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"Gold is the money of kings; silver is the money of gentlemen; barter is the money of peasants; but debt is the money of slaves."
Norm Franz in Money and Wealth in the New Millennium, 2001

MSM: "Goldman Sachs Managing Director Nicholas Valtz Found Dead" [07/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "On the morning of July 20, Valtz left his home in Bridgehampton, New York, on Long Island’s eastern end, to spend time on his latest sport. Kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding, combines elements of windsurfing and paragliding. After he didn’t return home, family members went searching. They found his body in Napeague Harbor, a popular spot for kiteboarding. Police in East Hampton, New York, said his body was found floating in the water secured to his kite. At Goldman Sachs, where he worked since 2000, Valtz was a managing director in cross-asset sales. He helped manage orders for trading clients and pitch them products and ideas among different types of securities.  [...]" 

MSM: "Deutsche Bank, HSBC And Bank Of Nova Scotia Accused Of Attempting To Rig The Price Of Silver" [07/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia have been accused of attempting to rig the price of silver, in a lawsuit filed in the US. The plaintiff alleges the banks, which set the price of silver each day, abused their position in the market. Deutsche Bank and HSBC have not commented on the filing, while Bank of Nova Scotia told Bloomberg news agency it would "vigorously defend" itself. The lawsuit follows similar filings in the gold price-fixing market. Earlier this year, Barclays Bank was fined £26m ($44m) by UK regulators after one of its traders was discovered attempting to fix the price of gold. Investor Scott Nicholson from Washington said in the filing against the three banks for price-fixing: "The extreme level of secrecy creates an environment that is ripe for manipulation. [...]"  

Commentary: "Obama’s Ukrainian Ploy Collapses; Ukraine Now Seeks Direct U.S. Bailout" Eric Zuesse [07/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Ukrainian leadership has resigned, because of their unwillingness to impose the IMF’s terms, which would impoverish the population within months. That impoverishment would be extracted from the Ukrainian public in order to repay the IMF’s loans, which had been skimmed off by Ukraine’s oligarch billionaires into secret bank accounts in Switzerland and other tax-havens. [...]  Two of the four parties in Ukraine’s ruling coalition have bolted, refusing those IMF terms on loan-repayment; and, so, on July 24th, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had been appointed by Obama’s agent Victoria Nuland, tendered his resignation, and he announced: “The fact is that today you failed to vote for the laws, and I have nothing (with which) to pay wages of policemen, doctors, teachers; nothing to buy a rifle with, nothing to fuel an armored personnel carrier with. Today you failed to take a decision to fill the gas storages to allow us to live through the winter, to at last free ourselves from dependence on Russian gas.”  [...]   As the great journalist Michel Chossudovsky, reported on July 24th, Ukraine’s figurehead President, Petro “Poroshenko believes that when sanctions [against Russia] are not working, there are grounds for appeal to the United States Congress to grant Ukraine the special status of a major ally outside NATO (like Israel, Australia, and the Philippines) to enable it to solve its security problems. (Ukrainian News, July 24, 2014. This Special Status was granted. See  "U.S. Grants Ukraine Non-NATO Ally Status" [07/20/14]) The granting of the ‘status of ally outside NATO’ would set the stage for the possible deployment of US and NATO forces inside Ukraine in the context of joint military operations with the Ukraine Armed Forces and National Guard.”" [...] Consequently, there is now being promoted in Kiev “a bill foreseeing the expansion of U.S. military and technical aid.” In other words: The government that Obama installed in February is now seeking direct U.S. support in order to continue its ethnic cleansing campaign, which is aimed at getting rid of the people who had elected the man, President Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama’s February coup in Kiev had overthrown. The people that Obama then placed into control there are now expecting direct U.S. assistance, to complete that ethnic-cleansing campaign, which is being carried out in the ethnic-Russian portions of Ukraine, so as to eliminate the Ukrainians who would be opposing the placement into Ukraine of nuclear missiles within a mere ten-minute flight-time to annihilating Moscow. Obama’s plan, to thus coerce Russian capitulation, seems, in other words, to be even less likely to succeed than it previously was. The proposed direct U.S. aid to Ukraine’s Nazis is like a proverbial “hail Mary pass” to a U.S. President who is, himself, barely more popular here, than his stooges in Kiev are among Ukrainians. It’s an act of sheer desperation. [...]" Related: "Ukraine Coup Coalition Splits, "Yats" Quits, Poroshenko Scrambles to Satisfy IMF" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "De-Dollarization Spreads: Swiss & Chinese Central Banks Enter Swap Agreement" [07/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Swiss National Bank and the People’s Bank of China reached a currency swap agreement this week. While this is not a huge trend changer in the near-term, it demonstrates that our forecast for China to become the largest economy and to be the next financial capital of the world when Europe and the USA blow themselves apart with defaulting socialism is on track. This agreement will allow the two central banks to buy and sell their currencies up to a limit of 150 billion renminbi, or 21 billion Swiss francs ($23.4 billion). The deal will also allow the Swiss central bank to invest some of its huge accumulation of foreign exchange reserves in the Chinese bond market.  The Zurich-based SNB said the agreement will further strengthen collaboration between it and its Chinese counterpart and is a “key requisite for the development of a renminbi market in Switzerland.” It could also facilitate trade and investment between the two countries, the PBOC said. This demonstrates that China is moving in the correct direction. [...]" 

MSM: "IMF Says 50 Million Americans Live in Poverty, Unveils Steps to Boost Economic Growth" [07/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "Fifty million Americans still live in poverty in the United States, including almost one-in-four US children, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Wednesday. In its newest report on the world’s largest economy, the IMF urged Washington to boost the nation’s sluggish long-term growth and employment rates to tackle its social vows. “Despite improving growth and rising employment, almost 50 million Americans still live in poverty, unable to earn enough to meet their basic needs… Improved employment prospects and economic growth will be essential to bringing this number down,” the IMF said in its annual survey. It emphasized the importance of the United States agreeing a “credible medium-term fiscal consolidation plan” that can be designed to reduce poverty, and also encourage longer-term growth. The necessity of a plan brought into the limelight by a three-week shutdown in 2013, after months of debt ceiling impasse. The global economic monitor pointed to a slump in US economic activity in the first quarter of 2014 following an unusually harsh winter, which together with a struggling housing market, slower exports demand and a 2.9-percent drop in home production output. [...]"  

MSM: "Senate: Renaissance Hedge Fund Avoided $6 Billion In Taxes In Bogus Scheme With Banks" [07/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Only one word comes to mind to describe the testimony taking place before the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations this morning: Machiavellian. The criminal minds on Wall Street have twisted banking and securities laws into such a pretzel of hubris that neither Congress, Federal Regulators or even the General Accountability Office can say with any confidence if the U.S. financial system is an over- leveraged house of cards. They just don’t know.  [...] According to a copious report released last evening, here’s what hedge funds have been doing for more than a decade with the intimate involvement of global banks: the hedge fund makes a deposit of cash into an account at the bank which has been established so that the hedge fund can engage in high frequency trading of stocks. The account is not in the hedge fund’s name but in the bank’s name. The bank then deposits $9 for every one dollar the hedge fund deposits into the same account. Some times, the leverage reaches as high as 20 to 1. The hedge fund proceeds to trade the hell out of the account, generating tens of thousands of trades a day using their own high frequency trading program and algorithms. Many of the trades last no more than minutes. The bank charges the hedge fund fees for the trade executions and interest on the money loaned. Based on a written side agreement, preposterously called a “basket option,” the hedge fund will collect all the profits made in the account in the bank’s name after a year or longer and then characterize millions of trades which were held for less than a year, many for just minutes, as long-term capital gains (which by law require a holding period of a year or longer). Long term capital gains are taxed at almost half the tax rate of the top rate on short term gains. There are so many banking crimes embedded in this story that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the one most dangerous to the safety and soundness of banks: extension of margin credit.[...]"  

Commentary: "BRICS And The Age of Financial Armageddon" [07/22/14] [42:44] "Alex Jones covers the break down of the bankrupt Bretton Woods system, the ascendancy of a newly minted BRICS banking system and the dangers of World War III in the age of crisis. [...]"  

MSM: "Goldman Managing Director Found Dead In Apparent Kite Surfing Accident" [07/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "Police are still investigating the tragic death of 39-year-old Goldman Sachs Managing Director Nicholas Valtz this weekend. As Bloomberg reports, Valtz, a "novice kiteboarder," was found dead yesterday by family members who went searching for him after he didn’t return from a kiteboarding outing. While there is no accusation of suicide in this case, it sadly brings the number of young financial services executives deaths to 16 this year. Valtz, a managing director in cross-asset sales at Goldman Sachs in New York, was found in Napeague Harbor off the coast of Long Island, according to the East Hampton police. Valtz, 39, was a “novice kiteboarder” and was found floating in the water secured to his kite, police said in a statement released yesterday. Other kite gear was found in a grassy area of the harbor, police said. Valtz, who joined Goldman Sachs in 2000, was promoted to managing director in 2010. His wife, Sashi Valtz, also works at Goldman Sachs as head of global third-party research sales, according to her LinkedIn profile. Police are still investigating the death, according to the statement. ... In March 2008, Valtz shaved his head to raise money for childhood cancer research, according to the website for St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Valtz enjoyed technology products and fast cars, according to the website for his brother-in-law’s 2012 wedding in which he was a groomsman.[...]"  

Commentary: "Behind ‘Smokescreen’ Of Charity, Global Financial Elite Pillage African Nations $60bn Each Year" [07/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "Under the “smokescreen” of giving aid or charity, western governments and multinational corporations are pillaging states in sub-Sahara Africa with losses nearing $60 billion each year, according to research published on Tuesday by a coalition of 10 Africa and UK-based NGOs. The report, Honest accounts? The true story of Africa’s billion dollar losses [PDF] finds that while an estimated $134 billion flows into the continent annually through a combination of loans, foreign investment and aid, African nations lose approximately $192 billion in profits made by foreign multinational companies, as well as through tax evasion and the costs of adapting to climate change. “Notions of aid and charity are in reality aiding politicians and multinational corporations to continue plundering Africa behind a shroud of ‘generosity’,” the report’s authors write. “It is preventing governments from being held accountable for policies that have a far greater impact on Africa and diverting attention from the structural changes needed to eliminate poverty and gross inequality.” The losses stem from abuses across a wide range of areas including: “illicit financial flows; profits taken out of the continent by multinational companies; debt payments; brain drain of skilled workers; illegal logging and fishing and the costs incurred as a result of climate change.” According to the report, if other countries keep looting Africa at the same rate, over the next 10 years the African people will lose $580 billion. “Common understanding is the UK ‘helps’ Africa through aid, but in reality this serves as a smokescreen for the billions taken out,” said Martin Drewry, director of Health Poverty Action. “It’s sustained looting – the opposite of generous giving – and we should recognize that the City of London is at the heart of the global financial system that facilitates this.” “The amount of resources flowing out of Africa demands we rethink the idea that Africa is impoverished,” the report continues. “Millions of ordinary Africans are certainly poor, but they are being kept so by a combination of bad policies and immoral or criminal activities perpetrated by elites both inside and outside the continent. [...]" 

MSM: "Citigroup: The Original Gangsta" [07/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "Obama’s Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy. Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when Bill Clinton signed legislation reversing the sensible restraints on Wall Street instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to avoid another Great Depression.  Those filled with Clinton nostalgia these days might want to reflect back on how truly destructive was his legacy for hardworking people throughout the world who lost so much due to the financial shenanigans that he made legal. “Today what we are doing is modernizing the financial services industry, tearing down those antiquated laws and granting banks significant new authority,” a beaming Clinton boasted after signing the Financial Services Modernization Act into law in 1999. Called the Citigroup authorization act by some wags at the time, those antiquated laws, the Glass-Steagall Act primarily, had put a safety barrier between the high rollers in Wall Street investment firms and the staid commercial banks charged with preserving the savings of ordinary folk. The new law permitted them to merge. Clinton handed the pen that he used in signing the new law to Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill, whose Citicorp had already merged with Travelers Group before the law was even officially changed. On an earlier occasion, Weill had informed Clinton about his merger plans in a telephone conversation. After hanging up, Weill then bragged to his fellow banking executive John S. Reed, who was on the call, that “we just made the president of the United States an insider,” according to Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley in her book on the Citigroup merger. In 2000, just before leaving office, Clinton went much further in radical deregulation of the financial industry when he signed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. In one swoop this eliminated from the purview of any existing regulation or regulatory agency the new financial products, including the mortgage-backed securities at the heart of the financial meltdown and the subject of the $7 billion fine levied in what has to be viewed as a copout deal. [...]"

Concepts and Practices: "Warren Destroys Yellen Over JPMorgan And Its Living Will" CSPAN [07/19/14] [7:40]   Note: Interesting exchange.

Commentary: "Black Rock And PIMCO Sue Banks For $250 Billion" [07/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "For years, homeowners have been battling Wall Street in an attempt to recover some portion of their massive losses from the housing Ponzi scheme. But progress has been slow, as they have been outgunned and out-spent by the banking titans. In June, however, the banks may have met their match, as some equally powerful titans strode onto the stage. Investors led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world’s largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world’s largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty as trustees of their investment funds. The investors are seeking damages for losses surpassing $250 billion. That is the equivalent of one million homeowners with $250,000 in damages suing at one time. The defendants are the so-called trust banks that oversee payments and enforce terms on more than $2 trillion in residential mortgage securities. They include units of Deutsche Bank AG, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC Holdings PLC, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Six nearly identical complaints charge the trust banks with breach of their duty to force lenders and sponsors of the mortgage-backed securities to repurchase defective loans. Why the investors are only now suing is complicated, but it involves a recent court decision on the statute of limitations. Why the trust banks failed to sue the lenders evidently involves the cozy relationship between lenders and trustees. The trustees also securitized loans in pools where they were not trustees. If they had started filing suit demanding repurchases, they might wind up suedon other deals in retaliation. Better to ignore the repurchase provisions of the pooling and servicing agreements and let the investors take the losses—better, at least, until they sued. Beyond the legal issues are the implications for the solvency of the banking system itself. Can even the largest banks withstand a $250 billion iceberg? The sum is more than 40 times the $6 billion “London Whale” that shook JPMorganChase to its foundations. [...]  The world’s largest banks are considered “too big to fail” for a reason. The fractional reserve banking scheme is a form of shell game, which depends on “liquidity” borrowed at very low interest from other banks or the money market. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, triggering a run on the money market, the whole interconnected shadow banking system nearly went down with it. Congress then came to the rescue with a taxpayer bailout, and the Federal Reserve followed with its quantitative easing fire hose. But in 2010, the Dodd Frank Act said there would be no more government bailouts. Instead, the banks were to save themselves with “bail ins,” meaning they were to recapitalize themselves by confiscating a portion of the funds of their creditors – including not only their shareholders and bondholders but the largest class of creditor of any bank, their depositors. Theoretically, deposits under $250,000 are protected by FDIC deposit insurance. But the FDIC fund contains only about $47 billion – a mere 20% of the Black Rock/PIMCO damage claims. Before 2010, the FDIC could borrow from the Treasury if it ran short of money. But since the Dodd Frank Act eliminates government bailouts, the availability of Treasury funds for that purpose is now in doubt. When depositors open their online accounts and see that their balances have shrunk or disappeared, a run on the banks is likely. And since banks rely on each other for liquidity, the banking system as we know it could collapse. The result could be drastic deleveraging, erasing trillions of dollars in national wealth. Some pundits say the global economy would then come crashing down. But in a thought-provoking March 2014 article called “American Delusionalism, or Why History Matters,” John Michael Greer disagrees. He notes that historically, governments have responded by modifying their financial systems: [...]"  

Commentary: "Escobar: BRICS Bank On Its Way To Beat Casino Financial System" [07/17/14]   [5:01] "New Development Bank will provide money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries, and unlike the IMF or World Bank, each nation has equal say, regardless of GDP size. “BRICS Bank will be one of the major multilateral development finance institutions in this world,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil. [...]"  

MSM: "US Jails Israelis In $8m Lotto Fraud Against Elderly " [07/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "A New York judge jailed two Israelis on Monday for orchestrating an elaborate international lottery scam that defrauded elderly Americans out of more than $8 million in life savings. US prosecutors say the duo were ring leaders of a 12-person scam based in Israel, which tricked Americans into signing away more than $8 million, which was squirreled away illegally to bank accounts in Cyprus, Israel and Uganda. Top New York federal prosecutor Preet Bharara said it was a “predatory group” that conned elderly people in the United States into believing they were lottery winners. [...]"  

MSM: "US Lost $175 Billion In Export Revenue Due To Iran Sanctions: Report" [07/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "US economic sanctions on Iran have caused America to incur heavy financial losses, a new report shows. The US lost at least $135 billion and as much as $175 billion in prospective export revenue to Iran between 1995 and 2012, the report by the National Iranian American Council revealed on Monday. The report, showing the loss only export industries suffered, does not even contain the repercussions of other externalities of sanctions imposed by the US. These externalities include higher global oil prices which ultimately raised the loss caused to the US economy to even an upper level. On US unemployment rate, the country lost between 50,000 and 66,000 job opportunities each year during the period and the number jumped higher to 279,000 in 2008. The report indicated that Texas and California were the US states which incurred the biggest loss. “Texas and California are likely the biggest losers in terms of lost employment, due to their size as well as the attractiveness of their industries to Iran’s economy,” said Jonathan Leslie, one of the co-authors of the report. [...]"  Note: Who benefits from the crushing of the US economy ...

MSM: "Now France Is Getting Ready to Dump The Dollar" [07/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "... Everyone knows China, Russia and other emerging economies are ditching the dollar. But now, even France is pulling away from the greenback. They’re not even trying to hide it, either. With domestic considerations growing restless, French foreign minister Michel Sapin put it bluntly at a recent economic conference: “We [Europeans] are selling to ourselves in dollars, for instance when we sell planes. Is that necessary? I don’t think so. I think a rebalancing is possible and necessary, not just regarding the euro but also for the big currencies of the emerging countries, which account for more and more of global trade.” This echoes a common criticism levied by many emerging countries — particularly China. China, of course, has $2 trillion in foreign currency reserves, the vast majority of which are dollars. And it’s frequently suggested that the dollar’s role in global trade is oversized. Basically, this all stems from BNP Paribas — the French bank that last week agreed to a $9 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over its dealings with Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. [...]"  

MSM: "Richest Actually Control 37 Percent Of U.S. Wealth" [07/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "America's rich are even more well off that we originally thought, a new study has found. The top 1 percent of U.S. earners were previously estimated to control 30 per cent of the country's wealth but it seems that number could be closer to 37 per cent. A new working paper from European Central Bank senior economist Philip Vermeulen claims 30 percent is a lowball estimate of the net worth of the nation's elite because wealthier households are less likely to respond to surveys about their assets than lower-income families. [...]" 

Commentary: "Sanction Spiral Hits London, Conforms to Putin’s Master Plan" [07/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "London is, according to Bloomberg, “the undisputed foreign hub for Russian business.” That’s where Russian companies hire law firms and investment bankers to handle takeovers. That’s where rich Russians like to live with their families or just hang out and have fun. That’s where they like to spend lots of money. But the sanction spiral has already – and very inadvertently – accomplished one of the big goals, not of President Barak Obama or Chancellor Angela Merkel, but of President Vladimir Putin: keep Russian money in Russia, and perhaps even bring back some of the money that has wandered astray over the years to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Capital flight, particularly from the vast underground economy, is one of Russia’s most pressing economic problems. And Putin’s angle of attack has been, well, brutal in its own way: The spectacular collapse of the Cypriot banks last year took down much of the “black money” Russians and their mailbox companies – there were over 40,000 of these outfits in Cyprus – had on deposit there. Instead of bailing out the cesspool of corruption that these banks were, or even the nation with another emergency loan, as Russia had already done before, he just smiled and let it happen. And much of the money of his compatriots was allowed to evaporate. Perhaps he’d read Global Financial Integrity’s report – designed to advise the Russian government on these issues – that called Cyprus “a Money Laundering Machine for Russian criminals.” And so the sanction spiral against Russian oligarchs and their companies fits neatly into his overall long-term design. It includes the de-dollarization of world trade – an endeavor where he found new friends even in France, after French megabank BNP-Paribas agreed to pay a $8.9 billion penalty to the US Government. China has been working furiously to elevate its own currency to a world-trade currency to rival the dollar and the euro, though it still has a long ways to go. Putin has been eager to switch the oil and gas trade with China away from the dollar, and progress is being made on a daily basis. And it includes getting Russian companies and rich individuals, by hook or crook, to leave at least some of their money in Russia and perhaps even repatriate some of the money now invested elsewhere so that it can do its magic for the economic development of Russia, and propel the country forward. Once in Russia, the money would presumably remain more accessible to the Russian government, which these very oligarchs have seen is not a great situation to be in, if they end up on the wrong site of Putin. Russia’s legal system can be a hazard to their health and wealth, and banks can be iffy. Hence the prevailing wisdom to send overseas every ruble, dollar, or euro that isn’t totally nailed down. So Putin has been pushing Russian companies to cut back on doing business with overseas banks and bring some of that business home.[...]" 

Commentary: "Massive Gold Flow From West To East" [07/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "More and more gold is flowing towards the emerging economic powers in Asia. We do not conclude this based on just anecdotal evidence, but also based on the Chinese gold imports through Hong Kong and the increasing flow of gold out of Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In April, we published a chart of the gold flows in and out of Switzerland from the first quarter of this year, based on new data published by the Swiss Customs Administration… The gold trade data from Switzerland is not new, but this is the first year in which the import and export figures are available for each country individually. This gave us the opportunity to perform a more detailed analysis on the Swiss gold trade. [...]"  

Max Keiser: "American Financial Quagmire Deepening" [07/13/14] [43:39] "Alex invites economist and television broadcaster Max Keiser to discuss the dollar’s slow-motion collapse and other signs the economy is sinking under Obama’s watch. [...]"  

Commentary:: "Blythe Masters’ Ex-Husband Launches Bitcoin Hedge Fund From The Island Of Jersey" [07/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Blythe Masters is perhaps the most maligned human being on earth by silver investors due to suspicions of JP Morgan’s manipulation in the silver market. Well she’s back in the news, but it has nothing to do with silver. Rather, the news relates to the fact that her ex-husband and commodities traders, Daniel Masters, has just launched a Bitcoin hedge fund from the island of Jersey, a British Crown dependency. We learn from Newsweek that: Daniel Masters, a 50-year-old veteran commodities trader, started working for some of the largest companies in the world right out of university, trading in London, New York and Zug, Switzerland, for JPMorgan Chase and Phibro before moving on to the New York Mercantile Exchange, a short walk from Wall Street. By all appearances, it was your standard Wall Street career. Then, in 2008, he moved to a tiny island off the coast of France called Jersey, which this week opened its doors to the island’s first fully regulated Bitcoin hedge fund—run by none other than Masters himself—as part of a push to create a nascent Silicon Valley in the heart of the English Channel, replete with government-funded entrepreneurial hubs and startup accelerators. No sooner did word of the offshore Bitcoin fund get out than Reddit spluttered to life, devoting two pages, here and here, to debating whether the virtual currency’s baby steps into the institutional investing realm is really good news or bad news for Bitcoin, whose meteoric rise has thus far been mostly successful in eschewing traditional finance. Masters, co-principal of Global Advisors Jersey Ltd.—which trades up to $2 billion of energy and equities—is the latest of a handful of fund managers trotting out new Bitcoin investment funds in recent months, as investors clamor for innovative ways to skim the froth off the digital currency’s impressive, if often unpredictable, price pops and drops and, occasionally, collapses. [...]"  Related: See the link at the top of this panel entitled "Creation Of Credit Derivatives" about how Blythe Masters helped bring down the system through greed and deception.

MSM: "Norway’s Financial Sector Under Massive Cyber Attack, Anonymous Claims ‘Responsibility’" [07/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Norway’s top financial institutions came under massive cyber attacks on Tuesday. Anonymous Norway appears to be behind this attack. The attack on Norway’s top financial institutions/banks, such as Danske Bank, Norges Bank, Sparebank and renowned insurance agencies Gjensidige and Storebrand had their services disrupted. Other than banks, a telecom company and three national airlines also came under attack. In an interview with Dagens Næringsliv business newspaper, Evry’s security team said: “The scale is not the largest we have seen, but it is the first time it has hit so many central players in the finance sector in Norway.” Evry provides IT services to some of the companies affected by the cyber attack. [...]"  

Commentary: "The State Of The World In One Horrifying Chart" [07/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "All-time high stock valuations – caused by Central banks covertly buying half the world’s equities. All-time low yields, caused by Central banks covertly (and overtly) monetizing every toxic bond imaginable. Housing bubbles galore, caused by Central banks printing money and handing it to Wall Street. Record low market volatility, caused by Central banks not allowing weakness. Record Rolls Royce sales, whilst Wal-Mart sales plunge and social unrest abounds. Record real inflation, plunging real income, and bottomless real unemployment, whilst government propaganda trumpets “recovery.” And last but not least, a raging, irreversible global currency war, with billions of people in utter rebellion against a “reserve currency” they know has been so abused, it has brought the world to its breaking point. What could possibly go wrong? [...]"

MSM: "Malware That Fleeced Banks For $100 Million Returns A Month After U.S. Crackdown" [07/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Malicious software used to steal millions from bank accounts has re-emerged a month after U.S. authorities broke up a major hacker network using the scheme, security researchers say. The security firm Malcovery said it identified a new trojan based on the Gameover Zeus malware, which officials said infected up to one million computers in 12 countries, and was blamed in the theft of more than $100 million. “This discovery indicates that the criminals responsible for Gameover’s distribution do not intend to give up on this botnet even after suffering one of the most expansive botnet takeovers/takedowns in history,” Malcovery said in a blog post Thursday. By infecting large numbers of computers, the cyber criminals were able to control the devices to steal passwords and send out emails to further spread the infection. The news came as the Department of Justice said it had made progress in rooting out the malware infections. In a status report filed in court, officials said that “all or nearly all of the active computers infected with Gameover Zeus have been liberated from the criminals’ control and are now communicating exclusively with the substitute server established pursuant to court order.” A blog post by the security firm Emsisoft said the new variant may be harder to combat, because it is using “an evasive technique that allows the botnet to hide its distributive phishing sites behind a constantly shuffling list of infected, proxy computers.” Gameover Zeus, which first appeared in September 2011, stole bank information and other confidential details from victims. The FBI blamed the Gameover Zeus botnet for the theft of more than $100 million, obtained by using the stolen bank data and then “emptying the victims’ bank accounts and diverting the money to themselves.” [...]"

MSM: "US Government Makes At Least $100 Billion In Improper Payments Every Year" [07/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "In news that probably won’t surprise anyone, the government has revealed that it makes roughly $100 billion in improper payments to people who may not be entitled to them – every year. The improper payments came in the forms of tax credits to families that didn’t qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs and medical payments for treatments that might not have been necessary. In 2013, improper payments totaled approximately $106 billion – and experts say that figure could actually be higher. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla, chairs the House Oversight subcommittee on government operations. He told the AP the amounts are “staggering”: Nobody knows exactly how much taxpayer money is wasted through improper payments, but the federal government’s own astounding estimate is more than half a trillion dollars over the past five years. The fact is, improper payments are staggeringly high in programs designed to help those most in need – children, seniors and low-income families. The government-run website Payment Accuracy explains how improper payments occur: funds go to the wrong recipient; the right recipient receives the incorrect amount of funds (including overpayments and underpayments); documentation is not available to support a payment; or the recipient uses funds in an improper manner.  [...] The government claims most errors are made unintentionally and do not represent fraud. Guess which source of improper payments is the largest? According to agency estimates, the winner is government health care programs: [...]  Perhaps the federal government-operated Payment Accuracy website said it best: All improper payments degrade the integrity of government programs and compromise citizens’ trust in government. [...]"   

Commentary: "A “Perfect Storm” Could Be Forming Right Here" [07/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "In the relative calm that is the market for U.S. Treasuries, a sense of unease over a vital cog in the financial system’s plumbing is beginning to rise. The Federal Reserve’s bond purchases combined with demand from banks to meet tightened regulatory requirements is making it harder for traders to easily borrow and lend certain desired securities in the $1.6 trillion-a-day market for repurchase agreements. That’s causing such trades to go uncompleted at some of the highest rates since the financial crisis. Disruptions in so-called repos, which Wall Street’s biggest banks rely on for their day-to-day financing needs, are another unintended consequence of extraordinary central-bank policies that pulled the economy out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. They also belie the stability projected by bond yields at about record lows. “You have a little bit of a perfect storm here,” said Stanley Sun, a New York-based interest-rate strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc., one of the 22 primary dealers that bid at Treasury auctions, in a telephone interview June 30. Smoothly functioning repo trading is vital to the health of markets. The fall of Bear Stearns Cos., which was taken over by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2008 after an emergency bailout orchestrated by the Fed, and the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., whose bankruptcy in September of that year plunged markets into a crisis, were hastened after they lost access to such financing. [...]"  

MSM: "US May End Controversial Five-Year ‘Easy Money’ Program In October" [07/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "The US Federal Reserve said it could end the controversial five-year-old ‘quantitative easing’ program that has pumped about $4 trillion into the US economy as early as October, if there are no signs the economy is still in trouble. [...]"  

Commentary: "BRICS Bank, Ukraine Likely To Dominate 2014 BRICS Summit" [07/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "The annual BRICS Summit in the Brazilian cities of Brasilia and Fortaleza on July 14-15 comes at a time in which the global political scene is arguably more unsettled than at any other point in the past 20 years. Each of the BRICS member states brings to the Summit very different issues and concerns. Russia, for example, is in an open standoff with the West over Ukraine; this impasse risks turning into a reprise of the Cold War. Russia’s annexation of Crimea has been greeted with apoplexy in Washington DC and in many formerly communist countries in Eastern Europe. Barack Obama, who came to office promising to “reset” relations with Russia, is under extremely heavy political pressure to impose a sweeping sanctions regime. Cooperation between Russia and the West – never very large to begin with – has shrunk to almost nothing and now consists almost entirely of limited work on nuclear weapons and space exploration (i.e. what it did before Obama came to office). The Kremlin has also been troubled by its waning economy which is currently going through a protracted period of weakness and slow growth.[...]"  Related: See below

MSM: "BRICS Countries Near Development Bank Deal To Rival IMF, WB" [07/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "The emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are a couple of days from agreeing the $10 billion BRICS development bank, as well as a $100 billion currency pool. It could challenge global lenders like the IMF and World Bank. The bank will be called the New Development Bank, and will provide finance for infrastructure projects. Its creation will meet the needs of emerging and poorer economies according to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. In a speech Wednesday he confirmed the funding would be divided equally, Russia will contribute $2 billion in initial capital for the BRICS bank over seven years. The bank will start with $10 billion in cash and $40 billion in guarantees. The $50 billion will be eventually built up to $100 billion. The bank will be able to start lending in 2016, the minister says. The final decisions concerning the creation of the bank are expected to be made by the BRICS leaders at a summit in Brazil on 15-16 July. Apart from the BRICS countries other UN members may also participate in the bank’s development, but their total share won’t exceed 45 percent. The location of the headquarters is still not decided, but Siluanov said the two favorite cities are Shanghai and New Delhi. BRICS leaders are also expected to sign an agreement to establish an additional $100 billion fund to steady the currency markets.  We have reached an agreement that, in the current conditions of capital volatility, it is important for our countries to have this buffer a so-called “mini-IMF”- a financial organization which could quickly react to capital outflow, providing liquidity in hard currency, in particular in US dollars,” Siluanov said.  The need arose after the long inflow of cheap dollars which fueled a boom in the BRICS countries for a decade reversed into a sharp outflow in 2013. Even though the new bank will be a small rival to the World Bank which has capital of $223 billion, or the International Monetary Fund, it will serve as a reminder to the US of the shift in the global economy towards the developing world. Currently BRICS countries make up over 40 percent of the world’s population and account for more than 25 percent of global GDP. [...]"  

Commentary: "Vatican Bank Profits Plunge Following Clean-Up" [07/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "It seems not even The Pope's private bank can make money when its only allowed to do it the legal way. As The FT reports, profits at the Vatican bank plunged last year after thousands of accounts were closed as part of an overhaul of the scandal-ridden institution. The Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), now has 17,419 customers, down from 18,900 in 2012 and net profit fell from EUR86.6m in 2012 to EUR2.9m last year. So - in sum - accounts fell 8% and profits collapsed 97% - is it any wonder Pope Francis plans to replace the board and all the executives at the 'bank'. Having shut all Embassy accounts to halt money laundering, The FT reports, [...]"

Interviews: "There Are No Reasons For The Dollar To Be World’s Reserve Currency" [07/09/14] Printer Friendly Version Video   [6:11] "The more the US antagonizes the world with spying or huge fines on foreign banks, the quicker the process of abandoning the dollar as a reserve currency will be unraveled, Peter Schiff, the president of investment house Euro Pacific Capital, told RT. [...]" 

Interviews: "America Using The Dollar As A Weapon" [07/09/14] Printer Friendly Version   "The US mixes trade with politics using the dollar as a weapon in sanctions against Iran and Russia, trying to restrict these nations’ access to the US dollar, which creates mass imbalances, Chairman of the Bruges Group think tank, Robert Oulds, told RT. The French government has hit out against the hegemony of the dollar in international transactions after the country’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, was fined $9 billion. Moreover, starting on January 1, 2015, the bank will not be able to carry out dollar-based transactions for one year. BNP was punished for helping such counties as Iran, Sudan, and Cuba to process $30 billion in transactions which are illegal under US law, since they breach US sanctions. Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, called for a “rebalancing” of the currencies used for global payments, saying the BNP Paribas case should “make us realize the necessity of using a variety of currencies.” [...]"  

Date With Destiny:  "Another High Level JP Morgan Executive Found Dead Under Suspicious Circumstances" [07/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Morris County Prosecutor's office and Jefferson police said Sunday the pair had been found at their Log Road home early that morning, after police responded to a report of two unconscious adults. There was no evidence of outside intrusion and no threat to the community, officials said. Alita Knott was most recently a sales associate with Coldwell Banker's Chester/Hackettstown office, according to her biography on the company's website. According to Julian Knott's LinkedIn profile, he worked for JPMorgan Chase for several years, most recently as the executive director of its Global Network Operations Center in Whippany. Prior to that, he held various IT positions with JPMorgan Chase and other companies. Staffers at the Whippany office and a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase's corporate headquarters declined comment to NJ.com Monday [...]"  Note: Nothing suspicious about this one ... they clearly took themselves out. This is the 15th financial services executive death in recent months... Related: "JPMorgan Executive "Blasts Wife, Kills Self" With Shotgun" Printer Friendly Version  

Buffoonery: "Global Economic Activity To Grow In 2015 – IMF" MSM [07/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Global economic activity is expected to strengthen in the second half of the year and accelerate in 2015, inspired by China and US growth, according to the head of the IMF. [...]"  Note: Repetitive, inane, meaningless economic gobbledegook spewed by IMF head Christine Lagarde show that the Western banking cabal is completely out of touch with reality. Also, Christine Lagarde appears like a sequential who is new to the female experience - very masculine mannerisms, look, etc. ... just an educated guess. Related: "IMF Chief Signals Downgrade To Global Growth Outlook" Printer Friendly Version "International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde indicated a slight reduction to the institution’s global growth outlook as investment remains subdued. The global economic outlook to be released later this month would be “slightly different” from previous forecasts, Lagarde said at the Cercle des Economists conference in Aix-en-Provence, France on Sunday. Nonetheless, she said the global activity is expected to gain momentum in the second half of the year and to accelerate further in 2015 after an "unexpectedly" weak start to 2014. [...]" 

Interviews: "IMF Pushes Ukraine To “Voluntarily Committing Suicide" [07/08/14] Printer Friendly Version   "Western support will allow more IMF and European lending to prop the Ukrainian currency so the Ukrainian oligarchs can move their money safely to British and US banks, economist and author Michael Hudson told RT’s Truthseeker. [...]" 

MSM: "This Could Be The Last Straw” 90% Of China Loan Guarantors Bankrupt" [07/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "In Wenzhou – dubbed the capital of China’s private businesses – nearly 90 per cent of loan guarantors have failed since the start of the credit crisis arising from the underground banking system, according to the media. As SCMP reports, although their services are critical for the economic system and the millions of small firms – that provide the majority of the mainland’s jobs – hundreds of loan guarantee groups are creaking under the weight of bad loans and are simply unable to bear any more. “It could become the last straw that breaks the camel’s back,” exclaims the head of a local law firm, “without the privately owned small businesses, China’s economy won’t have a future.” [...]" 

Corbett Report: "Century of Enslavement: The History of The Federal Reserve " [07/07/14] [1:30:11] "In this feature-length documentary film, The Corbett Report explores important questions and pulls back the curtain on America's central bank. [...]"  

MSM: "Gene Simmons (Israeli-Born Chaim Witz) Defends Bankster Elite" [07/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "Kiss frontman Gene Simmons is defending the bankster one percent. He says the country would fall apart in short order if not for banksters and corporatists. “The 1 percent pays 80 percent of all taxes,” the rocker told UT San Diego. “Fifty percent of the population of the U.S. pays no taxes. The 1 percent provides all the jobs for everybody else. If the 1 percent didn’t exist, there would be chaos and the American economy would drop dead.” Simmons is himself a millionaire who does not approach the one percent in wealth. He has a net worth of $300 million. In fact, it is the upper echelon of the one percent, the banksters and corporatists, who are responsible for looting the economy and exporting U.S. jobs to slave labor gulags in China and other authoritarian hellholes. They are primarily responsible for economic chaos and misery. The upper echelon of the one percent created the Federal Reserve, the bankster cartel responsible for engineering the asset bubble economy now destroying America. Gene, however, seems blissfully unaware of this. All told, he is a wanna-be corporatist who has nothing but contempt for average working people and the middle class, including those who buy his products and attend his concerts.[...]"  

Interviews: "The Criminal Banking Cartel Will Soon Be History— Karen Hudes" [07/05/14] [45:24] "Karen Hudes, the acting general counsel of the world bank joins us to discuss the impending collapse of the international criminal banking cartel which Karen says is “imminent”. We discuss the worldwide bond fraud, the 9/11 false flag event, and the fact that Karen says China isn’t bankrupting the fed, we are. The American people and a u.s. Debt-free currency will rise from the ashes after the federal reserve and the federal reserve note collapse – and that day is right around the corner. [...]" 

Interviews: "Approaching Implosion Of The Western Banking System" [07/03/14] [59:01] "Jim Willie joins Rick Wiles and TruNews in today’s newly released video report regarding the approaching implosion of the Western banking system, the disappearance of huge quantities of gold bars, a possible forthcoming foreclosure of the US Federal reserve by the Chinese, a plan put forth by the Saudi’s to end the petrodollar and a plan by the Russians and Chinese to end the reign of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Wiles introduces Willie shortly after the 1 minute 30 second mark for a totally uncensored conversation about what’s really going on in the world around us. [...]"  

Commentary: "The Cloward And Piven Strategy To Bankrupt America" [07/03/14] [46:03] "Dr. Stan Monteith joins the show to explain how the elite want to reshape society into serving those in power and how this idea is as old as Plato's Republic from antiquity. [...]" 

Commentary: "IMF Advocates Taking Pensions & Extending Maturities Of Gov’t Debt To Prevent Redemption" [07/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "I have gone on record that the most dangerous organization is the now French led IMF with Christine Lagarde at the helm, which has presented a concept report that debt cuts for over-indebted states are uncompromising and are to be performed more effectively in the future by defaulting on retirement accounts held in life insurance, mutual funds and other types of pension schemes, or arbitrarily extending debt perpetually so you cannot redeem. Yes you read correctly, The new IMF paper is described in great detail exactly how to now allow the private sector, which has invested in government bonds, to be expropriated to pay for the national debts of the socialist governments. I have been warning that there is an idea that has been running around behind the curtain that the national debt of the USA could be settled by usurping all pension funds in the country. Here is a remarkable blueprint that throws all previous considerations concerning the purchase of government bonds over the cliff. [...]" 

Commentary: "JP Morgan Bankruptcy Lawyer Killed In Hit & Run" [07/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "The banker suicide saga has just reached a new level as a top level JP Morgan attorney has been exterminated in a hit & run incident involving a minivan. JPM attorney Joseph Giampapa was killed over the weekend when he was struck by a minivan in a hit and run incident. Giampapa was reportedly hit and thrown 150 ft and was pronounced dead at the scene. No charges have been filed. It gets better: Giampapa was JP Morgan’s top commercial bankruptcy lawyer (SVP). [...]"  Related: "Profiteering on Banker Deaths: Regulator Says Public Has No Right to Details" Printer Friendly Version "A man with a long history of keeping big bank secrets safe from the public’s prying eyes has denied the appeal filed by Wall Street On Parade to obtain specifics about the worker deaths upon which JPMorgan Chase pockets the life insurance money each year. According to its financial filings, as of December 31, 2013, JPMorgan held $17.9 billion in Bank- Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) assets, a dark corner of the insurance market that allows banks to take out life insurance policies on their workers, secretly pocket the death benefits, and receive generous tax perks subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer. According to experts, JPMorgan could potentially hold upwards of $179 billion of life insurance in force on its current and former workers, based on the size of its BOLI assets. The man who denied Wall Street On Parade’s appeal is Daniel P. Stipano, who told us by letter on June 20, 2014 that he had 450 pages of responsive material but it was not going to be released to us or the public. (See OCC Response to Appeal from Wall Street On Parade Re JPMorgan Banker Death Bets.) [...]" 

Commentary: "Gazprom Ready To Drop Dollar, Settle China Contracts In Yuan Or Rubles" [07/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "In other words just as the US may or may not be preparing to export crude - a step which would weaken the dollar's reserve status as traditional US oil trading partners will need to find other import customers who pay in non-USD currencies - the world's two other superpowers are preparing to respond. And once the bilateral trade in Rubles or Renminbi is established, the rest of the energy world will piggyback. But wait, there's more. Because only now does Gazprom appear to be unveiling all those "tangents" that were expected to hit the tape in May. Among Kruglov's other revelations were that Gazprom is in talks on a Hong Kong listing and is weighing the issuance of Yuan bonds. Gazprom is also considering selling bonds in Singapore dollars, the CFO said at briefing in Moscow. Wait, you mean that by alienating and embargoing Russia from western (USD, EUR-denominated) funding markets, it has pushed the country to turn to its pivoting partner, China and thus further cementing the framework for the next Eurasian strategic alliance?  But wait, there's still more, because it is not just Gazprom. As the PBOC announced overnight, PBOC Assistant Governor Jin Qi and Russian central bank Deputy Chairman Dmitry Skobelkin led a meeting held yesterday and today in Shanghai. The meeting discussed cooperating on project and trade financing using local currencies. The meeting discussed cooperation in bank card, insurance and financial supervision sectors.In other words, central bankers of China and Russia discussed how to replace the dollar with Rubles and Yuan. In retrospect it will be very fitting that the crowning legacy of Obama's disastrous reign, both domestically and certainly internationally, will be to force the world's key ascendant superpowers (we certainly don't envision broke, insolvent Europe among them) to drop the Petrodollar and end the reserve status of the US currency.[...]" Related: "Russia Reveals "Plan B": Gazprom Says Gas Transit Via Ukraine May Be Stopped Completely" Printer Friendly Version "A few days ago, when we wrote our "explainer" on the need for Russia to have an alternative pathway for its gas, one which bypasses Ukraine entirely and as the current "South Stream" framework is set up, crosses the Black Sea and enters Bulgaria before passing Serbia and Hungary on the way to the Central European energy hub located in Baumgarten, Austria, we said that "one short month after Putin concluded the Holy Grail deal with Beijing, he not only managed to formalize his conquest of Europe's energy needs with yet another pipeline, one which completely bypasses Ukraine (for numerous reasons but mostly one: call it a Plan B), but scored a massive political victory by creating a fissure in the heart of the Eurozone, after Austria openly defied its European peers and sided with Putin." SEE MAP

MSM: "China Finds $15 Billion of Loans Backed by Fake Gold Trades" [06/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "China is suffering from a massive credibility hit today as a scam to extract credit from Chinese banks by repeatedly pledging the same collateral of gold, and other commodities, over and over and over again, unwinds. China’s Chief Auditor has identified $15.2 billion in loans backed by falsified gold, according to the National Audit Office’s website. It has been estimated that upwards of $80 Billion was advanced in gold backed loans alone, according to Goldman Sachs, as quoted in a Bloomberg article today. If such large sums were pledged, and we are only now understanding the scope of this fraud, what possible effect could it have had on the gold market. In absolute terms and over the long term the effects might be minimal. [...]"  

Max Keiser: "Russell Brand Talks ‘Revolution’ With Max & Stacy" [06/29/14]   [25:46] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are joined in the first half by Russell Brand to talk about the austerity headlines. They chat about the UK government’s expanding debt and growing deficit, despite the alleged austerity and GDP expanding thanks to heroin addiction and prostitution. Russell learns about the water cannons bought for use against anti-austerity protests which the government itself will stoke. Finally, they talk about the people revolting as they must do when the social contract has been broken: and crypto currencies are one of the most visible revolts. In the second half, Max interviews Russell Brand further about his independent media outlet; they discuss revolution and spiritual journeys. [...]" 

MSM: "Putin Fires Warning Shot - Russia May Bar Firms Using Foreign Banks" [06/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "With the cease-fire on shaky ground in Ukraine, and the ongoing proxy war between the US and Russia growing in intensity (once again ignited in Syria); it seems Putin has fired a significant warning shot across the bow of the west. Reuters reports that Russia is considering banning state companies and other strategically important firms from holding accounts at foreign-owned banks. As Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger notes if this actually happens, it would be a very big deal, and certainly an escalation in the friction between these two geopolitically crucial nations. Under the proposals, all state-owned companies would be allowed to have accounts only at Russian state-owned banks, or at privately-owned Russian banks with capital of at least 16.5 billion roubles ($483 million), Kommersant reported.  The restrictions would also apply to privately-owned companies that were significant for Russia’s defence or security, as defined by an existing law on foreign investment in strategic companies. “Definitely this would decrease the attractiveness for foreign investors in the banking sector, because a large part of Russian companies are deemed strategic and this is increasingly so,” said Vladimir Osakovsky, chief Russia economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Let’s see if it will be approved or not. I think it is unlikely because it is a negative move from the investment climate perspective.” Russia has been mulling steps to reduce its vulnerability to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, which has raised fears that Western countries could freeze Russian assets abroad.[...]"  Note: A ban for government officials was instituted in the recent past ... now Russian companies will be similarly restrained.

Concepts and Practices: "Russia: Presidential Bill Bans Foreign Bank Accounts For Civil Servants" MSM [06/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "Vladimir Putin’s draft law forbids all staff involved in state administration and strategic industries from holding foreign bank accounts. The draft also requires income reporting for state employees of all levels. The new bill published on the State Duma website on Tuesday continues the anti-corruption drive and the tendency for the ‘nationalization of the elites’ that started in 2013 and so far has resulted in the law that bans top state officials, both elected and appointed, from holding bank accounts abroad or owning foreign-issued shares and bonds. The restrictions also touched upon heads of major state owned corporations. The presidential draft broadens the list of those who fall under restrictions to all “involved in preparing the decisions concerning the sovereignty and national security of the Russian Federation” and all people who occupy state service positions in the Central Bank and state corporations, funds and similar organizations. The exact list of positions that will be subject to restrictions will be drafted after the parliament passes the framework bill. Civil servants will also have to report their spending if the price of their acquisitions, be it real estate, cars or securities, exceeds the three-year combined income for themselves and their spouses. Additionally, any candidate for a post in a state agency or a state owned company would have to report his/her income and financial obligations. Other anti-corruption amendments include a list of remands and sanctions that could be levied on police officers for poorly executing their duties, up to dismissal ‘caused by a loss of trust’ – a formula that means that the fired officer lied in his/her income declaration, possessed foreign securities or bank accounts, managed a business entity or ran a foreign NGO or its Russian affiliate. The new rules have already caused major changes in Russian politics – major entrepreneurs with international businesses either had to sell their assets, like deputy Moscow Mayor Maksim Liksutov, or give up their political career, like billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has stepped down as the chairman of the legislature of the remote region of Chukotka. [...]"  

Commentary: "Congress to Grill Export-Import Bank Chairman Over Corruption Charges" [06/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "On Thursday, Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank, will be grilled by members of the House Financial Services Committee over charges of corruption and mismanagement at the 80-year old agency. His task to defend the agency appears formidable, especially with its charter coming up for renewal at the end of September. On Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported that four Ex-Im employees have either been suspended or fired over the last few months as a result of “investigations into allegations of gifts and kickbacks.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Heritage Foundation reported on the same day that there have been at least 74 cases of “integrity” investigations by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the agency, plus dozens of other cases of outright fraud that have been referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. Not bad for an agency that employs just 402 people. Hochberg’s problems are compounded by the committee’s chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who says that the agency deserves to have its charter withdrawn because of its reputation as a funnel for taxpayer dollars to large companies as a form of corporate welfare. In addition, the newly-minted Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who replaced Eric Cantor in a surprise upset last week, has also weighed in against the agency, saying that the bank ought to be shut down its operations are “something that the private sector [is] able to do.” [...] Created by an executive order issued by then-President Franklin Roosevelt in 1945, the Ex-Im Bank was established as an agency of the executive branch. Its task, allegedly, was to offer financing to assist in the export of American products and services where private financing wasn’t available due to excessive credit risk. The agency’s stated goal at inception was “to aid in financing and to facilitate exports and imports and the exchange of commodities between the United States and other Nations or the agencies or nationals thereof.” [...]"  Note: Hochberg, a native of the greater New York metropolitan area, served as chair of the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent lesbian and gay rights group. In the April 2007 issue of Out Magazine he was ranked the 15th most powerful gay person in America. Hochberg was a bundler of contributions for the Obama campaign; some bundlers collected $500,000 for the campaign. Hochberg was an Agency Review team leader for the SBA on then-President-elect Obama's transition team. Obama nominated Hochberg to be Chairman and President of Ex-Im Bank on April 20, 2009. The U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination by unanimous consent on May 14, 2009, for a term ending on January 20, 2013. He was sworn in on May 21, 2009. Ref  Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, is also a Board Member, ex officio, with Wanda Felton, First Vice President and Vice Chair. 

MSM: "U.S. Is 'Very Stingy' Toward The Poor" [06/28/14] [7:21]  "Former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder talks about the U.S. economy, social policy and wealth inequality. Blinder speaks with Alix Steel on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz also speaks.  [...]"  

MSM: "Collapse: -2.9% GDP Growth QTR 1 With 0% Interest Rates" [06/27/14] Printer Friendly Version  Video  [8:29] "The Commerce Department said on Wednesday gross domestic product fell at a 2.9 percent annual rate, the economy's worst performance in five years, instead of the 1.0 percent pace it had reported last month. Growth has now been revised down by a total of 3.0 percentage points since the government's first estimate was published in April, which had the economy expanding at a 0.1 percent rate.[...]"  Note: Take away the war business, and there would be a larger vacuum created instantly. Related: "Historic Drop In GDP With Inflation Rising. Systemic Collapse Coming" [10:08] "The US has just suffered the “worst Q1 GDP since recession,” with a revision downward of negative 2.9 percent, from January to March, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, making it the “weakest quarter for the U.S. economy since the Great Recession”. There is no recovery, there has been no recovery, there has been an “illusion” of recovery using manipulated numbers and schemes in order to prevent the general public from understanding that the meltdown is here, now. Of course the White blames ….. "the weather", a notion which was succinctly debunked by Stephen Moore from The Wall Street, with one simple tweet. Exports dropped by 8.9 percent, real sales dropped by 1.3 percent, and business investment dropped as well. The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment [...]" | "Krauthammer Blasts Obama Admin over Q1 GDP" MSM [7:47] |"Message In The Q1 GDP Shock: Massive Windfalls For The 1%; Hardly 1% Growth For The Masses" Printer Friendly Version "... So based on actual inflation, the Q1 GDP number was negative 3-5% at best. Moreover, if you use a non-governmental measure of inflation, such as the Billion Prices Project (BPP), the picture is even more foreboding. As the Consumer Metric Institute noted, based on the BPP inflation of 3.91% in Q1, real GDP would have clocked in at a deep, recessionary -5.6%.  [...]"   

MSM: "Bank Of England Admits Manipulating Markets" [06/27/14] [3:30] "In a select committee “grilling”, Bank of England governor Mark Carney in a rambling way, admits the Bank Of England are manipulating markets, releasing information in a way to get “the market moving” in “the direction the BOE wants”… Once again confirming that the Bank Of England are the biggest financial market manipulators in the UK. Recorded from BBC Parliament, May 2014 Inflation Report, 24 June 2014.[...]"

Interviews: "EU Is Completely Politically And Economically Irrational Dealing With Russia" [06/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "Energy policy in Europe is a complete and utter ludicrous mess, while its politicians are ultimately incontinent and incompetent when it comes to economic and energy policies, global financial markets expert Patrick Young told RT. [...]"  

Legal Case: "Morgan Chase Accused of Massive False Claims" [06/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "J.P. Morgan Chase Bank falsely claimed that it had forgiven thousands of consumer mortgage debts that the bank already had sold, to try to shirk its responsibility to a consumer-relief settlement with Uncle Sam, the United States and 19 states claim in a recently unsealed year-old case. The federal government, 19 states and the District of Columbia sued J.P. Morgan in Federal Court under the False Claims Act on May 6, 2013, claiming the bank got credit without providing consumer relief. The realtor, Laurence Schneider, claims he bought thousands of mortgages from J.P. Morgan before the bank sent letters to those consumers, claiming that their debts had been forgiven. The complaint cites a consent judgment entered against J.P. Morgan after the government's 2012 complaint against the banking industry for fraudulent and unfair mortgage practices "which cost consumers, the federal government, and states billions of dollars." The banks settled in April 2012, and part of the terms of that settlement was J.P. Morgan had to dish out $4 billion in consumer relief in the form of loan forgiveness and refinancing. According to the complaint, the bank gets credits toward its obligation by forgiving and modifying loans. [...]"

Exposé: "Greedy Bankers Admission: "Climate Change Policy" Could Boost Global GDP $2.6tn – World Bank" [06/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "Astute climate policies have the potential to add $2.6 trillion to global output each year, if governments continue making ‘climate-smart’ decisions, according to a new World Bank report released on Tuesday. Fighting climate change will reduce the risk of economic instability, and in turn spur the world economy, the report says, citing new jobs, increased crop production, as well as better public health. Researchers came up with an annual GDP growth figure of $1.8-2.6 trillion by analyzing the effects of policy change legislation in six regions- the US, China, the EU, India, Mexico, and Brazil, and then measure the impact on GDP. Enacting climate change policies will reduce waste, save energy, lessen premature deaths, as well as many other positive effects, researchers found. If these countries continue on their set course, by 2030 8.5 gigatons of CO2 equivalent material and 16 billion kilowatt hours of energy will be saved, which is the equivalent of taking 2 billion cars off the road. Crop production will increase by 32 million tons, and 94,000 premature deaths caused by air pollution will be prevented annually. “These policies make economic sense,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. [...]"  Note: Of course, it's all based on fraudulent manipulative statements, and there is nothing anyone can really 'do' about anything with the biosphere ... so that's fraudulent too ... why do they do these kind of things? A comment from an article discussing the GMO dynamic, which ALSO has to do with NATURE: "Corporations as the dominant institution shaped by capitalist patriarchy thrive on eco-apartheid. They thrive on the Cartesian legacy of dualism which puts nature against humans. It defines nature as female and passively subjugated. Corporatocentrism is thus also androcentric – a patriarchal construction. The false universalism of man as conqueror and owner of the Earth has led to the technological hubris of geo-engineering, genetic engineering, and nuclear energy. It has led to the ethical outrage of owning life forms through patents, water through privatization, the air through carbon trading. It is leading to appropriation of the biodiversity that serves the poor.” And therein lies the true enemy: the system that facilitates such plunder, which is presided over by well-funded and influential foreign foundations and powerful financial-corporate entities and their stooges in the IMF, World Bank and WTO."

Commentary: "The Guerrilla Economist: On Demise Of US Dollar As Reserve Currency & Collapse Of US Economy" [06/25/14] [1:38:56] "In this great interview V: The Guerrilla Economist shares his excellent insights into the rapidly developing demise of the US dollar as World Reserve Currency, the death of the Petrodollar, the demise of the US Middle Class and much more... [...]"  

Commentary: "Germany Still Wants Gold Back – Repatriation Campaign Continues " [06/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bloomberg reported yesterday that the German campaign to repatriate German gold from the U.S. has ended. The Bloomberg story was headlined ‘German Gold Stays in New York in Rebuff to Euro Doubters’ and the first sentence was ‘Germany has decided its gold is safe in American hands’. However, the leader of the German gold repatriation movement, “Repatriate our Gold,” Peter Boehringer immediately refuted the Bloomberg article and posted in the comment section at the bottom of the Bloomberg article: [...]"  Related: "It’s 'Official' – German Gold Staying In New York At The Federal Reserve After All" Printer Friendly Version  

MSM: "Economic Power Shifts East: Chinese Yuan Replacing Dollar As World Reserve Currency" [06/23/14] [14:01] "As predicted by Jim Willie, Rob Kirby, V: The Guerrilla Economist and others, the world is changing dramatically from an Economic and geopolitical perspective. As European Financial powerhouse like the City of London line up to become clearing houses for the Chinese Yuan, it naturally follows that they have seen the handwriting on the wall for the US dollar as World Reserve Currency. Just as London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris and other Europeans vie for Chinese business, they will shun the US$. [...]"  

Commentary: "The Global Corporatocracy Is Nearing Completion" [06/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Quietly, subtly, almost imperceptibly, the rules governing global trade and financial markets are changing. It is not happening by accident, but by wilful design. Despite the enormous impact it will have on all our lives, the public is not being consulted on any aspects of the process. Most people are not even aware it is happening. The main driver of this change are the bilateral and multilateral trade and investment treaties being negotiated in complete secrecy and behind closed doors between corporate lobbyists, free trade activists and our own elected “representatives” (a term I use in the loosest possible sense, especially given the context). The ultimate goal of these treaties is to reconfigure the legal apparatus and superstructures that govern national, regional and global trade and business – for the primary, if not exclusive, benefit of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Corporations have long been powerful economic and political entities, but in recent decades some have grown to dwarf even middling-sized national economies. According to a ranking published by Global Trends, 58 percent of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities in 2012 were corporations. They include oil, natural gas, and mining majors, banks and insurance firms, telecommunications giants, supermarket behemoths, car manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies. Right now, the representatives of many of these firms are engaged in late-stage negotiations with the U.S. and European political leaders that would make it financially calamitous for a nation-state to take any actions against the interest of corporations. If passed — and at this rate, it almost certainly will be — it will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in the history of mankind. [...]"  Related: See also: "Secret Trade Agreement Covering 68 Percent of World Services Published by WikiLeaks" [06/21/14] on Special Articles panel.

Max Keiser: "Buying Up The Planet: Out-Of-Control Central Banks On A Corporate Buying Spree" [06/22/14] Printer Friendly Version " Finance is the new form of warfare – without the expense of a military overhead and an occupation against unwilling hosts. It is a competition in credit creation to buy foreign resources, real estate, public and privatized infrastructure, bonds and corporate stock ownership. Who needs an army when you can obtain the usual objective (monetary wealth and asset appropriation) simply by financial means? – Dr. Michael Hudson, Counterpunch, October 2010 [...]  When the US Federal Reserve bought an 80% stake in American International Group (AIG) in September 2008, the unprecedented $85 billion outlay was justified as necessary to bail out the world’s largest insurance company. Today, however, central banks are on a global corporate buying spree not to bail out bankrupt corporations but simply as an investment, to compensate for the loss of bond income due to record-low interest rates. Indeed, central banks have become some of the world’s largest stock investors. Central banks have the power to create national currencies with accounting entries, and they are traditionally very secretive. We are not allowed to peer into their books. It took a major lawsuit by Reuters and a congressional investigation to get the Fed to reveal the $16-plus trillion in loans it made to bail out giant banks and corporations after 2008. What is to stop a foreign bank from simply printing its own currency and trading it on the currency market for dollars, to be invested in the US stock market or US real estate market? What is to stop central banks from printing up money competitively, in a mad rush to own the world’s largest companies? Apparently not much. Central banks are for the most part unregulated, even by their own governments. As former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan quipped, “Quite frankly it does not matter who is president as far as the Fed is concerned. There are no other agencies that can overrule the action we take.” [...] That is how “independent” central banks operate, but it evidently not the US central bank that is gambling in the stock market. After extensive quantitative easing, the Fed has a $4.5 trillion balance sheet; but this sum is accounted for as being invested conservatively in Treasuries and agency debt (although QE may have allowed Wall Street banks to invest the proceeds in the stock market by devious means). Which central banks, then, are investing in stocks? The biggest player turns out to be the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the Chinese central bank. [...] Also discussed: •The Central Bank Buying Spree •From Monetary Policy to Asset Grabs •Battle of the Central Banks? [...]"  

MSM: "Ex-NSA Chief Keith Alexander Is Now Pimping Advice To Wall Street Banks: Asked For $1 Million A Month" [06/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "So what’s a Peeping Tom, anti-democratic, Constitution-trampling intelligence crony to do after leaving decades of “public service?” Move into the private sector and collect a fat paycheck from Wall Street, naturally.  So what is Mr. Alexander charging for his expertise? He’s looking for $1 million per month. Yes, you read that right. That’s the rate that his firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., pitched to Wall Street’s largest lobbying group the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), which ultimately negotiated it down to a mere $600,000 a month. In case you need a refresher on how much of a slimy character this guy is, I suggest you read the following posts:[...] Former U.S. intelligence officials are part of the burgeoning Internet security industry (part of development of a fascist state) Michael Morell, who last year was deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, now works for Beacon Global Strategies LLC and appeared at a Sifma event to warn financial firms about cybersecurity threats. CrowdStrike Inc., a security-technology company that does work for the largest banks, has former FBI officials on its staff. “It’s consumer confidence; it’s consumer protection; it’s the way money is moved,” he said. “It’s the integrity of the entire global system.” Integrity? Who does he think he's kidding.[...]" 

Commentary: "Establishment Is Afraid Of End The Fed Movement In Germany" [06/22/14] [8:34] "In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to Ken Jebsen a former main stream media journalist in Germany and Lars Maehrholz a skydiver that became the main organizer of the massive Monday peace vigils in Berlin. The protests in Berlin are not a left or right movement but a social media movement against the establishment that have grown to over a 100 cities and 3 countries. They started with Lars 2 1/2 months ago and with the help of Ken fm have grown to a very large number which made the main stream media in Berlin slander and attack the movement. [...]"  Note: For those interested in the historic background: The German Monday Demonstrations (Montagsdemonstrationen) helped to bring down the repressive surveillance state GDR regime 25 years ago. According to the organizer of these rallies, they have now spread to up to 100 cities and have a combined attendee base of around 20,000. What is also interesting, is that the mainstream media in Germany is calling them Nazis. In Germany, if you don’t support Central Banking, this apparently means "you are a Nazi". It is also a good sign, since it shows the desperate lengths to which the power structure will go to keep their criminal ponzi alive.

Exposé: "Worldwide Financial Criminal Network Revealed Part1" [06/20/14] Printer Friendly Version Part 2 Printer Friendly Version "Denver’s Organized Crime Boss Hogs Leonard Millman and Larry Mizel who run MDC a Financial Conglomerate of Organized Crime who are the Bankers behind the Illegal Mortgage Backed Securities Frauds that lead to the 2008 Bank Bailout which was set up by their partner in crime U.S. President George W Bush to loot the U.S. Treasury and hide their crimes. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his Law partner Lanny Breuer maintained the cover up without any prosecutions of these horrendous crimes. Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer head of the Justice Department’s criminal division were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks and other companies at the center of foreclosure fraud. Breuer resigned last year from the Justice Department after a series on the Bank Frauds done by PBS Frontline.com. [...]" Related: "Bush-Millman-Clinton Zionist Organized Crime Family Flow Chart" Printer Friendly Version   

MSM: "BP To Sign $20 Billion Gas Supply Contract With China" [06/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "British energy giant BP will sign a long-term deal with Chinese state-owned peer CNOOC in London on Tuesday to supply China with liquefied natural gas, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said. The LNG deal, worth around $20 billion (14.75 billion euros) over 20 years, will be signed in front of Prime Minister David Cameron and Premier Li Keqiang during the Chinese leader's three-day visit to Britain, Dudley said on the sidelines of an oil conference in Moscow. [...]" 

MSM: "Miami Sues JPMorgan Chase Over Predatory Mortgages" [06/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "The city of Miami on Friday filed a lawsuit in a federal court against JPMorgan Chase & Co., accusing the banking giant of a pattern of discriminatory loan practices “since at least 2004″ which sparked foreclosures and violated the U.S. Fair Housing Act. “JPMorgan has engaged in a continuous pattern and practice of mortgage discrimination in Miami since at least 2004 by imposing different terms or conditions on a discriminatory and legally prohibited basis,” Bloomberg reports lawyers for Miami as saying in the complaint. The bank engaged in the discriminatory practices “in order to maximize profits at the expense of the City of Miami and minority borrowers,” the lawyers stated. A spokesperson for the bank called the claims “baseless.” The suit comes just weeks after JPMorgan was hit by a lawsuit from the city of Los Angeles that also accuses the banking giant of discriminatory lending practices. Both Miami and Los Angeles have filed similar lawsuits against Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup. [...]" 

Commentary: "Cluster Of Central Banks” Have Secretly Invested $29 Trillion In The Market" [06/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Another conspiracy “theory” becomes conspiracy “fact” as The FT reports “a cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets.” The report, to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), confirms $29.1tn in market investments, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries, which “could potentially contribute to overheated asset prices.” China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has become “the world’s largest public sector holder of equities”, according to officials, and we suspect the Fed is close behind (courtesy of more levered positions at Citadel), as the world’s banks try to diversify themselves and “counters the monopoly power of the dollar.” [...] So there it is… conspiracy fact – Central Banks around the world are buying stocks in increasing size. To summarize, the global equity market is now one massive Ponzi scheme in which the dumb money are central banks themselves, the same banks who inject the liquidity to begin with. That said, good luck with "exiting" the unconventional monetary policy. They'll need it.[...]" 

Commentary:  "Total Debt In America Hits A New Record High Of Nearly 60 Trillion Dollars" [06/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "What would you say if I told you that Americans are nearly 60 Trillion dollars in debt? Well, it is true. When you total up all forms of debt including government debt, business debt, mortgage debt and consumer debt, we are 59.4 trillion dollars in debt. That is an amount of money so large that it is difficult to describe it with words. For example, if you were alive 2000 years ago and you had spent 80 million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent 59.4 trillion dollars by now. And most of this debt has been accumulated in recent decades. If you go back 40 years ago, total debt in America was sitting at about 2.2 trillion dollars. Somehow over the past four decades we have allowed the total amount of debt in the United States to get approximately 27 times larger. This is utter insanity, and anyone that thinks this is sustainable is completely deluded. We are living in the greatest debt bubble of all time, and there is no way that this is going to end well. [...]" 

Trends: "Repatriating Taxes: An Unwarranted Gift to Unpatriotic Corporations" [06/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "U.S. corporations reported record profits and the median pay of large-company CEOs has reached record levels. Corporate profits as a share of the total economy exceeded 12 percent last year while their share of federal taxes as a percent of the economy shrank to less than two percent, near an all-time low. A recent study by Citizens for Tax Justice found that, over the last five years, the average large corporation in America paid less than 20 percent of its profits in federal income taxes, substantially less than the posted 35 percent corporate tax rate and less than many middle-class families pay. In the prosperous 1950s, under the leadership of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, corporate profits accounted for around ten percent of the economy and their federal taxes accounted for more than four percent of the economy. Corporations, with fewer profits in those days, were asked to provide more toward the common good through the taxes they paid. They still had plenty of money to reinvest in their companies and prosper, and their taxes helped pay for public services like schools, roads, and investments in basic research that kept our nation strong and competitive.  Today, more and more companies are abandoning their incorporation in the U.S. and shifting their registrations to foreign countries. They are doing so to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Pfizer’s recently abandoned attempt to buy Britain’s Astra Zeneca was in large part about reducing the drug giant’s tax bill. Later this year, Walgreen’s shareholders will be asked to support a more direct path, simply swapping their registration as a U.S. corporation for new corporate papers issued by Switzerland. Efforts by these corporations to lower their tax bills mean they are choosing to contribute less to the upkeep of America.  Hundreds of other U.S. corporations are taking a simpler path, using gaping loopholes in the corporate tax code to legally shift profits earned in the United States to places like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, or Lichtenstein, where those profits are lightly taxed, if at all. Seventy-two percent of Fortune 500 corporations have subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, according to new research by U.S. PIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice. Offshore tax abuse by corporations costs the U.S. Treasury $90 billion a year, according to Reed College Professor Kimberly Clausing.  Now many in Congress – from both political parties – are seeking to recycle an old idea that has failed before. They say we need to give corporations a big tax break to entice them to bring some of the $2 trillion they have stashed offshore back to America to invest in this country. They say we can use the trickle of tax money that comes from this one-time deal to repair our nation’s roads and bridges.  This construction is wrong on three counts. First, the premise that those funds are “trapped offshore” and not available for investment at home is false. Most large companies are able to use these offshore funds as collateral to obtain low-cost loans, which means that while their profits technically remain offshore and therefore untaxed, they are able to use these funds to make investments in the U.S.  Second, giving corporations a tax holiday to pay for infrastructure projects forces taxpayers to pay twice – once for the tax break and again for the cost of the infrastructure project. A recent Joint Committee on Taxation report estimated that a tax holiday similar to the one passed by Congress in 2004 would cost almost $96 billion over ten years. Using trickles of funding from corporate tax holidays is a really expensive way to pay for roads and bridges. It is far cheaper to pay for infrastructure spending directly out of tax revenues.  Third, such an approach is a one-time fix to a problem that needs a long-term solution. [...]" Related: "Walgreens' Planned Move From Illinois to Switzerland Would Save $4 Billion in Taxes" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Belgium: Money-Laundering Toilet For Unwanted Treasuries" [06/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Yet another, massive fraud was uncovered in the U.S. Treasuries market recently, this time through the diligence of the ever-astute, Paul Craig Roberts (along with Dave Kranzler). While this clumsy money-laundering operation was briefly mentioned in a recent commentary which further exposed the fraud/lies associated with the Federal Reserve’s (phony) “tapering”, there is much more which needs to be said here. As Roberts and Kranzler note in their original piece, the simple numbers involved make it clear we are dealing with a pathetically transparent money-laundering operation: From November 2013 through January 2014, Belgium with a GDP of $480 billion [supposedly] purchased $141.2 billion of U.S. Treasury bonds. Somehow Belgium came up with enough money to allocate during a three-month period 29 percent of its annual GDP to the purchase of U.S. Treasury bonds. As Roberts also notes; Belgium is another one of the West’s Deadbeat Debtors, with a (large) national debt, a budget deficit, a trade deficit, and a current account deficit. It didn’t have any money to allocate to the purchase of U.S. debt – let along forking-over 29% of its GDP in a mere three-month period. The supposed “purchase” is not only (economically) impossible for this debtor-government, there could be no possible legitimate purpose for such a (relatively) massive accumulation of any foreign debt. It is a prima facie fraud, and thus (inevitably) a money-laundering operation. “Somebody” gave the Belgian government the currency to fund this sham-transaction. However, many notable questions remained unanswered in that original piece. Among the most important of these questions are the following: [...]" 

Commentary: "Doug Casey: US In Eye Of Gigantic Financial Hurricane" MSM [06/15/14] [7:33] "It’s my opinion, that perhaps by the end of the year, certainly by the middle of next year, we will go into the trailing edge of the hurricane,” he said. “It’s going to last much longer, be much more serious and be quite different than the unpleasantness we remember from 2008 and 2009.” [...]"  

Commentary: "300 Million Versus 7 Billion" [06/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "Throughout history, dozens of nations have briefly held the mantle of global superpower. Until the 20th century when international travel, trade, warfare and information dissemination was less efficient; such power was typically exerted regionally and far more loosely. However it is now possible to wield influence far more broadly; and no one has done more so than the U.S., principally due to the awesome power of its “reserve currency.” Unfortunately, America has not only succumbed to the inexorable competitive forces of 190 other nations, but badly misused its power. And thus, just six decades after peaking in global influence, economic might, and wealth it has been reduced to a fascist, socialist, bankrupt shell of its past glory intent on the fighting the world in every imaginable aspect. When the dollar peaked at the turn of the century, the beginning of the end of U.S. hegemony was upon us; and just 14 years later, it’s “war on the world” has reached a fever pitch. It’s only a matter of time before America’s 300 million citizens – or more specifically the “1%” that make the decisions – lose the war they initiated with the other seven billion; and when it does, its unnaturally high standard of living will fall back to the median – yielding collapsing confidence in the dollar and a mad rush to alternative stores of value like PHYSICAL gold and silver. It must be some kind of “cosmic karma” that the global economy peaked nearly the instant the millennia turned over. Irrespective, that’s exactly what happened. In our view, the three events that sealed the world’s cumulative economic doom were the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the 2000 bursting of the tech bubble and the 2001 terrorist attacks. However, in the big picture, the principal culprit was debt saturation finally catching up to a world that abandoned real money three decades earlier. In other words, the world’s credit line “maxed out”; and thus, the resulting “diminishing returns” of incremental debt arrived with a vengeance. As the self-proclaimed economic and military “leader,” America took it upon itself to address these events unilaterally to disastrous effect. To wit, the historic banking deregulation of 1999 was entirely ignored – yielding exponential growth of subprime lending, over-the-counter derivatives, and high frequency trading among other illegal and/or amoral activities; whilst the 2000 crash was “addressed” with unprecedented money printing; and the 9/11 attacks with one of the most irresponsible military strategies imaginable. Today the dollar’s purchasing power is 30% lower relative to other currencies and far more so against items of real value – like food, energy, and precious metals (price suppression notwithstanding). Moreover, Wall Street not only is dramatically more powerful, but exponentially more corrupt and ingrained in the Washington power base. As for the post-9/11 strategy, it has arguably been a bigger failure than Vietnam and far more destructive in terms of impact on the nation’s finances and international standing. [...]   Regarding Iraq, it was eleven years ago when the U.S. destabilized the Middle East based on flawed intelligence that not only was Saddam Hussein responsible for 9/11, but held “weapons of mass destruction” that were ready, willing and able to destroy America and its allies. George Bush declared “mission accomplished” in May 2003, but little did he know that the war was just starting; and now, barely two years after the last U.S. troops were withdrawn the situation is about to go full-out FUBAR. The ill-fated foray into Iraq, in which 7,000 U.S. troops were killed and 500,000 Iraqi civilians are incalculable; not to mention, the permanent increase in global energy costs and the national debt. And thus, this week’s news that “al Qaeda” is mounting a major offensive to take over Iraq could well prove a “death blow” to the global economy and with it American hegemony. On Tuesday, the “al Qaeda spinoff” ISIS captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city – and with it, a refinery processing 310,000 barrels per day of oil or nearly a half percent of global production. Yesterday the city of Tikrit was overrun and ISIS today vowed to take over Baghdad. Already the Iraqi government has given America permission to attack such “insurgents”; and fear not they most certainly will. Thus at a time when gasoline prices are already at their highest level in three years – amidst a rapidly expanding recession – the odds of potentially catastrophic price surges ominously loom. [...]"  

MSM: "Blankfein: Some Exogenous Event Going To Happen" [06/13/14] [3:12] "Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, discusses the steady market, and says at some point, some event will happen that will reset portfolios. [...]"  Related: "Blankfein: Eric Cantor Defeat 'Stunning'" [2:38] Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is a sensible politician, and shares his view of what his primary loss implies for the budget and immigration policies.

Commentary: "Billions Of NATO-Dollars Unaccounted For" [06/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Billions of dollars are unaccounted for in the books of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Parliamentarians of 28 NATO countries have no idea how much taxpayers money flows through the military alliance and whether it is spent legitimately, says the Dutch National Court of Auditors. This is due to an administrative backlog of decades and abundantly marking expenditures as ‘undisclosed’. Following is an English translation of a story in de Volkskrant. ‘NATO might be wasting a lot of money, or maybe they are short of cash. Frankly, we have no idea’, says Saskia Stuiveling, president of the Dutch National Court of Auditors. The findings of the official controlling body of the Dutch government are a result of extensive research on NATO expenditures over the past forty years. It will launch a website in English on Tuesday June 10, 2014, to reveal the messy accounts of NATO. The purpose of the Auditors is to get this issue on the agenda of the next NATO Parliamentary Assembly in November 2014 in The Hague, The Netherlands. The NATO-ambassadors from all member states are aware of the transparency problem, but until now this has not resulted into a solution of the transparency problem, claims the Dutch Auditor. In a reaction, NATO states that ‘some reports cannot be made public due to the classified nature of the issue audited.’ However, ‘NATO allies maintain full control of the level of expenses and how the money is being spent.’ With this comment the NATO spokesperson is referring to the information position of NATO (budget) representatives to the North Atlantic Council of 28 NATO states. The council meets twice a week. These ambassadors ‘are fully aware what money is spend on what’. The information shared in the council is by far not always available for external auditors or parliamentarians who are supposed to supervise the legitimate expenditure of tax payers money. [...] The misty bookkeeping of total NATO expenditures are politically highly sensitive. U.S. President Obama has urged European countries frequently in the past few months to spend more on defense. Together, all 28 NATO-countries yearly spend over 1 trillion dollars on defense – three quarters is spent by the United States, one quarter by the European NATO-members. How much of that amount runs through the books of NATO is largely unknown." [...]  NATO is financed roughly by three funds. The first fund is filled with 3.3 billion dollar contributed by all 28 member states. This 'common fund' is used to pay for NATO-headquarters in Brussels, the staff working there and other common expenditures. How the money in this common fund is spent exactly, is 'undisclosed'. The other two funds keeping NATO alive, are two big question marks. There is one fund for international missions (such as the NATO's mission in Afghanistan) and one fund for special projects (such as the development of the NH-90 helicopter and the eurofighter). Which NATO member states contribute to these two funds and if yes, how much, is classified information. After six years of requesting more information, the Dutch National Court of Auditors does not even have a beginning of an idea of the total amount that each NATO country is paying to these last two funds. 'NATO might be wasting a lot of money, or maybe they are short of cash. Frankly, we have no idea', says Saskia Stuiveling, president of the Dutch National Court of Auditors. The findings of the official controlling body of the Dutch government are a result of extensive research on NATO expenditures over the past forty years. It will launch a website in English on Tuesday June 10, 2014, to reveal the messy accounts of NATO.[...]"  

Commentary: "The South Rises Up To Take On Wall Street And High Frequency Trading" [06/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "Southern states are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more. After more than five years of watching their cities and towns suffer foreclosure and mortgage abuse from the biggest firms on Wall Street, rigged Libor swaps impoverishing local governments, and massive stock losses to municipal workers’ pensions, the South is rising up and suing Wall Street over its latest fleecing scheme – high frequency trading. And before anyone starts to chuckle about the chances of Southern lawyers outfoxing the mega Wall Street law firms in their own stomping ground in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, you should know this one salient detail: one of the key Southern lawyers involved is Michael Lewis. That’s not bestselling author Michael Lewis; that’s Big Tobacco Cartel suing and winning lawyer Michael Lewis who mightily assisted in bringing the tobacco cartel out of the shadows and changed the health of a Nation forever. Even more problematic for Wall Street and its hideously shrewd lawyers is that one of the smartest programming brains in U.S. markets, Eric Hunsader, is cooperating with the Southern lawyers. [...] Last Friday, Andrew Smith, writing for the U.K. Guardian newspaper, featured Hunsader in a story about the lawsuit. Smith revealed that on May 6 of this year, Hunsader met with Lewis and his “dream team” of class action lawyers in Chicago to provide his technical expertise. Why is Hunsader who runs a successful data business involving himself in what is likely to be the biggest legal free-for-all of the century? Andrew Smith of the Guardian shares this with us:  “When Hunsader’s finance friends pointed out that nobody was driving busloads of children over cliffs, he would grab their wallet and remove a $20 bill, then hand the wallet back. ‘Does anyone in the world really care what just happened there?’ he would ask. ‘It makes no difference to anyone but you, and even then not much. It’s just that in a civilised society, we don’t tolerate that. Civilisation breaks down when people don’t follow the rules, because nobody can trust anybody else.’ ” Wall Street On Parade completely agrees with Hunsader. And while the morally challenged brains that occupy those Armani suits on Wall Street may not have literally been driving busloads of children over cliffs, there is the fact that one in five children in the U.S. now lives below the poverty level; that homelessness is hitting record highs in Wall Street’s home town of New York City; and that according to the National Center for Homeless Education, an agency funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the latest data available show there were 1.2 million homeless students during the 2011-12 school year — a 10 percent increase from the previous year and a 72 percent jump from the start of 2007-08, an all-time high. We checked the Federal web site, Pacer, this morning which allows access to lawsuits filed in Federal Courts. We found that Lewis and three other law firms have filed not one lawsuit seeking class action status, but three separate ones. [...]"  

Corbett: "Global Austerity And The US War Agenda" [06/10/14] [10:36] "In this stage of advanced globalization, banks earnings and corporate profits continue to soar even as real wages continue to plummet. This does not just lead to mass poverty and unrest, but it sows the seeds for geopolitical conflict and military confrontation. Find out more about this relationship in this week's GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV. [...]"  

Commentary: "The Biggest Policy Mistake of the Great Recession: Bailing Out the Banks, Not People" [06/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "... By reviewing other economic downturns, Mian and Sufi discover two recurring features: a buildup of household debt before the crash, and an extreme decline in consumer spending afterward, as households cut back, hoarding money to pay off those scaled-up debts. The normal channels of fiscal and monetary policy have difficulty dealing with highly leveraged household balance sheets. House of Debt correlates these features of recessions, and really targets debt as the core problem, arguing that it needs to be restructured during crises and prevented during better times. This critique — about the destructive power of debt and the need to forgive it — has in recent years come from far more radical circles, not from two economics professors trained in the classical tradition. “When we pitched the book, one publisher said, this is the intellectual justification for Occupy Wall Street,” said Professor Sufi in an interview. “We didn’t set out with that agenda. But one of the points we make is that the position we’re taking is not that radical if you look at history.” Indeed, Sufi and Mian emphasize that the Great Recession response to debt forgiveness was a historic outlier. During the Panic of 1819, when falling commodity prices squeezed indebted farmers, state governments immediately put a moratorium on foreclosures, and Congress easily passed a debt-forgiveness law for farmers who had credit with the federal government. In the Depression, the Home Owners Loan Corporation bought up failing mortgages and restructured them so borrowers could make cheaper payments. Even the code of Hammurabi, with its eye-for-an-eye view of justice, decrees that in lean times, a debtor can “wash his debt-tablet” and pay nothing for a year. This actually helps debtors and creditors, mainly because it brings back the economy faster and reduces the vicious cycle of foreclosures lowering housing prices further. “When there’s a collapse in the economy, it’s a good idea to write down debt,” Sufi said. [...]  Why did the Bush and Obama administrations break with this tradition, steering aid to insolvent banks over indebted households? Sufi and Mian pinpoint the growing belief, which has taken hold among economists and policymakers that saving the banks equals saving the economy. “The primary reason we wrote the book was because we believed this narrow banking view became the central focus of policy,” Sufi said. However, he argues, the idea of recapitalizing banks so they can resume lending falls apart upon scrutiny. “If you walk through it, we just think it doesn’t make sense. How can an economy with so much debt need more lending?” A cultural bias against debt has crept into these debates too, blaming homeowners as “deadbeats” who bought “too much home” and ignored the risks (see the famous Rick Santelli rant). But while a 40 percent drop in home prices spares nobody, responsible or otherwise, this perspective also ignores a simple fact: There are two sides to a debt contract. “We blame the homeowner because they paid the price, but the only way that can happen is if a lender lends to the borrower,” Sufi said. “There is responsibility on both sides of the contract.[...]"  

Commentary: "One Ton Gold Shipment Into Hong Kong Revealed To Contain Just Worthless Metal" [06/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Two years ago, stories of fake tungsten-filled gold coins and bars began to spread; it appears, between the shortage of physical gold (after Asian central bank buying) and the increase in smuggling (courtesy of India's controls among others) that gold fraud is back on the rise. As SCMP reports, a mainland China businessman, Zhao Jingjun, discovered that HK$270 million of 998kg of gold bars he bought in Ghana had been swapped for non-precious metal bars. What is perhaps even more worrisome, given the probe into commodity-financing deals and the rehypothecation evaporation; these gold bars were shipped to a Chinese warehouse before Zhao was able to confirm the fraud. As South China Morning Post reports, police were last night making arrangements with a mainland businessman to check whether HK$270 million of gold bullion he bought in Africa was genuine after part of the consignment was swapped with metal bars. It appears in this case, the fraudsters could not even afford Tungsten. [...]"  

Commentary: "eBay, PayPal, Apple and Dish Approve Of Bitcoin. Is Google Next?" [06/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "Despite a year of detailed press coverage of bitcoin, tens of millions of dollars in capital investment, and a devoted userbase, eBay has been skeptical of the new innovation, as has Apple. But this has changed halfway through 2014 with the CEO of eBay himself admitting to owning some bitcoins and Apple allowing bitcoin wallet apps in its App Store. [...]"  Related: "Is Bitcoin an NSA Setup? Mike Maloney" [2:55] "Mike took questions from attendees at the latest Cambridge House conference in Vancouver. One of the most common themes in questions was the rise of alternative currencies" | "Bitcoin Technology Extremely Disruptive To Many Industries Going Forward" [1:04:53] | "California Senate Banking Committee Approves Bill To Legalize Crypto-Currencies" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "A Parallel Chinese Financial Order" [06/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Financial Times ran a front page piece last Monday claiming that China has ordered a ban on state-owned companies using Western management consulting companies. It is alleged by senior Chinese sources that 'foreigners use their consulting companies to find out everything they want about our state companies'. Beijing's solution will be its usual kind of import-substitution strategy, the 'setting up (of) a team of Chinese domestic consultants who are particularly focused on information systems in order to seize back this power from the foreign companies'. Less sensational, but potentially more troubling, was a decision by a Hong Kong court last Friday rejecting Ernst & Young's plea that it could not give Hong Kong's regulator the audit working papers for a mainland company seeking to list here. Sensing danger, Ernst & Young argued its client's information was a Chinese 'state secret'. International accountants can no longer function freely in China. Beijing's Ministry of Finance is proposing new rules that may banish foreign (and Hong Kong) auditors (including non-local personnel from the Big Four) from the mainland. Just as Hong Kong brokers complain of being restricted in China, this confrontation may 'spell doom for Hong Kong accountants…because of Beijing's discriminatory policy'. This issue has been brewing for years. The US regulator (SEC) recently censured the Big Four for withholding 'secret' audit documents of Chinese clients listed in America. The SEC made the same argument as its counterpart here in Hong Kong: if Chinese companies wish to list overseas, then foreign agencies need inspection rights in order to ensure financial propriety and to protect investors. At one level, this is simply a regulatory dispute, albeit a pretty nasty one. The formidable Paul Gillis at Peking University reckons things could get worse, and there are a lot of other accounting problems that China and outsiders can squabble over. But it's about far more than counting beans. This is a high level contest between financial systems and, essentially, power. I have commented before about China's dissatisfaction with the global monetary system. China is not an obstructive power. It is, in its way, a committed member of the current economic order. It has strong support at the UN. But it is hedging too, working assiduously to create alternative financial systems to the established ones.  Last month, Beijing inaugurated the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a direct challenger to the Asian Development Bank, which is based in Manila and sponsored mainly by the US and Japan. Neither country was invited to join the AIIB. Nor was India. China's finance minister Lou Jiwei notes that Beijing's own China Development Bank already 'is far bigger than the ADB and World Bank combined'. AIIB is touted as a multilateral 'Asian-led' agency. But much, if not most, of the funding will be Chinese. As one researcher said: 'Now China has the ability to show the real money'. After the desperately poor showing of the Western credit rating agencies in foreseeing the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, China has since promoted its own. One of them, Dagong, gleefully downgraded America's sovereign rating last year. The same thing is happening with central bank support agreements, trade agreements, and security partnerships: Beijing is creating a parallel architecture of global governance to the US-led one. Its financial otherworld is both complementary and competitive.[...]" 

Interviews: "Elizabeth Warren and Thomas Piketty: "Wealth Does Not Trickle Down... It Trickles Up" [06/05/14] Printer Friendly Version [47:47] "... We have a rigged system, where a handful are able to reap benefits at the cost of everyone else.' [...] Sharing a stage with French economist Thomas Piketty on Monday night in Boston, Sen. Elizabeth Warren discussed a range issues related to economic inequality during a joint interview with the Huffington Post, but said that people should be careful not to separate the far-reaching implications that outsized wealth and power in the U.S. can have on vital, planetary issues like climate change. Piketty, the author of the groundbreaking and bestselling book Capitalism in the 21st Century, offered his perspective on the rise of global wealth disparity as Warren focused on her familiar rhetoric surrounding the politics of inequality by describing the numerous ways in which "the system is rigged" against working people in favor of the financial and political elite. In a direct refutation of the infamous Reagan-era ethos of "trickle-down economics," Warren said that Piketty's invaluable research presented in his book shows that "wealth does not trickle down... it trickles up." "It trickles from everyone else," she said, "to those who are rich." In a striking moment of the discussion, Warren stopped to make a cogent point about the intersection between the inequality that Picketty has so well documented and the overwhelming issue of climate change which she argued should not be treated as something separate from the current political realities created by enormous wealth inequality."  Note: It's the way of psychopaths ...

MSM: "Russia, China To Create Joint Rating Agency" [06/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russia and China have reached an agreement to create a joint rating agency that will begin its work by evaluating common investment projects, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday. Speaking during a trip to China, Siluanov told journalists that the new agency will be modelled on existing rating agencies. "We would like (the agency's) ratings to be apolitical," Siluanov said in comments sent by the ministry's press service. In late April, Standard and Poor's rating agency cut Russia's sovereign rating to a notch above junk, just weeks after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. [...]"  

MSM: "Ecuador to Transfer More Than Half its Gold Reserves to Goldman Sachs in Exchange for “Liquidity" [06/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "The central bank said it will send 466,000 ounces of gold to Goldman Sachs, worth about $580 million at current prices, and get the same amount back three years from now. In return, Ecuador will get “instruments of high security and liquidity” and expects to earn a profit of $16 million to $20 million over the term of the accord. The central bank didn’t detail additional terms of the transactions, such as any fees or financing costs paid to Goldman Sachs. The deal comes as the South American country’s government, which defaulted on about $3.2 billion of bonds five years ago, seeks to cover a budget deficit forecast by the Finance Ministry to swell to a record $4.94 billion this year. President Rafael Correa said in April he also planned to sell about $700 million of foreign debt this year in the country’s first international bond sale since the 2008 and 2009 default. “Gold that was not generating any returns in vaults, causing storage costs, now becomes a productive asset that will generate profits,” the central bank said in the statement. “These interventions in the gold market represent the beginning of a new and permanent strategy of active participation by the bank, through purchases, sales and financial operations, that will contribute to the creation of new financial investment opportunities.[...]"  Note: "This is a great example of how the game works. In a world in which every government on earth needs “liquidity” to survive, and the primary goal of every government is and always has been survival (the retention of arbitrary power at all costs), the provider of liquidity is king. So what is liquidity and who provides it? In the current financial system (post Bretton Woods), the primary engine of global liquidity is the U.S. dollar and dollar based assets generally as a result of its reserve currency status. Ever since Nixon defaulted on the U.S. dollar’s gold backing in 1971, the creation of this “liquidity” has zero restrictions whatsoever and is merely based on the whims and desires of the central planners in chief, i.e., the Federal Reserve. As the primary creator of the liquidity that every government on earth needs to survive, the Federal Reserve is thus the most powerful player globally in not only economic, but also geopolitical affairs. This isn’t the first South American country we’ve heard about sending their gold to Goldman. Recall late last year: " Is Venezuela Selling Gold to Goldman Sachs?"  

Interviews: "War Greatest Risk, Not Global Financial Collapse — Catherine Austin Fitts" [06/03/14] [36:49] "In her latest report, investment advisor Catherine Austin Fitts says, “The greatest risk is not global financial collapse. Our greatest risk is war.” Ms. Fitts explains, “I am talking about war in many different venues. What we’ve seen in a place like Ukraine is very much defined by what’s called “soft weapons.” So, we are watching war through the information systems and cyber hacking. We’ve got Edward Snowden warning us about everything that can go on through the digital systems, and then we’ve got boots on the ground. We’ve got the President now saying he’s pulling boots on the ground. It’s just like the Roman Empire pulled the army back and left the church in place. The American empire is going to pull the boots on the ground back and leave the drones in place.” Fitts correctly predicted that there would be no financial collapse in 2013. She characterizes what is going on in the global economy as a “slow burn.” Fitts contends, “The dominant economic scenario that I think that has been going on for quite some time is what I call the ‘slow burn.’  [...]"  

Commentary: "Infrastructure Sticker Shock: Financing Costs More than Construction" [06/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "Funding infrastructure through bonds doubles the price or worse. Costs can be cut in half by funding through the state’s own bank. [...] Escaping the Interest Trap: The Models of China and North Dakota: There is another alternative. In the last five years, China has managed to build an impressive 4000 miles of high-speed rail. Where did it get the money? The Chinese government has a hidden funding source: it owns its own banks. That means it gets its financing effectively interest-free. All banks actually have a hidden funding source. The Bank of England just admitted in its quarterly bulletin that banks don’t lend their deposits. They simply advance credit created on their books. If someone is going to be creating our national money supply and collecting interest on it, it should be we the people, through our own publicly-owned banks. Models for this approach are not limited to China and other Asian “economic miracles.” The US has its own stellar model, in the state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND). By law, all of North Dakota’s revenues are deposited in the BND, which is set up as a DBA of the state (“North Dakota doing business as the Bank of North Dakota”). That means all of the state’s capital is technically the bank’s capital. The bank uses its copious capital and deposit pool to generate credit for local purposes. The BND is a major money-maker for the state, returning a sizable dividend annually to the state treasury. Every year since the 2008 banking crisis, it has reported a return on investment of between 17 percent and 26 percent. While California and other states have been slashing services and raising taxes in order to balance their budgets, North Dakota has actually been lowering taxes, something it has done twice in the last five years. The BND partners with local banks rather than competing with them, strengthening their capital and deposit bases and allowing them to keep loans on their books rather than having to sell them off to investors or farm the loans out to Wall Street. This practice allowed North Dakota to avoid the subprime crisis that destroyed the housing market in other states. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the lowest default rate on credit card debt, one of the lowest foreclosure rates, and the most local banks per capita of any state. It is also the only state to escape the credit crisis altogether, boasting a budget surplus every year since 2008. The potential of this public banking model for other states is huge.[...]"  

MSM: "IMF’s Insistence On Economic Austerity Could Derail Ukraine’s Chance Of Survival" [06/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "The new government of the Chocolate King is committed to those same conditions, now spelled out in an IMF agreement released at the end of April. I would not want to be in his shoes. After two years of almost no economic growth, the IMF is now projecting a steep recession for this year, with the economy shrinking by 5 percent. This is largely because of budget tightening that the government has committed to, amounting to about 3 percent of GDP over the next two years. For comparison, think of the U.S. government cutting $500 billion, roughly the equivalent of the Pentagon's annual base allocation, from its budget over two years. The economy is supposed to recover next year, but we have heard that before - think of Greece, or Spain or Eurozone austerity generally over the past four years.... As it turns out, Putin does not appear interested in annexing more pieces of a divided Ukraine, contrary to the assertions of some in the U.S. His main goal seems more likely to be preventing Ukraine from becoming another base for the NATO military alliance, on its border, which in Russia is understandably seen as a threat. NATO added 12 countries from Eastern Europe between 1999 and 2009. And this could be better achieved through negotiations. As for Poroshenko, depending on how badly things go with the IMF/EU program, he may end up needing help from Russia after all. At the very least he wouldn't want to leave himself completely at the mercy of the IMF-Washington-EU decision-makers. They have a plan to restructure Ukraine's economy, and it could turn out to be a mass-unemployment nightmare. [...]" 

MSM: "US Money Slump Flashes Warnings As Economy Contracts" [05/31/14] Printer Friendly Version "The US economy contracted sharply in the first quarter and bond yields have been falling at the fastest rate since the recession scare two years ago, in signs that bond tapering by the Federal Reserve is biting more than anticipated. The slowdown comes as a key indicator of the US money supply flashes slowdown warnings, though the picture remains murky after extreme weather conditions over the winter. Output fell at an annual rate of 1pc, led by a 7.5pc fall in business spending following the expiry of tax concessions. The tax rules had brought forward investment in 2012 and 2013, leading to a cliff-edge drop this year. “We think there is more to this than just weather. Our leading indicators were already weakening late last year,” said Lakshman Achuthan, from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI). “We may get a snap-back in the second quarter but I don’t see us reaching escape velocity. The economy is below stall-speed, according to the Fed’s own model,” he said. Jan Loeys, from JP Morgan, said the strange action in the bond markets is causing a “growing unease among investors that something is not right about the world economy”, but it may merely be the result of very low inflation and therefore benign. Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said recently that long-term yields would never reach 4pc again in his lifetime, portraying a changed world where nothing returns to normal.  [...]"  

MSM: "U.S. Prosecutors Pursue Criminal, Civil Probes Against 15 Banks, Payment Processors" [05/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "Government regulators create laws and initiate investigations in order to protect consumers from an array of hurtful products and companies. One such consumer fraud investigation by the Justice Department is “Operation Choke Point” and it’s resulted in criminal and civil probes by U.S. prosecutors. But some legislators see the investigation as more hurtful than helpful. According to a report by Reuters, U.S. prosecutors have opened criminal and civil probes into at least 15 banks and payment processors as part of “Operation Choke Point” over the last year. The investigation aims to crack down on fraud by going after firms that handle and move money with suspect businesses. As of November 2013, the House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee reported that criminal probes had been opened regarding four payment processors, one bank and several officials. Additionally, civil fraud law investigations were opened against at least 10 banks and payment processors. An official with the Justice Dept. wrote in a memo to the Oversight Committee that the investigation had already caused some banks to stop processing payments for firms believed to be involved in fraud against consumers. But that has some congressional members unhappy, saying the Justice Dept. conducted a shadowy effort to put firms with legal activities out of business by pressuring banks to stop working with them, Reuters reports. “Operation Choke Point is the Justice Department’s newest abuse of power,” Rep. Darrell Issa, Oversight panel leader said in a news release. “If the administration believes some businesses should be out of business, they should prosecute them before a judge and jury.” A spokesperson for the Justice Dept. maintains that the department only investigates firms that break federal laws. “When financial institutions choose to process transactions, even though they know the transactions are fraudulent or are willfully ignorant of that fact, they are breaking federal law and we will not hesitate to hold them accountable.” [...]" 

Commentary: "9/11 Conspiracy Solved: Names, Connections, & Details Exposed" [05/30/14] [43:27] "Special thanks to Michael C. Ruppert, Mark H. Gaffney, and Kevin Ryan for solving the crimes of 9/11 with their amazing research. This video is a compilation of evidence they have uncovered.  [...]"  Note: Interesting, especially the financial aspects of the dynamic as pointed out in this video. [Cross-Posted in Special Articles]

Commentary: "The Corporate Welfare Bank Of The United States" [05/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "Over the past few weeks, the American business lobby and in particular the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have come out in force to support the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. These groups and their puppets in Washington insist that the Ex-Im Bank is good for American small businesses and supports job growth, that failing to reauthorize will harm the overall economy. Conscious of the political atmosphere, the Bank’s supporters have carefully avoided some ugly facts about this vehicle for corporatist cooperation. The Ex-Im Bank epitomizes just the kind of unashamed corporate welfare that animates populist hostilities on both the American political right and left, the collusive cronyism that — whatever their rhetoric — establishment elites of both sides embrace with enthusiasm. The Democrat and Republican halves of the Washington political machine each have their own cynical uses for populist moods, but when the chips are down and the votes are cast American capitalism just is the active collaboration of powerful interests in big business and government. We have never had a free market in the United States, nothing even remotely close.  [...] Agencies like the Ex-Im Bank redistribute wealth from ordinary taxpayers to the political chosen, mammoth corporations such as Boeing that couldn’t survive for a single day without constant, committed intervention from the American state. In 2010, nearly half of all Ex-Im Bank loans and loan guarantees went to that most favorite of aerospace giants, a year in which the company saw over $64 billion in revenue. So much for the oft-repeated propaganda about supporting small businesses. The Ex-Im Bank exists to ensure that the biggest companies, well-connected with lawmakers and regulators, never actually have to so much as think about competing in a hypothetical “free market system.” Beyond Boeing, top clients of the cronyist Bank include General Electric, Caterpillar, and KBR, the notoriously corrupt former Halliburton subsidiary that has devoured hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts. While it’s difficult to know exactly how much risk taxpayers are exposed to until, for example, a default actually occurs, the Congressional Budget Office recently poked holes in some of the Bank’s numbers. In a report this month (May 2014), the CBO said that under “fair-value” accounting — rather than the accounting method prescribed by the Federal Credit Reform Act — the Bank will cost taxpayers $2 billion over the next decade.[...]"  Note: At Export Import Bank conference in Washington on April 5, 2013, Joe Biden called for the creation of a "new world order" "Video" [2:17] 

MSM: "China Launching “Global Gold Exchange” In Shanghai" [05/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "With China’s push for an international physical exchange, physical demand will begin to have a stronger influence, thereby ending gold manipulation. This will allow gold to rise to a more appropriate price given the scale of macroeconomic, systemic, geo-political and monetary risks of today. China has approached foreign banks and gold producers to participate in a global gold exchange in Shanghai, as the world’s top producer and importer of gold seeks greater influence over pricing and the global gold market. The Shanghai Gold Exchange got the go ahead from the central bank last week to launch a global trading platform in the city’s pilot free trade zone. SGE is looking to launch physical contracts of gold, silver and platinum group metals denominated in Chinese yuan on the international exchange. [...] Beijing’s plans to open up gold trading comes at a time when the benchmark price-setting process for precious metals is under scrutiny. Barclays Plc became the first bank to be fined over manipulation of the 95-year-old benchmark London gold market daily “fix” last week. “China wants to have more voice in gold prices,” said Jiang Shu, an analyst with Industrial Bank, one of 12 banks allowed to import gold into China. “The international exchange is the first step towards gaining a say in gold pricing.” “If you don’t allow foreign players to participate in your market actively, or do not push Chinese financial institutions to participate in the international market, then China’s strong gold demand is only a number, not a power,” he said. HSBC and Standard Bank declined to comment, while the other banks and SGE were not immediately available for comment. Gold, along with oil, could be among the first to be opened up to foreign players. The free trade zone in Shanghai is set to see international energy trading by hosting the country’s first crude oil futures. Contract specifications for silver, platinum and palladium were also being discussed, though the sources said specifications and participants had not yet been finalized. The exchange is expected to be launched by the fourth quarter.[...]"  

MSM: "Gold Traders Investigated in Colombian Cocaine Laundering" [05/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "Colombia is investigating the possible involvement of gold trading firms and a Miami refinery in a cocaine money-laundering scheme that’s distorting the country’s trade data, according to the tax and customs agency. As much as $3.3 billion of gold was smuggled into Colombia in the past two years from countries including Venezuela, Panama,Mexico and Chile, said Juan Ricardo Ortega, who heads the agency known as the DIAN and is assisting an investigation started by the Attorney General’s office in 2011. The contraband metal allegedly was sent via trading firms including CI Goldex SA to the U.S. and Switzerland and bought at inflated prices with drug money, he said. Goldex denies any wrongdoing and said it doesn’t export gold to Switzerland and its commercial ties with the Miami plant have been temporarily halted. “It’s money laundering, a way of bringing back dollars,” Ortega said in a May 19 interview at a Bogota restaurant where he was accompanied by bodyguards. The DIAN and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are assisting in the probe, he said. The alleged gold scheme would be part of money-laundering operations that the Colombian government’s financial intelligence unit estimates at about $11 billion a year. Cracking down on illicit transactions is part of efforts to end decades of drug-related violence and boost foreign investment. [...]"  

Commentary: "Gold Or No Gold: Austria Wants An Audit Of Its Gold Reserves At Bank Of England" [05/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "Austria is planning to send auditors to the Bank of England in order to verify the existence of Austrias gold reserves stored in british vaults. The Austrian accountability office will sent a delegation to London in order to check on Austrias gold reserves stored in vaults at the Bank of England. This is reported by Austrian magazine Trend. The measure is seen as a consequence of growing public pressure. There is a rising disbelief among Austrians about the existence of the gold. “I acknowledge the request. Any grocery store is obliged to do inventory once a year. It is the only way of getting rid of these unreasonable allegations”, Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the National Bank of Austria tells Trend. Austria officially owns 280 tonnes of gold of which 17 percent are kept in vaults inside the country. Around 150 tonnes are estimated to be stored in London. In recent years doubts about the existence and the quality of Germanys monetary gold stored at the New York Fed and the Bank of England were raised by a rising number of sceptics. In January the Bundesbank eventually announced plans to repatriate most of Gemanys gold reserves until 2020. [...]"  

MSM: "Ukraine Signs $1.5 Billion Loan Agreements With World Bank" [05/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Ukrainian government has signed loan agreements worth a total of $1.48 billion with the World Bank on Monday to finance three new projects in the country. “The package of three new projects is part of the total volume of aid to Ukraine announced by World Bank Group in March this year,” the Ukrainian government’s press office reported. “This aid worth a total of $3.5 billion is expected to be delivered to Ukraine until the end of 2014,” the press office said. The first loan of $750 million will be spent on “the budget support,” the Ukrainian government said. “Also, municipal heat and power companies in ten cities will receive $382 million as part of a project to raise energy efficiency,” the press office said. The remaining $350 million will be provided to ten water supply enterprises and one waste disposal company, the government said.  [...]"  Note: With most of the funds going to existing oligarchs.

Commentary: "Government Plan Would Transform Israel Into The World’s First Cashless Society" [05/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "A committee chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff has come up with a three-phase plan to “all but do away with cash transactions in Israel”. Individuals and businesses would still be permitted to conduct cash transactions in small amounts (at least initially), but the eventual goal is to force Israeli citizens to conduct as much business as possible using electronic forms of payment. In fact, it has been reported that Israeli officials believe that “cash is bad” because it fuels the underground economy and allows people to avoid paying taxes. It is hoped that requiring most transactions to be conducted in cash will reduce crime and help balance the national budget. And once 98 or 99 percent of all transactions are cashless, it will not be difficult for the Israeli government (or any other government) to go the rest of the way and ban cash transactions altogether. But is a cashless society actually desirable? This is a question that people all over the world will have to start asking as governments increasingly restrict the use of cash. Back in September, it was announced that the Israeli government had formed a committee to “examine ways to eliminate cash from the Israeli economy”… [...]"  Note: Elimination of cash creates more control ... no surprise from the power and control freaks.

Commentary: "US Dollar As Reserve Currency Becoming 'Obsolete': Webster Tarpley" [05/26/14] Printer Friendly Version [3:32] "The use of the dollar as an international reserve currency, including for international trade, has become “outmoded, obsolete and unworkable,” said Webster Griffin Tarpley, a critic of US foreign and domestic policy. “US Treasury Secretaries and US Federal Reserve officials have been much more interested in saving the Wall Street zombie banks from the consequences of their own speculation than they have been in doing the things that would really make the dollar a liable reserve currency,” Tarpley said. “They’ve given up on functioning as a reserve currency and therefore the rest of the world is drawing the consequences,” he told Press TV on Wednesday. In a symbolic blow to US global financial hegemony, Russia and China took a step toward undermining the dominance of the US dollar as the world reserve currency on Tuesday. In the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Shanghai, Russia’s second biggest financial institution, VTB, signed a deal with the Bank of China to bypass the dollar and pay each other in domestic currencies. The world’s five major emerging economies known as the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — have long sought to diminish their dependence on the dollar as a means of reshaping the world financial and geopolitical order. [...]"  Note: Good

Commentary: "Economic Vultures Target Ukraine" [05/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "While Ukraine teeters on the edge of a political abyss it is the target of economic vultures that include the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the biggest Western oil and gas giants. Ukrainian pensions could be halved and gas subsidies needed to keep families alive this coming winter are only a few of the dire outcomes likely to flow from an austerity package imposed by the bankers at the IMF. When the IMF announced its Ukraine bailout in March 2014, the deal should have come with a warning label. As a rule, when the IMF offers to help a debt-ridden country, it demands austerity measures that have little to do with resurrecting a nation’s economic fortunes and more to do with bailing out bankers and strangling its economy. With its loans come large bills for the dispersal and monitoring of the money it lends. In the case of Ukraine, a loan of $21 billion has a $6.2 billion charge for “debt servicing.” Author and commentator Dr. Jack Rasmus fears the IMF’s loan will be used by Ukraine’s central bank to stabilize its currency reserves. Billions of dollars will be shared with businesses that will hoard them. He has a stark warning for those, who mistakenly believe the bankers and multinationals of the Eurozone will pay Ukraine’s bills. In his view, bringing Ukraine into the Eurozone will be akin to “adding another Greece or Spain to the mix.” “Those who will pay will be the Ukrainian people,” warned Rasmus. “That is the essential and repeated history and legacy of IMF deals globally for the last three decades.” [...]"  

Commentary: "David Icke: Historical Patterns Of Financial World, Market Collapse And Profiteering" [05/26/14] [7:05] 

MSM: "Iranian Billionaire Businessman Executed Over $2.6bn Bank Fraud" [05/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "An Iranian businessman accused of orchestrating the largest fraud in the country's history by swindling $2.6bn (£1.5bn) from banks has been hanged, state television reported. Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, also known as Amir Mansour Aria, was executed at Evin prison, north of the capital Tehran. A statement from the justice department read on state television said he was convicted of "corruption on Earth... through bribery and money laundering". The death penalty was announced after the Supreme Court upheld his sentence. [...]" The banker used fraudulent funds to implement Agenda 21 in buying state property. The fraud involved using forged documents to get credit at one of Iran’s top financial institutions, Bank Saderat, to purchase assets including state-owned companies like major steel producer Khuzestan Steel Co. Khosravi’s business empire included more than 35 companies from mineral water production to a football club and meat imports from Brazil. According to Iranian media reports, the bank fraud began in 2007. A total of 39 defendants were convicted in the case. Four received death sentences, two got life sentences and the rest received sentences of up to 25 years in prison. The trials raised questions about corruption at senior levels in Iran’s tightly controlled economy during the administration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mahmoud Reza Khavari, a former head of Bank Melli, another major Iranian bank, escaped to Canada in 2011 after he resigned over the case. He faces charges over the case in Iran and remains on the Islamic Republic’s wanted list. Khavari previously admitted that his bank partially was involved in the fraud, but has maintained his innocence [...]" 

MSM: "Major Banks Under Investigation For Ties To Mexican Drug Cartels" [05/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "Federal regulators in the United States are reportedly investigation no fewer than two major American banks with regards to their relationships with clients believed to be tied to Mexican drug cartels. Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday this week that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is probing both Charles Schwab Corp. and Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch brokerage firm because clients of those entities were linked to Mexican drug cartels. The SEC, Reuters reported, “is looking into whether the brokerages missed red flags that could indicate attempts to move money illicitly or to feed proceeds from drug trafficking and other crimes into the financial system by failing to know their customers well enough,” according to the newswire’s sources. Representatives for both the SEC and Merrill Lunch declined to comment, Reuters reported, but an unnamed source claimed that Schwab has already launched an internal investigation of its own. And while the SEC did not directly assist Reuters in their report, two sources confirmed to the newswire that the investigation has so far led regulators to believe that both Schwab and Merrill accepted “shell company” clients registered to individuals with fake addresses. According to those sources, the financial companies had failed to properly vet their clientele and in turn took in customers linked to illegal activities, including the Mexican drug trade. Most of the sources in the Schwab case, one insider told Reuters, “were located near the Mexican border and some were linked to drug money in Mexico.” If those allegations are accurate, then it would be far from the first time that major American banks were linked to the Mexican drug trade: HSBC paid the US government $1.9 billion last year after it was caught aiding narcotics kings, and in years prior Wachovia Corp., Bank of America and Wells Fargo were all tied to similar allegations. This time, though, the Department of Justice might not order a hefty settlement if bankers are found to have conspired these deals, but instead prison sentences for the Americans involved. Although no US banks have been held accountable for the last major economic collapse, Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this month that no company or individual — be it a bank or otherwise — is “too big to jail.” [...]"  

Commentary: "China Halts US Dollar Transactions With Afghan Banks" [05/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "The de-dollarization escalates. As Reuters reports, Chinese banks have halted dollar transactions with most Afghan commercial banks, the central bank governor said on Thursday, making it difficult for businesses to pay for imports with one of the Afghanistan's biggest trading partners. "China is a major country that was handling those bank transfers, and now they have told the banks they can't do it," governor Noorullah Delawari told Reuters. The impact on business had been felt immediately, he said. The Chinese move was part of the trend in which it was increasingly difficult for Afghanistan's commercial banks to execute international transactions, Delawari said. "Some of our banks cannot do any direct transactions because their correspondent banks in the U.S., Europe, Germany, or Turkey (have halted transactions)," he said.  The Afghan government's failure to pass key measures means that it could in June be blacklisted by Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body that sets standards on how countries combat money laundering. Banks have been struggling since FATF threatened Afganistan with the blacklist early this year."That has been affecting our banks ability to transfer money for anything," Delawari said, describing how students abroad were unable to receive money from there parents as an example.Chinese banks and officials were not immediately available for comment.[...] "  Note: I imagine Afghanistan has a lot of Opium trafficking money to "put into the system", and also various factions in the country who are functional 'oligarchs' in some way won't have the means to carry on as usual, however that may be.

Commentary: "Ron Paul Talks about the Fed's "Quid Pro Quo" in Belgium" [05/23/14] [1:45] "The Peter Schiff Show [...] 

MSM: "JPMorgan, HSBC And Credit Agricole Accused Of Euro Rate-Fixes" [05/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "The European Commission has accused JPMorgan, HSBC and Credit Agricole of colluding to fix a key euro benchmark borrowing rate - Euribor. JP Morgan and HSBC will fight the charges. Credit Agricole will study the European Commission's findings. Penalties for the guilty are up to 10% of annual revenue. Euribor is a cousin to Libor, which is used to set trillions of dollars of financial contracts from complex financial transactions to car loans. In December, the Commission imposed fines totalling 1.04bn on Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Societe Generale as part of the same investigation. Barclays escaped a fine as it had notified the Commission of the existence of the cartel, and the others were granted a 10% reduction in their fine for agreeing to a settlement. The EU's competition body said: "The Commission has concerns that the three banks may have taken part in a collusive scheme which aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives." [...]" 

Commentary: "George Soros Sells All shares Of Citigroup, Bank Of America And JP Morgan" [05/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "Just over 2 decades ago banker George Soros made his most famous investment by shorting the British pound and pocketing a billion dollars in the process. Since then he has become famous for betting on stock market crashes and in some cases even rigging markets to fail for his own gain. Just months ago, Soros made headlines by making a billion dollar stock bet against the S&P 500. At the time this was said to be a sign of trouble ahead for the US economy, as Soros has seemed to have had advance knowledge of market crashes in the past. As a result of this reputation, investors have begun to keep a close eye on his holdings. This week investors took notice again when Soros sold his shares of three major American banks, including Bank of America, JP Morgan and Citigroup. n February 2009, Soros said the world financial system had effectively disintegrated, adding that there was no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. “We witnessed the collapse of the financial system … It was placed on life support, and it’s still on life support. There’s no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom.” [...]"  Related: "Is Soros Engineering Another Black Wednesday?" Printer Friendly Version "... Soros is not the only billionaire who is dumping stock. Warren Buffet and John Paulson are also quietly changing their positions as Newsmax reports: [...] Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, has been drastically reducing its exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. Berkshire sold roughly 19 million shares of Johnson & Johnson, and reduced its overall stake in “consumer product stocks” by 21%. Berkshire Hathaway also sold its entire stake in California-based computer parts supplier Intel. With 70% of the U.S. economy dependent on consumer spending, Buffett’s apparent lack of faith in these companies’ future prospects is worrisome. Unfortunately, Buffett isn’t alone.[...]" 

Quotes: "I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse."--Woody Allen  

MSM: "Russia Buys 900,000 Ounces Of Gold Worth $1.17 Billion In April" [05/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Russian central bank has again increased its gold reserves by another 900,000 ounces worth $1.17 billion in April. Russia’s gold reserves rose to 34.4 million troy ounces in April, from 33.5 million troy ounces in March, the Russian central bank announced on its website yesterday. The value of its gold holdings rose to $44.30 billion as of May 1, compared with $43.36 billion a month earlier, it added. [...] This was to be expected given the very pronounced geopolitical tension with the U.S. and west over Ukraine. Indeed the TIC data shows that Russia has been aggressively divesting themselves of U.S. Treasuries. Russian holdings of U.S. Treasuries fell very sharp, by nearly $50 billion, between October and March 2014 or nearly a third of Russia’s total holdings. Over half of the plunge came in March, when $26 billion was liquidated as western sanctions were imposed. TIC Data for April won’t be available until June and will make for very interesting reading. Especially given the mysterious huge U.S. Treasury buying that is being done by little Belgium. This has analysts scratching their heads and has aroused suspicions that the Fed and or the ECB may be behind the huge Belgian purchases.[...]" 

MSM: "China Signs Non-Dollar Settlement Deal With Russia's Largest Bank" [05/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "Slowly, the USD's hegemony is being chipped away whether by foreign policy faux pas, crossed red-lines, or economic fragility. However, on Day 1 of Vladimir Putin's trip to China it is clear that the two nations are as close as ever. VTB - among Russia's largest banks - has signed a deal with Bank of China to pay each other in domestic currencies, bypassing the need for US Dollars for "investment banking, inter-bank lending, trade finance and capital-markets transactions." Kirill Dmitriyev the head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund notes, "together it’ll be possible to discuss investment in various projects much more efficiently and clearly," as Russia's pivot to Asia continues to gather steam.[...]" Related: "Dollar Dive – China’s Economy Soon To Leave US Far Behind"   [1:15]  

Commentary: "US Politicians Line Pockets With Funds From Ecuador’s Billionaire Bankers On The Lam In US" [05/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "Money can’t buy happiness” goes the saying. While this can be true to one extent or another, money can certainly buy protection from your enemies, as Ecuadorian billionaire brothers, Robert and William Isaias, have conveniently discovered. The Ecuadorian billionaire brothers were sentenced in 2003 in absentia to 8 years in prison on charges of embezzlement. They have since avoided punishment by lining the pockets of high-level American politicians to ensure their “safety” from Ecuadorian law. But what is the deal with the Isaias duo? After a decade-long trial, an Ecuadorian court found the brothers guilty of defrauding Filanbanco, a bank they owned, after it collapsed in the 1990s. As a result, the state and its taxpayers incurred losses of over $400 million, with Ecuadorian citizens taking to the streets to protest the injustice. Fortunately for them, the Isaias fled long before the final judgment to enjoy a life of luxury in Florida – the famous hub of anti-Castro activists and billionaires living lavish lifestyles. Repeated calls by President Correa to extradite the two fraudulent bankers back to Ecuador to serve their sentence fell on deaf ears, and, as it turns out, campaign donations played a large part in these developments. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, has been thrown into the spotlight of the affair and is under investigation by the Department of Justice for his dodgy involvement in the immigration status of the Isaias brothers. Could Menendez have crossed a fine line in his protection of the brothers from Ecuadorian law? Or was he merely fulfilling his political duties in dealing with immigration inquiries and helping families in need? [...]" 

Commentary: "America’s Rotting Empire: Billionaires Galore And A Crumbling Infrastructure" [05/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The game is rigged,” writes Senator Elizabeth Warren in her new book A Fighting Chance. It’s rigged because the rich and their lobbyists have rigged the rules of the game to their favor. The rules are reflected in a tax code and bankruptcy laws that have seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in U.S. history. The result? America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains. A rigged tax code and a bloated military budget are starving the federal and state governments of the revenue it needs to invest in infrastructure, which means today America looks increasingly like a second rate nation, and now new data shows America’s intellectual resources are also in decline. [...]"  

Commentary: "DHS Witch-Hunt For Ukrainian ‘Shiny Toy’ Assets Exposes US Foreign Policy Nightmare" [05/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The United States Department of Homeland Security has begun looking into the seizure of hidden assets owned by blacklisted Russians that have become the subject of Ukrainian sanctions ordered by the West… This is the latest attempt by those in Washington to put a hangman’s knot around Ukraine under the guise of humanitarian intervention and this time they’ve employed one of their favorite pet-agencies, the DHS. Homeland Security is operating in unison with the United States Treasury Department to aid in the Western guided color revolution that erupted into chaos last winter, an event that has framed Russian leadership as the perpetrators of violent activity within the country, giving the West the impetus to impose harsh sanctions.  The items that have been sought by the US government agency include ‘shiny toy’ seizures of helicopters, large homes, mega-yachts, high-priced artifacts, planes – as well as accessing bank accounts and investments. According to a report this week by Bloomberg.com, “The U.S. government has blacklisted 19 companies and 45 political and business leaders, including four it designated as members of Putin’s inner circle.”  The problem is though, it was revealed back in late February in an article appearing on 21st Century Wire, by well-known Geopolitical researcher and author F. William Engdahl, that the West had already begun pressurizing Ukraine, helping to oust the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich for reportedly rejecting a $15 billion deal in debt relief offered by the EU, which was then subsequently followed by the deployment of a NATO Gladio-style organization stirring up violence in the region: According to these reports, UNA-UNSO para-military have been involved in every NATO dirty war in the post-cold war period, always fighting on behalf of NATO. “These people are the dangerous mercenaries used all over the world to fight NATO’s dirty war, and to frame Russia because this group pretends to be Russian special forces.” This current stranglehold to seize assets by the West seems to lack any legitimacy or credibility, especially when it appears that they themselves have played a large role in the revolt and collapse of Kiev. The seizure appears to reveal the growing encroachment made by Western policy designers, which reflects a very heavy-handed approach to the geopolitical chessboard as a whole. Remember, there were also reports back in March about the transfer of 33 tons of gold out of Ukraine taken into US custody.[...]" 

MSM: "Reform Of The Bretton Woods Institutions: The IMF Might Not Live To See Its Anniversary" [05/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The latest meeting of the ministers of finance and central bank governors of the G20 countries took place April 10-11, 2014 in Washington. A key issue was the reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). [...]"  

Interviews: "Fed Laundering Treasury Bonds in Belgium, Real GDP Was Negative & More" [05/18/14] [29:10] "Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts. [...]"  Note: What this means is the Federal Reserve conceals full extent of its money printing by setting up offshore accounts in Belgium to launder its purchases of US debt: "The Great Deceiver — The Federal Reserve" Printer Friendly Version  

MSM: "Visa, Mastercard Will Have To Pay $3bn To Stay In Russia - Morgan Stanley" [05/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Under Russia's new legislation, Visa and MasterCard will have to pay $3 billion in ‘security fees’ to continue operating in Russia, more than five times higher than the companies combined revenues, a new Morgan Stanley report says. Under the new plan, Visa will be required to pay Russia’s Central bank $1.9 billion, and MasterCard will have to fork out $1 billion, according to an estimate by Morgan Stanley, Kommersant reported on Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on foreign payment systems on May 5 that requires foreign payment systems to be levied at 25 percent of an average amount of transfers profit during one calendar day in Russia, to be paid each quarter to the Central Bank. The law will be enacted on July 1. Morgan Stanley has calculated that it is unprofitable for both Visa and MasterCard to continue to work in Russia. The Morgan Stanley Report titled “The Russian Bear: Impacts of V and MA” said the fees will be more than five times the two companies’ combined annual revenue in Russia. Analysts at Morgan Stanley report net sales for Visa to be between $350-470 million, and $160 million for MasterCard. A possible loophole would be to create a separate, non US-owned entity to run the Russian Visa and MasterCard divisions. Visa already has such an operation in Europe. “MasterCard has worked in Russia for more than 20 years. We are continuing to study all components of the new law, and are sure that some of the provisions will not only create serious difficulties for our operations in Russia, but will damage the Russian market of electronic payments in the long-term,” the company told Kommersant in a statement, adding they “continue to work closely with government agencies, financial institutions, and commercial enterprises in Russia.” Visa has declined comment on the report.  [...]" 

Max Keiser: "Bankers Killing Bankers For The Insurance Money And Another Look At 9/11" [05/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Two big, macabre stories came out of Wall Street recently: the rash of banker deaths by apparent murder and/or suicide, and speculation that bank CEOs themselves are behind the trend to cash in on the insurance. It turns out that banks take out life insurance policies on their employees, and those policies pay out death benefits to the banks – not the families. In other words, to add to the banks' other crimes, they appear to also be involved in the "suicides" and deaths of their own, as a way to fatten their bottom line and bonuses. Should we be surprised by this banker-on-banker death scam? After all, wasn't this what 9/11 was all about? A new book by James Rickards, 'The Death of Money' (read: 'Death of Bankers'), opens with a timeline starting three days before the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and describes them from a first-person account from inside the CIA, which was monitoring trading on airline stocks (specifically 'put options'), from traders who were profiting from the 9/11 disaster. Jim Rickards is both a Washington insider and a Wall Street insider. He's a hedge fund manager and a lawyer who, amongst other roles, advised the government during the collapse of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), as well as during the release of the hostages during the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1981. If anyone has the inside track on the Wall Street-Washington corridor of corruption, it's Mr. Rickards. And in his new book, he provides an eyewitness account of 9/11 insider 'terror trading' that was missing from the government's own report. Rickards is an unimpeachable source, and he has done a great service by blowing the whistle on this scandal, at least partially. I've interviewed Jim Rickards on my show 'Keiser Report' many times and spent time with him personally comparing notes from our Wall Street days. [...]" 

MSM: "Russia Dumps 20% Of Its Treasury Holdings As Mystery “Belgium” Buyer Adds Another $40 Billion" [05/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Back in mid-March, there was a brief scare after the start of the Ukraine conflict, when Fed custody holdings plunged by a record $104.5 billion (if promptly bouncing back the following week), leading many to believe that Russia may have dumped its Treasurys, or at least change its bond custodian. We noted that we wouldn’t have a definitive answer until the May TIC number came out to know for sure how much Russia had sold, or if indeed, anything. Moments ago the May TIC numbers did come out, and as expected, Russia indeed dumped a record $26 billion, or some 20% of all of its holdings, bringing its post-March total to just over $100 billion – the lowest since the Lehman crisis. But as shocking as this largely pre-telegraphed dump was, it pales in comparison with what we first observed, is the country that has quietly and quite rapidly become the third largest holder of US paper: Belgium. [...]"  

Commentary: "IRS Reschedules The Death Of The Dollar?" [05/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ever since President Obama signed the ill-conceived “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” (FATCA) into law in 2010, I’ve been warning about the death of the dollar. And I haven’t been alone. Other experts have cautioned about FATCA’s potential to literally shut down the global economy when it goes into full effect July 1, 2014. But the IRS has now postponed that day of reckoning – for at least some – until January 1, 2016. [...] The idea behind FATCA is simple: Demand that other countries enforce America’s imperialistic tax laws. And to do so by the confiscation of foreign assets, if necessary. Under the provisions of FATCA, interest, dividends, rents, and similar payments leaving the US will be subject to a 30% withholding tax. The only way that most foreign banks and other foreign companies will be able to avoid this tax is to act as unpaid IRS informants. Non-US individuals investing in the US will be affected, too. If their foreign bank isn’t FATCA-compliant, their US income will get whacked by 30%. It will be possible to recover the tax in some cases, but even so, I can’t think of a better way to scare foreign investors away from the US. Something I call “FATCA contagion” would be even worse. In this scenario, since they couldn’t be completely certain that foreign recipients are FATCA compliant, US banks might start routinely deducting 30% from international funds transfers – and letting the IRS sort it all out. You can probably imagine what this might do to the value of the US dollar. It could sink like a stone. If there’s panic selling out of the dollar, the US Treasury could impose foreign exchange controls overnight. If it went on for more than a day or two, it would shut down much of the global economy. The IRS seems to have become dimly aware of this possibility. On May 2, it released regulations that give many of the companies and financial institutions affected by FATCA another 18 months – until January 1, 2016 – to become fully compliant. But this extension will apply only if the IRS thinks the particular institution is making a “good-faith effort” to do so. If it’s not, withholding begins July 1. [...]"   Related: "FATCA Update: A Semi-Stay of Execution for Americans Assets and the US Dollar" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Russia: Moving Away From 'International Rating Agencies’ Only “Question Of Time" [05/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Russian Finance Ministry believes moving away from international ratings agencies is just a question of time. Russia is eager to break the world monopoly of rating systems and create its own rating giants. “At Finance Ministry level we are so far not ready to remove all the links to ratings [of internationals agencies], but it’s is a question of time,” said Deputy Russian Finance Minister Sergey Storchak. According to interim reports from the Financial Stability Board, more and more countries, including the US, are removing links from international ratings agencies, he added. “We have an aim – to go back to basics when a creditor himself evaluates the paying capacity of a borrower… Sooner or later we will be rating the papers of the issuers and issuers themselves,” Storchak added. One of the problems of ratings agencies is their “pro-cyclicality,” the Deputy Finance Minister said. “This is one of the reasons why the Financial Stability Board recommends refraining from mechanistic use of ratings… Ratings grow when the economy grows and gets lower, when it is slowing down and when the national authorities need support, including from the market.” [...] Changes by the rating agencies normally serve as a strong signal to foreign investors, which affect the flows of capital internationally. Most recently, Standard & Poor’s cut Russia’s credit rating to 'BBB', just a notch above junk status, as capital outflow from the country was estimated at about $50.6 billion in the first 3 months of 2014. The same month Standard & Poor's also cut its long-term rating for Crimea to a default 'D', after it failed to pay interest on bonds of $12 million on time. Crimea’s communications minister responded saying it was part of a broader “information war” against Russia and Crimea. In March S&P, as well as Fitch Ratings, cut Russia's credit rating outlook to 'negative'. [...]    Over-reliance on the Western financial paradigm has caused Russia great pain, especially the US decision to wind down its asset buying program, which has had a negative effect on emerging markets worldwide. Meanwhile, Moscow has already announced that it may create its own ratings agency, independent of the Western "big three" - S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch, in an effort to break the world monopoly of rating systems. “There is a dream, and there is an extreme need. When you face an ultimate need, it becomes a reality. This project [Russia’s own rating agency] is necessary in any case to avoid speculation that somebody depends on eastern countries and others on western,” Igor Shuvalov said in an interview to Forbes magazine. Decreasing reliance on the dollar and switching to national payment systems, as China and Japan have already done, is also a main goal for Russia. Currently, there are a few domestic rating agencies in Russia, like RusRating, Expert RA, and RIA rating. However, none of them are of any significance in the global arena. [...]" 

Commentary: "Russian Defense Industry Should Obey ‘Made In Russia’ Principle – Putin" [05/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "No branch in Russia’s defense industry should depend on foreign producers President Vladimir Putin said, saying everything the industry needs must be made at home. "We must ensure that everything our defense industry needs is produced on our territory – for us not to be dependent on anyone, in any way concerning the supply of our army and navy with new weapons," Putin said at a meeting at his Bocharov Ruchey residence in Sochi.  The Russian leader admitted the measure would lead to extra costs, but it was the correct course of action to choose. "Small additional funds will be needed," Putin said. "But the process is right.” It would also mean adjusting the work of domestic research centers in accordance with the new objectives. “We need to look at how work with research centers has been organized, and to work more closely with the Academy of Sciences,” Putin said. A new round of negotiations dedicated to the defense procurement program will be taking place in the next three days, according to the president. These series of talks come six months after similar meetings. [...]  "We have agreed on the unconditional implementation of defense procurement and efficient use of funds allocated for this," the president said. A total of 20 trillion rubles are allocated for these purposes and 3 trillion rubles for re-equipping defense industry complex companies, he said. Last month the government was ordered to analyze the situation and calculate additional necessary resources related to the issue, and estimate the terms in which it can be implemented. In his speech on April 28, Putin also voiced plans “to conduct import substitution,” a process he estimated would take between 1.5 and 2.5 years, depending on the type of products. [...] Back then Putin particularly referred to Ukraine, saying that Russia switching to domestic products would “likely lead to disaster” because Moscow is the only consumer the Ukrainian defense industry has. For example, Ukraine was producing engines for most Russian military helicopters, including the Mi-24, the R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles for the Russian air force and many critical components, like drogue parachutes and hydraulics for fighter jets. Ukraine also makes the gears used in many Russian ships and transport planes at the Antonov factory in Kiev. Many weapons the Russian military uses incorporate Ukrainian parts. [...]" It will get worse when austerity sets in.

Interviews: "Austerity Looms: Ukraine May Become The New Greece" [05/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ukraine is going to be caught in a debt trap because of the borrowed money it has to repay, but it can’t repay the money effectively because of the imposed austerity measures, Chairman of the Bruges Group think tank, Robert Oulds, told RT. [...]" 

Commentary: "Russia Strives To Exclude The Dollar From Energy Trading " Valentin Mândrăşescu [05/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "According to the Prime news agency, on April 24th the government organized a special meeting dedicated to finding a solution for getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations. Top level experts from the energy sector, banks and governmental agencies were summoned and a number of measures were proposed as a response for American sanctions against Russia. The"de-dollarization meeting” was chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov, proving that Moscow is very serious in its intention to stop using the dollar. A subsequent meeting was chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev who later told the Rossia 24 channel that "the amount of ruble-denominated contracts will be increased”, adding that none of the polled experts and bank representatives found any problems with the government's plan to increase the share of ruble payments. It is interesting that in his interview, Moiseev mentioned a legal mechanism that can be described as "currency switch executive order”, telling that the government has the legal power to force Russian companies to trade a percentage of certain goods in rubles. Referring to the case when this level may be set to 100%, the Russian official said that "it's an extreme option and it is hard for me to tell right now how the government will use these powers". Of course, the success of Moscow's campaign to switch its trading to rubles or other regional currencies will depend on the willingness of its trading partners to get rid of the dollar. Sources cited by Politonline.ru mentioned two countries who would be willing to support Russia: Iran and China. Given that Vladimir Putin will visit Beijing on May 20, it can be speculated that the gas and oil contracts that are going to be signed between Russia and China will be denominated in rubles and yuan, not dollars. Related: "Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar" Michael Snyder Michael Snyder Printer Friendly Version "... So will Russia go through with this? After all, this wouldn't just be a slap in the face. This would essentially be like slamming an economic fist into our nose. You see, Russia is not just a small player when it comes to trading oil and natural gas. The truth is that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world. If Russia starts asking for payment in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will essentially end the monopoly of the petrodollar. In order to do this, Russia will need trading partners willing to go along. In the article quoted above, the Voice of Russia listed Iran and China as two nations that would potentially be willing to make the switch... For decades the US has benefited to the tune of trillions of dollars-worth of free credit from the greenback's role as the default global reserve unit.  But as the global economy trembled before the prospect of a US default last month, only averted when Washington reached a deal to raise its debt ceiling, China's official Xinhua news agency called for a "de-Americanised" world. It also urged the creation of a "new international reserve currency... to replace the dominant US dollar".[...]"  

MSM: "Russia’s Third Largest Bank Moves Money From Europe To Moscow For Safe Keeping" [05/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Gazprombank transferred client funds from Belgium and Luxembourg back to home turf, to protect against any future sanctions. The securities were moved from Euroclear Bank (Brussels) and Clearstream Banking (Luxembourg) to the Russian Central Depository at the end of April. The move is intended to protect customers from any forthcoming sanctions and prevent a situation where clients’ funds are frozen, the statement on the website said. “The transfer was done to prevent possible restrictions on transactions of customers’ assets that are kept in international deposits and settlement systems,” it stated. In preparation for sanctions, in March, the bank moved nearly $7 billion to Russia’s Central Bank for safe keeping. Russia’s Central Bank held $486 billion in international reserves as of April 1 this year, $40 billion less than one year earlier, when holdings stood at about $528 billion. The last round of US sanctions included 17 companies, but didn’t target Gazprombank or Vnesheconombank (VEB), both state-owned lending institutions. In March, the US imposed sanctions on Bank Rossiya and its owner, Yury Kovalchuk - both have stakes in Gazprom subsidiaries.  [...]" 

MSM: "If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States" [05/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "Does the economy move in predictable waves, cycles or patterns? There are many economists that believe that it does, and if their projections are correct, the rest of this decade is going to be pure hell for the United States. Many mainstream economists want nothing to do with economic cycle theorists, but it should be noted that economic cycle theories have enabled some analysts to correctly predict the timing of recessions, stock market peaks and stock market crashes over the past couple of decades. Of course none of the theories discussed below is perfect, but it is very interesting to note that all of them seem to indicate that the U.S. economy is about to enter a major downturn. So will the period of 2015 to 2020 turn out to be pure hell for the United States? We will just have to wait and see. One of the most prominent economic cycle theories is known as “the Kondratieff wave”. It was developed by a Russian economist named Nikolai Kondratiev, and as Wikipedia has noted, his economic theories got him into so much trouble with the Russian government that he was eventually executed because of them… [...] The Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also written Kondratieff) was the first to bring these observations to international attention in his book The Major Economic Cycles (1925) alongside other works written in the same decade. Two Dutch economists, Jacob van Gelderen and Samuel de Wolff, had previously argued for the existence of 50 to 60 year cycles in 1913. However, the work of de Wolff and van Gelderen has only recently been translated from Dutch to reach a wider audience. Kondratiev’s ideas were not supported by the Soviet government. Subsequently he was sent to the gulag and was executed in 1938. In 1939, Joseph Schumpeter suggested naming the cycles “Kondratieff waves” in his honor. [...] So what does the Kondratieff wave theory suggest is coming next for us? Well, according to work done by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, we are heading into an economic depression that should last until about the year 2020. The economic cycle theories of author Harry Dent also predict that we are on the verge of massive economic problems. He mainly focuses on demographics, and the fact that our population is rapidly getting older is a major issue for him. The following is an excerpt from a Business Insider article that summarizes the major points that Dent makes in his new book… [...]" 

Commentary: "Banks Inside Walmart Stores Lead Nation In Raking In Fees From Customers" [05/13/14] "A number of different banks operate branches inside more than 1,000 Walmart stores in the U.S., and many of these banks market themselves to consumers who may not be targeted by larger institutions because of low income or lack of savings and credit. A new analysis of the institutions most frequently found at Walmart found that these banks are also the most reliant on charging fees to their customers. The Wall Street Journal looked at the U.S. banks where fees make up the highest percentage of revenue. Five of the top 10 also happen to be the five banks with the most branches located inside of Walmart stores. The average bank in the U.S. only gets about .7% of its revenue from fees charged to customers. But the five banks with the highest number of in-Walmart branches get anywhere from 11.3% to 20% (median 12.7%) of their revenue from these fees. And while the bank with the highest percentage of revenue from fees (Sunbank, at 20.9%) only has 12 branches, all 12 of them are in Walmart stores. The CEO of Texas-based Woodforest bank, with more than 700 Walmart locations, tells the Journal that around 78% of his bank’s $271 million in fees comes from overdrafts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been probing the topic of overdraft fees for the last couple of years, to consider whether the more than $30 billion taken in annually in fees might be doing more harm than good, and if the price tag for these fees is in line with the actual cost to the banks. The 2010 financial reforms has curbed some overdrafting by requiring banks to get customers’ permission before enrolling their debit cards in automatic overdraft programs. In response, many banks have simply raised the fees they charge for people who cross the line into overdraft territory. [...]" 

MSM: "Multinational Companies Illegal Diversion Of Funds Stymies African Development" [05/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "More than $60bn (£36bn) has been illegally siphoned out of Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania over 10 years, with most of it squirreled away in tax havens, according to a report by financial transparency campaigners. Washington-based group Global Financial Integrity (GFI) said the “enormous amounts of money” drained out of the countries equates to more than double the international aid money they receive and is stymieing efforts to lift millions of people out of poverty. GFI’s report, published on Monday, said most of the funds are lost through multinational companies illegal misinvoicing the value of imported or exported goods. It means that importers pretend to pay more for goods than they actually pay and the extra money is slipped into offshore bank accounts. In one notable case an American company invoiced for plastic buckets at $972 each. “We are talking about a huge drainage out of these countries,” GFI president Raymond Baker said: “People are making millions and millions at the expenses of the world’s poorest people.” Baker said virtually all household name companies dealing in Africa have used the scheme, which he said is effectively “stealing from African governments”. He said trade mis-invoicing takes place all over the world but Africa is particularly susceptible as local officials are more likely to be corruptible. Baker said some government officials have also siphoned off large chunks of cash. The report, commissioned by the Danish government, compares the official prices paid for goods to the global market price for the same items but does not name any companies or officials. It said: “A global shadow financial system provides measures of opacity to disguise and move illicit money throughout the world, including dozens of secrecy jurisdictions and multiple layers of confusing and concealed ownership structures. “These outflows, and the shadow financial system in which they thrive, represent one of the most damaging conditions undermining economic growth and development, governance, and human rights in Africa and around the world.” Mogens Jensen, Denmark’s trade minister, said he commissioned the study because he was concerned the “shady trade transactions” are holding back Africa’s development. [...]"  

Commentary: "SCO: Moscow To Tap Chinese Funds to Boost Russian Economy" [05/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russia proposes to tap Chinese money as European and American sanctions over Ukraine threaten to push the world's largest energy producer into recession, according to two senior Russian government officials. Moscow is looking to boost growth and funds from the world's second largest economy could find their way into a host of industries such as natural resources, housing and infrastructure construction, the unnamed officials told Bloomberg. Two government meetings are scheduled this month to set rules for Chinese investors targeting Russia, the officials said. However, Moscow could prevent the Chinese from investing in precious metals, diamond mining and in high-technology projects. Russia will also examine ways to curb a large influx of Chinese citizens into its territory to prevent ethnic tensions, they added. Russia's relations with China are growing steadily, despite other issues, and no "special" government meetings are being planned on China, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Bloomberg. [...]"  

Commentary: "$1.2 Trillion In Foreign Bank Funds In The US Dissipate" [05/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "It fits the pattern of gratuitous bank enrichment perfectly, but this time, the big beneficiaries of the Fed are foreign banks. A JPMorgan analysis, cited by the Wall Street Journal, figured that in 2014 the Fed would pay $6.74 billion in interest to the banks that park their excess cash at the Fed – half of that amount, so a cool $3.37 billion, would line the pockets of foreign banks with branches in the US. This is where part of the liquidity ends up that the Fed has been handing to Wall Street through its bond purchases. Currently, the Fed requires that banks keep a minimum balance of $80.2 billion at the Fed. Banks can keep up to $88.2 billion at the Fed as part of the “penalty-free band.” In theory, as “penalty-free” implies, there’d be a penalty on balances above $88.2 billion. But the total balance was $2.66 trillion in April, up from $2.62 trillion in March and from $1.83 trillion a year ago. The balances in excess of the “penalty-free band” have reached $2.57 trillion. The highest ever. The penalty on that? Forget that. The Fed’s raison d’être is to enrich the banks regardless of what the costs to the economy, the rest of society, and savers. So instead of penalizing banks for these excess reserves, it pays the banks 0.25% interest not only on the required balances but also on all other balances. Spread over the year 2014, as JPMorgan estimated, interest payments on these balances would amount to $6.74 billion.    [...] It’s a marvelous system. The banks’ cost of funds, given the heroic efforts the Fed has undertaken to repress interest rates, is near zero. Banks can borrow short-term from their depositors – that’s you and me – and from money-market funds – that’s you and me again – at near zero cost, so maybe 0.10%. Instead of lending it out, banks put that money on deposit at the Fed to earn 0.25%. It’s the laziest no-brainer in banking history. A pure gift from the Fed. But there’s a kink. Non-US-charted banks with branches in the US benefit even more. The Bank for International Settlements, the umbrella organization for the world’s largest central banks, revealed how these non-US banks were taking advantage of the new FDIC insurance charges on wholesale funding (borrowing from other banks, short-term repos, or funding from affiliates outside the US). They’d figured out that these extra costs didn’t apply to them. They only applied to US-chartered banks. The wider FDIC charge added 2.5 to 45 basis points to the costs of large and complex US chartered banks’ short-term wholesale funding. The calculation is complex and its result by bank is not disclosed, but the rate for the largest US bank was said to be 8 basis points…. With wholesale rates of 10 basis points or less, the new FDIC charge made bidding for such funds and parking them at the Fed at 25 basis points unattractive for many US-chartered banks but not to the US branches of foreign banks, which pay no FDIC fee. As foreign banks took advantage of the laziest no-brainer in history, the Fed’s money-printing and bond buying regime led to an enormous inflow of money into the US – about $1.3 trillion so far. It’s the risk-free banking version of the hot money. And the $2.6 trillion in excess reserves that economists are expecting to flow into the US economy sooner or later to really stir things up? Half of it is that hot money. It won’t ever flow into the US economy. It won’t fuel the “escape velocity” that has been forecast for five years in a row. It’ll dissipate.[...]" 

MSM: "Russia Demands $3.8bn Security Deposit From Visa And Mastercard" [05/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "International credit card companies face a "severe impact" on their operations in Russia following a strict new law Moscow has adopted in response to Visa and Mastercard freezing service to banks under US sanctions. Visa described the regulations as "unprecedented" and Mastercard said it could experience difficulties, the Russian magazine Snob reported, after Vladimir Putin signed a law on Monday to create a rival national payment system. The law stipulates the creation of a homegrown system to facilitate cashless transactions by 1 July, but also imposes stiff new requirements on international payment systems operating in Russia. The legislation was spurred on by Visa and Mastercard's decision on 21 March to stop servicing payments for clients of Rossiya Bank, as well as its daughter company Sobinbank. Rossiya Bank was included in the first round of US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis because it is owned by Putin associate Yury Kovalchuk and is the "personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation," the US Treasury said when announcing the sanctions. Visa and Mastercard also blocked operations for cards issued by SMP Bank, which is owned by the brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, who are old judo buddies of Putin's. The new law forbids international payment systems from cutting off services to Russian clients and obliges them to base their processing centre in Russia. To ensure their good behaviour, international operators will have to place a security deposit in Russia's central bank equal to the average value of two days' worth of transactions. Visa and Mastercard together processed $1.9bn (£1.12bn) in transactions per day last year – 90% of all cashless payments in Russia – equal to a $3.8bn security deposit, the Moscow Times reported. The security deposit will be due in eight quarterly payments starting on 1 July. The law states that if a payment system unilaterally freezes operations for a Russian client, it is liable for a fee totalling 10% of its security deposit for each day without service. Vladimir Tikhonov, an analyst at Otkritie investment bank, said the creation of an internal payment system has been undertaken in Australia and will make Russia's financial system "more stable from outside threat" – not only sanctions, but also cyber-attacks. But even if Russia also creates its own replacement payment cards, agreements would need to be signed with foreign payment systems for these cards to work abroad, he added. "The creation of a national payment system is not a replacement for Visa and Mastercard," Tikhonov said. "If Visa and Mastercard leave Russia, it will of course be a serious blow for both citizens and for businesses."[...]"  

Commentary: "The Global Economic Reset 2015" [05/11/14] [7:04] "Fabian Calvo reveals how the world is preparing for the collapse of the U.S. dollar and how the world has already witnessed this Global Reset at least 6 other times in modern history[...]"   

MSM: "UK: Barclays Bank Axes 7,000 Investment Bankers In Massive Cull Of 19,000 Jobs" [05/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "• Radical shake-up at Barclays comes after bank's profits fell earlier this year • Investment division to lose 7,000 jobs while a total of 19,000 will go by 2016 • At least 7,000 bankers in the City of London will be given the chop • Marks the end of an era for bank which came to define 'casino' culture • Barclays says business will be 'repositioned, simplified and rebalanced' [...] The move is a major change for the company which became notorious for its so-called ‘casino banking’ under its former chief executive Bob Diamond. While Barclays survived the financial crisis without a taxpayer-funded bailout - unlike RBS and Lloyds - it did not escape the wrath of politicians. David Cameron led a furious attack on the culture of the bank after it admitted traders had manipulated key interest rates. At height of the libor rate-fixing scandal, the Prime Minister blasted: 'People have to take responsibility for the actions and show how they're going to be accountable for these actions. 'It's very important that goes all the way to the top of the organisation.' Mr Diamond resigned days later, to be replaced by Mr Jenkins who has spent two years overhauling the firm. In 2008 it was forced to seek a bailout from the Middle East as its investments division threatened to drag the whole bank down in the same way as the Royal Bank of Scotland and other British banks. The changes will see Barclays hive off its European retail banking business into a so-called 'bad bank', comprising £115 billion of 'non-core' assets."  Investment banking has been heavily criticized for its large bonuses and appearance of irresponsibility. Finance director Tushar Morzaria announced on Tuesday that about 450 directors and managing directors had been made redundant in the first quarter as it was revealed profits had fallen by five per cent. In February the bank faced criticism after it was announced staff in its investment arm will get an average bonus of £60,100 per employee for 2013, despite the lender unveiling a 32 per cent drop in underlying annual profits. [...]"  

Perspectives: "False East/West Paradigm Hides The Rise Of Global Currency" [05/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Despite popular belief, very few things in our world are exactly what they seem. That which is painted as righteous is often evil. That which is painted as kind is often malicious. That which is painted as simple is often complex. That which is painted as complex often ends up being disturbingly two dimensional. Regardless, if a person is willing to look only at the immediate surface of a thing, he will never understand the content of the thing. This fact is nowhere more evident than in the growing “tensions” between the elites of the West and the elites of the East over the crisis in Ukraine. I am continually astonished at the refusal of many otherwise intelligent people to consider the evidence or even the possibility that there is, in reality, no fundamental political or philosophical conflict between the power brokers of the East and the West. As I outlined in great detail in Russia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too, the truth is they are both working toward the same goal; and both ultimately benefit from an engineered and theatrical display of international brinksmanship. [...] Russia, like the United States, is utterly beholden to globalist financiers through organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements. Russia’s global economic adviser in matters ranging from investment image to privatization is none other than Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs has also worked closely with the Ukrainian government since 2011, and it started its advisory work with Ukraine for free. (Whenever Goldman Sachs does something for free, one should take special note.) Banking elites have been working both sides of the fence during the Russia versus Ukraine charade. Russia has continued to borrow billions of dollars from Western banks, including Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, year after year, proving that they are not averse in the slightest to working closely with "evil Western robber barons". Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Mr. New-World-Order himself, Henry Kissinger, on a regular basis; and according to Putin’s press secretary, they are “old friends.” Putin’s meetings with Kissinger began almost immediately after he first took power in 2000. Putin’s relationship with Kissinger has been so pronounced that the Russian Foreign Ministry gave Kissinger an honorary doctorate in diplomacy, and Putin placed Kissinger at the head of a bilateral “working group” — along with former KGB head and multilateralist (globalist) Gen. Yevgeny Primakov — dealing with foreign policy.[...]  Clearly, Putin and Russia are just two more puppet pieces on the globalist chessboard, pitted against other puppets in the West in a grand theater designed to distract and divide the masses through chaos. As Kissinger points out, in crisis there is opportunity. What is the goal? They’ve already told us, openly, on numerous occasions. The first great prizes of the New World Order are a global currency and centralized economic control. The elites are not satisfied with quiet dominance of individual economies. They want complete political homogenization and the end of all sovereignty. Period. With a global currency in place, the steps towards global government become quick and small. Heads of state from around the world, including Putin, as well as international bankers and IMF representatives have all publicly called for the IMF to take charge of the global economic system through its Special Drawing Rights currency program. However, for the SDR to become a dominant currency, certain issues must be resolved. Here’s a short list.[...]"  Related: See below: "IMF Loan To Ukraine In "Special Drawing Rights", Not US Dollars" [05/07/14] 

Commentary: "The American Empire" [05/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "... The United States of America is an empire. But it is an empire like no other in history. It is an empire based on giving away money. The general taxpayers are taxed to give the money away, and those who profit from the expansion of the empire are paid by the government to produce the weapon systems which enable the United States government to project power around the world. The foreign aid system is a system of bribery. It bribes leaders of countries around the world to keep their mouths shut regarding the extension of American power. This extension of power does not benefit the man in the street. It benefits various special interests, especially the military-industrial complex. These days, the empire opens up markets for American exports, especially weapons and spare parts -- the dependence effect. It also makes sure that Middle Eastern oil reaches its destinations, where it is sold only for United States dollars. This helps to maintain the international value of the United States dollar. It has sold over a trillion dollars in IOU's to China. This finances our defense of Taiwan against China. This makes as much sense as federal subsidies to lung cancer research to offset the effects of federal tobacco subsidies. Recently, Pat Buchanan identified the true nature of the American empire. This is an extension of Leonard Wibberley's (The Mouse that Roared) insights. Historically, great powers and empires exact tribute, exploit colonies, and demand conscripts of their protectorates. America is something new in the way of world powers. We not only provide the legions to protect "allies," but provide the tribute in the form of foreign aid, IMF and World Bank loans, and bailout billions. Here is one case in which the old line, originally coined by Joseph Stalin, is accurate. There really is American exceptionalism. These days, when we hear the phrase, "Obama drones on," we can be sure that it is not talking about his elocution. Buchanan draws the fiscally obvious conclusion. This role of philanthropic superpower is simply not sustainable. A Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll reveals that while only 19 percent of Americans want this country more active in world affairs, 47 percent want it to become less active. This confirms a Pew poll where 53 percent of Americans said the United States "should mind its own business internationally." As China's military power grows, and U.S. armed forces shrink, our allies had best prepare for the day, not too distant, when America decides she will no longer play the philanthropic superpower, and gives up the role and goes home. As all world powers eventually do. Back in 1957, the justification for this system was the existence of the Soviet Union on the other side of the Iron Curtain. That justification ended on December 31, 1991. No more Soviet Union. No more Iron Curtain. But the system still exists. The Republican Party will not give up the empire. The Democratic Party will not give up the domestic welfare state. They have work out a compromise. The Democrats will vote for guns, and the Republicans will vote for butter. This has not changed since December 7, 1941. There is never any serious pullback. The numbers simply get larger. The spending simply gets larger. This is a bipartisan disaster. This is not an accident waiting to happen. This is an inevitable default waiting to happen. The American Empire is going to come to an end. It will then do no good for the mice to roar. [...]"  

Commentary: "The History Of The Modern World In Paper Money" Theodore Dalrymple [05/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "Everyone loves a tyrant, provided he is far enough away or long enough ago. Tyrants are much more interesting than so-called democratic politicians, especially nowadays, when so many of the latter have done nothing with their lives except sit electoral office. What, for example, would Latin American literature be without tyrants? The writer of that part of the world has so many to choose from: General Melgarejo of Bolivia, for example, who marched his troops over the balcony of his palace to demonstrate their loyalty to a visitor; or Maximiliano Hernández Martínez of El Salvador, who trained himself to stare at the sun for spiritual purposes. My favorite is Justo Rufino Barrios of Guatemala, who was once seen to take a copy of the Guatemalan constitution, fold it in four, and sit on it. “I’m going to rule in Guatemala as long as I like,” he said, “and I’ll hang anyone from the nearest tree who doesn’t like it.” Full marks for sincerity and truthfulness, if not for political philosophy. [...]  This is not, however, a propitious age for the tyrant: we prefer our tyranny to be of the creeping, surreptitious, bureaucratic, and undermining kind, rather than galloping, open, obvious, and overbearing. Tyrants are the dinosaurs of small-brained and rigid ways destined for extinction, while democratic politicians are the swift little mammals with adaptable ways who take over from the dinosaurs as the climate changes. But who is so dull that he is not fascinated by dinosaurs, even if he wouldn’t want a Tyrannosaurus rex in his garden? I was walking down London’s Cecil Court—the haunt of people of slightly Aspergerish disposition who collect rare, though not the very rarest, books— yesterday, when I stopped at the window of a seller of banknotes from around the world. I have always liked banknotes as physical artefacts, and have kept one or two from the foreign countries that I have visited (I am not so much a collector as an accumulator). There was displayed in the window what was called “The Tyrant Collection”: six colorful banknotes marked with the portraits of various tyrants. It was cheap and I decided to buy it, which is really against my principles. Normally, I keep only banknotes of the countries I have visited, from the time I have visited them. Among them, of course, are banknotes with portraits of tyrants: Baby Doc, Julius Nyerere, Mobutu Sese Seko. I went in. A very pleasant lady asked me whether she could help me. I asked whether the Tyrant Collection were still available. She said that it was, and then turned to the other assistant in the shop.[...]  

MSM: "Russian PM Signs Order To Set Up Agency For Loan Guarantees" [05/07/14] "Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to establish an open joint-stock company “Non-bank depositary credit organization Agency for Loan Guarantees”, the government reported on its website Tuesday. In line with the document, the new agency aims to render guarantee support to small and midsized businesses. Its authorized capital totals 50 billion rubles ($1.4 billion). [...]"  

MSM: "IMF Loan To Ukraine In "Special Drawing Rights", Not US Dollars" [05/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "This is the first that we know of a loan by the IMF, headquartered in Washington, DC, as specifying a loan in SDR (Special Drawing Rights) rather than in the customary US Dollar. As with most policy changes from Washington, they ease changes into existence, this seems to be the start in the use of SDR’s. If this is the start in the use of SDR’s, then in return it’s also the start in not using the US Dollar for IMF loans, which are essentially US Govt loans. We should not take this change lightly as this is a strong indicator and precedent of future IMF loans, and perhaps how the US Govt will begin conducting business - being once again that IMF loans are indistinguishable from US Govt loans.  [...]"  : 

MSM: "132 Nations Want Out of the Cabal Banking System" [05/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "... Just a few weeks ago, 132 nations decided they’ve had enough of the ‘secret’ money jig we’ve all been dancing to. One of the largest coalitions of developing nations in history has urged Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, to provide, “as soon as possible … alternative options for banking services.” 132 countries, including China are done with the funny money scheme. This comes on the heels of a mass cancellation of bank accounts in U.N. missions and those of foreign US diplomats. The G77 urges the secretary-general to review the “U.N. Secretariat’s financial relations with the JP Morgan Chase Bank and consider alternatives to such financial institutions and to report thereon, along with the information requested.”  JP Morgan is the left arm of the cabal, along with other ‘big banks’ who were benefactors of billions in our tax money. They have shorted silver along with Citibank to increase their physical silver holdings by 500%. They are also the ‘big bank,’ along with Chase that failed to stop Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff. Why do that? He was cut from the same clothe as their top executives. JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon pleaded with and complained to the U.S. Justice Department a few years back but couldn’t convince the government to end its criminal probe of his bank because prosecutors couldn’t figure out just how crooked this banking system really was. Banks like these helped crash our economies, and they are trying to do the same now, so that they can profit from it. The problem for countries around the world is simple: Chase bank currently handles billions in accounts maintained by the United Nations and its agencies, in New York City. The countries express a ‘deep concern’ over the decisions made by several other banking institutions, known puppets for the cabal, including JP Morgan Chase, in closing bank accounts for mostly developing countries. [...]  At secret meetings around the G77 last month, representative after representative from these countries severely criticized the American banking system from cutting off banking services from the diplomatic community, specifically directing their outrage at JP Morgan Chase (formerly Chemical bank). The accounts were closed when a request from the US treasury asked banks to report every single transaction of 70 ‘blacklisted’ diplomats as part of a monitoring system, just a new way that bankers are spying on all of us. Aside from a network of cameras, run buy the NSA, and a program with a codename of ‘Dishfire’ they also now indulge in practices which make you no different than America’s ‘enemies,’ or diplomats of emerging economies sick of being bullied by the petro-dollar:[...]"  Note: Another example of why: "US To Unleash IRS On Russian Banks" Printer Friendly Version "As the U.S. attempts to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine, the Treasury Department plans to start using a new tax law to make it more expensive for Russian banks to do business in the U.S. Congress passed the law in 2010 to curb tax evasion through the use of overseas accounts. Starting July 1, the law targets foreign financial institutions that don't agree to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS. Russia had been negotiating an information-sharing agreement with the U.S. But after Russia annexed Crimea and was seen as stoking separatist movements in eastern Ukraine, Treasury suspended negotiations."

Commentary: "Putin Signs Law On National Card Payment System As Visa and MasterCard Deny Service" [05/06/14] Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "IMF Plan To Loot Ukraine Revealed" [05/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "April 30, 2014, I posted an analysis of the Western establishment’s longtime approach of containment and subversion in regards to Russia and its satellite nations. One of those crucial strategic locales is Urkaine, which has historically been an integral part of Russia. Washington and its axis have sought to wrest Ukraine from Russian influence to divide up the nation, loot the resources, integrate Ukraine into the EU, and establish more military bases that encroach upon the Rus. In that article, I wrote as follows: “The “democratic transformation” Brzezinski is writing about is found in the phony, western-funded NGOs that have sparked a host of “color revolutions” over the last few decades in Middle Eastern and former Soviet satellite nations. The goal is thus to flank Russia and eventually “democratize” and McDonalidize Russia and its satellites even further through perpetual social disorder, collapse, and GMO cheeseburgers, just as the United States itself undergoes tyrannical “democratization” from its degenerate, so-called elite. This plan of Brzezinski to transform Russia at the end of the 90s resulted in the Yeltsin regime, wherein a host of former communist party oligarchs looted the nation through the Clinton Administration’s IMF “aid.” This “aid” resulted in 500 billion being looted from the Russian people, as well as the collapse of the Russian ecomomy. The same Clintonistas that organized this debacle through organized (NGO) crime also organized the banker bailout of recent fame, through unending, repackaged derivatives scams.” The next day, Russia Today reported that the IMF had approved a 17 billion dollar “aid” package to “stabilize” the economy of Kiev. RT wrote: “The International Monetary Fund has approved a two-year $17.1 billion loan package for Ukraine. The immediate disbursement of $3.2 billion will allow Ukraine to avoid a potential debt default. The IMF’s 24-member board agreed to the two-year program to aid Ukraine’s troubled economy on Wednesday. [...]  Amazingly, this “aid” is simply the same plan of IMF shock doctrine we have seen over and over, as Nobel winning economist Joseph Stiglitz (former chief economist of the World Bank) revealed back in 2001. That revelation first appeared through BBC reporter Greg Palast’s famous article, “The Globalizer Who Came in From the Cold. The documents summarized there outline the multi-layered plan the IMF takes to attack, destabilize and reorganize (i.e., loot) through “aid” packages that result in extensive debt slavery and privatization. Palast explains of the IMF plan in regard to Russia in the 90s: “Each nation’s economy is individually analyzed, then, says Stiglitz, the Bank hands every minister the same exact four-step program. Step One is Privatization –[...]"  

Commentary: "Russia Can Switch To Payments With India, China In National Currencies Crushing Dollar Amid Sanctions" [05/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "Experts believe that the wish of the West to restrict Moscow’s cooperation with Brussels and Washington will play into the hands of the Russian economy. Wisdom and presence of mind are two components that will guarantee success for a new spiral of Russia’s cooperation with eastern countries. [...] European elites are rather short-sighted and oriented at controlling the markets, including the Russian economy, especially the raw materials sector. They never lost interest in that sector. For this reason, they will always be in conflict with Russia, especially after Russia announced the establishment of the Customs Union. Still, it is wrong to say that Russia is in conflict with the EU. On the contrary, Russians are extremely tired of the permanent economic crisis in the EU, the aggravation of that crisis and the austerity policy. [...]"  

Commentary: "Top 5 U.S. Banks Conspired With WTO To Dump $88 Trillion Of Worthless Junk Into Economies Of 155 Nation-States" [05/05/14] [13:59] "Greg Palast on the secret 'Geithner-Summers End-Game Memo' - with Max Keiser."  

Commentary: "Two Days After Swearing Market Isn't Rigged, SEC Slaps NYSE Wrists For Rigging Markets" [05/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "It is somewhat ironic, actually make that criminal, that two days after new SEC head Mary Jo White (whose conflict of interest list is so vast courtesy of her prior position as defending every Wall Street from their criminal acts she now has to recuse herself from virtually every enforcement action) solemnly promised Congress under oath that the "markets are not rigged", the SEC comes out swinging and slaps the wrist of the NYSE with an intolerable $4.5 million fine for allowing market rigging "for a period of time from 2008 to 2012."  [...]"  

MSM: "Jobs 'Mysteriously Vanishing' As Minimum Wage Increases" [05/04/14] [5:49] " Peter Schiff Show (5/2/2014) [...]"  Note: It's not mysterious ... it's common knowledge and logic. “What do you call a person whose labor is worth less than the minimum wage? Permanently unemployed.” -Milton Friedman

MSM: "Bank Manager, 27, Washes Up Dead In Hoboken Harbor A Month After He Went Missing" [05/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "The body of a man that was pulled from the Hudson River Monday has been identified as that of a 27-year-old jogger from New Jersey who went missing March 30. The New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office identified the remains Tuesday night as Andrew Jarzyk, of Hoboken, thanks to the forensic analysts of the victim’s teeth and personal identifiers like tattoos. The exact cause and manner of death have yet to be determined, but officials say Jarzyk's body showed no signs of trauma to suggest foul play. Jarzyk was discovered floating in the water near the historic Erie Lockawanna Train Terminal just after 5.30pm Monday.  Jarzyk's family issued a statement on Facebook last night confirming the tragic discovery and saying that their loved one’s death remains a mystery. Andrew Jarzyk, a manager at The PNC Financial Services Group in Woodland Park, was last seen alive at around 2am on March 30 outside his Hoboken apartment dressed in his running gear. A surveillance camera caught Jarzyk running along the waterfront at around 2am on March 30 [...]" 

MSM: "The IMF’s “Rescue Package”: Coercing Ukraine Into A Civil War" [05/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "The IMF’s Board of Directors has just approved a US$ 17billion loan package to ‘rescue’ Ukraine from dire economic consequences, like a 5% GDP contraction in 2014, predicted by the same gurus of the IMF. This loan is part of a two-year US$ 27 billion package which is supposed to include numerous loans from the EU. The money, of course, comes with strings attached–raising taxes, freezing minimum wage, cutting pensions (by 50%) and energy subsidies – the usual hardship conditions the world is cowardly and silently witnessing with a downtrodden Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain. For the next steps, tranches two and three, privatization of state enterprises, massive firing of state employees, international contracts for exploitation of natural resources – one of which is Ukraine’s huge agricultural potential – will most certainly follow. By then Ukraine, will be ripe to do the bidding for NATO. – So thinks the west. That’s their game plan. Fortunately people, societies and history are dynamic not linear. The western leaders with their bought propaganda media have been hoodwinking the populace into believing that the world functions like computer models – which do not include human consciousness that eventually may evolve according to values innate in mankind but have been oppressed by a system of exploitation for greed. The first tranche of the 17 trillion – US$ 3.2 trillion is to be disbursed immediately, in other words to the illegitimate Ukrainian interim government – which is an act of financial crime committed by an international financial institution, created under the Charter of the UN – an institution that has long ago seized to respect the rules under which it has been founded, but functions as a mere extended arm of the US Treasury. This institution and the EU are hastening indebting Ukraine – even before the country has a legitimate government, to make it dependent on the abusive western banking system, regardless of what the new government after the 25 May elections will decide.  [...]"  Related"IMF Warns Ukraine: Fight For The East Or No Money" [05/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "The IMF approved the $17bn tranched loan to Ukraine last night, Gazprom gets paid; Ukraine gets its cash; and the door's wide open for the US and EU to pour more 'controlling influence' into the divided nation... Except there's one thing: If Ukraine government loses effective control over east of country, $17 bln IMF bailout would need to be redesigned. Which, roughly translated, appears to mean "go to war with pro-Russian forces (and thus Russia itself if Putin sees his apparent countrymen in trouble) or you don't get your money" [...]" Uh-oh:  "Ukraine’s Pro-Nazi Government Loses Control Of Eastern Ukraine" Printer Friendly Version | "Ukraine Should Withdraw Military In East, Says Putin" Printer Friendly Version | "U.S.-Backed IMF Trying To Start WW3 In Ukraine" [6:43] 

Commentary: "Debt Buyers Found To Routinely Scam Courts To Pursue Debts" [05/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) finds that the debt buying and debt collection industries have grown rapidly in recent years – and with them, a suite of predatory and abusive collection practices that could cause consumers financial havoc. Today, one in seven Americans is being pursued by a debt collector. Despite their recent growth, the debt buying and collection industries are still largely unregulated; this allows debt buyers and collectors to take advantage of financially-distressed consumers and extract billions of dollars in judgments for debts that may not even be owed. In many cases, the sale of debt is accompanied with limited and questionable data about the debts and debtors. Often times, the only information transferred is a name, last known address, and purported amount owed. [...]"  

MSM: "U.S. Close to Bringing Criminal Charges Against Big Banks" [05/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "Federal prosecutors are nearing criminal charges against some of the world’s biggest banks, according to lawyers briefed on the matter, a development that could produce the first guilty plea from a major bank in more than two decades. In doing so, prosecutors are confronting the popular belief that Wall Street institutions have grown so important to the economy that they cannot be charged. A lack of criminal prosecutions of banks and their leaders fueled a public outcry over the perception that Wall Street giants are “too big to jail.” Addressing those concerns, prosecutors in Washington and New York have met with regulators about how to criminally punish banks without putting them out of business and damaging the economy, interviews with lawyers and records reviewed by The New York Times show. The new strategy underpins the decision to seek guilty pleas in two of the most advanced investigations: one into Credit Suisse for offering tax shelters to Americans, and the other against France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, over doing business with countries like Sudan that the United States has blacklisted. [...]"  

Commentary: "Collapsing Standard of Living: Kleptocrats and Militarists Fleece Americans" [05/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "American living standards are plunging and it’s not simply because they are paid less, work longer (or shorter hours) under highly stressful workplace conditions and pay a higher percentage of their income for health and pension coverage. The ‘workplace’ is only one of several locations where American working people are experiencing a sharp decline in living standards. The new oligarchical Kleptocrats and political elites have elaborated new ways to fleece Americans. These include: (1) Increased costs and declining quality of internet, cable and other communication systems. (2) Intensive pervasive and perpetual surveillance by punitive espionage agencies eroding personal freedoms and violating the confidentiality of personal, political and business decisions affecting everyday life. (3) Large scale, repeated financial swindles by the most active and influential private and publicly trading investment companies resulting in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in pensions and savings for tens of millions of middle and working class investors. (4) Increases in taxes and charges, including sales taxes, social security deductions, medical co-payments and reductions in social services. This is a result of the government’s commitment to finance US corporate investments and bail-outs. Big business hoards their cash holdings abroad to avoid taxes on overseas profits. To pay dividends they borrow. The growth of corporate debt, concentrated in a few large corporations, holds the US taxpayer liable for any present or future collapse of the financial markets. This corporate- induced ‘hoarding of capital’ compromises present and future living standards. It plays a major role in the deterioration of employment, wages, social services and public infrastructure. (5) The astronomical growth of state spending on wars of conquest, financial giveaways propping up right-wing dictatorships and building a vast network of global military bases, proxy wars and other empire building measures reduce living standards of Americans. By militarizing everyday life, citizens are subject to mindless repetitive propaganda designed to lower their mental capacity. State terror-mongering propagandists in the mass media distract citizens from their declining living standards. Political elites bully citizens to continue ‘sacrificing’ basic living standards. Video games reproduce the worlds of war and terror, reflecting the real world policies of the ruling class. [...] Also covered: •The Political Bases of Declining Living Standards •Declining Living Standards in the Era of the Police State •Kleptocracy: The Highest Stage of Capitalism •Kleptocrats and Militarists Together: They Shall Overcome •Domestic Corporate Debt and Overseas Corporate Tax Havens •Kleptocracy and Militarism: Declining Living Standards [...]"  

MSM: "Keiser Report: Behind the CNN Curtain (E594)" [05/01/14]   [25:41] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss living behind the 'CNN Curtain' where the dollar is still mighty and America has just landed on the moon. Meanwhile, on the other side of the CNN Curtain, the American worker is earning less than his or her counterparts around the world. In the second half, Max interviews Chris Cook about a gas coin, tally sticks, compound interest, national debt versus national credit, 'T to T' = Treasury to Taxpayer, trade wars and obsolescent central banks. [...]" 

MSM: "Keiser Report: Chained American Dream (E589)" [05/01/14]   [25:46] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the American Dream as being chained to the booth in the waffle house as cogs in the wheels generating income for Wall Street sharpies and the poverty of this century in which the beggar is a reminder of nothing. In the second half, Max interviews Alasdair Macleod of Goldmoney.com about the geopolitical situation in Ukraine and its impact on gold and the dollar as the reserve currency. They also talk about the true size of China's gold reserves. [...]"  Related: "Keiser Report: Ukraine's Big Oil & Big Angst (E590)"   [25:46] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss American injustice in the age of the wealth gap and Weev's hedge fund trolling. In the second half, Max interviews JP Sottile of Newsvandal.com about Big Oil and Big Ag in Ukraine. Sottile names the people and corporations hoping to exploit the Ukrainian agricultural sector.  [...]" 

MSM: "US Financial Showdown With Russia Is More Dangerous Than It Looks, For Both Sides" [05/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "The US Treasury faces a more formidable prey with Russia, the world's biggest producer of energy with a $2 trillion economy, superb scientists and a first-strike nuclear arsenal. [...] The United States has constructed a financial neutron bomb. For the past 12 years an elite cell at the US Treasury has been sharpening the tools of economic warfare, designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot. The strategy relies on hegemonic control over the global banking system, buttressed by a network of allies and the reluctant acquiescence of neutral states. Let us call this the Manhattan Project of the early 21st century. "It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies' financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness," says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who helped spearhead policy after 9/11. “The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive,” he writes in his book Treasury's War: the Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare. Bear this in mind as Washington tightens the noose on Vladimir Putin's Russia, slowly shutting off market access for Russian banks, companies and state bodies with $714bn of dollar debt (Sberbank data). [...] The stealth weapon is a "scarlet letter", devised under Section 311 of the US Patriot Act. Once a bank is tainted in this way - accused of money-laundering or underwriting terrorist activities, a suitably loose offence - it becomes radioactive, caught in the "boa constrictor's lethal embrace", as Mr Zarate puts it. This can be a death sentence even if the lender has no operations in the US. European banks do not dare to defy US regulators. They sever all dealings with the victim. So do the Chinese, as became clear in 2005 when the US hit Banco Delta Asia (BDA) in Macao for serving as a conduit for North Korean commercial piracy. China pulled the plug. BDA collapsed within two weeks. China also tipped off Washington when Mr Putin proposed a joint Sino-Russian attack on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds in 2008, aiming to precipitate a dollar crash. Mr Zarate told me that the US can "go it alone" with sanctions if necessary. It therefore hardly matters whether or not the EU drags its feet over Ukraine, opting for the lowest common denominator to keep Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary and Luxembourg on board. Washington has the power to dictate the pace for them. The new arsenal was first deployed against Ukraine - of all places - in December 2002. Its banks were accused of laundering funds from Russia's organised crime rings. Kiev capitulated in short order. Nairu, Burma, North Cyprus, Belarus and Latvia were felled one by one, all forced to comply with US demands. North Korea was then paralysed. The biggest prize yet has been Iran, finally brought to the table. "A hidden war is under way, on a very far-reaching global scale. This is a kind of war through which the enemy assumes it can defeat the Iranian nation," said then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Iran's Majlis. He meant it defiantly. Instead it was prescient. The US Treasury faces a more formidable prey with Russia, the world's biggest producer of energy with a $2 trillion economy, superb scientists and a first-strike nuclear arsenal. It is also tightly linked to the German and east European economies.[...]"  

MSM: "Britain Freezes Ukraine’s Assets And Launches (Previous Government) Corruption Probe" [04/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "British authorities on Monday launched a money- laundering investigation linked to possible corruption in Ukraine and froze $23 million (17 million euros) in assets. The announcement came a day before international talks in London aimed at recovering assets which may have been looted under the regime of deposed pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it had “opened a criminal investigation into possible money laundering arising from suspicions of corruption in Ukraine.” “The SFO has obtained a restraint order freezing approximately $23 million of assets in the UK in connection with this case.” It said it could not provide more details for reasons of confidentiality.[...]"  

Commentary: "Suspicious Deaths Now Classified As “Trade Secrets” By Federal Regulator" Pam and Russ Martens [04/29/14] Printer Friendly Version (Link Fixed) "It doesn’t get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees. Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we’re told the information constitutes “trade secrets.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of a 25 year old male with a Bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2006 was 81 years of age. But in the past five months, five highly educated JPMorgan male employees in their 30s and one former employee aged 28, have died under suspicious circumstances, including three of whom allegedly leaped off buildings – a statistical rarity even during the height of the financial crisis in 2008. There is one other major obstacle to brushing away these deaths as random occurrences – they are not happening at JPMorgan’s closest peer bank – Citigroup. Both JPMorgan and Citigroup are global financial institutions with both commercial banking and investment banking operations. Their employee counts are similar – 260,000 employees for JPMorgan versus 251,000 for Citigroup. Both JPMorgan and Citigroup also own massive amounts of bank-owned life insurance (BOLI), a controversial practice that pays the corporation when a current or former employee dies. (In the case of former employees, the banks conduct regular “death sweeps” of public records using former employees’ Social Security numbers to learn if a former employee has died and then submits a request for payment of the death benefit to the insurance company.) [...]" 

MSM: "Gold Price Rigging Allows Continuation Of Flawed Policies" [04/29/14] [37:57] "In this exclusive video interview on behalf of Matterhorn Asset Management / GoldSwitzerland Lars Schall talks with William S. Kaye, the Senior Managing Director of the Pacific Alliance Group of Companies in Hong Kong. They speak about the motive, the means and the opportunities to suppress the gold price. Kaye says that a free-market price of gold would essentially cast the central banking interventions for what they are. However, he explains and predicts that the price suppression scheme can't go on forever and that in the 'end game' the paper gold market must eventually be settled with physical and that it will require an very high price of gold to entice owners of physical gold outside the banking system to be prepared to meet that massive anticipated demand.[...]"  Related: "James Turk-"They're Not Going to be Able to Save the System This Time Around" [19:40]"Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com goes one-on-one with gold expert James Turk. When the spot price of gold is higher than the future price, it's a rare occurrence called "backwardation." James Turk from GoldMoney.com says, "The weird thing that has happened and it's never happened in history, when the gold price was driven down last year to its lows in June 2013, gold went into backwardation, and since then, it has been in backwardation more than 50% of the time. The only other times backwardation occurred were in 1999, with the lows in gold, and 2008, with the lows in gold. After both of those backwardations, the gold price soared." Turk, who recently co-wrote a book called "The Money Bubble," goes on to say, "Sooner or later, we are going to go over the cliff as we did in 2008. They saved the system in 2008, but I don't think this time around they are going to be able to save the system. So, you have to prepare for it."[...]" |"Russian Sanctions Could See Gold Prices ‘Explode" Printer Friendly Version "... Veteran gold analyst, George Gero, who is the precious metals analyst at RBC is not a man for hyperbole or overstatement. Indeed, he has been quite bearish on gold in recent years. However, he believes that Ukraine and the deepening crisis, could have a “massively bullish impact on gold prices.” He told CNBC the following: “One of the largest suppliers of gold, and of course platinum, is Russia and if they’re going to be involved in sanctions, and more problems with Ukraine, and deliveries are curtailed—and there is already a problem in South Africa between the miners of platinum, palladium and the mining companies. All of that could somehow explode on the upside and curtail deliveries, meaning higher prices.” Russia is the fourth-largest producer of gold, outputting 7% of the world’s total supply according to the British Geological Survey. Were Russia to retaliate by banning the exports of all precious metals and by selling some of their large foreign exchange reserves and diversifying into gold, silver, platinum and palladium, it would likely lead to much higher prices for all precious metals. [...]" | "Collapse Of Western Ponzi Scheme To Send Gold Skyrocketing" [14:04] "Today, Grant Williams, one of the most highly respected fund managers in Singapore claimed in an interview that the collapse of the Western Ponzi scheme will send the price of gold skyrocketing. Williams also discussed the coming implosion of the Western scheme as well as how the Russians and the Chinese positioning themselves ahead of this collapse. Brian covers highlights from the interview on today’s show and offers his perspective on Williams’ claims. [...]" 

Commentary: "Treasury Secretary Lew Warns Russia: "Take A Step Back... Or Pay The Price" [04/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "The verbal combat continues as the US resorts to using Jack Lew in its latest barrage of panic-inducing threats: [...] As a gentle reminder, while the Ruble has weakened since the sanctions (oh and Russia's credit rating has been downgraded), it is US equities that suffered the largest "costs"... Of course, we should not forget what happened last time things got close to the edge... As Doug Casey notes, "Here’s a startling fact most investors have never heard: During the last financial meltdown in 2008, when the U.S. economy was on the brink, Russian leaders met with China to persuade them to dump the dollar – and destroy the world’s reserve currency. Before they could act, the Fed pumped over $700 billion into the economy and delayed their day of reckoning. Still, the threat remains. China holds over $1.2 trillion in U.S. debt today. And with their Russian allies, they could drop the dollar at any moment."   This excerpt from our eye-opening documentary called “Meltdown America” explains the severity of this imminent threat Video  [2:37] [...]  

MSM: "The Altyn: Russia Accelerates Plans To Launch New “Gold” Eurasian Currency" [04/26/14] Printer Friendly Version Video  [0:51]  "Several Russian News outlets have reported that Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, that currently form the Eurasian customs union, will sign an agreement in May to accelerate the formation of an economic union and a joint currency: the Altyn. Russia’s economy is eight times smaller than the US, but by forming a new ‘empire’ on top of a vast amounts of resources, this economic block will be a serious threat for the US petrodollar. Russia is now speaking openly about getting rid of the US dollar for trading energy, building its own payment system and closing gas export deals with China – the other Asian empire. The Eurasian Economic Union will be a powerful stab at the US dollar hegemony. On the territory of several Russian principalities the currency Altyn has been circulating from the 15th century until 1991. Originally it was made of copper, the silver Altyn appeared during the times of Peter the Great. [...]"  Note: The meaning of the Turkish word “Altyn” is… gold.

Commentary: "Eastern Ukrainian Resistance and the Weakening of the Petrodollar" [04/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Thousands of Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. Perhaps millions. They want local sovereignty. They want autonomy rights. They want them respected. They reject fascist rule. They demand their own referendum. They want Ukraine federalized. Protests continue in Kharkov (Ukraine’s second largest city), Donetsk (its largest industrial city), Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Nikolayev and elsewhere. They’re growing. They’re spreading. They have legs. Maybe parts of Western Ukraine will join them. [...]" Related"Unelected Kiev Regime Begins Killing Spree In Eastern Ukraine" [04/25/14] Printer Friendly Version   "Ukraine Junta Suspends 'Anti-Terror' Operations, Citing Concerns Over “Russian Invasion" [04/25/14]

Commentary: "College Education A Better Investment For Goldman Sachs Than It Is For Students" [04/25/14] "Americans have always viewed a college education as an investment in a student’s future, but there’s another sort of investment going on behind-the-scenes, and it’s nearly risk free. With access to a revolving door of prospective students and a continuous supply of federal aid, some colleges are turning hopes and dreams into big returns for Goldman Sachs and other investors. Today, prospective college students — from recent high-school graduates to those returning to school after years in the workforce — often seek out opportunities that will allow them to continue working while obtaining their degree. Some for-profit colleges market themselves as the answer: work during the day and take classes online or at local campuses when you can.  But at the intersection of convenience, accessibility, and education, there lies a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for the savvy business person. The question is: Are for-profit educational institutions looking out for the students, or the investors? [...] While you may not know it from the amateurish quality of the for-profit college ads that litter daytime and late-night TV, many of these schools are owned by multibillion-dollar conglomerates offering big returns to their high-profile backers . “For-profit schools are quite profitable, especially the larger schools like Phoenix or Corinthian,” Suzanne Martindale, a staff attorney for Consumers Union*, tells Consumerist. “To make money, all they need to do is enroll students — they get to keep the financial aid, including loans, which students are on the hook for later.” One successful for-profit education investor is finance giant Goldman Sachs. Following the collapse of the U.S. housing market, the firm saw a new investment opportunity in the form of a 43% stake in Education Management Corporation, the company behind schools like Brown Mackie College, Argosy University and The Art Institutes. When Goldman Sachs was announced as one of EDMC’s new partners in 2011, the Huffington Post reported that the move allowed Goldman to secure itself a means of tapping into the boom in for-profit higher education. [...]"   Note: That leads nowhere ... at this point the whole dynamic is fraudulent.  

Commentary: "Wall Street Greed, Corrupt Global Banking: Too Big to Prosecute? Not for a California Jury" [04/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute. But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. The question, then, is how to get Wall Street banks before a California jury. How about charging them with common law fraud and breach of contract? That’s what the FDIC just did in its massive 24-count civil suit for damages for LIBOR manipulation, filed in March 2014 against sixteen of the world’s largest banks, including the three largest US banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate at which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in over $400 trillion in derivatives called interest-rate swaps, and it is set by the sixteen private megabanks behind closed doors. The biggest victims of interest-rate swaps have been local governments, universities, pension funds, and other public entities. The banks have made renegotiating these deals prohibitively expensive, and renegotiation itself is an inadequate remedy. It is the equivalent of the grocer giving you an extra potato when you catch him cheating on the scales. A legal action for fraud is a more fitting and effective remedy. Fraud is grounds both for rescission (calling off the deal) as well as restitution (damages), and in appropriate cases punitive damages. [...] Nationally, municipalities and other large non-profits are thought to have as much as $300 billion in outstanding swap contracts based on LIBOR, deals in which they are trapped due to prohibitive termination fees. According to a 2010 report by the SEIU (Service Employees International Union): The overall effect is staggering. Banks are estimated to have collected as much as $28 billion in termination fees alone from state and local governments over the past two years. This does not even begin to account for the outsized net payments that state and local governments are now making to the banks. . . . While the press have reported numerous stories of cities like Detroit, caught with high termination payments, the reality is there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) more cities, counties, utility districts, school districts and state governments with swap agreements [that] are causing cash strapped local and city governments to pay millions of dollars in unneeded fees directly to Wall Street.[...]" 

Commentary: "Putin Gets Paid? IMF Agrees $17bn Loan To Ukraine" [04/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "It seems Russia won't have to wait too long for the billions that Ukraine owes it for energy supplies past, present, and future pre-billings. Bloomberg reports that: " International Monetary Fund staff endorsed a $17 billion loan to Ukraine to help the government pay its bills amid a projected economic contraction of 5 percent this year, according to government officials who have seen the recommendations.  The staff’s report was delivered to members of the IMF’s 24-seat board late yesterday, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal documents. The staff proposed an April 30 board meeting to consider the loan package, they said. Conny Lotze, a spokeswoman for the IMF, declined to comment. After weeks of talks with the government in Kiev, IMF staff concluded that Ukraine needs financing from the fund that’s at the higher end of the $14 billion to $18 billion range initially announced. The IMF loan will clear the way for additional aid from the European Union and other donors. We await the small-print to see just how much is "allowed" to be spent on paying bills to Russia vs paying off interest on bonds due to Western banks... [...]"  

Commentary: "Chinese Banks And 100,000 ‘Outlets’ Selling Gold To Public" [04/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bloomberg Television’s “On The Move Asia” had a fascinating interview with Albert Cheng, the World Gold Council’s Managing Director, Far East. He discussed China’s gold market and what’s driving the country’s demand with Rishaad Salamat. Albert Cheng reaffirms the paradigm shift for the gold market that is Chinese gold demand. He points out two very important facts hitherto not known by market participants. First, there are now over 100,000 gold bullion dealers selling coins and bars in China. Second, he says this suggests that the majority of banks are now offering gold bullion products over the counter. The interview is very interesting and is well worth a look. [...]"  

Commentary: "3 Reasons To Keep Gmail Far Away From Your Credit Card Information" [04/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "At Quartz, Chris Mims reports that Google appears to be accelerating its roll-out of a service that will allow gmail users to send money via email to whomever they want as easily as sending an attachment. Google almost certainly doesn’t care whether you use it to send money. What it cares about is getting you to sign up to Google Wallet and capture your bank account and credit-card information. And it’s using Gmail, which has a reach comparable to that of Facebook—425 million as of June 2012, the last time Google released numbers—to do it. can easily see this becoming popular. But here are three reasons to be wary. 1) Your Gmail account is already a hugely tempting target for hackers. Adding your financial info to that account will make it irresistible. 2) Google’s ability to effectively target ads already gives it tremendous power to manipulate consumer behavior. Adding the instant gratification of easy-checkout to those ads will make the company even more powerful. 3) Google already knows far too much about what we want, what we do, where we go, and who we communicate with. Do we really want to complete the chain and give the company our most intimate financial information? The question posed by Google — and, really, all online Web services. At what point does convenience become vulnerability? [...]"  

Commentary: "1999 Deregulation Of Wall Street Documents Reveal “Push To Pilfer” America’s Wealth" [04/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bill Clinton Repeals The Glass Steagall Act in 1999 allowing Banks to invest depositor’s hard earned cash in high risk bets, creating bubbles via ‘Paper Derivatives’. This Keynesian scheme financially crippled America and gave rise for a surreptitious excuse To continue flooding the market with $trillions of fiat currency for a fraudulent orchestrated bailout. This was all designed to in-debt the U.S. into a 3rd. world country status, after allowing the banksters to abscond America’s wealth. [...] Wall Street deregulation, blamed for deepening the banking crisis, was aggressively pushed by advisers to Bill Clinton who have also been at the heart of current White House policy-making, according to newly disclosed documents from his presidential library. The previously restricted papers reveal two separate attempts, in 1995 and 1997, to hurry Clinton into supporting a repeal of the Depression-era Glass Steagall Act and allow investment banks, insurers and retail banks to merge: [...]"  

MSM: "Belgian Banker And Family Shot" Translated From Dutch [04/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "The shooting in Vise last Friday that demanded three deaths looked like a true execution. The bank manager and his wife were shot dead in cold blood, and the godchild of the woman was killed by one or more perpetrators in cold blood. The couple both worked in the banking industry and were quite liked in the neighborhood. The police are still in the dark about the motive. Benoît Philippens and his wife Carol Haid arrived home Friday night around 23 hours after dining at a restaurant with their godchild Esteban (9). The trio had barely stepped out of their parked car when they were fired on by one or several persons. The offenders had clearly been waiting for their victims. The investigation is currently focusing on the banking industry. [...]" Ref 

Commentary: "Timestamp Fraud": A Rigged Market Explained In One Simple Animation" [04/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "The topic of High-Frequency-Trading quickly dissolves into a smorgasbord of mnemonics and 'inside-baseball' technical terms - just complicated enough to lose everyone that matters or should care about its implications. Despite the fair-and-balanced defense from the mainstream media business channels (sponsored by the belief in the status quo fair markets that 'America the free' is known for), the fact is that HFT does front-run (perfectly legal under the umbrella protection of Reg NMS) order flow, but there may be one more wrinkle - one which would cement the Michael Lewis (accurate) allegation that the market is rigged. Because if as Nanex shows below, there is in addition to everything else the element of timestamp fraud involved in the distribution of NMS "compliant" trading data for Direct Feed-to-SIP matching purposes, this means that not only is the market rigged, but its rigging goes from the very top all the way to the lowliest algorithm. What's worse, the rigged system is so embedded there is nothing anyone can do about it, until it just collapses under its own weight: think May 2010 HFT-created flash crash, only without the mirror-image bounce.  [...]"  

MSM: "Occupy Was Right: Capitalism Has Failed The World" Andrew Hussey [04/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Paris School of Economics is where I have arranged an interview with Professor Thomas Piketty, a modest young Frenchman (he is in his early 40s), who has spent most of his career in archives and collecting data, but is just about to emerge as the most important thinker of his generation – as the Yale academic Jacob Hacker put it, a free thinker and a democrat who is no less than "an Alexis de Tocqueville for the 21st century". This is on account of his latest work, which is called Capital in the Twenty-First Century. This is a huge book, more than 700 pages long, dense with footnotes, graphs and mathematical formulae. At first sight it is unashamedly an academic tome and seems both daunting and incomprehensible. In recent weeks and months the book has however set off fierce debates in the United States about the dynamics of capitalism, and especially the apparently unstoppable rise of the tiny elite that controls more and more of the world's wealth. In non-specialist blogs and websites across America, it has ignited arguments about power and money, questioning the myth at the very heart of American life – that capitalism improves the quality of life for everyone. This is just not so, says Piketty, and he makes his case in a clear and rigorous manner that debunks everything that capitalists believe about the ethical status of making money. The groundbreaking status of the book was recognised by a recent long essay in the New Yorker in which Branko Milanovic, a former senior economist at the World Bank, was quoted as describing Piketty's volume as "one of the watershed books in economic thinking". In the same vein, a writer in the Economist reported that Piketty's work fundamentally rewrote 200 years of economic thinking on inequality. [...]"   Related: See below.

MSM: "Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" [04/20/14] [24:30] "In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers set to air Friday, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman celebrates both the insights and warnings of French economist Thomas Piketty whose new ground-breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that modern capitalism has put the world "on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth." A key component of this ongoing disaster of capitalism is what happens when great wealth—and Piketty puts focus on inherited wealth—grows at rates faster than the overall economy. The prediction embedded in Piketty's book is that even as inequality has been on a steady rise for the last several decades, the truth is: we ain't seen nothing yet. As we go forward, according to Krugman, Piketty's thesis says that even though inequality is already a huge problem, it's going to get even worse. "Unless something gets better," he explains, "we're going to look back nostalgically on the early 21st century when you could still at least have the pretense that the wealthy actually earned their wealth. And, you know, by the year 2030, it'll all be inherited." [...] Writing about his new book at The Nation on Friday, the Economic Policy Institute's Jeff Faux says that though Piketty "is certainly not the first economist to criticize inherited wealth" his "credentials and exhaustive attention to statistical detail make him harder for the pundits and policy elites that protect the plutocracy to dismiss." Faux concludes that Piketty has re-discovered, and re-stated for a modern audience, is what Marx himself and others long ago realized—that capitalism "is not only unfair, it is relentlessly and dynamically unfair." As a point of order, however, it seems noteworthy that Piketty is quite prepared to go even further. In an interview last week in Europe, Piketty didn't stop at saying capitalism was unfair, but stated: "I have proved that under the present circumstances capitalism simply cannot work." And as Krugman explains to Moyers, the implications of a world dominated by the super-wealthy for regular working people is profound. "When you have a few people who are so wealthy that they can effectively buy the political system, the political system is going to tend to serve their interests," he said."  Related: See also, on the Special Articles panel: "US Political System: An Oligarchy, Not A Democracy" [04/17/14]; "Sanders: Supreme Court Is Paving The Way To An Oligarchic Society" [04/06/14]  See also article below.

MSM:  "CEO Pay Soars, Workers Toil in Capitalism's New Gilded Age" [04/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ratio of CEO-to-worker pay is 'unconscionable,' says AFl-CIO as prominent economist argues this level of inequality proves current capitalist system 'cannot work' [...]"

Trends: "Billionaires Liquidate Real Estate, Sell Stocks That Depend On Consumer Purchasing, Banking" [04/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "... Luxury real estate investors are unloading their real estate assets as well in an effort to raise cash and not be the last one holding a dead asset. For all intents and purposes, the music in China has stopped: Cash-strapped Chinese are scrambling to sell their luxury homes in Hong Kong, and some are knocking up to a fifth off the price for a quick sale, as a liquidity crunch looms on the mainland. [...] In the U.S. there is $3,733.5 billion in non-mortgage consumer debt outstanding. That is an all-time high. An awful lot of that increase since 2007, incidentally, is student loans — exactly where it cannot be for sustainable economic progress since the younger generation has to eventually take the reins from us older folks. This is nothing more than an economic Ponzi scheme. As for corporate debt it never decreased at all. Something is amiss, and the fact that no one in the mainstream, which is where tens of millions of Americans get their “facts,” is really talking about it should be a blaring alarm. Billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks . . . and fast. Buffett has been drastically reducing his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits.  John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too. During the second quarter of the year, Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., dumped 14 million shares of JPMorgan Chase. The fund also dumped its entire position in discount retailer Family Dollar and consumer- goods maker Sara Lee. Finally, billionaire George Soros recently sold nearly all of his bank stocks, including shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Between the three banks, Soros sold more than a million shares."  As these in-the-know elites unload their positions, average investors depending on their financial advisers to tell them the truth are slamming money into these stocks and paying, in some cases, 500 times earnings. Real estate investors are, likewise, overpaying for homes based on the idea that markets are “hotter” than they’ve been in years. It’s a recipe for disaster and it won’t end well – at least for 99% of people who blindly believe the opinions of their favorite “experts.” [...]" Note: Of course, this trend is not entirely 'new' .... back in June 2013: "They Know: Billionaires Are Quietly And Rapidly Dumping Millions of Shares of Stock" [06/17/13] Printer Friendly Version  See also below:

Commentary: "Time to Ditch the Consumer Price Index" [04/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The debate over the accuracy of the official consumer price index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE–the so-called core rate of inflation) has raged for years, with no resolution in sight. The CPI calculates inflation based on the prices of a basket of goods and services that are adjusted by hedonics, i.e. improvements that are not reflected in the price of the goods. CPI fails to capture real-world inflation/loss of purchasing power. ... So once again we have a bifurcated society: those protected by the state from rising costs and those exposed to real-world reductions in purchasing power. Households that receive government subsidies and direct payments have little exposure to real-world healthcare costs, since they are covered by Medicaid, and modest exposure to housing if they receive Section 8 benefits (Section 8 recipients pay 30% of their income for rent, regardless of the market price of the rental). Retirees on Medicare also have limited exposure to the real-world costs of their care paid by the government. If we analyze inflation by these two metrics, we find the middle class is increasingly exposed to skyrocketing real-world prices. Pundits in the top 5% have the luxury of pontificating on the accuracy of the CPI while those protected by government subsidies and coverage have the luxury of wondering what all the fuss is about. Only those 100% exposed to the real costs experience the full fury of actual inflation. So why does the government maintain such a transparently inaccurate and misleading metric as the CPI? For three reasons: 1) it is useful propaganda; 2) it suppresses the state’s cost-of-living increases and 3) it lowers the government’s cost of borrowing. The benefits of reducing COLA adjustments are self-evident, as is the benefit of borrowing money at low rates of interest, but the propaganda benefits are more subtle. The key to enabling the endless printing of money that enriches the banks and the top .1% is low inflation. Asset bubbles can be inflated, ballooning the wealth of the owners of the assets, as long as inflation is near-zero. Indeed, the Federal Reserve claims it must print money to counter low inflation. Meanwhile, in the real economy, those exposed to the real costs of college tuition, healthcare, childcare, etc. are seeing their purchasing power evaporate like a puddle of water in Death Valley.  [...]"  

Media and Culture: "Americas Book of Secrets, S03E04, The Gold Conspiracy" [04/19/14] "7pm PST History 2 channel, April 14[...]"  

Flashback: "US Dollars To Be Swept Out Of Russia" [11/14/13] Printer Friendly Version   [2:18] "One of the world's reserve currencies, the U.S. dollar, may soon disappear in Russia. According to deputies of the State Duma, the Russians trust the dollar, despite the U.S. crisis. Russian MPs are worried that the dollar system may collapse in 2017 due to the growth of the U.S. government debt."-- Michael Dyagterev, politician, member of the State Duma from the Liberal Democratic Party. "The main objective of the bill is to have a discussion. This is multi- task goal, one of the parts of which is to stop the entry of the dollar in Russia. The second task is to push our leaders towards making all our export operations, including oil and gas ones, in rubles. And, as the crown of the strategy, to create a global reserve currency called the ruble. There's nothing to fear. It's the Americans who should be worried. Their national debt is 17 trillion dollars, and it will grow from month to month. Buildup debt is a strategy of the American elite. Since debt is a process that has its end, then the process will end with a default or any other type of turmoil. We need to convert all reserves of the country into gold. No currency should be left there, all paper reserves are disastrous for Russia. This is also a part of the strategy that should be conducted." [...]" 

Commentary: "Cash-Rich Global Firms Face Calls To Crack Open War Chests To Prop Up The Global Economy" [04/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Impatient shareholders are calling on the world’s top firms to start spending some of the eye-popping $2.8 trillion in cash built up since the financial crisis, as analysts warn that their thriftiness could be holding back global growth. The combined war chests held by companies including Apple, Google and Samsung — roughly equivalent to the size of France’s economy — has swelled since the 2008 global downturn hammered stock markets and saw nervous firms pinching their pennies as they waited out the storm. But even as markets bounced back and business confidence recovered, the cash piles kept growing. That has prompted a drumbeat of calls for firms to start spending more on share buybacks or boosting dividends, building new factories, or acquiring rival firms. [...] Together, Apple, Microsoft and Google have over $300 billion in cash, while US non-financial firms held a record $1.64 trillion in all — double the amount back in 2007, according to a report last month by ratings agency Moody’s. While major US firms have also increased their debt in recent years, the cash buildup has generated criticism from investors and critics who say some of America’s best-known firms are hoarding money overseas — and out of the hands of the taxman. Companies have been well served during the financial crisis by being fiscally prudent,” said a January report by consultancy Deloitte, which pegged the liquid holdings of the world’s top 1,000 firms at about $2.8 trillion. But it added that “this could hamper their progress in times of recovery. Companies now need to rethink their cash strategy to create growth opportunities”. Mark Carney, current head of the Bank of England, was more blunt in a 2012 speech as he derided unused corporate cash as “dead money”. “If companies can’t figure out what to do with it, then they should give it to shareholders and they’ll figure it out,” Carney, then governor of the Bank of Canada, was quoted as saying. It is a feeling shared by some investors in technology giant Samsung, which has built up over $50 billion in cash, the largest pile among South Korean firms.[...]"  

Commentary: "BRICS Countries To Set Up Their Own Version Of An "IMF" [04/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Very soon, the IMF will cease to be the world's only organization capable of rendering international financial assistance. The BRICS countries are setting up alternative institutions, including a currency reserve pool and a development bank. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have made significant progress in setting up structures that would serve as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are dominated by the U.S. and the EU. A currency reserve pool, as a replacement for the IMF, and a BRICS development bank, as a replacement for the World Bank, will begin operating as soon as in 2015, Russian Ambassador at Large Vadim Lukov has said. Brazil has already drafted a charter for the BRICS Development Bank, while Russia is drawing up intergovernmental agreements on setting the bank up, he added. In addition, the BRICS countries have already agreed on the amount of authorized capital for the new institutions: $100 billion each. "Talks are under way on the distribution of the initial capital of $50 billion between the partners and on the location for the headquarters of the bank. Each of the BRICS countries has expressed a considerable interest in having the headquarters on its territory," Lukov said. It is expected that contributions to the currency reserve pool will be as follows: China, $41 billion; Brazil, India, and Russia, $18 billion each; and South Africa, $5 billion. The amount of the contributions reflects the size of the countries' economies. [...]"  

Interviews: "Nomi Prins-Financial Crash-Collapse Coming" [04/17/14] [19:49] "Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Nomi Prins, best-selling author of the new book, “All The Presidents’ Bankers.” Prins, who is a former top Goldman Sachs banker, exclaims, “It is very easy to see how the system could unravel because it isn’t stable. The 'stability' of the system is really fake. A lot of speculation has occurred with cheap money, and then it is bailout, and then nothing changes, and then something worse happens. That is the current pattern and the pattern of the last three decades. We are definitely in big trouble. There is no way we are not headed for a crisis. . . . It should have happened already, but the level of support is epic and reckless from the political and financial elite.”  [...]"

Interviews: "Matt Taibbi: The Super Rich Have Become 'Untouchables'" [04/17/14] Printer Friendly Version [52:29] "Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a "justice" gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. "It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else," Taibbi says. Transcript included on page [...]"  

MSM: "Social Security Will Stop Seizing Refunds To Collect Old Debt" [04/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Social Security Administration plans to stop intercepting tax refunds in order to settle debts more than 10 years old. It had been seizing state and federal tax funds from about 400,000 Americans whose relatives owed it money. The Social Security Administration plans to stop collecting taxpayer debt older than 10 years old, the Washington Post reports. The federal government has been reportedly seizing state and federal tax funds from about 400,000 Americans whose relatives owed money to Social Security. The collection dates back to 2008 when a farm bill lifted a statute of limitations on government debt older that was more than 10 years old and the Treasury Department allowed the government to intercept tax refunds to settle the debts. Approximately $2 billion worth of intercepted tax refunds have been collected by the Treasury this year, the Post reports, $75 million of which was for 10-year-old, or older, debts. [...]"  Related: See below: "Social Security, Treasury Target Americans For Their Parents' Old Debts" [04/12/14]

Interviews: "We Are To See Severe Destruction Of Western Economic System" [04/16/14] Printer Friendly Version   "With $1.7 quadrillion debt and the present bailout policy that will inflate prices, we’ll see the West collapsing while China and Russia will not be responsible for it or able to help, Lawrence Freeman from Executive Intelligence Review Magazine told RT. [...]" 

Commentary: "Dumping The Petro-Dollar: Russian Oil Firm Gazprom Neft Says Asian Buyers Willing To Use Euros" [04/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russian state-controlled oil producer Gazprom Neft said it had received positive responses from Asian clients about the possibility of using euros as a settlement currency instead of the dollar. Company head Alexander Dyukov said this week Gazprom Neft had broached the idea of dropping the dollar, traditionally the currency of choice for the global energy sector, in response to a possible new round of Western sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He said the company had discussed with buyers the possibility of switching contracts to euros and that 95 percent had said they were ready to do it. Gazprom Neft ships around 30,000 barrels per day of oil eastward. “Gazprom Neft has held discussions with its eastern partners about the possibility of completing settlements in the European currency. They, in turn, expressed their potential readiness for this,” the oil arm of top Russian top natural gas producer Gazprom said in emailed comments on Thursday. Three buyers in Japan and China said they had been approached by Gazprom to settle oil payments in currencies other than the dollar. Two of the buyers said they were still considering the proposal, while the third said his company had bought crude using euros before and did not see it as a problem. “Switching to euros is not a big deal. The problem is who will bear the exchange cost,” a trader with a Japanese buyer of Russian Asia-bound ESPO crude oil blend said. [...]" 

Commentary: "Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing" [04/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report: Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets. It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out. [...] • The Largest Cartel in World History: On March 14, 2014, the FDIC filed suit for LIBOR-rigging against sixteen of the world’s largest banks – including the three largest US banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup), the three largest UK banks, the largest German bank, the largest Japanese bank, and several of the largest Swiss banks. Bill Black, professor of law and economics and a former bank fraud investigator, calls them “the largest cartel in world history, by at least three and probably four orders of magnitude.” LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate by which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivative trades, and it is set by these sixteen megabanks privately and in secret.  Interest rate swaps are now a $426 trillion business. That’s about seven times the gross domestic product of all the countries in the world combined. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in 2012 US banks held $183.7 trillion in interest-rate contracts, with only four firms representing 93% of total derivative holdings; and three of the four were JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America, the US banks being sued by the FDIC over manipulation of LIBOR. Lawsuits over LIBOR-rigging have been in the works for years, and regulators have scored some very impressive regulatory settlements. But so far, civil actions for damages have been unproductive for the plaintiffs. The FDIC is therefore pursuing another tack. But before getting into all that, we need to look at how interest-rate swaps work. It has been argued that the counterparties stung by these swaps got what they bargained for – a fixed interest rate. But that is not actually what they got. The game was rigged from the start. [...] Other sections: • The Sting  • Changing the Focus to Fraud  • The Key Role of the Federal Reserve [...]"  

MSM: "Europe’s Top Banks Cut 80,000 More Staff" [04/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "Europe’s largest banks cut their staff by another 3.5 percent last year and the prospect of a return to pre-crisis employment levels seems far off, despite the region’s fledgling economic recovery. Spurred into action by falling revenue, mounting losses and the need to convince regulators they are no longer “too big to fail”, banks across the globe have shrunk radically since the 2008 collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers sparked the financial crisis. Last year, the tide of bad news began to turn for European banks, which are among the region’s largest employers. [...]"  

MSM: "HFT Purge Begins: SEC Prepares To “Remove” Some High Frequency Trading Firms" [04/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ever since Goldman’s anti-HFT Op-Ed less than a month ago, and since the even more recent full-hearted support by Goldman of Michael Lewis’ most recent entry into the anti-HFT crusade (one promoting the Goldman-supported IEX exchange), one thing has been clear: the days of market structure in its current format are numbered. This was further confirmed after Goldman exited both its legacy Spear Leeds & Kellogg designated market making post at the NYSE, and is said to be winding down its market-dominating dark pool, Sigma X. Sure enough, Post reports that just three weeks after the Gary Cohn Op-Ed, the SEC is “preparing to remove some high-frequency trading firms.” [...]" Related: "The Real Unspoken Story Behind High Frequency Trading Programs" Video [04/09/14]; "High-Speed Traders Rip Investors Off" [04/04/14] and attached related stories.

Commentary: "Eric Holder: The Big Bank’s Bodyguard" [04/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "United States Attorney General Eric Holder and his Department of Justice refuses to prosecute—or even aggressively investigate—bankster crimes, allowing America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, to obstruct justice in the ongoing investigation of the Bernard Lawrence “Bernie” Madoff Ponzi scheme. Moreover, new evidence has surfaced that federal officials knew, 20 years ago, that Madoff was kiting checks in a money-laundering operation. Mysteriously, Treasury Department documents to that effect cannot now be found [...] Holder had the gumption to tell the U.S. Senate last year that he fears prosecuting massive moneylenders, because “it will have a negative impact on the national economy—perhaps even the world economy.[...]"  

Commentary: "SEC Top Lawyer Alleges SEC Regulators Are All Corrupt" [04/13/14] [18:46] Note: Interesting exposition.

MSM: "Blythe Masters Under Investigation By Federal Prosecutors" [04/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "There is much new info in the just released Bloomberg profile on the infamous ex-JPMorganite Blythe Masters, among which the disclosure that she had made it clear that she had wanted to go along with the disposable JPM physical commodities unit (which as was reported recently, was sold to Swiss commodities giant Mercuria) and "and continue as the group's chief", a plan which did not work out as she had planned since she has no plans to "join the unit’s purchaser" (although joining Glencore is another matter entirely, and one which looks increasingly plausible) but what we find most striking is the following revelation: "Masters is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. That probe was opened following a settlement with regulators that alleged JPMorgan manipulated power markets in the Midwest and California." This is somewhat ironic because it was none other than Zero Hedge which asked nearly a year ago if "JPMorgan's "Enron" Will Be The End Of Blythe Masters?" Suddenly, the answer appears to be yes. [...]"  Related: See the link at the top of this panel entitled "Creation of Credit Derivatives" for the background of Masters, to whom I gave the "Galactic Bitch Award" for her role in the plundering of the financial infrastructure of the planet. 

Quotes: "Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes." -- Voltaire  

MSM: "G20 Gives U.S. Year-End Deadline For IMF Reforms" [04/12/14] Printer Friendly Version " Finance chiefs from around the globe on Friday gave the United States until year-end to ratify long-delayed reforms to the International Monetary Fund and threatened to move forward without it if it fails to do so. The inability to proceed with giving emerging markets a more powerful voice at the IMF and shoring up the lender's resources appeared the most contentious issue for officials from the Group of 20 leading economies and the representatives for all IMF member nations who met with them. In a final communiqué, G20 finance ministers and central bankers said they were "deeply disappointed" with the delay. "I take this opportunity to urge the United States to implement these reforms as a matter of urgency," Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey told reporters on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank spring meetings. The reforms would double the Fund's resources and hand more IMF voting power to countries like the so-called BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The U.S. Congress has refused to sign off on the overhaul, which was agreed to in 2010, and the failure overshadowed even the crisis in Ukraine and the spillover effects of ultra easy monetary policies in advanced economies in the discussions. [...]" 

MSM: "Sen. Bernie Sanders Asks Citizens "To Stand Up Against The Rich And Their Corruption" [04/12/14] [11:58] 

MSM: "West Scared Of BRICS As It Has No Control Over It' - Ex-Indian Foreign Secretary" [04/12/14]   [25:12] "Representing a fifth of the world economy, the BRICS states pose a challenge to the US-dominated world. Submarket growth in Russia and the West could also change more rapidly, shifting the whole world system Eastwards. Is this the start of a new era?  [...]"   Related: "BRICS Finance Ministers Meet In Washington" Printer Friendly Version  "BRICS Finance Ministers have met on the sidelines of an IMF/World Bank meet in Washington in which they discussed preparations for the BRICS-led development bank, a 100 billion contingency reserve arrangement and the forthcoming Summit in Fortaleza in Brazil. The establishment of the BRICS Development Bank is largely seen as the first significant step of the bloc of five. The bank was announced during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban in March this year. “We have agreed to establish the new development bank. The initial capital contribution to the bank should be substantial and sufficient for the bank to be effective in financing infrastructure,” the BRICS leaders said in a joint statement. Meanwhile, in Washington, the five finance ministers also criticised stalled IMF reforms. “We’ve discussed our mutual concerns about the slow pace of the IMF reforms and the kind of stalemate that we find ourselves in currently and we hope to work with everyone to find an equitable solution. But clearly a lot depends on the US,” said Gordhan. The 6th BRICS Summit will be held in Brazil in July. [...]"  

MSM: "Social Security, Treasury Target Americans For Their Parents' Old Debts" [04/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Many Americans expecting to see their tax refunds in their bank accounts soon are waking up to a very different scenario: the government actively intercepting their checks in order to pay back debts they’re not responsible for. According to a new report in the Washington Post, the federal government is seizing nearly $2 billion from hundreds of thousands of taxpayers this year in order to settle debts, some incurred by their parents, some dating back to more than a decade. This process has been ongoing since 2011, when a revision in the 'farm' bill passed by Congress removed the 10-tear statute of limitations on debts owed to the United States. Since that bill was passed, the government has collected $424 million on debts older than a decade. This year, however, has seen the Social Security Administration (SSA) alone claim that 400,000 Americans owe a total of $714 million in debts older than 10 years. Multiple government agencies told the Post they were not responsible for pushing for the change, with Social Security spokeswoman Dorothy Clark saying, “We have an obligation to current and future Social Security beneficiaries to attempt to recoup money that people received when it was not due.” [...]" 

MSM: "Banksters Are Rigging The “Stock” System – Nomi Prins" [04/11/14]   [10:38] "Nomi Prins, All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power [...] Wall Street banksters make billions off high-frequency trades that use complex algorithms to predict the stock market. But could the Justice Department soon put this practice to a stop? So - IS high-frequency all that different from insider trading?"  

MSM: "$65 Billion Looted From Iraq During US War: UN Envoy" [04/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq Nikolai Mladenov said the money looted from Iraq between 2001 and 2010 exceeded 65 billion dollars, referring to the conclusion of the latest study made by the International Monetary Fund. Addressing Baghdad International Forum to Fight Corruption, Mladenov said based on statistics released by Iraq Financial Supervision Office, a sum of at least 65 billion dollars has been ransacked from the country during the US-led Iraq war. Mladenov said the corrupt statesmen in all over the world have already blockaded the progress of under developed countries through spoiling the natural wealth of these countries. He also added fighting corruption in an international level requires that all members states of UN to be totally obligated to the content of international conventions in this regard. After passage of some years, the US and Britain are trying to block an inquiry into US-led war on Iraq.  According to a recent report by The Independent, the administration of US President Barack Obama insists that certain parts of the Iraq inquiry, known as the Chilcot Inquiry, could not be released as it is focused on the pre-war conspiracy hatched by former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. On March 19, 2003, US-led forces invaded Iraq under the pretext of wiping out the stocks of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) belonging to the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime. However, no such weapons were ever found in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and Iraq’s infrastructure was destroyed following the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of the country. [...]"  

Quotes: "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" -- Oscar Wilde      

MSM: "Yuan May Become A De Facto Reserve Currency Before It Is Fully Convertible" [04/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "As we have discussed numerous times, nothing lasts forever - especially reserve currencies - no matter how much one hopes that the status-quo remains so, in the end the exuberant previlege is extorted just one too many times. Headline after headlines shows nations declaring 'interest' or direct discussions in diversifying away from the US dollar...  As The South China Morning Post reports, Jukka Pihlman, Standard Chartered's Singapore-based global head of central banks and sovereign wealth funds (who formerly worked at the International Monetary Fund advising central banks on asset-management issues), notes that at least 40 central banks have invested in the Yuan and several more are preparing to do so. The trend is occurring across both emerging markets and developed nation central banks diversifiying into 'other currencies' and "a great number of central banks are in the process of adding yuan to their portfolios." Perhaps most ominously, for king dollar, is the former-IMF manager's warning that "The Yuan may become a de facto reserve currency before it is fully convertible." The US dollar is still the world's most widely held reserve currency, accounting for nearly 33 per cent of global foreign exchange holdings at the end of last year, according to IMF data. That ratio has been declining since 2000, when 55 per cent of the world's reserves were denominated in US dollars. The IMF does not disclose the percentage of reserves held in yuan, but the emerging market countries' share of reserves in "other currencies" has increased by almost 400 per cent since 2003, while that of developed nations grew 200 per cent, according to IMF data. As Pihlman explains, "a great number of central banks are in the process of adding [yuan] to their portfolios". "The [yuan] has effectively already become a de facto reserve currency because so many central banks have already invested in it," he said. "The [yuan] may become a de facto reserve currency before it is fully convertible." The central banks more likely to add yuan holdings in the future were the ones with "strong trade linkages to China" and those which had relatively large levels of reserves which could consider diversifying more for return-related reasons, he said. "The [yuan's] convertibility may be already there for central banks in a way that has got them comfortable to start investing in the currency," Pihlman said.[...]"  

MSM: "Putin Sends The West A Golden Message: Central Bank Of Russia Changes Logo To Golden Ruble" [04/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "According to reports from Russian media, Putin appears to have sent the west a golden message in the aftermath of JPMorgan unilaterally deciding to block an official Russian wire transfer, as the Central Bank of Russia has introduced a new logo, which just happens to be a gold ruble. Officials stated on the new logo: Golden Badge of the Russian national currency, officially adopted by the Central Bank of Russia, will symbolize a sign of stability and security of the ruble gold reserves of the country. [...]"  Related: "Russian Central Bank Drafts New Refinancing Programs For Investment Projects" Printer Friendly Version "This step will guarantee more resources to the banking system without the hike in the cost of borrowings, and without the growth of rates on the banking market [...]"  

Quotes: "The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong it’s reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." --Abraham Lincoln  

Commentary: "The Real Unspoken Story Behind High Frequency Trading Programs" [04/09/14] [10:41] Related: See also "High-Speed Traders Rip Investors Off" [04/04/14] and attached related stories

Commentary: "98% Of All US Consumer Credit In Past Year Was Used For Student And Car Loans" [04/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Same shit, different month. If last month total consumer credit increased by $13.8 billion, of which $14.0 billion went into student and car loans meaning consumers continued de-leveraging on their credit card statements (some expectation for a recovery there), then February was even worse. The headline number was great: $16.5 billion, well above the $14.0 billion expected. The problem is that of this number well more than 100%, or $18.9 billion was once again slated for car purchases and paying down "student bills" (not really - as has been reported numerous times before Americans increasingly use student loans as a means to pay for everything else but tuition). In other words, anyone suggesting that the "surge" in household lending is in any way remotely indicative of consumer hope in a recovery is i) an idiot or ii) clueless and won't even be bothered to read the fine print which once again suggests that the only credit Americans will take on is whatever comes implicitly free, and is certainly not meant to be repaid, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Unlike credit cards. And putting this in context, in the past 12 months, a record 98% of all credit - $162 billion - has gone into non-revolving debt, i.e., student and car loans. How much has been added to credit card balances? An absolutely meaningless $4 billion, or 2% of total. [...]"  

Commentary: "Vietnam’s Solution For Corrupt Bankers: Firing Squads" [04/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "For the most part, American bankers whose rash pursuit of profit brought on the 2008 global financial collapse didn’t get indicted. They got bonuses. Odds are that scandal would have played out differently in Vietnam, another nation struggling with misbehaving bankers. The authoritarian Southeast Asian state doesn’t just send unscrupulous financiers to jail. Sometimes, it sends them to death row.  [...] Unlike in America, where judges can’t sentence white-collar criminals to death, Vietnam can execute its citizens for a range of corporate crimes. Amnesty International reports that death sentences in Vietnam have been handed down to criminals for running shady investment schemes, counterfeiting cash and even defaulting on loans. This is unusual: United Nations officials have condemned death for “economic crimes” yet Vietnam persists with these sentences — as does neighboring China. Though statistics on Vietnam’s opaque justice system are scarce, a state official conceded that more than 675 people sit on death row for a range of crimes, according to the Associated Press. It’s still unclear how the bankers will be killed. Vietnam’s traditional means of execution involves binding perpetrators to a wooden post, stuffing their mouths with lemons and calling in a firing squad. The nation wants to transition to lethal injections. But European nations refuse to export chemicals used in executions (namely sodium thiopental) to governments practicing capital punishment. Fraudulent bankers are receiving heavy sentences at a moment when Vietnam is enacting major financial reforms [...]"

Concepts and Practices: "How the US Economy Changed the Nature of Money" [04/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Occupy Wall Street movement and most of academia love to wail about the evils of capitalism. Economist Richard Duncan reckons it’s a bit late for that. About 100 years too late. Capitalism died a grisly death in 1914 and 1939. What makes Duncan’s take unique is how he sees its replacement. It’s called ‘Creditism’. But first, how did Capitalism fall? It fell when America entered into the two World Wars. The government intervened heavily in the US economy to mobilise and fund the war effort. Like all of the government’s temporary measures, they turned out to be permanent. The US economy never returned to normal. Ever since, war and Capitalism’s replacement seem to be inextricably linked. [...]"  

Quotes: "It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others, and to forget his own" -- Marcus Tullius Cicero  

Commentary: "Poland Confiscates Bond Holdings from Private Pension Funds" [04/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "Poland on April 2nd confiscated all bond holdings of private pension funds. This will be booked on their balance sheet to reduce their debt to GDP ratio by as much as 8%. This is actually being discussed as I have reported in Europe and the USA. Most will follow that same course and fail to realize that government CONSUMES national wealth – it does not create it. This is part of the deflationary cycle we are in and WHY I have stated there is ZERO chance of hyperinflation. Governments are confiscating wealth – not printing their way out of anything. [...]"  

MSM: "CEO Of Liechtenstein Bank, Juergen Frick, Murdered In Broad Daylight" [04/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "Over the weekend the world was gripped by the drama surrounding the mysterious murder-homicide of the former CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro and members of his family, and whether there is more foul play than meets the eye. However, that is nothing compared to what just happened in the tiny, and all too quiet Principality of Lichtenstein, where moments ago the CEO of local financial institution Bank Frick & Co. AG, Juergen Frick, was shot dead in the underground garage of the bank located in the city of Balzers. Based on preliminary reports, the murder is the result of a disgruntled fund manager, Juergen Germann, who had previously been embroiled in a "bitter dispute" with the government and the bank. [...]" Related: See below

MSM: "Dutch Bank Executive, Family, Found Dead" [04/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "A former executive of the bank that helped trigger the Royal Bank of Scotland's collapse has been found dead along with his wife and daughter. Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, came under fire for taking a large pay-off after the nationalisation of his troubled bank ABN Amro. He ran the domestic operations of the Dutch bank between 2003 and 2007 and was widely criticised for landing a £6.6million ($10.95 million) pay-off. A police spokeswoman said an investigation was underway but that all early clues pointed to a family drama having taken place. There was no indication that Schmittmann's business dealings had played any role in the tragedy. [...]"

Commentary: "Suicide Banker's Widow Blasts Alleged "Cover-Up", Asks "Unbecoming Questions" [04/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "As Bloomberg reports, more than seven months after the suicide of Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN) Chief Financial Officer Pierre Wauthier, his widow said she and her family cannot accept Zurich’s claim that his death wasn’t brought on by undue stress. The dead banker's widow is not buying Zurich's 'cover-up'... Zurich Insurance should explain exactly why Ackermann stepped down, if he had not accepted blame for the death, and why details of tensions at work were not made public, Wauthier told shareholders. She changed her Facebook profile picture to a face mask labeled “V...like Vendetta” on Dec. 16, the day after SonntagsZeitung published an interview with new Chairman Tom de Swaan in which he said he never had contact with her. She re-posted the article on Facebook the same day with the comment “Yep, that’s true. I am not worth talking to... or is it that I would raise unbecoming questions?[...]"  

Commentary: "Sanctions Suicide For Europe: Banking System Blowout Means Game "On the Brink of World War" [04/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Academician Sergei Glazyev, an advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Eurasian integration, today warned of national bankruptcy for several European countries, a blow-out of the banking system, and a "game on the brink of world war," if full-scale economic sanctions against Russia are pushed through. "If the Americans try to implement the model used in the case of Iran," said the Russian economist, "meaning virtually total disconnection of the country from the world financial system, that is, from its dollar and euro segment, then our calculations show that losses in the European Union could reach one trillion euros. If our payments are blocked, the European banks will feel it very palpably, because hundreds of billions of liabilities will be frozen." If such measures were to be pushed further by the U.S., destabilizing the entire European financial system, in parallel with attempts to hurt Russia, he added. Glazyev noted that while potential damage to Germany's economy from total sanctions against Russia may be estimated at up to 200 billion euros, "the strongest damage, in relative terms, strange as this might seem, would be felt by Ukraine - whose interests they're so concerned about - and the Baltic countries, which have behaved the most aggressively. Losses for the Baltic countries would be almost equivalent to their GDP, since the economies of these countries are almost entirely involved with transit services to and from Russia. Thus, for Europe the sanctions are economic suicide. European businessmen understand this very well. But I'm struck by how much the European media are like a branch of the American, or, rather, not even of the Americans, but of some very vicious hawks."  [...]"  

Max Keiser: "Fraud Is The Only Path For US Business" [04/06/14]   [25:45] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss high frequency fraud, picking prices and then filling in the trades to get to that price. In the second half, is the second half of Max's interview with Jim Rickards about his new book, The Death of Money. In this second half, they talk more about mutually assured financial destruction, the US dollar and the danger of insolvency. [...]"  

MSM: "Russia’s Major Banks Begin Consultations On National Payment System" [04/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russia’s major banks have begun consultations on the creation of a national payment system in the country. VTB President Andrei Kostin said “this would mean consolidating the existing settlement systems to create such a system within a month or two …using the terminals of all leading Russian banks without crossing the border”. “This can be done inside the country and this will cover about 90 percent of payments our citizens make annually. This can be done within a month or two…without issuing new cards. The existing ones will work … and consumers simply won’t notice anything. They will use the same ATMs… All ATMs of all banks will work within one system,” Kostin said. “The second stage is to create a national payment system proper using a new independent settlement centre as the basis. This is a somewhat more long-term task, but I think we can do it within six months or so and this system will work inside the country too,” the banker said. “Recognition abroad is another issue. There are different points of view. We can try to join efforts with the Chinese Union Pay system, which has been operating for a long time. But the question is on the agenda and it’s a question of protecting the interests of our people,” Kostin said. Speaking about Visa and MasterCard problems, he said, “We should not embark on a path of self-isolation and we should certainly preserve the relations we have”. Kostin said earlier this week that the universal electronic card project had to be dropped if Russia wanted to create a national payment system. “The national payment system should be created within the shortest time possible and take over most of the payments inside the country. It will also be necessary to drop the unrealistic idea of launching a universal card that would combine the functions of a social card, a driver’s license and other roles. There must be as simple and inexpensive a payment system as possible and it must be created within the shortest time possible,” Kostin said. Sberbank CEO German Gref advocates the creation of a national payment system and insists that it be based on the universal electronic card, a project launched by Sberbank some time ago. In his opinion, a national payment system can be created within two months after the relevant draft law has been prepared. “There has lately been an upsurge of interest in this topic. Our PRO100 system [Russian payment system] based on the universal electronic card is fully ready. I think we can speak about its implementation within six months or so,” Gref said. [...]  President Vladimir Putin said in March that Russia would create its own payment system. “These systems work successfully in such countries as Japan and China. They started off as national systems for domestic needs only but are now becoming increasingly popular,” he said. The Japanese system now operates in 200 countries. “Why shouldn’t we do the same? We should and we will,” Putin said at a meeting with the leadership of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament. The Central Bank of Russia is already making plans for creating a national payment system in the country.[...]"  

MSM: "12 Largest Banks Sued By Public Retirement Funds For "Conspiring To Rig Global Foreign Exchange (FX) Markets" [04/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "Yesterday, we read with some amusement that Goldman has moved Guy Saidenberg, reportedly one of the greater profit centers at the firm - and how could he not be when he always traded against Tom Stolper's recommendations which led to tens of thousands of pips in losses to those who listened to him over the past five years - from head of global foreign-exchange trading to a new role, as co-head of commodities. Why did Goldman decide to scrap its once uber-profitable FX vertical and redo it from scratch? Simple - the ability to rig and manipulate FX markets, which are now under every global regulator's microscope after the "Cartel" members so foolishly let themselves be exposed to the entire world, is no longer there, as confirmed last night by news that a dozen large investors have filed a joint lawsuit against 12 banks for "allegedly conspiring to rig global foreign-exchange prices." Allegedly? Hasn't everyone read the Cartel chat room transcripts yet? WSJ reports: "They accused the banks of communicating "with one another, including in chat rooms, via instant messages, and by emails, to carry out their conspiracy," and for rigging foreign-exchange rates as far back as January 2003, the lawsuit says." The bank sued are BofA, Barclays, BNP, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche, Goldman, HSBC, JPM, Morgan Stanley, RBS and UBS, or, in other words, everyone. And certainly all the Too Big To Prosecute banks. So best of luck there, even though the plaintiffs include some very recognizable public investment funds:  The investors behind the consolidated lawsuit are: Aureus Currency Fund LP, a Santa Rosa, Calif., investment fund; the City of Philadelphia and its board of pensions and retirement; the Employees' Retirement System for the Government of the Virgin Islands; the Employees' Retirement System of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority; Fresno County Employees' Retirement Association; Haverhill Retirement System for the city of Haverhill, Mass.; Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System; State-Boston Retirement System; Tiberius OC Fund, a Cayman Islands fund; Value Recovery Fund LLC, a Delaware fund with offices in Connecticut; Syena Global Emerging Markets Fund LP, a hedge fund in Connecticut; and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. In the complaint, the investors accused the banks of controlling foreign-exchange rates via a "small and close-knit group of traders." They alleged it became possible for banks to rig the market because the traders "have strong ties formed by working with one another in prior trading positions" and by in many cases living "in the same neighborhoods in the Essex countryside just northeast of London's financial district." "They belong to the same social clubs, golf together, dine together and sit on many of the same charity boards," the complaint adds. [...]  Of course, the rigging of FX markets, disclosed hot on the heels that Libor too was massively manipulated (to the delight of "conspiracy theorists" everywhere) is by now well known. But the punch line is not that FX is rigged, and as a result virtually all carbon-based traders are now gone, leaving the FX market at the mercy of Virtu and GETCO algos (those USDJPY momentum ignitions at specific, recurring times of the day are just that), but that as Goldman has shown by relocating Saidenberg, the commodity market is the only one where manipulation, rigging and fraud are not only possible but smiled upon by regulators. Because one of the key commodities in said market is gold. And as everyone knows, alongside getting the Russell 200,000 to all time highs, the other core mandate of central bankers everywhere is to push gold to 0. The worst news: we are rapidly running out of "conspiracy theories" that haven't become conspiracy facts yet. [...]"  

MSM: "Pakistan Refuses To Sell Its Gold As Per IMF Demands" [04/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "Pakistan has refused to sell gold worth $2.7 billion, citing national security reasons, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pushes Islamabad to convert the precious metal into cash to build foreign currency reserves, revealed the global lender’s report on Friday. According to the report, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) holds over 2 million troy ounces of monetary gold, having $2.7 billion value at market rate. It is not counted in gross international reserves as it is not deemed to be liquid by the SBP, says the IMF. The IMF and Pakistan authorities discussed what steps would be needed to make gold more liquid, the report adds. “However, the (Pakistani) authorities stressed that they have no plans to sell gold and preferred existing arrangements for gold holdings for national security reasons.” [...]" 

Commentary: "High-Speed Traders Rip Investors Off" [04/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "The U.S. stock market is rigged when high-frequency traders with advanced computers make tens of billions of dollars by jumping in front of investors, according to author Michael Lewis, who spent the past year researching the topic for his new book “Flash Boys.” While speed traders’ strategies, developed over the past decade with help from exchanges, are legal, “it’s just nuts” that they’re allowed, Lewis said during an interview televised yesterday on CBS Corp.’s “60 Minutes.” The tactics are too complicated for individual investors to understand, he said. “The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism, is rigged,” Lewis, whose books “Liar’s Poker” and “The Big Short” highlighted Wall Street excesses, said during the interview. The new book comes out today. “It’s crazy that it’s legal for some people to get advance news on prices and what investors are doing,” he said. Everyone who owns equities is victimized by the practices, in which the fastest traders figure out which stocks investors plan to buy, purchase them first and then sell them back at a higher price, said Lewis, a columnist for Bloomberg View. To show how lucrative the tactics are, Lewis said a technology firm spent $300 million to build a line that would shave three milliseconds off the time it takes to communicate between New Jersey and Chicago, then leased it out to securities companies for $10 million each.  [...]"  Related: "FBI Is Investigating High-Frequency Traders" Printer Friendly Version "The FBI is investigating whether high-speed trading firms trade on non-public information, the Wall Street Journal reports. The agency is working with the SEC and CFTC. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry stems from a multiyear crackdown on insider trading, which has led to at least 79 convictions of hedge-fund traders and others. Agents are examining whether traders abuse information to act ahead of orders by institutional investors, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the probe is confidential. Even trades based on computer algorithms could amount to wire fraud, securities fraud or insider trading." CNBC's Eamon Javers said an FBI spokesman is urging anyone with information about high-frequency trading abuses to call the bureau. [...]" |  "60 Minutes Sanitizes Its Report on High Frequency Trading" Printer Friendly Version "Two of the chief culprits of aiding and abetting high frequency traders, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq stock exchange, failed to come under scrutiny in the much heralded 60 Minutes broadcast Video  [14:36] on how the stock market is rigged. This past Sunday night, 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft sat down with noted author Michael Lewis to discuss his upcoming book, “Flash Boys,” and its titillating revelations about how high frequency traders are fleecing the little guy. Kroft says to Lewis: “What’s the headline here?” Lewis responds: “Stock market’s rigged. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism is rigged.” Kroft then asks Lewis to state just who it is that’s rigging the market. (This is where you need to pay close attention.) Lewis responds that it’s a “combination of these stock exchanges, the big Wall Street banks and high-frequency traders.” We never hear a word more about “the big Wall Street banks” and no hint anywhere in the program that the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are involved. 60 Minutes pulls a very subtle bait and switch that most likely went unnoticed by the majority of viewers. In something akin to its own “Flash Boys” maneuver, it flashes a photo of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as Kroft says to the public that: “Michael Lewis is not talking about the stock market that you see on television every day. That ceased to be the center of U.S. financial activity years ago, and exists today mostly as a photo op.” That statement stands in stark contrast to the harsh reality that the New York Stock Exchange is one of the key facilitators of high frequency trading and making big bucks at it. [...]" | "Jon Stewart & Michael Lewis on HFT: "It’s Not American; It’s Not Even Capitalism. It’s Cheating"  Daily Show 1 April 2014 [21:35] "John Stewart is stunned by the world of HFT (where “stock exchanges sell the right to advance information to high frequency traders [by locating their computers closest to the exchange]“) and the mainstream media’s immediate jump to defend it “as good for us”, but as Michael Lewis explains “anyone whose livelihood is dependent on Wall Street [from CNBC, FOX and even the SEC] is invested in this… it sounds like a conspiracy.” As Lewis explains, HFTs “function on volume and volatility” alone and “they know the prices before you do… which is illegal if it’s a person, but as a computer, meh?” [...]" | "Excerpt With Michael Lewis Only" [6:43]    

MSM: "US Military Protecting International Banking Cartel" [04/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "My assessment is that 90% of the value of the US dollar comes from the US military.” — Former Assistant Housing Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts [...] For decades, America has used its armed strength to enforce the use of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, effectively making the US military the armed wing of the international banking cartel (IBC). Since 1971 when President Richard Nixon stopped paying US debt obligations with gold, America has increasingly used its military might to prop up the value of the dollar and enforce a global financial structure whose primary beneficiary is the US itself, and whose central bank, the Federal Reserve, serves as the IBC’s supervisory authority. Who or what is this IBC? It consists of Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo along with Deutsche Bank, BNP and Barclays. Eight families reportedly control the IBC: the Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans, Kuhn Loebs, Rothschilds, Warburgs, Lazards and the Israel Moses Seifs. Besides owning the US oil behemoths Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron Texaco, IBC member institutions are among the top ten shareholders of nearly every Fortune 500 company. While the IBC itself has no formal status, nevertheless its members are represented by an international body, the Financial Stability Board (FSB). Organized as the Financial Security Forum in 1999 by G7 finance ministers and central bank governors, the FSB “seeks to give momentum to a broad-based multilateral agenda for strengthening financial systems and the stability of international financial markets.” [...] War is extremely profitable for the IBC, since not only do its members profit from financing arms sales to both sides during the conflicts that they themselves often initiate, but also from the post bellum reconstruction. In fact, the most powerful of the central banking institutions in the world, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), was established in 1930 to oversee reparation payments imposed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War. In addition to providing banking services for central banks worldwide, the BIS supervised the Bretton Woods international currency agreements from the Second World War until the early 1970s, when Nixon reneged on pledges to pay US debt obligations in gold. The BIS also works with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to expand the IBC-imposed debt-dependency cycle among the nations of the world. [...] The methodology for global financial domination is really quite simple: America imports more goods than it exports and therefore dollars flow out of the US and accumulate in the central banks of other countries. Since the US has refused to honor these obligations in gold, the central banks are forced to invest in US treasury bills, bonds and other US financial instruments that pay interest which is financed by the issuance of further debt. The result is a US-dominated global financial system dependent upon maintaining the value, or more correctly, minimizing the rate of depreciation, of the dollar, allowing the US to enjoy an extravagant consumer-based economy at the expense of the rest of the world. [...] Regarding the insidious US debt-domination process, Wall Street analyst Michael Hudson explains that “by running  balance-of- payments deficits that it refuses to settle in gold, it has obliged foreign governments to invest their surplus dollar holdings in Treasury bills, that is, to relend their dollar inflows to the US Treasury.” The system is somewhat self-perpetuating, for should a non-US central bank decide to divest its dollars, it would effectively sabotage the economy in its own country. Of course, foreign central banks and financial institutions are well aware that by investing in US treasury securities, they will lose money since the Federal Reserve will only turn around and “print” more dollars, thus further diluting the value of their reserves. However, if these foreign institutions would fail to reinvest their dollars in more T-bills, the rate of depreciation of their dollar holdings would accelerate dramatically. Such awareness holds most governments in check, preventing wholesale dumping of dollars, which of course would bring the entire global system down, along with the IBC.[...]" 

Commentary: "Furious Russia Will Retaliate Over "Illegal And Absurd" Payment Block By "Hostile" JPMorgan" [04/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "While everyone was gushing over the spectacle on TV of a pro-HFT guy and anti-HFT guy go at it, yesterday afternoon we reported what was by far the most important news of the day, one which was lost on virtually everyone if only until this morning, when we reported that "Monetary Blockade Of Russia Begins: JPMorgan Blocks Russian Money Transfer "Under Pretext" Of Sanctions." This morning the story has finally blown up to front page status, which it deserves, where it currently graces the FT with "Russian threat to retaliate over JPMorgan block." And unlike previous responses to Russian sanctions by the West, which were largely taken as a joke by the Russian establishment, this time Russia is furious: according to Bloomberg, the Russian foreign ministry described the JPM decision as "illegal and absurd." And as Ukraine found out last month, you don't want Russia angry.  The biggest U.S. bank thwarted a remittance from the Russian embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan, to Sogaz Insurance Group “under the pretext of anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the United States,” the ministry said yesterday in a statement on its website. Sogaz lists OAO Bank Rossiya, a St. Petersburg-based lender facing U.S. sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis, as a strategic partner on its website. Interfering with the transaction was an “absolutely unacceptable, illegal and absurd decision,” Alexander Lukashevich, a ministry spokesman, said in the statement. [...]"  Related: "Russian Retaliation #1: Russia Largest Bank Halts Foreign Currency Loans" Printer Friendly Version "It didn't take long for Russia to launch the first retaliatory salvo against the unexpected JPMorgan "act of aggression." Moments ago Bloomberg just reported that Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia and all of Eastern Europe, just halted the issuance of consumer loans in foreign currency. Bloomberg adds that "Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, holds 43.3% of nation’s consumer deposits, 32.7% of consumer loans and 32.1% of corporate loans." Why is this important? Well, it is possible that the biggest Russian bank is running low on foreign reserves with which to issue non-ruble loans, which is rather unlikely for a bank which is defacto part of the Russian financial system. Still, it would be problematic if Russia is indeed telegraphing its commodity-export driven economy is suddenly low on Dollars and/or Europe's artificial, life-supported currency. And then there is another possibility: as we explained yesterday, "what JPM may have just done is launch a preemptive strike which would have the equivalent culmination of a SWIFT blockade of Russia, the same way Iran was neutralized from the Petrodollar and was promptly forced to begin transacting in Rubles, Yuan and, of course, gold in exchange for goods and services either imported or exported." And this: "One wonders: is JPM truly that intent in preserving its "pristine" reputation of not transacting with "evil Russians", that it will gladly light the fuse that takes away Russia's choice whether or not to depart the petrodollar voluntarily, and makes it a compulsory outcome, which incidentally will merely accelerate the formalization of the Eurasian axis of China, Russia and India." Judging by the first retaliation, which just showed what Russia thinks of the petrodollar regime by voluntarily isolating itself from it, this is certainly a growing possibility. [...]" 

Commentary: "Russia, Iran Announce $20 Billion Oil-For-Goods Deal" [04/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "Once again, from our yesterday comment on the JPM Russian blockade: "what JPM may have just done is launch a preemptive strike which would have the equivalent culmination of a SWIFT blockade of Russia, the same way Iran was neutralized from the Petrodollar and was promptly forced to begin transacting in Rubles, Yuan and, of course, gold in exchange for goods and services either imported or exported. One wonders: is JPM truly that intent in preserving its "pristine" reputation of not transacting with "evil Russians", that it will gladly light the fuse that takes away Russia's choice whether or not to depart the petrodollar voluntarily, and makes it a compulsory outcome, which incidentally will merely accelerate the formalization of the Eurasian axis of China, Russia and India?" In other words, Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and "heaven forbid" gold) and shortly other "regional" currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.  [...] Iran and Russia have made progress towards an oil-for-goods deal sources said would be worth up to $20 billion, which would enable Tehran to boost vital energy exports in defiance of Western sanctions, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters. In January Reuters reported Moscow and Tehran were discussing a barter deal that would see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods. The White House has said such a deal would raise "serious concerns" and would be inconsistent with the nuclear talks between world powers and Iran. A Russian source said Moscow had "prepared all documents from its side", adding that completion of a deal was awaiting agreement on what oil price to lock in. The source said the two sides were looking at a barter arrangement that would see Iranian oil being exchanged for industrial goods including metals and food, but said there was no military equipment involved. The source added that the deal was expected to reach $15 to $20 billion in total and would be done in stages with an initial $6 billion to $8 billion tranche. "The deal would ease further pressure on Iran's battered energy sector and at least partially restore Iran's access to oil customers with Russian help," said Mark Dubowitz of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a U.S. think-tank. "If Washington can't stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won't risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime," he added. [...]"  

Flashback: "U.S. Unfunded Liabilities Really More Than $200 Trillion" [04/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "In the past I’ve written here about the U.S. federal budget not being $17 trillion in the red, but more than $200 trillion (with a “t”). The calculations come not from some right-wing activist, but from Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. This is important for California because something around half of the state budget — the total amount — comes from the federal government. When the feds begin cutting back spending sharply, as inevitably they will, then California will see sharp cuts in Medicaid/Medical, AFDC, SNAP/food stamps (more than the recent cuts), education/No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top, etc. Kotlikoff recently was interviewed by Financial Sense Newshour. And Bob Wenzel provides a transcript of some of it: Officially, the federal deficit is $17 trillion. Where is it really more than $205 trillion? [...] Kotlikoff: "The liabilities the government owes are mostly off the books. We have a true debt picture which is about $205 trillion. This is recording all the future obligations the government has, whether they are official obligations or not, such as paying for your social security benefits, mine, or your mother’s Medicare benefits, defense spending, etc. All of these things are really obligations that aren’t recorded on the books as debt, whereas paying off future principal and interest payments on Treasury bills and bonds are recorded. So, anyway, if you take the value of all of those commitments and subtract all the taxes coming to pay those commitments, the difference is what’s called the fiscal gap; and that fiscal gap in the U.S. is now $205 trillion. So, the true debt is $205 trillion; the official debt is only $17 trillion. So, most of the problems we’re facing, most of the debt we have, the vast majority of it is off the books and Congress has done bookkeeping to make sure the public doesn’t see it."  The Clinton administration—we put out the fiscal gap studies for a couple of years on the President’s budget. The Clinton administration then censored it. The guys who’s now head of the National Economic Council, the Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama, was the one who did the censorship back in 1994. President Bush’s Treasury Secretary O’Neil wanted us to do a fiscal gap accounting for the President’s budget in 2003 and he was fired in December 7, 2002, and that study was censored two days after he was fired. So, this is not accidental. This is more or less a conspiracy to hide the truth to keep ourselves and our kids in the dark about what the politicians are really doing, which is trying to garner the votes of older people and then get reelected and leave a bigger mess for our kids to handle. But the bills are starting to come due as the Baby Boomers keep retiring.[...]"   

Commentary: "Professor William Black - Epic Epidemic of Fraud" [04/02/14] [35:06] "Fraud expert and former regulator Professor William Black says, "Even today, we are well into 2014, and the Department of Justice record is intact. There have been zero prosecutions of the elite officers who led the epic epidemic of fraud. It was the most destructive in world history, zero of them even unsuccessfully prosecuted, much less prosecuted." What is the result of massive rampant unprosecuted fraud? Professor Black says, "If you don't have any accountability, you not only make certain that there is going to be a next blow-up, but it will be worse. . . . We have effectively removed the criminal laws for a particular elite class of frauds." [...]" 

MSM: "Chinese Authorities Seize Ex-Minister Of Security Of China And $ 14.5 Billion" [04/01/14] [0:26] "According to Reuters, the Chinese authorities have withdrawn from the former Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang assets by $ 14.5 billion during the investigation of the largest in the history of China’s corruption scandal. Zhou Yongkang was accused of corruption on the basis of the criminal case, which gave the order to initiate by Chairman Xi Jinping. Besides Zhou Yongkang, in this corruption scandal featured more than 300 people – his family and work colleagues from Petroleum Corporation CNPC. Zhou Yongkang headed the Ministry of Public Security of China from 2002 to 2007, was a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China [...]"  

MSM: "Office Of Outgoing JPMorgan Asia CEO Raided By Hong Kong’s Commission Against Corruption" [04/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "It just hasn’t been JPMorgan’s year. Or several years for that matter. The bank which has been on a steady downward slope when it comes to paying billions in quarterly “non-recurring, one-time” legal settlements and charges, and for which engaging in criminal behavior which is neither admitted nor denied, yet which has cost JPM nearly $30 billion in the past several years, has just had its latest “wristslapping” incident, one which involves none other than the recently departed CEO of JPM Asia, Fang Fang, whose office was raided on March 26 by Hong Kong’s anti-corruption agency amid a U.S. investigation into the bank’s hiring practices as reported by Bloomberg."

MSM: "Daily Mail: Goldman Sachs Are Financial Terrorists" [04/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "Amid the recent management shake-up at the top of the Bank of England, as it was dragged into the investigation of the alleged fixing of the £3 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange markets, one crucial appointment went almost unnoticed. While public attention was understandably focused on an Egyptian-born mother of twins becoming only the second female deputy governor of the bank, the far more influential appointment was that of economist Ben Broadbent. As the new deputy governor for monetary policy, he is now the predominant voice on the future direction of interest rates.  But there is one crucial fact that should concern us about the Cambridge and Harvard-educated Broadbent: he spent a decade during the boom-and-bust years as the senior economist at the global headquarters of the investment bank Goldman Sachs. He joins an elite few who hold senior positions in the world’s most powerful central banks — from London to New York, Frankfurt and beyond — and all of whom come from this one company, which was controversially described by Rolling Stone magazine as ‘a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money’. The fact that so many alumni of the world’s most profitable — as well as most ruthless and cunning — investment bank wield such a level of influence in these central banks is nothing short of remarkable. Because Goldman Sachs is an institution that, as I will explain, not only helped cause the financial crisis in 2008, but also profited from it — hugely enriching its own staff while leaving a trail of chaos for taxpayers to clear up. Do we really want one of the most controversial financial institutions on the planet, which was eventually fined a record £343 million for shamelessly misleading investors during the crisis, to have so many of its ex-staff holding the levers of power in the City of London? What makes the choice of Broadbent an issue of major public concern is that his period at Goldman saw the New York investment firm deeply embroiled in some of the most shocking financial scandals of recent years. First, there was the crisis triggered by the sub-prime mortgage disaster, when vast quantities of loans were made by U.S. banks to homeowners who could never pay them back. This reached disaster point in 2007-8, once the loans had been sold on by banks and institutions around the world — by which time they had been packaged up as financial instruments or ‘derivatives’ so complicated that no one could tell how toxic they were. Goldman Sachs played a key part in inventing these poisonous derivatives, which were a major factor in triggering the financial crisis. But even more morally offensive was that once people finally began to realise how dangerous these derivatives were, Goldman Sachs started making money by speculating in the market that they would collapse in value. So not only did the bank help create the crisis, it also profited from it. [...]   Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein once explained to me that one of the advantages of paying Goldman Sachs’s bankers so lavishly — they sit at the top of the bankers’ pay league — was that the ‘partners’ can retire young and very rich, and then go off to jobs in the public service. There is, however, a deeply disturbing paradox in the fact that Goldman bankers are now effectively running the world’s monetary system. The Goldman culture of creating ever-more complex securities and trades, coupled with absurdly high pay and bonuses as incentives for the bank’s workforce, were at the very core of the financial crisis that brought the world to the brink of economic collapse and led to a long period of painful austerity. None of these former Goldman economists and executives, who are now the overlords of the global economy, seems to have predicted the fact that the world was sitting on a financial time-bomb.[...]"  

MSM: "Global Insured Losses From Catastrophes Were $45 Billion In 2013" [04/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "Total economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters were $140 billion in 2013. Global insured losses were around $45 billion in 2013, with large contributions from flooding and hail events. The economic losses of $140 billion were down from $196 billion in 2012, and below the 10-year average of $190 billion. Around 26,000 lives were lost in natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2013. [...] Asia was hardest hit by natural catastrophes in terms of economic losses and victims. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in November brought some of the strongest winds ever recorded, alongside heavy rains and storm surges. Around 7,500 people died or went missing, and more than four million were left homeless. The second biggest humanitarian disaster of 2013 was the June flooding in the state of Uttarakhand in India, which claimed some 6,000 lives.  Europe suffered the two most expensive natural disaster events in 2013. Massive flooding in central and eastern Europe in May/June after four days of heavy rain caused large-scale damage across Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Total economic losses were $16.5 billion, and the insured loss was $4.1 billion. Not long after, in late July parts of Germany and France were hit, this time by severe hailstorms. The storms struck heavily populated areas in Germany, which, according to latest estimates, generated most of the entire insured loss total of $3.8 billion, the largest ever from a hail event, worldwide. Many regions around the world were hit by floods in 2013. The single largest loss-event in North America was extensive flooding in the city of Calgary, Alberta and surrounding area following six days of torrential rain. The economic loss was $4.7 billion and the insured loss was $1.9 billion. Floods also generated losses in Australia, Asia and South America.[...]"   

Commentary: "Dollar Hegemony Under Attack By Export-Superpowers Germany and China" [03/31/14] Printer Friendly Version "The word dollar didn’t even come up. “The volume of transactions that can be carried out in the Chinese currency in international and German financial centers is not commensurate with China’s importance in the global economy,” the Bundesbank explained in its dry manner on Friday in Berlin, after signing a memorandum of understanding with the People’s Bank of China. President Xi Jinping and Chancellor Angela Merkel were looking on. It was serious business. Everyone knew what this was about. No one had to say it. The agreement spelled out how the two central banks would cooperate on the clearing and settlement of payments denominated in renminbi – to get away from the dollar’s hegemony as payments currency and as reserve currency. This wasn’t an agreement between China and a paper-shuffling financial center like Luxembourg or London, which are working on similar deals, but between two of the world’s largest exporters with a bilateral trade of nearly $200 billion in 2013. German corporations have invested heavily in China over the last 15 years. And recently, Chinese corporations, many of them at least partially state-owned, have started plowing their new money into Germany. This “renminbi clearing solution” – the actual mechanism, clearing bank or clearing house, hasn’t been decided yet – will be an important step for China to internationalize the renminbi and ditch its reliance on the dollar. It will be located in Frankfurt; that the city is “home to two central banks,” Bundesbank Executive Board Member Joachim Nagel pointed out, made it “a particularly suitable location.” As a world payments currency, the renminbi is still minuscule but growing in leaps and bounds: in February, customer initiated and institutional payments, inbound and outbound, denominated in RMB accounted for only 1.42% of all traffic, but it set a new record, according to SWIFT, the NSA-infiltrated, member-owned cooperative that connects over 10,000 banks, corporations, the NSA, and other intelligence agencies around the world. [...]"  

Commentary: "Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun" Paul Craig Roberts [03/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "It is now apparent that the “Maiden protests” in Kiev were in actuality a Washington organized coup against the elected democratic government. The purpose of the coup is to put NATO military bases on Ukraine’s border with Russia and to impose an IMF austerity program that serves as cover for Western financial interests to loot the country. The sincere idealistic protesters who took to the streets without being paid were the gullible dupes of the plot to destroy their country. Politically Ukraine is an untenable aggregation of Ukrainian and Russian territory, because traditional Russian territories were stuck into the borders of the Ukraine Soviet Republic by Lenin and Khrushchev. The Crimea, stuck into Ukraine by Khrushchev, has already departed and rejoined Russia. Unless some autonomy is granted to them, Russian areas in eastern and southern Ukraine might also depart and return to Russia. If the animosity displayed toward the Russian speaking population by the stooge government in Kiev continues, more defections to Russia are likely. The Washington-imposed coup faces other possible difficulties from what seems to be a growing conflict between the well-organized Right Sector and the Washington-imposed stooges. If armed conflict between these two groups were to occur, Washington might conclude that it needs to send help to its stooges. The appearance of US/NATO troops in Ukraine would create pressure on Putin to occupy the remaining Russian speaking parts of Ukraine. Before the political and geographical issues are settled, the Western looting of Ukraine has already begun. The Western media, doesn’t tell any more truth about IMF “rescue packages” than it does about anything else. The media reports, and many Ukrainians believe, that the IMF is going to rescue Ukraine financially by giving the country billions of dollars. Ukraine will never see one dollar of the IMF money. What the IMF is going to do is to substitute Ukrainian indebtedness to the IMF for Ukrainian indebtedness to Western banks. The IMF will hand over the money to the Western banks, and the Western banks will reduce Ukraine’s indebtedness by the amount of IMF money. Instead of being indebted to the banks, Ukraine will now be indebted to the IMF. Now the looting can begin. The IMF loan brings new conditions and imposes austerity on the Ukrainian people so that the Ukraine government can gather up the money with which to repay the IMF. The IMF conditions that will be imposed on the struggling Ukraine population will consist of severe reductions in old-age pensions, in government services, in government employment, and in subsidies for basic consumer purchases such as natural gas. Already low living standards will plummet. In addition, Ukrainian public assets and Ukrainian owned private industries will have to be sold off to Western purchasers. Additionally, Ukraine will have to float its currency. [...]"  

Date With Destiny: "JP Morgan’s Top Commercial Bankruptcy Lawyer Dead In Minivan Hit & Run" [03/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "The banker suicide saga has just reached a new level as a top level JPMorgan attorney has been exterminated in a hit & run incident involving a minivan. JPM attorney Joseph Giampapa was killed over the weekend when he was struck by a minivan in a hit and run incident. Giampapa was reportedly hit and thrown 150 ft and was pronounced dead at the scene. No charges have been filed. It gets better: Giampapa was JPMorgan’s top commercial bankruptcy lawyer (SVP). Somehow we suspect the incident was not inflicted by a soccer mom. [...]"  

MSM: "IMF “Shock Treatment” for Ukraine: Collapse of the Standard of Living" [03/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "On March 27, Ukraine’s interim coalition government announced concrete policy measures as part of its agreement with the IMF: a 50 percent increase of the retail price of gas coupled with the deregulation of the foreign exchange market. The hike in gas prices is required by the IMF as part of an 18 Billion dollar pledge, which was approved on March 27. The IMF has demanded that retail gas and heating tariffs be raised “to full cost recovery.”  It is worth recalling that following the instatement of a coalition government on February 23, the interim (puppet) prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk casually dismissed the need to negotiate with the IMF.  Yatsenyk intimated that Ukraine will “accept whatever offer the IMF and the EU made” (voice of russia.com March 21, 2014) Prior to the conduct of negotiations pertaining to a draft agreement, Yatsenyuk had already called for an unconditional acceptance of the IMF package: “We have no other choice but to accept the IMF offer”. In surrendering to the IMF, Yatsenyuk was fully aware that the proposed reforms would brutally impoverish millions of people, including those who protested in Maidan. In an address to Parliament on March 27, following the confirmation of the IMF’s pledged $18 billion loan, prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned that Ukraine was “on the brink of the economic and financial bankruptcy”. The proposed “‘solution” includes a significant increase in income taxes, a freeze on wages, curtailment of old age pensions and higher energy prices. “We have no choice but to tell Ukraine the truth,” said Yatsenyuk. State energy company Naftogaz announced this week that household gas prices would rise 50 percent beginning May 1 in what it said was part of efforts to make utility costs economically viable for the state by 2018. Some analysts have estimated prices might have to double for consumers. The first increase in the price of gas is scheduled to take place in early May, a few weeks prior to the May 25 elections. The May 2014 increase in the retail price of gas is part of a phasing out of government subsidies over a period of 4 years demanded by the IMF as part of the loan agreement. [...]  The increase in fuel and transportation prices will inflate costs of production. Combined with the impact of the devaluation of the hryvnia, it will have an immediate impact on the retail prices of essential commodities. Moreover, the phasing out of subsidies on basic food staples is also contemplated as part of the IMF framework. If adopted, the IMF package will trigger a significant overall increase in the prices of essential consumer goods, thereby contributing to the impoverishment of a population which has already been impoverished. [...]"  Related: "IMF Promises 18 Billion Dollars In Loans To Ukraine" [8:01] | "Ukrainian Junta Concedes to IMF Looting Plan" Printer Friendly Version Video clip  [1:57]

MSM: "Shrinking Corporate Tax Base is Wreaking Havoc on State Budgets" [03/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "A new report published Thursday by Center for Effective Government and National People’s Action uncovers how the shrinking corporate tax base is driving critical budget shortfalls and service cuts at the state and federal level. The report outlines exactly how much revenue has been lost due to a precipitous decline in corporate income tax rates and an explosion of loopholes. The report shows that since the recession, corporate income tax revenues have shrunk considerably, despite soaring profits, leaving individuals to pick up the slack. “Millions of Americans have yet to see any economic recovery,” said George Goehl, Executive Director of National People’s Action. “They’re struggling to find jobs, make ends meet, and provide for their families. This report shows that the revenue needed for recovery didn’t just vanish, it was siphoned off by corporations who refuse to pay their fair share.” [...]"  

Commentary: "UBS Suspends Traders In New York, Zurich, Singapore For Currency Rigging" [03/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "UBS AG suspended foreign-exchange traders in the U.S., Singapore and Switzerland as its investigation into the alleged rigging of currency markets widened, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. They include Onur Sert, an emerging-markets spot trader based in New York, and at least three more worldwide, said the person, who asked not to be identified because of the probe. Sert and Dominik von Arx, a spokesman for UBS in London, both declined to comment on the suspensions. Switzerland’s largest bank opened a review of its currency operations last year after Bloomberg News reported in June that traders in the industry had colluded to rig the WM/Reuters rates, a benchmark used by investors and companies around the world [...]"  

MSM: "Russia To Create National Payment System To Rival Visa, Mastercard " [03/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russia is considering launching its own payment system in response Visa and Mastercard's recent blocking of the bank card operations of several US-sanctioned Russian banks. Russian officials are debating whether to base it on Sberbank’s PRO100 or to cooperate with the Chinese UniPAY. It should be noted that these sanctions were essentially that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Back in 1998, when the Russian economy was in dire straits, it didn’t take long for both Visa and Mastercard to block all transactions carried out on cards issued by Russian banks. Both companies also stubbornly refused repeated requests by the Russian authorities to create a processing center in Russia, so that their bank card transactions could be processed locally. The proposal to create an alternative to the capricious Western credit powerhouses has now been debated by the Russian government for several years and these financial sanctions might just have provided the right incentive to make that dream come true. While at the moment Visa and Mastercard effectively dominate the markets in Russia (over 85 percent of all card transactions are being carried out via them), the services they provide are hardly unique. Twelve years ago, several Chinese banks, backed by the People’s Bank of China, launched their own payment system called UniPAY. And the cards from the Japanese Credit Bureau (JCB) are being issued in 20 countries, numbering almost 9 million in total. In fact, the current situation in Russia did not escape JCB’s notice, as company considers expanding into this previously untouched market. The Russian banking system establishing closer ties with either of these two companies would probably not sit well with Visa and Mastercard, not to mention the fact that a potential alliance of any nature between Russia and China is something of a nightmare for many US politicians and interest groups. So far it remains to be seen how this situation will unfold, though it would appear that the grasp of the American companies on the global economy may not be as strong as some believed, as the challenge issued by D.C. policymakers was met with defiance rather than compliance. And the creation of viable alternatives, like this payment system in question, may in the long run undermine the efficiency of the much feared US economic sanctions.[...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "Goldman Sachs' Scheme To Profit Off Jailed Young "Offenders" [03/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that New York City would be the site of a new experiment very dear to his billionaire’s heart. He declared that Wall Street megabank Goldman Sachs would provide a loan of nearly $10 million to pay for a program intended to reduce the rate at which adolescent men incarcerated at Rikers Island reoffend after their release (currently almost half reoffended within a year). The city government was short of money, so Goldman Sachs would step in to do what anemic public investment could not accomplish on its own: keep young men out of jail. If the program succeeded, the giant bank would profit. The more recidivism dropped, the more taxpayers would have to pay Goldman Sachs. On the other hand, if recidivism didn’t drop significantly, Goldman would lose its investment. So far, it’s too early to tell whether or not the program, which focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy, will meet its goals, but according to reports from the Department of Corrections, fighting has already been reduced at Rikers, so Goldman may just cash in. The Rikers experiment is an example of a new trend in what are called “social impact bonds.” Burning questions about who profits and who loses in these schemes have become the subject of debate as the trend catches hold. Let’s explore. So what exactly are social impact bonds? Social impact bonds [PDF*] (billed as "new financing model to accelerate social innovation and improve government performance", a.k.a. pay-for-success bonds, are billed as an “innovative” way of linking private investors, nonprofits and government to deliver social services with demonstrable outcomes. Private financiers or foundations pay for the costs of a new program, and the government later repays the investors, often with a bonus, if program accomplishes its goals. [...]"  Note: At the end of the PDF file, they say: * "It’s unclear how widely applicable the model will be. Will performance improvements be large enough to offer rates of return that attract a wide range of investors to this new asset class, or will only socially minded investors be willing to invest? Will governments be creative in structuring contracts that allow preventive investments in one program to be financed out of the savings they produce in other programs?  We won’t know the answers to these and other questions until we put the social impact bond model to an evidence-based test. But testing it should be a priority, given the potential benefits of more rapid progress in addressing our nation’s most pressing social problems.  We will almost certainly discover that this approach is not a panacea to the performance problems that bedevil our social service programs." So it would appear they know it's going to fail from the beginning as any kind of useful social took, except for extracting more wealth from the system on other peoples backs who are in misery. Related: "Goldman to Invest in City Jail Program, Profiting if Recidivism Falls Sharply" Printer Friendly Version "... Jeffrey B. Liebman, a professor of public policy at Harvard University who has written about social impact bonds, said the New York contract would be widely scrutinized.  “This will get attention as perhaps the most interesting government contract written anywhere in the world this year,” Dr. Liebman said. “People will study the contract terms, and the New York City deal will become a model for other jurisdictions.” But social impact bonds have also worried some people in the nonprofit and philanthropy field, who say monetary incentives could distort the programs or their evaluations. “I’m not saying that the market is evil,” said Mark Rosenman, a professor emeritus at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, “but I am saying when we get into a situation where we are encouraging investment in order to generate private profit as a substitute for government responsibility, we’re making a big mistake.” Goldman approached the city after hearing that New York officials and MDRC were interested in social impact bonds. In an interview, Alicia Glen, the head of Goldman Sachs’s Urban Investment Group, said the company was confident that the program would work.  [...]"

Commentary: "Document: JPMorgan Chase Bets $10.4 Billion on the Early Death of Workers" [03/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Families of young JPMorgan Chase workers who have experienced tragic deaths over the past four months, have been kept in the dark on many details, including the fact that the bank most likely held a life insurance policy on their loved one – payable to itself. Banks in the U.S., as well as other corporations, are allowed to make multi-billion dollar wagers that their profits from life insurance policies on employees will outstrip the cost of paying premiums and other fees. Early deaths help those wagers pay off. According to the December 31, 2013 financial filing known as the Call Report that JPMorgan made with Federal regulators, it has tied up $10.4 billion in illiquid, long term bets on the death of a large segment of its employees. The program is known among regulators as Bank Owned Life Insurance or BOLI. Federal regulators specifically exempted BOLI in passing the final version of the Volcker Rule in December of last year which disallowed most proprietary trading or betting for the house. Regulators stated in the rule that “Rather, these accounts permit the banking entity to effectively hedge and cover costs of providing benefits to employees through insurance policies related to key employees.” We have italicized the word “key” because regulators know very well from financial filings that the country’s mega banks are not just insuring key employees but a broad-base of their employees. Just four of the largest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup hold over $53 billion in investments in BOLI according to 2013 year-end Call Reports. Death benefits from life insurance is purchased at a multiple to the amount of the investments, meaning that $53 billion is easily enough to buy $1 million life insurance policies on 159,000 employees, and potentially a great deal more. Industry experts estimate that the total face amount of life insurance held by all banks in the U.S. on their employees now exceeds half a trillion dollars. When the General Accountability Office (GAO) looked into the matter for Congress in 2003 and 2004, it found the insidious practice of continuing the life insurance even after the employee had left the company – nullifying any ability to consider him or her a “key” to the business. The GAO wrote: “Unless prohibited by state law, businesses can retain ownership of these policies regardless of whether the employment relationship has ended.” The GAO found that multiple companies held life insurance policies on the same individual. [...]  In 2006, Congress passed the Pension Protection Act which included a section on these policies. Instead of outlawing BOLI and its corporate sibling, Corporate Owned Life Insurance (COLI), Congress grandfathered all of the millions of previously issued policies while tweaking a few tax and reporting rules. One bedrock of insurance law dating back to the 19th Century is that a party must have an insurable interest in the life of another person in order to take out an insurance policy. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Warnock v. Davis in 1881 that “in all cases there must be a reasonable ground, founded upon the relations of the parties to each other, either pecuniary or of blood or affinity, to expect some benefit or advantage from the continuance of the life of the assured. Otherwise the contract is a mere wager, by which the party taking the policy is directly interested in the early death of the assured. Such policies have a tendency to create a desire for the event. They are, therefore, independently of any statute on the subject, condemned, as being against public policy.” While it is highly questionable that rank and file employees are “key” to the success of a business, there is certainly no question that their contribution to the business ends when they terminate their employment. And yet, somehow, banks are allowed to collect death benefits on terminated workers right under the nose of State insurance regulators. The explanation is likely the secrecy which surrounds these policies, limiting knowledge of death payments to just the bank and the insurance company.[...]"  Related: "Martens: Ghouls of Wall Street" Printer Friendly Version|"Banker Deaths Leave Industry Concerned as Coroners Probe" Printer Friendly Version| "British Investigating Banker Suicides For Signs Of Foul Play" Printer Friendly Version  

Commentary: "Saudi Arabia Flexes Financial Muscle In $1.5b “Gift” To Pakistan" [03/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "The struggling State Bank of Pakistan got a shot in the arm early this month when it received a purported “gift” of $1.5 billion from Saudi Arabia. This was not the first time such a gift has arrived. In fact, Riyadh has been a consistent benefactor to Islamabad. Retracing history, political analyst Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi told MintPress News that in the early 1970s, Pakistan received “financial donations, loans and investment from several Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya.” But concerns over the funds are focused less on the amount and more on the secrecy and the timing surrounding it. What has made this unprecedented generous gift suspect was the government’s initial refusal to disclose the name of the patron. It was only after the media got a whiff of the benefactor and revealed that the bulk of the money had come from Saudi Arabia, propped up with smaller donations from the Gulf countries, that the government reluctantly conceded. “What will Pakistan have to do in return and what’s the price tag attached to this gift?” Zahid Hussain, a contributor to Pakistan’s English-language daily Dawn and political analyst, asked while speaking to MintPress. Fending off these and other awkward questions, Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s finance minister, said at a recent press conference that the money should not be turned into a contentious issue, but accepted graciously as “friendly assistance.”[...]" Note: The two countries are sources for multi-national terrorism, which is one thing they have in common. What will Pakistan be doing for this vast sum? It has been hypothesized that the missing airliner could have made it to Pakistan, where it could be hypothetically 'weaponized' for later use. Related: "LaRouche: Malaysia Air 370 Likely a British-Saudi '9/11 for Asia'" [15:15] LaRouche begins around 6:51 after the setup.

Commentary: "EU Official: Funds Of Ukrainian Oligarchs Invested In European Banks Should Be Confiscated" [03/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Pino Arlacchi, member of the European Parliament, believes it is wrong of the European Union to grant financial aid to Ukraine and suggests confiscating funds of Ukrainian oligarchs invested in European banks. The funds Ukrainian oligarchs invested in European banks, exceeding 50 billion euro, should be confiscated and channeled for relief to Ukraine, he said in an interview with Itar-Tass. He believes the new composition of the parliament of the European Union will endorse such a resolution regarding Ukraine. He noted that such measures had been approved for North Africa, when the funds of dictators of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya were confiscated. So, there exist juridicially substantiated mechanisms for that, Arlacchi said. He noted, however, that there was a need for a request for this from the Ukrainian government, which is so far under oligarchs’ control. Arlacchi recalled that the European Union had prepared an economic package for relief to Ukraine in the amount of 11 billion euro. Criticizing this stand he noted that two billion euro out of the sum was a grant that was actually a gift to the corrupt government that could not guarantee the return of the funds. Arlacchi noted it was irresponsible to give such a loan to the Ukrainian government. [...]"  

MSM: "Senate Democrats Drop I.M.F. Reforms From Ukraine Aid Package" [03/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Senate Democrats, bowing to united House Republican opposition, dropped reforms of International Monetary Fund governance from a Ukraine aid package on Tuesday, handing President Obama an embarrassing defeat as he huddled in Europe with allies who have already ratified the changes. The monetary fund language would have enlarged the Ukraine loan package while finally ratifying changes dating to 2010 that only the United States has opposed. Obama himself negotiated those reforms, and European allies conferring with him on Ukraine have been pressing for American action. But the need for speed on loans and direct assistance to Ukraine overcame the White House’s desire for a fight. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, said he was taking his lead from Secretary of State John Kerry, who had signaled that the administration would fight for the monetary fund language separately. [...]" 

Buffoonery: "US Prepares To Provide A Billion To Ukraine As Detroit Plans Mass Water Shutoffs Over $260 Million" [03/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "Moments ago the CBO released its estimate of what S. 2124, aka "Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014", better known as the "Payment of Overdue Gazprom Invoices Act" - here is the verdict: "CBO estimates that enacting the bill would decrease direct spending by $373 million over the 2014-2024 period. S. 2124 would achieve that decrease mostly by rescinding funds that were provided as an emergency requirement. Certain sanctions, if enacted, would affect revenues, but CBO estimates that those effects would not be significant. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues. CBO estimates that the statutory pay-as-you-go effects of S. 2124 (which, by law, do not including the effect of rescinding funds provided under the emergency designation) would be to increase the deficit by $320 million over the 2014-2024 period." Of course, the total amount authorized is substantially higher at $1.3 billion, and will be met through various loan guarantees, and other US-backed promises, which the CBO is assuming right now, will not result in outlays (they will). [...]"  Note: The Ukraine already owes Russia $16 billion for gas consumed ($11 billion) and other matters. The US $1 billion would just be grabbed by the oligarchs, who will profit. 

Commentary: "A Chinese Shadow Bank Bailout May Mean A Crash In U.S. Treasury Bonds" [03/25/14] Printer Friendly Version  "China’s economy in 2014 is remarkably similar to America’s in 2008: Both were fueled by real estate speculation, both speculative bubbles a product of cheap-and-cheerful shadow-bank financing. And just like the U.S. in 2008, China in 2014 is looking down the barrel of a Minsky Moment: The point at which servicing debt levels becomes unsustainable, and there are no reserve cushions large enough to absorb the losses. Lots of people are pointing this out; Mish Shedlock had a piece about it this morning, and he and others are right to worry that a shadow banking collapse will be bad for China.  [...]" 

Quotes: "Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they create a desolate wasteland, they call it peace." --Tacitus, Agricola 

Commentary: "The EU Reaches "Final Solution" To The Euro Banking System Bankruptcy" [03/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "EU Completes "Single Resolution Mechanism" for Suicidal Bail-out and Bail-in of Bankrupt Banking System [...] The EU reached a "final solution" to the Euro banking system bankruptcy yesterday after an all-night session. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was drawn into the talks around 5:30 a.m. to sign off on the deal. The Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) will need formal approval by the European Parliament and by national governments, which they intend to accomplish by the end of the EP plenary session in Strasbourg in made-April, the last session before the European elections in May. The Irish Times reports that the big breakthrough came when they agreed that bail-in will be applied equally — suicide in one nation will be the same as in any other nation. The SRM will have a Euro 55 billion bail-out fund, supposedly to be contributed by the banks over 8 years, but backed by governments in the meantime, to be used together with bail-in to carry out the EU's intention of shutting down a significant number of the 120 largest banks, bail out and/or bail-in the bad debt, and absorb these failed banks into the Too Big To Fail banks. This assumes that the coming bank crisis will be relatively small and one-by-one, rather than the reality of the pending systemic collapse. The fund will be consolidated from national funds to a joint fund over the eight years. According to Dutch MEP Corienn Wortmann-Kool, this will create a resolution process that would treat banks equally, regardless of the size of the country they were based in. "We want bail-in of creditors and investors to be applied in the same way to all banks irrespective of the member states these banks are located in," she said, using the example of Ireland as compared to larger states such as Germany and France. [...]  

Concepts and Practices: "BOE's Dose Of Honesty Throws Theoretical Basis For Austerity Out The Window" [03/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy" [PDF], co-authored by three economists from the Bank's Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions (opinions or doctrines at variance with officialdom or orthodoxy) more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window. To get a sense of how radical the Bank's new position is, consider the conventional view, which continues to be the basis of all respectable debate on public policy. People put their money in banks. Banks then lend that money out at interest – either to consumers, or to entrepreneurs willing to invest it in some profitable enterprise. True, the fractional reserve system does allow banks to lend out considerably more than they hold in reserve, and true, if savings don't suffice, private banks can seek to borrow more from the central bank. The central bank can print as much money as it wishes. But it is also careful not to print too much. In fact, we are often told this is why independent central banks exist in the first place. If governments could print money themselves, they would surely put out too much of it, and the resulting inflation would throw the economy into chaos. Institutions such as the Bank of England or US Federal Reserve were created to carefully regulate the money supply to prevent inflation. This is why they are forbidden to directly fund the government, say, by buying treasury bonds, but instead fund private economic activity that the government merely taxes.[...] It's this understanding that allows us to continue to talk about money as if it were a limited resource like bauxite or petroleum, to say "there's just not enough money" to fund social programmes, to speak of the immorality of government debt or of public spending "crowding out" the private sector. What the Bank of England admitted this week is that none of this is really true. To quote from its own initial summary: "Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits" … "In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money 'multiplied up' into more loans and deposits." In other words, everything we know is not just wrong – it's backwards. When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. [...] What this means is that the real limit on the amount of money in circulation is not how much the central bank is willing to lend, but how much government, firms, and ordinary citizens, are willing to borrow. Government spending is the main driver in all this (and the paper does admit, if you read it carefully, that the central bank does fund the government after all). So there's no question of public spending "crowding out" private investment. It's exactly the opposite.[...]"

MSM: "US Sanctions On Russia To Impact Global Economy: Analyst" [03/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "Sanctions imposed by the US against Russia will negatively impact the world economy, says Gilbert Mercier, a French journalist and analyst. “The economic sanctions that are cooked up by the West will have an extremely negative impact on the global economy,” Mercier told Press TV in a phone interview on Monday.  [...]"   Note: InterSee also below: "Above 6,000 German Companies To Be Hit By US Sanctions On Russia" [03/23/14]

Commentary: "EU-Ukraine Trade Pact Paves Way For Brutal Austerity" [03/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Amid intensifying US and European Union sanctions and military provocations against Russia, the EU and the Western-backed 'government' in Ukraine on March 21st signed a pact that paves the way for brutal austerity measures and free market “reforms.” The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is based on the deal that former President Viktor Yanukovych’s Ukrainian government rejected, leading to the US- and EU-instigated protests and violence that ousted him last month. The pact, signed in Brussels, declares that the Ukrainian government must “embark swiftly on an ambitious program of structural reforms” and submit to “an agreement with the [International Monetary Fund].” The plans being drawn up are based on the “Greek model”—the savage cuts imposed on Greece by the IMF and the EU that have produced a massive growth in unemployment and poverty. For all their claims of a “democratic revolution,” the EU leaders and Ukraine’s unelected regime of former bankers, fascists and oligarchs announced that they would delay finalizing the economic clauses of the EU association pact—and hence unveiling the austerity measures—until after elections in May. The pact is another step toward realising the underlying objectives of the Ukrainian coup—Ukraine’s integration into the orbit of the Western powers, the transformation of the country into a cheap labour platform for global capitalism and the ratcheting up of economic and strategic pressure on Russia itself. Ukraine’s hand-picked interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, declared: “Frankly speaking, I don’t care about Russia [in] signing this deal … This deal meets an aspiration of millions of Ukrainians that want to be a part of the European Union.” Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, said it would bring Ukraine closer to a “European way of life.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the event demonstrated “jointly held values.” [...]"  Note: A gang of criminals and opportunists.

MSM: "Gold Reserves Top 20 Countries" [03/23/14]  Note: Interesting that they under-report China and Russia gold tonnage.  

Date With Destiny: "Stock Market Trader Jumps In Front Of Long Island Commuter Train" [03/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "A Manhattan trader was killed Tuesday morning by a speeding Long Island Rail Road commuter train, marking at least the ninth suicide of a financial professional this year. Edmund (Eddie) Reilly, 47, a trader at Midtown’s Vertical Group, jumped in front of an LIRR train at 6 a.m. near the Syosset train station. He was declared dead at the scene. Passengers on the west-bound express train told MTA investigators they saw a man standing by the tracks before he jumped in front of the train, Arena said. One family friend, who said he spoke to the trader on Sunday, told The Post that Reilly “didn’t look good.” [...]"  

MSM: "Above 6,000 German Companies To Be Hit By US Sanctions On Russia" [03/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Should economic sanctions be extended against Russia, more than 6,000 German exporters doing business with Russia would suffer, the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) warned on Friday. "About 6,200 German companies are engaged in Russia, some of them very strongly," Anton Boerner, head of the BGA exporters' body, told the Dortmunder Ruhr Nachrichten newspaper. "For them, economic sanctions would be a real catastrophe." If the conflict between Russia and the West escalates, oil prices may go up, Boerner said. But Moscow is unlikely to completely stop energy deliveries to Germany, as it takes about 30 percent its exports. Russia is one of Germany’s biggest trading partners, as the country is ranked the 7th biggest import market in 2013, according to Germany’s Statistics service. For the EU Russia ranks the third on the list of business allies, with the trade turnover estimated at $330 billion.  [...]" 

Interviews: "PCR: US Busted, Non-Delivery of Gold Will Crash System, And Ukraine Situation" [03/22/14] [53:10] "Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, author of the new book "How America was Lost." [...] Economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, "The physical stock of gold in the West to meet delivery demand is diminishing rapidly. So, one day the Chinese will buy 100 tons of gold, and we won't be able to make delivery. That would crash the system. It would just pop. So, there are things that could crash it suddenly. Regardless . . . the economy is going to gradually sink because there are no jobs, or no good jobs. . . So, there is not a recovery. The U.S. is a busted state. It's completely busted." On the Federal Reserve money printing to prop up the economy, Dr. Roberts, who has a PhD in economics, contends, "I think they realize all the money printing does undermine the dollar, and if they lose the dollar, the game is over. So, they have to protect the dollar.[...]"  

Commentary: "All Wars Are Bankers' Wars" - The Video" [03/22/14] [43:33] Note: There are only 9 countries left in the world without a Rothschild central bank: Russia, China, Iceland, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and Hungary ... all countries which are perpetual targets/geopolitical pivot points for Western military force. Syria and Iran are two of the world’s last remaining nation states who both have state-run central banks and gold reserves which fall outside of the world’s private central banking syndicate. Related: "Kerry’s Lonely Crusade Against Venezuela" Printer Friendly Version | "Foiled in Crimea, Is Obama Eyeing Syria Strike?" Printer Friendly Version | "The Venezuela Gambit – Engineered Portal To Latin America" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Putin Prepares To Announce "Holy Grail" Gas Deal With China" [03/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "If it was the intent of the West to bring Russia and China together - one a natural resource (if "somewhat" corrupt) superpower and the other a fixed capital / labor output (if "somewhat" capital misallocating and credit bubbleicious) powerhouse - in the process marginalizing the dollar and encouraging Ruble and Renminbi bilateral trade, then things are surely "going according to plan." For now there have been no major developments as a result of the shift in the geopolitical axis that has seen global US influence, away from the Group of 7 (most insolvent nations) of course, decline precipitously in the aftermath of the bungled Syrian intervention attempt and the bloodless Russian annexation of Crimea, but that will soon change. Because while the west is focused on day to day developments in Ukraine, and how to halt Russian expansion through appeasement (hardly a winning tactic as events in the 1930s demonstrated), Russia is once again thinking 3 steps ahead... and quite a few steps east. While Europe is furiously scrambling to find alternative sources of energy should Gazprom pull the plug on natgas exports to Germany and Europe (the imminent surge in Ukraine gas prices by 40% is probably the best indication of what the outcome would be), Russia is preparing the announcement of the "Holy Grail" energy deal with none other than China, a move which would send geopolitical shockwaves around the world and bind the two nations in a commodity-backed axis. One which, as some especially on these pages, have suggested would lay the groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency that bypasses the dollar, something which Russia implied moments ago when its finance minister Siluanov said that Russia may regain from foreign borrowing this year. Translated: bypass western purchases of Russian debt, funded by Chinese purchases of US Treasuries, and go straight to the source. [...] Holy Grail for Moscow is a natural gas supply deal with China that is apparently now close after years of negotiations. If it can be signed when Putin visits China in May, he will be able to hold it up to show that global power has shifted eastwards and he does not need the West." Bingo. And now add bilateral trade denominated in either Rubles or Renminbi (or gold), add Iran, Iraq, India, and soon the Saudis (China's largest foreign source of crude, whose crown prince also happened to meet president Xi Jinping last week to expand trade further) and wave goodbye to the petrodollar.[...]"  

Commentary: "Peter Schiff: Government's War On Living Standards (1947 To Now)" [03/22/14] [5:11] "The Peter Schiff Show (4/18/2014) [...]"  

Commentary: "The Federal Reserve: Masters of the Universe or Trapped Incompetents In An Experiential Loop?" [03/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "For a variety of reasons, the Federal Reserve is viewed by many as the financial Master of the Universe. Given how the media hangs on every pronouncement and the visible power of the Fed’s policies to move markets, this view is understandable. But suppose rather than being masters of all things financial, the Fed was actually little more than a collection of incompetents trapped in a broken system that is beyond repair. Many reasons have been proposed to explain the Fed’s policies, and most (including my own expressed here) focus on the Fed’s need to protect the banking sector and the Status Quo, lest the whole rotten contraption collapses in a heap of worthless derivatives and various Ponzi schemes. An alternative view is that the members of the Fed have been selected for incompetence by a system that fosters incompetence by its very nature, i.e. a centralized power center. [...] Longtime correspondent Harun I. recently offered this explanation of the incompetence of those atop the heap: Regarding the competence of the Deep State and Federal Reserve: When one merges the Peter Principle and Pareto Principle one realizes that, not only are they incompetent, it is inevitable. Complexity does not equal competence. And because complexity is a form of leverage it does not require a majority of systems inoperable to fail. Modern developed civilizations rest upon several inverted pyramids. How many people out of any random sampling know how to produce their own food, make their own clothing, build their shelter, or tap into their own water source? As complexity increases and the division in labor grows increasingly in areas that have nothing to do with core survival the civilization becomes increasingly incompetent. Since a civilization is a hierarchal system, its leaders (the vital few) will eventually be incompetent. Inverted pyramids and inept leadership are a toxic mix. As history would indicate this situation eventually disintegrates then reorganizes… to be repeated. Another key characteristic of such centralized systems is the way they trap participants, even those at the top. Analyst Catherine Austin Fitts has discussed this attribute, for example, in this interview: Catherine Austin Fitts on Wall Street’s Corruption, the Austrian School and Who’s ‘Really’ in Charge. I have posited that whatever consensus/group-think dominated the various factions that comprise the Deep State has eroded, and the cracks of profound disunity are opening between powerful factions in the Deep State. Rather than Masters of the Universe, the Fed’s governors are increasingly looking more like deer caught in the headlights of a transformation they cannot understand, much less control.[...]"   Related: "Why Is Our Government (And Deep State) So Incompetent?" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Ukraine Falls Under Fascist Bankster Thumb" [03/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "Their al Qaeda terrorists soundly defeated by Hezbollah forces in Syria, the City of London Illuminati banksters have turned their sights on resource-rich Ukraine. They knew Russian President Vladimir Putin would be distracted by the Sochi Olympics, along with the barrage of threats and propaganda being hurled his way by these demonic Zio-fascists and their Western media lapdogs. With unlimited time and money at their disposal, this is the bankster modus operandi. They attack where they see opportunity, retreat when defeated, then attack another sector of the planet within days based on vulnerability and resources. Ukraine declared independence from the old Soviet Union in 1990. In 2004-2005 Western NGOs worked with CIA/Mossad/MI6 assets to stage the phony Orange Revolution. Victor Yuschenko became Prime Minister but was poisoned during the campaign. Western media blamed it on the Russians, but it was likely a Mossad operation since he was succeeded by more bankster-friendly right-wing billionaire Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko had co-led the Orange Revolution and is one of Ukraine’s richest people. In 2005 Forbes named her the third most powerful woman in the world. In 2007 she traveled to the US to meet with Vice-President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice to talk energy. Tymoshenko became rich as an executive at a natural gas company. Ukraine was being plugged into Cheney’s crooked Energy Policy Task Force, which opened the planet to unregulated oil & gas exploration, including fracking. Tymoshenko privatized over 300 state industries during her reign, But the Ukrainian people smelled a rat. In 2010 they voted in Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych with 48% of the vote. His Party of Regions again defeated Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party in parliamentary elections of 2012. Tymoshenko was convicted of embezzlement of state funds and abuse of power. She was given a seven year prison sentence and fined $188 million. The crimes occurred in the natural gas sector. [...]"  

Interviews: "Dmitry Orlov: Ukraine-Crimea Update, U.S. Will Self-Destruct in Near Future" [03/20/14] [18:02] "Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One with Russian blogger Dmitry Orlov coming to you from Central America. Dmitry Orlov of Cluborlov.com predicts, “The United States right now, from my point of view and the point of view from observers from around the world, is on suicide watch. It’s a country that is going to self-destruct at some point in the near future.” On the Ukraine crisis, Orlov thinks, “The Crimea referendum was the first legal way to find out what the people wanted to do.” Orlov goes on to say, “In Washington, in the Obama Administration and in the Kerry State Department, we have absolutely breathtaking levels of incompetence. These people really don’t know what they’re doing and are dangerous at any speed.”[...]" Note: Interesting interview and a realistic update. Listening encouraged

Commentary: "China Buying World’s Entire New Gold Supply" [03/20/14] [2:56] "This short preview focuses on developments in China [...]" 

MSM: "28-Year Old Former JPMorgan Banker Jumps To His Death" [03/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "Not a week seems to pass without some banker or trader committing suicide. Today we get news of the latest such tragic event with news that 28-year old Kenneth Bellando, a former JPMorgan banker, current employee of Levy Capital, and brother of a top chief investment officer of JPM, jumped to his death from his 6th floor East Side apartment on March 12. Bellando, a former investment bank analyst at JPMorgan, is the son of John Bellando, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Condé Nast. His brother, John, a top chief investment officer with JPMorgan, works on risk exposure valuations. [...]"  

MSM: "IMF Plans Massive Austerity for Ukraine According to Crimea Leaders" [03/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "If statements made by Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, are to be taken as truth, the future of Ukrainians living under the yoke of Fascists, the European Union, and the IMF will be yet another example of the imposition of extreme austerity measures and national impoverishment that is the fruit of alignment with those institutions. The Western-backed coup government in Kiev, of course, has already gone begging to the IMF for financial help after it turned its back on a much better loan offered by Russia. The conditions of the IMF loans are, as always, extreme levels of austerity measures and privatization of public services and assets. Kovitidi, however, provides much more specific information regarding the nature of the IMF conditionalities. The Deputy Prime Minister claims that the tentative IMF agreement involves handing over the entire country’s gas pipeline for free to the American company Chevron. She also claims that the owners of the Mariupol, Zaporizhzhya, and Dnipropetrovsk steel mills will be required to give up 50% of the ownership stakes to German company Ruhr. A VAT (Value-Added Tax) is also being planned for medications, Kovitidi said. She also claims that there is a plan to sell off Ukraine’s very rich and fertile farmland to international corporations and foreign countries. Kovitidi states, “The planned annulment of the moratorium on the sale of farmland looks appalling. The selloff of Ukraine's black soil zone, including to foreign countries, may have disastrous economic and social consequences.” [...] Whether or not the details of the IMF agreement are exactly the same as the specific concerns Kovitidi has expressed in her statement, the fact is that the IMF is nothing more than an agent of the world banking elite and predatory financier oligarchs that seek to parasitize on a nation of people already on their knees. When it comes to true success stories, the IMF has a track record of zero. In the end, and by this time in history, any leader who gets in bed with the International Monetary Fund should be recognized as a traitor or a fool. [...]"  

MSM: "Moscow To Demand Return Of $20 Billion Debt If Kiev Revives ‘Zero Debt’ Debate" [03/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Moscow will reserve the right to demand the immediate payment by Kiev of the 20 billion U.S. dollar Soviet debt if Ukraine decides to bring back the “zero option” issue, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, March 17. “After that we would be prepared to consider the possibility of conducting talks with Ukraine on other aspects of the ‘zero option’,” it said. Russia was “surprised by the so-called instructions” issued by parliament- appointed (US/EU installed) Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk to acting Foreign Minister Andrei Deshchitsa with regard to the allegedly unsettled issue of Soviet foreign debts and assets, the ministry said. [...]" Related: "Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis" [6:07] " European banks in countries like Germany and Austria have a vested interest in a stable Ukraine because of trillions in outstanding debt [...]" 

Commentary: "Russia's Sanctions List Said To Include US Senators, High Ranking US Officials" [03/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ever since the theatrical announcement of asset freezes and other related sanctions of various Putin aides, Russian military and pro-Russia Ukrainian leaders earlier today by both the US president and the EU, the nagging question was when and how would Vladimir Vladimirovich retaliate, with tomorrow's Putin address to the joint session of Parliament seeming as a probable time and place. It now appears that Putin's personal retaliation has been leaked in advance, and according to the Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, it will involve an in kind response where various US senators and highly placed officials will be banned from visiting Russia, and likely also see their particular assets - if any- in Russian custody promptly frozen.  U.S. senators, congressmen and top Obama administration officials are sure to be on Vladimir Putin’s sanctions list; a response to the Obama Administration’s announcement on Monday that 7 Russian officials and 4 Ukrainian officials would be barred from holding assets or traveling to the United States. Putin is expected to release his retaliation list as early as Tuesday and while the final list is still being crafted, it will include top Obama administration officials and high profile U.S. senators, in an effort to roughly mirror the U.S. sanctions against Russian officials and lawmakers, according to diplomatic sources. At the top of the list in Congress is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who recently co-authored a resolution criticizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Durbin’s inclusion on Putin’s list would mirror Obama’s naming of Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian Duma. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are not expected to be on the Russian sanctions list. Another person who will most certainly appears on the list is perpetual war hawk, and the person who responded to Putin's own Syrian near-war Op-Ed, John McCain. "You think I’m not going to be on it?” McCain said. “I would be honored to be on that list.” McCain said he would not be impacted financially by being subject to a visa ban and asset freeze in the Russian Federation. "I guess I’m going to have to try to withdraw my money from my secret account in St. Petersburg,” he joked. His sentiment mirrors that of Putin aide Surkov who earlier claimed to "being proud to be on U.S. black list" according to Interfax. Paradoxically, it is rapidly becoming a badge of honor to be named on the opposing nation's sanctions list, which instead of hurting those politicians - and as McCain said he hardly has a St. Petersburg account - it will raise their status in the eyes of the general public. Other names that could be on the Russian sanctions list, although not confirmed, include Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN), the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who are leading the sanctions drive in the Senate, and Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, who has been heavily involved in working with the Ukrainian opposition that ousted the Yanokovich government. And just as likely is Russia willing to take steps which would result in the complete liquidation of its $130 or so billion in US Treasurys and announcing it would transact in all currencies but the dollar going forward. Up to and including gold of course. One thing is certain: while the Crimea referendum's outcome was priced in well in advance, we are now in completely uncharted waters, and the only question is which side will push the other just that extra inch too far, forcing disproportionate retaliation. Because if one thing has been made clear by now, it is that a crash in foreigner-owned Russian stocks, and not to mention the S&P, will hurt Obama far more than his Russian opponent. [...]"  

MSM: "Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions" [03/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin , a friend of actor Steven Seagal, took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting he thinks “some prankster” came up with the sanctions list.  In a later tweet addressed to “Comrade @BarackObama,” he asked, “what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?” Another Russian on the sanctions list, Vladislav Surkov, also seemed unconcerned. Surkov, a top Putin ideologue often called the Kremlin’s grey cardinal, reportedly told a Russian newspaper, “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”" 

MSM: "Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Slams US Sanctions As ‘Pathological’ Refusal To Admit Reality" [03/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "The US sanctions against Russia reflect Washington’s pathological refusal to acknowledge reality, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. On Monday, the USA has published the list of people subject to sanctions, which includes several Russian and Ukrainian officials. As the White House reported March 17, the list includes presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev, Head of State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs Leonid Slutsky, Head of Federation Council's Committee for constitutional legislation Andrei Klishas, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Chair of the Duma committee for family, women and children affairs Yelena Mizulina, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, Crimean State Council Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement Viktor Medvedchuk and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Their assets in the US will be frozen, and Americans will be banned from getting into business contacts with the officials on the list. [...]"  

MSM: "US and EU: Making Europeans Suffer A “Price Worth Paying” To Punish Russia Over Ukraine" [03/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "The people of Crimea rejected the coup government in Kyiv and voted to split from Ukraine and join Russia. In response to the referendum held Sunday, the United States and the European Union will announce “tough diplomatic and economic sanctions against Moscow as early as today,” according to ABC News. The U.S. and the EU consider the vote illegal and unconstitutional. [...] Obama called Vladimir Putin and told him the will of the people of Crimea will “never be recognized by the United States and the international community.” He said the U.S. and its partners in the EU and the United Nations are “prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions.” Those costs will undoubtedly fall on the people of Europe who will suffer in the wake of economic sanctions. EU bureaucrats and Western politicians, however, have announced they are willing to make Europeans suffer in order to punish Russia. “The West could also suffer costs if Russia cuts off energy supplies to Europe and further squeezes the Ukrainian economy,” The Washington Post reports today. “But Western officials say that is a price they are willing to pay and have pledged economic support to Ukraine.” Europe imports 30 percent of its natural gas from Russia and the economic connections between the two are complex. “The EU is, by far, Russia’s leading trade partner and accounts for about 50 percent of all Russian exports and imports,” writes Gilbert Mercier. “The EU is also the largest investor in the Russian economy and accounts for 75 percent of all foreign investments in Russia.” Russia responded to the threat of economic sanctions last week by moving more than $100 billion in Treasury bonds out of New York. “We hold a decent amount of Treasury bonds — more than $200 billion — and if the United States dares to freeze accounts of Russian businesses and citizens, we can no longer view America as a reliable partner,” Sergei Glazyev, an advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, told Baron’s. On March 10, Russia said it was preparing a bill that would freeze the assets of European and American companies operating in Russia if the West imposed sanctions. A large number of corporations would be impacted by the measure, including but hardly limited to PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Ford, Caterpillar, IBM, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, ExxonMobil, Chevorn, Boeing, ConocoPhillips, and many others doing business in Russia.   Business leaders are concerned about the prospect of economic warfare. “An escalation would be economic madness,” Jean-Guy Carrier, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, told McClatchy. “We don’t like sanctions on principle. They are a very disruptive instrument in dealing with political subjects, but if they come about, the type of sanctions should be as targeted as possible,” Carrier said. “If used, they should be on individuals. Across the board sanctions are quite disruptive to economies.” Politicians in the United States, however, are willing to play Russian Roulette with a fragile world economy. “Well, I think economic sanctions are a very important step,” said Arizona Senator John McCain on Sunday. “Identify these kleptocrats and — look, Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country. Its kleptocracy, its corruption, it’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy. And so economic sanctions are important.” Congress will undoubtedly take up sanctions when it returns from recess on March 24. Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota told The Wall Street Journal he believes Congress will pass a bill imposing sanctions, possibly including an effort to hamper Russia’s ability to export goods, including gas Europeans depend on. “If we do that in a concerted way with our allies, we can make this painful to Russia,” Hoeven said on Sunday. It will ultimately make life painful for average Europeans as well."   

Commentary: "EU, US Impose Sanctions Against Russian Officials After Crimea Referendum" [03/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Obama has ordered that sanctions be applied against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, the White House said. Earlier, the EU imposed sanctions against 21 officials after Crimea declared its independence. The US has imposed sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials on Monday, with the White House stating that “the actions and policies” of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine “undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.” [...]"  Note: I suppose taking Ukraine's gold wasn't misappropriating assets. Related: "Obama Expands Sanctions On Russians" Printer Friendly Version "The White House announced Monday it has expanded sanctions against Russia, looking to further isolate the country for intervening in Ukraine. The new executive order expands one that Obama signed less than two weeks ago by authorizing Treasury -- in consultation with the Secretary of State -- to impose sanctions on named officials of the Russian government, "any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry, and any designated individual or entity that acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support to, any senior Russian government official." The White House said it fashioned the new sanctions to impose costs on individuals who "wield influence in the Russian government and those responsible for the situation in Ukraine." Russian President Vladimir Putin wasn't named -- a move the White House said would be "highly unusual and rather extraordinary" -- but those close to him are. "It hits close to home," a senior administration official said. And the White House says the sanctions can be broadened to reach more officials. [...]" Note: Obama is responsible for the situation in Ukraine ... not the Russians. 

Commentary: "Ukraine Is The Waterloo Event For The US Dollar" Jim Willie [03/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "... The more the US Govt pushes, the more the US will be isolated. Remember that Nazis steal from their enemy states, de-fraud from their allied states, and force themselves into an isolated state. In Ukraine, the United States has over-played its weak hand. Already, a secret document was leaked in London that the UK Gov't would not support the US-led sanctions against Russia. History repeats itself from the Kremlin phone calls made during the Syrian conflict just a few months ago, when the UK Gov't withdrew its support and left the US isolated, looking very weak. Already, Putin has threatened to dump US Treasury Bonds. Putin aptly calls the Anglo-Americans as Mutants. Imagine the lunacy of trying to cut off the only Russian warm water military naval port in the Crimea. Just as stupid as the Trans Pacific Partnership faux pas, trying to cut off China from its Asian neighbors and partners in trade. The intelligence level of the US Gov't has never been more stupid, destructive, and in full view. The lost ground for the United States is obvious and glaring in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Caucasus region. [...] If the Kremlin demands Gold bullion (or even Russian Rubles) for oil payments, then the interventions to subvert the Ruble currency by the London and Wall Street houses will backfire and blow up in the bankster faces. Expect any surplus Rubles would be converted quickly to Gold bullion. If the Chinese demand that they are permitted to pay for oil shipments in Yuan currency, then the entire Petro- Dollar platform will be subjected to sledge hammers and wrecking balls. The new Petro-Yuan de-facto standard will have been launched from the Shanghai outpost. If the Saudis curry favor to the Russians and Chinese by accepting non-US Dollar payments for oil shipments, then the Petro-Dollar is dead and buried. The rise of the Nat Gas Coop run by Gazprom is in progress, its gas pipelines to strangle the OPEC and its bastard Petro-Dollar child. The entire US Dollar foundation with the US Treasury Bond bank reserve structure is at risk is collapsing, as consequence to the desperate adventure and criminal activity conducted in Ukraine. Just like with Syria, a hidden giant energy deposit is concealed under the table. Off the Lebanese and Syrian coast, a massive off-shore energy deposit was recently discovered. In the western plains of Ukraine, a massive gas deposit was recently discovered. The US & European oligarchs wish to take it all. Confusion is their game. [...]"  

Interviews: "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" [03/17/14] [11:00] "John Perkins, author of Hoodwinked and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, joins David to discuss corporate power and world economic issues. “We’ve created a death economy, one that’s based on killing people and ravaging the earth… we must come up with a new model.” [...]"

MSM: "(Neo-Nazi) Leader: Kiev Should Be Ready To Sabotage Russian Pipelines In Ukraine (For The US)" [03/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "The leader of ultranationalist group Right Sector, Dmitry Yarosh, has threatened to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory if a diplomatic solution is not reached with Moscow. In a fiery address loaded warmongering rhetoric, Yarosh told his followers they should be ready to resist the Russian “occupiers.” The leader of the Right Sector made his address to the coup-appointed government in Kiev, as Crimeans made their way to ballots Sunday to vote to join with Russia or to remain within Ukraine.  [...]"  Note: Again, it's all about oil, gas and the Petro-dollar empire. [...]"  Related: "Russia-Ukraine Geopolitics: Big Oil’s Drive to War" [03/13/14]   

Commentary: "Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System" [03/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Maintaining the petrodollar system is the American empire's primary goal. Everything else is secondary. This brief article details the actions, incentives, and related consequences that the United States has created through its attempts to maintain global hegemony through something known as the petrodollar system. This article will begin with a look back at the important events of the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference which firmly established the U.S. Dollar as the global reserve currency. Then we will examine the events that led up the 1971 Nixon Shock when the United States abandoned the international gold standard. We will then consider what may be the most brilliant economic and geo-political strategy devised in recent memory, the petrodollar system. Finally, we conclude by examining the latest challenges facing U.S. economic policy around the globe and how the petrodollar system influences our foreign policy efforts in oil-rich nations. The collapse of the petrodollar system, which I believe will occur sometime within this decade, will make the 1971 Nixon Shock look like a dress rehearsal.  If you have never heard of the petrodollar system, it would not surprise me. It is certainly not a topic that makes it's way out of Washington circles too often. The mainstream media rarely, if ever, discusses the inner workings of the petrodollar system and how it has motivated, and even guided, America's foreign policy in the Middle East for the last several decades. [...]" Related: "Part 2: The Rise of the Petrodollar System "Dollars for Oil" Printer Friendly Version  "In the second installment of this article series, I will further explain the circumstances surrounding the demise of this failed "dollars for gold" arrangement, with a particular emphasis on how its demise dealt a major blow to global dollar demand. will detail how the Washington elites sought to replace the lost global dollar demand that had been artificially created through the Bretton Woods system. Their solution would come in the form of something known as the Petrodollar system. The three primary benefits that the Petrodollar system provides to America will be explained. And finally, the article will conclude with an brief examination of how the Petrodollar system has influenced U.S.-Middle East relations with a specific focus on Israel. [...]"| "Part 3: The Petrodollar Wars: The Iraq Petrodollar Connection" Printer Friendly Version  "In this third installment of our series, I will explain how America has handled the growing international challenges to the petrodollar system. The consequences have been nothing short of tragic. I have entitled this piece, The Petrodollar Wars. This article will focus specifically on the 2003 Iraq war. A follow-up article will detail the Petrodollar connection to the Afghanistan war, the Libyan war, and now, the build up to a war with Syria and Iran. [...]" | "Part 4:The New Great Game and the War in Afghanistan" Printer Friendly Version  "In this fourth installment of our series, I will explain how the petrodollar system has led the U.S. into a perpetual state of war in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, this article will focus on the rise of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, along with what I believe may be the real reasons for the War in Afghanistan. [...]"  

Commentary: "Saudi Arabia Acting Like An Anchor Weight Around The Petrodollar" [03/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "The largest oil exporter in the Middle East has teamed up with the second largest consumer of oil in the world (China) to build a gigantic new oil refinery and the mainstream media in the United States has barely even noticed it. This mammoth new refinery is scheduled to be fully operational in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu by 2014. Over the past several years, China has sought to aggressively expand trade with Saudi Arabia, and China now actually imports more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States does. In February, China imported 1.39 million barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia. That was 39 percent higher than last February. So why is this important? Well, back in 1973 the United States and Saudi Arabia agreed that all oil sold by Saudi Arabia would be denominated in U.S. dollars. This petrodollar system was adopted by almost the entire world and it has had great benefits for the U.S. economy. But if China becomes Saudi Arabia’s most important trading partner, then why should Saudi Arabia continue to only sell oil in U.S. dollars? And if the petrodollar system collapses, what is that going to mean for the U.S. economy? Those are very important questions, and they will be addressed later on in this article. [...] First of all, let’s take a closer look at the agreement reached between Saudi Arabia and China recently. In what Riyadh calls “the largest expansion by any oil company in the world”, Sinopec’s deal on Saturday with Saudi oil giant Aramco will allow a major oil refinery to become operational in the Red Sea port of Yanbu by 2014. The $8.5 billion joint venture, which covers an area of about 5.2 million square meters, is already under construction. It will process 400,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day. Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake in the plant while Sinopec will own the remaining 37.5 percent. At a time when the U.S. is actually losing refining capacity, this is a stunning development. Yet the U.S. press has been largely silent about this. Very curious. But China is not just doing deals with Saudi Arabia. China has also been striking deals with several other important oil producing nations. China’s investment in oil infrastructure and refining capacity is unparalleled. And more importantly, it executes a consistent strategy of developing world-class refining facilities in partnership with OPEC suppliers. Such relationships mean economic leverage that could soon subordinate U.S. relations with the same countries. Egypt is building its largest refinery ever with investment from China. Shortly after the partnership with Egypt was announced, China signed a $23 billion agreement with Nigeria to construct three gasoline refineries and a fuel complex in Nigeria. Essentially, China is running circles around the United States when it comes to locking up strategic oil supplies worldwide. And all of these developments could have tremendous implications for the future of the petrodollar system.[...] Petrodollar system: In 1973, a deal was struck between Saudi Arabia and the United States in which every barrel of oil purchased from the Saudis would be denominated in U.S. dollars. Under this new arrangement, any country that sought to purchase oil from Saudi Arabia would be required to first exchange their own national currency for U.S. dollars. In exchange for Saudi Arabia’s willingness to denominate their oil sales exclusively in U.S. dollars, the United States offered weapons and protection of their oil fields from neighboring nations, including Israel. By 1975, all of the OPEC nations had agreed to price their own oil supplies exclusively in U.S. dollars in exchange for weapons and military protection. This petrodollar system, or more simply known as an “oil for dollars” system, created an immediate artificial demand for U.S. dollars around the globe. And of course, as global oil demand increased, so did the demand for U.S. dollars. Once you understand the petrodollar system, it becomes much easier to understand why our politicians treat (have treated up until now) Saudi leaders with kid gloves. The U.S. government does not want to see anything happen that would jeopardize the status quo."  Note: Now that the Petrodollar system is collapsing, the US is trashing the Saudis ... who also support terrorism world wide, increasing the 'justification'' for the punitive 'national security' dynamic they've built up. Related: See below

Commentary: "Trashing Saudi Cutout States And Ransacking Their Gold" [03/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Betrayals occur in high places, even the highest offices of the land. Furthermore, betrayals occur with some of the most important allies for the nation. See the official German gold account thefts, called euphemistically the repatriation demand. See the shredding of the Constitution, by virtue of the Patriot Act which could easily pass for a comprehensive Fascist Manifesto. See the renege on the Chinese gold lease, on the back end of the Most Favored Nation status granted in 1999. See the permitted security agency narcotics centered in Afghanistan, with its vertically integrated business operation, the clearing house function in Iraq, and money laundering among New York banks, whose product fills American streets. See the numerous deals for stolen Defense weapons, in particular those conducted by the favored US ally, accounted for by means of scrap metal costs associated with entire systems, the details promised the day before 911 but never to have arrived. See the planned bank account confiscations and pension fund confiscations, the procedures having been worked into law, or imminently, as the sacred privacy is stripped. See the string of Executive Decrees, which trample on rights in every conceivable manner, including life itself. See the NSA surveillance, which has been revealed not only for ordinary diverse communications but also for stealing trade secrets and monitoring discussions behind walls during trade deals. Now the latest. See the trashing of the Saudis, and the outright theft of their vast gold held on account in London. [...] The betrayals run deep. The people far and wide should come to grips that nazis (fascists with a stern nationalist streak) as they attack the enemy nations, create new enemies from the neutral nations, and alienate their allies. They control and pilfer gold wealth from their enemies and neutral nations alike, but they defraud their allies in even more gigantic volumes. See the subprime mortgage bonds, the US Treasury Bond bubble, but also the physical gold bullion "re-hypothecation", and the Gold futures contracts. The United States will win global isolation, which will serve as the exact opposite of what the once great nation had grown accustomed to. The process is well along, in an advanced stage of pathogenesis like a cancer running parallel with toxic bonds and money. Wealth of the world is being looted by the Elite. People must realize that banker Nazis predominantly speak the English language, and prefer the tailored suit with $1000 cufflinks to the military uniform and SS lapel pins. Instead of a goose step, they step on the wealth of client states. They demand a salute to the flags they capture in an ostentatious display of power and abuse. They also amazingly produce deceptive movies that win Oscar awards or receive nominations. [...] A new, higher level, and far deeper betrayal has caught attention. The betrayal in progress strikes directly at the heart of the Global Paradigm Shift. It is the trashing of the Saudi cutouts, whose kingdom's boundaries were created by the British in the 1950 decade, and whose king was recognized formally by the West. They have served their purpose, but no more. They will be disposed of, and their wealth rung out like from dirty laundry to produce coins in the pockets when turned upside down before the wash cycle. They dutifully recycled their petro surpluses. They defended the Petro-Dollar defacto standard for 40 years. Their US Treasury Bonds and Wall Street bank stocks might be safely tucked away, but their Gold Accounts are being systematically stolen in London. Their gold is needed too much to preserve the system that lacks gold in urgency. [...]" Related "U.S. Bankers Are Stealing Saudi Gold" [12:27]  See also below: "New Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk Ships National Gold Reserves To USA" [03/10/14] "World Bank Scandal & JFK Killed Over Gold Backed Dollars - Karen Hudes" [03/09/14] [32:00]

Commentary: "The World On The Brink" [03/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "These are an extremely pivotal few days from the standpoint of international political economy and the Ukrainian crisis. Last minute diplomatic talks in London between Russia and the USSA over the Ukrainian crisis failed on Friday, and USSA Secretary of State, John Kerry, has delivered an ultimatum to Russia -- if the outcome of the Crimean referendum on Sunday is not to the liking of the USSA government then Washington, DC and its European allies will take a series of further, serious, unspecified, retaliatory measures on Monday. These threatened measures are widely expected to include a range of financial sanctions. The whiff of a possible NATO/ USSA war with Russia is also in the air. The negative consequences of a NATO/ USSA military clash with Russia include the very real threat of a nuclear conflict, since both sides are very heavily armed with a full array of nuclear ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, torpedoes and bombs. China has viewed the rapidly developing crisis with a thoroughly jaundiced eye and has warned against sanctions by the USSA against Russia due to the "unforeseeable consequences" and "retaliatory action" that such sanctions might engender. Given that China holds $1.3 trillion of the USSA's government debt, which it could willy-nilly dump, with disastrous effects on the American economy, and also has a full brace of nuclear missiles that can reach the USSA mainland and its numerous military bases in the Pacific region, the warning is not an empty threat. Indeed, in anticipation of probable anti-Russian sanctions Russian financial institutions have already begun pulling vast sums of money out of the West, including some $105 billion out of the USSA this week alone. On Sunday, the Crimeans will most likely vote to join the Russian Federation. If they do, the following day the USSA government will announce punitive measures against Russia. After that, the Russians and Chinese will take whatever steps they feel are appropriate, and then the USSA government and its allies will take further steps in response. This entire scenario is fraught with profound peril for the whole world. I don't know what is going to happen, but a hard shock to the global financial system, in the coming days and weeks, appears highly possible. The more so as financial astrologers are unanimously pointing to April 2014 (next month, see related story) as being a period of financial crisis for the USSA economy and its so-called "Federal Reserve Bank." I am not a financial astrologer, but I have to say that their prognostications are right on the money. April is shaping up to be a period of intense crisis for the USSA and its financial system. I do not presume that in a war with Russia and China, be it a nuclear exchange or a financial showdown, that the USSA and its European allies will necessarily prevail. J.P. Morgan, the early-20th century Robber Baron, famously said that millionaires do not have astrologers, but billionaires do. For millennia, kings, queens, emperors, and now presidents, premiers and prime ministers, have been consulting astrologers. I would be very surprised if the Chinese and Russians do not take full advantage of the propitious astrology of April 2014 to take the USSA government and the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank down a peg. [...]"  Related: See below.

Commentary: "The Lunar Eclipse April 15, 2014" [03/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "The heavens will celebrate tax day this year with a total lunar eclipse (dire warning) at 25 degrees Libra. The eclipse to the Federal Reserve and USA charts shows the potential for an immediate crises situation that could become evident in April 2014. In the USA chart the houses being impacted are: the 2nd house of banking, bonds, currency, the financial structure of derivatives and credit default swaps from the banking sector. On the other side the 8th house of: interest rates, mortgages, retirement accounts, private equity firms, and the counterparties in the derivatives and CDS’s. Both the 2nd and 8th houses have stress that will manifest as a tug of war between the two houses. The 8th house also involves financial relationships with foreign nations and the threat of default is the likely theme in 2014. In my view the removal of Bernanke was due to mistakes and flaws in his approach to monetary policy. MF Global was a big oops under Bernanke’s watch. He was the man in charge, and we have to wonder why the ordeal was relatively hidden in the media and quickly brushed under the rug. MF Global was a major global financial derivatives broker and fits the criteria for the 2nd house banking and originator of derivative risk mentioned above. The 8th house counterparty could involve former president Bill Clinton’s firm Teneo, a private equity firm hired by MF Global prior to the collapse, and Clinton’s ties to other foreign leaders. We still don’t know who absorbed the losses with the MFG failure. I have suggested a lot of roads likely lead back to JP Morgan and the MF Global collapse. A central figure would be Jamie Dimon, but there are others who are involved. It would be impossible to know the inner workings of these bankers, however, Blythe Masters, the commodities head at JP Morgan, could also be one of the central figures in the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the current crises unfolding. As a reminder, Ms. Masters was the original architect of the modern credit default swap and credit derivative products at JP Morgan. These derivatives played a key role in the 2008 financial crises. Masters was described by the UK newspaper, The Guardian, as “the woman who invented the financial weapons of mass destruction”.  In April 2014, just prior to the eclipse, there could be another major banking gaffe. An attempt to manipulate currencies (and commodities), or stop gap other losses, could put JP Morgan again in the spotlight. The theme is international monetary concerns (currency), bonds, and defaults on financial obligations. As a reminder April 16th is an important date for a dispensation that could stop an injustice. We will have to wait and see what happens. [...]" 

MSM: "Russian Companies Withdraw Billions From West, Say Moscow Bankers" [03/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russian companies are pulling billions out of western banks, fearful that any US sanctions over the Crimean crisis could lead to an asset freeze, according to bankers in Moscow. Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s giant partly state-owned banks, as well as industrial companies, such as energy group Lukoil, are among those repatriating cash from western lenders with operations in the US. VTB has also cancelled a planned US investor summit next month, according to bankers. [...]"  

Commentary: "Foreigners Sell A Record Amount, Over $100 Billion, Of US Treasuries Held By The Fed In Past Week" [03/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "A month ago we reported that according to much delayed TIC data, China had just dumped the second-largest amount of US Treasuries in history. The problem, of course, with this data is that it is stale and very backward looking. For a much better, and up to date, indicator of what foreigners are doing with US Treasuries in near real time, the bond watchers keep track of a less known data series, called "Treasury Securities Held in Custody for Foreign Official and International Accounts" which as the name implies shows what foreigners are doing with their Treasury securities held in custody by the Fed on a weekly basis. So here it goes: in the just reported latest data, for the week ended March 12, Treasuries held in custody by the Fed dropped to $2.855 trillion: a drop of $104.5 billion. This was the biggest drop of Treasuries held by the Fed on record, i.e., foreigners were really busy selling. This brings the total Treasury holdings in custody at the Fed to levels not seen since December 2012, a period during which the Fed alone has monetized well over $1 trillion in US paper. So is this the proverbial beginning of foreign dumping of US paper? Could Russia simply have designated a different custodian of its holdings? No, because as of most recently it owned $139 billion in US paper, or well above the number "sold" and a custodial reallocation would mean all holdings are moved, not just a portion. [...]"  Related: "Markets Fear Russia Has Cut US Treasury Bill Holding Over Ukraine Crisis" Printer Friendly Version "Transfer of more than $100bn out of US prompts speculation Russia is moving funds out of reach of possible sanctions [...]"  

Commentary: "Son Of Former Head Of Goldman Sachs And MF Global Found Dead" [03/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "On March 13, the son of Jon Corzine was found dead in Mexico City of an apparent suicide. Jon Corzine was the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, head of MF Global, and Governor of New Jersey, as well as being a long time campaign financier for President Barack Obama. [...]"  

Commentary: "BofA, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Sued By FDIC Over Libor Rigging" [03/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bank of America Corp. (BAC:US), Citigroup Inc. (C:US) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) were among 16 of the world’s biggest banks sued by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for allegedly manipulating the London interbank offered rate from 2007 to 2011. The FDIC, acting as receiver for 38 failed banks including Washington Mutual Bank, IndyMac Bank FSB and Colonial Bank, claimed that institutions sitting on the U.S. dollar Libor panel “fraudulently and collusively suppressed” the U.S. Libor rate. Also named in the suit, filed today in Manhattan federal court, is the British Bankers Association, an industry group. The failed banks “reasonably expected that accurate representations of competitive market forces, and not fraudulent conduct or collusion,” would determine the benchmark, the FDIC said in its complaint. [...]"  

MSM: "Amount of Money Hoarded by the Über Elite Will Astound You" [03/15/14]   [3:23] "Abby Martin breaks down off-shore tax havens for multinational corporations and the 1%, citing the $21 trillion missing from the global economy and the lack of progress made to get that money back. [...]" 

MSM: "Bank Of England: Bankers May Have To Return Bonuses" [03/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bankers may have to return their bonuses up to six years after receiving them, the Bank of England has said. Repayment could be ordered in the event of bankers' "misbehaviour", big losses at their bank or bad risk management, said the Bank. The banking system came under scrutiny after many banks were bailed out by billions of pounds of taxpayers' money following the credit crunch. Previously, the Bank had suggested repayments of promised bonuses.  The bonuses would have been effectively cancelled, rather than clawed back from the bankers, who may have already spent the money. A spokesperson for the Bank of England said the new reforms were "much more stringent". BBC business editor Robert Peston said: "This reform will worry bankers, because it means bonuses they have already pocketed are no longer safe for them and might have to be paid back."  [...]" 

Commentary: "Obama, Biden to Meet Central Banker Aligned with Ukraine’s Fascists" [03/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the former central banker installed as the “pro- Western” interim prime minister of Ukraine, arrived in Washington on Wednesday. He will meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden and will also meet with members of Congress, the IMF, the World Bank and will address the UN Security Council. Yatsenyuk is aligned with neo-fascist nationalists. One of Ukraine’s installed vice prime ministers, Oleksandr Sych, is a member of the Svoboda Party, formerly the Social National Party of Ukraine. It has roots going back to a collaboration between Germany’s Nazis and Ukrainian nationalists during the Second World War. Shortly after the coup in February, Svoboda Party members were appointed to the posts of vice prime minister, minister of education, minister of agrarian policy and food supplies, and minister of ecology and natural resources. Oleh Tyahnybok is the leader of Svoboda. He was expelled from the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction after he insisted a “Moscow-Jewish mafia” runs Ukraine and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army “fought against the Moskali [an ethnic slur for Russians], Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.” [...]"  

MSM: "US Postal Service Inspector General Proposes Launching Low-Fee Public Bank" [03/14/14] [6:17] "A public option for banks will dramatically improve and help regulate the financial services industry. [...]"  Related: "10 Ways The Post Office Could Help the Economy" Printer Friendly Version "Ever since the inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service authored a white paper endorsing the concept of postal banking [PDF] more advocates and policymakers have become intrigued. Postal banking is actually an old idea: Dozens of countries offer simple financial services through their posts, and here in America, Postal Savings Accounts served millions of customers from 1911-1967 (the post office still sells money orders today). But it could also fix a number of our current problems simultaneously, even ones you haven’t thought about. Here are 10 different applications of postal banking, in order from most to least obvious:  [...]"  

Commentary: "Corrupt “Secret” Global Trade and Investor Agreements: EU Facilitating Corporate Plunder" [03/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "A new report released by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). The report, ‘Profiting from Crisis – How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries’, exposes a growing wave of corporate lawsuits against Europe’s struggling economies, which could lead to European taxpayers paying out millions of euros in a second major public bailout, this time to speculative investors. These lawsuits provide a warning of the potential high costs of the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU, which has just begun its fourth round of negotiations in Brussels. Pia Eberhardt, trade campaigner with CEO and co-author of the report says: “Speculative investors are already using investment agreements to raid the cash-strapped public treasuries in Europe’s crisis countries. It would be political madness to grant corporations the same excessive rights in the even more far-reaching EU-US trade deal.” The report examines a number of investor disputes launched against Spain, Greece and Cyprus in the wake of the European economic crisis. In most cases, the investors were not long-term investors, but rather invested as the crisis emerged and were therefore fully aware of the risks. They have used the investment agreements as a legal escape route to extract further wealth from crisis countries when their risky investment didn’t pay off. [...] Cecilia Olivet, co-author of the report for TNI said: “At a time when ordinary people across Europe have been stripped of many basic social rights, it is perverse that the EU supports an international investment regime which provides VIP protection to largely speculative foreign investors. It is time to reject a privatised justice system that supports predatory corporate vultures and undermines crucial regulation in the public interest.” [...] The report also unveils how speculative investors have been backed by international law firms that actively encourage investor-state lawsuits. Law firms are reaping substantial financial rewards in the process. UK-based Herbert Smith Freehills, hired to represent Spain in at least two cases, for example, could earn up to 1.6 million euros for the cases. Growing controversy around the EU-US trade talks has forced the European Commission to temporarily halt negotiations on the investor rights chapter in the proposed transatlantic deal and announce a public consultation on the issue expected to start this month. ‘Investor rights’ is essentially a big business agenda that constitutes little more than a recipe for the further plundering of economies by powerful corporations. This agenda allows big business to bypass democracy and bully sovereign states into instituting policies that trample over ordinary citizens’ rights in the name of even higher profits[...]" 

Commentary: "Fed Chair Bernanke Held 84 Secret Meetings in the Lead Up to the Wall Street Collapse" [03/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "It’s been over five years since the collapse of iconic Wall Street firms such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers; the insolvency and bailout of AIG and Citigroup; the receivership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the shotgun marriage of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. After a 5-year delay, the Federal Reserve has released the full transcripts of its meetings in 2007 and 2008 – the two key years of the crisis. But for unexplained reasons, the Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke continues to redact 84 meetings from his appointment calendar that occurred between January 1, 2007 and the pivotal collapse of Bear Stearns on the weekend of March 15-16, 2008. But the mystery of these redactions is deepened by the fact that Bernanke has no problem listing meetings with President Obama, specific members of Congress, representatives of the Bank of England, every major CEO of a Wall Street firm, titans of industry like the heads of Ford Motor, IBM, and British Petroleum, quasi lobbyists like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Even the Reverend Jesse Jackson of RainbowPUSH Coalition is listed as meeting with Bernanke. So just who is left whose identify needs to be secreted away for more than five years? One meeting on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 is so secret that both the meeting participant(s) and the location are redacted. A careful study of where the most heavy concentration of redactions occur suggests two things: (1) Bernanke does not want the public to know that the Fed knew that Citigroup was in severe crisis months before the public became aware and (2) the Fed Chair’s participation in efforts to save Bear Stearns from a bankruptcy filing was more involved than presently known. [...]" Related: "We Are In FAR Worse Shape Than We Were Just Prior To The Last Great Financial Crisis" Printer Friendly Version "None of the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed. In fact, they have all gotten worse. The total amount of debt in the world has grown by more than 40 percent since 2007, the too big to fail banks have gotten 37 percent larger, and the colossal derivatives bubble has spiraled so far out of control that the only thing left to do is to watch the spectacular crash landing that is inevitably coming. Unfortunately, most people do not know the information that I am about to share with you in this article. [...]"

MSM: "Global Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge" [03/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements. [...]" 

MSM: "Crimean Leaders Blame Kiev For Selling Ukraine Off For IMF Loans" [03/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "Crimea's deputy prime minister, Olga Kovitidi, described as predatory the terms of an agreement Kiev is ready to accept from the International Monetary Fund. The tentative agreement with the IMF which the Ukrainian authorities signed with the IMF on March 2, says that the country's entire gas pipeline system will be handed over for free in the American company Chevron's ownership the moment the basic agreement is signed, while the owners of the Mariupol, Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk steel mills will be obliged to surrender their 50% stakes to Germany's Ruhr. The Donbass coal industry will be handed over to Ruhr's subsidiary in Finland, she told Interfax on Sunday, citing media reports. It emerged recently that Kyiv has pledged to make territory available near Kharkiv to host US missile defense systems and a wing of American fighter jets to provide cover for the missile defense installations, she also said. Ukraine's Jewish interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has assured the West that Kiev will fulfill all of the IMF's terms in order to secure a loan, Kovitidi said.  [...] The Crimean leaders have also learned that Kyiv promised the West to take a package of unpopular measures in order to fill gaps in the Ukrainian budget, she said. Gas prices for municipal companies will have to be increased by 50% and for private will double. Electricity tariffs will be raised by 40%, housing utility tariffs will be raised, too, gasoline excises will go up 60% and transportation tariffs 50%, while state support for childbirth will be cancelled, the free distribution of textbooks will be annulled at schools and the VAT relief will be scrapped in rural regions, she said. Concurrently, VAT will be introduced on medications, which will push up prices and bring citizens' living standards down," Kovitidi said. "The planned annulment of the moratorium on the sale of farmland looks appalling. The selloff of Ukraine's black soil zone, including to foreign countries, may have disastrous economic and social consequences," she said. Kovitidi said that the Crimean legislature's decision to hold a referendum on March 16 was correct. "The recent developments in Ukraine and the decisions being made have a direct bearing on the people of Crimea, who must know the truth and decide their own and their children's future in a referendum," she said."  Note: A good layout of what can happen to a country when it accepts IMF or World Bank money. Also, we are seeing forced in-roads into Ukraine in order to try and establish a US/NATO missile facility on Russia's doorstep ... all of this a continuation of past strategies.

MSM: "New Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk Ships National Gold Reserves To USA" [03/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "According to the iskra-news.info last night ,Ukrainian gold reserves (40 sealed boxes) were loaded on an unidentified transport aircraft in Kiev’s Borispol airport. A source in the Ukrainian government confirmed that the transfer of the gold reserves of Ukraine to the United States was ordered by the acting Jewish PM Arseny Yatsenyuk . So my guess is, that is if indeed this report is true it either means the new ruling elite have stolen the gold bullion or perhaps their is a legitimate fear of the Russians taking possession of this bullion, whatever the facts, it still looks very shady indeed. [...]"  Related: "Ukraine Is The U.S. Petro-Dollar’s "Stalingrad" Printer Friendly Version  

MSM: "Keiser Report (#E572): Live by Fraud, Die by Fraud " [03/10/14]   [25:45] "We discuss those who live by the fraud, dying by the fraud as fraud is deployed to cover up fraud thus causing more fraud. In the second half, Max interviews precious metals expert, Ned Naylor-Leyland of QuilterCheviot.com about how the harmonisation of law across Europe has ironically driven the manipulation of the gold fix out into the open and how the rigged gold fix has meant that gold was not able to be classified as tier one capital. [...]"  

MSM: "Meet The Billionaires Behind Government Agendas" [03/10/14]   [3:10] "The US has many billionaires, and many of them have decided to make specific government policies their pet projects. They sink millions of dollars into agendas that affect our everyday lives, even when those agendas have nothing to do with - or stand in stark contrast to - the verticals where they made their money. The Resident discusses.  [...]"  

Interviews: "World Bank Scandal & JFK Killed Over Gold Backed Dollars - Karen Hudes" [03/09/14] [32:00] "Former Senior Counselor at the World Bank Karen Hudes has spent the last several years of her life working closely with whistle blowers from around the world to shed light on what she calls a “global conspiracy.” While working for the World Bank as a member of their legal team Hudes uncovered so much corruption that she could no longer keep quiet. She followed the proper channels to report her findings, going first to the organization’s Evaluation Department and country directors, and then to the U.S. Treasury Department and even the United States Congress. All of her requests were ignored, and in some cases, completely covered up. So she did what any honest person would do. She went public. Suffice it to say, she received the typical treatment you’d expect for a whistle blower. Hudes is no longer with the World Bank, but that didn’t stop her from continuing her investigation by joining an organization of other whistle blowers. What she found once she started connecting the dots will blow you away. The corruption, as most of us know, isn’t just at the World Bank, but is woven throughout the fabric of the entirety of the global financial and political systems. Covering everything from the current economic crisis all the way back to the reasons behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Hudes will leave you with a totally different view of how the upper echelons of the global power structure work and how far the elite will go to maintain total control. Interweaving through topics that include financial collapse, high level banking machinations, Snowden, false flags, JFK, Lincoln, and even the Vatican, Karen Hudes is no holds barred. [...]"  Related: See also below: Interviews: "The Secret Constitution and Bank Wars with Karen Hudes" [02/27/14] [31:22] and "Gold Fix Study Shows Signs of Decade of Bank Manipulation" MSM Printer Friendly Version "The London gold fix, the benchmark used by miners, jewelers and central banks to value the metal, may have been manipulated for a decade by the banks setting it, researchers say.  [...]"  

Commentary: "The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun" Paul Craig Roberts [03/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. It is Greece all over again. Before anything approaching stability and legitimacy has been obtained for the puppet government put in power by the Washington orchestrated coup against the legitimate, elected Ukraine government, the Western looters are already at work. Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April. But this is only the beginning. The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.” However, the 11 billion euros that the EU is offering Kiev is not aid. It is a loan. Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan. Remember now, gullible Ukrainians participated in the protests that were used to overthrow their elected government, because they believed the lies told to them by Washington-financed NGOs that once they joined the EU they would have streets paved with gold. Instead they are getting cuts in their pensions and an IMF austerity plan. The austerity plan will cut social services, funds for education, layoff government workers, devalue the currency, thus raising the prices of imports which include Russian gas, thus electricity, and open Ukrainian assets to takeover by Western corporations. Ukraine’s agriculture lands will pass into the hands of American agribusiness. [...]" Related: "Aid For The Ukraine “Will Be Stolen” – Former Ukrainian Minister Of Economy" Printer Friendly Version 

Buffoonery: "Euro Is ‘Island Of Stability’ - Draghi" MSM [03/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "European Central Bank (ECB) head Mario Draghi said the euro currency is “an island of stability” even though growth in the eurozone is slow and unemployment is still rampant. The eurozone is on a path of “modest recovery” Draghi said on Thursday following the bank’s monthly meeting, in which it decided to keep interest rates at the record low of 0.25 percent despite rising fears of deflation. “The euro is an island of stability,” he said in comments after the meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. ‘It has to go back to being also an island of prosperity and job creation but certainly it is an island of stability. [...]"  Note: Total bluster and bullshit Related: Flashback: "Nigel Farage: I Hope Taxpayers All Over Europe Listen To This" MSM [3:56]   Note: Always fun to see Nigel Farage presenting the true state of affairs to the corrupt EU parliament. I love this guy. Related: "Nigel Farage Destroys Barroso's State of the Union" [6:35] | "Nigel Farage - European Parliament Videos From 2008 to 2013" [42:25] 

Flashback: "Russia's Plan For The BRICS To Dismantle The Dollar System (2013)" Valentin Mândrăşescu [03/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "... A week before the BRICS summit in Durban, the Kremlin administration produced a document (PDF) which describes the Russian strategy in the context of BRICS cooperation. The document makes for a fascinating read for anyone brave enough to plow through the dense Russian legalese. The strategy has been designed in the “inner circle” of Vladimir Putin’s team, so it is safe to assume that it represents the official view on the BRICS future. The language used in this document indicates that it has been written or strongly influenced by Sergei Glaziev, the president’s economy advisor, who is known for masterminding the economic aspects of the Eurasian Union between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Glaziev has repeatedly accused Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke of starting “a currency war” against the emerging markets. He also believes that Bernanke’s policy will ultimately lead to a military confrontation: “the conservation logic of the current financial and political system leads to a further escalation of military and political tensions, including the start of a major war” [...] A whole chapter of the strategy document is dedicated to step-by-step instructions on dismantling the existing global financial system. The list of measures includes: • Reformation of the world currency system in order to create a representative, stable and predictable system of world reserve currencies; • Reduction of the risks of destabilization of currency and equity markets linked to massive cross-border flows of capital; • Increasing the use of national currencies in the trade between BRICS countries; • Increasing the level of cooperation between BRICS countries in order to promote their interest in the domain of world trade; • measures to strengthen the BRICS Exchange Alliance; • Creating independent rating agencies.[...]"   Related: See below.

MSM: "Russia May Switch To Other Currencies Over US Sanctions Threat - Glazyev" [03/07/14] Printer Friendly Version Russia and U.S. Begin Currency War  [7:20] "Russia can dodge any proposed US sanctions by switching to other currencies and creating its own payment system, Putin’s economic advisor Sergei Glazyev said Tuesday. A senior Kremlin official has denounced Glazyev’s remark on US-Russia economic ties, calling them "a personal opinion" inconsistent with the Kremlin stance.  This comes amid US threats to pile sanctions on Russia over its stand on the Ukrainian coup. US Senate is currently debating possible measures against Moscow. Senator Christ Murphy, the chairman of the Senate's Europe subcommittee, said lawmakers were considering such options as imposing sanctions on Russia's banks and freezing assets of Russian public institutions and private investors. Sergei Glazyev told reporters today Russia would have to switch to other currencies to curb its dependence on the United States. "We have wonderful economic and trade relations with our Southern and Eastern partners," he emphasized. "We will find a way not just to eliminate our dependence on the US but also profit from these sanctions." Sanctions imposed by the US against the Russian government institutions will force Russia to recognize the impossibility of loans repayment to the US banks, Presidential Aide Sergei Glazyev said. "If sanctions are applied against state structures, we will be forced to recognize the impossibility of repayment of the loans that the US banks gave to the Russian structures. Indeed, sanctions are a double-edged weapon, and if the US chooses to freeze our assets, then our equities and liabilities in dollars will also be frozen. This means that our banks and businesses will not return the loans to American partners," he said. [...] Related: "Putin's Advisor Glazyev 'Not Authorized' To Speak On Cabinet Behalf – Kremlin" Printer Friendly Version The Kremlin has expressed its surprise over remarks of President Putin’s economic security advisor Sergei Glazyev who claimed today Russia could easily dodge US sanctions. Russian media have learnt this from a senior official in the Putin administration. Mr. Glazyev said earlier today that Russia would be forced to switch to other currencies and set up its own payment system if US Senate were to sanction it over Ukraine. The advisor claimed that Moscow would recommend everyone to get rid of their US Treasury bonds if the United States froze the assets of Russian public institutions and private investors. He added that Russia would also have to default on its loans to American banks. "Mr. Glazyev has not been authorized to talk on behalf of the Russian government and especially to voice such unacceptable measures," the source in the Kremlin said. He stressed it was Glazyev's "personal opinion" that had nothing to do with Russia's official stance." See below

Commentary: "Russia Warns U.S., Capable Of Zero Economic Dependency On The U.S." [03/07/14] Printer Friendly Version [48:58] "The EU is now warning that Italy is facing economic troubles. These economic troubles are spreading all across the EU. American companies are shrinking the number of employees, the ISM gauge reports. President Obama is renewing gun control in his latest budget. CIA has been accused of spying on Senate intelligent staffers. The U.S. is proposing sanctions on Russia and Russia retaliates by saying that they can reduce their U.S. economic dependency to zero and freeze EU and U.S. assets. Cyber attacks are continuing against Ukraine and they reporting they are being attacked by Russia. [...]"  

MSM: "EU Offers Ukraine $15 Billion, But Help Hinges On IMF Deal" [03/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "The European Union offered a 'larger than expected' package of 'aid' to Ukraine on Wednesday, saying it was willing to provide $15 billion in loans and grants over the next several years to help get the shattered economy back on its feet. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the assistance, to be discussed by European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday, would 'require widespread reforms by the new Ukrainian government' and the 'signing of a deal between Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund'. The EU had been expected to come up with a package of short-term assistance worth around 1 or 2 billion euros, but instead presented a more comprehensive program that perhaps by coincidence matched the amount Russia had offered Ukraine before president Viktor Yanukovich's government collapsed. [...]"  Note: This article ought to be titled: "Broke EU Offers Ukraine (Oligarchs, Neo-Nazis) $15 Billion, But Help Hinges On IMF Deal (To Strip Ukraine Of Assets)" Related: See below: "Ukraine (Gov’t Of US-Installed Fascist Thugs) Seeks $15 Billion ‘Rescue’ From IMF" [03/04/14]; "Central Banker PM Says Ukraine Ready for IMF Auction Block" [03/04/14]; "Any Government Willing To Cooperate With The IMF Will Be Heralded As Legitimate" [03/02/14]; "Kiev Interim Players Expected Quick Power Grab, Desperately Need Money’" [03/02/14]; "IMF, Ukraine & the Profitability of Manufactured Revolutions" [03/01/14]; "IMF Vultures Swoop to Asset-Strip Ukraine" [02/28/14]  and "Why the EU Has No Leverage Over Russia In This Ukraine Stand-Off" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "China Is Headed For A Severe Economic Slowdown And First Corporate Bond Default" [03/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "While everyone was focusing on the threat of tumbling debt dominoes in China’s shadow banking sector, a new threat has re-emerged: regular, plain vanilla corporate bankruptcies, in the country with the $12 trillion corporate bond market (these are official numbers – the unofficial, and accurate, one is certainly far higher). And while anywhere else in the world this would be a non-event, in China, where corporate – as well as shadow banking – bankruptcies are taboo, a default would immediately reprice the entire bond market lower and have adverse follow through consequences to all other financial products. This explains is why in the past two months, China was forced to bail out not one but two Trusts with exposure to the coal industry as we reported previously in great detail. However, the Chinese Default Protection Team will have its hands full as soon as Friday, March 7, which is when the interest on a bond issued by Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology a Chinese maker of solar cells, falls due. That payment, as of this moment, will not be made, following an announcement made late on Tuesday that it will not be able to repay the CNY89.8 million interest on a CNY1 billion bond issued on March 7th 2012. [...]" 

MSM: "28-Year-Old Bitcoin Exchange CEO Found Dead, Media Says "Suspected Suicide" [03/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "There have been a lot of dead bankers turning up lately and now a young female entrepreneur who ran the First Meta bitcoin exchange, Autumn Radtke, was found dead in her flat on February 28 in Singapore. [...]" 

MSM: "Russia Mulls Seizing Foreign Assets Over Sanctions Threat" [03/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "The upper house of Russia’s parliament is mulling measures allowing property and assets of European and US companies to be confiscated in the event of sanctions being adopted against Russia over its threatened military intervention in Ukraine. The bill’s author, Federation Council constitutional legislation committee head Andrei Klishas, said Wednesday that lawyers are currently studying whether the proposed confiscations would be constitutional. “But we have no doubts that it clearly corresponds to European standards,” Klishas told RIA Novosti. “The recent events in Cyprus spring to mind, where the confiscation of assets was the main demand made by the European Union in return for economic aid.” [...]"  Related: "Russia Threatens To Confiscate U.S. Assets" Printer Friendly Version "A top Russian lawmaker has revealed he is working on a bill that would freeze the assets of European and American companies operating in Russia in reply to Western economic sanctions. The chairman of the upper house committee for constitutional law, Andrey Klishas, is sure that Russia must have an enough leverage to deal with the threat of sanctions coming from foreign countries.A team of lawyers are currently preparing a separate federal bill that would allow the Russian president and government to confiscate foreign owned property in Russia, including assets belonging to private companies, the senator told the RIA Novosti news agency. [...]" 

Commentary: "Shadowstats’ John Williams Warns Russian Dollar Dump Could Crash Financial System" [03/06/14] Printer Friendly Version [8:51] "Economist John Williams says if Russia sells its U.S. dollar holdings it could trigger hyperinflation. Could it collapse the financial system? Williams contends, “Yes, it certainly has a potential to do that. Looking outside the United States, there is something over $16 trillion dollars in cash or near cash. That’s about the same size as our GDP. If the rest of the world believes this is what’s going to happen, people who have been wanting to get out of the dollar for some time very easily could front-run the Russians. The scare is on. People will try to get out of it as rapidly as they can. We have not seen an economic recovery. We have not seen a return of health to the banking system. So the system is very vulnerable and if the Russians carry through with their threat, you have indeed the risk of it collapsing the system.” On the overall economy Williams says, “It is rolling over and the numbers are starting to show we are starting into a new recession. Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with John Williams of Shadowstats.com. [...]"  

Commentary: "Russia Threatens To Abandon The U.S. Dollar And Start Dumping U.S. Debt" [03/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Obama administration and the hotheads in Congress are threatening to hit Russia with "economic sanctions" for moving troops into Crimea. Yes, those sanctions would sting a little bit, but what our politicians should be made aware of is the fact that Russian officials are promising "to respond" if economic sanctions are imposed on them. As you will read about below, one top Kremlin adviser is even suggesting that Russia could abandon the U.S. dollar and start dumping U.S. debt. In addition, he is also suggesting that if sanctions are imposed that Russian companies would not repay the debts that they owe U.S. banks. Needless to say, Russia could do far more economic damage to the United States than the United States could do to Russia. The U.S. financial system relies on the fact that the rest of the planet is going to use our currency to trade with one another and lend gigantic piles of it back to us at super low interest rates. If the rest of the world starts changing their behavior, we are going to be in a massive amount of trouble. Those that believe that the United States is "economically independent" are being quite delusional.  In order for U.S. economic sanctions against Russia to be effective, Europe would also have to get on board. But that simply is not going to happen. As I noted yesterday, Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas on the planet. And Russia is also Europe's largest supplier of energy. There is no way that Europe could risk having Russia cut off the gas, especially considering the economic condition that Europe is currently in. [...] And according to the Telegraph, even the UK has already completely ruled out economic sanctions... "Europe would be pushed back into recession, Russia into financial meltdown. This is not the sort of self-harm Europe is prepared to contemplate right now. Indeed, thanks to the indiscretion of a UK official, who was snapped going into Downing Street with his briefing documents on display for all the world to see, we know this to be the case. Trade and financial sanctions have already been ruled out." [...] On the flip side, the Russian Foreign Ministry is promising "to respond" if the United States does impose economic sanctions... Russia said on Tuesday that it would retaliate if the United States imposed sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine. "We will have to respond," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement. "As always in such situations, provoked by rash and irresponsible actions by Washington, we stress: this is not our choice." Lukashevich did not say, but top Kremlin adviser Sergei Glazyev is suggesting that Russia could abandon the U.S. dollar and refuse to pay back loans to U.S. banks... "In the instance of sanctions being applied to stated institutions, we will have to declare the impossibility of returning those loans which were given to Russian institutions by U.S. banks," RIA quoted Glazyev as saying. "We will have to move into other currencies, create our own settlement system." He added: "We have excellent trade and economic relations with our partners in the east and south and we will find a way to reduce to nothing our financial dependence on the United States but even get out of the sanctions with a big profit to ourselves." Glazyev also stated that Russia could start dumping U.S. debt and encourage other nations to start doing the same. Glazyev also stated that Russia could start dumping U.S. debt and encourage other nations to start doing the same. The following comes from a Russian news source... "We hold a decent amount of treasury bonds – more than $200 billion – and if the United States dares to freeze accounts of Russian businesses and citizens, we can no longer view America as a reliable partner," he said. "We will encourage everybody to dump US Treasury bonds, get rid of dollars as an unreliable currency and leave the US market.[...]"  

Commentary: "Fed Nominee (and US/Israeli Citizen) Stanley Fischer Has a Citigroup Problem" [03/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "Last evening, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee made the unexpected announcement that it was postponing the confirmation hearing of Stanley Fischer to serve as Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Two other Fed nominees were to be vetted today. The hearing had been scheduled for 10 a.m. this morning in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. No reason was given for the postponement. There are surely some veteran lawyers at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hoping the nomination of Fischer has been scuttled. The thought that Stanley Fischer, a former Vice Chairman of the serially corrupt Citigroup, could become Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a regulator of mega banks like Citigroup, is not a source of comfort. Fischer was nominated for the post by President Obama, whose devotion to failing up on Wall Street regularly sets new heights. As if as on cue, news broke just yesterday that Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to Citigroup in a money-laundering investigation, a topic with which the bank is intimately familiar. During Fischer’s stint at Citigroup, from February 2002 through April 2005, he “amassed a personal fortune of between $14.6 million and $56.3 million” according to Bloomberg News. During that same period, Citigroup was repeatedly charged with fraud and embarked on its own exotic financial shenanigans that would end up collapsing the firm in 2008. [...]"  

Commentary: "Ukraine (Gov’t Of US-Installed Fascist Thugs) Seeks $15 Billion ‘Rescue’ From IMF" [03/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ukraine’s interim government said Monday it wants a $15 billion rescue from the International Monetary Fund as officials from the emergency lender kicked off a 10-day visit to shape a bailout of the struggling economy. Ukraine’s newly appointed economy minister, Pavlo Sheremeta, said the government is aiming for a two-year IMF loan modeled on Ukraine’s previous bailout program. The interim government in Kiev, established after the ouster of the (elected) former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych by protesters late last month, last week requested international financial assistance to help stabilize its struggling economy. Many of the conditions the IMF has previously required for emergency financing for Ukraine will most likely remain. The IMF halted loan payments in 2011 after Kiev failed to meet key terms, which included phasing out gas-price subsidies and slashing government spending. [...]"  Related: "Central Banker PM Says Ukraine Ready for IMF Auction Block" Printer Friendly Version "Expect more separatist and ethnic violence after IMF victimizes Ukraine [...] Arseniy Yatseniuk, the central bankster PM of post-coup Ukraine, has signaled IMF-inspired fire sales are on schedule. On Monday Yats, as the U.S. State Department fondly calls him, said Naftogaz Ukrainy, the national oil and gas company of Ukraine, will be put on the auction block. Ukrtransgaz, a Naftogaz Ukrainy subsidiary, operates the natural gas pipelines in Ukraine. The pipelines are used to transit Russian natural gas to eighteen European countries, including France and Italy. Naftogaz is the sole importer of Russian natural gas provided by Gazprom, the largest extractor of natural gas and one of the largest companies in the world. Yats is also ready to impose IMF austerity on Ukraine, already one of the poorest nations in Europe. “Yatsenyuk is the kind of technocrat you want if you want austerity, with the veneer of professionalism,” Vladimir Signorelli, president of boutique investment research firm Bretton Woods Research LLC in New Jersey, told Forbes last month. “He’s the type of guy who can hobnob with the European elite. A Mario Monti type: unelected and willing to do the IMFs bidding [...]" Note: See also, below: "Any Government Willing To Cooperate With The IMF Will Be Heralded As Legitimate" [03/02/14]; "Kiev Interim Players Expected Quick Power Grab, Desperately Need Money’" [03/02/14]; "IMF, Ukraine & the Profitability of Manufactured Revolutions" [03/01/14]; "IMF Vultures Swoop to Asset-Strip Ukraine" [02/28/14] 

MSM: "The Relentless, Systematic Tear-Down Of The Dollar Hegemony" [03/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "China’s rapidly aging 1.3 billion folks are all trying to make it in the modern world, and they’ll see to it that their country will have major economic and political heft in the future. So in practically no time, China has become the second largest economy in the world. OK, its credit bubble of strenuously obfuscated magnitude will require a miracle, or else the noise of hot air hissing out of it will be deafening. One of the long-term goals of consecutive Chinese governments has been to make China number one in just about everything. Including its currency. Displacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency would be nice, and that’s certainly on the list, but first the yuan must become the most used payment currency. How long would that take, barring the accidental annihilation of the dollar as the Fed yanks on yet another experimental lever with unknown consequences? Not that other currencies haven’t already tried to trounce the dollar, most notably – don’t laugh – the euro. At the time of its invention, the thinking went that it would be the common currency of the entire European Union, a concept anchored in the treaties that each member state signed. There are 28 of them, now that Croatia has joined the ever expanding group. The next candidates have been cooling their heels for years, namely Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. OK, Turkey, whose membership has been hung up in discord since 2004, has hit some big speed bumps recently. But hey. A slick regime change, and off we go. But to the greatest chagrin of the Eurocrats, and quite inexplicably, only 18 of the 28 member states have adopted the sacrosanct currency, and a third of them quickly became casualties of the euro debt crisis and had to be bailed out to keep the Eurozone together. [...]"  

MSM: "Treasury Secretary Jack Lew At AIPAC: "The Future Of The United States Is Tied To The Future Of Israel" [03/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "... And as everyone here recognizes, the future of the United States is tied to the future of Israel. This is something that every President since Harry Truman has understood ... An IMF program should be the centerpiece of the international assistance package, and the United States is prepared to supplement IMF support in order to make successful reform implementation more likely and to cushion the impact of needed reforms on "vulnerable Ukrainians".[...]"

Commentary: "Saudi Royal Gold Ransacked in London to Prevent Default" [03/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "The following came out of a conversation, a string of messages shared with some colleagues and a London source. “There will be no easy heads-up alert on the quick changes to the gold market. My suspicion is that when the gold price starts rising, it will mean that China no longer has been given the big wide berth in high volume cheap gold purchases. A rising gold price will internally mean that the banks are breaking, at the same time the Chinese are to be frustrated. The Boyz are stealing all the Saudi gold now, left unprotected in London and Switzerland. The Saudis (and all Arabs) are the new targeted victims for stolen wealth in order to keep the system going. A massive disruption is coming.” The Arab Spring might have an ulterior motive to create enough disruption and chaos, so that their gold can be stolen from central banks. Notice the oil wealth from Iran is being converted to gold, which angers the Anglo-American duo. The rehypothecation of official gold accounts has entered a new phase. The gold owned by defenders of the Petro-Dollar is being seized, confiscated, pilfered, and stolen for the unspoken purpose of continuing the fiat paper currency regime with the tainted debauched USDollar at the center. The Saudi gold in London will be totally gone in a few more months. To be sure, it is going mostly to China. The Saudis are being gutted. They will likely be on the run soon, their gold bars cut loose. They might be hunted. [...]"  

Commentary"X22 Report #302: Will The Ukrainian Coup d'Etat Spark WWIII?" [46:36] "X22 Report is a daily show that covers issues surrounding the economic collapse. All our reports and Daily Alerts are backed up by source links. I work very hard to bring you the facts and I research everything well before presenting the report.[...]"  Note: Pretty informative overviews of what is happening geopolitically, covering much more than the main headline itself. Related: "X22 Report #301: China Says U.S. Economy Is Fake And Nothing Backs The Dollar" [02/27/14] [37:20]

Interviews: "Any Government Willing To Cooperate With The IMF Will Be Heralded As Legitimate" [03/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "Western proposed financial aid will not solve Ukraine’s economic problems Jeffrey Sommers, Professor of Political Economy told RT. But what will have an immediate impact, is if Russia raises gas prices directly impacting Kiev’s export potential. [...]"  Related: "Kiev Interim Players Expected Quick Power Grab, Desperately Need Money’" Printer Friendly Version "Rhetoric coming from the self-imposed government in Ukraine is heavily influenced by the lack of any funds in the budget, political commentator Aleksandr Nekrasov told RT, adding they were not prepared for any resistance against their power grab. [...]" 

MSM: "EU Prepares Poisoned Loan For Ukraine" [03/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "The EU reported its willingness to provide significant financial assistance to Ukraine. This is allegedly done to cover the need of $35 billion for this and subsequent years. Experts believe that the EU will strongly promote their loan because geopolitical ambitions are at stake. But what would it mean for Kiev? Pravda.Ru tried to figure this out. The economic situation in Ukraine is close to a collapse. The new authorities have announced that the treasury was empty, while the upcoming expenses will be significant. By July, Ukraine will have to pay $410 billion dollars of debt, and about $3 billion to Russia (including Gazprom). By the end of 2015, Ukraine must pay foreign creditors $17 billion, not including interest. The total financial needs of Ukraine for the current year are estimated by Russian economists at $25 billion, Bloomberg reported. [...]" 

Fail: "$473 Million In Bitcoins Vaporize As Mt. Gox Exchange Files Bankruptcy" [03/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "Due to inherent problems within the exchange mechanism used to trade the Bitcoin crypto-currency, the Mt. Gox exchange has closed up shop and filed for bankruptcy. Some $473,000,000 worth of BTC has simply vanished in what could be one of the largest digital heists in history. Investigators in Japan are inquiring into the unregulated exchange and the U.S. Federal government is also looking into it, but because of the nature of Bitcoin itself the money is, for all intents and purposes, gone. The operator of the exchange Mark Karpelès, who may or may not be involved in the disappearance of user funds has apologized for “causing trouble.” If you don’t hold it in your hand, there is always the possibility of counter party risk, as is clearly the case with the Mt. Gox Bitcoin debacle. [...]" 

MSM: "The Rape of Ukraine: Phase Two Begins" [03/01/14] Printer Friendly Version An legitimately-elected (said by all international monitors) Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has been driven from office, forced to flee as a war criminal after more than three months of violent protest and terrorist killings by so-called opposition. His “crime” according to protest leaders was that he rejected an EU offer of a vaguely-defined associate EU membership that offered little to Ukraine in favor of a concrete deal with Russia that gave immediate €15 billion debt relief and a huge reduction in Russian gas import prices. Washington at that point went into high gear and the result today is catastrophe. A secretive neo-nazi military organization reported linked to NATO played a decisive role in targeted sniper attacks and violence that led to the collapse of the elected government. But the West is not finished with destroying Ukraine. Now comes the IMF with severe conditionalities as 'prerequisite' to any Western financial help.  [...]" Related: See below.

Commentary: "IMF, Ukraine & the Profitability of Manufactured Revolutions" [03/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "Whether the government of Ukraine asked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assess their needs for money, or Christine Lagarde, acting director of the IMF simply felt it was a good sound investment, there are now talks of indebting this region to the technocrats. Lagarde said: “We are ready to respond and, in the coming days, will send an IMF fact-finding team to Kiev to undertake a preliminary dialogue with the authorities. “This will enable the IMF to make its usual technical, independent assessment of the economic situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, begin to discuss with the authorities the policy reforms that could form the basis of a Fund-supported program.” In essence, the IMF is determining if their investments in this country will yield a decent return. As of now, the Ukrainian government owes $13 billion to banking institutions. Russia has frozen accounts for Kiev worth $15 billion; making the transition into democracy quite easy. In a white paper , the IMF explained that inequality is fostering this nation’s growth as citizens watch the wealthy redistribute their money amongst themselves. [...]"   Related: See below.

Commentary: "IMF Vultures Swoop to Asset-Strip Ukraine" [02/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "Following a western-backed coup, the IMF is wasting little time in sending its vultures to asset strip Ukraine, with the announcement that the International Monetary Fund will offer financial assistance in return for “policy reforms”. Issuing the IMF’s first official response to the crisis, managing director Christine Lagarde said IMF officials would be dispatched to Ukraine to, “start discussing with the Ukrainian authorities which policy reforms would be required in exchange for an emergency loan program,” reports the Associated Press. In other words, just as it did in Greece, the IMF is about to turn Ukraine into its latest debt slave, helping western banks in looting the country of its prized assets and natural resources while imposing draconian austerity measures on the population in order to fill a $35 billion dollar hole and stop the country going into default. While Euromaidan protesters may have been deluded into thinking they were fighting for “democracy” in ousting an elected president, the kind of “democracy” the IMF practices – installing unelected technocrats accountable only to itself while robbing the host population through onerous taxes, the sell-off of public infrastructure, and painful austerity fascism – is going to make Viktor Yanukovych look like a populist in comparison. In reality, Ukraine is merely passing from being under the control of one gang of crooks to another. The rich oligarchs who once enjoyed the bounty of the resource rich country will now go scuttling back to Russia with Yanukovych, only to be usurped by IMF scavengers who will if anything intensify the pillaging. In addition, while the Yanukovych government was satisfied with its own crony brand of corruption, the IMF will impose the kind of “reforms” that will ensure Ukraine’s sovereignty is completely eviscerated and that the country remains firmly shackled with the chains of globalist debt for decades to come. As investigative reporter Greg Palast has documented, this method is part of a tried and tested formula that the IMF has used time and time again to absorb nations into the new world order. [...] In April 2001, Palast obtained leaked World Bank documents that outlined a four step process on how to loot nations of their wealth and infrastructure, placing control of resources into the hands of the banking elite. One of the final steps of the process, the “IMF riot,” detailed how the elite would plan for mass civil unrest ahead of time that would have the effect of scaring off investors and causing government bankruptcies. “This economic arson has its bright side – for foreigners, who can then pick off remaining assets at fire sale prices,” writes Palast, adding, “A pattern emerges. There are lots of losers but the clear winners seem to be the western banks and US Treasury.” In other words, the banking elite creates the very economic environment – soaring interest rates, spiraling food prices, poverty, lower standards of living – that precipitates civil unrest – and then like a vulture swoops down to devour what remains of the country’s assets on the cheap. [...]"  

Commentary: "Gold Price Rigging Fears Put Investors On Alert" [02/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "Gold may post its fourth week of gains as concern of prolonged political unrest in Ukraine raises fears of a sovereign default and contagion. This is adding to safe haven demand for gold - particularly in Eastern Europe and Russia. A breakthrough peace deal for Ukraine has halted days of violence and may bring sweeping political change, meeting many of the demands of the pro-European opposition. However, there are considerable financial and economic challenges facing Ukrainian banks, the Ukrainian pension system and the wider economy. There remains the risk of a default that could lead to contagion. [...]  The Financial Times reports this morning that global gold prices may have been manipulated on 50% of occasions between January 2010 and December 2013, according to analysis by Fideres, a consultancy. The findings come amid a probe by German and UK regulators into alleged manipulation of the gold price. Prices are set twice a day by Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Societe Generale in a process known as the London gold fixing. Fideres' research found the gold price frequently climbs, or falls, once a twice-daily conference call between the five banks begins, peaks or troughs, almost exactly as the call ends, and then experiences a sharp reversal, a pattern it alleged may be evidence of "collusive behavior." Fideres concluded that this "is indicative of panel banks' pushing the gold price upwards on the basis of a strategy that was likely predetermined before the start of the call in order to benefit their existing positions or pending orders." "The behavior of the gold price is very suspicious in 50% of cases. This is not something you would expect to see if you take into account normal market factors," said Alberto Thomas, a partner at Fideres. Pension funds, hedge funds, commodity trading advisers and futures traders are most likely to have suffered losses as a result, according to Mr Thomas. He said that many of these groups were "definitely ready" to file lawsuits.[...]"

Interviews: "The Secret Constitution and Bank Wars with Karen Hudes" [02/27/14] [31:22] "World Bank whistleblower Karen Hudes joins Buzzsaw to talk about the secret other Constitution, banking corruption on a global scale, and how secret orders have undermined freedom around the world. Unpayable debt, the worth of gold and the possibility of reforming a broken banking system is all discussed in this interview hosted by Sean Stone. [...]" 

Commentary: "Bombshell Documents Vanish in the JPMorgan-Madoff Investigation" [02/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "According to a Freedom of Information Act response received by Wall Street On Parade, Federal law enforcement may share the blame with JPMorgan Chase for allowing Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme to be perpetuated for so long. [...]"  

MSM: "James Stuart Jr., Prominent Lincoln Banker, Found Dead" [02/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "A successful Lincoln businessman and member of a prominent local family died last week. Former National Bank of Commerce CEO James Stuart Jr. was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say what caused the death. A Scottsdale, Ariz., police spokesperson could not be reached over the weekend. [...]"  

Historical: "The Richest Swindler Prince Of The New World" [02/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "In the early 1800s, a Scot named Gregor MacGregor appealed to the brave, adventurous side of his people in an attempt to get them to help him colonize a fertile, rich land that he had recently been made prince of. The land was Poyais, and there were promises of gold, silver, friendly natives, and riches for everyone. The only problem was that Poyais didn’t exist as he advertised, and that was only discovered after MacGregor raked in £3.6 billion ($5.8 billion) in today’s money and sent several ships of settlers off to the uncharted land. [...]" 

MSM: "Another Sudden Death of JPMorgan Worker: 34-Year Old Jason Alan Salais" [02/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "On the evening of Sunday, December 15 of last year, six weeks before the onset of the latest rash of tragic deaths of young men in their 30s employed at JPMorgan, the Pearland, Texas police received a call of a person in distress outside a Walgreens pharmacy at 6122 Broadway in Pearland. The individual in distress was Jason Alan Salais, a 34-year old Information Technology specialist who had worked at JPMorgan Chase since May 2008. A family member confirmed to Wall Street On Parade that Salais died of a heart attack on the same evening the report of distress went in to the police. The incidence of heart attack or myocardial infarction among men aged 20 to 39 is one half of one percent of the population [...]"  

Interviews: "An American Military Coup & Dead Banksters — Dave Hodges" [02/24/14] [28:56] "Dave Hodges from The Common Sense Show.com discusses the very real possibility of a US military coup in the US, and other topics. Dr. Jim Garrow ('former' CIA) told Dave on his show that "a coup is in process." We also discuss EU plans to confiscate the savings accounts of its citizens, Obama's MyRA which is the US government's attempt to seize OUR savings, and we discus the lengthening list of dead Banksters about which Dave says; "This is a criminal mafia organization that's trying to run the planet and key witnesses who might speak out are disappearing... I believe this is evidence tampering through murder." [...]"  Related: "Spying Insider Says US Is All Set Up For Coup" [02/15/14] [19:45] "Dr. Steve Pieczenik  ('former' CIA), with over 20 years experience in the Intel Community over 5 US administrations, talks about how we are being manipulated by the US civilian and military Intel Community that is only concerned about its own survival, draining billions to support itself in the dynamic that is destroying the United States.[...]"  

MSM: "Ukraine Faces Default As Russia Stalls" [02/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russia said earlier this week it was ready to buy Ukrainian government bonds -- part of a $15 billion financial aid package agreed in December -- but appears to have got cold feet as anti-government protests escalated. The Ukrainian finance ministry canceled the planned bond sale late Thursday. "It was Russia that refused to buy the bonds because Moscow said [the president] did not have control in his country," said Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Ukraine desperately needs the cash because it has to repay as much as $13 billion in debt this year. Three months of political turmoil have left the country dangerously short of the foreign currency reserves it needs to service its debts and pay for imports, including natural gas. It now faces a real risk of default, which would plunge the ailing economy even deeper into the mire. The protests were sparked by President Viktor Yanukovych's decision in late November to strengthen economic ties with Russia and spurn a far-reaching trade deal with the European Union. Moscow stumped up $3 billion in December but further payments have been put on hold due to the political uncertainty. Yanukovych and opposition leaders said Friday they had reached a political deal, including early presidential elections and constitutional reforms, but it remains unclear whether this will end the crisis and unlock financial support. Ukraine is due to repay about $3 billion to the International Monetary Fund in the first half of this year. [...]"

MSM: "US Stock Market-To-GDP Ratio Favored By Warren Buffett Points To Imminent 50% Crash" [02/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Whenever the Sage of Omaha is pushed on how he judges whether the US stock market is trading too high or too low he refers to the ratio between the value of US stocks and GDP as a reliable gauge of where the market stands. Analyst Doug Short has a version of the ‘Warren Buffett Indicator’ which uses the value of the Wilshire 5,000, a very broad index. It shows that stocks are more expensive than they were before the 2008 crash and almost as expensive as they were before the dot-com crash in 2000. Warren Buffett is not exactly shouting it from the roof tops but his favorite indicator is pointing to an imminent 50 per cent crash in US stocks. The main indexes are all far too high. You don’t need to be a genius like Warren Buffett to see it. [...]" 

Commentary: "12 Banker Suicides Linked To JP Morgan Investigation For Forex Manipulation" [02/22/14] [17:04] "Christopher Greene of AMTV explains the link between 12 banker suicides and JP Morgan Chase. [...]"

MSM: "China Starts To Make A Power Move Against The U.S. Dollar" [02/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "... So if China is not going to stockpile U.S. dollars or U.S. debt any longer, what is it going to stockpile? It is going to stockpile gold of course. In fact, China has been voraciously stockpiling gold for quite some time, and their hunger for gold appears to be growing. According to Bloomberg, more than 80 percent of the gold that was exported from Switzerland last month went to Asia… Switzerland sent more than 80 percent of its gold and silver bullion and coin exports to Asia last month, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration said today in an e-mailed report. It imported most from the U.K. Hong Kong was the top destination at 44 percent on a value basis, with India at 14 percent, the Bern-based customs agency said in its first breakdown of the gold trade data since 1980. Singapore accounted for 8.6 percent of exports, the United Arab Emirates 7.9 percent and China 6.3 percent. When China imports gold, most of it goes through Hong Kong. We know that imports of gold from Hong Kong into China are at an all-time record high, but we don’t know exactly how much gold China has accumulated at this point because they quit reporting that to the rest of the world a number of years ago. When it comes to global finance, China is playing chess and the United States is playing checkers. China knows that gold is a universal currency that will hold value over the long-term. As the paper currencies of the world race toward collapse, China could end up holding most of the real money and that would be a huge game changer when they finally reveal that fact… The announcement of China’s new gold hoard will send shockwaves through the financial markets, and make China and the Chinese yuan (their national currency) even bigger players at the international table. International banking expert James Rickards compared it to a game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker: “You want a big pile of chips. The U.S. has a big pile of chips, Europe has a big pile of chips. The U.S. has 8,000 tonnes [metric tons] of gold, 17 members of the euro system have 10,000 tonnes. China at 1,000 tonnes is not a player, but at 5,000 tonnes, they are a player.” [...]"  Related: "China Sells An Enormous $48 Billion Worth Of U.S. Treasuries" [02/20/14] [0:59] |"China Dumps $50 Billion in US Treasury Paper, Leaving Europe to Pick Up Slack" Printer Friendly Version "Some are saying that this latest dump by Beijing is indicative of a larger trend – of buyers remorse, as Asia moves to limit its exposure from a presumed abandonment of the dollar as the world reserve currency. [...]" 

MSM: "Secret Society Plutocrats Gather To Eat, Drink, Cross-Dress, And Laugh At The Poor" [02/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "Writing for New York, Kevin Roose reports on the annual gathering of the secretive Wall Street fraternity Kappa Beta Phi at New York’s St. Regis Hotel, where members indulged in an evening of eating, drinking, cross-dressing, and telling homophobic and sexist jokes. The current Kappas roster includes CEO’s, billionaires, and hedge fund managers from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Blackrock, AIG, Morgan Stanley Chase, Home Depot, as well as former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and ex-New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. [...]  I wasn’t going to be bribed off my story, but I understood their panic. Here, after all, was a group that included many of the executives whose firms had collectively wrecked the global economy in 2008 and 2009. And they were laughing off the entire disaster in private, as if it were a long-forgotten lark. (Or worse, sing about it — one of the last skits of the night was a self-congratulatory parody of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” called “Bailout King.”) These were activities that amounted to a gigantic middle finger to Main Street and that, if made public, could end careers and damage very public reputations. After several more minutes spent trying to do damage control, Ross and Lebenthal escorted me out of the St. Regis. [...]  The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis. The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum. The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers.[...]" Note: Audio tracks of some of the bizarre speeches given by the members are available to listen to on the page.

MSM: "3 Former Barclays Bankers Now Charged In LIBOR Scandal" [02/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "Three former Barclays bank employees have now been charged with “conspiracy to defraud” in the continuing LIBOR scandal, bringing the total to 13 people charged in America and the U.K. It has been reported that three ex-ICAP brokers are next on the list for helping traders manipulate interest rates. LIBOR is an interbank benchmark used to set the interest rates on trillions in loans all over the world. The investigation into LIBOR’s deliberate manipulation began in 2008, and it has come to light that traders at various banks all over the world have benefited financially from turning in false interest rate reports since. Thus far, Barclays and other mega banks including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland have been forced to pay billions in regard to rigging interest rates. The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that authorities in the United States, United Kingdom and EU are currently investigating a group of traders from various banks for manipulating Euribor, the euro interbank interest rate, as well. [...]"  

Commentary: "5 Signs America's Super-Rich Are Going Off The Deep End" [02/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "Is it us, or have America’s ultrawealthy been sounding increasingly unhinged lately? Despite the fact that the wealth of the 1 percent jumped 31 percent from 2009 to 2012 while the other 99 percent of America saw a gain of only 0.4 percent, the rich are very upset, and they need to tell us about it. Maybe it’s all the talk about income inequality that’s gotten them so stirred up. Whatever it is, here are five signs that the zillionaires seem to be losing it. [...] (all followed by details) 1. The rich are mouthing off in epic rants. 2. The Ivy League apologists are out ‘splainin’ in full force. 3. A new field of psychology is emerging to treat the uberwealthy. 4. They’re barricading themselves in. 5. Buying sprees are getting weirder." Related: "5-Year Torture Campaign To Take 12 Inches Of Neighbor’s Land Backfires On Crazed Banker" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "As Bank Deaths Continue to Shock, Documents Reveal JPMorgan Has Been Patenting Death Derivatives" [02/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The probability of two vibrant young men in their 30s who are employed by the same global bank but separated by an ocean dying within six days of each other is remote. And few companies are in as good a position to understand just how remote as is JPMorgan: since 2010, it has received four patents on quantifying longevity risks and structuring wagers via death derivatives. Wall Street veterans have also commented on the fact that JPMorgan may actually stand to profit from the early deaths of the two young men in their 30s.  [...]As we reported in March of last year, when the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released its report on JPMorgan’s high risk bets known as the London Whale debacle, its Exhibit 81 showed that JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office was also overseeing Bank Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) and Corporate Owned Life Insurance (COLI) plans which allow the corporation to reap huge tax benefits by taking out life insurance policies on workers – even low wage workers – and naming the corporation the beneficiary of the death benefit. Both the buildup in the policy and the benefit at death are received tax free to the corporation. [...] That things are starting to go seriously wrong was evident in a Bloomberg News report that emerged last Friday. AIG reported that it was taking a $971 million impairment charge before taxes for 2013 on its holdings of life settlement contracts because people were living longer than expected. AIG is the company that was bailed out by the U.S. taxpayer to the tune of $182 billion during the financial crisis because of bets gone wrong.[...]"   

Commentary: "Hong Kong Man Becomes 7th Banker To Die Under Mysterious Circumstances" [02/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Yet another banker has committed suicide, with a JP Morgan forex trader leaping to his death from the top of the firm’s Chater House headquarters in Hong Kong. Over the past few weeks at least seven bankers have died under mysterious circumstances, including another JP Morgan senior manager who jumped off the top of a skyscraper in London last month. [...]"  

Commentary: "$205 Trillion in Unfunded Liabilities" [02/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is acting in a bipartisan way to cover up the biggest single threat to the bipartisan political alliance that is stripping America of its wealth: the United States Congress. There is no question that the following policy is bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are completely agreed that the following information should not get out to the American people, namely, that the present value of the United States government’s off-budget liabilities is over $200 trillion. The man who has followed this for the longest time is Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University. He has created a great deal of embarrassment for the government by his relentless pursuit of the statistical implications of the statistics released by the Congressional Budget Office. The Congressional Budget Office has a way to avoid this, namely, to cease publishing the statistics that Kotlikoff has used to expose the real condition of the United States government. Kotlikoff referred to this suppression of information in an article that appeared in Forbes.[...] The CBO has two sets of books. This is what any Ponzi scheme requires. It releases one set of books to the rubes in the financial media, who are perfectly content to quote from it, when they are even aware of it. This is called the Extended Baseline Forecast or EBF. The second set of books is called the Alternative Fiscal Scenario or AFS. Here’s how Kotlikoff describes the difference. In past years, the CBO simultaneously released what it calls its Alternative Fiscal Scenario. This forecast is what CBO actually projects future taxes and spending to be given not just the laws in place, but also how Congress and the Administration have been bending and changing the laws through time. In short, the Alternative Fiscal Scenario (AFS) is what the CBO thinks we’re facing absent a truly dramatic and sustained shift in fiscal policy. Because of Kotlikoff’s ability to get news coverage for the AFS, the CBO decided this year not to publish it. Using the AFS figures, the unfunded liability is $205 trillion. This is the figure that the CBO does not want the general public, meaning the financial media, to be aware of.[...]"  

MSM: "George Soros (aka György Schwartz) Doubles His Bet That The Market Is Heading For A Crash" [02/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Soros Fund Management has doubled up a bet that the S&P 500 SPX is headed for a fall. Within Friday’s 13F filings news was the revelation that the firm, founded by legendary investor George Soros, increased a put position on the S&P 500 ETF SPY -0.04% by a whopping 154% in the fourth quarter, compared with the third. (A put or short position basically gives the owner the right to sell a security at a set price for a limited time, and in making such a bet, an investor generally believes the security is going to decline.) [...]" "In his book “The Age of Fallibility,” Soros wrote, “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.” He announced in 2003 that it is necessary to “puncture the bubble of American supremacy.” In the Atlantic Monthly of February 1997, he wrote, “The main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat.[...]"  

Commentary: "Following The Bodies: “We Are At The Precipice Of Something So Big, It Will Shake The Financial World" [02/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "In the investigative report below, Douglas Hagmann of the Northeast Intelligence Network delves deep into a world that most only believe exists in the realm of cinematic thrillers. It’s one of intrigue, corruption and murder, and it involves some of the world’s most influential firms, business leaders and politicians. There are billions, if not trillions, of dollars on the line. When the nefarious agendas of these sycophants are threatened it’s not much of a stretch of the imagination to suggest that those involved will do whatever is necessary to protect their wealth, power and influence. For them, the only way to deal with the problem is to silence it – permanently. One can chalk off the recent string of banker suicides to coincidence, but what if there were more to it? What if, for example, 39 year old Vice President of JP Morgan Gabriel Magee, who emailed his girlfriend to tell her he was “leaving the office and would see her shortly,” didn’t actually throw himself off of a 33-story building in what police claim was a “non-suspicious” fatal fall? What if the circumstances surrounding many of the deaths of these bankers and a Wall Street Journal financial reporter were the result of, as one financial insider noted a week before the deaths unfolded, a “clean up” of people who knew too much and posed a threat to the overall agenda? Much of this may be difficult to stomach for some, but considering that the people responsible for collapsing the global economy five years ago not only never faced justice for their crimes, but were rewarded with billion dollar bank deals as a result, is it foolish to suggest that there’s much more going on here than the mainstream media and Justice department officials would have us believe? It all just seems… a bit too convenient. [...]" 

Commentary: "Judge Rules Bank Of America Foreclosures Are Unconstitutional" [02/17/14] [13:16] "Susanne Posel, Chief Editor at THE US INDEPENDENT joins Gary Franchi to break down her investigation onto the recent ruling against Bank of America's Unconstitutional foreclosures... and what it means. [...]"  

MSM: "Wall Street Using Loopholes In Financial Legislation To Seize Control Of Entire Industrial Chains" [02/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Wall Street watchers have been concerned for some time about the monopolizing trend among big banks. One of the most alarming developments in recent years is a buying spree in which megabanks have been gobbling up physical assets. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has delved into this story in his characteristically colorful way, shining a light on how this particular activity took off, namely through an overlooked provision in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. This arcane-sounding piece of Clinton-era legislation ranks high on the list of Very Bad Ideas coming out of Washington since the 1980s. It essentially overturned Depression-era regulations that had kept the banking sector under control and opened the door for commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies to merge their businesses. The fine print of the bill also allowed commercial banks to dive into any activity that is “complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally.” So what exactly classifies as “complementary” to financial activity?  In reality, it has meant pretty much everything. Like, for example, oil tankers and raw materials. The result is something the public never signed off on — banks getting their mitts on entire supply chains and industrial processes. Taibbi explains how this is going down: “Today, banks like Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs own oil tankers, run airports and control huge quantities of coal, natural gas, heating oil, electric power and precious metals. They likewise can now be found exerting direct control over the supply of a whole galaxy of raw materials crucial to world industry and to society in general, including everything from food products to metals like zinc, copper, tin, nickel and, most infamously thanks to a recent high-profile scandal, aluminum.” Recently, something rotten occurred in Denmark, as Goldman Sachs launched its bid to buy a 19 percent stake in the national electricity provider, a deal that would give it control of key management decisions. The streets erupted in protest as Danes (some carrying images of vampire squids) raged at the idea that government ministers could have invited an American investment bank to exert so much control over the state energy grid. The deal actually set off a crisis in the Danish government. [...]" 

Commentary: "Subprime Mortgages Are Back…This Time Marketed As “Second Chance Purchase Programs" [02/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "With interest rates up sharply from the lows and Blackstone and other private equity firms holding billions of dollars with of properties with no one to sell to, the time is ripe for a little muppet fleecing. Leading the charge to find new tax-payer backed subprime loans to take some properties off the hands of Mr. Schwarzman is none other than Wells Fargo. I previously forecasted this in my piece: Stage Two of the Housing Bubble Begins: Blackstone to Lend to Others for “Buy to Rent.” They aren’t the only ones though. Citadel Servicing Corp, the country’s biggest subprime lender, is also getting in the action. The best and worst part of this story is the way these new loans are being marketed. Specifically, as ”Low Credit Score Debt Consolidation Program” as well as a “Second Chance Purchase Program.” This Central Bankster game isn’t complicated. Provide access to cheap funds to financial cronies, pump the bubble, fleece the serfs. Rinse. Repeat. [...]"  

Commentary: "20 Signs The Global Economic Crisis Is Starting To Catch Fire" [02/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "If you have been waiting for the "global economic crisis" to begin, just open up your eyes and look around. I know that most Americans tend to ignore what happens in the rest of the world because they consider it to be "irrelevant" to their daily lives, but the truth is that the massive economic problems that are currently sweeping across Europe, Asia and South America are going to be affecting all of us here in the U.S. very soon. Sadly, most of the big news organizations in this country seem to be more concerned about the fate of Justin Bieber's wax statue in Times Squarethan about the horrible financial nightmare that is gripping emerging markets all over the planet. After a brief period of relative calm, we are beginning to see signs of global financial instability that are unlike anything that we have witnessed since the financial crisis of 2008. As you will see below, the problems are not just isolated to a few countries. This is truly a global phenomenon. Over the past few years, the Federal Reserve and other global central banks have inflated an unprecedented financial bubble with their reckless money printing. Much of this "hot money" poured into emerging markets all over the world. But now that the Federal Reserve has begun "tapering" quantitative easing, investors are taking this as a sign that the party is ending. Money is being pulled out of emerging markets all over the globe at a staggering pace and this is creating a tremendous amount of financial instability. In addition, the economic problems that have been steadily growing over the past few years in established economies throughout Europe and Asia just continue to escalate. The following are 20 signs that the global economic crisis is starting to catch fire... [...]"  

Commentary: "6 Financial Monsters That Have Only Gotten Bigger After Destroying the Economy" [02/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Before the crash of September 2008—the worst economic downturn in the United States since the 1929 crash that marked the beginning of the Great Depression—most Americans had never heard the term "too big to fail." But that term became all too familiar when hundreds of billions of dollars were set aside to bail out the nation's largest financial institutions. And many of the mega-banks that caused the panic of 2008 have become even larger. [...]"  

MSM: "Norway: No Bank Should Be Promised "Eternal Life" [02/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "The governor of the Central Bank of Norway (Norges Bank) has called for his country to intensify reforms so that the country's taxpayer will not have to bail out its banks in a future financial crisis. "No bank should be promised eternal life," Øystein Olsen said in his annual address on Thursday, as he called for a new national agency to be set up to deal with distressed banks. "A market functions best when there is scope for new entrants and for the closure of loss-making companies. The same applies to financial markets." Norway's banks escaped the 2008 financial crisis unscathed, partly as a result of the reforms that followed Norway's major banking crisis from 1988 to 1993, which saw two out of the country's four largest banks lose all their capital.  "It may be necessary to provide support to banks in distress. But it comes with a major drawback," he said. "Banks will also expect support in the future, which is a source of moral hazard." [...]" 

Max Keiser: "Banksters’ Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy" [02/14/14]   [25:46] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the thousands of think tanks convincing populations to think of the King Joffrey Defense as a legitimate one when an elite murders innocent bystanders or financial markets. They also discuss the housing that is killing productivity in Australia and the UK, but policymakers in both countries are in love with their housing market captors. In the second half, Max and Simon Rose of Save Our Savers diagnose the UK economy with Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy, the Stockholm Syndrome & being trapped in the Matrix. [...]"  

Commentary: "Europe Considers Wholesale Savings Confiscation, Enforced Redistribution" [02/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "At first we thought Reuters had been punk’d in its article titled “EU executive sees personal savings used to plug long-term financing gap” which disclosed the latest leaked proposal by the European Commission, but after several hours without a retraction, we realized that the story is sadly true. Sadly, because everything that we warned about in “There May Be Only Painful Ways Out Of The Crisis” back in September of 2011, and everything that the depositors and citizens of Cyprus had to live through, seems on the verge of going continental. In a nutshell, and in Reuters’ own words, “the savings of the European Union’s 500 million citizens could be used to fund long-term investments to boost the economy and help plug the gap left by banks since the financial crisis, an EU document says.” What is left unsaid is that the “usage” will be on a purely involuntary basis, at the discretion of the “union”, and can thus best be described as confiscation. The source of this stunner is a document seen be Reuters, which describes how the EU is looking for ways to “wean” the 28-country bloc from its heavy reliance on bank financing and find other means of funding small companies, infrastructure projects and other investment. [...] The only remaining question is: why leak this now? Perhaps it’s simply because the reallocation of “cash on the savings account sidelines” in the aftermath of the Cyprus deposit confiscation, into risk assets was not forceful enough? What better way to give it a much needed boost than to leak that everyone’s cash savings are suddenly fair game in Europe’s next great wealth redistribution strategy[...]""  

Commentary: "All Wars Are Bankers' Wars" Michael Rivero [02/14/14] Printer Friendly Version Video clip  [43:33]  "I know many people have a great deal of difficulty comprehending just how many wars are started for no other purpose than to force private central banks onto nations, so let me share a few examples, so that you understand why the US Government is mired in so many wars against so many foreign nations. There is ample precedent for this. The United States fought the American Revolution primarily over King George III's Currency act, which forced the colonists to conduct their business only using printed bank notes borrowed from the Bank of England at interest. After the revolution, the new United States adopted a radically different economic system in which the government issued its own value-based money, so that private banks like the Bank of England were not siphoning off the wealth of the people through interest-bearing bank notes. "The refusal of King George 3rd to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution." -- Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father [...] But bankers are nothing if not dedicated to their schemes to acquire your wealth, and know full well how easy it is to corrupt a nation's leaders. Just one year after Mayer Amschel Rothschild had uttered his infamous "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws", the bankers succeeded in setting up a new Private Central Bank called the First Bank of the United States, largely through the efforts of the Rothschild's chief US supporter, Alexander Hamilton. Founded in 1791, by the end of its twenty year charter the First Bank of the United States had almost ruined the nation's economy, while enriching the bankers. Congress refused to renew the charter and signaled their intention to go back to a state issued value based currency on which the people paid no interest at all to any banker. This resulted in a threat from Nathan Mayer Rothschild against the US Government, "Either the application for renewal of the charter is granted, or the United States will find itself involved in a most disastrous war." Congress still refused to renew the charter for the First Bank of the United States, whereupon Nathan Mayer Rothschild railed, "Teach those impudent Americans a lesson! Bring them back to colonial status!" The British Prime Minister at the time, Spencer Perceval was adamently opposed to war with the United States, primarily because the majority of England's military might was occupied with the ongoing Napoleonic wars. Spencer Perceval was concerned that Britain might not prevail in a new American war, a concern shared by many in the British government. Then, Spencer Perceval was assassinated (the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated in office) and replaced by Robert Banks Jenkinson, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool, who was fully supportive of a war to recapture the colonies. Financed at virtually no interest by the Rothschild controlled Bank of England, Britain then provoked the war of 1812 to recolonize the United States and force them back into the slavery of the Bank of England, or to plunge the United States into so much debt they would be forced to accept a new private central bank. And the plan worked.[...]"  

Commentary: "At Least 20 Dead Bankers: Celente On Alex Jones" [02/14/14] [9:20] "According to this brand new video just released on the Gerald Celente YT channel with Alex Jones from Infowars, at least 20 bankers have mysteriously died within the last several weeks. While it has been reported that 5 top level bankers have been suicided, Alex’s research has found an entirely new slew of lower level bankers also ‘eliminated’. This video shares more proof of an organized campaign to ‘eliminate’ those who could imprison the ‘criminal elite’ for their financial crimes against the rest of humanity. Dead bankers can’t talk. Celente and Jones share more proof that the markets are rigged and that a massive cover-up is in progress. [...]" 

MSM: "House On Tuesday Approved A Debt Ceiling Increase Without Conditions" [02/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "With narrow Republican support, the House on Tuesday approved a debt ceiling increase without conditions. The bill allowed an extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority for one year. [...]" 

Commentary: "JPMorgan Vice President’s Death in London Shines a Light on the Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA" [02/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "The nonstop crime news swirling around JPMorgan Chase for a solid 18 months has started to feel a little spooky – they do lots of crime but never any time; and with each closed case, a trail of unanswered questions remains in the public’s mind. One reason that JPMorgan may have such a spooky feel is that it has aligned itself in no small way with real-life spooks, the CIA kind. [...]  If JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, needed a little crisis management help from operatives, he has no shortage of people to call upon. Thomas Higgins was, until a few months ago, a Managing Director and Global Head of Operational Control for JPMorgan. (A BusinessWeek profile shows Higgins still employed at JPMorgan while the New York Post reported that he left late last year.) What is not in question is that Higgins was previously the Senior Officer and Station Chief in the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, a component of which is the National Resources Division. (Higgins’ bio is printed in past brochures of the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, where Higgins is listed with his JPMorgan job title, former CIA job title, and as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors for 2013.) According to Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek on November 14, the National Resources Division (NR) is the “biggest little CIA shop you’ve never heard of.” One good reason you’ve never heard of it until now is that the New York Times was asked not to name it in 2001. James Risen writes in a New York Times piece: [the CIA’s] “New York station was behind the false front of another federal organization, which intelligence officials requested that The Times not identify. The station was, among other things, a base of operations to spy on and recruit foreign diplomats stationed at the United Nations, while debriefing selected American business executives and others willing to talk to the C.I.A. after returning from overseas.” Stein gets much of that out in the open in his piece for Newsweek, citing sources who say that “its intimate relations with top U.S. corporate executives willing to have their companies fronting for the CIA invites trouble at home and abroad.” Stein goes on to say that NR operatives “cultivate their own sources on Wall Street, especially looking for help keeping track of foreign money sloshing around in the global financial system, while recruiting companies to provide cover for CIA operations abroad. And once they’ve seen how the other 1 percent lives, CIA operatives, some say, are tempted to go over to the other side.” We now know that it was not only the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Treasury Department’s FinCEN, and bank examiners from the Comptroller of the Currency who missed the Madoff fraud, it was top snoops at the CIA in the very city where Madoff was headquartered.[...]"  Related: See below

Corbett Report: "Bankster Suicides and Bank Run Chatter" [02/13/14] [14:11] "Video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. [...]" 

MSM: "Another JP Morgan Banker Dies: Ryan Henry Crane, Executive Director Global Program Trading" [02/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ryan Henry Crane of Stamford died Monday, Feb. 3. He was 37. Crane was born Jan. 8, 1977, and grew up in Long Valley, N.J. He graduated from The Delbarton School in Morristown in 1995. He graduated from Harvard University in 1999, after which he spent the next 14 years at J.P. Morgan in New York. He was an executive director in the Global Equities Group.  [...]"  

Commentary: "Justice Dept. Sued Over Validity Of $13 Billion Chase Mortgage Settlement" [02/11/14] "Remember back in November when JPMorgan reached the massive $13 billion settlement with the Justice Dept. over allegations tied to toxic mortgage-backed securities sold to investors before the housing market went kerflumpp? A non-profit group filed suit today against the DOJ, challenging the validity of the deal and asking for a court to review it. The group, Better Markets, filed the complaint [PDF] in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., claiming that in exchange for the $13 billion, the DOJ gave Chase “complete civil immunity from DOJ for years of pervasive, egregious, and knowing alleged fraud and other illegal conduct related to the worst financial crash in the U.S. since 1929.” In spite of the fact that this was the largest settlement ever reached by the government in a suit involving a single bank, Better Markets says nothing about the process was transparent. “[T]his contract was the product of negotiations conducted entirely in secret behind closed doors, in significant part by the Attorney General personally, who directly negotiated with the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, the bank’s ‘chief negotiator,’” reads the complaint. “No one other than those involved in those secret negotiations has any idea what JPMorgan Chase really did or got for its $13 billion because there was no judicial review.” Better Markets maintains that because of the lack of disclosure about the settlements and the negotiation process “no one has any ability to determine if the $13 Billion Agreement is fair, adequate, reasonable, and in the public interest or if it is a sweetheart deal” for Chase. Among the questions raised by the complaint: How much did Chase’s victims ultimately lose through these alleged frauds? Perhaps more importantly, how much did Chase profit? [...]" 

MSM: "Suspicious Death Of JPMorgan Vice President, Gabriel Magee, Under Investigation In London" [02/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "London Police have confirmed that an official investigation is underway into the death of a 39-year old JPMorgan Vice President whose body was found on the 9th floor rooftop of a JPMorgan building in Canary Wharf two weeks ago. An intense investigation is now underway into the details of exactly how Magee died and why his death was so quickly labeled “non suspicious.” An upcoming Coroner’s inquest will reveal the details of that investigation. According to numerous sources close to the investigation of Gabriel Magee’s death, almost nothing thus far reported about his death has been accurate. This appears to stem from an initial poorly worded press release issued by the Metropolitan Police in London which may have been a result of bad communications between it and JPMorgan or something more deliberate on someone’s part. [...] The Independent newspaper in London flatly stated that Magee “died after falling from the roof.” The London Evening Standard tweeted: “Bankers watch JP Morgan IT exec fall to his death from roof of London HQ,” which linked to their article which declared in its opening sentence that “A man plunged to his death from a Canary Wharf tower in front of thousands of horrified commuters today.” At this moment in time, police have yet to produce a single witness who saw Magee jump from the rooftop of this building, let alone “thousands of horrified commuters.” Both the Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers are majority owned by Alexander Lebedev, a Russian and former KGB agent. No one in the media seemed to notice that Iain Dey, Deputy Business Editor of the Sunday Times in London, flatly disputed the notion that a plunge from the rooftop had been observed by anyone when he reported that: “Gabriel Magee’s body lay for several hours before it was found at 8am last Tuesday.” No solid evidence exists currently to suggest that the death was a suicide. In fact, there is a strong piece of evidence pointing in the opposite direction" [...]"  

MSM: "Rich Chinese Flee To United States…And Bring Their Money With Them" [02/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "Many of China’s wealthy are fleeing their home country and settling in the United States, where better schools and other opportunities await. The 2012 Annual Report of Chinese International Migration shows immigration from China is growing, with most heading to the U.S. Nearly 90,000 Chinese became permanent U.S. residents in 2011. The migration includes a significant number of rich Chinese. At least 25% of those worth more than $16 million have fled the country, and nearly half of this group (47%) is thinking of leaving, according to the report. The United Nations reported last year that the number of foreign-born Chinese Americans in the U.S. doubled between 2000 and 2010. There are about 3.8 million Chinese in the country, of which 2.2 million were born in China. The Chinese ex-pats cite various reasons for leaving their Asian homeland, including “political reform, infrastructure improvements, pollution, and education,” according to the study. However, the single biggest motivator, by far, is their dissatisfaction with China’s education system. About 80% say they want a better education for their children, and hope to find it in the U.S. or the other countries to which they’ve relocated. Parents say China’s schools emphasize too much rote learning, taking tests, and “patriotic education” approved by the Communist Party. Departing China, Mark Kitto explained in a farewell letter, according to GlobalPost, that “one overriding reason” for leaving his home country was “want[ing] to give my children a decent education. The domestic Chinese lower education system does not educate. It is a test center. And then there is the propaganda.” [...]"  Note: As if there is none of that here.   Related: "Keiser Report: Fraud De Facto Business Model"   [25:45] "We discuss the tigers, flies and naked officials fleeing China for the U.S. where corruption is not being cracked down on. We also discuss the naked pork bun running London and what to expect for the housing bubble if China does crackdown on corruption. In the second half, Max interviews Linda Kaucher of Stop TTIP about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as a plan for permanent neoliberalism and regulatory harmonisation. Under the deal, ‘trade irritants’ such as biased national laws will be eradicated via an arbitration panel which will judge ONLY on free trade criteria. Max notes that David Cameron seems to be benchmarking UK policy against US disasters. [...]"  

MSM: "UK: Barclays Account Details For Sale As 'Gold Mine' Of Up To 27,000 Files Is Leaked" [02/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "Barclays Bank is reeling from an unprecedented security breach after thousands of confidential customer files were stolen and sold on to rogue City traders. In the worst case of data loss from a British High Street bank, highly sensitive information, including customers’ earnings, savings, mortgages, health issues and insurance policies, ended up in the hands of unscrupulous brokers. The data ‘gold mine’ - also containing passport and national insurance numbers - is worth millions on the black market because it allowed unsuspecting individuals to be targeted in investment scams. Barclays last night launched an urgent investigation and promised to co-operate with police. It is not clear how the records were stolen, but the bank could face an unlimited fine if found guilty of putting customers’ details at risk. The leak was exposed by an anonymous whistleblower who passed The Mail on Sunday a memory stick containing files on 2,000 of the bank’s customers. He claimed it was a sample from a stolen database of up to 27,000 files, which he said could be sold by shady salesmen for up to £50 per file. ‘This is the worst [leak] I’ve come across by far,’ said the former commodity broker. ‘But this illegal trade is going on all the time in the City. I want to go public to stop it getting bigger.’ Barclays, which was fined £290 million in 2012 for its part in the Libor rigging scandal, said it would contact the customers as soon as possible. The loss is a breach of its obligation under the Data Protection Act to keep personal information secure. The Barclays data appears to have been actively stolen and ended up in the hands of unscrupulous salesmen. The revelation comes as the bank is bracing itself for a row over bonuses, with as much as £2.4 billion set to be handed out to staff. [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "U.S. Post Office Banking Could Be Start Of Something Big" [02/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "With one in four American households partially or entirely excluded from the current banking system, and with the U.S. Post Office in search of additional revenue, why not use the postal system to offer banking services to lower-income households? In fact, this is an idea whose time has already come, more than once. Many nations – among them Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Israel, and Brazil – provide or have provided some form of postal banking services. So did the United States, until 1966. It’s hardly a radical idea. The U.S. system was voted into law in 1910, during the presidency of William Howard Taft. In any case, a better way to describe it would be as a beginning. What better way to start a much-needed transformation of our financial sector than by providing services to those communities the financial industry refers to as the “unbanked”? Right now those communities are routinely victimized by predatory payday lenders. [...] Sen. Elizabeth Warren has endorsed the postal-banking concept, which David Dayen describes in more detail here. As Sen. Warren wrote recently, “if the Postal Service offered basic banking services — nothing fancy, just basic bill paying, check cashing and small-dollar loans — then it could provide affordable financial services for underserved families, and, at the same time, shore up its own financial footing.” The report that stimulated all this new discussion [PDF] was written by the Post Office’s Inspector General, and it makes a compelling case."  [...]  Who wouldn’t benefit from this proposal? Well, there are the payday lenders, of course. Then there are the politicians they support, and to serve them in return, like Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. The other politicians and lobbyists who feed at the trough, a spectacle which only becomes publicly visible when their lobbying succeeds – which is often. And then there are the big banks who underwrite the payday lending industry to a large, and largely invisible, extent. Those banks were bailed out by the American taxpayer, and continue to benefit from implicit and explicit government subsidies. As the big-money interests band together to decry postal banking as “socialism,” it might be worth asking them why it’s not socialistic to keep bailing out the private-sector predators who currently dominate this market. [...] But there are other reasons to support this concept, too. If it works – and it will, if managed correctly – it will be a great boon for the transformative idea of public banking. Public banking can include state-owned lending institutions like the Bank of North Dakota, county banks, and cooperatives.  Obama’s MyRA savings plan is also a form of public banking. Even Sen. Warren’s plan to link student loan rates to the rates which private banks get from the Federal Reserve is a variation on the public-banking theme.[...]"

Concepts and Practices: "US Government Hits Debt Limit Again" [02/08/14] Printer Friendly Version [4:33] "The US government has once again hit its debt limit four months after Washington diffused last year's government shutdown. Under the budget deal passed by Congress in October, the debt limit was temporarily suspended to end the government shutdown. However, the suspension ended on Friday, which means the federal government’s borrowing limit will reset on Saturday to the current level, which is about $17.2 trillion. The Treasury Department has resorted to “extraordinary measures” to stay under the debt limit and temporarily prevent a default. The department warned that the government could default by the end of the month if Congress does not raise the limit on public borrowing. [...]"  Related: "Boehner: ‘We’re Not Going To Default’ On Debt" Printer Friendly Version | "The Persistence Of Selective Deficit Disorder" Printer Friendly Version "Cognitive dissonance" is the clinical term used to describe stress that arises from holding contradictory beliefs. In politics, this term is a misnomer, because while many lawmakers, operatives and activists present oxymoronic views, many of them don't appear to feel any stress about that. When it comes to budgetary matters, such a lack of remorse translates into something even worse than cognitive dissonance — something more akin to pathology. It is what I've previously called Selective Deficit Disorder — and it was hard to miss in the last few weeks. [...]"  

Commentary: "Bank Of England Encouraged Currency Manipulation By Private Banks" [02/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "This report by Bloomberg confirms that yet another conspiracy theory is fact, as at least one central bank has been exposed to not only have known about a criminal activity that is now costing the jobs of hundreds of traders (and should lead to jail time), but to have urged it on. From Bloomberg: "Bank of England officials told currency traders it wasn’t improper to share impending customer orders with counterparts at other firms, a practice at the heart of a widening probe into alleged market manipulation, according to a person who has seen notes turned over to regulators. A senior trader gave his notes from a private April 2012 meeting of currency dealers and two central bank staff members to the Financial Conduct Authority about six weeks ago because of mounting media coverage of the investigation, said the person, who asked not to be named while probes are under way. Traders representing some of the world’s biggest banks told officials at the meeting that they shared information about aggregate orders before currency benchmarks were set, three people with knowledge of the discussion said. The officials said there wasn’t a policy on such communications and that banks should make their own rules, according to the people. The notes could drag the U.K. central bank into another market-rigging scandal two years after it was criticized by lawmakers for failing to act on warnings that Libor was vulnerable to abuse. If traders can show “they made Bank of England officials aware of practices in the FX market some time ago, then the bank will be at risk of being characterized as having endorsed, by its silence and inaction, the very practices which are now under investigation,” said Simon Hart, a lawyer at RPC LLP in London. [...]  

Commentary: "SAC Capital Ex-Trader Convicted Of Insider Trading" [02/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "A former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager was convicted Thursday of helping the company owned by billionaire Steven A. Cohen earn more than a quarter-billion dollars illegally through trades based on secrets about the testing of a potential breakthrough Alzheimer's drug. The verdict capped a monthlong trial that featured testimony from two prominent doctors who confessed to spilling secrets to Mathew Martoma during paid consultations in the summer of 2008. Martoma was expressionless as the jury forewoman announced he was guilty of two counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Tears streamed down the face of his wife, Rosemary, whose hands were folded on her yellow dress. No sentencing date was set. When prosecutors announced the case in November 2012, they said it may be the most lucrative insider trading scheme of all time. The trial also put a spotlight on Cohen, showing he had a 20-minute phone call with Martoma a day before the Stamford, Conn.-based firm began selling a large position in pharmaceutical stocks that enabled what prosecutors said were mammoth illegal profits. Martoma is the eighth portfolio manager or research analyst at SAC Capital to be convicted or plead guilty to criminal charges in an insider trading case. Despite his conviction, prosecutors appeared no closer to what his lawyer claimed during trial was their chief goal: to prosecute Cohen. Prosecutors, in a press release on the verdict, declined to even name Cohen, referencing him only as the "SAC Owner."[...]" 

Buffoonery: "JPMorgan’s Blythe Masters To Join CFTC ‘Swaps Regulator Panel’" [02/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "Blythe Masters, head of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s commodities division, is joining an advisory committee of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said Steve Adamske, a spokesman for the regulator. Masters, 44, was invited by acting Chairman Mark Wetjen to sit on a global markets committee at the Washington-based regulator of futures and swaps, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Masters is scheduled to participate in a CFTC meeting on Feb. 12 to discuss cross-border guidance on rules, the person said. JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, is selling the part of its commodities division dealing in physical assets, such as metals and oil, as regulators examine whether federally backed lenders should be involved in those markets. Masters probably wouldn’t join Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., which is in exclusive talks for the unit, a person with knowledge of the auction said this week.  [...]"  Note: She should be in prison for what she has done. See the link at the top of this panel entitled "Creation of Credit Derivatives" Related: "Blythe Masters Withdraws From CFTC After Furious Twitter Backlash" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Fed Rattling Emerging Markets to Keep U.S. Propped Up -Gregory Mannarino" [02/06/14] [25:01] "Analyst and stock trader Gregory Mannarino says the market meltdown this week was caused by the Fed and weak economy. Mannarino says, “We understand there is a dynamic that has been changing here in the market with regard to the Fed’s purchasing mortgage-backed securities and bonds. This has rattled the emerging markets. They’re having problems with their currencies . . . The Federal Reserve has created an environment of distortions. By them pulling back some of this liquidity from the global economy, they’ve caused problems in these emerging markets, and this is being done on purpose.” What is the Fed trying to accomplish by destabilizing emerging market countries? Mannarino claims, “So, by rattling the emerging markets here, they are going to force investors into U.S. equities and into the U.S. bond market. It’s sort of a backdoor stimulus. . . . This just keeps the party going. That’s all this is.” This may work in the short term, but it is not long term bullish for the markets. Mannarino warns, “We have this issue with the U.S. economy. They have been force feeding us nonsense . . .  [...]" 

Commentary: "Goldman Sachs Sued for Selling Libya Billions in “Worthless” Options" [02/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank, is being sued in London for selling Libya “worthless” derivatives trades in 2008 that the country’s financial managers did not understand. Libya says it lost approximately $1.2 billion on the deals, while Goldman made $350 million. At the time, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which invests profits from the country’s oil and gas exports, had assets worth $60 billion under former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.Goldman Sachs convinced LIA to buy long-term call options on six companies: Allianz, a German insurance and investment company; Banco Santander, a Spanish bank; Citbank, a U.S. bank; Électricité de France, a French state utility; ENI, an Italian oil company; and UniCredit, an Italian bank. What the Libyans did not understand was that if the stocks in these six companies did not rise, their investments would become worthless. Instead the LIA executives weretaken in by a trip to Morocco as well as “small gifts, such as aftershaves and chocolates” and an offer of an internship for Mustafa Mohamed Zarti, the brother of the Libyan fund’s deputy executive director, in Dubai and London. “The unique circumstances allowed Goldman Sachs to take advantage of the LIA’s extremely limited financial and legal experience to deliberately exploit its position of influence and to take advantage in a way that generated colossal losses for the LIA but substantial profits for Goldman Sachs,” said LIA Chairman AbdulMagid Breish in a statement. [...]" 

Commentary: "Government Pockets $66 Billion In Profit From Student Loans: GAO Report" [02/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Government Accountability Office released a report on Friday stating that it is impossible to precisely set borrowing interest rates in advance on federal student loans. As a result, the federal government has earned an estimated $66 billion in profits from loans originated from 2007 to 2012. The GAO report was ordered as a part of a compromise on student loan rates last year. The “Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act” of 2013 ended months of cantankerous debate and replaced a sunsetted provision that set federal loans rate at 3.4 percent. The new bill tied the interest rates to the rate of the 10-year Treasury notes plus 2.05 percent, with maximum rate caps established. The Direct Loan rate is currently at 4.65 percent. "This is obscene. The government should not be making $66 billion in profits off the backs of our students,’’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a statement in response to the report.[...]  The GAO report cautioned that the $66 billion estimate is dependent on the repayment of the loans, which could take as long as 40 years. Per the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, over 7 million student loan borrowers are currently in default and roughly a third of all Federal Direct Loan Program borrowers have chosen an alternative repayment scheme. The GAO report was ordered due to reports from the summer of 2013 indicating that the Education Department was prepared to pocket a $41.3 billion profit from its fiscal year 2013 loans — a decrease from fiscal year’s 2012 profit by $3.6 billion, but enough to make the Department of Education the third most-profitable corporation in the world if the agency was a for-profit organization. [...] The Department of Education called the allegation misleading, as it does not acknowledge market conditions, borrowers’ willingness to repay the debt (market risk) or administrative costs. The report found that administrative costs have grown from $314 million to $864 million from 2007 to 2012. However, the cost per borrower has stayed steady and the growth came from a 300 percent growth in the number of Direct Loans serviced due to the federal government’s termination of the private lender program in 2009."  Note: Yeah, it's a boondoggle based on an archaic social promise to the young which fell apart in the 1970's ... so it is profit based on deception, and little effort was ever made conceptually to ever connect the idea of employment directly with education, in a similar way that it used to be done in Japan, at the very least. 

Commentary: "Dead Bankers, Missing Reporter, And Unfolding Wall Street Scandals" [02/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "In a span of four days last week, two current executives and one recently retired top ranking executive of major financial firms were found dead. Both media and police have been quick to label the deaths as likely suicides. Missing from the reports is the salient fact that all three of the financial firms the executives worked for are under investigation for potentially serious financial fraud. The deaths began on Sunday, January 26. London police reported that William Broeksmit, a top executive at Deutsche Bank who had retired in 2013, had been found hanged in his home in the South Kensington section of London. The day after Broeksmit was pronounced dead, Eric Ben-Artzi, a former risk analyst turned whistleblower at Deutsche Bank, was scheduled to speak at Auburn University in Alabama on his allegations that Deutsche had hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis with the knowledge of senior executives. Two other whistleblowers have brought similar charges against Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank is also under investigation by global regulators for potentially rigging the foreign exchange markets – an action similar to the charges it settled in 2013 over its traders’ involvement in the rigging of the interest rate benchmark, Libor.[...]"  

Commentary: "Death and Derivatives: Towards the Implosion of the Global Financial System" [02/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "On Sunday a former Senior Deutsche Bank manager, William Broeksmit, was found hanged at his house. He was the retired Head of Risk Optimization for the bank and a close personal friend of Deutsche’s Co-Chief Executive, Anshu Jain. Mr Broeksmit became head of Risk Optimization in 2008. He retired in February 2013. Early this morning, Gabriel Magee, a Vice President of CIB (Corporate and Investment Banking) Technology at JP Morgan jumped to his death from the top of the bank’s 33 story European Headquarters in Canary Wharf. As a VP of CIB Technology Mr Magee’s job would have been to work closely with the Bank’s senior Risk Managers providing the technology which monitored every aspect of the bank’s exposure to financial risk. These deaths could well be completely unrelated and just terribly sad for their respective families. On the other hand neither of these men had any obvious problems and both were immensely wealthy. So why would two senior bankers commit suicide within a couple of days of each other? [...] One place to start is to note that JP Morgan Chase had, at the end of 2012, a mind boggling, but only silver medal, $69.5 Trillion with a ‘T’ gross notional Deriviatives exposure . While the gold medal for exposure to Derivative risk goes to …Deutsche Bank, with $72.8 or €55.6 Trillion Gross Notional Exposure. Gross Notional means this is the face value of all the derivative deals it has signed. Which the bank would be very quick to tell you would Net Out to far, far less. Netting Out, for those of you who do not know just means that a bet/contract in one direction is considered to balance or cancel out a similar sized bet/contract betting the other way. But as I wrote in Propaganda War – Risk Weighted Lies and further in Propaganda Wars – Balance Sheet Instabilities , …this sort of canceling out is fine on paper but in reality is more akin to people trying to swap sides in a rowing boat. Both of the men who killed themselves were intimately concerned with judging and safeguarding their bank from risk."To give you an idea what sort of risk that size of a derivatives book is, consider that the entire GDP of Germany is €2.7 Trillion. Remember that Derivatives are what Warren Buffet dubbed “weapons of financial mass destruction.” Next question might be, when do these weapons become dangerous? The answer obvioulsy varies in accordance with the type of derivative you are considering. One huge group of derivatives that both JP Morgan and Deutsche both deal very heavily in are currency and interest rate swaps. They become dangerous when there are large moves in currency values and interest rates.[...]"  

MSM: "Third Banker, Former Fed Member, “Found Dead” Inside A Week" [02/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "If the stock market were already crashing then it would be simple to blame the dismally sad rash of dead bankers in the last week on that – certainly that was reflected in 1929. However, for the third time in the last week, a senior financial executive has died in what appears to be a suicide. As Bloomberg reports, following the deaths of a JPMorgan senior manager (Tuesday) and a Deutsche Bank executive (Sunday), Russell Investments’ Chief Economist (and former Fed economist) Mike Dueker was found dead at the side of a highway in Washington State. Police said the death appeared to be a suicide. [...]" 

MSM: "World Bank Ex-Chief Economist: Replace National Currency Reserve Concept With A Global Currency" [01/31/14] Printer Friendly Version "Former World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin warned that “the dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises,” we suspect the world will begin to listen (especially the Chinese. Lin, now – notably – an adviser to the Chinese government, concludes that internationalizing the Chinese currency is not the answer (preferring a basket approach) but ominously concludes, “the solution to this is to replace a national currency with a global currency,” as it will create more stable global financial system. [...]"  

Overview: HSBC Bank background articles:[01/30/14] See below: 2014: "HSBC Bank Allegedly On Verge Of Collapse: Second Major Banking Crash Imminent" [01/26/14]; "Furious Backlash Forces HSBC To Scrap Large Cash Withdrawal Limit"[01/26/14]; "Big Banks Launder Billions of Illegal Drug Cartel Money … But Refuse to Provide Services for Legal Marijuana" [01/15/14] ; 2013: "Money Laundering and The Drug Trade: The Role of the Banks" [10/21/13]; "HSBC Money Laundering Whistleblower Tells All" [10/12/13]; "Fives Tons Of Customer Gold Leave The HSBC Vault" [09/26/13]; "Whistleblower: HSBC Still Laundering Money For Terrorists, Drug Cartels" [09/21/13]; "Banks Face £1billion Bill For Misrepresenting Credit Card Fraud Insurance" [07/21/13];"HSBC Judge Approves $1.9B Drug-Money Laundering Accord" [07/02/13] Printer Friendly Version "the bank agreed not to contest criminal charges of failing to maintain an effective anti-money-laundering program, failing to conduct due diligence, and violating the Trading With the Enemy Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act."; "Former VP of HSBC: "We Were Laundering 100′s Of Millions for Drugs" [06/23/13]; "Argentina Hits HSBC With Fresh Claims The Bank Laundered $100 million" [03/20/13]; "DOJ Urges Federal Court to Approve Sweetheart Deal with Drug-Tainted HSBC" [03/12/13]; "Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail" Mat Taibbi, Rolling Stone" [02/15/13]; "HSBC Buys $876 Million Worth of Silver" [01/24/13] (List of related 2012 articles available from the 2012-B Banking archives): "Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations HSBC Money Laundering Case History" PDF [12/17/12]; HSBC Backlash: Oregon Sen. Merkeley Accuses DoJ of Violating Congress's Laws Against Terrorism; British Role Exposed" [12/16/12]; Video -"HSBC Couldn't Track $60 Trillion in Suspicious Activity?" [5:29] [12/16/12]; Greek Journalist Acquitted for Blowing Tax Fraud Whistle" [11/14/12]; Widespread Corruption Linked to Private HSBC Accounts" [11/14/12] ; "Obama May Levy Carbon Tax To Cut The U.S. Deficit, HSBC Says" [11/08/12] ; "HSBC Caught in New Drug Money Laundering Scandal" [11/05/12] ; "HSBC Caught in New Drug Money Laundering Scandal" [11/05/12] ; "Criminal Banking Cartel Dominates US, British Governments" [08/05/12]; "Drug Money And Terrorism Fuel HSBC? – Senate Probe" [07/18/12] ; "Many Wall Street Executives Says Wrongdoing Is Necessary: Survey" [07/11/12]; and of course "How 9 Banks Are Exposed To $200 Trillion Worth Of Derivatives" [04/24/12] Printer Friendly Version " Combined, these nine banks are exposed to $228.72 trillion in derivatives, a shockingly high number. That number, as Demonocracy states, is worth approximately three times the entire world economy. ... HSBC has a derivative exposure of $4.321 Trillion dollars. HSBC is a Hong Kong based bank and its original name is The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited. You will find HSBC working a lot with JP Morgan Chase. Both HSBC and JP Morgan Chase have strong interest in gold & precious metals. HSBC and JP Morgan Chase are often involved together in financial scandals. Lately HSBC has been sued for allegedly funneling more than $8.9 billion to the largest ponzi-scheme in history - Bernie Maddof's investment business. HSBC (along w/ JP Morgan Chase) has been sued for alleged conspiracy suppressing the price of silver and gold, partially through precious metal DERIVATIVES and making billions of dollars on it. State of Hawaii is suing HSBC (and other banks) for deceptive credit card lending practices. DZ Bank in Germany is suing HSBC (and JP Morgan) for deceptive (lying) practices when selling home-loan-backed securities. HSBC is also under investigation for laundering billions of dollars. [...]"   

MSM: "Let Banks Fail "Is Iceland Mantra As 2% Joblessness In Sight" Bloomberg [01/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "Iceland let its banks fail in 2008 because they proved too big to save. Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal. While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime Minister Sigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high. [...]" 

Commentary: "Celente: Economic Turmoil & Revolution Trends In 2014" [01/29/14]   [7:17] "In this video Luke Rudkowski interviews business consultant Gerald Celente on the upcoming future U.S economy and revolutionary trends for 2014. Gerald Celente is an American trend forecaster, publisher of the Trends Journal, business consultant and author who makes predictions about the global financial markets and other events of historical importance. [...]"  

Legal Case: "Sheldon Adelson Scorched in Derivative Lawsuit" [01/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "Sheldon Adelson cost investors in his Las Vegas Sands Corp. money by allowing "bribery, kickbacks, money laundering and other wrongful behaviors" a shareholder claims in a derivative complaint. W.A. Sokolowski sued Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corp. and nine other members of Sands board of directors in Federal Court. The complaint accuses Adelson et al. of a laundry list of allegedly wrongful and sometimes illegal acts, in this country and Macau. Sokolowski claims, inter alia, that Adelson and his board: [...] Sokolowski claims that Adelson personally benefited from the wrongdoing by receiving $2.5 million annually for security and transportation and giving jobs to his wife and stepdaughter. Sokolowski seeks punitive damages for violations of the Securities Exchange Act, breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment, breach of duty of candor, breach of duty of loyalty, breach of contract and negligence."  

Date With Destiny: "Two Top American Bankers Commit Suicide In London" [01/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "One jumps 500ft to his death from JP Morgan skyscraper and another hangs himself in luxury home. Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old JP Morgan bank executive, died early this morning after he jumped 500ft from the top of the bank's European headquarters. His body was discovered on the ninth floor roof, which surrounds the 33-story Canary Wharf skyscraper. Just two days earlier, on Sunday, fellow American banker, William 'Bill' Broeksmit, 58, was found hanging in his South Kensington home. Broeksmit - who retired last February - was a former senior manager at Deutsche Bank and had lived in London many years. He started working for the bank in 1996 but left for a period of 7 years before returning in 2008.  [...]" 

Commentary: "The 20 Richest Americans: Takers, Not Makers" [01/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "The top individuals on the 2013 Forbes 400 list are generally believed to be makers of great companies or concepts. They are the role models of Paul Ryan, who laments, "We're going to a majority of takers versus makers in America." They are defended by Cato Institute CEO John A. Allison IV, who once protested: "Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let's call it an attack on the very productive." But many of the richest Americans are takers. The top twenty, with a total net worth of almost two-thirds of a trillion dollars, have all taken from the public or from employees, or through taxes or untaxed inheritances. [...] Bill Gates may be a knowledgeable and hard-working man, but he was also lucky and opportunistic. He was a taker. In 1975, at the age of 20, he founded Microsoft with high school buddy Paul Allen. This was the era of the first desktop computers, and numerous small companies were trying to program them, most notably Digital Research, headed by brilliant software designer Gary Kildall. His CP/M operating system (OS) was the industry standard. Even Gates' company used it. But Kildall was an innovator, not a businessman, and when IBM came calling for an OS for the new IBM PC, his delays drove the big mainframe company to Gates. Even though the newly established Microsoft company couldn't fill IBM's needs, Gates and Allen saw an opportunity, and so they hurriedly bought the rights to another local company's OS -- which was based on Kildall's CP/M system. Kildall wanted to sue, but intellectual property law for software had not yet been established. Kildall was a maker who got taken. David Lefer, a collaborator for the book They Made America, summarized: "Gates didn't invent the PC operating system, and any history that says he did is wrong."[...] At first glance, Warren Buffett seems to be a different breed of multi-billionaire, advocating for higher taxes on the rich and a reasonable estate tax. But his company, Berkshire Hathaway, hasn't been paying its taxes. According to the New York Post, "the company openly admits that it owes back taxes since as long ago as 2002." A review of Berkshire Hathaway's annual report confirms that despite profits of over $22 billion in 2012, a $255 million refund was claimed, while $44 billion in federal taxes remain deferred on the company's balance sheet. Berkshire Hathaway has another little surprise hidden in the small print of its income statement. It shows an income tax expense of almost $7 billion, all of it hypothetical. [...]" 

MSM: "Justice Department Inquiry Takes Aim At Banks’ Business With Payday Lenders" [01/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "Federal prosecutors are trying to thwart the easy access that predatory lenders and dubious online merchants have to Americans’ bank accounts by going after banks that fail to meet their obligations as gatekeepers to the United States financial system. The Justice Department is weighing civil and criminal actions against dozens of banks, sending out subpoenas to more than 50 payment processors and the banks that do business with them, according to government officials. In the new initiative, called “Operation Choke Point,” the agency is scrutinizing banks both big and small over whether they, in exchange for handsome fees, enable businesses to illegally siphon billions of dollars from consumers’ checking accounts, according to state and federal officials briefed on the investigation. The critical role played by banks largely plays out in the shadows because they typically do not deal directly with the Internet merchants. What they do is provide banking services to third-party payment processors, financial middlemen that, in turn, handle payments for their merchant customers. [...] Yet the crackdown has already come under fire from congressional lawmakers, including Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican from California who heads the House Oversight Committee, who have accused the Justice Department of trying to covertly quash the payday lending industry. In the first action under Operation Choke Point, Justice Department officials brought a lawsuit this month against Four Oaks Bank of Four Oaks, N.C., accusing the bank of being “deliberately ignorant” that it was processing payments on behalf of unscrupulous merchants — including payday lenders and a Ponzi scheme. As a result, prosecutors say, the bank enabled the companies to illegally withdraw more than $2.4 billion from the checking accounts of customers across the country. The lawsuit, which includes reams of internal bank documents, offers the most vivid look yet at how some senior bank executives brushed off warning signs of fraud while collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees. While the bank has reached a tentative $1.2 million settlement with federal prosecutors, the impact of the lawsuit extends far beyond Four Oaks, and federal prosecutors say this points to a problem rippling fast across the banking industry.[...]"  

MSM: "America’s Crisis is Rooted in the Fact that the Economy Is Rigged for the Wealthiest" [01/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "... Professor C. J. Polychroniou calls the current system “Predatory Capitalism.” We have passed the era of industrial capitalism and have entered finance capitalism based on expansion of the neoliberal economic model globally. This is fundamental to understand because it is this model that is driving all of our crises. Neoliberal economics is not related to liberalism in ideological terms, but liberalism in terms of a freeing of the market from any regulation and a freeing up of our resources to be used by private corporations for profit. In this model, government actively serves the financial elite, as Polychroniou describes: “Policies that increase the upward flows of income and the availability of public property for private exploitation rest at the core of the global neoliberal project, where predatory capitalism reigns supreme. So does privatizing profits and socializing losses.” It is predatory capitalism that drives the race to the bottom in worker rights and wages and that drives the dismantling of our public institutions and privatization of education, transportation, health care, the postal service, prisons and more. Predatory capitalism sells our resources to the highest bidder without regard for destruction of the planet, displacement of families or poisoning of communities. [...] Predatory capitalism is directly linked to the growing national security state and militarism. As poverty and suffering increase, so does resistance by the people and those in power fear mass revolt. As corporations require access to resources around the world, the military is necessary to secure them. And it also happens that the national security and military industrial complexes profit greatly by finding new markets for their weapons and security products. Spying on people in the US and around the world continues to become more sophisticated. The New York Times reports that the NSA can retrieve data stored in computers or USB cards using radio waves even when the computer is turned off. In Kiev this week, the government used cell phone technology to locate people and send them a text message warning them that they were considered to be part of a mass protest, which has now been deemed illegal. The overreach of the state is starting to backfire. Recently, an independent federal review board concluded that the collection of cell phone calls by the NSA is illegal and must be stopped. Obama’s own review board called for an overhaul of the NSA, but last week the President announced only minimal reforms that protect the surveillance program. Instead of announcing real changes, he worked to reassure the public that spying is perfectly normal and acceptable. Chris Hedges interpreted his speech for us describing how faux reforms were designed to mollify Americans while “as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, along with our courts, continue to eviscerate those rights.” And the Electronic Frontier Foundation decoded the proposed reforms, giving Obama a 3.5 out of a possible score of 12 for what is considered the bare minimum of necessary overhaul.[...]" 

Commentary: "Regulators Investigating Bank Of America For Front Running Its Clients' Large Trading Orders" [01/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "Front running is a pretty simple trick. You (the bank) know your client is going to place a big order for a security. Since you know the price of the security will go up after that big buy, you place the bank's order ahead of your client's order. Sometimes this results in the price of the security going up for your client. In this case, according to Reuters, that client was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This was disclosed in a BrokerCheck filing on regulator FINRA's website. BrokerChecks allow anyone to look at a specific trader's professional background, and this report was filed with a former Bank of America trader named Eric Beckwith based in NYC. A bank spokesperson said the trader left the bank in July 2013. The filing dates back to June 2013. [...]"  

MSM: "China Halts Bank Cash Transfers" [01/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "Due to the system maintenance of People’s Bank of China, Domestic RMB Fund Transfer through Citibank (China) Online and Citi Mobile will be delayed during January 30th 2014, 16:00pm to February 2nd 2014, 18:30pm. As to the fund availability at the receiving bank, it depends on the processing requirements and turnaround time of the receiving bank. We apologize for any inconvenience caused." In short, there will be a three-day suspension of domestic renminbi transfers. There will also be a suspension, spanning nine calendar days, of conversions of renminbi to foreign currency. The specific reason given—“system maintenance” at the central bank—is preposterous. It is not credible that during the highest usage period in the year—the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday beginning January 31—the central bank would schedule an upgrade and shut down cash transfers. A better explanation is that the country’s banking system is running dry. [...]"  

Commentary: "UK: Lloyds ATMs Stop Working" [01/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "First HSBC bungles up an attempt at pseudo-capital controls by explaining that large cash withdrawals need a justification, and are limited in order “to protect our customers” (from what – their money?), which will likely result in even faster deposit withdrawals, and now another major UK bank – Lloyds/TSB – has admitted it are experiencing cash separation anxiety manifesting itself in ATMs failing to work and a difficult in paying using debit cards. Sky reports that customers of Lloyds and TSB, as well as those with Halifax, have reported difficulties paying for goods in shops and getting money out of ATMs. All three banks are under the Lloyds Banking Group which said: “We are aware that some customers are unable to use their debit cards either to make purchases or to withdraw money from ATMs. “We are working hard to resolve this as swiftly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.” [...]"  

MSM: "HSBC Bank Allegedly On Verge Of Collapse: Second Major Banking Crash Imminent" [01/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Concerns about an imminent bank crash were further fuelled today at news that HSBC are restricting the amount of cash that customers can withdraw from their own bank accounts. Customers were told that without proof of the intended use of their own money, HSBC would refuse to release it. This, and other worrying signs point to a possible financial crash in the near future. Forensic Asia on Tuesday began its coverage of Britain’s largest banking group with a ‘sell’ recommendation, warning the lender had between $63.6bn (£38.7bn) and $92.3bn of “questionable assets” on its balance sheet, ranging from loan loss reserves and accrued interest to deferred tax assets, defined benefit pension schemes and opaque Level 3 assets. According a report by the BBC’s MoneyBox Programme, HSBC customers have gone to withdraw cash from their accounts, only to find HSBC would not release the funds. Customers were told to make a bank transfer instead, unless they provided documentation proving the intended use of the money. [...]"  Note: Laundering all that global drug money is coming back to haunt them. Related: "Furious Backlash Forces HSBC To Scrap Large Cash Withdrawal Limit" Printer Friendly Version "...The bank issued a statement  this morning defending their actions - 'it's for your own good - but rescinding the decision' - "following feedback, we are immediately updating guidance to our customer facing staff to reiterate that it is not mandatory for customers to provide documentary evidence for large cash withdrawals." After all the last thing the bank, which over the past few years has been implicated in aiding an abetting terrorists and laundering pretty much anything, wants is an implied capital shortfall to become an all too explicit one.  [...] Indeed, as one HSBC customer exclaimed, "you shouldn't have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It's not theirs, it's yours." 

MSM: "Media Blackout Over Wisconsin’s Falling Unemployment and $912 million Budget Surplus" [01/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker (R) has put his conservative economic policies into practice – and with stunning results, in what proponents are referring to as “A Blueprint for Prosperity”. “What do you do with a surplus?” he said. “Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money.” “The state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is “rapidly falling” and the government’s budget ended the year with a $912 million surplus, Limbaugh explained. He says the dramatic turnaround is due in large part to the conservative policies of Gov. Scott Walker. What’s even more amazing, he continued, is the fact that Walker is going to “rebate the money in the form of tax cuts to the people, who he said own the money.” Limbaugh says the news is “earth-shattering” because, in one of the bluest states, Walker was targeted for removal twice but continued to implement conservative policies that he was confident would help his state — and his strategy appears to be working. He’s going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it’s not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It’s the result of serious, significant policy changes”. … It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times,” he added. “It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler.” … Walker is proposing a $504 million property and income tax cut plan as a means to return some of the surplus money to the people of Wisconsin. Some Democrats and Republicans are already criticizing the plan and are calling for changes. The unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped to 6.2 percent in December and has been dropping steadily since 2011. [...]" 

MSM: "SEC Judge Suspends 'Big Four' China Units Over Audits" [01/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "A U.S. judge has ruled that the Chinese units of the "Big Four" accounting firms should be suspended from practicing in the United States for six months, an escalation in a long-running dispute between U.S. and Chinese regulators over access to audit documents. In a harshly worded 112-page ruling, Securities and Exchange Commission Administrative Law Judge Cameron Elliot censured the Chinese units of KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young. Elliot censured a fifth firm, Dahua, previously a member of the BDO international network, but did not impose a six-month suspension. Elliot, an SEC judge who operates independently, sided with the agency and said the companies "willfully" failed to give U.S. regulators the audit work papers of certain Chinese companies under investigation for accounting fraud. Wednesday's ruling does not go into effect immediately, and the firms might appeal. That process would take time because it must first be made to the five-member commission before it can be heard in a U.S. federal appeals court. The decision is not expected to be immediately disruptive to the U.S.-listed Chinese companies relying on these firms to review their 2013 books. But if the decision ultimately stands, it could have a major impact on the estimated 200 Chinese companies that rely on the Big Four to audit their books. "This decision will be a huge shock in Beijing. The SEC has pushed a lot of chips out on the table," said Paul Gillis, an accounting professor at Peking University in Beijing. [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "London Seeks To Reform 100-Year-Old ‘Gold Fix’" [01/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Pricing probes have forced London’s biggest banks to consider a systemic overhaul of the dated practice of "fixing" gold prices, which sets spot pricing for the world’s $20 trillion physical gold market. A committee has been set up to consult on improving the fixing, which is set twice a day by five banks - Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings Plc, and Societe General SA, Bloomberg News reports, citing an anonymous inside source who wasn’t named because the review is not yet public. The practice dates back to 1919 and helps determine the price of the precious metal on exchanges worldwide. The ‘fixing’ method has come under fire from US, UK, and European regulators who say it lacks transparency. Representatives of the five banks set the benchmark gold price in a teleconference call, and either recommend a higher or lower price to meet supply with demand. The prices are then used as a guide for miners, jewelers, as well as traders that sell securities tied to metals prices. Deutsche Bank AG will withdraw from participating in setting gold and silver benchmarks in London, a decision linked to a larger strategy to cut the bank’s commodities and raw materials divisions. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority started its investigation into possible gold benchmark rigging in November, but a larger investigation started last April when the authority started looking into the forex trading practices of Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered, and UBS. Six other regulators are helping with the worldwide investigation. US and European authorities are also closely reviewing the case, but haven’t accused banks of any wrongdoing in either gold or forex fixing. However, experts do say the practice is out of date, and susceptible to abuse because of lax oversight. Germany’s financial regulator was the first to comment, and likened possible gold, silver, and forex manipulation to the scale of the Libor-scandal, which led to $6 billion in fines against banks The method of ‘fixing’ benchmarks, especially those which hold such a crucial grip on the financial sector, has been questioned in the aftermath of the Libor-rigging scandal, when bankers fixed the interbank lending rate to company gain. Control over the Libor rate, which is tied to over $300 billion in loans, securities and derivatives may transfer to supervisory hands, possibly to an agency like Reuters or Bloomberg, which have less direct ‘gain’ in setting interbank interest rates higher or lower. Germany’s biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, has already dismissed currency traders over probes involving alleged forex manipulation. Libor manipulation has raised questions over other lending rates like the Euribor, WM/Reuters, and the Platts oil benchmark. [...]" 

MSM: "Terrorism Funding Just One Thing Banks Getting Away With’ – HSBC Whistleblower" [01/23/14]   [27:05] "Banks say they are the pillar of the modern society – ruling the streams of money across the globe and keeping a tight grip on the world’s economy; What is going on in offices of top level management is kept in a most valuable secrets. Even governments are afraid to get in confrontation with the enormous financial giants. But today we talk to a man who single-handedly fought the corrupt banking system, with no one behind his back; whistleblower Everett Stern is today’s guest on Sophie&Co. [...]"  Note: "Print Transcript"

MSM: "S&P: Government Fraud Case Is Revenge For 2011 U.S. Debt Downgrade" [01/23/14] [3:09] " Stuart Varney [...]"

MSM: "Fed’s Dirty Little Secret: “The Gold Isn’t There… Exists As Paper IOU’s" [01/22/14] [17:04] "The assumption by global depositors who have entrusted their national savings with the Federal Reserve and US Government has always been that when they request to repatriate their holdings the Fed would simply open the vault, access said assets and ship them back to where they belong. That’s exactly what Germany expected would happen last year when the country requested that the Federal Reserve return about one-fifth of their gold reserves. But that’s when things got really dicey. The Fed announced that Germany’s gold would be returned… but it would take seven years to get back home. The response to Germany’s request turned heads all over the world and raised concerns that the Federal Reserve had squandered its gold holdings. But this isn’t the only red flag that was raised. Public pressure reached such levels that the Fed was forced to take steps to maintain confidence in its operations, so it started shipping gold to Germany. Except it turns out that the gold being sent back to the Bundesbank wasn’t actually German gold. It contained none of the original serial numbers, had no hallmarks, and was reportedly just recently melted. The implications are earth shattering and hit the very core of the problems facing America today. The whole system as it exists is just one big paper IOU. In this must-watch interview with Future Money Trends, Jefferson Financial CEO Brien Lunden weighs in on Germany’s gold, what is happening at the Fed and what other central banks are doing right now. Brien also shares his thoughts on where the gold market is today, what to expect in coming years as gold supplies tighten up, how mining companies like Brazil Resources are taking advantage of the current environment, and how to profit from gold in coming years. [...]"  Related: "Bundesbank Plans To Repatriate 30 To 50 Metric Tons Of Gold Stored In New York" Printer Friendly Version "The central bank transferred 32 tons of gold from Paris and five tons from New York last year, according to a Bundesbank spokesman. The bank expects to repatriate the reserves at a pace of about 50 tons a year, he said. The Bundesbank said a year ago it will repatriate 674 tons of gold from vaults in Paris and New York by 2020 to restore public confidence in the security of Germany’s reserves. [...]"  Note: Yeah, we'll see what happens when they don't get their gold from the US ... |"Bottom Line Of Deutsche Bundesbank Gold: The Fingerprints Are Gone"  [17:53] 

Commentary: "Mega Default Of Financial Trust In China Scheduled For January 31" [01/22/14] Printer Friendly Version " Chinese state media reported that China Credit Trust Co. warned investors that they may not be repaid when one of its wealth management products matures on January 31, the first day of the Year of the Horse. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sold the China Credit Trust product to its customers in inland Shanxi province. This bank, the world’s largest by assets, on Thursday suggested it will not compensate investors, stating in a phone interview with Reuters that “a situation completely does not exist in which ICBC will assume the main responsibility.” There should be no mystery why this investment, known as “2010 China Credit-Credit Equals Gold #1 Collective Trust Product,” is on the verge of default. [...]"  

Commentary: "William Black: System Is Ungovernable, It Has Already Largely Imploded" [01/20/14] [36:39] "Professor William Black is a former financial regulator and an expert in white collar crime. According to Professor Black, the financial system is headed for an even bigger collapse. As a major warning sign, Professor Black points to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s recent complaint about no money for regulation in the recent budget deal. Professor Black says, “Jack Lew is the anti-canary in the coal mine because Lew has been gutting regulation for virtually all of his professional life. . . . Lew is saying, we’ve gone so far we’re going to cause the collapse of the system. . . . You know when Jack Lew keels over, you know that carbon monoxide has already killed everybody reasonable.” Professor Black goes on to say, “The system is ungovernable . . . It has already largely imploded.” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Professor William Black, who recently updated and re-released his popular book “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. [...]"  

MSM: "CFPB Fines Lender For Hiding Mortgage Kickbacks As Rent Payments" [01/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered a Missouri mortgage lender to pay over $81,000 related to an illegal kickback scheme. The company, Fidelity Mortgage Corporation, was found to be unlawfully in cahoots with a local bank. Here’s how it worked: the bank funneled potential mortgage borrowers to Fidelity. Fidelity leased office space from the bank. In return for all of those juicy referrals, Fidelity sent the bank cash that it tried to disguise as “inflated lease payments.” Giving or receiving kickbacks for referrals of business relating to federally-related mortgages, however, is illegal. And trying to pretend your thank-you cash is just extra rent does not make it any more legal. Fidelity is being required to pay back all the proceeds from the illegal referrals, a total of $27,076. The remaining $54,000 is a civil penalty payment to the CFPB. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement, “Kickbacks harm consumers by hampering fair market competition and by unnecessarily increasing the costs of getting a mortgage. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will continue to take action against schemes that steer consumers to lenders through unscrupulous and illegal business practices.” [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "Bitcoin 2.0, The NSA, And Derivatives" [01/19/14]   [25:46] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss Bitcoin 2.0. The currency application of Bitcoin was version 1.0, now there are dozens of new and innovative ideas riding the blockchain and, in the process, creating Capitalism 2.0. In the second half, Max interviews Reggie Middleton of BoomBustBlog.com about his own Bitcoin 2.0 application for hedging. Reggie says that if Bitcoin were a car, it would be one which also comes with its own road and which can go faster than any other car on the road and pay no tolls - it is an intelligent currency, unlike dumb fiat.[...]"  Related: "Slow Burn Continues & Technology Speeds Up - Catherine Austin Fitts" [1:34:59] "Fitts goes into tech and the financial system [...]"  

MSM: "Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank Discontinue Payday Loan Products" [01/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The small victories are adding up in the battle against predatory loans this week. Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank announced they will discontinue high-risk payday lending programs. Wells Fargo announced its Direct Deposit Advance service would be discontinued beginning Feb. 1 for new customers, while existing customers will have access to the program until mid-year. U.S. Bank’s Checking Account Advance service will end effective Jan. 31. for new customers and May 30 for current account holders. Banks’ deposit advance services differ little from the typical storefront payday loan operation – both offer high-interest, short-term loans meant to get consumers out of emergency financial situations, but in reality have been found to trap them in an ongoing cycle of debt. [...] In November, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which oversee institutions such as Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, issued a 22-page guidance document essentially telling the banks to end payday loan-esque practices. Friday’s announcements by Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank come just two days after Regions Bank, supervised by the Federal Reserve, said it would discontinue its deposit advance service. The three banks make up a large chunk of the depository institutions that still offer direct deposit advance loans. Fifth Third Bank, supervised by the Federal Reserve, is the sole large bank providing payday loans to consumers, the Center For Responsible Lending reports." 

MSM: "Capital Controls Ratcheting Up Worldwide" [01/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Countless people have been telling us of how they are unable to transfer their capital out of their own countries and they have been contacting us to see if we can help and if the information we will be divulging at the conference can help them internationalize their assets. The short answer, in almost every case, has been yes. But the stories have been unbelievable… yet believable at the same time because I have personally seen it happen countless times and hear of horror stories worldwide about how difficult it is to transfer funds outside of your country. One of the most interesting came from Ibai Basabe, a Spanish born person who is currently in the US studying but trying to help himself and his family get their assets out of Spain. We asked if we could reprint his story and he said yes... here is his story:[...] It is not terribly surprising to hear that Spain has been cracking down on the ease of taking funds outside of the country. Xevi Mato has been covering the situation in Spain, in Espanol, at TDV Spain for a number of months and he tells us that things are quickly getting worse there. He says it has become a police state nearly as bad as the US, there are currently fairly major riots going on in Burgos, a large city, and that Spain is quickly falling. Video clip  [1:11] Secessionist movements have moved forward in Catalonia amidst a current 57.7% youth unemployment rate."  [...]"  Amongst the countless stories we've heard this week was an American who recounted how he has a large amount of money at Chase bank in the US and he has been shut down at every turn trying to transfer the money outside of the US. Just like with Ibai, above, they have demanded more and more documentation just for the privilege of moving his money as he'd like. Further, they informed him that he can only transfer a maximum amount of $50,000 per month outside of the country. We had previously reported on this in October when we wrote, "Capital Controls Officially Begin for US Business with JP Morgan" and included the following screenshot of a customer account.[...]"  

MSM: "Precious Metal And Currency Manipulation Worse Than Libor Interest Rate Scandal" [01/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Germany’s top financial regulator said possible manipulation of currency rates and prices for precious metals is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal, which has already led to fines of about $6 billion. The allegations about the currency and precious metals markets are “particularly serious, because such reference values are based -- unlike Libor and Euribor -- typically on transactions in liquid markets and not on estimates of the banks,” Elke Koenig, the president of Bafin, said in a speech in Frankfurt today. Koenig is the first global finance regulator to comment publicly on the investigations as probes into the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, expand into other benchmarks. Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s antitrust chief, said yesterday that its preliminary probe into possible foreign-exchange manipulation covers similar practices as in the regulator’s probe into Libor-rigging. Bonn-based Bafin said yesterday it is investigating currency trading, joining regulators in the U.K., U.S. and Switzerland, who are examining whether traders at the world’s largest banks colluded to manipulate the WM/Reuters rates, used by money managers to determine the value of holdings in different currencies.  At least a dozen firms have been contacted by authorities and more than 13 traders have been suspended, fired or put on leave in the currency case. Regulators are examining how traders, who communicated in instant-message groups, exchanged information on client orders and agreed how to trade at the time of the fix, five people with knowledge of the probes said last month. “That the issue is causing such a public reaction is understandable,” Koenig said. “The financial sector is dependent on the common trust that it is efficient and at the same time, honest. The central benchmark rates seemed to be beyond any doubt, and now there is the allegation they may have been manipulated.” [...]"  

Commentary: "UK Banks Have Threatened To Charge Current Accounts If Broken Up" [01/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Banks have threatened to charge for current accounts if they are broken up to create more competition. And it is feared this would mean the poorest customers would be effectively dumped and left without an account. The Big Five banks – Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Santander and Barclays – have held a stranglehold over personal and small business customers for years. Consumer advocates say their domination allows them to rip off account holders by charging higher prices for overdrafts and small business loans. They also argue that customers suffer from too little choice. Plans to break up the banks are intended to introduce more competition and create a better deal for customers. One executive said: ‘If you go down this route the people who will suffer will be the lowest earners. This would be a disaster for financial inclusion and mean many people will be left without current accounts.’ Shadow Treasury Minister Chris Leslie hit back, saying: ‘It’s almost predictable that banks will stoop so low as to use these appalling scare tactics to preserve the status quo and avoid major reforms of the banking sector.’ [...]"  Note: The UK ... eternally out to screw its population hard, and rapidly ....

Commentary: "Fed Owns 64% More U.S. Government Debt Than China" [01/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Federal Reserve owned 64 percent more U.S. government debt than entities in the People’s Republic of China did as of the end of November, which is the latest period for which the Treasury has reported on the foreign ownership of U.S. government debt. As of January 9, the latest day on the Fed’s last weekly accounting sheet, the Fed had increased its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities to $2.2 trillion. The $1.3 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities that entities in mainland China owned as of the end of November set a record for China. [...]"  Note: So if the govt owes the Fed (debt), and the Fed owns the debt, doesn't that cancel out? How convoluted could it get, especially because its fiat and just a conceptual format in the mind.

Commentary: "US Congress Unveils Austerity Budget As Senate Delays Extension Of Jobless Benefits" [01/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Congressional negotiators released a bipartisan proposal for the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill Monday night, which if approved would spend $1.1 trillion to fund US government operations through October. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the budget bill Wednesday, giving the public less than 48 hours to review its contents. The budget negotiations, which were led by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (Republican of Kentucky) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (Democrat of Maryland), built upon a framework reached in early December. This framework included cuts to retirement benefits for federal workers and military retirees and the imposition of regressive consumption taxes. The budget is receiving strong bipartisan support, illustrating the commitment of both parties to the social counter-revolution implemented by the American ruling elite since the crash of 2008. [...] Crucially, the budget leaves in place automatic across-the-board cuts in domestic spending implemented under “the sequester,” which ha