November 19, 2011
A lot of people were puzzled about what German Chancellor Angela Merkel meant when she recently stated that the ultimate solution to the financial crisis in the EU would "mean more Europe, not less Europe". Well, now we are finding out.
A leaked internal German government memo entitled "The Future of the EU: Required Integration Policy Improvements for the Creation of a Stability Union" actually proposes the creation of a "European Monetary Fund" which would be given the power to run the economies of troubled European nations. This "stability union" would be quickly followed by the creation of a full-fledged "political union".
Essentially, this leaked memo proposes the creation of a "European Superstate" which will be crammed down the throats of the rest of Europe whether they like it or not. National sovereignty would be a thing of the past and European bureaucrats would run everything. Of course this will never be accepted by the people of Europe until they feel the bitter pain of the coming financial collapse, but we are starting to see that there is already a clear plan for what the Germans wish to implement in the aftermath of the coming crisis.
A lot of people have just assumed that if there is a massive financial collapse in Europe and the euro crashes that it will mean that end of the euro and potentially the breakup of the EU. But that is not what the Germans have planned at all.
An article in the Telegraph has posted details about the leaked internal German government memo mentioned above. It really is startling to see that a full-fledged "political union" in Europe is being discussed at the highest levels of the German government....
The six-page memo, by the German foreign office, argues that Europe’s economic powerhouses should be able to intervene in how beleaguered eurozone countries are run.
The confidential blueprint sets out Germany’s plan to tackle the eurozone debt crisis by creating a “stability union” that will be “immediately followed by moves “on the way towards a political union”.
It will prompt fears that Germany’s euro crisis plans could result in a European super-state with spending and tax plans set in Brussels.
Can you imagine what Europe would look like under such a plan?
National sovereignty would be a thing of the past.
Another article in the Telegraph says that the leaked memo proposes that immediately a "European Monetary Fund" should be set up that would have the power to take over and run the economies of European nations that get into too much debt. But according to the memo this would just be an intermediate step toward a full "political union"....
The six-page German foreign ministry paper sets out plans for the creation of a European Monetary Fund with a transfer of sovereignty away from member states.
The fund will have the power to take ailing countries into receivership and run their economies. Even more controversially, the document, entitled The future of the EU: required integration policy improvements for the creation of a Stability Union, declares that the treaty changes are a first stage “in which the EU will develop into a political union”. “The debate on the way towards a political union must begin as soon as the course toward stability union is charted,” it concludes.
As the crisis in Europe has gotten worse, the Germans have become more aggressive about throwing their weight around. At this point, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most important politician in Europe and she has been taking the lead in responding to this financial crisis.
As I have written about previously, there have been persistent rumors that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been "secretly plotting" to create a "new eurozone" that will fundamentally change the way that Europe is run.
For example, the following is from an article that recently came out in the Telegraph....
France is drawing up plans to create a breakaway organisation of eurozone countries with its own treaty, parliament and headquarters – a move that could significantly undermine the existing European Union.
That same article also talked about the goals that France and Germany are hoping to achieve through all of this....
France and Germany are understood to want to strengthen the union between eurozone countries with new taxes and legal measures to stop nations borrowing and spending too much in future.
Of course it is important to note that there is no way that the people of Europe are going to go for any of this right now.
But after feeling the pain of a massive financial collapse for a while will they change their minds?
What is clear is that the status quo is not going to last much longer. Something has got to change. Unfortunately, Germany and France seem determined to push the rest of Europe in the direction of creating a European Superstate.
If you want to get a really good idea of what is happening in Europe right now, just check out this video of a recent speech by Nigel Farage on the floor of the European Parliament on November 16th, 2011. Trust me, it is worth the couple of minutes that it takes to watch it.
But before fundamental structural changes take place in Europe, we are going to see an absolutely crippling financial collapse first. With each passing day, there are more signs that things are rapidly unraveling. The following are just a few of the noteworthy news items from Europe that have come out over the past week....
*In Italy there were violent clashes between protesters and police after Mario Monti unveiled his new austerity program. To get an idea of how crazy things are getting over in Italy, just check out this video.
*Just like what happened when austerity was implemented in Greece, it looks like Italy is now headed down the road toward a major recession. Industrial orders in Italy for the month of September declined by 8.5 percent. That is really, really bad news.
*The EFSF has already been forced to buy up huge numbers of its own bonds. That essentially means that the EFSF is already a bad joke.
*Dozens of big banks all over Europe have been downgraded in recent weeks. Even German banks are getting downgraded now. The other day, Moody's downgraded the ratings of 10 major German banks.
An increasing number of people that work in the financial world are starting to get really freaked out about everything that is going on.
The following is what Mark Mobius, head of the emerging markets desk at Templeton Asset Management, had to say recently....
"There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner, because we haven't solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis."
Willem Buiter, the chief economist of Citigroup, believes that if something is not done quickly, there will be a financial collapse in Europe in very short order....
"Time is running out fast. I think we have maybe a few months -- it could be weeks, it could be days -- before there is a material risk of a fundamentally unnecessary default by a country like Spain or Italy which would be a financial catastrophe dragging the European banking system and North America with it. So they have to act now."
Ann Barnhardt of Barnhardt Capital Management actually shut down her entire firm because she could no longer guarantee that the money her clients were putting into the futures and options markets would be safe. Posted below are extended excerpts from the open letter that she recently released to the public. Normally I would not post such extended excerpts, but in this case I believe that they are warranted. What Barnhardt has written should be a huge wake up call for all of us. It is refreshing (and a bit frightening) to get an honest assessment of the corruption in the financial world from someone that has made a good living in that world. The following is how she began her letter....
It is with regret and unflinching moral certainty that I announce that Barnhardt Capital Management has ceased operations. After six years of operating as an independent introducing brokerage, and eight years of employment as a broker before that, I found myself, this morning, for the first time since I was 20 years old, watching the futures and options markets open not as a participant, but as a mere spectator.
The reason for my decision to pull the plug was excruciatingly simple: I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not. And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy.
So how did the MF Global collapse wreck the system? Barnhardt went on to explain this....
The futures markets are very highly-leveraged and thus require an exceptionally firm base upon which to function. That base was the sacrosanct segregation of customer funds from clearing firm capital, with additional emergency financial backing provided by the exchanges themselves. Up until a few weeks ago, that base existed, and had worked flawlessly. Firms came and went, with some imploding in spectacular fashion. Whenever a firm failure happened, the customer funds were intact and the exchanges would step in to backstop everything and keep customers 100% liquid – even as their clearing firm collapsed and was quickly replaced by another firm within the system.
Everything changed just a few short weeks ago. A firm, led by a crony of the Obama regime, stole all of the non-margined cash held by customers of his firm. Let’s not sugar-coat this or make this crime seem “complex” and “abstract” by drowning ourselves in six-dollar words and uber-technical jargon. Jon Corzine STOLE the customer cash at MF Global. Knowing Jon Corzine, and knowing the abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime and its cronies, this is not really a surprise. What was a surprise was the reaction of the exchanges and regulators. Their reaction has been to take a bad situation and make it orders of magnitude worse. Specifically, they froze customers out of their accounts WHILE THE MARKETS CONTINUED TO TRADE, refusing to even allow them to liquidate. This is unfathomable. The risk exposure precedent that has been set is completely intolerable and has destroyed the entire industry paradigm. No informed person can continue to engage these markets, and no moral person can continue to broker or facilitate customer engagement in what is now a massive game of Russian Roulette.
Even more frightening, Barnhardt says that the MF Global collapse is just the "tip of the iceberg" and that more collapses like this are about to happen....
I have learned over the last week that MF Global is almost certainly the mere tip of the iceberg. There is massive industry-wide exposure to European sovereign junk debt. While other firms may not be as heavily leveraged as Corzine had MFG leveraged, and it is now thought that MFG’s leverage may have been in excess of 100:1, they are still suicidally leveraged and will likely stand massive, unmeetable collateral calls in the coming days and weeks as Europe inevitably collapses. I now suspect that the reason the Chicago Mercantile Exchange did not immediately step in to backstop the MFG implosion was because they knew and know that if they backstopped MFG, they would then be expected to backstop all of the other firms in the system when the failures began to cascade – and there simply isn’t that much money in the entire system. In short, the problem is a SYSTEMIC problem, not merely isolated to one firm.
So what does Barnhardt say that we should all do? She is actually recommending that everyone should completely abandon the futures and options markets....
And so, to the very unpleasant crux of the matter. The futures and options markets are no longer viable. It is my recommendation that ALL customers withdraw from all of the markets as soon as possible so that they have the best chance of protecting themselves and their equity. The system is no longer functioning with integrity and is suicidally risk-laden. The rule of law is non-existent, instead replaced with godless, criminal political cronyism.
Remember, a few weeks ago I warned you all that a massive derivatives crisis is coming. Anyone that plays around with derivatives at this point is playing with fire. Barnhardt says that she will never reopen her firm until Barack Obama is removed from office and fundamental reforms to the financial system have been implemented....
Finally, I will not, under any circumstance, consider reforming and re-opening Barnhardt Capital Management, or any other iteration of a brokerage business, until Barack Obama has been removed from office AND the government of the United States has been sufficiently reformed and repopulated so as to engender my total and complete confidence in the government, its adherence to and enforcement of the rule of law, and in its competent and just regulatory oversight of any commodities markets that may reform. So long as the government remains criminal, it would serve no purpose whatsoever to attempt to rebuild the futures industry or my firm, because in a lawless environment, the same thievery and fraud would simply happen again, and the criminals would go unpunished, sheltered by the criminal oligarchy.
We are on the verge of a financial crisis that could potentially be just as bad (or even worse) than the financial crisis of 2008.
Right now, 2012 is shaping up as a very, very bad year.
As I have written about previously, when European leaders proposed that private Greek bondholders should take a "50% haircut", they massively undermined faith in the European financial system.
Now panic and fear are in the air and it is unlikely that financial markets will be calmed any time soon.
Already, there are early signs of the kind of massive credit crunch that almost brought about "the end of the world" in financial markets back in 2008.
For example, a CNBC article that was posted on Friday reported that the flow of credit in Europe is seriously drying up....
Fear over European banks' exposure to risky government debt stalked markets and harried bank executives on Friday, as unsecured lending between banks evaporated and the cost of secured loans rose.
And as a recent article posted on Zero Hedge discussed, a similar thing is starting to happen in the United States....
The entire dollar funding market is now at levels not seen since the Lehman collapse and is effectively frozen. Only this time it is much, much worse as never before has the global central bank cadre been assumed and implied to be backstopping the global liquidity cascade. Ex-out the implied backstop by the monetary authorities, and liquidity is now locked up more than ever in the history of capital markets.
So what should we do about this?
We should take action and get prepared for what is coming.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans seem to be "checking out" instead. According to a recent Gallup poll, alcohol consumption in the United States has hit a 25 year high. More than one out of every ten Americans over the age of 12 is on prescription antidepressants, and most American families spend endless hours staring at the television in an attempt to escape the pain and the frustration that they constantly feel.
Hopefully by working together we can help more Americans (and more Europeans as well) to wake up, to get off their couches, and to take action in a positive way.
Time is running out and the economic crisis is rapidly getting worse.
We don't have any time to waste.
December 12, 2011
“Disintegration.” That’s the word both billionaire George Soros and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have recently used to describe what’s going on with the European economic crisis. It is really a solvency crisis for the big banks there, and leaders are trying desperately to fix the problem. Last week, 26 European countries agreed to give up sovereignty and vote for new rules on tax and spending and tough sanctions to enforce them. One country, the United Kingdom, voted “no” in the form of a veto from Prime Minister David Cameron. Here’s how British newspaper The Sun reported the story,
“The PM vetoed a new treaty and kept Britain out of a dodgy deal to save the euro. But his bulldog spirit left the nation facing an unknown future and risking an EU backlash. The PM defended his historic veto of an EU deal intended to save the euro — despite infuriating pro-Europeans.” (Click here for more from The Sun.)Cameron could not give up sovereignty over budgets in his country. I don’t blame him because, after all, the Brits still have the Pound Sterling and don’t need the Euro to conduct business.
Reuters’ take on the story was decidedly against the Mr. Cameron’s veto and said,
“Napoleon dreamed of it, De Gaulle fought for it, but Nicolas Sarkozy may have achieved it — a Europe of Nations with France in the cockpit and Britain on the sidelines. The French president emerged as one of the big winners of a European Union summit on Friday which ended with up to 26 member states agreeing to move forward in economic integration around the euro zone, and Britain alone in staying out.” (Click here for more from Reuters.)But what did these 26 countries really gain? This is just a pact to cut everything in order to pay back the loans of reckless bankers. There is no guarantee any of this will work because of the enormous debt in the EU banks. The financial press will love this deal, but the people of these EU countries will not.
Britain’s decision to stay out of any monetary union is not a sign of harmony but another sign of “disintegration.” The 26 countries voted, not to liquidate debt, but to keep it afloat. In the process, they have agreed to add even more to the tab in the form of more bailouts. Where are the trillions of dollars or euros going to come from? I’d say the printing press, and according to legendary investor Jim Sinclair of JSMineset.com, money printing will continue to lift gold prices. In an interview last week, Sinclair said,
“The only thing left is to create the liquidity to overcome it. And, with liquidity as your only tool, the risk is hyperinflation. The lack of understanding of what’s brought this about, the lack of understanding that there are no tools in the box that are going to fix it, the understanding that there’s no will to face it politically here or in Europe, it has to convince any thinking person that gold as an asset without any liability attached to it, really the money of the people, is in fact displacing paper, which has been the tool of confiscation of people’s hard work. Nothing has changed that. There isn’t anyone out there in government that understands that. There are no plans that I see anywhere that have the ability to combat that. The logical conclusion then is that the price of gold will reach much higher levels over time.” (Click here for the complete Sinclair interview.)
Another sign of “disintegration” is the MF Global bankruptcy and missing funds. Many have said the money was stolen, but, in fact, it is legally borrowed out of customer accounts to make trades. The term is called “re-hypothecation.” Renowned economist Martin Armstrong says it is not just MF Global, but many big banks and brokers do the same thing and have been doing so for decades. In a recent post, Armstrong said,
“In this case former Goldman Sachs’ Jon Corzine is blowing up the World Financial System and former Goldman Sachs’ Gary Gensler, now currently head of the CFTC, pretends to recuse himself from an MF Global investigation, yet in a unanimous vote, “The U.S. futures regulator approved on Monday a rule that puts tighter limits on how brokerage firms can use customer funds, a measure that the now-bankrupt MF Global had encouraged the agency to delay.” So, the CFTC has thus condoned what Corzine did for he can now say see, it was NOT illegal to trade with other people’s money before! The entire world financial system is in dire need of reform before everything blows up. If you think the Fed or any central bank can prevent a bank run, good luck.” (Click here for the complete Armstrong post.)
Two different friends of mine called yesterday and told me, “I’m afraid.” I replied, “You should be.” Neither has ever done this before, and in my small world, that is just another sign of “disintegration.”