NM

Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.


Jul 23, 2012

The Big Banks Are Destroying America

The notion that big banks control the world's financial markets was once the exclusive domain of conspiracy theorists. In recent years, I have seen ample evidence that banks are indeed criminal enterprises that are colluding together to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Here is a partial list of bank improprieties that a writer for the website zerohedge.com put together:

  1. Laundering money for drug cartels. It may have been drug dealers who kept the banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis.
  2. Cheating homeowners by gaming laws meant to protect people from unfair foreclosure.
  3. Charging veterans unlawful mortgage fees.
  4. Engaging in mafia-style, big-rigging fraud against local governments.
  5. Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades.
  6. Cooking their books to defraud investors.
  7. Laundering money for terrorists.
  8. Charging “storage fees” to store gold bullion … without even buying or storing any gold.

Since the outbreak of the 2008 financial crisis, we have had the revelation of one scandal after another, and one fact stands above all in proving how corrupt the system has become. To this date, no senior bank manager has gone to jail for crimes that led to the debacle.

The savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s resulted in the failure of 747 savings and loan associations. It cost the government and insurers around $90 billion to clean that mess. More importantly, more than 800 bank officials were convicted and sent to prison.

I'm sure most of you have heard the phrase that the big bankers are "too big to fail". Because the revelation of all this fraud would cause bank runs, a new phrase "too big to jail" can also apply. 

Former IMF economist Simon Johnson said: 

The main motivation behind the administration’s indulgence of serious criminality evidently is fear of the consequences of taking tough action on individual bankers.

 

The message to bank executives today is simple: build your bank to be as big as possible – and then keep growing. If you manage to become big enough, you and your employees are not just too big to fail, but also too big to jail.

The government does still prosecute people for robbing banks, but only from the other side of the counter. Daryl Lamont Keener found this out when he was recently sentenced to 1,256 years in prison for robbing eight banks in Colorado Springs. Keener might still be a free man if he had first filled out a job application.

What keeps the bankers out of jail is the money they pour into the coffers of politicians. Senator Charles E. Schumer heads the powerful Senate banking committee. Only 1 percent of his campaign funds comes from individual contributions. The rest flows in from banks or lobbyist groups representing Wall Street financial firms. Schumer has received $509,540 from Goldman Sachs since the start of his career in 1989. The next-highest donor, Citigroup, has given $440,416, followed by Morgan Stanley with $328,146 and JP Morgan with $313,000.

One of the best examples of this incestuous relationship between lawmakers and bankers was the recent congressional testimony of JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon. A hearing was called after it was revealed that JP Morgan had lost $6 billion gambling on European interest rates. JP Morgan was one of the banks that needed taxpayers' money to save it from previous bets made in the housing market. The banking committee lobbed such softball questions on Dimon that it spurred comedian Jon Stewart to mock the whole event. "Why don't you just put Jamie Dimon in a chair like Cee Lo's from 'The Voice,' and if he hears something he likes, boom, you just earned yourself another term in Congress!" Stewart said.

The great harm done to our nation by big banks is the "Zero Interest Rate Policy" called ZIRP. The Federal Reserve set the rates, but it only does so to benefit member banks. The Fed loans money at near 0 percent to banks, and they purchase bonds yielding around 2 percent.

These low rates are killing public pension and retirement funds. Fiscal 2011 shows that the under-funded level for S&P 500 companies' defined pensions reached an epic $354.7 billion - an increase of over $100 billion. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) manages pension and health benefits for more than 1.6 million California public employees, retirees, and their families. Its pension plan assumes 7.5 percent annually. Last year, the fund only saw a return of 1 percent. With the real rate of inflation around 5 percent , the savings of millions people is going to be quickly wiped out.

One doesn't need to understand Bible prophecy to know that the world's financial system is headed for a meltdown. The lack of a moral foundation is cause enough for a collapse. We Christians can take comfort in the fact that we have a hope that is more precious than all the money in the world.

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).

Todd


The Damascus/Psalms 83 Question

Most of the following worries in the Middle East center around a number of factors: 1) Israel’s impatience with threats from its enemies; 2) Iran’s bellicose posturing in threatening to use its missiles; 3) the Syrian regime’s feared ability to wage biological and chemical warfare; and 4) (of particular concern for many Bible prophecy students) the so-called Psalms 83 war.

I term it “so-called" because I remain unconvinced that the Scriptures involved indicate a prophesied war–for reasons I will address in due course. Other factors just mentioned dominate news coming out of the region where Armageddon is foretold to bring the world together for the final and most horrific war of the age.

Israel has good reasons to be short of temper and of patience, although the leadership has shown remarkable restraint to this point. The Jewish state has been threatened with annihilation by all leaders of the Arab League at one point or the other. With the record of that leadership’s predecessors attacking viciously in the relatively recent past, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu can hardly disregard current Arab League semi-encirclement, the ring of hatred having tightened rapidly with the Muslim Brotherhood-spawned Arab Spring uprisings of the past couple of years.

The Persian branch of Islamist rage has superseded the Arab rage to the point that Iran now threatens to produce weapons that can indeed do what Arabs from Nasser to Sadat and beyond could not. And now, the concern is that Bashar Al Assad has weapons of mass destruction in the form of biological and chemical agents that his Syrian regime might rain down on Israel’s citizenry, should the dictator begin to lose in his effort to stay in power.

The Iranian leadership, as well as Russia, and to some extent, China, continues to back Al Assad. The Russians and China do so for the most part by refusing to allow U.N. action against the Assad regime in the Security Council, where each holds veto power. This veto power was exercised most recently July 19, in refusing to go along with U.N. sanctions against the Syrian regime. Russia has given somewhat stronger backing by moving some naval military assets into the waters nearby.

Iran, on the other hand, backs Assad with threats of military action, all the while displaying a growing missile arsenal--even demonstrably proving it can have an intercontinental ballistic missile by 2014 that is capable of reaching the U.S. homeland. Iran’s apparent determination to stand by the Al Assad regime’s refusal to give up power is doubly troubling. Reports of weapons of mass destruction hidden away in Syria’s military arsenal, if more than rumors, make the threat of a Middle East conflict of major magnitude a real possibility. Iran apparently possesses the technological knowledge and hardware to assist Assad in raining terror upon Israel in order to divert attention from his own possible overthrow. He might choose all-out war if he is about to go the way of Saddam Hussein, Mubarak, and Gaddafi.

My respect for DEBKA file information, as some might be aware, has greatly eroded over the years. The reports, though very professional sounding and steeped in jargon akin to that disseminated by some of the more credible such reporting services, have proven time after time to be filled with too much hyperbole (in my opinion) and to be unacceptably inaccurate. Nonetheless, the following offering, under the DEBKA banner, rings true, so I’ll go out on a limb and embrace the assessment.

As the already unthinkable pace of slaughter in Syria accelerates further, Western military sources warned Saturday, July 14, that not only Israel, but additional strategic targets in Middle East lands deemed enemies by Bashar Assad should prepare for him to launch surface-to-surface missile attacks. The assaults would start out with conventional warheads, but as the regime continued to be hammered, the beleaguered ruler might well arm the next round of missiles from his huge stockpile of mustard gas - not to mention sarin nerve poison and cyanide. Western intelligence sources say Assad has a list of targets ready to go. Analyzing the Syrian war game taking place last week, they calculated that Wednesday and Thursday, July 11 and 12, the Syrian army practiced shooting missiles at strategic centers in Israel, Turkey and Jordan.

All of this is going on among confusing rumors that Bashar Al Assad has left the country, or is in hiding, while violence increases by the hour with fierce fighting in Damascus. Whether Assad stays or goes, Bible prophecy marches on and events are shaping most interestingly.

Enter one more worry voiced by many emailers of late: the Isaiah 17:1 prophecy, which follows: "The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isaiah 17:1). The Syrian capital city is, like so many other prophetic indicators today, front and center in the news headlines. The question is: Will we soon witness the complete destruction of Damascus as given in the Isaiah 17 prophecy?

Further: Might an attack on Israel on that city bring about the Psalms 83 war, bringing all of Israel’s enemies into coalition that will declare that war on the Jewish state? As stated many times in this column, most every major Islamist terrorist organization is headquartered in this, the longest continuously inhabited city in world history. A single strike of a relatively low yield nuclear weapon could do the job in a single flight of an Israeli fighter-bomber. The heads of the terrorists' hydra-headed serpent could be lopped off in that single blow.

My belief is that the Psalms 83 matter is a prayer for God’s protection, and that it will be answered when the “many people with thee” of the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog war will be destroyed, except for one-sixth of those forces. My assessment is that whether the Psalms 83 Scripture indicates an actual war or is an imprecatory prayer for God to vanquish Israel’s surrounding enemies, the attack on Damascus–if the destruction does come from an Israeli attack—and such a war won’t happen until after the Rapture of the church.

Such an event would take the world out of the time of "business as usual," as Jesus prophesied in Luke 17:26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42, 44, in my opinion.

Such an attack and a war would be catastrophic to the world’s economy, and in other ways that are almost incalculable. Sudden destruction comes, according to Jesus’ words in those passages, similarly to the situation in the cases of the Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah--that is, after Noah and Lot were safely out of range of harm at the time judgment fell. It fell immediately after they were safely in the ark and in the city of Zoar.

He said that as it was at that time, so will it be at the time He intervenes again into the affairs of men in a catastrophic way. Again, Luke 21: 28 are applicable. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

--Terry