… and this is not over yet. The worst is yet to come. This crisis has only just begun, no matter what they tell you.
|Government bank bail-outs have been controversial in the US|
The global credit crunch has cost governments more than $10 trillion, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says.
The IMF says that rich countries have provided $9.2tn in government support for the financial sector, while emerging economies spent $1.6 tn.
About $1.9tn represents up-front expenditure, while the rest is made up of guarantees and loans.
Governments are likely to recover most of these sums when the world economy recovers, but big deficits will stay.
The financial bail-out costs include:
- Capital injections: $1.1tn
- Purchase of assets: $1.9tn
- Guarantees: $4.6tn
- Liquidity provision: $2.5tn
July 30 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and seven other U.S. banks paid $32.6 billion in bonuses in 2008 while receiving $175 billion in taxpayer funds, according to a report by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo analyzed 2008 bonuses at nine banks that received Trouble Asset Relief Program financing from the U.S. government. New York-based Citigroup and Merrill, which has since been taken over by Bank of America Corp., received TARP funding totaling $55 billion, Cuomo said.
An Afghan child allegedly hurt during a U.S.-led air strike earlier this year.
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — Civilian casualties resulting from Afghanistan’s war have spiked, jumping some 24 percent above figures from last year, the United Nations reported Friday.
The Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan announced it recorded 1,013 civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the first six months of this year. That compares to 818 Afghan civilians who were killed during the same period in 2008, while 684 civilians were killed during the first half of 2007.
See also: Tamiflu drug made with cocktail of chemical ingredients, linked with bizarre behavior (Natural News)
Children report a range of side-effects, but the official advice is that Tamiflu is safe
More than half of children taking the swine flu drug Tamiflu experience side-effects such as nausea and nightmares, research suggests.
An estimated 150,000 people with flu symptoms were prescribed the drug through a new hotline and website last week, according to figures revealed yesterday.
Studies of children attending three schools in London and one in the South West showed that 51-53 per cent had one or more side-effects from the medication, which is offered to everyone in England with swine flu symptoms.
The research by the Health Protection Agency emerged as Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said that swine flu infections “may have reached a plateau”.
Releasing the latest figures, Sir Liam said that an estimated 110,000 new cases of the H1N1 virus were diagnosed by doctors in the week to Sunday. That did not include those using the new National Pandemic Flu Service for England to obtain antiviral drugs without seeing their GP.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Paul Craig Roberts
Last week on NPR a professor in the Sloan School of Management at MIT explained that what is really at stake in the health care bill is the US government’s ability to borrow. In other words, the bill is about cutting health care costs, not about providing hard-pressed Americans with health care.
The professor said that if we didn’t get health care costs under control, in 30 years the US government would not be able to sell Treasury bonds.
It is not at all clear that the Treasury will be able to sell its debt instruments in 30 months, and it has nothing to do with health care costs. The Treasury debt marketing problem has to do with two back-to-back US fiscal year budgets, each with a $2 trillion deficit. The size of the US deficit exceeds in these troubled times the supply of world savings available to fund the US government’s wars, bailouts and stimulus plans. If the Federal Reserve has to monetize the Treasury’s new borrowings by creating demand deposits for the Treasury (printing money), America’s foreign creditors might flee the dollar.
The professor didn’t seem to know anything about this and gave Washington 30 more years before the proverbial hits the fan.
One looks in vain to the US financial media for accurate economic information. Currently, Wall Street, the White House, and the media are hyping a new sign of economic recovery–”surging” June home sales. John Williams at shadowstats.com predicted this latest reporting deception.
Here is the way Williams explains how statistics can produce false signs of recovery. The economy has been contracting for so long that a plateauing of the falloff in home sales compared to the previous time period’s more rapid contraction can appear like a gain.
According to a CNN report, the military will assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant swine flu outbreak in the U.S. this fall, stoking fears that the pandemic, which has claimed relatively few lives so far, will be used as an excuse to implement martial law and a mandatory vaccination program.
“The plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is no final decision on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it would likely include personnel from all branches of the military,” states the report.
The proposal, which was drawn up by U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Victor Renuart, is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The first step would be to sign an “execution order” which would authorize the military to begin detailed planning on how to implement the proposal, before actual orders to deploy military personnel are given.
The amount of troops required or whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces has not yet been determined.
Northcom has been preparing for mass flu pandemics for years and indeed, Gen. Victor Renuart spoke of the threat of a flu pandemic emerging out of Mexico just weeks before it actually happened.
Testifying back in March, Renuart said Northcom would provide “assistance in support of civil authorities” during an epidemic, adding “when requested and approved by the Secretary of Defense or directed by the President, federal military forces will contribute to federal support.” However, Renuart then added, “USNorthCom does not wait for that call to action.”
“Because Mexico is our neighbor and disasters do not respect national boundaries, we are focused on developing and improving procedures to respond to potentially catastrophic events such as pandemic influenza outbreak, mass exposure to dangerous chemicals and materials, and natural disasters,” he testified.
Northcom was only relatively recently assigned its own fighting unit – the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, which had been fighting in Iraq for five years before that. As we have previously reported, the Armed Forces Press Service has initiated a propaganda campaign designed to convince the American people that deploying the 3rd Infantry Division in the United States in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act is a good thing, with images of soldiers from the brigade helping in “humanitarian” rescue missions, such as car wrecks. This is all designed to condition Americans to accept troops on the streets and highways as a part of everyday life.
The assignment of the 1st Brigade Combat Team to Northcom alarmed the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law,” said Mike German, ACLU national security policy counsel.
(Cartoon from The Economist, click to enlarge)
NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) – The sound money set remains concerned that the Federal Reserve’s emergency actions to corral collapse could ignite hyperinflation. In particular, they point to the explosion of excess reserves inside the banking system, which they call dry tinder just waiting for the spark of recovery. Bill Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, says this isn’t an issue because the Fed now pays interest on excess reserves. It’s a good argument, but only in the short run.
To liquefy the banking system, the Fed drastically expanded its balance sheet, which, as you can see in the chart to the right, has led to an explosion of excess reserves at banks.
For decades they never rose above $10 billion. Now they’re above $700 billion. To understand why this level of excess reserves has some worried about hyperinflation, it helps to understand what they are.
The Fed requires banks to keep a certain level of assets in reserve against deposits, either cash in the vault or reserves held at the Fed. Reserves held over this required amount are referred to as “excess” reserves which banks are free to lend out.
When banks lend money into the economy, the money borrowed typically ends up as a deposit in another bank. Say I borrow to buy a house; the mortgage I get from the bank is money I give to the seller, who then deposits the cash in his own bank.
Lent money turns into a new deposit, which turns into more lent money, which turns into another deposit, and so on. As the supply of money multiplies, you get inflation. If it multiplies too quickly, you get hyperinflation. The multiplication of money that might come from banks lending out over $700 billion of excess reserves is the stuff of inflationary nightmares.
But banks aren’t lending it out. Why not? As Dudley points out in his speech, it’s because the Fed is now paying them an interest rate.
The Fertile Crescent is left dry as Turkish dams reduce the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to a trickle (AP)
Is it the final curtain for the Fertile Crescent? This summer, as Turkish dams reduce the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to a trickle, farmers abandon their desiccated fields across Iraq and Syria, and efforts to revive the Mesopotamian marshes appear to be abandoned, climate modellers are warning that the current drought is likely to become permanent. The Mesopotamian cradle of civilisation seems to be returning to desert.
Last week, Iraqi ministers called for urgent talks with upstream neighbours Turkey and Syria, after the combination of a second year of drought and dams in those countries cut flow on the Euphrates as it enters Iraq to below 250 cubic metres a second. That is less than a quarter the flow needed to maintain Iraqi agriculture.
Tensions have been growing since May, when the Iraqi parliament refused to approve a new much-needed trade deal with Turkey unless it contained binding clauses on river flows. But Turkey appears in no mood to compromise. In July, it announced the final go-ahead for yet another dam, the Ilisu on the Tigris.
Meanwhile, according to Hassan Partow at the UN Environment Programme, Iraq’s hydrological misery is compounded by Iran, which is also building new dams on tributaries of the Tigris. “Some of these rivers have run completely dry,” he told New Scientist. And Iraq itself is set to worsen the problem with its own dam building, he says. This year construction is set to begin on another Tigris tributary at Bekhme Gorge in Iraq’s northern province of Kurdistan. At 230 metres it will be one of the world’s tallest dams.
In ancient times, the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers through Iraq were bountiful – irrigating fields that sustained civilisations like Sumer and cities like Babylon. But the combination of drought, dams and Iraq’s own desire to revive its agriculture is placing huge pressure on the last remnant of that bounty, the Mesopotamian marshes, which form where the Tigris and Euphrates meet and flow to the sea.
(NaturalNews) A federal report has concluded that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil has a 400 percent higher rate of adverse effects than another comparable vaccine, the Menactra anti-meningitis shot.
“It is unusual for there to be such a big discrepancy between two vaccines used in similar populations involving serious and relatively rare life threatening adverse events and autoimmune disorders,” the researchers from the federal Vaccine Events Reporting System wrote.
Gardasil, marketed by Merck, prevents againt the strains of HPV believed to be responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and 90 percent of genital warts cases. GlaxoSmithKline’s competing Cervarix vaccine protects against the same cervical cancer-causing strains.
New students informed: No jabs, no enrollment
Another major school institution has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy that bars both new and current students who haven’t received the meningitis and MMR shots from enrolling for the coming academic year.
The University of Alabama recently sent out an e mail to all its students informing them that they had to provide proof of several different immunizations before they could register for their course.
Failure to provide such proof would mean the students would be forced to take the shots on campus at the Student Health Center – refusal to do so would prevent them from enrolling and could also lead to further judiciary punishment.
The e mail reads as follows;
All freshmen and all new students, regardless of classification, must have:
1) Proof of the meningitis vaccination (Manactra (preferred) or Menomune)
2) If you were born after 1956, proof of two (2) measles containing vaccinations. One of these vaccines must be an MMR vaccination after 1980.
3) Acceptable proof of tuberculosis screening within the last year.
This is a registration requirement, whether transfer or graduate.
If you are living off campus this is still a requirement. Please turn in proof of these immunizations and tuberculosis screening before moving into campus housing or the first day of class if living off campus. All vaccines and tuberculosis screening are available at the Student Health Center. Failure to submit your immunization and TB test requirement could slow down your moving into residence hall room.
The e mail also informs juniors and seniors already living on campus that they need to get a meningitis shot if they haven’t received one in the last four years, even though as the advisory admits, “This is NOT a regular childhood immunization and it was not a requirement when you entered the University of Alabama.”
“Failure of any student regardless of classification not meeting the immunization and tuberculosis screening requirement may result in a disruption in ability to register for classes and possible disciplinary action per Office for Judicial Affairs,” states the e mail.
The MMR vaccine has been linked to autism and inflammatory bowel disease and despite a UK government propaganda campaign to try and convince the public that it is safe, as well as an effort brainwash children, many parents have boycotted the jab in Britain.
Earlier this year, the Daily Mail highlighted the story of 5-year-old Melody Brook, who went from a bouncing and bubbly child to a virtual vegetable after she took the MMR vaccine.
As we have previously highlighted, there is no law in America, aside from those applying to medical workers, that says you or your child has to take any vaccine whatsoever, no matter what any executive order, requirement, mandate or policy dictates, there is no situation where you can go to prison for refusing a government vaccine under the U.S. constitution and the law of the land.
This was particularly prescient for the parents of more than 1600 children in Prince George’s County, Maryland, who in 2007 were told they could be put in jail for failing to get their kids vaccinated. Appearing on the Alex Jones Show, a state prosecutor involved in bringing potential criminal charges against the parents was forced to admit that there was no law that mandated parents to vaccinate their children.
The only way mandatory vaccinations can be enforced in this context is by removing privileges, as in the case with Alabama University preventing immunized students from registering, but many people would argue that education is not a privilege but a human right, and to deny a student enrollment because they refuse to have a needle jabbed in their arm is clearly discriminatory.
The only other way to implement mandatory vaccinations is of course by force, which is what many fear will happen in the event of a mass swine flu pandemic this fall which the government has already assured us is inevitable.
“My simple calculations guessed that we were going to achieve economic sustainability on Earth by depopulating down to a population of approximately 500 million people from our then current global population of 6 billion.”
In 2000 we knew that the plan is to bring the world population at least to below 1 billion. Catherine’s estimate is absolutely correct.
– Baxter Filed Swine Flu Vaccine Patent a Year Ahead of Outbreak
– Swine flu vaccine to be cleared after five-day trial !!!
– Baxter sent out 72 kilos of live bird flu material destined for vaccines confirmed by Austrian Health Minister Alois Stöger
– Baxter: Product contaminated with live H5N1 avian flu virus
– New Zealand orders 300,000 doses of untested and unapproved swine flu vaccine
– Investigation of Baxter Vaccine by New Zealand Minister of Health
– Journalist Files Charges against WHO and UN for Bioterrorism and Intent to Commit Mass Murder
By Catherine Austin Fitts. Catherine Austin Fitts was Assistant Secretary of Housing.
Swine Flu: What I Believe
I believe one of the goals of the swine flu vaccine is depopulation. Perhaps it is the goal of a swine flu epidemic as well, whether bio-warfare or hype around a flu season.
These days, I keep remembering my sense of urgency leaving the Bush Administration in 1991. We had to do something to turn around the economy and gather real assets behind retirement plans and the social safety net. If not, Americans could find themselves deeply out on a limb. I felt my family and friends were in danger. They did not share my concern. They had a deep faith in the system.
As my efforts to find ways of reengineering government investment in communities failed to win political support, Washington and Wall Street moved forward with a debt bubble and globalization that was horrifying in its implications for humanity.
Overwhelmed by what was happening, I estimated the end result. My simple calculations guessed that we were going to achieve economic sustainability on Earth by depopulating down to a population of approximately 500 million people from our then current global population of 6 billion. I was a portfolio strategist used to looking at numbers from a very high level. Those around me could not fathom how all the different threads I was integrating could lead to such a conclusion. To me, we had to have radical change in how we governed resources or depopulate. It was a mathematical result.
A year later, in 1999, a very capable investment and portfolio strategist asked me if he could come have a private lunch with me in Washington. We sat in a posh restaurant across from the Capitol. He said quietly that he had calculated out where the derivatives and debt bubble combined with globalization were going. The only logical conclusion he could reach was that significant depopulation was going to occur. He said his estimates led to an approximate population of 500 million. I said very quietly, “that’s my estimate too.” I will never forget the look of sadness that crossed his face. I was amazed to find someone else who understood.
It turns out that we were not alone. Sir James Goldsmith had warned of the consequences of GATT in 1994. He described the process under way, involving the loss of land and livelihood for 3 billion people, “…This is the establishment against the rest of society.” Voices were rising around the planet as hardships exploded from global economic warfare and industrialization of agriculture.
As trillions of dollars were shifted out of America by legal and illegal means to reinvest in Asia and emerging markets and to build a global military empire, we left a sovereign nation economic model behind. Finally, the expense and corruption of empire resulted in bailouts of $12-14 trillion, delivering a new financial war chest to the people leading the financial engineering. Now we have exploding unemployment, an exploding federal deficit, an Inspector General for the TARP bailout program predicting that the ultimate bailout cost could rise to $23.7 trillion and a Congressional Budget Director who is concluding that we can no longer afford the social safety net.
This is the same Citigroup that received $45 billion in bailout money. The same Citigroup that will soon be 34% owned by the U.S. government. The same Citigroup that has lost 95% of its share value since 2007.
Citigroup is in no position to be awarding bonuses of $10 million — let alone adding another zero to that amount. So why is it mulling such a colossally dumb move? Because the guy demanding it is probably the bank’s most valuable employee.
Enter Andrew Hall. He’s a rock star, a legend among banking circles. He makes a boatload of money for Citigroup as head of Phibro, the bank’s energy-trading unit. The Wall Street Journal calls Phibro a secretive operation, housed in a former Connecticut dairy farm, that “occasionally accounts for a disproportionate chunk of Citigroup income.”
Phibro made so much money for Citigroup last year that Hall got a $100 million bonus (His bonus is based on Phibro’s profits). Phibro was the main source of the $667 million in pretax revenue Citigroup received in commodities trading, the Journal reported. And the unit is doing so well this year that Hall may be in line for a similar amount.
Even though it’s only July, it sounds like Hall is pressing Citigroup for confirmation of the bonus. He’s threatening to leave the company, reports say.
So here’s Citigroup’s dilemma: Keeping Hall would likely help the company climb out of the hole it’s in. But can it afford to spend $100 million?
And will the U.S. government allow it? That will depend largely on the opinion of Kenneth Feinberg, the new pay czar appointed to oversee compensation at the bailed-out banks.
Hall already has so much money that he owns a castle in Germany called Schloss Derneburg.
The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.
Here’s the back story.
When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply — the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods — secret documents now reveal that the experts were very concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried “serious health hazards,” and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply.
But the biotech industry had rigged the game so that neither science nor scientists would stand in their way. They had placed their own man in charge of FDA policy and he wasn’t going to be swayed by feeble arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie.
Dangerous Food Safety Lies
When the FDA was constructing their GMO policy in 1991-2, their scientists were clear that gene-sliced foods were significantly different and could lead to “different risks” than conventional foods. But official policy declared the opposite, claiming that the FDA knew nothing of significant differences, and declared GMOs substantially equivalent.
This fiction became the rationale for allowing GM foods on the market without any required safety studies whatsoever! The determination of whether GM foods were safe to eat was placed entirely in the hands of the companies that made them — companies like Monsanto, which told us that the PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange were safe.
GMOs were rushed onto our plates in 1996. Over the next nine years, multiple chronic illnesses in the US nearly doubled — from 7% to 13%. Allergy-related emergency room visits doubled between 1997 and 2002 while food allergies, especially among children, skyrocketed. We also witnessed a dramatic rise in asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain cancers.
In January of this year, Dr. P. M. Bhargava, one of the world’s top biologists, told me that after reviewing 600 scientific journals, he concluded that the GM foods in the US are largely responsible for the increase in many serious diseases.
In May, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine concluded that animal studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between GM foods and infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation
In July, a report by eight international experts determined that the flimsy and superficial evaluations of GMOs by both regulators and GM companies “systematically overlook the side effects” and significantly underestimate “the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems, among others.”
The Fox Guarding the Chickens
If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto’s vice president and chief lobbyist.
This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar. What have we done?
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus — the swine flu — this fall, according to Defense Department officials.
The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The officials would not be identified because the proposal from the U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.
In early April of 2005, after a particularly rainy spring, an influenza epidemic (epi: upon, demic: people) exploded through the maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane where I have worked for the last ten years. It was not the pandemic (pan: all, demic: people) we all fear, just an epidemic. The world is waiting and governments are preparing for the next pandemic. A severe influenza pandemic will kill many more Americans than died in the World Trade Centers, the Iraq war, the Vietnam War, and Hurricane Katrina combined, perhaps a million people in the USA alone. Such a disaster would tear the fabric of American society. Our entire country might resemble the Superdome or Bourbon Street after Hurricane Katrina.
It’s only a question of when a pandemic will come, not if it will come. Influenza A pandemics come every 30 years or so, severe ones every hundred years or so. The last pandemic, the Hong Kong flu, occurred in 1968 – killing 34,000 Americans. In 1918, the Great Flu Epidemic killed more than 500,000 Americans. So many millions died in other countries, they couldn’t bury the bodies. Young healthy adults, in the prime of their lives in the morning, drowning in their own inflammation by noon, grossly discolored by sunset, were dead at midnight. Their body’s own broad-spectrum natural antibiotics, called antimicrobial peptides, seemed nowhere to be found. An overwhelming immune response to the influenza virus – white blood cells releasing large amounts of inflammatory agents called cytokines and chemokines into the lungs of the doomed – resulted in millions of deaths in 1918.
As I am now a psychiatrist, and no longer a general practitioner, I was not directly involved in fighting the influenza epidemic in our hospital. However, our internal medicine specialists worked overtime as they diagnosed and treated a rapidly increasing number of stricken patients. Our Chief Medical Officer quarantined one ward after another as more and more patients were gripped with the chills, fever, cough, and severe body aches that typifies the clinical presentation of influenza A.
Epidemic influenza kills a million people in the world every year by causing pneumonia, “the captain of the men of death.” These epidemics are often explosive; the word influenza comes from Italian (Medieval Latin ?nfluentia) or influence, because of the belief that the sudden and abrupt epidemics were due to the influence of some extraterrestrial force. One seventeenth century observer described it well when he wrote, “suddenly a Distemper arose, as if sent by some blast from the stars, which laid hold on very many together: that in some towns, in the space of a week, above a thousand people fell sick together.”
I guess our hospital was under luckier stars as only about 12% of our patients were infected and no one died. However, as the epidemic progressed, I noticed something unusual. First, the ward below mine was infected, and then the ward on my right, left, and across the hall – but no patients on my ward became ill. My patients had intermingled with patients from infected wards before the quarantines. The nurses on my unit cross-covered on infected wards. Surely, my patients were exposed to the influenza A virus. How did my patients escape infection from what some think is the most infectious of all the respiratory viruses?
The Federal Reserve – the quasi-autonomous body that controls the US’s money supply – is a “Ponzi scheme” that created “bubble after bubble” in the US economy and needs to be held accountable for its actions, says Eliot Spitzer, the former governor and attorney-general of New York.
In a wide-ranging discussion of the bank bailouts on MSNBC’s Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan described the process by which the Federal Reserve exchanged $13.9 trillion of bad bank debt for cash that it gave to the struggling banks.
Spitzer – who built a reputation as “the Sheriff of Wall Street” for his zealous prosecutions of corporate crime as New York’s attorney-general and then resigned as the state’s governor over revelations he had paid for prostitutes – seemed to agree with Ratigan that the bank bailout amounts to “America’s greatest theft and cover-up ever.”
Advocating in favor of a House bill to audit the Federal Reserve, Spitzer said: “The Federal Reserve has benefited for decades from the notion that it is quasi-autonomous, it’s supposed to be independent. Let me tell you a dirty secret: The Fed has done an absolutely disastrous job since [former Fed Chairman] Paul Volcker left.
“The reality is the Fed has blown it. Time and time again, they blew it. Bubble after bubble, they failed to understand what they were doing to the economy.
“The most poignant example for me is the AIG bailout, where they gave tens of billions of dollars that went right through – conduit payments – to the investment banks that are now solvent. We [taxpayers] didn’t get stock in those banks, they didn’t ask what was going on – this begs and cries out for hard, tough examination.
“You look at the governing structure of the New York [Federal Reserve], it was run by the very banks that got the money. This is a Ponzi scheme, an inside job. It is outrageous, it is time for Congress to say enough of this. And to give them more power now is crazy.
“The Fed needs to be examined carefully.”
Spitzer resigned as governor of New York in March, 2008, after news reports stated he had paid for a $1,000-an-hour New York City call girl.
Many people seem genuinely baffled that western governments are hyping the arrival of a swine flu pandemic as if it’s the greatest threat to humanity since the bubonic plague, despite the relatively low number of deaths from the virus, unaware that the pharmaceutical industry has been intimately joined at the hip with the state for decades.
Another illustration of that fact is the revelation that one of the UK government’s top advisors on swine flu also happens to be a sitting board member of GlaxoSmithKline, the company selling dangerous and untested swine flu vaccines, as well as anti-viral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, to the NHS.
“Professor Sir Roy Anderson sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), a 20-strong task force drawing up the action plan for the virus. Yet he also holds a £116,000-a-year post on the board of GlaxoSmithKline,” reports the Daily Mail.
We also learn that Anderson was “one of the first UK experts to call the outbreak a pandemic,” and has been busy on radio and TV pushing the effectiveness of anti-virals to fight swine flu, without telling listeners that he was on the GSK payroll.
Anderson was also a key government advisor during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak in Britain which led to the slaughter of over 6 million animals and the complete decimation of the farming industry.
All parents will be forced to sign “contracts” to ensure their children behave at school, the Government has announced.
Pupils and their families will be required to agree to the deal – setting out minimum standards of behaviour and attendance – before the start of term. Contracts, known as Home School Agreements, will also establish parents’ responsibilities for the first time.
They face court action and possible fines of up to £1,000 for repeatedly breaking rules.
The contracts will become compulsory in all English state schools under plans laid out in a Government White Paper.
Ministers suggested that “good” parents would be able to complain about other mothers and fathers who fail to ensure their children behave.
Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, said the changes would help stop a single student disrupting the education of his or her classmates.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio, 10th District) questions Neil M. Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, about interest payments made to banks that keep their TARP funds and other government (taxpayer) bailout money with the Federal Reserve, instead of making loans to struggling Americans (the original intent of the TARP, remember?) The Fed makes generous interest payments to the banks for “parking” their “excess reserves” at the Fed.
– Chinese Workers riot, kill manager (CNN):
Workers at a Chinese steel factory upset with a possible merger kill their manager.
– Don’t Let Obama Put GMO Boosters in Charge of Food Safety! (Organic Consumers Association):
Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor has been appointed as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety.
– GM crops being secretly grown in Britain (Telegraph):
Fencing, CCTV cameras and guards will protect the crops from being ripped up again.
– Scams And Bailouts The Cause of World Depression (The International Forecaster):
About two months ago our sources informed us that the US government had begun sending large amounts of cash to embassies throughout the world to be exchanged for local currency. We have had a number of reports that this in fact has been the case.
Having been involved in counterintelligence and for some 50 years in economics and finance, I believe this is a precursor to problems centered around the US dollar.
– Bush Weighed Using Military in Arrests (New York Times)
– Mass Layoffs: The Continuing Devastation (Lew Rockwell)
– Guaranty Financial, No. 2 Texas bank, says may fail (Alibaba News):
Shares fall 27 pct
– Money printing, debt growth and deficits don’t create prosperity, says Marc Faber (Business Intelligence Middle East)
– The rich have never had it so good (Salon):
The wealthiest 1 percent have never had it so good. According to government figures, 1-percenters’ share of America’s total income is the highest it’s been since 1929, and their tax rates are the lowest they’ve faced in two decades.
– Cash-Strapped California’s IOUs: Just the Latest Sub for Dollars (Wall Street Journal):
– Police powers for 2012 Olympics alarm critics (Guardian):
The government was accused tonight of giving itself draconian powers to clamp down on protests at the 2012 Olympics. Critics said the powers were so broad they would potentially give private contractors the right to forcibly enter people’s homes and seize materials.
– Jobless Checks for Millions Delayed as States Struggle (New York Times)
– Detroit Heads For Bankruptcy; 50 Cities Must “Shrink to Survive” (Global Economic Analysis)
– UK Economy shrinks at record annual rate in Q2 (Times Online)
– British economic collapse rivals Great Depression (Telegraph)
– Is the US Economy Close to Hitting Bottom? (Mises Institute)
– Swine Flu Plc: Cashing in on the pandemic (Independent):
For dozens of companies, including giant multinational corporations and tiny internet quacks, the outbreak of swine flu frenzy has turned into a licence to print money.
Tags: Global News
Hoster: shared box. disk failed and fucked up whole raid array. we have to setup new box and move data to it. and we’re in the middle of that process. I’m sorry but shit happens from time to time.
… and there was so much going on in the world.
I will give you an update tonight. 🙂
Around 12,000 U.S. children will be used as guinea pigs for an experimental swine flu vaccine known to contain the dangerous ingredient squalene, which has been directly linked with cases of Gulf War Syndrome and a host of other debilitating diseases.
According to a report in the Oklahoman, 12,000 children nationwide will partake in “fast-tracked studies” to test the side-effects of the untested swine flu vaccine in trials set to begin next month.
“The trials will test the vaccine’s effectiveness and whether or not it has negative side effects in patients,” states the report.
THE Pentagon’s enthusiasm for non-lethal crowd-control weapons appears to have stepped up a gear with its decision to develop a microwave pain-infliction system that can be fired from an aircraft.
The device is an extension of its controversial Active Denial System, which uses microwaves to heat the surface of the skin, creating a painful sensation without burning that strongly motivates the target to flee. The ADS was unveiled in 2001, but it has not been deployed owing to legal issues and safety fears.
Nevertheless, the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) in Quantico, Virginia, has now called for it to be upgraded. The US air force, whose radar technology the ADS is based on, is increasing its annual funding of the system from $2 million to $10 million.
The transmitting antenna on the current system is 2 metres across, produces a single beam of similar width and is steered mechanically, making it cumbersome. At the heart of the new weapon will be a compact airborne antenna, which will be steered electronically and be capable of generating multiple beams, each of which can be aimed while on the move.
The new antenna will be steered electronically and is capable of generating multiple heat beams.
The ADS has been dogged by controversy. Jürgen Altmann, a physicist at Dortmund University in Germany, showed that the microwave beams can cause serious burns at levels not far above those required to repel people. This was verified when a US airman was hospitalised with second-degree burns during testing in April 2007.
Abdel Halim Tolba, a snake hunter, holds a mouse which is used to feed snakes at the Tolba snake farm in Cairo, Egypt. (REUTERS)
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese researchers have managed to create powerful stem cells from mouse skin and used these to generate fertile live mouse pups.
They used induced pluripotent skin cells, or iPS cells — cells that have been reprogrammed to look and act like embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells, taken from days-old embryos, have the power to morph into any cell type and, in mice, can be implanted into a mother’s womb to create living mouse pups.
Their experiment, published in Nature, means that it is theoretically possible to clone someone using ordinary connective tissue cells found on the person’s skin, but the experts were quick to distance themselves from such controversy.
“We are confident that tremendous good can come from demonstrating the versatility of reprogrammed cells in mice, and this research will be used to … understand the root causes of disease and lead to viable treatments and cures of human afflictions,” said Fanyi Zeng of the Shanghai Institute of Medical Genetics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
“It would not be ethical to attempt to use iPS cells in human reproduction. It is important for science to have ethical boundaries,” she said, adding that their study was “in no way meant as a first step in that direction.”
“There is a very good chance that America will default on its government debt sometimes during this administration.”
“And there is an extremely good chance that the currency will be very debased and weakened a lot during this presidency.”
(JIM ROGERS WAS RIGHT (05/06/09))
Let’s see if I can count this up….
70 day CMBs, $30 billion (tomorrow)
13 week Bills, $32 billion (July 27th)
26 week Bills, $31 billion (July 27th)
52 week Bills, $27 billion (July 28th)
2 year Notes, $42 billion (July 28th)
5 year Notes, $39 billion (July 29th)
7 year Notes, $28 billion (July 30th)
19 year, 6 month TIPS (reopened), $6 billion (July 27th)
That’s two hundred thirty-five billion dollars over the next week!
Almost one quarter of a trillion……. geejus.
I guess you should get while the getting is good, but this is going totally parabolic. That money has to come out of somewhere, by the way, in order for the sale to succeed, which is going to get rather interesting at some point – but exactly where it matters is impossible to know.
I expected that when we crossed the $100 billion threshold in a week the market would throw up all over it, but it didn’t. Now we’ve got the government trying to sell a quarter of a trillion dollars in debt over the next week, the announcement is out there, and while the bond market is selling off to a material degree equities could care less!
This is flat-out insane. At this run rate we would be trying to sell twelve trillion dollars over one year’s time, an obviously ridiculous and impossible-to-peddle amount of debt at any price.
When does the rest of the world wake up (not to mention the primary dealers) and say “NO!”? Never? Is there a truly insatiable demand for our government’s debt, despite the fact that President Obama got up on the national stage last night and promised to spend another trillion dollars we don’t have?
‘In debt we trust’.
Traffic passes by the U.S. Federal Reserve building in Washington (Bloomberg)
July 23 (Bloomberg) — Treasuries declined, with 10-year notes falling the most in almost seven weeks, as stocks rose and the U.S. announced plans to sell a record $115 billion in notes in four auctions next week.
Yields on government securities rose as the Dow Jones Industrial Average touched above 9,000 for the first time since January. It will be only the second time the Treasury auctions three so-called coupon issues and an inflation-linked maturity in a single week since the U.S. started selling debt regularly in 1976 as the government accelerates an unprecedented pace of borrowing to stimulate the economy and service deficits.
The two largest pension funds in the US have recorded steep losses following the turmoil in stock markets, with the value of their combined portfolios shrinking by almost $100bn.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Calstrs) were hit by the real estate slowdown and the slump in global equities. Calpers said the fall in the value of its assets was the most severe in its history.
The rate of pub closures is accelerating, with 52 going out of business every week at a cost of 24,000 jobs over the past year, figures show.
Almost 2,400 pubs and bars have vanished from villages and towns in the past 12 months, according to research for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). Local pubs serving small communities have been the worst hit, the association said.
The number of closures represents the steepest rate of decline since records began in 1990 and has risen by a third compared with the same period last year, when 36 pubs were closing every week.
British factories suffered a bigger-than-expected drop in orders this month raising new fears about the health of the economy.
In July, manufacturing orders fell at their fastest rate since January 1992, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The CBI’s gauge of orders dropped from -51 to -59, far below the -45 measure expected.
However, there was some good news as factories indicated that the business environment had improved over the past three months, with the balance rising to -16, the highest since October 2007.
There was also a slowdown in the pace of decline of overall output. Some 43 per cent of businesses said output had declined in the three months to July, while just 12 per cent said their output rose. The resulting balance of -31 indicates that output is still falling, but at a slower rate than in the three months to June when the balance was -53.
Grayson grills Fed chairman on destination of credit swaps
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was confronted yesterday by Congressman Alan Grayson about which foreign banks were the recipients of Federal Reserve credit swaps, but he was unable to provide an answer as to where over half a trillion dollars had gone.
Asked which European financial institutions received the money, which was handed out by The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), a component of the Federal Reserve System, Bernanke responded, “I don’t know.”
“Half a trillion dollars and you don’t know who got the money?” asked Grayson.
As we have previously reported, the destination of trillions in bailout funds remains hidden after the Fed refused to disclose where it had gone despite a lawsuit filed by Bloomberg.
A total solar eclipse is seen in Varanasi, India, Wednesday, July 22, 2009. The longest solar eclipse of the 21st century pitched a swath of Asia from India to China into near darkness Wednesday as millions gathered to watch the phenomenon. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Related article: Two killed in stampede during eclipse in India (China Daily)
Darkness falls in Asia during total eclipse, luring masses
State television in China broadcast this image of the eclipse.
(CNN) — The longest solar eclipse of the century cast a wide shadow for several minutes over Asia and the Pacific Ocean Wednesday, luring throngs of people outside to watch the spectacle.
Day turned into night, temperatures turned cooler in cities and villages teemed with amateur stargazers.
The total eclipse started in India on Wednesday morning and moved eastward across Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Vietnam, China and parts of the Pacific. Millions cast their eyes towards the heavens to catch a rare view of the sun’s corona.
Cloud cover in some areas prevented people from fully savoring the phenomenon. Still, many were awed.
Tim O’Rourke, a 45-year-old freelance photographer from Detroit, Michigan, lives in Hong Kong but traveled up to Shanghai — touted as one of the best spots to watch the eclipse. Watch the ‘exceptional’ eclipse »
“It was pitch black like midnight,” said O’Rourke, standing in People’s Square with what appeared to be a crowd of thousands.
“Definitely not disappointed we came. Of course it would have been much better with nice weather, blue skies. But still it was a great experience, it was a lot of fun.” he said. Viewing the eclipse in pictures »
Total eclipses occur about twice a year as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun on the same plane as Earth’s orbit. Wednesday’s event lasted up to more than six minutes in some places. Watch what a total solar eclipse entails »
- Solar eclipse scares Indian mothers-to-be
- Blog: Reflections on nature’s grand show
- Explainer: How eclipses work
In India, where an eclipse pits science against superstition, thousands took a dip in the Ganges River in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi to cleanse their souls, said Ajay Kumar Upadhyay, the district’s most senior official. Send us your photos of the eclipse
In Utah, a modern-day caveman has lived for the better part of a decade on zero dollars a day. People used to think he was crazy
Photograph by Mark Heithoff
DANIEL SUELO LIVES IN A CAVE. UNLIKE THE average American-wallowing in credit-card debt, clinging to a mortgage, terrified of the next downsizing at the office-he isn’t worried about the economic crisis. That’s because he figured out that the best way to stay solvent is to never be solvent in the first place. Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit.
His dwelling, hidden high in a canyon lined with waterfalls, is an hour by foot from the desert town of Moab, Utah, where people who know him are of two minds: He’s either a latter-day prophet or an irredeemable hobo. Suelo’s blog, which he maintains free at the Moab Public Library, suggests that he’s both. “When I lived with money, I was always lacking,” he writes. “Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present.”
On a warm day in early spring, I clamber along a set of red-rock cliffs to the mouth of his cave, where I find a note signed with a smiley face: CHRIS, FEEL FREE TO USE ANYTHING, EAT ANYTHING (NOTHING HERE IS MINE). From the outside, the place looks like a hollowed teardrop, about the size of an Amtrak bathroom, with enough space for a few pots that hang from the ceiling, a stove under a stone eave, big buckets full of beans and rice, a bed of blankets in the dirt, and not much else. Suelo’s been here for three years, and it smells like it.
Night falls, the stars wink, and after an hour, Suelo tramps up the cliff, mimicking a raven’s call-his salutation-a guttural, high-pitched caw. He’s lanky and tan; yesterday he rebuilt the entrance to his cave, hauling huge rocks to make a staircase. His hands are black with dirt, and his hair, which is going gray, looks like a bird’s nest, full of dust and twigs from scrambling in the underbrush on the canyon floor. Grinning, he presents the booty from one of his weekly rituals, scavenging on the streets of Moab: a wool hat and gloves, a winter jacket, and a white nylon belt, still wrapped in plastic, along with Carhartt pants and sandals, which he’s wearing. He’s also scrounged cans of tuna and turkey Spam and a honeycomb candle. All in all, a nice haul from the waste product of America. “You made it,” he says. I hand him a bag of apples and a block of cheese I bought at the supermarket, but the gift suddenly seems meager.
Suelo lights the candle and stokes a fire in the stove, which is an old blackened tin, the kind that Christmas cookies might come in. It’s hooked to a chain of soup cans segmented like a caterpillar and fitted to a hole in the rock. Soon smoke billows into the night and the cave is warm. I think of how John the Baptist survived on honey and locusts in the desert. Suelo, who keeps a copy of the Bible for bedtime reading, is satisfied with a few grasshoppers fried in his skillet.
HE WASN’T ALWAYS THIS WAY. SUELO graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in anthropology, he thought about becoming a doctor, he held jobs, he had cash and a bank account. In 1987, after several years as an assistant lab technician in Colorado hospitals, he joined the Peace Corps and was posted to an Ecuadoran village high in the Andes. He was charged with monitoring the health of tribespeople in the area, teaching first aid and nutrition, and handing out medicine where needed; his proudest achievement was delivering three babies. The tribe had been getting richer for a decade, and during the two years he was there he watched as the villagers began to adopt the economics of modernity. They sold the food from their fields-quinoa, potatoes, corn, lentils-for cash, which they used to purchase things they didn’t need, as Suelo describes it. They bought soda and white flour and refined sugar and noodles and big bags of MSG to flavor the starchy meals. They bought TVs. The more they spent, says Suelo, the more their health declined. He could measure the deterioration on his charts. “It looked,” he says, “like money was impoverishing them.”
It was created 40 years ago to provide health care for the poorest New Yorkers, offering a lifeline to those who could not afford to have a baby or a heart attack. But in the decades since, New York State’s Medicaid program has also become a $44.5 billion target for the unscrupulous and the opportunistic.
It has drawn dentists like Dr. Dolly Rosen, who within 12 months somehow built the state’s biggest Medicaid dental practice out of a Brooklyn storefront, where she claimed to have performed as many as 991 procedures a day in 2003. After The New York Times discovered her extraordinary billings through a computer analysis and questioned the state about them, Dr. Rosen and two associates were indicted on charges of stealing more than $1 million from the program.
It has drawn van services, intended as medical transportation for patients who cannot walk unaided, that regularly picked up scores of people who walked quite easily when a reporter was watching nearby. In cooperation with medical offices that order these services, the ambulettes typically cost the taxpayers more than $50 a round trip, adding up to $200 million a year. In some cases, the rides that the state paid for may never have taken place.
School officials around the state have enrolled tens of thousands of low-income students in speech therapy without the required evaluation, garnering more than $1 billion in questionable Medicaid payments for their districts. One Buffalo school official sent 4,434 students into speech therapy in a single day without talking to them or reviewing their records, according to federal investigators.
The Obama administration is raising the stakes in a fight over states’ rights and firearm ownership by arguing that new pro-gun laws in Montana and Tennessee are invalid.
In the last few months, a grass-roots, federalist revolt against Washington, D.C. has begun to spread through states that are home to politically active gun owners. Montana and Tennessee have enacted state laws saying that federal rules do not apply to firearms manufactured entirely within the state, and similar bills are pending in Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, and South Carolina.
Yet the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Explosives now claims that that not only is such a state law invalid, but “because the act conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulations, federal law supersedes the act.”
Tennessee’s law already has taken effect. The BATF’s letter on July 16 to firearms manufacturers and dealers in the state says “federal law requires a license to engage in the business of manufacturing firearms or ammunition, or to deal in firearms, even if the firearms or ammunition remain within the same state.”
A similar letter was sent to manufacturers and dealers in Montana, where the made-in-the-state law takes effect on October 1, 2009. Neither law permits certain large caliber weapons or machine guns, and both would bypass federal regulations including background checks for buyers and record-keeping requirements for sellers.
While this federalism-inspired revolt has coalesced around gun rights, the broader goal is to dust off a section of the Bill of Rights that most Americans probably have paid scant attention to: the Tenth Amendment. It says that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Read literally, the Tenth Amendment seems to suggest that the federal government’s powers are limited only to what it has been “delegated,” and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1918 confirmed that the amendment “carefully reserved” some authority “to the states.” That view is echoed by statements made at the time the Constitution was adopted; New Hampshire explicitly said that states kept “all powers not expressly and particularly delegated” to the federal government.
Don’t you just love the background of Obama pictures?
“A series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the TAXPAYER as much as $23 trillion, …”
Barack Obama’s Treasury Department says less than $2 trillion has been spent so far on bailouts.
A series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the federal government as much as $23 trillion, the U.S. government’s watchdog over the effort says – a staggering amount that is nearly double the nation’s entire economic output for a year.
If the feds end up spending that amount, it could be more than the federal government has spent on any single effort in American history.
For the government to be on the hook for the total amount, worst-case scenarios would have to come to pass in a variety of federal programs, which is unlikely, says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the government’s financial bailout programs, in testimony prepared for delivery to the House oversight committee Tuesday.
The Treasury Department says less than $2 trillion has been spent so far.
Still, the enormity of the IG’s projection underscores the size of the economic disaster that hit the nation over the past year and the unprecedented sums mobilized by the federal government under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to confront it.
In fact, $23 trillion is more than the total cost of all the wars the United States has ever fought, put together. World War II, for example, cost $4.1 trillion in 2008 dollars, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, California, July 1, 2009. Photographer: Ken James/Bloomberg News
July 21 (Bloomberg) — California lawmakers reached an agreement with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger over how to close a $26 billion budget deficit that pushed the most-populous U.S. state to the brink of insolvency.
The deal, reached by legislative leaders after two months of frequently acrimonious negotiations, would slash spending for schools, public works and welfare programs amid the longest recession since the 1930s. If approved by the full Senate and Assembly, the agreement will also siphon money from municipalities, force companies and individuals to pay income taxes sooner and make it more difficult to receive state aid.
“We came to a basic agreement, a budget agreement,” Schwarzenegger told reporters outside his office last evening. “This is a budget that has no tax increases and this is a budget that is cutting spending and it deals with the entire $26 billion deficit.”
… and of course the government delayed reports loaded with bad news. The UK is broke and gets ready to default on its debt.
Ministers bury £32bn tax crisis as recess starts
A mountain of bad news was buried by the Government as it rushed out reports and 26 ministerial statements the day before MPs go on holiday. Whitehall sources said that many of the reports were ready to be published weeks ago, and would normally be released in stages, but ministers had insisted they all be delayed till yesterday.
The dangerous state of the public finances was laid bare by the reports, which showed that the Government’s tax take plummeted by £32 billion last year. Figures from HM Revenue & Customs showed income tax, national insurance, VAT, stamp duty and corporation tax fell by £21 billion, while other debts and legal liabilities had cut income by a further £10 billion.
Related article: Flow of tax cash into Treasury drops by £32bn (Telegraph)
The figures were disclosed as the National Audit Office (NAO) refused to sign off six sets of Whitehall accounts because of fraud, error, overpayments and IT problems. The accounts, covering billions of pounds, included the Ministry of Defence, the Treasury, the Revenue, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. The Government also slipped out reports criticising its training programmes and announced delays in several policy areas.
Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “It is a disgrace that the Government is apparently trying to sneak out these very important reports at the fag end of the parliamentary session. It gives no time for MPs to hold ministers to account — presumably what Mr Brown intended.”