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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

MSM: "Paranoia Reigns In Congress Over An International Financial Cabal" [03/31/15] Printer Friendly Version "It’s tough to keep up with the conspiracy theories that run rampant from day to day in the hallowed halls of Congress. But one that is gaining traction is that the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council (whose acronym is pronounced F-SOC) is the handmaiden of an international finance cabal and is obediently marching to its beat instead of the mandates of Congress. These suspicions were on display at the Senate Banking Committee hearing last Wednesday and the House Financial Services Committee hearing the week before where U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who Chairs F-SOC, was pummeled with thinly veiled, and not so thinly veiled, accusations. F-SOC was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. It is charged with the early identification of emerging risks to the financial system. Every major regulator of Wall Street banks has a seat. [...]  The conspiracy theory that foreign hot shots are really controlling decisions at F-SOC is not without roots. The international equivalent of F-SOC is the Financial Stability Board, which is run by a Plenary of central bankers and finance ministers from around the globe, along with organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The United States has three members on the Plenary: Nathan Sheets, the Undersecretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury; Daniel Tarullo, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; and Mary Jo White, Chair of the SEC. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England is the current Chair of the Financial Stability Board. [...] The simmering conspiracy took wings on February 5 of this year when Mark Carney issued what appeared to be marching orders from the Financial Stability Board to G20 members, which includes the United States. One portion of the document reads as follows: “At the Brisbane Summit, two crucial elements of the policy framework to end too-big-to-fail were agreed: a proposal for a common international standard on the total loss- absorbing capacity that globally systemic banks must have; and an industry agreement that will prevent cross-border derivative contracts from being terminated disruptively in the event of a globally systemic bank entering resolution. In 2015, we must bring this progress to finalisation. By the Antalya Summit: The FSB will finalise the international standard for total loss-absorbing capacity of global systemically important banks; FSB members will take measures to promote industry adoption of contractual provisions recognising temporary stays on the close-out of financial contracts when a firm enters resolution.” This certainly sounds like the FSB is calling the shots. At the Senate Banking hearing on Wednesday, it became clear that the conspiracy theory has spread to at least one trade group, the American Council of Life Insurers. Gary Hughes, the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the trade group submitted written testimony that included this excerpt: [...]" 

MSM: "Elizabeth Warren Fires Back After Wall Street Threats" [03/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has a blunt message for the big Wall Street banks that may withhold campaign donations to Senate Democrats in hopes of quieting her calls to break up the banks. "It will not work," Warren said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post. Warren has been a vocal advocate for reining in big banks that she says wield too much power in Washington after their recklessness triggered the 2008 financial meltdown. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have discussed ways to soften Warren's strong tone, Reuters reports, and representatives of some have raised the idea of cutting campaign donations to Democrats. Only Citigroup -- a frequent target of Warren's criticism -- so far is publicly withholding money from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Cutting donations, Warren said, won't end her demands. "They want a showy way to tell Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what’s right," Warren wrote. "... I’m not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government’s economic policymaking apparatus ... And I’m not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called 'too big to fail' banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008." [...]"  

Commentary: "London Gold Fix Closed" Valentin Katasonov [03/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "The closer of London Gold Fix (LGF) on March 20 is big news. The first London gold fixing was performed in 1919; it had a short way to go till its anniversary. The system of its functioning was simple enough. A number of leading participants started a fixing process to reach a balance between supply and demand to set the price. The gold fixing provided a recognized rate that was used as a benchmark for pricing the majority of gold products and derivatives throughout the world's markets. There were five participating banks and market makers that made up London Bullion Market Association – LBMA. London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. exercised the administrative control.  For many years LGF was perceived to be an ideal instrument for fixing the gold price on the world market, especially for individual contracts and derivatives (paper gold). The rates were used for evaluating monetary gold reserves and liabilities pegged to the precious metal (for instance, bank deposits denominated in gold). The drawbacks of the system were hushed up, no matter more and more questions were being raised, especially during the recent 10-20 years.  The Bretton Woods system disappeared in the 1970s. Gold stopped being a monetary metal to become a normal commodity. It would have been logical to trade gold with its price fixed as if it were an ordinary operation at commodity exchange. In recent years LGF looked like an anachronism, an old fashioned structure to add to or, to some extent, substitute ordinary markets trading non-ferrous and precious metals.  [...] The most perspicacious experts noticed that LGF was an ideal instrument for the Rothschilds to control the gold market. As is known, the gold standard was created by Rothschilds in the XIX century. After Napoleonic wars the family got hold of major part of European gold, so the gold standard made it fabulously rich guaranteeing stable demand for the precious metal. The Rothschilds did not sell it to central banks or treasuries of other countries. Instead they granted gold credits. The First World War put an end to the functioning of gold standard mechanisms. The Rothschilds wasted no time to react. In 1919 they created LGF to control the world gold market through London gold fixing.[...] The Rothschilds -controlled N M Rothschild & Sons was the leading bank of the five. It was founded at the beginning of XIX century by Nathan Rothschild. Other members of «golden five» were related to the Rothschilds by invisible ties. It can be said that LGF was the Rothschilds ’ creature. In 2003 N M Rothschild left gold fixing but it did not mean the family left the business. It controlled LGF behind the scenes. By that time there were many frauds and manipulations affecting the functioning of the market; the situation could have gone out of control. There was a risk of world-wide scandal. To avoid involvement the «financial geniuses» the Rothschilds decided to go into the shadows. There were a lot of interesting things happening in the world of gold trading. The Rothschilds -controlled media did it best to hush it all up. For instance, the information on tungsten operations hit the pages only ten years after the fact was discovered.   [...] The elimination of LGF is part of big game played by the «money bosses» – the Rothschilds and Rockefellers (the both are the leading shareholders of US Federal Reserve System). Gold is what the Rothschilds are after, while the Rockefellers rely on the dollar – the world currency the Federal Reserve System issues. The correlation of forces (between the Rothschilds sand the Rockefellers who are partners and competitors at the same time) is defined by the balance between the dollar and gold. It’s a well-known fact that since some time ago the gold has been greatly underestimated. The price has never returned to the peak reached in 1980 ($850 per troy). This is a comparable price. The nominal price has gone up exceeding $1000 since a long time ago. At first glance, one should come to conclusion that the Rockefellers won the battle and weakened the position of the Rothschilds . But there is a great possibility that this is just a trick on the part of Rothschilds trying to turn the temporary retreat into a strategic win to defeat the Rockefellers.[...]"  Related: "Gold Market: “There Are Thirty to Fifty Owners For Each Ounce of Gold That’s Out There" Printer Friendly Version  |"Letter Exposes HSBC Vault Closures As War In Gold Continues To Rage" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter" [03/29/15] "WikiLeaks releases today the "Investment Chapter" (PDF) from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement (HTML Version) The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014). The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world's GDP. [...] • Foreign investors alone would be granted access to extrajudicial tribunals staffed by private sector lawyers who rotate between acting as “judges” and representing corporations in cases against governments, posing major conflicts of interest." The tribunals lack public accountability, requirements to follow precedent, or standard judicial ethics rules. The leaked TPP text itself has no requirement for tribunalists to be independent or impartial. Rather, it relies on weak impartiality rules set by the arbitration venues themselves. In the 48-year history of the World Bank arbitration regime, which is most commonly used, tribunalists have only been disqualified in four of 41 challenges of exhibited bias or conflicts of interest. Rulings by tribunalists with specific conflicts of interest have been allowed to stand. A tribunalist ruling that Argentina had to pay Vivendi Universal $105 million for reversing a failed water privatization served on the board of a bank that was a major investor in Vivendi. The tribunalist did not disclose the conflict, much less recuse herself, and Argentina’s effort to annul the ruling was dismissed. • Foreign tribunals would be empowered to order governments to pay unlimited cash compensation out of national treasuries. The leaked text provides tribunals with discretion to determine the amount of compensation governments must pay investors (Article II.28.1) and also the allocation of costs (Article II.28.3), such as the tribunalists’ fees. Even when governments win ISDS cases, they waste scarce budgetary resources defending national policies against these corporate attacks, as $8 million in taxpayer funds must be used in an average ISDS case to pay large hourly fees for the tribunals and legal costs.  • The TPP would grant foreign investors procedural rights that are not available to domestic firms to “sue” governments outside of national court systems, unconstrained by the rights and obligations of countries’ constitutions, laws and domestic court procedures.  • The leaked text shows that foreign investors would be able to demand compensation if new policies that apply to domestic and foreign firms alike undermine their “expectations” of how they should be treated.[...]"

Commentary: "US Attacks “Closest Ally” UK For “Constant Accommodation” With China" [03/29/15] Printer Friendly Version "On the heels of a diplomatic spat between Hanoi and Washington regarding Russia’s use of a former US air base in Vietnam to refuel nuclear-capable bombers on the way to conducting “provocative” runs in the Pacific, we get yet another, larger, sign that it may indeed be the US that’s isolated and not (as Western media would have you believe) the Kremlin. The UK (Washington’s “special” friend) has announced it’s joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is essentially China’s answer to the Asian Development Bank over which Beijing feels the US has undue influence.  The bank, which will fund infrastructure projects across the region and may indeed be part and parcel of China’s implicit attempt to establish a Sino-Monroe Doctrine, represents “an unrivaled opportunity for the UK and Asia to invest and grow together,” according to Britain’s George Osborne. Unsurprisingly, the US doesn’t see it that way and although Washington was generously willing to concede that this was the UK’s decision to make for itself, US officials are clearly perturbed that Britain didn’t ask for permission: [...]" 

MSM: "IMF Declares Suspension Of Yemen Loan Amid Saudi Airstrikes" [03/28/15] Printer Friendly Version "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced its indefinite suspension of a loan to Yemen, citing a “host of uncertainties” after Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against the country. “Given the host of uncertainties surrounding Yemen at the moment, the first review... is postponed until the situation clarifies,” IMF spokesman William Murray said on Thursday at a regularly scheduled news conference. Murray added that he could not state when the situation will improve enough to resume the loan package or estimate the economic impact of the Yemeni crisis in the region. He said that he was not aware of any “recent contacts” between the IMF and the new Houthi-led administration in Yemen. The IMF had approved a $552.9-million line of credit for Yemen back in September 2014 to assist the impoverished Arab nation to maintain its economic stability and promote inclusive growth. The first installment of the three-year loan, about USD 74 million, was immediately made available to the then-US-backed government in Sana’a. The next payment was due in the first quarter of this year, following an IMF review of the loan-supported reform program. Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is attacking Ansarullah positions, Saudi warplanes have flattened a number of homes near the Sana’a International Airport. The blatant invasion of Yemen’s sovereignty by the Saudi government comes as international bodies, especially the United Nations, remain silent regarding the issue. The UN has so far failed to show any reaction whatsoever to violation of the sovereignty of one of its members by Riyadh.[...]"  Note: However the IMF selectively ignores their own rules when supplying funds to the Ukrainian fascists conducting internal warfare, under which IMF assistance must be suspended by their own rules.

MSM: "The Bitcoin Blockchain Could Be Used to Spread Malware, INTERPOL Says" [03/28/15] Printer Friendly Version "The blockchain is a decentralized public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. Whenever a new batch of Bitcoin transactions are verified, they’re uploaded to the blockchain. Because the blockchain is decentralized, that data is also downloaded to the computers of everyone running Bitcoin software. The problem is that all kinds of files, not just Bitcoin transactions, can be uploaded to the blockchain, including malware. According to a statement from INTERPOL and researchers from cyber security research firm Kaspersky Labs, uploading malware to the blockchain would make it extremely hard to get rid of. Indeed, there are “no methods currently available to wipe this data,” according to the statement. Once a file is in the blockchain, and hence on every computer in the Bitcoin network, it’s there forever. For now, at least.[...]" Note: Pretty much seals the fate of the dynamic. Related: "British Banking Association: Bitcoin is a Real Threat to Banks" Printer Friendly Version | "EFF Files Second Round Of Comments On New York’s Bitlicense Proposal" Printer Friendly Version 

Max Keiser: "Surging Dollar A Signal That ‘Colossal Financial Event’ Is Just Around The Corner" [03/28/15]   [12:18]

MSM: "Oil Surges, Gold And Silver Spike As Saudi Arabia Bombs Yemen" [03/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Geopolitical tensions escalated dramatically over night as Saudi Arabia launched military operations including air strikes in Yemen. The Saudis claim the action is to counter Iran-allied forces besieging the southern city of Aden where the U.S. backed Yemeni president had taken refuge. Oil surged and gold rose nearly 2% following a sharp drop in stocks on Wall Street globally in response to the bombing in Yemen. Gulf broadcaster al-Arabiya TV reported that the kingdom was contributing as many as 150,000 troops and 100 war planes to the operations. Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan were ready to take part in a ground offensive in Yemen, the broadcaster said. [...]" 

Commentary: "Wall Street Banks Hit By Oil & Gas Defaults, Bankruptcies" [03/26/15] Printer Friendly Version "The oil bust tripped the banks up, and some of them have gotten stuck with their formerly hot leveraged loans that suddenly no one wants. Banks have been discounting them, and still, they’re having trouble unloading them. The Fed and the OCC have been warning banks about the risks of leveraged loans for two years. In July last year, Fed Chair Janet Yellen herself warned about them publicly. Regulators have reason to be worried: Banks had gotten stuck with about $150 billion in leveraged loans before the Financial Crisis and lost their shirt on them. Retail investors with loan mutual funds, where these things tend to end up, are supposed to take the losses, not banks.[...] Investors in these companies are being bled. But Wall Street banks won’t have to surrender the $31 billion in fees they extracted over the past five years. This is the beauty of the system. The Fed’s interest-rate repression and apparent guarantees that risks no longer exist, and that assets, no matter how inflated, can no longer decline in price, created the greatest credit bubble in history and lulled investors into closing their eyes. Many of these investors are fund managers that then shuffle off their products to largely unwitting Americans who’re trying to squirrel money away for their retirement. The Wall Street Banks that did the financial engineering behind the oil boom, and provided the grease for it, will lose billions in fee income, and they’ll take a licking on leveraged loans that they got stuck with. But they’ll get through it. And they’re already busy figuring out other avenues to extract fees from the energy sector and its investors."  Related: See below: "Oil Industry Pink Slips: 100,000 Jobs Wiped Out Amid Price Collapse" [03/22/15] 

Commentary: "2015's "Black Swans" According To French Bank Societé Generale" [03/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "For those who recall our summary of the most popular article of 2014, there was one common theme:" what readers founds most fascinating, and troubling, was the increasing preponderance of social disobedience, of covert, proxy or outright wars, and of civil unrest: all phenomena that accompany a world sliding deeper into distress, not as most central banks and their puppet media would have us believe, a global recovery." It should therefore hardly come as a surprise that as SocGen attempts to quantify the biggest Black Swans risks (and hopes) of 2015 (yes, a foolish endeavor since nobody can actually envision what a black swan may be, by its very definition an event that was predicted by no one), it notes that "political and financial risks now outnumber real economy risks." So what does SocGen believe are 2015's black swans? Here are the "bad" ones, alongside their estimated probability of occurring: Ukraine crisis spills over to broader disruption (5%); Deflate-thy- neighbor, or systemic EM crisis (10%); Lower-than-expected price multipliers (15%); Sharp repricing of G4 term premiums (20%); UK election leads to Brexit vote (25%); Brexit (10%); China hard-landing (30%) [...] Here are the "unexpected" events that would lead to a favorable outcome (sadly, these never actually occur). Higher than expected price multipliers (15%) Euro area fast track reform and growth friendly fiscal policies (10%)" [...] But, then again, why bother with such trivial exercises, when as Paul Tudor Jones accurately laid out, Video  [10:25] how the current centrally-planed farce ends is simple - there are three outcomes: Revolution, War and Taxes. Everything else is just a distraction.[...]" Related "Paul Tudor Jones Warns "Disastrous Market Mania" Will End In "Revolution, Taxes, Or War" Printer Friendly Version "This gap between the 1% and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist," warns renowned trader Paul Tudor Jones during his recent TED Talks speech, as he addressed the question - can capital be just? Hoping to expand the "narrow definitions of capitalism," that threaten the underpinnings of society, Tudor Jones exclaims, "we're in the middle of a disastrous market mania," adding "one of worst of my life." Perhaps most ominously, he concludes, historically this ends "by revolution, higher taxes or wars. None are on my bucket list." “Capitalism has driven just about every great innovation that has made our world a more prosperous, comfortable and inspiring place to live. But capitalism has to be based on justice and morality…and never more so than today with economic divisions large and growing.” [...]"  

US Politics: "The Goldman Sachs Primary: It’s Bush Vs. Clinton At Wall Street’s Wealthiest Bank" [03/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "Forget the Democratic and Republican primaries: The two biggest names in the 2016 presidential race are competing directly against each other in an elite forum, the halls of Goldman Sachs. Jeb Bush will be back in New York raising money next week with his sights set on Goldman, the wealthiest and most successful bank in Wall Street history. He has a pair of events scheduled for next Wednesday with current and former Goldman executives, sources familiar with Bush’s plans said. [...]"  

Commentary:: "France: Fighting The Fabricated "War on Terror" By Banning Cash" [03/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "It was just a matter of time before Western governments used the trumped up "War on Terror" as an excuse to drastically ratchet up the very real war on the use of cash and personal privacy that they are waging against their own citizens. Taking advantage of public anxiety in the wake of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, France has taken the first step. It seems the terrorists involved partially financed these attacks by cash, as well as by consumer loans and the sale of counterfeit goods. What a shockeroo! The terrorists used CASH to purchase some of the stuff they needed--no doubt these murderers were also shod and clothed and used cell phones, cars, and public sidewalks during the planning and execution of their mayhem. Why not restrict their use? A naked , barefoot terrorist without communications is surely less effective than a fully clothed and equipped one.  Despite the arrant absurdity of blaming cash and financial privacy for these crimes, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin brazenly stated that it was necessary to "fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy." He then announced extreme and despotic measures to further restrict the use of cash by French residents and to spy on and pry into their financial affairs. These measures, which will be implemented in September 2015, include: [...]"  Related: "DOJ Orders Bank Tellers To Alert Police About 'Suspicious' $5000+ Cash Withdrawals" Printer Friendly Version "The Justice Department has ordered bank tellers across America to contact law enforcement if they suspect your cash withdrawal may have something to do with 'illicit activity'. There doesn’t need to be proof, or any sort of red flag indicator – merely suspicion by the bank teller processing your transaction is now enough to have you investigated by authorities. According to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, banks are required to file a SAR with respect to: “Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…” It’s utterly obscene. Now, whenever banks suspect something ‘suspicious’ is going on, they want them to pick up the phone and call the cops: “[W]e encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem, who may be able to seize the funds, initiate an investigation, or take other proactive steps.” So what exactly constitutes ‘suspicious activity’? Basically anything. [...]" See also Society, Living And The Economy Panel: "DEA Seizing Cash Without Warrants In Its Version Of Stop-And-Frisk" [03/20/15] and related stories, "Canine Sniffs Yield Unreliable Evidence For Forfeiture" [03/20/15] 97 percent of all bills in circulation are tainted by cocaine.

Commentary: "SWIFT: U.S. Begs Russia to Remain, After Threatening To Expel Them" [03/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "Once again, the Law of Unintended Consequences has risen up to bite the One Bank in its enormously bloated ass. Once again its servants, a collection of psychopathic, Wile E. Coyotes have treated us to a cartoon which illustrates their own genetic deficiency. They even wrote the punch line for this cartoon themselves. After malevolently scheming to have Russia kicked-out of SWIFT, the One Bank’s henchmen now dangle a ‘carrot’ in front of Russia – as they beg it to stay. ... The point here is that any moderately intelligent child would (using elementary logic) have been able to project this entire chain of events in his/her mind, anticipate the reactions to this crime and thus predict (easily) all of these unintended consequences – assuming that child was a chess-player. This is how chess players program themselves to think. The chess player doesn’t simply plot some scheme (i.e. “move”) and then devote all his time/energy to admiring his own ‘genius’. Rather, he first tentatively imagines making that move, and then he seeks to envision any-and-all rational responses to that move (i.e. the potential “moves” of his opponent). It is only after the chess player has thoroughly analyzed all potential counter-moves, and still sees the move as bettering his own “position” that he actually follows through on that strategy. Such thinking is almost entirely beyond the capacity of the psychopaths (cognitively hobbled sequentials). By their very nature, these predators have a short-term, instant-gratification mentality. Compounding this tunnel-vision, their own extreme arrogance and narcissism means they are prone to simply ignoring their enemies/opponents (i.e. victims). It is thus inevitable that these defective predators will be continually vulnerable to being “surprised” by unintended consequences. Hopefully readers are not already laughed-out from this first Wile E. Coyote cartoon, as we are about to be treated to a second, courtesy of Simon Black: US plan to drop Russia from global banking system hilariously backfires. Black himself sets the context for the latest escapades of these Wile E. Coyotes: Russia is once again Arch-Enemy of the United States. It’s like living through a really bad James Bond movie, complete with cartoonish villains. And for the last several months, the US government has been doing everything it can to torpedo the Russian economy, as well as Vladimir Putin’s standing within his own country. The economic nuclear option is to kick Russia out of the international banking system. And the US government has been vociferously pushing for this. Specifically, the US government wants to kick Russia out of SWIFT, short for the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Communications. Well, the Psychopaths did want to get Russia expelled from SWIFT. But that was yesterday, and this is today, and today these Wile E. Coyotes are contemplating an old cliché, which is now staring them in the face: ‘Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.’  Being ultra-arrogant, psychopaths tend to ignore the ‘common wisdom’ of the Little People, which is what most clichés represent. But if they were to commit themselves to learning (and understanding) only one of our numerous clichés, it would be this one – given their own, glaring propensity to be “surprised” by unintended consequences. [...] On Monday afternoon, not only did SWIFT NOT kick Russia out…but they announced they were actually giving a BOARD SEAT to Russia. That is basically the opposite of what the US government was pushing for. Awkward…But the story is even bigger than that. Because at the same time that the US government isn’t getting its way with SWIFT, the Chinese are busy putting together their own version of it called CIPS. CIPS stands for the China International Payment System, it’s intended to be a direct competitor to SWIFT, and a brand new way for global banks to communicate and transact with one another in a way that does NOT depend on the United States. [...]" Note: when the US tries to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank IT WILL BE REFUSED, and the days of the dollar are basically gone. 

MSM: "US Taxpayers Made To Fund Ukraine Bailout With Bond Guarantee" [03/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Republic of Ukraine has sent out a request for proposals (RFP) to banks for a new US government-guaranteed bond, according to three sources. This is the second time the US government has thrown its financial backing behind a Ukrainian international bond issue. In May 2014, the US guaranteed a US$1bn Ukrainian bond maturing in 2019 through the US Agency for International development. The RFP comes just over a week after Ukraine agreed a new four-year US$17.5bn bailout facility with the International Monetary Fund. As part of the IMF agreement several institutions - including the European Union, World Bank and US - have agreed to provide around US$7.5bn between them, according to analyst estimates, to the war torn country. It is not clear whether the US-backed bond forms part of the US contribution.[...]"  

Commentary: "Oil Industry Pink Slips: 100,000 Jobs Wiped Out Amid Price Collapse" [03/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "... According to a new report from Zero Hedge, over 100,000 jobs have been lost globally as a result of lower oil prices and more are pink slips are coming: The bloodletting among the oil majors and their vast web of ancillary services has of course extended to the United States – which appears to be taking far more casualties than Saudi Arabia in the battle for marketshare. In January oilfield services giant Baker Hughes said it will lay off 7,000 employees, about 11 percent of its workforce; that number was rivalled only by its competitor, Schlumberger, which let go 9,000 workers. Shell, Apache, Pemex and Halliburton are among major oil companies to issue recent pink slips to the growing army of unemployed oil workers. In the U.S., the worst pain is, not shockingly, expected to be felt in Houston. Assuming a one-third reduction in oil company capital expenditures this year and 5 percent in 2016, the hydrocarbon capital of the world could lose 75,000 jobs, in a city that has added 100,000 new positions every year since 2011, said a professor at the University of Houston. The oil jobs nightmare is in fact spreading like a cancer. According to Swift Worldwide Resources, “the number of energy jobs cut globally has climbed well above 100,000 as once-bustling oil hubs in Scotland, Australia and Brazil, among other countries, empty out,” Bloomberg reported recently. Keeping in mind that the job growth seen in America since the 2009 recession came primarily from the oil and gas industry, the fact that tens of thousands of high paying jobs are being eliminated does not bode well for the economy. [...] Job losses are only part of the story. Earlier this year we warned that the rapid drop in prices could cause the most destructive economic situation since the Great Depression, an argument explained in detail by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog: The big Wall Street banks did not expect plunging home prices to cause a mortgage-backed securities implosion back in 2008, and their models did not anticipate a decline in the price of oil by more than 40 dollars in less than six months this time either. If the price of oil stays at this level or goes down even more, someone out there is going to have to absorb some absolutely massive losses. It has been estimated that the six largest “too big to fail” banks control $3.9 trillion in commodity derivatives contracts. And a very large chunk of that amount is made up of oil derivatives. By the middle of next year, we could be facing a situation where many of these oil producers have locked in a price of 90 or 100 dollars a barrel on their oil but the price has fallen to about 50 dollars a barrel. In such a case, the losses for those on the wrong end of the derivatives contracts would be astronomical.[...]"  Note: Also bear in mind that elements in the US conspired with Saudi Arabia to let this process start. Saudi Arabia's income stream has diverged over the years ... oil sales is NOT their prime stream any more, so it's no great loss .... the destruction of the US economy has been the goal all along ...

Commentary: "Big Bank’s Analyst 'Worries' That Iran Deal "Could Depress Weapons Sales" [03/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "Could a deal to normalize Western relations with Iran and set limits on Iran’s development of nuclear technology lead to a more peaceful and less-weaponized Middle East? That’s what supporters of the Iran negotiations certainly hope to achieve. But the prospect of stability has at least one financial analyst concerned about its impact on one of the world’s biggest defense contractors. The possibility of an Iran nuclear deal depressing weapons sales was raised by Myles Walton, an analyst from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, during a Lockheed earnings call this past January 27th. Walton asked Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, if an Iran agreement could “impede what you see as progress in foreign military sales.” Financial industry analysts such as Walton use earnings calls as an opportunity to ask publicly-traded corporations like Lockheed about issues that might 'harm profitability'. Hewson replied that “that really isn’t coming up,” but stressed that “volatility all around the region” should continue to bring in new business. According to Hewson, “A lot of volatility, a lot of instability, a lot of things that are happening” in both the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region means both are “growth areas” for Lockheed Martin. [...] Lockheed Martin’s trademarked slogan is “We never forget who we’re working for,” which Lockheed likes to suggest means Americans in general and military veterans in particular. The January earnings call indicates that Lockheed in fact answers to very different constituencies.[...]" Note: Big Banks killing the population for profit ... nothing has changed in 500 years .... 

Commentary: "U S Treasury Bonds One of the Riskiest Securities in the World" [03/20/15] [33:43] "Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff [...]"  Note: Federal government is 58% under-financed, with more than a 210 Trillion fiscal gap, as Kotlikoff told a delusional Congress this month. It's the same kind of fiscal policy that Argentina ran a number of years ago ...

Max Keiser: "Wall Street Take-Over Of Bitcoin Concept: Blythe Masters Becomes "Bitcoin Darling" [03/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "Until last week, Blythe Masters was the butt-of-jokes from individuals like Max Keiser and the subject of many memes. In this episode of The Keiser Report, Max Keiser clarifies the claim by Blythe Masters that JP Morgan does not manipulate silver prices. Fierce and negative portrayals of her dominated the precious metals space as she was seen as suspect number 1 for manipulating the precious metals markets alongside Jamie Dimon before the company publicly got out of commodities. But last week she became known for something different. Finance icon Blythe Masters left a 27-year career as a senior executive at JP Morgan to join a recently launched Bitcoin startup company. The startup, Digital Asset Holdings, uses digital technology to enhance implementation and verification of digital assets, and was officially launched in March 2015. Blythe took the lead as the most prestigious Wall Street banker to join the said promising digital-currency sector. Blythe is well known for building a leading physical commodities business and undertaking regulatory affairs at JP Morgan. The company believed that her pioneering work in credit-derivatives markets was reason to attain her as the CEO of Digital Assets Holdings LLC. Founded by Don Wilson CEO of DRW Trading, a proprietary trading company, and Sunil Heerani, CEO of True EX LLC, an interest rate exchange, Digital Asset Holdings intends to provide a platform for capitalized ventures to settle businesses and trades with digital currencies. Despite the scandal threads and hacking stories which have marred bitcoin’s image, this major development is observed as proof of emerging commitment between Wall Street and Bitcoin. This was exactly what Mrs. Masters presented in an interview, stating “Digital Asset’s goal is to build a bridge between the emerging digital-currency industry and Wall Street.” By providing products for secure systems such as audit pursuits, credit restrictions and other checks-and-balances, Blythe Masters hopes to remove obstacles in the safe circulation of digital currency. With an inspirational finance professional like Blythe Masters, it will be a fascinating experience to see her impact on digital currency markets. Mrs. Masters could be just the right person to install this sense of security to digital money. Her comments about Bitcoin highlighted its technology as opposed to the libertarian leanings so popular in the scene. “We’re not seeking to disintermediate and destroy the current financial system,” Ms. Masters said. “We’re seeking to make it stronger, better and safer.” [...]"  Note: See the link at the top of this panel entitled "Creation of Credit Derivatives" for more on Masters history.

Commentary: "West To East: Global Power Balance Shifting - American Empire Is Dying" [03/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "A major recent event last week largely went unnoticed by both MSM and independent news sources alike. The British are apparently jumping ship away from the US dollar/petrodollar in an overt effort to align itself more closely with the BRICS alliance as it seeks a new standard international currency. For several years Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa (BRICS) have been preparing the world for its transition from USD standard international currency to its own alternative-in-the-making. America's so called mother country England has seen the writing on the wall and knows the global balance of power is rapidly tilting in favor of where the sun always rises in the emerging East. The European central banking cabal from the City of London, a separate and private political and financial entity apart from the rest of both London and England, sent British royalty Prince William to China to quietly sign a deal to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This surprising new development is a clear indication that the royal Bank of England is placing its financial bet and future on China and the East as its rock solid anchor. Much of the world has been looking to move away from and abandon the longtime global financial stronghold of the US Federal Reserve, its World Bank and US dollar standard. [...] More consternation arose when Germany, France and Italy have additionally made overtures in the same direction. This worldwide trend spells utter defeat for Obama and his disastrous foreign policy. After Washington's been exerting strong-armed pressure on Australia as its key allied partner supporting its failing Asian pivot designed to check China's growing regional and global dominance in the Pacific Asian market, Australia is now also looking to follow suit accepting and embracing China's lead. According to international investor and entrepreneur Simon Black, the US is experiencing major economic blowback after two plus decades of aggression as the only global superpower: [...]Enter the China led BRICS alliance and its New Development Bank and now China's other investment bank entry AIIB. Simon takes liberty in his interpretation of Britain and Europe's bold rebellion after decades relegated to being a mere puppet of the US Empire: " Look, you have $18.1 trillion in official debt, you have $42 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and you're kind of a dick. I'm dumping you." [...] Perhaps some Americans may feel a bit betrayed and unsettled by our longtime strongest global allies one by one seemingly abandoning the US dollar and American Empire in its reckoning time of need. If these geopolitical and economic trends are examined beyond their face value though, the changes occurring now may reflect much more significant, deeper changes than a mere alteration of standard international currency (as impactful as that will likely be for the US). These deep rooted fundamental changes have everything to do with the major global shift now taking place where the West's ruling power elite itself is losing to the emerging global power rising in the East.[...] The Western cabal controlled crime syndicate led by the likes of kingpin Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu financed and supported by the likes of multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Saudi royal family along with congressional henchman and ISIS friend Senator John McCain and the rest of his treasonous Republicans, the rogue US intelligence agency the CIA and NATO's General Breedlove are all bent on plunging the US Empire-NATO forces into World War III on multiple warfronts at every global hotspot - Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Caucasus all the way eastward to China's Xinjiang Province and northward to the oil-rich Arctic against the forces of the two most powerful nations of the East - Russia and China. As a desperate last ditch attempt to retain its many centuries of  Rothschild- Rockefeller power and dominance, these evil-minded, megalomaniacal psychopaths know that their hitherto unchallenged global control and strength that have bankrupted and nearly destroyed the planet is fast slipping away. So they seem all the more erratically resolute in seeking revenge by taking the entire earth down with them. [...]"  

MSM: "Nearly 30 Countries Have Confirmed Joining China-Led Infrastructure Bank" [03/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "The finance ministries of France and Germany have confirmed they’ll join China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and Italy is expected to soon. Joining the rival to the US-led World Bank is seen as a setback for the Obama administration. “The Ministry of Finance confirmed that France would join the AIIB bank,” French daily Le Figaroreported Tuesday. Germany’s finance ministry said it was joining the bank, the BBC says, although Italy has yet to confirm the earlier report by the Financial Times (FT). The decision comes after Britain last week became the first Western country to agree to become a founding member of the AIIB, FT reports. The UK government said the decision was in the country’s national interest, but it got a negative reaction from the United States. The new China-led bank is expected to challenge the Washington-based World Bank, so the US is increasing pressure on its allies not to join the institution. The US’ concern is that the new investment bank might not have high standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards. The new bank is expected to challenge the Western dominance of the US-led World Bank and IMF in global infrastructure projects, which experts believe will create healthy competition. [...]"  Related: "China Cuts Back On US Debt For 5th Month In A Row" Printer Friendly Version "China, the largest holder of US debt, has continued to cut back on US Treasuries for the fifth consecutive month, shaving $5.2 billion from its holdings between December and January. Japan is edging closer in overtaking the number one spot. The US Treasury reported Monday that China reduced its holding from $1.244 trillion in December to $1.239 trillion in January. The fifth straight month of reductions. Economic growth in China, which is at a 25-year low, is the most obvious explanation for the scale back. With more capital leaving mainland China, the less the government needs US dollars to keep the yuan in check. In total, foreign central banks sold off $12.3 billion in US Treasuries in January, the fourth consecutive month of outflow. Despite China’s pull out, overall foreign holdings increased one percent to $6.22 trillion, or just over 34 percent of total public debt. Among all foreign creditors, China and Japan own about 40 percent of US Treasuries. [...]" "US ' Warns' Allies Not to Join China-led Development Bank" Printer Friendly Version "How do you know a dollar collapse is coming? Because the rest of the world is preparing for it. The United States has urged countries to think twice before signing up to a new China-led Asian development bank that Washington sees as a rival to the World Bank, after Germany, France and Italy followed Britain in saying they would join.  The concerted move by U.S. allies to participate in Beijing's flagship economic outreach project is a diplomatic blow to the United States and its efforts to counter the fast-growing economic and diplomatic influence of China. [...]" 

Commentary: "Billionaire Warns: “Mother of All Collapses” Coming If Central Banks Stop Buying Bonds" [03/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "Self-made billionaire and founder of Sprott, Inc. and Sprott Asset Management, Eric Sprott, gave a dire warning about the state of the system that makes clear the globe is hinged on little more than a little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. Obviously, with a crack in the dam, the flood can’t be held back forever. Eric Sprott made clear that the central banks are the only ones holding up the illusion. Case in point is the rise of negative interest rates, which Sprott called ‘preposterous.’ Said Sprott, " Offering negative returns to investors, the instruments are clearly unsustainable. The only entities buying the bonds are the central banks. Well, you take the central bank out of it and there’s no bid. That’s why I use the phrase, ‘I hope we are not right one day,’ that all of the sudden it (the entire global financial system) just collapses. They (central banks) may just look in the cupboard and say, ‘It’s over. We’ve tried our best and it’s not working. We’ve got to stop buying these bonds because our (central bank) balance sheets are getting so torqued out." [...] Quite simply, it is a game of musical chairs being played by the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Not only is the market manipulated and ‘rigged,’ but it is a complete illusion. [...] “The greatest danger is that we are supporting a levered banking system and everything they own is paper (financial instruments). If all the sudden things get bad, everyone takes their money out of the bank. It’s the central banks who are fighting to keep the banking system alive, so of course they are going to give them a clean bill of health (on the bank stress tests). Heta went broke in Austria. It had a AAA rating, so it was well-rated in the latest stress tests. Three months later it’s broke. That’s what happens to levered financial institutions.[...]" 

MSM: "IMF Breaks Its Own Rules With Loan To War-Mongering Ukraine" [03/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed on a scheme of war financing for Ukraine. For the first time, according to Fund sources, the IMF is not only violating its loan repayment conditions, but also the purposes and safeguards of the IMF’s original charter. IMF lending is barred for a member state in civil war or at war with another member state, or for military purposes, according to Article I of the Fund’s 1944-45 Articles of Agreement. This provides “confidence to members by making the general resources of the Fund temporarily available to them under adequate safeguards, thus providing them with opportunity to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments without resorting to measures destructive of national or international prosperity.” To deter Russian and other country directors from voting last week against the IMF’s loan, and releasing their reasons in public, the IMF board has offered Russia the possibility of, though not the commitment to repayment for Gazprom’s gas deliveries, and the $3 billion Russian state bond which falls due in December. On March 11 the IMF board agreed to approve an Extended Loan Facility (EFF) for Ukraine for a total of 13.4 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDR), currently equivalent to $17.5 billion.  [...]"  Related: See below: "IMF Cash Will Do Little to Change Grim Reality for Ordinary Ukrainians" [03/16/15] 

MSM: "Germany Faces Paying Billions To Greece In Compensation For Wartime Atrocities" [03/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "Senior figures in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner in government - the SPD - have united with the Green Party to declare Germany should compensate Greece to the tune of billions of pounds for wartime Nazi atrocities. The demands come as parliamentary lawyers warned her cabinet that Greece may have a valid claim which Germany might lose if it chose to fight it all the way to the European Court of Justice. The solidarity move threatens the united front Berlin has presented to Athens as it tries to keep the struggling country both in the eurozone and the EU. Now high-profile politicians from the SPD and the Greens have thrown their weight behind Greece to say they deserve reparations money 70 years after the end of the conflict. Mrs Merkel is said to be furious at the schism in a hitherto united front. She - and most Germans - view the Greek demand for up to 250 billion pounds in reparations for the Nazi occupation as a ploy to gain more time and money to settle its chronic debt crisis. [...] Germany did pay some £50million in compensation to Greece after WW2 but the new government in Athens said it was never enough. It has begun mentioning the surviving relatives of massacre victims as a way of humanizing the debate beyond the euro crisis. Spiegel news magazine reported on Tuesday that lawyers for the government have warned Mrs Merkel that the Greeks may have a case - and that indeed the country might end up paying out massive sums. It says that a two billion pound loan which the Third Reich secured from the Greek National Bank in 1942 was never repaid: this alone, in today's money, amounts to around ten billion pounds. Greece is also demanding compensation for a massacre at the village of Distomo where Waffen-S.S. troops killed 218 men, women and children on June 10 1944.[...]"  Related: "Greek PM To Meet With Putin Amid Cash Crunch" Printer Friendly Version "With Greece digging around in the couch cushions to try and scrape up €2 billion by Friday in order to make payments to the IMF, the ECB, and Goldman, and with celebrity FinMin Yanis Varoufakis doing his absolute best to sink the entire ship with a series of epic PR faux pas, one is left to wonder just where Athens will turn when Berlin and Brussels finally reach the end of their ropes with what increasingly looks like gross incompetence in the Aegean. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Moscow on April 8 after being invited to talks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a Greek government official said on Tuesday. Tsipras's left-wing government ruffled feathers among European partners in its initial days in power with comments suggesting Greece might not support EU policy on Russia. That prompted speculation that Greece might look to Moscow for financial aid to stave off bankruptcy, though Athens rejects the idea.[...]"  

MSM: "First Audit Results In The Federal Reserve’s Nearly 100 Year History Were Posted Today" [03/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) wins (again) the most significant victory of his congressional career. He has taken his pet issue since the 1970s–the unwarranted power and secrecy of the Federal Reserve–from something pretty much no one but him cared about six years ago, through a bestselling book and mass movement by 2009, the second time he’s gotten the House of Representatives to vote to widen the government’s powers to audit the Fed’s activities. In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to audit the Federal Reserve. The first ever GAO (Government Accountability Office) audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out in the past few months due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed last year. Jim DeMint, a Republican Senator, and Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator, led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill(HR1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out. Nevertheless, the results of the first audit in the Federal Reserve’s nearly 100 year history were posted on Senator Sander’s webpage earlier this morning. What was revealed in the audit was startling: [...] $16,000,000,000,000.00 had been secretly given out to US banks and corporations and foreign banks everywhere from France to Scotland. From the period between December 2007 and June 2010, the Federal Reserve had secretly bailed out many of the world’s banks, corporations, and governments. The Federal Reserve likes to refer to these secret bailouts as an all-inclusive loan program, but virtually none of the money has been returned and it was loaned out at 0% interest. Why the Federal Reserve had never been public about this or even informed the United States Congress about the $16 trillion dollar bailout is obvious – the American public would have been outraged to find out that the Federal Reserve bailed out foreign banks while Americans were struggling to find jobs.[...] To place $16 trillion into perspective, remember that GDP of the United States is only $14.12 trillion. The entire national debt of the United States government spanning its 200+ year history is “only” $14.5 trillion. The budget that is being debated so heavily in Congress and the Senate is “only” $3.5 trillion. Take all of the outrage and debate over the $1.5 trillion deficit into consideration, and swallow this Red pill: There was no debate about whether $16,000,000,000,000 would be given to failing banks and failing corporations around the world. In late 2008, the TARP Bailout bill was passed and loans of $800 billion were given to failing banks and companies. That was a blatant lie considering the fact that Goldman Sachs alone received 814 billion dollars. As is turns out, the Federal Reserve donated $2.5 trillion to Citigroup, while Morgan Stanley received $2.04 trillion. The Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank, a German bank, split about a trillion and numerous other banks received hefty chunks of the $16 trillion. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re- on- your- own individualism for everyone else.”- Bernie Sanders (I-VT)[...] The list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Audit and are as follows..[...]  View the 266-page GAO audit of the Federal Reserve[...]"  See below

Commentary: "Banks Say “Thanks for the Bailout,” Now We’ll Park our Profits in Overseas Tax Havens" [03/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "Giant financial institutions that benefitted from federal bailouts during the depths of the recession have repaid the American people’s largesse by hiding profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. According to a report (pdf) commissioned by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), four big banks—Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase—which received massive amounts of money and loan guarantees to keep them afloat in the wake of the financial crisis, park large amounts of money in tax haven nations. [...]"  

MSM: "US Blows Through $18 Trillion Debt Limit" [03/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "On Monday, the US reached its legal debt limit of $18 trillion -more than the country’s entire GDP. Lawmakers will either have to again lift it, or attempt to cap spending.  As of March 12, the US Treasury reported federal debt at $18,114,324,000,000.00 in its daily treasury statement. This figure is above the statutory debt limit, which was extended by Congress through March 15 this year. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress that the limit would be reached on March 16, and he also requested lawmakers raise the debt ceiling “as soon as possible,” in a letter written in early March. Under current arrangements, the US government can keep running until October using so-called extraordinary measures, or accounting tricks to keep money flowing into government programs, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Now that a new zenith has been passed, a fresh showdown between lawmakers and the President about America’s spending habits can be expected.  [...]" 

Commentary: "Catherine Austin Fitts On Black Budget Financing" [03/16/15] [1:22:34] "Are financial fraud and market manipulations actually mechanisms for financing the black budget and centralized governance necessitated by high-tech secrecy? There may be as much as $100 trillion dollars worth of hardware flying the skies powered by anti-gravity and field-propulsion technologies. This has significant implications for the ownership and design of manufacturing and energy infrastructure on planet earth. It also has connections to trillions of dollars which are “missing” from defense and domestic agency accounts (as reported by official financial reports of the US government). To the extent that the US taxpayer has financed this technology (or its reverse-engineering) why should private corporations own it on a secret basis? The financial fortunes and geopolitical power involved are significant. If you control these technologies, you possess weaponry sufficient to engineer a financial coup d’Etat and to centralize control of the entire global financial system. [...]" Secret Space Program Conference, 2014 San Mateo. 

Commentary: "IMF Cash Will Do Little to Change Grim Reality for Ordinary Ukrainians" [03/16/15] Printer Friendly Version "After the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) approval on March 11 of its $17.5bn loan package to Ukraine, with $5bn due to flow immediately to bolster Kyiv’s dwindling coffers, the population could be forgiven for thinking the material hardships of recent months will start to ease. Wrong, as President Petro Poroshenko made abundantly clear on March 10. "Life won’t improve shortly," Poroshenko warned in televised comments a day before IMF chief Christine Lagarde blessed the crucial injection of funds, as he spoke about the country’s reforms unfolding in "tough wartime conditions”. "If someone understands the reforms as improvement of people’s living, this is a mistake," added Poroshenko, also announcing a four-fold increase in defence spending that will inevitably impact already limited means for social welfare and pensions. [...]"  Related: Ukraine Agreed To A Monsanto “Land Grab” To Get A $17 Billion Loan From The IMF" Printer Friendly Version "The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game. Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover. Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine. In fact, a bit of political maneuvering by the IMF gave the Ukraine a $17 billion loan – but only if they would open up to biotech farming and the selling of Monsanto’s poison crops and chemicals – destroying a farmland that is one of the most pristine in all of Europe. Farm equipment dealer, Deere, along with seed producers Dupont and Monsanto, will have a heyday. In the guise of ‘aid,’ a claim has been made on Ukraine’s vast agricultural riches. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine has deep, rich, black soil that can grow almost anything, and its ability to produce high volumes of GM grain is what made biotech come rushing to take it over. As reported by The Ecologist, according to the Oakland Institute: “Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies. There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.” [...]" See also below  "IMF Loans $17 Billion To Ukraine To Repay Banks, Loot Economy" [03/14/15] 

Max Keiser: "The War On Terror (Business Model) As A Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone" [03/15/15]   [25:45] "We discuss the business model (moral hazard) of the war on terror in which the droning of wedding parties is nothing personal just business. Same goes for de-dollarization as China builds an alternative to SWIFT – nothing personal, just business. In the second half, Max interviews former CIA agent and open source advocate, Robert David Steele, about false flags and moral hazard. [...] "The syndrome the Bush administration created in Iraq was what former Pentagon critic Chuck Spinney called a "self-licking ice cream cone": the measures to 'fight the war on terrorism" guaranteed more 'terrorists', which in turn guaranteed the agencies more money to 'fight the war on terrorism'. The same process was at work with respect to torture and drone strikes. It is a great business model for contractors and bureaucratic empire builders, but far less favorable as a national survival strategy [...] Contrary to popular belief, wealth in the Middle East no longer comes from oil. Risen shows us how the geyser of post-9/11 American money is financing hordes of Middle Eastern arms dealers, informers, money launderers, mafiosi, and more than a few terrorists. Risen rubs in the implication that minimum-wage jobs in the United States are the price Americans pay for villas in Beirut and Amman."[...] Note: A very informative video, worth a listen.  Robert Steele makes a host of good points and reveals great behind the scenes information. Related: "C.I.A. Funds Found Their Way Into Al Qaeda Coffers" Printer Friendly Version "... The C.I.A.’s contribution to Qaeda’s bottom line, though, was no well-laid trap. It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting. While refusing to pay ransoms for Americans kidnapped by Al Qaeda, the Taliban or, more recently, the Islamic State, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the last decade at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which has been siphoned off to enemy fighters. [...]" 

Commentary: "Currency Wars: In Desperate Move, SWIFT Adds Russia To Its Board As A Voting Member" [03/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "Two days after China announced they were within months of implementing their own version of SWIFT to compete and perhaps overtake the U.S. dollar as the globally recognized reserve currency, the West does a U-Turn and has accepted Russia as a voting member of their financial messaging and interchange system. This move on March 11 comes just months after the U.S. threatened the Eurasian oil giant with being locked out of SWIFT over the Ukraine conflict, and appears now to be an act of desperation as the dollar becomes less and less of a factor in global trade. [...]" 

MSM: "Et Tu, Britain? United Kingdom To Join China In The Anti-Dollar Alliance" [03/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "In another awkward blow to the rapidly waning US-dollar hegemony, America and Britain just had their “It’s not you, it’s me” moment.  [...] Late yesterday, the government of the United Kingdom announced that they would be applying to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank… as a founding member. This is huge. Right now, the United States dominates the global financial system. But after years of endless wars, spying, debt, money printing, bailouts, and insane regulations, the rest of the world has had enough. And they’re looking for an alternative. China is coming up with an answer. The soon-to-be-live Chinese International Payment System (CIPS) will provide a way for banks to transfer funds to one another without having to use the US banking system… or the US dollar. China is also the ringleader behind both the BRICS development bank (called the New Development Bank, or NDB) as well as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Both of these are multilateral development banks that aim to end the dominance of the western-controlled World Bank and IMF. NDB includes all the BRICS nations– Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Founding members of the AIIB include China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, etc. They’re typically all rapidly growing and/or resource-rich developing nations. New Zealand was the first western nation to join AIIB back in October. And yesterday afternoon, Britain announced its intention to become the second.[...]"  Related: "Britain’s Membership In China-Led World Bank Rival Of ‘UK National Interest’" Printer Friendly Version "The UK government considers membership of the China-led Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank (AIIB) of British national interest. However, the decision was given the cold shoulder by the US which sees the AIIB as rival to the Western financial system. The UK Treasury rejected the idea that Britain’s decision was spontaneous, adding that there had been “at least a month of extensive consultation” at the G7 level, and even that US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew participated in the negotiations. [...] The issue of bonds in yuan by the UK government in October 2014 was the first by a Western government. The desire to establish the City of London as a platform for overseas business in the yuan also proves Britain’s willingness to foster stronger commercial relations with China. [...]"

MSM: "IMF Loans $17 Billion To Ukraine To Repay Banks, Loot Economy" [03/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday formally signed off on a $17.5 billion, four-year loan to the far-right regime in Kiev. It is a desperate attempt to pay off Wall Street, and keep NATO’s puppet regime in Kiev from going bankrupt after the failure of its attempt to reconquer east Ukraine from pro-Russian separatists. After taking power in a putsch led by fascistic anti-Russian militias in February 2014, the Kiev regime has plunged the country into a civil war, targeting the industrial heart of the country in the eastern Donetsk area, and largely cutting off trade with Russia. As a result, Ukraine has fallen into an all-out economic depression. After shrinking by a stunning 7 percent in 2014, its economy is projected to contract by a further 5.5 to 12 percent this year. Though its currency, the hryvnia, has recovered half of its losses since the signing of a cease-fire in Minsk last month, it is still down 27 percent this year. Initial IMF payments will go to key creditors of the Ukrainian government, which include major US financial firms PIMCO, BlackRock and Franklin Templeton Investments. The Russian government also owns roughly $3 billion of Ukraine’s $69 billion debt. “The four-year extended agreement will support immediate economic stabilization in Ukraine and a set of deep and wide-ranging policy reforms,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in Washington, DC. As much as $10 billion may be disbursed immediately to stabilize Kiev’s finances. [...] The 2015-2020 economic agenda of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, endorsed by Lagarde as the precondition for the IMF loan, savagely loots the working class. As spelled out by Yatsenyuk last December, it lays off 10 percent of government employees, cuts education spending by 20 percent and health care spending by 40 percent, eliminates two years of free public schooling, and eliminates price controls on medicine and energy, including natural gas. Home heating costs could as a result triple or even quintuple in the coming years. Claims that Yatsenyuk’s attacks on the working class are necessitated by a lack of money are a cynical fraud. In 2008, the wealth of the 50 richest Ukrainian oligarchs was estimated at over $100 billion. As Yatsenyuk prepares his cuts, the European Central Bank (ECB) is preparing to plunge 1€ trillion ($1.06 trillion) into the major European banks. This reactionary agenda aims to save the criminal business oligarchy that emerged in Ukraine with the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in 1991, and turn it into a pliant tool of US and European imperialism.[...]" 

MSM: "U.S. Seeking Billions From Global Banks In Currency Manipulation Settlement" [03/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "The U.S. Justice Department is seeking about $1 billion each from global banks being investigated for manipulation of currency markets, according to two people familiar with the talks. The figure is a starting point in settlement discussions, with some banks being asked for more and some less than $1 billion. One bank that has cooperated from the beginning is expected to pay far less, one of the people said. Penalties of about $4 billion are on the table, according to one of the people, though the number could change markedly. Banks are pushing back harder than in some previous negotiations, including those for mortgage-backed securities, and the final penalties could be lower, people close to the talks said. The discussions, which have begun in earnest in recent weeks, could lead to settlements that would resolve U.S. accusations of criminal activity in the currency markets against Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS Group AG. The government has also said it is preparing cases against individuals. Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for the banks. Prosecutors are also pressing Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan and the Royal Bank of Scotland to plead guilty, people familiar with the matter have said. In the worldwide investigation into currency-rigging, six banks have already agreed to pay regulators about $4.3 billion. The Justice Department’s move signals that investigations are giving way to wrangling over issues such as whether the banks plead guilty to antitrust or fraud charges, what behaviors the banks will admit to in settlement documents and how much they will pay.  [...]" 

Commentary: "High Frequency Trader Sues Other HFTs For "Egregious Manipulation" Of Treasury Securities" [03/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "... But the bigger question, and what stumped the so-called experts, is how could something so vast, with so many moving pieces, remain a secret for as long as it did. The answer is extremely simple: everyone who was in on the "secret" was also benefiting from it: from the lowliest Libor rigger to the CEO of Barclays and every other major bank, they all knew what was going on, but also knew that if the information became public knowledge, the jig would be up, and everyone's benefits would evaporate with some even going to jail (at least in a hypothetical legal system in which bankers actually go to jail). In other words, it was merely a case where everyone's interest was aligned to maintain the conspiracy cartel as long as possible. Which brings us to High-Frequency Trading: another vast "conspiracy", this time involving market rigging and manipulation, which Zero Hedge also called out as early as April 2009, only to be mocked before it became a generally accepted fact that the "algos" manipulate and frontrun virtually any security that is traded on an exchange or over the counter. This culminated with Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys", only unlike the Libor case, there was absolutely no response because unlike Libor, and then FX and then gold rigging, the Federal Reserve's own activity often depends on its symbiotic collaboration with the HFT community's upward momentum bias (by way of Citadel, a peculiar close relationship between the NY Fed and Citadel we have discussed in the past). That, and there was also no informant to turn sides with the Feds, and make a case that goes to the very top. At least not yet. [...] Because the catalyst that cracked the Libor conspiracy was when the members started to make less and less money, until ultimately the formerly golden goose was bled dry. At that point, their incentive to keep their mouths shut became nil, and in some cases negative. From that point on, it was just a matter of time before the regulators had a case against the conspiracy granted to them on a silver platter. The same is now happening to high frequency trading, because in a market in which volumes are crashing to unprecedented lows, and where there are no longer whale accounts for the HFTs to frontrun, pardon "provide liquidity to", there is no longer a need for as many HFT firms. And those firms which end up on the losing end of the technological arms race, now that there is not enough profits for everyone to go around, are suddenly incentivized to bust the whole criminal ring wide open. Which brings us to a the case of HTG Capital Partners, Plaintiff v John Doe(s), defendants, case 15-cv-02129, Northern District of Illinois: [...]"  Related: See satirical story below

Satire: "Wall Street Develops Algorithm Capable Of 10,000 Ethical Violations Per Second" The Onion [03/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "Calling it a major breakthrough that will significantly expedite and streamline its daily operations, Wall Street financial firm Goldman Sachs revealed Thursday it has developed a new high-speed algorithm that is capable of performing more than 10,000 ethical violations per second. “With this new automated program, we’ll be able to systematically deceive investors, engage in conflicts of interest, and execute thousands of other blatantly unethical dealings in the time it takes to press a button,” said John Waldron, co-head of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division, who added that the high-frequency impropriety system will be able to break more rules in a minute than an entire floor of morally suspect securities traders, financial analysts, and portfolio managers could over the course of a week. “In the past, if one of our brokers wanted to exploit a questionably legal regulatory loophole or breach the covenant of good faith with an investment client, that would require hours of manually contravening the basic principles of professional integrity. But this innovative system will allow millions of such transgressions to go through every single day. Going forward, I expect this revolutionary program to be the cornerstone of our business.” Upon learning of the advanced new unethical algorithm, investors initiated a buying frenzy on Goldman Sachs stock, sending share prices surging more than 30 percent to $245.46. [...]" 

MSM: "Billionaires Decry Blatant Wall Street Theft of Retirement Assets" [03/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "In a shocking interview with PBS, billionaire mutual fund icon Jack Bogle, revealed that Wall Street is unapologetically stealing from millions of hard-working Americans. Bogle showed how “70% of your market returns” go straight to the pockets of Wall Street, and only 30% actually goes to you, the investor. And Bogle should know. Bogle, who founded the Vanguard Group in 1974, has had a decades-long insider’s view of the entirely corrupt fee structure on Wall Street. So he knows how American retirees are being fleeced by hidden fees that most investors never see. And at a recent private event, Steve Forbes echoed this same shocking claim. Forbes pointed out that these fees are compounding, and over time are devastating to retirement nest eggs. The typical Wall Street 2% management fee, compounded over the long term, will “cut your returns in half or more. If you would normally have $100,000, you could end up with, say, $30,000 or $40,000 because of what fees eat up.” Of course Bogle and Forbes aren’t the only industry icons sounding the alarm. Warren Buffett made it clear that the only way to make money over the long term is to invest “without paying fees to a mutual fund manager.” Forbes took these comments even further when he and industry veteran John Shubert exposed the biggest threat to your retirement during the exclusive Investment Crisis Summit held by Newsmax Finance. During the summit, Forbes and co-host Shubert revealed groundbreaking research that proves Wall Street’s compounding fees are only part of a larger “flaw” in the financial system. It’s this “flaw” that makes it completely legal for Wall Street to siphon off up to 70% of your profits. [...] Before you dismiss the notion that Wall Street could legally take your profits as a matter of course, consider the facts Forbes and Shubert revealed during the summit. Citing new research from the Harvard Business School and London School of Economics, they pointed out that this industry “flaw” is a “permanent condition” of the market. Meaning it can’t be fixed. And investors who don’t take steps today to overcome this flaw could lose more than just 70% of their profits. They could end up losing their ability to retire altogether.[...]" 

Commentary: "US Discusses Expelling Russia From Swift With EU – US Treasury Official" [03/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "The US Treasury Department is still evaluating and discussing the impacts of expelling Russia from the SWIFT interbank payment system, US Assistant Secretary for International Finance Ramin Toloui said at a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday. “The framework that we evaluate all potential actions is basically the impact they would have on the Russian economy against the spillover, blowback… both to the United States and our partners in Europe,” Toloui said when asked whether the United States supports the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT financial system. Toloui would not comment on specific “potential actions” the United States may take, but stated that the United States is engaged in discussing such issues as Russian exclusion from SWIFT with its European partners. “We have discussed a whole range of options for further sanctions,” he said. The Treasury Department and the administration of US President Barack Obama are evaluating the possible exclusion of Russia from SWIFT through the prism of mitigating the negative impacts on the US and European economies, Toloui added. [...]"  Note:  At this point Russia and China are getting ready to switch to Russia’s new payment system which they developed for this reason. Related: "China Completes SWIFT Alternative, May Launch "De-Dollarization Axis" As Soon As September" Printer Friendly Version "One of the recurring threats used by the western nations in their cold (and increasingly more hot) war with Russia, is that Putin's regime may be locked out of all international monetary transactions when Moscow is disconnected from the EU-based global currency messaging and interchange service known as SWIFT (a move, incidentally, which SWIFT lamented as was revealed in October when we reported that it announces it "regrets the pressure" to disconnect Russia). Of course, in the aftermath of revelations that back in 2013, none other than the NSA was exposed for secretly 'monitoring' the SWIFT payments flows, one could wonder if being kicked out of SWIFT is a curse or a blessing, however Russia did not need any further warnings and as we reported less than a month ago, Russia launched its own 'SWIFT'-alternative, linking 91 credit institutions initially. This in turn suggested that de-dollarization is considerably further along than many had expected, which coupled with Russia's record dumping of TSYs, demonstrated just how seriously Putin is taking the threat to be isolated from the western payment system. It was only logical that he would come up with his own. There were two clear implications from this use of money as a means of waging covert war: i) unless someone else followed Russia out of SWIFT, its action, while notable and valiant, would be pointless - after all, if everyone else is still using SWIFT by default, then anything Russia implements for processing foreign payments is irrelevant and ii) if indeed the Russian example of exiting a western-mediated payment system was successful and copied, it would accelerate the demise of the Dollar's status as reserve currency, which is thus by default since there are no alternatives. Provide alternatives, and the entire reserve system begins to crack. Today, we got proof that it is the second outcome that is about to prevail following a Reuters report that China's international payment system, known simply enough as China International Payment System (CIPS), which serves to process cross-border yuan transactions is ready, and may be launched as early as September or October. According to Reuters, the launch of the will remove one of the biggest hurdles to internationalizing the yuan and should greatly increase global usage of the Chinese currency by cutting transaction costs and processing times.  [...]" | "Putin Signs Law Ratifying BRICS Bank" Printer Friendly Version "Following the Duma, or Russian Parliament, President Vladimir Putin has signed the ratification of a law that sanctions Russian participation in the $100 billion BRICS Bank on Monday. The BRICS bank, Putin has said, “will become one of the largest multilateral financial development institutions in the world”. “The bank and the Currency Pool, with combined resources of 200 billion dollars, lay the foundation for coordinating a macroeconomic policy between our nations,” Putin said during the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil. The BRICS Bank launched last year will fund infrastructure projects in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.[...]"

MSM: "Rothschild Seeks To Advise Ukraine Bondholders In Debt Talks" [03/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "Rothschild is seeking to advise Ukraine’s bondholders in restructuring talks with a government struggling to avert default after a year of fighting with rebels crippled its economy.  The company’s Paris-based sovereign advisory team has been in contact with creditors, Giovanni Salvetti, who handles central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Bondholders are bracing for harsh terms as the looming debt revamp drove the nation’s $2.6 billion of notes due in July 2017 below 50 cents to the dollar since mid-February. Ukraine, on course to secure $17.5 billion of International Monetary Fund emergency aid this month, said in February it hired Lazard Ltd. and White & Case LLP to advise on the restructuring. The country will enter into consultations with bondholders once the IMF approves its aid agreement, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko said Feb. 12. “Everybody is just waiting for the government’s proposals on restructuring, expected by mid-March,” Salvetti said by e-mail on Friday. “The idea is to form a bondholders committee, but so far we are just exchanging views and establishing who wants to do what and establishing an agenda.” [...]"  Related: "The Rothschild Family – Puppet Masters – World’s Only Trillionaires" [55:51] "We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” ~ Rothschild [...]"| "Rothschild Warns 'Geopolitical Situation Most Dangerous Since WW2" [9:22] | "Lord Jacob Rothschild Confronted" [1:47] 

MSM: "HSBC Shocks Clients By Closing All London Gold Vaults" [03/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "Only a few weeks ago, HSBC announced that it was imposing restrictions on large cash withdrawals. The BBC reported how some HSBC customers were not allowed to withdrawal large amounts of cash, fueling fears of a bank run, or worse. Zero Hedge reported: “HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November for their own good: “We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual… the reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.” As one customer responded: “you shouldn’t have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.” Now there’s more trouble. Now we’re told that HSBC is “closing” its gold vaults.  Question: Was there anything in them to begin with? [...]"  Related: See below: "Swiss Prosecutor Raids HSBC Offices After Opening Criminal Probe" [02/19/15] ; "The Swiss Leaks - 60 Minutes Interviews HSBC Whistleblower Hervé Falciani" [02/15/15] ; "Lawyer Moved Halliburton Subsidiary Bribes Through Secret Swiss HSBC Accounts" [02/13/15]; "Clinton Foundation Received Up To $81m From Clients Of Controversial HSBC Bank" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Documents Reveal Criminal Conspiracy of Banks and Governments" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Bank : Secret Origins To 26/11 Mumbai Attacks" [02/10/15] ; "HSBC Exposed In Tax Evasion Data Leak" [02/10/15] (and attached stories); "Obama AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Refused To Prosecute Criminal Enterprise HSBC" [02/10/15] Note: Gerald Celente: "What’s so important about HSBC closing down all 7 of their London gold vaults is that the Spyder Gold Trust, ticker symbol GLD, the custodian of that GLD gold, is none other than HSBC itself…. “While there are several gold exchange-traded products available, the SPDR Gold Trust, with over $60 billion in assets, is far and away the largest. So if they are closing down all the vaults, where is the gold going? Who’s going to be holding it, or is it really even there (in the vaults)? So this should be shocking news to everyone that the Spyder (GLD) gold is now crawling out of HSBC vaults, going to whom? Who will be the new custodian? Who is seeing if the gold is really there? So this is shocking news because this also puts a dark cloud over the whole GLD Spyder (Gold Trust) experiment.”|"SPDR Gold Trust (ETF): GLD Quotes" Note: A little crashing going on ...

Commentary: "Comer Vs The Bank Of Canada Case – Totally Hidden By MSM" Press For Truth [03/08/15] [8:52] "On Monday, January 26, a landmark ruling was made in a Federal Court on the COMER vs. Bank of Canada lawsuit. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s decision that this lawsuit can proceed.  [...]"  Related: See below: "Amid Media Blackout, Canada Lawsuit Challenges Banker Rule" [03/05/15] ; "Canadians Sued The Bank Of Canada & Won" [03/05/15] ;

MSM: "State-Backed Royal Bank Of Scotland Still Pays Around 70 Staff £1million A Year Despite An Annual £3.5 Billion Loss" [03/07/15] Printer Friendly Version "Royal Bank of Scotland provoked fury last night after handing out lavish bonuses – including an £859,000 windfall to its former boss. The State-backed lender’s annual pay report showed 110 staff received more than 1million euros (£720,000) last year, despite it racking up a £3.5billion loss. This marked its seventh consecutive annual loss since the financial crisis, when it was rescued with a £46billion bailout from taxpayers.  One of the biggest winners was former chief executive Stephen Hester, who pocketed £859,000 from a long-term bonus awarded in 2012. He handed in his resignation in June 2013, after being pushed out by Chancellor George Osborne. [...] Last night the awards were branded ‘excessive’ and ‘unacceptable’, with campaigners criticising Mr Osborne for failing to stamp out fat-cat pay at RBS.  To avoid a new pay row, current chief executive Ross McEwan waived his entitlement to a £1million fixed shares allowance introduced last year to bolster his basic pay package and dodge the EU bonus cap. This restricted his total pay for 2014 to £1.85million.[...] Before the 2008 financial crisis, Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the largest and most aggressive banks in the world. The bank was founded in Edinburgh in 1727, but by the end of the 20th century it was a major player in the City of London too as the UK capital became the world's leading financial centre. RBS sealed its place at the top table of British banking in 2000 when it bought NatWest, which dates back to 1650 and was considered one of the 'Big Four' retail banks in the UK.[...]" 

Commentary: "How Banks May Have Rigged The Bank Of England Scheme Built To Keep Them Alive" [03/07/15] Printer Friendly Version "In 2007, the Bank of England introduced a liquidity programme to help the banks. The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating whether this was manipulated. [...] On Thursday September 13, 2007, 13 men and women were called to an emergency meeting at the Bank of England. The situation was delicate: interbank borrowing rates had shot up to a nine-year high, and the day before Northern Rock had applied for a level of support from the Bank of England that had not been seen for more than 30 years. Those present at the meeting in question, including Sir Mervyn King, the Bank’s then governor, and Sir Callum McCarthy, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, quickly agreed that the Bank had no choice but to supply Northern Rock with emergency liquidity to prevent a bank run. Before long, attentions quickly turned to the rest of the banking system. Minutes of the gathering, released earlier this year, showed members had concerns about a “domino effect” in which other institutions would be at risk of toppling. The Bank, fearing a confidence crisis, was forced to respond. Less than two weeks after the Northern Rock meeting, it introduced the first in a series of measures designed to keep the rest of the banking sector afloat.[...]"  Related: See below

MSM: "Bank Of England Investigated For Fraud" [03/06/15] [3:54] "The Bank of England is the focus of a criminal investigation by the UK's Serious Fraud Office. Caroline Binham, financial regulation correspondent, and UK news editor Michael Stott discuss the allegations and what they could mean for the BoE and London. [...]" 

Commentary: "Washington Strips Federal Reserve Bank Of New York Of Power" [03/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, once the most feared banking regulator on Wall Street, has lost power in a behind-the-scenes reorganization at the nation’s central bank. The Fed’s center of regulatory authority is now a little-known committee run by Fed governor Daniel Tarullo , which is calling the shots in oversight of banking titans such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc . The new structure was enshrined in a previously undisclosed paper written in 2010 known as the Triangle Document. Under the new system, Washington is at the center of bank supervision, exercising control over the Fed’s 12 reserve banks, much as the State Department exerts control over embassies. The power shift, initiated after the financial crisis and slowly put in place over the past five years, is more than a bureaucratic change. It influences how the biggest banks on Wall Street are overseen and has begun to affect regulation in unanticipated ways across the Fed system. During internal debates on a range of issues—including a Citigroup bid to raise its dividend a year ago and J.P. Morgan’s 2012 “London Whale” trading losses—New York Fed examiners have been challenged by Washington. At times they have been shut out of policy meetings and even openly disparaged by Mr. Tarullo for failing to stem problems at banks, according to current and former Fed officials involved the discussions. “It was obvious that a lot in the U.S. regulatory system had not worked particularly well before the crisis,” Mr. Tarullo said in an interview. “It was equally obvious that there was going to need to be a rethink and reorganization.” The new structure will be on display Thursday, when the Fed releases results of annual stress tests of big banks, a program run out of Washington by Mr. Tarullo’s group. The Fed undertook the reorganization with little disclosure about what was taking place, but officials are now drawing attention to it. “The Federal Reserve is requiring more of large institutions,” Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said in a speech Tuesday that addressed the reorganization. “We are also requiring more of ourselves.” The New York Fed, as it loses power, is adjusting its approach in some ways. It is pulling examiners out of offices at the banks they review and relocating them to a building near New York Fed headquarters. [...]"  

Commentary: "Japan Now Spends 43% Of Tax Revenue To Fund Interest On Debt" Zero Hedge [03/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "It’s entirely possible that we may see interstellar space travel in our lifetime. And what a dream that would be. But in the meantime, for anyone that’s losing patience with space technology, I would recommend you visit Japan. Because for anybody that has been here, this place is as close as it gets to being on another planet. Japan is a land of irony and dichotomy. It is one of the most conservative cultures in the world, while simultaneously being one of the most perverted. Business culture here is yet another thing that seems totally alien. Creativity and innovation are constrained by process and procedure. The individual is never celebrated, and dutiful compliance is everything. In Japanese corporate culture, business meetings follow a strict agenda. New ideas, no matter how valuable, are simply not welcome. [...]"  

Commentary: "US Factory Orders Drop For 6th Month In A Row - Worst Since Lehman" Zero Hedge [03/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Must be the weather... since August. US Manufacturers New Orders tumbled 0.2% in January (missing expectations of a 0.2% rise for the 6th of the last 7 months). This extends the losing streak for factory orders to 6 months, something we have not seen since the great recession in 2008... The drop was led by a plunge in Consumer Goods - not exactly what one would expect from all those gas savings? Just add it to the growing list of missed macro data expectations since the start of Feb. We suspect this puts a final nails in the coffin of ' low oil prices being positive for consumers'... This extends the macro misses for US data to dismal levels. [...]"  

MSM:"UK: HSBC Tax Dodge: George Osborne Squirms" [03/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "A squirming George Osborne yesterday refused to answer six times if he had discussed the HSBC tax scandal with former trade minister Lord Green.  The Chancellor was asked repeatedly if he had raised HSBC’s collusion in tax evasion before appointing the bank’s former boss as a government minister. But he refused to give a straight answer despite persistent questioning from Radio 4’s John Humphrys. David Cameron also ducked the question when quizzed by Labour at Prime Minister’s questions. At first Mr Osborne said he would not discuss the tax affairs of an individual, even though he was not asked about Lord Green’s personal finances. Then he claimed he was not made aware of the specific claims the bank’s Swiss arm had helped hundreds of super-rich clients evade millions of pounds in tax. At one point an exasperated Mr Humphrys accused him of throwing up “red herrings” to avoid answering a direct question. Mr Osborne said the allegations about HSBC’s role had only recently come to light - despite claims the Treasury was aware of the claims at least three years ago. [...] Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said: “George Osborne was asked six times whether he discussed allegations of tax evasion at HSBC with Lord Green, the bank’s former chairman, and six times he refused to answer. “What has George Osborne got to hide? People will draw their own conclusions from his total failure to answer. “The Chancellor also struggled to explain why, since the government received these files in May 2010, only one person has been prosecuted out of 1,100 names.[...]"  

MSM: "Amid Media Blackout, Canada Lawsuit Challenges Banker Rule" [03/05/15] Printer Friendly Version "According to American monetary-reform author and filmmaker Bill Still—and Canadian activists with whom AFP has been in contact—Canada’s mainstream media has been suppressing news that the three-judge panel on Jan. 26 ruled in favor of plaintiffs who filed suit to restore the Bank of Canada to its time-tested mandate of issuing debt-free money in the public interest. [...] Related: "Canadians Sued The Bank Of Canada & Won" Printer Friendly Version "Recently, constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati won yet another round of appeals set forth by the Bank of Canada in a case involving two Canadians who filed an action in federal court to restore The Bank of Canada to its original purpose and operations. This is a very significant story but you probably haven’t heard of it. Why? The mainstream media and government have blacked out the story for reasons that appear to stem from fear of how the public will react to realizing they’ve been systematically enslaved for decades. The initial federal court filing took place on December 12th, 2011 by Canadian constitutional lawyer, Rocco Galati, on behalf of Canadians William Krehm, Ann Emmett, and COMER (Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform). The filing is intended to “restore the use of the Bank of Canada to its original purpose, by exercising its public statutory duty and responsibility. That purpose includes making interest free loans to the municipal/provincial/federal governments for “human capital” expenditures (education health, other social services) and / or infrastructure expenditures.” [...] The Plaintiffs state that since 1974 there has been a gradual but sure slide into the reality that the Bank of Canada and Canada’s monetary and financial policy are dictated by private foreign banks and financial interests contrary to the Bank of Canada Act. The plaintiffs state that the defendants (officials) are unwittingly and/or wittingly, in varying degrees, knowledge and intent engaged in a conspiracy, along with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Financial Stability Forum (FSF), International Monetary Fund (IMF) to render impotent the Bank of Canada Act as well as Canadian sovereignty over financial, monetary, and socio-economic policy, and bypass the sovereign rule of Canada through its parliament by means of the banking and financial systems. The truth is, The Bank of Canada used to issue debt free loans to the government, which meant that the nation would go into debt to private banking institutions. When that changed, private bankers/corporations essentially gained control and ownership of the country.[...]"  

Legal Case: "HSBC Bank Called A Gang Conspirator" [03/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Los Angeles - Victims of L.A. street gangs sued HSBC Bank in a federal RICO class action, claiming the bank is partly responsible because it accepts and launders money for the gangsters, who are associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel. Four named plaintiffs sued the bank on Feb. 25, claiming that the bank "conspired to wrongfully take plaintiffs' property, including money, hide its source through money laundering and use the money to fund the Sinaloa drug cartel." They claim that HSBC acknowledged its money laundering in a 2012 deferred-prosecution agreement with the federal government. Prosecutors identified more than 3,000 HSBC accounts used to launder money for the Sinaloa cartel, the plaintiffs say, citing a July 17, 2012 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Plaintiff Stephanie Scoggins claims a Crip robbed her of $180 in 2003, and that HSBC received the money and laundered it for the cartel. Plaintiff Jordan Saddler claims a Crip robbed him of $240 and an iPhone in 2005, and that HSBC laundered the money for the cartel. In 2012, Saddler says, another Crip relieved him of $130 and HSBC then laundered it. Plaintiff Otis Hawkins claims that a Blood robbed him of $1,500 in 2009 and HSBC laundered it. They seek class certification, treble damages and punitive damages for RICO violations. [...]" 

US Politics: "Senate Republicans Predictably Bungle Their Interrogation of Janet Yellen" [02/28/15] Printer Friendly Version "In terms of theatrical impact, the first performance of the Republican majority in the Senate responding to semi-annual testimony from Fed Chair Yellen was a dud. That is bad news for US monetary reform. The root cause of the theatrical failure is that a winning strategy for monetary revolution has failed to emerge from the Republican ranks. Instead we hear the old tired messages about “auditing the Fed,” “changing the structure of the FOMC,” and adopting a neo-Keynesian rate-fixing “rule.” Regrettably, the Senate Republicans and indeed their colleagues in the House are coalescing around an empty audit devoid of ideology and principle. One thinks of the judges in Kafka’s The Trial who scribble inanities on blank pieces of paper. Chair Yellen has won the visual theater by dumping books of the latest Fed regular audit on the table in front of her Republican critics and saying implicitly “you want more of this?” The public does not like accountants [...] The new Senate Banking Committee Chair, Richard Shelby, and his Republican colleagues had several chances to make top theater, but they bungled it. These opportunities included Yellen’s reply to Senator Shelby opposing an overhaul of the FOMC structure “I think the present structure works well, so I wouldn’t recommend changes.” The chair or a fellow senator could have answered: "You have the effrontery, Madam Chair, to tell us that the structure works well. That is despite the Fed having engaged in recent years in a vast monetary experiment which has failed in its central purpose of providing a strong economic expansion — in fact this has been the weakest economic expansion ever following great recession in US history — whilst spreading a dangerous asset price inflation disease throughout the global economy whose deadly end phase US citizens now dread. Then there was Yellen’s impassioned opposition to the “Audit the Fed” bill. “It would bring short-term political pressures to bear on the central bank and dissuade it from making hard choices needed to keep inflation in check. I really wonder whether or not the Volcker Fed would have had the courage to take the hard decisions that were necessary to bring inflation down — if there had been reviews in real time of Fed policy decisions.” [...]" 

Commentary: "Financial Warfare, Geopolitics and Macro-Economic Agendas. What Happens Behind the Scenes" [02/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "So much is happening behind the scenes it’s mind-boggling. This past week we of course ended with “deal or no deal” over Greece. The “deal” the markets were hoping for really was no deal at all, the markets were only hoping for more time and ONLY more time. You see, Greece is broke. They only have enough money for about another week, they don’t even have enough to make their early March debt payment. The only possible “deal” from here on is to postpone reality. Greece cannot be allowed to make any deal other than one that puts THE deal out into the future. They cannot accept more “aid” because the markets will see through this. They also cannot be allowed to exit because this would then be the thread which unravels the Eurozone. The only deal acceptable to the markets will be one where THE deal is not “dealt with”. Friday afternoon this very scenario was announced and of course the equity markets short squeezed higher in response. A bit prematurely in my estimation because the newly elected Greek parliament will need to ratify any agreement. A ratification will be in direct conflict with the election results of last month, what do you suppose the populace might do? In my opinion, the Greek people are about to explode onto the streets no matter what deal is arranged and agreed to. Broke is broke and no deal and no amount of newly borrowed money will fix this. As my title suggested, I believe only something from “behind the scenes” will fix their problem. [...]"  

Interview: "Whistleblower: “Governments Control Markets; No 'Price Discovery' Anymore" [02/25/15] [38:24] "One year after the great stock market crash in 1987, US President Ronald Reagan launched the “Working Group on Financial Markets.” Conspiracy theorists believe, however, that the real task of this committee is to protect against a renewed slump in the stock market. In the jargon of Wall Street, the working group is known as the “Plunge Protection Team.” One glimpse at a few days suring 2007/8 and it is clear that ‘someone’ with infinitely deep pockets was able to support markets on several critical days – though, of course, anyone proclaiming intervention was propagandized away as a conspiracy theory wonk. However, as Dr. Pippa Malmgren – a former member of the U.S. President’s Working Group on Financial Markets – it is not conspiracy theory, it is conspiracy fact: “there’s no price discovery anymore by the market… governments impose prices on the market.” In this 38 minute interview Lars Schall, for Matterhorn Asset Management, speaks with Dr Pippa Malmgren, a US financial advisor and policy expert based in London. Dr Malmgren has been a member of the U.S. President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (a.k.a. the “Plunge Protection Team”). [...]"  

MSM: "Ten Banks, Including JPM, Goldman, Deutsche, Barclays, SocGen And UBS, Probed For Gold Rigging" [02/25/15] Printer Friendly Version "No matter how many times the big banks are caught red-handed manipulating precious metals, some failed former Deutsche Bank prop-trader (you know who you are) will take a vociferous stand based on ad hominem attacks and zero facts that no, what you see in front of you is not precious metal rigging at all but a one-off event that has nothing to do with a criminal banking syndicate hell bent on taking advantage of anyone who is naive and dumb enough to still believe in fair and efficient markets.  [...] This time, that someone is the US Department of Justice, which as the WSJ just reported, is investigating at least 10 major banks for possible rigging of precious-metals markets. The DOJ is shockingly doing so "even though European regulators dropped a similar probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, according to people close to the inquiries." Of course, the reason why said probe was dropped in Europe is because it would have implicated virtually the entire trading desk at the biggest and most important European bank: Deustche Bank, as well as the biggest bank in Switzerland, UBS and UK's own Barclays, reveal a manipulation cartel rivaling even that of Libor. And once traders at the commercial banks turned sides and squealed for the prosection, well then it would be the central banks' turn next. Which is why it was imperative to bring this investigation to a quiet end. But not in the US. According to the WSJ, "prosecutors in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation, these people said. The agencies have made initial requests for information, including a subpoena from the CFTC to HSBC Holdings PLC related to precious-metals trading, the bank said in its annual report Monday. HSBC also said the Justice Department sought documents related to the antitrust investigation in November. The two probes “are at an early stage,” the bank added, saying it is cooperating with U.S. regulators. Who is involved in this latest gold-rigging scandal? Why everyone! ... which makes it immediately obvious why the European regulator had to promptly cover up the whole affair. Under scrutiny are Bank of Nova Scotia , Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG , Deutsche Bank AG , Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Société Générale SA, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and UBS AG , according to one of the people close to the investigation.[...]"  

MSM: "Which Corporations Are Benefiting From Ukraine Fiasco?" [02/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "In a year beginning with the notorious February military coup in Ukraine, also known as the Euromaidan revolution, the Ukrainian economy has come to the brink of default. It has turned out that a $27 billion bailout, offered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multinational creditors to Kiev, will not be enough to bolster the anemic Ukrainian economy as well. However, new loans, requested by Kiev to keep its economy afloat will only exacerbate the situation, experts say, pointing to the fact that Ukraine, saddled with heavy debts, will not be able to pay them off in the forthcoming decades. According to IMF chief Christine Lagarde, an expanded emergency package will amount to $40 billion over the four year period and will come via international creditors, including major Western powers, for instance Switzerland and the United States, the World Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The chief of the IMF clarified that the decision was made due to the fact that the Ukrainian regime has already carried out a string of tough economic reforms, particularly increasing gas tariffs for the country's households to 56 percent, adopting a flexible exchange rate regime, freezing numerous social programs and conducting "governance reforms" of state-owned enterprises. [...] The Ukrainian government is irresponsibly driving the nation deeper and deeper into a debt trap, analysts say, while the country's financial and industry sectors are facing tremendous losses unable to facilitate the growth of the state's economy. More than 50 percent of Ukrainian enterprises are unprofitable: over the last nine months the financial losses of large and medium-sized companies in the country mounted over $14 billion. Ukrainian GDP dropped by 7.5 percent. According to some estimates, Ukraine's external debt (including the debts of the country's enterprises) could reach $135.85 billion, with a debt repayment of $58.55 billion in 2015 alone. On the other hand, the internal war, launched by Kiev against the Ukrainian eastern region in 2014 has severely weakened the country's economy.[...] Making matters worse, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) reported in November 2014 that the country's gold bullion reserves had diminished tremendously. Surprisingly, the NBU head provided no explanation where the country's gold has gone. Valeria Hontareva, the Governor of the Bank, admitted that there was almost no physical gold left in the vaults, adding that the amount of solid gold ingots barely covered one percent of the Ukrainian national reserves. The statement immediately sparked controversy among experts, since in February 2014 Ukrainian official gold holdings amounted to 42.3 tons, or 8 percent of the state's reserves. So far, over the year Ukraine's overall gold and foreign currency reserves reduced from around $17 billion to $6.42 billion, analysts point out. Meanwhile, a sinister atmosphere surrounds the seizure of the country's high-quality arable lands by Ukrainian moguls and foreign firms, funded by the World Bank and EBRD. According to German lawmakers, some prominent Western corporations including Monsanto and DuPont have been involved into land-grabbing in Ukraine, using the ongoing military conflict as a cover. The state's arable territory comprises of 32 million hectares, however, about 17 million hectares have already come under control of transnational holdings. [...] As Kiev's prolonged the moratorium on land sales lasts until 2016, investors took out a 50-year lease on Ukraine's agricultural territories, planning to buy the lands, once the state ban is lifted. The Ukraine-EU association agreements open the doors to the liberalization of the state's economy and relaxation of its agricultural laws. While the West is obviously benefitting from the reforms, Ukraine's small and middle-sized farms have been put under threat. Ukrainian experts and political activists point out that the corrupt regime of Viktor Yanukovych was replaced by another venal group. According to Tatyana Montyan, a Kiev-based lawyer and politician, the West is not interested in Ukraine's development: the 45-million nation could become the EU's economic rival. Using the longstanding turmoil in eastern Ukraine as a smokescreen, the Ukrainian moguls are exporting capital abroad instead of reinvesting money into the state's economy. So far, the country has no chance to recover, burdened with huge debts. Analysts underscore that the IMF has long been using its "debt trap" strategy, referring to the example of Greece and other European debt-laden countries. The question remains, if the Ukrainian nation still believes in the success of Euromaidan revolution of February 2014[...]"  Related: "How The West Sells War And Makes A Killing" Printer Friendly Version "As the conflict in Ukraine persists and as peace talks between Putin and western European leaders (Merkel and Hollande) continue, it is important to look at the economic actors/interests that benefit from conflict and regime change in the Ukraine and how this compares to situations like Syria, Libya and Iraq. There are under-reported angles and interests to these conflicts that we hear little about in western mainstream media and that many do not look for because they are too caught up in political or human dramas [...]"

Commentary: "Max Keiser: Welcome to the New World Order" [02/22/15]   [25:57] "Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the new Blackwater world order in which corporations employ and deploy mercenaries to enforce their extrajudicial TTIP 'rights' over sovereign nations of non-corporate person-peasants. In the second half, Max continues his interview with Mitch Feierstein of Planet Ponzi.com about the Carney effect on the Canadian dollar and the velocity of money. Mitch also has a chart, the most important chart the audience will ever see and that is the gold price chart. He tells the Keiser Report what it means for the future of monetary policy and our economies. [...]"  

MSM: "Icelandic Bankers Sentenced To Prison" [02/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Supreme Court of Iceland today upheld prison sentences issued by Reykjavík District Court in December 2013 on four former key executives and majority owners of Kaupþing Bank in the so-called Al-Thani case in what is the heaviest sentence ever given in Iceland for economic fraud, ruv.is reports. The four were charged with market manipulation in relation to Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar’s acquisition of more than five percent of shares (worth ISK 25.7 billion) in Kaupþing Bank shortly before it collapsed in autumn 2008. The case was taken to the Supreme Court after the defendants appealed the Reykjavík District Court’s ruling. [...]"  

Commentary: "Transparent Immature ‘Retaliation’: Moody’s Downgrades Russia’s Debt to ‘Junk’ Status Just as BRICS Bank is Ratified" [02/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "Yesterday we reported on the huge news of Russia’s government ratifying the BRICS Development Bank and suggested that the West would seek to respond in some way. That response emerged just hours later. Moody’s, the same ratings agency that failed to see the 07/08 crisis coming by rating toxic assets as AAA, has put Russia’s debt into the ‘Junk‘ zone. The agency cites an ‘expected’ continuing depression in Russia, suggesting a ‘decline in confidence’ in the country means growth will not be possible. [...] Moody’s attempt to paint Russian debt as ‘Junk’ is yet another obvious propaganda stunt aimed at continuing the current demonization campaign against the country. Anybody who would trust the ratings of an agency that framed toxic assets as ‘AAA’ rated should have both their character, and intentions, questioned. This is not the first incident where Moody’s has weaponized, geopolitically speaking, its dubious rating system to advance US foreign policy interests. 21WIRE reported back in June 2013, when Hong Kong authorities would not honor U.S. requests to arrest and handover the fugitive Edward Snowden, only to discover that Moody’s had downgraded 9 major Hong Kong banks the following day.[...] " Related: See below: "Russia Creates Its Own Payment System" [02/18/15] 

MSM: "The US Is Busting Israeli Banks: Bank Leumi, Israel's Second Largest Bank" [02/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "Bank Leumi, Israel's second largest bank, admitted late last year to helping its American customers evade income taxes, hide assets, and launder their money back into the United States. The bank agreed to pay $130 million in fines to New York regulators and another $270 million to the federal government, and assist in an ongoing probe of other Israeli banks. [...]"  

Commentary: "Central Banks Have Lost Control Of The World" [02/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "With the world's oldest central bank - Sweden's Riksbank - taking the plunge into negative rates, there have been 19 'eases' by central banks this year, Morgan Stanley warns of "ghosts of the 1930s." With competitive 'easing' stoking fears of international currency wars, The Telegraph notes however that looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world, and herein lies potential danger for the world economy. [...] Looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world (see map above), and herein lies potential danger for the world economy. The expectation of a normalisation of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve has resulted a sustained rally in the US dollar. Such strength in the world's reserve currency has simultaneously applied pressure on economies pegged to the greenback. Meanwhile rate hikes from the Fed - which are expected to begin later this year - will naturally leader to tighter monetary conditions in economies everywhere from Mexico to Hong Kong. It is this divergence in the actions of the world's major central banks which could lead to a new global liquidity crisis, according to the governor of the Bank of England. Despite robust job creation and economic output in the domestic economy of the US, the trend towards lower global interest rates will probably slow the extent of the Fed's rate hikes once it finally gets off zero, according to Kit Juckes at Société Générale. "The best we can hope now is that the dollar’s advance is orderly and the impact on global capital flows is limited" said Mr Juckes. he 19 Policy 'eases' so far... (or 24 if Romania's 2 and Denmark's 4 are counted): [...]"  

Commentary: "Russia Dumps US Paper As China Reduces Treasury Holdings To Jan 2013 Levels" [02/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "Back in December, Socgen spread a rumor that Russia has begun selling its gold. Subsequent IMF data showed that not only was this not correct, Russia in fact added to its gold holdings. But there was one thing it was selling: some $22 billion in US Treasurys, a record 20% of its total holdings, bringing its US paper inventory to just $86 billion in December - the lowest since June 2008. It wasn't just Russia: the country that has ever more frequently been said to be in the same camp as Russia - and against the US - namely China, also sold another $6 billion in Treasurys in the last month of 2014, which would have made its US treasury holdings equal with those of Japan, if only Tokyo hadn't also sold over $10 billion in the same month. And while we know that Russia used at least some of the proceeds to buy gold, the bigger question is: just what is China buying with all these stealthy USD-denominated liquidations, and how much gold does the PBOC really have as of this moment. (See Graphs) [...]"  

Commentary: "The Case Against Imminent Economic Collapse" [02/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "We see evidence of an impending collapse of the global financial and economic systems on an almost daily basis. From falsified statistics to an almost unfathomable series of never-ending monetary machinations, all signs point to something being horrifically wrong, not just with the economy but the entire global paradigm as it exists today. By all accounts, we seem to be standing on the brink of a collapse. But as Joel Skousen points out, we must keep in mind that the Wizard is still behind the curtain, and though things may be bad and getting worse, the puppeteers remain solidly in power and they continue to manipulate their marionettes across the board - in politics, in finance, in industry. Skousen argues that they may not yet be ready to pull the plug. But he’s not suggesting you should be lax with your vigilance. Rather, he proposes an alternate perspective, timeline and endgame as we prepare for a future that may well be plagued with economic hardship, government tyranny and war. [...] This week, I’m going to switch to my geopolitical expertise as the editor of the World Affairs Brief . I feel the need to address the root controversy about what we are preparing for. I field more questions from subscribers and preppers each week on the subject of economic collapse than any other topic, and despite the failure of all these collapse predictions since 2010, they are back again in 2015. And, it’s no wonder. There is an unending flow of predictions of complete and imminent collapse coming from both the uninformed and some very bright financial newsletter writers on the conservative/ libertarian side such as Jim Rickards, Peter Schiff, Michael Snyder, R.G. Allen, Robert Kiyosaki, John Williams (shadowstats.com), Mike Maloney, and Mike Dillard (who’s been pushing the collapse of the EURO for years now and still won’t stop despite the failure of his predictions). I’m not going to tell you that things are fine. They are not. The financial collapse writers are well informed about the problems of excessive debt, fiat money, and deficit spending that politically cannot be stopped nor solved now that the benefit corrupted voters can out-vote those of us who want government to stop these suicidal redistribution schemes. But they have not thought out clearly the specifics of how and why it’s so difficult for an actual collapse to occur. Historically, no nation has ever collapsed financially outside of the destruction of war—none (even the so-called “collapse of the Soviet Union” was a carefully crafted deception, as outlined in this piece). Only when people are thrust into the most abject circumstances of survival, such as in WWII in Europe with the combination of allied bombing and the Russian invasion does an economy cease to function and turn into a mob of pillaging people. Let me cover the various collapse scenarios that are being hyped constantly and why they aren’t necessarily imminent: [...]"  

MSM: "Swiss Prosecutor Raids HSBC Offices After Opening Criminal Probe" [02/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "Geneva's public prosecutor raided HSBC's lakeside Swiss office on Wednesday after opening a criminal inquiry into allegations of aggravated money laundering, the second probe to hit the bank this week. Europe's largest lender is in regulators' sights after details about how its Swiss private bank allegedly helped wealthy clients evade taxes were leaked to the media and published last week. The Geneva prosecutor said he had launched an investigation following the allegations and could extend it to individuals. "A search is currently under way in the premises of the bank, led by Attorney General Olivier Jornot and the prosecutor Yves Bertossa," Geneva's prosecutor said in a statement. [...]"  Related: "Top Writer Quits Over UK Daily Telegraph Financial Ties To HSBC" Printer Friendly Version "Top political commentator for the UK’s Telegraph, Peter Oborne resigned after accusing the outlet of being in bed with the scandal-hit HSBC. Oborne believes that The Telegraph refused to adequately cover the scandal because of a lucrative advertising contract the media outlet holds with the bank. [...] The HSBC scandal has caused widespread outrage, yet the British government has said that it will not be investigating the bank’s activities. Note: The British Government has been involved in drug dealing and shady finances for hundreds of years ... so they're not about to get involved.

Commentary: "Forensic Economists Examine The Effects Of CIA-Led Coups On The Stock Market" [02/19/15] Printer Friendly Version ".... Such trading on inside information is illegal, and when it involves highly classified details about a future CIA coup, it verges on treason. Yet the researchers found that prices of companies affected by the CIA's regime-toppling efforts—UFC in Guatemala, Anglo-Iranian (oil) in Iran, Anaconda (mining) in Chile, and American Sugar in Cuba—went up in the weeks and months preceding the coups. (The authors restrict their analysis to coups for which they had access to declassified planning documents and for which U.S. companies had had property nationalized by the targeted regimes.) Furthermore, these gains were concentrated in the days following crucial government authorizations or plans for the coup (suggesting the trades weren't simply the result of good guesswork about a coup in the making). For example, in the week that President Eisenhower gave full approval to Operation PBFortune to overthrow Árbenz, UFC's price went up by 3.8 percent; the stock market overall was flat that week. In all, shares of coup-affected companies went up by a total of 10 percent following top-secret authorizations, swamping the 3.5 percent gain that came immediately in the coups' aftermaths. If information hadn't been leaking into the stock market via insider trading, then the entire impact of the coup should have appeared only when the very public invasions took place and the investing world finally got news of the regime change. Unfortunately, there are limits to what these stock-market forensics can uncover. When the researchers contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission to find out who was trading on these days, they learned that there are limits to what the Freedom of Information Act could provide. So, we can't pin the apparent insider trading on anyone in particular. There's also some evidence, albeit tentative, that the market was very good at forecasting the coups' success and failure—a further indication that the traders driving up the price had detailed knowledge of the covert plans (and their expected outcomes). [...]"  

MSM: "Russia Creates Its Own Payment System" [02/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have now been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network. The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia. It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. [...] Much of the West’s power comes from financial hegemony. Our ability to cut people off from loans, payments and so on. Since this new system is Russian only, it isn’t, right now, that big a deal. But start connecting other countries to it, say China, Iran, India and so on, and it becomes a way of breaking financial blockades. Include some calculable financial law (less of a challenge than it used to be as New York and London courts make increasingly punitive decisions), and start lending in Yuan (with which one can buy much of what one needs in the world, since the Chinese make so much of it), and you have a fully credible financial system. The key is to get one major manufacturing country in. Most of the nations the West is punishing these days, financially, are oilarchies ( Venezuela, Iran, Argentina). They need the ability to buy manufactured goods. The obvious country is China. If China agrees to go in, Western financial hegemony is broken. Japan could work; India could almost work, and Japan or India have a lot more to gain from it than it might seem (as we watch the Japanese economy implode.) Even before then there are deals which can be cut. Say Greece wants to buy Russian oil. Russia can lend them Rubles, the use those rubles to buy Russian oil, in exchange Russia gets use of Greek ships and ports and access to the EU. This is, then, in one sense, not a big deal. As long as its only Russia, it’s a defensive move of somewhat limited utility. But if it expands beyond Russia, well then, it’s earth-shaking. Get out the popcorn and watch it develop.[...]"  Note: They've done this in order to offset this kind of political revenge: "EU Adds More Russians, Eastern Ukrainians To Sanctions List After Successful Minsk Talks" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "North Dakota’s Thriving State Bank Makes A Mockery Of Wall Street’s Casino Banking System" [02/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "North Dakota is the very definition of a red state. It voted 58 percent to 39 percent for Romney over Obama, and its statehouse and senate have a total of 104 Republicans and only 47 Democrats. The Republican super-majority is so conservative it recently passed the nation’s most severe anti-abortion resolution – a measure that declares a fertilized human egg has the same right to life as a fully formed person. But North Dakota is also red in another sense: it fully supports its state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND), a socialist relic that exists nowhere else in America. Why is financial socialism still alive in North Dakota? Why haven’t the North Dakotan free-market crusaders slain it dead? Because it works. [...] In 1919, the Non-Partisan League, a vibrant populist organization, won a majority in the legislature and voted the bank into existence. The goal was to free North Dakota farmers from impoverishing debt dependence on the big banks in the Twin Cities, Chicago and New York. More than 90 years later, this state-owned bank is thriving as it helps the state’s community banks, businesses, consumers and students obtain loans at reasonable rates. It also delivers a handsome profit to its owners — the 700,000 residents of North Dakota. In 2011, the BND provided more than $70 million to the state’s coffers. Extrapolate that profit-per-person to a big state like California and you’re looking at an extra $3.8 billion a year in state revenues that could be used to fund education and infrastructure.[...] One of America’s Best Kept Secrets:  Each time we pay our state and local taxes — and all manner of fees — the state deposits those revenues in a bank. If you’re in any state but North Dakota, nearly all of these deposits end up in Wall Street’s too-big to-fail banks, because those banks are the only entities large enough to handle the load. The vast majority of the nation’s 7,000 community banks are too small to provide the array of cash management services that state and local governments require. We’re talking big bucks; at least $1 trillion of our local tax dollars find their way to Wall Street banks, according to Marc Armstrong, executive director of the Public Banking Institute.[...] Banks are supposed to serve as intermediaries that turn our savings and checking deposits into productive loans to businesses and consumers. That’s how jobs are supported and created. But the BND, a state agency, goes one step further. Through its Partnership in Assisting Community Expansion, for example, it provides loans at below-market interest rates to businesses if and only if those businesses create at least one job for every $100,000 loaned. If the $1 trillion that now flows to Wall Street instead were deposited in public state banks in all 50 states using this same approach, up to 10 million new jobs could be created. That would effectively end our destructive unemployment crisis.[...]" 

Commentary: "Rise In Value Of Swiss Franc Threatens Workers In Eastern Europe With Ruin" [02/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "The sharp rise in the value of the Swiss franc against the euro is driving thousands of people in Eastern Europe into ruin. In mid-January, the Swiss National Bank announced without warning that it would no longer continue to maintain the exchange rate of the franc below 1.20 francs to the euro. As a result, the franc increased in value rapidly. For a time, it was worth more than the euro. Currently, a euro is worth just 1.06 francs. The sharp rise in the franc has been accompanied by a corresponding rise in the debt burden of hundreds of thousands of people throughout Eastern Europe. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, loans denominated in Swiss francs were common in these countries. In Poland, around 550,000 mortgages are denominated in Swiss francs. The repayments rose by 15 percent overnight due to the exchange rate rise. Some 150,000 loans are affected in Romania, 60,000 in Croatia and and 22,000 in Serbia. The Swiss National Bank estimates that loans totalling 220 billion francs are currently outstanding in Eastern Europe. The banks made loans in francs at interest rates far lower than was available in each of the local currencies, while deliberately concealing the exchange rate risk. This is shown by figures from Austria, where loans in francs comprised roughly a third of all private loans prior to 2008. After a warning and a ban from the country’s financial supervisor, the number of loans in francs was cut in half. [...]" 

Commentary: "As IMF Extends $17.5 Billion Credit To Kiev, Gazprom Demands Debt Repayment" [02/17/15] Printer Friendly Version Page 2 Printer Friendly Version "No sooner had the International Monetary Fund (IMF) extended $17.5 billion over four years in new credit to Ukraine, Russia’s private gas giant Gazprom was claiming $2.4 billion of it to settle Kiev’s gas debt. That’s not exactly what the IMF had in mind. The international lender’s mission chief for Ukraine, Nikolay Gueorguiev, issued a statement on Feb. 13 saying the credit was meant to address “immediate macroeconomic stabilization as well as broad and deep structural reforms to provide the basis for strong and sustainable economic growth over the medium term.” At the same time, Gazprom sent a letter to its Ukrainian counterpart, state-owned Naftogaz, seeking a payment of more than $2.4 billion, to cover $2.2 billion in debt, plus a penalty fee of about $200 million. The debt, which Kiev doesn’t acknowledge, will be the subject of hearings at the Stockholm Arbitration Institute in early 2016. [...] Discussing Gazprom’s demand on the Russian television station LifeNew, Kremlin Energy Minister Alexander Novak dismissed Ukraine’s stand on the status of the debt, saying, “Gazprom has every right to claim the funds” because the gas deliveries to Naftogaz are listed on invoices according to an active contract between the two gas companies. So far, Naftogaz has been paying the $2 billion debt in installments. Now that Ukraine has received the IMF loan, Gazprom wants the entire debt paid now. Ever since the autumn of 2013, when many Ukrainians were demanding closer ties with the European Union at the expense of Russia, its gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk by about 7 percent, the IMF says. In February 2014, faced with a popular uprising, the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, fled to Russia, which responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.[...]"  

Interviews: "The Swiss Leaks - 60 Minutes Interviews HSBC Whistleblower Hervé Falciani" [02/15/15] [12:53] "60 Minutes investigates the biggest leak in Swiss banking history, examining HSBC's business dealings with a collection of international outlaws, and interviews the man who leaked the files, former HSBC employee-turned-whistleblower, Hervé Falciani. [...]" 

MSM: "DC Lawyer Found Dead Had Ties To Greece And International Banking World" [02/15/15] Printer Friendly Version Video    [1:22]  "A Washington DC area lawyer who was found stabbed to death in a glitzy DC area hotel room had ties to the country of Greece and the international banking world and in this particular mystery, authorities say they have a suspect as shared in the newly released video below. While not every mysterious murder is part of a 'conspiracy', a look into Messerschmitt's past gives us reason to believe this latest murdered lawyer may have known something that others didn't want him (and the rest of us) to know with Greece possibly soon leaving the Euro and the financial world falling to shambles. Back in 2012, Messerschmitt got married and traveled to Greece on his honeymoon as shared on this wedding guest registry; the Washington Post points out this connection of Messerschmitt to Greece as well. While it is not known at this time if the lawyer did business in Greece, a look at his deleted but cached DLA Piper profile page and LinkedIn page show us he was deeply involved with 'multinational Fortune 500 companies', financial services, investment banking, technology, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, energy and much more. David Messerschmitt focuses his practice in the area of intellectual property and technology, sourcing and procurement, licensing, technology transactions and general corporate matters. [...]"  

Commentary: "IMF War Mongers Provoking Russia-U.S. Conflict In Ukraine" Fabian Calvo [02/14/15] [9:51] Good points Related: "IMF Announces New $17.5bn Bailout Package For Ukraine" Printer Friendly Version

Commentary: "Lawyer Moved Halliburton Subsidiary Bribes Through Secret Swiss HSBC Accounts" [02/13/15] Printer Friendly Version "A network of secretive banks and offshore tax havens was used to funnel $182 million in bribes to Nigerian officials in exchange for $6 billion in engineering and construction work for an international consortium of companies that included a then Halliburton subsidiary. In 2010 Nigeria indicted former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who was CEO of Halliburton before he was elected, only to later clear him when Halliburton worked out a $35 million settlement.  Leaked records from HSBC, a huge global bank based in London, reveal new details about the bank’s role as a conduit for the bribes — and new details about how British lawyer Jeffrey Tesler operated. The files, obtained by the French newspaper Le Mondeand the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, show ties between Tesler and high-ranking Nigerians not previously named publicly in connection with the scandal, raising the possibility of renewed questions about Nigeria’s handling of the affair. Tesler pleaded guilty to U.S. corruption charges for his role in what became known as the Halliburton Bribery Scandal. The cash was destined for Nigeria’s ruling party via the state-owned oil and gas company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to an official Nigerian report. The leaked files reveal that Tesler had financial ties to two former Nigerian officials: now-retired Major General Chris Garuba, chief of staff to former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar who himself allegedly received bribes as president; and Andrew Agom, a senior government official who was killed in an attack on a motorcade. Switzerland’s famous bank secrecy laws encouraged Tesler to use the country as a base for moving bribe money. HSBC Private Bank (Suisse), with offices near luxury hotels in Geneva and Zurich, was his preferred bank. [...]"  Related: See also below: "Clinton Foundation Received Up To $81m From Clients Of Controversial HSBC Bank" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Documents Reveal Criminal Conspiracy of Banks and Governments" [02/11/15]; "HSBC Bank : Secret Origins To 26/11 Mumbai Attacks" [02/10/15] ; "HSBC Exposed In Tax Evasion Data Leak" [02/10/15] (and attached stories); "Obama AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Refused To Prosecute Criminal Enterprise HSBC" [02/10/15]

MSM: "Another JP Morgan Banker ‘Murder-Suicide’ In New Jersey" [02/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "It happened in Closter Friday evening, where the bodies of Michael and Iran Pars Tabacchi were discovered. Authorities say Iran was stabbed and strangled, while Michael died of a self-inflicted stab wound. But it also happened in Jefferson Township in July, when police say Julian Knott shot his wife Alita before taking his own life with the same weapon. There’s no evidence to suggest the two cases are related, but Julian Knott and Michael Tabacchi shared an employer: JPMorgan Chase & Co. Knott and Tabacchi are the latest in a string of suicides by company employees over the past year. When Li Junjie, a 33-year-old JPMorgan worker, jumped off the roof of the company’s Hong Kong office in February 2014, the New York Post noted that it was the third death of a JPMorgan employee in weeks. Junjie was preceded by Gabriel Magee, a vice president with JPMorgan’s corporate and investment technology arm in London, who jumped off an office tower, and Ryan Henry Crane, a New Jersey native and executive director with the company, who was found dead in his Stamford, Conn., home. [...]" 

Commentary: "Chris Hedges - The Pathology of The Super Rich" [02/11/15] [23:37] "Chris Hedges discusses his personal insights into the psychology and private behavior of the super rich and how these things relate to the state of the world today. One of the best Chris Hedges segments by far.  [...]"  

MSM: "Discussion Of Coming Economic Collapse" CNBC  [02/11/15] [7:26] Note: Really interesting. Lloyd Blankfein, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles on record about the 'fiscal cliff' being ignored by politicians that will come to a head in the near future. First time this has been openly discussed on air.

Commentary: "Big Backers Of Clinton Foundation Found In Leaked Swiss Bank Files" [02/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "Large financial backers of the Clinton Foundation charitable fund have been found among those named in the trove of leaked documents from a Swiss division of HSBC bank this week, raising questions about the integrity of such individuals and what it says about the relationships they have with the powerful Clinton family. [...]" Related: "Clinton Foundation Received Up To $81m From Clients Of Controversial HSBC Bank" Printer Friendly Version  See related stories below:

Commentary: "HSBC Documents Reveal Criminal Conspiracy of Banks and Governments"  [02/11/15] Printer Friendly Version "... The only way to bring to justice the major banks like HSBC, and the millionaires and billionaires who used its services to commit fraud, is a complete reorganization of society. The ill-gotten wealth that corrupts every public institution must be seized, major corporations must be nationalized, and every existing state replaced with a workers’ government whose first task will be the establishment of democratic control over the basic forces of economic life.[...]" Note: Of course, that's not going to happen. It's endgame. 

Commentary: "HSBC Bank : Secret Origins To 26/11 Mumbai Attacks" [02/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "... Contrary to popular opinion, it is not “demand” from the world’s population which creates the mind destroying drug trade. Rather, it is the world financial oligarchy, looking for massive profits and the destruction of the minds of the population it is determined to dominate, which organized the drug trade. The case of HSBC underscores that point. Serving as the central bank of this global apparatus, is HSBC. [...]"  Note: Very very good. Related: "The Rothschild Illuminati Colonization of India" Printer Friendly Version  Related: See below

MSM: "HSBC Exposed In Tax Evasion Data Leak" [02/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "A new investigation exposes HSBC's Swiss private banking arm of helping royalty, criminals, terrorists, drug dealers, and even music stars such as Tina Turner and David Bowie to conceal their identities to dodge taxes. The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained the documents from French paper Le Monde, found over 100,000 account holders in 200 countries listed in the data leak. The documents shed light on the bank’s practice of courting rich depositors in exchange for protection from taxes from 2005 until 2007. During this period, the private banking armed controlled $100 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg. HSBC reportedly reassured client that its bank was a safe haven for secrets, and that it would not disclosure details of accounts to national authorities or taxmen. Files also reveal that several clients were allowed to quietly transfer bricks of cash in foreign currencies. [...] The leak began in 2008.  HSBC is just one of more than a dozen Swiss banks under fire for nontransparent banking and aiding tax evasion. The European Commission, along with the G20, has made it a goal to get rid of secret banking regimes, and in October signed an agreement to end tax evasion and money laundering. There has been mounting pressure on several European banks that provide cover for illicit money. More than $2 trillion in assets is held in more than 300 private Swiss banks. [...]"  Related: "Leaked Files Implicate Over 6,000 Israelis In Massive Bank Scandal" 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. One Israeli client alone had $1.5 billion in his account. The documents noted that while over six thousand people were associated with Israel, only half of them are Israeli citizens. A range of former and current politicians from Russia, India and a range of African countries, as well as Saudi, Bahraini, Jordanian and Moroccan royalty, and the late Australian press magnate Kerry Packer were named in the files. Following the bombshell disclosure, there were calls for a Swiss probe against the bank, which is already facing prosecution in France and Belgium. [...]" | "HSBC Directors Could Face Intl Arrest Warrants" Printer Friendly Version "Senate Demands Answers From US Government Over HSBC Tax Scandal" Printer Friendly Version "A member of the Senate banking committee asked the US government to explain what actions it took against HSBC, after sitting on the leaked tax scandal documents for two years with no arrests made. [...]" |"Banking Giant HSBC Sheltered Cash Linked To Dictators And Arms Dealers" Printer Friendly Version Related: See below:

Exposé: "Obama AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Refused To Prosecute Criminal Enterprise HSBC" [02/10/15] Printer Friendly Version " New revelations are emerging that could implicate Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s attorney general nominee, in the world’s largest banking scandal. As WND reported, Lynch, as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, oversaw the investigation in 2012 of drug-related international money laundering allegations against London-based HSBC Holdings LLC. As a result of HSBC agreeing to a settlement requiring the international bank holding company to pay the U.S. government more than $1.2 billion in fines for money laundering, Lynch’s office agreed in return not to press criminal charges against any bank employee of the U.S.-based HSBC subsidiary. The federal government’s unwillingness to prosecute HSBC was exposed by a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager in New York, John Cruz, who called the bank a “criminal enterprise.” Cruz was ignored by law enforcement authorities until he brought to WND 1,000 pages of customer account records that document his claims. HSBC also used its power to temporarily shut down WND.com as the news site was breaking a series of stories on the mega-bank’s money-laundering practices. [...] In a telephone interview with WND, Cruz said the Obama administration “is continuing to cover up its role in the HSBC money laundering scandal.”  “The U.S. government never responded to the evidence I provided of money-laundering activity that I fully documented with records copied directly from HSBC accounts,” Cruz explained to WND after learning court papers were filed Wednesday objecting to the Justice Department stonewalling a FOIA request for the release of documents that could implicate Lynch in a massive cover-up of Obama administration involvement in international money-laundering of Mexican cartel drug money. Lynch has never explained why the New York U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2012 chose to ignore the 1,000 pages of customer account records Cruz pulled from the HSBC computer system before he was fired by HSBC senior management uninterested in investigating his claim to have discovered illegal money-laundering activity at the bank. “The official response of the IRS Whistleblower Office doesn’t say there was no fraud or tax evasion committed by HSBC in the money-laundering case,” Cruz explained. “The IRS simply says, ‘In this case, the information you provided did not result in the collection of any proceeds.’” Cruz began working at HSBC on Jan. 14, 2008, and was terminated for “poor job performance” on Feb. 17, 2010.[...]"  Note: [Cross-Posted]

MSM: "Greek MEP Shrugs Off Irish Prime Minister’s Suggestion To Follow Ireland’s Lead" [02/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "A Greek MEP has rubbished Enda Kenny’s comments that Greece should follow Ireland’s lead, and not ask for a write-down on their debt. Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonas, said the sovereign debts and government borrowings of the Irish and Greek governments are too high. "This is simply an utopia – that either Greece or Ireland can pay back their sovereign debts. It is not possible. "This holds true not only for Greece and Ireland, but for most Eurozone member states."[...]"  Related: "Ireland Still A ‘Sitting Duck’ Unless Bank Rules Change" Printer Friendly Version "Ireland will remain a “sitting duck” for another economic crash unless it instigates new rules to personally fine and jail bankers who break regulatory law. The damning prediction was made by US banking and fraud expert Professor Bill Black during the latest hearing of the Oireachtas bank inquiry. Speaking during a three-hour meeting with the cross-party group, the author of The Best Way to Rob A Bank Is To Own One repeatedly lashed out at Ireland’s decision to guarantee subordinate debt, blatant holes in our banking regulation defences, and a bonus culture that ensures bankers will deliberately push mountains of poor-quality loans on unsuspecting customers to feather their own nests. The associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, who played a key role in prosecutions after the US Savings and Loans scandal two decades ago, described Ireland’s September 30, 2008 blanket guarantee as the “most destructive own goal in history” and accused the then regulators of being “incapable” and “preposterous”. [...]" 

Commentary: "Bulk Shipping Bankruptcies Begin As Baltic Dry Collapse Continues" [02/07/15] Printer Friendly Version "With one of the world’s leading dry bulk shipping companies, Copenhagen- based D/S Norden, having made huge losses for the last 2 years and expected to report dramatic losses in 2014 also, it is hardly surprising that the smaller bulk shipping firms are struggling as The Baltic Dry Index collapses ever closer to record all-time lows. As Reuters reports, privately-owned shipping company Copenship has filed for bankruptcy in Copenhagen after losses in the dry bulk market, with the CEO exclaiming, "we have reached a point where there is not more to do." We suspect, given the crash in shipping fees, that this is the first of many... [...]"  The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is absolutely the best measure of global economic health. The BDI is used by economists as a leading global economic indicator because it predicts future economic activity. The BDI, uses the U.S. dollar as a benchmark and measures the global supply and the corresponding demand for commodity shipments among bulk carriers. Commodities, in the form of raw materials like grains, lumber, coal and precious metals form the backbone of the BDI. Over time, the BDI is the best indicator of global economic health because, unlike the futures market, the BDI does not engage in speculation as it provides near real time data on what is being shipped. The determinations made by the BDI are such an accurate indicator of economic activity because businesses don’t book freighters when they have no cargo to move. In short, the BDI is the world’s financial blood pressure measure. The BDI is said to be one day away from reaching its all-time low. Ultimately, what the BDI tells economists is that we are headed for a depression that will make 1929 look like a picnic. The BDI has fallen on 43 of the past 47 days.

Commentary: "The Case To "Reinstate" The Bank Of Canada" [02/05/15] Printer Friendly Version "There is a very interesting legal case that is playing out in Canada at the moment. William Krehm, Anne Emmett, and Comer (The Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform: http://www.comer.org/) filed a lawsuit on December 12th, 2011, in Federal Court to try to force a restoration of the Bank of Canada to its mandated purposes. In essence, they want the Bank of Canada to provide interest-free loans to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as provided for in the Bank of Canada Act. This money would be used to finance public expenditures whenever there is a budgetary deficit. Apparently, the federal government used to borrow interest-free (to at least some extent) from the Bank of Canada up until 1974. At present, governments borrow all of the necessary money (apart from any bonds they may sell to the public) from private banks at the going rate of interest. Canadians are economically burdened with the resultant debt-servicing charges because the Bank of Canada does not make use of its prerogatives in the interests of the Canadian public. The case is being prosecuted by Rocco Galati, who is widely considered to be Canada's top constitutional lawyer. [...] The nature of the lawsuit has been explained in the following terms: "Two Canadians and a Canadian economic think tank confront the global financial powers in the Canadian federal court. The Canadians plead for declarations that would restore the use of the bank of Canada for the benefit of Canadians and remove it from the control of international private entities whose interests and directives are placed above the interest of Canadians and the primacy of the constitution of Canada.”[...]"  Related: See below: "12-Year Old (Canadian) Child Reveals One Of The Best Kept Secrets In The World" [02/03/15]  

MSM: "Ex-DOJ Official Says Imprisoning Wall Street Executives Could Deter Fraud" [02/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "A former Justice Department official claims that levying fines on credit rating agency executives is insufficient to prevent frauds. In the run up to the 2008 financial collapse agencies inflated the ratings of mortgage derivatives in exchange for more business from banking institutions. [...] Sending credit rating agency executives to prison would be more effective than levying fines to prevent companies like Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s from fraudulently evaluating financial instruments, former Justice Department Deputy Associate Attorney General Michael Greenberger, told Sputnik on Tuesday. “The Justice Department portrays these fines as a lot of money, but when you look at the damage S&P and Moody’s did to the economy, with these inflated ratings of mortgage-backed securities, it’s a drop in the bucket. It will have no impact. The credit rating agencies aren’t suffering. However, when Wall Street executives go to jail, that’s the deterrent,” Greenberger said. Greenberger, who also served as a federal regulator of financial derivatives for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said that although Moody’s is bound to meet a similar fate as S&P, which will pay over a billion dollars to settle fraud charges, the punishment does not fit the crime, “which brought the world economy to its knees.”[...] In the run up to the 2008 financial collapse, Greenberger explained, these agencies inflated the ratings of mortgage derivatives in exchange for more business from banking institutions. “The banks had them over a barrel because they were paying for the ratings. When the credit rating agencies gave any indication that they weren’t going to do what the banks wanted, the banks threatened to go to another credit rating agency,” he added. However, despite giving “triple A ratings to these monstrously weak investments,” Greenberger noted, the United States has failed, since US President Barack Obama took office, to bring justice to Wall Street by imprisoning white-collar criminals. “This Justice Department, through the meltdown and since the recession, has essentially sought no jail time for anybody who has committed serious wrongdoing,” Greenberger said. “If somebody had to go to jail for this, things would change a lot.”  [...]"  

MSM: "Former Maryland Banker Reveals He Used To Work For CIA" [02/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "Edwin “Ed” Hale Sr., a retired bank executive known locally for his sharp-elbowed approach to business, installed video surveillance on his 186-acre farm and still sleeps with a sawed-off shotgun by his bed. His friends, former employees and even his own daughters were shocked to learn in his recently published biography that he had ample reason to do so: The former chief executive and chairman of Bank of Baltimore says he worked covertly for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost a decade in the 1990s and early 2000s. During that time, he said, he spoke regularly with a CIA handler and allowed the agency to create a fake company under his corporate umbrella, which included shipping and trucking companies he ran at the same time he led the bank. Operatives in the field used the fictitious firm as cover when traveling the world, complete with business cards and hats. Mr. Hale said he worked under “nonofficial cover,” in which his identity was unassociated with the U.S. government. In the early 1990s, Mr. Hale said, the CIA used agents posing as his employees to track Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and gather information on the terrorist’s financing operations. [...]" 

Pathological Greed: "Larry Silverstein Files Billion $ Lawsuit Against Airliners" [02/04/15] Printer Friendly Version "The developer rebuilding the World Trade Center in New York told a federal appeals court that he is entitled to recoup billions of dollars from two airlines, even though he has already collected USD$4 billion in insurance money for the September 11, 2001, attacks that destroyed the site. Lawyers for Larry Silverstein and his World Trade Center Properties urged the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to overturn a lower court ruling barring him from pursuing damages against United Continental Holdings and American Airlines Group, whose planes crashed into the twin towers. But the airlines said the insurance money was more than enough to compensate Silverstein for the fair market value of the lease he held for the property. Separately, Silverstein's lawyers also argued his insurers should hand over USD$1.2 billion they won from the airlines and airport security companies. The two-front appeal is the latest in a years-long legal battle Silverstein has waged over the site, which saw its new flagship skyscraper, One World Trade Center, previously known as the Freedom Tower, open in November. Silverstein has argued that the lease included a contractual obligation that he rebuild the site. He claims he is entitled to money for those costs, as well as for lost rental revenue, in addition to compensation for the value of the buildings themselves. In July 2013, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said Silverstein could not recover damages from United Airlines, now United Continental, and American Airlines, which Silverstein accused of negligence. Four months later, Hellerstein ruled Silverstein had no right to the money his insurers had collected from the airlines as part of their own claims. The three-judge panel did not indicate how it would rule, though Circuit Judge Chester Straub expressed doubts about the airlines' position. [...]"  

Commentary: "10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis That Are Happening Again Right Now" [02/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "If you do not believe that we are heading directly toward another major financial crisis, you need to read this article. So many of the exact same patterns that preceded the great financial collapse of 2008 are happening again right before our very eyes. History literally appears to be repeating, but most Americans seem absolutely oblivious to what is going on. The mainstream media and our politicians are promising them that everything is going to be okay somehow, and that seems to be good enough for most people. But the signs that another massive financial crisis is on the horizon are everywhere. All you have to do is open up your eyes and look at them.  Bill Gross, considered by many to be the number one authority on government bonds on the entire planet, made headlines all over the world on Tuesday when he released his January Investment Outlook. I don’t know if we have ever seen Gross be more negative about a new year than he is about 2015. For example, just consider this statement… “When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over.” And this is how he ended the letter… [...] "And so that is why – at some future date – at some future Ides of March or May or November 2015, asset returns in many categories may turn negative. What to consider in such a strange new world? High-quality assets with stable cash flows. Those would include Treasury and high-quality corporate bonds, as well as equities of lightly levered corporations with attractive dividends and diversified revenues both operationally and geographically. With moments of liquidity having already been experienced in recent months, 2015 may see a continuing round of musical chairs as riskier asset categories become less and less desirable. Debt supercycles in the process of reversal are not favorable events for future investment returns. Father Time in 2015 is not the babe with a top hat in our opening cartoon. He is the grumpy old codger looking forward to his almost inevitable “Ides” sometime during the next 12 months. Be cautious and content with low positive returns in 2015. The time for risk taking has passed."  So why are Gross and so many other financial experts being so “negative” right now? It is because they can see what is happening. They can see the same patterns that we saw in early 2008 unfolding again right in front of us. I wanted to put these patterns in a single article so that they will be easy to share with people. The following are 10 key events that preceded the last financial crisis that are happening again right now: [...]" 

Commentary: "12-Year Old Child Reveals One Of The Best Kept Secrets In The World" [02/03/15] [6:43] "12-year old exposes the immorality of the global banking system and why sound money is essential to freedom and stopping the spread of misery on this planet. [...]"  

MSM: "Unpublicized US House Resolution No.41 Admits True Fiscal Situation In The US" Zero Hedge [02/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "HR.41 -January 21, 2015:(PDF) "Whereas the Federal Government is operating at an annual deficit and is increasing its outstanding debt every year; Whereas the Federal Government, as of January 2015, is carrying more than $18.0 trillion in debt, of which $13.0 trillion is owed to the public and $5.08 trillion is owed to Social Security and other trust funds; Whereas the Federal Government borrowed 14 cents for every dollar it spent in 2014; Whereas foreign governments, individuals, and corporations as of October 2014 own 47 percent of Federal debt held by the public; Whereas Social Security’s unfunded liabilities in 2014 are $10.6 trillion over 75 years and $24.9 trillion over the infinite horizon; Whereas the Federal debt held by the public is expected to increase by more than $7 trillion from 2014 to 2024 according to the Congressional Budget Office; Whereas State and local governments are heavily dependent on Federal revenues; Whereas more than 16 percent of the entire Federal budget goes directly to States and local governments; Whereas more than 22 percent of total State and local government general revenue comes from the Federal Government according to Census Bureau’s latest Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finance; Whereas numerous State and local government employee pension plans have offered overly generous retirement benefits to its employees and are in dire financial situations with combined unfunded liabilities of more than $4 trillion; Whereas many State and local government pension plans have understated liabilities and overstated asset growth rates and have employed methodologies that private sector plans are prohibited from using by Federal law; and Whereas several State and local pension plans are expected to fully exhaust their funds within ten years: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that (1) the Federal Government should not bailout State and local government employee pension plans and other post-employment benefit plans; and (2) State and local governments should immediately institute reforms to their employee pension plans, including replacing defined benefit plans with defined contribution plans." [...]    

MSM: "UK Banks Accused Of Being 'Fundamentally Corrupt' After They Sold Useless Card Insurance To Two Million Customers" [02/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "The UK’s biggest banks were last night accused of being ‘fundamentally corrupt’ after selling worthless insurance to up to two million customers. The victims included vulnerable customers who had contacted their bank after their credit card had been lost or stolen. They were then duped into paying for insurance to protect themselves against fraudulent transactions made on their replacement card.  But the insurance was useless as banks are legally obliged to refund fraudulent payments to customers anyway. Typically the policies were sold when people contacted their banks for help over lost or stolen credit cards. Yesterday the City watchdog announced 11 lenders and credit card firms, including Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC and Santander, would have to pay compensation for the latest scandal to shame the High Street. [...] Other big names to have been caught out include Tesco Personal Finance, The Co-operative Bank, Capital One and Clydesdale Bank. The Financial Conduct Authority said 2million customers who took out ‘card security’ policies will start receiving letters later this month informing them that they could be line for a pay-out. In many cases customers will have been shelling out annual premiums of between £20 and £40 for insurance they did not need. They could be in line for hundreds of pounds in compensation. Banks have already had to set aside more than £23billion to compensate customers duped into buying payment protection insurance – with Lloyds alone putting aside more than £11billion.[...] The insurance was provided by a little-known US firm called Affinion, based in Stamford, Connecticut. But the policies were widely sold by the banks, which received money for each sale. [...] Now the High Street lenders face having to return hundreds of millions of pounds – plus 8 per cent interest – to customers.[...] Yesterday RBS, Lloyds and Barclays refused to apologise to customers and HSBC declined to comment. A spokesman from Affinion, which has escaped a fine, said the FCA had not found any fault with the company.[...]" 

Interviews: "Former Canadian Minister Of Defense Talks About Banker Takeover Of Canada" [02/01/15] [25:06] "Luke Rudkowski sits down with former Canadian Minister of Defense and accomplished politician Paul Hellyer. Paul breaks down very important historical events that allowed the banker mafia to take over the Canadian monetary system. [...]"

Date With Destiny: "Bank Executive, 31, Jumps To Death From Workplace ‘After Dispute With Girlfriend’" [02/01/15] Printer Friendly Version  "A banker apparently jumped to his death from the roof of his office tower in Hong Kong's financial district after telling his girlfriend by email that he was unhappy with their relationship. Lui Yau-man, 31, was wearing a suit when he was found in a flower bed by a security guard at Citibank Plaza in Central at about 7.15am. Lui worked as assistant vice-president in the risk-management department of the Fuzhou-based Industrial Bank, a national commercial bank that has its offices in the ICBC Tower within the Citibank Plaza complex.  A police source said he appeared to have jumped to his death over his relationship. "He had sent an email to his girlfriend to talk about problems in their love affair and expressing his unhappiness before he left his office and went to the roof," the source said.[...]" 

Commentary: "Greece Crisis Goes Systemic As Banker Controlled EU Suffering Meltdown" [02/01/15] [15:55]

Commentary: "Brazil's Economy Is On The Verge Of Total Collapse" [01/31/15] Printer Friendly Version "Back when the BRICs were the source of marginal global growth, the punditry couldn't stop praising them. However, in the past year, now that China's housing bubble has burst and its shadow banking system has imploded, those who remember what BRIC actually stood for are about as rare as those who recall what it means for the Fed to hike rates. Which is precisely why nobody in the mainstream financial media has commented on the absolutely abysmal economic update reported earlier today out Brazil. We are happy to do so because today's data follows up quite well to our article from a month ago "Brazil's Economy Just Imploded" and as the earlier article on the crashing Brazilian Real hinted, things for the Brazilian economy how gone from imploding to, well, worse because not only did the twin fiscal and current account deficits rise even more, hitting a whopping 11% of GDP - the worst since August 1999, but its government debt soared to 63.4% in 2014, up from 56.7% a year ago, and the highest since at least 2006. In short - the entire economy is now on the verge of total collapse. This is what happened in a few bullet points: [...]" 

MSM: "Greece Will No Longer Work With Troika : Finance Minister" [01/31/15] Printer Friendly Version "Greece’s newly-elected anti-austerity Finance Minister says his government will no longer cooperate with the troika of international lenders or seek aid extension. Referring to the troika, the Greek finance minister said, “We have no intention of co-operating with a three-member committee whose goal is to implement a program whose logic we consider anti-European.” [...]" 

MSM: "Putin Pivots: Russia Confirms Willingness To Provide Financial Aid To Greece" [01/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "We suggested the Greek pivot from Europe to Russia was building previously, and now, we get confirmation from Russia's finance minister Anton Siluanov that the pivot could be mutual, who told CNBC in the interview  "Russia Would Weigh Finance For Greece If Asked, Siluanov: CNBC" [1:10] With fire and brimstone spewing from Germany over the potential for Greece to veto any and everything, it seems Russia may just have stymied Europe's leverage over the newly democratic nation. [...] Recall that a German central banker warned of dire problems should the new government call the country's aid program into question, jeopardizing funding for the banks. "That would have fatal consequences for Greece’s financial system. Greek banks would then lose their access to central bank money," Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel told Handelsblatt newspaper. Well, maybe... Unless of course Greece finds a new, alternative source of funding, one that has nothing to do with the establishmentarian IMF, whose "bailouts" are merely a smokescreen to implement pro-western policies and to allow the rapid liquidation of any "bailed out" society." An alternative such as the BRIC Bank for example. Recall that the "BRICS Announce $100 Billion Reserve To Bypass Fed, Developed World Central Banks" [7/15/2014] So once again, it appears as if all the leverage is. much to the shock and humiliation of Brussels, back in Tsipras' hands. [...]"  

MSM: "Baltic Dry Index ('World Cargo Shipped' Measure) Crashes To Lowest In 29 Years" [01/30/15] Printer Friendly Version "Quietly behind the scenes - and not at all reflective of a collapsing global economy (because that would break the narrative of over-supply and pent-up demand) - The Baltic Dry Index plunged over 5% today to 632... That is the lowest absolute level for the global shipping rates indicator since August 1986... [...]" 

Commentary: "War By Other Means: IMF And World Bank Are Weapons Of War" John Pilger [01/29/15] [51:55]    

Commentary: "The Alchemy Of Synthetic Finance And Global Governance" [01/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "This past week, the world’s vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can’t have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with humanity, resembles the controllers in the Lucas classic, THX 1138, building their own prison destined to entrap their own progeny. Degenerate elite always end up being their own worst enemy because pride detaches man from reality, which can only be perceived in the truth. Pride causes man to adopt a delusory sense of the world and his own relation to it, thereby bringing about a praxis divorced from the rules of nature, logic and classical wisdom. Banking man, homo economicus, with his foaming at the mouth rapaciousness, will find his own descendants trapped in the virtual A.I. prison grid he has built. [...] When we consider the global economic situation, it is crucial to understand we are living in the midst of a long-running script that was hammered out long ago by European banking houses. CFR archivist and historian Dr. Carroll Quigley laid all of this out in his 1300-page work, Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, admitting that both world wars and economic crises, as well as so-called “leftist,” “communist,” and “fascist” movements have been the creation of international banking elites. Davos thus represents a yearly public manifestation of this same superstructure Quigley described, and with Davos we can see another insight into the digital future – since digits are useful in both banking and computing. At this juncture, I recommend the following documentary on flash trades, where the nexus of the virtual meets the banking, coalescing into a hybrid chimera of fraud like the world has never seen. It’s not accidental the documentary is titled “alchemy,” since this also brings to mind George Soros’ book, The Alchemy of Finance."[...] Is there a deeper sense to all this alchemy and digit talk? I have argued in the absolute affirmative. This is no mere banking scam confidence trick: the metamorphosis of economics into virtual, digital existence mirrors the transference of the social sphere into the virtual as well. It is not by organic happenstance that both realms of civilization have moved in this direction – it is not as if the coming technocracy was only interested in dominating the social realm for constructing A.I., while the banking sphere would be left to “market forces.” Collins comments on the problem-reaction-solution scripting that, in my view, corresponds to the alchemist’s solve et coagula, and readers will take note of the connections to the French Revolutions I also highlighted in relation to the French terror events: [...]  Related: "Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street"   [47:30] "A documentary about algorythmic trading [...]" |  "Is The US Preparing To Blame The Next Market Crash On "Russian Spies" And High Frequency Trading?" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Lawless Leaders Changing the World-Catherine Austin Fitts" MSM [01/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Financial expert Catherine Austin Fitts says the world is changing through crime by our leaders. Fitts contends, “We are dealing with a lawlessness that is happening with the build out of the global systems, which is very ugly. If you look at what has happened to the Ukraine, so far, over a million people have lost their homes. That’s pretty lawless. The fighting is getting very, very painful. The other thing you have is as people see a power vacuum and the lawlessness of the leaders, they say hey let’s be lawless too. It translates all the way down into our communities. The lawlessness of drug dealing and organized crime is enormous, and it’s happening globally. . . . For markets to function, they require trust in the rule of law. We’ve seen the breakdown in the rule of law.” Fitts predicts that 2015 is going to be “volatile and violent.” Fitts says, “I think 2015 is going to be a very rough year. I think you have to be prepared for wild swings. We’ve seen oil come down 50%.” Fitts also points out, “The creative destructive aspects are pretty scary. The thing that your listeners are struggling with is we’ve been through a lot of change. The change has been painful because the American leadership encouraged the taxpayer to misbehave. . . . I think a lot of people feel they have been left high and dry; and in fact, they have. The reality is if you look at the change we’ve experienced over the last 20 years, it’s nothing compared to the next 10 years. In the next 10 years, the change is going to accelerate. We need to stop and take a big breath, and say I don’t want to be a patsy. I was a patsy in the last 20 years. I don’t want to be a patsy in the next 10 years.” On the Middle East, Fitts says, “The Middle East is already out of control, and it’s been out of control for a while. It you look at the long view . . . [...]"  Related: Interviews: Video  [38:45] "Investment banker Catherine Austin Fitts predicts that 2015 is going to be “volatile and violent.” Fitts says, “I think 2015 is going to be a very rough year. I think you have to be prepared for wild swings. We’ve seen oil come down 50%.” Fitts also points out, “The creative destructive aspects are pretty scary.” Are we going to have a big U.S. dollar devaluation at some point? Fitts says, “That’s a military question. Where the dollar comes out really comes down to both the covert and overt military capacity of the United States.” 

Commentary: "Debt Crisis Worsens: Syriza Wins Greek Elections, ECB Prints More Money, Gold More Valuable" MSM [01/27/15] Printer Friendly Version "Is there a link between the ECB decision of Thursday January 22nd to stimulate the economy with 1 trillion euros over a period of 18 months and the Greek elections which show that the radical left party Syriza is the big winner? Yes, there is a link. And the short answer is “the debt crisis.” The long answer is slightly more complicated, in the sense that one needs to dig a little bit deeper to have an understanding of how both events are associated to each other. The framework in which this is taking place is the unfolding debt crisis, and the associated currency wars. Governments are responding to the nasty effects of the debt situation with measures which appear to cure the issue on the short run but which worsen the situation on the longer run." [...]"  

Commentary: "Davos Celebrates As ECB Unleashes Trillion Euro Quantitative Easing (QE) Program" MSM [01/26/15] Printer Friendly Version "The equation is simple: the Central Bank will be printing loads of money, and speculators and bankers will profit hugely, but it will mean more intense austerity measures for the feudal peasants. Got it? This latest move, however, could be the death knell of the Eurozone experiment, as individual nations appear to be ‘hedging’ their debt positions now, a stark departure from past behavior based on collectivization. But with all that cheap paper, junk bonds and other derivatives – flooding into the financial markets, you can be sure they’re celebrating in Davos… [...]" Related: "Global Economy Meltdown Begins As Central Bank QE Policy A Failure" [15:24]  

Resource: "Notional Amount Of Derivative Contracts – Top 25 Commercial Banks, Savings Associations, & Trusts" [01/26/15] Note: Chart, 9/30/14.

Documentary: "Argentina's Financial Collapse" [01/26/15] [1:21:54] or, watch in 12 parts "The 2001 collapse. What is significant about that one was, it was the beginning of when the banksters, in cooperation with the corrupt Argentinian government, came in to a working economy and leveraged the crap out of everything. Everything was sold off or the equity taken out of it….aka….massive debt. It hasn’t recovered fully since….hence the other mini-collapses. [...]" Related: "Lessons From Argentina's Economic Collapse" Printer Friendly Version "For western countries such as the UK, the first major problems of Peak Oil, assuming there are no oil shocks, will not be the shortage of oil but the economic crises that will occur. Argentina is a recent example of a country that suffered a serious economic crisis, and although Argentina and the UK are not identical, anyone interested in how economic crises can affect individual lives will be very interested in the following vivid description of life for an Argentinian following the economic collapse. [...]"  Related: "Lessons From The Soviet Collapse: A Conversation With Dmitry Orlov" MP3 Audio  "“They can’t really grasp the fact that everything they’ve built has stopped working, because their ideology forbids them from doing it. So that’s identical with what was going on in the Soviet Union.” -Dmitry Orlov [...] Orlov’s perspective on collapse is informed by his extended trips to his former homeland before and during its collapse. Orlov believes and states that the former Soviet Union was set up to be resilient in the face of collapse. This, he believes is not the case in the US or Canada. In this interview, Orlov also comments on the current situation with low oil prices, peak oil and its impact on agriculture, Russian moves in alignment with China, overtures toward the EU, the politics of austerity, the Ukraine Civil War as Anglo-Imperialist Departure Strategy, and much more.[...]

MSM: "Bill Gates Pushes Cashless Society" [01/25/15] Printer Friendly Version Video    [7:07] "Scheme would allow government to confiscate money at will [...] Bill Gates is now promoting “digital currency” in third-world countries, which will make the poor even more dependent on central banks while also turning them into guinea pigs for the development of a “cashless society” in the U.S. and Europe. Gates outlined his plan for a cashless society in a letter published Thursday in which he proposed the poor have better access to mobile phones so they can store their financial assets digitally "instead of keeping hard currency at home". “The key to this will be mobile phones,” he wrote. “Already, in the developing countries with the right regulatory framework, people are storing money digitally on their phones and using their phones to make purchases, as if they were debit cards.” “By 2030, two billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones.” But this will only enslave the poor into an electronic monetary system they don’t control, allowing central banks and the government unparalleled ability to confiscate money at will through taxes and “bail-ins.”[...] “While the whole idea is being marketed as an inevitable consequence of the decline in cash payments and the rise of credit cards and contact-less payment technology, many in the privacy community see the elimination of cash as another means of abolishing anonymity,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote. “Alternatives to cash that could still provide anonymity, such as crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, are slowly being adopted by more stores and chains, but at nowhere near the rate required to provide a viable competitor to the likes of Google Wallet and Paypal.” [...] "  Note: Gates is another one of those know-it-all arrogant conceptually hobbled reincarnated retreads (sequential) 'one-size-fits-all' globalists' who has his head in the clouds at the expense of everything else, like fellow reincarnate Elon Musk, and those in the "trans-human' motif who are involved with dynamics like this:  "Building Gods (2013) - Transhumanism Artificial Intelligence and Nanotechnology" [1:20:23] 

Hypocrisy Today: "A Billionaire Lectures Serfs In Davos: “America’s Lifestyle Expectations Are Far Too High" Printer Friendly Version "If you listened closely this morning, you could hear humanity vomit as JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, began to speak at Davos. In what amounted to some of the most egotistical and delusional statements heard at a conference filled with egotistical and delusional participants, Mr. Dimon didn’t disappoint. Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics. “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.” Wait a minute, “we” need to reinvent our whole system of life? I’m curious, Mr. Greene, how specifically will YOU be adjusting your lifestyle expectations? I didn’t think so. Kindly shut the fuck up. [...] Jewish Business News reports that: "Billionaire Jeff Greene really does believe that he can get $195 million for his California estate, which just so happens to be the most expensive listing for a residential property in American history. The 59 year old made his money by betting against the subprime mortgage market that burst in 2008. But many observers think that the $195 million price tag on the Beverly Hills property is just a type of marketing gimmick and that Greene does not honestly expect to get that much money for it. Greene dispelled these rumors in an interview with the New York Times. “When you consider the value of the land and the quality of the construction. $195 million is really quite reasonable,” he said.[...] From the Huffington Post: "Working on Greene’s 145-foot Choy Lee yacht was like being “locked” in Studio 54 in its prime. It was nothing short of, “Sex, Drugs, and Techno Music.” Celebrities, “hired” party girls, mayhem, and debauchery. I saw more 'tits and ass' in one night on Jeff Greene’s Summerwind than I have for the past seven years on South Beach.[...]"  Note: Loser and conceptually hobbled sequential reincarnate. | "The Five Wildly Excessive Mansions of the Guy Who Wants You to Learn to Live With Less" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Greece Set To Reject Austerity And Financial Oligarchy" [01/24/15] Printer Friendly Version "In two days time Greece is due to go to the polls and Syriza, a party looking to say no to ridiculous and unmanageable debts, is set to take power. This has the potential to cause a huge shift in economic policy throughout the world as it identifies austerity as a failed policy route. But not everyone in the Euro thinks it is a bad idea for the Greeks to do this, Hollande had no issue here but subsequently had his nation fall victim to a terrorist attack. This has the potential to cause huge changes in a world currently dominated by Anglo-American financial hegemony. [...]"

MSM: "Countries Race To Repatriate Gold, Reveals Concern Over Impending Financial Crisis" [01/23/15] Printer Friendly Version "Germany’s Bundesbank announced that the country repatriated 85 tons of gold from New York in 2014, far surpassing its previous estimates of 30 to 50 tons — and laying to waste a Bloomberg article you might have seen last summer insisting that the Germans were happy to keep their gold in American vaults. Turns out, not so much happiness. You might really label it: concern about keeping their gold in America. Including the gold repatriated from Paris, Germany brought home 120 tons last year. And the Netherlands, meanwhile, removed 122.5 tons of gold — about one-fifth of their total gold stored overseas — from New York, bringing it back to Amsterdam. Germany is just the latest in a collection of governments that no longer want their gold held in U.S. and U.K. vaults, the resting places for much of the world’s sovereign gold since after World War II. Last year I wrote about how Austria suddenly decided that the British central bank in London maybe wasn’t the best place to keep their gold. It doesn’t end there. France, Belgium, Austria, Ecuador, Finland, Switzerland, Venezuela, Romania and Poland: They’re all either talking about repatriating national gold or they’ve already done so. Some are clearly countries run by leaders with a populist agenda — to wit, Venezuela and Ecuador. Others are run by sober governments making sober decisions about national wealth in a time of global economic worry. [...]"  

Commentary: "Ukraine Stiffs China For Billions Owed" [01/22/15] Printer Friendly Version "China paid Ukraine $3B two years ago for grain still not delivered, now demands refund. Another $3.6B that’s owed to China, will probably also default. [...] Russia’s RIA Novosti News Agency reported, on January 17th, that China is demanding refund of $1.5 billion in cash and of an additional $1.5 billion in Chinese goods that were paid in advance by China (in 2013), for a 2012 Chinese order of grain from Ukraine, which goods still have not been supplied to China. According to RIAN, “State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine (STATE FOOD) supplied grain in 2013, elsewhere, but not to China. The new Kiev authorities had an opportunity to fix the short-sighted actions ‘of the [previous] Yanukovych regime,’ and to present a positive economic image to the Chinese.” But it didn’t happen.[...] Furthermore: “Prior to the Presidency of Yanukovych [which started in 2010], China’s leadership had simply refused to do business with the pre- Yanukovych Administration’s Yulia Tymoshenko, and they planned to wait until Yanukovych became President. He then came, and since has been ousted, and yet still only $153 million of grain has been delivered.” (None of the $1.5B cash that China advanced to Ukraine to pay for growing and shipping grain has been returned to China, but only the $153M that had essentially been swapped: Chinese goods for Ukrainian grain.) This $153 million was approximately as much as the interest that would be due on China’s prepayment, and so Ukraine still owes China the full $3 billion ($1.5B in cash, + $1.5B that China supplied in goods). The RIAN report goes on to quote Alex Luponosov, a Ukrainian authority on Ukraine’s banking system, who says, “Ukraine won’t be able to supply the grain to China, because we don’t have it.” The reason he gives is that “there is a big shortage of technicians: combiners, adjusters, mechanics, farm-machinery operators — all of them were taken by the army.[...]  The RIAN report says that, “China is angry,” and it closes: “By the way, in addition to China’s $3B loan that’s to be repaid with grain [which cannot be supplied], Ukraine also received from China a $3.6 billion loan to pay for the gasification of coal, by Ukraine’s gas company, Naftogaz, which the Ukrainian Government has guaranteed up to 2.3 billion dollars. Information on the implementation of the coal-gasification project has not been made available, but there seems to be a high probability that this matter too will be decided in a court. If China decides to call in that loan, then the result will be the bankruptcy of either Naftogaz, or the Ukrainian Government.”[...]"   

MSM: "Taken For Granted At Davos That US Government Runs On ‘Legalized Corruption’" [01/22/15] Printer Friendly Version Video  [2:40] "While there may be confusion among some in the US as to how the American political system operates, it is apparently taken for granted by participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that politics in America is based on bribery and corruption. In an interview at Davos with Bloomberg News related to growing concerns about rising wealth inequality and its corruption influence on American politics economist and NYU business professor Nouriel Roubini stated as a matter of fact that it would be hard for the US to overcome wealth inequality because the US political system was based on “legalized corruption” which meant rich people – having more resources to bribe politicians with – would generally prevail. [...]" 

MSM: "Bill To Restore Glass-Steagall Filed in The House" [01/21/15] Printer Friendly Version "Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a lead sponsor of the bill to restore Glass-Steagall in the last Congress, filed a bill into the new Congress on January 14th, with 16 co-sponsors, to restore the Glass Steagall Act. Titled "To repeal certain provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and revive the separation between commercial banking and the securities business, in the manner provided in the Banking Act of 1933, the so-called 'Glass-Steagall Act', and for other purposes," it has been assigned number H.R. 381. The co-sponsors — all of whom were among the 83 co-sponsors of Kaptur's bill in the previous Congress to restore Glass Steagall — are Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), John Garamendi (D-Cal.), Gene Green (D-Tex.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Cal,), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) [...]"  

Commentary: "Swiss Shocker Triggers Gigantic Losses For Banks, Hedge Funds And Currency Traders" [01/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "The absolutely stunning decision by the Swiss National Bank to decouple from the euro has triggered billions of dollars worth of losses all over the globe. Citigroup and Deutsche Bank both say that their losses were somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 million dollars, a major hedge fund that had 830 million dollars in assets at the end of December has been forced to shut down, and several major global currency trading firms have announced that they are now insolvent. And these are just the losses that we know about so far. It will be many months before the full scope of the financial devastation caused by the Swiss National Bank is fully revealed. But of course the same thing could be said about the crash in the price of oil that we have witnessed in recent weeks. These two “black swan events” have set financial dominoes in motion all over the globe. At this point we can only guess how bad the financial devastation will ultimately be. But everyone agrees that it will be bad. For example, one financial expert at Boston University says that he believes the losses caused by the Swiss National Bank decision will be in the billions of dollars… “The losses will be in the billions — they are still being tallied,” said Mark T. Williams, an executive-in-residence at Boston University specializing in risk management. “They will range from large banks, brokers, hedge funds, mutual funds to currency speculators. There will be ripple effects throughout the financial system.” [...] And actually, if the total losses from this crisis are only limited to the “billions” I think that we will be extremely fortunate. As I mentioned above, a hedge fund that had 830 million dollars in assets at the end of December just completely imploded. Everest Capital’s Global Fund had heavily bet against the Swiss franc, and as a result it now has lost “virtually all its money” […] All eyes are on the European Central Bank right now. If a major round of quantitative easing is announced, that could unleash yet another wave of crippling losses for financial institutions. [...] Chinese shares plunged about 8% Monday after the country’s securities regulator imposed margin trading curbs on several major brokerages, a sign that authorities are trying to rein in the market’s big gains. It was China’s largest drop in six years. Sadly, most Americans have absolutely no idea what is coming.[...]"    Related: See also below: "Everest Macro Hedge Fund Blows Up After Nearly $1 Billion In Swiss Franc Losses" [01/19/15]; "Currency War: Swiss Fight Back, Remove Cap On Euro, Forcing Wall Street Losses, Forex Firms Fail" [01/18/15] ; "A Black Swan Event Rocks Gold And The Swiss Franc" [01/16/15]

MSM: "Wall Street Banks Slash 50,000 Jobs, Reduce Bonuses & Expenses As Profits Continue To Dry Up" [01/20/15] "In a wild swing of the ax that has shocked many pundits, Wall Street’s biggest banks have slashed nearly 50,000 jobs, and bonuses and expense money are being cut as profit opportunities dry up. And there’s no easy way out, analysts say, because the Fed’s quantitative easing that once rescued the financial system with trillions of cheap dollars is — at least for now — history. The fourth quarter saw thousands more workers fired. Total reductions for 2014 were about 20,000 at Brian Moynihan’s Bank of America; 10,000 at Citigroup led by Michael Corbat; and 10,000 at Jaime Dimon’s JP Morgan. Morgan Stanley reports on Tuesday. Many job losses were already flagged — attributed, for example, to a decline in servicing of delinquent loans as banks cleared troubled mortgages. But analysts also see brutal cost-cutting. “Look, I think head count in the banking industry is likely to decline,” said CLSA investment group bank analyst Mike Mayo. “And if this environment remains, headcount would get significantly reduced.” By Mayo’s calculations, bank revenues are the weakest in eight decades, a shocking throwback to the Great Depression.[...]"  

MSM: "IMF Lowers 2015 Global Economy Growth Estimates From 3.8 To 3.5 Percent" [01/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "In an update to its October 2014 World Economic Outlook, on Monday, the IMF lowered by 0.3 percent (to 3.7 percent) its predictions for global growth in 2016. [...]"  

MSM: "Russian Central Bank Bans Western Ratings Agencies" [01/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "On the heels of last week’s downgrades by Fitch and Moody’s to just above junk status, The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has issued a statement that it will no longer use credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, or Moody’s that were assigned after March 1, 2014. All credit ratings will now be at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Bank as regulators assess whether or not the ratings made after March are accurate. Sounds like Spain, Greece, and USA’s previous derision over ratings agencies proclamations is heading east. [...] The Central Bank of Russia will no longer use credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, or Moody’s that were assigned after March 1, 2014. All credit ratings given to Russian companies and banks will now be at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Bank, according to a press statement Monday. The regulator will assess whether or not the ratings made after March are accurate. The decision comes after Fitch and Moody’s downgraded Russian sovereign debt to just above junk status. Standard & Poor’s will decide whether it cuts Russian debt to junk level by the end of January after cutting it last April, after Crimea rejoined Russia and the West began to levy sanctions against Moscow.[...]" 

Commentary: "China Remains Largest Foreign Holder Of US Bonds: Treasury" [01/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "China’s holdings of US Treasuries fell for the third consecutive month in November, as Yuan appreciation indicated less of an impetus to buy the government securities. The Treasury said in a monthly report that China had cut its holdings to $1.25 trillion by the end of November. That was $2.3 billion less than in October. The Chinese government is trying to move toward a market-determined exchange rate for the Yuan, part of its efforts to expand the currency’s use worldwide. The less China intervenes to weaken its currency, the less it needs to buy securities such as US Treasuries. [...]"  

MSM: "Body Of Top AIG Exec Who Disappeared From His Marriott Hotel Room Is Discovered In Nearby Desert" [01/20/15] Printer Friendly Version "The body of a missing AIG executive, last seen at a Californian hotel on Thursday, was discovered in the nearby desert. Omar Arce Meza, 33, from Los Angeles, was last seen at around 11pm at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert. The cause of death is still unknown.  Meza, a vice president for AIG Financial Distributors, had business meetings scheduled for Friday that he didn’t show up for. He hadn’t used his credit card since Thursday and CCTV footage showed him exiting the hotel on foot wearing gray pants and a white T-shirt, and walking near a parking lot before moving out of range.[...]"  

MSM: "De-Dollarization Deepens: Russia Buys Most Gold In Six Months, Continues Selling Us Treasuries" [01/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "The rumors of Russia selling its gold reserves, it is now clear, were greatly exaggerated as not only did Putin not sell, Russian gold reserves rose by their largest amount in six months in December to just over $46 billion (near the highest since April 2013). It appears all the "Russia is selling" chatter did was lower prices enabling them to gather non-fiat physical assets at a lower cost. On the other hand, there is another trend that continues for the Russians - that of reducing their exposure to US Treasury debt. For the 20th month in a row, Russia's holdings of US Treasury debt fell year-over-year - selling into the strength.  Buying low... Russia gold reserves jump the most in six months in December, near the highest since April 2013...  and selling high... Russian holdings of US Treasuries are now at the 2nd lowest since 2008... [...] It would appear the greatest rotations that no one is talking about are the fiat to non-fiat and the paper to physical shifts occurring in China and Russia. [...] Let's put this into a slightly different perspective. Whatever your view of the European and US policies during the Global Financial Crisis and the subsequent Great Recession might be, one corner stone of all such policies was banks' deleveraging - aka 'pay down of debt'. Russia did not adopt such a policy on its own, but was forced to do so by the sanctions that shut off Russian banks and companies (including those not directly listed in the sanctions) from the Western credit markets. But if you think the above process is a catastrophe for the Russian economy induced by Kremlin, you really should be asking yourself a question or two about the US and European deleveraging policies at home.[...]"  

Commentary: "Global Finance And The Greek Elections: The Political Establishment’s Worst Nightmares" [01/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "With the Greek elections only days away, the governments and the media of the European Union have once again stepped up their campaign of threatening the Greek people and stirring up anti-Greek sentiments. While the IMF has shown its contempt for democratic elections by suspending all payments to Athens, the German government keeps refusing to deny allegations that the EU is prepared to dismiss Greece from its currency zone and let it reintroduce the drachma. [...] To anyone familiar with global finances it is highly improbable for a country with government debt running at almost 330 billion euros to leave the euro zone without dramatic consequences not only for the euro, but also for the global financial system. Germany’s allegations should therefore not be taken at face value. However, they should be seen as a very serious threat to Greek voters. The message sent from Berlin: Do not elect a government that dares resist the measures imposed upon Greek working people by the troika. [...] Five years have passed since Greece was put under forced administration by the troika made up of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. After the euro crisis hit Greece in 2009, the country’s major banks were facing bankruptcy, so the Greek government saved them by handing huge sums of taxpayers’ money to the financial industry. These payments in turn tore big holes into the state budget, which had to be refilled. This is where the troika stepped in, officially “aiding” the ailing Greek economy by passing out loans to Athens. The working people of Greece were told that these loans were designed to help the country get its finances in order again and that everybody would benefit from them in the long run. However, the majority of these loans went straight into the coffers of large banks. Here’s just one example: Of the 18 billion euros released by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in June 2012 6.9 billion euros went to the National Bank, 5 billion euros to Piraeus Bank, 4.2 billion euros to the EFG Eurobank Ergesias and 1.9 billion euros to the Alpha Bank. As with all other loans granted by the troika, not one cent of these alleged “aid payments” went to the working people of Greece. But that was not all. Although they weren’t in the least responsible for their country’s financial catastrophe, it was Greek workers and employees that were then forced to master the gigantic task of assuring the repayment of these loans. While those that had caused the deficits – reckless financial speculators – were allowed to go unpunished and unharmed it was the common people that were placed under the troika’s forced administration. Within four years they had to undergo six consecutive austerity programs that lowered their living standards from those of a European country to those of a developing nation. Greece today is a country in shambles. Five years after the onset of the crisis, more than a million old age pensioners are forced to live on less than 500 euros a month, the minimum wage is at 860 euros a month, unemployment runs at 26% while youth unemployment is almost 60%. The medical system has been taken down and social services are almost nonexistent. [...]"  

MSM: "Everest Macro Hedge Fund Blows Up After Nearly $1 BIllion In Swiss Franc Losses" [01/19/15] Printer Friendly Version "... Marko Dimitrijevic, the hedge fund manager who survived at least five emerging market debt crises, is closing his largest hedge fund after losing virtually all its money this week when the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly let the franc trade freely against the euro, according to a person familiar with the firm. Everest Capital’s Global Fund had about $830 million in assets as of the end of December, according to a client report. The Miami-based firm, which specializes in emerging markets, still manages seven funds with about $2.2 billion in assets. The global fund, the firm’s oldest, was betting the Swiss franc would decline, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private. Everest grew to $2.7 billion by the start of 1998 after navigating crises in Mexico and Southeast Asia. Russia’s default and currency devaluation proved trickier and assets fell by half amid losses. He revived the firm and a decade later Everest managed $3 billion. Then the global financial crisis hit, and assets shrunk by $1 billion. Last year, the main fund rose 14.1 percent, driven by Chinese equities and bets against currencies, including a wager that the Swiss franc would fall after citizens rejected a referendum that would require the central bank to hold at least 20 percent of its assets in gold, the investor report said.  [...]"  

MSM: "Currency War: Swiss Fight Back, Remove Cap On Euro, Forcing Wall Street Losses, Forex Firms Fail" [01/18/15] Printer Friendly Version "2015 will be marked by moments of self preservation, especially in financial markets. Thursday, the Swiss National Bank shocked the global financial world by announcing it removed the September 2011 cap placed on the currency’s value against the Euro, in a move to protect the Franc and prevent further losses caused by pressure from the global currency war. In these circumstances, the SNB concluded that enforcing and maintaining the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the euro is no longer justified.”  The fallout led to volatile trading around the world. The Swiss franc spiked as much as 30% after the announcement and the Swiss are reported to have lost as much as $60 billion as market positions settled, which may be the single biggest daily loss in modern financial markets. Thursday night, warning signs were reported by Zero Hedge that at least 4 foreign exchange trading firms (FXCM, Excel, Alpari, OANDA) saw massive surprise losses by clients, which can cause forex firms to fail if the shock is severe. The fallout is best explained by statements from New Zealand’s Excel Markets, which has folded. [...] Friday, more losses were revealed as trading continued to be volatile. Foreign exchange broker FXCM received a $300 million bailout Friday to continue normal operating procedures after losses because moves in the Swiss Franc left it near failure. The emergency funds from Leucadia National Corp, through Wall Street firm Jeffries “will permit FXCM to meet its regulatory-capital requirements and continue normal operations after yesterday’s loss of $225 million due to the unprecedented actions of the Swiss National Bank,” the two firms said in a statement. The more unsettling part is that as many have noted, the Swiss decision was the first time in the last 2 years that a central bank surprised markets, even the International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde admitted being completely unaware before the announcement." [...] Of course it is surprising to her that a central bank would dare upset the international order of the coordinated global economic rescue of the banking cartels by not telling other central bankers and financiers what their plans are before implementation. To understand what has happened, one must be familiar with the environment that has been in place due to the ongoing series of crises in global capital markets since 2008. [...] the oil price wars and currency war are both extensions of the structural problems in the global economy that were never fixed after the 2008 crisis. The inevitable momentum has continued in many forms which have been driven to the extremes by policies that were supposed to be the solution, mainly quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve and various bailouts. [...] The global currency war has been accelerating over the last 4 years as central bank activity has forced banks, hedge funds, pensions and other invested capital in to small baskets of choices if they want to remain profitable. This forced market activity causes mutations in global financial markets like the currency war and eventually the oil price crash. The crash is from downward price pressure on oil because of an economy that can’t support high prices due to lack of consumer demand as the temporary help of central bank policy becomes ineffective. The distinction is that the economics are ignored and the crash is largely blamed on geopolitical activity. [...]" Related: "Switzerland Ends Its Peg To The Euro, Swiss Franc Surges" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "China Renounces U.S. Dollar With Swap Agreements With 26 Countries" [01/18/15] [11:43] "Currency wars have been ignited. In fact, Switzerland has even lifted the peg on the Franc sending the currency up 30% instantly. Country after country have been engaging in swap agreements with China in order to diversify away from the U.S. Dollar. These countries will slowly erode the value of the Dollar, destroying the remaining legitimacy of the U.S. [...]"  

Commentary: "Currency Carnage: Why Did The Swiss Pull The Peg?" [01/17/15] Printer Friendly Version "As usual. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the US treasury, provides crucial (and scathing) analysis of both US government policies and recent events in FOREX markets. He offers this simple explanation for why the Swiss central bank removed the currency peg they initiated on their franc only three years ago, leaving behind a landscape littered with currency carnage: "The answer is that the EU attorney general ruled that it was permissible for the EU central bank to initiate Quantitative Easing–that is, the printing of new euros–in order to bail out the mistakes of the private bankers. This decision means that Switzerland expects to be confronted with massive flight from the euro and that the Swiss central bank is unwilling to print enough new Swiss francs to maintain the peg. The Swiss central bank believes that it would have to run the printing press so hard that the basis of the Swiss money supply would explode, far exceeding the GDP of Switzerland. The money printing policy of the US, Japan, and apparently now the EU has forced other countries to inflate their own currencies in order to prevent the rise in the exchange value of their currencies that would curtail their ability to export and earn foreign currencies with which to pay for their imports. Thus Washington has forced the world into printing money. The Swiss have backed out of this system. Will others follow, or will the rest of the world follow the Russians and Chinese governments into new monetary arrangements and simply turn their backs on the corrupt and irredeemable West?" [...] Most likely, a combination of both. Which means that Dr. Roberts is spot on in his predictions for an unsuspecting US population: [...] Roberts continues: "Americans need to understand that the only thing exceptional about the US is the ignorance of the population and the stupidity of the government. What other country would let a handful of Wall Street crooks control its economic and foreign policy, run its central bank and Treasury, and subordinate citizens’ interests to the interests of the one percent’s pocketbook? A population this insouciant is at the total mercy of Russia and China. The level of corruption and manipulation that characterizes US economic and foreign policy today was impossible in earlier times when Washington’s ambition was constrained by the Soviet Union. The greed for hegemonic power has made Washington the most corrupt government on earth. The consequence of this corruption is ruin. “Leadership passes into empire. Empire begets insolence. Insolence brings ruin.”  Ruin is America’s future." [...] Not pretty, to say the least. If Americans don’t work together to reign in their out of control government, they can kiss their stability and their assets goodbye.[...]" Note: Well, the nature of the local game seemingly precludes another outcome.  

MSM: "A Black Swan Event Rocks Gold And The Swiss Franc" [01/16/15] [5:26] "A black swan event is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise and has major consequences. [...] Today, such an event occurred causing the Swiss franc to soar as much as 30% and gold to jump to 4-month highs in chaotic trading after The Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoned the cap on the currency’s value against the euro. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) said the cap, introduced in September 2011, was no longer justified. No one predicted, hinted or even contemplated that The Swiss National Bank would do this. This move could well begin the demise of the euro that was cobbled together some 15 years ago. Personally, I am surprised to this day that this currency has survived as long as it has. The disparity between the work ethic of a country like Germany versus Greece is a joke – yet that is what the euro represents. As the Russian ruble continues to lose buying power, money is flowing into Switzerland from that country. I remember when I lived in Switzerland, flights used to arrive with passengers whose suitcases were stuffed full of illegal money. Make no mistake about it, this move by the Swiss National Bank is a game changer. [...]"  Related: "Stocks Down 5th Day Over Global Worries Swiss Bank Scrap Cap on Franc" [3:01] | "U.S. Dollar Plunges 28.34% and Euro Plunges 28.8% vs. Swiss Franc" Printer Friendly Version "The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has pulled the floor from the Euro by ending the Swiss Franc’s peg that supported the Euro’s value at 1.20 Swiss Francs. This move is a major surprise because the SNB fought hard to encourage its citizens to reject a recent gold referendum – citing that its passage would prevent them from maintaining their Euro peg. The SNB had been engaged in printing Swiss Franc to buy Euros, every time the EURCHF exchange rate declined to 1.20, not allowing the Euro’s value to decline below 1.20 Swiss Francs. Since implementing this support of the Euro in late-2011, the SNB’s foreign currency reserves exploded from CHF257.5 billion to CHF475.6 billion – an increase of 85%. The SNB’s Euro holdings increased from €120.485 billion in 2011 to €174.335 billion in November 2014, an increase of 44.7%. The SNB’s US Dollar holdings increased from $62.945 billion in 2011 to $142.366 billion in November 2014, an increase of 126.2%. The SNB recently reported that its total foreign currency reserve holdings increased by CHF27.5 billion in December, most likely from the heavy buying of Euros. [...]" | "Swiss Franc Move Rattles Eurozone" Printer Friendly Version |"Financial Markets Rocked By Decision To Abandon Ceiling On Swiss Franc" Printer Friendly Version

Commentary: "Oil Price Collapse Could Trigger Next Big Crisis" [01/16/15]  [7:52] "Economic forecaster and author Harry Dent elaborates on the oil crash in which OPEC is artificially keeping production low in an attempt destroy Russia’s economy. [...]" | " [...]" 

MSM: "US House Passes Bill Further Weakening Financial Regulation" [5:54] "TRNN's Jessica Desvarieux looks at the key bill provisions benefiting Wall Street, and also examines the so-called opposition of Democratic lawmakers [...]" |

Commentary: " Paul Craig Roberts: Thoughts On World Economic Situation" [01/16/15] [24:25] Alex Jones interviews PCR.

MSM: "Russia Just Pulled Itself Out Of The Petrodollar" MSM [01/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "Back in November, before most grasped just how serious the collapse in crude was (and would become, as well as its massive implications), we wrote "How The Petrodollar Quietly Died, And Nobody Noticed", because for the first time in almost two decades, energy- exporting countries would pull their "petrodollars" out of world markets in 2015.  This empirical death of Petrodollar followed years of windfalls for oil exporters such as Russia, Angola, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Much of that money found its way into financial markets, helping to boost asset prices and keep the cost of borrowing down, through so-called petrodollar recycling. We added that in 2014 "the oil producers will effectively import capital amounting to $7.6 billion. By comparison, they exported $60 billion in 2013 and $248 billion in 2012. The problem was compounded by its own positive feedback loop: as the last few weeks vividly demonstrated, plunging oil would lead to a further liquidation in foreign reserves for the oil exporters who rushed to preserve their currencies, leading to even greater drops in oil as the viable producers rushed to pump out as much crude out of the ground as possible in a scramble to put the weakest producers out of business, and to crush marginal production. Call it Game Theory gone mad and on steroids. [...] As Bloomberg reports Russia "may unseal its $88 billion Reserve Fund and convert some of its foreign-currency holdings into rubles, the latest government effort to prop up an economy veering into its worst slump since 2009." These are dollars which Russia would have otherwise recycled into US denominated assets. Instead, Russia will purchase even more Rubles and use the proceeds for FX and economic stabilization purposes.  "Together with the central bank, we are selling a part of our foreign-currency reserves,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in Moscow today. “We’ll get rubles and place them in deposits for banks, giving liquidity to the economy." Call it less than amicable divorce, call it what you will: what it is, is Russia violently leaving the ranks of countries that exchange crude for US paper." Russia may convert as much as 500 billion rubles from one of the government’s two sovereign wealth funds to support the national currency, Siluanov said, calling the ruble “under valued.” The Finance Ministry last month started selling foreign currency remaining on the Treasury’s accounts. The entire 500 billion rubles or part of the amount will be converted in January-February through the central bank, according to Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev. The Bank of Russia will determine the timing and method of the operation. And now, we await to see which other country will follow Russia out of the Petrodollar next, and what impact that will have not only on the world's reserve currency, on US Treasury rates, and on the most financialized commodity.[...]"   

Commentary: "This Is Exactly How Markets Behave Right Before They Crash" MSM [01/15/15] Printer Friendly Version "When the stock market starts to behave like a roller coaster, that is a sign that a major move to the downside is right around the corner. As I have stated repeatedly, when the market is very calm it tends to go up. But when the waters start getting really choppy, that is a clear indication that stocks are about to plummet. In early 2015, volatility has returned to Wall Street in a big way. At one point on Tuesday, the Dow was up more than 300 points. But then the bottom dropped out. From the peak on Tuesday, the Dow plunged nearly 700 points in less than 30 hours before recovering more than 100 points at the end of the day. The Dow has now experienced the longest losing streak that we have seen in 3 months, but that is not that big of a deal. Of much greater concern is the huge price swings that we have been seeing. Remember, the three largest single day stock market increases in history were right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. So if stocks go up 400 points tomorrow that is NOT a good sign. What we really need is a string of days when stocks move less than 100 points in either direction. If stocks keep making dramatic moves up and dramatic moves down, history tells us that it is only a matter of time before they collapse. Any student of stock market history knows that what we are witnessing right now is exactly how markets behave right before they crash. [...] One growing global worry is the steep decline in copper, which is used in many products and is often viewed as good gauge on how China is doing. The price of copper hit its lowest price since 2009 on Wednesday at $2.46. Copper is down nearly 7% this week alone. On Wednesday, the euro declined to the lowest level that we have seen in nine years, and Goldman Sachs is now saying that the euro and the U.S. dollar could be at parity by the end of next year. That is amazing considering the fact that it took $1.60 to get one euro back in July 2008. Personally, I am fully convinced that Goldman Sachs is right on this one. I believe that the euro is going to all-time lows that we have never seen before, and this is going to create massive problems for the Eurozone. With all of these signs of trouble out there, the smart money is rapidly pulling their money out of stocks and putting it into government bonds. This usually happens when a crisis is looming. It is called a “flight to safety”, and it pushes government bond yields down.
On Wednesday, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries fell beneath the important 1.8 percent barrier. We will probably see it go even lower in the months ahead. As the rest of the world economy crumbles, the remainder of the globe is looking to America to be the rock in the storm. [...]"  

MSM: "Antonio Weiss Withdraws From Consideration For Treasury Undersecretary" MSM [01/14/15] Printer Friendly Version "Antonio Weiss, the current global head of investment banking at Lazard, has asked Obama to withdraw his name from consideration for Treasury Undersecretary For Domestic Finance. Weiss’ nomination to take a leadership role at Treasury offended numerous progressive groups and Democratic Senators committed to trying to clean up the corrupt “revolving door” relationship between Washington and Wall Street. Most identified with the opposition to Weiss’ nomination was Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren who opposed him openly and claimed that as an investment banker who spent his career advising corporations on how to game the tax code and conduct corporate raids Weiss was not really qualified to be a regulator for domestic finance. One instance that became emblematic was Weiss’ work as an advisor on the deal that merged Burger King with Tim Horton’s that was likely done in part so Burger King could become a Canadian company and avoid US taxes. Weiss still plans to come to Washington and will serve in the Obama Administration as a counselor to former Citigroup executive and current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The position as counselor does not require Senate confirmation though it will allow Weiss to serve in government. His close connection to Lew will undoubtedly give him some informal authority and his “public” service will serve him well once he (inevitably) returns to the private sector. [...]" 

Commentary: "Ukraine Agreed to a Monsanto “Land Grab” to Get a $17 Billion Loan From The IMF" [01/12/15] Printer Friendly Version "The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game. Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover. Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine. In fact, a bit of political maneuvering by the IMF gave the Ukraine a $17 billion loan – but only if they would open up to biotech farming and the selling of Monsanto’s poison crops and chemicals – destroying a farmland that is one of the most pristine in all of Europe. Farm equipment dealer, Deere, along with seed producers Dupont and Monsanto, will have a heyday. In the guise of ‘aid,’ a claim has been made on Ukraine’s vast agricultural riches. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine has deep, rich, black soil that can grow almost anything, and its ability to produce high volumes of GM grain is what made biotech come rushing to take it over. [...] As reported by The Ecologist, according to the Oakland Institute: “Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies. There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.” The nation WAS Europe’s breadbasket – and now in an act of bio-warfare, it will become the wasteland that many US farmlands have become due to copious amounts of herbicide spraying, the depletion of soil, and the overall disruption of a perfect ecosystem. The aim of US government entities is to support the takeover of Ukraine for biotech interests (among other strategies involving the prop-up of a failing cabalistic banking system that Russia has also refused with its new alignment with BRICS and its own payment system called SWIFT). This is similar to biotech’s desired takeover of Hawaiian islands and land in Africa. The Ukraine war has many angles that haven’t been exposed to the general public – and you can bet that biotech has their hands in the proverbial corn pie.[...]"  Related: "Press Release: The World Bank And The IMF Open Up Ukraine To Western Interests" Printer Friendly Version "Oakland, California--A new report from the Oakland Institute, Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict, exposes how the international financial institutions swooped in on the heels of the political upheaval and are vying to deregulate and throw open Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector to foreign investors. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU Association agreement in favor of a Russian deal was a major factor in the crisis that led to his ouster in February 2014. Immediately following the change to a pro-EU government, the country’s pivot to the West was solidified with a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an additional $3.5 billion aid package from the World Bank, both of which require significant economic reforms and austerity measures that are set to have disastrous effects within the nation. [...]" 

Commentary: "Central Bankers Push Recovery Illusion Before False Flag Event - Ep562" X-22 Report [01/11/15] [47:09] "Central Banker propagandists push the idea that we're in "recovery". Apparently retails stores closing, mortgage declines, record auto loan defaults and labor non-participation rate are all signs of recovery. Something's brewing, prepare yourself wisely. [...] Italy’s jobless rate is at all time highs and getting worse. Corporate media and government are convincing everyone that it is ok that Greece leave the EU. Greek’s are starting to make a run on the banks. Unemployment dropped to 5.6% with more people unemployed. Baltic Dry Index drops again, showing manufacturing is imploding. Obama pushes new agenda, free 2 year community college. US boosting military capacity in Europe. The false flag terrorist brothers have been killed. The Islamic State is taking credit for the attacks. al-Qaeda/Islamic State is now threatening UK, Germany and the US with mass casualties. Be prepared for more false flag events.[...]"   

Commentary: "Discussion OF Current Events - Ep561" X-22 Report [01/10/15] [42:07] "UK manufacturing is collapsing. Central bankers continually threatening Greece on elections and a Greek exit from the EU. Many people being laid off. Retail stores closing. Obama explains how he is going to pump of the Real Estate bubble. Obama was misinformed on the Russia economy, low oil prices and sanctions will not collapse the economy. Ukraine is going deeper into debt. Russia trades fighter jets for food with Argentina. US placing F35's permanently in Europe. [...]" 

MSM: "60,000 Corporations Closed Every Year, Taxes Blamed" [01/10/15] Printer Friendly Version "America has lost 1 million corporations since their height during the Reagan era, in part driven out of business by the industrialized world’s highest corporate tax rate, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. The just-issued research revealed that the number of traditional “C” corporations has fall to a “historically low level” and wiped out the corporate tax base, resulting in the federal government relying much more on individual income taxes to fund its operation. “There is now more net business income taxed under the individual income tax system than the traditional corporate tax code, a trend that does not appear to be stopping any time soon,” said the report provided to Secrets. It said that corporate closings have recently picked up steam and now 60,000 a year are shut down. A driver in the loss of traditional corporations has been the ever-rising corporate tax rate, an issue Washington has been ducking for years.[...]" 

Commentary: "10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis That Are Happening Again" MSM [01/09/15] Printer Friendly Version "So many of the exact same patterns that preceded the great financial collapse of 2008 are happening again right before our very eyes. History literally appears to be repeating, but most Americans seem absolutely oblivious to what is going on. The mainstream media and our politicians are promising them that everything is going to be okay somehow, and that seems to be good enough for most people. But the signs that another massive financial crisis is on the horizon are everywhere. All you have to do is open up your eyes and look at them. Bill Gross, considered by many to be the number one authority on government bonds on the entire planet, made headlines all over the world on Tuesday when he released his January Investment Outlook. I don’t know if we have ever seen Gross be more negative about a new year than he is about 2015. For example, just consider this statement… When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over. And this is how he ended the letter… "And so that is why – at some future date – at some future Ides of March or May or November 2015, asset returns in many categories may turn negative. What to consider in such a strange new world? High-quality assets with stable cash flows. Those would include Treasury and high-quality corporate bonds, as well as equities of lightly levered corporations with attractive dividends and diversified revenues both operationally and geographically. With moments of liquidity having already been experienced in recent months, 2015 may see a continuing round of musical chairs as riskier asset categories become less and less desirable.  Debt supercycles in the process of reversal are not favorable events for future investment returns. Father Time in 2015 is not the babe with a top hat in our opening cartoon. He is the grumpy old codger looking forward to his almost inevitable “Ides” sometime during the next 12 months. Be cautious and content with low positive returns in 2015. The time for risk taking has passed." So why are Gross and so many other financial experts being so “negative” right now? It is because they can see what is happening. They can see the same patterns that we saw in early 2008 unfolding again right in front of us. I wanted to put these patterns in a single article so that they will be easy to share with people. The following are 10 key events that preceded the last financial crisis that are happening again right now: [...]"  

Commentary: "Citi: No Longer The Dumbest Bank — Now The Most Evil" [01/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "Back in December there was a flurry of press around the passage of a banking bill that was 1) reportedly written by Citigroup and 2) put taxpayers on the hook for over-the-counter derivatives, obscure financial instruments that periodically blow up and in which Citi had a big position. Distrustful cynics like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren claimed to see a connection  Video  [9:44]  [...] But most other people, especially those who remember how enthusiastically Citi blundered into the previous decade’s housing bubble just in time to be nearly-bankrupted by it, tended towards a more charitable explanation: Citi wasn’t smart enough to manipulate the legislative process, so whatever they were up to it was probably accidental. But then Zero Hedge published this, which calls our preconceptions about Citi’s stupidity into question: "Is Citi The Next AIG?"  This fascinating piece of investigative journalism is too long and complex to excerpt here. You have to read the whole thing because every paragraph and every chart is a new bit of damning evidence. But for those who refuse to read it (though seriously, you should) I’ll summarize the high points: In the third quarter, the part of Citi that is insured by taxpayers went on a derivatives writing binge, taking its total exposure to $70 trillion (with a “t”). Then it wrote a draft of new legislation that would delete part of an old law forbidding the government from bailing out banks’ derivatives positions. Then it lobbied successfully to get its language written into the latest banking bill. Then it revealed its new derivatives portfolio to the world. In asking if Citi is the next AIG, Zero Hedge is referring to the previously-obscure insurance company that had somehow become one of the world’s biggest derivatives players just in time for that market to blow up in 2008. Had it not been bailed out with several trillion dollars of taxpayer cash it would have taken down Goldman, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and pretty much the entire rest of the global financial system. Zero Hedge then goes on to speculate that Citi might be covering up some kind of company- threatening position that will, in the near future, require the aforementioned taxpayer bailout. If all this is true, then Citi deserves serious props for adaptability. They screw up, and instead of immediately melting down they hatch an imaginative plan to hijack what’s left of the federal government, implement it over the public objections of high-profile senators, and then kind of brag about it by announcing their new status as America’s biggest derivatives player. Have to admit it, this is the behavior of a highly intelligent, darkside-oriented entity. [...]"   

MSM: "Oil-Bust Bloodletting: Projects Cancelled, Layoffs Ripple, Default Hits Private-Equity And Pension Funds" [01/08/15] Printer Friendly Version "Drilling for oil these days is all about endless amounts of no-questions-asked cheap money. And now, as the price of oil plunges relentlessly, the cheap money is drying up faster than ceiling paint. [...]" 

Commentary: "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Goldman Sachs Wants JPMorgan In 4 Pieces" [01/07/15] Printer Friendly Version "JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) is paying out a $100 million settlement to keep details about an antitrust lawsuit filed 2 years ago out of the court system and public record. JPM is one of 12 mega-banks named in the suit while they were particularly named for the price manipulation on foreign exchanges markets using digital communications and social media.  Several investors including hedge funds, public pension funds, the Philadelphia city and other market investors filed a complaint accusing 12 banks of manipulating WM/Reuters rates through chat rooms, e-mail and instant messaging since Jan 2003. [...] According to court documents, “the banks’ manipulation of WM/Reuters rates impacted the value of financial transactions in the U.S., including foreign exchange trade. Further, the plaintiffs claimed that these also negatively affected the pension and savings accounts that are dependent on global foreign exchange rates.” [...] During the Stock Market Crash of 2008 and beyond, it has become obvious that JPM has been involved in more than its fair share of yuppie-of- Wall-Street deals that have given the financial giant an incredible value. Goldman Sachs released a report citing that JPM should be broken up into 4 parts, each culminating in an increase of 25% worth over the total corporate assets. The report stated: “The biggest of the pieces would include the bank’s branch network, which could be worth over $100 billion on its own. JPMorgan’s investment bank would be nearly as large, followed by its commercial bank and an asset management company.” [...] Richard Ramsden, analyst for Goldman Sachs and author of the report explained: “even splitting JPMorgan in two—dividing the investment bank from the traditional bank, returning the company roughly to what was allowed before the Glass Steagall Act was repealed in the early 2000s—would boost the overall value of the current bank by 16%. Our analysis indicates that even accounting for lost synergies, a JPM breakup would be accretive to shareholders in most scenarios.” Sandy Weill, former CEO of Citigroup commented: “[JPM] became the first of the nation’s modern mega-banks. Breaking up the large banks makes sense.” Ramsden asserts “the new capital requirements for big banks proposed by the Federal Reserve in early December make now a good time to consider such a split.” The Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) opened the door for banks to securitize risky derivatives with the announcement to “extend the deadline for banks to sell off stakes in hedge funds and private- equity funds” until 2017. Journalist David Weidner explained: “Now, the ‘push-out’ rule is gone, so we’re in the same position again. And the Fed has delayed a potential roadblock to a taxpayer bailout. In essence, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Fed are implicitly suggesting that losses from hedge funds and private equity won’t hold up government support.” Weidner continued: “Ultimately, let’s be honest, the delay isn’t just a delay, it’s to buy time so the bank lobby can eliminate the Volcker Rule altogether. These investments produced risky, but potentially big, returns. Why is it that the bankers are the only ones with good memories?” This was part of the official delay of the Volker Rule, which would ban risky betting with derivatives by banks, approved in 2010. Because of this announcement, Ramsden said: “A break up makes more sense for JPMorgan because, unlike some of its rivals, its individual businesses are strong enough to stand on their own. The bank is partly a victim of its own success. [...]"   Related: "JP Morgan Settles Forex Currency Manipulation Lawsuit In U.S." Printer Friendly Version "JPMorgan Chase & Co has become the first bank to settle a U.S. antitrust lawsuit in which investors accused 12 major banks of rigging prices in the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market. The largest U.S. bank will pay about $100 million, a person familiar with the matter said. Lawyers for the bank and the investors said a settlement had been reached in a letter filed on Monday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. JPMorgan settled after mediation with Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversees a General Motors Co program to compensate drivers whose vehicles had faulty ignition switches [...]"  

MSM: "Canada’s Corrupt Corporations: World Bank’s Corrupt Companies Blacklist, Dominated By Canada" [01/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Canada has the dubious honour of being home to the largest number of firms on a World Bank Blacklist Of Corrupt Companies. But virtually all of that can be attributed to one Canadian company — SNC Lavalin, the construction and engineering giant whose name is becoming a paragon of Canadian corruption. Of the more than 600 companies now listed as barred from doing business with the World Bank over corruption, 117 are Canadian, the most of any one country. And of those, 115 represent SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries, the Financial Post reports. Among the listed SNC subsidiaries are Candu Energy, which designs CANDU nuclear reactors, and Evergreen Rapid Transit Holdings, the SNC-Lavalin company established to build Vancouver’s new Sky Train line. The World Bank’s head of corruption investigations, James David Fielder, told the paper the SNC subsidiaries’ inclusion was due to “a World Bank investigation relating to the Padma Bridge project in Bangladesh where World Bank investigators closely cooperated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in an effort to promote collective action against corruption.” [...] The World Bank is in the midst of a crackdown on corrupt companies. It expanded its list by some 250 names in the first seven months of this year alone, the South China Morning Post reports. “We’re not a global policeman, but what we can do is facilitate the global conversation against corruption,” Stephen Zimmerman, director of operations at the bank’s integrity division, told the Financial Times. After Canada’s 117 listed companies, the U.S. is in second place, with 46 listed. That’s followed by Indonesia (43 firms) and Britain (40 firms).[...]  

Commentary: "11 Predictions Of Economic Disaster In 2015 From Top Experts All Over The Globe" [01/06/15] Printer Friendly Version "Just like we witnessed in 2001 and 2008, all financial bubbles come to an end at some point, and when they do implode the pain can be extreme. Personally, I am entirely convinced that the financial markets are more primed for a financial collapse now than they have been at any other time since the last crisis happened nearly seven years ago. And I am certainly not alone. At this point, the warning cries have become a deafening roar as a whole host of prominent voices have stepped forward to sound the alarm. The following are 11 predictions of economic disaster in 2015 from top experts all over the globe… [...]"  

MSM: "USA Instructs (Rothchild-Controlled) Russian Central Bank How To Strangle Russian Economy" [01/05/15] Printer Friendly Version "The Central Bank of the Russian Federation does not have to support the Russian economy. There is no paragraph in the Constitution of the Russian Federation (written during the 1990s) that would tell the Central Bank to act so. For what purpose did the Central Bank set the Russian ruble free? Pravda.Ru asked expert opinion from State Duma deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov. "All countries of the world are divided into two large groups. One group is called developed countries, and the other group - developing, or underdeveloped countries, better to say. In the past, underdeveloped countries were called colonies. Economies of all developed countries have one common feature - low interest rates. This is a key point. All under- developed countries - there are 90 percent of such countries in the world - have very high interest rates. The essence of high interest rates, including in Russia, is not to allow national currency onto national market. In order to let the Central Bank issue rubles in Russia, so that we could go to stores to spend them, the Central Bank needs to buy US dollars first. This rule is common for underdeveloped countries. [...] "In other words, Russia is not even a ruble country de jure. Russia is a dollar country. The Russian ruble takes a small share in the country. The whole segment of investment is based on dollars and euros. The Constitution protects that, and the Central Bank of the country should keep the rate. Now, we have the situation when the Central Bank does not abide by the Constitution, because it raised the key rate and reduced the ruble rate. From the point of view of the Constitution, the Central Bank is obliged to keep the rate. The Central Bank violated the Constitution and Putin's numerous instructions, but it was an absolutely logical move. The charter of the Central Bank does not contain a word about the Russian economy. It should not support the Russian economy. The law says that the Central Bank is governed by international agreements. The bank signs agreements that the Ministry of Justice does not even register. The administration of the Russian Central Bank is based outside Russia.[...] There is no other central bank in the world that would not be allowed to support the national economy. The Russian Central Bank is the only exception. This is a specific peculiarity of the Russian Central Bank. The law even says that the bank is a branch of foreign companies in Russia. For example, the Russian Central Bank is a depositary of the IMF. The law of the Central Bank does not have a word about the Russian economy. Yet, it contains detailed instructions on how to follow and execute instructions from abroad. The law was made during the 1990s. Putin tried to amend it in the 2000s, but it did not work out. As a result, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation works for a foreign country under the Russian Constitution. This state imposes sanctions on Russia. The Russian Central Bank is obliged to execute instructions from the USA - the Americans set an official task to weaken the Russian economy.[...]"   Note: The Russian Central Bank is a Rothschild-controlled central bank.(list)

Corbett Report: "G20 Rules Make Bank Bail-ins a Reality" [01/05/15] [23:30] "Last month’s G20 Summit in Australia came and went without the protests and riots we’ve come to expect at the summit in recent years. But as author and researcher Ellen Brown notes, the real fireworks happened behind closed doors, where the group rubber stamped new regulations that will make Cyprus style bank bail-ins a worldwide reality.  This is the GRTV Feature Interview with Ellen Brown and your host, James Corbett. [...]" 

Trends: "State, Local Governments Face Massive, Growing Budget Gaps In 2015 And Beyond" [01/05/15] Printer Friendly Version "Projections released this month by the Government Accountability Office show that state and local governments will see current gaps between revenues and expenditures continue to widen in 2015 and beyond. In aggregate, those governments are already underwater, and the amount of red ink will continue to grow over the next 50 years, unless changes are made, the GAO says. Closing the gap will require aggregate budget cuts or tax increases of 18 percent. Closing the fiscal gap through revenue increases would require action of similar magnitude through increases in state and local tax revenues,” the GAO found. “More likely, closing the fiscal gap would involve some combination of both expenditure reductions and revenue increases.” Translation: governments will continue to stare down the question of cutting budgets or raising taxes.[...]"  Related: Resource: "Watchdog.Org" 

MSM: "FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households (PDF)" [01/04/15] Oct 2014   Note: An interesting look at the financial situation, orientation and perceived activities of different groups of people were in the United States, with the results of a 2013 survey which took a year to analyze.

Commentary: "Financial Warfare: Big Banks Conspire with Giant Oil Companies to Manipulate Currency Markets" [01/03/15] Printer Friendly Version "It has long been known that currency markets are massively rigged. But the banks not only share confidential information with each other … they also shared it with a giant oil company. Bloomberg reports this week: "With revenue of almost $400 billion last year and operations in about 80 countries, BP trades large quantities of currency each day. Traders at the company regularly received valuable information from counterparts at some of the world’s biggest banks — including tips about forthcoming trades, details of confidential client business and discussions of stop-losses, the trigger points for a flurry of buying or selling— according to four traders with direct knowledge of the practice. “The Cartel” that was set up by Usher [the former JPMorgan Chase trader at the center of a global investigation into corruption in the foreign-exchange market] and included dealers at JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc. (C), Barclays Plc and UBS Group AG. (UBSN) The information offered an insight into currency moves minutes, sometimes hours before they happened. Usher participated in at least one chat room with [Andrew White, a currency trader at oil company BP]. In the clubby, lightly regulated world of foreign exchange, traders passed around tips to their circle of trusted contacts like candy. The victims: mutual-fund investors, pensioners and day traders who took the other side of a transaction at a lower price than they would have if they had the same information. Within hours of regulators announcing probes, the chats between BP and the banks were shut down, people with knowledge of the matter said. Soon after, a compliance officer was placed on the desk for the first time, one of them said. [BP’s] trading unit’s primary role is to manage the firm’s exposure to financial risks, including fluctuations in interest rates and foreign exchange, according to the company’s website. Unlike at most corporations, it also is run as a profit center, which means that in addition to hedging risks, traders can place their own bets on the direction of markets. [...]"  

MSM: "Congress Poised In 2015 To Order Audit Of Federal Reserve" [01/02/15] Printer Friendly Version "After years of being blocked by Democratic leader Harry Reid, the Senate will finally get a chance next year to vote on legislation to force a broad audit of the Federal Reserve’s decision-making. Once championed in Congress by former Rep. Ron Paul, the push to force the country’s central bank to undergo a full audit has been picked up by his son, Sen. Rand Paul, and others, and has the backing of the leader of the new Republican majority, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, whose office says the legislation will earn a floor vote. But despite overwhelming support in the House, where the legislation has twice passed, the bill is not a sure thing in the Senate, and the Fed itself is pushing back. Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said earlier this month the Fed remains opposed to stricter oversight of its monetary policy decisions, and Reuters reported she and other Fed officials are lobbying Capitol Hill to drop the audit push. “Back in 1978 Congress explicitly passed legislation to ensure that there would be no GAO audits of monetary policy decision-making, namely policy audits. I certainly hope that will continue, and I will try to forcefully make the case for why that’s important,” Ms. Yellen told reporters at a press conference two weeks ago. For supporters in Congress, the fight is a matter of constitutional prerogatives and good governance. They argue that President Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act, which totaled $800 billion in spending and tax cuts, was dwarfed by the trillions of dollars of stimulus the Federal Reserve oversaw. They’ve had luck in the House, where legislation calling for an audit has passed twice, including most recently in September on a 333-92 vote. All but one Republican, and more than half of the Democrats in the chamber, voted for the legislation.[...]" 

MSM: "BP Probes Traders On ‘Rigging Link’" [01/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Oil giant BP faces being drawn into the foreign exchange (forex) rigging scandal after it emerged that it has been investigating whether its traders were linked to the manipulation of the £3 trillion-a-day market. The UK-based group said it had carried out a review of its activities after global regulatory probes which resulted in six banks last month being fined £2.6 billion for rigging the market. Details emerged after reports that members of a BP trading unit were told of planned currency trades hours before they happened. News service Bloomberg said it had seen copies of messages sent to the oil giant’s staff from firms whose senior forex traders belonged to a chatroom known as “The Cartel”. However there was said to be no evidence that any BP traders were members of the Cartel or that anyone at the oil firm acted on information given to them. [...] BP said in a statement: “Following regulatory market (not into BP) investigations regarding the foreign exchange markets, we conducted a review into our activities in this area. “BP’s foreign exchange desk has relationships (as a customer) with 26 relationship banks, including JP Morgan, Citibank and Barclays.” JP Morgan and Citibank were both among those fined last month while Barclays, though yet to finalise a settlement with regulators, has set aside £500 million over the affair. The BP statement added: “BP has a robust framework of compliance requirements and internal controls which are constantly reviewed, and maintains an open dialogue with the appropriate regulators. “BP’s code of conduct includes mandatory requirements for employees to disclose potential conflicts of interests internally. Following such disclosure, steps are taken to manage and monitor these appropriately.” BP said it did not discuss internal reviews, adding: “We have an open and co-operative relationship with our regulator. Any discussions we have are confidential.”[...]"  

MSM: "UK Banks ‘Too Weak’ To Survive Another Recession" [01/01/15] Printer Friendly Version "Former Bank of England governor Mervyn King has warned that British banks are too weak to weather another financial crisis, adding that government officials haven’t “got to the heart” of what went wrong in 2008. Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Monday, King criticized current measures being taken by the BoE to stabilize the economy, including keeping interest rates at a record low – currently at 0.5 percent – for more than five years. “I don’t think we’re yet at the point where we can be confident that the banking system would be entirely safe,” he told the program. “The idea that we can go on indefinitely with very low interest rates doesn’t make much sense,” he added. However, King also warned that a sudden increase in interest rates could provide too much of a shock to the British economy, which is only beginning to recover after the global financial crisis in 2008. King was head of the BoE’s monetary policy department from 2003-13, and was in charge of setting Britain’s interest rates and controlling its money supply. [...]"  

Commentary: "China Steps In As World’s New Bank" [12/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "Thanks to China, Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank and Takehiko Nakao of the Asian Development Bank may no longer have much meaningful work to do. Beijing’s move to bail out Russia, on top of its recent aid for Venezuela and Argentina, signals the death of the post-war Bretton Woods world. It’s also marks the beginning of the end for America’s linchpin role in the global economy and Japan’s influence in Asia. What is China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank if not an ADB killer? If Japan, ADB’s main benefactor, won’t share the presidency with Asian peers, Beijing will just use its deep pockets to overpower it. Lagarde’s and Kim’s shops also are looking at a future in which crisis-wracked governments call Beijing before Washington.  [...]" 

Max Keiser: "De-Fiatisation Of The World" [12/29/14]   [25:45] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the ‘Give Us Back Our Gold’ movement across Europe as governments seek to have their gold held domestically as fear spreads about the integrity of our fiat and debt world. Max describes the de-fiatisation of the world as the American empire makes way for the emerging power of China. In the second half Max interviews Sandeep Jaitly of FeketeResearch.com about negative GOFO rates, earning free fiat with your gold and taking us back to the Dark Ages with Quantitative Easing. [...]" 

Commentary: "Billionaire Warns Of Massive Crash That Will Wipe Out America’s Colleges" [12/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks says America’s colleges are in serious trouble and that over a trillion dollars in student loans will put many of them out of business. For years the federal government has been subsidizing loans, much like they did with houses ahead of the 2008 crash. This has led to increased tuition costs and lending to individuals who will more than likely never be able to pay back their student loans. The end result, according to Mark Cuban, will be a bursting of the debt bubble, a significant drop in college tuitions, and an outright collapse of America’s institution of higher learning: Cuban: "College tuitions have exploded because of easy money guaranteed by Sallie Mae. So, if any student can borrow more and more money, and it’s guaranteed by the federal government, why wouldn’t the colleges take it all? The problem is that bubble has led to over a trillion dollars in student loan debt, which is having a significant impact on the economy and it’s really holding us back in the economy’s ability to grow. It’s holding back housing, it’s holding back apartment building, it’s holding back car sales, it’s holding back clothing sales… anything that’s not an absolute necessity, kids can’t spend their money on. That’s a real problem for the economy and I think that bubble is going to burst. I think it’s inevitable at some point there’ll be a cap on student loan guarantees and when that happens you”re going to see a repeat of what we saw in the housing market when easy credit for buying or flipping a house disappeared. We saw a collapse in the price of housing and we’re going to see the same collapse in the price of student tuition and that’s going to lead to colleges going out of business. [...] Though going to college was a stepping stone for bigger and better things several decades ago, the notion that "having a degree is the only road to success today" is one of the largest scams in U.S. history: "College education is big business, and with easy Federal loans, prices for everything from tuition to text books is going through the roof. Once degreed, the majority of college grads are ill-equipped to handle the current marketplace. Many of those who entered college just five years ago simply can’t find work in a 21st century economy that’s imploding on all sides. What college grads are left with are massive loans that can’t be repaid and a room in mom and dad’s basement. At one time, college was an investment. Today, it’s become indentured servitude. For parents and teens looking at colleges, we suggest taking a close look at the amount of money that will need to be spent and borrowed, compared to the benefits that will come out of the degree pursued. Thirty years ago, a bachelor of business would have been a desired degree to hold. In an economy with over 20% unemployed, one must ask: how many business administration and management jobs will there be four or five years from now, especially if we continue to lose production capacity to cheap foreign labor. A micro-documentary produced earlier this year by Crush The Street exposes the scam for what it is: "The College Loan Bubble" [13:14] [...]"  

Commentary: "Bank Of Russia Launches Analogue Of SWIFT System" [12/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "In December, the Bank of Russia offered a new service to credit institutions for the transfer of financial messages in SWIFT format for domestic operations. Banks can be connected to the service on the basis of their agreements with the Bank of Russia. “The new service has been implemented in order to ensure smooth and safe transfer of financial messaging inside the country. The service is another step in the direction of improving the system of services provided by the Bank of Russia,” a message from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation said. The new service will enable credit institutions to transmit messages in SWIFT format via the Bank of Russia in all regions of the country without restrictions. The Central Bank intends to protect Russian banks from possible problems should the West decides to disconnect Russia from the system of international payments SWIFT. In September, the EU called for new restrictive measures against Russia. In particular, some European officials said that Russia should be disconnected from SWIFT. However, representatives of the company SWIFT have repeatedly stated that they had no intention to cut Russia from the service. [...]"  

Interviews: "Gerald Celente - Jeff Rense Show - December 11, 2014" [12/27/14] ALT [45:34] "Gerald talks with Jeff on top trends of 2015. [...]" Starts at 2 min. Gerald also explores the weird reality perspective of those who are manipulating the system. If Celente sounds angry, it is because he lost big in the 2008 fiasco.

MSM: "Financial Rate Riggers Face Up To Seven Years In Prison" [12/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that the rigging of foreign exchange rates and certain other financial benchmarks will become a criminal offence. The crime will carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. The decision follows the huge scandals over the rigging of Libor interest rates and foreign exchange rates. Mr Osborne said anyone who manipulated the rates would be "subject to the full force of the law". "The integrity of the City matters to the economy of Britain," he said. "That's why the government is determined to deal with abuses, tackle the unacceptable behaviour of the few and ensure that markets are fair for the many who depend on them." The new crime will be that of manipulating a "relevant benchmark", an offence that was originally specified to combat the rigging of Libor, the key City interest rate which has been regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since last year. The FCA will now have responsibility, from 1 April 2015, for regulating the way the seven additional financial benchmarks are set, including the pricing of foreign exchange, gold, silver, Brent crude oil and some derivatives. Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, said the aim was to ensure the "fairness and integrity" of the benchmarks, which determine the value of trillions of pounds worth of City financial transactions each year. [...]" 

Commentary: "Chart Points To Massive Economic Slow Down" [12/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "Prior to the crash of 2008 global trade was rocking. It was a boon for shipping companies around the world who are responsible for moving raw materials, commodities and consumer products from one country to another. Wall Street, of course, had devised a way to track all of this movement and often pointed to the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) as the primary indicator for health in the global trade business. The index itself tracks the cost of transporting one metric ton of raw materials from one place to another. The numbers behind the BDI can essentially be translated into the cost of moving that cargo. During the collapse in late 2008 we saw the Baltic Dry Index drop from over 9,000 points to under 1,000 in a matter of months. So, in essence, when the world economy was supposedly booming, the cost for moving raw materials was around $9,000 per metric ton. After credit markets locked up and companies stopped ordering inventory the price dropped below $1,000 for moving the exact same raw materials to the exact same place. What happened to the cost of transporting raw materials and cargo is exactly what you might expect with respect to the economics of it all. When businesses around the world are ordering inventory you’d expect shippers to raise the price of transporting that cargo as demand for their services increases. Likewise, if businesses don’t sell their products they will order less in raw materials, forcing shipping companies to lower their costs as demand for their services drops. It is for this reason that the Baltic Dry Index has become such a key indicator of economic health and stability. It would stand to reason, then, that if the value of the BDI is falling then a slow-down in global trade is taking place. Prepare to be shocked, because despite the glowing reports from the U.S. government about the economic recovery, the Baltic Dry Index has collapsed to nearly the same levels we saw in 2008. According to Zero Hedge, what we have witnessed since Thanksgiving is the biggest collapse in the ‘trade’ indicator since records began 28 years ago. The following charts tell you everything you need to know about the purported economic recovery and it isn’t pretty. [...]" 

MSM: "British Currency Trader Vanishes With $200Mln in Investors' Money" [12/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "British currency trader, 59-year-old Joe Lewis, went missing with 130 million pounds (about $200 million) of cash belonging to his clients in what appears to be one of the biggest cases of fraud in recent UK history. [...]"

MSM: "$300,000 In Gold Missing From Ukraine Central Bank After Swapped For Lead Bricks" [12/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Cunning fraudsters have conned the Ukraine Central Bank branch in Odessa into buying $300,000 worth of gold which turned out to be lead daubed with gold paint. “A criminal case has been opened and we are now carrying out an investigation to identify those involved in the crime,” a spokesman for the Odessa police force is quoted by Vesti. The news was first reported by Odessa’s State Ministry of Internal Affairs. A preliminary investigation suggests the gang had someone working for them inside the bank that forged the necessary paperwork to allow the sale of the fake gold bullion. It’s also been discovered that bank staff were not regularly checked when entering or exiting the premises. Since the discovery, the National Bank no longer buys precious metal over the counter, as it cannot be sure of its authenticity, says the First Deputy Head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Aleksandr Pisaruk. The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has confirmed the theft of several kilograms of gold in the Odessa region. The cashier involved has apparently fled to Crimea, Vesti Ukraine reports. Criminal proceedings began on November 18, even though the scam apparently took place between August and October. In November, the Central Bank reportedly lost $12.6 billion in gold reserves, putting the total stockpile at just over $120 million. However, the Central Bank reports that foreign currency and gold reserves stood at $9.97 billion at end of November. [...]"  Related: "Lawless Manipulation Of Bullion Markets By Public Authorities" Printer Friendly Version

MSM: "Cybersecurity Stocks Soar" Printer Friendly Version "Wall Street is betting all the attention on the Sony (SNE) incident will encourage companies to ramp up spending to defend themselves from a crippling breach of their own. [...]" 

MSM: "China Pledges To Help Russia Overcome Economic Hardships" [12/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "China’s foreign minister has pledged support to Russia as it faces an economic downturn due to sanctions and a drop in oil prices. Boosting trade in yuan is a solution proposed by Beijing’s commerce minister. [...]" 

Commentary: "Wall Street Hedge Funds Flee Housing Market" [12/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Yes, the housing recovery storyline keeps being pushed back month after month. Existing home sales plunged by 6.1% in one month. Existing home sales are 8% LOWER than they were in July of 2013. Here is the facts jack. Blackrock and the rest of the Wall shysters see the writing on the wall. Their master plan to drive prices higher with free money from the Fed worked to perfection. The investors and flippers are exiting stage left. At one point cash sales reached 36% of all transactions. It has plunged to 25% of all transactions as Wall Street sells before the flippers and average people left holding the bag. It’s no coincidence prices are falling. The fake housing recovery is over. Sales and prices will continue to fall. [...]" Related: "Government Fuels Next Housing Collapse With Unstable Mortgages" Printer Friendly Version [11/10/14] "Nobody wants to return to the kind of risky home loans that spurred 2008’s banking collapse. Sliding back toward lax lending would be nuts. Yet Washington officially endorsed such loans this month. Federally controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they’ll back loans to low-income Americans who put just 3% down, even though such loans have a high default rate. The risky mortgage program has the blessing of Federal Housing Finance Agency chief Mel Watt, the former Congressional Black Caucus leader whom President Obama recently appointed to regulate Fannie and Freddie. Watt also backs home loans for borrowers with “less-than-perfect credit scores.” Since Fannie and Freddie guarantee 90% of US mortgages, private lenders will match their weaker standards. Many of these weak loans will, in turn, be securitized and traded on Wall Street. This is the hazardous cycle that led to the financial crisis. So why are we repeating it? Because the administration, with help from the media, has convinced the public that greedy Wall Street banks were to blame for the disaster, not Fannie and Freddie and their “mission” regulators in Washington. [...]"

Commentary: "Russia May Unleash Ultimate Black Swan Against The West" Dr. Paul Craig Roberts [12/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "I was listening to the news today and there were all these self-righteous people just happy as all get out that they had finally stomped Russia into the ground and ‘Russia is now finished,’ and Russia was broken and ‘would soon be an American vassal state where it belongs.' And I was listening to this rot and got to thinking, ‘How can people be so utterly stupid?’ But they are, and they are just as stupid in Washington. And in the meantime, as part of this process, Eric, we may see Russia unleash black swans that bring down the Western house of cards [...] Suppose the Russian government says, ‘Well, since the attack on the ruble is political and you guys are attacking the ruble and causing us so much trouble, we are just not going to pay off the next traunch of our debt that comes due early in 2015.'  Well, the European banking system would collapse because those banks are terribly undercapitalized. Some of them have loans to Russia that almost absorb the entire capital base. So the Russians don’t even have to default. They can just say, ‘We’re not going to pay this year. We will do it later. We’ll do it when the ruble stabilizes.’ (Laughter). You can understand the impact of such a decision by the Russians on the West. And given all the linkages and the interconnections — when Lehman Brothers went down it had just about as much adverse affect on Europe as it did the United States."[...] The whole Western system is a house of cards. It’s not based on anything other than market manipulation. So it doesn’t take much of a push to knock it down. The biggest black swan of all, Eric, if the Russians get thoroughly angry, all they have to do is call up the European governments and say, ‘We no longer sell natural gas or any other form of energy to members of NATO.' The consequence would be the utter and total collapse of NATO. Not even a puppet state like Germany is going to let the people freeze to death, let the factories be closed down, and let the unemployment rate hit 40 percent. It’s just not going to happen — it would be the end of NATO. So whenever the Russians want to destroy NATO, that’s all they have to do. Just call up the puppet Merkel, call up the puppet Hollande, the puppet Cameron, and say, ‘You guys really enjoy being in NATO, well let me tell you what, we no longer sell energy to NATO members.’ That’s the end of NATO and that’s the end of the cover for American power. That would set off so many black swans. Every banking system would probably collapse because if the German banks are faced with German industry closing down, what the hell is going to happen to the banks? So all the cards are in Putin’s hands. None of them are in Washington’s hands. Putin is going to reorient Russia to the East. Then you are going to see Russia, India, and China, take over the leadership of the world. That will start in 2015 [...]"  Related: Dr. Paul Craig Roberts audio interview [18:01] where he discussed his 2015 predictions, including other 'Black Swan" (definition of Black Swan Theory) Note: Lower speaker volume level before playing. Worth listening to.  

MSM: "German Minister Says 'Berlin, EU Not Interested' In Economic Chaos In Russia" [12/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated that neither Germany nor Europe is interested in Russia's 'spiraling into economic chaos'. [...]"  Note: Apparently, he's delusional and not paying attention, because: Related: "Germans’ Concerns Over Anti-Russia Sanctions Are Splitting EU" Printer Friendly Version "The German public views sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis differently than France and the United Kingdom, because they have a more negative economic and political impact on Germany, experts have told Sputnik. "As the EU country most heavily engaged in trade with Russia, Germany is where the sanctions hit hardest," Gilbert Doctorow, a Research Fellow at American University, told Sputnik Friday, stressing that 300,000 German jobs depend on trade with Russia. [...]" | "Slumping Russian Ruble Threatens German Economy – Top Exec" Printer Friendly Version | "Russia Sanctions Fallout Kills Big German Gas Deal" Printer Friendly Version  

MSM: "Israel to Lose $153Mln From Russian Tourism Decline Over Falling Ruble" [12/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Israeli Tourism Ministry expects annual loses worth over $150 million due to a decline in the number of Russian tourists visiting the country following the weakening of the ruble, the Haaretz reported Sunday. [...]"  

MSM: "EU Citizens Leery of Financing Corrupt Regime in Ukraine" [12/22/14] Printer Friendly Version " Experts were reacting to a recent poll conducted by ICM Research exclusively for Sputnik, which found that 55% of EU citizens surveyed in the United Kingdom, Germany and France oppose sending more financial aid to Kiev. [...]"  

Commentary: "Western Bankers Have Committed Two ' Acts of War' Against Russia" [12/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "In the past several days, Western bankers have committed two overt acts of war against Russia, namely, the plunging of oil prices and the recent cutting off of all liquidity to Russian banks. This reminds me of the days before World War II in which the United States followed a doctrine called the eight point plan which was designed to provoke Japan into attacking America so Roosevelt could use this as the excuse to get involved in World War II. As Mark Twain once said, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme”. [...] Has the American public received any reasonable explanation on how oil prices have plummeted at a time of year when they historically spike in order to price gouge holiday travelers? Of course there isn’t going to be any new revelations on this point. Here is the real story behind dropping oil prices. Zero Hedge first reported that brokers are now advising their clients that any existing Russian Ruble positions will be terminated without any further notice because of concerns related to the lack of Russian “capital controls”. At least that is the excuse that Western banks are using to run from the Ruble. The truth of the matter is that the West has declared war on Russia and its BRICS partners for undermining the Petrodollar. Ditching the Ruble marks a shift in Western banking strategy directed at the Russians. This change was necessitated because the West’s scheme to plunge the price of oil is not having an immediate effect on Russian economic actions. Although American consumers are reveling in their recent good fate with regard to the collapse of oil prices which have resulted in cheaper prices at the pump, there are some very dire consequences attached to American consumer’s good fortune. The price of a barrel of oil is reaching the point where it will not be cost efficient to even ship the oil because to ship the oil is becoming more costly than the middle men transporting agents can make. This will result in an artificial shortage of available gasoline. In the United States, shortages will soon appear and prices will spike to unimaginable levels. This will undoubtedly collapse our fragile economy. The strategy of dropping oil prices in order to bring the Russians to their knees, will not work says Walker Todd. In a reported conversation with my colleague, Paul Martin, Todd told Martin that the low oil prices will not make Putin immediately blink because of (1) inflation and (2) Putin has a year’s reserve of oil and cash. In other words, the fuse has been lit for World War III. Does anyone think that Putin will allow his reserves to be depleted? [...] The Russian financial situation is about to go critical, despite their ability to temporarily whether the storm related to falling oil prices. The WSJ is reporting, the next driver of the Russian crisis is unquestionably going to begin in the Russian banking system because as the WSJ stated “…global banks are curtailing the flow of cash to Russian entities, a response to the ruble’s sharpest sell-off since the 1998 financial crisis.” In other words, Western banks are cutting off all financial liquidity to Russia. This will soon paralyze the Russian economy. [...] I have learned that leaves for critical military personnel have been canceled effective on January 1, 2015. The leaves are not uniformly canceled cross the breadth of the military. However, I have learned that military leaves for personnel serving in the nuclear command structure and specific elements of the nuclear submarine fleet are now canceled. The implication should be obvious as to what someone as to what the Pentagon believes is coming.  Schlumberger International is the largest oilfield corporation in the world employing 126,000 people in 85 countries. Recently, the son of Texas talk show host, Vinnie Pope, stated that Schlumberger has canceled all travel anywhere in the world. This travel ban began immediately after Thanksgiving. Clearly, Schlumberger is anticipating that something big is ready to happen. One could assume that whatever is coming is related to oil since this is the business of Schlumberger. It is interesting to note as an aside that four years ago on my talk show, researcher Dianne Hunter reported the interconnections between Schlumberger to the Nature Conservancy and ultimately to the Queen of England. These connections are worthy of further investigation which will be forthcoming [...]"  Related: See below

Commentary: "Imperialism And The Ruble Crisis: “Economic Warfare" Alex Lantier [12/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "The plunge of the Russian currency this week is the drastic outcome of policies implemented by the major imperialist powers to force Russia to submit to American and European imperialism’s neo-colonial restructuring of Eurasia. Punishing the Putin regime’s 'interference' with their plans for regime change in countries such as Ukraine and Syria, the NATO powers are financially strangling Russia. [...] The sanctions imposed by the United States in response to Russian opposition to last February’s coup in Kiev have amounted to economic warfare. Over the past four months, the value of the Russian ruble has plunged by more than 50 percent. On Tuesday, as the ruble fell 10 percent against the dollar in one day, Barack Obama indicated he would sign a bill imposing even harsher sanctions on Russia and allowing Washington to directly arm the far-right, pro-NATO regime in Ukraine.[...]" Related: "Washington Was Behind Ukraine Coup d’Etat, In Response To Russia’s Stance On Syria: Stratfor" Printer Friendly Version  

MSM: "Single Overarching European Banking Authority Set For Launch" [12/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Single European Mechanism (SRM) will be launched over the next three months, with the aim of rescuing or winding up stricken banks with minimal recourse to taxpayers’ money. The SRM will consist of a board and a fund, and will cover banks overseen by the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) which became operational last month, and represents a concluding part of the new Banking Union. The board will be the European resolution authority for the Banking Union and will work in close cooperation with national resolution authorities of participating member states. For the first three months of next year it will operate as a transitional taskforce from the EU executive, after which it will take up its own premises in Brussels and become the only such self-financing agency based in the Belgian capital. The total target size of the Fund will equal 1% of the covered deposits of all banks in member states participating in the Banking Union. The fund should represent around €55 billion when fully operational according to EU officials. The Board will start work on developing resolution plans for credit institutions from January 2015 with the aim of being fully operational from January 2016. [...]" 

Commentary: "The Feeding Begins: Foreign Bankers Descend On Ukraine" [12/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "If it were not for the fact that the lives of some 45 million people are at stake, Ukrainian national politics could be laughed off as a very sick joke. Any pretenses that the October national elections would bring a semblance of genuine democracy of the sort thousands of ordinary Ukrainians demonstrated for on Maidan Square just one year ago vanished with the announcement by Victoria Nuland’s darling Prime Minister, “Yat” Yatsenyuk, of his new cabinet. The US-picked Ukraine President, billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko called “snap” elections at the end of August for October 26. He did so to make sure genuine opposition to his regime of murderers, gangsters and in some cases outright Nazis would be able to push an unprepared genuine opposition out of the Verkhovna Rada or Parliament. Because the parliament had significant opposition parties to the US-engineered February 22 coup d’etat, they had blocked many key pieces of legislation that the Western vultures were demanding, from changing key land ownership laws to privatization of precious state assets. By law, the old parliament would have sat until its five year term ended in October, 2017. That was clearly too long for State Department neo-con Ukraine puppet-mistress Victoria Nuland and her backers in Washington. Now, with a new parliament that is controlled by the Petro Poroshenko bloc as largest party and the boyish-looking former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is also new Prime Minister as head of the second largest party, the way was clear to get on with the rape of Ukraine. What shocked some is the blatant foreign takeover that followed, like a Wall Street vulture fund raid on a distressed debtor country of the Third World. [...]"  Related: "George Soros May Be Appointed Head Of National Bank Of Ukraine" Printer Friendly Version "APA reports that Ukraine’s Channel 112 disseminated this information quoting sources in Verkhovna Rada and people around Petro Poroshenko. Former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is also named among the candidates for the post of head of the National Bank of Ukraine. There are currently 5 candidates. There are representatives of the U.S. Federal Reserve System among them. [...]" 

MSM: "Swiss Central Bank Imposes Negative Interest Rates" [12/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "With fresh turmoil in foreign exchange markets putting upward pressure on the franc, the Swiss National Bank announced on Thursday the introduction of negative interest rates. [...] The bank said it was imposing an interest rate of minus 0.25 percent on sight deposit balances at the central bank with the aim of talking the Libor rate — the rate used by banks to borrow money — into negative territory. The action comes as the Euro has recently traded consistently at the 1.20 level against the Swiss franc, the floor that the central bank has defended since September 2011. In a statement, the SNB reaffirmed its commitment to holding the line on this rate “with the utmost determination”. With the Russian ruble plunging as a drop in the price of oil exacts a cost of the Russian economy, combined with lingering concern about the European economy, demand for Swiss francs —a traditional safe haven currency in times of crisis — has risen. The SNB said by introducing negative interest rates it is making it less attractive to hold Swiss franc investments and is helping maintain the cap on the franc. But the bank said in addition to this measure its is "prepared to purchase foreign currency in unlimited quantities and to take further measures if required".[...]"   Note: The Swiss National Bank is a Rothschild-controlled central bank

Commentary: "Bankers See $1 Trillion Of Investments Stranded In The Oil Fields" [12/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "In a stunning analysis this week, Goldman Sachs found almost $1 trillion in investments in future oil projects at risk. They looked at 400 of the world’s largest new oil and gas fields — excluding U.S. shale — and found projects representing $930 billion of future investment that are no longer profitable with Brent crude at $70. In the U.S., the shale-oil party isn’t over yet, but zombies are beginning to crash it. After crude prices dropped 49 percent in six months, oil projects planned for next year are the undead — still standing upright, but with little hope of a productive future. These zombie projects proliferate in expensive Arctic oil, deepwater-drilling regions and tar sands from Canada to Venezuela.[...]"  

MSM: "Radioshack Kept Alive By $25 Billion Of Swaps Side Bets" [12/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "RadioShack Corp. (RSH) is finding an unlikely ally in its efforts to stay out of bankruptcy: credit derivatives traders who amassed more than $25 billion of trades speculating how much longer it can keep paying its bills.  [...]"  

Commentary: "76 Bankers Who Died This Year - Updated Dec 2014" [12/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "It is my hope, that with this d0x it provides a security to other possible banker deaths from happening.. and it will enable a thorough investigation ... granted some of these might have been good "suicides" ... some of these deaths could be whistle blowers. [...]"  

MSM: "China Sets Up New $3bn Finance Fund For Central And East European Countries" [12/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "At a meeting with the leaders of 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced a new investment fund of $3 billion to facilitate financing in the cash-strapped countries. “China will make the loan more preferential and reduce the cost of financing,” Li told the leaders on Tuesday. Most of these countries are members of the European Union or have bid for membership of the EU. Tuesday’s announcement came two years after Beijing had set up a $10 billion special credit line to support cooperative projects with CEE countries. Previous summits between China and CEE have been held at Budapest, Warsaw and Bucharest. Beijing has grown to be an important source of capital for the central and east European countries now that investment and financing from Western Europe is getting harder to attain. [...]"  

MSM: "The Engineered Fall of the Russian Ruble" [12/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Saudi Arabia, the most influential member of OPEC, and the United States are working together to destroy the Russian economy and destabilize the country. [...] The economic war waged against Russia by the financial elite and their partners is having a concrete and catastrophic effect. “In recent developments, it became clear that economic warfare is the main weapon used by the Transnational Elite, (TE- i.e. the network of the elites based mainly in the G7 countries which run the New World Order of neoliberal globalization), to subordinate Russia and integrate every other country still resisting the process, e.g. Iran and Venezuela,” writes Takis Fotopoulos   [...]It is therefore clear that Saudi Arabia’s action in precipitating the dramatic fall in the price of oil was far from accidental. Furthermore, it was hardly motivated by a Saudi attempt to keep its dominant share in the oil market, supposedly threatened by the US shale oil production. This explanation, given by the ‘globalist’ faction within the Russian elite and the liberal “Left” in the West, was in fact an alibi used by the TE itself and the Saudis in order to disguise the real aim of this action. That is, the use of the price of oil as a highly effective weapon of economic warfare in order to force Russia and associate resisting regimes (like Iran and Venezuela) either to submit to the TE rule, or face a possibly severe economic recession (depending on how long the price of oil will be kept at very low levels) which could well lead to ‘velvet revolutions’ in all these countries and, possibly, to regime changes. “Among vulnerable producers are regimes that one would dearly like to see weakened, Vladimir Putin’s Russia foremost among them,” writes Martin Wolf for the Financial Times. Wolf notes that oil played an instrumental role in taking out the Soviet Union. “The story this time is not so different,” he writes. He applauds the possibility oil may once again undermine Russia and make it subservient to the whims of Wall Street and the banksters. [...]"  

MSM: "Central Bankers Suppressing Russian Economy" [12/18/14] [20:34] "Economic hardship is being created by the foreign-controlled Bank of Russia's monetary policies, to spread mass discontent and facilitate a Maidan in 2015 to remove Putin. So claims Evgeny Fedorov, citing the colonialist Central Bank law, established after Washington's victory in the Cold War, and the system of fifth-column levers, methodically operated to steer the revolution. [...] • Foreign banks own the production in Russia. • Putin has no authority over the Central Bank. • Bank of Russia is legally a foreign-controlled Central Bank. [...]" Related: "Medvedev: Ruble Undervalued, Harsh Financial Regulations Unnecessary" Printer Friendly Version "The Russian ruble is undervalued and its rate does not reflect the actual situation of the economy, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday. “It’s been acknowledged that the ruble today is undervalued and its exchange rate on the trading floor doesn’t reflect the actual situation in the economy,” Medvedev said during a meeting with a group of financial heads. Medvedev admitted that part of reason behind the country's economic troubles was due to the oil prices fall. Medvedev discussed the ruble rate and other economic issues during a meeting with a group of financial officials, Central Bank leadership and the management of Russia’s major steel and energy companies.[...]" 

Commentary: "Total Chaos: Massive Market Moves Spark Selling-Panic Into Close" [12/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Incredible Volatility today - 100 point roundtrip in the S&P, and 800 points in the Dow - all driven by a halt in Ruble Trading, the European close, and Kuwait pissing on the US market's fireworks... [...]"  Note: The graphs tell all. Related:: "Banks Loosen Lending Standards To Levels Seen Before Financial Crisis" Printer Friendly Version "The largest U.S. banks have lowered their standards for some of the riskiest lending in a sign that weak underwriting is returning to levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis, according to a regulator's report. [...]" 

Commentary: "Bloomberg "Foresees Russia's Demise?" [12/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bloomberg was in full cry last night regarding a failing Russian economy. We've never seen anything like it on Bloomberg: The front page of the website carried a box on the top left hand corner filled with blaring stories. It is this latter editorial that we are focused on in this analysis (View: "Russia's Problems Are Everyone's Problems"). And this is surely a meme, a sub-dominant social theme of sorts. It has exploded in the past six months. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Vladimir Putin himself has annoyed top men in the Western banking system and that the ruble is suffering as a result. We wrote about this on Sunday, commenting on points made regarding Russia from interviewee and top commodity trader Jim Rogers. Perceptively, he noted that the ruble's fall was linked to the price of oil, which was also falling. He stated that these twin events were likely being engineered by the West, something we've also suggested. Here's how Rogers put it: "Oil, which is the largest and most important commodity for everybody, is down. The Saudis are dumping oil because America told them to. America's having negotiations with Iran and a situation with Russia so they're trying to put pressure on both of them."[...] It is the globalist banking system apparently that now sees Putin as an impediment to a more aggressive internationalist regime. From what we can tell, Ukraine was used to create a state of tension between Russia and the West that justified the application of sanctions against Russia. And now, as the sanctions become more severe, top Western officials behind the scenes are applying other kinds of pressure to destabilize the Russian economic system. Putin, from what we can tell, has fought back. We've reported recently that Putin and the central bank had taken to buying gold with dollars, using the depressed price of gold against the dollar as a way of acquiring more gold than would have been available otherwise. The West, in other words, was burning through a good deal of currency to suppress the price of gold – as central bankers have indicated from time to time – and Russia was taking delivery of gold at these prices in order to shore up the price of the ruble. And thus, from what we can tell, a more aggressive attack was launched against the ruble via the price of oil. But none of this background – speculative though it may be – is being mentioned in the mainstream media. From the major media we receive only a meme: that "dictator Putin has played fast and loose with his ravaged economy". This is certainly the impression that Bloomberg is encouraging with its alarmist headlines. In fact, this sort of language returns us to speculations about "directed history" and the idea that many international tensions and crises are both premeditated and exaggerated. In a global environment such as this one where so much money power is concentrated in the hands of so few people – mostly central bankers – crises can surely be generated with little notice. Are these crises completely without merit? That's a conundrum that individual observers will have to decide for themselves. But the concentration of capital and control surely means that the potential for unnecessary crises is more pervasive than ever. Taken to the extreme, modern history is indeed, as Churchill said of the USSR: "A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.[...]"  Related"MSM Too Myopic To Realize A Russian Collapse Would Just Be A First Domino In A Worldwide Conflagration" Printer Friendly Version "The American MSM is cackling at the collapse of the Russian ruble and the Russian stock market. They seem to think Russia’s loss is an American win. They are too myopic to realize a Russian collapse will just be a first domino in a worldwide conflagration. The collapse in oil prices is mainly due to a collapse in worldwide demand because we have entered a global recession. No one wins in a global recession. Central banks have shot their load. The debt binge has failed to cure a disease caused by too much debt. Deflation has taken hold and will ravage the debt laden countries. The pain is just beginning. As a reminder – Russian debt to GDP is 20% and they still have hundreds of billions of barrels of crude oil under their land. The US has debt to GDP of 103% of GDP and shale that is worthless unless oil prices are above $80 per barrel. Oil is currently $56 per barrel. Are we really winning? The wildcard in this is Putin. ...]"|"Russia Crisis Leaves Banks Around The World Exposed By The Billions" Printer Friendly Version "Many Russian companies borrow money from European and American banks, but now the value of their domestic currency has decreased by more than 50 percent against the dollar, so the cost of the loans has doubled in ruble terms. But the Russian Central Bank, flush with foreign cash reserves, can help these companies out. “The current ruble crisis does not have any material impact on Russia’s ability to service foreign debt obligations,” Chris Weafer, partner at MacroAdivsory in Moscow, wrote in a note on Wednesday. The Russian economy is nowhere near default. The Central Bank has more than $400 billion in foreign currency reserves, unlike the last time when they defaulted in 1998, when they only had $16 billion. “There is no risk of default amongst the major banks or industrial companies. Reserves are adequate and the weak ruble boosts the outlook for trade and the current account surplus for 2015,” Weafer said.  [...]" 

Commentary: "Spain Criminalizes Protest Against EU Central Bankster Austerity" [12/17/14] Printer Friendly Version The Ley Mordaza, or Gag Rule law passed Spain’s lower house of Parliament late last week. It essentially bans all public protest and imposes heavy fines on 'anybody who dares peacefully protest against the government' or shows ' disrespect for authority and police. " [...] Spaniards have reacted to EU imposed austerity with massive demonstrations. Since 2011, protest participants, who are sometimes referred to as the “indignados,” have staged continuous demonstrations in Madrid and across the country. In 2012, the EU and the IMF provided Spain with a $130 billion loan to recapitalize its banks. Following the announcement, the Spanish government said it would cut 660 million euros in spending, cut wages for civil servants, close state-owned companies, raise property and other taxes, and tighten unemployment benefits “to encourage jobless people to seek work quickly.” Spain has a 25% unemployment rate. In addition to imposing Ley Mordaza and shutting down opposition to austerity, the Spanish state has geared up for civil unrest. In November, the Spanish digital daily, Público, revealed that 200 soldiers from the Light Armored Cavalry Regiment Lusitania No.8, based in Valencia, received special crowd control training, including the use of anti-riot equipment, by the military police" 

MSM: "Senator Bernie Sanders Unveils Plan To Break Up Wall Street Banks" [12/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to introduce new legislation to break up Wall Street banks and prevent them from using the the House-passed spending bill to engage in the kind of investments that led to the 2008 financial crisis. The Independent senator from Vermont used Saturday’s Senate session to outline a proposal that he believes would combat spending bill provisions meant to “gut” financial reforms passed by Congress in 2010. “If Congress cannot regulate Wall Street, there is just one alternative. It is time to break these too-big-to-fail banks up so that they can never again destroy the jobs, homes, and life savings of the American people,” Mr. Sanders said in a statement Saturday. Mr. Sanders said that he would introduce the new legislation to break up the behemoth banks at the beginning of the new session of Congress. “If Wall Street lobbyists can literally write a provision into law that will allow too-big-to-fail banks to make the same risky bets that nearly destroyed our economy just a few years ago, it should be obvious to all that their incredible economic and political power is a huge danger to our economy and our way of life,” Mr. Sanders said. [...]"  Related: "Republican Nightmares Come True As Bernie Sanders Gets A Big Promotion In The Senate" Printer Friendly Version "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will be a major thorn in Mitch McConnell’s side after it was announced that he has been promoted to the position of ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee. The promotion is big for Sen. Sanders, and it also means that he is going to have a high profile seat from which to launch his 2016 challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. In a statement, Sanders made it clear that he is going to be battling the Koch billionaires, Wall Street, and bringing attention to the growing problem of income inequality, “I want to thank Sen. Reid and the Democratic caucus for the opportunity to serve as the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee. At a time when the middle class is disappearing and the gap between the rich and everybody else is growing wider, we need a budget which reflects the needs of working families and not Wall Street and the top 1 percent. I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans on the committee to craft a budget that is fair to all Americans, not just the powerful special interests.” Sanders has already announced that he will be voting against the government funding bill that the Senate is currently debating, but from his leadership position on the Budget Committee, the Vermont Independent will have the power to give a voice to the 99% of Americans who aren’t wealthy enough to buy access to our political leaders with campaign contributions.  The fact that Sen. Sanders has been promoted to such an important position is another sign of the growing power of liberals within the Senate Democratic caucus. Bernie Sanders will now be in a position to be a major pain in the neck to the Koch brothers and the Republicans that they fund. Democrats may have lost their Senate majority, but the promotion of Bernie Sanders is another sign that the left is gearing up for a fight.[...]"

MSM: "Savings Accounts Are At Risk As Long As JP Morgan CEO Gets Everything He Wants" [12/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "The CEO of America’s biggest bank, JP Morgan, appears to have Washington at his beck and call but is his push to repeal a key financial safeguard a step too far? [...] If you want to understand what’s wrong with the US financial system, start by asking this question: why does Jamie Dimon always get his way? Dimon is the charismatic chief executive of the nation’s biggest bank, JP Morgan. JP Morgan has $2.5tn in assets and holds more than 10% of all the savings deposits in America. As a result, Dimon has a lot of financial firepower. This week, Dimon was one of the forces in an argument that nearly caused a government shutdown over how much power Wall Street should have. [...] In this case, Dimon successfully lobbied members of the US House to repeal an important part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, which was passed in 2010 to protect Americans from losing their homes and savings in another financial crisis. The provision was buried in the $1.1tn budget bill, where bank lobbyists and their soulmates in Congress mistakenly thought no one would find it. In a nutshell, the budget provision would allow banks to use the savings accounts of Americans to speculate in the markets on behalf of hedge funds, companies and the rich. Specifically, the banks would use customer savings to help clients make bets on derivatives, the technical financial instruments that were at the center of the financial crisis. There’s no benefit to this rule to anyone in America who has less than, say, $5m in the bank. If there were any question, merely remember that the 85-line provision was written in its entirety by bank lobbyists at Citigroup. Some, like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Representative Maxine Waters, were so outraged that they refused to pass the budget bill, even if it meant shutting down the federal government. A movement and a hashtag was born: #CitigroupShutdown. The Senate will vote on the budget bill in a few days. There’s a reason Dimon is hard at work charming Congress. Actually there are three reasons banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan want this repeal to happen. One reason is that, after a few years of windfalls, banks are struggling to make money again. The Federal Reserve is demanding that they keep a much fatter cushion of money to back their trades – in JP Morgan’s case, an extra $22bn. So it’s easy to see why banks would look around and want to get their hands not just on safe money, but money customers have already given them. [...]  The other, related reason is that there’s no safer money than money that has been insured by the federal government: if it gets lost, the government replaces it. Savings accounts are federally insured, which means if they get lost for any reason – from a bank run to speculation – the government covers the losses. You can see why banks would love to get their hands on that kind of guarantee for their risky trading. Risky trading is hugely profitable when it goes well, but disastrous if it goes badly. Why lose your own money when you can lose other people’s? The final rationale is that last year, as the regulation really hit the $630tn swaps and derivatives market, a crop of rival exchanges popped up to trade the swaps since the banks were constrained. These exchanges allow the customers of the banks to trade directly with each other, bypassing the middleman. Since banks exist purely as middlemen, it galls them to see customers working together directly, behind the watchful eye and the open wallet of Wall Street. Banks also make a lot of money on swaps, at times more than $40bn a year – not because the banks are brilliant sherpas to the market but because banks are federally insured if they lose customer deposits for any reason. Here’s what’s remarkable about this time, however: even despite Dimon’s abiding charm, some members of Congress stood up and said the derivatives provision would be wrong. In fact, they were willing to shut down the government over it. [...]"

MSM: "UK Government To 'Pay Back' All World War One Debt" [12/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "George Osborne wants to take advantage of today's low interest rates to refinance all the 'perpetual' bonds in the Government's portfolio  [...] Nearly one hundred years after it was first issued, the UK Government has announced that it will redeem all of the nation's World War One debt. In October, the Chancellor George Osborne said that he was planning to redeem £218m of so-called "4pc Consols" - bonds that were first issued by Winston Churchill in 1927, partly to refinance National War Bonds originating from the First World War. This was the first planned repayment of this kind of perpetual bond by the UK Government for 67 years. Today's news extends the repurchasing programme to include all of the debt that the UK incurred during the Great War. The Government says that it wants to take advantage of current low interest rates to refinance this debt with new, more conventional, bonds. [...] The UK Treasury said that it is planning to redeem a £1.9bn war loan in March next year. This bond pays a coupon of 3.5pc. It was issued in 1932 in exchange for a 5pc war loan that was issued in 1917 to help fund the First World War. Then Chancellor Neville Chamberlain was able to pay a lower rate of interest because he was swapping a 30-year bond for an undated one that would theoretically keep paying out in perpetuity. In a statement, the Treasury said: "Today’s announcement also represents the start of a strategy to remove all six of the other remaining undated gilts in the Government’s portfolio, when we deem it value for money to do so. This will take advantage of the low yield environment to consolidate the debt portfolio and deliver a long-term advantage of the tax payer." The Treasury said that these gilts include some debt originally issued in the era of the South Sea bubble in the 18th century, as well as to fund the nationalisation of the Bank of England. [...]"  

Commentary: "Bail-In And The Financial Stability Board: The Global Bankers’ Coup" [12/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "On December 11, 2014, the US House passed a bill repealing the Dodd-Frank requirement that risky derivatives be pushed into big-bank subsidiaries, leaving our deposits and pensions exposed to massive derivatives losses. The bill was vigorously challenged by Senator Elizabeth Warren; but the tide turned when Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, stepped into the ring. Perhaps what prompted his intervention was the unanticipated $40 drop in the price of oil. As financial blogger Michael Snyder points out, that drop could trigger a derivatives payout that could bankrupt the biggest banks. And if the G20’s new “bail-in” rules are formalized, depositors and pensioners could be on the hook. The new bail-in rules were discussed in my last post here. They are edicts of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an unelected body of central bankers and finance ministers headquartered in the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. Where did the FSB get these sweeping powers, and is its mandate legally enforceable? Those questions were addressed in an article I wrote in June 2009, two months after the FSB was formed, titled “Big Brother in Basel: BIS Financial Stability Board Undermines National Sovereignty.” It linked the strange boot shape of the BIS to a line from Orwell’s 1984: “a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” The concerns raised there seem to be materializing, so I’m republishing the bulk of that article here. We need to be paying attention, lest the bail-in juggernaut steamroll over us unchallenged. [...] Alarm bells went off in April 2009, when the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) was linked to the new Financial Stability Board (FSB) signed onto by the G20 leaders in London. The FSB was an expansion of the older Financial Stability Forum (FSF) set up in 1999 to serve in a merely advisory capacity by the G7 (a group of finance ministers formed from the seven major industrialized nations). The chair of the FSF was the General Manager of the BIS. The new FSB was expanded to include all G20 members (19 nations plus the EU). Formally called the “Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors,” the G20 was, like the G7, originally set up as a forum merely for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. What set off alarms was that the new Financial Stability Board had real teeth, imposing “obligations” and “commitments” on its members; and this feat was pulled off without legislative formalities, skirting the usual exacting requirements for treaties. It was all done in hasty response to an “emergency.” Problem-reaction-solution was the slippery slope of coups. Buried on page 83 of an 89-page Report on Financial Regulatory Reform issued by the US Obama administration was a recommendation that the FSB strengthen and institutionalize its mandate to promote global financial stability. It sounded like a worthy goal, but there was a disturbing lack of detail. What was the FSB’s mandate, what were its expanded powers, and who was in charge? An article in The London Guardian addressed those issues in question and answer format: [...]" 

MSM: "US Budget Bill Stealthily Allows Banks to Use Federal Deposit Insurance to Cover Swaps and Derivates" [12/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "The budget move repeals a portion of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act and, some say, lays the groundwork for future bailouts of banks who make irresponsibly risky trades. “It’s both a stealth move and indefensible,” said Dennis Kelleher, the head of Better Markets, a group that argues for great oversight of banks. In a note to clients, he later called it “a sneaky, midnight repeal”. The White House said on Wednesday it “strongly opposes” the provision. “The main purpose...is to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program; this bill should not be used as a vehicle to add entirely unrelated financial regulatory provisions,” the White House said. “If Wall Street gets the upside in big bonuses from its high-risk derivatives deals, then it should also have to pay the downside for any losses,” Kelleher wrote. Richard Trumka, the head of labor union AFL-CIO, said his organizations also objected to the budget provision. “Dodd-Frank forced too-big-to-fail banks to move potentially toxic speculation in derivatives out of their government-insured banks,” Trumka said in a statement. “Wall Street’s friends in Congress are trying to once again put the public on the hook for the most dangerous aspects of the financial system.” Banks make their money primarily through two activities: lending out deposits to people or companies, and speculating on the markets. Laws like the defunct Glass-Steagall act were designed to separate the two activities. The Dodd-Frank rule recaptured a small part of that separation. [...]"   Related: "Spending Bill To Get House Vote Amid Discord On Bank Measure" Printer Friendly Version "The U.S. House is set to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill that includes a banking provision opposed by many Democrats as a giveaway to large institutions. Current funding for the government ends today, and the measure would finance most of the government through September 2015. The House also plans to pass a short-term spending bill to give the Senate time to vote on the measure and avoid a government shutdown. The banking language, insisted upon by Republicans, would ease rules enacted to protect taxpayers against bank losses after souring derivatives trades helped cause the 2008 financial crisis. The dispute over the banking rule is a preview of Republican plans to roll back other business regulations when they take control of both chambers in 2015.  The provision would put “taxpayers back on the hook for Wall Street’s riskiest behavior,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said yesterday. Though Pelosi opposes the banking provision, she stopped short of urging fellow House Democrats to vote against the bill, said a leadership aide who sought anonymity. The banking provision would let JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and other lenders keep swaps trading in units with federal backstops. “This is about reckless behavior,” Warren said at a news conference. “It’s about a giveaway to the largest financial institutions in this country.” Second-ranking Senate Democrat Richard Durbin of Illinois said he didn’t know if he would vote for the spending bill with the banking changes.  “It is just an invitation for another financial disaster,” Durbin said. “It is a horrible choice between a bill of over a trillion dollars in spending, with a lot of very important provisions in it, and some absolutely awful language put in by special interests in the House.” While Obama will maintain the power of his veto pen, Republicans are likely to try to force anti-regulation measures by attaching them to must-pass spending bills and other legislation. [...]"  

Commentary: "America in Decline" [12/11/14] [26:20] "Many economists have discussed the impending economic collapse of the United States for years – but why hasn’t it happened yet? Were they wrong – or is there something else going on?  Stefan Molyneux and Gerald Celente discuss the dangers of the current economic system, who’s really running the show, the disastrous military blow-back and the impact of never-ending war on a worldwide stage. [...]" Related: "Retail Apocalypse Accelerates: Collapsing Holiday Sales Are A Signal That A Recession Is Coming" Printer Friendly Version | "Price Of Oil Falls Dramatically: A Sign That Economic Activity Is Really Slowing Down" [18:07] "When the price of oil falls dramatically - it is a sign that economic activity is really slowing down. Stefan Molyneux discusses the current state of the economy, the reliance on debt for immediate financial survival, the drop in the price of oil, the OPEC (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela) price battle against American oil producers, the economic proxy war, sword of Damocles commodity derivatives and how this will impact the average person. [...]" | "Bank Of America: OPEC Is Finished"  Printer Friendly Version "The OPEC oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense and crude prices will slump to $50 a barrel over the coming months as market forces shake out the weakest producers, Bank of America has warned. Revolutionary changes sweeping the world’s energy industry will drive down the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG), creating a “multi-year” glut and a much cheaper source of gas for Europe. Francisco Blanch, the bank’s commodity chief, said Opec is “effectively dissolved” after it failed to stabilize prices at its last meeting. “The consequences are profound and long-lasting,“ he said. The free market will now set the global cost of oil, leading to a new era of wild price swings and disorderly trading that benefits only the Mid-East petro-states with deepest pockets such as Saudi Arabia. If so, the weaker peripheral members such as Venezuela and Nigeria are being thrown to the wolves. The bank said in its year-end report that at least 15pc of US shale producers are losing money at current prices, and more than half will be under water if US crude falls below $55. The high-cost producers in the Permian basin will be the first to “feel the pain” and may soon have to cut back on production. [...]" | "Not Just Oil: Guess What Happened The Last Time Commodity Prices Crashed Like This" Printer Friendly Version | "Plummeting Oil Prices Could Destroy The Banks Holding Trillions In Commodity Derivatives"  Printer Friendly Version 

Buffoonery: "Germany, Stuck with Massive Bill for Ukraine, "Asks Russia for Help" [12/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "... German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has been obliged to telephone Anton Siluanov, Russia’s Finance Minister, to ask him not to call in Russia’s $3 billion loan, which becomes automatically repayable when Ukraine’s debt exceeds 60% of its GDP, something which everybody knows has now happened. It also says that “George Osborne, the UK finance minister, expressed surprise at the request, attendees said, saying the EU was now asking for help from Russia at the same time it was sanctioning the Kremlin for its actions in Ukraine.” In other words, in order to “save” Ukraine (and their own political reputations) the European leadership is now being forced to turn to Russia for help - the same country they accuse of invading and destabilising Ukraine and which they have sanctioned. The background to this is that Russia is Ukraine’s biggest creditor with Ukraine owing Russia around $35 billion. Money the IMF gives to Ukraine therefore inevitably ends up in Russia by way of debt repayments. [...]"  Related: "IMF Warns Ukraine in Danger of Collapse" Printer Friendly Version 

Date With Destiny: "London ‘Banker’ Impaled After Falling From Penthouse" [12/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "A man believed to work in the financial industry in London ‘fell’ to his death and impaled himself on a fence Tuesday. Firemen had to cut the fence to get the body down which was ‘hanging there’ for hours. [...]"  

Flashback: "Russia Prepares To Challenge Dollar By Creating Alternative SWIFT System In 2015" [12/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "On Nov. 11, just days after announcing the un-pegging of the Rouble and allowing its free float in the global currency system, Russia is going after the heart of the dollar and the reserve currency by declaring that they will create an alternative SWIFT system that will compete with the Western based inter-bank messaging service. This action by Russia is tied directly to the ongoing sanctions imposed upon them by the U.S. over Ukraine, and will allow the Eurasian state to remove one of the weaknesses to their monetary system that Washington is using as a weapon to restrict Russia's ability to use its currency in banking transactions. SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, and is the world's central nexus for nearly all global currency transactions between banks and nation states. It's software and function is to document, validate, and route currency transactions between registered banks, allowing smooth transitions between economies and markets no matter the differentiation in currency values. As the Western SWIFT system is the primary facility used by the dollar and global reserve currency, the U.S. has vast control over the global monetary system. In fact, it is this control that has lead SWIFT to be used as an economic weapon through differing levels of sanctions now, and in the past, as seen in recent years in countries like Iran and now Russia to limit their ability to perform global banking transactions with their own domestic currencies. [...] A Central Bank official said Tuesday that the regulator will finish building its alternative to the SWIFT inter-bank messaging service, a key element in Russia's plans to diminish foreign influence over its financial system, by the end of May next year. The Central Bank will begin providing messaging services to certain banks as early as December this year, added Ramilya Kanafina, deputy director of the Central Bank's national payment system department, Interfax reported. The European Parliament in September proposed cutting Russia off from the SWIFT system in an effort to pressure the Kremlin over its foreign policy toward Ukraine, sparking an initiative within Russia to create an alternative system. - Moscow Times [...] Russia's move to create an alternative to SWIFT is just another step in lessening U.S. hegemony and control over the global financial system, and in building the necessary infrastructure to place Eurasia and the Far East on an even playing field to the long-standing dominion by the West over banking and trade. Russia has already created a competitor to the petro-dollar by earlier this year announcing they will begin selling oil and natural gas in both the Rouble and the Yuan, and the creation of an alternative SWIFT system will prepare the way for the Chinese currency to directly compete with, or perhaps overtake, the current reserve currency in the future. While U.S. sanctions against Russia, its currency, and its banking system have caused severe turmoil in the Rouble and the economy, it has also forced both China and Russia to accelerate their plans to divest themselves from the West, and to create an alternative financial system that provides other nation's a choice in how they transact monetary policies. And with recent agreements signed between China and several other nations that include Canada, America's hold over countries through their ability to use the dollar and the banking system as means of economic and financial sanctions becomes less and less a threat each passing day.[...] "

MSM: "Dollar Surge Endangers Global Debt Edifice, Warns BIS" [12/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Off-shore lending in US dollars has soared to $9 trillion and poses a growing risk to both emerging markets and the world’s financial stability, the Bank for International Settlements has warned. The Swiss-based global watchdog said dollar loans to Chinese banks and companies are rising at annual rate of 47pc. They have jumped to $1.1 trillion from almost nothing five years ago. Cross-border dollar credit has ballooned to $456bn in Brazil, and $381bn in Mexico. External debt has reached $715bn in Russia, mostly in dollars. A chunk of China’s borrowing is disguised as intra-firm financing. This replicates practices by German industrial companies in the 1920s, which hid their real level of exposure as the 1929 debt trauma was building up. “To the extent that these flows are driven by financial operations rather than real activities, they could give rise to financial stability concerns,” said the BIS in its quarterly report.  [...]"  

Commentary: " Goldman Sachs Wrote Speech For The Fed — Massive Fraud" [12/08/14] [11:13]    

Commentary: "Study: Corporate Bribery And Corruption Grease The Gears Of Global Capitalism" [12/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Large multinational corporations are behind the majority of documented bribes worldwide, with most payers and takers hailing from rich nations, according to a study released Tuesday by the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The report, which evaluated data obtained from 427 bribery offense cases spanning the past 15 years, found that 57 percent of all bribes examined involved corporate efforts to obtain public contracts—mostly in western, more developed states. Customs and defense officials accounted for a significant proportion of bribe recipients, at 11% and 6% respectively. [...] According to the study, the average bribe amounts to 10.9% of the total value of the transaction, with the average payout calculated at nearly $14 million for the cases reviewed. Regarding the impact such bribery is having on business and governance, the report states: “The true social cost of corruption cannot be measured by the amount of bribes paid or even the amount of state property stolen. Rather, it is the loss of output due to the misallocation of resources, distortions of incentives and other inefficiencies caused by corruption that represent its real cost to society.” When it comes to corporate bribes, the analysis found that these instances are generally not committed by lone low-ranking individuals. According to the report, 53 percent of known bribery cases directly involved high-level corporate managers or CEOs. “Most international bribes are paid by large companies, usually with the knowledge of senior management,” the study states. Almost two-thirds of bribery cases occurred in just four sectors, the report revealed. The highest proportion of bribes occur in the extractive industries—such as fossil fuels and other mining activities— and account for 19 percent of all bribery cases. This was followed by the construction, transportation and storage, and information and communication sectors. However, the report states that, due to the complex and secretive nature of global corruption, its findings are just “the tip of the iceberg.” [...]"

Commentary: "Wall Street Moves To Put Taxpayers On The Hook For Derivatives Trades" [12/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Wall Street has for some time attempted to put taxpayers on the hook for its derivatives trades. I highlighted this a year ago in the post: Citigroup Written Legislation Moves Through the House of Representatives. Fortunately, that bill never made it to a vote on the Senate floor, but now Wall Street is trying to sneak it into a bill needed to keep the government running. [...]"  Related: "Wall Street Demands Derivatives Deregulation In Government Shutdown Bill" Printer Friendly Version Related: See below: "Derivatives: 10x Size Of Global Economy — Trigger To Global Financial Meltdown Within Couple Of Years" [12/04/14] and related attached stories.| "Give Me Amnesty Or I Will Shut Down Government Says Obama" Printer Friendly Version See the collusion which is part of what Wall Street wants to happen....

Concepts and Practices: "The Morality And Legality Of Debt Jubilee" [12/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Our nations (Western nations) are rapidly going bankrupt. This is not a suggestion, or an assertion. It is a simple fact of arithmetic, for anyone capable of operating a calculator, and who can understand the concept of “compound interest”. Indeed, the bankruptcy of these already-insolvent regimes has only been delayed via permanently (fraudulently) keeping interest rates frozen at near-zero – to minimize their already gigantic interest payments. The economic outcome here is as obvious as it is inevitable. After the mass-bankruptcy which will occur either tomorrow, next month, next year, or (improbably) next decade; there will be a gigantic “economic reset” of Western economies, and very possibly the entire global economy. This simple, inevitable conclusion should not surprise any reader. It has happened many times in our civilized history. Indeed, it has happened with such regularity/frequency that we even have a name for this economic phenomenon: Debt Jubilee. The origins of Debt Jubilee go back to (literally) Biblical times, as our societies have been bankrupting themselves, and then “resetting” for well over 2,000 years. Having established that there must be an economic reset ahead of us, and having observed that this is a regular occurrence in our societies/civilizations; all that remains to be dealt with is how the next Debt Jubilee should be administered. As Debt Jubilee translates literally to erasing our debts; the question boils down to this: should all debt (government/corporate/individual) be wiped away, or only partially erased? Since this is ultimately a question of law, and we are still (supposedly) societies governed by the Rule of Law; the appropriate analysis here is a legal one. The legal principle upon which any Debt Jubilee must be based is known as “the doctrine of unjust enrichment”. It is an elementary doctrine, and thus requires no legal training or expertise to understand it. The precise legal question to be decided here is a simple one: would the Debtors here (our governments, and us) be “unjustly enriched” if all our debts were totally/permanently erased? If we answer the first question affirmatively; then the doctrine of unjust enrichment requires that we consider a second question: are the Debt-Holders entitled to any legal remedy themselves, under a separate branch of our law known (appropriately) as Equity? Here, again, the answer to the question is governed by a simple principle. In order for any person/entity to be entitled to any equitable remedy in our legal system, they must satisfy a stringent legal test: they must demonstrate themselves to have “clean hands”. Simply, in order for anyone to be entitled to a legal remedy in Equity (in this case, the Debt-Holders) they must prove that their own conduct has been above reproach. [...] However, while most of our national debts are the direct product of fraud; we also had/have large historical debts. What about the original debt-loads accumulated by our governments, over roughly the last century? If we are going to erase all government debt; that debt must be considered as well. Part II of this series will deal with that subject."  Related: "The Morality and Legality of Debt Jubilee, Part II" Printer Friendly Version 

Concepts and Practices: "Idiotic Economic Theory Causing Governments to Blow Up Their Economies" MSM [12/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "... Economist Michael Hudson writes: "The United States cannot “inflate its way out of debt,” because this would collapse the dollar and end its dreams of global empire by forcing foreign countries to go their own way. There is too little manufacturing to make the economy more “competitive,” given its high housing costs, transportation, debt and tax overhead. The economy has hit a debt wall and is falling into Negative Equity, where it may remain for as far as the eye can see until there is a debt write-down…The Obama-Geithner plan to restart the Bubble Economy’s debt growth so as to inflate asset prices by enough to pay off the debt overhang out of new “capital gains” cannot possibly work. But that is the only trick these ponies know… The global economy is falling into depression, and cannot recover until debts are written down. Instead of taking steps to do this, the government is doing just the opposite. It is proposing to take bad debts onto the public-sector balance sheet, printing new Treasury bonds to give the banks – bonds whose interest charges will have to be paid by taxing labor and industry… The economy may be dead by the time saner economic understanding penetrates the public consciousness. In the mean time, bad private-sector debt will be shifted onto the government’s balance sheet. Interest and amortization currently owed to the banks will be replaced by obligations to the U.S. Treasury. It is paying off the gamblers and billionaires by supporting the value of bank loans, investments and derivative gambles, leaving the Treasury in debt. Taxes will be levied to make up the bad debts with which the government now is stuck. The “real” economy will pay Wall Street – and will be paying for decades. [...] Mish Shedlock argues: "Inflationists make two mistakes when it comes to government debt. The first is in assuming government debt is more important than consumer debt. (It will be after consumer debt is defaulted away, but it’s not right now.) The second is that it’s not so easy to inflate government debt away either…Inflationists act as if unfunded liability costs and interest on the national debt stay constant. Also ignored is the loss of jobs and rising defaults that will occur while this “inflating away” takes place. Tax receipts will not rise enough to cover rising interest given a state of rampant overcapacity and global wage arbitrage. Yet in spite of these obvious difficulties, the mantra is repeated day in and day out. Inflating debt away only stands a chance in an environment where there is a sustainable ability and willingness of consumers and businesses to take on debt, asset prices rise, government spending is controlled, and interest on accumulated debt is not onerous. Those conditions are now severely lacking on every front.[...]"  

MSM: "Dis-Accumulation On A World Scale: Pillage, Plunder And Wealth" [12/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "Over the past 30 years, wealth has grown exponentially and has become increasingly concentrated foremost in the upper .01%, then the .1%, followed by the 1% and the upper 10% – 20%. The so-called ‘crises of capitalism’ have neither reversed nor prevented the emergence of an international class of billionaires who acquire, merge and invest in each other’s activities. The growth of wealth has been accompanied by the pillage of accumulated profits from productive sectors which are stored as wealth not investment capital. The dispossession of capital and its conversion to private wealth subsequently led to the rapid expansion of the financial and real estate sector. Capital accumulation of profits has been the source of private accumulation of wealth at the expense of wages, salaries, public welfare, and state revenues. The growth of private wealth at the expense of productive investments is a world-wide phenomenon which has been facilitated by an international network of banks, political leaders and ‘regulators’ centered in the United States and England. The single most important aspect of private wealth accumulation on a world-scale is criminal behavior by the elites in multiple locations and involves the violation of multiple laws and regulations. [...] The original source of private wealth is the exploitation of labor by capital, of which a small percentage of the profits are reinvested in expanding production in the ‘home market’ or overseas. The bulk of the profits are transferred into financial networks which in turn illicitly channel the funds into overseas accounts. [...] The movements of profits ‘overseas’ takes multiple forms (transfer pricing, phony invoices, etc.) and they are primarily converted to private wealth. These ‘international movements’ of profits are largely composed of mega-thievery or plunder by political and business leaders from ‘developing countries’. According to the Financial Times, “Up to $1 trillion (dollars) is being taken out of developing countries every year through a web of corrupt activities involving anonymous shell companies that typically hide the identity of their true owners”.  The $1 trillion of stolen profits and revenues from the ‘developing countries’ (Africa, Asia, South America) are part of a “corruption chain” which is organized, managed and facilitated by the major financial institutions in the US and UK. According to a World Bank report in 2011 “70 percent of the biggest corruption cases between 1980 and 2010 involved anonymous shell companies. The US and UK were among the jurisdictions most frequently used to incorporate legal entities that held proceeds of corruption”. [...] This process of “taking out” or pillage of developing countries feeds into rent seeking, conspicuous consumption and other non-productive activity in the ‘developed countries’ or more accurately the imperialist states. The principle beneficiaries of the pillage of ‘developing countries’ by the local elites are their counterparts in the top 1% of the imperial countries, who control, direct and manage the financial, real estate and luxury sectors of their economies. The very same financial institutions in the imperial countries (and their related accountancy, legal and consultancy arms) facilitate the pillage of trillions from the ‘developed’ countries to offshore sites, via massive tax evasion operations, hoarding wealth instead of investing profits or paying taxes to the public treasury. Long-term, large scale pillage and tax evasion depends on the central role, at both ends of the world economy, of the financial sector. This results in the ‘imbalance of the economy’ – predominance of finance capital as the final arbiter on how ‘profits’ are disposed. [...]  The extremely narrow membership in the dominant financial sectors means that its growth will result in greater inequalities between classes. A disproportionate share of wealth will accrue to those who pillage the revenues and profits of the productive sector. As a result so-called ‘productive capitalists’ hasten to join and lay claims to membership in the financial sector. The links between ‘productive’ and ‘fictitious’ capital or financial swindle capital, defy any attempt to find a progressive sector within the dominant classes. But the effort to enter the charmed circle of the dominant financial 1% is fraught with dangers and risks . . . because the financial sector has a very dynamic and super-active capacity for swindles.[...] The plunder of the economy is accompanied by unending wars – because war contracts are a major source of illicit financial flows. Plunder oligarchs share with militarists a deep and abiding belief in pillage of countries and destruction of productive resources. The one reinforces the other in an eternal embrace – defied only by insurgents who embrace a moral economy and who proclaim the need for a total change – a new civilization. [...]"

Max Keiser: "The Oil-Drenched Black Swan- Part 1" Charles Hugh Smith [12/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "The term Black Swan shows up in all sorts of discussions, but what does it actually mean? Though the term has roots stretching back to the 16th century, today it refers to author Nassim Taleb’s meaning as defined in his books, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: "First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact’. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.” Simply put, black swans are undirected and unpredicted. The Wikipedia entry lists three criteria based on Taleb’s work: 1. The event is a surprise (to the observer). 2. The event has a major effect. 3. After the first recorded instance of the event, it is rationalized by hindsight, as if it could have been expected; that is, the relevant data were available but unaccounted for in risk mitigation programs. It is my contention that the recent free-fall in the price of oil qualifies as a financial Black Swan. Let’s go through the criteria: [...]"  Related: Part 2: The Financialization of Oil | Part 3: Multiple Risks, Multiple Unknowns | Part 4: The Head-Fake Disruption Ahead |  See also the video below, which references this series.| "Plummeting Oil Prices Could Destroy Banks That Are Holding Trillions In Commodity Derivatives" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Derivatives: 10x Size Of Global Economy — Trigger To Global Financial Meltdown Within Couple Of Years" [12/04/14] [12:37] "Today on The Janssen Report (#88): the financialization of pretty much everything has caused incredible systemic risk on top of so-called collateral. In fact, this collateral is the true value upon which most derivatives are based, such as gold, silver, oil and real estate." It turns out that even the biggest financial experts do not truly understand derivatives. It's a large "unknown". Just recall Warren Buffett's letter to shareholders about his failure to unwind the derivatives portfolio of one of his newly acquired companies in the late 90s. He called derivatives a potentially lethal time bomb. Estimates concerning the volume of the derivatives market range from 700 Trillion dollars to upwards of 1.5 Quadrillion dollars (including what is sometimes referred to as shadow derivatives). Related: "Big Banks and Derivatives: Why Another Financial Crisis Is Inevitable" Printer Friendly Version |  "Crash Course on Financial Derivatives" [10:12] | Endless Manipulation: Central Bank Buying Of S&P 500 Futures Extended Until End Of 2015" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Ukraine: US Investment Banker Is The New Finance Minister" [12/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "The natives of the US, Georgia and Lithuania were hastily granted Ukrainian citizenship in order to become key ministers in the new government of Ukraine, which was approved by the country’s parliament on Tuesday.President Poroshenko has also announced he will sign a decree to grant citizenship to foreigners fighting on Kiev’s side in the east of the country. The American investment banker Natalia Jaresko got fast-tracked the Ukrainian citizenship, so that the woman can become finance minister of ‘Jaz’ Yatsenyuk. She is also CEO of a US state financial investor. Prior to her work in the financial sector she was an employee at the US Department of State. Jaresko, who currently heads the Kiev-based Horizon Capital investment fund, will take reigns at the Ukrainian Finance Ministry. In 1992-1995, Jaresko served as the first Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine. Before that she occupied several economic positions in the US State Department, according to Horizon Capital website [...]"  

Max Keiser: "Financial Engineering (E684)" [12/03/14]   [25:48] "In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the fact that there are no fundamentals, only financial engineering which is too bad for a real world with a real environment and real people who need to eat. In the second half Max interviews author and journalist, Robert Chalmers, about the corporate lynching of Gary Webb, the journalist who uncovered the CIA’s role in the drugs trade.  [...]"  

Historical Commentary: "The Birth Of A Monster" [12/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "As flaws in the system of fractional-reserve free banking began to appear, private central bank-like institutions known as clearinghouses sprang up, and they helped pave the way for the Fed. Allow me to give a brief reverse biographical sketch of the events leading up to the creation of a monster in 1914. [...]"  

Commentary: "Noam Chomsky": Why You Cannot Have A Capitalist Democracy" [12/03/14] [17:46] "During the Q&A period after Noam Chomsky gave a lecture at 1199 SEIU Union Hall located in Dorchester, MA on September 30, 2014. “Capitalist Democracy and its Prospect’s” he spoke why you can not have a capitalist democracy. During the 18 minutes he speaks about one of the architects of modern Capitalism, Adam Smith, Laissez-faire Economics, people’s misinterpretations of Adam Smith specifically when it comes to what personal freedom actually is. He tears into what Modern Libertarianism has become in the US. He talks about the transitioning economy from being technology based to biology based. He finally discussed how people income impact political decisions and referred to the Orwellian term “Unpeople “to describe the largest percentage of people who are disenfranchised from political decisions and power and believes as compared to the occupy movement that the country is being rules in a Plutocracy ruled by the top 0.1% of wealth.. [...]" 

MSM: "What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed" [12/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months. The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months.  Well, now it is happening again, but this time the stakes are even higher. When the price of oil falls dramatically, that is a sign that economic activity is slowing down. It can also have a tremendously destabilizing affect on financial markets. As you will read about below, energy companies now account for approximately 20 percent of the junk bond market. And a junk bond implosion is usually a signal that a major stock market crash is on the way. So if you are looking for a “canary in the coal mine”, keep your eye on the performance of energy junk bonds. If they begin to collapse, that is a sign that all hell is about to break loose on Wall Street. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the shale oil boom to the U.S. economy. Thanks to this boom, the United States has become the largest oil producer on the entire planet. Yes, the U.S. now actually produces more oil than either Saudi Arabia or Russia. This “revolution” has resulted in the creation of millions of jobs since the last recession, and it has been one of the key factors that has kept the percentage of Americans that are employed fairly stable. Unfortunately, the shale oil boom is coming to an abrupt end. As a recent Vox article discussed, OPEC has essentially declared a price war on U.S. shale oil producers… For all intents and purposes, OPEC is now engaged in a “price war” with the United States. What that means is that it’s very cheap to pump oil out of places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. But it’s more expensive to extract oil from shale formations in places like Texas and North Dakota. So as the price of oil keeps falling, some US producers may become unprofitable and go out of business. The result? Oil prices will stabilize and OPEC maintains its market share. If the price of oil stays at this level or continues falling, we will see a significant number of U.S. shale oil companies go out of business and large numbers of jobs will be lost. The Saudis know how to play hardball, and they are absolutely ruthless. In fact, we have seen this kind of scenario happen before… [...]"  

MSM: "Saudi Stocks Crash Into Bear Market Following OPEC Decision" [12/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "It's not just Shale oil stocks in the US that are hurting. Following the OPEC decision to not cut production and squeeze US producers, Saudi Arabia's major stock market index has tumbled into a bear market, giving up all the year's gains. As one analyst noted, "investors are afraid if oil stays where it is, it will negatively impact the government revenues, thus creating potential headwinds on government spending." Dubai stocks - our long-time favorite bubble index - has also been hammered, down over 7% intraday at its worst... [...]" 

MSM: "Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Standard Bank And BASF Conspired To Manipulate Platinum/Palladium Prices" [11/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "Banks Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Standard Bank and a unit of chemical producer BASF conspired to manipulate platinum and palladium prices, according to a US lawsuit filed this week. The class-action suit, filed Tuesday in New York, said the four defendants shared nonpublic information about client purchases and sale orders to manipulate prices for their benefit and to the detriment of plaintiffs. This illegal sharing of information "gave them the ability to execute trades... in advance of those (price) movements," the complaint said. "This unlawful behaviour allowed Defendants to reap substantial profits, while non-insiders, which include Plaintiffs and members of the Class, were injured." The plaintiff, Modern Settings, a US maker of jewelry and other metal products, alleges it lost value on "tens of thousands of transactions" due to the conspiracy, the complaint said. Investors in the commodities "lost millions of dollars as a result of this conduct," said Labaton Sucharow, the firm representing the plaintiffs, in a statement. The complaint alleges the manipulation began as early as 2007 through the present. It seeks to bar the illegal conduct and gain unspecified financial damages. The four defendants participated in twice-daily "fixings" teleconference calls to set prices for the physical metals markets in a process set up by the London Platinum & Palladium Market in 1987. However, the suit alleges the defendants discussed their trading strategies and customer orders prior to the official fixings call. The London Platinum and Palladium Fixing Company on October 16 named the London Metal Exchange, the main global metals market, to provide pricing, replacing the current system. The new system, to take effect December 1, will use an electronic trading platform. The reform is one of several changes in financial markets in the wake of scandals, such as the alleged rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate by leading banks. The Libor rate, which banks charge each other for short-term loans, underpins an estimated $300 trillion of transactions worldwide. [...]"  

MSM: "Senate Report: Scale of Wall Street Holdings Are “Unprecedented In U.S. History" [11/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin, released an alarming 396-page report that details how Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks have quietly, and often stealthily through shell companies, gained ownership of a stunning amount of the nation’s critical industrial commodities like oil, aluminum, copper, natural gas, and even uranium. The report said the scale of these bank holdings “appears to be unprecedented in U.S. history.” Adding to the hubris of the situation, the Wall Street banks’ own regulator, the Federal Reserve, gave its blessing to this unprecedented and dangerous encroachment by banking interests into industrial commodity ownership and has effectively looked the other way as the banks moved into industrial commerce activities like owning pipelines and power plants. [...] For more than a century, Federal law has encouraged the separation of banking and commerce. The role of banks has been seen as providing prudent corporate lending to facilitate the growth of commerce, not to compete with it through unfair advantage by having access to cheap capital from the Federal Reserve’s lending programs. Additionally, the mega banks are holding trillions of dollars in FDIC insured deposits; if they experienced a catastrophic commercial accident through a ruptured pipeline, tanker oil spill, or power plant explosion, it could once again put the taxpayer on the hook for a bailout. The Levin report addresses the element of catastrophic risk, noting: “While the likelihood of an actual catastrophe remained remote, those activities carried risks that banks normally avoided altogether. Goldman, for example, bought a uranium business that carried the risk of a nuclear incident, as well as open pit coal mines that carried potential risks of methane explosions, mining mishaps, and air and water pollution…Morgan Stanley owned and invested in extensive oil storage and transport facilities and a natural gas pipeline company which, together, carried risks of fire, pipeline ruptures, natural gas explosions, and oil spills. JPMorgan bought dozens of power plants whose risks included fire, explosions, and air and water pollution. Throughout most of their history, U.S. banks have not incurred those types of catastrophic event risks.” [...] One would think that the mega banks’ regulator, the Federal Reserve, would be the first line of defense against this type of dangerous sprawl by banks. According to the Levin Subcommittee report, the Federal Reserve was actually the facilitator of the sprawl by the banks. The report notes: “Without the complementary orders and letters issued by the Federal Reserve, many of those physical commodity activities would not otherwise have been permissible ‘financial’ activities under federal banking law. By issuing those complementary orders, the Federal Reserve directly facilitated the expansion of financial holding companies into new physical commodity activities.” [...] After the Wall Street financial collapse of 2008, which galvanized the public and Congress to the trillions in taxpayer dollars that was required to shore up the financial system from out of control global casinos masquerading as banks, the Federal Reserve quietly commissioned a study to determine just how sprawling the commodity holdings and operations of the mega banks had become. The study was conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Commodities Team. It appears that Senator Levin’s Subcommittee has only been allowed to see a “2012 Summary Report” of that study and the public is not being allowed to see even that. The Levin report makes multiple references to the document, each time noting that it is “sealed.” Why the document is sealed becomes clear from the few tidbits from the study that are shared with the public. Among the 2012 findings are the following: [...]" 

Commentary: "Global Business Outlook: "Darkest Picture since Financial Crisis" US Deterioration "Of Greatest Concern" [11/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "The plunging price of oil since June has been a leading indicator: global economic growth is in trouble, despite six years of unprecedented central-bank free-money policies that caused asset prices to soar but has accomplished little else. This scenario has now been confirmed by businesses that help drive the economy forward – not by economists and Wall Street hype mongers: their outlook for the next 12 months has plummeted since June to the worst level since crisis year 2009. [...] Business leaders are an optimistic bunch. Projecting a 12-month period that is worse than the past 12 months is frowned upon; because business leaders are supposed to make their business grow, even when it looks tough out there. They’ve been optimistic over the years, despite multiple recessions in the Eurozone, a slowdown in China, a quagmire in Japan, and disappointing growth in the US, where “escape velocity,” dangled out in front of our noses for five years, has become a figment of Wall Street imagination. Throughout, business optimism has been fairly strong, according to Markit’s Global Business Outlook, a survey taken in February, June, and October. But results from the October survey, released today, are a doozie. The number of businesses around the globe that expect activity to rise over the next 12 months exceeded the number expecting a decline by 28%, the worst in the survey history going back to 2009. This “net balance” was down from 39% in June. The peak of global business optimism in the survey’s history was in February 2011, when the net balance hit 48%. Manufacturing wasn’t that much of a problem; optimism fell “only” to the level of June 2013. But in the all-important service sector, by far the largest sector in most economies, optimism plunged to the lowest level in the survey’s history. It was all-around lousy. In the UK, where businesses were among the most upbeat, so to speak, optimism about future activity fell to the lowest level since June 2013. In the Eurozone, which has been battered by a series of apparently intractable problems, optimism dropped to the already low levels of June 2013. The big drags on optimism in the Eurozone were in the two largest economies, Germany and France.[...]"  

MSM: "The Wrath Of Draghi: First German Bank Hits Savers With ‘Negative Interest Rates’" [11/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Deutsche Skatbank, a division of VR-Bank Altenburger Land, which was founded in 1859, is not the biggest bank in Germany, but it’s the first bank to confirm what German savers have been dreading for a while: the wrath of Draghi. Retail and business customers with over €500,000 on deposit as of November 1 will earn a “negative interest rate” of 0.25%. In less euphemistic terms, they have to pay 0.25% per annum to the bank for the privilege of handing the bank their hard-earned money or their business cash. Inflation has had a similar effect in the zero-interest-rate environment that the ECB and other central banks have inflicted on savers, but this time it’s official, it’s open, it can’t be hidden. Instead of lending your moolah to the bank so that the bank can lend it out to businesses and retail customers for all sorts of economically beneficial purposes, you’re financially better off hiding it in the basement. Grudging respect is due the ECB and other central banks: through the perverse regime of ZIRP, they have succeeded in transmogrifying “cash in bank” from an income-producing asset to a costly liability. “Punishment Interest” is what Germans lovingly call this. It’s the latest and most blatant step of the central-bank strategy to confiscate in bits and pieces and over time the wealth that prudent people and businesses have accumulated, and that should have re-entered the economy via the intermediation of the banks. [...] The door to punishment interest has been cracked open. It starts with large deposits and small rates. Then step by step, deposit amounts get smaller and punishment interest rates get larger until everyone gets smacked with it, and no money is saved. It’s all part of the time-honored central-bank strategy to flog savers until their mood improves. Germans don’t get to do this, but the lucky Swiss get to: they get to go to the polls and tell their central bank what to do about gold. A yes-vote will send shock waves through the gold market and other central banks"[...]"  

MSM: "Goldman Accused Of Exploiting Aluminum Storage Rules" [11/24/14] Printer Friendly Version [2:43] "In a voluminous new report reflecting two years of research, an influential Senate panel accuses Goldman Sachs of manipulating aluminum storage rules in order to line its own pockets, even as manufacturers and customers suffered. Since 2010, when it acquired the metal storage company Metro International Trade Services, Goldman has engaged in a slew of manipulative "merry-go-round" trades in which aluminum slabs are moved from one warehouse facility to another, says the 396-page report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, resulting in record U.S. fees for storing and shipping aluminum and, as a result, higher overall costs for aluminum-product manufacturers and consumers. "These merry-go-round transactions lengthened the metal load out queue to exit the Metro warehouse system [and] blocked the exits for other metal owners seeking to leave the system," states the report, unveiled at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in advance of a two-day hearing set to be held on the subject in Washington, D.C. [...]"  

Commentary: "Goldman Sachs Fires Staff for Alleged NY Fed Breach" [11/24/14] Printer Friendly Version "Goldman Sachs has fired an investment banker who allegedly accessed confidential information from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Goldman said it had fired Rohit Bansal, a junior employee, in September and then fired his supervisor Joe Jiampietro, a senior banker in the financial institutions group. The New York Fed said: ”As soon as we learned that Goldman Sachs suspected one of its employees may have inappropriately obtained confidential supervisory information, we alerted law enforcement authorities.” NYT had this to say about Jiampietro's crony, revolving door ties, when Goldman hire him in February, 2011: Joseph Jiampietro, one of the government’s top deal makers during the financial crisis, has joined Goldman Sachs as a senior investment banker covering the financial services industry. Mr. Jiampietro was previously a senior adviser to Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, during the throes of the financial crisis, where he helped coordinate more than 100 government-assisted bank deals. He was also one of the chief architects of the FDIC.’s policies on private equity involvement in the banking industry and was Ms. Bair’s main liaison to hedge funds and the broader Wall Street community. He left the FDIC in August, after serving for just over a year. [...] The idea that Goldman’s decisions are driven by simple reputational considerations rather than a desire to comply is reinforced by the leakage of this story to Wall Street’s most friendly news outlet, the New York Times’ Dealbook, prior to Senate hearings... this Friday. The bank clearly wants to spin this new PR problem as them being pro-active and dealing with a bad situation promptly, when it looks like they actually waited until events forced their hand."  

MSM: "Netherlands Repatriates 122 Tons Of Gold From NY Federal Reserve" [11/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Dutch central bank has secretly brought a large part of the national gold reserves being held in a secure depot in New York back to Amsterdam. In total, 120 tonnes of gold valued at €4bn has been brought back to the Netherlands by ship, Nos television said. The high security reparations for the move took months. The central bank decided to bring some of its gold reserves back to the Netherlands to ensure a better spread, the bank said in a statement. In addition, the bank hopes to boost consumer confidence by showing there is enough gold in the Netherlands to take the country through a new economic crisis. Now 31% of the Dutch gold reserves are in Amsterdam, the same percentage as in New York. The rest is in Ottowa and London. The Netherlands has 612 tonnes of gold – worth €19bn at current gold prices, Nos said. [...]"  

MSM: "Senator Levin: Fed Enabled Banks To Elbow Way Into Commodities, Manipulate Prices" [11/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "Apparently Senator Levin is not expecting many $250,000 speaking engagements from Wall Street after he leaves the Senate. The Wall Street Banks have NO business using their subsidized banking funds and deposits to speculate in global markets for their own accounts. This was the basic safeguard provided by Glass-Steagall for almost sixty years that was overturned in a bipartisan political effort at gettin’ paid. US Senator Carl Levin Opening Statement, Day Two: “The Federal Reserve is considering arguments that Wall Street banks provide hard-to-replace services in these areas. But the separation between banking and commerce has served markets and our economy quite well for decades. And the erosion of that barrier is clearly doing harm today. Any discussion of these physical commodities activities must begin and end with the need to protect our economy from risk, our markets from abuse and our consumers from the effects of both. Wall Street banks with near-zero borrowing costs, thanks to easy access to Fed-provided capital, have used that advantage to elbow their way into commodities markets. Bad enough that this competitive advantage hurts traditional commercial businesses; worse that it opens the door to price and market manipulation and abusive trading based on nonpublic information." Read the entire statement here.[...]"  

MSM: "Deutsche Bank: “People Are Talking About Helicopter Money And Debt Cancellation Being The End Game" [11/22/14] "I had a few meetings yesterday and one of the biggest surprises I had was that for the first time in a long time people were talking about helicopter money and debt cancellation being the end game. This was a major theme of our 2013 long-term study but one that we’ve struggled to get much traction with over the last year. Perhaps there’s an increasing weariness that more QE globally whilst inevitable, is a blunt growth tool and that stopping it will be extremely difficult (let alone reversing it) without a positive growth shock.… Anyway, this is not something for today or tomorrow but the fact that different clients brought it up independently of each other makes me think that’s its starting to get into people’s thoughts.” – Deutsche Bank [...] Indeed it is, as we warned last September in "Bernanke's Helicopter Is Warming Up" and yet everyone will be shocked, shocked, when the playbook that was clearly revealed by Ben Bernanke himself in 2002 is finally implemented: ... A broad-based tax cut, for example, accommodated by a program of open-market purchases to alleviate any tendency for interest rates to increase, would almost certainly be an effective stimulant to consumption and hence to prices. Even if households decided not to increase consumption but instead re-balanced their portfolios by using their extra cash to acquire real and financial assets, the resulting increase in asset values would lower the cost of capital and improve the balance sheet positions of potential borrowers. A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman's famous "helicopter drop" of money" [...]" 

Commentary: "Banking Culture Breeds Dishonesty, Scientific Study Finds" [11/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "A banking culture that implicitly puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the findings of a scientific study. Researchers in Switzerland studied bank workers and other professionals in experiments in which they won more money if they cheated, and found that bankers were more dishonest when they were made particularly aware of their professional role. When bank employees were primed to think less about their profession and more about normal life, however, they were less inclined to dishonesty. "Many scandals ... have plagued the financial industry in the last decade," Ernst Fehr, a researcher at the University of Zurich who co-led the study, told reporters in a telephone briefing. "These scandals raise the question whether the business culture in the banking industry is favouring, or at least tolerating, fraudulent or unethical behaviours." Fehr's team conducted a laboratory game with bankers, then repeated it with other types of workers as comparisons. The first study involved 128 employees all levels of a large international bank -- the researchers were sworn to secrecy about which one -- and 80 staff from a range of other banks. Participants were divided into a treatment group that answered questions about their profession, such as "what is your function at this bank"; or a control group that answered questions unrelated to work, such as "how many hours of TV do you watch each week?" They were then asked to toss a coin 10 times, unobserved, and report the results. For each toss they knew whether heads or tails would yield a $20 reward. They were told they could keep their winnings if they were more than or equal to those of a randomly selected subject from a pilot study. Given maximum winnings of $200, there was "a considerable incentive to cheat", Fehr's team wrote in the journal Nature. The results showed the control group reported 51.6 percent winning tosses and the treatment group -- whose banking identity had been emphasized to them -- reported 58.2 percent as wins, giving a misrepresentation rate of 16 percent. The proportion of subjects cheating was 26 percent. The same experiments with employees in other sectors -- including manufacturing, telecoms and pharmaceuticals -- showed they don't become more dishonest when their professional identity or banking-related information is emphasized. [...]"  

Date With Destiny: "Citigroup Banker Found Dead With Throat Slit In Swanky Apartment" [11/20/14] "A Citigroup banker was found dead with his throat slashed in the bathtub of his swanky downtown apartment, authorities said Wednesday. Shawn D. Miller, Citigroup’s managing director of environmental and social risk management, was discovered around 3 p.m. Tuesday by a doorman in the Greenwich Street building, law enforcement sources said. “We are deeply saddened by this news and our thoughts are with Shawn’s family at this time,” said a statement sent out by Citigroup. There was no knife recovered at the scene, leading officials to suspect the death was not a suicide, and they were trying to determine who had access to his apartment. One-bedroom apartments at the building are listed at more than $1 million. An online profile under the man’s name calls him a “pioneer in sustainable finance” and a specialist in emerging markets at the International Finance Corp., part of the World Bank. Several former colleagues told The Post that Miller was well-liked. It was unclear why the doorman checked his apartment. [...]"  

Commentary: "Iceland: Former Landsbanki CEO Sentenced to 12 Months Prison for Market Manipulation" [11/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "Sigurjón Þ. Árnason, former CEO of Landsbanki, was sentenced to 12 months in prison by Reykjavík District Court earlier this morning for market manipulation between November 1, 2007 and October 3, 2008. Nine months of the sentence are suspended for two years, visir.is reports. The period which Sigurjón was held in police custody will be deducted from his sentence. Two of the bank’s staff members, Ívar Guðjónsson and Júlíus Steinar Heiðarsson, also received nine month sentences, six months of which are suspended for two years. A fourth former employee of the bank, Sindri Sveinsson, was acquitted of the Special Prosecutor’s charges. Half of Sigurjón’s legal fees will be paid by the State Treasury and the full amount of Ívar’s fees. The defendants were not present during this morning’s sentencing. The case is one of the largest in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse in Iceland. [...]"  

Commentary: "Cabal Crime Syndicate Loots Ukraine’s Gold" [11/20/14] Printer Friendly Version "Last March and soon after the coup d’etat in Kiev, a convey of four trucks and two cargo minibuses pulled in at Kiev’s Boryspil airport in the wee hours of the morning. A band of black ops then loaded an aircraft with heavy boxes. The plane then flew off. Rumors emerged that the Ukraine’s official gold reserve was “hauled off to the U.S.” But there was no official confirmation from the new government as to whether there was an operation, and where the gold went. There was also no official confirmation on the receiving end either. Per usual, those who questioned the incident were mocked as “conspiracy theorists.” Elements of the story can be gleaned here.  Meanwhile, as Ukraine’s currency, the Hryvnia, collapsed, the central bank duly reported 42.3 tonnes of gold in its vault — until this week. Now it turns out that the head Ukraine’s central bank revealed in a TV interview that the vaults are essentially empty. The timing couldn’t be worse as a cold winter lies dead ahead. [...] The question begs, did the new “leaders” of the Ukraine make some kind of non-transparent deal with the cabal psychopaths? Or were the crime syndicate psychopathic oligarchs just given access to vaults and permitted to loot the gold? In following these stories I have learned to expect the worst, so the latter is my theory. I no longer think the Ukraine’s gold is in so called official hands anywhere. I would not believe so even if the cabal’s crime partner, the Fed, belatedly confirms the Ukraine’s gold is in the New York 33 Liberty cesspool for “safe keeping.” And if so, isn’t it FUBAR that the U.S. central bankster can extract the Ukraine’s gold in one night but needs seven years to repatriate Germany’s gold? [...]"  

MSM: "HSBC Is A Criminal Bank”: Belgium Authorities" [11/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Belgium Authorities is bringing The HSBC british bank to court. The Swiss branch of the bank has been laundering money for years of Belgium clients, especially from the Antwerp diamond world , to Switzerland via a detour with their money.The Belgium government has lost hundreds of millions euro’s in tax revenue. The accusations of the Belgium prosecutor Michel Claise are serious. • Organized tax fraud • money laundering • criminal organization • unlawful exercise of function as a financial intermediary [...] HSBC came to light four years ago. The Antwerp prosecutor received a CD-ROM with data from Belgian HSBC account holders in Switzerland. The bank helped thousands of wealthy clients to evade taxes. Belgium Justice Department has been investigating how HSBC has been operating via PostFirma’s in Panama en the virgin islands finally ending up in HSBC Swiss bank branch. HSBC the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation is an old British bank, founded in 1865 to finance trade with the Far East. After the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the headquarters moved to London. The bank employs approximately 300,000 people. In 2008 it was as the largest bank in the world. HSBC was recently imposed a billion fine for manipulating the exchange rate . Along with four other major banks. The bank is also accused of tampering with the Euribor.[...]"  

Commentary: "The Global Financial System Is “A House Of Cards Resting On Corruption" Paul Craig Roberts [11/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "As most Americans, if not the financial media, are aware, Quantitative Easing (a euphemism for printing money) has failed to bring back the US economy. So why has Japan adopted the policy? Since the heavy duty money printing began in 2013, the Japanese yen has fallen 35% against the US dollar, a big cost for a country dependent on energy imports. Moreover, the Japanese economy has shown no growth in response to the QE stimulus to justify the rising price of imports. Despite the economy’s lack of response to the stimulus, last month the Bank of Japan announced a 60% increase in quantitative easing–from 50 to 80 trillion yen annually. Albert Edwards, a strategist at Societe Generale, predicts that the Japanese printing press will drive the yen down from 115 yen to the dollar to 145. This is a prediction, but why risk the reality? What does Japan have to gain from currency depreciation? What is the thinking behind the policy? An easy explanation is that Japan is being ordered to destroy its currency in order to protect the over-printed US dollar. As a vassal state, Japan suffers under US political and financial hegemony and is powerless to resist Washington’s pressure. [...] "  Related: "US And Europe Conceal Their Bankruptcy With Hostility To Russia" Finian Cunningham Printer Friendly Version "The real threat to the world is economic collapse and poverty. Without any solutions and in fact only exacerbating these problems, the US and European leaders are hiding behind a false agenda of non-issues, such as security, and in particular alleged "Russian aggression".  [...] Worldwide, the economic outlook is grim, according to even the pro-Western International Monetary Fund’s latest assessment. So, you would think that top of the agenda for the G20 summit last weekend should be how governments are coordinating recovery efforts to get people back into work, relaunch economies with massive public investment, boost social welfare to mitigate rising poverty, and rebalance the explosion of inequality between capital and labour. No. Obama and European leaders sought instead to shift the focus from economics to «security» and in particular to add more international pressure on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.[...]"   

Commentary: "Swiss Seek to Challenge Fiat System: The Most Important Election You Haven’t Heard Of" [11/18/14] Printer Friendly Version "In less than three weeks, the most important election of the year will take place in Switzerland, and you haven’t heard of it. While the U.S. focuses on the recent Republican victory, the financial markets are facing an earth- shaking event on November 30th. This Swiss election seeks to challenge the paper currency (Fiat/Debt) system of the last forty years and possibly undermine the existing power structures of central banks across the globe by introducing the “Save Our Swiss Gold” initiative.  U.S. elections sway back and forth between Republicans and Democrats, but the monetary system never changes nor is ever up for any real debate. The monetary system of the whole world has been firmly in the hands of Keynesians’ ever since Nixon removed the convertibility of dollars and abandoned the Bretton Woods Agreement back in 1971. A positive Swiss vote would threaten this by once again providing the world with a choice between a hard (gold-backed) currency and fiat. Up until recently, it was the Swiss who were the last holdouts against the Keynesian school of thought. Traditionally viewed as the last bastion of sensible monetary restraint, the Swiss succumbed to the siren call of “actively managed central banking” in September 2011, fixing their currency to the Euro under mounting European pressure.[...] Somehow, having what the world views as the strongest currency is a bad thing when everyone else is printing like crazy. It wasn’t so much the success of the Swiss currency during this Depression 2.0 but the failure of the rest of the world to restrain itself that lead to its appreciation. Central bankers hate gold, or any hard currency restraint, because it limits their ability to tinker with the system (see FDR executive order 6102). On November 30th, Swiss voters will go to the polls to reassert their historical position of backing their country’s currency with gold, and possibly setting off a new revolution across the financial world by giving people a real choice. Backed once again by physical gold, the Swiss public may be the first to finally say “enough” to the ongoing manipulation of the currency markets. No longer would governments be able to create limitless amounts of debt-backed currency without recourse. In response to the constant worldwide manipulations, Russia and China have been aggressively increasing their gold reserves over the last decade. Just recently, even ISIS decided that this is a smart choice as well. If approved, the “Save Our Swiss Gold” initiative will force three very uncomfortable mandates on the Swiss National Bank and the rest of the Fiat world.[...]"  

Commentary: "America Watches In Stunned Disbelief As Afghanistan Jails Two Failed Bank Executives" [11/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "AP reports that the scandal in 2010 shook confidence in Afghanistan's tiny banking sector, and the loss accounted for around 5 percent of the country's economy, making it the biggest banking collapse in history. By comparison, just the derivative book of JPMorgan alone is 4 times the size of US GDP. Like in the US, the government had no choice but to bail out the bank and brought in receivers who, officials say, have traced most of the missing funds. The scandal struck at the heart of the Kabul political establishment, involving relatives of the former president Hamid Karzai and one of his deputies, Marshall Mohammad Qasim Fahim. President Ashraf Ghani has put the case at the center of his anti-corruption campaign, and within days of taking office in September ordered it resolved within 45 days. So banker justice does exist? And this is how non-banana republics deal with a runaway criminal financial sector, which dangles the threat of systemic collapse any time the regulators, at least those who don't hope to get a job on Wall Street next, come sniffing: "The Kabul Bank's former chairman Sherkhan Farnood and former chief executive officer Khalillulah Ferozi were sentenced live on television, after a two-day appeal against earlier sentences of five years in prison. They have already served more than four years of the original sentence. A panel of five judges at the Kabul Appeals Court also fined Farnood more than $237 million. The court also ordered the assets of Mahmood Karzai and Hasin Fahim, brothers respectively of the former president and deputy president, along with 17 other defendants, frozen until their debts are repaid. "If there is any delay in returning all the outstanding debt, they will be dealt with by the courts," the judgment said. The bank was one of the country's flagship institutions and until its collapse had been responsible for paying salaries of government employees, army and police across the country. It was split into two, with the offshoot, the New Kabul Bank now responsible for the salary payments, and holding around $400 million in customer deposits, officials said. [...] And while Afghanistan's banking sector is now well on the road to recovery and doesn't need endless central bank bailouts (unlike the US, Europe or Japan) the nation does remain a banana republic but for other reasons: namely, US forces refuse to leave. Why? Opium. Why Afghanistan remains an incubator - under constant US supervision - for the heroin trade, read "7.6 Billion Reasons Why The US 'War On Drugs' In Afghanistan Failed Related: See below.

Commentary: "Letter From Kabul: The Great Afghan Bank Heist" [11/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "The evidence, according to American officials close to the inquiry, appears to implicate dozens of Afghan officials and businessmen, many of them, like Zakhilwal, among Karzai’s closest advisers, with regulatory responsibilities over the Afghan financial system [...] Poring over stacks of documents, investigators at the American Embassy in Kabul have pinpointed dozens of instances in which Kabul Bank executives may have bribed Afghan officials, including a successful bid to hold the contract to process the salaries that the government pays its employees each month—approximately seventy-five million dollars. Access to the salaries would give bank officials an opportunity to earn millions of dollars in interest in the course of a single year. One Afghan official estimated that the contract was worth approximately ten million dollars in annual interest payments. American officials say that Kabul Bank’s largesse included members of parliament and almost anyone whose silence would allow bank executives to embark on a spree of buying, lending, and looting. In addition, some former and current Afghan officials say, Kabul Bank became an unofficial arm of the Karzai government, bribing parliamentarians in order to secure votes for its legislative agenda. [...]"  Related: "Rawa News: The Reality Of Life In Afghanistan" 

Commentary: "Did the FBI Plant the ISIS Gold Currency Story in Media?" Susanne Posel [11/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Media is reporting that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) are planning to mint a precious metals currency out of gold, silver and copper. According to SITE Intelligence Group (SITE) and tweets from alleged ISIS members, the terrorist group told the organization that their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “created” the currency. [...] SITE is a private corporation claiming to provide a “monitoring service” on threats by jihadists and white supremacists for “individual customers”. The corporation offers governments and businesses their own “monitoring service” for “rapid, full translations of Primary Source jihadist media and access to jihadist videos.” This intelligence gathering provider is run by several well-connected people in the intelligence community who work with the US clandestine agencies. Executive director and co-founder Rita Katz, has “personally briefed government officials, including the NSC at the White House, investigators in the Department of Justice (DoJ), Department of the Treasury (USDT), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the financing and recruitment networks of terrorist movements.” Katz claims to have worked with intelligence agencies “undercover” and infiltrated “numerous terrorist’s front group gatherings, collecting crucial information, and working to expose those groups in the United States”, as well as “a consultant” to the US government and other foreign governments” and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) assisting the agency to make connections to “terrorists” during “investigative efforts”. Speaking about the ISIS gold currency story, Katz commented : “Though we have yet to see any physical coins or bills produced, they wouldn’t have announced this currency if they weren’t serious about making it. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some surface in Iraq or Syria in the near future.”[...]" Related: "ISIS Unveils Its New Gold-Backed Currency To Remove Itself From "The Oppressors’ Money System" [11/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "Islamic State is set to become the only ‘state’ to back its currency with gold (silver and copper) as it unveils the new coins that will be used in an attempt to solidify its makeshift caliphate. As Zaid Benjamin notes, ISIS releases details of its new currency with golden 1 & 5 dinar, silver 1, 5, 10 dirham and copper 10 & 20 fils. [...]"  Related: "ISIS Going Back To The "Gold Standard" Printer Friendly Version "While ISIS has yet to confirm the introduction of its currency, social media is awash with claims that leading religious figures announced the plans during recent prayers in Mosul and Nineveh province. [...]" 

Trends: "Financial Shift Underway in the World" MSM [11/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "Only for those persons who want or need to understand what is going on in the world financially. [...] 1. The US is involved in a financial war against Syria, Iran and Russia, by reducing the price of oil to below break even. This frees-up billions in the consumer economy. 2. China is buying cheap oil by the boat loads and is switching its primary source from Iran to Nigeria.  3. Japan (read below) is switching from investing US dollars it earns by selling cars and cameras from US Treasury Bonds (which are earning less than 2%) to investing in the stock market. Japan now holds $1.2 trillion of US Treasury bonds that are almost worthless now as they will likely never be repaid. This is a monumental change. Japanese companies have been buying each other’s stocks to prop up prices. This will create a crisis for the US which is living on borrowed money to pay for military, Medicare and Social Security. Will the US just create phony electronic money now? If you follow what I am saying here, the stock market might soar while the federal government collapses.  4. See the second article below. It is written by Chriss W Street and published at BREITBART. It is the best explanation of what is going on in the world today and it says China is ready to dump its $1.3 trillion in US Treasury Bonds. Couple that with the shift from US Treasury Bonds to stocks by Japan and you have a enormous financial tsunami about ready to hit the US. That is the reason why demand for gold and silver coins is very strong from the US Mint while gold and silver prices are being shorted by the bullion banks to stave off a bank run that would value gold over paper money. China is trying to weaken its currency so its goods are cheaper on the open market to buoy up its faltering economy.[...]" 

MSM: "Regulators Fine Global Banks $4.3 Billion In Currency Investigation" [11/12/14] Printer Friendly Version " Regulators fined six major banks including Citigroup (C.N) and UBS (UBSN.VX) a total of $4.3 billion for failing to stop traders from trying to manipulate the foreign exchange market, following a year-long global investigation. HSBC (HSBA.L), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), JP Morgan (JPM.N) and Bank of America (BAC.N) also face penalties resulting from the inquiry that has put the largely unregulated $5 trillion-a-day market on a tighter leash, accelerated the push to automate trading and ensnared the Bank of England. In the latest scandal to hit the financial services industry, dealers shared confidential information about client orders and coordinated trades to make money from a foreign exchange benchmark used by asset managers and corporate treasurers to value their holdings. Dozens of traders have been fired or suspended. [...] Dealers used code names to identify clients without naming them and created online chatrooms with pseudonyms such as "the players", “the 3 musketeers” and “1 team, 1 dream” in which to swap information. Those not involved were belittled and traders used obscene language to congratulate themselves on quick profits made from their scams. [...] Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) fined five lenders $1.77 billion, the biggest penalty in the history of the City of London, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) ordered them to pay a further $1.48 billion. "Today’s record fines mark the gravity of the failings we found and firms need to take responsibility for putting it right," FCA Chief Executive Martin Wheatley said. Banks had to understand that responsibility for good business practice went beyond their compliance departments, which are tasked with ensuring internal and external rules are followed. "They must make sure their traders do not game the system to boost profits or leave the ethics of their conduct to compliance to worry about," said Wheatley. [...] The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates banks, also fined the U.S. lenders $950 million and was the only authority to penalise Bank of America. Switzerland's regulator FINMA ordered UBS, the country's biggest bank, to pay 134 million francs ($139 million) after it found serious misconduct in both foreign exchange and precious metals trading. It also capped bonuses for dealers in both units at twice their basic salary for two years. FINMA will appoint a third party to monitor the bank's observance of its rules after discovering it had received whistleblower reports about alleged trader misconduct in 2010 but failed to investigate them properly. Despite Wednesday's payout, which brings the total fine for benchmark manipulation to over $10 billion in two years, banks still face further penalties as the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Reserve and New York's financial regulator conclude their own investigations. [...]"  Related: Wall Street Banks Have Been Hoarding Billions For One Legal Settlement — And It's Almost Here" Printer Friendly Version

MSM: "Six Banks Sued by U.S. Soldiers Over Attacks In Iraq" [11/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Barclays Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc were among six banks sued by U.S. soldiers and their relatives over claims they helped Iran process billions of dollars in transactions and support terrorists who attacked them while serving in Iraq. Lenders including Standard Chartered Bank, Credit Suisse Group AG and Royal Bank of Scotland NV allegedly conspired with Iran and its banks to withhold data from transactions, enabling them to circumvent monitoring by U.S. regulators, according to a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The scheme dates to 1987, the soldiers claim. Among those suing are soldiers who were wounded or the families of those killed. They say Iran was able to process billions of dollars in U.S. dollar-denominated transactions without scrutiny, including at least $150 million in transfers to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. Each bank “understood that its conduct was part of a larger scheme engineered by Iran,” according to the complaint. “Each defendant also knew, or was deliberately indifferent to the conspiracy’s purposes and criminal objectives.” The soldiers are seeking unspecified damages. The case is Freeman v. HSBC Holdings Plc, 14-cv-6601, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).”  [...]"  

MSM: "JP Morgan Whistleblower & Matt Taibbi Interviewed – Democracy Now" [11/12/14] [58:56] Transcript: Printer Friendly Version "A year ago this month the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the banking giant JPMorgan Chase would avoid criminal charges by agreeing to pay $13 billion to settle claims that it had routinely overstated the quality of mortgages it was selling to investors. But how did the bank avoid prosecution for committing fraud that helped cause the 2008 financial crisis? Today we speak to JPMorgan Chase whistleblower Alayne Fleischmann in her first televised interview discussing how she witnessed "massive criminal securities fraud" in the bank’s mortgage operations. She is profiled in Matt Taibbi’s new Rolling Stone investigation, "The $9 Billion Witness: Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking." [...]"  Related: See also below: "DOJ And JP Morgan Chase Conspired To Hide Chase's Financial Crimes" Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone [11/07/14] 

MSM: "US Treasury Pressures Overseas Banks With ‘Financial Imperialism’ Over Tax Evaders" [11/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "Overseas banks are being ordered to collaborate with the US Treasury to help identity which of their customers might owe the government taxes – a move that some equate to a form of “financial imperialism.” If banks fail to comply, the Treasury Department charges them with a 30 percent withholding tax on American bank earnings. The department, keen to close the US budget deficit, is targeting American citizens and residents who have unreported taxable income in bank accounts around the world. Wealthy Americans have always hidden money overseas to avoid taxes, but new tax laws have been created because the global economy gives far more people the opportunity to make and keep money overseas. American citizens with bank accounts overseas, and foreigners working inside the United States, are being told by their banks in Paris, Tokyo and/or Beijing that their account information is being handed over to the US agency for review. Under the new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), some 100,000 foreign financial institutions in more than 100 countries are required to report to the Treasury about any “US persons” accounts. The act passed in 2010 was an attempt to crack down on tax dodgers and the banks that facilitate money laundering. The US is one of the few countries that taxes its citizens regardless of where they live. Previously, “US persons” were personally required to report any possible US taxable income regarding their bank accounts to the IRS. But FATCA places the burden on foreign banking groups.  Ironically, the reverse doesn’t exist in the US, where banks are not permitted to supply information to foreign governments on their nationals’ US accounts. “There is no reciprocity, it’s a one-way street. It really is financial imperialism on the part of the USA,” Mitchell said.[...] In September, it was revealed that thousands of Americans living overseas were giving up their citizenship as foreign banks were turning them away over the burden of completing the tax returns required by the US treasury under FACTA. More than 1,500 Americans have renounced their citizenship so far 2014, the Guardian reported. This year’s total may not top last year’s record-setting statistic – nearly 3,000 Americans gave up their citizenship in 2013 – but the high numbers show the new tax law implemented by the US continues to force those living abroad to make difficult decisions.[...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "Control And Mismanagement By Governments Of The Monetary And Banking System" MSM [11/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "Eighty years ago, in the autumn of 1934, Ludwig von Mises’s The Theory of Money and Credit first appeared in English. It remains one of the most important books on money and inflation penned in the twentieth century, and even eight decades later, it still offers the clearest analysis and understanding of booms and busts, inflations, and depressions. Mises insisted that the economic rollercoaster of the business cycle was not caused by any inherent weaknesses or contradictions within the free market capitalist system. Rather, inflationary booms followed by the bust of economic depression or recession had its origin in the control and mismanagement by governments of the monetary and banking system.  [...] Money Emerges from Markets, Not Government: Building on Carl Menger's earlier work, Mises demonstrated that money is not the creature or the creation of the State. Money is a market-based and market-generated social institution that spontaneously emerges out of the interactions of people attempting to overcome the hindrances and difficulties of direct barter exchange. People discover that certain commodities possess combinations of useful qualities and characteristics that make them more marketable than others, and therefore more easily traded away for various goods that someone might wish to acquire in exchange with potential trading partners. Historically, gold and silver were found through time to have those attributes most desirable for use as a medium of exchange to facilitate the ever-growing network of complex market transactions that enabled the development of an ever-more productive system of division of labor. [...] Money and the Savings-Investment Process; Central Banks as the Cause of the Business Cycle; Price Inflation and Misdirection of Resources; Recession Correction Follows the Inflationary Misdirection: [...]"

Exposé: "Leaked Documents Expose Global Companies’ Secret Tax Deals in Luxembourg" [11/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "The landlocked European duchy has been called a “magical fairyland” for brand-name corporations seeking to drastically reduce tax bills. Pepsi, IKEA, FedEx and 340 other international companies have secured secret deals from Luxembourg, allowing many of them to slash their global tax bills while maintaining little presence in the tiny European duchy, leaked documents show. These companies appear to have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg and saved billions of dollars in taxes, according to a review of nearly 28,000 pages of confidential documents conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and a team of more than 80 journalists from 26 countries. Big companies can book big tax savings by creating complicated accounting and legal structures that move profits to low-tax Luxembourg from higher-tax countries where they’re headquartered or do lots of business. In some instances, the leaked records indicate, companies have enjoyed effective tax rates of less than 1 percent on the profits they’ve shuffled into Luxembourg. The leaked documents reviewed by ICIJ journalists include hundreds of private tax rulings – sometimes known as “comfort letters” – that Luxembourg provides to corporations seeking favorable tax treatment. The European Union and Luxembourg have been fighting for months over Luxembourg’s reluctance to turn over information about its tax rulings to the EU, which is investigating whether the country’s tax deals with Amazon and Fiat Finance violate European law. Luxembourg officials have supplied some information to the EU but have refused, EU officials say, to provide a larger set of documents relating to its tax rulings. Today ICIJ and its media partners are releasing a large cache of Luxembourg tax rulings – 548 comfort letters issued from 2002 to 2010 – and reporting on their contents in stories that will be published or broadcast in dozens of countries. It’s unclear whether any of these documents are among those still being sought by EU investigators, but they are the kinds of documents that go to the heart of the EU’s investigation into Luxembourg’s tax rulings. [...]  The leaked documents reviewed by ICIJ involve deals negotiated by PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world’s largest accounting firms, on behalf of hundreds of corporate clients. To qualify the companies for tax relief, the records show, PwC tax advisers helped come up with financial strategies that feature loans among sister companies and other moves designed to shift profits from one part of a corporation to another to reduce or eliminate taxable income.  The records show, for example, that Memphis-based FedEx Corp. set up two Luxembourg affiliates to shuffle earnings from its Mexican, French and Brazilian operations to FedEx affiliates in Hong Kong. Profits moved from Mexico to Luxembourg largely as tax-free dividends. Luxembourg agreed to tax only one quarter of 1 percent of FedEx’s non-dividend income flowing through this arrangement – leaving the remaining 99.75 percent tax-free.  “A Luxembourg structure is a way of stripping income from whatever country it comes from,’’ said Stephen E. Shay, a professor of international taxation at Harvard Law School and a former tax official in the U.S. Treasury Department. The Grand Duchy, he said, “combines enormous flexibility to set up tax reduction schemes, along with binding tax rulings that are unique. It’s like a magical fairyland.” FedEx declined comment on the specifics of its Luxembourg tax arrangements. Other companies seeking tax deals from Luxembourg come from private equity, real estate, banking, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and other industries, the leaked files show. They include Accenture, Abbott Laboratories, American International Group (AIG), Amazon, Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, the Coach handbag empire, H.J. Heinz, JP Morgan Chase, Burberry, Procter & Gamble, the Carlyle Group and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.  For their part, Luxembourg’s officials and defenders say the landlocked nation’s system of private tax agreements is above reproach. “No way are these sweetheart deals,” Nicolas Mackel, chief executive of Luxembourg for Finance, a quasi- governmental agency, said in an interview with ICIJ. “The Luxembourg system of taxation is competitive – there is nothing unfair or unethical about it,” Mackel said. “If companies manage to reduce their tax bills to a very low rate, that’s a problem not of one tax system but of the interaction of many tax systems.”[...]"  Related: "G20 Protests Begin With Mock Tropical Tax Haven Set Up In Brisbane" Printer Friendly Version "About 100 people dressed up as corporate accountants have finished off their mocktails and folded away beach chairs as the first G20-related protest wraps up in Brisbane. Protesters from anti-poverty campaign Micah Challenge set up a mock tropical tax haven in the central city on Saturday to highlight the issue of multinational tax dodging. The campaign claims $160bn is robbed from developing countries annually through tax loopholes. Spokeswoman Angela Owen said the protest, the first of a number of rallies expected during the G20 leaders’ summit next week, was peaceful and well received. [...]" 

Hugh Jaynis Award: "Bank Of Canada Governor Urges Jobless Young Canadians To Work For Free" [11/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Advocates for young workers took Stephen Poloz to task Tuesday after the Bank of Canada governor recommended that jobless university graduates beef up their resumes by working for free. Speaking to a House of Commons committee, Poloz suggested young Canadians and others struggling to find work should acquire more experience through unpaid internships or volunteering until the country’s hobbled job market picks up. He predicted it would improve over the next two years. The central banker made the remarks a day after he told a Toronto business audience that 200,000 young Canadians are out of work, underemployed or back in school trying to improve their job prospects. [...] And for recent graduates like James Tobin, Poloz’s remarks show he’s out of touch with the reality young would-be workers face every day. “I don’t think it really works because you have to live, right?” said Tobin, who’s been trying to land a full-time teaching job since 2012, when he graduated from Bishop’s University in Quebec. “Not everyone is living at their parents’ house rent-free … so how are they going to make ends meet?”[...]"   

Exposé: "DOJ And JP Morgan Chase Conspired To Hide Chase's Financial Crimes" Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone [11/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking [...] She tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore. "It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'"  Fleischmann is a tall, thin, quick-witted securities lawyer in her late thirties, with long blond hair, pale-blue eyes and an infectious sense of humor that has survived some very tough times. She's had to struggle to find work despite some striking skills and qualifications, a common symptom of a not-so-common condition called being a whistle- blower. Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing. Back in 2006, as a deal manager at the gigantic bank, Fleischmann first witnessed, then tried to stop, what she describes as "massive criminal securities fraud" in the bank's mortgage operations. Thanks to a confidentiality agreement, she's kept her mouth shut since then. "My closest family and friends don't know what I've been living with," she says. "Even my brother will only find out for the first time when he sees this interview."  Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it's not exactly news that the country's biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That's why the more important part of Fleischmann's story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her.[...]"  

MSM: "Russia May Ban Circulation Of US Dollar" [11/07/14] "The State Duma has already been submitted a relevant bill banning and terminating the circulation of USD in Russia, APA’s Moscow correspondent reports. If the bill is approved, Russian citizens will have to close their dollar accounts in Russian banks within a year and exchange their dollars in cash to Russian ruble or other countries’ currencies. Otherwise their accounts will be frozen and cash dollars levied by police, customs, tax, border, and migration services confiscated. After the law enters into force, it will be impossible to obtain cash dollar in Russia. The ban or termination of the US dollar will not apply to the exchange operations carried out by Russian Central Bank, the Russian government, ministries of foreign affairs and defense, the Foreign Intelligence Service and the Federal Security Service. [...]"  

MSM: "Russian Oligarch Yevtushenkov Arrested; Putin, Khodorkovsky Weigh In" [11/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Russian Investigative Committee has announced the arrest for suspected money laundering of one of that country's richest men, AFK Sistema head Vladimir Yevtushenkov. Yevtushenkov is thought to be worth billions and has regularly appeared on lists of Russia's richest tycoons. The news elicited a quick response from the Kremlin.  Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said late on September 16 that Putin "hopes investigators will get all answers...as a result of investigative activities in line with the law," in the words of news agency ITAR-TASS. It also prompted condemnation from former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was among Russia's richest men before he spent 10 years in prison on charges that he and many rights groups regarded as politically motivated. The daily "Vedomosti" quoted Khodorkovsky accusing the head of state oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, of being behind the Yevtushenkov prosecution. [...]"  Related: "Russian Billions Scattered Abroad Show Trail To Putin Circle" Printer Friendly Version |

MSM: "Why American Financial Markets Have No Relationship To Reality" [11/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "The bullion banks (primarily JP Morgan, HSBC, Scotia Mocatta, Barclays, UBS, and Deutsche Bank), most likely acting as agents for the Federal Reserve, have been systematically forcing down the price of gold since September 2011. Suppression of the gold price protects the US dollar against the extraordinary explosion in the growth of dollars and dollar-denominated debt. It is possible to suppress the price of gold despite rising demand, because the price is not determined in the physical market in which gold is actually purchased and carried away. Instead, the price of gold is determined in a speculative futures market in which bets are placed on the direction of the gold price. Practically all of the bets made in the futures market are settled in cash, not in gold. Cash settlement of the contracts serves to remove price determination from the physical market. Cash settlement makes it possible for enormous amounts of uncovered or “naked” futures contracts — paper gold — to be printed and dumped all at once for sale in the futures market at times when trading is thin. By increasing the supply of paper gold, the enormous sales drive down the futures price, and it is the futures price that determines the price at which physical quantities of bullion can be purchased. The fact that the price of gold is determined in a paper market, in which there is no limit to the supply of paper contracts that can be created, produces the strange result that the demand for physical bullion is at an all time high, outstripping world production, but the price continues to fall! Asian demand is heavy, especially from China, and silver and gold eagles are flying off the shelves of the US Mint in record quantities. Bullion stocks are being depleted; yet the prices of gold and silver fall day after day. [...]  The Chinese, Russians, and Indians are delighted that the corrupt American authorities make it possible for them to purchase ever larger quantities of gold at ever lower prices. The rigged market is perfectly acceptable to purchasers of bullion, just as it is to US authorities who are committed to protecting the dollar from a rising price of gold."[...] Where are the class action suits from gold mining companies against the Federal Reserve, its bullion bank agents, and all who are harming the interest of the mining companies by short-selling gold with uncovered contracts? Rigged markets–especially on the basis of inside information–are illegal and highly unethical. The naked short-selling is causing damage to mining interests. Once the price of gold is driven below $1200 per ounce, many mines become uneconomical. They shut down. Miners are unemployed. Shareholders lose money. How can such an obviously rigged and manipulated price be permitted to continue? The answer is that the US political and financial system is engulfed with corruption and criminality. The Federal Reserve’s policy of rigging bond and gold prices and providing liquidity for stock market speculation has damaged the US economy and tens of millions of US citizens in order to protect four mega-banks from their mistakes and crimes. This private use of public policy is unprecedented in history. Those responsible should be arrested and put on trial and they should simultaneously be sued for damages.[...]" 

Hugh Jaynis Award: "Hank Greenberg Sued The Government For Bailing Out AIG, And He Actually Might Win" [11/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Of all the crazy things people have said about former AIG chief Maurice "Hank" Greenberg's lawsuit against the government, the craziest was that he just might win. It's sounding less crazy all the time. The possibility of a Greenberg victory at trial, which began six weeks ago is no longer unthinkable. According to a Bloomberg report, Greenberg has a real shot of winning his argument that the U.S. government bailed out the insurance firm he founded on "unfair" terms. Greenberg and his star lawyer, David Boies, may walk away with a $25 billion judgment in the case.  [...] As Buzzfeed’s Matthew Zeitlin pointed out, $25 billion is twice the value of all housing aid given through TARP, the highly-criticized relief program that was supposed to help out troubled mortgage holders. It’s also equal to the total value of TARP money set aside for housing that remains unspent. The talking points write themselves. If Greenberg wins, “the howling will start,” says Susan Webber told Bloomberg, who blogs under the pseudonym Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism. A legal ruling that AIG shareholders were victims of the government bailout that saved those same shareholders' stake in the company from being worth zero would be galling. If Greenberg walks away with billions, the public outrage will hit 11. No one argues that his firm could have survived without government intervention. Worse still, if Greenberg wins, it seems that he will do so, in part, for a completely pointless reason.[...]"   

MSM: "European Central Bank Takes Control As EU Bank Supervisor" [11/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "The European Central Bank (ECB) formally assumes its new role as the chief supervisor of EU banks on Tuesday (4 November), a major milestone in the creation of the bloc's banking union. The making of the banking union, whose legal framework was agreed by lawmakers inside two years, is the biggest shift of power over economic policy making since the introduction of the euro. The chair of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), Daniele Nouy, who was speaking at a hearing with the European Parliament's economic affairs committee on Monday, said the main task of the SSM would be to restore public confidence in the banking sector. The SSM is the ECB unit tasked with carrying out its new oversight responsibilities.. Last month, an audit of the EU's 130 largest banks coordinated by the ECB revealed that 25 lenders across the bloc had failed so-called stress tests aimed at assessing whether banks would have the capital to be able to withstand future financial crises. The 25 banks to fail the tests were revealed to have combined capital shortfalls of €24.6 billion. Two banks have already covered their capital shortfalls, while the remaining banks need to acquire the extra capital by 10 November. [...] EU leaders promised to break the link between indebted banks and governments in the summer of 2012, by harmonising rules on how to wind up failing banks and guarantee people's bank deposits, and establishing the ECB as the chief supervisor of the bloc's banks. Unlike the other rules, however, the supervisory regime will only apply to the 130 largest banks among the estimated 6,000 institutions across the EU; these still account for over 80 percent of the total assets held by banks across the EU. [...]"  

Interviews: "Warren Pollock: Pompeii Type of Event Coming" [11/05/14]   [30:54] "Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with analyst Warren Pollock. [...] Analyst Warren Pollock is warning people about what he calls a coming “Pompeii type of event.” Pollock explains, “I think the first part of that event is rationalization. Imagine you are standing in Pompeii just before this volcano is about to explode. All the people around you are saying this volcano is not going to be a problem for us. That’s rationalization and dissonance. That’s what’s happening right now. That’s why people are still talking about the economy, even though the bomb of the economy has gone off. The financial crash has already occurred. That’s why people are still voting Republican or Democrat or are still reading newspapers. So, people right now are in Pompey. The volcano is about to explode, and you really can’t have a discussion with the people around you. Your best avenue is to realize the volcano is about to explode and try to escape the situation. So, as far as human kind is concerned, I think we are at the end of an age in a long cycle. . . . Anything that is parabolic is unsustainable.[...]"

Interviews: "The Collapse of the Concept of Fiat Currency | John Rubino" [11/05/14] [32:20] "Will Lehr from Perpetual Assets Interviews John Rubino  [...]"  

MSM: "Bank Of Japan Totally Rocks Global Markets" [11/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "The US Federal Reserve just finished creating “money” out of thin air and using it to buy financial assets. But the practice—known as quantitative easing—continues to drive global markets. The only difference is the sole source of the freshly created money isn’t the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Case in point: This morning’s surprise announcement that Haruhiko Kuroda’s Bank of Japan would boost its already aggressive quantitative easing plan, by between ¥10 trillion and ¥20 trillion (that’s roughly between $90 billion and $180 billion) this year. today’s announcement caught pretty much everyone flat-footed, generating sharp moves across a range of financial markets. The yen dropped sharply, hitting a six-year low against the US dollar. Japanese stocks rocketed up, with the Nikkei closing at a seven-year high. The momentum spilled over into the global markets too, driving European and US stocks up.[...] Falling prices, prompt people to delay purchases, make debts tougher to pay off, and create something of a vicious cycle that becomes a persistent headwind against growth. That’s the short version of why Japanese economic growth has been so poor over the last two decades. And that’s why the BoJ wants to break the “deflationary mindset.” Now, Europe also seems to be on the verge of deflation. Many individual countries, including large countries like Spain and Italy, are already seeing outright declining prices. And that seems to be moving the European Central Bank closer—albeit painfully slowly—to undertake its own kind of quantitative easing program. (And not a bit too soon. As the chart, below, shows the ECB’s money creation efforts have lagged global efforts. And the European economy is paying the price.) [...]" Related: "Japan: QE As Morphine For A Terminal Patient" Printer Friendly Version  "If and when a country resorts to having it central bank buy up – the equivalent of – all sovereign bonds it issues, the snake truly eats its tail, and not in a metaphorical sense. Japan eats it children, most of them as yet unborn, to keep its rapidly ageing population contented and in relative wealth, because the alternative would cost Tokyo’s financial-political power cabal their jobs and heads [...]"| "Faber: Japan’s Bond-Buying Program Is A Ponzi Scheme" Printer Friendly Version "Faber said that Japan is “engaged in a Ponzi scheme in the sense that all the government bonds that the Treasury issues are being bought by the Bank of Japan.” [...]" 

MSM: "In 2014, US, Britain And Germany Are Still Paying Off Debt From World War One" [11/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "It has been 100 years since the start of the First World War, which was fought for four years and claimed the lives of more than 6000 soldiers a day. Countries in Europe began marking the centenary earlier this yearand the Tower of London, pictured above, is awash in poppies in beautiful tribute to the men who died. The scale of World War One was unprecedented in several ways, including the cost to finance it. In fact, several of the countries involved are still facing related debts. [...]  Earlier this week, the UK announced it will repay £218 million ($349 million) from the £2 billion of debt that it incurred during the war. National War Bonds were issued to the public in 1917 to support the effort, funded by widespread patriotic publicity campaigns and an attractive interest rate (both then and now) of 5%. (About 3 million Britons bought the debt and this is how the Spectator covered the creation of National War Bonds.) [...] On Oct. 3, 2010, Germany finally paid off all its debt from World War One. The total? About 269 billion marks, or around 96,000 tons of gold. [...] As Quartz’s Matt Phillips has noted, the US was virtually debt-free before World War One—with debt just 2.7% of the economy in 1916. The surge in debt associated with World War One was financed largely by selling bonds to the US public and, in the aftermath, the US hit a new record high debt-to-GDP of about 33%, with more than $25 billion in debt.[...]"  Note: Never mind the debt from WWII and subsequent conflicts which may still be on the books. Related: "One Chart That Tells The Story Of US Debt From 1790 To 2011" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Taxation Must Go Global, Says German Finance Minister" [11/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "In one of the bluntest statements on the topic by any globalist thus far, controversial German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble openly called for “global standards” and “global governance” in taxation to ensure that governments can continue extracting huge sums in taxes from the wealth-producing class in perpetuity. In an October 30 column, Schäuble, who regularly promotes globalism and domestic police- state measures, also touted the global tax-information regime long pushed by socialists and globalistsjust signed in Berlin between more than 120 governments and regimes. The German finance chief, writing for the self-styled “world’s opinion page” known as Project Syndicate, lambasted businesses for seeking to legally reduce their worldwide tax burden by “adapting their structures.” Citizens, too, must pay more taxes, he argued. In essence, Schäuble claimed that because of a globalized economy and business system, humanity must now submit to a globalized taxation regime as well. “Tax legislation has not kept pace with these developments,” he wrote, echoing calls by globalists around the world for more plunder. “They need to be adapted to the economic reality of digital services.” Without a global system of what Schäuble called “workable rules,” which of course would require global rulers, governments and dictators worldwide are “losing revenue that they urgently need in order to fulfill their responsibilities.” He never specifies what exactly he believes those “responsibilities” of governments to be. In the United States, the Founding Fathers established a Republic for the express purpose of protecting the rights of individuals. By contrast, countless other governments around the world have been founded largely to enslave and plunder the population. Some, such as the National Socialist (Nazi) regime that once ruled Germany, were created to literally exterminate certain classes of "inferior" people.  [...] However, based on tyrannical proposals Schäuble has pushed in the past — ranging from extrajudicial assassination of people around the world and ending innocent-until- proven-guilty presumptions to deploying the military within Germany to supposedly fight a terror war — it is not difficult to infer some of his views on the “responsibilities” of governments. In fact, the title of his column offers big hints on his agenda, too: “Why Taxation Must Go Global.” Beyond domestic issues, Schäuble also published a book outlining his views on Germany’s role in what he called the “New World Order." Unsurprisingly, critics of the radical policies Schäuble has advocated within Germany have brought up the autocratic machinations of Hitler’s National Socialists (Nazis) and the East German Communist regime’s Statsi in arguing against them. Schäuble, however, undeterred by the criticism, continues to advocate for crushing national sovereignty around the world, beefing up the police state under various pretexts, and expanding “global governance” to more and more areas of life. [...]" Note: Another Nazi schmuck who would be more presentable with an exit wound between his eyes. 

MSM: "British Banker Arrested For Double Murder" [11/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "A British banker has been arrested after a woman's naked body was found with her throat slashed while a second female corpse was discovered inside a suitcase. Police in Hong Kong said a 29-year-old man was being held after the bodies of two women were found at an address in the Wan Chai district in the early hours of this morning.  One of the women, believed to be between 25 and 30, was found with wounds to her neck and buttock, and pronounced dead at the scene. The body of the other victim, thought to be Indonesian and aged 25, was reportedly found wrapped in a carpet inside a suitcase on the balcony and police said she had sustained neck injuries. It is believed that the women are sex workers of South East Asian or Asian ethnicity and that they may have been killed days apart, according to the South China Morning Post.  Early investigations revealed that the second victim inside the case had been there three to four days and starting to decompose. Her passport was also found at the scene. A police source told the newspaper: 'She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs were bound with ropes. She was naked and wrapped in a towel before being stuffed into the luggage.' A police source said the scene of the murder in Wan Chai was among the grisliest seen since the so-called "milkshake murder" in 2003, when a high-flying American banker's wife served him a strawberry milkshake full of sedatives before bludgeoning him to death.[...]"  

Commentary: "US Treasury Quid Pro Quo Arrangements With Criminal Cabals" [11/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "The chart of U.S. Treasury holdings since August 2011 is very revealing. It shows the great majority of its growth is due to purchases by the Fed. Starting in November — and barring some FOMC change of plan — that number goes to zero. Which foreigners buys US Treasuries. Here are the players: — Hand maiden and bankrupt stoolie Japan bought $335 billion. But Japan now runs overall global trade deficits and needs Dollar surpluses to pay for its imports. — “Belgium” [see "Belgian Treasury Buyer is Backdoor Money Laundering"] bought $277 billion. “Luxembourg” (basically a subsidiary of “Belgium”) bought another $77 billion. The “Switzerland” money laundering complex was good for another $57 billion. — Caribbean bankster centers bought $130 billion, and “Mexico” (aka drug cartels, oil) money laundering ops picked up $42 billion. The money laundering banks and centers are well known. Demonstrating the peak of hypocrisy, their operations only come to light when fines are paid laundering for countries not on the home team. The other criminal entities are given free reign, that is unless you are a law abiding American leaving the country with more than $10,000 in your pocket.[...] One of the rackets also employed in this operation has been front running the Fed’s purchases and playing a massive bond bubble. A criminal “money management” industry facilitates this. I covered this in “There’s More to the Story of Ultra Junk Finance”. Without the Fed buying and the upticks in prices, there is going to be every incentive for the cabal and global crime syndicates to abandon this vehicle. They have no loyalty whatsoever to the United States or its people.[...]"

Commentary: "51 Countries Declare Banking Secrecy ‘Obsolete’, Sign Pact In Berlin" [10/31/14] Printer Friendly Version "Finance ministers from over 51 countries signed an agreement in a step closer to ending the dark financial underworld of tax-evasion and money-laundering. Another 30 countries pledged to join by 2018. The deal is called the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement and will look to build a collective exchange of bank accounts, taxes, assets, and income held outside local tax jurisdictions. The two-day summit was organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. It was hosted by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble and held in Berlin. "Banking secrecy, in its old form, is obsolete," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview in Bild on Wednesday. The practice is "no longer appropriate at a time when people can transfer their money all over the world at the press of a button via the internet," said Schaeuble. Germany is a staunch opponent of Bank secrecy by geography. On its southern border lie historically secretive Austria and Switzerland, and on the western frontier is Luxembourg, also known for its tight- lipped financial institutions. Members like the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein – all notorious for being tax havens, signed the agreements. Asset hideouts like Austria, Switzerland, and the Bahamas didn’t sign the agreement itself, but promised to join the initiative by 2018. The new American anti-secrecy measure, FATCA, added a sense of urgency to the debate. FATCA legislation, signed into law in 2010 and enacted on July 1, 2014, requires overseas financial institutions to identify their American customers to the IRS. The law applies to any account with more than $50,000.  [...]" 

Commentary: "Good Riddance To QE—-It Was Just Plain Financial Fraud" [10/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "QE has finally come to an end, but public comprehension of the immense fraud it embodied has not even started. In round terms, this official counterfeiting spree amounted to $3.5 trillion— reflecting the difference between the Fed’s approximate $900 billion balance sheet when its “extraordinary policies” incepted at the time of the Lehman crisis and its $4.4 trillion of footings today. That’s a lot of something for nothing. It’s a grotesque amount of fraud. The scam embedded in this monumental balance sheet expansion involved nothing so arcane as the circuitous manner by which new central bank reserves supplied to the banking system impact the private credit creation process. As is now evident, new credits issued by the Fed can result in the expansion of private credit to the extent that the money multiplier is operating or simply generate excess reserves which cycle back to the New York Fed if, as in the present instance, it is not. [...] But the fact that the new reserves generated during QE have cycled back to the Fed does not mitigate the fraud. The latter consists of the very act of buying these trillions of treasuries and GSE securities in the first place with fiat credits manufactured by the central bank. When the Fed does QE, its open market desk buys treasury notes and, in exchange, it simply deposits in dealer bank accounts new credits made out of thin air. As it happened, about $3.5 trillion of such fiat credits were conjured from nothing during the last 72 months. All of these bonds had permitted Washington to command the use of real economic resources. That is, to consume goods and services it obtained directly in the form of payrolls, contractor services, military tanks and ammo etc; and, indirectly, in the form of the basket of goods and services typically acquired by recipients of government transfer payments. Stated differently, the goods and services purchased via monetizing $3.5 trillion of government debt embodied a prior act of production and supply. But the central bank exchanged them for an act of nothing. Contrast this monetization process with honest funding of government debt in the private market. In the latter event, the public treasury taps savings from producers and income earners and re-allocates it to government purchases rather than private investments. This has the inherent effect of pushing up interest rates and, on the margin, squeezing out private investment. It is a zero sum game in which savings retained from existing production are reallocated. [...] To be sure, the economic effect is invariably lower investment, productivity and growth down the line, but the process is at least honest. When the public debt is financed from savings, government purchase of goods and services are funded with the fruits of prior production. There is no exchange of something for nothing; there is no financial fraud. And it is the fraudulent finance of public deficits which is the real evil of QE because the ill effects go far beyond the standard saw that there is nothing wrong with central bank monetization of the public debt unless is causes visible inflation of consumer prices. In fact, however, it does cause enormous inflation, but of financial asset values, not the CPI. Despite the spurious implication to the contrary, central banks have not repealed the law of supply and demand in the financial markets. Accordingly, their massive purchases of the public debt create an artificial bid and, therefore, false price. Moreover, government debt functions as the “risk free” benchmark for pricing all other fixed income assets such as home mortgages, corporate debt and junk bonds; and also numerous classes of real assets which are typically heavily leveraged such as commercial real estate and leased aircraft.[...]"  

MSM: "Big Bankster Running For Governor Of California" [10/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "Looks crazy, doesn’t he? Who is he? He was the head of the big bank bailout program (known as Tarp) which most Americans strongly opposed. His name is Neel Kashkari. The bailouts helped the big banks, but not America: [...] The $700 billion dollar TARP bailout was a massive bait-and-switch. The government said it was doing it to soak up toxic assets, and then switched to saying it was needed to free up lending. It didn’t do that either. Indeed, the Fed doesn’t want the banks to lend." A Goldman Sachs investment banker, Goldman president Hank Paulson brought Kashkari with him to Washington when Paulson became Treasury Secretary. But he’s running slick campaign ads, trying to hide his crazy eyes … and his bankster background. [...]" Related: See below

Commentary: "Wait. So THAT’S What The Bailouts Were About?" Printer Friendly Version "One of the reasons that no one went to jail for the elite control fraud that caused the financial crisis is because of the pervasiveness of the criminality. You couldn’t send one guy to jail without having that guy very publicly rat out everyone else. To get to a high level on Wall Street you had to be dirty, like in a corrupt police department. No one trusts the one guy who won’t take bribes. Which brings us to Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former AIG CEO who is now, for lack of a better word, ratting everyone else out. AIG, of course, is the massive insurance company which was bailed out by the government, with the Fed taking an 80% ownership stake in 2008. The AIG bailout was a strange deal, and it was renegotiated many times over the years. In a normal clean financial company resolution, AIG shareholders would have gotten wiped out. In the bailouts for Goldman, Morgan Stanley, and most of the big banks, shareholders got to keep their shares. AIG shareholders, by contrast, got to keep a little bit of what they had, a sort of split the baby in half deal. Hank Greenberg, as a shareholder, is extremely angry that he was treated this way. He thinks that he was not given equal treatment to Goldman shareholders, and in that he’s right. Most of us think that he should have been wiped out, and Goldman’s shareholders should have been wiped out too, so there’s little sympathy for this very rich man. But it’s utterly true, and everyone (even the most bank-friendly journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin) is acknowledging that it is true, that the government treated AIG shareholders differently. Greenberg is alleging, with good reason, that the motive here was quite sordid.  [...]" Note: Very good and informative article.

MSM: "Rampant Financial Crime In City Of London Eroding Public Trust - Bank Of England" [10/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "A top Bank of England (BoE) official warns widespread financial crime in the City of London is eroding public trust. The BoE’s criticism surfaced as it launched a review to tackle market manipulation. In her first public address since adopting the position of BoE Deputy Governor, Nemet Minouche Shafik denounced the actions of UK traders in foreign exchange, currencies and bonds markets, warning financial misconduct in these sectors goes well beyond a few rogue financiers. Referencing LIBOR riggers’ behavior as unacceptable, she suggested fines for such fraudulent activity were inadequate and signified “salt rubbed into the wounds to public confidence in financial markets.” [...] LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) currently determines the cost of up to $350 trillion worth of global financial products. The 21st century has been littered with financial scandals, but the rigging of LIBOR by leading global banks has been dubbed the most flagrant in modern history. To date, approximately £4 billion worth of fines have been issued for the manipulation of core benchmark rates, while the City is expecting further fines for the rigging of currency markets to be publicly announced in November. Speaking at the London School of Economics (LSE), Shafik warned Britain’s financial system is rigged and characterized by disproportionate rewards. “When people read of malpractice in financial markets, of trading profits being claimed through manipulation, collusion or dishonesty, they naturally wonder if they are one of the people who have been wronged,” she said. Joel Benjamin, a leading researcher and campaigner at UK ethical finance group Move Your Money who is investigating the impact of LIBOR rigging on UK citizens and stakeholders, warns it is anything but a victimless crime, and those who have suffered most in its wake remain largely uncompensated. “The real victims of LIBOR are pension funds, SME's fraudulently mis-sold interest rate swaps, public authorities with cash investments in the banks, and LOBO loans and PFI contracts where interest repayments increased as LIBOR was rigged lower by the banks,” he told RT. LIBOR rigging is currently illegal under UK law. And the manipulation of currency and gold markets are set to be classified as criminal offences by the end of 2014. But Benjamin suggests political motivation to prosecute bankers responsible for rate rigging remains paltry at best. Benjamin argues that the City of London is characterized by a culture of impunity that reinforces the concept “that crime in the City by elites is tolerable and understandable, while crime on the streets is unacceptable – irrespective of personal circumstances and need.”[...]"

Commentary: "13 European Banks Don't Have Enough To Survive A Financial Crisis" [10/28/14] Printer Friendly Version Related: "Twenty-Four European Banks Fail Financial "Stress Tests" Printer Friendly Version "One in five European banks have failed crucial tests of their financial strength, leaving a €25bn (£19.6bn) capital hole in the continent’s banking system at a time of renewed fears that the five-year long eurozone crisis may be flaring up again. European banking regulators published the test results on Sunday. The findings put particular focus on Italian banks – nine of which failed and contributed €9.4bn to the overall shortfall. No UK banks failed although they are being subjected to fresh tests by the Bank of England which will publish the results on 16 December. In Greece, three banks failed the stress tests set by the European Banking Authority, the overarching European banking regulator, with the same number failing in Cyprus. Ireland’s Permanent TSB failed. The world’s oldest bank, Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, was left with a shortfall of more than €2bn to fill in the coming nine months. [...]" 

Date With Destiny: "Deutsche Bank Lawyer And Former SEC Enforcement Attorney Found Dead In Apparent Suicide" [10/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Following a brief late summer spell in which there was little if any news of bankers taking their lives, as reported previously, the banker suicides returned with a bang when none other than the hedge fund partner of infamous former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Khan, Thierry Leyne, a French-Israeli entrepreneur, was found dead after jumping off the 23rd floor of one of the Yoo towers, a prestigious residential complex in Tel Aviv. [...] Just a few brief hours later the WSJ reported that yet another Deutsche Bank veteran has committed suicide, and not just anyone but the bank’s associate general counsel, 41 year old Calogero “Charlie” Gambino, who was found on the morning of Oct. 20, having also hung himself by the neck from a stairway banister, which according to the New York Police Department was the cause of death. We assume that any relationship to the famous Italian family carrying that last name is purely accidental." Charlie J. Gambino was a Managing Director and Associate General Counsel in the Regulatory, Litigation and Internal Investigation group for Deutsche Bank in the Americas. Mr. Gambino served as a staff attorney in the United Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement from 1997 to 1999. As a reminder, the other Deutsche Bank-er who was found dead earlier in the year, William Broeksmit, was involved in the bank’s risk function and advised the firm’s senior leadership; he was “anxious about various authorities investigating areas of the bank where he worked,” according to written evidence from his psychologist, given Tuesday at an inquest at London’s Royal Courts of Justice. And now that an almost identical suicide by hanging has taken place at Europe’s most systemically important bank, and by a person who worked in a nearly identical function – to shield the bank from regulators and prosecutors and cover up its allegedly illegal activities with settlements and fines – is surely bound to raise many questions. The WSJ reports that Mr. Gambino had been “closely involved in negotiating legal issues for Deutsche Bank, including the prolonged probe into manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and ongoing investigations into manipulation of currencies markets, according to people familiar with his role at the bank.” He previously was an associate at a private law firm and a regulatory enforcement lawyer from 1997 to 1999, according to his online LinkedIn profile and biographies for conferences where he spoke. But most notably, as his LinkedIn profile below shows, like many other Wall Street revolving door regulators, he started his career at the SEC.[...]"   

Commentary: "The End Of The US Dollar Imperium" [10/26/14] [17:01] "the issue of monetary imperialism. How does the US use the dollar as a weapon of economic and cultural power? How long can it last? What might the unprecedented collapse of a worldwide reserve currency look like? And how do the BRIC nations and Asian central banks fight back? [...]" 

Date With Destiny: "Banker Suicides Return: DSK's Hedge Fund Partner Jumps From 23rd Floor Apartment" [10/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "The summer, thankfully, has been largely bereft of the dismal trend of bankers committing suicide, but as Bloomberg reports, Thierry Leyne, a French-Israeli banker and partner of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former chief of the IMF, was found dead Thursday after apparently taking his own life by jumping off the 23rd floor of one of the Yoo towers, a prestigious residential complex in Tel Aviv. This is the 16th financial services executive death this year. [...] Last year, Leyne joined Strauss-Kahn in establishing the Paris-traded firm Leyne, Strauss-Kahn & Partners after the former IMF head bought a 20 percent stake to help develop the investment-banking franchise of Leyne’s company, Luxembourg-based Anatevka SA. Leyne had taken Anatevka public in March 2013 before joining forces with Strauss-Kahn, commonly referred to in France as DSK. The new partnership -- usually called LSK & Partners by using both men’s initials -- was part of Strauss-Kahn’s efforts to rebuild his post-IMF life after he was charged in 2011 of criminal sex, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and the forcible touching of a chambermaid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan. Strauss-Kahn denied the charges, which were later dropped. He settled the maid’s lawsuit in 2012.[...]" 

Commentary: "It Costs Central Banks $200 Billion Per Quarter To Avoid A Market Crash" [10/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "... For over a year now, central banks have quietly being reducing their support. As Figure 7 shows, much of this is down to the Fed, but the contraction in the ECB’s balance sheet has also been significant. Seen from this perspective, a negative reaction in markets was long overdue: very roughly, the charts suggest that zero stimulus would be consistent with 50bp widening in investment grade, or a little over a ten percent quarterly drop in equities. Put differently, it takes around $200bn per quarter just to keep markets from selling off. [...] If anyone ever needed any confirmation of what we said in June 2012, that "The Stock Is Dead, Long-Live The Flow: Perpetual QE Has Arrived", now you have it, and only qualified but quantified. Because to translate what Matt King - Citi's most respected strategist and the only person on Wall Street to warn about the Lehman collapse and its consequences before it happened, just said - if and when the global central bank liquidity tracker ever drops to $200 billion per quarter or less, the market will crash. [...]"  Related: "JPMorgan's Quarterly Market Guide" MSM "overview of what to watch out for in stocks, bonds, real estate, and the rest of the "investable universe".[...]"  

MSM: "Italian Police Uncover €1.7bn Corporate Fraud" [10/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "Italian police have uncovered a fraud which they say has cost Italian taxpayers €1.7bn (£1.3bn; $2.2bn). Two businessmen are accused of setting up the scheme, which used false invoices to bill the state for non-existent security, cleaning and other services. The fraud, which dates back to 2001, involved 62 people, the police say. In total, they have seized goods worth €100m related to the crime, including 100 properties and two firms. In an operation that involved about 70 police officers, numerous properties were raided in the early hours of the morning in Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Sardinia. Those involved in the fraud used shell companies to house the money. The shell companies then transferred the funds to accounts in San Marino and Luxembourg and the Italian companies were then liquidated. [...]"  Related: "Italy's Economic Growth Will Be 'Around Zero', Says PM Renzi" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Officials Warn 500 Million Financial Records Hacked" [10/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "Federal officials warned companies Monday that hackers have stolen more than 500 million financial records over the past 12 months, essentially breaking into banks without ever entering a building. The U.S. financial sector is one of the most targeted in the world, FBI and Secret Service officials told business leaders at a cybersecurity event organized by the Financial Services Roundtable. The event came in the wake of mass hacking attacks against Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions. [...] Nearly 439 million records were stolen in the past six months, said Supervisory Special Agent Jason Truppi of the FBI. Nearly 519 million records were stolen in the past 12 months, he said. About 35% of the thefts were from website breaches, 22% were from cyberespionage, 14% occurred at the point of sale when someone bought something at a retail store, and 9% came when someone swiped a credit or debit card, the FBI said. About 110 million Americans — equivalent to about 50% of U.S. adults — have had their personal data exposed in some form in the past year, said Tim Pawlenty, president of the Financial Services Roundtable and the former governor of Minnesota.[...]"  

MSM: "Bank Of England’s Real Time Payment System Goes Down" [10/21/14] Printer Friendly Version "Euroclear, which is the world’s largest securities transactions company, says it working closely with the Bank of England as it strives to get its Chaps payment system online again. Euroclear is monitoring the current technical issue with the RTGS system at the Bank of England. We are working closely with the BoE and if necessary will extend our own operational deadlines, to ensure that all settlement and payment instructions will be processed today. Parliament’s Treasury Committee will be demanding answers to find out how the Real Time Gross Settlement system, such a vital part of Britain’s financial system, could fail today. A crucial part of the UK’s financial infrastructure failed for several hours today. I will be writing to the Bank of England to find out why. “The whole economy depends on a reliable payment system. We need to have confidence that the cause has been found and addressed.”[...]" 

MSM: "Obama Signs Executive Order To Microchip All Credit Cards" [10/20/14] [3:50] "While there is no silver bullet to guarantee data security, the President is signing an Executive Order to implement enhanced security measures, including securing credit, debit, and other payment cards with microchips in lieu of basic magnetic strips, and PINs, such as those standard on consumer ATM cards. He is calling on all stakeholders to join the Administration and a number of major corporations in driving the economy toward more secure standards to safeguard consumer finances and reduce their chances of becoming victims of identity theft — America’s fastest-growing crime. [...]"  

Commentary: "Economic Warfare As An Instrument Of Transnational Organized Crime" [10/19/14] [1:26:29] "On December 17, 2013, Patrick M. Byrne, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Overstock.com, discussed "Naked Shorts, Bust-Outs, and the Once and Future Cataclysm: Economic Warfare as an Instrument of Transnational Organized Crime." [...]"  

MSM: "Dirty Money: 19 UK Firms Alleged ‘Complicit’ In $20bn Laundering Scam" [10/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Some 19 British firms are at the center of an investigation into in a mammoth global money-laundering operation. The scheme was allegedly contrived to make $20bn (£12.5bn) worth of ill-gotten gains appear legitimate. The illicit funds are thought to have originated from criminal gangs and corrupt officials across the globe, attempting to make their dirty money appear 'clean' so it can be spent free of suspicion. An investigation carried out by The Independent and UK NGO the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) uncovered a complex international web of companies, which are implicated in the scheme. As part of the probe, a minimum of 19 UK firms are currently under investigation, it emerged on Thursday. The criminal operation highlights how Britain’s lax regulatory architecture has made the UK a particularly alluring destination for global organized crime syndicates looking to launder ill-gotten gains. Because directors of British firms are afforded a high degree of financial secrecy under UK law, the identities of the scam's primary architects are extremely difficult to determine. The cross-border money laundering scheme was in operation for four years before it was uncovered in May by criminal investigators in Moldova. In tandem with Britain, the former Soviet republic was one of the scam's core focal points.  [...]"  

MSM: "Crash2: Greek Panic Followed By Global Flight To Safety" [10/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "You have to ring some alarm bells when dramatic market price movements occur in the context of large trading volumes. That’s what has been happening over the last 36 hours. Yesterday, the Brussels goblins rather less than politely informed fantasist and human olive stone Antonis Samaras, the Prime Minister of Greece, that the chances of his country escaping from bailout/support mode were lower than the likelihood of Queen Elizabeth II winning the 2028 Grand National ridden by Prince Philip. As a result of which, today (Wednesday) for the second consecutive day, the Athens Stock Exchange has beenplunging. More than €4 billion euros have been wiped from the exchange: the percentage dives were 5.7% yesterday, 10% today. So it seemed more than likely that this would have at least some knock-on effect. And at the opening Bell this morning EST, there was a flight to the safety of T-Bills such as has never been seen before: three times the normal volume…with demand so vastly exceeding supply, an awful lot of investment money failed to get into the lifeboats. By 11 am there, explosive trading in Treasury futures – over 1 million trades – had computer- screen-shiny faces looking distinctly uneasy. By midday, all the S&P’s year-to-date gains had been wiped out. And things weren’t helped by US retail sales for September falling back to a much lower level than forecast. Further awareness of the reality of Global slump was supplied by yet another drop in the price of crude oil to $81.84. And in London, the FTSE 100 finished 2.8% down – the biggest one-day percentage decline in 16 months, and the lowest level since the middle of 2013. [...]"  Related: "Violent' Stock Market Crash Could Be Round The Corner As Hidden Liquidity Crunch 'Blows Up' In Investors' Faces, Warns Think-Tank" Printer Friendly Version "• Bank of International Settlements warns of 'violent' market crash • Low levels of market volatility persist despite conflicts and crises across the world • Investors buying assets on the misguided presumption of a level of liquidity • Share prices continue to plummet as investor confidence decreases  [...] Guy Debelle of BIS said global investors were buying assets on the misguided presumption of liquidity that does not exist and that in a possible sell-off, volatility and price movements ‘will be exacerbated by the reduced capacity and inventory of market makers’. Citing the US bond crash of 1994, Debelle warned that exits in the present bonds market could be even more violent in future with ‘a fair chance that volatility will feed on itself’. Problems with subsequent sell-offs are also compounded as interest rates remain at zero across much of the industrial world. Debelle said, ‘That is a point we haven’t started from before. There are undoubtedly positions out there which are dependent on (close to) zero funding costs. When funding costs are no longer close to zero, these positions will blow up’ [...]"  

Commentary: "JPMorgan Sets Aside $1 Billion For Forex-Rigging Penalty" [10/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "JPMorganChase set aside $1 billion in legal reserves, depressing third-quarter results, as the largest US bank by assets prepares to pay big penalties over allegations it manipulated the foreign exchange market. The bank has paid billions of dollars in penalties over regulatory violations and lawsuits in the past two years — ranging from the “London whale” trading fiasco to mis-selling mortgage-backed securities. Bulking up its reserves by $1 billion was more than analysts expected and took the bank’s profits for the three months to the end of September below expectations, at $5.6 billion. It is a sign, according to people familiar with the matter, that JPMorgan is close to settling enforcement action, which is being led by authorities in the UK and US, and affects several of the world’s biggest currency trading banks. [...]"   

Commentary: "What’s Really Killing the World Economy" [10/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "... The sad truth is that the ongoing economic hardship around the word is and perhaps still is avoidable, in Krugman’s view. It is the result of a series of policy mistakes: “Austerity when economies needed stimulus, paranoia about inflation when the real risk is deflation, and so on.” [...] why do governments keep making these mistakes? The answer, Krugman posits, is misplaced righteousness, overzealous moralizers intent on continuing to punish debtors even if doing so drags everyone down. Here is the background: Before the crash, credit was exploding. “Old notions of prudence, for both lenders and borrowers, were cast aside,” Krugman writes. “Debt levels that would once have been considered deeply unsound became the norm.[...]"  

Commentary: "Bank Of America’s No-Bid Prison Contract Facing Criticism In Congress" [10/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "The prison banking industry is really taking off with an assortment of small time players on the state level snatching all the taxpayer and prisoner money they can. But one of the 'Too Big To Fail' Wall Street banks has it locked up on the federal level. And surprise surprise they have friends at Treasury ready to give them special deals. Too Big To Fail Bank of America received an extremely lucrative and favorable deal to be the exclusive provider of technology and financial services in all federal prisons. The terms of the Bank of America deal are so favorable that even members of Congress seem uneasy. Treasury gave the contract out without competitive bid and and the transparency most federal contracts are required to have. According to the Center For Public Integrity, the contract has already paid out $76.3 million to Bank of America. CPI also reports that the contract has been amended 22 times since it was given out in the year 2000 – with each amending process like the awarding itself lacking transparency and accountability. Now at least one member of Congress is looking into the contract. Senator Chuck Grassley, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to the Treasury Department asking for details about how the special contract is managed. [...]" 

MSM: "Banks Accept Derivatives Rule Change To End 'Too Big To Fail' Scenario" [10/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "The $700 trillion financial derivatives industry has agreed to a fundamental rule change from January to help regulators to wind down failed banks without destabilising markets. The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) and 18 major banks that dominate the market will now allow financial watchdogs to apply temporary stays to prevent a rush to close derivatives contracts if a bank runs into trouble, the ISDA said on Saturday. A delay would give regulators time to ensure that critical parts of a bank, such as customer accounts, continue smoothly while the rest is wound down or sold off in an orderly way. That would help to avoid the type of market chaos sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and also end the problem of banks being considered too big to fail. [...]"  Note: More like $1.7 Quadrillion .... not $700 trillion ... keep in mind the the GDP of the entire civilization is around $75 trillion.

MSM: "U.S. Campaigns Against China’s Plan For International Bank That Could Rival The World Bank" [10/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "China is starting a new infrastructure investment bank and the United States, the largest shareholder of the World Bank, doesn’t like the competition. China has pledged $50 billion in capital to start the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which as the name suggests, will offer loans to developing countries to build roads, bridges and other public works projects. The United States has opposed financing by the World Bank and the Manila, Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) of projects that would involve building coal-fired power plants or dams that would displace large populations. Now, the Obama administration’s concern is that the new Chinese bank would be more likely to fund such projects. “How would the new institution add value? How would the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank be structured so that it doesn’t undercut the standards with a race to the bottom?” asked a senior administration official who spoke to the [intellectually compromised and intel community-linked] New York Times on condition of anonymity.[...] The Chinese are "luring" South Korea and Australia to contribute funds to the new bank, but the United States is urging those countries to abstain from doing so. If the U.S. effort is successful, it would damage the "prestige" of the AIIB by having its membership limited to smaller nations. Neither of the two nations has announced whether it will participate. Australia probably will if China meets that nation’s standards of governance, Peter Drysdale, a professor of economics at Australian National University who has advised Australian governments, told the Times. South Korea is also hesitant, at least in part because the major decisions will be made by Jin Liqun, whom the Chinese chose to lead the bank, instead of its board of directors. One point in favor of the new bank is that there is more demand for infrastructure funding in Asia than there is money available. The ADB estimated in 2009 that the region might need as much as $8 trillion in infrastructure investment by 2020, far more than it and the World Bank could handle."  

MSM: "Russia In Negotiation With China For Alternative SWIFT Bank System " [10/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russia and China, the two strategic Eurasian nations, are moving clearly to ultimately break free of the stranglehold of the Dollar System. On September 10 high-level talks took place between the two countries discussing establishment of an interbank money clearing system independent of the US-controlled SWIFT payments system. If enacted it would represent a major step in being able to defend their economies from Washington’s newly-developed weapon of financial warfare against a country that does not behave just as certain powerful circles want. On September 10, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov met in Beijing with his Chinese counterparts to discuss setting up a system of interbank international transaction clearing that would replace or could, in event of increased US and EU sanctions, replace the SWIFT interbank payment mechanism. According to Shuvalov after his talks in Beijing he stated to the press, “Yes, we have discussed and we have approved this idea.” [...] Russia is reacting to the current escalating financial warfare being initiated via Washington economic sanctions against key leading Russians as part of the current Washington agenda of recreating the tensions and confrontations of the Cold War in their effort to drive a bloody wedge between the EU countries, especially Germany, and Russia. This past March, under strong US pressure, the EU unanimously adopted a series of sanctions against key Russian individuals close to President Putin. The sanctions came as a response to the independence referendum in Crimea in which the vast majority, some 93% of voters opted to request membership in the Russian Federation and secession from Ukraine. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, SWIFT, is one of Russia’s primary links to the international financial system. Bloomberg reported that on August 30, ironically just after Russia had proposed in Minsk terms of a ceasefire between the Kiev Government and east Ukraine rebels, Prime Minister David Cameron’s government proposed that the EU escalate its Russia sanctions warfare by blocking Russian banks from SWIFT clearings. Were that to happen, it would be tantamount to a declaration of full economic war between the EU and Russia. The consequences for the EU would clearly be devastating, something Washington or leading Wall Street circles would, no doubt, chuckle about in a kind of Schadenfreude. Already US-imposed EU sanctions against Russia have begun hurting the German economy significantly. [...]" Related: See below: "SWIFT: 'No Authority' To Cut Russia, Israel From Global Payment System Over Sanctions" [10/07/14] 

Commentary: "The Secret Money Flow" [10/11/14] [16:59] "The hidden force in global economics: sending money home. Dilip Ratha uncovers the immense cash flow -- and the immense promise -- of remittances. In 2013, international migrants sent $413 billion home to families and friends — three times more than the total of global foreign aid (about $135 billion). This money, known as remittances, makes a significant difference in the lives of those receiving it and plays a major role in the economies of many countries. Economist Dilip Ratha describes the promise of these “dollars wrapped with love” and analyzes how they are stifled by practical and regulatory obstacles. [...]"  

Commentary: "IMF Report Records Global Economic Breakdown" [10/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "The World Economic Outlook (WEO) issued by the International Monetary Fund this week is confirmation, in its own way, that the financial crisis of 2008 was not simply a violent fluctuation but signified a fundamental breakdown in the functioning of the global capitalist economy. Many aspects of the report show this, but perhaps none so clearly as the attempt by International Monetary Fund (IMF) economists in a five-page note to explain why all their reports over the past four years have consistently over-estimated the rate of world economic growth. Following an initial upswing once the immediate effects of the financial crisis passed, global growth declined every year between 2010 and 2013—from 5.4 percent to 3.3 percent. Even though successive WEO reports pared back forecasts, actual growth was still below IMF predictions in every year from 2011. The IMF economists handed the unenviable job of explaining how their organisation got it so wrong list a number of reasons. These include overestimating the contribution of emerging markets and developing economies, in particular the so-called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), not anticipating the crisis in the euro area and failing to take account of the impact of stressed economies in the Middle East. However this listing of errors explains nothing. The fundamental reason for the failure of IMF forecasting is rooted in the methodology employed. In formulating its projections, the IMF used models and forecasting techniques, based on past experiences, which treated the financial crisis as if it were simply a fluctuation, albeit a large one, in the business cycle. However, the global financial crisis signified much more: a breakdown in the very process of capitalist accumulation. [...]"  

Buffoonery: "AIG Sues Taxpayers FOR Bailing Them Out" [10/09/14] [5:29] "Surprising legal move after taking a $182 billion loan from taxpayers. [...]"

MSM: "Massive New Debt Hides Years Of Negative GDP Growth In EU And USA" [10/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "In a groundbreaking study Awara Group reveals that the real GDP growth of Western countries has been in negative territory for years. Only by massively loading up debt have they been able to hide the true picture and delay the onset of an inevitable collapse of their respective economies. The study shows that the real GDP of those countries hides hefty losses after netting the debt figures, which gives the Real-GDP-net-of-debt. The moral of the study is that it is that GDP growth figures as such reveal very little about the underlying dynamics of an economy if one does not simultaneously attempt to analyze what part of the growth is credited to simply artificially fueling the economy with new loans. The study has found that the Western countries have lost the capacity to grow their economies. All they have left is a capacity to pile up debts. By massively accumulating new debt, they are able to keep up a semblance of at least sluggish growth, or of hovering around the zero growth mark. If this massive debt would go towards investments, then there would be nothing wrong with it. But, it is not. The debt is going towards financing the losses in the national economies and essentially it all is wasted on consumption that the countries in reality cannot afford. The Western countries act like a 19th century heir to aristocratic wealth, borrowing from year to year to keep up the former lifestyle, while the estate is relentlessly dwindling. Sooner or later the prodigal heir would be forced to face reality and sell the remaining property to stave off the creditors, downgrade his dwellings, and rein in spending. Inevitably, the European countries and the USA will have to curb their excessive consumption, too, but for the time being they are putting off the final reckoning with new debt rather the way a drunkard reaches for the morning after drink to put off sobering up. In the case of the EU and the USA, we are speaking about a debt binge that has been going on for a decade. [...]"  

Commentary: "Politicians Cynically Using JP Morgan Hack To Try To Pass Laws To Diminish Privacy" [10/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "So, as you probably heard last week, JP Morgan revealed more details of how it had been hacked, noting that the number of households impacted shot up to 76 million, thus impacting a pretty large percentage of Americans. The hack involved getting access to customer names, addresses, phone numbers and emails. It doesn't appear to have gotten anything else, but that's plenty of information to run some sophisticated phishing attacks that could lead to some serious problems. It's expected that the fallout from this could be quite long lasting. Almost immediately, politicians leapt into action... but not in any good way. They're cynically using this as an excuse to push questionable cybersecurity legislation. Specifically, Senator Angus King used it to push the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill that actually undermines privacy, rather than protect it, by giving companies incentives to share info more freely, opening up greater opportunities for leaks and breaches. CISA gives those companies a blanket get-out-of-jail-free card by taking away any liability in sharing such info. What no one explains is how something like CISA would actually have helped stop the JP Morgan hack. That's because it wouldn't have helped. Congressional supporters of cybersecurity legislation keep playing the "something must be done!" card, without ever bothering to explain how the something (CISA) will actually help. They just make vague promises that by somehow letting companies share info without liability, we'll magically all be better protected. Given the recent revelations about how government has regularly abused access to information, it's hard to accept the "just trust us" explanation for why companies should just hand over more information.  How will the proposed law actually help? The problem is that no one answers because the truth is that it's unlikely to actually help keep companies and your data secure, though it might just make it easier for the intelligence community to get their hands on your data.[...] The bill, like others before it, grants broad immunity to participating companies, stripping away one of the few reasons these entities might stick up for their customers (and their data) and consider plugging the security hole before turning that info over to both the military, national security agencies and, well, any number of government agencies or competitors. The text of the bill leaves that almost completely unspecified. [...]"  

Commentary: "SWIFT: 'No Authority' To Cut Russia, Israel From Global Payment System Over Sanctions" [10/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "As a utility with a systemic global character, it has no authority to make sanctions decisions,” the statement said, stressing that the group is a ‘’neutral global cooperative company” in a statement released on Monday. "SWIFT services are designed to facilitate its customers’ compliance with sanctions and other regulations, however SWIFT will not make unilateral decisions to disconnect institutions from its network as a result of political pressure," the communique said. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, is currently one of Russia’s main connections to the international banking system, and if turned off, could hurt Russia's economy, in the short-term. In August it was reported that EU leaders were discussing disconnecting Russia from using SWIFT as a form of sanctions for its alleged role in the Ukraine conflict. However, Brussels-based SWIFT has to comply with EU decisions because it is incorporated under Belgium law. In the case of Iran, European sanctions against Tehran in 2012 made it impossible for SWIFT to operate in their country, which left a substantial financial scar. The SWIFT system transmitted more than 21 million financial messages a day last month between more than 10,500 financial institutions and corporations in 215 countries.[...]"  

Max Keiser: "John Perkins (Confessions Of An Economic Hitman) About “Peak Bankster" [10/06/14]   [12:22]   

Commentary: "The Demise Of “Bond King” Bill Gross: Financial And Political Implications" [10/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "... The “model” he adopted was essentially a simple one: it was based on the assumption that in conditions of lower inflation, fixed-income bonds would rise in value since their real returns would increase. For a whole period this “model” brought large returns. Pimco became the world’s largest bond trader and the firm’s flagship Total Return Bond fund, personally run by Gross, outstripped its rivals in most years. However, in the recent period, the wheel has turned. In the past 12 months, even before Gross’ departure, $42 billion had flowed out of Total Return as it lagged in the bottom 20 percent of industry tables measured by returns. September was the 17th consecutive month in which it had suffered outflows. Other Pimco funds also underperformed relative to the rest of the market and it reported that it had lost 10 percent of its assets since the start of September. On top of the worsening financial performance came the news that the group’s $3.6 billion Total Return Exchange Traded Fund is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. At issue is whether Pimco bought investments at one price and then used a higher figure when assessing the value of its holdings in order to give a distorted picture of its performance. The company has said it is “co-operating” with the SEC and insists that its pricing procedures have been “entirely appropriate and in keeping with industry best practices.” [...] That may well be the case. But if it turns out to be so, it says more about the finance industry as a whole than it does about Pimco. The possibility for a discrepancy arises from the fact that in markets where bonds are traded infrequently, the calculation of their value can be made by other firms on the basis of market data and estimates of likely liquidity. Such procedures played no small part in the 2008 crisis, when it was discovered that whole classes of assets valued in this way turned out to be completely worthless. Ultimately Gross’ demise is rooted in the upheaval produced by the global financial crisis of 2008 and the extraordinary measures adopted by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks, known as “quantitative easing” (QE). This has seen trillions of dollars pumped into the bond and other financial markets to try to prevent a meltdown of the entire financial system."[...] Pimco has offered the self-serving reassurance that the “vast majority” of its clients are staying with it. Not much store should be placed on that remark because financial firms always claim they are sound, right up to the point they go under. Moreover, as Financial Times commentator John Authers noted, Total Return is so large that any major withdrawals could have an impact on the entire financial system. Describing the withdrawals over the past 12 months as “huge,” he warned that “the worst case scenario … is that the substantial flows out of Pimco turn into a flood.” [..] At least one major pension consultant has downgraded Pimco and if others do the same there could be a rush for the exits. If that happens, financial markets will be thrown into turmoil with far-reaching consequences, as the events of 2008 demonstrated. Whatever the immediate outcome of Bill Gross’s departure, the event has already raised significant political issues. It has underscored the extent to which an aristocratic elite dominates the entire financial system. There are regular denunciations of the rule of oligarchs in countries such as Russia and China but “American democracy” is not essentially different. Furthermore, the fact that sudden shifts in pension fund allocations could provoke a financial crisis, with devastating social consequences in the US and globally, points to the irrationality, not to speak of insanity, of the entire capitalist financial system. The movement of billions of dollars of funds, accumulated through the efforts of hundreds of millions of working people to try to provide for their future and those of their families, is controlled by a tiny elite whose decisions could plunge their lives into a catastrophe. If the Gross case has done nothing else it has surely established the necessity for bringing the entire financial system into public ownership under democratic control.[...]"  Related: See below: "Billionaire 'Bond King,' Erotic Sneezing Enthusiast, Quits Job Just Ahead Of Firing" [09/29/14]

MSM: "7 Revelations From Those Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes" [10/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "The secret Goldman Sachs tapes released this week by ProPublica and This American Life are attracting a lot of attention, and rightly so. They were clandestinely recorded by Carmen Segarra, an investigator for the New York Federal Reserve Bank who was eventually fired — either for being uncooperative or, as she says and the tapes suggest, for attempting to be a strong regulator. Financial cases can seem complicated, especially in situations when there are multiple parties involved. But the reality that is revealed in these tapes is clear enough, and can be summarized in seven takeaways: [...]"

Commentary: "Plutocrat’s Lawsuit Leads Unlikely Path To Transparency On AIG Bailout" [10/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "The US Justice System is generally run for the rich which makes achieving justice against the rich rather difficult. But thanks to an aggrieved rich person in the form of former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg the world may finally learn the details of the AIG bailout. Though the absurdity of the case Greenberg is bringing is quite obvious (that he got mistreated by the feds), former Treasury Secretary and New York Fed Chairman Tim Geithner will be forced to testify as to how one of America’s sleaziest Wall Street bailouts went down. To catch everyone up – AIG recklessly bet on the housing market never going down by insuring mortgage securities in the form of credit default swaps (CDS) it never planned to cover. When things were good in the mortgage market AIG pocketed the cash for the swaps, when things went bad AIG went bust and the US taxpayer bailed them out at 100 cents on the dollar. That 100 cents on the dollar part has always left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth especially when it become clear that part of the reason AIG was getting such an amazingly generous government bailout may have been because part of the funds would be going to AIG’s counter-parties – Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and other Too Big To Fail politically-connect banks. Not surprisingly, the public was furious at the idea that the very people and organizations that caused the financial crisis got sweetheart deals from their cronies in Washington and suffered no financial penalty. Geithner has claimed that he made the terms so generous because he feared what would happen if he asked for a reduction in price or a “haircut,” that the markets would panic. If you don’t find that argument convincing you aren’t the only one. Greenberg’s case concerns the firm he started after being ousted as CEO of AIG by Eliot Spitzer, Starr International Company Incorporated. Starr was a major owner of AIG shares and is claiming the government unjustly seized its shares of AIG to do the bailout - a bailout that made Starr/Greenberg hundreds of millions of dollars. [...]"

Commentary: "Germany Prepares Bail-In To “Save Banks" [10/03/14]   [7:53] " •Italy's Economic Woes Highlight Dilemma for European Central Bank  • Europe’s Yields Turn Negative on ECB Rate Cuts, Asset Purchases • Mario Draghi pushes for ECB to accept Greek and Cypriot 'junk' loans • Eurozone manufacturing edges closer to stagnation • Fearing political crisis, Greece plots escape from bailout • Germany OKs plan to make creditors prop up banks [...]"  

Bottom Line: "The Essence Of The Banking Industry" [10/03/14] [2:27] "Simple and direct answer to why banking dynasties are 'the face of evil'. [...]" 

Commentary: "The Reasoning For Billionaires Stockpiling Money And How Their Actions Are Effecting Society" [10/02/14] [3:40] "Billionaires are hoarding their cash at an average of $600M per person, which is a huge increase from last year. This comes out to about a fifth of their total net value. What is the wealthy’s reasoning for stockpiling their money and how are their actions effecting society? We look at the age distribution of the world’s billionaires and more, in this Lip News clip with Gabriel Mizrahi and Lissette Padilla. [...]"  Related: "The Billionaires Are All Quietly Preparing For The Plunge" Printer Friendly Version "At least five billionaires have indicated that they are moving considerable sums of money out of the stock market and into hard assets like silver, gold and even cash in anticipation of a looming crash."

Commentary: "U.S. Doctors, Teaching Hospitals Had $3.5 Billion In Financial Ties With Drug And Medical-Device Makers In The Last Five Months Of 2013" [10/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "Pulling the curtain back on long-hidden industry relationships, the federal government revealed that U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals had $3.5 billion worth of financial ties with drug and medical-device makers in the last five months of 2013. The details published Tuesday in a new government database have been sought for years by consumer advocates and lawmakers concerned that conflicts of interest in the medical profession are jeopardizing patient care and costing taxpayer-funded health programs. This first batch of payment data covers just five months of 2013, but it shows the extensive ties medical companies have forged with doctors and academic medical centers across the country. About 546,000 U.S. physicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals received some form of compensation.  California doctors and hospitals received 18% of the U.S. total, or $638 million, for the five-month period. In all, the data show nearly $2.5 billion in direct payments to medical providers — with 60% of that related to research. There was an additional $1 billion reported for medical providers' ownership stakes in companies. That includes grants from companies and money that doctors invested themselves. Advocates have long been concerned that this corporate largess — from speaking and consulting fees to luxury trips and meals — can lead to patients getting the wrong drugs or medical procedures. Those decisions can harm patients and drive up the nation's $3-trillion medical tab, experts warn. Consumer advocates hailed the release of the information after years of debate in Congress and steadfast opposition from industry groups.  "This exposure will require everybody to talk about something that's been underground," said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union's Safe Patient Project in San Francisco. "It's a widespread practice that does influence the kind of care patients get." [...]" 

Commentary: "People's Bank Of China Authorizes Direct Trading Between Chinese Yuan And Euro" [10/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has authorized direct trading between the yuan (RMB) and the euro in the interbank foreign exchange market on Monday, an official statement from the bank's website said. "This is an important step in strengthening bilateral economic and trade connections between China and Eurozone member states," the PBOC statement said. The agreement is the first step toward efforts promoting direct trading between the two currencies aimed at further internationalization of the Yuan. "This will help lower currency conversion cost for economic entities, facilitate the use of RMB and Euro in bilateral trade and investment, promote the financial cooperation and enhance economic and financial ties between China and Eurozone member states," the people's Bank of China said. The euro will be the sixth major currency to become directly exchangeable for the yuan after currencies from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Japan. [...]"  

Commentary: "Bank CEOs Are The New Drug Lords" [09/30/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bank CEOs are the New Drug Lords. Here is a list of some of the banks managed by Bank CEOs, aka the new Drug Lords, that were fined billions of dollars for fixing LIBOR rates and stealing money from clients: Lloyds Bank, RP Martin, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, United Bank of Switzerland and Rabobank. Here is a list of some of the banks in which the Bank Lords fixed FX rates and are currently negotiating fine amounts with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, JP Morgan and United Bank of Switzerland. HSBC had to pay nearly $2B in fines after its Bank CEO was allegedly caught overseeing the laundering of $7B in drug money for the notoriously violent and ruthless Sinaloa drug cartel and committing a wide array of other crimes like laundering $290MM from Russian mobsters that told HSBC bankers that their vast profits came from a “used car business”. I say "allegedly caught", because every time this happens, the bank CEO, in this case, HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver, inevitably denies ever knowing that the cartel he was overseeing was laundering dirty blood money. [...]  So how do Bank Lords get away with their dirty deeds scot-free? This month, explosive evidence contained in 47.5 hours of secret recordings from Goldman Sachs whistleblower and former New York Federal Reserve employee Carmen Segarra provides the answers we already knew. Bank Lords have been buying off judges and regulators after already buying off cops (JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon “Gifts” Largest Donation Ever to NYPD of $4.6MM). When Fed regulators asked Segarra to alter minutes of meetings in which Goldman Sachs bankers' immoral behavior was discussed in order to cover up the truth and to lie about the content of these meetings, Segarra decided to secretly record her meetings with her bosses. Below are some of the revelations contained in the transcripts of those secret recordings: " In one meeting Segarra attended, a Goldman employee expressed the view that "once clients are wealthy enough, certain consumer laws don't apply to them." After that meeting, Segarra turned to a fellow Fed regulator and expressed how surprised she was by that statement -- to which the regulator replied, "You didn't hear that." When Segarra discovered multiple conflicts of interest in Goldman Sachs deals between Goldman Sachs bankers and their clients that led to deals being struck that would be the equivalent of insider trading in the stock market and consequently discovered Goldman Sachs had no “conflict of interest” policy, her boss harassed her and demanded of Segarra, "Why do you have to say there's no policy?" When Segarra complained to her legal and compliance manager, Jonathon Kim, of how her discoveries were being handled and told Kim that “even when I explain to [my superiors at the New York Federal Reserve] what my evidence is, they won’t even listen”, Kim reacted in an equally morally bankrupt manner as Segarra’s superiors, advising Segarra “to be patient” and to “bite her tongue.” So now that we know that Bank Lords buy out morally-challenged regulators, cops and judges in return for carte-blanche to continue committing crimes, rig markets to collect undeserved and unearned kickbacks, and launder drug cartel money from violent cartels that murder 10,000 people a year (the Sinaloa drug cartel), is there really even a line in the sand that separates Bank Lords and Drug Lords, or have Bank Lords become the new Drug Lords?" Let’s take a closer look into the increasingly similar worlds of drug cartel and bank cartels. [...] Also Discussed: • Murder and Crime: Drug Cartels v. Global Banks  • Quality of Life/Social Contributions: Drug Cartels v. Global BanksEconomic/GDP Contributions, Drug Cartels v. Global BanksGoodwill, Drug Cartels V. Global Banks   • Global Wars: Drug Cartels v. Global Banks [...]"  Related: See below

Commentary: "Whistleblower Releases Tapes Exposing Federal Reserve Corruption" [10/01/14] [6:21] "Recordings released by a whistleblower show the cozy relationship between banks “too big to jail” and the private Federal Reserve that rejects accountability to Congress. [...]"  Related: See below

MSM: "US Senators Demand Probe Into Leaked Goldman Sachs Tapes" [09/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "US Senate Banking Committee members are calling for hearings and full investigation into alleged ties between Federal Reserve supervisors and officials at Goldman Sachs, a bank the Fed was supposed to be policing. Congress must hold “oversight hearings on the disturbing issues” raised by the secretly recorded conversations between the Fed and Goldman officials, Senator Elizabeth Warren (Mass, D) said on Friday. Portions of recordings from 2011 and 2012 were recently made public, apparently showing unwillingness by some Fed supervisors to both demand information from Goldman Sachs and criticize its conflict-of-interest policy. When regulators care more about protecting big banks from accountability than they do about protecting the American people from risky and illegal behavior on Wall Street, it threatens our whole economy,” Warren said in an emailed statement to Reuters, adding that the issues raised by the whistleblower should be addressed when Congress returns in November. Joining in and requesting a “full and thorough investigation” into the allegations is another Democrat Sherrod Brown, who also sits on the Banking Committee. “For too long, too many financial regulators have been too cozy towards the very industry that they are meant to police.” [...]"  Related: "Inside The New York Fed: Secret Recordings And A Culture Clash" Pro-Publica Printer Friendly Version "A confidential report and a fired examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of Wall Street’s top regulator—and its history of deference to banks.  [...]" See also below 

MSM: "Goldman Sachs Said to 'Prohibit Bankers' From Buying Stocks" [09/29/14] Printer Friendly Version "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), the top adviser on corporate takeovers, is changing a policy addressing conflicts of interest to bar investment bankers from trading individual stocks and bonds, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. Employees at the New York-based firm were notified yesterday of the change, which takes effect immediately, said the person, who requested anonymity because the matter isn’t public. They also aren’t allowed to invest in activist or event-driven hedge funds, the person said. Previously, bankers needed approval before they could invest in individual stocks. The change came on the same day that a former Federal Reserve Bank of New York examiner’s recordings of her ex-colleagues’ dealings with Goldman Sachs were featured in reports by public radio and ProPublica. The former examiner, Carmen Segarra, sued the New York Fed last year, alleging that she was fired in 2012 because she refused to change her finding that Goldman Sachs didn’t have a conflict-of-interest policy. Her case was dismissed in April and she’s appealing. The radio program “This American Life” released a transcript of a broadcast that includes excerpts of conversations it said were secretly recorded by Segarra. In the transcript, Segarra described how she felt that her Fed colleagues handled Goldman Sachs with kid gloves.  “What I was sort of seeing and experiencing was this level of deference to the banks, this level of fear,” she said. The New York Fed said it “categorically rejects” Segarra’s allegations.  [...]"  Note: Now that they have all that they have taken from the system, they're trying to appear 'honest'  Related: "Hedge Funds Are Richer Than Ever" Printer Friendly Version | "Billionaire 'Bond King,' Erotic Sneezing Enthusiast, Quits Job Just Ahead Of Firing" Printer Friendly Version "One of the most powerful, and definitely the most eccentric, bond traders on the planet was moments away from being fired before announcing his resignation on Friday. Bill Gross -- a billionaire money manager and infamous author of at least one cat obituary and a rapturous ode to the orgasmic pleasures of sneezing -- reportedly knew he was about to be fired from Pimco, the firm he co-founded and helped turn into the world's biggest manager of bond mutual funds. Instead of taking severance and quietly walking away, Gross, known to some fanboys as the "bond king," resigned. The New York Times reports that firm insiders were fed up with Gross's increasingly odd behavior. Five Pimco executives threatened to quit if Gross didn't leave, CNBC reported on Friday. Gross, who helped grow Pimco into a fund that manages around $2 TRILLION dollars, announced that he would be moving on to Janus Capital, a much smaller investment firm (with less than $200 billion under management) based in Denver. [...]" 

Commentary: "Current Ways Economic ‘Growth Is’ Measured Are Catastrophes For The Economy" [09/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "Current assessments are delusional fabrications and are socially destructive [...] In other words, in the current way we measure "prosperity" (i.e. "growth"), healthy living, low-cost lifestyles and capital accumulation are catastrophes for the economy rather than tremendous benefits. Perverse priorities and incentives are easily found in healthcare, defense, and of course economics. "  

Interviews: "Tarpley: The Derivatives Crisis And Wall Street Criminality" [09/27/14] [14:45] "Derivative notional values could be as high as $8 quadrillion. The value of the entire world economy is $75 trillion. [...]" 

Commentary: "Russia Asset Freeze Threat Sends DAX Reeling" [09/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "Germany's DAX is tumbling this morning (and back in the red for 2014) as The Moscow Times reports Russian courts could get the green light to seize foreign assets on Russian territory under a draft law intended as a response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. Whether this is retaliation at Italian tax police seizing €30m in assets, including a luxury hotel in Rome and two villas in Sardinia, controlled by Arkady Rotenberg, is unclear, but the timing is highly coincidental and Rotenberg has been a longtime ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin. [...]"  Related: "No More Foreplay: Russia Threatens European Gas Supply Disruptions" Printer Friendly Version "It appears Vladimir Putin is willing to hit'em while they're down. Early European equity weakness (and safe-haven flows) on asset-freeze threats have accelerated as Bloomberg reports, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak threatens gas supply disruptions if the EU continues to re-export Russian gas to Ukraine (who owes Russia billions for natural gas delivered) [...]" 

MSM: "5 U.S. Banks Each Have More Than 40 Trillion Dollars In Exposure To Derivatives" [09/25/14] Printer Friendly Version "Watch the derivatives. It used to be only four, but now there are five “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have more than 40trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives. Today, the U.S. national debt is sitting at a grand total of about 17.7 trillion dollars, so when we are talking about 40 trillion dollars we are talking about an amount of money that is almost unimaginable. And unlike stocks and bonds, these derivatives do not represent “investments” in anything. They can be incredibly complex, but essentially they are just paper wagers about what will happen in the future. The truth is that derivatives trading is not too different from betting on baseball or football games. Trading in derivatives is basically just a form of legalized gambling, and the “too big to fail” banks have transformed Wall Street into the largest casino in the history of the planet. When this derivatives bubble bursts (and as surely as I am writing this it will), the pain that it will cause the global economy will be greater than words can describe. If derivatives trading is so risky, then why do our big banks do it? The answer to that question comes down to just one thing. Greed. The “too big to fail” banks run up enormous profits from their derivatives trading. According to the New York Times, "American banks have nearly $280 trillion of derivatives on their books, and they earn some of their biggest profits from trading in them. But the 2008 crisis revealed how flaws in the market had allowed for dangerous buildups of risk at large Wall Street firms and worsened the run on the banking system."[...]The big banks have sophisticated computer models which are supposed to keep the system stable and help them manage these risks. But all computer models are based on assumptions. When a “black swan event” comes along such as a war, a major pandemic, an apocalyptic natural disaster or a collapse of a very large financial institution, these models can often break down very rapidly.[...] After the last financial crisis, we were promised that this would be fixed. But instead the problem has become much larger. When the housing bubble burst back in 2007, the total notional value of derivatives contracts around the world had risen to about 500 trillion dollars. According to the Bank for International Settlements, today the total notional value of derivatives contracts around the world has ballooned to a staggering 710 trillion dollars. At this point, the five largest banks in the country account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States, and the six largest banks control 67 percent of all banking assets. If those banks were to disappear tomorrow, we would not have much of an economy left.[...]  And it isn’t just U.S. banks that are engaged in this type of behavior. As Zero Hedge recently detailed, German banking giant Deutsche Bank has more exposure to derivatives than any of the American banks listed above…"  Note: The total of derivatives worldwide is actually estimated to be around $2.5 Quadrillion .... more than three times what they say in the article. It takes the concept of greed to an almost metaphysical plane ... considering that fiat systems are worth nothing to begin with ... many ironies with these people in an experiential loop ... No matter how these sequentials push their envelope, they'll always just be stationary. Pun intended.

Commentary "Chris Hedges at Flood Wall Street: "Capitalism Exploits Humans" [12:07] "Hundreds of protesters crammed the streets of Lower Manhattan Monday, clashing with the NYPD as they attempted to march down Wall Street. Kmele Foster, co-host of Fox Business' The Independents, met up with Pulitzer-Prize winning author Chris Hedges for a heated debate on the 'merits of capitalism'. [...]" 

MSM: "Fitch Warns On What Happens To The US As Dollar’s ‘Pre-Eminent Reserve Currency Status’ Erodes" [09/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "It’s very risky for an American credit ratings agency to downgrade the US Government. Standard & Poor’s found out when it stripped the US off its AAA rating in 2011 over the debt-ceiling charade. The Department of Justice then sued S&P over its role in the financial crisis, i.e. for slapping AAA-ratings on toxic securities to pocket fatter fees from issuers. But the other ratings agencies did the same thing and have not been hounded. So S&P claimed that the “impermissibly selective, punitive and meritless” lawsuit was “in retaliation” for the downgrade. Though the Government denied the retaliation angle, it was a lesson no credit ratings agency within the long and sinewy arm of the Government would ever forget. But now Fitch is inching gingerly toward that abyss. While it affirmed (text) the US at AAA, Outlook Stable, it threw in some potentially devastating caveats. What drives America’s dubious AAA-rating? “Unparalleled financing flexibility as the issuer of the world’s pre-eminent reserve currency….” So endowed, “the US rating can tolerate a higher level of public debt than other ‘AAA’ sovereigns.” The “threshold” for the US is a gross national debt of 110% of GDP, the highest threshold of any country “owing to its exceptional financing flexibility.” But if the US hits that 110%, it would be “incompatible with ‘AAA.”’ [...] So Fitch estimates that the gross national debt – “excluding trade payables and unfunded pension liabilities, consistent with EU countries” – would hit 100% of GDP at the end of 2014. It sees a “debt peak” of 104% of GDP in 2024, based on this way of counting, which excludes any kind of recession or a market swoon. Since this 104% is “below the threshold of 110%,” Fitch does not “anticipate” a downgrade. A downgrade would be triggered by: “material deterioration in the coherence and credibility of economic policymaking,” whatever that means in Washington; a deterioration of the deficits and the debt-to-GDP ratio; and an erosion of “the role of the US dollar as the pre-eminent global reserve currency.” There it is again, the dollar’s erosion as the pre-eminent global reserve currency. It is very inconvenient. It would deprive the US of much of the “financing flexibility and debt tolerance” that it has so enormously benefited from up to now. When China starts hoarding euros, and when European countries start hoarding Chinese yuan, and when other countries start hoarding both, and when they’re hoarding other currencies as well, such as the UK pound, the Canadian and Australian dollars, even the yen (though that’s increasingly a losing proposition), and some other currencies, instead of US dollars….And that is already happening.[...] Everyone knows by now that there will be three big reserve currencies in the near future: the dollar, the euro, and the yuan, with smaller currencies thrown into the basket. And the day is nearing when the dollar’s status as the “pre-eminent global reserve currency” erodes to less than 50%. That’s when the US dollar hegemony will be over. The US will face a new world of funding constraints. It will no longer be able to dictate financial terms. Its long and sinewy arm that can hit banks around the world and impose rules and sanctions and penalties will atrophy. And life for US policymakers will become a lot more complex. It will be a humbling experience.[...]"  

Commentary: "Financial Warfare: “The Anglo-American Caliphate” Confronts BRICS" [09/22/14] Printer Friendly Version "Ever since the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) expressed their unison through the formation of a joint Development Bank – Durban, South Africa on 27 March 2013 – the Zionist-Anglo-Saxon caliphate attempted to divide them. The BRICS constitute some 45% of the world population and close to 30% of global GDP. The BRICS idea is to issue a joint alternative currency, fully detached from the US dollar and its greed economy.  In the meantime a number of other countries would like to join the BRICS, including Argentina, Venezuela, Iran, Mongolia, Malaysia and others, which would result in about one third of the world’s economic output and half of the global inhabitants. This gives the BRICS a profile of strength surpassing that of the United States and Europe together. China alone is not only already the world’s largest economy, China is also dominating the Asian market of some 4.2 billion people, 60% of the world populations and a combined GDP of about US$ 20 trillion, equivalent to about US$ 25 trillion, when comparing purchasing power with the dollar based US economy of about US$ 17 trillion. Asia registered an average growth rate of almost 8% over the past few years, compared to that of the western world, hovering around 1%. There is no need for the BRICS to fear US interference – divide to rein – if they are able to solidify their union with solidarity – political and monetary solidarity, as well as common trade policies – and if they have the political will to decouple their economies from the dollar – which is key for the BRICS success. [...]"  Note: Critical thought: America's other national deficit.

Concepts and Practices: "The Collapse of the Concept of Fiat Currency" [09/20/14] [32:20] "Will Lehr from Perpetual Assets Interviews John Rubino [...]" 

MSM: "UK And France Moving To The Next Reserve Currency The Chinese Yuan" X-22 Report [09/17/14] [48:53] "Retail sales are declining and many of the big retailers are in big trouble. The sub prime auto bubble is about to burst. Manufacturing is now declining. China announce a yuan clearing house with France and the UK will be issuing Yuan denominated bonds in preparation for the Yuan to be the world reserve currency. [...] Other items discussed: "FBI facial recognition online. IMF in talks with West African nations to bail them out. Yemeni tribes cut off talks with government. Libyan tribes say they were hit but unidentified planes. Russia wants to help with the fight against terrorism. President Obama says if Syria strikes a US plane he will attack Syria. Reports the Yemen terrorist organizations are planning a terror attack on the US."  

MSM: "Citi, Deutsche Bank, Bank Of America Were Channels For Sending Drug Money To Colombia, Court Filing Shows" [09/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "U.S.-based accounts at Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Deutsche Bank AG (ETR:DBK) and Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) were used to channel tens of millions of dollars’ worth of global drug money that was sent to shady Colombian currency brokerages, an affidavit from an undercover Massachusetts detective obtained recently by 100 Reporters says. The revelation comes as the U.S. Justice Department has been laying down record penalties against some of the world’s largest financial institutions for trade-sanction and money laundering violations. Representatives at the banks declined to comment to International Business Times. The affidavit by Jaime X. Cepero was filed in August 2013 as part of a four-year investigation by federal authorities in the wake of a 2011 Boston-area sting operation that exposed a global narcotics ring, netting $200 million and 20 suspects. The investigation led to the extradition of 12 suspects from Colombia and 15 guilty pleas. Cepero had been detailed to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force that oversaw the operation. The affidavit was submitted as evidence last year as part of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. In some instances, he said, the banks had reported suspicious activity to the U.S. Treasury Department as required by law, but not in all instances. [...] The document not only identifies the three banks by name but also offers a glimpse into the action-movie-like efforts narcotics traffickers used to channel global proceeds from the sale of cocaine and heroin through the United States. Couriers would sometimes stash heat-sealed bundles of currency in secret compartments of parked cars in suburban U.S. parking lots. Similar cash transfers took place on busy streets in major U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Orlando, Florida. The affidavit says one transfer took place in Rome where the cash was covered in visible cocaine residue.[...]"  

MSM: "Local and State Police Involved in Sensitive Hemisphere Program" [09/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Federal, state, and local police, with the assistance of phone company employees embedded within DEA narcotics intelligence units, are utilizing an unclassified but “law enforcement sensitive” program, known as Hemisphere, which provides nearly unfettered access to an enormous database containing call records of all telephone calls passing through phone company switches likely owned by AT&T, according to a partially-redacted 24-slide presentation obtained by The Declaration. [...]"  Note: This is the same DEA who laundered the money at the banks in the article above.

MSM: "UK Government To Issue Offshore Bond In Chinese Currency" [09/14/14] [1:01] "The UK will become the first Western government to issue an offshore bond in Chinese currency, announced the British Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne and Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai in London on Friday. The two countries have also agreed to deals worth 2.4 billion pounds. [...]"  Related: China Mulls Joining Eurasian Development Bank" Printer Friendly Version  

Commentary: "End Of Empire - The 'De-Dollarization' Chart That China And Russia Are Banking On" [09/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "History did not end with the Cold War and, as Mark Twain put it, whilst history doesn’t repeat it often rhymes. As Alexander, Rome and Britain fell from their positions of absolute global dominance, so too has the US begun to slip. America’s global economic dominance has been declining since 1998, well before the Global Financial Crisis. A large part of this decline has actually had little to do with the actions of the US but rather with the unraveling of a century’s long economic anomaly. China has begun to return to the position in the global economy it occupied for millenia before the industrial revolution. Just as the dollar emerged to global reserve currency status as its economic might grew, so the chart below suggests the increasing push for de-dollarization across the 'rest of the isolated world' may be a smart bet... [...] In 1950 China’s share of the world’s population was 29%, its share of world economic output (on a PPP basis) was about 5% (Figure 98). By contrast the US was almost the reverse, with 8% of the world’s population the US commanded 28% of its economic output. By 2008, China’s huge, centuries-long economic underperformance was well down the path of being overcome [...] Based on current trends China’s economy will overtake America’s in purchasing power terms within the next few years. The US is now no longer the world’s sole economic superpower and indeed its share of world output (on a PPP basis) has slipped below the 20% level which we have seen was a useful sign historically of a single dominant economic superpower. In economic terms we already live in a bipolar world. Between them the US and China today control over a third of world output (on a PPP basis). However as we have already highlighted, the relative size of a nation’s economy is not the only determinant of superpower status. There is a “geopolitical” multiplier that must be accounted for which can allow nations to outperform or underperform their economic power on the global geopolitical stage. We have discussed already how first the unwillingness of the US to engage with the rest of the world before WWII meant that on the world stage the US was not a superpower inspite of its huge economic advantage, and second how the ability and willingness of the USSR to sacrifice other goals in an effort to secure its superpower status allowed it to compete with the US for geopolitical power despite its much smaller economy. Looking at the world today it could be argued that the US continues to enjoy an outsized influence compared to the relative size of its economy, whilst geopolitically China underperforms its economy. To use the term we have developed through this piece, the US has a geopolitical multiplier greater then 1, whilst China’s is less than 1. Why? On the US side, almost a century of economic dominance and half a century of superpower status has left its impression on the world. Power leaves a legacy. First the USA’s “soft power” remains largely unrivalled - US culture is ubiquitous (think McDonald’s, Hollywood and Ivy League universities), the biggest US businesses are global giants and America’s list of allies is unparalleled. Second the US President continues to carry the title of “leader of the free world” and America has remained committed to defending this world. Although more recently questions have begun to be asked (more later), the US has remained the only nation willing to lead intervention in an effort to support this “free world” order and its levels of military spending continues to dwarf that of the rest of the world. US military spending accounts for over 35% of the world total and her Allies make up another 25%.[...] In terms of Chinese geopolitical underperformance there are a number of plausible reasons why China continues to underperform its economy on the global stage. [...]"  

MSM: "Russia China Join To Kill All Dollar Transactions Between Both Countries" [09/13/14] [3:07]    

MSM: "Big Banks Manipulated $21 Trillion Dollar Market for Credit Default Swaps (and Every Other Market)" [09/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Runaway derivatives – especially credit default swaps (CDS) – were one of the main causes of the 2008 financial crisis. Congress never fixed the problem, and actually made it worse. The big banks have long manipulated derivatives … a $1,200 Trillion Dollar market. Indeed, many trillions of dollars of derivatives are being manipulated in the exact same same way that interest rates are fixed (see below) … through gamed self-reporting. [...] A Manhattan federal judge said on Thursday that investors may pursue a lawsuit accusing 12 major banks of violating antitrust law by fixing prices and restraining competition in the roughly $21 trillion market for credit default swaps. “The complaint provides a chronology of behavior that would probably not result from chance, coincidence, independent responses to common stimuli, or mere interdependence,” [Judge] Cote said. The defendants include Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc , Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG , Goldman Sachs Group Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc , JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG. Other defendants are the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and Markit Ltd, which provides credit derivative pricing services." U.S. and European regulators have probed potential anticompetitive activity in CDS. In July 2013, the European Commission accused many of the defendants of colluding to block new CDS exchanges from entering the market.“The financial crisis hardly explains the alleged secret meetings and coordinated actions,” the judge wrote. “Nor does it explain why ISDA and Markit simultaneously reversed course.” [...] In other words, the big banks are continuing to fix prices for CDS in secret meetings … and have torpedoed the more open and transparent CDS exchanges that Congress mandated. As shown below, Wall Street has manipulated virtually every other market as well – both in the financial sector and the real economy – and broken virtually every law on the books. [...]"  

Commentary: "The Fed Just Imposed Financial Austerity On The States" [09/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "... The Federal regulators adopted a new rule that requires the country’s largest banks – those with $250 billion or more in total assets – to hold an increased level of newly defined “high quality liquid assets” (HQLA) in order to meet a potential run on the bank during a credit crisis. In addition to U.S. Treasury securities and other instruments backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government (agency debt), the regulators have included some dubious instruments while shunning others with a higher safety profile. Bizarrely, the Fed and its regulatory siblings included investment grade corporate bonds, the majority of which do not trade on an exchange, and more stunningly, stocks in the Russell 1000, as meeting the definition of high quality liquid assets, while excluding all municipal bonds – even general obligation municipal bonds from states with a far higher credit standing and safety profile than BBB-rated corporate bonds.[...] This, rightfully, has state treasurers in an uproar. The five largest Wall Street banks control the majority of deposits in the country. By disqualifying municipal bonds from the category of liquid assets, the biggest banks are likely to trim back their holdings in munis which could raise the cost or limit the ability for states, counties, cities and school districts to issue muni bonds to build schools, roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs. This is a particularly strange position for a Fed that is worried about subpar economic growth." [...] The Fed’s rationale for including corporate bonds and stocks but not munis in the high quality liquid assets category rests on this premise:“The agencies believe that defining an asset as liquid and readily-marketable if it is traded in an active secondary market with more than two committed market makers, a large number of committed non-market maker participants on both the buying and selling sides of transactions, timely and observable market prices, and high trading volumes provides an appropriate standard for determining whether an asset can be readily sold in times of stress.” That premise lacks an historical foundation. In times of crisis, Wall Street veterans know full well that market makers have a nasty habit of backing away.. [...] That the Fed and its regulatory cohorts have to resort to this implausible plan – which crimps the ability of states and localities to raise essential funds to operate – in a strained effort to pretend that they’ve found a 'means of avoiding another massive bailout of Wall Street in a crisis', is just further proof that the only way to seriously deal with too-big-to-fail banks is to restore the Glass-Steagall Act and break up these complex creatures before they strike again.  [...]"  

Concepts and Practices:  "PayPal – Will Accept Bitcoin" [09/11/14] Printer Friendly Version Note: Another avenue of assertion of control over society by making virtual payment common ... and another move toward the concept of a medium of exchange that can be taken away by dictate. Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal, founded Palantir Technologies funded by the CIA's venture capital arm Related: "The NSA, CIA Venture Capital, And Peter Thiel"  Printer Friendly Version  "How A 'Deviant' Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut"  Printer Friendly Version 

Satire: "Bank Of America Introduces New $50 Underdraft Fee" Onion [09/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "Saying the penalty will cover the costs incurred by the financial institution whenever a customer makes a withdrawal that results in a positive account balance, Bank of America introduced a new $50 underdraft fee Tuesday on all checking and savings accounts. “Beginning today, we will assess a fee on customers who withdraw less money than they have available,” bank spokesperson Melissa Scott told reporters, noting that the $50 surcharge will automatically be deducted any time a patron uses a Bank of America debit card or check to make a purchase that is less than the dollar amount of his or her account balance. “We’re confident this new fee shouldn’t be an issue for most of our customers. As long as account holders remain vigilant about their finances, and make sure not to withdraw too little money, they should be able to conduct their banking business as usual without ever receiving a ‘sufficient funds’ notice.” To further incentivize customers against repeating such a financial mistake, Scott added that the fee will increase with each additional underdraft, with the penalty rising to $75 for a second offense, $150 for a third offense, and a value equal to the remaining balance of one’s account for any additional underdraft committed thereafter. [...]"  

Investigations: "Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze" Int'l Consortium Of Investigative Journalists [09/10/14] "• Government officials and their families and associates in China, Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts. • The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not available to average people. • Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways.• A well-paid industry of accountants, middlemen and other operatives has helped offshore patrons shroud their identities and business interests, providing shelter in many cases to money laundering or other misconduct.• Ponzi schemers and other large-scale fraudsters routinely use offshore havens to pull off their shell games and move their ill-gotten gains. [...] Related: "How Users Have Spent The Past Year Digging Through Offshore Data" Printer Friendly Version  

Commentary: "Sanctions Tit-For-Tat: Catch Minus 22" [09/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "The realpolitik of the Ukraine crisis is that there is little way that any sanctions can avoid harming the EU’s declining economic power. The economy is flat and sanctions to date are estimated to have shaved 0.2-0.3 percent off the becalmed eurozone economy. Many cling to the counter- productive rebuke that the aim is to bring Russia to its knees. However that is just a leveraged version of the classical Pyrrhic victory. Apparently Europe is now re-girding its loins for another round of sanctions. Even the custard pie of the Elysee Palace, French President Hollande, has turned coy about delivering the two warships being built for Russia in Saint Nazaire. True, ‘Monsieur Flanby’ may have just been demonstrating a degree of prerequisite bluster to keep in with the aggressive groupthink of the NATO club gathering in Wales last week, or perhaps he just wants more armaments at his disposal to protect against his former girlfriend. The European nation offering to bear the brunt of sanctions remains the UK, although it may yet be less capable of affording this gesture of largesse to its becalmed European neighbors if Scotland happens to disappear into independence later in the month. The Cameron doctrine suggests excluding Russian entities from refunding on Western money markets. The EU has now chimed in with a suggestion to restrict Russian oil companies’ access to Western debt markets, while Obama even interrupted his hectic golf schedule to proffer a similar threat of exclusion from the dollar zone.  [...] Incidentally, one of the less discussed areas of the cold war was how the Soviets operated in Western financial markets through the 100-percent-USSR-owned Moscow Narodny in London (and Singapore), as well as other banks in Paris, Frankfurt, Luxemburg and Vienna. Now Western leaders apparently intend to cut Russia out of Western markets just when there are a goodly few thousand Russian bankers living in Chelsea and other upmarket entrepots. While an acute challenge, it is not impossible to vastly reduce the influence of Western investment spigot from Russia. Nevertheless, the West currently retains such financial dominance that the threat to Russia could be considerable. Then again the ongoing dominance of London as a leading financial center is already threatened by rising centers in Asia - which leads to the issue that it might cost more in the short term, but ultimately Russia can pivot East to raise the funds its government and corporates require. London could be gradually sidelined as a global cash center. Indeed, the West could endeavor to close its payment systems to Russian banks, but then again the highly analogue SWIFT network which forms the basis of banking payments from the West is spectacularly outmoded anyway. A new payments system backed by Russia (perhaps based on the bitcoin blockchain), would be a welcome modernization to many other nations to boot, allowing many emerging nations to make a great leap forward to the next stage of digital payments, leapfrogging aged legacy Western systems. [...]"   

Commentary: "De-Dollarization Continues: China-Argentina Agree Currency Swap, Will Trade In Yuan" [09/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "One by one, Russia and China appear to be finding allies willing to 'de-dollarize'; and the latest to join this trend is serial-defaulter Argentina. As Reuters reports, China and Argentina's central banks have agreed a multi-billion dollar currency swap operation "to bolster Argentina's foreign reserves" or "pay for Chinese imports with Yuan," as Argentina's USD reserves dwindle. In addition, Argentina claims China supports the nation's plans in the defaulted bondholder dispute. [...]" 

MSM: "Fed Says Americans Who “Hoard Money” Are To Blame For Poor Economy" [09/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "From the St. Louis Federal Reserve: "The issue has to do with the velocity of money, which has never been constant, as can be seen in the figure below . If for some reason the money velocity declines rapidly during an expansionary monetary policy period, it can offset the increase in money supply and even lead to deflation instead of inflation. [...] So why did the monetary base increase not cause a proportionate increase in either the general price level or GDP?  The answer lies in the private sector’s dramatic increase in their willingness to 'hoard' money instead of spend it. Such an unprecedented increase in money demand has slowed down the velocity of money." [...] Top tier economists, it seems, are unable grasp why consumers have decided to hoard – in other words, save – their money even though the central bank is engaged in an unprecedented monetary expansion. The answer is simple, really, and you don’t need to look at detailed government charts and statistics to figure it out. American consumers have been absolutely pummeled over the last decade. We are losing so many jobs that newly created minimum wage jobs touted by the Obama administration aren’t even making a dent. Moreover, the price of food, electricity, gas and other essentials have risen so sharply that we’re paying nearly double for those items today than we did a decade ago. And, as recently noted by The Economic Collapse Blog, over 77 million Americans currently have debt collection accounts and 25% of Americans have absolutely no emergency cash whatsoever. It’s not so much that Americans are “hoarding” money, a phrase that suggests greedy people all over the country are stacking piles of cash under their mattresses. It’s that most Americans don’t have any money left to spend." [...] Note: From "The Hubris Of The Monetary Social Contract": "... The central bank is run by Keynesians who are unshakable in their belief in a couple of things: the wealth effect and the paradox of thrift. The Fed heads figure if stock and home prices go up, people feel richer and spend more. Keynesians believe spending is good for the economy and savings is bad. Buying goods keeps people employed, we’re told, while hoarding savings does the opposite. Central bank-engineered low rates give the nation’s compliant subjects the incentive not to save but to spend the country back to riches. And the Keynesians figure that’s good because savings must just disappear. Except they don’t. Mark Skousen explains, “Savings do not disappear from the economy; they are merely channeled into a different avenue. Savings are spent on investment capital now and then spent on consumer goods later.” Savings are good for individuals and also build prosperous societies. Chris Casey explains in a piece for Mises.org: "examine any economic success story such as modern China, nineteenth century America, or post-World War II Japan and South Korea: did their economic rise derive from unbridled consumption, or strict frugality? The answer is self-evident: it is the savings from the curtailment of consumption, combined with minimal government involvement in economic affairs, which generates economic growth. However, the central banker’s models lead to a fatal conceit pointing them in the wrong direction. “The problems are real,” writes Rickards, “but the top-down solutions are illusory, the product of hubris and false ideologies.”  See the article below. It is also ironic and true that it is the banking system which is hoarding cash instead of giving loans, which would be a key to creating new production and employment, but the US dumped a production format for a financial services format, sealing the fate of the country over the past 25 years.

Commentary: "The Hubris of the Monetary Social Contract" [09/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Money was once in the state of nature. Goods were once bartered until especially saleable goods emerged to be used in indirect exchange. A variety of saleable items became money until gold and silver became the dominant currencies. It didn’t take long for government to take over the production of money and now it’s fully part of the social contract, the theory that the state has authority over the individual. Socrates, in the words of Williamson Evers, believed government “is valuable to people, a contention which he supplements by saying that political society could not function without civil obedience to the orders contained in the laws or in commands issued by officials.” People selected gold and silver as money. No government authority forced it upon the marketplace. Today’s individuals accept government’s fiat money because they are forced, by way of legal tender laws. Sadly, as individuals, our economic fates are, if not controlled, heavily influenced by the Federal Reserve’s PhD economists who desperately try to manage the economy. These wise men and women view individuals as being just data in their spreadsheets. These central bankers honestly think their job is to provide an orderly and prosperous economy with individuals gaining by giving up their rights and handing them to government. [...] Yet, these economists are mere mortals who don’t have the tools to produce a designed outcome. They rely on erroneous equilibrium models that, as Jim Rickards writes in his new book The Death of Money, “assume efficient markets and rational behavior that have no correspondence to real markets.” Janet Yellen and company believe they can push the right buttons and pull the right levers to make the economy hum, as if 314 million Americans are just that many unthinking, unfeeling particles in a science lab. F.A. Hayek explained in his 1974 Nobel acceptance speech, “such complex phenomena as the market, which depend on the actions of many individuals, all the circumstances which will determine the outcome of a process… will hardly ever be fully known or measurable.” No single observer, or group of observers, could know all the factors determining prices and wages in a well-functioning marketplace. But because policy makers think they know, “an almost exclusive concentration on quantitatively measurable surface phenomena has produced a policy which has made matters worse,” Hayek said back in 1974.  [...] While it sounds benevolent, the monetary social contract imprisons the masses in a world of booms, busts, inflation, and deflation that is devastating to our financial health, relegating generations of people to live in poverty.[...]"

MSM: "To Avoid Another Crash, Banks Forced To Buy Treasury Securities" [09/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Bank regulators are now forcing financial institutions to hold more Treasury securities in an effort to ensure cash solvency in the event of another financial crisis, the Washington Examiner reports. The reason given for why banks must now hold an additional $100 billion dollars of liquid assets is because these securities can easily be exchanged into cash at any time. Treasury securities are the top category for qualifying as liquid assets, although banks can fulfill the requirement through stocks, as well. The move constitutes a major piece of regulation intended to avoid taxpayer-funded bailouts and yet another financial crash. In the event that banks need to pay back loans in a hurry, the extra liquidity will make sure they have enough cash to last for 30 days. Credit will now be more costly, Bill Nelson, deputy director of monetary affairs at the Federal Reserve, admitted. But for Nelson, the benefit of preventing future financial crises through increased liquidity requirements is worth it. However, the consequence of this regulation is that as bank revenue drops, regular banking costs for consumers could also rise. [...]" 

Commentary: "IMF Throws Ukraine $1.4bn Financial Lifeline Deathline" [08/31/14] Printer Friendly Version "The International Monetary Fund has given a green light for Ukraine to receive the second tranche of financial assistance totaling $1.39 billion, meaning more austerity measures for the already struggling economy. “The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first review of Ukraine’s performance under an economic program supported by a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA),” the organization said in a statement. “The completion of this review enables the disbursement of SDR 914.67 million (about US$1.39 billion), which would bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 2.97 billion (about US$4.51 billion),” the statement reads. The international body also approved Ukraine's request to merge the third and fourth installments of its financial assistance. Ukraine's weak economy may now be eligible for a $2.3 billion bailout if another review is passed by the end of 2014. At the same time the IMF noted its decision was based on the “assumption” that the conflict in the east of Ukraine will subside in the coming months.  [...]"  

MSM: "IMF Chief Christine Lagarde Under Investigation In France" [08/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "Christine Lagarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, was placed under official investigation Wednesday for negligence in a French corruption probe that dates back to her days as France’s finance minister. In a statement after a fourth round of questioning before magistrates, Lagarde said she would return to her work in Washington later in the day and said the decision was “without basis.” She and her former chief of staff face questions about their role in a 400 million-euro ($531 million) payment to a businessman. “After three years of proceedings, dozens of hours of questioning, the court found from the evidence that I committed no offence, and the only allegation is that I was not sufficiently vigilant,” she said in her statement. Under French law, the official investigation is equivalent to preliminary charges, meaning there is reason to suspect an infraction. Investigating judges can later drop a case or issue formal charges and send it to trial. The payment was made to Bernard Tapie in arbitration over a dispute with state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over the botched sale of sportswear company Adidas. Critics have said the deal was too generous, and was symptomatic of the cozy relationship between money and power in France. [...]"  

Commentary: "Debt, Vaccines and Food as a Weapon: When International Aid is Used for Population Control" [08/28/14] [8:57] "Conditionalities are attached to loans from the IMF, World Bank and other aid programs… here’s a look at how these loans have been used to pursue items from a dangerous agenda to takeover regions around the world for the benefits of the ruling global corporations. [...]" :

MSM: "FBI Examining Whether Russia Is Tied to JPMorgan Hacking" [08/28/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe. The sophistication of the attack and technical indicators extracted from the banks’ computers provide some evidence of a government link, but the trail is muddy enough that investigators are considering the possibility that it’s cyber criminals from Russia or even elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Other federal agencies, including the National Security Agency, are now aiding the investigation, a third person familiar with the probe said. " [...]" Related: See also below: "Virtual 9-11: Will US & Israel Hack Banking System And Falsely Blame It On Iran, Syria, Russia Or China?" [08/26/14]

MSM: "French Can't Follow Merkel - Austerity Not Solution To Crisis" [08/27/14]   [3:17] "Disagreement between Eurozone countries has come on the back of very poor GDP growth in recent months. German chancellor Angela Merkel blames euro-neighbours, France among them, saying they're unable to deal with their high deficits, but analyst Michael Mross says Germany's austerity policy will not solve the EU's problems. [...]"  

Society and Culture: "America Keeps People Poor On Purpose: A Timeline of Choices Made to Increase Inequality" [08/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "How four decades of lobbying and legislation gave corporations dominion over our economy—and eroded the American middle class.  [...]" Related: " Interest Rates Are a Sideshow; The Problem is Income Inequality" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Legal Organizations Urge International Criminal Court To Investigate War Crimes By Israeli, U.S. Leaders In Gaza" [08/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Center for Constitutional Rights, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Arab Lawyers Union, and American Association of Jurists sent a letter [PDF] on Friday, August 22 to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to initiate an investigation of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli leaders and aided and abetted by U.S. officials in Gaza. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC has the power to hold individuals criminally accountable for the most serious of crimes. “In light of the extreme gravity of the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, in particular the large number of civilian casualties and large scale destruction of civilian property, including schools, mosques and hospitals, and the ongoing incitement to genocide perpetrated by Israeli political figures and leaders, the [NLG] and endorsing organizations strongly urge the Office of the Prosecutor to use its power under Article 15 of the Rome Statute to initiate a preliminary investigation” of crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction. “[Under the Rome Statute, an] individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity . . . if he or she ‘aids, abets or otherwise assists’ in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, ‘including providing the means for its commission’,” the letter reads. “By transferring financial assistance, weapons and other military aid to Israel, members of the U.S. Congress, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.” The letter states that on July 20, 2014, in the midst of criminal behavior, Israel requested, and the U.S. Defense Department then authorized, the transfer to Israel of ammunition from the War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition. And in August 2014, Congress overwhelmingly approved, and Obama signed, a $225 million payment for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. “Israel’s clearly disproportionate use of force against the 1.8 million residents of Gaza appears to have little to do with any claim of security,” the organizations wrote, “but seems to be calculated to exact revenge against Palestinian civilians.” The letter quotes statements of Israeli officials advocating vengeance against “the entire Palestinian people “and “calling for the internment of Palestinians in concentration camps in Sinai and the destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza.” The letter lists the following war crimes, and cites supporting factual allegations for each crime:[...]"  Related: "Falk: US Limits Ability of UN To Hold Israel Accountable for War Crimes" [13:28] "Princeton University Professor Richard Falk discusses how the powers of the UN are limited since the United States sets the agenda [...]" 

MSM: "Former Israeli AG: Our Government Staged The Assassination Of Al-Daif" [08/27/14] Printer Friendly Version "In the biggest blow to Israeli propaganda, which claimed that Hamas broke the ceasefire, former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben Yair has said that “it was Israel who staged the alleged Hamas breach of the ceasefire in order to create the conditions for assassinating Muhammad Al-Daif, Commander-in-Chief of Hamas’s military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades. The website of Makor Rishon newspaper said that Ben Yair, who also worked as a judge in the Israeli supreme court, tweeted on his twitter account the following: “There is no agreement and hostilities have been renewed, but who is the culprit? Hamas who wants an agreement with accomplishments or Israel who staged the breach of the ceasefire in order to justify the assassination of Muhammad Al-Daif?” The significance of this testimony lies in the fact that Ben Yair, by virtue of his former position, had knowledge of the fine details of the secret Zionist intelligence work. He conducted investigations into the various aspects of the activities carried out by Israel’s Security Agency, the Shabak, which is responsible for intelligence about resistance leaders named for liquidation. Ben Yair’s testimony is also significant because it comes in the wake of the adoption by Europe and the United States of America of the Israeli narrative as a result of which they held Hamas responsible for breaching the ceasefire. It is worth mentioning that the Israeli government’s judicial advisor is also in charge of prosecution in the country. Ben Yair is considered to be a serious person who is highly respectable within Israel, thanks to his revolutionary decisions during the time when he was in office. It is worth noting that Ha’aretz military commentator Amir Oren alluded in an article he published last Wednesday that there were indications that Israel had an interest in the collapse of the ceasefire so as to justify liquidating Al-Daif after receiving intelligence about his whereabouts. Oren ruled out the possibility that Hamas was the one who violated the ceasefire, noting that what Israel was in need of was a context that justifies the assassination of Al-Daif after receiving valuable intelligence about his whereabouts. [...]"  Note: More deception from the Israelis:  Related: "UNRWA Criticizes False Israeli Claim Over “Attack From School" Printer Friendly Version  "The UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA has criticized the Israeli military for publishing false allegations that Hamas fighters fired a rocket from one of their schools in Gaza the day before.  Israeli forces have bombed UNRWA schools being used as shelters at least seven times in the last six weeks, killing dozens of Palestinian civilians. The international community has blasted Israel for the attacks, and the agency has repeatedly stressed that it has given the coordinates of all of its shelters -- currently holding around 485,000 displaced people -- to Israeli military authorities. [...]" 

Commentary: "Virtual 9-11: Will US & Israel Hack Banking System And Falsely Blame It On Iran, Syria, Russia Or China?" [08/26/14] Printer Friendly Version "I imagine there is a great deal of frustration in Washington DC right now. Historically, the US Government gets out of these inevitable problems with the economy arising from Private Central Banks (in our case the Federal Reserve, which is no more Federal than Federal Express) by getting into a global war. Crash of 1907, "solve" the problem with WW1. Crash of 1929, "solve" the problem with WW2. Crash of 2008, "solve" the problem with WW3, which for all intents and purposes we have been engaged in for more than a decade. According to General Wesley Clark, the plan to conquer the world's oil-producing nations and force them back to selling their oil (or other mineral resources) only for US dollars (as was the case with Iraq) , or to destroy any nation that refuses to allow a Private Central Bank to issue all public currency as a loan at interest (as was the case with Libya), was supposed to have ended in 2008 with the conquest of Iran. But six years after that original deadline, both Iraq and Libya are openly in rebellion against their US puppet regimes, Iran remains un-invaded, the United States is bankrupted, the world continues to turn away from the US dollar, and the American people are tired of seeing their sons and daughters' pale and shattered forms shipped home in cheap metal boxes, killed in wars they no know were started for no other reason than to prop up Private Central Banking.  [...] Something new is needed; something the public may not be expecting. Something unprecedented in history. Something that will directly impact every single living American directly, to make them all directly feel the threat, to fan the flames of war and conquest against the designated enemies, including Iran, against Russia and China to protect the weakening US dollar's role as the global banking and trade currency against the rising Ruble and Yuan. I suspect what is being planned is a "virtual" 9-11; a 'terror' attack carried out in cyberspace, instead of the real world. I view this is highly likely based on the sudden flurry of media stories and statements by people like Joseph Lieberman about how Iranian hackers are attacking the US financial system computers. (Senator Lieberman has also been pressuring Obama to sign an executive order to take over the internet.) Of course, the common sense approach still applies. Why would Iran, which wishes to avoid a war, do something that provocative? Why would Russia, or China do anything, when all they have to do is sit and wait while the US financial system self-destructs? We know that the US and Israel are behind the cyber-weapons like STUXNET, DUQU, FLAME, etc., that these cyber-weapons were directed against Iran, and that one variant specifically targeted banks in Lebanon and Iran. We also know that the US financial system is stretched to the breaking point, and we know that if the government of either Greece or Spain is driven from office by angry protests, or Italy leaves the Euro, as Beppe Grillo is now saying, the trillions in credit default swaps sold by Wall Street against European debt come due, and there is no money to pay the claims. The Euro might even collapse, and that would trigger even more Credit Default Swaps. [...] So what it looks like is being planned, and pre-sold to the American people with all these stories about celebrities' personal information being hacked and made public (an activity that produces no profit for the hackers other than news headlines), and the "Syrian" (nudge nudge wink wink) hack of the AP Twitter feed that shocked the US stock market, is that the US Government will itself take down the US financial computers, and blame it on Iran /Russia/ China/Al Qaeda/Syria/Arabs and others to be named as convenient. This gets Wall Street and Washington DC off the hook, because now the financial melt-down is an act of war, rather than the result of decades of Wall Street crime and corruption and the predations of Private Central Banks. US banks have already been hit with cyber attacks, to set the stage. And this would also explain why the US corporate media is paying scant attention to the riots in across every other nation with a Private Central Bank, so that Americans still dependent on MSM will remain oblivious to the fact that the Euro is also falling apart. This scenario also explains the testing of means to interfere with DNS to silence websites that may offer opposing interpretations of events (this too will be blamed on Iran, or Russia, or China). Such a cyber false-flag also gives the US Government the excuse to take total control of the internet so that those pesky truth-seeking bloggers don't give the slaves uppity ideas that this is just another war-starting hoax like the attack on the USS Liberty or 9-11 or the Boston bombing.[...]"   Related: "Market Watchdog Issues Cyber Attack Warning, Following The Agenda Perfectly" [14:36] |

MSM: "El-Erian: Fed Is Sacrificing Financial Stability" [08/23/14] Printer Friendly Version 2 [4:46] "... A lot of these merger and acquisitions are not being done for offensive reasons. They’re being done for defenses, to squash competition, to facilitate inversions,” he said. There is a strong argument being made that the Fed is trying to pursue too many objectives, he said. It’s an argument El-Erian agrees with. “What it is sacrificing is financial stability. The Fed is willing to trade off immediate economic gains for financial instability down the road,” he said. [...]" 

Commentary: "Fake News and the “Announcement” of World War III, A Multibillion Bonanza for Wall Street Speculators" [08/23/14] Printer Friendly Version "Around mid morning on Friday August 15, we heard news that the Ukraine had “destroyed part of a Russian convoy”. The stock market immediately dropped nearly 200 points, Treasury bonds were bid 10 basis points lower, oil was higher and gold which had been hammered $20 lower earlier ran back to unchanged. [...]" 

Max Keiser: "Latest Wall Street Hoax: If Fracking Is So Great, Why Is It A State Secret?" [08/22/14]   [2:03] "This was always very obvious at the time, that when the subprime bubble burst, and Wall Street was looking for a new Ponzi scheme, a new hoax, a new fraud, that this was going to be where they went. And sure enough, the fracking hoax is now being revealed as a huge bubble and a huge scandal…That’s the way Wall Street works; they never reform the crimes of the last bubble that burst, they never go after all the criminals that perpetrated all the fraud a few years ago. They let them just reinvent themselves…” [...]" 

Commentary: "Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking Fraud – No Word From US Media" [08/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "Can you imagine participating in a protest outside the White House and forcing the entire U.S. government to resign? Can you imagine a group of randomly chosen private citizens rewriting the U.S. constitution to include measures banning corporate fraud? It seems incomprehensible in the U.S., but Icelanders did just that. Icelanders forced their entire government to resign after a banking fraud scandal, overthrowing the ruling party and creating a citizen’s group tasked with writing a new constitution that offered a solution to prevent corporate greed from destroying the country. The constitution of Iceland was scrapped and is being rewritten by private citizens; using a crowd-sourcing technique via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These events have been going on since 2008, yet there’s been no word from the U.S. mainstream media about any of them. In fact, all of the events that unfolded were recorded by international journalists, overseas news bureaus, citizen journalists and bloggers. This has created current accusations of an intentional cover up of the story by mainstream U.S. news sources. [...] An “iReport” on CNN, written by a private citizen in May 2012, has questioned the reasons why this revolution has not been widely covered in the U.S., suggesting that perhaps the mainstream media is controlled by large corporate interests and thus has been unwilling to report on Iceland’s activities. That report is currently making its way around social media. CNN today placed a statement on its website saying: “We’ve noticed this iReport is being shared widely on Facebook and Twitter. Please note that this article was posted in May 2012. CNN has not yet verified the claims and we’re working to track down the original writer.” It is interesting to note that CNN’s European version, CNN Europe, already covered the story of the protests and the government’s resignation, leading many to question why CNN would now need to “look into” the claims. [...] Besides CNN Europe’s own coverage of the scandal, the events in Iceland were widely covered by international media and are easily verified by a simple search on Google which leads to a variety of reputable international news sources that ran numerous stories on the Icelandic revolution. A whole documentary has been made on the governmental overthrow called Pots, Pans and Other Solutions, and now, the conversation is focused on whether or not the citizens’ actions actually worked to make Iceland a more equitable nation.[...]" 

Concepts and Practices: "Foreigners Dump Record Amount Of US Securities" [08/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Treasury Department cobbles together data it receives from financial institutions on capital flows in and out of the US. It’s trying to figure out which foreign entity owns what US financial assets. Then on a monthly basis, it issues its Treasury International Capital (TIC) report. And this time, the report for June – released on Friday when everyone was on vacation or getting ready to head out of town for the weekend, and when no one was paying attention – was a zinger: US net capital outflows soared to $153.5 billion, the largest ever recorded. Nope, it was not the category of “major foreign holders of Treasury Securities” that did the wholesale dumping. Given the crappy yields, they had all the reasons in the world to sell Treasuries. But they were adding to their positions. While there were some ups and downs, the grand total of Treasuries owned by these “major foreign holders” rose by $37 billion from May, to $6.013 trillion. The most ever. Since June last year, the amount that the US government is in hock to overseas entities has jumped by $418 billion. The two largest holders, China and Japan sold a little. Usual suspect Russia, whose Treasury holdings had been plunging earlier this year, actually added $2.5 billion. And Belgium, the 3rd largest holder of Treasuries added some as well. [...]" 

Commentary: "Billionaire Found In Middle Of Bribery Case Avoids U.S. Probe" [08/19/14] Printer Friendly Version "Victor Dahdaleh arrives at Southwark Crown Court, London, after being charged in connection with an alleged £700 million bribery scandal. [...] In January, a unit of Alcoa Inc. (AA:US), the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, pleaded guilty to foreign bribery charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department. Alcoa also settled claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission and agreed to pay a $384 million fine -- the fifth-largest such penalty ever. The Alcoa subsidiary admitted to paying bribes to government officials in Bahrain for more than a decade to win contracts to sell alumina, a compound essential in making aluminum, to the Persian Gulf state’s processing plant. Not named and not charged in the case was the person who made those payments, whom the Justice Department identified in court only as “Consultant A.” In the thriving business of global bribery -- which the World Bank says amounts to $1 trillion in illicit payments annually -- guilty pleas like the one by Alcoa’s unit are rare. Rarer still are convictions against the people who actually arrange and deliver the payments, Bloomberg Markets will report in its September issue.[...]" 

Commentary: "Useful Idiots And The 'Something For Nothing' Society" [08/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "The transformation of the monetary system from sound reserve backed constitutionally mandated currency system to what now has become completely unsound Fiat currency and credit system. Money has changed from a system for storing wealth, purchasing power and ones labor for the future to a confiscation scheme run for the benefit of Banksters and socialist progressive government. [...] Adam Smith in his seminal book, Wealth of Nations, outlined how all great empires rest upon an educated, productive and prosperous citizenry. [...] As empires enter the sunset of their existence, a malignancy of a "Something for Nothing" society emerges which has put the nails in the coffins of every empire that has preceded it. [...]" Related: Part 2 Printer Friendly Version "How the ACCOUNTABLE LOCALLY controlled education systems have been highjacked and transformed into FEDERALLY CONTROLLED UNACCOUNTABLE public school MONOPOLIES designed to create sheeple and Useful Idiots ripe for exploitation. The Locally controlled school systems that created the most prosperous country in the history of man are now nothing more than PROGRESSIVE SOCIALIST indoctrination centers. Designed to mentally cripple the futures of our children and stunt their ability to create a prosperous wealth creating economy. It is now an insidious Potemkin educational system used to create morally and fiscally insolvent citizens, bereft of histories lessons, contemptuous of the thoughts and ideas which created our exceptional country and its burgeoning middle classes. Useful idiots are unable to produce more than they consume, live prudent and productive lives and DON'T have the BASIC knowledge needed to build a prosperous and independent life upon. [...]" | Part 3 Printer Friendly Version "As Inflation has eaten our standards of living alive, and public school monopolies have created curriculums that spew out toxic waste and call them educated our society has become DIVIDED. Those that have a proper classical education versus those that don't. It is as simple as that. This next illustration by Pew research shows the PROGRESSION of the split between socialist, progressive democrats (the takers, educated to be socialists) separating ideologically from OLD school Conservative Republicans and independents (the makers, trained to be self-sufficient independent of government) as the school systems produce their USEFUL IDIOTS: [...]" 

Commentary: "Argentina Activates 'Financial Terrorism' Law Against Hedge-Fund Economic Warfare" [08/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Argentina is playing hardball. Accompanied by giant headlines in financial media screeching about "economic crisis," Donnelley & Sons, a U.S. printing firm that has operated in Argentina for many years, and has no financial problems at all (assets larger than its liabilities, little debt) — filed for and was declared to be in bankruptcy from one day to the next last week, leaving 400 workers on the street. The government responded by activating a never-before-used Anti-Economic and Financial Terorism Law to file charges against Donnelley for filing for a fraudulent bankruptcy with intent to "alter the economic and financial order" and "sow terror among the population." The government intends to also file before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an investigation of this fraudulent behavior.  [...]" 

MSM: "The EU 'Demands' Argentina to' Ban Food Exports to Russia': Arrogance and Stupidity" [08/17/14] Printer Friendly Version "Imagine – Argentina – and the rest of Latin America – being urged by the EU, ultimate puppet of the US not to supply Russia with food stuff – vegetables, fruit, meat – after Argentina was ‘punished’ by a corrupt court in New York to pay 1.5 billion dollars to the fraudulent NML Capital et al vulture funds – out of its current agreed upon debt of US$29 billion – equivalent to Argentina’s total reserves. And yes, the hedge funds have to be paid 100%, when the remaining 93% of creditors agreed on a 20% reimbursement rate. – And, yes, Mr. Griesa, the bought NY judge, has blocked all of Argentina’s payments to the other creditors, unless his vulture clients are paid in full. So, Argentina is in forced default – having to pay now much higher interest rates on international money markets, if she is indeed still eligible for international credits. [...]" See below

Commentary: "HSBC Headquarters Raided In Argentina" [08/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Call it “the Mother of the Vultures.” HSBC, the Crown Jewel of the British monarchy’s Opium Wars, then and now, found its Buenos Aires headquarters and two other offices raided Wednesday by agents of Argentina’s AFIP tax bureau, in search of documents for the tax-evasion and money-laundering case opened against the empire’s bank last February. Argentine authorities are charging HSBC with being a criminal enterprise, setting up an elaborate mechanism through which local companies could lie about their earnings. [...] The U.S. Senate provided the Obama administration’s Department of Justice over a year ago with 300-plus pages of documentation of HSBC role as a primary money-launderer into the U.S. for Mexico’s bloody drug cartels and Al Qaeda terrorists globally. What’s not so common, is that a government actually moves in to close down such an operation. Does Argentina have more in store for all the international banks waging financial war against it? [...]"  Related: "Cry for Argentina: Fiscal Mismanagement, Odious Debt or Pillage?" Printer Friendly Version "Argentina has now taken the US to The Hague for blocking the country’s 2005 settlement with the bulk of its creditors. The issue underscores the need for an international mechanism for nations to go bankrupt. Better yet would be a sustainable global monetary scheme that avoids the need for sovereign bankruptcy. Argentina was the richest country in Latin America before decades of neoliberal and IMF-imposed economic policies drowned it in debt. A severe crisis in 2001 plunged it into the largest sovereign debt default in history. In 2005, it renegotiated its debt with most of its creditors at a 70% “haircut.” But the opportunist “vulture funds,” which had bought Argentine debt at distressed prices, held out for 100 cents on the dollar. [...]" | "Wall Street Hedge Fund Fraud Upheld by US Court: Argentina to Pay “Vulture” Fund $832 Million for Bonds Bought for $49 Million" Printer Friendly Version "Paul Singer, the billionaire hedge fund manager, has claimed victory in a lawsuit to force Argentina to fork out almost 17 times more than he paid to buy bonds issued by the country. After Argentina’s economy crashed in 2001 and it defaulted on $80 billion in bonds, Singer’s Elliott Capital Management paid $49 million to buy $220 million in Argentine debt. Over the last 13 years, the value of these bonds has risen to $832 million which Singer wants paid off in full. Singer has been joined by several other Wall Street speculators such as Aurelius Capital Management and Blue Angel who together hold a total of $1.3 billion in Argentine debt. In the meantime, after extensive negotiations, almost all other holders of Argentina’s total $93 billion in debt agreed to forgive as much as 70 percent of what they were owed, recognizing that the country was in dire financial straits.[...]"  Note: The country is being punished:  Articles going back to early August "Argentina Calls For U.S. Intervention In Its Debt Battle" Printer Friendly Version | "Argentina Sues U.S. Government at the International Court at The Hague" Printer Friendly Version | "Argentina Debt Battle Heads for 'Showdown,' as Obama Rejects Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice" Printer Friendly Version | "Obama Can End Argentina’s Debt Crisis with a Pen" Printer Friendly Version | "Judge Griesa Unhinged: Threatens Argentina with Contempt of Court for Being Truthful" Printer Friendly Version | "US Court Forces Argentina Into Default" Printer Friendly Version perhaps it's revenge for some of these (July): "Russia, Argentina Sign Nuclear Agreement" Printer Friendly Version |"China and Argentina: A New Global Financial System Is Needed" Printer Friendly Version "Argentina Gets A 7.5 Bn Loan From China" Printer Friendly Version | "Argentina Suspends Construction Of Monsanto's Unconstitutional GMO Seed Plant" [Jan 2014] Printer Friendly Version  "Argentina – Birth Defects from GM Soy" [2012] Printer Friendly Version |"GE Soybeans Are Destroying Argentina's Agriculture" Printer Friendly Version [Jan 2014]

 Max Keiser: "Conquest By Counterfeit Fiat Currency, Military Force" [08/16/14] [9:13] "Max Keiser talks with Alex Jones about economic control. [...]" 

MSM: "Russia Seeks Safe Haven In Gold, Away From Dollar And Euro" [08/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Russia is taking steps to ensure that it protects itself from any future dollar or euro sanctions. Moscow boasts the world’s 5th biggest foreign exchange reserves and the 6th largest gold reserves. In total, the assets amount to over $1.5 trillion. While the West is continuing to try and punish Russia via economic sanctions, the response of the Russian Central Bank has been to diversify away from the euro and dollar – and to buy up more gold. As the geopolitical situation in Ukraine deteriorates, Russia is moving to protect itself from currency risks associated with the euro and the greenback. In the first half of 2014, Russia’s Central Bank reduced its foreign currency reserves by 2.5 percent. “Due to the worsening geopolitical situation, the Central Bank actively redistributed foreign exchange reserves, replacing US Treasury bonds with gold. Instead of buying euros and dollars, Russia’s Central Bank is eyeing the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen. Boosting currency swaps and bilateral payments with China and other strategic trade partners will continue to bypass the US dollar. Last week, Russia’s and China’s central banks have agreed to increase currency swaps. [...]" 

Concepts and Practices: "Top 10 Reasons To Hate Capitalism" [08/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "10. Capitalist corporations suffer from a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and are rewarded by shareholders for acting that way. If corporations could be sent to a criminal psychologist’s office they’d be diagnosed as psychopaths and locked away forever. [...] 9. Capitalism encourages greed. But greed is only good for capitalists. For normal people it is anti-social and soul destroying, not to mention very bad for our communities, which rely on altruism, compassion and a generalized concern for others. [...] 8. Capitalism is a system of minority privilege and class rule based on the private ownership of means of livelihood. This gives a few rich people the power to buy and sell jobs, which means they can build or destroy entire communities that depend on those jobs. [...] 7. Capitalists praise freedom and individualism, but they destroy freedom and individualism for everyone but themselves. The vast majority of us who work for a living are daily asked to uncritically follow orders, to act as if we are machines, and limit our creativity to what profits our bosses. [...] 6. Capitalists denigrate cooperation and collectivism, but create mass production processes that rely on both from workers. Their system requires us to be cogs in a giant profit-making machine, but because they fear the power this gives us we are told working together for our own interests is illegitimate and bad. Thus capitalists undermine unions and other organizations that encourage workers to cooperate with each other and act collectively. [...] 5. Capitalism requires the largest propaganda system the world has ever known to convince us it is the only system possible. It turns people into consumers through advertising, marketing, entertainment and even so-called news. Millions around the world are employed to use their creativity to twist our feelings of love, desire, human solidarity and fairness into tools of manipulation, so that ever more profits can flow into the hands of a tiny minority.[...] [...] 4. Capitalism is a system in which the principle of one dollar, one vote, dominates that of one person, one vote. Those who own the most shares (bought with their dollars) control giant corporations, many of which are more powerful than all but a few governments. Rich people also use their money to dominate the elections that are supposed to give us all one, equal vote. Under capitalism those with the most money are entitled to the most goods and services as well as the most say in directing our governments and our economy. [...] 3. Capitalism proclaims the virtue of naked self-interest, but self-interest without regard for morality, ecology or common sense leads to environmental degradation, destruction of indigenous communities, colonialism, war and other forms of mass destruction. Self-interest leads capitalists to seek profit absolutely everywhere, regardless of the damage done to other people and the health of the planet’s ecosystem. Self-interest leads capitalists to destroy any rival economic system or way of thinking (such as indigenous communal land use and respect for nature) that can be a barrier to their endless quest for profit. [...]" Note: It's an Orion template which permeates sectors of this galaxy. Related: "Pathology Of Domination" Printer Friendly Version "... Domination is scary, particularly when it is so institutionalized in the fabric of the social system as to be second nature, unquestioned, to the extent that American politics is to all intents and purposes Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the consensual pursuit of advanced capitalism as the permanent foundation of the American social order at home and its projection abroad, unilateral, in governing the world political- economic order. Today’s news: Obama and Clinton create sparks in a jar that is hermetically sealed, one outdoing the other in expansionist confrontation as part of a renewed Cold War to arrest America’s imperial decline. Republican opponents, novices at the game, sputtering belligerence, are no match for “liberal humanitarianism” as an instrument of conquest. [...]"  

Commentary: "14 Reasons Why The U.S. Economy’s Bubble Of False Prosperity May Be About To Burst" [08/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "Retail sales are extremely disappointing, mortgage applications are at a 14-year low and growing geopolitical storms around the world have investors spooked. For a long time now, we have been enjoying a period of relative economic stability even though our underlying economic fundamentals continue to get even worse. Unfortunately, there are now a bunch of signs that this period of relative stability is about to end. The following are 14 reasons why the U.S. economy's bubble of false prosperity may be about to burst...[...] #1 The U.S. junk bond market just experienced "a 6-sigma event" earlier this month. In other words, it is an event that is only supposed to have a chance of 1 in 500 million of happening. Billions of dollars are being pulled out of junk bonds right now, and that has some analysts wondering if a financial crash is right around the corner. #2 The last time that we saw a junk bond rout of this magnitude was back during the financial crash of 2008. In fact, as the Telegraph recently explained, bonds usually crash before stocks do... The credit market usually leads the equity market during turning points, as happened when credit markets cracked first in 2008.[...] #3 Retail sales have missed expectations for three months in a row and we just had the worst reading since January. #4 Things have gotten so bad that even Wal-Mart is really struggling. Same-store sales at Wal-Mart have declined for five quarters in a row and the outlook for the future is not particularly promising. [...] #5 The four week moving average for mortgage applications just hit a 14 year low. It is now even lower than it was during the worst moments of the financial crisis of 2008.
#6 The tech industry is supposed to be booming, but mass layoffs in the tech industry are actually 68 percent ahead of last year's pace. #7 According to the Federal Reserve, 40 percent of all households in the United States are currently showing signs of financial stress. #8 The U.S. homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1995. #9 According to one survey, 76 percent of Americans do not have enough money saved to cover six months of expenses. [...] There is no way that this bubble of false prosperity was going to last forever. It was never real to begin with. It was just based on a pyramid of debt and false promises. In fact, the condition of the global financial system is now far worse than it was just prior to the financial crisis of 2008. Sadly, most people do not understand these things. Most people just assume that our leaders have fixed whatever caused the problems last time. And when the next crisis arrives, they will be totally blindsided by it.[...]" 

MSM: "Japanese GDP Plunges 6.8% As Consumer Spending Collapses" [08/15/14] Printer Friendly Version Note: Radioactivity must stem the desire to 'shop'.

MSM: "BRICS Are Drifting Away From US And European Monetary Structures" [08/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "The BRICS countries (Brazil (EWZ), Russia, India (EPI), China (FXI), and South Africa) are slowly but surely drifting away from the 20th Century monetary and political structures setup by the U.S. (SPY) and Europe (EZU), as characterized by Russia’s G8 membership being revoked in the wake of the events in Crimea. The G7, as it is now known, is at odds with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, but that rift applies to the entire BRICS coalition — a group that seems to be growing stronger and more focused as leader of the Emerging Markets. There have been a slew of recent moves within the BRICS network. Russia and China inked a $400 billion, 30-year natural gas partnership, forged a bilateral inter-bank agreement to deal in local currencies, and announced plans to create a new credit rating system to counter the Western agencies. China is diversifying away its U.S. dollar exposure, China and Brazil finalized a local currency swap, and leaders from the group of nations just met for the sixth annual BRICS Summit in Brazil. [...]China and Russia are also disintegrating from the standard credit rating procedures by agreeing to establish a rating agency on joint projects and international services. The rating agency would use similar tools and criteria for assessing creditworthiness as the existing agencies. This move came in response to the countries’ fears that negative feedback from agencies could prove harmful to their economies. According to a joint statement from Russia and China on the partnership and strategic cooperation, Russia and China are planning to bypass the dollar and increase the volume of direct payments in their national currencies. This would threaten the dominance of the petrodollar and could be a huge blow to the economy if other nations follow suit."  Related: "How The BRICS Summit Has Led To Setting Up An Alternative To Institutions Like The World Bank And IMF" Printer Friendly Version | "The New BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement" Printer Friendly Version |"Why The Long-Term Prospects For The BRICS Network Are Positive" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Trading Robots ’Cause Stock Market Tsunamis" [08/14/14] Printer Friendly Version "If you have ever tried to grab a bargain that appears online, you’ll know you have to be quick. The business of high frequency trading — using algorithms and superfast computers to conduct trades in a fraction of a second — is a supercharged version of this, with the potential to execute millions of buy and sell orders electronically each day through the myriad exchanges currently in existence. Advocates argue that high frequency trading reduces market volatility and lowers transaction costs for small investors, but others claim it is unfair on slower traders, and can lead to instability — trading algorithms and high frequency trading were behind the “Flash Crash” of May 6 2010, when the Dow Jones briefly plummeted almost 1,000 points. [...] However, there are two problems that make the future of high frequency trading of unique global concern, irrespective of how popular it becomes. The first is a scientific one: Financial markets represent the largest-ever sociotechnical system in existence, with a mix of state-of-the-art communications and computational power operating at speeds approaching the natural speed limit of light. Yet nobody, including Einstein, has ever produced a theory that predicts what might go wrong in an ultrafast global network of interconnected machines that carry out millions of operations in the blink of an eye -- or what can be done to prevent or manage it. This leads to the second problem. How can regulators and governments possibly decide how to manage this emerging ultrafast financial jungle if nobody yet fully understands it? [...]"  

Commentary: "BRICS Bank Challenges The Exorbitant Privilege Of The US Dollar" [08/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "At the end of the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil on July 16, 2014, the leaders of the BRICS countries announced the “Fortaleza Action Plan.” This plan is in the context of the Fortaleza Declaration, where the leaders reinforced their position that BRICS would be an international force in challenging the neo-liberal policies of the Washington Consensus. Touching on areas of major destabilization in the world – from Syria to Sudan and from Ukraine to Iraq – the leaders spelt out the need for new paths to peace and for strengthening the United Nations to resolve the outstanding questions of war and insecurity. The most daring aspect of the Fortaleza Declaration was the announcement of a new financial architecture to intervene in relation to the international tensions that have arisen since the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States announced the monetary policy of Quantitative Easing This policy allows a central bank, like the Federal Reserve System, to purchase government or other securities from the market with the goal of lowering interest rates and increasing the available money supply. The BRICS summit announced two new pillars in a new financial architecture that is to be anchored with the headquarters of the New Development Bank in Shanghai, China. [...] The Fortaleza Action Plan and the outcomes of this summit represented a major step in breaking the Exorbitant Privilege of the US dollar as a the dominant international currency. Along with the formal establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB), the leaders announced the launch of a Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA), which in 2013 was approved to receive a $100 billion fund to combat currency crises. The first president of the Bank will be from India, the inaugural Chairman of the Board of directors will come from Brazil and the inaugural chairman of the Board of Governors will be Russian. It was stressed in the Fortaleza proclamations that the BRICS Bank would be organized on the basis of equality unlike the current IMF and World Bank where the leader of the IMF is always a European and the head of the World Bank is always a U.S citizen. The proposal for the BRICS bank had been announced at the BRICS summit in New Delhi in 2012 and at the summit in Durban in 2013 the plan for the CRA was also outlined. The long term goal of the CRA will be to provide emergency cash to BRICS countries faced with short term credit crisis or balance of payments problems. Ultimately, in the context of the present currency wars, the CRA will replace the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the provider of resources for BRICS members and other poor societies when there is balance of payment difficulties. “The bank is emerging at a moment when the entire international financial system continues to be in a state of instability because of the recklessness of the predatory speculators of Wall Street.[...]"  

MSM: "U.S. Bail-Ins – Fed Vice Chair Fischer Says “Preparing A Proposal" [08/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "Federal Reserve Vice Chairman (and duel US-Israeli former head of the bank of Israel) Stanley Fischer delivered his first speech on the U.S. and global economy in Stockholm, Sweden yesterday. Fischer headed Israel’s central bank from 2005 through 2013 and is now number two at the Federal Reserve in the U.S. after Janet Yellen. Fischer’s comments that the U.S. is “preparing a proposal” for bail-ins is at odds with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Bank of England officials who have said that bail-in legislation could be used today. [...]"  

Commentary: "Among Professional Investors, ‘Faith’ In Markets Collapses" [08/11/14] Printer Friendly Version "W. Ben Hunt, Chief Risk Officer of Salient Partners, described a fascinating phenomenon – and one with a potentially dreadful outcome. He’d spent a few weeks traveling across the country to meet with Salient clients – investment advisors and professional investors – to understand their thinking about the markets in what he called “the Golden Age of the Central Banker.” And what surprised him was how widespread, how near universal that phenomenon has become among these professionals. He explains it in his firm’s blog, Epsilon Theory (his emphasis): Today, everyone believes that market price levels are largely driven by monetary policy and that we are all being played by politicians and central bankers using their words for effect rather than direct communication. No one requires convincing that market price levels are unsupported by real world economic activity. Everyone believes that this will all end badly, and the only real question is when.[...] Among these investment advisors and professionals, “everyone believes” that fundamentals no longer drive this market, but that monetary policy does. The Fed is the only thing that matters. In a prior report, he called it Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence. But these professional “were weary of the game,” which they considered a “big charade,” and they were “weary of being told what to think.” So why haven’t they gotten out of the market? Why aren’t they fleeing this game, this charade en masse? Turns out, they aren’t ready yet. They still have “plenty of confidence” in their ability to play this game, they know how this charade works, and armed with this “confidence in their knowledge of how the game is played,” they aren’t bailing out of this charade yet. On the contrary, everyone is pretty much fully invested because they feel like they have to be. But there’s no faith in markets, which is a totally different thing than knowledge or intellectual confidence."  This is a psychological phenomenon – what professionals believe and feel. And if Mr. Hunt’s assessment is correct and as widespread and “overwhelming” among these professionals as it seems, it poses a terrible risk for the markets: it can turn at the blink of an eye. One minute, they’re confident they can master the game and play along with the charade, the next minute they get spooked, and their believes and feelings flip around, and then they’ll be trying to salvage what they’ve earned, and they start unloading their assets. And in a bout of mass psychology, where they’re all influencing each other, they might start selling at the same time, when economic fundamentals have long ago stopped providing support, when liquidity has dried up, when buyers have gone on strike.[...]"

Commentary: "Whistleblower: Fed “Highly Alarmed” About Bitcoin Conquering Dollar System" [08/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "A whistleblower who was employed as a briefing researcher at the Federal Reserve has revealed that Fed governors were “highly alarmed” by a major internal report which revealed that Bitcoin would likely supercede the dollar system within the next 12 years. The individual outlined what happened in a Reddit post, explaining that he was a trained economist with a B.S. in Computer Science, an M.S. in Operations Research, a PhD in Econometrics, and had been tasked by the Federal Reserve to compile a report on Bitcoin and how the cryptocurrency would impact the existing monetary system. Several other research teams had also been assigned the same task by the Fed. [...]"  Note: The whole issue is moot, in the end ... it's all based on nothing, either way. Related: "Gov’t Says Bitcoins Are Taxable Property And Not Currency" [2:36]

MSM: "Sanctions On Russia Hurt US Dollar Dominance" [08/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "The US dollar, the dominant global currency since 1944, may lose some of its luster due to the American-led sanctions against Russia over the turmoil in Ukraine. The greenback has been fading in favor since the global financial crisis in 2008. The US-led sanctions against Russia may have backfired on the US because it threatens to “hasten a move away from the dollar that’s been stirring since the global financial crisis [in 2008],” Rachel Evans at Bloomberg wrote. In an unexpected turn of events, Hong Kong’s central bank has bought more than $9.5 billion since the start of July “to prevent its currency from rallying as the sanctions stoked speculation of an influx of Russian cash,” she noted. “OAO MegaFon, Russia’s second-largest wireless operator, shifted some cash holdings into the city’s dollar,” according to Bloomberg. “Trading of the Chinese yuan versus the Russian ruble rose to the highest on July 31 since the end of 2010, according to the Moscow Exchange.” In March, after Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, the US and European Union imposed visa restrictions on Russians and Crimeans whom they considered “most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea.” America and the EU expanded their economic punishment later in the month, as well as twice in April, once in May and twice in July, according to Debevoise & Plimpton, an international financial law firm. In the latest round of sanctions, issued on July 29, the European Union imposed broader sanctions to “limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual use goods for military end users and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector.” President Barack Obama announced the US would also be “blocking the exports of specific goods and technologies to the Russian energy sector,” “expanding sanctions to more banks” and “suspending credit that encourages exports to Russia.” But the move may backfire on the US, according to Rachel Evans at Bloomberg, who wrote that the sanctions against Russia “threaten to hasten a move away from the dollar that’s been stirring since the global financial crisis [in 2008].“ [...]" 

MSM: "Lloyds Bank Admits Fixing Repo Rate" [08/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Britain’s Lloyds Bank found a new way to rig the market in order to reduce the fees it paid the Bank of England for its £20 billion bailout in 2008-9. It demonstrates once again that swindling, fraud and criminality are the City of London’s modus operandi. And the victims of this bank robbery are working people. Lloyds, in which the Treasury has a 24