To be or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing, end them.
Sometimes slings and arrows feel very difficult indeed. But sometimes, and I guess some would say always, they are our friends, as they help to end pernicious cycles. Our increasingly-being-shown-as-notorious financial system is experiencing its end-of-cycle as its lies and chief liars are exposed, as major world banks have been shutting down public access to their systems for days at a time, as criminal hackers have figured out how to pilfer billions from the accounts of high net worth individuals at banks, etc.
We documented the base-level lies in The financial system is based on twelve promises that are lies. But each and every week now, more of the operational lies of the system are revealed.
Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone reported on a court case showing that the big banks have for decades criminally deceived participants in the municipal bond market, robbing cities, towns, hospitals, etc. of interest payments due to them: The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia.
Too bad that cities and towns are going broke, the banksters must get their bonuses. And their posh offices. Drive around any city in the industrialized world. Who has the largest and fanciest buildings, whose buildings dominate the skylines? Banks and insurance companies. Check it out. But I digress. Back to the latest slings and arrows.
Everyone has probably heard about the LIBOR scandal where the big banks–and it is looking like most or all of them–colluded in criminal fashion to manipulate interest rates. The LIBOR rate is used to calculate the interest rates on myriad types of loans including mortgages, business loans, credit card rates, etc. It is used as the basis for hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of derivatives. The top executives at Barclay’s were the first to be caught, but now RBS has been fined, and Deutsche Bank is under investigation. Others will follow. And the fired CEO of Barclay’s, Bob Diamond, has publicly stated that he was told to manipulate LIBOR by the guy who is second in command at the Bank of England, Paul Tucker. How long before we find out the US Federal Reserve was giving out the same kinds of orders for illegal acts?
And speaking of investigations, how about Spain investigating the top executives of Bankia, headquarters pictured here, I kid you not:
Photo from Mike Krieger’s site.
A year ago, when they were selling stock in the bank to the public, these executives touted Bankia’s greatness. They stated two months ago that everything was fine, in fact profitable, at Bankia. Within a few weeks, it was determined that the bank needed a $19 billion bailout.
And it looks like JP Morgan has been caught pulling an Enron, manipulating the electric power market in California and the Midwest: JPMorgan’s Role in Power Market Comes Under Scrutiny.
The Vatican can’t resist joining the financial criminality party, assisted, of course, by JP Morgan: Catholic Church Fears Growing Vatican Bank Scandal.
We also have the mystery of large banks shutting their systems to any public access. RBS, one of the biggest UK banks, had a major “system outage” for days that halted the processing of just about everything including credit and debit cards, ATMs, payroll checks, account balance inquiries, i.e., everything! See: As RBS’ ATM “Glitch” Enters Fifth Day, The Bailed Out Bank Issues A Statement.
And yesterday the largest bank in Russia stopped all public access to its systems, so no credit or debit cards swipes would work, no on-line transactions, etc.: RBS ‘Glitch’ Goes Airborne As Biggest Russian Bank Halts All Credit, Debit Card Operations.
RBS gave a potentially plausible explanation of their outage in testimony to the UK Treasury: RBS gives more detail on IT failure train wreck.
However, it seems suspicious that the biggest bank in Russia also had to shut out the public. Perhaps it had something to do with criminal hackers figuring out how to initiate wire transfers from the accounts of high net worth individuals at 60 banks! Haven’t heard of that one? It broke in the news about two weeks ago and was promptly “disappeared” from many websites. As of this minute, the story is still currently available at the Times of India: Cyber criminals may have siphoned off 2 billion euros from 60 banks. From the article:
The study highlighted a highly sophisticated, multi-tiered, global financial fraud ring that is comprised of at least a dozen groups using active and passive automated transfer systems to steal high value amounts from high balance accounts.
“This fraud empire, dubbed Operation High Roller, has impacted every class of financial institution: credit union, large global bank and regional bank, using smaller and less detectable automated transactions,” McAfee said in a statement.
Could it be that these banks recognize that they are being hacked, and their accounts drained, and they have no way to stop it other than preventing all public access to their systems? And why did coverage of this story virtually disappear? That’s an easy one: When criminal hackers hear that a class of juicy targets is hackable, it’s like pouring blood into water near sharks, they all want a piece of the action. And we can’t have depositors getting nervous about their deposits when the whole system is based on confidence.
Perhaps the problem isn’t hacking. But then how could these large bank systems, famous for their redundancies, backups, and all-around bulletproofness, fail in such catastrophic ways? Could it be that the Sun has decided to make a statement or two about who really runs this sector of the universe? Did 18 M-class solar flares over three days cause glitches in these systems? (Eighteen (18) M-Class Flares Within Last 72 Hours) Followed by an X-class solar flare? (Sunspot Region 1515 Fires Off X-Class Flare) Or are their systems based on MS-Windows? (Joke. Sort of.)
Either way, I have to wonder how people with their savings in electronic accounts feel about that. The system is based on lies. The people who run it are pulling continuous criminal capers, and it looks like they have been doing so for decades. Hackers have figured out how to drain accounts electronically. And the Sun may even be contributing to bank computer mayhem, with NASA admitting that the Sun will be ramping up its activity into mid-2013.
We think it best to consider all of these as indications of a system that is in something beyond peril. It is going down. It will fail. It’s only a matter of time. The pace of slings and arrows impacting the system is accelerating.
Let’s recall that people value money because it is a medium of exchange through which a wild variety of good and services can be exchanged in some comparable way; and a store of value providing one way to save the energy expended in work today to meet needs at some future time. Our current paper currencies (Dollar, Euro, Pound, Yen, etc.) are masters of exchange, but are cascading toward failure as stores of value. Some who have studied the history of money say–and I have no way to verify this–that the longest reigning currency regime based on unbacked paper lasted 41 years. Well, the world went fully into unbacked paper currency in 1971. Add 41 years and you get 2012. Can we set a new record? Perhaps. But the system is showing so many signs of being in its death throes, why take the chance?
People keeping their savings in the banking/brokerage system reminds me of the old Eddie Murphy comedy routine where he asks about movies like Poltergeist and Amityville Horror, “When there’s a ghost in the house, why don’t white people just leave the house?” If profanity offends you, don’t go to the link.
We have all been warned. Over and over. And the warnings are increasingly clear and loud. But we can take arms against this sea of troubles, at least for ourselves. And if we do, we’ll be in a position to help when the slings and arrows end this financial system.
Where there are things to be done, the end is not to survey and recognize the various things, but to do them.
—Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics