Monday, 30 August 2010

Japan renews QE as recovery falters

"Japan has launched a fresh monetary and fiscal boost to shore up its faltering recovery and stem the slide into deflation, becoming the first major country to inject further stimulus since the Great Recession ended. ....Japan's curse is that the yen strengthens in times of crisis as investors repatriate money for safety. Life insurers and pension funds rotate from US bonds back into Japanese bonds as the yield gap narrows, which compounds Japan's deflation woes. "

Friday, 27 August 2010

U.S. Economy Slowed to 1.6% Pace in 2nd Quarter

"In a speech Friday morning, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, said that he expected the economy to continue on a growth track, “albeit at a relatively modest pace.”He also indicated that the Fed would be willing to resume large purchases of longer-term debt if the economy worsened. Such moves could have the effect of lowering mortgage rates. Although rates are already at historic lows, economists suggest that lower rates could eventually spur some home-buying or at least refinancing, which gives households more cash to spend."

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Number of immigrants living in the UK long-term SOARS by 20% as a quarter of babies are born to foreign mothers.

Daily Mail
# Net immigration rises by 33,000 to 196,000 in one year
# Country has highest population of EU countries
# 25% of babies born to foreign mothers

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Time for the IFS to come clean – they swing to the Left

"..What is odd, though, is that the Institute for Fiscal Studies have become Britain’s leading cheerleader for the idea that progressive=good, regressive=bad, promoting the concept that particular types of economic policy are politically better than others.

The IFS’ pitch and reputation is that it is both non-partisan and politically unbiased – that it does not prefer one set of political ideas over another, but it just wants the sums to add up. As they say on their website, “our most cherished asset is a hard-won reputation for objectivity and impartiality”. Given that this status imparts such huge weight to their reports, particularly within the BBC, it is bizarre and misguided that they are increasingly moving beyond bean-counting and into flag-waving."

Ireland's credit rating downgraded by S&P on bank fears

"S&P cited the danger to the country's budget deficit posed by the rising cost of supporting its struggling banks.The credit ratings agency estimated the cost of recapitalizing Ireland's banking system could now reach €50bn from a previous estimate of a maximum of €35bn.t said “a further downgrade is possible if the fiscal cost of supporting the banking sector rises further, or if other adverse economic developments weaken the government’s ability to meet its medium-term fiscal objectives."

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

100 of Baroness Ashton's EU diplomats paid more than William Hague

"At least 50 of her 114 senior officials will earn between £157,000 to £171,000 a year, higher salaries than David Cameron's annual wage of £142,500 in the new EU foreign service, which was created by the Lisbon Treaty.

As the EU's foreign minister, Lady Ashton earns £230,702 a year, making her the best paid female politician in the Western world, and controls a budget three times bigger than the British foreign office, despite never having been elected to public authority. "

Brussels establishes a new fund to promote European citizenship

"While urging its member nations to constrain their expenditure, the EU is simultaneously demanding that they cough up more in order to proselytise for the deeper integration. A new million-euro fund has been established to “develop a sense of active European citizenship“.Politicians generally, and Eurocrats especially, tend to overestimate the effect of propaganda. Hundreds of millions of euros are spent every year on trying to convince school children, university students, professional organisations and NGOs of the merits of Euro-federation; yet almost every referendum throws up a “No” vote. Then again, propaganda is only the secondary function of these grants; their primary purpose is to provide a living for their recipients. And this they do very well."

Monday, 23 August 2010

A president in need of a political spark

The Washington Post
"I turn back to these comments because the country is still struggling with Obama's views on the right of Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Intervening on this issue was a classic dumb move, politically. Hillary Clinton, say, would have known instantly that the correct answer is to leave this complex issue to the elected officials of New York City. The White House had taken this position until Obama decided, on principle, that he must speak out for tolerance.

I think the president is right on the mosque issue (as on health care and his economic rescue efforts). But the larger point is that we truly have a leader who keeps doing the wise thing on policy (assuming you agree with him) but the dumb thing on politics. "

Britain faces a cultural war. With blood

Andrew Bolt,Herald Sun (Australia)
"One of these two men - and their fans - is a menace to the freedoms and even safety of fellow Britons. ....One of the two doesn’t belong in the country and its culture. And it’s the one who, oddly enough, echoes precisely Enoch Powell’s famous warning in 1968, made to the cost of his career and reputation: ..."

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Fate of Australian parliament rests in hands of independent MPs

"After a tense night of vote-counting yielded no clear result, the country was headed for a hung parliament with independent MPs Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter, who all hail from regional seats, holding the balance of power.The group is scheduled to meet in Canberra in the coming days to discuss how to help form a stable government."

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Government urged to reveal 'true' national debt of £4.8 trillion

"The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has calculated that the national debt is £4.8 trillion once state and public sector pension liabilities are included, or £78,000 for every person in the UK. "

£5m? Who needed it anyway? No wonder Tony Blair can afford that charity payout

Daily Mail
"..Nor has the gift curtailed Cherie’s ability to spend for Britain. Undeterred, she has gone on her own £1 million-plus spree in recent weeks. ‘Tony’s revelling in all the attention his donation has given the book,’ a source close to him told me this week. ‘He is utterly determined that this has to be a number one bestseller. Anything less would be a total embarrassment for him.''In the past few weeks, there had been a few worried faces in Tony’s camp. I was hearing whispers at the beginning of the month that the publishers were starting to worry the book might not do as well as they’d expected.'‘Frankly, Tony’s pulled off a masterstroke. This has suddenly become the most talked-about book in the world. His timing could not have been better.’

Thursday, 19 August 2010

If a mosque opens at Ground Zero on 9/11 next year, Obama can kiss the White House goodbye

Daily Mail
"..Of course, the crazies have come crawling out of the woodwork. Obama has always attracted conspiracy theorists who think he is a Muslim ‘sleeper’; emphasise his middle name, Hussein; and refuse even to accept that he was born in the United States. ..."

High levels of immigrants 'linked to high youth unemployment'

Daily Mail
"Immigration may be a significant factor affecting youth unemployment, particularly outside London, campaigners said today.Migrationwatch UK found that in areas of high levels of immigration, levels of youth unemployment were also high.For every 1,000 migrants in the 50 local authorities in England most affected by migration, the number of youth unemployed rises by, on average, 700. ...."

Un-American Activity?

"The days of HUAC are long gone (and by the way that was House Un-American Activities Committee, therefore had nothing to do with Senator McCarthy) but as we have noticed for some time or, to be precise, ever since people have started treating President Obama just like any other politician and criticize or disagree with him, the tendency to throw that expression around has increased. Most recently the accusations have been levelled at those who opposed the building of the Muslim Centre and mosque near Ground Zero. They do not oppose building it in general somewhere in New York, where there already are numerous mosques, but on that particular spot. Faugh, we hear, how un-American. Why? Errm, well, errm, freedom of religion and whatever. ..."

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Inflation graph: the figures that 'surprised' Bank of England boss Mervyn King

"The UK central bank governor admitted he was 'surprised' by the recent jump in food prices which kept annual inflation above 3pc in July for the seventh month in a row. The graphs show the progress of the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) - based on a basket of goods from garlic bread to computer games, but excluding mortgage costs - and RPI, which includes home loans since 2006. "

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Cameron's First 100 Days

"...Yet here we are, almost 100 days into office, and what is really of note is not the Conservative-LibDem complexion of the coalition but that it has a program that makes the first term of all previous Conservative governments look tepid."

Monday, 16 August 2010

China Overtakes Japan as No. 2 Economy

"..The figures underscore China's emergnce as an economic power that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed. It is already the biggest exporter, auto buyer and steel producer, and its worldwide influence is growing.China has surpassed Japan in quarterly GDP figures before but its passing of Japan in the second quarter is likely to mark the period in which the lead became insurmountable."

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Fined £150million for failing to fly the EU flag: Now British firms are told how to fight back

Daily Mail
"Business chiefs have issued advice to companies and public bodies on how to escape heavy penalties for failing to display European Union flags after British organisations were fined an astonishing £150  million for not giving the EU enough publicity. ...Among the projects hit was a £3.5  million refurbishment of Whitley Bay Playhouse in North Tyneside. Some £60,000 of the EU's £626,500 contribution had to be repaid because of 'a number of failings'. Not meeting rules on publicity cost the scheme £16,450 of the total. ...Critics are particularly appalled as Britain is a £6.4  billion net contributor to the EU budget. Last night, Local Government Minister Bob Neill said: 'It is unfair that local firms, community groups and councils are being punished by EU officials for the most minor breaches of complicated and over-bureaucratic EU rules."

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Pupils forced to use mobile classrooms as city is flooded by 20,000 migrants

Daily Mail
"Schools in a city flooded by more than 20,000 immigrants are at 'breaking point', education chiefs warned yesterday.Peterborough City Council is planning to build emergency mobile classrooms to ease pressure on its primary schools, which have seen a steep rise in applicants.Every class in every year group is already full, and it has struggled to find places for all 2,438 pupils due to start classes in September."

Friday, 13 August 2010

The stunning decline of Barack Obama: 10 key reasons why the Obama presidency is in meltdown

"The last few weeks have been a nightmare for President Obama, in a summer of discontent in the United States which has deeply unsettled the ruling liberal elites, so much so that even the Left has begun to turn against the White House. While the anti-establishment Tea Party movement has gained significant ground and is now a rising and powerful political force to be reckoned with, many of the president’s own supporters as well as independents are rapidly losing faith in Barack Obama, with open warfare breaking out between the White House and the left-wing of the Democratic Party. While conservatism in America grows stronger by the day, the forces of liberalism are growing increasingly weaker and divided.

Against this backdrop, the president’s approval ratings have been sliding dramatically all summer, with the latest Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll of US voters dropping to minus 22 points, the lowest point so far for Barack Obama since taking office. While just 24 per cent of American voters strongly approve of the president’s job performance, almost twice that number, 46 per cent, strongly disapprove. According to Rasmussen, 65 per cent of voters believe the United States is going down the wrong track, including 70 per cent of independents.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls now has President Obama at over 50 per cent disapproval, a remarkably high figure for a president just 18 months into his first term. Strikingly, the latest USA Today/Gallup survey has the President on just 41 per cent approval, with 53 per cent disapproving."

German economic miracle triumphs again: Output grows TWICE as fast as in the UK

Daily Mail
"The German economy is surging ahead with record growth of 2.2 per cent in the last quarter.Despite underwriting Greek debt to the tune of billions and an austerity package of close to £75 billion over the next four years, Europe's largest economy is now setting the pace for all other countries to follow.The rate of output, the fastest pace seen in Germany in two decades, is double the 1.1 per cent improvement seen in the same quarter in the UK."

Thursday, 12 August 2010

U.S. Stocks Fall as Jobless Claims Cast Doubts on Recovery

"U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the biggest three-day decline since July 1, after an unexpected rise in unemployment claims added to evidence the recovery is weakening. "

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

EU tax and the ultimate surrender of Britain's sovereignty

Christopher Booker, Telegraph
"For decades the EU has been dreaming of the ultimate power grab over all our lives — and a story in yesterday’s Daily Mail gave a very strong hint that Brussels is now planning to pull it off.Under the headline ‘EU bids to impose new tax on Britain’, the story explained that over the next few months, the EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski will be lobbying hard round the capitals of Europe for the EU to be given the power to levy its own taxes — on such things as energy, airline flights and financial transactions.It might seem surprising that this Polish Eurocrat believes the present economic downturn is an ideal time for the EU to impose such taxes across Europe, to fund its ever-rising budget and its ever-expanding empire."

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Fed, Citing Slowdown, to Buy U.S. Debt

New York Times
"WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve acknowledged on Tuesday that its confidence in the economic recovery had dimmed, and announced that it would use the proceeds from its huge mortgage-bond portfolio to buy long-term Treasury securities. "

Monday, 9 August 2010

Now Brussels wants to tax Britons directly with EU-wide levies on banks and air travel

Daily Mail
"The European Union is preparing an extraordinary plan to tax Britons directly as part of an EU-wide charge on bank transactions or air travel.With European governments under financial pressure officials in Brussels are looking for alternatives to finance a growing EU budget.But the move is likely to spark a furious backlash in Britain and drive a wedge in the Coalition between the Euro-skeptic Tories and pro-Europe Lib Dems.The vast majority of the current EU budget goes toward subsidising farming and funding structural projects such as road building, while four per cent pays for the EU's civil service in Brussels."

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Disaster that never was: Why claims that BP created history's worst oil spill may be the most cynical spin campaign ever

Daily Mail
"Emboldened by the academic’s willingness to go against the accepted wisdom, other leading scientists have concurred, with similar views being expressed in influential U.S. newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post.It was against this background that the Obama administration made its own dramatic U-turn this week.In a humiliating climb-down, it conceded in an official report from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the ‘vast majority’ of the spilled oil had already gone. ...This is because the wetland fringes in this region are always surrounded by a thick, dark-brown plant sediment known as ‘coffee ground’ for its resemblance to the dregs left at the bottom of the cup.Even from a few feet away, this sediment can be very easily mistaken for oil, and often when passing boats or aircraft report spotting oil on the shore, this is what they have really seen.This is one reason why the extent of the coastal oiling has been exaggerated. Indeed, Grenon, a veteran of 25 spills, says he is constantly amazed at how little pollution he finds.He says: ‘I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s probably the largest spill there has ever been and yet there’s hardly any oil.‘The ecosystem around here is also used to oil. It’s been here forever, and there are more than 4,000 oil wells in the Gulf.‘So there are spills and natural seepage all the time, and the fish and plants adapt to deal with them. I’m confident the area will make a full recovery.’Grenon works for a BP-contracted spill clean-up company, but suspicions that he may have been painting an over-rosy picture were allayed by the three other scientists in the team who represented the federal and state governments.‘I expected to see miles of oil, but I haven’t seen that,’ said one of the team, David Culpepper, a geologist with NOAA."

Tracking Is an Assault on Liberty, With Real Dangers

"But our sense of anonymity is largely an illusion. Pretty much everything we do online, down to individual keystrokes and clicks, is recorded, stored in cookies and corporate databases, and connected to our identities, either explicitly through our user names, credit-card numbers and the IP addresses assigned to our computers, or implicitly through our searching, surfing and purchasing histories.

A few years ago, the computer consultant Tom Owad published the results of an experiment that provided a chilling lesson in just how easy it is to extract sensitive personal data from the Net. Mr. Owad wrote a simple piece of software that allowed him to download public wish lists that customers post to catalog products that they plan to purchase or would like to receive as gifts. These lists usually include the name of the list's owner and his or her city and state.

Using a couple of standard-issue PCs, Mr. Owad was able to download over 250,000 wish lists over the course of a day. He then searched the data for controversial or politically sensitive books and authors, from Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" to the Koran. He then used Yahoo People Search to identify addresses and phone numbers for many of the list owners.

Mr. Owad ended up with maps of the United States showing the locations of people interested in particular books and ideas, including George Orwell's "1984." He could just as easily have published a map showing the residences of people interested in books about treating depression or adopting a child. "It used to be," Mr. Owad concluded, "you had to get a warrant to monitor a person or a group of people. Today, it is increasingly easy to monitor ideas. And then track them back to people."

Thursday, 5 August 2010

US economy 'on the road to deflation', warns Pimco boss El-Erian

"Mohamed El-Erian, the head the world's largest bond fund, has said the United States faces a one in four chance of suffering deflation and a double-dip recession. "

The great divider

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun (Australia)
"Black voters will stick by the first black President - and another hand-outs Democrat - not matter what. Whites and Latinos, though, are less tribal, but are now suffering buyers’ remorse.The effect is that the US is more racially divided than it was when Barack Obama was elected as the great healer. And it wasn’t really that united even then."

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Illinois Keeps Obama at Arm’s Length

New York Times
"..In real life, though, President Obama seems to have about as much control over Illinois politics as he does over who judges “American Idol.” When he campaigns in Chicago on Thursday in an effort to avoid the embarrassment of seeing the Democrats lose his old Senate seat, the president will find himself promoting a candidate he did not prefer and whom he has spent most of the last year avoiding.

All of which probably says as much about the political moment as it does about Mr. Obama’s influence in Illinois. "

Inflation: The Last Gasp of the Obama Economic Crisis

American Thinker
"..When inflation is finally addressed, action will likely come too late. The problem with higher levels of inflation is that a new dynamic is encountered. Inflation is a function of both the supply and demand for money. While the Fed has substantial, but not total, control over supply, it has virtually no control over demand. As inflation accelerates, individual and business demand for money decreases. It does so because the cost of holding money goes up as its purchasing power declines.

Under these conditions, money is spent faster to get in front of expected price increases. This behavior appeared during the latter stages of the Carter administration, before the Volcker-Reagan clamps were applied. Under extreme conditions, people refuse to hold money (think Weimar Germany or Zimbabwe). They spend it as soon as they receive it."

Monday, 2 August 2010

China slows to cruising speed and Europe perks up

"Manufacturing in China shrank in July for the first time since March 2009 while it perked up in the euro zone, according to surveys that underscored the unevenness of the global economic recovery."

Sunday, 1 August 2010

How can we avoid the next financial crisis? Urgently listen to those who foresaw this one

"..A few savvy investors - most with little relative experience in real estate, derivatives or mortgage investing - anticipated a historic housing and financial collapse. Their remarkable success begs an obvious question: why did this unlikely group predict the crumbling of the housing market and the resulting pain felt around the globe, even as the experts were stunned by the developments? "