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Archive for the ‘Financial Terrorism’ Category

[Soul Searching] Vapours

Posted by Lex Fear on May 25, 2009

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.

I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.

The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Solomon, Ecclesiastes

A while ago I was discussing politics and the recession with a friend. I was doing what I considered my dutiful task of informing him of how all the decisions of Gordon Brown, since ZaNuLabour rose to power 12 years ago, have led to the bubble in house prices and the subsequent eonomic collapse. But my friend then asked a pertinent question which caused me to consider my very purpose.

If the Conservatives had been in power, would things have been different?

And the very truthful answer to that is, No.

It’s not just a political thing, it’s not just that ZaNuLabour stole Tory policies. It’s the old cliche that absolute power corrupts absolutely – greed, extravagance, gluttony, apathy,  envy, pride and anger. What have we not seen in recent days? There are very few people – and politicians are people – who did not fall into the trap of thinking the good times were never going to end. Everyone was happy to turn a blind eye to the injustices, to the corruption, the expense claims whilst the money kept rolling and the price of their house kept rising.

What would have been different? Nothing. And it’s this answer which has formulated my cynicism and means I will never have absolute faith in politics.

That’s not to say I don’t believe there are individuals who appear at times who see all this and really do want to change the system, but all too often they either fall to the dark side, or they find themselves being chewed up and spat out by a great machine which is fueled by the ignorance of man.

You think our politicians have learned from this boom and bust? You think things will be difference because they are putting rules in place to stop it happening again? Let me tell you that most of them don’t even know how to prevent it, or don’t really care, and of those rules they do make… they will be ignored by future generations just as we have ignored the rules and the lessons of the past.

So why bother even blogging about this, why bother discussing it? The most reward that any of us can get is the option to say “I told you so”, because we all lose. The truth about teamwork is that the team moves forward at the pace of it’s slowest member, and the same is true of humanity. For all our scientific innovations and discoveries, we cannot solve the problem sin. When I use this word, sin, I refer to human failings, things which are inherent in our nature which cause evil – deceit, selfishness, murder, greed, sexual desires, war… but instead of acknowledging these we redefine them. (The idea that someone would have sexual relations with a 10 year old disgusts us and strikes us as immoral, but the boundaries of sexual morality are being increasingly eroded. As adults fight for more sexual freedoms there is nothing to stop this becoming socially acceptible – all that’s needed is to redefine what constitutes being an adult. For instance at 10 years old in England, you can already be tried for a crime as an adult – why can’t you be considered sexually aware?)

But I digress. I have questioned why I should rail against something which cannot and will not be stopped as long as there is an unsanctified human race. A human race of which 1/3 does not even acknowledge God’s existance let alone as Lord. (And of those that do acknowledge and worship God, how many of them are truly taking a stand against corruption and not partaking in it?)

The truth is, I have lost the drive to blog about politics and world affairs, to question the system. I still hold strong political beliefs but since there is no longer any difference between man and pig, I no longer see a purpose in it.

Instead, I’ve taken some time to reflect on blogging, and I am going to go back to my roots in blogging about Christianity and experience – that means I’m still going to post the odd consumer post but I see my primary purpose in apologetics.

It may be something to do with having made my peace with the church.. or at least the church I now attend. It may be something to do with reading and listening to the arguments of atheists more.. which provides me a source of great mirth and sometimes deep thought.

Of course my co-author Hudson has a lot to say about politics and anyone else can be free to join and write for AaF about these topics, but I have said enough, and will now focus on something which is close to my heart.. and I guess, in that way, I’m being true to the subjects I’ve always posted on.. those that are important issues for me.

Posted in Absolute Power, Anecdotes, Apologetics, Bollotics, Financial Terrorism, Metablog, Morals & Ethics, Realpolitik | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Intriguing] Blunkett’s Guidedog?

Posted by Lex Fear on February 23, 2009

That’s my first guess at what has caused his near U-turn on ID cards:

David Blunkett, who as Home Secretary led the government’s push for compulsory ID cards, will tomorrow call for the scheme to be curtailed, according to a report.

Instead he will propose that only foreigners be made to hold an ID card. UK nationals should only be required to hold a passport, Blunkett will argue.

For those not in the know, whilst Blunkett was in public office, flogging ID Cards and all manner of Orwellian devices to use on us, the British public, he received a nice directorship with Entrust, the company who created Spains ID card system and lobbied for the contract for the British one.

I’m sure there was no link between Blunketts cushty new job and his policy towards ID cards at the time.

A glance at the news show Entrust doing reasonably well profits wise during the recession, so what has caused Blunkett to shift his stance?

Worth watching this one, lack of sight has caused Blunketts nose to develop a keen sense of smell for money and influence.

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Posted in Absolute Power, Anti-Terrorists, Bad Company, Bollotics, Databases, Dorks, Doublespeak, Financial Terrorism, Minitruth, Pharisees, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Uncircumcised Philistines, Untouchables, Wealth Creation, Xenophobia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Profit of Doom] Blair Must Hang

Posted by Lex Fear on February 22, 2009

“In January 2008, J P Morgan Chase took him on as an advisor, plunging the bank into a crisis from which it may not recover. “Our firm will benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience”, they said. Over the next year the share price halved and profits plunged by more than 80%, much as I expected.

Now he’s helping to modernise Rwanda. Woe to that land that appoints Blair to modernise it! His normal way of expressing concern and trying to help is to send the RAF to destroy their infrastructure. I don’t know what precise form the catastrophe in Rwanda will take –could be genocide, could be a plague of frogs- but it will come. And if the Americans ever ask his advice on resolving the financial crisis he may yet succeed in ruining us all.”

From Chase Me Ladies, I’m in the cavalry

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Posted in Absolute Power, Anti-Terrorists, Bank Robbers, Bollotics, Financial Terrorism, Ha-has, Quoteyness, Untouchables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

[Economy] It’s The Interest Rates Stupid!

Posted by Lex Fear on February 20, 2009

Says it all really.

7 Reasons Why Banks Should Increase Interest Rates

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Posted in Bank Robbers, Bollotics, Financial Terrorism, Profiteering, Property Market | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Your Data] How Often Have They Lost Your Data

Posted by Lex Fear on February 17, 2009

Open Rights Group have a questionnaire which should tell you!

via: Ideal Government

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Posted in Absolute Power, Anti-Terrorists, Bad Company, Buyer Beware, Copywrong, Databases, Financial Terrorism, Free as in Speech, Minitruth, Pharisees, Predatory Systems, Realpolitik, Technology, Uncircumcised Philistines, WhatTheyDontWantU2C | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Heroes] Fax Off

Posted by Lex Fear on February 13, 2009

This has to be one of my favourite stories of 2008:

OK. Fine by me. One great advantage of my VOIP provider (Primus, for anyone who cares) is that their base package includes many interesting features, including the possibility to redirect any number to another. Thirty seconds later, I had the fax number redirected to the receptionist’s number.

From: The Consumerist.

See my previous post on Culture Wars – dealing with corporate bullshit.

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Posted in Bad Company, Buyer Beware, Financial Terrorism, Ha-has, Predatory Systems, Takeback | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Misadventure Capitalism] – The Fat Cats That Got The Cream

Posted by BHudson on February 8, 2009

Royal Bank of Scotland – 68% nationalised
Lawrence Fish, non-executive chairman – paid £6.6m in 2006, receiving a £1m pension from April.
Fred Goodwin, former chief exec. – paid £4.2m in 2007, due for a pension of £8.37m

HBOS – 40% nationalised
Peter Cummings, former head of corporate lending – paid £2.6m in 2007
Michael Geoghegan, chief exec. – paid £2.955m in 2007

Bearing in mind that their companies are now owned by the taxpayers, one would have thought that they could show some restraint in pouring out bonuses. Nonetheless, RBS alone seems to think it’s a good idea to pay out a billion pounds of money to their fat cats as reward for nearly killing the economy.

I hold these points to be self evident:
1.Wages are a reward for the individual’s input of the factors of production.
2.Banking is a service industry, hence the factors offered by the executives are labour and entrepreneurship.
3.Most executives seem to do very little work. Hence, their input of labour is little.
4.Good entrepreneurship does not result in almost going bust. Hence, their input of entrepreneurship is very little.
5.Hence, they are due little compensation for their efforts.
6.Bonuses are a reward for extraordinary success.
7.Ending up mostly owned by the government is not an extraordinary success. Hence, they are due no bonuses.

Anything there sound ridiculous? To be honest, they ought to pay back all their bonuses for the years of unwise lending that got us in this state in the first place. Now the government has bailed out the bankers and decided to nationalise them, they ought to take a stand to stop such ludicrous profiteering, rather than trying to ‘coax’ them into playing ball. If America, France and Germany can do it perfectly easily…

Posted in Bank Robbers, Corporate Irresponsibility, Financial Terrorism, Little Hitlers, Londonland, Named and Shamed, Opinion, Profiteering, Protest, Untouchables, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Economic Meltdown] Flash… Aah Aah He’ll Screw Everyone Of Us

Posted by Lex Fear on February 4, 2009

Overheard at a desk in a major investment bank today:

“This MP basically said that they’re creating an inflationary environment… 15% interest rates, not this year, but over the next 3 years”

Make of it what you will, personally it tells me that everyone in the know is aware of what is coming next and what is needed, but for some reason Flash Gordon and Alistair Darling are out of the loop or didn’t get the memo. It’s also becoming clear that Flash is intending to pull a Zimbabwe and start printing money (he calls this “quantitative easing” – which is another fancy financial bullshit term for printing money).

You see there is only two ways out of a recession, inflation or raising interest rates. You should know what happens when the government uses inflation, it’s been done before by the Weimar Republic and more recently Zanu-PF.

But what about the other tool, interest rates? Well, you see, this would cause millions of feckless, leveraged, mewing borrowers to realise the difference between debt and wealth – can’t have that, or can we?

The fact is we’re dangerously close to the edge of falling into hyperinflation and while its difficult to predict how disastrous this would be we do know that fixed loans would be eroded away, but so would the value of GBP, the value of any savings and investments too (you know, the things used to fund borrowing) – basically our ecomony would become worthless and most likely we’d all end up informally adopting the Euro.

So why does Flash want to print money? There can only be one of three conclusions, either he…

  • Has lost all sense of reality, delusional, thinking he is the saviour of the world
  • Is incompetent. He has no clue what he is doing, no clue how to manage an economy and has sat on top of the biggest economic bubble in the history of the world, taking credit for something he had no part in. Or…
  • Has engineered this, in part, on purpose. The most far reaching conclusion however I can’t help but wonder if he was hoping for a bust sooner, so that it would damage Bliar (and oust him out of office), or even, guessing (or feeling) he will lose an election soon, hoping to pass the bubble on to the Tories just before it burst (securing a short term for them, allowing him to be elected back into power at the next election). Far reaching but not inconceivable – considering all the warnings he has ignored over the 10 years he was Chancellor.

Whatever the reasons for his contempt of savers, the UK economy and the poor, all his actions are delaying the inevitable (and making it worse)… depression and potentially more civil unrest.

Posted in Absolute Power, Bank Robbers, Bollotics, Doublethink, Financial Terrorism, Minitruth, Pharisees, Uncircumcised Philistines, Wealth Creation, WhatTheyDontWantU2C | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

[DeBushification] Obama… One of Us?

Posted by Lex Fear on January 23, 2009

There’s a lot of cynicism out there about the man, Obama. It’s not entirely unjustified either, our American friends did not get to experience the enthusiasm and promise of a young Tony Blair becoming Prime Minister and ushering in a new wave of ‘Cool Britannia’. That was before the Millennium Dome, the spin-meisters, Iraq, David Kelly, Jean Charles DeMenezes, the surveillence state, banning of protest… and don’t forget all along Gordon Brown riding on top of a spectacular bubble as though he had brought a new era of wealth – ignoring all the warnings by people more intelligent than he.

So yeah, I understand the cynicism about Obama. However I can’t help but be won over by the actions of his first few days in office. Most of us were expecting the usual settling in period, the careful introduction of new policy and slow pushing out of the old… not so for Obama, why it’s almost like one of us got into the White House and set about putting immediately putting right what has gone so horribly wrong.

And like one of us, he’s bound to piss people off, get things wrong and misunderstand the old, establised process.

Still, in just 4 days he has ordered a stop to torture, rendition flights and secret jails, put a stop on staff payrises, taken away as much power as possible from lobbyists, set the closure of guantanamo bay in motion, embraced creative commons, honoured freedom of information, promised to put Israeal/Palastine on the agenda (which I see as a snub to our ponzi Middle-East Envoy), and now reversed one of Bushes executive orders to keep former President records private.

I don’t remember any such dramatic reversal or regime change in history apart from war and revolution.

Although I don’t agree with Obama’s policy towards the global recession and bailing out financial terrorists institutions, I have faith that this is not the same old tribal politics we are going to see. It is plainly obvious that Obama has character and he is not going to do things the same way. I don’t think America will be the same either.

I just hope he doesn’t screw up. I’ve seen so many great and inspiring people personally screw up… enough to make you renounce your faith. When I hear people gush about Obama, all I can think is “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.”

So, if you’re still a die-hard cynic, at least take consolation in the fact that even if he’s not championing your own personal cause, he’s making steps in the right direction. Much like William Wilberforce took on the huge political task of overhauling Britains slave industry.

Posted in Financial Terrorism, Opinion, Realpolitik | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

[Educashun] Real-life Monopoly Game Mod

Posted by Lex Fear on November 30, 2008

A recent post by Stef has gotten me seriously thinking about the game of Monopoly and how it relates to our current, completely unforeseen, crunchy, global, it-was-all-Americas-fault, financial crisis.

Monopoly has always been one of my favourite games but ever since I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad back in 2002 (yeah I know people say it’s too anecdotal), I’ve wondered about how to make it more real life.. I mean it’s a potential teaching tool since all the basics are there but when you really think about it, getting money is just too easy.. I mean the bank is just giving it away and it doesn’t ask for it back, and if you’re playing alternative rules, the city doesn’t charge you for parking, instead it gives you a tax windfall.

So I’ve thought of a bunch of ‘real-life’ mods to introduce to a game of Monopoly:

  • All players start with £20, the banker starts with £10,000 which is used to provide mortgages.
  • “Go” symbolises a payday, but you get a wage relative to the price of streets – £20 therefore..
  • In order to buy a street, you need to take out a mortgage. An interest rate is agreed with the bank each time eg. 5%. (players can also take a mortgage to purchase from each other).
  • A mortgage term is agreed over the number of times you pass “Go”, eg. You take out a mortgage on a Train Station for £199.50 (£10 deposit, £190 + 5% interest) over 5 “Go’s”, your mortgage payment will be £39.90 per passing of “Go”.
  • The banker is a player himself but does not take turns to throw the dice and cannot own property. Instead the objective of the banker is to make the most profit out of the game – this means making more money than the last man standing.
  • The banker does not have a wage but is funded by the central bank/government. The banker instead keeps money made from interest on mortgages and other transactions.
  • The banker keeps a seperate account for himself and one for the central bank/government/fund or whatever that wages are paid from.
  • The banker negotiates all mortgages and rates. On taking out a mortgage it is up to the banker to determine whether you are able to afford the payments (by whatever means). The risk for the borrower is losing the the property, the risk for the banker is losing money to a bankruptcy.
  • If an borrower cannot afford to pay the mortgage on thier turn, the banker can decide to repossess at any time until payments are caught up.
  • If the banker forces a repossession, the property must immediately go up for auction, and the banker keeps any money generated from the auction. If a mortgage is needed then this is negotiated as per usual with the bank.
  • In the event of a bankruptcy, the bank recovers all property for auction (and keeps the profits generated), liquid assets are devided between the creditors.
  • There is no such thing as free parking, if you land on the square marked “free parking” then you must pay £6 within 12 squares (by the time you get to Oxford Street), if you don’t pay then the fine rises to £24, if you then don’t pay by the time you pass “Go”, the fine becomes £48 and the banker may optionally increase your interest rates on your mortgage (the fine remains outstanding during this time and must still be paid off) or throw you in jail and cancel the fine.
  • All the train stations and utility companies are privatised and therefore when a player lands on a privatised train station or utility company, the owner also gets a matching payout from the government/central fund. Train station and utiltity company owners are allowed to raise their rates in line with interest rate set by the banker.
  • Rent and sale prices are set individually by property owners.
  • If a player cannot afford to pay rent, they can choose to forfeit a turn of the dice and the banker may also increase the interest rate on their mortgage.
  • The banker must keep the interest rate on any mortgage for the life of the mortgage unless the borrower falls into debt. The banker can only increase the interest rate in the following circumstances: The borrower fails to pay rent, the borrower fails to pay a fine, tax, train station or utility company. The banker keeps the money from the increase.
  • Creditors can optionally wipe out any debt owed (depriving the banker of an interest rate increase).

I have no idea if these rules would work practically, however they would certainly change the game in favour of the banker, the station and utility company owners, thus better reflecting real life. Of course if you wanted to make it more realistic, you could allow the banker to repackage debt and sell it as financial products to other players. You could sell the properties for full price but call it “shared ownership” and allow the government to charge half rent everytime the owner lands on it. The banker could act as Estate Agent and issue ‘valuations’ on each property when a player comes to sell and taking a cut of each sale as well as issuing the mortgages. Finally, if the banker ever runs out of money then the central fund could be used to ‘bail-out’ the banker.

I realise that contrary to the usual game mods, mine could actually make the game of Monopoly more boring, and would be very difficult to introduce to people not so interested in the details of how supply and demand works.. which just goes to show how screwed we really are as a human race. I mean, if.. IF our current former-Chancellor turned Great Leader Gordon Brown could not see the “credit crunch” coming, then just what was he doing for the past 11 years as head of the UK’s economy? Perhaps he really meant “No. More boom and Bust!”

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Posted in Bank Robbers, Financial Terrorism, Property Market, Wealth Creation | Tagged: | 7 Comments »