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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MSM: "Lloyds Bank Admits Fixing Repo Rate" [08/06/14] Printer Friendly Version "Britain’s Lloyds Bank found a new way to rig the market in order to reduce the fees it paid the Bank of England for its £20 billion bailout in 2008-9. It demonstrates once again that swindling, fraud and criminality are the City of London’s modus operandi. And the victims of this bank robbery are working people. Lloyds, in which the Treasury has a 24 percent stake following the bank’s collapse in 2008, admitted that four of its staff had defrauded the Treasury by manipulating the “repo” rate, which determined the fees payable to the Bank of England and thus the Treasury for accessing the government’s financial lifeboat for the bank—known as the Special Liquidity Scheme (SLS). Under the SLS, the banks could swap their worthless loans for UK Treasury Gilts that could be sold for cash. In return, the banks had to pay a fee, supposedly to bring the cost of SLS funding up to the commercial borrowing rate, based upon the repo rate which the banks themselves were allowed to set. Lloyds and Bank of Scotland (BoS), with whom it merged as part of the restructuring, were the biggest beneficiaries of the bailout scheme, receiving £90 billion between 2009 and 2012 when the scheme closed, for which they paid £1.28 billion in fees, or just 1.4 percent. Even this was considered too much by the bank. They evidently thought they were entitled to a cut price bailout. According to the Bank of England’s (BoE) regulators, the bank rigged the rate to reduce the fees paid by £7.8 million, a trifling sum in the scheme of things. But Lloyds’ scam in turn reduced the fees other banks paid, always assuming that they too were not fiddling the repo rate. The Lloyds group is to be fined £70 million for rigging the rate, and ordered to repay £7.8 million, which the BoE said “fully” took into account the loss of fees paid by other banks. [...]" 

MSM: "Celente: How Global Conflicts Will Change How, Where And Why Money Is Invested" [08/06/14] [44:22] 

Exposé: "HSBC Whistleblower – Banks Are Financing Terrorism" [08/04/14] Printer Friendly Version [8:00] "HSBC Bank whistleblower Everett Stern, CEO of Tactical Rabbit, says that banks like HSBC not only know, but have admitted to doing business with companies that finance terrorists. “HSBC is part of the deferred prosecution agreement and JP Morgan and Citibank, they have all admitted to these things,” Stern told Ed Berliner on “MidPoint” on Newsmax TV Wednesday. “For some reason the mainstream media is not covering the issue, and the American public doesn’t understand that these banks are literally financing the next 9/11,” he explained.  Stern uncovered a money-laundering operation at HSBC in 2011, when he discovered that the bank was giving the terrorist group Hezbollah access to millions of dollars. "What I found was criminal manipulation of the wire filter and there was hundreds upon millions of dollars moving from Caribe Supermarkets, which is in Gambia, which is owned by the Tajideen brothers, which are financiers of Hezbollah," he explained. "And that money was being laundered through the U.S. and then back to Lebanon," he said. "It was financing Hezbollah, and this is what was going on at HSBC," the CEO of Tactical Rabbit said. The Justice Department fined HSBC $2 billion, "which is five weeks of their profit, and that was it," he added. Even though money laundering is generally seen as a white-collar crime, "these people have the blood of American soldiers on their hands."[...]" 

Commentary: "Russian Oligarchs Wave Goodbye To Visa, Switch To Chinese Credit Card" [08/03/14] Printer Friendly Version "So much for the "Russia is becoming increasingly isolated" meme that the West would like many to believe. As Russia continues to sign de-dollarization deals and trade agreements with its BRICS allies while pushing ahead with retaliatory actions against the US and Europe, it appears the 'sanctioned' friends of Putin are taking matters into their own hands. Billionaire oligarch Gennady Timchenko, among the first to be hit by travel bans and asset freezes by the US, has decided to tear up his Visa and Mastercard, shifting all his credit cards to China's UnionPay, noting that "in some ways it is more secure than Visa - at least the Americans can't reach it." [...]" 

MSM: "Argentina Accuses US Of Judicial Malpractice For Triggering Needless Default" [08/02/14] Printer Friendly Version "Argentina has threatened to take the US to the International Court of Justice for judicial malpractice, accusing the country of gross incompetence for allowing two small hedge funds to push the Argentine state into default, regardless of the mayhem caused for other creditors and the damage to ordinary people. The bitter attack came after a New York court prevented Argentina paying $539m to its creditors even though the Peronist government of Cristina Kirchner wants to do so, in the latest bizarre development in the country’s long struggle to regain access to global capital markets.  [...]"  Related: "Argentina's Ministry Of Economy To Investigate Into Possible Debt-Related Fraud" Printer Friendly Version | "Not Just Argentina: 11 Countries Near Bankruptcy" | Flashback: "Hillary Clinton Questions Cristina Kirchner's Mental Health" 2010 Printer Friendly Version Secret cable sent to US embassy in Argentina asks diplomats to find out how president handles stress. Clinton's preoccupation may stem partly from the fact that Kirchner's career has mirrored her own: both are lawyers and tough political operators whose husbands became president and campaigned for their wives to inherit the sash after they left office. Before being elected in 2007 Kirchner welcomed the comparisons and called the then New York senator an inspiration. [...]" 

MSM: "EU Raises The Stakes: New Sanctions Target Russia’s Biggest Banks" [08/02/14]   [2:02] "The European Union has imposed sectorial sanctions on five Russian banks, including the country’s biggest, Sberbank, as part of economic steps that Europe, along with the US, have taken against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine. [...]"  

Buffoonery: "IMF Urges Higher Energy Taxes To Fight ‘Climate Change’" MSM [08/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "Energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use, the International Monetary Fund said in a new book on Thursday. For the first time, the IMF laid out exactly what it views as appropriate taxes on coal, natural gas, gasoline and diesel in 156 countries to factor in the fuels’ overall costs, which include carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, congestion and traffic accidents. Under its chief, Christine Lagarde, the IMF has delved into the impact of climate change, arguing that tackling the fund’s core mission of economic instability is impossible without also addressing environmental damage. At the book’s launch in Washington, Lagarde said countries should not have to wait for global agreement on climate policies, and instead should move ahead in adjusting energy prices on their own." [...]"  Note: The whole scheme is a deception, based on a lie and a way to drain world resources into the US-controlled IMF. Remember, their climate propaganda program equates the idea of 'climate change' only with the notion of "global warming because of human-caused CO2", when in fact, climate change means climate change, warm or cold, and it is something that man can do nothing about, and the scheme to propose otherwise is an incredibly brash fraud, based on repetition of their perspective, using system 'power over' functions as a social 'wedge' in an attempt to force the population to comply and meekly accept their transparent fraud.

MSM: "Senate Bombshell Testimony: Citigroup and Bank of America Stock Worthless Without Implied Government Guarantees" [08/01/14] Printer Friendly Version "Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, will take testimony at 2 p.m. today on market subsidies enjoyed by implied future government bailouts of the too-big-to-fail status of Wall Street’s bloated and serially malfeasant banks. The hearing is set to coincide with a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). An early peek at written testimony by three separate professors set to testify guarantees a belated July 4 fireworks display — one that is not likely to enjoy a welcome reception within the Wall Street corridors of power. Expect the phone lines of lobbyists and congressional campaign managers to be lighting up all over the nation’s capitol this afternoon. [...] Edward J. Kane, Professor of Finance at Boston College will get things off to a rousing start by telling the Subcommittee that any suggestion that the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation ended the implied government guarantees “is a dangerous pipe dream.” A powerful argument made by Kane (see full text of testimony linked below) is that these too-big-to-fail banks enjoy not just a market subsidy on their debt but on their equity as well. Kane then lands this bombshell: “The warranted rate of return on the stock of deeply undercapitalized firms like Citi and B of A [Bank of America] would have been sky high and their stock would have been declared worthless long ago if market participants were not convinced that authorities are afraid to force them to resolve their weaknesses.”[...]"  

 

    

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