Pure Theft


From the Telegraph:

Cypriot savers hit as eurozone agrees €10 billion bail-out

Cyprus is to receive a €10 billion (£8.7 billion) bail-out from the eurozone to recapitalise its ailing banking system in return for a series of drastic measures which will hit the country’s savers.

The Mediterranean island nation becomes the fifth country to turn to the eurozone, following in the footsteps of Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

The emergency funding will be used to prop up the country’s banks which were hit by the financial restructuring of nearby Greece.

The Cypriot banking system had grown to be eight times the size of the country’s fledgling economy – which accounts for just 0.2pc of the eurozone’s gross domestic product.

But in a departure from previous bail-outs, the country’s savers are being asked to make sacrifices.

The terms of the deal mean that Cyprus’s savers will sacrifice up to 10pc of their deposits in a move which will raise as much as €6 billion.

Actually, the country’s savers are not being “asked” to make sacrifices, they’re being told that they’re going to.

The levy is intended to raise around €5.8 billion and will take force on Tuesday after a bank holiday on Monday. This has precipitated queues at the “hole in wall” cash dispensers machines, as people have sought to remove their money before the levy is extracted.

The Cypriot government, however, has got there first. Bank customers are only permitted to withdraw the balance of their deposits, less the amount of the levy. Meanwhile, a block has been put on the electronic transfer of funds, stopping people moving money out of the country.

Almost half of the depositors, though, are believed to be non-resident Russians, which means those that did not pre-empt the action have been caught by the freeze.

Russians aren’t going to like that very much, are they?

In the coastal town of Larnaca, Andy Georgiou, 54, speaks for them all. “I’m extremely angry”, he says. “I worked years and years to get it together and now I am losing it on the say-so of the Dutch and the Germans”. He is a British-Cypriot who returned to Cyprus in mid-2012 with his savings.

An unnamed pensioner was a little more direct. “They call Sicily the island of the mafia. It’s not Sicily, it’s Cyprus. This is theft, pure and simple”, he says.

But it’s perhaps not to much Sicily’s government that are the mafia in this business, but the EU who arranged this ‘rescue package’.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem … says that, without the levy, it would have been impossible to save Cyprus’ financial sector “We are not penalising Cyprus …,we are dealing with the problems in Cyprus”.

Mats Persson in the Telegraph:

Seventeen Eurozone finance ministers locked themselves in a room and decided that every Cypriot depositor – whether super-wealthy or dirt-poor – will, out of the blue, see part of their hard-earned money seized. Remember, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades explicitly promised in his election campaign, only a few weeks ago, that depositors were safe. The Cypriot electorate now faces losses on deposits as well as years of austerity (under the bailout loan). What’s worse, deposits under €100,000 are supposed to be protected by EU law, not raided by EU leaders.

All this must have been decided at the very highest levels of the EU, by the likes of Rompuy and Barroso and others. And no other conclusion can be drawn than that in the EU we have a government of thieves that will brazenly rob the bank accounts of savers, purely to keep their EU ‘project’ afloat, and to maintain themselves in the style to which they have become accustomed.

Who’s going to have their savings stolen next? Greeks? Italians? Spaniards? I can’t think of anything more likely to create a banking crisis across the entire EU, as people rush to find a safe haven for their savings before the Brussels mafia come to steal it from them.

Further news and comment from Zero Hedge.

Cyprus Bank Holiday Extended Through Tuesday As Confusion Spreads

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2013 – 10:07

For those who read the previous article on the topic of last minute chaos and confusion in Cyprus, and Europe, it will come as no surprise that the previously scheduled Monday bank holiday (aka Green Monday) has been extended into Tuesday. So prepare to not be surprised. “The Cypriot cabinet has declared Tuesday a bank holiday, for fear of capital flight, and this may even be stretched to Wednesday, as depositors are certain to withdraw huge sums from the Cypriot banks after the haircut imposed.”

and also

For Everyone Shocked By What Just Happened… And Why This Is Just The Beginning

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2013 – 18:28

Today, lots of people woke up in shock and horror to what happened in Cyprus: a forced capital reallocation mandated by political elites under the guise of an “equity investment” in insolvent banks, which is really code for a “coercive, mandatory wealth tax.” If less concerned about political correctness, one could say that what just happened was daylight robbery from savers to banks and the status quo.

and, (emphases in original)

Saxo Bank CEO: “This Is Full-Blown Socialism And I Still Can’t Believe It Happened”

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2013 – 15:59

It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors’ money and 9.9 percent of big depositors’ funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society. But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy? This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver. If you can do this once, you can do it again. Depositors in other prospective bailout countries must be running scared – is it safe to keep money in an Italian, Spanish or Greek bank any more?

Business Insider

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades just addressed the nation in a dramatic Sunday night speech regarding the bailout of Cyprus, which will see a one-time tax on everyone with cash in Cypriot banks.

The basic gist:

Cyprus is in a huge crisis, and the country was given two choices, blackmail style.

Either the government could get no help, and see a complete collapse of the economy and the financial system.

Or take the “bailout” deal, which involves the painful deposit tax.


In a note out yesterday, Sebastien Galy of SocGen explained why this was unwise.

This will probably go down as an ill thought out rescue plan with consequences for peripheral Europe. Savers beyond 100K EUR will participate in the restructuring, targeting presumably questionable moneys. It breaks a cardinal rule, namely public trust on which money relies. Had they thought their savings were at risk from a restructuring, savers would have run on local banks, hence it is different from a tax. Some peripherals will suffer at the opening in Europe and hit EUR. It could be the trigger that our colleagues were expecting. Twitter reports of cash machines running out in Cyprus for what such unverified information is worth.

In other words, yes, the government may have the legal legitimate power to tax (savings), but this is a major trust destroyer.

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48 Responses to Pure Theft

  1. Frank Davis says:

    German Commerzbank Suggests Wealth Tax In Italy Next
    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2013 15:20 -0400

    While some argue that Cyprus was “one of the biggest money-washing machines for Russian criminals,” and others that Cyprus ex-Pat community and energy resources brough deposits (not to say their high deposit interest rates), it seems the European Union (IMF et al.) have decided that the route to crisis stabilization, just as we outlined here over a year ago and updated here, is through a wealth tax.

    However, as Handelsblatt reports, the gross distortions of wealth distribution among both core and peripheral nations (evident in the chasm between ‘mean’ and ‘median’ net assets – or wealth) makes some nations more ‘capable’ of ‘giving’ and as Commerzbank’s chief economist notes, median wealth in Italy is EUR164,000 (as opposed to Austria’s median of around EUR76,000 and mean of around EUR265,000) meaning that in theory Italy has no debt crisis (with net assets at 173% of GDP) – significantly more than the Germans at 124% – “so it would make sense, in Italy a one-time property tax levy,” he suggested.

    “A tax rate of 15% on financial assets would probably be enough to push the Italian government debt to below the critical level of 100% of gross domestic product.” So there you have it, the ‘new deal’ in Europe, as we warned, is ‘wealth taxes’ and testing the “capacity of Cypriots” appears to be the strawman on what the public will take before social unrest becomes intolerable.

  2. Louis says:

    None too sure the sane and rational analysis works at the moment. The elections were last month and the guy who won – Nicos – made explicit promises that he’d avoid exactly this sort of tax.

    Unfortunately the previous administration pissed around trying to get deals with Russia, and Qatar. They, very sensibly, declined so, faced with no other choice but the ECB, Cyprus went into negotiations in a very weak position indeed.

    Nicos addressed the nation at 21.00 hrs local time (19.00 gmt) tonight, which I didn’t watch, but the essential message has not changed. “It’s not me, it’s those dreadful people who went before me and the EU who have forced me to do this”.

    The personal stories I’ve heard and the rage that’s palpable is sort of scary. It’s not just a bunch of Russians trying to stiff their tax man. Seems they may have got their figures wrong on lots of things because that’s down from an initial – estimated – 60% of all savings to about 35%. Nope, they’re hitting trust funds, charities, churches (Very Silly), genuine regional offices of multi nationals as well as UN staff posted to the island. Then there are the overseas students and the list goes on and on.

    You’ll know by now that UK service personnel and Gov’t flunkies will all be reimbursed by the UK taxpayer – Osborne looks after his own.

    As things stand parliament has refused point blank to sign off on this deal. They meet tomorrow afternoon (it’s Green Monday and a national holiday). Betting is they’ll probably go for a reasonable threshold of about €5,000 and graduate it more, so small depositors don’t get hit as hard.

    On the other hand there’s a view that they’re setting themselves up for serious long term problems if they allow this tax to go through. Bahrain, Dubai and Singapore will be the beneficiaries and we stand to lose some major names, plus countless jobs. They may simply tell him to go back and negotiate a better deal, or start the process of default and withdrawal from the EU.

    Unfortunately it looks to be the first option.

    Bank shares. I agree with the concept, in fact I have shares in Lloyds Bank Group. We know the cut off to a profitable govt sale is 61 p and I bought at 28 p. But banks in Cyprus have huge outstanding loans to property developers that will never be repaid in full. Bank shares may well yield a handsome return, but that’s only if you think you’ll live for 5 or more years. Many don’t have that luxury. At the moment they’re a lousy token offering.

    There’s another aspect. Building Societies are as the UK, mutual, and they’re in very good financial nick. Depositors with those have no desire whatsoever to own bank shares and many won’t have a clue about what to do with share certificates.

    In the meantime all this flaffing around means all the ATM’s are dry and the banks will not open until Wednesday at the earliest (rumour has it’ll be Thursday), so you try explaining how you’re going to pay for that private operation scheduled for 09.00 on Tuesday?

    It was a very stupid idea, it screws Cyprus big time, yet this island sits atop one of the largest gas and oil fields in the Eastern Med. Within two years they’ll be shipping oil and within four they’ll be piping gas – to the EU.

    My own personal opinion is Cyprus should cut its losses and exit the EU as soon as possible. The shortfall is a trifling €7 bn. When the chips are down, the EU proved to be a fair weather friend. I also believe they’ve done more to harm to themselves than they bargained for. If a precedent is established here, I suspect the concept will have considerable appeal elsewhere, like Spain or France.

    My betting is the Euro will take a hammering when markets open the morrow.

    The bigger picture is that in their never ending wish to keep interest rates down, they’ve ruined their own tax base. Dead easy to collect, but at 0.5% at best, not a fraction of what they’ve grown accustomed to. Something Osborne knows about, but can’t fix.

    • nisakiman says:

      Thanks for your appraisal Louis. I’ve been watching with interest since the shit hit the fan, but hard fact and informed opinion is hard to come by, or seems to have been for the past couple of days. My gut feeling is that they should junk the Euro (something Greece should have done a couple of years ago) and go it alone. Ok, a couple of tough years, but the EU way is going to be a never ending nightmare. A one-off tax? Yeah, pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

      If Cyprus approves this deal, then it will soon cease to exist as an independent country and become just another vassal state of Brussels, just as Greece will be. It is sickening to watch as these wannabe gravy-train Europhiles sell their countries’ birthrights for a mess of pottage.

    • Barman says:

      Great comments!

      I managed to get €1,200 out of the cash machines on Saturday before they ran dry…
      Luckily I keep some cash at home along with a generator and supplies for a month or so as I anticipated a crash of some sort at some point – I can sit it out for a while.

      But I will definitely be removing my remaining funds from the bank as soon as they open – if they ever open again. Everybody I know is of the same mind too…

      I do so hope they do the right thing and leave the Euro…

  3. lysistratatheoriginal says:

    I can’t add much to what Louis has said above. It’s a superbly intelligent comment, one of the best I’ve ever read on this blog. He even includes an analysis of mutuals.
    We’re sitting next door in Greece and watching with jaws dropping. It’s back to stocking up with water and tinned goods (and yes, alcohol and tobacco) and making sure there’s enough petrol in the car, and drawing out as many euros as you dare.

  4. Junican says:

    What did for Thatcher? It was the poll tax, wasn’t it?

    Well, not exactly. What did for Thatcher was the application of the poll tax to every single adult in the country, rich or poor. That is what caused people to march in protest.

    The EU and the Cypriot government have done the same thing. They would probably have got away with it had they exempted deposits below, say, €10,000.

    The whole thing is crazy. If the expected return from this raid is some €7 billion, and it is to be taken in one go, what is the need for a €10 billion bale out? Or is the €10 bill in addition to the €7 bill?

    It is hard to think of anything more damaging to the EU than this fiasco. How can anyone trust a bank with their money? But what alternative is there? Pound notes in a box under the bed?

    • Louis says:

      Seems the sweetener has been changed from shares in banks to a bond – a “gas backed bond” – that’ll have the same value as the tax taken. That at least gets people who have accounts with a building society off the hook of owning bank shares.

      Back in the 90’s they had a stock market bubble here that saw a few people make enormous amounts, however it also saw many more lose their shirt. It’s a raw wound with them and that’s part of the problem.

      There will be a demonstration in Nicosia this afternoon at 14.00 hrs local (12.00 GMT). Green Monday is a two way street; it’s allowed politicians time to mull things, however everything is closed and people have time to join in the demonstration if they wish.

      Politicians meet at 16.00 hrs to further discuss, then vote. They won’t be far apart, about 200 meters.

      It’s wall to wall in the local media with every legal, economic, political and human permutation imaginable. Rumours add to that, and one that’s gained traction is the sudden departure of something like €2.8 bn on Thursday and Friday from the banks. Seems people in high places have looked after their own.

      Nico’s address did nothing whatsoever to help. Much of this has to do with the man himself. He’s sort of vaguely Conservative as are the parties that support him – and he made many promises to get elected. His promise last night, that this is a one off and it’ll solve the crisis doesn’t hack it.

      They’re going through a fast track learning curve on this, with lawyers stating they’ll challenge this, that and the next thing.

      Bottom line is the effect on the markets this morning has rattled cages throughout the EU. The broader contagion they so wanted to avoid is in the process of building up steam. Billions wiped off stock prices and a possible run on banks in all the peripheral countries is in the making.

      The world spotlight is on Cyprus. Police will be out in force, but their sympathies are with the people. My gut tells me they’ll still go with a tax, but will raise the threshold to avoid raiding accounts like funeral expenses (a seriously big issue) and kids education and so on.

      If they raise the threshold to leave ordinary people out of the equation (say €10,000) then they won’t raise enough to cover the shortfall. Banks have already stated that imposing it on every silly little account will involve huge amounts of work and may well cause real damage to people who may just have funds for electricity and telephone bills.

      Unlike Greece where there was a degree of sympathy for Papandreou. With Nicos there’s very little. He wanted the job, he fought very hard to get elected and he knew perfectly well the size of the problem. In fact part of the reason we’re not pumping gas and oil right now is because of guys like him, dragging their feet and playing politics for politics sake.

      • Barman says:

        Yes, we should be told how much the president and his entourage had in their bank accounts on Saturday morning… I’m guessing very little.

      • nisakiman says:

        Unlike Greece where there was a degree of sympathy for Papandreou…

        Not a lot, Louis. His ratings, and those of PASOK dropped like a stone after the crisis hit. And he wasn’t helped by the later emerging stories (not confirmed, but apparently on the infamous “Lagarde CD”) of the € 30,000,000 in a Swiss bank account in his mother’s name.

        I would imagine the Greek government is shitting bricks at the moment, given the social and financial proximity to Cyprus. If this news doesn’t provoke a run on the banks here (the last thing they need now) then I will be very surprised. Today is a bank holiday, as it is in Cyprus (they call it ‘Clean Monday’ where I am), so we will see what tomorrow brings.

  5. Senzar says:

    Well, I’m pissed, as usual. An humungous Malbec of 14.5%. I shit ye not.

    When, if ever, are EU dwellers going to wake up to the fact that nothing, that’s NOTHING, is for their benefit?

    The Eu is for the benefit of Germany, nothing more, nothing less. Schauble is the fox in the hen house. I could point you in directions that would make your head spin but I’m unable to find any links due to imbication (I doubt that’s a word), I can barely focus on the keyboard. I leave it ’til i’m sober… you gotta long wait.

    Cyprus is theft, pure and simple, of ordinary Cypriots savings. Oh sure they’ll use the ‘Russian’ hot money as the excuse but that left months ago due to behind the scenes tip offs.

    This is bullying of a small nation to show what happens to you if you crosss the mighty EUSSR. Well fuck them, bring it on.

    The Cypriots have a golden opportunity to break the EU. Will they take it?

    Let’s see the EUSSR do the same to Grillo and Italy. In fact it’s played right into his hands. The EUSSR is dead in the water it just refuses to acknowledge the fact.

    Anyone who believes that the Euro-wide protection of bank deposits is on the level should have had a rude awakening. They don’t give a shit about any ordinary people.

    It’s long gone time when every Europhile should be hanging from a lamp-post.

    Ultimately, everything Euro will end in bloodshed. It is written.

    Oh and to Louis, get out of shares and get into physical gold or silver.

  6. Pingback: The Cypriot Government Raids Savings Accounts In Banks. The Russians Are Not Amused | Stirring Trouble Internationally - Around the world

  7. Hello,

    I just happened upon this outstanding blog while looking for Nigel Farage’s reaction to the ongoing shakedown in Cyprus, an event of stunning rapacity that may well prove to be merely a rock drill/dress rehearsal…


    As I am a smoker (and a libertarian and a secessionist), I commend your outspoken defense of smokers’ rights — better a Charles II than a Cromwell!

    Here’s an old, but prescient Murray Rothbard essay penned on behalf of smokers that your readers might enjoy — http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard138.html

    The former editor of Harper’s, Lewis Lapham, wrote an essay — “Social Hygiene” — excoriating
    tobacco prohibitionists; a nice read, but unfortunately it is not available online.

    I would like to say more, but work beckons…

    Anyway, you have another reader and I have found an engaging blog.


    JQP — http://ericpetersautos.com/2012/05/07/deathstar-america-and-the-endgame-of-empire/

    • nisakiman says:

      Hi JQP, yes you’ve stumbled across a most excellent blog. Frank is both passionate and implacable in his hatred of the antics of the Tobacco Control Industry. As are most of us who visit here. However, we are not all able to articulate our feelings as eloquently as Frank, which is why he is the blogger and we are the readers / commenters!

      I see the Harper’s article is available in PDF, but only to subscribers to the online magazine unfortunately.

  8. Pingback: Why Government wants us to save. | underdogs bite upwards

  9. beobrigitte says:

    When the chips are down, the EU proved to be a fair weather friend. I also believe they’ve done more to harm to themselves than they bargained for.

    Indeed, they have. And it’s the tax payers paying the price. EVERYWHERE.

    German readers, correct me if I’m wrong; I hear that:

    – It is becoming increasingly harder for German people to survive. The number of people unable to afford a small flat is rising. The luckier ones might still own a little caravan, a remnant of better times, and have the option of moving their residency to a camping place.

    – Old people requiring care no longer can afford the cost of living in retirement homes in Germany. They have discovered a cheaper and -by the looks of it, better – option of moving to a care home in Asia.

    – Unemployment is rising. Internet giants employ temporary workers (their treatment being below anything resembling humane) to hire and fire without having to pay the usual contributions. Exploiting workers from european countries in an even worse state is hardly contributing to the economy.

    I could go on and on and on. But isn’t it obvious that this european “state” is set to collapse?
    We have no stability and less even security. But we do have this obsession with a no longer affordable “health” and “well-being”. Grotesque, isn’t it?

    • beobrigitte says:

      I have just stumbled across this party; it really does look like the Germans are no longer content.



      – Wir fordern ein Europa souveräner Staaten mit einem gemeinsamen Binnenmarkt. Wir wollen in Freundschaft und guter Nachbarschaft zusammenleben.
      – Wir fordern, das Budgetrecht den nationalen Parlamenten zu belassen. Eine Transferunion oder gar einen zentralisierten Europastaat lehnen wir entschieden ab.
      – Wir fordern, Gesetzgebungskompetenzen zurück zu den nationalen Parlamenten zu verlagern. Über Glühbirnen und Gurkenkrümmungen kann der Bundestag alleine entscheiden.
      – Wir fordern eine Reform der EU, um die Brüsseler Bürokratie abzubauen und Transparenz und Bürgernähe zu fördern.
      – Wir fordern, die Bezüge der Brüsseler Beamten auf Normalmaß zurückzuführen. Es ist schändlich, dass Tausende Brüsseler Beamte mehr verdienen als die Bundeskanzlerin.
      – Das europäische Parlament hat bei der Kontrolle Brüssels versagt. Wir unterstützen nachdrücklich die Positionen David Camerons, die EU durch mehr Wettbewerb und Eigenverantwortung zu verschlanken.

      (Sorry, I am in a rush and haven’t got time to rattle up a translation right now)

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        European policy

        – We want a Europe of sovereign states with a common internal market. We want to live together in friendship and good neighborliness.
        – We demand to leave the budget law to the national parliaments. A transfer union or even a centralized European state, we totally reject.
        – We demand shifting legislative powers back to national parliaments. About bulbs and cucumbers curvatures can decide the Bundestag alone.
        – We call for a reform of the EU to reduce the bureaucracy in Brussels and to promote transparency and openness.
        – We demand to return the salaries of Brussels officials to size. It is shameful that Brussels officials earn thousands more than the Chancellor.
        – The European Parliament has failed in controlling Brussels. We strongly support the positions of David Cameron, the EU streamline through more competition and personal responsibility.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Thanks, Harley!!!! I did not have time this morning.

          Yest, the David Cameron bit I view with a little consternation. But then, they will sooner or later stumble over Farage and his refreshing common sense.

          Nevertheless, it does show that the Germans are not content.

  10. beobrigitte says:

    But it’s perhaps not to much Sicily’s government that are the mafia in this business, but the EU who arranged this ‘rescue package’.

    Mentioning Sicily; I hear that Mount Etna has opened up a new crater and is spewing loads of SMOKE ans lava. What about the SMOKING BAN?
    (I could not resist mentioning this…..)

  11. Pingback: Saxo Bank CEO: “This Is Full-Blown Socialism And I Still Can’t Believe It Happened” | Prepper Podcast Radio Network

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    They werent content just stealing the public and private pension funds………..Now its the private savings too! Run on the Banks anyone.

  13. Messalina says:

    The Banksters are up to their dirty tricks, yet again. You know, I’ve been thinking it’s perfectly justifiable for any individual to rob a bank! Yes, anyone can do that with a clear conscious – wouldn’t we just be taking back what was stolen from us in the first place? Just a thought!

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    Under the Bonnie and Clyde Bailout Plan All Banks would be completed robbed of all cash. The money would then be distributed equally among the masses and left up to them to open their own local banks. Or simply a MASON JAR buried in the back yard next to the still!

  15. hejno says:

    This is nearly unbelievable- and scary! That a government simply can go in and access people’s savings and confiscate part of it- I frankly didn’t believe this news at first!

  16. Rose says:

    I quite agree Hejno, I can’t get my head around this at all.

  17. harleyrider1978 says:

    Doctors and celebrities: the enemies of liberty
    Written by Whig | Monday 18 March 2013
    If asked which groups posed the greatest threat to individual liberty in modern Britain, I would unhesitatingly cite two groups. These groups are, broadly, the medical profession and those who are generally called ‘celebrities’ – pop stars, film stars and so on. You may think that I am being somewhat tongue-in-cheek (and in some ways I am), yet there is a serious set of issues at stake here.

    Firstly, the medical profession. Hardly a day goes by without some group of doctors or medical scientists calling for a ban on this or some sort of government intervention in that. The latest example seems to be the attempt to set a minimum price of alcohol sales, a terrible idea which, hopefully, has failed. Consumption of tobacco, salt, sugar, fat plus associated advertising are all deemed dangerous and suitable subjects for medics to attempt to ban or circumscribe via price increases . Medics also see fit to spend public money to instruct us how to live our lives and what choices we ought to make.

    Some of the rationale for this comes from the doctor’s protective monopoly, the NHS. As the health costs of unhealthy lifestyles are born by the state, it seems quite justified for doctors to call for bans and price hikes. Naturally, this simply demonstrates the lunatic incentive structure that state-provision of healthcare creates, especially free-at-the-point-of-delivery healthcare which externalises the costs of unhealthy behaviour. However, the chief threat from doctors lobbying stems from their apparently impartial and expert position as guardians of health and security. Unfortunately, most of their calls ignore the Public Choice and Knowledge Problem implications of the state interventions which result.

    Celebrities have an even less programmatic threat to liberty, unsurprisingly for such a diverse group. They usually adopt a single-issue approach. For a long time we have had Bob Geldof and Bono calling for state spending on international aid. The greatest current threat stems from Hacked Off’s campaign against a free press. Celebrities will often lead opposition to reductions in public spending or state activity such as Arts Funding. They have a powerful ability to rally strong public opinion for or against a cause, no matter how strong the case against – whilst Joanna Lumley’s campaign to allow Gurkha’s to settle in the UK hardly represents a major threat to liberty, although it has had some unintended consequences for Aldershot, it serves to demonstrate the power without responsibility that celebrities wield.

    In distinction to the recent past, where ideological opponents of liberty tended to possess a coherent ideological programme of state intervention and control, these groups are far more pragmatic and opportunistic. Thus, in many ways, they are far more dangerous because they cannot be so easily shown to be a threat. It must be said that both groups ‘mean well’ – they cannot really be accused of a malign plot to oppress people. However, both represent a serious threat to liberty.

    Regulations and public spending, once in place, are rarely repealed and tend to expand as they crowd out private responses. Innovation is prevented and alternative solutions are foregone. Bans and prohibitions create black markets and often serve to create other problems without solving the first (viz. recreational drugs). Whilst everyone has a right to free speech, those lobbying for state intervention need to be aware of the consequences and problems created by their support for the insidious expansion of the state into yet more aspects of our lives.

  18. harleyrider1978 says:

    I was just watching the UK ANTIQUES ROADSHOW where a painting of a pub life in 1960s england was depicted and everyone smoking,drinking and having fun. Yet the Person describing its value called it a a FORMER GRIZZLY REALITY!

  19. Cookie says:

    To some all taxes are a form of theft.You can think of it another way. If a bank you have money in goes bust you lose your money.In Cyprus the depositors are getting 90c back on the Euro. Not a bad deal. With previous bust banks the governments have ensured depositors get 100c back fearing the consequences of letting them take a loss. When bank depositors take a loss under the mattress looks a safer place. Someone gotta take the loss and I gather the German taxpayer is getting annoyed with the realisation it is up to them to bail everyone out.

    The gamble is whether 90c on the Euro in Cyprus puts the fear into the depositors of Greece. As Gideon opted us out of these bailouts our exposure is small as we have only chosen to ensure our own troops and foreign office staff are not affected. It’s nothing for UK taxpayers to cry about.

    • Frank Davis says:

      This isn’t a tax. As Zero Hedge wrote earlier today (my added emphases):

      Let’s get some things straight and look what has happened directly in the face. There was no tax on the bank accounts in Cyprus. There still is no tax; the Cyprus Parliament has not passed it and will not vote on it until tomorrow so whatever action takes place it is retroactive. Next, this was not enacted by Cyprus. The people from Nicosia did not go to the Summit and ask to have the bank accounts in their country minimized to help pay the bills…

      Let’s be quite clear; the European Union has confiscated the private property of the citizens in Cyprus without debate, legislation or Parliamentary agreement.

      A bank account is not a bond or a stock or any sort of investment. This seems to be lost on many people. A bank account is the private property of a citizen or a corporation and does not belong to the government or at least that was the supposition up until now in Europe.

      • harleyrider1978 says:


        Cyprus set to seize personal savings…
        Plan moves ahead as vote delayed…
        Putin: ‘Unfair,’ ‘Dangerous’…
        FT: Here come bank runs…
        Germany: Not our idea…
        Italy to follow?
        Markets rattled…
        Euro tumbles…
        Dow drops…


      • Barman says:


        I haven’t got access to 90c in the Euro – I haven’t got access to any of my money and am unlikely to be able to get to it until the end of this week or the beginning of next.

      • Cookie says:

        I believe your friend is wrong on a number of counts. Money deposited in a bank account is, as established under case law going back more than 200 years, legally the property of the bank, rather than the account holder.

        Further the accounts are currently frozen. No money has been deducted yet, they are due to vote on the tax. It has not been imposed, it is proposed with accounts frozen to avoid people removing their money. Other options include letting the banks go bust or nationalize them and let the state go bust or place a tax on deposits.

        The EU has not confiscated a thing, in fact the EU has provided bail out money, just not the full amount.

        The choice is who pays the bill for the bust banks. It may be unfair to let the depositors take a hit and you are free to take that view.I would suspect a German taxpayer would consider it unfair that they take the hit. As a British taxpayer I am pleased Gideon largely opted us out of much of the impending Euro collapse but wonder whether collapse and recovery might be better than crisis without end.

  20. jay says:

    At the weekend I was looking through some junk mail and came across a sales letter from a financial publication which was predicting that more or less the same could happen in the UK. Its argument was that, despite ‘austerity’, government borrowing continues and that, if interest rates return to a realistic level (by shadowy elite bankers?) rather than remaining low, then the UK will be actually bankrupt rather than, as it is now, technically, bankrupt. Why would we suppose that our government wouldn’t drain our bank accounts?

    • Frank Davis says:

      more or less the same could happen in the UK.

      You might say that it already is happening. As Ian Cowie wrote in the Telegraph today:

      “Outrage about the Cyprus banks euro tax bail-out should not be allowed to obscure the fact that millions of savers in British banks have already lost much more of the real value or purchasing power of their money to prop up financial institutions closer to home.
      So savers of all descriptions are paying a high price for the Bank of England’s strategy of maintaining negative real interest rates. Sadly for the millions of victims of this slow-motion bank robbery in Britain, it remains too complex to explain on the front page or in TV bulletins and so much more coverage will be given to a relatively small scale smash and grab with fewer victims in Cyprus.”

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Tis the beginning of the Greatest Depression!

      • jay says:

        Mm – I suppose you could say that at the moment they’re able to keep under wraps the extent of the mess we’re in by a kind of theft by stealth, but they wouldn’t if they were refused further loans. I could well imagine that they’d resort to any means available, in a futile attempt to stave off the collapse of state provisions. The article (which I’ve now thrown out) asserted that the UK today is almost at the same stage of collapse as the Weimar Republic was when Hitler turned up to ‘save’ it. I am no economist and it doesn’t do to scaremonger but one does wonder where it will all end.

  21. harleyrider1978 says:

    Btw they already stole all the pension fund moneys a few years back.

  22. harleyrider1978 says:

    Whistle-blowing Scientist Sues UCLA for His Job
    Posted by Leslie Eastman Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 5:00pm


    UCLA’s Dr. James Enstrom is one of my personal heroes of the “Tea Party” movement.

    The importance of his work on behalf of Californians cannot be understated.

    The Environmental Health Sciences professor has been fighting the false science behind some of our state’s most onerous regulations for years. The rebel professor is also famously known for bringing the public’s attention to a fake Ph.D. degree claimed by a researcher for the extremely powerful state environmental agency, the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

    Liberal institutions claim they adore whistle-blowers. Not, it seems, when they fight the eco-activism that is entrenched in campus and government bureaucracies. Shortly after I met him in 2010, UCLA told Enstrom he was being terminated because his research failed to accord with the department’s “mission.”

    Subsequently, Enstrom turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for assistance in keeping his job. Now, the organization is helping him bring a lawsuit against the University of California.

    The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) also took up Enstrom’s case and is representing Enstrom in a lawsuit filed late yesterday in Los Angeles federal court against UCLA officials and the University of California Regents. Enstrom is seeking a declaration that UCLA violated Enstrom’s free speech and due process rights, as well as an injunction requiring UCLA to rehire him.

    “Because of Enstrom’s research and his whistleblowing against prominent advocates of environmental regulation in California, UCLA seemingly has decided to silence him any way it can,” said FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel. “If there is anywhere we need honest scientists who aren’t on a mission to exclude whistleblowers and skeptics, it is the American university.”

    Enstrom is hoping Californians in the area can show up to the courthouse in support of his suit to keep his job. The hearing details are:

    9 AM on Monday, March 18,
    Court Room 790 of Central District Judge Jesus G. Bernal at the Roybal Federal Building and US Courthouse, 255 East Temple Street (at Alameda), Los Angeles,
    If possible, please arrive at 8:30 AM at entrance to Courthouse for prehearing meeting.

    The lawsuit filing provides a troubling description of how fraud was used to impose draconian environmental regulations on California enterprises, which is one of the many reasons why California is deemed by CEOs nationwide as the “worst place to do business”.

    I hope that my fellow Californians show up to the courthouse and support Enstrom on Monday. We need more rebel professors.


  23. garyk30 says:

    Only a ‘one time’ tax/charge?

    I can only refer you to what Junican has to say.


    “EU has forced the Cypriot government to raid EVERY bank account in the country’s banks and steal a minimum of 7% of EVERY balance.

    It is a one-off, but if we think of that theft by the EU as though it was an interest rate on a loan, and assign that interest rate as though it was an ‘interest rate per day’, the theft of 7% of bank balances would equate to an interest rate of 2,555% per annum.

    We see instinctively that this plan is totally unjust. Only imbeciles would think up such a plan – or unchallengeable tyrants. Which is it?

  24. roobeedoo2 says:

    Some levity and half decent MSM article about smoking ‘If you really want to cause a stir, casually light up a cigarette when people least expect it’


    The best example was in the comments from a self-proclaimed anti smoking fascist who quit 3 years ago,

    “Nigel Farage, smoker, P.M. Lighting up at the dispatch box. Inhaling deeply.”

    • garyk30 says:

      Some of the commenters talked of heart attack and stroke deaths.

      Heart attack and stroke deaths are about 50% of the deaths from the diseases said to be ’caused’ by smoking.

      When a current smoker dies from a heart attack or a stroke, there is about a 50% probability the death was caused by something other than smoking.

      Using CDC data from here:

      • garyk30 says:

        and here:

        we can figure out the current smoker vs never-smoker death rates for heart attacks and strokes.

        Heart attack death rate:

        current smokers = 31/10,000

        never-smokers = 14/10,000

        If a current-smoker dies from a heart attack, there is a 45% chance/probability the death was caused by something other than smoking.(14/31 = 45%)

        Stroke death rate:

        current-smokers = 10.4/10,000

        never-smokers = 5.5/10,000

        If a current smoker dies from a stroke, there is a 53% chance/probability the death was caused by something other than smoking. (5.5/10.4 = 53%)

      • beobrigitte says:

        Heart attack and stroke deaths are about 50% of the deaths from the diseases said to be ’caused’ by smoking.

        This would indicate that non-/never smokers do not die of heart attacks and stroke.
        So, what causes the other 50% of the “smoking related” deaths?

        And, I am still awaiting an answer to the question: WHAT disease is caused ONLY by smoking?

        Since we are being told that second hand smoke kills almost instantaneously, active smoking must be even worse than that.
        Surely there are MANY ILLNESSES ONLY SMOKERS die from. NAME THEM!

        Also, I need an explanation with respect to WHY I still live happily WITHOUT prescribed pharmaceutical crutches.

  25. Pingback: A BitCoin Bank? | Frank Davis

  26. melinoerealm says:

    Cyprus robbery is good that it happened. So that there are no misconceptions left and everyone’s eyes open.

    The whole paper-investment system is going down. Back to gold, jewels, art/antiques… tangible things. Trust is broken irreparably.
    I’m happy for that. It’s game over.

  27. Junican says:

    I wonder how much our Prime Minister, The Hon Cameron, knew about this before it was announced?

  28. Pingback: Making It Up As They Go Along | Frank Davis

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