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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 13,685

About Me

(Brit gone native).

Journal Archives

Hmmm. Jesuits... ¿Has the IMF also gone neo-Franciscan? ... A few recent snippets:

... In his November investment commentary for bond giant Pimco, Mr. Gross asks the "Scrooge McDucks of the world" to accept higher personal income taxes and to stop expecting capital to be taxed at lower rates than labor. As for the IMF, its latest Fiscal Monitor report argues that taxing the wealthy offers "significant revenue potential at relatively low efficiency costs..."

/... http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304355104579232480552517224

Read the report here (.pdf) (This is from the 'executive' summary):

... Taxation is always a sensitive topic and is now more than ever at the center of policy debates around the world. The key challenges are: How can taxation best help bring down debt ratios in advanced economies and respond to mounting spending needs in developing countries? And how can equity concerns be balanced—especially in hard times—with the efficiency that is needed to secure long-term growth?

In practice, consolidation so far has been more reliant on revenue measures than was initially planned. But the options most often chosen have been guided by expediency rather than by a desire to build stronger and fairer tax systems, and they may be storing up problems for the longer term. Tax rates, for instance, have been raised when it would have been preferable to broaden the tax base and introduce new taxes to address environmental concerns or correct financial sector inefficiencies. With a large share of adjustment already behind in many countries but growth prospects still dim, policy design should now focus on addressing long-standing tax distortions and buoying potential growth.

Can countries tax more, better, more fairly? Results reported here show that the scope to raise more revenue is limited in many advanced economies and, where tax ratios are already high, the bulk of adjustment will have to fall on spending. Nonetheless, many (including some with the largest consolidation needs, like the United States and Japan) could still mobilize significant amounts while limiting distortions and adverse effects on growth. Broadening the base of the value-added tax ranks high in terms of economic efficiency (as new findings tend to confirm) and can in most cases easily be combined with adequate protection for the poor. In emerging market economies and low-income countries, where the potential for raising revenue is often substantial, improving compliance remains a central challenge. Recognition that the international tax framework is broken is long overdue. Though the amount is hard to quantify, significant revenue can also be gained from reforming it. This is particularly important for developing countries, given their greater reliance on corporate taxation, with revenue from this taxation often coming from a handful of multinationals.

Scope seems to exist in many advanced economies to raise more revenue from the top of the income distribution (and in some cases meet a nontrivial share of adjustment needs), if so desired. And there is a strong case in most countries, advanced or developing, for raising substantially more from property taxes (though this is best done when property markets are reasonably resilient). In principle, taxes on wealth also offer significant revenue potential at relatively low efficiency costs. Their past performance is far from encouraging, but this could change as increased public interest and stepped-up international cooperation build support and reduce evasion opportunities. Reforming international taxation will be harder, as it must go beyond the control of tax-minimizing tricks to address more fundamental aspects such as the allocation of tax bases across countries and finding better ways to realize mutual gains from closer cooperation in tax matters.

Political constraints can trump even the best-designed tax reform. History shows that meaningful, long-lasting tax reforms have most often been implemented in good times, when buoyant revenues can be used to compensate losers. But they can happen in lean times, too, if carefully attuned to a particular country’s institutional setting and supported by extensive political consensus building and a broad communication strategy. They are certainly increasingly needed in the current, taxing times...

And see much 'rightist' outrage:

... On page 49, the authors said, "The sharp deterioration of the public finances in many countries has revived interest in a 'capital levy' — a one-time tax on private wealth — as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability."

Let’s be clear: That tax would apply to all private wealth on the planet. And it wouldn’t balance budgets but would only bring them down to a slightly more manageable level so that government borrowing and spending could continue without interruption. The levy would have to be implemented rapidly, before the wealthy could react and move their assets, or themselves, out of harm’s way: "The appeal is that such a tax, if it is implemented before avoidance is possible … distort behavior..."

/... http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/item/17107-international-monetary-fund-rolls-out-dangerous-wealth-tax-proposal


... In a wide-ranging speech on the outlook for the continent delivered to the European Economic and Social Committee, Ms Lagarde said a failure to revive investment and employment would not bode well for the future.

"There is a palpable sense of optimism in some quarters that the European crisis is over,'' she said.

"But can a crisis really be over when 12% of the labour force is without a job? When unemployment among the youth is in very high double digits, reaching more than 50% in Greece and Spain? And when there is no sign that it is becoming easier for people to pay down their debts?''

As European finance ministers held a simultaneous meeting to try and reach a way forward on the complex issues surrounding a pan-European banking union, the IMF chief said growth rates and output levels remained well below what they should be.

She said the only durable solution was in "jump-starting'' growth, setting out four priority areas including reviving credit, supporting demand, reducing debt and fostering growth friendly labour markets. "The goal of reform is to break down barriers to growth," she said...

/... http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/eu-must-reform-to-help-jumpstart-economic-revival-says-imf-29827827.html

What does Spain make?

A useful list in the comments to this piece on the Sheldon Adelson 'EuroVegas' withdrawal/defeat:


so I'm sharing here (with my comments added).

MartynInEurope pconl

14 December 2013 9:37am
Recommend 4

"The problem with the Spanish economy is fixation on tourism and construction"

Not so...

What does Spain make?

Well, amongst other things (and it should be emphasised that all these are export products and/or are markets in which Spanish companies operate internationally):

- Spain today is the world's eighth largest producer of automobiles and its car market stands among the largest in Europe (I've read that only Germany manufactures more cars than Spain).
- Automobile components and tires
- Home electronic products/domestic appliances (ovens, hobs, fridge/freezers, etc.)
- Major civil and military aviation components (and a large arms industry in general)
- Aeronautical engine and gas turbines
- Complex (including aerospace, space, medical, scientific) systems (e.g. INDRA)
- Electronics
- Ships and boats
- Textiles
- Apparel (e.g. ZARA, Jooma, etc) (some of the sexiest clothes designs in the world)
- Foods and beverages (including olive oil and wine) (and much, much more, including a rapidly-growing 'organic' food ('ecological' it's called here; quality is strictly controlled) sector)
- Metals and metal products
- Chemicals
- Machine tools
- Clay and refractory products (tiles, porcelain wash basins, toilets, etc.)
- Footwear
- Parmaceuticals, and medical equipment.
- Furniture
- Petroleum, gas, alternative energy generation
- Telecommunications
- Public works / Infrastructure development (roads, bridges, etc.) (all over the world)
- Shipping
- Trains (trains and carriages) (e.g. CAF, Talgo) (and entire (including high-speed) rail infrastructure projects, all over the world)
- Transportation
- Tourism and Hospitality Industry (not jut located in Spain) (Large and small Spanish companies operate in these markets worldwide)
- Entertainment, art, culture (World class, of course)

Etc. etc. etc.

Spain even manufactures and exports snowmobiles and golf carts (and, no doubt, personal mobility vehicles).

Chinese Premier: We want bigger ties with Europe

Exclusive: Li Keqiang says Beijing “firmly supports” European integration and wants to grow its economic ties with the region, targeting $1 trillion of trade with the EU by 2020

/... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/10466511/Chinese-Premier-We-want-bigger-ties-with-Europe.html

By Li Keqiang
9:00PM GMT 21 Nov 2013

... I am pleased to see that many European countries are leaving recession behind them and the EU economy is being put on a more stable footing; China also has a good report card for its economy.

At the beginning of this year, the tough, complex situation, both domestically and internationally, placed mounting downward pressure on the Chinese economy. Some were predicting, as reported overseas, a hard landing for the Chinese economy and some even claimed it would go bust. We faced up to that pressure and stuck to the policy of not allowing either the deficit to grow or monetary expansion or contraction. Instead, we adopted a holistic approach based on innovative macro-economic management... We generated the internal driving force of economic growth, improved supply and boosted domestic demand through structural adjustment...

... As the world watched closely, the third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee last week adopted a series of decisions aimed at comprehensively deepening reform in China. These decisions will not only speed up China’s social and economic development, but also help address resources and environmental constraints, as well as uneven development between urban and rural areas and among different regions, thus bringing greater prosperity to the Chinese people and creating new opportunities for our relations with the outside world.

Chief among these are the growing ties between China and Europe...

/... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/10466545/A-stronger-China-Europe-partnership-will-bring-us-all-greater-prosperity.html

Battle lines drawn for EU-US trade talks

Cried a recent headline in the Telegraph. To me, it reads intentionally like an old fashioned report of a war. Wars of any sort are fantastically useful for the elite of the State because wars, better than anything else, encourage people to collapse the State and the Nation together in their minds. Faced with an external enemy it is the State and those who guide it, who marshal our defenses and face the enemy. And so we are encouraged to assume that when the EU and the US meet it will be ‘our side’ fighting for us, against theirs. But will it?

In reality it will be unelected, largely un-named trade representatives supported and surrounded by a legion of lawyers, advisors and lobbyists, nearly all of whom will be recently seconded from or still in the pay of global corporations, who will meet behind closed doors to negotiate in secret. Whose interests will they be fighting for?

They, with the help of a largely supine and grovelling media, will claim to be there for you. They will be decked out in flags and called by the names of our nations or national groupings, such as the EU. But the truth will be otherwise. Behind the national name plate a largely unseen machinery will be almost entirely corporate. Both sides will be there to seek advantage, not for you the people, not for the nations whose flags they use as camouflage , but for the corporations who pay them. The US delegation will seek advantage for US based global corporations and the EU delegation will seek advanage for EU based global corporations. Both sides will be hailed victorious. The real question – very carefully never ever raised by the compliant media – will be who lost? And the answer, studiously unreported, will be the ordinary people of both sides.

The object of the whole endeavour is to roll back soveriegn protections and powers in favour of an ‘unregulated’, unfettered, free market. How can I make such a sweeping claim? Because we have seen the results of over 200 previous Free Trade Agreements which these same people have negotiated and agreed previously. Just think of NAFTA...

/... http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-21/guest-post-new-world-order-%E2%80%93-part-1-betrayal-nation

We need a new ice age. Firing up more volcanoes would do it.

Crop failures have started. Massive starvation and migrations will soon follow. Dumb and dangerous 'elites' will go martial on us...

There will be more war. And probably plague.

What's the difference between thinking 'War' and thinking 'Peace'?

Between creation and destruction, the positive and the negative, the 'evil' and the 'good'?

I suggest the answer would have to to with an awareness of one's context, as a social human animal living where one lives at the present point on the path of history ('Good', for example, for whom? For me personally (in my social context), for my family? for the wider community, all humanity, the biosphere itself..?), an awareness for the obtention of which 'good' education and access to information helps but which ultimately, I reckon, depends on maintaining open channels of communication with the bottom of one's heart.

For verily, to revert to an earlier idiom, and from a non-contemporary, but close, account of the words of a self-defined 'Son of Man', the kingdom of heaven lies within you.

Btw, I dislike terms such as 'belief' (or blind faith) that are bandied about: I believe this, I believe that: What does this mean? It means "I'm not prepared to think about it any further". And it probably means you're using the language in an habitual manner with too little attention to accuracy of expression.

Forest change mapped by Google Earth

A new high-resolution global map of forest loss and gain has been created with the help of Google Earth.

The interactive online tool is publicly available and zooms in to a remarkably high level of local detail - a resolution of 30m.

It charts the story of the world's tree canopies from 2000 to 2012, based on 650,000 satellite images by Landsat 7.

In that time, the Earth lost a combined "forest" the size of Mongolia, enough trees to cover the UK six times...

/... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24934790

Ok. Streaming now here:


From left to right, the 'heads' of: MI5, MI6 and GCHQ

UK Parliament live streaming TV

... is not at the moment listing this event.


Hmmm. Searching...

The announcement at the Intelligence and Security Committee's site says:


At 14:00 on Thursday 7 November, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament will be holding an Open Evidence Session with the three heads of the UK Intelligence Agencies:

Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, Security Service; and
Sir John Sawers, Chief, Secret Intelligence Service.

This will be the Committee's first Open Evidence Session: it will be the first time the three heads of the Intelligence Agencies have appeared in public together to talk about their work.

The session will give an insight into the world of intelligence, and the work the Agencies do on behalf of the UK. It represents a very significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the Agencies. The Committee will question the Agency Heads on the work of the Agencies, their current priorities and the threats to the UK. Among other things it will cover the terrorist threat, regional instability and weapons proliferation, cyber security and espionage. However, since this is a public session, it will not cover details of intelligence capabilities or techniques, ongoing operations or sub judice matters. The Committee questions the Agencies about these details in their closed sessions.

The session will be held on the Parliamentary estate and will last approximately an hour and a half. It will be broadcast on www.parliamentlive.tv.

The session will be broadcast on a short time delay. The time delay is a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies. A similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry.

There will be a limited number of seats available in the meeting room itself. For security reasons, the Committee has agreed that for this first Open Session these seats will be available to full Parliamentary pass holders and a small number of print journalists only. A notification of the event has been posted on the parliamentary intranet and pass holders have been invited to apply for a seat, which will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Media arrangements are being dealt with separately.

Posted 23 Oct 2013 03:04 by ISC Admin

But http://www.parliamentlive.tv doesn't have it scheduled yet... eyes peeled.

14:00GMT in UK is 09:00ET.

GMT will also be known to some of you as Zulu Time, I believe.

I can assure you that there are psychopathic women,

as well, in this world.

Hugs to all.
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