Advertise On EU-Digest

ADVERTISE ON EU-DIGEST - Please include your URL/Logo information with payment.

10/29/14

US Elections: Christian Right key to Republican performance in U.S. midterms - by Alistair Bell

If Republicans win control of the Senate in the midterm elections they should say a prayer of thanks for Christian conservatives.

Although they get little attention from candidates, white evangelical Christian voters are likely to be fundamental to any Republican victories in the key Senate races, especially in the South.

Ipsos polling data shows evangelicals are more enthusiastic than the general population about the midterms.

The religious right's influence may be much reduced since the days of Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell's alliances with Republican presidents.

But Christian conservatives will probably vote in greater numbers on Nov. 4 than others, giving them an outsized say in who runs Congress.

Forty-nine percent of evangelicals say they have a great deal of interest or quite a bit of interest in news about the elections, compared to 38 percent of non-evangelicals.

"It strongly shows that the evangelical population is very engaged, very interested in what's happening and much easier to turn out for an election than the population as a whole," said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson.

Almost 40 percent of Republicans said they were born-again or evangelical Christians, according to the online survey.

Read more: Christian right key to Republican performance in U.S. midterms | Reuters

Quitting European Union Will Be Damaging For British Exports - by Kalyan Kumar

The rising clamour in Britain to quit the European Union will ultimately backfire the British exports. This warning has been sounded out by David Godfrey, CEO, UK Export Finance. 

Godfrey is the head of the UK's export credit agency and he has fact to argue that sustained association with the European Union is "critical" for British exporters to avoid the risk of being frozen out of the biggest overseas markets. Godfrey, in an interview with The Telegraph, said: "I personally think most business leaders gain an awful lot from being part of the EU. It is critical and important for us to continue there."
 
The export credit guarantee agency was set up in 1919 to support British foreign trade soon after the First World War. Funded by the Treasury, the agency has more than £20 billion exposure on its balance sheet and helps British companies to stimulate exports by way of letters of credit, payment guarantees and direct loans.

The remarks by Godfrey have come in the backdrop of Prime Minister David Cameron's statements and the soaring popularity of the Euro-sceptic UK Independence Party asking to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU. The prime minister even wants tightening of the UK's borders to clamp down on migrant workers from other EU states.

In a recent reaction, Jose Manuel Barroso, the outgoing president of the European Commission, also cautioned Britain against quitting EU and end up losing its global influence. The quitting process, referred  as "Brexit," will land the U.K. in distress and would find it hard to negotiate with major trading partners such as China and the US on its own account, Boroso said. 

US Fed Stops The Money Press and US Stock Market Loses a Big Crutch as Fed Ends ‘QE


The US Fed has concluded its asset-purchasing program thanks to an improving labor market. Here's what QE3 has meant to investors and the economy.

After spending trillions of dollars on bond purchases since the end of the Great Recession — to keep interest rates low to boost spending, lending, and investments — the Federal Reserve ended its stimulus program known as quantitative easing.

The central bank’s decision to stop buying billions of dollars of Treasury and mortgage-related bonds each month comes as the U.S. economy has shown signs of recent improvement.

U.S. gross domestic product grew an impressive 4.6% last quarter. And while growth dropped at the start of this year, thanks to an unusually bad winter, the economy expanded at annual pace of 4.5% and 3.5% in the second half of 2013.

Meanwhile, employers have added an average of 227,000 jobs this year and the unemployment rate rests at a post-recession low of 5.9%. It was at 7.8% in September 2012, when this round of quantitative easing, known as QE3, began.

For more click here


Immigration: EU migration is essential for a healthy economy, says CBI's John Cridland - by John Cridland

As a proud Bostonian, the change in my Lincolnshire home town over the past decade is striking. West Street is now interspersed with vibrant Polski skleps selling an array of Eastern European goods. And while it was unusual to hear so many languages spoken when I was a boy, Slav languages are now being taught in local schools.

I understand that immigration has social and cultural impacts that can’t be ignored. But as head of the UK’s biggest business group, I am concerned about where the debate on immigration is heading. I know business leaders share this unease.

Across the political spectrum, there is a mismatch between rhetoric and reality. Immigration has helped keep the wheels of this recovery turning by plugging skills shortages. This has led to more jobs for British people and driven growth. Without free movement of workers, the recovery would grind to a halt.

Our hospitals and care homes couldn’t function without overseas workers; building sites that we need to deliver more homes and big infrastructure projects, such as the roll-out of broadband, would also stall.

EU migration also has a positive impact on the UK’s fiscal position. Research from University College London shows that over the decade since 2001 EU migrants made a positive net contribution of £2,732 per person per year.

Businesses benefit too, with 63pc of CBI members saying free movement of labour has been beneficial. And that free movement cuts both ways: well over a million Britons live and work in the EU. Of course, there are concerns around immigration.

Note EU-Digest: Regardless what Eurosceptics and Nationalists, Ultra Conservatives are saying the EU needs more not less immigrants.

 Read more: EU migration is essential for a healthy economy, says CBI's John Cridland - Telegraph

Disparity: How Shadow Banking and Extreme Wealth Inequality Threaten Us - by David DeGraw

Hidden wealth estimates vary widely. Many of them only take a partial look at the most basic methods of offshoring wealth.  Given the unprecedented growth of wealth over the past generation, the secretive methods used to hide it have evolved far beyond well-known tax havens in Switzerland and small-island jurisdictions such as the Bahamas.  While estimates based on banking secrecy and tax havens help to give us a more accurate picture of overall wealth, they do not give a total view.

Research by Gabriel Zucman, which analyzed banking secrecy, estimated that “around 8% of the global financial wealth of households is held in tax havens.”  If we correlate this 8% with the $82 trillion in accounted for wealth reported by the Federal Reserve, that would be an additional $6.6 trillion for the wealthy, bringing the richest 1% up to roughly $39 trillion in overall wealth.

However, to get a more complete understanding of the reality of the situation, the most wide-ranging look into hidden wealth was done in 2012 by economist John Henry in partnership with the Tax Justice Network (TJN).  They estimated that there was $21- $32 trillion hidden globally at the end of 2010. As shocking as that sounds, that estimate still did not give a complete view of hidden wealth.  As they put it, “We consider these numbers to be conservative. This is only financial wealth and excludes a welter of real estate, yachts and other nonfinancial assets owned via offshore structures.”

We also need to consider that overall US household wealth is up 30% and has increased by $25 trillion since the end of 2010. Globally, High Net Worth Individual investible wealth has increased 19% since then, and has begun to accelerate at a record pace.  In 2013, it increased globally by 14%, with a 17% increase in North America, which is now at an all-time high.  Given these factors, and several others that will be explained below, the higher TJN estimation of $32 trillion in 2012 is conservative today.

Correlating TJN’s wealth estimates with US distribution percentages is not an exact science but it gives a much more accurate total of overall wealth than excluding it.  Based on TJN’s estimation, Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) accounted for 48% of hidden wealth.  If we correlate that to the overall estimate of $32 trillion, it equates to $15.4 trillion for the UHNWI population.

The US accounts for 35% of the UHNWI population, which correlates to $5.4 trillion.  In the next tier, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) also accounted for 48% of hidden wealth.  The US currently has 42% of the HNWI population, which correlates to $6.5 trillion.  The additional 4% of hidden wealth is estimated to be held below the economic top 1% of the US population, which correlates to roughly $538 billion.

This brings the estimated total of hidden US wealth to $12.4 trillion, with $11.9 trillion of that held within the top 1%.  We can now estimate that the top .01% has $14.5 trillion in wealth, the top .1% has $26.4 trillion and in total the top 1% has $44.5 trillion.

Read more: How Shadow Banking and Extreme Wealth Inequality Threaten Us | Alternet

10/28/14

Tunisian Elections: Islamist party congratulates secular rivals on election win

Official election commission results from Sunday's vote were still to come, but exit polls and statistical samples both point towards a win for Nida Tunis (Tunisia Calls), with about 35 percent of the seats in the 217-seat parliament.

That would give the party the right to name a prime minister. Its leader, 87-year-old Tunisian political veteran Beji Caid Essebsi, had vowed to form a coalition with other parties.

"The Tunisian people have reinforced their commitment to democracy with credible and transparent elections that gave Tunisians of all political tendencies a free vote," Annemie Neyts-Uytterbroeck, head of the European Union's observer mission, told reporters on Tuesday.

The election had been held amid tight security aimed to protect against extremist attacks. Sunday marked the country's first parliamentary vote since 2011 when it became the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolution, which has since led to turmoil in neighboring nations. Tunisia has also struggled with security in the revolution's aftermath, though not to the same extent.

Read more: Tunisia Islamist party congratulates secular rivals on election win | News | DW.DE | 28.10.2014

Britain opposes migrant rescue operations in Mediterranean Sea

Laying out London's position, the British Foreign Office said on Tuesday that an EU rescue mission would simply encourage more migrants to attempt the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives so far this year.

"We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean," said Joyce Anelay, the Minister of State in Britain's Foreign Office.

She was responding to a question published on the House of Lords' website on October 15, according to The Guardian newspaper.

"We believe that they create an unintended 'pull factor,' encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths," Anelay said.

According to London, the most effective way to protect migrants is to crack down on human smugglers and combat trafficking at its source in the origin and transit countries.

Note EU-Digest: Shame on you Britain....

Read more: UK opposes migrant rescue operations in Mediterranean Sea | News | DW.DE | 28.10.2014

Inequality: 7 cities that are playgrounds for the rich and nightmares for the poor - by Aaron Cantú

Seven years after Wall Street’s near total collapse, housing markets in the world’s major cities are surging once again, driven by megadevelopers and superrich individuals flush with cash. Financial Times reports that investors spent $1.2 trillion on “high-end commercial properties in 2013,” an 80 percent increase from 2010.

The seeds of the buying boom was planted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates and pumped commercial banks with cash in exchange for toxic assets (known as quantitative easing), relieving affluent buyers of risk in global property markets.

In many of the world’s major metropolitan areas, private capital investment in real estate has become a central component of urban planning, and following market logic, these cities compete with each other for developers’ money. That means that urban planners in a global capitalist hub, like New York, will bend over backwards to accommodate developers and investors so that their money doesn’t go to London instead.

This jousting for capital in real estate is having an increasingly obvious side effect: Diverting attention from the growing ranks of the desperately poor. Ironically, in nearly all global cities where housing markets are booming, there is also a concurrent rise or entrenchment of homelessness.

Using a recent survey from Knight Frank on global property markets, we can glimpse at this grotesque urban duality. If anything, it captures the essence of our gilded age. Here’s a list of just 7 cities in the US and abroad that best illustrate this phenomenon.

Read more: 7 cities that are playgrounds for the rich and nightmares for the poor - Salon.com

The Euro Zone: The world’s biggest economic problem

The world economy is not in good shape. The news from America and Britain has been reasonably positive, but Japan’s economy is struggling and China’s growth is now slower than at any time since 2009. Unpredictable dangers abound, particularly from the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands in West Africa and jangled nerves far beyond. But the biggest economic threat, by far, comes from continental Europe.

Now that German growth has stumbled, the euro area is on the verge of tipping into its third recession in six years. Its leaders have squandered two years of respite, granted by the pledge of Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank’s president, to do “whatever it takes” to save the single currency.

The French and the Italians have dodged structural reforms, while the Germans have insisted on too much austerity. Prices are falling in eight European countries. The zone’s overall inflation rate has slipped to 0.3% and may well go into outright decline next year. A region that makes up almost a fifth of world output is marching towards stagnation and deflation.

Optimists, both inside and outside Europe, often cite the example of Japan. It fell into deflation in the late-1990s, with unpleasant but not apocalyptic consequences for both itself and the world economy. But the euro zone poses far greater risks. Unlike Japan, the euro zone is not an isolated case: from China to America inflation is worryingly low, and slipping. And, unlike Japan, which has a homogenous, stoic society, the euro area cannot hang together through years of economic sclerosis and falling prices. As debt burdens soar from Italy to Greece, investors will take fright, populist politicians will gain ground, and—sooner rather than later—the euro will collapse.

Note EU-Digest:Even though the Euro Sceptics would love this it won't -  If the euro collapses, the world will go in an economic tailspin and most economists know this.

Read more: The euro zone: The world’s biggest economic problem | The Economist

Global Economy: The Stark Facts of Global Greed, a Disease as Challenging as Climate Change

Global inequality, like global warming, is a disease that may be too far along to ever be cured.

We seem helpless, both in the U.S. and around the world, to stop the incessant flow of wealth to an elitist group of people who are simply building on their existing riches. The increasing rate of their takeaway is the message derived from the  Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (GWD).

It's already been  made clear that the richest Americans have taken almost all the gains in U.S. wealth since the recession. But the unrelenting money grab is a global phenomenon. The GWD confirms just how bad it's getting for the great majority of us. 

Read more: The Stark Facts of Global Greed, a Disease as Challenging as Climate Change | Alternet

Meat Products - Russia to hold talks with EU Commission on illegal imports of European meat

Russian veterinary standards officials will hold urgent talks with the European Commission on illegal supplies of European meat to Russia, the country's veterinary regulator said on Monday.

“We have asked for a meeting in Brussels considering large-scale issues connected with uncontrolled movement of meat products of unknown origin across EU territories,” Sergey Dankvert, head of the Russian veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor, told TASS.

Negotiations between Bernard Van Goethem, director of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, and Rosselkhoznadzor Deputy Head Yevgeny Nepoklonov will take place on October 28, Dankvert said.

Last week, the Russian regulator busted major supplies of European pork to Russia declared as juices, vegetables and mushrooms.

“These supplies passed customs clearance in the European Union. The content of containers is under the direct responsibility of EU veterinary services, which we see do not exercise any control and promote smuggling,” Dankvert said then, noting that container checks had halted supplies of around 360 tonnes of frozen pork from Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Brazil. Deliveries were declared as juices, vegetables, jams and chewing gum, he said.

Read more: TASS: Economy - Russia to hold talks with EU Commission on illegal imports of European meat

10/27/14

The Global Banking Sector: Why Do Banks Really Want Our Deposits? - by Ellen Brown

Many authorities have said it: banks do not lend their deposits. They create the money they lend on their books.

Robert B. Anderson, Treasury Secretary under Eisenhower, said it in 1959:

When a bank makes a loan, it simply adds to the borrower’s deposit account in the bank by the amount of the loan. The money is not taken from anyone else’s deposits; it was not previously paid in to the bank by anyone. It’s new money, created by the bank for the use of the borrower.
The Bank of England said it in the spring of 2014, writing in its quarterly bulletin:

The reality of how money is created today differs from the description found in some economics textbooks: Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits.
. . . Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.
All of which leaves us to wonder: If banks do not lend their depositors’ money, why are they always scrambling to get it? Banks advertise to attract depositors, and they pay interest on the funds. What good are our deposits to the bank?

The answer is that while banks do not need the deposits to create loans, they do need to balance their books; and attracting customer deposits is usually the cheapest way to do it.


Read the complete report: Why Do Banks Really Want Our Deposits? » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Middle East: Kerry Blames Israel for ISIS Recruitment - by Joseph Klein

Secretary of State John Kerry chose a White House ceremony on October 16th for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha to regurgitate a false theory linking the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with the increase of jihadist violence and recruitment in the Middle East region.
 
“As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL [also referred to as ISIS or the Islamic State] coalition, the truth is we — there wasn’t a leader I met within the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to,” Kerry said. “And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.

After Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett sharply criticized Kerry’s statement, the State Department tried to walk it back, claiming, in the words of Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, that Kerry “did not make a link between the growth of ISIL and Israel, period.”

At best, Harf is telling only a half-truth. While Kerry did not explicitly state that it was his own view there was a link between the growth of ISIS and the failure of the peace talks or IsraelKerry transmitted the linkage theory he heard from leaders in the region to a receptive audience at the White House. And he did not refute it. In fact, he lent credence to the linkage theory by saying that “people need to understand the connection.” 

Note EU-Digest: Joseph Klein the author of the above article is a staunch Republica. He is also  the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam. and consequently this report can be described as not exactly balanced.

Read more: Kerry Blames Israel for ISIS Recruitment | FrontPage Magazine

US Presidential Elections: Hillary Clinton: Businesses Don’t Create Jobs - by Andrew Desiderio

Speaking at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised her husband’s increase to the minimum wage and slammed trickle-down economics as a “spectacularly” failed system.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs,” Clinton said. “They always say that.”

She said millions of jobs were created after her husband raised the wage in the 1990s and after she herself voted to increase it when she was a U.S. Senator.

In what seemed to be a preparation for a 2016 presidential run Clinton also told the crowd “don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” and slammed trickle-down economics as a system that has been tried but has failed “rather spectacularly.”

Read more: Hillary Clinton: Businesses Don’t Create Jobs | Mediaite

The Global Economy - there is always hope for all the believers in the:"Tooth Fairy"

Is it over yet? Brian Tora says there’s still enough reason for investors to be feeling twitchy at the moment. Fingers crossed.  .

As the nights started to lengthen and autumn began to exert its cooling influence on our weather, so the markets cooled too – weighed down by the gathering risks generated by geo-political conflicts.

In some regards, it is remarkable this didn’t happen sooner. When the Footsie was flirting a few weeks ago with its previous all-time high (back in 1999, no less), Islamic State was already garnering headlines
and tanks were rolling in Ukraine.

As it happens, a colleague of mine suggested that, based on technical analysis, the Footsie was due a pull-back from the then 6700-6800 level that it had achieved earlier this year. As a new all-time high looked
possible (though it was never reached), it seemed he had got it wrong.

Recent market behaviour is making his assertion look more credible. Remember though, that the further we fall, the better the chance of a recovery.

Despite current uncertainties, in the long term equities should be the place to be.

Note EU-Digest: another believer in Santa Claus ?

Read more: Ifa Magazine » An Autumnal Chill?