Currency Balloon Madness

Today’s headline from GoldCore:

     Market Chaos as Swiss Franc Surges 30% In 13 Minutes, Gold Rises Sharply

Historians will not look kindly on the financial titans and politicians of this period. They’ll have little trouble understanding the deceptions, but one wonders how they will account for the derangement. As some blame lead in the water for the demise of the Roman Empire, they’ll probably blame it on pharmaceuticals in our water supply, or electromagnetic pollution, or maybe, using the same data set cited here in Your daily dose of poison, they’ll blame it on a pesticide:

     MIT Researcher’s New Warning: At Today’s Rate, Half Of All U.S. Children Will Be Autistic By 2025

But let’s get back to a major world currency, the Swiss Franc, rising 30% in 13 minutes. As pointed out in Currency Balloons, it is best for one’s financial health if they don’t say, “The Franc rose 30% in value in 13 minutes,” but instead say, “The Franc rose 30% in price in 13 minutes.” The concept of value has–for anyone who is not thinking clearly and carefully about it–been distorted beyond all recognition in this world where currency units are tethered to nothing real and Trillions of them can be conjured up (or lost!) with a few keystrokes.

So what happened with the Swiss Franc? Lots of Europeans, foreseeing the inevitable bankruptcy of Eurozone governments, were trading their Euros for Swiss Francs, driving up the price of the Swiss Franc relative to Euros. The Swiss central bank didn’t like this because, whenever a currency rises in price these days, the corporations in the country don’t like it because their products appear more expensive when they export them. So the Swiss central bank printed and spent hundreds of billions of Swiss Francs and sold them to buy Euros to artificially peg the price of the Franc to the price of the Euro.

But they ran into a problem. The price of the Euro has been, let’s put it nicely, diminishing, losing 16% versus the US Dollar in the last several months. So all of their Euro positions keep losing money. So despite saying just last week that they would keep pegging the Franc to the Euro, that they would print unlimited amounts of Swiss Francs to keep going, today they announced that they wouldn’t, that they were throwing in the towel. (By the way, with all currency resets, this has always been the case–they lie about their intentions right up to the last minute. You will never get an advance warning from the authorities about anything like this. You must make decisions about such things in advance on your own; or live with their decisions, which benefit them, not you.)

Such is the world of paper/electronic debt currencies these days, intimations of their inevitable demise. Very few people think through what is happening here. Why do people value money? Because they believe that they, or their descendants, can use it to acquire something real. But what does it mean when those in power (governments and banks) can conjure as much of this “money” as they see fit, Trillions at a time? All who end up with that currency believe that they can use it to acquire what is real.

But emergencies show the reality. When an earthquake or a storm hits, within hours or even minutes, store shelves are empty; what is real is gone, there’s none to be had. Then people realize that what is real is what has value: real actions, real goods, real knowledge; and that the concepts of price and currency-denominated wealth are increasingly unreliable in our money-mad world.

Saturday morning cartoons

(But) look at these sexagenarian dogs! Their dog-teeth get sharper at every moment. The hairs drop from the fur of an old dog; (but) see these old (human) dogs clad in satin! See how their passionate desire and greed for women and gold, like the progeny of dogs, is increasing continually! Such a life as this, which is Hell’s stock-in-trade, is a shambles for the butchers (executioners) of (the Divine) Wrath; (Yet) when people say to him, “May your life be long!” he is delighted and opens his mouth in laughter.
He thinks a curse like this is a benediction: he never uncloses his (inward) eye or raises his head once (from the slumber of heedlessness). If he had seen (even as much as) a hair’s tip of the future state, he would have said to him (who wished him long life), “May thy life be like this!”
–Rumi, The Mathnawi, Book VI, circa 1270 A.D.

The cartoons at the link below should be required viewing (and understanding!) in school, especially any history or economics class. These cartoons are all from 100 years ago or more. They clearly describe the cementing into law–pending at the time– of the rigged banking, currency, and stock markets that financially enslave almost everyone on the planet to the endless hunger for humongo-profits of the few. They show that at least a some people understood the game then. Sadly, few understand the game even now. How do we get this understanding to everyone so that we can end this vicious travesty? How do we bring in the logic and compassion that clearly show the primitive and self-defeating nature of systematically-enshrined greed? Continue reading

More shackles readied for deployment

Darth Summers made a speech on Nov. 8 to a gathering of economists at the IMF. My guess is that they had Darth (OK, Larry) give the speech because he doesn’t currently hold a position with any institution that could then be blamed and hated for the policy promoted in the speech. (Here’s the speech, though I don’t recommend it.) However, I think it wise to consider the speech an official announcement of the latest wicked that this way comes.

The policy is that savers will soon be hit with negative interest rates. Now Larry didn’t say this directly, he slithered around it and offered the “clear justification” for it. But in reviews of what his admirers called a “brilliant” speech, the admirers were quite clear in their understanding: negative interest rates…in cashless society! That was the full policy implication.

So people would have to pay the bank interest on their own savings. So if the negative interest rate were -3%, if you had $100 in your account, you’d have to pay the bank $3 in interest. And just in case anyone had any ideas of getting their savings out of the banks, well, get their savings out into what? In a cashless society, your money would simply be an electronic entry in an account. Getting your money “out” would mean spending it. Which is the problem that Summers and his fiends say they are trying to solve: how to get people to spend, spend, spend their money. They say there isn’t enough “aggregate demand.” Don’t have any money? Then borrow some, it’s really cheap. But in any case, spend!

Of course, this would also mean that when the government borrows money, the interest rate would be negative for them as well. The more money they borrowed, the more money they would collect as the lenders paid them interest!

Now it goes without saying, though I’ll say it anyway, that if you went to borrow some money, this negative interest rate thing would not apply to you. You’d still have to pay interest on your loan. This negative thing would only be for them, that is, the banks and governments. Oh, and large corporations, how could I leave them out. But not you or me. Whether borrower or lender be, either way, we’d have to pay. Know what the average interest rate consumers are paying on their $846 billion in outstanding credit card debt? 13%. Do you think the banks are going to give up that bonanza?

Now any rational person might think: They’ll never do it! Negative interest rates would wreck every pension fund in the world. And so they would: pension funds are all dependent on collecting interest to meet their future obligations. But too bad. If people can’t collect pensions, then they’ll have to stay in the workforce. And with all that competition for jobs, companies can pay lower and lower and lower wages. Why do you think they outsource work across the world! Do you think this paragraph goes to far? Then consider this: Collecting Donations For Wal-Mart Employees That Cannot Afford Thanksgiving Dinner?

At the Wal-mart on Atlantic Boulevard in Canton, Ohio employees are being asked to donate food items so that other employees that cannot afford to buy Thanksgiving dinner will be able to enjoy one too.

So, they think that taxing people’s savings, both in their bank accounts and in their pensions, will get the economy on a sound footing again. Because that’s what these policies are, they are taxes, part paid to government and part to the banks. So why don’t they just say that? Two reasons: first, people tend to get angry about new taxes and they tend to vote out whoever levies new taxes; and, the group at the Summers speech are economists, and all economists know that raising taxes squelches economic growth. So they can’t call it a tax or everyone would point out that the policy is anti-growth. Which it is. But logic left the room of mainstream economics years ago. They maintain their lofty positions as Machiavelli advised: they serve their governing masters well. So these policies have nothing to do with logic. The governing masters keeping their power, that’s what it’s all about. And these economists know who spreads the caviar on their toast points. These policies are designed only to preserve the powermonger status quo.

Plus, they are fairly sure it will be a long time before the public catches on. They can just repeat over and over that this is for jobs and growth, and the majority, desperate for good news, will believe it. And in this ploy, the economists are likely correct. They have been engaged in multi-$trillion Quantitative Easing (money printing) for years and, according to a Reuters poll, three quarters of Americans don’t even know what QE is. And people weren’t asked to explain it, they were given a multiple choice question, so 20% could have answered correctly just by random choice!

Twelve percent of respondents thought QE was a computer-assisted program that the Fed uses to manipulate the dollar. Another 11 percent thought it was part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation enacted following the crisis.

So the economists of The Powers That Be figure they can obfuscate their way through just about anything.

So let’s get this straight. These thieves want to steal people’s savings and pensions. So that people must remain as wage slaves till they drop, filling a growing labor pool being paid wages that are declining in all of the developed economies. And they’ll be great fodder for the upcoming war economy, grateful for the opportunity to build weapons that kill in better and better ways. While the rich and powerful get more caviar, as shown on the chart below. The dark brown line is the average stock price of retail for the rich: Tiffany, Coach, and LVMH. Those stocks have risen 500% since their 2009 lows and are over 30% above their former peak in 2007. The blue line is Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JC Penney, where the disappearing middle class shops. Those stocks are up 100% since 2009 and are still 30% below their former peak in 2007:

QE effect on shoppers

That is a great demonstration of who is receiving all that newly printed money and who is not. These folks want more slaves. And the ability to bomb into chaos any region that does not offer up its people into the slave pool.

Finally, a Fed Whistleblower

The claim has been made repeatedly here and elsewhere–a claim derided as conspiracy theory by the mainstream–that the US Federal Reserve has one purpose: to protect the game of the big banks. Everything else they say and do is cover for that single goal.

Thankfully, a Fed insider has offered excellent confirmation, including apologies to taxpayers for his actions. Everyone with the slightest interest in how the world actually works should read the full article by this fellow.

As background: Talk about an insider, this guy was in charge of the program through which the Fed purchased $1.2 trillion of mortgage backed securities (MBS) from the banks in 2009-2010. The Fed conjured up new electronic currency to pay for this. They call that Quantitative Easing (QE) instead of money printing because such lying does succeed in fooling most of the people most of the time.

In 2009, these MBS “assets” were called toxic assets by anyone with a fondness for truth because they were large packages of mortgages backed by sub-prime and other mortgage loans that were not being re-paid, and by residential real estate collateral that was plummeting in value. In other words, the big banks peddling and holding these assets were insolvent, bankrupt, in part because of the plunging value of their MBS. So, the Fed came to the rescue, of course, buying up toxic MBS from the big banks and paying many times the pennies-on-the-dollar actual street prices of these securities (Don’t you just love the BS terminology that pervades the financial sector?) to make the banks appear less bankrupt.

Here are some choice quotes from Andrew Huszar, a true Wall St and Federal Reserve insider:

We went on a bond-buying spree that was supposed to help Main Street. Instead, it was a feast for Wall Street.

I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time

My part of the story began a few months later. Having been at the Fed for seven years, until early 2008, I was working on Wall Street in spring 2009 when I got an unexpected phone call. Would I come back to work on the Fed’s trading floor? The job: managing what was at the heart of QE’s bond-buying spree—a wild attempt to buy $1.25 trillion in mortgage bonds in 12 months. Incredibly, the Fed was calling to ask if I wanted to quarterback the largest economic stimulus in U.S. history.

This was a dream job, but I hesitated. And it wasn’t just nervousness about taking on such responsibility. I had left the Fed out of frustration, having witnessed the institution deferring more and more to Wall Street…

In its almost 100-year history, the Fed had never bought one mortgage bond. Now my program was buying so many each day through active, unscripted trading that we constantly risked driving bond prices too high and crashing global confidence in key financial markets. We were working feverishly to preserve the impression that the Fed knew what it was doing.

It wasn’t long before my old doubts resurfaced. Despite the Fed’s rhetoric, my program wasn’t helping to make credit any more accessible for the average American. The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn’t getting much cheaper. QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash.

From the trenches, several other Fed managers also began voicing the concern that QE wasn’t working as planned. Our warnings fell on deaf ears. In the past, Fed leaders—even if they ultimately erred—would have worried obsessively about the costs versus the benefits of any major initiative. Now the only obsession seemed to be with the newest survey of financial-market expectations or the latest in-person feedback from Wall Street’s leading bankers and hedge-fund managers. Sorry, U.S. taxpayer.

Trading for the first round of QE ended on March 31, 2010. The final results confirmed that, while there had been only trivial relief for Main Street, the U.S. central bank’s bond purchases had been an absolute coup for Wall Street. The banks hadn’t just benefited from the lower cost of making loans. They’d also enjoyed huge capital gains on the rising values of their securities holdings and fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions. Wall Street had experienced its most profitable year ever in 2009, and 2010 was starting off in much the same way.

You’d think the Fed would have finally stopped to question the wisdom of QE. Think again. Only a few months later—after a 14% drop in the U.S. stock market and renewed weakening in the banking sector—the Fed announced a new round of bond buying: QE2…

Where are we today? The Fed keeps buying roughly $85 billion in bonds a month, chronically delaying so much as a minor QE taper. Over five years, its bond purchases have come to more than $4 trillion. Amazingly, in a supposedly free-market nation, QE has become the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history…

And the impact? Even by the Fed’s sunniest calculations, aggressive QE over five years has generated only a few percentage points of U.S. growth. By contrast, experts outside the Fed, such as Mohammed El Erian at the Pimco investment firm, suggest that the Fed may have created and spent over $4 trillion for a total return of as little as 0.25% of GDP (i.e., a mere $40 billion bump in U.S. economic output). Both of those estimates indicate that QE isn’t really working.

Unless you’re Wall Street. Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets…

So the big-bank rich got very much richer. What a surprise. A perfect strategy, still in full implementation in plain site, by a Fed fulfilling its real goal. The full article is here.

The quotes above might as well be directly from those derided for years as Fed conspiracy theorists. The latest survey I saw said that 74% of US citizens favor a full audit of the Fed, which is a private bank masquerading as a quasi-government agency, owned by the big banking families of the world, and which has the concession from the US Congress to print money. (Nice concession, eh?) But those 74% will likely be ignored. 90% of US citizens were against the TARP bank bailout in 2009, but it became law anyway. The people’s wishes are meaningless when it comes to the criminal partnership between Wall St and Washington DC.

Huszar didn’t name names or produce documents, so unlike other US whistleblowers, he likely won’t be jailed or hauled into endless court proceedings. But maybe this will encourage others to speak up about the Fed, perhaps even to reveal the truly nefarious aspects of this organization and its owners. And maybe someday the politicians who take millions from Wall St will become whistleblowers and tell us what marching orders they are given when they pocket those funds. Hey, a person can imagine! There’s no law against that….Is there?

Upcoming Thefts by Big Money

The insatiable banking/corporate/political crony network that has stolen so much from people in the past has some new schemes in store. First on the docket is the bail-in, where reckless banks with huge losses will be kept afloat not by the general base of taxpayers, but by those who have lent them money. And as mentioned in Update on Metals, Deposit Confiscation, and Capital Controls, depositors are definitely grouped into the class of those who have “lent” money to these banks. As in Cyprus, if a bank fails and the regulators decide that depositor money will be confiscated, the depositors receive some stock in the bank in exchange for their money. We’ll see later in this post just how well that is working out for people in Cyprus. But first, let’s establish that bail-ins are definitely the new thing:

     It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned for US and UK Depositors

Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds…  

Although few depositors realize it, legally the bank owns the depositor’s funds as soon as they are put in the bank. Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay. (See here and here.) But until now the bank has been obligated to pay the money back on demand in the form of cash. Under the FDIC-BOE plan, our IOUs will be converted into “bank equity.”  The bank will get the money and we will get stock in the bank. With any luck we may be able to sell the stock to someone else, but when and at what price?…

No exception is indicated for “insured deposits” in the U.S., meaning those under $250,000, the deposits we thought were protected by FDIC insurance. This can hardly be an oversight, since it is the FDIC that is issuing the directive.

     Wealthy bank depositors to suffer losses in EU law

A draft European Union law voted on Monday would shield small depositors from losing their savings in bank rescues, but customers with over 100,000 euros in savings when a bank failed could suffer losses.

     Asmussen clarifies EU Parliament: savers must bleed for bank rescue

     Japan to adopt ‘bail-ins,’ force bank losses on investors if needed, Nikkei says

     Land Of The Rising Bail In: Deposit Confiscation Coming To Japan Next

Other countries have hopped on the bail-in bandwagon, but you get the idea.

To absolutely confirm that bail-ins are coming, the next story is about an organization called ISDA preparing for how to handle bail-ins. Why is this important? Because the following is a list of the voting members of the ISDA Determinations Committee:

  • Bank of America N.A.
  • Barclays Bank plc
  • BNP Paribas
  • Citibank, N.A.
  • Credit Suisse International
  • Deutsche Bank AG
  • Goldman Sachs International
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
  • Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc
  • UBS AG

That is the rogues gallery of derivatives trading on this planet. And what is this Determinations Committee determining? Who gets what on all of the derivative bets placed with respect to any bank that gets a bail-in. In other words, there will be bets that the bank will fail, bets that the bank will survive, bets on the bank’s bonds, etc. etc., and these guys are now setting the rules for who gets what after a bail-in. If these folks think it’s necessary to protect themselves relating to bail-ins, then gee, I wonder if everyone else ought to do the same?:

     New CDS trigger event proposed to tackle bail-in

ISDA is consulting on a proposal to add another credit event for financial credit default swaps in order to adapt to sweeping changes in regulation that will give supervisory authorities the power to bail-in the debt of floundering institutions.

For further proof, those who are well-connected are already working to make sure that they are exempt from the torture of a bail-in:

     EACH wants CCP exemption from bail-ins 

Rest assured that there will be bank failures because the big ones have gone back to the methods that precipitated the financial crisis on the first place. They are again selling CDOs, one of the primary culprits in 2008:

     ‘Frankenstein’ CDOs twitch back to life

And they are once again granting what are called “covenant-lite” loans.

And in new depths of scum-sucking bottom-feeding, banks are so desperate for capital and profits and bonuses that they are now pursuing people upon whom they foreclosed to make up the difference between the mortgage loan amount and the price the banks were able to get for the house when they sold that house after foreclosure:

     Lenders seek court actions against homeowners years after foreclosure

For Jose Santos Benavides, the ordeal of losing his home was over.

The Salvadoran immigrant had worked for years as a self-employed landscaper to make a $15,000 down payment on a four-bedroom house in Rockville. He had achieved a portion of the American dream, earning nearly six figures.

Then the economy soured, and lean paychecks turned into late mortgage payments. On Aug. 20, 2008, one year after he bought his dream home for $469,000, the bank’s threat to take his house became real via a letter in the mail. Just four days before the bank seized the property, he moved out, along with his wife and their two young children.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

In November, more than three years after the foreclosure, he was stunned to learn he still owed $115,000 — with the interest alone growing at a rate high enough to lease a luxury car.

“I’m scared, you know,” Benavides said. “I can’t pay.”

The 42-year-old is among the many homeowners being taken to court by their lenders long after their houses were taken in foreclosure. Lenders are filing new motions in old foreclosure lawsuits and hiring debt collectors to pursue leftover debt, plus court fees, attorneys’ fees and tens of thousands in interest that had been accruing for years.

From that Washington Post article, here is a chart that shows that, in some states of the US, the banks have 40 or more years after the foreclosure to go after former “homeowners” upon whom they foreclosed:

wpdeficiencytimeframephoto2So the banks engaged for years in seriously questionable lending practices, packaged up mortgages they knew would fail into “securities” that they sold all over the world, created fake documents and had them robo-signed to accomplish foreclosures, and now they can hound people for decades for what the banks say are their losses on these mortgages. With interest. And attorneys fees. I wonder who created such a legal system. As Bank of America employees reported:

     ‘We were told to lie’ – Bank of America employees open up about foreclosure practices

Employees of Bank of America say they were encouraged to lie to customers and were even rewarded for foreclosing on homes, staffers of the financial giant claim in new court documents…

“To justify the denials, employees produced fictitious reasons, for instance saying the homeowner had not sent in the required documents, when in actuality, they had,” William Wilson, Jr., a former underwriter for the bank, wrote in his statement.

As a side note on Europe, rumor has it that the infamous EU Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsellbloem, the one who correctly stated in public that the Cyprus bank action was a template for future bank resolutions, is pressing EU officials to try to preemptively resolve the problem of insolvent EU banks via deposit confiscation. And he wants to do that soon. So far, all attempts to fix EU bank problems have been band-aids that temporarily covered over the real problems; none have come close to a real solution, and we’ll get to the reason for that below. But if you have any notion that EU banks are solvent, then read this comment about Deutsche Bank by a former US Federal Reserve Bank President:

     Deutsche Bank “Is Horribly Undercapitalized… It’s Ridiculous” Says Former Fed President Hoenig

A top U.S. banking regulator called Deutsche Bank’s capital levels “horrible” and said it is the worst on a list of global banks based on one measurement of leverage ratios. “It’s horrible, I mean they’re horribly undercapitalized,” said Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig in an interview. “They have no margin of error.” Deutsche’s leverage ratio stood at 1.63 percent, according to Hoenig’s numbers, which are based on European IFRS accounting rules as of the end of 2012.

Deutsche Bank is the biggest player in the world in the risk-laden derivatives market. At last count, they had $73 trillion in derivatives outstanding, which is over twenty times the size of the German GDP, so if Deutsche Bank has a derivatives blow up, it’s unlikely that Germany or anyone else would be able to afford to make good on their losses. After all, $73 trillion is larger than the entire world GDP.

And why is it that, as stated above, there have been no attempts to really solve EU bank problems?  It’s very simple: too much debt was issued to buy assets (e.g., real estate), pushing up the price of those assets to unrealistic levels. There are real losses that need to be taken, and no one wants to take the losses. All involved prefer to pretend that there are no such losses, so they use near-zero-interest bridge loans, accounting lies, and round robin I’ll-lend-your-bank-money-to-buy-your-government-debt-and-you-use-the-proceeds-to-bail-out-your-bank games to mask the truth. With non-performing loans at EU banks at record highs and growing by the day, good luck with that.

But here is the problem with bail-ins, the latest and great “fix” for the financial system: so far, they don’t work.  Let’s look at the infamous Cyprus case: they stole a lot of deposits and in return, gave people stock in the bank. But few want to keep their money in that bank anymore. Even with strong limits on daily withdrawals from the Cyprus banks, people are persistently removing their money from those banks:

     Cyprus Bank Deposits Plunge By Most Ever During “Capital Controls” Month

Here’s what the trend of withdrawals from the Cyprus banks look like:

Cyprus Bank Deposits Seq Change

That’s more than $6 billion being withdrawn in April, after the March bail-in. So that bank stock that people received in return for their “expropriated” deposits? Must be worth a fortune. If people still received stock certificates as a matter of course, at least these could be framed as memorabilia, yet another testament to the financial follies of humanity. But it’s all just electronic entries these days. Switch a few bits and bytes and then who owns what?

And the whole Cyprus action is breaking down anyway:

     The Cyprus Bail-In Blows Up: President Urges Complete Bailout Overhaul

Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades has realized (as we warned), too late it seems for the thousands of domestic and foreign depositors who were sacrificed at the alter of monetary union, that the TROIKA’s terms are “too onerous.” Anastasiades has asked EU lenders to unwind the complex restructuring and partial merger of its two largest banks…

Not that the bail-outs actually worked either. Despite the fact that the EU leaders touted each of the first three Greek bailouts as the final fix, Greece now needs a fourth:

     Greece Has One Month To Plug A €1.2 Billion Healthcare Budget Hole

Think Cyprus is the only country that will need a repeat bailout (as the FT reported earlier)? Think again. Cause heeeeere’s Greece… again…. where as Kathimerini reports, a brand new, massive budget hole for €1.2 billion has just been “discovered.

And here’s another nice theft tactic. Well, nice if you are the bank. The Bank of Ireland just doubled the interest rate on existing floating rate mortgages where the fine print allowed them to do so:

     Bank Of Ireland Doubles Mortgage Rates, Homeowners Fear More To Come

And expect to hear a good deal more about wealth taxes in the coming months:

     German ‘Wise Men’ push for wealth seizure

Professors Lars Feld and Peter Bofinger said states in trouble must pay more for their own salvation, arguing that there is enough wealth in homes and private assets across the Mediterranean to cover bail-out costs. “The rich must give up part of their wealth over the next ten years,” said Prof Bofinger.

And last but not least, you know all that money sitting in retirements accounts? Multiple countries have nationalized such accounts in recent years. People like former Republican Administration insider Catherine Austin Fitts have been warning people that US politicians salivate when they contemplate getting their hands on that pool of $18 trillion.

OK, just three final (brief!) comments:

1. You’ve heard the old saying about someone who “wants your money in their pocket.” The problem here is most people’s money is already stored in “their pocket,” that is, it’s already being held by the institutions that want to grab it.

2. That thing about the banks going after people for more money after they have already foreclosed on them? Too bad we don’t have a Charles Dickens around to dramatize this type of behavior, maybe then people would get the depth of depravity in this system.

3. Tread carefully out there, folks, it looks like acceleration spares nothing, so I think you want to be real careful about “wait and see.” You know my view: banks are for transaction accounts, not savings.

Next time we’ll cover another big pile of electronic money, brokerage accounts.

A Forecast for the Next Eleven Years

Today we’ll review one of the single best pieces of economic / political / social analysis I’ve been lucky enough to see. Read this post and you’ll have an extremely important input for how the world will proceed over the next eleven years. How can I make such a statement? Because this analysis landed on my screen in December, 2007, and it covered the time period from 1995 through 2024, and it has been working extremely well. I promised more about cycles. This is from the world of cycles.

Understand this analysis and you will understand what Ben Bernanke of the US Federal Reserve has publicly admitted has been befuddling him and his colleagues.

At the time of publication at the end of 2007, this analysis said that we had reached a major turning point: That while the period from 1995 through 2007 had been characterized by optimism (think of all the “new era” talk), manias (think bubbles in stocks and real estate), high confidence, free enterprise, free trade, globalization, unfettered capitalism, and so forth–all of which had clearly been at the forefront during that period–that the period from 2008 through 2024 would be characterized by caution, fear, contraction, pessimism, restrictions on freedom, economies planned by the state, trade barriers, low confidence, and so forth. Here is part of what was presented:

Manfred_Pluto_Switch_ed

To put it mildly, an awful lot of people would have benefited if they had known about this huge switch that did occur, just as predicted, in January 2008. It really was as if, at the end of 2007, someone threw a big switch and changed things dramatically. Central bankers and politicians around the world are still scratching their collective balding heads about why all of the things they used to do in the past, things that would work to stimulate economies, are barely working today. At first they used their old tried-and-true methods–lowering interest rates, feigning confidence, stuffing cash into the banks, spending money on stimulus plans–and they got an anemic recovery at best. So they pulled out the really big guns. “Unconventional” methods, as they call them. Also known collectively as printing money. Lots of it. Enough since 2009 that they have basically tried to add the equivalent of one year of the US economy to the global economy.

What has it got them? Well, since the printed money went into buying assets rather than creating jobs, the rich and their vendors–Sotheby’s, Porsche, Armani, et al–have done very well. Everyone else, not so well. The huge divide between rich and poor is widening at an accelerating pace. Historically, that has always been a dangerous setup. You can only push people so far before they push back. Sometimes fiercely. Overall, what it got them was continuing recession and debt crises in Europe, a US economy with paltry growth at best, and China joined the club of getting themselves over-indebted to keep their economy growing, but now that excess of debt is coming back to bite them and their economy is rapidly losing steam. Japan remains in near-continuous recession no matter what they do.

Since the analysis above has been working remarkably well for 18 years, it makes a whole lot of sense to figure that it will keep working for the next eleven years. That was the claim for this cycle, that it would have two phases, one from 1995 through 2007, and the second, radically different in tone, from 2008 through 2024.

What could be the cause, the source, of such an influential cycle, one that seems to have changed the energetic tone for the majority of people, from excessive optimism from 1995–2007, to caution from 2008–2024? Let’s show more about what the top of that table looked like when presented in December 2007, right at the point of the big switch:

Manfred_Pluto_Switch_ed2

The table was astrological in nature.  It showed what was about to happen as Pluto moved  from Sagittarius into Capricorn.

This outstanding piece of analysis was put forth by Manfred Zimmel through his web site  in his Forecast Issue for the year 2008. At the web site, you can sign up for his free newsletter or paid subscription service. The information above was given to his paid subscribers only.

Now I know that some readers here have a low opinion of astrology. I would say two things about that: First, I agree that popular astrology as shown in daily newspapers and glossy magazines is worse than useless. Second, as with most complex fields of endeavor, there is a small group of practitioners doing excellent work and a much larger group of practitioners who do not. But excluding astrology from one’s view of the world precludes access to information like the above, which can be exceptionally useful in guiding real world decisions. Also, it can provide an outstanding “truth filter” for claims about the world. For example, the article at this link contains five predictions Bernanke made in 2008 that, armed with the information above, one could see at the time that these were more than likely to be wrong. They turned out to be, in fact, entirely wrong:

1/10/08 — The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession. WRONG

2/27/08 — I expect there will be some failures [among smaller regional banks]… Among the largest banks, the capital ratios remain good and I don’t anticipate any serious problems of that sort among the large, internationally active banks that make up a very substantial part of our banking system. WRONG

4/2/08 — In separate comments, Mr. Bernanke went further than he had in the past, suggesting that the Fed would remain aggressive and vigilant to prevent a repetition of a collapse like that of Bear Stearns, though he said he saw no such problems on the horizon. WRONG

6/10/08 — The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so. WRONG

7/16/08 — [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are] adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing… [However,] the weakness in market confidence is having real effects as their stock prices fall, and it’s difficult for them to raise capital. WRONG, they needed bailouts to the tune of $160 billion.

The point here is that automatically excluding information because of its source can put a person at a distinct disadvantage in understanding how the world works and where it is heading. Anyone who has read more than a couple of my posts knows that I regularly give the US Federal Reserve a well-deserved lambasting for its lies, its attempts to get over-indebted people to borrow and spend more, and its only real goal: protecting the stranglehold that the large banks have on our society. But I used one of their reports in 2005 to decide when to sell out of real estate. They published a great research paper in 2005 that analyzed the history of maybe 30 real estate booms and busts from many countries. They said that real estate bubbles popped in the following manner: once sales volume peaked, price peaked, on average, six months later. US sales volume peaked in October 2005, and the US price peak was in June 2006, so their estimate was quite good. I took their research seriously and sold in Feb 2006. They, however, did not take their own research very seriously, at least in their public statements. Here are some quotes from Bernanke in 2007 (I won’t bother putting the WRONG label after each.):

7/1/2005CNBC interview:

INTERVIEWER: Tell me, what is the worst-case scenario? We have so many economists coming on our air saying ‘Oh, this is a bubble, and it’s going to burst, and this is going to be a real issue for the economy.’ Some say it could even cause a recession at some point. What is the worst-case scenario if in fact we were to see prices come down substantially across the country?

BERNANKE: Well, I guess I don’t buy your premise. It’s a pretty unlikely possibility. We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.

10/20/05: BERNANKE: House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals. (Ha!)

So, acting on the Fed’s research can be very helpful. Acting on their opinions and forecasts is a mistake. They aren’t trying to help you, they are trying to help the banks. Anyone who understands that distinction can put Fed forecasts in the proper perspective.

So the next time you hear rosy predictions about the great recovery that is turning out to be perennially “just around the corner,” whether those predictions are from someone who is mistaken or someone with malevolent intent, now you can understand that what these forecasters are up against is this: for an economy based on debt to grow, they need to get people to borrow more money. And until 2024, people are under the influence of Pluto in Capricorn, and most of them don’t really want to take on more debt. Quite the contrary, a lot of them have replaced the notion of “how much debt can I qualify for” with a wish to have less debt. Many have now seen the slavery of debt and they didn’t like what they saw.

Perhaps after 2024 the economists will be able to stimulate the majority’s “animal spirits” again. The question is: can this financial system, which depends on the constant growth of debt, survive through 2024 with people not wanting more and more debt?  I decided quite some time ago that the answer is no and persistently take those pleasant actions that ready a person for financial system collapse.  I take the influence of this Pluto “big switch” as a small but important part of the energetic change bringing us the long-awaited Transition.

Thanks to Manfred Zimmel for permission to reprint this excellent piece of research.

Update on Metals, Deposit Confiscation, and Capital Controls

…one goal is to get to the point where all market participants understand with certainty that if a large SIFI (systemically important financial institution) were to fail, the losses would fall on its shareholders and creditors
–Governor Jeremy C. Stein, US Federal Reserve Board, Regulating Large Financial Institutions, speech at a conference sponsored by the International Monetary Fund, April 17, 2013

* * *

“Bank creditors,” as it happens, is a class of people that includes bank depositors. Everything about the rhetoric of banking is designed to obscure this. You deposit money in your bank account…But what you’ve really done is loaned the money to the bank…
Slate.com

A big price drop in the precious metals. So let’s see, on Thursday, April 11:

     CEOs of biggest U.S. banks to meet with Obama on Thursday

and the big selling in metals took place on Friday, April 12 and Monday, April 15.  No chance of any causation in that correlation. Nah. Move along. As Leslie Nielsen said, “Nothing to see here.

Anyway, with all that selling, there must be lots of inventory of coins around. That’s what they teach in Econ 101, right? That if a price is plunging, it’s because people are dumping large quantities of that item onto the market.

But there isn’t lots of inventory. Inventory is very tight, sold out in many cases. Delivery lead times are out to five or six weeks, and that’s if you can even place an order for what you want.  Big-volume dealers like Tulving.com are entirely out of one-ounce silver coins minted by any country, and they have been since April 15. You can scroll down this page at their web site to see how many items they normally sell are currently sold out.

And these people make a living buying and selling lots of coins. They really want to do a lot of business. And they are happy to buy right now, but they can’t sell lots of items because there aren’t any available.

This scramble to buy physical bullion coins is going on worldwide.

In Australia:

     Golden times for Perth Mint

The volume of business that we’re putting through is way in excess of double what we did last week,” Treasurer Nigel Moffatt said, without giving precise figures. “There’s been people running through the gate.”

In Japan:

     As global price slumps, “Abenomics” risks drive Japan gold bugs

But on Tuesday, buyers outnumbered sellers by a wide margin. At Ginza Tanaka, the headquarters shop of Tanaka Holdings, gold buyers waited for as long as three hours for a chance to complete a transaction.

In India:

     India’s Response To The Gold Sell Off: A Massive Buying Frenzy

In China:

     Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society Runs Out of Gold…Importing from Switzerland and London

Now we discover that the Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society has essentially sold out of gold bullion, and must wait until Wednesday for shipments to arrive from Switzerland and London.

     Gold Buying Frenzy Continues: China, Japan, And Australia Scramble For Physical

In the US:

     US Mint Sells Record 63,500 Ounces Of Gold In One Day

According to today’s data from the US Mint, a record 63,500 ounces, or a whopping 2 tons, of gold were reported sold on April 17th alone, bringing the total sales for the month to a whopping 147,000 ounces or more than the previous two months combined with just half of the month gone.

     Bullion Shortages Develop As Retail Demand Skyrockets

…on Monday there was such chaos in the markets that some of the larger wholesale dealers had to shut down at various times because of the massive demand on the buy side… Gold and silver buyers are still outpacing sellers by a stunning 50 to 1.  There were premium increases on everything bullion related.  The wholesalers are now telling us four to six weeks on silver maple leafs, and wholesalers quit taking orders on one ounce silver rounds.

In Canada and Europe:

     Massive Run On Physical Gold & Silver At UBS & Scotiabank

At the Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto the gold window has been absolutely swamped. I have confirmed there were people lined up in droves recently for multiple-hours at a time to buy gold and silver bars and coins….

“I then confirmed with UBS today in Zurich, Switzerland, that they are experiencing exactly the same thing. They told me people are waiting in long lines for bullion related bars and coins. The physical market is incredibly tight…

In Switzerland:

     Refiners Can’t Keep Up With Massive Global Gold Demand

If you look at our company, as just one example, we did not have one single seller in the last few weeks.

So during this takedown in gold and silver there wasn’t one single seller, only buyers….

If we turn to the Swiss refiners, Eric, the premium over spot for physical gold is rocketing. Swiss refiners are unable to keep up with the demand for immediate delivery. They are working flat out, including the weekend, and still can’t keep up.

The Swiss refiners are seeing global demand coming in from everywhere, especially from the Middle-East and the Far-East. So, again, this proves that the artificial manipulation of paper gold has nothing to do with the physical market.
–Egon von Greyerz, Matterhorn Asset Management

So, with all that buying interest in real physical gold and silver, why has the price been falling? Because the two largest trading venues on the planet for metals, the LBMA (London Bullion Market Assoc.) and the COMEX in the US, are the places where the price of gold is currently set. And 99% or more of the trades there that are said to be related to gold are not for the physical metal, they are futures contracts that are traded for cash, not physical gold. In other words, these are very large trading casinos. But like the banks, they are fractional reserve systems. In other words, if everyone who had a futures contract for gold actually wanted physical gold for their contract, there would not be anywhere near enough gold to go around. Even supporters of the LBMA admit there is maybe 1% physical gold backing all these contracts. So that’s even more leverage than is used at most banks. A lot more.

Monday, April 15 was a good example. Andrew Maguire–an LBMA trader and whistleblower who the Powers That Be ran down, but did not kill, with a car in 2011 right after Andrew gave testimony on silver price manipulation to the authorities—reported that on Monday, there was a period during which 155 tons of gold was sold on the LBMA in one hour. I can tell you for sure that no one who owned or was the custodian for 155 tons of physical gold would sell it in a panic into a falling market. This was selling of futures contracts that will be settled in cash. They have little or nothing to do with physical gold. People in charge of 155 tons of real gold do not sell in a panic. If they wanted to sell—and such a thing would be quite unusual these days when even central banks are net buyers of physical gold—they would do so carefully, trying to get the best price. They would sell on days when the price was rising, not falling. This is the way anyone with a strong profit motive sells, they hire good traders to sell over time when they can get the best price. They do not panic dump their holdings regardless of price.

In fact, Maguire reports that central banks picked up 55 tons of physical gold during that one hour period when 155 tons worth of paper gold contracts were sold.

Here are Maguire’s comments about Monday, April 15.

At some point, this charade will fall apart. The price of physical gold will separate from the price quoted in these paper instruments. This is already visible when one needs to buy coins at a premium above the spot price of the metal. During these smashdown selloffs (we’ve seen these before in 2006 and 2008), the premium above the quoted spot price for physical gold and silver rises, sometimes to as much as 50% above the spot price if you want prompt delivery. During those periods, the price for physical coins is not the quoted spot price, it is the spot price plus the premium, and that price can be substantially higher. These are the indications of the separation of the paper and physical gold and silver prices to come.

The press duly reported nearly the same quote from representatives of all of the banks. Yes, reps from those same banks that met with Obama on April 11. “Gold has lost its safe haven status. “ “Gold is no safe haven.” And on and on. They should have dressed them up in silly costumes and they could have danced and sang together, at least that would have been entertaining.

So why do they want to scare you out of, or away from, gold and silver? Two main reasons:

First, so that you cough up your goods so they can buy them on the cheap.

Second, when they go to “Cyprus” your accounts, that is, when they want to confiscate some of your money, they want it easily available with a few keystrokes. Confiscating gold and silver coins would be inconvenient at best, dangerous at worst.

Do you think “they’ll never do that here”? Here is the overall order of events in Cyprus:

1. On Feb 10, the Financial Times published the plan for the confiscation of depositor money in Cyprus called Radical rescue proposed for Cyprus.

2. On Feb 11, the Central Bank of Cyprus posted a letter shown at this link saying that the Financial Times article was incorrect, that confiscating depositor money was against the constitution, etc.

3. In mid-March, the confiscation of depositor money was announced.

4. The Cyprus parliament voted against it.

5. The central bank of the EU overruled the Parliament of Cyprus and went ahead with the confiscation. So democracy and the constitution were thrown out the window along with the promises.

On the day after the confiscation, the new head of the EU finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsellbloem, gave not one, but two interviews in the mainstream press in which he said the Cyprus bank resolution was a new template for such actions. From Reuters:

A rescue programme agreed for Cyprus on Monday represents a new template for resolving euro zone banking problems and other countries may have to restructure their banking sectors, the head of the region’s finance ministers said.

The rest of the EU and IMF politicians nearly had a baby on the public stage. For the next three weeks, all they would say was that Cyprus was not a template. We should have put them in a chorus line too. Even Dijsellbloem tweeted that he didn’t say what he said.

But then a member of the US Federal Reserve Board, Governor Jeremy C. Stein, said that if a Too Big to Fail bank failed, that private investors and creditors would have to bear the losses. His speech was on April 17, well after the Cyprus event wherein depositors were ruled as “creditors” of the bank. These people choose their words carefully. I hope everyone out there listens to them carefully.

And it’s worth remembering this: In the US, for example, the bank insurance fund held by the FDIC has $25 billion. That’s the amount insuring $9 trillion worth of deposits.  So that’s 370 times more deposits than the amount in the insurance fund. And the insured banks have an additional $297 trillion in exposure to derivatives. So that’s almost 12,000 times more than the amount in the insurance fund. Very safe and sound, eh? Now you know why the authorities have just hinted that banks won’t be simply bailed out anymore; people’s deposits will be bailed in. Just remember, they’ve put you on notice now that you need to determine whether or not your bank is safe. People who spend their whole lives trying to do that can’t figure out which banks are truly safe anymore, but so what, you are now supposed to be able to do that. You can see a chart of the FDIC situation here. And you can find out a little about the safety of any US bank at the Safe and Sound section here. I am not aware of what is available publicly available for bank analysis in other countries.

Also part of the Cyprus event were strong restrictions on how much money a person could take out of Cyprus, the dreaded capital controls. This is also part of the template. When that happens, people are stuck in their own currency even if it tumbles mercilessly in value. When people tried to switch their money into the electronic currency Bitcoins because it recognizes no borders, it doubled the price of Bitcoins in a few weeks. TPTB then smashed down the price of Bitcoins as well, to show people that there is “no safe haven.”

Throughout history, currency devaluations, capital controls, and asset confiscations are denied until after they have happened. Governments typically say, “Sorry, we didn’t want to do that, but we had no choice.” You need to either anticipate them or be a connected government crony. Here’s a chart of monthly deposits into and withdrawals from the Cypriot banking system. The large withdrawals in January and February show the strong likelihood that some people were given advance notice:

CyprusOutflows

Most people were not given advance notice; if the time comes, you and I will be in that group.

Lots of people are showing that they understand. As the stories above show, people were waiting in line for metals at these prices across the globe. We have seen this play before. Sometimes the elites smash down the prices of metals. Did I see it coming? Nope. Can they do it again? Yep. But as the rising price of gold over the last 12 years proves, they can’t push it down too far. If they do, the Asians and regular people will end up owning all of the gold. And the banksters won’t like that at all since they know the financial (per)version of the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

Lots of regular people on the planet take these price smashes as a gift. I think these people are smart.

Here is Jim Sinclair’s latest comment on the topic: The US Will Be Cyprused & We Will See $50,000 Gold.

And the recently-released video The Secret World of Gold, while not perfect, has Andrew Maguire briefly explaining how gold and silver prices are manipulated, and brings up the interesting question of whether there is any real gold (and not just gold-plated tungsten bars) at the US gold depository at Ft Knox. Channeled information agrees that Ft Knox is empty of real gold.  It will be a very interesting day when the world finds out about that.

CashGrab1