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Central Banks Now Own Stocks And Bonds Worth Trillions – And They Could Crash The Markets By Selling Them June 7, 2017

Have you ever wondered why stocks just seem to keep going up no matter what happens?  For years, financial markets have been behaving in ways that seem to defy any rational explanation, but once you understand the role that central banks have been playing everything begins to make sense.  In the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2008, global central banks began to buy stocks, bonds and other financial assets in very large quantities and they haven’t stopped since.  In fact, as you will see below, global central banks are on pace to buy 3.6 trillion dollars worth of stocks and bonds this year alone.  At this point, the Swiss National Bank owns more publicly-traded shares of Facebook than Mark Zuckerberg does, and the Bank of Japan is now a top-five owner in 81 different large Japanese firms.  These global central banks are shamelessly pumping up global stock markets, but because they now have such vast holdings they could also cause a devastating global stock market crash simply by starting to sell off their portfolios.

Over the years I have often been asked about the “plunge protection team”, but the truth is that global central banks are the real “plunge protection team”.  If stocks start surging higher on any particular day for seemingly no reason, it is probably the work of a central bank.  Because they can inject billions of dollars into the markets whenever they want, that essentially allows them to “play god” and move the markets in any direction that they please.

But of course what they have done is essentially destroy the marketplace.  A “free market” for stocks basically no longer exists because of all this central bank manipulation.  I really like how Bruce Wilds made this point

One indication of just how messed up and flawed the global markets have become is reflected in the way central banks across the world are now buying stocks. This has become a part of their response to correcting the forces of past excesses. Their incursion into this bastion of the free markets signals we have entered the era where true price discovery no longer exists. The central banks are often viewed as price-insensitive buyers, so this incestuous influx of money is in some ways the ultimate distortion.

According to Business Insider, global central banks are on pace to purchase an astounding 3.6 trillion dollars in stocks and bonds in 2017.

Overall, the five largest global central banks now collectively have 14.6 trillion dollars in assets on their balance sheets.

You can call this a lot of things, but it certainly isn’t free market capitalism.

The Swiss National Bank is one of the biggest offenders.  During just the first three months of this year, it bought 17 billion dollars worth of U.S. stocks, and that brought the overall total that the Swiss National Bank is currently holding to more than $80 billion.

Have you ever wondered why shares of Apple just seem to keep going up and up and up?

Well, the Swiss National Bank bought almost 4 million shares of Apple during the months of January, February and March.

And as I mentioned above, the Swiss National Bank now owns more publicly-traded shares in Facebook than Mark Zuckerberg”

Switzerland’s central bank now owns more publicly-traded shares in Facebook than Mark Zuckerberg, part of a mushrooming stock portfolio that is likely to grow yet further.

The tech giant’s founder and CEO has other ways to control his company: Zuckerberg holds most of his stake in a different class of stock. Nevertheless this example illustrates how the Swiss National Bank has become a multi-billion-dollar equity investor due to its campaign to hold down the Swiss franc.

It is now the world’s eighth-biggest public investor, data from the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum show.

But as shameless as the Swiss National Bank has been, the Bank of Japan is even worse.

Today, the Nikkei is essentially a giant sham.  The Bank of Japan regularly goes in and just starts buying up everything in sight, and according to Bloomberg they are on pace to become the largest shareholder in dozens of the most prominent Japanese corporations by the end of 2017…

Already a top-five owner of 81 companies in Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average, the BOJ is on course to become the No. 1 shareholder in 55 of those firms by the end of next year, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg from the central bank’s exchange-traded fund holdings.

If global central banks have the power to pump up these markets, they also have the power to crash them.

Why would they want to do such a thing?

I can answer that question with just two words…

Donald Trump.

If the Comey angle doesn’t work, the elite could try to destroy Trump by engineering an absolutely devastating stock market crash.  Close to half the U.S. population dislikes Trump anyway, and so it would be fairly easy to get them to believe that Trump’s policies have caused a new financial crisis.  Of course that would be complete nonsense, but in our society today the truth often doesn’t really matter.

And without a doubt, evidence continues to mount that the real economy is starting to slow down substantially.  For example, we just learned that bankruptcies surged once again in May.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

So here we go again. Total US business bankruptcies in May rose 4.7% year-over-year to 3,572 filings, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. That’s up 40% from May 2015 and up 10% from May 2014.

And there’s another concern: Bankruptcy filings are highly seasonal. They peak in tax season – March or April – and then fall off. The decline in April after the peak in March was within that seasonal pattern. Over the past years, filings dropped in May. But not this year.

Without unprecedented intervention by global central banks, financial markets would have crashed long ago.

And if they keep increasing their purchases of stocks and bonds, the central banks may be able to prop things up for a while longer.

Who knows?  Perhaps with enough financial engineering they would be able to keep this bubble going for years.  Of course things would start to get really awkward once they eventually owned virtually everything, but I have a feeling that things will never get that far.

I have a feeling that global central banks will eventually find an excuse to start “unwinding their balance sheets”, and I have a feeling that it will be at a time that is highly inconvenient for President Trump.

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Is The United States About To Bomb North Korea? The White House Says ‘The Clock Has Now Run Out’ April 4, 2017

I got chills when I saw a CNN report that said that a White House official has just warned that “the clock has now run out” on North Korea’s nuclear program and that “all options are on the table”.  That second phrase has been repeatedly used by members of the Trump administration in recent days, and everyone knows what it means.  When I wrote that a conflict with North Korea could be “Trump’s first war” last month, I was still hoping that cooler heads would prevail and that a military conflict could be avoided.  Unfortunately, it appears that a peaceful solution is not in the cards, and that means that the United States may soon start bombing North Korea.  And of course if that happens the North Koreans will strike back with whatever they can, and that includes nuclear weapons.

I don’t know if I have the words to effectively communicate how serious this situation could become.  We have gotten to the point where the White House is openly talking of going to war with a nuclear power

A senior White House official issued a dire warning to reporters Tuesday on the state of North Korea’s nuclear program, declaring “the clock has now run out and all options are on the table.”

“The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table,” the official said, pointing to the failure of successive administration’s efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear program.

Later this week, President Trump is going to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida.  The eyes of the entire world will be on this summit, because everyone knows that Trump is going to press the Chinese leader for help on resolving the crisis with North Korea.

But what can China actually do?

The Chinese could cut off trade with North Korea, and that would definitely hurt, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have become convinced that long range nuclear missiles are the key to the survival of his regime, and so he will never give up his nuclear program.

And the Chinese will certainly not strike North Korea militarily, and so ultimately if something is going to be done to stop North Korea from getting long range nuclear missiles it will be up to the United States.

On Tuesday morning, North Korea once again showed their defiance by firing yet another test missile into the Sea of Japan

The missile was fired from the Sinpo region at 10.40pm GMT (6.10am local time) on the communist nation’s east coast and landed into the sea off the Korean peninsula, South Korean military officials confirmed.

The rocket is believed to have flown around 37 miles before crashing into the sea. Specific details about the type of projectile were not immediately available.

Kim Jong Un conducted more missile tests in 2016 than his father did in nearly two decades.

It has become crystal clear that North Korea is not going to back down.

President Trump is still hoping that China will step up to the plate, but if the Chinese don’t he has already stated that the United States is fully prepared to “act alone”.  In fact, he made headlines all over the planet when he told the Financial Times the following: “Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what Trump is saying there.

Previous administrations have tried sanctions and negotiations for decades, and they all failed.

In the end, Trump is going to be faced with a choice whether to bomb North Korea or not, and four-star general Jack Keane says that bombing North Korea “may be the only option left”

A four-star general with close ties to Donald Trump has warned that military strikes are ‘rapidly’ becoming the only solution to North Korea’s nuclear program.

Jack Keane, who declined the President’s offer to become Defense Secretary last year, said bombing Kim Jong-un’s nuclear facilities ‘may be the only option left.’

But bombing North Korea is not like bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria.

The North Koreans already have nuclear weapons, and the U.S. better destroy them all in an overwhelming initial assault, because Kim Jong Un will use any that survive to strike back.

If you doubt this, just consider what a very high level North Korean defector just told Lester Holt of NBC News

A senior North Korean defector has told NBC News that the country’s “desperate” dictator is prepared to use nuclear weapons to strike the United States and its allies.

Thae Yong Ho is the most high profile North Korean defector in two decades, meaning he is able to give a rare insight into the secretive, authoritarian regime.

According to Thae, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is “desperate in maintaining his rule by relying on his [development of] nuclear weapons and ICBM.” He was using an acronym for intercontinental ballistic missiles — a long range rocket that in theory would be capable of hitting the U.S.

North Korea is currently developing an intercontinental ballistic missile known as the “Taepodong 2” that will have a range of approximately 8000 kilometers.

In other words, it would be capable of striking cities in the western portion of the United States.

It is unthinkable that we would allow a tyrannical leader that is literally insane and that is obsessed with destroying the United States to have such a weapon.

But the moment that we start dropping bombs on North Korea we will start a war in which millions could die.  Whatever nuclear weapons are missed in the first assault will likely be fired at U.S. military bases in Japan or at South Korea’s capital city of Seoul.  Approximately 10 million people live in Seoul, so the death toll would be absolutely enormous.  And even if all North Korean nuclear devices are destroyed by the first attack, the North Koreans still have thousands of artillery guns and rocket launchers trained on Seoul, and they would not hesitate to use their vast stockpile of chemical warheads.

After the initial North Korean barrage, the fourth largest military on the entire planet would start pouring across the border in a massive invasion of South Korea.  The U.S. military would be forced to respond with large scale ground forces if South Korea would have any chance of surviving, and just like in the first Korean War the Chinese may decide to respond to that move by committing their own troops to the war on the side of North Korea.

This is a season of “wars and rumors of wars”, and most Americans have no idea how dangerously close we are to the beginning of World War III.  My hope is that a peaceful way out of this crisis can still be found, but at this point that is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine.

If Donald Trump decides to go to war with North Korea, he needs to hit them with an absolutely overwhelming first strike that takes out every single North Korean nuke, the bulk of North Korea’s artillery and rockets, and the entire North Korean leadership team within the first few minutes of the attack.

It is hard to imagine a scenario that does not involve nukes that would accomplish that.

And Donald Trump better get the public approval of South Korean and Japanese leadership before ever attempting such an attack, because they will likely pay the highest price if North Korea is able to strike back.

If South Korea or Japan balk at backing such an operation and then they get hit by North Korean nukes, the United States could lose them as friends and allies forever.

The stakes are incredibly high, and there are so many things that could go wrong.

So let us pray for peace, because the alternative is almost too horrible to imagine.

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Why The Melted Fuel Under Fukushima Could Poison Our Planet With Nuclear Radiation For 1000s Of Years February 9, 2017

Nuclear Danger Sign - Public DomainSix years ago, an absolutely devastating tsunami caused a triple meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power facility.  It was the worst environmental disaster in all of human history, and even though six years have passed since that time, nobody knows where the three melted cores are.  Just recently, authorities believe that they spotted some melted fuel underneath reactor 2, but even from a distance the level of nuclear radiation that was detected was being described as “unimaginable”.  Essentially what we are talking about are three enormous “dirty bombs” that are continuously emitting tremendous amounts of nuclear radiation into the air, water and soil.  Some of the radioactive elements that are being released have half-lives that are measured in tens of thousands of years, and so the poisonous effect of these “dirty bombs” could potentially be with us for generation after generation.

Personally, I don’t know why the big mainstream news outlets in the U.S. are almost entirely ignoring Fukushima these days.  Fox News did a story on the “unimaginable” radiation at Fukushima just a few days ago, but that was about it.

To me, it is certainly newsworthy that nuclear radiation inside reactor 2 at Fukushima is at the highest level ever recorded

Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant have hit a record high, and are the worst since the plant suffered a triple meltdown nearly six years ago. The latest readings now pose a serious challenge as officials prepare to dismantle the stricken facility.

Radiation levels inside the containment vessel of reactor No. 2 at Fukushima has reached 530 sieverts per hour—a figure described by experts as “unimaginable.”

Previously, the highest level of radiation measured at Fukushima was 73 sieverts per hour, and just a small fraction of that amount would be fatal to most humans

Needless to say, this plant is not fit for human life. Just one dose of a single sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea. Exposure to four to five sieverts would kill about half of those exposed to it within a month, while a single dose of 10 sieverts is enough to kill a person within weeks.

At 530 sieverts per hour, the radiation is so intense that even robots can only last for a couple of hours in that environment.  The Japanese hope to eventually remove the melted fuel from these reactors someday, but first they have to figure out if it is even possible.

And the truth is that the level of radiation in reactor 2 may actually be far higher than 530 sieverts per hour.  That is because the recent reading was taken “some distance from the melted fuel”

The 530 sievert reading was recorded some distance from the melted fuel, so in reality it could be 10 times higher than recorded, said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

Experts are also warning that the levels of radiation may be much higher than 530 sieverts per hour in reactors 1 and 3.  Nobody knows, because the melted fuel in those reactors has not even been located yet.

Even though so much time has gone by, there is still very much an urgency to this crisis.  In a newly published article, Mike Adams of Natural News explained why this is the case

In effect, Fukushima has become the world’s largest dirty bomb, and the remaining fuel rods could explode (achieve criticality) at any moment. Even right now, the radiation is so intense that robots built to explore the wreckage can only survive for a few hours before their circuits are destroyed. Thus, there’s almost no scenario in which Japan, Tepco or anybody in the world figures out how to clean up the wreckage, reclaim the melting fuel rods and reestablish control over the nuclear reactions that are still ongoing.

You can’t even successfully build a containment vessel on top of it all because the melting nuclear fuel has already burned a massive hole in the floor and is melting its way into the ground water.

What most people don’t understand is that the melted nuclear fuel under Fukushima is going to be with us for a very, very long time.  Some of the fuel rods contained plutonium-239, and plutonium-239 has a half-life of approximately 24,000 years

Do they think a one-meter hole magically appears in nuclear containment vessels due to random chance? No, it’s melting fuel rods, you morons. And some of that fuel is MOX fuel, which contains plutonium-239 that boasts a half life of 24,000 years. So sometime in the year 26000 A.D. the Fukushima nightmare will be HALF as toxic as it is right now. What a wonderful, progressive future to look forward to, eh?

Plutonium-239 is one of the most dangerous substances known to humanity.  As nuclear expert Steven C. Jones once explained, it would not take much plutonium-239 to kill every man, woman and child on the entire planet…

To give one an example of how lethal radiation is, one pound of plutonium evenly distributed into everyone’s lungs would kill every man, woman and child on Earth. There are literally “tons” of radioactive plutonium (among other radioactive elements) that have been released into the air and ocean environments since March 11th. Another critical fact to remember is that radioactive plutonium, for example, remains lethal (killing life) for thousands years as it has a half-life of 24,000 years. Some other radioactive elements such as uranium have a half-life of 4.47 billion years.

And remember, more radioactive material is being released from Fukushima every single day.  The following comes from an interview with Kevin Kamps, the radioactive waste monitor at Beyond Nuclear…

There are claims that “it’s all contained, don’t worry about it.” It is indisputable that there is a daily flow of radioactively contaminated groundwater into the ocean. The figures something like 80,000 gallons per day of relatively low-level radioactive waste water. Then you’ve got those storage tanks – we’re talking 800,000 tons of highly radioactive water stored in tanks. Every day they pour a hundred tons of water on each of these three melted down cores. Sometimes they lose those tanks. They leak, they overflow – it is an ongoing catastrophe.

Are you starting to understand how serious this is?

Once nuclear material escapes from Fukushima, it literally gets distributed all over the planet.

That means that it is getting into our air, our water and our food supply.

And I find it extremely interesting that the EPA was moving to dramatically raise the “safe limits” on radioactivity in our drinking water right at the end of the Obama administration.  The following comes from a Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility press release dated December 22, 2016

“Following Japan’s Fukushima meltdown in 2011, EPA’s claims that no radioactivity could reach the U.S. at levels of concern were contradicted by its own rainwater measurements showing contamination from Fukushima throughout the U.S. well above Safe Drinking Water Act limits. In reaction, EPA prepared new limits 1000s of times higher than even the Fukushima rainwater because ‘EPA experienced major difficulties conveying to the public that the detected levels…were not of immediate concern for public health.’”

Why in the world would the EPA do that?

Here are some more of the details

The documents obtained by PEER revealed that the EPA plans to raise maximum allowable limits of iodine-131, cobalt-60 and calcium-45 to more than 10,000 times the levels allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Others would be hundreds or thousands of times higher under the new guidelines.

The agency’s justification for withholding the new proposed limits from the public until after the proposal had been adopted was that it wanted to “avoid confusion.”

Radioactive material is also getting into our food supply.  If you love to eat fish this next item may be a bummer, because it is being reported that radiation from Fukushima was recently found in salmon off the coast of Oregon…

Fish contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan have been detected 6,000 miles away of the US west coast.

Salmon carrying traces of caesium 134 particles – the so-called fingerprint of the Fukushima – were found by researchers in the seas off Oregon.

One we eat something that has been contaminated, radioactive material will often migrate to key organs in our body, and once it is there it can poison us indefinitely.  In a previous article I included a quote from author Helen Caldicott, the author of “Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe“.  I am including the quote once again in this article because it is absolutely imperative that we all understand the danger that we are facing…

Internal radiation, on the other hand, emanates from radioactive elements which enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Hazardous radionuclides such as iodine-131, caesium 137, and other isotopes currently being released in the sea and air around Fukushima bio-concentrate at each step of various food chains (for example into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans). After they enter the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, where they continuously irradiate small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years, can induce uncontrolled cell replication – that is, cancer. Further, many of the nuclides remain radioactive in the environment for generations, and ultimately will cause increased incidences of cancer and genetic diseases over time.

The amount of cesium-137 that has been released at Fukushima is equivalent to hundreds of Hiroshima bombs.

But because we can’t see, touch, taste or hear the danger, to many people it may not seem real.

Nuclear radiation is a silent killer, and unless a miracle happens the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will be felt for generations to come.

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