A non-profit news blog, focused on providing independent journalism.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Nine of the World’s Biggest Banks Form Blockchain Partnership

Nine of the world’s biggest banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays, have joined forces with New York-based financial tech firm R3 to create a framework for using blockchain technology in the markets, the firm said on Tuesday.

It is the first time banks have come together to work on a shared way in which the technology that underpins bitcoin — a controversial, Web-based “cryptocurrency” — can be used in finance.

Over the past year, interest in blockchain technology has grown rapidly. It has already attracted significant investment from many major banks, which reckon it could save them money by making their operations faster, more efficient and more transparent. 

Deep Learning Machine Teaches Itself Chess in 72 Hours, Plays at International Master Level

In a world first, an artificial intelligence machine plays chess by evaluating the board rather than using brute force to work out every possible move.

It’s been almost 20 years since IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer beat the reigning world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, for the first time under standard tournament rules.  Since then, chess-playing computers have become significantly stronger, leaving the best humans little chance even against a modern chess engine running on a smartphone.

But while computers have become faster, the way chess engines work has not changed. Their power relies on brute force, the process of searching through all possible future moves to find the best next one.

Of course, no human can match that or come anywhere close. While Deep Blue was searching some 200 million positions per second, Kasparov was probably searching no more than five a second. And yet he played at essentially the same level. Clearly, humans have a trick up their sleeve that computers have yet to master.

This trick is in evaluating chess positions and narrowing down the most profitable avenues of search. That dramatically simplifies the computational task because it prunes the tree of all possible moves to just a few branches.

Computers have never been good at this, but today that changes thanks to the work of Matthew Lai at Imperial College London. Lai has created an artificial intelligence machine called Giraffe that has taught itself to play chess by evaluating positions much more like humans and in an entirely different way to conventional chess engines.

Straight out of the box, the new machine plays at the same level as the best conventional chess engines, many of which have been fine-tuned over many years. On a human level, it is equivalent to FIDE International Master status, placing it within the top 2.2 percent of tournament chess players.

The technology behind Lai’s new machine is a neural network. This is a way of processing information inspired by the human brain. It consists of several layers of nodes that are connected in a way that change as the system is trained. This training process uses lots of examples to fine-tune the connections so that the network produces a specific output given a certain input, to recognize the presence of face in a picture, for example.

Welcome to America – 14-Year-Old Texas Student Arrested for Building a Homemade Clock

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.05.19 AM

Police detained a 14-year-old Muslim boy after a teacher at his North Texas high school decided that a homemade clock he proudly brought to class looked like a bomb, according to school and police officials.

The family of Ahmed Mohamed said the boy was suspended for three days from MacArthur High School in the Dallas suburb of Irving after taking the clock to class on Monday.

The boy makes his own radios, repairs his own go-kart and on Sunday spent about 20 minutes before bedtime assembling a clock using a circuit board, power supply wired to a digital display and other items, The Dallas Morning News reported.

– From the ABC News article: Muslim Boy, 14, Detained for Making Clock Mistaken for Bomb

America is a deeply fallen nation. I don’t know how obvious it has to become before people come to grips and start to do something about it.

We haven’t decayed into this tepid abyss of immorality and decadence because of illegal immigrants, no matter what a two-bit demagogue preaching to desperate hordes infected with what Huxley referred to as herd-poisoning tells you. It’s entirely own our fault. We’ve allowed criminals and professional crony capitalists to take total control of the reins of power, and rather than fight against them, we aspire to become them. We have allowed them to scare us into submission by exploiting the tragic events of 9/11 to consolidate the world’s wealth into an increasingly small number of hands. Immigrants didn’t do this. We did, or at the very least, we allowed it to happen.

I harbor nostalgia for the days when Americans were merely ridiculed as being obese, McDonalds eating slobs ignorant of world affairs. We aren’t viewed with this combination of amusement and endearment any longer. Rather, the world now shudders with a mixture of disgust and horror in contemplation of what we have become. A decadent, clownish, wealth obsessed, corrupt, aggressive, war-mongering multitude of brainwashed imperial subjects. Worse yet, it’s not just ignorance anymore. There appears to be a idolization of anti-intellectualism running rampant, something on full display as of late with the ascendence of Donald Trump as a uniquely American strongman-savior. Not only is this stupid, it’s pathetic and dangerous.

America used to celebrate its eccentrics. The strange, creative, iconoclasts who, when allowed to, will generally change society for the better. In modern America, we put them in handcuffs. To illustrate this point, here’s an excerpt from my 2013 post, Remembering Internet Prodigy and Activist Aaron Swartz (1986-2013): Your Life is an Inspiration:

Despite this horrible tragedy, based on the outpouring of disgust even from the mainstream media, I am optimistic that Aaron’s death might actually represent a turning point.  An event that can shake people out of their normalcy bias and force them to accept the sad reality they have been loath to admit.  That our criminal “justice” system has been completely and totally co-opted by a ruthless, greedy and immoral oligarch class that seems hell bent on throwing the American public into a neo-feudal nightmare of debt slavery and ignorance.

Aaron was a treasure and a gift to the species and only a very sick and dying culture would have led to his premature end.  We must look at ourselves in the mirror, accept this reality and change it immediately.

Unfortunately, not much has changed in these two and a half years. Our populace remains as fearful, paranoid and slavish as ever. More destitute, more desperate and more confused than ever before. Feverishly searching for a weak group to blame, and self-satisfied with their slobbering support for a casino billionaire who has opportunistically provided the easy target. This is the culture that attacked and killed Aaron Swartz, and it is the culture that led to the arrest of a brilliant 14-year-old boy for building a homemade clock.

From ABC News:

Police detained a 14-year-old Muslim boy after a teacher at his North Texas high school decided that a homemade clock he proudly brought to class looked like a bomb, according to school and police officials.

The family of Ahmed Mohamed said the boy was suspended for three days from MacArthur High School in the Dallas suburb of Irving after taking the clock to class on Monday.

The boy makes his own radios, repairs his own go-kart and on Sunday spent about 20 minutes before bedtime assembling a clock using a circuit board, power supply wired to a digital display and other items, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The school district said in a statement that Ahmed was detained by police. Irving police spokesman James McLellan told the Morning News that police are determining whether to file a charge of making a hoax bomb.

This is so typical of the U.S. power structure. Rather than admitting fault for traumatizing a little boy for being particularly smart, they regroup in order to charge him with an invented crime.

So what’s the lesson learned by Ahmed? That inventiveness and eccentricity are not only unappreciated in America, but that exhibiting such traits is dangerous. In contrast, when members of the so-called “elite” commit systemic theft and embark upon countless unnecessary and devastating wars abroad, they are rewarded with unimaginable wealth. This is the incentive structure of modern America, and it’s precisely why the country has morphed into little more than a neo-feudal imperial Banana Republic.

For a little more, here’s some coverage from the New York Times:

A high school student in Texas whose hobby was inventing thought he had a unique idea for a project: to build his own clock.

But the effort landed him in handcuffs and juvenile detention, accused of making a hoax bomb.

When Ahmed Mohamed, 14, brought the clock to MacArthur High School in Irving, Tex., on Monday, an engineering teacher suggested that he not show the invention to other teachers. But it beeped during an English class, prompting Ahmed to show his English teacher what it was, according to an account in The Dallas Morning News.

In a video posted on the newspaper’s website, Ahmed described how he was taken from school by the police. “They took me to a room filled with five officers,” he said. “They interrogated me, and searched through my stuff and took my tablet and my invention.”

He said he was fingerprinted, and mug shots were taken at a juvenile detention center. He was released when his parents came to retrieve him.

“It made me feel like a criminal,” he said. He was suspended for three days.

“It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”

Read this line again and again and again until you get it. “The concern was, what was this thing built for?” 

Perhaps it was built out of curiosity and passion, or perhaps it was just the spontaneous product of a creative and brilliant mind. So what? Why does it have to be built for a specific purpose? Instead of celebrating such a bright young boy, we criminalize him. It’s a symptom of a very sick and twisted society.

In his classic novel 1984, George Orwell wrote:

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

He was wrong. It actually, it looks like this.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.05.19 AM

Ahmed’s arrest occurred in Texas. A state so proud of it’s small government stance, yet bizarrely ground zero for a multitude of statist practices. For example:

Police State Desperation – Texas Sheriff Proclaims “Authority Comes from God”

Don’t Mess with Texas – Police Raid and Shutdown Lemonade Stand Run by 7 and 8-Year-Old Girls

How a Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center in Texas Targeted Animal Rights Activists

Meet Jason Villalba – The Texas State Representative Who Introduced a Bill that Criminalizes Citizens Filming Police

Texas SWAT Team Raids Organic Farm for No Reason

For more related articles, see:

United Airlines CEO Walks Away with $21 Million Exit Package After Resigning Due to Corruption Probe

Is the Justice Department Finally Ready to Jail Corporate Criminals?

New Report – The United States’ Sharp Drop in Economic Freedom Since 2000 Driven by “Decline in Rule of Law”

Bilderberg 2015 – Where Criminals Mingle with Politicians

Baltimore as a Microcosm of America

The U.S. Department of Justice Handles Banker Criminals Like Juvenile Offenders…Literally

Cronyism Pays – Eric “Too Big to Jail” Holder Triumphantly Returns to His Prior Corporate Law Firm Job

Three Former SEC Officials Write Letter to SEC Chief Mary Jo White Asking Her to Stop Protecting Corporate Cronyism

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

DHS and judges wants alcohol ignition interlock devices installed in every vehicle

A truly disturbing picture is emerging about how interwoven judges, prosecutors and private corporations are working to install 'Alcohol Ignition Interlocks', in every vehicle. A detailed look reveals how they also want 'Automated Traffic Enforcement' and 'Automated Speed Enforcement installed at EVERY intersection and HIGHWAY across the country! 

Since 2000 the 

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

 has given testimony 

33 times

 in support of 'Automated Speed Enforcement/Red Light' cameras and 'Alcohol Ignition Interlocks'


ignition interlock laws now exist in every state

 but they're not MANDATORY yet!

Ignition interlock devices is going to happen its only a matter of when!

In June of this year, I warned how the

 Feds want cars to come standard equipped with alcohol sensors

. And in April 2015, I wrote an article warning everyone that our government wants 

cars to come standard equipped with interlock devices


Now DHS and judges are trying to make it a reality...

Would you be surprised to know there is actually an annual "

Alcohol Interlock Symposium

" that's been going on for 15 years or since 2000!

DHS provided a speaker at last year's symposium:

"Christina Abernathy works as a privacy technical assistance (TA) provider through several programs, such as the joint DOJ and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center Privacy TA Program. Ms. Abernathy guided and formalized the Fusion Center Privacy Policy Development: Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Policy Template. She has also provided privacy TA to fusion centers and reviewed more than 100 center privacy policies for compliance. Previous work includes privacy policy development assistance to statewide justice information sharing systems on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Governors Association." 

DHS was kind enough to publish their "

Interlock Data Privacy And Security

" presentation written by Christina Abernathy.

"The 14th International Alcohol Interlock Symposium held in Washington, D.C. has now concluded. This event attracted more than 150 attendees representing 13 countries from six different continents, making it one of the largest and most successful to date. The North American presence was strong with representation from more than 15 jurisdictions."

The Symposium featured four judges, two NHTSA representatives two MADD representatives a World Health Organization representative and many more:

California Superior Court Judge Richard A. Vlavianos, click 


 to read his presentation.

Judge Mark D. Atkinson is the Executive Director of the Texas Center for the Judiciary, click 


 to read his presentation.

Chief Judge Harvey Hoffman of 56-A District Court in Charlotte, Michigan, click 


 to read his presentation. 

Retired District Judge Michael Kavanaugh works for the National Center for DWI Courts, click 


 to read his presentation.

David J. Friedman is the Acting Administrator of the NHTSA but didn't want the public to see his presentation but you can bet it's nearly identical to Maureen Perkins.

Maureen Perkins is a Program Analyst in the Impaired Driving Division of NHTSA, click 


 to read her presentation.

Debbie Weir is the Chief Executive Officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), click 


to read here presentation.

Andrew Murie has been MADD Canada's Chief Executive Officer since 1997, click 


 to read his presentation.

Jonathon Passmore works for the Western Pacific Regional Office, World Health Organization (WHO), click 


 to read his presentation.



 to read about past Alcohol Interlock Symposiums, ironically Anheuser Busch is one of their sponsors.

There's even an 

Association of Ignition Interlock Program Administrators

 (AIIPA) that's been working with the NHTSA since 2001 to put 'Alcohol Ignition Interlocks' in every U.S. vehicle. Click 


 to read the numerous 'Alcohol Ignition Interlock' articles they've published. Click


 to go to the Ignition Interlock Device website.

There's also an American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, 

Ignition Interlock Working Group


And as if that wasn't enough there's even a 

Coalition of Interlock Manufacturers

 (CIIM), who stand to make huge profits once they're installed in EVERY vehicle.

"The CIIM is an ad-hoc organization formed by three of the nation’s leading ignition interlock manufacturers to combine members expertise and experience and speak with one voice to reduce the carnage caused by alcohol impaired drivers. With its “one-voice,” CIIM strives to bring the most credible, factual information on ignition interlock devices to public policy discussions." 

Let's see how factual CIIM really is, below are excerpts taken from CIIM's Ignition Interlock page :

So let's recap what CIIM is saying...

1.) They're lobbying congress EVERY year to pass a bill making it MANDATORY that every vehicle in the U.S. come standard equipped with an 'Alcohol Ignition Interlock' device!

2.) They've partnered with the NHTSA/DHS to implement 'Alcohol Ignition Interlock' devices.

3.) Perhaps the MOST SHOCKING, they collaborate with Judges, Probation Officials and Prosecutors to implement 'Alcohol Ignition Interlock' devices!

4.) Strengthen DWI courts, in other words, raise the penalties and fines so EVERYONE profits: courts, police, judges, automakers, NHTSA, AIIPA and the CIIM to name a few!

5.) The AIIPA and the CIIM will provide their own EXPERTS to police and the courts! No one said you'd receive a fair trial now did they?

This is the corrupt American justice system at it's worst, private corporations wear down Congress year after year until they get what they want. Have you ever wondered why our courts uphold 

driving is a privilege not a right in America

? Well now you have your answer. Too much money is riding on ticketing and arresting American motorists, state and local budgets would come crashing down if anything changed and the justice system would be seriously affected.

If only it ended there, TEN automakers have agreed to install automatic emergency brakes in all their vehicles:


Ten major automakers — Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo — have each committed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they would include automatic emergency brakes in their vehicles!"

Automatic emergency braking will happen automatically if a driver doesn't not apply the brakes to avoid a rear end collision! The systems uses on-vehicle sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash and warn the driver.

Safety advocates say its a backroom deal that allows automakers to avoid the possibility that the Transportation Department will make it a law in the near future.

The commitments were made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the 

Insurance Institute for Auto Safety


DHS/FEMA have created a national patient tracking system

DHS's "

If You See Something Say Something

" program has created a nation of spies!

Don't try and use anything other than a government approved ID at a hospital or clinic or you'll be arrested:

Blanca Borrego and her two daughters had been sitting in the waiting room of the Northeast Women's Healthcare clinic in Atascocita, Texas for nearly two hours. 

When Borrego arrived at the clinic the staff told her they needed to update her file and, after she filled out some paperwork, they asked for an ID. 

Borrego, an undocumented immigrant handed the staff a fake driver's license. The staff contacted the police who were waiting for her in the examination room!

Borrego's daughter saw Harris County Sheriff's deputies march her mother out of the clinic and say...

“We're going to take her downtown, she presented a form of false identification,” Borrego's daughter recalled the deputy saying. He said their mother's bond would probably be around $20,000, and added, "She's going to get deported."“They took her into that examination room solely for the purpose of being arrested,”  Attorney Clarissa Guajardo told the Houston Press. “I just have a very hard time with that. I think it's a violation of HIPAA laws.” 

So what does this have to do with me you ask? She had a fake ID and deserved to be arrested.

Hospitals and health care clinics are tracking EVERY patient for Big Brother and know their identities:

"Patient tracking, oftentimes automated, is used in a variety of healthcare facilities throughout the United States and is a key component to incident response and management."

On Sept. 7th. I wrote about how the 

DEA is spying on thousands of patient medical files without a warrant


Hospitals are putting RFID chips inside name bracelets which allow a hospital to track a patients whereabouts in real-time.

"It's RTLS, or real time locating system," said Kelly Worsnick, a registered nurse and Operations Manager of the Emergency Department at G-CMC.  She says since the hospital put in the system last month, she's already used it many times.  That chip, or badge, is picked up by beacons located throughout the facility.

Companies providing patient tracking devices have close ties to DHS:


 has a close relationship with DHS, click 





 to see a few examples.


Versus Tech

 has a close relationship with Teletracking, 

GE Healhcare

 and C

erner Corporation

, if you connect the dots, Versus Technology works with DHS indirectly.


 has a close relationship with DHS, click 


, to see how they work with the Department of Veterans Affairs government office. Cemtrak, also has a close relationship with the U.S. Army's

Advanced Chemistry Laboratory


Stanley Healthcare

 which is part of (

Stanley Security

) has a close relationship with DHS, click 






 to see a few examples. Click 


 to read more about Stanley Healthcare's patient tracking tech.


, a national advocacy organization has helped to create a NATIONAL patient tracking system backed by FEMA:

COMCARE has embarked on the development of a national framework for the planning and implementation of Integrated Patient Tracking Systems.

The "

Patient Tracking Initiative

" which began in 2006 and had three phases...

Phase I: Functional Requirements 

- Patient Identification: Data points collected to positively identify an individual.

- Location of Patient Within the System: Identification of an individual’s movement within the system, and the present location of the individual. 

- Post Event Analysis and Reporting: Functionality related to producing reports and aggregating data for analysis. 

The second phase is the research piece, studying the implementation of patient tracking systems across the country. This information gathering completes the other components of the national patient tracking framework, including the development of a model RFP. Phase II is expected to take six months.

- From the pre-hospital setting through family reunification, successful patient tracking can have a powerful impact on patient care and patient safety. Properly implemented, duplicate data entry and its inherent errors, information loss, emergency room procedure preparation for patient arrival and caregiver communication can all be improved. 

The third phase will be a model implementation. It “test drives” the framework with field trials and by following a few communities through their procurement and implementation processes. Phase III is estimated to take a year or more. 

“To make an impact, the system has to be used every day,” he said. “Therefore, the system has to be useful every day to all those involved

” said Michael Pariser, a project associate at COMCARE.

Of course FEMA, sorry I meant COMCARE wants their surveillance system to be used every day.

In 2009 FEMA/DHS published a "

Tracking Of Emergency Patients

 " (TEP) report describing their plans for creating a national patient tracking system:


page 11

 of the report: "

The NASEMSO with many other agencies and organizations recognized the need for standards-based interoperability to realize the potential of the numerous patient tracking systems in existence or planned."Page 12

 also lists COMCARE's involvement in the patient tracking system.

Excerpt from 

page 16


Phase I –Tracking of Emergency Patients

EMS / Patient Centric –EMS Life-Cycle Processes

Phase II –Extend to Track General Population “Victims”

Non-Patient (“Healthy”) Population

Evacuees, Displaced, Regulation, Family Re-Unification

DHS/FEMA are tracking patients all the way to the morgue!

Excerpt from 

page 17


"Focus Tracking Process from EMS-certified Patient Encounter Through Release, Hospital Admission or Morgue."

Share Patient Movement/Tracking, Disposition, and some Condition and Care Information During Emergency Medical Transport.

TEP Information-Sharing Supports:

Basic Incident Occurrence Information (9-1-1, Dispatch)

Care Provider Demographics (e.g. Search & Rescue, EMS)

Unique Identification of the Patient

Tracking of Physical Movement and Transition Between Care Providers

Basic Patient Emergency Evaluation, Symptoms and Care

Patient Outcome and Disposition After Release from Emergency Care

Page 19

 reveals the true scope of patient tracking under "Information Sharing Opportunities":

"Patient tracking systems at local, state and federal levels."

Back to COMCARE...

COMCARE's Emergency Response Alliance

 website describes how law enforcement, 911 directors, doctors, automotive groups, to name a few, are working to track EVERYONE:

"The ComCARE Alliance is a broad-based not-for-profit national coalition of 100 organizations representing nurses, physicians, emergency medical technicians, 9-1-1 directors, emergency managers, transportation officials, wireless, technology and transportation companies, public safety and health officials, law enforcement groups, automotive companies, consumer organizations, telematics suppliers, safety groups, and others." "We are working to encourage the development and deployment of life saving communications technologies that will enhance America's emergency response capabilities. Perhaps most important, we encourage and facilitate cooperation across professional, jurisdictional and geographic lines, seeking to break down the walls that separate us and limit our effectiveness."

Did you catch that? What they're really saying is they're encouraging EVERYONE to spy on you and they want the people listed above to ignore the law so COMCARE can turn a PROFIT. Sorry, I apologize they're a non-profit that made over $12 million in 



Tracking of "emergency patients" is big business, a company called 

Global Emergency Resources

 (GER) has printed numerous articles extolling the use of patient tracking systems for FEMA/DHS, click 




 to read them.

GER wants their software to be used at sporting events, to track "missing persons" in difficult circumstances! What difficult missing person(s) circumstances can you think of? 

1.) You can't remember where you're seat is? 

2.)You can't remember where you parked your car are two that come to mind.

(GER's missing persons B.S. example begins at the 2:00 minute mark)

Every patient that checks into a hospital is entered into DHS's "

Center for Domestic Preparedness

" (CDP) database.

On March 31, 2007, the 

Noble Training Facility

 (NTF) was integrated into the CDP training center. 

"In 1999, the former Noble Army Hospital was converted to a training site for health and medical education in disasters, to include both acts of terrorism and natural disasters. The NTF is the only hospital facility in the United States dedicated solely to training hospital and healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.""The NTF is the only hospital facility in the United States dedicated solely to training."

Today's first responders are being trained in the art of disinformation, don't expect to get any information about a hospital's involvement with DHS:

The NTF center has a 

fully operational media center

 with the capability to conduct live closed-circuit press broadcasts throughout the operation.

Did you know that every police department and hospital has a media center or public affairs department.  Ask yourself why do police and hospitals have media centers? Is it to be fully transparent or is it just another way for the government to close ranks and keep the public in the dark?

Isn't that funny DHS has a sense of humor, lets use the "Noble" training facility to train first responders, doctors, nurses etc. in spying. FYI, the Noble Training Center was a 

former Army hospital


Is it "Noble" to spy on patients? Is it "Noble" to ignore  


 or what's left of patient privacy? According to FEMA/DHS, the answer is YES and EVERYONE better get used to it.

FEMA's first responder training center is made to look just like any hospital or clinic in the country:

"The Advanced Responder Training Complex (ARTC) offers a cross-section of environments found in any community throughout the nation. The complex provides responders with a realistic training environment, to exercise the skills acquired during training. The ARTC includes a remodeled industrial park complex with simulated office space, medical clinic, fast food restaurant, facility maintenance, biomedical laboratory, calibration laboratory, and shipping/receiving office."

Why would FEMA/DHS want to train doctors, nurses and EMTs at fake hospitals and clinics and track our every movement? The answer can be explained in two words "Obama care" or government run healthcare! What is happening to America's doctors, has the Hippocratic oath become a joke?

"Many physicians today find physicians’ oaths lacking. Some point to the number and diversity of specialties in modern medicine and note that one, generalized oath is inadequate. Others identify that the oaths often conflict with necessary medical experiments, or simply do not address them.'

hereherehere & here to read how Obama care has destroyed the Hippocratic oath.

Grand Theft Auto – UK and EU Bank Depositor Bail-In Regime Implemented


Shares and stocks are tumbling around the world, with investors 


 that the next global crisis has already begun. There is considerable uncertainty and 


 amongst economists and trend forecasters. Government’s sooth jittery markets with misinformation in the hope that confidence does not evaporate and their legitimacy with it.

If another crisis gets underway – do you think that the money you have earned, paid tax on and put in a bank for a rainy day or for an unexpected bill is safe? Because if you do, you’re wrong.

Automated grand theft on an unprecedented scale has been agreed with unelected EU officials, the Bank of England and US authorities.

In a Joint paper issued by the US Federal Deposit Scheme and the Bank of England dated 10th December 2012 a statement included the words; “deposit schemes may have to contribute to the recapitalisation of a failed bank”.

“The U.K. has also given consideration to the recapitalization process in a scenario in which Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) liabilities do not include much debt issuance at the holding company or parent bank level but instead comprise insured retail deposits held in the operating subsidiaries. Under such a scenario, deposit guarantee schemes may be required to contribute to the recapitalization of the firm“.

This 2012 paper puts in place procedures in the event of the failure of a systemically important bank. It clearly states that depositors are to be protected – that is, until options have ceased to exist. Next time, the state will be last in line, not first. Depositor bail-in schemes are now a reality.

The issue at hand is the scale of the bank failure. US and UK authorities have now admitted that all deposits are subject to potential ‘haircuts’ involving any major bank failure. This is an admission by the British government that the £85,000 deposit guarantee scheme is flawed and that the British depositors protection promise is simply a sound bite and not financially supported.

Paul Tucker, Bank of England Deputy Governor stated that ‘it is not enough to have just a Deposit Guarantee Scheme’ to save a major bank. He went on “if the losses are vast enough, then the haircuts imposed by the resolution authority can in principle permeate to any level of the creditor stack. In the case of insured deposits, that means Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) suffering losses”.

Although Paul Tucker had given notice to retire the previous November, straight after this speech given to the Institute of International Finance on October 12th 2013, he retired and left the Bank of England, leaving that grim warning.

The G-20 met last year in Australia to make new banking rules for the next financial calamity. Financial reform advocate Ellen Brown says these new rules will allow banks to take money from depositors and pensioners globally.

Brown says – “They use words so that it’s not obvious to tell what they have done, but what they did was say, basically, that we, the governments, are no longer going to be responsible for bailing out the big banks. There are about 30 (systemically important) international banks. So, you are going to have to save yourselves, and the way you are going to have to do it is by bailing in the money of your creditors. The largest class of creditors of any bank is the depositors.”

Around the same time the new EU Bail-In Agreement was signed 12th November 2013 giving notice to member countries to prepare.

The European Commission has just ordered 11 EU countries to enact the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) within two months or be hauled before the EU Court of Justice. Notably, rules include; Bail-in legislation aimed at removing state responsibility when banks collapse and Rules placing the burden on creditors – among whom depositors are counted

Austria abolished bank deposit guarantee in full in April with the full sanction of the EU and little fanfare.

The news was not covered in other media despite the important risks and ramifications for depositors and savers throughout the EU and indeed internationally. The countries were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France and Italy.

The rules, or BRRD ostensibly aim to shield taxpayers from the fall-out of another banking crisis. Should such a crisis erupt governments will not be obliged to prop up the banks. Most countries are far too deeply indebted to play such a role anyway.

Instead, the burden is being placed on the creditors. As Reuters put it “The rules seek to shield taxpayers from having to bail out troubled lenders, forcing creditors and shareholders to contribute to the rescue in a process known as “bail-in”.

Emergency legislation can be drawn up over-night – as was the case when Ireland was “bailed-out” or rather Ireland’s banks were bailed out and Ireland’s tax payers were bailed in. The developing bail-in regimes, means that soon individual and corporate depositors will see their savings and capital ‘bailed in’ in the event of a bank collapse.

In the ongoing meltdown of the European Union, perhaps the greatest single bump in the road, as far as banking is concerned, so far took place in Cyprus, although the EU has demonstrated an amazing skill set to change the rules at will depending on the scale of the disaster – AKA Greece.  This gave the world a glimpse of the future banking landscape of the EU.

In the immediate aftermath of the dramatic bank holiday and bail-in events of Cyprus, many in the financial media began asking whether Cyprus represents a template for future bail-ins across the European Union or elsewhere around the globe. The answer is emphatically YES. A 60% haircut lay in waiting for some in Cyprus.

Each country will enact its own version of the BRRD. How vulnerable savers are in specific countries is difficult to tell at this time. The drive towards a cashless economy which has accelerated in recent months makes deposit holders and savers ever more vulnerable.

Britain is particularly perilous as noted in the FT – The Bank of England’s stress tests of the banking sector have been attacked as “fatally flawed” saying they are utterly useless for setting hurdles that are too easy to clear and giving false comfort about the safety of the financial system.

The bail-in legislation which is being driven by the BIS through the Bank of England, ECB, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) appears designed to protect banks by allowing them to confiscate deposits to prop them up rather than the noble stated objective – “to shield taxpayers”.

The new EU system will take effect from January 2016 but emergency resolutions can be brought forward in the event of banks failing in the interim period. The “bail-in” will require that shareholders, bondholders and importantly now depositors will all suffer ‘haircuts’ if a financial institution is in trouble.

The European parliament confirmed in a statement that depositors with more than 100,000 euros (£84,185/$137,000) would be bailed in after shareholders and bondholders. It is important to note that the 100,000 figure is an arbitrary figure and there is a possibility that this figure could be reduced by an insolvent government faced with an imploding banking system. Think Cyprus again.

The agreement was spun as a victory for taxpayers, however the risks and ramifications of bailing in savers including families with their life savings and the deposits of already struggling small and medium size enterprises has already been seen in Cyprus.

Gunnar Hoekmark, who steered the legislation through the European parliament, said: “We now have a strong bail-in system which sends a clear message that bank shareholders and creditors will be the ones to bear the losses on rainy days, not taxpayers.”

Gunnar forgets that savers are taxpayers too and have paid taxes – on their income, on goods and services, on capital gains etc – on their hard earned savings already. Indeed, many are already paying punitive deposit interest rates giving banks ever more.

There also appears to be a failure to realise that deposits – including family’s life savings, retirees pension incomes and businesses – are a vital part of the economy. You cannot have consumption without saving. You cannot have business growth and expansion and a consequent growth in much needed employment without capital.

The Bank of England recently extended the Financial Stability Board’s Key Attributes guidelines and added four practical steps to follow when bailing-in a financial firm.

These four steps are; Stabilisation, Valuation and Exchange, Relaunch, and Restructuring. Although the Bank of England’s four step bail-in approach is quite detailed, it does not address the capital controls that would be needed so as to prevent a bank run. This is where the Cyprus example becomes useful.

Capital controls were widely implemented in Cyprus during a theoretical two week long ‘Resolution Weekend’. Authorities knew that depositors would act rationally and attempt to close their accounts or transfer their funds abroad, thereby causing capital flight. To prevent this happening, draconian capital controls were imposed and banks were kept shut for two weeks.

This was the first time that capital controls had ever been imposed within the Eurozone. Greece followed. Many EU countries already have some controls over the movement of money.

When capital controls are imposed on economies, they usually remain in place for some time, for example, Icelandic capital controls imposed in 2008 have only just been lifted. Cypriot capital controls have only just started to be relaxed. Controls on international fund transfers are envisaged as being the final piece of the controls to be lifted.

The lessons from the Bank of England and EU plan and from Cyprus and Greece are essentially that depositors will not get any notice that their bank is about to be bailed in. The bail-in would probably happen during a weekend it would not re-open on the following Monday. Capital controls would be imposed on the country’s banks during the bail-in and for a lengthy follow-on period.

From January 1st 2015, Britain’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), that protects £85,000 per person per institution was reduced to £75,000, under the absurd pretence of the strength of the pound. So absurd was this move that it caused considerable suspicion as to its motives. The Bank of England has just reduced bank liabilities and integrated the depositor bail-in scheme at a reduced level. One has to ask – Why?

United Airlines CEO Walks Away with $21 Million Exit Package After Resigning Due to Corruption Probe

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Crime and corruption pay in America; you just have to be a corporate CEO, Wall Street executive, senior member of the military-industrial-intelligence complex or a politician. These so-called “elites” have perverted American justice to such a degree that not only are they now entirely above the law, they’re actually rewarded for unethical and crony behavior even after they get caught.

Nothing sums up how completely fraudulent and corrupt the U.S. economy has become than the following story, which describes how the United Airlines CEO who stepped down in the midst of a corruption probe is rewarded with a $21 million exit package, “free flights for life,” and free parking in downtown Chicago forever. No, I’m not making this up.

From the Omaha World-Herald:

When Jeff Smisek stepped down as United Airlines’ chief executive last week amid a federal corruption probe, he didn’t walk away empty-handed. He will receive at least $21 million in cash and stock, fly free for the rest of his life and keep his company car.

Then there is the parking.

He can park free in downtown Chicago and at airports in Houston and Chicago for the rest of his life.


The full value of Smisek’s exit package could be even higher — he’s still eligible for the incentive pay that accumulated before his resignation. In all, Bloomberg estimates he will walk away with $28.6 million. That’s more than double his pay last year, which reached $12.8 million.

Smisek’s resignation was tied to a federal investigation into whether the air carrier launched a money-losing flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Columbia, South Carolina, to benefit the influential then-chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who owned a vacation home near Columbia.

Smisek’s tenure was also pockmarked by technical glitches that briefly grounded United’s fleet this year, and a difficult merger with Continental.

You see, he wasn’t just rewarded for corruption, he was incompetent too.

“This is very, very typical,” said Charles Elson, chairman of the University of Delaware’s Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance.

Less typical: Smisek’s non-cash compensation, including the company car, health insurance and the lifetime of free flights (and companion tickets), compensation experts say. United is even picking up the tax bill for the free flights, which the company has estimated could come to more than $437,000.

“From the worker’s perspective, it’s obviously a different mentality,” said Molly Sheerer, a spokeswoman for the union, which is in the midst of contract negotiations with the airline. “We believe there’s something wrong when an executive is awarded over $25 million for failing to do his job.”

Now here’s the real kicker…

“The way that CEO employment agreements are written, you really have to commit a felony before they can fire you and not pay you anything,” said Paul Hodgson, a partner at BHJ Partners, a compensation research firm. “Just being bad at your job or immoral or unethical or whatever is not enough usually.”

Heads I win, tails you lose.

Just another day in the imperial Banana Republic.

For related articles, see:

Is the Justice Department Finally Ready to Jail Corporate Criminals?

New Report – The United States’ Sharp Drop in Economic Freedom Since 2000 Driven by “Decline in Rule of Law”

Bilderberg 2015 – Where Criminals Mingle with Politicians

Baltimore as a Microcosm of America

The U.S. Department of Justice Handles Banker Criminals Like Juvenile Offenders…Literally

Cronyism Pays – Eric “Too Big to Jail” Holder Triumphantly Returns to His Prior Corporate Law Firm Job

Three Former SEC Officials Write Letter to SEC Chief Mary Jo White Asking Her to Stop Protecting Corporate Cronyism

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger