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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

MSM: "Bad Omen When Goldman Sachs' Compliance Staff Is Charged With Insider Trading" [11/28/15] "Perhaps Goldman Sachs needs to hire compliance staff to monitor its compliance staff. That’s the takeaway after reading insider trading charges the Securities and Exchange Commission has leveled against a former associate in Goldman’s compliance division, who monitored activity in the firm’s vaunted investment banking unit. Instead of using their seat at Goldman to defend against potential illegal activity amid today’s steady clip of merger deals, the associate is accused of using it to commit crimes. [...]" Related: "Yet More Rigging By Big Banks – This Time It’s Interest Rate Swaps" Printer Friendly Version "Time and time again over the last number of years the largest global banks have been found complicit in the manipulation of key rates, indices and markets. Now, a large and important pension fund has taken the largest of banks to task and filed a class action lawsuit alleging conspiracy to thwart competition and extract large fees and margins from the vast and critical interest rate swap market. The banks “have been able to extract billions of dollars in monopoly rents, year after year, from the class members in this case,” the suit states. Interest rates swaps are used by companies and investors alike to manage interest rate risk. It is critical in smoothing returns and removing interest rate sensitivity. Providing an efficient trading market is lucrative, but when managers of that market collude to keep margins elevated at the cost of market participants, then we all suffer. The lawsuit goes on to state that banks had “jointly threatened, boycotted, coerced, and otherwise eliminated any entity or practice that had the potential to bring exchange trading to buyside investors.” This policy had one purpose, “to preserve an extraordinary profit centre,” the lawsuit said. It is alleged that the banks disguised their collusion by using code names for projects such as “Lily”, “Fusion,” and our favourite, “Valkyrie,” according to the suit. [...]"  

MSM: "Puerto Rico Is About To Default: Your Complete Guide To An Island Debt Debacle" [11/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Last week, we brought you the latest from Puerto Rico’s debt debacle. The commonwealth is desperately trying to restructure some $72 billion in debt while staring down a $354 million bond payment due on December 1.  As we discussed at length on Friday, some $270 million of what’s due next week is GO debt guaranteed by the National Public Finance Guarantee Corp. Defaulting on that is bad news and as Moody’s warned earlier this month, a missed payment on the commonwealth’s highest priority obligations “would likely trigger legal action from creditors, commencing a potentially drawn-out process absent swift federal intervention.”  Make no mistake, federal intervention is likely to be anything but “swift.” A Senate judiciary committee headed by Iowa Republican Charles Grassley will meet on December 1 to discuss a legislative proposal to assist the Padilla government, but it’s hard to imagine that a decision will be made in time to avert at least a partial default.  Ultimately, the decision will be between paying bondholders and ensuring that the government can continue to provide public services, and just as Greece prioritized pensions over IMF payments last summer, Padilla isn’t likely to sacrifice the public interest at the altar of the island’s debtors.  So, as the clock ticks, we bring you the following helpful guide courtesy of Bloomberg who has made a “list of the island’s debt, how much is outstanding, when major monthly payments are due, and the source of funds that back the securities: [...] As a reminder, Puerto Rico's Treasury Single Account likely has negative cash balance, which, according to Height Securities analyst Daniel Hanson, "will make it 'nearly impossible' to meet all government payroll obligations over the next six weeks." In other words, even if the government does default in order to save money for the provision of public services, social unrest may now be unavoidable." 

Debate: "The Failure of Capitalism | Paul Craig Roberts Debates Stefan Molyneux" [11/26/15] [1:16:05] "Stefan Molyneux and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts debate these issues and more in a discussion about Dr. Roberts’ recent book “The Failure of Free Market Capitalism.” [...]" 

Commentary: "Profound Political Disunity Is Now Pitting Rising Elites Against Fading Elites" [11/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "The American Power Elite may yet discover that throw the bums out applies to all existing Establishment parties and Elites. As I have often noted, historian Michael Grant identified profound political disunity in the ruling class as a key cause of the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Grant described this dynamic in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a book I have been recommending since 2009.[...] Today we focus on the rising profound political disunity of the Power Elites of the U.S. As a general observation, the largely theatrical polarization of the two political parties is being replaced by fault lines within each party and American society that no longer respect the ideological lines of Republican and Democrat. While conventional media pundits have observed the disorder in Republican ranks with more than a little schadenfreude (pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune), relatively little attention has been paid to the equivalent fractures in the Democratic Party. Longtime correspondent Mark G. forwarded an insightful article by Joel Kotkin that explains one of the key fractures: Tech titans want to be masters of all media we survey. In effect, the Old Left (currently represented by Bernie Sanders) is splintering from the mainstream Imperial Democrats (my term) of Hillary Clinton, while Kotkin's Tech Titans are pursuing a Libertarian-flavored dominance.[...]  (Excerpt from Kotkin:) "The rising tech oligarchy, having disrupted everything from hotels and taxis to banking, music and travel, is also taking over the content side of the media business. In the process, we might see the future decline of traditional media, including both news and entertainment, and a huge shift in media power away from both Hollywood and New York and toward the Bay Area and Seattle." [...]  Game theory has shown that participants will choose to punish cheaters over skimming rewards, until the cheaters are in the majority. At that point, everyone converts to cheating/free-riding and the system collapses. This rising sense of injustice applies to three classes: the super-wealthy skimmers who buy political influence; protected state workers drawing benefits that are distant memories for 99% of private-sector workers, and the free-riders at the bottom buying groceries with SNAP cards and non-food items with wads of cash earned without the burdens of taxes. So we have two volatile brews being mixed together: the anger and resentment of what's left of the middle and working classes against those above and below them, and the widening political disunity of the Elites. All those Democratic Party stalwarts whose power base is being disrupted by digital forces beyond their control are not happy campers. Unfortunately for them, history can't be turned back. As for the Republicans, the party's long reliance on social polarization for its support is wearing thin, as thin as the wallets and purses of traditional Republican audiences. What's upending the existing political Elites is this: there's no free lunch. As the phantom free lunch of the past seven years is shattered by economic realities, the parties' fiefdoms are discovering there isn't enough money for all fiefdoms to expand as they have for 60 years. As a result, each fiefdom is forced to battle other Elites for increasingly scarce financial and political oxygen. [...]"  

Commentary: "Congress Votes To Raid Fed’s Slush Fund To Pay For Highways" [11/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "In its never-ending quest to spend money it doesn’t have, but not wanting to raise taxes, especially during the current election cycle, on Thursday, November 5 Congress passed a $325-billion, six-year transportation bill that is to be financed by selling off some of the country’s strategic petroleum reserves and raiding the Federal Reserve.  In its editorial complaint about the bill, the Washington Post said that the bill “takes money out of one government pocket — the Fed — and puts it into another — the highway program.” The implication is that Congress should use “real” money, taken by force from the American taxpayer, whether he likes it or not, instead of using “paper” money created by the Fed out of nothing. It’s hardly a distinction. The Fed has, for the last 102 years, been a gigantic money printing press that has morphed — via “mission creep” — into the government’s largest and most invasive federal agency, with its actions affecting every financial transaction undertaken by every American every time he or she spends a dollar. Sold initially back in 1913 as the “lender of last resort” for banks that got themselves into trouble, the Fed has since the Great Depression become Congress’ “lender of first resort” when taxpayers refused to be mulcted further directly through tax increases. As a result, the Fed has been financing congressional deficit spending for years, indirectly taxing those taxpayers through inflation — the gradual incremental loss of purchasing power of their money. The usual apologists for the Fed showed up in print shortly after the bills were passed by Congress (which are waiting now for conference to iron out differences before being sent to the president) to explain, as best they could, why using the Fed’s capital to pay for highways was a bad idea. First up was former chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, who now holds forth at the liberal Brookings Institute as a distinguished fellow. Writing in his Brookings blog, Bernanke did his best to come up with reasons why this taking of funds from the Fed’s capital account is a bad idea: “It’s not good optics or good precedent for Congress to be seen as raiding the supposedly independent central bank to pay for spending.” [...] To say that the Fed — a creature of Congress — is exempt from congressional maneuvering and manipulation is to give the Fed much more independence than the original Federal Reserve Act ever envisioned. Even its very adoption — the assigning of a constitutional power to an independent federal agency — is questionable. With the highway bill, Congress is establishing a very important principle: The Fed is its creature, and Congress can modify or abolish it, at its will. That’s what really makes the Fed officials nervous.[...]"  

Commentary: "Scenario: Fed Hikes Rates, Starts A Recession, And Launches QE4" Ø Hedge  [11/24/15] Printer Friendly Version  "Seven years after the Fed unleashed ZIRP and QE to “fix the economy”, it has finally admitted that ZIRP and QE failed to do that (although they certainly succeeded in blowing the biggest asset bubble ever), and for the past 6 months the Fed has engaged in what may be the most ridiculous case of revisionist history, as the narrative has been flipped on its head, and now the all too wise career economists of the Fed (with the help of a few good ex-Goldman bankers) are pitching the first rate hike in nearly a decade as the solution to all the economy’s problems. For now the equity market has played along with this grotesque flip-flop in monetary policy, first by rising two months ago on terrible job numbers which made the December rate hike less realistic, and then rising some more in the aftermath of the October “hawkish” Fed announcement and minutes, which in no uncertain terms warned a December rate hike is coming after all, poor economic data be damned. To be sure, while stocks as usual remain stuck in their imaginary ivory tower where good news is great, and bad news is even greater, other assets have been far less enthusiastic. In fact, as we have shown repeatedly, the dramatic flattening of the yield curve (via the 2s30s) is now screaming policy error. [...]"  

MSM: "Homeless Ex-Banker: “American Dream Is A Load of Crap" [11/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "If you are an American who hasn’t chemically lobotomized yourself with prescription drugs, you probably know that “something is wrong around here.” Even the genetically modified potatoes at your local Walmart are aware that something is horribly amiss. But the full weight of our current nightmare is difficult to comprehend; it certainly can’t be condensed into a 100 character “tweet”. But the story of “Allen”, a former banker who now spends his days in San Francisco soup kitchens, serves as an sobering allegory for America’s universal decline. Allen, who worked for 30 years in the corporate world, is 61 years old with 2 college degrees. Now he has nothing. His story was featured in an HBO documentary, “San Francisco 2.0”. Coming from an ex-banker, Allen’s comments about the state of America are both damning and poetic:"I think we’re rapidly becoming something like Venezuela, where there’s a very small, ultra-rich class, and everybody else is poor — and the middle class is shrinking. I think the American Dream is a load of crap. There is no American dream. It’s a nightmare for most people." And he’s right. The irony is that HBO’s documentary is about America’s “young, successful innovators” — but the vast majority of young Americans face the same fate as Allen. And unlike Allen, they will never experience, even briefly, “the good life.” Consider: [...] Factor in our totally dysfunctional, overpriced education and healthcare systems, and you begin to see the terrifying reality facing young Americans: Cut-throat wage slavery that not even John Steinbeck could have fathomed. We can’t help but chuckle — or weep? — at how HBO presents Allen: He’s a “dinosaur” who can’t survive in our “adapt or die” world — driven, of course, by young, hip “innovation.” What are these people smoking? According to HBO, Allen is nothing more than a regrettable byproduct of our glorious, cellphone app-driven economy. He represents “the dark side of progress”. Ha-ha. Bullshit. George Carlin said it best: "The owners of this country don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all of these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay…The owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." [...] 

Commentary: "Europe Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Virtual Currencies To "Curb Terrorism Funding" Ø Hedge [11/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "In the past we have explained why when it comes to circumventing capital controls, primarily in the context of China, there are few as simple and as efficient alternatives to Bitcoin – contrary to what Bernanke may think, gold is concentrated money (and in India it now pays interest) but when it comes to transferring it across borders, it tends to be rather problematic. And now Europe appears to have figured this out, and as Reuters reports, European Union countries are preparing to crackdown on virtual currencies such as bitcoin, and anonymous payments made online and via pre-paid cards “in a bid to tackle terrorism financing after the Paris attacks, acording to a draft document.” Just a week after the Paris terrorist attack, showing a dramatic ability for coordinated work by a continent that is known for anything but, today EU interior and justice ministers are gathering in Brussels for a crisis meeting called after the Paris carnage of last weekend. This happens days after the European Commission already announced it would make procurement of weapons across Europe virtually impossible, if only for citizens who wish to obtain protection legally. According to Reuters, the justice minister will urge the European Commission, the EU executive arm, to propose measures to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by pre-paid cards,” draft conclusions of the meeting said. [...]" Related: "The War On Encryption And Bitcoin – Nothing To Do With Terrorism, Everything To Do With State Control" Printer Friendly Version  

Commentary: "US Economy: Americans Are "Out Of Money" [11/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "Retail sales this holiday season are setting up to be a disaster. Already most retailers are advertising “pre-Black Friday” sales events. Remember when holiday shopping didn’t begin, period, until the day after Thanksgiving? Now retailers are going to cannibalize each other with massive discounting before Thanksgiving. The collapsing economy is affecting everyone, across all income demographics. Wall Street, fearful that consumers are running out of cash heading into the crucial Christmas retail season, are selling off retail stocks and everything else sensitive to consumer spending. [...] Last week we saw the stocks of Macy’s, Nordstrom and Advance Auto Parts do cliff-dives after they announced their earnings. I mentioned to a colleague that the Nordstrom’s report should be the most troubling for analysts. Nordstrom in their investor conference call said that they began seeing an “unexplainable slowdown in sales in August in transactions across all formats, across all categories and across all geographies that has yet to recover.” Nordstrom caters to the “keep up with the Jones’” middle class household who works hard to project an image of prosperity but uses credit cards, auto loans and home equity debt to keep the gerbil wheel spinning. That game has hit a wall.[...]"   Related: "Most Americans Hit "Peak Income" More Than 15 Years Ago" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Clinton Foundation Running A $20 Million Private Equity Firm In Colombia" [11/20/15] Printer Friendly Version  "The Clinton Foundation is operating a $20 million private equity firm in Colombia, raising concerns from government and consumer watchdog groups who say the practice is unusual and could pose a significant conflict of interest. The line between the firm and the Clinton’s nonprofit world is hazy. Fondo Acceso is run out of the Clinton Foundation’s Bogota office and staffed by foundation employees, a representative at the office told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday. A charitable foundation running a private equity fund is “not something one hears about commonly” and is “very concerning,” according to Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist at the watchdog group Public Citizen. Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, said the lack of transparency was a troubling. He said the public has a right to know whether any of Fondo Acceso’s companies received U.S. government support while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. [...] The ties between the Clinton Foundation, Canadian billionaire businessman Frank Giustra and the nation of Colombia run deep. This is a topic explored earlier in the year in the post, How Hillary Does Business – An Oil Company, Human Rights Abuses in Colombia and the Clinton Foundation. Here’s an excerpt: The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra. The details of her family’s entanglements in Colombia echo talk that the Clintons have blurred the lines between their private business and philanthropic interests and those of the nation. And Hillary Clinton’s connections to Pacific Rubiales and Giustra intensify recent questions about whether big donations influenced her decisions as secretary of state.[...]" 

Commentary: "Ex-World Bank Chief Economist Exposes “Failure” Of Austerity, Deregulation" [11/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "Joseph Stiglitz, a senior OECD expert, slams OECD’s own policies to prevent global slowdown. In a little-known speech at the United Nations University, renowned Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz criticised Western approaches to addressing the global economic crisis for being obsessed with market solutions that cannot work. [...]  The most controversial aspects of Stiglitz’s presentation lay in his rejection of conventional economic models, which he argued have both contributed to the economic crisis and prevented policymakers from finding meaningful solutions to it. These models fail to capture the actual behavior of individuals, including on issues like saving and consumption, and ignore the crucial role of institutions in reducing efficiencies and serving to “preserve power structures” that benefit a tiny minority. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom amongst policymakers, “Pervasive market failures [are] associated with competition, externalities, risk, capital markets.” The market “on its own, will lead to excessive borrowing, especially in foreign-denominated debt” as well as leading “to too big and too intertwined financial institutions.” “Markets are not efficient or stable,” declare Stiglitz’s slides. “That there are not just environmental externalities, but also information and learning externalities and macroeconomic externalities.” These wider social and environmental realities in which markets are embedded give rise to “multiple needs for government intervention — not just macro-stabilisation, but also industrial and trade policies.” There is also a need for “strong financial sector regulations” including macro-prudential regulations and “regulations on cross border flows,” and a recognised role for the state in “promoting equality and equality of opportunity.” Stiglitz also advocated stronger forms of political regulation to prevent what he called “government failure and capture” by special interests, “especially in societies marked by high inequality.” “Democracy may not provide an adequate check,” he warned. A solid “system of checks and balances” is required, including “more transparency, strong right-to-know laws, restrictions on the influence of money in campaigns, restrictions on revolving doors.” Stiglitz’s presentation, based on the latest research in economics, calls into question the British government’s continuing infatuation with neoliberal Washington Consensus-style policies. It further suggests that conventional efforts to stave off another global recession will fail.[...]"  

Commentary: "Conspiracy Theorists, We Skeptics Owe An Apology: The World Is A Rigged Game" [11/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "... You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.” That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. [...] The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure. Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption. Every morning, 18 of the world’s biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the “Libor panel,” and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures. Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps. Dating back perhaps as far as the early Nineties, traders and others inside these banks were sometimes calling up the company geeks responsible for submitting the daily Libor numbers (the “Libor submitters”) and asking them to fudge the numbers. [...] The idea that prices in a $379 trillion market could be dependent on a desk of about 20 guys in New Jersey should tell you a lot about the absurdity of our financial infrastructure. The whole thing, in fact, has a darkly comic element to it. “It’s almost hilarious in the irony,” says David Frenk, director of research for Better Markets, a financial-reform advocacy group, “that they called it ISDAfix.” The European Federation of Financial Services Users wrote in an official EU survey last summer that all of these systems are ripe targets for manipulation. “In general,” it wrote, “those markets which are based on non-attested, voluntary submission of data from agents whose benefits depend on such benchmarks are especially vulnerable of market abuse and distortion.” Translation: When prices are set by companies that can profit by manipulating them, we’re fucked. “You name it,” says Frenk. “Any of these benchmarks is a possibility for corruption.” The only reason this problem has not received the attention it deserves is because the scale of it is so enormous that ordinary people simply cannot see it. It’s not just stealing by reaching a hand into your pocket and taking out money, but stealing in which banks can hit a few keystrokes and magically make whatever’s in your pocket worth less. This is corruption at the molecular level of the economy, Space Age stealing – and it’s only just coming into view.[...]" 

Commentary: "Putin: Islamic State Financed From 40 Countries, Including G20 Members" [11/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "President Vladimir Putin says he’s shared Russian intelligence data on Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) financing with his G20 colleagues: the terrorists appear to be financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states. During the summit, “I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them,” Putin told the journalists. Putin also spoke of the urgent need to curb the illegal oil trade by IS. “I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products,” he said. “The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon,” Putin added, comparing the convoy to gas and oil pipeline systems. [...] Putin pointed out the change in Washington’s stance on cooperation with Moscow in the fight against the terrorists. “We need to organize work specifically concentrated on the prevention of terrorist attacks and tackling terrorism on a global scale. We offered to cooperate [with the US] in anti-IS efforts. Unfortunately, our American partners refused. They just sent a written note and it says: ‘we reject your offer’,” Putin said. “But life is always evolving and at a very fast pace, often teaching us lessons. And I think that now the realization that an effective fight [against terror] can only be staged together is coming to everybody,” the Russian leader said." [...] Putin also disagreed with Western criticism of Russia’s actions in Syria, where the country has been carrying out a large-scale air campaign against Islamic State and other terror groups since September 30.[...] “It’s really difficult to criticize us,” he said, adding that Russia has repeatedly asked its foreign partners to provide data on terrorist targets in Syria. “They’re afraid to inform us on the territories which we shouldn’t strike, fearing that it is precisely where we’ll strike; that we are going to cheat everybody,” the president said. “Apparently, their opinion of us is based on their own concept of human decency,” he added. Putin told the media that Russia has already established contact with the Syrian opposition, which has asked Moscow not to carry out airstrikes in the territories it controls.[...]" Note: Also at Russia Today Printer Friendly Version   

Commentary: "Stock Prices Of Weapons Manufacturers Soaring Since Paris Attack" [11/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Paris attacks took place on Friday night. Since then, France’s president has vowed “war” on ISIS and today significantly escalated the country’s bombing campaign in Syria (France has been bombing ISIS in Iraq since last January, and began bombing them in Syria in September). Already this morning, as Aaron Cantú noticed, the stocks of the leading weapons manufacturers – what is usually referred to as the “defense industry” – have soared: [...] Also enjoying a fantastic day so far is one of the leading Surveillance State profiteers:  [...] France’s largest arms manufacturer, Thales, is also having an outstanding day, up almost 3%, even as the leading French index is down: [...]"  

MSM: "Economic Collapse, Bailout & All The Presidents’ Bankers With Nomi Prins" [11/17/15] [47:59] "Too big to fail is a seven-year phenomenon created by the most powerful central banks to bolster the largest, most politically connected US and European banks. More than that, it’s a global concern predicated on that handful of private banks controlling too much market share and elite central banks infusing them with boatloads of cheap capital and other aid. Synthetic bank and market subsidization disguised as ‘monetary policy’ has spawned artificial asset and debt bubbles - everywhere. The most rapacious speculative capital and associated risk flows from these power-players to the least protected, or least regulated, locales. There is no such thing as isolated 'Big Bank' problems. Rather, complex products, risky practices, leverage and co-dependent transactions have contagion ramifications, particularly in emerging markets whose histories are already lined with disproportionate shares of debt, interest rate and currency related travails. The notion of free markets, mechanisms where buyers and sellers can meet to exchange securities or various kinds of goods, in which each participant has access to the same information, is a fallacy. Transparency in trading across global financial markets is a fallacy. Not only are markets rigged by, and for, the biggest players, so is the entire political-financial system. The connection between democracy and free markets is interesting though. Democracy is predicated on the idea that every vote counts equally, and in the utopian perspective, the government adopts policies that benefit or adhere to the majority of those votes. In fact, it's the minority of elite families and private individuals that exercise the most control over America's policies and actions. The myth of a free market is that every trader or participant is equal, when in fact the biggest players with access to the most information and technology are the ones that have a disproportionate advantage over the smaller players. What we have is a plutocracy of government and markets. The privileged few don't care, or need to care, about democracy any more than they would ever want to have truly "free" markets, though what they do want are markets liberated from as many regulations as possible. In practice, that leads to huge inherent risk. Michael Lewis' latest book on high frequency trading seems to have struck some sort of a national chord. Yet what he writes about is the mere tip of the iceberg covered in my book. He's talking about rigged markets - which have been a problem since small investors began investing with the big boys, believing they had an equal shot. I'm talking about an entirely rigged political-financial system. Nomi Prins[...]"

MSM: "IMF Greenlights Addition Of Chinese Yuan To SDR Basket: Wall Street Responds" [11/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "While the world was following the tragic events unfolding on Friday night in France where hundreds of innocent civilians were killed or injured, an important economic development took place at the IMF, whose staff and head Christine Lagarde, officially greenlighted the acceptance of China’s currency – the Renminbi, or Yuan – into the IMF’s foreign exchange basket, also known as the Special Drawing Rights. As Reuters summarizes, the recommendation paves the way for the Fund’s executive board, which has the final say, to place the yuan on a par with the U.S. dollar Japanese yen, British pound and euro at a meeting scheduled for November 30. At this point only an explicit veto by US political interests deep behind the stage can derail the CNY’s ascension into the SDR. The United States, the Fund’s biggest shareholder, has said it would back the yuan’s inclusion if it met the IMF’s criteria, a U.S. Treasury spokesperson said, adding: “We will review the IMF’s paper in that light.” If the yuan’s addition wins 70 percent or more of IMF board votes, it will be the first time the number of currencies in the SDR basket – which determines the composition of loans made to countries such as Greece – has been expanded.” I would say that the likelihood of China’s yuan joining the IMF currency basket this year is very high,” said Hong Kong-based Shen Jianguang, chief economist at Mizuho Securities Asia. “The only thing that could deter this is if the U.S. led a group rejecting the yuan’s inclusion, which could complicate things. But the United States’ current official stance doesn’t reflect such an attitude,” he said. [...] The executive board, which represents the Fund’s 188 members, is seen as unlikely to go against a staff recommendation and countries including France and Britain have already pledged their support for the change. This would take effect in October 2016, during China’s leadership of the Group of 20 bloc of advanced and emerging economies [...]"  Related: See below: "IMF May Consider Adding Yuan To Its Currency Basket In December" [11/13/15] 

MSM: "Bank of England: Automation To Eliminate Roughly Half Of U.S. And British Jobs" Link Fixed [11/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "80 million jobs in the United States are at risk of being taken over by robots in the next few decades, a Bank of England (BoE) official warned on Thursday. With U.S. data showing that total non-farm employment hit 142.6 million in October, that’s roughly over half of the total jobs at risk. [...]"  Note:  Observation: They know all this is coming, and at the same time refuse to take steps to provide new jobs under new constructive paradigms (which makes them criminally negligent and ethically bereft) ... jobs to take the place of those expected to be lost, now, BEFORE those jobs get lost. All this because they are not very intelligent and have no foresight or creativity when it comes to people other than themselves. No larger systemic perspectives. Pitiful creatures at the top ... stuck in their little fixed realities ... and experiential loops. Such is the nature of the game, to be endured by all.

MSM: "Kiev Doesn’t Rule Out Default On Russian Debt" [11/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "As Ukraine’s $3 billion Russian debt deadline looms, Petro Poroshenko’s government is considering its options, including default. Kiev could default if it fails to make repayment on the $3 billion Eurobonds maturing this December, said the Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko in an interview with local TV. US-born Jaresko said currently Kiev cannot make the payment because the IMF restructuring program clearly defines the payout procedure. The finance minister said she’s ready to meet her Russian counterpart Anton Siluanov after the G20 summit in Turkey to discuss the possibility of restructuring Kiev’s debt. However, Kremlin has said that “the so-called debt operation, which Russia takes no part in, cannot ease Ukraine’s debt burden,” and that litigation costs and penalty interest for overdue payments would cost Kiev much more than paying on time.[...] The IMF’s current policy forbids it loaning to countries that default on other government debt. But last month the organization said it would go ahead with the promised $17.5 billion loan to Ukraine even if the country defaults on its debt to Russia. The IMF might amend its rules, allowing lending as long as the borrowing nation meets its obligations under the IMF program and bargains in good faith with the creditor country. This week Bloomberg speculated that Russia is looking at ways of blocking the IMF loan to Ukraine. [...]"

MSM: "IMF May Consider Adding Yuan To Its Currency Basket In December" [11/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may consider the inclusion of China’s yuan to the IMF basket of currencies in December, Alexey Mozhin, IMF executive director for Russia told TASS on Thursday. "So far the date has not been defined and is not on the agenda. But there are expectations that it will be very soon. End of November - early December," Mozhin said when taking part in the conference on the development of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the Russian Embassy in Washington. He also added that he expects a positive decision on the matter. [...]" Related: "China Makes Bid For IMF Reserve With Swiss Franc Deal" [1:31] "China to Allow Direct Conversion Between Yuan and Swiss Franc" Printer Friendly Version "China took another step to boost the yuan’s global usage, saying it will start direct trading with the Swiss franc, as the nation pushes its case for reserve-currency status at the International Monetary Fund. The link will start on Tuesday, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System said in a statement, making the franc the seventh major currency that can bypass a conversion into the U.S. dollar and be directly exchanged for yuan. The rate will be allowed to fluctuate a maximum 5 percent on either side of a daily fixing, according to CFETS. “This is an important step in strengthening bilateral economic and trade connections between China and Switzerland,” the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on its website on Monday. The link will help lower conversion costs and facilitate the use of both currencies in bilateral trade, it added. The announcement, which confirmed an earlier report, comes as the IMF prepares to meet this month to review its Special Drawing Rights. The executive board of the Washington-based institution will gauge whether the Chinese currency has fulfilled the criterion of being "freely usable," after rejecting its bid in 2010. The other major currencies that can be directly converted into yuan are the U.S., Australian and New Zealand dollars, the British pound, the Japanese yen and the euro. [...]"

Commentary: "If It Wasn't For These 8 Companies The Market Would Be Down In 2015" Ø Hedge [11/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "While FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) has become ubiquitous among the retail investing public still 'trading stocks', now it is time to meet NOSH (Nike, O'Reilly, Starbucks, Home Depot). The reason is simple - without these 8 stocks, the S&P 500 would be down year-to-date... "solid foundation" for the next leg in the bull market? Or teetering inverted pyramid scheme? Finally, we couldn't help but notice that this list of 8 stocks is basically all the names that Jim Cramer is jamming down retail investors' throats (and thus hedge fund momo chasers) as the only stocks "that work." Such 'weak' hands do not bode well if this whole ponzi scheme turns down once again. [...]"  These eight stocks which are keeping the S&P 500 being negative this year: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Home Depot, O’Reilly, Netflix, Nike and Starbucks, are the stocks in which momentum-chasing hedge funds have highly concentrated holdings.

MSM: "Russia To Loan Iran $7 Billion" [11/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "Iran will receive from Russia a loan of $7 billion. This was stated by Mojtaba Khosrowtaj, first Deputy Minister of industry, mines and trade of the Islamic Republic of Iran, reports RIA Novosti. $5 billion will be allocated to the government from the Federal budget, and another $ 2 billion will be given in addition. "Today, the international cooperation of credit and financial schemes plays a key role in the implementation of various projects — international and national. So we raised this issue with our friends in Russia and we came to the conclusion that such schemes would be very useful," said Mojtaba Khosrowtaj. He explained that currently the two governments are working on two options for financing projects. Money can be allocated either under the guarantees of the Iranian state or under the guarantees of banks. In addition, the Iranian representative stated that his country is excited for the launch of this kind of loan scheme. "In a competitive market, a competitive world, if a country spends a long time postponing [projects], then other countries will come and take their place," said Mojtaba Khosrowtaj. Earlier, Minister of energy of Russia Alexander Novak said that Iran has applied to the Russian side for the credit in 5 billion dollars for infrastructure projects in Iran. “We are talking about cooperation between the two countries in the field of electricity and the development of railway transport”, he said. [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "Biggest-Ever U.S. Data Breach Hits 100 Million People With Bank Accounts" [11/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "U.S. banks and other financial institutions have suffered their largest ever data breach. U.S. officials confirmed the hack on Tuesday while bringing charges against four men for the theft of customer data of more than 100 million people. J.P. Morgan is among the banks that were hit, the company confirmed to Bloomberg. Hackers gained access to customer information of nine companies, according to an indictment from Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, including two newspapers. The Wall Street Journal, which announced in October that it had been hacked, is among that group. Preet Bharara held a press conference in which he touted the bust as "securities fraud on cyber-steroids," in which hackers gained access to a variety of systems that helped them generate money from numerous illegal activities including running a digital currency exchange and gambling websites. The group also participated in stock manipulation. Bharara said that the group was also able to hack into the email accounts of a security firm that had been tracking their activities. That information was then used to avoid the firm's investigation. Gery Shalon, Joshua Aaron and Ziv Orenstein face a variety of charges as part of the case. U.S. authorities allege that the various schemes generated "hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds" that was than laundered through at least 75 shell companies and bank accounts around the world. [...]"  

Max Keiser: "Technology, Competition And The ‘Crapification’ Of Jobs" [11/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "As a general starting point: if you want to understand the ‘crapification’ of jobs and wages, we have to look at the ‘crapification’ of the economy from the perspective of those who are doing the hiring: the employers.  From the perspective of employees, the ‘crapification’ of jobs boils down to 1) low/stagnant wages for 2) highly structured, boring, repetitive and often difficult work. The decline in the quality, pay and upward mobility of jobs is directly related to the dynamics of globalization, financialization, and the surplus of ordinary labor and capital: 1. Increased competition suppresses wages as employers seek to cut expenses. Rents, taxes, healthcare, government fees, etc. all rise like clockwork; that leaves labor as the largest component that can be trimmed. [...] 2. Cheap capital incentivizes replacing labor with new software/technology. With the cost of capital at all-time lows, the pressure to replace costly labor with new software, robotics, etc. is intense. Software, robotics and related technologies are dropping in price even as their productivity increases. The reality is that humans can only be pushed to produce more if the tools they’re using become more productive. The second reality is that for many enterprises, these global pressures boil down to automate or die, with the purpose of automating being to reduce labor costs and boost productivity, as both are required to survive competition and stagnating sales. [...]  3. The total compensation costs of employees is rising even if wages are flat. Employees (and the vast majority of pundits, most of whom have never hired a single employee with their own money) tend to overlook the overhead costs paid by employers: workers compensation insurance (soaring), healthcare insurance (soaring), disability insurance, unemployment insurance, 401K or pension contributions, etc. Total compensation costs = wages + labor overhead. If labor overhead costs are climbing, the employer is paying more per employee even though the employees aren’t getting a dime more in wages. [...] 4. As system costs rise, those with stagnant incomes have less to spend. We can’t say no to higher taxes, higher healthcare costs, higher junk fees, higher fees imposed by monopolies, etc. and so the share of income that is truly disposable is declining as the big-ticket expenses continue rising. This means stretched consumers are foregoing expenses that they once paid for without thinking: the $350 blood test for the ailing pet, the broken air conditioner in the car ($500+ to repair), the after-school enrichment class, the Friday dinner out, etc., etc., etc. The net result of stagnating income for 90% of the households is stagnant sales. The cheerleaders on propaganda-TV never mention that the rising corporate profits they are trumpeting are typically accompanied by declining sales and declining same-store sales. In other words, the “profits” are accounting gimmicks, not true profits earned on rising sales.  [...] 5. It is increasingly difficult to generate a profit in this environment unless you own/operate a monopoly or quasi-monopoly. Those focusing on the ‘crapification’ of jobs tend to look at global corporations–those with thousands of low-paying jobs or those doing extremely well (Google, Facebook, Apple, etc.)– while everyone from Mom and Pop small businesses to mid-sized corporations are generally being squeezed by slumping sales and higher total compensation costs. [...] If the management of public companies don’t meet Wall Street’s grandiose profit expectations, they’ll be fired. If small businesses lose money, the owners are forced to either close the business or go bankrupt. So everyone in the managerial food chain hoping to avoid the crapified employment market below their current job (i.e. those trying not to get fired) must crapify every job they manage to wring enough productivity and profit out of stagnant sales to keep their job. The ‘crapification’ of jobs is the direct result of the ‘crapification’ of the economy.[...]"  Related: "Low Labor Participation As The Result Of The Crapification Of Jobs" Printer Friendly Version  | 

MSM: "Eurozone To Indict Several Countries For Not Passing Bail-In Laws" [11/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "On Oct. 22, the European Commission (EC) indicted six EU nations for not not passing bail-in legislation after both a G20 resolution, and an EC mandate for depositor funded capitalization programs were passed earlier this year. The purpose behind bail-ins was in response to the taxpayer based bailouts that took place for the banking system following the 2008 credit crisis and the subsequent insolvency of both American and European financial institutions at the time of the bailouts. Costing tens of trillions of dollars to both taxpayers and central banks, governments were excoriated following these bailouts as sovereign legislatures chose to protect banks who had collapsed the system due to their greed and speculation, and founded the new financial paradigm known as 'too big to fail'.  [...] The European Commission is taking legal action against member states including the Netherlands and Luxembourg, after they failed to implement rules protecting European taxpayers from funding billions in bank rescues. Six countries will be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for their continued failure to transpose the EU's "bail-in" laws into national legislation, the European Commission said. The referral comes after the Commission issued a warning against Poland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Romania and the Czech Republic for their non- compliance earlier this year. The rules - known as the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) - are designed to stop citizens from ever having to foot the bill for saving banks from going bust, preventing a re-run of events that imperiled Spain and Ireland in the wake of the financial crisis. - [...] Perhaps what is most interesting is the attempt by the European Commission to separate taxpayers from depositors since in the majority of these instances, they are one in the same. Only now instead of a government having to print money to bailout a failed bank, the institutions are legally allowed to confiscate a depositors savings, checking, money market, and investment monies to re-capitalize the bank under the imposed EC mandates. Banks as a whole in the West no longer function as a protected facility to hold and secure people's money, and anyone who trusts in these institutions does so at their own risk thanks to laws and resolutions brought about following the last financial collapse. And with several mainstream economists looking to raise the bar even higher by proposing a ban on cash itself, it appears to be only a matter of time before the zombie banks created out of the Credit Crisis feel the need to use your money and wealth to keep their propped up institutions afloat.[...]"  

Commentary: "JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Says The Government Will 'Stop' Bitcoin" [11/07/15] Printer Friendly Version  "One of these days I'm finally going to get around to writing the piece I've been planning for the better part of a year on the importance of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but in the meantime, it's still fun to see the way traditional bankers try to wrap their heads around it. Apparently, for JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, it's to say he's not at all concerned about it because he's sure that the government will step in and kill Bitcoin should it ever really matter: “Virtual currency, where it’s called a bitcoin vs. a U.S. dollar, that’s going to be stopped,” said Dimon. “No government will ever support a virtual currency that goes around borders and doesn’t have the same controls. It’s not going to happen.”  That's kind of an incredible statement when you think about it -- a sort of direct admission that Wall Street knows how tightly it's in bed with Washington DC, that should something like Bitcoin ever challenge Wall Street's power, he has no fear that the politicians will "stop" the virtual currency. Talk about regulatory capture... Of course, that confidence that the US government will kill the innovation is perhaps the biggest weakness of Dimon's argument. We have no doubt that governments are already trying their damnedest to kill off innovation around cryptocurrencies, but the larger question is really whether or not that's even really possible. Here's the problem for Dimon: should Bitcoin really reach the point at which Wall Street really views it as a true threat, then it's probably too late for it to be stopped. That's one of the (many) interesting parts about cryptocurrencies. The ability to stop them as they get more and more successful becomes significantly more difficult, to the point of reaching a near impossibility. But, it sure will lead to some amusing and ridiculous regulatory fights. [...]"   Related: "Jamie Dimon: Virtual Currency Will Be Stopped" [1:23] "Speaking on Wednesday at the Fortune Global Forum, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase JPM 3.04% said that the market for the virtual currency isn’t large and it would be stopped by the government before it ever got to that point. Dimon said despite the fact that bitcoin was getting some lip service in Washington, as politicians try to say they support Silicon Valley innovation, he thinks eventually there will be a crackdown. “Virtual currency, where it’s called a bitcoin vs. a U.S. dollar, that’s going to be stopped,” said Dimon. “No government will ever support a virtual currency that goes around borders and doesn’t have the same controls. It’s not going to happen.” Just the same, Dimon said JPMorgan had established a study group to examine the blockchain technology used to record bitcoin transactions. “Blockchain is like any other technology,” said Dimon. “If it is cheaper, effective, works, and secure, then we are going to use it.” Right now, the verdict on blockchain tech is mixed, Dimon said. He added that the loan market could be a good candidate for blockchain because there is a lot of paperwork involved in that line of business and that transactions can take 20 days to close. But he said in other areas of financial markets, like trading stocks, the block chain probably wouldn’t offer significant improvement. That said, Dimon made it clear that bitcoin, or any other virtual currency, would never be a major competitor to the U.S. dollar. “The technology will be used, and it could be used to transport currency, but it will be dollars, not bitcoins.”[...]"   Note: The fact that Blythe Masters is involved with blockchain and such, says that it is a foregone conclusion that it is not going anywhere soon. See also below:  "VPRO Backlight: The Bitcoin Gospel" [11/02/15] Video [48:51] ; "Blythe Masters’ Firm Acquires Blockstack, A Blockchain Start-Up Founded By Google And NASDAQ Alum" [11/02/15] 

Concepts and Practices: "China’s Renminbi As A World Currency, Endorsed By The City Of London" [11/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Beijing wants the yuan to be converted into a world reserve currency. It is true that the road to full convertibility is still a very long one. China has seen the presence of their currency increased more than any other country in recent years. The yuan is today the second most utilized currency for commercial financing, and the fourth most demanded for cross-border payments, according to data from the Society of World Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT). The strategy of the Asian giant to yuan-ize the global economy is centred in ‘gradualism’. The Chinese leaders are in no hurry. The Communist Party [of China] is conscious of the fact that any false movement can provoke ‘financial wars’ against them. Both the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury Department resist a movement that the dollar and Wall Street would see their influence in world finances diminish. The Chinese Government takes precautions, since to reach long term objectives, it is better to move step by step, under cover, than to assume high risks. For this reason, in the first place, China added the support of the Asian continent, either underwriting swap agreements, or installing Offshore Clearing Banks (OCB), or giving investment quotas for participation in the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor Program (RQFII). [...] The United Kingdom became the first country to promote the use of the yuan in Europe. Germany, France, Switzerland and Luxembourg entered the competition through the installation of OCB to facilitate the use of the «people’s currency» (‘renminbi’). Nevertheless, none of these constituted a serious threat to the United Kingdom. The City of London has more than half of operations denominated in yuan in the European continent. As the economy of the United Kingdom is in a state of stagnation, and closely threatened by deflation (a fall of prices), the Government of David Cameron desperately insists on strengthening his ties with Asia-pacific countries, especially with China, that even with their deceleration of the last few years, contributes 25% of the growth of the world Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer – and the favorite of the Conservative Party to occupy the post of Prime Minister in 2020 – George Osborne, the world today witnesses a new geopolitical and economic configuration, in which China plays the preponderant role. Business affairs are no longer concentrated in the United States and the European Union. Because of this, for the City of London, commercial opportunities and investment with Beijing are more important than the commandments of alignment with Washington. One proof of this is that last March the United Kingdom was added to the convocation of the China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the institution that ended the domination of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in Asia. [...]"  

MSM: "IMF Credibility To Collapse If Ukraine Allowed To Default To Russia" [11/05/15] Printer Friendly Version "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is breaking its own rules and making a mockery of its global credibility by allowing Ukraine to default on its $3 billion debt to Russia, Trends Research Institute head Gerald Celente told Sputnik. “Allowing Kiev to default on their $3 billion Eurobond deal with Russia is against IMF rules. But now they are ready to break their own rules,” Celente said. In March 2015, the IMF approved a four-year $127.5 billion financial package to stabilize Ukraine’s troubled economy. However, by the IMF’s own rules, the aid package is forfeit if Ukraine defaults on its Eurobond debt to Russia by the end of 2015. Now, the IMF is reassessing its lending-into-arrears policy and could change it before November 30, according to media reports. “This is a symptom of how central bankers behave. They behave as if there is no such thing as rules and laws. They do what they want,” Celente said. [...]  The noted US analyst recalled that the Obama administration, spearheaded by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (Kagan), had urged then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to accept IMF terms for its aid in December 2013. “Nuland said the reforms that IMF requires are necessary for the long-term economic health of Ukraine. I guess she was wrong. Because they got the reforms … but they don’t have long-term stability and economic growth,” Celente pointed out. [...]"  

MSM: "China Proposes Phasing-Out Manipulative Trading Algorithms" [11/05/15] Printer Friendly Version  "Over the past decade; our markets have ceased to behave like “markets”, at all. We see obvious perversity, such as the simultaneous (and extreme) bubbles in U.S. stocks and bonds, something which is mathematically impossible in any legitimate marketplace. More generally; we see what are supposed to be divergent stock markets (representing diverse, independent economies), diverse sectors, and diverse companies being marched up-and-down, collectively, like some gigantic, synchronized yo-yo. This is more impossible behavior – in legitimate markets. Such insanity, and such extreme/impossible market phenomena are not confined to Western markets. Two weeks ago; blockbuster news emerged out of China, via Zero Hedge. China’s government is: …seeking public opinion on limiting the use of automated trading programs in the stock market. [...] This comes on the heels of China’s government banning one of the largest U.S. trading companies from China’s market (which specialized in algorithm trading), as well as suspending the accounts of dozens of U.S. based-traders – for their algorithm trading. Here what is most notable is the highlighted portion of the previous excerpt, the intention of China’s government to “review the mechanisms behind automated trading systems”.  All these investigations (and suspensions) occurred immediately after China’s stock market was marched (literally) straight up, and then crashed straight down. It doesn’t take much reading-between-the-lines to deduce that the “review” currently being undertaken is a search for this same, Invisible Hand – which regular readers know better as the One Bank. There was no organic/economic catalyst for China’s stock market bubble, which erupted from trough-to-peak in an improbable span of little more than six months. It came “out of nowhere”, for no reason at all. Of course it did serve one purpose: it was a major distraction from the even-larger U.S. bubbles, which had been steadily pumped-up not over a span of a mere six months, but rather over six, consecutive years. Note that these manipulative trading algorithms have been foisted upon us for the flimsiest of reasons: to make markets “more efficient”. Yes with structural unemployment across the Western world exceeding 100 million people (and growing), we need to look for ways to eliminate human labour, and replace it with a computer program. Now refer back to the final portion of the previous excerpt, to “authorize stock exchanges to levy extra charges on such automated systems”. With such additional levies, it’s quite possible that such computerized trading would no longer be cost-effective, or only minimally so. In that context; what then is the pretext for allowing the continued use of such automated stupid money? This computerized insanity already forces us to impose “circuit breakers” on what are supposed to be “free markets.” How much further do we pervert our markets to accommodate obviously manipulative (and thus obviously illegal) computer trading algorithms? It should be further noted that the bankers used precisely the same excuse to introduce their equally manipulative (and equally illegal) “short-selling” into our markets. It would “make markets more efficient”, they told us, by supposedly promoting better “price discovery”. Really? There has been very little “price discovery” in the precious metals sector for decades, and absolutely zero since 2011. We see commodities with perennial supply-deficits, which regularly/continually trade below the average cost of production. It is price-discovery which is the mechanism which is supposed to promptly remedy such market disequilibrium. It is the only mechanism for restoring equilibrium to markets.[...]  We got no “efficiency” from short-selling, just a lot more financial crime. The most-obvious of this crime is “naked shorting”, meaning naked fraud; criminal traders being allowed to literally counterfeit their own shares, and then dump those shares onto the market, in order to (illegally) depress prices. The only thing more heinous than such market fraud is that it is an activity which is almost completely unpoliced in our corruption-ridden markets. Now we supposedly “need” computerized trading algorithms, in order to bring even more fraud and corruption to these pseudo-markets? Where does it end? Many markets have already been forced to initiate bans on short-selling. We got none of the benefits promised by the banker con-men, but now we’re saddled with all the crime, and perversion of asset prices. Now these markets are overrun with the bankers’ manipulative trading algorithms. Indeed, to “manage” (i.e. manipulate) markets in the collective manner which we observe every day requires a Master Trading Algorithm, a single, dominant program, which (in turn) herds all of the individual trading algorithms, like the Pied Piper herded rats.[...]"

Commentary: "Russia Can Solve All Its Own Economic Problems " [11/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "Since Washington and the EU imposed hostile and unwarranted financial and economic sanctions on Russia after the spring of 2014, President Putin and the Russian government have made many praiseworthy and sometimes brilliant moves to respond to the de facto acts of financial warfare. However they have avoided dealing with fundamental deeper distortions and vulnerabilities in the Russian economy and monetary order. Failure to do so in the future will prove to be Russia’s Achilles Heel if not addressed soon. Fortunately Russia can do something about it even before an alternative currency to the US dollar is at hand. It requires simply a bit of consequent rethinking about the situation. The key to Russia’s economy, to any economy for that matter, is the question of who controls the issue and circulation of credit or money, and whether they do it to serve, directly or indirectly, private special interests or for the common national good. [...] Chaos swept the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. In July 1990, one of the first acts of “democrat” and Western media hero, Boris Yeltsin, the newly elected President of the Russian Soviet Socialist republic, one month after declaring independence from the USSR, was to change the Russian Constitution with Article 75 to create the Central Bank of The Russian Federation. At the time US hedge fund speculator, George Soros had brought Jeffrey Sachs and Sweden’s Anders Aaslund to Russia to “guide” Yeltsin “shock therapy” advisers such as Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais. Together, along with pressure from the IMF, they turned the country into an impossible chaos and economic collapse for most of the 1990’s. Pensions were wiped out as the Russian National Bank under the leadership of Viktor Gerashchenko, printed endless supplies of worthless rubles, creating a mammoth hyperinflation of prices. A handful of favored Russian oligarchs close to the Yeltsin family, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Boris Berezovsky, became staggeringly wealthy oligarchs while the vast majority barely survived. This was the social petri dish in which the Article 75 mandating the new Central Bank of the Russian Federation was adopted. The Russian Central Bank, which is today a member of the western-controlled Bank for International Settlements in Basle, has the explicit constitutional mandate to be an independent entity, with primary responsibility of protecting the stability of the national currency, the ruble. It also holds exclusive right to issue ruble banknotes and coins. That’s de facto life and death power over Russia’s economy. With Article 75 the Russian Federation de facto gave away sovereignty over her most essential power–the power to issue money and create credit. Today that has come home to haunt President Putin, his government and the Russian people as a US-imposed financial warfare and targeted sanctions forced the Central Bank to raise key interest rates December 2014 threefold to 17% to try to defend a ruble in free-fall. Today, despite a significant stabilization of the ruble, central bank rates remain a severe 11%. The Russian Central Bank, no matter how patriotic the person running it, is a monetarist institution not an arm of sovereign state policy. To keep the Ruble “stable” means stable against the US dollar or the Euro. That means the independent Russian Central Bank is de facto hostage to the US dollar, hardly an ideal circumstance in the current state of de facto war by other means underway from NATO, the Obama Treasury Department, the CIA, Pentagon and US neoconservative warhawk circles. During the June 2015 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum I was told by a quite senior Russian government minister that there was an intense internal debate inside the government and around Putin’s advisers, about re-establishing a public national bank, as opposed to the independent BIS-modelled central bank imposed by the West on Russia in 1990.[...] National Development Bonds: [...] The little-known secret: There is a secret about economic infrastructure investment. Unlike various literal “windmill-building” government subsidized projects in today’s EU or USA, construction of necessary economic infrastructure such as high-speed rails–projects that make the arteries of the national and international economy flow faster and more efficiently–such infrastructure projects bring manifold economic gains to the overall economy. This is the long-forgotten “secret” of infrastructure investment discovered in America during the Great Depression when the government issued bonds to build the huge hydroelectric complex in the Government’s Tennessee Valley Authority and other massive infrastructure projects. Various USA studies from the 1960’s, back when America still invested in its national infrastructure, found that spending on such vital economic infrastructure repays the state in new tax revenues approximately 11 dollars, or in this case rubles, for every dollar or ruble initially invested. That is the secret of well-conceived infrastructure spending. [...]"  

Corbett Report: "9/11 Insider trading – Follow The Money – 9/11 Trillions" [11/03/15] [59:34] "9/11 was a crime. And as with any crime, there is one overriding imperative that detectives must follow to identify the perpetrators: follow the money. This is an investigation of the 9/11 money trail. [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "Global Financial System of Fake GDP Statistics Exposed" [11/03/15] [6:57]   

Commentary: "Rothschild Bankster Indicted For Illegal Banking Activities" [11/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "Video" [2:40] "Baron David de Rothschild was recently indicted by the French government after he was accused of fraud in a scheme that allegedly embezzled large sums of money from British pensioners. It has taken many years to bring this case against Rothschild and his company the Rothschild Financial Services Group, which trapped hundreds of pensioners in a bogus loan scheme between the years of 2005 and 2008. One by one the pensioners lost their money and pressed charges against the notorious banker, beginning a case that would take many years to get even an indictment. This week, Paris-based liaison judge Javier Gómez Bermudez ruled that Rothschild must face a trial for his crimes, and ordered local police to seek him out in his various mansions that are spread throughout the country. “It is a good step in the right direction. The courts are now in agreement with us that there is enough evidence to interrogate Baron Rothschild. The first thing they will have to do is find him. Once they have done that they can begin to question him. It is a real breakthrough moment for everyone involved,” lawyer Antonio Flores of Lawbird told the Olive Press after the ruling. “In short, independently of what happened to the investment, Rothschild advertised a loan aimed at reducing inheritance tax, which is a breach of tax law,” he added. The Rothschild banking dynasty is a family line that has been accused of pulling the political strings of many different governments through their control of various economic systems throughout the world. [...]" 

Commentary: "VPRO Backlight: The Bitcoin Gospel " [11/02/15] [48:51] "Is Bitcoin the blueprint for a bankless currency, or the biggest pyramid scheme? Related: "Blythe Masters’ Firm Acquires Blockstack, A Blockchain Start-Up Founded By Google And NASDAQ Alum" Printer Friendly Version 

Concepts and Practices: "Sweden Close To Becoming Cashless Society With Negative Interest Rates" [11/01/15] Printer Friendly Version  "If banks charge customers negative interest rates in a cashless society, those customers are not able to withdraw their money as cash to shield it under their putative mattresses. Consumers' only choice in such a scenario is to spend it or let the bank take it. (The theory is that by forcing people to spend cash rather than save it, you can spur economic growth.) Rather than going further into negative territory — a move that carries political risks the more negative it becomes — the Riksbank chose instead to do another round of quantitative easing (a forced bond-buying program that flushes more cash from the central bank into the economy). But the pressure for negative interest rates to drive cash out of bank deposits and into the economy is building. Switzerland, for instance, has negative central-policy rates that cost its banks $1 billion a year. Those costs haven't yet been passed down to consumers. But how much longer will banks eat that before adding fees and charges to Swiss accounts to defray the cost? [...] We reported at the weekend how central bankers and investment-bank analysts are increasingly discussing when this might happen. And Tuesday, Italy sold a two-year bond at an interest rate of -0.023%, which means investors have to pay to lend Italy money rather than receive interest on their loans. (Why would you buy such a bond? Well, if you believe that you'll get even worse terms in the future from other creditors — hello, Sweden! — then suddenly -0.023% starts to look pretty good.) So two trends are converging on Sweden at the same time: Sweden is using less and less cash. Sweden is an environment of negative interest rates. And that means many Swedes have no way to "hide" their money. So Sweden may become the first country whose citizens may have to accept negative interest rates (probably in the form of higher bank charges or fees) or be forced to spend their money to "save" it from those rates. A resistance is forming, and some people are protesting the impending extinction of cash. Björn Eriksson, former head of Sweden's national police and now head of Säkerhetsbranschen, a lobbying group for the security industry, told The Local, "I've heard of people keeping cash in their microwaves because banks won't accept it." [...]"  Related: "Swedish Minister: ‘In The Long Run Our System Will Collapse’" Printer Friendly Version "Wallström, who was deputy chairperson of the EU commission in 2004-2010, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper that Sweden would be taking a tougher stance in summits in an attempt to secure financial support and help to accommodate the 140,000-190,000 asylum seekers the country is expected to receive in 2015. Sweden is currently campaigning for other EU member states to take in a greater share of refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East and Africa. But the minister said negotiations have so far not produced the desired result. [...]"   

MSM: "Deutsche Bank Reports Massive Loss, Will Cut 35,000 Jobs, Exit 10 Countries In Sweeping Overhaul" [10/31/15] Printer Friendly Version "Well, the hits just kept coming on Thursday as Deutsche Bank made good on a promise to write down billions in assets in its investment bank and retail- and private-banking operations. The Q3 loss: €6 billion. As part of the “new” strategy (which Morgan Stanley thinks looks a lot like the “old” strategy), the bank will exit 10 countries including Mexico, Norway and New Zealand, and move trading operations from Brazil to global and regional hubs.[...]" 

Commentary: "IMF Review Of Rules For Ukraine’s Benefit May Set Serious Precedent For International Law" [10/30/15] Printer Friendly Version  "The IMF may set a serious precedent, showcasing that the previous system of international law and rules of the game for global organizations are collapsing as those rules are becoming more politicized [...]  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will set a serious precedent in case it carries on its lending program for Ukraine despite Kiev’s refusal to repay $3 bln to Moscow, Ukraine’s former minister of economy and financial expert Victor Suslov told TASS on Thursday, adding that this kind of decision would have been purely political and would have demonstrated revamping of the whole system of international law. "The IMF may set a serious precedent, showcasing that the previous system of international law and rules of the game for global organizations are collapsing as those rules are becoming more politicized," Suslov said when commenting the information that the IMF is ready to change requirements for granting loans in order to provide Kiev with an opportunity to receive another credit tranche even if Kiev announces Russia’s loan default." [...] "The statements made by the IMF evidence that the fund is ready to review its rules for Ukraine’s benefit. Even in case the credit (to Russia — TASS) is acknowledged as intergovernmental and Kiev does not repay it the IMF will still provide lending to Ukraine," Suslov said. In December 2013, the presidents of Russia and Ukraine Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych agreed that Moscow would grant Kiev a credit worth $15 billion through the placement of Ukrainian securities. Under this program bonds for 3 billion dollars were placed on the Irish Stock Exchange on December 20, 2013. Russia purchased the bonds using the funds from its National Welfare Fund. As was reported earlier Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said if Kiev fails to pay $3 billion in December, Moscow would go to court. "If in December, the debt is not repaid, appropriate legal action will be taken to protect the interests of the Russian Federation as a creditor," the Minister said. He added that "the Ukrainian authorities had been repeatedly informed by the Russian side that Russia expects debt payment in full and on time".[...]"

MSM: "U.S. Military Veterans Are Selling Their Pensions In Order To Pay The Bills" [10/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "Welcome to the oligarch recovery. An economic rebound so robust that an ever increasing number of Americans are being forced to borrow money at usurious rates just to pay the bills. Today, I want to introduce you to the latest scheme to profit from poverty: Pension Advance Companies. [...]"  

Commentary: "Who's Really Isolated? Iran Set To Join BRICS Bank, Strengthen Ties With Brazil" Ø Hedge [10/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "As US hegemony wanes in the face of dysfunctional domestic politics, foreign policy confusion, and a “lead from behind” mentality, the world has begun to transition towards a kind of new world order both politically and economically.  On the geopolitical front, we’ve seen a resurgent Russia take charge in Syria after the situation spiraled out of control, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and creating the worst migrant crisis in Europe’s history.  On the economic front, the BRICS nations have embarked on a series of projects designed to supplant the US-led multinational institutions that have dominated the post-war world. In what has become one of the bigger stories of the year, China has established its own development bank (the AIIB) and after the UK broke with Washington to support the new venture back in March, the floodgates opened with US ally after US ally jumping on the bandwagon. Although Beijing has promised it doesn’t intend to use the bank as an instrument of foreign policy or as a means of promoting yuan hegemony, the renminbi is set to play a prominent role in loans issued by the bank and there’s little question that development lending will bolster China’s attempt to establish a kind of Sino-Monroe Doctrine. Beijing has similar ambitions with the Silk Road Fund (see our full breakdown here), although part of the story there looks to revolve around an effort to provide a kind of pressure valve for the country's excess industrial capacity. [...]"  

MSM: "RT Chief Outraged At ‘Shocking’ Proposal To Seize Channel’s US Assets" [10/29/15] Printer Friendly Version  "RT television channel Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said Tuesday that she was outraged at the proposal by a former US assistant secretary of state that the United States must freeze RT assets. David Kramer, a former US assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights, said in an op-ed published last week by The Washington Post that RT channel assets in the country must be seized in compliance with two European court rulings against Russia stipulating shareholder debt repayment in the now defunct Yukos oil firm. “We are outraged at this call of a former US official,” Simonyan said. She blamed the US hype over RT broadcasts on a long-time smear campaign against the channel to “gag RT, the only opposition voice in a choir of mainstream media.” “The US Broadcasting Board of Governors has already compared us to Islamic State and called to label us a ‘foreign agent.’ But remarks of the former US assistant secretary of state in The Washington Post are nevertheless shocking,” Simonyan said. The RT chief pointed out there was no legal ground to back Kramer’s assertion. The former US government appointee claimed that an RT asset seizure was an option to pay an estimated $52 billion to Yukos shareholders after observing that the Russian Embassy and consulate property in the US were protected by diplomatic immunity. Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that the Russian government owed tens of billions of dollars to Yukos shareholders. Yukos was declared bankrupt in 2006 and absorbed into the state-owned Rosneft company. The Russian Justice Ministry refused to follow EU court rulings, saying this would put the ministry in breach of the Russian constitution. The ministry appealed the ruling, arguing that it was neither fair nor impartial. [...]"  

MSM: "Russian Resources Of Reserve Funds May Be Exhausted In 2017-2018 At Current Rate" [10/28/15] Printer Friendly Version "Resources of reserve funds may be exhausted in 2017-2018 at their current spending rates, Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Finance Tatiana Nesterenko said on Friday. "It is impossible to speak about development and investments in the private sector when our latest financial resources are used to close the deficit with limited resources to replenish the budget, when we have no foreign markets and domestic markets are limited. Reserve funds are depleting. We believe reserve funds may end at such rates of their spending. We will use up resources received when oil prices were high by 2017-2018," Nesterenko said. The target is to keep total resources of the National Wealth Fund and the Reserve Fund at the level of at least 2 trillion rubles ($32.5 bln) by 2018 year-end, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in September. The Reserve Fund amounted to 4.67 trillion rubles ($75.8 bln) and the National Wealth Fund equaled 4.87 trillion rubles ($79.1 bln) as of October 1. [...]"  

Criminal Corruption: "Congress Cashes In On Insider Trading" [10/28/15] Printer Friendly Version "In 2011, a CBS investigation blew the lid off of one of Washington’s most poorly-kept secrets: members of Congress were routinely exploiting legal loopholes to engage in insider trading and line their own pockets — a criminal offense for regular citizens. In the ensuing public outrage, Congress passed a law called the STOCK Act, and took a loud victory lap for supposedly putting an end to their own unscrupulous behavior. Now that they think nobody’s watching, Congress has gutted a key disclosure provision of the STOCK Act. Worse still, the House Counsel’s Office, led by Speaker John Boehner’s handpicked lawyer, is actively stonewalling the first ever investigation into Congressional insider trading by claiming “immunity” from the very law they bragged about passing just a few years earlier. The only reason the STOCK Act passed in the first place was due to a massive public outcry. Unless there’s another wave of public outrage, Congress will continue to flout the rules and make it near-impossible to enforce the laws that are already in place.  [...] Just 12 days before the 2008 economic meltdown, several members of Congress pulled their money out of the stock market. Congress had been forewarned about the impending economic bombshell in secret meetings with the Treasury Department and the Fed, and they used that information to move their personal funds out of the market at lightening speed. Meanwhile, millions of Americans lost their homes and their life savings. The day after the meeting with the Treasury, at least 10 senators made trades to protect their financial interests, while Americans remained in the dark. Senator Shelley Capito (R-WV) and her husband dumped between $100,000 and $250,000 of Citigroup stock on the 18th of November 2008 at $83 per share. The next day Citi stock fell to $64 per share. Congressman Jim Moran jumped ship too, frantically trading stock in 90 different companies — his biggest trading day of the year. Representative Spencer Bachus publicly tried to prevent the American economy from crashing — while privately betting it would. He cleverly arranged his portfolio so that if the American people lost, he would make a profit. It’s appalling. Insider trading is a criminal offense for most Americans, but these trades were 100% legal for the members of Congress who used positions as “public servants” to turn a handsome profit for themselves. [...] Trading stock based on classified government information isn’t the only way our elected officials have made it big in the stock market. Companies give members of Congress special access to IPO stock before it’s available to the public. Just ask Nancy Pelosi. In 2008, Visa offered congresswoman Pelosi IPO stock access just as legislation, which Visa strongly opposed, arrived at the House. Apparently fearless of a conflict of interest, Pelosi and her husband bought 5,000 shares of the stock at the rock-bottom price of $44 per share. Two days later, the value skyrocketed to $64 per share, and Pelosi made $100,000 virtually overnight thanks to her Visa IPOs. The tough new credit card legislation that Visa didn’t want? Pelosi, who was Speaker of the House at the time, never allowed it to the floor for a vote. [...] After an embarrassing 2011 “60 Minutes” investigation revealed our lawmakers’ affinity for insider trading, Congress passed the STOCK (“Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge”) Act to stem the outpouring of public outrage. In theory, the STOCK Act made it clear that members of Congress and their staff have to play by the same insider trading rules as everyone else. Unfortunately, Congress has quietly returned to its old ways now that it thinks nobody is looking. First, Congress quietly gutted a key disclosure provision of the STOCK Act — a change that President Obama signed into law despite trumpeting the original Act as a victory for transparency. The change was made as quietly as possible: according to an NPR investigation, “The whole process took only 30 seconds. There was no debate.” The White House’s official statement was just one sentence long, as issued on April 15, 2013 — the same day as the Boston Marathon bombing. [...] Now, Congress is taking things a step further by actively stonewalling the first ever investigation into Congressional insider trading under the STOCK Act. Brian Sutter, a former staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee, is at the center of it all — it’s alleged that in April 2013, he told a lobbyist about an imminent change to Medicare. That lobbyist then shared the information with other firms who were able to use it to trade on health insurance stocks that would be impacted. In other words, the exact kind of behavior the STOCK Act was designed to prevent. Yet, Kerry W. Kircher, Speaker John Boehner’s handpicked House General Counsel, has repeatedly refused to turn over documents related to the investigation and refused to comply with subpoenas issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, claiming members of Congress and their staff are “immune.” [...]" 

Commentary: "Schadenfreude – How The US Is Helping China Create A New Financial Order" [10/27/15] Printer Friendly Version  "Here we have an image of a Chinese banknote, featuring Chairman Mao, followed by a seemingly incongruous German word – schadenfreude. Is there an error here? Happily, no. We’ll begin with the word, schadenfreude, which means “harm-joy.” It’s used to express an occurrence that’s destructive, yet brings about happiness. This would seem to be a conflict in terms, but, looked at a bit more deeply, it could be said that the killing of an enemy may mean that peace will soon prevail – and so the event brings happiness. Or, another analogy: the bulldozing of an old structure may mean that a new one – a better one – will soon be under construction. And that’s the case here. The world’s most powerful (and most oppressive) political/economic power structure has begun to go under the bulldozer. Its replacement will hopefully be a better one. The Brussels SWIFT system is currently the largest economic settlement system in the world. Almost all financial transfers are made possible through this system. As such, those who control SWIFT have the power to threaten financial institutions and sovereign nations that, if they don’t do as they’re told, can be denied access to the system. The controllers of SWIFT have been far from fair in making these judgements. Much of their agenda has been provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a cabal made up of many of the world’s most powerful nations, but primarily Europe and the US. The US is the heavy here and they’ve used their power to create FATCA, a means of applying draconian economic pressures on their own citizens. In doing so, they’ve also succeeded in creating a global shakedown racket aimed at financial institutions. If a bank anywhere in the world is found to have a US citizen as a client and the bank fails to regulate that client sufficiently, the bank itself is “held up” – the US imposes a massive fine on the bank. [...]"  

Commentary: "Wal-Mart: Smaller Suppliers Will Go Out Of Business As Vendors Pushed To Brink" Ø Hedge [10/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Just last week, we revisited the Wal-Mart vs. vendors saga, noting that in the wake of the retail behemoth’s rather dramatic guidance cut, suppliers finally woke up to what’s going on. “Now we know why they have been pushing so hard," one executive at a major consumer goods supplier told Reuters. The reference there is to Wal-Mart’s move to squeeze the supply chain for every last penny of savings following the company’s (possibly misguided) decision to implement an across-the-board wage hike for its lowest-paid employees. Paying those who used to make $9/hour $10/hour going forward is set to cost Wal-Mart some $1.5 billion and as we’ve said too many times to count, the commitment to “everyday low prices” means passing rising labor costs on to customers simply isn’t a viable option. But someone has to pay the bill, and that means either i) hours will need to be cut and employees higher up in the food chain will need to be fired, ii) suppliers will have to absorb the cost, or iii) both.  The assault on the supply chain began with a push to force vendors to plow dollars they would have spent on marketing into savings. Next, Wal-Mart moved to implement new storage fees and finally, the retailer implored its suppliers to make sure and pass along any savings from yuan devaluation.  At a certain level, this is just econ 101. Massive, sweeping wage hikes don’t occur in a vacuum and as we put it when we first reported that cuts were likely in Bentonville, “one thing that should have been abundantly clear from the start is that if ever there were an employer that could ill-afford a $1 billion across-the-board pay raise without immediately making up the difference by either firing some employees, cutting hours, or squeezing the supply chain it’s Wal-Mart.” Still, some of this seems to have caught the market and the media off guard, which is fine with us because we now get to watch everyone play catch-up which means more coverage, more quotes from suppliers, and more evidence that Wal-Mart may have signed its own death certificate with the wage hike. [...]" 

Commentary: "Central Banks Boost Stocks As World Economy Sinks Deeper Into Slump" [10/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Decisions by two of the world’s major central banks last week point to mounting deflationary pressures in the global economy and the inability of monetary and financial authorities to do anything to reverse them. On Thursday, the European Central Bank indicated that it is prepared to extend its €1.1 trillion “quantitative easing” program of asset purchases, citing risks to the euro zone and the world economy flowing from the slowdown in China and its impact on emerging markets. The next day, the Chinese central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate for the sixth time in 12 months. This followed the release of data showing the lowest growth rate in China for a quarter of a century, with gross domestic product rising only 6.9 percent in the September quarter. The People’s Bank of China cut its benchmark rate to 1.5 percent from 1.75 percent, the lowest on record, and reduced the share of customer deposits that banks must hold in reserve. According to Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University and former China head at the International Monetary Fund, the Chinese actions heighten concerns that “the economy may be losing growth momentum somewhat faster than suggested by the headline official GDP growth rate.” Those fears have been underscored by the statement of Chinese premier Li Keqiang that the government will not “defend to the death” its growth target of around 7 percent for this year. Li was speaking on the eve of a major meeting of the ruling Communist Party at which growth targets for the next five years will be set. Concerns over the impact of slowing growth in China were at the centre of the official statement of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi following a meeting of the ECB’s governing council in Malta last Thursday. [...]" 

Commentary: "US Debt: Government Hides Abundance As Future Liabilities, ‘Retirement’ Accounts, Buying ‘Debt’ From Each Other" [10/26/15] Printer Friendly Version "Walter Burien is the leading expert on Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs). Beginning in 1990, Walter began documenting how governments manipulate their books to hide public money, but reveal part of what they do in CAFRs. I discovered Walter’s work in 2012, read CAFRs for the state of California, the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County, and verified his information as correct. I document those CAFRs’ information here, along with the adventure of my California Assemblyperson and State Senator’s obfuscations and eventual official statements of, “No comment” when asked to verify what I found in the state CAFR. My 23-minute interview to explain my findings is the last video of this article. I found similar fraud in San Jose’s CAFR in 2015.  The bottom-line is that we live in the Orwellian economy of a debt-based “money” system, while government lords over trillions of our captured dollars with .01% oligarchs hiding ~$30 trillion in tax havens (that’s about 20-30 times the total to end all poverty on Earth forever). A leading CAFR example is California’s ~14,000 various government entities’ CAFRs have a sampled-data total estimate of $8 trillion in surplus taxpayer assets ($650,000 non-disclosed assets per household). CAFR so-called “retirement funds” currently deliver net returns of about one percent on good years, and negative returns on bad years.  Walter wrote me and said: "Per that debt, the following three points apply: • Enron promoted their profit and hid their debt. Government does the exact opposite: they promote debt and hide profit. • With the changes in government accounting over the last 15 years, now they project out “liabilities” 35 years cross-matched with 1 year of income. If Bill Gates, you, or I did the same, we all would look like we are on death’s financial door. • Government back during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s had so much cash coming in the door they did not know what to do with it all. So, the scheme went into effect of promoting debt, and then funding that debt with their own cash: turning cash into debt as an investment for them, and as a “parking zone” for that cash. Well, today if you start cross-matching that local and federal government debt with the investor of that debt, after connecting the dots, you will find that 65% + of that debt is “self-funded” or cross-matched with other local or federal investment funds. You may have the county funding the city debt, and the same city funding the county debt. The enterprise operation owned by the city may be funding the city debt, a local government may have 500 million invested with a bank, brokerage, or insurance company, and that institution is now funding 500 million of that same local government’s debt. A state may have massive investment capital in China, and now the same state will have the investment manager in China fund the state’s new bond issue which makes the funding “look” like it is coming from China, and so on, and so on, and so on. [...] The public was played as useful idiots per this scheme with the one side of the coin promoted of the debt. The public is now convinced that their gorgeous model wife is fat and ugly, when in fact she is just as gorgeous as ever and even more so. If government debt was cross-matched with government investments, and then offset against each other, you may just have 80% of that “government debt” evaporate with the stroke of a pen. Please don’t get caught into promoting the useful idiot line of government debt… [...]" 

Commentary: "Saudi Arabia Is Projected To Be Bankrupt In 5 Years" [10/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "Strategic U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, which is the Middle East’s largest economy, is projected to be bankrupt within the next five years if the Saudi regime maintains its current policies and expenditures, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the IMF’s latest region report, Saudi Arabia is expected to run a budget deficit of 21.6 percent in 2015 and 19.4 percent in 2016, with the IMF urging the Saudi government to adjust their fiscal policy. [...] Two of the main factors behind the grim forecast are the deepening of current regional conflicts and the depressed price of oil. With the extreme refugee crisis being precipitated by the Syrian conflict, continuing large numbers of refugees are expected to strain the ability of the region to create new fiscal opportunities. The conflicts have given rise to large numbers of displaced people and refugees, on a scale not seen since the early 1990s, according to the report. The irony in this situation is that Saudi Arabia has been one of the largest suppliers of weapons and ammunition to the forces attempting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, thus precipitating the massive refugee crisis. [...] For the region’s oil exporters, the fall in prices has led to large fall in revenue, amounting to a staggering $360 billion this year alone. OPEC, in spite of numerous appeals to reduce output in support of raising the price of crude, has refused to take action as they attempt to maintain their own market share. Of course why would OPEC reduce production when the Saudis have continually increased production since the last quarter of 2014.  [...] While the situation looks grim on the surface, there is another line of thinking, which suggests that crude oil prices were was intentionally tanked by Saudis. This was done in an attempt to bankrupt the burgeoning shale oil market in the United States, thus allowing the Saudis to continue to dominate the world oil market while at the same time allowing for the U.S. to gain geopolitical advantage over Russia by decimating the oil-dependent Russian economy.[...]"  

MSM: "China Cuts Interest Rates, Markets Rally" [10/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "Just a day after the dollar strengthened against the euro on news the European Central Bank would likely increase its stimulus scheme, Chinese officials announced they, too, would intervene by cutting interest rates. Marking the sixth such cut in a little under a year, the Chinese Central Bank dropped the main interest rate by 0.25 to 4.3 per cent. [...]"

MSM: "The Retirement Gamble" PBS Frontline [10/23/15] [52:11] "Retirement is big business in America, but is the system costing workers and retirees more than what they’re getting in return, asks FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith.  [...]" 

MSM: "Iceland Sentences 26 Bankers To A Combined 74 Years In Prison" [10/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "In a move that would make many capitalists’ head explode if it ever happened here, Iceland just sentenced their 26th banker to prison for their part in the 2008 financial collapse. In two separate Icelandic Supreme Court and Reykjavik District Court rulings, five top bankers from Landsbankinn and Kaupping — the two largest banks in the country — were found guilty of market manipulation, embezzlement, and breach of fiduciary duties. Most of those convicted have been sentenced to prison for two to five years. The maximum penalty for financial crimes in Iceland is six years, although their Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments to consider expanding sentences beyond the six year maximum. [...] Back in 2001, Iceland deregulated their financial sector, following in the path of former President Bill Clinton. In less than a decade, Iceland was bogged down in so much foreign debt they couldn’t refinance it before the system crashed. Almost eight years later, the government of Iceland is still prosecuting and jailing those responsible for the market manipulation that crippled their economy. Even now, Iceland is still paying back loans to the IMF and other countries which were needed just to keep the country operating.[...]"  

Commentary: "Moscow Doubles Down On Washington" Pepe Escobar [10/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "Collapse Of The Western Financial System Looms As A “Strategic” Russian Default Is Possible [...] History may eventually decide the ‘New World Order’ started on September 28, when Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama had a 90-minute face off at the UN in New York. Irrespective of spin – “productive” according to the White House, “tense” according to a source close to the Kremlin – facts on the ground accumulated almost immediately. Putin did press Obama for the US to join Russia in a real grand coalition bent on smashing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. The Obama administration, once again, relented. I detailed here what happened next: an earth-shattering game-changer in the ‘New Great Game’ in Eurasia, straight out of the Caspian Sea, that caught the acronym fest of US intelligence – not to mention the Pentagon - completely off-guard. So this was Putin’s first message to Washington, and the Pentagon/NATO combo in particular; your fancy ideas of stationing tactical nuclear weapons or expanding missile defense to Eastern Europe, or even Asia-Pacific, are just a mirage. Our cruise missiles are capable of wreaking real effective havoc; and soon, as this piece argues, there will be more hypersonic, high-precision long-range missiles added to the mix. Old habits don’t die hard – they remain in a coma forever. The Pentagon’s response to the facts launched from the Caspian Sea was to conduct an airdrop of light weapons to “a select group of vetted leaders and their units,” as in those famously non-existent Syrian “moderate rebels.” [...]  The Glazyev nuclear plan:  A still apoplectic Pentagon will take time to absorb the new military facts on the Syrian ground – and skies. That will add to the utter desperation displayed by the ‘Masters of the Universe’ in the Washington/Wall Street axis – itching to break the China-Russia strategic partnership by all means necessary. Quite a feat when the Pentagon is still fighting World War II, with its weapons, ships and monster aircraft carriers displayed as sitting ducks against Russia’s new batch of missiles. [...] But then there’s also Putin’s second – silent - message to Washington, which didn’t even have to be delivered in person to Obama. US intel though may have a hint about it, as they closely follow Russian media. It’s about Sergey Glazyev’s (presidential aide) plan for Russia’s immediate economic future.  The plan was formally proposed to Russia’s Security Council. Here is a very good summary on how Russia’s Security Council works. There are at least three absolutely key points in Glazyev’s plan. We may summarize them like this:  • If the emerging trend of freezing private assets of Russian legal entities and individuals continues, Russia should consider full or a partial moratorium on the servicing of loans and investment from the countries involved in the freezing. • The amount of foreign currency assets of the Russian Federation located in the jurisdiction of NATO countries accounts to more than $1.2 trillion, including short-term debt of about $800 billion. Their freeze may be partially offset by retaliation against NATO assets in Russia, which amounts to $1.1 trillion, including over $400 billion long-term. So this threat would be neutralized if Russian monetary authorities organized a timely withdrawal of Russian short-term assets in the US and the EU. • Glazyev is adamant that the Russian Central Bank continues to serve the interests of foreign capital – as in the financial powers in London and New York. He contends that the high interest rates practiced by the Russian Central Bank led Russian oligarchs to borrow more cheaply from the West, making the Russian economy dependent, a debt trap which the West used to slowly squeeze Russia. Then the rigged Western oil and ruble collapse increased the pressure as debt service in ruble cost and interest doubled. [...] So what Glazyev proposes, essentially, is that Moscow must gain total control of its Central Bank, preventing speculators to move their credit around for non-productive purposes; Moscow should also establish currency controls; and must create a central organization of technological research to replace the loss of Western technology, imitating the US methodology of rolling out from its centralized military research those technologies that can be commercialized for the consumer market. The fact is Russia has lost access to Western credit and cannot roll over its debt with the creditors. So Russia will have to pay the principle and the interest as it comes due. That is a trillion dollars plus interest. Russia also cannot import anything from the West without paying double for it. So arguably the country may be now in the very position it will be if Moscow opts for default. Thus, Russia would have nothing to lose by a default - as the damage is already done." [...]  Essentially, once again, a Russian default on a $1 trillion-plus debt to private Western parties remains a possible scenario discussed at the highest level – assuming Washington will persist in its anti-Russia demonization campaign. [...] It’s clear the squeeze Russia is feeling has less to do with sanctions than the grip maintained by Western financial powers over the Russian Central Bank. The Russian Central Bank did create a debt trap by maintaining high interest rates in Russia while the West was lending at low interest rates. Needless to add, such a default, if it ever happened, would collapse the entire Western financial system. One should never forget the Big Picture; the Syria/Ukraine/sanctions saga runs in parallel to Russia-China and closer BRICS integration shifting the balance of geopolitical power. For the ‘Masters of the Universe’, this is beyond anathema. Enter, for instance, the use of cash settlement through their Wall Street proxies to raise the A shares of China to hysterical highs and then try to crash their entire stock market by a reverse cash settlement rig as in 1987. China is moving toward their own SWIFT payment system, not to mention a whole new Chinese-led set of international institutions independent of US control. Russia, for its part, recently passed a bill that would allow the seizing of foreign assets if Russian assets in the West are seized. As Glazyev pointed out, investment in Russia by the West are more or less equivalent to investments of Russia in the West. The ‘Masters of the Universe’ may keep insisting on using financial weapons of mass destruction. Russia, silently and with a few key facts in the Caspian Sea, is letting them know it’s ready for whatever scenario they can come up with. A less apocalyptic ending may be healthy. [...]  So here’s a popular joke in Moscow nowadays, as told by William Engdahl... Putin is back in the Kremlin after his meeting with Obama in New York. He tells an aide he invited Obama for a game of chess. And then he tells it how it works: “It’s like playing with a pigeon. First it knocks over all the pieces, then it shits on the board and finally struts around like it won.”"  Related: "BRICS Industry Ministers Meet In Moscow" Printer Friendly Version 

Convolutions: "Traders Are Panic-Selling T-Bills After Jack Lew Warns Of "Terrible" Debt Limit Accident" Ø Hedge [10/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "The one-month-ish Treasury Bills that mature November 18th are collapsing. Following comments this morning by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that the US will run out of cash on November 3rd and his warning of a "terrible" debt limit accident, the 11/18/15 T-Bills have seen yields explode from -1bp to 7bps - an unprecedented 8bps spike as investors panic-sell beyond the deadline. "Our best estimate is November 3rd is when we'll exhaust what we call extraordinary measures; those are things we can do to manage things. I will run out of things that I can manage on November 3rd," Lew told CNBC's "Squawk Box." Lew insisted that a hike is not a commitment to new spending but an ability to pay the bills on money already spent. Conservatives have in the past targeted the borrowing limit as leverage in budget negotiations. Lew dismissed the idea that the government could prioritize what bills to pay. "Once you no longer consider all of your obligations rock solid, you're no longer the full faith and credit of the United States." "It's also not possible to pick and choose. We have about 80 million transactions a month. Our system wasn't set up not to pay," he added. So that leaves less then 2 weeks for the dysfunctional GOP to agree to a debt ceiling increase... is it any wonder that traders are dumping anything beyond Nov 3rd en masse. [...] As The Wall Street Journal adds, A selloff that started on Friday in T-bills deepened on Monday, sending the yield on the bill maturing on Nov. 12 to the highest level since 2013, when last time the market was rattled by debt ceiling fear. Monday's selloff spread to all four bills maturing during the course of November. [...]  For now concerns about Lew's warning of a terrible debt accident are limited to the bond market. As we said over the weekend when noting the record negative 1 Year Japanese T-Bills, "this is happening while equities ignore absolutely everything taking place in the world and trade purely on technicals and "hope" for even more future liquidity flow out of central banks." One hopes the republicans who need to quickly decide how they will extend the debt ceiling are as concerned about the T-Bill market as they have been about stocks, or else the market will need to stage a violent wake up call in the next 2 weeks to mirror what is already taking place with T-Bills."[...]"  Note: Keeping track of mind set dynamics.  Related: "Debt Ceiling Debate: Don't Mention Warfare/Welfare State" Printer Friendly Version   I guess they're forgotten the concept mentioned below:

Concepts and Practices: "Treasury Again Rules Out The 'Trillion-Dollar Coin' Option To Avert The Debt Ceiling" [10/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "The US Treasury Department has once again ruled out the potential use of a platinum coin as a way to break the nation's debt ceiling in the event Congress fails to raise its limit. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told congressional leaders earlier this week that Congress would need to raise the nation's borrowing cap by November 3 to avoid a potential default on obligations. [...] "Some commentators have suggested that the President could invoke the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution as a justification for issuing debt in excess of the debt limit. Others have suggested that Treasury could mint and issue a large-denomination platinum coin to obtain cash without exceeding the debt limit," the Treasury Department's Daniel Watson wrote in a blog post Friday. He continued: "But as we've said before, the Fourteenth Amendment does not give the President the power to ignore the debt ceiling. And neither the Treasury nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to produce platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit." The trillion-dollar-coin option gained popularity at the start of 2013 — with the help of outlets like Business Insider — when the US was brushing up against another debt-ceiling deadline. [...] The idea is simple: It would take an extreme reading to an arcane law dealing with platinum bullion coins. That law specifies that the Treasury secretary has discretion over the denomination of those platinum coins. But the Treasury Department argued, again, that Congress and only Congress could raise the nation's debt ceiling. It also rejected the idea that it could "prioritize" certain payments in the event of a breach, pointing to a quote from Lew in 2013. "How can the United States choose whether to send Social Security checks to seniors or pay benefits to veterans? How can the United States choose whether to provide children with food assistance or meet our obligations to Medicare providers?" he asked. [...] "

MSM: "FBI, DOJ Probe Into Alleged Goldman Sachs Money Laundering" [10/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) have initiated scrutiny of Goldman Sachs Group's alleged corruption and money laundering activities in Malaysia. A possible international scandal and a destabilizing factor for US financial markets, the joint FBI-DoJ probe will examine Goldman Sachs' position as advisor to a Malaysian development fund, which is presumably politically connected enough to have established a profitable business for several years. The US authorities said they are only gathering information at this point, without accusing Goldman Sachs of any irregularities so far; however, this case might become a turning point in the US government's control over corporate America. [...] Malaysian state-controlled investment fund 1Malaysia Development (1MDB) has been accused of laundering as much as $700 mln to benefit the nation's Prime Minister Najib Razak this July. That same month, Malaysia's anti-corruption watchdog searched the local offices of Goldman Sachs for documentation concerning the US firm's relations with 1MDB. Now that the case has drawn the attention of the FBI and DoJ, the situation might unravel into a full-blown scandal. 1MDB performed several transactions, channeling money to PM Razak's bank accounts, during the period when Goldman Sachs acted as advisor to the fund. The Malaysian authorities were intending to hush up the affair, as the nation's attorney general said on Tuesday that his decision to put a stop to the Malaysian central bank's investigation was motivated by lack of evidence of the fund's circumventing the law.[...]" 

MSM:"Walmart’s Stock’s Selloff Hinges On Perceived Economic Gloom"[10/16/15 Printer Friendly Version "A closer look at Walmart’s announcement, however, shows the giant retailer adjusting to changing market conditions, not necessarily shrinking. First, in order to draw to itself new workers in an increasingly competitive marketplace, the company announced in April that it would raise starting wages to $9 an hour, and to $10 an hour starting next year. That cost the company $1.2 billion this year, and will cost it another $1.5 billion next year. Second, many of its 4,600 stores are getting long in the tooth, and the shoppers’ “experience” has declined as a result. The company’s internal “red” light or “green” light rating on customer service, cleanliness, and efficiency had put a majority of those stores on “red” alert. The company is committing $1.5 billion in new training programs for the new people it is hiring to turn that around. It’s already seeing some positive results: Two-thirds of the company’s stores are now in the “green.” Even that isn’t satisfactory, said Greg Foran, Walmart’s head of its U.S. business: “That is really only getting us to at best, mediocrity. So that bar is now being moved up so that a whole bunch of stores that were “green” are now going to find themselves “red” — but they’ve been told that.” And then there’s Amazon, which has continued to eat away at Walmart’s brick and mortar business with competitive prices, free shipping, and shopping at home convenience. As a result Walmart is making massive investments in its own e-commerce operations, expecting that its huge network of distribution centers will allow it to compete with Amazon with speedier deliveries.[...]" Related: "Wal-Mart Heirs See $11 Billion Vanish in a Day as Shares Plummet" Printer Friendly Version "The four members of the Walton family controlling more than half the shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had $11 billion of their combined net worth evaporate Wednesday as shares of the retailer plunged on a lower earnings outlook for the coming fiscal year. They aren’t the only members of the index to suffer large losses this year. Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim has the largest individual loss with $12.5 billion, followed by Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is a Wal-Martinvestor, at $12.1 billion. [...]"

MSM: "US Hedge Fund Threatens Peru Over Military Regime’s Debt" [10/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "A U.S. hedge fund is threatening to sue Peru for payment of US$5.1 billion in unpaid bonds issued by the country’s former military government.  The fund, Gramercy, purchased the defaulted debt in 2008 for pennies on the dollar and is now demanding full repayment. The tactic is similar to one employed by another U.S. hedge fund, Elliot Management, which has tried to use the U.S. legal system to compel the government of Argentina to repay the full amount of its own defaulted bonds. “It’s ironic that this threat is coming amidst global meetings in Peru that continue to try and stop this kind of predatory behavior,” said Jubilee USA executive director Eric LeCompte, referring to the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund currently taking place in Lima. Firms that try to collect defaulted debt in this manner are disparagingly referred to as “vulture funds.” Gramercy is specifically threatening to sue Peru through a tribunal system known as the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, or ISDS. Peru’s finance minister, Alonso Segura, said on Friday that the government would oppose any legal action outside its borders. “That’s not going to happen,” he said. “This issue will be dealt with by Peruvian laws.”  The ISDS is comprised of special legal tribunals, often established through “free trade” agreements, that allow corporations in one country to collect on debts in another. Critics argue the system prevents country’s from overcoming crippling debts—in Peru’s case, debts incurred by an unelected military regime. An ISDS-style trade tribunal is reportedly part of the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes Peru and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. As an alternative to the ISDS, the Union of South American Nations is currently reviewing a proposal to establish a regional Arbitration Center, which would analyze and propose mechanisms to reform arbitration proceedings that could take into account the broader needs of the society and continent as a whole. [...]" Note: Debts incurred by an unelected regime could be considered 'odious debt', discharging it. 

MSM: "Baltic Dry 'Bounce' Is Dead - Freight Index Lowest In 29 Years For Time Of Year" Ø Hedge [10/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "Since the mid-July peak, when Jim Cramer warned the market's "last shred of hope was the freight index holding up," The Baltic Dry Index has been in free fall (at a time with very positive technicals). In fact, today's drop to 809 is the lowest in over 3 months and the lowest for this time of year since 1986! Even as stocks have soared in the last 10 days, The Baltic Dry shows no signs of a pick up in freight traffic demand, instead quite the opposite.[...]"  

Documentary: "Stealing Africa (2012) "Glencore And Zambia:How Multinationals Drain Africa" [10/12/15] [58:27] "Zambia's copper resources have not made the country rich. Virtually all Zambia's copper mines are owned by corporations. In the last ten years, they've extracted copper worth $29 billion but Zambia is still ranked one of the twenty poorest countries in the world. So why hasn't copper wealth reduced poverty in Zambia? Once again it comes down to the issue of tax, or in Zambia's case, tax avoidance and the use of tax havens. Tax avoidance by corporations costs poor countries and estimated $160 billion a year, almost double what they receive in international aid. That's enough to save the lives of 350,000 children aged five or under every year. For every $1 given in aid to a poor country, $10 drains out. Vital money that could help a poor country pay for healthcare, schools, pensions and infrastructure. Money that would make them less reliant on aid. [...]"  

MSM: "US Unable To Lure Trillions Of Dollars Back From Offshore" [10/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "While Washington is tracking and controlling large financial transactions across the world many US companies continue to use various schemes to avert taxes on their native soil. The largest American companies hold nearly $2.1 trillion of their profits in offshore territories to cut their tax payments in the US. If they paid taxes to the US budget, in total more than $620 billion. Experts of the research group Citizens for Tax Justice examined the financial reports of the 500 largest companies in the US. According to their analysis, 358 of them have subsidiaries in tax havens. Nearly $1.5 trillion kept in offshore areas is owned by the 30 largest companies in the US, including Apple, Microsoft and General Electrics. In February, US President Barack Obama proposed the implementation of a 19-percent tax on profits made by US businesses abroad. He also announced plans for a 14-percent tax on foreign assets of US companies.[...]"

Commentary: "How Congress Helps the TBTF Banks Steal Customer Money With Impunity"  Ø Hedge [10/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "There was (at one time) a very important article on Jesse's Cafe Americain blogspot, On the Increased Risk to Customers In the US Financial System,” that illustrates how the US bankruptcy laws now enable theft brazen theft of customer funds by the largest banks.[...] My friend and mentor Walker Todd of AIER, who worked as a legal counsel at the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Cleveland, states the situation succinctly: “Basically, there is a new 7th Circuit opinion saying that there is no reason to impose a constructive trust on a lender's takings of customers' funds from client commodity firms that were used (inappropriately) to secure the firms' borrowings, as long as the lender can say that it did not know WITH CERTAINTY that customers' funds were being re-pledged. Negligence and misappropriation (vs. knowing criminal intent) are now a sufficient excuse for letting the lender keep the money and go to the head of the line for distributions in bankruptcies of the client commodity firms. Spread the word.” [...] Walker goes on to say that this decision does rise to the level of “what were they thinking’ when the Powers That Be think that somehow this is saving or strengthening the financial system. He refers to the now infamous 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation, where the banks made themselves senior to the very customers and savers they are supposed to protect. Pollock summarizes the situation nicely in the article: "The way I read it was that basically you no longer have property rights. If you have your money in any (US) financial institution, you now have no property rights because in a crisis situation a bankruptcy judge now has the right to say that all of this speculation (by the banks and brokers) takes precedence over your savings."[...] I won't go over all of the fine post from Jesse's Cafe Americain, but here are a couple of basic recommendation to readers of ZH and investors generally about the custody of customer funds: First, no customer should EVER use a broker-dealer as custodian, either for securities or cash. The 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation and the Seventh Circuit decision make clear that customers of a broker dealer have no legal protection from the predatory behavior of the large banks that clear for these firms. Second, no customer should maintain funds in a depository about the FDIC insured limit if that bank has a broker dealer subsidiary. Based on my reading of the Seventh Circuit decision, it is entirely possible for a bank to place a broker dealer affiliate into bankruptcy and then raid the customer accounts to protect the bank. Keep in mind that the Seventh Circuit is simply interpreting the law as changed by the lobbyists for the TBTF banks.  Third, everyone in the financial markets needs to start pressing members of Congress to repeal the 2005 bankruptcy reform laws in its entirety. The bankruptcy reform legislation passed during Bush II is one of the most hideous laws ever passed by the national congress. And this travesty was supported and encouraged by the Fed and other regulators, proof again that the zombie banks are calling all of the shots in Washington.[...]"  Related: "Customer Deposits As Property Of The Bank" Printer Friendly Version | Flashback: "The G20 Just Stole Your Bank Account" Nov 2014 Printer Friendly Version "Russell Napier is declaring November 16, 2014 as “the day money dies,” and this constitutes today’s Zero Hedge’s headline. According to Zero Hedge, Napier says the G-20 will announce “that bank deposits are just part of commercial banks’ capital structure, and also that they are far from the most senior portion of that structure.” This means that following a bank failure, “a bank deposit is no longer money in the way a banknote is.” This G20 legislation will formally push down bank accounts through the capital structure to a position of being mere material capital risk in any ‘failing’ institution. In our last financial crisis, deposits were de facto guaranteed by the state, but beginning November 16th holders of large-scale deposits will be just another creditor fighting to regain their share of the assets of a failed bank,” according to Zero Hedge. [...]" Note: Kind of unnecessarily alarmist ... trust your path is the best advice. Take a look at your natal chart and see what the experiences in life are supposed to be, for you ... resources from your own efforts, money given by others, or a combination of those, or not, relate to what is present in your natal chart. 

MSM: "China, Russia, Norway, Brazil, Taiwan Dump US Treasuries" [10/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "Five large purchasers of US Treasuries – China, Russia, Norway, Brazil, and Taiwan – have changed their minds. They’re dumping Treasuries, each for their own reasons that are now coinciding. And at the fastest rate on record. For the 12-month period ended July, sales of Treasuries by central banks around the world reached a net of $123 billion, “the biggest decline since data started to be collected in 1978,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Not all central banks were sellers. India added $36.6 billion to its stash over the 12-month period. And the Fed, which after five years of QE is sitting on more Treasuries than any other central bank, is hanging on to its pile of $2.45 trillion, diligently rolling over any maturing debt. This is what that staggering reversal of flows looks like; note how foreign central banks started curtailing their purchases already in 2013, when the end of the Fed’s QE moved into sight: [...] But for every sale there must be a buyer. And there were plenty of them, companies, funds, and individuals around the world. And if push comes to shove, and Treasuries begin to spiral out of control under toxic selling pressure, the Fed, which stops before nothing, would jump in and buy whatever China is selling. Or at least, everyone assumes that it would. And so yields have stayed low. In fact, the government was able to auction off thee-month T-bills at a yield of zero for the first time in history, just when central banks are dumping Treasuries, and despite a multi-day rally in stocks.[...]"   

Commentary: "Signs That The Great Derivatives Crisis Has Now Begun" [10/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "...On a very basic, primitive level, derivatives trading is gambling. Derivatives are bets. This is not a metaphor, or analogy, or generalization. Derivatives are bets. Period. That’s all they ever were. That’s all they ever can be.  [...] One very large financial institution that appears to be in serious trouble with these financial weapons of mass destruction is Glencore. At one time Glencore was considered to be the 10th largest company on the entire planet, but now it appears to be coming apart at the seams, and a great deal of their trouble seems to be tied to derivatives. Of particular concern, they said, was Glencore’s use of financial instruments such as derivatives to hedge its trading of physical goods against price swings. The company had $9.8 billion in gross derivatives in June 2015, down from $19 billion in such positions at the end of 2014, causing investors to query the company about the swing.[...] Information ... from Investment Research Dynamics, and it shows very clearly that everything is not “okay” in the financial world… Something occurred in the banking system in September that required a massive reverse repo operation in order to force the largest ever Treasury collateral injection into the repo market. Ordinarily the Fed might engage in routine reverse repos as a means of managing the Fed funds rate. However, as you can see from the graph below, there have been sudden spikes up in the amount of reverse repos that tend to correspond the some kind of crisis – the obvious one being the de facto collapse of the financial system in 2008:(graphs) What in the world could possibly cause a spike of that magnitude? Well, that same article that I just quoted links the troubles at Glencore with this unprecedented intervention…[...] The blame on the general stock market plunge was cast on the Fed’s inability to raise interest rates. However that seems to be nothing more than a clever cover story for something much more catastrophic which began to develop out sight in the general liquidity functions of the global banking system. Back in 2008, Lehman Brothers was not “perfectly fine” one day and then suddenly collapsed the next. There were problems brewing under the surface well in advance. Well, the same thing is happening now at banking giants such as Deutsche Bank, and at commodity trading firms such as Glencore, Trafigura and The Noble Group. And of course a lot of smaller fish are starting to implode as well." [...] On September 11, Spruce Alpha, a small hedge fund which is part of a bigger investment group, sent a short report to investors. The letter said that the $80 million fund had lost 48% in a month, according the performance report seen by Business Insider. There was no commentary included in the note. No explanation. Just cold hard numbers. Wow – how do you possibly lose 48 percent in a single month? It would be hard to do that even if you were actually trying to lose money on purpose. Sadly, this kind of scenario is going to be repeated over and over as we get even deeper into this crisis.[...]"  Related:See below: "Will Glencore’s Financial Troubles Trigger An International Collapse?" [10/02/15] 

MSM: "Banking Malware Masked as PayPal App Targeting Android Users" [10/07/15] Printer Friendly Version "Hackers are targeting users with fake PayPal app update email which actually comes with an embedded link of an Android banking malware. Recently, an email circulation has been let loose by hackers. This email looks quite official in design and content, asking the recipient to update their Android PayPal app. If the users click on the given link, a download is triggered. This download is a mobile online banking Trojan that has been detected by Trend Micro as AndroidOS_Marchcaban.HBT. [...]" 

Commentary: "CFPB To Consider Rules That Would Revoke Banks’ License To Steal" [10/07/15] "The lengthy, often complicated terms of use for more than half of all credit cards — and nearly half of all federally insured bank deposits — include clauses that force customers into arbitration, taking away their right to sue these companies in a court of law and usually blocking them from joining together in a class action. Critics argue that these forced-arbitration clauses allow banks and other businesses to break the law with impunity. Heeding the call of lawmakers and consumer advocates, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has decided to consider rules that would ban this practice among financial institutions. [...]"  

MSM: "World's Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund Is Forced To Begin Liquidating Assets" Ø Hedge [10/07/15] Printer Friendly Version "One of the biggest stories of this summer, as previewed originally here in November of 2014, has been the dramatic shift in the direction of capital flow from toward emerging markets (and China), to away from emerging markets (and China). The reason for this has been the double whammy of the soaring dollar, and the collapse in oil prices which as we said one year ago, would lead to the first negative global petrodollar export balance in 18 years...  [...]"  Note: Interesting .. it was said to be coming by Martin Armstrong back in an April video. See below

Commentary: "Interview With Martin Armstrong" Sep 2015 [10/04/15] [22:09] "Interview with Martin Armstrong, a financial guru who used the number pi in the nineties to predict economic turning points with precision. With his secret knowledge Martin Armstrong predicted the exact date of the October crash in 1987, the decline of the dollar in 1986 and the Nikkei crash in 1989. He was named economist of the decade. The Japanese just called him Mr. YEN. The FBI stormed his offices in 1999 trying to force him to hand over his secret model, which he would not. A few weeks later he was incarcerated for seven years for contempt of court without a trial. Now Martin Armstrong is back -- released from prison. [...]" Related: "Martin Armstrong: Sovereign Debt Big Bang Scheduled 2015.75 (Q4)" [35:58] April 2015 | "Martin Armstrong-Big Losses Coming in the Bond Market [26:33]| "October: What To Watch" [2:11] 30 Sep 2015 Also mentioned that the High in the Market will be in 2017

Commentary: "The Bankruptcy Of The Planet Accelerates – 24 Nations Facing Debt Crisis" [10/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "There has been so much attention on Greece in recent weeks, but the truth is that Greece represents only a very tiny fraction of an unprecedented global debt bomb which threatens to explode at any moment. As you are about to see, there are 24 nations that are currently facing a full-blown debt crisis, and there are 14 more that are rapidly heading toward one. Right now, the debt to GDP ratio for the entire planet is up to an all-time record high of 286 percent, and globally there is approximately 200 TRILLION dollars of debt on the books. That breaks down to about $28,000 of debt for every man, woman and child on the entire planet. And since close to half of the population of the world lives on less than 10 dollars a day, there is no way that all of this debt can ever be repaid. The only “solution” under our current system is to kick the can down the road for as long as we can until this colossal debt pyramid finally collapses in upon itself. As we are seeing in Greece, you can eventually accumulate so much debt that there is literally no way out. The other European nations are attempting to find a way to give Greece a third bailout, but that is like paying one credit card with another credit card because virtually everyone in Europe is absolutely drowning in debt. [...]"  Note: According to Martin Armstrong , the world 'core economy' (US/$) would be the last one to collapse. See this video, time ref 12:00 min. Interesting to listen to, for an inside analysis of the financial situation. He seems to think that around Oct 2015, things like pension funds will begin to be impacted, and so on ...when the pension funds begin to collapse, civil unrest will begin to occur (300 year cycle) as people realize they've been left out in the cold. The bond market will follow [26:23] at some point. See the video of the Interview With Martin Armstrong ... An interesting parallel dynamic.

Commentary: "Will Glencore’s Financial Troubles Trigger An International Collapse?" [10/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "Investors in the stock of Glencore, the giant commodities mining and trading company founded by Marc Rich (disgraced friend of Bill Clinton), lost almost a third of their portfolios’ value on Monday, only to see the company’s stock price rebound strongly the next two days. The company’s statement seemed reassuring to those unwilling to dig deeper: We have positive cash flow, good liquidity and absolutely no solvency issues. Glencore has no debt covenants [about to be triggered] and continues to retain strong lines of credit and secure access to funding thanks to long term relationships we have with the banks…. We ... are confident the medium and long-term fundamentals of the commodities we produce and market remain strong into the future. A primary driver behind Glencore’s troubles is China. Its slowing economy is reducing the demand for all the commodities that the company mines or trades for: copper, zinc, grain, nickel, and aluminum. As prices of these commodities have crashed (25 percent compared to just one year ago), so has the company’s revenue stream. This caused the financial services firm Investec to issue this warning, heavily laden with “investment-ese” but clear enough to trigger Monday’s selloff: Using a PE-based approach to evaluate [Glencore’s] equity value going forward … we note that the heavily indebted companies [Glencore, Anglo American] could see almost all equity value eliminated … leaving nothing for shareholders…. [Glencore’s] recent restructuring may prove just the start [of the selloff] for the majors if [commodity prices remain low]. This supports our concern that we are still a distance from the “value point” in this sector. In English: if commodity prices don’t rebound soon, Glencore’s recently announced efforts to improve its balance sheet will fall short of rescuing the company from massive defaults. At the moment the company employs around 181,000 people around the globe, operates more than 30 mines from Australia to Africa to South America, controls more than 150 mining, metals, and oil production facilities, and enjoys revenues approaching a quarter of a trillion dollars a year. It also operates one of the world’s largest commodities trading desks on the planet, making markets in those commodities which it produces. It also has debt that exceeds the company’s total value, twice that of its nearest competitor, Rio Tinto. It stock market capitalization has fallen from $60 billion in March of 2011, when Rich took the company public, to just $16 billion at present. With $30 billion in debt, measures like selling more shares, selling off one of its units, and suspending dividends aren’t likely to make much of a difference. Its stock has lost 73 percent of its value in the last 12 months, and its bonds are being offered at just 70 cents on the dollar, if buyers can be found. And insurance against default has nearly tripled in cost just since the first of the year. Standard & Poor’s has calculated that, unless something remarkably positive happens, the company has a 53-percent chance of defaulting in the next five years, if not sooner. The fly in the punchbowl, however, is this: If commodity prices drop just another five percent, that will trigger credit downgrades that will push the company’s bonds to junk status. And that event will trigger a ripple effect, as explained by Goldman Sachs: "Glencore’s trading business relies heavily on short-term credit to finance commodity deals, and its financing costs would increase if it were to lose its Investment Grade credit rating. In addition, it could even lose some counterparties due to increased counterparty risk."  This is how Goldman explains the “domino effect” — those counterparties are counting on each other to make good on their promises. If one party defaults, the dominoes come tumbling down. Such a scenario was explained by Nyshka Chandran, writing for CNBC: "Glencore could be the name that drags the entire [commodities] market down because it has an elevated leverage ratio in order to secure high returns…. The firm has many counterparty transactions, so there are concerns about a domino effect [impacting] the leverage of other parties."  [...]"  Related: "Mining Giant Glencore To Sell Gold & Silver Output To Pay Down Debt" Printer Friendly Version | "Glencore’s Crash Is Latest Evidence The Banksters’ Rigging Scheme Is Crumbling" [11:51]  

Commentary: "Investments Drop at a Record Pace: “Frightened Investors Withdrew Near Record $63 Billion”" [10/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "This troubling number underscores what is happening in the markets: $63 billion fleeing mutual funds just in the past three months. It represents another sign that zero percent interest has screwed over the real economy. Rather than “growth” in the form of money pouring into investments, we are seeing a flight from markets as stocks don’t operate as investments, but as zero percent “shares” in the confidence that the Federal Reserve will prevail in some mission to restore monetary integrity. [...]" 

MSM: "Outrage As Brussels Demands Extra €519m From UK taxpayers " [10/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Britain has no control over how the European Union (EU) spends UK taxpayers’ money at a time when Brussels is asking domestic governments to engage in austerity at home, a leading policy analyst has warned. Business for Britain campaign director Robert Oxley sharply criticized the EU on Wednesday after it emerged Britons face an additional EU bill of £384 million (€519 million) in 2016.[...] Policy analyst for Britain’s Open Europe think tank Pawel Swidlicki said the EU should channel its resources from “wasteful and inefficient” areas of spending towards more pressing concerns. Such a move, he argued, could replace the need for spending increases.[...]"  

Commentary: "World Banking Explained In Less Than 2 Minutes" [10/01/15] [1:57] Related: "U.S. Bombs Somehow Keep Falling In The Places Where Obama “Ended Two Wars" Printer Friendly Version "Whatever else one wants to say about Iraq and Afghanistan, one cannot honestly say that Obama ended the wars in those countries. The U.S. continues to drop bombs on both, deploys soldiers in both, kills civilians in both, and engages in a wide range of overt and covert force, all without a shred of Congressional approval. [...]"    

Commentary: "Following In Ancient Rome's Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Wealth Inequality" [09/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "If you want to understand why Rome declined, look no further than the moral decay of ruling Elites. There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too. I've previously covered two other key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline: complacency and intellectual sclerosis, what I have termed a failure of imagination. Michael Grant described these causes of decline in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a short book I have been recommending since 2009: There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea. This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance. This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all. [...] The set of values developed by the early Romans called mos maiorum, Peter Turchin explains in War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires, was gradually replaced by one of personal greed and pursuit of self-interest. “Probably the most important value was virtus (virtue), which derived from the word vir (man) and embodied all the qualities of a true man as a member of society,” explains Turchin. “Virtus included the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to act in ways that promoted good, and especially the common good. Unlike Greeks, Romans did not stress individual prowess, as exhibited by Homeric heroes or Olympic champions. The ideal of hero was one whose courage, wisdom, and self-sacrifice saved his country in time of peril,” Turchin adds."[...]   "Unlike the selfish elites of the later periods, the aristocracy of the early Republic did not spare its blood or treasure in the service of the common interest. When 50,000 Romans, a staggering one fifth of Rome’s total manpower, perished in the battle of Cannae, as mentioned previously, the senate lost almost one third of its membership. This suggests that the senatorial aristocracy was more likely to be killed in wars than the average citizen…. The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed… A graduated scale was used in which the senators paid the most, followed by the knights, and then other citizens. In addition, officers and centurions (but not common soldiers!) served without pay, saving the state 20 percent of the legion’s payroll…. The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen." Now compare that to the situation in Late Antiquity when "an average Roman noble of senatorial class had property valued in the neighborhood of 20,000 Roman pounds of gold. There was no “middle class” comparable to the small landholders of the third century B.C.; the huge majority of the population was made up of landless peasants working land that belonged to nobles. These peasants had hardly any property at all, but if we estimate it (very generously) at one tenth of a pound of gold, the wealth differential would be 200,000! Inequality grew both as a result of the rich getting richer (late imperial senators were 100 times wealthier than their Republican predecessors) and those of the middling wealth becoming poor."[...]"  

MSM: "UBS Is About To Blow The Cover On A Massive Gold-Rigging Scandal" Ø Hedge [09/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "With countless settlements documenting the rigging of every single asset class, it was only a matter of time before the regulators - some 10 years behind the curve as usual - finally cracked down on gold manipulation as well, even though as we have shown in the past, central banks in general and the Fed in particular are among the biggest gold manipulators. That said, we are confident by now nobody will be surprised that there was manipulation going on in the gold casino. In fact, ever since Germany's Bafin launched a probe into Deutsche Bank for gold and silver manipulation, it has been very clear that the only question is how many banks will end up paying billions to settle the rigging of the gold market (with nobody going to prison as usual, of course). Earlier today, we learned that the Swiss competition watchdog just became the latest to enjoin the ongoing gold manipulation probe when as Reuters reported, it launched an investigation into possible collusion in the precious metals market by several major banks, it said on Monday, the latest in a string of probes into gold, silver, platinum and palladium pricing. [...] Here are the details that should come as a surprise to nobody: Global precious metals trading has been under regulatory scrutiny since December 2013, when German banking regulator Bafin demanded documents from Deutsche Bank under an inquiry into suspected manipulation of gold and silver benchmarks by banks. Even though the market has moved to reform the process of deciding on its price benchmarks, accusations of manipulation have refused to go away. Switzerland's WEKO said its investigation, the result of a preliminary probe, was looking at whether UBS, Julius Baer, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui conspired to set bid/ask spreads. "It (WEKO) has indications that possible prohibited competitive agreements in the trading of precious metals were agreed among the banks mentioned," WEKO said in a statement. Don't hold your breath though: "A WEKO spokesman said the investigation would likely conclude in either 2016 or 2017, adding that the banks were suspected of violating Swiss corporate rules." Those, and virtually all other market rules. The good news is that unlike Bart Chilton's charade "inquiry" into silver manipulation when after years of "probing" the CFTC found "nothing", at least the Swiss will find proof of rigging for the simple reason that it is there.  [...]"  

Commentary: "Stock Markets Of The 10 Largest Global Economies Are All Crashing" [09/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "You would think that the simultaneous crashing of all of the largest stock markets around the world would be very big news. But so far the mainstream media in the United States is treating it like it isn’t really a big deal. Over the last sixty days, we have witnessed the most significant global stock market decline since the fall of 2008, and yet most people still seem to think that this is just a temporary “bump in the road” and that the bull market will soon resume. Hopefully they are right. When the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 777 points on September 29th, 2008 everyone freaked out and rightly so. But a stock market crash doesn’t have to be limited to a single day. Since the peak of the market earlier this year, the Dow is down almost three times as much as that 777 point crash back in 2008. Over the last sixty days, we have seen the 8th largest single day stock market crash in U.S. history on a point basis and the 10th largest single day stock market crash in U.S. history on a point basis. You would think that this would be enough to wake people up, but most Americans still don’t seem very alarmed. And of course what has happened to U.S. stocks so far is quite mild compared to what has been going on in the rest of the world. Right now, stock market wealth is being wiped out all over the planet, and none of the largest global economies have been exempt from this. The following is a summary of what we have seen in recent days… [...] "  

Commentary: "Durable Goods Orders Drop Most Since March, Shipments Tumble" [09/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "Durable Goods New Orders dropped 2.0% MoM in August, the biggest drop since March (but modestly beat expectations of a 2.3% drop). This extends the ex-transports YoY losing streak to 7 months of declines flashing recessionary warnings left and right. Perhaps most notable is the 0.2% drop in Capital goods Shipments (dramatically missing expectations of a 0.5% rise) and the weakest print since May. The less volatile ex-transports series stangated in August, on expectations of a 0.1% increase for the month, and dropping 3.9% Y/Y is now also down 7 months in a row. But if headline durables were bad, than core capex in the form of capital goods non-defense ex aircraft both shipments and orders was a total collapse.[...]"  

Commentary: "Deutsche Bank Is Headed For Collapse In Germany" [09/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "... Most observers tend to regard Germany as the strong hub that is holding the rest of Europe together economically, but the truth is that serious trouble is brewing under the surface. As I write this, the German DAX stock index is down close to 20 percent from the all-time high that was set back in April, and there are lots of signs of turmoil at Germany’s largest bank. There are very few banks in the world that are more prestigious or more influential than Deutsche Bank, and it has been making headlines for all of the wrong reasons recently. Just like we saw with Lehman Brothers, banks that are “too big to fail” don’t suddenly collapse overnight. The truth is that there are always warning signs in advance if you look closely enough. In early 2014, shares of Deutsche Bank were trading above 50 dollars a share. Since that time, they have fallen by more than 40 percent, and they are now trading below 29 dollars a share. It is common knowledge that the corporate culture at Deutsche Bank is deeply corrupt, and the bank has been exceedingly reckless in recent years. If you are exceedingly reckless and you win all the time, that is okay. Unfortunately for Deutsche Bank, they have increasingly been on the losing end of things. Prior to the “sudden collapse” of Lehman Brothers on September 15th, 2008, there had been media reports of mass layoffs at the firm. To give you just a couple of examples, CNBC reported on this on March 10th, 2008 and the New York Times reported on this on August 28th, 2008. When big banks start getting into serious trouble, this is what they do. They start getting rid of staff. That is why the massive job cuts that Deutsche Bank just announced are so troubling. [...]  The bank, which has paid out more than $9 billion over the past three years alone to settle legacy litigation, has become something of a poster child for corrupt corporate culture. In April, Deutsche settled rate rigging charges with the DoJ for $2.5 billion (or about $25,474 per employee) and subsequently paid $55 million to the SEC (an agency that’s been run by former Deutsche Bank employees and their close associates for years) in connection with allegations it deliberately mismarked its crisis-era LSS book to the tune of at least $5 billion.  But it was out of the frying pan and into the fire so to speak, because early last month, the DoJ announced it would seek to extract a fresh round of MBS-related settlements from banks that knowingly packaged and sold shoddy CDOs in the lead up to the crisis. JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Citi settled MBS probes when the DoJ was operating under the incomparable (and we mean that in a derisive way) Eric Holder but now, emboldened by her pyrrhic victory over Wall Street’s FX manipulators, new Attorney General Loretta Lynch is set to go after Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC,UBS AG and Wells Fargo & Co. Of course the legal troubles are just the tip of the iceberg of what has been going on over at Deutsche Bank over the past couple of years. The following is a pretty good timeline of some of the major events that have hit Deutsche Bank since the beginning of last year. It comes from a NotQuant article that was published back in June entitled “Is Deutsche Bank the next Lehman?“ […]"  

MSM: "Anonymous Launches ‘Black October’ Campaign Against US Banking System" [09/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "Right on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement’s four year anniversary, activist group Anonymous has launched a new campaign which they say outlines an “easy” way for the 99% to demonstrate their strength and overcome the richest 1%. The statement was released on Anonymous’ website, with a video inviting people to join the peaceful revolution, under the name "Black October." The group calls on "ordinary people" to demonstrate their strength and independence from wealthy banks by simply using cash instead of debit and credit cards. "US branches of Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Spain’s Banco Santander have failed US Fed stress tests, while America’s largest bank, Bank of America, is put on 'warning,'" the statement reads. "How far can the ordinary people shoulder responsibility of a failed private bank?" [...] A stress test, officially known as the Comprehensive Capital and Analysis Review, is an annual assessment conducted by the US Federal Reserve of a bank’s ability to “lend to households and businesses even in times of stress.” It was introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. This year’s review found that both Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander would fail to deal with "doomsday" scenarios such as rising unemployment and plummeting house prices, while Bank of America also has "certain weaknesses." With "Black October," Anonymous asks  Video  [2:01] people to demonstrate their independence from such big banks. The month-long campaign is outlined in Anonymous’ video and statement, inviting people to take their money out of bank accounts and not to use their debit or credit cards. "Show the Big Bankers that we don’t need their debit cards, we don’t need their credit cards, we don’t need their loans, and we don’t need them," Anonymous said. "Let’s show them that we are the 99% and we can beat them. It is that easy." Driven by social and economic inequality, the Occupy movement began on September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park in New York’s Wall Street financial district. The movement was inspired by anti-austerity protests in Spain, and saw thousands of activists in hundreds of US cities coming together and calling for policy reforms favoring 99% of Americans over the richest and most powerful 1%.[...]"  

Commentary: "Peter Schiff Explains The "External Threat" Justifying The Fed's Tyrannical Policies" [09/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "Every dictator knows that a continuous state of emergency is the best means to justify tyrannical policies. The trick is to keep the fictitious emergency from breeding so much paranoia that routine activities come to a halt. Many have discovered that its best to make the threat external, intangible and ultimately, unverifiable. In Orwell's 1984 the preferred mantra was "We've always been at war with Eurasia," even though everyone knew it wasn't true. In its rate decision this week the Federal Reserve, adopted a similar approach and conjured up an external threat to maintain a policy that is becoming increasingly absurd.  [...]"  Related: "Obama Renews 14-Year-Long National Emergency Proclaimed by Bush" Printer Friendly Version "The President explained that terrorist actions "continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States." [...]"  Note: Absurd.  

Quotes: "It's ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations. What kind of freedom is there inside a corporation? They're totalitarian institutions - you take orders from above and maybe give them to people below you. There's about as much freedom as under Stalinism. - Noam Chomsky, The Common Good, 1988.

Corbett Report: "The BIS Foresees The Crisis Their Member Banks Are Creating" James Corbett [09/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "As all eyes turn to this week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting for an answer to the will they / won’t they Fed rate hike question, we face another stark reminder of how the global economy is increasingly at the whim of the central bankers with their hands on the money spigot. The would-be “Masters of the (Phoney, Manipulated) Universe” known as the Federal Reserve board have the power to send the global economy into a tailspin by hiking rates, causing a giant unwind of the almost-never-mentioned dollar carry trade in emerging economies. Or they can waffle again, delay the decision, and keep markets in the precarious limbo they’ve been since the end of the QE3 party and the removal of the punch bowl. They could even, as some suggest, concede their utter failure to even understand let alone implement an easing-based “recovery” and try again with QE4. But wait, there’s a bold new truth-teller on the horizon. One that’s willing to talk about the insanity of this central bank-manipulated economy: “Financial markets have worryingly come to depend on central banks’ every word and deed,” says the oracle. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Claudio Borio, chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements. And the plainspoken, obvious truths about the global economy’s precarious position don’t stop there. We live, Borio noted in a press conference late last week, in “a world in which debt levels are too high, productivity growth too weak and financial risks too threatening.” The market mayhem of August (“remarkable” gyrations of oil price, “sharp price moves with little trading” in FX markets, “dislocations” of equities markets) “were not “isolated tremors, but the release of pressure that has gradually accumulated over the years along major fault lines.” You would be forgiven for thinking that such a screed came from some alternative market commentator, someone far outside the mainstream and likely to be branded as a fearmongering conspiraloon by the economic cheerleaders at CNBC. But the fact that it came from the Bank for International Settlements should actually not be surprising. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard noted in his article on the BIS’ latest report: “The venerable BIS – the so-called ‘bank of central bankers’ – was the only global body to warn repeatedly and loudly before the Lehman crisis that the system was becoming dangerously unstable.” [...]   The crash course for those who don’t know about the BIS: It was founded in 1930 as an outgrowth of Rockefeller Trustee Owen D. Young’s so-called “Young Plan” to chain German payments for the un-payable WWI reparations scam to a consortium of financiers led by J.P. Morgan. It is located in Basel, Switzerland but is above Swiss law by terms of a treaty that makes the bank “inviolable” and free from search, seizure or interference in any way by Swiss authorities. And it was identified as the apex of a global system of oligarchic control in a shockingly frank passage by Georgetown historian (and Clinton mentor) Carrol Quigley in “Tragedy and Hope”:  “The Power of financial capitalism had a far reaching plan, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalistic fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks, which were themselves private corporations.”[...]  

Commentary: "UK: HSBC And The World’s Oldest Drug Cartel" [09/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "HSBC’s core values are under scrutiny. The bank has been implicated in one scandal after another, and the current leadership claims to be wanting to restore the bank’s reputation. But what reputation do they aim to restore? Is it the airbrushed version of a bank rooted in “Scottish banking principles”, or is it an altogether darker reputation reflecting HSBC’s original role as a source of funding for the giant trade of opium into the Chinese markets in the nineteeth century? As one blogger, based in Rochester, USA, put it in 2013:“When HSBC executives were caught late last year financing the Mexican and other drug cartels, they were returning to the company’s historic roots.” As this article from Le Monde Diplomatique explains, HSBC was founded after the second of the Opium Wars, by which time the trade was already well established. The founders included several opium traders who recognised the profitable banking opportunities presented by the new market. As Le Monde Diplo explains: Another Scotsman, Thomas Sutherland, had joined P&O. He devoted his career to the company, worked on the construction of new wharves in Hong Kong and became the Hong Kong superintendent of P&O as well as the first chairman of Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock in 1863. Opium made up 70% of maritime freight from India to China, where it was sold to the Chinese by British compradores, despite all efforts by the Chinese authorities to stop it. Sutherland understood that the time was right for a commercial bank. In 1865 he and a few others founded the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The board was chaired by Francis Chomley, and included the remarkable Thomas Dent, founder of Dent & Co. In 1839 a senior Chinese government official, Lin Zexu, known for his competence and moral standing, issued a warrant for Dent’s arrest in an attempt to close his warehouses, which infringed the Chinese ban on opium. That helped trigger the first opium war, which ended in August 1842 with the unequal treaty of Nanking. After the second opium war (1856-60), the British and French imposed territorial concessions under foreign administration, the opening of Chinese ports to foreign trade and the legalisation of the opium trade. When Sutherland began the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the conflict had been over for five years. The Chinese characters in the transliteration of its name are auspicious, and can be understood to mean gathering wealth. HSBC’s first wealth came from opium from India, and later Yunan in China. [...]" Related: "On The Verge Of Collapse? HSBC To Cut 25,000 Jobs, Slash Billions From Costs" Printer Friendly Version "HSBC will cut costs by as much as $5 billion within two years, laying off as many as 25,000 staff, the banking behemoth told investors Tuesday in a much-anticipated update. The bank said that it would shrink its risk-weighted assets by about $290 billion, including cutting its global banking and markets risk-weighted assets to less than a third of the group’s assets. Europe’s largest bank by assets also revealed plans to streamline its 260,000 strong workforce and trim its branch numbers by around 12 percent. The bank said it intended to sell its Turkish and Brazilian operations—although it will maintain a presence in Brazil to serve large clients—in what the it called a “significant reshaping of its business portfolio”. [...]"  

Commentary: "Greece Implodes" [09/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "Greece became the epicenter of Europe’s debt crisis after Wall Street imploded in 2008. With global financial markets still reeling, Greece announced in October 2009 that it had been understating its deficit figures for years, raising alarms about the soundness of Greek finances. Unforgettably and accurately described by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone magazine that Goldman Sachs was the “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” This was no more true than Goldman leading Greece into this pitiful situation in the first place. GS now faces the prospect of potential legal action over the complex financial deals in 2001 that many blame for its subsequent debt crisis. By the spring of 2010, Greece was shut out from borrowing in the financial markets. it was veering toward bankruptcy, which threatened to set off a new financial crisis. To avert calamity, the so-called troika — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission — issued the first of two international bailouts for Greece, which would eventually total more than 240 billion euros, or about $264 billion at today’s exchange rates. The bailouts came with conditions. Lenders imposed harsh austerity terms, requiring deep budget cuts and steep tax increases. [...]  One of the many victim’s of government spending cuts has been healthcare. In the four years to 2014 there was a 22 percent cut in allocated funding to hospitals alone, there is already a shortfall of 5,000 doctors and 15,000 nurses. By 2015 the cut to hospitals is now 50 percent. Greece’s healthcare system has all but collapsed via financial starvation as the annual spend has been decimated and now accounts for just 4 percent of GDP. They suffer from severe shortages in everything, from sheets and gauzes to syringes. Supplies are critically low, says Athena, a former nurse in a haematology unit. “We do not even have the most basic of materials such as surgical spirit.” [...] Of all 231 nations listed in the World Bank Global Health Database, Greece ranks highly, but the information is now very out of date as far as Greece is concerned. In reality it ranks 211 out of 231 and that includes nations that have a full private healthcare system supported by a private health insurance system. War-torn countries such as Syria, Eritrea, South Sudan and Dem. Rep of Congo spend less, but not much less. Researchers say the harmful effects of austerity are linked to the increasing inability of patients to access the health system, large rises in the incidence of infectious disease, and a deterioration in the overall mental health of Greek people. The Greek government – along with its European partners – are in denial about austerity’s severe impact on health. The cost of austerity being borne by ordinary Greek citizens, not bankers or politicians. A 2014 paper published by the medical journal The Lancet highlighted the nation’s deterioration in health, including: [...] Then there’s the corruption. Notably, the pervasive influence of vested interests in the country’s business and political elites. Profits as a share of business income in Greece are a whopping 46%, according to the latest available data. Italy came in second at 42%, with France third, at 41%. (Germany’s share is 39%; the United States’, 35%; and the United Kingdom’s, 32%.) European politicians have made the same mistakes as American politicians before the financial and banking crisis of 2008-09, that is to say encourage excessive indebtedness of some economically weak countries with loan guarantees that they simply can’t pay back. For now, the latest Greek drama isn’t over, but what is worrying is that it is not its last act either. There’s more to come.  Regime change is next as the elite financial forces in Europe are using financial muscle to provoke political outcomes in Athens.[...]"  

Commentary: "What Wall Street Sees In Blockchain Technology" [09/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "Ever since Bitcoin has hogged the limelight as a cryptocurrency that has attracted the masses, the fanatics and even the critics couldn’t help but nod in unison that what makes bitcoin so valuable is its underlying technology. Though how the digital currency would replace the fiat currencies and also meet the standards of conventional regulation is still a subject of discussion, the ledger based technology has already found numerous applications and has now etched its way into Wall Street. Blockchain Technology is well suited for systems where storing, tracking and monitoring of continuous and heavy volumes of data in real time is of paramount importance. Many Startups have emerged in the recent times which want to use this technology to execute and settle trades in quick time, which would save Wall Street banks and investors billions of dollars by radically reducing the lifespan of a transaction.Let us see how various companies have adopted blockchain technology in an attempt to simplify the complexity of the financial world. [...]"  Related: See below: "Nine Massive Banks Just Teamed Up To Take The Technology Behind Bitcoin Mainstream" [09/16/15] 

Commentary: "Former New York Stock Exchange Head Says That The Stock Market Is Rigged" [09/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "Richard Grasso acted as the chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange from 1995 to 2003, and he has come out in a recent interview saying that the stock market is rigged. Considering that he spent nearly a decade at the head of the institution, he would obviously have legitimate experience to speak on. The interview was reported by the Wall Street Journal this week and is set to appear on the television show “Wall Street Week” this Sunday. During the interview Grasso said, “A fast market is not necessarily a fair market, as evidenced by that Monday open. Frankly, some of the things that went on that day need very close scrutiny.” Grasso also spoke of how the game was rigged to create an advantage for certain players. “Creating an advantage to an institutional user or a particular type of trader that disadvantages the retail investor is bad for the country, bad for the markets and bad for your business,” he said. Grasso has not been absent of controversy himself, he was actually forced to step down from the NYSE back in 2003 after he was accused of embezzling millions in retirement pay from the organization.[...]" 

MSM: "World Bank Warns Of Financial Turbulence If US Fed Raises Rates" [09/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "The World Bank published a report today warning of possible financial turbulence in developing countries if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates this Thursday. [...]"  

MSM: "Nine Massive Banks Just Teamed Up To Take The Technology Behind Bitcoin Mainstream" [09/16/15] "Nine of the world's biggest banks on Tuesday threw their weight behind blockchain, the technology that powers bitcoin. Barclays, BBVA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, State Street, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS have all formed a partnership to draw up industry standards and protocols for using the blockchain in banking. The partnership is being led by R3, a startup with offices in New York and London headed by David Rutter, the former CEO of ICAP Electronic Broking and a 32-year veteran of Wall Street. Rutter told Business Insider that the plan is to build the "fabric" of blockchain technology for banking, as well as develop ' commercial applications' for banks and financial firms. [...]  He told Business Insider that other banks have already signed up to the partnership, but the timing of the release means they could not be named. The Financial Times reports that Goldman Sachs are also involved in the partnership. The blockchain is the software that both powers and regulates cryptocurrency bitcoin. In its most basic form, it records ownership of bitcoin — money — and transactions — one person paying another. Transactions are signed off by the parties involved using the software, then added to the blockchain, a long string of code that records all activity. Once other transactions are added on in front of an exchange, the transaction is stuck there forever and can't be changed, in the same way you can't change a brick once it's been built into a wall. The software cuts out the need for a "trusted middleman" to sit in between parties in a transaction as it acts as that middleman. [...]"  Note: Also provides for covert transactions with no 'witnesses' ... that Goldman is involved says a lot. 

MSM: "New Jersey State Public Employee Pension/ Health Benefit Plan Deficit Approaching $200 Billion" [09/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "The deficit in state pension and health benefit plans for public employees is fast approaching $200 billion. The unfunded liabilities have reached a staggering $194.5 billion, according to a New Jersey Watchdog analysis of State Treasury records. The shortfall has increased by $19 billion – or roughly 10 percent – in the past year. Here’s a breakdown of bad news that seems certain to result in higher taxes, decreased retiree benefits or both: [...] “These costs are wildly out of step with the private sector and unsustainable for the state and taxpayers,” Treasury spokesman Christopher Santarelli told New Jersey Watchdog. Unchecked, it could be a final nail in the financial coffin of a state that has already suffered nine credit downgrades under the Christie administration. “That, in brief, is New Jersey’s future without meaningful public employee benefits reform – a future that is bleak, burdensome and unacceptable to everyone,” the commission concluded.[...]"  

MSM: "Bank Caught Using Fake Gold As Reserve Capital In Russia" [09/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "Over the past several years, incidents involving fake gold (usually in the form of gold-plated tungsten) have emerged every so often, usually involving Manhattan's jewelry district, some of Europe's bigger gold foundries, or the occasional billion dealer. But never was fake gold actually discovered in the form monetary gold, held by a bank as reserve capital and designed to fool bank regulators of a bank's true financial state. This changed on Friday when Russia's "Admiralty" Bank, which had its banking license revoked last week by Russia's central bank, was reportedly using gold-plated metal as part of its "gold reserves." According to Russia's, as part of a probe in the Admiralty bank, the central bank regulator questioned the existence of the bank's reported quantity of precious metals held in reserve. Citing a source, notes that as part of its probe, instead of gold, the "regulator found gold-plated metal." [...] The Russian website further adds that according to "Admiralty" bank's financial statements, as of August 1 the bank had declared as part of its highly liquid assets precious metals amounting to 400 million roubles. The last regulatory probe of the bank was concluded in the second half of August, said one of the sources. Another source claims that as part of the probe, the auditor questioned the actual availability of the bank's precious metals and found gold-painted metal. The website notes that shortly before the bank's license was revoked, the bank had offered its corporate clients to withdraw funds after paying a commission of 30%. This is shortly before Russia's central bank disabled Admiralty's electronic payment systems on September 7. Admiralty Bank was a relatively small, ranked in 289th place among Russian banks in terms of assets. On August 1 the bank's total assets were just above 8 billion roubles, while the monthly turnover was in the order of 40-55 billion rubles. The balance of the bank's assets was poorly diversified: two-thirds of the bank's assets (4.9 billion rubles) were invested in loans. The rest of the assets, about 30%, were invested in highly liquid assets. Or at least highly liquid on paper: according to the key reason for the bank's license revocation was the central bank's insistence that the bank had insufficient reserves against possible loan losses. The Russian central bank has not yet made an official statement. [...]" 

Concepts and Practices: "Why the Greeks Should Repudiate Their Government’s Debt" [09/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "As Murray Rothbard argued in his seminal essay, “Repudiating the National Debt,” public debt is a wholly different beast than private debt contracted between ordinary individuals. In the latter case, a creditor lends to a debtor a specified amount of their own funds in exchange for a specified payment from the debtor in the future. By making this contractual exchange from which both parties benefit (otherwise they wouldn’t enter into it) the creditor becomes the true owner of the future moneys pledged by the debtor. Consequently, if the debtor fails to make good on the future payment the debtor is really and objectively robbing the creditor of his property. In a just society, the creditor would rightfully be permitted to recover his property unjustly expropriated. Government debt is different. When a government issues debt on the bond market, it is not pledging to make good on it out of its own resources because, as Rothbard points out, it owns no such resources: "For unlike the rest of us, government sells no productive good or service and therefore earns nothing. It can only get money by looting our resources through taxes, or through the hidden tax of legalized counterfeiting known as “inflation.” [...]  What a government pledges to its creditors is payment of the future wealth of its subjects, the taxpayers. This is wealth obtained through violent coercion and pledged without its owner’s consent. Any moral claim the creditors who buy such debt have to repayment from the victims is thus non-existent. Indeed as Rothbard says, Public creditors, far from being innocents, know full well that their proceeds will come out of that selfsame coercion. In short, public creditors are willing to hand over money to the government now in order to receive a share of tax loot in the future. This is the opposite of a free market, or a genuinely voluntary transaction. Both parties are immorally contracting to participate in the violation of the property rights of citizens in the future. By Rothbard’s lights, the only moral response to the Greek crisis is for Greece to repudiate entirely its public debt and let its creditors suffer the consequences. The Greek government, like all governments, acted in a manner akin to a perspicacious school bully who instead of punching people for lunch money, simply took out a credit card in the name of his victims. The fact that the victims might have enjoyed some of trinkets thrown back at them is morally irrelevant. They cannot be held responsible for the debt incurred.[...] " 

Flashback: "US Desperate As Russia And China Collapse Bretton Woods System" Pravda.Ru [09/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "Imposing sanctions on Russia turned out to be a desperate move having nothing to do with Ukraine. Russian and Chinese persistent supplanting of dollar as a reserve currency may reach its aim in the nearest future. Thus, the Bretton Woods system established since 1944 will be collapsed. [...]  A move by Russia and China out of the dollar will ultimately undermine the the Treasury market in the United States and result in the collapse of the global elite's astronomical and continually spiraling $17.5 trillion of dollar-denominated debt, an imposed obligation that translates into $53,000 for every person in the United States. The response by the global elite to the threat is playing out in sanctions and increased military aggressiveness on the periphery of Russia. The threat of war between the nuclear superpowers has not been this bad since the Cold War. Domestically, severe measures are likely to be imposed after the dollar system collapses."  "I believe Washington will become sufficiently desperate to enforce the radical measures that governments throughout world history have always implemented when their currencies were threatened-overt capital controls, wealth confiscation, people controls, price and wage controls, pension nationalizations, etc.," writes Nick Giambruno of Casey Research. "And there's more," Giambruno adds. "The destruction of the dollar will wipe out most people's wealth, leading to political and social consequences that will likely be worse than the financial consequences.[...]"  

MSM: "Everybody Is Preparing for Wrong Outcome in US Economy" Peter Schiff [09/09/15] [4:21] "Peter Schiff interviewed 8/26/2015 [...]" 

MSM: "U.S. Treasury Secretaries And Facebook Executive Laugh About Income Inequality" [09/07/15] [1:04] "If there was ever a “let them eat cake” moment in modern American history, this is it. Earlier this year, at 2015’s Milken Institute Global Conference, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, was moderating a panel with three former U.S. Treasury Secretaries. The topic of income inequality was raised, and they all burst out laughing. The biggest uproar came from the man who orchestrated the 2008 banker bailouts, former Goldman Sachs CEO, Hank Paulson, as Sandberg enthusiastically claps like a privileged, primped out Panem aristocrat. To the right of Hank is Clinton puppeteer Robert Rubin, and all the way to the left, Timmy Geithner… You have to see it, to believe it. In case you forgot, Sheryl Sandberg, was the woman who started the idiotic campaign last year to ban the word bossy. See: The Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Wants to Ban the Word “Bossy”. Because it’s always necessary to distract the ignorant public with meaningless campaigns while you rob them blind. Let’s also revisit Obama’s unbelievably crony choice for Treasury Secretary upon election in 2008, Timothy Geithner.[...] Let’s also revisit Obama’s unbelievably crony choice for Treasury Secretary upon election in 2008, Timothy Geithner." This is what happens when you bail out criminals, as opposed to putting them behind bars: Related: "Matt Stoller Destroys Timothy Geithner in His Epic Review of “Stress Test”" Printer Friendly Version "Timothy Geithner is likely to go down in American history as one of the most dangerous, destructive cronies to have ever wielded government power. The man is so completely and totally full of shit it’s almost impossible not to notice. The last thing I’d ever want to do in my free time is read a lengthy book filled with Geithner lies and propaganda, so I owe a large debt of gratitude to former Congressional staffer Matt Stoller for doing it for me. Stoller simply tears Geither apart limb from limb, detailing obvious lies about the financial crisis, and even more interestingly, Geithner’s bizarre bio, replete with mysterious and inexplicable promotions into positions of power. So without further ado, here are some excerpts from this excellent article. From Vice: [...] "Geithner is at heart a grifter, a petty con artist with the right manners and breeding to lie at the top echelons of American finance at a moment when the government and financial services industry needed someone to be the face of their multi-trillion dollar three card monte. He’s going to make his money, now that he’s done living his life of fantastic power after his upbringing of remarkable mysterious privilege. After reading this book and documenting lie after lie after lie, I’m convinced that there’s more here than just a self-serving corrupt official. There’s an entire culture, of figures at Treasury, the Federal Reserve, in the entire Democratic Party elite structure, and in the world of journalism, a culture in which Geithner is seen as some sort of role model." – From Matt Stoller’s fantastic article, "The Con-Artist Wing of the Democratic Party"

Commentary: "Rothschild’s IMF May Be Erased" [09/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "In July, world-changing events occurred, portending the approaching end of Zionist-Anglo- American financial and geopolitical hegemony, but they were ignored deliberately by most Western media. On July 8-9, the seventh summit of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) took place in Ufa, Russia. There, the long-heralded New Development Bank (NDB) was brought finally into existence. However, it was not until July 21, following the official opening in Shanghai, that a few media outlets could force themselves to report half-heartedly about it. Thanks, however, to analysis by the German-language website “National Journal,” AMERICAN FREE PRESS can bring to readers the deeper significance of the above events. Die Welt set the tone on July 25: “Now the battle begins for the global monetary system. The foundation of the ‘New Development Bank’ could cause the global financial system to totter.” As its own website states, the NDB is a “multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS countries . . . as an alternative to the existing U.S.-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund [IMF].” It is thus a sort of declaration of financial war against the international banking cartel owned and controlled by the Rothschild family. The NDB’s stated goal is in direct opposition to the Zionist stranglehold on nations, their peoples and their resources: “The purpose of the bank shall be to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries to complement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.” [...] Since the infamous Bretton Woods agreement after World War II, which created the IMF and World Bank, the U.S. dollar has been the world’s reserve currency—the one nations have needed to engage in international trade, especially for oil. This has been a boon for the bankers, but not for smaller nations. The final knot in the financial noose was deregulation of commodities futures under former President William Jefferson Clinton, enabling the derivatives insanity. [...] As “National Journal” points out, IMF and World Bank “help” for developing countries always requires those nations to punish their people through “austerity,” while imposing “free trade” and “privatization” of various government enterprises, like public utilities and water supplies, to the detriment of the populace. Basically, the banksters become hidden dictators and seize the nation’s wealth. Multiple African countries that formerly fed themselves, for example, became dependent on giant multinational corporations, as local businesses were forced out and high prices starved the masses. By contrast, the NDB is a positive alternative, whose charter prohibits wild speculation with funds and thus prevents profiteering. Mutual benefit for all parties is sought, not the unbridled exploitation and impoverishment of the common man exercised by the IMF and World Bank. The NDB is intended to create real wealth, not a mere transfer of wealth. As such, it may soon become the lender of choice for those nations tired of IMF piracy. [...]  

Commentary: "Russia Is Going To Pass A Law Formally Dumping The U.S. Dollar" [09/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Russian President Vladimir Putin has introduced legislation that would deal a tremendous blow to the U.S. dollar. If Putin gets his way, and he almost certainly will, the U.S. dollar will be eliminated from trade between nations that belong to the Commonwealth of Independent States. In addition to Russia, that list of countries includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Obviously this would not mean “the death of the dollar”, but it would be a very significant step toward the end of the era of the absolute dominance of the U.S. dollar. Most people don’t realize this, but more U.S. dollars are actually used outside of the United States than are used inside this country. If the rest of the planet decides to stop accumulating dollars, using them to trade with one another, and loaning them back to us at ultra-low interest rates, we are going to be in for a world of hurt. Unfortunately for us, it is only a matter of time until that happens. For a long time, tensions have been building between the United States and Russia over Syria, Ukraine, the price of oil and a whole host of other issues. But I didn’t anticipate that things would get to this level quite yet. It is expected that Putin’s new bill will become law, and this is only one element of a much larger trend that is now developing. You see, the truth is that Russia and China have both been dumping dollar-denominated assets for months.  Within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) the countries have also discussed the possibility of switching to national currencies. According to the agreement between Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan, an obligatory transition to settlements in the national currencies (Russian ruble, Belarusian ruble, dram and tenge respectively) must occur in 2025-2030.[...]"  

Documentary: "Money vs. Currency - Hidden Secrets Of Money Ep 1" [09/05/15] [25:55] "1st Episode of Mike Maloney's Hidden Secrets of Money, a series presented by Mike Maloney as he travels the world to uncover the Hidden Secrets of Money. Learning this will change your life, because it will change the choices that you make. If enough people learn it, it will change the world... because it will change the system. For this is the biggest Hidden Secret Of Money. Never in human history have so many been plundered by so few, and it's all accomplished through this... The Biggest Scam In The History Of Mankind. [...]" Related: "Seven Stages Of Empire - Ep 2" [30:18] | "Death Of The Dollar - Ep 3" [36:01] | "Hidden Secrets of Money – Ep4" [29:34] | "When Money Is Corrupted - Ep 5" [29:59] |"End Of USA Dominance: Nails In The Coffin " [24:52] 

MSM: "Is the Stock Market Now "Too Big to Fail"?" [09/05/15] Printer Friendly Version "Correspondent Bart D. recently speculated that the U.S. stock market was now "too big to fail," that is, that it was too integral to the global financial system and economy to be allowed to fail, i.e. decline 40+% as in previous bubble bursts. The U.S. stock market is integral to the global financial system in two ways.Now that investment banks, pension funds, insurers and multitudes of 401K retirement plans are dependent on current equity valuations, a crash would impair virtually the entire spectrum of finance from hedge funds to banks to insurers to pension plans. A decimation of these sectors would impact the U.S. economy and thus the global economy very negatively. By turning the health of the economy into a reflection of the stock market, the Status Quo has made the stock market into the one bellwether that matters. In effect, the stock market is now integral to the economy as a measure of sentiment and evidence that all is well with the economy as a whole. [...]"  

Commentary: "She's Back: Blythe Masters Should Be Behind Bars, Not Pimping Blockchain" [09/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "Blythe Masters is on the cover of the current Bloomberg Markets magazine. The wench associated with JP Morgan derivative scandals including energy manipulation (settled, with a huge fine as cost of doing business) and the principle architect of JP Morgan precious metals market manipulation (too central to the support of the dollar and financial system overall to see regulators doing their jobs) latched on to the Bitcoin Blockchain market last year. The success of that market will help wash away the stain and stench of her past history. Blockchain is wonderful technology and will likely have a major impact on the banking industry. But that has nothing to do with the fact were rule of law operating in the United States, Masters would be behind bars. [...]" Related: Flashback: "JPMorgan Top Exec Blythe Masters Dodges Penalty As Bank Settles Energy Manipulation Charges For $410M" 2013 "JPMorgan Chase JPM +0.00% agreed to pay $410 million to settle charges with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for manipulating electricity prices in the same markets Enron used to play its dirty tricks. Under the supervision of Wall Street power woman Blythe Masters, who was reportedly under scrutiny but escaped sanction, a unit inherited by Bear Sterns designed bidding strategies to trick electronic systems and obtain massive compensation payments sometimes doubling market prices in California and Michigan. The settlement comes as JPMorgan announced plans to get rid of its commodities unit, five years after Masters built it back up again, and also a few days after media reports suggested Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley MS +0.03% and others were manipulation key commodity markets including aluminum and copper. [...]"  See "Creation of Credit Derivatives" on the top of this panel, for more on Masters.

Commentary: "IMF Officials Helped Steal Ukraine Funds - US Investigating" [09/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "Officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are in flight from evidence of negligence, incompetence, and corruption in their management of billions of dollars in loans for Ukraine. Nikolai Gueorguiev, head of the Ukraine team at IMF headquarters in Washington, DC, and Jerome Vacher, the IMF representative in Kiev, refuse to respond to questions on their role in the offshore diversion of IMF loan money through Privatbank and Credit Dnepr Bank, banks owned by Ukrainian oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Victor Pinchuk.[...]" Related: See below: "IMF Ukraine Bailout Money Deposited In Ukrainian/Israeli Oligarch's Offshore Account" [09/01/15] 

Commentary: "Wall Street And The Military Are Draining Americans High And Dry" [09/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "The United States (US) government often cites $18 trillion as the amount of money that they owe, but their actual debts are higher. Much higher. [...] Bottom line, as of August 29, 2015, the government in the USA owes $46.1 trillion (bonds, unfunded pension costs, unfunded healthcare costs, credit card balances and loans).[...] The US government has paid wall street’s way when wall street can’t pay it’s own way. Wall street has promised to pay more than the US government has promised to pay. $0.5 trillion in margin loans and $3.95 trillion in repurchase agreements pale in comparison to $21 trillion in open credit default swaps, a type of derivative. Bankruptcy legislation in 2005 gave derivatives “super priority” status to be paid first when banks go bankrupt. According to BIS, there were $630 trillion in outstanding derivatives earlier this year, about half in the USA. Since wall street doesn’t have $315 trillion to pay their derivatives, who will pay this amount? And how? Even if only 15% of US derivatives go bad, that’s $47 trillion. How would the US government pay for that? The derivative liabilities arising, due to ongoing wall street instability, is an elephant in the room. US government officials, who I contacted, have not responded to questions about how they intend to pay for $46.1 trillion they owe nor have they responded to questions about what their contingency plans are to pay for wall street derivatives gone bad. The possibility exists that US government officials don’t have plans in place to pay the $46.1 trillion they now owe or any plans in place for payment of derivatives gone bad.[...] Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests may lead to discovery of what their plans are. Although, if they don’t have any plans for payment of current debts and future debts, then, no amount of FOIA requests will reveal plans that don’t exist. The point of FOIA requests is brought up because government officials have been evasive in omitting mention of many of their debts. Although the government in the USA currently owes $46.1 trillion, several government officials routinely claim $18 trillion as the US government’s debt figure, omitting government credit card balances, government loans, the debts of government authorities, state debts, municipal debts, unfunded pension debts and unfunded healthcare debts.[...] Much of the $46.1 trillion owed by the US government is because of military and intelligence expenses. [...] The Roman Empire declined and fell due to excessive military costs. The US empire will decline and fall if military/intel/war/secret police costs are not reigned in.[...]" 

Quotes: "Corporations are legal fictions created by the State to shield executives from liability… It’s like if I had a little hand-puppet, and I went to rob a bank, and the hand-puppet held the little gun and told people to hand over all the money, and then the hand-puppet grabbed the money and ran out, and then I got caught and I handed the hand-puppet over the police and then the police tried the hand-puppet, put the hand-puppet in jail, and I get to keep all the money.” ― Stefan Molyneux

Flashbacks: "Martin Armstrong ; Sovereign Debt Big Bang Scheduled for 2015.75" January 2015 [09/02/15] [22:20] "What he is saying is that we will have another economic downturn on or about 10-1-2015... like 2007, however worse... there will be recovery again... and the cycle repeats itself... similar to 2011 where the stock market has risen to where it is today. Then at the end of 2032 there will be the mother of all economic downturns...likely at that time the DOW will be many times where it is today.... however I don't exactly know what the world or the U.S. will be like... I don't know if it is a Mad Max World or like in the movie "Looper" or a repeat of the Great Depression ...Fall of the Roman Empire or a combination of all this... certainly a lot less jobs for certain... likely higher interest rates and a collapse of stock values. One thing that has been clear in his writing is that all Governments will begin heavy taxation as this all collapses... likely there will be further destruction of pensions as cities or states can no longer pay these pensions... so you all may want to plan ahead... like I said you may want to sell your properties and take capital gains tax now as it may be brutal in the future... if your counting on a pension these may also dry up so if you have an option of taking cash value... may want to give this a hard look. [...]" | "War Cycle-Europe Absolute Disaster Zone-Martin Armstrong" May 2015 Printer Friendly Version Video  [31:29] Interview "Global war and civil unrest are also in Armstrong's forecast. Armstrong predicts, "It turned up in 2014. The 300 year model is civil unrest. Going into it was the Occupy Wall Street, but that was peaceful. Next time the Occupy starts, you are going to see much more violence, as you are seeing Europe, but that will probably take place in the U.S. after 2016. In Europe, you are seeing unrest everywhere. . . . Europe seems to be absolutely crumbling. . . . It's an absolute disaster zone everywhere you look." [...] Armstrong, who invented forecasting called the Economic Confidence Model, says, “Knowing how empires die is fundamental to forecasting the world economy.” Armstrong explains, “You have a lot of people talking about hyperinflation, and that’s not how empires actually die. That’s more or less the peripheral type economies like Germany was after WWI. The empires that have actually collapsed, such as Rome or Britain, you don’t see hyperinflation. What you do see is massive debt that just keeps going and going–exactly in the process we are at now. They are trying to sustain power. So then, what do they do? They get very aggressive with taxation and come after you.” What is Armstrong’s take on the current U.S. economy? Surprisingly, he says, “The major economy that we have is still strong underneath. It is still supporting the world economy. Europe is going down. You have all the emerging markets declining, such as Russia and China, etc. We are declining, but it is not as robust as it was before, and it should turn down by the end of next year (2016). The primary thing holding up the U.S. right now is internal capital flows that are coming from everywhere. Part of that is geopolitical. A lot of it is real estate. The high end real estate is still booming. Why? You have a tremendous amount of capital from Europe and even China just trying to get off the grid. They are talking about seizing money in bank accounts. [...] On the subject of the U.S. collapsing, Armstrong says, “The core economy never collapses first. It’s the last thing to go. It doesn’t work that way. It comes from the outside in. If the United States were to collapse first, the entire world would have to collapse.” [...] On market manipulation in all the markets, Armstrong says, “Any manipulation cannot change the direction of the trend. You can go with the trend, increasing the volatility of it, but you can’t turn a bear market into a bull market. Governments try, but if everybody wants to sell, it’s just going to be gone. The confidence has to be there.” [...] " |  "Martin Armstrong-Next Decline Will Be Far Worse Than Last One" 2014 Interview [40:43] "So, is the dollar is not going to fall out of bed anytime soon? Armstrong says, “Not yet. You have to take the dollar up, and that will bring gold down short term. Also, as war begins to happen, you have to realize that capital flees from wherever conflict is. The more conflict you have in the Middle East and Europe, the more money is going to come this way (to the U.S.)” (The reason banks back wars) In closing, Armstrong gave an ominous prediction and said, “The next decline we will see is going to be far worse than the last one. Each one is building in intensity.” [...]"| "Trends: Retirement Pensions And Municipalities" [28:21] Aug 2013 "Fed Reserve is re-implementing Glass-Stegal practices by default. (8:40 ...) informing big banks that they are not going to cover losses in proprietary trading, again, which is why JPMorgan is withdrawing from commodities. All they will cover at this point is outstanding loans and deposits. That's it. JPMorgan will get out of the gold (trading) business, too, at some point, because they will have no choice. The stock market will probably 'go double' between now and sometime in 2015.(It did) There is no place left for capital. Interest rates are going to start to move higher, so you don't want to be in the bond market, many pension funds are now (2013) on the brink of insolvency. There is a tremendous amount of worldwide capital that has to go someplace. Europe has no future at all, so you're starting to see capital move to the US."[...]" Related: Background on Armstrong below:

Flashback: "The World Outlook 1999 Financial Conference- Martin Armstrong" [09/02/15] [54:09] "Martin Armstrong gives advice and an economic outlook that is still relevant today. The conference was held in Vancouver BC, Canada on February 5th, 1999. [...]"  Note: Martin Armstrong, a financial guru who used the number pi in the nineties to predict economic turning points with precision. With his secret knowledge Martin Armstrong predicted the exact date of the October crash in 1987, the decline of the dollar in 1986 and the Nikkei crash in 1989. He was named economist of the decade. The Japanese just called him Mr. YEN. When the FBI stormed his offices in 1999 forcing him to hand over his secret model a few weeks later he was incarcerated for seven years for contempt of court without a trial. Now Martin Armstrong is back -- released from prison after 12 years. He agreed to be the focal point of this movie - a piece on the Financial Crisis we are facing -- the Sovereign Debt Crisis. And he offers a solution to the governments -- a solution how to avoid the Armageddon of Western Society. [...]  Martin Armstrong is one of the most famous economic forecasters alive, but you wouldn’t know it after the whitewashing job he’s suffered at the hands of the federal government and the mainstream financial press. The man who in the 1980s and 90s had central bankers and politicians calling him for advice is now scrubbed from the memory banks of sites like He’s famous, or infamous, for having predicted the October 1987 Black Monday crash to the very day. He also called the Nikkei stock market collapse in 1989 and the Russian financial collapse in 1998. And he hasn’t lost his touch, outfoxing hedge fund managers by predicting last week’s Swiss National Bank decision to abandon its peg to the Euro. Martin is not an Austrian by any stretch, relying on complex mathematical and historical models rather than economic theory. But he is strongly anti-state, anti-central bank, and quick to criticize Keynesian orthodoxy. Martin spent more than a decade in a government cage after being prosecuted by the SEC, including 7 years for the non-crime of contempt of court. Related"Securing The Algorithm" [2:04] "Martin Armstrong's meticulously researched and developed Economic Confidence Model has enormous implications for the world. At one point, everyone from Goldman Sachs to the CIA and FBI wanted it. Armstrong and his team at Princeton Economics took extreme measures to protect the algorithm and the computers it resided on. [...]" |  "The Forecaster Interactive – Cycle of Imprisonment" [4:43] "Martin Armstrong was imprisoned for 7 years for civil contempt, one of the longest-ever such cases in American history. From prison, he continued to work on his economic models, writing articles and analyzing the impact of current events. [...]" |  "The Forecaster Interactive – The Fall of Rome" [1:15] "Seeing the patterns of ancient civilizations like Rome repeated over and over gave Martin Armstrong the historical perspective to see the cycles in confidence and economy. Using the historical record, he predicts the path of modern society, and it isn’t rosy. [...]" See below:

Criminal Corruption: "IMF Ukraine Bailout Money Deposited In Ukrainian/Israeli Oligarch's Offshore Account" [09/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Investigative reporters have discovered that IMF bailout funds intended for Ukraine have mysteriously found their way to a Cyprus bank account controlled by notorious Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. Kolomoyskyi is a citizen of Ukraine, Israel and Cyprus. A huge chunk of the $17 billion in bailout money the IMF granted to Ukraine in April 2014 has been discovered in a bank account in Cyprus controlled by exiled Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, the German newspaper Deutsche Wirtshafts Nachrichten [DWN] reported on Thursday.In April last year $3.2 billion was immediately disbursed to Ukraine, and over the following five months, another $4.5 billion was disbursed to the Ukrainian Central Bank in order to stabilize the country’s financial system. [...] “The money should have been used to stabilize the country’s ailing banks, but $1.8 billion disappeared down murky channels,” writes DWN. Ihor Kolomoyskyi, the former governor of Dnipropetrovsk, is one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, with a business empire that includes holdings in the energy, media, aviation, chemical and metalwork industries. At the center of Kolomoyskyi’s wealth is PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest financial institution, which claimed the bulk – 40 percent – of the bailout money which had been earmarked for stabilizing the banking system. Theoretically, the IMF should retain direct control over the distribution of funds. In fact, it seems that the banks chose their own auditors. DWN notes that the IMF reported in January 2015 that the equity ratio of Ukraine’s banking system had dropped to 13.8 percent, from 15.9 percent in late June 2014. By February 2015 even PrivatBank had to be saved from bankruptcy, and was given a 62 million Euro two-year loan from the Central Bank. “So where have the IMF’s billions gone?” The racket executed by Kolomoyskyi’s PrivatBank was uncovered by the Ukrainian anti-corruption initiative ‘Nashi Groshi,’ meaning ‘our money’ in Ukrainian." According to Nashi Groshi’s investigations, PrivatBank has connections to 42 Ukrainian companies, which are owned by another 54 offshore companies based in the Caribbean, USA and Cyprus. These companies took out loans from PrivatBank totaling $1.8 billion. [...]  Note: Another Orionized sequential criminal running amok.

MSM: "World’s Private Banks Believe Russia Will Not Restructure Kiev’s Debts" [08/31/15] Printer Friendly Version "Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Russia will insist on full repayment of the debt [...] The global private banking and financial sector believes fairly possible Russia will not take part in Ukraine’s debts restructuring, Executive Managing Director of the Washington- based Institute of International Finance (IIF) Hung Tran said on Thursday. If Russia refuses to reconsider the repayment terms for $3 bln worth Eurobonds, viewing them as a sovereign loan, "consequently, the IMF and Ukraine would have to come up with alternative measures to plug any financing gap caused by Russia's action," the expert said. "For private sector bondholders agreeing to the deal, it is important that documentation for the extended/restructured bonds contains well drafted pari passu and cross-default clauses excluding any references to possible Russia-triggered credit events," he added. [...] "Since non-payment by Ukraine to its Eurobond holders has been widely expected, the deal doesn't really change the economic prospects for Ukraine-we expect real GDP to shrink by 10-12% this year with foreign reserves still extremely low at $14 billion at the end of 2015. However, the deal removes a distraction from the government, allowing it to focus on implementing the reform measures[...] IIF is the only global association of commercial and investment banks, funds, insurance companies, brokers, and other financial institution, with nearly 500 members from more than 70 countries."

Commentary: "Why The Great Petrodollar Unwind Could Be $2.5 Trillion Larger Than Anyone Thinks" [08/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "Last weekend, we explained why it really all comes down to the death of the petrodollar. (See related story) [...] China’s transition to a new currency regime was supposed to represent a move towards a greater role for the market in determining the exchange rate for the yuan. That’s not exactly what happened. As BNP’s Mole Hau hilariously described it last week, "whereas the daily fix was previously used to fix the spot rate, the PBoC now seemingly fixes the spot rate to determine the daily fix, [thus] the role of the market in determining the exchange rate has, if anything, been reduced in the short term." Of course a reduced role for the market means a greater role for the PBoC and that, in turn, means FX reserve liquidation or, more simply, the sale of US Treasuries on a massive scale. [...] The liquidation of hundreds of billions in US paper made national headlines this week, as the world suddenly became aware of what it actually means when countries begin to draw down their FX reserves. [...] Yes, the "recycling of Asia-dollars might partly replace the recycling of petrodollars." Unless of course a large Asian country is suddenly forced to become a seller of USD assets and on a massive scale. In that case, not only would the recycling of Asian-dollars not replace petrodollar recycling, but the "Eastern liquidation" (so to speak) would simply add fuel to the fire - and a lot of it. That’s precisely the dynamic that’s about to play out. [...] In other words, looking at the total amount of official reserves for oil exporters understates the potential for petrodollar draw downs by around $2.5 trillion. Now obviously, it's unlikely that exporters will exhaust the entirety of their SWFs. Having said that, the fact that EM FX reserve accumulation turned negative for the first time in history during Q2 underscores how quickly the tide can turn and how sharp reversals can be. If one fails to at least consider the SWF angle then the effect is to underestimate the worst case scenario by $2.5 trillion, and if 2008 taught us anything, it's that failing to understand just how bad things can get leaves everyone unprepared for the fallout in the event the situation actually does deteriorate meaningfully. [...]  So that's the big picture. The above is a discussion of the pressure on accumulated petrodollar investments and is an attempt to show that the pool of assets that could, in a pinch, be sold off to finance things like massive budget deficits (Saudi Arabia, for instance, is staring down a fiscal deficit that amounts to 20% of GDP) is likely being underestimated by those who narrowly focus on official reserves. [...]" Related: "Why It Really All Comes Down To The Death Of The Petrodollar" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"  

MSM: "Pension Funds Sue Big Banks Over Manipulation Of $12.7 Trillion Treasuries Market" [08/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "At least two government pension funds have sued major banks, accusing them of manipulating the $12.7 trillion market for U.S. Treasury bonds to drive up profits, thereby costing the funds—and taxpayers—millions of dollars. As with another case earlier this year, in which major banks were found to have manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), traders are accused of using electronic chat rooms and instant messaging to drive up the price that secondary customers pay for Treasury bonds, then conspiring to drop the price banks pay the government for the bonds, increasing the spread, or profit, for the banks. This also ends up costing taxpayers more to borrow money. In the latest complaint, the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System is suingBarclays Capital, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Securities, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and others, according to Courthouse News Service. Last month State-Boston Retirement System (SBRS) filed a similar complaint against 22 banks, many of which are the same defendants in the Oklahoma suit. [...] “Defendants are expected to be ‘good citizens of the Treasury market’ and compete against each other in the U.S. Treasury Securities markets; however, instead of competing, they have been working together to collusively manipulate the prices of U.S. Treasury Securities at auction and in the when-issued market, which in turn influences pricing in the secondary market for such securities as well as in markets for U.S. Treasury-Based Instruments,” the Oklahoma complaint states. [...] The State-Boston suit, which named Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, UBS and 14 other defendants, makes similar charges. SBRS uncovered the scheme when it hired economists to analyze Treasury securities price behavior, which pointed to market manipulation by the banks. “The scheme harmed private investors who paid too much for Treasuries, and it harmed municipalities and corporations because the rates they paid on their own debt were also inflated by the manipulation,” Michael Stocker, a partner at Labaton Sucharow, which represents State-Boston, said in an interview with Reuters. “Even a small manipulation in Treasury rates can result in enormous consequences.” Both the suits are seeking treble unnamed damages from the financial institutions involved. The LIBOR action earlier this year involved a settlement of $5.5 billion. The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly launched its own investigation into the alleged Treasury market conspiracy. [...]"  

Commentary: "The Dark Side of A Cashless Society" [08/28/15] Printer Friendly Version "Cash and economic freedom are inseparable, that cash is an instrument of laissez-faire and that each implies and requires the other. Here are some significant risks and downsides to going cashless: [...] Discussed: • Enhanced Convenience Also Means Loss of Control • Risk of Confiscation: The convenience of digital money that allows you to spend your money more easily, also makes it easier for banks, governments and thieves to take it. [Bank Bail-Ins, Civil Forfeiture] •Risk Of Theft [ Theft is Easier, Crime is Easier] • Risk of System Failure • Risk of Being Exiled From the System • Risk of Not Having Access to the System • Risk of Creating a Vast Powerful Criminal Underground Economy  • Raises The Cost of Doing Business • Results in a Loss of Freedom • Loss of Property Rights • Loss of Privacy • Loss of Understanding Value & Responsibility [...]"   Related: "Investors Panic As Computer Glitch Stops Showing Account Balances" Printer Friendly Version "A computer glitch is preventing hundreds of mutual and exchange- traded funds from providing investors with the values of their holdings, complicating trading in some of the most widely held investments. The problem, stemming from a breakdown early this week at Bank of New York MellonCorp., the largest fund custodian in the world by assets, prompted emergency meetings Wednesday across the industry, people familiar with the situation said. Directors and executives at some fund sponsors scrambled to manually sort out pricing data and address any legal ramifications of material mis-pricings, those in which stated asset values differed from the actual figures by 1% or more. [...]"  

MSM: "U.S. Prosecutors Investigating At Least 10 Banks For Gold And Silver Manipulation" [08/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "European Union antitrust regulators are investigating precious- metals trading following a U.S. probe that embroiled some of the world’s biggest banks. The European Commission disclosed the review after HSBC Holdings Plc said in a filing earlier this month that it had received a request for information from the EU in April. The watchdog is examining possible anti-competitive behavior in spot trading, Ricardo Cardoso, a spokesman for the regulator, said in an e-mail. U.S. prosecutors have been examining whether at least 10 banks, including Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, manipulated prices of precious metals such as silver and gold. The scrutiny follows international probes into the rigging of financial benchmarks for rates and currencies, which have yielded billions of dollars in fines. The trio was among financial companies that agreed in an EU settlement to pay a total of 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in December 2013 for colluding over derivatives linked to the London and euro interbank offered rates. HSBC remains under investigation in the Euribor case after refusing to join the accord. [...]"  Related: "Are Big Banks Using Derivatives To Suppress Bullion Prices?" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"  

MSM: "Deutsche Bank: "The Fragility Of This Artificially Manipulated Financial System Was Finally Exposed" [08/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Today's dose of vile tinfoil hattery magick comes straight from the bank with the cool $55 trillion or so in derivatives, Deutsche Bank: ... "The fragility of this artificially manipulated financial system was exposed over the last couple of days of last week. It all ended with the S&P 500 falling -3.19% on Friday - its worst day since November 9th 2011. ... "the global financial system remains an artificial construct reliant on the largesse of the authorities." [...]"  

MSM: "JPMorgan Sheds $27.18 Billion in Market Cap in Three Trading Sessions" [08/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, has lost 10.87 percent of its market capitalization in the past three trading sessions. That’s $27.18 billion in three days, raising serious questions about the Federal Reserve’s theory that beefed up equity capital would buffer the mega banks in a market downturn. [...]" Related: "JPMorgan Security Analyst Indicted for $600,000 Fraud" Printer Friendly Version | "JPMorgan Hires 4-Star General Notorious for Extrajudicial Killings in Iraq" Printer Friendly Version  "Proving yet again the ubiquitous ties between government and private interests, four-star General Ray Odierno — who retired as the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff on August 14 — made a rather abrupt leap in career choice to senior adviser for JPMorgan Chase less than a week later. Not that the commander of the 4th Infantry Division — whose notorious reputation during the Iraq “War” included a penchant for indiscriminate, mass detention and extrajudicial killings of civilians — was otherwise considering humanitarian work when the megabank advising position happened to open up. It would seem the new role is perfect for Odierno, as he will be advising CEO Jamie Dimon, the Board of Directors, and the Operating Committee with “international planning and country risk analysis, technology, operations, and the rapidly evolving issues of physical and cyber security,” according to a company statement. JPMorgan’s statement mentions the ex-general’s role with “physical security” in his upcoming duties, but even a cursory glance at the practices by those under his command in Iraq makes those goals seem, well, questionable. Though Odierno’s abrupt transplant from top military commander to high-powered, international banking adviser might have you shaking your head, such a convenient arrangement is far from atypical. As reportedin the Boston Globe in 2010, 80% of generals with at least three stars found placement as executives or consultants in the private sector — largely within the defense industry — nearly immediately upon retirement. [...]"

MSM: "Banks Scammed $437.7 Million First Quarter ATM Fees" [08/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "All those fees at the ATM really add up — making a steady stream of revenue for most major and local U.S. banks. Banks have turned to charging non-customers fees at ATMs as another source of revenue. Major consumer banks netted $437.7 million dollars in revenue from ATMs fees in the first quarter of this year alone, according to a recent report released by SNL Financial. Wells Fargo and Bank America racked in $90 million and $87 million respectively in ATM fees during the first quarter of 2015, followed by Chase with $56 million in ATM surcharges, according to the report. Hikes in ATM fees are seen as a strategy by most banks to offset lost revenue from caps that are set on the amount they can charge retailers for debit-card transactions. The Federal Reserve imposed caps to banks on the amount they could charge retailers on debit card purchases in 2011. On average, a typical banking customer forks over around $2.25 for an out-of-network ATM fee. But, that fee can be as high as $3.00 — a fee that Canada-based TD Bank charges its consumers for using an out-of-network machine. Aside from some non-brick-and-mortar financial institutions, most banks do charge for customers for using out-of-network t machines. The nation's largest banks — Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo — tack on a $2.50 for their out-of-network fee to their customers. [...]"  

MSM: "Chinese Central Banker Blames Fed for Market Crash" [08/26/15] Printer Friendly Version "A researcher with China’s central bank on Tuesday blamed wide expectation of a Fed rate rise in September for the global market rout. Yao Yudong, head of the People’s Bank of China’s Research Institute of Finance, said the expected Fed rate hike next month had been the “trigger” for the wild market swings. Analysts worried that the Fed rate hike could accelerate the plunge of U.S. stocks and trigger a sell-off of assets worldwide and even a new global credit crisis. Yao said the Fed should remain patient before the U.S. inflation reaches 2 percent. Li Qilin, analyst with Minsheng Securities, said the small devaluation of Renminbi could have slightly weighed on stock markets, but it could not explain the huge sell-off in the United States and other countries. Li said the liquidity crunch is a bigger culprit.  The global rout has little to do with economic fundamentals and the Asian financial crisis would not be repeated, Capital Economics said in a research note. But it said if the market plunge continues worldwide, the Fed might postpone its rate hike. Which of course is supremely ironic since Goldman Sachs explains the biggest reason for the China rate cut overnight is the market rout, implying PBOC only cut because of The Fed’s expected hike actions. [...]"  

MSM: " China Has Dumped $100 Billion In Treasuries In The Past Two Weeks" [08/26/15] Printer Friendly Version " ... Recall that one month ago we posted that “China’s Record Dumping Of US Treasuries Leaves Goldman Speechless” in which we reported that China has sold some $107 billion in Treasuries since the start of 2015. When we did that article, we too were quite shocked at that number. However, we – just like Goldman – are absolutely speechless to find out that China has sold as much in Treasuries in the past 2 weeks, over $100 billion, as it has sold in the entire first half of the year. [...]"

Concepts and Practices: "The Unseen Consequences Of Zero-Interest-Rate Policy" Ronald-Peter Stöferle [08/26/15] Printer Friendly Version "In a dynamic economy, an action not only triggers just one effect, but always an entire series of different consequences. While the cause of the first effect is easily recognizable, the other effects often occur only later and no such recognition occurs. Frédéric Bastiat described this phenomenon in 1850 in his ground-breaking essay “What Is Seen and What is Not Seen”: "In the economic sphere, an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them … There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen. Yet this difference is tremendous; for it is almost always the case that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil." [...] A similar phenomenon can be seen with the consequences of artificially suppressed interest rates and monetary stimulus: in the short term, they appear to have positive effects, the long term effects are, however, disastrous. If one studies these processes closely, it becomes clear that the underlying problems cannot be solved by global zero-interest-rate policy (ZIRP), but that this instead undermines the natural selection process of the market. With artificial stimulus like ZIRP, we only end up with a situation in which governments, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, and consumers who should actually be declared insolvent all remain on artificial life support. In line with Bastiat’s thoughts, numerous fatal long-term consequences of zero-interest-rate policies can be identified, but are generally ignored: [...]"  

Quotes: "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." -Frédéric Bastiat

Commentary: "Dow Jones Crashes While ‘Real Wolves Of Wall Street’ Make A Killing" [08/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "Don’t let the headlines completely fool you. Yes, there were huge losers this morning when the Dow Jones industrial average collapsed 1000 points in the opening – but this market free-fall was merely the first act in this financial drama.  It was a devastating drop to be sure, but make no mistake about it: giant fortunes were made as speculators grabbed cheap stock bargains to ride the market – and profits – on the way back up. Stock trader Alessio Rastani said it best when he revealed the true secret to Wall Street wealth: “Personally, I’ve been dreaming of this moment for three years…I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession. When the market crashes… if you know what to do, if you have the right plan set up, you can make a lot of money from this.” Was this a real market event, or was it an engineered, speculative feeding frenzy?[...]" Proof?: Related: "Black Monday August 24th: Exposes Rigged U.S. Markets, Game Tilted In Favor Of Wall Street -As Usual, U.S. Markets Are Spared The Bloodbath by Plunge Protection Team" Printer Friendly Version "If nothing else is learned from today’s Black Monday — black for everyone but Wall Street once the Plunge Protection Team reversed almost half of the 1000 point loss at the opening bell — it is this. That the game has been systematically fixed in favor of the Fed’s golden boys on Wall Street. Everything thing else is fair game on the global monopoly board but Wall Street. No one even denies anymore the incestuous relationship, that has existed practically forever, between Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. There was even the following NYT exposé (linked below) on the highly dubious nature of their ever-deepening financial “affair’. In fact the revolving door between these two financial powerhouses only seems to move faster by the month the more their dirty deeds are revealed. [...]" 

Commentary: "Making Sense Of The Sudden Market Plunge" [08/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "The global deflationary wave we have been tracking since last fall is picking up steam. This is the natural and unavoidable aftereffect of a global liquidity bubble brought to you courtesy of the world’s main central banks. What goes up must come down — and that’s especially true for the world’s many poorly-constructed financial bubbles, built out of nothing more than gauzy narratives and inflated with hopium. What this means is that the traditional summer lull in financial markets has turned August into an unusually active and interesting month. August, it appears, is the new October. Markets are quite possibly in crash mode right now, although events are unfolding so quickly – currency spikes, equity sell offs, emerging market routs and dislocations, and commodity declines – that it’s hard to tell for sure. However, that’s usually the case right before and during big market declines. Before you read any further, you probably should be made aware that, at Peak Prosperity, our market outlook has been one of extreme caution for several years. We never bought into so-called “recovery” because much of it was purely statistical in nature, and had to rely on heavily distorted and tortured ‘statistics’ to be believed. Okay, lies is probably a more accurate term in many cases. Further, most of the gains in financial assets engineered by the central banks were false and destined to burst because they were based on bubble psychology, not actual returns. Which bubbles you ask? There are almost too many to track. But here are the main ones: [...]  But make no mistake, the eventual outcome to all this is captured brilliantly in this quote by Ludwig Von Mises, the Austrian economist: "There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." The credit expansion happened between 1980 and 2008, there was a warning shot which was soundly ignored by ignorant central bankers, and now we have more, not less, debt with which to contend.[...]" Note: Very good detailed overview Related: "When Authorities "Own" The Market, The System Breaks Down: Here's Why" Printer Friendly Version "Central planning asset purchases aimed at propping up prices destroy the essential price discovery needed by private investors. [...]"  

MSM: "Aussie Stock Market Plunges, 60 Billion Wiped Out In Minutes" [08/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "... The Australian share market has had $60 billion wiped off the value of its shares in the worst one-day drop since the Global Financial Crisis, more than six years ago. Related: "The Derivatives Market Is Beginning To Crack" Printer Friendly Version Top 5 American banks have a 200 trillion dollar exposure offshore| "Global Ponzi Scheme Threatens To Implode" Printer Friendly Version | "Dow Tries To Claw Way Back From 1,000-Point Stock-Market Plunge" Printer Friendly Version | "China Injects $100Bn Into Banks To Help Spur Economy" Printer Friendly Version |"Stock Trading In U.S. Will Pause If S&P 500 Plunges 7%" Printer Friendly Version"Investors Report Problems With TD Ameritrade, Scottrade Amid Sell Off" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"  

Flashback: "Martin Armstrong Warns "This Time Is Very Different" May 2015 [08/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "The problem with Socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher [...] For years, I have warned that we will face our worst nightmare – the collapse of socialism. In the death throes of this abomination ... government will become the ugly beast that will devour society to retain power." Of course, they will never see themselves that way, but they will justify in their minds that stripping us of our freedom, rights, privileges, and immunities, is necessary to maintain socialism for the good of the people. [...] This time it is substantially different. Government is now on the hook, which is part of the reason why they are moving to eliminate cash to prevent bank runs and to force society to comply with their demands. This is why we have people like Gordon Brown, who sold Britain’s gold reserves in 1999 making the low, claiming now that eliminating cash will eliminate the boom and bust of the business cycle.[...]   Related: "Why Government Hates Cash" Mises Institute Printer Friendly Version " ... Governments have long hated physical cash because it allows for untraceable purchases. But a bigger problem for governments is the fact that holders of cash can signal a lack of trust in central banks by removing all their cash from the financial system. Now the reason given for suppressing cash is to keep society safe from terrorists, tax evaders, money launderers, drug cartels, and other villains real or imagined. The actual aim of the flood of laws restricting or even prohibiting the use of cash is to force the public to make payments through the financial system. This enables governments to expand their ability to spy on and keep track of their citizens’ most private financial dealings, in order to milk their citizens of every last dollar of tax payments that they claim are due. Other reasons for suppressing cash are (1) to prop up the unstable fractional reserve banking system, which is in a state of collapse all over the world, and (2) to give central banks the power to impose negative nominal interest rates. That is, to make you spend money by subtracting money from your bank account for every day you leave it in the bank account and don’t spend it. [...]"  

Commentary: "No Wrongdoing Here, Just 6,300 Corporate Fines And Settlements" [08/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "I am honored to share a remarkable data base of Corporate Fines and Settlements from the early 1990s to the present compiled by Jon Morse. Here is Jon's description of his project to assemble a comprehensive list of all corporate fines and settlements that can be verified by media reports: "This spreadsheet is all the corporate fines/settlements I’ve been able to find sourced articles about, mostly in the period from the 1990’s up to today (with a few 80’s and 70’s). This is by far the most comprehensive list of such things online. At least that I could find, because the lack of any decent list is what made me start compiling this list in the first place." [...] What struck me was the sheer number of corporate violations of laws and regulations--thousands upon thousands, the vast majority of which occurred since corporate profits began their incredible ascent in the early 2000s--and the list of those paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and settlements, which reads like a who's who of Corporate America and Top 100 Global Corporations. I encourage you to open one of the three alphabetical tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet on Google Docs and scroll down to find your favorite super-profitable corporation. Many have a long list of fines and settlements, and many of the fines are in excess of $100 million. Many are for blatant cartel price-fixing, not disclosing the dangers of the company's heavily promoted medications, destroying documents to thwart an investigation of wrong-doing, etc. In other words, these were not wrist-slaps for minor oversights of complex regulations-- these are blatant violations of core laws of the land.[...]  As you can see in the chart of corporate profits, enormous wealth has been concentrated in the hands of corporate managers and owners since 2002. This alignment with the start of the Federal Reserve's easy-credit policies is not coincidental. Despite the PR about how corporate profits benefit widows and orphans, this vast wealth is concentrated in the top 1% and the top 5%: (Graph) [...] I asked Jon for his views on the meaning of this mind-boggling list of corporate malfeasance, price-fixing and other wrongdoing in terms of the concentration of wealth: here is his response. "As for the connection to the concentration of wealth: I see two ways in which they are related, the first one is pretty direct and that is the increasing size of the settlements. You will notice that as the settlement date gets later the average size gets much larger. Corporate profits after tax (without IVA and CCAdj) from 1st quarter to 1947 to 4th quarter 2014 went from $21,900,000,000 to $1,837,500,000,000 which is a 8290% increase [...] The second link is less direct. With the increases in concentration of wealth there has been a culture of idolizing wealth, one example is how prosecutors no longer find it appropriate to put banker’s and CEOs in jail. I think one side-effect of the culture changing has been an increased willingness to break the law to increase profits. The settlements with the banks along with the ongoing investigations have shown that virtually every market is being manipulated; the stocks, metals markets, LIBOR, FOREX, everything. The companies would only break so many laws if they felt they would have a reasonable chance of getting away with it; they would also need a reason to do it, which is provided by the infinite growth model our economy is based on. I am reminded of socio- economist Immanuel Wallerstein's description of the current world-system of central-state/private-corporation collusion as “a particular historical configuration of markets and state structures where private economic gain by almost any means is the paramount goal and measure of success.” Wallerstein and four colleagues explored the future of this wealth-concentration/maximizing private gain model in Does Capitalism Have a Future? (Oxford University Press, 2013). [...]"  Note: See how corporate profits skyrocketed right after the 9/11 event (US Fed graph)  

Quotes: "Under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy’s stability and balanced growth. When gold is accepted as the medium of exchange by most or all nations, an unhampered free international gold standard serves to foster a world-wide division of labor and the broadest international trade. Even though the units of exchange (the dollar, the pound, the franc, etc.) differ from country to country, when all are defined in terms of gold the economies of the different countries act as one.” – Alan Greenspan, “Gold and Economic Freedom”, 1966 

Commentary: "Introducing The Gigantic And Dangerous Wall Street Loophole You’ve Never Heard Of" [08/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "This spring, traders and analysts working deep in the global swaps markets began picking up peculiar readings: Hundreds of billions of dollars of trades by U.S. banks had seemingly vanished. The vanishing of the trades was little noted outside a circle of specialists. But the implications were big. The missing transactions reflected an effort by some of the largest U.S. banks — including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley — to get around new regulations on derivatives enacted in the wake of the financial crisis, say current and former financial regulators. The trades hadn’t really disappeared. Instead, the major banks had tweaked a few key words in swaps contracts and shifted some other trades to affiliates in London, where regulations are far more lenient. Those affiliates remain largely outside the jurisdiction of U.S. regulators, thanks to a loophole in swaps rules that banks successfully won from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 2013. Many of the CFTC employees who were lobbied in these meetings went on to work for banks. Between 2010 and 2013, there were 50 CFTC staffers who met with the top five U.S. banks 10 or more times. Of those 50 staffers, at least 25 now work for the big five or other top swaps-dealing banks, or for law firms and lobbyists representing these banks. The lobbying blitz helped win a ruling from the CFTC that left U.S. banks’ overseas operations largely outside the jurisdiction of U.S. regulators. After that rule passed, U.S. banks simply shipped more trades overseas. By December of 2014, certain U.S. swaps markets had seen 95 percent of their trading volume disappear in less than two years. [...] The following story is guaranteed to make you sick. Once again, we’re shown that following trillions in taxpayer funded bailouts and backstops, TBTF Wall Street banks immediately went ahead and focused all their attention obtaining loopholes in order to transfer risk and make billions upon billions of dollars in the financial matrix, as opposed to adding any benefit whatsoever to society:" Related: "U.S. Banks Moved Billions of Dollars in Trades Beyond Washington’s Reach" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"  

Commentary: "Scared Foreign “Smart Money” Sees US Housing As Safe Haven, Pours Into Trophy Cities, Drives Up Prices" [08/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "Wealthy, very nervous foreigners yanking their money out of their countries while they still can and pouring it into US residential real estate, paying cash, and driving up home prices – that’s the meme. But it’s more than a meme as political and economic risks in key countries surge. And home prices are being driven up. The median price of all types of homes in July, as the National Association of Realtors (NAR) sees it, jumped 5.6% from a year ago to $234,000, now 1.7% above the totally crazy June 2006 peak of the prior bubble that blew up in such splendid manner. But you can’t even buy a tool shed for that in trophy cities like San Francisco, where the median house price has reached $1.3 million. And the role of foreign buyers? Never have so many Chinese quietly moved so much money out of the country at such a fast pace. Nowhere is that Sino capital flight more prevalent than into the US residential real estate market, where billions are rapidly pouring into the American Dream. From New York to Los Angeles, China’s nouveau riche are going on a housing shopping spree. [...]"  Note: This is pretty laughable, because China has a HUGE real estate bubble ... and that they're doing here is simply more fully inflating the housing bubble in the US .... where money is tight on the market and banks are not lending very much. 

Commentary: "Goldman Seems To Be Everywhere, Into Everything, Especially Making War" [08/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "The U.S. government, of course, not only wages war around the world and is also involved in “financial warfare.” But many people don’t realize the major role played by the Big Banks in military warfare as well as financial warfare with a close relationship to the policies and assaults by the Pentagon and NATO. Professor Michel Chossudovsky this week has given frightening details on the worldwide connection banks make to financial warfare. Especially poignant is Chossudovsky’s personnel review of the first class financial war machine of Goldman Sachs. [...] Goldman Sachs is a Trojan Horse with its former banking officials deployed in key governmental positions. These appointments provide Goldman Sachs with the ability to influence and oversee the conduct of macro-economic policy. Moreover, their former officials will provide them with inside information emanating from within the governmental structure. –i.e market rigging by major financial institutions will invariably require advanced knowledge regarding actions or decisions taken within the government and military-intelligence apparatus.[...]"  Related: "US-NATO Military Deployments, Economic Warfare, Goldman Sachs And The Next Financial Meltdown" Printer Friendly Version [08/08/15] | "No, Jon Hilsenrath (Fed Reserve), It Is Not "Anti-Semitic" To Criticize Goldman Sachs" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"  

Commentary: "Mirroring Greece: Ukrainian Economy in Free Fall" [08/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "Ukraine has no money to pay off its public debt and under certain circumstances risks turning into a forever-in-debt country, Jeffrey Albert Tucker, Distinguished Fellow of the Foundation for Economic Education, said.  Earlier in August, Ukraine managed to avoid a technical default by paying off its $120 million eurobond coupon. The next payment, $500 million, is due to be made in September. [...]"  Related: "Ukraine Oligarch Steals $1.8 Billion From US. US Pretends It Didn't Happen" Printer Friendly Version "Arriving home from a recent trip to Ukraine, former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle reported his joy at witnessing “the Ukrainian people … coming together to rebuild their country from scratch.” Ukrainians had, he wrote, moved him with their dreams of joining the European Union, fighting corruption, and rebuilding their shattered economy, inspiring Daschle, now a highly paid lobbyist, to endorse the ominously strengthening Washington consensus on escalating the fighting with “$3 billion in lethal and nonlethal military assistance.” [...]" | "Ukraine Gets $732Mln From World Bank for 'Investment Projects'" Printer Friendly Version | "Ukraine To Resell Russian Electricity To Poland At Double Price" Printer Friendly Version "Operators of Polish and Ukrainian power grids signed an agreement on August 17 on supplies of electricity to Poland [...]" | "US State Dept Nuland-Appointed Yatsenyuk Will Flee The Ruins Of Ukraine Because "It's Not His Historical Homeland" Printer Friendly Version "According to the channel, the prime minister frankly stated at a cabinet meeting that “after resignation he will immediately leave the country,” and journalists have noted that he “has increasingly begun to show signs of hysteria and apparently intends to prematurely resign.” Indeed, the reasons are clear - in only the first half of this year, Ukraine’s GDP has collapsed 15%, although the worst forecast of the IMF only predicted 9%. The net outflow of investments for only the first six months of 2015 amounted to approximately $3 billion, and investments amounted to a billion - this is less than in any year in the history of Ukraine. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk also admitted on channel ICTV that the control of state corporations and the national treasury has been passed to the West. Earlier, several foreigners had been appointed as ministers to the cabinet of Ukraine. [...] the Pentagon - the Ukrainian military, and Yatsenyuk is not at all ashamed to recognize that “Western inspectors” will oversee every state service. And how the Prime Minister went to the businessmen, threw up his hands, and said that Ukraine “had to accept” the simply horrific conditions of the IMF in order to receive credits - remember? And what about the 47% shadow economy? By only the first quarter of the year, the economy had contracted by 17.2%. With the hikes in prices for everything and everyone, the real incomes of the population have catastrophically diminished, people are being literally impoverished and are miserable. In less than the past half year, inflation in Ukraine has increased by 10 times. By the end of the year, the IMF, seeing such “successes,” will forecast an inflation of 46%, but “the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk was able to beat the record,” - says the press. The press reminds that “at the present time, Ukraine is actually living on the verge of default,” and trust in the banking system of the country is equivalent to the trust in...Nigeria.[..]" 

MSM: "World's Big Banks Set To Be Sued In London In Fall 2015 Over Forex Rigging" [08/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "Five multinational banks – which include Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC – agreed this week to pay off aggrieved investors in order to settle a class action brought in New York. They joined four other global banks that settled earlier in the year. The total compensation pledged to investors, which are made up of hedge funds and pension funds, has now reached $2bn, according to Hausfeld, the law firm that brought the case on behalf of the investors. And Hausfeld said the massive US compensation payments were “just the beginning”. The law firm’s chairman, Michael Hausfeld, told The Independent it had already received inquiries about bringing a legal action in London and that an announcement could be made as soon as October. Some have suggested that American law, which allows class action cases, is better suited to these kinds of civil lawsuits. But Mr Hausfeld said he was confident of success in London. “This is a very strong case on its merits. I think we have clear ‘intent’ in UK law,” he commented. Mr Hausfeld also pointed out that the size of the forex trading market in London was bigger than that in the US, meaning the potential compensation was likely to be larger too. “Anyone who traded in the market at any time in this period [2007 to 2013] was at risk,” he said. Forex rigging was the most recent in a long line of rate-rigging scandals to hit the financial sector. Traders at these banks – brazenly using names such as “The Cartel”, “The Bandits Club” and “The Mafia” – conspired over email and online chat rooms to co-ordinate foreign currency trades in the $5.4trn-a-day market and to make profits at the expense of their clients – often companies and investors. The traders then cited these profits as they lobbied managers for higher bonuses. Four global banks – Citigroup, JP Morgan, Barclays and RBS – pleaded guilty in May in the US to conspiring to manipulate foreign exchange rates between 2007 and 2013. They, along with UBS and Bank of America, were hit by $6bn (£4bn) in fines from US and UK regulators. [...]" 

Commentary: "Global Economist Harry Dent About The Coming Bubble" [08/19/15] [40:00] "Alex Jones interviews global economist Harry Dent [...]"  Note: Since 1964 there has so far been a 51 year economic decline. Even 1997 and 2008's "collapses" are merely part of a decline that is going to go on year by year,  gradually, slowly but surely thanks to automation and other factors. The change year to year is imperceptible but the difference between 1964 and 2015 is stark and startling. Related: "Oil and Gas Leases Killed Amid Fracking Fears" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"  

Commentary: "Why Isn't The SEC Enforcing U.S. Law For Israel Bonds?" [08/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "Did you know that more than 75 U.S. states and municipalities are invested in Israel Bonds, which are used to fund illegal settlement construction in violation of U.S. and international law? More than $1 billion in Israel Bonds were sold in the U.S. last year alone. The Development Corporation of Israel (DCI), the American corporation which sells these Bonds to states, municipalities, individuals, and organizations, is required by U.S. federal law to report all "material facts" about such securities to buyers -- i.e. all facts that could enable an average investor to make an informed investment decision. But rather than disclosing that Israel Bonds are used to fund illegal settlement expansion and apartheid policies, DCI misleads investors by benignly characterizing securities' sales as used for "general purposes of the state." [...]" 

Commentary: "Facing Crisis, Demand For Physical, Not Digital, Money" [08/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "The cashless control grid may still be coming, but it is not going to replace cash anytime soon. Though millions of people have started using digital devices to pay for goods and services, the appeal of physical cash is soaring, not fading away. Outlook for currency production shows an astounding 5 per cent increase per year for the foreseeable future in the printing of bank notes for currencies across the globe. That’s because, in pure and simple terms, people are demanding cash in times of crisis, and there is plenty of crisis ahead. [...] According to FT: "One reason for the enduring appeal of cold, hard cash is the global economic downturn. Giesecke & Devrient expects banknote production to rise by 5 per cent a year for the “foreseeable future”, despite projections of double digit increases in the use of cards and other forms of electronic payments. “Cash is 100 per cent reliable in times of crisis. It’s in periods of panic where a solid financial system has to prove itself,” said Ralf Wintergerst, a Giesecke & Devrient board member. “In a crisis situation, the demand for cash typically rises sharply. The reason for this is trust in real currency.” The turmoil in Greece, which not only sparked speculation of a return to the drachma but also led to a surge in demand for cash, is a case in point." When, and if, that time comes, people are prepared to deal in physical money and barter/trade in useable goods and services. Digital currencies, while they offer incredible purchasing power inside a global market on the Internet, may be worthless in a crisis or disaster – particularly if the situation involves power outages or cut off access from online networks. People do not want to be corralled into a situation of complete dependency on government assistance once a crisis or disaster hits. Physical cash, if it is stuffed under the mattress, or withdrawn before the banks close, can be used over the table, or under the table, to meet needs in a disaster. Though the system of fiat currency itself is flawed, the physical notes, verifiable and holdable, are reassuring – perhaps deceivingly so. The enduring appeal of banknotes is not just down to the financial crisis. More than half of payments in stable, advanced economies such as Germany’s are still made in cash, while globally the figure is about 80 per cent.[...]"  

Commentary: "Mass Layoffs Worldwide as Corporate Mergers Near New Record" [08/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "Major transnational corporations, including Kraft, Motorola, Lenovo, Tyson and HTC have announced mass layoffs in recent days amid a boom in mergers and acquisitions, which are on track to hit a record this year. [...] The latest round of mass layoffs is closely related to the global boom in mergers and acquisitions. Under conditions of slowing global economic growth, together with record amounts of cash sitting on corporate balance sheets, Wall Street is using mergers and acquisitions to put additional pressure on US and global corporations to cut costs and restore profitability on the backs of employees.[...] The growing rate of mergers and acquisitions is made possible by the continual infusion of cheap money from global central banks, which have pumped trillions of dollars into the global financial system through years of quantitative easing and zero-interest-rate policies.[...] The global boom in mergers and acquisitions, far from expanding economic output and growth, has as its aim the enrichment of shareholders through layoffs and wage cuts. The end result of this vicious cycle of economic stagnation and parasitism is the further enrichment of the financial oligarchy at the expense of the working class.[...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "Soros-Linked Billionaire Buys Up Gold" [08/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "A billionaire hedge fund manager linked to George Soros bought up gold shares after multiple financial experts warned a stock market crash is coming. Stanley Druckenmiller, who runs Duquesne Capital after previously working for Soros, now owns 2.88 million shares of SPDR Gold Trust, making it his largest single holding and long position. That means if the price of gold goes up, Druckenmiller profits tremendously. Druckenmiller rose to prominence in 1988 when Soros hired him to run the Quantum Group of Funds, which became famous for “breaking the Bank of England” by shorting the British pound sterling in 1992. [...]"  Note: Another greedy Orionized sequential. Paper gold is almost like a 'derivative' ... it has no real 'value' itself. It's like 'fiat' gold.  Gold does not go up or down. It’s the dollar that goes down or up, respectively. It’s mostly down, from over 1500mg gold in 1913 to just under 28mg today. This is an epic fall of more than 98% (though it’s up from around 16.5mg in 2011).

MSM: "Ron Paul: Fed Terrified Of 1937 Style Recession" [08/17/15] [3:25] "By the spring of 1937, production, profits, and wages had regained their 1929 levels. Unemployment remained high, but it was slightly lower than the 25% rate seen in 1933. The American economy took a sharp downturn in mid-1937, lasting for 13 months through most of 1938. Industrial production declined almost 30 percent and production of durable goods fell even faster. Unemployment jumped from 14.3% in 1937 to 19.0% in 1938. Manufacturing output fell by 37% from the 1937 peak and was back to 1934 levels.  Producers reduced their expenditures on durable goods, and inventories declined, but personal income was only 15% lower than it had been at the peak in 1937. In most sectors, hourly earnings continued to rise throughout the recession, which partly compensated for the reduction in the number of hours worked. As unemployment rose, consumers expenditures declined, thereby leading to further cutbacks in production. Related: "Recession of 1937–38" | "More Info" Smartstart  | "Central Banks Lose Control" Telegraph UK Printer Friendly Version "China currency devaluation signals endgame leaving equity markets free to collapse under the weight of impossible expectations. The FTSE 100 has now erased its gains for the year, but there are signs things could get a whole lot worse.  [...]"`The FTSE 100 has now erased its gains for the year, but there are signs things could get a whole lot worse. Discussed: 1 - China slowdown 2 - Commodity collapse 3 - Resource sector credit crisis 4 - Dominoes begin to fall 5 - Credit markets roll over 6 - Interest rate shock  7 - Bull market third longest on record  8 - Overvalued US market 

Flashback: "If Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States" 2014 [08/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "According to work done by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, we are heading into an economic depression that should last until about the year 2020… Based on Professor Thompson’s analysis long K cycles have nearly a thousand years of supporting evidence. If we accept the fact that most winters in K cycles last 20 years (as outlined in the chart above) this would indicate that we are about halfway through the Kondratieff winter that commenced in the year 2000. Thus in all probability we will be moving from a “recession” to a “depression” phase in the cycle about the year 2013 and it should last until approximately 2017-2020. But of course the Kondratieff wave is far from the only economic cycle theory that indicates that we are heading for an economic depression. [...]" 

Flashback: "Global Financial Meltdown" 2013 [08/17/15] [2:49:15] "Meltdown is a four-part investigation into a world of greed and recklessness that brought down the financial world. The show begins with the 2008 crash that pushed 30 million people into unemployment, brought countries to the edge of insolvency and turned the clock back to 1929. But how did it all go so wrong? Lack of government regulation; easy lending in the US housing market meant anyone could qualify for a home loan with no government regulations in place. Also, London was competing with New York as the banking capital of the world. Gordon Brown, the British finance minister at the time, introduced "light touch regulation" - giving bankers a free hand in the marketplace. Meltdown moves on to examine the epidemic of fear that caused the world's banks to stop lending and how the people began their fight back. Finally, it asks how the world can prepare for the next crisis even as it recognises that this one is far from over. We hear about the sheikh who says the crash never happened; a Wall Street king charged with fraud; a congresswoman who wants to jail the bankers; and the world leaders who want a re-think of capitalism. [...]" 

Trends: "Business Inventories Surge Most In 29 Months, Sales Ratio Signals Recession Imminent" [08/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "... Sales lagged dramatically. The inventory-to-sales ratio hit a new post-crisis high at 1.37, flashing a very recessionary level going forward ... Once again it was autos that saw the biggest relative jump in inventories  [...]"  

Trends: "U.S. Containerized Exports Fall Off The Chart" [08/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "Many of our major trading partners are experiencing stalled or slowing economies, and the strength of the US Dollar versus other currencies is making US goods more expensive in the export market.” That’s how the Cass/INTTRA Ocean Freight Index report explained the phenomenon. What happened is this: The volume of US exports shipped by container carrier in July plunged 5.8% from an already dismal level in June, and by 29% from July a year ago. The index is barely above fiasco-month March, which had been the lowest in the history of the index going back to the Financial Crisis. The index tracks export activity in terms of the numbers of containers shipped from the US. It doesn’t include commodities such as petroleum products that are shipped by specialized carriers. It doesn’t include exports shipped by rail, truck, or pipeline to Mexico and Canada. And it doesn’t include air freight, a tiny percentage of total freight. But it’s a measure of export activity of manufactured and agricultural products shipped by container carrier. Overall exports have been weak. But the surge in exports of petroleum products and some agricultural products have obscured the collapse in exports of manufactured goods. The currency war waged by all the other major economies catches much of the blame [...]"  

Commentary: "US Military Uses IMF And World Bank To Launder 85% Of Its Black Budget" [08/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "Though transparency was a cause he championed when campaigning for the presidency, President Obama has largely avoided making certain defense costs known to the public. However, when it comes to military appropriations for government spy agencies, we know from Freedom of Information Act requests that the so-called “black budget” is an increasingly massive expenditure subsidized by American taxpayers. The CIA and and NSA alone garnered $52.6 billion in funding in 2013 while the Department of Defense black ops budget for secret military projects exceeds this number. It is estimated to be $58.7 billion for the fiscal year 2015. What is the black budget? Officially, it is the military’s appropriations for “spy satellites, stealth bombers, next-missile-spotting radars, next-gen drones, and ultra-powerful eavesdropping gear.” [...] However, of greater interest to some may be the clandestine nature and full scope of the black budget, which, according to analyst Catherine Austin Fitts, goes far beyond classified appropriations. Based on her research, some of which can be found in her piece “What’s Up With the Black Budget?,” Fitts concludes that the during the last decade, global financial elites have configured an elaborate system that makes most of the military budget unauditable. This is because the real black budget includes money acquired by intelligence groups via narcotics trafficking, predatory lending, and various kinds of other financial fraud. The result of this vast, geopolitically-sanctioned money laundering scheme is that Housing and Urban Devopment and other agencies are used for drug trafficking and securities fraud. According to Fitts, the scheme allows for at least 85 percent of the U.S. federal budget to remain unaudited. Fitts has been researching this issue since 2001, when she began to believe that a financial coup d’etat was underway. Specifically, she suspected that the banks, corporations, and investors acting in each global region were part of a “global heist,” whereby capital was being sucked out of each country. She was right. [...] This is part of an even larger financial scheme. It is fairly well-established by now that international financial institutions like the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund operate primarily as instruments of corporate power and nation-controlling infrastructure investment mechanisms. For example, the primary purpose of the World Bank is to bully developing countries into borrowing money for infrastructure investments that will fleece trillions of dollars while permanently indebting these “debtor” nations to West. But how exactly does the World Bank go about doing this? John Perkins wrote about this paradigm in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman. During the 1970s, Perkins worked for the international engineering consulting firm, Chas T. Main, as an “economic hitman.” He says the operations of the World Bank are nothing less than “pure economic colonization on behalf of powerful corporations and banks that use the United States government as their tool.”[...]"  

Commentary: "These 15 U.S. States Could See Job Losses From China’s Devaluation" [08/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "A slowdown in economic growth in China could also see individual U.S. states licking their wounds as well. The following statistics come from the US-China Business Council: Forty-two states experienced at least triple-digit export growth to China since 2005, and five states saw export growth of more than 500 percent over the same period. China was among the top three export markets for 39 states in 2014. That includes states that are not usually associated with strong China trade ties, including Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Alabama, Ohio, and South Carolina. In 2014, thirty-one states exported more than $1 billion to China.  The chart above shows the 15 U.S. states that could be most dramatically impacted should China’s economic slump worsen. Washington state saw its exports to China grow from $3.3 billion in 2005 to a whopping $15.3 billion in 2014. Washington state’s major exports to China include transportation equipment, forestry products, computers and electronics, primary metal manufacturing, mineral and ores. In the span of one decade, the state’s exports to China grew by 365 percent versus its export growth rate to the rest of the globe of 148 percent. [...] As foreign currencies decline in value to the U.S. Dollar, the ability of U.S. exporters to compete against foreign domestic goods priced in the cheaper currency becomes more difficult. An additional and serious risk to the U.S. economy is that these currency wars, which are actually trade wars to sustain or grab market share (think Saudi Arabia and oil) lead to a pricing war race to the bottom with the inevitable outcome of the U.S. importing deflation.[...]"  Related: See below

MSM: "China Rattles Markets With Yuan Devaluation" [08/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "China devalued the yuan by the most in two decades, a move that rippled through global markets as policy makers stepped up efforts to support exporters and boost the role of market pricing in Asia’s largest economy. The central bank cut its daily reference rate by 1.9 percent, triggering the yuan’s biggest one-day drop since China unified official and market exchange rates in January 1994. The People’s Bank of China called the change a one-time adjustment and said it will strengthen the market’s ability to determine the daily fixing. [...]" Related: "China Announces New Yuan Banknotes Designed To Foil Counterfeiters" Printer Friendly Version | "Gold Price Rises After Currency Wars Reignite As China Devalues" Printer Friendly Version | "What China’s Devaluation Means To The U.S. Economy" Printer Friendly Version | "China-Latin American Relations, Chile: The Yuan’s Financial Stronghold" Printer Friendly Version | "Financial Warfare, China and the Gold Market" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Economic Downturn Intensifies Australian Political Crisis" [08/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "Australia’s parliament resumed yesterday after a six-week winter recess with Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government under mounting pressure from the corporate elite to mount a stepped-up offensive against the conditions of the working class amid a rapidly worsening economic situation. Falling export commodity prices and a warning by the Reserve Bank of Australia last week of a long-term drop in economic growth have fuelled discontent in the business and media establishment with the Liberal-National Coalition government’s failure to impose its austerity agenda. [...]"   " [...]"  

Commentary: "US-NATO Deployments, Economic Warfare And The Next Financial Meltdown" [08/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "What is the relationship between war in a military theater and “economic warfare”?  An act of war is invariably an economic undertaking which supports dominant corporate interests. The conduct of US-NATO military operations is carried out on behalf of powerful financial institutions.  US led wars in the Middle East under the humanitarian mantle of the “global war on terrorism” largely serve the interests of Wall Street, the Anglo-american oil conglomerates, the so-called ‘defense contractors”, the biotech conglomerates (Monsanto et al), Big Pharma and the corporate media. But modern warfare is by no means limited to the sphere of military and intelligence operations. Washington not only imposes economic sanctions on countries which do not support its imperial agenda, it also fosters the outright destabilization of national economies. While the Pentagon and NATO coordinate military operations against sovereign countries, Wall Street carries out concurrent destabilizing actions on financial markets including the rigging of the oil, gold and foreign exchange markets directed against Russia and China. It’s called “financial warfare”, it’s part of the same global agenda, it’s implemented alongside and in coordination with the Worldwide deployment of the US-NATO’s military machine. In this regard, Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” directed against China involving the deployment of US naval forces in the South China Sea, is reinforced through concurrent destabilizing actions on the Shanghai stock exchange. The ultimate intent is to undermine –through non-military means– the national economy of the People’s Republic of China. [...]"  

MSM: "Germany Made €100bn Profit On Greek Crisis – Study" [08/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "Greece’s biggest creditor Germany has made a huge profit on the country’s debt crisis over the last 5 years as it saved through lower interest payments on funds borrowed amid investor "flights to safety." Each time investors got bad news about Greece, they rushed to the ‘safe haven’ of Germany, with the interest rates on German government bonds falling, according to the study from the private, non-profit Leibniz Institute of Economic Research, Agence France-Presse reported Monday. The estimated €100 billion Germany had saved since 2010 accounted for over three percent of its GDP, the report said. "These savings exceed the costs of the crisis - even if Greece were to default on its entire debt," the study said. The bonds of countries such as the United States, France and the Netherlands had benefited "to a much smaller extent." Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who has always been against writing off the Greek debt pointed to his own government's balanced budget. The balanced budget, however, was possible mainly as a result of Germany's interest savings through the Greek crisis, the study claimed. Schauble has repeatedly said the Greek debt of €316 billion cannot be restructured within the eurozone. He claimed Grexit [Greece’s exit from the Eurozone-Ed] might be a solution for the country’s debt ‘haircut.’ [...]"  

Commentary: "Pillage and Class Polarization: The Rise of “Criminal Capitalism”" [08/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "... The historic employee-finance capitalist polarization is the direct result of the grand success of the trillion dollar financial swindles, the tax payer-funded trillion dollar Federal bailouts of thecrooked bankers, and the illegal bank manipulation of interest rates. These uncorrected and unpunished crimes have driven up the costs of living and producing for employees and their employers. Financial ‘rents’ (the bankers and brokers are ‘rentiers’ in this economy) drive up the costs of production for non-financial capital (manufacturing). Non-financial capitalists resort to reducing wages, cutting benefits and extending working hours for their employees, in order to maintain their own profits. In other words, pervasive, enduring and systematic large-scale financial criminality is a major reason why US employees are working longer and receiving less – the ‘trickle down’ effect of mega-swindles committed by finance capital. [...] Mega-swindles, involving trillions of dollars, are routine practices involving the top fifty banks, trading houses, currency speculators, management fund firms and foreign exchange traders. These ‘white collar’ crimes have hurt hundreds of millionsof investors and credit-card holders, millions of mortgage debtors, thousands of pension funds and most industrial and service firms that depend on bank credit to meet payrolls, to finance capital expansion and technological upgrades and raw materials. Big banks, which have been ‘convicted and fined’ for mega-swindles, include Citi Bank, Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, JP Morgan, Barclay, Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsch Bank and forty other ‘leading’ financial institutions. The mega-swindlers have repeatedly engaged in a great variety of misdeeds, including accounting fraud, insider trading, fraudulent issue of mortgage based securities and the laundering of hundreds of billions of illegal dollars for Colombian, Mexican, African and Asian drug and human traffickers. [...] Each and every major financial swindle has had a perverse ripple effect throughout the entire economy. This is especially the case where the negative consequences have spread downward through local banks, local manufacturing and service industries to employees, students and the self-employed. The most obvious example of the downward ripple effect was the so-called ‘sub-prime mortgage’ swindle. Big banks deliberately sold worthless, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and collateralized debt obligation (CDO) to smaller banks, pension funds and local investors, which eventually foreclosed on overpriced houses causing low income mortgage holders to lose their down payments (amounting to most of their savings).  [...] In effect, the banks profited from their widely exposed crimes while US employees lost their jobs, homes, savings and social services. As the US Treasury pumped trillions of dollars into the coffers of the criminal banks (especially on Wall Street), the builders, major construction companies and manufacturers faced an unprecedented credit squeeze and laid off millions of workers, and reduced wages and increased the hours of un-paid work. Service employees in consumer industries were hit hard as wages and salaries declined or remained frozen. The costs of theFOREX, LIBOR and ISDA fix swindles’ fell heavily on big business, which passed the pain onto labor: cutting pension and health coverage, hiring millions of ‘contingent or temp’ workers at minimum wages with no benefits.[...]"   [...]"  

Max Keiser: "Collapsing Empires And Failing Central Banks, In A World Awash With Unpayable Debts" [08/11/15]   [25:37] "Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are joined by Charles Hugh Smith of about the solution to the problems created by collapsing empire and failing central banks. In a world awash with un-payable debts, how does the individual survive and flourish? [...]"  

Commentary: "US Government Puts Pressure On IMF To Delay Decision Of Yuan As Reserve Currency" [08/06/15] [17:42] "Eurozone retail sales decline, 19 countries that use the Euro declined. ADP job numbers tumble which signals a recession/depression. The FED says there is no inflation but its showing up everywhere. Financial experts are continually giving warnings that we are approaching a total collapse. US putting pressure on IMF to delay the yuan from becoming a reserve currency. Russia expands it ban on agricultural food products. [...]"  

MSM: "IRS Surrenders To Dark Money" [08/05/15] Printer Friendly Version  "New York Times has a new editorial on dark money and how the IRS has completely given up on trying to track it. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down: [8:24] [...] “The federal government has all but surrendered to the powerful, rich donors whose anonymous contributions threaten to undermine the 2016 elections. The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, signaled as much on Thursday when he told a House committee that there would be no change in the tax code in 2016 to end its growing abuse by political operatives using nonprofit “social welfare” institutions to disguise the identities of affluent campaign contributors.”[...]" 

Commentary: "Big Chunk Of JP Morgan’s Gold Holdings Withdrawn In One Day" [08/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "In just one day, a big chunk of JP Morgan’s gold was withdrawn from the COMEX. It’s been a while since we have seen such a large single withdrawal. According to the CME Group’s Friday Warehouse Depository gold stocks, a whopping 200,752 ounces of gold were removed from JP Morgan’s Eligible category. f you look at the COMEX Gold Inventory table closely, you will notice that the total Registered Gold inventories are a lousy 351,519 oz. This is less than peanuts. Two withdrawals like JP Morgan experienced on Thursday, would totally wipe out the Bankers Registered gold inventories.[...]" 

Political Theatrics: "Charles Koch Assails Banking Industry For Embracing ‘Corporate Welfare’" [08/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "Conservative benefactor Charles Koch assailed the banking industry Saturday for accepting “corporate welfare,” saying that financial bailouts have left big banks controlled by government regulators. As he welcomed a gathering of donors here who support a political network he helped launch, the billionaire industrialist departed from his prepared remarks and held up the country’s major financial institutions as examples of the risks of government subsidies. “The big banks have been among the biggest proponents of corporate welfare,” Koch said, standing before hundreds of wealthy contributors assembled on palm tree-ringed lawn of a luxury oceanfront resort. “They’ve got massive bailouts, virtually free money from the Fed, and regulations that are crushing the smaller banks, the community banks.” Koch called for “eliminating welfare for the wealthy,” saying there should be no more “subsidies, mandates and special preferences for business.” He noted that “these prescriptions will not be an easy pill for many business people to swallow.” Some companies, including his Wichita-based Koch Industries, will lose profit in the short term. But he said that eschewing corporate welfare was essential to allowing people to have the freedom to own and run their own businesses. [...]"  Related: "Charles Koch Says U.S. Can Bomb Its Way to $100,000 Salaries" Printer Friendly Version "Conservative billionaire Charles Koch is predicting average American incomes of $100,000 annually in roughly a decade if government is scaled back and regulations are scrapped. [...] Koch is meeting with his allies in tony Orange County, Calif., for a three-day retreat. Participants in sessions ponied up $100,000 and most will shell out much more than that before the weekend is over. All told, Koch’s umbrella organization, Freedom Partners, plans to spend almost $900 million before the 2016 elections.[...]"  

MSM: "China & Greece: "Investors Can’t Get Out" [08/02/15] [5:11] "Learn why, although the crises in China and Greece have taken very different paths, investors ultimately ended up with “no exit from that figurative burning building."  

MSM: "High-Tax States Headed For Bankruptcy As Low-Tax, Liberty-Minded States Thrive" [08/01/15] Printer Friendly Version " A new study has once again proven that the uniquely American principle of less government leads to more prosperity. As noted by USA Today, an examination of all 50 states' economic health by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has found that there is a dramatic unevenness among them - as well as a trend. As the Great Recession fades - somewhat, anyway - energy-rich states with high levels of freedom, low taxes and less government are in great financial shape, while high-tax, high regulation states with less freedom are failing economically.  The study, "Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition,", authored by Eileen Norcross, found that for the time being, most state governments have the cash on hand to pay bills and obligations over the short term. But the future is far less certain and again, pensions were mentioned as one of the most prevalent burdens. [...]" 

Commentary: "11 Red Flag Events That Just Happened As We Enter August 2015" Michael Snyder [08/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Are you ready for what is coming in August? All over America, economic, political and social tensions are building, and the next 30 days could turn out to be pivotal. In July, we saw things start to turn. As you will read about below, a major six year trendline for the S&P 500 was finally broken this month, Chinese stocks crashed, commodities crashed, and debt problems started erupting all over the planet. I fully expect that this next month (August) will be a month of transition as we enter an extremely chaotic time in the fall and winter. Things are unfolding in textbook fashion for another major global financial crisis in the months ahead, and yet most people refuse to see what is happening. In their blind optimism, they want to believe that things will somehow be different this time. Well, the coming months will definitely reveal who was right and who was wrong. The following are 11 red flag events that just happened as we enter the pivotal month of August 2015… [...] A few weeks ago, I authored a piece entitled “The Last Days Of ‘Normal Life’ In America“, and I stand by every single word of that article. I truly believe that the era of debt-fueled prosperity that we have been enjoying for so long is coming to an end, and our standard of living will never again get back to this level.  [...]So enjoy this summer for as long as it lasts. Even though August threatens to be pivotal, it is going to be nothing compared to what will follow. Fall and winter are coming." 

Commentary: "Puerto Rico Expected to Default August 1st" [08/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Puerto Rico has indicated that it will likely skip a $58 million payment due August 1 on its Public Finance Corporation debt. . According to a 2014 bond offering statement, Puerto Rico has never defaulted on the payment of principal, or interest of debt, before. The default is likely only the start of headaches for holders of Puerto Rican debt. The island government has $72 billion in debt outstanding. [...]" [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "William Engdahl-The Gods of Money Wall Street & the Death of the American Century " [07/31/15] [20:05] "F. William Engdahl, provides evidence that the ruling elite has destroyed peace, prosperity and middle class success into a war mongering parasitic empire. [...]"

Commentary: "Lawsuit Accuses 22 Banks Of Manipulating US Treasury Auctions" [07/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "Twenty-two financial companies that have served as primary dealers of U.S. Treasury securities were sued in federal court on Thursday, in what was described as the first nationwide class action alleging a conspiracy to manipulate Treasury auctions that harmed both investors and borrowers. The State-Boston Retirement System, the pension fund for Boston public employees, accused Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and 14 other defendants of illegally trying to profit on the sale of Treasury bills, notes and bonds at investors’ expense. According to the pension fund’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, the banks used chat rooms, instant messages and other means to swap confidential customer information and coordinate trading strategies in the roughly $12.5 trillion Treasury market. This enabled the banks to inflate prices on Treasuries they sold to investors in the pre-auction “when issued” market, and deflate prices when they bought Treasuries to cover their pre-auction sales, violating antitrust laws, according to the complaint. [...]"  

MSM: "China's Richest Billionaires Lost $195 Billion In One Month Amid Stock Market Rout" [07/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "In March, China’s wealthiest men had an impressive aggregate fortune of $565 billion – that’s $200 billion up from the year before. But the stock market rout in the past two weeks has taken a toll on the country’s rising superrich. The 205 Chinese billionaires currently tracked by the Forbes Real-time Billionaires List have lost a total of $195 billion since the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index hit its peak on June 12. [...] “The tail-risk scenario of China losing control of a runaway equity market might be met with a strong reaction by Chinese authorities whereby massive fiscal stimulus, as seen in 2008, would be funneled into the economy,” Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a note. “Such debt-fuelled growth would have negative implications longer term.”[...]"  

MSM: "Most Powerful Bank In The World Lays Back Mandate To Save The World Economy" [07/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "(Translated From German) The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) acknowledges in its annual report that the policy of cheap money has failed. All the trillions would have produced no growth in the real economy. Central banks can not save the economy. The governments of the world must now resolve the crisis. In November 2008, the Federal Reserve in the US began to purchase securities in billions extent to stabilize the market after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Later, the Fed bought also US Treasuries and cut interest rates to a record low of zero to 0.25 percent. So they set off a global devaluation race because on the world currency dollars exported the Fed the negative effects of its monetary policy in other countries. As a result, have a total of 20 central banks lowered their key interest rates alone between January 1 and March 12, 2015. Last China also joined in this currency war. China's central bank eased its monetary policy partly carelessly and thus sparked a credit-driven bull market that ended in the biggest slump in 20 years. The Basel-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is considered the "central bank of central banks". It was originally founded in 1930 for handle German reparations after the First World War. Today the BIS networks, the central banks from around the world together and managed on their behalf parts of global gold reserves. In its 85th annual report, the institution analyzes the situation of the global financial system, seven years after the crisis. An entire chapter is devoted to BIS while the shortcomings of the international monetary and financial system. Instead of promoting a sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy, there is a danger that this system undermines growth. [...]"  Note:  Translate whole article

Quotes: "…when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. – Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged

Commentary: "Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb" [07/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "When investing becomes gambling, bad endings follow. The next credit crunch could make 2008-09 look mild by comparison. Bank of International Settlements (BIS) data show around $700 trillion in global derivatives. Along with credit default swaps and other exotic instruments, the total notional derivatives value is about $1.5 quadrillion – about 20% more than in 2008, beyond what anyone can conceive, let alone control if unexpected turmoil strikes. The late Bob Chapman predicted it. So does Paul Craig Roberts. It could “destroy Western civilization,” he believes. Financial deregulation turned Wall Street into a casino with no rules except unrestrained making money. Catastrophic failure awaits. It’s just a matter of time. Ellen Brown calls the “derivatives casino…a last-ditch attempt to prop up a private pyramid scheme” – slowly crumbling under its own weight. For years, Warren Buffett called derivatives “financial time bombs” – for economies and ordinary people. [...]"  

MSM: "Gerald Celente: World Trade Drops Most Since Financial Crisis; New Crisis on Horizon " [07/27/15] [14:57] "We keep hearing it over and over again, that there is a coming catastrophic economic collapse unlike any other in history. In fact, we can look at history and look at the present facts and see that something just isn’t quite right. The clues are everywhere. [...]"

Commentary: "Economic Forecaster: "Have Cash On Hand To Survive For Three Months" [07/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "Economic forecaster Martin Armstrong, who is known for having accurately predicted major events like the Savings & Loan crash, the collapse of Japanese financial markets and the destruction of the Russian economy almost to the day, says that a major turning point is coming to the global paradigm this October. While stopping short of calling for an all out crash, Armstrong’s cyclical turning point of 2015.75 (Q3 2015) suggests that very big changes are set to take place. But how do you prepare for the uncertainty of what’s to come? Armstrong says you’d better have some cash on hand for short-term disruptions, just in case your financial institution shuts down like they did in Greece. PLAN B should be an amount of cash that is enough to live on for at least one month if not three months insofar as basic essentials, not mortgages, etc. Effectively this is food money and gas for the car. Gold coins will not help in this case, nor will silver coins, for we are not talking about trying to preserve wealth; this is the emergency stash for living purposes in case you need CASH, which is recognized by everyone. Precious metals will be more of an underground economy of barter; it will not be useful at the local supermarket. Also, keep in mind that cash could come in handy in a computer failure, whereas you cannot access a bank, exchange, etc. just to survive for there could be a scenario where not even plastic credit cards or debt cards would offer any help. [...]" 

Commentary: "US Federal Disability Insurance Trust To Be Depleted Next Year" [07/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund will be completely depleted by the fourth quarter of 2016, according to a report released Wednesday by the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare. Without action by Congress, the fund would have to limit payments to 11 million disability recipients to the amount collected in payroll taxes for that purpose, forcing a cut in benefits of 20 percent. Although the 'funding crisis' can be solved with a mundane technical fix by Congress, allowing disability payments to come from the main Social Security Trust Fund rather than the smaller SSDI account, the political establishment is using this manufactured crisis to push for deep cuts to disability benefits. [...] Social Security’s main retirement trust (OASDI) is comparatively better funded, and is not projected to run out of money, if current trends continue, until 2034, at which point benefit payments would be reduced to the level funded by incoming payroll taxes. In contrast to regular claims that Social Security and Medicare are “broke,” the trusts which fund the two programs are worth a combined $2.4 trillion and ran a total surplus of $25 billion last year, according to Wednesday’s report. In the past, funding discrepancies between OASDI and SSDI were rectified by Congress voting to reallocate taxes from one trust to the other. This is a routine procedure that has been carried out eleven times in the past, and if it were enacted now it would extend the depletion date for disability benefits by another 20 years, according to the Social Security commissioner. However, the new Republican majority in Congress, anticipating the impending funding shortfall, surreptitiously inserted a provision in the House rules passed this January that blocks any such measure unless it is accompanied by corresponding cuts to disability spending. This was fraudulently portrayed by Republicans as an attempt to safeguard the financial integrity of the retirement trust. In reality, the goal is to further dismantle federal entitlement programs and push people off of disability and back into the job market, where they would find nothing but low-wage labor, if anything. Both corporate-controlled parties share responsibility for this entirely contrived 'funding crisis.' Government projections as far back as 1995 showed that the SSDI trust would be depleted by 2016, but successive Democratic and Republican administrations took no action. A temporary cut in the payroll tax which funds the trusts in 2011 and 2012, pushed for by the Obama administration, led to a further draining of $200 billion in revenues from Social Security and Medicare. [...]"  

Commentary: "Multinational Vultures Circle Greece: Airports, Ports, Resorts, Energy Assets, Utilities" [07/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "On July 12, the summit of eurozone leaders dictated terms to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who accepted all, including the sale of Greece’s remaining public assets. Business Insider reports that Eurozone leaders demanded that Greek public assets be transferred to an independent fund renamed the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), to help to make the scheduled repayment of the new loan and recapitalization of banks and other assets. The fund was set up in July 2011 after the Greek sovereign debt crisis and opposed by Syriza, which suspended most planned privatisations when it came to power. Ben Chu (the Independent) reports that Germany originally proposed that HRADF be run from Luxembourg by a German state bank, prompting accusations on social media of a German “coup”. [...]"  

Commentary: "Far More Despicable Than Treason" [07/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero. [...]" Traitors are despised because they can get your men killed in battle and because they might allow a foreign army to occupy your nation, to steal your labors and to rape your women. America is an occupied nation. Our soldiers die at the whim of our occupying powers. Our wealth is stolen. Our streets are occupied by millions of street thugs. Our government imports illegal drugs into the USA by the planeload which is sold at a profit. Then drug addicts rob us to pay for their addictions. Often those same planes that flew drugs into America are used to fly out children who were sold to wealthy pedophiles overseas. The occupying power has been looting us. The Department of Defense has admitted that they spent $8.5 trillion that cannot be traced. I remember Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert saying that Dubai bank managers told them that American contractors from Iraq and Afghanistan made average deposits of $2.5 million in cash before rotating home. You need to understand that there are 21 primary dealers who handle market operations for the New York Federal Reserve. Dr Jim Willie has charged that some of these dealers are allowed to sell counterfeit US Treasury bonds that you as a taxpayer are required to redeem with your labors. I wrote the following in 2011.[...]"           

Commentary: "China Dumps Record $143 Billion In US Treasury's In Three Months Via Belgium" [07/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "When the latest Treasury International Capital data was released July 16th, many were quick to conclude that not only had China's selling of US Treasury ceased, but that with the addition of $7 billion in US government paper, China's latest total holdings of $1270.3 billion were the highest since May of 2014. And if one was merely looking at the "China" line item in the major foreign holders table, that would be correct. However, as we have shown before, when looking at China's Treasury holdings, one also has to add the "Belgian" Treasuries, which is where China had been anonymously engaging in a record buying spree via the local Euroclear, starting in late 2013, which however concluded with a bang in early 2015. [...] Putting all of this together, it reveals that China has already dumped a record total $107 billion in US Treasurys in 2015 to offset what is now quite clear capital flight from the mainland, and the most aggressive attempt to keep the Renminbi stable.[...]"

Perspectives: "Black Budget - What Does It Mean to US Budget, Economy and You?" [07/22/15] [1:22:34] "Are financial fraud and market manipulations actually mechanisms for financing the black budget and centralized governance necessitated by high-tech secrecy? [...]"  Note:  Secret Space Program Conference, 2014 San Mateo,CA, Catherine Austin Fitts presentation.

Max Keiser: "Keiser Report: Two-Faced Greek Government" MSM [07/22/15] [25:42] "We discuss Greek prime ministers bearing referendums as privatization schemes move full steam ahead as billionaires and celebrities begin buying up Greek islands on the cheap. In the second half, Max interviews Eddy Travia of about the company’s upcoming IPO on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London. Coinsilium Group facilitates the implementation of blockchain technology products and services alongside media and corporate advisory services. [...]"  Related: "Keiser Report: America's Shrinking Stock Market" [25:45] 

MSM: "Elizabeth Warren’s Glass-Steagall Legislation Has Two Fatal Flaws" [07/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "When it comes to sleuthing out how Wall Street has gamed the laws, conned the regulators and colluded to corrupt the whole financial system, there is no one in Congress sharper-eyed or more outspoken than Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is also exceptionally well-qualified to lead this Wall Street posse. Warren was a commercial law professor at Harvard for more than 20 years. She is widely credited with facilitating the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to protect consumers from the insidious rip-offs in mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other financial products. On July 7 of this year, Warren, together with fellow Senators John McCain, Bernie Sanders, Angus King, and Maria Cantwell, introduced the “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2015,” (S.1709) legislation to separate insured, deposit-taking banks from Wall Street’s investment banks, brokerage firms, market makers, and hedge funds. Warren had this to say when she introduced the legislation, according to the Congressional Record: [...]   Unfortunately, the text of the proposed legislation has two fatal flaws. First, banks can take up to five years to implement the new law. Regulators can stall for an additional year, bringing the delay to a total of six years. As Senator Warren clearly knows, this country will be devastated with staggering national debt, a ravaged middle class, decaying infrastructure, and the highest income and wealth inequality in the industrialized world if Wall Street retains the current structure for another six years. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s legislation in the House of Representatives to restore the Glass-Steagall Act, which has 63 co-sponsors versus Senator Warren’s four, provides just a two-year window for implementing the law, with a maximum one-year extension at the behest of regulators. That legislation is called the “Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2015.” Another serious problem with Warren’s proposed legislation is that it leaves the trillions of dollars of interest rate swaps on the insured commercial bank’s balance sheet.[...] "  

Trends: "Pension Funds Burn Cities As $1 Trillion Shortfall Set To Grow" [07/20/15] Printer Friendly Version  "Houston was warned by Moody’s Investors Service this month that it may be downgraded because of mounting retirement bills, the latest municipality put on notice as the company ignores bookkeeping gimmicks that let cities mask the size of their debt for years. The approach foreshadows accounting rules for even top-rated issuers that are poised to cause pension shortfalls to swell as new financial reports are released. [...] Cities that shortchanged pensions for years are under growing pressure to boost their contributions, even after windfalls from a stock market that’s tripled since early 2009. Janney Montgomery Scott has said growing retirement costs are “the largest cloud overhanging” the $3.6 trillion municipal-bond market, where investors are demanding higher yields from borrowers under the greatest strain. [...]" 

Concepts and Practices: "Catherine Austin Fitts-Central Bank Warfare Model Wearing Thin" [07/20/15] [32:55] "Financial expert Catherine Austin Fitts says, “The central banking warfare model is wearing thin. There are three things you can do: You can have war, you can have depopulation or you can have change. The voice you are hearing coming back from the BRICS, the voice you are hearing coming back from the Greek people is let’s try change. The IMF is saying . . . you know they have a point. Puerto Rico and Greece have rung that bell that says we have to create value in the real economy. You can’t eat it if you don’t grow it, and we can’t grow it if we are all engaged in disaster capitalism.” [...]" 

MSM: "No Prison for Accounting Executive in Madoff Fraud Case" [07/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "A jubilant accounting firm executive who worked for some of Bernard Madoff's most important clients emerged from a courtroom hugging family and friends on Thursday after a judge spared him prison time and agreed not to require post-sentence supervision. The leniency shown 79-year-old Paul Konigsberg means he can visit two of his grandchildren in Moscow as soon as he gets a new passport. Konigsberg pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and falsifying books and records, admitting that he unwittingly had a role in Madoff's multi-decade fraud by agreeing to let the Ponzi scheme's employees change trading records on some of his client's financial statements. [...]" 

MSM: "Goldman Sachs’ Bankers Set To Share £5.3Billion In Pay And Bonuses Despite Profits Slump" [07/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "The massive sum in salaries and bonuses and other benefits equates to more than £150,000 for each of the Wall Street giant’s 34,900-strong worldwide ­workforce, with some high-flying bankers pocketing a much bigger share than that. The US-based investment bank employs around 5,500 people in the UK. Headed by chief executive and chairman Lloyd Blankfein, it made £670million in the three months to the end of June – but that was down by 53% on the same period last year. Luke Hildyard, of think tank the High Pay Centre, said: “This is an example of the greedy, obnoxious way that the economy works. [...]"  

Commentary: "U.S. Fed Chief to Puerto Rico: When It Comes to $72 Billion in Debt, You’re on Your Own" [07/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "If Puerto Rican officials were hoping the U.S. Federal Reserve would help alleviate its debt crisis, they’re now sorely disappointed. Speaking in front of a House committee Wednesday morning, Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said the central bank had no clear path for helping the American commonwealth, whose governor, Alejandro García Padilla, admitted two weeks ago that he is unable to pay the $72 billion the government owes its creditors. For years, Puerto Rico used this money to prop up its failing economy, pay government bills, and fund social service programs. So far, both the White House and Congress have refused to provide assistance, and the International Monetary Fund can’t help because Puerto Rico isn’t a country. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would allow San Juan to apply for chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, which would give creditors a formal process to try to recoup some of what they’re owed. But it’s a long way from passage, and a similar bill has languished in the House for months. [...]"  

Commentary: "Greeks Can’t Tap Cash, Gold, Silver In Bank Safety Deposit Boxes" [07/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "Capital controls have been in place in Greece since the start of the month to protect the banks from mass withdrawals by nervous Greeks. They have rightly been concerned about their savings, the collapse of the banking system and the loss of their savings in deposit confiscations or bail-ins. Many Greeks were also withdrawing their cash because they fear the country might be forced back onto the drachma. However a little known fact is that, Greeks who had prepared for bank runs by withdrawing cash and buying gold and silver bullion and then lodging that bullion and indeed cash into safety deposit boxes have also been caught up in the draconian capital controls. We have warned about this for many years and warned as recently as April this year that people should avoid using safety deposit boxes in banks. [...]  The notion that safe deposit boxes – facilities that are used by many precious metals investors and others seeking to safeguard their wealth and valuables – need to come under capital controls to protect against bank runs is a dubious one. This cash is not in the banking system – its withdrawal would have no negative impact on the system. Its availability to its owner might bring cash into circulation which would benefit the wider community. The only reason to put access to safe deposit boxes under capital controls – measures which were agreed between the government and the banks – is because the banks and governments wish to retain the option of confiscating the contents of those boxes should the crisis deepen. [...]"

MSM: "IMF: Greece May Need 30 Years To (Will Never) Recover" [07/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "An International Monetary Fund study published on Tuesday showed that Greece needs far more debt relief than European governments have been willing to contemplate so far, as fractious parties in Athens prepared to vote on a sweeping austerity package demanded by their lenders. [...]"  Related: See below "This Is Why The Euro Is Finished: A Set-Up From The Very Beginning" [07/07/16] Printer Friendly Version " ... This currency that Greece is fighting so hard to be part of is in fact strangling it. The reason for this lies in the structure of the EMU. which makes it impossible for individual countries to adapt to changing circumstances. And circumstances always change. As a country, you need flexibility, you need to be able to adapt to world events. You need to be able to devalue, you need a central bank to be your lender of last resort. Mario Draghi has refused to be Greece’s lender of last resort. That can’t be, that’s impossible. there is no valid economic reason for such an action, it’s criminal behavior. But the Euro zone structure allows for such behavior. In ‘real life’, where a country has its own central bank, the only reason for it to refuse to be lender of last resort would be political. And it is the same thing here. It’s about power. That’s why Greece’s grandmas can’t get to their meager pensions. There is no economic reason for that. In the eurozone, there’s only one nation that counts in the end: Germany. The Euro zone has effectively made it possible for Angela Merkel to save her domestic banks from losses by unloading them upon the Greeks. This would not have been possible had Greece not been a member of the Euro zone. That this took, and still takes, scheming and cheating, is obvious. But that is at the same time the reason why either all Troika negotiators must be replaced, and by people who don’t stoop to these levels, or, and I think that’s the much wiser move, countries should leave the Euro zone. Look, it’s simple, the euro is finished. It won’t survive the unmitigated scandal that Greece has become. Greece is not the victim of its own profligacy, it’s the victim of a structure that makes it possible to unload the losses of the big countries’ failing financial systems onto the shoulders of the smaller. There’s no way Greece could win. The smaller, poorer, countries in the eurozone need to get out while they can, and as fast as they can, or they will find themselves saddled with ever more losses of the richer nations as the euro falls apart. The structure guarantees it. [...]"  

Commentary: "Even The Players Are Losing Faith In Their Own Shenanigans" Ø Hedge [07/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "The proof of the pudding is in the eating, the old saw goes. This one, alas, is a mélange of several old shit sandwiches bound in a liaison of subterfuge and seasoned with political absurdities. Having been fooled in this bistro before, citizen- patrons leave the table resigned to yet another bout of food poisoning as the music of universal upchuck rings across the European Union from Helsinki to Lisbon. What is on display more brightly and clearly than ever, though, is the utter fakery of international banking. The players have lost faith in their own shenanigans. They simply go through the motions now awaiting the political fallout, which is to say the revolt of the people who can still do arithmetic. So, now Greece can supposedly expect another $90bn-equivalent in new loans on top of the $350bn-equivalent already racked up. That’s rich. The loan repayment schedule must look like a map of Middle Earth. [...] The eventual implosion of the European Union, and the banking system hugging its face vampire squid style, will be the financial equivalent of the Black Death. Kingdoms will fall and social systems will be turned upside down. The agonizing wait for that outcome is obviously fraying the nerves of all concerned to the degree that all their exertions seem like little more than tragic and pointless exercises in futility — for instance, the terms arrived at in last weekend’s negotiations. Nobody has a shred of faith that they can or will be carried out. In effect, what they’ve done is put together a Potemkin framework allowing them to go just give up for a month or so and go on vacation. That would, of course, set things up for a mighty financial convulsion in the autumn history’s favorite season for ruin — when all the ministers and their factotums venture back to the dismal realities they left fermenting at the office. Of all the many things apt to happen, we can count at least on the current Greek government falling and a failure of Greece to make any gesture of repayment in their just-negotiated loan schedule. That would leave the “Troika” (the EU, the ECB, and the IMF) with zero credibility and initiate the epochal widespread repudiation of the entire EU loan structure — in short, the collapse of Europe. That wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the world, but it would be the end of nearly seventy-year period of peace, prosperity, and stability. The sorting-out would be epic.[...]" 

Commentary: "Greece Hands Over Airports, Airplanes, Infrastructure And Banks" Ø Hedge [07/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "With the provocative and dramatic Greek "time out" language pulled from the final finmin and summit draft language, the two most humiliating aspects of the latest extend and pretend "deal" for the Greek people will be the return of the Troika's (surely we can call it the Troika again as part of the Greek capitulation) IMF mission to Athens, and the escrowing of some €50 billion in Greek assets in a liquidation fund. Granted said fund will not be domiciled in Luxembourg as was originally envisioned, but Europe will still have control and first refusal rights over what are technically Greek properties, in the process Athens handing over about 25% of Greek GDP (and sovereignty) over the Brussels. What are these assets? For the answer we go to the horse's mouth, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who laid out the holdings of the proposed Greek privatization that would be sold off as follows: "it still is going to be an independent fund, valued at €50 billion which can be airplanes, airports, infrastructure and most certainly banks.” Bloomberg quotes the Eurogroup finmin president: "They will be brought in with the target to privatize those in the coming years, but we will take our time for that. We then hope for proceeds of EU50 billion, but that will be clear later. The banks first have to be refinanced from this aid program, but after that I take it that they’re worth money and then we can sell them. [...] In other words, Greece will be liquidated piecemeal to repay creditors. In even other words, the proceeds from the Third Greek Bailout will not only not reach the Greek people, but Greece will have to sell itself in pieces to top off the creditors' funding needs. Dijsselbloem concludes: "That is good for Greece, but also good for us. We are in the end the ones from whom the money is borrowed." It was not exactly clear why this would be good for Greece. So for all those curious, here are some of the "assets" that already have, or soon will hit Ebay.[...]" Related: "Greek PM Tsipras Agrees to Key Demands of Eurozone Leaders" [1:51]  

Commentary: "Corporate Capitalism Creating Suffering Worldwide" Chris Hedges [07/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "The poor and the working class in the United States know what it is to be Greek. They know underemployment and unemployment. They know life without a pension. They know existence on a few dollars a day. They know gas and electricity being turned off because of unpaid bills. They know the crippling weight of debt. They know being sick and unable to afford medical care. They know the state seizing their meager assets, a process known in the United States as “civil asset forfeiture,” which has permitted American police agencies to confiscate more than $3 billion in cash and property. They know the profound despair and abandonment that come when schools, libraries, neighborhood health clinics, day care services, roads, bridges, public buildings and assistance programs are neglected or closed. They know the financial elites’ hijacking of democratic institutions to impose widespread misery in the name of austerity. They, like the Greeks, know what it is to be abandoned. [...] The Greeks and the U.S. working poor endure the same deprivations because they are being assaulted by the same system—corporate capitalism. There are no internal constraints on corporate capitalism. And the few external constraints that existed have been removed. Corporate capitalism, manipulating the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including the Eurogroup, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, does what it is designed to do: It turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. In the extraction process, labor unions are broken, regulatory agencies are gutted, laws are written by corporate lobbyists to legalize fraud and empower global monopolies, and public utilities are privatized. Secret trade agreements—which even elected officials who view the documents are not allowed to speak about—empower corporate oligarchs to amass even greater power and accrue even greater profits at the expense of workers. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. It ultimately demolishes the structures and markets that make capitalism possible. But this is of little consolation for those who endure its evil. By the time it slays itself it will have left untold human misery in its wake.[...] Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalists. The suffering of the Greeks, like the suffering of ordinary Americans, is very good for the profit margins of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. It was, after all, Goldman Sachs—which shoved subprime mortgages down the throats of families it knew could never pay the loans back, sold the subprime mortgages as investments to pension funds and then bet against them—that orchestrated complex financial agreements with Greece, many of them secret. These agreements doubled the debt Greece owes under derivative deals and allowed the old Greek government to mask its real debt to keep borrowing. And when Greece imploded, Goldman Sachs headed out the door with suitcases full of cash. The system of unfettered capitalism is designed to callously extract money from the most vulnerable and funnel it upward to the elites. This is seen in the mounting fines and fees used to cover shortfalls in city and state budgets. Corporate capitalism seeks to privatize all aspects of government service, from education to intelligence gathering. The U.S. Postal Service appears to be next. Parents already must pay hundreds of dollars for their public-school children to take school buses, go to music or art classes and participate in sports or other activities. Fire departments, ambulance services, the national parks system are all slated to become fodder for corporate profit. It is the death of the civil society[...]" 

Documentary: "The Secret Bank Bailout" [07/14/15] [58:31] "50 billion euros in Greece, 70 billion euros in Ireland, 40 billion euros in Spain – one Euro-country after another is forced to support its banks with huge sums of money in order to equalize the losses incurred by money worldwide from bad loans. But where do the billions go anyway? Who are the beneficiaries? With this simple question the award-winning business journalist and nonfiction author Harald Schumann travels across Europe and gets surprising answers. The rescued are not in the poorer Euro states – unlike commonly believed – but mainly in Germany and France. A large part of the money ends up with the creditors of the banks that want to be saved or must be saved. And although these investors have obviously made bad investments, they are – against all logic of the free market economy – protected at the expense of the general public against any losses. Why? Who gets the money? Actually, simple questions, but that regard the core of European identity. Maybe the most passionate film on the banking crisis. German TV Award 2013 [...]"  Related: "The Trail Of The Troika"  [1:29:22] "What is happening in Europe in the name of the troika? A must-see for anyone who wants to understand the situation in Greece. The European Union and International Monetary Fund have lent more than 400 billion Euros to Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus to keep these countries solvent. The lenders granted enormous power to the three institutions of the so called troika: the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. Without any public accountability, the troika is forcing the crisis states to implement policies that are tearing the social fabric of their countries apart. German journalist and best-selling author Harald Schumann travelled to Athens, Lisbon, Dublin, Nicosia, Brussels, Washington, New York and London, in order to find out who has actually benefited from austerity measures. He puts this question to ministers, parliamentarians, economists, bankers, doctors and also to the victims of these policies, the unemployed and the ill. Among the many people we meet are Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, IMF Director Paulo Batista and Yanis Varoufakis, the newly elected Greek finance minister. Schumann’s revelations are often devastating and shocking. Given the negotiations currently taking place between the newly elected Greek government and their European partners, this film is of great political and economic relevance.[...]"

Concepts and Practices: "Groupthink: Collective Delusions In Organizations And Markets" PDF [07/13/15] "Groupthink: A pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics. Janis (1972)’s eight symptoms [of groupthink]:  • illusion of invulnerability • collective rationalization • belief in inherent morality • stereotyped views of out-groups • direct pressure on dissenters • self-censorship • illusion of unanimity • self-appointed ' mind guards' [...] Proposition 1 shows that the scope for contagion hinges on whether over-optimism has positive or negative spillovers. Examples of both types of interaction are provided below, using financial institutions as the main illustration. Limited-stakes projects, public goods: The first scenario characterizes activities with limited downside risk, in the sense that pursuing them remains socially desirable for the organization even in the low state where the private return falls short of the cost. High-stakes projects: The second scenario corresponds to ventures in which the downside is severe enough that persisting has negative social value for the organization. In such contexts, the greater is other players ‘tendency to ignore danger signals about ‘tail risk’ and forge ahead with the strategy — accumulating yet more subprime loans and CDO’s on the balance sheet, increasing leverage, setting up new off-the-books partnerships– the deeper and more widespread the losses will be if the scheme was flawed, the assets ‘toxic’, or the accounting fraudulent. Therefore, when red flags start mounting, the greater is the temptation for everyone whose future is tied to the firm’s fate to also look the other way, engage in rationalization, and ‘not think about it’. The proposition’s second result shows how cognitive interdependencies (of both types) are amplified, the more closely tied an individual’s welfare is to the actions of others. Groupthink is thus most important for closed, cohesive groups whose members perceive that they largely share a common fate and have few exit options. [ Note: Which would include all groups that are in experiential loops which are continuing fixed realities, which includes repeated actions by conceptually hobbled sequentials continually reincarnating on the same sphere... ] This is in line with Janis’ (1972) findings, but with a more operational notion of ‘cohesiveness’. Such vesting can be exogenous or arise from a prior choice to join the group, in which case wishful beliefs about its future prospects also correspond to ex-post rationalizations of a sunk decision."[...] A first alternative source of group error is social pressure to conform. For instance, if agents are heard or seen by both a powerful principal (boss, group leader, government) and third parties whom he wants to influence, they may just toe the line for fear of retaliation. Self-censorship should also not occur when agents can communicate separately with the boss, who should then want to hear both good and bad news. There are nonetheless many instances where deliberately confidential and highly credible warnings were flatly ignored, with disastrous consequences for the decision-maker.[...] 

Interviews: "Cartel Manipulation & The Ultimate Physical Shortage" [07/13/15] [20:00] "On July 7th the United States Mint suspended American Silver Eagle sales, again. And this time, sales of the popular PHYSICAL precious metal coin won’t resume until at least mid-August. And as the price of silver remains well below the cost of production for most of the world’s primary silver miners, according to precious metals analyst Andy Hoffman, “We continue to see record worldwide demand and record low inventories.” In this important interview, Max Porterfield, the CEO and President of Callinex Mines discusses the REALITY of the shortages of PHYSICAL precious AND base metals which is rapidly developing.  Porterfiled says, “You’ve got to ask yourself how is it legal that JP Morgan is solely responsible for 96% of all commodity derivatives, while Citigroup is single-handedly responsible for 70% of ALL precious metals derivatives?” Meanwhile, last week the bottom fell out of copper pushing the price of that important base metal down to a level not seen in 15 years. The danger with plummeting base metals prices is clear, fewer profitable BASE METAL mining companies will equate to lower overall base metals production, and more shortages. And as it pertains to the already tight PHYSICAL silver market in which most silver is a by-product of base metals mining, we can only expect far less PHYSICAL silver production in a market where demand is already outstripping supply by at least 200 million ounces per year. As India alone is on track to import 33% of ALL physical silver on earth in 2015 alone, it’s clear that a perfect storm is shaping up… for the ultimate PHYSICAL metals shortage.[...]"  

Commentary: "Vampire Squid Goldman Sachs Faces Lawsuit Over Role Played In Greek Debt Debacle" [07/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "Goldman Sachs — the Great Vampire Squid that helped oligarchs and corrupt politicians hide the debt central bankers say the Greek people owe — faces legal action over the role it played in the financial crisis. The investment bank worked behind the scenes to ensure Greece followed strict Maastricht rules for eurozone membership, according to a former Goldman banker who advised indebted governments on recovering losses made from complex transactions with banks. The swaps hid the true extent of the country’s outstanding debt and resulted in a hefty profit for Goldman Sachs — around $500 million — a figure disputed by the bank. Jaber George Jabbour, a former Goldman employee who designed swaps told the Greek government in a formal letter that it could “right historical wrongs as part of (its) plan to reduce Greece’s debt,” according to a reported published today by The Independent. Currency swaps are long-maturity, over-the-counter derivatives in which parties exchange long-term interest payments in different currencies. In the case of Greece, the Goldman devised swaps were used to disguise the actual scale of debt. [...]  In March, 2012 Bloomberg reported:  The Goldman Sachs transaction swapped debt issued by Greece in dollars and yen for euros using an historical exchange rate, a mechanism that implied a reduction in debt… It also used an off-market interest-rate swap to repay the loan. Those swaps allow counterparties to exchange two forms of interest payment, such as fixed or floating rates, referenced to a notional amount of debt.  The trading costs on the swap rose because the deal had a notional value of more than 15 billion euros, more than the amount of the loan itself, said a former Greek official with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the pricing was private. The size and complexity of the deal meant that Goldman Sachs charged proportionately higher trading fees than for deals of a more standard size and structure. Instead of investigating and prosecuting Goldman, EU apparatchiks ignored the scandal.[...]" 

Interviews: "Thomas Piketty: ‘Germany Has Never Repaid its Debts. It Has No Right to Lecture Greece’" [07/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "Since his successful book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the Frenchman Thomas Piketty has been considered one of the most influential economists in the world. His argument for the redistribution of income and wealth launched a worldwide discussion. In a interview with Georg Blume of Die Zeit, he gives his clear opinions on the European debt debate. [...]" 

Commentary: "IMF Disassembly: Ukraine Puts 345 State Firms Up For Sale" [07/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "Ukrainian Economic Development Minister Aivaras Abromavicius clarified exactly how many state companies would be offered up for sale to US and European investors at the upcoming Ukrainian-American investment conference in Washington D.C on Monday, stating that 345 state-run firms would be put on offer to the highest bidder. Speaking before reporters on Thursday, Abromavicius noted that the 345 firms offered for sale “will be included in the first wave of privatizations,” which he earlier confirmed would begin in the fourth quarter of this year. Kiev’s effort is ostensibly aimed at raising billions of dollars for the country’s cash-strapped budget, as the economy, hit by a decline in trade with Russia, financial panic, and civil war, lies in tatters and on the verge of default. [...]"  

Commentary: "Greece Confronts The EU’s Technocratic Hydra" [07/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "Thursday, July 9th could go down as the most important day in the European Union’s history. Neither Greece nor the EU seems willing to budge on a bailout deal, and Greek PM Tsipras has leaked to the press that French President Hollande represents the “last hope” in making a deal.  The raw power in the EU’s sprawling constellation of government lies in the hands of the elite power-brokers such as German PM Angela Merkel, but also with financial experts: Commission President Juncker, German FinMin Schaeuble, ECB President Draghi, Council President Tusk and IMF Director Lagarde. On the periphery, second-tier operatives have been trying to help dissolve the tension, while advancing their own interests: US Treasury Sec Lew, IMF chief economist Blanchard, Russian FinMin Siluanov, EU President Shulz, French FinMin Sapin, and now importantly, new Greek FinMin Tsakalotos. [...] Either way, new deal or Grexit, Greek banks will face closures, downsizing, and mergers. [2] Euro or drachma, unemployment will remain high and pensioners will hang on for the ride, making do with bare necessities. What will become more apparent with each day that passes is the EU’s legitimacy crisis as widespread poverty and emigration plagues Greece.[...] By appealing to fiscal conservatism and neoliberal capitalism, EU technocrats mask the suffering and poverty in not only Greece, but pockets of resistance in southern Europe and beyond (the PIIGS, etc.). The “structural reforms” imposed on the periphery inevitably returns to haunt the core, and the entire EU economy could conceivably contract in the next few years. Democracy and Europe, both being inventions of Greece, will be turned on their heads to support austerity, spreading the suffering and misery to ordinary EU citizens and the larger world economy.[...]  Deal or no deal, Greece will remain broke and EU banks will make billions servicing its debt. As the saying goes, the rigged system has “privatized the gains, and socialized the losses”. There is little mention anymore of the odious nature of the debt, or recent Greek history: the wrecking ball of Nazi-Italian occupation during WWII, the Gladio-led disinfo campaigns, the German reparations only partially paid back, the US-Euro backed juntas of 1967-74 where torture and disappearances were rampant. Truth and honor have no value in the Empire of Lies, and repeated Greek traumas and failed structural adjustment programs mean nothing. By rallying around the “No” vote in its referendum, Greece has focused debate on the privatization schemes of the EU banks, IMF, World Bank, and the usual crowd of predatory lenders. Greek citizens have shown the world how to use direct democracy as a weapon against the conformist bureaucracy of the EU, in the interests of fairness, justice, and economic freedom. [...]"   Related: "Five Syriza Hardliners Say Prefer Drachma To Austerity" Printer Friendly Version  "Five hardliners in Greece's ruling SYRIZA party said on Friday dropping out of the eurozone and a return to the drachma was preferable to a deal with international creditors laced with austerity and without any provision for debt relief. “The government even at this hour can and should respond to the institutions' blackmail with the dilemma: either a programme without new austerity, with funding and a debt write-off or an exit fron the euro and suspension of payments of the unjust and non viable debt,” the statement signed by five members of the party said. Three of them are lawmakers and two members of SYRIZA's political committee. The Greek government is seeking support from the country's fractious parliament to a plan for tax and fiscal reforms, seeking a 53.5 billion euro lifeline from lenders to keep the country afloat. SYRIZA has 149 seats in the 300-seat Greek legislature [...]" 

MSM: "Greece Submits Last-Ditch Request For A Bailout" [07/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "Greece offered to make painful spending cuts and hike taxes Thursday in a final gambit to win one more bailout from Europe before the country descends into bankruptcy. This debt-laden country is seeking at least 50 billion euros ($55 billion) over the next three years, according to government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive negotiations. In return, it laid out a blueprint of austerity measures that the officials said total between 12 billion and 13 billion euros ($13 billion to $14 billion) — significantly more than Greece’s previous commitments. The move brings Greece one step closer to a deal with its European creditors, who plan to make a final decision Sunday about whether to throw this Mediterranean nation a lifeline or watch it slide out of the common euro currency. And after more than five fitful months of negotiations, the bar for reaching an agreement is high. [...]"  Related: "China And Russia May Assist Greece Through BRICS" Printer Friendly Version "China and Russia could use this week’s BRICS summit and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conference to formulate a BRICS-based rescue plan to tackle the Greece debt crisis [...]" 

Commentary: "Enormous Bull Market In Wall St Corruption" [07/10/15] [50:12] "The OTCD derivatives market is being protected and a large effort being made to prevent the credit default swaps from being triggered. The US has been doing it for years [...]"  

MSM: "China Market Soars Most Since 2009 After Chinese Government Threatens Short Sellers With Arrest" [07/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "Here is a brief sample of some of the measures the Chinese government and the PBOC have unleashed in just the past ten days to prop up the crashing market include: a ban on major shareholders, corporate executives, directors from selling stock for 6 months .... freezing more than half (1400 at last count per Bloomberg) of the listed companies from trading, blocking fund redemptions, forcing companies to invest in the market, halting IPOs, reducing equity transaction fees, providing daily bailouts to the margin lending authority, reducing margin requirements, boosting buybacks, endless propaganda by Beijing Bob.[...] But it wasn't until last night's first official threat to "malicious" (short) sellers that they face charges (i.e., arrest), as Xinhua reported yesterday: [Ministry of Public Security in conjunction with the recent Commission investigation of malicious short stock and stock index clues ] correspondent was informed on the 9th morning , Vice Minister of Public Security Meng Qingfeng led to the Commission , in conjunction with the recent Commission investigation of malicious short stock and stock index clues show regulatory authorities to the operation of heavy combat illegal activities."[...] And since this is all about one thing, the stock, market, it is worth noting that the Shanghai Composite Index had dropped as much as 3.8% to a 4 month low before the news that the cops were going to arrest anyone who used a wrong discount rate in their DCF, when everything suddenly took off, and the SHCOMP closed a "Dramamine required" 5.8% higher, the biggest daily increase since March 2009.[...] The best and briefest summary comes from China Southern Fund Management chief strategist Yang Delong, who said that the government efforts "hit the right spot." Well, yes, when you threaten to arrest sellers, it does tend to have a short-term effect. The only escalation from there is arresting anyone who doesn't buy which in turn would promptly lead to this.[...]  In any event, the euphoria over Chinese central planners threatening with bodily harm in what is clearly one of the last steps before all control is lost, is enough to offset the unpleasant encroaching of reality. One wonders just what measures the US itself will take when faced with China's bursting-bubble predicament. For now, however, after US stocks tumbled yesterday just before the NYSE "unexpectedly" closed for nearly 4 hours a day after 70% of Chinese stocks were frozen from trading, futures right now are set for a 1% open.[...]"

Flashback: "New York Stock Exchange Sold To Derivatives Company In $8bn Takeover" Dec 2012 [07/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "The New York Stock Exchange called time on two centuries of independence on Thursday, agreeing to an $8.2bn takeover that will hand control of the icon of American capitalism to an Atlanta-based energy trader. The takeover comes amid a historic shift for Wall Street and stock exchanges around the world. The move to electronic trading, fierce competition between exchanges and the sharp decline in trading commissions has led to a wave of mergers and takeover offers that have failed amid regulatory concerns. The stock exchange's holding company, NYSE Euronext, has agreed to an offer of $33.12 a share in cash and stock from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). ICE was founded in 2000, NYSE in 1817. The combined company would have headquarters in both ICE's home of Atlanta and in New York. CE was founded in 2000 by chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Sprecher as an electronic commodity trading exchange. Sprecher has grown the business through a series of big deals. ICE now runs the world's biggest energy futures market and commodity markets in the US and Canada. The deal will add NYSE Liffe, the European derivatives exchange to ICE's portfolio.[...]"  Related: See below   

MSM: "CEO: NYSE Shutdown “Probably” A Cyberattack" [07/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "CEO Ross Gerber echoed the suspicions of many by suggesting that the New York Stock Exchange shut down on Wednesday was prompted by a cyberattack and not by a technical glitch as officials claim. NYSE trading was halted earlier today, with an official statement that, “The issue we are experiencing is an internal technical issue and is not the result of a cyber breach.” However, on the same day that United Airlines and the Wall Street Journal also suffered strange technical glitches, with all United Airlines flights temporarily grounded nationwide, some saw the NYSE shut down as one coincidence too many. “Lots of people claiming no cyber attack. That makes me think #cyberattack,” tweeted Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management. [...]" The New York Stock Exchange resumed trading shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, hours after the apparent technical hiccup forced the exchange to suspend all activity. 

MSM: "Rothschild Banking Dynasty Facing Fraud Charges In France" [07/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "One of Europe’s wealthiest bankers faces questioning for fraud in France as part of a years-long case that accuses him of defrauding retirees. Baron David de Rothschild, one of the wealthy members of the famous Rothschild banking dynasty, was indicted last month over allegations that his company, Rothschild Financial Services Group, offered a fraudulent equity release loan program to about 130 retirees between 2005 and 2008. 20 British retirees living in Spain brought the fraud lawsuit, according to Olive Press, an English-language newspaper published in that country, but it’s taken five years of legal maneuvering to successfully force the Baron into court. Rothschild Financial Services Group is accused of falsely advertising the scheme, under which retirees were told they could reduce the value of their French homes in order to reduce the inheritance tax that their descendents would for those properties. According to the report, France’s “Tax Agency ruled that such a scheme constitutes fraud.” Antonio Flores, one of the lawyers prosecuting the case, told Olive Press, “In short, independently of what happened to the investment, Rothschild advertised a loan aimed at reducing inheritance tax, which is a breach of tax law.” With a summons for questioning signed by a Paris-based judge, the next step was to find Baron Rothschild, who could have been staying at any of several French properties, including a castle in Normandy. [...]"  

MSM: "Nearly 25% Of Chinese Stocks Have Stopped Trading" [07/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "Over 700 Chinese companies have halted trading to "self preserve," according to the state media. That means about a quarter of the companies listed on China's two big exchanges -- the Shanghai and Shenzhen -- are no longer trading. China's stock markets are in trouble. The Shanghai Composite Index has fallen over 25% since mid-June. The Shenzhen, which has more tech companies and is often compared to America's Nasdaq Index, is down even more. [...]"    Related: "As Stocks Plunge, China Enacts Six-Month Ban On Stock Sales By Major Shareholders" Printer Friendly Version

MSM: "China Central Bank Steps In To Bailout Stocks As Underwater Traders Pray For A Rebound" [07/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "China’s equity miracle — the one bright spot that has so far served to distract the masses from rapidly decelerating economic growth and a bursting real estate bubble — is in deep trouble. A dramatic unwind in unofficial margin lending channels such as umbrella trusts and structured funds which have together served to pump some CNY1 trillion into a market that was already red-hot, sparked and perpetuated a 30% decline in the space of just three weeks, pushing Beijing into panic mode and prompting simultaneous policy rate cuts along with a variety of other measures designed to stop the bleeding.  On Saturday we learned that a consortium of Chinese brokers will inject 15% of their net assets — or around $19 billion — into blue chip stocks starting Monday and China’s mutual funds have pledged not to sell their equity positions for at least a year. As we and others noted, the injection from the brokerages likely will not matter. As one analyst told Bloomberg, “it won’t last an hour in this market.” Besides, much of the unofficial, backdoor margin buying was funneled into speculative small caps, which are, for now anyway, outside the purvey of the emergency measures. On Sunday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission announced that the PBoC is set to inject capital into China Securities Finance Corp which will use the funds to help brokerages expand their businesses and reinvigorate stocks. In other words, China’s central bank is now underwriting brokerages’ margin lending businesses; that is, the PBoC is now in the business of financing leveraged stock buying.  Despite being one step removed from onboarding equities directly onto its balance sheet, the PBoC is effectively buying stocks, which amounts (of course) to QE. What's particularly interesting here is that as we've said on too many occasions to count, it's exceedingly likely that the plan in China was to save outright QE for purchases of China's local government bonds. [...]" 

Commentary: "This Is Why The Euro Is Finished: A Set-Up From The Very Beginning" [07/07/15] Printer Friendly Version "The IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis report on Greece that came out this week has caused a big stir. We now know that the Fund’s analysts confirm what Syriza has been saying ever since they came to power 5 months ago: Greece needs debt relief, lots of it, and fast. We also know that Europe tried to silence the report. But what’s most interesting is that this has been going on for months, as per Reuters. Ergo, the IMF has known about the -preliminary- analysis for months, and kept silent, while at the same time ‘negotiating’ with Greece on austerity and bailouts. And if you dig a bit deeper still, there’s no avoiding the fact that the IMF hasn’t merely known this for months, it’s known it for years. The Greek Parliamentary Debt Committee reported three weeks ago that it has in its possession an IMF document from 2010(!) that confirms the Fund knew even at that point in time. That is to say, it already knew back then that the bailout executed in 2010 would push Greece even further into debt. Which is the exact opposite of what the bailout was supposed to do. The 2010 bailout was the one that allowed private French, Dutch and German banks to transfer their liabilities to the Greek public sector, and indirectly to the entire eurozone‘s public sector. [...] This currency that Greece is fighting so hard to be part of is in fact strangling it. The reason for this lies in the structure of the EMU. which makes it impossible for individual countries to adapt to changing circumstances. And circumstances always change. As a country, you need flexibility, you need to be able to adapt to world events. You need to be able to devalue, you need a central bank to be your lender of last resort. Mario Draghi has refused to be Greece’s lender of last resort. That can’t be, that’s impossible. there is no valid economic reason for such an action, it’s criminal behavior. But the eurozone structure allows for such behavior. In ‘real life’, where a country has its own central bank, the only reason for it to refuse to be lender of last resort would be political. And it is the same thing here. It’s about power. That’s why Greece’s grandmas can’t get to their meagre pensions. There is no economic reason for that. In the eurozone, there’s only one nation that counts in the end: Germany. The eurozone has effectively made it possible for Angela Merkel to save her domestic banks from losses by unloading them upon the Greeks. This would not have been possible had Greece not been a member of the eurozone. That this took, and still takes, scheming and cheating, is obvious. But that is at the same time the reason why either all Troika negotiators must be replaced, and by people who don’t stoop to these levels, or, and I think that’s the much wiser move, countries should leave the eurozone. Look, it’s simple, the euro is finished. It won’t survive the unmitigated scandal that Greece has become. Greece is not the victim of its own profligacy, it’s the victim of a structure that makes it possible to unload the losses of the big countries’ failing financial systems onto the shoulders of the smaller. There’s no way Greece could win. The damned lies and liars and statistics that come with all this are merely the cherry on the euro cake. It’s done. Stick a fork in it. The smaller, poorer, countries in the eurozone need to get out while they can, and as fast as they can, or they will find themselves saddled with ever more losses of the richer nations as the euro falls apart. The structure guarantees it.[...] Related: "Austrians Sign Petition to Leave European Union" Printer Friendly Version "Unlike Greece, Austria is an extremely wealthy nation, with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Which kind of makes you wonder right? Everyone has been talking about the consequences of what would happen if a financial basket case like Greece leaves the EU, but what happens if one of the more stable and functional nations leave? What if the people who are carrying the weight of the insolvent, decide that they’ve had enough? [...]" | "The "Nightmare Of The Euro-Architects" Is Coming True: JPM Now Sees Grexit, Eurogroup "Split In Coming Days" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"  

Interviews: "Economic Hit Man John Perkins On Greece As "Target" [07/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, discusses how Greece and other eurozone countries have become the new victims of “economic hit men.” John Perkins is no stranger to making confessions. His well-known book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, revealed how international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, while publicly professing to “save” suffering countries and economies, instead pull a bait-and-switch on their governments: promising startling growth, gleaming new infrastructure projects and a future of economic prosperity – all of which would occur if those countries borrow huge loans from those organizations. Far from achieving runaway economic growth and success, however, these countries instead fall victim to a crippling and unsustainable debt burden. That’s where the “economic hit men” come in: seemingly ordinary men, with ordinary backgrounds, who travel to these countries and impose the harsh austerity policies prescribed by the IMF and World Bank as “solutions” to the economic hardship they are now experiencing. Men like Perkins were trained to squeeze every last drop of wealth and resources from these sputtering economies, and continue to do so to this day. In this interview, which aired on Dialogos Radio, Perkins talks about how Greece and the eurozone have become the new victims of such “economic hit men.” [...]   Michael Nevradakis: In your book, you write about how you were, for many years, a so-called “economic hit man.” Who are these economic hit men, and what do they do?  John Perkins: Essentially, my job was to identify countries that had resources that our corporations want, and that could be things like oil – or it could be markets – it could be transportation systems. There’re so many different things. Once we identified these countries, we arranged huge loans to them, but the money would never actually go to the countries; instead it would go to our own corporations to build infrastructure projects in those countries, things like power plants and highways that benefitted a few wealthy people as well as our own corporations, but not the majority of people who couldn’t afford to buy into these things, and yet they were left holding a huge debt, very much like what Greece has today, a phenomenal debt. And once [they were] bound by that debt, we would go back, usually in the form of the IMF – and in the case of Greece today, it’s the IMF and the EU [European Union] – and make tremendous demands on the country: increase taxes, cut back on spending, sell public sector utilities to private companies, things like power companies and water systems, transportation systems, privatize those, and basically become a slave to us, to the corporations, to the IMF, in your case to the EU, and basically, organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the EU, are tools of the big corporations, what I call the “corporatocracy.” [...]"  Related: See below 

MSM: "Greece Resoundingly Rejects Austerity In Referendum On Bailout Deal" [07/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Greeks on Sunday decisively rejected a bailout deal proposed by the country's international creditors, which demanded new austerity measures in return for emergency funds. The vote amounted to a stinging rebuke of the austerity measures imposed on Greece since 2010. [...]"  

MSM: "Capital Control Cuts Off Greek Access to iTunes, iCloud, and PayPal" [07/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Imagine trying to buy a song on iTunes, but finding your credit card payment blocked. You can’t pay your cloud storage subscription, either, even though you have the money. Apple just won’t accept your card, and you’re about to lose most of your files. That’s the situation many people in Greece are waking up to this week in the wake of the country’s new capital control laws. Technically, Greek lawmakers passed the capital control laws to stop people from evacuating all their money to overseas bank accounts and draining cash from the country’s struggling economy, but the laws also prevent everyday consumers from making even the smallest credit payments to foreign companies, including Apple, PayPal, and other staples of online life.  Greek citizens travelling overseas could normally use their credit cards at payment terminals anywhere. But suddenly, they can’t, which means that travel outside of Greece is pretty much out of the question. It’s not clear what the economic impact of Greece’s capital control laws will be, but the average Greek consumer is in for a stressful time. [...]" 

MSM: "Feds ‘Lose’ Audits For Fort Knox Gold" [07/05/15]   [2:49] "The blog,, recently published a report on a Freedom of Information Act request they recently filed with the US government. They were seeking seven reports from federal audits of the gold at Fort Knox. The government's response? They can't find those reports - even though they reference those reports as evidence of the gold stored at Fort Knox in a number of ways. The Resident discusses. [...]"   

Interviews: "Jeff Rense With Webster Tarpley" [07/05/15] Audio "Austerity Psychosis (Abbauwahn) Rules in Merkel’s Berlin; 90% of Loans to Greece Went to German and French Zombie Banks; Greek Debt Is Illegal" [...]" Note: click 'play' arrow.

Commentary: "Charts The Government Doesn’t Want You To See: Schiff & Maloney" [07/05/15] [41:39] "Mike Maloney and Peter Schiff are famous for warning investors ahead of time about the 2008 financial crisis. Now, they have new information – including detailed charts and data – showing why an even bigger crash is in the making.  [...]" Related: "Canada PFT Interview With Schiff" [7:15] 

Flashback: "Leaked Files Implicate Over 6,000 Israelis In Massive HSBC Bank Scandal" Feb 2015 [07/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "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. Israel was ranked sixth on the list of countries with the most money in the hidden Swiss accounts, with an estimated $10 billion overall. The funds were distributed among over six thousands clients and 9,769 accounts. 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. [...] Brazil-born banker Edmond J. Safra was listed as holding a Swiss account with up to $5.3 million, and Israeli-Canadian oil trader Jonathan Kollek was linked to accounts holding as much as $72 million." Diamond dealer Beny Steinmetz, celebrity rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto –– who is embroiled in an ongoing graft case — and businessman Zadik Bino were also named as account holders. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) obtained the files via French newspaper Le Monde, and shared them with the BBC and The Guardian newspaper in Britain, US TV program “60 Minutes” and more than 45 other media organizations worldwide. The documents showed that HSBC provided accounts to international criminals, businessmen, politicians and celebrities, according to the ICIJ. The revelations are likely to stoke calls for a crackdown on sophisticated tax avoidance by the wealthy and by multinational companies, a key political issue across Europe. Tax avoidance is legal, but tax evasion is not.  “HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channeled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws,” ICIJ reported. 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.  Other individuals named include the late Frantz Merceron, an associate of former Haitian president Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and Rami Makhlouf, cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Also named were designer Diane von Furstenberg, who told the ICIJ the accounts were inherited from her parents, and model Elle Macpherson, whose lawyers told the ICIJ she was fully in compliance with UK tax law.[...]"  

MSM: "Iran Repatriates 13 Tons Of Frozen Gold" [07/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "Iran has secured the release of 13 metric tons of its gold assets blocked in South Africa under US-led sanctions, central bank Governor Valiollah Seif has said.  The repatriation came thanks to the Iranian negotiating team’s follow-up of the matter in the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said in a statement. “An equivalent of 13 tons of gold purchased before and held in South Africa over the past two years due to sanctions and certain obstructions arrived in the country in three consignments and was delivered to the CBI treasury,” Seif said. The transfer took place over the past week and the last consignment, including four metric tons of gold bullion, arrived in Tehran Tuesday night, he added.“With the efforts of the diplomatic apparatus, the problem of transferring part of Iran’s gold assets was resolved on the sidelines of the Vienna negotiations,” the CBI statement said. According to the CBI, the removal of sanctions and Iran’s unfettered access to its assets abroad is one of the main objectives of the country’s negotiating team in nuclear talks.  As much as $100 billion of Iranian assets, mostly from oil sales, are reportedly blocked overseas under the sanctions regime aimed at choking the country’s economy.  Iran has received a fraction of this sum under the sanctions relief which it was given after the 2013 interim deal. According to US State Department, Iran will have had nearly $12 billion in assets unfrozen over the course of the nuclear talks by July 7.  [...] Royal Dutch Shell has an outstanding debt of $2.3 billion to Iran for the crude oil which the company has bought from the National Iranian Oil Company. Indian refineries have been directed to stock up on dollar and euro reserves in overseas accounts to avoid a run on the rupee in the event of having to pay back Iran more than $6 billion in outstanding debts. Greeks and South Koreans are also being cited owing a debt surpassing $10 billion to Iran among others. [...]" Note: Interesting that the overall debts owed Iran, or at least putting it off, is probably one of the main reasons for the 'sanctions'... to cheat Iran out of reimbursements from major countries, in a back-handed way. Related: "Is A Nuclear Deal With Iran Being Stalled Because The West Can’t Pay Tehran’s Money Back?" Printer Friendly Version

MSM: "57 Countries Set To Sign On To China-Backed Investment Bank AIIB" [07/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "One of China’s biggest foreign policy successes ever will take concrete shape Monday when delegates from 57 countries sign an agreement on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing. The founding members of the China-backed AIIB will sign articles of agreement that decide each member’s share and the bank’s initial capital. The multilateral institution, seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank, was initially opposed by the United States but has attracted many prominent U.S. allies including Britain, Germany, Australia and South Korea. Other founding members include most Asian nations and countries from the Middle East and South America. Japan and the United States are the most prominent nations not to have any representation in the venture. China has said it has left the door open for them to join. “It’s a huge diplomatic and strategic win for China,” Malcolm Cook, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said of the AIIB. “(But) the fact that so many have signed on will mean that the management of the AIIB will be quite complicated. . . . The more countries you have on board, the more interests will be at play and more each member will of course want the institution to serve their own interests.” One senior Western diplomat in Beijing said China felt it had no choice but to set up its own bank after repeated attempts to reform existing institutions like the International Monetary Fund to take into account China’s role as the world’s second-largest economy were blocked in Washington. “The United States only has itself to blame,” said the diplomat, from a country which has signed up to the AIIB, speaking on condition of anonymity. Asian countries are expected to own up to 75 percent of the bank while European and other nations will own the remainder. Each Asian member will then be allotted a share of that 75 percent quota based on their economic size, two Japanese sources have said. The AIIB will begin with authorized capital of $50 billion. This will eventually be raised to $100 billion. China is likely to hold a 25-30 percent stake, while India will be the second-biggest shareholder with a possible 10-15 percent , delegates at a meeting to finalize the new bank’s articles of agreement said in May. Germany plans to take a 4.1 percent stake to become the fourth-biggest member after China, India and Russia, according to a Finance Ministry draft document seen earlier this month. [...]"  

Commentary: "Guess Who’s Running The New BRICS Bank" [07/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "Guys who hang out at Davos, who help run the “tainted, old” IMF and World Bank, and who are trained by the London Establishment and the Vatican Jesuits. [...]"  

Commentary: "The Moral Imperative of the BRICS Paradigm" MSM [07/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "... The BRICS banking paradigm offers a refreshingly soothing and exciting alternative to this out-of-control octopus of global banking strangulation currently put in place by the IMF. BRICS also offers a way out of the legacy of European colonialism which has plagued the planet for the past few hundred years, wherein mostly brown and Third World nations are literally under the enslavement and yoke of their European financial masters. The legacy and badges of slavery live on through the financial masters’ control of these indigenous countries’ money supply and credit. This is why 132 nations (mostly former colonial victims), which had been calling on the UN for a new financial paradigm, immediately saw hope in the BRICS alternative banking and financing initiatives a few months ago. 57 countries have already formally joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the first total break from the Western Bretton Woods institutions. Meanwhile, the initial capitalization of the BRICS Bank is stated to be $100 billion, although this is projected to increase exponentially and significantly in the years to come, as their client states and governments have already promised to contribute to its success. For every Coca Cola, there has always been a Pepsi Cola. For every McDonalds, there has always been a Burger King. And for every PC Computer, there has always been a Mac. The United States has always stood for healthy and robust competition, frowning on monopoly and anti-trust activity, so it appears to be a natural and historically traditional progression that if the United States is to remain as a healthy member within the global banking community, that they would also join, if not wholeheartedly support, the creation of the BRICS paradigm. [...] Why the United States has openly discouraged and fought this new global banking alternative is the ultimate manifestation of the consequences the stranglehold that the world’s central banks, as organized by and under the IMF, has caused. Within the United States, the subjugation and subversion of the US Constitution and the attendant civil liberties the people have enjoyed is at an all-time low – and the people know it. America’s fate was sealed with the repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 during the Clinton Administration.[...]"  

Commentary: "Puerto Rico To Increase Sales Tax To 11.5%" [07/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "Sales tax in Puerto Rico will increase by 4-and-a-half percent starting Wednesday, from 7 to 11-and-a-half. It’s one measure being taken to address the U.S. territory’s current economic crisis. Puerto Rico’s governor said this week they cannot repay $72 billion dollars in debt. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has created a financial task force to restructure public debt. He said they’ll have to reach an agreement with creditors to postpone debt payments so money can be invested in job creation to accelerate the economy. [...]"   Related: See below: "Minimum Wage Helped Destroy Puerto Rican Economy" [07/01/15]; "Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable’" [06/29/15] 

MSM: "Greece Becomes First Developed Country To Default To The IMF" [07/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "And just as promised earlier in the week, Greece has now passed the midnight deadline for repayment of the €1.6 billion bundled loans due and is thus in default. [...]"  Related: "Greece Has Not Applied To Russia For Financial Aid — Finance Minister" Printer Friendly Version "Greece has not applied to Russia for financial aid in recent days, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Greece did not pay its 1.5 bln euros debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on time. Athens requested the organization to postpone the payment. Earlier the IMF Chief Christine Lagarde said that if Greece did not pay off its debt that would mean its default on the IMF loans. On July 5, Greece will hold on a referendum to decide whether to accept or reject a draft of the agreement proposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF at the Euro group meeting on June 25. [...]" 

MSM: "U.S. Debt Headed Toward Greek Levels" [07/01/15] Printer Friendly Version United States' projected debt over the next 25 years looks a lot like Greece's over the past 25. "Spending in all areas of government should be considered on the table, without any sacred cows," Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, told the Washington Examiner. "If we're going to reap the really big savings, we have to look at fundamental reform of entitlement programs and eliminate wasteful spending at the Pentagon and in other discretionary programs.[...]  

Commentary: "French Economy In "Dire Straits", "Worse Than Anyone Can Imagine", Leaked NSA Cable Reveals" [07/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Earlier today Wikileaks released a new batch of NSA intercepts among which one in particular stands out: an intercepted communication which reveals that then French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici believes the French economic situation was far worse, as of mid-2012, than perceived. Specifically, Moscovici who served as French finance minister until 2014 and then became European commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, used some very colorful language, i.e., the French economic situation was "worse than anyone [could] imagine and drastic measures [would] have to be taken in the next two years”.  Needless to say, no drastic measures were taken. In fact, no measures at all were taken because thanks to the ECB's "whatever it takes" 2012 intervention and subsequent QE, pushed French yields to record low levels making the need for any reform moot (a la Greece, until the whole circus exploded). He remarks about that the situation with the automotive industry was more critical than a pre-retirement unemployment supplement known as AER, which he also thought wouldn't have had a severe impact on elections (while senator Bourquin thought would have driven voters to right-wing National Front). Moscovici's conclusion was that "the situation is dire" although the finance minister ignored warnings that without a "pre-retirement unemployment supplement known as the AER... the ruling Socialist Party will have a rough time in the industrial basin of the country, with voters turning to the rightwing National Front." Moscovici disagreed. Fast forward 3 years, and not only did French unemployment just hit an all time high confirming that the economic situation has indeed never been more dire... [...]"  Related: "Wikileaks: NSA’s 10-Year Economic Espionage Against France" Printer Friendly Version  

Commentary: "Bank For International Settlements Pre-Positions Itself As "The Wise Voice Of Reason" [07/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released its 2014/2015 Annual Report today, and it hits the propaganda talking points I’ve been expecting. It outlines the source of the global financial problem: the national central banks’ “too loose for too long” monetary policies … [...] And it offers the globalist solution to the problem… “International policy coordination can occur at various depths. Enlightened self-interest takes international spillovers into account to the extent that they spill back on one’s own economy. However, even if countries did their best individually, this would still fall short of the mark if there were significant international spillovers, as in today’s era of global liquidity. Moving towards a more efficient outcome would require greater cooperation, including ad hoc joint action, and possibly even agreement on rules of the game that constrain domestic policies.”[...] Putting these passages in clearer terms, “The ‘self-interested’ national central banks have screwed everything up with their conflicting policies and ‘too loose for too long’ interest rate regimes, so we want to transfer more control of currencies and financial systems to wise international bodies like the IMF and BIS.” Isn’t it interesting that they released this report on the eve of the next financial crisis? The BIS is pre-positioning itself as the voice of sanity in a world of financial chaos. And guess what else the report says…[...] Look for the Fed to follow this advice in September. And look also for the “bumpiness” the BIS “wisely” warned about."[...]  

Analysis: "Europe Would Only Have A Future With The New Silk Road" Helga Zepp-LaRouche [07/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "It's not Greece which has failed, but rather Chancellor Merkel, Finance Minister Schäuble, the EU Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF. Why should the Greek government stick with the austerity measures demanded by the EU, which have already reduced the Greek economy by a third, lowered the birth rate, raised the death rate, and increased youth unemployment to 65%? A policy that even the IMF had to admit was completely incompetent, and that the UN expert on debt and human rights condemned as a clear violation of human rights? Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's decision not to capitulate to the "shock and awe" method of the Eurogroup's Shylocks is not only correct, but offers the chance for all of Europe to break with the insanity of the casino economy, which only serves the interests of the banks and speculators—provided however, that Germany and other countries find the courage to mobilize Europe's moral and intellectual strengths. [...] If panic now breaks out on the financial markets and the European economy collapses, Greece will not be to blame, but rather the fact that the entire trans-Atlantic system is hopelessly bankrupt. Instead of using the threatened meltdown around the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and AIG in September 2008 to regulate the banking system and to ban speculative excesses, a gigantic redistribution took place, transforming private gambling debts into public debts, and the taxpayers had to pay for the bailouts. In the case of Greece, only 3% of the bailout funds stayed in the country, while the rest flowed back into the European banks, allowing the speculators to dance even more wildly around the Golden Calf. The reality is that the trans-Atlantic banks, which are supposedly "too big to fail," are 40% larger today than they were in 2008, and the total of derivatives amounts to something approaching $2 quadrillion. And that is exactly what could disappear into thin air in an uncontrollable crash, in a "Grexit" [exit of Greece from the Eurozone—ed.].[...] Just in time for the explosion of the crisis, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) announced in its annual report that the world has no defense for the next financial crisis, since the central banks have already fired off all their ammunition. They even outmaneuvered themselves, since with their repeated interest rate cuts, they created all the preconditions for the next crash. In fact: "The game isch over, Mr Schäuble—but not for Greece, but for their own failed policies [...]"  

Commentary: "Minimum Wage Helped Destroy Puerto Rican Economy" [07/01/15] [4:35] Note:  See below: "White House: No Federal Bailout For Puerto Rico" [06/30/15] and related stories.

Commentary: "16 Facts About The Financial Devastation That We Are Seeing" [07/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "As we enter the second half of 2015, financial panic has gripped most of the globe. Stock prices are crashing in China, in Europe and in the United States. Greece is on the verge of a historic default, and now Puerto Rico and Ukraine are both threatening to default on their debts if they do not receive concessions from their creditors. Not since the financial crisis of 2008 has so much financial chaos been unleashed all at once. Could it be possible that the great financial crisis of 2015 has begun? The following are 16 facts about the tremendous financial devastation that is happening all over the world right now… [...]" 

Commentary: "German Hypocrisy: Germany Owes Greece 11 Billion Euros In Unpaid Loans" [06/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "In 1943, Germany forced the Bank of Greece to lend it two loans worth 11 billion euros in today’s money. And Germany has still not paid back the debt. This money is not war reparations, which are a separate and much more complex issue. The debt is a straightforward loan from Greece to Germany – albeit a forced one – which the Germans have not bothered to repay. Which – considering the Germans have been bleating on and on and bloody on about how the Greeks should honour their present debts – is a case of breathtaking hypocrisy writ large, I’d say. [...]" 

Commentary: "Soros Hedge Fund Charged With Bringing Down National Bank of Greece" [06/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "Greek tragedy: 1 million euro short selling fine remains unpaid by Soros, hedge funds. George Soros, the hedge fund manager credited with “bringing down the Bank of England,” is at it again, this time in Greece; although it does not seem the scale of the bet was anywhere near as large as Soros' GBP bet. A fine of 65,000 euros to the company Quantum Partners LP because short selling of shares of National Bank of Greece AE without to cover the delivery obligation of openly sold shares clearing system (failed trade), in breach of Article 12 of Regulation 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of Europe. Soros and his Quantum Fund are among 20 Hedge Funds who have waged a short war against Greek banks and Hellenic regulators are now fighting back. Quantum Fund, along with other major names such as Toscafund, Everest Capital and Abbeville Partners, have all received fines in the past three months from the Hellenic Republic Capital Market Commission, the Greek version of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. [...]  The trades in question must have been profitable. Over the past year, for instance, the Piraeus Bank stock price lost nearly 75 percent of its value as has the National National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG), which is currently trading near all-time lows. The issue of Greek fines for short selling will be heard before the European Securities Markets Authority, as the Alternative Investment Management Association, a London-based lobby group that is representing the hedge funds, the FT report noted. A spokesperson for the ESMA, however, said a complaint has yet to be formally launched." Note: Interesting that Soros doesn't seem to have a 'contract' out on him ... yet.

MSM: "White House: No Federal Bailout For Puerto Rico" [06/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "The White House threw cold water Monday on the notion of bailing out Puerto Rico from its financial crisis, instead urging Congress to consider changing the law so the island can declare bankruptcy. On the heels of a dismal economic report, Puerto Rico's governor has warned that the commonwealth can't pay its $72 billion public debt, delivering a serious blow to Puerto Rico's recession-addled economy. But White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the federal government would provide financial expertise and access to existing resources — but not a bailout.[...]"  Related: "Will Puerto Rico Cause An Inadvertent “Black Swan” Derivatives Melt-Down?" Printer Friendly Version | "Bond Insurers Crash, Hit By Puerto Rico’s Default Shrapnel" Printer Friendly Version Puerto Rico is the largest hiccup so far in the municipal bond market, preceded by the bankruptcies in recent years of Detroit, MI; Vallejo, San Bernardino, Stockton, and Mammoth Lakes, CA; Jefferson County, AL. Harrisburg, PA; Central Falls, RI; and Boise County, ID. Others, crushed by debts and pension obligations, are limping in that direction too. [...]" See also below

MSM: "Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable’" [06/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "Puerto Rico’s governor, saying he needs to pull the island out of a “death spiral,” has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions. The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, and senior members of his staff said in an interview last week that they would probably seek significant concessions from as many as all of the island’s creditors, which could include deferring some debt payments for as long as five years or extending the timetable for repayment. “The debt is not payable,” Mr. García Padilla said. “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.” It is a startling admission from the governor of an island of 3.6 million people, which has piled on more municipal bond debt per capita than any American state. [...]"  

Commentary: "Euro Drop Below $1.10 Boosts Volatility as Greece Toys With Exit" [06/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "The euro tumbled more than 1 percent, boosting volatility by the most in more than six years, after Greece moved a step closer to leaving the currency bloc by effectively asking voters to decide on its membership. The yen climbed against all of its 16 major peers as investors sought a haven as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected the latest aid proposals by creditors on Friday, announcing a referendum on them for July 5 and saying he would advocate a “no” vote. With cash flooding out of banks at a record pace and the bailout expiring Tuesday, Greece will shut lenders Monday. Volatility in the euro jumped the most since the depths of the global financial crisis in October 2008. “I don’t know how far it’s going to go, but I’d say it will be in a downward direction,” said Imre Speizer, senior market strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in Auckland. The referendum “is effectively a vote on remaining inside the eurozone and the euro falling almost two cents immediately this morning tells you the market is not hedged for such a scenario” as Greece leaving the shared currency, he said. [...]"  

Commentary: "TPP Grants Banks Terrifying Secret Powers" [06/28/15] [8:30] "In March 2014, the Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. So wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month, referring to a BOE paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy." The paper stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window. The revelation may have done more than that. The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could help explain the desperate rush to "fast track" not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud."  [...]"  Note:  Interesting and informative ... part of it is to retard the development of bank nationalization that Iceland did .... with subsequent imprisonment of bankers.

Commentary: "Europe Tells Greece To Meet Debt Deadline Or Risk 'Chaos'" [06/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "The leaders of France and Germany on Friday handed Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a weekend ultimatum to strike a debt deal with EU-IMF creditors or risk default. [...]" Related: "Greece Rejects Bailout Extension, Tsipras Says "Won't Be Blackmailed" Printer Friendly Version "On Friday, the German press reported (and Bloomberg later confirmed) that Greece’s creditors had presented PM Alexis Tsipras with a document (essentially an outlining the following available funds that could theoretically be part of either an extension of the country’s second bailout or a third program (with the latter having been previously ruled out by the IMF and German lawmakers). Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he will defend the European Union’s founding principles of “democracy, solidarity, equality, mutual respect” as he seeks an agreement with international creditors to unlock aid for the country. “These principles were not based on blackmails and ultimatum, and especially in these crucial times no one has the right to put in danger these principles,” Tsipras tells reporters in Brussels after an EU summit. “The Greek government will continue decisively to give the fight in favor of these principles, to continue to give the fight on behalf of the European people and of course on behalf of the Greek people,” he says. [...]" | "Forget Grexit, "Madame Frexit" Says France Is Next: French Presidential Frontrunner Wants Out Of "Failed" Euro" Printer Friendly Version "There has been some confusion why Germany and the Eurozone are so strict in negotiating with France and unwilling to concede even to the smallest of what they deem as outlandish Greek demands. The reason is not so much whether Spain or even Italy, both countries with soaring unemployment, a lost generation and a sweeping movement against "austerity", follow with comparable demands should Europe concede to Tsipras, but France, where the frontrunner for the next president, the National Front's Marine Le Pen, has just warned that not only is a Grexit inevitable, but that France would follow shortly. Here it is worth reminding that one of the biggest European concerns with Greece is not so much its resolute attitude toward Greek demands which Europe can easily squash and force a regime change by cutting off ELA to Greek banks forcing a prompt and violent coup d'etat, but dealing with political parties who promise anything and everything just to be elected, in the process pushing aside Europe's preferred technocrats who will do the bidding of Brussels without the smallest objection.  [...]"  "Greece Under NATO Pressure Not To Reduce Military Budget Amid Crisis"   [1:32]  

MSM: "Paul Craig Roberts Warns Greek Government May Be Assassinated If They Pivot East" [06/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: “The Greek people and the Greek government have before them the unique opportunity to prevent World War III. All the Greek government needs to do, if the Greek people will get behind the government, is to default on the loans, resign from the EU and from NATO, and accept the deal that the Russians have offered them…. “This would begin the unraveling of NATO. Very quickly Spain and Italy would follow. So southern Europe would desert NATO and so would Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. NATO is the mechanism that Washington uses to cause conflict with Russia. So as the EU and NATO unravel, the ability of Washington to produce this conflict disappears. [...]"

Trends: "US: 150 State And Local Pension Funds Under Water" [06/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Some 150 state and local pension funds reported assets under $3 trillion to cover the estimated $4.1 trillion needed to pay benefits. When it comes to the recent improvement in state finances, one retiree’s pain is another one’s gain. More than five years after the Great Recession tore a giant hole in their budgets, most states have made big progress in stabilizing their finances. That’s good news for millions of state taxpayers and the millions of investors who hold state-issued municipal bonds—many of whom are retirees that depend on them for a steady stream of safe income. But the improved fiscal health owes much to a wave of cuts that have whittled away at pension benefits for current and future retirees. “Nearly every state since 2009 enacted substantive reform to their retirement programs—including increased eligibility requirements, increased employee contributions reducing benefits, including suspending or limiting cost-of-living increases,” said Alex Brown, research manager at the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. More than 45 states have wielded the budget knife on pension benefits, deploying a variety of these changes and resulting in overall benefit cuts averaging 7.5 percent, according to an analysis by the NASRA. That also means new employees can expect to work longer and will need to save more on their own to match the benefits paid to existing employees and current retirees. [...] This week the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reported that the health of public pensions nationwide improved last year for the first time since the Great Recession and is expected to keep improving. The study found that state-administered public pension funds now have assets amounting to about 74 percent of what they need to meet the promises they’ve made to current and future retirees, up from 72 percent in 2012. The researchers project those funding levels will rise to as much as 80.5 percent by 2018. That improved fiscal outlook has helped states get better credit ratings and borrow new money more cheaply. That, in turn, has helped millions of investors who rely on municipal bond income—many of whom are retirees themselves." 

Commentary: "Commerzbank Suggests Greece 'Could Sell Gold Reserves' To Make Payment" [06/26/15] Printer Friendly Version "Eleventh-hour negations between Greece and its creditors passed Thursday with no resolution in sight but one European Bank said that the beleaguered nation has one more Hail-Mary shot, but it’s only a short-term solution and could exacerbate the situation. In a note published Friday, German-based bank Commerzbank hypothesized that Greece could sell some of its gold reserves to meet its debt obligation by the end of the month; however, the bank also recognized that this is an unlikely scenario. “According to the latest [International Monetary Fund] statistics, the Greek central bank holds 112.5 tons of gold, worth €3.8 billion at current market prices. This equates to a good 1% of Greek government debt and 66% of Greek foreign currency reserves. Greece could in theory meet the €1.5 billion payment due to the IMF at the end of the month by selling 47 tons of gold from its reserves, if no agreement is reached with international creditors on the payment of bailout funds,” the analysts said in their research note. They also noted that this scenario, an emergency sale of Greece’s gold, could be one reason why gold hasn’t benefited from increased risk aversion sentiment. [...]" 

Anomalies: "Sen. Rand Paul To Sue IRS, U.S. Treasury" [06/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will sue the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service for denying his constitutional right to vote on treaties that the Obama administration unilaterally negotiated with dozens of foreign governments, The Washington Times has learned.  The treaties, which the administration calls “intergovernmental agreements,” require foreign banks to gather and share private financial information about millions of Americans living and working outside the U.S. – information they would not have to disclose to the U.S. government if they lived and worked in the U.S. [...]" 

Commentary: "Ukraine May Farm Out Its Customs Sovereignty" Printer Friendly Version "The authorities in Kiev are mulling the invitation of a foreign company to run Ukraine’s Customs Service. On March 23, Ukraine’s Cabinet dismissed head of the State Fiscal Service Igor Bilous and deputy heads Volodymyr Khomenko who was in charge of the tax police and Anatoly Makarenko who was responsible for the customs service. The idea of inviting foreign experts to run the Customs Service has been widely discussed in Ukraine recently, and the country’s premier has asked the Minister of Economic Development and Trade to look into the matter. According to opinion polls, the Customs Service was among Ukraine’s most corrupt state agencies, along with the Internal Revenue Service, the State Agency of Land Resources and the State Traffic Inspectorate.[...]"

Commentary: "Greece Capitulates: Tsipras Crosses "Red Line", Will Accept Bailout Extension" [06/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "After one final attempt to table a proposal that retains some semblance of Tsipras' defiant posturing, it appears he may have finally broken after a meeting with ECB chief Mario Draghi where is sounds as though the central bank warned the PM that without concessions, ELA to Greek banks would be cut off and that, of course, would mean game over as Greeks would take to the streets en masse. From Bloomberg: "European Central Bank President Mario Draghi told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in meeting on Monday in Brussels that the ECB will help secure the country’s banking system as long Greece is in an aid program, Greek government official tells reporters on the condition of anonymity." [...]" 

MSM: "Continued Russian Sanctions Cost: Europe Could Stand To Lose 100bn Euros" [06/23/15]   [2:24] "Europe has extended sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine for another 6 months. They target a number of major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies. Sanctions were widely discussed at the International Business forum in St.Petersburg (SPIEF2015). RT's Daniel Bushell has more details. [...]"  

MSM: "Israel’s Race To Economic And Moral Bankruptcy" [06/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "Two recent reports suggest that Israel could face catastrophic consequences if it fails to end the mistreatment of Palestinians under its rule, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel itself. The Rand Corporation’s research shows that Israel could lose $250 billion over the next decade if it fails to make peace with the Palestinians and violence escalates. Ending the occupation, on the other hand, could bring a dividend of more than $120 billion to the nation’s coffers. Meanwhile, the Israeli finance ministry predicts an even more dismal future unless Israel reinvents itself. It is likely to be bankrupt within a few decades, the finance ministry report says, because of the rapid growth of two groups who are not productive. By 2059, half the population will be either ultra-Orthodox Jews, who prefer prayer to work, or members of Israel’s Palestinian minority, most of whom are failed by their separate education system and then excluded from much of the economy. Both reports should be generating a tidal wave of concern in Israel but have caused barely a ripple. The status quo – of occupation and endemic racism – still seems preferable to most Israelis. The explanation requires a much deeper analysis than either the Rand Corporation or Israel’s finance ministry appears capable of. The finance ministry report points out that with a growing population not properly prepared for a modern, global economy, the tax burden is falling increasingly heavily on a shrinking middle class. The fear is that this will rapidly create a vicious cycle. Wealthier Israelis tend to have second passports. Overwhelmed by the need to make up the revenue shortfall, they will leave, plunging Israel into irreversible debt. [...]" 

Commentary: "Max Keiser: JP Morgan's Blythe Masters Is The "Devil Incarnate" [06/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "Max Keiser, founder of VC fund Bitcoin Capital, seeding currency startcoin, and the presenter of the Keiser Report, does not mince his words. Bitcoin completely challenged the banking world leaving banks and card issuers to play catch up, and this has led to a divide in the community: some think that banks are going to basically end up controlling the space and others believe that they will not. Keiser told IBTimes UK in no uncertain terms that the most prominent force attempting to wrestle back a proprietary fiefdom for banks is the former global head of commodities at JP Morgan, Blythe Masters. Masters joined blockchain-focussed company Digital Asset Holdings in March of this year. She is by far the biggest fish from Wall Street to enter the space – something which mainstream media sources generally reported as a huge vote of confidence for cryptocurrencies. Keiser sees it differently: "Yes, I can tell you the evil cult leader is Blythe Masters. Jamie Dimon has moved her running the credit default swap desk in London – something she invented, the credit default swap." [...] Masters designed an elegant way of providing credit protection bundled into packages and offered to the market. It was a derivative born out of necessity following the Exxon Valdez oil spill (JPM offered Exxon a generous line in credit). Unfortunately, the modern credit default swap which she devised, rotted the financial system from within and caused its total collapse. Interestingly, her former husband Daniel Masters also moved into bitcoin trading, launching "the first fully regulated bitcoin hedgefund" in the off-shore haven of Jersey, called Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund—or GABI for short." Jamie Dimon made a billion dollars because of Blythe Masters skimming the global economy a penny at a time for 20 years. Now she has moved over to the crypto space."  Keiser is convinced Digital Asset is trying to come up with a proprietary bitcoin solution that will compete with the open source bitcoin as it exists. JP Morgan is known to have quietly filed patents relating to some form of cryptocurrency-like technology. Keiser believes it's an effort bound to failure. "The charm of bitcoin is that it is open-sourced; it's not proprietary and so they are going to fail. Blythe Masters is riding a failing horse at this time – she should just retire to the glue factory now and stop harassing people with her psychotic derivatives." Keiser, who once worked as a trader on Wall Street, has been looking at ways to rebalance the inequalities of the financial establishment since well before the banking crash, and is now thriving within the world of cryptocurrencies. He recently launched bitcoin venture capital fund Bitcoin Capital with Simon Dixon from BankToTheFuture. [...]"  

MSM: "Bank Of England Uses Stress ‘Fatally Flawed’ Tests To Peddle Myth Of Financial Security" [06/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "Bank of England (BoE) stress tests of Britain’s banking sector are “fatally flawed” and peddle the myth that the financial system is secure, a report by the Adam Smith Institute says. The report, published Thursday, was authored by Professor of Finance and Economics at Durham University Kevin Dowd. It calls for the yearly tests to be scrapped and warns that they hide serious weaknesses in a vulnerable UK banking system. [...]"  

Legal Case: "Italian Prosecutors Seeking To Indict 297 People And The Bank Of China" Printer Friendly Version "...Police in Florence discovered that more than 4.5 billion euros ($5 billion) in proceeds from counterfeiting, prostitution, labor exploitation and tax evasion had been sent to China in less than four years using a money-transfer service. Nearly half that money was funneled through the Bank of China, which in turn earned a commission, according to Italian investigative documents. Investigators said they got nowhere when they tried to appeal to Chinese authorities for help. Once the money left Italy, it vanished behind China's great legal firewall.[...]' 

MSM: "One Of Britain’s Most Senior Fund Managers: “Time To Hold Physical Cash" [06/21/15] Printer Friendly Version ".... The manager of one of Britain’s biggest bond funds has urged investors to keep cash under the mattress. Ian Spreadbury, who invests more than £4bn of investors’ money across a handful of bond funds for Fidelity, including the flagship Moneybuilder Income fund, is concerned that a “systemic event” could rock markets. “Systemic risk is in the system and as an investor you have to be aware of that.”[...]  Mr Spreadbury added: “We have rock-bottom rates and QE is still going on – this is all experimental policy and means we are in uncharted territory. The best strategy to deal with this, he said, was for investors to spread their money widely into different assets, including gold and silver, as well as cash in savings accounts. He suggested it was wise to hold some “physical cash”, an unusual suggestion from a mainstream fund manager. [...]" 

MSM: "European Central Bank Extends Credit on Fears of Greek Bank Collapse" [06/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "The European Central Bank (ECB) intervened again Friday to prop up Greece’s banks, as savers withdrew record amounts of deposits. [...]" 

MSM: "BRICS Bank To Commence Business On 7 July" [06/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "The BRICS New Development Bank will be launched at the first session of its Board of Governors in Moscow on 7 July, Russian officials have confirmed. [...]"

MSM: "Is Greece Turning To Russia As EU Talks Stall?" [06/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "... Meanwhile, Tsipras’ statements at the economic summit hosted by Russia in St. Petersburg hinted that he may seek Moscow’s financial assistance as a way out of the difficult five-month negotiations with European creditors. “We are at the centre of a storm, of a whirlpool. But you know we live near the sea – we are not afraid of storms, we are not scared of open seas, of going into new seas. We are ready to go into new seas to reach new safe ports,” he said. He also criticized the EU for its support of sanctions on Russia for the crisis in Ukraine. “The economic center of the planet has shifted. There are new emerging forces that are playing a more important role geopolitically and economically. International relations are more and more characterized by multi- polarity,” said Tsipras. Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the media that Russian aid to Greece had not been discussed during Tsipras’ meeting with President Vladimir Putin. However, during a press briefing with global media agencies late Friday, Putin said that the EU had not done enough to help Greece emerge from its financial crisis. “If EU wants Greece to pay its debts it should be interested in growing the Greek economy … helping it pay its debts,” he said. Putin said that a deal signed on Friday to extend a pipeline carrying Russian gas to Europe through Turkey would greatly benefit the Greek economy; Moscow has said it would pay Athens pipeline transit payments to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars for the pipeline expected to be completed in four years. “The EU should be applauding us. What’s wrong with creating jobs in Greece?” Putin said in remarks carried by the Associate Press. [...]" 

Commentary: "IMF Humiliates Greece, Repeats It Will Keep Funding Ukraine Even If It Defaults" [06/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "As Greece struggles to avoid a default to the IMF on debt which was incurred just so German banks can remain solvent and dump trillions in non-performing loans to US hedge funds and Greek exposure, and which would result in the collapse in the living standards of an entire nation (only for a few years before an Iceland-recovery takes place, one which Greece would already be enjoying had it defaulted in 2010 as we said it should), and as the “criminal” IMF does everything in its power to subjugate an entire nation, or else let it flounder, the IMF told Soros’ BFFs over in Kiev, that no matter if they default to its private creditors (in fact please do since Russia is among them), the IMF would keep the debt spigot flowing. [...]"   Related: "IMF Violates IMF Rules, To Continue Ukraine Bailouts" Printer Friendly Version "The IMF, whose bailout operations are absorbed by the taxpayers in the member countries whenever a particular bailed-out nation defaults, announced on Friday, June 19th, that it will “continue to support Ukraine through its Lending-into-Arrears Policy even in the event that a negotiated agreement with creditors in line with the program cannot be reached in a timely manner.” Though this new “Lending-into-Arrears” policy violates two IMF rules, it was justified by the IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the basis of the Ukrainian government’s “continued efforts to reach a collaborative agreement with all creditors.” In other words: a statement by Ukraine’s government that it wants to reach an agreement with its private creditors is being used by the IMF as if it were an excuse to extend into the indefinite future the IMF’s continued taxpayer-guaranteed financing of (‘lending’ to) the Ukrainian government, despite the fact that the IMF is violating two of the IMF’s own most-basic rules restricting its lending-authority — these rules are lending-restrictions whose purpose was to reduce the riskiness of the IMF’s lending, and so to minimize the amount that the IMF will be taking from taxpayers to fund its losses: 1: The IMF does not lend to nations at war — but Ukraine continues being at war against its former Donbass region despite the Minsk II ceasefire agreement; ceasefire violations, especially by the Ukrainian side, continue regularly. 2: The IMF does not lend to nations that are likely to default — but every independent source categorizes Ukraine as being virtually certain to default, and the only actual question regarding Ukraine is: when? The IMF’s answer: we’ll keep lending, building Ukraine’s public debt even higher, until our aim is achieved, and then we won’t — and that’s when the default will occur — the default will happen when we decide it will happen. It will happen when we will stop lying and saying that it won’t happen.  [...] ... the IMF’s rules are, indeed, highly flexible, and one must look to whom the controlling force in the IMF is, in order to understand the IMF’s bailouts, not just in Greece but in Ukraine and elsewhere. That controlling force is the President of the United States. The IMF’s Director always receives his or her appointment only with the approval of the U.S. President. That’s the way the IMF was set up: the President has a veto, at the IMF, just as he does at Congress. And this is the reason why the IMF has always served as a handmaiden to U.S. foreign policies and priorities.[...] Note: In the story below, it also mentions IMF members are immune from prosecution

MSM: "Greece Could Join BRICS Bank On Equal Basis As Soon As Launched" [06/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "Russia invited Greece in May to become a member of the NDB, regarded as an alternative to Western global financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Athens would be one of the first non-founder members of the bank. “Right now we are at the stage of preliminary discussion to join the NDB of BRICS so that Greece, as soon as this bank starts to operate, could become its equal member. It will be one of the first non-founder members,” discussions on the issue had been very positive and the president of the NDB, Kundapur Vaman Kamath, said that he would support a Greek decision to become a member of the bank, when the country submitted its application. [...]"  Related: "The IMF “Trained” Greek Journalists In Washington To Spin Stories In Favor Of EU Troika" Printer Friendly Version "Greece’s former representative to the IMF, , in front of the special parliamentary committee on the Greek debt, said that several Greek journalists were “trained” in Washington D.C. in order to support the positions of the IMF and the European Commission in Greek media. Parliament President and head of the committee, noted that the committee investigating Greece’s debt would seek to discover the names of the journalists that took part in Washington’s training sessions. “In Greece, certain individuals who work for the mass media were contracted to conceal the fact that the Greek debt was not sustainable.” further testified that IMF head… “Christine Lagarde and other high officials at the IMF contacted me before my testimony before the committee to remind me that members of the IMF are immune from prosecution.” went on to say that several economists and university professors also attempted to convince the public that the debt was sustainable…adding that he puts them in the same category as the journalists.[...]" 

MSM: "Greece Debt Crisis: Despair As $1 Billion Withdrawn From Banks In A Day" [06/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "Desperate Greeks expressed fears for their future Friday as more than $1.1 billion was withdrawn from banks in a single day, pushing the country closer towards a default.[...]" 

MSM: "Moscow Summons Belgian Envoy Over Seizure Of State Assets, Threatens Retaliation" [06/19/15] Printer Friendly Version   [4:48] "Moscow has summoned the Belgian ambassador to lodge a protest over the freeze of its state assets. It said that Moscow may consider retaliatory measures against Belgium if the assets are seized, including against Belgium diplomatic property in Russia. This comes after Belgian bailiffs notified Belgian, Russian and other international companies of the seizure of assets belonging to Russia at the behest of the Isle of Man-based Yukos Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, which was dismantled in 2007. They have given the target companies a fortnight to comply. ...]"  Related: "France Freezes Russian State Assets, Moscow Plans To Appeal" Printer Friendly Version   [3:01]"French law enforcement has frozen the accounts of Russian companies operated by the French subsidiary of VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, officials told RBC TV channel. Diplomatic accounts were briefly frozen as well, but have since been unlocked. “As of this morning [diplomatic accounts] were unfrozen… The sums are small, some dozens of thousands of euros, [but] Russian companies' accounts are still frozen,” VTB CEO Andrey Kostin said. “We are working on the problem with our lawyers now.” The information was also confirmed by the president of VTB 24, Mikhail Zadornov, who said that the case is connected to Yukos Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, which existed from 1993 to 2007.  [...]" Moscow Furious After Both Belgium And France Freeze Russian State Assets And the response from the Kremlin: “[Remove the violations], otherwise, the Russian side will be forced to consider taking adequate response measures against properties of the Kingdom of Belgium, including properties of the Belgian embassy in Moscow, as well as of its legal entities[...]"

MSM: "Another Fed "Insider" Quits, Tells The Truth" Zero Hedge [06/19/15] Printer Friendly Version [7:08] "Once more, an "insider" from The Fed exposes the reality of an academic ivory tower clueless of the real financial markets. Former adviser to Dallas Fed's Dick Fisher, Danielle DiMartino Booth speaking in a CNBC interview slams The Fed for "allowing the [market] tail to wag the [monetary policy] dog," warning that "The Fed's credibility itself is at stake... they have backed themselves into a very tight corner... the tightest ever." As she writes in her first Op-Ed, "The hope today is that the current era of easy monetary policy will have no deep economic ramifications. Such thinking, though, may prove to be naive... All retirees’ security is thus at risk when the massive overvaluation in fixed income and equity markets eventually rights itself." [...]" 

Commentary: "The Next Great European Financial Crisis Has Begun" [06/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Greek financial system is in the process of totally imploding, and the rest of Europe will soon follow [...] The following comes from the Telegraph… The radical wing of Greece’s Syriza party is to table plans over coming days for an Icelandic-style default and a nationalisation of the Greek banking system, deeming it pointless to continue talks with Europe’s creditor powers. Syriza sources say measures being drafted include capital controls and the establishment of a sovereign central bank able to stand behind a new financial system. While some form of dual currency might be possible in theory, such a structure would be incompatible with euro membership and would imply a rapid return to the drachma. The confidential plans were circulating over the weekend and have the backing of 30 MPs from the Aristeri Platforma or ‘Left Platform’, as well as other hard-line groupings in Syriza’s spectrum. It is understood that the nationalist ANEL party in the ruling coalition is also willing to force a rupture with creditors, if need be.[...]" 

MSM: "IMF Bears Criminal Responsibility For Greece Economic Crisis: Tsipras" [06/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras has strongly criticized the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s policies toward his country, saying the international institution bears “criminal responsibility” for Greece’s debt crisis. “The IMF has criminal responsibility for today’s situation,” Tsipras told members of his Syriza Party during a speech in parliament on Tuesday, referring to the consequences of the austerity measures demanded by the IMF and other international lenders from Greece. [...]"  Related"Greece Likely To Exit Euro & EU Without Deal With 'Criminal' Creditors" [5:02] "Athens is likely to leave the eurozone and the EU if it fails to reach an agreement to unlock a €7.2 billion bailout installment, said a statement from the Bank of Greece. Greek PM: "It (IMF) has been here (Greece) for five years and bears criminal responsibility for the situation in our country today." [...]" |"IMF Own Report Admits IMF's Obsession with Capitalism Is Killing Prosperity" Printer Friendly Version "... A new report released by the IMF on Monday shows that 'trickle-down' economics is dead; you cannot rely on the spoils of the extremely wealthy to benefit the rest of us." [...]  "Goldman Sachs Secret Take Down Of Greece" Printer Friendly Version " Greece’s secret loan from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was a costly mistake from the start. On the day the 2001 deal was struck, the government owed the bank about 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed, said Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over the country’s debt-management agency in 2005. By then, the price of the transaction, a derivative that disguised the loan and that Goldman Sachs persuaded Greece not to test with competitors, had almost doubled to 5.1 billion euros, he said. ... Papanicolaou and his predecessor, Christoforos Sardelis, revealing details for the first time of a contract that helped Greece mask its growing sovereign debt to meet European Union requirements, said the country didn’t understand what it was buying and was ill-equipped to judge the risks or costs. [...]" Note: "EU" concept destroying nation-state viability. The enforced debt imposed on the countries to create and maintain an EU infrastructure is odious debt. 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. Related: See below.

Commentary: "Greek Debt Committee Just Declared All Debt To The Troika "Illegal, Illegitimate, And Odious" [06/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "It was in April when we got a stark reminder of a post we first penned in April of 2011, describing Odious Debt, and why we thought sooner or later this legal term would become applicable for Greece, because two months ago Greek Zoi Konstantopoulou, speaker of the Greek parliament and a SYRIZA member, said she had established a new "Truth Committee on Public Debt" whose purposes was to "investigate how much of the debt is “illegal” with a view to writing it off." Moments ago, this committee released its preliminary findings, and here is the conclusion from the full report presented below: All the evidence we present in this report shows that Greece not only does not have the ability to pay this debt, but also should not pay this debt first and foremost because the debt emerging from the Troika’s arrangements is a direct infringement on the fundamental human rights of the residents of Greece. Hence, we came to the conclusion that Greece should not pay this debt because it is illegal, illegitimate, and odious. [...]"   

Concepts and Practices: "Goldman Sachs To Venture Into Small Loans" [06/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Wall Street investment bank has plans to start a 'consumer' lending unit, which will provide loans to consumers and small businesses. In May, the bank brought on Harit Talwar, former president of U.S Cards at Discover Financial Services, and announced his new role in a memo obtained by CNNMoney. In the memo, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary D. Cohn said digitally-led banking services are a good opportunity for the bank. “The traditional means by which financial services are delivered to consumers and small businesses is being fundamentally re-shaped by advances in technology, maturity of digital channels, use of data and analytics, and a focus on customer experience,” the memo stated. The New York Times reported Monday that the bank plans to run the unit through a website or an app, which would reduce costs by avoiding bank branches. [...]"  

Commentary: "Lehman Weekend" Looms For Greece As Europe Readies "Emergency" June 21 Sunday Meeting" [06/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "Last week, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras submitted two three-page proposals that were ostensibly designed to close the gap with creditors. EU officials were incredulous, calling the drafts “not serious.” Tsipras had effectively resubmitted Greece’s previous proposal (i.e. a proposal that did not include concessions on a VAT hike or pension cuts) only this time, he included a second document that outlined how Athens hoped to tap leftover bank recap funds from the EFSF and bailout money from the ESM. Greece took that same proposal to Brussels over the weekend and it didn’t fly there either, leaving Europe to wonder just how far Tsipras was willing to go with the brinksmanship. The problem is simple and it’s been outlined in these pages extensively. The game of chicken can theoretically go on at the political level for some time. That’s because the bundled IMF payment isn’t due for another two weeks and even if it were missed, Christine Lagarde has quite a bit of discretion as it relates to sending an official failure to pay notice to the IMF board and triggering cross acceleration rights for Greece’s other creditors. In other words, a formal default is a matter of politics and it can be put off for at least 30 days past the end of this month. What cannot be controlled at the political level is what happens on the ground in Greece. That is, the economy is bleeding jobs and businesses and the banking sector is hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of euros every day. If suppliers cut off credit to the Greek economy and deposit flight turns into a panicked bank run, the glacial pace of political logrolling will prove hopelessly inadequate to contain the situation, meaning the country could descend into chaos while both sides watch in horror from the negotiating table in Brussels. Yesterday, Germany's EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warned of exactly this and suggested that Europe plan for a “state of emergency” in Greece.  And plan they did. Midway through US trading on Monday the German press reported that Europe was prepared to implement capital controls over the weekend should Greece fail to table a workable proposal at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday. Here’s Open Europe summarizing the drama: German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that Eurozone countries have agreed on a contingency plan if no deal between Greece and its lenders is struck by this weekend. According to the paper, if this week’s Eurogroup meeting failed to yield an agreement, Eurozone leaders would hold an emergency summit – potentially as early as Friday evening. The contingency plan would involve imposing capital controls on Greek banks over the weekend. [...]" Related: "Greek Default Is Inevitable. Here’s Why…" Printer Friendly Version " [...]"   | "Russian Pivot: Greek PM Schedules Putin Meeting Ahead Of "Lehman Weekend" Printer Friendly Version "Earlier this month, we reported that Greece is prepared to sign an MOU of political support for Gazprom’s Turkish Stream Pipeline, when Alexis Tsipras visits St. Petersburg for the International Economic Forum this week. The deal is a blow to Washington, which attempted to persuade Athens to support an alternative pipeline. In April, US State Department envoy Amos Hochstein met with Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzia to pitch The Southern Gas Corridor, a project which, when complete, will allow the EU to tap into Caspian gas via a series of connecting pipelines running from Azerbaijan to Italy. The corridor is aimed at breaking Gazprom’s stranglehold in Europe.  Greece, defiant in the face of US pressure and no doubt intent on preserving the last bit of leverage it has in negotiations with European creditors, contended that it did not view the two pipelines as competitors and would pursue participation in both projects. Greece will not, Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said, be swayed by pressure from The White House [...]"  Note: Pipelines are shown in graphics accompanying the article, for reference. 

MSM: "Russia Slashes Investments Into US Government Securities — US Department Of Treasury" [06/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "Russia currently holds securities amounting to $66.5 bln as compared to March figure of $69.9 bln [...]" 

MSM: "Ukraine Recognizes Its $3bln Debt Owed To Russia — Finance Minister" [06/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "Ukraine acknowledges its $3 billion debt owed to Russia like any other Eurobonds, Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko said on Tuesday at the Swedish-Ukrainian business forum. "We recognize this debt of $3 billion like any other Eurobond," the minister said. Jaresko stressed that this debt needs to be restructured. "We have enough programs and we have to achieve the goal of the debt restructuring," the minister added. [...]  Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday that he believes Russia’s $3 billion loan to his country in December 2013 was a "bribe" sealed by ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. According to Poroshenko, the whole situation around the money which Russia loaned to Ukraine was dubious. He assumed the loan was a bribe that followed immediately after Yanukovich had refused to sign as association agreement with the European Union in Vilnius. In comments to the statement, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said if Russia’s loan was compared with a bribe, then Kiev’s talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be called a "large-scale embezzlement." "If the three-billion-U.S. dollar sovereign loan Ukraine received from Russia is a bribe, according to Poroshenko, then the billions Ukraine’s leaders are seeking to obtain from the IMF can be seen as an organization of a large-scale embezzlement," Medvedev wrote on his Facebook account on Monday. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday the Kremlin wanted Kiev’s current authorities to say it definitely whether they consider themselves as a legal successor to the former government or they turn down its liabilities. [...]"  Related: See below: "West' Is Not The Charity Business: There'll Be Hell To Pay For Ukraine" [06/15/15] and related stories. | "Kremlin Wants Kiev To Say Whether It Considers Itself Legal Successor To Former Government" Printer Friendly Version "The Kremlin wants Kiev’s current authorities to say it definitely whether they consider themselves as a legal successor to the former government or they turn down its liabilities, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. [...]"  

Commentary: "Pillage And Class Polarization: The Rise Of "Criminal Capitalism" Prof. James Petras [06/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "... In class terms, US employees face the greatest jump in income inequalities over the past decade, the longest period of wage and salary decline or stagnation (1970 to 2014) and the greatest collapse of private sector union membership, from 30% in 1950 down to 8% in 2014. On the other hand, profits, as a percentage of national income, have increased significantly. The share of income and profits going to the financial sector, especially the banks and investment houses, has increased at a faster rate than any other sector of the US economy. There are two polar opposite trends: Employees working longer hours, with costlier services and declining living standards while finance capitalists enjoy rapidly rising profits and incomes. Paradoxically, these trends are not directly based on greater ‘workplace exploitation’ in the US. The historic employee-finance capitalist polarization is the direct result of the grand success of the trillion dollar financial swindles, the tax payer-funded trillion dollar Federal bailouts of thecrooked bankers, and the illegal bank manipulation of interest rates. These uncorrected and unpunished crimes have driven up the costs of living and producing for employees and their employers. Financial ‘rents’ (the bankers and brokers are ‘rentiers’ in this economy) drive up the costs of production for non-financial capital (manufacturing). Non-financial capitalists resort to reducing wages, cutting benefits and extending working hours for their employees, in order to maintain their own profits. In other words, pervasive, enduring and systematic large-scale financial criminality is a major reason why US employees are working longer and receiving less – the ‘trickle down’ effect of mega-swindles committed by finance capital. [...] Also discussed: • Mega-Swindles, Leading Banks and Complicit State Regulators  • The Direct Impact of Financial Swindles on Declining Living Standards   • Financial Impunity: The Regulated Controlling The Regulators [...] Mega-swindles define the nature of contemporary capitalism. The profits and power of financial capital is not the outcome of ‘market forces’. They are the result of a system of criminal behavior that pillages the Treasury, exploits the producers and consumers, evicts homeowners and robs taxpayers. The mega swindlers represent much less than 1% of the class structure. Yet they hold over 40% of personal wealth in this country and control over 80% of capital liquidity. They grow inexorably rich and richer, even as the rest of the economy wallows in crisis and stagnation. Their swindles send powerful ripples across the national economy, which ultimately freeze or reduce the income of the skilled (middle class) employees and undermine the living conditions for poor working-class whites, and especially under and unemployed Afro-American and Latino American young workers. Efforts to ‘moralize’ capital have failed repeatedly since the regulators are controlled by those they claim to ‘regulate’. The rare arrest and prosecution of any among the current tribe of mega-swindlers would only results in their being replaced by new swindlers. The problem is systemic and requires deep structural changes. The only answer is to build a political movement independent of the two party system, willing to nationalize the banks and to pass legislation outlawing derivatives, forex trading and other unnatural parasitic speculative activities.[...] "  

Psychopathy Today: "Ukraine Says It May Freeze Debt Payments To Fund Slaughter In Donbass" [06/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "This should put to rest any notion that Ukraine is using its money for social uplift. [...] Ukraine’s premier warned Friday that Kiev would freeze its debt repayments if no immediate deal was found with private lenders because it had to fund its escalating campaign against pro-Russian fighters. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on his return from a crunch visit to Washington that the International Monetary Fund had given his embattled government a few weeks’ reprieve to enact laws needed for the release of new loans. But the Western-backed cabinet leader said the Fund had signaled its willingness to let Ukraine restructure debts at its own pace – and that interest payments to Western commercial lenders and Russia may stop as early as next week. [...]" [Cross-Posted]

Concepts and Practices: "West' Is Not The Charity Business: There'll Be Hell To Pay For Ukraine" [06/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "While Kiev declares that it would not repay Russia's $3 billion loan or even seize Russia's assets in Ukraine, such moves may deal a heavy blow to the very foundations of international law, US economist Michael Hudson warned. Regardless of the speculations that the forthcoming Ukrainian default will be just "technical," not an "official" one, Michael Hudson, a research professor of economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, insists that the euphemism of "technical" default bears no relation to reality — "a default is a default," the economist states. [...] According to the economist, the Ukrainian government cannot reject its financial obligations to Russia, since credit defaults can be initiated only if a debt restructuring is approved by "a governmental authority and a sufficient number of holders of such obligation to bind all holders," according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA). In April 2015, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov signaled clearly that Russia is the sole final holder of Ukraine's bonds and does not plan to restructure the $3 billion debt. Moscow bought Ukraine's $3-billion Eurobond in December 2013, just before the infamous Euromaidan coup, as a part of a bailout program aimed at bolstering the country's fading economy. Professor Hudson stressed that if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were to state that the Kremlin's $3 billion loan is 'not official', "this would rewrite international law and mean that loans from Sovereign Wealth funds of any nation (OPEC, Norway, China, etc.) have no international protection." Furthermore, such a move would have shattered the world's debt markets "along New Cold War lines," "with financial warfare replacing military warfare," the economist underscored, adding that the world is not ready for this.[...]  On the other hand, Professor Hudson denounced the decision of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada to seize Russia's assets in Ukraine as a "radical step" that it is "beyond civil law." "If Ukraine did this while still receiving IMF, US and Canadian lending, its creditors could be held as responsible," he remarked. Meanwhile, it seems that the Western financial aid to Ukraine still goes into a "black hole," due to the country's high corruption and lack of transparency. It is highly doubtful though that Washington or Brussels will simply print money and lend it to President Petro Poroshenko endlessly. "The 'West' is not in the charity business. Its firms do not want to lose money, and the EU Constitution bans the European Central Bank and European taxpayers from financing foreign governments," the economist emphasized.[...]"  Related: "Ukraine To Get New IMF Loans Despite Inability To Repay Private Lenders " Printer Friendly Version "Despite the grievous state of the Ukrainian economy, the IMF said it will continue to lend money to Ukraine, so Kiev can complete economic restructuring. [...]"  "An American Oligarch’s Dirty Tale Of Corruption" F. William Engdahl Printer Friendly Version

Buffoonery: "Washington Representative While In Ukraine, Accuses Russia Of ‘Outright Lies’ On Ukraine" [06/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, claims "Kremlin tries to disguise its agenda through torrent of media propaganda and disingenuous speeches" [...] Samantha Power’s address to a crowd of hundreds in Kiev delivered one of Washington’s ' toughest messages to Moscow ' since the warring sides grudgingly signed off on a loosely defined truce in February that threatened to collapse last week. Her 'emotional' 70-minute speech also came a year into a presidency Petro Poroshenko has used to try to wipe out decades of crippling corruption and anaemic economic growth that (coincidently) left Ukraine reliant on Russian help."  Note: Of course, everything Washington says is a lying fabrication, and Power is one of the US chief spokesbimbo's. What else is Power going to say in the midst of a crowd of the fascists they have aided and abetted.

Commentary: "Writing's On The Wall: Texas Pulls $1 Billion In Gold From NY Fed, Makes It "Non-Confiscatable" [06/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "The lack of faith in central bank trustworthiness is spreading. First Germany, then Holland, and Austria, and now - as we noted was possible previously - Texas has enacted a Bill to repatriate $1 billion of gold from The NY Fed's vaults to a newly established state gold bullion depository..."People have this image of Texas as big and powerful … so for a lot of people, this is exactly where they would want to go with their gold," and the Bill includes a section to prevent forced seizure from the Federal Government. [...]" 

MSM: "War-Weary Ukraine Shutters Cash-Starved Banks As Trust Falls" [06/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "When Vasyl Klos plunked $9,000 into a bank branch in his hometown of Lviv, Ukraine, in 2013, he assumed it was safe because it was German owned. He was wrong. Bank Forum JSC had already been sold by Commerzbank AG to Ukrainian businessman Vadim Novinsky, a fact Klos only found out as he completed the deposit. He decided it was too late to back out, but within a year, Forum was declared insolvent and the cash was returned to him in hryvnia, whose later plunge cut the value of his original deposit by about half. The experience has left him poorer, but wiser. As if fighting a year-long war against pro-Russian separatists wasn’t enough, Ukraine is also scrambling to shore up a banking system that’s bleeding assets amid a tumbling economy, wavering talks with creditors about overdue debt and skyrocketing inflation, which the central bank estimates will end this year at between 45 percent and 50 percent. A run of liquidations has shaken consumers’ confidence in the often mismanaged financial institutions they once trusted to protect their money. [...] Since 2014, the central bank has declared a quarter of the former Soviet republic’s 180 domestic banks insolvent, liquidated 37 of them as of the end of May and earmarked 36 billion hryvnia ($1.7 billion) for bailouts this year alone. Cleaning up the troubled banks, left with insufficient supervision for years, has been a painful process as the country fights rebels in a conflict that’s killed at least 6,400 and displaced 1 million citizens. Thousands of Ukrainians and some oligarchs, such as egg magnate Oleg Bakhmatyuk and chemical tycoon Dmitry Firtash, saw some of their assets vanish as banks were declared insolvent. The cleanup is needed to “rebuild people’s trust in banks,” said Anastasia Tuyukova, an analyst at Dragon Capital investment company in Kiev. “This is a step they should have made in 2008-2009, but didn’t.” The reorganization is also designed to cut reliance on the public purse at a time when the government is trying to restructure $23 billion in sovereign debt.[...]"  

Legal Case: "Judge Rules Administrative Court System Illegal After 81 Years" Martin Armstrong [06/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "Well it has been a long time coming, but all along there have been discussions behind closed doors (never in public) that the Administrative Law Courts established with the New Deal were totally unfounded and unconstitutional. With the anniversary of Magna Carta and the right to a jury trial coming up on June 15 after 800 years, the era of Roosevelt’s big government is quietly unraveling. [...] A federal judge’s ruling against the Securities and Exchange Commission for using its own Administrative Law judges in an insider trading case is perhaps the beginning of the end of an alternative system of justice that took root in the New Deal. Constitutionally, the socialists tore everything about the idea of a Democracy apart. It was more than taxing one party to the cheers of another in denial of equal protection. It was about creating administrative agencies (1) delegating them to create rules with the force of law as if passed by Congress sanctioned by the people; (2) the creation of administrative courts that defeated the Tripartite government structure usurping all power into the hand of the executive branch, as if this were a dictatorship run by the great hoard of unelected officials. [...] Not discussed in the coverage of this story is that the Administrative Law Courts are a fiefdom, to put it mildly. They have long been corrupt and traditionally rule in favor of their agencies, making it very costly for anyone to even try to defend themselves. If someone were to attempt this feat, first they have to wear the costs of an Administration proceeding and appeal to an Article III court judge, then they must appeal to the Court of Appeals, and finally plea to the Supreme Court. The cost of such adventures is well into the millions, and good luck on actually getting justice. [...] Furthermore, Administrative Law Courts cannot sentence you to prison, but they can fine you into bankruptcy. So the lack of a criminal prosecution meant the judges did not have to be lawyers. They could be anyone’s brother-in-law looking for a job where he just rules in favor of the agency not to be bothered with law. Unless the victim has a pile of money, there is no real chance that he or she can afford to defend themselves. This is why the agencies cut deals with the big houses and prosecute the small upstarts who lack the funds to defend themselves. [...] In a 45-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May in Atlanta issued an injunction halting Administrative Law proceedings against Charles Hill, a businessman who the SEC accused of reaping an illegal $744,000 profit trading in Radian Systems stock. This is typical. The legal fees involved will exceed the amount of money he is alleged to have made, the typical result is to just pay the fine and they go away, it is cheaper. [...] The judge ruled that the SEC agency violated the Appointments Clause of the Constitution by subjecting Hill to proceedings before an Administrative Law judge, who isn’t directly accountable to the president, officials in charge of the SEC, or the courts under Article III. The ruling is 81 years overdue. The entire structure of administrative agencies blackmailing people has been outrageous. Then you take the banks who just entered a plea of CRIMINALLY guilty to manipulating markets. They are now formally FELONS who engaged in violating SEC rules and thus under the SEC rules, they are no longer eligible for a banking license. The banks are “too big to jail” and the SEC has waived their own rules, of course, to exempt the banks. So they can engage in fraud and manipulation, get caught, pay billions in fines, and the SEC exempts them from losing their licenses. This is how corrupt the administrative agencies really are. This new decision calling the Administrative Law Courts what they really are is reminiscent of the notorious extrajudicial proceedings of the Star Chamber operated by King James I. The court of Chancery set up outside of the King’s Bench, so there were no trials by jury. It had the same purpose, to circumvent the law. This is where our Fifth Amendment privilege came into being. That came about following the trial of John Lilburne (1615-1657) for handing out a pamphlet the government did not like.[...]"  Note: Very interesting.

Financial System Propaganda Theatre: "Austerity Policies Work, Claim ECB Economists" [06/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "Economists at the European Central Bank have claimed that government austerity works, saying policies of the sort imposed by the troika on weaker euro-area member states lessen the longer-term pain associated with high levels of government debt. The paper comes at a time of heightened tension between Greece and its international creditors, with the government rebelling against attempts to reshape its economy. It highlights differences within the troika on how best to handle the crisis. The troika of international creditors, the ECB, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, has pressed Greece and other indebted member states to enact structural reforms and cut spending quickly – a practice known as front-loading – in exchange for loans. The paper finds front-loading tends to work, saying fiscal consolidation helps cut debt-to-gross domestic product ratios in the medium term. That view clashes with earlier research published by the IMF, which claimed austerity plans set in train in 2010 were more damaging to growth than first thought. [...]" Related: "Why Austerity Works And Stimulus Doesn't - Bloomberg View" Printer Friendly Version Note: But then, we can see this is all a lie by the financial system, because even prior to this, we have seen previously that Reality Asserted Itself: "Paul Krugman: The Austerity Delusion" Printer Friendly Version | "It's Official: Austerity Economics Doesn't Work - The New Yorker" Printer Friendly Version"Austerity Has Never Worked - Center for Economic And Policy" Printer Friendly Version | "Austerity Doesn't Work: New IMF Report Details The Damage - Daily Kos" |  

MSM: "Greek Economy In "Doomsday" Tailspin: 59 Businesses, 613 Jobs Lost Each Day, Suppliers Demand Cash Up Front" [06/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "While the Greek government has wasted the past 4 months experiment with game (and hope) theory-based negotiations with the Troika, debating what reforms it should implement, what the budget surplus should be, and how much of a pension and wage haircut the local workforce should undergo just to keep the trickle of European money flowing and "allow" the IMF to repay Greek IMF obligations and the ESM to repay the ECB, the Greek economy has slammed into a brick wall because according to Greece's retailers association, about 59 businesses close down and some 613 jobs are being lost each day. Unfortunately, that number does not give justice to the total economic collapse that has happened in Greece over the past 5 years, just so the myth of the doomed "common currency" could be maintained one day at a time.  It is not just the country's domestic businesses that are shuttering down at a dramatic pace: even projects once funded by the European Union, such as motorway construction and which served as a source of jobs for many local contractors, have been mothballed.  [...]" Related: "International Monetary Fund Brakes Off Negotiations With Greece" Printer Friendly Version | "The IMF Won’t Save Ukraine" [6:55] "Are western Ukrainians to surrender the right to determine their economic policy and risk the loss of state-owned industries and assets in exchange for loans from the International Monetary Fund? In the first of three videos, Michael Hudson, Jeffrey Sommers, and James Carden explain why economic integration with the West won’t turn Ukraine into an economic success story. [...] Michael Hudson is a former balance-of-payments economist for Chase Manhattan Bank, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and an author of a major study of the IMF. Jeffrey Sommers is Associate Professor of Political Economy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a visiting lecturer at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. James Carden is a former Advisor to the State Department on Russia and a regular contributor to The Nation. Moderator Alexander Reed Kelly is an assistant editor at Truthdig." 

MSM: "US Companies Importing Dirty Gold From Illegal Mining Operations In Peru" [06/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "Over the past two years, the Peruvian government has been cracking down on informal mining operations and illicit gold exports in an effort to end the environmental and social abuses related to illegal gold mining. Security forces have been raiding illegal mining camps, destroying equipment, and monitoring gold trading companies involved in buying and selling contraband gold. Yet recent reports show that these efforts have failed to curb the proliferation of new, unauthorized mines in the South American nation’s rural hinterlands. Not just that, a big chunk of this dirty gold is making its way into the United States. In the southeastern Madre de Dios region, known to be one of the most bio-diverse areas on Earth, illegal mining operations continue to move deeper and deeper into virgin forests, where acres upon acres of trees are being cut down and mercury is being dumped into subsoils and rivers, exposing humans and the environment to irreversible damage. Illegal gold amounts to about 20 percent of all gold exports from Peru. The country is the world’s sixth biggest gold producer. Customs officials valued the illicit trade at about $3 billion. It now represents a bigger business for Peru than cocaine. For Asner, “the situation is getting worse and worse”. The aerial mapping which he has directed shows multitudes of blue specks, representing the wildcat mining operations, appearing throughout the Madre de Dios region. [...]" 

Psychopathy Today: "HSBC To Fire 50,000, One In Five Jobs, To Fund Dividends To Shareholders" [06/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "Just days after JPMorgan revealed it would fire another 5,000 by the end of the year in a "scalpel" headcount reduction, overnight the world's favorite drug money laundering bank HSBC unleashed the "machete" and announced it would cut almost 50,000 workers, or one in five bankers, a move which would shrink the investment bank division by one-third. The reason: the same why US corporations are laying off tens of thousands so they can fund record stock buybacks and enrich their shareholders - to boost profits so that more money can be channeled in the form of dividends. According to Reuters, the bank's second big overhaul since the financial crisis "will speed up a cull of unprofitable units and countries by cutting almost 50,000 jobs - half of them from selling businesses in Brazil and Turkey." Gulliver warned that its decision to sell its businesses in Turkey and Brazil, where it had failed to gain scale, showed that HSBC "had no sacred cows".  Considering these countries are either deeply in recession or on the cusp, the massively layoffs will likely have a profound macro impact on the regional economies. It will cut its assets by a quarter, or $290 billion on a risk adjusted basis (RWA) by 2017, and slice $140 billion from its investment bank which will subsequently make up less than a third of HSBC's balance sheet from 40 percent now. But while the pink slips galore, shareholders will be happy: Gulliver also pledged higher payouts for investors. "I believe that we are in the foothills of another prolonged period of dividend growth for the firm," he said. He noted that the bank's dividend had grown from 17 years from 1991 to 2008. Still, some are getting skeptical that one can grow cash flows by massive attrition:" But investors were cautious about how HSBC would translate job cuts into meaningful savings given the higher cost of doing business in a tougher post-crisis business environment marked by new rules on risk and compliance. "Slaughtering the staff is not necessarily the solution unless management makes the bank considerably less complex," said James Antos, analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia.[...] The problem is that even this practice of endless adjustments to bottom line EPS is getting increasingly more scrutinty as explained in "The Non-GAAP Revulsion Arrives: Experts Throw Up All Over "Made Up, Phony, Smoke And Mirrors" Numbers" because sooner or later someone will realize that when "one-time, non-recurring" charges, settlements and costs are recurring and non one-time, then it is merely ordinary course of business, which also means that what on paper are record profits are in GAAP reality massive losses. Oh, and before we forget: what better way to celebrate a global "recovery" than by laying off 20% of one's workforce? [...]"

Commentary: "A Derivatives Bomb Exploded Within The Last Two Weeks" [06/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "I’ve never seen so many sophisticated Wall Street’ers this scared in my entire career.” – This comment comes from a very well-connected Wall Street/DC insider and is in reference to how illiquid the bond markets have become . Something deep and dark has transpired behind the Orwellian “curtain” used by the elitists to hide the inner workings of the financial markets, especially with regard to big bank balance sheets and OTC derivatives. It was the sudden firing of Deutche Bank’s co-CEOs this past weekend – The Brown Stuff Is About To Hit The Fan – that prompted me to spend more time analyzing a sequence of events which indicate to me some sort of derivatives position, possibly at Deutsche Bank, has exploded. In addition, the stock and bond markets have been emitting some curious signals which reflect that fact that something happened in the global economic and financial system. [...]"  Related: See below: "Deutsche Bank CEO’s Forced to Resign Over Imminent Derivatives Melt-Down?" [06/08/15] 

Commentary: "103 Years Later, Wall Street Turned Out Just As One Man Predicted" [06/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "In 1910, three years before the US Federal Reserve was founded, Senator Nelson Aldrich, Frank Vanderlip of National City (Citibank), Henry Davison of Morgan Bank, and Paul Warburg of the Kuhn, Loeb Investment House met secretly at Jekyll Island in Georgia to formulate a plan for a US central bank just years ahead of World War I. The result of their work was the so-called Aldrich Plan which called for a system of fifteen regional central banks, i.e., National Reserve Associations, whose actions would be coordinated by a national board of commercial bankers. The Reserve Association would make emergency loans to member banks, and would create money to provide an elastic currency that could be exchanged equally for demand deposits, and would act as a fiscal agent for the federal government. In other words, the Aldrich Plan proposed a "central bank" that would be openly and directly controlled by Wall Street commercial banks on whose behalf it would solely operate, instead of doing so indirectly, behind closed doors and the need for criminal investigations. The Aldrich Plan was defeated in the House in 1912 but its outline became the model for the bill that eventually was adopted, as the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 whose passage not only unleashed the Fed as we know it now, but the entire shape of modern finance. In 1912, one person who warned against the passage of the Aldrich Plan was Alfred Owen Crozier: a man who saw how it would all play out, and even wrote a book titled "U.S. Money vs Corporation Currency" (costing 25 cents) explaining and predicting everything that would ultimately happen, even adding some 30 illustrations for those readers who were visual learners.  The book, which is attached at the end of this post, is a must read, but even those pressed for time are urged to skim the following illustrations all of which were created in 1912, and all of which predicted just what the current financial system would look like. Or, in the words of Overstock's CEO Patrick Byrne, "that's uncanny" [...]" 

Commentary: "Resource Confiscation: Ukraine's Yatseniyuk Meets With US Oligarchy, IMF This Week" [06/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "Fresh on the heels of the international disgrace known as the G7 meeting conducted in Bavaria, a new meeting of austerity proponents and oligarchs will take place on American soil when Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniyuk arrives to discuss “Ukrainian territorial integrity” and “economic cooperation” with leaders of the United States and the IMF. The meeting is scheduled to take place from June 8th to June 10th. Ukraine Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko is also part of the delegation. Yatseniyuk is scheduled to meet with the “leadership of the United States” as well as US Speaker of the House John Boehner and representatives from the US Democratic and Republican parties. He is also scheduled to meet US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. Yatseniyuk is also scheduled to meet with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and other representatives from the IMF as well as the UN Under-Secretary General Jeffrey D. Feltman. Interestingly enough, in addition to meeting with the American “Ukrainian community,” Yatseniyuk will be speaking at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum.  [...]"  Note: Because it really is a Zionist thing, after all. Related: "Donetsk: Ukrainian Forces Violate Ceasefire 30 Times over Past 24 Hours" Printer Friendly Version "The forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said on Monday they have registered 30 ceasefire violations by the Kiev’s forces over the past 24 hours. [...]" Related: See below

Criminal Misconduct: "Soros Pushes US Bailouts And Weapons For Ukraine" [06/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "If you look at the track record of the interventionists you might think they would pause before taking on more projects. Each of their past projects has ended in disaster yet still they press on. Last week the website Zero Hedge posted a report about hacked emails between billionaire George Soros and Ukrainian President Poroshenko. Soros is very close to the Ukrainian president, who was put in power after a US-backed coup deposed the elected leader of Ukraine last year. In the email correspondence, Soros tells the Ukrainian leadership that the US should provide Ukraine “with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.” In other words, despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke. But Soros seems to have the money part covered as well. In an email to Ukrainian leaders, he wrote that Ukraine’s “first priority must be to regain control of financial markets.” Soros told Poroshenko that the IMF would need to come through with a $15 billion package, which was confident would lead the Fed to also come through with more money. He wrote: “the Federal Reserve could be asked to extend a $15 billion three months swap arrangement with the National Bank of Ukraine. That would reassure the markets and avoid a panic.” [...]" 

Commentary: "Deutsche Bank CEO’s Forced to Resign Over Imminent Derivatives Melt-Down?" [06/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "The co-CEOs of Deutsche Bank have unexpectedly stepped down. Recall that Deutsche Bank is now the largest holder of derivatives in the world. “The ONLY reason these resignations would have been unexpectedly coerced like this is if Deutsche Bank was having a potentially uncontrollable problem in its OTC derivatives holdings.“ [...]"  Related: "Red Flags At Deutsche Bank" Printer Friendly Version   

Commentary: "Central Banks Are Losing Control Of The Financial Markets" [06/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "For years, global central banks have been manipulating the financial marketplace with their monetary voodoo. Somehow, they have convinced investors around the world to invest tens of trillions of dollars into bonds that provide a return that is way under the real rate of inflation. For quite a long time I have been insisting that this is highly irrational. Why would any rational investor want to put money into investments that will make them poorer on a purchasing power basis in the long run? And when any central bank initiates a policy of “quantitative easing”, any rational investor should immediately start demanding a higher rate of return on the bonds of that nation. Creating money out of thin air and pumping into the financial system devalues all existing money and creates inflation. Therefore, rational investors should respond by driving interest rates up. Instead, central banks told everyone that interest rates would be forced down, and that is precisely what happened. But now things have shifted. Investors are starting to behave more rationally and the central banks are starting to lose control of the financial markets, and that is a very bad sign for the rest of 2015. And of course it isn’t just bond yields that are out of control. No matter how hard they try, financial authorities in Europe can’t seem to fix the problems in Greece, and the problems in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France just continue to escalate as well. This week, Greece became the very first nation to miss a payment to the IMF since the 1980s. We’ll discuss that some more in a moment. Over in Asia, stocks are fluctuating very wildly. The Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 5.4 percent on Thursday before regaining all of those losses and actually closing with a gain of 0.8 percent. When we see this kind of extreme volatility, it is a very bad sign. It is during times of extreme volatility that markets crash. Remember, stocks generally tend to go up during calm markets, and they generally tend to go down during choppy markets. So most investors do not want to see lots of volatility. Unfortunately, that is precisely what we are witnessing all over the world right now. [...]"  Related: "Public’s Illusions Are About To Be Crushed As The Biggest Ponzi Scheme In World History Implodes" Printer Friendly Version "Egon von Greyerz: “We live in an illusory world where the public’s illusions are about to be smashed in the next few years. As an example, the illusory fortunes of the very wealthy have gone up exponentially in this century. They all believe that they are creating wealth based on their skills in investing. Little do they realize that the real reason is because they are standing near the printing press in the biggest Ponzi scheme in world history…. “I speak to many of these people about risk but they see no risk in financial markets. They don’t believe that $100 million for an apartment, painting, or a diamond is a bubble. Or a stock market that is actually now valued higher than it was in 1929, 2000, or in 2007. They don’t see that this is a bubble. [...]"  

Commentary: "Ukrainians Dispossessed: Western Financial Elites Impose “Free Markets” And Mass Poverty" Printer Friendly Version "Over the last 15 months Ukrainians have paid for Washington’s overthrow of their elected government in deaths, dismemberment of their country, and broken economic and political relationships with Russia that cost Ukraine its subsidized energy. Now Ukrainians are losing their pensions and traditional support payments. The Ukrainian population is headed for the graveyard. On June 1 the TASS news agency reported that Ukraine has stopped payments to pensioners, World War II veterans, people with disabilities, and victims of Chernobyl. According to the report, Kiev has also “eliminated transport, healthcare, utilities and financial benefits for former prisoners of Nazi concentration camps and recipients of some Soviet-era orders and titles. Compensations to families with children living in the areas contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident will be no longer paid either. Ukraine’s parliamentary opposition believes that the Prosecutor General’s Office should launch an investigation against Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk who actively promoted the law on the abolition of privileges.” Notice that this is a yank of the blanket from under the elderly in Ukraine. “Useless eaters,” they are assigned to the trash can. How do the deceived Maiden student protesters feel now that they are culpable in the destruction of their grandparents’ support systems? Do these gullible fools still believe in the Washington-orchestrated Maiden Revolution? The crimes in which these stupid students are complicit are horrific. Yatsenyuk, or Yats as Victoria Nuland calls him, is the Washington stooge that the US State Department selected to run the puppet government established by Washington. Yats sounds like a right-wing Republican when he refers to pensions, compensations, and social services as “privileges.” This is the Republican view of Social Security and Medicare, programs paid for by the payroll tax over the working lives of Americans. The Republicans stole the payroll revenues and spent them on their wars that enrich Wall Street and the military/security complex, and now blame “welfare handouts” for America’s fiscal plight. [...] The news report does not say whether the abolished “privileges” are one part of a reform that will replace the terminated “privileges” with a new social support system. Possibly this is the case, but as the termination of pensions and payments was triggered by the coming into effect of Yat’s law to “stabilize the financial condition of Ukraine,” the purpose of the termination of Ukraine’s social welfare system might be to free up money to hand over to the IMF and Western banks. In Ukraine, as in Greece, the gullible and naive population that saw salvation in unity with the West will be driven into the ground. The same looting is underway in Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the United States. In Great Britain everything achieved by the Labour Party over many decades has been taken away, and not only by the Conservatives but by Labour leader Tony Blair himself. Karl Marx was correct when he said that money corrupts all. Everything becomes a commodity that is bought and sold for money. When money becomes the measure of a person, people have become corrupted. And that is the plight of the Western world.[...]"  

Commentary: "Report Reveals $8.5 Trillion Missing From Pentagon Budget" [06/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Yahoo Money’ The Daily Ticker quoting a Reuters investigation that reveals that $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for. You read that right. While Republican politicians rush to slash food stamps for the 47 million Americans living in poverty – the highest amount in nearly two decades – Republican U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has the audacity to complain that $20 billion dollars in automatic sequester cuts to the massive and secretive $565.8 billion Defense Department budget are “ too steep, too deep, and too abrupt,” all while the Pentagon and the Defense Department are overseeing massive fraud, waste, and abuse. For anyone wondering, Reuters reports that the D.O.D.’s 2012 budget totaled $565.8 billion, more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China. In an interview, Linda Woodford, an employee at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service – the Pentagon’s main accounting agency – reveals to Reuters that she spent the last 15 years of her career simply “plugging in” false numbers every month to balance the books; “A lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate. We didn’t have the detail … for a lot of it.”  In the REAL WORLD, that would be called MASSIVE FRAUD. Woodford’s involvement in the fraud doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. The report also reveals that “a single DFAS office in Columbus, Ohio, made at least $1.59 trillion – yes, trillion – in errors, including $538 billion in plugs, in financial reports for the Air Force in 2009.”  Yahoo Finance lists some additional findings, including; The DOD has amassed a backlog of more than $500 billion in unaudited contracts with outside vendors. How much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn’t known. Over the past 10 years the DOD has signed contracts for provisions of more than $3 trillion in goods and services. How much of that money is wasted in overpayments to contractors, or was never spent and never remitted to the Treasury is a mystery. The Pentagon uses a standard operating procedure to enter false numbers, or “plugs,” to cover lost or missing information in their accounting in order to submit a balanced budget to the Treasury. In 2012, the Pentagon reported $9.22 billion in these reconciling amounts. That was up from $7.41 billion the year before. [...]"  

MSM: "Global News Review: Ep366" Boom Bust [06/04/15]   [27:53] " Each day, Erin Ade breaks through the mainstream headlines to find the stories that matter, and helps you navigate the Booms and the Busts. [...] Discussed: US Senator Elizabeth Warren issued a scathing critique of the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White. In a 13-page letter to White, Senator Warren called her two-year stint as head of the SEC “extremely disappointing” and not in keeping with the kind of leadership that White had promised to deliver during her Senate confirmation hearing. Erin Ade weighs in. Then, Erin sits down with Axel Merk – president and CIO of Merk Investments. Axel tells us if thinks if Greece will default and what the ECB would do in that situation and gives us his take on the outlook for economic growth in Europe for the rest of the year. After the break, Erin is joined by RT correspondent Harry Fear to talk about the FIFA scandal. Harry tells us why the US is taking this action and under what legal jurisdiction it has to go after FIFA and why Sepp Blatter didn’t resign initially after allegations were made. Afterwards, Boom Bust guest host Ameera David sits down with Bill Bonner – founder of The Daily Reckoning. Bill tells us if Bitcoin could actually pave the way for other governments to become less reliant on cash and credit and gives us his take on how people should be investing right now in the event we have another financial crisis in the near future as he expects. And in The Big Deal, Erin and Edward Harrison talk about Greece after dueling ultimatums make clear that the endgame is near. [...]"  

Interviews: "Gerald Posner On The Vatican Bank" [06/03/15] [15:11] "Erin sits down with Gerald Posner – author of “God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican.” Gerald explains how the Vatican Bank is essentially a cross between the Federal Reserve and an offshore bank and tells us how they grew into a money-laundering institution. He also talks to us about how the Vatican Bank evolved from a rudimentary financial institution, relying mostly on donations, into an institution that rivals Wall Street investment banks. [...]"  Related: "Conversations w/Great Minds: Gerald Posner, God's Bankers - Vatican Bank Corruption" [12:56] "For tonight's Conversations with Great Minds - Thom is joined by Gerald Posner. Gerald Posner was one of the youngest attorneys ever hired by the Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore and is the author of eleven books - including New York Times bestsellers - and one a finalist for the Pulitzer in History. Gerald has written dozens of articles for national magazines and papers and has been a regular contributor to a variety of television networks. He's also the author of the new book, "God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican." [...]" 

Date With Destiny: "New York Banker Jumps To His Death From Luxury Apartment" [06/02/15] "An investment banker jumped to his death from the window of his million-dollar apartment in the Financial District on Thursday, sources and authorities said. The 29-year-old man plunged from the 24th floor of the luxury Ocean apartment building at 1 West St. at about 10:40a.m. and landed on a guardrail near the northbound Battery Park Underpass, narrowly missing a black SUV. Sources said the young banker had made several attempts to kill himself earlier in the morning, including cutting his wrists, before making the plunge. The man — whom police did not immediately identify — was from a wealthy family in Westchester County, sources said. He had apparently become very successful on his own. He owned his apartment in the 36-story Ocean complex, which overlooks The Battery and New York Harbor, and had just returned from a vacation in the Bahamas, sources said.[...]"   Related: "The Worldwide ‘Dead Bankers’ Conspiracy Exposed 2015" Olan Thomas [8:40]    

Date With Destiny: "American Express President Found Dead On Plane En Route To NYC" [06/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "The recent string of suspicious banker deaths is no longer constrained entirely to mid level managers, as the President of American Express Ed Gilligan has been found dead on his plane this weekend en route to NYC… American Express President Ed Gilligan died suddenly this weekend during his flight from Japan to NYC, causing his plane to make an emergency landing.  [...]" 

MSM: "Global News Review: Ep364" Boom Bust [06/02/15]   [27:55] "The Boom Bust cycle is as old as Western banking itself. Each day, Erin Ade breaks through the mainstream headlines to find the stories that matter, and helps you navigate the Booms and the Busts. [...] Discussed: Section 215 of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Sunday after a divided Senate failed to reach an agreement to extend the anti-terror law. Since lawmakers were unable to come up with a replacement bill, this now clears the way for the chamber to approve a House-passed measure known as the “Freedom Act” as soon as Tuesday. This would end the NSA’s nine year old practice of seizing and storing telephone records of millions of Americans, regardless of their background or behavior. Erin Ade weighs in. Then, Boom Bust guest host Ameera David sits down with Steve Keen – Head of the School of Economics, History & Politics at Kingston University. Steve tells us what would happen if the Fed raised rates in June or July despite the underlying weakness in the US economy. Steve also gives us his take on how Greece will affect European and US markets. After the break, Bianca Facchinei takes a look at Facebook beginning to offer encryption features to their users, who will be able to add their public keys – something that allows them to encrypt messages meant to be seen by only one recipient – to their profiles. She also covers the $16 billion acquisition by Intel of Altera. Afterwards, Edward Harrison is joined by Scott Sumner – professor of economics at Bentley University. Scott tells us that European interest rates were too low for periphery countries before the financial crisis and are too high now because of the one size fits all policy of the ECB. He is not optimistic about Greece as a result. And Scott gives us his take on how the ECB should handle Greece. Sumner believes Greece has unique structural deficits that make the situation there a separate case which monetary policy alone cannot counteract. And in The Big Deal, Erin and Edward discuss tons of new US data and Greece. [...]"  

MSM: "Gold Supply Tightness Spreads From London To New York" [06/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "Goodman writes that a default on Comex contracts is unlikely because the U.S. government almost certainly would make gold available surreptitiously, perhaps through the secret gold swap arrangements whose arrangements the Federal Reserve confirmed, perhaps inadvertently, to GATA in 2009. But if the gold price is not allowed to rise significantly, Goodman adds, there will be bigger supply problems. [...]" 

Concepts and Practices:  "Karl Marx Was Right" Chris Hedges [06/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "The economist and philosopher foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction, that the greed of a tiny elite would eventually bring down the system. The final stages that he predicted are visible all around us now.  [...] Karl Marx exposed the peculiar dynamics of capitalism, or what he called “the bourgeois mode of production.” He foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction. He knew that reigning ideologies—think neoliberalism—were created to serve the interests of the elites and in particular the economic elites, since “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production” and “the ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships … the relationships which make one class the ruling one.” He saw that there would come a day when capitalism would exhaust its potential and collapse. He did not know when that day would come. Marx, as Meghnad Desai wrote, was “an astronomer of history, not an astrologer.” Marx was keenly aware of capitalism’s ability to innovate and adapt. But he also knew that capitalist expansion was not eternally sustainable. And as we witness the denouement of capitalism and the disintegration of globalism, Karl Marx is vindicated as capitalism’s most prescient and important critic. In a preface to “The Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” Marx wrote: "No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed; and new higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.  Therefore, mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since looking at the matter more closely, we always find that the task itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist, or are at least in the process of formation.[...] Socialism, in other words, would not be possible until capitalism had exhausted its potential for further development. That the end is coming is hard now to dispute, although one would be foolish to predict when. We are called to study Marx to be ready. The final stages of capitalism, Marx wrote, would be marked by developments that are intimately familiar to most of us. Unable to expand and generate profits at past levels, the capitalist system would begin to consume the structures that sustained it. It would prey upon, in the name of austerity, the working class and the poor, driving them ever deeper into debt and poverty and diminishing the capacity of the state to serve the needs of ordinary citizens. It would, as it has, increasingly relocate jobs, including both manufacturing and professional positions, to countries with cheap pools of laborers. Industries would mechanize their workplaces. This would trigger an economic assault on not only the working class but the middle class—the bulwark of a capitalist system—that would be disguised by the imposition of massive personal debt as incomes declined or remained stagnant. Politics would in the late stages of capitalism become subordinate to economics, leading to political parties hollowed out of any real political content and abjectly subservient to the dictates and money of global capitalism. But as Marx warned, there is a limit to an economy built on scaffolding of debt expansion. There comes a moment, Marx knew, when there would be no new markets available and no new pools of people who could take on more debt. This is what happened with the subprime mortgage crisis. Once the banks cannot conjure up new subprime borrowers, the scheme falls apart and the system crashes. Capitalist oligarchs, meanwhile, hoard huge sums of wealth—$18 trillion stashed in overseas tax havens—exacted as tribute from those they dominate, indebt and impoverish. Capitalism would, in the end, Marx said, turn on the so-called free market, along with the values and traditions it claims to defend. It would in its final stages pillage the systems and structures that made capitalism possible. It would resort, as it caused widespread suffering, to harsher forms of repression. It would attempt in a frantic last stand to maintain its profits by looting and pillaging state institutions, contradicting its stated nature.[...]"  

MSM: "China Creates Gold Investment Fund For Central Banks" [05/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "China has announced the establishment of a new international gold fund with over 60 countries as members. The large fund, which expects to raise 100 billion yuan or $16 billion, will develop gold mining projects across the economic region known as the New Silk Road. President Xi Jinping said earlier this year he hoped annual trade with the countries involved in the increasingly important modern Silk Road would surpass $2.5 trillion in a decade. According to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, the project will facilitate the central banks of member states to acquire gold for their reserves more easily. This may explain the broad support which the project has received in the area. “About 60 countries have invested in the fund, which will in turn facilitate gold purchase for the central banks of member states to increase their holdings of the precious metal, according to the SGE.” The project is being overseen by the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) and it is likely that the newly mined gold will be either be traded on the SGE or be sold directly to the PBOC and other central banks. [...]" 

Commentary: "Recovery 2015 : JP Morgan To Fire 5000" [05/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "In the latest example of just how strong America’s double-adjusted economic ‘recovery’ truly is, JP Morgan is set to layoff some 5,000 employees.  The cuts, which will amount to around 2% of the bank’s total workforce over the course of the next 12 months, come as the bank seeks to pare its reliance on human tellers, favoring machines at its nearly 6,000 branches. However, WSJ notes that the move will also affect workers across the bank’s business lines. Here’s more:  The layoffs on the other hand are more broad-based, affecting all four of the bank’s major business units: corporate and investment banking, consumer and community banking, asset management and commercial banking. Some employees in the “controls” part of the bank, such as those in legal or compliance, will also be affected as the bank trims departments that have grown dramatically over the past few years, people familiar with the matter said. J.P. Morgan hasn’t detailed the layoffs previously, but did broadly discuss expense cuts in a February presentation to investors. At least 1,000 of the 5,000 layoffs have already been carried out in the past few months, but more are expected as the bank continues to slim expenses in an effort to meet profitability goals, one of the people added. [...]  The latest job cuts show that despite some resiliency in certain business lines, including merger advisory and asset management, J.P. Morgan remains focused on cutting excess costs. J.P. Morgan has trimmed its total head count in 11 of the past 12 quarters, to 241,145 employees, down about 20,000, or 7.7% from the peak. Banks have been scrambling to cut costs enough to counteract increased regulatory and legal expenses in recent years while revenue growth has been hurt by low interest rates. J.P. Morgan is also looking to more sophisticated technologies to automate work, such as new ATMs or faster trading capabilities. At his Wednesday presentation, Mr. Dimon said the average branch could lose two tellers and add one financial adviser as the business of handling deposits grows more electronic. “It’s cheaper for us and good for clients,” Mr. Dimon noted. aybe so, but we’ll tell you who it’s most certainly not good for: the people who are about to be fired. To those folks we say simply that you can blame ZIRP, a flagging US economy which ZIRP has failed to prop up, and of course, the machines.[...]"  Note:  Who amongst the fired will turn states evidence? 

Commentary: "IMF Gives The Chinese Yuan The Green Light To Become A Reserve Currency" X-22 Report #678  [05/28/15] Printer Friendly Version "The rise of the Chinese yuan as a world currency has no more obstacles as it is now considered “no longer undervalued” by the International Monetary Fund, According to an evaluation of the Bank for International Settlements, the real effective exchange rate of the yuan has risen in the last five years by 33 percent. The IMF declaration is a surprising blow to the dollar as the yuan now can become a likely part of the IMF’s currency basket. With this move, China would be closer to its goal: to establish the yuan as a world currency and, thus, to break the dominance of the dollar in the long run. [...]"  Larger Picture Summary: Rumors that Greece is making a deal turns out to be false. Depositors in Greece remove more money from the banks. Venezuela and Russia make an economic free zone. IMF gives the green light for the Yuan, it is now ready to become a reserve currency. More states join in to stop the President’s immigration executive order. Senate unlikely to push for the renewal of the Patriot Act, even though the President is pushing for a renewal. Macedonia ready to join the Turkish-Russian pipeline. By the end of 2015 the US will provide Ukraine with a 3 billion dollar loan guarantee. NATO placing permanent troops and military assets in Eastern Europe. US and coalition forces are preparing an event to take out Assad.

Commentary: "Sanders Exposes 18 CEOs Who Took Trillions In Bailouts, Evaded Taxes And Outsourced Jobs" [05/26/15] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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" Printer Friendly Version "Aug 21, 2014 [...]" vs. "Cash-Hoarding Companies Neither Spend Nor Lend, Fouling Economy Further" Printer Friendly Version "(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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version 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" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Lehman Brothers Sues Federal Home Loan Bank Of N.Y. Over Interest-Rate Swaps Derivatives" [05/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "...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" Printer Friendly Version  

MSM: "Report: Social Security Upside Down By 2020, Bust By 2033" [05/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "...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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "... 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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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,[1] 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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version " 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" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "George Soros May Face A Monster 6.7 Billion Tax Bill" [05/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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" Printer Friendly Version |"Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Van Parked in Handicap Spot" Printer Friendly Version "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"Printer Friendly Version 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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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" Printer Friendly Version "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" Printer Friendly Version  

Commentary: "Wealthy Get Government Handouts: Here Are 10 Of Them" [04/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version  

Commentary: "Global Financial Reset Alleged: ‘Deal Is Being Made Between All The Central Banks’" [04/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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] Printer Friendly Version "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


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