The Eurofiscal Corruption Contest – The Portuguese Entry

Portugal’s entry in the EuroFiscal Corruption Contest is a more modest affair than Spain’s. It centres round a simple fact, which I picked up a few days ago from Bloomberg, that

Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s president, is the biggest shareholder in Portuguese cable-television company Zon Multimedia (ZON) SGPS SA, and holds 19 percent of Portuguese lender Banco BPI SA. (BPI)

On the surface it’s an innocent sentence. Someone owns a chunk of a bank. Except that 1) the person is the daughter of the man who has been ‘President’ of Angola since 1979, during which time he and his family have amassed a business empire currently estimated to be worth at least €1.5 billion, while the people of Angola live in poverty despite the billions in revenue from Angola’s Oil and other mineral riches, and 2) the bank she owns 19% of  is about to get a €1.5 billion bail out from the Portuguese tax payer.

A word about Angola’s oil revenue. It was reported by Human Rights Watch and has subsequently been admitted by the Angolan government, that $32 billion in oil revenue ( a third of Angola’s GDP) has gone missing and cannot be accounted for.  Though a clue of what might have happened comes from a 2010 US senate report into corruption and money laundering which found that ,

  ”Aguinaldo Jaime, who served as the governor of the Angolan Central Bank from 1999 to 2002… initiated a series of suspicious US$ 50 million transactions with US banks. For each attempt, the banks, concerned about the likelihood of fraud, ultimately rejected the transfer or returned the money shortly after receiving it. During Mr Jaime’s three-year tenure as central bank governor, the government could not account for approximately US$ 2.4 billion.”

The fact is that Angola is a corrupt country and Isabel dos Santos’s father has presided over it for over thirty years. During which time he and his daughters have become personally very wealthy while the Angolan people are still malnourished.

Now perhaps I’ve led a sheltered life, but something about Portuguese tax payers bailing out the  daughter of the President of Angola, especially given the reality of Angola, strikes me as perverse  if not outrageous. And let’s be clear this is what is happening. The bank, a private business, has got itself in deep trouble and would go bankrupt which would ruin its owners. Except that the  Portuguese government has decided to force the Portuguese tax payers to put €1.5 billion of their  money in to the bank so that it can remain profitable for its owners. I put it like that  because…that is actually how it is. Banks can and often do go bankrupt without the depositors  being effected. Bankers and politicians will always warn of the risks to ordinary people but it is their own wealth and power that they are really looking out for. Hundreds of banks have gone bankrupt in America for example and none of the depositors have lost a cent. When banks go bankrupt the people who use the bank are protected. They go in and out as usual. But the owners, the share holders, lose everything. As do the bond holders starting with the most junior and working up to the most senior, each losing their money until the banks’ debts are paid off. That is how it should be. ‘Saving’ banks is about protecting the owners, the bond holders and those politicians whose power and prestige is aligned with that of the owners, and very often also tied into the bad deals which brought the bank to its knees in the first place.

The point is this, if any citizen of Europe, or any ordinary person, were to walk in to Banco BPI (the bank in question) and try to deposit €10 000 in cash that transaction would be reported to the Central bank under international anti money-laundering regulations. If the central bank had suspicions they would in turn alert the relevant police authorities. But, it seems, if the daughter of the President of Angola walks in with 50 million euros, which is what her initial stake in Banco BPI cost, no one thinks to ask where that money came from.

For ordinary people ‘Where did you get the money’ is the question that the law says must be answered. For the scions of the global elite it is the question that is never asked.  Which bothers me. Remind me again why ordinary people must respect and obey the law? Just run by me the philosophical justification please, for I feel it slipping away from me.

The Portuguese bank authorities should have asked if Isobel dos Santos was a fit and proper person to own a controlling stake in a Portuguese bank. Would anyone think it fine for Al Capone to own a bank? Why not? Because he was a gangster who stole the money he was spending? Of course, you could say Al Capone was a criminal whereas we have no proof that Isobel or her father are criminals. Her father is the president for goodness sake. Yes quite! That is what bothers me. You see I somehow doubt the €50 million she invested in Banko BPI, is covered by the President of Angola’s salary. Or is it just a standard thing that all daughters of presidents own 20% of a bank?

Time to take a step back and look more closely at Isobel and the dos Santos financial empire.

In fact Isabel owns stakes in three banks not one and may, as far as I can see, have a stake in at least two others, Banco Espirito Santo and  Banco de Fomento de Angola, via her and her father’s various holding companies. Isabel owns 25% of Angolan Bank, Banco BIC. She also sits on its board. The bank was created in 2008. Just about the time all those billions went missing… Just saying. She owns 19% of Portugal’s Banco BPI. Actually she used to own about 10% of it but about a month before the bail out was announced she bought another 9.4% from one of the failing Spanish banks, Caixabank for €46.7 million. BPI in turn owns a 50.1% stake in Banco de Fomento Angola. So Isabel and her father have quite a hold on banking in Angola.

Back in Portugal the dos Santos presence is considerable as well. Isabel also owns a large stake in another troubled Portuguese bank, Banco Portugues de Negocios. This too is a new bank having been created in 1993. It didn’t last long. In 2008 it had to be nationalized. This bank too was badly run. In fact at the point of its nationalization the man who had been its CEO from 1998 – 2007, Jose Oliveira e Costa, was arrested on charges of tax fraud, money laundering, forgery, abuse of credit and illegal gains.

It is worth noting that when I say ‘Isabel owns’ this is a short hand for saying that various holding companies owned by her and her father ‘own’. There are several such companies the first of which was Geni Holdings. This was founded by her and her father along with Leopoldino Fragoso Nascimento, Anthony Van Dunen and Manuel Augusto da Fonseca. An august sounding group. Nascimento is a Brigadier General in the Angolan Army, van Dunen is a former secretary of the Council of Ministers in Angola and Fonseca is Head of Legal Affairs for Sanangol the Angolan state oil company. How they all became rather wealthy international businessmen on their salaries is another mystery.

Nascimento was recently exposed by the FT, along with another cabal of high ranking Angolan officials as having concealed shares in an oil exploration venture called Cobalt. According to various FT articles in April  this year,

… three of the most powerful officials in Angola have held concealed interests in the Goldman Sachs-backed group’s oil venture in the African country.

The company declined to comment but did not deny the story. Angola, it is worth noting, is part of the West African oil frontier that Western banks, Oil majors and nations are all scrambling to get a stake in.  Banks like Goldman Sachs, oil revenue, and Presidents who rule for 30 years and more – certainly no cause for concern there.

So taking a look over the above, you tell me, is Isabel dos Santos, her father and their money fit and proper to own Portuguese banks? Should the Portuguese people be taking on billions in debt and suffering austerity cuts, in order to bail them out?

The fact is, that Europe’s bankers do not ask where money comes from, how it was gotten, who was hurt, what blood was spilled or what misery went in to its accumulation. They do not care. But we should because we are the ones who are being forced to shoulder the cost of protecting and further enriching the entire stinking, corrupt heap.

When all is said and done two things remain. First, Portugal’s entry is quite modest by European standards. I have mentioned it because it is more revealed for what it is, than similar corruption in other countries. Second, much has been written about how the West needs to help the ‘third world’ to become more like us.We like to tell ourselves that we are helping ‘to build their institutions’, ‘reduce their corruption’ and export to them our values and ways of doing things. The truth however, is that via our putrid and rotten financial system and the small elite who own and run it, we have been busy importing their corruption to add to our own, allowing our institutions to become as corrupt and in-the-service of the guilded few, as theirs.

Remind me how wonderful our democracy is, how healthy and robust it is, how the rule of law is sacrosanct in Europe and stands ready to protect the many against the powerful few. Just remind me … if you can.

,

45 Responses to The Eurofiscal Corruption Contest – The Portuguese Entry

  1. Chris Bergin. June 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    At last. Congratultions. I think you hit every nail firmly on the head. One reason we never hear any of this is because all the MSM are in collusion with the whole bunch of self serving *ankers and their cronies the politicians. How do we find a Hercules to clean this Augean stable?

  2. keekster June 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Excellent post as usual David. Seems to me that western ‘democracy’ is just a sham. Choice is merely an illusion if the outcome is unchanged. I ponder what the ‘democratic’ elections in Greece will result in this weekend. Another closely run race with no clear leader like Belgium? Perhaps. Certainly the revolution in Egypt has achieved nothing. The parliamentary elections have been declared null and void, and the presidential election is a choice between the previous regime, and the muslim brotherhood option. The UK choice is no better. Tory and Labour both follow the increasingly debunked (by Steve Keen) conventional economic theory, akin to those that once thought the world was flat. Choice, yes choice, that makes little if any change to the outcome. Of course, when times were good, the lack of choice was ignored, but when times get hard and the solutions seem out of reach, then people like yourself begin to question whether or not we have real democracy. I increasingly feel we follow a life similar to the movie the Matrix. We make choices, but ultimately we are trapped within a system, and the status quo, over which we have no control. My fear is that a leader will latch onto the discontent, as in 30s Germany, and lead the sheeple astray. My approach is to try and opt out the system as best I can. Avoiding debt, keeping savings as gold, to provide as little collateral to banks as possible, and keep my money in the community as much as possible. But I acknowledge, I’m only partially successful in this respect.

  3. Troy Ounce June 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    It seems the oil Angolan industry (granting concessions & selling of oil leaving Angola) has been fronted by the dos Santos family.

    Please investigate.

    • Phil June 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

      Treasure Islands’ author / FT journo Nick Shaxon might be the one to ask about that – he has written extensively on African oil. Contact him through the Treasure Islands blog.

  4. Gordon June 16, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    As you say banks can go bust without the depositors being affected – provided of course that the pecking order is as you detail – shareholders loose first, then bondholders and only then the depositors. But my understanding is that in the UK this isn’t the case, that depositors rank equally with bondholders. Is this correct?

    • Phil June 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      Good question!!

  5. cirsium June 16, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    “Remind me how wonderful our democracy is, how healthy and robust it is, how the rule of law is sacrosanct in Europe and stands ready to protect the many against the powerful few. Just remind me … if you can.”

    This put me in mind of the following quotations ‘We can have a democratic society or we can have great concentrated wealth in the hands of the few. We cannot have both.’ (Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis).

    “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini.

    great post David. Thanks.

  6. Wirplit June 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Another great bit of analysis David
    By the way as comment on Rajoy’s government there is a miners strike in Asturias against plans to cut wages by 40%. It has got quite violent at times and yet had very little coverage over here or even that much in Spain it would seem.
    Heres some examples of people thinking creatively how to counter the Guardia Civil’s weaponry.

  7. Wirplit June 16, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    better photos here

    • steviefinn June 17, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      Wirlpit

      A snapshot preview of the future, scenes that will eventually have their own variations in all countries, to be crushed underfoot one by one ? or be the seeds of widespread violent dissent which populations are forced to use in order to rebel against the carnivorous elites & their pawns.

      It’s a good illustration of why something needs to be done before everywhere becomes like Menem’s Argentina. As for the media, just more of ” Nothing to see here folks “, business as usual crap, thanks for the post.

      Golem

      Great idea to highlight the cancers which have become like multiforme brain tumours within it seems all countries, as in the US with Goldman Sachs as the main growth spreading it’s tentacles through government & further.

      So far ” Nil Point ” for both entries. Good luck if you decide to do Greece & probably Italy also.

      • Phil June 17, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

        Good point re: future Steve, remember what the MOD predicted a while back:

        “Absolute poverty and comparative disadvantage [...] may also lead to the resurgence of not only anti-capitalist ideologies, possibly linked to religious, anarchist or nihilist movements, but also to populism and the revival of Marxism.

        The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.”

        http://ykon.org/pit/?p=17

        http://www.mod.uk/nr/rdonlyres/38651acb-d9a9-4494-98aa-1c86433bb673/0/gst4_update9_feb10.pdf

  8. Goldenboy June 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    You are hidden the fact that Isabel dos Santos married a millionaire. She married a man more rich than his father.

    Corruption exists but bashing others without any proof is only bulshit.

    I can say the same about you. You are corrupt. Why not? Can I say that without any proves?

    Get a life and do not be jealous. If you have proves complain to the Portuguese authorities.

    • Golem XIV June 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      Evening Goldenboy,

      I am aware of who she married. The Azerbijan connection runs deep.

      But so what? She married a rich man. What is your point? What has his wealth to do with how she and her father came by theirs?

      Proof? No actually I do not need proof. In a court of law I need proof. Here, I need cause for concern and the research to uncover some uncomfortable facts.

      • Goldenboy June 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

        Do you have any proves of corruption to say that money comes from Angola? No, you dont. You are spreading lies.

        Since Angola changed and sell to China their oil the Americans started a spin campaign against everything from Angola, no matter what. We know how you Americans work. You do not mind were comes the money when you get benefits from the trade and investments. Just look how much do you earn with the money from Saudi Arabia, for example. That money buys yours soldiers and guns and you do not bother about that.

        As Angola started to have more and deep international relations with China instead the USA we started to see smear campaigns against Angola and her citizens. Is this the way of thinking in USA. When you are the winners and you profit with that money you do not bart. When are others you bart and start to create negative campaigns.

        You do not show any proves. Only words and suspects. You are following the script of the CIA and others inteligence services. Do you work to the CIA? I bet you are paid by them to spread suspections and deceive yours readers.

        • Golem XIV June 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

          Goldenboy,

          I happen to agree with you about the moral stature of American foreign policy. Especially as it regards their relations with poorer countries. For the record think GB’s foreign policy is similar.

          It has obvioulsy escaped your notice but I am not American. I am British. As for working for the CIA – I don’t think the CIA would approve of most of what I write especially as it regards US banks and interest. But as it is I doubt they have noticed me.

          I agree with you that not only the USA but Europe as well is concerned about the rising influence of China. But I think you are either misinformed or trying to create a little misdirection.

          The rising banking money trying to muscle in to Africa’s west coast – and in fact Africa generally is not just Chinese but rather importantly, Russian. I suggest you look at Renaissance Capital and its connection to Ecobank. Russian money, run by brits in London, using nominee businesses incorporated in South Africa.

          As for proof of corruption – demands for proof are always the gag used to stuff the mouths of those who want to raise questions. You can’t use that against me. I am not a business so you have no leverage over me.

          If you cannot see corruption in Angola then I suggest it because you either do not want to or are paid not to.

          I can see clear signs of corruption in GB, in its political class and in its banks. Do I have proof? No. Will I sit by and let the corruption of my country go unremarked and un-opposed for want of cast iron proof I will never get? No, I will not.

          I you chose to collude with the corruptors of your country, that is your moral failing, not mine.

          • Goldenboy June 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

            I do not care about what you say. CIA always had and always will have covered agents around the world to spread smear campaigns. And not all are business men. In fact most of the covered agents are schollars and “naive persons”. And “candid” fellows.

            But all this caimpaign against Angola started after China is the main buyer of the angolan oil. Until this happened nobody cared about Angola. Or supported the end of the war in Angola until when Angola started to sell the oil to the Americans. As Angola started again to sell the oil to others than the Americans and English the smears campaigns are back.

            You can deny but it is pretty obvious who you work for. CIA and maybe the MI6.

            Stop to bart and prove yours acusations. With hard facts not circunstancial facts. She is daugther of the guy but does prove anything? No. She is married with a bilionaire and the money can come from legitime sources. That could be possible. And probably the real truth.

            You do not show any proves and you are behaving like others covered agents and well paid journos to spread lies and the hidden agenda of the CIA

            We know how you work. We have more than 30 years of experience on thiskind of manipulation in Africa to force Afrinans to obbey to the Americans. We know how much blood and wars in Africa were created to force Africans to do what the Americans want it.

            Stop lies and prove yours accusations. Stop doing the CIA dirty job.

  9. princesschipchops June 17, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Absolutely brilliant piece David.

    You say: ”Which bothers me. Remind me again of why ordinary people must respect and obey the law?”

    Well it seems like increasingly in many places they aren’t. I remember when you said on the Keiser report that a huge amount of UK households were using credit cards to live and that if this were some sort of purposeful way of giving it to the man that might be one thing but in your view it was actually desperation as it was the only way some households could keep paying bills etc.

    Well a few places recently (zerohedge one of them so am sure you’ve read this) are reporting that in Greece and some other EU countries people are taking all their cash and hiding it in the house (although in Greece due to increased home robberies they’re now putting it in bank deposit boxes and you supposedly can’t find a deposit box in Greece for love or ….money!) At the one and same time that they are taking their cash out the bank and hiding it away, they are paying for things on credit cards. Purposefully and knowingly running up debt that they can’t pay, whilst keeping the cash they fear they might need very soon, when the banks they don’t trust finally go bust.

    It makes sense to me that people would do this when all faith is lost in both their political leaders and their financial institutions. I read about someone who, when he realised that he was going to lose his house and be charged with the amount of negative equity on it, spent the next year and a bit running up credit bills and just went and declared himself bankrupt. The clever bit though? He used the credit cards to pay for all his food and petrol and used his cash to buy goods, goods which he then hid at a relatives and once he was declared bankrupt he then used said goods by selling them on ebay and other places, to bring in some money. Not that I am advising this you understand and if caught of course you could I presume be prosecuted. However his behaviour and the behaviour of those in Greece and Spain etc shows what happens once you start to get a total breakdown of any sort of trust in the financial system.

    I hope you keep shining a bright light on the dark goings on.

    • Jim M. June 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      I for one am delighted to see Princesschipchops displaying her naughty side.

      I just knew she had one! ;)

    • Maria das Santos June 18, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      With a name like mine should I be commenting,oh alright?Here in London many people are already doing exactly what others in Europe,Spain,Italy,Greece and Ireland are doing,running up credit cards and defaulting on mortgages.Considering the length of time the default and eventual turfing out of the house takes,then the mortgage can be used to stash goods else where,particularly ware houses.Even my Russian bosses have been doing this on a mammoth scale for the last few years,though their stashes seem to be Syria and Italy!

  10. Chris June 17, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Fantastic stuff David, keep it up.

  11. Golem XIV June 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Princesschipchpos and Chris,

    Thank you both.

    Princess,

    WIthout saying too much, cash may well turn out to be a thoroughly useful, nay even revolutionary tool.

  12. backwardsevolution June 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    “When, in the first large European recent crisis event, Ireland’s banks failed 3 years and change ago, its government could – make that should – have allowed loans to its banks to default. Many of these loans were from German – and French, Dutch – banks. Instead, they were made whole, and Germany didn’t have to bail its banks out. Ever since, this has been the one and only policy, with the possible exception of the Greek haircut. But it doesn’t solve anything at all: debts are still way too high. They’re just transferred, every step of the way, from the banks’ bond- and shareholders to the public in all of Europe’s streets.

    If a bank has excessive debt levels, it needs to be restructured and allowed or made to default, and its creditors should incur haircuts in order of superiority. The big problems today, in Europe and globally, are that just about every bank has hugely excessive debt levels – and exposure -. This means that in case of restructuring an enormous amount of – virtual – wealth would vanish overnight. Wealth that is in the hands of those who dictate policy, and have the political power to shift their debt to state coffers.

    *****IT IS A DEAD END POLICY, BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER MUCH TO THEM: THEY JUST NEED A BIT MORE TIME, SO THEY CAN GET AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO THE COMPLETION OF THE TRANSFER. THEN, EVERYTHING CAN AND WILL BE ALLOWED TO FAIL.”

    http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/what-choice-is-in-greeces-best-interest.html

    • steviefinn June 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

      Backwardsevolution

      Good stuff, makes a lot of sense especially in regards to Tspirus. Hopefully one good thing to eventually come out of this tragedy would be the breaking up of the old corrupt political guard.

      The most interesting part of the article below is a chart showing estimates of countries banking exposure to Greece. Of course these figures are probably showing only the tip of the iceberg, which in itself is possibly big enough to sink a huge supposedly unsinkable hulk. The whole thing strikes me as a bit like a mixture of poker & dominoes played by mostly corrupt, greedy, hubristic people devoid of humanity, in which the pot always wins & the onlookers are forced to cough up to cover the losses :

      http://openeuropeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/what-next-for-greece.html

      Interesting chart showing the geographical share of the vote. It seems to me that Tspirus has most of it’s support in urban areas, particularly in Athens, probably not a good recipe for quiet streets if a Troika business as usual coalition is formed :

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OzeS-6tqPLM/T984xwN0wVI/AAAAAAAAWc4/e6kZZkls2C8/s640/greekelectionfinal.PNG

      Finally the ex advisor to Brian Lenihan gives some advise to Spain :

      http://soberlook.com/2012/06/irelands-advice-for-spain.html

      It would be quite funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

  13. John Souter June 18, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    A simple, perhaps pedantic point David – no country is corrupt only those who choose to govern or control it in a corrupt manner.

    Apply that aegis to the world and few if any country can rightfully claim to be free from the clutches of corruption. But taking that as a given, is even less reason to allow the slough of despondent apathy combined with the species ‘politica mollusca’ – which is desperate to camouflage the fact it hasn’t got a backbone – to win.

    I pose one question – if the present governors of the world cannot contain and control an crises caused by an abstract commodity such as we are suffering under now, how well would they handle a real crises caused by nature – throw money at it?

    • Golem XIV June 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      Points taken John.

      My answer to your question – they have already proved they can’t handle a real crisis. The environmental crisis was evident 30 years ago. The mantra was let the markets solve it. I read whole books making this argument. What have the markets done to solve any environmental crisis? Abosultely nothing at all. No crisis has even been addressed, let alone solved by the markets.

      No matter how corrupt our present political class, and no matter how debased and hollowed out our present political sysytem is – We cannot simply turn away from politics.

      If our present politics is ruined – like our banks – then we must simply build a new politics. It has been done before. Why can’t we do it again?

      That’s my answer for what it’s worth.

      • John Souter June 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

        Ah, the markets!

        Well I suppose if they could they would securitize, derivate and re-re-re hypothicate cancer but, perhaps they already have that covered.

        Just spent an hour or so absorbing the video Catastroika – not much into the link thing but I think it comes up on Google.

        Worth a watch as it adds to the learning curve.

        My belief, we need a new definition of W.M.D. for the 21st century. No longer do we need the acronym referred to weapons of mass destruction but to weapons of mass democratization.

  14. backwardsevolution June 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Here’s a funny 1:29 minute video entitled “Great Latvia Success Story”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IRUBJ8qraY&feature=player_embedded

  15. backwardsevolution June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Golem – meant to tell you how brilliant your last post was (and the one before that), but before I could, here comes another great one. They just keep coming! Great investigative work!!!!! Oh, what a tangled web we weave…..

    This is actually a war we’re in, but most don’t know it. These guys are fighting for their lives and we’re all just standing back. Of course, they’ve made it so complicated that even the most intelligent have a hard time wrapping their minds around what they’ve done. And some of the people who could step up, speak out, aren’t, because they are making money off of these guys.

    The only way I see this correcting itself is if something calamitous happens (and it will all on its own eventually), OR by forming our own G20, getting together the smartest, most on-side and horrified onlookers to bring the people together. One guy can’t do it, or one blog. But it has to be people like Karl Denninger, David, Tyler Durden, Bill Black, Charles Hugh Smith, the good people from the Automatic Earth, etc.

    • Golem XIV June 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

      backwardsevolution,

      Thanks! Funny what you suggest. Some time ago I tried to interest a backer in what I described to him as ‘The Alternative G8″.

      The idea was, coinciding with a G8 meeting, to hold an Alternative G8. Exactly as you prospoed it. Use on-line technology to get 8 of the ‘best’ or fiery non-mainstream commentators together on-line, live and together to speak, discuss and field questions.

      I suggfested a rather disparate group. They might well disagree in many ways but together they blow out of the water the idea that ‘There is no alternative’. Such a gathering, if properly moderated, would show that there are several alternatives to the mainstream mantra, taht the mainstream media have ignored.

      Properly run I thought such an event would have an energy and urgency about it. It would show-case how many people, whatever their differences, are united in seeing the utter lunacy of the policies being forced upon us for the benefit of the very wealthy and powerful.

      Like you I thought, and still do think, it could be an event which empowered people. Just to realize that there are alternatives that are considered and workable. That the real political spectrum is much wider than the moribund carcass we get to see on Television, and that there is a growing and very real ‘other’ opposition

  16. bill40 June 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Oh no! Golem has been revealed as a CIA agent and working for MI6. Why do all my heros have feet of clay? Personally I think Golem is really Bob Diamond who works as an agent for Goldman Sachs.

    Currently based in Tibet, a fully autonomous state I’ll have you know, i am very limited to internet time, even the VNPs are affected. I do however have good access to Chinas main credit rating agency dadong, who seem way ahead of the west.

    The banks, all of them, in the following countries are either rated as junk or are unofficially rated even worse. Spain, Italy, France, RoI, Portugal, Malta, Latvia, Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Rumania, Poland and Bulgaria. Even many German, dutch and UK ones feature, this is just in Europe.

    For a living I specialise in deviancy statistics. Just for fun I calculate the likihood of going against wisdom and investing in banks. The sum I get is expressed as -0.95 as near to a negative correlation as statistics usually get.

    China will not step in to rescue your euro horror entries. I should know I’m one of the ones telling them so. Not something I choose to do but I have little choice.

    Cherish democracy we can win it back.

  17. Offtopic? June 19, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    International Treaty Negotiated In Secret – Hidden Even from Congressmen Who Oversee Treaties – Threatens to Destroy National Sovereignty
    Posted on June 14, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog
    Treaty Threatens Global Government … Run by Giant Corporations

    The normally-reserved Yves Smith asks whether Obama should be impeached over it.

    Democratic Senator Wyden – the head of the committee which is supposed to oversee it – is so furious about the lack of access that he has introduced legislation to force disclosure.

    Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so upset by it that he has leaked a document on his website to show what’s going on.

    What is everyone so furious about?

    An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories.

    It is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    Wyden is the chairman of the trade committee in the Senate … the committee which is supposed to have jurisdiction over the TPP. Wyden is also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and so he and his staff have high security clearances and are normally able to look at classified documents.

    And yet Wyden and his staff have been denied access to the TPP’s text.

    Watch this interview from today – on democracynow.org – explaining why TPP is so dangerous to America … and the rest of the world:

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/

  18. Rita June 19, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    This is so true and sad that it really makes me cry out of hopelessness and despair over the situation. I am just glad I am no longer in Portugal so that my taxes are not being misused! I do wonder though, what can we, the people do? Because we all know the problem. But people in Portugal struggle to know what they can actually do to change the way things are, to prevent the government from stealing retirees private and hard earned money, from cutting the already small amount some older people who had nothing to save during the dictatorship, are entitled to, from increasing the taxes on young people who make 700€ a month…I could go on but you get the picture. So, in reality, what can the people do? Because voting is obviously not enough as they are all the same. Our options aren’t really…So, More than deliberating on the problem over and over again, I think it’s time to suggest practical solutions.

    • Golem XIV June 19, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      Hello Rita,

      Thank you for commenting.

      In answer to your question – what can ordinary people do? I did write two things recently making a suggestion. You can read them by scrolling down the front page a little till you see two blogs one called “The Way Forward” and the other called “The Next Steps”.

      I and a number of people who come here regularly are quite serious about this. Perhaps it might appeal to you. I hope so.

  19. Roger June 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Very Funny forom a french freind

    http://i417.photobucket.com/albums/pp254/pippy59/LesIndignes.jpg

  20. Patrick Donnelly August 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    There are many upsides to the financial purge that most of your commenters have noticed, Golem and that is that such folk will find their wealth at massive risk. This stage, once we acknowledge that all funded pensions are likely to collapse, is mainly about TPTB and who loses their financial holdings. Those who have gotten out already are well placed to wipe out their erstwhile allies and rivals.

    Once that happens, a miraculous solution to the lack of credit will be found and the entire scam will slowly start to wind up again.

    The debris of the crash will also expose banks and they may part with some of their records, establishing what you allege!

  21. jose guerreiro December 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    All I read is people trying to defend the bloody fraudsters we have in these countries.Why do you think most of Angola`s people are stlll so poor?Can`t you see what has been happening in Angola for at least the last 20 years?
    Here in Portugal, we had a member of the government saying we did not have any corruption. It has come to the point where practically anyone who has defrauded the public coffers, never get to the judicial courts, let alone to prison.

    Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s president, is the biggest shareholder in Portuguese cable-television company Zon Multimedia (ZON) SGPS SA, and holds 19 percent of Portuguese lender Banco BPI SA, and in many other enterprises over here.

    On the surface it’s an innocent sentence. Someone owns a chunk of a bank. Except that 1) the person is the daughter of the man who has been ‘President’ of Angola since 1979, during which time he and his family have amassed a business empire currently estimated to be worth at least €1.5 billion, while the people of Angola live in poverty despite the billions in revenue from Angola’s Oil and other mineral riches, and 2) the bank she owns 19% of is about to get a €1.5 billion bail out from the Portuguese tax payer.

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