The Dead Bankers Society

June 5, 2015

Thomas J. Hughes had everything to live for. He was twenty-nine years old and had a long, prosperous life ahead of him. He had a job he loved at a prestigious Park Avenue investment bank in New York City. And Thomas’ friends described him as happy, jovial, good looking, and very sociable. He was single and was living in a million dollar apartment. Why then on the morning of May 28th did Thomas go up to the roof of his luxury apartment building and jump off, falling twenty-four stories to his death?

The press is satisfied with calling this just another case of Wall Street high pressure and stress becoming too much for someone. Evidence of drug use was found in Thomas’ apartment leading the mainstream media to conclude that this was just a mix of drugs, alcohol, and the fear of failure.

Thomas’ father, John, admitted that his son was under a lot of pressure, but insisted that his son loved his work. He stated, “If you met him you would say this is the opposite person who would seem like the kind of person who was considering taking this type of action.” Thomas left no note nor gave any indication that he could be contemplating such an act. Yet Thomas is dead after falling twenty-four stories.

Nothing more to see here, right? Well, not so fast. Thomas’ case is just the latest in a rising tide of such deaths. It seems that bank executive is becoming a very high-risk profession. Since January 2013, there have been over seventy suspicious deaths of high-level bank executives around the world. Many of these classified as suicides and many of those by leaping off of high buildings, though one banker supposedly shot himself seven times with a nail gun! Now that’s a way for a man to die!

And there seems to be a particularly high concentration of these “suicides” involving current or former employees of JP Morgan. The same JP Morgan that was one of the six companies recently found guilty of manipulating the foreign exchange market and fined billions.

Maybe this is all coincidence. Maybe this is all some kind of statistical fluke, but then again, maybe not. There very well could be something dark and sinister protecting itself.

Theories abound by what’s at the root of this and there may very well be more than one motivation at work. The deaths could be to silence whistleblowers and to deter any who might expose efforts to manipulate markets. Many suspect that the high frequency trading done by computers is rigged and an insider who might leak the details could have their “account reduced to zero” if you know what I mean.

Late last year, Melissa Millan, a senior vice president with the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, was jogging when she was attacked and stabbed in the chest with an “edged weapon”. She died on the jogging path and was found sometime later by a motorist. She had not been robbed nor sexually assaulted. Is there any connection between Millan’s murder and the surge of bank suicides? Could be.

It’s now known that Millan had access to confidential and highly sensitive information about the profits large banks are making on what the industry calls “dead peasants insurance”. Dead peasants insurance is officially called corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) or bank-owned life insurance (BOLI). These are life insurance policies that the banks take out on their employees. When a so insured employee dies, the insurance pay out goes to the bank. The employees or the employees’ family may not even be aware that such a policy exists.

These policies build up a cash value that is earned on a tax-free basis. In addition, any death benefit paid out is free of any federal tax liability. These dead peasant insurance policies therefore could have a significant impact on the profitability of the banks holding them. The dollar amount and the profitability impact are tightly held secrets however. For some reason, the banks do not want the impact made public despite shareholders having the right to know where a company’s profits come from.

Millan had intimate knowledge about the financial impact of such policies and she ends up brutally murdered. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe all these deaths are just terrible coincidences. Or maybe our financial institutions are criminal enterprises hiding their nefarious activities at all costs. The “too big to fail” center of our economy may very well be rotten to the core.

Want A Third Party? How About The Transhumanist?

December 26, 2014

The drive to the 2016 elections is now beginning and likely candidates are starting to come into focus. Naturally, Hillary Clinton will be running again for the Democratic nomination. I mean she is entitled to it, right? What that woman has had to go through and she’s so eminently qualified too.

Of course, we have to get another Bush in play for the Republicans in 2016. It will be eight years since the last one, so we’re right on schedule. It’s going to be utterly fascinating to watch Jeb attempt to win primaries by alienating the conservative base. Boy, that’s smart. Most candidates would wait to get elected before throwing their most active party members under the bus.

If you don’t like those choices though, take heart there may be another alternative. In a recent announcement, Zoltan Istvan has announced he is in the early stages of preparing a campaign to run for president in 2016. What party is Mr. Istvan going to represent – Libertarian, Communist, Green, Bull Moose maybe? No, no, nothing so pedestrian. Mr. Istvan will be running on the Transhumanist Party ticket. Haven’t heard of the Transhumanist Party? Well, keep reading.

The Transhumanist movement consists of futurists, life extensionists, technologists, and others who appreciate science and are willing to use technology to fundamentally change society and the individuals of which it is comprised. They have this transformation thing all over Obama.

Istvan’s platform sounds noble if a little farfetched:

  • Provide science all the resources they need to overcome human death and aging.
  • Create a cultural mindset that will essentially look to science to solve all our pressing issues.
  • Build firewalls and safeguards that would protect society from possible technological abuses during the transition to the Transhumanist utopia.

A lot of what Istvan projects I really don’t have much of a problem with. For instance, bionic hearts will improve dramatically and eliminate the need for transplants. Tremendous progress will be made with prosthetic limbs and possibly allow for entire exoskeletons that would allow paralyzed individuals the ability to walk and move. Our smart phones will become genius phones. These kinds of developments are essentially extrapolations of the path we are on and are beneficial for all. More funding and emphasis on research and development on these kinds of solutions I believe is well served.

However, there are other aspects of the Transhumanist movement that are unsettling and present some profound ethical dilemmas. For instance, Transhumanists believe that in the near future we will be able to upload a human mind into a computer. These “mind clones” would be capable of doing what its biological source can do such as reading, watching videos, conversing, etc. What kind of rights would these clones have? What happens to it when the human source for the mind clone dies? No one knows.

Our military is investing heavily in various aspects of this kind of revolutionary technology. DARPA is working on a wide variety of applications that will enable our soldiers to maintain peak abilities and recover more quickly and fully from injuries suffered in battle. Multiple technologies are under development that will allow soldiers to more effectively interface with advanced, complex systems. This research could have dramatic implications for longevity and disease immunity for our population as a whole.

While these developments appear to hold great promise for improving the human condition, DARPA is involved in other areas of research that in my opinion can be highly problematic. DARPA has a BioDesign program that is focused on developing new life forms. Why use less than optimized humans when you can synthesize the perfect fighting organism? Theoretically, you could develop an organism with the eyesight of an eagle, the ability to run like a cheetah, the strength of a gorilla all with human intelligence. It could have rapid healing capability. It could be able to go many days without food or water. It could have no fear. You know, better soldiering through chemistry.

These organisms would be superior to us in many ways. What if they decided they want to take over and run things? Don’t worry; DARPA plans to include a kill switch with every model.

Seriously though, what rights would such an organism have? What happens to the idea of unalienable rights when such organisms exist? Nobody knows.

As a Christian, I believe the Bible when it says Jesus will return one day to judge the world. I’ve often wondered if there could be a triggering event that would have God saying, “OK, that’s enough. Time for judgment.” If you think about it, none of our technological developments since history began have threatened to alter anything God has made. Not even learning to split heavy atoms or fuse light ones to create energy has effected His material world. However, messing with the pinnacle of God’s creation, that be us, He may not allow. Start contaminating the foundation for what makes humans human, well that may be the final straw. I would urge you non-Christians to take heed.