Bailout BONUS Bonanza Going Bonkers … Again!

The banks that are begging for bailouts still cling to their bonuses. To terrorize us into letting them keep their bonuses, the banksters are threatening to release the button on their suicide vests and blow themselves up by not taking the bailouts if they can’t have their bonuses.

You would think the response to that would be a no-brainer: “O.K. Go ahead.” Then just walk off. Watch, however, as the European Central Bank Supervisory Board Chair pretends to be getting firm with the banks because it’s so important that we bail them out on their terms: (The first two-minutes-and-twenty-seconds are all you need listen to. Any more could cause medically unnecessary nausea or brain injury as he goes to say that his recommended conservative measures are “not reflecting a specific fragility” in the European banking system at present. No, there’s none of that. All is well in Bailout Bonus Bonanzaland. They’re just doing unnecessary bailouts.)

Dominoes Falling At Big Banks That Rigged Precious Metals Markets

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The crooked precious metals trading department at JPMorgan Chase lost another man last week. Christian Trunz pleaded guilty to criminal “spoofing” of the markets and resigned from his position as an Executive Director with the bank.

The story mirrors that of John Edmonds, the Chase banker who pleaded guilty last October for rigging gold and silver prices.

Like Edmonds’ illicit trading activity, Trunz’s was pervasive. It spanned nearly a decade – from 2007 through 2016 – and involved many “thousands” of orders.

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Reading the Next Recession

Here is a journey in photos and facts to compare the present Great Recession with the past Great Depression to gain perspective on where we might be headed.

Just as we had two great world wars, we might have two great depressions, the last of which we started out calling “The Great Recession” because, at the time, we didn’t know where it would end up or how long it would continue. Remember that World War I did not start off being called WWI. It was originally called “The Great War.”

Is Turkey The Snowflake That Unleashes The European Banking System Avalanche?

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Kicking Wells Fargo When They Are Down

By Rick Ackerman– Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

As much as Democrats love wagging their fingers at all of us racists, homophobes and climate-changers, their first love, borne of longstanding political tradition, is kicking fallen bankers in the nuts. It doesn’t hurt that in the eyes of the Democrats and America’s flourishing grievance industry, many of the perps happen to be privileged white men. Wells Fargo’s bankers in particular have been bludgeoned worse than a pinata at a Cinco de Mayo party, and last summer they paid $575 million to end investigations by 50 states and the District of Columbia.

What did Wells do to deserve this shakedown? I can answer that question from personal experience, since I was one of the alleged victims. I came to possess about a dozen accounts at Wells, including business and personal checking, credit and debit cards attached to each, assorted savings accounts and related “plastic”. I didn’t need so many accounts, but Wells cheerfully opened them for me anyway over a period of several years, ostensibly so that I could enjoy all the features and privileges associated with each.

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Retail Apocalypse and Carmageddon Continue to Pick up Speed

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

We now know that the Retail Apocalypse took another trip downhill during the all-important holiday season. December reports show retail sales declined more in one month than they have since … the Great Recession. Notice what a common refrain that comparison has become.

Retail Apocalypse snowballs downhill

Retail sales dropped 1.2% month-over-month in December, the largest drop since September 2009, according to data from the Census Bureau released Thursday. The dip was broadly unexpected – consensus estimates had foreseen a 0.1% increase in retail sales for the month, according to Bloomberg data. Excluding autos and gas, which can be volatile, core retail sales plunged 1.8%. “[The] fall in retail sales in December was every bit as bad as it looks,” Capital Economics’ Michael Pearce said bluntly. The weakness was broad-based.

Yahoo!

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Gold, Currency IOUs And Inflation

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The financial world runs on “funny money” or debt based currencies. More currency = more debt. How much debt? In a word – “unimaginable.” But another important word we should consider is “unsustainable.” WHY?

The world abandoned gold backing and replaced it with debt based currencies. Those dollar bills, yen, euros etc. are DEBTS issued by your central bank. They are as valuable as… someone believes they are. Unlike gold or silver coins, they have no intrinsic value.

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Australia’s Banking System May Go BOOM!

By Nick Hubble – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

We’re edging ever closer to the financial crisis I’ve been investigating since 2012. I moved to four different cities in Australia to conduct my research, interviewing mortgage brokers and former bankers over four years.

Over the last few months, a Royal Commission has exposed what my research did back then. But the campaigner who first exposed the issue going back to the early 2000s continues to discover even more extraordinary facts.

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Bad Bankers Drive Out Good Bankers: Wells Fargo, Wall Street, And Gresham’s Law

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Back in the 1500s, a financial agent of Queen Elizabeth I named Thomas Gresham observed that that “bad money drives out good.” That is, if two kinds of money are circulating at the same legal value, people will spend the lower-quality money and save the higher. The latter as a result ceases to circulate. This became known as Gresham’s law.

More recently, in our book The Money Bubble, James Turk and I extended this concept to bankers, observing that in times of very easy money, bad bankers drive out good:

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Dodd-Frank Is Now Officially A Dud

By Frank Holmes – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

I often remind investors to look past the negative and find the positive. Last week provided no shortage of big splashy headline stories, from yet another high-profile personnel shakeup at the White House to a nail-biter special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, from Russia’s alleged nerve agent attack on a former double-agent spy to a tragic bridge collapse in Miami.

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ATMs Hit By Malware “Jackpotting” Attacks That Dispense All Cash In Minutes

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

ATMs in US hit by “jackpotting” attacks that empty ATMs in minutes
– FBI warns of attacks in US after similar crimes in Taiwan, Thailand and Europe

– Hackers have stolen c.$1 million from ATMs across the US warns U.S. Secret Service
– Target Diebold Nixdorf machines – #1 global ATM provider, 35% of ATMs worldwide
– Digital deposits increasingly vulnerable – Time to save in physical gold

Source: TechViral.net

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”It’s A Wonderful Life” Is A Wonderful Lesson

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

– Christmas film serves as reminder that savings are not guaranteed protection by banks
– Savers are today more exposed to banking risks than ever before
– Gold and silver investment reduce exposure to counterparty risks seen in financial system
– Basket of Christmas goods has climbed since 2016 thanks to 11% climb in gold price

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“The money is just sitting there…doing nothing for society”

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Of all the disturbing side-effects of modern monetary policy, the worst might be the way artificially-low interest rates encourage small savers to take outsize risks. Now governments are starting to insist:

How Denmark Is Trying to Get Savers to Invest in Risky Assets

(Bloomberg) – In the country with the longest history of negative interest rates, an experiment is under way.The minister in charge of Denmark’s finance industry wants savers to shift some of the billions of kroner now in bank deposits over to riskier assets.

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Germans Become The World’s Biggest Buyers Of Gold

By Frank Holmes – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

When I talk about Indians’ well-known affinity for gold, I tend to focus on Diwali and the wedding season late in the year. Giving gifts of beautiful gold jewelry during these festivals is considered auspicious in India, and historically we’ve been able to count on prices being supported by increased demand.

Another holiday that triggers gold’s Love Trade is Dussehra, which fell on September 30 this year. Thanks to Dussehra, India’s gold imports rose an incredible 31 percent in September compared to the same month last year, according to GFMS data. The country brought in 48 metric tons, equivalent to $2 billion at today’s prices.

 

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Trump’s DOJ Ends Obama’s Highly Controversial ‘Operation Choke Point’ Program

By Julio Rosas – Re-Blogged From Independent Journal Review

“Operation Choke Point” — a program started by the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the Obama administration — will no longer continue under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Republicans have claimed the goal of “Operation Choke Point” was to pressure the banks to cut off legitimate companies from using their services. In particular, critics said the program was used to specifically target gun sellers.

The DOJ announced the discontinuation of the program Wednesday in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. In the letter, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd called “Operation Choke Point” a “misguided initiative conducted during the previous administration”:

We share your view that law abiding businesses should not be targeted simply for operating in an industry that a particular administration might disfavor. Enforcement decisions should always be made be based on facts and the applicable law.

“All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Choke Point are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again,” Boyd added.

Boyd also stated because of subpoenas, some criminal activity had been discovered, adding “the Department continues to pursue those ancillary investigations, none relates to or seeks to deter lawful conduct.”

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“Bigger Systemic Risk” Now Than 2008 – Bank of England

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

– Bank of England warn that “bigger systemic risk” now than in 2008
– BOE, Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) concerns re financial system
– Banks accused of “balance sheet trickery” -undermining spirit of post-08 rules
– EU & UK corporate bond markets may be bigger source of instability than ’08
– Credit card debt and car loan surge could cause another financial crisis

– PRA warn banks returning to similar practices to those that sparked 08 crisis
– ‘Conscious that corporate memories can be shed surprisingly fast’ warns PRA Chair

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Contagion from the 2 Friday-Night Bank Collapses in Italy?

By Don Quijones – Re-Blogged From Wolf Street

This is how desperate the Italian Banking Crisis has become.

When things get serious in the EU, laws get bent and loopholes get exploited. That is what is happening right now in Italy, where the banking crisis has reached tipping point. The ECB, together with the Italian government, have just this weekend to resolve Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, two zombie banks that the ECB, on Friday night, ordered to be liquidated.

Unlike Monte dei Pachi di Siena, they will not be bailed out with public funds  only. Senior bondholders and depositors will be protected. Shareholders and subordinate bondholders will lose their shirts. However, as the German daily Welt points out, subordinate bondholders at Monte dei Pachi di Siena had billions of euros at stake, much of it owned by its own retail customers who’d been sold these bonds instead of savings products such as CDs. So for political reasons, they were bailed out.

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The 5 Costliest Financial Regulations Of The Past 20 Years

By Frank Holmes – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Last year, the Federal Register—the U.S. government’s depository of rules and regulations—hit an all-time high of 81,640 pages. Among the industries that bear the greatest regulatory oversight is financials, which has seen a disproportionate amount of scrutiny in recent years, especially following the 9/11 attacks and subprime mortgage crisis.

Although I agree with the need to have and play by the rules, financial regulations have become so onerous that they render all but the largest firms noncompetitive. It’s a game whose rules are continually shifting, and there often seems to be more referees than players. A recent Thomson Reuters survey found that more than a third of all financial firms spend at least a whole work day every week tracking and analyzing regulatory changes. This is an obligation most companies simply can’t afford in the long term.

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Importance Of Randomness

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The greatest strength of a truly free market economy, where money is sound and does not corrupt prices, is the absence of cyclical action. With sound money, and consumers deciding for themselves their wants and satisfactions, having to choose between this or that instead of deploying unbacked credit to have this and that, there can be no cycle of credit, and no credit-driven business cycles.

Central bank manipulation of money is intended to force everyone to act the same way at the same time. Central banks direct the quantity of money and credit to encourage us en masse to spend money we do not have, supplanting the randomness of Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” with a synchronized destruction, deferred to the end of the credit cycle.

The constructive and continually evolving process of reallocation of capital from uneconomic projects to more productive uses is ruined by unsound money. To this damage can be added extensive regulation, promoted by governments as being in the public interest, but more accurately, designed to protect established businesses from competition. You cannot sell ice cream without a license, and even then, its composition is regulated by the state.

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Did Australia Just Make Itself Un-Investible?

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Greens have scored a major coup in Australia, as their PR campaign has apparently just convinced all four of the big Australian banks to close the door to lending to major new coal projects. My question – who in their right mind would invest in such a failed business environment?

A federal minister just called Westpac ‘unAustralian’ for its new climate change policy

SIMON THOMSEN APR 28, 2017, 1:34 PM

The controversial Adani coal mine in Queensland is unlikely to get funding from Australia’s big four banks after the second biggest, Westpac, tightened its funding criteria.

Westpac released its third Climate Change Action Plan today, which has a $10 billion target for lending to climate change solutions by 2020 and $25 billion by 2030.

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Titanic Parallel To The Federal Reserve

By GE Christenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Thinking about the 105th anniversary of the sinking Titanic, the Titanic-sized debt in the world, and the role of central bankers…

The RMS Titanic departed Southampton, England at noon on April 10, 1912 and struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic just before midnight on April 14. She sunk less than three hours later. Her maiden voyage lasted about 110 hours.

The Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, was created by Congress late in 1913. Her “maiden voyage” devaluing the dollar has lasted over 103 years.

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How Solid Are Canada’s Big Banks?

By Peter Diekmyer – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Originally posted at Sprott Money March 22, 2017

The World Economic Forum consistently ranks Canada’s banks among the world’s safest. Competent regulators have overseen stress tests, tightened lending standards and delinquency rates are low. Demographics are good and the country’s diversified economy is backed by a treasure of oil, wood, gold and other natural resources.

So the experts say.

Institutional investors, relying on the work of Jeremy Rudin, Canada’s chief bank regulator, agree. In fact, Canadian financials accounted for 35.5% of the market capitalization of the benchmark exchange (NBF February).

However this façade hides major uncertainties. Key concerns stand out, which if unaddressed, could spark solvency and liquidity issues in one or more of Canada’s Big Six banks.

The fragilities can be seen in an IMF report, which calculated that Canada’s financial sector accounted for a stunning 500% of GDP in 2012. Today, the assets of the Big Six banks alone are more than double the size of the country’s economy.

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Neutralizing the Bank Free Reserves Time Bomb

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The US Money Supply is about to soar. Since general price levels in the US Economy, as measured by the CPI for example, are a direct consequence of Money Supply changes, Americans are in for a bout of high inflation over the next few years.

To understand why, we must look at one way that the FED works. The FED tries to contol the Money Supply by influencing Interest Rates. It does this mainly by buying and selling various securities, mainly short term US Treasuries.

If the FED buys these Treasuries, using newly created electronic Dollars, the Treasuries go on its balance sheet and the new Dollars make their way onto Bank balance sheets. New “demand” for the Treasuries push up their price, which causes the effective interest they pay to go down.

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Will Donald Trump Reverse the War on Cash?

Re-Blogged From International Man

Jason Burack: It seems that globalism may be on the retreat. What’s your opinion about that, in light of Brexit, Donald Trump winning, and the Italian referendum failing?

Nick Giambruno: I think you’re right, Jason. Right now globalism is on the decline. But let’s define “globalism” before I explain why. This word gets thrown around a lot. But most people don’t really know what it means.

It’s very simple. Globalism is the centralization of power into a couple of global institutions: the EU, the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, NAFTA, NATO, and so on. It’s really just a polite way of describing world government, or what George H.W. Bush termed the New World Order.

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The Alternative Fact Of The Cashless Society

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Why Gold Will Benefit From The Alternative Fact Of The Cashless Society
  • Alternative facts prevail in the European Commission’s calls for cash controls
  • Terrorism is blamed for the need to control cash
  • Evidence shows criminals find alternative ways to finance activities
  • Citizens continue to want and to use cash in day-to-day life
  • Cashless society is being used to force through other ‘agendas’
  • Gold and silver will be used as savers are forced to hold assets outside of the financial system

 “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

currencyGeorge Orwell, 1984

Last week a new phrase was introduced into our lexicon by Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway. When asked about why press secretary Sean Spicer had made statements that were (according to the press) unverifiable she said that he had used ‘alternative facts’.

This prompted a raft of satire, journalists to flail their arms up at the audacity of Conway and Trump’s administration, and for people to rush out and buy George Orwell’s 1984.

Penguin, the world’s largest publisher, ordered a 75,000 copy reprint last week. Apparently more than the ‘typical reprint’ for the 1949 Orwellian classic. The ‘alternative facts’ statement echoed of ‘Newspeak’ the language used by the totalitarian government in Orwell’s 1984 to influence and control its citizens of Airstrip One (previously Britain).

European Commission Embraces Newspeak

A day after Conway’s interview the European Commission took of the advantage of the furore that continues to surround the Trump administration (the shock that the President is doing exactly what he promised to do) and introduced a proposal enforcing “restrictions on payments in cash.”

The EC apparently like to use their own version of alternative facts when it comes to arguing why we should be going cashless.

The proposal is based on a plan from February 2016 that explained, “Payments in cash are widely used in the financing of terrorist activities… In this context, the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments could also be explored. Several Member States have in place prohibitions for cash payments above a specific threshold.”

And whilst terrorists do no doubt use cash to finance some activities (the US has purportedly blown-up stockpiles of ISIS’ cash), research shows that countries with higher denominations of cash in fact experience lower levels of crime and corruption.

And what about those non-criminals? EC are failing to address the fact that law-abiding citizens still like to use cash and will continue to whilst negative interest rates and bail-ins remain a reality. Not to mention the privacy it affords us.

This Newspeak is starting to feel like we’re supposed to feel bad about using cash and instead should become inclined to move to a cashless way of life. Whilst the EC is still in proposal-stage we should be reminded that the move to cashless is very much in play, as we explained in Cashless society – War on Cash to Benefit Gold?.

Cash-Free Does Not Mean Terrorism Free

As pointed out by Zerohedge the proposal is very focused on stopping terrorism, crime and money laundering. It states:

‘Potential restrictions to cash payments would be a mean to fight criminal activities entailing large payment transactions in cash by organised criminal networks…Terrorists use cash to sustain their illegal activities, not only for illegal transactions (e.g. the acquisition of explosives) but also for payments which are in appearance legal”

But, as argued in the Sovereign Man blog, economists such as Rogoff and Stiglitz and government organisations such as the EC are relying on the myth that ‘cash facilitates illegal activity.’

Who is so naive to think that a ban on cash will stop terrorism? What they have missed is that criminal and terrorist leanings facilitate such activities, they will always find some form of means of exchange to facilitate it.

Sovereign Man explains that criminals and terrorists can, miraculously, use means other than physical cash in order to facilitate illegal activities.

“The US military has literally blown up more than a billion dollars worth of ISIS’s stockpiles of physical cash during airstrikes.

But this hasn’t affected their terrorist activities one bit.

That’s because the most notorious terrorist group on the planet famously uses both the world’s oldest currency (gold) and the world’s newest currency (Bitcoin).”

And it’s not just big terrorist groups who are able to work their way around a cash-based monetary system.

“What Stiglitz, and perhaps many law enforcement agencies, fail to realize is that one of the biggest tools in masking illegal activity is actually Amazon.com.

Specifically, Amazon gift cards.

If you’re looking to quietly and easily pay large sums of money, even tens of thousands of dollars, you can do so with Amazon gift cards.

Amazon gift cards are essentially a “cash equivalent”.

Amazon sells just about everything on the planet, so its gift cards can either be spent or quickly resold for cash.”

Cash Will Soon Not Be A Right

The EC, Rogoff and Stiglitz are all behaving as though cash is only used for illicit activities. There is apparently little thought to those of us who still use cash. Most of us look at cash as something that is both convenient and provides a way to spend money without it being anyone else’s business other than ours and the seller. But governments label this as suspicious with the intention to get us away from cash so that the banking system may be propped up and ‘bailed-in’ by our funds.

There is but a fleeting mention of the fundamental right to use cash in this recent EC proposal but it is quickly dismissed:

It should also be observed that national restrictions to cash payments were never successfully challenged based on an infringement to fundamental rights.”

Cash is still widely used, by both citizens and big businesses but this has not stopped both governments and banks looking to move us away from using cash.

The most recent example of a shift to a cashless society was of course the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in India. Whilst Prime Minister Modi acknowledged that millions had been affected he reiterated calls for the country to become a cashless society.

concentration-of-independent-atms-under-threatMeanwhile in Ireland companies are making investments on the basis of the future cashless society. US company EVO, a payment processing partner of Bank of Ireland, announced a €9.1 million move to the country that is embracing a cashless way of life. Brian Cleary, managing director of BOI Payment Acceptance Ireland and UK, an arm of Evo Payment International told the Irish Independent, ”With over six million debit and credit cards in the market, debit card spend on the increase year-on-year and over 35,000 Irish businesses offering contactless payment facilities, this number continues to grow.”

In the UK, cashless is almost as popular as the likes of the Scandinavian countries. In August 2016 More than 260 million contactless transactions were made in the UK, a 200% increase from the year before. According to a Telegraph article, ATMs are close to becoming extinct as banks will no longer finance them. Rural areas will be “the hardest hit with the South West, Scotland, and the South East where 44pc, 40pc and 33pc of cash points are under threat”

The threat of a cashless society is seemingly greater than ever, so much so that MPs are being called to investigate. As Ron Delnevo, director of the ATM Industry Association in Europe, told the Telegraph: “Some organisations want to drive people away from cash because it suits their agenda.” He also warned of a “domino effect”, saying that if one big bank pulled out of the arrangement “the whole thing will just melt”. 

Cash Controls Will Extend Beyond Cash

The EC doesn’t intend to stop just at putting controls on (or even outright banning) cash. Under the guise of preventing anonymity they believe that restrictions should be placed on all means of payment that mean people can have some privacy:

“In view of the development of cryptocurrencies and the existence of other means of payments ensuring anonymity, an option could be to extend the restrictions to cash payments to all payments ensuring anonymity (cryptocurrencies, payment in kinds, etc.). On the other hand, restrictions on cash payments could promote the development of alternative payments technologies compatible with the non-anonymity objective pursued.”

Aside from what this means for all forms of payments, it ultimately means that the EC has decided that anonymity, i.e. privacy, is a bad thing. To want it is to suggest that you are doing something criminal.

This will no doubt drive up demand for tangible currencies such as gold and silver which should be held outside of the banking system, as outlined in a letter to the FT following Gillian Tett’s article in support for a cashless society:

Sir, Gillian Tett sees some benefits in scrapping cash (February 5). I, instead, see an Orwellian nightmare where citizens’ every step is recorded in a Big Brother database for tax, financial and monetary purposes. In a certain sense cash means freedom. If cash is really scrapped by governments in the future I have no doubt that alternative tangible currencies will emerge. I will be in the front line using them.

At the moment negative interest rates and bail-ins will only work if cash cannot be removed from the system. And central banks and government are well aware of this. This is why ‘tangible currencies’ such as gold and silver are becomingly increasingly more attractive as the push for cashless society and reduced privacy, grows.

As Doctor Constantin Gurdgiev wrote:

Cash and monetary assets, such as gold, cannot be expropriated or bailed-in as long as they are held in physical form and under proper storage. Cashless accounts amplify the importance of monetary assets, such as gold, in fulfilling the function of being safe havens against systemic risks – risks that are associated with high probability of Government expropriation.

Conclusion: Gold And Silver

A cashless world means a transparent world, which is great if terrorists were the only ones using cash. But they’re really not, so a cashless world means transparent bank accounts which means restricted banks accounts.

Human behaviour and data does not support the argument for a cashless society. Instead this is seemingly a move to force to restrict our freedom and to get us to hold our wealth in a banking system where negative interest rates and bail-ins are a harsh reality and are our financial decisions are there for all to see.

Lars Feld, economic advisor to the German government, referred to cash as ‘printed freedom.’ It seems that this will not be the case for long. Unfortunately under the Newspeak guise of protecting us from criminals our cash will no longer be the ticket to a private life.

Money in a bank account is no longer yours- it is a bank deposit, an unsecured liability in a commercial bank that is entrenched in the global banking system. It relies on trust in a system that is inherently broken and on a downward spiral that is prepared to take savings and wealth with it.

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, ‘Money is coined liberty’ and many years later this is still the case for gold and silver. Unfortunately it is no longer the case for cash. History shows multiple attempts of wealth confiscation and restrictions on freedom, each time individuals and governments have returned to gold and silver in order to protect their savings and their privacy.

Going cashless will not rid us of people and organisations who wish to commit horrific and illegal acts. Instead it will encourage them to find additional ways to run their gangs and terrorist cells. For the rest of us it will remind us of the importance of liberty, safe-havens, security and the need to protect our wealth from negative interest rates, bail-ins and currency devaluations.

Whilst a government using ‘alternative facts’ and telling us that something is for the greater good when it is clearly for the greater banking system is disheartening we should embrace the role of gold and silver. The role of precious metals in a cashless society are key and investors should remember the importance of diversification and holding assets, under direct ownership, outside of the vulnerable and exposed banking system.

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Inflation…The Simple Explanation Is Theft

By GE Christenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Inflation is theft. It is a simple concept that a single mother and a retiree understand…but a PhD in Keynesian Economics probably does not. Examples:

In 1971 take $1,000 in crisp new $20 bills and place them in a safe while watching President Nixon blame speculators for the loss of Fort Knox gold. (He “temporarily” severed the last connection between gold and the U.S. dollar.) Spend those dollars in 2016 and you will feel ripped off because they would have bought most of a car in 1971, and in 2016 they might buy only four tires.

Take $400,000 and purchase an airplane in 1971. Today that $400,000 will purchase the helmet for an F-35.

A cup of coffee in 1971 probably cost about $0.25. Today it is $2.00.

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War on Cash Turns to $20, $50, and $100 Bills

Re-Blogged From Money Metals News

Harvard professor and economist Ken Rogoff is once again leading the chorus of high-level academics and officials who declare cash is only for criminals. He made his case in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial called the “Sinister Side of Cash.” The solution, he declares, is to simply get rid of anything but the smallest bank notes.

In his vision, drug dealers, human traffickers, and tax cheats are everywhere, but they are reliant on cash. Our benevolent central planners can largely incapacitate them by ridding society of anything larger than a $10 bill.

Kingpins won’t know what to do when a single-engine Cessna full of cocaine requires a Boeing 747 full of $1s, $5s, and $10s to make payment.

Rogoff seems to blame cash, not bad people, for facilitating criminal activity. He writes;
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Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road To Hyperinflation Or Cure For Debt Deflation?

[I DO NOT agree with the Helicopter Money thesis. Governments’ expansions of their money supplies unrestrictedly were the cause of every Hyperinflation the world has known, as for example in Wiemar Germany and more recently in Zimbabwe. –Bob]

By Ellen Brown – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Fifteen years after embarking on its largely ineffective quantitative easing program, Japan appears poised to try the form recommended by Ben Bernanke in his notorious “helicopter money” speech in 2002. The Japanese test case could finally resolve a longstanding dispute between monetarists and money reformers over the economic effects of government-issued money.

When then-Fed Governor Ben Bernanke gave his famous helicopter money speech to the Japanese in 2002, he was talking about something quite different from the quantitative easing they actually got and other central banks later mimicked. Quoting Milton Friedman, he said the government could reverse a deflation simply by printing money and dropping it from helicopters. A gift of free money with no strings attached, it would find its way into the real economy and trigger the demand needed to power productivity and employment.

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Don’t Get Sucked Back Into The Stock Market

By Justin Spittler – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The S&P500 hit a new all-time high. It topped 2,130 for the first time since May 2015. The benchmark index is now up 6.9% over the past two weeks.

All good, right?

It might seem that way…if we were only analyzing US stocks.

The thing is, in nearly every other market, stocks are still headed lower:

  • The Japanese Nikkei 225 is down 15% this year. It’s down 28% since last June.
  • The STOXX Europe 600, which tracks 600 large European stocks, is down 9% this year. It’s fallen 20% since April 2015.
  • The FTSE 100, Great Britain’s version of the S&P500, is down 6% since last April.

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In Praise of Usury

Re-Blogged From The Economist (from 2007)

In DANTE’S “Divine Comedy”, usurers are consigned to a flaming desert of sand within the seventh circle of hell. Attitudes have since softened a bit. Microcreditors, who offer small loans to self-employed poor people, enjoy hallowed reputations. One has even ascended to the rank of a Nobel laureate. But lending to the poor is still considered distasteful whenever it is pricey, short-term and profitable. In America, for example, many activists are quick to damn “payday” lenders, who may charge high fees for offering cash advances on a worker’s next pay cheque.

Why this hostility? To profit from lending to the poor, critics say, is to prey on the most vulnerable, at their most vulnerable moment. Faced with desperate customers, loan sharks can charge well over the odds, even when the risk of default is slight. The money they proffer is often squandered on spurious consumption, critics say, rather than productive investments that would help the borrower repay his debts. Easy credit thus tempts people into a damaging spiral of indebtedness.

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US Greenback To Rise

By IM Vronsky – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

As all monetary students well know, the value of a country’s currency is determined by many factors. Among these are Fundamental Factors, Technical Factors and Pure Political Policies (the latter based upon the immediate “needs” of the politicians in power).  Consequently, it is a daunting task to ACCURATELY forecast the future value of a nation’s currency vis-à-vis other currencies.

As I am NOT a politician, I will only focus upon the US Dollar’s Fundamentals and the Technical Factors in an attempt to forecast the future value of the US greenback.

Fundamental Factors

  • The US$ has long been the world’s universal Reserve Currency.
  • The Euro is well-nigh imploding as the Euro Union is close to collapsing.
  • Banks worldwide are close to bankruptcy.
  • The China Factor
  • Rising US Interest Rates to Fuel Greenback Higher

Technical Factors

  • Based purely upon the Technical Analysis of US$ charts.

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Financial Armageddon Looms On The Horizon As The EURO UNION IMPLOSION Nears

By IM Vronsky – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

History is testament that an ill-conceived fetus is doomed to a handicapped crippled adulthood. Thusly, many rational pundits perceive the hodge-podge jumbled union of many European nations, known as the Euro Union. But just as oil and water cannot be blended nor melded into a stable liquid, it logically follows that the haphazard mixture of many radically diverse nations are likewise immiscible…and will probably collapse in the not too distant future.

Implosion of the European System

“…Europe is made up of a good number of historically distinct nations whose diversity of political cultures, even though this diversity is not necessarily marked by national chauvinism, has sufficient weight to exclude recognition of a “European People” on the model of the United States “American people.” THIS IS A MUST READ:   http://monthlyreview.org/2012/09/01/implosion-of-the-european-system/ )

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Macy’s Crushed By Amazon

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

This is a tale of changing environments and the organisms that are, as a result, dying off.

First, consider the bricks and mortar retailers. Amazon, the dominant online seller of virtually everything, reports a spectacular quarter with soaring sales and (fairly new for them) strong profits. But in a world of flat consumer spending, where families have already used up their savings, their kids’ college funds and the loose change in their sofas to make ends meet, one store’s feast is necessarily another’s famine. And the physical retailers — which require you to actually go to them in order to buy their stuff — now find the water hole dry and the trees barren of leaves. Here’s what Macy’s reported this morning:

Macy’s results reminiscent of financial crisis

(CNBC) – Macy’s dismal first-quarter results are bringing back unwelcome memories of the financial crisis, as the retailer on Wednesday reported two metrics that harken back to that period of economic malaise.

During the first quarter, the department store chain said its comparable sales fell 5.6 percent. That marks a deceleration from its fourth-quarter same-store sales decline of 4.3 percent, and represents its most severe decrease in this metric since second quarter 2009. During that quarter, Macy’s comparable sales slid 9.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the retailer reported a 36 percent year-over-year drop in operating income. That not only marks its seventh straight quarter of year-over-year declines for this metric, but it is far steeper than any quarter during the Great Recession, said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics. In second quarter 2009, by comparison, the retailer’s operating income fell closer to 10 percent.

It’s hard to see how Macy’s survives in its current form. But it might hang on longer than Italy’s major banks, which are saddled with a profligate and therefore ungovernable home country locked within a currency union managed by Germany for Germany. The result is catastrophic:

Tumbling Banco Popolare leads Italian bank shares lower

(Reuters) – Shares in Banco Popolare plunged 14 percent on Wednesday after a surprise first-quarter loss driven by loan writedowns — the main focus of investor concerns over Italian banks.

Banco Popolare booked loan writedowns requested by the European Central Bank as a condition for approving a planned merger with Banca Popolare di Milano that will create Italy’s third-biggest banking group.

To improve its loan loss provisions Banco Popolare must raise 1 billion euros in a share issue slated for early June.

Italian banks have lost nearly 40 percent of their market value so far this year, weighed down by concerns they could need additional capital to shoulder losses from sales of bad loans that rose to 360 billion euros ($410 billion) during a long recession.

A share rebound triggered by the hasty creation last month of the fund intended to inject capital into weaker lenders and buy their bad loans proved short-lived.

Banco Popolare said late on Tuesday that it had written down loans for 684 million euros in the first quarter, nearly four times more than in the same period of 2015, posting a net loss of 314 million euros for the first three months.

CEO Pierfrancesco Saviotti told an analyst call that the loan writedowns were the first step towards selling chunks of bad loans and that it would book further provisions this year.

He said the ECB wanted provisions to cover 62 percent of the most troubled loans up from a 60 percent coverage ratio the bank reached in the first quarter.

Bankers say other Italian banks are likely to follow in the steps of Banco Popolare and raise cash to make up for loan losses.

Loans to insolvent borrowers are valued on average at around 40 percent of their nominal value on Italian banks’ balance sheets but market prices for these assets reach at most 30-35 cents on the dollar when the loan is backed by a good-quality property.

The problem for both physical retailers and Italian banks is that the world continues to change in unfavorable ways. E-commerce keeps getting easier and more fun, and malls as a result keep getting emptier, with no end in sight. (Actually there is an end in sight, which is when most malls are cleared of bankrupt retailers and converted to refugee housing.)

As for Italian banks, the euro is up lately, which makes Italy that much less competitive on global markets and Italian borrowers that much less likely to cover their payments. And with interest rates trending ever-more-negative, there’s not much for even a well-run bank to do with excess capital these days.

Which leads inescapably to the conclusion that while Macy’s and the Italian banks are the weakest and therefore most vulnerable organisms in this ecosystem, they’re just the first to go. Other US retailers will report a string of bad numbers in the coming month and other banks around the world will follow the Italians’ lead. Here’s a Zero Hedge chart comparing the stock price of Germany’s iconic Deutsche Bank to (iconic in a different way) Lehman Brothers pre-Great Recession:

As a result, in the coming year the dominant question will morph from “what to buy?” to “what crashes next?”

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The Coming Market Rout

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Several days ago, IM Vronsky wrote that the big banks are in deep trouble. Since the financial reporting of these companies leave out much of the data necessary to evaluate these companies, he pointed to the price history (and technicals) of several bank stocks.

While stock prices reflect only the collective market sentiment based on the incomplete reporting, it does indicate that all is not well in River City.

Looking at the overall market first, we find that prices peaked about a year ago and since have turned down. Lets look at some factors affecting stock prices.

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Banks Brutally Bleeding

By IM Vronsky – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

All avid students well know a nation’s economy depends a great deal upon the strength of its financial system…to wit: the stability of its banks.  To be sure most major banks are “crowing” stability, strength and all that exemplifies security.  But is it true?! What is really the financial solidarity of major world banks?

This analysis will reveal the international banking system as a House of Cards (at best) and a rickety, fragile, unsound, unstable, weak and unsound Garage for Storing Cash (at worst).

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

By Doug Casey – Re-Blogged From International Man

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

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

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

Modern banking emerged from the goldsmithing trade of the Middle Ages. Being a goldsmith required a working inventory of precious metal, and managing that inventory profitably required expertise in buying and selling metal and storing it securely. Those capacities segued easily into the business of lending and borrowing gold, which is to say the business of lending and borrowing money.

Most people today are only dimly aware that until the early 1930s, gold coins were used in everyday commerce by the general public. In addition, gold backed most national currencies at a fixed rate of convertibility. Banks were just another business—nothing special. They were distinguished from other enterprises only by the fact they stored, lent, and borrowed gold coins, not as a sideline but as a primary business. Bankers had become goldsmiths without the hammers.

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Q&A with Mr. Silver Market

By GE Christenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Q:      Most people do not value silver and prefer to invest in bonds from big governments.  Why?

A:       Most people would prefer to follow the herd because following the herd is comforting and often correct.  Occasionally it is disastrous.  I suspect the next few years will see the herd slaughtered.  (Bubbles always pop and bonds are in a bubble.)

***

Q:      Silver has gone down for almost five years.  Will it continue to drop?

A:       Probably not, but if you are stacking for the long term, you care little!  Silver was valuable and minted into coins 2,000 years ago in the Roman era.  It will remain valuable 1,000 years from now, long after the Federal Reserve, the EU, the Bank of Japan, and dollars, yen, euros, and pounds have been forgotten.

***

Q:      The global financial system is based on debt and is no longer backed by gold or silver.  Why?

A:       Banks are far more profitable if they are not constrained by a gold standard.  Also politicians can easily spend, buy more votes, and receive payoffs under a fiat paper currency system not backed by gold.  Military contractors profit from the wars that would probably not happen under a gold standard.  Borrow and spend is the “battle cry” of politicians and bankers because it works for them – at least for now.

***

Q:      Former Federal Reserve Benjamin S. Bernanke was critical of gold.  Why?

A:       Consider the source, his loyalties, and what he was selling.  Does the Chairman of Wal-Mart encourage people to shop at Target?  Do Ford managers buy Chevys?  Does the Pope advocate for Muslims?  Do US Presidents discourage military adventures or Wall Street?

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An Open Letter To The Banks

By Keirh Weiner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase

Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Michael Corbat, Citigroup

Gentlemen:

On Friday, I attended a digital money summit at the Consumer Electronics Show. I am writing to you to warn you about the disruption that is about to occur in banking. There are many startups (and larger companies too) that are gunning for you. Perhaps you have watched what Uber has done to the taxi business? Well, these guys are planning the same thing for the banking business.

Banks used to allow even a child with a $10 deposit to spread his risk across a large portfolio of loans. At the same time, banks made it possible for a corporate borrower to raise $10,000,000 from a large group of depositors. In short, the banking business is investment aggregation and risk management.

That business cannot be disrupted. The bigger it gets, the more difficult to displace. It’s like eBay, all the depositors come to the bank because that’s where they can earn interest. All the borrowers come, because that’s where they can get the money they need. The bigger the bank gets, at least in a free market under the gold standard, the safer it is for depositors.

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Double Barrelled Hidden Q.E. To Infinity

By Jim Willie – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

We were just treated to a fake official rate hike, and it was cleverly executed. The recent supposed USFed rate hike was a gigantic fraud, a misdirection, a clever ploy, and an act of extreme desperation. We were told of an official 25 basis point interest rate hike. But a hike of 0.25% is nowhere to be seen.

The reality is that the USFed is so strapped, so deeply under siege, so overwhelmed, that it requires urgent help from the USDept Treasury. So they have expanded QE to become Double Barreled Hidden QE to Infinity. It has an important feature now, with national security stamped on it. This is truly the end game for the USDollar. Big thanks to Rob Kirby and EuroRaj on my colleague team for leading the way and shining the spotlight. Their abilities to see through the maze, smoke, mirrors, and din is impressive.

Consider the many points, which can be connected. As they say, connecting the dots can lead to conclusions more clearly, when the dots display a recognized picture. The deception was well organized, well planned, well delivered, and well done generally. Most financial analysts only read the headline, then gobble the false message. Most traders only read the headline, and look for quick profit while anticipating the moves by the dullard masses. Best to look for the reality, and plan for the long run survival. Take a closer look at the developments within the USTreasury market where private accounts have emerged in recent months to purchase the referenced inventory of USTreasurys that China and others are dumping.

NO RATE MOVEMENT & INVERSION SUDDENLY

The effective Fed Funds rate has not risen by 25 basis points. More like 10 to 15 bpts, depending upon the day. In fact, the Fed suddenly finds itself in an awkward position, with an

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Prove You’re Not a Terrorist

By Jeff Thomas – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Recently, France decided to crack down on those people who make cash payments and withdrawals and who hold small bank accounts. The reason given was, not surprisingly, to “fight terrorism,” the handy catchall justification for any new restriction governments wish to impose on their citizens. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin stated at the time, “[T]errorism feeds on fraud, money laundering, and petty trafficking.”

And so, in future, people in France will not be allowed to make cash payments exceeding €1,000 (down from €3,000). Additionally, cash deposits and withdrawals totaling more than €10,000 per month will be reported to Tracfin—an anti-fraud and money laundering agency.

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