed by Infowars.com reporters, who were met with a wall of silence when trying to gain comment from multiple residents this past weekend.
In addition to the MOD, British state-run television apparatus BBC has also taken over a number of council properties in East London for its media operations around the Olympic games, clashing with residents and even denying residents entry into their own homes in at least one instance. Demotix.com reported this week:
Following a request from BBC Security, police denied a family access to their tower block home overlooking the Olympic site in Stratford for well over an hour, before having to acknowledge they had no power to do so.
Colin, a resident in Lund Point on the Carpenters Estate in Stratford had invited a group viewing the estate in a tour organised by CARP (Carpenters Estate Against Regeneration) to come to his flat to see the high standard of accommodation in the 1966 tower block and the views across the estate.
The BBC have rented the vacant areas of the top five floors of the 22 story block as a base for their Olympic and Paralympic coverage. The group included a number of UK and foreign journalists, photographers and TV crews with an interest in the area.
This is the thick end of the wedge, where eminent domain and martial law automatically usurp any rights or redress a citizen would normally be entitled to, but can’t because national security has been invoked by the state.
Clearly, one can certainly deduce from these events that Britain is officially in a permanent state of war.
That is the ever lingering question.
For the first time since WWII, London’s green space is transformed by anti-aircraft guns.
It is a sight which many older generations thought they would never see in this country again.
Soldiers in residential tower blocks and green open spaces were yesterday pictured installing surface-to-air missiles at six sites across the capital, a show of strength not seen in this country since the Second World War.
Yesterday, the military began installing Rapier and high-velocity missile systems at the six sites in Leytonstone, Bow, Blackheath Common and Oxleas Wood, both in South East London, Enfield and Epping Forest.
The most controversial of these is at the residential block Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London.
Swarming like ants across the rooftop, members of the Royal Artillery were pictured setting up the weapons.
The Starstreak high-velocity missile systems, whose laser-guided weapons have a range of 3.4 miles, are so powerful they can bring down an aircraft.
Residents this week lost their bid to force a judicial review into the decision to deploy the air defences above their heads.
The tenants fear the move could make them a terrorist target but security chiefs say there is ‘no credible threat’ and the siting of the missiles is ‘proportionate.
Another Starstreak system was also placed at the Lexington Building, a gated community in Bow, East London.
Cover is also being provided by Rapier towed missile systems, which have a range of 7.5 miles, at Blackheath Common and Oxleas Wood, both in South East London, a reservoir in Enfield and a farm in Epping Forest.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD), security service and police maintain there is ‘no credible threat’ to the Games and say the siting of the missiles is both ‘legitimate and proportionate’.
The Defence Secretary has described the ground-based air defence systems as ‘just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered air security plan’ which would provide ‘both reassurance and a powerful deterrent’ during the Games.
The security plan includes a helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean, being moored in the River Thames, with RAF Typhoon jets stationed ready at RAF Northolt and Puma helicopters at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford.
David Cameron will have the grim task of ordering the Armed Forces to use the missile defence systems to shoot down a passenger airliner over Britain if a suicide attack is suspected of being underway.
The Prime Minister will be ultimately responsible for a decision to fire missiles to blast a suicide jet, possibly carrying terrified innocent civilians, out of the skies.
Colonel Jon Campbell, commander of the Joint Ground Based Air Defence, has previously said: ‘We have done as much as we can to allay people’s fears.
‘The Rapier system has a world-class radar on it and is particularly good at picking up low and slow-moving objects in the sky.
‘It means we’re able to get the very best picture of what is happening in the skies of London.’
Air Vice Marshall Stuart Atha also said previously: ‘We want the focus to be on Usain Bolt this summer and not us. We’re very proud to be part of this plan to deliver a safe and secure Olympics.’
A campaign to stop the Ministry of Defence deploying surface to air missiles on top of homes as part of Olympic security was taken to Parliament yesterday.
Labour’s John Cryer tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons urging MPs to signal their opposition to the plans.
The Leyton and Wanstead MP said residents in his constituency feared the result of deploying the weapons, which could be used to shoot down aircraft threatening the London 2012 Olympics over east London.
A legal bid by the residents of the Fred Wigg tower, in Leytonstone, was dropped after the High Court rejected the challenge yesterday.
Mr Cryer’s motion said: ‘This House recognises the need to provide reasonable security for the Olympic Games but is concerned at the unprecedented decision of the Ministry of Defence, in peacetime and where no emergency has arisen, to station troops, armed police and ground-based air defence missile systems on top of Fred Wigg Tower.
‘(It is) a civilian residential block of flats, in Leyton, and without any consultation with the residents affected and without bringing the matter before Commons.
‘(This is) despite the fact that seven years have passed since this country was awarded the Olympic Games.
‘It calls on the Ministry of Defence to examine urgently the possibility of building a temporary tower for the missile systems instead of siting such weapons and launch pads over the heads of the ordinary men, women and children who have had no say in the decision.
‘Or, alternatively, to provide proper security to protect the residents living in Fred Wigg Tower from potential terrorist attack and to provide financial assistance to concerned and worried residents who wish to move for the duration of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.’
Early day motions are tabled by MPs seeking to gather support for an issue or cause.
Other MPs can sign them to signal support but they are not debated in the Commons. One MP, Labour’s John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) has so far signed Mr Cryer’s motion since it was posted yesterday.
There is a very bizarre TV commercial video circulating the Internet, which is being taken down as fast as they are put up. The commercial originated from ‘now TV’, a 24-hour pay TV service provider in Hong Kong, affiliated with ‘PCCW Limited’, a holding company of a Chinese Hong Kong based firm ‘HKT Group Holdings Limited’.
The three and a half minute spot appears to be a soccer promotional while heading into the 2012 Olympics in London. The odd thing with the video is the depiction of a destructing London during the games. While I chose not to copy the video while respecting any copyright, the following images show the underlying subliminal (or maybe not so subliminal) message being promoted in the video (with source credit to ‘now-TV’).
While this post unfortunately has quite a few NSA ‘keywords’ in it which will surely be flagged for a check, the fact is that this information (video/images) is (are) in the public domain and due to its odd messaging, may be cause for some concern or questions and is in the public’s best interest to know about…