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The Rise Of Totalitarianism: Banks Denying Services Based On Political Views

The Rise Of Totalitarianism: Banks Denying Services Based On Political Views

Then British Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks during a visit at Dover harbour, in Dover, Britain, on Aug. 12, 2020. (Matthew Childs/Reuters)

When the Berlin Wall fell, I naively supposed that freedom was now secure, that never again would the spectre of totalitarianism return to Europe. I failed to take into account what I should have known, that the thirst for power is at least as great as that for freedom. Freedom and power are forever locked into a kind of Manichaean struggle, as are good and evil, and the thirst for power is perfectly capable of making an instrument of supposed good causes.

History doesn’t repeat itself, at least not in precisely the same way. The new totalitarianism doesn’t resort to thugs in the street and the midnight knock on the door. It’s somewhat more subtle than that, but nonetheless ruthless and dangerous for all its subtlety.

In Britain, a well-known politician, Nigel Farage, has had his bank account closed by a bank called Coutts that specializes in rich clients. It’s owned by the much larger National Westminster Bank, whose largest single shareholder by far, since the banking crisis of 2008, is the British government.

Mr. Farage is a well-known figure, the scourge of the Euro-federalists, and probably more responsible than any other single person for the referendum vote in 2016 for Britain to leave the European Union. Like most public figures with both strong opinions and a strong personality, Mr. Farage is both widely admired and widely detested. If you ask someone about him, he’s unlikely to answer, “On the one hand, on the other …”

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The US Banking System Is Sound?

The US Banking System Is Sound?

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen keeps insisting that the banking system is “sound.” Is it though? Because it doesn’t look particularly sound.

In fact, we just witnessed the second-largest US bank failure ever.

Government regulators seized control of First Republic Bank over the weekend and sold the majority of the bank’s operations to JP Morgan Chase. It was the third major bank failure this year and the biggest bank to collapse since the 2008 financial crisis. It was the second-largest bank by assets to fail in US history.

First Republic went under after it revealed $100 billion in deposit losses in the first quarter.

The beleaguered bank has been struggling for a while. It was initially bailed out back in March with $30 billion in deposits from several large banks, including JP Morgan and Wells Fargo. The bank also borrowed heavily from the Federal Reserve’s bank bailout program. First Republic shares tumbled 75% last week before the FDIC stepped in.

While JP Morgan is taking over First Republic’s business, the FDIC will provide “shared-loss agreements.” As the FDIC website explains it, “the FDIC absorbs a portion of the loss on a specified pool of assets sold through the resolution of a failing bank – in effect sharing the loss with the purchaser of the failing bank.”

If we are to believe the mainstream narrative, the failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank were isolated events and do not reflect a broader problem in the banking system. But as we have reported, these bank failures are just the tip of the iceberg. A report by the Wall Street Journal cites a study from Stanford and Columbia Universities that found 186 US banks are in distress.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Peter Schiff: Bank Bailouts Will Devalue the Dollar

Peter Schiff: Bank Bailouts Will Devalue the Dollar

  BY    0   0

Peter Schiff appeared on NTD News to talk about the bank bailout and the March Federal Reserve meeting. During the conversation, Peter explained that everybody is going to pay for these bailouts because they will ultimately devalue the dollar as inflation skyrockets.

During his press conference after the March FOMC meeting, Jerome Powell said the banking system is “sound and resilient.” Peter said it’s not sound at all.

It’s a house of cards that is starting to collapse.”

Peter explained how the banking system became so unsound.

First, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates at zero for over a decade. During that time, banks loaded up on low-yielding, long-term Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. With interest rates so low, they had to go out further on the yield curve. And the reason they were able to take so much risk is because the government guarantees bank accounts. That created a moral hazard. Customers didn’t care what the banks did with their money because they knew the government would bail them out.

Thanks to the mistakes the Fed has made since the 2008 crisis, we have a much bigger bubble now. The Fed caused the bubble that led to the financial crisis of 2008, and then they inflated a bigger bubble to try to paper over those mistakes and kick the can down the road so that we wouldn’t have to deal with the full consequences of resolving all those mistakes. And of course, we just compounded the problem with bigger mistakes and now the US economy is poised on the biggest economic disaster in its history.”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Is a full-blown global banking meltdown in the offing?

Is a full-blown global banking meltdown in the offing?

If everything is fine, then why have US banks borrowed $153 billion at a punitive 4.75% against collateral at the discount window, a larger amount than in 2008/9?
A New Banking Crisis?

(Express Illustration)

Financial crashes like revolutions are impossible until they are inevitable. They typically proceed in stages. Since central banks began to increase interest rates in response to rising inflation, financial markets have been under pressure.

In 2022, there was the crypto meltdown (approximately $2 trillion of losses).

The S&P500 index fell about 20 percent. The largest US technology companies, which include Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon, lost around $4.6 trillion in market value  The September 2022 UK gilt crisis may have cost $500 billion. 30 percent of emerging market countries and 60 percent of low-income nations face a debt crisis. The problems have now reached the financial system, with US, European and Japanese banks losing around $460 billion in market value in March 2023.

While it is too early to say whether a full-fledged financial crisis is imminent, the trajectory is unpromising.

***

The affected US regional banks had specific failings. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (“SVB”) highlighted the interest rate risk of financing holdings of long-term fixed-rate securities with short-term deposits. SVB and First Republic Bank (“FRB”) also illustrate the problem of the $250,000 limit on Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) coverage. Over 90 percent of failed SVB and Signature Bank as well as two-thirds of FRB deposits were uninsured, creating a predisposition to a liquidity run in periods of financial uncertainty.

The crisis is not exclusively American. Credit Suisse has been, to date, the highest-profile European institution affected. The venerable Swiss bank — which critics dubbed  ‘Debit Suisse’ — has a troubled history of banking dictators, money laundering, sanctions breaches, tax evasion and fraud, shredding documents sought by regulators and poor risk management evidenced most recently by high-profile losses associated with hedge fund Archegos and fintech firm Greensill.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

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

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

Bank 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.

Bank deposits, until quite recently, fell strictly into two classes, depending on the preference of the depositor and the terms offered by banks: time deposits, and demand deposits. Although the distinction between them has been lost in recent years, respecting the difference is a critical element of sound banking practice.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

 

Silicon Valley Bank Crisis: The Liquidity Crunch We Predicted Has Now Begun

Silicon Valley Bank Crisis: The Liquidity Crunch We Predicted Has Now Begun

There has been an avalanche of information and numerous theories circulating the past few days about the fate of a bank in California know as SVB (Silicon Valley Bank). SVB was the 16th largest bank in the US until it abruptly failed and went into insolvency on March 10th. The impetus for the collapse of the bank is tied to a $2 billion liquidity loss on bond sales which caused the institution’s stock value to plummet over 60%, triggering a bank run by customers fearful of losing some or most of their deposits.

There are many fine articles out there covering the details of the SVB situation, but what I want to talk about more is the root of it all. The bank’s shortfalls are not really the cause of the crisis, they are a symptom of a wider liquidity drought that I predicted here at Alt-Market months ago, including the timing of the event.

First, though, let’s discuss the core issue, which is fiscal tightening and the Federal Reserve. In my article ‘The Fed’s Catch-22 Taper Is A Weapon, Not A Policy Error’, published in December of 2021, I noted that the Fed was on a clear path towards tightening into economic weakness, very similar to what they did in the early 1980s during the stagflation era and also somewhat similar to what they did at the onset of the Great Depression. Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke even openly admitted that the Fed caused the depression to spiral out of control due to their tightening policies.

In that same article I discussed the “yield curve” being a red flag for an incoming crisis:

…click on the above link to read the rest…

 

Iran, Russia integrate banking systems

Iran, Russia integrate banking systems

52 Iranian and 106 Russian banks integrated their interbank communication and transfer systems for trade and financial operations
https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/GettyImages-137267465-e1675103591506.webp

(Photo Credit : Atta Kenare/AFP)

A top Iranian official announced on 30 January that Iran and Russia had integrated their interbank communication and transfer systems to help enhance trade and financial operations in an effort to bypass strict economic sanctions on their financial infrastructure.

With the signing of the agreement, 52 Iranian and 106 Russian banks are connected through the Russian Financial Message Transfer System, which will facilitate economic relations between the two countries, said Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Mohsen Karimi.

“This system is immune to sanctions as it is based on the infrastructures of both countries,” Karimi said, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency.

The global consortium SWIFT, the world leader in secure financial messaging services, excluded Iranian banks from its system following the reimposition of economic sanctions by the United States on Iran in 2018.

As a result of that suspension of services, the Iranian banking system is disconnected from the international one, making banking transactions with other countries difficult.

Russia was partially excluded from SWIFT last year due to its invasion of Ukraine.

While economic relations between the two countries have grown to 4 billion in recent years, Tehran has sold drones to Russia, which it has used in its invasion of Ukraine.

Official trips between the two countries have also multiplied in recent months, with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visiting Russia in January 2022 and Iranian Foreign Minister Hosein Amir Abdolahian making two trips to the Russian capital in less than a year.

“In today’s world, a country’s status is largely related to its economic power … We need economic growth to maintain our
regional and global position,” Iran’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said in a televised speech.

As West, Debt & Stocks Implode, East Gold & Oil Will Explode

AS WEST, DEBT & STOCKS IMPLODE, EAST GOLD & OIL WILL EXPLODE 

“The risk of over-tightening by the European Central Bank is nothing less than catastrophic” says Prof Kenneth Rogoff .

At Davos he also said: “Italy is extremely vulnerable. But this could pop anywhere. Global debt has gone up massively since the pandemic: public debt, corporate debt, everything.”

Rogoff believes that it is a miracle that the world averted a financial crisis in 2022, but the odds of a major accident are shortening as the delayed effects of past tightening feed through.

As Rogoff said: “We were very fortunate that we didn’t have a global systemic event in 2022, and we can count our blessings for that, but rates are still going higher and the risk keeps rising.”

But lurking in the murkiness is also the global financial assets/liabilities which is almost $500 trillion including the shadow banking system at 46% of the total. The shadow banking sector includes  pension funds, hedge funds and other financial institutions which are largely unregulated.

oil

Shadow banking is not subject to the normal mark-to-market rules. Thus no one knows what the real position or losses are. This means that central banks are in the dark when it comes to evaluation of the real risks of the system.

Clearly, I am not the only one harping on about the catastrophic global debt/liability situation.

And no one knows the extent of total global derivatives. But if they have grown in line with debt and also with the shadow banking system, they could easily be in excess of $3 quadrillion.

oil

Cultures don’t die overnight, but the US has been in decline since at least the Vietnam war in the 1960s. Interestingly, the US has not had a real Budget surplus since the early 1930s with a handful of years of exception.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Fed Is a Purely Political Institution, and It’s Definitely Not a Bank.

The Fed Is a Purely Political Institution, and It’s Definitely Not a Bank.

fedpic

Those who know Wall Street lore sometimes recall that Fed chairman William Miller—Paul Volcker’s immediate predecessor—joked that most Americans believed the Federal Reserve was either an Indian reservation, a wildlife preserve, or a brand of whiskey. The Fed, of course, is none of those things, but there’s also one other thing the Federal Reserve is not: an actual bank. It is simply a government agency that does bank-like things.

It’s easy to see why many people might think it is a bank. “Bank” is right there in the name of the twelve regional banks that make up the system: for example, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The Fed also enjoys many titles that make it sound like a bank. It’s sometimes called the “lender of last resort.” Or it is sometimes called “a banker’s bank.” Moreover, many people often call the Fed “the central bank.” That phrase is useful enough, but not quite true.

Moreover, even critics of the bank often repeat the myth that the Federal Reserve is “a private bank,” as if that were the main problem with the Federal Reserve. And then there are the economists who like to spread fairy tales about how the Fed is “independent” from the political system and makes decisions based primarily on economic theory as interpreted by wise economists.

The de facto reality of the Federal Reserve is that it is a government agency, run by government technocrats, that enjoys the benefits of being subject to very little oversight from Congress. It is no more “private” than the Environmental Protection Agency, and it is no more a “bank” than the US Department of the Treasury.

It’s a Purely Political Institution

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A Banking Crisis Looms

A Banking Crisis Looms

My columns have turned rather apocalyptic of late, but for a valid reason. Just this week, we got confirmation that our financial system is, again, on the brink of collapse, when the Bank of England (BOE) was forced to enact, de facto, a bailout of the pension funds of the United Kingdom.

On Sept. 28, around noon, the Bank of England stepped (back) into the gilt markets and started buying government bonds with longer maturities to stop the collapse in their value, which could have caused the financial system to become unhinged. Pension funds were faced with major margin calls, which threatened to cause a rapidly cascading run on their liabilities, as trust in their liquidity and solvency would have become questioned by a widening circle of investors and customers.

Effectively, the BOE stepped in to limit the vicious circle of margin calls faced by pension funds because of the crashing values of the gilts.

Without the BOE intervention, mass insolvencies of pension funds—and thus most likely other financial institutions—could have commenced that afternoon. It’s obvious that if one of the major financial hubs of the world, the City of London, would face a financial panic, it would spread to the rest of the world in an instant.

It looks as though the global financial system was pulled from the brink of collapse, once again, by central bankers. However, this was only a temporary fix.

It’s now clear that an outright financial collapse threatens all Western economies, because if pension funds, often considered very dull investors because of their risk-averse investing profile, face a threat to their insolvency, it can happen to any other financial institution…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pozsar Warns Of Another “Lehman Weekend” As Russia Sanctions May Trigger Central Bank Liquidity Flood

Pozsar Warns Of Another “Lehman Weekend” As Russia Sanctions May Trigger Central Bank Liquidity Flood

In a remarkable show of force and unity, western powers cast aside all their previous concerns about Russian energy supplies and uniliaterally announced the nuclear option of imposing sanctions on the Russian central bank coupled with targeted exclusions from SWIFT of key Russian banks.

  • *EU APPROVES BANNING ALL TRANSACTIONS WITH RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK

The move has sparked a bank run in Russia, as locals scramble to pull out whatever hard currency they can get their hands on before it runs out, and is certain to trigger chaotic moves in FX and commodities when markets reopen in a few hours. Already some Russian banks are offering to exchange rubles for dollars at a rate of 171 rubles per dollar on Sunday, compared to the official closing price of 83 on Friday before the European/US announcement about targeting the Russian central bank. In other words we are looking at a 50%+ devaluation of the Ruble. Additionally, widespread announcements of divestments in Russian equities by the likes of BP pls and the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund mean that the Russian market will be a bloodbath on Monday.

As Bloomberg notes, commodities are heading for a manic start to the week as investors scramble to assess how the West’s latest sanctions on Russia will affect flows of energy, metals and crops.

The coming days are fraught with event risk for crude, even aside from the sanctions fallout. There’s a midweek meeting of OPEC+ on output; the Biden administration may tap stockpiles; and Iranian nuclear talks look to be nearing a conclusion. On top of that, American crude inventories at the key Cushing hubcould sink to the lowest since 2014 if there’s another modest draw.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trudeau Will Freeze the Bank Accounts of All Protestors

Desperate and unwilling to speak directly to the truckers, Justin Trudeau is now vowing to freeze the personal and business bank accounts of those involved in the Freedom Convoy. Trudeau is drunk with power and passed the emergency order despite the premiers of Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta stating it is an unnecessary move. Only Ontario’s Doug Ford supports the extreme measure. Quebec Premier Francois Legault believes the emergency order will “throw oil on the fire.”

This is the first time that a Canadian prime minister invoked the 1988 Emergencies Act, which is intended for an “urgent and critical situation” that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians.” Deeming a peaceful protest an act of terrorism is an act of free speech oppression. Trudeau believes he deserves praise for refraining from deploying troops to end the protest through violence. “We are not suspending fundamental rights or overriding the Charter of Rights and Freedom. We’re not limiting people’s freedom of speech. We are not limiting freedom of peaceful assembly. We are not preventing people from exercising their right to protest legally,” Trudeau said while speaking at Parliament Hill on Monday.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told reporters, “We would prefer that the emergency act not be invoked. But if it is, we would very much prefer that it not be applied to Alberta. It’s not needed. It could make the situation even more complicated.” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe stated that the police already have the tools required to remove illegal blockades, therefore, “Saskatchewan does not support the Trudeau government invoking the Emergencies Act.” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh supports Trudeau’s decision but said it points to a larger problem with the Trudeau Administration. “The fact that the Prime Minister is resorting to this measure is proof of a failure of leadership…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Inflation Is The Kryptonite That Will End Our Decades-Long Monetary Policy Ponzi Scheme

Inflation Is The Kryptonite That Will End Our Decades-Long Monetary Policy Ponzi Scheme

“It means buckle your seatbelt Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye.”

The linchpin that allows the world’s nefarious central banking model to be so effective is that the commonfolk – the plumber, the electrician, the teacher, the bartender, bus driver or barber – don’t understand it.

Countless times, I have reminded my readers and listeners that the inflationary “machinery of night” blankets the most regressive tax possible upon the people who can least afford it, and does so in an extraordinarily convenient way for elites, politicians, central bankers and central planners whose titles and “jobs” hinge upon nobody questioning them and/or figuring out how the system works in the first place.

Today, the fabric of our modern banking world is held together by a logical fallacy of a system, wherein central banks are afforded the asinine luxury of being able to print infinite amounts of “money”, which is then disproportionately distributed toward the ruling class, billionaires, and elites, instead of the people who need it the most.

This shows up, literally, as a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” that has widened consistently since the late 1970’s.

As a result of the most recent re-distribution of purchasing power disguised as “monetary stimulus” during the Covid-19 “crisis”, billionaires amassed an additional $4.1 trillion of wealth during a period of time in which the World Bank estimates that “some 100 million people have fallen into extreme poverty,” Bloomberg reported, in conjunction with the World Inequality Report, in December.

As I have asked many times, when the Fed considers stimulating by printing trillions: why not just divide up the money evenly amongst everybody in the country? Why must it be re-balanced and then deployed in a fashion that benefits those who already own financial assets?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Zombie Ship of Theseus

The Ship of Theseus is an old philosophical thought experiment. It asks a question about identity. Suppose you replace all of the boards of a ship with new ones—is it still the same ship?

We are not going to try to resolve this millennia-old paradox. Instead, we are going to add one more element, and then tie it to the monetary system. The additional element is what if the replacement boards are adulterated in some way. That is, each new board is warped, or weakened, or otherwise not fit for purpose.

It should be clear that replacing boards with unsound wood does not alter reality, only the ship. It does not remove any constraints such as the need to be watertight. It does not make anything better, only adds new flaws.

Let’s call this new ship, with each original board replaced with these adulterated boards, the Zombie Ship of Theseus. It looks like the Ship of Theseus. However, it does not work like it. It has been corrupted to work in a different way, i.e. to lull sailors into going out to sea, where a storm will drown them.

 

The History of our Warped Monetary System and Currency

So how does this relate to the monetary system and the currency? There has been a centuries-long process of replacing important boards. Let’s highlight the key changes.

The Original System

At the Founding of America, there was the original Ship of Theseus. One had the right to deposit one’s gold (we will leave out silver, as this complicates the story somewhat) and get a paper bank note in exchange. Or one could keep one’s gold, if one did not like the terms. One had the right to redeem the note, and get one’s gold back…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

War Drums Are Beating

War Drums Are Beating

A RISK NOT DISCUSSED

It was around 2017 when I began seeing the ridiculous climate hysteria being pushed not just by dreadlocked physics deniers chaining themselves to trees but at an institutional level.

This, I thought to myself, was something very, very dangerous and which — if taken to any greater level — would ultimately bring about war.

The past two decades have seen Russia sanctioned and repeatedly threatened by Western powers. One of the many threats and arguably the most fierce has been eliminating Russia from the international payments system SWIFT.

Prepare a swift response to Russia invading Ukraine, Latvia tells west

From the article:

A swift reprisal package against Russia – including US troops and Patriot missiles stationed in the Baltics, the cutting off of Russia from the Swift banking payments system and reinstated sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – must be prepared now in case it invades Ukraine, the Latvian foreign minister has said.

And this:

“If Nato fails to protect its member states or its territories,” he warned, “then it will not just be a military and political failure but a complete mental collapse of the system of values that have been built since the end of world war two. It will mean the whole transatlantic community will be in complete disarray and the glue that keeps us together has failed”.

This horse has already bolted. The “glue” holding this ball of wax together is more like slime and “isht” is falling through the cracks in every direction, while the bureaucrats desperately try to hold it all together. It won’t work.

Now, this isn’t solely an EU-Russia issue. This is a West vs East issue.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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