ECONOMY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

ECONOMY

Apr 21 09:46

Unsound Banking: Why Most of the World’s Banks Are Headed for Collapse

Doug Casey

You’re likely thinking that a discussion of “sound banking” will be a bit boring. Well, banking should be boring. And we’re sure officials at central banks all over the world today—many of whom have trouble sleeping—wish it were.

This brief article will explain why the world’s banking system is unsound, and what differentiates a sound from an unsound bank. I suspect not one person in 1,000 actually understands the difference. As a result, the world’s economy is now based upon unsound banks dealing in unsound currencies. Both have degenerated considerably from their origins...

Apr 21 09:37

Bail-in powers implementation

The Special Resolution Regime (SRR) established in the Banking Act 2009 (“the Banking Act”) confers a number of resolution powers on the Bank of England and HM Treasury. The Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (the 2013 Act) confers on the Bank of England a further option for the resolution for banks, building societies, investment firms, and certain banking group companies: the bail-in stabilisation option.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Basically, Great Britain has set up the mechanism they need to loot savings accounts to save the big banks.

Apr 21 09:37

European Banks Are Paid To Borrow For First Time Ever As Euribor Goes Negative

Mario Draghi said this week that the transmission channels for European Q€ were opening up and crowed how well his cunning plan was working (by well we assume he means stocks are up). Today we get the ultimate test of that 'transmission' as 3-Month EURIBOR fell below 0.00% for the first time ever (likely wreaking havoc on European derivative pricing models). In English that means banks are being paid to borrow from one another in the interbank money-markets (which sounds a lot like a 'glut' of excess cash) seemingly confirming ICMA's de Vidts fears: "We are scared about the [repo] market freezing," as the ECB is "driving without headlights in the dark." Of course this is yet another disturbing distortion on the heels of homeowners being paid to take out mortgages...

Apr 21 09:29

STUNNED GREEKS REACT TO INITIAL CAPITAL CONTROLS AND THE “DECREE TO CONFISCATE RESERVES”, AND THEY ARE NOT HAPPY

Earlier today, following weeks of speculation, Greece finally launched the first shot across the bow of capital controls, when it decreed that due to an “extremely urgent and unforeseen need” (ironically the need was quite foreseen since about 2010, but that is a different story), it would be “obliged” to transfer – as in confiscate - “idle cash reserves”located across the country’s local governments (i.e., various cities and municipalities) to the Greek central bank.

Bloomberg reports, that “as Greece struggles to find cash to stay afloat, local authorities say they oppose a government decision to use their reserves for short-term financing.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So now, to fulfill their obligations to the IMF, Greeks are going to be robbed of the money they have earned?!?

IF I were a Greek citizen, with my account wiped out to pay the country's IMF obligations, I would be very, very, very angry right now.

Apr 21 09:26

Fearing the Loss of Hegemony: The Concept of US Retreat

Nothing upsets those drunk on imperialist virtue than the fact it might end. Such romances with power do have a use-by-date, going off like old fruit. Eventually, the crippling contradictions will win through in the end. The days of the US empire are numbered – but then again, they always were.

Apr 21 09:24

The Rise of the Paper Machines

Apr 21 09:23

THE BANKSTER WAR ON CASH; JP MORGAN CHASE BEGINS TO PROHIBIT THE STORAGE OF CASH IN ITS SAFETY DEPOSIT BOXES

Letters are apparently going out to some JPMoragnChase customers announcing that cash will be prohibited from being stored in the bank's safety deposit boxes.

At the Collectors Universe message board, a commenter reports:
My mother has a SDB at a Chase branch with one of my siblings as co-signers. Last week they got a letter outlining a number of changes to the lease agreement, including this:

"Contents of the box: You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value."

Another change is that signatures will no longer be accepted to access the box. The next time they go in they have to bring two forms of ID and they will be issued a four-digit pin number that will be used to access the box then and in the future.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Folks, this is the prelude to currency controls in this country, and it will not be pretty.

If you believe that a Cypress-style account "haircut" cannot happen here, you need to think again.

Please have no more money in your checking account than you absolutely need to pay your bills.

Apr 21 09:19

Thanks For The Investment Advice, Mario!

Apr 21 09:08

WHO IS SAUDI ARABIA REALLY TARGETING IN ITS PRICE WAR?

Saudi Arabia is not trying to crush U.S. shale plays. Its oil-price war is with the investment banks and the stupid money they directed to fund the plays. It is also with the zero-interest rate economic conditions that made this possible.

Market share is an important part of the motive but Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali al-Naimi recently emphasized that “The challenge is to restore the supply-demand balance and reach price stability.” Saudi Arabia’s need for market share and long-term demand is best met with a growing global economy and lower oil prices.

Apr 21 08:41

Ethics Professor Says It’s “Quite Reasonable” to Kill Disabled Babies via Obamacare

A professor at the highly esteemed Princeton University doesn’t want his Obamacare premiums to increase because of caring for severely disabled babies. Dr. Pete Singer, who teaches ethics (but perhaps needs a little refresher on what the word “ethics” means) argued during a radio interview on Sunday that America should be more accepting of “intentionally ending the lives of severely disabled infants.”

Apr 21 08:39

Gold and Silver Drop; US Coin Sales Gain

Apr 21 08:21

White Diamond Weighing 100 Carats Auctioned In New York

A “flawless” 100-carat jewel in an exemplary emerald-cut could get between US$19 million to US$25 million at closeout.

“This 100.20-carat diamond is the meaning of flawlessness. The shading is more white than white. It is free of any inner defects,” Sotheby’s New York gems office head Gary Schuler said in an announcement, comparing its straightforwardness “to a pool of frosty water”.

http://whatisusa.info/white-diamond-weighing-100-carats-auctioned-in-n...

Apr 21 08:19

Bursting of the Dollar Bubble

Apr 21 08:15

Kim Kardashian Is Debuting Luxury Car

Kim Kardashian changes autos more than she transforms her shoes.

In any case, even her planner heels are no match for her costly taste in wheels. On Saturday, the 34-year-old big name was seen heading home in a shiny new model vehicle which cost her around a large portion of a million dollars. The new engine is a 2015 Rolls Royce Phantom, the base model of which begins at $407,000 – and obviously Kim Kardashian is not going to have the standard.

http://whatisusa.info/kim-kardashian-is-debuting-luxury-car/

Apr 21 07:31

Newly Leaked TTIP Draft Reveals Far-Reaching Assault on US/EU Democracy

A freshly-leaked chapter from the highly secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, currently under negotiation between the United States and European Union, reveals that the so-called "free trade" deal poses an even greater threat to environmental and human rights protections—and democracy itself—than previously known, civil society organizations warn.

The revelation comes on the heels of global protests against the mammoth deal over the weekend and coincides with the reconvening of negotiations between the parties on Monday in New York.

The European Commission's latest proposed chapter (pdf) on "regulatory cooperation" was first leaked to Friends of the Earth and dates to the month of March. It follows previous leaks of the chapter, and experts say the most recent iteration is even worse.

Apr 21 07:01

‘Release cards’ turn inmates and their families into profit stream

In 2013 Gregg Cavaluzzi walked out of federal prison with nothing more than the clothes he wore going in five years earlier and a Chase-branded debit card holding what remained of money sent by family members and the meager pay he’d earned working in the prison library.

“They simply gave me the debit card and said ‘Your money’s on it,’” he recalled.

But when he used the card to pay for a celebratory meal at Wendy’s, Cavaluzzi noticed that his balance was lower than he expected. “I called Chase and they said there’s an administrative fee and a fee every time you use it at an ATM,” he said. As Cavaluzzi would soon discover, those were just two of several fees attached to his card. “There were fees for transferring the money to a bank and closing the account. There was even an inactivity fee if you didn't use the card for 90 days. I left prison with $120. Because of the fees I was only able to use about $70 of it.”

Apr 21 06:58

Wall Street Has No Idea How Much Money Venezuela Has

Bond investors suspect the Venezuelan government is pretty low on cash. Just how low, though, is a tricky question.

After all, this is a country that has stopped releasing even the most basic economic data -- things like inflation and government spending -- on a timely basis.

Given how high the stakes are, with many investors bracing for an imminent default, Wall Street analysts are scrambling to fill the void. Firms including Bank of America Corp. and Barclays Plc have created their own statistical series to try to help investors understand how dire the country’s cash squeeze is. It’s a challenging exercise, they say.

Apr 21 06:57

Leaked emails expose Sony concern over report its cameras used in Gaza attack

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal was proud to add her name to a letter with some 200 other Hollywood big wigs supporting Israel last summer in the midst of its bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip.

But leaked emails released recently by Wikileaks show that behind the scenes company executives were worried about reports associating the Sony brand with the Israeli assault that left more than 2,200 people, 547 of them children, dead.

On 19 August, Stevan Bernard, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s head of corporate security wrote to David Diamond, executive assistant to company chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, to inform him about a media report “that Sony CCTV’s [sic] were being used as a part of the guidance system for Israeli rockets that were bombing Gaza.”

“In fact,” Bernard wrote, “they held up part of the camera housing for all to see.”

Apr 21 06:35

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Not About Free Trade

The TPP covers a bewildering range of topics. In addition to conventional trade issues like tariff rates, it includes language on labor rights, environmental laws, copyright and patent protections, e-commerce, state-owned enterprises, corruption, and government procurement.

Trade deals like the TPP have grown so complex because the global trade community has figured out how to solve a problem that has bedeviled philosophers and political leaders for centuries: how to craft international agreements with teeth. The WTO's dispute-settlement process, which serves as a model for the TPP, puts pressure on countries to actually keep the promises they make in trade deals. That's why everyone with an agenda — wealthy investors, drug companies, labor unions, environmental groups, and so on — is scrambling to get on the bandwagon.

Apr 21 05:51

Guess What Happened The Last Time Bond Yields Crashed Like This?…

If a major financial crisis was approaching, we would expect to see the “smart money” getting out of stocks and pouring into government bonds that are traditionally considered to be “safe” during a crisis. This is called a “flight to safety” or a “flight to quality“.

Apr 21 03:18

White Diamond Weighing 100 Carats Auctioned In New York

“This 100.20-carat diamond is the meaning of flawlessness. The shading is more white than white. It is free of any inner defects,” Sotheby’s New York gems office head Gary Schuler said in an announcement, comparing its straightforwardness “to a pool of frosty water”.

http://whatisusa.info/white-diamond-weighing-100-carats-auctioned-in-n...

Apr 20 22:55

Newly Leaked TTIP Draft Reveals Far-Reaching Assault on US/EU Democracy

Mammoth deal an even greater boon to corporate power than previously known, warn analysts.

Apr 20 22:51

The Decline and Fall of the United States

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on the military than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death he wasn’t warning us. He was warning our parents and grandparents. We’re the dead.

Can we be revived?

Apr 20 21:39

Tax Receipts Flash Economic Warning Sign

Apr 20 21:38

Kim Kardashian Gets Herself A New $400K Rolls Royce Luxury Car... And Promptly Customizes It

Kim Kardashian changes autos more than she transforms her shoes.

In any case, even her planner heels are no match for her costly taste in wheels. On Saturday, the 34-year-old big name was seen heading home in a shiny new model vehicle which cost her around a large portion of a million dollars. The new engine is a 2015 Rolls Royce Phantom, the base model of which begins at $407,000 – and obviously Kim Kardashian is not going to have the standard.

http://whatisusa.info/kim-kardashian-is-debuting-luxury-car/

Apr 20 21:31

Kim Kardashian Is Debuting Luxury Car

Kim Kardashian changes autos more than she transforms her shoes.

In any case, even her planner heels are no match for her costly taste in wheels. On Saturday, the 34-year-old big name was seen heading home in a shiny new model vehicle which cost her around a large portion of a million dollars. The new engine is a 2015 Rolls Royce Phantom, the base model of which begins at $407,000 – and obviously Kim Kardashian is not going to have the standard.

http://whatisusa.info/kim-kardashian-is-debuting-luxury-car/

Apr 20 19:45

Stunned Greeks React To Initial Capital Controls And The "Decree To Confiscate Reserves", And They Are Not Happy

Several hours after the Greek government decreed the confiscation of local government reserves, this order has finally percolated among the population, and the response to what even ordinary Greeks realize is now the endgame, is less than exuberant. Bloomberg reports, that "as Greece struggles to find cash to stay afloat, local authorities say they oppose a government decision to use their reserves for short-term financing." “The government’s decision to seize our reserves not only raises legal and constitutional issues, but also a moral one,” said George Papanikolaou, mayor of Glyfada, the third-largest municipality in the metropolitan region of Attica after Athens and Piraeus. “We have a responsibility to serve our citizens."

Apr 20 15:38

Greece Seizing all Public Funds in Country

Apr 20 15:28

Tax Receipts Flash Economic Warning Sign

Apr 20 15:10

A Rigged Market and the Death of Technical Analysis

The integrity of our capital markets is under attack by the Federal Reserve and a formidable group of manipulative traders armed with computers and algorithms, and no one is there to protect investors from their depredations.

Apr 20 14:29

The TRUE size of Africa

Gives new meaning to the phrase “resource grab.”

Now we know why the people of Africa have been continuously kept down, neglected and taken advantage of over the centuries. A strong, independent and knowledgeable people are not easily exploited.

Apr 20 14:06

Student Debt Accounts For Nearly Half Of US Government "Assets"

On Friday we asked if the student debt bubble was about to witness its 2007 moment. In July of that year, all three ratings agencies turned aggressively negative on subprime-related MBS and their collective actions triggered a pre-crisis crisis in Canada where billions of asset-backed commercial paper stopped rolling in August, offering those who were inclined to take notice a window into what the financial would look like just one year later. Earlier this month, Moody’s put some $3 billion in student loan-backed ABS on review for downgrade citing a risk of default in some tranches.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

A debt is not an asset. That is one of the big lies of US economics.

Apr 20 12:58

Marijuana sales to hit $13B by 2020

Apr 20 12:52

NSA CHIEF: RULES OF WAR APPLY TO CYBERWAR, TOO

In June 2011, the Pentagon acknowledged the existence of a list of secret weapons and offensive capabilities but didn’t detail what the items were. Probably the most famous cyber weapon of all time, the Stuxnet worm that crippled Iranian nuclear enrichment at the Natanz facility in 2010, remains officially unattributed despite wide suspicion that it was built and deployed by the United States, Israel, or both. ? In the tightly controlled discussion about cyber weapons, this counts as a step toward transparency.

Apr 20 12:22

You Don't Represent Me Any More

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Time for a repost!

Apr 20 12:09

The Most Outrageous Fraud Ever Perpetrated on the Canadian People

The good folks at COMER have for years – decades, actually – been trying to get people to pay attention to what is far and away the biggest, most outrageous fraud ever perpetrated on the Canadian people. I am speaking here of the fact that instead of the Canadian government borrowing money from its own bank, our bank – the Bank of Canada (BoC) – it has, since 1974 chosen instead to borrow from private international and domestic financial institutions providing them with enormous, absolutely risk free profits for almost four decades.

Apr 20 11:50

America's Waning Influence: Beijing To Invest $46 Billion In Energy, Infrastructure For US "Ally"

China is looking to succeed where the United States has failed. Beijing — which, as a reminder, has claimed it will not use its regional infrastructure development initiatives as a tool of foreign policy — is now set to facilitate the construction of nearly $50 billion in power plants, roads, and railways in neighboring Pakistan. The proposal, which will give China access to the Indian Ocean via the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, is part of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious “Silk Road” Economic Belt, a plan announced last year that aims to connect China with Europe via a series of infrastructure projects.

Apr 20 11:50

Multibillion Hedge Fund Manager: "Ultimately QE Will Fail; US And China Might Enter Recession At The Same Time"

When I started thinking about going short, I recognised that we live in the world where almost all central banks have been pulled into the Bernanke idea of asset bubble led economic growth, and that they would go to extraordinary lengths to keep the party going. Philosophically I knew this was foolish, but more importantly empirically I had noticed that Central Banks and government have a long and inglorious history of achieving the exact opposite of their stated aims. Examples of this include the US policy of promoting home ownership via Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, has ultimately led to lower levels of homeownership. In the 70s, the authorities believed that higher inflation led to lower unemployment, until it didn’t. In the 1990s, currency pegs in Asia were believed to give macroeconomic stability, until they did not. There are numerous other examples.

Apr 20 11:37

As Gazprom CEO Arrives In Athens, EU (Coincidentally) Files Anti-Trust Charges Against Russian Giant

As the head of Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, arrives in Athens tomorrow (for talks with Greek PM Tsipras about "current energy issues of interest," which we suspect will include finalizing the "Turkish Stream" pipeline heralded by many as Greece's potential get-out-of-Troika-jail-card), he will face an increasingly anxious European Union. Fresh from its suit against Google, the WSJ reports, the EU's competition regulator plans to file formal antitrust charges against Russia’s state-owned gas company OAO Gazprom on Wednesday. This re-opens a suit from 2012 saying that it suspected the company of abusing its dominant position in those countries’ natural-gas supply. It appears Europe is getting nervous...

Having realized that a potential Greco-Russian pipeline deal could, according to one senior official "turn the tide"for the debt-stricken country, it appears the imminent arrival of Gazprom's CEO (as Reuters reports):

Apr 20 11:12

The Ludicrous Idea Of Trying To Abolish Cash

Apr 20 10:38

Layoffs begin at U.S. Steel

Apr 20 10:36

Russia starts controlling banking operations involving 41 countries — media

Russia’s financial watchdog, Rosfinmonitoring, is introducing control over banking operations involving 41 countries, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Monday, citing the respective letter of the federal service.
The banks are to immediately inform the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) about the operations of their clients, both individuals and companies, who are the residents of the US, Canada, the EU (28 countries), Australia, Norway, Iran, Syria, Sudan, New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico, Switzerland, North Korea and Jamaica.
If a bank neglects the demand, then its actions will be regarded as the violation of the Russian federal law "On Countering Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds of Crime and Financing of Terrorism."

Apr 20 09:51

Switzerland to test drone postal deliveries

Apr 20 09:21

Greece Orders Public Entities to Store Cash in Central Bank

Greece’s government issued a decree Monday requiring public bodies such as state-owned companies and public pension funds to transfer their cash reserves to the central bank.

n/a
Apr 20 09:19

The Big Idea: California Is So Over

The water situation reflects this breakdown in the starkest way. Everyone who follows California knew it was inevitable we would suffer a long-term drought. Most of the state—including the Bay Area as well as greater Los Angeles—is semi-arid, and could barely support more than a tiny fraction of its current population. California’s response to aridity has always been primarily an engineering one that followed the old Roman model of siphoning water from the high country to service cities and farms.

But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.

Apr 20 09:16

PAYPAL EXEC WANTS TO REPLACE PASSWORDS WITH INJECTABLE CHIPS

People may only just be coming round to the idea of using their fingerprints to authenticate themselves, but a PayPal executive is already looking ahead to a time when we embed and ingest devices that identify us at the point-of-sale. In a presentation he has given at several conferences, Jonathan LeBlanc, global head of developer advocacy at PayPal, calls on industry to 'Kill All Passwords,' which he says are a broken method of authentication.

Apr 20 09:16

Europe braces for messy Greek endgame

It’s still possible that Greece can remain in the eurozone — though that is no longer the base case for many policy makers. At the very least, most fear the situation is going to get much, worse before it gets any better.

No one now expects a deal to unlock Greek bailout funding at this week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Riga — originally set as the final deadline for a deal. The new final, final deadline is now said to be a summit on May 11.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Apr 20 09:01

IDF Censor Seeks Possible Phantom Leaker

Haaretz’s managing editor, Aluf Benn, published a series of articles (this is the main one) about an ill-fated Israel-Iran oil venture, the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC), that began in 1968 and ended in 1979, just after the Iranian Revolution. The most criticial part of the project was a pipeline running from Eilat to the major Israeli port of Ashdod. The Shah agreed to ship his oil via the pipeline, thus avoiding the Suez Canal, and then transport it, via tankers jointly owned by the venture, to Europe. Israel received approximately $200-million in oil from Iran before the Shah’s regime collapsed and Iran withdrew from the venture.

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