More on the stock market

I’m fairly sure that no one in the stock market cared much about my negative comments about stocks from three days ago:

83% of these new stock offerings over the last three months are money-losing companies…That almost equals the all-time record for such madness of 84% in the year 2000 during the internet/tech stock bubble.

But what about when David Einhorn, probably one of the five most successful hedge fund managers ever, says basically the same thing, which he did in a report issued today. Einhorn says he is selling short (that’s betting on a price decline, that is, Einhorn will make money as the prices of these stocks go down) a basket of overvalued tech stocks:

Our criteria for selecting stocks for the bubble basket is that we estimate there to be at least 90% downside for each stock…

So he thinks there is a good chance that the prices of these stocks will decline by 90% or more. Think that can’t happen? Einhorn again:

There is a huge gap between the bubble price and the point where disciplined growth investors (let alone value investors) become interested buyers. When the last internet bubble popped, Cisco (the best of the best bubble stocks) fell 89%, Amazon fell 93%, and the lower quality stocks fell even more.

For anyone interested, Einhorn’s full report is embedded in this article:

     David Einhorn: “We Are Witnessing Our Second Tech Bubble In 15 Years” – Full Letter

Here’s another perspective that should make anyone with money in stocks promptly head for the hills (that means sell!). In 2002, after tech stocks crashed, Scott McNealy, co-founder and CEO of Sun Microsystems, gave a famous interview in Business Week. Sun was one of the many tech sock darlings. They made and sold high-powered workstations favored by the scientific community, Wall St, oil and gas engineers, etc. At its peak, the market valued his company at 10 times company sales. Not profits (that’s what is left over after all expenses), but sales, the amount of money that comes in the door prior to all expenses such as salaries, rent, supplies, etc. McNealy described how absurd it was for the market to value his company at 10 times sales:

But two years ago we were selling at 10 times revenues when we were at $64. At 10 times revenues, to give you a 10-year payback, I have to pay you 100% of revenues for 10 straight years in dividends…That assumes I have zero cost of goods sold, which is very hard for a computer company. That assumes zero expenses, which is really hard with 39,000 employees. That assumes I pay no taxes, which is very hard. And that assumes you pay no taxes on your dividends, which is kind of illegal. And that assumes with zero R&D for the next 10 years, I can maintain the current revenue run rate. Now, having done that, would any of you like to buy my stock at $64? Do you realize how ridiculous those basic assumptions are?

Well, in mid-March of this year, there were forty companies valued at 10 times sales or higher. The list, compiled by Goldman Sachs, is at this link:

     America’s Most Overvalued Companies Are…

On average, these forty are valued at 15 times sales! To quote David Einhorn from his report: “After all, twice a silly price is not twice as silly; it’s still just silly.”

Silly is a direct result of money printing by central banks. The chart in the bottom panel below shows how, since the start of 2008, when the Federal Reserve was printing money (the color-shaded areas on the chart) stocks rose and rose and rose. Anytime they weren’t printing money, stocks fell promptly. So they keep printing. It doesn’t help regular folks, whose real incomes have been declining through this whole period, but it sure helps wealthy stock market investors:

Stocks_QEBespoke-032614

(Chart Source)

It’s very obvious that the sheep are getting set up for another shearing, just as they were in 2000 and again in 2007. When exactly will this shearing take place? I claim no expertise on that score. Can the stock market go higher still? Sure. Clearly it depends on how much money the Federal Reserve prints, how long traders believe in the effectiveness of that printing, and how big the many wars in the world get. But I can tell you for sure, when the shearing happens, “silly” will not be the word on the minds of investors.

I don’t like being shorn, so I have nothing to do with stocks these days. I don’t want my savings anywhere near a brokerage account for reasons described under Lie #6 here. So I don’t have to guess about when the next shearing will take place. If I did want to guess, I would closely follow the work of Jeremy Grantham since he has a multi-decade real-time excellent track record of predicting future returns from stocks. His firm publishes a quarterly newsletter at their web site and Grantham’s comments are followed at web sites like ZeroHedge and King World News. Here are some recent comments:

     Jeremy Grantham’s GMO: “The S&P Is Approximately 75% Overvalued; Its Fair Value Is 1100” 

      Grantham on stocks:

Grantham: We do think the market is going to go higher because the Fed hasn’t ended its game, and it won’t stop playing until we are in old-fashioned bubble territory and it bursts, which usually happens at two standard deviations from the market’s mean. That would take us to 2,350 on the S&P 500, or roughly 25% from where we are now.

Q: So are you putting your client’s money into the market?

Grantham: No. You asked me where the market is headed from here. But to invest our clients’ money on the basis of speculation being driven by the Fed’s misguided policies doesn’t seem like the best thing to do with our clients’ money.

We invest our clients’ money based on our seven-year prediction. And over the next seven years, we think the market will have negative returns. The next bust will be unlike any other, because the Fed and other centrals banks around the world have taken on all this leverage that was out there and put it on their balance sheets. We have never had this before. Assets are overpriced generally. They will be cheap again. That’s how we will pay for this. It’s going to be very painful for investors.

Grantham is a smart fellow and one of the few Wall St people who is honest about the food crisis brewing in the world and certainly one of the very few to quote Bob Marley. He wrote a detailed report on the topic, from the point of view of a numbers man, which he is:

     Welcome to Dystopia! Entering a long-term and politically dangerous food crisis

We are five years into a severe global food crisis that is very unlikely to go away. It will threaten poor countries with increased malnutrition and starvation and even collapse. Resource squabbles and waves of food-induced migration will threaten global stability and global growth. This threat is badly underestimated by almost everybody and all institutions with the possible exception of some military establishments.

As I’ve said before on other topics: be careful out there.

Actual democracy

How often do you hear of a referendum where there is huge voter turnout and 90% vote in favor? We just saw two, both with the theme of secession:

     Crimeans vote in referendum on whether to break away from Ukraine, join Russia

Crimean election Spokesman Mikhail Malyshev said the final result was 96.77 percent to rejoin Russia and 2.51 percent against.

That was with an 83% voter turnout.

     Venice votes to split from Italy as 89% of the city’s residents opt to form a new independent state

In Venice, 73% of eligible voters cast ballots. The last time even 60% of voters turned out for a US Presidential election was 1968.

And it’s fairly clear that, despite attempts to quash it by the national government, Catalonia will vote to secede from Spain on November 9:

     Spain Says Catalonia Can’t Vote for Independence, But Catalans Will Go Ahead Anyway

Last September 11, Catalonia’s national day, hundreds of thousands of Catalans formed a vast human chain across the region to call for independence.

According to a site that tracks all of the current wars on the planet, there are 33 other states working to gain independence from their national government. That’s in addition to the 534 militias-guerrillas and separatist groups who are actively fighting their own national government in 60 countries.

Perhaps people are just a bit tired of the confiscation of a huge chunk of their earnings by massive government bureaucracies that: use that money to spy on their own citizens; pass laws that clearly favor their interests over the interests of the people, including laws that apply to regular citizens but not to the lawmakers; jail people for stealing $500 from a convenience store but give rich cronies like Jon Corzine a free pass when they try to steal a billion dollars; start wars ruining countless lives and costing trillions of dollars, indebting current and future generations, wars that very few people want:

     Americans Think the Afghanistan War Was a Mistake, Just Like All the Other Wars Since 1950

It took two years or less for public opinion to turn on the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.

that pad their own salaries when regular people are struggling, as shown here:

Fed_V_Civilian

When benefits such as health care and pensions are included, the federal compensation advantage over private workers is even larger, according to the BEA data. In 2012, federal worker compensation averaged…74 percent more than the private-sector average.

that create trade agreements such as the TPP, written in secret by corporate lobbyists, covered here by Bill Moyers:

     The Top Secret Trade Deal You Need to Know About

that continue playing global power games while people in the US lose basic services:

     US Prepares To Provide A Billion To Ukraine As Detroit Plans Mass Water Shutoffs Over $260 Million

Oh how, as we all know all too well, this list could go on and on. The more the powermongers try to centralize all control, the more they are creating resistance as people rightfully try to bring real governance back to their communities. Charles Hugh Smith has been doing some excellent writing recently on how the huge lumbering centralized structures created by government are a very poor match for the complexity (and speed, I would add) of today’s world (The Incompetence of the Federal Reserve and Deep State Is Unavoidable):

The incompetence of these organizations is not a reflection of the competence or intelligence of their managers–it is the intrinsic consequence of their limited control of complex systems. If the system has reached the point of being ungovernable, even the most brilliant and experienced managers will fail because it’s not the managers who are incompetent, it’s the organization itself that is incompetent.

I consider this move toward secession to be trend, not anomaly. Expect acceleration. In these votes for secession, people are getting just the smallest taste of actual democracy, so–and this is the true anomaly in today’s world where the political process has been captured by large corporations known as political parties, giving many people the correct idea that their vote counts for little or nothing–the turnouts are huge and the votes decisive.

I would go even farther: Today’s political process is intentionally designed to funnel the beautiful and brilliant energy of people’s good will–via voting where the choices are poor, monetary contributions, letter-writing campaigns, emotional attachments to issues and politicians, etc–into a black hole of ineffectiveness so the power elites can exercise ever-increasing control. They will fail spectacularly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s up with the metals? Part 2

Someone asked me whether I “was still in favor of gold.” The answer is an unqualified Yes. One easy reason is that almost every country on the planet is trying to drive down the value of their paper currency. So if you live in the US, it looks like this, and this is based on the US Government’s statistics for price inflation and we all know that they have every reason to play games to make this number look a lot lower than it really is, so you can safely increase each of these number by 50%:

CPI_Since_2000

The first column, CPI, says plenty: That if you live in the US, since the year 2000, the purchasing power of your money, of your salary, has lost 39%. And this is during a period that they claim has had “low inflation”! And the US Federal Reserve is currently on record as saying they are trying to create more inflation. So when you own US Dollars, or items denominated in Dollars such as US stocks and bonds, or items in currencies pegged to the US Dollar, realize that this is only going to get worse. The same is true for the purchasing power of the other currencies.

* * *

The post What’s up with the metals? Part 1 showed that some notable gold bears had turned bullish and that unprecedented demand for physical gold continued. Despite the strong demand, gold then had the bargain price of $1,237 per ounce, having just bounced up from $1,181 on the last day of 2013. Price went to $1,355 Monday and has pulled back to $1,338 today.

The strong demand for physical bullion, coins, and jewelry, documented in Part 1, has continued. Despite record-breaking demand in 2013, Chinese demand year-to-date is 51% higher than demand to this point in 2013. Mints around the world are working overtime:

     U.K. Royal Mint Runs Out of Sovereign Gold Coins on Demand

The U.K.’s Royal Mint, which traces its history back more than 1,000 years, ran out of 2014 Sovereign gold coins as prices near a six-month low led to “exceptional demand.”

     Gold Mint Runs Overtime in Race to Meet World Coin Demand

Austria’s mint is running 24 hours a day as global mints from the U.S. to Australia report climbing demand for gold coins…

Austria’s Muenze Oesterreich AG mint hired extra employees and added a third eight-hour shift to the day in a bid to keep up with demand. Purchases of bullion coins at Australia’s Perth Mint rose 20 percent this year through Jan. 20 from a year earlier. Sales by the U.S. Mint are set for the best month since April, when the metal plunged into a bear market.

Global mints are manufacturing as fast as they can…“The market is very busy,” Lang said. “We can’t meet the demand, even if we work overtime.

So, if demand for physical gold is so strong, how could there possibly be such a price drop as happened in 2013?  The answer is simple really. They have created a paper gold market that is hundreds of times larger than the physical gold market. By larger I mean in terms of the dollar value of trading in these two markets. People trade paper that has more or less of a connection with gold (sometimes none at all), and it is in these large markets that the price of gold is set. Most of the participants in these paper gold markets believe that they could, if they wished, convert these pieces of paper into physical gold, that the pieces of paper are claims on real gold. But in reality, only a tiny fraction of them could succeed in converting their claims into real metal. There just isn’t enough metal to go around.

If you think I exaggerate, check this chart, which I’ll explain below. It describes the action at the COMEX, the primary gold price-setting exchange in the US:

COMEX_OwnersPerOz

The key phrase on the chart is “Owners Per Ounce,” which for the COMEX is now at 111 owners per ounce of gold in the vault! That is, for each ounce of gold in the COMEX vaults (the blue line in the upper section of the chart), 111 contracts exist that allow the owners of those contracts to demand delivery of that single ounce of gold. We all understand that banks operate with only a little cash on hand for all the deposits they’ve taken, called a fractional reserve system. The COMEX is the same, worse actually: percentagewise, they keep a lot less gold around than the banks keep cash on hand.

(Please skip this paragraph if you already understand what 111 owners per ounce means!) Let me explain: The COMEX is a futures trading exchange where people trade gold and other commodities. Futures exchanges were created to be a meeting place between producers of a commodity and its end users. In January of any year, for example, a producer of wheat can agree to sell wheat in the future, in September, at a specified price to a cereal company. Both the wheat farmer and the cereal company know that they can make a reasonable profit on their operations if the farmer supplies, and the cereal maker takes delivery of, wheat at the pre-arranged price when that wheat is ready in September, so they make the deal. That’s called a futures contract. It promises both delivery and payment in the future at set price, and that’s great. But the futures exchanges are now dominated by big money speculators who have no intention of producing or taking delivery of anything. The chart above reflects this reality. The COMEX vault is supposed to have gold to back up the gold trading that takes place on that exchange. As you can see in the upper panel of the chart, back in 2006 they had over 5 million ounces backing up the contracts. Now that amount has fallen by 93% to only 370,000 ounces as more people realize that they better stop trading paper and get their hands on the real stuff.  Currently, for all the futures contracts to buy and sell gold on the exchange, they only have 1 ounce for every 111 contracts in existence. These contracts are paper gold, a huge synthetic supply of fake gold.  If everyone decided to make their claim for real gold (similar to a run on bank), only 1 ounce would be available for every 111 claims. Such an attempt would drive the price of physical gold into the stratosphere. On a typical day last week, 55,000 of these paper contracts traded hands. That represents 5,500,000 ounces of paper gold traded each day just at the COMEX. That trading sets the price for gold in the US. But it’s possible that no one demanded delivery of gold from the COMEX on that same day. So the trading that sets the price is really for cash, not for gold. And this paper trading involves a lot of borrowing, that is, leverage.  One can easily prove this crazy situation by contacting a futures broker and creating an account with $8,000 in that account. One could then buy or sell (they call it selling short) a futures contract for 100 ounces of gold. At today’s price of $1,338 per ounce, 100 ounces of gold is worth $133,800. So as far as COMEX is concerned, you are using your $8,000 gambling stake to control $133,800 worth of gold. And this “gold” can be sold, driving down the price. Seems crazy, but it’s literally true.

So if you or I can control 100 ounces for $8,000, imagine what JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs can control with the many billions of printed money they receive from the Federal Reserve, printed money that has not been lent out to boost the economy but is being used as collateral for trading. They can push markets in whatever direction they want. The same is true for central banks, but on an even greater scale: They have no limit on the amount of cash they can print up, so they can overwhelm any market anytime they wish.

The COMEX sets the price in the US. In London, it’s the LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) which is more than 7 times larger than the COMEX in terms of the dollar value of daily paper gold trading. The LBMA admitted a couple of years ago that, like the COMEX today, their leverage ratio was over 100 to 1. And the gold market in Switzerland is just as large as the LBMA, but it is run privately by the Swiss banks, so they publish no statistics. All told there are 40 futures exchanges in the world for trading paper gold.

Another form of paper gold is certificates for gold accounts with banks. Several of these banks have been caught charging people fees for storing gold when they are actually storing nothing at all. The banks figured they could quickly meet any claims for the gold, but when the claims came in, it took them weeks to procure the gold in the open market.

And there are stocks that hold gold, options on both those stocks and on the futures described above, gold leases, and swaps contracts. The latter are private contracts and they may actually dwarf all of the rest of the paper gold claims in terms of their stated dollar value (their “notional value,” as it is called) because the central banks, like the US Federal Reserve and the Bank for International Settlements, often use swaps for their trading. What, central banks trading gold? In September, the French Central Bank admitted:

We are still active in the gold market for our own account…meaning that we are in the market nearly on a daily basis.

In that same paper, the Bank of France said they owned 2,500 tons of physical gold and that they had no plans to sell it. So what are they trading daily? Paper gold, for profit.

Sometimes people go way too far with these contracts. People thought that Bear Stearns went bankrupt in 2008 because of the mortgage market. But the astute article What Really Happened to Bear Stearns by Ted Butler explains that it was actually bad trading in gold and silver that took them down: they had massive bets that the prices of gold and silver would go down, but instead the prices shot up by a lot over a few months instead. 

BearStearnsGold

The chart above is the price of gold from 2004-2008. Notice how the price was moving up strongly prior to the collapse of Bear Stearns. Guess who picked up all of the assets and trading positions of Bear Stearns as it went bankrupt. Why our “good friends” at the company implicated in, and fined for, manipulating just about every market around since then: JP Morgan. They picked up Bear’s assets for about 6 cents on the dollar. Notice the smashdown of the gold price as soon as Morgan was in charge. The price smashdown was even worse in silver. Here’s the chart from 2004-2008 for silver:

BearStearnsSilver

It sure makes one wonder whether JP Morgan was involved in both moving the price up to bankrupt Bear Stearns, and then smashing it down once they had taken over Bear and inherited all those bets that the prices of gold and silver would drop.

Getting back to our discussion. All of these contracts taken together are called derivatives because they derive their value from the underlying value of gold. Guess who owns most of them now:

     Market Cornered: JPMorgan Owns Over 60% Notional Of All Gold Derivatives

What? Isn’t it illegal to corner a market? Don’t the regulators come down hard on anyone trying to corner a market? Yes, but as long as it isn’t gold or silver. JP Morgan is allowed to corner gold and silver because it serves the interests of those who still want the US Dollar to dominate the world so that the US can continue to exercise its “exorbitant privilege” of printing paper to trade for the real goods of other countries. So if someone like Morgan and the central banks weren’t suppressing the prices of gold and silver, it would make the Dollar and the other paper currencies look bad, and those in charge won’t allow that.

To show you how off base these government people and economists are, when Nixon took the world off of what remained of the gold standard in 1971, his chief economist was the “great” Milton Friedman. Friedman told Nixon and others that gold was deriving its value from the US Dollar, not the other way around, and that as soon as Nixon severed the link between gold and the Dollar, that the price of gold would actually fall quite a lot. He was entirely wrong, as government economists so often are, as gold never looked back again at its then-current price of $35 per ounce.

These government types have always hated gold for one reason: it inhibits their ability to wage war. We’ve covered it before: governments started going off the very-successful gold and silver standards in order to fight World War 1. That war would have been over in a few months, but that wasn’t good enough for the warmongers, they had to kill off millions of people over four years to serve their greed.

We’ll talk more about governments and gold later, including their failed attempts to suppress gold in the past, in Part 3. But you know that comment above about the gold price going into the stratosphere when people with all these paper contracts rush to convert them to physical gold? That will happen. It’s inevitable, as more and more people lose confidence in governments, banks, and the blizzard of paper claims they have created. That COMEX chart above–where it shows that the physical gold backing up the paper trading is down by 93%–says that the process is already well underway. Best to get your gold and silver before all those folks with the paper contracts try to get some because, at that point, it will be tough to find real gold at any price.

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?

US Government shut down, except…

The US Government claims to be shut down, but that doesn’t apply to the military complex:

     Hagel Orders Civilian Pentagon Workers To Return to Work

So 350,000 civilian contractors will rejoin active duty soldiers, to whom no shutdown was applied.

And apparently the Department of Defense granted 94 new contracts on the day prior to the shutdown.

Recently, the US Federal Reserve threatened to slow down, to taper, the money printing, but they backed off on that idea at the last minute. And now the military is at full strength despite a government shutdown. Seems they are making it pretty obvious about what’s on tap. This is a very simple logical progression that has happened before:

1. An economy based on money which is debt must always grow or the interest on the debt cannot be paid.

2. When too much debt is accumulated, the economy groans under the burden, interest and principal on some of the debt cannot be paid, and the economy begins to implode.

3. Authorities put money printing into hyper-drive to try to fill the holes, to overcome this collapse, but this tactic fails. Currently, the money printers themselves are dismayed about the poor results from all that printing.

4. So to stimulate an economy in end-of-cycle death throes, the authorities resort to war.

In my view, this too will fail.

In early September, when the Military Times surveyed US troops on whether they supported US air strikes on Syria, 75% were opposed. And they were opposing air strikes; it seems highly likely that there would be even greater opposition to an invasion. US politicians have been running these troops ragged with one campaign after another, and it is taking its toll in terms of suicide and substance abuse:

In fact, prescription drug abuse doubled among U.S. military personnel from 2002 to 2005 and almost tripled between 2005 and 2008.

Alcohol abuse is the most prevalent problem and one which poses a significant health risk. A study of Army soldiers screened 3 to 4 months after returning from deployment to Iraq showed that 27 percent met criteria for alcohol abuse…

Drug or alcohol use frequently accompanies mental health problems and was involved in 30 percent of the Army’s suicide deaths from 2003 to 2009 and in more than 45 percent of non-fatal suicide attempts from 2005 to 2009.

Many people are increasingly aware that most major US war participations were preceded by false flag attacks, for example, the Lusitania for WW1, Pearl Harbor for WW2, the Gulf of Tonkin for Viet Nam, and 9/11 for the War on Terror. Many are weary of the repeated war campaigns that promise to bring democracy and bring only death and chaos. And people are increasingly aware that the economy–to which so many bow down as some kind of Moloch that must be served now no matter what the human and long-term costs–is a system for enslaving many for the mega-profits of a few. How long before people realize that murderous warmongering is simply an extension of that profiteering?

It seems clear that they will start a major war. They will have to counter war weariness among both civilians and military, and we all know how they do that. And they do need people’s support to carry this out. So once the war has started, the question will be: how long will people support it? Will people go along with these dark forces of war–for emotional reasons, or to get and keep a job in the war economy–or will they stand up and put an end to it?

An Important Whistleblower Event in the Metals

The news came out Friday at 2:00pm (circled on the chart below) that two JP Morgan employees have submitted to the government strong documentary evidence about how JP Morgan illegally manipulates prices in the precious metals markets:

     Morgan Whistleblowers Confess Bank Manipulates Gold & Silver

As you can see on this chart of Friday’s price action in gold from Kitco.com, those few traders who remained at their posts late Friday afternoon thought this was a big deal, and they ran the price of gold up $20 in the final three hours of trading:

Gold Friday13thedThey are right. This is a big deal. Why?

1. The last time compelling evidence of JP Morgan’s price suppression of the metals emerged into public view was March, 2010 when London trader Andrew Maguire told everyone that he had submitted hard evidence to the government about such manipulation, including sitting with them and showing them in real time just when and how the manipulation is carried out:

It was no coincidence gold didn’t look back from that day and it moved up over $800, from under $1,100, to (over) $1,900.  And silver moved up (an astonishing) $33, from under $17, to almost $50 in the same (time) period.

Someone tried to run Maguire down with a car two days later; he was hit by that car, but survived.

2. Many people have supplied evidence of manipulation of the metals to the US government agency that is supposed to take action about such crimes, the CTFC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission), but none, at least not that I know of, were employees of JP Morgan with direct inside information.

3. The CFTC has stonewalled the evidence received to date by staging an investigation of these allegations. The problem is, it’s been in progress for almost five years now. They haven’t taken a single action from this “investigation.” And why should they? Anyone known by Wall St to support such an action would be prevented from entering the “revolving door” and getting a cushy and highly-paid job at one of the Wall St firms as soon as their CFTC gig is over. And it is more than highly likely that the government itself is in collusion regarding the suppression of metals prices, so how can a lesser known agency point out that the US Treasury and Federal Reserve are involved in the scheme. But what was revealed Friday was that the CFTC received the data from the Morgan employees more than a year ago, in June 2012, and still they have taken no action. This will substantially increase pressure on the agency to take at least some sort of public action.

4. Allegations of price suppression in the metals markets have long been greeted as conspiracy theory by the mainstream despite the fact that government participants from the infamous Gold Pool of the 1960s admitted that they manipulated the gold price on a regular basis, though as with almost all government people, they only admitted to this after retirement or posthumously.  But with so many conspiracy theories recently being shown as conspiracy fact, and with JP Morgan getting caught in multiple illegal actions over the last few years, it is now getting tougher for anyone to claim that Morgan is not acting illegally in any market in which they participate.

The “paper gold” market (futures, options, ETFs, etc.) has been used for years to manipulate prices in the physical gold market, so much so that increasing demand for physical gold is often met by a falling paper gold price, turning all economic theory of supply and demand upside down.

The Powers That Be of the USA will do whatever they can to maintain what is rightly called the “exorbitant privilege” of having the US Dollar as the world reserve currency, which enables the US to print money to purchase real goods from the rest of the world. Part of their strategy has been to suppress the price of the precious metals to mask the deteriorating value of the Dollar. Another aspect is to keep the price of the metals very volatile to scare people out of the metals; they want to make the metals look unstable and the Dollar look comparatively stable.

Last year, the State of South Carolina considered adding gold as an investment to the state’s coffers and rejected the idea because their research showed that the precious metals are a manipulated market so they could not trust the metals as an investment. The state treasurer told the legislature this:

“Similar to other commodities, the value of gold and silver is determined by supply and demand, as well as speculation. The Federal Reserve, London Bullion Market Association, JP Morgan Chase, and HSBC Holdings have practiced fractional-reserve banking and engaged in naked short selling causing artificial price suppression.

So this testimony from JP Morgan employees is a major step toward gold and silver trading freely without government interference. No matter how old you are, gold has traded freely during your current lifetime for at most a few months at a time on a couple of rare occasions. If you hang in here for awhile longer, you will see it trade freely. And its price will be, to quote a great friend, magnificent.