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"What creativity can there be, when only money can buy you your next opportunity?"
Unknown free-lance film maker in Netherlands, 2014
Commentary: "Sanders Exposes 18 CEOs Who Took Trillions In Bailouts, Evaded Taxes And Outsourced Jobs" [05/26/15] "Sen. Bernie Sanders fired back at 80 CEOs who wrote a letter lecturing America about deficit reduction by released a report detailing how 18 of these CEOs have wrecked the economy by evading taxes and outsourcing jobs. 80 CEO’s raised the ire of Sen. Sanders by publishing a letter in the Wall Street Journal urging America to act on the deficit, and reform Medicare and Medicaid. Sen. Sanders responded to the lecture from America’s CEO’s by releasing a report that detailed how 18 of them have helped blow up the deficit and wreck the economy by outsourcing jobs and evading US taxes. [...] Sanders said, "There really is no shame. The Wall Street leaders whose recklessness and illegal behavior caused this terrible recession are now lecturing the American people on the need for courage to deal with the nation’s finances and deficit crisis. Before telling us why we should cut Social Security, Medicare and other vitally important programs, these CEOs might want to take a hard look at their responsibility for causing the deficit and this terrible recession. Our Wall Street friends might also want to show some courage of their own by suggesting that the wealthiest people in this country, like them, start paying their fair share of taxes. They might work to end the outrageous corporate loopholes, tax havens and outsourcing provisions that their lobbyists have littered throughout the tax code – contributing greatly to our deficit. Many of the CEO’s who signed the deficit-reduction letter run corporations that evaded at least $34.5 billion in taxes by setting up more than 600 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens since 2008. As a result, at least a dozen of the companies avoided paying any federal income taxes in recent years, and even received more than $6.4 billion in tax refunds from the IRS since 2008. [...] Several of the companies received a total taxpayer bailout of more than $2.5 trillion from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. Many of the companies also have outsourced hundreds of thousands of American jobs to China and other low wage countries, forcing their workers to receive unemployment insurance and other federal benefits. In other words, these are some of the same people who have significantly caused the deficit to explode over the last four years. Here are the 18 CEO’s Sanders labeled job destroyers in his report: (All data from Top Corporate Dodgers report. PDF [...] Eighteen of the 80 CEOs who signed the call for deficit action are actually some of the biggest outsourcers and tax cheats in America. First, they crashed the economy in 2008. They followed that up by taking billions in taxpayer bailout dollars. Their next step was to outsource jobs and evade taxes. Now they are calling for action on a deficit that they helped create over the past four years. Bernie Sanders is exposing the hypocrisy of these CEOs, and every American should understand that if Mitt Romney is elected president, these pigs see potential for unlimited feeding from the taxpayer trough. Only by standing together can we tell these CEOs that the bill has come due, and it is time for them to pay. We can tell these gluttons of our dollars that the all you can eat taxpayer buffet is now closed.[...]
MSM: "(Criminal Bank) HSBC Fears World Recession With No Lifeboats Left" [05/25/15] "The world authorities have run out of ammunition as rates remain stuck at zero. They have no margin for error as economy falters. The world economy is disturbingly close to stall speed. The United Nations has cut its global growth forecast for this year to 2.8pc, the latest of the multinational bodies to retreat. We are not yet in the danger zone but this pace is only slightly above the 2.5pc rate that used to be regarded as a recession for the international system as a whole. It leaves a thin safety buffer against any economic shock - most potently if China abandons its crawling dollar peg and resorts to 'beggar-thy -neighbour' policies, transmitting a further deflationary shock across the global economy. The longer this soggy patch drags on, the greater the risk that the six-year old global recovery will sputter out. While expansions do not die of old age, they do become more vulnerable to all kinds of pathologies. A sweep of historic data by Warwick University found compelling evidence that economies are more likely to stall as they age, what is known as "positive duration dependence". The business cycle becomes stretched. Inventories build up and companies defer spending, tipping over at a certain point into a self-feeding downturn. Stephen King from HSCB warns that the global authorities have alarmingly few tools to combat the next crunch, given that interest rates are already zero across most of the developed world, debts levels are at or near record highs, and there is little scope for fiscal stimulus. "The world economy is sailing across the ocean without any lifeboats to use in case of emergency," he said. [...]"
Commentary: "No Conspiracy Theory: A Small Group of Companies Have Enormous Power Over the World" [05/24/15] "In October of 2011, New Scientist reported that a scientific study on the global financial system was undertaken by three complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. The conclusion of the study revealed what many theorists and observers have noted for years, decades, and indeed, even centuries: “An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.” As one of the researchers stated, “Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it’s conspiracy theories or free-market… Our analysis is reality-based.” Using a database which listed 37 million companies and investors worldwide, the researchers studied all 43,060 trans-national corporations (TNCs), including the share ownerships linking them. The mapping of ‘power’ was through the construction of a model showing which companies controlled which other companies through shareholdings. The web of ownership revealed a core of 1,318 companies with ties to two or more other companies. This ‘core’ was found to own roughly 80 percent of global revenues for the entire set of 43,000 TNCs. And then came what the researchers referred to as the “super-entity” of 147 tightly-knit companies, which all own each other, and collectively own 40 percent of the total wealth in the entire network. One of the researchers noted, “In effect, less than 1 percent of the companies were able to control 40 percent of the entire network.” This network poses a huge risk to the global economy, as, “If one [company] suffers distress… this propagates.” The study was undertaken with a data set established prior to the economic crisis, thus, as the financial crisis forced some banks to die (Lehman Bros.) and others to merge, the “super-entity” would now be even more connected, concentrated, and problematic for the economy. [...] In the United States, five banks control half the economy: JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs Group collectively held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, which equals roughly 56 percent of the U.S. economy. This data was according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve. In 2007, the assets of the largest banks amounted to 43 percent of the U.S. economy. Thus, the crisis has made the banks bigger and more powerful than ever. Because the government invoked “too big to fail,” meaning that the big banks will be saved because they are very important, the big banks have incentive to make continued and bigger risks, because they will be bailed out in the end. Essentially, it’s an insurance policy for criminal risk-taking behaviour. [...] ...While people are being forced into poverty to pay off the bad debts of the “super-entity” global banking cartel of drug-money laundering banks which make up the “global supra-government,” the richest people in the world have been hiding their wealth in offshore tax havens, and of course, with the help of those same banks. James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey, a major global consultancy, published a major report on tax havens in July of 2012 for the Tax Justice Network, compiling data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the IMF and other private sector entities which revealed that the world’s superrich have hidden between $21 and $32trillion offshore to avoid taxation. Henry stated: “This offshore economy is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and – most importantly – to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of ‘source’ countries.” John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network commented that, “Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people… This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich.” Roughly 92,000 of the super-rich, globally, hold at least $10 trillion in offshore wealth. In many cases, the worth of these offshore assets far exceeds the debts of the countries that they flow from, the same debts that are used to keep these countries and their populations in poverty and a constant state of exploitation. [...]"
Opposing Views: "Forbes Magazine: “Dispelling The Myth of Corporate Cash Hoarding" "Aug 21, 2014 [...]" vs. "Cash-Hoarding Companies Neither Spend Nor Lend, Fouling Economy Further" "(July 20, 2012) ...But despite having an unprecedented amount of cash on hand with which to create jobs -- more than $3 trillion, nearly four times as much as the 2009 stimulus bill -- the corporations aren't spending and the banks aren't lending. "They've been making money, and they haven't been spending it. So it sits there," said Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama now at the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "The economy has been growing since the second half of 2009, and the vast majority of households have seen very little of that. It's got to be going somewhere." [...]"
MSM: "New Report: U.S. And Israel Have Worst Inequality In Developed World" [05/23/15] "A report recently released from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that the United States and Israel have the worst inequality in the developed world. Although the divide between rich and poor is at historic levels for the majority of the 34 developed member nations, the US and Israel have distanced themselves from the fold. The OECD discovered that in the US, the richest 10% of the population earn 16.5 times the income of the poorest 10%. In Israel, the richest 10% earn 15 times that of the poorest. In comparison, the average wealth gap in OECD nations is 9.6. The rich earned approximately seven times as much as the poor in the 1980s. It was also recorded in 2012 that in 18 OECD countries, the bottom 40% of households owned just 3% of the wealth while the top 10% controlled 50%. In the US, the wealthiest 5% has nearly 91 times the amount as the average citizen. [...]"
MSM: "Six Banks Fined $5.8 Billion For Market Rigging" [05/22/15] "Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros, according to settlements announced by the Justice Department in Washington Wednesday. The main banking unit of UBS Group AG agreed to plead guilty to a wire-fraud charge related to interest-rate manipulation. The Swiss bank, the first to cooperate with antitrust investigators, was granted immunity in the currency probe. The four banks that agreed to plead guilty to currency charges are among the world’s biggest foreign-exchange traders. They were accused of colluding to influence benchmark rates by aligning positions and pushing transactions through at the same time. Traders who described themselves as members of “The Cartel” used online chat rooms to discuss their positions before the rates were set and suppress competition in the market, the Justice Department said. All of the banks that pleaded guilty said they received needed waivers from the Securities and Exchange Commission to continue managing mutual funds and raise capital quickly, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.[...]"
MSM: "Greece Warns of Possible Default on June 5th; Moody’s Warns Of A ''Deposit Freeze''" [05/22/15] "The Greek government says that a “moment of truth” is coming on June 5th. Either their lenders agree to give them more money by that date, or Greece will default on a 300 million euro loan payment to the IMF. Of course it won’t technically be a “default” according to IMF rules for another 30 days after that, but without a doubt news that Greece cannot pay will send shockwaves throughout the financial world. At that point, those holding Greek bonds will start to panic as they realize that they might not get paid as well. All over Europe, there are major banks that are holding large amounts of Greek debt and derivatives that are related to the performance of Greek debt. If something is not done to avert disaster at the last moment, a default by Greece could be the spark that sets off a major European financial crisis this summer. [...] But the Germans know that the Greeks desperately need more money and can’t last much longer. The Greek banking system is so close to collapse that Moody’s just downgraded it again and warned that “there is a high likelihood of an imposition of capital controls and a deposit freeze” in the months ahead… he outlook for the Greek banking system is negative, primarily reflecting the acute deterioration in Greek banks’ funding and liquidity, says Moody’s Investors Service in a new report published recently. These pressures are unlikely to ease over the next 12-18 months and there is a high likelihood of an imposition of capital controls and a deposit freeze. Unfortunately, when things really start going crazy in Greece people might be faced with much more than just frozen bank accounts. As I wrote about just a few days ago, there is a very strong possibility that we could actually see Cyprus-style wealth confiscation implemented in Greece when the banks collapse. In fact, the Greek government is already talking about the possibility of a special tax on banking transactions… According to the Bank for International Settlements, 74 trillion dollars in derivatives are directly tied to the value of the euro, the value of the U.S. dollar and the value of other global currencies.[...]"
MSM: "CNN: U.S. Companies Hoard Record Amount Of Cash" [05/21/15] "Corporate America has so much cash sitting in the bank that it could purchase the Dallas Cowboys 437 times without borrowing a dime. Or if these titans of business really love House of Cards they could splurge by acquiring Netflix (NFLX, Tech30) 53 times. They could even buy Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hatahway (BRKA) and still have cash to play with. "Since we've come out of the recession, Corporate America has become much more cautious about spending," said Mark Litzerman, co-head of real asset strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.[...]" |
Commentary: "U.S. Economic Anomalies Point To A Complete Economic Meltdown" X-22 Report [05/20/15] [49:56] "Greece is trapped and the central bankers might be ready to Cyrpus (bail-in) Greece. More than half the college graduates need financial help from their families. Housing permits and starts miraculously increases with lumber prices and demand decreasing. U.S. economic anomalies point to a complete meltdown of the economy. Obama says he will de-militarize the police, but he is actually doing the opposite. Every country the U.S. operated a CIA black site in the governments of those countries had full knowledge. As Ukraine defaults Poroshenko passes a bill so creditors cannot collect.NATO continues with Russian troop buildup propaganda. Saudi war planes pound Yemen, Kerry blames the Houthi's for the Saudi bombing. U.S. protecting their proxy army in Syria by removing intelligence before Syrian armed forces acquired the intelligence. [...]"
Commentary: "This October The World Will Change: “China Is Preparing For Something Big" [05/19/15] Video [7:31] "This October may see the beginning of the end for the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Twice every decade the International Monetary Fund meets to discuss their Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket. Currently comprised of the dollar, Japanese Yen, British Pound and Euro, if China has their way a few months from now, we may well see the Chinese Yuan take its place among the world’s most trusted currencies. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says, “China isn’t ready for currency reserve status,” and would certainly like to see the Chinese blocked from entry, preserving the dollar’s status as the world’s go-to currency and primary mechanism of exchange for global international trade. But while Lew and his predecessors have presided over the largest growth in national debt in world history, the Chinese have been strategically positioning, much like the United States did in the early 1900’s, to not just become the world’s largest economy, but to be the super power of the 21st century. Forget for a moment what’s being touted by analysts, forecasters, politicians, and financial officials who say China is not ready. Focus instead on the actions being undertaken by China and you’ll understand why Chinese President Hu Jintao says that the dollar is a product of the past. There was a time when the U.S. dollar was backed by gold. This backing helped to solidify it as a currency that could be trusted on the open market. Today, however, for all intents and purposes, the dollar is backed by absolutely nothing. It is this weakness that the Chinese aim to exploit and that’s why they have been actively stockpiling thousands of tons of gold in recent years. But this is only part of the story. In addition to their physical gold holdings, the Chinese have been using a secret gold accumulation strategy that no one is talking about : [...]" Related: "Pravda: China Has 30,000 Tonnes Of Gold"
MSM: "Lehman Brothers Sues Federal Home Loan Bank Of N.Y. Over Interest-Rate Swaps Derivatives" [05/18/15] "Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is suing the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York for more than $150 million over dozens of soured interest-rate swaps. Lehman and its Special Financing unit sued Federal Home Loan Bank, or FHLBNY, on Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York over payments it says are due from its position on 356 swaps and options transactions. Lehman says it was in the money on the swaps at the time of its 2008 bankruptcy filing. Although Lehman officially exited bankruptcy protection in 2012, its derivatives team is still wrangling with creditors over billions of dollars in disputed claims. Swaps and other derivatives represent a significant source of cash for Lehman creditors waiting to be paid more than six years after the investment bank filed for bankruptcy protection Lehman’s chapter 11 filing at 1:45 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 15, 2008, froze financial markets and constituted an “event of default” that triggered the termination of millions of derivatives transactions involving the investment bank. Three days later on Sept. 18, FHLBNY terminated its swaps with a notional amount of $16.5 billion with the bankrupt investment bank. [...]"
Commentary: "Greece Will Default On June 5 Without Deal, IMF Leaks" [05/17/15] "Another week came and went with no breakthrough in negotiations between Greece and its creditors. The IMF is now fed up and has reportedly refused to be a part of any new bailout program for Greece, after Athens drew down its SDR reserves to makes its latest payment to the Fund. That money will now need to be repaid and in a move that surely marks the new gold standard for absurd circular funding schemes, Greece will likely look to use the next tranche of IMF money to payback its IMF SDR reserve which it tapped to pay the IMF. The country’s public sector employees live in limbo, not knowing from one week to the next whether they will be paid and commuters are now subjected to a 50 second looped highlight reel of the Nazi occupation meant to rally the country behind the government’s quarter trillion euro war reparations claim (they might as well just ask for a 'gagillion') on Germany which has now become the symbol of tyranny and debt servitude for many Greek citizens. [...]"
MSM: "Five Major Banks To Plead Guilty To Rigging Currency Markets" [05/17/15] "Five major international banks are expected to plead guilty as soon as next week to criminal charges in the US related to their deliberate manipulation of global foreign exchange markets, which allowed them to rake in billions of dollars at the expense of retirees, university endowments and municipalities. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Barclays and UBS are expected to plead guilty to felony fraud and antitrust charges. They will pay fines totaling several billions of dollars, according to bank and regulatory officials who spoke anonymously with the New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters. The effect of the guilty pleas will be essentially zero, beyond the immediate costs of the fines levied on the institutions. As the Times put it, “life will go on, probably without much of a hiccup.” In the years since the financial crisis, federal regulators avoided bringing criminal charges against banks and their executives, opting instead for either cash settlements and so-called deferred-prosecution agreements, in which charges are delayed on the basis of the banks’ compliance with certain conditions. [...]"
MSM: "China Goes After Dollar With Gold Fix" [05/16/15] "For the gold bugs out there, a quickie: China is launching a facility that allows the Yuan's value to be fixed against gold. A gold fixing facility exists in London, but China wants its own – reflecting its ambitions as a global financial player. The establishment of a China-based gold fix for the Yuan also marginally undermines the dollar as the global benchmark currency, says Jan Dehn, an economist with the Ashmore Group in London, a $70 billion asset management firm. “The establishment of a gold fix will probably also aid China’s ambition to achieve Special Drawing Rights inclusion this year,” Dehn says about China’s ambition to become part of the International Monetary Fund’s reserve basket along with the yen, dollar and euro. Making the Yuan backed by gold gives the world’s most important holders of foreign currency — central banks — an added security blanket. The gold fix, therefore, becomes another step in the internationalization of the Chinese currency. Some see this as a direct challenge to the dollar. While a decline in the dollar’s use as a percentage of trade is already ongoing in Asia, there is also an increase in trade, which means the Yuan isn’t taking dollars out of the market. There are a lot of moving parts to making the Yuan a global currency. The IMF’s decision in December is a factor, but not the major factor. “A lot of central banks are already starting to move to the Yuan,” says Justin Chan, HSBC’s co-head of markets in Asia Pacific. “At the moment, I don’t think the Yuan will be a serious challenger to the dollar as a reserve currency. Surely it will never be the reserve currency. It will be one of the major reserve currencies, though,” Chan says. [...]"
MSM: "IMF Demands Will Make Most Ukrainians Homeless – Finance Minister Of Ukraine" [05/16/15] "Fulfilling the requirements of the IMF will make the majority of Ukrainians homeless – said the Minister of Finance of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian portal MIGnews. The International Monetary Fund expects the Ukrainian authorities to adopt such laws which will make the majority of the population in the country homeless, said the Finance Minister of American origin Natalie Jaresko. According to her, one of the outstanding issues before the transfer to the Ukrainian authorities of the next IMF loan is the failure of the Verkhovna Rada to pass some bills. In particular, the following: “The bills related to improving the capabilities of “Naftogaz” to collect their receivables. We are talking about the removal of various existing barriers, which currently do not allow this,” – said Jaresko. According to her, there are two such problem bills. “One of these bills, I know, is on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday, and the second one the government will have to submit a second time, since it failed to pass”, — said the Minister of Finance. Currently in Ukraine there is a moratorium on forced evictions of debtors. This is justified under conditions of a severe economic crisis in Ukraine, frozen wages and social benefits. The consequence of the crisis was the rise in unemployment and a sharp fall in real incomes. People are objectively unable to pay the utility bills, which the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk raised several times. The second bill will make the rates profitable for the utility companies. Currently the utility companies are mostly municipal and are subsidized from the budget, operating without profit or at low profit. The adoption of the law, rejected by Parliament, will allow to raise utility prices several more times — now by decisions of the enterprises themselves, which will be granted such a right. The adoption of this law will make Ukrainian housing and utility services attractive for foreign companies, emphasized earlier Prime Minister of Ukraine Yatsenyuk. In case of adoption of these IMF bills the utility rates will increase several more times, the housing sector will pass to foreign companies, which will begin evicting Ukrainians from their homes for non-payment. Ukraine in the framework of the joint program with the International Monetary Fund expects to receive a second tranche of approximately $1.7 billion. [...]" Note: Interesting, that the world hasn't caught on that the IMF does this to EVERY country it makes 'loans' to ... EVERY ONE. ... and still the greedy leaders grab the money at the expense of their own population. The IMF needs to be shut down, forcibly, and the proponents arrested and hung.
MSM: "Russia Invites Greece To Join BRICS Bank" [05/15/15] "Greece has been invited by Russia to become the sixth member of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB). The $100 billion NDB is expected to compete with Western dominance and become one of the key lending institutions. The invitation was made by Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak on Monday during a phone conversation with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, according to a statement on Greece’s Syriza party website. Tsipras thanked Storchak, who’s currently a representative of the BRICS Bank for the invitation, and said Greece was interested in the offer. “The Prime Minister thanked Storchak and said he was pleasantly surprised by the invitation for Greece to be the sixth member of the BRICS Development Bank. Tsipras said Greece is interested in the offer, and promised to thoroughly examine it. He will have a chance to discuss the invitation with the other BRICS leaders during the 2015 International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg,” the statement said. During the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza in June 2014 the members agreed to forge ahead with the $100 billion NDB, as well as a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 billion. In March this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin ratified the NDB. The new bank is expected to challenge the two major Western-led institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It will finance infrastructure projects in the BRICS countries and across other developing countries and is expected to start functioning by the end of 2015, with the headquarters in Shanghai. [...]"
Interviews: "Does Wall Street Call The Shots At The FBI?" [05/14/15] "It is clear to most Americans that Wall Street’s financing of presidential and congressional campaigns is creating too many pals wearing blindfolds about epic corruption on Wall Street. The President, subject to Senate confirmation, selects the U.S. Treasury Secretary, the Chair of the Federal Reserve, the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission – all of whom regulate Wall Street, for better or worse. Given that Wall Street collapsed the U.S. financial system in 2008 and has been perpetually charged with new crimes ever since, there is the strong suggestion that regulation isn’t strong enough. The President also selects the U.S. Attorney General at the Justice Department, the office that can bring criminal charges against Wall Street. But according to a January 2013 report by the PBS program, Frontline, in the years following the 2008 collapse there was no serious effort at the Justice Department to indict the miscreants. The exchange went as follows between Frontline producer and investigator, Martin Smith, and Lanny Breuer, then head of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department: [...]"
Commentary: "Why The Rich Don’t Care About Jobs For The Rest" [05/12/15] "Many of us wonder what possible reason could exist for the failure to invest in American infrastructure, to create millions of jobs as a result, and to help everyone in the long run. Analysis reveals personality traits and beliefs and misconceptions that might account for such behavior. Here’s a look inside the billion-dollar brain: 1. It’s All About Me Several studies by Paul Piff and his colleagues have revealed that upper-class individuals tend to be narcissistic, with a clear sense of entitlement. Worse yet, they believe their talents and attributes – genius, even – have earned them a rightful position of status over everyone else. Scarier yet, according to one study, the American sense of entitlement has been growing over the past 30 years, despite the fact that most of us have lost ground to the super-rich. And most disturbing is that ‘upper-class’ individuals tend to behave more unethically than average citizens. This “all about me” attitude means that the wealthy don’t have to depend on others, and that they have less need to understand the feelings of others. This directly impacts our daily lives. The greater the concentration of wealth, the less a society invests in infrastructure. Our investment in infrastructure as a percent of GDP dropped by 60 percent from 1968 to 2011. As the super-rich take their helicopters to and from work, they’re having multi-million-dollar bunkers built under their houses to sustain them when the middle-class revolution comes. [...] 2. It’s "All About Lazy People Who Refuse to Work" Congressmen and CEOs don’t normally see the people affected by their actions. This leads to a resentment of the poor, and imagined abuses ... Almost all healthy adult Americans, of course, want to work. But in 2011 Senate Republicans killed a proposed $447 billion jobs bill that would have added about two million jobs to the economy. Members of Congress filibustered Nancy Pelosi’s “Prevention of Outsourcing Act,” even as a million jobs were being outsourced, and they temporarily blocked the “Small Business Jobs Act.” In April, 2013 only one member of Congress bothered to show up for a hearing on unemployment. When asked what he would do to bring jobs to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell responded, “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet.” [...] 3. It’s "All About Waiting for the Free Market to Work Its Magic" They don’t care about Robert Reich’s insight about more and more jobs being lost to smart technologies, leading to a society in which “those who create or invest in blockbuster ideas will earn unprecedented sums and returns,” leaving much less for the rest of us. The solution, says Chris Hedges, is to take on corporate power by instituting “a nationwide public works program, especially for those under the age of 25, to create conditions for full employment.” Every American, of course, deserves the opportunity to earn a living wage. It will take a revolution against narcissism to make it happen.[...]"
Commentary: "Economic Disinformation Keeps Financial Markets Up" Paul Craig Roberts [05/09/15] "...As I have pointed out for a number of years, according to the payroll jobs reports, the complexion of the US labor force is that of a Third World country. Most of the jobs created are lowly paid domestic services. The well paying high productivity, high value-added jobs have been offshored and given to foreigners who work for less. This fact, more than the reduction in marginal income tax rates, is the reason for the rising inequality in the distribution of income and wealth. Offshoring middle class jobs raises corporate profits and, thereby, the incomes of corporate owners (shareholders) and executives. But it reduces the incomes of the majority of the population who are forced into either lowly paid and part time jobs or unemployment. The extraordinary decline in the labor force participation rate indicates shrinking opportunities for the American labor force. No economist should ever have accepted the claim that the economy was in recovery while participation in the labor force was declining. The officially documented decline in the labor force participation rate casts additional doubt on the claimed increases in payroll jobs. If jobs are growing, the labor force participation rate should not be declining. Having looked at the actual details of the payroll jobs report, which are seldom if ever reported in the financial media, let’s look at what else goes unreported in the media. [...] The government’s economic statistical agencies are under pressure not to roil the financial markets. Consequently, initial reports, which are always the headline reports, are as close as possible to the “consensus forecast” prepared by economists in the financial sector, whose jobs are to maintain a good atmosphere for financial instruments. [...] There are many additional problems with the economic reporting. I have written about a number of them in past reports. Here I will provide one more example. According to the payroll jobs report oil and gas extraction lost 3,300 jobs in April. This low number is inconsistent with what we know about layoffs from fracking operations. According to Challenger Gray, a private firm that tracks job cuts announced by corporations, in April 20,675 jobs were lost as a result of falling oil prices. That is more than six times the loss reported by the payroll jobs report. Challenger Gray reports that during the first four months of this year, corporations have announced 201,796 job cuts. Obviously, corporations are not creating new jobs. That is why the BLS looks to waitresses, bartenders, remodeling contractors, government, and social services for employment growth. Jobs offshoring has shriveled the employment opportunities for Americans. These shriveled opportunities are largely responsible for stagnation and decline in real median family incomes, for the falling labor force participation rate, for the rising inequality in the income and wealth distribution, and for student loans that cannot be repaid from the lowly paid jobs available. Corporations and Wall Street in pursuit of short-term profits have given the economy away. Much of the former US economy now belongs to China and India. Corporate executives/shareholders got rich.[...]" Related: "Americans Not In The Labor Force Rise To Record 93,194,000"
MSM: "Report: Social Security Upside Down By 2020, Bust By 2033" [05/09/15] "...The Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ 2014 report to Congress last year found trust fund reserves for both its combined retirement and disability programs will grow until 2019. Program costs are projected to exceed income in 2020 and the trust funds will be depleted by 2033 if Congress doesn’t act. Once the trust funds are drained, annual revenues from payroll tax would be projected to cover only three-quarters of scheduled Social Security benefits through 2088. [...]"
Concepts and Practices: "New Gold-Backed Crypto-Currency Announced" [05/08/15] "The most legitimate argument against Bitcoin, is the fact that it isn’t backed by anything tangible. While it does use math and cryptography to create scarcity, at the end of the day bitcoins are still just digits on a screen. In that regard, they aren’t that different from fiat currencies. Their value is dictated by confidence and belief, rather than real world value. But that may be about to change. Not for bitcoin, but for digital currencies in general. The gold storage company known as Anthem Vault has decided to release a new crypto-currency that is backed by precious metals. Each “coin” will be valued at 1 gram of gold, and will be called the “Hayek,” after Austrian Economist Friedrich Hayek. It’s slated to be released on May 25th. In an interview with Business Insider, the CEO of Anthem Vault explained his reasoning behind creating the currency: [...] Basically, this will be an alternative to the volatility and vulnerability of central bank issued currencies. It has the added advantage of making precious metals more versatile on the global marketplace, since physical delivery is not required. But that brings up a troubling issue. It’s nice not having to take a delivery for every transaction, but it would also be comforting to know that you could take a delivery for physical gold if you wanted to. After all, is a currency truly backed by gold if you can’t have the gold? So far, Anthem Vault has yet to say whether or not you’ll be able to cash in your digital coins for gold. If they did, it would create a system of checks and balances between themselves and the customer. They would have to keep a large amount of gold on hand, or else their currency will be worthless if too many people withdraw. But if you can’t exchange your coins for a real-world product, then their currency is no better than paper gold. It’s just too tempting to say that you have the gold in a warehouse somewhere while issuing as many digital coins as you want. And that brings up another question. We don’t know if their crypto-currency will allow them to add new coins. It would make sense if they could. What if people bought so many coins that they were worth more than the gold they have stored? You would have to issue more coins to make sure the currency has an accurate value. But if people can’t exchange the coins for real gold, then they have the option to rake in the cash while issuing as many worthless digits as they like. It might turn out to be a great idea, but until all the facts are in, it’s a little too risky.[...]"
Commentary: "China To Establish Yuan-Denominated Gold Fix In Bid To Upend London Benchmark" [05/07/15] "... China conducted trial runs for the planned launch of a yuan-denominated gold fix last month, three sources familiar with the matter said, in a sign the world's second-biggest bullion consumer was moving closer to creating a benchmark price. The state-run Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), on whose international platform the fix will be launched, conducted the trial with major Chinese banks and a few foreign banks, the sources said this week… China plans to launch a yuan gold fix this year through trading of a 1 kg contract on the SGE, Reuters reported in February. "The launch of the fix is towards the end of the year ... Banks were invited in April to test the fixing process," said one of the sources directly involved in the process. The SGE will act as the central counterparty, unlike the London fix where the bullion banks settle trades amongst themselves, the source said. If the Chinese fix becomes a success, it could add to the pressure on the London benchmark, which is used worldwide by producers, refiners and central banks to price holdings and contracts, although the two could exist side-by-side. [...] The ironic conclusion: the currency 'manipulating', GDP fabricating, soon-to-be global superpower is now set to challenge the century-old gold price fixing regime which is under fire for being just as corrupt as every other 'benchmark' has proven to be since we first suggested that LIBOR was rigged some six years ago. But don't worry: China promises that yuan hegemony is not something Beijing is interested in establishing.[...]"
Commentary: "Australia Leads The New Age Of Economic Totalitarianism" [05/07/15] "Australia will be the first to introduce a compulsory tax on savings. This is the ultimate Marxist state for now anyone with spare cash is the enemy of the Conservative Tony Abbott government. What I laid out at the Solution Conference is the ONLY way out of this nightmare. It is time for people to start spreading the word and get behind changing the game plan while we still have a game in play. We have to stop this confiscation of all wealth and the continual borrowing and taxation. This will lead to the total destruction of Western culture for we are plagued by power hungry insane politicians who cannot see past their nose. The new compulsory control is already provided for in the 2015 Australian budget. So that everyone who has any savings must pay taxes on on their savings. The measure is expected to serve as a global test balloon for Europe and North America will watch the outcome in Australia. If there will be no massive resistance of Australian savers, the rest of the world should expect this outright confiscation very rapidly. [...] Tony Abbot has proven to be a real Marxist. He is taking the Australian people into the economic abyss from which only war and bloodshed can emerge. This is really Atlas Shrugged in high gear. The Abbot Government will introduce its draft budget for 2015 tax on savings and it will to announce this measure before the formal decision on the budget. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that it was now all about to relieve families and small businesses. For this, the new tax is to be used. The problem is clear. There will be no reduction in taxes for these people, it will only be more money in the pocket of corrupt and seriously deranged politicians who are destroying the western civilization in the blink of an eye. Abbott also said there would be some hard decisions in the new budget because this was inevitable. For the banks, the government’s plans are anything but good news. Abbott’s anti-capitalism view will put him up there with Lenin no doubt when history is allowed to be written honestly perhaps in a hundred years or some. This decision of a tax on savings would seriously harm the government and if there are any smart Australians, it should now be a race to get the hell out of the banks. The banks should see a massive withdraw. Take your money and buy tangible assets even gold, but you just cannot store it in a bank. Movable assets will be the key and buying equities in the USA may be the only real game in town to protect money. It is hard to fathom how Australian banks will attract or hold on to deposits in this new Abbott-style of Economic Totalitarianism. The opposition is of course outraged by the decision of the Abbott Conservative government. This is not a labour government demonstrating what I have said – economically there is no difference between left and right – just hand them the money. [...]" Note: There is definitely something wrong psychologically with sequential Tony Abbot. See this: "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Tony Abbott, President Of The USA Of Australia (HBO)" [3:58]
Commentary: "Donetsk Republic Nationalizes Banks, Draws Ire Of NATO And World Banking Cartel" [05/06/15] "In a tiny corner of Eastern Europe, a fledgling Republic struggling with the day-to-day hurdles of warfare and shaky ceasefires, has succeeded in doing what has long been overdue in the most powerful nation on the face of the earth – it has nationalized its out-of-control banks and put them to use for the good of the people. While the DPR was not faced with a privatized central bank such as the United States and other nations due to the fact that DPR is a breakaway bloc and a new nation separated from the Kiev central bank, it was nonetheless host to a number of larger banking institutions that not only parasitized the people of DPR and Ukraine but also did nothing to improve the infrastructure of these areas or the living standards of the people there. Emerging out of the stage of mere bands of militias and governing committees, the Donetsk People’s Republic is now in the process of putting together a formal government. Its plans to nationalize banks that have parasitized Ukraine for years have no doubt drawn the ire of not only the oligarchs that own those banks but the Anglo-American banking cartel that essentially owns the United States and NATO countries and who are bent on world hegemony and submission to their will. The plans to nationalize banks within the borders of the DPR were announced as early as January, 2015. By April 2015, however, those banks have now been nationalized and the oligarch owners castrated in their ability to manipulate the economy and political sphere, at least in this specific instance. As Roger Annis wrote for Counterpunch, “A nascent banking system has been established in the two republics by nationalizing the banks of the billionaire bankers, notably the Privat Bank of the rightist Jewish oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.” [...] It should be pointed out that Kolomoisky is not only one of the richest men in Ukraine but one who has been a fervent supporter and contributor to the Euro-maidan color revolution cause as well as the current fascist and Nazi government operating from Kiev along with Western support. Indeed, Kolomoisky was even appointed governor of Dnepropetrovsk by the fascist Ukrainian government. Having been nationalized, these banks are now apparently going to be used for investment in infrastructure for the people of the DPR. This infrastructure is expected to be used for roads, sanitation, and other public services but also for the purposes of industrial infrastructure and transportation. If the DPR plan moves forward in this manner, it will be a breath of fresh air and an example to the world, at least in the area of the potential for progress and development by use of a nationalized banking system as opposed to private banking alone and certainly to a privatized central bank such as the Federal Reserve. One can only hope that the DPR bank nationalization will be able to overcome sanctions and embargoes and become a beacon for the rest of the world.[...] However, one thing is for certain - it will become a beacon for the Anglo-American war machine. As evidenced by American military involvement and targeting of virtually every other nation across the world without a privatized central bank, it is clear why NATO and the US has stepped up its attempts to destroy the new Republic before it ever has a chance to take root. There is no mistake that the United States has increased its moves to support the Kiev government in overtaking the DPR as of late. Indeed, providing political cover for fascist forces attempting to destroy the DPR, misrepresenting ceasefire violations as the fault of the “separatists,” and the arming and training of the Kiev fascist forces have gradually increased over the last several months. [...] While vast oil reserves, oil pipelines, opium fields, strategic positioning, no-bid contracts for the defense industry and military-industrial complex, mineral deposits, and geopolitical concerns are all known reasons for American military adventures overseas, the goal of total domination of the world by the privatized private banking cartel complete with central banks, cannot be overlooked. With the DPR’s recent move, it has no doubt placed itself in the crosshairs of the Anglo-Americans and the war machine set out destroy any signs of independence and the use of government and banking for the benefit of the people. We can only wish the best for the people of the DPR while attempting to stop US involvement in their internal affairs at the same time. Regardless of the economic decisions of the DPR, a refusal to continue to provoke the DPR’s main supporter would also be a wise idea."[...]"
MSM: "BRICS Announce Their Own International Reserve Bank" [05/05/15] "President Vladimir Putin approved a new $100 billion reserve fund over the weekend that will specifically aid the BRICS nations: Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa. It’s another step by the BRICS to build an alternative so they don’t have to go to the United States or the International Monetary Fund for any financial help. BRICS leaders first agreed on the new fund — seen by many as a power play against the west — at a conference last July. The BRIC countries make up 40% of the world’s population and about 20% of the world’s economic activity. The reserve fund will help BRICS countries with cash problems. It will get most of its seed funding from China, which will contribute $41 billion. Russia, India and Brazil will put in $18 billion each, and South Africa will give $5 billion. The timing is critical as many emerging market nations and businesses are struggling to pay their debt for various reasons. China is also moving forward with its own investment bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which America isn’t supporting financially. That bank has quickly become a thorny issue for President Obama. European nations, such as Britain and Germany, defied U.S. requests to withhold membership, and chose to back China’s bank. Last week Obama said he’s “all for” China’s investment bank, but wants to make sure it’s operated properly before the U.S. joins. But both the bank and the fund appear to be an effort by the BRICS reduce reliance on U.S. and western Europe for investment. IMF Director Christine Lagarde said last October that she sees the new BRIC reserve fund as complementary to the IMF, not a rival. The IMF’s total reserves amount to about $1 trillion, according to an IMF spokesperson. “I don’t see it, as some people have said, competing with the IMF,” Lagarde said at a press conference. “We will be working and partnering with this arrangement if it endures.” [...]"
MSM: "Bank Of International Settlements Just Slammed The Gold Price Down With A $590m Sale" [05/04/15] " The manipulation of the gold price by global central banks was particularly blatant on Friday when the Bank of International Settlements orchestrated a $590 million sell order to put prices into reverse again, as brilliantly captured by the ZeroHedge website (click here). It’s no secret that global central banks are keeping the lid on interest rates to try to stimulate an economic recovery, though they are proving far more effective at the former rather than the latter. But not so many people appreciate that in order to achieve this they also have to artificially manipulate gold prices down. [...] Obviously this does not always work out. From 2001 to 2011 gold prices shot up from $250 to $1,923 an ounce despite the best efforts of the manipulators to suppress them. But they will always do this if they can see the opportunity to lower inflationary expectations. Silver gets the same rough treatment. However, on Friday we heard some nonsense about employment claims meaning that interest rates were likely to rise and that was supposedly bad for gold and brought the price down. Rubbish! Just remember that ’somebody’ pulled the strings behind the scene to make this happen and $590 million worth of gold is a huge amount to drop on the market! It’s also a bargain for the Chinese or whoever decides to pick up gold on a day when the BIS dirty tricks department is busy fixing the market. The more difficult thing to predict is when the central banks might lose control of gold prices again. [...]" Related: "Man Asked To Speak To Chinese Officials Says China To Back Currency With Gold, Triggering A Major Crisis In The West"
MSM: "George Soros May Face A Monster 6.7 Billion Tax Bill" [05/01/15] "George Soros likes to say the rich should pay more taxes. A substantial part of his wealth, though, comes from delaying them. While building a record as one of the world’s greatest investors, the 84-year-old billionaire used a loophole that allowed him to defer taxes on fees paid by clients and reinvest them in his fund, where they continued to grow tax-free. At the end of 2013, Soros—through Soros Fund Management—had amassed $13.3 billion through the use of deferrals, according to Irish regulatory filings by Soros. [...] Congress closed the loophole in 2008 and ordered hedge fund managers who used it to pay the accumulated taxes by 2017. A New York-based money manager such as Soros would be subject to a federal rate of 39.6 percent, combined state and city levies totaling 12 percent, and an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income to pay for Obamacare, according to Andrew Needham, a tax partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Applying those rates to Soros’s deferred income would create a tax bill of $6.7 billion. That calculation is based on publicly available information such as the Irish regulatory filings, which provide only a partial glimpse into Soros’s finances. The actual tax bill would be affected by factors specific to the billionaire. Soros declined to comment, according to Michael Vachon, a spokesman, as did Anthony Burke, an IRS spokesman. Just before Congress closed the loophole, Soros transferred assets to Ireland—a country seen by some at the time as a possible refuge from the law. The filings show for the first time the extent to which Soros’s almost $30 billion fortune—he ranks 23rd on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index—came from finding ways to delay taxes and reinvesting the money in his fund. Many hedge fund managers used the tax deferral strategy, and the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in 2008 that the new rules would generate about $25 billion in revenue for the U.S. Treasury over the ensuing decade, including $8 billion in 2017. “No person has a constitutional obligation to pay any more taxes than he is required to pay,” says James Sitrick, a tax attorney who represented Soros for decades. If Soros “couldn’t legally do it, he wouldn’t do it,” says Sitrick, who worked on international tax policy for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. [...]"
Commentary: "Goldman Paid Bill Clinton $200K Before Lobbying Hillary On Export-Import Bank" [05/01/15] "Goldman Sachs paid former President Bill Clinton $200,000 to deliver a speech in the spring of 2011, several months before the investment banking giant began lobbying the State Department, then headed by Hillary Clinton, federal records reviewed by International Business Times show. Goldman’s objective in lobbying the State Department could not be immediately discerned. The lobbying disclosure filings note only that Goldman sought to “monitor deficit reduction issues” -- specifically, a bill known as the Budget Control Act -- and the bank declined to answer questions about the precise nature of its interests… In recent days, attention to overlapping interests that have donated to the Clinton family’s private interests while also allegedly seeking to influence State Department policy has reached a fever pitch amid leaks from a forthcoming book on the subject, “Clinton Cash,” by Peter Schweizer. The involvement of Goldman Sachs seems certain to amplify that scrutiny. The bank brings a reputation as uniquely well-connected in Washington given that many of its former executives have landed in the uppermost ranks of the Treasury Department… State Department records show that Bill Clinton’s $200,000 Goldman Sachs speech was delivered April 11, 2011, to “approximately 250 high level clients and investors” at a United Nations dining room in New York. In federal disclosure documents, the Duberstein Group is listed as lobbying the Clinton State Department on behalf of Goldman Sachs between July and September 2011. Goldman Sachs paid the Duberstein Group $100,000 during that time. Those records show that the firm was specifically lobbying the department on “proposed legislation” linked to a series of budget bills. One bill continued congressional authorization for the Export-Import Bank, a government-backed lender whose financing was critical for the prospects of a company in which Goldman owned a stake. [...]"
Commentary: "Biggest Inventory Build In History Prevents Total Collapse Of The US Economy" [04/30/15] "If US inventories, already at record high levels, and with the inventory to sales rising to great financial crisis levels, had not grown by $121.9 billion and merely remained flat, US Q1 GDP would not be 0.2%, but would be -2.6%. It means that as this massive inventory overhang is eventually cleared out (once the US runs out of space to store all these widgets, gadgets and raw materials) US GDP will be pressured even more with every passing quarter, or else the moment of deflationary rapture when everyone is forced to liquidate and/or dump this inventory at the same time, will result in a monetary supernova which will leave the Fed with no choice but to literally paradrop money on the continental US. [...] While we already observed that in Q1, US GDP rose by an appalling 0.2%, far, far below the consensus Wall Street estimate (in case you missed it, here again is the one thing every Wall Street economist desperately needs) and precisely in line with the Atlanta Fed forecast which we brought attention to in early March, confirming yet again that US stocks no longer reflect any fundamentals but merely Fed and global liquidity injections, there is something far more disturbing under the surface of today’s GDP report. Specifically, the $121.9 billion increase in private, mostly nonfarm, inventories in the first quarter. [...]"
MSM: "Citibank Buys $1Billion In Gold From Venezuela" [04/30/15] "What with the dollar on such a long winning streak, and the stock market reaching record highs, you’d be crazy to invest in commodities. However, the big banks don’t see it that way. Last week, the financial community was shocked to discover that JP Morgan has accumulated 55 million ounces of silver since 2012, with 8 million of those ounces being purchased in the past few weeks. Of course, JP Morgan is not alone. Citibank recently announced that they were going to swap $1 billion for a portion of Venezuela’s gold. Nicolas Maduro’s cash-strapped regime is so desperate for revenue, that they’ve agreed to pawn 1.4 million ounces of gold, which amounts to $714 per ounce. “He had to pawn their gold. That’s what they’ve done. They can buy it back. They have rights of first refusal,” said Dennis Gartman, publisher of The Gartman Letter. “They went to the biggest pawnbroker of gold—Citibank.” [...] They also have a little-known ace in the hole. Last week I wrote about an economist from Citigroup (which is, of course, the same company that owns Citibank) who expressed his desire to get rid of cash entirely. By ridding the world of paper money and forcing all transactions to become digital, they’ll be able to enforce negative interest rates on everyone with a bank account. I explained that this move would backfire on the government and the banks, because people will always need a way to save their money. And if saving money in the bank means that you’ll really be losing money, then most logical people will start buying real world commodities with inherent value. That would most likely include gold and silver, and in the long run it could end up fueling the black market. However, I may have spoken too soon when I suggested that these banks don’t understand the consequences of banning cash. Now I think they know exactly what they’re doing. They know that the government would love to have a cashless society, because it would make it so much easier to track and tax us. So they’re going to let the politicians do the dirty work for them with legislation, while they position themselves to profit from the aftermath. If our society goes cashless, then there will be an exodus from the dollar, and into physical gold and silver. They know it’s going to split our economy in two. There will be the legitimate economy that deals in traceable digital currencies, and there will be a massive informal economy that deals in gold and silver. When the cashless society arrives, they will profit in both arenas. They’re going to make a ton of money by imposing negative interest rates on the cashless dollar, and they’re going to profit even more on gold when the dollar exodus causes its value to go through the roof. They are in short, setting themselves up to dominate every facet of the future global economy.[...]"
MSM: "Silent Cut: Western Banks Refuse To Transfer Money From Crimea Via SWIFT" [04/29/15] "Western banks are refusing to transfer payments from Crimea in foreign currencies via the SWIFT banking transaction system, whether they are executed by Crimean citizens or by companies registered in the peninsula. The rule so far works only one way: one can easily transfer payments in foreign currencies from Russia to Crimea, but similar payments the other way, from Crimea, will be blocked. This peculiar feature results from banking regulations which specify that a client making a transfer shall specify the regions of the sender, while there is no rule that the region of the addressee must be specified. [...]"
Commentary: "Capital Controls Arrive: Greece Begins Confiscating Deposits Of "Small Debtors" [04/28/15] "Last week, the Greek government issued a decree which called for local governments to transfer excess cash to the central bank so that Athens would be able to pay pensions, salaries, and the IMF. The move is expected to raise as much as €2 billion to help keep the country afloat while the country’s “amateurish, time-wasting gambler” of a FinMin feebly attempts to find some kind of middle ground with his EU counterparts and as PM Tsipras pulls out all the stops including the old EU Summit sideline end-around with Merkel and the wild card energy gas pipeline advance from Gazprom (which may portend the dreaded “Russian pivot"). If the “temporary” local government reserve sweep constitutes what we have branded “soft” capital controls, we now have the first evidence that the “hard” variety may have arrived because as Kathimerini reports, Greek debtors are having their deposits seized in lieu of payment. Here’s more: As the country’s finances reach a critical point, tax authorities have started seizing the deposits of small debtors, Kathimerini understands. No figures were available regarding the new crackdown but cases of debtors targeted included a citizen with a debt of just 200 euros. The bank account of the man in question was frozen and then reopened once it was established that he had paid his dues. In several cases, including that of a citizen with a debt of 24,000 euros, bailiffs are said to have used threats to secure the cash. The initiative comes as efforts to crack down on rich Greeks with tax debts make slow progress. [...]"
Systemic Corruption: "US Corporations Generate Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars Annually By Bribing Politicians" [04/27/15] "Corporate lobbying is big business in the U.S., where the highest bribing multinational corporations are allowed to freely siphon billions of dollars every year from the federal coffers. But few people realize just how much these monolithic corporate entities are effectively stealing from American taxpayers by paying off Congress for financial and political favors. According to a recent analysis conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, 200 of America's most politically active corporations collectively spend about $1.2 billion annually lobbying the federal government for tax breaks, grants and other financial incentives. And in return, they garner more than $733 billion a year in payouts. The financial rate of return, if you will, for corporations that actively lobby Congress for what they want is astronomical. As explained by Zero Hedge, these returns range between 5,900% for things like oil subsidies and as high as 22,000% for multinational tax breaks. And in the drug sector, the return is even higher, at 77,500%. "Putting [this] in context, the $4.4 trillion total [that the top 200 corporations received from the federal government between 2007 and 2012] represents two-thirds of the $6.5 trillion that individual taxpayers paid into the federal treasury," explains Zero Hedge. That's right, $4.4 trillion is what the 200 most powerful U.S. corporations raked in over the course of five years from congressional lobbying, a huge return from the relatively paltry $5.8 billion they spent to get this massive return. They can call this "lobbying" all day long, but what it really constitutes is bribery. "[B]y 'spending: [sic] a paltry $6 billion to bribe the US government, or just a little more than what GM will spend on stock buybacks alone, US corporations are getting the direct benefit of two-thirds of US taxpayers' labor!" adds Zero Hedge. [...]" Note: This is normal for a fascist dynamic.
MSM: "JP Morgan Accumulating The Biggest Stockpile Of Physical Silver In History" [04/26/15] "Since early 2012, JP Morgan’s stockpile has grown from less than 5 million ounces of physical silver to more than 55 million ounces of physical silver. Clearly, someone over at JP Morgan is convinced that physical silver is a great investment. But in recent times, the price of silver has actually fallen quite a bit. As I write this, it is sitting at the ridiculously low price of $15.66 an ounce. So up to this point, JP Morgan’s investment in silver has definitely not paid off. But it will pay off in a big way if we will soon be entering a time of great financial turmoil. During a time of crisis, investors tend to flood into physical gold and silver. And as I mentioned just recently, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon recently stated that “there will be another crisis” in a letter to shareholders… Some things never change — there will be another crisis, and its impact will be felt by the financial market. All in all, JP Morgan has added over 8.3 million ounces of additional silver in just the past 2 weeks alone. [...]" Quote: "There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.” ― Plato
Commentary: "Greeks React To Capital Controls And "Decree To Confiscate Reserves"- Not Happy" [04/22/15] "Earlier today, following weeks of speculation, Greece finally launched the first shot across the bow of capital controls, when it decreed that due to an "extremely urgent and unforeseen need" (ironically the need was quite foreseen since about 2010, but that is a different story), it would be "obliged" to transfer - as in confiscate - "idle cash reserves" located across the country's local governments (i.e., various cities and municipalities) to the Greek central bank. Several hours later the decree which was posted in the government gazette has finally percolated among the population, and the response to what even ordinary Greeks realize is now the endgame, is less than exuberant. Bloomberg reports, that "as Greece struggles to find cash to stay afloat, local authorities say they oppose a government decision to use their reserves for short-term financing." “The government’s decision to seize our reserves not only raises legal and constitutional issues, but also a moral one,” said George Papanikolaou, mayor of Glyfada, the third- largest municipality in the metropolitan region of Attica after Athens and Piraeus. “We have a responsibility to serve our citizens,” Papanikolaou said by phone on Monday. Glyfada has about 16 million euros in cash reserves, he said. George is unhappy because as recently as tomorrow, he will find there is precisely zero euros in his public bank account, as all the money has now been forcibly sequestered by the government in order to repay future Troika, pardon, IMF obligations. Sadly for Greece, this is the only option left as the money has now fully run out: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ordered local governments and central government entities to move their cash balances to the central bank for investment in short-term state debt. From Bloomberg: "The decree to confiscate reserves held in commercial banks and transfer them to the Bank of Greece could raise as much as 2 billion euros ($2.15 billion), according to two people familiar with the decision. The money is needed to pay salaries and pensions at the end of the month, the people said. “It is a politically and institutionally unacceptable decision,” Giorgos Patoulis, mayor of the city of Marousi and president of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece, said in a statement on Monday. “No government to date has dared to touch the money of municipalities.” [...] It took the radical leftist one all of 2 months since coming to power. And the punchline is that the use of confiscated proceeds is unclear: the government says it is to pay pensions and wages, but recall that the same government recently confiscated pensions to repay the IMF, so according to the chain of logic, the government first raided pensions, and now municipalities, just to repay the dreaded Troika. [...]"
MSM: "JP Morgan Making Millions Off Unregulated Prison Debit Cards" [04/21/15] "Correctional facilities across the country are increasingly sending former inmates home with their funds returned on pre-paid debit cards, known in the industry as release cards. In addition to adoption by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 17 state prison agencies reported using them in a 2014 survey commissioned by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. Prison reform advocates such as Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative say that their use is even more widespread among the nation’s nearly 3,300 jails. With almost 12 million people admitted to county and city jails each year, these local facilities provide a steady source of cardholders subject to high fees. “The money is in the recidivism not rehabilitation,” said Cavaluzzi. The use of these cards is expanding into jobs programs for current inmates. In 2014 the Alabama DOC began using debit cards with high ATM fees to pay inmates at a small number of its work-release facilities and plans to roll out the program statewide by July. Unlike consumer debit cards, prison-issued cards are completely unregulated when it comes to the fees that can be charged. The result is high transaction and maintenance fees that bear little relation to the actual costs of the services provided. Banking giant JPMorgan Chase is the exclusive release-card vendor in federal prisons. [...]"
MSM: "China Takes Aim At Dollar Reserve Status: Promotes Yuan In Investment Bank" [04/21/15] "As regular readers know, we’ve variously described the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as representing both an attempt by China to cement its regional dominance by implicitly adopting a sino-Monroe Doctrine, as indicative of Beijing’s desire to supplant to US-dominated multinational institutions that have been a fixture of the post WWII economic world order, and, perhaps most importantly, as a not-so-subtle indication that dollar hegemony may be on the way out and Yuan hegemony may be around the corner. Essentially the AIIB will (either intentionally or unintentionally depending on who you believe) serve as an instrument of Chinese foreign policy and any hope of keeping this between the people who are privy to the country’s various hidden agendas (because all countries have agendas), went out the window early last month when the UK staged a coup by breaking with Washington and joining the development bank triggering a flood of applications from Western countries and culminating in membership bids from US “allies” Australia, Israel, and even Canada. Adding insult to injury, the AIIB is now looking to hire officials away from the World Bank and rival ADB. Amid the March membership frenzy, Beijing sought to play down the degree to which the venture would serve to help establish a new world economic order with China at the helm. An article which appeared in The Global Times (a paper run by the state-controlled People’s Daily) very specifically denied any notion that China has designed on establishing a yuan-based global economic system. Here’s an excerpt: "The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been depicted by a few overseas media outlets as if China is building its own version of the Bretton Woods system... Some foreign observers claim that the AIIB is the beginning of the Chinese Yuan's hegemony." [...] What they are actually trying to imply is that "China is another US." This kind of statement is nonsensical, which uses historical experience to fool readers. It is divorced from the truth and shows no common sense and doesn't stand up to any scrutiny. Through the Bretton Woods system, the US was able to wield supreme influence over its allies which had been severely battered during the war. China today is in a totally different position. The AIIB will not confront the WB or IMF, nor will it turn the current international monetary order upside down. The spirit of the AIIB is diversity and justice. [...] Perhaps, but as we noted at the time, it was on the very same day that the following came across the wires: “China plans to push for Yuan to take prominence in loans under the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, people familiar with the matter said. China may encourage $100b AIIB and $40b Silk Road Fund to issue loans directly in Yuan or set up yuan-denominated funds under the two institutions, according to the people, who ask not to be identified because deliberations are private.” This prompted us to suggest that “actions speak louder than words.” Today, The South China Morning Post reports that the bank will establish an AIIB currency basket with China set to push for the yuan to take a prominent role and for “special currency funds” to be established in order to issue Yuan-denominated loans through the fund. Here’s more: [...] Perhaps even more interesting — and more alarming for Washington — is that the move by China to expand the Yuan's influence via a fund that is now backed by nearly every major country on the planet save the US and Japan, comes just as petrodollar mercantilism, which has been perhaps the driving force behind dollar dominance for decades, crumbles in the face of slumping oil prices. As we’ve reported on several occasions, 2014 marked the first year in nearly two decades that oil producers' petrodollar exports (i.e. the recycling of oil proceeds into USD assets) turned negative. In other words, falling oil prices mean producing nations are now removing liquidity from the system rather than adding it, a process Goldman estimates will will sum to nearly $900 billion by 2018. The combination of these two forces could serve to cause a dramatic shakeup in a world that heretofore functioned on a unilateral system, both politically and economically.[...]"
MSM: " World Bank Breaks Its Own Rules As 3.4 Million People Are Forced Off Their Land" [04/20/15] "The World Bank has repeatedly violated its own policies on protecting the rights of indigenous people by funding projects that forced nearly 3.4 million slum-dwellers, farmers and villagers from their homes and jobs over the past decade, according to documents seen by the Guardian. The bank says its goals are to end extreme poverty and reduce income inequality worldwide. The projects, into which the bank channelled more than $60bn (£40bn), aimed to boost electricity and water supplies and expand transport networks in some of the world’s poorest countries. But they have resulted in more than 1.2 million people in Vietnam being displaced over the past decade, as they made way for dams and power plants funded by the organisation. Also, more than 1 million people in China were displaced by about $12bn of bank investment.[...]"
Commentary: "Corrupt Hillary Clinton 'Grooming' Corrupt Former Goldman Banker" [04/18/15] "For years on end, many wondered how it is possible that Gary Gensler allowed Wall Street firms to manipulate, rig, and otherwise abuse the US commodity market which he, as head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2009 until 2014, was supposed to regulate. Some, such as this website, suggested that what Gensler was doing was simply protecting his former colleagues from civil or criminal investigation and prosecution. After all Gensler is far better known for not only having worked at Goldman Sachs for 18 years most recently as co-head of finance, prior to joining the CFTC, but for becoming the youngest ever Goldman partner, at the tender age of 30. [...] Certainly, being the wealthiest member of the original Obama administration did not hurt: in 2009 the Washingtonian reported his net assets as being between $15,533,000 and $61,745,000. We take the higher number. To be sure, he had been paid well at Goldman and now had a duty to his former employer: to keep Goldman (or any other Wall Street bank) off the hook of any regulatory investigation. Overnight, this speculation was confirmed, and further explained why Gensler handled his former Wall Street colleagues with silk gloves: according to Bloomberg, "Hillary Clinton is planning to name Gary Gensler... as the chief financial officer of her campaign, according to a Democrat familiar with the decision." And as hard as we try when reading the Bloomberg assertion that Gensler was "a strong advocate for strict Wall Street rules", we can't help but burst in laughter. The humorous spin continues: [...]" Note: Both are intractable sequential reincarnates stuck in a fixed reality perspective. [...]" Related: "Hillary Clinton Exposed" [04/20/15] [1:30:16] Note: Comment below video: "... these people have absolutely no moral compass or political principles. They are opportunists of the worst kind - they are virtual psychopaths who will do anything and say anything in order to obtain power. Hillary Clinton was a "goldwater girl" back in 1964 - she was a right-wing Republican. But when she found it more convenient to pretend to be a liberal in order to obtain power, then she pretended to be a liberal. But make no mistake - the Clintons have NO principles at all. Absolutely none!" "Hillary Clinton Camp Accused Of Staging Events With Political Operatives" | "Unprecedented: No Issues Listed On Hillary Campaign Website" |"Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Van Parked in Handicap Spot" "She has severe health problems or just doesn’t care. Last summer, bestselling author Ed Klein revealed that Clinton does have health problems, including not only her publicly-disclosed brain clot but also a bad heart. “She had managed to keep her medical history secret out of fear that, should it become public, it would disqualify her from becoming president,” he wrote in his book Blood Feud.[...]" |"Nobody Can Figure Out Why Hillary Clinton Is Running For President" To force election of a Republican/GOP/Israeli Hawk
MSM: "House Votes To Repeal "Death Tax" On Richest 0.2 Percent Of Americans" [04/18/15] "The House of Representatives voted Thursday to give a tax break worth $269 billion to the richest few thousand estates in the country, and add that cost to the federal debt. Called the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, the bill would end the nearly 100-year-old federal estate tax. All but three Republicans voted in favor, while all but seven Democrats voted against. The legislation passed 239 to 179. The measure benefits only the top .2 percent of the population because the other 99.8 percent of the country doesn't own enough wealth to ever pay the tax. Only estates worth more than $10.9 million for couples and $5.4 million for individuals fall under the tax. [...]"
Commentary: "Iran – The Story Behind The Story" [04/16/15] "International treaties are being held hostage by the west. There has been a lot of interference inside Iran by Washington. The nuclear issue is just an excuse to undermine the Islamic Republic and has very little to do with anything else.”- Interview with RT by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, 6 April 2015. [...] This statement is right on the dot. The artificially created nuclear issue – is just an excuse for regime change… perhaps yes. But there is more to it. While the expressed views on what the recent “Lausanne deal” really brought for Iran and the 5+1 participants may differ widely, one must sense that there is another story behind the story. A little detail, nobody talks about, and maybe most pundits – even honest ones – are not aware of. In 2007 Iran was about to launch the Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) – an international hydrocarbon exchange, akin to a stock exchange, where all countries, hydrocarbon producers or not, could trade this (still) chief energy source in euros, as an alternative to the US dollar. This, of course would have meant the demise of the dollar hegemony – the liberation of the world from the dollar stranglehold. This was inadmissible for Washington. It would have meant the end of the dollar as the world’s chief reserve currency, and giving up the instrument of coercing the world into accepting Washington’s dictate, the tool that serves to dish out sanctions left and right – no way! [...] Allowing a country like Iran destroying the US hegemon’s power base by taking a sovereign decision to abandon the dollar for oil and gas trading – no way. A pretext had to be invented to surmise the country which according to George W. Bush became a link of the axis of evil. What better than the nuclear threat – with the full support of Israel, of course. Bolstered by worldwide media manipulation, Iran became a nuclear menace not only for Israel and the entire region, but also for the US.[...] Iran’s case is a bit more complicated. Iran has Russia and China backing. Nevertheless, with the propaganda machine painting a nuclear danger to the world, Iran could be brought to her knees, no problem. No matter what logic said and still says, no matter that the 15 US key intelligence agencies assured the then Bush Administration that Iran has no plans of manufacturing a nuclear bomb, that Iran was genuine in using its enriched uranium for power generation and for medical purposes. [...] No matter that Iran’s enrichment process reached a mere 20% purity, enough for medical purposes, but far from the 97% required for a nuclear bomb, Iran had to be oppressed and under a web of lies made a pariah state, a risk for the world. That’s what the average American and European today believes. It’s a shame. Nobody openly dares talk about the only nuclear threat in the Middle East, Israel. That is another shame. No matter what the Lausanne deal is today, or next June, after three more months of intense, but useless negotiations, no matter what a UN resolution would say about the deal, about the lifting of sanctions – Washington will always find a pretext to keep the stranglehold on Iran. As Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich said, “International treaties are being held hostage by the west”- there is no international compact or law that prevents the only rogue state in the world, the atrociously criminal US empire from crushing its way to satisfy its abject greed. Always – that is, as long as empire survives. And yes, the economic survival is only a question of time. Fifteen years ago some 90% of worldwide reserve holdings were kept in US dollars, or dollar denominated securities. In 2010 the ratio shrunk to about 60%; today it is approaching 50%. When it sinks below 50%, governments around the globe may gradually lose confidence in the greenback, seeing it as what it is and has been for the last 100 years, nothing else but a fraudulent Mickey-Mouse currency at the service of a Zionist dominated western financial system, not worth the paper it’s printed on; a currency that has been abusing and impoverishing the ‘non-aligned’ world at will.[...] Iran knows it, Russia knows it – without direct confrontation, the empire’s grip may not hold as long as the Iran deal is planned to last, some 20 to 30 years. Therefore, the large concessions that Iran had to make for ‘peace’ – to reduce its enrichment process to 3.37% just enough to fuel power plants, and to sell or transfer its stock of 20% enriched medical-grade uranium abroad –these concessions to reach this ‘glorious’ interim agreement, are unimportant. It is a winner for Iran, as announced by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. Even if Washington derails the agreement within the next three months, or at any time at will, as is likely, Iran has won a battle of credibility worldwide, as she is ready to adhere to a signed agreement, no matter how far it sets her back.[...]"
MSM: "International Monetary Fund (IMF) Close To Giving Up Its Role In Greece's Economic Resuscitation" [04/15/15] "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is close to giving up its role in Greece's economic resuscitation, with one senior official admitting bail-out negotiations are not working. The comments came as some voices in Athens seemed to be preparing themselves to default on their next debt repayment. Poul Thomsen, the IMF's Europe Director has been quoted by the Greek media as saying he could not see a successful conclusion to the country's current bail out. The fund's Europe chief reportedly told his executive board that negotiations were not going as hoped, the Daily Telegraph reported. Thomsen's prediction was made as the Greek government repeated previous threats that unless more bail out money was made available then it would stop paying back creditors. One Greek official has been quoted by the Financial Times as saying that if the ECB did not play ball with the Mediterranean Eurozone member there could be no alternative to a default. [...]"
Commentary: "AIIB: Guess Who’s Got Back in Business?" [04/11/15] "In the recent decades Beijing has made every effort to ensure that it has the resources, markets, and the strategic alliances with developing countries to ensure a stable growth of its economy. This policy driven by politically motivated loans has been labeled “checkbook politics” by Western experts. In particular, Beijing provided a number of Africa, Latin America and Asia countries with considerable loans.Among the states that received comparatively significant loans once can mention Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and, of course, Ukraine. Reinforcing its claim of being the world’s largest provider of funds for developing countries, China allocates 3.8 trillion dollars to strengthen its relations with states that are allegedly pursuing anti-American policies. However, Chinese client states have recently started facing an increasing number of political turmoils, that has been jeopardizing China’s friendly efforts big time. Some of of the former allies of China have even preferred to switch sides and obey the harsh rule of Washington, causing some serious damage to Beijing’s master plan ]...] Ironically, the emergence of AIIB was provoked by the US and its diplomatic folly, along with its reluctance to support the emerging markets, that contribute even more value to the world economy with each passing year. [...] There was a time when they were saying that the world would be bowing to the almighty dollar. But the story of the AIIB says that even today many of America’s closest allies are dreaming about cashing yuans. As the fist fight around AIIB between Washington and Beijing gets more tense, the ultimate question is what will prevail: the brutal military force or growing economic power. However, the future result of the battle seems to be evident even today. As the Portuguese journal Expressounderlined, the 'importance of the US as the world’s leading power' is increasingly called into question because of the brilliant rise of China. Weak as it is now, Europe has not even been considered in the international arena as a possible rival of the United States, and therefore it became an obedient tool of Washington in its political, military and economic games, therefore the great shift is underway. [...]" Related: "AIIB, BRICS Development Bank And An Emerging World" "Germany is a founding member as France. So is Luxemburg, even Great Britain. Putin’s Russia and India are also among the founders. To the surprise of many, so is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an institution that until now has been a pillar of the dollar system. We are talking about China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or AIIB. The question is whether the AIIB is on its way to become the seed crystal of a new monetary order that could replace the destructive influence of the dollar? Or will it be infected by Trojans like the UK and the IMF? The answer could well shape the architecture of a new world in which the dollar and its bloated debt structures no longer dictate to the entire world what their economic policies shall be.[...]" "United States Is Facing Global Economic Isolation"
Commentary: "Wealthy Get Government Handouts: Here Are 10 Of Them" [04/11/15] "In case you are still skeptical that many of the non-poor — and, in fact, a lot of the rich — receive benefits from government, too (for which we don't make them pee in a cup or promise not to buy luxuries), we've rounded up some more examples. [...]"
Commentary: "Odious Debt" Has Finally Arrived: Greece To Write Off "Illegal" Debt" [04/09/15] "It was back in June 2011 when we first hinted that the time of Odious Debt is rapidly approaching. As a reminder, this is what Odious Debt is: In international law, odious debt is a legal theory which holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are thus considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion. Today, nearly four years later, Odious Debt is now a reality in Greece, where Zoi Konstantopoulou, the head of the Greek parliament and a SYRIZA member, released two videos which have promptly gone viral, designed to promote the investigative parliamentary committee to look into the circumstances surrounding the signing of the country’s two bailout agreements that led Greece to implement its austerity measures. [...] That this concept emerges now is perhaps confusing: it was just a few days ago when the Greek FinMin promised to the IMF that Greece would honor all of its debt commitments. Should Greece decide that some (or all) of its debt was illegal and unenforceable, this will clearly not happen. Then again, this is the same political party that made pre-election promises whose execution would require about €30 billion according to German calculation, so the relentless flipflopping is not very surprising. On the other hand, while perhaps Greece was hoping for a more favorable outcome from Tsipras' meeting with Putin today, the resultant outcome which led to virtually nothing (that was revealed at least) may embolden the Greek nation to push on with this track which is certain to infuriate the Troika. [...] According to Greek Reporter, Konstantopoulou has said that the newly established “Debt Truth Committee,” will investigate how much of the debt is “illegal” with a view to writing it off. Proving that this is more than just a populist stunt, during a vote that took place early yesterday, out of the 300 Greek MPs, 156 voted in favor of establishing the public debt auditing committee. “The committee will examine how Greece entered into the bailout agreements with its international lenders, as well as any other matter related to the memoranda’ implementation,” SYRIZA Parliamentary Secretary Christos Mantas had explained earlier. “We are fulfilling our commitment and the social demand to explore the causes and responsibilities of an unprecedented crisis that devastated the vast majority of society,” Mantas added. If the Greek "Debt Truth Committee" indeed persists with determining how much of its debt is legal and enforceable, and ultimately decides to rescind some (or all) of it, the only question is how long until other countries around the world, all of which are burdened with massive, untenable debt loads across the government, financial and household sectors, decide it is time to do the same and declare a fresh start. Because as the end of the day, the winners will be 99% of the population - or all those who have been trampled upon by the central banking regime and their crony capitalist, private bank and oligarch backers. The only losers will be that 0.01% of the population which benefited during the past 8 years of what is now obvious to all has been nothing more than a farcical global "recovery."[...]"
MSM: "Greece Demands €278 Billion World War II Reparations from Germany, More Than its Debt to EU" [04/09/15] "Germany owes Greece no less than €278.7 billion in World War II reparations, Athens said, referring to the destruction wrought upon the nation during the Nazi occupation. The sum exceeds Greece’s total debt of €240 billion to the EU. [...]"
MSM: "Swiss Banker Involved In Bribery Scandals In Greek Custody" [04/09/15] "A Swiss senior banker who was among the key suspects in the so-called Siemens scandal as well as in armament programs scandals is currently being held in custody in Greece, as the country’s media pressed earlier today. An international arrest warrant as been issued for the banker, identified as Jean-Claude Oswald, for some time but he was only recently arrested in Abu Dhabi. The Swiss authorities, though, have initially denied the expatriation of the former executive at BNP Paribas and Dresdner Bank to Greece. According to the same sources, the Swiss national, has already faced a prosecutor in Athens and has been given time to prepare his deposition. The Siemens bribery scandal was a corruption and bribery case that hit Greece over deals between the German colossal Siemens AG and Greek government officials during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games that took place in Athens regarding security systems and purchases by OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization) in the 1990s. Similarly, the armament scandal was revealed after former deputy director for procurements at the Defense Ministry Antonis Kantas testified he took nearly 12 million euros in bribes to approve contracts for German, French, Russian and other foreign arms manufacturers. The contracts included purchases of submarines, tanks, fighter jets and missiles. The contracts were awarded in the late 1990s and early 2000s under the PASOK socialist government, during a time when tension with Turkey was high and authorities decided to update Greece’s military forces. [...]"
Trends: "Revolving Debt Crashes As Student, Car Loans Go Exponential; Bank Lending Freezes" [04/08/15] "First, the “good credit”, the one that consumer should load up on when they feel comfortable about the future, i.e., credit card, or revolving debt, continued its recent plunge, and in February crashed by $3.7 billion, following January’s $1 billion plunge. This was the worst month for revolving credit since December 2010 and explains perfectly why the consumer has literally gone into hibernation – it has nothing to do with the weather, and everything to do with the unwillingness to “charge” purchases, which in turn is a clear glimpse into how the US consumer sees their financial and economic future. [...] "This plunge, however, was more than offset by a surge in “bad” credit, the type that even Obama wants to do away with, namely non-revolving credit, mostly student and to a lesser extent auto credit. In February, this debt funded almost exclusively by the US government, soared by $19.2 billion, the highest monthly notional since July 2011. [...] In other words, banks, which had resumed lending for a few months, have slammed the door shut on all new credit issuance, which means one things: instead of lending, the big banks are back to their old tricks to make money: prop trading the S&P and otherwise manipulating markets as only they can do (ref: see the JPM London Whale).[...]"
MSM: "China’s Infrastructure Bank Enrollment Closed: U.S. (And Israel) Left Out In The Cold" [04/07/15] "Last week, the government of China closed the enrollment window to join its new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a ‘founding member’. The AIIB, if you haven’t heard of this yet, is designed to essentially displace the Western-controlled IMF and World Bank. And prior to last Tuesday’s deadline, dozens of nations around the world from New Zealand to Denmark signed up to join. Even staunch US allies like the United Kingdom and Israel ' agreed to be part of' AIIB. This is a huge coup for China, and probably the most obvious sign yet that the global financial system is in for a giant reset. Under the weight of nearly incalculable debt and liabilities, the United States is in terminal decline as the dominant superpower. From Ancient Rome to the British Empire, this has happened many other times in history. This time is not different. And everyone else in the world seems to get it. . . except for the US government. They act as if the financial universe will revolve around America forever—that they can print money, indebt future generations, and wage war as much as they want without consequence. But they’re completely blind. Practically the entire world is lining up against them to form a brand new financial system that is no longer controlled by the US government. [...] In an editorial published in the Financial Times, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers summed it up plainly saying that this “may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system.” The consequences of this shift away from a US-controlled financial system cannot be understated. No more endless spending. No more solving problems with more debt and more money printing. Suddenly it will be time for painful decisions in the US—like slashing Social Security benefits, drastically scaling back the military, and selectively defaulting on the debt. This transition is going to be bumpy.[...]"
Propaganda Theatre: "CIA Insider: "I Was Handed Janet Yellen's Playbook -Keeps Me Up At Night" [04/07/15] [1:05:06] "Should the contents of Janet Yellen's playbook serve as a warning sign that something much more dangerous is approaching? According to Jim Rickards, the CIA's Asymmetric Warfare Advisor, the answer is yes. In a startling interview he reveals that all 16 U.S. Intelligence Agencies have begun to prepare for the biggest American collapse ever. Making matters worse, his colleagues believe it could begin within the next 6 months. However, the ground zero location for this global crisis is what makes his interview a must-see for every American. Take a few moments to watch it below and decide for yourself." [...]" Note: Woo hoo ... they need everyone to need them, so they get funding and continue to parasitize the population .... stupid sequentials.
Commentary: "Treasury Department Refuses To Answer Congress On $3 Billion Unauthorized Obamacare Payments" [04/06/15] "The Executive Branch of the US Federal Government is running wild, without any standards to go by, without any limitations. That's because the US Constitution has been turned into toilet paper. Every single right in the Bill of Rights is now routinely folded up, used to wipe politician's buttocks, and then flushed down Big Government toilets. The US Treasury Department does not even get authorization from the House of Representatives to spend money anymore. Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution explicitly states, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time." Of course, the Affordable Care Act (mandated medical system insurance act) was passed into law a few years ago, expanding government's taxation powers, but Congress is in charge of authorizing spending through annual appropriations. However, the US Treasury Department doesn't care about annual appropriations, and the leaders of the department have already doled out nearly $3 billion in unauthorized payments to health insurers in 2014 alone. [...] This is a perfect display of government gone wild. The US Treasury Department is taking billions of dollars from hard-working Americans and funneling it to the health insurance industry. Obamacare should be called "a perpetual bailout of the failing medical system." House Ways and Means Chairman Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin is requesting that the US Treasury explain their actions, but the Treasury department has rebuffed his request, proud of their illegal efforts to extort people and funnel money to the insurance industry. The Treasury is doing this because of a provision of Obamacare that allows insurers to enjoy cost-sharing subsidies. The healthcare law forces insurers to limit out-of-pocket costs for low-income individuals. To cover the loss, Obamacare fines those who do not buy medical system insurance and uses this tax money to reimburse the insurance companies! Where it gets confusing is how Congress authorizes this money annually. This year, Congress did not appropriate any money to insurers. The Department of Health and Human Services and the US Treasury didn't care either way. They appropriated nearly $3 billion to insurance companies, without Congressional approval. Not only is this a crony way of doing business (taking billions of dollars and propping up an entire industry), but it's also corrupt to the core, bypassing the actual guidelines of the Constitution. This means that the Executive Branch of government is moving billions of dollars where they want without legal authority to do so -- spending money that has not been appropriated. With the Affordable Care Act in motion, the Obama Administration thinks they can control the purse. The next administration that comes into office will most likely follow the same path. The government is no longer a system of checks and balances. It's a system of runaway powers, flexing authority arrogantly. When the Treasury Department responded to Ryan and Upton in February, they revealed that $2.997 billion had been doled out in 2014, but they didn't mention where that money came from. It's obvious that the money came from taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, over the next 10 years, cost-sharing payments to insurers will cost taxpayers nearly $150 billion. This is theft at the highest level. Could you imagine what the private sector could do with $150 billion -- investing in new ideas to renovate the broken medical system? [...]" Related: "Institute Finds US Medical System Wastes $750 Billion Per Year" [03/23/15]
Commentary: "Global Financial Reset Alleged: ‘Deal Is Being Made Between All The Central Banks’" [04/06/15] "There is an unprecedented reset coming to world financial markets, and if you’ve been paying attention it’s impossible to ignore the signs. In fact mega-investment funds, governments and central banks have been secretly buying up and storing physical gold in anticipation of an event that will leave the U.S. dollar effectively worthless and governments around the world angling for a new global currency mechanism, according to mining executive Keith Neumeyer. But before the reset can happen Neumeyer, who recently founded First Mining Finance and has partnered with billionaire alternative asset investors like Eric Sprott and Rick Rule, says that foreign creditors must first deleverage their U.S. dollar debt, a move that is happening right now and is evidenced by the recent strength of the U.S. dollar. Once these U.S. debt holders unwind their positions, however, the dollar will be allowed to crash and we should prepare for a total financial, economic and monetary realignment. [...] Neumeyer: "With the central banks now buying gold… which is quite unique… we haven’t seen that in our lifetimes… they’ve always been sellers of gold and now they’re buyers of gold… I think there will be a reset of the financial industry… I think China is being allowed to accumulate gold purposefully by the American government… I believe that the Chinese need to own at least the same amount as the U.S. owns before this reset occurs. I think that there’s some kind of deal that’s being made between all the central banks behind the scenes and that’s why you’re seeing governments accumulating the metal. The view on the strength of the dollar recently is the fact that it’s short-term. You’ve got so much U.S. debt out there and governments are now getting rid of their U.S. debt and converting all the debt to local debt… that’s causing a huge demand for dollars in order to make that conversion, so this whole dollar rally is basically a deleveraging against the U.S. dollar… you’re not seeing that story showing up anywhere in North America. Once the world is deleveraged than the U.S. dollar… then basically the U.S. dollar will crash and that will be the beginning of this new reset." [...] If Neumeyer is right, and all the signs suggest his assessment is fairly accurate, then the recent strength of the U.S. dollar will be short-lived. Once deleveraging by governments and central banks has been completed they will unleash an economic, financial and monetary storm that will change the very fabric of the global order.[...]" Note: Keep in mind that it is a mining executive who is saying this ... he stands to profit from sale of gold with projections of vast valuation ... which this allegation supports.
Commentary: "George Soros Prepared to Invest $1 Billion in the Country He Helped Destroy" [04/04/15] "Since at least January of this year, billionaire George Soros has been calling for the West to invest 50 billion euros of aid in Ukraine, to stabilize the country and to undermine Russian influence in the region. Earlier this week, he announced that he would be willing to contribute $1 billion to that fund, if Western governments agree to pay for the rest. To those who aren’t familiar with the tactics of the financial elite, this probably looks a lot like charity. After all, Ukraine is a broken nation and no sane investor would willingly put their money there, and expect to see a profit. Their GDP is expected to decline 7.6% this year, and there’s no telling when their economy will truly bottom out. On the surface, it looks like he is just giving his money away in the hopes that he can prop up a struggling nation.[...]"
MSM: "Iceland To Ban Private Banks From Creating Money Out Of Thin Air" [04/04/15] "Iceland's government is considering a revolutionary monetary proposal - removing the power of commercial banks to create money and handing it to the central bank. The proposal, which would be a turnaround in the history of modern finance, was part of a report written by a lawmaker from the ruling centrist Progress Party, Frosti Sigurjonsson, entitled "A better monetary system for Iceland". "The findings will be an important contribution to the upcoming discussion, here and elsewhere, on money creation and monetary policy," Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said. The report, commissioned by the premier, is aimed at putting an end to a monetary system in place through a slew of financial crises, including the latest one in 2008. According to a study by four central bankers, the country has had "over 20 instances of financial crises of different types" since 1875, with "six serious multiple financial crisis episodes occurring every 15 years on average". Mr Sigurjonsson said the problem each time arose from ballooning credit during a strong economic cycle. He argued the central bank was unable to contain the credit boom, allowing inflation to rise and sparking exaggerated risk-taking and speculation, the threat of bank collapse and costly state interventions. In Iceland, as in other modern market economies, the central bank controls the creation of banknotes and coins but not the creation of all money, which occurs as soon as a commercial bank offers a line of credit. The central bank can only try to influence the money supply with its monetary policy tools. Under the so-called Sovereign Money proposal, the country's central bank would become the only creator of money. "Crucially, the power to create money is kept separate from the power to decide how that new money is used," Mr Sigurjonsson wrote in the proposal. "As with the state budget, the parliament will debate the government's proposal for allocation of new money," he wrote. Banks would continue to manage accounts and payments, and would serve as intermediaries between savers and lenders. Mr Sigurjonsson, a businessman and economist, was one of the masterminds behind Iceland's household debt relief programme launched in May 2014 and aimed at helping the many Icelanders whose finances were strangled by inflation-indexed mortgages signed before the 2008 financial crisis. The small Nordic country was hit hard as the crash of US investment bank Lehman Brothers caused the collapse of its three largest banks. [...]"
Commentary: "Greece Considering Nationalising Its Banks And Issuing New Currency" [04/04/15] "Greece’s government is prepared to nationalise the country’s banks and could create a new currency to pay its bills unless the eurozone nations back down over austerity, sources have reportedly said. The left-wing Syriza party, which dominates the governing coalition, could also decide to not make a payment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next week under its bailout agreement, so that it can pay state employees’ wages and benefits. A senior official told The Daily Telegraph: “We are a left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer. “We may have to go into a silent arrears process with the IMF. This will cause a furore in the markets and means that the clock will start to tick much faster.” Athens is attempting to negotiate a better deal with its creditor nations in the European Union, but has had limited success so far. “They want to put us through the ritual of humiliation and force us into sequestration. They are trying to put us in a position where we either have to default to our own people or sign up to a deal that is politically toxic for us. If that is their objective, they will have to do it without us,” the source said. [...]"
MSM: "China Rejects North Korea Request To Join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank" [04/02/15] "North Korea applied to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank but its membership was denied in February. The reclusive regime sent a message to the bank's inaugural president, Jin Liqun, through diplomatic channels indicating its interest, but according to the online British publication Emerging Markets, Chinarefused to meet North Korea's request. North Korea reportedly expressed shock at China's rejection of its request. Chinese authorities replied through diplomatic channels to explain North Korea's economic fundamentals and financial condition disqualify Pyongyang from membership in a new bank poised to become one of Asia's largest financial institutions. Nicholas Eberstadt, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, a politically conservative think tank in Washington, said China could not accept North Korean membership in AIIB, given U.S. concerns about the bank's standards of governance.[...]"
MSM: "Justice Dept Announces New Rules For Seizing Financial Assets" [04/01/15] "The Justice Department will place new limits on the government’s ability to seize bank accounts and other financial assets, Attorney General Eric Holder said, adding that criminal charges must be filed or additional evidence uncovered before it can do so. In a statement on Tuesday, Holder said the new policy would affect the way the government targets companies and individuals suspected of “structuring” bank transactions. Structuring involves purposefully keeping transactions from surpassing a certain threshold so they do not require banks to make a record of them or file a report regarding a possibly suspicious operation. The Justice Department said that in addition to being a crime on its own, structuring is usually linked with other illegal activity. Previously, the government could seize bank accounts, as well as other property, without a warrant and without filing criminal charges, as long as it suspected wrongdoing. Since 2001, law enforcement agencies around the United States have confiscated $2.5 billion in cash despite never filing criminal charges or obtaining warrants, the Washington Post reported. If they cannot indict suspected wrongdoers, prosecutors will need to gather more evidence linking the transactions to other illegal crimes and get the approval of a supervisor. [...]" Related: "Attorney General's Memorandum And The Structuring Policy Directive" PDF
MSM: "Paranoia Reigns In Congress Over An International Financial Cabal" [03/31/15] "It’s tough to keep up with the conspiracy theories that run rampant from day to day in the hallowed halls of Congress. But one that is gaining traction is that the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council (whose acronym is pronounced F-SOC) is the handmaiden of an international finance cabal and is obediently marching to its beat instead of the mandates of Congress. These suspicions were on display at the Senate Banking Committee hearing last Wednesday and the House Financial Services Committee hearing the week before where U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who Chairs F-SOC, was pummeled with thinly veiled, and not so thinly veiled, accusations. F-SOC was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. It is charged with the early identification of emerging risks to the financial system. Every major regulator of Wall Street banks has a seat. [...] The conspiracy theory that foreign hot shots are really controlling decisions at F-SOC is not without roots. The international equivalent of F-SOC is the Financial Stability Board, which is run by a Plenary of central bankers and finance ministers from around the globe, along with organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The United States has three members on the Plenary: Nathan Sheets, the Undersecretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury; Daniel Tarullo, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; and Mary Jo White, Chair of the SEC. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England is the current Chair of the Financial Stability Board. [...] The simmering conspiracy took wings on February 5 of this year when Mark Carney issued what appeared to be marching orders from the Financial Stability Board to G20 members, which includes the United States. One portion of the document reads as follows: “At the Brisbane Summit, two crucial elements of the policy framework to end too-big-to-fail were agreed: a proposal for a common international standard on the total loss- absorbing capacity that globally systemic banks must have; and an industry agreement that will prevent cross-border derivative contracts from being terminated disruptively in the event of a globally systemic bank entering resolution. In 2015, we must bring this progress to finalisation. By the Antalya Summit: The FSB will finalise the international standard for total loss-absorbing capacity of global systemically important banks; FSB members will take measures to promote industry adoption of contractual provisions recognising temporary stays on the close-out of financial contracts when a firm enters resolution.” This certainly sounds like the FSB is calling the shots. At the Senate Banking hearing on Wednesday, it became clear that the conspiracy theory has spread to at least one trade group, the American Council of Life Insurers. Gary Hughes, the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the trade group submitted written testimony that included this excerpt: [...]"
MSM: "Elizabeth Warren Fires Back After Wall Street Threats" [03/30/15] "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has a blunt message for the big Wall Street banks that may withhold campaign donations to Senate Democrats in hopes of quieting her calls to break up the banks. "It will not work," Warren said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post. Warren has been a vocal advocate for reining in big banks that she says wield too much power in Washington after their recklessness triggered the 2008 financial meltdown. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have discussed ways to soften Warren's strong tone, Reuters reports, and representatives of some have raised the idea of cutting campaign donations to Democrats. Only Citigroup -- a frequent target of Warren's criticism -- so far is publicly withholding money from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Cutting donations, Warren said, won't end her demands. "They want a showy way to tell Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what’s right," Warren wrote. "... I’m not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government’s economic policymaking apparatus ... And I’m not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called 'too big to fail' banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008." [...]"
Commentary: "London Gold Fix Closed" Valentin Katasonov [03/30/15] "The closer of London Gold Fix (LGF) on March 20 is big news. The first London gold fixing was performed in 1919; it had a short way to go till its anniversary. The system of its functioning was simple enough. A number of leading participants started a fixing process to reach a balance between supply and demand to set the price. The gold fixing provided a recognized rate that was used as a benchmark for pricing the majority of gold products and derivatives throughout the world's markets. There were five participating banks and market makers that made up London Bullion Market Association – LBMA. London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. exercised the administrative control. For many years LGF was perceived to be an ideal instrument for fixing the gold price on the world market, especially for individual contracts and derivatives (paper gold). The rates were used for evaluating monetary gold reserves and liabilities pegged to the precious metal (for instance, bank deposits denominated in gold). The drawbacks of the system were hushed up, no matter more and more questions were being raised, especially during the recent 10-20 years. The Bretton Woods system disappeared in the 1970s. Gold stopped being a monetary metal to become a normal commodity. It would have been logical to trade gold with its price fixed as if it were an ordinary operation at commodity exchange. In recent years LGF looked like an anachronism, an old fashioned structure to add to or, to some extent, substitute ordinary markets trading non-ferrous and precious metals. [...] The most perspicacious experts noticed that LGF was an ideal instrument for the Rothschilds to control the gold market. As is known, the gold standard was created by Rothschilds in the XIX century. After Napoleonic wars the family got hold of major part of European gold, so the gold standard made it fabulously rich guaranteeing stable demand for the precious metal. The Rothschilds did not sell it to central banks or treasuries of other countries. Instead they granted gold credits. The First World War put an end to the functioning of gold standard mechanisms. The Rothschilds wasted no time to react. In 1919 they created LGF to control the world gold market through London gold fixing.[...] The Rothschilds -controlled N M Rothschild & Sons was the leading bank of the five. It was founded at the beginning of XIX century by Nathan Rothschild. Other members of «golden five» were related to the Rothschilds by invisible ties. It can be said that LGF was the Rothschilds ’ creature. In 2003 N M Rothschild left gold fixing but it did not mean the family left the business. It controlled LGF behind the scenes. By that time there were many frauds and manipulations affecting the functioning of the market; the situation could have gone out of control. There was a risk of world-wide scandal. To avoid involvement the «financial geniuses» the Rothschilds decided to go into the shadows. There were a lot of interesting things happening in the world of gold trading. The Rothschilds -controlled media did it best to hush it all up. For instance, the information on tungsten operations hit the pages only ten years after the fact was discovered. [...] The elimination of LGF is part of big game played by the «money bosses» – the Rothschilds and Rockefellers (the both are the leading shareholders of US Federal Reserve System). Gold is what the Rothschilds are after, while the Rockefellers rely on the dollar – the world currency the Federal Reserve System issues. The correlation of forces (between the Rothschilds sand the Rockefellers who are partners and competitors at the same time) is defined by the balance between the dollar and gold. It’s a well-known fact that since some time ago the gold has been greatly underestimated. The price has never returned to the peak reached in 1980 ($850 per troy). This is a comparable price. The nominal price has gone up exceeding $1000 since a long time ago. At first glance, one should come to conclusion that the Rockefellers won the battle and weakened the position of the Rothschilds . But there is a great possibility that this is just a trick on the part of Rothschilds trying to turn the temporary retreat into a strategic win to defeat the Rockefellers.[...]" Related: "Gold Market: “There Are Thirty to Fifty Owners For Each Ounce of Gold That’s Out There" |"Letter Exposes HSBC Vault Closures As War In Gold Continues To Rage"
MSM: "Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter" [03/29/15] "WikiLeaks releases today the "Investment Chapter" (PDF) from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement (HTML Version) The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014). The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world's GDP. [...] • Foreign investors alone would be granted access to extrajudicial tribunals staffed by private sector lawyers who rotate between acting as “judges” and representing corporations in cases against governments, posing major conflicts of interest." The tribunals lack public accountability, requirements to follow precedent, or standard judicial ethics rules. The leaked TPP text itself has no requirement for tribunalists to be independent or impartial. Rather, it relies on weak impartiality rules set by the arbitration venues themselves. In the 48-year history of the World Bank arbitration regime, which is most commonly used, tribunalists have only been disqualified in four of 41 challenges of exhibited bias or conflicts of interest. Rulings by tribunalists with specific conflicts of interest have been allowed to stand. A tribunalist ruling that Argentina had to pay Vivendi Universal $105 million for reversing a failed water privatization served on the board of a bank that was a major investor in Vivendi. The tribunalist did not disclose the conflict, much less recuse herself, and Argentina’s effort to annul the ruling was dismissed. • Foreign tribunals would be empowered to order governments to pay unlimited cash compensation out of national treasuries. The leaked text provides tribunals with discretion to determine the amount of compensation governments must pay investors (Article II.28.1) and also the allocation of costs (Article II.28.3), such as the tribunalists’ fees. Even when governments win ISDS cases, they waste scarce budgetary resources defending national policies against these corporate attacks, as $8 million in taxpayer funds must be used in an average ISDS case to pay large hourly fees for the tribunals and legal costs. • The TPP would grant foreign investors procedural rights that are not available to domestic firms to “sue” governments outside of national court systems, unconstrained by the rights and obligations of countries’ constitutions, laws and domestic court procedures. • The leaked text shows that foreign investors would be able to demand compensation if new policies that apply to domestic and foreign firms alike undermine their “expectations” of how they should be treated.[...]"
Commentary: "US Attacks “Closest Ally” UK For “Constant Accommodation” With China" [03/29/15] "On the heels of a diplomatic spat between Hanoi and Washington regarding Russia’s use of a former US air base in Vietnam to refuel nuclear-capable bombers on the way to conducting “provocative” runs in the Pacific, we get yet another, larger, sign that it may indeed be the US that’s isolated and not (as Western media would have you believe) the Kremlin. The UK (Washington’s “special” friend) has announced it’s joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is essentially China’s answer to the Asian Development Bank over which Beijing feels the US has undue influence. The bank, which will fund infrastructure projects across the region and may indeed be part and parcel of China’s implicit attempt to establish a Sino-Monroe Doctrine, represents “an unrivaled opportunity for the UK and Asia to invest and grow together,” according to Britain’s George Osborne. Unsurprisingly, the US doesn’t see it that way and although Washington was generously willing to concede that this was the UK’s decision to make for itself, US officials are clearly perturbed that Britain didn’t ask for permission: [...]"
MSM: "IMF Declares Suspension Of Yemen Loan Amid Saudi Airstrikes" [03/28/15] "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced its indefinite suspension of a loan to Yemen, citing a “host of uncertainties” after Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against the country. “Given the host of uncertainties surrounding Yemen at the moment, the first review... is postponed until the situation clarifies,” IMF spokesman William Murray said on Thursday at a regularly scheduled news conference. Murray added that he could not state when the situation will improve enough to resume the loan package or estimate the economic impact of the Yemeni crisis in the region. He said that he was not aware of any “recent contacts” between the IMF and the new Houthi-led administration in Yemen. The IMF had approved a $552.9-million line of credit for Yemen back in September 2014 to assist the impoverished Arab nation to maintain its economic stability and promote inclusive growth. The first installment of the three-year loan, about USD 74 million, was immediately made available to the then-US-backed government in Sana’a. The next payment was due in the first quarter of this year, following an IMF review of the loan-supported reform program. Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is attacking Ansarullah positions, Saudi warplanes have flattened a number of homes near the Sana’a International Airport. The blatant invasion of Yemen’s sovereignty by the Saudi government comes as international bodies, especially the United Nations, remain silent regarding the issue. The UN has so far failed to show any reaction whatsoever to violation of the sovereignty of one of its members by Riyadh.[...]" Note: However the IMF selectively ignores their own rules when supplying funds to the Ukrainian fascists conducting internal warfare, under which IMF assistance must be suspended by their own rules.
MSM: "The Bitcoin Blockchain Could Be Used to Spread Malware, INTERPOL Says" [03/28/15] "The blockchain is a decentralized public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. Whenever a new batch of Bitcoin transactions are verified, they’re uploaded to the blockchain. Because the blockchain is decentralized, that data is also downloaded to the computers of everyone running Bitcoin software. The problem is that all kinds of files, not just Bitcoin transactions, can be uploaded to the blockchain, including malware. According to a statement from INTERPOL and researchers from cyber security research firm Kaspersky Labs, uploading malware to the blockchain would make it extremely hard to get rid of. Indeed, there are “no methods currently available to wipe this data,” according to the statement. Once a file is in the blockchain, and hence on every computer in the Bitcoin network, it’s there forever. For now, at least.[...]" Note: Pretty much seals the fate of the dynamic. Related: "British Banking Association: Bitcoin is a Real Threat to Banks" | "EFF Files Second Round Of Comments On New York’s Bitlicense Proposal"
Max Keiser: "Surging Dollar A Signal That ‘Colossal Financial Event’ Is Just Around The Corner" [03/28/15] [12:18]
MSM: "Oil Surges, Gold And Silver Spike As Saudi Arabia Bombs Yemen" [03/27/15] "Geopolitical tensions escalated dramatically over night as Saudi Arabia launched military operations including air strikes in Yemen. The Saudis claim the action is to counter Iran-allied forces besieging the southern city of Aden where the U.S. backed Yemeni president had taken refuge. Oil surged and gold rose nearly 2% following a sharp drop in stocks on Wall Street globally in response to the bombing in Yemen. Gulf broadcaster al-Arabiya TV reported that the kingdom was contributing as many as 150,000 troops and 100 war planes to the operations. Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan were ready to take part in a ground offensive in Yemen, the broadcaster said. [...]"
Commentary: "Wall Street Banks Hit By Oil & Gas Defaults, Bankruptcies" [03/26/15] "The oil bust tripped the banks up, and some of them have gotten stuck with their formerly hot leveraged loans that suddenly no one wants. Banks have been discounting them, and still, they’re having trouble unloading them. The Fed and the OCC have been warning banks about the risks of leveraged loans for two years. In July last year, Fed Chair Janet Yellen herself warned about them publicly. Regulators have reason to be worried: Banks had gotten stuck with about $150 billion in leveraged loans before the Financial Crisis and lost their shirt on them. Retail investors with loan mutual funds, where these things tend to end up, are supposed to take the losses, not banks.[...] Investors in these companies are being bled. But Wall Street banks won’t have to surrender the $31 billion in fees they extracted over the past five years. This is the beauty of the system. The Fed’s interest-rate repression and apparent guarantees that risks no longer exist, and that assets, no matter how inflated, can no longer decline in price, created the greatest credit bubble in history and lulled investors into closing their eyes. Many of these investors are fund managers that then shuffle off their products to largely unwitting Americans who’re trying to squirrel money away for their retirement. The Wall Street Banks that did the financial engineering behind the oil boom, and provided the grease for it, will lose billions in fee income, and they’ll take a licking on leveraged loans that they got stuck with. But they’ll get through it. And they’re already busy figuring out other avenues to extract fees from the energy sector and its investors." Related: See below: "Oil Industry Pink Slips: 100,000 Jobs Wiped Out Amid Price Collapse" [03/22/15]
Commentary: "2015's "Black Swans" According To French Bank Societé Generale" [03/25/15] "For those who recall our summary of the most popular article of 2014, there was one common theme:" what readers founds most fascinating, and troubling, was the increasing preponderance of social disobedience, of covert, proxy or outright wars, and of civil unrest: all phenomena that accompany a world sliding deeper into distress, not as most central banks and their puppet media would have us believe, a global recovery." It should therefore hardly come as a surprise that as SocGen attempts to quantify the biggest Black Swans risks (and hopes) of 2015 (yes, a foolish endeavor since nobody can actually envision what a black swan may be, by its very definition an event that was predicted by no one), it notes that "political and financial risks now outnumber real economy risks." So what does SocGen believe are 2015's black swans? Here are the "bad" ones, alongside their estimated probability of occurring: Ukraine crisis spills over to broader disruption (5%); Deflate-thy- neighbor, or systemic EM crisis (10%); Lower-than-expected price multipliers (15%); Sharp repricing of G4 term premiums (20%); UK election leads to Brexit vote (25%); Brexit (10%); China hard-landing (30%) [...] Here are the "unexpected" events that would lead to a favorable outcome (sadly, these never actually occur). Higher than expected price multipliers (15%) Euro area fast track reform and growth friendly fiscal policies (10%)" [...] But, then again, why bother with such trivial exercises, when as Paul Tudor Jones accurately laid out, Video [10:25] how the current centrally-planed farce ends is simple - there are three outcomes: Revolution, War and Taxes. Everything else is just a distraction.[...]" Related: "Paul Tudor Jones Warns "Disastrous Market Mania" Will End In "Revolution, Taxes, Or War" "This gap between the 1% and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist," warns renowned trader Paul Tudor Jones during his recent TED Talks speech, as he addressed the question - can capital be just? Hoping to expand the "narrow definitions of capitalism," that threaten the underpinnings of society, Tudor Jones exclaims, "we're in the middle of a disastrous market mania," adding "one of worst of my life." Perhaps most ominously, he concludes, historically this ends "by revolution, higher taxes or wars. None are on my bucket list." “Capitalism has driven just about every great innovation that has made our world a more prosperous, comfortable and inspiring place to live. But capitalism has to be based on justice and morality…and never more so than today with economic divisions large and growing.” [...]"
US Politics: "The Goldman Sachs Primary: It’s Bush Vs. Clinton At Wall Street’s Wealthiest Bank" [03/24/15] "Forget the Democratic and Republican primaries: The two biggest names in the 2016 presidential race are competing directly against each other in an elite forum, the halls of Goldman Sachs. Jeb Bush will be back in New York raising money next week with his sights set on Goldman, the wealthiest and most successful bank in Wall Street history. He has a pair of events scheduled for next Wednesday with current and former Goldman executives, sources familiar with Bush’s plans said. [...]"
Commentary:: "France: Fighting The Fabricated "War on Terror" By Banning Cash" [03/24/15] "It was just a matter of time before Western governments used the trumped up "War on Terror" as an excuse to drastically ratchet up the very real war on the use of cash and personal privacy that they are waging against their own citizens. Taking advantage of public anxiety in the wake of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, France has taken the first step. It seems the terrorists involved partially financed these attacks by cash, as well as by consumer loans and the sale of counterfeit goods. What a shockeroo! The terrorists used CASH to purchase some of the stuff they needed--no doubt these murderers were also shod and clothed and used cell phones, cars, and public sidewalks during the planning and execution of their mayhem. Why not restrict their use? A naked , barefoot terrorist without communications is surely less effective than a fully clothed and equipped one. Despite the arrant absurdity of blaming cash and financial privacy for these crimes, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin brazenly stated that it was necessary to "fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy." He then announced extreme and despotic measures to further restrict the use of cash by French residents and to spy on and pry into their financial affairs. These measures, which will be implemented in September 2015, include: [...]" Related: "DOJ Orders Bank Tellers To Alert Police About 'Suspicious' $5000+ Cash Withdrawals" "The Justice Department has ordered bank tellers across America to contact law enforcement if they suspect your cash withdrawal may have something to do with 'illicit activity'. There doesn’t need to be proof, or any sort of red flag indicator – merely suspicion by the bank teller processing your transaction is now enough to have you investigated by authorities. According to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, banks are required to file a SAR with respect to: “Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…” It’s utterly obscene. Now, whenever banks suspect something ‘suspicious’ is going on, they want them to pick up the phone and call the cops: “[W]e encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem, who may be able to seize the funds, initiate an investigation, or take other proactive steps.” So what exactly constitutes ‘suspicious activity’? Basically anything. [...]" See also Society, Living And The Economy Panel: "DEA Seizing Cash Without Warrants In Its Version Of Stop-And-Frisk" [03/20/15] and related stories, "Canine Sniffs Yield Unreliable Evidence For Forfeiture" [03/20/15] 97 percent of all bills in circulation are tainted by cocaine.
Commentary: "SWIFT: U.S. Begs Russia to Remain, After Threatening To Expel Them" [03/23/15] "Once again, the Law of Unintended Consequences has risen up to bite the One Bank in its enormously bloated ass. Once again its servants, a collection of psychopathic, Wile E. Coyotes have treated us to a cartoon which illustrates their own genetic deficiency. They even wrote the punch line for this cartoon themselves. After malevolently scheming to have Russia kicked-out of SWIFT, the One Bank’s henchmen now dangle a ‘carrot’ in front of Russia – as they beg it to stay. ... The point here is that any moderately intelligent child would (using elementary logic) have been able to project this entire chain of events in his/her mind, anticipate the reactions to this crime and thus predict (easily) all of these unintended consequences – assuming that child was a chess-player. This is how chess players program themselves to think. The chess player doesn’t simply plot some scheme (i.e. “move”) and then devote all his time/energy to admiring his own ‘genius’. Rather, he first tentatively imagines making that move, and then he seeks to envision any-and-all rational responses to that move (i.e. the potential “moves” of his opponent). It is only after the chess player has thoroughly analyzed all potential counter-moves, and still sees the move as bettering his own “position” that he actually follows through on that strategy. Such thinking is almost entirely beyond the capacity of the psychopaths (cognitively hobbled sequentials). By their very nature, these predators have a short-term, instant-gratification mentality. Compounding this tunnel-vision, their own extreme arrogance and narcissism means they are prone to simply ignoring their enemies/opponents (i.e. victims). It is thus inevitable that these defective predators will be continually vulnerable to being “surprised” by unintended consequences. Hopefully readers are not already laughed-out from this first Wile E. Coyote cartoon, as we are about to be treated to a second, courtesy of Simon Black: US plan to drop Russia from global banking system hilariously backfires. Black himself sets the context for the latest escapades of these Wile E. Coyotes: Russia is once again Arch-Enemy of the United States. It’s like living through a really bad James Bond movie, complete with cartoonish villains. And for the last several months, the US government has been doing everything it can to torpedo the Russian economy, as well as Vladimir Putin’s standing within his own country. The economic nuclear option is to kick Russia out of the international banking system. And the US government has been vociferously pushing for this. Specifically, the US government wants to kick Russia out of SWIFT, short for the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Communications. Well, the Psychopaths did want to get Russia expelled from SWIFT. But that was yesterday, and this is today, and today these Wile E. Coyotes are contemplating an old cliché, which is now staring them in the face: ‘Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.’ Being ultra-arrogant, psychopaths tend to ignore the ‘common wisdom’ of the Little People, which is what most clichés represent. But if they were to commit themselves to learning (and understanding) only one of our numerous clichés, it would be this one – given their own, glaring propensity to be “surprised” by unintended consequences. [...] On Monday afternoon, not only did SWIFT NOT kick Russia out…but they announced they were actually giving a BOARD SEAT to Russia. That is basically the opposite of what the US government was pushing for. Awkward…But the story is even bigger than that. Because at the same time that the US government isn’t getting its way with SWIFT, the Chinese are busy putting together their own version of it called CIPS. CIPS stands for the China International Payment System, it’s intended to be a direct competitor to SWIFT, and a brand new way for global banks to communicate and transact with one another in a way that does NOT depend on the United States. [...]" Note: when the US tries to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank IT WILL BE REFUSED, and the days of the dollar are basically gone.
MSM: "US Taxpayers Made To Fund Ukraine Bailout With Bond Guarantee" [03/23/15] "The Republic of Ukraine has sent out a request for proposals (RFP) to banks for a new US government-guaranteed bond, according to three sources. This is the second time the US government has thrown its financial backing behind a Ukrainian international bond issue. In May 2014, the US guaranteed a US$1bn Ukrainian bond maturing in 2019 through the US Agency for International development. The RFP comes just over a week after Ukraine agreed a new four-year US$17.5bn bailout facility with the International Monetary Fund. As part of the IMF agreement several institutions - including the European Union, World Bank and US - have agreed to provide around US$7.5bn between them, according to analyst estimates, to the war torn country. It is not clear whether the US-backed bond forms part of the US contribution.[...]"
Commentary: "Oil Industry Pink Slips: 100,000 Jobs Wiped Out Amid Price Collapse" [03/22/15] "... According to a new report from Zero Hedge, over 100,000 jobs have been lost globally as a result of lower oil prices and more are pink slips are coming: The bloodletting among the oil majors and their vast web of ancillary services has of course extended to the United States – which appears to be taking far more casualties than Saudi Arabia in the battle for marketshare. In January oilfield services giant Baker Hughes said it will lay off 7,000 employees, about 11 percent of its workforce; that number was rivalled only by its competitor, Schlumberger, which let go 9,000 workers. Shell, Apache, Pemex and Halliburton are among major oil companies to issue recent pink slips to the growing army of unemployed oil workers. In the U.S., the worst pain is, not shockingly, expected to be felt in Houston. Assuming a one-third reduction in oil company capital expenditures this year and 5 percent in 2016, the hydrocarbon capital of the world could lose 75,000 jobs, in a city that has added 100,000 new positions every year since 2011, said a professor at the University of Houston. The oil jobs nightmare is in fact spreading like a cancer. According to Swift Worldwide Resources, “the number of energy jobs cut globally has climbed well above 100,000 as once-bustling oil hubs in Scotland, Australia and Brazil, among other countries, empty out,” Bloomberg reported recently. Keeping in mind that the job growth seen in America since the 2009 recession came primarily from the oil and gas industry, the fact that tens of thousands of high paying jobs are being eliminated does not bode well for the economy. [...] Job losses are only part of the story. Earlier this year we warned that the rapid drop in prices could cause the most destructive economic situation since the Great Depression, an argument explained in detail by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog: The big Wall Street banks did not expect plunging home prices to cause a mortgage-backed securities implosion back in 2008, and their models did not anticipate a decline in the price of oil by more than 40 dollars in less than six months this time either. If the price of oil stays at this level or goes down even more, someone out there is going to have to absorb some absolutely massive losses. It has been estimated that the six largest “too big to fail” banks control $3.9 trillion in commodity derivatives contracts. And a very large chunk of that amount is made up of oil derivatives. By the middle of next year, we could be facing a situation where many of these oil producers have locked in a price of 90 or 100 dollars a barrel on their oil but the price has fallen to about 50 dollars a barrel. In such a case, the losses for those on the wrong end of the derivatives contracts would be astronomical.[...]" Note: Also bear in mind that elements in the US conspired with Saudi Arabia to let this process start. Saudi Arabia's income stream has diverged over the years ... oil sales is NOT their prime stream any more, so it's no great loss .... the destruction of the US economy has been the goal all along ...
Commentary: "Big Bank’s Analyst 'Worries' That Iran Deal "Could Depress Weapons Sales" [03/21/15] "Could a deal to normalize Western relations with Iran and set limits on Iran’s development of nuclear technology lead to a more peaceful and less-weaponized Middle East? That’s what supporters of the Iran negotiations certainly hope to achieve. But the prospect of stability has at least one financial analyst concerned about its impact on one of the world’s biggest defense contractors. The possibility of an Iran nuclear deal depressing weapons sales was raised by Myles Walton, an analyst from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, during a Lockheed earnings call this past January 27th. Walton asked Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, if an Iran agreement could “impede what you see as progress in foreign military sales.” Financial industry analysts such as Walton use earnings calls as an opportunity to ask publicly-traded corporations like Lockheed about issues that might 'harm profitability'. Hewson replied that “that really isn’t coming up,” but stressed that “volatility all around the region” should continue to bring in new business. According to Hewson, “A lot of volatility, a lot of instability, a lot of things that are happening” in both the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region means both are “growth areas” for Lockheed Martin. [...] Lockheed Martin’s trademarked slogan is “We never forget who we’re working for,” which Lockheed likes to suggest means Americans in general and military veterans in particular. The January earnings call indicates that Lockheed in fact answers to very different constituencies.[...]" Note: Big Banks killing the population for profit ... nothing has changed in 500 years ....
Commentary: "U S Treasury Bonds One of the Riskiest Securities in the World" [03/20/15] [33:43] "Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff [...]" Note: Federal government is 58% under-financed, with more than a 210 Trillion fiscal gap, as Kotlikoff told a delusional Congress this month. It's the same kind of fiscal policy that Argentina ran a number of years ago ...
Max Keiser: "Wall Street Take-Over Of Bitcoin Concept: Blythe Masters Becomes "Bitcoin Darling" [03/20/15] "Until last week, Blythe Masters was the butt-of-jokes from individuals like Max Keiser and the subject of many memes. In this episode of The Keiser Report, Max Keiser clarifies the claim by Blythe Masters that JP Morgan does not manipulate silver prices. Fierce and negative portrayals of her dominated the precious metals space as she was seen as suspect number 1 for manipulating the precious metals markets alongside Jamie Dimon before the company publicly got out of commodities. But last week she became known for something different. Finance icon Blythe Masters left a 27-year career as a senior executive at JP Morgan to join a recently launched Bitcoin startup company. The startup, Digital Asset Holdings, uses digital technology to enhance implementation and verification of digital assets, and was officially launched in March 2015. Blythe took the lead as the most prestigious Wall Street banker to join the said promising digital-currency sector. Blythe is well known for building a leading physical commodities business and undertaking regulatory affairs at JP Morgan. The company believed that her pioneering work in credit-derivatives markets was reason to attain her as the CEO of Digital Assets Holdings LLC. Founded by Don Wilson CEO of DRW Trading, a proprietary trading company, and Sunil Heerani, CEO of True EX LLC, an interest rate exchange, Digital Asset Holdings intends to provide a platform for capitalized ventures to settle businesses and trades with digital currencies. Despite the scandal threads and hacking stories which have marred bitcoin’s image, this major development is observed as proof of emerging commitment between Wall Street and Bitcoin. This was exactly what Mrs. Masters presented in an interview, stating “Digital Asset’s goal is to build a bridge between the emerging digital-currency industry and Wall Street.” By providing products for secure systems such as audit pursuits, credit restrictions and other checks-and-balances, Blythe Masters hopes to remove obstacles in the safe circulation of digital currency. With an inspirational finance professional like Blythe Masters, it will be a fascinating experience to see her impact on digital currency markets. Mrs. Masters could be just the right person to install this sense of security to digital money. Her comments about Bitcoin highlighted its technology as opposed to the libertarian leanings so popular in the scene. “We’re not seeking to disintermediate and destroy the current financial system,” Ms. Masters said. “We’re seeking to make it stronger, better and safer.” [...]" Note: See the link at the top of this panel entitled "Creation of Credit Derivatives" for more on Masters history.
Commentary: "West To East: Global Power Balance Shifting - American Empire Is Dying" [03/19/15] "A major recent event last week largely went unnoticed by both MSM and independent news sources alike. The British are apparently jumping ship away from the US dollar/petrodollar in an overt effort to align itself more closely with the BRICS alliance as it seeks a new standard international currency. For several years Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa (BRICS) have been preparing the world for its transition from USD standard international currency to its own alternative-in-the-making. America's so called mother country England has seen the writing on the wall and knows the global balance of power is rapidly tilting in favor of where the sun always rises in the emerging East. The European central banking cabal from the City of London, a separate and private political and financial entity apart from the rest of both London and England, sent British royalty Prince William to China to quietly sign a deal to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This surprising new development is a clear indication that the royal Bank of England is placing its financial bet and future on China and the East as its rock solid anchor. Much of the world has been looking to move away from and abandon the longtime global financial stronghold of the US Federal Reserve, its World Bank and US dollar standard. [...] More consternation arose when Germany, France and Italy have additionally made overtures in the same direction. This worldwide trend spells utter defeat for Obama and his disastrous foreign policy. After Washington's been exerting strong-armed pressure on Australia as its key allied partner supporting its failing Asian pivot designed to check China's growing regional and global dominance in the Pacific Asian market, Australia is now also looking to follow suit accepting and embracing China's lead. According to international investor and entrepreneur Simon Black, the US is experiencing major economic blowback after two plus decades of aggression as the only global superpower: [...]Enter the China led BRICS alliance and its New Development Bank and now China's other investment bank entry AIIB. Simon takes liberty in his interpretation of Britain and Europe's bold rebellion after decades relegated to being a mere puppet of the US Empire: " Look, you have $18.1 trillion in official debt, you have $42 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and you're kind of a dick. I'm dumping you." [...] Perhaps some Americans may feel a bit betrayed and unsettled by our longtime strongest global allies one by one seemingly abandoning the US dollar and American Empire in its reckoning time of need. If these geopolitical and economic trends are examined beyond their face value though, the changes occurring now may reflect much more significant, deeper changes than a mere alteration of standard international currency (as impactful as that will likely be for the US). These deep rooted fundamental changes have everything to do with the major global shift now taking place where the West's ruling power elite itself is losing to the emerging global power rising in the East.[...] The Western cabal controlled crime syndicate led by the likes of kingpin Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu financed and supported by the likes of multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Saudi royal family along with congressional henchman and ISIS friend Senator John McCain and the rest of his treasonous Republicans, the rogue US intelligence agency the CIA and NATO's General Breedlove are all bent on plunging the US Empire-NATO forces into World War III on multiple warfronts at every global hotspot - Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Caucasus all the way eastward to China's Xinjiang Province and northward to the oil-rich Arctic against the forces of the two most powerful nations of the East - Russia and China. As a desperate last ditch attempt to retain its many centuries of Rothschild- Rockefeller power and dominance, these evil-minded, megalomaniacal psychopaths know that their hitherto unchallenged global control and strength that have bankrupted and nearly destroyed the planet is fast slipping away. So they seem all the more erratically resolute in seeking revenge by taking the entire earth down with them. [...]"
MSM: "Nearly 30 Countries Have Confirmed Joining China-Led Infrastructure Bank" [03/18/15] "The finance ministries of France and Germany have confirmed they’ll join China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and Italy is expected to soon. Joining the rival to the US-led World Bank is seen as a setback for the Obama administration. “The Ministry of Finance confirmed that France would join the AIIB bank,” French daily Le Figaroreported Tuesday. Germany’s finance ministry said it was joining the bank, the BBC says, although Italy has yet to confirm the earlier report by the Financial Times (FT). The decision comes after Britain last week became the first Western country to agree to become a founding member of the AIIB, FT reports. The UK government said the decision was in the country’s national interest, but it got a negative reaction from the United States. The new China-led bank is expected to challenge the Washington-based World Bank, so the US is increasing pressure on its allies not to join the institution. The US’ concern is that the new investment bank might not have high standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards. The new bank is expected to challenge the Western dominance of the US-led World Bank and IMF in global infrastructure projects, which experts believe will create healthy competition. [...]" Related: "China Cuts Back On US Debt For 5th Month In A Row" "China, the largest holder of US debt, has continued to cut back on US Treasuries for the fifth consecutive month, shaving $5.2 billion from its holdings between December and January. Japan is edging closer in overtaking the number one spot. The US Treasury reported Monday that China reduced its holding from $1.244 trillion in December to $1.239 trillion in January. The fifth straight month of reductions. Economic growth in China, which is at a 25-year low, is the most obvious explanation for the scale back. With more capital leaving mainland China, the less the government needs US dollars to keep the yuan in check. In total, foreign central banks sold off $12.3 billion in US Treasuries in January, the fourth consecutive month of outflow. Despite China’s pull out, overall foreign holdings increased one percent to $6.22 trillion, or just over 34 percent of total public debt. Among all foreign creditors, China and Japan own about 40 percent of US Treasuries. [...]" "US ' Warns' Allies Not to Join China-led Development Bank" "How do you know a dollar collapse is coming? Because the rest of the world is preparing for it. The United States has urged countries to think twice before signing up to a new China-led Asian development bank that Washington sees as a rival to the World Bank, after Germany, France and Italy followed Britain in saying they would join. The concerted move by U.S. allies to participate in Beijing's flagship economic outreach project is a diplomatic blow to the United States and its efforts to counter the fast-growing economic and diplomatic influence of China. [...]"
Commentary: "Billionaire Warns: “Mother of All Collapses” Coming If Central Banks Stop Buying Bonds" [03/18/15] "Self-made billionaire and founder of Sprott, Inc. and Sprott Asset Management, Eric Sprott, gave a dire warning about the state of the system that makes clear the globe is hinged on little more than a little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. Obviously, with a crack in the dam, the flood can’t be held back forever. Eric Sprott made clear that the central banks are the only ones holding up the illusion. Case in point is the rise of negative interest rates, which Sprott called ‘preposterous.’ Said Sprott, " Offering negative returns to investors, the instruments are clearly unsustainable. The only entities buying the bonds are the central banks. Well, you take the central bank out of it and there’s no bid. That’s why I use the phrase, ‘I hope we are not right one day,’ that all of the sudden it (the entire global financial system) just collapses. They (central banks) may just look in the cupboard and say, ‘It’s over. We’ve tried our best and it’s not working. We’ve got to stop buying these bonds because our (central bank) balance sheets are getting so torqued out." [...] Quite simply, it is a game of musical chairs being played by the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Not only is the market manipulated and ‘rigged,’ but it is a complete illusion. [...] “The greatest danger is that we are supporting a levered banking system and everything they own is paper (financial instruments). If all the sudden things get bad, everyone takes their money out of the bank. It’s the central banks who are fighting to keep the banking system alive, so of course they are going to give them a clean bill of health (on the bank stress tests). Heta went broke in Austria. It had a AAA rating, so it was well-rated in the latest stress tests. Three months later it’s broke. That’s what happens to levered financial institutions.[...]"
MSM: "IMF Breaks Its Own Rules With Loan To War-Mongering Ukraine" [03/18/15] "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed on a scheme of war financing for Ukraine. For the first time, according to Fund sources, the IMF is not only violating its loan repayment conditions, but also the purposes and safeguards of the IMF’s original charter. IMF lending is barred for a member state in civil war or at war with another member state, or for military purposes, according to Article I of the Fund’s 1944-45 Articles of Agreement. This provides “confidence to members by making the general resources of the Fund temporarily available to them under adequate safeguards, thus providing them with opportunity to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments without resorting to measures destructive of national or international prosperity.” To deter Russian and other country directors from voting last week against the IMF’s loan, and releasing their reasons in public, the IMF board has offered Russia the possibility of, though not the commitment to repayment for Gazprom’s gas deliveries, and the $3 billion Russian state bond which falls due in December. On March 11 the IMF board agreed to approve an Extended Loan Facility (EFF) for Ukraine for a total of 13.4 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDR), currently equivalent to $17.5 billion. [...]" Related: See below: "IMF Cash Will Do Little to Change Grim Reality for Ordinary Ukrainians" [03/16/15]
MSM: "Germany Faces Paying Billions To Greece In Compensation For Wartime Atrocities" [03/18/15] "Senior figures in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner in government - the SPD - have united with the Green Party to declare Germany should compensate Greece to the tune of billions of pounds for wartime Nazi atrocities. The demands come as parliamentary lawyers warned her cabinet that Greece may have a valid claim which Germany might lose if it chose to fight it all the way to the European Court of Justice. The solidarity move threatens the united front Berlin has presented to Athens as it tries to keep the struggling country both in the eurozone and the EU. Now high-profile politicians from the SPD and the Greens have thrown their weight behind Greece to say they deserve reparations money 70 years after the end of the conflict. Mrs Merkel is said to be furious at the schism in a hitherto united front. She - and most Germans - view the Greek demand for up to 250 billion pounds in reparations for the Nazi occupation as a ploy to gain more time and money to settle its chronic debt crisis. [...] Germany did pay some £50million in compensation to Greece after WW2 but the new government in Athens said it was never enough. It has begun mentioning the surviving relatives of massacre victims as a way of humanizing the debate beyond the euro crisis. Spiegel news magazine reported on Tuesday that lawyers for the government have warned Mrs Merkel that the Greeks may have a case - and that indeed the country might end up paying out massive sums. It says that a two billion pound loan which the Third Reich secured from the Greek National Bank in 1942 was never repaid: this alone, in today's money, amounts to around ten billion pounds. Greece is also demanding compensation for a massacre at the village of Distomo where Waffen-S.S. troops killed 218 men, women and children on June 10 1944.[...]" Related: "Greek PM To Meet With Putin Amid Cash Crunch" "With Greece digging around in the couch cushions to try and scrape up €2 billion by Friday in order to make payments to the IMF, the ECB, and Goldman, and with celebrity FinMin Yanis Varoufakis doing his absolute best to sink the entire ship with a series of epic PR faux pas, one is left to wonder just where Athens will turn when Berlin and Brussels finally reach the end of their ropes with what increasingly looks like gross incompetence in the Aegean. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Moscow on April 8 after being invited to talks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a Greek government official said on Tuesday. Tsipras's left-wing government ruffled feathers among European partners in its initial days in power with comments suggesting Greece might not support EU policy on Russia. That prompted speculation that Greece might look to Moscow for financial aid to stave off bankruptcy, though Athens rejects the idea.[...]"
MSM: "First Audit Results In The Federal Reserve’s Nearly 100 Year History Were Posted Today" [03/17/15] "Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) wins (again) the most significant victory of his congressional career. He has taken his pet issue since the 1970s–the unwarranted power and secrecy of the Federal Reserve–from something pretty much no one but him cared about six years ago, through a bestselling book and mass movement by 2009, the second time he’s gotten the House of Representatives to vote to widen the government’s powers to audit the Fed’s activities. In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to audit the Federal Reserve. The first ever GAO (Government Accountability Office) audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out in the past few months due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed last year. Jim DeMint, a Republican Senator, and Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator, led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill(HR1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out. Nevertheless, the results of the first audit in the Federal Reserve’s nearly 100 year history were posted on Senator Sander’s webpage earlier this morning. What was revealed in the audit was startling: [...] $16,000,000,000,000.00 had been secretly given out to US banks and corporations and foreign banks everywhere from France to Scotland. From the period between December 2007 and June 2010, the Federal Reserve had secretly bailed out many of the world’s banks, corporations, and governments. The Federal Reserve likes to refer to these secret bailouts as an all-inclusive loan program, but virtually none of the money has been returned and it was loaned out at 0% interest. Why the Federal Reserve had never been public about this or even informed the United States Congress about the $16 trillion dollar bailout is obvious – the American public would have been outraged to find out that the Federal Reserve bailed out foreign banks while Americans were struggling to find jobs.[...] To place $16 trillion into perspective, remember that GDP of the United States is only $14.12 trillion. The entire national debt of the United States government spanning its 200+ year history is “only” $14.5 trillion. The budget that is being debated so heavily in Congress and the Senate is “only” $3.5 trillion. Take all of the outrage and debate over the $1.5 trillion deficit into consideration, and swallow this Red pill: There was no debate about whether $16,000,000,000,000 would be given to failing banks and failing corporations around the world. In late 2008, the TARP Bailout bill was passed and loans of $800 billion were given to failing banks and companies. That was a blatant lie considering the fact that Goldman Sachs alone received 814 billion dollars. As is turns out, the Federal Reserve donated $2.5 trillion to Citigroup, while Morgan Stanley received $2.04 trillion. The Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank, a German bank, split about a trillion and numerous other banks received hefty chunks of the $16 trillion. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re- on- your- own individualism for everyone else.”- Bernie Sanders (I-VT)[...] The list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Audit and are as follows..[...] View the 266-page GAO audit of the Federal Reserve[...]" See below
Commentary: "Banks Say “Thanks for the Bailout,” Now We’ll Park our Profits in Overseas Tax Havens" [03/17/15] "Giant financial institutions that benefitted from federal bailouts during the depths of the recession have repaid the American people’s largesse by hiding profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. According to a report (pdf) commissioned by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), four big banks—Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase—which received massive amounts of money and loan guarantees to keep them afloat in the wake of the financial crisis, park large amounts of money in tax haven nations. [...]"
MSM: "US Blows Through $18 Trillion Debt Limit" [03/17/15] "On Monday, the US reached its legal debt limit of $18 trillion -more than the country’s entire GDP. Lawmakers will either have to again lift it, or attempt to cap spending. As of March 12, the US Treasury reported federal debt at $18,114,324,000,000.00 in its daily treasury statement. This figure is above the statutory debt limit, which was extended by Congress through March 15 this year. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress that the limit would be reached on March 16, and he also requested lawmakers raise the debt ceiling “as soon as possible,” in a letter written in early March. Under current arrangements, the US government can keep running until October using so-called extraordinary measures, or accounting tricks to keep money flowing into government programs, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Now that a new zenith has been passed, a fresh showdown between lawmakers and the President about America’s spending habits can be expected. [...]"
Commentary: "Catherine Austin Fitts On Black Budget Financing" [03/16/15] [1:22:34] "Are financial fraud and market manipulations actually mechanisms for financing the black budget and centralized governance necessitated by high-tech secrecy? There may be as much as $100 trillion dollars worth of hardware flying the skies powered by anti-gravity and field-propulsion technologies. This has significant implications for the ownership and design of manufacturing and energy infrastructure on planet earth. It also has connections to trillions of dollars which are “missing” from defense and domestic agency accounts (as reported by official financial reports of the US government). To the extent that the US taxpayer has financed this technology (or its reverse-engineering) why should private corporations own it on a secret basis? The financial fortunes and geopolitical power involved are significant. If you control these technologies, you possess weaponry sufficient to engineer a financial coup d’Etat and to centralize control of the entire global financial system. [...]" Secret Space Program Conference, 2014 San Mateo.
Commentary: "IMF Cash Will Do Little to Change Grim Reality for Ordinary Ukrainians" [03/16/15] "After the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) approval on March 11 of its $17.5bn loan package to Ukraine, with $5bn due to flow immediately to bolster Kyiv’s dwindling coffers, the population could be forgiven for thinking the material hardships of recent months will start to ease. Wrong, as President Petro Poroshenko made abundantly clear on March 10. "Life won’t improve shortly," Poroshenko warned in televised comments a day before IMF chief Christine Lagarde blessed the crucial injection of funds, as he spoke about the country’s reforms unfolding in "tough wartime conditions”. "If someone understands the reforms as improvement of people’s living, this is a mistake," added Poroshenko, also announcing a four-fold increase in defence spending that will inevitably impact already limited means for social welfare and pensions. [...]" Related: Ukraine Agreed To A Monsanto “Land Grab” To Get A $17 Billion Loan From The IMF" "The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game. Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover. Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine. In fact, a bit of political maneuvering by the IMF gave the Ukraine a $17 billion loan – but only if they would open up to biotech farming and the selling of Monsanto’s poison crops and chemicals – destroying a farmland that is one of the most pristine in all of Europe. Farm equipment dealer, Deere, along with seed producers Dupont and Monsanto, will have a heyday. In the guise of ‘aid,’ a claim has been made on Ukraine’s vast agricultural riches. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine has deep, rich, black soil that can grow almost anything, and its ability to produce high volumes of GM grain is what made biotech come rushing to take it over. As reported by The Ecologist, according to the Oakland Institute: “Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies. There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.” [...]" See also below "IMF Loans $17 Billion To Ukraine To Repay Banks, Loot Economy" [03/14/15]
Max Keiser: "The War On Terror (Business Model) As A Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone" [03/15/15] [25:45] "We discuss the business model (moral hazard) of the war on terror in which the droning of wedding parties is nothing personal just business. Same goes for de-dollarization as China builds an alternative to SWIFT – nothing personal, just business. In the second half, Max interviews former CIA agent and open source advocate, Robert David Steele, about false flags and moral hazard. [...] "The syndrome the Bush administration created in Iraq was what former Pentagon critic Chuck Spinney called a "self-licking ice cream cone": the measures to 'fight the war on terrorism" guaranteed more 'terrorists', which in turn guaranteed the agencies more money to 'fight the war on terrorism'. The same process was at work with respect to torture and drone strikes. It is a great business model for contractors and bureaucratic empire builders, but far less favorable as a national survival strategy [...] Contrary to popular belief, wealth in the Middle East no longer comes from oil. Risen shows us how the geyser of post-9/11 American money is financing hordes of Middle Eastern arms dealers, informers, money launderers, mafiosi, and more than a few terrorists. Risen rubs in the implication that minimum-wage jobs in the United States are the price Americans pay for villas in Beirut and Amman."[...] Note: A very informative video, worth a listen. Robert Steele makes a host of good points and reveals great behind the scenes information. Related: "C.I.A. Funds Found Their Way Into Al Qaeda Coffers" "... The C.I.A.’s contribution to Qaeda’s bottom line, though, was no well-laid trap. It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting. While refusing to pay ransoms for Americans kidnapped by Al Qaeda, the Taliban or, more recently, the Islamic State, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the last decade at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which has been siphoned off to enemy fighters. [...]"
Commentary: "Currency Wars: In Desperate Move, SWIFT Adds Russia To Its Board As A Voting Member" [03/15/15] "Two days after China announced they were within months of implementing their own version of SWIFT to compete and perhaps overtake the U.S. dollar as the globally recognized reserve currency, the West does a U-Turn and has accepted Russia as a voting member of their financial messaging and interchange system. This move on March 11 comes just months after the U.S. threatened the Eurasian oil giant with being locked out of SWIFT over the Ukraine conflict, and appears now to be an act of desperation as the dollar becomes less and less of a factor in global trade. [...]"
MSM: "Et Tu, Britain? United Kingdom To Join China In The Anti-Dollar Alliance" [03/14/15] "In another awkward blow to the rapidly waning US-dollar hegemony, America and Britain just had their “It’s not you, it’s me” moment. [...] Late yesterday, the government of the United Kingdom announced that they would be applying to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank… as a founding member. This is huge. Right now, the United States dominates the global financial system. But after years of endless wars, spying, debt, money printing, bailouts, and insane regulations, the rest of the world has had enough. And they’re looking for an alternative. China is coming up with an answer. The soon-to-be-live Chinese International Payment System (CIPS) will provide a way for banks to transfer funds to one another without having to use the US banking system… or the US dollar. China is also the ringleader behind both the BRICS development bank (called the New Development Bank, or NDB) as well as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Both of these are multilateral development banks that aim to end the dominance of the western-controlled World Bank and IMF. NDB includes all the BRICS nations– Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Founding members of the AIIB include China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, etc. They’re typically all rapidly growing and/or resource-rich developing nations. New Zealand was the first western nation to join AIIB back in October. And yesterday afternoon, Britain announced its intention to become the second.[...]" Related: "Britain’s Membership In China-Led World Bank Rival Of ‘UK National Interest’" "The UK government considers membership of the China-led Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank (AIIB) of British national interest. However, the decision was given the cold shoulder by the US which sees the AIIB as rival to the Western financial system. The UK Treasury rejected the idea that Britain’s decision was spontaneous, adding that there had been “at least a month of extensive consultation” at the G7 level, and even that US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew participated in the negotiations. [...] The issue of bonds in yuan by the UK government in October 2014 was the first by a Western government. The desire to establish the City of London as a platform for overseas business in the yuan also proves Britain’s willingness to foster stronger commercial relations with China. [...]"
MSM: "IMF Loans $17 Billion To Ukraine To Repay Banks, Loot Economy" [03/14/15] "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday formally signed off on a $17.5 billion, four-year loan to the far-right regime in Kiev. It is a desperate attempt to pay off Wall Street, and keep NATO’s puppet regime in Kiev from going bankrupt after the failure of its attempt to reconquer east Ukraine from pro-Russian separatists. After taking power in a putsch led by fascistic anti-Russian militias in February 2014, the Kiev regime has plunged the country into a civil war, targeting the industrial heart of the country in the eastern Donetsk area, and largely cutting off trade with Russia. As a result, Ukraine has fallen into an all-out economic depression. After shrinking by a stunning 7 percent in 2014, its economy is projected to contract by a further 5.5 to 12 percent this year. Though its currency, the hryvnia, has recovered half of its losses since the signing of a cease-fire in Minsk last month, it is still down 27 percent this year. Initial IMF payments will go to key creditors of the Ukrainian government, which include major US financial firms PIMCO, BlackRock and Franklin Templeton Investments. The Russian government also owns roughly $3 billion of Ukraine’s $69 billion debt. “The four-year extended agreement will support immediate economic stabilization in Ukraine and a set of deep and wide-ranging policy reforms,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in Washington, DC. As much as $10 billion may be disbursed immediately to stabilize Kiev’s finances. [...] The 2015-2020 economic agenda of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, endorsed by Lagarde as the precondition for the IMF loan, savagely loots the working class. As spelled out by Yatsenyuk last December, it lays off 10 percent of government employees, cuts education spending by 20 percent and health care spending by 40 percent, eliminates two years of free public schooling, and eliminates price controls on medicine and energy, including natural gas. Home heating costs could as a result triple or even quintuple in the coming years. Claims that Yatsenyuk’s attacks on the working class are necessitated by a lack of money are a cynical fraud. In 2008, the wealth of the 50 richest Ukrainian oligarchs was estimated at over $100 billion. As Yatsenyuk prepares his cuts, the European Central Bank (ECB) is preparing to plunge 1€ trillion ($1.06 trillion) into the major European banks. This reactionary agenda aims to save the criminal business oligarchy that emerged in Ukraine with the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in 1991, and turn it into a pliant tool of US and European imperialism.[...]"
MSM: "U.S. Seeking Billions From Global Banks In Currency Manipulation Settlement" [03/14/15] "The U.S. Justice Department is seeking about $1 billion each from global banks being investigated for manipulation of currency markets, according to two people familiar with the talks. The figure is a starting point in settlement discussions, with some banks being asked for more and some less than $1 billion. One bank that has cooperated from the beginning is expected to pay far less, one of the people said. Penalties of about $4 billion are on the table, according to one of the people, though the number could change markedly. Banks are pushing back harder than in some previous negotiations, including those for mortgage-backed securities, and the final penalties could be lower, people close to the talks said. The discussions, which have begun in earnest in recent weeks, could lead to settlements that would resolve U.S. accusations of criminal activity in the currency markets against Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS Group AG. The government has also said it is preparing cases against individuals. Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for the banks. Prosecutors are also pressing Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan and the Royal Bank of Scotland to plead guilty, people familiar with the matter have said. In the worldwide investigation into currency-rigging, six banks have already agreed to pay regulators about $4.3 billion. The Justice Department’s move signals that investigations are giving way to wrangling over issues such as whether the banks plead guilty to antitrust or fraud charges, what behaviors the banks will admit to in settlement documents and how much they will pay. [...]"
Commentary: "High Frequency Trader Sues Other HFTs For "Egregious Manipulation" Of Treasury Securities" [03/13/15] "... But the bigger question, and what stumped the so-called experts, is how could something so vast, with so many moving pieces, remain a secret for as long as it did. The answer is extremely simple: everyone who was in on the "secret" was also benefiting from it: from the lowliest Libor rigger to the CEO of Barclays and every other major bank, they all knew what was going on, but also knew that if the information became public knowledge, the jig would be up, and everyone's benefits would evaporate with some even going to jail (at least in a hypothetical legal system in which bankers actually go to jail). In other words, it was merely a case where everyone's interest was aligned to maintain the conspiracy cartel as long as possible. Which brings us to High-Frequency Trading: another vast "conspiracy", this time involving market rigging and manipulation, which Zero Hedge also called out as early as April 2009, only to be mocked before it became a generally accepted fact that the "algos" manipulate and frontrun virtually any security that is traded on an exchange or over the counter. This culminated with Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys", only unlike the Libor case, there was absolutely no response because unlike Libor, and then FX and then gold rigging, the Federal Reserve's own activity often depends on its symbiotic collaboration with the HFT community's upward momentum bias (by way of Citadel, a peculiar close relationship between the NY Fed and Citadel we have discussed in the past). That, and there was also no informant to turn sides with the Feds, and make a case that goes to the very top. At least not yet. [...] Because the catalyst that cracked the Libor conspiracy was when the members started to make less and less money, until ultimately the formerly golden goose was bled dry. At that point, their incentive to keep their mouths shut became nil, and in some cases negative. From that point on, it was just a matter of time before the regulators had a case against the conspiracy granted to them on a silver platter. The same is now happening to high frequency trading, because in a market in which volumes are crashing to unprecedented lows, and where there are no longer whale accounts for the HFTs to frontrun, pardon "provide liquidity to", there is no longer a need for as many HFT firms. And those firms which end up on the losing end of the technological arms race, now that there is not enough profits for everyone to go around, are suddenly incentivized to bust the whole criminal ring wide open. Which brings us to a the case of HTG Capital Partners, Plaintiff v John Doe(s), defendants, case 15-cv-02129, Northern District of Illinois: [...]" Related: See satirical story below
Satire: "Wall Street Develops Algorithm Capable Of 10,000 Ethical Violations Per Second" The Onion [03/13/15] "Calling it a major breakthrough that will significantly expedite and streamline its daily operations, Wall Street financial firm Goldman Sachs revealed Thursday it has developed a new high-speed algorithm that is capable of performing more than 10,000 ethical violations per second. “With this new automated program, we’ll be able to systematically deceive investors, engage in conflicts of interest, and execute thousands of other blatantly unethical dealings in the time it takes to press a button,” said John Waldron, co-head of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division, who added that the high-frequency impropriety system will be able to break more rules in a minute than an entire floor of morally suspect securities traders, financial analysts, and portfolio managers could over the course of a week. “In the past, if one of our brokers wanted to exploit a questionably legal regulatory loophole or breach the covenant of good faith with an investment client, that would require hours of manually contravening the basic principles of professional integrity. But this innovative system will allow millions of such transgressions to go through every single day. Going forward, I expect this revolutionary program to be the cornerstone of our business.” Upon learning of the advanced new unethical algorithm, investors initiated a buying frenzy on Goldman Sachs stock, sending share prices surging more than 30 percent to $245.46. [...]"
MSM: "Billionaires Decry Blatant Wall Street Theft of Retirement Assets" [03/12/15] "In a shocking interview with PBS, billionaire mutual fund icon Jack Bogle, revealed that Wall Street is unapologetically stealing from millions of hard-working Americans. Bogle showed how “70% of your market returns” go straight to the pockets of Wall Street, and only 30% actually goes to you, the investor. And Bogle should know. Bogle, who founded the Vanguard Group in 1974, has had a decades-long insider’s view of the entirely corrupt fee structure on Wall Street. So he knows how American retirees are being fleeced by hidden fees that most investors never see. And at a recent private event, Steve Forbes echoed this same shocking claim. Forbes pointed out that these fees are compounding, and over time are devastating to retirement nest eggs. The typical Wall Street 2% management fee, compounded over the long term, will “cut your returns in half or more. If you would normally have $100,000, you could end up with, say, $30,000 or $40,000 because of what fees eat up.” Of course Bogle and Forbes aren’t the only industry icons sounding the alarm. Warren Buffett made it clear that the only way to make money over the long term is to invest “without paying fees to a mutual fund manager.” Forbes took these comments even further when he and industry veteran John Shubert exposed the biggest threat to your retirement during the exclusive Investment Crisis Summit held by Newsmax Finance. During the summit, Forbes and co-host Shubert revealed groundbreaking research that proves Wall Street’s compounding fees are only part of a larger “flaw” in the financial system. It’s this “flaw” that makes it completely legal for Wall Street to siphon off up to 70% of your profits. [...] Before you dismiss the notion that Wall Street could legally take your profits as a matter of course, consider the facts Forbes and Shubert revealed during the summit. Citing new research from the Harvard Business School and London School of Economics, they pointed out that this industry “flaw” is a “permanent condition” of the market. Meaning it can’t be fixed. And investors who don’t take steps today to overcome this flaw could lose more than just 70% of their profits. They could end up losing their ability to retire altogether.[...]"
Commentary: "US Discusses Expelling Russia From Swift With EU – US Treasury Official" [03/11/15] "The US Treasury Department is still evaluating and discussing the impacts of expelling Russia from the SWIFT interbank payment system, US Assistant Secretary for International Finance Ramin Toloui said at a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday. “The framework that we evaluate all potential actions is basically the impact they would have on the Russian economy against the spillover, blowback… both to the United States and our partners in Europe,” Toloui said when asked whether the United States supports the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT financial system. Toloui would not comment on specific “potential actions” the United States may take, but stated that the United States is engaged in discussing such issues as Russian exclusion from SWIFT with its European partners. “We have discussed a whole range of options for further sanctions,” he said. The Treasury Department and the administration of US President Barack Obama are evaluating the possible exclusion of Russia from SWIFT through the prism of mitigating the negative impacts on the US and European economies, Toloui added. [...]" Note: At this point Russia and China are getting ready to switch to Russia’s new payment system which they developed for this reason. Related: "China Completes SWIFT Alternative, May Launch "De-Dollarization Axis" As Soon As September" "One of the recurring threats used by the western nations in their cold (and increasingly more hot) war with Russia, is that Putin's regime may be locked out of all international monetary transactions when Moscow is disconnected from the EU-based global currency messaging and interchange service known as SWIFT (a move, incidentally, which SWIFT lamented as was revealed in October when we reported that it announces it "regrets the pressure" to disconnect Russia). Of course, in the aftermath of revelations that back in 2013, none other than the NSA was exposed for secretly 'monitoring' the SWIFT payments flows, one could wonder if being kicked out of SWIFT is a curse or a blessing, however Russia did not need any further warnings and as we reported less than a month ago, Russia launched its own 'SWIFT'-alternative, linking 91 credit institutions initially. This in turn suggested that de-dollarization is considerably further along than many had expected, which coupled with Russia's record dumping of TSYs, demonstrated just how seriously Putin is taking the threat to be isolated from the western payment system. It was only logical that he would come up with his own. There were two clear implications from this use of money as a means of waging covert war: i) unless someone else followed Russia out of SWIFT, its action, while notable and valiant, would be pointless - after all, if everyone else is still using SWIFT by default, then anything Russia implements for processing foreign payments is irrelevant and ii) if indeed the Russian example of exiting a western-mediated payment system was successful and copied, it would accelerate the demise of the Dollar's status as reserve currency, which is thus by default since there are no alternatives. Provide alternatives, and the entire reserve system begins to crack. Today, we got proof that it is the second outcome that is about to prevail following a Reuters report that China's international payment system, known simply enough as China International Payment System (CIPS), which serves to process cross-border yuan transactions is ready, and may be launched as early as September or October. According to Reuters, the launch of the will remove one of the biggest hurdles to internationalizing the yuan and should greatly increase global usage of the Chinese currency by cutting transaction costs and processing times. [...]" | "Putin Signs Law Ratifying BRICS Bank" "Following the Duma, or Russian Parliament, President Vladimir Putin has signed the ratification of a law that sanctions Russian participation in the $100 billion BRICS Bank on Monday. The BRICS bank, Putin has said, “will become one of the largest multilateral financial development institutions in the world”. “The bank and the Currency Pool, with combined resources of 200 billion dollars, lay the foundation for coordinating a macroeconomic policy between our nations,” Putin said during the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil. The BRICS Bank launched last year will fund infrastructure projects in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.[...]"
MSM: "Rothschild Seeks To Advise Ukraine Bondholders In Debt Talks" [03/09/15] "Rothschild is seeking to advise Ukraine’s bondholders in restructuring talks with a government struggling to avert default after a year of fighting with rebels crippled its economy. The company’s Paris-based sovereign advisory team has been in contact with creditors, Giovanni Salvetti, who handles central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Bondholders are bracing for harsh terms as the looming debt revamp drove the nation’s $2.6 billion of notes due in July 2017 below 50 cents to the dollar since mid-February. Ukraine, on course to secure $17.5 billion of International Monetary Fund emergency aid this month, said in February it hired Lazard Ltd. and White & Case LLP to advise on the restructuring. The country will enter into consultations with bondholders once the IMF approves its aid agreement, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko said Feb. 12. “Everybody is just waiting for the government’s proposals on restructuring, expected by mid-March,” Salvetti said by e-mail on Friday. “The idea is to form a bondholders committee, but so far we are just exchanging views and establishing who wants to do what and establishing an agenda.” [...]" Related: "The Rothschild Family – Puppet Masters – World’s Only Trillionaires" [55:51] "We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” ~ Rothschild [...]"| "Rothschild Warns 'Geopolitical Situation Most Dangerous Since WW2" [9:22] | "Lord Jacob Rothschild Confronted" [1:47]
MSM: "HSBC Shocks Clients By Closing All London Gold Vaults" [03/08/15] "Only a few weeks ago, HSBC announced that it was imposing restrictions on large cash withdrawals. The BBC reported how some HSBC customers were not allowed to withdrawal large amounts of cash, fueling fears of a bank run, or worse. Zero Hedge reported: “HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November for their own good: “We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual… the reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.” As one customer responded: “you shouldn’t have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.” Now there’s more trouble. Now we’re told that HSBC is “closing” its gold vaults. Question: Was there anything in them to begin with? [...]" Related: See below: "Swiss Prosecutor Raids HSBC Offices After Opening Criminal Probe" [02/19/15] ; "The Swiss Leaks - 60 Minutes Interviews HSBC Whistleblower Hervé Falciani" [02/15/15] ; "Lawyer Moved Halliburton Subsidiary Bribes Through Secret Swiss HSBC Accounts" [02/13/15]; "Clinton Foundation Received Up To $81m From Clients Of Controversial HSBC Bank" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Documents Reveal Criminal Conspiracy of Banks and Governments" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Bank : Secret Origins To 26/11 Mumbai Attacks" [02/10/15] ; "HSBC Exposed In Tax Evasion Data Leak" [02/10/15] (and attached stories); "Obama AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Refused To Prosecute Criminal Enterprise HSBC" [02/10/15] Note: Gerald Celente: "What’s so important about HSBC closing down all 7 of their London gold vaults is that the Spyder Gold Trust, ticker symbol GLD, the custodian of that GLD gold, is none other than HSBC itself…. “While there are several gold exchange-traded products available, the SPDR Gold Trust, with over $60 billion in assets, is far and away the largest. So if they are closing down all the vaults, where is the gold going? Who’s going to be holding it, or is it really even there (in the vaults)? So this should be shocking news to everyone that the Spyder (GLD) gold is now crawling out of HSBC vaults, going to whom? Who will be the new custodian? Who is seeing if the gold is really there? So this is shocking news because this also puts a dark cloud over the whole GLD Spyder (Gold Trust) experiment.”|"SPDR Gold Trust (ETF): GLD Quotes" Note: A little crashing going on ...
Commentary: "Comer Vs The Bank Of Canada Case – Totally Hidden By MSM" Press For Truth [03/08/15] [8:52] "On Monday, January 26, a landmark ruling was made in a Federal Court on the COMER vs. Bank of Canada lawsuit. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s decision that this lawsuit can proceed. [...]" Related: See below: "Amid Media Blackout, Canada Lawsuit Challenges Banker Rule" [03/05/15] ; "Canadians Sued The Bank Of Canada & Won" [03/05/15] ;
MSM: "State-Backed Royal Bank Of Scotland Still Pays Around 70 Staff £1million A Year Despite An Annual £3.5 Billion Loss" [03/07/15] "Royal Bank of Scotland provoked fury last night after handing out lavish bonuses – including an £859,000 windfall to its former boss. The State-backed lender’s annual pay report showed 110 staff received more than 1million euros (£720,000) last year, despite it racking up a £3.5billion loss. This marked its seventh consecutive annual loss since the financial crisis, when it was rescued with a £46billion bailout from taxpayers. One of the biggest winners was former chief executive Stephen Hester, who pocketed £859,000 from a long-term bonus awarded in 2012. He handed in his resignation in June 2013, after being pushed out by Chancellor George Osborne. [...] Last night the awards were branded ‘excessive’ and ‘unacceptable’, with campaigners criticising Mr Osborne for failing to stamp out fat-cat pay at RBS. To avoid a new pay row, current chief executive Ross McEwan waived his entitlement to a £1million fixed shares allowance introduced last year to bolster his basic pay package and dodge the EU bonus cap. This restricted his total pay for 2014 to £1.85million.[...] Before the 2008 financial crisis, Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the largest and most aggressive banks in the world. The bank was founded in Edinburgh in 1727, but by the end of the 20th century it was a major player in the City of London too as the UK capital became the world's leading financial centre. RBS sealed its place at the top table of British banking in 2000 when it bought NatWest, which dates back to 1650 and was considered one of the 'Big Four' retail banks in the UK.[...]"
Commentary: "How Banks May Have Rigged The Bank Of England Scheme Built To Keep Them Alive" [03/07/15] "In 2007, the Bank of England introduced a liquidity programme to help the banks. The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating whether this was manipulated. [...] On Thursday September 13, 2007, 13 men and women were called to an emergency meeting at the Bank of England. The situation was delicate: interbank borrowing rates had shot up to a nine-year high, and the day before Northern Rock had applied for a level of support from the Bank of England that had not been seen for more than 30 years. Those present at the meeting in question, including Sir Mervyn King, the Bank’s then governor, and Sir Callum McCarthy, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, quickly agreed that the Bank had no choice but to supply Northern Rock with emergency liquidity to prevent a bank run. Before long, attentions quickly turned to the rest of the banking system. Minutes of the gathering, released earlier this year, showed members had concerns about a “domino effect” in which other institutions would be at risk of toppling. The Bank, fearing a confidence crisis, was forced to respond. Less than two weeks after the Northern Rock meeting, it introduced the first in a series of measures designed to keep the rest of the banking sector afloat.[...]" Related: See below
MSM: "Bank Of England Investigated For Fraud" [03/06/15] [3:54] "The Bank of England is the focus of a criminal investigation by the UK's Serious Fraud Office. Caroline Binham, financial regulation correspondent, and UK news editor Michael Stott discuss the allegations and what they could mean for the BoE and London. [...]"
Commentary: "Washington Strips Federal Reserve Bank Of New York Of Power" [03/06/15] "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, once the most feared banking regulator on Wall Street, has lost power in a behind-the-scenes reorganization at the nation’s central bank. The Fed’s center of regulatory authority is now a little-known committee run by Fed governor Daniel Tarullo , which is calling the shots in oversight of banking titans such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc . The new structure was enshrined in a previously undisclosed paper written in 2010 known as the Triangle Document. Under the new system, Washington is at the center of bank supervision, exercising control over the Fed’s 12 reserve banks, much as the State Department exerts control over embassies. The power shift, initiated after the financial crisis and slowly put in place over the past five years, is more than a bureaucratic change. It influences how the biggest banks on Wall Street are overseen and has begun to affect regulation in unanticipated ways across the Fed system. During internal debates on a range of issues—including a Citigroup bid to raise its dividend a year ago and J.P. Morgan’s 2012 “London Whale” trading losses—New York Fed examiners have been challenged by Washington. At times they have been shut out of policy meetings and even openly disparaged by Mr. Tarullo for failing to stem problems at banks, according to current and former Fed officials involved the discussions. “It was obvious that a lot in the U.S. regulatory system had not worked particularly well before the crisis,” Mr. Tarullo said in an interview. “It was equally obvious that there was going to need to be a rethink and reorganization.” The new structure will be on display Thursday, when the Fed releases results of annual stress tests of big banks, a program run out of Washington by Mr. Tarullo’s group. The Fed undertook the reorganization with little disclosure about what was taking place, but officials are now drawing attention to it. “The Federal Reserve is requiring more of large institutions,” Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said in a speech Tuesday that addressed the reorganization. “We are also requiring more of ourselves.” The New York Fed, as it loses power, is adjusting its approach in some ways. It is pulling examiners out of offices at the banks they review and relocating them to a building near New York Fed headquarters. [...]"
Commentary: "Japan Now Spends 43% Of Tax Revenue To Fund Interest On Debt" Zero Hedge [03/06/15] "It’s entirely possible that we may see interstellar space travel in our lifetime. And what a dream that would be. But in the meantime, for anyone that’s losing patience with space technology, I would recommend you visit Japan. Because for anybody that has been here, this place is as close as it gets to being on another planet. Japan is a land of irony and dichotomy. It is one of the most conservative cultures in the world, while simultaneously being one of the most perverted. Business culture here is yet another thing that seems totally alien. Creativity and innovation are constrained by process and procedure. The individual is never celebrated, and dutiful compliance is everything. In Japanese corporate culture, business meetings follow a strict agenda. New ideas, no matter how valuable, are simply not welcome. [...]"
Commentary: "US Factory Orders Drop For 6th Month In A Row - Worst Since Lehman" Zero Hedge [03/06/15] "Must be the weather... since August. US Manufacturers New Orders tumbled 0.2% in January (missing expectations of a 0.2% rise for the 6th of the last 7 months). This extends the losing streak for factory orders to 6 months, something we have not seen since the great recession in 2008... The drop was led by a plunge in Consumer Goods - not exactly what one would expect from all those gas savings? Just add it to the growing list of missed macro data expectations since the start of Feb. We suspect this puts a final nails in the coffin of ' low oil prices being positive for consumers'... This extends the macro misses for US data to dismal levels. [...]"
MSM:"UK: HSBC Tax Dodge: George Osborne Squirms" [03/06/15] "A squirming George Osborne yesterday refused to answer six times if he had discussed the HSBC tax scandal with former trade minister Lord Green. The Chancellor was asked repeatedly if he had raised HSBC’s collusion in tax evasion before appointing the bank’s former boss as a government minister. But he refused to give a straight answer despite persistent questioning from Radio 4’s John Humphrys. David Cameron also ducked the question when quizzed by Labour at Prime Minister’s questions. At first Mr Osborne said he would not discuss the tax affairs of an individual, even though he was not asked about Lord Green’s personal finances. Then he claimed he was not made aware of the specific claims the bank’s Swiss arm had helped hundreds of super-rich clients evade millions of pounds in tax. At one point an exasperated Mr Humphrys accused him of throwing up “red herrings” to avoid answering a direct question. Mr Osborne said the allegations about HSBC’s role had only recently come to light - despite claims the Treasury was aware of the claims at least three years ago. [...] Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said: “George Osborne was asked six times whether he discussed allegations of tax evasion at HSBC with Lord Green, the bank’s former chairman, and six times he refused to answer. “What has George Osborne got to hide? People will draw their own conclusions from his total failure to answer. “The Chancellor also struggled to explain why, since the government received these files in May 2010, only one person has been prosecuted out of 1,100 names.[...]"
MSM: "Amid Media Blackout, Canada Lawsuit Challenges Banker Rule" [03/05/15] "According to American monetary-reform author and filmmaker Bill Still—and Canadian activists with whom AFP has been in contact—Canada’s mainstream media has been suppressing news that the three-judge panel on Jan. 26 ruled in favor of plaintiffs who filed suit to restore the Bank of Canada to its time-tested mandate of issuing debt-free money in the public interest. [...] Related: "Canadians Sued The Bank Of Canada & Won" "Recently, constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati won yet another round of appeals set forth by the Bank of Canada in a case involving two Canadians who filed an action in federal court to restore The Bank of Canada to its original purpose and operations. This is a very significant story but you probably haven’t heard of it. Why? The mainstream media and government have blacked out the story for reasons that appear to stem from fear of how the public will react to realizing they’ve been systematically enslaved for decades. The initial federal court filing took place on December 12th, 2011 by Canadian constitutional lawyer, Rocco Galati, on behalf of Canadians William Krehm, Ann Emmett, and COMER (Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform). The filing is intended to “restore the use of the Bank of Canada to its original purpose, by exercising its public statutory duty and responsibility. That purpose includes making interest free loans to the municipal/provincial/federal governments for “human capital” expenditures (education health, other social services) and / or infrastructure expenditures.” [...] The Plaintiffs state that since 1974 there has been a gradual but sure slide into the reality that the Bank of Canada and Canada’s monetary and financial policy are dictated by private foreign banks and financial interests contrary to the Bank of Canada Act. The plaintiffs state that the defendants (officials) are unwittingly and/or wittingly, in varying degrees, knowledge and intent engaged in a conspiracy, along with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Financial Stability Forum (FSF), International Monetary Fund (IMF) to render impotent the Bank of Canada Act as well as Canadian sovereignty over financial, monetary, and socio-economic policy, and bypass the sovereign rule of Canada through its parliament by means of the banking and financial systems. The truth is, The Bank of Canada used to issue debt free loans to the government, which meant that the nation would go into debt to private banking institutions. When that changed, private bankers/corporations essentially gained control and ownership of the country.[...]"
Legal Case: "HSBC Bank Called A Gang Conspirator" [03/01/15] "Los Angeles - Victims of L.A. street gangs sued HSBC Bank in a federal RICO class action, claiming the bank is partly responsible because it accepts and launders money for the gangsters, who are associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel. Four named plaintiffs sued the bank on Feb. 25, claiming that the bank "conspired to wrongfully take plaintiffs' property, including money, hide its source through money laundering and use the money to fund the Sinaloa drug cartel." They claim that HSBC acknowledged its money laundering in a 2012 deferred-prosecution agreement with the federal government. Prosecutors identified more than 3,000 HSBC accounts used to launder money for the Sinaloa cartel, the plaintiffs say, citing a July 17, 2012 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Plaintiff Stephanie Scoggins claims a Crip robbed her of $180 in 2003, and that HSBC received the money and laundered it for the cartel. Plaintiff Jordan Saddler claims a Crip robbed him of $240 and an iPhone in 2005, and that HSBC laundered the money for the cartel. In 2012, Saddler says, another Crip relieved him of $130 and HSBC then laundered it. Plaintiff Otis Hawkins claims that a Blood robbed him of $1,500 in 2009 and HSBC laundered it. They seek class certification, treble damages and punitive damages for RICO violations. [...]"
US Politics: "Senate Republicans Predictably Bungle Their Interrogation of Janet Yellen" [02/28/15] "In terms of theatrical impact, the first performance of the Republican majority in the Senate responding to semi-annual testimony from Fed Chair Yellen was a dud. That is bad news for US monetary reform. The root cause of the theatrical failure is that a winning strategy for monetary revolution has failed to emerge from the Republican ranks. Instead we hear the old tired messages about “auditing the Fed,” “changing the structure of the FOMC,” and adopting a neo-Keynesian rate-fixing “rule.” Regrettably, the Senate Republicans and indeed their colleagues in the House are coalescing around an empty audit devoid of ideology and principle. One thinks of the judges in Kafka’s The Trial who scribble inanities on blank pieces of paper. Chair Yellen has won the visual theater by dumping books of the latest Fed regular audit on the table in front of her Republican critics and saying implicitly “you want more of this?” The public does not like accountants [...] The new Senate Banking Committee Chair, Richard Shelby, and his Republican colleagues had several chances to make top theater, but they bungled it. These opportunities included Yellen’s reply to Senator Shelby opposing an overhaul of the FOMC structure “I think the present structure works well, so I wouldn’t recommend changes.” The chair or a fellow senator could have answered: "You have the effrontery, Madam Chair, to tell us that the structure works well. That is despite the Fed having engaged in recent years in a vast monetary experiment which has failed in its central purpose of providing a strong economic expansion — in fact this has been the weakest economic expansion ever following great recession in US history — whilst spreading a dangerous asset price inflation disease throughout the global economy whose deadly end phase US citizens now dread. Then there was Yellen’s impassioned opposition to the “Audit the Fed” bill. “It would bring short-term political pressures to bear on the central bank and dissuade it from making hard choices needed to keep inflation in check. I really wonder whether or not the Volcker Fed would have had the courage to take the hard decisions that were necessary to bring inflation down — if there had been reviews in real time of Fed policy decisions.” [...]"
Commentary: "Financial Warfare, Geopolitics and Macro-Economic Agendas. What Happens Behind the Scenes" [02/25/15] "So much is happening behind the scenes it’s mind-boggling. This past week we of course ended with “deal or no deal” over Greece. The “deal” the markets were hoping for really was no deal at all, the markets were only hoping for more time and ONLY more time. You see, Greece is broke. They only have enough money for about another week, they don’t even have enough to make their early March debt payment. The only possible “deal” from here on is to postpone reality. Greece cannot be allowed to make any deal other than one that puts THE deal out into the future. They cannot accept more “aid” because the markets will see through this. They also cannot be allowed to exit because this would then be the thread which unravels the Eurozone. The only deal acceptable to the markets will be one where THE deal is not “dealt with”. Friday afternoon this very scenario was announced and of course the equity markets short squeezed higher in response. A bit prematurely in my estimation because the newly elected Greek parliament will need to ratify any agreement. A ratification will be in direct conflict with the election results of last month, what do you suppose the populace might do? In my opinion, the Greek people are about to explode onto the streets no matter what deal is arranged and agreed to. Broke is broke and no deal and no amount of newly borrowed money will fix this. As my title suggested, I believe only something from “behind the scenes” will fix their problem. [...]"
Interview: "Whistleblower: “Governments Control Markets; No 'Price Discovery' Anymore" [02/25/15] [38:24] "One year after the great stock market crash in 1987, US President Ronald Reagan launched the “Working Group on Financial Markets.” Conspiracy theorists believe, however, that the real task of this committee is to protect against a renewed slump in the stock market. In the jargon of Wall Street, the working group is known as the “Plunge Protection Team.” One glimpse at a few days suring 2007/8 and it is clear that ‘someone’ with infinitely deep pockets was able to support markets on several critical days – though, of course, anyone proclaiming intervention was propagandized away as a conspiracy theory wonk. However, as Dr. Pippa Malmgren – a former member of the U.S. President’s Working Group on Financial Markets – it is not conspiracy theory, it is conspiracy fact: “there’s no price discovery anymore by the market… governments impose prices on the market.” In this 38 minute interview Lars Schall, for Matterhorn Asset Management, speaks with Dr Pippa Malmgren, a US financial advisor and policy expert based in London. Dr Malmgren has been a member of the U.S. President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (a.k.a. the “Plunge Protection Team”). [...]"
MSM: "Ten Banks, Including JPM, Goldman, Deutsche, Barclays, SocGen And UBS, Probed For Gold Rigging" [02/25/15] "No matter how many times the big banks are caught red-handed manipulating precious metals, some failed former Deutsche Bank prop-trader (you know who you are) will take a vociferous stand based on ad hominem attacks and zero facts that no, what you see in front of you is not precious metal rigging at all but a one-off event that has nothing to do with a criminal banking syndicate hell bent on taking advantage of anyone who is naive and dumb enough to still believe in fair and efficient markets. [...] This time, that someone is the US Department of Justice, which as the WSJ just reported, is investigating at least 10 major banks for possible rigging of precious-metals markets. The DOJ is shockingly doing so "even though European regulators dropped a similar probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, according to people close to the inquiries." Of course, the reason why said probe was dropped in Europe is because it would have implicated virtually the entire trading desk at the biggest and most important European bank: Deustche Bank, as well as the biggest bank in Switzerland, UBS and UK's own Barclays, reveal a manipulation cartel rivaling even that of Libor. And once traders at the commercial banks turned sides and squealed for the prosection, well then it would be the central banks' turn next. Which is why it was imperative to bring this investigation to a quiet end. But not in the US. According to the WSJ, "prosecutors in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation, these people said. The agencies have made initial requests for information, including a subpoena from the CFTC to HSBC Holdings PLC related to precious-metals trading, the bank said in its annual report Monday. HSBC also said the Justice Department sought documents related to the antitrust investigation in November. The two probes “are at an early stage,” the bank added, saying it is cooperating with U.S. regulators. Who is involved in this latest gold-rigging scandal? Why everyone! ... which makes it immediately obvious why the European regulator had to promptly cover up the whole affair. Under scrutiny are Bank of Nova Scotia , Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG , Deutsche Bank AG , Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Société Générale SA, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and UBS AG , according to one of the people close to the investigation.[...]"
MSM: "Which Corporations Are Benefiting From Ukraine Fiasco?" [02/23/15] "In a year beginning with the notorious February military coup in Ukraine, also known as the Euromaidan revolution, the Ukrainian economy has come to the brink of default. It has turned out that a $27 billion bailout, offered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multinational creditors to Kiev, will not be enough to bolster the anemic Ukrainian economy as well. However, new loans, requested by Kiev to keep its economy afloat will only exacerbate the situation, experts say, pointing to the fact that Ukraine, saddled with heavy debts, will not be able to pay them off in the forthcoming decades. According to IMF chief Christine Lagarde, an expanded emergency package will amount to $40 billion over the four year period and will come via international creditors, including major Western powers, for instance Switzerland and the United States, the World Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The chief of the IMF clarified that the decision was made due to the fact that the Ukrainian regime has already carried out a string of tough economic reforms, particularly increasing gas tariffs for the country's households to 56 percent, adopting a flexible exchange rate regime, freezing numerous social programs and conducting "governance reforms" of state-owned enterprises. [...] The Ukrainian government is irresponsibly driving the nation deeper and deeper into a debt trap, analysts say, while the country's financial and industry sectors are facing tremendous losses unable to facilitate the growth of the state's economy. More than 50 percent of Ukrainian enterprises are unprofitable: over the last nine months the financial losses of large and medium-sized companies in the country mounted over $14 billion. Ukrainian GDP dropped by 7.5 percent. According to some estimates, Ukraine's external debt (including the debts of the country's enterprises) could reach $135.85 billion, with a debt repayment of $58.55 billion in 2015 alone. On the other hand, the internal war, launched by Kiev against the Ukrainian eastern region in 2014 has severely weakened the country's economy.[...] Making matters worse, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) reported in November 2014 that the country's gold bullion reserves had diminished tremendously. Surprisingly, the NBU head provided no explanation where the country's gold has gone. Valeria Hontareva, the Governor of the Bank, admitted that there was almost no physical gold left in the vaults, adding that the amount of solid gold ingots barely covered one percent of the Ukrainian national reserves. The statement immediately sparked controversy among experts, since in February 2014 Ukrainian official gold holdings amounted to 42.3 tons, or 8 percent of the state's reserves. So far, over the year Ukraine's overall gold and foreign currency reserves reduced from around $17 billion to $6.42 billion, analysts point out. Meanwhile, a sinister atmosphere surrounds the seizure of the country's high-quality arable lands by Ukrainian moguls and foreign firms, funded by the World Bank and EBRD. According to German lawmakers, some prominent Western corporations including Monsanto and DuPont have been involved into land-grabbing in Ukraine, using the ongoing military conflict as a cover. The state's arable territory comprises of 32 million hectares, however, about 17 million hectares have already come under control of transnational holdings. [...] As Kiev's prolonged the moratorium on land sales lasts until 2016, investors took out a 50-year lease on Ukraine's agricultural territories, planning to buy the lands, once the state ban is lifted. The Ukraine-EU association agreements open the doors to the liberalization of the state's economy and relaxation of its agricultural laws. While the West is obviously benefitting from the reforms, Ukraine's small and middle-sized farms have been put under threat. Ukrainian experts and political activists point out that the corrupt regime of Viktor Yanukovych was replaced by another venal group. According to Tatyana Montyan, a Kiev-based lawyer and politician, the West is not interested in Ukraine's development: the 45-million nation could become the EU's economic rival. Using the longstanding turmoil in eastern Ukraine as a smokescreen, the Ukrainian moguls are exporting capital abroad instead of reinvesting money into the state's economy. So far, the country has no chance to recover, burdened with huge debts. Analysts underscore that the IMF has long been using its "debt trap" strategy, referring to the example of Greece and other European debt-laden countries. The question remains, if the Ukrainian nation still believes in the success of Euromaidan revolution of February 2014[...]" Related: "How The West Sells War And Makes A Killing" "As the conflict in Ukraine persists and as peace talks between Putin and western European leaders (Merkel and Hollande) continue, it is important to look at the economic actors/interests that benefit from conflict and regime change in the Ukraine and how this compares to situations like Syria, Libya and Iraq. There are under-reported angles and interests to these conflicts that we hear little about in western mainstream media and that many do not look for because they are too caught up in political or human dramas [...]"
Commentary: "Max Keiser: Welcome to the New World Order" [02/22/15] [25:57] "Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the new Blackwater world order in which corporations employ and deploy mercenaries to enforce their extrajudicial TTIP 'rights' over sovereign nations of non-corporate person-peasants. In the second half, Max continues his interview with Mitch Feierstein of Planet Ponzi.com about the Carney effect on the Canadian dollar and the velocity of money. Mitch also has a chart, the most important chart the audience will ever see and that is the gold price chart. He tells the Keiser Report what it means for the future of monetary policy and our economies. [...]"
MSM: "Icelandic Bankers Sentenced To Prison" [02/22/15] "The Supreme Court of Iceland today upheld prison sentences issued by Reykjavík District Court in December 2013 on four former key executives and majority owners of Kaupþing Bank in the so-called Al-Thani case in what is the heaviest sentence ever given in Iceland for economic fraud, ruv.is reports. The four were charged with market manipulation in relation to Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar’s acquisition of more than five percent of shares (worth ISK 25.7 billion) in Kaupþing Bank shortly before it collapsed in autumn 2008. The case was taken to the Supreme Court after the defendants appealed the Reykjavík District Court’s ruling. [...]"
Commentary: "Transparent Immature ‘Retaliation’: Moody’s Downgrades Russia’s Debt to ‘Junk’ Status Just as BRICS Bank is Ratified" [02/22/15] "Yesterday we reported on the huge news of Russia’s government ratifying the BRICS Development Bank and suggested that the West would seek to respond in some way. That response emerged just hours later. Moody’s, the same ratings agency that failed to see the 07/08 crisis coming by rating toxic assets as AAA, has put Russia’s debt into the ‘Junk‘ zone. The agency cites an ‘expected’ continuing depression in Russia, suggesting a ‘decline in confidence’ in the country means growth will not be possible. [...] Moody’s attempt to paint Russian debt as ‘Junk’ is yet another obvious propaganda stunt aimed at continuing the current demonization campaign against the country. Anybody who would trust the ratings of an agency that framed toxic assets as ‘AAA’ rated should have both their character, and intentions, questioned. This is not the first incident where Moody’s has weaponized, geopolitically speaking, its dubious rating system to advance US foreign policy interests. 21WIRE reported back in June 2013, when Hong Kong authorities would not honor U.S. requests to arrest and handover the fugitive Edward Snowden, only to discover that Moody’s had downgraded 9 major Hong Kong banks the following day.[...] " Related: See below: "Russia Creates Its Own Payment System" [02/18/15]
MSM: "The US Is Busting Israeli Banks: Bank Leumi, Israel's Second Largest Bank" [02/21/15] "Bank Leumi, Israel's second largest bank, admitted late last year to helping its American customers evade income taxes, hide assets, and launder their money back into the United States. The bank agreed to pay $130 million in fines to New York regulators and another $270 million to the federal government, and assist in an ongoing probe of other Israeli banks. [...]"
Commentary: "Central Banks Have Lost Control Of The World" [02/20/15] "With the world's oldest central bank - Sweden's Riksbank - taking the plunge into negative rates, there have been 19 'eases' by central banks this year, Morgan Stanley warns of "ghosts of the 1930s." With competitive 'easing' stoking fears of international currency wars, The Telegraph notes however that looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world, and herein lies potential danger for the world economy. [...] Looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world (see map above), and herein lies potential danger for the world economy. The expectation of a normalisation of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve has resulted a sustained rally in the US dollar. Such strength in the world's reserve currency has simultaneously applied pressure on economies pegged to the greenback. Meanwhile rate hikes from the Fed - which are expected to begin later this year - will naturally leader to tighter monetary conditions in economies everywhere from Mexico to Hong Kong. It is this divergence in the actions of the world's major central banks which could lead to a new global liquidity crisis, according to the governor of the Bank of England. Despite robust job creation and economic output in the domestic economy of the US, the trend towards lower global interest rates will probably slow the extent of the Fed's rate hikes once it finally gets off zero, according to Kit Juckes at Société Générale. "The best we can hope now is that the dollar’s advance is orderly and the impact on global capital flows is limited" said Mr Juckes. he 19 Policy 'eases' so far... (or 24 if Romania's 2 and Denmark's 4 are counted): [...]"
Commentary: "Russia Dumps US Paper As China Reduces Treasury Holdings To Jan 2013 Levels" [02/20/15] "Back in December, Socgen spread a rumor that Russia has begun selling its gold. Subsequent IMF data showed that not only was this not correct, Russia in fact added to its gold holdings. But there was one thing it was selling: some $22 billion in US Treasurys, a record 20% of its total holdings, bringing its US paper inventory to just $86 billion in December - the lowest since June 2008. It wasn't just Russia: the country that has ever more frequently been said to be in the same camp as Russia - and against the US - namely China, also sold another $6 billion in Treasurys in the last month of 2014, which would have made its US treasury holdings equal with those of Japan, if only Tokyo hadn't also sold over $10 billion in the same month. And while we know that Russia used at least some of the proceeds to buy gold, the bigger question is: just what is China buying with all these stealthy USD-denominated liquidations, and how much gold does the PBOC really have as of this moment. (See Graphs) [...]"
Commentary: "The Case Against Imminent Economic Collapse" [02/17/15] "We see evidence of an impending collapse of the global financial and economic systems on an almost daily basis. From falsified statistics to an almost unfathomable series of never-ending monetary machinations, all signs point to something being horrifically wrong, not just with the economy but the entire global paradigm as it exists today. By all accounts, we seem to be standing on the brink of a collapse. But as Joel Skousen points out, we must keep in mind that the Wizard is still behind the curtain, and though things may be bad and getting worse, the puppeteers remain solidly in power and they continue to manipulate their marionettes across the board - in politics, in finance, in industry. Skousen argues that they may not yet be ready to pull the plug. But he’s not suggesting you should be lax with your vigilance. Rather, he proposes an alternate perspective, timeline and endgame as we prepare for a future that may well be plagued with economic hardship, government tyranny and war. [...] This week, I’m going to switch to my geopolitical expertise as the editor of the World Affairs Brief . I feel the need to address the root controversy about what we are preparing for. I field more questions from subscribers and preppers each week on the subject of economic collapse than any other topic, and despite the failure of all these collapse predictions since 2010, they are back again in 2015. And, it’s no wonder. There is an unending flow of predictions of complete and imminent collapse coming from both the uninformed and some very bright financial newsletter writers on the conservative/ libertarian side such as Jim Rickards, Peter Schiff, Michael Snyder, R.G. Allen, Robert Kiyosaki, John Williams (shadowstats.com), Mike Maloney, and Mike Dillard (who’s been pushing the collapse of the EURO for years now and still won’t stop despite the failure of his predictions). I’m not going to tell you that things are fine. They are not. The financial collapse writers are well informed about the problems of excessive debt, fiat money, and deficit spending that politically cannot be stopped nor solved now that the benefit corrupted voters can out-vote those of us who want government to stop these suicidal redistribution schemes. But they have not thought out clearly the specifics of how and why it’s so difficult for an actual collapse to occur. Historically, no nation has ever collapsed financially outside of the destruction of war—none (even the so-called “collapse of the Soviet Union” was a carefully crafted deception, as outlined in this piece). Only when people are thrust into the most abject circumstances of survival, such as in WWII in Europe with the combination of allied bombing and the Russian invasion does an economy cease to function and turn into a mob of pillaging people. Let me cover the various collapse scenarios that are being hyped constantly and why they aren’t necessarily imminent: [...]"
MSM: "Swiss Prosecutor Raids HSBC Offices After Opening Criminal Probe" [02/19/15] "Geneva's public prosecutor raided HSBC's lakeside Swiss office on Wednesday after opening a criminal inquiry into allegations of aggravated money laundering, the second probe to hit the bank this week. Europe's largest lender is in regulators' sights after details about how its Swiss private bank allegedly helped wealthy clients evade taxes were leaked to the media and published last week. The Geneva prosecutor said he had launched an investigation following the allegations and could extend it to individuals. "A search is currently under way in the premises of the bank, led by Attorney General Olivier Jornot and the prosecutor Yves Bertossa," Geneva's prosecutor said in a statement. [...]" Related: "Top Writer Quits Over UK Daily Telegraph Financial Ties To HSBC" "Top political commentator for the UK’s Telegraph, Peter Oborne resigned after accusing the outlet of being in bed with the scandal-hit HSBC. Oborne believes that The Telegraph refused to adequately cover the scandal because of a lucrative advertising contract the media outlet holds with the bank. [...] The HSBC scandal has caused widespread outrage, yet the British government has said that it will not be investigating the bank’s activities. Note: The British Government has been involved in drug dealing and shady finances for hundreds of years ... so they're not about to get involved.
Commentary: "Forensic Economists Examine The Effects Of CIA-Led Coups On The Stock Market" [02/19/15] ".... Such trading on inside information is illegal, and when it involves highly classified details about a future CIA coup, it verges on treason. Yet the researchers found that prices of companies affected by the CIA's regime-toppling efforts—UFC in Guatemala, Anglo-Iranian (oil) in Iran, Anaconda (mining) in Chile, and American Sugar in Cuba—went up in the weeks and months preceding the coups. (The authors restrict their analysis to coups for which they had access to declassified planning documents and for which U.S. companies had had property nationalized by the targeted regimes.) Furthermore, these gains were concentrated in the days following crucial government authorizations or plans for the coup (suggesting the trades weren't simply the result of good guesswork about a coup in the making). For example, in the week that President Eisenhower gave full approval to Operation PBFortune to overthrow Árbenz, UFC's price went up by 3.8 percent; the stock market overall was flat that week. In all, shares of coup-affected companies went up by a total of 10 percent following top-secret authorizations, swamping the 3.5 percent gain that came immediately in the coups' aftermaths. If information hadn't been leaking into the stock market via insider trading, then the entire impact of the coup should have appeared only when the very public invasions took place and the investing world finally got news of the regime change. Unfortunately, there are limits to what these stock-market forensics can uncover. When the researchers contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission to find out who was trading on these days, they learned that there are limits to what the Freedom of Information Act could provide. So, we can't pin the apparent insider trading on anyone in particular. There's also some evidence, albeit tentative, that the market was very good at forecasting the coups' success and failure—a further indication that the traders driving up the price had detailed knowledge of the covert plans (and their expected outcomes). [...]"
MSM: "Russia Creates Its Own Payment System" [02/18/15] "Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have now been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network. The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia. It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. [...] Much of the West’s power comes from financial hegemony. Our ability to cut people off from loans, payments and so on. Since this new system is Russian only, it isn’t, right now, that big a deal. But start connecting other countries to it, say China, Iran, India and so on, and it becomes a way of breaking financial blockades. Include some calculable financial law (less of a challenge than it used to be as New York and London courts make increasingly punitive decisions), and start lending in Yuan (with which one can buy much of what one needs in the world, since the Chinese make so much of it), and you have a fully credible financial system. The key is to get one major manufacturing country in. Most of the nations the West is punishing these days, financially, are oilarchies ( Venezuela, Iran, Argentina). They need the ability to buy manufactured goods. The obvious country is China. If China agrees to go in, Western financial hegemony is broken. Japan could work; India could almost work, and Japan or India have a lot more to gain from it than it might seem (as we watch the Japanese economy implode.) Even before then there are deals which can be cut. Say Greece wants to buy Russian oil. Russia can lend them Rubles, the use those rubles to buy Russian oil, in exchange Russia gets use of Greek ships and ports and access to the EU. This is, then, in one sense, not a big deal. As long as its only Russia, it’s a defensive move of somewhat limited utility. But if it expands beyond Russia, well then, it’s earth-shaking. Get out the popcorn and watch it develop.[...]" Note: They've done this in order to offset this kind of political revenge: "EU Adds More Russians, Eastern Ukrainians To Sanctions List After Successful Minsk Talks"
Commentary: "North Dakota’s Thriving State Bank Makes A Mockery Of Wall Street’s Casino Banking System" [02/17/15] "North Dakota is the very definition of a red state. It voted 58 percent to 39 percent for Romney over Obama, and its statehouse and senate have a total of 104 Republicans and only 47 Democrats. The Republican super-majority is so conservative it recently passed the nation’s most severe anti-abortion resolution – a measure that declares a fertilized human egg has the same right to life as a fully formed person. But North Dakota is also red in another sense: it fully supports its state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND), a socialist relic that exists nowhere else in America. Why is financial socialism still alive in North Dakota? Why haven’t the North Dakotan free-market crusaders slain it dead? Because it works. [...] In 1919, the Non-Partisan League, a vibrant populist organization, won a majority in the legislature and voted the bank into existence. The goal was to free North Dakota farmers from impoverishing debt dependence on the big banks in the Twin Cities, Chicago and New York. More than 90 years later, this state-owned bank is thriving as it helps the state’s community banks, businesses, consumers and students obtain loans at reasonable rates. It also delivers a handsome profit to its owners — the 700,000 residents of North Dakota. In 2011, the BND provided more than $70 million to the state’s coffers. Extrapolate that profit-per-person to a big state like California and you’re looking at an extra $3.8 billion a year in state revenues that could be used to fund education and infrastructure.[...] One of America’s Best Kept Secrets: Each time we pay our state and local taxes — and all manner of fees — the state deposits those revenues in a bank. If you’re in any state but North Dakota, nearly all of these deposits end up in Wall Street’s too-big to-fail banks, because those banks are the only entities large enough to handle the load. The vast majority of the nation’s 7,000 community banks are too small to provide the array of cash management services that state and local governments require. We’re talking big bucks; at least $1 trillion of our local tax dollars find their way to Wall Street banks, according to Marc Armstrong, executive director of the Public Banking Institute.[...] Banks are supposed to serve as intermediaries that turn our savings and checking deposits into productive loans to businesses and consumers. That’s how jobs are supported and created. But the BND, a state agency, goes one step further. Through its Partnership in Assisting Community Expansion, for example, it provides loans at below-market interest rates to businesses if and only if those businesses create at least one job for every $100,000 loaned. If the $1 trillion that now flows to Wall Street instead were deposited in public state banks in all 50 states using this same approach, up to 10 million new jobs could be created. That would effectively end our destructive unemployment crisis.[...]"
Commentary: "Rise In Value Of Swiss Franc Threatens Workers In Eastern Europe With Ruin" [02/17/15] "The sharp rise in the value of the Swiss franc against the euro is driving thousands of people in Eastern Europe into ruin. In mid-January, the Swiss National Bank announced without warning that it would no longer continue to maintain the exchange rate of the franc below 1.20 francs to the euro. As a result, the franc increased in value rapidly. For a time, it was worth more than the euro. Currently, a euro is worth just 1.06 francs. The sharp rise in the franc has been accompanied by a corresponding rise in the debt burden of hundreds of thousands of people throughout Eastern Europe. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, loans denominated in Swiss francs were common in these countries. In Poland, around 550,000 mortgages are denominated in Swiss francs. The repayments rose by 15 percent overnight due to the exchange rate rise. Some 150,000 loans are affected in Romania, 60,000 in Croatia and and 22,000 in Serbia. The Swiss National Bank estimates that loans totalling 220 billion francs are currently outstanding in Eastern Europe. The banks made loans in francs at interest rates far lower than was available in each of the local currencies, while deliberately concealing the exchange rate risk. This is shown by figures from Austria, where loans in francs comprised roughly a third of all private loans prior to 2008. After a warning and a ban from the country’s financial supervisor, the number of loans in francs was cut in half. [...]"
Commentary: "As IMF Extends $17.5 Billion Credit To Kiev, Gazprom Demands Debt Repayment" [02/17/15] Page 2 "No sooner had the International Monetary Fund (IMF) extended $17.5 billion over four years in new credit to Ukraine, Russia’s private gas giant Gazprom was claiming $2.4 billion of it to settle Kiev’s gas debt. That’s not exactly what the IMF had in mind. The international lender’s mission chief for Ukraine, Nikolay Gueorguiev, issued a statement on Feb. 13 saying the credit was meant to address “immediate macroeconomic stabilization as well as broad and deep structural reforms to provide the basis for strong and sustainable economic growth over the medium term.” At the same time, Gazprom sent a letter to its Ukrainian counterpart, state-owned Naftogaz, seeking a payment of more than $2.4 billion, to cover $2.2 billion in debt, plus a penalty fee of about $200 million. The debt, which Kiev doesn’t acknowledge, will be the subject of hearings at the Stockholm Arbitration Institute in early 2016. [...] Discussing Gazprom’s demand on the Russian television station LifeNew, Kremlin Energy Minister Alexander Novak dismissed Ukraine’s stand on the status of the debt, saying, “Gazprom has every right to claim the funds” because the gas deliveries to Naftogaz are listed on invoices according to an active contract between the two gas companies. So far, Naftogaz has been paying the $2 billion debt in installments. Now that Ukraine has received the IMF loan, Gazprom wants the entire debt paid now. Ever since the autumn of 2013, when many Ukrainians were demanding closer ties with the European Union at the expense of Russia, its gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk by about 7 percent, the IMF says. In February 2014, faced with a popular uprising, the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, fled to Russia, which responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.[...]"
Interviews: "The Swiss Leaks - 60 Minutes Interviews HSBC Whistleblower Hervé Falciani" [02/15/15] [12:53] "60 Minutes investigates the biggest leak in Swiss banking history, examining HSBC's business dealings with a collection of international outlaws, and interviews the man who leaked the files, former HSBC employee-turned-whistleblower, Hervé Falciani. [...]"
MSM: "DC Lawyer Found Dead Had Ties To Greece And International Banking World" [02/15/15] Video [1:22] "A Washington DC area lawyer who was found stabbed to death in a glitzy DC area hotel room had ties to the country of Greece and the international banking world and in this particular mystery, authorities say they have a suspect as shared in the newly released video below. While not every mysterious murder is part of a 'conspiracy', a look into Messerschmitt's past gives us reason to believe this latest murdered lawyer may have known something that others didn't want him (and the rest of us) to know with Greece possibly soon leaving the Euro and the financial world falling to shambles. Back in 2012, Messerschmitt got married and traveled to Greece on his honeymoon as shared on this wedding guest registry; the Washington Post points out this connection of Messerschmitt to Greece as well. While it is not known at this time if the lawyer did business in Greece, a look at his deleted but cached DLA Piper profile page and LinkedIn page show us he was deeply involved with 'multinational Fortune 500 companies', financial services, investment banking, technology, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, energy and much more. David Messerschmitt focuses his practice in the area of intellectual property and technology, sourcing and procurement, licensing, technology transactions and general corporate matters. [...]"
Commentary: "IMF War Mongers Provoking Russia-U.S. Conflict In Ukraine" Fabian Calvo [02/14/15] [9:51] Good points Related: "IMF Announces New $17.5bn Bailout Package For Ukraine"
Commentary: "Lawyer Moved Halliburton Subsidiary Bribes Through Secret Swiss HSBC Accounts" [02/13/15] "A network of secretive banks and offshore tax havens was used to funnel $182 million in bribes to Nigerian officials in exchange for $6 billion in engineering and construction work for an international consortium of companies that included a then Halliburton subsidiary. In 2010 Nigeria indicted former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who was CEO of Halliburton before he was elected, only to later clear him when Halliburton worked out a $35 million settlement. Leaked records from HSBC, a huge global bank based in London, reveal new details about the bank’s role as a conduit for the bribes — and new details about how British lawyer Jeffrey Tesler operated. The files, obtained by the French newspaper Le Mondeand the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, show ties between Tesler and high-ranking Nigerians not previously named publicly in connection with the scandal, raising the possibility of renewed questions about Nigeria’s handling of the affair. Tesler pleaded guilty to U.S. corruption charges for his role in what became known as the Halliburton Bribery Scandal. The cash was destined for Nigeria’s ruling party via the state-owned oil and gas company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to an official Nigerian report. The leaked files reveal that Tesler had financial ties to two former Nigerian officials: now-retired Major General Chris Garuba, chief of staff to former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar who himself allegedly received bribes as president; and Andrew Agom, a senior government official who was killed in an attack on a motorcade. Switzerland’s famous bank secrecy laws encouraged Tesler to use the country as a base for moving bribe money. HSBC Private Bank (Suisse), with offices near luxury hotels in Geneva and Zurich, was his preferred bank. [...]" Related: See also below: "Clinton Foundation Received Up To $81m From Clients Of Controversial HSBC Bank" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Documents Reveal Criminal Conspiracy of Banks and Governments" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Bank : Secret Origins To 26/11 Mumbai Attacks" [02/10/15] ; "HSBC Exposed In Tax Evasion Data Leak" [02/10/15] (and attached stories); "Obama AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Refused To Prosecute Criminal Enterprise HSBC" [02/10/15]
MSM: "Another JP Morgan Banker ‘Murder-Suicide’ In New Jersey" [02/11/15] "It happened in Closter Friday evening, where the bodies of Michael and Iran Pars Tabacchi were discovered. Authorities say Iran was stabbed and strangled, while Michael died of a self-inflicted stab wound. But it also happened in Jefferson Township in July, when police say Julian Knott shot his wife Alita before taking his own life with the same weapon. There’s no evidence to suggest the two cases are related, but Julian Knott and Michael Tabacchi shared an employer: JPMorgan Chase & Co. Knott and Tabacchi are the latest in a string of suicides by company employees over the past year. When Li Junjie, a 33-year-old JPMorgan worker, jumped off the roof of the company’s Hong Kong office in February 2014, the New York Post noted that it was the third death of a JPMorgan employee in weeks. Junjie was preceded by Gabriel Magee, a vice president with JPMorgan’s corporate and investment technology arm in London, who jumped off an office tower, and Ryan Henry Crane, a New Jersey native and executive director with the company, who was found dead in his Stamford, Conn., home. [...]"
Commentary: "Chris Hedges - The Pathology of The Super Rich" [02/11/15] [23:37] "Chris Hedges discusses his personal insights into the psychology and private behavior of the super rich and how these things relate to the state of the world today. One of the best Chris Hedges segments by far. [...]"
MSM: "Discussion Of Coming Economic Collapse" CNBC [02/11/15] [7:26] Note: Really interesting. Lloyd Blankfein, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles on record about the 'fiscal cliff' being ignored by politicians that will come to a head in the near future. First time this has been openly discussed on air.
Commentary: "Big Backers Of Clinton Foundation Found In Leaked Swiss Bank Files" [02/11/15] "Large financial backers of the Clinton Foundation charitable fund have been found among those named in the trove of leaked documents from a Swiss division of HSBC bank this week, raising questions about the integrity of such individuals and what it says about the relationships they have with the powerful Clinton family. [...]" Related: "Clinton Foundation Received Up To $81m From Clients Of Controversial HSBC Bank" See related stories below:
Commentary: "HSBC Documents Reveal Criminal Conspiracy of Banks and Governments" [02/11/15] "... The only way to bring to justice the major banks like HSBC, and the millionaires and billionaires who used its services to commit fraud, is a complete reorganization of society. The ill-gotten wealth that corrupts every public institution must be seized, major corporations must be nationalized, and every existing state replaced with a workers’ government whose first task will be the establishment of democratic control over the basic forces of economic life.[...]" Note: Of course, that's not going to happen. It's endgame.
Commentary: "HSBC Bank : Secret Origins To 26/11 Mumbai Attacks" [02/10/15] "... Contrary to popular opinion, it is not “demand” from the world’s population which creates the mind destroying drug trade. Rather, it is the world financial oligarchy, looking for massive profits and the destruction of the minds of the population it is determined to dominate, which organized the drug trade. The case of HSBC underscores that point. Serving as the central bank of this global apparatus, is HSBC. [...]" Note: Very very good. Related: "The Rothschild Illuminati Colonization of India" Related: See below
MSM: "HSBC Exposed In Tax Evasion Data Leak" [02/10/15] "A new investigation exposes HSBC's Swiss private banking arm of helping royalty, criminals, terrorists, drug dealers, and even music stars such as Tina Turner and David Bowie to conceal their identities to dodge taxes. The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained the documents from French paper Le Monde, found over 100,000 account holders in 200 countries listed in the data leak. The documents shed light on the bank’s practice of courting rich depositors in exchange for protection from taxes from 2005 until 2007. During this period, the private banking armed controlled $100 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg. HSBC reportedly reassured client that its bank was a safe haven for secrets, and that it would not disclosure details of accounts to national authorities or taxmen. Files also reveal that several clients were allowed to quietly transfer bricks of cash in foreign currencies. [...] The leak began in 2008. HSBC is just one of more than a dozen Swiss banks under fire for nontransparent banking and aiding tax evasion. The European Commission, along with the G20, has made it a goal to get rid of secret banking regimes, and in October signed an agreement to end tax evasion and money laundering. There has been mounting pressure on several European banks that provide cover for illicit money. More than $2 trillion in assets is held in more than 300 private Swiss banks. [...]" Related: "Leaked Files Implicate Over 6,000 Israelis In Massive Bank Scandal" "Banking giant HSBC faced damaging claims Monday that its Swiss division helped wealthy customers dodge millions of dollars in taxes after a “SwissLeaks” cache of secret files emerged online. Among their clients are over 6,200 Israelis, with holdings totaling some $10 billion. The documents published over the weekend claim the bank helped clients in more than 200 countries evade taxes on accounts containing $119 billion. The huge cache of files, which were stolen by an IT worker in 2007 and passed to French authorities, has sparked criminal probes in several countries and attempts to claw back the cash. One Israeli client alone had $1.5 billion in his account. The documents noted that while over six thousand people were associated with Israel, only half of them are Israeli citizens. A range of former and current politicians from Russia, India and a range of African countries, as well as Saudi, Bahraini, Jordanian and Moroccan royalty, and the late Australian press magnate Kerry Packer were named in the files. Following the bombshell disclosure, there were calls for a Swiss probe against the bank, which is already facing prosecution in France and Belgium. [...]" | "HSBC Directors Could Face Intl Arrest Warrants" | "Senate Demands Answers From US Government Over HSBC Tax Scandal" "A member of the Senate banking committee asked the US government to explain what actions it took against HSBC, after sitting on the leaked tax scandal documents for two years with no arrests made. [...]" |"Banking Giant HSBC Sheltered Cash Linked To Dictators And Arms Dealers" Related: See below:
Exposé: "Obama AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Refused To Prosecute Criminal Enterprise HSBC" [02/10/15] " New revelations are emerging that could implicate Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s attorney general nominee, in the world’s largest banking scandal. As WND reported, Lynch, as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, oversaw the investigation in 2012 of drug-related international money laundering allegations against London-based HSBC Holdings LLC. As a result of HSBC agreeing to a settlement requiring the international bank holding company to pay the U.S. government more than $1.2 billion in fines for money laundering, Lynch’s office agreed in return not to press criminal charges against any bank employee of the U.S.-based HSBC subsidiary. The federal government’s unwillingness to prosecute HSBC was exposed by a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager in New York, John Cruz, who called the bank a “criminal enterprise.” Cruz was ignored by law enforcement authorities until he brought to WND 1,000 pages of customer account records that document his claims. HSBC also used its power to temporarily shut down WND.com as the news site was breaking a series of stories on the mega-bank’s money-laundering practices. [...] In a telephone interview with WND, Cruz said the Obama administration “is continuing to cover up its role in the HSBC money laundering scandal.” “The U.S. government never responded to the evidence I provided of money-laundering activity that I fully documented with records copied directly from HSBC accounts,” Cruz explained to WND after learning court papers were filed Wednesday objecting to the Justice Department stonewalling a FOIA request for the release of documents that could implicate Lynch in a massive cover-up of Obama administration involvement in international money-laundering of Mexican cartel drug money. Lynch has never explained why the New York U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2012 chose to ignore the 1,000 pages of customer account records Cruz pulled from the HSBC computer system before he was fired by HSBC senior management uninterested in investigating his claim to have discovered illegal money-laundering activity at the bank. “The official response of the IRS Whistleblower Office doesn’t say there was no fraud or tax evasion committed by HSBC in the money-laundering case,” Cruz explained. “The IRS simply says, ‘In this case, the information you provided did not result in the collection of any proceeds.’” Cruz began working at HSBC on Jan. 14, 2008, and was terminated for “poor job performance” on Feb. 17, 2010.[...]" Note: [Cross-Posted]
MSM: "Greek MEP Shrugs Off Irish Prime Minister’s Suggestion To Follow Ireland’s Lead" [02/08/15] "A Greek MEP has rubbished Enda Kenny’s comments that Greece should follow Ireland’s lead, and not ask for a write-down on their debt. Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonas, said the sovereign debts and government borrowings of the Irish and Greek governments are too high. "This is simply an utopia – that either Greece or Ireland can pay back their sovereign debts. It is not possible. "This holds true not only for Greece and Ireland, but for most Eurozone member states."[...]" Related: "Ireland Still A ‘Sitting Duck’ Unless Bank Rules Change" "Ireland will remain a “sitting duck” for another economic crash unless it instigates new rules to personally fine and jail bankers who break regulatory law. The damning prediction was made by US banking and fraud expert Professor Bill Black during the latest hearing of the Oireachtas bank inquiry. Speaking during a three-hour meeting with the cross-party group, the author of The Best Way to Rob A Bank Is To Own One repeatedly lashed out at Ireland’s decision to guarantee subordinate debt, blatant holes in our banking regulation defences, and a bonus culture that ensures bankers will deliberately push mountains of poor-quality loans on unsuspecting customers to feather their own nests. The associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, who played a key role in prosecutions after the US Savings and Loans scandal two decades ago, described Ireland’s September 30, 2008 blanket guarantee as the “most destructive own goal in history” and accused the then regulators of being “incapable” and “preposterous”. [...]"
Commentary: "Bulk Shipping Bankruptcies Begin As Baltic Dry Collapse Continues" [02/07/15] "With one of the world’s leading dry bulk shipping companies, Copenhagen- based D/S Norden, having made huge losses for the last 2 years and expected to report dramatic losses in 2014 also, it is hardly surprising that the smaller bulk shipping firms are struggling as The Baltic Dry Index collapses ever closer to record all-time lows. As Reuters reports, privately-owned shipping company Copenship has filed for bankruptcy in Copenhagen after losses in the dry bulk market, with the CEO exclaiming, "we have reached a point where there is not more to do." We suspect, given the crash in shipping fees, that this is the first of many... [...]" The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is absolutely the best measure of global economic health. The BDI is used by economists as a leading global economic indicator because it predicts future economic activity. The BDI, uses the U.S. dollar as a benchmark and measures the global supply and the corresponding demand for commodity shipments among bulk carriers. Commodities, in the form of raw materials like grains, lumber, coal and precious metals form the backbone of the BDI. Over time, the BDI is the best indicator of global economic health because, unlike the futures market, the BDI does not engage in speculation as it provides near real time data on what is being shipped. The determinations made by the BDI are such an accurate indicator of economic activity because businesses don’t book freighters when they have no cargo to move. In short, the BDI is the world’s financial blood pressure measure. The BDI is said to be one day away from reaching its all-time low. Ultimately, what the BDI tells economists is that we are headed for a depression that will make 1929 look like a picnic. The BDI has fallen on 43 of the past 47 days.
Commentary: "The Case To "Reinstate" The Bank Of Canada" [02/05/15] "There is a very interesting legal case that is playing out in Canada at the moment. William Krehm, Anne Emmett, and Comer (The Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform: http://www.comer.org/) filed a lawsuit on December 12th, 2011, in Federal Court to try to force a restoration of the Bank of Canada to its mandated purposes. In essence, they want the Bank of Canada to provide interest-free loans to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as provided for in the Bank of Canada Act. This money would be used to finance public expenditures whenever there is a budgetary deficit. Apparently, the federal government used to borrow interest-free (to at least some extent) from the Bank of Canada up until 1974. At present, governments borrow all of the necessary money (apart from any bonds they may sell to the public) from private banks at the going rate of interest. Canadians are economically burdened with the resultant debt-servicing charges because the Bank of Canada does not make use of its prerogatives in the interests of the Canadian public. The case is being prosecuted by Rocco Galati, who is widely considered to be Canada's top constitutional lawyer. [...] The nature of the lawsuit has been explained in the following terms: "Two Canadians and a Canadian economic think tank confront the global financial powers in the Canadian federal court. The Canadians plead for declarations that would restore the use of the bank of Canada for the benefit of Canadians and remove it from the control of international private entities whose interests and directives are placed above the interest of Canadians and the primacy of the constitution of Canada.”[...]" Related: See below: "12-Year Old (Canadian) Child Reveals One Of The Best Kept Secrets In The World" [02/03/15]
MSM: "Ex-DOJ Official Says Imprisoning Wall Street Executives Could Deter Fraud" [02/04/15] "A former Justice Department official claims that levying fines on credit rating agency executives is insufficient to prevent frauds. In the run up to the 2008 financial collapse agencies inflated the ratings of mortgage derivatives in exchange for more business from banking institutions. [...] Sending credit rating agency executives to prison would be more effective than levying fines to prevent companies like Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s from fraudulently evaluating financial instruments, former Justice Department Deputy Associate Attorney General Michael Greenberger, told Sputnik on Tuesday. “The Justice Department portrays these fines as a lot of money, but when you look at the damage S&P and Moody’s did to the economy, with these inflated ratings of mortgage-backed securities, it’s a drop in the bucket. It will have no impact. The credit rating agencies aren’t suffering. However, when Wall Street executives go to jail, that’s the deterrent,” Greenberger said. Greenberger, who also served as a federal regulator of financial derivatives for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said that although Moody’s is bound to meet a similar fate as S&P, which will pay over a billion dollars to settle fraud charges, the punishment does not fit the crime, “which brought the world economy to its knees.”[...] In the run up to the 2008 financial collapse, Greenberger explained, these agencies inflated the ratings of mortgage derivatives in exchange for more business from banking institutions. “The banks had them over a barrel because they were paying for the ratings. When the credit rating agencies gave any indication that they weren’t going to do what the banks wanted, the banks threatened to go to another credit rating agency,” he added. However, despite giving “triple A ratings to these monstrously weak investments,” Greenberger noted, the United States has failed, since US President Barack Obama took office, to bring justice to Wall Street by imprisoning white-collar criminals. “This Justice Department, through the meltdown and since the recession, has essentially sought no jail time for anybody who has committed serious wrongdoing,” Greenberger said. “If somebody had to go to jail for this, things would change a lot.” [...]"
MSM: "Former Maryland Banker Reveals He Used To Work For CIA" [02/04/15] "Edwin “Ed” Hale Sr., a retired bank executive known locally for his sharp-elbowed approach to business, installed video surveillance on his 186-acre farm and still sleeps with a sawed-off shotgun by his bed. His friends, former employees and even his own daughters were shocked to learn in his recently published biography that he had ample reason to do so: The former chief executive and chairman of Bank of Baltimore says he worked covertly for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost a decade in the 1990s and early 2000s. During that time, he said, he spoke regularly with a CIA handler and allowed the agency to create a fake company under his corporate umbrella, which included shipping and trucking companies he ran at the same time he led the bank. Operatives in the field used the fictitious firm as cover when traveling the world, complete with business cards and hats. Mr. Hale said he worked under “nonofficial cover,” in which his identity was unassociated with the U.S. government. In the early 1990s, Mr. Hale said, the CIA used agents posing as his employees to track Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and gather information on the terrorist’s financing operations. [...]"
Pathological Greed: "Larry Silverstein Files Billion $ Lawsuit Against Airliners" [02/04/15] "The developer rebuilding the World Trade Center in New York told a federal appeals court that he is entitled to recoup billions of dollars from two airlines, even though he has already collected USD$4 billion in insurance money for the September 11, 2001, attacks that destroyed the site. Lawyers for Larry Silverstein and his World Trade Center Properties urged the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to overturn a lower court ruling barring him from pursuing damages against United Continental Holdings and American Airlines Group, whose planes crashed into the twin towers. But the airlines said the insurance money was more than enough to compensate Silverstein for the fair market value of the lease he held for the property. Separately, Silverstein's lawyers also argued his insurers should hand over USD$1.2 billion they won from the airlines and airport security companies. The two-front appeal is the latest in a years-long legal battle Silverstein has waged over the site, which saw its new flagship skyscraper, One World Trade Center, previously known as the Freedom Tower, open in November. Silverstein has argued that the lease included a contractual obligation that he rebuild the site. He claims he is entitled to money for those costs, as well as for lost rental revenue, in addition to compensation for the value of the buildings themselves. In July 2013, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said Silverstein could not recover damages from United Airlines, now United Continental, and American Airlines, which Silverstein accused of negligence. Four months later, Hellerstein ruled Silverstein had no right to the money his insurers had collected from the airlines as part of their own claims. The three-judge panel did not indicate how it would rule, though Circuit Judge Chester Straub expressed doubts about the airlines' position. [...]"
Commentary: "10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis That Are Happening Again Right Now" [02/03/15] "If you do not believe that we are heading directly toward another major financial crisis, you need to read this article. So many of the exact same patterns that preceded the great financial collapse of 2008 are happening again right before our very eyes. History literally appears to be repeating, but most Americans seem absolutely oblivious to what is going on. The mainstream media and our politicians are promising them that everything is going to be okay somehow, and that seems to be good enough for most people. But the signs that another massive financial crisis is on the horizon are everywhere. All you have to do is open up your eyes and look at them. Bill Gross, considered by many to be the number one authority on government bonds on the entire planet, made headlines all over the world on Tuesday when he released his January Investment Outlook. I don’t know if we have ever seen Gross be more negative about a new year than he is about 2015. For example, just consider this statement… “When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over.” And this is how he ended the letter… [...] "And so that is why – at some future date – at some future Ides of March or May or November 2015, asset returns in many categories may turn negative. What to consider in such a strange new world? High-quality assets with stable cash flows. Those would include Treasury and high-quality corporate bonds, as well as equities of lightly levered corporations with attractive dividends and diversified revenues both operationally and geographically. With moments of liquidity having already been experienced in recent months, 2015 may see a continuing round of musical chairs as riskier asset categories become less and less desirable. Debt supercycles in the process of reversal are not favorable events for future investment returns. Father Time in 2015 is not the babe with a top hat in our opening cartoon. He is the grumpy old codger looking forward to his almost inevitable “Ides” sometime during the next 12 months. Be cautious and content with low positive returns in 2015. The time for risk taking has passed." So why are Gross and so many other financial experts being so “negative” right now? It is because they can see what is happening. They can see the same patterns that we saw in early 2008 unfolding again right in front of us. I wanted to put these patterns in a single article so that they will be easy to share with people. The following are 10 key events that preceded the last financial crisis that are happening again right now: [...]"
Commentary: "12-Year Old Child Reveals One Of The Best Kept Secrets In The World" [02/03/15] [6:43] "12-year old exposes the immorality of the global banking system and why sound money is essential to freedom and stopping the spread of misery on this planet. [...]"
MSM: "Unpublicized US House Resolution No.41 Admits True Fiscal Situation In The US" Zero Hedge [02/02/15] "HR.41 -January 21, 2015:(PDF) "Whereas the Federal Government is operating at an annual deficit and is increasing its outstanding debt every year; Whereas the Federal Government, as of January 2015, is carrying more than $18.0 trillion in debt, of which $13.0 trillion is owed to the public and $5.08 trillion is owed to Social Security and other trust funds; Whereas the Federal Government borrowed 14 cents for every dollar it spent in 2014; Whereas foreign governments, individuals, and corporations as of October 2014 own 47 percent of Federal debt held by the public; Whereas Social Security’s unfunded liabilities in 2014 are $10.6 trillion over 75 years and $24.9 trillion over the infinite horizon; Whereas the Federal debt held by the public is expected to increase by more than $7 trillion from 2014 to 2024 according to the Congressional Budget Office; Whereas State and local governments are heavily dependent on Federal revenues; Whereas more than 16 percent of the entire Federal budget goes directly to States and local governments; Whereas more than 22 percent of total State and local government general revenue comes from the Federal Government according to Census Bureau’s latest Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finance; Whereas numerous State and local government employee pension plans have offered overly generous retirement benefits to its employees and are in dire financial situations with combined unfunded liabilities of more than $4 trillion; Whereas many State and local government pension plans have understated liabilities and overstated asset growth rates and have employed methodologies that private sector plans are prohibited from using by Federal law; and Whereas several State and local pension plans are expected to fully exhaust their funds within ten years: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that (1) the Federal Government should not bailout State and local government employee pension plans and other post-employment benefit plans; and (2) State and local governments should immediately institute reforms to their employee pension plans, including replacing defined benefit plans with defined contribution plans." [...]
MSM: "UK Banks Accused Of Being 'Fundamentally Corrupt' After They Sold Useless Card Insurance To Two Million Customers" [02/01/15] "The UK’s biggest banks were last night accused of being ‘fundamentally corrupt’ after selling worthless insurance to up to two million customers. The victims included vulnerable customers who had contacted their bank after their credit card had been lost or stolen. They were then duped into paying for insurance to protect themselves against fraudulent transactions made on their replacement card. But the insurance was useless as banks are legally obliged to refund fraudulent payments to customers anyway. Typically the policies were sold when people contacted their banks for help over lost or stolen credit cards. Yesterday the City watchdog announced 11 lenders and credit card firms, including Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC and Santander, would have to pay compensation for the latest scandal to shame the High Street. [...] Other big names to have been caught out include Tesco Personal Finance, The Co-operative Bank, Capital One and Clydesdale Bank. The Financial Conduct Authority said 2million customers who took out ‘card security’ policies will start receiving letters later this month informing them that they could be line for a pay-out. In many cases customers will have been shelling out annual premiums of between £20 and £40 for insurance they did not need. They could be in line for hundreds of pounds in compensation. Banks have already had to set aside more than £23billion to compensate customers duped into buying payment protection insurance – with Lloyds alone putting aside more than £11billion.[...] The insurance was provided by a little-known US firm called Affinion, based in Stamford, Connecticut. But the policies were widely sold by the banks, which received money for each sale. [...] Now the High Street lenders face having to return hundreds of millions of pounds – plus 8 per cent interest – to customers.[...] Yesterday RBS, Lloyds and Barclays refused to apologise to customers and HSBC declined to comment. A spokesman from Affinion, which has escaped a fine, said the FCA had not found any fault with the company.[...]"
Interviews: "Former Canadian Minister Of Defense Talks About Banker Takeover Of Canada" [02/01/15] [25:06] "Luke Rudkowski sits down with former Canadian Minister of Defense and accomplished politician Paul Hellyer. Paul breaks down very important historical events that allowed the banker mafia to take over the Canadian monetary system. [...]"
Date With Destiny: "Bank Executive, 31, Jumps To Death From Workplace ‘After Dispute With Girlfriend’" [02/01/15] "A banker apparently jumped to his death from the roof of his office tower in Hong Kong's financial district after telling his girlfriend by email that he was unhappy with their relationship. Lui Yau-man, 31, was wearing a suit when he was found in a flower bed by a security guard at Citibank Plaza in Central at about 7.15am. Lui worked as assistant vice-president in the risk-management department of the Fuzhou-based Industrial Bank, a national commercial bank that has its offices in the ICBC Tower within the Citibank Plaza complex. A police source said he appeared to have jumped to his death over his relationship. "He had sent an email to his girlfriend to talk about problems in their love affair and expressing his unhappiness before he left his office and went to the roof," the source said.[...]"
Commentary: "Greece Crisis Goes Systemic As Banker Controlled EU Suffering Meltdown" [02/01/15] [15:55]
Commentary: "Brazil's Economy Is On The Verge Of Total Collapse" [01/31/15] "Back when the BRICs were the source of marginal global growth, the punditry couldn't stop praising them. However, in the past year, now that China's housing bubble has burst and its shadow banking system has imploded, those who remember what BRIC actually stood for are about as rare as those who recall what it means for the Fed to hike rates. Which is precisely why nobody in the mainstream financial media has commented on the absolutely abysmal economic update reported earlier today out Brazil. We are happy to do so because today's data follows up quite well to our article from a month ago "Brazil's Economy Just Imploded" and as the earlier article on the crashing Brazilian Real hinted, things for the Brazilian economy how gone from imploding to, well, worse because not only did the twin fiscal and current account deficits rise even more, hitting a whopping 11% of GDP - the worst since August 1999, but its government debt soared to 63.4% in 2014, up from 56.7% a year ago, and the highest since at least 2006. In short - the entire economy is now on the verge of total collapse. This is what happened in a few bullet points: [...]"
MSM: "Greece Will No Longer Work With Troika : Finance Minister" [01/31/15] "Greece’s newly-elected anti-austerity Finance Minister says his government will no longer cooperate with the troika of international lenders or seek aid extension. Referring to the troika, the Greek finance minister said, “We have no intention of co-operating with a three-member committee whose goal is to implement a program whose logic we consider anti-European.” [...]"
MSM: "Putin Pivots: Russia Confirms Willingness To Provide Financial Aid To Greece" [01/30/15] "We suggested the Greek pivot from Europe to Russia was building previously, and now, we get confirmation from Russia's finance minister Anton Siluanov that the pivot could be mutual, who told CNBC in the interview "Russia Would Weigh Finance For Greece If Asked, Siluanov: CNBC" [1:10] With fire and brimstone spewing from Germany over the potential for Greece to veto any and everything, it seems Russia may just have stymied Europe's leverage over the newly democratic nation. [...] Recall that a German central banker warned of dire problems should the new government call the country's aid program into question, jeopardizing funding for the banks. "That would have fatal consequences for Greece’s financial system. Greek banks would then lose their access to central bank money," Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel told Handelsblatt newspaper. Well, maybe... Unless of course Greece finds a new, alternative source of funding, one that has nothing to do with the establishmentarian IMF, whose "bailouts" are merely a smokescreen to implement pro-western policies and to allow the rapid liquidation of any "bailed out" society." An alternative such as the BRIC Bank for example. Recall that the "BRICS Announce $100 Billion Reserve To Bypass Fed, Developed World Central Banks" [7/15/2014] So once again, it appears as if all the leverage is. much to the shock and humiliation of Brussels, back in Tsipras' hands. [...]"
MSM: "Baltic Dry Index ('World Cargo Shipped' Measure) Crashes To Lowest In 29 Years" [01/30/15] "Quietly behind the scenes - and not at all reflective of a collapsing global economy (because that would break the narrative of over-supply and pent-up demand) - The Baltic Dry Index plunged over 5% today to 632... That is the lowest absolute level for the global shipping rates indicator since August 1986... [...]"
Commentary: "War By Other Means: IMF And World Bank Are Weapons Of War" John Pilger [01/29/15] [51:55]
Commentary: "The Alchemy Of Synthetic Finance And Global Governance" [01/27/15] "This past week, the world’s vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can’t have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with humanity, resembles the controllers in the Lucas classic, THX 1138, building their own prison destined to entrap their own progeny. Degenerate elite always end up being their own worst enemy because pride detaches man from reality, which can only be perceived in the truth. Pride causes man to adopt a delusory sense of the world and his own relation to it, thereby bringing about a praxis divorced from the rules of nature, logic and classical wisdom. Banking man, homo economicus, with his foaming at the mouth rapaciousness, will find his own descendants trapped in the virtual A.I. prison grid he has built. [...] When we consider the global economic situation, it is crucial to understand we are living in the midst of a long-running script that was hammered out long ago by European banking houses. CFR archivist and historian Dr. Carroll Quigley laid all of this out in his 1300-page work, Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, admitting that both world wars and economic crises, as well as so-called “leftist,” “communist,” and “fascist” movements have been the creation of international banking elites. Davos thus represents a yearly public manifestation of this same superstructure Quigley described, and with Davos we can see another insight into the digital future – since digits are useful in both banking and computing. At this juncture, I recommend the following documentary on flash trades, where the nexus of the virtual meets the banking, coalescing into a hybrid chimera of fraud like the world has never seen. It’s not accidental the documentary is titled “alchemy,” since this also brings to mind George Soros’ book, The Alchemy of Finance."[...] Is there a deeper sense to all this alchemy and digit talk? I have argued in the absolute affirmative. This is no mere banking scam confidence trick: the metamorphosis of economics into virtual, digital existence mirrors the transference of the social sphere into the virtual as well. It is not by organic happenstance that both realms of civilization have moved in this direction – it is not as if the coming technocracy was only interested in dominating the social realm for constructing A.I., while the banking sphere would be left to “market forces.” Collins comments on the problem-reaction-solution scripting that, in my view, corresponds to the alchemist’s solve et coagula, and readers will take note of the connections to the French Revolutions I also highlighted in relation to the French terror events: [...] Related: "Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street" [47:30] "A documentary about algorythmic trading [...]" | "Is The US Preparing To Blame The Next Market Crash On "Russian Spies" And High Frequency Trading?"
Commentary: "Lawless Leaders Changing the World-Catherine Austin Fitts" MSM [01/27/15] "Financial expert Catherine Austin Fitts says the world is changing through crime by our leaders. Fitts contends, “We are dealing with a lawlessness that is happening with the build out of the global systems, which is very ugly. If you look at what has happened to the Ukraine, so far, over a million people have lost their homes. That’s pretty lawless. The fighting is getting very, very painful. The other thing you have is as people see a power vacuum and the lawlessness of the leaders, they say hey let’s be lawless too. It translates all the way down into our communities. The lawlessness of drug dealing and organized crime is enormous, and it’s happening globally. . . . For markets to function, they require trust in the rule of law. We’ve seen the breakdown in the rule of law.” Fitts predicts that 2015 is going to be “volatile and violent.” Fitts says, “I think 2015 is going to be a very rough year. I think you have to be prepared for wild swings. We’ve seen oil come down 50%.” Fitts also points out, “The creative destructive aspects are pretty scary. The thing that your listeners are struggling with is we’ve been through a lot of change. The change has been painful because the American leadership encouraged the taxpayer to misbehave. . . . I think a lot of people feel they have been left high and dry; and in fact, they have. The reality is if you look at the change we’ve experienced over the last 20 years, it’s nothing compared to the next 10 years. In the next 10 years, the change is going to accelerate. We need to stop and take a big breath, and say I don’t want to be a patsy. I was a patsy in the last 20 years. I don’t want to be a patsy in the next 10 years.” On the Middle East, Fitts says, “The Middle East is already out of control, and it’s been out of control for a while. It you look at the long view . . . [...]" Related: Interviews: Video [38:45] "Investment banker Catherine Austin Fitts predicts that 2015 is going to be “volatile and violent.” Fitts says, “I think 2015 is going to be a very rough year. I think you have to be prepared for wild swings. We’ve seen oil come down 50%.” Fitts also points out, “The creative destructive aspects are pretty scary.” Are we going to have a big U.S. dollar devaluation at some point? Fitts says, “That’s a military question. Where the dollar comes out really comes down to both the covert and overt military capacity of the United States.”
Commentary: "Debt Crisis Worsens: Syriza Wins Greek Elections, ECB Prints More Money, Gold More Valuable" MSM [01/27/15] "Is there a link between the ECB decision of Thursday January 22nd to stimulate the economy with 1 trillion euros over a period of 18 months and the Greek elections which show that the radical left party Syriza is the big winner? Yes, there is a link. And the short answer is “the debt crisis.” The long answer is slightly more complicated, in the sense that one needs to dig a little bit deeper to have an understanding of how both events are associated to each other. The framework in which this is taking place is the unfolding debt crisis, and the associated currency wars. Governments are responding to the nasty effects of the debt situation with measures which appear to cure the issue on the short run but which worsen the situation on the longer run." [...]"
Commentary: "Davos Celebrates As ECB Unleashes Trillion Euro Quantitative Easing (QE) Program" MSM [01/26/15] "The equation is simple: the Central Bank will be printing loads of money, and speculators and bankers will profit hugely, but it will mean more intense austerity measures for the feudal peasants. Got it? This latest move, however, could be the death knell of the Eurozone experiment, as individual nations appear to be ‘hedging’ their debt positions now, a stark departure from past behavior based on collectivization. But with all that cheap paper, junk bonds and other derivatives – flooding into the financial markets, you can be sure they’re celebrating in Davos… [...]" Related: "Global Economy Meltdown Begins As Central Bank QE Policy A Failure" [15:24]
Resource: "Notional Amount Of Derivative Contracts – Top 25 Commercial Banks, Savings Associations, & Trusts" [01/26/15] Note: Chart, 9/30/14.
Documentary: "Argentina's Financial Collapse" [01/26/15] [1:21:54] or, watch in 12 parts "The 2001 collapse. What is significant about that one was, it was the beginning of when the banksters, in cooperation with the corrupt Argentinian government, came in to a working economy and leveraged the crap out of everything. Everything was sold off or the equity taken out of it….aka….massive debt. It hasn’t recovered fully since….hence the other mini-collapses. [...]" Related: "Lessons From Argentina's Economic Collapse" "For western countries such as the UK, the first major problems of Peak Oil, assuming there are no oil shocks, will not be the shortage of oil but the economic crises that will occur. Argentina is a recent example of a country that suffered a serious economic crisis, and although Argentina and the UK are not identical, anyone interested in how economic crises can affect individual lives will be very interested in the following vivid description of life for an Argentinian following the economic collapse. [...]" Related: "Lessons From The Soviet Collapse: A Conversation With Dmitry Orlov" MP3 Audio "“They can’t really grasp the fact that everything they’ve built has stopped working, because their ideology forbids them from doing it. So that’s identical with what was going on in the Soviet Union.” -Dmitry Orlov [...] Orlov’s perspective on collapse is informed by his extended trips to his former homeland before and during its collapse. Orlov believes and states that the former Soviet Union was set up to be resilient in the face of collapse. This, he believes is not the case in the US or Canada. In this interview, Orlov also comments on the current situation with low oil prices, peak oil and its impact on agriculture, Russian moves in alignment with China, overtures toward the EU, the politics of austerity, the Ukraine Civil War as Anglo-Imperialist Departure Strategy, and much more.[...]
MSM: "Bill Gates Pushes Cashless Society" [01/25/15] Video [7:07] "Scheme would allow government to confiscate money at will [...] Bill Gates is now promoting “digital currency” in third-world countries, which will make the poor even more dependent on central banks while also turning them into guinea pigs for the development of a “cashless society” in the U.S. and Europe. Gates outlined his plan for a cashless society in a letter published Thursday in which he proposed the poor have better access to mobile phones so they can store their financial assets digitally "instead of keeping hard currency at home". “The key to this will be mobile phones,” he wrote. “Already, in the developing countries with the right regulatory framework, people are storing money digitally on their phones and using their phones to make purchases, as if they were debit cards.” “By 2030, two billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones.” But this will only enslave the poor into an electronic monetary system they don’t control, allowing central banks and the government unparalleled ability to confiscate money at will through taxes and “bail-ins.”[...] “While the whole idea is being marketed as an inevitable consequence of the decline in cash payments and the rise of credit cards and contact-less payment technology, many in the privacy community see the elimination of cash as another means of abolishing anonymity,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote. “Alternatives to cash that could still provide anonymity, such as crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, are slowly being adopted by more stores and chains, but at nowhere near the rate required to provide a viable competitor to the likes of Google Wallet and Paypal.” [...] " Note: Gates is another one of those know-it-all arrogant conceptually hobbled reincarnated retreads (sequential) 'one-size-fits-all' globalists' who has his head in the clouds at the expense of everything else, like fellow reincarnate Elon Musk, and those in the "trans-human' motif who are involved with dynamics like this: "Building Gods (2013) - Transhumanism Artificial Intelligence and Nanotechnology" [1:20:23]
Hypocrisy Today: "A Billionaire Lectures Serfs In Davos: “America’s Lifestyle Expectations Are Far Too High" "If you listened closely this morning, you could hear humanity vomit as JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, began to speak at Davos. In what amounted to some of the most egotistical and delusional statements heard at a conference filled with egotistical and delusional participants, Mr. Dimon didn’t disappoint. Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics. “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.” Wait a minute, “we” need to reinvent our whole system of life? I’m curious, Mr. Greene, how specifically will YOU be adjusting your lifestyle expectations? I didn’t think so. Kindly shut the fuck up. [...] Jewish Business News reports that: "Billionaire Jeff Greene really does believe that he can get $195 million for his California estate, which just so happens to be the most expensive listing for a residential property in American history. The 59 year old made his money by betting against the subprime mortgage market that burst in 2008. But many observers think that the $195 million price tag on the Beverly Hills property is just a type of marketing gimmick and that Greene does not honestly expect to get that much money for it. Greene dispelled these rumors in an interview with the New York Times. “When you consider the value of the land and the quality of the construction. $195 million is really quite reasonable,” he said.[...] From the Huffington Post: "Working on Greene’s 145-foot Choy Lee yacht was like being “locked” in Studio 54 in its prime. It was nothing short of, “Sex, Drugs, and Techno Music.” Celebrities, “hired” party girls, mayhem, and debauchery. I saw more 'tits and ass' in one night on Jeff Greene’s Summerwind than I have for the past seven years on South Beach.[...]" Note: Loser and conceptually hobbled sequential reincarnate. | "The Five Wildly Excessive Mansions of the Guy Who Wants You to Learn to Live With Less"
Commentary: "Greece Set To Reject Austerity And Financial Oligarchy" [01/24/15] "In two days time Greece is due to go to the polls and Syriza, a party looking to say no to ridiculous and unmanageable debts, is set to take power. This has the potential to cause a huge shift in economic policy throughout the world as it identifies austerity as a failed policy route. But not everyone in the Euro thinks it is a bad idea for the Greeks to do this, Hollande had no issue here but subsequently had his nation fall victim to a terrorist attack. This has the potential to cause huge changes in a world currently dominated by Anglo-American financial hegemony. [...]"
MSM: "Countries Race To Repatriate Gold, Reveals Concern Over Impending Financial Crisis" [01/23/15] "Germany’s Bundesbank announced that the country repatriated 85 tons of gold from New York in 2014, far surpassing its previous estimates of 30 to 50 tons — and laying to waste a Bloomberg article you might have seen last summer insisting that the Germans were happy to keep their gold in American vaults. Turns out, not so much happiness. You might really label it: concern about keeping their gold in America. Including the gold repatriated from Paris, Germany brought home 120 tons last year. And the Netherlands, meanwhile, removed 122.5 tons of gold — about one-fifth of their total gold stored overseas — from New York, bringing it back to Amsterdam. Germany is just the latest in a collection of governments that no longer want their gold held in U.S. and U.K. vaults, the resting places for much of the world’s sovereign gold since after World War II. Last year I wrote about how Austria suddenly decided that the British central bank in London maybe wasn’t the best place to keep their gold. It doesn’t end there. France, Belgium, Austria, Ecuador, Finland, Switzerland, Venezuela, Romania and Poland: They’re all either talking about repatriating national gold or they’ve already done so. Some are clearly countries run by leaders with a populist agenda — to wit, Venezuela and Ecuador. Others are run by sober governments making sober decisions about national wealth in a time of global economic worry. [...]"
Commentary: "Ukraine Stiffs China For Billions Owed" [01/22/15] "China paid Ukraine $3B two years ago for grain still not delivered, now demands refund. Another $3.6B that’s owed to China, will probably also default. [...] Russia’s RIA Novosti News Agency reported, on January 17th, that China is demanding refund of $1.5 billion in cash and of an additional $1.5 billion in Chinese goods that were paid in advance by China (in 2013), for a 2012 Chinese order of grain from Ukraine, which goods still have not been supplied to China. According to RIAN, “State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine (STATE FOOD) supplied grain in 2013, elsewhere, but not to China. The new Kiev authorities had an opportunity to fix the short-sighted actions ‘of the [previous] Yanukovych regime,’ and to present a positive economic image to the Chinese.” But it didn’t happen.[...] Furthermore: “Prior to the Presidency of Yanukovych [which started in 2010], China’s leadership had simply refused to do business with the pre- Yanukovych Administration’s Yulia Tymoshenko, and they planned to wait until Yanukovych became President. He then came, and since has been ousted, and yet still only $153 million of grain has been delivered.” (None of the $1.5B cash that China advanced to Ukraine to pay for growing and shipping grain has been returned to China, but only the $153M that had essentially been swapped: Chinese goods for Ukrainian grain.) This $153 million was approximately as much as the interest that would be due on China’s prepayment, and so Ukraine still owes China the full $3 billion ($1.5B in cash, + $1.5B that China supplied in goods). The RIAN report goes on to quote Alex Luponosov, a Ukrainian authority on Ukraine’s banking system, who says, “Ukraine won’t be able to supply the grain to China, because we don’t have it.” The reason he gives is that “there is a big shortage of technicians: combiners, adjusters, mechanics, farm-machinery operators — all of them were taken by the army.[...] The RIAN report says that, “China is angry,” and it closes: “By the way, in addition to China’s $3B loan that’s to be repaid with grain [which cannot be supplied], Ukraine also received from China a $3.6 billion loan to pay for the gasification of coal, by Ukraine’s gas company, Naftogaz, which the Ukrainian Government has guaranteed up to 2.3 billion dollars. Information on the implementation of the coal-gasification project has not been made available, but there seems to be a high probability that this matter too will be decided in a court. If China decides to call in that loan, then the result will be the bankruptcy of either Naftogaz, or the Ukrainian Government.”[...]"
MSM: "Taken For Granted At Davos That US Government Runs On ‘Legalized Corruption’" [01/22/15] Video [2:40] "While there may be confusion among some in the US as to how the American political system operates, it is apparently taken for granted by participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that politics in America is based on bribery and corruption. In an interview at Davos with Bloomberg News related to growing concerns about rising wealth inequality and its corruption influence on American politics economist and NYU business professor Nouriel Roubini stated as a matter of fact that it would be hard for the US to overcome wealth inequality because the US political system was based on “legalized corruption” which meant rich people – having more resources to bribe politicians with – would generally prevail. [...]"
MSM: "Bill To Restore Glass-Steagall Filed in The House" [01/21/15] "Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a lead sponsor of the bill to restore Glass-Steagall in the last Congress, filed a bill into the new Congress on January 14th, with 16 co-sponsors, to restore the Glass Steagall Act. Titled "To repeal certain provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and revive the separation between commercial banking and the securities business, in the manner provided in the Banking Act of 1933, the so-called 'Glass-Steagall Act', and for other purposes," it has been assigned number H.R. 381. The co-sponsors — all of whom were among the 83 co-sponsors of Kaptur's bill in the previous Congress to restore Glass Steagall — are Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), John Garamendi (D-Cal.), Gene Green (D-Tex.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Cal,), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) [...]"
Commentary: "Swiss Shocker Triggers Gigantic Losses For Banks, Hedge Funds And Currency Traders" [01/20/15] "The absolutely stunning decision by the Swiss National Bank to decouple from the euro has triggered billions of dollars worth of losses all over the globe. Citigroup and Deutsche Bank both say that their losses were somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 million dollars, a major hedge fund that had 830 million dollars in assets at the end of December has been forced to shut down, and several major global currency trading firms have announced that they are now insolvent. And these are just the losses that we know about so far. It will be many months before the full scope of the financial devastation caused by the Swiss National Bank is fully revealed. But of course the same thing could be said about the crash in the price of oil that we have witnessed in recent weeks. These two “black swan events” have set financial dominoes in motion all over the globe. At this point we can only guess how bad the financial devastation will ultimately be. But everyone agrees that it will be bad. For example, one financial expert at Boston University says that he believes the losses caused by the Swiss National Bank decision will be in the billions of dollars… “The losses will be in the billions — they are still being tallied,” said Mark T. Williams, an executive-in-residence at Boston University specializing in risk management. “They will range from large banks, brokers, hedge funds, mutual funds to currency speculators. There will be ripple effects throughout the financial system.” [...] And actually, if the total losses from this crisis are only limited to the “billions” I think that we will be extremely fortunate. As I mentioned above, a hedge fund that had 830 million dollars in assets at the end of December just completely imploded. Everest Capital’s Global Fund had heavily bet against the Swiss franc, and as a result it now has lost “virtually all its money” […] All eyes are on the European Central Bank right now. If a major round of quantitative easing is announced, that could unleash yet another wave of crippling losses for financial institutions. [...] Chinese shares plunged about 8% Monday after the country’s securities regulator imposed margin trading curbs on several major brokerages, a sign that authorities are trying to rein in the market’s big gains. It was China’s largest drop in six years. Sadly, most Americans have absolutely no idea what is coming.[...]" Related: See also below: "Everest Macro Hedge Fund Blows Up After Nearly $1 Billion In Swiss Franc Losses" [01/19/15]; "Currency War: Swiss Fight Back, Remove Cap On Euro, Forcing Wall Street Losses, Forex Firms Fail" [01/18/15] ; "A Black Swan Event Rocks Gold And The Swiss Franc" [01/16/15]
MSM: "Wall Street Banks Slash 50,000 Jobs, Reduce Bonuses & Expenses As Profits Continue To Dry Up" [01/20/15] "In a wild swing of the ax that has shocked many pundits, Wall Street’s biggest banks have slashed nearly 50,000 jobs, and bonuses and expense money are being cut as profit opportunities dry up. And there’s no easy way out, analysts say, because the Fed’s quantitative easing that once rescued the financial system with trillions of cheap dollars is — at least for now — history. The fourth quarter saw thousands more workers fired. Total reductions for 2014 were about 20,000 at Brian Moynihan’s Bank of America; 10,000 at Citigroup led by Michael Corbat; and 10,000 at Jaime Dimon’s JP Morgan. Morgan Stanley reports on Tuesday. Many job losses were already flagged — attributed, for example, to a decline in servicing of delinquent loans as banks cleared troubled mortgages. But analysts also see brutal cost-cutting. “Look, I think head count in the banking industry is likely to decline,” said CLSA investment group bank analyst Mike Mayo. “And if this environment remains, headcount would get significantly reduced.” By Mayo’s calculations, bank revenues are the weakest in eight decades, a shocking throwback to the Great Depression.[...]"
MSM: "IMF Lowers 2015 Global Economy Growth Estimates From 3.8 To 3.5 Percent" [01/20/15] "In an update to its October 2014 World Economic Outlook, on Monday, the IMF lowered by 0.3 percent (to 3.7 percent) its predictions for global growth in 2016. [...]"
MSM: "Russian Central Bank Bans Western Ratings Agencies" [01/20/15] "On the heels of last week’s downgrades by Fitch and Moody’s to just above junk status, The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has issued a statement that it will no longer use credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, or Moody’s that were assigned after March 1, 2014. All credit ratings will now be at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Bank as regulators assess whether or not the ratings made after March are accurate. Sounds like Spain, Greece, and USA’s previous derision over ratings agencies proclamations is heading east. [...] The Central Bank of Russia will no longer use credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, or Moody’s that were assigned after March 1, 2014. All credit ratings given to Russian companies and banks will now be at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Bank, according to a press statement Monday. The regulator will assess whether or not the ratings made after March are accurate. The decision comes after Fitch and Moody’s downgraded Russian sovereign debt to just above junk status. Standard & Poor’s will decide whether it cuts Russian debt to junk level by the end of January after cutting it last April, after Crimea rejoined Russia and the West began to levy sanctions against Moscow.[...]"
Commentary: "China Remains Largest Foreign Holder Of US Bonds: Treasury" [01/20/15] "China’s holdings of US Treasuries fell for the third consecutive month in November, as Yuan appreciation indicated less of an impetus to buy the government securities. The Treasury said in a monthly report that China had cut its holdings to $1.25 trillion by the end of November. That was $2.3 billion less than in October. The Chinese government is trying to move toward a market-determined exchange rate for the Yuan, part of its efforts to expand the currency’s use worldwide. The less China intervenes to weaken its currency, the less it needs to buy securities such as US Treasuries. [...]"
MSM: "Body Of Top AIG Exec Who Disappeared From His Marriott Hotel Room Is Discovered In Nearby Desert" [01/20/15] "The body of a missing AIG executive, last seen at a Californian hotel on Thursday, was discovered in the nearby desert. Omar Arce Meza, 33, from Los Angeles, was last seen at around 11pm at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert. The cause of death is still unknown. Meza, a vice president for AIG Financial Distributors, had business meetings scheduled for Friday that he didn’t show up for. He hadn’t used his credit card since Thursday and CCTV footage showed him exiting the hotel on foot wearing gray pants and a white T-shirt, and walking near a parking lot before moving out of range.[...]"
MSM: "De-Dollarization Deepens: Russia Buys Most Gold In Six Months, Continues Selling Us Treasuries" [01/19/15] "The rumors of Russia selling its gold reserves, it is now clear, were greatly exaggerated as not only did Putin not sell, Russian gold reserves rose by their largest amount in six months in December to just over $46 billion (near the highest since April 2013). It appears all the "Russia is selling" chatter did was lower prices enabling them to gather non-fiat physical assets at a lower cost. On the other hand, there is another trend that continues for the Russians - that of reducing their exposure to US Treasury debt. For the 20th month in a row, Russia's holdings of US Treasury debt fell year-over-year - selling into the strength. Buying low... Russia gold reserves jump the most in six months in December, near the highest since April 2013... and selling high... Russian holdings of US Treasuries are now at the 2nd lowest since 2008... [...] It would appear the greatest rotations that no one is talking about are the fiat to non-fiat and the paper to physical shifts occurring in China and Russia. [...] Let's put this into a slightly different perspective. Whatever your view of the European and US policies during the Global Financial Crisis and the subsequent Great Recession might be, one corner stone of all such policies was banks' deleveraging - aka 'pay down of debt'. Russia did not adopt such a policy on its own, but was forced to do so by the sanctions that shut off Russian banks and companies (including those not directly listed in the sanctions) from the Western credit markets. But if you think the above process is a catastrophe for the Russian economy induced by Kremlin, you really should be asking yourself a question or two about the US and European deleveraging policies at home.[...]"
Commentary: "Global Finance And The Greek Elections: The Political Establishment’s Worst Nightmares" [01/19/15] "With the Greek elections only days away, the governments and the media of the European Union have once again stepped up their campaign of threatening the Greek people and stirring up anti-Greek sentiments. While the IMF has shown its contempt for democratic elections by suspending all payments to Athens, the German government keeps refusing to deny allegations that the EU is prepared to dismiss Greece from its currency zone and let it reintroduce the drachma. [...] To anyone familiar with global finances it is highly improbable for a country with government debt running at almost 330 billion euros to leave the euro zone without dramatic consequences not only for the euro, but also for the global financial system. Germany’s allegations should therefore not be taken at face value. However, they should be seen as a very serious threat to Greek voters. The message sent from Berlin: Do not elect a government that dares resist the measures imposed upon Greek working people by the troika. [...] Five years have passed since Greece was put under forced administration by the troika made up of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. After the euro crisis hit Greece in 2009, the country’s major banks were facing bankruptcy, so the Greek government saved them by handing huge sums of taxpayers’ money to the financial industry. These payments in turn tore big holes into the state budget, which had to be refilled. This is where the troika stepped in, officially “aiding” the ailing Greek economy by passing out loans to Athens. The working people of Greece were told that these loans were designed to help the country get its finances in order again and that everybody would benefit from them in the long run. However, the majority of these loans went straight into the coffers of large banks. Here’s just one example: Of the 18 billion euros released by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in June 2012 6.9 billion euros went to the National Bank, 5 billion euros to Piraeus Bank, 4.2 billion euros to the EFG Eurobank Ergesias and 1.9 billion euros to the Alpha Bank. As with all other loans granted by the troika, not one cent of these alleged “aid payments” went to the working people of Greece. But that was not all. Although they weren’t in the least responsible for their country’s financial catastrophe, it was Greek workers and employees that were then forced to master the gigantic task of assuring the repayment of these loans. While those that had caused the deficits – reckless financial speculators – were allowed to go unpunished and unharmed it was the common people that were placed under the troika’s forced administration. Within four years they had to undergo six consecutive austerity programs that lowered their living standards from those of a European country to those of a developing nation. Greece today is a country in shambles. Five years after the onset of the crisis, more than a million old age pensioners are forced to live on less than 500 euros a month, the minimum wage is at 860 euros a month, unemployment runs at 26% while youth unemployment is almost 60%. The medical system has been taken down and social services are almost nonexistent. [...]"
MSM: "Everest Macro Hedge Fund Blows Up After Nearly $1 BIllion In Swiss Franc Losses" [01/19/15] "... Marko Dimitrijevic, the hedge fund manager who survived at least five emerging market debt crises, is closing his largest hedge fund after losing virtually all its money this week when the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly let the franc trade freely against the euro, according to a person familiar with the firm. Everest Capital’s Global Fund had about $830 million in assets as of the end of December, according to a client report. The Miami-based firm, which specializes in emerging markets, still manages seven funds with about $2.2 billion in assets. The global fund, the firm’s oldest, was betting the Swiss franc would decline, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private. Everest grew to $2.7 billion by the start of 1998 after navigating crises in Mexico and Southeast Asia. Russia’s default and currency devaluation proved trickier and assets fell by half amid losses. He revived the firm and a decade later Everest managed $3 billion. Then the global financial crisis hit, and assets shrunk by $1 billion. Last year, the main fund rose 14.1 percent, driven by Chinese equities and bets against currencies, including a wager that the Swiss franc would fall after citizens rejected a referendum that would require the central bank to hold at least 20 percent of its assets in gold, the investor report said. [...]"
MSM: "Currency War: Swiss Fight Back, Remove Cap On Euro, Forcing Wall Street Losses, Forex Firms Fail" [01/18/15] "2015 will be marked by moments of self preservation, especially in financial markets. Thursday, the Swiss National Bank shocked the global financial world by announcing it removed the September 2011 cap placed on the currency’s value against the Euro, in a move to protect the Franc and prevent further losses caused by pressure from the global currency war. In these circumstances, the SNB concluded that enforcing and maintaining the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the euro is no longer justified.” The fallout led to volatile trading around the world. The Swiss franc spiked as much as 30% after the announcement and the Swiss are reported to have lost as much as $60 billion as market positions settled, which may be the single biggest daily loss in modern financial markets. Thursday night, warning signs were reported by Zero Hedge that at least 4 foreign exchange trading firms (FXCM, Excel, Alpari, OANDA) saw massive surprise losses by clients, which can cause forex firms to fail if the shock is severe. The fallout is best explained by statements from New Zealand’s Excel Markets, which has folded. [...] Friday, more losses were revealed as trading continued to be volatile. Foreign exchange broker FXCM received a $300 million bailout Friday to continue normal operating procedures after losses because moves in the Swiss Franc left it near failure. The emergency funds from Leucadia National Corp, through Wall Street firm Jeffries “will permit FXCM to meet its regulatory-capital requirements and continue normal operations after yesterday’s loss of $225 million due to the unprecedented actions of the Swiss National Bank,” the two firms said in a statement. The more unsettling part is that as many have noted, the Swiss decision was the first time in the last 2 years that a central bank surprised markets, even the International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde admitted being completely unaware before the announcement." [...] Of course it is surprising to her that a central bank would dare upset the international order of the coordinated global economic rescue of the banking cartels by not telling other central bankers and financiers what their plans are before implementation. To understand what has happened, one must be familiar with the environment that has been in place due to the ongoing series of crises in global capital markets since 2008. [...] the oil price wars and currency war are both extensions of the structural problems in the global economy that were never fixed after the 2008 crisis. The inevitable momentum has continued in many forms which have been driven to the extremes by policies that were supposed to be the solution, mainly quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve and various bailouts. [...] The global currency war has been accelerating over the last 4 years as central bank activity has forced banks, hedge funds, pensions and other invested capital in to small baskets of choices if they want to remain profitable. This forced market activity causes mutations in global financial markets like the currency war and eventually the oil price crash. The crash is from downward price pressure on oil because of an economy that can’t support high prices due to lack of consumer demand as the temporary help of central bank policy becomes ineffective. The distinction is that the economics are ignored and the crash is largely blamed on geopolitical activity. [...]" Related: "Switzerland Ends Its Peg To The Euro, Swiss Franc Surges"
MSM: "China Renounces U.S. Dollar With Swap Agreements With 26 Countries" [01/18/15] [11:43] "Currency wars have been ignited. In fact, Switzerland has even lifted the peg on the Franc sending the currency up 30% instantly. Country after country have been engaging in swap agreements with China in order to diversify away from the U.S. Dollar. These countries will slowly erode the value of the Dollar, destroying the remaining legitimacy of the U.S. [...]"
Commentary: "Currency Carnage: Why Did The Swiss Pull The Peg?" [01/17/15] "As usual. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the US treasury, provides crucial (and scathing) analysis of both US government policies and recent events in FOREX markets. He offers this simple explanation for why the Swiss central bank removed the currency peg they initiated on their franc only three years ago, leaving behind a landscape littered with currency carnage: "The answer is that the EU attorney general ruled that it was permissible for the EU central bank to initiate Quantitative Easing–that is, the printing of new euros–in order to bail out the mistakes of the private bankers. This decision means that Switzerland expects to be confronted with massive flight from the euro and that the Swiss central bank is unwilling to print enough new Swiss francs to maintain the peg. The Swiss central bank believes that it would have to run the printing press so hard that the basis of the Swiss money supply would explode, far exceeding the GDP of Switzerland. The money printing policy of the US, Japan, and apparently now the EU has forced other countries to inflate their own currencies in order to prevent the rise in the exchange value of their currencies that would curtail their ability to export and earn foreign currencies with which to pay for their imports. Thus Washington has forced the world into printing money. The Swiss have backed out of this system. Will others follow, or will the rest of the world follow the Russians and Chinese governments into new monetary arrangements and simply turn their backs on the corrupt and irredeemable West?" [...] Most likely, a combination of both. Which means that Dr. Roberts is spot on in his predictions for an unsuspecting US population: [...] Roberts continues: "Americans need to understand that the only thing exceptional about the US is the ignorance of the population and the stupidity of the government. What other country would let a handful of Wall Street crooks control its economic and foreign policy, run its central bank and Treasury, and subordinate citizens’ interests to the interests of the one percent’s pocketbook? A population this insouciant is at the total mercy of Russia and China. The level of corruption and manipulation that characterizes US economic and foreign policy today was impossible in earlier times when Washington’s ambition was constrained by the Soviet Union. The greed for hegemonic power has made Washington the most corrupt government on earth. The consequence of this corruption is ruin. “Leadership passes into empire. Empire begets insolence. Insolence brings ruin.” Ruin is America’s future." [...] Not pretty, to say the least. If Americans don’t work together to reign in their out of control government, they can kiss their stability and their assets goodbye.[...]" Note: Well, the nature of the local game seemingly precludes another outcome.
MSM: "A Black Swan Event Rocks Gold And The Swiss Franc" [01/16/15] [5:26] "A black swan event is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise and has major consequences. [...] Today, such an event occurred causing the Swiss franc to soar as much as 30% and gold to jump to 4-month highs in chaotic trading after The Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoned the cap on the currency’s value against the euro. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) said the cap, introduced in September 2011, was no longer justified. No one predicted, hinted or even contemplated that The Swiss National Bank would do this. This move could well begin the demise of the euro that was cobbled together some 15 years ago. Personally, I am surprised to this day that this currency has survived as long as it has. The disparity between the work ethic of a country like Germany versus Greece is a joke – yet that is what the euro represents. As the Russian ruble continues to lose buying power, money is flowing into Switzerland from that country. I remember when I lived in Switzerland, flights used to arrive with passengers whose suitcases were stuffed full of illegal money. Make no mistake about it, this move by the Swiss National Bank is a game changer. [...]" Related: "Stocks Down 5th Day Over Global Worries Swiss Bank Scrap Cap on Franc" [3:01] | "U.S. Dollar Plunges 28.34% and Euro Plunges 28.8% vs. Swiss Franc" "The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has pulled the floor from the Euro by ending the Swiss Franc’s peg that supported the Euro’s value at 1.20 Swiss Francs. This move is a major surprise because the SNB fought hard to encourage its citizens to reject a recent gold referendum – citing that its passage would prevent them from maintaining their Euro peg. The SNB had been engaged in printing Swiss Franc to buy Euros, every time the EURCHF exchange rate declined to 1.20, not allowing the Euro’s value to decline below 1.20 Swiss Francs. Since implementing this support of the Euro in late-2011, the SNB’s foreign currency reserves exploded from CHF257.5 billion to CHF475.6 billion – an increase of 85%. The SNB’s Euro holdings increased from €120.485 billion in 2011 to €174.335 billion in November 2014, an increase of 44.7%. The SNB’s US Dollar holdings increased from $62.945 billion in 2011 to $142.366 billion in November 2014, an increase of 126.2%. The SNB recently reported that its total foreign currency reserve holdings increased by CHF27.5 billion in December, most likely from the heavy buying of Euros. [...]" | "Swiss Franc Move Rattles Eurozone" |"Financial Markets Rocked By Decision To Abandon Ceiling On Swiss Franc"
Commentary: "Oil Price Collapse Could Trigger Next Big Crisis" [01/16/15] [7:52] "Economic forecaster and author Harry Dent elaborates on the oil crash in which OPEC is artificially keeping production low in an attempt destroy Russia’s economy. [...]" | " [...]"
MSM: "US House Passes Bill Further Weakening Financial Regulation" [5:54] "TRNN's Jessica Desvarieux looks at the key bill provisions benefiting Wall Street, and also examines the so-called opposition of Democratic lawmakers [...]" |
Commentary: " Paul Craig Roberts: Thoughts On World Economic Situation" [01/16/15] [24:25] Alex Jones interviews PCR.
MSM: "Russia Just Pulled Itself Out Of The Petrodollar" MSM [01/15/15] "Back in November, before most grasped just how serious the collapse in crude was (and would become, as well as its massive implications), we wrote "How The Petrodollar Quietly Died, And Nobody Noticed", because for the first time in almost two decades, energy- exporting countries would pull their "petrodollars" out of world markets in 2015. This empirical death of Petrodollar followed years of windfalls for oil exporters such as Russia, Angola, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Much of that money found its way into financial markets, helping to boost asset prices and keep the cost of borrowing down, through so-called petrodollar recycling. We added that in 2014 "the oil producers will effectively import capital amounting to $7.6 billion. By comparison, they exported $60 billion in 2013 and $248 billion in 2012. The problem was compounded by its own positive feedback loop: as the last few weeks vividly demonstrated, plunging oil would lead to a further liquidation in foreign reserves for the oil exporters who rushed to preserve their currencies, leading to even greater drops in oil as the viable producers rushed to pump out as much crude out of the ground as possible in a scramble to put the weakest producers out of business, and to crush marginal production. Call it Game Theory gone mad and on steroids. [...] As Bloomberg reports Russia "may unseal its $88 billion Reserve Fund and convert some of its foreign-currency holdings into rubles, the latest government effort to prop up an economy veering into its worst slump since 2009." These are dollars which Russia would have otherwise recycled into US denominated assets. Instead, Russia will purchase even more Rubles and use the proceeds for FX and economic stabilization purposes. "Together with the central bank, we are selling a part of our foreign-currency reserves,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in Moscow today. “We’ll get rubles and place them in deposits for banks, giving liquidity to the economy." Call it less than amicable divorce, call it what you will: what it is, is Russia violently leaving the ranks of countries that exchange crude for US paper." Russia may convert as much as 500 billion rubles from one of the government’s two sovereign wealth funds to support the national currency, Siluanov said, calling the ruble “under valued.” The Finance Ministry last month started selling foreign currency remaining on the Treasury’s accounts. The entire 500 billion rubles or part of the amount will be converted in January-February through the central bank, according to Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev. The Bank of Russia will determine the timing and method of the operation. And now, we await to see which other country will follow Russia out of the Petrodollar next, and what impact that will have not only on the world's reserve currency, on US Treasury rates, and on the most financialized commodity.[...]"
Commentary: "This Is Exactly How Markets Behave Right Before They Crash" MSM [01/15/15] "When the stock market starts to behave like a roller coaster, that is a sign that a major move to the downside is right around the corner. As I have stated repeatedly, when the market is very calm it tends to go up. But when the waters start getting really choppy, that is a clear indication that stocks are about to plummet. In early 2015, volatility has returned to Wall Street in a big way. At one point on Tuesday, the Dow was up more than 300 points. But then the bottom dropped out. From the peak on Tuesday, the Dow plunged nearly 700 points in less than 30 hours before recovering more than 100 points at the end of the day. The Dow has now experienced the longest losing streak that we have seen in 3 months, but that is not that big of a deal. Of much greater concern is the huge price swings that we have been seeing. Remember, the three largest single day stock market increases in history were right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. So if stocks go up 400 points tomorrow that is NOT a good sign. What we really need is a string of days when stocks move less than 100 points in either direction. If stocks keep making dramatic moves up and dramatic moves down, history tells us that it is only a matter of time before they collapse. Any student of stock market history knows that what we are witnessing right now is exactly how markets behave right before they crash. [...] One growing global worry is the steep decline in copper, which is used in many products and is often viewed as good gauge on how China is doing. The price of copper hit its lowest price since 2009 on Wednesday at $2.46. Copper is down nearly 7% this week alone. On Wednesday, the euro declined to the lowest level that we have seen in nine years, and Goldman Sachs is now saying that the euro and the U.S. dollar could be at parity by the end of next year. That is amazing considering the fact that it took $1.60 to get one euro back in July 2008. Personally, I am fully convinced that Goldman Sachs is right on this one. I believe that the euro is going to all-time lows that we have never seen before, and this is going to create massive problems for the Eurozone. With all of these signs of trouble out there, the smart money is rapidly pulling their money out of stocks and putting it into government bonds. This usually happens when a crisis is looming. It is called a “flight to safety”, and it pushes government bond yields down.
On Wednesday, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries fell beneath the important 1.8 percent barrier. We will probably see it go even lower in the months ahead. As the rest of the world economy crumbles, the remainder of the globe is looking to America to be the rock in the storm. [...]"
MSM: "Antonio Weiss Withdraws From Consideration For Treasury Undersecretary" MSM [01/14/15] "Antonio Weiss, the current global head of investment banking at Lazard, has asked Obama to withdraw his name from consideration for Treasury Undersecretary For Domestic Finance. Weiss’ nomination to take a leadership role at Treasury offended numerous progressive groups and Democratic Senators committed to trying to clean up the corrupt “revolving door” relationship between Washington and Wall Street. Most identified with the opposition to Weiss’ nomination was Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren who opposed him openly and claimed that as an investment banker who spent his career advising corporations on how to game the tax code and conduct corporate raids Weiss was not really qualified to be a regulator for domestic finance. One instance that became emblematic was Weiss’ work as an advisor on the deal that merged Burger King with Tim Horton’s that was likely done in part so Burger King could become a Canadian company and avoid US taxes. Weiss still plans to come to Washington and will serve in the Obama Administration as a counselor to former Citigroup executive and current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The position as counselor does not require Senate confirmation though it will allow Weiss to serve in government. His close connection to Lew will undoubtedly give him some informal authority and his “public” service will serve him well once he (inevitably) returns to the private sector. [...]"
Commentary: "Ukraine Agreed to a Monsanto “Land Grab” to Get a $17 Billion Loan From The IMF" [01/12/15] "The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game. Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover. Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine. In fact, a bit of political maneuvering by the IMF gave the Ukraine a $17 billion loan – but only if they would open up to biotech farming and the selling of Monsanto’s poison crops and chemicals – destroying a farmland that is one of the most pristine in all of Europe. Farm equipment dealer, Deere, along with seed producers Dupont and Monsanto, will have a heyday. In the guise of ‘aid,’ a claim has been made on Ukraine’s vast agricultural riches. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine has deep, rich, black soil that can grow almost anything, and its ability to produce high volumes of GM grain is what made biotech come rushing to take it over. [...] As reported by The Ecologist, according to the Oakland Institute: “Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies. There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.” The nation WAS Europe’s breadbasket – and now in an act of bio-warfare, it will become the wasteland that many US farmlands have become due to copious amounts of herbicide spraying, the depletion of soil, and the overall disruption of a perfect ecosystem. The aim of US government entities is to support the takeover of Ukraine for biotech interests (among other strategies involving the prop-up of a failing cabalistic banking system that Russia has also refused with its new alignment with BRICS and its own payment system called SWIFT). This is similar to biotech’s desired takeover of Hawaiian islands and land in Africa. The Ukraine war has many angles that haven’t been exposed to the general public – and you can bet that biotech has their hands in the proverbial corn pie.[...]" Related: "Press Release: The World Bank And The IMF Open Up Ukraine To Western Interests" "Oakland, California--A new report from the Oakland Institute, Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict, exposes how the international financial institutions swooped in on the heels of the political upheaval and are vying to deregulate and throw open Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector to foreign investors. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU Association agreement in favor of a Russian deal was a major factor in the crisis that led to his ouster in February 2014. Immediately following the change to a pro-EU government, the country’s pivot to the West was solidified with a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an additional $3.5 billion aid package from the World Bank, both of which require significant economic reforms and austerity measures that are set to have disastrous effects within the nation. [...]"
Commentary: "Central Bankers Push Recovery Illusion Before False Flag Event - Ep562" X-22 Report [01/11/15] [47:09] "Central Banker propagandists push the idea that we're in "recovery". Apparently retails stores closing, mortgage declines, record auto loan defaults and labor non-participation rate are all signs of recovery. Something's brewing, prepare yourself wisely. [...] Italy’s jobless rate is at all time highs and getting worse. Corporate media and government are convincing everyone that it is ok that Greece leave the EU. Greek’s are starting to make a run on the banks. Unemployment dropped to 5.6% with more people unemployed. Baltic Dry Index drops again, showing manufacturing is imploding. Obama pushes new agenda, free 2 year community college. US boosting military capacity in Europe. The false flag terrorist brothers have been killed. The Islamic State is taking credit for the attacks. al-Qaeda/Islamic State is now threatening UK, Germany and the US with mass casualties. Be prepared for more false flag events.[...]"
Commentary: "Discussion OF Current Events - Ep561" X-22 Report [01/10/15] [42:07] "UK manufacturing is collapsing. Central bankers continually threatening Greece on elections and a Greek exit from the EU. Many people being laid off. Retail stores closing. Obama explains how he is going to pump of the Real Estate bubble. Obama was misinformed on the Russia economy, low oil prices and sanctions will not collapse the economy. Ukraine is going deeper into debt. Russia trades fighter jets for food with Argentina. US placing F35's permanently in Europe. [...]"
MSM: "60,000 Corporations Closed Every Year, Taxes Blamed" [01/10/15] "America has lost 1 million corporations since their height during the Reagan era, in part driven out of business by the industrialized world’s highest corporate tax rate, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. The just-issued research revealed that the number of traditional “C” corporations has fall to a “historically low level” and wiped out the corporate tax base, resulting in the federal government relying much more on individual income taxes to fund its operation. “There is now more net business income taxed under the individual income tax system than the traditional corporate tax code, a trend that does not appear to be stopping any time soon,” said the report provided to Secrets. It said that corporate closings have recently picked up steam and now 60,000 a year are shut down. A driver in the loss of traditional corporations has been the ever-rising corporate tax rate, an issue Washington has been ducking for years.[...]"
Commentary: "10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis That Are Happening Again" MSM [01/09/15] "So many of the exact same patterns that preceded the great financial collapse of 2008 are happening again right before our very eyes. History literally appears to be repeating, but most Americans seem absolutely oblivious to what is going on. The mainstream media and our politicians are promising them that everything is going to be okay somehow, and that seems to be good enough for most people. But the signs that another massive financial crisis is on the horizon are everywhere. All you have to do is open up your eyes and look at them. Bill Gross, considered by many to be the number one authority on government bonds on the entire planet, made headlines all over the world on Tuesday when he released his January Investment Outlook. I don’t know if we have ever seen Gross be more negative about a new year than he is about 2015. For example, just consider this statement… When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over. And this is how he ended the letter… "And so that is why – at some future date – at some future Ides of March or May or November 2015, asset returns in many categories may turn negative. What to consider in such a strange new world? High-quality assets with stable cash flows. Those would include Treasury and high-quality corporate bonds, as well as equities of lightly levered corporations with attractive dividends and diversified revenues both operationally and geographically. With moments of liquidity having already been experienced in recent months, 2015 may see a continuing round of musical chairs as riskier asset categories become less and less desirable. Debt supercycles in the process of reversal are not favorable events for future investment returns. Father Time in 2015 is not the babe with a top hat in our opening cartoon. He is the grumpy old codger looking forward to his almost inevitable “Ides” sometime during the next 12 months. Be cautious and content with low positive returns in 2015. The time for risk taking has passed." So why are Gross and so many other financial experts being so “negative” right now? It is because they can see what is happening. They can see the same patterns that we saw in early 2008 unfolding again right in front of us. I wanted to put these patterns in a single article so that they will be easy to share with people. The following are 10 key events that preceded the last financial crisis that are happening again right now: [...]"
Commentary: "Citi: No Longer The Dumbest Bank — Now The Most Evil" [01/08/15] "Back in December there was a flurry of press around the passage of a banking bill that was 1) reportedly written by Citigroup and 2) put taxpayers on the hook for over-the-counter derivatives, obscure financial instruments that periodically blow up and in which Citi had a big position. Distrustful cynics like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren claimed to see a connection Video [9:44] [...] But most other people, especially those who remember how enthusiastically Citi blundered into the previous decade’s housing bubble just in time to be nearly-bankrupted by it, tended towards a more charitable explanation: Citi wasn’t smart enough to manipulate the legislative process, so whatever they were up to it was probably accidental. But then Zero Hedge published this, which calls our preconceptions about Citi’s stupidity into question: "Is Citi The Next AIG?" This fascinating piece of investigative journalism is too long and complex to excerpt here. You have to read the whole thing because every paragraph and every chart is a new bit of damning evidence. But for those who refuse to read it (though seriously, you should) I’ll summarize the high points: In the third quarter, the part of Citi that is insured by taxpayers went on a derivatives writing binge, taking its total exposure to $70 trillion (with a “t”). Then it wrote a draft of new legislation that would delete part of an old law forbidding the government from bailing out banks’ derivatives positions. Then it lobbied successfully to get its language written into the latest banking bill. Then it revealed its new derivatives portfolio to the world. In asking if Citi is the next AIG, Zero Hedge is referring to the previously-obscure insurance company that had somehow become one of the world’s biggest derivatives players just in time for that market to blow up in 2008. Had it not been bailed out with several trillion dollars of taxpayer cash it would have taken down Goldman, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and pretty much the entire rest of the global financial system. Zero Hedge then goes on to speculate that Citi might be covering up some kind of company- threatening position that will, in the near future, require the aforementioned taxpayer bailout. If all this is true, then Citi deserves serious props for adaptability. They screw up, and instead of immediately melting down they hatch an imaginative plan to hijack what’s left of the federal government, implement it over the public objections of high-profile senators, and then kind of brag about it by announcing their new status as America’s biggest derivatives player. Have to admit it, this is the behavior of a highly intelligent, darkside-oriented entity. [...]"
MSM: "Oil-Bust Bloodletting: Projects Cancelled, Layoffs Ripple, Default Hits Private-Equity And Pension Funds" [01/08/15] "Drilling for oil these days is all about endless amounts of no-questions-asked cheap money. And now, as the price of oil plunges relentlessly, the cheap money is drying up faster than ceiling paint. [...]"
Commentary: "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Goldman Sachs Wants JPMorgan In 4 Pieces" [01/07/15] "JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) is paying out a $100 million settlement to keep details about an antitrust lawsuit filed 2 years ago out of the court system and public record. JPM is one of 12 mega-banks named in the suit while they were particularly named for the price manipulation on foreign exchanges markets using digital communications and social media. Several investors including hedge funds, public pension funds, the Philadelphia city and other market investors filed a complaint accusing 12 banks of manipulating WM/Reuters rates through chat rooms, e-mail and instant messaging since Jan 2003. [...] According to court documents, “the banks’ manipulation of WM/Reuters rates impacted the value of financial transactions in the U.S., including foreign exchange trade. Further, the plaintiffs claimed that these also negatively affected the pension and savings accounts that are dependent on global foreign exchange rates.” [...] During the Stock Market Crash of 2008 and beyond, it has become obvious that JPM has been involved in more than its fair share of yuppie-of- Wall-Street deals that have given the financial giant an incredible value. Goldman Sachs released a report citing that JPM should be broken up into 4 parts, each culminating in an increase of 25% worth over the total corporate assets. The report stated: “The biggest of the pieces would include the bank’s branch network, which could be worth over $100 billion on its own. JPMorgan’s investment bank would be nearly as large, followed by its commercial bank and an asset management company.” [...] Richard Ramsden, analyst for Goldman Sachs and author of the report explained: “even splitting JPMorgan in two—dividing the investment bank from the traditional bank, returning the company roughly to what was allowed before the Glass Steagall Act was repealed in the early 2000s—would boost the overall value of the current bank by 16%. Our analysis indicates that even accounting for lost synergies, a JPM breakup would be accretive to shareholders in most scenarios.” Sandy Weill, former CEO of Citigroup commented: “[JPM] became the first of the nation’s modern mega-banks. Breaking up the large banks makes sense.” Ramsden asserts “the new capital requirements for big banks proposed by the Federal Reserve in early December make now a good time to consider such a split.” The Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) opened the door for banks to securitize risky derivatives with the announcement to “extend the deadline for banks to sell off stakes in hedge funds and private- equity funds” until 2017. Journalist David Weidner explained: “Now, the ‘push-out’ rule is gone, so we’re in the same position again. And the Fed has delayed a potential roadblock to a taxpayer bailout. In essence, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Fed are implicitly suggesting that losses from hedge funds and private equity won’t hold up government support.” Weidner continued: “Ultimately, let’s be honest, the delay isn’t just a delay, it’s to buy time so the bank lobby can eliminate the Volcker Rule altogether. These investments produced risky, but potentially big, returns. Why is it that the bankers are the only ones with good memories?” This was part of the official delay of the Volker Rule, which would ban risky betting with derivatives by banks, approved in 2010. Because of this announcement, Ramsden said: “A break up makes more sense for JPMorgan because, unlike some of its rivals, its individual businesses are strong enough to stand on their own. The bank is partly a victim of its own success. [...]" Related: "JP Morgan Settles Forex Currency Manipulation Lawsuit In U.S." "JPMorgan Chase & Co has become the first bank to settle a U.S. antitrust lawsuit in which investors accused 12 major banks of rigging prices in the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market. The largest U.S. bank will pay about $100 million, a person familiar with the matter said. Lawyers for the bank and the investors said a settlement had been reached in a letter filed on Monday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. JPMorgan settled after mediation with Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversees a General Motors Co program to compensate drivers whose vehicles had faulty ignition switches [...]"
MSM: "Canada’s Corrupt Corporations: World Bank’s Corrupt Companies Blacklist, Dominated By Canada" [01/06/15] "Canada has the dubious honour of being home to the largest number of firms on a World Bank Blacklist Of Corrupt Companies. But virtually all of that can be attributed to one Canadian company — SNC Lavalin, the construction and engineering giant whose name is becoming a paragon of Canadian corruption. Of the more than 600 companies now listed as barred from doing business with the World Bank over corruption, 117 are Canadian, the most of any one country. And of those, 115 represent SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries, the Financial Post reports. Among the listed SNC subsidiaries are Candu Energy, which designs CANDU nuclear reactors, and Evergreen Rapid Transit Holdings, the SNC-Lavalin company established to build Vancouver’s new Sky Train line. The World Bank’s head of corruption investigations, James David Fielder, told the paper the SNC subsidiaries’ inclusion was due to “a World Bank investigation relating to the Padma Bridge project in Bangladesh where World Bank investigators closely cooperated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in an effort to promote collective action against corruption.” [...] The World Bank is in the midst of a crackdown on corrupt companies. It expanded its list by some 250 names in the first seven months of this year alone, the South China Morning Post reports. “We’re not a global policeman, but what we can do is facilitate the global conversation against corruption,” Stephen Zimmerman, director of operations at the bank’s integrity division, told the Financial Times. After Canada’s 117 listed companies, the U.S. is in second place, with 46 listed. That’s followed by Indonesia (43 firms) and Britain (40 firms).[...]
Commentary: "11 Predictions Of Economic Disaster In 2015 From Top Experts All Over The Globe" [01/06/15] "Just like we witnessed in 2001 and 2008, all financial bubbles come to an end at some point, and when they do implode the pain can be extreme. Personally, I am entirely convinced that the financial markets are more primed for a financial collapse now than they have been at any other time since the last crisis happened nearly seven years ago. And I am certainly not alone. At this point, the warning cries have become a deafening roar as a whole host of prominent voices have stepped forward to sound the alarm. The following are 11 predictions of economic disaster in 2015 from top experts all over the globe… [...]"
MSM: "USA Instructs (Rothchild-Controlled) Russian Central Bank How To Strangle Russian Economy" [01/05/15] "The Central Bank of the Russian Federation does not have to support the Russian economy. There is no paragraph in the Constitution of the Russian Federation (written during the 1990s) that would tell the Central Bank to act so. For what purpose did the Central Bank set the Russian ruble free? Pravda.Ru asked expert opinion from State Duma deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov. "All countries of the world are divided into two large groups. One group is called developed countries, and the other group - developing, or underdeveloped countries, better to say. In the past, underdeveloped countries were called colonies. Economies of all developed countries have one common feature - low interest rates. This is a key point. All under- developed countries - there are 90 percent of such countries in the world - have very high interest rates. The essence of high interest rates, including in Russia, is not to allow national currency onto national market. In order to let the Central Bank issue rubles in Russia, so that we could go to stores to spend them, the Central Bank needs to buy US dollars first. This rule is common for underdeveloped countries. [...] "In other words, Russia is not even a ruble country de jure. Russia is a dollar country. The Russian ruble takes a small share in the country. The whole segment of investment is based on dollars and euros. The Constitution protects that, and the Central Bank of the country should keep the rate. Now, we have the situation when the Central Bank does not abide by the Constitution, because it raised the key rate and reduced the ruble rate. From the point of view of the Constitution, the Central Bank is obliged to keep the rate. The Central Bank violated the Constitution and Putin's numerous instructions, but it was an absolutely logical move. The charter of the Central Bank does not contain a word about the Russian economy. It should not support the Russian economy. The law says that the Central Bank is governed by international agreements. The bank signs agreements that the Ministry of Justice does not even register. The administration of the Russian Central Bank is based outside Russia.[...] There is no other central bank in the world that would not be allowed to support the national economy. The Russian Central Bank is the only exception. This is a specific peculiarity of the Russian Central Bank. The law even says that the bank is a branch of foreign companies in Russia. For example, the Russian Central Bank is a depositary of the IMF. The law of the Central Bank does not have a word about the Russian economy. Yet, it contains detailed instructions on how to follow and execute instructions from abroad. The law was made during the 1990s. Putin tried to amend it in the 2000s, but it did not work out. As a result, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation works for a foreign country under the Russian Constitution. This state imposes sanctions on Russia. The Russian Central Bank is obliged to execute instructions from the USA - the Americans set an official task to weaken the Russian economy.[...]" Note: The Russian Central Bank is a Rothschild-controlled central bank.(list)
Corbett Report: "G20 Rules Make Bank Bail-ins a Reality" [01/05/15] [23:30] "Last month’s G20 Summit in Australia came and went without the protests and riots we’ve come to expect at the summit in recent years. But as author and researcher Ellen Brown notes, the real fireworks happened behind closed doors, where the group rubber stamped new regulations that will make Cyprus style bank bail-ins a worldwide reality. This is the GRTV Feature Interview with Ellen Brown and your host, James Corbett. [...]"
Trends: "State, Local Governments Face Massive, Growing Budget Gaps In 2015 And Beyond" [01/05/15] "Projections released this month by the Government Accountability Office show that state and local governments will see current gaps between revenues and expenditures continue to widen in 2015 and beyond. In aggregate, those governments are already underwater, and the amount of red ink will continue to grow over the next 50 years, unless changes are made, the GAO says. Closing the gap will require aggregate budget cuts or tax increases of 18 percent. Closing the fiscal gap through revenue increases would require action of similar magnitude through increases in state and local tax revenues,” the GAO found. “More likely, closing the fiscal gap would involve some combination of both expenditure reductions and revenue increases.” Translation: governments will continue to stare down the question of cutting budgets or raising taxes.[...]" Related: Resource: "Watchdog.Org"
MSM: "FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households (PDF)" [01/04/15] Oct 2014 Note: An interesting look at the financial situation, orientation and perceived activities of different groups of people were in the United States, with the results of a 2013 survey which took a year to analyze.
Commentary: "Financial Warfare: Big Banks Conspire with Giant Oil Companies to Manipulate Currency Markets" [01/03/15] "It has long been known that currency markets are massively rigged. But the banks not only share confidential information with each other … they also shared it with a giant oil company. Bloomberg reports this week: "With revenue of almost $400 billion last year and operations in about 80 countries, BP trades large quantities of currency each day. Traders at the company regularly received valuable information from counterparts at some of the world’s biggest banks — including tips about forthcoming trades, details of confidential client business and discussions of stop-losses, the trigger points for a flurry of buying or selling— according to four traders with direct knowledge of the practice. “The Cartel” that was set up by Usher [the former JPMorgan Chase trader at the center of a global investigation into corruption in the foreign-exchange market] and included dealers at JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc. (C), Barclays Plc and UBS Group AG. (UBSN) The information offered an insight into currency moves minutes, sometimes hours before they happened. Usher participated in at least one chat room with [Andrew White, a currency trader at oil company BP]. In the clubby, lightly regulated world of foreign exchange, traders passed around tips to their circle of trusted contacts like candy. The victims: mutual-fund investors, pensioners and day traders who took the other side of a transaction at a lower price than they would have if they had the same information. Within hours of regulators announcing probes, the chats between BP and the banks were shut down, people with knowledge of the matter said. Soon after, a compliance officer was placed on the desk for the first time, one of them said. [BP’s] trading unit’s primary role is to manage the firm’s exposure to financial risks, including fluctuations in interest rates and foreign exchange, according to the company’s website. Unlike at most corporations, it also is run as a profit center, which means that in addition to hedging risks, traders can place their own bets on the direction of markets. [...]"
MSM: "Congress Poised In 2015 To Order Audit Of Federal Reserve" [01/02/15] "After years of being blocked by Democratic leader Harry Reid, the Senate will finally get a chance next year to vote on legislation to force a broad audit of the Federal Reserve’s decision-making. Once championed in Congress by former Rep. Ron Paul, the push to force the country’s central bank to undergo a full audit has been picked up by his son, Sen. Rand Paul, and others, and has the backing of the leader of the new Republican majority, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, whose office says the legislation will earn a floor vote. But despite overwhelming support in the House, where the legislation has twice passed, the bill is not a sure thing in the Senate, and the Fed itself is pushing back. Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said earlier this month the Fed remains opposed to stricter oversight of its monetary policy decisions, and Reuters reported she and other Fed officials are lobbying Capitol Hill to drop the audit push. “Back in 1978 Congress explicitly passed legislation to ensure that there would be no GAO audits of monetary policy decision-making, namely policy audits. I certainly hope that will continue, and I will try to forcefully make the case for why that’s important,” Ms. Yellen told reporters at a press conference two weeks ago. For supporters in Congress, the fight is a matter of constitutional prerogatives and good governance. They argue that President Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act, which totaled $800 billion in spending and tax cuts, was dwarfed by the trillions of dollars of stimulus the Federal Reserve oversaw. They’ve had luck in the House, where legislation calling for an audit has passed twice, including most recently in September on a 333-92 vote. All but one Republican, and more than half of the Democrats in the chamber, voted for the legislation.[...]"
MSM: "BP Probes Traders On ‘Rigging Link’" [01/01/15] "Oil giant BP faces being drawn into the foreign exchange (forex) rigging scandal after it emerged that it has been investigating whether its traders were linked to the manipulation of the £3 trillion-a-day market. The UK-based group said it had carried out a review of its activities after global regulatory probes which resulted in six banks last month being fined £2.6 billion for rigging the market. Details emerged after reports that members of a BP trading unit were told of planned currency trades hours before they happened. News service Bloomberg said it had seen copies of messages sent to the oil giant’s staff from firms whose senior forex traders belonged to a chatroom known as “The Cartel”. However there was said to be no evidence that any BP traders were members of the Cartel or that anyone at the oil firm acted on information given to them. [...] BP said in a statement: “Following regulatory market (not into BP) investigations regarding the foreign exchange markets, we conducted a review into our activities in this area. “BP’s foreign exchange desk has relationships (as a customer) with 26 relationship banks, including JP Morgan, Citibank and Barclays.” JP Morgan and Citibank were both among those fined last month while Barclays, though yet to finalise a settlement with regulators, has set aside £500 million over the affair. The BP statement added: “BP has a robust framework of compliance requirements and internal controls which are constantly reviewed, and maintains an open dialogue with the appropriate regulators. “BP’s code of conduct includes mandatory requirements for employees to disclose potential conflicts of interests internally. Following such disclosure, steps are taken to manage and monitor these appropriately.” BP said it did not discuss internal reviews, adding: “We have an open and co-operative relationship with our regulator. Any discussions we have are confidential.”[...]"
MSM: "UK Banks ‘Too Weak’ To Survive Another Recession" [01/01/15] "Former Bank of England governor Mervyn King has warned that British banks are too weak to weather another financial crisis, adding that government officials haven’t “got to the heart” of what went wrong in 2008. Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Monday, King criticized current measures being taken by the BoE to stabilize the economy, including keeping interest rates at a record low – currently at 0.5 percent – for more than five years. “I don’t think we’re yet at the point where we can be confident that the banking system would be entirely safe,” he told the program. “The idea that we can go on indefinitely with very low interest rates doesn’t make much sense,” he added. However, King also warned that a sudden increase in interest rates could provide too much of a shock to the British economy, which is only beginning to recover after the global financial crisis in 2008. King was head of the BoE’s monetary policy department from 2003-13, and was in charge of setting Britain’s interest rates and controlling its money supply. [...]"
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