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I thought a little humor would be a good thing before I got to today’s topic which is a bit on the morbid side.  First and maybe not that humorous but definitely qualifies as perjury before Congress in my book was SEC Chairman Mary Jo White.  She testified that “the markets are not rigged.”  Really?  Even though the Fed and Treasury actually announce “riggings” of interest rates, the dollar and FOREX on nearly a daily basis?  She surely must have been talking about gold and silver because everyone knows that they are the “ONLY” markets that would never be manipulated.

Definitely in the humorous category was that CNBC unveiled their “top 25” where Alan Greenspan/Ben Bernanke ranked #3.  CNBC named this dynamic duo “controversial and historic, they are the ultimate central bankers.”  Yes “ultimate!”  In what sense do they mean “ultimate?”  I looked up the definition and there are several such as “last, best or greatest, final in a succession, and maximum limit to which no further.”  I guess we could just call them “the mostest?”  They were the mostest at everything, they monetized the most U.S. debt, they grew the money supply faster and further than anyone else.  They also probably perjured themselves to Congress more often than anyone else.  Maybe CNBC meant the “last or final in succession” as in the last central bankers to be able to keep Jack from jumping out of the box?  In any case, we are where we are and those two knuckleheads were driving the bus to our present destination.

The topic that I’d like to talk about today is that of “banking.”  As you probably know, a rash of banker “deaths and suicides” have been occurring for several months now.  There have now been 13 deaths over just the last several months.  Some of these were “jumpers,” others were found hung and one even shot himself “multiple times with a nail gun.”  Are these just strange “coincidences” or is there some sort of connection going on here?  I don’t get it, when I graduated from college, “banking” was not only a well-respected profession but it was not supposed to be so hazardous.  I can still remember working several construction jobs and thinking that I’d rather use my brain instead of my back because it was easier and …less hazardous.

Actually, an article came out today by Pam and Russ Martens where they were investigating life insurance payouts …not to the families of the deceased but to the firm that was employing them.  The Martens’ asked the OCC questions regarding life insurance payable to JP Morgan (which has had 5 of the deaths) and were told that the information was classified as “trade secrets.”  Really?

Of the deaths reported, the most odd was that of Richard Talley who was found dead by 7 or 8 “nails to the head and torso” that were self-inflicted by a nail gun…again, really?  I have to say this, I have broken all sorts of bones and ligaments, I have 17 pieces of metal in my body from repairs, I played hockey and kick boxed for years and have been bucked or fallen off of many horses, I’ve cut casts off early so that I could play golf and even had a tooth filled once without Novocain…  I know that you’re wondering what my point is.  I can and have endured all sorts of pain, but a nail gun?  This is insane, no one could shoot themselves 7 or 8 times.  The pain alone would make any attempt futile from either flinching or just plain passing out cold.  What happened with the ones to the head?  Did he miss his brain with the first shot and needed a second or 3rd one?  Were the nails too short or something?  Was a 9mm bullet too expensive or was it not available because “official hoarding” has made them scarce?  The guy was from Colorado so I’m pretty sure that guns were available to him that did not fire nails.

OK, were these suicides?  Or strange deaths?  Or were they murders?  If they were suicides, there had to be a reason for so many bankers to have been so depressed to kill themselves.  But the markets are up, nothing has crashed (yet) and all “seems” to be well.  Are they all being investigated (I believe this to be the case with several)?  Are there any connections?  If any or many of these were actually “nefarious” then you could ask the same questions, particularly regarding the “investigations.”  Did this group know something that we “shouldn’t?”  Were they about to go rat?

I don’t have the answers to these questions but I would imagine that we will find out sooner or later.  Banking is not supposed to be a real hazardous business unless Tony Montana or someone similar happens to be your client.  Banking is and always has been about “trust.”  Seeing so many either kill themselves or be killed is a scary thing because it means something is wrong.  Things have been “wrong” before like back in late 2008 and early 2009 but never have we had such a concentrated loss of banker life with the exception of maybe 1929 and 1932.  What is going on here?  Like I said whether these are bonafide suicides or something more sinister makes no difference because something “just ain’t right.”  I guess we will find out what exactly it is in due time.