How Big is the Economic Bomb? Big, Very Big

In the after math of the 2008 crisis, and after “We the People” bailed out the “Too Big to Fail Banks” to the tune of over $14 Trillion dollars, our CONgress vowed they would never let that happen again. Yet since 2008, this very same CONgress has blocked every effort to regulate the banks and audit the FED. The result of the 2008 crisis has had our economy stagnated for the last seven years and the very same people that caused the last economic crisis have created a $278 TRILLION dollar derivatives time bomb that could go off at any moment.

According to Michael Snyder, when this absolutely colossal bubble does implode, we are going to be faced with the worst economic crash in the history of the United States.  It is dangerously bad, as you will see below, those banks have actually gotten far larger since then.  So now we really can’t afford for them to fail.  The six banks that we are talking about are JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.  When you add up all of their exposure to derivatives, it comes to a grand total of more than 278 trillion dollars!  But when you add up all of the assets of all six banks combined, it only comes to a grand total of about 9.8 trillion dollars.

In other words, these “too big to fail” banks have exposure to derivatives that is more than 28 times greater than their total assets!  To put this in perspective, it is like you having $100,000 in assets and owing more than $2.8 million dollars! Do you think you could get away with that? This is complete and utter insanity, and yet nobody seems too alarmed about it.  For the moment, those banks are still making lots of money and funding the campaigns of our most prominent politicians.  Right now there is no incentive for them to stop their incredibly reckless gambling so they are just going to keep on doing it.

So precisely what are “derivatives”?  Well, they can be immensely complicated, but on a very basic level, a “derivative” is not an investment in anything.  When you buy a stock, you are purchasing an ownership interest in a company.  When you buy a bond, you are purchasing the debt of a company.  But a derivative is quite different.  In essence, most derivatives are simply bets about what will or will not happen in the future.  The big banks have transformed Wall Street into the biggest casino in the history of the planet, and when things are running smoothly they usually make a whole lot of money, and just like in 2008, things can go very wrong very fast.

Today, the “too big to fail” banks are being even more reckless than they were just prior to the financial crash of 2008. As long as they keep winning, everyone is going to be okay.  But when the time comes that their bets start going against them, it is going to be a nightmare for all of us.  Our entire economic system is based on the flow of credit, and those banks are at the very heart of that system. In fact, the five largest banks account for approximately 42 percent of all loans in the United States, and the six largest banks account for approximately 67 percent of all assets in our financial system. So that is why they are called “too big to fail”.  We simply cannot afford for them to go out of business.

Our politicians promised that something would be done about this.  But instead, the four largest banks in the country have gotten nearly 40 percent larger since the last time around.  The following numbers come from an article in the Los Angeles Times

JPMorgan Chase

Total Assets: $2,573,126,000,000 (about 2.6 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $63,600,246,000,000 (more than 63 trillion dollars)

Citibank

Total Assets: $1,842,530,000,000 (more than 1.8 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $59,951,603,000,000 (more than 59 trillion dollars)

Goldman Sachs

Total Assets: $856,301,000,000 (less than a trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $57,312,558,000,000 (more than 57 trillion dollars)

Bank Of America

Total Assets: $2,106,796,000,000 (a little bit more than 2.1 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $54,224,084,000,000 (more than 54 trillion dollars)

Morgan Stanley

Total Assets: $801,382,000,000 (less than a trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $38,546,879,000,000 (more than 38 trillion dollars)

Wells Fargo

Total Assets: $1,687,155,000,000 (about 1.7 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $5,302,422,000,000 (more than 5 trillion dollars)

A majority of these derivatives are focused in the energy and financial sectors, and what we are seeing now is great volatility in both of these sectors. Demand for oil has been grossly miscalculated and when the OPEC nations decided to continue to produce at the same levels after the demand declined, you saw what happened to oil prices at the pump. This is further complicated by the cost of recovering oil from fracking in the US. This bomb is about to go BOOM!

Further complicating the picture is the moves being made by the BRICS and the newly developed AIIB. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution that was proposed by the government of China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia region. AIIB is regarded by some as a rival for the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which are regarded as dominated by developed countries like the United States. The United Nations has addressed the launch of AIIB as “scaling up financing for sustainable development” for the concern of Global Economic Governance. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang affirms AIIB cooperative stance. As of April 2, 2015, almost all Asian countries and most major countries outside Asia had joined the AIIB, except the US, Japan (which dominated the Asian Development Bank, formed in 1966) and Canada. North Korea’s and Taiwan’s applications were rejected. This is a serious threat to the US dollar as the international trade currency and increases the exposure of the big banks in a way that is not yet completely discernible, other than if AIIB has its way, the dollar is in for a big devaluation. Already the AIIB has proposed an alternative to the dollar, called the SDR, which would be asset based something like the following manner.

SDR

And finally, Greece sits on the edge of collapsing the Euro. This will occur if Greece finds some or all of its debt to the ECB and IMF are odious. Odious Debt is: In international law, odious debt is a legal theory which holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are thus considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.

Today Odious Debt is now a reality in Greece, where Zoi Konstantopoulou, the head of the Greek parliament and a SYRIZA member, released two videos which have promptly gone viral, designed to promote the investigative parliamentary committee to look into the circumstances surrounding the signing of the country’s two bailout agreements that led Greece to implement its austerity measures.

According to Greek Reporter, Konstantopoulou has said that the newly established “Debt Truth Committee,” will investigate how much of the debt is “illegal” with a view to writing it off. Proving that this is more than just a populist stunt, during a vote that took place early yesterday, out of the 300 Greek MPs, 156 voted in favor of establishing the public debt auditing committee. “The committee will examine how Greece entered into the bailout agreements with its international lenders, as well as any other matters related to the memoranda’ implementation,” SYRIZA Parliamentary Secretary Christos Mantas had explained earlier. “We are fulfilling our commitment and the social demand to explore the causes and responsibilities of an unprecedented crisis that devastated the vast majority of society,” Mantas added. If the Greek “Debt Truth Committee” indeed persists with determining how much of its debt is legal and enforceable, and ultimately decides to rescind some (or all) of it, the only question is how long until other countries around the world, all of which are burdened with massive, untenable debt loads across the government, financial and household sectors, decide it is time to do the same and declare a fresh start.

So given these current situations, it is very easy to see just how crazy these “Big Banks” are, and how they are going to come crashing down, given their current exposures. There isn’t enough money in existence to “bail them out” and the impacts on the world’s economy will be felt for decades. It really isn’t a matter of if this current economic situation is going to come crashing down, it is only a matter of when, and “when” looks real big and up close right now.

The Big Six Banks Just Get Bigger and Bigger

Back in 2008 we were held hostage as a people and eventually wound up forking nearly $17 Trillion dollars over to the banks after their casino games failed. We were told if we didn’t the world economy would collapse. These banks were just too big to fail. So now over five years have passed and our miserable congress failed to enact any meaningful legislation to prevent a repeat situation from occurring. Where the money really went will be an upcoming article, but for now let’s just look at those banks to see how big they are today. The numbers will shock you.

First the only banks that did not survive were the community banks serving their local communities. In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left. The six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.

The U.S. banking system has 14.4 trillion dollars in total assets.  The six largest banks now account for 67 percent of those assets and all of the other banks account for only 33 percent of those assets. JPMorgan Chase, alone, is roughly the size of the entire British economy. The five largest banks now account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States.

Well, since they gotten bigger, they must be in better shape, right? Wrong again. Right now, four of the “too big to fail” banks each have total exposure to derivatives that is well in excess of 40 trillion dollars. That’s $160 Trillion dollars! Their exposure is over TWICE the global GDP and 14 times larger than the US GDP! The total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 381 times greater than their total assets.

global GDP

Just think about from your personal financial perspective. If you were in that situation, it would mean your debt was 381 times your assets. In the US, Americans tend to have a low net worth. According to Social Security numbers those under 25 has a net worth of $1475, 25-34 has $8525, 35-44 has $51575, 45-54 has $98350, 55-64 has $180125. So let’s take the 35-44 number of $51575. This would mean you would have debts that totaled $19,650,075! Until you understand this from that perspective you cannot appreciate how totally insane this whole house of cards really is in truth.

The fact is these guys are totally and criminally out of control and no one is doing a single thing meaningful about it and now it is so nuts anyone who would be contemplating action is absolutely fearful to even speak about this insanity.

According to the Bank for International Settlements, the global financial system has a total of 441 trillion dollars worth of exposure to interest rate derivatives, which is nearly 6 times global GDP. Most governments’ coffers have been drained and most pension plans and investment pools are also tapped out.  The FED’s answer to this mess is just to keep printing money at the rate of about $40-60 Billion every month. This is only delaying the inevitable collapse that must come and folks are starting to get antsy that this is going to happen soon, very soon.

insanity1

The only sane approach here is to have a global financial reset and the sooner the better. We can demolish this mess with a single global jubilee along with breaking these behemoths back down to a size where if they wish to act in a risky manner, they will live or die on their sword and the world will continue on without them. This would also eliminate these world-wide austerity programs and allow countries to get back to using their tax dollars for infrastructure, health care, education, and basic science research that will benefit all mankind.

It is important that we all understand these facts and are prepared to act when the time comes again when these con artists and habitual gamblers once again come begging with threats to blow up the economy. We should all just say to our representatives no way will we allow you to use one more penny of our money.  We should be willing to look them straight in the eye and say “Blow it up”! It is only then can we begin to construct a global economy based on honesty, transparency, sound fiscal decisions, and truly market driven economic activity. Don’t buy into the fear factor this time around.

How “Bail-outs” and Bail-ins” Are Just a Huge Transfer of Wealth

In our continuing effort to educate even those who call themselves “experts” on the economy, we have to continue with the facts that the banksters, MSM, and dupes that call themselves legislators don’t want you to see or understand.  We have, in recent past articles, shown you just the facts about the bailouts and now the bail-ins going on in the EU for what they are, just a huge transfer of public wealth to the hands a few elites in banking and the central banking system.

As we watch the economy continue to falter, and jobs vanish, don’t you wonder where all the so-called QE monies really went that were meant to stimulate the economy? Here we are, 5 years into this so-called recovery and unemployment in the US is still 7.6% and only 47% of Americans hold full time jobs.  The number one employer is WalMart and the number two employer is Kelly Temp Services! In the EU, there is a 40% unemployment rate and people’s bank accounts are being raided without consent to supposedly prop up the banks (Bail-Ins). Government services are being slashed everywhere and still nothing seems to be improving.

Well, even though you are not supposed to understand this, let’s look at the Central Bank Practices and especially at the issue of banks’ reserves at the FED and other central banks in the world. This is a complex subject with much technical jargon that confuses a lot of people. Besides, don’t be surprised that your bank branch manager on Main Street as well as lecturers in finance and economics are also ignorant on this issue. In the case of the latter, this subject is hardly taught in universities. And this is the reason why the scam has not been exposed or understood. But, for those who have a basic idea of bank reserves and how this huge amount of “excess reserves” have been created by the FED, have you asked yourself, “Why have I not spotted this scam earlier?”

Many have been taken in by the propaganda that “excess reserves” is the means to encourage banks to extend credit (give out loans) to desperate borrowers who needed urgent funds to survive and to jump-start their businesses. This propaganda is grounded on the assumption that there is insufficient liquidity in the market. This assumption is misleading.

What are Excess Reserves? The latest figures obtained from the H.3 release from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the FED) shows excess reserves of about $1.794 trillion (data as of April 17, 2013)! This level of excess reserves is unprecedented and is the highest since reserves were legislated as a requirement.

Excess reserves are the surplus of reserves against deposits and certain other liabilities that depository institutions (collectively referred to as “banks”) hold above the statutory amounts that the FED requires in accordance with the law. The general requirement is that banks maintain reserves at least equal to ten percent of liabilities payable on demand. There is now data to show that as much as 50% of these “excess reserves” are held for United States banking offices of foreign banks.

 

Let me elaborate. Banks receives deposits from their customers which are inter-alia placed in current accounts (checking accounts) or time deposits (fixed deposit accounts) and which the customer can at any time withdraw from the bank. But, banking practice shows that at any one time, only a small fraction of customers would withdraw their deposits in full. So, there was no need for banks to keep all the deposits in their vaults to meet such a demand for payment. Laws were enacted to allow banks to keep in reserve a small amount of monies to meet such demands. That being the case – if only 10% reserves is all that is required according to banking regulations to meet repayment demands, why should there be such a huge amount of reserves, beyond the legal requirement of 10%?

Understand the fact that when a customer deposits monies in a bank, he is in law a “creditor” (he has loaned the monies to the bank) and the bank is a “debtor” (and he can use the money in any way at his absolute discretion, even to speculate). This is because the ownership of the money has been transferred to the bank. The money is no longer the money of the customer. It now belongs to the bank. And as long as the bank is solvent, and there is a demand for repayment of the deposit, the law of contract stipulates that the bank must repay together with the agreed interest that has accrued.

silver-coins-bars

Now here is where, legally it gets interesting.. if at the time when demand for repayment is made, the bank is bankrupt (i.e. in a liquidation) then the depositor/customer in law is deemed an “unsecured creditor” and must join the queue of all unsecured creditors to share the proceeds of any remaining assets after all secured creditors have been paid. If there are no remaining assets, the depositors get zilch! That is why and as illustrated in the bank confiscation of deposits in Cyprus banks acting in concert with central banks can expropriate all customers’ deposits to pay their secured creditors. You catching on here?

How did the Excess Reserves balloon to a massive US$1.794 Trillion? The Fed’s overall balance sheet has expanded from about $909 billion before the crisis (i.e. before 2008) to about $3.3 trillion in 2013. Of the $2.4 trillion increase, approximately $1.8 trillion is excess reserves. Banks were up to their eyeballs in toxic assets (financial sewage) and they are drowning in this cesspool but for the rescue efforts of the FED and other central banks they would have sunk to the bottom of the cesspool.

The FED created trillions of money out of thin air by a digital entry in its books to purchase the toxic assets (financial sewage) in batches from the banks. The objective of QEs is to save the banks and to save the US Treasury from bankruptcy and not Joe Six-Pack. However, in this article we are focusing on the banks. So, let’s say that the banks HAVE OVER US$10 trillion of financial sewage AND WANT TO DISPOSE THEM WITHOUT AROUSING ANY ALARM.  The monies flowed from the FED to the banks to purchase the financial sewage. The financial sewage is sucked into the FED’s financial vacuum. However the monies are not channeled to the banks’ branches in Main Street to be loaned out to Joe Six-Pack. It is re-routed back to the FED as “reserves”. When the reserves exceed the minimum 10% requirement, the excess is classified as “excess reserves.” This is merely a book entry! And adding insult and injury to Joe Six-Pack, interest of 0.25% is paid on the reserves (i.e. giving profits to the banks).

The banks are allowed to survive in spite of their massive frauds and other financial hanky-pankey. The banks are allowed to use digital technology (e.g. high-frequency trading) to corner the market and destroy Joe-Six-Pack. But, Joe-Six-Pack has to suffer the indignity of unemployment, foreclosures, reduced unemployment benefits, surviving on food-stamps, and other austerity measures. Starting to see the picture here and how this crap is how we are being fleeced like passive little lambs?

“The money flows from the FED to the Too Big To Fail (TBTF) Banksters to Buy Toxic Assets, which is sucked in by the FED’s Financial Vacuum, thereby cleansing the TBTF banks’ balance sheets. The money is then re-routed back to the FED as “excess reserves”.

The FED create monies out of thin air to bail-out the Too Big To Fail banks (TBTF banks) by purchasing their financial sewage (valued at book value as opposed to mark-to-market i.e. instead of paying only 10 cents on the dollar or less, the FED pays dollar for dollar) thereby removing the financial sewage from the balance sheet of the TBTF banks to reflect a “healthier” balance sheet as there are now less financial sewage in the banking system. And, because the TBTF banks are suffering losses, the FED pays 0.25% interest on the “excess reserves” created so as to generate easy profits for the TBTF banks for doing nothing at all. They are earning profits merely from a book-entry in the FED’s books!

The propaganda which I referred to earlier that such monies were meant to enable the TBTF banks to extend credit is therefore bullshit and a load of financial nonsense. So why are the so-called reputable economists at leading universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford etc. touting this propaganda?  In spite of all this past mismanagement, the practices by the TBTF banks is continuing unabated, including the so-called record profits declared by the TBTF banks and the huge bonuses given out to the bankers and their hire-lings. These practices are all just window dressing as long as the toxic assets are not marked-to-market and not declared as junk. If such assets are properly declared, the fiat money banking system would be staring at a bottomless black-hole of toxic assets and indebtedness! What’s worse is these same TBTF banks are still up to their eyeballs in toxic debt, such as derivatives, credit swaps, etc.  In fact JP Morgan Chase alone has exposure more than twice the US GDP! JPMC is exposed just in interest rate derivatives at $45 TRILLION. Take a look at the Fed’s H.8 report to understand how bad it really is.

This has compounded the problem. After the Global Financial Tsunami, all the TBTF banks don’t have enough reserves to meet the withdrawal of deposits placed by customers before the crash. The TBTF banks don’t even have the requisite 10% reserves to meet these demand deposits (Old Deposits).  However, banks are continuing to receive deposits from customers of which 10% of these deposits must be transferred to the FED as reserves. Data shows that customers’ deposits are at an all time high (since 2007), but bank lending is not keeping pace.

Banks are not lending out what they are entitled to do so for two reasons:

1) The banks are using a portion of the “New Deposits” to meet the liability of having to repay the “Old Deposits” in the system. This is because even the excess reserves (created under the QE) are insufficient to meet the demand for repayment of the Old Deposits. So, part of the current New Deposits would be utilized for that purpose. This is the Deposit Ponzi Scheme.

2) Banks are earning no risk profits from interests on “Excess Reserves” at the FED and are only willing to lend to credible borrowers. In the present economic climate, there are just too few credible customers. This is another reason why banks are not lending.

When QE stops, the FED would not be out on a limb because the monies used to purchase the financial sewage from the TBTF banks are still in the FED’s books. The Fed need only to have a reverse entry in it’s books after re-packaging the financial sewage INTO SOME NEW FORM OF FINANCIAL PRODUCT OR WHATEVER (which the TBTF banks are adept at doing before the crash and are still continuing to do so) and dumping them back to the banks and another generation of stupid investors at such time when and if the banks would have recovered. But with the TBTF banks continuing their same toxic practices unabated there is no recovery, ever. Further, with the bank’s unbridled right (sanctioned by law) to confiscate the customers’ deposits (now commonly referred as “Bail-In”) using the Cyprus template, banks have additional financial resources to continue with the plunder and financial rape of the public.

I hope this helps us understand that this unabated transfer of wealth ends with our economic enslavement. The public must be able to understand these fundamentals and demand the end to this fractional banking system and the end of the FED. Your congressmen and women are dupes in this game, as they really don’t understand and therefore do what they are told to do. Inform them WE GET IT and WE DON”T LIKE IT, AND IT MUST STOP NOW! Fire the Fed, break up the TBTF banks and return to pre-1913 banking system controlled by the US Treasury. WAKE UP!  A special thanks to Matthias Chang of Global Research, who unknowingly contributed so much to this article.

Fast and Furious Goldman Sachs – The Tip Off of Why Issa is Attacking Eric Holder

Eric Holder and DOJ have been conducting an on-going investigation of the five major banks and investment firms and potentially a coordinated criminal conspiracy to rig both LIBOR and EURIBOR interest rates.   The most significant thing you need to understand about these rates is that they are the basis which firms like Goldman Sachs uses to determine fees for credit default instruments.  The total exposure of the banks, investment firms and hedge funds is nearly $800 trillion dollars! The information uncovered by the DOJ investigation was shared with UK regulators and this week the CEO of Barclays has resigned instead of facing the Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee. “This is the most damaging scam I can recall,” said Andrew Tyrie, chair of parliament’s Treasury select committee. “It appears that many banks were involved and Barclays were the first to own up.”

The interest rate rigging scandal that has engulfed Barclays was the result of a coordinated attempt at collusion by traders working for a coterie of leading banks over at least five years, according to a series of lawsuits and legal rulings filed in courts in Asia and North America.

The lawsuits allege the fraud was extensive, spanning at least three continents and involving trades worth tens of billions of pounds. The allegations raise further serious questions about the banks’ ability to police themselves and the role of senior management in monitoring the activities of their employees.

In a 28-page statement of facts relating to last week’s revelation that Barclays had been fined a total of £290m, the US Department of Justice discloses how a network of traders working on both sides of the Atlantic conspired to influence both the Libor and Euribor interest rates – the rates at which banks lend to each other. It was, in effect, a worldwide conspiracy against the free functioning of the market.

Here is where it gets really interesting, as reporter Lee Fang writes in, Think Progress reports “Exclusive: Goldman Sachs VP Changed His Name, Now Advances Goldman Lobbying Interests As Top Staffer To Darrell Issa .”

Fang reported, “ThinkProgress has found that a Goldman Sachs vice president changed his name, then later went to work for Issa to coordinate his effort to thwart regulations that affect Goldman Sachs’ bottom line.” The former Goldman Sachs vice president Fang was referring to is Peter Simonyi, now known as Peter Haller.

Imagine that for a minute, a Goldman Sachs operative as a top congressional staffer, lobbying for Goldman Sachs, in this case to block strengthening Dodd-Frank regulations on derivatives. Issa’s wish is exactly the banks’ wish, to weaken the legislation so Wall Street’s Derivatives Casino can keep its stakes up.  Fang asks, “Has Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) turned the House Oversight Committee into a bank lobbying firm with the power to subpoena and pressure government regulators?”

In fact, “In July 2011, Issa sent a letter to top government regulators demanding that they back off and provide more justification for new margin requirements for financial firms dealing in derivatives. A standard practice on Capitol Hill is to send a letter to a government agency with contact information for the congressional staffer responsible for working on the issue for the committee. In most cases, the contact staffer is the one who actually writes such letters. With this in mind, it is important to note that the Issa letter ended with contact information for Peter Haller, a staffer hired that year to work for Issa on the Oversight Committee.”

Pretty diabolical scheme: deflect Issa’s corrupt lobbying techniques to emasculate oversight, by ferreting out a DOJ scandal to cover the Democrats with the Fast and Furious scandal, burying the larger scandal of planting a Goldman operative in Congress to lobby for soft laws on derivatives. The Fast and Furious scandal is nowhere near the magnitude of the Goldman Sachs operative scandal, with the add-on that Goldman has succeeded in getting the U.S. attorney general held in contempt and at the same time discredited Obama for using his presidential override of the charge.

Lee Fang writes, “Issa’s demand to regulators is exactly what banks have been wishing for. Indeed, Goldman Sachs has spent millions this year trying to slow down the implementation of the new rules. In the letter, Issa explicitly mentions that the new derivative regulations might hurt brokers ‘such as Goldman Sachs.’

“Haller, as he is now known, went by the name Peter Simonyi until four years ago. Simonyi adopted his mother’s maiden name Haller in 2008 shortly after leaving Goldman Sachs as a vice president of the bank’s commodity compliance group. In a few short years, Haller went from being in charge of dealing with regulators for Goldman Sachs to working for Congress in a position where he made official demands from regulators overseeing his old firm.

“It’s not the first time Haller has worked the revolving door to help out Goldman Sachs. According to a report by the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, Haller—then known as Peter Simonyi—left the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2005 to work for Goldman Sachs, then quickly began lobbying his colleagues at the SEC on behalf of his new firm. At one point, Haller was requiring [sec] to issue a letter to the SEC stating that he did not violate ethics rules and the SEC agreed. A brief timeline of Haller’s work history underscores the ethical issues raised with Issa’s latest letter to bank regulators:

“● After completing his law degree in 2000, Haller was employed by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as an economist, and later with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Office of Enforcement.

“● In April of 2005, Haller resigned from the SEC to take a job with Goldman Sachs. Although he was not a registered lobbyist, he soon began lobbying the SEC on compliance issues on behalf of Goldman Sachs.

“● In 2006, Haller left Goldman Sachs, according to a Goldman official who spoke to ThinkProgress.

“● In 2008, he took a job with the law/lobbying firm Brickfield Burchette Ritts & Stone.

“● In January of 2011, Haller was hired to work for Issa on the Oversight Committee. Under the supervision of Haller, Issa sent a letter dated July 22, 2011 to bank regulators (including the heads of the Federal Reserve, FDIC, FCA, CFTC, FHFA, and Office of Comptroller) demanding documents to justify new Dodd-Frank mandated rules on margin requirements for banks dealing in the multi-trillion dollar OTC derivatives market, like Goldman Sachs.”  This resume embodies everything that is wrong with the financial industry.

So much for Haller; now back to Issa. “When he took over the chairmanship of the Oversight Committee this year, Issa dramatically shifted the committee’s focus away from its traditional role of investigating major corporate scandals. Instead, Issa has used the committee to merge the responsibilities of Congress with the interests of K Street and Issa’s own fortune.” In some way he spelled out his own end by doing this.

“In June of this year, ThinkProgress broke the story about Issa’s own complicated relationship with Goldman Sachs. [They] revealed that Issa purchased a large amount of Goldman Sachs high yield bonds at the same time as he used the Oversight Committee to attack an investigation into allegations that Goldman Sachs had systematically defrauded investors leading up to the financial crisis. This conflict of interest, along with ThinkProgess’s exclusive story about Issa’s earmarks benefitting his own real estate empire, received coverage in a recent piece by the New York Times.

ThinkProgress also broke a story last month revealing other revolving door conflicts within Issa’s staff. Peter Warren, Issa’s new policy director, maintains some type of financial contract with a student loan lobbying group he led last year, and received a bonus from the lobbying group before leaving to work for Issa. Since joining Issa’s staff, Warren and his colleagues have fought to weaken the recently created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new agency charged with overseeing student loans.

“The new revelations about Peter Haller, however, raise even more significant ethical concerns than Peter Warren and other ex-lobbyists working for Issa. Why did Issa hire a high-level Goldman Sachs executive to work on stopping regulations on banks like Goldman Sachs? Haller’s direct involvement in the July letter brings Issa’s ability to lead the Oversight Committee—charged with conducting investigations on behalf of the public interest—into serious doubt.”

It also explains why President Obama did invoke executive privilege concerning Issa’s Fast and furious investigation and the unusual actions of the Democratic Caucasus walking out on the vote. There is no doubt that the banksters are running scared and acting in such desperate manners.  There are literally billions of dollars of exposure here and REAL criminal activity.  The fact that it could extend to congressmen and senators is even more revealing.  To those who are involved and/or have knowledge of the activities should at this moment consider hard what the future may hold for them when this whole scheme unfolds in MSM.  This may be your last chance to save your butts.  Act now or do the PERP walk tomorrow, your choice.

Some Fact Checking on the BIG BAILOUT and Its Effect on the Economy

Remember back in 2008, when Uncle Ben Bernanke and Little Timothy Geithner went to the Hill and said they needed $700 B to bailout the banks or else the world economy would collapse?  Yeah we all remember, there have been millions of articles, documentaries, and movies made about it.

Ok so when the Congress called Uncle Ben back to testify about what he did with the money and was asked to explain how the bailout had saved the economy, he REFUSED to disclose who got how much, defending his position by saying that divulging such information could jeopardize the public faith in the individual banks who had received monies.  Congress said, ‘Oh OK that makes sense’.

Then, in 2009, the discussion was that if banks were too big to fail that those banks should also be too big to exist, as that would put us right back in the position that got us into the jam in the first place.  Bernanke agreed, but offered no statements as to what should be done to prevent it.  Some in CONgress did and the Dodd-Frank Bill was passed.  At the time some said it was too weak as written, but hey, at least it was a start.

So, here we are now.  How has Dodd-Frank or Federal Reserve policy worked?  I do hope you are sitting down for this.  You may also want to pour a stiff dink, if you are so inclined, or at least have a pair of vise grips handy to occasionally pinch yourself.

First, too big to fail has resulted in the following: Five banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve. Five years earlier, before the financial crisis, the largest banks’ assets amounted to 43 percent of U.S. output. The Big Five today are about twice as large as they were a decade ago relative to the economy!  WHAT????  Yeah you read it correctly.  Back in 1970, the 5 biggest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.  Today, the 5 biggest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.  What say you Uncle Ben? What say you CONgress?

At a recent lecture at George Washington University, Mr. Benanke said ,according to CNNMoney, — “The bailouts of Bear Stearns and AIG were “distasteful” but still necessary. Meanwhile, the Fed was “helpless” when it came to saving Lehman Brothers, he said.

“Lehman Brothers was in itself probably too big to fail, in the sense that its failure had enormous negative impacts on the global financial system,” Bernanke said. “But there we were helpless, because it was essentially an insolvent firm.”

In a lecture about the Fed’s emergency efforts during the financial crisis, Bernanke explained that the central bank was willing to bail out AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) and Bear Stearns because it expected both firms would eventually be able to pay back their loans. Bear Stearns was ultimately acquired by JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500).

Lehman Brothers, on the other hand, had no collateral to put up in exchange for the Fed’s assistance.

“It was very difficult and in many ways distasteful intervention that we had to do on the grounds that we needed to do that to prevent the system from collapsing,” Bernanke said. “But clearly, it is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which some companies are ‘too big to fail.'”

Oh! Then I guess we really had no choice except to fork over the $700 Billion.  It was exactly $700 Billion though, wasn’t it Uncle Ben?  It took a court case by Bloomberg (because CONgress wouldn’t or couldn’t demand the info) to reveal the true number of the bailout.  Vise grips and shot glasses at the ready, here are the real numbers we are all on the hook to the FED for.

The amount of money in secret loans that some of the big Wall Street banks received from the Federal Reserve is absolutely staggering.  The following figures come directly from a GAO report….

Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion

OMG that’s $7.1 TRILLION and then with the bailouts of foreign banks, yes most of the major banks in Europe, and yes we did those too, but you know the information is “so sensitive”.  The total is $16.115 TRILLION and that is more than the annual GDP of the entire country!

But this has been good for the economy right?  I mean if we, as the American people, throw that much money at the problem things are getting better.  I mean the banks did the responsible thing to fix the problem, after all we have trusted them with an entire year’s worth of labor by everyone and every company in the US.  Well…..consider these two facts.

1). Over the past few years, big Wall Street banks have made huge amounts of money speculating on the price of food.  This has caused food prices all over the globe to soar and it has caused tremendous hardship for hundreds of millions of families around the planet.  The following is from a recent article in The Independent….

Speculation by large investment banks is driving up food prices for the world’s poorest people, tipping millions into hunger and poverty. Investment in food commodities by banks and hedge funds has risen from $65bn to $126bn (£41bn to £79bn) in the past five years, helping to push prices to 30-year highs and causing sharp price fluctuations that have little to do with the actual supply of food, says the United Nations’ leading expert on food.

Hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital now dominate the food commodities markets, dwarfing the amount traded by actual food producers and buyers.

Goldman Sachs alone has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from food speculation.

2). According to the New York Times, the too big to fail banks have complete domination over derivatives trading.  Every month a secret meeting that includes representatives from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup is held in New York to coordinate their control over the derivatives marketplace.  The following is how the New York Times describes those meetings….

On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan. The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

When the derivatives market fully implodes, there will not be enough money in the world to bail everyone out.  According to the Comptroller of the Currency, the too big to fail banks have exposure to derivatives that is absolutely outrageous.  Just check out the following numbers….

JPMorgan Chase – $70.1 Trillion

Citibank – $52.1 Trillion

Bank of America – $50.1 Trillion

Goldman Sachs – $44.2 Trillion

That’s over $200 TRILLION dollars, more than 3 ½ TIMES the global GDP! And that is just the Big Five’s exposure to the derivatives market.

This is beyond insane and would be funny except we are being enslaved to keep it floating. When you combine these facts with the current crisis in the EU, and the fact CONgress has gutted Dodd-Frank and even voted down the Volcker rule that would not allow banks to speculate with our deposits, it doesn’t even make sense to a brick wall.

I write this article because the banksters are counting on us not understanding how well they have fleeced our global economy with no hopes of any recovery.  They hope we will all just say this is high finance and we don’t need to understand it.  You would understand if your teenage ran up $5,000 in credit card bills wouldn’t you? And I am certain what you would say and do to your irresponsible teenager who did such a thing.  THEY would be grounded for LIFE, and you certainly wouldn’t give them any more of your money!  For each and every one of us, we need to understand this is the very same thing, only the irresponsible teenagers in this scenario are the FED, the banksters, and our CONgress, and I am being nice. Criminals could also be used to replace irresponsible teenager in this real life scenario, lots of criminals.  So what are we going to do about this, DAD? MOM?  There really isn’t anybody else stepping up, nowhere in the world.  Sorry to be such a bummer, but it is what it is.

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.

 

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?