Socio-Economics History Blog

Socio-Economics & History Commentary

Nassim Taleb on the Financial Crisis

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  • Author of the book: The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb minces no words in his analysis of the cause of the financial crisis and its solutions. Taleb : “Eliminating mark to market is like putting your head in the sand!
     
  • NYU Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering, Nassim Taleb also advises where to put your money in.

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Comments Off on Nassim Taleb on the Financial Crisis

Flashback: Homeless People Die After Bird Flu Vaccine Trial in Poland

  • You should never trust Big Pharma to protect your interest. They are for profit organizations, to make money. Unfortunately, some have gone overboard and sold their souls to mammon.
     
  • Matthew Day, the Telegraph, reports (2 July 2008):
     
    Three Polish doctors and six nurses are facing criminal prosecution after a number of homeless people died following medical trials for a vaccine to the H5N1 bird-flu virus. 
     
    The medical staff, from the northern town of Grudziadz, are being investigated over medical trials on as many as 350 homeless and poor people last year, which prosecutors say involved an untried vaccine to the highly-contagious virus.
     
    Authorities claim that the alleged victims received £1-2 to be tested with what they thought was a conventional flu vaccine but, according to investigators, was actually an anti bird-flu drug.
     
    The director of a Grudziadz homeless centre, Mieczyslaw Waclawski, told a Polish newspaper that last year, 21 people from his centre died, a figure well above the average of about eight.
     
    Although authorities have yet to prove a direct link between the deaths and the activities of the medical staff, Poland’s health minister, Ewa Kopacz, has said that the doctors and nurses involved should not return to their profession. 
       
    “It is in the interests of all doctors that those who are responsible for this are punished,” the minister added. Investigators are also probing the possibility that the medical staff may have also have deceived the pharmaceutical companies that commissioned the trials. 
     

     
  • For those who are considering Gardasil vaccine:
     
    CDC reports on adverse reactions to Gardasil vaccine
    Almost 8,000 U.S. recipients of the vaccine used to protect against cervical cancer have reported adverse reactions, ranging from pain at the injection site to serious side-effects, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
     
    A total of 7,802 people who received Gardasil, made by Merck and Co. Inc., have reported adverse events to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) between June 8, 2006, and April 30, 2008. The United States distributed 2.2 million doses of the vaccine in 2006 and 11.3 million in 2007.
     
    Of the people who reported adverse reactions, the most common side-effect was pain at the injection site, according to a recent CDC report.
     
    Seven per cent had serious side-effects — “about half” the average of vaccines overall, according to the report. There were 31 reported cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurological condition that results in temporary but often total body paralysis, with 10 cases confirmed. Fifteen deaths were also reported, with 10 of these containing the level of information required for further analysis, according to the CDC.
     
    Spain Withdraws Gardasil After Illnesses
    Spanish health authorities have withdrawn tens of thousands of doses of Gardasil, a vaccine against the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), after two teenagers who received the shots were hospitalized.
     
    The two girls were vaccinated last week as part of a vast government program targeting adolescents. A batch of nearly 76,000 doses of the vaccine has been withdrawn from the market.

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | Medicine & Health | | 21 Comments

Ron Paul: Obama is Prolonging the Depression! Economic Fascism!

  • Senator Ron Paul on Barack Obama’s economic policies:
     
    – It will prolong the depression.
    – It will destroy the US Dollar.
    – It will cause inflation.
    – It is economic fascism.

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , | Comments Off on Ron Paul: Obama is Prolonging the Depression! Economic Fascism!

Salbuchi – One World Government and the Collapse of America

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | Economics, GeoPolitics | , , , | 8 Comments

Somalia – Just Who are the Pirates?

  • The strong oppressing the weak has been the case throughout all history. This is no different in the case of Somalia. Are these pirates as bad as we made them out to be? I am in no way condoning what they do. But what is the real root of the problem? Johann Hari writes :
     
    In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas. 
     
    Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.” (emphasis added)
     
    At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving.Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”
     
    This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a ‘tax’ on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and it’s not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters… We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words. 
     
    No, this doesn’t make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news-site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking – and it found 70 percent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country’s territorial waters.” During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America’s founding fathers paid pirates to protect America’s territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?  
     
    Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn’t act on those crimes – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause – our crimes – before we send in the gun-boats to root out Somalia’s criminals.
     
    The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled, and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.” Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today – but who is the robber? 

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | GeoPolitics | Comments Off on Somalia – Just Who are the Pirates?

Foreclosures Soar in March, Up 44 Percent Over February’s High !

  • Are things improving? Does not look like it. Why then is the stock market rallying? Many believe the stock market is a leading indicator, upto 9-12 months leading indicator. In this instance, I don’t think so. Still too much delusional optimism based on fraudulent data. With the ‘loosening’ of rules, financial firms can now mark to fantasy all their toxic assets. This is the real reason why these financial firms can show a profit.
     
  • Just how bad are things in Main Street? Business Wire reports :
     
    Lenders End Moratoria, Opening Flood of Foreclosures; Re-Defaults and Job Losses Also Take Their Toll
     
    SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(
    BUSINESS WIRE)–Completed foreclosures hit another monthly record in March as 175,199 homes were lost to foreclosure, up 44 percent from February’s record high, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Index released today by ForeclosureS.com, a leading real estate information provider.
     
    The number of foreclosed properties was up dramatically from 121,756 in February. Nearly 370,000 properties have been repossessed by lenders so far this year – 18.3 of every 1,000 households – up more than 38 percent from 266,986 in the fourth quarter of 2008, the U.S. Foreclosure Index shows, and up 76 percent from 210,280 in the first quarter of 2008.
     
    The first-quarter 2009 total is the highest quarterly total of completed foreclosures since the foreclosure crisis began. Pre-foreclosure filings – filings that could lead up to a completed foreclosure – also reached their highest quarterly level, topping 600,000 for the first time since the foreclosure crisis began.
     
    While February and March headlines boasted of government efforts to stop foreclosures, in fact March was the first month when major government-backed lenders – including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – lifted moratoria on many properties in the first week of March. Only properties eligible for modification under the Obama administration’s plan were covered by continuing foreclosure moratoria, according to statements by the two agencies.
     
    “The floodgates of foreclosure opened with the expiration of these foreclosure freezes,” says Alexis McGee, foreclosure expert, educator, and author. “With rising unemployment, a backlog of delayed foreclosures and increasing abandonment of properties, foreclosures soared in March to levels we have not seen in this crisis.” 
     
    “Hopefully, this is a short-term surge caused by months of delayed foreclosures. This is a very troubling turn after seeing some bright spots earlier this year. However, with Obama’s new Making Homes Affordable Plan now in effect we are hoping that in the near future we will see a reduction in new pre-foreclosure filings, which will help stabilize the housing markets,” McGee said.
     
    “March’s high numbers may also be caused by defaults on previously modified loans. Earlier this month the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision reported higher and rising re-default rates on modified mortgages as part of their fourth-quarter 2008 report,” McGee added. “The report points to the fact that not all previously modified loans result in lower monthly payments, and when combined with today’s economics, the result can be catastrophic for already strapped homeowners.”
     
    The Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable Plan is intended to help promote loan modifications by bringing debt-to-gross income ratios down to 31 percent. In short, that would allow homeowners to only spend 31 percent of their income on the mortgage, including taxes. With such low payment levels – compared to 50 percent payments as the recent norm of banks – people who get their loans modified under the new plan will be far more likely to remain in their home. 
       
    Regionally, the U.S. Foreclosure Index of Completed Foreclosures (Real Estate Owned) shows double-digit increases in March over February’s already record high monthly numbers….
      

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | Economics | | Comments Off on Foreclosures Soar in March, Up 44 Percent Over February’s High !