While the Sheeple Slept and CONgress diddled – The REAL BAILOUT NUMBERS

According to a Bloomberg article, the Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day.  Banksters nor the FED mentioned that banks took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

The truth came out in the 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions.  “When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There are lawmakers in both parties who would change their votes now.”

The size of the bailout came to light after Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, won a court case against the Fed and a group of the biggest U.S. banks called Clearing House Association LLC to force lending details into the open.  If you remember, at the time of the initial request for disclosure, the Fed, headed by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, argued that revealing borrower details would create a stigma — investors and counterparties would shun firms that used the central bank as lender of last resort — and that needy institutions would be reluctant to borrow in the next crisis. Clearing House Association fought Bloomberg’s lawsuit up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the banks’ appeal in March 2011.

$7.77 Trillion is the amount of money the central bank parceled out, not $700 billion that is commonly understood.  Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.  Howard Opinsky, a spokesman for JPMorgan (JPM), declined to comment about Dimon’s statement or the company’s Fed borrowings. Jerry Dubrowski, a spokesman for Bank of America, also declined to comment.

Information on which banks borrowed, when, how much and at what interest rate was kept from public view.  The Treasury Department relied on the recommendations of the Fed to decide which banks were healthy enough to get TARP money and how much, the former officials say. The six biggest U.S. banks, which received $160 billion of TARP funds, borrowed as much as $460 billion from the Fed, measured by peak daily debt calculated by Bloomberg using data obtained from the central bank.

Bernanke in an April 2009 speech said that the Fed provided emergency loans only to “sound institutions,” even though its internal assessments described at least one of the biggest borrowers, Citigroup, as “marginal.”  Lawmakers knew none of this.  They had no clue that one bank, New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), took $107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages. The firm’s peak borrowing occurred the same day Congress rejected the proposed TARP bill, triggering the biggest point drop ever in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDU) The bill later passed, and Morgan Stanley got $10 billion of TARP funds, though Paulson said only “healthy institutions” were eligible.

The Fed and its secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble.  Total assets held by the six biggest U.S. banks increased 39 percent to $9.5 trillion on Sept. 30, 2011, from $6.8 trillion on the same day in 2006, according to Fed data.

And still, no one goes to jail! No one gets sacked! Instead, it is off to rape Europe. I beginning to believe we have been invaded by the Borg in the guise of these banksters! No one is capable of stopping them and they seem hell bent on assimilating every shekel.

Ignorance Is Bliss When It Comes to Challenging Social Issues

I have for several years now, as an awakened individual, been both dumb-founded and frustrated to see how people seem to relish their ignorance about the key issues in their lives that keep them economically and politically chained.  Members of my own family, who are otherwise intelligent and productive people simply “don’t want to hear it” when it comes to what is going on in the world and they will readily regurgitate the garbage they are being fed in MSM as justification for their current ignorant status.  I reacted to this, at first, with anger and frustration, then sadness, and finally with acceptance of their desires to remain ignorant.

This current round of so-called US presidential candidates are as absurd and cartoonish as we have every seen in our political process.   Europe has its cast of characters, such as Silvio Berlusconi, who mimic the gross incompetence, lack of character, and gross ignorance of the current global situation.

The US and Europe is descending into third world status and STILL most of the population is ignorant of the issues and passively accept the status quo.  I have long suspected this to be an issue of several centuries of “programming” by the power elite, but until now I could not articulate just how that process worked or if in fact such the assumption had any validity.  How could anyone be ignorant and proud of it, even when they are sacked from their jobs for no other reason than the greed of the corporate elite, or when they are being evicted from their homes and thrown into the streets.

People like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, for examples, have made untold millions from stroking and perpetuating this ignorance and apparently their audiences pay to be kept ignorant and completely out of touch with the reality around them.  Now it seems there is scientific evidence that suggests we like ignorance, because we feel better when we are oblivious to reality and facts.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2011) — The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

And the more urgent the issue, the more people want to remain unaware, according to a paper published online in APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“These studies were designed to help understand the so-called ‘ignorance is bliss’ approach to social issues,” said author Steven Shepherd, a graduate student with the University of Waterloo in Ontario. “The findings can assist educators in addressing significant barriers to getting people involved and engaged in social issues.”

Through a series of five studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 with 511 adults in the United States and Canada, the researchers described “a chain reaction from ignorance about a subject to dependence on and trust in the government to deal with the issue.”

In one study, participants who felt most affected by the economic recession avoided information challenging the government’s ability to manage the economy. However, they did not avoid positive information, the study said. This study comprised 197 Americans with a mean age of 35 (111 women and 89 men), who had received complex information about the economy and had answered a question about how the economy is affecting them directly.

To test the links among dependence, trust and avoidance, researchers provided either a complex or simple description of the economy to a group of 58 Canadians, mean age 42, composed of 20 men and 38 women. The participants who received the complex description indicated higher levels of perceived helplessness in getting through the economic downturn, more dependence on and trust in the government to manage the economy, and less desire to learn more about the issue.

“This is despite the fact that, all else equal, one should have less trust in someone to effectively manage something that is more complex,” said co-author Aaron C. Kay, PhD, of Duke University. “Instead, people tend to respond by psychologically ‘outsourcing’ the issue to the government, which in turn causes them to trust and feel more dependent on the government. Ultimately, they avoid learning about the issue because that could shatter their faith in the government.”

Participants who felt unknowledgeable about oil supplies not only avoided negative information about the issue, they became even more reluctant to know more when the issue was urgent, as in an imminent oil shortage in the United States, according the authors. For this study, 163 Americans, with a mean age of 32 (70 men and 93 women), provided their opinion about the complexity of natural resource management and then read a statement declaring the United States has less than 40 years’ worth of oil supplies. Afterward, they answered questions to assess their reluctance to learn more.

“Beyond just downplaying the catastrophic, doomsday aspects to their messages, educators may want to consider explaining issues in ways that make them easily digestible and understandable, with a clear emphasis on local, individual-level causes,” the authors said.

Another two studies found that participants who received complex information about energy sources trusted the government more than those who received simple information. For these studies, researchers questioned 93 (49 men and 44 women) Canadian undergraduate students in two separate groups.

On the perpetuation of ignorance: System dependence, system justification, and the motivated avoidance of sociopolitical information, a study completed by Steven Shepherd and Aaron C. Kay in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Nov 7, 2011 looked at how do people cope when they feel uniformed or unable to understand important social issues, such as the environment, energy concerns, or the economy? Do they seek out information, or do they simply ignore the threatening issue at hand? One would intuitively expect that a lack of knowledge would motivate an increased, unbiased search for information, thereby facilitating participation and engagement in these issues—especially when they are consequential, pressing, and self-relevant. However, there appears to be a discrepancy between the importance/self-relevance of social issues and people’s willingness to engage with and learn about them.  Leveraging the literature on system justification theory (Jost & Banaji, 1994), the authors hypothesized that, rather than motivating an increased search for information, a lack of knowledge about a specific sociopolitical issue will (a) foster feelings of dependence on the government, which will (b) increase system justification and government trust, which will (c) increase desires to avoid learning about the relevant issue when information is negative or when information valence is unknown. In other words, the authors suggest that ignorance—as a function of the system justifying tendencies it may activate—may, ironically, breed more ignorance. In the contexts of energy, environmental, and economic issues, the authors present 5 studies that (a) provide evidence for this specific psychological chain (i.e., ignorance about an issue → dependence → government trust → avoidance of information about that issue); (b) shed light on the role of threat and motivation in driving the second and third links in this chain; and (c) illustrate the unfortunate consequences of this process for individual action in those contexts that may need it most.

No wonder the banksters, gangsters, and politicians are cashing in.  So let me put this in the simplest terms.  If you don’t wake up and get what is going on, you are screwed.  This is not complex and the issues aren’t either.  The PTB or more important, the powers that were are so confident in your slumber and denial they are boldly putting their final pieces on the board.  If you think pepper spraying 80 year old women is maybe OK, then you will really love what is going on in CONgress while you sleep and deny.

The Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during the last Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

WTFU people.

Announcing the World is Under New Management-Goldman Sachs

You know, when I tell people that what we are experiencing is not a new depression or giant recession, but instead the largest transfer of wealth to the ¼% elite, they nod their head in disbelief and quietly think that man is off his rocker.  But when you look at what is happening politically in the US, Europe, UK, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and Africa there is no doubt in my mind that the financial elite have put Goldman Sachs in charge of managing the world.

From their perspective it makes good sense and after all running governments is the biggest business opportunity of all.  Where else can you siphon off assets and when you need more money you just extract it from the citizenry and they cannot do anything about it.

Look at the US government at all levels, executive, legislative, and administrative, who is running the show?  Ex-Goldman Sachs and FUTURE Goldman Sachs executives, the FUTURE part is important to watch.  Consider this from the Independent.

Source: The Independent

The ascension of Mario Monti to Italian Prime Ministers office is remarkable for more reasons than it is possible to count. By replacing the scandal-surfing Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has dislodged the undislodgeable. By imposing rule by unelected technocrats, it has suspended the normal rules of democracy, and maybe democracy itself. And by putting a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic. This is the most remarkable thing of all: a giant leap forward for, or perhaps even the successful culmination of, the Goldman Sachs Project.

It is not just Mr Monti. The European Central Bank, another crucial player in the sovereign debt drama, is under ex-Goldman management, and the investment bank’s alumni hold sway in the corridors of power in almost every European nation, as they have done in the US throughout the financial crisis. Until Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund’s European division was also run by a Goldman man, Antonio Borges, who just resigned for personal reasons.

Even before the upheaval in Italy, there was no sign of Goldman Sachs living down its nickname as “the Vampire Squid”, and now that its tentacles reach to the top of the Eurozone, skeptical voices are raising questions over its influence. The political decisions taken in the coming weeks will determine if the Eurozone can and will pay its debts – and Goldman’s interests are entwined with the answer to that question.

Simon Johnson, the former International Monetary Fund economist, in his book 13 Bankers, argued that Goldman Sachs and the other large banks had become so close to government in the run-up to the financial crisis that the US was effectively an oligarchy. At least European politicians aren’t “bought and paid for” by corporations, as in the US, he says. “Instead what you have in Europe is a shared world-view among the policy elite and the bankers, a shared set of goals and mutual reinforcement of illusions.”

This is The Goldman Sachs Project. Put simply, it is to hug governments close. Every business wants to advance its interests with the regulators that can stymie them and the politicians who can give them a tax break, but this is no mere lobbying effort. Goldman is there to provide advice for governments and to provide financing, to send its people into public service and to dangle lucrative jobs in front of people coming out of government. The Project is to create such a deep exchange of people and ideas and money that it is impossible to tell the difference between the public interest and the Goldman Sachs interest.

The bank’s two dozen-strong international advisers act as informal lobbyists for its interests with the politicians that regulate its work. Other advisers include Otmar Issing who, as a board member of the German Bundesbank and then the European Central Bank, was one of the architects of the euro.

Perhaps the most prominent ex-politician inside the bank is Peter Sutherland, Attorney General of Ireland in the 1980s and another former EU Competition Commissioner. He is now non-executive chairman of Goldman’s UK-based broker-dealer arm, Goldman Sachs International, and until its collapse and nationalization he was also a non-executive director of Royal Bank of Scotland. He has been a prominent voice within Ireland on its bailout by the EU, arguing that the terms of emergency loans should be eased, so as not to exacerbate the country’s financial woes. The EU agreed to cut Ireland’s interest rate this summer.

Picking up well-connected policymakers on their way out of government is only one half of the Project, sending Goldman alumni into government is the other half. Like Mr Monti, Mario Draghi, who took over as President of the ECB on 1 November, has been in and out of government and in and out of Goldman. He was a member of the World Bank and managing director of the Italian Treasury before spending three years as managing director of Goldman Sachs International between 2002 and 2005 – only to return to government as president of the Italian central bank.

Mr Draghi has been dogged by controversy over the accounting tricks conducted by Italy and other nations on the Eurozone periphery as they tried to squeeze into the single currency a decade ago. By using complex derivatives, Italy and Greece were able to slim down the apparent size of their government debt, which euro rules mandated shouldn’t be above 60 per cent of the size of the economy. And the brains behind several of those derivatives were the men and women of Goldman Sachs.  (See previous blogs).

The bank’s traders created a number of financial deals that allowed Greece to raise money to cut its budget deficit immediately, in return for repayments over time. In one deal, Goldman channeled $1bn of funding to the Greek government in 2002 in a transaction called a cross-currency swap. On the other side of the deal, working in the National Bank of Greece, was Petros Christodoulou, who had begun his career at Goldman, and who has been promoted now to head the office managing government Greek debt. Lucas Papademos, now installed as Prime Minister in Greece’s unity government, was a technocrat running the Central Bank of Greece at the time.

Goldman says that the debt reduction achieved by the swaps was negligible in relation to euro rules, but it expressed some regrets over the deals. Gerald Corrigan, a Goldman partner who came to the bank after running the New York branch of the US Federal Reserve, told a UK parliamentary hearing last year: “It is clear with hindsight that the standards of transparency could have been and probably should have been higher.”  When the issue was raised at confirmation hearings in the European Parliament for his job at the ECB, Mr Draghi says he wasn’t involved in the swaps deals either at the Treasury or at Goldman.

It has proved impossible to hold the line on Greece, which under the latest EU proposals is effectively going to default on its debt by asking creditors to take a “voluntary” haircut of 50 per cent on its bonds, but the current consensus in the Eurozone is that the creditors of bigger nations like Italy and Spain must be paid in full. These creditors, of course, are the continent’s big banks, and it is their health that is the primary concern of policymakers. The combination of austerity measures imposed by the new technocratic governments in Athens and Rome and the leaders of other Eurozone countries, such as Ireland, and rescue funds from the IMF and the largely German-backed European Financial Stability Facility, can all be traced to this consensus.

“The IMF is running around trying to justify bailouts of €1.5trn-€4trn, but what does that mean?” says Simon Johnson. “It means bailing out the creditors 100 per cent. It is another bank bailout, like in 2008: The mechanism is different, in that this is happening at the sovereign level not the bank level, but the rationale is the same.”

Jon Corzine, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, returned to Wall Street last year after almost a decade in politics and took control of a historic firm called MF Global. He placed a $6bn bet with the firm’s money that Italian government bonds will not default. When the bet was revealed last month, clients and trading partners decided it was too risky to do business with MF Global and the firm collapsed within days. It was one of the ten biggest bankruptcies in US history, but got little coverage in MSM.

The giant myth here is that the interests of the banks are the same interests for governments.  This is what is being used to justify this massive transfer of wealth.  Do we, as a collectively we, not see this as it is?  What is really happening is the methodical dismantling of government and democracy in favor of the commercial interests of the bankers without the consent of the people.  If any current government official balks they are eliminated.  Ask the recent PREVIOUS PM’s from Greece and Italy.

My suggestion, given these facts, is that all the unemployed and under employed workers in the world should immediately apply for work at Goldman Sachs.  It looks like the only company hiring for the next five years globally.

 

This is Why Governments are Failing World-wide

Rome is burning, Athens is burning, The Middle East is in Flames, The US and UK are facing growing civil unrest and our governmental institutions are failing us worldwide.  The largest unregulated transfer of wealth has fallen into the hands of the ¼% Elite and our governments seem powerless to stop it.

We talk about how the elite have basically bought and paid for our politicians, but I believe that is nothing new.  What is new is how pathetic the people we have elected globally to serve us have abandoned their pride of country, of service to all, and basically focused on enriching themselves in the shortest period of time.

In the US, congress is faced with the greatest economic decline probably in the history of the country and yet not ONE piece of legislation has come forward to address the problem, not one in over 24 months!  Instead they passed a law to make “In God We Trust” the national motto, even though it ALREADY was the national motto.  In Greece, facing disaster, even the end of Greece completely, and yet nothing gets done.

When one looks at the situation, one would expect a weak government here and there, but not globally and simultaneously, but that is exactly what is happening.  The question is how absurd and incompetent do governments have to get before we say NO MORE!  This article below has got to be, without a doubt, that point.

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration by Victoria Ward and Nick Collins

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.  NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.  Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.  “The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.  “If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

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NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.  The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible.”

German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.  They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval.  They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance.

However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement.  A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.

Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.  Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.  He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.

“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.  EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticized.

Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.  Prof Hahn, from the Institute for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Hanover Leibniz University, said the European Commission had made another mistake with its latest ruling.

“What is our reaction to the outcome? Let us put it this way: We are neither surprised nor delighted.  “The European Commission is wrong; it should have authorized the claim. That should be more than clear to anyone who has consumed water in the past, and who has not? We fear there is something wrong in the state of Europe.”

Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.  He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.  “This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”

Is this not enough for us?  I mean how long are we as individuals just going to sit back and do nothing.  I do not think we can any longer say “politics” are meaningless.  I do not think we can still be comfortable that the decisions made at governmental levels don’t affect us personally.  Have you looked at your retirement funds lately?  Or how about the last time you got a raise, if you are lucky enough to still be employed.

Protests are all well and good, but they all seem to lack a vision of what has to happen next, just we are pissed off and…….   And what exactly? I think it is time we start at the very local level, say like the block or street you live on, and start talking with your neighbors and see if we can’t really organize political efforts to encourage competent, dedicated, principled people to run for offices.  Just a thought.

Why the Collapse of the EU is Important to You

U.S. bank exposure to the European debt crisis is estimated at $640 billion, nearly 5% of total U.S. banking assets, according to recent research papers written for Congress. Need we say more than that?  Yet, U.S. banks increased sales of insurance against credit losses to holders of Greek, Portuguese, Irish, Spanish and Italian debt in the first half of 2011, boosting the risk of payouts in the event of defaults.

Guarantees provided by U.S. lenders on government, bank and corporate debt in those countries rose by $80.7 billion to $518 billion, according to the Bank for International Settlements. Almost all of those are credit-default swaps, accounting for two-thirds of the total related to the five nations, BIS data show.

The payout risks are higher than what JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), the leading CDS underwriters in the U.S., report. The banks say their net positions are smaller because they purchase swaps to offset ones they’re selling to other companies. With banks on both sides of the Atlantic using derivatives to hedge, potential losses aren’t being reduced, said Frederick Cannon, director of research at New York-based investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

Similar hedging strategies almost failed in 2008 when American International Group Inc. couldn’t pay insurance on mortgage debt. While banks that sold protection on European sovereign debt have so far bet the right way, a plan announced by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to hold a referendum on the latest bailout package sent markets reeling and cast doubt on the ability of his country to avert default.  In addition, the real axis of financial power, the emergence of a new “political-economic lobby” was hatched in a chance meeting at the Frankfurt Opera House on 19 October, where all of its members attended a ceremony to mark the end of Jean-Claude Trichet’s tenure as President of the ECB. This group, consisting of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy – increasingly dubbed ‘Merkozy’ in the European press – but also Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, ECB President Mario Draghi, and Olli Rehn, the EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs have emerged as a new power bloc.

Their discussions concerning redrawing the European Union have already leaked in the press and have sent quivers through the international financial markets.  In order to “ditch” the bad assets, those 29 banks with the greatest exposure would need to take severe “haircuts, and they are NOT as hedged with swaps as they are pretending they are at the moment.

The CDS holdings of U.S. banks are almost three times as much as their $181 billion in direct lending to the five countries at the end of June, according to the most recent data available from BIS. Adding CDS raises the total risk to $767 billion, a 20 percent increase over six months, the data show. BIS doesn’t report which firms sold how much, or to whom. A credit-default swap is a contract that requires one party to pay another for the face value of a bond if the issuer defaults.

Five banks — JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) — write 97 percent of all credit-default swaps in the U.S., according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The five firms had total net exposure of $45 billion to the debt of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy, according to disclosures the companies made at the end of the third quarter (don’t laugh here).  So if you believe the BIS here, these same banks have at risk $767 billion, but only a net exposure of $45 billion. What’s that smell?

Last Friday at the meeting of the G20 in Cannes, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) revealed a list of 29 global systemically important financial institutions (known as the G-Sifis). These institutions are deemed to be so important to the interconnected global financial system that the unexpected and disorderly failure of any one of them could seriously threaten the world’s financial markets. Of the batch, seven US banks made the list: Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), State Street Corp. (NYSE: STT), and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC). Now things start to get interesting.

These 29 banks have been awarded an implicit guarantee that they are, indeed, ‘too big to fail.’ That’s the good news. The not-so-good news — at least from the institutional point of view — is that capital requirements for the banks will increase and each bank must create a plan by the end of 2012 describing how they would wind themselves down if necessary.  Read more: 29 Global Banks ‘Too Big To Fail’, But Not Too Big to Tell the Truth (BAC, BK, C, GS, JPM, STT, WFC, MS) – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/2011/11/08/29-global-banks-%e2%80%98too-big-to-fail%e2%80%99-but-not-too-big-to-tell-the-truth-bac-bk-c-gs-jpm-stt-wfc-ms/#ixzz1dNbkihCX

It doesn’t take genius to figure out the gig is up.  The real question now is how hard does the EU fall down and who does it knock down with it?  Does it deliver the knock-out blow to the US economy?  The short answer is probably not, but it absolutely assures a period of hyperinflation that the government will not be able to deny as it is now denying related to the current impacts already being felt.  Just two words for you, food and fuel, enough said, huh?

Given this current situation, bank transfer day isn’t all a lefty progressive thing, is it?  Remember, when banks need money, they always take ours, isn’t that right Jon?

Situation Update #9 El Heirro and New Solar Activity

Last Thursday the sun produced an X1.9 rated solar flare that narrowly missed Earth. Although it wasn’t aimed directly at us, about 45 minutes after leaving the sun it was still powerful enough to disrupt radio communications.  Now, that same area responsible for producing the X-class flare may pose a direct threat to Earth.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center says that the region on the sun known as AR11339 and affectionately called the “Benevolent Monster” will set its sights on Earth. It will move into a position that poses the largest risk to our planet around November 9th, 2011 and remain on a direct line of sight with earth for the following two (2) weeks as it rotates.  Scientists at the Federal Space Weather Prediction Center say that area is the most active part of the sun since 2005. It has dozens of sunspots, including one that is the size of 17 Earths.

Federal Space Weather Prediction Center space scientist Joe Kunches said during an interview, “It’s still growing. The size is what blows me away.” Thursday’s flare wasn’t aimed at Earth. However, this active region is now slowly turning toward Earth, and scientists say it will be directly facing Earth in about five days.

That storm region will only affect Earth if it shoots off flares and they hit our planet, which doesn’t always happen with stormy areas, said Kunches.  The region will be facing Earth for about two weeks as it rotates, he said.

For the past several years, the sun has been at a quiet end of its cycle and only recently has gotten more active. Solar cycles go in 11-year period. This cycle has had fewer storms than usual for this time in its cycle. But that may be changing.

Our biggest concern is with food and it will not necessarily be because of a lack of refrigeration, but an inability of our current just-in-time delivery systems to transport goods. A strong enough flare could potentially knock out the electrical components in the trucks that transport our food, the computers used to manage the inventory, and the ability for businesses to transfers payments to and from each other.

If the electrical grid in the United States were to be taken out by a solar flare we can expect months, not days, of downtime. In 1859 the fall out was limited to telegraph systems, because those were really the only electrical components of any significance.  Today, our entire world is intertwined by electricity, satellites, routers, switches and computers. Even a minor disruption to some of the components, like our GPS networks, could wreck havoc.

The problem begins with the electric power grid. “Electric power is modern society’s cornerstone technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend,” the report notes. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to bad space weather. Ground currents induced during geomagnetic storms can actually melt the copper windings of transformers at the heart of many power distribution systems. Sprawling power lines act like antennas, picking up the currents and spreading the problem over a wide area. The most famous geomagnetic power outage happened during a space storm in March 1989 when six million people in Quebec lost power for 9 hours.

According to the report, power grids may be more vulnerable than ever. The problem is interconnectedness. In recent years, utilities have joined grids together to allow long-distance transmission of low-cost power to areas of sudden demand. On a hot summer day in California, for instance, people in Los Angeles might be running their air conditioners on power routed from Oregon. It makes economic sense” but not necessarily geomagnetic sense. Interconnectedness makes the system susceptible to wide-ranging “cascade failures.”

To estimate the scale of such a failure, report co-author John Kappenmann of the Metatech Corporation looked at the great geomagnetic storm of May 1921, which produced ground currents as much as ten times stronger than the 1989 Quebec storm, and modeled its effect on the modern power grid. He found more than 350 transformers at risk of permanent damage and 130 million people without power. The loss of electricity would ripple across the social infrastructure with “water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, fuel re-supply and so on.”

Power outages would be accompanied by radio blackouts and satellite malfunctions; telecommunications, GPS navigation, banking and finance, and transportation would all be affected. Some problems would correct themselves with the fading of the storm: radio and GPS transmissions could come back online fairly quickly. Other problems would be lasting: a burnt-out multi-ton transformer, for instance, can take weeks or months to repair. The total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion, some 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina or, to use a timelier example, a few TARPs.

Given these facts, and given the current real time conditions on the solar surface we are recommending everyone pay attention and go over those food and water supplies one more time.

Canary Island – El Heirro Update.  Status remains red. Jacuzzi venting continues and has become more vigorous over the last 36 hours.  Two beaches were closed today because of toxic level of gaseous emissions from venting.  Two strong earthquakes were recorded today.

East Coasters should continue to monitor Earthquake Report El-Heirro for real time information.

Addendum Situation Update #8

East Coasters need to monitor this site now.  http://earthquake-report.com/2011/09/25/el-hierro-canary-islands-spain-volcanic-risk-alert-increased-to-yellow/

Seismic activity> than 4.0 and shallow to 10km, venting, and undersea eruptions are increasing.