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Citi Fails Fed Stress Test … The REAL Story Washington's Blog

Citi Fails Fed Stress Test … The REAL Story Washington’s Blog.

“Too Big To Fail” … Fails

Bloomberg reports that Citigroup has failed the Fed’s new round of stress tests:

Citigroup Inc.’s capital plan was among five that failed Federal Reserve stress tests, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. passed only after reducing their requests for buybacks and dividends.

Citigroup, as well as U.S. units of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Banco Santander SA, failed because of qualitative concerns about their processes, the Fed said today in a statement. Zions Bancorporation was rejected as its capital fell below the minimum required. The central bank approved plans for 25 banks.

In reality, Citi flat lined” – went totally bust – in 2008.  It was insolvent.

And former FDIC chief Sheila Bair said that the whole bailout thing was really focused on bringing a very dead Citi back from the grave.

Indeed, the big banks – including Citi – have repeatedly gone bankrupt.

For example, the New York Times wrote in 2009:

Over the past 80 years, the United States government has engineered not one, not two, not three, but at least four rescues of the institution now known as Citigroup.

So why did the U.S. government give Citi a passing grade in previous stress tests?

Because they were rigged to give all of the students an “A”.

Time Magazine called then Secretary Treasury Tim Geithner a “con man” and the stress tests a “confidence game” because those tests were so inaccurate.

But the bigger story is that absolutely nothing was done to address the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, or to fix the system:

  • The faulty incentive system – huge bonuses that encourage reckless risk-taking by bankers – arestill here
  • Another big problem – shadow banking – has only gotten worse

Indeed, the only the government has done is to try to cover up the problems that created the 2008 crisis in the first place … and to throw huge amounts of money at the fattest of the fatcats.

Remember, Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future.

Indeed, professor of law and economics (and chief S&L prosecutor) William Black notes that we’ve known of this dynamic for “hundreds of years”.  (Actually, the government has ignored severalthousand years of economic wisdom.)

Heck of a job, guys …

Following the Bodies: “We Are at the Precipice of Something So Big, It Will shake the Financial World”

Following the Bodies: “We Are at the Precipice of Something So Big, It Will shake the Financial World”.

Douglas J. Hagmann
February 15th, 2014
Northeast Intelligence Network

Editor’s Note: In the investigative report below, Douglas Hagmann of the Northeast Intelligence Network delves deep into a world that most only believe exists in the realm of cinematic thrillers. It’s one of intrigue, corruption and murder, and it involves some of the world’s most influential firms, business leaders and politicians. There are billions, if not trillions, of dollars on the line. When the nefarious agendas of these sycophants are threatened it’s not much of a stretch of the imagination to suggest that those involved will do whatever is necessary to protect their wealth, power and influence. For them, the only way to deal with the problem is to silence it – permanently.

One can chalk off the recent string of banker suicides to coincidence, but what if there were more to it? What if, for example, 39 year old Vice President of JP Morgan Gabriel Magee, who emailed his girlfriend to tell her he was “leaving the office and would see her shortly,” didn’t actually throw himself off of a 33-story building in what police claim was a “non-suspicious” fatal fall? What if the circumstances surrounding many of the deaths of these bankers and a Wall Street Journal financial reporter were the result of, as one financial insider noted a week before the deaths unfolded, a “clean up” of people who knew too much and posed a threat to the overall agenda? Much of this may be difficult to stomach for some, but considering that the people responsible for collapsing the global economy five years ago not only never faced justice for their crimes, but were rewarded with billion dollar bank deals as a result, is it foolish to suggest that there’s much more going on here than the mainstream media and Justice department officials would have us believe?

It all just seems… a bit too convenient.

Banker-Conspiracy


Exposing what lies beneath the bodies of dead bankers and what lies ahead for us
By Douglas Hagmann

I feel that this is one of the most important investigations I’ve ever done. If my findings are correct, each of us might soon experience a severe, if not crippling blow to our personal finances, the confiscation of any wealth some of us have been able to accumulate over our lifetimes, and the end of the financial world as we once knew it.  The evidence to support my findings exists in the trail of dead bodies of financial executives across the globe and a missing Wall Street Journal Reporter who was working at the Dow Jones news room at the time of his disappearance.

If the bodies were dots on a piece of paper, connecting them results in a sinister picture being drawn that involves global criminal activity in the financial world the likes of which is almost without precedent.  It should serve as a warning that we are at the precipice of something so big, it will shake the financial world as we know it to its core. It seems to illustrate the complicity of big banks and governments, the intelligence community, and the media.

Although the trail of mysterious and bizarre deaths detailed below begin in late January, 2014, there are others. Not only that, there will be more, according to sources within the financial world. Based on my findings, these are not mere random, tragic cases of suicide, but of the methodical silencing of individuals who had the ability to expose financial fraud at the highest levels, and the complicity of certain governmental agencies and individuals who are engaged in the greatest theft of wealth the world has ever seen.

It is often said that life imitates art. In the case of the dead financial executives, perhaps death imitates theater, or more specifically, the movie The International, which was coincidentally released in U.S. theaters exactly five years ago today.

We are told by the media that the untimely deaths of these young men and men in their prime are either suicides or tragic accidents. We are told what to believe by the captured and controlled media, regardless of how unusual or unlikely the circumstances, or how implausible the explanation. Such are the hallmarks of high level criminality and the involvement of a certain U.S. intelligence agency intent on keeping the lid on money laundering on a global scale.

Obviously, it is important that this topic is approached with the utmost respect for the families of those who died, that they be allowed to grieve for the loss of their loved ones in private. However, it is extremely important that the truth about what is happening in the global financial arena is not kept from us, as we will also be victims of a different nature.

The missing and the dead: a timeline

The following is provided as a chronological list of those who have gone missing or been found dead under mysterious circumstances. It is important to note that this list consists of names of the most recent incidents. There are more that extend back through 2012 and beyond.

January 11, 2014

MISSING: David Bird, 55, long-time reporter for the Wall Street Journal working at the Dow Jones news room, went for a walk on Saturday, January 11, 2014 near his New Jersey home and disappeared without a trace. Mr. Bird was a reporter of the oil and commodity markets which happened to be under investigation by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for price manipulation.

January 26, 2014

DECEASED: Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, was reportedly found dead under undisclosed circumstances.

DECEASED: William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in his home from an apparent suicide. It is important to note that Deutsche Bank is under investigation for reportedly hiding $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis and for potentially rigging the foreign exchange markets. The allegations are similar to the claims the institution settled in 2013 over involvement in rigging the Libor interest rates.

January 27, 2014

DECEASED:  Karl Slym, 51, Managing director of Tata Motors was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok. Police said he “could” have committed suicide. He was staying on the 22nd floor with his wife, and was attending a board meeting in the Thai capital.

January 28, 2014

DECEASED:  Gabriel Magee, 39, a JP Morgan employee, died after reportedly “falling” from the roof of its European headquarters in London in the Canary Wharf area. Magee was vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM) London headquarters.

Gabriel Magee, a Vice President at JPMorgan in London, plunged to his death from the roof of the 33-story European headquarters of JPMorgan in Canary Wharf. Magee was involved in “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives” based on his online Linkedin profile.

It’s important to note that JPMorgan, like  Deutsche Bank, is under investigation for its potential involvement in rigging foreign exchange rates. JPMorgan is also reportedly under investigation by the same U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for its alleged involvement in rigging the physical commodities markets in the U.S. and London.

Regarding the initial reports of his death, journalist Pam Martens of Wall Street on Paradeastutely exposed the controlled, scripted details of the media accounts surrounding Magee’s death in an article written on February 9, 2014. Ms. Martens writes:

“According to numerous sources close to the investigation of Gabriel Magee’s death, almost nothing thus far reported about his death has been accurate. This appears to stem from an initial poorly worded press release issued by the Metropolitan Police in London which may have been a result of bad communications between it and JPMorgan or something more deliberate on someone’s part.” [Emphasis added].

Ms. Martens also notes:

No solid evidence exists currently to suggest that the death was a suicide. In fact, there is a strong piece of evidence pointing in the opposite direction. Magee had emailed his girlfriend, Veronica, on the evening of January 27 to say that he was about to leave the office and would see her shortly. [Emphasis added].

Based on information she developed, it appears likely that Magee did not meet his fate on the morning his body was discovered, but hours earlier. Considering the possibility that Magee might now have died in the manner publicized, Ms. Martens offers speculation, and notes it as such:

If Magee became aware that incriminating emails, instant messages, or video teleconferences were not turned over in their entirety to Senate investigators or Justice Department prosecutors, that might be reason enough for his untimely death.

Looking at the death of Magee in the context of a larger conspiracy, it is difficult not to suspect foul play and media manipulation.

January 29, 2014

DECEASED: Mike Dueker, 50, who had worked for Russell Investment for five years, was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State. Dueker was reported missing on January 29, 2014. Police stated that he “could have” jumped over a fence and fallen 15 meters to his death, and are treating the case as a suicide.

Before joining Russell Investments, Dueker was an assistant vice president and research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis from 1991 to 2008. There he served as an associate editor of the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics and was editor ofMonetary Trends, a monthly publication of the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

In November 2013, the New York Times reported that Russell Investments was one of several investment companies that were under subpoena from New York State regulators investigating potential “pay-to-play” schemes involving New York pension funds.

February 3, 2014

DECEASED: Ryan Henry Crane, 37, was the Executive Director in JPMorgan’s Global Equities Group. Of particular relevance is that Crane oversaw all of the trade platforms and had close working ties with the now deceased Gabriel Magee of JPMorgan’s London desk. The ties between Mr. Crane and Mr. Magee are undeniable and outright troublesome. The cause of death has not yet been determined, pending the results of a toxicology report.

February 6, 2014

DECEASED: Richard Talley, 57, was the founder and CEO of American Title, a company he founded in 2001. Talley and his company were under investigation by state insurance regulators at the time of his death. He was found in the garage of his Colorado home by a family member who called authorities. Talley reportedly died from seven or eight “self-inflicted” wounds from a nail gun fired into his torso and head.

The enormity of the lie

One must look back far enough to understand the enormity of the lie and the criminality of bankers and governments alike. We must understand the legal restraints that were severed during the Clinton years and the congress that changed the rules regarding financial institutions. We must understand that the criminal acts were bold and bipartisan, and were designed to consolidate wealth through the destruction of the middle class. All of this is part of a much larger plan to establish a one world economy by “killing” the U.S. dollar and consequently, eradicating the middle class by a cabal of globalists that existed and continue to exist within all sectors of our government. The results will be crippling to not just the United States, but the entire Western world.

What began decades ago is now becoming more transparent under the Obama regime. Perhaps that’s the transparency Obama promised, for we’ve seen little else in terms of transparency with regard to the man known as Barack Hussein Obama. For those not locked into the captured corporate media, we’re starting to see the truth emerging. The truth is that we’ve been living under a giant Ponzi scheme and we, the American citizens, are the suckers. As illustrated by the list of dead bankers above, however, the power elite need a bit more time before the extent of their criminality is revealed. The need a bit more time to transfer the remaining wealth from middle-class America to their private coffers. Timing is everything, and a magic act only works when all props are in place before the illusion is performed. Only when their timing is right will the slumbering Americans realize the extent of the illusion by which they’ve been entranced, at which time they will be forced into submission to accept a financial reset that will ultimately subjugate them to a global economy. I contend that this is the reason for the recent spate of deaths, for those who met their tragic and untimely end had the ability to expose this nefarious agenda by what they knew or discovered, or what they would reveal under subpoena and the damage they could cause to the globalist financial agenda.

It is an insult to the public intellect that the media so readily pushes the official line that the deaths were all suicides given the unusual circumstances surrounding nearly all of those listed. This itself should be ringing alarm bells with anyone of reasonable sensibilities, or at last those who are paying the slightest bit of attention to the larger picture. The media is either complicit or completely inept. While incompetence is evident in many areas, even the most inept journalist or media company cannot possible deny what exists directly in front of them. They can only withhold the truth.

Connecting the dots

To understand what is taking place, I contacted a financial source who has accurately predicted many events that we are now seeing taking place, including the deaths of certain financial people for an explanation. In fact, he actually predicted that we would see a “clean-up” of individuals who posed a serious threat to certain too-big-to-fail-or-jail banks and “banksters” a full week before the events began to unfold. Truth be told, I initially greeted his prediction with some skepticism, for such things don’t really happen in the real world, or so the obedient and well-managed media tells me.

V, The Guerrilla Economist” as he is known in the alternative media, has provided numerous insider alerts for Steve Quayle‘s website and has appeared as a regular guest on The Hagmann & Hagmann Report. He has an undeniable track record for accuracy, which has earned my respect. However, I thought that he had taken temporary leave of his senses when he twice suggested that there will be some house cleaning done of anyone posing a threat to the agenda of certain banks and the globalist agenda on our broadcasts of November 20, 2013 and again on January 10, 2014. In a separate venue, he described what was about to take place by using the analogy of the movie The International. Several dead bodies and a missing journalist later, that analogy has been proven accurate.

The fact is that we are seeing a clean-up where JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank seems to appear at the epicenter of it all. In January, JPMorgan admitted facilitating the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme by turning its head to his activities.  Despite this admission, the U.S. Department of Justice under Eric Holder declined to send anyone to jail under a deferred prosecution agreement. Yet this is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

In March, 2013, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a heavily redacted 307-page report detailing the financial irregularities surrounding the actions of JPMorgan and the deliberate withholding of critical financial information by JPMorgan. Prominent in the mix are the actions of Bruno Iksil, who earned the nickname the “London Whale,” for his “casino bets” of others money that caused billions of dollars in losses. Yet, no cooperation was provided by Dimon’s foot soldiers as they failed to testify or otherwise cooperate with Senate investigators.

Remember the damage control and the deliberate downplaying by Jamie Dimon, who maintained that there was nothing to see here with regard to the “London Whale” criminal activities? What was originally described as a loss of perhaps $2 billion ultimately turned into many more times that, yet the actual numbers are still hidden from the public. Such events occurred under the noses of numerous financial executives who had knowledge that went undisclosed.

As we fast forward to today and the current spate of mysterious deaths, we begin to see that many of those who died existed on the periphery of events in the criminal actions of the financial industry. Moreover, it is reasonable to conclude that they possessed knowledge that if disclosed, could have interrupted the magic act taking place for the awestruck audience, captivated by the carefully crafted words of Yellen, her predecessors and the operatives within government who’s duty it is to regulate whatever is left of our current financial system.

That regulation is now a thing of the past. What we have today is a system of facilitation and co-operation between the largest corporations and financial institutions and the U.S. and our intelligence agencies. We now have the “too-big-to-fails” operating with impunity as a result of an incestuous, if not outright unconstitutional relationship where the banks are acting as operational assets for the CIA, the NYPD, and other intelligence and police agencies.

The JPMorgan-CIA-NYPD connection

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets, at least from the majority of the American public, is the integration and overlap between the “too-big-to-fail-and-jail” banks and the most advanced system of surveillance in the U.S. Would it surprise you to learn that the very banks that brought the United States to the brink of financial collapse in 2008, who looted the American public and continue to engage in what most perceive as criminal behavior in the financial venue not only have ties to the CIA, but are actually partnered with the CIA and NYPD surveillance of all of lower Manhattan? That’s right, the big banks such as JPMorgan, Citigroup and others have their own desks and surveillance monitors at a facility known as the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, located at 55 Broadway, deep in the center of New York’s financial district.

The big banks—the very banks that have been the focus of fraud and corruption investigations have their own system of cameras, more than 2,000 in number, and operate them in tandem with NYPD surveillance cameras at a center that was funded with taxpayer money. Every square inch of lower Manhattan is under surveillance 24/7, not just by NYPD, but by JP Morgan and other members of the so-called “one percent.” Carefully consider the implications of this pact.

JPMorgan Chase and others have had long and quite intimate ties with the CIA. Today, however, the line between the banks that control our financial present and future and police and intelligence agencies no longer exist. This relationship of mutual benefit permits the CIA to use the financial institutions to “handle the money” for their various global initiatives, while it provides the banks a stable of “professional assistants” to handle their “security,” whether such security issues arise in the U.S., London, or elsewhere. Highly trained and skilled CIA operatives now work within the system of interlocked financial institutions that have been at the epicenter of the most egregious crimes involving the theft from our bank accounts and retirement savings.

Please stop and consider this for a moment. The very banks and their top executives who have not only brought the U.S. to the brink of financial collapse and Martial Law, engaged or facilitated in various criminal actions that resulted in fines (but no jail time) for the perpetrators, are working hand-in-hand with the CIA. Not only that, they are working in tandem with the NYPD at their surveillance centers, watching and videotaping every move made by anyone—including potential whistleblowers within their vast purview. By the way, this is no ordinary surveillance or surveillance cameras. You won’t find these cameras on the shelves of your local spy shop. These cameras can focus on the footnotes of a book you might be reading, or the words written on a piece of paper being held by an unwitting person. They employ facial recognition and other advanced visual and data aggregation capabilities, and the extent of their technological abilities is increasing every day.

Additionally, the data is collected and maintained, and files are created of people and groups who are merely going about their daily lives. Equally important, files are created and maintained of problem children and groups, like the Occupy movement and others who lawfully exercise their constitutional rights to protest the actions of the one-percent. Consider this in the context of the Occupy Wall Street protests. where the protesters were not only under police surveillance, but surveillance by the banks and their corporate officers against whom they were protesting. And it was all done with the approval and assistance of the police, in this case the NYPD, and U.S. intelligence agencies.

Now consider the plight of a whistleblower who wants to expose criminality within the ranks of a too-big-to-fail. The institution who is engaged in purported criminality based on the findings of the whistleblower can observe the whistleblower’s every move. Where they go, who they meet and what they are carrying to such a meeting. They can be tracked to a residence, a business, or even to their psychiatrist’s office, place of ill repute, or the residence of some significant other outside of their marriage, all of which would be invaluable for blackmail.

Perhaps the potential whistleblower is clean and free from anything that might dissuade them from revealing what they know, their case could be turned over to the in-house security of former CIA agents for proper disposition. It makes the movie The Firm look like child’s play by comparison.

This is not some fanciful delusion. There is proof of this that exists. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has documented the increasingly extensive surveillance being conducted in lower Manhattan and throughout the city. They have verified that  not only are our constitutional rights being violated every minute of every day, but the fruits of surveillance by police and corporate entities are shared between the police, the intelligence agencies and private financial institutions, without restraint on the distribution on such findings.

Are you engaged in a protesting against the criminality of the one-percent? Well, they one-percent are watching you, and they are literally seated right next to the police. Are you a journalist following up on possible “bankster” corruption by meeting a potential whistleblower? You better understand that the bankster target of your investigation is watching you, in real-time, with the complete approval and cooperation of the police. As documented by the NYCLU, you are likely now “on file,” and all data compiled is maintained and accessible not just to law enforcement, but to the very target of your investigation—in real time.

Such surveillance and integration between big banks, law enforcement and spy agencies is not just limited to lower Manhattan or even the United States. It is also most prevalent in London and other cities where international banking is conducted.

Real-time surveillance and the close working relationship between the “one-percenters,” police and the intelligence agencies gives the targets of criminal probes the ability to be pro-active when necessary. It’s all being done under the pretext of national security when it would appear that the real objective is to insulate the banksters from potential problems that exposure of their criminal actions might cause.

Oh, and don’t forget that  it is us who are paying for this.

Perhaps we would be well advised to not only consider the capabilities of the surveillance apparatus that exists where the big banks and police are working at adjacent surveillance terminals at 55 Broadway and other locations, but the incestuous working relationship between the banks and the CIA when we read about banker suicides.

Do not expect to see any exclusive report on this in the corporate media, for they, as requested have dutifully maintained their code of silence by not showing pictures of the brass name plates that identify the bankster terminals situated adjacent to the police terminals during photo shoots of this super-secret surveillance complex a few years ago. As detailed by the tenacious and indefatigable Pam Martens, journalist for Wall Street on Parade in this article, the captured media took a pass on revealing the whole truth about what’s really going on at 55 Broadway.

What has been revealed here is merely the tip of the iceberg. The tentacles of the corporate elite, facilitated and empowered by the CIA, the NYPD top brass, and other agencies have now covertly and effectively succeeded in invading everything you do. The fruits of this operation are being used to advance their global financial agenda and silence the opposition.

Knowing this, is it possible that the dead bodies that are increasing in number are the results of this joint surveillance operation? You will not find any answers in the mainstream media. The big banks have chosen to remain silent, even in the face of subpoenas, and have yet to face any legal consequences for their contempt. It’s not, however, merely contempt of congress or pseudo-investigative bodies. It’s their contempt of humanity, of you and me, and the victims that lie dead, leaving their families broken and wanting for the truth.

This article has been reprinted with permission from the Northeast Intelligence Network.

RELATED:

Please visit SteveQuayle.com and RogueMoney.net for headlines, reports and updates on the growing threat to our financial future. Also, tune in the The Hagmann & Hagmann Report on Monday, February 17, 2014 from 8:00-11:00 PM ET as we welcome “V, The Guerrilla Economist” and Steve Quayle to discuss this topic in-depth.

Terrifying Technicals: This Chartist Predicts An Anti-Fed Revulsion, And A Plunge In The S&P To 450 | Zero Hedge

Terrifying Technicals: This Chartist Predicts An Anti-Fed Revulsion, And A Plunge In The S&P To 450 | Zero Hedge.

Via Walter J. Zimmermann Jr. of United-ICAP,

Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

Main Points

1. History is written as much by the unforeseen consequences of key events as by the events themselves. We prefer not to think in these terms, but history clearly reveals that the adverse consequences of well intended efforts often have a much more dramatic and lasting impact than the original efforts themselves.

2. In fact history suggests a law of adverse consequences where the more insistent and forceful the well intended effort, the more dramatic, powerful and harmful the blowback. In simple terms,attempts to force the world to improve have always ended badly.

3. This law of adverse consequences is a very common phenomena in medicine and is known by the euphemism of ‘side effects’. Adverse drug reactions to prescribed medications are the fourth leading killer in America, right after heart disease, cancer, and stroke. However this expression of the law of unintended consequences gets even less press than its expressions in human history. Neither is a popular topic.

4. One could easily write several volumes of history focused exclusively on the unwelcome repercussions from otherwise well-intended efforts. However as this is a subject that we would all rather avoid I suspect it would be a very difficult book to market.

5. Instead of a book I have opted for two pages of examples. The present situation strongly suggests that the high risk of unexpected blowback from current economic policies are much more deserving of our full attention than the past history of unwelcome consequences.

6. QE has already created what is arguably the most bullish market sentiment in history. And that extreme bullish sentiment has already driven most stock indices to new all time highs. So now would be a good time for some sober reflections on what could go wrong.

7. One sector that seems dangerously poised to go badly wrong are the junk and emerging bond markets. What will happen when Treasuries start yielding the same rates as previously issued junk debt? A massive exodus will happen. Junk bonds and emerging market debt will become a disaster area.

8. We already know how wildly successful Fed stimulus has been at creating speculative bubbles. Fed inflated bubbles that have already burst include a Dot-Com bubble, a credit bubble, a real estate bubble, and a commodity market bubble. The biggest bubble of them all is still inflating. That would be this stock market bubble.

9. There are now fewer banks than ever before in modern history. And the biggest banks are larger than ever before in history. The war against ‘too big to fail’ was lost before it began. Fewer, bigger banks means a more fragile financial system.

10. The worst of the bullish sentiment extremes of previous major stock market peaks have all returned. Analysts are positively gushing with ebullience. There is a competition to see who can come up with the highest targets for the various stock indices. No one sees any downside risk. All are confident that the Fed can and will fix anything. This is a situation ripe for adverse consequences. This is a market where blowback will be synonymous with blind-sided. No one will prepare for what they cannot see coming.

Comparing Costs: Major US Wars versus Quantitative Easing

The chart above suggests that the magnitude of the Federal Reserve economic stimulus program is only comparable to previous major war efforts. The dollar costs plotted here bears that out.

War Costs

All of the war costs on the previous page were taken from one report dated 29 June 2010. That report was prepared by Stephen Dagget at the Congressional Research Service. I adjusted his numbers to 2013 dollars. You can find his report in PDF format on-line. However some further comments may be useful here.

Civil War

The Civil War number combines the Northern or Union costs and the Southern or Confederate costs. In 2011 dollars the price of waging the war for the Union was $59.6 billion dollars and $20.1 billion for the Confederacy. I simply added these two numbers and then converted to 2013 dollars.

Post 9/11 Wars

Here I combined the costs of the Persian Gulf war, and Iraq war, and the war in Afghanistan into one category and then adjusted to 2013 dollars.

Sending a Man to the Moon

I thought it would be interesting to compare the costs of sending a man to the moon to the costs of QE. Most references to the cost of putting a man on the Moon only cite the Apollo project. But of course that is very wrong. Apollo arose from Gemini which grew out of Mercury. So for the true cost of sending a man to the Moon I included all costs for the Mercury missions, the Gemini program, the Lunar probes, the Apollo capsules, the Saturn V rockets, and the Lunar Modules. I relied on numbers gathered from NASA by the Artemis Project. I then converted those costs to 2013 dollars.

World War II versus Quantitative Easing

WW II

World War II transformed the United States from a sleepy agricultural enterprise into the world’s dominant economic super-power, and defeated both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan at the same time. It may seem entirely callous to calculate US Dollar costs for a war that claimed 15,000,000 battle deaths, 25,000,000 battle wounded, and civilian deaths that exceeded 45,000,000 but there is a point to this exercise.

The second world war defeated the strategy of geographical conquest through militarism as a national policy. Of course WW II had it’s own undesirable blowback as anything on this gigantic a scale would. However it seems pretty clear that replacing fascism and militarism with democracy was a step of progress for mankind.

WW II and QE

Since the 1950’s many have argued that it took World War II to pull the world out of the Great Depression. As a life-long student of the Great Depression Bernanke must be aware of this debate. In terms of the dollar amounts involved, World War Two is the only project comparable in size to QE. So it seems reasonable to assume that Bernanke’s goal here is to have QE fulfill the economic role of a World War Three; a war-free method of pulling the world out of the Great Recession. However human history suggests that the sheer magnitude and forced nature of the QE program all but ensures serious, unexpected and adverse consequences.

Learning from History

I am not bearish on the human race. When I read history I see things getting better. When I read history I find the slow replacement of brutality with compassion. When I read history I find the long term trend to be the replacement of centralized authority with local self-determination. And I find that every single effort to fight these long term trends has failed. And as history continues to unfold the efforts to fight these trends tends to fail more quickly, more dramatically, and more decisively.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that states “Plan too far ahead and nature will seem to resist.” That aphorism definitely resonates with my experience and observations. If there is something inherent in the flow of time that unfolds an improvement in the human condition, then there is also something in the nature of things that resists the application of force, whether well intended or not.

If all of the above is an accurate accounting of things, then the key issue for policy makers is finding the fine line that separates supporting the natural flow of human evolution from attempting to force change. The former will help while the later will end badly. The question today has to do with Quantitative Easing. Is QE a gentle nurturing of economic evolution or is it the next doomed attempt to force things to get better? The QE program is so enormous, and relentless, and insistent, that I fear it is the later. And if QE is a huge attempt to force the economy to improve, than we had better start bracing for the blowback.

QE: the blowback to come

What kind of blowback should we prepare for? The lesson of history is that trying to force things to get better does not merely create unwelcome repercussions. It does not merely slow the pace of natural evolution. Attempts to enforce a certain outcome always appears to create the opposite effect. We do not find a law of adverse consequences. We find a law of opposite impacts.

Let us review the sample examples from the previous charts. Every effort to jam an ideology or a plan down the throat of the world only creates the opposite of the intended effect. I would maintain that this is one of the few lessons from history that can be relied on.

If the Federal Reserve is trying to force feed us prosperity then the inevitable blowback will be adversity. If the Fed is trying to compel the most dramatic economic recovery in history, then the blowback may well be the deepest depression in history. If the Fed is trying to enforce confidence and optimism then the blowback will be fear and despair. If the Fed is trying to force consumers to spend then the blowback will be a collapse in consumer confidence.

I sincerely hope that I am completely wrong here, that I am missing something, that there is a flaw in my logic. However until I can locate such a flaw I must trust the technical case for treating this Fed force-fed rally in the stock market as something that will end badly.

Here’s how it plays out…

 

 

Too Big To Fail Banks Are Taking Over As Number Of U.S. Banks Falls To All-Time Record Low

Too Big To Fail Banks Are Taking Over As Number Of U.S. Banks Falls To All-Time Record Low.

The too big to fail banks have a larger share of the U.S. banking industry than they have ever had before.  So if having banks that were too big to fail was a “problem” back in 2008, what is it today?  As you will read about below, the total number of banks in the United States has fallen to a brand new all-time record low and that means that the health of the too big to fail banks is now more critical to our economy than ever.  In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left, and that number continues to drop every single year.  That means that more than 10,000 U.S. banks have gone out of existence since 1985.  Meanwhile, the too big to fail banks just keep on getting even bigger.  In fact, 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.  If even one of those banks collapses, it would be absolutely crippling to the U.S. economy.  If several of them were to collapse at the same time, it could potentially plunge us into an economic depression unlike anything that this nation has ever seen before.

Incredibly, there were actually more banks in existence back during the days of the Great Depression than there is today.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the federal government has been keeping track of the number of banks since 1934 and this year is the very first time that the number has fallen below 7,000…

The number of federally insured institutions nationwide shrank to 6,891 in the third quarter after this summer falling below 7,000 for the first time since federal regulators began keeping track in 1934, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

And the number of active bank branches all across America is falling too.  In fact, according to the FDIC the total number of bank branches in the United States fell by 3.2 percent between the end of 2009 and June 30th of this year.

Unfortunately, the closing of bank branches appears to be accelerating.  The number of bank branches in the U.S. declined by 390 during the third quarter of 2013 alone, and it is being projected that the number of bank branches in the U.S. could fall by as much as 40 percent over the next decade.

Can you guess where most of the bank branches are being closed?

If you guessed “poor neighborhoods” you would be correct.

According to Bloomberg, an astounding 93 percent of all bank branch closings since late 2008 have been in neighborhoods where incomes are below the national median household income…

Banks have shut 1,826 branches since late 2008, and 93 percent of closings were in postal codes where the household income is below the national median, according to census and federal banking data compiled by Bloomberg.

It turns out that opening up checking accounts and running ATM machines for poor people just isn’t that profitable.  The executives at these big banks are very open about the fact that they “love affluent customers“, and there is never a shortage of bank branches in wealthy neighborhoods.  But in many poor neighborhoods it is a very different story

About 10 million U.S. households lack bank accounts, according to a study released in September by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. An additional 24 million are “underbanked,” using check-cashing services and other storefront businesses for financial transactions. The Bronx in New York City is the nation’s second most underbanked large county—behind Hidalgo County in Texas—with 48 percent of households either not having an account or relying on alternative financial providers, according to a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, an advocacy organization for lower-​income Americans.

And if you are waiting for a whole bunch of new banks to start up to serve these poor neighborhoods, you can just forget about it.  Because of a whole host of new rules and regulations that have been put on the backs of small banks over the past several years, it has become nearly impossible to start up a new bank in the United States.  In fact, only one new bank has been started in the United States in the last three years.

So the number of banks is going to continue to decline.  1,400 smaller banks have quietly disappeared from the U.S. banking industry over the past five years alone.  We are witnessing a consolidation of the banking industry in America that is absolutely unprecedented.

Just consider the following statistics.  These numbers come from a recent CNN article

-The assets of the six largest banks in the United States have grown by 37 percent 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.

-Approximately 1,400 smaller banks have disappeared over the past five years.

-JPMorgan Chase is roughly the size of the entire British economy.

-The four largest banks have more than a million employeescombined.

-The five largest banks account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States.

-Bank of America accounts for about a third of all business loans all by itself.

-Wells Fargo accounts for about one quarter of all mortgage loans all by itself.

-About 12 percent of all cash in the United States is held in the vaults of JPMorgan Chase.

As you can see, without those banks we do not have a financial system.

Our entire economy is based on debt, and if those banks were to disappear the flow of credit would dry up almost completely.  Without those banks, we would rapidly enter an economic depression unlike anything that the United States has seen before.

It is kind of like a patient that has such an advanced case of cancer that if you try to kill the cancer you will inevitably also kill the patient.  That is essentially what our relationship with these big banks is like at this point.

Unfortunately, since the last financial crisis the too big to fail banks have become even more reckless.  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.

Keep in mind that U.S. GDP for the entire year of 2012 was just 15.7 trillion dollars and the U.S. national debt is just 17 trillion dollars.

So when you are talking about four banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives you are talking about an amount of money that is almost incomprehensible.

Posted below are the figures for the four banks that I am talking about.  I have written about this in the past, but in this article I have included the very latest updated numbers from the U.S. government.  I think that you will agree that these numbers are absolutely staggering…

JPMorgan Chase

Total Assets: $1,947,794,000,000 (nearly 1.95 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $71,289,673,000,000 (more than 71 trillion dollars)

Citibank

Total Assets: $1,319,359,000,000 (a bit more than 1.3 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $60,398,289,000,000 (more than 60 trillion dollars)

Bank Of America

Total Assets: $1,429,737,000,000 (a bit more than 1.4 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $42,670,269,000,000 (more than 42 trillion dollars)

Goldman Sachs

Total Assets: $113,064,000,000 (just a shade over 113 billion dollars – yes, you read that correctly)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $43,135,021,000,000 (more than 43 trillion dollars)

Please don’t just gloss over those huge numbers.

Let them sink in for a moment.

Goldman Sachs has total assets worth approximately 113 billion dollars (billion with a little “b”), but they have more than 43 TRILLON dollars of total exposure to derivatives.

That means that the total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 381 times greater than their total assets.

Most Americans do not understand that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world.  The big banks are being incredibly reckless with our money, and if they fail it will bring down the entire economy.

The biggest chunk of these derivatives contracts that Wall Street banks are gambling on is made up of interest rate derivatives.  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.

When that Ponzi scheme finally comes crumbling down, there won’t be enough money on the entire planet to fix it.

We had our warning back in 2008.

The too big to fail banks were in the headlines every single day and our politicians promised to fix the problem.

But instead of fixing it, the too big to fail banks are now 37 percent larger and our economy is more dependent on them than ever before.

And in their endless greed for even larger paychecks, they have become insanely reckless with all of our money.

Mark my words – there is going to be a derivatives crisis.

When it happens, we are going to see some of these too big to fail banks actually fail.

At that point, there will be absolutely no hope for the U.S. economy.

We willingly allowed the too big to fail banks to become the core of our economic system, and now we are all going to pay the price.

 

Too Big To Fail Is Now Bigger Than Ever Before

Too Big To Fail Is Now Bigger Than Ever Before.

 

charles hugh smith-The Next American Revolution

charles hugh smith-The Next American Revolution.

 

oftwominds-Charles Hugh Smith: Our Legacy Systems: Dysfunctional, Unreformable

oftwominds-Charles Hugh Smith: Our Legacy Systems: Dysfunctional, Unreformable.

 

Elizabeth Warren Confronts Eric Holder, Ben Bernanke And Mary Jo White On Too-Big-To-Jail | Zero Hedge

Elizabeth Warren Confronts Eric Holder, Ben Bernanke And Mary Jo White On Too-Big-To-Jail | Zero Hedge.

 

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