The landmark audit revealed that from December 2007 to June 2010 the Federal Reserve secretly gave out a staggering $16T to major U.S. banks and corporations as well as to large foreign banks in Europe. Although the Fed claims that these secret bailouts were loans, little of the money has been returned and it was all loaned out at 0% interest.
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The financial world was shocked this month by a demand from Germany’s Bundesbank to repatriate a large portion of its gold reserves held abroad. By 2020, Germany wants 50% of its total gold reserves back in Frankfurt – including 300 tons from the Federal Reserve. The Bundesbank’s announcement comes just three months after the Fed refused to submit to an audit of its holdings on Germany’s behalf. One cannot help but wonder if the refusal triggered the demand.
Either way, Germany appears to be waking up to a reality for which central banks around the world have been preparing: the dollar is no longer the world’s safe-haven asset and the US government is no longer a trustworthy banker for foreign nations. It looks like their fears are well-grounded, given the Fed’s seeming inability to return what is legally Germany’s gold in a timely manner. Germany is a developed and powerful nation with the second largest gold reserves in the world. If they can’t rely on Washington to keep its promises, who can?
Where is Germany’s Gold?
The impact of Germany’s repatriation on the dollar revolves around an unanswered question: why will it take seven years to complete the transfer?
The popular explanation is that the Fed has already rehypothecated all of its gold holdings in the name of other countries. That is, the same mound of bullion is earmarked as collateral for a host of different lenders. Since the Fed depends on a fractional-reserve banking system for its very existence, it would not come as a surprise that it has become a fractional-reserve bank itself. If so, then perhaps Germany politely asked for a seven-year timeline in order to allow the Fed to save face, and to prevent other depositors from clamoring for their own gold back – a ‘run’ on the Fed. ...
Tech industry leaders and observers were quick to weigh in on the cybersecurity executive order that President Obama released Tuesday in conjunction with State of the Union address.
As The Washington Post reported, the order directs the Commerce Department to work with federal agencies and industries, such as banking and electricity, to come up with standards for sharing information on cyber threats.
In the past, such provisions put privacy advocates on guard, since it wasn’t clear how the data-sharing would still maintain consumer privacy. The order directs regulators to conduct a privacy audit and to make sure that privacy protections are based on the Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Information Practice Principles from the beginning.
In a statement, the Center for Democracy and Technology praised Obama for an order that addresses privacy concerns from the beginning of the design process rather than after the fact.
"By explicitly requiring adherence to fair information practice principles, the order adopts a comprehensive formulation of privacy,” said the group’s president, Leslie Harris. “The annual privacy assessment, properly done, can create accountability to the public for government actions taken in the name of cybersecurity.”
Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to move forward on cybersecurity legislation; leading politicians discussing the issue said that they supported those efforts.
New York Daily News Reid issues ultimatum, demands Republicans approve nominees -- or else Fox News Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued an ultimatum to Republicans on Monday to confirm at least seven presidential appointees or face a...
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