1913, 1929 Crash, 1984, 1996, 9/11, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Bernanke, Boston Marathon bombing, Brave New World, cognitive dissonance, Consumer credit, debt bubble, DHS, Ernest Hemingway, executive orders, Federal Reserve, Food stamps, GDP, Glass Steagall, government spending, Housing bubble, Huxley, Internet bubble, Iraq war, Janet Yellen, John Kenneth Galbraith, military state, National Debt, normalcy bias, Obama, Orwell, Patriot Act, Personal Income, personal income tax, Police State, Ron Paul, SSDI, Wall Street
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited
The political class set in motion the eventual obliteration of our economic system with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Placing the fate of the American people in the hands of a powerful cabal of unaccountable greedy wealthy elitist bankers was destined to lead to poverty for the many, riches for the connected crony capitalists, debasement of the currency, endless war, and ultimately the decline and fall of an empire. Ernest Hemingway’s quote from The Sun Also Rises captures the path of our country perfectly:
“How did you go bankrupt?”
Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
The 100 year downward spiral began gradually but has picked up steam in the last sixteen years, as the exponential growth model, built upon ever increasing levels of debt and an ever increasing supply of cheap oil, has proven to be unsustainable and unstable. Those in power are frantically using every tool at their disposal to convince Boobus Americanus they have everything under control and the system is operating normally. The psychotic central bankers, “bought and sold” political class, mega-corporation soulless chief executives and corporate controlled media use propaganda techniques, paid “experts”, talking head “personalities”, captured think tanks, and the willful ignorance of the majority to spin an increasingly dire economic descent as if we are recovering and getting back to normal. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is nothing normal about what Ben Bernanke and the Federal government have done over the last five years and continue to do today. Truthfully, nothing has been normal since the mid-1990s when Alan Greenspan spoke the last truthful words of his lifetime:
“Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?”
The Greenspan led Federal Reserve created two epic bubbles in the space of six years which burst and have done irreparable harm to the net worth of the middle class. Rather than learn the lesson of how much damage to the lives of average Americans has been caused by creating cheap easy money out of thin air, our Ivy League self-proclaimed expert on the Great Depression, Ben Bernanke, has ramped up the cheap easy money machine to hyper-speed. There is nothing normal about the path this man has chosen. His strategy has revealed the true nature of the Federal Reserve and their purpose – to protect and enrich the financial elites that manipulate this country for their own purposes.
Despite the mistruths spoken by Bernanke and his cadre of banker coconspirators, he can never reverse what he has done. The country will not return to normalcy in our lifetimes. Bernanke is conducting a mad experiment and we are the rats in his maze. His only hope is to retire before it blows up in his face. Just as Greenspan inflated the housing bubble and exited stage left, Bernanke is inflating a debt bubble, stock bubble, bond bubble and attempting to re-inflate the housing bubble just in time for another Ivy League Keynesian academic, Janet Yellen, to step into the banker’s box. This genius thinks Bernanke has been too tight with monetary policy. It seems inflated egos are common among Ivy League economist central bankers who think they can pull levers and push buttons to control the economy. Results may vary.
The gradual slide towards our national bankruptcy of wealth, spirit, freedom, self-respect, morality, personal responsibility, and common sense began in 1913 with the secretive creation of the Federal Reserve and the imposition of a personal income tax. Pandora’s Box was opened in this fateful year and the horrors of currency debasement and ever increasing taxation were thrust upon the American people by a small but powerful cadre of unscrupulous financial elite and the corrupt politicians that do their bidding in Washington D.C. The powerful men who thrust these evils upon our country set in motion a chain of events and actions that will undoubtedly result in the fall of the great American Empire, just as previous empires have fallen due to the corruption of its leaders and depravity of its people. Creating a private central bank, controlled by the Wall Street cabal, and allowing the government to syphon the earnings of workers through increased taxation has allowed politicians the ability to spend, borrow, and print money at an ever increasing rate in order to get themselves re-elected and benefit the cronies, hucksters and bankers that pay the biggest bribes. None of this benefit the average American, who sees their purchasing power systematically inflated and taxed away. This is not capitalism and it is not a coincidence that war and inflation have been the hallmarks of the last century.
“A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank. It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.” – Ron Paul
As you can see, the bankruptcy of our country and our culture began gradually, accelerated after Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, really picked up steam in 1980 when the debt happy Baby Boom generation came of age, and has “suddenly” reached maximum velocity as we approach the true fiscal cliff. There were many checkpoints along the way where fatefully bad choices were made. They include the New Deal, Cold War, Great Society, Morning in America, Dotcom New Paradigm, Housing Wealth Retirement Plan, Obamacare, and present belief that creating more debt will solve a problem created by too much debt. The Federal Reserve allowed interventionist politicians to fight two declared wars (World War I, World War II), fight five undeclared wars (Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq), conduct hundreds of military engagements around the globe, occupy foreign countries, begin a war on poverty that increased poverty, begin a war on drugs that increased the amount of available drugs, and finally start a war on terror that has increased the number of terrorists and pushed us closer to national bankruptcy. The terrorists have already won, as the explosion of stupidity and irrational fear has allowed those in power to acquire more power and dominion over our lives.
“We live surrounded by a systematic appeal to a dream world which all mature, scientific reality would reject. We, quite literally, advertise our commitment to immaturity, mendacity and profound gullibility. It is as the hallmark of the culture. And it is justified as being economically indispensable.” - John Kenneth Galbraith
When I critically scrutinize the economic, political, financial, and social landscape at this point in history, I come to the inescapable conclusion that our country and world are headed into the abyss. This is most certainly a minority viewpoint. The majority of people in this country are oblivious to the disaster that will arrive over the next decade. Some would attribute this willful ignorance to the normalcy bias that infects the psyches of millions of ostrich like iGadget distracted, Facebook addicted, government educated, financially illiterate, mass media manipulated zombies. Normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to inform the populace about the impending disaster. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster hasn’t occurred yet, then it will never occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with the disaster once it occurs. People tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.
The unsustainability of our economic system built upon assumptions of exponential growth, ever expanding debt, increasing consumer spending, unlimited supplies of cheap easy to access oil, impossible to honor entitlement promises, and a dash of mass delusion should be apparent to even the dullest of government public school educated drones inhabiting this country. I don’t attribute this willful ignorance to normalcy bias. I attribute it to abnormalcy bias. In a profoundly abnormal society, adjusting your thinking to fit in appears normal, but is just a symptom of the disease that has infected our culture. There is nothing normal about anything in our society today. If you were magically transported back to 1996 and described to someone the economic, political, financial and social landscape in 2013, they would have you committed to a mental institution and given shock therapy.
Even though we’ve been in a 100 year spiral downwards, things still appeared relatively normal in 1996 when Greenspan uttered his “Irrational Exuberance” faux pas that so upset his Wall Street puppet masters. The ruling class had not yet repealed Glass-Steagall (pre-requisite for pillaging the muppets), created the internet bubble, fashioned the greatest control fraud in world history (housing bubble unrecognized by Ben Bernanke), or taken advantage of mass hysteria over 9/11 to begin the never ending war on terror and expansion of the Orwellian state. The citizens, and I use that term loosely, of this country have allowed those in control of the government and media to convince them the situation confronting us is just a normal cyclical variation that will be alleviated by tweaking existing economic policies and trusting that Ben Bernanke will pull the right monetary levers to get us back on course. The stress inflicted on their brains in the last thirteen years of bubbles and wars has made the average person incapable of distinguishing between normality and abnormality. What they need is slap upside of their head. Is there anything normal about these facts?
- The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet in 1996 consisted of $422 billion, of which 91% were Treasury securities. Today it consists of $3.25 trillion, of which only 56% are Treasury securities, and the rest is toxic home mortgages, toxic commercial mortgages, and whatever other crap the Wall Street banks have dumped on their books. Their balance sheet is leveraged 57 to 1 and Bernanke has promised his Wall Street bosses he will add another $750 billion before the year is out. Is there anything normal about a central bank adding twice as much debt to its balance sheet in less than twelve months than existed on its entire balance sheet in 1996?
- The National Debt at the end of fiscal 1996 was $5.25 trillion. It increased by $250 billion that year. The GDP of the country was $7.8 trillion. Our national debt as a percentage of GDP was only 67% and our annual deficit was only 3% of GDP. At the time, the country was worried about these outrageous levels of debt. Today the National Debt stands at a towering $16.8 trillion. It has increased by a staggering $1.12 trillion in the last twelve months. The GDP of the country today is $15.7 trillion. Our national debt as a percentage GDP has soared to 107%. Our annual deficits now exceed 7% of GDP on a consistent basis. Our budgets are on automatic pilot, with the $20 trillion level to be breached by 2016. Is it a normal state of affairs when the GDP of your country rises by 100% over seventeen years, while your debt rises by 320%?
- Total government spending (Federal, State, Local) in 1996 totaled $2.7 trillion, or 35% of GDP. Today total government spending is $6.3 trillion, or 40% of GDP. In 1979, before the belief in government became a religion, total government spending was only 31.5% of GDP (27% in 1965). Are you receiving twice the service from government than you received in 1996? Are you safer from terrorists due to the massive expansion of the police state? Are your kids getting a much better education than they did in 1996? Have the undeclared wars benefitted you in any way, other than tripling the price of gas? Are the higher wage taxes, real estate taxes, school taxes, sewer fees, utility fees, phone fees, gasoline taxes, permit fees, and myriad of other government charges worth it? Is it normal for government to account for almost half of our economy?
- In 1996 personal consumption expenditures accounted for 67% of GDP, while private domestic investment accounted for 16% of GDP and we ran small trade deficits of 1% of GDP. Today, consumer spending accounts for 71% of GDP (despite the storyline about consumer retrenchment), while domestic investment has contracted to 13% of GDP and our trade deficits have surged to almost 4% of GDP. The Federal government has expanded their piece of the GDP pie by 130% since 1996, with the Department of War accounting for the bulk of the increase. Saving and capital investment is now penalized in this country. Is it normal for a country to borrow, consume and bleed itself to death?
- Consumer credit outstanding totaled $1.2 trillion in 1996, or $4,500 per every man, woman and child in the country. Today, the austere balance is now $2.8 trillion, or $8,800 per every man, woman and child inhabiting our debt saturated paradise. The more than doubling of consumer debt would be acceptable if wages were rising at a similar rate. But that hasn’t been the case, as wages have only advanced from $3.6 trillion in 1996 to $7.0 trillion today. With even the massively understated CPI showing 50% inflation since 1996 and 23% more Americans in the working age population (45 million), real wages have advanced by 30%. Using a true measure of inflation, real wages have fallen. Total credit market debt in 1996 was $19 trillion, or 243% of GDP. Today total credit market debt sits at an all-time high of $56.2 trillion, or 358% of GDP. Is it normal for credit market debt to increase at three times the rate of GDP?
- In 1996, personal income totaled $6.6 trillion, with wages accounting for 55% of the total, interest income on savings accounting for 12% and government entitlement transfers accounting for 14%. Today personal income totals $13.6 trillion, with wages accounting for 51% of the total, interest income on savings plunging to 7% due to Bernanke’s “Screw a Senior Zero Interest Policy”, and Big Brother entitlement transfers skyrocketing to 18%. In what Orwellian dystopian society is taking money from wage earners and redistributing it to non-wage earners considered personal income? Is it normal for a government to punish savers and makers in order to benefit the borrowers and takers?
- Prior to the financial collapse and during the mid-1990s prudent risk-averse savers could get a 4% to 5% return on money market accounts. Since the Wall Street created worldwide financial collapse, Ben Bernanke, at the behest of these very same Wall Street banks, has reduced short term interest rates to 0%. The result has been to transfer $400 billion per year from the pockets of savers and senior citizens into the grubby hands of bankers that have destroyed our economy. The prudent are left earning .02% on their savings, while the profligate bankers can borrow for 0% and earn billions by re-depositing those funds at the Federal Reserve. In what bizarro world this be a normal state of affairs?
- Total mortgage debt outstanding in 1996, before the epic Wall Street produced housing bubble, was $4.7 billion. Today, even after the transfer of almost $1 trillion of bad debt to the balance sheet of the American taxpayer, the amount of mortgage debt is an astounding $13.1 trillion. Despite home values rising since 1996, there are 20% of all households still in a negative equity position. Total household real estate equity was 60% in 1996, plunged below 40% in 2009, and has only slightly rebounded to 47% today because Wall Street dumped the bad mortgages on the backs of the American taxpayer. Is it normal for mortgage debt to triple and home equity to plunge in a rationally functioning world? Is it normal when 25% of all existing home sales are distressed sales and another 30% are sales to Wall Street hedge funds like Blackrock?
- In 1996 there were 200 million working age Americans, with 134 million (67%) in the labor force, 127 million (63.5%) employed, and 66 million (33%) not in the labor force. Today there are 245 million working age Americans, with 155 million (63%) in the labor force, 143 million (58%) employed, and 90 million (37%) supposedly not in the labor force. The number of working age Americans has increased by 22.5%, while the number of those employed has advanced by only 12.5%. The population to employment ratio has reached a three decade low as millions have given up, been lured into college by cheap plentiful government debt, or developed a mysterious ailment that has gotten them into the SSDI program. Is it normal for millions of Americans to leave the labor force when the economy is supposedly recovering?
- In 1996 there were 25.5 million Americans on food stamps, or 9.6% of the population, costing $24 billion per year. Today there are 47.8 million Americans on food stamps, or 15% of the population, costing $75 billion per year. Historically, the number of people in this program would rise during recessions and recede when the economy recovered, just as a safety net program should function. According to our government keepers the economy has been in recovery since late 2009. The number of people entering the food stamp program has gone up by 7 million since the recession officially ended. This is not normal. Either the government is lying about the recession or they are screwing the taxpayer by encouraging constituents to enter the program in an effort to gain votes. Which is it?
- The price of oil averaged $20 per barrel in 1996 and it cost you $1.20 per gallon to fill your tank. Oil averaged $85 per barrel in 2012 and currently hovers around $90 per barrel. Most Americans are now paying between $3.50 and $4.00 per gallon to fill their tanks. This result seems abnormal considering the propaganda machine is proclaiming we are on the verge of energy independence. After two Middle East wars, 6,700 dead American soldiers, 50,000 wounded American soldiers, and $1.5 trillion of national wealth wasted, this is all we get – a tripling in gas prices and creation of thousands of new terrorists?
You have to have a really bad case of normalcy bias to be able to convince yourself that everything that has happened since 1996 is normal. Every fact supports the reality that we’ve entered a period of extreme abnormality and our response as a nation thus far has insured that a disaster of even far greater magnitude is just over the horizon. Anyone with an ounce of common sense realizes the social mood is deteriorating rapidly. We are in the midst of a Crisis period that will result in earth shattering change, but the masses want things to go back to normal and don’t want to face the facts. The cognitive dissonance created by reality versus their wishes will resolve itself when the next financial collapse makes 2008 look like a walk in the park. But, until then most will just stick their heads in the sand and hope for the best.
Loving Your Servitude
“Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.” – Ron Paul
The most disgraceful example of abnormality that has infected our culture has been the cowardice and docile acquiescence of the citizenry in allowing an ever expanding police state to shred the U.S. Constitution, strip us of our freedoms, and restrict our liberties. Our keepers have not let any crisis go to waste in the last seventeen years. They have also taken advantage of the willful ignorance, childish immaturity, extreme gullibility, historical cluelessness, financial illiteracy and techno-narcissism of the populace to reverse practical legislation and prey upon irrational fears to strip the people of their constitutionally guaranteed liberties and freedoms. If you had told someone in 1996 the security measures, laws, and police agencies that would exist in 2013, they would have laughed you out of the room. Every crisis, whether government created or just convenient to their agenda, has been utilized by the oligarchs to expand the police state and benefit the crony capitalists that profit from its expansion. The character of the American people has been found wanting as they obediently cower and beg for protection from unseen evil doers. The propagandist corporate media reinforces their fears and instructs them to submissively tremble and implore the government to do more. The cosmic obliviousness and limitless sense of complacency of the general population with regards to a blatantly obvious coup by a small cadre of sociopathic financial elite and their army of bureaucrats, lackeys and jackboots is a wonder to behold.
The 1929 stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression was primarily the result of excessively loose Federal Reserve monetary policy during the Roaring 20’s and the unrestrained fraud perpetrated by the Wall Street banks. The 1933 Glass-Steagall Act was a practical 38 page law which kept Wall Street from ravenously raping its customers and the American people for almost seven decades. The Wall Street elite and their bought off political hacks in both parties repealed this law in 1999, while simultaneously squashing any effort to regulate the financial derivatives market. The day trading American public didn’t even look up from their computer screens. Over the next nine years Wall Street went on a fraudulent feeding frenzy rampage which brought the country to its knees and then held the American taxpayer at gunpoint to bail them out. The Federal Reserve arranged rescue of LTCM in 1998 gave the all clear to Wall Street that any risk was acceptable, since the Fed would always bail them out. Just as they did in the 1920’s, the Federal Reserve set the table for financial disaster with excessively low interest rates and non-existent regulatory oversight.
The downward spiral of our empire towards an Orwellian/Huxley merged dystopian nightmare accelerated after the 9/11 attacks. Within one month those looking to exert hegemony over all domestic malcontents had passed the 366 page, 58,000 words Patriot Act. Did the terrified masses ask how such a comprehensive destruction of our liberties could be written in under one month? It is apparent to anyone with critical thinking skills that the enemy within had this bill written, waiting for the ideal opportunity to implement this unprecedented expansion of federal police power. Electronic surveillance of our emails, phone calls and voice mails, along with warrantless wiretaps, and general loss of civil liberties was passed without question under the guise of protecting us. Next was the invasion of a foreign country based upon lies, propaganda and misinformation without a declaration of war, as required by the Constitution. Our government began torturing suspects in secret foreign prisons. The shallow, self-centered, narcissistic, Facebook fanatic populace has barely looked up from texting on their iPhones to notice that we have been at war in the Middle East for eleven years, because it hasn’t interfered with their weekly viewing of Honey Boo Boo, Dancing With the Stars, or Jersey Shore. They occasionally leave their homes to wave a flag and chant “USA, USA, USA”, as directed by the media, when a terrorist like Bin Laden or Boston bomber is offed by our security services, but for the most part they can live their superficial vacuous lives of triviality unscathed by war.
The creation of the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security ushered in a further encroachment of our everyday freedoms. They attempted to keep the masses frightened through a ridiculous color coded fear index. Little old ladies, people in wheelchairs and little children are subject to molestation by lowlife TSA perverts. Military units conduct “training exercises” in cities across the country to desensitize the sheep-like masses, who fail to acknowledge that the U.S. military cannot constitutionally be used domestically. DHS considers military veterans, Ron Paul supporters, and Christians as potential enemies of the state. The use of predator drones to murder suspected adversaries in foreign countries, while killing innocent men, women and children (also known as collateral damage), has just been a prelude to the domestic surveillance and eventually extermination of dissidents and nonconformists here in the U.S. We are already becoming a 1984 CCTV controlled nation. DHS has been rapidly militarizing local police forces in cities and towns to supplement their jackbooted thugs. Obama’s executive orders have given him the ability to take control of industry. He can imprison citizens without charges for as long as he deems necessary. Attempts to control gun ownership and shutdown the internet is a prologue to further government domination and supremacy over our lives when the wheels come off this unsustainable bus.
The last week has provided a multitude of revelations about our government and the people of this country. The billions “invested” in our police state, along with warnings from a foreign government, and suspicious travel patterns were not enough for our beloved protectors to stop the Boston Marathon bombing. After stumbling upon these amateur terrorists by accident, the 2nd responders, with their Iraq war level firepower, managed to slaughter one of the perpetrators, but somehow allowed a wounded teenager to escape on foot and elude 10,000 donut eaters for almost 24 hours. The horde of heavily armed, testosterone fueled thugs proceeded to bully and intimidate the citizens of Watertown by illegal searches of homes and treating innocent people like criminals. The government completely shut down the 10th largest metropolitan area in the country for an entire day looking for a wounded 19 year old. The people of Boston obeyed their zoo keepers and obediently cowered in their cages.
The entire episode was an epic fail. The gang that couldn’t shoot straight needed an old man to find the bomber in his backyard boat. The people of Boston exhibited the passivity and subservience demanded by their government. Since the capture of the remaining terrorist, the shallow exhibitions of national pride at athletic events and smarmy displays of honoring the police state apparatchiks who screwed up – allowing the attack to occur and looking like the keystone cops during the pursuit of the suspects, has revealed a fatal defect in our civil character. We are living in a profoundly abnormal society, with millions of medicated mindless zombies controlled by a vast propaganda machine, who seemingly enjoy having their liberties taken away. Most have willingly learned to love their servitude. For those who haven’t learned, the boot of our vast security state will just stomp on their face forever. We’re realizing the worst dystopian nightmares of Orwell and Huxley simultaneously. This abnormalcy bias will dissipate over the next ten to fifteen years in torrent of financial collapse, war, bloodshed, and retribution. Sticking your head in the sand will not make reality go away. The existing social, political, and financial order will be swept away. What it is replaced by is up to us. Will this be the final chapter or new chapter in the history of this nation? The choice is ours.
“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
- George Orwell
“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution” -Aldous Huxley, 1961
The rest of these idiotic countries just need to get with the plan. PRINT, PRINT, PRINT!!!!
You don’t need economic growth, jobs, wages, savings or investment. You just need a Central Banker willing to destroy the world to produce a stock market rally and enrich his benefactors. Stock markets always go higher the deeper you go into recession – Right?
For those not paying attention, we have entered a global deflationary depression. The nutjobs running the world’s central banks and the moronic politicians elected by the sheep have tried Keynesian fiscal pork, zero interest rates, fraudulent accounting, printing money at hyper-speed, propaganda, austerity for the peasants, bonuses for the criminal bankers and crony capitalism for the super rich. It is five years later and it hasn’t worked. The grand experiment has failed. Bernanke and Krugman’s theories have been discredited. The world is on the edge. Bad shit is happening. Behind the scenes, the oligarchs are panicked and scrambling to retain their wealth and power. They are criminally inept. Their solution will be to accelerate what has already failed. This is how deflationary depressions turn into hyper-inflationary collapses. The massive buying of physical gold and silver by individuals and Far East countries is rational and prudent. The oligarchs won the battle in the past week. They may win a few more battles, because they have many weapons, but they will lose the war. This Fourth Turning is about to get really interesting.
Fed and Bank of Japan caused gold crash
Commodity prices have been falling since September, culminating in a rout over the past two weeks. That is a classic warning for the global economy.
7:22PM BST 17 Apr 2013
It is becoming ever clearer that the roaring boom in global equities since last summer has priced in an economic recovery that does not in fact exist. The International Monetary Fund has had to nurse down its global growth forecasts yet again. We are still stuck in an old-fashioned trade depression, with pervasive over-capacity in manufacturing plant and a record global savings rate of 25pc of GDP.
German car sales fell 17pc in March. That should puncture the last illusions that Germany is about to pull Europe out of a self-inflicted slump.
As you can see from the chart below, the divergence between stock markets and the Deutsche Bank index of raw materials is astonishing to behold, so like the pattern in early 1929.
Steel has fallen 31pc this year. Brent crude is off 17pc since early February, and copper 15pc.
You have to be careful reading too much into commodities, distorted by China. The time-honoured cycle is a surge of investment that comes on stream at once with a lag. America’s shale drive has turned the gas market upside down, diverting liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia. Copper output in Chile rose 7pc last year. The crash in the Baltic Dry Index for shipping rates is partly a tale of too many ships.
Yet excess supply does not explain the collapse in gold over the past week. Cyprus may have been an incidental trigger. If the EU-IMF Troika is determined to strong-arm the Cypriots into selling most of their pint-sized holding of 14 tonnes, it may do the same to Portugal when the time comes, and then you are talking about the world’s 14th biggest holding of 382 tonnes.
Bank of America says the gold crash since Friday has already discounted sales of the entire Cypriot, Portuguese and Greek gold reserves combined. “As we believe additional gold selling in the European periphery is highly unlikely, we find it hard to fully justify the sell-off,” it said.
The central banks of China and the emerging powers bought 535 tonnes last year to escape dollars and euros, the biggest wave of state purchases since 1964. Their strategy is to buy the dips, and they are no fools. The head of China’s reserve manager “SAFE” used to run a US hedge fund.
They won’t try to catch a “falling knife”, prefering to wait until the dust settles. The upward trend of the great bull market has been broken. The technical damage is brutal. Bank of America expects a further drop to $1,200. Be patient.
My view is that the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan “caused” the gold crash. The rest is noise. The Fed assault began in February when it published a paper warning that the longer quantitative easing continues, the harder it will be for the bank to extricate itself.
The report was co-written by former Fed governor Frederic Mishkin, often deemed Ben Bernanke’s “alter ego”. It said the Fed’s capital base could be wiped out “several times” once borrowing costs climb. The window will start shutting by 2014, with trouble then compounding at a “dramatic” pace.
This was a shock. It suggested that the Fed has lost its nerve, and will think long and hard before launching a fresh blitz of money if growth falters.
Then came last week’s Fed Minutes, with hints of tapering off QE earlier that expected. That was the next shock. What they seemed to be saying is that the US economy is groping it way back to normality, that the era of silly money is over, that the dollar will stand tall again.
If that were the case, gold should fall. But it is not the case. The US economy is growing below the Fed’s own “stall speed” indicator. Half a million people fell out of the workforce in March. Retail sales fell in March. So did manufacturing.
The US faces fiscal tightening of 2.5pc of GDP this year, the most since 1946. Ex-labour secretary Robert Reich said the effects have been disguised so far, but a “stealth sequester” is just starting: $51m of grant cuts to Brandeis university; $1m for schools in Syracuse; and so on, the reverse of the stealth stimulus before.
My guess is that the Fed will be forced to row back smartly from its exit talk, but first we must look deflation in the eyes.
As for the Bank of Japan, it had been assumed that the colossal monetary stimulus of Haruhiko Kuroda would revive the yen-carry trade, leaking $1 trillion into world asset markets. But the early evidence is the opposite. Japanese investors brought money home last week.
“Mrs Watanabe” is selling her Kiwi and Aussie bonds to bet on stocks and property at home. And she is selling gold like never before. That too is a shock.
Japan’s “Abenomics” may prove a net drag on the world over coming months. It is exporting deflation through trade effects. This already visible in Korea and China, where soaring wages have eroded competitiveness. “Investors may have forgotten that yen weakness was one of the immediate causes of the 1997 Asian currency crisis and Asia’s subsequent economic collapse,” said Albert Edwards from Societe Generale.
China’s growth rate fell to 7.7pc in the first quarter. It will fall further, though the catch-up boom in the hinterland cities of Chengdu, Chonquing, Changsa and Xi’an may have further to run.
Fitch Ratings says credit has surged from €9 trillion to €23 trillion over the past four years, a rise equal to the entire US banking system. Beijing pumped up loans yet again after its recession scare in the summer, but is gaining less traction. The GDP growth effect of credit has halved. It is the classic sign of an economy sated on debt. China too will have to deleverage.
The world is still in a contained depression. Sliding commodities tell us global money is if anything too tight. “There is a threat of deflation almost everywhere. A lot of central banks will have to follow the Bank of Japan, whatever they say now,” said Lars Christensen form Danske Bank
The era of money printing is young yet. Gold will have its day again.
Things are not as they appear. Those in control are panicked. They are flailing about attempting to give the appearance of normalcy. Anyone with a functioning brain can see the wheels are coming off this bus and we’re headed for a fatal crash. JP Morgan and the rest of the Wall Street cabal are growing desperate, as their physical supply of gold and silver has rapidly dissipated. They needed to cover-up their impending financial implosion with an engineered crash in metals prices. Bill Downey tells the story you won’t hear on CNBC or any other corporate controlled MSM outlet. Understanding how and why this is being done, is crucial to seeing where we go from here. The bus ride is about to get really interesting.
12 Apr 2013 2:12 PM | Bill Downey (Administrator)
How the Gold Market was Crashed
You can imagine the dilemma this is causing for the market interests behind these inventories. If the inventory runs out and one cannot meet deliveries then it has to be bought on the open market. Not only that but it could cause a run up in prices that would hurt the shorts in the market.
So what to do?
There is only one way out of this for the market controllers would be to devise a plan that would collapse the market and trip up all the stops at the correction lows in gold of 1525 thereby setting off the stop loss orders under this important market low. And what if the plan included a way to stop the physical market from purchasing gold under 1525 while that correction was underway?
And how can that happen?
They have to hatch out a plan and carefully orchestrate it in a series of events that takes the gold market by surprise and force the players out of their positions.
Read on for today’s lesson in market manipulation and allow me to relay my speculation about what transpired last week.
A successful ambush usually involves surprise.
One of the main new weapons in the FEDS arsenal is TRANSPARENCY.
After a lifetime of silence the FED all of a sudden has come out of the closet and has decided that the best thing for the market is to be transparent and to that end they now have televised communication meetings with the general public so chairman Bernanke can explain the FED policy and answer any questions that the market has on its mind as well as the usual minutes that get released to the markets that review the policy decisions and discussion of prior meetings.
Why does the Fed need to explain what they are doing now?
Well it isn’t because everything is going just fine. Put it this way. They must figure when you have 50 million people on food stamps and the Dow Jones is going up a few hundred points a week and making all time highs and you have 16 trillion dollars in debt and interest rates are zero, its best to have a communiqué every month before someone asks you to explain what is going on. It’s called staying ahead of the curve if you will. If you tell them what’s going on it makes it look like you know what you’re doing. Otherwise all we have is the statistics and by themselves they tell you something is wrong, something is terribly wrong. So they have become transparent.
During the last communiqué the chairman made it abundantly clear that QE was here to stay until the unemployment rate reached acceptable levels. This communiqué whether by personal appearance or by releasing the FOMC minutes of the prior meeting is something the FED relies on so market participants can remain comfortable and abreast of Fed monetary policy.
Three strikes and you’re out
The FOMC minutes from the last meeting were due for release during last week. But a funny thing happened. They got released EARLIER than expected. It was all a big mistake and the FED let the SEC and the CFTC know right away that the error had occurred. And lo and behold even with all its transparency there happened to be some language we didn’t get updated on until the FOMC minutes were released. The notes say that several members have been discussing cutting back on the stimulus. That was strike one. It got the gold market thinking that stimulus cuts might be coming.
Surprise number two
Then a bombshell was released from news sources. It was reported that Cyprus would have to sell 400 million Euro’s of gold as part of the bailout package of raising money for their failed banking system. Gold prices came down to 1550 on the news and the day passed by. Even though Cyprus bankers tell us the next day that they didn’t discuss selling any gold, market jitters seemed to remain and Friday was just around the corner. This was strike two.
Now we need a strike three and you’re out. Gold is a nervous market to begin with as a lot of people have already lost a lot of money in the last six months. With Gold at 1550, all that is needed for the market to drop is to get one more push where all the stops are (just below the 2 year low of 1525).
The selling began in the Friday sessions overseas. By time we got to the New York COMEX gold open, the price was down to 1542. Now all the players are there and the volume and liquidity is there to create the final blow to the market.
And then the attack began. Wave after wave of selling until gold got to 1525. Then they break down the price below the two year low and all the stops that have been accumulating there start getting tripped up and the selling accelerates as it begins to feed on itself. The physical market for gold sees this as a gift and gets ready to make their move and buy up the gold.
Now comes the part that is pure genius or a total coincidental thing that just so happens to be a gift to those who are short the market and those who would be responsible to deliver gold should the inventory deplete.
ALL OF A SUDDEN THE LONDON PHYSICAL PLATFORM THAT BUYS AND SELLS PHYSICAL GOLD GETS LOCKED UP. THE SYSTEM FREEZES.
The screens all freeze.
What does that mean?
No one can get to the physical market to buy at these low prices but at the same time, they can’t sell or protect their position either. The system is frozen. Yes, just like at Bit-coin. The system locks up. And of course the results are going to be the same, just on a lower percentage level.
What can the physical holders do?
Meanwhile the futures market continues to drop.
So what happens? The physical market holders begin to panic. How can they protect themselves as they can’t sell either?
What would I do if I were in that situation?
There is only one solution, especially during a panic. Short and ask questions later.
Therefore it is my speculation that based on 350,000 contracts sold on Friday and the massive drop, some of those contracts was the physical market having no choice but to enter into the futures markets and in order to hedge their physical position holdings, sell contracts or short the market. It’s either that or wait until Monday and be subject to potentially heavy losses should margin calls go out over the weekend. With no time to think and survival instinct kicking in, the physical holders most likely did what they could to protect themselves. They went in and shorted the futures market.
From there the market goes into a free fall as the physical market can’t buy at these low prices because the computer system is down; they can only sell futures to hedge their long physical holdings and so they do what they have to and begin selling futures.
Now it gets worse. As the price drops even more, underfunded players are getting wiped out and now they begin to liquidate. The market goes into a total collapse as all the stops below 1500 get tripped up and the market tanks to 1490.
The market finally closes in New York and returns to the 1500 area.
But it’s not over. There’s another situation going on. The weekend is arriving and players begin wondering about margin calls? How are holders going to get money to their brokers over the weekend for the Monday trade session? But there is not enough liquidity as the COMEX has closed and only the aftermarket GLOBEX is there to execute trades.
But guess what folks?
The banks and brokers are open all weekend and as long as it takes to go through all the accounts and issue all the MARGIN calls.
If they get the margin calls out by Saturday, the customers have 24 hours to get more money to their brokers. If the money is not received by Sunday night or Monday morning, the positions will have to be liquidated, just when the market is at its lowest liquidity and the longs have had all weekend to think about it and the media has had time to tell everyone that the bull market in gold is over.
Not only that but the shorts know exactly what is about to transpire.
I hope you got the picture on how the control boyz forced a major sell off. I speculate the panic over low gold inventory had someone hatch a plan to save their accounts and a lot that is at stake.
They started with leaked information with explosive potential changes in USA policy, and then they published information that Europe/Cyprus would have to sell 400 million Euro’s of physical gold. Finally once the sell off began the physical gold market platform in London locks up and no one has buy or sell access in the physical spot market.
As the market players begin to work this out in their mind there is only one thing left to do. Try and exit and get out in the Globex market. So the selling begins again. The market hits below 1500 and then 1490 get broken. The market sells as much as it can up until the very last minute of trade at 5PM New York time. Even then it’s not over. For some reason the volume and the price keeps moving. Was there special consideration going on for those connected who wanted out? I don’t know. But at 5:07 PM Eastern standard time the market closes at 352,248 contracts and a price of 1476.10 down a whopping 5.67% -88.80 dollars.
Did the control boys lock down the physical market platform or was it pure coincidence? Either way they have total plausible deniability. HOW?
The computer system went down. It couldn’t handle the traffic and it shut down or a glitch happened in the server. It can be any one of many reasons.
This exact same thing happened during the last take down of gold in late December 2011.
VOILA. The perfect excuse and the perfect scenario.
The physical markets couldn’t buy at those low prices. Let me repeat that. The physical markets couldn’t buy. They could only sell futures to hedge their physical gold positions.
Of course this will all be reported on the news and in the financials right?
None of it will be reported as none of it was reported on Dec 29th, 2011 when the control boyz did the same thing and locked out the computer and left the physical market holding the bag. Not one word hit the papers.
Most people are not even aware that the physical market is run by computers. They have never considered or thought about how the physical market works and executes. Guess what folks? It works the same way as Futures via computers and programs.
How do you think it works? Did you think that people show up with all their gold at an auction house and buying and bidding goes on with a mediator who can speak two hundred words a minute and gold is auctioned off like rugs or art?
No it runs off a computer system.
How do I know all of this happened today?
Because I was in direct contact with a big physical dealer out of the mid-east as it was happening. They have taken the time to explain the physical market and how they get SHUT out of the game — just like they did during the last panic (and physical shortage) in Dec of 2011.
Here is the screen shot of the actual physical market in action from January 4th 2012 that the physical trader sent me.
That completes our lesson for today on how to force a major sell off. You start the ball rolling with disinformation and early leaks and surprise with potential policy change considerations at the Federal Reserve level and you follow it up with a potential huge gold supply story that could come to the market.
There are only two things that can bring gold down. A manipulated event like we just saw or a liquidity squeeze like we saw in 2008 where an immediate need for cash forced the liquidation of all assets. Can it happen again? Yes, but this time it would be on a global scale and much more powerful than the Lehman crisis of 2008. While many think a sovereign default would create an inflationary spiral, it’s the opposite could happen. A default would result in liquidation and 99 cents out of every dollar in the banking system has been lent out. The need for cold hard cash would be enormous and the only way to get it to avoid leverage margin calls would be to sell assets at a low enough price to attract immediate cash. That is what happened in 2008. With one penny in banks and 99 cents of debt a spiral the other way could develop.
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