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Mega Fail: 17 Signs That The European Financial System Is Heading For An Implosion Of Historic Proportions

Posted by Admin on December 22, 2011

http://www.pakalertpress.com/2011/12/14/mega-fail-17-signs-that-the-european-financial-system-is-heading-for-an-implosion-of-historic-proportions/

Posted on  on December 14, 2011 // Leave Your Comment

The Economic Collapse

What happens when you attempt a cold shutdown of one of the biggest debt spirals that the world has ever seen?  Well, we are about to find out.  The politicians in Europe have decided that they are going to “take their medicine” and put strict limits on budget deficits.  They have also decided that the European Central Bank is not going to engage in reckless money printing to “paper over” the debts of troubled nations.  This may all sound wonderful to many of you, but the reality is that there is always a tremendous amount of pain whenever a massive debt spiral is interrupted.  Just look at what happened to Greece.  Greece was forced to raise taxes and implement brutal austerity measures.  That caused the economy to slow down and tax revenues to decline and so government debt figures did not improve as much as anticipated.  So Greece was forced to implement even more brutal austerity measures.  Well, that caused the economy to slow down even more and tax revenues declined again.  In Greece this cycle has been repeated several times and now Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression.  100,000 businesses have closed and a third of the population is living in poverty.  But now Germany and France intend to impose the “Greek solution” on the rest of Europe.  This is going to create the conditions needed for a “perfect storm” to develop and it means that the European financial system is heading for an implosion of historic proportions.

The easiest way to deal with a debt spiral is to let it keep going and going.  That is what the United States has done.  Sure, “kicking the can down the road” makes the crisis much worse in the long run, but bringing the pain into the present is not a lot of fun either.

Europe has decided to do something that is unprecedented in the post-World War II era.  They have decided to put very strict limits on budget deficits and to impose tough sanctions on any nations that break the rules.  They have also decided that they are not going to allow the European Central Bank to fund the debts of troubled nations with reckless money printing.

Without a doubt, this is a German solution for a German-dominated Europe.  Germany does not want to pay for the debt mistakes of other EU nations, and so they are shoving bitter austerity down the throats of those that have gotten into too much debt.

But this solution is not going to be implemented without a massive amount of pain.

In fact, this solution is going to make a massive financial collapse much more likely.  The following are 17 signs that the European financial system is heading for an implosion of historic proportions….

#1 As noted above, when you reduce government spending you also slow down the economy.  We have already seen what brutal austerity has done to Greece – 100,000 businesses have shut down, a third of the population is living in poverty and there is rioting in the streets.  Now that brand of brutal austerity is going to be imposed in almost every single nation in Europe.

#2 As the economy slows down in Europe, unemployment will rise.  There are already 10 different European nations that have an “official” unemployment rate of over 10 percent and the next recession has not even officially started yet.

#3 Before it is all said and done, the EU nations that are drowning in debt will likely need trillions of euros in bailout money just to survive.  But at this point Germany and the other wealthy nations of northern Europe are sick and tired of bailouts and do not plan to hand over trillions of euros.

#4 The European Central Bank could theoretically print up trillions of euros and buy up massive amounts of European sovereign debt, but this would go against existing treaties and most of the major politicians in Europe are steadfastly against this right now.  But without such intervention it is hard to see how the ECB will be able to keep bond yields from absolutely skyrocketing for long.  In fact, without massive ECB intervention it is hard to see how the eurozone is going to be able to stay together at all.  Graeme Leach, the chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said the following recently….

“Unless the ECB begins to operate as a sovereign lender of last resort function, with massive purchases of eurozone public debt, the inexorable logic is that the eurozone will break up.”

#5 European leaders are hoping that the new treaty that was just agreed to will be ratified by the end of the summer.  In reality, it will probably take much longer than that.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear that the solution to this debt crisis is going to take a long time to implement….

“It’s a process, and this process will take years.”

Unfortunately, Europe does not have years.  Europe is rapidly running out of time.  A massive financial crisis is steamrolling right at them and they need solutions right now.

#6 Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that none of the fundamental problems that Europe is facing were fixed by this recent “agreement” as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently noted in one of his columns….

There is no shared debt issuance, no fiscal transfers, no move to an EU Treasury, no banking licence for the ESM rescue fund, and no change in the mandate of the European Central Bank.

In short, there is no breakthrough of any kind that will convince Asian investors that this monetary union has viable governance or even a future.

Germany has kept the focus exclusively on fiscal deficits even though everybody must understand by now that this crisis was not caused by fiscal deficits (except in the case of Greece). Spain and Ireland were in surplus, and Italy had a primary surplus.

#7 Nobody wants to lend to European banks right now.  Everyone knows that there are dozens of European banks in danger of failing, and nobody wants to throw any more money into those black holes.  The U.S.Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have been lending them money, but a lot of European banks are already starting to run out of “acceptable forms of collateral” for those loans as one Australian news source recently explained….

“If anyone thinks things are getting better, they simply don’t understand how severe the problems are,” a London executive at a global bank said. “A major bank could fail within weeks.”

Others said many continental banks, including French, Italian and Spanish lenders, were close to running out of the acceptable forms of collateral, such as US Treasury bonds, that could be used to finance short-term loans.

Some have been forced to lend out their gold reserves to maintain access to US dollar funding.

So will the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank keep lending them money once they are out of acceptable collateral?

If not, we could start to see banks fail in rapid succession.

Charles Wyplosz, a professor of international economics at Geneva’s Graduate Institute, is absolutely certainthat we are going to see some major European banks collapse….

“Banks will collapse, including possibly a number of French banks that are very exposed to Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain.”

#8 Not only does nobody want to lend money to them, major banks all over Europe are also dramatically cutting back on lending to consumers and businesses as they attempt to meet new capital-adequacy requirements by next June.

According to renowned financial journalistAmbrose Evans-Pritchard, European banks need to reduce the amount of lending on their books by about 7 trillion dollars in order to get down to safe levels….

Europe’s banks face a $7 trillion lending contraction to bring their balance sheets in line with the US and Japan, threatening to trap the region in a credit crunch and chronic depression for a decade.

When nobody wants to lend to the banks, and when the banks severely cut back on lending to others, that is called a “credit crunch”.  In such an environment, it is incredibly difficult to avoid a major recession.

#9 European banks are absolutely overloaded with “toxic assets” that they are desperate to get rid of.  Just as we saw with U.S. banks back in 2008, major European banks are busy trying to unload mountains of worthless assets that have a book value of trillions of euros.  Unfortunately for the banks, virtually nobodywants to buy them.

#10 European bond yields are still incredibly high even though the European Central Bank has spent over 274 billion dollars buying up European government bonds.

Up until now, the European Central Bank has been taking money out of the system (by taking deposits or by selling assets for example) whenever it injects new money into the system by buying bonds.  That makes this different from the quantitative easing that the U.S. Federal Reserve has done.  But at some point the European Central Bank is going to run out of ways to take money out of the system, and when that happens either the Germans will have to allow the ECB to print money out of thin air to buy bonds with or we will finally see the market determine the true value of European government bonds.

#11 Bond yields are going to become even more important in 2012, because huge mountains of European sovereign debt are scheduled to be rolled over next year.  For example, Italy must roll over approximately 20 percent of its entire sovereign debt during 2012.

#12 Once the new treaty is ratified, eurozone governments will lose the power to respond to a major recession by dramatically increasing government spending.  So if the governments of Europe cannot spend more money in response to the coming financial crisis, and if the ECB cannot print more money in response to the coming financial crisis, then what is going to keep the coming recession from turning into a full-blown depression?

#13 Credit rating agencies are warning that more credit downgrades may be coming in Europe. For example, Moody’s recently stated the following….

“While our central scenario remains that the euro area will be preserved without further widespread defaults, shocks likely to materialise even under this ‘positive’ scenario carry negative credit and rating implications in the coming months. And the longer the incremental approach to policy persists, the greater the likelihood of more severe scenarios, including those involving multiple defaults by euro area countries and those additionally involving exits from the euro area.”

#14 S&P has put 15 members of the eurozone (including Germany) on review for a possible credit downgrade.

#15 The stock prices of many major European banks are in the process of collapsing.  If you doubt this, just check out the charts in this article.

#16 Bank runs have begun in some parts of Europe.  For example, a recent article posted on Yahoo Newsdescribed what has been going on in Latvia….

Latvia’s largest bank scrambled Monday to head off a run among depositors who were gripped by rumours of the bank’s imminent ruin.

Weekend rumours that Swedbank was facing legal and liquidity problems in Estonia and Sweden sent thousands of Latvians to bank machines on Sunday, with some lines reaching as many as 50 people.

The Greek banking system is literally on the verge of collapse.  According to a recent Der Spiegel article, the run on Greek banks is rapidly accelerating….

He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion — by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October — the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.

#17 There are already signs that European economic activisty (as well as global economic activity) is really starting to slow down.  Just consider the following statistics from a recent article by Stephen Lendman….

In November, French business confidence fell for the eighth consecutive month. In October, Japanese machinery orders dropped 6.9%, following an 8.2% plunge in September.

South Africa just reported a 5.6% drop in manufacturing activity. Britain recorded a 0.7% decline. China’s October exports fell 1.7% after dropping 3.8% in September.

Korea’s exports are down three consecutive months. Singapore’s were off in September and October. Indonesia’s plunged 8.5% in October after slipping 2% in September. India’s imploded 18.3% after being flat in September.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Europe is in a massive amount of trouble.

The equation is simple….

Brutal austerity + toxic levels of government debt + rising bond yields + a lack of confidence in the financial system + banks that are massively overleveraged + a massive credit crunch = A financial implosion of historic proportions

Unless something truly dramatic happens, the economy of Europe is a dead duck.

There is no way that Europe is going to be able to substantially reduce the flow of money coming from national governments and substantially reduce the flow of money coming from the banks and still be able to avoid a major recession.

Look, I want it to be very clear that I am in no way advocating government debt in this article.  It is just that under the debt-based monetary paradigm that we are all operating under, there is no way that you can dramatically reduce government spending without experiencing a whole lot of pain.

An economic “perfect storm” is developing in Europe.  All of the things that need to happen for a major recession to occur are falling into place.

So does anyone out there disagree with me?  Does anyone think that Europe is going to be just fine?

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The Road to World War III – The Global Banking Cartel Has One Card Left to Play

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2010

Global Research, September 28, 2010
ampedstatus.com – 2010-09-27
The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here.

When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers, while essentially accurate, also misses the most vital point.

This crisis is the direct result of a strategic economic attack on the existence of a middle class and democracy worldwide. The stock market and economy have become weapons of mass oppression manipulated by an imperial banking cartel to impose order and exploit the masses. This crisis boldly represents the manifest evolution of the fascist spirit reasserting itself as the dominant ideology.

Any fairytale notions of the United States being a democratic republic built on the rule of law have been utterly dispelled. As a nation we have been bred and conditioned to be dangerously naïve to the darker forces which operate beyond the spotlight of the mainstream media. We have been blinded to what has been developing throughout the world.

The economic imperialism that has now blown-back to the United States and Europe has been evolving for decades and can be directly traced back to the end of World War II, to the birth of the CIA, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

For those of us who have been paying attention to economic imperial operations that have been carried out against countries throughout the world, this looks all too familiar. The IMF and global bankers have conquered the second and third world, and they have now moved on to countries within the first world. Western European and American working classes are in the cross-hairs now.

Economic and societal indicators, along with recent G-20 policy decisions, clearly demonstrate that they are carrying out and escalating systemic economic attacks throughout Europe and the US.

To put it in technical terms, the United States government has been taken over by a financial terrorism network. They have bought off leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties, and have established a dominant role in all three branches of government and throughout the mainstream media. They have complete control of the economy, stock market, US Treasury, Federal Reserve, World Bank, IMF and global banking system. Free market capitalism has collapsed; it’s now a rigged global market. This is an organized criminal operation, an imperial fascist movement that is determined to destroy our very way of life.

A war has already been launched against us.

In just the past three years we have lost an unprecedented amount of national wealth, trillions upon trillions of our tax dollars have been looted by Wall Street, endless wars, enormous subsidies for the most profitable global corporations and tax cuts for the richest one percent of the population. Never before, in the history of civilization, has a nation been so thoroughly and systematically fleeced.

This is all the result of a coordinated economic attack by a global banking cartel against 99 percent of the US population.

Until we can become politically intelligent enough to see this as the reality and root cause of our current crisis, we will not be able to overcome it, our living standards will continue to decline and we will all be sentenced to a slow death in a neo-feudal system built on debt slavery.

The average American is horribly naïve to just how depraved, corrupt and addicted to power this banking cartel is. Through their control and domination of the mass media, they have kept their crimes against humanity out of public consciousness. We have been shielded from the global devastation and death toll that they have already wrought. The result is an unsuspecting population of confused and passive people having their future ripped out from under them, right before their eyes, without any organized defense or resistance.

As the entrenched global banking cartel continues to control domestic political policy, the next phase of this crisis will inevitably feature an escalation into mass violence. As the Army War College stated, the Pentagon is preparing for “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States” and “widespread civil violence” due to “purposeful domestic resistance.”

In clear signs of what is to come, rioting and violence as a result of economic turmoil has already been experienced in many countries throughout the world. However, civil unrest has not yet occurred within the United States. There are many theories as to why there has been so little resistance from the US population thus far, and several factors play into it. The most significant factor is that social safety net programs have been vital in preventing people from resorting to extreme measures. Currently, a stunning number of Americans, 52 million, are receiving life-sustaining assistance from government “anti-poverty” programs, such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and Medicare. This has already stretched a social safety net system that is designed to handle significantly less people to its limit. This safety net system has now been drained of all reserve resources over the past two years, and is obviously not sustainable under current economic and political conditions.

As social safety net programs have been drained of reserves, many US citizens have also been burning through their personal savings. Over the past few years the percentage of Americans living paycheck to paycheck has dramatically increased. In 2007, 43 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. In 2008, the percentage increased to 49 percent. In 2009, the number skyrocketed up to 61 percent. The most recent number for 2010 has exploded to ashocking 77 percent. This means in our nation of 310 million citizens, 239 million Americans are one setback away from economic ruin and millions more are in danger of having to rely on government assistance for survival.

So as this prolonged economic crisis continues, these safety nets, that are already overwhelmed, will have to support more and more people and will inevitably break down. As we have just begun to see, budget cuts to vital social programs on the state and federal levels will become increasingly severe right at the point when many more Americans will need them. As the 52 million Americans currently surviving in “anti-poverty” programs are gradually cutoff from life-sustaining government assistance – and as the 239 million people now living paycheck to paycheck, buried in debt, stressing out and working their asses off just to make ends meet realize that things are not going to be getting any better — and are only going to get worse — social unrest and outbursts of violence will eventually start to bubble up to the surface and the ruling elite will no longer be able to maintain power by simply deceiving the masses via mainstream media propaganda.

When an overwhelming majority of the population directly feels negative effects upon their own living standards, the propaganda system collapses. The illusion comes crashing down and people will finally start to get wise to the horrific scam that is being played on them. When they wake from their media-induced American dream state and realize that they are now living in a nightmare, as crazy as it may sound, people will actually stop voting against their own interests. The apathetic majority, that doesn’t vote, will become active in the interests of self-preservation as their survival instincts kick in.

The handwriting is on the wall and the ruling class has to realize that by the time 2012 rolls around, their puppet politicians will be voted out of office, or their heads will roll, quite literally.

Looking at this from a purely technocratic sociological viewpoint, avoiding mass riots and violence while this many desperate people lose life-sustaining programs appears to be an impossible task, and given our current economic and political environment this seems inevitable.

In an article titled “A Planet at the Brink: Will Economic Brushfires Prove Too Virulent to Contain?” Michael T. Klare explained:

“As people lose confidence in the ability of markets and governments to solve the global crisis, they are likely to erupt into violent protests or to assault others they deem responsible for their plight, including government officials, plant managers, landlords, immigrants, and ethnic minorities. (The list could, in the future, prove long and unnerving.) If the present economic disaster turns into what President Obama has referred to as a ‘lost decade,’ the result could be a global landscape filled with economically-fueled upheavals.”

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski expressed  his fears:

“I was worrying about it because we’re going to have millions and millions of unemployed, people really facing dire straits. And we’re going to be having that for some period of time before things hopefully improve. And at the same time there is public awareness of this extraordinary wealth that was transferred to a few individuals at levels without historical precedent in America….

And you sort of say to yourself: what’s going to happen in this society when these people are without jobs, when their families hurt, when they lose their homes, and so forth?”

Outbreaks of civil unrest are something that the US government and Pentagon have been expecting, and preparing for. Former US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee stating that the greatest threat facing the US is not terrorism, it’s the current economic crisis:

“The primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis and its geopolitical implications. The crisis has been ongoing…. Of course, all of us recall the dramatic political consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism.”

Intelligence Committee Vice-Chair Christopher Bond said the economic crisis is now “the primary focus of the intelligence community.” As the Army War College has warned, the response to this coming phase of the economic crisis “might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance.”

Journalist Chris Hedges summed up this report:

“The specter of social unrest was raised at the US Army War College in November in a monograph titled ‘Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development.’ …

The ‘widespread civil violence,’ the document said, ‘would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.’

‘An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,’ it went on….

In plain English, something bureaucrats and the military seem incapable of employing, this translates into the imposition of martial law and a de facto government being run out of the Department of Defense. They are considering it. So should you.”

The International Monetary Fund is predicting a “social explosion” due to this crisis. The IMF and World Bank have a long history of creating social upheaval. Leaked documents from within the World Bank refer to the next phase of the crisis as the “IMF riot.”

Journalist Greg Palast obtained classified planning documents, which shed light on the covert economic imperial operations, Structural Adjustment Programs, that the IMF, World Bank and US Treasury have used in the past as a playbook for destabilizing and conquering foreign nations. In the UK newspaper The Observer, Palast interviewed Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who was a former World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, turned whistleblower. They revealed the four-step IMF plan. Though the strategy is slightly modified based on the nation being attacked, here in the United States we are currently about to enter a variation of step-three, which is currently being phased in throughout Europe. This step inevitably leads to a significant portion of the population losing the ability to obtain basic necessities essential for survival. Once this happens, riots inevitably occur, or as they put it: step 3.5 is executed.

Here is how Palast and Stiglitz summed it up:

“At this point, according to Stiglitz, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: market-based pricing – a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and… gas.

This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls ‘the IMF riot’.

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, ‘down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,’…

What Stiglitz did not know is that Newsnight obtained several documents from inside the World Bank. In one, last year’s Interim Country Assistance Strategy for Ecuador, the Bank several times suggests – with cold accuracy – that the plans could be expected to spark ’social unrest’.”

To sum up, the interlocked IMF and World Bank set the conditions for ’social unrest’ and then once it occurs they move to step-four, which is the ultimate in disaster capitalism – they profit off the misery and the civilian population is then buried in a neo-feudal system of severe debt and poverty.

So what is the IMF saying right now about our situation in Europe and the US? A recent Telegraph report reads:

“IMF fears ’social explosion’ from world jobs crisis

America and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk ‘an explosion of social unrest’ unless they tread carefully, the International Monetary Fund has warned….

Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, said the percentage of workers laid off for long stints has been rising with each downturn for decades but the figures have surged this time. ‘Long-term unemployment is alarmingly high: in the US, half the unemployed have been out of work for over six months, something we have not seen since the Great Depression,” he said….

The IMF said there may be a link between rising inequality within Western economies and deflating demand. Historians say the last time that the wealth gap reached such skewed extremes was in 1928-1929…”

To show you how insidious the IMF is, they have recently launched a propaganda campaign to publicly decry deficit budget cuts and austerity measures. However, behind the scenes they have been forcing implementation of them and making their usual demands for cuts in vital social services and public spending, once those cuts are in place, the riots obviously follow.

A recent Washington Post report states:

“IMF issues broad call for US financial prudence:
Cut Social Security. Ditch the deduction for interest on home mortgages. Tax gasoline.
The United States recently opened itself to the most intense scrutiny yet by the International Monetary Fund, and on Thursday was offered a bitter pill when the agency criticized some well-defended aspects of American culture — cheap fuel, subsidized housing, and a government retirement check…. “

Economist Dean Baker writes:

“The central bankers and their accomplices at the IMF are dictating policies to democratically elected governments. Their agenda seems to be the same everywhere, cut back retirement benefits, reduce public support for health care, weaken unions and make ordinary workers take pay cuts.”

In another report Baker adds:

“The IMF program calls for cutbacks in government support for healthcare, pensions, and a wide range of other public services. It also calls for weakening labor market regulations that provide workers with job security.

These recommendations are being given in a context where the world economy is suffering from a massive shortfall of demand. In other words, tens of millions of people are unemployed right now because there is not enough spending to keep them employed. The IMF’s program is almost certain to reduce spending further leading to even larger shortfalls in demand and more unemployment….

The IMF’s track record gives us reason not only to question the institution’s competence but also its motivations…. It is possible to see a similar pattern in the IMF’s latest set of policy recommendations to deal with the economic crisis.”

In an article entitled, “The Attack of the Real Black Helicopter Gang: The IMF Is Coming for Your Social Security,” Baker continues:

“Last week, the IMF told the United States that it needs to start getting its budget deficit down. It put cutting Social Security at the top of the steps that the country should take to achieve deficit reduction. This one is more than a bit outrageous for two reasons…

While the IMF has no problem warning about retired workers getting too much in Social Security benefits, it apparently could not find its voice when the issue was the junk securities from Goldman Sachs or Citigroup that helped to fuel the housing bubble.

The collapse of this bubble has not only sank the world economy, it also destroyed most of the savings of the near retirees for whom the IMF wants to cut Social Security. The vast majority of middle-income retirees have most of their wealth in their home equity. This home equity largely disappeared when the bubble burst.”

So the IMF and global banking cartel are setting the conditions for social unrest and pushing for policies that will provoke it, and the Pentagon is preparing for a military response. As scary and unbelievable as all this may sound, we are on afast track to this scenario.

To Sum Up

The American and global economy have already been looted and destroyed beyond repair. Most serious economists will admit that governments have already exhausted their capital by bailing out the banks and taking on unprecedented amounts of debt. The bailouts and recent return to high profits were just the final phase of the looting and a further consolidation of wealth on an unprecedented scale. There are still tens of trillions of dollars in debt hidden off-the-books andhundreds of trillions of dollars in dark pools of derivative liability. As the downturn continues, there is nothing left to revive the economy, the reserves and safety nets have already been stretched to their limits.

We have a political and economic system that has been overrun by organized corruption and theft. Along with a mass media system that does not inform the populace and has effectively marginalized and isolated the majority of the population. Meanwhile, bubbling just under the surface is a very heavily armed population with a militia movement that has doubled in size over the past year, and their memberships continue to rapidly grow. Without the necessary general political intelligence or infrastructure to organize an effective mass non-violent movement, we are steamrolling toward spontaneous riots and outbursts of armed insurrection.

In other words, as this economic downturn continues, what is now a passive and confused population will eventually devolve into an explosion of violence. Without a coherent non-violent movement to provide a viable alternative, without an outlet for severe and legitimate grievances that provides any chance for urgently affecting necessary political change, people will resort to violence as a last desperate act of vengeance and frustration. As time passes, these forgotten and isolated people, tens of millions of them, are quickly running out of options, and they will act out just as exploited people throughout the world always have.

A man who sparked a revolution against the same banking cartel that has caused our crisis described the general attitude among a population that successfully rebelled through armed insurrection:

“The people are weary of being oppressed, persecuted, exploited to the maximum. They are weary of the wretched selling of their labor-power day after day — faced with the fear of joining the enormous mass of unemployed — so that the greatest profit can be wrung from each human body, profit later squandered in the orgies of the masters of capital….

The feeling of revolt will grow stronger every day among the peoples subjected to various degrees of exploitation, and they will take up arms to gain by force the rights which reason alone has not won them.”

Whatever your preconceptions of the man who said this may be, the voice of Che Guevara can now be clearly understood and related to by the overwhelming majority of people throughout the United States.

Already, despite intensive propaganda, a stunning 80 percent of the US population believes that the government has failed them. The health care and financial reform bills have proven that our politicians are much more concerned about the short-sighted necessity to please the Economic Elite and raise campaign funds, than they are to understand the consequences of millions of Americans being forced into situations where their very survival is threatened. In a system where most elected officials are millionaires, this lack of perspective and understanding is ultimately what will lead to violence. Whether it is by arrogance or ignorance, perhaps both, it appears that our ruling class has suicidal tendencies. Unless they quickly recognize the growing threat posed by the dispossessed masses, our puppet politicians will themselves be in harm’s way.

To show you how incredibly out of touch our current elected officials are, and to give you a clear indication of the prevailing attitude on Capitol Hill, a recent report from the Washington Post summed up their response to the recent news that a record number of Americans are now living in poverty:

“The reluctance of political leaders on both sides of the aisle to directly confront the fact that growing numbers of Americans are slipping into poverty reflects a stubborn reality about the poor: They are not much of a political constituency.

‘We talk to many people on Capitol Hill who do believe poverty is important and is a blight on our nation, but we are also up against a general recognition that poor people don’t vote in great numbers. And they certainly aren’t going to be making campaign contributions. That definitely puts them behind many other people and interests when decisions are being made around here.’”

And that sums up our current crisis, doesn’t it? The “poor people don’t vote” and they don’t make “campaign contributions.”

As the Rage Against the Machine song goes, “The riot be the rhyme of the unheard.”

How will this imperial fascist banking cartel respond to revolt? How will they maintain their power over an increasingly radicalized and hostile US population?

In an attempt to stave off organized rebellion, they are already escalating their propaganda efforts in attempts to divide and distract the population. The tactics of their divide and conquer strategy are already on full display. Their mainstream media outlets have drastically increased coverage and focused attention on the rhetoric of division – using divisive issues like immigration, racism, religious bigotry, the “lazy unemployed,” “entitlement welfare” and gay marriage to divide and distract the population and prevent the masses from organizing against their true oppressors.

This propaganda effort is only a temporary measure and will not suffice over the long-term. As the economy continues to collapse, the banking elite risk being overthrown as a result of their own greed. So they will then turn to physical, military-based violence to suppress populations that can no longer be controlled through propaganda and economic coercion.

To paraphrase policy analyst Anatol Lieven, the classic strategy of an endangered oligarchy is to divert discontent among the population into nationalistic militarism. It is time, once again, to bang the drums of war and “whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor.” The source of the following quote is unknown, but the evident wisdom of it is something that we have already experienced firsthand in the recent past:

“Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.”

An increased external threat will lead to an increased internal crackdown, which creates the pretext and conditions for a police state. As we have already seen in the first phase of the crackdown on civil liberties since the “War on Terror” began, when rioting and outbursts of armed insurrection begin within the US, external threats, real or imagined, will again be presented to justify extreme measures to suppress American citizens, and to further repress and divert internal dissent. Without an external enemy to rally the population against, the population will rally against the pre-existing internal powers.

To put a slight twist on what Guy DeBord insightfully said back in 1988: the banking cartel “constructs its own inconceivable foe, terrorism. Its wish is to be judged by its enemies rather than by its results. The story of terrorism is written by the state and it is therefore highly instructive. But they must always know enough to convince them that, compared with terrorism, everything else must be acceptable, or in any case more rational and democratic.”

As millions of Americans and the majority of the global population look for vengeance on those responsible for severely declining living standards, the global banking cartel are not going to blame themselves, so they will deflect blame to China, a most convenient target.

As a result of the crisis, national currencies are reeling, and the dollar, although currently one of the strongest paper currencies, is losing power as the crisis escalates. The IMF is working to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency and have begun discussing the possibility of making their Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) the new world reserve currency. A plummeting dollar will obviously put the American population in a severely desperate situation and the US-based banking cartel needs an excuse to divert political backlash. In China, the nation poised to replace the US as the preeminent global superpower, they have the perfect scapegoat.

US-based global corporations have been shifting their business to China and off-shoring millions of jobs to the region due to their extremely low worker wages. So the American population is already pre-disposed to blaming China, as opposed to the companies who are exploiting the cheap labor. US politicians have been conveniently shifting blame for unemployment from themselves to China. Meanwhile, China also owns a significant portion of US national debt. US Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has recently declared that the national debt is the number one security threat. As Mullen stated, “Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012.” A significant portion of this interest will be going to China.

As national governments attempt to survive in an increasingly hostile global economy, trade and currency wars will flare up and escalate. China is in perhaps the strongest position to win these conflicts. China and Japan have just engaged in a fierce currency battle. This currency battle is not to be underestimated. We are talking about the world’s second and third largest economies, after the United States. China has just overtaken Japan for the number two position. The militant rhetoric between these two nations is escalating. US politicians were quick to jump on the situation with calls to classify China as a “currency manipulator” and impose trade tariffs and penalties against them.

International economic reporter Barry Grey recently summed up the situation in an article entitled, “Economic crisis threatens to unleash global currency wars:”

“The eruption of currency exchange conflicts is bound up with mounting signs that the global economic crisis is systemic, rather than merely conjunctural, and growing fears that a genuine recovery is not in the offing. The European sovereign debt crisis and the weakening of US economic growth have led governments around the world to seek to secure a greater share of export markets. Under conditions of slowing growth and stagnant markets, this inevitably heightens trade conflicts between competing capitalist nations.

In particular, the US and the European Union, spearheaded by the export power Germany, have aggressively pursued a cheap currency policy in order to gain a trade advantage against their rivals. Of the major economic powers, Japan has suffered the greatest damage from these policies, as investors and speculators have shifted from dollar- and euro-denominated investments to the yen, driving up the currency’s exchange rate.

This has embittered relations between Japan and both the US and the EU. Japan has also denounced China for artificially keeping its currency low while bidding up the yen by increasing its purchases of Japanese government securities.”

The global banking cartel’s leading puppets on Capitol Hill, Senators Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer and Richard Shelby were all quick to attack China. Barry Grey continued:

“In opening the Senate Banking Committee hearing, Chairman Christopher Dodd declared China a currency manipulator and said its ‘economic and trade policies’ present ‘roadblocks to our recovery.’ He went on to accuse China of stealing intellectual property, violating international trade agreements and dumping goods. He also denounced China for acquiring national resources in developing countries and building up its military.

In his opening statement, the ranking Republican on the committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama, declared, ‘There is no question that China manipulates its currency in order to subsidize Chinese exports. The only question is: Why is the administration protecting China by refusing to designate it as a currency manipulator?’

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said, ‘China’s currency manipulation is like a boot on the throat of our recovery and this administration refuses to try to get China to remove that boot.’”

On top of all this, China has now overtaken the US as the world’s top energy consumer. Michael T. Klare reports on China’s new position of power:

“The main point: by becoming the world’s leading energy consumer, China will also become an ever more dominant international actor and so set the pace in shaping our global future.

Because energy is tied to so many aspects of the global economy, and because doubts are growing about the future availability of oil and other vital fuels, the decisions China makes regarding its energy portfolio will have far-reaching consequences. As the leading player in the global energy market, China will significantly determine not only the prices we will be paying for critical fuels but also the type of energy systems we will come to rely on. More importantly, China’s decisions on energy preferences will largely determine whether China and the United States can avoid becoming embroiled in a global struggle over imported oil and whether the world will escape catastrophic climate change.”

China’s rise in power, mixed with the decline of western economies and the need for an external scapegoat sets up a global collision and inevitable confrontation between vying superpowers. Currency and trade wars will likely be a prelude to military confrontation.

Based on early maneuvering it is evident that the masters of war have already drawn up sides. You may have missed it, but the US, Israel and the NATO Alliance have already put Iran, Lebanon, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and China on notice. And the “withdrawals” from Iraq and the Af-Pak region are over-hyped. The occupation of these countries continues with no end in sight. In fact, they aren’t withdrawing as much as they are repositioning and shifting their forces, preparing for an escalation. In many ways the wars in Iraq and Af-Pak have only been the initial phase of a global attack, positioning forces and building massive military bases in pivotal geo-strategic locations. The operations in this region have essentially been a warm-up for much wider-ranging attacks against much stronger countries. While most of the US population is playing checkers, seeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as one-off battles, the global banking cartel is playing chess, using these wars as only initial geo-strategic moves in a grand strategy toward total world domination.

The intensity of military maneuvering presently occurring is alarming. Read through these recent news reports pulled from the AmpedStatus database, all from just the past few weeks, and let me know if you think I’m being extreme in foreseeing World War III:

  • So there we have it. The global Economic Elite have effectively looted and destroyed national economies worldwide, the propaganda system is quickly collapsing, and the masses are beginning to get restless. It’s time to move to the next phase of the attack. Preparations are already underway. We are on the road to World War III.

    Add to this picture rapidly declining natural resources and an increasingly hostile and polluted environment with extreme weather events frequently pounding the globe. In the past decade the global corporate elite have already engaged in three major resource wars in Iraq, Af-Pak and Northern Africa.

    With a growing global population and an increasing demand for declining resources, we have already crossed a tipping point and are now in the ecological red. For the first time in human history, we are now consuming resources faster than nature can produce them. As developing countries like China and India attempt to live like western countries, there are simply not enough resources. The global economy is built on an unsustainable foundation. Instead of evolving and changing course, the entrenched banking power base is digging in further, and they run NATO, the private military complex and the US government. Based on the current policies that are in place, they have clearly already decided that they want to keep living business as usual and refuse to evolve and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. With this decision, they have effectively already decided to further escalate their oppression of the overwhelming majority of humanity, and this will lead to the death of literally hundreds of millions of people.

    The global banking cartel view the world’s limited resources as their property, and they have consistently proven that they have absolutely no hesitation in killing millions upon millions of people for these resources – just look at what they have already done in the recent past throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

    In the years since Northern Africa was discovered to be “the richest patch of earth” due to large deposits of natural minerals that are needed to power computer technologies, over five million Africans, in just that region, have died as a result of war.

    The global elite have consistently used a strategy of arming and funding both sides of armed conflicts. While opposing populations kill each other off, they make off with their natural resources. When they confront a government that cannot be bribed or provoked into civil or regional war, they fund brutal death squads, attempt military coups and intimidate them by giving weapons to undemocratic neighboring regimes. If all that doesn’t work, they are declared a threat to national security and the US military, private contractors and NATO forces invade and occupy the country.

    These terrorist strategies are not limited to the Middle East and Africa, just ask our neighbors throughout Latin America about the School of the Americas. Contrary to popular belief, the horrendous torture techniques inflicted upon people in Abu Ghraib, Iraq were not an isolated incident. Many of those brutal torture techniques were developed over years by torturing innocent civilians throughout Latin America.

    The picture in Latin America today is one of inspiration. People throughout the region are rising up against the global corporate elite and claiming their rights and natural resources as their own, from Bolivia to Ecuador to Venezuela. This is another factor driving the “endangered oligarchy” into resorting to military desperation. The military coup in Honduras, the attempted coup in Venezuela, and the failed attempt to provoke Columbia and Venezuela into an armed conflict all clearly indicate where this situation is headed if the imperialist bankers get their way.

    The average American is dreadfully unaware of just how depraved these people are. The little regard they have for human life is beyond common comprehension.

    The global elite have already used the “War on Terror” as a pretext to drastically increase military spending and build a massive private military and intelligence complex on the backs of the American taxpayer. According to an extensive report from the Washington Post, a stunning 1.2 million private contractors work in this complex. Most Americans are not aware that 69 percent of the soldiers deployed in our name are private contractors, and 80 percent of them are foreign nationals, meaning they are not even from the United States. Half of the people we have deployed in our name, who are funded by our tax dollars, are not even fighting for our country, they are fighting for a paycheck.

    Wars are a highly profitable racket, which gives an enormous incentive to keep them going. This is one of the reasons why the war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. This system has led to a perpetual state of war. Military spending, although widely reported as being around $680 billion per year, is more accurately totaling over $1 Trillion per year. Of this staggering amount of annual spending, 25 percent of it goes unaccounted for, not counting the billions of our tax dollars lost to over-charging and all-out fraud.

    This private military complex has become so out of control that politicians are now forced to admit that they have no idea what is happening within it. As the Washington Post report revealed:

    “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

    These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

    The investigation’s other findings include:

    * Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

    * An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.”

    There are so many unaccountable cells and competing factions within this complex, any one of them could go rogue and launch an attack on the US soil and make it look like another “terrorist” organization or nation executed it. This may sound too conspiratorial to the casual observer, but it would be stunningly naïve to think that in a massive complex like this, with so little oversight and accountability, given the huge sums of money at stake, that something tragic wouldn’t eventually occur. The implications are ominous, to say the least.

    We already had a proven act of internal domestic terror occur with the Anthrax attacks in 2001. It is not a stretch to think that any moves away from a state of permanent war, and any cut to military spending that would threaten the existence of many of the world’s largest and most powerful and profitable corporations, would result in an attack in hopes of inciting a military conflict. Former President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning against the “unwarranted influence” of the military industrial complex, and “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power” pales in comparison to the modern private military complex. While many of these companies currently rely on US tax dollars, they are not part of the government, they are global private entities with their own interests at heart, similar to the Federal Reserve banking system. In fact, when you peel back the layers, many of these private military companies are funded by the global banking cartel.

    When you understand the forces behind war, you must acknowledge the words of famed two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient US Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. He accurately summed up the situation when he said:

    “I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism…. The general public shoulders the bill. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones, Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.”

    To give just two brief examples of how the banking cartel operates behind the scenes during wars, consider the following. The genocidal carnage in Northern Africa that killed over 5.4 million people was enthusiastically supported by the IMF and World Bank. In a news report entitled, “The Business of War in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Dena Montague and Frida Berrigan explained:

    “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have knowingly contributed to the war effort. The international lending institutions praised both Rwanda and Uganda for increasing their gross domestic product (GDP), which resulted from the illegal mining of DRC resources. Although the IMF and World Bank were aware that the rise in GDP coincided with the DRC war… they nonetheless touted both nations as economic success stories….”

    In another example of grotesque profiting off massive levels of death, banking cartel members made a fortune on the production of cluster bombs. The Guardian revealed the details:

    “The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world’s biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them.

    HSBC… has profited more than any other institution from companies that manufacture cluster bombs. The British bank… has earned a total of £657.3m in fees arranging bonds and share offerings for Textron, which makes cluster munitions…. Campaigners maintain the deadly weapons can explode years after combat, killing or maiming innocent people….

    Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and UK-based Barclays Bank are also named among the worst banks [funding the production of cluster bombs]….

    Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made £3.19bn proft in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to [cluster bomb manufactures] Alliant Techsystems and Textron.”

    To sum all of this up, the global banking cartel and private military complex are a runaway virus that demands a permanent state of warfare. They are intrinsically parasitic in nature, they have devolved into a fascist enterprise that survives and profits off of destruction. If they don’t get a war, they will create one in the interest of their own self preservation. As former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell once explained: “Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US military machine to turn.” This insight can now be extended to the global banking cartel. Enemies are now necessary for the wheels of the global banking cartel to turn.

    Under the cover of the “War on Terror” they have launched a massive campaign of violence abroad and have been systematically looting our economy and stripping of us civil liberties at home.

    So as the US and global population becomes more radical, and as the environment becomes more hostile, with increasingly limited natural resources, in a desperate attempt to maintain power the global banking cartel will escalate from economic attacks to worldwide military-based assaults. This is the clear path we are on – the road to World War III.

    This may very well be a case of history repeating itself. Not to oversimplify an extremely complex situation, but this is all too similar to the origins of World War II. The looting of the masses by an unaccountable Wall Street elite led to the Great Depression and set the conditions for WWII. Desperate and impoverished populations increasingly supported more and more extreme leaders. The conditions are now so ripe for world war that Noam Chomsky has convincingly compared modern-day America to Weimar Germany prior to the outbreak of WWII. Research the history of pre-war societies and you will see for yourself how our current political environment fits historical precedent like a glove.

    As mentioned before, the roots of our current crisis can be directly traced back to the aftermath of World War II. In the ruins of WWII grew global institutions like the IMF and World Bank. It also gave us the National Security Act and the CIA. All were central and pivotal in creating the crisis which we are now confronted with.

    After analyzing our current crisis and studying well-established historical precedents, one must conclude that creating a world war is the last card the global bankers have left to play, other than conceding power, and history has taught us that the ruling class never concedes power. Of course the one-tenth of one percent of the global population hoarding our wealth could give back a significant amount of the $39 Trillion they looted from us (not counting what they have hidden in offshore accounts). That would certainly go a long way to fixing the crisis they have caused, but again, the ruling class has never conceded power, no matter how excessive and ill-gotten their gains.

    So brace yourself… unless we significantly change our present course, we are on the road to World War III.

    David DeGraw is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by David DeGraw

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    In a financial crisis, what counts is what works

    Posted by Admin on June 1, 2010

    In a financial crisis, what counts is what works

    Free-market capitalism has imploded, and Europe’s moment has not come: big-picture explanations of the world rarely hold good for long

    Grievous, but perhaps not grievous enough. Sufficient to prompt swift action to prevent the global economy sliding into depression, but perhaps so successful that the option of a return to business as usual has been kept alive.

    Almost three years into the financial crisis , all regions are growing, albeit at varying speeds. There is pressure on heavily indebted governments to abandon unorthodox economic policies and return to rigid fiscal austerity. Banks, hedge funds and private equity firms are lobbying hard to water down attempts to rein in their activities.

    Adrian Blundell-Wignall, an official at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, spoke for many last week when he said: “How big is big enough?”

    Speaking in a personal capacity at the OECD’s annual ministerial forum, Blundell-Wignall warned there was likely to be a second, even bigger, meltdown unless there was radical reform of the financial sector, including splitting up banks with both retail and speculative arms.

    Although this is a sombre conclusion, it may prove accurate. The current crisis has yet to have the cathartic impact of the slump of the 1930s, when the economic cost was far higher and the links between the failure of the old laissez-faire model and the drift to political extremism were plain.

    Nouriel Roubini, one of the few economists to spot the sub-prime crisis coming , says in his new book, Crisis Economics (with Stephen Mihm, published by Allen Lane), that it is precisely because the downturn has been handled more deftly this time that the impetus for deep, structural reform has faltered. “Had policymakers failed to arrest the crisis, as they failed during the Depression, the calls for reform today would be deafening: there’s nothing like ubiquitous breadlines and 25% unemployment to focus the minds of legislators.”

    But, thankfully, policymakers did avoid most of the mistakes of the 1930s and we are where we are. In the circumstances, what the future holds is either full-blown recovery courtesy of the breathing space provided by central banks and finance ministries; another crash preceded by what the late socialist thinker Chris Harman described as “zombie capitalism”; or reform and renewal.

    Full recovery would mean that the global economy could continue to prosper even when governments withdraw the support provided by low interest rates, tax cuts and higher public spending. That looks improbable, particularly since there is likely to be a simultaneous tightening of fiscal policy in many countries.

    Zombie capitalism is where governments continue to buy up worthless paper from banks, where fundamentally insolvent institutions are kept alive for fear that their failure would cause systemic risk, where every country tries to export its way out of trouble, where the shrinkage of the financial sector depresses growth rates, and where the global imbalances between surplus and deficit countries remain worryingly large. That looks a more likely option.

    What, then, are the prospects for reform and renewal? At the very least, this route is likely to be long, hard and strewn with setbacks. It may not be chosen, as Blundell-Wignall and Roubini fear, until there is system failure. The good news, though, is that the ideological vacuum left by the crisis creates the intellectual and political space for change. Since the demise of communism at the end of the 1980s, the west has had three competing belief systems. The first, free-market capitalism, imploded three years ago. The second, Europe, has taken a fearful battering over the past few months. A third, environmentalism, still has only a limited number of devotees.

    Simon Tormey, professor of social and political sciences at Sydney University, put it well during a debate on the future of capitalism at the OECD. This, he said, is a pagan world where there is a scepticism about meta-narratives.

    Rightly so. History shows that big-picture explanations of the world rarely hold good for long, and end with a fanatical core of true believers seeking to impose their will on the rest of us. If, as Jimmy Porter says in Look Back in Anger, there are no great causes left to fight for, that’s almost certainly a good thing. The demise of the meta-narrative doesn’t mean the end of politics or the abandonment of the search for making life better. On the contrary, it means a messier world in which there is less dogma but greater experimentation.

    Let’s put this into some sort of context. Up until 2007, the credo was that markets worked, period. The world would be a better place if the role of government was diminished and financial markets allowed to get on with making money. If there was a role for the state, it was to champion structural reform of economic life: removing barriers to trade and, by investment in human capital, making their workforces more employable.

    What actually happened was that endless financial innovation destabilised the global economy, while the benefits of growth accrued to a small cadre at the top and not to the rest of the newly flexible labour market. There was growth, but only because policymakers actively connived in the creation of bubbles. Indebtedness masqueraded as wealth.

    The shorthand term for this model was Anglo-Saxon capitalism, and when it blew up it was thought that Europe’s moment had come. The European Union offered a kinder, more civilised way of running the economy in the 21st century, providing solidarity instead of cut-throat competition, protection for its citizens rather than low wages and welfare cuts.

    Bonkers beliefs

    Belief in Europe was just as messianic – and just as bonkers – as belief in the market. The idea was that you could take a dozen or more countries of wildly differing economic performance, with entirely disparate cultures, and bolt them harmoniously together. What’s more, you could do this without a common language to facilitate labour mobility or a common budget to transfer resources from rich countries to poor countries.

    During the bubble years these fundamental design flaws were kept hidden, but they have been exposed by the crisis. Low interest rates allowed countries on the periphery to grow strongly for a while, covering up their steady loss of competitiveness against the country at Europe’s core, Germany. The financial crash resulted in a deep recession, soaring budget deficits and fears in the financial markets of debt default.

    For all the talk of European solidarity, there is absolutely no evidence that German taxpayers will agree to a common fiscal policy to provide the budgetary support for the weaker parts of the euro area that Washington provides for the poorer US states. As such, the only options for countries like Greece , Ireland and Spain are devaluation (ruled out by monetary union), default (ditto) or years of deflation. They have opted for the third course, even though this will lead to slower growth and make it even harder to reduce budget deficits. Europe, touted as a progressive alternative to Anglo-Saxon economics, has become neo-liberalism on steroids.

    Ultimately, the problem with the meta-narratives is that they don’t deliver. The postwar era of strong trade unions, full employment policies and capital controls produced stronger, more equitable growth than three decades of deregulation, liberalisation and flexible labour markets. The more integrated Europe has become, the worse it has performed.

    China and India prove that it is possible to thrive without a meta-narrative. Both countries have systems of managed capitalism fully in the tradition of the mixed economies that prevailed in the west during the heyday of social democracy. What counts is what works. There is a lesson in that somewhere.

    Economics Financial crisis European debt crisis Economic policy Banking Recession Greece Spain Ireland Europe European Union Germany Larry Elliott

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    Markets could be derailed again, warns Soros

    Posted by Admin on April 24, 2010

    Markets could be derailed again, warns Soros

    APR 14, 2010 07:11 EDT

    CLIMATE-COPENHAGEN/Railway porter-turned-billionaire financier George Soros delivered a stark warning last night that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.

    The man who ‘broke’ the Bank of England (and who is still able to earn a cool $3.3 bln in a year) said the same strategy of borrowing and spending that had got us out of the Asian crisis could shunt us towards another crisis unless tough lessons are learned.

    Soros, who worked as a porter to pay for his studies at the London School of Economics after emigrating from Hungary, warned us to heed the lesson that modern economics had got it wrong and that markets are not inherently stable.

    “The success in bailing out the system on the previous occasion led to a superbubble, except that in 2008 we used the same methods,” he told a meeting hosted by The Economist at the City of London’s modern and impressive Haberdashers’ Hall.

    “Unless we learn the lessons, that markets are inherently unstable and that stability needs to the objective of public policy, we are facing a yet larger bubble.

    “We have added to the leverage by replacing private credit with sovereign credit and increasing national debt by a significant amount.”

    One crumb of comfort could be the 10-year period between the 1998 Asian crisis and the 2008 credit crisis. If the pattern is repeated, it should at least mean we have another 8 years to go before the next crash…

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    Despite US Pressure, Beijing Stands Firm in Currency Spat

    Posted by Admin on March 29, 2010

    Despite US Pressure, Beijing Stands Firm in Currency Spat

    by: Kit Gillet  |  Inter Press Service

    Beijing – China may be under international pressure, especially from the United States, over the valuation of its currency, but is unlikely to back down in the short term given its worries about its export sector and the jobs that depend on it.

    Thus far, the lines have been drawn in the disagreement between China and the United States over the yuan – and neither side seems willing to back down.

    China pegged its currency at approximately 6.8 to the dollar in July 2008, mainly to aid the country’s export industry that was badly hit by decreasing global demand and the financial crisis.

    On Mar. 15, 130 members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter urging the White House to label China a currency manipulator in its Apr. 10 treasury report, which would be the first step in imposing trade tariffs on Chinese export goods.

    The letter stated, “The impact of China’s currency manipulation on the U.S. economy cannot be overstated.” It went on to suggest that the current exchange rate gave an unfair subsidy to Chinese companies at the direct expense of their U.S. counterparts.

    China’s Commerce Minister Chen Deming has said the country would “not turn a blind eye” if it was labelled a manipulator, and that it might, in that eventuality, seek to litigate under the global legal framework.

    Both countries’ leaders have also weighed in on the issue.

    Yet China is unlikely to allow a rapid appreciation of the yuan, which some suggest is undervalued by as much as 40 percent.

    “China believes that that a modest revaluation of its currency would have a scant effect on U.S. trade deficits, and that once it made an adjustment, it would be pressed again and again to do more,” wrote Jeff Garten, Juan Trippe professor of international trade and finance at the Yale School of Management, in a recent note.

    As the world’s largest exporter, China’s growth depends substantially on its export sector. Any strong revaluation could hurt this industry, which accounted for roughly 27 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2009.

    “It is in nobody’s interest – China’s, the United States’ or other countries’ – to see big ups in the renminbi (yuan) or big downs in the dollar,” Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Wednesday.

    “There is no need for us to discuss if it (the yuan) should be appreciated. What we should be concerned about is when and how it is,” Wu Xiaoqiu, assistant president of Renmin University and director of China’s Finance and Securities Institute, said in an interview with IPS. “The government needs to consider the competitiveness of companies in labour-intensive sectors,” he said.

    The leading business publication ‘The 21st Century Business Herald’ reports that several government ministries, including the ministries of commerce and information, have been conducting pressure tests to gauge the impact of appreciation in key labour-intensive sectors, but none of their findings have yet been made public.

    “Most export companies would rather have the yuan appreciate in one go rather than face the uncertainty of guessing the timing and the degree of gradual appreciation,” said Zhang Bin, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

    But Zhang expressed concern that some exporters might report fake figures in order to protect their own interests.

    China’s export industry suffered in the wake of the economic crisis, and while numbers picked up near the end of last year, Chinese officials are now suggesting that March 2010 could be the first month since 2004 that the value of the country’s imports exceeded that of its exports.

    Cheaper competition from developing nations such as Vietnam and Bangladesh, along with a 2008 labour law that increases wages across China, has already hurt the Chinese export industry. Talk of a revaluation is seen by some as a hurdle too far.

    “In the words of some of our members, the United States is ‘sharpening its knives and has a murderous air about it,’” said Zhang Yujing, president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic goods, at a press conference last week. “I expect many companies won’t be able to bear an appreciation now.”

    Zhou Dewen, vice president of the China Middle and Small Enterprises Association, told the ‘Oriental Morning Post’ that the Chinese government should withstand pressure from abroad for at least two or three years.

    “If the government fails, a large amount of middle and small Chinese enterprises, which have suffered from the ongoing financial crisis, will be closed and the workers will lose their jobs,” he said in an interview published in the ‘Post’ this week.

    Not all share Zhou’s pessimistic view.

    “An appreciation will hurt exports. But if appreciation is gradual and modest (we are talking about five to six percent here), I think the impact should be relatively small,” Wang Tao, head of China Economic Research for Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) Investment Bank here, told IPS.

    Wang suggested that yuan appreciation, along with more flexibility, can help promote domestic consumption in China, and divert investment from export-oriented industries.

    Chinese exporters are estimated to make a return of three to five percent on sales. Any substantial appreciation of the yuan could see the closure of many factories and would add to China’s unemployment rate, which a recent China Academy of Social Sciences report put at 9.4 percent.

    It would also force the raising of export prices, which would in turn affect U.S. consumers, by far the largest buyer of China-made products.

    Decades of free spending by U.S. consumers has left the U.S.-China trade deficit standing at roughly 227 billion dollars, down from a high of 268 billion dollars in 2008.

    Chinese state media and many of its politicians have suggested that the U.S. government is merely looking for someone else to blame for its current woes. “They should not blame the problems they have by finding a scapegoat in China,” China’s new ambassador to the United Nations, He Yafei, told a briefing in Geneva earlier this month.

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    Debt Dynamite Dominoes: The Coming Financial Catastrophe

    Posted by Admin on March 4, 2010

    Debt Dynamite Dominoes: The Coming Financial Catastrophe
    Assessing the Illusion of Recovery
    Global Research, February 22, 2010
    – 2010-02-21

    Understanding the Nature of the Global Economic Crisis

    The people have been lulled into a false sense of safety under the ruse of a perceived “economic recovery.” Unfortunately, what the majority of people think does not make it so, especially when the people making the key decisions think and act to the contrary. The sovereign debt crises that have been unfolding in the past couple years and more recently in Greece, are canaries in the coal mine for the rest of Western “civilization.” The crisis threatens to spread to Spain, Portugal and Ireland; like dominoes, one country after another will collapse into a debt and currency crisis, all the way to America.

    In October 2008, the mainstream media and politicians of the Western world were warning of an impending depression if actions were not taken to quickly prevent this. The problem was that this crisis had been a long-time coming, and what’s worse, is that the actions governments took did not address any of the core, systemic issues and problems with the global economy; they merely set out to save the banking industry from collapse. To do this, governments around the world implemented massive “stimulus” and “bailout” packages, plunging their countries deeper into debt to save the banks from themselves, while charging it to people of the world.

    Then an uproar of stock market speculation followed, as money was pumped into the stocks, but not the real economy. This recovery has been nothing but a complete and utter illusion, and within the next two years, the illusion will likely come to a complete collapse.

    The governments gave the banks a blank check, charged it to the public, and now it’s time to pay; through drastic tax increases, social spending cuts, privatization of state industries and services, dismantling of any protective tariffs and trade regulations, and raising interest rates. The effect that this will have is to rapidly accelerate, both in the speed and volume, the unemployment rate, globally. The stock market would crash to record lows, where governments would be forced to freeze them altogether.

    When the crisis is over, the middle classes of the western world will have been liquidated of their economic, political and social status. The global economy will have gone through the greatest consolidation of industry and banking in world history leading to a system in which only a few corporations and banks control the global economy and its resources; governments will have lost that right. The people of the western world will be treated by the financial oligarchs as they have treated the ‘global South’ and in particular, Africa; they will remove our social structures and foundations so that we become entirely subservient to their dominance over the economic and political structures of our society.

    This is where we stand today, and is the road on which we travel.

    The western world has been plundered into poverty, a process long underway, but with the unfolding of the crisis, will be rapidly accelerated. As our societies collapse in on themselves, the governments will protect the banks and multinationals. When the people go out into the streets, as they invariably do and will, the government will not come to their aid, but will come with police and military forces to crush the protests and oppress the people. The social foundations will collapse with the economy, and the state will clamp down to prevent the people from constructing a new one.

    The road to recovery is far from here. When the crisis has come to an end, the world we know will have changed dramatically. No one ever grows up in the world they were born into; everything is always changing. Now is no exception. The only difference is, that we are about to go through the most rapid changes the world has seen thus far.

    Assessing the Illusion of Recovery

    In August of 2009, I wrote an article, Entering the Greatest Depression in History, in which I analyzed how there is a deep systemic crisis in the Capitalist system in which we have gone through merely one burst bubble thus far, the housing bubble, but there remains a great many others.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Dismantling America’s Financial-Military Empire

    Posted by Admin on February 18, 2010

    De-Dollarization:

    Dismantling America’s Financial-Military Empire


    The Yekaterinburg Turning Point

    By Prof. Michael Hudson

    Global Research,

    June 13, 2009

    The city of Yakaterinburg, Russia’s largest east of the Urals, may become known not only as the death place of the tsars but of American hegemony too – and not only where US U-2 pilot Gary Powers was shot down in 1960, but where the US-centered international financial order was brought to ground.

    Challenging America will be the prime focus of extended meetings in Yekaterinburg, Russia (formerly Sverdlovsk) today and tomorrow (June 15-16) for Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The alliance is comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Uzbekistan, with observer status for Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia. It will be joined on Tuesday by Brazil for trade discussions among the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

    The attendees have assured American diplomats that dismantling the US financial and military empire is not their aim. They simply want to discuss mutual aid – but in a way that has no role for the United States, NATO or the US dollar as a vehicle for trade. US diplomats may well ask what this really means, if not a move to make US hegemony obsolete. That is what a multipolar world means, after all. For starters, in 2005 the SCO asked Washington to set a timeline to withdraw from its military bases in Central Asia. Two years later the SCO countries formally aligned themselves with the former CIS republics belonging to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), established in 2002 as a counterweight to NATO.

    Yet the meeting has elicited only a collective yawn from the US and even European press despite its agenda is to replace the global dollar standard with a new financial and military defense system. A Council on Foreign Relations spokesman has said he hardly can imagine that Russia and China can overcome their geopolitical rivalry,1 suggesting that America can use the divide-and-conquer that Britain used so deftly for many centuries in fragmenting foreign opposition to its own empire. But George W. Bush (“I’m a uniter, not a divider”) built on the Clinton administration’s legacy in driving Russia, China and their neighbors to find a common ground when it comes to finding an alternative to the dollar and hence to the US ability to run balance-of-payments deficits ad infinitum.

    What may prove to be the last rites of American hegemony began already in April at the G-20 conference, and became even more explicit at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 5, when Mr. Medvedev called for China, Russia and India to “build an increasingly multipolar world order.” What this means in plain English is: We have reached our limit in subsidizing the United States’ military encirclement of Eurasia while also allowing the US to appropriate our exports, companies, stocks and real estate in exchange for paper money of questionable worth.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Are Major Countries Preparing to Financially Dismantle the United States and its Empire?

    Posted by Admin on February 18, 2010

    Are Major Countries Preparing to Financially Dismantle the United States and its Empire?

    By Richard Clark (about the author)

    For OpEdNews: Richard Clark – Writer

    Here are the main points of an important answer to that question by economist and former Wall Street honcho, Michael Hudson:

    The six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Uzbekistan, with observer status for Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia. It was joined recently by Brazil, for trade discussions among the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), all of which seek a multi-polar world.

    If it’s not a move to make US hegemony obsolete, then what’s the purpose of this new organization? US diplomats may well wonder. After all, this is exactly what a multi-polar world means: no hegemony by any one country. Another clue as to what’s about to happen: in 2005 the SCO asked Washington to set a timeline to withdraw from its military bases in Central Asia.

    It seems that the US has inadvertently driven Russia, China and their neighbors to find common ground by developing an alternative to the dollar as a dominant or reserve currency, and hence an end to the US ability to run balance-of-payments deficits ad infinitum.

    Mr. Medvedev called for China, Russia and India to “build an increasingly multi-polar world order.” What this means in plain English is: We have reached our limit in subsidizing the United States’ military encirclement of Eurasia while also allowing the US to appropriate our exports, companies, stocks and real estate — in exchange for paper money of questionable long-term worth!

    “The artificially maintained unipolar system,” Mr. Medvedev says, is based on “one big center of consumption, financed by a growing deficit, and thus growing debts, one formerly strong reserve currency, and one dominant system of assessing assets and risks.” At the root of the global financial crisis, he concluded, is simply that the United States manufactures too little and spends too much. Especially upsetting to Russia is U.S. military spending, such as the stepped-up US military aid to Georgia, the NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe and, to all the other BRIC and SCO members as well, the huge US military and commercial buildup in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia.

    The main worry of all these countries is America’s ability to print unlimited amounts of dollars. Overspending by US consumers on imports (way in excess of US exports), US buy-outs of foreign companies and real estate, and the many billions of dollars that the Pentagon spends abroad . . all end up in foreign central banks. These central banks then face a hard choice: either recycle these dollars back to the United States by purchasing US Treasury bills, or to let the “free market” force up their currency relative to the dollar thereby pricing their exports out of world markets and hence creating domestic unemployment and business insolvency.

    So, when China and other countries recycle their dollar inflows by buying US Treasury bills to “invest” in the United States, this buildup is not really voluntary. It does not reflect faith in the U.S. economy enriching foreign central banks for their savings, or any calculated investment preference, but simply a lack of alternatives. “Free markets,” US-style, has maneuvered many countries into a system that forces them to accept dollars without limit. But now they want out.

    Central banks now hold $4 trillion of U.S. bonds in their international reserves and these huge loans to the U.S. have financed most of the US Government’s domestic budget deficits for over three decades! Consider that about half of US Government discretionary spending is for military operations including the operation of more than 750 foreign military bases as well as increasingly expensive operations in the oil-producing and oil-transporting countries.

    The international financial system is organized in a way that finances the Pentagon, along with US buyouts of foreign assets expected to yield much more than the Treasury bonds that foreign central banks hold. Therefore, the main political issue confronting the world’s central banks is this: How to avoid adding yet more dollars to their reserves and thereby financing ever more US deficit spending including military spending on their borders.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Why the Central Bankers Are Meeting In Secret

    Posted by Admin on February 14, 2010

    Why the Central Bankers Are Meeting In Secret

    Many of the world’s central bankers are meeting in Sydney today, at a secret location, to coordinate their drive to force draconian austerity measures on nations, in order to prop up their failed monetary system.

    That’s why they are meeting in secret—if the people understood that the central bankers are working out how many people they’ll need to kill to save the banking system, the people might object to them being here.

    Consider the chronology of how the world got to this point:

    • In July 2007, after a decade of warnings by American physical economist Lyndon LaRouche that the world financial system would disintegrate, the U.S. sub-prime crisis triggered the global financial collapse (Bear Sterns), which by September 2008 turned into a full-blown meltdown of the $1.4 quadrillion global derivatives bubble (Lehman Brothers, AIG).
    • In August 2007, LaRouche proposed the Homeowners and Bank Protection Act: to keep people in their homes; to preserve the functionality of the banking system by putting it into bankruptcy protection, to write off their unpayable derivatives and bad debts; and to return the system to Glass-Steagall regulations.
    • LaRouche’s solution was rejected, and instead in October 2008, the very central banks which created the crisis, led by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the European Central Bank, dictated a $24 trillion global bail-out of the system by national governments. In Australia, Kevin Rudd implemented the bank guarantee, stimulus spending and the first homebuyers grant, and the Future Fund was put at the disposal of the banks to prop them up.
    • By July 2009, it was obvious the bail-out had transferred the bankruptcy of the banking system onto the governments which were propping it up. LaRouche forecast that by October the bankruptcy of national governments would trigger the final meltdown.
    • In October 2009, Dubai defaulted on debts of US$59 billion; it was bailed out by Abu Dhabi, but 13 other default risks quickly emerged, including the PIGS in Europe—Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain—Great Britain, and the biggest danger of all, the U.S.
    • 2010: on 17th January, Sunday Telegraph economics writer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard revealed advanced plans by the European Central Bank (ECB) to enforce draconian austerity measures on the PIGS, dictating massive cuts to wages, pensions and social services so those nations avoided debt default to save the euro. The ECB intoned sovereignty is a “largely obsolete concept” as it declared it would impose a “permanent limitation” on the PIGS. The chief economist of the IMF, Olivier Blanchard, has since called for the PIGS to impose wage cuts to save the euro. Vicious austerity is on the agenda in other places too: In Australia, Kevin Rudd is blaming the deficit on old people living too long, and in the U.S., Barack Obama is slashing Medicare for the elderly to rein in the U.S. deficit.

    The world’s central bankers meeting in Sydney are unaccountable powerbrokers, disguised as “independent”, who have replaced accountable governments as managers of the economy, and globalised the financial system under private control. Through them, the financier oligarchs in the City of London, and its satellites in Wall Street, Amsterdam and Zürich etc., are in charge of the financial system—not elected governments.

    Just like in the 1930s, the austerity measures planned by the central bankers cannot be implemented through democratic means, because people tend to object to being killed. To save their system in the Great Depression, the leading central bankers in the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements, backed the rise of Hitler and Europe’s other fascist régimes to impose their austerity program.

    What is Sydney’s secret central bank gathering planning to do this time?

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    The Battle of the Titans: JP Morgan Versus Goldman Sachs

    Posted by Admin on February 8, 2010

    The Battle of the Titans: JP Morgan Versus Goldman Sachs
    Or Why the Market Was Down for 7 Days in a Row
    Global Research, January 29, 2010
    Web of Debt – 2010-01-28

    We are witnessing an epic battle between two banking giants, JPMorgan Chase (Paul Volcker) and Goldman Sachs (Geithner/Summers/Rubin). Left strewn on the battleground could be your pension fund and 401K.

    The late Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote that U.S. politics since 1900, when William Jennings Bryan narrowly lost the presidency, has been a struggle between two competing banking giants, the Morgans and the Rockefellers. The parties would sometimes change hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings were always one of these two big-money players. No popular third party candidate had a real chance at winning, because the bankers had the exclusive power to create the national money supply and therefore held the winning cards.

    In 2000, the Rockefellers and the Morgans joined forces, when JPMorgan and Chase Manhattan merged to become JPMorgan Chase Co. Today the battling banking titans are JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, an investment bank that gained notoriety for its speculative practices in the 1920s. In 1928, it launched the Goldman Sachs Trading Corp., a closed-end fund similar to a Ponzi scheme. The fund failed in the stock market crash of 1929, marring the firm’s reputation for years afterwards. Former Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers all came from Goldman, and current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner rose through the ranks of government as a Summers/Rubin protégé. One commentator called the U.S. Treasury “Goldman Sachs South.”

    Goldman’s superpower status comes from something more than just access to the money spigots of the banking system. It actually has the ability to manipulate markets. Formerly just an investment bank, in 2008 Goldman magically transformed into a bank holding company. That gave it access to the Federal Reserve’s lending window; but at the same time it remained an investment bank, aggressively speculating in the markets.  The upshot was that it can now borrow massive amounts of money at virtually 0% interest, and it can use this money not only to speculate for its own account but to bend markets to its will.

    But Goldman Sachs has been caught in this blatant market manipulation so often that the JPMorgan faction of the banking empire has finally had enough. The voters too have evidently had enough, as demonstrated in the recent upset in Massachusetts that threw the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s Democratic seat to a Republican. That pivotal loss gave Paul Volcker, chairman of President Obama’s newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board, an opportunity to step up to the plate with some proposals for serious banking reform. Unlike the string of Treasury Secretaries who came to the government through the revolving door of Goldman Sachs, former Federal Reserve Chairman Volcker came up through Chase Manhattan Bank, where he was vice president before joining the Treasury. On January 27, market commentator Bob Chapmanwrote in his weekly investment newsletter The International Forecaster:

    “A split has occurred between the paper forces of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. Mr. Volcker represents Morgan interests. Both sides are Illuminists, but the Morgan side is tired of Goldman’s greed and arrogance. . . . Not that JP Morgan Chase was blameless, they did their looting and damage to the system as well, but not in the high handed arrogant way the others did. The recall of Volcker is an attempt to reverse the damage as much as possible. That means the influence of Geithner, Summers, Rubin, et al will be put on the back shelf at least for now, as will be the Goldman influence. It will be slowly and subtly phased out. . . . Washington needs a new face on Wall Street, not that of a criminal syndicate.”

    Goldman’s crimes, says Chapman, were that it “got caught stealing. First in naked shorts, then front-running the market, both of which they are still doing, as the SEC looks the other way, and then selling MBS-CDOs to their best clients and simultaneously shorting them.”

    Volcker’s proposal would rein in these abuses, either by ending the risky “proprietary trading” (trading for their own accounts) engaged in by the too-big-to-fail banks, or by forcing them to downsize by selling off those portions of their businesses engaging in it. Until recently, President Obama has declined to support Volcker’s plan, but on January 21 he finally endorsed it.

    The immediate reaction of the market was to drop – and drop, day after day. At least, that appeared to be the reaction of “the market.” Financial analyst Max Keiser suggests a more sinister possibility. Goldman, which has the power to manipulate markets with its high-speed program trades, may be engaging in a Mexican standoff. The veiled threat is, “Back off on the banking reforms, or stand by and watch us continue to crash your markets.” The same manipulations were evident in the bank bailout forced on Congress by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in September 2008.

    In Keiser’s January 23 broadcast with co-host Stacy Herbert, he explains how Goldman’s manipulations are done. Keiser is a fast talker, so this transcription is not verbatim, but it is close. He says:

    “High frequency trading accounts for 70% of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Ordinarily, a buyer and a seller show up on the floor, and a specialist determines the price of a trade that would satisfy buyer and seller, and that’s the market price. If there are too many sellers and not enough buyers, the specialist lowers the price. High frequency trading as conducted by Goldman means that before the specialist buys and sells and makes that market, Goldman will electronically flood the specialist with thousands and thousands of trades to totally disrupt that process and essentially commandeer that process, for the benefit of siphoning off nickels and dimes for themselves. Not only are they siphoning cash from the New York Stock Exchange but they are also manipulating prices. What I see as a possibility is that next week, if the bankers on Wall Street decide they don’t want to be reformed in any way, they simply set the high frequency trading algorithm to sell, creating a huge negative bias for the direction of stocks. And they’ll basically crash the market, and it will be a standoff.  The market was down three days in a row, which it hasn’t been since last summer. It’s a game of chicken, till Obama says, ‘Okay, maybe we need to rethink this.’”

    But the President hasn’t knuckled under yet. In his State of the Union address on January 27, he did not dwell long on the issue of bank reform, but he held to his position. He said:

    “We can’t allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy. The House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. And the lobbyists are already trying to kill it. Well, we cannot let them win this fight. And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back.”

    What this “real reform” would look like was left to conjecture, but Bob Chapman fills in some blanks and suggests what might be needed for an effective overhaul:

    “The attempt will be to bring the financial system back to brass tacks. . . . That would include little or no MBS and CDOs, the regulation of derivatives and hedge funds and the end of massive market manipulation, both by Treasury, Fed and Wall Street players. Congress has to end the ‘President’s Working Group on Financial Markets,’ or at least limit its use to real emergencies. . . . The Glass-Steagall Act should be reintroduced into the system and lobbying and campaign contributions should end. . . . No more politics in lending and banks should be limited to a lending ratio of 10 to 1. . . . It is bad enough they have the leverage that they have. State banks such as North Dakota’s are a better idea.”

    On January 28, the predictable reaction of “the market” was to fall for the seventh straight day. The battle of the Titans was on.

    Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include Forbidden MedicineNature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.comwww.ellenbrown.com, and www.public-banking.com.

    Ellen Brown is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Ellen Brown

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    Fake Gold Bars in Bank of England and Fort Knox

    Posted by Admin on February 1, 2010

    Fake Gold Bars in Bank of England and Fort Knox

    [This story was brought to the surface late last year but this article is a great background to what happened and how it’s going to affect the future.]

    goldpic
    Gold plated Tungsten Bars!

    Jan 11, 2010

    It’s one thing to counterfeit a twenty or hundred dollar bill. The amount of financial damage is usually limited to a specific region and only affects dozens of people and thousands of dollars. Secret Service agents quickly notify the banks on how to recognize these phony bills and retail outlets usually have procedures in place (such as special pens to test the paper) to stop their proliferation.

    But what about gold? This is the most sacred of all commodities because it is thought to be the most trusted, reliable and valuable means of saving wealth.

    A recent discovery — in October of 2009 — has been suppressed by the main stream media but has been circulating among the “big money” brokers and financial kingpins and is just now being revealed to the public. It involves the gold in Fort Knox — the US Treasury gold — that is the equity of our national wealth. In short, millions (with an “m”) of gold bars are fake!

    Who did this? Apparently our own government.

    Background

    In October of 2009 the Chinese received a shipment of gold bars. Gold is regularly exchanges between countries to pay debts and to settle the so-called balance of trade. Most gold is exchanged and stored in vaults under the supervision of a special organization based in London, the London Bullion Market Association (or LBMA). When the shipment was received, the Chinese government asked that special tests be performed to guarantee the purity and weight of the gold bars. In this test, four small holes are drilled into the gold bars and the metal is then analyzed.

    Officials were shocked to learn that the bars were fake. They contained cores of tungsten with only a outer coating of real gold. What’s more, these gold bars, containing serial numbers for tracking, originated in the US and had been stored in Fort Knox for years. There were reportedly between 5,600 to 5,700 bars, weighing 400 oz. each, in the shipment!

    At first many gold experts assumed the fake gold originated in China, the world’s best knock-off producers. The Chinese were quick to investigate and issued a statement that implicated the US in the scheme.

    What the Chinese uncovered

    Roughly 15 years ago — during the Clinton Administration [think Robert Rubin, Sir Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers] — between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten blanks were allegedly manufactured by a very high-end, sophisticated refiner in the USA [more than 16 Thousand metric tonnes]. Subsequently, 640,000 of these tungsten blanks received their gold plating and WERE shipped to Ft. Knox and remain there to this day.

    According to the Chinese investigation, the balance of this 1.3 million to 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten cache was also gold plated and then allegedly “sold” into the international market. Apparently, the global market is literally “stuffed full of 400 oz salted bars”. Perhaps as much as 600-billion dollars worth.

    An obscure news item originally published in the N.Y. Post [written by Jennifer Anderson] in late Jan. 04 perhaps makes sense now.

    DA investigating NYMEX executive ,Manhattan, New York, – Feb. 2, 2004.

    A top executive at the New York Mercantile Exchange is being investigated by the Manhattan district attorney. Sources close to the exchange said that Stuart Smith, senior vice president of operations at the exchange, was served with a search warrant by the district attorney’s office last week. Details of the investigation have not been disclosed, but a NYMEX spokeswoman said it was unrelated to any of the exchange’s markets. She declined to comment further other than to say that charges had not been brought. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office also declined comment.

    The offices of the Senior Vice President of Operations — NYMEX — is exactly where you would go to find the records [serial number and smelter of origin] for EVERY GOLD BAR ever PHYSICALLY settled on the exchange. They are required to keep these records. These precise records would show the lineage of all the physical gold settled on the exchange and hence “prove” that the amount of gold in question could not have possibly come from the U.S. mining operations — because the amounts in question coming from U.S. smelters would undoubtedly be vastly bigger than domestic mine production.

    No one knows whatever happened to Stuart Smith. After his offices were raided he took “administrative leave” from the NYMEX and he has never been heard from since. Amazingly, there never was any follow up on in the media on the original story as well as ZERO developments ever stemming from D.A. Morgenthau’s office who executed the search warrant.

    Are we to believe that NYMEX offices were raided, the Sr. V.P. of operations then takes leave — all for nothing?

    The revelations of fake gold bars also explains another highly unusual story that also happened in 2004:

    LONDON, April 14, 2004 (Reuters) — NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd., the London-based unit of investment bank Rothschild [ROT.UL], will withdraw from trading commodities, including gold, in London as it reviews its operations, it said on Wednesday.

    Interestingly, GATA’s Bill Murphy speculated about this back in 2004:

    “Why is Rothschild leaving the gold business at this time my colleagues and I conjectured today? Just a guess on my part, but [I] suspect something is amiss. They know a big scandal is coming and they don’t want to be a part of it… [The] Rothschild wants out before the proverbial “S” hits the fan.” — BILL MURPHY, LEMETROPOLE, 4-18-2004

    What is the GATA?

    The Gold Antitrust Action Committee (GATA) is an organisation which has been nipping at the heels of the US Treasury Federal Reserve for several years now. The basis of GATA’s accusations is that these institutions, in coordination with other complicit central banks and the large gold-trading investment banks in the US, have been manipulating the price of gold for decades.

    What is the GLD?

    GLD is a short form for Good London Delivery. The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) has defined “good delivery” as a delivery from an entity which is listed on their delivery list or meets the standards for said list and whose bars have passed testing requirements established by the associatin and updated from time to time. The bars have to be pure for AU in an area of 995.0 to 999.9 per 1000. Weight, Shape, Appearance, Marks and Weight Stamps are regulated as follows:

    Weight: minimum 350 fine ounces AU; maximum 430 fine ounces AU, gross weight of a bar is expressed in troy ounces, in multiples of 0.025, rounded down to the nearest 0.025 of an troy ounce.

    Dimensions: the recommended dimensions for a Good Delivery gold bar are: Top Surface: 255 x 81 mm; Bottom Surface: 236 x 57 mm; Thickness: 37 mm.

    Fineness: the minimum 995.0 parts per thousand fine gold. Marks: Serial number; Assay stamp of refiner; Fineness (to four significant figures); Year of manufacture (expressed in four digits).

    After reviewing their prospectus yet again, it becomes pretty clear that GLD was established to purposefully deflect investment dollars away from legitimate gold pursuits and to create a stealth, cesspool / catch-all, slush-fund and a likely destination for many of these fake tungsten bars where they would never see the light of day — hidden behind the following legalese “shield” from the law:

    [Excerpt from the GLD prospectus on page 11]

    “Gold bars allocated to the Trust in connection with the creation of a Basket may not meet the London Good Delivery Standards and, if a Basket is issued against such gold, the Trust may suffer a loss. Neither the Trustee nor the Custodian independently confirms the fineness of the gold bars allocated to the Trust in connection with the creation of a Basket. The gold bars allocated to the Trust by the Custodian may be different from the reported fineness or weight required by the LBMA’s standards for gold bars delivered in settlement of a gold trade, or the London Good Delivery Standards, the standards required by the Trust. If the Trustee nevertheless issues a Basket against such gold, and if the Custodian fails to satisfy its obligation to credit the Trust the amount of any deficiency, the Trust may suffer a loss.”

    The Federal Reserve knows but is apparently part of the scheme.  Earlier this year GATA filed a second Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Federal Reserve System for documents from 1990 to date having to do with gold swaps, gold swapped, or proposed gold swaps.

    On Aug. 5, The Federal Reserve responded to this FOIA request by adding two more documents to those disclosed to GATA in April 2008 from the earlier FOIA request. These documents totaled 173 pages, many parts of which were redacted (blacked out). The Fed’s response also noted thatthere were 137 pages of documents not disclosed that were alleged to be exempt from disclosure.

    GATA appealed this determination on Aug. 20. The appeal asked for more information to substantiate the legitimacy of the claimed exemptions from disclosure and an explanation on why some documents, such as one posted on the Federal Reserve Web site that discusses gold swaps, were not included in the Aug. 5 document release.

    In a Sept. 17, 2009, letter on Federal Reserve System letterhead, Federal Reserve governor Kevin M. Warsh completely denied GATA’s appeal. The entire text of this letter can be examined athttp://www.gata.org/files/GATAFedResponse-09-17-2009.pdf.

    The first paragraph on the third page is the most revealing.  “In connection with your appeal, I have confirmed that the information withheld under exemption 4 consists of confidential commercial or financial information relating to the operations of the Federal Reserve Banks that was obtained within the meaning of exemption 4. This includes information relating to swap arrangements with foreign banks on behalf of the Federal Reserve System and is not the type of information that is customarily disclosed to the public. This information was properly withheld from you.”

    The above statement is an admission that the Federal Reserve has been involved with the fake gold bar swaps and that it refuses to disclose any information about its activities!

    Why use tungsten?

    If you are going to print fake money you need to have the special paper, otherwise the bills don’t feel right and can be easily detected by special pens that most merchants and banks use. Likewise, if you are going to fake gold bars you had better be sure they have the same weight and properties of real gold.

    In early 2008 millions of dollars in gold at the central bank of Ethiopia turned out to be fake.What were supposed to be bars of solid gold turned out to be nothing more than gold-plated steel. They tried to sell the stuff to South Africa and it was sent back when the South Africans noticed this little problem. The problem with making good-quality fake gold is that gold is remarkably dense. It’s almost twice the density of lead, and two-and-a-half times more dense than steel. You don’t usually notice this because small gold rings and the like don’t weigh enough to make it obvious, but if you’ve ever held a larger bar of gold, it’s absolutely unmistakable: The stuff is very, very heavy.

    The standard gold bar for bank-to-bank trade, known as a “London good delivery bar” weighs 400 troy ounces (over thirty-three pounds), yet is no bigger than a paperback novel. A bar of steel the same size would weigh only thirteen and a half pounds.

    According to gold expert, Theo Gray, the problem is that there are very few metals that are as dense as gold, and with only two exceptions they all cost as much or more than gold.

    The first exception is depleted uranium, which is cheap if you’re a government, but hard for individuals to get. It’s also radioactive, which could be a bit of an issue.

    The second exception is a real winner:  tungsten. Tungsten is vastly cheaper than gold (maybe $30 dollars a pound compared to $12,000 a pound for gold right now). And remarkably, it has exactly the same density as gold, to three decimal places. The main differences are that it’s the wrong color, and that it’s much, much harder than gold. (Very pure gold is quite soft, you can dent it with a fingernail.)

    A top-of-the-line fake gold bar should match the color, surface hardness, density, chemical, and nuclear properties of gold perfectly. To do this, you could could start with a tungsten slug about 1/8-inch smaller in each dimension than the gold bar you want, then cast a 1/16-inch layer of real pure gold all around it. This bar would feel right in the hand, it would have a dead ring when knocked as gold should, it would test right chemically, it would weigh *exactly* the right amount, and though I don’t know this for sure, I think it would also pass an x-ray fluorescence scan, the 1/16″ layer of pure gold being enough to stop the x-rays from reaching any tungsten. You’d pretty much have to drill it to find out it’s fake.

    Such a top-quality fake London good delivery bar would cost about $50,000 to produce because it’s got a lot of real gold in it, but you’d still make a nice profit considering that a real one is worth closer to $400,000.

    What’s going to happen now?

    Politicians like Ron Paul have been demanding that the Federal Reserve be more transparent and open up their records for public scrutiny. But the Fed has consistently refused, stating that these disclosures would undermine its operation.

    Yes, it certainly would!

    ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

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