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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary: "US Congress Unveils Austerity Budget As Senate Delays Extension Of Jobless Benefits" [01/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "Congressional negotiators released a bipartisan proposal for the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill Monday night, which if approved would spend $1.1 trillion to fund US government operations through October. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the budget bill Wednesday, giving the public less than 48 hours to review its contents. The budget negotiations, which were led by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (Republican of Kentucky) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (Democrat of Maryland), built upon a framework reached in early December. This framework included cuts to retirement benefits for federal workers and military retirees and the imposition of regressive consumption taxes. The budget is receiving strong bipartisan support, illustrating the commitment of both parties to the social counter-revolution implemented by the American ruling elite since the crash of 2008. [...] Crucially, the budget leaves in place automatic across-the-board cuts in domestic spending implemented under “the sequester,” which have already reduced social spending by more than 8.8 percent over the course of two years, former investment banker and Obama administration insider Steven Rattner told the New York Times. If fully implemented, the cuts enacted through sequestration and continued in the bipartisan budget deal will reduce social spending to levels that existed before Johnson’s War on Poverty program 50 years ago. In two separate votes on Tuesday, US Senators blocked legislation from coming to the floor, which would have approved an emergency extension of long term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans. The first vote, on a Democratic proposal to extend benefits for 11 months, was defeated 52 to 48. The second Republican-backed vote, which proposed a three-month extension of benefits tied to a continuation of the sequester cuts through 2024, lost by a vote of 55 to 45. Congress allowed the benefits to expire last year on December 28, leaving millions of unemployed workers and their families in the lurch. Taken together, these developments illustrate the determination of the entire political establishment to forge ahead with far-reaching austerity measures. The budget also proposes to (illegally) send $1.525 billion in aid to the Egyptian junta, in a clear signal that Washington will continue backing the authoritarian regime that emerged from last year’s military coup."  Related: " Senate Just Blocked The Unemployment Insurance Extension" Printer Friendly Version "Republicans (all millionaires, out of touch with normal reality) just blocked the three month unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill leaving little hope that benefits will be extended. Democrats and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement on a way to offset the cost of an eleven month extension and the talks broke down into partisan bickering over amendments. [...]" |"Financial Repression 101" Printer Friendly Version Note: Continuing the traitorous process of destroying society and peoples lives, according to IMF/World Bank dictates (demands for 'austerity'), these unaccountable individuals are despicable. Ironically, 300,000,000 people can't figure out how to get rid of the existing 525 people in Congress who are causing them harm. Storming the place and tearing them limb from limb will have to be left to the small band of zombies that will remain. 

MSM: "Farage: We Are Now Run By Big Business, Big Banks and Big Bureaucrats" [01/16/14]   [2:32] "Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the 'Europe of Freedom and Democracy' (EFD) Group in the European Parliament  [...]"  Note: Again, one of the few simultaneous voices there .. Related: "The Real Causes Of The Catastrophic Crisis in Greece And The "Left" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "French Presidential Address: A Call For Austerity And Militarism" [01/16/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Hollande administration has been undermined by growing popular anger and disillusionment with its reactionary policies. It has become France’s most unpopular government since World War II, falling to 15 percent approval over unpopular wars overseas and rising unemployment. In upcoming municipal and European elections this year, it faces a rout and a possible first-place finish by the neo-fascist National Front (FN). Before his press conference, the financial press called on Hollande to accelerate his austerity measures. The Economist magazine pressed Hollande to impose the type of cuts that have devastated Europe‘s so-called “peripheral” countries—Greece, Ireland, and Spain. It complained, “Far from copying the deep structural reforms undertaken in peripheral countries, he has barely begun liberalizing labor and product markets or trimming France’s social-welfare spending, the highest in the OECD rich-country club.” Hollande responded at his press conference yesterday by trying to rally support in the ruling class, pledging draconian social cuts justified with militarist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. It was a thoroughly scripted affair, from the gilded woodwork of the Elysée palace to the equally wooden questions of the invited journalists—to which Hollande replied with professions of belief in various free-market nostrums and the military power of French imperialism. [...]"  

Commentary: "Big Banks Launder Billions of Illegal Drug Cartel Money … But Refuse to Provide Services for Legal Marijuana" [01/15/14] Printer Friendly Version "The big banks have laundered hundreds of billions of dollars for drug cartels. Indeed, drug dealers kept the banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis . The HSBC employee who blew the whistle on the banks’ money laundering for terrorists and drug cartels says said: “America is losing the drug war because our banks are [still] financing the cartels“, and “Banks financing drug cartels … affects every single American“. And yet, the banks refuse to provide banking services for LEGAL marijuana in states like Colorado. The big banks have also been laundering money for terrorists (the HSBC employee who blew the whistle on the banks’ money laundering for terrorists and drug cartels says that the giant bank is still laundering money, saying: “The public needs to know that money is still being funneled through HSBC to directly buy guns and bullets to kill our soldiers …. Banks financing … terrorists affects every single American.” He also said: “It is disgusting that our banks are STILL financing terror on 9/11 2013“. [...]"  Related: Flashback: "Opening Banks To Marijuana Business" Denver Post [09/12/13] Printer Friendly Version "The U.S. Department of Justice offered some encouragement this week that the conflict between banking regulations and pot businesses could be solved. Anyone who cares about public safety should hope the agency succeeds. The Justice Department, which previously had signaled that banks that dealt with marijuana businesses would be in violation of federal law, is now suggesting there may be ways to work with banking regulators on the issue without having to get congressional approval. Here is the problem: Federal law bars banks from doing business with criminal organizations, and while medical marijuana is legal in Colorado and recreational sales will be legal in January, the drug is still illegal under federal law. Thus, pot shops and related businesses have been prohibited from taking credit cards or checks. They can accept only cash, which they can't put into bank accounts. Marijuana-related enterprises also pay their taxes in cash and complain they can't even hire armored cars because of federal laws. The whole situation sets up an enormous public safety problem. With large amounts of cash exchanging hands continually, the 200 or so pot shops in Denver will make tempting targets for armed robbers. The large and steady flow of cash also could be tempting for organized crime groups that want to launder money through marijuana businesses. And the cash-only system hampers auditors being able to square sales with inventory or to see if taxes are really being paid. If possible, the federal government should craft a solution that brings these transactions onto the books and into the banks. [...]" Note: The Denver Post article from Sept 2013 spelled out a problem ... ignoring it was a de facto way to deliberately create problems and interfere with state operations; sales are counted on to supplement state budgets.

Documentary: "To Catch A Trader" [01/14/14] [52:42] "Frontline documentary, To Catch A Trader, reported on the current Justice Department investigations and prosecutions into insider trading activity at SAC Capital Advisors, L.P. – a hedge fund founded by Steven A. Cohen in 1992. The documentary revealed a problematic loophole in the statutes regulating the financial industry. Unlike the criminal laws that apply to most individuals and businesses in the U.S., there is apparently no provision for prosecution based on the charge of criminal negligence. As a result, there is a higher burden of proof required for the prosecution of financial crimes since the threshold of intent must be established through evidence. Frontline suggests this is the reason why Cohen has not yet been formally charged even though his hedge fund has already pleaded guilty to all counts in the indictment (securities fraud and wire fraud). For comparison, BP pleaded guilty to felony counts of misconduct and neglect in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion which killed 11 people and polluted a large portion of the Gulf of Mexico. Most Americans are deeply troubled that Wall Street executives have generally been immune from prosecution for their roles in the 2008 financial crisis that caused the Great Recession. Now, we know a major reason why the DOJ has been hesitant in filing charges. Since this problem is so severe and likely to occur again, I’m calling on Congress and all concerned citizens to discover why this loophole exists and to actively work on closing it. Our future economic prosperity may be at stake. [...]" Related: "Watch Billionaire Steven Cohen Stumble Over Insider Trading Rules" 4 "In a never-before-published video, hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen, whose firm this week agreed to plead guilty to securities fraud, describes federal securities laws as “vague,” and asks for an explanation of the basic Securities and Exchange Commission rule that prohibits insider trading. Under questioning in a video deposition obtained exclusively by FRONTLINE, Cohen is asked whether he is familiar with Rule 10b5-1.[...] On Monday, SAC Capital, the firm that bears Cohen’s initials, agreed to pay $1.2 billion in fines and plead guilty to what prosecutors described as insider trading “on a scale without any known precedent in the history of hedge funds.” Cohen, who was not charged personally by federal prosecutors, is facing charges in a separate S.E.C. investigation alleging he failed to supervise his employees and prevent misconduct under his watch. In the video deposition, which was taken as part of a 2011 civil suit, Cohen describes his firm’s trading rules as “general guidelines” and says that he gives his traders latitude to use their judgment when making deals. This excerpt begins with attorney Michael Bowe reading a portion of SAC Capital’s compliance manual to Cohen. The video offers a rare glimpse of the secretive billionaire investor at the center of the biggest insider trading prosecution in U.S. history talking about the very issues that have put him and his firm under such intense scrutiny. The two-day deposition got testy at times. At one point, a combative Cohen insists that he takes the issue of insider trading “very seriously,” but then admits that he doesn’t remember if he’s read Rule 10b5-1. “I rely on my counsel,” he says. Cohen is also asked by Bowe whether he would be comfortable trading on a tip from a reporter about an imminent negative news story. As you can see, he struggles with his answer. The deposition was part of a civil lawsuit by Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings, which claimed that SAC Capital had conspired with other hedge funds to spread false information in an attempt to drive down Fairfax’s stock price. A judge later dismissed the suit, but that decision is currently under appeal. The transcripts of the deposition have been previously published by Bloomberg and Reuters.[...]"   

MSM: "Washington’s Millionaire Boys Club" [01/14/14] "Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 — an increase from last year when it was $966,000. In addition, at least one of the members elected since then, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), is a millionaire, according to forms she filed as a candidate. (There is currently one vacancy in Congress.) As for their most popular investments, 74 members reported owning shares in defense contractor and appliance maker General Electric, which shelled out $4.6 million in campaign contributions during the 2012 election cycle and spent more than $21 million on lobbying in 2012. Second on the list was Wells Fargo – 58 members have shares. Its 2012 campaign contributions were almost $3.8 million, lobbying was another $6.8 million. Other top ten stock picks include Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Apple, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, IBM, Cisco Systems and AT&T, each of which makes sure to throw campaign cash at those members who help grease the skids. However, the Center notes, “real estate was the most popular investment for members of Congress. Their investments in real estate in 2012 were valued at between $442.2 million and $1.4 billion.” So it’s like they say in the real estate business about making money: it’s all about location, location, location. Especially if your location is Capitol Hill. You can read the complete list of members, their assets and favorite investments here. [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "Banks Used Structured Finance to Saddle Consumers and Institutional Investors with Losers" [01/13/14] Printer Friendly Version "Banks and investment banks were large direct and indirect subprime lenders. I’ve written extensively how desperate banks accelerated sales of fraud-riddled residential mortgage backed securities and collateralized debt obligations as the market unraveled. In addition, variable-rate auction securities (also known as auction-rate securities or ARS), backed by municipal bonds, student loans, subprime mortgages, and/or subprime backed collateralized debt obligations, comprised a $330 billion market. By the end of 2007, municipal bond insurers, including MBIA and Ambac, that credit wrapped the ARS were in trouble after writing credit default protection on toxic collateralized debt obligations with banks. The same banks that blew up the monoline bond insurers dumped doomed ARS on investors. [...] Banks sold long-dated auction rate securities as if they were money market instruments. They told customers that if there were no buyers at the regular short-term interval auctions at which the ARS coupons reset, the banks would buy back the securities. Retail investors and condominium associations were told these were a prudent substitute for T-Bills, just before the market fell apart. To be clear, banks lied to unsophisticated buyers to foist losses on them.[...]" • Pension Fund Shortfalls: How Much Is Due to Corruption, Predation, and Mismanagement? • Wall Street’s New Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

Commentary: "The Rothschild Formula -- Michael Noonan" [01/13/14] [35:14] "Discussion with writer and researcher Michael Noonan. We cover the precious metals, the stock market, and what Michael calls ‘the Rothschild Formula’ which has been the recipe the Banksters have used to tie down people and nations for centuries. [...]"  

MSM "French Adopt Alternative Currencies Amid Euro Distrust" [01/13/14]   [5:32] "An alternative currency (or private currency) is any currency used as an alternative to the dominant national or multinational currency systems (usually referred to as national or fiat money). They are created by an individual, corporation, or organization, they can be created by national, state, or local governments, or they can arise naturally as people begin to use a certain commodity as a currency. Mutual credit is a form of alternative currency, and thus any form of lending that does not go through the banking system can be considered a form of alternative currency. When used in combination with or when designed to work in combination with national or multinational fiat currencies they can be referred to as complementary currency. Most complementary currencies are also local currencies and are limited to a certain region." 

MSM: "World Bank's Lending Arm Linked To Deadly Honduras Conflict" [01/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "The World Bank's private lending arm failed to apply its own ethical standards in disbursing millions of dollars to a palm oil company accused of turning a region of Honduras into a war zone, according to an internal bank investigation. The audit, released Friday by the World Bank’s Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, says IFC staff underestimated the social and environmental risks related to the security and land conflict associated with its investment in palm oil giant Corporacion Dinant. The audit and the bank’s response to it are a major test of World Bank President Jim Kim’s pledge to learn from mistakes made in the multi-billion dollar business of providing loans and risk guarantees for IFC private sector projects. The CAO investigation found the IFC disbursed $15 million to Dinant in November 2009, even though the client was in “apparent non-compliance with its [environmental and social] undertakings in a risk environment that had deteriorated significantly since appraisal a year earlier.” That “risk environment” involved the killing, kidnapping and forced eviction of farmers, journalists and lawyers in Honduras’ northern Aguan Valley.  [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "China’s E-Commerce Giant Alibaba Bans Bitcoin" [01/12/14] Printer Friendly Version "Alibaba said that as of January 14 it would stop its users from doing any deals in Bitcoins or other virtual currencies such as Litecoins, and would bar merchants from selling any Bitcoin mining software or offering any related products. The decision was taken to “promote the healthy development of Taobao Marketplace and to more effectively protect the interests of Taobao members,” Alibaba said in a statement. It added that the ban stemmed from the central bank’s ruling in December that prohibits any payment companies or financial institutions from handling Bitcoins. [...]"  

MSM: "Catherine Austin Fitts: On The New Head of the Fed" [01/11/14] [2:33:11] "Catherine Austin Fitts talk with George Norry about the confirmation of Janet Yellin as the new head of the Federal Reserve. Yellin is well-qualified for the position, Fitts commented, but the challenge she’s going to face is dealing with the two sides of the financial equation the federal budget, and the monetary policy which the Federal Reserve manages. [...]"  Interview begins around 10:00   Related: See below: "Delusional Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen "Sees Stronger Growth This Year" [01/10/14] 

MSM: "Obama Nominates Former Bank Of Israel Chief Stanley Fischer As Fed Vice Chairman" [01/11/14] Printer Friendly Version " Obama nominated former Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve on Friday. Fischer's nomination had been expected for weeks. An internationally recognized economist, he had been considered a dark horse candidate to replace Chairman Ben Bernanke at one point. Fischer would succeed Janet Yellen, who was confirmed by the Senate on Monday to lead the Fed after Bernanke's term expires at the end of this month. [...]"  

Commentary: "Six Reasons Why The Government Is Destroying Value Of The Dollar" [01/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "The United States government has six interrelated motivations for destroying the value of the dollar: • Creating money out of thin air on a massive basis is all that stands between the current state of hidden depression, and overt depression with unemployment levels potentially rivaling those seen in the Great Depression of the 1930s. • It is the most effective way to not just pay down current crushing debt levels using devalued dollars, but also to deal with the rapidly approaching massive generational crisis of paying for Boomer retirement promises. • It creates a lucratively profitable $500 billion a year hidden tax for the benefit of the US government — a tax which is not understood by voters or debated in elections. • It creates a second and quite different form of hidden taxation by way of generating artificial market highs, which while non-existent in inflation-adjusted terms, do create artificial investment profits that are fully taxable and highly profitable for the US government. • It is the weapon of choice being used to wage currency war and reboot US economic growth • It is an essential component of political survival and enhanced power for incumbent politicians. [...] In this article we take a holistic approach to understanding how individual short, medium and long-term pressures all come together to leave the government with effectively no choice but to create a significant rate of inflation that will steadily destroy the value of the dollar over time. If you have savings, if you rely on a pension, if you are a retiree or Boomer with retirement accounts — any one of these six fundamental motivations is by itself a grave peril to your future standard of living. [...]"  

Commentary: "JPMorgan Chase Is Worse Than Enron" [01/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "It’s beginning to look as if JPMorgan Chase has had a hand in every major banking scandal of the last decade. In fact, it’s the Zelig of Wall Street crime. Take a snapshot of any major bank fraud and chances are you’ll see JPMorgan Chase staring out at you from the frame. Foreclosure fraud, investor fraud, cheating customers, market manipulation, LIBOR … and now, the coup de grâce to JPM’s tattered reputation: a $2 billion fine for closing its eyes and covering up as Bernie Madoff literally bilked widows and orphans, along with a lot of other families and charities. (Here’s a list of investors.) Does Jamie Dimon, the bank’s CEO, still think people don’t say enough nice things about him? Do his friends? More importantly, how does the largest bank in the country (measured in assets) get away with being worse than Enron? That one’s easy: By being the largest bank in the country. [...]" 

MSM: "Delusional Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen "Sees Stronger Growth This Year" [01/10/14] Printer Friendly Version "Incoming US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said in an interview published Thursday that she sees the US economy picking up in 2014. Our policy is aimed at holding down long-term interest rates, which supports the recovery by encouraging spending.” That in turn spurs job creation and higher incomes, she said. [...]"  Note: She is delusional. As Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says below, "There is no income to drive the economy and there is no credit expansion to drive the economy, then how does it go anywhere? You can’t possibly have a recovery." 

Commentary: "Paul Craig Roberts-U.S. Markets Rigged By Its Own Authorities" [01/09/14] Printer Friendly Version "Economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, “We have a situation where all the markets are rigged. All the markets are manipulated.” As an example, Dr. Roberts points to the stock market. Dr. Roberts contends, “We have a stock market at all-time highs, and where is the economy? There’s not one. There’s no recovery.” Dr. Roberts goes on to say, “53% of Americans earn less than $30,000 per year. Well, the poverty rate for a family of four is something like $24,000. There is no income to drive the economy and there is no credit expansion to drive the economy, then how does it go anywhere? You can’t possibly have a recovery.” When asked how long can this go on, Dr. Roberts replied, “How long can they fool people?” When asked about the recent Fed “taper” of $10 billion a month in bond purchases with printed money, Roberts said, “Foreigners are getting nervous because they see the Fed creating all this new money.” Roberts thinks the appearance of cutting back the money printing “is a way to protect the dollar.” Obama Care is another headwind for the economy as monthly premiums for many double. Dr. Roberts says, “The whole thing is constructed to produce massive income for the insurance companies, and that drains the economy.” [...]"  Related: "Currency Collapses & Gold"   [41:40] "Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, "The West is draining itself of physical bullion. . . If there is a currency collapses and you try to flee into gold, there won't be any there. The Chinese will have it." |"Latest Gold ‘Flash Crash’ Leads To Questions Regarding Manipulation" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "Globalists Exploit New U.S. Tax Law for World Taxation Regime" [01/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Socialist luminaries and international bureaucrats at various outfits funded primarily by U.S. taxpayers are seizing on a “devastating” new American taxation scheme, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, to help foist a radical tax information-sharing regime on the world. The repercussions for Americans and people around the globe — especially when it comes to financial privacy and economic freedom — will be crushing, experts argue. Analysts say the end goal, meanwhile, is the creation of a planetary taxation authority. Leading the charge to create the new global tax regime is the Group of 20 (G-20), a coalition of governments and brutal dictatorships that are in the process of building what virtually every major media outlet recently described as a “New World Order.” Top officials in the outfit, which includes the ruthless Communist regime ruling mainland China, among other barbaric autocracies, publicly announced a plot in recent years to share financial data and more on all citizens with each other. The goal, for now: extract as much wealth as possible. To implement what critics call their nightmarish vision of a “World Tax Organization” — supposedly aimed at stopping tax evasion — the G-20 asked the United Nations-linked Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to take the lead. The widely criticized “cartel” of tax-hungry politicians, infamous primarily for fanatical efforts to crush national sovereignty and for bullying jurisdictions with relatively low taxes into surrendering their competitive advantage, is now working to develop the taxation regime and prod its member governments into adopting it. [...]"  

MSM: "More Austerity For U.K. Despite Recovery" [01/08/14] Printer Friendly Version "Britain faces fresh government spending cuts worth $41 billion, signaling the scars of the financial crisis in one of Europe's strongest economies have far from healed. Faster growth is not generating enough revenue to allow the U.K. to start reducing its debt mountain, and the government doesn't want to raise taxes further. Around half of the cuts will hit welfare programs, putting more strain on some of the country's most vulnerable residents. [...]"  Note: As if the British haven't suffered enough already. As with other Western countries, they need to beat swords into plowshares and take care of their people ... but that's apparently too hard for the intractable sequentials stuck in experiential loops to comprehend.

Commentary: "Nearly Two Thirds Of 2013 Government Waste, Fraud Came From Health And Human Services" [01/07/14] Printer Friendly Version "The estimated amount of taxpayer-funded payments that the federal government doled out through fraud, waste, and errors slightly decreased in 2013 to $106 billion from $108 billion the previous year, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). On Dec. 31, FederalTimes.com reported the estimated government-wide improper payments dollar figure for fiscal 2013, citing Frank Benenati, an OMB spokesman as the source.  Benenati did not provide a breakdown of the 2013 payment errors by government program, saying that information would not be available for weeks, according to the FederalTimes.com article. However, an analysis of government financial data by Breitbart News found that the Department of U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) was the primary driving force behind all federal payments considered improper in fiscal 2013. On Jan. 2, Breitbart News reported that HHS made an estimated $65.3 billion in payment errors that year.  The HHS improper payments amounted to 62 percent of all government-wide payment errors in 2013. HHS was also the primary contributor to the estimated government-wide improper payments in 2012. The $64.8 billion in mistakenly disbursed funds by HHS that year made up 60 percent of the total $108 billion in erroneous payments. [...]"  Related: "Improper Payment Rate Falls Again" Federal Times Printer Friendly Version "Improper federal payments totaled an estimated $106 billion in fiscal 2013, down slightly from the 2012 figure of $108 billion, an Office of Management and Budget spokesman said Tuesday. The estimated improper payment rate dropped from 3.74 percent in 2012 to 3.53 percent last year, according to another OMB official. Improper payments are typically defined as money spent in the wrong amount, for the wrong recipient or for goods and services not received. The erroneous payments include underpayments as well as overpayments. Some arise from honest mistakes, while others are the result of fraud. Only about one-third of improper payments are generally recoverable, OMB Controller Danny Werfel has said. [...]"  

MSM: "IMF Paper Warns Of ‘Savings Tax’ And Mass Write-Offs As West’s Debt Hits 200-Year High" [01/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Much of the Western world will require defaults, a savings tax and higher inflation to clear the way for recovery as debt levels reach a 200-year high, according to a new report by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF working paper said debt burdens in developed nations have become extreme by any historical measure and will require a wave of haircuts, either negotiated 1930s-style write-offs or the standard mix of measures used by the IMF in its “toolkit” for emerging market blow-ups. “The size of the problem suggests that restructurings will be needed, for example, in the periphery of Europe, far beyond anything discussed in public to this point,” said the paper, by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. The paper said policy elites in the West are still clinging to the illusion that rich countries are different from poorer regions and can chip away at their debts with a blend of austerity cuts, growth, and tinkering (“forbearance”). [...]"  

MSM: "SEC Head Wants Companies That Break Laws To Actually Admit They Broke Laws" [01/05/14] Printer Friendly Version "Businesses are in the habit of making amends for their errors without actually admitting they made any errors. Weasel words hide a multitude of sins; “mistakes were made” and “customers were affected.” A company can agree to pay millions of dollars to rectify a mistake or action they do not legally agree to having made. It’s a legal tangle that would be funny if it weren’t tied to so much real-world wrong: “Here’s a billion dollars to fix a crime that we don’t acknowledge we committed.” In an interview with the LA Times, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White talks about getting large companies actually to confess their wrongdoing, as well as other changes she’s been brining to the SEC since taking over the top position in April, 2013. The agency has more power than it has perhaps been using, White explains. ”I think what I brought from the private sector was a real appreciation of how much leverage — respect, if you will — that the SEC has,” White told the Times. ”Major companies, in particular, really don’t want to be at war with their primary regulator. The SEC may not have appreciated just how great our leverage is.” And as part of that leverage, White wants wrongdoers to ‘fess up when they’ve done wrong. Being “sorry” isn’t enough, she explains: What we are focused on is the enhanced public accountability and the admission of the conduct, the wrongdoing. That’s the most effective kind of admission, frankly. I know in the past there have been criticisms of other agencies where the admission has taken the form of an apology only.… An apology is easy. We want you to admit what you did. The SEC did just that with JPMorgan Chase, requiring the megabank to admit it broke securities laws during the “London Whale” trading disaster–an admission that was joined by $1 billion in penalties. [...]"  

Commentary: "Sun Zhaoxue: US Intends To Suppress Gold To Ensure Dollar’s Dominance" [01/04/14] Printer Friendly Version "... At the Lujiazui Forum River Nocturne sub-forum held today, China National Gold Group Corporation General Manager Zhaoxue said the United States intends to suppress gold to ensure the Dollar’s dominance, that the fall in the price of gold premeditated, and a part of the currency war. "The hottest topic at the moment is oil and gold. The ground war we are seeing around the world is I think war for oil whereas gold is the currency war. Why? We observe that the integrity was the driver for US Dollar to become world reserve currency. The US Dollar and gold decoupling from 1971 caused the US Dollar to depreciate massively. From 1990 onwards, the Eurozone was in consultation to form a strong Euro to counter the US Dollar, in order to prevent the latter from stripping Europe of its wealth. The Euro was born in 1999, supported by its strong economy and 11,000 tons of gold. With the birth of the Euro a competitor to the US Dollar was created, and so the US decided to lay a trap for the Eurozone as part of the currency war. Some countries in the Eurozone violated the Eurozone’s norms by issuing bonds. Which entities participated in the issuance? US investment banks. After the debt was issued, it was US ratings agencies that struck a blow to the Eurozone by saying that its economies had problems. Only gold remains on par with the US Dollar to benefit from the Eurozone and Euros collapse. This is why the US began to suppress gold by issuing a statement two months ago that the Eurozone will sell its gold when it is unable to service its debt, then stating three days later that the news was false. Furthermore Goldman Sachs made a forecast for the gold price at the beginning of the year but suddenly changed its course saying the gold price will fall to $1300. Buffet said that he would not buy gold even if its price fell to 800USD. Our research indicates that Buffet made a lot of money from four gold companies. So his statement is inconsistent with his personal action. Bernanke’s speech followed, saying that monetary easing will end, that the US economy is improving. This series of examples shows that the fall of the gold price is premeditated. So I say that this process is a genuine currency war. Many people say that gold is just a beautiful thing. Then we have to ask the US why they store so much gold but instead of selling gold, they issue debt to other countries to rescue the financial market. The US owes Germany so much gold but instead of repaying immediately, sets a 2020 deadline to return the gold. From this example and process as well as some typical factors, this is a downright currency war to maintain US Dollar hegemony by defeating all other currencies. I shall stop here.”[...] "  Note: Here we already see signs that he is right with this ludicrous piece from Yahoo News: Related: MSM: "Yahoo Says to Avoid Gold, "Bear Market Has 18 Years to Go" Printer Friendly Version 

Commentary: "10 Reasons Why China Would Not Be The “Next Reserve Currency" [01/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "#1: I do not believe the world will ever again have a global hegemon quite like the US in the post World War 2 era. With the advent of the internet, the informational playing field is being leveled. The US once had a monopoly on how to spread debt and death around the world. That playbook served the American empire very well over the past decades, but the world has watched and learned. The nations of the world that did not benefit from the current paradigm will not enable it much more. The recent example of Vladamir Putin acting as a peace maker against the Nobel Peace Prize winner for more war in Syria. #2: We are heading for massive decentralization of power and the elimination of counter party risk. Power will devolve to the most local and responsive level. A fracturing of the global super power will allow regional actors to exhibit more regional influence, but it would take years for any one currency to begin to try to supplant the role of the current US Dollar. #3: The collapse of the dollar will dramatically affect how people deal with risk. The Yuan is fundamentally no different than the dollar. It is a fiat, debt based currency, they will be subject to the same contagion. [...]"  

MSM: "Bloomberg Administration Made 6,773 Municipal Corruption Arrests" [01/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "When it comes to cracking down on public corruption, Mayor Bloomberg’s record is tough to beat, his investigations commissioner said. During his three terms, records obtained by the Daily News show his administration made 6,773 municipal corruption arrests. That’s nearly double the rate of his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, who averaged 1,299 arrests per term, and far more than David Dinkins, whose one term yielded 431 corruption arrests. The biggest scandal in the Bloomberg years was CityTime, in which a gang of sophisticated but dirty consultants stole all they could during a bloated effort to computerize the city’s payroll. DOI was slammed for taking a long time to charge anyone in the scandal despite multiple tipoffs and exposés by City Council member Letitia James and Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez. Hearn noted the early tips didn’t touch the full scope of the corruption and that all of the CityTime defendants were convicted and the city recovered $506 million from the contractor, Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) . [...]" 

Commentary: "This Could Be The Start Of The Greatest Global Economic Crisis" [01/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "There’s no near-term resolution in sight,” warns TCW Group’s David Loevinger, as “Thailand has entered an extended period of political instability.” This uncertainty has led to foreigners abandoning the nation’s stock market in record size - and collapsing the Thai Baht at the same time. Why should US investors be worried? Thailand was the catalyst that started the 1997 Asian crisis, broke LTCM, and instigated the most epic experiments in central bank liquidity provision on record. With the Fed Tapering, both Indonesia and Thailand (and Turkey) are already seeing major currency collapses but of course, as long as US equities rise, no one cares (which is exactly what they said last time)… Bloomberg’s Chart of the Day shows that the baht has plunged 5.1 percent since the end of October to a three-year low as international investors pulled a net $2.75 billion out of equities, the worst outflow in at least 14 years. Investors are dumping Thai assets as two-month-old protests against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra intensify, threatening to deepen a slowdown in the second-largest southeast Asian economy. Opposition parties are trying to topple Yingluck after she pushed for a bill that would provide amnesty for her brother, Thaksin, who was ousted as premier in a 2006 coup and has lived in self-imposed exile overseas. [...]"  Related: "1997 Asian Crisis Redux – Thailand Is Imploding" Printer Friendly Version 

MSM: "Wolf Of Wall Street" Film Criticized For Glorifying Psychopathic Behavior" [01/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "The daughter of a man linked to the discredited financial schemes depicted in Oscar-tipped drama The Wolf of Wall Street has attacked the film’s director, Martin Scorsese, and its star Leonardo DiCaprio, for glamorising a lifestyle of “fun sexcapades and coke binges”. Christina McDowell, whose father, Tom Prousalis, was a business associate of Jordan Belfort, the titular crooked stockbroker portrayed by DiCaprio in the film, accused her targets of “exacerbating our national obsession with wealth and status and glorifying greed and psychopathic behaviour” in an open letter published in LA Weekly. McDowell, who says she was forced to change her name after discovering her father had stolen her identity to launder money prior to his eventual incarceration for financial fraud, says The Wolf of Wall Street amounts to a “reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals”. [...] The open letter emerged as it was revealed that Belfort is set to benefit from the newfound notoriety heaped upon him by Scorsese's film with a new reality-TV show. The former stockbroker, who now works as a motivational speaker and financial guru in California, could be in line for a series in which he helps people who have hit rock bottom rebuild their lives, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Wolf of Wall Street has emerged as an awards-season contender, and already has two Golden Globes nominations in the bag. But the film has been hit with a raft of negative publicity in recent weeks amid suggestions it could be too controversial to win the hearts of older Oscars voters.[...]" Related: "Former-Trader: ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Isn’t Wrong About The Coke And Strippers" Printer Friendly Version  "Is "The Wolf of Wall Street" what Wall Street is really like? Former trader Raj Mahal offers his review of the movie — and some real-life stories about just how wild it was."

Interviews: "Celente: 2014 Will Be A Year Of Extremes" [01/01/14]   [17:05] "People have tried (with varying success) to predict the future, from soothsayers to reading tea leaves, from Nostradamus to calling Miss Cleo. But one man, Gerald Celente, has made a career out of forecasting trends as the founder of the Trends Research Institute and publisher of "Trends Journal." RT's Anastasia Churkina sits down with Celente to talk about his predictions for 2014. [...]"  Note: At around 5:20 there is a break in the video and a 'restart' of the interview, with other information that is not repeated earlier.

Commentary: "Congress Letting 55 Tax Breaks Expire At Year's End" [01/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty — once again — for millions of individuals and businesses. Lawmakers let these tax breaks lapse almost every year, even though they save businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And almost every year, Congress eventually renews them, retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them by the time they file their tax returns. No harm, no foul, right? After all, taxpayers filing returns in the spring won't be hurt because the tax breaks were in effect for 2013. Taxpayers won't be hit until 2015, when they file tax returns for next year. Not so far. Trade groups and tax experts complain that Congress is making it impossible for businesses and individuals to plan for the future. What if lawmakers don't renew the tax break you depend on? Or what if they change it and you're no longer eligible? [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: "How the Constitution’s Contracts Clause Was Gutted" [01/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "The Constitution lists several things states may not do. Article I, Section 10 provides that “No State shall . . . pass any . . . law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” This clause was inserted to curb state “debtor relief” laws that the Framers believed were immoral and rendered bad economic conditions worse. Founding-Era debtor relief laws included, but were not limited to, measures permitting debtors to enjoy complete moratoria on payment (“stay laws”) or to repay in installments amounts actually due in full (“installment laws.”) To be sure, the constitutional ban extended beyond stay and installment laws, but they were the ban’s clearest targets. [...] The Contracts Clause did not prevent judges from relieving debtors from fraud or other creditor overreaching. Nor did it prevent courts from applying the particular remedy fairest to all concerned. And debtors could still declare bankruptcy if they chose. The Clause was designed only to prevent demagogic politicians from meddling, ad hoc, with honest bargains. The Framers believed that stay and installment laws were immoral, because they allowed favored people to receive money or value from disfavored people on a promise of payment—and then break their promises. The Framers also believed such measures were bad for the economy. This was because they created uncertainty in the credit markets, which in turn led to higher interest rates and more arduous loan conditions. They also prevented debtors (and creditors) from proceeding to an orderly bankruptcy or loan restructuring so all parties could cut their losses and make a new start. Were the Founders right about the bad economic effects of such laws? Recent evidence suggests they were. Our own recovery from the Great Recession has been painfully slow, and one reason seems to be constant federal interference with mortgage loans and other obligations. (The Contracts Clause does not apply to the federal government.) For most of our constitutional history, the Supreme Court enforced the Contracts Clause. During the Depression of the 1930s, however, states once again began to adopt stay and installment laws as a way to “help” debtors."  

   

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