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Ask the Expert – Nomi Prins – October 2019

Ask the Expert – Nomi Prins – October 2019

Ask the Expert - Nomi Prins - October 2019

Bestselling author Nomi Prins is an American author, journalist, and public speaker. A former managing director at Goldman Sachs and senior managing director at Bear Stearns, her latest book is Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World. Her previous book All the Presidents’ Bankers explored over a century of close relationships between 19 Presidents from Teddy Roosevelt through Barack Obama and the key bankers of their day, based on original archival documents. Prins also received recognition for her whistleblower book, It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street , for her views on the U.S. economy, for her published spending figures on federal programs and initiatives related to the 2008 bailout, and for her advocacy for the reinstatement of the Glass–Steagall Act and regulatory reform of the financial industry.

This month, Nomi answers seven of your listener-submitted questions, including:

• When will the U.S. dollar end its reign as global reserve currency?

•  Should you be concerned about gold confiscation?

  • Plus: If the financial system crashes, are you at risk?

Expect Buybacks to Sustain Markets

Expect Buybacks to Sustain Markets

Expect Buybacks to Sustain Markets

With uncertainty swirling around the financial markets right now, many are warning about a financial storm brewing and how to navigate through it.

Let’s consider the storm elements in the world right now. The ongoing trade war is obviously a major concern, which is nowhere near being resolved. Growth is slowing in many parts of the world and central banks are preparing to begin cutting rates again.

Geopolitical tensions are also rising again, especially in the Persian Gulf. Late last week, Iranian forces seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important chokepoints. Britain has demanded the ship’s release.

On the U.S. domestic front, we are facing government dysfunctional, trade war uncertainty and a looming debt ceiling deadline. A deal will likely be reached, but that is not a guarantee. If a deal isn’t reached, the federal government would run out of money to pay its bills.

That’s why you should consider the tactics of Warren Buffett along with the strategy used by some of the most skilled sailors.

Buffett, one of the most successful investors in history, has made billions by knowing how to steer through storms. One of my favorite Buffettisms has to do with keeping your eye on the horizon, a steady-as-she-goes approach to investing. It also happens to relate to sailing.

As he famously said, “I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.”

What that means is that you should carefully consider what’s ahead and choose your course accordingly. Buffett doesn’t strive to be a hero if the risk of failing, or crashing against the rocks (in sailing lingo), is too great.

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

Assange and the Unforgivable Sin of Disemboweling Official Narratives

Assange and the Unforgivable Sin of Disemboweling Official Narratives

The entire global status quo is on the cusp of the S-Curve decline phase.

There is really only one unforgivable sin in the political realm, and that’s destroying the official narrative by revealing the facts of the matter. This is why whistleblowers who make public the secret machinery of the elaborately artful lies underpinning all official narratives are hounded to the ends of the Earth.

Employees of state entities such as Ellsberg, Manning and Snowden are bound by vows of secrecy and threatened by the promise of severe punishment.Outsiders such as Assange are even further beyond the pale because they can’t be accused of being traitors, as they never took the vows of secrecy required by the Deep State. 

The single most damaging revelation to all the elaborate lies that make up official narratives is the truth revealed in official emails, documents and conversations. This is why virtually every document and correspondence is now “classified,” so anyone releasing even a mundane scrap can be sentenced to rot in federal prison.

In a recent C-SPAN interview, author Nomi Prins explained the incredible difficulty of accessing papers in presidential libraries now due to virtually everything being classified. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) applications must be filed, and researchers must wait years to gain access to routine correspondence that was freely available to all a decade or so ago.

Official paranoia has a 100% correlation with the amount of damage done to official narratives by any leaks of the facts of the matter. What are they so afraid of? Here’s the dynamic in play: the more fragile the narrative, the greater the dependence on half-truths and lies, the greater the official urgency to crush all whistleblowers and maintain a Stasi-like vigilance against any murmurs of dissent or doubt.

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

Get Used to the “Powell Put”

Get Used to the “Powell Put”

In the land of the Federal Reserve and its market-manipulating mechanisms, there’s now an unofficial market term called the “Powell Put” or the “Powell Pivot.”

It is in direct reference to Fed chairman Jerome Powell. Before he became chairman, Wall Street referred to prior heads’ policies with terms like the “Greenspan Put” the “Bernanke Put” and the “Yellen Put.”

In layman’s terms, what the term means is that if the markets fall by too much, the Fed will swoop in and try to save the day, the month, or the year. A “put” in options terminology is insurance against a drop in prices. Nowadays, the “Powell Put” is the market’s insurance that the Fed will act to stimulate the markets if necessary.

Markets had been waiting for it to materialize. But Powell had previously talked about the need to raise rates to give the Fed “enough ammunition to fight the next crisis.” The size of the Fed’s balance sheet would also have to be reduced enough to provide it enough room to grow if needed.

Markets began to worry the Powell Put might never materialize when he raised interest rates in December, when the market was in the middle of a severe correction (that nearly culminated in a bear market). He also said the balance sheet reductions, or quantitative tightening, would run on “autopilot.”

Markets tanked on his comments. But then on Jan. 4, after stocks fell nearly 20%, the “Powell Put” finally materialized.

In comments addressing the American Economic Association, Powell said he was “prepared to adjust policy quickly and flexibly.”

And about the balance sheet reduction policy that was on autopilot in November, he said

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

Wall Street, Banks and Angry Citizens

Wall Street, Banks and Angry Citizens

A major question remains unanswered when it comes to the state of Main Street, not just here but across the planet. If the global economy really is booming, as many politicians claim, why are leaders and their parties around the world continuing to get booted out of office in such a sweeping fashion?

One obvious answer: the post-Great Recession economic “recovery” was largely reserved for the few who could participate in the rising financial markets of those years, not the majority who continued to work longer hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, to stay afloat. In other words, the good times have left out so many people, like those struggling to keep even a few hundred dollars in their bank accounts to cover an emergency or the 80% of American workers who live paycheck to paycheck.

In today’s global economy, financial security is increasingly the property of the 1%. No surprise, then, that, as a sense of economic instability continued to grow over the past decade, angst turned to anger, a transition that — from the U.S. to the Philippines, Hungary to Brazil, Poland to Mexico — has provoked a plethora of voter upheavals. In the process, a 1930s-style brew of rising nationalism and blaming the “other” — whether that other was an immigrant, a religious group, a country, or the rest of the world — emerged.

This phenomenon offered a series of Trumpian figures, including of course The Donald himself, an opening to ride a wave of “populism” to the heights of the political system. That the backgrounds and records of none of them — whether you’re talking about Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Rodrigo Duterte, or Jair Bolsonaro (among others) — reflected the daily concerns of the “common people,” as the classic definition of populism might have it, hardly mattered. Even a billionaire could, it turned out, exploit economic insecurity effectively and use it to rise to ultimate power.

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

Three Concerns Hanging Over the Davos Elite

Three Concerns Hanging Over the Davos Elite

This week, the global elite descended private jets to their version of winter ski-camp – the lifestyles of the rich and powerful version.  The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) five-day annual networking extravaganza kicked off in the upscale ski resort town of Davos, Switzerland.

Every year, the powers-that-be join the WEF, select a theme, uniting some 3000 participants ranging from public office holders to private company executives to the few organizations that truly do help fix the world that they mess up.  This year’s theme is “Globalization 4.0”, or the digital revolution. The idea being, the potential tech take-over of jobs, and what wealthier countries are doing to lesser developed ones in the process.

While the topic might be focused on the future, the present is just as troubling, if not more so, than the future.   Such is the disconnect between real people and corporations.  That’s what the estimated 600,000 Swiss Franc membership to be a part of the WEF constellation gets you as a CEO at the Davos table.

Government leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro and Chinese Vice President, Wang Qishan are in attendance this week. Business leaders like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon will also take part in the festivities.

Yet, even though the various leaders will likely promote their achievements, what’s lurking behind the pristine snowcapped Alps, is a dark foreboding of a less secure world. Nearly every major forecast from around the world is projecting an economic slowdown. As one Bloomberg article reports, “companies are the most bearish since 2016 as economic data falls short of expectations and political risks mount amid an international trade war, U.S. government shutdown and Brexit.”

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

Volatility Holds the Key to Markets in 2019

Volatility Holds the Key to Markets in 2019

Over the last two weeks, after making good on the four-rate interest hike of 2018, Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell, became more dovish to start 2019.

His change in tone is worth considering because of his historical stance on reducing the amount of artificial stimulus coming from the Fed. Last week, after the required five-year holding period for Fed transcripts were up, we got a glimpse into Powell’s thoughts from 2013, before he was Chairman.

Powell tried to persuade then-Chairman, Ben Bernanke, to reduce the Fed’s stimulus, even though it would lead to greater near-term market volatility. That was when the third round of the Fed’s asset-buying program (QE3) was in full swing. The Fed was purchasing an estimated $85 billion per month mix of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

To indicate that the Fed wouldn’t buy bonds forever, Bernanke floated the idea of slowing down its program, or “tapering,” at some non-defined future date.

Powell, on the other hand, believed the market needed a specific “road map” of the Fed’s intentions. He said that he wasn’t “concerned about a little bit of volatility” though he was “concerned that there may be more than that here.”

Indeed, once Bernanke publicly announced the possibility of the Fed’s bond-buying program slowing down, the market tanked, in a response that became known as a “taper tantrum.” As a result, Bernanke backed off the tapering idea.

Fear of more taper tantrums kept the Fed in check after that. The Fed ultimately waited until it had raised rates sufficiently, before starting to cut the size of its balance sheet. But now Powell is the Chairman. And it seems that he is much less comfortable with volatility than he was under Bernanke, as his most recent remarks indicate.

But it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a Fed chairman has modified his views when he was in control. Alan Greenspan, for example, was a staunch advocate of the gold standard when he was younger (and as presented in Foreign Affairs). But once he was Fed head, suddenly he thought a gold standard wasn’t such a hot idea after all. Go figure.

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

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Cooking the Books in the Trump Universe

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Cooking the Books in the Trump Universe

There’s a clear pattern to Donald Trump’s life. Put simply: he gets away with it. Yes, sometimes (but not usually) he has to pay a penalty, but generally he has a knack for leaving others holding the bag. He’s stiffed untold numbers of people (plumbers, painters, cabinet-makers, waiters, lawyers, bartenders) whom he hired to do something — almost anything — for him; he stiffed undocumented immigrants who worked for him; he stiffed the students of Trump University (until they got a $25 million settlement); he stiffed American workers at his Mar-a-Lago and other private clubs, hiring cheaper foreign guest workers instead; and above all, the most successful businessman of all time (by his own account) took down five casinos in Atlantic City as his business empire of that moment crashed and burned — and somehow he came away with the money, leaving his investors holding the bag and his casino workers losing millions of dollars in retirement savings.  As the New York Times put it, “[E]ven as his companies did poorly, Mr. Trump did well. He put up little of his own money, shifted personal debts to the casinos and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses, and other payments. The burden of his failures fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen.”

In other words, there’s a record of “success” that Donald Trump brought to the presidency. The only real question is: When things begin to go badly for this country, who will he stiff this time? It’s not unreasonable to assume that, as with so many previous crews enamored of The Donald, he’s taking this country and his base, in particular, for the ride of their lives and when this particular roller coaster goes down, who will go down with it?

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

The Fed Is Panicking

The Fed Is Panicking

This week I’ve been in Washington, D.C. for high level meetings focused on the economy. While meeting with senior officials and members of the House and Senate, it became clear that a troubling phenomenon is building.

Nomi at the Eccles Building in D.C.

Your correspondent at the Eccles Federal Reserve
Board Building in Washington D.C.

In the wake of recent stock market volatility and uncertainty surrounding monetary policy, it seems that political figures are starting to grow concerned.

There is growing consensus that the makings of a financial crisis of some sort is building — and could drop sooner rather than later. While there is speculation over whether it will be as big as the last one, and whether it will come in waves, the belief is that something is wrong.

With those fears, I turned the Federal Reserve itself. While meeting at the Fed, I was given the impression that bank regulators have been routinely chastised by Wall Street bankers. What I learned is that some of the biggest playmakers in finance don’t want to disclose the true nature of their positions and money-making schemes. This confirmed my own experiences as an former investment banker.

In addition, it became clearer that Fed Chairman, Jay Powell, and Vice Chairman, Randal Quarles, will be closely studying real economic and bank data when rendering decisions about the path of interest rates. Many have speculated about such dealings, and whether they will be swayed by President Trump’s pressure.

The truth is that the leaders at the Fed have a firmer understanding of what’s really going on in the economy than they allude to publicly. Even though the Fed has been able to avoid another financial crisis the last decade, with quantitative easing (QE) policy — or what I call dark money — their “toolkit” might not render us “safe enough.” They need to grapple with this reality.

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

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, A World That Is the Property of the 1%

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, A World That Is the Property of the 1%

This year, I simply couldn’t get one fact out of my head: according to a 2017 report from the Institute for Policy Studies, three billionaires — Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates — have amassed as much wealth as the bottom half of American society. That’s 160 million people! (And unlike our president, I don’t use exclamation points lightly or often.) Or as Oxfam reported in January of this year, the wealth of eight men — and yes, they were men (including the three mentioned above) — was equal to that of half the people on this planet in 2017. Yikes! And just to give you a sense of where we’ve been heading at supersonic speed, an Oxfam report a year earlier had 62 billionaires owning half the planet’s wealth. Imagine that: 62 to eight in a single year.

Then consider what we know about the rise of the billionaire class. Again, according to Oxfam, a new billionaire appeared every two days in 2017, while 82% of the wealth being created on this planet already went to the top 1% and the bottom half of the global population saw no wealth gains at all. In 2017 (the last year for which we have such figures), the total wealth of the globe’s billionaire class ballooned by almost 20%. (And I want you to know that, unlike our president, I’m fighting hard to restrain the urge to put one or more exclamation points after every one of those sentences.)

Oxfam released its figures this January to coincide with the annual meeting of the world’s top dogs at Davos in Switzerland. Assumedly, it will do so again in January 2019 and I shudder to think what the next set of stats are likely to be. In the meantime, consider what TomDispatch regular Nomi Prins, author most recently of Collusion:

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

“How Central Bankers Rigged The World”: An Interview With Nomi Prins

Former Goldman managing director, Nomi Prins, join Chris Blasi on The Great Reset Opportunity Report to discuss her new release Collusion, as well as current geopolitical and macroeconomic issues.

In this interview Nomi makes the case that central bankers have been rigging markets for the sake of the bankers at the expense of regular citizens, and will continue to do so. Nomi further shares her conclusion that should the ongoing machinations of the central bankers lead us into another global financial crisis they have no plan B.

The details supporting Nomi’s thesis and conclusions can be heard here along with her personal investing strategy

Expect the Fed to Pause if Volatility Continues

Expect the Fed to Pause if Volatility Continues

It’s a good thing October is coming to an end. It’s been a particularly lousy month for the markets. October has seen about $5 trillion in value erased from global markets.

Reasons for that sell-off range from fear over Fed rate hikes, trade wars, elections and buyback “blackout” periods during earnings.

Buyback blackouts are ending, which should provide markets some needed lift over the next month. Buybacks have been one of the primary reasons markets have risen this year.

But other areas will keep the level of volatility high into the year-end. The upcoming elections, for example, could reshape Congress. If there is a turnover from Republicans to Democrats, legislation that relates to tax policy, financial regulations and international relations could be stalled or reversed.

Externally, we’re facing global volatility factors that include increasing uncertainty over what Brexit will look like and how it will impact the European economy. The new election of a Trump-like populist figure in Brazil could have ramifications for trade in the Americas and Asia. Emerging-market countries are also seeing their currencies falter against the dollar.

Volatility is nothing new. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

In early 2016, just after the Fed first raised rates in December 2015 after eight years of zero interest rate policy, the markets took a nosedive. As a result, the Fed put the brakes on hiking rates for an entire year.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) ramped up their asset-buying programs, which provided stimulus to the financial markets.

All of that led to calmer markets. Investors believed easy money would continue. That’s why we saw the Dow Jones industrial average rise over 60% through this September from where it was in January 2016.

But now the markets have fallen out of bed.

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

4 Pillars of Debt in Danger of Collapse

Last month I was in a series of high-level meetings with members of Congress and the Senate in Washington.

While there’s been major news about the Supreme Court, my discussions were on something that both sides of the aisle are coming to consensus over.

You see, issues that impact your own bottom line are way more about economics than they are about politics. On Capitol Hill, leaders know that. They also know that voters react to what impacts their money. That’s why, behind the scenes, I’ve been discussing issues focused on protecting the economy.

Behind closed doors, we’ve been working on how to shield the economy from Too Big to Fail banks and how the U.S. can better fund infrastructure projects. These are initiatives that all politicians should care about.

Underneath the surface of the economy is a financial system that is heavily influenced by the Federal Reserve. That’s why political figures and the media alike have all tried to understand what direction the system is headed.

Also last week I joined Fox Business at their headquarters to discuss the economy, the Fed and what they all mean for the markets. On camera, we discussed this week’s Federal Reserve meeting and the likely outcomes.

Off camera, we jumped into a similar discussion that those in DC have pressed me on. Charles Payne, the Fox host, asked me what I thought of new Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, in general. Payne knew that I view the entire central bank system as a massive artificial bank and market stimulant.

What I told him is that Powell actually has a good sense of balance in terms of what he does with rates, and the size of the Fed’s book. He understands the repercussion that moving rates too much, too quickly, or selling off the assets, could have on the global economy and the markets.

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

World’s Most Important Bank Issues Urgent “Zombie Alert”

World’s Most Important Bank Issues Urgent “Zombie Alert”

It’s been a decade since the world’s major central banks reacted to the financial crisis by cheapening the value of money through record low, zero or negative rates.

What my research for my book Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World revealed was how central bankers and massive financial institutions have worked together to manipulate global markets for the past decade.

Major central banks gave themselves a blank check with which to resurrect problematic banks; purchase government, mortgage and corporate bonds; and in some cases — as in Japan and Switzerland — buy stocks, too.

They have not had to explain to the public where those funds were going or why. Instead, their policies have inflated asset bubbles while coddling private banks and corporations under the guise of helping the real economy.

The zero interest rate and bond-buying central bank policies prevailing in the U.S., Europe and Japan have been part of a coordinated effort that has plastered over potential financial instability in the largest countries and in private banks.

It has, in turn, created asset bubbles that could explode into an even greater crisis the next time around.

So today we stand near — how near we don’t yet know — the edge of a dangerous financial precipice. The risks posed by the largest institutions still exist, only now they’re even bigger than they were in 2007–08 and operating in an arena of even more debt.

Now the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), or the “central bank of central banks,” is sounding a new alarm on this policy.

In its recent quarterly report, the BIS warned that low rates have catalyzed an increase in the number of “zombie” firms. The number of such firms has now risen to an all-time high.

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

10 Years Later, a Debt Crisis Is Building Again

Though it seems like only yesterday, it’s been a decade since my former employer, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, and in the process, helped instigate a massive global financial crisis.

That collapse catapulted the Federal Reserve on a mission to, in its own narrative, save the economy from further collapse. In fact, its creation of $4.5 trillion to purchase U.S. treasury and mortgage related bonds from the big private banks in exchange for continued liquidity was the biggest subsidy in U.S. history.

In some ways, we seem much better off now. Employment is at record highs in most developed nations outside the Eurozone. Global economic growth has picked up overall and stock markets have recovered.

Indeed, many stock markets around the world have regained or passed their former record highs. Asset prices are booming.

But that only tells half the story. That’s because the last financial crisis was about debt and debt levels have increased substantially since 2008. The entire “recovery” was built on debt.

From 179% before the financial crisis, the global debt-to-GDP ratio has jumped to 217% today. Companies and governments have piled on more debt than before. Emerging-market debt, led by China, is also at a record. The big banks are even bigger, and remain “too big to fail.”

Eliminating all that debt is the ultimate solution for avoiding another crisis. That’s because if interest rates drift higher, it can lead to problems in debt repayment, followed by defaults, followed by crisis as defaults spread like a contagion. But there’s no magic bullet for doing that.

First, you should know that no two crises are exactly the same. The last one was met with huge debt on the back of the Fed’s quantitative easing policy. Central bank credit, or what I call dark money, tended to go to the wealthy and into financial assets.

…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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