.....................MARCH 2014....................

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(20.3.14 - by Petras)

Mad Swindles - 1

Way back in the 80s I worked for a BIG outfit near Shepherd's Bush in a department with loads of young guys just out of uni and renting digs in the area - or as near to it as they could afford. Many of them were looking to buy somewhere instead of rent and two or three asked me what kind of mortgage they should get.

These guys should have known instinctively what mortgage. They were supposed to be intelligent, after all - and the outfit we worked at had a reputation for recruiting almost exclusively either well qualified or highly talented people. (In case you're wondering... I slipped through unnoticed during a staff shortage).

Paraphrasing - I said, "There can't be anything cheaper or more straightforward than an Ordinary Repayment mortgage: each month you pay the interest plus a bit off the debt according to the Compound Interest Formula. Any alterative has to be a fix, because no lender is in the business of giving away dough."

The response should have been "But of course, how obvious!" Instead they'd look back at me with a puzzled expression then change the subject. At some later date, if I thought of asking, they'd shrug and tell me they'd ended-up with an Endowment or Part-Endowment mortgage because the bank manger (or mortgage broker) had strongly advised it.

As we all now know, the great Endowment scam was exposed in the 90s as the monumental swindle it so obviously was: a scheme expressly to cream large sums from unsuspecting first-time buyers - who had succumbed to the myth that the bank (or any private operation) would put customers' interests before profit.

If those guys with their university degrees getting their first mortgage were so easily duped, then what hope is there for the rest of the population? Even today, the principle demonstrated here fails to register with most people who still seem unbelievably naive or trusting.

For a topical example, a few days ago the RBS chief declared that his bank is reverting to how banks used to operate instead of the laissez-faire high-risk investing/gambling that lost it £46bn in the past few years (£8bn in the last year alone). Yet when questioned about the legitimacy of vast £Xbn bonuses for senior staff, he defended it. I thought: But that's precisely the source of the problem!

So either the bank will continue gambling with tax-payers' and investors' money - in which case it still needs to employ (incompetent loss-making) spivs/nerds who organise monumental bonuses for themselves - or else it's going to operate as banks used to: in the straightforward manner of borrowing from investors and lending to home-buyers and small businesses, in which case it needs normal competent honest accountants with no special talent for gambling, and who require no more than fair remuneration, say about that for an MP, but decidedly not the ludicrous £Xm-salary + the even more extortionate £Xm-bonus on top.

Which means, if the BIG bonus brigade are to remain, the status quo will prevail. Only legislation/regulation has any chance of changing that - but won't, of course.... all friends together. The key question is: when will the public finally acknowledge the inevitable conflict of interest when a public-service is run by a private-business? The bank fiasco is merely an extreme example of this inherent incompatibility.

Or take the example of trains. How do the economics of trains work when they are privately owned YET subsidised? Obviously, the tax-payer is shoving dough into the pockets of shareholders. How do they decide the amount? It's just another instance of a monumental fix-up designed to shift dough from poor to rich. Simple logic.

THAT'S ONE KIND OF MADNESS....though NOT if you're on-side with 'The City'.



Mad Education

Mad Ventures

Mad Pricing

Mad Combustion

Weird Cosmology

Mad Swindles - 2

Mad 'Education'

ANOTHER kind of madness is that millions of enthusiastic bright kids are forced into psychological straightjackets from age 5 and kept there for more than a decade. Or maybe it's sooner than 5? At least, these days they have the added 'window' of the net..... But to be forced to endure 6-hours a day, five days a week, etc., stuck in a classroom with everything that entails presents a colossal dead-weight to the development of probably every aspect of the psyche - and the physique too, I'd guess. The whole person is dulled, frustrated, reduced - often for life.

Somewhere in the US kids are being taught via the net with programmed learning - which is a process older than computers, but to which tablets/ipads adapt perfectly - AND, above all, interactively . So between other normal everyday activities while free, these lucky kids learn in this way when it suits them. Every now and then they attend short tutorials/debates to scrutinise/consolidate what they've learned. And other 'school' activities do not involve being stuck in a chair in a classroom. This is a big step forward, but as ever is open to abuse by the establishment: an even more efficient way to create corporate fodder. If that particular danger is avoided then social as well as technical advances should zoom ahead like wildfire....

How long will it take for this - or something like it - to catch on and begin to evolve in the UK? The culture holds kids/teenagers in low status and believes they should be confined for reasons of convenience, order, tradition, 'Health-&-Safety'.... CONTROL.... though it's always been OK for them to roam free at weekends.

Double standards, inconsistencies, hypocrisy lurk everywhere in British (and other) cultures. These MAD aspects of society are gradually being overcome. Progress is slow, and always well behind technology, but nevertheless is increasing pace. Imagine how it was in past centuries with virtually no progress.... dull, dull, dull!

Then imagine how it will be in future: fabulously, magnificently, astoundingly brain-zappingly INCREDIBLE. Even if you choose to opt out like I have, you can still spectate from the sidelines and enjoy a few spin-offs.

THAT'S ANOTHER KIND OF MADNESS.... though NOT if you're a blinkered traditionalist who thinks kids (and everyone else who's not a member of the 'elite') should have their wings clipped.



Mad Ventures

Yet another GREAT Madness is the vast amount of OUR dough politicians splash-out on insane ventures - with the aim of extending further their slave-empire - or rather, the slave-empire of their elite and corporate masters.

They spent - was it £7bn? (or £7bn/year?) - of OUR money on forging untold chaos and massacre in Iraq. More recently much covert effort and again OUR money has gone to pushing propaganda in Ukraine with a view to 'annexing' it for the west.

Now feigning astonishment at the repercussions, they're all busy rushing pointlessly about - doubtless to impress us public (since no-one else is impressed) - pretending innocence and blaming Putin for thwarting their stealth. It's the 'new' style invasion strategy I read about in a 2007 doc HERE - ie:

"Washington has now perfected a new imperial strategy to maintain their supremacy around the globe. Whereas military invasions and installing dictatorships have traditionally been the way to control foreign populations and keep them out of the way of business, the U.S. government has now developed a new strategy that is not so messy or brutal, and much more sleek; so sleek, in fact, that it's almost invisible."

... a tactic that's always been a factor in war, of course, but has recently been ratcheted-up: we've already seen more explicit and aggressive versions in Libya and far more destructively in Syria... all blamed on the regimes the west is out to demolish using mercenaries and naive locals... scarcely to mention the deployment of drones.

But the current manoeuvrings over Ukraine are futile, counterproductive even (for the west).... yet the numerous meetings, photoshoots, and charging around goes on and on.... this must all be great fun, wandering the gilded palaces, dining on the most extravagant menus... so the politicians strive to justify their expensive games via stupendously hypocritical propaganda as we see/hear on a toady BBC, right-wing press and other compliant 'establishment' media; and we, gullible public, cough-up the dough without a murmur.

All this hardly touches the surface of the many ongoing political shenanigans, most of which we know little about - but can easily guess if we care to think - and which invariably have devastating far-reaching consequences for millions of non-elite both here but much more so where these diabolic schemes are focused. And all to satisfy the hubris of a handful of obsequious politicians as they service the incalculable greed of the elite they represent.

Maybe Russell Brand will once again remind us what an appalling mob of perpetual criminals we have in the houses of parliament - courtesy of a system expressly rigged to hoodwink and rip-off the public... and keep them ignorant of the GREAT deception: of how (unlike now in Crimea) completely unrepresented they actually are.



Mad Pricing

Imagine if everything you bought was priced according to a formula that included ONLY the costs involved in providing it. This would comprise the salaries of all the people in the chain of provision, and any purchases required. Salaries would be determined by demand of those employed, market forces and/or some kind of approved/accepted norm. The price you pay would cover, if appropriate, for future investment as well as interest on loans (from banks instead of shareholders). There would be no dividends, just a small interest-rate, and no hidden expenses... details would be overseen by auditors.

NOW everything would be cheaper straight away. Some things would hardly change - like the prices of most vegetables, probably, and many basic items and services.

Bill Gates' first 'Windows' would still have cost £100 (or whatever is was originally), but within months would have dropped massively as costs of production plus future investment were more than exceeded by huge sales. The creation of 'Windows 8', for instance, would probably be paid for if it retailed for £1, and an ipod maybe £3...? Maybe I exaggerate? Either way, products that currently make vast profits and dish-out vast dividends due to BIG sales would reduce to just a few £/€/$ instead of the 100s as now.

OK, so the question is: WHO LOSES and WHO GAINS from this scenario?

First, inventors and manufacturers would lose nothing - except what they might have received as shareholders. Remember, they can demand any salary their employer agrees to. If Steve Jobs reckoned he was worth $10m/year + royalties for every item he invented that's sold by his firm, then that's accounted for in this scenario. Likewise for his team, perhaps the whole outfit.

So if ONLY shareholders would lose - and now are removed from the equation - then no-one loses. Which means the buyer gains.... but not only the buyer. If an ipod costs £3, then millions of us would buy a other things too - like maybe a holiday abroad, a new kitchen, a 3D TV (for a tenner?)...

The fact is that if costs were not hyped just so a handful of idle spivs can pocket £bns, then loads more businesses would flourish - because loads more people would afford their products/services. So the economy would BOOOOOM.... Not only would we all be loadzbetteroff and benefit in all kinds of ways, but the more worthwhile of the many business start-ups that notoriously fail, would now survive. All would benefit: business, us, and govt. Only City spivs and their idle clients lose.

But "NO", scream those ultra-powerful City clients/parasites and corporate mobsters who rule and cream £$bns every day from the multitudes. Their aim is NOT to evolve a great (if also capitalist) society, but to keep as many of us as possible near the breadline so we'll slave and scrape along in the rut the bastards trained us for through relentless propaganda and so-called 'education': fodder for their profit. What do they care for small start-up outfits that might someday threaten their monopoly? The more that fold, the more the BIG outfits like it - cf: RBS deliberately bankrupting successful small businesses for profit.

Such is the MADNESS of unregulated capitalism. Like for a 'runaway' psychopath, which is synonymous with the capitalist method, business is its own worst enemy - and everyone else's worst enemy too... UNLESS you're a member of the ELITE.



Mad Combustion

The world is solid with MADNESS - I'm talking about the destructive sort as would be ascribed to a psychopath. The list of examples is probably endless.... But the

greatest madness of all

could be seen in Channel-4's impressive documentary series 'Live from Space' where it was shown how remarkably thin and vulnerable the Earth's atmosphere is...

YET every day corrupt, ignorant, greed-driven corporate-friendly - public-&-future-hostile - politicians allow vast numbers of unnecessary aircraft, ships, cars, power stations, etc., etc., to dump the exhaust from the combustion of >50,000 litres per second of oil. (plus maybe 20,000 that could be judged 'necessary') into OUR atmosphere

Can there be anything more monumentally stupid than for this to continue? Isn't it by far the most crucial issue we have to face?




by David EDWARDS (of media lens)

which expose a few more mad things we humans do or fail to do


17 - 3 - 14

Weird Cosmology

So cosmologists who detected 'gravity waves' from the BIG BANG calculate that in those first instants after the bang matter/energy actually travelled faster than light... as if they otherwise think matter in one location regulates its speed according to that of matter in another location.

If that's not WEIRD, then who knows what is? (Do the musings of Edward Lear spring to mind...?)

see too (on this site):

Time Dilation





The Weirdness of Multiple Bank Accounts

Have you ever wondered why banks (& building Societies) have loads of different accounts instead of just one? And why interest rates vary between different saving accounts?

Regardless of an account designation (current/deposit/limited access...), the interest is always paid AT THE END of a set time.

Now, if money is deposited, the bank presumably adds it to a vast database of dough containing deposits from all other accounts. Likewise, if you borrow, they subtract from that database... (at least, one can assume that for the purpose of this article).

Since the interest they pay or charge depends on the account DESIGNATION (which is also how it will HAVE BEEN USED), then why not simply apply interest according to the designation appropriate to HOW THE ACCOUNT HAS BEEN USED for JUST ONE ACCOUNT?

The advantage is that clients receive a fairer deal - with no need for trying to predict how or when they're likely to draw on a deposit.

Loans inevitably charge more interest than deposits pay (it's one source of profit for the bank), but would reduce to a minimum for someone with a mortgage having it balanced against deposits in the same account - rather than for two accounts (one loan and one deposit with one charging more interest than the other pays).

Appropriate rates would be automatically calculated for this ONE account, which would be much easier to administer than a whole range of options with all kinds of weird and complex conditions/restrictions.

There'd be no losers - bank rates could adjust to cover costs.... but like so much else in the way things are run, anyone with more than half-a-brain isn't going to reach a position of influence or power from where changes like I'm suggesting here are instigated.

But again: if all deposits go into the same heap, why should interest rates vary? So much about banks is shrouded in mystery... doubtless such anomalies are purely to confuse and dupe the public...

About time for a revamp! But, as ever, dream-on - it ain't going to happen... at least NOT YET...