“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue

New information March 6 2012 added to the bottom of the list.

This list sure is getting long.

Why Canadians are furious with the Harper Government.

March 2 2010

Boy have they got a lot of them. So if you see and angry Canadian don’t be surprised.

Harper is taking away the Freedoms and Rights.

If there was an election tomorrow Harper and his lot would vanish.

I don’t think they would miss any one of them. One thing I will say about Canadians they are very well educated. Even the ones that did vote for Harper have turned on him. There is a very select few that still think he is a good guy. A very select few.

Harper of course thinks every thing is tickity boo.

If it were up to the majority of Canadians he and his lot would be in prison. That is after all where criminals go?

Feb 27, 2012,

by Lawrence Martin

The Conservatives have been caught up in many shady activities since coming to power. The revelation that they may have been behind a robocall operation to suppress voting for opposition parties would rank, if proven, among the more serious offences.

Stephen Harper has denied involvement in the scam in which operatives acted under the guise of Elections Canada officials. Coincidentally, another controversy, the in-and-out affair, involved Elections Canada. Some of Harper’s most senior officials took part in that operation.

In giving or not giving the benefit of the doubt on matters like these, the question of the track record figures prominently. To the misfortune of Team Harper, its record on duplicitous activities is hardly one to inspire confidence that its hand are clean.

There follows a list – is Harperland becoming Nixonland? — of dirty tricks, black ops and hardball tactics from the Conservatives’ years in power.

1. Cooking the Books
The duplicity began in the election that brought the Conservatives to power – the 2006 campaign in which they were promising a new era of transparency and accountability. Via some peculiar accounting practices, the Tories exceeded spending limits in the campaign, providing themselves with an advertising advantage in key ridings. They were later caught, had their offices raided by police and ultimately pled guilty last year to reduced charges of violating financing provisions of the Elections Act.

2. The Hidden Slush Fund
More than $40-million slated for border-infrastructure improvements instead went into enhancement projects in Tony Clement’s riding in preparation for the G-8 summit. To conceal the intent of the spending from legislators, John Baird used the border fund as a “delivery mechanism” for the money.

3. Falsifying Documents 
The document-altering scam involving Bev Oda’s office and the aid group Kairos is only one of several instances in which the Tories have been caught document-tampering. They went so far as to alter a report by Auditor General Sheila Fraser to make it look like she was crediting them with prudent financial management when, in fact, it was the Liberals to whom she was referring.

4. Shutting Down Detainees’ Probes
The Conservatives employed a number of authoritarian tactics to avoid culpability on the Afghan detainees’ file. They included an attack on the reputation of diplomat Richard Colvin, the shutting down of Parliament and the disabling of Peter Tinsley’s Military Police Complaints Commission. The Tories denied Tinsley’s commission documents for reasons of national security – even though commission members had national security clearance.

5. The Cotler Misinformation Campaign
In an act described by the Speaker of the Commons, himself a Tory, as reprehensible, Conservatives systematically spread rumours in Irwin Cotler’s Montreal riding that he was stepping down.

6. The Suppression of Damaging Reports
A report of the Commissioner of Firearms that showed the gun registry in a good light was kept hidden by Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan beyond its statutory release deadline. As a consequence, the report escaped the eyes of opposition members before a vote on the registry was taken. It is one of many instances in which the government has suppressed research that runs counter to its ideology.

7. Attempt to Frame the Opposition Leader.
Late in the 2011 election camapign, a senior Conservative operative leaked bogus photos to Sun Media in an attempt to frame Michael Ignatieff as an Iraqi war planner.

8. Communications Lockdown.
The government went to unprecedented lengths to vet, censor and withhold information. After denying legislators information on costs of programs, Harper became the first prime minister in history to be found in contempt of Parliament. The public service has muzzled like never before. Last week, several groups wrote Harper urging him to stop gagging the science community on the question of climate change and other issues. The Tories denied an opposition member accreditation to attend the Durban summit on climate change then lambasted the member for not being there. Journalists have faced myriad restrictions. At one point in the in-and-out affair, PMO officials fled down a hotel fire-escape stairwell, Keystone-Kops style, to avoid the media. On another, the governing party had the police clear a Charlottetown hotel lobby of scribes wishing to cover a Tory caucus meeting.

9. Intimidation and Bullying of Adversaries
The list of smear campaigns against opponents is long. Some that come to mind are Harper’s trying to link Liberal Navdeep Bains to terrorism; Vic Toews’ labelling of distinguished jurist Louise Arbour a “disgrace to Canada” for her views on the Middle East; seeking reprisals against University of Ottawa academic Michael Behiels for being critical of the government; and the dismissal of Nuclear Safety Commission boss Linda Keen who the PM decried as having a Liberal background.

10. The “Citizenship” Dog and Pony Show
As well as being muzzled, civil servants have been put to use for the government’s political benefit. In one such case, the immigration department ordered bureaucrats to act as stand-ins at a fake citizenship reaffirmation ceremony broadcast by Sun TV.

11. Writing the Book on Disrupting Committees
The Tories quietly issued their committee chairpersons a 200-page handbook on how to obstruct the opposition. The handbook recommended barring witnesses who might have embarrassing information. It went so far as to instruct chairpersons to shut down the committees if the going got really tough. The Tories have also issued an order that frees cabinet staffers from ever having to testify before committees. They are resorting more frequently to in-camera committee sessions, away from the public and media eye.

12. Leaking Veterans’ Medical Files
Colonel Pat Stogran, who was dropped as Veterans’ ombudsman after making waves, says he became the target of anonymous defamatory emails and other dirty tricks after criticizing the government. Other veterans, Sean Bruyea and Dennis Manuge, say their medical files have been leaked, going all the way back to 2002, in an attempt to embarrass them.

13. Unfixing The Fixed-Date Election Law
The prime minister brought in a fixed date election law which, he said, would remove the governing party’s timing advantage in dropping the writ. He promptly turned around and, earning Jack Layton’s lasting disdain, ignored his own law and issued a surprise election call in 2008.

14. Declaring Brian Mulroney Persona Non Grata
In the wake of the Karlheinz Schreiber cash hand-out controversy, Harper’s team, in its zest to disassociate itself, went so far as to put out the false rumour that Mulroney, who won two majorities for the party, was no longer a card-carrying member.

15. Unreleasing Released Documents
The Conservatives have resorted to the use of shady tactics to de-access the Access to Information system. In one notable instance cabinet staffer Sebastien Togneri ordered officials to unrelease documents that were on their way to the media. Freedom of information specialist Stanley Tromp has catalogued some 46 examples of the government’s shielding and stonewalling.

16. Ejecting Citizens From Rallies
Operatives hauled voters out of Harper rallies in last year’s campaign for the simple reason that they had marginal ties to other parties. The PM was compelled to apologize.

17. Hit Squad On Journalists
Operating under phony email IDs, Conservative staffers have attacked journalists in thousands of online posts in an attempt to discredit them and their work.

18. Dirty Work on Dion
The Conservatives have set records for the use of personal attack ads. In the 2008 campaign they ran an on-line ad which depicted a bird defecating on Stephane Dion’s head. Protests compelled them to withdraw it.

19. Tory Logos on Taxpayer Cheques
The economic recovery program was paid for by taxpayer dollars but the Tories tried to make political gains by putting their party logo – until they were called on it – on billboard-sized cheques. Surveys by journalists showed the money was distributed disproportionately to Conservative ridings and partisans.

20. The Rob Anders Nomination Crackdown
The prime minister has been accused of turning his own party into an echo chamber. When someone tried to exercise her democratic right to challenge Harper loyalist Rob Anders for the nomination in his Calgary riding, Harper’s men descended like a black ops commando unit, seized control of the office, seized control of the riding executive and crushed the bid.

21. The Rights and Democracy Takeover
Groups like Rights and Democracy supposedly operate at arm’s length from the government. But the Harperites, in what journalists described as boardroom terror, removed or suspended board members and stacked the board with pro-Israeli hardliners. As part of the ethical anarchy, a break-in occurred at headquarters.

22. Vote Suppression Tactics
Along with the accusation of pre-recorded robocalls sending voters astray in last election, reports of several other Tory vote suppression tactics have surfaced. They include a systematic live-caller operation in which Liberal supporters were peppered with bogus information.

The list does not include such controversies asthe Cadman affair in which the Conservatives allegedly tried to bribe independent MP Chuck Cadman for his vote; the whitewashing by Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet of 227 whistleblower complaints against the government; the allegation by eyewitness Elizabeth May that Harper cheated in the 2008 election’s televised debates by bringing in notes; and many others.

Click here to access other columns by Lawrence Martin.

http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/02/27/lawrence-martintrouble-in-toryland-their-dirty-tricks-catalogue/

  1. Gave CGI contracts galore
  2. CGI David Johnston now Governor General
  3. Wants Open The Door To Privatizing Health Care
  4. Want to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67
  5. Wanting to still purchase F35’s that are lemons
  6. Not reporting use of Racknine to Elections Canada
  7. Wanting to close more postal services
  8. Giving Canadian Citizens private information to privately owned Companies or Corporations
  9. Wasting a fortune on consulting agency’s
  10. Bill  C51
  11. Bill C10
  12. Bill C30
  13. G8
  14. G20
  15. Tax cuts for the rich corporations making record profits
  16. Planning Free Trade with the EU
  17. Half a trillion dollar debt
  18. Refuses to tell Canadians how much war, has cost the taxpayers
  19. Damage-control bid over MacKay chopper ride ‘stupid’
  20. Complacency about privacy violations among Veteran advocates
  21. Election Violations there are also a few others.
  22. Keeping Secrets from the public
  23. Muzzling Scientists
  24. Sleazy ad’s during campaign
  25. Don’t read the bills presented
  26. Prorogue 1
  27. Prorogue 2
  28. Cadman bribe
  29. The Emerson affair
  30. 45 riding now affected by robo calls
  31. Attempting to block the investigation by Elections Canada
  32. RMG Thunder Bay Call Center employees called RCMP got no help
  33. Signed agreements with the US to integrate policing and information sharing
  34. Attempted to privatize CBC
  35. Harper Plans 80 000 Job Cuts Towards Public Servants
  36. Vic Toews insinuates Canadians support child pornographers if they disagree with bill C10
  37. Vic Toews did not know what was in Bill C10 So he said or did he lie to cover his butt
  38. Harper Government supports Torture
  39. Young Tory staffer resigns amid robocall scandal
  40. Dangerous Liaisons: Flaherty, Carney in Synch with Bank Lobbyists
  41. Amnesty accuses Libyan militias of unbridled torture
  42. Government privacy breaches alarming
  43. Lobbyists Behind Omnibus Crime Bill Aimed at Privatizing Prisons

Harper’s Safety Minister Vic Toews Lies

Global News: Online spying bill includes ‘gag order’

Canadian backlash

Tell Vic Toews Didn’t Read His Own Online Spying Bill

The word child was not mentioned in the of the Bill at all.

An they wondered why Canadians were angry.

Now they have a revised bill of about 150 pages.

Will have to read it and get back to you on that one.

They may have a majority government but The majority of the people  did not vote for them and even their own supporters who did vote for them have turned on them.

Now there is a trail of bread crumbs leading to the fact the voters were tampered with. It may turn out this government is illegitimate and cheated to get into power. The majority of Canadians want them gone. Including their own supporters.

They have not got a leg to stand on.

Robo Calls problem growing

Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

Key documents in Guelph robocalls investigation

List of First 40 Riding affected

5 more ridings report suspicious election calls

Robocalls battle fires up Commons

Election call tapes being reviewed by Conservatives

Please pass this on to all your Canadians friends. Election Fraud is a serious crime.

Council of Canadians is asking people who received fraudulent calls to join a group lawsuit, as it seeks to have election results in some ridings thrown out by the courts

Canada: Attawapiskat Citizens In Desperate Need of Housing -Some are Living in Tents

Harper went to war in Libya Canadians are angry.

The Libya American’s never saw on Television

Israel’s Netanyahu to raise Iran during visit with Harper

Canadians don’t want Harper going to war against Iran either.

The Iran you will never see on American Television

Canada: Mohawk Elders looking for mass graves of Children that died in Residential Schools

New Added March 3 2012

Another “in and out” in Quebec?

Conservative candidates in Quebec have paid for calls made by the national party without knowing why

Hélène Buzzetti   March 1, 2012   Canada

Photo : Reuters

The Conservative Party of Stephen Harper pleaded guilty last November to charges of electoral fraud precisely because he had used his campaign fund and those of its candidates as communicating vessels in the election of 2005-2006, allowing in the facts to spend more than the legal limit.

To remember

RMG under investigation
, the radius of the investigation triggered by Elections Canada on misleading phone calls made outside of the ballot May 2, 2011 widens, CBC News revealed last night. The organization would interview employees of a call center based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, operated by Responsive Marketing Group. The company was hired by the Conservative Party to reach voters. It is not clear whether the talks held in Thunder Bay are directly related to the investigation by Elections Canada in Guelph. – The Gazette

Ottawa – Election expenses of some Conservative candidates in Quebec in the last general election raise questions. At least one direction of local campaign admits being asked by the national office of the Conservative Party to pay a firm calls without obtaining anything in return. Another wonders about the real value of the expenditure. campaign Bertin-Denis in Rimouski Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques paid $15 000.01 at 15 Toronto-based Responsive Marketing Group (RMG) during the last election. The catch? The local Conservative team do not know what this money was used. “It was kind of a trunk box to support it, says Le Devoir defeated the Conservative candidate, Denis Bertin. It had nothing to say about the operations of that. They did not call and no one was called. I was not part of the survey, I was not consulted. ” Mr. Denis says his riding has been targeted by the headquarters of the Conservative Party as “be beaten.” Suddenly, the PC agreed to pay more money to the district, or $ 55 000. “We did not pay [the contract with RMG], says Denis. Funding came from the National and we wrote a check. “Hence the term” mailbox “: the campaign fund of the district association has only served to channel money from the country, according to Denis Bertin . Ghislain Pelletier, official agent and as one who was responsible for approving the election expenses of Mr. Denis, confirmed the situation. “We were strongly advised to take it,” said he to Le Devoir. Who’s “they”? “The Conservative Party. The company sent us the invoice and I paid it on the recommendation of the party. “RMG or the Conservative Party he provided the local campaign results of these calls? “Absolutely, ma’am. If I were in a private company, I would have asked for a report. “Mr. Pelletier, an accountant by training, said they found this invoice salt. Another local association questioned the value of the contract calls strongly recommended by the Conservative Party: Chicoutimi-Le Fjord. Again, the contract cost $15 000.01. The candidate, former journalist Carol Nero, acknowledges that it does not really know what it was withdrawn. “I did my campaign on my side, I did not really dealt with that.” Did he see the results of this important contract phone calls? “We had reports on voting intentions, but not more than that. […] I can not really say if I got my money or not. ” In both cases, the sum of $15 000.01 is considerable: Bertin Denis spent a total $56 311 for Carol Nero and his campaign, almost $ 103 000. The contract with RMG represents 27% and 15% respectively of their total expenditures. In both cases it is the largest outflow of money. Of the 18 Quebec, 14 have paid the same amount Nobody claims that RMG did not work in this sum. The question is to know for whom the work was done: the Conservative Party or local candidates? The Electoral Law prohibits a political party to charge its candidates for election expenses he has himself made. Party and candidates are subject to separate spending limits. The Conservative Party has pleaded guilty last November to charges of electoral fraud precisely because he had used his campaign fund and those of its candidates as communicating vessels during the election of 2005-2006, in effect allowing it to spend more than the legal limit. This practice of “in and out” won the Conservative Party and the Conservative Fund four fines totaling $ 52 000. In 2011, the Conservative Party has not spent the national allowable limit of 21 million. A total of 97 Conservative candidates at the last federal election used the services of RMG to make phone calls, including 18 in Quebec. Quebecers of 18, 14 have paid the same $ 15 000.01. Two others paid $ 15 000, Larry Smith has spent $ 5,000.01 and Michel-Eric Castonguay, in Montmorency-Charlevoix-Haute-Côte-Nord, has paid $ 1,500.01. spokesman for the Conservative Party, Fred DeLory , said that “some local campaigns in Quebec have retained RMG. RMG has made calls to identify supporters and encourage them to vote in the election. ” He adds that “these contracts have been signed and paid by local campaigns.” Some campaigns have confirmed that Le Devoir that had been the case. Martin Lemire, the candidate’s official agent Peter Paul-Hus in Louis-Hébert, explains that the Conservative Party had sent documentation and had held that “it was more profitable than engaging volunteers.” He claims not to have really paid for this service. “We received money from the party and we paid the bill. It was the “in and out”. “He says the data collected by RMG were placed in a national program and the election day, volunteers for Louis-Hébert could use this program to identify supporters and encourage them to vote. Earlier this week, the Toronto Star published the testimony of three former employees of RMG who have made calls for the Conservative Party on May 2 warning voters that their polling station had been moved. The reaction of voters was so negative, because they were returned to the other side of town, one of the employees had told her supervisor, the RCMP and Elections Canada. Employees do not know if the Conservative Party had provided false information deliberately or by mistake. firm RGM was contacted yesterday to determine with whom they had signed contracts (the party or candidates), how the amount charged was established, what was the nature of services offered and if the results of the work had been communicated to local candidates. RMG did not answer, instead leaving the threat of a lawsuit. “We have not contravened the Election Act and have no knowledge that a customer could violate the Elections Act. Internet or print any article that includes any suggestion of our current involvement is defamatory or implied. We will respond to such statements slanderous with all the force of law, “reported the owner of RMG, Stewart Braddick. Mr Braddick is a life-long Conservative, who worked for Brian Mulroney, Mike Harris in Ontario as well as Tom Long and Belinda Stronach when they have tried their luck for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance and Conservative, respectively. Source

 IN and Out is illegal. This would be their 4th offense I believe.

The above was translated from French to English.

Tory pollster faces full-blown misconduct probe by industry watchdog

The market research industry’s watchdog is launching a full-blown investigation into a Conservative pollster involved in an alleged misinformation campaign against Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.

Brendan Wycks, executive director of The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, said Tuesday the watchdog has received seven formal complaints of professional misconduct against Campaign Research Inc.

Campaign Research was behind a phone campaign last fall in Cotler’s Montreal riding, in which constitutents complained they were falsely told their MP was about to or had resigned and that a byelection was imminent. Source

Conservative call centre company has checkered legal history in U.S.

Elections Canada records show RMG worked on 97 individual Conservative candidate campaigns in the last election, billing $1.4 million Source

Former Liberal MP Wrzesnewskyj in court over Etobicoke Centre voting irregularities in 2011

Scaring Seniors at the polling station, stealing mail, Ballot boxes went unsealed, records of those who voted were kept inaccurately and ballots wound up in the wrong boxes,  Conservatives should be hanging their head in shame. Source

The Prime Minister tries to bluster it all away

This is from a bit earlier : Temper tantrums, Accusations, The conservatives sure were bellowing that day.

Of course today we now know what the opposition was saying is rather accurate.

Source

Nature journal criticizes Canadian ‘muzzling’

A little History Lesson

The Conservative Party of Canada

Well they really aren’t the Conservative party they just took it over .

They really have a fondness for changing their name.

Election call tapes being reviewed by Conservatives -Investigators planning to interview staff at call centre

Conservatives should not be anywhere near these tapes.  They could tamper with them. But if anything does go missing Canadians will know who is responsible.

Source

Conservative MPs used U.S.-based telemarketers

Calls masked to hide Ohio origins of calls.This after the Conservatives repeated over and over they didn’t use any US companies.What can I say. They were not being truthful.

MP Dean Del Mastro, claimed in the Commons that the Liberals were the only party that used American calling firms.

“We’ve done some checking,” the PM said, and “we’ve only found that it was the Liberal Party that did source its phone calls from the United States.”

But documents show 14 Conservative campaigns enlisted the telephone services of an Ohio company called Front Porch Strategies. Source

There are Money trails from the Conservative to both American Firms.

(RMG) Research Marketing Group works exclusively with right-of-centre campaigns out of Washington, DC and Toronto Canada

http://www.rmgsite.com/

Racknine  out of Alberta Canada

They do Automated Calls/ Robo calls

http://www.racknine.com/

Front Porch Strategiesis based out of Columbus, Ohio.  Their passion is helping Republican candidates, elected officials, and conservative causes win by personally connecting them with voters and constituents.

All the calls from Ohio to Del Mastro’s riding during the election were programmed to show the telephone number of his local campaign headquarters, masking the fact the phoning was being done from Ohio.

Automated calls can also be done from there as well.

http://frontporchstrategies.us/our-front-porch/

Harper takes cautious tone over Israeli stance on Iran

Israel’s Netanyahu may have been welcome by Harper but Canadians do not support war of any kind.

Mustering up reason to go to war and fabricating evidence has been very clear over the past few years.

So in Iraq they had weapons of Mass Destruction. = Lie No WMD’s were found but over a million and half people died.

Saddam threw babies out of incubators onto the floor =Lie  Turns out the video was shot in a studio somewhere.

Libya Human Right Violations = Lie Seems the Rebel of those who are now in charge of the country were  Terrorists and have committed massive Human rights violations, Mass murders, War Crimes and they were the protesters who doing the killing.They even fabricated a video of a babysitter who said she was abused. That to was a fabrication.

Syria same as Libya =Lie

Now off to Iran I think not.  They will fabricate any kind of evidence to convince people, but do not fall for the lies.

March 4th Additions

Vancouver demonstrators protest robocall scandal

Elections Canada is investigating more than 31,000 report

9 BC riding have been afffected

  • Burnaby-Douglas.
  • Burnaby-New Westminster.
  • New Westminster-Coquitlam.
  • North Vancouver.
  • Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission.
  • Prince George-Peace River.
  • Saanich-Gulf Islands.
  • Vancouver Quadra.
  • Vancouver South.

Protesters are also collected signatures for a petition calling for a public inquiry into the robocall scandal. As of Saturday morning, more than 37,000 signatures had been collected.

Source

RackNine sues Pat Martin and NDP for $5 million

Veterans consider suing MP accused of dozing off

March 5 2012

Calgary Conservative MP Rob Anders is accused of sleeping on the job.

Veterans attending a veterans affairs committee meeting last week said Rob Anders fell asleep at the meeting.

The Conservative MP has denied the reports and suggested those who accused him were NDP “hacks” who praised Russian strongman Vladimir Putin during the meeting.

Seems he was also texting insetad of paying attention as well.

Apparently he falls asleep a lot. This is not the first time.

The meeting was extremely important, as it was about homeless Veterans in Canada. There are approximately 1,000.

Be sure to watch the video. Source

Vets Canada

Veterans Emergency Transition Service

http://vetscanada.org/

Canada now like the US, is not taking care of their war veterans.

Tory MP says Elections Canada to blame for robocalls

Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott Is doing as well as the others blaming anyone and everyone.

What is the National Register of Electors and how is it updated?

The Register contains basic information about each person (name, sex, date of birth, address) Phone numbers are not collected by Elections Canada Source

The Tory’s are now grasping st straws.

Conservatives refuse to release phone records

Liberals will release election phone records

Que., Ont. say feds will balance budget on provinces’ backs

They should worry as that is exactly the Tactic the Federal Conservatives will use.
March 6 2012

Elections Canada targets PayPal records in robo-calls probe

Elections Canada launches online complaint form

Report a Fraudulent Call To Elections Canada

Be sure to keep a copy of what you send to them in your files.

Anything can be deleted you know.

Computers can have problems and things can be lost.

Or you could mail them your complaint. Again keep a copy for your files.

I would also have a witness to the fact you did send a copy of your report.

Mailing Address, Telephone, Fax, TTY

Elections Canada, the non-partisan agency responsible for the conduct of federal elections and referendums, works hard to keep the public informed about the electoral process. Please contact us for more information at:

Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M6

Telephone

1-800-463-6868
toll-free in Canada and the United States

001-800-514-6868
toll-free in Mexico

613-993-2975
from anywhere in the world

For people who are deaf or hard of hearing:
TTY 1-800-361-8935
toll-free in Canada and the United States

Fax

613-954-8584
1-888-524-1444
toll-free in Canada and the United States

Source Elections Canada

Got to keep them honest to you know.
You even also hit Print Screen and (save a copy to your files with the use of Coreldraw, Paint, or other program you may have on your computer.) as you go through the motions and keep a pic of each step as well.
One way or the other keep a copy of your complaint in your files.
Remember
Last week “The Conservatives” denied a request by Elections Canada for the power to demand receipts for political parties’ election spending, raising the question  Why?
Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews seems to think Torture is acceptable
This page was getting to full. I deemed it necessary to start another page.
“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue Part Two

Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue Part Three

Recent

Bush, Fed, Europe Banks in $15 Trillion Fraud, All Documented

Florida says NO to Private Prisons

Can Anyone Halt The Mortgage Meltdown?

Wall Street and Washington come together to help troubled mortgage borrowers. Too late?

Fifteen months into the worst credit crisis in decades, major banks and the federal government are coming together on a solution for struggling mortgage borrowers.

The goal is to hasten the process for renegotiating hundreds of thousands of delinquent loans, either those held by major banks or held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the mortgage finance giants that faltered and were taken over by the government this summer.

Renegotiating loans for struggling homeowners has taken on more urgency as jobless claims rise and the economy declines. Housing prices continue to fall, leaving many with mortgages greater than the value of their homes, and banks continue to suffer major credit losses as a result.

Citigroup , JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have separately announced plans to help ailing borrowers. On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie and Freddie, announced its own sweeping plan.

The agency is targeting delinquent borrowers who haven’t filed for bankruptcy. The goal is to modify mortgages for borrowers who can support payments but make sure those payments don’t make up more than 38% of income.

James Lockhart, head of the agency, urged U.S. mortgage servicing firms–companies that process payments of loans rather than owning them outright–to adopt the plan as a national standard.

For the government, halting the steady slide in housing prices is the holy grail of all of its big plans to prop up the ailing banking system. It is throwing trillions of dollars at shoring-up banks caught in the housing mess, but nothing has, so far, put a floor under the plunging housing prices at the heart of the credit crisis. Going at the problem from the perspective of a borrower is yet another way to achieve that end.

The government studied the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s approach to modifying loans of failed IndyMac Bank and used that as the model for this broader program.

Neel Kashkari, the Assistant Treasury Secretary in charge of the department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, said the plan will take pressure off mortgage servicing companies, “helping ensure that borrowers do not fall through the cracks because servicers aren’t able to get to them.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Citigroup announced its loan modification plan. The bank is stopping foreclosures for borrowers who live in their own homes and have enough income to stand a chance at repaying a renegotiated loan. It will also expand the program to include mortgages for which the bank collects payments but does not own.

Over the next six months, Citi will contact 500,000 borrowers who are not currently delinquent but close to falling behind to see if those loans could be modified.

Two weeks ago, JPMorgan said it would expand its mortgage modification program to an estimated $70 billion in loans, representing 400,000 borrowers. That is on top of the $40 billion in mortgages JPMorgan has rewritten since early 2007.

Bank of America will begin next month modifying 400,000 loans held by Countrywide Financial, the troubled lender it acquired this year. The plan, which starts Dec. 1, is part of an $8.4 billion legal settlement with 11 states.

Loan modifications have been complicated by the way the banking industry has approached mortgage lending in recent years, selling their loans off to other banks that bundle and resell them as securities rather than holding all loans separately.

For the banks, modification plans are self-preservation. Virtually no bank has been left untouched by the credit crisis, and Citi, JPMorgan, Bank of America and others will undoubtedly have rising credit costs for the next few quarters. Any plan to blunt those costs would be welcomed.

Source

Well I don’t really have a lot of faith in these guys. They are in great part the cause.  These very banks are the ones that had to get bailouts and now they are going to fix it are they?

Trusting them is a lot like letting the fox guard the chickens coup.

The domino effect: Road to recession

It began with the banks. Then house prices began to tumble. In the months that followed, the shock waves spread, engulfing first high streets, then factories – and thousands of jobs. In this gripping account, Paul Vallely travels across Britain to meet the people whose lives – and livelihoods – have fallen victim to the domino effect that left a nation broken

November 12 2008

We could begin with Peter Sastawnyuk. The 53-year-old businessman filled his £370,000 detached home with petrol canisters, sealed the locks, set tripwires and threatened to set the place alight. More than 40 of his neighbours were evacuated from the posh cul-de-sac on the edge of the Pennines from which Sastawnyuk sent his children to be educated at private school. But the cradle of his dreams imploded, in the end, as the scene of a five-hour police siege. The trigger for it all, a court in Rochdale was told last month, was that he had lost his job, got into debt and had had his home repossessed.

Or we could start with Karl Harrison. The father-of-two was found hanging in his garden shed in Anglesey. The 40-year-old surveyor had lost his job when the housing market began to turn down. He fell behind with his payments on his home loan and was being harassed by a firm called Oakwood Homeloans to pay the arrears, the recent inquest was told. Harrison’s widow has now put the house on the market.

But we do not need melodrama or tragedy to tell this story. So, instead, let us begin with what is becoming a more everyday misfortune.

It was an ordinary Thursday morning in early October when Jackie Horn, a 43-year-old IT worker, left her neat little Edwardian town house behind Stockport Grammar School to make the short journey to work. Her destination was the Vauxhall Industrial Estate in which the largest site was occupied by the company for which she had worked for the past 16 years – Chemix, which manufactured the compounds from which uPVC window frames and cladding are made.

She looked back casually at the house, with its handsome stained-glass windows, and got in her car, a small silver Peugeot. She had bought the house 12 years ago and, though she lived alone, her mortgage was nicely manageable. She had had the car for two years and it was all paid for. At Chemix, she had risen from being a receptionist to being a computer programmer. She was better paid now. Hers was a settled life.

She had had an inkling that things were not quite right at work. She noticed from her IT processing that orders for resin, Chemix’s incoming raw material, had been down for a while. So were orders for the compounds the firm produced as the nation’s door-to-door salesmen found ever-larger numbers of people saying no to the idea of having their windows replaced.

Then, about four weeks earlier, the management had told the workforce that it might have to move to only three or four days’ working each week. The workers had rejected the idea in a ballot and a couple of weeks later were told there might have to be selective redundancies. But letters had gone out a few days before saying that jobs in sales and IT were safe.

When she arrived at the little factory, “a lot of blokes in suits” had appeared. A meeting of the whole workforce was called. The firm was in administration, the bankruptcy accountants told them. They had all lost their jobs. They should leave immediately.

“It was a real shock,” she says. “One day I was receiving a letter telling me my job was safe; the next it had gone. The mood was bad. Everyone was saying goodbye. They were hugging and shaking hands.” She was told she would be kept on for an extra two weeks to help with the shutdown. “I couldn’t look the men in the eye.” Now she, too, sits idle at home.

The Domino Effect

The chain of events – which began with salesmen on commission wildly dishing out sub-prime mortgages (to poor people the United States who did not even have to prove they had the earnings to repay them) and ended with Jackie Horn losing her job – is a long one.

I have spent the past few weeks tracing each link in that chain through the stories of a series of people:

The fall-off in demand for Chemix’s products was the result of decisions such as the one made by a Birmingham newsagent, whose domestic economies included not having his windows removed and replaced with uPVC frames because his cigarette sales were down.

Cigarette sales at the newsagent’s had fallen because staff at the nearby Range Rover production plant had had their hours cut.

Range Rover sales are down because a wide variety of businesses are now tightening their belts; not replacing company cars is an obvious money saver.

Among the businesses not replacing company cars as part of general cost cutting are the shop-fitting, sign-writing and advertising firms employed by retail giant Marks & Spencer, which has had two-thirds wiped from the value of its shares this year.

Trade in shops is down because consumer confidence has fallen in line with catastrophic drops in the prices of shares.

Share market volatility was provoked by the sudden refusal of the banks to lend money to anyone, including each other.

The crisis of confidence within the banks was fed by the dramatic multi-billion dollar collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, which was the biggest bankruptcy the world has ever seen.

To make sense of this complex saga, I set out to travel around the United Kingdom to speak to individuals who had played a key part in each stage of the tumbling of the economic dominoes. There were repeated surprises along the way. Encounters with the real world are like that. Not everything turns out as you might expect.

Northern Rock – Panic Begins

The giant tower of the new Northern Rock building stands empty, like a monument to the folly of the years of reckless capitalism. It has never been occupied. Out at Gosforth, on the northern edge of Newcastle, it is the place where the first rumblings of the seismic shakeout that is now gripping the globe were first detected in the UK.

Today, the yellow-brick buildings that surround it are still staffed, but by managers and employees humbled by the events of the past 12 months which have turned them from freebooting buccaneers of a banking world – in which the possibilities of growth seemed unlimited – to servants of a nationalised service industry. Even the bricks seem symbolic, for the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz led to a gleaming city with a giant fraud at its heart.

The man who is driving me round the once-mighty complex is Dennis Grainger. He was once a senior employee of the firm and is now the leading light in the Northern Rock Shareholders Action Group. The combination makes him uniquely placed to tell the story of the building society that turned bank after Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of the financial sector and which last year provoked the first run on a British bank since the Victorian era.

“Northern Rock was not involved in dodgy sub-prime lending,” says Grainger, 61, of Cramlington, Northumberland. “Our loans were good, safe lending to people who could afford to repay. The Rock was very strict in asking whether people could afford to borrow that amount.” He knows this because one of his jobs was to manage the people checking the paperwork.

“After the crisis broke, the media said the problem was that Northern Rock lent people more than they needed to buy their homes. And it is true that we did offer 125 per cent loans, to cover the house purchase and additional expenses. But the rates of default on those were just half the national average.”

What did for Northern Rock was that so much of the money it lent did not come from depositors but was borrowed by the bank on the international money markets. That is what had turned a provincial building society into the UK’s fifth largest mortgage lender – and a FTSE 100 company. “Some 80 per cent of the mortgages we gave out had been borrowed in this way,” Grainger says. ” I know I used to sign the documents for millions of transfers each month.”

The problem came when, on 9 August 2007, one of France’s three biggest banks, BNP Paribas, told investors that they could not take money out of two of its funds because it was unable to value the assets in them. This was because the financial world had created complex financial packages out of the sub-prime debt and sold them on to other investors. It was like pass the parcel; investors had, in effect, bought blind because the deals had so many layers that no one knew what lay at their heart.

The crunch came when some investors wanted their money back and Paribas realised it did not know whether it had the money to pay out. It was, in the words of Northern Rock’s former chief executive Adam Applegarth, “the day the world changed”. Money markets across the globe shut down because they did not know which banks would remove the final wrapper from the “credit default swaps” – and find they were holding a booby prize.

When the money stopped flowing, banks like Northern Rock – which had, in the jargon, “borrowed short-term to lend long-term” – could not get hold of the cash to finance their next day’s business. On 13 September 2007 the BBC’s business editor, Robert Peston, revealed that Northern Rock had asked for emergency support from the Bank of England. But there was no danger of the bank going bust, he added, so customers need not panic.

“It had the same effect that Corporal Jones does in Dad’s Army,” observes Grainger wryly. “When you shout, ‘Don’t panic! Don’t panic!!” people do exactly the opposite. Peston should have known that.” Outside Northern Rock’s branches, massive queues formed of savers demanding to withdraw their money.

But, if there was compassion for savers, there was scant sympathy for those running Northern Rock, whose chairman was a non-banker – the local oddball free-market environmentalist aristocrat Matt Ridley – and whose risk committee was chaired by Sir Derek Wanless, who had previously been ousted from NatWest with a reported £3m payoff. It was they who had endorsed the aggressive growth strategy of bullish chief executive Applegarth and, in the words of the financial journalist Alex Brummer, author of The Crunch: the scandal of Northern Rock and the Escalating Credit Crisis, “allowed him to run riot, without checks and balances”.

The people most often forgotten in all this are the shareholders. “People assume all the shares were held by big institutions and greedy hedge funds,” says Grainger, “but a quarter of the shares are held by little folk.” Again, he knows because he has met 2,000 of them in the streets where he sets up his Shareholders Action Group stall. Another 4,000 have emailed him.

“These people are not speculators or gamblers. They are people in their seventies, eighties and nineties living on very small incomes who received a few hundred shares in the original demutualisation. Many are old ladies keeping their shares to pay for their funeral arrangements and who I’ve seen crying in the streets, saying they will now be a burden to their family. They are Mr and Mrs Shipyardworker who put their savings, with pride, into the local bank.”

Again, this is not academic to Dennis Grainger. Every month for 10 years he put £250 of his salary into the Northern Rock employees’ Share and Save scheme. It was to be his retirement pot. At one point it was worth £114,000. Today it is utterly worthless. “The real losers in all this are the small investors who worked for Northern Rock or savers who bought shares and remained loyal to the bank,” he concludes. “The treatment they have suffered is very unfair.”

It is not the only consequence. To accelerate the payback to the taxpayer, the new management at the now-nationalised company is pursuing an aggressive policy of repossessing the homes of borrowers who get into arrears. Northern Rock’s rate of repossessions is currently running at around double the industry average. And leaked documents from inside the bank reveal that it is set to double numbers in its debt collection arm.

There is a quiet indignation in Grainger’s conclusion. “We have been treated very badly by the Government,” he says. “Northern Rock was illiquid, not insolvent. When there was a run on the bank they wouldn’t lend us £2.7bn, but they’ve had to stump up £400bn to prop up other banks since. We should have been given the same terms as other banks were subsequently given.”

But there was one other bank not included in the rescue deal. When Lehman Brothers investment bank folded it provoked the biggest corporate bankruptcy ever seen.

Lehman – The Untouchables?

Until recently, Andrew Gowers had an office on the 30th floor of a tower in Canary Wharf which offered a stunning panorama of the City of London. It seemed an appropriate location for the UK arm of an investment bank that was one of the big five beasts of Wall Street. If there was any institution whose members might fall prey to the hubris of believing that they truly were Masters of the Universe – as top City traders described themselves with an irony which depreciated with the passing years – then the men at the top of Lehman Brothers might be among their number. The air indeed seemed rarefied at that height. The shame was that nobody bothered to pack the oxygen.

For the past month, Gowers, a former editor of the Financial Times – and now a former director of communications at the 150-year-old US investment bank which had begun life in the 1850s as a cotton-trading partnership – has sequestered himself away in a far less public place, having quit the bank just before it collapsed. He has had a month “watching the autumn go by” in the south of France.

Northern Rock was the prequel to the concatenation of events which has seen £3,000bn wiped off the value of the world’s shares. It has also seen taxpayers across the globe spend double that amount to prop up the world’s banks. But it was the collapse of Lehman Brothers – and the sight of well-paid bankers carrying their belongings from their Canary Wharf offices in black sacks and cardboard boxes – which first suggested that something was going on that might have ripples that moved beyond the United States, or indeed, the Northumbrian fastness of Northern Rock.

But for Andrew Gowers, the writing had been on the Wharf for a good deal longer.

“There was a general awareness of difficulties,” he says, “from August 2007 onwards.” Lehman was a very large borrower, with, according to some estimates, around $130bn in debt, much of it in sub-prime. “But the feeling was that we weren’t as badly exposed as some and there appeared to be some good and clever hedging strategies in place, Gowers says. So 2007 ended as a record year with bumper revenues and the balance sheet grew in the first quarter of 2008 – “which a lot of people, after the fact, found pretty incomprehensible.”

There was no excuse for this complacency. In March, a smaller investment bank, Bear Stearns, had collapsed. In response, Lehman’s share price fell 48 per cent in less than a morning. “But the Lehman management told itself that we were different from Bear Stearns,” Gowers recalls, “because we weren’t so reliant on short-term borrowing and we had large amounts of liquidity.” Anyway, the US Federal Reserve – America’s equivalent of the Bank of England – had stepped in to save Bear Stearns. Perhaps the top people at Lehman – a far bigger bank – believed they would have a state safety net, too.

Even so, says Andrew Gowers, “it all scared the living daylights out of the top management and some major effort was made to shrink the balance sheet, to cut the borrowing and get rid of some of the problem assets.”

The trouble was that other banks were doing the same thing at exactly the same time. As a result, the prices of the assets they wanted to sell fell at a shockingly fast pace. Lehman began to run out of time. It could not offload enough of the dodgy sub-prime debts. To make matters worse, the “good and clever hedging strategies” began to come unstuck. Indeed, instead of offsetting losses, some of the hedges magnified them.

“From April, I became aware of quite a sizeable loss accumulating. Nobody was quite sure how big it was going to be.” In June, executives at Lehman’s money management subsidiary, Neuberger Berman, sent emails to the top managers at Lehman Brothers suggesting that they forgo bonuses – to “send a strong message to both employees and investors that management is not shirking accountability for recent performance.” Lehman’s executive committee dismissed the idea out of hand.

When the news of the first loss ever in Lehman’s independent history came out the market was shocked. Senior managers, including the chief executive, Dick Fuld, didn’t seem to get the measure of the problem. Gowers recalls: “They just thought: we’re not in a catastrophic place, we’ve suffered some buffeting from abnormal developments in the market, but we have a plan to get out of it.”

The market did not agree and the Lehman share price continued to plummet. “That caused jaws to drop, says Gowers and the bank’s chief financial officer Erin Callan and its president Joe Gregory, who had been Dick Fuld’s right-hand man for 34 years, resigned.

But it was not enough. “Eventually, at one minute before midnight, they came out with an explanation of what had gone wrong and what they planned to do,” Gowers recalls. “But it was too late.”

In the end, what did for Lehman was that its executives failed to understand that the politics had changed. On 7 September, America’s biggest mortgage providers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had to be rescued by the US government. It was one of the largest bailouts in US history. “A feeling grew in Congress that there had to be a limit,” Gowers says.

Lehman Brothers became that limit. “At quite a few points in the downward spiral Lehman’s could have been bought, but Dick Fuld was too proud to accept that,” Gowers adjudges. The result was the largest corporate bankruptcy in history.

Andrew Gowers got out just before the collapse, having concluded that his job had become untenable. The evening that I interviewed him, he had just returned from a relaxed day at the market in Cahors. There would be sea bream for dinner that night. But things looked a little more bleak for some of his former colleagues.

Investment bankers rank fairly low on the public sympathy index. Gowers acknowledges that, yet warns against broadbrush judgements. “There were a lot of people in Lehman’s who took 80 per cent of their pay in shares which were deferred for five years and a relatively low salary,” he says. Many borrowed against those shares and are now hiding away and licking their wounds.

“It had been rolling along in a fantastic way for so long that everybody really did began to think there was no way it was going to end. They applied that to their own personal finances, as well as the way they ran the firms, borrowing against tomorrow.”

But now, grimly, tomorrow has become today.

Blame it on the young guns

The seats are of the kind of red plush velvet that speaks not of your local Indian restaurant but of discreet wealth. The menu offers seared Isle of Skye scallops with pork belly squares and cauliflower purée. With the chateaubriand of Aberdeen Angus, served with a béarnaise sauce, I suspect that Duncan Glassey’s eye might alight at a £58 bottle of 1975 Château Cantenac Brown. But I am wrong. He is happy, he says, with an Australian shiraz, the cheapest on the list of bin ends in the smart Circus Wine Bar & Grill in the austere Georgian elegance of Edinburgh’s New Town.

“How did the world’s cleverest financiers get into this almighty mess?,” I ask him.

There is a lot about Duncan Glassey which is not what you might expect. The child chess prodigy who turned professional runs a wealth planning consultancy for the mediumly-rich. It grew out of his experience of working with lottery winners at the accountant Ernst & Young in the mid-Nineties. His firm Wealthflow LLP now specialises in clients with between £1m and £5m to invest.

For all that, he is modest in his own lifestyle. So much so that in the past he has been told that he lost business from new clients after turning up for the initial interview in a car which they decided was insufficiently grand. There is something about him of the solidity of old money. His client list includes aristocrats as well as advocates. Like those whose money he manages, his bias is towards the conservative and away from the febrile psychology of “active management” where, he insists, over-activity can sometimes substitute for solid long-term investment.

Glassey has some interesting thoughts on the generational conflicts that have tipped the world into financial crisis and to the brink of recession: “The people who made the strategy in the banks are of the baby-boomer generation born from 1945 onwards. They are a generation of grand visions, optimism and high ideals about combining individual empowerment with social values. They are the big talkers and the people with the vision and mission statements.”

By contrast, the generation who have managed us into the present situation have a very different set of attitudes and values. Generation X are the children of the Thatcher era. “They are at home with globalisation and the information revolution,” he says. “Change is normal, as is the idea of lifelong learning. They are not scared of failure.

“What’s important to them is individualism, choice, self-reliance and immediate gratification. They are thrill seekers.” They can be pessimists, cynics and selfish.

But the younger generation who created sophisticated financial products which have so dramatically imploded – the “masters of the universe” – are different again, Glassey says. “They are Generation Y, born from 1985 onwards. They are the generation who have not known a world without the internet. They are highly techno-savvy and street smart but information overload has made them hugely naive in many other ways. They are the Facebook and Bebo generation – networkers who live in a world where divorce and geographical dispersion has broken down the family. They are self-obsessed and close-focused.

“The belief systems of the three groups – the strategists, the managers and the traders – are entirely different,” concludes Glassey. “They don’t really understand one another at all. And they didn’t know what each other really wanted or expected out of the complex financial architecture they created.

“Everybody was locked into the Nick Leeson scenario; no one asked questions so long as everyone was making money.”

The shaven-headed Glassey, aged 39, characterises himself as on the cusp between generations X and Y but his values hark back to what he calls “the old days when banks were trustworthy and on your side, before they became out-and-out sales organisations”. His approach is to keep his clients away from financial fads and fashions and “commission-based products which are deliberately made so complex that clients can’t understand them”. Glassey was always suspicious of the world of credit-swap derivates which he saw as a parade of emperor’s new clothes. “I view all that as speculation. I’m not paid to make huge money for my clients; I’m paid to diversify risk.”

But his clients, Glassey acknowledges, will not be the ones to suffer. “Their portfolios may be down 15 per cent where others are down 35 per cent or more. But their homes and jobs are not as risk.” So whose jobs and homes are in peril? And why? The trail pointed away from the world of pure finance and into that of the stock market.

The trillion-dollar wipeout

They are still selling oysters and champagne in the great courtyard of the Royal Exchange which was founded in 1565 as the centre of commerce for the City of London. In the 17th century, stockbrokers were not allowed within its elegant portals because of their rude manners, but today it is no longer a stock market. Instead, it is a luxury shopping centre whose pillared and marbled atrium is lined with discreet boutiques bearing names like De Beers, Hermès, Tiffany, Bulgari and Cartier. A couple of lattes in its magnificent courtyard will set you back the price on an entire lunch for two in Bury market, of which more later.

I was there to meet Richard Hunter, head of British equities at the fund manager Hargreaves Lansdown – which manages £11bn in shares for its small investor clients. I wanted to find out why the alarm over bank shares that gripped the stock market then infected other areas. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers, it was not just banking shares that fell; equities plummeted in a wide range of companies that had no connections with the financial services industry.

“Credit is the oil in the machinery of the business world,” he says. Every business needs to borrow to finance the gap between buying its raw materials and the income arriving for what it sells. “The money that used to be available to do that just isn’t there any more because the banks have stopped lending to one another. All that has been impacted by the credit squeeze. That’s why share prices fell first in certain sectors – the banks and financial services companies – but soon spread to other areas.”

But there were a collection of other forces in the real economy that accelerated the speed with which prices fell.

“It was a cocktail of factors,” he says. “After the sub-prime crisis broke in the US and after the collapse of Northern Rock here, some people became more cautious and started to spend less.” Then came the global rise in food prices which raised the cost of bread, rice and other staples in the supermarkets; in April, rice prices were double what they had been seven months earlier. Next followed the international hike in the price of oil – it rose as high as $147 a barrel in July, almost treble what it had been a couple of years earlier. And that massively increased both domestic fuel bills and petrol prices.

“If it costs you an extra £10 a week to fill your car and you’re on a budget,” he says, “you have to find that £10 by cutting back somewhere. If you’re paying more for your gas and electricity you have to cut back on something else.”

Then, on top of all that, house prices had started to fall. The fall-off began slowly, last November. By April this year, house prices were lower than they had been a year before. It was the first time an annual drop had been recorded for 12 years. The number of new houses being built fell to the lowest level for 60 years. The building industry, after 13 years of unprecedented growth, faced a major slump; in July the housebuilder Taylor Wimpey asked shareholders for an extra £500m and failed to raise it. Mortgage lending crawled to a near standstill in August as approvals for new homes hit a record low. By September, house prices across the country had fallen by about 10 per cent. Repossessions rose to triple their previous level. In the worst hit areas, such as the centre of Manchester where thousands of buy-to-let apartments had been made in converted inner city warehouses, prices fell by more than 20 per cent.

Half the flats in one prestigious block, Albion Mill – a converted Victorian biscuit factory with double-height living rooms and stunning views across to the Pennines – were repossessed. One woman, Jeanette Leach, 31, got off the plane at Manchester Airport after a holiday in Tenerife and received a text message saying her home had been repossessed; she went straight into the toilets at Terminal Two and hanged herself with the cord from her tracksuit bottoms.

The majority of those falling into difficulties as result of the credit crunch were not driven to such extremes. But, says Richard Hunter, “the stock market tries to discount the falls in value that will come over the next nine to 12 months.” As soon as the banking system was pulled back from what the head of the International Monetary Fund called “brink of systemic meltdown”, investors began to consider what might be the short-to-medium term implications for the real economy. House prices were a key indicator.

And further contraction was obviously on the cards. Some 1.2 million homeowners in the UK are now faced with the prospect of negative equity because the prices of their properties have fallen below what they paid for them. Another 1.4 million households are due to come off short-term fixed-rate mortgage deals by the end of 2008. The credit crunch on the wholesale markets was making mortgages harder to come by. It contributed to a growing “feel-bad” factor on the markets. “With shares and house prices you don’t crystallise your loss till you sell, but you feel poorer because of all the bad news,” says Hunter, “and so your behaviour begins to change. Everyone cuts back.”

Some people do more than that. They panic.

“People who have been in the city 40 years are telling me that they’ve never seen this degree of volatility before,” Hunter says. “Panic overtakes logic. Just a few people running round like headless chickens can infect others because people look at the headless chickens and say: What do they know that I don’t? In the past they used to say that the market was driven by one prevailing emotion – greed or fear; this time it’s a cocktail of both.”

The result was an orgy of frenzied selling in which £2.7 trillion was wiped off the value of shares globally in a single week of extraordinary financial mayhem in October. This was when a crisis that had for months seemed confined to the world of banking began to ripple out into the real world.

Source

Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

BUDAPEST,

November 6 2008

Following are excerpts from the a Letter of Intent which Hungary’s central bank and government sent to the International Monetary Fund and published on the central bank’s website http://www.mnb.hu on Thursday.

‘Financial market stress in Hungary has intensified in past weeks as a result of events in global financial markets. In response, the government and the central bank of Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank, MNB) have developed a comprehensive strategy to firmly anchor macroeconomic policies and reduce financial market stress. We request that the Fund support our program through a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) for a period of 17 months in the amount of SDR10.5 billion (EUR 12.5 billion). This arrangement, in conjunction with support of EUR 6.5 billion under the EU’s balance of payment financing facility and other multilateral and bilateral commitments, will signal the international community’s support for our policies.

We have discussed with IMF staff our economic program, which is outlined below. Our main objectives are to (i) reduce the government’s financing needs and improve longterm fiscal sustainability, (ii) maintain adequate capitalization of the domestic banks and liquidity in domestic financial markets, and (iii) underpin confidence and secure adequate external financing. The government is in the process of considering additional steps to improve the competitive position of the economy, which are fully consistent with the program.

‘The first review of the program will take place by February 15, 2009 and the second review by May 15, 2009. We believe that the policies set forth in this letter are adequate to achieve the objectives of our economic program, but the Government stands ready to take additional measures as appropriate to ensure the achievement of its objectives.’

FINANCING NEED

‘Gross external financing needs will decline over the course of 2009, due to the smaller fiscal and current account deficits, and will be partly covered by EU structural funds (a stable source of inflows) and already committed foreign direct investment inflows. We cautiously assume net outflows from the non-financial private sector and a reduction in the government’s net issuance of external debt. Foreign banks, however, are expected to largely maintain their exposure in Hungary (see below). At the same time, we aim to gradually increase the MNB’s foreign reserves as a precaution against unexpected outflows. The resulting external financing need of some EUR 20 billion can be covered by drawing on resources from the IMF, support under the EU’s balance of payment facility and other official creditors. Any additional support from other international financial institutions will be used to further augment our foreign reserves.

FISCAL DISCIPLINE

‘The government is committed to maintaining fiscal discipline in the long-term, recognizing that this is a key element in retaining investor confidence. We therefore intend to continue budget consolidation in the 2010 budget – to be discussed with IMF staff as part of the program – and beyond; new medium-term fiscal targets will be contained in the forthcoming convergence program and our medium-term fiscal framework. To put fiscal sustainability on a permanent footing, we have already submitted to parliament a draft fiscal responsibility law, which establishes fiscal rules on public debt and primary deficit, strengthens the medium-term expenditure framework (rolling three-year expenditure ceilings) and creates a fiscal council to provide independent and expert scrutiny. We plan to enact this law by end-December 2008 (a structural benchmark).’

FINANCIAL SECTOR POLICIES

‘The Hungarian banking system complies with regulatory capital requirements and has been profitable. Liquidity risk has recently increased due to the drop in global risk appetite which has increased banks’ funding costs and shortened maturities. However, most of the external funding comes from parent banks in the euro area, which now have access to liquidity through ECB facilities and which have pledged their continuous support of their subsidiaries in Hungary, as reaffirmed in the joint statement of MNB and leading banks in Hungary of October 17, 2008. The MNB and the HFSA will monitor this commitment closely, and provide summary information on a daily basis to IMF staff. Domestic funding has not shown any signs of stress and any stress would be contained by the liquidity facilities mentioned below. In addition, the government has not only increased the level of deposit insurance coverage of retail deposits from HUF 6 million to HUF 13 million (in line with EU agreements) but also pledged to provide a blanket guarantee on all deposits. The government stands ready to take further measures to ensure the stability of bank funding, if needed.

We have developed, in consultation with IMF staff, a comprehensive package of support measures available to all qualified domestic banks, to buttress their credibility and confirm our commitment to preserving their key role in the Hungarian economy. The domestic banks have entered this period of market stress with strong solvency positions, which they have been able to preserve so far in spite of the severity of the turmoil. We are nevertheless in the process of providing a support package in line with best practices, ensuring a level playing field within the EU. The banking sector package contains provisions for added capital and funds a guarantee fund for interbank lending. Funding will be divided as follows: Total funding of HUF 600 billion will be divided evenly between the Capital Base Enhancement Fund and a and the Refinancing Guarantee Fund. The Package is available to private Hungarian banks of systemic importance. The Capital Base Enhancement Fund has been sized to bring the eligible banks’ capital adequacy ratio (CAR) up to 14 percent. The Guarantee Fund is meant to bring comfort to the providers of wholesale funding and secure the refinancing of the eligible banks. Its endowment of HUF 300 billion will be invested in euro denominated government bonds of Euro area countries and managed by the MNB. Open for new transactions until end-2009, it will guarantee the rollover of loans and wholesale debt securities with an initial maturity of more than 3 months and up to 5 years, against a fee and with appropriate safeguards. This package should also ensure that the domestic banks remain capable of playing a responsible role vis-à-vis their foreign subsidiaries. We will submit a bill to this effect to parliament by November 10 and request an extraordinary procedure to pass the bill as soon as possible (structural performance criterion). We will monitor carefully the impact of a possible deterioration of borrowers’ capacity to repay their loans as the economy slows. Recent pressures on banks’ funding are being addressed by their management in close coordination with the HFSA and MNB. We welcome the involvement of EBRD in further strengthening the Hungarian banking system.’

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; editing by David Stamp)

Source

October 27 2008

By Krisztina Than

BUDAPEST

An IMF rescue deal steadied Hungary’s battered currency on Monday, but a downgrade in Romania’s debt rating to “junk” status showed the ripples of the global crisis were still spreading across emerging markets.

After reaching a $16.5 billion loan agreement with Kiev to shore up Ukraine’s teetering economy, the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday it would finalize a deal with Budapest in the next few days to bolster Hungary’s near-term stability.

Facing the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s, emerging Europe has watched foreign investors once bullish on the region’s prospects of strong economic growth and deeper integration into the European Union dump their assets.

In particular, there is concern that countries like Ukraine and EU members Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states may not be able to handle their large foreign debt burdens, which could spark financial crises.

News of Hungary’s IMF deal sent the forint 2 percent higher. The currency’s almost 20 percent dive in the last month had spooked investors across the ex-communist bloc, previously seen as safer than most other emerging economies.

“The purpose … is to create a safety net for Hungary,” Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said.

Turkey’s central bank governor said he would welcome some form of arrangement with the IMF, adding to growing calls for the government to strike a deal.

Budapest turned to the IMF to shore up its markets after investors sold off Hungarian assets on worries over its banking system and the financing of its large external debt.

ROMANIAN CUT TO JUNK

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cited just such a reason when it cut Romania’s sovereign rating to junk status on Monday and said its outlook was negative, sending the leu currency 3 percent lower to a 10-day low against the euro.

It also cut to stable from positive its outlook for Poland — where a deputy finance minister warned of capital flight on Monday from Polish units to their euro zone-based owners — due to falling international markets and tightening credit.

S&P said it had cut Romania because of mounting risks to its real economy due to rising private sector debt and a dependency on its need to borrow on increasingly uncertain foreign markets.

It said policymakers had ignored warnings and were instead focused on general elections scheduled for November 30.

The IMF did not disclose the size of its package for Hungary, but analysts said it should be over $10 billion, based on the IMF’s agreement in principle with Ukraine to a $16.5 billion standby loan, also announced on Sunday.

“The policies Hungary envisages justify an exceptional level of access to Fund resources,” IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a statement.

Analysts said the Hungarian package could give support to the forint in the short term and would likely set conditions for the government to tighten state spending further.

“The package will be fairly large, an amount exceeding $10 billion,” said Eszter Gargyan at Citigroup. “Hopefully it will have conditions which would require structural changes to ensure a sustainable fiscal position.”

DAIMLER BOOST

Providing a shot in the arm for Hungary’s ailing economy, Germany’s Daimler signed a deal with the government to invest 800 million euros ($995.4 million) in a new plant that will produce over 100,000 compact cars a year from 2012.

Despite improved sentiment, Hungary’s debt agency scrapped a two-month T-bill auction on Monday as demand has remained low, and the stock market was down 6.9 percent.

Hungary’s government and central bank have scrambled to reassure investors that the foreign-dominated banking system is stable and have tried to jump start the all-but-frozen markets for foreign currency swaps and government bonds.

The main problem is a strong demand for FX funding, particularly in euro and Swiss francs, in the banking sector after a boom in lending to households and companies.

(Additional reporting by Sandor Peto, Gergely Szakacs, Balasz Koranyi, and Michael Winfrey in Prague)

(Writing by Krisztina Than and Michael Winfrey; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Source

Hungary to give banks $3 billion capital boost

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian financial authorities say they are ready to provide local banks up to 600 billion forints ($3 billion, 2.3 billion euros) to boost banks capital and help them refinance debts.

The government plans to present the package to parliament on Monday and ask for speedy approval. Half would be guarantees to help the banks refinance.

Hungary would get a stake in the banks participating in the state aid.

The aid package for banks comes as part of the $25.1 billion standby loan for Hungary announced last month by the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank.

Source

Published in: on November 6, 2008 at 12:06 pm  Comments Off on Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF  
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Prime Minister’s plea on oil prices as he tours the Middle East to secure IMF funding

By Nigel Morris

November 1 2008

Gordon Brown flies out to the Gulf today on a mission to persuade the region’s oil-rich states to help combat the global economic meltdown.

He is expected to meet the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and ask them to pump billions of pounds into the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is struggling to cope with pleas for help from countries facing collapse in their financial system.

The Prime Minister will also urge them not to cut production in an effort to reverse the slide in oil prices over the past month. The size of the challenge facing the British economy was underlined on the eve of the tour, as Mr Brown was warned that levels of debt and borrowing will climb higher than during the last recession in the early 1990s.

A report by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies concluded that the Government was going into the recession with a “significantly higher” level of debt than in 1990. Even excluding the cost of nationalising Northern Rock, public sector net debt is due to reach 39.7 per cent of gross domestic product this year and is “very likely” to rise above 46.2 per cent within the next couple of years.

The Prime Minister has sought to emphasise the “global” nature of the economic downturn. Ahead of his latest trip abroad he signalled fears that the $250bn (£155bn) fund available to the IMF to help fragile economies might not be enough to cope with the extent of global downturn. Hungary, Iceland and Ukraine have already agreed emergency loans, while other countries queuing up for help include Belarus, Turkey and – critically for regional security – Pakistan.

Mr Brown believes the IMF’s coffers should be topped up by the rapidly-growing economies of the Gulf region, whose revenues have soared as fuel prices leapt this year. He is also targeting China, which is sitting on large reserves of capital.

The extra cash required by the IMF to counter the international turbulence could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. But Mr Brown will probably run into opposition in the region, whose leaders have already expressed dismay that they are being asked to tackle a problem that has its roots in the turmoil in the American sub-prime mortgage market.

The Prime Minister will also express his opposition to the decision of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output from today by 1.5 million barrels a day.

The Gulf nations, which produce more than half of the world’s oil, have seen the price of a barrel fall from a high of $147 (£91) in July to below $65 yesterday. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said yesterday: “We recognise over that over the long-term global demand for oil is increasing, so over the long-term price is likely to increase. But what we want to avoid is the sharp increases we have seen in recent months.” Mr Brown is also planning to renew his call on the Gulf states to invest in renewable energy technology.

He is being accompanied by Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, and Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and more than 20 business leaders.

During a visit to Edinburgh yesterday, Mr Brown said low interest rates and falling inflation, along with lower national debt than other countries, would help Britain survive the turbulence. “It is the first global crisis that we are having to deal with in this new industrial age where so much is global. I am confident that the opportunities for our economy are great in the years to come.”

The shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, yesterday accused the Prime Minister of trying to “spend his way out of recession” at the risk of exacerbating the downturn and saddling future generations with huge tax increases to combat rising national debt.

In a speech drawing dividing lines between Conservative and Labour approaches to the economic crisis, he denounced Mr Brown as irresponsible for suggesting that the Government can “borrow without limit” to stave off recession.

He said the policy of borrowing more to pay for a state “spending splurge” was “a cruise missile aimed at the heart of the economy”, which could require tax rises equivalent to 4p on income tax. But he was attacked by Labour and Liberal Democrat opponents for being “confused” and “out of his depth” in his analysis.

The credit crisis: Latest developments

*PM to urge Gulf states not to cut oil production as Opec reduces output by 1.5 million barrels a day

*Osborne accuses Brown of trying to ‘spend his way out of a recession’

*Barclays to take £7.3bn from investors in Abu Dhabi and Qatar in bid to maintain bonus packages

*Investors in the Middle East could end up owning as much as one-third of banking giant’s shares

Source

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Comments Off on Prime Minister’s plea on oil prices as he tours the Middle East to secure IMF funding  
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US Spending and Revenues 1902 to 2008 and 2011

Just added Statics on Debt for 2011 at bottom of page.

In 1915 there were no revenues from Income Tax.

Well that was because no one paid any Income Tax.

45% revenue was spent on Defense (war).

In 1916 there were Income tax revenues.  I guess someone between 1915 and 1916 figured they needed to tax peoples income.


Over 47% revenue was spent on Defense (war).

It is all rather interesting to see how income Revenues and Spending compares from year to year however.

One can track the changes in social spending as well. Do visit the Source, you will find it all rather interesting.

IN 2008

Amounts in $ billion

About one quarter of the Budget is Spent on Defense ( War) 728.7,

Add that to interest paid 243.9 on money that was borrowed.

War + Interest = about one third of the spending.

Total spending is 2,931.2

Revenue however is only 2,521.2

They are of course spending more then they receive in Revenue, as a result are running a deficit, meaning they will have to borrow money to cover their spending.

This means also more interest will have to be paid the following year or years.

This adds to the Debt for future generations.

Go to source for 1902 to 2008 and see how things have changed over the years.

Source

Who they have borrowed money from?

Who do the American people owe?

Foreign owners of US Treasury Securities (April 2008) Nation (in billions of dollars) are

Japan 592.2

Mainland China 502

United Kingdom 251.4

Oil exporters 153.9

Brazil 149.5

Caribbean banking centers 115.4

Luxembourg 84.8

Hong Kong 63.1

Russia 60.2

Norway 45.3

Germany 44

Republic of China (Taiwan) 42.6

Switzerland 42.5

South Korea 40.5

Mexico 38

Singapore 33.3

Turkey 31.1

Thailand 27.9

Canada 24

Ireland 18.5

Netherlands 15.5

Sweden 13.1

Egypt 12.7

Belgium 12.5

Poland 12.5

Italy 10.6

India 10.5

All other 154.2

Grand Total 2,601.8 =About 25 %

Source

Other creditors include

Venezuela,

Indonesia,

Iran,

Iraq,

Saudi Arabia,

The United Arab Emirates,

Libya

Nigeria.

Source

About 52% is the privately owned Federal Reserve

What is interesting about this, Bush is working on convincing Americans to go to war with some of the very people that have lent the US money. Now isn’t that SPECIAL??

Now if you look at this way, it is a bit easier to understand. I like to simplify things. Sometimes when you simplify it is easier to grasp the concept of a senerio.

So you lend your neighbor money, then he bad mouths you to all the other neighbor, then comes and blows your house up.

He kills your wife, kids, aunts uncles, cousins. grandparents and a few of your friends.

Then says he did it to rescue them, from the mean nasty father namely you.

Of course what the rest of the neighbors didn’t know,

You were nice enough to lend the murder money.

They actually thought he the murder was a nice guy.

He sure could BS his way into their hearts and minds.

He even took some of the money you lent him and paid one of the other neighbors money, to help him blow up your house.

Well you know sooner or latter the rest of the neighbors will find out what he did and yes he should go to jail.

Not much of a neighbor is he. Not someone you really want as a friend.

Turns out a whole lot of other neighbors, lent him money too.

Oh yes it gets more interesting all the time.

He also went around bad mouthing them too. Well the nerve of him.

He was also trying to get some of the other neighbors, to go blow their houses up too.

What and S.O.B.

Well everyone finally had a neighborhood meeting and found out what was really going on.

They found out the murder was a drug dealing, drug doing, low life, lier.

Boy is everyone pissed off when they find out the truth.

Well wouldn’t you be a bit angry or downright furious?

Think about it?

Anyway Back to the task at hand.

The national debt equates to $30,400 per person U.S. population, or $60,100 per head of the U.S. working population, as of February 2008.

Of course now that the Bailout Bill of about 810 billion has been implemented keeping in mind &00 Billion + $110 Billion in other areas and the 612 billion for Defense Spending has been put in place that will increase substantially. More borrowing, more interest, More Debt.

This is also like dating a drug addict. They just can’t quit. Their drug of choice is War.

Now from what I understand they will to save money, cut anything but Defense spending as a matter of fact it has grown year after year and has become a staggaring burden to the American people. So if they tell you they need to cut social spending or pension plans that is pure BS if anything should be cut it would be Defense spending. War is not a nessesity.

If they try blaming their problems on the Poor which have been doing for years it is not now or ever was the poor it was always War that drove the American people into deficit and debt. Because of their war addiction they have also created poverty not only in America but in the countries they have invaded.

Because of absolute mismanagement, the American people are being driven onto the streets and becoming homeless. The middle class are becoming the poor. Children are going hungry. Innocent people are dieing due to lack of Health Care. For others their debts due to medical bills or job losses are also causing them to lose their homes.They are the new homeless folks. You could be next. You could end up on welfare. Many have because of mismanagement.

Cause and affect. If you know the cause you can cure the problem.

Military Industrial Complex 2.0


Pentagon can’t find $2.3 trillion

World Wide Network of US Military Bases

Map Military Bases

The shaded countries are one which have a U.S. military presence through bases and/or a significant number of troops in 2005. They have more now.

Department of Defense, Base Structure Report, FY2005 Baseline and Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and Country as of December 31, 2005.

A Study of the History of US Intelligence Community Human Rights Violations and Continuing Research

in Investigative Research

By Peter Phillips, Lew Brown and Bridget Thornton

This research explores the current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic (EMF) devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of these weapons. To establish historical precedent in the US for such acts, we document long-term human rights and freedom of thought violations by US military/intelligence organizations. Additionally, we explore contemporary evidence of on-going government research in EMF weapons technologies and examine the potentialities of continuing human rights abuses.

Just added November 2 2011

Who owns US Debt for 2011

MAJOR FOREIGN HOLDERS OF TREASURY SECURITIES (in billions of dollars), HOLDINGS AT END OF PERIOD

Last Column on the right is

% change, June 2010 to April 2011

Country                                   April,11    Jan,11      June,10       %                 

China, Mainland 1,152 1,155 1,112 3.6
Japan 907 886 800 13.4
United Kingdom 333 278 94 252.4
Oil Exporters 222 216 210 5.4
All Other 199 194 199 -0.1
Brazil 207 198 164 26.3
Carib Bnkng Ctrs 138 166 179 -22.8
Hong Kong 122 128 137 -10.7
Taiwan 154 157 152 1.7
Russia 125 139 168 -25.4
Switzerland 112 108 106 5.5
Canada 88 86 36 144.3
Luxembourg 78 83 98 -19.7
Thailand 61 56 36 70.0
Germany 61 61 52 17.4
Singapore 60 58 53 13.1
Ireland 40 44 56 -27.8
Korea, South 31 32 37 -16.8
India 42 41 35 18.9
Mexico 27 34 33 -19.3
France 20 30 24 -16.1
Belgium 32 32 35 -9.2
Egypt 14 21 25 -45.6
Turkey 38 33 26 47.5
Poland 27 26 26 6.6
Italy 25 25 23 9.3
Norway 21 19 15 37.0
Netherlands 24 25 25 -4.5
Colombia 20 20 16 20.7
Israel 19 20 18 5.5
Sweden 21 17 18 21.6
Philippines 24 23 20 19.5
Chile 19 15 12 55.0
Australia 13 15 18 -28.8
Malaysia 12 11 11 8.1
Total 4,489 4,453 4,070 10.3

Source

Another source  had a few other details mot in the above one.

$14 Trillion in Debt, But Who Owns All That Money?

Jul 22 2011,

Hong Kong

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $121.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 0.9%

Social Security Trust Fund

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $2.67 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 19%

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds invest exclusively in special issue bonds that are only available to the Social Security trust fund. These are not publicly traded securities, but they still constitute a huge amount of debt.

The Privately owned Federal Reserve

The Treasury owes the Fed $1.63 trillion in Treasuries, much of which were bought for the Quantitative Easing programs.

That’s 11.3% of US debt, much more than China.

China

Total Holdings of Treasuries: $1.16 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 8%

 US Households

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $959.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 6.6%

The ‘Household Sector’ does include hedge funds, by the way

Japan

Total Holdings of Treasuries: $912.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own:

State and Local Governments

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $506.1 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%

Private Pension Funds
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $504.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%

United Kingdom
Total Holdings of Treasuries: $346.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%

Money Market Mutual Funds

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $337.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%

State, Local, and Federal Retirement Funds

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $320.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.2%

Commerical Banks

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $301.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.1%

Mutual Funds
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $300.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2%

Oil Exporting Countries

Total holdings of Treasuries: $229.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.6%

Oil exporters include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.

Brazil
Total Holdings of Treasuries: $211.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.5%

Taiwan

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $153.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.1%

Caribbean Banking Centers

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $148.3 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1%

The Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Panama, and British Virgin Islands all function as offshore financial centers. Of course, they invest in Treasury Securities as well.

 Source