Last year I wrote "The "Believe In Germany Bailing The EU" Trade: Go Long Magic Wand Raw Materials & Harry Potter Paraphernalia" wherein I warned of both the risk in Germany as a save all, and the risks posed to European FIRE sector companies (and insurers in particular) as a result of this believe in magic over math. 

Well, now Bloomberg reports that Poland has literally confiscated private pension manager's bonds with essentially no compensation, ex., they stole them, as per Bloomgerg - Poland to Cancel Bonds From Pension Funds in System Revamp:

Poland will take over and cancel government bonds held by its privately managed pension funds, stopping short of fully “nationalizing” the system as it seeks to curb public debt, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said.

Whaaaat!!!??? Cancel bonds? Outright theft! Listem carefully here. It's not as if I didn't tell you so. Now, what happens to those insurers whose pension funds under management were robbed? Again, revisit "The "Believe In Germany Bailing The EU" Trade: Go Long Magic Wand Raw Materials & Harry Potter Paraphernalia". This plain as day and easy to see coming, and there's a lot more coming!

Remember my many warnings this year on the Irish and EU banking system:

Transparency In The European Banking? Madness, I say! Sheer, Utter Madness!!!

If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It...), the chances of there being any recovery is somewhere between zilch and nil, give or take a euro or two - reference LGD 100+: What's the Possibility of Certain European Banks Having a Loss Given Default Approaching 100%? and The Anatomy of a Serial European Banking Collapse to realize that once a counter party driven bank run starts, there may be less than nothing to divy up in the end. Lehman Brothers' US creditors received roughly 10 to 40 cents on the dollar, but after 5 years of wrangling, the European International arm was full repaid. Hey, do you feel lucky with your life savings? Even if you do feel lucky, you'll still need 5 years to spare and a ton of cash for legal fees.

However, some member states have not ruled out the possibility that insured deposits, i.e. deposits under €100,000, would be forced to bear losses in the event of a bank collapse even though these deposits would be likely to be protected by the deposit guarantee scheme.

As stated earlier, this ain't AAA coverage!

This year Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the group of 17 euro zone finance ministers, said that losses on bondholders and depositors could form part of future bank bailouts as euro zone officials seek to move the burden of bailouts away from taxpayers – as was the case in the Irish bailout – and on to private investors.

The European Commission argues that this switch from so-called “bailouts” to “bail-ins” would result in an allocation of losses that would not be worse than the losses that shareholders and creditors would have suffered in regular insolvency proceedings that apply to other private companies.

Ahem, that non-sense only works on the uneducated and/or the unassuming. The major difference is that creditors that would be subject to regular dissolution proceedings AND that are unsecured, would demand considerably higher rates of return. A borderline solvent bank whose officers AND regulators admit publicly is in need of additional capital infusions after receiving three thus far, and 96% losses in its publicly traded equity, would have to borrow money at 18%, not 2% - and that's being generous. See the bank deposit rate calculator below.

While the inclusion of large savers in future bank bailouts is now widely accepted, significant differences still remain between member states.

While the new rules governing bank resolution were first intended to come into place in 2018, since the Cypriot bailout there have been calls from senior EU figures such as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and EU economics affairs commissioner Olli Rehn to introduce the new regime as early as 2015.

The Irish presidency of the European Council is hoping to reach a common position by the end of next month.

The little app below calculates what return you should expect to receive to take on the risk of a potential 40% haircut. The second tab offers what recent Cyprus bank rates were. Do you see a disparity???

Side note: 

The video below was the result of a collaborative effort to bring Mr.Middleton to Ireland through a crowdfunded campaign. While the effort fell through, we have recycled some of the material to ascertain interest in his visiting Ireland on an independent basis.  If you're Irish, from Ireland or simply find this financial/ethical malarkey disagreeable and would be interested in seeing Reggie Middleton visit Ireland to disseminate his research, create new resarch, hold town hall style discussions on how to "occupy the banks" or simply have a good, old-fashioned breaking of the bread, let us know of your willingness to contribute to a crowdfunded project on Indiegogo. If there is enough interest to make this happen, we will create a project to fund Reggie's trip and create saleable research. Let Reggie know directly by contacting him via email: reggie at boombustblog dot com

Other hard hitting pieces on the resurgent EU banking crisis

"Till default do us part, A half-hearted banking union raises more risks than it solves". To wit:

Almost a year ago, as the euro crisis raged, Europe’s leaders boldly pledged a union to break the dangerous link between indebted governments and ailing banking systems, where the troubles of one threatened to pull down the other. Yet the agreement that seems likely to emerge from a summit later this month will be one that does little to weaken this vicious link. If anything it may increase risks to stability instead of reducing them.

Almost everyone involved agrees that in theory a banking union ought to have three legs. The first is a single supervisor to write common rules and to enforce them uniformly. Next are the powers to “resolve” failed banks, which is a polite term for deciding who takes a hit; these powers also require a pot of money (or at least a promise to pay) to clean up the mess left by bust lenders and to inject capital into those that can get back on their feet. The third leg is a credible euro-wide guarantee on deposits to reassure savers that a euro in an Italian or Spanish bank is just as safe as one in a German or Dutch bank. National insurance schemes offer scant reassurance to savers when sovereigns are wobbly and insured deposits make up a big chunk of annual GDP (see chart).

 

Allegations of Fraud, 20% Drop In Stock Price, Market Manipulations, Internal Investigations: Nothing To See Here, Move On...

Published in BoomBustBlog

Following up on my timely post "Here Come Those Municipal Defaults That Everyone Said Couldn't Happen, Pt 2", I comment on Meredith Whitney's OpEd in the Financial Times. If you remember, she - like I - warned of municipal defaults years ago and was ridiculed for such. Ms. Whitney is quoted as saying:

"As jarring as the reality may be to accept, Detroit's decision last week to declare bankruptcy should not be regarded as a one-off in the U.S. municipal market." she said.

"There are five more towns like Detroit in Michigan alone. There are many more municipalities across the country in similar positions."

"The bill for promises past is now so large for some cities and towns that it is crowding out money for the most basic of services – in the case of Detroit, it could not even afford to run its traffic lights," she said.

"Will [lawmakers] side with taxpayers, unions or the municipal bondholders? If they back residents, money will be directed to underfunded public services at the expense of pensions and bondholders. If they side with the unions, social services will continue to be cut and the risk to bondholders will increase considerably. If they side with bondholders, social services and pensions are at risk."

In the case of Detroit, elected officials, for the first time in a very long time, are siding with residents, Whitney said. This is a new precedent that boils down to the straightforward reality of the survival and sustainability of a town or city, she said.

"After decades of near-third-world conditions in the richest country in the world, the city finally stood up and said enough was enough,"

Well, this is the problem. Defaulting on revenue bonds where the underlying asset (ex. a housing project, utility, or infrastructure project) is not generating the sufficient cash flows is part and parcel of the risk of investing in said class of bonds. This is widely accepted and understood, which is likely why those bonds have a slightly higher yield.

For some obscene reason, defaulting on the general obligation bonds which purportedly carry the "full faith and credit' of the municipality as a back stop is deemed as wholly different affair. The reason? Who the hell knows? This is a point I tried to drive home in the original  Here Come Those Municipal Defaults That Everyone Said Couldn't Happen article in 2011. Backing by the full faith and credit of a public entity does not make an investment risk free. To the contrary, if said entity is fundamentally insolvent, the investment is actually "riskful"as opposed to risk free.

Treating these bonds as unsecured in the bankruptcy is essentially the way to go. If you don't want to do that, well you can still consider them backed by the full faith and credit of the insolvent municipality, which is essentially unsecured - and move on anyway - particularly as many potential collateral assets of value would have likely been encumbered by agreements with a little more prejudicial foresight.

A GO default from a city the size of Detroit will dramatically change the face of GO bonds going forward. Now that the hoi polloi and tax free investing masses have been awakened, a true accounting of the risks involved will cause a much more realistic risk premium to be placed on GO bonds everywhere.  This wll be in addition to the natural increase of rates coming from the end of a 28 year natural bull market in bonds, in addition to the economic and market snapback borne from the end of the artificial eztension of said bull makret through ZIRP and direct credit market maniputlation by the Fed.

Yes, a triple whammy coming to a bankrupt (or soon to be) state, city, town, or political subdivsion near you!

The good news? Those pension funds that hold municipal assets (due to the uneccesary tax shielding from muni's in a qualified account, not many) will get a higher yield on their bonds. The bad news? That yeild likey will not get paid!

This may push rates higher in general, after all they're artificially low to begin with. ZIRP has done it's fair share of damage, and a snap back to market rates will hurt all the more...

And then there's those monolines who're just working out that 90x leverage problem from the housing crisis (reference A Super Scary Halloween Tale of 104 Basis Points Pt I & II, by Reggie Middleton)...

And then...

Of course, we can't leave out those rating agencies who warned us all about the impending doom...

And from the must read post, Banks, Monolines, and Ratings Agencies As The Three Card Monte (Wall)Street Hustlers! Its a Sucker's Bet, Who's Going to Fall for it in QE2?

Three Card Monte is a scam designed to separate a fool from his/her money. It is quite efficient, particularly when fools are involved!

The Boogie Down Bronx

The big secret to the Morgan Monte Scam is that it is 10% sleight of hand and 90% teamwork. Even if you are not deft enough to capture the sleight of hand, the key in avoiding it is to recognize the team players, whose key player is often YOU - The Mark!

The retail/typical qualified fund investor = "The Mark"

Monolines/FIRE sector= The Operator/Hustler!

Sell Side analysts = "Jess"

Rating agencies = "Paul"

How its done in the UK

Reenactment of 2009's entire year of Wall Street earnings

How its done on Wall Street, see outset...

Next, up we let the late Biggie school you on how Wall Street banks follow the Ten Crack Commandments!

Published in BoomBustBlog

Last Wednesday I posted BS... Defined: Bernanke Seeks (BS) to Divorce QE Tapering From Interest Rates - OR - Economic Prestidigitation! wherein I ridiculed the notion of being able to withdraw economic financial aid while expecting rates not to spike. The fact of the matter is we are the at the end of a 33 year old bull market in credit. Or, to put it more accurately, we are at the end of a 5 year synthetic extension of a 28 year old credit market bull run....

I urge readers to keep in mind what I expoused in Apple Bonds Proven To Have A Nasty Taste wherein Apple bonds lose 9% in six weeks:

We Clearly & Obviously Ending A 3 Decade Bull Market, Likely At The Tail End Of The Largest Global ZIRP Experiment Ever!

And this final aspect is the kicker. We are likely culminating the end of a three decade secular bull market in bonds. Why in the world would anyone want to buy debt now, in a good, bad or mediocore company? Reference a chart of ten year rates over time, and you will see that once you get this close to zero (and the applied end to excessive ZIRP), there's no way to go but up. As excerpted from theMarket Realist site:

Yes, this goes for muni investors as well! Municipalities have a dual edged sword up the ass. Not only are higher funding rates to be expected from a shifting market, but the actual fundamentals of municipalities are in the crapper as well, putting an even larger premium on what is already a steep increase in funding costs. What do  you think happens next?

It's not as if we couldn't see this coming a mile away - or at least 2 to 5 years ago...

Wednesday, 14 May 2008 The Municipal bond market and the securitization crisis

ARS market – composition as on 31 December 2007

image004.gif

Student loans? Ruh Oh!

Saturday, 24 May 2008 The Municipal Bond Market and the Asset Securitization Crisis, pt 2

image001.gif

Thursday, 20 January 2011 Here Come Those Municipal Defaults That Everyone Said Couldn't Happen

In the multifamily housing segment, default rates increased significantly and were extremely high for the period 1987-90, i.e. at the time of the S&L crisis when real estate lending was reckless due to declining lending standards by banks and other financial institutions. The default rate peaked in 1988 in the eleven year period reviewed to 4.31%, followed by 3.41% in 1989.

 Don't let me say I told you so. Will those monolines start feeling part 2 of credit crunch?

Ambac is Effectively Insolvent & Will See More ... 

What is the Fallout of the Ambac Bankruptcy on the ...

My Analyst's Comments on MBIA/Ambac/Moody's ...

Moody's Affirms Ratings of Ambac and MBIA

Published in BoomBustBlog

Bloomberg reports: Bernanke Seeks to Divorce QE Tapering From Interest Rates

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will have a chance to use testimony to Congress today to drive home his message that winding down asset purchases won’t presage an increase in the Fed’s benchmark interest rate.

Bernanke has said the Fed may start reducing $85 billion in monthly bond purchases later this year, assuming economic growth meets the Fed’s predictions. At the same time, policy makers’ forecasts have indicated the federal funds rate won’t rise until 2015, long after Bernanke’s second term ends Jan. 31.

... Treasury 10-year note yields were little changed at 2.53 percent as of 8:38 a.m. London time. They touched 2.51 percent yesterday, the lowest since July 5, in anticipation of Bernanke’s testimony, even as economic reports showed that U.S. industrial production rose by the most in four months in June and inflation picked up toward the Fed’s goal, supporting the case for a reduction in quantitative easing.

“He’ll say a slowing in the pace of asset purchases isn’t a tightening of policy, and it’s actually still an easing of policy just at a slower pace,” said Josh Feinman, the New York-based global chief economist for Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, which oversees $400 billion, and a former Fed senior economist. “It doesn’t imply that they’re going to be tightening policy any time soon. They’re not.”

Global stocks and bonds retreated after Bernanke on June 19 outlined the conditions that would prompt the Federal Open Market Committee to reduce and eventually end asset purchases. His remarks pushed the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury to a 22-month high and erased $3 trillion in value from global equity market value over five days.

Technically, Bernanke can say that he can taper bond purchases without raising the Fed Benchmark interest rate, for he can. He is in complete control of said rate. Reality dictates something a little different though. The Fed benchmark interest rate doesn't equal market rates. Ask Dr. Greenspan how difficult it is to get mother market rate to bend to your will by simply manipulating the Fed benchmark rate. He lost control (as if he ever had it) of market rates during his term as he tried to play economic god. Expect the same efforts and the same results from Bernanke.

I urge readers to keep in mind what I expoused in Apple Bonds Proven To Have A Nasty Taste wherein Apple bonds lose 9% in six weeks:

We Clearly & Obviously Ending A 3 Decade Bull Market, Likely At The Tail End Of The Largest Global ZIRP Experiment Ever!

And this final aspect is the kicker. We are likely culminating the end of a three decade secular bull market in bonds. Why in the world would anyone want to buy debt now, in a good, bad or mediocore company? Reference a chart of ten year rates over time, and you will see that once you get this close to zero (and the applied end to excessive ZIRP), there's no way to go but up. As excerpted from theMarket Realist site:

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Glass vs iPhone subsidized

My latest appearance on the Max Keiser show at 11:52 in the video.

As for Android, Google, Glass, security and privacy, I took the liberty of posting the discussion from the my last article on this topic. It should be of interest to both the paranoid and the techy types....

0#14 Continuing what I said on Google Glass — John Boyd2013-07-16 12:02
Reg, As to your replique to my comment about Google Glass being a real time snooping tool for the NSA, I would say that what you say is true for those of us with the technical skills to build from the Android source code and then load it on to our phones (maybe there is a business opportunity there). The other issue is whether one can control what gets automatically loaded on the phone subsequent to deploying one's own build. Most people would not be up for the challenge. But I'm seriously thinking there's an opportunity there! :-)
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0#13 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — me 2013-07-15 19:28
Reggie, love your posts, mostly. Just one comment. Android is open source. Google apps are not.
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0#12 Spying — tfs 2013-07-15 07:44
There is no safety in using Andriod vs IOS vs Windows.

Everything you do is being monitored at carrier level. The NSA taps the cables.

Anyone who thinks DuckDuckGo and StartPage are safe are delusional. Entry and exit points to these services are again tapped at the wire level. The NSA would have no problems in illiciting the certificates supporting https.

You can see why American telecom companies want the contracts to rebuild communication infrastructures in countries their Wmpire has just dismantled.
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0#11 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Nat 2013-07-15 04:39
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Yet through disinformation borne ignorance, we already have the masses clamoring for a "safe' closed proprietary OS like iOS as compared to an open tool chest exposed to oh so many eyes.


That's not true. No-one is choosing iOS or Windows OS in order to be "safe". Similarly, next to no-one is choosing Android in order to be safer either.

OS's are chosen because of the hardware people think they want after seeing the promotion. If not the hardware, people choose the OS because of the apps they've seen their friends use, or promoted 'cool' apps.

As you say Reggie about the banks, no-one cares until some large section of society really suffers a loss. When it comes to surveillance and police states, waiting for that loss means you've already left it too late (unless you're watching from another country..).

As an aside, I really don't see people warming to being so constantly connected to hardware/communication etc. You will get a lot of people adicted to it like they are the internet, 24 hour news etc but I think it will wear a lot of people down and they'll reject the idea in the longer term - even you took off the headset in the Keiser Report interview the other day as I presume it was a distraction?
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0#10 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 21:06
>You don't have the ability to submit 
>changes to even be considered for 
>acceptance

Your precious Google bozos made a mess of their Open Source modules. They scooped up open source, made copies of it in such as way changes can't be freely propagate back and forth to the original Open Source they took.

They just scooped up Open Source, copied it and moved it into their brand new projects. Really just a copy and paste type hack. 

Google are using Open Source, but have done so it such as way as not to contribute back to the ecosystem they are using. Yes, they have their own brand new Open Source project with a brand new name, but the original modules they scooped up won' have changes easily propagating back and forth.

This is what happens when Google hires people straight out of college with no real world experience. Like hires like.

Google Chrome is hardly a beacon of engineering brilliance on Google's part. The hard part was done by Apple - WebKit.
Apple produced the first fast JavaScript compiler.
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0#9 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 19:23
>Windows and iOS all have the same 
>problems, except for the facts that 

Isn't the core of iOS based on the Open Source operating system FreeBSD? FreeBSD rocks.

Apple's Safari web browser is based on the Open Source component WebKit, which is turn in based on the Open Source web browser Konqueror. Apple's JavaScript to machine code compiler (used in their web browser Safari) is again Open Source.

WebKit is a HTML5 and CSS renderer and supports multimedia and much more.

Google based their Chrome web browser on Apple's WebKit. If it wasn't for Apple, Google Chrome would exist in its current form.

By the way when I've developed websites, I've noticed the exact same JavaScript bugs in Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome. I wonder how that could have happened. It could just be a coincidence.

As I said before even if you have the entire source of Android read by people around the world, it still isn't secure. There are so many other lines of attack outside the handset.
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0#8 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 19:15
OK you do have a valid point. A mainly Open Source operating system has to be more secure.

But really there are so many lines of attack.

By default Android does not have good security - who you communicate with can still be tracked. You need to get 3rd party software to be really secure on Android.

Building an operating system from source code is a difficult operation. There will be so many dependencies. Not many people will be able to do this.

I may make mistakes in some of my points, but you are meant to read all of what I say and take it as a whole.

> Your multiple posts here 

Isn't that an ad hominem attack?

I am not a fool. Nor am I something that has crawled out of the woodwork.

I run a small business that sells a relatively inexpensive product to a very large number of people. I've sold my product to Microsoft, Intel, Apple and a vast number of other companies. I am not a fool. I've even sold my product to at least two companies that Google has taken over.

You are incidentally one of my favourite guest speakers to appear on the Keiser Report. You concisely summarize Google's business model as cost-shifting. I can see the smartness is saying things concisely.

I do advertise on bing.com and on other websites as well. They charge $0.05 to $0.15 per click. As a lot of companies only get 1 sale per 100 website visitors, this is a fair charge.

Google charging $0.80 to $5 per click is excessive. I don't know why Google does this. Surely the number of potential advertising customers they have is vast. They should aim to have low costs and make it up on the volume. To extent this is what I do.

Look I am really trying to make a valid point here and what I say is echoed across the Internet.

Google charges advertisers too much. All their money for acquisitions and their internal army of people that can't write software anymore without getting a check book out and buying it has a cost. That cost is borne by advertisers.

All I am saying is that Google is a hard man over money.

I have studied all the other companies in my niche. I see competition selling products at a very low cost if they don't use Google advertising. I see competitors charge 50% more than me when they turn on Google Adwords.

I just want to get a word out that having everybody use Google has a cost. That cost is the increased cost of products sold by everybody that is not Google.

Google spanks you if you use the display network as they say your click-rate is lower and so your cost per click on the search network has to go up.

If you use an exact phrase match with the words x, y and z and another company with nothing to do with you occasionally advertisers with the words a, b and z, then Google will spank you again as they say the competition is paying more, when they aren't really your competition at all.

I see the cost of products sold on the Internet go up 50% and all the cash rolls into Google.

Monopolies are bad. People need to use other search engines such as ixquick.com and duckduckgo.com
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#7 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security —ReggieMiddleton 2013-07-14 15:59
I have a very balanced view. Your multiple posts here show that your view may be less than balanced. If you have a problem with Google's advertising methods, you should choose another provider. There are alternatives, particularly in social media. You can also alter your approach to Google. The algorithm change was likely more to improve the credibility of search results than to hurt your business. Either way, you can find experts that maximize efficacy of coding for Google search results. Comparing to Bing, Yahoo, etc. is less relevant they have inferior products when one factors in capabilities, which is likely why they have less market share.
The network effect creates an unfair advantage, yes.... but to obtain the network effect advantage you likley had a superior product to begin with. Ask users of Microsoft Office...
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#6 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security —ReggieMiddleton 2013-07-14 15:53
Quoting Betty B.:
> Who has the time to read through a mountain of computer source code? Computer source is difficult to read and understand. Reading source code written by other people and understanding it, will take longer than writing it yourself.

Nah! We are not protected.

Just listen to the objections you are raising and you can see how and why Android is safer to the populace than all of the popular competition. Windows and iOS all have the same problems, except for the facts that
  • You dont have access to the code

  • You don't have the ability to submit changes to even be considered for acceptance

  • With Android, you don't need for Google to accept your personal changes, you can simply roll your own personal version and use it for yourself which should be the preference for the paranoid types. You can't do this with any other popular OS.

  • The amound of independent eyes on Android trumps that of any other OS, by far. If something has a chance of getting caught (ex. spy code) it will likely get caught on Android code base. This has already happened, read XDA developers code posts for the HTC Evo
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0#5 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 14:22
Forgot to say, you can do anything you want with software.

There is nothing to stop someone taking Open Source software and just before building it into runnable code, adding a crack to make intercepting or decrypting communication easier.

How can one little change be spotted in reams of incomprehensibl y machine code assuming you even know what version of all the different source code modules to compare against? Even if you read through all the code it would take you a lifetime.
 
#4 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 13:20
> This means that anyone and everyone can 
> modify the code base and if those 
> modifications (improvements) are 
> accepted into the official code base

Yes, but there is still Google sitting as a referee deciding what gets into the official code base.

Suppose I want to triple the bit length they use for SSL / https, will Google let me submit the changes?

If all communication is being snooped then you have no protection. Even if you use encryption, the NSA will still have a record of who you are communicating with and how much traffic goes between you and where they are located.

Even if you use encryption, if the bitlength isn't high enough President ODumber will crack it. I don't know enough about cryptography, but if the algorithm has a flaw then you are vulnerable as well.

They can still tell what search terms you are using.

Do you use an encrypted email client? Encrypted voice over a phone line? How do you know for sure the software you download doesn't have a flaw in it. Very few people are smart enough to understand the level of mathematics to determine this, plus have knowledge of software as well. Who has the time to read through a mountain of computer source code? Computer source is difficult to read and understand. Reading source code written by other people and understanding it, will take longer than writing it yourself.

Nah! We are not protected.
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0#3 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 11:31
Perhaps Reggie should try to get a more balanced view of Google. I can't say enough monopolies are really bad for the world. Maybe consumers can get some free stuff in the short term. But free doesn't exist. If one person gets a freebee, someone else is getting screwed out of money.

The Internet freed people to produce innovative goods without high start-up costs of having to have bricks-n-mortar shops. I myself started up a company producing a product head-and-shoulders above all of the competition. My website used to be at the top of Google's search results. Whether it is intentional or not, Google have jacked up my advertising costs and bang! in one search algorithm update knocked me off the front page. On bing.com and other alternative search engines, I'm near the top.

When I started out, my website didn't have good natural search results. But I could reach a large number of customers cheaply via cheap click rates. That time has passed now. Google's greed is blocking off the Internet for small companies wishing to start up with limited advertising budgets.

Reggie get a balanced view of what is going on and look at the links below.

benedelman.org/.../...


www.benedelman.org/
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0#2 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 11:23
Reggie Middleton is a smart man and I always enjoy listening to his insights.

But there is a flip-side to Google and Reggie should think about this as well.

Reggie waxes lyrical about Google’s cost shifting and cheaper-than-free goodies. There is a real cost to this.

I have advertised on Google Adwords for years. That experience has made me dislike Google as a company. I got stung with obvious click fraud. I emailed Google at least twice. They denied click fraud ever takes place. I have paid Google vast sums of money over the years and as a long-standing customer they should have taken the time to examine the evidence I gave them. My whole daily budget was used up immediately at the start of each day on an Indian screensaver website. Yes, immediately. When I turned off the display network, my daily budget wasn’t used up in a whole day when my adverts displayed direct on google.com. Plus I looked in my webserver logs and I had no real visitors from this 3rd party publisher.

Google Adwords contains a mass of code trying to extract as much money as possible for Google from advertisers, even at the expense of making it uneconomic to advertise with them.

I displayed for a while on the display network, where typically the click-through rates are lower. I emailed Google about my eye-wateringly high click costs on the search network. I was told the display network was making my search network costs higher! This is wrong. There should be no linkage between the two as everybody knows the click through rates on the display network as lower than it someone was doing a specific search direct on google.com. If you get low click through rates, Google bumps up your cost per click.

For long stretches of time, I have had no competition in my niche advertising on Google. I sell low cost products and quite frankly none of my competition can afford Google’s high costs in a low product cost market. Yet my click-rates are uneconomically high in the absence of direct competition. This is so wrong. Google's auction model is opaque at best.

Google explains this via broad matching and synonyms. It seems if a big company – with a totally unrelated product to yours – uses broad matching for their keywords, then even only a 1 keyword overlap in a phrase of 3 -4 keywords, will bump up your click costs. This is wrong.

If bing.com can charge $0.05 for a click, then why doe greedy Google need to charge at least a whole order of magnitude more and often much more than that?

I should also mention that I set a daily budget. Google regularly went over that increasing my monthly costs to well over what I can reasonably pay. I searched the Internet and I found out Google has been sued over exceeding peoples’ set budgets.

My response was to set my daily budget 20% below that wish I wish to pay. Everything is geared up by default to sting people – perhaps unintentionally .
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0#1 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — jason lantz 2013-07-13 16:35
this is one of the most uninformed statements I've ever heard.

 So, let's revisit Glass. Glass is a cool device, but from a hardware perspective, it's not expensive to build once engineered. If the Moto X can be sold for $200, that will likely be the ceiling for Glass, which would probably be sold for less if subsidized by Google. Throw in a half billion dollar ad budget (Glass is already extremely popular and is not advertised or even for sale yet) and you have a definite game changer in the mix.

Imagine if these computer glasses that changes the way we do everything sold for $150, with the full marketing awareness powers of Google behind them. Uh Oh, it's a whole new world.

Glass vs iPhone subsidizedGlass vs iPhone subsidized

Subscribers, click the following links for my updated price targets on Google (click here to subscribe) and read  Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?:

The biggest risks to these price points are:

  1. A market that's being levitated by central bank magicians running short on magic spells...
  2. Regulatory pressure, which I feel is quite material and inevitable, but will not be a major factor in the near term.
Published in BoomBustBlog

From my appearance on RT's Prime Interest last Tuesday.

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From one of my reader's comments on the topic of NSA, privacy and Android..

"most people see Google Glass as real-time snooping tool for the NSA."

That's because most people are (if your statement is in any way true) are ignorant to how things truly work. Glass is powered by Android, which is open sourced. This means that anyone and everyone can modify the code base and if those modifications (improvements) are accepted into the official code base then the whole world has the ability to examine those changes as well as the entire code base. 
This makes Android and the hardware running Android the safest popular mobile OS available because it is near impossible to hide things from driven eyes that want to find things.
Contrast this to a closed commercial system like Windows Phone or iOS where the government simply has to compromise one codebase or one company and it has an in to all users, none of which can see or modify what they have purchased.
NSA to Android is like having to lock a million doors, with tens of millions of keys floating around in the hands of hundreds of thousands of locksmiths. NSA to Apple iOS, et. al. is like having one door with one lock, and nobody has the key - locksmith or not!

If you were the NSA, which would oyu rather have as the world's primary OS? Mass adoption of a single commercial, closed system such as Windows of iOS is the NSA's wet dream in comparison to the veritable nightmare that Android and all of its eyes and tinkerer's must be. Yet through disinformation borne ignorance, we already have the masses clamoring for a "safe' closed proprietary OS like iOS as compared to an open tool chest exposed to oh so many eyes.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Let's face it, in order for the few to thrive, a majority have to suffer in apathy, ignorance and the resultant bliss before the storm! Is that the way it is? Is that the way it has to be? Well, apparently that's the way it's going down in Europe. I have issued very, very explicit warnings on the ex-sovereign entity known as Portugal. Despite such. and despite my track record on such matters (see Who is Reggie Middleton?), the financial media, sell side and practically the rest of the world hailed an "all's clear" as absolutely nothing has gotten better yet several things have gotten worse. 

What has come of it? Well....

From ZeroHedge: Portugal's Presidential Warning Spikes Yields To 8 Months Highs

UPDATE: 5Y now +126bps (biggest jump in 19 months - snce the record highs) and rest of Europe is catching their systemic risk flu

Bond Spreads...


Of course reasons are given for this spike that come from very smart people who do very impressive things. The fact du jour is that this spike was guaranteed to happen, and it was guaranteed to happen this year. That's right! Guaranteed, and all paying BoomBustBlog subscribers knew this to be a fact TWO and a half (that's 2.5 for the number nerds amongst us) years ago! Did I (or my subscribers) know that the Portuguese government would come close to blowing up this year? NO.

So, exactly how did we know? Well, let's start by acknowledging today's date. July 12, 2013. Next we dig into the BoomBustBlog archives, going back to...

Monday, 06 December 2010 The Truth Behind Portugal's Inevitable Default - Arithmetic Evidence Available Only Through BoomBustBlog

The inevitable truth of the matter is that several European states WILL default, and default they will. If Germany, or any other economy that still has its druthers to it decides to stand in front of said occurrence, it will likely be dragged down as well. The Germans apparently realize this. See this excerpt from our discussion on the topic regarding Ireland's prospects for default:

... from the post  wherein BoomBustBlogger Nick asked:

Reggie-

Do you have any reason as to why they are choosing 2013 as a deadline ? Seems like an arbitrary date.

Well, Nick, just follow the money  or the lack thereof…

So, what debt raising and servicing soveriegn nation that was unsustainable in 2010 was lent even more debt to become even more unsustainable. The chickens come home to roost in 2013, post IMF/EU/Bilateral state le veraged into Ireland loan/Pension fund raiding bailout! What Angela in Germany was alluding to was what all in the know, well… know, and that is that Ireland is already in default and those defaults have been purposely pushed out until 2013. Angela simply (and wisely from a local political perspective, although unwisely from a global geopolitical standpoint) admitted/suggested was that the defaults will be pre-packaged and managed ahead of time. The EU politbureau insists that politics rule the day, and no prepackaged structure be in place for the Irish defaults to be. This means the potential foe even more carnage through the pipelines of uncertainty!

 

Tuesday, 07 December 2010 The Anatomy of a Portugal Default: A Graphical Step by Step Guide to the Beginning of the Largest String of Sovereign Defaults in Recent History

... Let's jump straight into Portugal's situation, and remember that many of these countries have deliberately mislead and misrepresented their fiscal situations for years (see Once You Catch a Few EU Countries “Stretching the Truth”, Why Should You Trust the Rest? and Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!).

This is the carnage that would occur if the same restructuring were to be applied to Portugal today.

Yes, it will be nasty. That 35% decline in cash flows will be levered at least 10x, for that is how much of the investors in these bonds purchased them. A 35% drop is nasty enough, 35% x 10 starts to hurt the piggy bank! As a matter of fact, no matter which way you look at it, Portugal is destined to default/restructure. Its just a matter of time, and that time will probably not extend past 2013. Here are a plethora of scenarios to choose from...

This is Portugal's path as of today.

Even if we add in EU/IMF emergency funding, the inevitability of restructuring is not altered. As a matter of fact, the scenario gets worse because the debt is piled on.

Monday, 12 March 2012 Portuguese Liquidity Trap: When You Add Too Much Liquidity To F.I.R.E. It Burns!

 

In this followup to Greece Is Trying To Convince Portugal To Make F.I.R.E. Hot I think we should get straight to the point - Anyone who doesn't believe that Portugal is clearly set up to for a bond route, and that it is seriously considering a default is either lying to themselves, believe human nature has changed, and/or really hasn't bothered to review the math. Here's proof of a Portuguese default presented with logic, numbers and pretty colorful graphs. The full spreadsheet behind all of the calculations, scenarios, bond holdings and calculations can be viewed online here (click this link) by professional level subscribers. Click here to subscribe or upgrade.

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Free advice is sometimes worth a little more than you paid for it. On that note, Irishmen should take note of how much you paid for this research and then... Take your money and run!

SUN-SUN-PAGES-NEWS-MONEY-6066 copy copy  

Earlier this week, I warned the Germans - Angela Merkel Should Talk To Me If She's Truly Enraged By The Anglo Irish Revelation, For That's Just The Beginning! This warning was based on multiple earlier warnings to the Irish, summarized (more or less) in the posts - Ireland, You May Very Well Be Bust & I Make No Apologies For What I'm About To Show You and The Beginning Of The Great Irish Unwind and  If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It.... Today is the day to focus on two of those warnings in particular, .one of which I will focus on specifically:

These posts focus on an explicit and stern warning that AIB is drastically undercapitalized and quite possibly the purveyor of a massive fraud on the Irish people, US investors and regulators and German taxpayers.

First, let's review what the Phoenix had to say. In reading this piece from the Phoenix, please keep in mind that if the Bank of Ireland is the best that Ireland has to offer, than I believe that Ireland is fraudulently fuc2#ed. I clearly warned on the Bank of Ireland, one of the most egregious offenders - 17 April 2013 I queried "What Should The US Do If One Of The Biggest Banks In Ireland Blatantly Defrauded US Investors?"

Second, we anticipated fiscal problems in the Irish state as far back as 2010 when everyone swore that they were the poster child of austerity. Subscribers, see File Icon Ireland public finances projections. Professional and institutional subscribers should email me for a link to a live spreadsheet that can allow you to run your own calculations on toasted Ireland's finances really are. 

aib go boom Page 1 copy copyaib go boom Page 2 copy copyAIB go Bust copy

Now, let's delve in once again, shall we? From Are You About To Get Cyprus'd in Ireland? When A Single Word's Worth Billions Of Euros...

AIB has inccurred significant debt from which the underlying collateral has significantly diminished. This caused the need for even more capital and more borrowing. It also apparently caused it to change the wording in its annual statements regarding repos, potentially allowing it to conceal financial aid in the form of even more debt .from another party. After all, when you borrow something it's a loan right, as in additional debt??? Below, you see a loophole for near unlimited borrowing, and not a peep will show up in the financial reporting!

Of course, theres more...AIB Charge DiscrepencyAIB Charge Discrepency

Definitions: Charge - The document evidencing mortgage security required by Crown Law (law derived from English law). A Frixed Charge refers to a defined set of assets and is usually registered. A Floating Charge refers to other assets which change from time to time (ie. cashinventory, etc.), which become a Fixed Charge after a default.

The charge document below, which was registered with Ireland’s Company Registration Office (CRO), states that the charge is in respect of the Company’s participation in Target 2-Ireland. It is also in respect of ‘all present and future liabilities whatsoever’ of Allied Irish Bank Plc. (to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland or to the European Central Bank). The charge is over ‘Eligible Securities’.

Target2 is a European Union payment system. I believe it is misleading to indicate in the annual accounts that Target 2 has a bearing on the security that has been given.

In the short particulars section of the charge; the property charged to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority is over ‘all rights, title, interest and benefit, present and future, of AIB Plc. in and to each of the Eligible Securities from time to time, where ‘ Eligible Securities’ means, at any time securities of such a class or description as may from time to time  be designated  by the ECB as ‘Eligible for  Sale and /or Purchase, as the case may be.’ (Refer to actual CRO charge document below)

 

AIB Charge Discrepency1 copyAIB Charge Discrepency1 copy

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In the Irish version of the Bank’s annual Accounts (2008) and the SEC 20F (page 223 - 2) it states that the charge was placed in favour of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland over all of AIB’S ‘right, title, interest and benefit present and future in and to certain segregated securities.’
Using the description ‘certain segregated securities’ is completely different to the description all ‘eligible securities.
 
It appears that AIB is stating that they have given ‘certain segregated securities’ as security to the ECB whereas the ECB actually decides which securities will be designated as ‘eligible’. The charge is in favor of the Central Bank and is over ‘all present and future liabilities whatsoever’ of AIB. This charge is a floating charge over repo agreements, aka Eligible Securities - securities that the graphic above demonstrates can go on ad nauseum and way beyond the entities prudent ability to repay, yet not appear on the balance sheet or in its regulatory reporting!!!. These securities have been purchased by the ECB through the repo agreements.
 
Thus, it appears as if this floating charge granted to the ECB is over assets that the ECB already owned. The floating charge was given to the ECB by AIB for emergency funding (emergency liquidity). Do you see a circular argument here? A potential Ponzi even???!!!! I warned my paying subscribers three years ago, Beware of the Potential Irish Ponzi Scheme!

For those who don't get it, AIB is essentially asset/equity broke. All properties considered as marketable/acceptable collateral (in other words anything of real, tangible value) jas already been pledged to the ECB. EVERYTHING!!! To the prudent depositor, this is all that needs to be said, but there's more, much more, Irish men and women, prepare to be CYPRUS'D!!!

Now, hopefully I've answered the question "Are you about to get Cyrpus'd in Ireland?" Many Irish pensioners have been "Cyprus'd" already, but fear not if you missed the opportunity to lose your capital for the sake of your banker's bonuses, there's a lot more to come.

If you believe that the information above actually identifies a gross misrepresentation of fact, omission or outright fraud, simply contact the SEC and let them know that Reggie Middleton suggested they look into it. You can actually use this form to convey my message

Remember, extreme wealth concentrates, so you don't have to... Coming from a "Cyprus'd" bank near you!

Subscribers, can download ALL documents supporting shenanigans by these banks (click here to subscribe):

Published in BoomBustBlog

A little over two years ago I queried "Is Another Banking Crisis Inevitable?". This post attracted the attention of certain ING executives who apparently were asking themsevles the same question. I was invited as the keynote speaker at their valuation conference in Amsterdam wherein I dropped the negative reality bomb! Interest rates were GUARANTEED to spike and when they do, those banks with fictitious bank sheet values and business models predicated upon credit bubble metrics were GUARANTEED to start collapsing. 

It's not just the European banks either. In 2009 I queried "Why Doesn't the Media Take a Truly Independent, Unbiased Look at the Big Banks in the US?". Then there's real esate in both the US... CNBC's Fast Money Discussing Hopium in Real Estate...

That visual relationship is corroborated by running the statistical correlations...

The relationship is obvious and evident! In addition, we have been in a Goldilocks fantasy land for both interest rates and CRE for about 30 years. CRE culminated in the 2007 bubble pop, but was reblown by .gov policies and machinations. The same with rates. Ever hear of NEGATIVE interest rates where YOU have to PAY someone to LEND THEM MONEY!!!

So, BoomBustBloggers, where do YOU think rates are going to go from here? Up of Down???

and Europe...

 

Those who wish to download the full article in PDF format can do so here: Reggie Middleton on Stagflation, Sovereign Debt and the Potential for bank Failure at the ING ACADEMY-v2.

 

Published in BoomBustBlog


Who Do Your Believe Reggie Middleton or Central Bank of Ireland

Three months ago I posted Global Banking Crisis - How & Why YOU Will Get "Cyprus'd" As This Bank Scrambled For Capital!!! wherein I introduced to the public the extent of the shenanigans at Anglo Irish bank. I subsequently broke it down even more granularly in As Forewarned, The Irish Savers Have Just Been "Cyprus'd", And There's MUCH MORE "Cyprusing" To Come. I even went so far as to assert... If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It...

Well, for those who didn't believe me...

As excerpted from The Irish Independent,

Taped telephone recordings (from the bank's own systems) from inside doomed Anglo Irish Bank reveal for the first time how the bank's top executives lied to the Government about the true extent of losses at the institution.

... Anglo itself was within days of complete meltdown – and in the years ahead would eat up €30bn of taxpayer money. Mr Bowe speaks about how the State had been asked for €7bn to bail out Anglo – but Anglo's negotiators knew all along this was not enough to save the bank.

... The plan was that once the State began the flow of money, it would be unable to stop. Mr Bowe is asked by Mr Fitzgerald how they had come up with the figure of €7bn. He laughs as he is taped saying: "Just, as Drummer (then-CEO David Drumm) would say, 'picked it out of my arse'."

... Mr Bowe's comments in the audio recording reveal that Anglo's strategy was to lure the State in, leaving taxpayers with no choice but to continue to provide loans to "support their money".

... "If they (Central Bank) saw the enormity of it up front, they might decide they have a choice. You know what I mean?

"They might say the cost to the taxpayer is too high . . . if it doesn't look too big at the outset . . . if it looks big, big enough to be important, but not too big that it kind of spoils everything, then, then I think you have a chance. So I think it can creep up."

Mr Fitzgerald, the Director of Retail Banking, is heard saying: "Yeah. They've got skin in the game and that is the key."

... The recording also shows Mr Bowe and Mr Fitzgerald laughing as they say how there is no realistic chance of ever repaying the loans.

For the first time, taxpayers get an exclusive insight into the banking shenanigans that cost Ireland our sovereignty.

It doesn't end there...

The Beginning Of The Great Irish Unwind?!?!?!

Allegations of Fraud, 20% Drop In Stock Price, Market Manipulations, Internal Investigations: Nothing To See Here, Move On...

BoomBustBlog Hard Hitting, Bleeding Edge Research Results In 2nd High Level Ouster/Resignation In The UK & Euroland

Taxation Without Representation: UK Taxpayers Learn From The Irish What US School Kids Get Taught In 3rd Grade

Who is RBS? Royal BS... or the Royal Bank of Scotland

 

Published in BoomBustBlog