The Banksters Balls It Up Again!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the effect that low oil prices would have on the banks. (Click here if you want to read it.) and another the week before last about the reasons for the decline in the oil price (click here if you want to read that)

As they always do, the idiots that run these financial institutions saw something they thought was going to last forever and threw their money and their clients’ money at it without reason.

Nowhere was this type of recklessness more apparent than during the sub-prime fraud when the banksters lent money to people who clearly could not afford it and then sold on those loans as bogus ‘AAA’ securities to their wealthy customers and other buyers who mistakenly thought that the banks would not try to con them.

cartoon happy banker

Well the banks have done more or less the same today.

Banks have been lending hand over fist to oil companies and those who service the energy sector. They have lent billions of dollars that  –  now the oil price has plummeted  –  has no chance of being paid back. They have underwritten bonds, lent money on expensive fracking operations and even financed the speculative building of homes for oil workers.

It was good while it lasted. But it didn’t last long!

In the 1980s something similar happened when energy prices also slumped. Texas was particularly hard hit and many banks either collapsed or had to be rescued because of their bad loans to oil companies and to local real estate developers speculating on the oil boom.

It’s going to happen again.

The bankster’s greed and stupidity means that their banks are going to take another financial hit, they are going to lose more of their customers’ money. Time for another round of big bonuses, if the last disaster is anything to go by!

Obviously they have been too stupid to learn from the past. Not surprising really.

cartoon sad banker

But the big question is what will government do this time?

Has it learned anything?

Will the government let the banks suffer the consequences of their own stupidity, as they should have when the sub-prime catastrophe hit?

Or will they again use OUR money to bail the banks out, making some nonsense excuse that these companies “are too big to allow to go under”?

And we are talking about BIG banks. Wells Fargo, for example, a huge financial powerhouse, made approximately 15 percent of its investment banking revenue from the oil and gas industry during 2014. Another biggie, Citigroup, was much the same, with this sector accounting for around 12 percent.

And it’s not just in America that the pain is being felt this time.

In Canada, which largely avoided the worst of the sub-prime debacle, some of their leading banks could face an even sharper decline in revenues, so reliant is the whole country on the energy and resources sectors. One of Canada’s biggest banks, Scotiabank, derives approximately 35 percent of its investment banking revenue from oil and gas companies, according to 2014 figures.

wall_street_crooks

Then there’s Wall Street.

Usually they make loans like these and sell them off to unsuspecting investors, however, with the very public fall in oil prices that everyone knows about, firms that financed energy deals are now finding it harder to offload this debt.

As an example of their problems, according to a recent NYT report, Morgan Stanley, was among a group of banks that made $850 million of loans to Vine Oil and Gas, an affiliate of Blackstone, a private equity firm. They are still trying to sell on that debt, but no one is buying. Goldman Sachs and UBS led a $220 million loan last year to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management to buy Express Energy Services. Not all that debt has been sold to other investors either so they are left holding that baby too.

That’s only loans to the oil companies and speculators. Some of the worst loans made by the banks have been to a multitude of companies that provide services to the oil industry. Some of these services companies, lured by the oil boom, are relatively new and/or small and probably under-capitalized so their debt burden can quickly drag them under when projected profits fail to materialize.

Naturally you can expect that the banksters will use all their lobbying and political power to make sure the government steps in again.

But the truth is the government really does not need to (they didn’t the last time either). The ‘to-big-to-fail’ banks may lose on their energy bets, but they will recoup a lot of that money from ordinary people like you and I.

Lower oil prices means that we need less cash to fill up our gas tanks or heat our homes, so the chances are we will feel a bit freer to use that credit card or maybe even take out a mortgage.

Of course, for the banksters that’s a slow way to riches. They want that business for sure, but they will also want the government to write off their other bad loans too.

Let’s see what happens this time.

collapsing bank sign

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Were YOU Part Of The Secret Facebook Experiment?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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subliminal advertising

Many years ago subliminal advertising was banned by law because it manipulated how people thought – brainwashed them to a degree. Since then the practice has been frowned upon, but, with the popularity of social media, are some people, particularly in some government agencies, trying to secretly manipulate us again?

In January 2012, Facebook ran a secret experiment on 689,000 of its users.

The purpose of that experiment was to see if the company could change those peoples’ moods by altering their news feeds.

The scary thing is that it worked.

The study found that by manipulating the News Feeds displayed to 689,003 Facebook users, it could affect the content which those users posted to Facebook. More negative News Feeds led to more negative status messages, and more positive News Feeds led to more positive statuses.

This means, as the report on the experiment stated, “that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.” To put it another way, it is the manipulation of the herd, or zombie, mentality.

Facebook-apologizes-for-manipulating-emotions

Such mass manipulation is only possible now with the immediacy and vast scale of social networks such as Facebook. Now, because of the numbers of people involved, even minor manipulations in how they think can have far reaching consequences.

One of the groups funding the experiment was the US Army which flags up big question marks over their motives and over Facebook’s place as an independent commercial operation.

The fact that government agencies are experimenting as to how they can influence people online has been known for some time, but you have to search for the evidence because they never tell you what they are up to.

The mass surveillance that whistleblower Edward Snowden highlighted is only the first step in a more sinister process. The big question everyone should be asking is, once the government and its agencies have gathered all of that information on us, what are they going to use it for? There must be some end goal. You can be sure that just leaving terrabytes of data languishing in remote computer server farms is not it.

The most obvious use of that information is to manipulate people, which is essentially what the Facebook experiment tells us. Only the moronically naïve or dumb would think otherwise.

In the commercial online world where everyone is used to free services paid for by advertising, information can be used to manipulate consumers into becoming indirect paying customers by simply turning their private information into cash. The more personal, detailed and intimate the data on you is, the more valuable it is to the company collecting and selling it, either directly, or indirectly via targeted advertising especially for you. Yes, what you see when you go to a Google search page is not what I see!

Secret Facebook Experiment

In the world of government control, some of their spy agencies will collect information just for the bureaucratic hell of it. Don’t believe that the NSA, that Snowden highlighted, is the only government data-thief. It may well be the biggest and best funded, but there are many others busy snooping away. And not just in the USA, but in Britain, China, Russia, and many other powerful countries too.

These groups will justify their unwanted intrusions into our private lives by hanging a ‘national security’ sign on it, it’s the excuse they always use. To an extent that is true at the moment since they use information collected by these snooping techniques to smear the reputations of what are deemed to be ‘enemies of the state’. They used to do much the same via planted news reports and information given to friendly newspaper journalists to disseminate. At the moment ‘enemies of the state’ are terrorist groups, particularly Islamic terrorists like ISIS. But in the future, who knows?

Increasingly government agencies will use the manipulation of social media to influence the general population and thereby bring about outcomes that suit their needs.

George Orwell had the right idea about what would happen. His only problem was that he chose the wrong title for his book. By 1984 technology had not caught up with the aspirations of those who wish to exert such control.

Now it is almost here.

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Failure.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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success failure

They say that success breeds success and to a great extent that is true. If, for example, you have a successful business it can give you the confidence and the cash to acquire or set up another.

But is the opposite also true? Does failure breed failure?

I think it does. Most people tend to get the confidence knocked out of them when they fail. That’s why most never really succeed after one or two set backs. Some are so afraid of failure that they won’t even try the first time.

But, when they fail, some do get up, dust themselves down, and try again. And they are the ones who prove that failing a few times can, in the long run, actually lead to greater success that would otherwise have been the case.

Most of the world’s greatest serial entrepreneurs have had their failures. Some have even been bankrupt or been close to it. It may have dented their confidence a little and made them more cautious for the next time, but it didn’t stop them trying and that’s the key to real success.

Sure, plan well, be smart, work hard and all those good things, but don’t give up.

Do not give up

Does that mean you are bound to succeed? Well, no it doesn’t. There can always be extenuating circumstances well out of your control that makes things go wrong, but on average you should come out ahead. And you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your best and that’s as much as any of us can hope for.

It also helps if you set you sights at a realistic level. Barring a highly unlikely win on the lotto you won’t become a millionaire overnight, no matter how many of those self-help books you buy or how many internet webinars you attend. Nor will you become a Hollywood superstar if you move to L.A. and fill in the time waiting tables in the hope that some famous producer will stop by and ‘discover’ you.

Winston Churchill perhaps summarized it best when he said that success was going from one failure to the next without any loss of enthusiasm. Be sensible and it may be success that waits round the corner for you.

failure-sucess

 

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Famous Last Words Of An Idiot – “I Have A Plan…”

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Many stupid crimes happen every day. And most of them are committed by stupid criminals.

Unfortunately most of the stories we never get to hear about, but occasionally we do.

Like this one, which must rank as one of the dumbest ever!

It happened in a place called Mullins, SC. The perpetrator, or would-be perpetrator, was a ‘genius’ called Laquain Deshawn Guy and he had the idea that he would rob an Arby’s fast food restaurant.

Arby's logo

Lots of cash in there, he thought, not considering that most of the takings would be banked at the end of business.

That was his first mistake.

His second was failing to break into the restaurant using either a back door or a window.

No, this genius had a better idea.

He thought he would climb on to the roof of the building and gain entrance through the ventilation shaft. That is the story told by Captain Joe Graham with the Mullins police and I see no reason at all to doubt him.

The main reason being that criminal mastermind Laquain Deshawn Guy found to his surprise that he didn’t fit the ventilation shaft – and promptly wedged himself in there just as tight as he could.

The more he struggled the worse it got.

Man, was he stuck!

And he remained stuck for the next ten hours, until an Arby’s employee was opening the business Tuesday morning and he heard “noises”. I like to think that the noises were the farts being squeezed out of him as he got wedged in tighter and tighter, but nobody will confirm this.

The employee immediately called the police and that’s when they realized that the strange noises were coming from the very stuck Laquain still wedged inside the shaft.

Mullins Fire and Rescue eventually freed the idiot by cutting the ventilation pipe and pulling him through the roof, where he emerged dehydrated and with some muscle damage.

Crews then lowered him down and onto a stretcher and took him to hospital where he spent a few days before facing charges of Burglary Second Degree.

What a moron!

Fire and Ambulance Rescue trucks outside the Arby's restaurant where Laquaine got himself stuck in the ventilation shaft

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It Takes Guts To Go To Weight Watchers.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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And it takes guts to publish some of these word play jokes.

So strap yourselves in for another wicked selection.

Enjoy or endure!

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rofl

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My girlfriend keeps telling me that making

clothes based puns is really not funny.

Corset is!

corset

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My teacher asked the class,

“Can anybody name a sport that starts with a ‘T’?”

I said “Yes, golf.”

golf_tee

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My son asked me where the most

dangerous place on earth is.

I’m stuck between Iraq Kandahar place.

Iraq-Kandahar-Afghanistan signpost

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I was speaking to a man from Syria today and he said,

“In my country, bear fighting is the most popular sport.”

“That’s revolting.” I replied.

“No,” he said. “That’s our second most popular.”

Syrian revolutionaries

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Teacher: “In this box, I have a 10-foot snake.”

Sammy : “You can’t fool me, Teacher…

snakes don’t have feet.”

burmese-python

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A woman screamed, “No means no!” at me today.

I left soon after.

It was the shortest Spanish lesson I’d ever had.

Learn to speak Spanish

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I saved loads of cash on the new over-priced iPhone yesterday.

I didn’t buy one.

iphone

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A note left for a pianist from his wife

“Gone Chopin, have Liszt, Bach in a Minuet.”

pianist

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About to microwave some fruit.

Getting ready for a hot date.

dates

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I got arrested yesterday for stealing hay from a farmer.

I’ve been refused bale.

hay bale

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When my wife told me Scandinavian languages

don’t have the letter ‘R’ I immediately thought…

No way!

Norway sign

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I’ve often wondered why it is called ‘Mooning’

when you’re actually showing ‘Uranus’?

Uranus

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As a musician, I hate the key of E minor.

It gives me the E B G B s

DA-EGBDF

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I heard someone say that nothing rhymes with orange.

No it doesn’t!

annoying orange

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I used to live in a small town in Spain called Macarena.

But I don’t like to make a song and dance about it.

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Things Your Grand-kids Will Probably Never Know

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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We all happen to be living during a time when there are great advances and changes being made in the way we live our lives. Some of them are to our benefit, other not so much so.

Politically and financially the world is in turmoil. There is an accelerating and inevitable shift of power and influence towards the east, with former great powers like Britain and America declining in their influence and their economic might.

Perhaps that is a natural phenomenon, after all as they say “every dog has its day”, but I happen to believe that a lot of it is due to stupidity and mismanagement allied with a self-defeating philosophy that the west somehow has a duty to police the world and to create nanny states for its citizens where they will neither have to work nor want.

Technologically there have also been many changes and many more to come. During the past twenty years with the advent and growth of the internet everything has changed, from the way we interact socially, to how and where we work, and how we manage our affairs whether that be banking, shopping or whatever.

What a lot of these changes mean is that future generations will have no idea of how our lives used to be. Already many of us who have lived through the changes have forgotten how we used to have to do things. What would it be like trying to explain the ‘old days’ to a generation with absolutely no point of reference to the world we were born into?

To remind you of how it used to be here is a list of some of things we have known and lost, consigned to the rubbish bin of history. Feel free to add your own items to this list of things that your grand-kids will probably never know.

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Libraries as a place to get books rather than a place to use the internet.

Dewey Decimal System

Finding books in a card catalog at the library.

A physical dictionary — either for spelling or definitions.

Reference books such as phone books, encyclopaedias

Finding out information from an encyclopedia.

library_cartoon

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Having to manually unlock a car door.

Looking out the window during a long drive.

Using a road atlas to get from A to B.

Getting lost in a world without GPS.

gps_cartoon

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Being able to add and subtract without a calculator

Long division and multiplication

Trig tables and log tables.

Slide rules

Slide Rule

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House phones

Phone books and Yellow Pages.

Rotary-dial telephones.

Pay phones.

Phones with actual bells in them.

Answering machines.

Fax machines.

Not knowing who was calling you on the phone.

rotary_ringing_telephone

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Super-8 movies and cine film of all kinds.

Betamax tapes.

Video tapes and renting movies

Inserting a VHS tape into a VCR to watch a movie or to record something.

Laserdiscs.

8-track cartridges.

8-Track-tape-Player

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Casette Tapes

Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.

CDs and DVDs

Playing music on an audio tape using a personal stereo.

Taping songs off the radio

A Walkman.

cassette tape

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Rotary tuners that scanned the radio dial and hearing static between stations as you went through the ether.

Shortwave radio.

CB radios.

Rotary dial televisions with no remote control. You know, the ones where the kids were the remote control.

Waiting for the television-network premiere to watch a movie after its run at the theater.

old_radio

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DOS.

The buzz of a dot-matrix printer

5- and 3-inch floppies, Zip Discs and countless other forms of data storage.

Booting your computer off of a floppy disk.

Tweaking the volume setting on your tape deck to get a computer game to load, and waiting ages for it to actually do it.

Counting in kilobytes.

Joysticks.

Having to delete something to make room on your hard drive.

Waiting several minutes (or even hours!) to download something.

When a ‘geek’ and a ‘nerd’ were one and the same.

NCSA Mosaic.

Netscape

Alta Vista

Being able to get a domain name consisting of real words.

floppy disk

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Cash.

Writing a check.

Doing bank business only when the bank is open.

Shopping only during the day, Monday to Saturday.

Being able to buy something in Walmart that isn’t made in China

cash

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Privacy.

Being able to take a drive or walk down the street without being surveilled on numerous cameras

Not knowing exactly what all of your friends are doing and thinking at every moment.

big-brother-thought-police-cjmadden

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Carrying on a correspondence with real letters, especially the handwritten kind.

Neat handwriting.

Spelling

Grammar

The fact that words generally don’t have num8er5 in them.

Typewriters.

typewriter

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Putting film in your camera

Sending that film away to be processed.

Having physical prints of photographs come back to you.

Film_Strip

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Vacuum cleaners with bags in them.

Ashtrays

Roller skates, as opposed to blades.

Ashtray

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