As alert Zero Hedge readers are aware, this week the EURO Politburo is busy debating the dodgy subject of deposit “bail-ins.”
The following article very succinctly explains this odious mode of fractal fractional reserve end-game chicanery.
The author encourages all of you to share it with others.
NO BANK DEPOSITS WILL BE SPARED FROM CONFISCATION
By Matthias Chang Esq, futurefastforward.com (with author’s permission)
I challenge anyone to prove me wrong that confiscation of bank deposits is legalized daylight robbery
Bank depositors in the UK and USA may think that their bank deposits would not be confiscated as they are insured and no government would dare embark on such a drastic action to bail out insolvent banks.
Before I explain why confiscation of bank deposits in the UK and US is a certainty and absolutely legal, I need all readers of this article to do the following:
Ask your local police, sheriffs, lawyers, judges the following questions:
1) If I place my money with a lawyer as a stake-holder and he uses the money without my consent, has the lawyer committed a crime?
2) If I store a bushel of wheat or cotton in a warehouse and the owner of the warehouse sold my wheat/cotton without my consent or authority, has the warehouse owner committed a crime?
3) If I place monies with my broker (stock or commodity) and the broker uses my monies for other purposes and or contrary to my instructions, has the broker committed a crime?
I am confident that the answer to the above questions is a Yes!
However, for the purposes of this article, I would like to first highlight the situation of the deposit / storage of wheat with a warehouse owner in relation to the deposit of money / storage with a banker.
First, you will notice that all wheat is the same i.e. the wheat in one bushel is no different from the wheat in another bushel. Likewise with cotton, it is indistinguishable. The deposit of a bushel of wheat with the warehouse owner in law constitutes a bailment. Ownership of the bushel of wheat remains with you and there is no transfer of ownership at all to the warehouse owner.
And as stated above, if the owner sells the bushel of wheat without your consent or authority, he has committed a crime as well as having committed a civil wrong (a tort) of conversion – converting your property to his own use and he can be sued.
Let me use another analogy. If a cashier in a supermarket removes $100 from the till on Friday to have a frolic on Saturday, he has committed theft, even though he may replace the $100 on Monday without the knowledge of the owner / manager of the supermarket. The $100 the cashier stole on Friday is also indistinguishable from the $100 he put back in the till on Monday. In both situations – the wheat in the warehouse and the $100 dollar bill in the till, which have been unlawfully misappropriated would constitute a crime.
Keep this principle and issue at the back of your mind.
Now we shall proceed with the money that you have deposited with your banker.
I am sure that most of you have little or no knowledge about banking, specifically fractional reserve banking.
Since you were a little kid, your parents have encouraged you to save some money to instil in you the good habit of money management.
And when you grew up and got married, you in turn instilled the same discipline in your children. Your faith in the integrity of the bank is almost absolute. Your money in the bank would earn an interest income.
And when you want your money back, all you needed to do is to withdraw the money together with the accumulated interest. Never for a moment did you think that you had transferred ownership of your money to the bank. Your belief was grounded in like manner as the owner of the bushel of wheat stored in the warehouse.
However, this belief is and has always been a lie. You were led to believe this lie because of savvy advertisements by the banks and government assurances that your money is safe and is protected by deposit insurance.
But, the insurance does not cover all the monies that you have deposited in the bank, but to a limited amount e.g. $250,000 in the US by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Germany €100,000, UK £85,000 etc.
But, unlike the owner of the bushel of wheat who has deposited the wheat with the warehouse owner, your ownership of the monies that you have deposited with the bank is transferred to the bank and all you have is the right to demand its repayment. And, if the bank fails to repay your monies (e.g. $100), your only remedy is to sue the bank and if the bank is insolvent you get nothing.
You may recover some of your money if your deposit is covered by an insurance scheme as referred to earlier but in a fixed amount. But, there is a catch here. Most insurance schemes whether backed by the government or not do not have sufficient monies to cover all the deposits in the banking system.
So, in the worst case scenario – a systemic collapse, there is no way for you to get your money back.
In fact, and as illustrated in the Cyprus banking fiasco, the authorities went to the extent of confiscating your deposits to pay the banks’ creditors. When that happened, ordinary citizens and financial analysts cried out that such confiscation was daylight robbery. But, is it?
It will come as a shock to all of you to know that such daylight robbery is perfectly legal and this has been so for hundreds of years.
Let me explain.
The reason is that unlike the owner of the bushel of wheat whose ownership of the wheat WAS NEVER TRANSFERRED to the warehouse owner when the same was deposited, the moment you deposited your money with the bank, the ownership is transferred to the bank.
Your status is that of A CREDITOR TO THE BANK and the BANK IS IN LAW A DEBTOR to you. You are deemed to have “lent” your money to the bank for the bank to apply to its banking business (even to gamble in the biggest casino in the world – the global derivatives casino).
You have become a creditor, AN UNSECURED CREDITOR. Therefore, by law, in the insolvency of a bank, you as an unsecured creditor stand last in the queue of creditors to be paid out of any funds and or assets which the bank has to pay its creditors. The secured creditors are always first in line to be paid. It is only after secured creditors have been paid and there are still some funds left (usually, not much, more often zilch!) that unsecured creditors are paid and the sums pro-rated among all the unsecured creditors.
This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
The law has been in existence for hundreds of years and was established in England by the House of Lords in the case Foley v Hill in 1848.
When a customer deposits money with his banker, the relationship that arises is one of creditor and debtor, with the banker liable to repay the money deposited when demanded by the customer. Once money has been paid to the banker, it belongs to the banker and he is free to use the money for his own purpose.
I will now quote the relevant portion of the judgment of #3b4d81;”>the House of Lords handed down by Lord Cottenham, the Lord Chancellor. He stated thus:
“Money when paid into a bank, ceases altogether to be the money of the principal… it is then the money of the banker, who is bound to return an equivalent by paying a similar sum to that deposited with him when he is asked for it.
The money paid into the banker’s, is money known by the principal to be placed there for the purpose of being under the control of the banker; it is then the banker’s money; he is known to deal with it as his own; he makes what profit of it he can, which profit he retains himself,…
The money placed in the custody of the banker is, to all intent and purposes, the money of the banker, to do with it as he pleases; he is guilty of no breach of trust in employing it; he is not answerable TO THE PRINCIPAL IF HE PUTS IT INTO JEOPARDY, IF HE ENGAGES IN A HAZARDOUS SPECULATION; he is not bound to keep it or deal with it as the property of the principal, but he is of course answerable for the amount, because he has contracted, having received that money, to repay to the principal, when demanded, a sum equivalent to that paid into his hands.” (quoted in UK Law Essays, #3b4d81;”>Relationship Between A Banker And Customer,That Of A Creditor/Debtor, emphasis added,)
Holding that the relationship between a banker and his customer was one of debtor and creditor and not one of trusteeship, #3b4d81;”>Lord Brougham said:
“This trade of a banker is to receive money, and use it as if it were his own, he becoming debtor to the person who has lent or deposited with him the money to use as his own, and for which money he is accountable as a debtor. I cannot at all confound the situation of a banker with that of a trustee, and conclude that the banker is a debtor with a fiduciary character.”
In plain simple English – bankers cannot be prosecuted for breach of trust, because it owes no fiduciary duty to the depositor / customer, as he is deemed to be using his own money to speculate etc. There is absolutely no criminal liability.
The trillion dollar question is, Why has no one in the Justice Department or other government agencies mentioned this legal principle?
The reason why no one dare speak this legal truth is because there would be a run on the banks when all the Joe Six-Packs wise up to the fact that their deposits with the bankers CONSTITUTE IN LAW A LOAN TO THE BANK and the bank can do whatever it likes even to indulge in hazardous speculation such as gambling in the global derivative casino.
The Joe Six-Packs always consider the bank the creditor even when he deposits money in the bank. No depositor ever considers himself as the creditor!
Yes, Eric Holder, the US Attorney-General is right when he said that bankers cannot be prosecuted for the losses suffered by the bank. This is because a banker cannot be prosecuted for losing his “own money” as stated by the House of Lords. This is because when money is deposited with the bank, that money belongs to the banker.
The reason that if a banker is prosecuted it would collapse the entire banking system is a big lie.
The US Attorney-General could not and would not state the legal principle because it would cause a run on the banks when people discover that their monies are not safe with bankers as they can in law use the monies deposited as their own even to speculate.
What is worrisome is that your right to be repaid arises only when you demand payment.
Obviously, when you demand payment, the bank must pay you. But, if you demand payment after the bank has collapsed and is insolvent, it is too late. Your entitlement to be repaid is that of a lonely unsecured creditor and only if there are funds left after liquidation to be paid out to all the unsecured creditors and the remaining funds to be pro-rated. You would be lucky to get ten cents on the dollar.
So, when the Bank of England, the FED and the BIS issued the guidelines which became the template for the Cyprus “bail-in” (which was endorsed by the G-20 Cannes Summit in 2011), it was merely a circuitous way of stating the legal position without arousing the wrath of the people, as they well knew that if the truth was out, there would be a revolution and blood on the streets. It is therefore not surprising that the global central bankers came out with this nonsensical advisory:
“The objective of an effective resolution regime is to make feasible the resolution of financial institutions without severe systemic disruption and without exposing taxpayers to losses, while protecting vital economic functions through mechanisms which make it possible for shareholders and unsecured and uninsured creditors to absorb losses in a manner that respects the hierarchy of claims in liquidation.”(quoted in #3b4d81;”> #3b4d81;”>FSB Consultative Document: Effective Resolution of Systemically …)
This is the kind of complex technical jargon used by bankers to confuse the people, especially depositors and to cover up what I have stated in plain and simple English in the foregoing paragraphs.
The key words of the BIS guideline are:
“without severe systemic disruptions” (i.ea bank runs),
“while protecting vital economic functions” (i.e. protecting vested interests – bankers),
“unsecured creditors” (i.e. your monies, you are the dummy),
“respects the hierarchy of claims in liquidation” (i.e. you are last in the queue to be paid, after all secured creditors have been paid).
This means all depositors are losers!
Please read this article carefully and spread it far and wide.
You will be doing a favour to all your fellow country men and women and more importantly, your family and relatives.
It’s not hard to find critics of the Assad government in the Governorate (Muhafazat) of Homs or for that matter, to varying degrees in Syria’s other thirteen Governorates according to Syrian analysts interviewed by this observer and reports from human rights groups including lawyers representing dissidents in Syria. However, after nearly 27 months of turmoil, the public opinion pendulum is markedly shifting back in support of the current regime.
One international political result was registered at the United Nations this past week when a US-Qatari-Saudi drafted General Assembly Resolution that was designed to increase pressure on the Assad government stumbled badly and fell far short of what the Saudi Ambassador to the UN and other US allies predicted would be an overwhelming vote in favor.
Effect of shift in popular opinion in Syria
Over the past four or five months it has become increasingly clear that public opinion in Syria is shifting for reasons that include, but are not limited to the following:
While inflation at the grocery stores in probably the most common complaint heard from a cross-section of society here, the population is adapting somewhat to higher prices and it appears to credit the government for efforts, some successful, to soften the impact of the illegal US-led sanctions that target this same Syrian population for purely political reasons to achieve regime change.
While Syrians demand dignity and freedom from oppressive security forces and an end to corruption, as all people do in this region and beyond, they are witnessing a return to near normalcy with respect to supplies of electricity, benzene, mazout fuel oil, bus schedules, schools, and a host of public services such as garbage collection, street sweeping, park maintenance, and sympathetic traffic cops who are rather understanding of short-cuts taken by drivers and pedestrians due to “the situation”.
In addition, public service announcement and even text messages demonstrate that the government is aware of the degree of suffering among the population, accept partial blame, and are focusing on remedial measure and crucially, ending the crisis with its horrific bloodshed. One observes here a definite trend of the pulling together of a high percentage of Syrians who share a very unique history and culture and who are deeply connected to their country and who are increasingly repelled by the continuing killing from all sides including the recent barbarisms of body mutilations and summary executions videotaped and broadcast on utube by jihadist elements. The latter who these days come from nearly three dozen countries, paid for and indoctrinated by enemies of Syria’s Arab nationalism and deep rooted pillar of resistance to the occupation of Palestine.
In addition, many among Syria’s 23 million citizens, who initially supported the uprising following government reaction to event in Deraa in March 2011, now have serious second thoughts about who exactly would replace the current government. Events in Syria are also making plain that the army is still loyal to the Assad government, and according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, is actually gaining experience and strength as well as the well-known fact that as western diplomats are admitting, the “opposition militias” are hopelessly fractured, turning one another, many essential mafia outfits, and beginning to resemble their fellow jihadists from Libya, Chechnya and in between.
Opinion in Damascus and surrounding areas visited this past week, confirms this observers experience the past five months of a sharp and fairly rapid shift in opinion that now strongly favors letting the Syrian people themselves decide, without outside interference, whether the Assad regime will stay, and indeed, whether, the Baathist party will continue to represent majority opinion, not through wanton violence but rather via next June’s election. Many express confidence in the run up to this critical vote, noting that the election will be closely monitored by the international community to assure fairness.
Perhaps aided by the current glorious May weather, a certain optimism, that was more scarce in the past, pervades many neighborhoods.
For different reasons, foreign powers, including the USA, Turkey, European Union, the UK Jordan and even the majority population of the six Gulf Cooperation Council family run countries, according to Pew Research, are shifting their earlier positions which were based in part of the US administration, NATO, and Israeli assurances that the Assad government would surely fall quickly, “A matter of days, not weeks” US President Obama promised. That was two years ago.
As noted above, this trend has accelerated since the UN General Assembly vote with last weeks which did not go as planned on the biased and politicized non-binding draft resolution on Syria.
The public reaction in Syria and across the Middle East is substantially that the “Friends of Syria” non-binding GA resolution contradicts the reality on the ground, backs terrorism in Syria and hinders the international efforts to help achieve a political solution to the crisis in this country. Only 107 states voted in favor of the resolution, 12 against while 59 countries, mostly from Africa and Latin America, abstained from voting.
One reason the vote fell short of the 130 favorable votes that the basically same resolution garnered the past two times is that it is widely viewed as ignoring the crimes and atrocities committed by the armed jihadist groups in Syria and the flow of thousands of international terrorists backed by the West, the Gulf states and Turkey who provide them with weapons and money. According to the Russian delegate, backed by several other speakers, “the resolutions ignores all the terrorists’ heinous crimes and denounces what it called the escalation of the attacks by the Syrian government”. Afterward one Latin American Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the count would have been below 100 if not for some “last minute arm-twisting.” As it turned out, 15 countries didn’t vote at all, opting to “get coffee,” as one African Permanent Representative put it before the vote.
Syria’s Ambassador al-Jaafari exposes a hoax in the Gulf
Syria’s permanent Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said his country regretted the adoption of a biased and unbalanced UN resolution, thanking the countries that rejected the resolution “for their responsible positions which support the UN principles and the international law articles”. He noted that the decrease in the number of countries that voted in favor and the increase of numbers of those who abstained from voting indicates the growing international understanding of the reality of what is happening in Syria due to the foreign interference, support of terrorism, the spread of extremism and incitement besides the refusal of dialogue.
“We rely on the UN and its member states to support Syria and its people against the culture of extremism and terrorism, and to encourage the comprehensive national dialogue to peacefully resolve the Syrian crisis.” he said. In a statement released after the vote on the UN draft resolution on Syria, al-Jaafari He said that the French delegation had foiled the issuance of a number of UN press releases to condemn the terrorist acts committed by al-Qaeda-linked armed groups in Syria which claimed the lives of thousands of Syrians as it foiled a UN release to condemn the attempt of assassination of the Syrian Premier.
After Qatar’s ambassador spoke in favor of the resolution his country drafted (and re-drafted several time), Ja’afari revealed that there existed an e-mail, from the representative of the Syrian opposition given to Syria’s embassy in Qatar, showing Qatar’s involvement in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade. He read out a phone number from the e-mail as several Gulf diplomats grimaced or scowled, and three left the Chamber.
Visibly stunned, the UK Permanent Representative Lyall Grant called the whole matter “deeply confusing”. Another Permanent Representative, from a militia contributing country, said that if true, it’s “very problematic.” The reasons include the fact that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had just thanked Qatar for its roles in the release of the UN Peacekeepers the earlier kidnapping of whom the Qatari government may have planned, paid for and executed.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said he would not disclose any more about the “negotiations to free the peacekeepers or who was behind the crime.”
Score a major diplomatic victory for Syria’s UN Ambassador as public opinion shifts in favor of the Assad government and pressure as well as certain optimism builds in the run-up to the Geneva II conference being organized by the White House and the Kremlin.
My explanation that the sudden appearance of an unprecedented 400 ton short sale of gold on the COMEX in April was a manipulation designed to protect the dollar from the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy has found acceptance among gold investors and hedge fund managers.
The sale was a naked short. The seller had no gold to sell. COMEX reported having gold only equal to about half of the short sale in its vaults, and not all of that was available for delivery. No one but the Federal Reserve could have placed such an order, and the order came from one of the Fed’s bullion banks, one of the entities “too big to fail.”
Bill Kaye of the Greater Asian Hedge Fund in Hong Kong and Dave Kranzler of Golden Returns Capital have filled in the details of how the manipulation worked. Being sophisticated investors of many years of experience, both Kaye and Kranzler understand that the financial press runs with the authorized story planted to serve the agenda that has been put into play.
Institutional investors who have bullion in their portfolio do not want the expense associated with storing it securely. Instead, they buy into Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) and hold their bullion in the form of a paper claim. The largest, the SPDR Gold Trust or GLD, trades on the New York Stock Exchange. The trustee and custodian is a bankster, and only other banksters are able to turn investments into delivery of physical bullion. Only shares in the amount of 100,000 can be redeemed in gold.
The price of bullion is not set in the physical market where individuals take delivery of bullion purchases. It is set in the paper futures market where short selling can drive down the price even if the demand for physical possession is rising. The paper gold market is also the market in which people speculate and leverage their positions, place stop-loss orders, and are subject to margin calls.
When the enormous naked shorts hit the COMEX, stop-loss orders were triggered adding to the sales, and margin calls forced more sales. Investors who were not in on the manipulation lost a lot of money.
The sales of GLD shares are accumulated by the banksters in 100,000 lots and presented to GLD for redemption in gold acquired at the driven down price.
The short sale is leveraged by the stop-loss triggers and margin calls, and results in a profit for the banksters who placed the short sell order. The banksters then profit again as they sell the released gold into the physical market, especially in Asia, where demand has been stimulated by the sharp drop in bullion price and by the loss of confidence in fiat currency. Asian prices are usually at a higher premium above the spot prices in New York-London.
Some readers have said “don’t bet against the Federal Reserve; the manipulation can go on forever.” But can it? As the ETFs such as GLD are drained of gold, their ability to cover any of their obligations to investors diminishes. In my opinion, these ETFs are like a fractional reserve banking system. The claims on gold exceed the amount of gold in the trusts. When the ETFs are looted of their gold by the banksters, the gold price will explode, as the claims on gold will greatly exceed the supply.
Kranzler reports that the current June futures contracts are 12.5 times the amount of deliverable gold. If more than 8 percent of these trades were to demand delivery, COMEX would default. That such a situation is possible indicates the total failure of federal financial regulation.
What the Federal Reserve has done in order to maintain its short-run policy of protecting the “banks too big too fail” is to make the inevitable reckoning more costly for the US economy.
Another irony is the benefactors of the banksters sale of the gold leeched from the gold ETFs. Asia is the beneficiary, especially India and China. The “get out of gold line” of the US financial press enables China to unload its excess supply of dollars, accumulated from the offshored US economy, into the gold market at a suppressed price of gold.
Kranzler points out that not only does the Fed’s manipulation permit Asia to offload US dollars for gold at low prices, but the obvious lack of confidence in the dollar that the manipulation demonstrates has caused wealthy European families to demand delivery of their gold holdings at bullion banks (the bullion banks are essentially the “banks too big to fail”). Kranzler notes that since January 1, more than 400 tons of gold have been drained from COMEX and gold ETF holdings in order to satisfy world demand for physical possession of bullion.
Again we see that institutions of the US government are acting 100% against the interests of US citizens. Just who does the US government represent?
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
Any discussion on liberty presupposes an understanding of human nature. Today, the utter confusion and distorted mindset of humankind, relegates animal instincts, as the premier motivation for salacious existence. The criteria for a cordial civilization have long been “consigned to the dustbins of history“. Standards for civil and moral conduct are debased by a global disintegration to achieve the ‘good’ for the hunt of acting ‘nice’. Polite and pleasant facades are no substitute for truth and meaning. Yet, the heights of evil transactions seem to be hailed routinely, as the only achievement that power hungry sociopaths aspire to impose on the rest of the planet. Never-ending conflict is inherent in the human condition, while the state of liberty is unusual and resides within the character of the ethical spirit.
The spread of international humanism as a social value-system is fundamentally hedonistic. The pretence of caring about humanity by adopting a regulatory anatomical structure of benign coercion has relegated individual dignity to the graves of a universal cemetery. At every turn in the propaganda evangelism cycle, the media masters preach a gospel of fake tolerance and respect, while implementing policies and dictates, based upon hate and oppression.
The confessedly exposed religion of their belief is in a hegemonic demon of worldwide enslavement. The defect in the progressive creed requires the extermination of individualistic sovereignty. The whole, as long as it conforms to the orthodox version of subjugation, requires every unique person, to obey the community master of social welfare.
According to the Barack Hussein Obama II epithet, the epistle of his self-indulgence lecture is offered up as a path to worldly happiness. Mere mortals need to sacrifice their integrity to a demon deity, upon an altar of desolation and abandonment. The devil of state adoration demands mandatory veneration.
Hell on earth is the inevitable result from the elimination of personal liberty. The foundation of civilization rests upon the free will of each mortal and the cement of society is the ability of every person to make independent decisions and accept responsibility for their actions. The principles of the Christian gospel, the sacred heritage of the worth in each person and the traditional values of the golden rule are immutable and indisputable. Even so, the collectivist culture rejects the very core cornerstone that has provided the only intermittent sanctuary from the pillaging of the barbarians.
Even an eastern establishment agent like The Atlantic has to admit the evident in the article, There’s No Room for Civil Liberties in Obama’s Inauguration View of America. Wendy Kaminer uses the erroneous illusion of a difference in a partisan political ideology. “The authoritarian right and egalitarian left meet in the middle on at least one issue: Neither side values the rights of the individual.” Stating the obvious, there is no manifest departure within the communalist system that hates any citizen objections to the supremacy of the State. Ms. Kaminer continues:
“Civil libertarians have been cataloguing and futilely litigating the gross abuses of post-9/11 era for years. They include, but are probably not limited to, summary detention and torture; the prosecution of whistleblowers; surveillance of peaceful protesters; the criminalization of journalism and peaceful human-rights activism; extensive blacklisting that would have been the envy of Joe McCarthy; and secrecy about a shadow legal system that makes the president’s “we the people” trope seem less inspirational than sarcastic.
Precisely because civil libertarians have focused on these abuses, they’re old news — which means that progressives reveling in Obama’s speech can’t claim ignorance of them. When they applaud the president’s “muscular liberalism,” without qualification, they’re effectively applauding his strong-arm security state.
When Obama praised collective action in his address, he wasn’t praising efforts by individuals to organize against government abuses. He was praising organized support for government programs.”
Conversely, concluding that the state is the ultimate enemy of the individual, missing the true lesson of the human experience. The addiction to authoritarian discipline is not motivated primarily out of a fear of reprisals, but more often stems from a desire to belong to a social order. The dread of being labeled an outsider and a social misfit creates more self-imposed compliance, with an acceptable politically correct stance, than the threat of fines or incarceration.
The artificial disposition of public or even interpersonal discourse, illustrates the extent and length people go to avoid asking the most profound questions, much less an attempt to discover answers for social issues. The lack of meaningful dialogue is symptomatic of a terminal disease that strips away the flesh from the bone of a cadaver, awaiting a funeral.
The essence of a reasoned relationship with another person or an entire society must be founded upon a mutual respect and common interest. How can a solitary national bear loyalty to a government that tramples inherent rights, which are ordained by God at birth, not delegated by government fiat?
With the unholy alliance of the corporatist/state fascist economy, the model of a system of psychopathic delusion becomes the official reality. People relish in their self-induced mental illness and celebrate their diminished capacity from accepting their subservient and docile role. Liberty cannot survive when citizenry willingly surrender.
Mark Tapscott makes the case that Individual liberty cannot survive a republic of civic dunces.
“As with so much else, James Madison captures the profoundly serious implications of raising a generation politically crippled by its gross civic ignorance in a single concise statement about the difference between Europe and America: “In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America has set the example … of charters of power granted by liberty.”
If you don’t grasp how Madison’s simple equation makes all the difference in the world in how this country is governed, then you probably don’t understand why liberals and conservatives disagree on just about everything.”
The Obama administration is engaged in the Europeanization of America. Note this transition removes the historic race, ethnic and cultural differences, that created the vibrant civilization, which produced Western thought and social institutions. In its place, a new world order of an ecumenical hierarchy of globalist plutocrats, running a technological prison planet of apes, is in the making.
No liberty exists for anthropoids! Ironically, “the Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago”, applies to the authoritarians that would be King Kong in domain of Dr. Zaius. When George Taylor laments, “YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!’; the fans of the POTUS dictatorship, whoever is in office at the time, deserves their oblivion.Is it so difficult to see the destructive conversion going on in a country that once understood the purpose of the American Revolution? The preachers from the pulpits of press conferences want you to believe that their pronouncements are from on high. The fools, who extend them credibility in the face of official tyranny, much less their acquiescence and submission, are endorsing treason.
Liberty must be defended, not with superior firepower, but with eternal determination. Since the lack of willpower is the critical problem, what would it take to motivate the lethargic minions to take real affirmative action? Pray tell the squeamish dare not get involved. Just the mere thought of offending your overlords, is far too audacious, in a feeble attempt to practice personal self-respect.
The village of the damned is as close as your adjacent neighborhood. Living a life of liberty is too intrepid of a concept for most registered party voters. As the evidence mounts that, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not confined solely to Marxist regimes, but is eminently thriving in the land of the former brave and bold.
The Madisonian framework model of federalism and separation of powers is long dead. Even the appearance of Liberty in public institutions is scorned upon as an affront to the supremacy of state authority. Individual autonomy and specific actions is the principle purpose of the genuine patriot, while the last refuge of the scoundrel is the pledge of allegiance to the admiralty flag.
Since the decline of the original Republic, the chronicle into totalitarianism is nearly complete. Now the gatekeepers of the oligarchy look and act like Dr. Zaius. When he admits that he has always known that human civilization existed long before apes ruled the planet, he really is saying that the nation was once lead by representatives of sovereign individuals and is now ruled by egomaniac tyrants that like to whip their knuckle dragging serfs.The reason the country is doomed lies squarely upon the shoulders of the docile. With the criminalization of society, the faint-hearted demand harsher penalties for anyone, who defies the slave state. Do not just blame the elites sitting on high for all the ills of our national plight. The little people, gaming the system, bear the scarlet letter of shame for their lust of government adoration. As long as the rebellion of courage remains in a stage of limbo, the cowardly primates of Amerika will obey their orders.
The politicians of the western world are coming after your bank accounts. In fact, Cyprus-style “bail-ins” are actually proposed in the new Canadian government budget. When I first heard about this I was quite skeptical, so I went and looked it up for myself. And guess what? It is right there in black and white on pages 144 and 145 of “Economic Action Plan 2013″ which the Harper government has already submitted to the House of Commons. This new budget actually proposes “to implement a ‘bail-in’ regime for systemically important banks” in Canada. “Economic Action Plan 2013″ was submitted on March 21st, which means that this “bail-in regime” was likely being planned long before the crisis in Cyprus ever erupted. So exactly what in the world is going on here? In addition, as you will see below, it is being reported that the European Parliament will soon be voting on a law which would require that large banks be “bailed in” when they fail. In other words, that new law would make Cyprus-style bank account confiscation the law of the land for the entire EU. I can’t even begin to describe how serious all of this is. From now on, when major banks fail they are going to bail them out by grabbing the money that is in your bank accounts. This is going to absolutely shatter faith in the banking system and it is actually going to make it far more likely that we will see major bank failures all over the western world.
What you are about to see absolutely amazed me when I first saw it. The Canadian government is actually proposing that what just happened in Cyprus should be used as a blueprint for future bank failures up in Canada.
The following comes from pages 144 and 145 of “Economic Action Plan 2013″ which you can find right here. Apparently the goal is to find a way to rescue “systemically important banks” without the use of taxpayer funds…
Canada’s large banks are a source of strength for the Canadian economy. Our large banks have become increasingly successful in international markets, creating jobs at home.
The Government also recognizes the need to manage the risks associated with systemically important banks — those banks whose distress or failure could cause a disruption to the financial system and, in turn, negative impacts on the economy. This requires strong prudential oversight and a robust set of options for resolving these institutions without the use of taxpayer funds, in the unlikely event that one becomes non-viable.
So if taxpayer funds will not be used to bail out the banks, how will it be done? Well, the Canadian government is actually proposing that a “bail-in” regime be implemented…
The Government proposes to implement a “bail-in” regime for systemically important banks.This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. This will reduce risks for taxpayers. The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada. Implementation timelines will allow for a smooth transition for affected institutions, investors and other market participants.
So if the banks take extreme risks with their money and lose, “certain bank liabilities” (i.e. deposits) will rapidly be converted into “regulatory capital” and the banks will be saved.
In other words, the banks will just be allowed to grab money directly out of your bank accounts to recapitalize themselves.
That may sound completely and utterly insane to us, but this is how things will now be done all over the western world.
Sometimes a “bail-in” can be done by just converting unsecured debt into equity, but as we just saw in Cyprus, often when there is a major bank failure a lot more money is required to “fix the banks” than can possibly be raised by converting unsecured debt into equity. That is when it becomes very tempting to dip into uninsured back accounts.
In fact, some European politicians are openly admitting as much. According to RT, the European Parliament will soon be voting on a new law which will make Cyprus-style bank account confiscation a permanent part of the solution when major banks fail throughout the EU…
A senior lawmaker told Reuters the Cyprus model may not be an isolated case, and is perhaps a future template in dealing with troubled European banks.
The new template is now likely to turn into a full-scale EU law, letting taxpayers off the hook in case a bail-out is needed, but imposing major losses on bigger savers on a permanent basis.
“You need to be able to do the bail-in as well with deposits,” said Gunnar Hokmark, member of European Parliament, who is leading negotiations with EU countries to finalize a law for winding up problem banks, Reuters reported.
“Deposits below 100,000 euros are protected … deposits above 100,000 euros are not protected and shall be treated as part of the capital that can be bailed in,” Hokmark told Reuters, adding that he was confident a majority of his peers in the parliament backed the idea.
The European Commission has written the draft of the law, which now awaits approval from eurozone member states and the parliament on whether and when it can be implemented. It’s been reported, the law is planned to take effect in the beginning of 2015.
Are you starting to understand?
The other day when I said that “The Global Elite Are Very Clearly Telling Us That They Plan To Raid Our Bank Accounts“, I was not exaggerating.
And for those in Cyprus with deposits of over 100,000 euros, the news just keeps getting worse and worse.
When the crisis first erupted, they were told that 10 percent of all deposits over 100,000 euros would be confiscated.
Then a few days later they were told that it would be 40 percent.
Now, according to the Washington Post, those with deposits over 100,000 euros at the second largest bank in Cyprus may lose as much as80 percent of those deposits…
A deal was finally reached in Brussels with other euro countries and the International Monetary Fund early Monday. The country’s second-largest bank, Laiki, is to be split up, with its healthy assets being absorbed into the Bank of Cyprus. Savers with more 100,000 euros ($129,000) in either Bank of Cyprus and Laiki will face big losses. At Laiki, those could reach as much as 80 percent of amounts above the 100,000 insured limit; those at Bank of Cyprus are expected to be much lower.
Sadly, the truth is that those people will be lucky to ever see any of that money ever again.
How would you feel if someone came along and wiped out your life savings so that banks that took incredibly reckless risks could be bailed out?
Needless to say, a lot of people in Cyprus are very, very angry right now. The following reactions from outraged depositors in Cyprus are from Sky News…
“They have stolen our money,” Milton Loucas told Sky News.
“I have been working for 60 years. I am 80 years old. I cannot work again for my living – they have cut the lot.
“Our money, our social insurance – they have cut them. How are we going to live?”
Another Cypriot, Stelios, came out of the bank empty handed.
“I tried to get my February wages and they gave me a piece of paper only,” he said.
“I have two children in the army and they asked for money – I don’t have money to give them.
“The Government didn’t pay anybody. My old parents didn’t get their pension.”
A lot of people have just had their entire lives turned upside down.
But there were some people that were told ahead of the crisis and were able to get their money out in time.
According to the BBC, foreigners pulled a whopping 18 percent of their money out of Cyprus banks during the month of February alone…
Information from the Central Bank of Cyprus released on Thursday showed that foreign depositors had already withdrawn 18% of their cash from the nation’s banks during February, before the current crisis hit home.
So how did they know to pull their money out and who told them?
In addition, branches of the two largest banks in Cyprus were kept open in Moscow and London even after all of the banks in Cyprus itself were shut down. So wealthy Russians and wealthy Brits have been able to take all of their money out of those banks while the people of Cyprus have been unable to. It is hard to even find the words to describe how unfair that is. The following is from a recent article by Mark J. Grant…
So let us then turn back to Cyprus and see why the Russians are not quite so upset as they were at the beginning of the crisis. The answer to this question is Uniastrum bank which is headquartered in Moscow. Eighty percent (80%) is owned by the Bank of Cyprus. After the crisis began and right up until the capital controls were implemented the bank wasopen for business with no restrictions upon withdrawals. So the crisis began, was all over the Press and the Russian depositors walked into the local bank and withdrew their money from Uniastrum, the Bank of Cyprus, or had it wired in from the other local Cyprus banks and it was then withdrawn. Problem solved!
At the same time Laiki bank and the Bank of Cyprus had operating branches in London. There were no restrictions there either so people could walk into those banks and withdraw their money as well. No restrictions at all right up until the time of the Capital Controls. In the meantime, in Cyprus, people and institutions could not get at their money so the Russians and many British took out their money, closed their accounts while the people in Cyprus were left high and dry.
The wealthy always seem to come out ahead somehow, don’t they?
Meanwhile, those in Cyprus with deposits under 100,000 euros are now dealing with some very stringent capital controls. In other words, there are some very tight restrictions on what they can do with their money. For example, the maximum daily cash withdrawal has been set at 300 euros. The following are some of the other restrictions that are in force right now…
As well as the daily withdrawal limit, Cypriots may not cash cheques.
Payments and/or transfers outside Cyprus via debit and or credit cards are allowed up to 5,000 euros per person per month.
Transactions of 5,000-200,000 euros will be reviewed by a specially established committee, with applications for those over 200,000 euros needing individual approval.
Travellers leaving the country will only be allowed to take 1,000 euros with them.
When the next great wave of the economic collapse strikes, capital controls and bank account confiscation will suddenly become “normal” all over the world.
So get prepared while you still can.
One thing that you can do is make sure that you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket. The following is what Jim Rogers recently told CNBC…
“I, for one, am making sure I don’t have too much money in any one specific bank account anywhere in the world, because now there is a precedent,” he said. “The IMF has said ‘sure, loot the bank accounts’ the EU has said ‘loot the bank accounts’ so you can be sure that other countries when problems come, are going to say, ‘well, it’s condoned by the EU, it’s condoned by the IMF, so let’s do it too.’”
The more places that you have your money, the more difficult it will be for “the powers that be” to loot it.
The global elite are fundamentally changing the game. From now on, no bank account on earth will ever be able to be considered “100% safe” again. This is going to create an atmosphere of fear and panic, and no financial system can operate normally when you destroy the confidence that people have in it.
Confidence is a funny thing – it can take decades to build, but it can be destroyed in a single moment.
None of us will ever be able to have confidence in our bank accounts again, and I fear that the next wave of the economic collapse may be closer than I had first anticipated.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Don’t be surprised when the global elite confiscate money from your bank account one day. They are already very clearly telling you that they are going to do it. Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is the president of the Eurogroup – an organization of eurozone finance ministers that was instrumental in putting together the Cyprus “deal” – and he has said publicly that what has just happened in Cyprus will serve as a blueprint for future bank bailouts. What that means is that when the chips are down, they are going to come after YOUR money. So why should anyone put a large amount of money in the bank at this point? Perhaps you can make one or two percent on your money if you shop around for a really good deal, but there is also a chance that 40 percent (or more) of your money will be confiscated if the bank fails. And considering the fact that there are vast numbers of banks all over the United States and Europe that are teetering on the verge of insolvency, why would anyone want to take such a risk? What the global elite have done is that they have messed around with the fundamental trust that people have in the banking system. In order for any financial system to work, people must have faith in the safety and security of that financial system. People put their money in the bank because they think that it will be safe there. If you take away that feeling of safety, you jeopardize the entire system.
So exactly how did the big banks in Cyprus get into so much trouble? Well, they have been doing exactly what hundreds of other large banks all over the U.S. and Europe have been doing. They have been gambling with our money. In particular, the big banks in Cyprus made huge bets on Greek sovereign debt which ended up failing.
But what happened in Cyprus is just the tip of the iceberg. All over the planet major financial institutions are being incredibly reckless with client money. They are leveraged to the hilt and they have transformed the global financial system into a gigantic casino.
If they win on their bets, they become fabulously wealthy.
If they lose on their bets, they know that the politicians won’t let the banks fail. They know that they will get bailed out one way or another.
And who pays?
Either our tax dollars are used to fund a government-sponsored bailout, or as we have just witnessed in Cyprus, money is directly confiscated from our bank accounts.
And then the game begins again.
People need to understand that the precedent that has just been set in Cyprus is a game changer.
The next time that a major bank fails in Greece or Italy or Spain (or in the United States for that matter), the precedent that has been set in Cyprus will be looked to as a “template” for how to handle the situation.
Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem has even publicly admitted that what just happened in Cyprus will serve as a model for future bank bailouts. Just check out what he said a few days ago…
“If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be ‘Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?’. If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders”
Dijsselbloem insists that this will cause people “to think about the risks” before they put their money somewhere…
“It will force all financial institutions, as well as investors, to think about the risks they are taking on because they will now have to realise that it may also hurt them. The risks might come towards them.”
Well, as depositors in Cyprus just found out, there is a risk that you could lose 40 percent (and that is the best case scenario) of your money if you put it in the bank.
Why would anyone want to take that risk – especially in a nation that is already experiencing very serious financial troubles such as Greece, Italy or Spain?
As if that was not enough, Dijsselbloem later went in front of the Dutch parliament and publicly defended a wealth tax like the one that was just imposed in Cyprus.
Dijsselbloem is being widely criticized, and rightfully so. But at least he is being more honest that many other politicians. His predecessor as the head of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, once said that “you have to lie” to the people in order to keep the financial markets calm…
Mr. Dijsselbloem’s style contrasts with that of his predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister, who spoke in a low mumble at news conferences and was expert at sidestepping questions. Mr. Juncker once even advocated lying as a way to prevent financial markets from panicking—as they did Monday after Mr. Dijsselbloem’s comments.
“When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” Mr. Juncker said in April 2011. “If you have pre-indicated possible decisions, you are feeding speculation in the financial markets.”
But Dijsselbloem is certainly not the only one among the global elite that is admitting what is coming next. Just check out what Joerg Kraemer, the chief economist at Commerzbank, recently told Handelsblatt about what he believes should be done in Italy…
“A tax rate of 15 percent on financial assets would probably be enough to push the Italian government debt to below the critical level of 100 percent of gross domestic product”
They are telling us what they plan to do.
They are telling us that they plan to raid all of our bank accounts when the global financial system fails.
And calling it a “haircut” does not change the fact of what it really is. The truth is that when they confiscate money from our bank accounts it is outright theft. Just check out what the Daily Mail had to say about the situation in Cyprus…
People who rob old ladies in the street, or hold up security vans, are branded as thieves. Yet when Germany presides over a heist of billions of pounds from private savers’ Cyprus bank accounts, to ‘save the euro’ for the hundredth time, this is claimed as high statesmanship.
It is nothing of the sort. The deal to secure a €10 billion German bailout of the bankrupt Mediterranean island is one of the nastiest and most immoral political acts of modern times.
It has struck fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions of European citizens, because it establishes a dire precedent.
And when you cause paralysis in the banking system, a once thriving economy can freeze up almost overnight. The following is an excerpt from a report from someone that is actually living over in Cyprus…
As it stands now, nowhere in Cyprus accepts credit or debit cards anymore for fear of not being paid, it is CASH ONLY. Businesses have stopped functioning because they cannot pay employees OR pay for the stock they receive because the banks are closed. If the banks remain closed, the economy will be destroyed and STOP COMPLETELY. Looting, robberies and theft are already on the rise. If the banks open now, there will be a massive run on the bank, and the banks will FAIL loosing all of its deposits, also causing an economic crash. TONIGHT there are demonstrations at most street corners and especially at the parliament building (just 2 miles from me).
Many are thinking that the ECB and EU are allowing Cyprus to fail as a test ground for new financial standards.
Just wanted all you guys to know the real story of whats going on here. Prayers are appreciated (although this is very interesting to watch) many of my local friends have lots of money in the banks.
Would similar things happen in the United States if there was a major banking crisis someday?
That is something to think about.
In any event, the problems in the rest of Europe continue to get even worse…
-The stock market in Greece is crashing. It is down by more than 10 percent over the past two days.
-The stock markets in Italy and Spain are experiencing huge declines as well. Banking stocks are being hit particularly hard.
-The Bank of Spain says that the Spanish economy will sink even deeper into recession this year.
-The latest numbers from the Spanish government show that Spain’s debt problem is rapidly getting worse…
“The central government’s interest bill surged 15 percent last year to 26 billion euros, while tax receipts slumped 21 percent. The cost of servicing debt represented 30 percent of the taxes collected at the end of December, up from 20 percent a year earlier.”
-The euro took quite a tumble on Thursday and the euro will likely continue to decline steadily in the weeks and months to come.
For a very long time I have been warning that the next major wave of the economic collapse is going to originate in Europe.
Hopefully people are starting to see what I am talking about.
As this point, the major banks in Europe are leveraged about 26 to 1, and that is close to the kind of leverage that Lehman Brothers had when it finally collapsed. As a whole, European banks are drowning in debt, they are taking risks that are almost incomprehensible and now faith in those banks has been greatly undermined by what has happened in Cyprus.
Anyone that cannot see a crisis coming in Europe simply does not understand the financial world. A moment of reckoning is rapidly approaching for Europe. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
At the end of the day, the reason Europe hasn’t been fixed is because CAPITAL SIMPLY ISN’T THERE. Europe and its alleged backstops are out of money. This includes Germany, the ECB and the mega-bailout funds such as the ESM.
Germany has already committed to bailouts that equal 5% of its GDP. The single largest transfer payment ever made by one country to another was the Marshall Plan in which the US transferred an amount equal to 5% of its GDP. Germany WILL NOT exceed this. So don’t count on more money from Germany.
The ECB is chock full of garbage debts which have been pledged as collateral for loans. If anyone of significance defaults in Europe, the ECB is insolvent. Sure it can print more money, but once the BIG collateral call hits, money printing is useless because the amount of money the ECB would have to print would implode the system.
And then of course there are the mega bailout funds such as the ESM. The only problem here is that Spain and Italy make up 30% of the ESM’s supposed “funding.” That’s right, nearly one third of the mega-bailout fund’s capital will come from countries that are bankrupt themselves.
What could go wrong?
Right now, close to half of all money that is on deposit at banks in Europe is uninsured. As people move that uninsured money out of the banks, the amount of money that will be required to “fix the banks” will go up even higher.
It would be wise to try to avoid the big banks at this point – especially those with very large exposure to derivatives. Any financial institution that uses customer money to make reckless bets is not to be trusted.
If you can find a small local bank or credit union to do business with you will probably be better off.
And don’t think that this kind of thing can never happen in the United States.
One of the key players that was pushing the idea of a “wealth tax” in Cyprus was the IMF. And everyone knows that the IMF is heavily dominated by the United States. In fact, the headquarters of the IMF is located right in the heart of Washington D.C. not too far from the White House. When I worked in D.C. I would walk by the IMF headquarters quite a bit.
So if the United States thought that confiscating money from bank accounts was a great idea in Cyprus, why wouldn’t they implement such a thing here under similar circumstances?
The global elite are telling us what they plan to do, and the game has dramatically changed.
Move your money while you still can.
Unfortunately, it is already too late for the people of Cyprus.
Source: The Economic Collapse
One variant of a well-known law of bureaucracy says that the amount of time spent discussing a budgetary decision is inversely proportional to the magnitude of the budget in question. Judging by what I witnessed on March 20 at the European Parliament—at the Committee on Budgets’ hearing on the “Financing of the Eastern Partnership”—the Brussels machine functions entirely in accordance with this adage.
The money involved is substantial: 2.8 billion euros ($3.6 billion) over 5 years. The project’s stated purpose is to promote “shared values”—democracy, human rights and the rule of law—in six former Soviet states deemed to be of “strategic importance” to the European Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, andUkraine. Promoting the principles of market economy, sustainable development, civic society and “good governance” is also among the objectives.
In their opening remarks, the officials involved in running the Eastern Partnership Program were self-congratulatory about its alleged achievements. That much was to be expected: lots of sinecures, cushy jobs and expense-padded missions can be extracted from a few billion. Nevertheless, the entire construct’s numerous problems and shortcomings could not be concealed:
- Conceptually, there is no clear consensus within the EU on what exactly it is trying to promote in its eastern neighborhood under the bombastic slogans of “shared values, collective norms and joint ownership.” What does it all mean, if anything, in the real world?
- Empirically, the program has followed, and still follows, a “top-down” approach of deciding in Brussels what are the goals, then telling the eastern “partners” what they need to do, and finally rewarding them accordingly—rather than developing genuine partnerships based on those countries’ real needs and attainable objectives.
- Managerially, in order for the funds allocated to the “Partnership” to be optimally utilized, they would require elaborate apparatuses of deployment, supervision and evaluation. On the basis of the presentations last Wednesday, it is clear that the EU has neither the institutional mechanisms nor the supervisory bodies capable of insuring that this is the case.
- Substantially, the elephant in the room was the issue of EU enlargement—or, rather, the extreme unlikelihood of further enlargement after Croatia’s accession next July. Without the realistic prospect of an eventual path to full membership, the EU lacks meaningful leverage over the political elites in the six eastern countries to make them change their ways.
Far from being addressed, these problems are bypassed by the tendency of the EU bureaucracy to close its eyes to the reality on the ground in the countries concerned—or, worse, still, to misrepresent that reality for reasons of institutional self-preservations. The result, to put it succinctly, is that billions of European taxpayers’ cash are poured into a bottomless pit of post-Soviet corruption, graft, and pork-barrel politics. “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us,” went the old Soviet joke. Its modern-day “Eastern” equivalent should be “We pretend to reform, and they pretend that we are doing a good job.” Instead of being properly perceived as part of the problem, terminally corrupt political “elites” are treated as partners in finding solutions.
Moldova is the prime example. On per-capita basis, this backwater squeezed between Romania and Ukraine—the poorest country in Europe—has received far more money than the other five “partners,” and the EU pretends that its objectives are being met. While I was at the European Parliament, the European Commission presented its own regional report on the implementation of the Eastern Partnership. It asserted that “significant progress was made in the implementation of the Eastern Partnership” and singled out Moldova for “showing significant progress,” “stepping up efforts to implement judicial and law enforcement reform,” and “continuing to implement reforms in the areas of social assistance, health and education, energy, competition, state aid and regulatory approximation to the EU acquis.” Moldova’s government was asked to “continue to vigorously advance reforms in the justice and law enforcement systems” as well as intensify the fight against corruption.
This is surreal, on par with the Soviet Communist Party congresses exalting the great and glorious achievements of socialism in the years of terminal decline under Brezhnev. In reality, Moldova is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, according to independent analysts, who also claim that the majority of EU assistance is being misused by local officials. The Warsaw-based EaP Institute warns that the EU is devoting considerable sums to Moldova for very little return in terms of progress in the country’s reform process: “It begs the question: Why is the EU throwing money like this at a black hole of corruption, when there is so much to do in the EU’s own member states?”
It does, indeed. Moldova has already received some €482m from the EU Eastern Partnership, which is about 110 euros ($145) for every man, woman and child in the dirt-poor country—the equivalent of an average two-weekly wage. Nobody knows for certain where it went, but we have a fair idea. Recent opinion polls say that the majority of citizens of Moldova consider their current coalition government as “totally corrupt.” According to the Transparency International 2012 report, Moldova is among the most corrupt places in Europe, with Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia topping the list. But the EU says it is doing well, because an unhealthy symbiotic relationship has been developed between the unelected and mostly unaccountable bureaucrats managing enormous funds earmarked for nebulous purposes and their foreign “clients” who gloat at the mouth-watering prospect of placing a major portion of those funds into their own pockets.
After last Wednesday’s introductory presentations, several experts and members of European Parliament (MEPs) expressed misgivings about the Eastern Partnership policy. Olaf Osica, director of the centre for eastern studies in Warsaw, declared that “in four years the policy had failed to produce any tangible political or social results.” A prominent Polish MEP and former senior government minister, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, said the entire edifice should be “completely revised”:
There are a whole multitude of projects which, as we have heard at the hearing, no one seems able to follow or understand… What we are doing is creating the illusion that the EU is helping to transform these eastern European countries when, in fact, the naked truth is that the EU is losing its eastern neighbors. What is actually needed is for the EU—and that means both the Commission and Parliament—to totally revise and revisit its Eastern Partnership policy.
All this was in stark contrast to the earlier assurances by senior officials that the current picture was “confused,” but the EU was nevertheless “doing quite well” in addressing concerns about the transparency and accountability of its funding for the six countries (Marcus Cornaro); or that the EU was determined to push ahead with closer cooperation with those countries that have “demonstrated a commitment to the reform process” (Richard Tibbels).
The lenient attitude of EU officials regarding the patchy record of their “Eastern partners” on corruption, democratisation, and the rule of law is in stark contrast with the ever-moving goal posts for a half-dozen aspiring EU members in the Western Balkans. None of them will join the EU for a decade at least, of course, and a realistic reassessment of their political and economic policies is long overdue. The EU is in a state of chronic institutional and financial crisis, and trying to get on board at this point is equal to betting on Romney last November 5. Alternatives do exist, but they call for the cold-blooded diversification of long-term strategies. Belgrade and Kiev in particular should take note.
Contrary to popular belief, Brussels is not the only major European capital which is away from the seacoast as well as devoid of a river. The Senne is a far cry from the similar-sounding Seine further south, however: it is a nasty, brutish, mercifully short waterway. By the mid-1800’s it had become so putrid and unstable that the city elders decided to cover it—the massive project was known as the voûtement de la Senne—and to build boulevards and public edifices on top. The city did not gain much in charm, but its denizens’ life expectancy was instantly improved. (Whether living a long life in Belgium’s capital is a blessing or a curse is a separate issue.)
There is an equally nasty but infinitely more brutish monstrosity in today’s Brussels that cannot be dealt with so neatly. The European Union today is like the “Socialist Community” under Leonid Brezhnev in his dotage: totalitarian yet inefficient, glorified by its self-serving nomenklatura yet unloved by its subjects, devoid of any unifying ideology beyond the worn-out phrases and platitudes parroted by the absurd men and repulsive women in dull suits.
For the reality of this “United Europe,” as it is today, let us be dryly empirical for a moment and look at a few EU-related news items reported on one day—Thursday, March 14, 2013:
- EU leaders gathered in Brussels for a two-day summit in an attempt to negotiate the dilemma between austerity and growth. Thousands of protestors from all over the 27 member nations converged outside the EU HQ.
- Eurozone employment dropped by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the third, despite the Christmas shopping season. Experts say the unemployment rate will remain above 11% until early 2018.
- European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi says that “generally unsatisfactory economic developments in Europe” will improve in the course of 2013, but only if governments implement austerity measures and structural reforms. His fellow-Eurocrat, EU-appointed Italian prime minister Mario Monti, nevertheless says he will have to ask his EU partners to grant Italy more “flexibility” in its budget deficit reduction targets.
- The troika of international lenders—the EU, the ECB, and the IMF—left Greece without resolving a dispute with the government in Athens over further budgetary cuts. In the meantime, Greek shipyard workers protested outside the development ministry and hundreds of Greek students blocked up the education ministry to protest cuts resulting from EU-imposed austerity measures.Unemployment in Greece is 26%, up from 24.8% in the third quarter of 2012. Among under-24’s it is 57.8%. The percentage of unemployed Greeks who have been looking for a job for more than one year is 65.3%.
- In Spain, eviction proceedings against defaulters have soared since 2007 to 450,000. The number of repossessions ending in evictions increased by 135% in 2012 from the year before, indicating worsening trends. Spanish retail sales dropped 10.2% in the year to January, continuing the decline of the past 31 months.
- Cyprus bailout talks are crucial to next stage of crisis, but deep divisions remain over how to manage a bailout. Without a cut in the €17bn cost, Cypriot sovereign debt will reach 145% of GDP, by far the highest in the eurozone except for Greece.
- President François Hollande has said that France won’t be able to cut the public deficit to the EU limit of 3% of GDP this year; it was more likely to reach 3.7%. Amazingly, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble subsequently corrected Hollande, saying not that he “hoped,” or “expected,” but that he was “sure that France would, like us, respect the rules” on the public deficit. (Perhaps Herr Schäuble knows a thing or two about France’s future finance policy that Monsieur le Président de la République does not!)
- Germany, meanwhile, smugly claims that its finances are the model for all humanity. Its 2014 budget plans, revealed on March 13, show the structural deficit dropping to zero. “With all modesty [sic!], this is a result of historic proportions,” economy minister Philipp Rösler declared on that occasion. “Germany is in the vanguard in Europe. Our success with a policy of growth-oriented consolidation is the envy of the world.” Ach, modesty—the quintessential German weakness…
This is but a quick selection on a randomly selected day—the day of this writing. The tenor and substance have not changed much in recent months and years; and things will likely change for worse—OK, with that oneenviable exception, perhaps—in the months and years ahead.
Unsurprisingly, anti-EU feeling is escalating all over the continent. On March 1, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party was beaten into third place in the Eastleigh by-election, in southern England, by a party that wants Britain to leave the EU. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) supporters were once described by Cameron as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”—but they accounted for 28 percent of the vote in the traditionally Tory constituency. UKIP leader Nigel Farage declared the vote “a protest against an entire political class.” Under pressure from UKIP, Cameron had earlier promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017 if he wins the next election, but many British Euro-skeptics see this as a mere ploy to deflect the threat from UKIP.
Marine Le Pen, who finished third in the French presidential election, also demands a referendum on France’s membership. On Mach 3 she declared that the FN wants France to leave the EU unless four reforms are agreed: the return to the franc; the abolition of the Schengen single-borderarea; the primacy of France’s economic interests over “Europe’s”; and the primacy of national law over EU law. Otherwise, Le Pen has promised to transform the European elections a year from now into a referendum for or against Europe. Having polled 18% of the vote in the presidential election last year, Mlle Le Pen has a solid base to build upon.
In Italy, two anti-austerity, anti-euro parties—led by Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo—captured over half the vote and paralyzed the political system. Berlusconi returned from the dead to take just over 29% of the vote, less than one half of one percentage point behind the first-placed Center-Left. Newcomer Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S, Five Star Movement), entirely created via the web outside the traditional party system, took just over 25% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies—and demolished Italy’s balance of political forces. Pro-EU Monti’s coalition came fourth with a paltry ten percent.
Even in Germany, the apparent hegemon, there is little popular enthusiasm for the Euro-project. The recently-founded Alternative for Germany (AfD) is not even a political party yet, but expects to be a serious player come federal elections on September 22. It demands dissolution of the “coercive euro association,” an orderly end of the monetary union, and a referendum to decide if “the Basic Law, the best constitution that Germany ever had,” was violated to allow the transfer of sovereignty to the EU. Dr. Bernd Lucke—the AfD co-founder, economics professor and a life-long CDU supporter until he turned against Merkel in 2011 over her bailout policies—is adamant that Germany “has a government that has failed to comply with the law… and has blatantly broken the word that it had given to the German people.” With 14,000 paid members thus far, the AfD is respectable and distinctly upper-middle-class, with a higher concentration of PhDs than any party. Among its early supporters is Hans-Olaf Henkel, ex-president of the Federation of German Industry representing 100,000 businesses. Let it be added that as of now 26% of Germans say they would consider voting for a party committed to leaving the monetary union.
It will be a tough fight. Political, media and cultural elites in the leading countries of the Union are overwhelmingly pro-EU, pro-euro, pro-immigration, and vehemently opposed to any sign of national or ethno-linguistic coherence. If those elites have their way, there will be many more “Europeans” by the end of this century than today—some atheist, but mostly Muslim; some black, but mostly brown—but there will be precious few great-grandchildren of Europeans. The native populations are aborting and birth-controlling themselves into minorities. If Euro-elites have their way, disused churches will be converted into teeming mosques. Just over a decade ago, they refused to acknowledge Christian heritage as an element of European identity—but today they insist Islam is essential to that identity. Brussels rejects the notion that Europeans are defined by blood ties, collective memories, emotional bonds, culture, and kinship. Instead, “Europe” marches along the path of “civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived… to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world…”
This is the mindset of 1792 and 1917 all over again. Its derivative expressions are foreseeable. The EU relentlessly encourages abortion, sexual deviancy, and population replacement as “basic human rights.” Its political process means the manufacture of ideologically correct outcomes as defined by the unelected Brussels machine, before the quasi-democratic machine of the European Parliament and the member countries’ institutions are set in motion. The preamble of the EU Charter on Human Rights claims to be “based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law” (implying the two were not in conflict), and concludes that “Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibilities and duties with regard to other persons, to the human community and to future generations.” Those rights are naturally demarcated by those who reserve the right to decide what exactly one’s obligations to “the human community” and “future generation” happen to be.
The true meaning of “the rule of law” is defined by the European Arrest Warrant, a hideous device created by the Lisbon Treaty, under which any citizen of a member country—or even a visitor from outside the Union—is liable to arrest and extradition at the behest of a judge in any other EU member country, under one of 32 categories of “crime.” Those offenses include murder, terrorism, as well as “racism and xenophobia.” The EU thus came to equate beliefs, opinions and sentiments with the worst of actual crimes, in the best tradition of Soviet and Nazi jurisprudence.
The workings of the machine are mainly in the hands of the European Commission (EC), whose members are appointed by the 27 prime ministers who make up the Council. The EC has the authority to create and impose policies, but it cannot be removed or held accountable by any electorate. Its duty is to uphold the interests of the Union as such: its members swear that they will discard any vestige of loyalty to any nation. The only EU institution that has any claim to democratic credentials is the European Parliament, the least powerful of the three key bodies.
How and why did the monstrosity get this way? Gradually at first, with a great deal of patience and cunning exercised by its visionary creators. In 1945 Western Europe was in ruins, a shadow of what it had been only four decades previously. The old, pre-1914 balance-of-power system had collapsed, and the interwar mechanisms of collective security were neither collective nor secure. The beginnings were seemingly pragmatic: the 1951 European Coal and Steel Community—as engineered by Robert Schuman—seemed like a sound idea, a plus-sum-game if there ever was one. But the upholders of Euro-federalism had a bigger fish to fry. From the outset they held that a sense of common history had to be developed, as well as a sense of an existing and growing common identity, to complement those early economic integration mechanisms. As Jean Monnet, the father of the project (and, significantly, a man never elected to a public office), admitted six decades ago, “Europe has never existed; one has genuinely to create Europe.”
Monnet and his disciples had a long way to go. The initial ideological basis for the project was de Gaulle’s distinctly non-federalist vision of l’Europe des patries. A concert of nation-states, brought together by a common interest, would seek the withering away of their old hostilities—with France and Germany leading the way—but all of them would retain their substance and identity regardless of the institutional arrangement. This was the “Europe” of the Six, a logical heir to the pragmatic Coal and Steel Community. Euro-integralists—notably Belgium’s prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak and Monnet himself—nevertheless kept their powder dry for a more opportune moment when the European Economic Community might be steered in the direction of a political union. De Gaulle and his immediate successor, Georges Pompidou, did not want that; and until the early 1970’s the institutional framework remained essentially the same.
Then came the notion of Europe’s unity in diversity, the reverse of the Europe of the Fatherlands. (In 2000 In varietate concordia was adopted as the official motto of the European Union.) The new concept coincided with the European Community’s expansion to the Nine, then to the Twelve. Its proponents claimed that Europe was not only a mosaic of cultures but an organic whole. The implication that this whole required a single source of decision-making authority gave rise to the method of European integration Monnet had advocated from the outset: a series of gradual yet regular transfers of small slices of national sovereignty—in ostensibly technical areas—from national capitals to Brussels. The Community apparat made a quantum leap toward this goal with the Single European Act (SEA, July 1987). It was a thorough revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, but in the direction of a super-authority rather than a superstate.
The distinction is essential. The standard Eurosceptic accusation that the Brussels machine is plotting the creation of a single federal state is incorrect. The people who run the Brussels machine have never wanted the end result to be a superstate modeled after the United States. In the context of pan-European federal statehood they would be held more accountable and would come under far greater public scrutiny than if they remained faceless and continued to operate from the corridors of the monstrous EU HQ at Barleymont. The strategy was for the states to be drained gradually of statehood and their power transferred to Brussels, but without the unwelcome trappings and limitations of statehood itself. Its guiding spirit was then-Commission PresidentJacques Delors, a French Socialist. From the SEA on, the EU became—in the words of British MEP Roger Helmer—“a slow-motion coup d’etat.” In addition to the creation of the eurozone 12 years ago, which has grown to 17 member-states since, the Schengen Agreement (1990), the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the Amsterdam Treaty (1998), the Treaty of Nice (2000), and the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) have transferred vast powers from national capitals to Brussels.
The era of Delors coincided with the rise of the Generation of 1968 to the positions of power. The activists had cut their hair, put on suits and ties, and discovered that it was more fruitful and comfortable to take the Gramscian long road through the institutions than to blow them up. The veterans of the hard-left era, like Catherine Ashton and Jose Manuel Barroso, still subscribe to the concept of permanent revolution, but it is wrapped into the open-ended evolution of the EU that they now control. The result is a European Union in a state of indeterminacy and permanent flux, a postmodern edifice within which the meaning of sovereignty is relativized and the separation of foreign and domestic policies blurred to the point of interchangeability. What all of these Euro-enthusiasts share—as John Laughland has noted—is a love of indeterminacy and permanent change, and a hostility to what they regard as inadequate, old-fashioned, and simplistic certainties of classical sovereign statehood.
Far from being the “capital of Europe,” Brussels is the regional HQ of the post-Christian anti-Europe, just as Washington DC has morphed into the global HQ of the same project. The goals of the project managers are the same because their degenerate minds are the same. They cannot be shamed into changing their ways through arguments or defeated through the ballot box any more than a malignant cancer can be arrested with aspirin. A stronger medicine is needed.
To paraphrase a bad man from a time much better than our own, écrasez l’infâme!
Throughout the colorful history of organized crime in the United States, periodic eruptions of inter-gang Mafia violence have dotted the criminal landscape. When turf wars broke out between competing crime families in major cities such as New York and Chicago, the combatants would conduct their warfare from unsavory redoubts such as abandoned warehouses or low-rent hotels and apartments. In such locations, the soldiers would spend their off hours sleeping on rented mattresses until the internecine conflicts had run their course; hence the expression “going to the mattresses.”
Well, there is another turf war going on, a worldwide one, one that threatens the entire economic and political landscape of the planet. It is between all the hard working savers on the planet and the ever greedy criminal bankers and their cohorts in government. The real big canary singing out an extreme danger warning to all traditional savers who wish to entrust their wealth to banks and other paper vehicles – stocks, bonds, etc., is the incredible emergency banking shutdown in the tiny island nation of Cyprus. Granted, Cyprus represents only .02% of the population of the European Union. Yet what is occurring there is the harbinger of great risk to traditional savers on every continent; and equally important, there are many more scary danger signs raising their ugly heads as well.
To recap for a moment, let’s briefly itemize the situation in Cyprus. Cyprus, like just about every other country on the planet, has for decades been politically committed to a socialist based economy. In this scenario, politicians have promised benefits to the various voting classes which have far exceeded their annual tax revenue. This has caused its government to continually accumulate deficits that have resulted in a very large national debt in relation to its GDP. This debt has been collateralized by sovereign bonds sold to and purchased by large banks in Europe and elsewhere. Now this debt has become so large the government of Cyprus can no longer afford to pay even the interest, let alone reduce principal. What happens at this juncture, is that a powerful international banking institution, in this case, the European Central Bank (substitute your favorite lender of last resort – the Federal Reserve, the IMF, the World Bank, etc., etc.), has agreed to come to the rescue of the cash strapped government and help it make its current annual debt payment.
However, this emergency funding comes with a draconian penalty for the trusting taxpaying savers. In this instance, the European Central Bank has cut a secret deal with the Cypriot government to raid the bank accounts of all the country’s bank depositors, between six and ten percent. This proposed robbery, if it comes to pass, will confiscate billions from citizens and non-citizens alike who have placed their trust in the security of Cyprus’s banks. What has resulted, of course, is riotous response throughout the nation and frantic sell-offs in world equity markets.
What is important to understand here, though, is that this same game plan has been occurring for several years now in many countries throughout the world. Here is the short list of some of the transgressions that unscrupulous governments, under pressure from their major bank lenders, have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate upon unsuspecting savers.
October 2008 – Argentina’s leftist government, facing a gigantic revenue shortfall, proposes to nationalize all private pensions so as to meet national debt payments and avoid its second default in the decade.
November 2010 – Headline – Hungary Gives Its Citizens an Ultimatum: Move Your Private Pension Fund Assets to the State or Permanently Lose Your Pension – This is an effective nationalization of all pensions.
November 2010 – Ireland elects to appropriate ten billion euros from its National Pension Reserve Fund to help fund an eighty-five billion euro rescue package for its besieged banks. Ireland also moves to consider a regulatory move that compels some private Irish pension funds to hold more Irish government debt, thereby providing the state with a captive investor base but hugely raising the risk for savers.
December 2010 – France agrees to transfer twenty billion euros worth of assets belonging to its Fonds de Reserve pour les Retraites (FRR), the funded portion of its retirement system, to help pay off recurring social benefits costs. No pensioners are consulted.
April 2012 – Argentina announces that its Economy Ministry has taken an emergency loan from the national pension fund in the amount of $4.3 billion. No pensioners were consulted.
June 2012 – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unilaterally appropriates $45 billion from US federal pension funds to help tide over US deficits for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.
January 2013 – Treasury Secretary Geithner again announces that the government has begun borrowing from the federal employees pension fund to keep operating without passing the approaching “fiscal cliff” debt limit. The move effectively creates $156 billion in borrowing authority from federal pension funds.
March 2013 – Open Bank Resolution finance minister, Bill English, is proposing a Cyprus style solution for potential New Zealand bank failures. The reserve bank is in the final stages of establishing a rescue scheme which will put all bank depositors on the hook for bailing out their banks. Depositors will overnight have their savings shaved by the amount needed to keep distressed banks afloat.
Ladies and gentlemen, this trend is JUST getting underway. Bank failures, sovereign bond collapses, and national government bankruptcy are just around the corner. Because of the interconnectedness of world debt markets and derivatives risk, counted in hundreds of trillions of dollars, the risk to traditional investment vehicles looms ever closer. We’re at critical eleventh hour crossroads where savvy investors need to head for “the mattresses” to protect their life savings. We may be biased but we strongly feel that the very surest and safest “mattress plan” in this extremely dangerous financial environment, is to invest in the one vehicle that has survived every crisis in recorded history, precious metals. When all else fails, gold and silver will be there to save you.
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Why is the global economy in so much trouble? How can so many people be so absolutely certain that the world financial system is going to crash? Well, the truth is that when you take a look at the cold, hard numbers it is not difficult to see why the global financial pyramid scheme is destined to fail. In the United States today, there is approximately 56 trillion dollars of total debt in our financial system, but there is only about 9 trillion dollars in our bank accounts. So you could take every single penny out of the banks, multiply it by six, and you still would not have enough money to pay off all of our debts. Overall, there is about 190 trillion dollars of total debt on the planet. But global GDP is only about 70 trillion dollars. And the total notional value of all derivatives around the globe is somewhere between 600 trillion and 1500 trillion dollars. So we have a gigantic problem on our hands. The global financial system is a very shaky house of cards that has been constructed on a foundation of debt, leverage and incredibly risky derivatives. We are living in the greatest financial bubble in world history, and it isn’t going to take much to topple the entire thing. And when it falls, it is going to be the largest financial disaster in the history of the planet.
The global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, and a crisis at one major bank or in one area of the world can spread at lightning speed. As I wrote about yesterday, the entire European banking system is leveraged 26 to 1 at this point. A decline in asset values of just 4 percent would totally wipe out the equity of many of those banks, and once a financial panic begins we could potentially see major financial institutions start to go down like dominoes.
We got a small taste of what that is like back in 2008, and it is inevitable that it will happen again.
Anyone that would tell you that the current global financial system is sustainable does not know what they are talking about. Just look at the numbers that I have posted below.
The following is the global financial pyramid scheme by the numbers…
-$9,283,000,000,000 - The total amount of all bank deposits in the United States. The FDIC has just 25 billion dollars in the deposit insurance fund that is supposed to “guarantee” those deposits. In other words, the ratio of total bank deposits to insurance fund money is more than 371 to 1.
-$10,012,800,000,000 - The total amount of mortgage debt in the United States. As you can see, you could take every penny out of every bank account in America and it still would not cover it.
-$10,409,500,000,000 - The M2 money supply in the United States. This is probably the most commonly used measure of the total amount of money in the U.S. economy.
-$15,094,000,000,000 - U.S. GDP. It is a measure of all economic activity in the United States for a single year.
-$16,749,269,587,407.53 - The size of the U.S. national debt. It has grown by more than 10 trillion dollars over the past ten years.
-$32,000,000,000,000 - The total amount of money that the global elite have stashed in offshore banks (that we know about).
-$50,230,844,000,000 - The total amount of government debt in the world.
-$56,280,790,000,000 - The total amount of debt (government, corporate, consumer, etc.) in the U.S. financial system.
-$61,000,000,000,000 - The combined total assets of the 50 largest banks in the world.
-$70,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of total world GDP.
-$190,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of the total amount of debt in the entire world. It has nearly doubled in size over the past decade.
-$212,525,587,000,000 - According to the U.S. government, this is the notional value of the derivatives that are being held by the top 25 banks in the United States. But those banks only have total assets of about 8.9 trillion dollars combined. In other words, the exposure of our largest banks to derivatives outweighs their total assets by a ratio of about 24 to 1.
-$600,000,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000,000 - The estimates of the total notional value of all global derivatives generally fall within this range. At the high end of the range, the ratio of derivatives to global GDP is more than 21 to 1.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Every single day, the total amount of debt will continue to grow faster than the total amount of money until the day that this bubble bursts.
What we witnessed back in 2008 was just a little “hiccup” in the system. It caused the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but global financial authorities were able to get things stabilized.
Next time it won’t be so easy.
The next wave of the economic collapse is quickly approaching. A full-blown economic depression has already started in southern Europe. Unemployment is at record highs and economic activity is contracting rapidly.
The major offshore banking centers in Cyprus are on the verge of collapsing. It was just announced that they will now be closed until Tuesday, but nobody really knows for sure when they will be allowed to reopen. And there is already talk that when they do reopen that there will be strict limits on how much money people can take out.
And now the IMF is warning that the three biggest banks in Slovenia are failing and that a billion euros will be needed to bail them out.
The dominoes are starting to tumble, and the United States won’t be immune. In fact, the greatest financial problems that the United States has ever seen are on the horizon.
But you can just have faith that Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress know exactly what they are doing and will be able to save us from the coming financial collapse if you want.
The mainstream media will provide you with all of the positive economic news that you could possibly want. They are giddy about the fact that the Dow keeps hitting all-time highs and they would have us all believe that we are in the midst of a robust economic recovery. You can listen to them if you want to.
But when you are tempted to believe that everything is going to be “okay” somehow, just go back and look at the numbers there were posted above one more time.
There is no way that the global financial pyramid scheme is going to be able to hold up for too much longer. At some point it is going to totally collapse. When that happens, will you be ready?
Source: The Economic Collapse
When does banksters’ extortion become outright theft? The latest example and escalation by the placing a levy fee on bank deposits in the tax haven of Cyprus illustrates the bold step of seizing private liquid saving accounts, under the guise of a government tax. The prospects of an all out run on the banking system have jumped tenfold. Essentially, a government is using the power of the state, to steal funds not because of the bankruptcy of a banking institution, but because of a failure of the entire EU financial system. The forbidding precedent of a seizure of individual wealth, by a stroke of a pen, runs contrary to the shrinking confidence in fiduciary trust of cash placed in banking accounts.
The risk of pronounced turmoil in financial markets has just elevated, as the harsh reality of surrendering your economy to the demands of an untenable debt burden dictatorship, is obvious to anyone with a bank account. The savings of a lifetime is now subject to confiscation. The pitiful explanation of Cypriots’ president defends bailout deal, clearly reveals that the globalist financial central bank system is determined to impoverish individual nest eggs.
“President Nicos Anastasiades said Cyprus had little option but to accept the bailout deal, which imposes a levy on the country’s bank deposits – an unprecedented step in the eurozone crisis. Without it, he said, Cyprus’ banking system would have collapsed on Tuesday.Anastasiades said that’s when the European Central Bank would have stopped providing emergency funding to Cyprus’ troubled banks. Such a collapse would have driven the country to bankruptcy and possibly out of the eurozone, he said.”
A departure from the eurozone is a preferable alternative to a bank burglary of your saving account. The interview in, ‘Europe’s Citizens Now Have to Fear for Their Money’ admits the worsening plight of added debt. “The euro-zone partner countries seeking to provide Cyprus with a bailout view the participation of small-scale depositors as a necessary evil. This is because any aid provided by the long-term euro rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), would be added on top of Cyprus’s national debt.”Now the excuse used by the establishment press to soften the blow of systematic larceny points to the Russian Oligarchs Lose Friend In Cyprus Banks, as exoneration for tapping the pocketbooks of shady elements. “Cyprus is known as a hot bed of Russian money laundering.” Well, that justification surely does little to make whole the struggling Cyprus natives that can ill afford the hit.
The video, Cyprus savers- EU bailout prompts run on Cyprus banks, tells a sad tale of financial enslavement.
The article, Russian Ruble, Stocks Nosedive on Cyprus Debt Crisis outlines the initial response to the announcement. “Under the terms of the bailout deal, Cyprus will have to impose a levy of 6.75 percent on deposits of less than 100,000 euros and 9.9 percent on deposits with greater sums. Cypriots reacted with shock and rushed to cash machines to withdraw their savings, but many machines refused to pay out.”
Not long thereafter, The Telegraph newspaper reports on plan B, a feeble attempt to gain legislative support to pass the measures. “The Cypriot government has submitted a draft bill to parliament scrapping a controversial levy on bank deposits up to €20,000, amid calls from its central bank governor and eurozone finance ministers to ramp the exemption threshold up to €100,000.”
The perspective analysis from ZeroHedge warns of the unintentional consequences from this pompous scheme of outright larceny in the essay, Will Russia Kill The Cyprus Bailout?
“As Monument Securities’ Marc Ostwald notes “there’s a 50/50 chance Cypriot bailout fails because of the ‘massive danger’ a large amount of Russian cash flees Cyprus following deposit tax plans.” Russia has ~$60 billion exposure to Cyprus, including loans to companies registered in the country and after the haircut 90% of Russian deposits will still be free to leave the country if the levy is approved.
The critical point is that, should this occur (such a large outflow of Russian cash – dwarfing in fact the size of the bailout package itself) it is hard to see how the Cypriot banking system could survive (even with the assistance of the ECB’s ELA).”
Predictably, Forbes waters down the unprecedented destruction of banking confidence that is so indispensable for the megabanks to rape sovereign nations. The Bailout For Cyprus: A FAQ To The Latest European Financial Crisis, makes it sound that the panic is simply business as usual.
“And here’s the larger picture. Cyprus is badly indebted. Its debt-to-GDP ratio pushed to 127% in the third quarter of 2012, the latest period tabulated by European Union officials. Such high debt reflects Cyprus’ ill financial health. Only Greece (at 153%) has a higher level. The bailout would begin to reduce its debt, sending it back below 100% of GDP within the year.”
So what can be expected in future confiscation of depositor funds? Prepare for the ultimate run on the banks, before the formula from the great vampire squid -Goldman’s Cyprus Post-Post-Mortem: “A Depositor “Bail-In” – And/Or – A Wealth Tax”, is applied on all deposits.
“Despite Cyprus being small, and arguably unique, a depositor in a peripheral bank is likely to ask the obvious question: how likely is a deposit tax for me? The answer to this question, we believe, will differ, depending on the peripheral country where it is asked. But it should, in essence, boil down to two issues: (1) how likely are savings to be bailed-in in any future bank rescues; (2) how likely are savings to emerge as a tax-base for any future wealth taxes?”
The Cyprus banking holiday is the forerunner of an international overt robbery by banksters. The biblical relief of a Jubilee, that writes down and forgives debt, is desperately required to end the financial slavery to the shylock swindlers. The centralization of global banking has an inevitable financial collapse as the end game. Today Cyprus, Tomorrow the World.
The Cypriot vote to reject the savings tax gives a short breather to a situation that only a breakup of the EU can resolve.
The head of the New York Fed wants Congress to grant the Central Bank extraordinary new powers to deal with future financial system emergencies like the bank run that followed Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008. Here’s the story from the New York Times:
“[William] Dudley’s concern is about a little-noticed piece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that actually reduced the central bank’s authority in one crucial area: its ability to provide emergency funding to strapped financial firms.
The Fed arrested the 2008 financial crisis by using this authority to create a series of unprecedented programs that offered emergency financing not just to American banks – its traditional flock – but also to foreign banks, and not just to banks but to other kinds of financial companies as well, and indeed to other kinds of companies entirely.” (“Equipping the Fed for a Future Crisis”, New York Times)
It’s true, congress did clip the Fed’s wings after the last great debacle by putting limits on the Fed’s authority to hose down the entire system, regulated or not, with trillions of dollars of taxpayer-funded bailouts. And congress should be applauded for that action, after all, why should the US government underwrite the high-risk trading activities of financial institutions which operate on mere slivers of capital? That’s crazy! If they go bust, tough luck. Here’s more from the Times:
“Congress responded to this performance by making it difficult to repeat. Dodd-Frank imposed new restrictions on the Fed’s ability to make emergency loans, or to keep money flowing, outside the banking industry. One basic reason was that Congress had never really intended to give the Fed such broad power in the first place.” (NYT)
Uh, huh. Is that hard to grasp? TARP was unpopular. The bailouts were unpopular. People don’t like the idea of handing over free money to crooked bankers every time they get themselves into trouble.
The author seems genuinely puzzled by the fact that our democratic system is not supposed to proffer unlimited “power of the purse” to the swinish agents of the robber class at the central bank. The system has gotten so convoluted that journalists cannot even recall earlier times when policy was set by the elected representatives of the people and the banks played a subordinate role. Today, that all sounds like sentimental gibberish about “America’s idyllic past”. Here’s more from the Times:
“Many – myself included – have drawn from the financial crisis the conclusion that government safety nets should be drawn tightly so that only a very few, very tightly regulated firms get as little liquidity support as possible,” Karen Shaw Petrou, a close watcher of financial regulation who drew my attention to Mr. Dudley’s speech, wrote to clients of her firm, Federal Financial Analytics.
A more inclusive policy, she continued, “will open the safety net, wide, wide open to all sorts of actors who, smiling sweetly, will rob us blind.” (NYT)
Ms. Petrou is a dreamer. The Fed does what it wants, when it wants”. It answers to no one, which is why their books still remain closed to public inspection despite the myriad legal challenges to pry them open.
Sure, the Fed will “rob us blind”; that’s their job, isn’t it? Let me jog your memory a bit: Do you remember the Repo 105 scandal? Think back to April 2010 when the New York Fed (which Dudley now heads) was directly involved in a cover up by the nation’s largest banks that were engaged in shady accounting activities to conceal the amount of debt on their balance sheets. According to the Wall Street Journal:
“Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A group of 18 banks….understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42 per cent at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks, which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters.” (“Big Banks Mask Risk Levels”, Kate Kelly, Tom McGinty, Dan Fitzpatrick, Wall Street Journal)
The “repo 105″ flap was further complicated by suspicions that Lehman was assisted in its effort by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which, at the time, was headed by former Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner. Here is a short recap of what transpired between the Geithner’s NY Fed and Lehman according to ex-regulator William Black and former NY governor Eliot Spitzer from an article on Huffington Post:
“The FRBNY [i.e., New York Fed] knew that Lehman was engaged in smoke and mirrors designed to overstate its liquidity and, therefore, was unwilling to lend as much money to Lehman…
The Fed’s behavior made it clear that officials didn’t believe they needed to do more with this information. The FRBNY remained willing to lend to an institution with misleading accounting and neither remedied the accounting nor notified other regulators who may have had the opportunity to do so…… We now know from Valukas and from former Treasury Secretary Paulson that the Treasury and the Fed knew that Lehman was massively overstating its on-book asset values.” (Time for the Truth” William Black and Eliot Spitzer, Huffington Post)
Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism summed it up perfectly at the time:
“The NY Fed, and thus Timothy Geithner, were at a minimum massively derelict in the performance of their duties, and may well be culpable in aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox violations…at a minimum, the NY Fed helped perpetuate a fraud on investors and counterparties. This pattern further suggests the Fed, which by its charter is tasked to promote the safety and soundness of the banking system, instead, via its collusion with Lehman management, operated to protect particular actors to the detriment of the public at large. And most important, it says that the NY Fed, and likely Geithner himself, undermined, perhaps even violated, laws designed to protect investors and markets.” (Naked Capitalism)
Repeat: “Culpable”, “collusion”, “aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox violations.” And these are the guys who want unlimited power to bailout anyone at anytime regardless of the cost?
Don’t make me laugh!
What Dudley really wants is the power to put out the fires which the serial arsonists at the Fed have started with their shabby, easy money policies and “light touch” regulation. They need to get their own house in order before they go asking congress for more favors.
Here’s a novel idea: Why not just fix the system? Why not create regulations that actually work, that increase stability and make the system safer?
Nah, that would cut into profits, so it’s a non-starter. Isn’t that what’s going on here; Dudley’s trying to shrug the costs onto taxpayers so he doesn’t ruffle feathers on Wall Street. It’s all about the bottom line. Here’s more from the Times:
“[Dudley] argued in his recent speech that it would make no sense to draw a line between banks and other kinds of financial firms if both were playing essentially the same role in the broader economy.
Both should be regulated, and both should be backstopped.
“If we believe that these activities provide essential credit intermediation services to the real economy that could not be easily replaced by other forms of intermediation, then the same logic that leads us to backstop commercial banking with a lender of last resort might lead us to backstop the banking activity taking place in the markets in a similar way,” he told the New York Bankers Association.” (NYT)
Hold on there, Dudley; “essential credit intermediation” can mean anything from issuing short-term loans to productive businesses to off-loading dodgy Collateral Debt Obligations (CDOs) to gullible investor groups. Are we going to throw a lifeline to every snakeoil salesman and scamster in the industry?
Yep. That’s the Dudley method. Bail ‘em all out and start over! What’s a few trillion among friends? It’s all funny money anyway, isn’t it? More from the Times:
“Banks and other financial companies increasingly draw money from sources that do not have similar backstops, including the sale of commercial paper to money market funds and complicated arrangements called “triparty repos” that basically allow financial firms to borrow money by pledging assets as collateral.
These are short-term loans that must be renewed regularly, often daily. As a result, panic among investors can almost instantly undermine financial stability, which is exactly what began to happen in 2007: Panic spread, financing disappeared, and the global financial system came perilously close to complete collapse.
There is broad agreement that something should be done to improve the stability of money-market funds and the triparty repo market. So far, nothing much has happened.” (NYT)
This is really rich. The author of this story knows exactly why “nothing much has happened” to make money markets safer. It’s because the big Wall Street banks–who are the Fed’s primary constituents–have fought any changes to the existing system tooth and nail. They don’t give a ratsass whether the markets crash or not. What they care about is boosting quarterly profits so they can add a few zeros onto the Xmas bonus check. Here’s the story from Bloomberg:
“Money-market fund companies have doubled lobbying efforts to convince regulators and lawmakers that they aren’t a threat to the financial system. The money may have been well-spent…
The companies are seeking to block new rules championed by Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro that are headed for a vote before a divided commission as soon as this month…
“If the industry blocks this plan and something else bad happens and people on Main Street lose money, they’ll be kicking themselves for not fixing this,” Douglas W. Diamond, a finance professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said in a telephone interview. “The current structure does potentially have systemic risk, and it’s the kind of thing that could happen very quickly given the situation in Europe.” (“Doubling Down to Block Money Market Reform”, Bloomberg)
And these are the guys that Dudley wants to save, these self-serving miscreants who’re doing everything in their power to make the system more less safe, more unstable, and more crisis-prone?
The reason the money markets are so vulnerable is NOT because there’s no fix, but because the big money is blocking even modest changes to the existing system. Wall Street would rather put the whole system at risk, then lose even one-thin dime in profits.
More from Dudley: “The sheer size of banking functions undertaken outside commercial banking entities – even now, after the crisis – suggests that this issue must not be ignored. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist, or dealing with it only ex post through emergency facilities, cannot be consistent with our financial stability objectives.”
In other words, the Fed has no idea of how leveraged this gigantic, unregulated shadow banking system really is. All they know is that it poses unseen risks that WILL lead to another disaster. So, rather than implement rules that could improve stability–as one might expect from the nation’s chief regulator–Dudley wants a blank check to spend whatever-it-takes to prop up this ghastly system.
Condemned By Every Syllable They Utter…
Tehran — Azadeh, a graduate law student from Tehran University, on the sidelines of Iran’s Third Annual Hollywoodism (www.hollywoodism.orghttp) reminded her interlocutors, of the obvious damming admissions last week by two US politicians:
“It would be a defense lawyer’s worst nightmare wouldn’t it? I mean to have one’s clients, in this case the Vice-President of the United States and the outgoing Secretary of state confess so publicly to serial international crimes against a civilian population?”
The confessions and the crimes, she correctly enumerated to her audience, were those admitted to by US Vice-President Joe Biden and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this past week.
Both of the US officials, in discussing US relations with the Islamic Republic, openly admitted that the US-led sanctions against Iran (and Syria) are politically motivated and constitute a “soft-war” against the nearly 80 million people of Iran (23 million people in Syria) in order to achieve regime change.
Mrs. Clinton, was the first of the dynamic duo to be heard from. She acknowledged that the harsh US sanctions were intended to target and send the people of Iran a message. “So we hope that the Iranian people will make known their concerns… so my message to Iranians is do something about this.”
Some listening concluded she meant food riots and inflation riots to overthrow the Iranian government. An Australian Broadcasting Company interviewer asked Clinton on January 31 of last year: “If you have issues with the government of Iran, why destroy the Iranian people with the current sanctions in place? It’s very difficult to find certain medicines in Iran. Where is your sense of humanity?”
What the Clinton interrogator had in mind, she explained later, were the US-led sanctions reducing Iran’s GDP growth (-1.1% GDP) resulting in an inflation of 21.0% that is being felt mostly by the civilian population. As well as periodic food shortages in the supermarkets of such staples such as rice, there are price rises on everything. For example, per page printing for students is up as much as 400% and the cost of a used car up 300%. In general, supermarket items have risen 100 to 300 percent or higher over the past twenty-four months and, devastating for many, certain lifesaving medicines are no longer available.
Clinton: “Well, first, let me say on the medicine and on food and other necessities, there are no sanctions.” This statement is utter nonsense and Mrs. Clinton knows it.
The targeting process by the US Treasury Department is well entrenched in Washington. When dear reader is next in Washington, DC, perhaps on a tour bus riding down NW Pennsylvania Avenue following a visit to the US Capitol, consider getting off the bus at 15th and Pennsylvania at the US Department of the Treasury. Walk around the main building and you will see an Annex building. This building, as Clinton knows well, and like Biden, has visited more than once, houses the Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC). The well-funded agency’s work includes precisely targeting “food and medicines and other necessities” in order to force the civilian population of Iran to achieve regime change.
For more than two hundred years, since the War of 1812, when OFAC was founded to sanction the British, the office has become expert at imposing sanctions and it has done so more than 2000 times. OFAC currently uses a large team of specialists and computers to think-up, design, test, and send to AIPAC and certain pro-Zionist officials and members of congress their work-product topped off by recommendations.
OFAC and its Treasury Department associates have had a hand in virtually every US sanction applied to Iran since President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12170 in November 1979 freezing about $12 billion in Iranian assets, including bank deposits, gold and other properties. From the State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act in 1979 to the Syria Accountability Act of 2004, more than a dozen Presidential Executive Orders including the 2011-2012 Executive orders which froze the US property of high-rankling Syrian and Iranian officials and more broadly E.O. 13582 which froze all governmental assets of the Syrian government and prohibited Americans from doing business with the Syrian government and banned all US import of Syrian petroleum products.
What OFAC does with its data base is science not art. It can calculate quite precisely the economic effect on the civilian population of a single action designating one company, bank, government entity or infrastructure system of a country. OFAC, on behalf of its government, electronically wages a cold war against its civilian targets.
This week OFAC and the Treasury Department blacklisted Iran’s state broadcasting authority, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, responsible for broadcast policy in Iran and overseas production at Iranian television and radio channels, potentially limiting viewing and listening opportunities for Iran’s civilian population. Its director, Ezzatollah Zarghami, was included
in the action. Additionally sanctioned are Iran’s Internet-policing agencies and a major electronics producer. David S. Cohen, the pro-Zionist Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who oversees the OFAC sanctions effort, reportedly following meetings with Israeli officials, said last week’s actions were meant to “tighten the screws and intensify the economic pressure against the Iranian regime.”
In reality, the sanctions target the civilian population and the “Iranian regime” won’t be much affected. The same applies to Syria. Despite the public relations language that “food and medicine are exempted from the brutal US-led sanctions, as OFAC well knows, the reality is something else. They know well the chilling effects of the sanctions on international suppliers of medicines and food stuffs with respect to a targeted country. The US Treasury department has thousands of gigabytes of data confirming that the boards of directors of international business do not, and will not allow their companies to risk millions of dollars in profits by technically violating any of the thousands of details in the sanctions — many of which are subject to interpretation — for the sake of doing business with Iran or Syria. This is why there are severe shortages of medicines and certain foodstuffs in these sanctioned countries and to state otherwise is Orwellian News-Speak.
OFAC does not operate in a vacuum. It works closely with other US agencies including the 16 intelligence agencies that together make up the UN Intelligence Community. Together they have applied sanctions of great breadth and severity against the civilian populations of Syria and Iran. These sanctions have been bolstered on occasion by several direct and/or green-lighted Israeli assassinations and cyber-assaults, hoping to foment civil unrest to achieve regime change and other political goals.
A few days after Mrs. Clinton’s somewhat inadvertent confession that the US government intentionally targets the civilian population of Iran, Vice President Joe Biden chimed in on the 4th of February that the US was ready to hold direct negotiations with Iran but added the caveat, “We have also made clear that Iran’s leaders need not sentence their people to economic deprivation,” acknowledging as did Hillary that the US sanctions are intended to target and harm the Iranian and Syrian people. A senior Obama administration official described the latest step as “a significant turning of the screw,” meaning that the people of Iran face a “stark choice” between bowing to US demands and reviving their oil revenue, the country’s economic lifeblood or more and more sanctions will follow until they do.
This targeting of Iran’s and Syria’s civilian population by US-led sanctions is a massive violation of the principles, standards and rules of international law and their most fundamental underpinnings which is the protection of civilians.
The 1977 Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions prohibit any measure that has the effect of depriving a civilian population of objects indispensable to its survival. Article 70 of Protocol I mandates relief operations to aid a civilian population that is “not adequately provided” with supplies and Article 18 of Protocol II requires relief operations for a civilian population that suffers “undue hardship owing to a lack of supplies essential for its survival, such as foodstuffs and medical supplies.”
Prohibition on Starvation as a Method of Warfare
• Under international humanitarian law, civilians enjoy a right to humanitarian assistance during armed conflicts.
• Art. 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention obligates states to facilitate the free passage and distribution of relief goods including medicines, foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under 15, expectant mothers, and maternity cases.
• Art. 70 of Additional Protocol I prohibits interfering with delivery of relief goods to all members of the civilian population.
• US-led sanctions are prohibited by the principle of proportionality found in Arts. 51 and 57 of Additional Protocol I.
• Under the terms of Art. 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, humanitarian and relief actions must be taken. Pursuant to Art. 18(2) of Additional Protocol II, relief societies must be allowed to offer their services to provide humanitarian relief
• The US-led sanctions violate the Rule of Distinction between civilians and combatants
The Right to life
The US-led sanctions violate the right to life incorporated in numerous international human rights instruments including Art. 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966; Art. 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1950; and Art. 4 of the African Charter of Human Rights, 1981.
The Rights of the Child
One of the groups most vulnerable to US-led sanctions in Syria and Iran are children. The rights of children are laid down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, which currently stands as the most widely ratified international agreement. Most relevant in the context of the US-led sanctions are Arts. 6 and 24 of the Convention, according to which every child has the inherent right to life and the right to the highest attainable standard of health and access to medical services.
If “terrorism” means, as the United States government defines it as the targeting of civilians in order to induce political change from their government, what is it called when the American government itself applies intense economic suffering on a civilian population, causing malnutrition, illnesses, starvation and death in order to induce regime change?
The US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria are illegal, inhumane, ineffective, immoral and outrageous. They must be resisted every day by every person of good will, everywhere, until they are withdrawn.
Are we witnessing the start of a historic financial meltdown in Europe? In recent days, two massive corruption scandals have greatly shaken confidence in European financial markets. The first involves Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. It is being alleged that he has been receiving illegal cash payments, and the calls for his resignation grow louder with each passing day. The second is a derivatives scandal at the third largest bank in Italy. Allegedly, there were some very large unreported derivatives deals that were supposed to help hide losses at the bank, but instead they actually made the losses much larger. The investigation that is looking into this derivatives scandal is starting to spread to other banks, and nobody is quite sure how far down the rabbit hole this thing goes. But what everyone does agree on is that this derivatives scandal has shaken up Italian politics, and the outcome of the upcoming election is now very uncertain. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is rapidly rising in the polls, and the European establishment is less than thrilled about that. Meanwhile, stock indexes all over Europe fell rapidly on Monday, and even the Dow was down 129 points. So will all this blow over in a few days, or is this the beginning of a full-blown stock market crash in Europe?
That is a very good question. Perhaps there would not be so much concern if the overall European economy was doing well, but the truth is that the underlying economic fundamentals in Europe have continued to get even worse. The unemployment rate in the eurozone is at an all-time high, and the unemployment rates in both Greece and Spain are now over 26 percent. Much of southern Europe is already in the midst of a full-blown economic depression, so it really has been remarkable that the financial markets in Europe have been able to hold up as well as they have so far.
But now all of that may be changing. Just check out what happened on Monday according to Bloomberg…
National benchmark indexes declined in all of the 18 western European markets, except Greece and Denmark. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index (FTSEMIB) sank 4.5 percent, the most in six months. Spain’s IBEX 35 slid 3.8 percent for a sixth day of declines, the longest losing streak in 10 months. France’s CAC 40 plunged 3 percent for the biggest drop since April. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6 percent and Germany’s DAX lost 2.5 percent.
Unfortunately, what happened on Monday was just the continuation of a trend that started last week. The following is from Zero Hedge…
The last four days have seen the biggest plunge in over six months with the IBEX (Spain -5.7%) and Italy’s MIB -6.7%. At the same time, Europe’s seemingly invincible OMT-promise-protected sovereign bond market has started to underwhelm. Italian bond spreads are 32bps wider and Spain 28bps wider – the biggest increase in risk in two months.
European banks have been hit particularly hard during this recent downturn.
Just check out some of the huge declines that European banking stocks experienced on Monday…
UniCredit SpA: -8.3 percent
Commerzbank AG: -5.9 percent
Santander: -5.7 percent
Intesa Sanpaolo SpA: -5.4 percent
Credit Agricole SA: -5.4 percent
Société Générale SA: -4.8 percent
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA: -4.7 percent
Those are huge moves for just a single day of trading. If we have a couple of more days like that, everyone is going to be talking about a “stock market crash” in Europe.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that any solutions to the scandals that are shaking up southern Europe right now will be forthcoming any time soon.
In Spain, it is increasingly looking like the Prime Minister may actually have to resign. A recent CNN article explained what the scandal is all about…
Rajoy denied on Saturday allegations that he and other leaders of his conservative People’s Party had received secret cash payments from a fund operated by the party’s former treasurer. Rajoy said he would publish details of his personal wealth and income tax states on the prime minister’s website.
Of course politicians all over the world are accused of doing evil things all the time, but in this instance it appears that there may be some solid evidence that Rajoy may not be able to deny. The following comes from a Bloomberg report…
Newspaper El Pais last week published allegations of illegal cash payments, featuring extracts from handwritten ledgers by the former People’s Party Treasurer Luis Barcenas showing payments to officials including Rajoy.
At this point, opinion polls are showing that even most of his own supporters do not believe him…
Polls show that 60pc of his own supporters do not believe the official explanation. A national petition drive calling for his resignation has already collected almost 800,000 signatures. Socialist opposition leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba yesterday joined the chorus calling for Mr Rajoy’s head, saying the country had become “ungovernable”.
So definitely expect things in Spain to get worse before they get better.
Meanwhile, the derivatives scandal in Italy continues to get more “interesting”. Italy’s third largest bank is on the brink of collapse due to huge problems with derivatives contracts, and that bank just happens to be closely linked with the Italian politician that is currently leading in the polls…
The Italian scandal is related to Italy’s third-biggest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which has received two government bailouts and may yet have to be nationalized as its losses mount.
The bank is closely associated to Italy’s Democratic Party, whose leader, Pier Luigi Bersani, is leading in the polls, though slipping from his highs as former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi makes a late surge before the Feb. 25th general election. “The Monte [banking] scandals now look like overwhelming the Italian election campaign and put [Mr.] Bersani and the Democratic Party’s victory at risk,” James Walston, political commentator at the American University of Rome, said in his Monday blog.
The Monte scandal centres on allegedly unreported derivatives deals that were apparently designed to hide losses and instead made the losses deeper. The bank, now under new management, has admitted that the derivatives losses might total more than €700-million.
So who benefits from all of this? Well, it turns out that as a result of this scandal former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is rapidly gaining more support. The following is from a recent Telegraph article…
In Italy, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has upset the political landscape just three weeks before elections, surging back into contention with vows to rip up “German-imposed” austerity policies and cancel a hated property tax.
His Right-wing alliance has risen to 28pc in the polls, relishing a widening scandal at Banca Monte dei Paschi that has embroiled the Italian left.
But even if none of these scandals had happened, it was inevitable that the gigantic debt bubble in Europe would end up bursting at some point.
In fact, the entire globe is on the verge of a debt implosion. This was something that Bill Gross of Pimco discussed in his February newsletter…
“So our credit-based financial markets and the economy it supports are levered, fragile and increasingly entropic – it is running out of energy and time. When does money run out of time? The countdown begins when investable assets pose too much risk for too little return; when lenders desert credit markets for other alternatives such as cash or real assets.”
No debt bubble can expand indefinitely. At some point it can no longer hold itself together.
Europe is rapidly approaching that point, and so is the United States.
So how much time do we have left?
Source: The American Dream
To quote the immortal line in Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, as filmed by John Huston, “Let’s talk about the black bird” – let’s talk about a mysterious bird made out of gold. Oh yes, because this is a film noir worthy of Dashiell Hammett – involving the Pentagon, Beijing, shadow wars, pivoting and a lot of gold.
Let’s start with Beijing’s official position; “We don’t have enough gold”. That leads to China’s current, frenetic buying spree – which particularly in Hong Kong anyone can follow live, in real time. China is already the top gold producing and the top gold importing nation in the world.
Gold accounts for roughly 70% of reserves held by the US and Germany – and more or less the same for France and Italy. Russia – also on a buying spree – is slightly over 10%. But China’s percentage of gold among its whopping US$3.2 trillion reserves is only 2%.
Beijing is carefully following the current shenanigans of the New York Federal Reserve, which, asked by the German Bundesbank to return the German gold it is holding, replied it would take at least seven years.
German financial journalist Lars Schall has been following the story since the beginning, and virtually alone has made the crucial connection between gold, paper money, energy resources and the abyss facing the petrodollar.
Whenever Beijing says it needs more gold, this is justified as a hedge “against risks in foreign reserves” – aka US dollar fluctuation – but especially to “promote yuan globalization”. As in, suavely, having the yuan compete with the US dollar and the euro “fairly” in the “international market”.
And here’s the (elusive) heart of the matter. What Beijing actually wants is to get rid of the US dollar peg. For that to happen, it needs vast gold reserves. So here’s Beijing pivoting from the US dollar to the yuan – and trying to sway vast swathes of the global economy to follow the path. This golden rule is Beijing’s Maltese Falcon: “The stuff dreams are made of”.
Have drone, will travel
Qatar also does pivoting – but of the MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) kind. Doha has been financing Wahhabis and Salafis – and even Salafi-jihadis – as in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rebels in Libya, Free Syrian Army gangs in Syria, and the pan-Islamic gang that took over northern Mali.
The State Department – and later the Pentagon – may have woken up to it, as in the arrangement brokered by Doha and Washington together to spawn a new, more palatable Syria “coalition”. But still very potent are those dangerous liaisons between the francophile Emir of Qatar and the Quai d’Orsay in Paris – which gathered plenty of steam already during the reign of King Sarko, aka former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Every informed geopolitical observer has tracked leak after leak by former French intelligence operatives to the deliciously wicked satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine, detailing Qatar’s modus operandi. It’s a no-brainer. Qatar’s foreign policy reads as Muslim Brotherhood Here, There and Everywhere (but not inside the neo-feudal emirate); this is Qatar’s Maltese Falcon. At the same time Doha – to the delight of French elites – is an avid practitioner of hardcore neoliberalism, and a top investor in France’s economy.
So their interests may coalesce in promoting disaster capitalism – successfully – in Libya and then – still unsuccessfully – in Syria. Yet Mali is something else; classic blowback – and that’s where the interests of Doha and Paris diverge (not to mention Doha and Washington; at least if one does not assume that Mali has been the perfect pretext for a renewed AFRICOM drive.)
Algerian media is awash in outrage, questioning Qatar’s agenda (in French). Yet the pretext – as predicted – worked perfectly.
AFRICOM – surprise! – is on a roll, as the Pentagon gets ready to set up a drone base in Niger. That’s the practical result of a visit by AFRICOM’s commander, General Carter Ham, to Niger’s capital Niamey only a few days ago.
Forget about those outdated PC-12 turbo props that have been spying on Mali and Western Africa for years. Now it’s Predator time. Translation: chief-in-waiting John Brennan plans a Central Intelligence Agency shadow war all across the Sahara-Sahel. With permission from Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, it’s time to start humming a remixed hit: “I see a grey drone/ and I want it painted black”.
AFRICOM does Niger is indeed sweeter than cherry pie. Northwest Niger is the site of all those uranium mines supplying the French nuclear industry. And it’s very close to Mali’s gold reserves. Imagine all that gold in an “unstable” area falling into the hands of … Chinese companies. Beijing’s Maltese Falcon moment of finally having enough gold to dump the US dollar peg would be at hand.
The Pentagon even got permission for all its surveillance gear to refuel in – of all places – crucial Agadez. The French legion may have been doing the hard work on the ground in Mali, but it’s AFRICOM which will ultimately reap the profits all across the Sahara-Sahel.
Don’t you know about the (Asian) bird?
And that brings us to that famous pivoting to Asia – which was supposed to be the number one geopolitical theme of the Obama 2.0 administration. It may well be. But certainly alongside AFRICOM pivoting all over the Sahara/Sahel in drone mode, to Beijing’s growing irritation; and Doha-Washington pivoting in their support of the former “terrorist” turned “freedom fighter”, and vice-versa.
And we did not even mention the non-pivoting involved in this noir plot; the Obama 2.0 administration keeping its appalling embrace of the medieval House of Saud and “stability in the Arabian peninsula”, as recommended by an usual suspect, a mediocre – yet influential – “veteran intelligence official“.
Play it again, Sam. In that outstanding Maltese Falcon scene at the start of our plot between Humphrey Bogart (let’s say he plays the Pentagon) and Sydney Greenstreet (let’s say he plays Beijing), the official is the goon, the third guy in the picture. The pivoting to Asia is essentially a product of Andrew Marshall, an allegedly Yoda-like totem of US national security.
Marshall has been behind the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) – all of you Donald Rumsfeld freaks know about it – failed Shock and Awe (which only served to destroy Iraq almost beyond repair, even with disaster capitalism involved); and now the concept calledAir Sea Battle.
Air Sea Battle’s premise is that Beijing will attack US forces in the Pacific, which is, frankly, ridiculous (even with help from a monster false-flag operation). The US would then retaliate via a “blinding campaign” – the naval equivalent of Shock and Awe. Both the US Air Force and the US Navy loved the concept because it implies a lot of hardware spending to be stationed in plenty of sophisticated Pacific bases, and in the high seas.
So even as David Petraeus-style counterinsurgency has pivoted to John Brennan’s CIA shadow wars, the real deal is the pivoting to Asia; a pseudo-strategy, concocted to keep the Pentagon budget at exorbitant levels, promoting a new cold war with China. “They will never amass enough gold to impose their evil plans”, one could hear Marshall say about China (without Bogart or Greenstreet’s aplomb, of course). Hammett would be appalled; Marshall’s Maltese Falcon is the stuff (war) dreams are made of.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2008). He may be reached at email@example.com.
Source: Asia Times
On January 16 Islamic militants staged an audacious attack on a major natural gas complex in southeastern Algeria, 800 miles southeast from the capital. A jihadist group calling itself the Masked Brigade—led by Moktar Belmoktar, the fierce one-eyed veteran of the Afghan war and a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)—claimed responsibility for the raid on the In Amenas gas facility near the Libyan border. Dozens of foreign hostages were taken, including at least seven Americans, as well as workers from Britain, Ireland, Norway, Japan, and other countries.
On January 17 government forces launched an operation to retake the facility. On January 18 the crisis was still continuing. Some hostages have been freed but an unknown number of others were reported killed, either by their captors or by the Algerian army fire. There has been some dismay in Western capitals over the speed and ferocity of the authorities’ response. The Algerian government strongly defended its action. “Those who think we will negotiate with terrorists are delusional,” said Mohamed Said Belaid, Algeria’s communications minister. “Those who think we will surrender to their blackmail are delusional.” The assessment seems right: allowing the attackers to escape to Libya with the hostages, or settling in for a long siege, was exactly what the Masked Brigade leaders would have hoped for.
The raid on In Amenas is the most significant military event in North Africa since the end of operations in Libya in October 2011. It was more sophisticated than the attack which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi last September 11. Its implications are far more momentous than the escalating jihadist insurgency in the landlocked and dirt-poor Mali, bordering Algeria to the south.
Western media reports have taken scant notice of the proximity of the Libyan border to In Amenas, which is a significant omission. It now seems certain that the attackers came from a stronghold in Libya, across the unguarded desert. If this is confirmed, the attack would provide further evidence that the NATO-led war—in addition to plunging Libya into chaos—has given a boost to jihadist activity in the region. It has also enabled the militants to amass a substantial arsenal of modern weaponry: Belmokhtar’s faction is known to have commandeered vast quantities of weapons from Libyan military stockpiles at the end of the war. AQIM fighters are well poised to try destabilizing Algeria again, now that they have established a cross-border sanctuary which was denied them by Qaddafy.
AQIM was formed in 2007 by veterans of two Algerian groups that fought the government during the fierce civil war in the 1990’s, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group. It is one of the jihadist network’s biggest, richest and most heavily armed subsidiaries. Its “Masked Brigade” is said to have carried out the attack in retaliation for Algeria’s agreement to let France use its air space to supply French forcesbattling Islamic militants in Mali, but the assumption is too optimistic. It would have been impossible to plan such a complex operation barely a week since the beginning of the French operation in Mali. The attack must have been planned well in advance of the French military involvement, with the air space issue providing a misleading pretext which the Western media have been all to willing to accept at face value.
The Algerian extremists have bigger fish to fry. Their wider objective is to reignite the Islamic insurgency in Algeria, which the secularist government successfully suppressed over a decade ago. The authorities officially lifted the 19-year-old state of emergency in February 2011, just before the “Arab Spring” spread to Libya.
The jihadists’ new strategy may be gleaned from the fact that the assault on In Amenas is their first major attack ever on an Algerian hydrocarbon installation. Algeria is the third-largest gas supplier to Europe and one of the world’s biggest producers of liquefied natural gas. Well aware of the importance of energy revenues the rebels refrained from attacking production facilities in the 1990’s, hoping to reap the benefits after an eventual regime change. Targeting such facilities now indicates that they are smarting for a new, long fight. They are initially aiming to destroy Algeria’s image as a safe location for foreign oil and gas companies to invest and operate. In the long run they are hoping to make Algeria the next domino.
The effects of the attack were felt immediately. Snam Rete, which operates the Italian gas network, announced on January 17 that volumes of gas pumped into Italy from Algeria through a vital trans-Mediterranean pipeline had fallen from over 70 million cubic meters a day (mcm/d) to just over 60 million—a drop of 15% at a time of peak consumption.
The implications of a renewed conflict in Algeria for European energy security are immense. If similar attacks spread to the scantily protected oil and gas fields in southwest Libya, which has no effective military force controlled by the government in Tripoli, the consequences would be potentially disastrous for the consumers in Italy, France, and points further north. Algeria is the third-largest supplier of gas into the European Union (after Russia and Norway), and In Amenas’ output alone covers two per cent of total European demand, accounting for 18 per cent of Algeria’s gas exports and earning $4 billion a year in export revenues.
Russia’s Gazprom may step in to make up the shortfall, as it did in 2011 when the war in Libya brought its gas exports to an abrupt halt, but an important consequence may be to draw Europe and the United States apart on the key issue of energy politics. An ever-greater reliance on Russia’s gas runs counter to the U.S. strategy of nudging Europeans to diversify their supplies by increasing deliveries from majority-Muslim countries. Most Europeans are lukewarm about the stalled Nabucco pipeline, which has been strongly favored by the U.S., and their misgivings are bound to be reinforced by the latest developments across the Mediterranean.
The latest crisis is the direct consequence of the ill-advised, unnecessary, and self-defeating NATO intervention in Libya. It is but another reminder that Western interventionism in the Muslim world is a form of psychosis which harms the interests of the intervening powers, brings nothing but misery to the targeted lands and peoples, and benefits only the darkest enemies of civilization in today’s world.