“I am sorry, could you please repeat that?”

It is not often that something leaves me with my mouth gaping open as I struggle for something to say, but the following quote made by Jack Ablin succeeded.  The BBC news item is titled  ‘Dow industrials hit pre-crash 13,000 landmark’.  Mr Ablin’s astonishing intellect was bought to bear and the remarkable insight that has been reported, is as follows;

“I think it’s a momentous day for investor confidence,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank.

“What this number implies is that the financial crisis, that we were all losing sleep over, it never happened because now we’re back.”

I am sure that I heard a collective cheer echoing around the world from the millions of unemployed and homeless who suddenly realised that actually the financial crisis never happened and they can all go back to their previous lives.

Some final considered advice.  If you have any money in Harris Private Bank, it might be a good move to take out as soon as you can before Mr Ablin invests it.

To read the news article click this link.

To leave your thoughts on Jack’s Facebook page you can go here

Or you can read Jack’s bio here

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Costa “Castrated”

First it was the Costa Concordia which had the side ripped out as the captain was “saluting”his friends, now it is the Costa Allegra floating without engines or electricity after a serious fire in the engine room.

The first incident cost the company a fortune in both lost future revenues for this year, passenger compensation and costs and of course the inevitable legal claims that will come.

 I can imagine that the CEO and the other company executives had just begun to regain some degree of sleep after the first farce had slipped from the front pages of the world’s news agencies.

I would have given anything to hear the first words to come from the CEO’s mouth when he answered the call 2 days ago about the Costa Allegra.  I suspect that they may have been something like “you have got to be fucking joking!” as he sat bolt upright from his bed or desk getting to grips with – another of his ships out of action, no refrigeration or air conditioning, no electricity, no entertainment, no cold beer, no engines, passenger compensation, helicopter provisioning flights, elite military squads to repel potential Somali pirates and more front page news than he can deal with.

You can only sympathise with the stakeholders and investors who must all be wondering what they have done to be so thoroughly “fucked by the fickle finger of fate”.

You sexy little Chihuahua!

When you think you have heard everything, here is one I bet you haven’t heard of.

A wheel-chair bound drug addict has been jailed for 10 years for having sex with a Chihuahua while high on crystal meth.  The 55-year-old has been jailed for 10 years and has been registered as a sex offender.

You can read about it here.  Perhaps it was the big adorable eyes that got him!

NZ de-populates at the rate of 1,000 per week.

Just over 1.1% of the NZ population – 50,115 left NZ permanently last year for Australia. Only 14,300 made the reverse trip. The primary motivation is economic with more jobs and higher pay. Over the last 8 years the net migration total is 203,654.

Being one of those who voted with his feet I completely understand it.  It wasnt until I left both Australia and NZ, moving to Europe that I could actually save money.

Tales from the Twilight Zone – 2011

Each time I come back to NZ I am shocked by the level of violence in this country.  Talking to people there is acknowledgement and seeming acceptance.  Alcohol is of course a significant factor, but it is more than that.  I have my own personal views about the lack of cultural depth and the inability of a lot of people to articulate and discuss what bothers them.  Here is just some of the incidents in the last 2 days;

A 5 year old European girl travelling with her parents on their NZ vacation was attacked inside the family caravan whilst she was asleep and severely sexually assaulted that resulted in 4 hours of surgery and a lifetime of trauma.

A man bashed his partner of 19 years for refusing to cook him dinner, saying “Don’t talk back to me, just do as I am telling you to do”.

A man has been jailed for 18 months after running down 2 teenagers who were making fun of him because his car would not start.  The teenagers comments came after seeing the man with another man inside of the car making a woman push the car from behind.

A 31 year old mother has been jailed for 7.5 years for assaulting her children.  She punched her 9 year old daughter so hard that she broke the bones in her hand – then sought hospital treatment for her hand but not her daughter.  Other charges included assaulting her children with a machete and a hammer, kicking her daughter with steel capped boots, tearing off her toenail and then pouring salt and boiling water on the wound.  Her lawyer tried to blame the Government for not listening to her pleas for help.

A man who threatened his pregnant partner by dangling his toddler out of a window admitted being “a bit rough” with his son.

The lunatics are loose in the asylum

Here are a selection of excerpts in the news over the last 10 days.  Despite the fact that personal greed drove the global economy to the very brink of the precipice, it would seem that the certain sections of society still have no real links to reality and one could argue, why should they because neither society nor the law hold them accountable.

Dexia (Franco-Belgian lender) lent €1.5bn of capital to its two largest institutional shareholders so that they could buy shares in ………….. Dexia.  In a further interesting twist Dexia accepted its own shares as collateral for the loans.  “Byzantine doesn’t even begin to describe this structure” was the reaction of someone briefed on the situation.

Investment banks are using gaps in global pay reforms to persist with some of their most contentious bonus payment practices.

Despite UBS losing $2.3bn, UBS Executives said that it would not force them to rein in this years bonus payments, as it set aside nearly 90 per cent of its investment banking revenues for staff pay.

Olympus, the Japanese camera maker are struggling to explain the $687m payment to a third part ‘advisor’ on their purchase of Gyru.  This fee represented 1/3 of the total deal value.  The consulting company, registered in New York was suddenly de-registered and disappeared shortly after being paid.

High end London properties are increasingly sold off-market by vendors who do not like the thought of selling to a wealthier buyer. ( My god – what is wrong with these people?)

This doesn’t even begin to touch on the US economic & political woes who seem to impact everyone with the exception of the top 1% (by wealth) and the politicians. 

You would like to think that after a million odd years of evolution we may have evolved a little further.

A voice of reason amid the madness

 

An interesting article that is worth the time it takes to read.

“I hear all this, ‘well, this is class warfare, this is whatever’. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear:

You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.”

– Elizabeth Warren

 

– 61 per cent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 per cent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007

– 66 per cent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1 per cent of Americans

– 43 per cent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement

– 24 per cent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age

– Only the top 5 per cent of US households earned enough to match the rise in housing costs since 1975

– In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1; since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 and 500 to 1

– The bottom 50 per cent of income earners in the US now collectively own less than 1 per cent of the nation’s wealth

– More than 40 per cent of Americans who are actually employed are now working in service jobs, which are often low paying.