1st Qtr 2009: Looking Back

In our year-end wrap up, 2008: Looking Back, I said that the big question of 2008 was the same one I have been asking as $4 trillion went missing from the US government: “Where is the money?”

With bailouts now approaching $12-14 trillion and counting (See Bailout Mo’ Money) the importance of this question continued to grow in the first quarter of 2009.  With the laws related to public and private financial management treated by insiders as mostly irrelevant, the global financial coup d’ etat underway is becoming more apparent.

Who is in charge? Why are they behaving this way? Where is this going? We know that the first bailout overcame Congressional resistance thanks in no small part to Obama’s intervention and support. Now in office for less than 90 days, Obama has proved himself to the bankers who financed his campaign to be the change on which they were counting. My prediction is that Obama will do more to help the bankers achieve centralized control and one world government than any US politician to date.

For many years, America has led the global economy through defense spending, consumption and financial engineering. At year-end, the US stock market represented 44% of total global stock market float.  American financial clout has depended on the dollar serving as the world’s reserve currency and central banks, sovereign wealth funds and global institutional investors buying ever-growing amounts of US Treasury and agency bonds.

I am reminded of one British investment manager who said at a private conference in 2000, “The question of whether or not aliens exist is rising in importance. Now that the Americans have borrowed 80% of all the capital on the planet, it appears that the only place they could go for more capital is off planet.” Actually, there is more that can be extracted on the planet and that is what my Slow Burn scenario and belief that the military holds the US dollar up is all about.

With sufficient military and intelligence force, we can keep financial assets subsidized and financial markets manipulated forever.  We just need to be willing to control and depopulate.  Which is, indeed, what we appear to be doing. Financial theft and drain can now simply be added to a long list of poisons and control technologies: fluoridation, chemtrails, junk food, TV entrainment and subliminal programming, narcotics trafficking, suppression of health care and energy technology and so forth.

Recently, the proposed health care data system (See The Data Beast) and a carbon trading system were added to the list of methods to accelerate corporate and banking control and general depopulation. The subtle onslaught of tactics to lower the birth rate and the average life expectancy continue in a manner designed to make the general population appear bad and to blame for their failing condition.

The last time the US economy had to work through a dump, in a significant “pump and dump,” I was serving as Assistant Secretary of Housing. The economy was kept going with band-aids through the presidential election in 1988. Things started to come unglued after the inauguration, with the disclosure and corporate and individual tax collection dates in March and April heightening the tension. As growing unemployment and falling state and local revenues resulted in greater and greater pain and bankruptcies, the summer and early fall brought real fears that the global financial system was going to crash.

I remember sitting at Treasury with the Secretary of Treasury Brady and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as we began the government resolutions of failing banks in the third quarter of 1989.  You could have cut the fear in the room that day with a knife. I anticipate similarities between the events of 1989 and 2009.

Corporations and investors delivered a lot of bad news as they filed in March. The pension fund losses announced in the first quarter were significant. Now individuals are preparing their taxes for filing on April 15. A stock market rally is easing investors losses in the short run.  State governments have been temporarily supported with the stimulus package. However, I expect the pain at the state and municipal levels to rise and the increased interest in asserting states rights to rise with it. ( See States vs. Feds.) Watch for tensions to rise steadily between now and late summer and early fall as we move into the reconciliation of the 2010 federal budget in September.

In this week’s Solari Report (Thursday, April 2), I’m doing a 1st Quarter “wrap-up” looking back at events in the first three months of 2009 and discussing what they mean to our future. Here are some of the charts I will be using in our discussion.

Here’s an outline:

  • Davos, G-20 and The Midianite Thing
  • Geography is Destiny
  • Obama: Change Bankers Can Count On
  • Your Pension Fund and 401k
  • Local Crime, Disinformation and Covert Ops
  • Print Media (and Lots More) Consolidates
  • Russia, China & the Shift to Global Governance
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Is the Dollar Going to Fall?
  • Opportunities Round Up
  • April Solari Reports: Exploring the Worst Case
  • Living with the Ostriches in Your Life

Following the first quarter wrap-up, throughout April, we will be exploring the worst scenarios for the economy and how you can successfully prepare and navigate them with Franklin Sanders of The Moneychanger in our precious metals update on April 9th, Dimitry Orlov, author of ReInventing Collapse on April 16th, and Clif High of Half Past Human: Adventures in Future Viewing on April 23rd. One of the many benefits of contemplating the worst case is that it inspires you to take those actions which diversify your resources and build local resiliency. These actions are an excellent investment of your time and will serve you well even if the worst case does not happen.

You can learn more about The Solari Report and subscribe monthly or annually here. Subscribers can access our complete archive of MP3 files.

I hope you’ll join us.

19 Comments

  1. Catherine —
    Wow I can’t believe you are interviewing Cliff High from HPH!!!

    How long have you been a subscriber? I think my first ALTA report was in the 709 series. I guess I should not be suprised…

    Can’t wait til the show tomorrow.
    All the best to you and yours.
    cheers,
    Hans

  2. A snippet from a Micheal Hudson piece at counterpunch.org concerning why the worst ofenders of the toxic CDO, MBS, etc securties are recently bidding up the prices of this toxic waste above their true value.

    Suppose a bank is sitting on a $10 million package of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that was put together by, say, Countrywide out of junk mortgages. Given the high proportion of fraud (and a recent Fitch study found that every package it examined was rife with financial fraud), this package may be worth at most only $2 million as defaults loom on Alt-A “liars’ loan” mortgages and subprime mortgages where the mortgage brokers also have lied in filling out the forms for hapless borrowers or witting operators taking out mortgages at far more than properties were worth and pocketing the excess.

    The bank now offers $3 million to buy back this mortgage. What the hell, the more they bid, the more they get from the government. So why not bid $5 million. (In practice, friendly banks may bid for each other’s junk CDOs.) The government – that is, the hapless FDIC – puts up 85 per cent of $5 million to buy this – namely, $4,250,000. The bank only needs to put up 15 per cent – namely, $750,000.

    Here’s the rip-off as I see it. For an outlay of $750,000, the bank rids its books of a mortgage worth $2 million, for which it receives $4,250,000.

    http://counterpunch.com/hudson03272009.html

  3. Doug:

    I turned down the offer. At this point, I have little faith in the integrity of the person who made the offer, so I doubt it was sincere – best to assume it was disinformation. That said, I wish I had said yes and put him to the test.

    Best,

    Catherine

  4. Doug:

    Now you know why Wall Street and Washington were so eager to get rid of Hamilton Securities. NO ONE wanted a firm that could ensure that government officials could get accurate pricing information and data at all times.

    Making sure that price and all the component data parts of price are invisible is the basis of all planetary scams, including environmental destruction.

    Catherine

  5. It’s buried in a hole somewhere? My guess is, when they dig it up, they’ll build a great city with streets paved with gold. Probably in Isreal.

  6. Thanks Catherine,

    As you too painfully know from your own experiences, the justice system is too put it mildly, a farce. Selective enforcement of laws, regulatory agencies that hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil and moreover a system of fraud and corruption that is no different from “3rd world” countries.

    Here’s a snippet from Mike Whitney on counterpunch.org about Elliot Spitzer running the SEC.

    …if Obama really wanted to police Wall St – which of course he doesn’t – he’d replace current SEC chief Mary Schapiro with Eliot Spitzer. Schapiro is another Wall Street toady who believes that the markets can regulate themselves. As the head of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra, she stood by while the financial giants increased their leverage to unsustainable levels and spread their derivatives-contagion to every part of the system.

    … Even the far-right Wall Street Journal has lambasted Schapiro. In an article titled “Obama’s pick to head SEC has record of being a Regulator with a Light Touch” the WSJ relayed this revealing anecdote:

    …Frank Congemi, a financial adviser, asked what Finra was doing to regulate “packaged products” such as complex mortgage securities. Mr. Congemi says that Ms. Schapiro replied: “We have rating agencies that rate them.” The credit-rating agencies, by this time, were being heavily criticized for having given triple-A ratings to mortgage bonds that became unsalable as foreclosures rose.
    This story sums up Schapiro’s do-nothing attitude perfectly. She’s doomed to follow in the footsteps of her feckless predecessor, Christopher Cox, who stuck his head in the sand while the five biggest investment banks levered up to 30 to 1 and brought the whole global house of cards crashing to earth. Schapiro will undoubtedly torpedo any effort to police the markets or to bring charges against any of the Wall Street Godfathers.

    …And what is the SEC up to now? Where are the regulators and what steps have been taken to clean up Wall Street?

    Nothing. Obama hasn’t changed a thing. Treasury is full of bank loyalists and the SEC is loaded with brokerage-friendly flunkies. The only difference is that the SEC’s rubber stamp has been passed from laughing stock Cox to lapdog Schapiro. Other than that, it’s business as usual.

    -Now here’s some interesting comments and is in line with what I’ve been hearing for a few months.

    …In March 2008, Spitzer resigned as Governor of New York when he was caught with a high-priced prostitute named Ashley Dupre. The story made headlines across the country. Spitzer accepted full responsibility for his conduct and did not challenge the allegations even though the information was gathered via a federal wiretap.

    The Spitzer case brings up some unsettling questions about Bush’s surveillance programs; mainly whether they are really being used to investigate potential terrorists or simply a means of destroying political enemies. Spitzer made a name for himself by sticking it to bigshot business tycoons and Wall Street kleptocrats, the very type of people who fill out Bush’s campaign donor list. That’s why many people believe that the Bush Justice Department was simply carrying out a vendetta on behalf of Spitzer’s many powerful enemies.

    Just days before the scandal broke, the Washington Post published an article by Spitzer which linked the Bush administration to the mortgage fiasco. He showed how Bush had blocked all efforts to save loan applicants from being fleeced by mortgage lenders. Spitzer was joined by many other state attorneys general who noticed early on that predatory lending was on the rise and that there was a concerted effort to keep the mortgage swindle going whether applicants had the ability to make their payments or not.

    …If the Obama team was serious about defending the little guy and restoring confidence in the markets, then a real bulldog has to run the SEC. But since the real objective appears to be keeping the same basic power-structure in place at all costs; the present course will do just fine.

    -The rest of the article, http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney03302009.html

    Regards, doug

  7. I hope the following flows within the bounds of the current topic and my apologies if doesn’t.

    The Group of 20 leading developing and industrialized nations is considering raising about $1 trillion via different credit lines for the International Monetary Fund, a Brazilian official said on the sidelines of the G20 Thursday.

    The extra funding aims to improve liquidity in the commercial markets and help countries cope with the current economic downturn. It marks a definite move from initial calls from countries such as France to limit additional IMF funding to $500 billion…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090402-705372.html

    In my opinion, I would probable have to say there are many countries that have been destroyed by the IMF, World Bank, IBS, etc

    If you don’t mind me asking Catherine, Where does the money actually cmoe from for these bankster operations to loan out?

    Regards. doug

  8. From Public Integrity concerning fraud and military contracts. Where does the money go? No wonder the federal gov’t hasn’t audited their books in over a decade.

    Defense contracting grew from about $200 billion in fiscal year 1993 at the start of the Clinton presidency to nearly $400 billion in FY 2008 at the end of President George W. Bush’s administration (1993 dollars adjusted for inflation to 2008 dollars). But Defense Department investigators during the Bush administration sent 76 percent fewer contracting fraud and corruption cases to the Justice Department for potential criminal prosecution than were referred under Clinton, according to Justice Department data analyzed by the Center for Public Integrity.

    …Despite the dispute over the data, a Defense Department Office of Inspector General report to Congress in March 2008 states that investigation of contracting fraud is one area of many “that have dropped in priority and have largely been neglected

    …This steep drop in enforcement has occurred at a time when the Pentagon has grown increasingly reliant on contractors for goods and services. Traditional defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing have for decades built aircraft, ground vehicles, and other advanced weapons systems. Beginning in the 1990s, though, contractors sharply expanded from manufacturing into services, often into areas once filled by government employees. Services include a broad swath of activities from logistics to providing translators in Iraq and Afghanistan to providing high-level policy and intelligence analysis.

    In March, President Obama expressed concern about fraud and waste in defense and other contracts, while two new Congressional efforts to examine defense contracting have recently begun. But some of those who have long been involved in the problem are expressing acute concern about the current enforcement environment.

    “You’ve got less referrals of any kind. Less discovery of any irregularities,” said former DCIS Chief Dupree, who left the government in 1998.

    …Pentagon data provided to the Center show that the number of DCIS agents dropped (see table) from the mid-1990s to 2003. The total has rebounded some since, but remains below what it was in 1995 — while the value of Pentagon contracts has soared.

    “Their ability to conduct good investigations to a resolution has been hampered by large cutbacks in personnel that started in the 1990s,” said Robert Bauman, a former DCIS agent and a certified fraud examiner.

    http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/1243

    Regards, doug

  9. Saw this on Barry Riholtz’s The Big Picture website.

    In the fall of 2006, Congress passed the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act, providing the SEC for the first time with authority to supervise credit rating agencies.

    Apparently, there is a soundtable on April 15 in DC concerning the SEC’s role in oversight of the credit rating agencies.

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/

    Don’t hear too much about the credit rating agencies in the msm about their role in the plundering and looting.

    Regards, doug

  10. The real question is not “Where is the money going?” but rather, what do “they” plan to do with it?

    You can’t sit on dollars or whatever forever. Sooner or later, it has to be turned into something tangible or useful.

    My guesses:

    I. exotic technology:

    Who knows what the trillions in defense research is actually creating? 1. Exotic propulsion technology for vehicles, flying and otherwise. 2. Exotic energy sources for all sorts of things: vehicle propulsion, weaponry 3. Exotic communication/storage and artificial intelligence. 4. Exotic research into thought-control, behavioral influence etc. See: Operation Mind-Control by WH Bowart

    II. massive hidden wealth funds to come in a buy up real assets on the cheap:

    real estate

    natural resources(water, water, water, farmable land, minerals, oil etc)

    equipment belonging to now bankrupt companies

    controlling interests in rescuable industries that can be made profitable after major union/employee concessions

    III. political power:

    slush funds to buy warlords, media influence, politicians, churches

    IV. financing illegal operations that turn more hidden profits:

    sex slave trade
    drugs
    gambling
    assassination for hire/mercenaries

    Catherine, any additions or suggestions?

    PR

  11. I would include:

    1. private armies.
    2. funds for social programs and state and local government that is flowed in through the back doors in a way to ensure that real opposition does not emerge.
    3. Ditto backdoor funding to corporations to keep them going. A form of government contracts payola with no work involved.

    I would add that I believe the advanced technology category is quite significant. A great deal of money is needed to fund weaponry and facilities that can not be disclosed to the Congressional intelligence committees and which are intended to be corporately owned.

    One of the more unusual hypothesis I have heard was in early 2006. I was having dinner with two physicists about their personal experiences working with or observing free energy technology. One mentioned that he had gotten a call from a colleague who worked at NASA. The NASA physicist explained, he said, that they were quite under the gun. They are invested trillions in creating a sustainable colony for humans on Mars. However, they could not figure out how to get the planet core reenginergized.

    Was the NASA call disinformation? I don’t know. However, the money is going somewhere and these mega space projects, electromagnetic weaponry and mega underground facilities and transportation systems that have been alleged would cost on the order of magnitude of the amounts going missing.

    If you watch the documentary Phoenix Lights, ask yourself how much would it cost for the US government and Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, et al. to build such an air ship?
    I suspect it was pretty expensive.

  12. Funding Nuclear fusion projects. One interesting thing i read is the computer system created to monitor fusion reactions is as remarkable as the fusion reaction. It’s the core of the intranet. Now we have fusion centers popping up everywhere. Similar to how the computer can take all the pieces of information created in a fusion reaction and make sense of them to better control the fusion reaction. I think they intend do the same with people, to control people like the magnets that control a fusion reaction. All based on their economic theory of self interest and rational behavior. Create penalties for certain decisions so that what they want people to do is the rational decision for people to make and monitor them to see if it’s working. If we were all purely motivated by self interests and always made rational decisions then we would be entirely predictable.

  13. As years roll by I get more and more eskeptic of everything big names do. Just using common sense one can see all this big snowball taking all involved into a big scam/lie of higer popoertions each day. And the ball keeps rolling bigger and the lies with it and truth goes under the ball as it rolls deeper into snow.
    How could anyone think we are going to make it in Mars or elsewhere in the Universe if we just can make it here?..nonsense..
    Cant even take a stupid car industry into waking upproperly to make real cars according to oil available in the world. Cant even see real value for CDOS, derivates, subprime loans taking the place of real value and wealth for all and not for few.
    Cant even see that real rich people think colectively and make a real better economy and society. Thats real wealth.
    USA entered the downward period once it bought into the wonderful idea of globalization and free market economy that is suppose to apply to certain countries and under certain circumstances..
    Once USA converted into an importer instead of exporter, real economics stopped and currencies started to flow out to East. Turning into a negative economy long time ago but being the depository of “confidence” of all the world there was plenty of money to “spend” and lend to try make beleive there was a real economy houses/mortgages started to be the only generation of somekind of an economy and cosumerism.
    You think government ever is going to say we are in bad shape, like Bankers ever say so, or you think any government being “leader” will ever say we were wrong beleiving in globalizaion and free market?..its impossible and first we will see the sun rise blue..you think the megarich guys on top will ever say we were wrong and we need to backup..?..giggles..
    Read some more Stiglitz especially “Fair Trade” and discover in horror how the globalization plans to kill so many people around the world. Also read Sachs “the End of Poverty” and of course John Perkins books.
    when you gonna wake up ! ? (B Dylan “long train coming” album)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/16/economics.wallstreet

    Cheers from Ecuador
    Ricardo

  14. HERE WE GO FOLKS! TWO OF THE CFR SENATORS ARE MESSING WITH OUR PRIVACY AGAIN ! (that sounds as bad as it ……..violation of our privacy!)

    http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=93966

    Senate bills No. 773 and 778, introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., are both part of what’s being called the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which would create a new Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor, reportable directly to the president and charged with defending the country from cyber attack.
    Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who is co-sponsoring the bill, added, “If we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”

    Critics, however, have pointed to three actions Rockefeller and Snowe propose that may violate both privacy concerns and even constitutional bounds:

    This will be under the control of our President Obama! (Why don’t they just arrest all the Taliban cells in our nation and put them in a Federal Prison, and leave us alone!)

    for the complete article go to the page below:

    http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=93966

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