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In Praise of the Royal Bank of Canada
I remain concerned that Canadian banks have not brought in enough women to the very top positions. I have been fairly public about it - well, as vocal as I get as someone half-hearted about going into public fora and dealing with most main media.
However, praise is well due for RBC in deciding to appoint Kathleen Taylor, as its first woman chair. In fact, the first ever to head an overall board of a major bank in Canada. (Of course, let us not forget that the huge credit union, Caisse Desjardins in Quebec has really had a more top "bank" first with its appointment of a woman as CEO.)
Nevertheless, the big five banks have now shown some progress. Let us hope that we shall see more from those Old Boys, who may not be fully outside the Old Boys Club box of thinking, but have made an important step to exit it. And more specifically, to bring the Canadian banking industry fully up to modern standards of diversity. Well done. Now, over to you Bank of Montreal, TD bank, Commerce, J.P. Morgan, UBS and so on.
I also hope the Canadian Bankers Association will have more to say about this, internally and externally with regards to the other banks and coincidentally, the fact the Ontario government is seriously looking at the huge deficit in women on corporate boards and at the head of leading corporations. Some of the progress being made on this issue in Europe, especially in Norway needs attention, as well.
And for much of the main North American media, who knows to what degree they will give this the attention it deserves.The top TV producers I met in America just last year, and quite a few of them, seemed to show, with a few exceptions, a remarkable lack of overall interest in the topic of women in financial power at the top. Even while we met in New York, just blocks away from Wall Street. Puzzling indeed, as even the Taylor announcement subsequently has received relatively minor media attention, it would seem especially internationally.The Old Boys Club and presence affecting content are still alive in big media, too?
I hope therefore, that the Royal Bank gets the appropriate attention for the leadership they have taken on this important issue and that there is at least a major newspaper feature article on the whole issue of women on top boards with a major focus on financial institutions. RBC deserves attention on their announcement, not only in Canada, but on Wall Street and throughout North America and around the world. Good luck to them.
Canada Needs To Show Smart Leadership on the Syria Issue and Not Wimp Out
I contend that overall, what the Canadian political establishment has to say on the big international political questions has not mattered enough to the world in general. However, occasionally Canada takes a well pronounced and lucid position on big war and peace issues that gets the global community to take us seriously, and to give our ideas focused reflection. Syria could provide another one of those moments, consistent to the best traditions of Canadian statecraft.
Such statecraft moments, when our establishment did not fail us, include former Prime Minister Jean Chretien not being snowed in at the time, by the false evidence of the United States intelligence manipulators to convince Canada to go to war in Iraq. Not allowing us to be bullied by the Bush government, yet still maintaining excellent economic relations as we should with our neighbors, the Americans..
In this regard I have just communicated to a major editor of one the most powerful private media groups, that one of our problems too often is that the Canadian government and media follow too much the pro-war mantra of certain elites. Elites who I am all too familiar with as to how they have been schooled for great deference to major authority and power and to be excessively combative.That are too worried to say boo to the Americans on the really big questions in fear of lousing up some economic perks. All while saying out loud how distinctfully wonderful Canadian culture is over the American one.
So on the Syria question, it appears there is too much leaning towards intervention into that country by our Canadian governances despite limited clear evidence so far of the Assad regime carrying out the gassing.
That does not mean that there is not a possibility that he commissioned it or more likely elements within his government? Such elements could have done it to embarrass the regime at the very time UN inspectors were on the ground? Yes, speculation but certainly a region where much is not clear. Where confusing chaos sometimes reigns, and so does opportunism and shifting alliances.
We all know what certain rogue elements of the CIA are capable of, Re Iraq. Even with the outside possibility of US and/or Syrian leadership not knowing the full story of any rogue operation. Let us hope, this is just a scenario for a thriller.
The other issue is to what real benefit is it to Canada in supporting an immediate intervention with no legal UN backing, Other than making President Obama happy on protecting his own political credibility on the red-line, not ours nor the US Republicans?
What would strong support by Canada now accomplish behind sending missiles in from western ships and planes, other than to further destabilize the region and weaken Canada's brand as a peacekeeping or peace promoting country. This is why a bigger solution involving the wide international community from the UN is further needed to protect our good name
Canada is also obviously not needing to work for the Netanyahu, Israeli government whose military dwarfs ours due to their having enough of a nuclear arsenal and military might to defend itself against any ruthless enemies. And backing from major western militaries just in case -with vastly larger armies that that of Canada- which I approve of being used if Israelis are clearly aggressed by an outside military force.
However, any lending of support from Canada, whatever our military's relatively weaker capabilities, to the Jewish state would be in our interest. For an Israel gone would further radicalize the region and seriously worsen international security.
But Assad from a pragmatic perspective is not interested in aggressing NATO, supporting Al-Qaeda or attacking Israel unless fully provoked would be my thinking. He is in far too weaken a condition to even consider any thought of attacking Israel as a secular politician and survivalist. If he were to do so, he would be totally smashed and he knows it and almost under any condition..
The problem as we saw with Saddam Hussein and his SKUD missile attacks is that a major intervention into Syria improperly done, might provoke Assad and his allies into some form of final desperation into attacking Israeli assets. A potentially disastrous outcome for the region. Only war hawks, fanatics and possibly psychopaths would like that scenario.
While Saddam's SKUDs largely missed their targets, what would happen if Assad's missiles and bombs did not? A joint UN force just in existence ready for invasion might reduce those risks and likely make him fold into proper chemical weapon inspection. And possibly even dispose of his WMDs with more likelihood of a peace conference following it. After all, he would be 99 percent isolated and on the doorstep of being obliterated if he went up against such an overwhelming UN backed force.
It has to be remembered as unsavory as the Assad regime has been, it has been quite secular to the point of even protecting Christians, which our Saudi partners with their footprint in Syria and Al-Qaeda are clearly not as interested in doing. As someone who has lived quite a few years in Saudi Arabia, I know of what I speak, But am certainly not against meaningful cooperation with the Saudis.
But again, this gives more reason for a balanced intervention by a UN force if necessary to put an end to the WMD question in Syria, once and for all. Which by the UN charter would exclude Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, neighboring countries and various other perceived polarizing countries by some in any UN "army force" composition. This might make it easier for the Assad regime to accept the presence of such a force..
However, I would like to see the Americans and Russians or their respective designates, somehow involved in the joint command given the huge resources and net assets they will have there or need to contribute. As well as to protect properly.
And yes, if I were directly speaking to the British Labour Party, here is what I would say about the fine fix they have gotten us into in the past. Tony Blair, you really need to go to confessional for poisoning the ground for any future legitimate intervention, even by the UN in the Middle East, given how catastrophic you made the Iraq one to be by providing key support for it. But do not try to do it in Saudi Arabia because there is not a single real Christian church there for your prayers. I say that with all due regard to the generally moderating influences of King Abdullah, who overall I respect.
No wonder Ed (Ed Milliband) you are desperately trying to separate his foreign policy from yours. You, Blair are one of the reasons,why there may never be even a minor legitimate intervention in the Middle East if it is truly ever needed - maybe not even a UN consensus hiccup on an intervention given how Iraq was such a balls-up.
And as an aside, I support Zbgniew Brezinskt's view on what you have become. (Brezinski is another great ex-Montrealer and no shrinking violet who is warning the elites on how the Syria issue could play out, if they do not take public opinion more seriously). Ed, keep up the good work on having your Chretien moment.You will nicely survive it and so will Mr Cameron from having his quasi-unilateralism, pro-war resolution defeated, which may not really bother him in the end.
However, I am getting to the point of practically vomiting - pardon my passion for my language to conservative, Victorian type, well-mannered pro war WASPs - about some of the Canadian elites being such power freaks in defending the positions of special foreign interests, some of which do not give a squawk about those of overall Canadians.
Contrastingly, when George Bush, president junior asked for us Canadians to go into Iraq, it was one of the finest days in Canadian foreign policy history when we said no. The Americans were so use to getting their way, that their President's, Chief of Staff, Mr. Card thought our PM was joking.
So lets send another "joke" and show that Canada is more than an extra rib to the president's foreign policy if intervention is tried without serious UN backing, especially without clear proof that Assad used chemical weapons. It was nice to see even Chancellor Merkel's conservative Germans not rushing to be part of such an intervention, including the overall European Union.
Frankly, I am tired of seeing Canada too often acting like the 53rd state, instead of aggressively pursuing its own made in Canada policies. That does not mean that there is not a lot of room for agreement on many points. Taking opposite positions to the US just to show independence is an act of immaturity. There is no reason to force bad relations with the States.
Mr. Chretien was a big supporter of NATO and for God sakes, he is even a monarchist. In the end, he was respected for his Iraq stance, even if initially hated. That is what we call leadership.Some in the Canadian establishment could take a big page from that chapter in his book, instead of too often selling us out.
Here in Russia, I see what is an independent foreign policy from a country with one tenth of the economy of America and about the same size as Canada's. What Canada looks like here is that it is excessively supporting the Obama administration even more than the US Congress is. That is puzzling for the few who follow Canada or know much about us other than we play great ice hockey, too. The Russians may be wondering about this overly pro-US position while so many other countries are showing more restraint in supporting the Obama, ever changing plan.
Therefore, I hope our Prime Minister, who might be considered by some in the foreign policy arena outside economics as largely not too active or insightful, will have his own moment to become known as The Harper moment, if necessary. A moment to be shared with future prime ministers who will be looking back one day as how Canada was able to punch above its weight class internationally. In the same way I liked the Chretien moment, I liked the one from Borden (Canadian conservative PM during World War I) of repatriating our important foreign policy powers from Great Britain.
These kinds of moments are keeping with the best Canadian traditions. They include when Canada got recognition from a Nobel Prize given to diplomat Lester Pearson, an eventual PM. All for promoting the concept and institutionalization of the UN peacekeeping force.
This is a prize in the possession of President Obama who would well benefit from supporting a UN approach to peacemaking. Including an anti-WMD pro-peace force to be used only when absolutely necessary. All with the backing of veto holding UN members and the majority of the UN Security Council. So as to rid the world of WMDs from tyrant nations truly irresponsible with them and their proliferation.
Not shooting a few missiles off and outside UN approval that will accomplish little except proving to be geopolitically expensive with little distinct accomplishment. That may polarize the region further against the West, thereby mobilizing more terrorism and war. Likely to the benefit of others who want to do harm to us and Israel.
I hope our PM will do something major to resolve this dangerous situation and collect a Nobel prize for it on his way out, if possible, in keeping with the best leadership of Canada in foreign diplomacy. It may be soon time for our "great" Prime Minister to have one of those moments when he decides to more actively engage with his diplomats to lead the world from catastrophe as Pearson did on the Suez crisis.
It would make a great day to see his picking up of his own Nobel Peace prize. It would make all Canadian's feel proud of further returning our foreign policy home, once again and really mattering in promoting peace throughout the world.
If he is not able, very likely, then someone else in Canada should lead in promoting some form of an anti-WMD UN backed strike force, which I further lay out on this site as a start point for effective intervention with a more likely satisfactory end-game. Certainly one potentially better than what the US has been accomplishing in the region with its so many quasi-unilateral destructive hits on it.
France through one of its draft resolutions has backed the jdea of a UN approved intervention into Syria under certain conditions. At this time, the fact that the Syrian government has volunteered to put chemical weapons under international control may mean that any UN backed intervention force is at the very least premature, especially as spelt out in a preceding article in this site here on the concept of a UN anti-WMD force.
All before, as US Senator Lindsay Graham has stated, we are faced with a nuclear device or other WMD from a terrorist in our harbors. Or in other scenarios as I laid out in my cautionary tale of ZUrabia. Scenarios that would truly wreck the West and the high quality of life we sometimes take for granted in Canada to which many others are truly envious.
It is time for real action through the UN on WMDs, including efforts to take us well beyond the Syria problem. It could be Canada's moment to be relevant again in preventing an unnecessary and disastrous war that could swallow us all. Are we up to it. Or will some of our elites whimper out, once again to US bellicosity, quasi unilateralism and special (commercial) war interests thereby shaming our citizenship. I for one, hope bloody not.
The Red Baiting Games in Washington (on Syria)
Are Obama Democrats and Possibly Others, Developing McCarthyism Tactics?
Recently, an article published by Bloomberg Business News equated freedom-loving libertarians with communists. A major talk show host by the name of Alex Jones, with a huge audience has equated President Obama and the people directly around him and supporting him from the establishment as new authoritarian globalists; up there with the likes of Chairman Mao. Entertaining their own US form of a cultural socialist revolution.
Interestingly, a G8 country head, Mr. Putin now hosting the G20 taking place in Russia said something remarkable. He referred the so-called consensus making by the American government as being instead, more equivalent to the old Soviet Union Communist Party that demanded that everyone toe the party line.
It indicates how the debate about how the world should go forward into a new world order has essentially become very polarized. Whether the issues are about private information penetration brought to light by Edward Snowden or how to handle Syria or the global economy, we can see various schools of thought and ideology becoming the new clashes of incivility. Red lines increasingly abound, which may not be conducive to keeping the world from war.
The problem is that with too much intransigence, the world could indeed boil over onto an irreversible war path. Somewhat in the same way in which the world got trapped into World War I. Circumstances taking over out of government control, generating high emotions that governments are finally not able put the lid back on.Syria could be that theater where such tensions pour over uncontrollably due to an accident or event due to the mischief of other parties. And mischief seems to abound there. Naval ships may abound from China, the US, France and Russia in the same waters and too close for comfort given the current atmospherics. Not good.
I think therefore, what needs to be done is for efforts by the UN Secretary General and consensus making leaders in the United States and elsewhere to try to turn down all the polarized rhetoric. The world economy is after all fragile. A major spreading war in the Middle East could do in the recovery and exacerbate international tensions.
In this regard of ugly polarizing rhetoric encapsulated in the Bloomberg article is this feel of McCarthyism.This is a kind of propaganda hysteria that allowed certain politicians to smear anyone they did not like with the label of being a Communist. Back in the 1950s, during the days of the congressional committee on Un-American activities chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy, a lot of innocent people's reputations were seriously damaged due to his red baiting and scurrilous denunciations. Many of whom were innocent of being Communists or doing America harm.
That article indicates to me that a certain part of the Democratic Party aligned with the President may be now trying to paint the libertarians as being too close to Russia, which is falsely in the minds of some Americans is still a kind of Communist-run country. Throw enough red paint on the beliefs of people like Senator Rand Paul and it will stick might be their unscrupulous approach.
Unfortunately, such a strategy could backfire and anger libertarians and Tea Party types to step up their own rhetoric. To make Congress look even dirtier, irrelevant and more unpopular than probably any time in its history, which will not go unnoticed by America's adversaries and even its allies. And likely foreign and domestic investors.
On the other hand, Republicans overall are fed up with being called conservative sell-outs to authoritarian globalists and statists; using the government to steal away freedoms that talk show hosts and Tea Party elements in Congress have been successfully accusing them of.
These kind of mainstream Republicans and Democrats are now beginning to feel desperate after they saw how the vote went in the British Parliament against bombing the Assad regime. And the possibility of facing defeat in primaries or elections, because of their pro-bombing stances that are unpopular in important segments of their constituencies.
I think what mainstream Republicans and Democrats need is to better understand that the country is war weary. All the great efforts including the ones wrapped up in feminist idealism to general human rights to national security behind the reasons for trying to "liberate" the Middle East have gone for naught and seriously wrong. If they have not been total disasters, they have been frightfully too close to being so.
This makes those groups that have a degree of a cohesive platform, and real power bases like President Putin and the Chinese who are anti-war, to be seemingly key representatives by defacto for speaking up on the anti-war issue. Not Congress nor the US president at least at this stage.Quite remarkable if you think about it.
The whole Syria initiative by the Obama administration is looking shadier and shadier, at least by the way it has been presented. It focuses more of the public within and outside the US on what is wrong with America than other countries Ike China or Russia -or factions like the libertarian movement or liberal left Democrats.
It provokes support for conspiracy theorists that the Obama administration is a living, breathing proponent of the US military-industrial establishment. It makes people forget the president did not vote for the last Iraq War while the vast majority of Congress lined up for it. It makes people forget about the president having worked in the trenches with the poor people of Chicago to improve their lot.
In a nutshell, the administration's position on hastily going to war against Syria, whatever its scale at this time, acts as a big eraser to what Obama promised in his early days as President. It makes him sadly along with his Secretary of State, look increasingly phony.It makes out people like President Putin to be bluntly more honest and more for peace along with the Chinese premier.
In essence, at the very least, this has become one of the worst public relations disasters for practically any President in recent history, excepting maybe the efforts by President Clinton relating to the Monica Lewinsky affair. But as badly as that was, it did not jeopardize global peace that the Obama team is faced with.
it is time for all parties to reduce the rhetoric and for the president, in particular to reemphasize the decent values he espoused in the early days of his presidency. To not repeat the sad legacy in Iraq and/or reproduce the sad outcomes in Libya.
Things are so bad that in some major polls (Newsmax) they are saying that if the President goes through with the attack on Syria, he will be effectively considered an Al Qaeda supporter for around 20 percent of respondents. This shows, indeed, how ridiculous the debate is getting.
The mainstream political establishment, not only the president needs to ask themselves how the narrative on Syria got this way. How to get cogently back on track as being if not the good guys, at least the decent guys, again. Certainly red baiting and McCarthyism-like slandering will not do it.
Mayor Bloomberg and those surrounding the Obama administration need to pull back those scurrilous attack dogs. And pulling back the boats with missiles for now would be essential to toning down the rhetoric. A little less shrill from some of his opponents from the libertarian right could provide a positive contribution.
Unilateralism does not work, especially in the world of today. And the president allowing congressional discussion on the Syria attack issue has at least demonstrated a cooperative spirit. Much more of it is needed and in a hurry.
America ain't Sweden: Fortunately and Unfortunately.
What the US president's briefing book should read about Sweden, his stop-over
It has been interesting that President Obama has replaced his current visit to Moscow with one to Sweden. I am fascinated about his very kind words for the Swedish model. Having visited Sweden last year and having written a published article on its forest industry, I have something essential to say. Mr President, America cannot become a Sweden and that is not all bad.
What strikes me about the Scandinavian countries that is positive is the quality of their neighborhoods. They are clean and Sweden is clearly a very environmentally conscious country.Another is the fairly high quality public schools and the generally professional civil service. So far so good for Mr. Obama.
Now here are the remaining problems with Sweden, albeit some of which have been improved upon in the last decades. First, Sweden is a fairly ethnically monolithic society so it does not benefit from the ethnic and racial diversity in America that causes conflict at times, but a mix that makes America a more interesting place culturally and artistically.
Sadly, it is no wonder that neo-Nazi movements are on the rise in Sweden since it is struggling with even the minor injection of visible minorities of the last decades. Its ability to borrow immigrant and minority values and add them to its base culture is not so evident. Is that a model for America, the President should be praising? It is part and parcel for a much smaller European country that has been ethnically homogenous for almost forever. So comparing America and Sweden are like apples and oranges.
Because America has had a much more reward culture for winners, at least over many more decades and supported by the tax code, America has many more blockbuster innovations. That is not to say that Sweden does not have some of its own in the automotive, military and home appliance areas, as well as communications. But Silicon Valley has well outstripped Sweden for some of those reasons as explained.
Related to the above US entrepreneurship -at least in past decades- there has been traditionally a lot more private industry to university cooperation in America.That gap is closing partly because Sweden realizes its past mistakes, and partly because America is now not further building enough on the private industry-education nexus. Massive expanding government deficits are debilitating.
America has traditionally been - and still does even though its lead may be eroding- an innovation lung and partly explains why American universities dominate the top 10 world rankings while Sweden does not. That is not to say that there are not some very good universities in Sweden. But like its neighbor, Finland, it has not converted its excellent primary and secondary education system graduates that produce superior international test scores into a foundation for innovation excellence, sufficiently at the post secondary levels.
Innovation and risk taking is more in the US cultural blood and is more demonstrated where the research is done, which of course very much includes the post secondary levels, which is one reason they rate so highly. There is a need for more catch-up on this in Europe, but again the gap is closing.
America's diversity also supports creativity and its greater commitment to bottom-up processes whereas Europe often entertains a more paternal approach. Which explains why government sectors in Scandinavia have been huge.Those democratic values enhanced by popular will in the US over top down approaches in much of Europe, have taken a bit of a beating over the years in the former.
To me, New York City is an exciting vibrant metropolis that has so much of the great even though it has a lot of the very bad, so to speak. Sweden is more predictable and stable, but is as exciting as a sanatorium at times, relatively speaking. This may be also reflected in its higher suicide rates, seemingly counter intuitive to a role model status. Not only because of the long dark winters but also because of the boredom due to the nanny state of not pressing away for individual initiative and dreaming big like America. But I agree that is a bit more of conjecture.
The dynamic tension of a huge competitive, pluralistic though very imperfect nation like America is an adrenaline rush. I felt those very feelings when doing research even in a quiet US suburb to Harvard and of course, while at Harvard itself. I also felt that rush when being at meetings with the top media producers in Manhattan. For America is the world center of popular culture, top education, media, publishing, high tech and even the military. That is an energy maelstrom hard to match by any country, let alone much smaller Sweden.
America's lead may be eroding and sometimes faster than I would like. However, America looking at Sweden as being overly impressive provides me worry especially given its high tax rates through consumption and personal income tax, which are not drivers for personal excellence.
Finally, Sweden still derives too much wealth from natural resources, which like Canada can cause it to be distracted from building capacity in more dynamic, higher value added business as in Silicon Valley. Sweden has though designed and built innovative engineering machinery to support extraction industries,offsetting the more negative aspects of over-reliance on for example, the regular forest industry. Health science is another that is higher value and being developed.
Sweden has a lot of impressive attributes, including some of the nicest and safest cities in the world and a better attitude to health and reducing obesity than in North America. But in fact cannot be really fairly compared to America, which is so essentially different and thankfully so in many ways. Bottom-line, it deserved a very brief stop-over by the President on his way to a more important country, Russia that deserves more attention by the US president. A country that also has had big dreams.and a big enough size and high core education and science to entertain them again.
And I say all of this with affection for Sweden, which reminds me of my home country, Canada in some ways. Quiet, decent, nice, maybe even more intellectually sophisticated overall. Oh yes, and with better test scores. But Sweden is nowhere as dynamic as the US with all its many faults in a cross-section of industries.
Greater faults in the US include fiscal and foreign policy ones,which America needs to get on with fixing. All before Sweden begins to look like a paradise, not just for the president but for many more Americans. Now, that would be a sad case on which Mr. Obama would be definitively able to declare his Swedish victory.
G20 Meeting in St. Petersburg This Week:
Time For Leaders To Begin Blueprinting a New and Sustainable Economic Order?
It seems not too long ago, one of the G8 leaders was hard nosed and to the point about western debt.
It appeared the leader indicated that such debt was unsustainable and it was now becoming a good moment to come clean about it. I concur.
Now we have the Russian Prime Minister coming out before the imminent G20 meeting and declaring the current overall, over-indebted and overly leveraged western led financial order as just about on its last legs.
And that Russia must play an important role developing the new one. He has a very valid point.
Yes indeed, the situation is getting to be that serious.
While a certain amount of Mediterranean country debt (and a significant amount of the Third World kind in past years) has been written down or off, it is now important to look at the books of certain other mostly G8 countries.
To see whether that debt will ever be manageable, especially as interest rates rise. It is truly sobering given the size of it.
Japan is the first to be in focus. So desperate is that country with a national debt of over 200 percent GNP, new PM Abe is throwing a "Hail Mary" .
Letting the money printing presses go harry rather than keeping on borrowing so much from private markets .
The intention is to stimulate the economy, but I am wondering whether it is a hidden program to monetize the debt, at least in part.
Japan as a key import/export nation and (significant lender to the world in a contradictory way) matters a lot to the international economic scene.
If Japanese banks and funds have to recall loans or investments to deal with liquidity and/or solvency issues at home, it would indeed cause a major global financial mess.
The United States, the largest economy -whereas Japan is almost the second biggest-has a debt problem that is too well known.
I will not bore readers with a long litany of aggravating statistics on US deficits, debt, current account, real wage decline etc.
These two countries together represent trillions of dollars of eventually unpayable debt.
Europe is in the same situation and knows better given how its banks and tax payers have had to already incur huge write-downs on sovereign debt within its own political area.
Already completed write-downs would be equivalent to Washington having to bail out states of importance like Georgia, Indiana, and maybe even much bigger ones. And with no end.
This write-down process with the US may start earnestly when Arab, Chinese and yes even European countries and American banks and funds start writing American sovereign debt down internally, if not secretly on their own books.
And when some of them begin to increasingly dispose of it for other investments like gold, corporate debt both within and increasingly in their own countries and fellow emerging market ones.
Alternative balance sheets may now be in the heads of international and G20 officials as they plot ahead. And international bankers.
Further on this, it is very hard to know what the top Chinese Mandarins really think about the huge portion of US debt they are holding.
Or the exact extent of Chinese bank debt quality and quantity.
Together, they potentially pose as a toxic cocktail that could have a Molotov effect on the global economy.
However, China has a larger buffer given its less indebtedness and huge foreign currency reserves even after making a maximum calculation on its hidden debt.
This overall advanced country debt restructuring should begin slowly, but more likely stepped up in the medium term as governments implement satisfactory reforms.
See my article on various related ideas for restructuring consistent to what the next US president needs to do.
Especially, if the US recovery does not become stronger and more persistent.
However one looks at it, restructuring will likely and eventually take on its own life as many in government either carry-out inappropriate reforms or avoid the leadership in initiating enough of the necessary ones.
Given the debt sums at issue and where they are owed, the overall G20, not simply the G7 core, will have to be more empowered to show solidarity to support essential changes.
But prospects for satisfactory growth in Europe are especially dim. So debt restructuring all could be forced onto Europe evermore irrespective of the economic conditions.
Requiring a healthy level of support by certain emerging market countries that have not been sufficiently integrated into a new world order.
Sometimes debt restructuring has its own momentum that becomes unstoppable.
As seen with Greece and other Mediterranean countries at times.
Making one remember urgent action is needed to prevent a debt managing narrative from getting out of control once again, as in 2008.
Done in a step by step pro-active, controlled hair-cut manner, rather than as a default like Argentina.
A serious debt restructuring and reduction plan with a refashioning of the world order expressed at governance levels at institutions like the IMF and World Bank and UN for example could have a cleansing effect.
Intelligent debt reduction could begin to reboot the economies, or at least begin to provide a solid platform for future advancement.
It has happened before such as in Russia and parts of Latin America, though it could have been done in a more refined manner.
All of of course after a jarring degree of side effects at times, which is temporarily inevitable but better to get over than enduring long term misery accumulating to a potentially massive crescendo of forced painful restructuring.
Is it not time for Japan and America to accept their medicine too?
Or are some countries exceptional in never having to do so? To maintain their present power despite their need for assistance by certain emerging market countries.
Refusing to recognize that they are less and less economically important as a part of the global economy.
The average Japanese citizen, especially older ones who are the savers combined with Japanese banks will especially have to write-down or dismiss a good portion of the Japanese gvernment debt.
It is partly a price to pay for for low birth rates and low immigration, combined with a stifling regulatory environment which much of Europe is also experiencing.
All of this could be wrapped up in Japan into some kind of patriotic duty and thrust for intergenerational justice.
Bonds after a haircut, including from foreign lenders could be converted into extremely long term ones with some possibility of recovery of the original total value dependent upon future circumstances.
It would be a muddling through to some extent and an important face saving mechanism that would give hope to youth, the inheritors and limit damage to banks.
Creditism, as laid out in Richard Duncan's new book has been the gas fumes sustaining unsustainable growth levels and GNP, especially but not exclusively in western, high consuming countries.
It has been particularly so in many advanced countries faced with Gordeon knots of structural challenges and dilemmas.
In other words, too much of GNP, the base foundation, not simply percentage growth where it exists, has been too often based on unsustainable credit expansion.
Aided and abetted by central banks and complicit commercial and private banks who are doing no favor to the next generations.
A process of debt restructuring and reduction along with critical reforms has to be done in a more pro-active and controlled manner.
All before there is a massive collapse and serious loss of confidence in western economies, possibly bigger than any previous ones. That will feed into creating a world-wide collapse.
The implications may be that we may need a new Bretton Woods type conference to reconfigure the current economic order.
These conferences should be held in an emerging market country to further signal that real change is coming.
I propose that they be done in a number of rounds, starting in Russia and ending in Bretton Woods, America.
It would be a better solution to have them now than after a major global economic collapse with the risk of accelerated wars and destruction that might even lead to World War III.
Just think if a real serious Bretton Woods type conference had taken place before the rise of Hitler and World War II.
A new set of conferences could stop or significantly lessen the risk unforeseen geopolitical and economic breakdown and turmoil such as black swans.
To lay out a better path for a more sustainable global order.
Any major redesign is not going to happen at Jackson Hole nor at the Bilderberg Meeting nor the United Nations.
But possibly more likely under the more manageable aegis of the G20 with other countries feeding in through their designated reps or observers.
A redesign in return for contributions where feasible to such write-offs or support of their facilitation. Japan and Germany will have to be given bigger official roles at the UN and most of its family of agencies.
Countries like Brazil, Gulf states,Germany,South Korea India, Indonesia, Israel , Russia and South Africa and to a lesser extent Australia, Canada, and parts of Latin America and northern European smaller countries will have to have their statuses upgraded in either international political or financial institutions or both.
It is a crucial time for a practical refashioning of the current order.
All this temporarily mass flooding of liquidity and piecemeal cuts in the budgets in major western countries and Japan will not do it
Nor will mass unrefined austerity, as the demonstrations and aggravated levels of youth employment are indicating.
How much youth unemployment and alienation are these countries able to absorb before there are costly social implosions.
The strains can be heard and are getting louder around the globe.
Turkey, Brazil the Arab springs and winters and marches in Europe and rise in Neo-Nazism, the destabilization in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan are all there.
The mass swings in currencies and disruptive flows of hot Bernanke and eventually Abe money are/will be trouble.
Money printing cannot fully off-set the debt juggernaut.
On the other side, corporations have huge amounts of money to invest and so do certain retail investors.
However, they are horrified about the huge debts of certain western governments and how it could turn into a tower of misery
All falling down on them either in higher taxes, inflation or just a plain systemic crisis killing profits combined with expropriation, confiscation and liquidation of non-performing assets.
In the previous light, those currently employed wonder what is ahead. If it is a brutal world with higher levels of unemployment then why significantly spend and invest now.
Who will pay for or absolve that government debt? You guessed it: the banks who unwisely lent all that money to the governments. Certain emerging market countries and tax haven financial institutions as well.
And individual investors -pardon my language- still foolishly holding onto these bonds besides central banks.
My recommendations in April, printed in the Vancouver Province to avoid at least longer term government debt proved to be true.
Those who want to hold these kinds of government instruments along with bank corporate debt and stocks, with some exceptions, have to be friggen out of their minds.
Did they not learn from 2008? At least did they learn how sensitive the situation still is?
When a few words from Ben Bernanke about a qualified slowing down of the money supply expansion can cause havoc in the bond market including the muni one where yields skyrocketed.
Now with the possibility of pro-tapering Larry Summers becoming Fed Chair, think of what might eventually happen to "weak" debt.
The market may further write it down anyway with or without more tapering and with or without Larry Summers given how bad the situation is.
The western financial community - if you can call it that - was aggrieved when people like Jim Rogers said that the Greek government could never pay back its debts.
EU leaders bad mouthed what they considered to be such Cassandras.
Well count me in on my feelings at the time about Greek debt.
And now, count me in again about sovereign Japanese, American and overall European debt,
Now all those who want to live in debt repayment fairyland throw your best insults at those who say that not all US government debt, from national to state to municipal levels is going to be repaid at the end of the day.
We need to say to the kids that we, the West and Japan screwed up with all the debt we allowed the governments to take on.
Especially by the most profligate countries. Hard adjustments are needed in a way that does not bludgeon the poor, youth and the elderly.
Sayanora or whatever but life will go on after the brutal debt write-down in years ahead if not many months. Get ready for it.
We all seriously need to take on our own financial responsibilities where possible,
But also to ask our governments to do at least the same as we begin to move past the brutal world future.
Now we need to admit as western countries overall that we are collectively bankrupt.
An important starting point is to recognize the extent of the sickness if a true cure is to be found.
To provide concessions for assistance through changing power structures by letting countries like Australia, Canada, China, Germany, South Korea, south Asia, certain Northern European countries, Gulf countries, Brazil, India and even Russia and parts of Africa to have significantly bigger pieces of the power pie.
Especially within international financial institutions and the United Nations.
Th reaction of near panic by the bond and stock markets in the recent past, reflects the extent of the global economic malaise that began on Wall Street and London and will hopefully begin to be put to an end in St. Petersburg.
When a little bad news about slowing down the money supply expansion causes such grief. Truly sick.
The current system is well beyond being broken. It is almost smashed.
Time for US Multinationals to look at Russia as a "Screaming Buy" for Investors?
I am now beginning to move funds from over priced western stock exchanges or cash to cheap Russian stocks and/or to major western companies with significant exposure to Russia, and increasingly so. Such an approach is consistent with top global bond investment analysts and American billionaires that are of the likes of Jim Rogers who are suggesting these are smart money moves. I fully agree from my perspective of being here in Russia. Of course, one has to be highly selective.
My reconnaissance of Russian society and western businesses here, underscore my view that Russia is an excellent long term buy. I expect a hundred to three hundred percent rate of return on investments in the next several years. A full report on Russia by me will be available at some point. It will deal with society from top to bottom, along many different segments.
A movement by American multinationals to (further) invest here should be soon made so as to get in before possibly non-regulatory and other barriers are put in place vis a vis American investors. If President Obama's strategy with Syria and the overall Middle East does not work out from a Russian perspective and relations between the two countries further deteriorate, it would be highly advisable that major American multinationals move quickly. That is to start looking at Russia with a beneficial productive Russian partner or expat in place while bargains are good and before American investments possibly get much further scrutinized.
The door could "shut" to positive treatment of the US business sector, especially when funds begin to significantly flow back into the country. The degrading of Syria by a unilateral attack could contribute in degrading American investment opportunities in Russia at some point. Of course, this is rather speculative, but carries a certain logic to it from a behavioral point of view. Sad as that is for those who believe in open free markets for the most part and not letting politics overly interfere with investments flows.
Unfortunately, the current US administration looks like it is reducing global investment options and opportunities for most US companies, at least these days. The administration needs to get back to its normal focus on helping to strengthen the weak US recovery and making the world a truly safer place for all, including the US investment community.
Get Ready for a More Brutalized World Due to a Coming US Attack on Syria?
Better Needed: Permanent UN Anti-WMD force with serious US/Russian involvement
The current thinking within certain schools of thought within the American military-intelligence defense establishment is to send in the drones and missiles to punish the Assad regime for the recent chemical weapon attacks.
Instead, I would prefer even to to send in the clowns at this juncture, if I were to have to decide between taking military action or inviting in those red-nosed comedians. The American government by carrying out any attack right away, would signal in a way to some main players that American foreign and defense policy is no longer serious enough. That it may be more fit for an analogy of a deadly circus act with grenade carrying primates to quote a Russian deputy. With an equally panic stricken world as such circus spectators would be.
More seriously, I would rather threaten Assad or whoever committed this heinous act by also involving the Russians (together with the Americans).The former are already conveniently in Syria and hold some leverage over the Syrians by being their only serious ally outside the region and arms provider. Who have probably more insights as to where Assad holds his weapons, which groups have the most opportunity within and without the Assad regime to get their hands on them and despicable enough to deliver them.
But first, we need to establish beyond doubt that nerve gas was used and what kind.There appears enough anecdotal and NGO evidence to demonstrate that chemical weapons were used. But let the evidence collected by the relatively neutral UN third body with access to true experts conclusively analyze it.
If proven beyond doubt, then the world community including the Russians would have to agree that this is a problem that deserves an emergency or near emergency solution to prevent it from happening again. There would be no choice or dilly dallying in the matter.
Any further use should mean that Syria would have to be put under a UN mandate over a limited time frame to enforce the elimination of all chemical weapons and facilities in the territory given the enormous gravity of WMD usage. UN troops would come from a balanced range of countries with a Russian general in joint command with the US or NATO one, as a possibility.This would have to be approved by the UN Security Council.
There should be a growing view in this brutal world that no country especially outside the five veto powers should be permitted any WMD usage by design or default. Or WMD usage within its boundaries by other parties. Such serious problems should be practically seen as preconditions to a threatening of temporary loss of sovereignty to the UN as a first step. The target country considered by the Security Council not demonstrating goodwill and success in making serious headway in dealing with an WMD issue then should have to invite in this special UN Force with a full range of expertise to deal with the issue..
If Assad is using chemical weapons then he would stop quickly using them under this threat of intervention by the UN with a Russian ally inclusive in chain of command. If the opposition on the other hand is using them, the UN observers and force would determine it. The UN forces would be likely even more united, politically and morally to deal a blow to whichever groups are using and/or providing these weapons, to recover them and safely destroy them. Any states both providing such weapons and supporting the opposition in a foreign country for example in their supply or usage would likely be found out and could be appropriately sanctioned and isolated.
The use and proliferation WMDs, including the current problem in Syria is too big a mess to leave to only NATO or any particular geopolitical grouping to solve. Well established international coordination on these matters needs to be as significantly beyond big geopolitical score-pointing as possible between the Russians, the West and China. Now where does Canada go to receive our second Nobel Prize for taking credit for this. Not so fast
Above all, there is a real bigger worry possibly in respect to Syria. If its government at the top did not officially wish to carry out the chemical weapons attack but members of the government did, then might that indicate the Syrian main command has lost control of their chemical weapon stockpiles. Which would mean that they would have every reason to call for outside UN help. Or to receive it without invitation, even if they were to worry too much about loss of sovereignty.
I am not foolish. Certain elements within the West will not even want to throw a bone to the Russians. They won't even want to trust the UN to have any serious mandate in Syria especially since large segments of the Israel polity define the UN as largely a hostile body to it. Certain non-veto countries are petrified of losing sovereignty one day to a massive invading UN force with the enormous military combined potential of its security veto holding members's or allies.. And they should be. Enough to make the irresponsible ones in particular to want to never create WMDs or to get rid of their existing WMDs. Such a UN anti-WMD force could also act as a powerful incentive to make sure there are no loose WMDs around and to let in UN approved monitoring vehicles to be put in place to ensure the Security Council is satisfied that these weapons are not on the loose or being proliferated.
So let's face it, especially after I have now updated this site with the fact that President Obama is asking Congress for strikes against Syria: the drones, missiles and other aerial bombardments are likely coming. It would be done possibly in the way NATO bombed Serbia or Libya. The Russians will protest, the Chinese will protest and the Assad regime will be ousted. Or just maybe Congress will show some backbone and the world will get together to prevent anymore uses of WMD in Syria. Providing immediately needed solutions in a thoughtful effective way including building to the kind of long term solutions as presented here against the spread and usage of WMDs.
It also needs to be remembered that the chaos that will evolve if a strike or ground attack was badly internationally coordinated. It would mean potentially more weapons of conventional use and mass destruction in Al Qaeda's hands or the like minded. Who knows, parts of the Syrian military could become so pissed off that they might start handing them over or selling them to Al Qaeda if they have not already done so. It is ia warning of the limitations of such a unilateral approach besides the need for the world to get more serious about WMD proliferation.
There will be likely also less willingness by the Russians, the Chinese and others to cooperate with the Americans from any such unilateralism.Iranian hard core opposition and extremists in Lebanon and elsewhere will probably become more determined than ever before to damage US interests. And the region will become more polarized and deadly.
The world overall would also become an increasingly more volatile place while the US defense and intelligence commercial establishment's sales could very well skyrocket. Even fewer Americans will then question the need for the NSA, CIA etc to have a full mandate to try and monitor just about everything with a new revitalized Al Qaeda and Its friends all about in a hotter Middle East. There will be more of a feeling for a need for a "state of siege" mindset everywhere.
Oh yes, the US government would become, increasingly disliked in the Middle East and throughout the world. So what you say? Ask US multinationals except possibly the defense industry ones that will be hurt as China and other countries make it easier for more moderate western and emerging market country companies to do business with them at the expense of American ones.
Gold will further increase in popularity at the cost of the US dollar, which will become less attractive for both political and economic reasons. And the world in security terms will further move down the road to being a basket case. Of course, if the US unilaterally sends in troops, it could spell total disaster for the Middle East.
Yes, indeed, the brutal world is ahead. It is coming faster and faster. Are you ready for it? If not, read on about the solutions to protect you and your loved ones in many articles below beyond this one. And pray that most of our leaders will not make matters worse.
My bet is enough will at the expense of regular folks, the global economy and many shareholders everywhere outside a narrow number of sectors including the defense industries, certain financial institutions supporting them and businesses connected to gold.
Sad as Assad is, we might end up doing worse than having him in power if we are not careful as how we go about ensuring real international cooperation on Syria and a real solution to prevent WMD from his and other such countries being used within and without.
Time is likely pressing on to prevent the sum of all evil from happening again and on a wider scale. Let Syria at the very least be a reminder of that. Let my book ZUrabia, as well be a more proliferated cautionary tale about the need to get cracking on WMD proliferation and why we have to stop it.
Cameron's "Military" Defeat Even Before a Shot was Fired?
A largely first rate PM on deficit cutting has been horrendous on this dossier.
Certain global elites have now been warned by Prime David Cameron's defeat in parliament about how not to seek permission for an attack against Syria at this juncture. They must make a much clearer and internationally coordinated effort including better explaining any possible reasons and evidence for intervention. Two previous American administrations have grossly distorted reasons for intervention into Iraq, twice before, which led to an eventual calamity.
So fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me ..etc as the saying goes The second intervention especially proved to be costly for the stability of the region and to the US treasury and taxpayer. A so-called third intervention might prove destabilizing to the US and other western polities if it were to go tragically wrong,
An attack at this juncture could lead to an"Iraq III" at worse or at best a "Libya II" might light up certain US and European streets already full of discontent as the Occupy movement demonstrated is more that just latent. In southern European NATO countries there are already near explosive levels of restlessness among the high levels of the unemployed especially among youth experiencing over 50 percent unemployment levels.
As Zbigniew Brezinski, eloquently stated as former US National Security Advisor and Executive Director for the Center of International Affairs at Harvard University where I did research, the public consciousness level now is very different than decades ago. Automatic backing of these interventions by the public is not so straightforward. The degree of skepticism of governments including their views on how and when to go to war or go on the attack are at high levels. Belief in Institutions, be they Congress or the banks to do what is best for "we the people" are at near historical lows.
Therefore, the President of the United States will have to present unquestionably clear evidence that is not manufactured by sycophantic elements of the national intelligence community, Syrian opposition or elsewhere. Any evidence will have to be without reservation and be so clear that none of the UN veto powers would be able to seriously question it.
if the wide international community were to become certain that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, it is likely that the overall American public would come more on side for some internationally well coordinated action that gets the job done (That is on side of a mission with a probable end-game that does not further bankrupt US foreign credibility, regional stability and the US treasury.) The previous article provides one, albeit likely an implausible solution, but a philosophical basis possibly for a better one than the current US administration may be contemplating.
The days when the public in the West will automatically jump on board almost any intervention with or without a definitive plan, right or wrong or even from the left are over. David Cameron learned that sad lesson in parliament, so let us hope that other NATO leaders will not have to suffer such uncomfortable defeats on such an important question.
It is a question that requires a just and united resolution based on serious reflection and thorough analysis of the real facts and implications of any major attack. The world is too dangerous a place, especially the Middle East to simply leave it to the "cowboys" again to fix it. Yippy yi yeah, this would be even a no brainier in a Bruce Willis movie.
" Brutal World Heretic"
There is a view out there that if we bury our heads in the sand and focus only on the cheery that all will be well in the end. Describing the world overall as brutal or going to be brutal is looked upon by some as being too negative. A product of the depressed, excessively pessimistic or someone with too much bad luck. Or the security apparatuses and defense establishments looking for bigger budgets.
Worse, for most but not all bankers, those who talk about too much of a troubled world ahead do not sufficiently.create the proper atmospherics for recovery and growth, satisfactory levels of long term investment, buying mortgages and investing and consumption. For parents, they wonder how such negative talk will affect their impressionable young.
Brutal world predictors are to be treated the same way as those in 2007 or before who predicted the crash that took place in 2008. Or those who warned above massive terrorism before 2001. Dismissed, ignored or character assassinated if they get too much traction. Just ask people like Peter -that is Peter Schiff.
Now with a. major Middle East War evermore getting closer, think about it along with massive bloated money supply building up large bubbles and possibly such bubbles starting to burst in emerging markets. Not always the most favorable places sometimes in terms of inherent stability. By all means stay calm and carry on as you have before?
My view is also to try and look reality square in the face. Churchill did while others said lets work with Hitler and it will all work out. Accusing Churchill behind his back as being depressive or a warmonger more publicly. We saw how those cheery-minded got us World War II.
To those who think the current economic environment and geopolitical situation will eventually work out lovely, I have one thing to say to you.You are living in your own special kind of bubble, maybe while many parts of the world seethe with mistrust and even hatred and envy. Or even hunger and even a basic lack of health services.
All of this does not make most of the world feel rosy and having a full stake in making peace, even with the overall well-off West on which some regions are dependent for aid. Or more sadly, military assistance at times to keep their own people in line to stop them crying about the empty bellies of their children due to corrupted government and values..
I am not optimistic about the world on the short to medium term, though personally cannot complain too much about my own state. As the song goes " We are the World" and so goes the rest of the world including our own societies so go we individually or at least our own children eventually. And it ain't pretty and will be worse unless we look at our real problems in the face and do something very credible to solve them as well.
So far I do not see it from most of our governments. And in the end they are us. We are liars overall about what we all need to do and have our governments do. And I firmly believe that honesty is the best policy for us today and for our children who will not forget our "love" of lies such as kicking the debt and unfunded pension problems, down the road. Or using the war machine sins of the fathers in ways that build future hate towards them.
Enough said about the brutal world for which all must assume fair responsibility in generating and more importantly in making less so. Now let us all smile and whistle as we go shopping. Thank you and good night.
Banks Should Not Be Governments' Financial "Toy Boys".
The Dash report has been critical of certain past practices of banks including excessive remuneration of the Old Boys, CEO club. Banks have rightfully paid major fines at times for their deceit, corruption and threatening the economy with systemic failure, as well as having limits placed on executive bonuses by regulators and internal remuneration committees. However, there may be a rather unfair punitive and insidious trend now developing with respect to some that could undermine their financial strength, and in turn the economy, by the regulators and politicians.
This trend is what I call " financial piling on." Or the government turning into financial institutional predators or sponges especially in debt stressed countries so as to try to make up for their fiscal and monetary failings. This is beyond issues of overall competition, high banks fees or consumer rights issues, which should retain focus including criminal financial practices such as money laundering.
What I am talking about is every time a bank makes a stupid but legal investment, be it in proprietary trading or not, they seem to get nailed with billion dollar fines especially if someone tried to cover it up among their thousands of employees. They are however already suffering from asset write-downs which impact shareholders. And if their mistakes are not catastrophic to the system, why should they be torn apart completely by regulators or politicians. Drawn and quartered in public repetitively and mercilessly to the point that explains in part why few bank CEOs want to show a public face or do an interview.(An incorrect strategy, I believe, nevertheless.)
All businesses make mistakes. And cannot be nannied by government to prevent them experiencing all of the major ones. For banks, which have systemic impacts, they need above other businesses to have effective living wills in place, that should make it even of less need for regulators to be punitive against their "dumb" mistakes. We cannot have a zero risk banking world, just as we cannot have a zero security risk world if we want freedom and free markets to function intelligently.
As well, trying to ineffectively prevent financial transactions from a sanctioned country going through banks should not lead to several billions in fines if the actions did not support nefarious activities and/or if it relates to clerical error and uncommon one-off or one branch events. On the other hand, documentation on HSBC's continued disregard at the top to prevent criminal money laundering means that significant fines were rightly handed out to them. And should be for anyone else culpable of these acts. Whether Standard Bank's fines,however, on their so-called trading with the enemy can be considered proportional, may be difficult to say.
Recent scope and extent of fines regarding stupid mistakes in investments by J.P. Morgan and the like would not seem to deserve the same magnitude of fines for what HSBC committed. But of course governments like those of the United States or England with their huge debts and deficits may feel the need to get every dollar or pound they can cut out of financial flesh rather then making sufficiently and timely cuts of their friends' positions and their favorite non-productive programs within various bureaucracies.
As well, every time a country goes bankrupt, foreign banks are often arm-twisted to write down billions of dollars of debt they are holding of those countries's bonds, asset backed paper etc. These fines and write-downs seem to be cumulative now in the trillion dollar regions. And no end to them especially politically for those banks out of favor with nationally based and focused politicians and regulators who care not about the international ramifications or their effects beyond elections.
Furthermore, while Jamie Dimon, at times, may be rather opinionated in standing up for his values ( I sympathize) against government bank regulations, should government punish and undermine him at every chance for his expressed thinking? I may not much agree with him on many things, but he should be allowed free voice without him and his bank unjustly being punished by having different and pointed opinions to the regulators. Personally, I understand exactly what he is experiencing by some of the powers that be who have a low tolerance for real intellectual diversity despite their constant expression of how liberal-minded that they are.
While at the beginning of the 2008 crisis, there was certainly a need for emergency measures by all, and punitive approaches to ensure never again that such wanton loose lending would take place, it is now becoming an almost regular approach by governments to mega-fine over and above what they should be doing so four or five years hence..
But more than fat-cat bank executive shareholders suffer from this. Bank shares are held presently by regular union, private and public pension funds, pools backing average people's insurance policies and annuities and mutual funds of average folks. Some of these are significant as they are in tax shelters popular for many middle class people. IRAs in the US or RRSPs in Canada come to mind.
Rather various governments now after or before encouraging any possible major write- downs of their debt need to better advance structural changes. This will lead to the sustainability which will lower government temptation to destroy financial institutional wealth so critical to the long term maintenance of certain national economies and indeed, the overall global economy.
The Swiss Bakers Association wrote to Peter Dash that their banks could not be held responsible for all the world's problems. Rightfully so, partly and it is for the case for banks for example, based out of Manhattan, Toronto or Frankfurt, as well as Tokyo and beyond that are holding enormous government debt.
Governments must assume their fair share to put economies right and not overly continue to solicit excessive fines and write downs from banks to disproportionately make up for government profligacy and badly managed practices. "Raiding" the banks is in some opinions acting as a false lever to ensuring a sustained recovery.The state needs to better get on with the hard lifting work.
It would have been nice, however, if those banks that had got roped into major sovereign debt reduction had not in the first place lent the money. It would have been better if they had been more disciplined about lending money out to governments irrespective of fantasy A ratings from a number of the rating agencies that they swallowed almost unconditionally.But that is another story that also explains why governments should not be too tough, particularly on banks that are helping so much with debt relief these days.
It is time to rein in some of the government judicial and regulatory "predators" who seem at times to be more engaged in financial molestation than financial rehabilitation and fairness. It may very well be a season for change on how certain banks are overall treated by the relevant government bodies. But do not hold your breath.One-sided bank bashing is likely going to be a major source of political and government capital, especially with banks doing such a terrible job in telling the positive aspects of their stories.
Senator Rand Paul, Steve Forbes or Donald Trump Favored to be Next President:
That is if They Promote the Kind of Ideas Below?
The next candidate on the right needs to keep the below in mind. Frankly, I like good publicly spirited billionaires who are pro-meritocracy, and who do not cower to the bank-government-defense/intelligence complexes but who still appreciate their importance. Who cannot be so bought out - at least so easily in a day and age where lobbies practically rule and undermine government's ability to do good for the commonwealth.
Who can stand up for freedom and open markets but are not trying to shove their version of it down everyone's throat including the international community. Nor afraid to bring in the trust busters or regulators when things get out of whack, but only as an essential last measure. That is a modern and positive version of leadership for America, but not necessarily requiring billionaires to assure it.
Those who have proven to be wealth creators or facilitators are also important. However, they should be interested in the needy and able to communicate with the average man or woman on main-street. Who do not put themselves above everyone else and have the fundamental sense of equality. In other words, not married to elitism Candidates might give consideration to the the following:
No adventuresome and useless wars. Scaling down if possible of certain non-essentials in the intelligence community especially the NSA.
Streamlined and revised healthcare, less burdensome to businesses and various states, possibly borrowing more on the Swiss model.
Strong national security but not Keith Alexander's big brother recipe despite it being clear that the General is a patriot.
Right to bear arms affirmed and protected but with decent security checks. Community supported training to protect schools and other education facilities.
Major deficit cutting well beyond existing levels with some savings to be redirected to general consumption stimulative of business growth and lowering taxes for all, especially small business.
A complete revamping and simplification of the tax code
Tax reduction and credits issuing through above savings, giving out checks to the poor and middle class than feeding more money to tho banks and the federal bureaucracy and corporate non-productive subsidies.
If necessary, more printed money should pay for tax credits to the middle class and paychecks to the poor, part of which can be put aside where need be for their old age security.
Social security, real reforms to ensure it does not become bankrupt when the current young become retired.
Increased purchase of gold by the Federal Reserve and facilitating step by step its use for general payments, domestically and globally The American dollar must be properly backed up by real assets, as well as a well managed government. Gold inventories at the Reserves need be fully real to maintain credibility and dollar worth.
Approval of the oil pipeline from Canada and more drilling for oil and gas in an environmentally prudent manner.
Eliminating of capital gains over five to ten years. Immediate is preferred but the deficit may not allow it immediately. This would also help close the defici problem in both private and public pension plans.
Announcement of such a plan would be highly economically stimulating and attractive to foreign investors. in other words, if not a direct job creator one that will boost consumption and eventually therefore more jobs.
Increasing consumption taxes in a progressive manner, none on basic food and staples and more on luxury goods and services.
New tax incentives to promote blue collar, union and small business employee ownership of the businesses they work for or in.
More efforts to promote greater presence of bank competition in the US and for more foreign opportunities for US banks in international trade and investment deals..
Incentives to bring back trillions of offshore dollars rather than simply IRS sticks and bullying of overtaxed American investors in certain case
Youth corp program for chronically unemployed youth that is essentially mandatory for those on government welfare and related who are able to do even the most limited but useful volunteer task.
Tax holidays for small business start ups in ghettos and deprived communities with internship programmes.
"Work facilities" where civil liberties are protected rather than prisons for minor drug use and trafficking in it. And other smaller crimes as long as no violence has been involved. American prisons are bulging and leading to increased criminalization and long tern major government expenses.FEMA already possesses such facilities that are largely unused.
I will add to this list, as we approach the primaries.
Currently the strongest candidates to date in my opinion are Senator Rand Paul, Steve Forbes and Donald Trump in terms of showing real leadership skills, daring to be different and hard nosed if necessary to get the job done. And to be sufficiently creative and being resourceful to promote new ideas and get them implemented by deploying the right people efficiently.
True leadership is more in need now than ever before.
Syria: Do not go there Mr.Obama (alone). It will be another Iraq - or Worse
I do not know what America's overall NATO partners are thinking about another intervention in the Middle East, especially in light of America's terrible budget deficit. If it is done, based on real evidence of chemical weapon usage by the regime, it needs to be done under the UN with Russia and China's approval.
If it is not, America would find such an intervention not only overly expensive in money terms, but in terms of its relations with countries that it needs a certain cooperation with to ensure its economy recovers properly and to prevent a further budget killing, costly arms build up.
Okay,so maybe I am beng naive about the US military-intelligence-industrial complex being more interested in itself than building a healthy global capitalism that widens prosperity and stability for all people and industries. Let us just hope this likely coming intervention does not lead to World War III. And an increasingly angry public that might begin to practically scream for more cutbacks and oversight of these establishments with another major screw-up in the Middle East.
But if Assad really used chemical weapons, then something needs to be done. However, if this is another false flag conjured up by certain elements in the CIA and its minions, then as well, America's foreign policy image is done and so is President Obama's international credibility and maybe domestic one too. It will be lasting and present profound damage. So we really need to get the facts straight before making a decision whether to invade -and the international community's serious approval if the facts truly indicate that intervention is necessary.
What a horrible world we indeed live in at times and the way we keep on wrecking it for our young people and succeeding generations because of stupid hatred and ignorance of the other. And selfishness.
As a global citizen and uncle and great uncle, I especially feel this way, but have also experienced many acts of kindness from people all the way from China to Russia to Saudi Arabia. Let us hope this kind of goodwill prevails over the voices for war.
Investors and Mainstream Business Media Sometimes Seem Like Psychiatric Patients
When Advising on Investments: What to do to lock into long term, rational strategies
Investors and the main media can seem like psychiatric patients; overly suffering from mood swings. And showing symptoms of paranoid worry of being left out from identifying new fast changing investment trends. Or at least perceived ones.
Let's look at some examples. First there was a view by some investors that all of a sudden gold was done because inflation was considered dead due to the announcement about money printing tapering by the Fed. Or sorry, before then, gold was everything at times because the US dollar was probably close to a collapse in some people's minds. Neither was really the case.
For now, we find that emerging markets are having a considerable say in 1) preventing gold's predicted plunge by some to the abyss and 2) helping it recover considerable lost ground. Gold is neither dead nor every one's Nirvana as we are finding out.
On the media hysteria at times that gold went from being an investment Midas to the riskiest investment almost anywhere, I bought on its "hysterically" low end through companies like Barrick of Canada and Newcrest of Australia. Wait out for those deep popular mood swings of the masses and mass media so as to buy at depressed levels.
Newcrest was bought by me after the Australian dollar went through a hysterical mood plunge that is almost up there with the Indian rupee. That does not mean that it should not have gone down. Just that inevitably the mood swingers get in and those deeply fearing being left out of a trend, too. They do not do their research, just operate on a kind of herd instinct that is either fundamentally flawed or too late to be of benefit.
In fact, the rupee has probably not finished its manic crash, but that hysterical end too may be arriving given the excessively depressing attitudes towards it. India is far from finished. I would begin to look at buying into its currency and selected stocks in months ahead, if not sooner.
If there are many more hysterical plunges or mood swings on the Aussie dollar and gold, then I will jump in again given Australia's and gold's relative strong fundamentals. After all, the world economy is still fundamentally the same dangerous place as more than several years ago except it having more latent explosive power for a larger crash.
Thus, there is no reason for the depressed levels for emerging markets relative to western ones. If I correctly remember, the better emerging markets have been much more structurally adjusted or better positioned to deal with crashes at the economic level than many western economies, overall.There is also no reason to think that gold is still not good to hold at least as a small part of everyone's investment portfolio.
Now "Big Bad Ben Bernanke" timidly said some restraint might be exercised on tapering the bond purchase program at the Fed. As a result of such a projected maybe, money comes flooding out of fundamentally sound markets of certain emerging markets - I mean relatively speaking to developed ones. This is nonsense at least the extent of these flows.
This is a demonstration of my negative mood swing hypothesis that is especially appropriate to all the trauma patients, or investors I should say who lost their shirts in 2008 and have limited capital in particular. They worry too much that they will miss out on avoiding some dangerous new developing trend or to a lesser extent, a new positive one.
Following new swings, we have the herald cry that the US Is king again with all the new money flowing back into that country's stock markets. It is actually old excessive printed US dollars causing price distortions and imbalances in the global economy for my two cents worth. Hot money that to some degree emerging markets could do better without having if they do not want to bubble out.The fundamental issue is that all that new printed money is the new artillery to an eventual explosive crash at some point. That is where one needs to keep an eye on the ball and base ones long-term strategy partly on.
The fundamental truth as stated in some of my below articles is that the West, especially the US is still in significant deep trouble given its massive massive debt and major money printing placebo to fix the economy. Even China with its lack of transparency on bank debt and hyper real-estate prices looks more solid at 7.5 percent GNP though that is somewhat distorted. But it will be in major trouble too, eventually.
However, the room for income growth and increased consumption is huge in the years to come in places like China before or even after a future coming crash. Hot excess Bernanke money will flow back to the emerging markets, no doubt in another disruptive manner at times. Asian country currencies, therefore could be due in years ahead at a maximum to experience major appreciation not their current depreciation. There are exceptions of the Chinese currency, which is currently largely maintaining its value. So running away from these currencies in panic flight is of short-term benefit at best and too late at worst consistent to my mood swing theory of the need to maintain an eye on important fundamentals.
Here in Russia, it is arguably one of the best human resource pools at the professional level, well documented by the Economist. Yet, it has had a huge stock market plunge and exodus of capital. But it still has important positive fundamentals. It has huge resource holdings by being by far the largest country in the world. This makes it a long term buy as its human resources are more productively deployed and as infrastructure and rule of law inevitably improve for businesses and others.
Remember, McDonalds was told when it first went into Russia it was nuts. Or probably even told by some in the US government that it was ideologically disloyal for investing there as the Soviet Union was still in existence. Due to that strategic and patient move including not being flustered by diversionary intermittent swings, it now dominates the fast food business in Moscow. It has been the same for certain Finnish companies invested in the Russian bakery business.
No strategic guts and emotional control in keeping to good long-term strategy fundamentals, then no glory. And that can be said for too many investors overly reacting to the investment flavor or country of the day or even hour. And speaking of political mood swings, one should not swing heavily too far away from certain countries that all of a sudden are not of the likes of General Alexander and the US intelligence community but are important for global investors.
My bet is your money on a select and long term basis can and will stay profitably longer in positive, low tax places such as Russia or China than he and his likes will stay in office. Even Stephen Harper reversed his tone on China while initially not being happy with those too enthusiastic with doing business with the Chinese.
Business will prevail in places and/or with companies that create wealth Or ones that can and will eventually need to create wealth and have enough resources to do so. China is proof and Russia is moving that way considering where it was before 1990. Those who want to upset such trends through the continued promotion of the military-intelligence-industrial complex are outdated job and wealth killers.
Hence, I may be shortly buying part of a gold company in Russia, also consistent to my continued purchases of gold related investments. Brazil and India with significant consumer demand on the long term, not just for gold in the latter's case should represent buys in the not too distant future, as well. Massive potential for continued growth looks good on the medium to long term despite the politics of these countries not always being understood or not seemingly favorable from a traditional western government perspective. And eventually even Africa will become the new tigers.
With the kind of low prices in stock markets like Russia and evermore high prices in markets like the USA, no wonder Jim Rogers and Marc Faber say look at markets such as Russia or others that have fallen considerably. Do not get too smitten with the strong mood passions towards western stock exchanges, especially the US one.
It may seem trite as an obviously related cliche, but buying low and selling high would mean buying the US Dow in 2008 or 2009 and now selling it fairly soon thereby returning a 100 percent plus return rather than having freaked out that the world of investment was coming to an end in 2008. Or now getting into exuberance that the Dow will continue moving forward to over 20,000.
These are not sane strategies by reacting manically to mass popular (headline) hysteria that has one sell on the lows and buy on the highs. But many retail investors employ them. Why else are the real rich who are better informed now getting out of these stock markets that are at very high levels.Think about it calmly. Think above the main media mood swinger hype. It is too often done to sell newspapers and generate wealth for financial institutions and their top clients, not you the basic investor.
And it does make sense to have a defensive, but not paranoid strategy given that Faber says in the next years you will be lucky not to lose 50 percent of the value in your investment holdings. Poppycock you say? Look at 2008 and even before, and the fact that governments have not really sorted out the mess enough that created the previous collapses.
Nevertheless, Faber says, a good long term strategy still means finding and holding onto some stocks through a crisis, as one never knows how quickly a recovery can come that you might want to insure you are part of. Besides, even after a Depression most solid blue chip stocks will make a comeback and some may even continue to pay dividends through a crisis. Again, stay cool and also do not throw in the towel even in a real pre-crisis or actual crisis.
Thus, for the moment, keep a steady hand in major emerging market economies despite most manageable crises they may suffer, and buy a good number of bargains there for long term growth without dedicating too much of your portfolio there.
Keep funds in major consumer, staple, agricultural and food companies that have never reduced their dividends and have always rebounded after crises. Canadian banks, Nestlé, Proctor and Gamble and so on fall into the category of guaranteed rebounders though I am generally avoiding financial institutions as I think balance sheets strengths are still overstated especially given coming troubles.
Tech companies with long term track records may be providing bargain prices soon or the not too distant future.. And avoid government debt instruments in general. If you insist buying them, you might find some of the inflation adjusted ones are at decent prices now.
My holdings include commodity and mining companies all of which I have picked up on bargain prices including gold producing ones with solid records not speculative ones. For despite them being out of favor, commodities will be always needed and are a good hedge against inflation or geopolitical dangers. Agricultural ones, which are essential to global survival will be always needed.
You will likely need some gold or gold related solid investments in your portfolio not only to protect you against inflation, but to protect you against major events. These include devastating urban earthquakes, man-made or other natural disasters and nuclear terrorism for example - or a full geopolitical meltdown turning into widened wars or even World War III.
No wonder, the Chinese are evermore buying gold, be it the central bankers or average retail clients. Their history shows why. And they have a very long history to learn many things from. At one time, they only accepted gold for their exports. The West's response was to turn them into opium addicts to get their gold to pay for their silks.
The Chinese and other Asians will not be so foolish this time in preventing certain negative elements in the West from undermining their economy and their rising global influence. Their massive foreign reserves and steady rather than rapid increase in gold in their reserves prove it. And most of their new gold is coming from purchases in the West who will need that gold in the future when more and more transactions are favored in gold and less in US dollars. Again, the West may be shooting itself in the financial foot as it would likely have to buy back that gold at a steeper price in the future. That is if it is able to do so given exchange controls on gold exports that could be put into place by certain emerging market and even western countries.
Also having a certain amount of decent cash reserves spread around the world in safe havens will do you well particularly for the more well off or even the middle class. Monaco, Switzerland, Isle of Sark, Bermuda, Hong Kong (where you can invest in Chinese currency of remimbi) Singapore and other safe havens that are pro-investor places deserve attention. Scandinavia (attached to krona currencies that are good for the short term to medium terms), Germany, Canada and Australia may be good second tier places.
The Sparkasse, saving bank confederation (at least certain branches) in Germany guarantees all deposits irrespective of amounts as they are fully backed up through local governments and other arrangements. The possible death of the Euro could likely mean an appreciation of value of German deposits if Germany goes back to its very solid Deutsch Mark. Besides you can hold quite a few foreign currencies at these German banks. German predictability and efficiency are still there, but financial strength ratings of their banks could be better.
Remember, as we see from the turmoil in the Netherlands, northern Europe like almost anywhere is not immune to continued weaknesses in the financial sectors -so act with prudence and apply rational geographical and institutional diversity strategies in your investment and saving strategies. Rather than generally hopping around in the spur of the moment moving most of your wealth from one country to another. Dash Blog radio has a show on this.
The good investor may be skeptical of fast investment swings and changing trends, but takes benefit from them here or there in intelligent trading.Consistently, I am not convinced that this new so-called bull run at the expense of emerging markets is fully sustainable, But yes a reasonable allotment to US stocks and US dollars on the short to medium term is not a bad idea within reason.
However, as I stated in the newspaper business pages, I am getting increasingly nervous about the US market despite everyone seemingly running to them these days from so-called depressed emerging markets.If you believe that intelligent contrarians make the big money, then one should pause about wholeheartedly jumping off the supposedly sinking emerging market ship. Keeping cool and overall sticking to a wise long-term strategy and making necessary short-term adjustments is often the way.
For I can personally tell you that I would have saved five to six figure dollars if I had done so at certain junctures in the lower end of my investment education learning curve. For example, swinging into shorting stocks (when the mood was so awful for them but forgetting or being unaware sufficiently of the fundamental forces at the Fed of not allowing the market to decrease too much so as to prevent another crash) was a painful personal experience and serious mistake.
Always keep and eye on the fundamental forces at play independent to certain headlines open to generating temporary mood swings. But when major fundamentals changes occur be weary such as when the Fed is really no longer able or willing to intervene significantly to prevent interest rates from adjusting upwards. These are not mood swings and do get headlines often after the fact. But even stocks with their own good micro-fundamentals may survive deleterious changes in macro-fundamentals. In other words, always do your research to find good value stocks that will maintain decent value irrespective of changing macro-influences that you might not be aware of - at least initially. This is good insurance.
And do not forget to, learn from the mistakes of others. It is cheaper and wiser than investing by excessive public sentiment or meda-headline swings especially that are neither durable nor relevant anymore to market prices.These are the kind of swings that can make one blind to a good understanding of and focusing on the true fundamentals.
This knowledge could very well keep you on the right path to maintaining or growing your wealth, and preventing you from turning into too much of an emotional roller coaster on your way to investment insanity and even a real psychiatrist. No wonder a number of Swiss banks have them. After all, look at all the destructive distorting mass media information out there and evermore excessive worries for their clients as to where Bernanke' s post 2008 experiment in mass money printing will finally lead us. Take care and stay cool.
Keeping the "Brutal" (Canadian) Bankers in Check To Promote Sound Capitalism
Time for more Charity to the Needy and not to the Banks. Musings from Monaco.
I have decided to maintain this site after all. A number of viewers cannot afford my services and should not be penalized as such.
Even if it is time consuming maintaining this site even in its raw format.
It is totally worth it and almost my pleasure as it moves justice forward even if only by a few millimeters
This video that follows has also inspired me to continue making the point that Canadian bankers, and others elsewhere need to better reach out to the community.
They may be eventually headed for further PR disasters as I have told them in an ongoing extensive conversation with their number one lobby.
I believe in having conversations with the powerful not to leave them in their increasing unhelpful isolation from the mainstream.
Look at the pre-revolutionary history of the Romanovs here in Russia. Such a strategy is highly risky in the end for such groups. And their succeeding generations.
Speaking of that relating to isolation at the top and czars, the banking ones, image disasters could be coming for Canadian banks well beyond the recent offshore labor issues.
That already cost the Royal Bank of Canada mega millions.
I have also recently returned from Monaco, an offshore financial center and it is stunning to see how the real rich live. Some of whose 10 percent deposits on houses add up to the net compensation of Canadian bank presidents over their tenure.
Not these scattered small millionaires through Toronto, for example.
These offshore "paradises" make a lot of the main North American cities look economically depressed. And they are getting fatter and bigger all the time.
A mundane example. A milkshake is 13 dollars near the main lavish casino in Monte Carlo.
The money laid out for milkshakes in Monaco would feed many Africans for one to two weeks and the teeming thousands of Toronto homeless people for a few days.
A small studio apartment I was looking at in Monte Carlo cost about a million to a million and a half dollars. Money equivalent for buying several houses in the Montreal area.
Don't worry I cannot fully afford it as a humble teacher for those of my richer school classmates who might think I am being a well-off hypocrite.
Yes, sadly there are more and more about being thrown in the gutter with the millions already there as the banks and the tax havens flood over with money..
Fortunately, not all the elites are indifferent. And I am increasingly connecting into those who know something is up.
That they could lose the whole ball of wax if the financial status quo is held.
It shows with the UKIp party's big victories in England and the rise of libertarianism in America and massive intelligence leaks going on.
But yes, there are the real super secret rich, the Monte Carlo and other tax haven rich well beyond the stars living in their neighborhoods. That would not even submit themselves to the scrutiny by the public that Canadian bankers feel threatened by at times. Or even willing to attend a Bilderberg meeting.. They are more secret than secret and rolling in luxury and free-time. Just look at their 100 plus foot yachts.
As Marc Faber has eloquently stated, the Monaco or Mayfair rich keep benefitting from the money printing presses while the rest starve or get poorer. This does not lead to a formula for stability.
If need be more and more of the rich will dump American citizenships if the government becomes even worse and more fiscally incompetent. They will head for and disappear into the Monacos while the rest of us wilt
They can keep moving out of America, as many of them do not want to be center to an increasingly polarized society with massive snooping.
That a lack of civil society is too confusing and chaotic for most of the "normative" rich who prefer not to be in a mafia or authoritarian states, because they know in the end it is safer to be in well-run, civil societies.
However, It is now more important that our banks and those benefitting from these tax havens for example, and who have enormous incomes strive to deliver more on charity
Including from the money -the young Canadian girl talks about in the video- that is being created out of thin air by these private and central bankers.
Governments cannot borrow any more money - period- without sacrificing these future generations. But those in need require productive assistance not just extended hand-outs.
Governments are running out of room to significantly increase taxes to pay for their military-security and police apparatuses.
Again the real issue is to create prosperity and more freedom not the tangle of draconian regulations and helping their banker friends rip us off by killing saving rates and supporting foreclosures and non-constructive Fed intervention.
Challenging the banks to operate properly by following free market rules and not putting all of us in hawk cannot be seen as lunacy. Being against bank cartels cannot be seen as an unhealthy deviance. Creating more prosperity by reducing banking dominance in part would make us have to worry less about tax havens as well
Otherwise, we will have to dispel the notion that western governance is centrally composed of fiscally responsible, pro-private sector, pro-prosperity for all and democracy supporting people.
Once we defy freedom's call, we are finished as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world and even for ourselves and own children.
That would be a sad day.
Some are saying, including even our children that the (Canadian) banks are not getting enough attention for the gigantic salaries and bonuses the CEOs are receiving. That is polarizing in itself.
And that the profits that are too heavily focused on being returned to investors and executives rather than average employees and the local to global communities. More polarization.
Studies at the University of Chicago show such huge bonuses do not increase productivity.
There was a recent Russia Today television segment on Canadian banks and such related issues. Their mistakes are being viewed evermore globally.
My actual view is that as someone who believes strongly in fiscal responsibility that the banks are weaker on the balance sheets than they are stating excluding possibly certain ones in tax havens and an overall minority of them.
And that salaries at the top including bonuses need to be more retained as bank capital.
In fact a prominent responsible South African billionaire announced that the big bank bailouts were about the same size as the banks' excess bonus pools!
And whatever happened to the serious promises made by the Royal Bank of Canada to create significant numbers of decent full time jobs by them for the youth?
Were they just liars to get the media off their case about how they were improperly going offshore for labor cost savings? Hopefully not.
I really wonder whether the execs at the top of their ivory financial towers are really interested in listening at times.
Are they the "butchers" of balance sheets and communities as I bring out in my book ZUrabia -at least some of them.
The Lehman Brothers CEO talked about ripping people's hearts out.
Are still too many of the remainder, largely male testosterone pumped up CEOs still doing the same?
Still trying to keep women out of the very top in their egotistical sense of maintaining dominance for the last big prize the Old Boys club is holding onto - the bank CEO positions.
New announcements or rumours of replacing Canadian bank CEOs include no women. So it is further appropriate that a female voice is in the below video.
Fortunately, I believe many males CEOs are not like that as my book indicates if one does a proper reading of it to the end.
And the banks do have some good stories.
But they either make weak convincing points of the benefits they generate and/or are still too exploitative at times.
The below could be the beginning of the real tipping point against Canadian banks - and others.
That is if they are not more careful to pursue a more modern and fiscally sound agenda consistent to our democratic principles and commitment to wide scale prosperity.
See the video, which is also of similarity on RT news http://ukipcornwallnews.blogspot.ru/2012/04/young-canadian-girl-takes-on-banks.html
Most Interesting and Best Cities in the World
Every year the Mercer report comes out with a listing of what are the best cities in the world.
This report, though was primarily made to help companies with their human resource decisions.
Big cities score very badly and are generally off the top 20 despite some of these cities being majestic -culturally, aesthetically, historically- or even in terms of their variety of events and institutions.
The Dash report city ranking will look at both liveliness, culturally and otherwise as well as cost of living and overall aesthetics and comfort level.
It presumes that the observers put premiums on cleanliness, orderliness, safety and security, cultural intensity (theatre, ballet, opera,festivals, museums, multilingualism, tolerance, variety of events) education levels overall and infrastructure, pedestrian and environmental friendliness including green spaces, recreational opportunities and climate.
Finally the pride the residents have is also important.
The Dash Report ranking is as follows
1) Sydney, Australia
11) Monte Carlo
13) New York City
20) St. Petersburg
Sydney is probably now the best blend of culture and nature and landscape aesthetic, possibly along with Prague, Zurich, Stockholm, Vancouver, Singapore and Berlin.
There are of course other factors taken into account, which affect their rankings.
Moscow and St. Petersburg, with the latter which is practically stunning do not get the recognition they deserve.
Moscow with its combination of classic looks and imposing unique Kremlin and Soviet iconography is fascinating,
The literary scene is strong with people still reading complicated classics. What a metro - one of the best in the world contains underground like palatial decor with a wide mix of styles.
All in all, even other Russian cities including Kazan where the world university games were held also hold their charms.
Articles/ideas and Books to Read
Summer Simmering Reading on Rogue Bankers, Terrorists and Women Freemasons:
ZUrabia is/ has been covered on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), Canada's number one national news channel.
Debra Borchardt interviewed the author on thestreet.com, possibly the number two most important media site in the United States for small to medium retail investors
It is described in the Vancouver Province, in a major April 2013 article on Peter by Paul Luke, editor and award-winning journalist.
It is linked to the Montreal Gazette, Regina Leader-Post, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun and Canada-media.com, the largest newspaper chain in Canada.
ZUrabia has also been referred to by ABC,CBS and Fox News.
Reviewed by Rebecca Skane, February 1, 2013, Seacoastonline Blog. Here's a small segment from what she says in a very comprehensive and positive book review.
"Zurabia is not only a fast-paced and action-packed suspense thriller of James Bond proportions, the story itself holds immediate relevancy to the recent media attention given to hidden offshore bank accounts."
ZUrabia is a cautionary tale about corrupt and greedy bankers who join up with extremists, terrorists and nuclear rogue states.Yahoo News. Feb 17, 2013. http//news.yahoo.com/ harvard-researcher-peter-dash-releases-novel-bsed-real-15121343
Scroll down beyond the below articles for many more reviews and media listings of ZUrabia, including the famous Kirkus Review.
Available at Amazon.com and Indigo and Chapters book stores in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa and Pages in Barbados. May be sold-out in some stores.
Best Second Passports to Have To Counter the Brutal World. The Top 20 Countries
(Pay per view)
Too Big To Fail Bank Model May Not Protect You. What to do before the next crisis
(Pay per view)
Canadian Bankers Association responds to Peter on their being a cartel. (Scroll down past piece on shorting Canadian banks and Peter's comments on it.)
Link of the week with Lloyd Blankfein on the inevitability of economic hell ahead
+ Prince Alwaleed, top Middle East businessman says nowhere is immune to unrest.
Western Democracy on Edge: Still generally the best, but some democracies may be moving towards the edge. Securing you + your family against tumultous times in them.
Includes groups with or without wealth likely at risk in the next meltdown
(pay per view)
The Americans I like: Celebrating US past positives to inspire a better future
A new economic system and elements of key reforms to promote global balance