Spain: Tax us all to Save the Euro

The government in Madrid officially calls for bailout, but refrains from calling it so.

By IAN TRAYNOR | UK GUARDIAN | JUNE 7, 2012

Spain is warning that Europe‘s single currency will unravel unless its leaders decide within weeks to centralise budget and tax policies in the eurozone and agree on a strategy to pool responsibility for failing banks.

As Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, came under mounting international pressure to accept the eurozone’s fourth national bailout in two years, the government in Madrid angrily rejected the demands, insisting that it did not need rescuing. With fears of a euro meltdown having rapidly shifted from Greece to Spain, Rajoy is pleading for a direct eurozone rescue of his country’s banks, to avoid the humiliation attached to requesting a national bailout.

Sources familiar with the Spanish government’s thinking said its negotiating position was that the fundamental quandary facing the eurozone was not Spain, but a European failure of leadership in persuading the financial markets that the euro would be defended at all costs.

A Brussels summit at the end of the month would have to remedy that by agreeing to establish a eurozone banking and fiscal union – major federalising steps certain to be fought over. Without that commitment, Spain fears the single currency would be finished in months.

The Spanish government believes that the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy is too big to rescue and that the consequences of abandoning Spain to the markets without a pledge of major European reform could be so ferocious that the single currency would not survive.

The current rules governing eurozone bailouts stipulate that a government has to request help and that the money may only be channelled via governments – increasing the national debt burden.

But Spain is stalling until key euro group meetings, the G20 summit and the Greek election later this month. Some analysts believe that if Spain is finally forced to request a full-scale EU/IMF bailout it is likely to come around 20 June.

Sources in Brussels confirmed that a rescue plan was being hatched for Spain – but it could be limited to desperately-needed banking aid, rather than a full national bailout.

Luis de Guindos, the Spanish finance minister, said  his government would wait until the results of an independent audit of Spanish banks was completed later this month before pondering its options.

The IMF is to deliver its verdict on the condition of the Spanish banks on Monday, followed a week later by the Spanish audit. “From that basis, the Spanish government will decide what measures must be taken to recapitalise banks,” said De Guindos. Madrid was joined by Washington and London in calling on the eurozone, principally Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to deliver a persuasive new plan quickly for saving the euro. They fear the crisis might inflict immense damage on the US and UK economies.

A big move towards reform could immediately ease market pressure on Spain’s borrowing costs, though the European Central Bank might still have to supply some funding while details of the new union were thrashed out.

Sources familiar with the Spanish government’s thinking believe the country’s banking crisis could be fixed much more cheaply than the €50bn bill currently estimated by analysts. In Brussels the signs are that a deal is being considered that would be more palatable for Rajoy by explicitly linking the rescue money to the banking problem and not to his government’s stewardship of Spain’s finances.

As the ECB left eurozone interest rates unchanged at 1%, ignoring calls for a slight reduction, its head, Mario Draghi, dismissed the criticism from Washington and London – but he also urged eurozone leaders get their act together.

Berlin is pushing the fiscal union, but on its own terms. It wants to force common rules and targets but avoid any early commitment to sharing liability for the debt or bank savings of individual countries. David Cameron is to go to Berlin   on Thursdayto try to push Merkel into a more protective stance on the euro, which would entail German pledges to underwrite struggling countries’ debt. Following a telephone conversation with Barack Obama, the British prime minister will tell Merkel the US and the UK are insisting on “an immediate plan” on the euro, Downing Street said. The prime minister will tell Merkel the eurozone has no more than weeks to act to shore up the single currency.

Cameron’s spokeswoman said the pair “agreed on the need for an immediate plan to tackle the crisis and to restore market confidence”.  Cameron’s regular interventions from the sidelines of the euro crisis irritate Berlin and Brussels and Merkel is unlikely to be swayed, although Germany is showing some signs of greater flexibility.

The White House, fearing the impact of a European disaster on Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, is becoming more trenchant in its criticism of the eurozone and its demands of the Germans.

In Brussels, the signs are that the sides were inching towards a deal that would be made more palatable for Rajoy by explicitly linking the rescue money solely to the banking problem – and not to his government’s stewardship of Spain’s public finances.

German politicians dropped any pretence that they were not pressing Rajoy to ask for a bailout, but said the rescue could come without very tight strings attached. “I do think that Spain has to come under the rescue shield,” said Volker Kauder, the parliamentary leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrats in Berlin. “Not because of the country, but because of the banks.”

Tristan Cooper, sovereign credit analyst at Fidelity Worldwide Investment said: “The willingness to support Spain is there. The difficulty is designing a method that can satisfy Germany and the market.

Although sick banks are Spain’s most acute ailment, there are more chronic ones. These include the highest unemployment and the third widest fiscal deficit in Europe in a deep recession.

Markets would react positively to an adequate bank recap solution. A structural change in investor sentiment requires the prospect of a sustainable economic recovery and a credible plan for achieving it.”

The expectation is that any decisions will be delayed until after the Greek election on 17 June. Eurozone finance ministers are to meet on 21 June. The next day Rajoy is due in Rome for a summit with the leaders of Germany, France, and Italy  before the Brussels summit a week later.

If the result of this risky round of brinkmanship and bargaining is an agreed “road-map” towards the medium-term aim of a eurozone federation, the Spanish hope the heat will be off, pressure from the financial markets will subside, their borrowing costs will sink and recapitalising their banking sector will become more feasible.

Spain Gets Closer to Requesting European Bailout of Banks

CNBC | MAY 29, 2012

Spanish 10-year borrowing costs neared the 7 percent danger level and Bankia shares hit record lows on Monday after the government, struggling to sort out its finances, proposed putting sovereign debt into the struggling lender.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy pinned the blame for the rising borrowing costs—the spread over Germany reached the highest since the euro’s launch—on concern about the future of the single currency.

He again ruled out seeking outside aid to revive a banking sector laid low by a property boom that has long since bust.

“There are major doubts over the euro zone and that makes the risk premium for some countries very high. That’s why it would be a very good idea to deliver a clear message there’s no going back for the euro,” Rajoy told a news conference. “There will not be any (European) rescue for the Spanish banking system.”

He gave no details of bank recapitalisation plans but backed calls for the euro zone bailout fund, which will be in place from July, to be able to lend to banks direct.

Government sources told Reuters Spain may shore up Bankia with sovereign bonds in return for shares in the bank and could use this method to prop up other troubled lenders—moves which would push the country’s debts above the 79.8 percent of economic output which had been expected this year.

“This method has been used by Germany and by Ireland in the past, it is perfectly valid,” a government source told Reuters.

The source said the ECB had not been specifically informed of the plans to inject state bonds into Bankia. A final decision had not yet been made on which option to take.

Bankia’s parent company BFA has asked for 19 billion euros ($23.8 billion) in government help, in addition to 4.5 billion the state has already pumped in to cover possible losses on repossessed property, loans and investments.

Investors increasingly believe weak banks, undermined by the collapse four years ago of a decade-long property boom, coupled with heavily indebted regions, could force Spain to seek an international bailout which the euro zone can barely afford.

Banks Can No Longer Hide the Collapse

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MAY 16, 2012

It’s been at least four years since the current financial collapse began. Back in 2008, when the crisis was already taking shape, the banks supported by international financial institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, Bank of Europe, Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve did not hesitate to calm everyone down saying that the earliest signs of a global financial collapse were nothing to worry about. It was all a minor cough, they said. But as time went by, those who warned about the coming depression were proven correct. The forecasts of local, regional and global crisis were unfortunately true.

Today, four years after the banks recognized the existence of a ‘difficult situation’ due to the accumulation of sovereign debt, we have confirmed, over and over, that the threat of a global financial collapse is greater than ever, and that it is just a matter of time before more countries declare bankruptcy. The crisis did not begin with Greece, as many would have us believe. It did not start with Iceland either. In fact, Iceland did what it had to do in order to clean its own house. The collapse began from the moment the bankers were set free to gamble away investments into fake financial products they invented to lure nations into fast and easy returns on their savings.

The signs of the crisis have been so alarming, that in the past few weeks the same entities that once said there was no crisis, and that the economy would begin to pick up, started to warn that the world was getting to edge of the precipice. Their acceptance of the inevitable did not come easy. It was only after reality made it impossible to hide the current financial collapse that the bankers had to come out and publicly accept that their debt based business model came to an end. However, this acceptance was not a clear ‘it is our fault’ kind of thing. Instead, the bankers sought to blame countries for their irresponsible management of savings and investments which the bankers themselves had helped to carry out by swindling politicians and bureaucrats to divest their people’s monies to put it all in one single bag; the banker’s bag.

The collapse couldn’t have happened without the help of accomplice politicians who opened their country’s doors to powerful financial institutions by deregulating their activity, permitting investment banks to fuse their operations with savings banks. Those banks then offered toxic financial products which countries around the world invested their monies in under the premise that their cash would be returned fast and multiplied many times over.

As we now know, in the case of Greece and Iceland deregulation brought about more debt rather than a healthy recovery. The difference is that Iceland decided to face their debt problem the right way, liquidating what needed to be liquidated instead of bailing out their banks and other institutions that had used their money to buy credit default swaps. Greece on the other hand decided to bend over to the bankers’ demands and began accept supposed financial aid provided by other European nations. As a result, the country is in a financial comma from where it will probably not wake up unless it exits the Euro zone and goes back to the drachma, its former currency. Greece’s exit from the Euro will not only allow it to start fresh, but also will free the country from the chains attached to it by powerful European bankers in command of the fraudulent Euro scheme. Greece’s only possible change of survival as a nation is to reject the payment of a gigantic illegally incurred debt acquired by corrupt politicians on behalf of their people, who were not consulted about it. Most of that debt, as it happened in the case of Iceland, does not belong to the Greek, but to banks themselves.

As we reported before, people have begun to realize that their trusted leaders defrauded them and one by one they’ve been voted out of office. Greece’s former Prime Minister was outed, France’s Sarkozy was also kicked out of office and Angela Merkel had giant loses in the latest state elections in Germany. Meanwhile, in the United States, the man who came with change written all over himself will most likely be changed next november. Any and all efforts made by the bankers to provide a rosy picture of reality has failed because reality has shown the dark side they didn’t want people to see.

World stocks and the euro have fallen in value as nations become less capable of paying their debt. Banks all over the Eurozone continue to be downgraded and borrowing rates for eurozone countries continue to go up as none of the nations are trusted to pay their dues. Attempts by Greece’s President to form a new government which he openly called to be composed by technocrats failed Tuesday and new elections will have to take place. The rejection by Greek politicians to form a government led by their president comes during a time when the country is incapable of paying the interests on its debt and with it the likelihood of Greece abandoning the Eurozone becomes more real than before.

The shaky conditions in the Mediterranean nation has prompted people to take their money out of the banks. In the last week, depositors have withdrawn at least 1 billion out of Greece’s banks and the trend is expected to continue. Meanwhile, the Bank of England has cut down its forecast for economic growth for Britain as it warned that the debt crisis was the biggest threat to the financial recovery. Suddenly the organizations that promoted indebtedness are now portraying themselves as the speakers of truth. In its announcement, the BoE says that growth will be limited to just 1 percent, as supposed to just over 1 percent, a number given by the bank in a previous financial report. The BoE also cut down its growth estimate for 2013. It now sets it at 2 percent, as supposed to 3 percent from its previous estimations in February.

The financial crisis’ effects have been augmented by the interconnectedness of the global economy, composed by economic blocks as supposed to independent nation-states. Nowadays, a sneeze in Italy will carry its waves to all the European Union. A protectionist measure in Argentina will impact the whole Mercosur. Another trend that shows the reach of the current financial crisis is the movement of large amounts of cash from one country to another. Investors seem to trust Germany more than Greece as they’ve bet their assets will be safer there. The interest rate which Germany must pay to borrow money for 10 years fell to the lowest level ever in early trading on Wednesday, which is a reflection of the growing concern about the need for Greece to carry out elections. “New elections are risky because they could confirm the population’s support for anti-austerity parties and lead eventually to a eurozone exit”, said bond strategist Jean-Francois Robin to AFP.

The latest voice of alarm came from the International Monetary Fund’s President, Christine Lagarde, who said that when it comes to Greece she is prepared for anything, and that she believes that a Greek exit from the Eurozone must be done in an orderly fashion. Both Angela Merkel and Greece’s President, Karolos Papoulias, have gone out fear mongering on the public they most make the right decision in the coming election, of face a “threat to our national existence”. According to the UK Telegraph European shares and the euro itself fell again. The stock markets, such as the Eurostoxx 600 fell 0.7 per cent to a year-low; Germany’s Dax dropped 0.8 percent and Spain’s Ibex was down 1.6 per cent. In London the FTSE100 slid 0.5 per cent. These are clear signs that not even the banks believe that a solution to the Greek crisis will emerge, or that a recovery will take place anytime soon.

Elsewhere in Europe, the worrisome situation in Spain, for example, further accelerates the collapse of the Euro system. The rate of borrowing for debtor nations which are seen as riskier borrowers jumped sharply this week. In Spain, the market rate on 10-year bonds increased to 6.49 percent, exactly .4 above the levels that analysts consider safe to sustain in the long run. Despite its decision to once again bailout commercial banks, Spain continues to struggle to keep its head over the water. The banks that the country is trying to ‘rescue’ from their knowingly bad investments are feeling their loses from their loans to the real-estate sector, which collapsed in 2008. Local media reported today that Moody’s, an entity created by the banks themselves, was ready to once again cut down the ratings of some 20 spanish banks just a couple of days after it cut down the ratings of 26 Italian banks.

Italy, Spain and Portugal are said to be the next countries that will join Greece in the financial bankruptcy wagon; a process that will only be delayed if the European bankers decide to continue with their policies to force the hand of countries which they are in complete control of to bailout more local banks that invested in heavily toxic financial products. This process is set to go on for as long as the bankers need in order to further consolidate power in Europe and the United States. The final implosion will occur after the banks have absorbed the largest and most important nations of the troubled European Union zone, which is originally composed by 17 countries.

Impeachable Offenses by Obama and the U.S. Congress

The time for informing and educating is over. The time to hold government accountable for their unconstitutional actions is here.

By LUIS R. MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | APRIL 12, 2012

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.” How could George Washington get it so dead on right? Everything that government is known better for in modern society is its use of force to impose unreasonable policies and rules — not laws — to clamp down on personal freedom and individual rights. I am not talking about the government of the people, of course, but the corporate whore government.

When two branches of government, in any kind of setting — a Republic, a Tyranny, a Socialist nation, a Communist nation and so on — are controlled not by the people who gave it the right exist, but by corporate interests, the result is what we see growing today in countries like the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, the UK and Russia, to cite a few. When the office of the president and the offices of congress are revolving doors for corporate puppets to go in and out at will, the people’s grip on government has been lost.

If the people allow this to happen and to continue without any checks and balances, it will grow into the kind of invincible monster that will transform any self-fulfilling nightmare prophecy into reality. This is the stage where we are now, no matter where you live. Corporate control of government has gone from rare to absolute. Corporate-controlled government has many faces, among them: Communism, Socialism and Fascism. They were all creations of ancient schools of thought that saw an opportunity to become masters through division, balkanization and conquest. Those ancient schools of thought evolved into a XXI century perverse technocracy which is now almost 100 percent in control of the planet.

It is because humanity has lost sight of what government should do and should not do, that people now need to do their due diligence as it should have done it many years ago. It is time to put checks and balances on government.  Many years have gone by since individuals woke up to the abuses of the corporate-controlled State in all its shapes and forms. Corporations grew off government as rampant tumors that were never treated, much less healed. Apathy and ignorance fueled those tumors just like any chemotherapy toxicity does in a human body; except that this toxicity is social toxicity. Conformed, ignorant and apathetic people allowed the tumors to spread wide and at will throughout the complete ‘social body’ and now, the cancer is in stage 3, continuing to take over.

The only medicine available that will help cure the rotting ‘social body’ is swift but decisive action. The time to inform and educate is over. Those who are not with us need to be left behind in order for the informed, growing minority to act. Action must start where the cancer originated a long, long time ago.

Whether you like it or not, the United States was for many decades — not by chance — artificially sustained as the shiny white house on the hill. It was there that modern Fascism began. Borrowing Dave Mustane’s words: “You take a mortal man, and put him in control, watch him become a god, watch peoples heads a’roll.” This scenario runs over and over in both government and privately owned corporations. Given the United States privileged position in the world today, even with so much decadence going on there, it is in the United States where the main battle to curb tyranny will take place. It is certainly there where many have gotten inspiration to become powerful and rich, and not necessarily for the better.

After passing legislation such as NAFTA, CAFTA, the Patriot Act, the John Warner Defense Authorization, The Cybersecurity Bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, ACTA, and many other bills that basically rendered the Constitution obsolete, both the US Congress and the US presidents who participated of these actions, must be held accountable. Action has begun, although it needs much support. In response to Barack Obama’s and his cabinet’s dismissal of the Constitution and Congress itself, Representative Walter Jones, recently introduced House Resolution 107, a bill that seeks to enforce what laws that are already in place explicitly condemn and prohibit, but that the accomplice Congressmen and women, and for that matter the American people have failed to enforce: That it is unconstitutional for a US president to carry out military actions without a previous declaration of war by Congress, whereby the sitting US president becomes the commander in chief of the Armed Forces.

As many already know, Barack Obama himself as well as his Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, declared that they would consider informing Congress about any future military engagements the country got into, as supposed to asking for authorization in the first place. When pressed by congressman Jeff Sessions, Panetta repeated himself and confirmed that the Executive branch and the Pentagon intended to launch military strikes with the approval of international organizations, but not from the US Congress. Previously, Obama said that if — in a variety of situations — Congress did not act, he would do so alone, by decree, using executive orders as laws. Does anyone smell Dictatorship? Indeed. And Obama has already acted upon such warning. He illegally authorized military intervention in Libya without consulting Congress about it, much less getting authorization or a war declaration. This, by the Constitution of the United States, is an impeachable offense. Why? Because according to the US Constitution, only Congress has the authority to declare war, not the office of the US president. “Do you think you can act without Congress and initiate a no-fly zone in Syria,” asked Jeff Sessions. Leon Panetta responded: “Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would come to Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from Congress…”.

Equally illegal were three other decisions made or endorsed by Barack Obama’s government. The Financial Bailout of 2008, where US taxpayers were shoved trillions of dollars in debt that the US government — through its corporate handler Federal Reserve — promised and delivered to foreign banks. Incredibly, those funds were not used to help in the economic recovery, but to further consolidate economic power in the hands of foreign banking institutions. Because of this, Americans, current and future, will have to work harder than ever to pay for the interests this debt will accrue through the years. In fact, Americans were illegally made responsible for a pile of debt originally created by the banks and banking governing institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.You will say, “but that was under Bush! Correct, and he should also be held accountable. But Obama extended such bailouts by permitting the creation of financial aid packages such as Quantitative Easing I, II and III. That is, the private Federal Reserve used US assets as leverage to create money out of thin air in order to loan it out to foreign and national banking institutions who used the money not to pay off the debt they themselves created, but to hoard it into their pockets.

Third, after siding with the United Kingdom, which publicly pushed to attack Syria, the United States spoke about a ‘special relationship’ with the British and joined their call to carry out regime change in that country, much like they did in Libya, should president Bashar al-Assad not resign. The same policies now used by David Cameron and Barack Obama were reasons to sentence Nazis to death after they were judged in the Nuremberg trials for their responsibility in the atrocities carried out during Adolf Hitler’s time in power and beyond. But for some reason, Nazi atrocities are now considered business as usual and natural ways to conduct a country into war against nations that not only do not pose a threat to the United States, but that haven’t even declared war against it.

Fourth, both Obama and Congress, under the premise of National Security and unproven imminent threats, passed and signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, a piece of legislation that gives the president the power to detain, torture and murder anyone, including Americans, anywhere, if he believes a person is a threat to the continuity of government in the United States. That is, Obama can ask intelligence agencies and other law enforcement organizations to grab anyone from the street or their houses, put a bag over their heads, push him into a van and take him away never to be seen again. Under this law, there doesn’t need to be any crime committed, any charges presented against anyone, no judge, no jury, nothing. The president and his minions will make all decisions.

In an attempt to calm down public outcry, Obama said in public that he would not sign the NDAA if it did not exclude Americans from the indefinite detention clause. But behind closed doors, Obama requested that Americans were included as part of the people who could be kidnapped and possibly murdered by his command. He also said that although he had that power, he did not intend to use it against Americans.

It is important to say that this is not about Obama himself, but about the office of the president. Not only Obama, but any other person elected president will be able to detain anyone indefinitely without a judge order or a jury trial. This law directly violates the US Constitution’s 4th, 5th and 6th amendments, as they establish that people are free from unwarranted searches and seizures. Citizens have the constitutional right to be secured in their persons, houses, papers and effects and no one should be held to answer for crimes unless on the presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.

In case this all has not prompted you to take action, remember: It is the office of the president and Congress the ones that need and must be held accountable to us, their creators; not the other way around. There is no Constitutional way to simply forget about the existing laws because someone says it is necessary to do so. The lack of accountability must stop.

Through this article, The Real Agenda would like to publicly join Infowars.com’s campaign to call for the immediate impeachment of Barack Obama as well as any Congressman or woman that explicitly or otherwise supported and supports the US Financial Bailout of 2008, the use of Military Force without Congressional approval, the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act and its implementation against American citizens or foreigners. All of the above are unconstitutional, impeachable offenses that must be stopped now.

The cancer needs to heal for the patient to survive. Right now, it is up to you to be part of the medicine.

See Infowars.com’s campaign video narrated by Sean Stone below.

Secret Federal Reserve Bailout Gave Banks $13 Billion

Bloomberg
November 28, 2011

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.

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