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PPT

The Plunge Protection Team

 

“Well, what I wanted to talk about for a few minutes is the various efforts that are going on in public and behind the scenes by the Fed and other government officials to guard against a free-fall in the markets…”

– Former Clinton advisor George Stephanopolous on Good Morning America

 

Last week’s post served as an introduction to the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, better known to the public as the Plunge Protection Team.

It seemed good this week to spend a little more time on the same subject, as the existence and the activities of this organization are perhaps the most important, least understood, and most underreported factors driving financial markets today.

Financial markets such as the New York Stock Exchange are presented to the public as the very essence of free market capitalism. But in the opinion of this writer, the reality is something quite different.

Far from being a place where buyers and sellers meet to determine fair value for financial assets, today’s financial markets are a rigged game designed to mislead the public about the true nature of the financial condition of the West.

Some may wonder why a Christian blogger would delve into the subject of the Plunge Protection Team (PPT). It seems on the surface as if it’s a bit conspiratorial, a topic more appropriate for some tin foil hat blogger than for someone intent and spreading the light of truth. But to see the discussion of the PPT in this light is, at least in my view, a serious mistake.

That the PPT is a real entity with real power is a very easy matter to prove. The case that it has been and is being used by the powers that be to prop up favored markets and suppress those out of favor, though circumstantial in nature, is quite strong.

Exposing such chicanery is among the most important tasks a Christian financial writer can undertake. As University of Austin finance professor John Griffin recently noted, the Bible’s command to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them,” can be applied to outing the lies and fraudulent activities of powerful financial and governmental interests in the same way it can be applied to other evil deeds.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the PPT.

 

The Establishment of the Plunge Protection Team

Perhaps the most sensible place to begin our discussion of the PPT is with Executive Order 12631 of March 18, 1988. You may find it here in the Federal Register. But since it’s only a few hundred words long, I’ll reproduce it in full below.

Executive Order 12631–Working Group on Financial Markets

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12631 of Mar. 18, 1988, appear at 53 FR 9421, 3 CFR, 1988 Comp., p. 559, unless otherwise noted.

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish a Working Group on Financial Markets, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. (a) There is hereby established a Working Group on Financial Markets (Working Group). The Working Group shall be composed of:

(1) the Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee;

(2) the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or his designee;

(3) the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or his designee; and

(4) the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or her designee.

(b) The Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee, shall be the Chairman of the Working Group.

Sec. 2. Purposes and Functions. (a) Recognizing the goals of enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of our Nation’s financial markets and maintaining investor confidence, the Working Group shall identify and consider:

(1) the major issues raised by the numerous studies on the events in the financial markets surrounding October 19, 1987, and any of those recommendations that have the potential to achieve the goals noted above; and

(2) the actions, including governmental actions under existing laws and regulations (such as policy coordination and contingency planning), that are appropriate to carry out these recommendations.

(b) The Working Group shall consult, as appropriate, with representatives of the various exchanges, clearinghouses, self-regulatory bodies, and with major market participants to determine private sector solutions wherever possible.

(c) The Working Group shall report to the President initially within 60 days (and periodically thereafter) on its progress and, if appropriate, its views on any recommended legislative changes.

Sec. 3. Administration. (a) The heads of Executive departments, agencies, and independent instrumentalities shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide the Working Group such information as it may require for the purpose of carrying out this Order.
(b) Members of the Working Group shall serve without additional compensation for their work on the Working Group.
(c) To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of funds therefore, the Department of the Treasury shall provide the Working Group with such administrative and support services as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.

So what can we glean from this short but not so sweet E.O.?

For one, it’s a high-powered group. As Section one tells us, it is comprised of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

In fact, one would have a hard time coming up with a higher powered group of financial overseers than the officers referred to above.

But it’s not just the group’s power that’s impressive. It’s also highly secretive.

Signing the GRA

FDR signs the Gold Reserve Act of 1934.

Consider the US Treasury Department, home to a powerful and secretive group known as the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF). The ESF was, as it were, born in monetary sin and shapen in financial iniquity, the seed capital of which was extracted out of the hides of the American public by the iniquitous Gold Reserve Act of 1934. As Investopedia notes,

The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 is an act that took away the title of all gold and gold certificates that were held by the Federal Reserve Bank. The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 made the trade and possession of gold a criminal offense for the citizens of the United States. Sole title of this gold was given to the U.S. Treasury. It was not until 1975 that Americans could again own or trade gold.

Article 1 Section 10 of the US Constitution reads, “No state shall…make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts,” but the after less than 150 years, the federal government decided it was proper to criminalize the possession of real money. In this writer’s opinion, that’s about all you need to know to properly assess the authoritarian character of the members of Congress who drafted the legislation and of Franklin D. Roosevelt who signed it in to law.

EO_6102_Gold Confiscation

FDR’s Executive Order 6102 forced Americans to turn in their gold, valued at the time at $20.67 per ounce.  In 1934, the Gold Reserve Act revalued gold at $35 dollars and ounce, causing Americans to lose 69% on the gold taken from them.

Worth noting is that Gold Reserve Act completed the transfer of wealth from the American people to the federal government that had begun the previous year with Executive Order 6102, which required Americans to turn in, “all gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates now owned by them to a Federal Reserve Bank.” Roosevelt’s Executive Order required that this be done by May 1, 1933, with criminal penalties of a, “$10,000 fine or 10 years imprisonment, or both.”

“The main rationale behind the order,” Wikipedia notes, “was actually to remove the constraint on the Federal Reserve which prevented it from increasing the money supply during the depression.” In other words, the Fed couldn’t rob people effectively enough when they had gold in their possession. First they had to take the gold, then the powers that be could go about the nefarious business of plundering the people.

Once the government had the gold, it didn’t take long for them to finish their act of robbery. Another feature of the Gold Reserve Act (GRA) was that it revalued gold. Prior to the passing of the GRA, gold was valued at $20.67 per ounce. The GRA set the price of gold at $35 per ounce, meaning that upon its passing, Americans immediately suffered a loss of about 69% on the gold forcibly taken from them by the FDR’s 1933 Executive Order. 

Question:  So if the American people lost 69% on their gold, did that wealth just disappear?  Answer:  Of course not! The stolen wealth was merely transferred to the Treasury where it was used as seed capital for the ESF.

As Wikipedia rightly notes, “The resulting profit that the government realized funded the Exchange Stabilization Fund established by the Gold Reserve Act of 1934.”

The ESF has now been in business for 84 years, making it one of the longest running criminal enterprises in Washington D.C.And given the many outrageous crimes committed daily in the Swamp, that’s saying quite a lot.

The Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, while more in the public eye than the ESF, still manages to operate to a large extent in secrecy. Several attempts have been made to audit the Fed over the years, but to date, the Fed has successfully resisted all attempts to open its books to public scrutiny.

Then Fed Chairman Janet Yellen’s letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is instructive on this point. In her letter dated November 16, 2015, Yellen objected to auditing the Fed, saying that subjecting the Fed to an audit would “politicize monetary policy decision…undermine the independence of the Federal Reserve,” and was “based on the false premise – that the Federal Reserve is not subject to an audit.”

While the Fed may be audited in some sense as Yellen argues, it’s not the type of thoroughgoing audit Ron Paul and Rand Paul have argued for over the years.

Yellen, as Fed Chairmen before her, and doubtless as those who will come after her such as current Fed Chairman Jay Powell, was jealous to guard the Fed’s “independence.” Translated into plain English, she wants to continue the ability of the Fed to serve the interests of the financial elite, principally the big banks that own the Fed, at the expense of the American people.

Evidence of the PPT’s Handiwork

For our purposes, I will not go in to a great deal of technical detail in an attempt to prove the case that the PPT manipulates markets. Rather, I shall rely on quotes from those who would know. Considering that these quotes come from highly placed and well-qualified individuals, their comments deserve serious consideration.

The term Plunge Protection Team can be traced to a 1997 article in the Washington Post of the same name. According to the piece, “The government has a real role to play to make a 1987-style sudden market break less likely.” So just how does the PPT do this? Well, the article doesn’t say specifically. It talks about ensuring communication between government agencies remains open. But does mere communication help stabilize markets in the midst of a crisis? Imagine the following conversation:

    Treasury Secretary: Hey, the S&P’s off 5% already and it’s only 11am!! What do you      think?

    Fed Chairman: Yep, darn if it’s not.

Talk, as they say, is cheap. And very obviously stabilizing markets requires more than just talk. Implied, though not explicitly stated, is that the Fed and probably the ESF will intervene in the financial markets to produce the sort of “almost miraculous” recovery that occurred the day after 1987’s Black Monday. After all, no one can see what the Fed or the ESF are doing with their vast financial resources. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” is not just a famous line from the Wizard of Oz, it’s the M.O. of these two groups. And they both have better curtains than did the wizard.

In short, of course the Fed and the ESF are rigging the markets. The Washington Post all but said so back in 1997. “But,” as the cheesy infomercials like to put it, “wait, there’s more!”

Consider the statement at the top of this post by George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. I’ve seen the date of his appearance as alternatively September 17, 2000 and September 17, 2001. If it was the later, this was the first day that the NYSE reopened after 9/11. In either case, this Clinton insider very clearly hints at governmental intervention in the financial markets to “guard against a free-fall.”

The quote from Stephanopoulos continues, “the Fed in 1989 created what is called the Plunge Protection Team, which is the Federal Reserve, big major banks, representatives of the New York Stock Exchange and other exchanges and they have been meeting informally so far, and they have a kind of an informal agreement among major banks to come in and start to buy stock if there appears to be a problem.”

In 2015, Dr. Pippa Malmgren who actually served on the PPT and whose father was a high level presidential advisor and scholar made this telling remark,” [T]here’s no price discovery anymore by the market…governments impose prices on the market.”

The New York Post’s John Crudele has written critically of the PPT for years. Typical of his work is this story from 2014, ” ‘Plunge protection’ behind market’s sudden recovery.”

In 2007, Crudele expressed his frustration with the lack of transparency by the US Treasury on the workings of the PPT, writing,

After a year and a half of stalling, the US Treasury finally complied with The Post’s requests for information about The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets – delivering 177 pages of crap.

In essence, the Treasury’s Freedom of Information officials said that the Working Group – affectionately nicknamed the Plunge Protection Team – doesn’t keep records of its meetings.

How interesting and convenient!

PhD. economist Paul Craig Roberts, former Undersecretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan and former Wall Street Journal Associate Editor, is another highly placed individual whose written extensively on the activities of the PPT. In his article “Do Financial Markets Still Exist?” he wrote, “For many decades the Federal Reserve has rigged the bond market…and for about a century, central banks have set [rigged] interest rates…It appears that…the Fed is rigging the stock market by purchasing S&P equity index futures in order to arrest stock market declines driven by fundamentals.”

In December 2008, widely watched market commentator Nouriel Roubini was quoted as saying, “The Fed (or Treasury) could even go as far as directly intervening in the stock market via direct purchase of equities as a way to boost falling equity prices.”

Nouriel Roubini was formerly an advisor to New York Fed governor Tim Geithner, a major figure in the 2008 financial crisis.

Market analyst Charles Biderman commented in 2009 that while the market cap of US stocks soared by more than $6 trillion, “We cannot identify the source of the new money that pushed stock prices up so far so fast.”

In the same article, Biderman quotes former Fed governor Robert Heller’s 1989 Wall Street Journal opinion piece where Heller wrote,

Instead of flooding the entire economy with liquidity, and thereby increasing the danger of inflation, the Fed could support the stock market directly by buying market averages in the futures market, thereby stabilizing the market as a whole.

Do you think a former Fed governor just might know a thing or two about what it takes to rig the stock market?

In a 2017 appearance on CNBC’s Smart Money, “Legendary vulture investor Asher Edelman, the 1980’s model for Gordon Gekko,” argued that, in his view, the PPT was the only thing propping up the market. He also expressed his concern about being in the market, saying that “I don’t know when the plug is going to be pulled.”

Finally, I come to my main man Dr. Ron Paul. Paul has commented many times over the years on the activities of the PPT. In a May 4, 2018 appearance on CNBC’s Futures Now, the good doctor had this to say,

I think the plunge protection team is alive and well. I think they’re involved and they do provide some protections. The world is engaged in that type of maneuvering. But eventually though, the market rules.

More examples could be provided, but I hope the above citations, all taken from prominent and respected people, will help the reader to see the PPT less as a myth or conspiracy theory and more as a reality, one which influences the public perception of the stock market and, hence, the entire US economy, and one that accomplishes this end by very dishonest, deceptive and immoral means.

Closing Thoughts

Investopedia, a mainstream, and in many ways helpful, provider of investment information, dismisses any notion of the PPT’s manipulating markets as conspiracy theory. As its article on the PPT puts it, “The name PPT was coined by the Washington Post in 1997. Although the team had a viable purpose when initially created, conspiracy theorists suspected that the team was created to shore up, or even manipulate, the markets.”

Now where would anybody get such an absurd idea? As the quotes above demonstrate, it’s not whackadoo weirdo conspiracy theorists who are the ones talking about the PPT’s market manipulations, it’s some of the most mainstream, most connected, most market savvy voices out there who believe this.

If the PPT is, in fact, manipulating financial markets, and it is the conviction of this author that this is what is happening, the PPT and its constituent organizations such as the US Treasury Department and the Fed are guilty of violating any number of Biblical and Constitutional principles of government.

The origins of the Fed and of the ESF should immediately alert anyone jealous of his liberty that these groups are up to no good. The Fed’s origin can be traced to a secretive meeting on Jekyll Island, Georgia in November 1910. The ESF was created by open fraud on the part of Congress and the Roosevelt administration with the cooperation of the previously mentioned Federal Reserve.

The Bible demands open meetings, but the Fed and the ESF love the darkness and will not come to the light, lest their evil deeds be exposed.

Such agencies, based as they are on lies and theft, never can bring forth good fruit. As Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, “A bad tree bears bad fruit.” And if the Fed and the ESF work evil on their own, what shall we expect when they combine forces as parts of the PPT?

Is it much of a stretch to suppose that such agencies, having worked financial evil on their own, would produce even more evil when they combine forces in the PPT?

Should Americans expect transparency and honesty from such bad actors? Or would it be more reasonable to expect that they, like the rulers of the Gentiles in Jesus’ day, would “lord it over” the people.

In the opinion of this writer, the answer very obviously is the latter. And one of the ways these organizations “lord it over” the American people is to continually give them a false picture of the real economy by rigging markets to support the official narrative that everything in the economy is awesome, that the stock and bond markets are safe and stable and the best places for your money, and that you should never consider being so foolish as to put your money elsewhere such as gold and silver.

This official rosy scenario was encapsulated in Janet Yellen’s comment in June 2017 when she said that another 2008 like financial crisis is not likely “in our lifetime.”

To this I would reply, that really depends on whose lifetime you’re talking about.

(To be continued…)

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FacebookIn the wake of the simultaneous banning of Alex Jones from a number of major social media platforms, some professed conservatives have argued that this was not a violation of the first amendment.

Why is that? As David French argued in his recent New York Times editorial, “[T]here is not First Amendment violation when a private company chooses to boot anyone off a private platform.”

Many times in this space I have argued for the right of private companies to ban whom they wish for whatever reason they wish, for the simple reason that, quite literally, it’s their business.

But when it comes to social media giants such as YouTube (wholly owned by Google), Facebook and Twitter, are these organizations as private as they make themselves out to be.

Google has many known links to the CIA, for example.

And Facebook? It would seem that it’s not free from government influence as well.

For example, just this spring, Facebook excitedly announced a partnership with the Atlantic Council, which, “would help it [Facebook] better spot disinformation during upcoming world elections,” say, for example, the November mid-terms.

So just what is the Atlantic Council? Facebook’s announcement described it as a “Washington D.C. – based think tank.” This is true but inadequate.

There are lots of think tanks based in Washington D.C., but the Atlantic Council is a special kind of think tank. You see, the Atlantic Council is NATO’s think tank. And NATO is largely funded by the US government. It would even be fair to say that NATO is part of the globalist Deep State security industrial complex.

So what you have here is a private company partnering with a public institution. A merger of state and corporate powers, if you will.

And what is the name used to describe the merger of state and corporate powers?

The merger of state and corporate powers is the classic definition of fascism.

So was Facebook’s banning of Alex Jones just Mark Zuckerberg minding his own business in his own way, or was it the result of his new found partnership with the Deep State in the form of the Atlantic Council?

We can’t say for sure, but I don’t like the smell.


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Escape of Lot from Sodom

Escape of Lot from Sodom by Mattheus Merian (1593-1650)

From time to time I’ve written in this space about the collapse of Western Civilization that we so going on around us all on a daily basis. And in this author’s opinion, there is perhaps no better illustration of this collapse than the rise of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) movement over the last several decades.

I make this observation as a Christian, and those who do not believe the Bible may be tempted to dismiss my view as personal bias. But interestingly enough, at least one prominent lesbian scholar is in agreement with this view. As this 2015 article from cnsnews.com notes, “Best-selling feminist author, social critic and self-described “transgender being” Camille Paglia said in an interview last month that the rise of transgenderism in the West is a symptom of decadence and cultural collapse.”

Paglia is quoted in the article saying, “Nothing…better defines the decadence of the West to the jihadists than our toleration of open homosexuality and this transgender mania now.”

The article continues, “Paglia went on to talk about her book Sexual Personae and how the emergence of transgenderism signifies the end of Western culture. ‘Now I am concerned about this…In fact, my study of history in Sexual Personae, I’m always talking about the late phases of culture.’

‘I was always drawn to late or decadent phases of culture. Oscar Wile is one of the great exponents of that in the late 19th century. He’s one of my strongest influences from my earliest years. An I found in my study that history is cyclic, and everywhere in the world you find this pattern in ancient times: that as a culture begins to decline, you have an efflorescence of transgender phenomena. That is a symptom of cultural collapse.’

‘So rather than people singing the praises of humanitarian liberalism that allows all of these transgender possibilities to appear and to be encouraged, I would be concerned about how Western culture is defining itself to the world.’ ”

These are good comments by Paglia.  In fact, what this feminist lesbian has to say about homosexuality and transgender mania is, quite remarkably, much closer to the mind of Christ, and far more interesting, than what falls from the lips of many supposed ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ when they speak on these subjects.

The wide-spread acceptance of homosexuality and other deviant behaviors in the West is a flashing red warning signal that our civilization is in deep trouble. It’s so obvious that even a feminist lesbian scholar is able to see the problem. But for all that, there are many who name the name of Christ who are either unable or unwilling to grasp this simple and obvious truth.

(more…)

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KTS_Night

As I wrap up this series on my brief time as a student at Knox Theological Seminary (KTS) and on some of the general lessons that can be drawn from the collapse of the school’s reformed witness, it seemed good to mention one last item before closing. In Part 2 of this series I mentioned that the collapse of KTS was in part a tale of missed opportunities. And so it was.

From the time KTS began to consider hiring Warren Gage right up through the events of the late summer and fall of 2007 when Gage and his posse seized control of the school, there were opportunities to expose Gage as the false teacher that he was and expel both him and his unbiblical leaven from the seminary. Regrettably, those in a position to do the job, for one reason or another, allowed these opportunities to pass them by.

Today, I’d like to suggest two reasons why these opportunities were allowed to pass by.

(more…)

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