Tag Archives: Bankster Corruption

A Serial Short Seller Asks “Do Governments & Central Banks Ever Lose?”

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by Jared Dillian | Zero Hedge | July 10, 2015

We are about a week into the Greek non-crisis, and nothing especially scary has happened. Stocks opened up lower a couple of times, and there was one wild trading day in EURUSD, but everything is essentially unchanged. Which surprised everyone. Including me, a little.

I used to be a plunger. Loved shorting stuff. I had one muscle, and I flexed it constantly. By my rough calculations, I was up about 18% by the time Lehman went bankrupt in 2008. The more turmoil, the better.

I was born in a bear market. Literally, in 1974, and figuratively—I learned to trade in the dot-com bust. Seven years into my trading career, I had experienced two crashes. I know lots of people who got rich buying GE at six bucks. I almost shorted it there.

So the past six years have been tough on me. I’ve made money, but not a lot. Worse, I’ve been conditioned to expect that whenever I spend a bunch of money on S&P puts, I’m going to get sconed and watch them melt to zero while the market rips higher.

The real kick in the nuts was when the market was melting down on Ebola fears in October and St. Louis Fed President Bullard walks out with a “buy” ticket stapled to his forehead.

Here’s another way to look at this: We had two crashes in seven years, and if you go back in history, the market doesn’t crash all that often.

Like the ‘50s. Stocks went up, quietly, for a decade. Nothing happened.

But this isn’t the ‘50s. There’s an IPO boom, a VC boom, valuations are stretched, and crap like Fitbit is going public. Shake Shack has a bigger valuation (I am told) than the entire coal industry.

We have unicorns and decacorns, and it’s only a matter of time until we have a centicorn. All the kids are going to startups. Talk about risk-taking.

I have seen worse bubbles, but the markets are definitely running hot.

So a developed country is about to default on a couple of hundred billion dollars worth of debt, and the market just shrugs. Worse, it sets a nasty precedent for other, larger economies defaulting on debt. Seems much more contagious than Russia in 1998. And stocks are bulletproof. The only selling going on is in China.

Serious question: Do you give up shorting? Like, throw in the towel?

The thing that gets a lot of people is that they believe the market is engineered by the authorities to go higher. Like Bullard with his rate comments. But it’s gotten so bad, there are wide swaths of people who think the Fed is actually buying stocks. ZeroHedge talks about this all the time.

There is a pretty funny Twitter account called 3:30 Ramp Capital, LLC. Plunge Protection Team rumors have been around since the beginning of time, but six years of stocks going straight up have given rise to all kinds of other theories. (For the record, the Fed fully acknowledges its interventions in the bond market, but it has never admitted to trading stocks.)

And it’s true that “the authorities” want the price of financial assets (stocks, bonds) to go up, and the price of hard assets (commodities) to go down… which is exactly what has happened.

So do governments and central banks ever lose?

In the old days, they lost all the time. In one extreme example, an individual hedge fund took out the entire Bank of England. But central banks are currently on a massive winning streak.

So to answer the question, “Will we ever have a crisis,” you need to answer the question, “Will we ever be allowed to have one?”

I’m not just some crazy guy asking these questions. Market professionals I talk to, hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, will freely discuss the widespread distortions in the market. They feel like they can’t ply their trade. What I mean is, you can’t buy stuff cheap and sell it dear. Everything is dear, and it keeps going up, and you have to participate or get left behind.

That’s not the way it was in the ‘50s. There was all kinds of value to be found. That was how Warren Buffett made his money.

Today, I realized that, outside of some biotech stuff, I haven’t written about an individual stock in months. There’s just nothing interesting to buy, and you certainly can’t short anything. You’ll get your head blown off.

At one point in my career, I was really good at market timing. Calling tops and bottoms. You just can’t do it anymore. Tops never happen, and bottoms don’t get deep enough to find value. We haven’t had a 10% correction in how long?

Honestly, it’s so hard to invest in this environment, I’ve made nearly all my money in the last two years trading FX. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

This is a lot of me whining. And I’m secretly hoping that this letter means there will be a return to rationality soon.

But probably not. Stupid usually gets stupider.

 

Farage Rocks EU Parliament: Tells Tsipras – ‘Leave the Euro, Reclaim Your Democracy’

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Rousing speech met with cheers, applause

by Paul Joseph Watson | July 8, 2015

UKIP leader Nigel Farage gave a rousing speech in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg today during which he directly told Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone and reclaim the country’s democracy.

Farage told Tsipras that his country should have never joined the euro in the first place, but that it was forced to do so by big banks like Goldman Sachs and German arms manufacturers.

“When the bailouts began, they weren’t for the Greek people, those bailouts were to bailout French, German and Italian banks – they haven’t helped you at all,” said Farage to the sound of applause.

“You have been very brave, you called that referendum, when one of your predecessors tried to do the same, the bully boys of Brussels had him removed,” said the UKIP leader as Tsipras looked on.

“There were threats and bullying, but the Greeks stood firm….they will give you no more these people – they can’t afford to – if they give you more they’ll have to give other Eurozone members more – so your moment has come and frankly if you’ve got the courage you should lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone with your head held high, get back your democracy, get back control of your country, give your people the leadership and the hope that they crave,” added Farage.

The response to Farage’s speech – given that he is normally used to being heckled by pro-Brussels MEPs – was quite momentous as loud applause once again filled the room.

“Yes it will be tough for the first few months, but with a devalued currency and with friends of Greece all over the world, you will recover,” concluded Farage to the sound of cheering.

Tsipras looked fairly nonplussed but he was obviously trying to keep a straight face.

The Greek Prime Minister is still planning to strike a deal with creditors before a deadline on Thursday. Speculation is mounting that banks could run out of cash if the impasse continues, followed by civil unrest and riots.

Farage also remarked on what the wider implications of the Greek referendum were for the entire EU.

“The European project is actually beginning to die,” said Farage, adding that the people of Europe have rejected EU federalism time and time again whenever asked.

The UKIP leader said that attempts to make Europeans show allegiance to the flag and anthem of the EU had proven fruitless, noting that the ultimate agenda of a political union had failed.

“The countries of Europe are different – if you try and force together different people or different economies without first seeking the consent of those people it is unlikely to work and the plan has failed,” said Farage, adding that the whole of the Mediterranean now “finds itself in the wrong currency.”

“The continent is now divided from north to south, there is a new Berlin Wall and it’s called the euro,” asserted the UKIP leader.

Bankster Austerity Measures Under Attack in Wake of Syriza Win in Greece

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Politicos line up for fight against bankster plan to impoverish millions

Kurt Nimmo | Infowars.com | January 26, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron has reacted to the Greek election and the rejection of globalist austerity measures by saying the victory of Syriza in the Greek general election over the weekend will “increase economic uncertainty across Europe.”

On Sunday the leader of radical leftist Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, promised to end five years of austerity, “humiliation and suffering” imposed by international banksters on the Greek people.

Tsipras is a dedicated communist who gave his youngest son the middle name of Ernesto after Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

“Greece leaves behinds catastrophic austerity, it leaves behind fear and authoritarianism, it leaves behind five years of humiliation and anguish,” Tsipras, who was sworn in as prime minister on Monday, told supporters.

The Greek coalition party now has an absolute, 151-seat majority in parliament.

Tsipras and Syriza demand a renegotiation of Greece’s £179 billion bailout and a revisitation of the clauses that make the Greek government’s implementation of devastating austerity measures mandatory.

Additionally, Syriza is calling for cancellation of over 50 percent of Greek debt owed to ECB banksters and Eurozone states.

The victory of Syriza has emboldened the anti-austerity movement in Britain and on the European continent.

In Britain, Labor Party members called the Syriza win “exciting” and demanded Ed Millibrand, the leader of the party, oppose “savage” spending cuts by the British government.

“Nobody should underestimate the anger and the demand for change here,” said leftwing Labor MP John McDonnell. He said the Syriza victory points the way for similar moves in Britain.

The British chancellor, George Osborne, warned the promises made by Syriza to end crippling austerity would be “very difficult to deliver and incompatible with what the eurozone currently demands of its members.”

In December, Osborne detailed an austerity plan for Britain that reduces public spending to levels not seen since the 1930s and the Great Depression. The plan calls for the loss of a million public sector jobs, reduction of public sector wages, an increase in rates levied on property, and an aggressive crackdown on tax avoidance.

Despite the stance of politicos, banksters and EU apparatchiks in Britain and Europe, the Syriza win does not bode well for European central banker schemes.

“Europe is well-aware that any Greek renegotiation means one thing: an impairment of the ECB balance sheet, something which is also a non-starter for the central bank which is already toying dangerously close with losing all credibility as well as big losses for German taxpayers now that the bulk of Greek debt exposure has been mutualized outside of the banking sector,” notes Zero Hedge.

“Whatever happens, expect a substantial increase in volatility in coming weeks as Greek pre-election promises and the harsh European reality finally collide, and lots and lots of red flashing headlines and FX kneejerk responses.”

Source

Why Printing Money will end badly for the US

fedmoney You are witness to possibly the greatest economic slight of hand ever perpetuated on a people.

Zero Hedge | January 24, 2015

You may have heard the news, the European Central Bank have started up the printing press. They are soon to print upwards of €60 Billion a month. The crowds of economic pundits have collectively cheered. Europe stands to enjoy significant near term benefits, but at what cost?

They speak of lower government borrowing costs for new debt, by lowering funding costs and thus the hurdle that projects must meet to become viable. They believe our exchange rate will fall and our goods will be come cheaper abroad. European products and services will be flying off the shelves, etc. Well, it is an absolute nonsense. Yes there will be short term benefits. Any time you give a liquidity jolt you temporarily relieve pressure. But the longer term risks are far far greater, now that the act of QE has been taken.  Essentially the technocrats have short circuited the capitalist system which continuously prices risk based on perceived repayment risks and cost of funds.  This is a road to ruin as returns become obscured by official and politically motivated credit flows.

They will argue that deflation is a threat and must be tackled early before it takes hold. This is a smoke screen. The deflation we are experiencing is spotty and multi faceted and is primarily being driven by lower oil prices which are a global phenomena, not a purely European one. Secondly oil prices have already begun to stabilise and if anything are likely to drift higher from here. Don’t get me wrong deflation is a vey dangerous condition and can lead to a vicious negative feedback vortex to a state of depression. But we are no where near that level of risk or type of deflation.

The thing is it is being sold as a low risk, one way bet. Worryingly there has been no talk of the actual cost or the ramifications of his new measure.

So who pays? Someone has to, you can not just create money out of thin air. The answer is “we do, you and I”, in the form of a devalued currency, diminished savings and devaluing pensions.

The ECB was always going to to launch Quantitative Easing whether it wanted to our not. Once the Fed, BOJ, BOE launched their programs in 2008 it was only a matter of time. We are in a era of global competitive currency devaluation were desperate governments must devalue currencies in order to spur domestic growth by improving the value of exports.

The problem with QE or money printing is it is a like a Pandora’s box. Once it is opened it can never be put away again. There will, now, always be an easy way out of every economic issue. All interested parties will now be able to eye this short term financing tool as away of solving short term issues. The Euro will likely morph into the Lira over time.

 

QE is not actually the creation of money, not in real terms. What it is is the reallocation of the monetary pool from those that have a share to those that do not. All they have done is to devalue the Euro’s held by duplicating and allocating the new Euros to central banks. The Central Banks will in turn buy junk assets off commercial banks and government bonds all in return for cash.

The hope is that the banks will lend the new cash to businesses who will employ people and in doing so add productivity and value to the economy, increasing bank earnings and taxes and wealth.

But the banks will not do that. They will hold the money first to improve their capital ratio’s then they will invest in the the stock market via funds or other instruments.

The ECB also hope that the governments will have more money in the treasury and be able to tax less, but they wont, rather they will allocate to social partners such as Unions.

In short what we are seeing is the wholesale capture of the monetary system by special interests and the mass confiscation of wealth from pensioners and savers to governments and government proxies. I fear that we have just passed a monetary Rubicon that may eventually undermine the very basic social contract of our capitalist system: work hard and you will prosper.

It will take time for the effects of this to be felt but the gates have been well and truly opened and from now on we are only as strong as our weakest political masters at their weakest moment. Those actors will surely plunder this monetary tool.

This tragically could be the step that opens the gate to extreme political entities who can canvass on the widest remit and promise everything to everyone. Indeed the definition of “urgent need” will change by degrees over time, until it will take very little to invoke a new round of money printing.

You are witness to possibly the greatest economic slight of hand ever perpetuated on a people, when the long gaze of history looks at this decision, deflation fears will not be part of the final analysis, arrogance, stupidity and theft will be.

Read more from GoldCore

If the Fed Has Nothing to Hide, It Has Nothing to Fear (Audit the FED….)

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The American people have suffered long enough under a monetary policy controlled by an unaccountable, secretive central bank…

Ron Paul | January 19, 2015

Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the dollar has lost over 97 percent of its purchasing power, the US economy has been subjected to a series of painful Federal Reserve-created recessions and depressions, and government has grown to dangerous levels thanks to the Fed’s policy of monetizing the debt. Yet the Federal Reserve still operates under a congressionally-created shroud of secrecy.

No wonder almost 75 percent of the American public supports legislation to audit the Federal Reserve.

The new Senate leadership has pledged to finally hold a vote on the audit bill this year, but, despite overwhelming public support, passage of this legislation is by no means assured.

The reason it may be difficult to pass this bill is that the 25 percent of Americans who oppose it represent some of the most powerful interests in American politics. These interests are working behind the scenes to kill the bill or replace it with a meaningless “compromise.” This “compromise” may provide limited transparency, but it would still keep the American people from learning the full truth about the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy.

Some opponents of the bill say an audit would somehow compromise the Fed’s independence. Those who make this claim cannot point to anything in the text of the bill giving Congress any new authority over the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy. More importantly, the idea that the Federal Reserve is somehow independent of political considerations is laughable. Economists often refer to the political business cycle, where the Fed adjusts its policies to help or hurt incumbent politicians. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns exposed the truth behind the propaganda regarding Federal Reserve independence when he said, if the chairman didn’t do what the president wanted, the Federal Reserve “would lose its independence.”

Perhaps the real reason the Fed opposes an audit can be found by looking at what has been revealed about the Fed’s operations in recent years. In 2010, as part of the Dodd-Frank bill, Congress authorized a one-time audit of the Federal Reserve’s activities during the financial crisis of 2008. The audit revealed that between 2007 and 2008 the Federal Reserve loaned over $16 trillion — more than four times the annual budget of the United States — to foreign central banks and politically-influential private companies.

In 2013 former Federal Reserve official Andrew Huszar publicly apologized to the American people for his role in “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time” — the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program. Can anyone doubt an audit would further confirm how the Fed acts to benefit economic elites?

Despite the improvements shown in the (government-manipulated) economic statistics, the average American has not benefited from the Fed’s quantitative easing program. The abysmal failure of quantitative easing in the US may be one reason Switzerland stopped pegging the value of the Swiss Franc to the Euro following reports that the European Central Bank is about to launch its own quantitative easing program.

Quantitative easing is just the latest chapter in the Federal Reserve’s hundred-year history of failure. Despite this poor track record, Fed apologists still claim the American people benefit from the Federal Reserve System. But, if that were the case, why wouldn’t they welcome the opportunity to let the American people know more about monetary policy? Why is the Fed acting like it has something to hide if it has nothing to fear from an audit?

The American people have suffered long enough under a monetary policy controlled by an unaccountable, secretive central bank. It is time to finally audit — and then end — the Fed.

This article first appeared at RonPaulInstitute.org.

Gallup CEO Blasts US Leadership “The Economy Is Not Coming Back”

 

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Focus on the almighty entrepreneurs and business builders

Jim Clifton | Zero Hedge | January 14, 2015

The U.S. now ranks not first, not second, not third, but 12th among developed nations in terms of business startup activity. Countries such as Hungary, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Israel and Italy all have higher startup rates than America does.

We are behind in starting new firms per capita, and this is our single most serious economic problem. Yet it seems like a secret. You never see it mentioned in the media, nor hear from a politician that, for the first time in 35 years, American business deaths now outnumber business births.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the total number of new business startups and business closures per year — the birth and death rates of American companies — have crossed for the first time since the measurement began. I am referring to employer businesses, those with one or more employees, the real engines of economic growth. Four hundred thousand new businesses are being born annually nationwide, while 470,000 per year are dying.

Read the Full Report here

 

Opium Cultivation Hits New Record High in Afghanistan

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Media ignores CIA’s role as heroin floods US streets

Mikael Thalen | Infowars.com | January 6, 2015

Afghanistan has once again set a new record for opium cultivation despite a constant U.S. military presence for the last thirteen years.

According to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium production rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2014.

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“The total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated to be 224,000 hectares (200,00-250,000) in 2014, which represents a 7% increase from 2013,” the report states.

As cultivation and production continued its upward trend, eradication by government forces plunged across the region.

“A total of 2,692 hectares of verified poppy eradication was carried out by the provincial Governors in 2014, representing a decrease of 63% from 2013 when 7,348 hectares of Governor-led eradication (GLE) was verified by MCN/UNODC,” the report says.

Since the arrival of U.S. forces in 2001, Afghanistan’s prominence in the global drug market has skyrocketed. Statistics from the 2014 World Drug Report state that Afghanistan is now responsible for more than 80 percent of the world’s opium, although many believe the number to be much higher.

 

Despite claims regarding the fight against Afghanistan’s opium scourge, which is directly linked to America’s “nationwide heroin crisis,” multiple U.S. agencies have been found to be directly linked to its skyrocketing availability.

American officials speaking with the New York Times in 2009 revealed that one of the country’s largest heroin dealers, coincidentally the brother of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, had received regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency since the beginning of the war.

 

American officials speaking with the New York Times in 2009 revealed that one of the country’s largest heroin dealers, coincidentally the brother of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, had received regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency since the beginning of the war.

“The financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Mr. Karzai raise significant questions about America’s war strategy…” the article states. “The C.I.A.’s practices also suggest that the United States is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban.”

A seperate New York Times report from 2008 also detailed multiple instances in which Afghan troops were ordered to release large amounts of confiscated heroin to Karzai.

“Before long, the commander, Habibullah Jan, received a telephone call from Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai, asking him to release the vehicle and the drugs,” the article says.

As the United States’ involvement in promoting Afghanistan’s role as global opium kingpin became evident, multiple news outlets, including Fox and ABC, began running white-washed reports arguing that U.S. troops needed to protect opium fields in order to fight the Taliban.

 

Watch the YouTube doco here.

Although the Obama Administration recently announced the end of the war in Afghanistan, more than 10,000 troops will remain for the foreseeable future as part of a secret extension personally enacted by the President. Continued US control will undoubtedly produce the same results, an explosion of heroin worldwide.

Source

The second most powerful banker in America

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Stanley Fischer settles in as Janet Yellen’s No. 2 at the Fed

Kate Davidson | Politico | January 2, 2015

Stanley Fischer came to the Federal Reserve in the spring with a higher profile than any vice chairman in the 100-year history of the institution after leading Israel’s central bank and holding top jobs at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen pushed for him to be her No. 2 in a move that was viewed as a show of confidence and strength as she prepares to lead the Fed through one of it most challenging periods, managing the wind down of massive stimulus programs put in place following the financial crisis.

The pairing was dubbed a central banking “dream team” by Fed watchers.

In his first six months on the job, Fischer has rewarded Yellen’s confidence by helping communicate the Fed’s policy moves to nervous financial markets while publicly defending the central bank against a growing chorus of critics. To many on Wall Street he helped alleviate worries about the lack of direct financial market involvement on her résumé.

“Stan Fischer has market experience and goodwill that Chair Yellen doesn’t have,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. “It’s not a slam on the Fed chairman, it’s simply different experience.”

Read more

 

IMF: Everything You Have Will Be Taken

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David Knight covers the latest news, including developments in Ukraine as the country’s Parliament rejects the bankster IMF deal designed to impose suffocating austerity on the people and strip the nation of its wealth.

Watch the Interview filed on YouTube here

 

 

 

Fire Destroys Argentine Banking System Archives, Killing 9

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Zero Hedge

February 6, 2014

While we are sure it is a very sad coincidence, on the day when Argentina decrees limits on the FX positions banks can hold and the Argentine Central Bank’s reserves accounting is questioned publically, a massive fire – killing 9 people – has destroyed a warehouse archiving banking system documents.

As The Washington Post reports, the fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse(which purportedly had multiple protections against fire, including advanced systems that can detect and quench flames without damaging important documents) took hours to control and the sprawling building appeared to be ruined. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear – though we suggest smelling Fernandez’ hands…

Watch the Report on YouTube here

We noted yesterday that there are major questions over Argentina’s reserve honesty

While first print is preliminary and subject to revision, the size of recent discrepancies have no precedent. This suggest that the government may be attempting to manage expectations by temporarily fudging the “estimate ” of reserve numbers (first print) while not compromising “actual” final reported numbers. If this is so, it is a dangerous game to play and one likely to back-fire.

 

During a balance of payments crisis – as Argentina is undergoing – such manipulation of official statistics (and one so critical for market sentiment) is detrimental to the needed confidence building around the transition in the FX regime.

 

And today the government decrees limits on FX holdings for the banks

Argentina’s central bank published resolution late yesterday on website limiting fx position for banks to 30% of assets.

Banks will have to limit fx futures contracts to 10% of assets: resolution

Banks must comply with resolution by April 30

 

And then this happens…

Via WaPo,

Nine first-responders were killed, seven others injured and two were missing as they battled a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an archive of bank documents in Argentina’s capital on Wednesday.

 

The fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse took hours to control…

The destroyed archives included documents stored for Argentina’s banking industry, said Buenos Aires security minister Guillermo Montenegro.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear.

Boston-based Iron Mountain manages, stores and protects information for more than 156,000 companies and organizations in 36 countries. Its Argentina subsidiary advertises that its facilities have multiple protections against fire, including advanced systems that can detect and quench flames without damaging important documents.

“There are cameras in the area, and these videos will be added to the judicial investigation, to clear up the motive of the fire and collapse,” Montenegro told the Diarios y Noticias agency.

 

 

28 Points Of Comparison Between 1970s America And America Today – Which Do You Think Is Better?

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Michael Snyder
The Truth

January 30, 2014

If you could go back and live in America during the 1970s would you do it?  Has the United States become a better place to live over the past 40 years or have things gotten worse?  Without a doubt there are arguments that can be made both ways.

 

For example, who really wants to go back to a time when you actually had to “dial” a phone or rewind a cassette tape in order to find your favourite song?  On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to live at a time when virtually everyone could find a good job, when television was not so filthy and when you didn’t have to worry about locking your front door at night?  Some would say that we have come a long way in 40 years.  Others lament how far we have fallen.  So what do you think?  Read over the 28 points of comparison between 1970s America and America today posted below and then share your opinion by leaving a comment at the end of the article…

1. In the 1970s we had Disco.  Today, we have Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.

2. In the 1970s we had Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.  Today, we have Barack Obama.

3. In the 1970s, Americans fell in love with stupid fads such as mood rings, lava lamps and pet rocks.  Today, we have twerking, “planking”, crocs, wedge sneakers and pajama jeans.

4. In 1970, a gallon of gasoline cost 36 cents.  Today, the average price for a gallon of gasoline is about $3.27.

5. In the 1970s we still had rotary phones.  Today, we have iPhones.

6. In the 1970s, presidents were tapping the phones of their enemies.  Today, the government is recording all of our calls.  In fact, the NSA intercepts and permanently stores close to 2 billion emails and phone calls every single day.

7. In the 1970s, gum chewing and talking in class were some of the major disciplinary problems in our schools.  Today, many of our public schools have been equipped with metal detectors because violence has become so bad.

8. In the 1970s, you could sit down and watch television with your children in the evenings without being too concerned about what they were about to see.  Today, not so much.

9. In the early 1970s, Pong was the hottest video game in America.  In the late 1970s, Space Invaders took America by storm.  Today, the video games have become so incredibly advanced and so extremely entertaining that video game addiction has become a major problem.

10. In the 1970s, most of the products in our stores were made in America and we barely conducted any trade with China.  Today, it seems like almost everything we buy has “made in China” stamped on it and our yearly trade deficit with China is now about 300 billion dollars.

11. In 1973, the United States was #2 in GDP per capita.  Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

12. In 1970, the average woman had her first child when she was 21.4 years old.  Now the average woman has her first child when she is 25.6 years old.

13. In the 1970s, the “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) was less than 6 percent.  Today, it is up close to 12 percent.

14. For most of the 1970s, the average duration of unemployment was less than 15 weeks.  Today, it is more than 37 weeks.

15. In the 1970s, Star Wars was released.  It is still far superior to any movie that has come out so far this year.

16. In the 1970s, redistribution of wealth was considered to be something that “the communists” did.  Today, redistribution of wealth is the official policy of the U.S. government.

17. In 1970, about 18 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.  Today, about 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has grown far larger.

18. In the 1970s, many Americans regularly left their cars and the front doors of their homes unlocked at night.  Today, many Americans live with steel bars on their windows and gun sales are at record highs.

19. Consumer debt in the United States has risen by a whopping 1700% since 1971, and today 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

20. In the 1970s, most Americans still respected the U.S. Constitution.  Today, if you are a “Constitutionalist”, you may get labelled as a potential terrorist by the U.S. government.

21. Back in 1970, the five largest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.  Today, the five largest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.

22. 40 percent of all workers in the United States actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.

23. In 1977, Elvis was found dead.  Today, the entire U.S. middle class is dying.

24. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6 Americans is on food stamps.

25. In 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman.  When you wanted to listen to a particular song, you had to rewind your tape to find it.  Today, everyone has iPods and it takes just seconds to sort through thousands of songs.

26. In the 1970s, the United States loaned more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.  Today, the United States owes more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

27. In 1970, the U.S. national debt was about 371 billion dollars.  Today, it is more than 46 times larger.

28. In the 1970s, hippies were smoking dope, attending rock festivals and singing protest songs.  Today, they are running the U.S. government.

What would you add to this list?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

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About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

 

 

First HSBC Halts Large Withdrawals, Now Lloyds ATMs Stop Working

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Zero Hedge
January 26, 2014

First HSBC bungles up an attempt at pseudo-capital controls by explaining that large cash withdrawals need a justification, and are limited in order “to protect our customers” (from what – their money?), which will likely result in even faster deposit withdrawals, and now another major UK bank – Lloyds/TSB – has admitted it are experiencing cash separation anxiety manifesting itself in ATMs failing to work and a difficult in paying using debit cards. Sky reports that customers of Lloyds and TSB, as well as those with Halifax, have reported difficulties paying for goods in shops and getting money out of ATMs.

All three banks are under the Lloyds Banking Group which said: “We are aware that some customers are unable to use their debit cards either to make purchases or to withdraw money from ATMs. “We are working hard to resolve this as swiftly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Further from SkyNews, TSB, which operates as a separate business within the group, issued a statement saying: “We are aware that some TSB customers are unable to use their debit cards either to make purchases or to withdraw money from ATMs. “This has impacted all Lloyds Banking Group brands. We are working hard to resolve this and unreservedly apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

TSB chief executive Paul Pester said in a tweet: “My apologies to TSB customers having problems with their cards. I’m working hard with my team now to try to fix the problems.”

Clients were not happy:

    On the microblogging site, one TSB customer Nicky Kate said: “Really embarrassed to get my card declined while out shopping, never had any problems with lloyds then they changed my account.”

Hannah Smith: “I am a TSB customer with a Lloyds card still (like everyone else). And I’ve been embarrassed three times today re: card declined.”

Another customer Julia Abbott ‏said: “Lloyds bank atm and card service down. 20 mins on hold to be told this. Nothing even on website. Shoddy lloyds. … shoddy.”

Helen Needham ‏said: “#lloyds bank having problems with there card service… Can’t pay for anything or get money out!”

Another Twitter user wrote: “This problem is also affecting Halifax debit cards as I found out trying to pay for lunch with my wife!”

And Jane Lucy Jones tweeted Halifax, saying: “Why can’t I get any money out of any cashpoints, what is going on?

What is going on is known as a “glitch” for now, and perhaps as “pre-emptive planning” depending on who you ask. Sure, in a few months in may be called a bail-in (see Cyprus), but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

 

Larry Fink: There Is Way Too Much Optimism In Financial Markets

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Zero Hedge
January 26, 2014

What a difference half a year makes. It seems like it was yesterday when Blackrock head Larry Fink, when discussing the future of capital markets with the now defunct money honey, uttered these infamous words about any and all possible risks: “it doesn’t matter.”

Larry Fink and Robert S. Kapito founded the BlackRock investment management firm in 1988. Credit: Americasroof via Wiki

Larry Fink and Robert S. Kapito founded the BlackRock investment management firm in 1988. Suddenly, it matters.
Speaking in Davos, Fink warned there is ‘way too much optimism’ in financial markets as he predicted repeats of the market turmoil that roiled investors this week.

As Bloomberg reports, Fink warned a Davos panel that “the experience of the marketplace this past week is going to be indicative of this entire year… We’re going to be in a world of much greater volatility.”

Some other notable sound bites:

    Fink’s outlook challenged the relatively upbeat tone struck by others during the four-day gathering in the Swiss Alps, which began after the International Monetary Fund predicted the strongest world economic expansion since 2011. The meetings of the past seven years were clouded by jitters about financial crisis in the U.S. and Europe.

While Fink agreed “the overall trend is going to be fine,” he predicted “quite a bit of disruption” and said the onus was now on governments to work to improve economies.

“That troubles me, as there has been great consistency of dragging their feet by politicians,” he said. “The marketplace has been rather encouraged by good, consistent monetary policy across the world.” “It would be very abnormal if we didn’t have consolidating moves in the assets that have gone up so much,” he said.

And while it appears lost on Fink that the only reason politicians have been dragging their feet is precisely due to central banker money printing policies which have allowed elected representative to do absolutely nothing while reaping the benefits of rising or stable popularity ratings thanks to all time stock market highs, at least we know how the world’s largest asset manager is positioned.

That said, it would be very ironic if the Davos billionaires really did follow through on their promise of eliminating inequality… by destroying the financial wealth of the uber-wealthy.

 

 

HSBC imposes restrictions on large cash withdrawals

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BBC News
January 26, 2014

 

HSBC's latest rule follows a worldwide trend towards capitol controls by major banks. Credit: ell-r-brown via Flickr

HSBC’s latest rule follows a worldwide trend towards capitol controls by major banks. Credit: ell-r-brown via Flickr

 

Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it, the BBC has learnt.

 

Listeners have told Radio 4′s Money Box they were stopped from withdrawing amounts ranging from £5,000 to £10,000.

 

HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November.

 

Read more

 

 

 

The New Middle Class: Between $3 and $14 a Day

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Paul Mason
theguardian.com

January 20, 2014

When a million people swarmed on to the streets of Brazil last June there was consensus that the protest was a phenomenon of the “new middle class” – squeezed by corruption and failing infrastructure. As the Thai protests continue, these too are labelled middle class: office workers staging flashmobs in their neat, pressed shirts.

But what does middle class mean in the developing world? About 3 billion people earn less than two dollars a day, but figures for the rest are hazy. Now, fresh research by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) economists shows in detail what’s been happening to the workforce of the global south during 25 years of globalisation: it is becoming more stratified – with the rapid growth of what they term “the developing middle class” – a group on between $4 and $13 a day. This group has grown from 600 million to 1.4 billion; if you include around 300 million on above $13 a day, that’s now 41% of the workforce, and on target to be over 50% by 2017. But in world terms they’re not really middle class at all. That $13 a day upper limit corresponds roughly to the poverty line in the US in 2005. So what’s going on?

The ILO researchers mined data from 61 household surveys across the world to come up with these figures. In the process they adopted a rough definition of the lifestyle of the sub-$13 group. The key markers were: families had access to savings and insurance, were likely to have a TV in the home and to live in smaller households (four people). They would typically spend 2% of their income on entertainment – plus they would have better access to water, sanitation and electricity. These, then, are the “winners” from globalisation: an expanding group for whom global growth has meant a serious rise in real income, year after year, compared with the recent near stagnation of incomes for working and lower-middle-class families in parts of the developed world.

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Gold Steadies Near Six-Week High

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Reuters

January 20, 2014

Gold steadied on Monday, after touching its highest level in nearly six weeks, as it found support from a lower dollar and a dip in equities, which improved investor confidence in the metal.

Platinum prices rose to their highest level in more than two months after the main trade union for South African platinum miners said workers at the world’s top three producers would go out on strike this week.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,255.90 an ounce by 1259 GMT after hitting its highest level since mid-December at $1,259.46 earlier in the day. U.S. gold futures for February delivery were up $3.90 at $1,255.90 an ounce.

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The Beginning Phase Of The Economic Collapse Is complete. Now the Collapse will bite…

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Podshelter.com

It will end in the bankruptcy of the US and all nations; and, as Buckminster Fuller said,

their collapse will make possible a world of peace, cooperation and abundance (but for whom??).

This episode airs February 2014.

Watch the documentary on YouTube here first…

Come meet Darryl Robert Schoon and 14 other influential thinkers at the Liberty Mastermind Symposium in Las Vegas on February 21-22, 2014.

Read more here

 

Saxo Bank CEO Warns of Collapse Into “Totalitarian” Society

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Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com

January 8, 2014

Saxo Bank CEO Lars Seier Christensen warns that excessive government regulation, over taxation and a coming economic collapse are all setting the stage for a slide into an overtly totalitarian” society.

In a blog post entitled, What is the broader relevance of Ayn Rand for society?, Christensen adeptly describes how the predictions of the author, most famous for her 1957 dystopian classic Atlas Shrugged, are now coming to pass.

The Saxo Bank CEO argues that free market capitalism and freedom in general is under constant attack by elites whose constant intrusions into the economy and people’s personal lives are predicated around the need to justify more centralization of power.

“First, the politicians assign ever greater powers to themselves, as they manage to convince the citizens of the need for even more interference, although the problems are created by interference in the first place,” writes Christensen, citing the European Union as an example of how, “one mistake invariably leads to call for even more powers, leading to new mistakes.”

The deliberate effort on the part of the political class to undermine and restrict freedom and free market capitalism prevents the system from working efficiently, “meaning that the underlying strength of human ingenuity and creativity is stopped from working and becomes increasingly powerless to pull us out of the morass we are in,” writes Christensen, adding that corporate fascism, or “business people using government favours in return for giving up their independence,” is another of Ayn Rand’s warnings that has come to pass.

“In fact, the undemocratic, power-grabbing, emotional, populistic Washington that takes over in Atlas Shrugged is today most closely resembled by the EU and the Eurozone in the real world,” asserts Christensen, adding, “We may have to go through a much more severe economic collapse before change will be forced upon us. Unfortunately, that change may also be totalitarian in nature, of course. In fact, that is the more likely outcome in the short run.”

A central theme of Christensen’s editorial is his assertion that politicians can only survive in an irrational society and therefore constantly need to create problems and then appeal to emotion and pose as the saviors in a bid to remain relevant and seize power.

Image: Atlas Shrugged.

“[The current irrational world] creates a major opportunity for politicians that intuitively know that in a rational world, there would be little demand for their services,” writes Christensen. “Only in an irrational, emotional universe, where opportunists can gain access to media and visibility to express “feelings” and try to take the moral high ground, no matter how unfounded in reality it is — only in such an environment can you survive without having to produce practical, productive results, and instead prosper and benefit from empty talk and third-rate acting performances.”

Christensen also highlights the fact that the increasing prevalence of onerous taxation policies, such as in France, are destroying businesses and jobs while forcing entrepreneurs to take flight – even to places like Russia – in a bid to find their own “Galts Gulch” where the free market is allowed to flourish and is not strangled by regulation and taxation.

“If we don’t succeed in changing the values and direction of at least the next generation, I fear the full prediction of Atlas Shrugged will become reality and while that may hold some promise for the distant future, it is not something that I think people of my age feel like going through if we can avoid it,” concludes Christensen.

Christensen’s blog post provides several real world examples that back up his argument and is a must read in order to understand how the political class seem to be using Atlas Shrugged as an instruction manual for a totalitarian takeover of society.

JPMorgan Chase to pay $2.0 billion to avoid Madoff investigation:

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AFP

January 6, 2014

Bernard Madoff masterminded a massive and long-running so-called Ponzi investment fraud which came to light in 2008.

Bernard Madoff masterminded a massive and long-running so-called Ponzi investment fraud.

JPMorgan Chase, the US bank used by Bernard Madoff who masterminded the biggest fraud on record, has agreed to pay about $2.0 billion to US authorities to avoid litigation, press reports said Monday.

Madoff’s Ponzi investment fraud came to light in 2008 as the financial crisis gathered speed.

At the time of its collapse in 2008, Madoff Securities claimed it had about $65 billion in client assets, whereas in fact it had only about $300 million.

The fraud ruined many investors and stoked public anger over the causes and consequences of the crisis.

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