By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
Crimea may be part of Russia now, but the Ukraine crisis is far from over. Reports are Russia has now amassed as many as 80,000 troops on the Eastern Ukraine border. Russia says they are conducting war games and training, but U.S. military sources openly worry about an invasion. I do not understand why President Obama is saying that Russia is only a “regional power” and is “threatening its neighbors out of weakness.” So far, that has not been Russia’s MO. They took Crimea with hardly a scuffle. The U.S. and the West have imposed some weak sanctions, and Russia is countering by increasingly moving away from the U.S. dollar in terms of trade. We have not seen a shooting war, but a financial war is fully underway. Russia announced this week a new credit card system that they say will be ready in a matter of months. They are doing this because Master Card and Visa shut their service off to Russian banks. Russia already has trade deals with China, and now it is reportedly negotiating with India for trade. That business will, no doubt, be conducted without the U.S. dollar. Oh, and guess who is going to start importing Russian natural gas? The UK–our ally. This is part of a deal signed in 2012, but you don’t see anyone canceling that do you? None of the big players in the EU have any desire for stiff sanctions. Not France or Germany as their economies are struggling, and certainly not the rest of Europe as many other countries are in recession bordering on depression. There is no so-called recovery there same as here. This gets much worse before it gets better, and it could turn into a shooting war.
Another week, another delay to Obama Care. This time, it’s the deadline for folks to sign up for Obama Care on federal exchanges. It was March 31st, but now that’s been moved by the Obama Administration to the middle of April. The mainstream media are touting that there are nearly “6 Million Health Enrollees in Sight.” That’s not so great when you consider six million plans got flushed. That’s at least 10 or 12 million people who were paying premiums who lost their health insurance. Most people are not getting cheaper policies or saving $2,500 a year. They are paying more and getting much less. One of my sources who sell Obama Care policies says most people who are signing up are getting it free or it’s heavily subsidized. If they have to pay so much as $100 a month or so, my source says many don’t even want the coverage. My prediction: Wait until the end of the fiscal year, the federal deficit will balloon.
The Federal Reserve conducted bank stress tests and five big banks failed, including Citigroup. They are doing this to make everyone think the banks are “safe.” Here’s the farce of it all. Banks have been allowed phony accounting since 2009. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has allowed banks to “mark to fantasy” their assets instead of “mark to market.” That means assets such as mortgage securities, real estate and derivatives on their books can be valued at whatever they think they can get for them in the future and not what they are worth today. The accounting is phony, and until that is corrected, the so-called stress test, in my opinion, is also phony. The banks are not as “safe” as the Fed claims.
Finally, five more people were convicted in the Bernie Madoff fraud that prosecutors estimate to be a total of $65 billion. The prosecutor said that the Madoff Ponzi scheme “could not have been the work of one person.” He is correct, but it was much more than Madoff and his crew. JPMorgan reportedly paid big fines and restitution to avoid criminal prosecution over the Madoff scam. The bank coughed up $2.5 million in all to settle the case. Why has not a single JPMorgan banker been indicted under the RICO Act? Shareholders are currently suing Jamie Dimon and other senior management and are alleging they knew of the fraud and did nothing. Just this week, another top former banker at B of A, former CEO Ken Lewis, is settling a civil fraud lawsuit by paying a $10 million fine. Once again, no criminal prosecution and zero jail time for massive fraud connected to the B of A merger with Merrill Lynch. Where are the Justice Department and the FBI? This is an outrage, and they should be ashamed for NOT doing their jobs. I’ll bet the five people just convicted in the Madoff case would like to bypass jail and pay a fine; but they are, no doubt, going to the slammer. The economy will never truly recover until the rampant fraud is punished and removed from the system. Professor William Black will be on Monday to tell us why no criminal prosecution for fraud represents a huge problem for all Americans. It is basically setting us up for an even bigger financial meltdown in the not-so-distant future.
Join Greg Hunter as he analyzes these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.