2016 Memorial Day Tribute

A Memorial Day Tribute to U.S. soldiers

In the Arms of an Angel –  Sarah McLaughlin – video 1

In the Arms of an Angel – Sarah McLaughlin –  video 2  

Quote:  Summer 1776 – Gen. George Washington rallied his troops: “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves. … The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of the army.”

When government runs the health care show, you can expect prices to rise – substantially

And here we go….

The Affordable Care Act pounded the big insurers over the past three turbulent years, and they are now seeking to further stabilize their business plans.

Big health plans, at least the ones that managed to survive the past three lean years, are filing their 2017 premium proposals with regulators, and those proposals include robust rate increases.

The 2017 proposed increases follow in the steps of the hefty 14.9% average increase that hit consumers across America between 2015 and 2016.

……………………………………….

2017

Insurers Seek Big Premium IncreasesWALL STREET JOURNAL  5-25-16

________________________

Big government is not providing health care solutions.  It is expanding America’s health care problems.

Decentralized health care is the solution, with U.S. citizens allocating health care resources in accordance with their own needs and desires:

The U.S. Health Care Freedom Plan – the one clean and affordable, comprehensive alternative to ObamaCare

Banks, criminal enterprise, and rescue packages…

The Leviticus 25 Plan is based upon the presumption that U.S. citizens deserve nothing less than to be granted the same access to liquidity that the Federal Reserve so generously provided to the Wall Street financial sector during the Global Financial Crisis (2007-2012).

Take HSBC, for instance. This U.K. banking titan (formerly the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp) and current Fed-approved Primary Dealer, had purchased billions of dollars in credit default swaps from AIG by the fall of 2008 – not bothering to employ any serious risk assessment on the creditworthiness of AIG Financial Products and the reserves behind their potential CDS obligations.

The housing bubble popped that fall and AIG went into financial meltdown as their counterparties (HSBC and numerous other multinational banking concerns) sought to collect on the supposedly gold-plated AIG-backed hedges. .

The U.S. government immediately stepped in to fully fund (100 cents on the dollar) a $90 billion payout (“collateral postings”) to the major AIG counterparties involved.

HSBC Holdings received a pass-through payment, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, of $3.5 billion.

For at least a half-decade prior to their $3.5 billion rescue package, HSBC had also been running “the largest drug-and-terrorism money laundering case ever”uncovered by the Justice Department.Their penalty – a slap on the wrist.  

……………………………

REUTERSHSBC among banks that received AIG payouts (03-16 12:59)             American International Group has disclosed that US and European banks such as HSBC have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the up to US$180 billion (HK$1.4 trillion) taxpayer bailout of the insurer.

AIG disclosed that more than US$90 billion has been paid to banks through collateral postings under credit default swaps, payments to CDS counterparties and payments to securities lending counterparties from September 16 to the end of December. Based on data provided by AIG, the largest recipients of funds were:

Goldman Sachs Group US$$12.9 billion                                                                     Societe Generale US$11.9 billion                                                                              Deutsche Bank US$11.8 billion                                                                                  Barclays US$8.5 billion                                                                                                    Merrill Lynch US$6.8 billion                                                                                               Bank of America Corp US$5.2 billion                                                                                UBS US$5 billion                                                                                                                BNP Paribas US$4.9 billion                                                                                           HSBC Holdings US$3.5 billion                                                                                     Dresdner US$2.6 billion

REUTERS  http://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking_news_detail.asp?id=13217

…………………………………………

(Excerpts from Rolling Stone)

TOO BIG to JAIL –  by Matt Taibbi

February 14, 2013 8:00 AM ET

The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.  

For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years – people so totally evil, jokes former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, that “they make the guys on Wall Street look good.”  The bank also moved money for organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and, in between helping murderers and terrorists and rogue states, aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash.

“They violated every [sic] law in the book,” says Jack Blum, an attorney and former Senate investigator who headed a major bribery investigation against Lockheed in the 1970s that led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business.”

In April 2003, with 9/11 still fresh in the minds of American regulators, the Federal Reserve sent HSBC’s American subsidiary a cease-and-desist­ letter, ordering it to clean up its act and make a better effort to keep criminals and terrorists from opening accounts at its bank. One of the bank’s bigger customers, for instance, was Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi bank, which had been linked by the CIA and other government agencies to terrorism.

According to a document cited in a Senate report, one of the bank’s founders, Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi, was among 20 early financiers of Al Qaeda, a member of what Osama bin Laden himself apparently called the “Golden Chain.” In 2003, the CIA wrote a confidential report about the bank, describing Al Rajhi as a “conduit for extremist finance.” In the report, details of which leaked to the public by 2007, the agency noted that Sulaiman Al Rajhi consciously worked to help Islamic “charities” hide their true nature, ordering the bank’s board to “explore financial instruments that would allow the bank’s charitable contributions to avoid official Saudi scrutiny.” (The bank has denied any role in financing extremists.)

For more than half a decade, a whopping $19 billion in transactions involving Iran went through the American financial system, with the Iranian connection kept hidden in 75 to 90 percent of those transactions. HSBC has been headquartered in England for more than two decades – it’s Europe’s largest bank, in fact – but it has major subsidiary operations in every corner of the world. What’s come out in this investigation is that the chiefs in the parent company often knew about shady transactions when the regional subsidiary did not. In the case of banned Iranian transactions, for instance, there are multiple e-mails from HSBC’s compliance head, David Bagley, in which he admits that HSBC’s American subsidiary probably has no clue that HSBC Europe has been sending it buttloads of banned Iranian money.

By that time, numerous agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, had crawled all the way up HSBC’s backside, among other things examining it as part of a major international narcotics investigation. In one four-year period between 2006 and 2009, an astonishing $200 trillion in wire transfers (including from high-risk countries like Mexico) went through without any monitoring at all. The bank also failed to do due diligence on the purchase of an incredible $9 billion in physical U.S. dollars from Mexico and played a key role in the so-called Black Market Peso Exchange, which allowed drug cartels in both Mexico and Colombia to convert U.S. dollars from drug sales into pesos to be used back home. Drug agents discovered that dealers in Mexico were building special cash boxes to fit the precise dimensions of HSBC teller windows.        

Former bailout inspector and federal prosecutor Neil Barofsky, who has helped secure numerous foreign money-laundering indictments, points out that the people HSBC was doing business with, like Colombia’s Norte del Valle and Mexico’s Sinaloa cartels, were “the worst trafficking organizations imaginable” – groups that don’t just commit murder on a mass scale but are known for beheadings, torture videos (“the new thing now,” he says) and other atrocities, none of which happens without money launderers. It’s for this reason, Barofsky says, that drug prosecutors are not shy about dropping heavy prison sentences on launderers. “Frankly, our view of money-laundering was that it was on par with, and as significant as, the traffickers themselves,” he says.

Barofsky was involved in the first extradition of a Colombian national (Pablo Trujillo, a member of the same cartel that HSBC moved money for) on money­laundering charges. “That guy got 10 years,” says Barofsky. “HSBC was doing the same thing, only on a much larger scale than my schmuck was doing.”

…………………………………

American citizens deserve the very same regard from their own government that major banking conglomerates have received in their times of need, particularly those engaging in blatant criminal activity.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                                   The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1505)

America 2016: on track to get literally buried in debt by 2024… One economic plan has the power to turn this bleak situation around: The Leviticus 25 Plan

The big government cadre of central planners have failed miserably over the past eight years to establish healthy economic growth and debt reduction…

We are currently on a glide path to an eventual crash landing.

……………………………………………………………..

We Need a Complete System Overhaul...

ZeroHedge 5/10/2016 / Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

1. Entitlement spending growth projection: significant:

2. Medicare and Social Security projection: mushrooming deficits.

____________________________________

The Congressional Budget Office projections in the Summary of Budget and Economic Outlook 2016-2026 forecasts an annual budget deficit  of $1.089 trillion for fiscal year 2024, and $1.366 trillion for fiscal year 2026.

We are on track to get literally buried in debt.  And that means massive Federal Reserve balance sheet expansion, and an inevitable currency crisis.

There is one plan in America that can turn this bleak situation around:

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                              The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1499)

 

2016: Global debt exploding

We are on a long, gruesome slide toward economic mayhem.

Nobody is doing anything to turn things around…

________________________________________

Central Banks and the Rise of Extremism

Danielle DiMartino Booth
May 11, 2016  Mauldin Economics                                                                     Excerpts:

How sweet it would be to report that since 2007 the tide of debt has turned. But, instead, an early 2015 McKinsey report documented that global debt had ballooned with none of the world’s major economies taking positive steps towards reducing their debt levels. Such is the disastrous bent of modern day central banking thinking, and its belief that the only way to alleviate the problem of over-indebtedness is with ever increasing debt.

In all, according to McKinsey’s math, global debt increased by $57 trillion in the seven years ending 2014.

The gold medal winners among creditors were the sovereigns: at 9.3-percent growth, government debt swelled to $58 trillion from a starting point of $33 trillion.

Corporations came in second place with their debt levels rising by 5.9 percent to $56 trillion from $38 trillion. The onus was clearly on these two competitors to offset the relatively weaker growth of financial and household debt which was no doubt dragged down by the collapse in U.S. mortgage availability and the recapitalization of (some) lenders.

Refer back to the IMF’s warning about the critical importance of the starting point for indebted countries’ economies. Then flash forward to the reality that the world economy today is that much more indebted. As for its economies, they are on ever weaker footing.

As The Credit Strategist’s Michael Lewitt recently noted, “Debt drains away vital resources from economic growth. Fighting a debt crisis with more debt is doomed to failure, yet that is not only what global central banks did during the crisis but long after markets stabilized (though the crisis never truly ended, just slowed). This was an epic policy failure that continues today.”

Failure or not, odds are that today’s central bankers will double down on their failed philosophy. If you don’t believe me, ask any German life insurer buckling under the strain of running their business. It’s no wonder regulators estimate that insurers will begin to fail after 2018 due to the impossibility of operating in a negative interest environment with over 80 percent of said insurers’ investments in fixed income…..

….. Cheerleading economists were no doubt levitated by news that U.S. household borrowing exploded in March at a breakneck speed that hasn’t been clocked since 2001. The $29.7 billion one-month gain works out to a 10-percent annualized pace.

The usual suspects of the current recovery remained hard at work – student debt and auto loans continued their journey into the stratosphere. But the most record smashing category was credit card debt, which spiked by $11.1 billion, or at a blistering 14-percent pace.

______________________________________

There is one outside-the-box economic acceleration plan that has the power to turn this stagnant, debt-ridden situation around:

The Leviticus 25 Plan

Economic liberty for all Americans. Citizen-centered free market economy. Massive revenue growth and balanced budgets for federal, state, and local governments.      Debt elimination and financial security at the family level.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                              The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1496)

U.S. Median Household Income: shrinkage

The fruits of government-directed economic strategy and central planner incompetence:

May 2016                                                                                                                     Labor participation rate: 62.2%.                                                                                          94,103,000 million working-age Americans have dropped out of the labor force.

1st Quarter 2016 GDP growth: 0.5%.

U.S. median household income is growing – in the wrong direction…..

…………………………………………..

The Erosion Of The Middle Class Continues

ZeroHedge 05/12/2016 – Excerpts:

From CBS

While the middle class is losing ground across urban America, the dynamic is complex: Some families dropped into the lower-income bracket, but many others climbed up from middle class and into the upper-income bracket. Overall, the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas Pew studied.

Along with the hollowing out of the middle class, Americans are generally making less money than they did in 2000. The median income of U.S. households in 2014 was $62,482 compared with $67,673 in 2000. Earnings for all groups — low income, middle class and upper income — suffered during that time.

For instance, the upper-income group earned median annual income of $173,207 in 2014, down 7 percent from more than $186,000 in 2000. Middle-class and lower-income families saw their incomes shrink 6 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Those findings may help shed light on the discontent that many Americans, regardless of income, are feeling these days. Despite improving economic metrics such as lower unemployment, many workers feel as if they’re still struggling to get ahead. In a December poll, Pew found that most Americans feel the government isn’t doing enough to help the middle class.

Needless to say, as the central planners continue to unleash their incompetence on the world, the wealthy will continue to accumulate wealth, the poor will continue to become poorer, and although some in the middle class do move up a bit, the fact remains that the middle class itself is being destroyed. The purchasing power of those that the U.S. consumption economy depends on so much will continue to be eroded, and ultimately the impact on the real economy will be felt, even more than it is today.

__________________________

We need to get this economy turned around and fired back up  – now.

We need economic liberty and a revitalized, citizen-directed economy.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                              The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1494)

 

Global “surging debt” 2016: Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Peoples Bank of China

Global Central Banks ‘juiced’ up their respective monetary policy machines during the past seven years, pumping out trillions of dollars in liquidity – specifically targeting the very banks and insurers whose subprime debt gambles and forays into the unregulated derivatives market ended with balance sheet blowouts.

And here we are – with global economies sinking ever deeper into a cavernous debt sinkhole.

………………………………………….

HoisingtonQuarterly Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2016:                              Excerpts:

U.S., Europe, Japan, China – debt:

The Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the People’s Bank of China have been unable to gain traction with their monetary policies….

Excluding off balance sheet liabilities, at year-end the ratio of total public and private debt relative to GDP stood at 350%, 370%, 457% and 615%, for China, the United States, the Eurocurrency zone, and Japan, respectively…. The debt ratios of all four countries exceed the level of debt that harms economic growth. As an indication of this over-indebtedness, composite nominal GDP growth for these four countries remains subdued. The slowdown occurred in spite of numerous unprecedented monetary policy actions – quantitative easing, negative or near zero overnight rates, forward guidance and other untested techniques.

________________________

Time for change: Nothing has been solved with conventional Central Bank monetary policy, unless one counts the gross enrichment of financial special interests and various politically-connected entities.

It is time to ‘recharge’ the system at ground level – with direct liquidity extensions to citizens.

The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 –  $75,000 per U.S. citizen                                              The Leviticus 25 Plan 2017 (1483)