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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:30 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Friday, 28 December 2012

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Friday, 28 December 2012


SMW for 27 December 2012

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON 27 December 2012

Dow Jones 13,096.31 -18.28 (-0.14%)
S&P 500 1,418.10 -1.73 (-0.12%)
Nasdaq 2,985.91 -4.25 (-0.14%)


10 Year 1.73% -0.04 (-2.26%)
30 Year 2.90% -0.05 (-1.69%)









Market Conditions During Trading Hours






Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold
















Handy Links - Government Issues:

LegitGov
Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov





Partial List of Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS
3/6/12 Allen Stanford, former Caribbean billionaire and general schmuck, convicted on 13 of 14 counts in $2.2B Ponzi scheme, faces 20+ years in prison
6/4/12 Matthew Kluger, lawyer, sentenced to 12 years in prison, along with co-conspirator stock trader Garrett Bauer (9 years) and co-conspirator Kenneth Robinson (not yet sentenced) for 17 year insider trading scheme.
6/14/12 Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years without parole.
6/15/12 Rajat Gupta, former Goldman Sachs director, found guilty of insider trading. Could face a decade in prison when sentenced later this year.
6/22/12 Timothy S. Durham, 49, former CEO of Fair Financial Company, convicted of one count conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.
6/22/12 James F. Cochran, 56, former chairman of the board of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and six counts of wire fraud.
6/22/12 Rick D. Snow, 48, former CFO of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.
7/13/12 Russell Wassendorf Sr., CEO of collapsed brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group Inc. arrested and charged with lying to regulators after admitting to authorities he embezzled "millions of dollars" and forged bank statements for "nearly twenty years."
8/22/12 Doug Whitman, Whitman Capital LLC hedge fund founder, convicted of insider trading following a trial in which he spent more than two days on the stand telling jurors he was innocent
10/26/12 UPDATE: Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta sentenced to two years in federal prison. He will, of course, appeal. . .
11/20/12 Hedge fund manager Matthew Martoma charged with insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors, and prosecutors are looking at Martoma's boss, Steven Cohen, for possible involvement.










This thread contains opinions and observations. Individuals may post their experiences, inferences and opinions on this thread. However, it should not be construed as advice. It is unethical (and probably illegal) for financial recommendations to be given here.



54 replies, 3701 views

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Reply STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Friday, 28 December 2012 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Dec 2012 OP
flamingdem Dec 2012 #1
Demeter Dec 2012 #2
Demeter Dec 2012 #3
Demeter Dec 2012 #4
westerebus Dec 2012 #11
Demeter Dec 2012 #13
Demeter Dec 2012 #5
Demeter Dec 2012 #6
bread_and_roses Dec 2012 #46
Demeter Dec 2012 #7
Demeter Dec 2012 #8
mbperrin Dec 2012 #12
Demeter Dec 2012 #9
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #10
Demeter Dec 2012 #14
Demeter Dec 2012 #15
Demeter Dec 2012 #16
DemReadingDU Dec 2012 #17
Demeter Dec 2012 #31
Roland99 Dec 2012 #44
Demeter Dec 2012 #18
Roland99 Dec 2012 #45
xchrom Dec 2012 #19
Demeter Dec 2012 #49
xchrom Dec 2012 #50
Demeter Dec 2012 #20
xchrom Dec 2012 #21
xchrom Dec 2012 #22
Demeter Dec 2012 #23
Demeter Dec 2012 #25
Demeter Dec 2012 #26
Demeter Dec 2012 #35
Demeter Dec 2012 #24
xchrom Dec 2012 #27
xchrom Dec 2012 #28
Demeter Dec 2012 #29
xchrom Dec 2012 #30
xchrom Dec 2012 #32
Demeter Dec 2012 #37
xchrom Dec 2012 #38
xchrom Dec 2012 #33
xchrom Dec 2012 #34
Demeter Dec 2012 #36
xchrom Dec 2012 #39
xchrom Dec 2012 #40
Demeter Dec 2012 #41
Roland99 Dec 2012 #42
Demeter Dec 2012 #43
Roland99 Dec 2012 #48
Roland99 Dec 2012 #47
DemReadingDU Dec 2012 #51
Fuddnik Dec 2012 #52
Fuddnik Dec 2012 #53
Warpy Dec 2012 #54

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:49 PM

1. That baby is going out w/the bathwater!

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:57 PM

2. Or the tide.

Poor thing!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:58 PM

3. Thousands of L.A. Citizens Choose Groceries Over Handguns By Hayes Brown

http://www.nationofchange.org/thousands-la-citizens-choose-groceries-over-handguns-1356624727

Thousands of Los Angeles’ citizens lined parking lots yesterday in a chance toexchange their guns for groceries in a city-organized buyback program. The event, normally an annual Mother’s Day event, was pushed up to Wednesday by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT.



City officials offered up to $100 in gift cards to a local grocery chain for rifles, handguns, and shotguns, with assault weapons fetching more, up to $200 in cards. Despite moving the date, turnout was extremely high, with the two parking lots where the buybacks took place finding themselves overcrowded at times by eager sellers. In fact, the city found itself surpassing last year’s total of 1,673 guns by yesterday afternoon:

Many came bearing more than one gun. They pulled 22 pistols from the trunk of one white Honda, a haul that earned the driver $1,000.

Two men in a pickup truck with two children in the back seat handed over a rifle, a pistol and a MAC-12, altered with a silencer.

While the majority of the guns retrieved were handguns and other small-scale weapons, at least “a few dozen” assault weapons were taken off the streets as well. One of the first guns purchased in the buyback was a Bushmaster rifle of the same model as those used in the Conneticut shooting and a planned attack in New York where two firefighters were targeted and killed.

Since its inauguration in 2009, the gun buyback program has purchased over 8,000 guns from L.A. citizens, according to Mayor Villaraigosa. While gun buyback programs are not the most effective way to lower gun violence, they do reduce the supply of firearms in a community. Several other communities will be running their own in the near future, including Newtown’s neighboring city Bridgeport.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:59 PM

4. What does this say about America?

I shudder to think about it.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:54 PM

11. There's a shit load of stolen guns floating around in this country.

That and as a country we do an even worse job at taking care of the poor.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:24 PM

13. Full marks! 10 points to whichever House you are in.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:00 PM

5. Trapped in your job? Here’s help from health law

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trapped-in-your-job-heres-help-from-health-law-2012-12-27?siteid=YAHOOB

The health-care overhaul, whatever its larger merits, might offer some relief for individuals in their 50s and early 60s in the grips of “job lock.”

That’s a term used to describe workers who are unable or reluctant to leave their current jobs for fear they won’t be able to find health insurance. Older employees in particular—who are likelier than younger workers to have health problems and who don’t qualify for Medicare until age 65—see that uncertainty as a “major barrier” to changing jobs or retiring, says Michael Thompson, New York-based principal of human-resource services at consulting firm PwC.

Come 2014, barring any delays in the health-care law’s implementation, people will be able to buy insurance through new exchanges. The law dictates that no one can be denied coverage for health reasons, and it limits age-based pricing.

Will this provide the insurance solution that some older workers are seeking? Here are some preliminary answers:

SEE LINK

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Response to Demeter (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:01 PM

6. IN CASE, YOU DON'T CLICK LINK, REST ASSURED

it sucks, even so.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:08 AM

46. AaaYup - $400 month for a "Bronze" policy -

Oh, right, LOTS of people can afford to retire AND pay $400 a month for the cheapest, worst policy? And what the hell kind of depraved thinking is it that it's OK to have differential "Bronze" to "Platinum" health care plans? And THIS is what our "Liberal" "friends" tell us we should cheer about as one of the accomplishments of that Quisling in the WH?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:03 PM

7. Another Weekend is Upon Us, The Last of 2012

Good riddance to it.

But, in order to usher out the dregs of 2012, we need some appropriate theme....funeral dirges, techno noise, the sound of IEDs and Predator Drones blowing up lives and futures and peace itself...

Got any suggestions?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:08 PM

8. Holiday Doldrums By CHARLES M. BLOW

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/opinion/blow-holiday-doldrums.html

Republicans are apparently in a funk this holiday season. According to recent polls, they are depressed and despondent...A Gallup survey of our well-being released last week reported that “Republicans’ ratings of their lives worsened significantly in November, with their collective Life Evaluation Index score dropping to 40.3, from 47.0 in October.” Democrats’ life ratings, by contrast, have improved...The report continued: “The gap between Democrats and Republicans on the Life Evaluation Index is now 16.6 points — the largest it has ever been. This is also a drastic change from early 2008, when Republicans’ life ratings frequently surpassed Democrats’ by more than 10 points.”
ISN'T KARMA A BITCH?


After the 2008 election, Republicans’ ratings of their lives also plunged, but then they bounced back a bit. That may have been the result of the emergence of the Tea Party. But now the Tea Party appears to be in decline, and we don’t yet know if something else will replace it. As The New York Times put it this week, “the Tea Party might not be over, but it is increasingly clear that the election last month significantly weakened the once-surging movement, which nearly captured control of the Republican Party through a potent combination of populism and fury.” Exit polls in November found that only 21 percent of voters supported the Tea Party and nearly 9 out of 10 of those who did voted for Mitt Romney.

As if that weren’t enough, a Washington Post poll this week found that only 25 percent of Republicans say that they’re hopeful about their personal lives in the coming year. That number has been falling since 2005, but it fell most precipitously after President Obama was elected in 2008. Only 18 percent of Republicans now say they’re hopeful about the world in general over the next year. By comparison, 75 percent of Democrats say that they are hopeful about their personal lives and 61 percent say that they are hopeful about the world in general.

As the Post pointed out:

“Rising fears are concentrated among Republicans, peaking at 72 percent and up a remarkable 52 percentage points from 2006. In 2008, after Obama’s victory, Republicans split 44 to 54 percent between hope and fear. Democrats are far more positive, with 75 percent hopeful about their personal lives, exactly the same as 2008. Even during George W. Bush’s presidency, majorities of Democrats expressed a hopeful outlook. Independents splits about evenly between hope and fear.”

These people need a hug...This may be the season to be jolly, but not if you are a Republican.

DETAILS AT LINK

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Response to Demeter (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:18 PM

12. Hey, Republicans are sad.

That makes me HAPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYY!

Thanks for brightening my day!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:12 PM

9. Michigan governor signs bill giving local governments fiscal options

http://news.yahoo.com/michigan-governor-signs-bill-giving-local-governments-fiscal-190656749.html

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law on Thursday a bill that gives options to cities and school districts for dealing with severe financial problems, including bankruptcy.

The law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature earlier this month, allows local elected officials to choose between Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy, if the move is approved by the governor; an emergency manager; arbitration with a neutral party; or a consent agreement laying out terms for fixing the government's finances.

It replaces a controversial law repealed by Michigan voters on November 6 that made it easier for the state to intervene in fiscally troubled cities and schools and gave state-appointed emergency managers running the governments the power to suspend collective bargaining agreements with workers. That law, known as Public Act 4, was suspended in August pending the outcome of the vote and the state has been relying on a former, weaker law since then.

Snyder, a Republican, defended the new law against criticism that it is too similar to Public Act 4.

"This legislation demonstrates that we clearly heard, recognized and respected the will of the voters," the governor said in a statement. "It builds in local control and options while also ensuring the tools to protect communities and schools districts' residents, students and taxpayers."

The law also includes appropriations for administrative expenses, making it ineligible for a petition drive that could result in its repeal by voters. Because the new law will not take effect for 90 days, it will have no immediate impact on eight cities and school districts currently operating with emergency financial managers and three cities, including Detroit, which are operating under consent agreements. Even after it kicks in, the law keeps in place existing state-appointed managers and any ongoing review process to determine if a manager is needed, which is the case in Detroit....Snyder on December 18 named a review team for Michigan's largest city, a step in a process that could lead Detroit to file what would be the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:47 PM

10. As of today, holiday sales report down 2.5% from last year. Online sales up 40.1 %.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/27/usa-retail-shoppertrak-idUSL1E8NR2HB20121227

Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales fell 2.5 percent last week from a year earlier as fewer people visited stores, retail tracking firm ShopperTrak said on Thursday, the latest signal that this holiday season's growth may not be as robust as some had anticipated.

ShopperTrak, which monitors the number of people walking into stores across the United States, said foot traffic fell 3.3 percent in the week ended Dec. 22 from last year.

However, sales increased 39.1 percent and traffic rose 32.0 percent compared to the previous week, as procrastinators rushed to finish last-minute shopping, ShopperTrak said.

Last week, ShopperTrak lowered its holiday season forecast, calling for sales in November and December to increase only 2.5 percent from 2011, down from 3.3 percent.

The Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 22, was the second-busiest retail sales and foot traffic day of the year, behind Black Friday on Nov. 23, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, ShopperTrak said.

Shopping on the day after Christmas probably was not as strong this year as it was in 2011, ShopperTrak said. This year, Dec. 26 fell on a Wednesday, and many people likely were back at work. Last year, the day after Christmas came on a Monday.

In contrast, data released by IBM Benchmark showed online sales on Dec. 26 rose 40.4 percent over 2011 and that Apple Inc's iPad drove more retail shopping than any other device.

Traffic via iPad was at 10 percent versus 8.8 percent and 5.7 percent for Apple's iPhone and Google Inc's Android platform respectively, according to the findings by IBM Benchmark, which analyzes data from 500 retailers nationwide.


Overall the picture is not very rosy. Where's this recovery I keep hearing about? We're dying out here in Vegas.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:46 PM

14. Germany ‘exporting’ elderly to foreign retirement homes

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/12/26/germany-exporting-elderly-to-foreign-retirement-homes/

Pensioners are being sent to care homes in eastern Europe and Asia in an austerity move dismissed as ‘inhumane deportation’...Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany. The move, which has seen thousands of retired Germans rehoused in homes in eastern Europe and Asia, has been severely criticised by social welfare organisations who have called it “inhumane deportation”. But with increasing numbers of Germans unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes, and an ageing and shrinking population, the number expected to be sent abroad in the next few years is only likely to rise. Experts describe it as a “time bomb”. Germany’s chronic care crisis – the care industry suffers from lack of workers and soaring costs – has for years been mitigated by eastern Europeans migrating to Germany in growing numbers to care for the country’s elderly.

But the transfer of old people to eastern Europe is being seen as a new and desperate departure, indicating that even with imported, cheaper workers, the system is unworkable. Germany has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, and the movement here has implications for other western countries, including Britain, particularly amid fears that austerity measures and rising care costs are potentially undermining standards of residential care. The Sozialverband Deutschland (VdK), a German socio-political advisory group, said the fact that growing numbers of Germans were unable to afford the costs of a retirement home in their own country sent a huge “alarm signal”. It has called for political intervention.

“We simply cannot let those people who built Germany up to be what it is, who put their backbones into it all their lives, be deported,” said VdK’s president, Ulrike Mascher. “It is inhumane.”

Researchers found an estimated 7,146 German pensioners living in retirement homes in Hungary in 2011. More than 3,000 had been sent to homes in the Czech Republic, and there were more than 600 in Slovakia. There are also unknown numbers in Spain, Greece and Ukraine. Thailand and the Philippines are also attracting increasing numbers. The Guardian spoke to retired Germans and people needing long-term care living in homes in Hungary, Thailand and Greece, some of whom said that they were there out of choice, because the costs were lower – on average between a third and two-thirds of the price in Germany – and because of what they perceived as better standards of care. But others were evidently there reluctantly. The Guardian also found a variety of healthcare providers were in the process of building or just about to open homes overseas dedicated to the care of elderly Germans in what is clearly perceived in the industry to be a growing and highly profitable market. According to Germany’s federal bureau of statistics, more than 400,000 senior citizens are currently unable to afford a German retirement home, a figure that is growing by around 5% a year. The reasons are rising care home costs – which average between €2,900 and €3,400 (£2,700) a month, stagnating pensions, and the fact that people are more likely to need care as they get older.

As a result, the Krankenkassen or statutory insurers that make up Germany’s state insurance system are openly discussing how to make care in foreign retirement homes into a long-term workable financial model. In Asia, and eastern and southern Europe, care workers’ pay and other expenses such as laundry, maintenance and not least land and building costs, are often much lower. Today, European Union law prevents state insurers from signing contracts directly with overseas homes, but that is likely to change as legislators are forced to find ways to respond to Europe’s ageing population. The lack of legislation has not stopped retired people or their families from opting for foreign homes if their pensions could cover the costs. But critics of the move have voiced particular worries about patients with dementia, amid concern that they are being sent abroad on the basis that they will not know the difference...

GOD FORBID WE SHOULD EVER COME TO RESEMBLE GERMANY

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Response to Demeter (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:48 PM

15. Ten Reasons Why the Chained CPI Is Terrible Policy

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:38 AM

16. Wake Up, Campers! It's Cold Outside!

How cold is it? Between 8F and 10F. We won't see freezing until after Tuesday, by current projections. It's a 3 layer day.

If everyone else weren't up around here, I'd go back to bed. As it is, that's not possible.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:52 AM

17. Brrr, a bit warmer in Ohio, 22.


Still cold though, 3 layer day here too

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:45 AM

31. Down to -50C: Russians freeze to death as strongest-in-decades winter hits

I'VE BEEN DOWN TO -40C, WHICH IS THE SAME AS -40F...AND THAT WAS COLD ENOUGH...

http://rt.com/news/russia-freeze-cold-temperature-379/

Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized.

­The country has not witnessed such a long cold spell since 1938, meteorologists said, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia.

Across the country, 45 people have died due to the cold, and 266 have been taken to hospitals. In total, 542 people were injured due to the freezing temperatures, RIA Novosti reported.

The Moscow region saw temperatures of -17 to -18 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, and the record cold temperatures are expected to linger for at least three more days. Thermometers in Siberia touched -50 degrees Celsius, which is also abnormal for December....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:58 AM

44. A chilly 43F here..had frost a few mornings ago.

ick!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:59 AM

18. Professional Economy Wrecker Greenspan Is at Heart of Insidiious 'Fix the Debt' Campaign

FANCY MEETING HIM HERE!

http://www.alternet.org/economy/whaddya-know-professional-economy-wrecker-alan-greenspan-heart-insidiious-fix-debt-campaign?akid=9862.227380.31a9By&rd=1&src=newsletter767670&t=10

Mr. Incompetent rears his ugly head in corporate deficit hawk coalition...Alan Greenspan will go down in history as the person who has done more damage to the U.S. economy and society than anyone who was not a foreign enemy. In fact the destruction he wreaked through his incompetence would also exceed the damage caused by almost all would-be enemies as well.

Greenspan accomplished the remarkable feat as Fed chair of ignoring the growth of the $8 trillion housing bubble. This bubble could not have been easier to see if it had been 500 feet high and lit up with huge neon signs saying "Huge Housing Bubble." But Greenspan insisted the bubble was not there. And Greenspan somehow didn't recognize that the collapse of this massive bubble would devastate the economy. The bubble was generating over $1 trillion in annual demand through its direct impact on housing construction and its indirect impact on consumption through the housing wealth effect. This demand would inevitably disappear when the bubble burst, leaving a huge hole in demand.

Did Greenspan think that the private sector had some magic formula to replace this demand? What could he have been thinking or smoking?

If we had a political debate that was driven by evidence, where the accuracy of one's past judgements played any role in the credibility granted their current opinion, then Greenspan would be relegated to the role of ranting fool. His opinions on the economy would be given slightly less credibility than the mumblings of a street drunk. This is why it would have been worth highlighting the news contained in a NYT article on the origins of the "Campaign to Fix the Debt," the corporate financed effort to reduce the deficit. The article tells readers in passing:

"The Campaign to Fix the Debt started to come together at a salon dinner held in the backyard of Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, in the fall of 2011. An influential group of economic, political and business leaders — including the former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and Mark Bertolini, the chief executive of the Aetna insurance company — huddled in a too-small tent in the pouring rain."


This is such an amazing tidbit that it really should have been the lead of the article. The person most responsible for wrecking the economy -- and incidentially adding trillions of dollars to the debt -- was there at the founding of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #18)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:01 AM

45. ah...good ol' Greenspin

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:08 AM

19. i need to adjust my lipstick...

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Response to xchrom (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:17 AM

49. Sos you can tell Greenscam to kiss off?

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Response to Demeter (Reply #49)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:18 AM

50. i'd put lipstick on my ass for that. nt

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:12 AM

20. First Principles

"Terrorism is the price of empire. If you do not wish to pay the price, you must give up the empire"

- Patrick J. Buchanan - Where the Right Went Wrong

"It's not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people. And furthermore, it's not going to help. Then you might say, "Yes, it's terrorizing people, but it's worth doing because it will end terrorism." But how much common sense does it take to know that you cannot end terrorism by indiscriminately dropping bombs?"

- Howard Zinn - Terrorism and War

"Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism"

- Noam Chomsky

"Terrorism has replaced Communism as the rationale for the militarization of the country, for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil liberties at home. It serves the same purpose, serving to create hysteria"

- Howard Zinn - Terrorism and War

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:12 AM

21. Italy Sells Bonds as Borrowing Costs Hold Near Two-Year Low

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-28/italy-auctions-bonds-as-borrowing-costs-hold-near-two-year-low.html

Italy sold 5.9 billion euros ($7.8 billion) of bonds today with rates holding near the lowest in two years amid optimism caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti will play a role in the next government.

The Treasury in Rome today sold 3 billion euros of 10-year debt at 4.48 percent, up from 4.45 percent at the previous auction on Nov. 29, which was the lowest since November 2010. The Treasury also sold 2.9 billion euros of bonds due in 2017 to yield 3.26 percent compared with 3.23 percent Nov. 29.

Today’s auction, the first sale of medium- long-term debt to be settled in 2013, is the second market test for Italy since Monti announced Dec. 23 that he would consider being the premier candidate for a coalition backing his economic agenda in the Feb. 24-25 election. The Treasury sold 8.5 billion euros of bills yesterday.

“Many investors are taking the view that the transformation of Italian premier Mario Monti from technocrat to politician will ensure post-election stability,” Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London, said by e-mail after the sale. “The ’Monti effect’ is now vying with the ’Draghi effect’ in underpinning Italy’s bond market”.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:14 AM

22. AP IMPACT: ORDINARY FOLKS LOSING FAITH IN STOCKS

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_INVESTOR_REVOLT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-12-27-17-17-47

NEW YORK (AP) -- Andrew Neitlich is the last person you'd expect to be rattled by the stock market.

He once worked as a financial analyst picking stocks for a mutual fund. He has huddled with dozens of CEOs in his current career as an executive coach. During the dot-com crash 12 years ago, he kept his wits and did not sell.

But he's selling now.

"You have to trust your government. You have to trust other governments. You have to trust Wall Street," says Neitlich, 47. "And I don't trust any of these."

Defying decades of investment history, ordinary Americans are selling stocks for a fifth year in a row. The selling has not let up despite unprecedented measures by the Federal Reserve to persuade people to buy and the come-hither allure of a levitating market. Stock prices have doubled from March 2009, their low point during the Great Recession.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:18 AM

23. Geithner has upped the ante

Because nobody actually believes in the "fiscal cliff", now we are told that the debt ceiling gets banged into on Monday.

Too bad nobody believes in the debt ceiling any more, either.

Too much wolf-crying in the past.


Blatant attempts to manipulate public opinion...so that people will give up social security...these unprincipled jackanapes should all be executed as the traitors they are. That would take care of both problems.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:29 AM

25. The Best Way to Solve the “Fiscal Cliff” Has Always Been to Just Eliminate It

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2012/12/24/the-best-way-to-solve-the-fiscal-cliff-has-always-been-to-just-eliminate-it/

The problem with the so-called “fiscal cliff” is that it would impose too much austerity on a weak economy. If there is one thing that people should have learned from this global economic downturn, it is that austerity is devastating for weak economies. This issue, though, is incredibly easy to solve.

Congress can just simply eliminate the fiscal cliff.

That is what Congress has traditionally done when faced with artificial deadlines in the past. It just passes “temporary fixes” or continuing resolutions that keep the status quo from being disturbed. Congress can just extend the tax rates for most Americans, eliminate the idiotic sequestrations and keep most current policies as they currently are.

The only reason the “fiscal cliff” has become a potentially serious problem is that our political leaders have been allowed to hold the entire country hostage. They have made fixing this immediate problem conditional on getting an agreement on the completely unrelated issue of the long-term debt, which has proven to be a much more difficult issue. They needlessly turned what was an easily fixable short term problem into a nearly unsolvable situation.

That is why the best news in this entire fight has been President Obama dropping the push for some grand bargain. He is now just trying to eliminate the fiscal cliff. This should have been the position of the administration from the very beginning...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:35 AM

26. Ask a Democrat: On Social Security, Which Side Are You On? By Richard Eskow

http://blog.ourfuture.org/20121225/ask-a-democrat-on-social-security-which-side-are-you-on-2

This is a moment of moral clarity. Right now there are only two sides in the Social Security debate: the side that says it’s acceptable to cut benefits – in a way that raises taxes for all income except the highest – and the side that says it isn’t.

It’s time to ask our leaders – and ourselves – a simple question: Which side are you on?

Nancy Pelosi says she can convince most Congressional Democrats to “stick with the President” as he pursues his gratuitous and callous plan to cut Social Security benefits as part of a deficit deal – even though Social Security does not contribute to the deficit.

Excuse me: Stick with the President? What about sticking with our seniors and our veterans? What about sticking with our disabled fellow Americans? What What about sticking with the more than 4,000 children on Social Security who lost a parent in the Iraq War?

MORE

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Response to Demeter (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:03 AM

35. Bill Black: Kill the “Fiscal Cliff” Instead of the Economy

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/bill-black-kill-the-fiscal-cliff-instead-of-the-economy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

Everyone now agrees that the so-called “fiscal cliff” is a stupid policy that threatens our economy and our people. Everyone agrees why the “fiscal cliff” is stupid – it inflicts austerity at a time when it is likely to throw the nation into a gratuitous recession. Causing a recession leads to increased unemployment and a larger budget deficit. We have all seen austerity force the Eurozone into a gratuitous recession in which Italy, Spain, and Greece have Great Depression levels of unemployment. Here’s the short version of why austerity is a self-destructive response to the Great Recession. A recession occurs when demand to purchase goods and services falls and the economy contracts, causing increased unemployment. This simultaneously causes tax revenues to fall and government expenditures for programs like unemployment compensation to increase. The fall in revenues and increase in expenses causes the federal budget deficit to grow rapidly.

Austerity is a policy of raising taxes and/or cutting governmental spending for the purported purpose of cutting the deficit. If one raises overall taxes in response to the Great Recession the result is a reduction in private sector demand. If one cuts governmental spending the result is a reduction in public sector demand. The result of reducing private and public sector demand in the recovery phase from the Great Recession, where overall demand is already grossly inadequate, is to throw the nation back into recession or even a depression. That causes the budget deficit to grow. A policy of austerity undertaken under the claim that it will reduce the deficit causes a gratuitous recession that leads to a massive loss of wealth, far higher unemployment, and in increased deficit. That is why austerity is a policy that is the self-destructive economic analogy to the medical insanity of bleeding patients...We have known that austerity is an idiotic response to a severe crisis for 75 years. The U.S. was in the midst of a strong recovery from the Great Depression until FDR’s neo-liberal economists convinced him in 1937 that is was essential that the U.S. adopt an austerity program to reduce the federal deficit. Austerity forced our economy back into a Great Depression.

It was only the stimulus of federal spending in World War II that brought the U.S. out of the depression. During World War II and for the remainder of that decade the ratio of debt-to-GDP was at or near historically record levels. The result was the greatest industrial expansion in history, full employment (including a massive influx of women), strong economic growth, and sharply declining deficits and debt-to-GDP ratio because the growth led to large increases in revenue and the low unemployment greatly reduced spending on the unemployed. We also defeated the Axis powers, created Social Security and the GI Bill, and began an extraordinary expansion of our housing stock to house the baby boom. We learned many lessons from the catastrophic failure of austerity and the extraordinary success of stimulus in this era. The U.S. adopted a fiscal system of “automatic stabilizers.” These are counter-cyclical (they push in the opposite direction of the business cycle) fiscal effects that are designed into the system and do not require new legislation once the recession or inflation begins. The result of these automatic stabilizers has been to reduce the severity and duration of recessions. Indeed, studies show that the larger the national governmental role in the economy, the less volatile the economy. This makes sense because the stabilization function should be more effective if the stabilizers are larger relative to the economy.

Unfortunately, these sensible counter-cyclical policies that make theoretical and common sense and have repeatedly worked in the real world were forgotten by many due to a campaign of deficit hysteria funded by Pete Peterson, a Republican billionaire financier who has made it his mission in life to destroy the safety net. His ultimate goal is to privatize social security so that Wall Street can receive hundreds of billions of dollars in fees investing our retirement funds...

PETERSON IS UNABLE TO COMPREHEND THAT IF WE PLUNGE THE ECONOMY INTO DEATH THROES, THERE WON'T BE ANY RETIREMENT FUNDS TO INVEST...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:26 AM

24. Judge Takes Aim at Another S.E.C. Settlement

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/judge-takes-aim-at-another-s-e-c-settlement/?ref=business



An obscure settlement announced in March 2011 has triggered questions from a federal judge about how much accountability the Securities and Exchange Commission should demand when it resolves a case...Following a path started by Jed S. Rakoff, a Federal District Court judge in Manhattan, Judge Richard J. Leon of the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., has held up the settlement for nearly two years because of his demands for greater disclosure to ensure the public's interest is protected. The case involves violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by International Business Machines from 1999 to 2008 for payments made to foreign government officials. The amounts involved were not significant, about $207,000 paid in Korea and a slush fund of undisclosed size to pay for overseas trips by Chinese officials. The settlement called for the company to pay $10 million. That included a civil penalty of $2 million, an amount that is small compared with some other recent overseas bribery cases. For example, Eli Lilly agreed last week to pay more than $29 million to settle with the S.E.C., with $8.7 million designated as a civil penalty.

Unlike the recent reporting by The New York Times about widespread bribery paid by Wal-Mart to officials in Mexico, the I.B.M. case created hardly a ripple when the S.E.C. announced it. It looked like a routine matter in which the company promised not to violate the law again and paid its fine in much the same way that you would pay a parking ticket. That is, until Judge Leon took a hard look at the terms of the settlement. In a hearing last Thursday, Bloomberg reported, the judge raised questions about the deal, saying, "I'm not just going to roll over like the S.E.C. has." The proposed settlement involved the "books and records" provisions of the overseas bribery law that requires companies to properly report their transactions and maintain adequate internal controls. To ensure it does not violate the law again, Judge Leon has demanded that I.B.M. provide annual reports on its compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and any possible accounting violations in the company. The S.E.C. and I.B.M. defended the settlement and said that the additional reporting requirements would be too difficult for the company to comply. Judge Leon expressed some skepticism, asking "why, for one of the largest companies in the world, this is too burdensome." The judge is no stranger to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases. Last year, he acquitted two defendants in the "Africa sting" case. The Justice Department accused 22 defendants of violations, relying on an undercover operative to record the defendants discussing payments to obtain fictitious contracts from an African government. Federal prosecutors eventually dropped the entire case after Judge Leon questioned the fairness of the prosecution...Judge Leon's unwillingness to approve the settlement with I.B.M. raises the issue of the proper role the courts should play in overseeing how a government agency decides to resolve a case before trial.

Last year, Judge Rakoff rejected a settlement between the S.E.C. and Citigroup over the bank's marketing of a collateralized debt obligation tied to subprime mortgages. The settlement imposed a $285 million penalty, but it did not include an admission of any wrongdoing. The judge found that without some basis to find the bank had violated the law, the proposed consent judgment was "neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest." Whether Judge Rakoff's tough stand survives is questionable. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is considering an appeal of his rejection of the settlement, having indicated in a preliminary decision that the S.E.C. was likely to succeed in compelling the court to approve it.

Unlike Judge Rakoff's broad demand for accountability, Judge Leon is taking a much narrower approach. He wants I.B.M. to report on its continuing compliance with the law and disclose other potential violations it discovers. Such a mandate does not require the company to admit to anything improper but only how it is meeting the requirements of the settlement...This case was not the first time I.B.M. had run afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In December 2000, the company settled a S.E.C. case by agreeing to not commit future violations of the same "books and records" provisions and paid a $300,000 penalty. So, Judge Leon may have good grounds for seeking information about I.B.M.'s continuing compliance with the law because it is a prior offender of the overseas bribery law...



Whatever the resolution, the tussle is another signal that federal judges will not just rubber-stamp settlements by the S.E.C.

A THANKLESS JOB, INDEED, BUT WE APPRECIATE THE EFFORT, JUDGE LEON (AND JUDGE RAKOFF!)

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:37 AM

27. CHAMPAGNE LOSES FIZZ IN EUROPE AFTER TOUGH YEAR

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_FRANCE_CHAMPAGNES_LOST_FIZZ?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-12-28-06-36-17


FILE In this Aug.30 2007 file photo, a worker uses a wheelbarrow to carry boxes of Pinot Noir grapes during the grape harvest of Roederer Champagne in Ay, in the Champagne production area of Epernay, near Reims, eastern France. Europeans are finding fewer reasons to pop open a bottle of Champagne as another year of economic troubles and high unemployment saps the region’s joie de vivre, latest industry figures show. But while a taste for a glass of bubbly might be on the wane in Europe, other markets, particularly Japan and the United States, are developing a growing taste for sparkling luxury with a brand name. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

PARIS (AP) -- Europeans are finding fewer reasons to pop open a bottle of Champagne as another year of economic troubles and high unemployment saps the region's appetite for the finer things. But while the latest industry figures show that sales might be on the wane in Europe, other markets, particularly Japan and the United States, are developing a taste for a glass of bubbly.

In what is certain to be bad news for the vineyards, France - Champagne's largest market - is drinking fewer bottles. Sales of Champagne for the country were down 4.9 percent, and 5 percent elsewhere in the 27-country European Union, in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, according to CIVC, the national association of growers and producers of the wine.

Nineteen months of rising unemployment and growing fears that the worst is yet to come have taken their toll on France - nearly seven in 10 French are worried about their country's future, according to a recent poll.

"The French are pessimist by nature," said Antoine Chiquet, whose family has been producing Champagne for three generations and wine for eight. "We had a difficult election, we're in an economy where Europe's foundations are being questioned."

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:40 AM

28. Spain Alone in Lifting 2013 Bond Sales as Aid Looms

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-28/spain-alone-in-lifting-2013-bond-sales-as-aid-looms-euro-credit.html

Spain will be alone in asking bond buyers for more cash next year, as five of the euro-region’s six biggest borrowers reduce the amount for sale, according to estimates from Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Morgan Stanley.

Spain sold 97.1 billion euros ($128 billion) of bonds this year, exceeding its funding target without assistance from the European Central Bank’s bond buying program. While Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Belgium are forecast to lower the amount of debt they sell in 2013, Spain probably will raise its issuance to 110 billion euros, said Achilleas Georgolopoulos, a fixed-income strategist at Lloyds in London.

“The funding needs increase pressure on Spain, which could force them to ask for aid,” Georgolopoulos said. “What we’ve been missing in 2012 is a trigger, and issuance could be the trigger point. The figure has an in-built assumption of Spain asking for aid in the first quarter.”

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is trying to rein in a budget deficit that was proportionately the same size as Greece’s last year amid concern that his nation will need more money to fund its regions and banks. While Rajoy has postponed a decision on whether to seek a European bailout to bring down borrowing costs, his task is being exacerbated by the second recession since 2009.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:40 AM

29. UK A third of bankers hate their jobs, survey finds

PROBABLY THE ONES THAT CAN'T AFFORD TO QUIT, DESIGNATED FALL GUYS FOR THE ERRORS THEIR SUPERIORS MAKE...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/a-third-of-bankers-hate-their-jobs-survey-finds-8430534.html

...One of its findings is that disillusionment among financial services professionals hasn't become deep-set, but the sort of passion and enthusiasm associated with a career in the industry appears to have faded...When asked their attitude to their current position, nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) poll participants said that they tolerated their job, and 29 per cent said they hated it. A fifth responded that they liked their current post, and just 12 per cent said they loved it.

James Bennett, global managing director of eFinancialCareers, said: "Clearly, decreased motivation among financial services professionals presents a concern for employers. This disillusionment may not be resulting in a sudden desire to switch jobs, but appears to be manifesting itself in a lack of ambition and less of a willingness to work punishing hours."

With few City firms hiring, chances to jump ship are low. eFinancialCareers says the number of job opportunities for bankers are down 28 per cent in the year to December. Added Mr Bennett: "Also should job opportunities improve in the forthcoming year, professionals' disillusionment could result in a flurry of leavers from organisations where employer loyalty has been eroded."

A large proportion of respondents (38 per cent) said they wanted to leave the industry or sector entirely. This is coupled with a more short-term commitment to their current employer: 46 per cent of respondents only expect to stay in their current position for a maximum of two years.



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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:42 AM

30. Irish Home Prices Rise at Fastest Pace in More Than Six Years

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-28/irish-home-prices-rise-at-fastest-pace-in-more-than-six-years.html

Irish home values rose at the fastest pace in more than six years in November as the country recovered from Europe’s worst real estate crash.

Residential property prices rose 1.1 percent from the previous month, the most since September 2006, the Central Statistics Office said in a statement today. Values fell 5.7 percent from a year earlier and are 49 percent below their 2007 peak, the statement showed.

“The data strengthens our view that the Irish housing market entered a new phase during 2012, following four consecutive years of double-digit price declines,” Philip O’Sullivan, chief economist at Dublin-based NCB Stockbrokers Ltd., said in a note today.

With the exception of Greece, Irish house prices fell the most among 55 countries in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, data compiled by Knight Frank LLP show. Irish total commercial property returns are the worst in Europe in the five years through 2011, according to Investment Property Databank Ltd.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:47 AM

32. Hollande Jobs Pledge Undermined by Weak French Recovery: Economy

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-28/french-recovery-weaker-than-estimated-as-economy-barely-grows.html

The French economy grew less than initially reported in the third quarter, signaling a recovery that may be too weak to help President Francois Hollande’s government reduce unemployment that’s at a 15-year high.

Gross domestic product rose 0.1 percent, half the pace estimated on Nov. 15, statistics institute Insee in Paris said today. Data late yesterday showed jobless claims rose for a 19th straight month in November to 3.13 million, the highest since January 1998.

“Given the poor outlook for France’s growth in the coming months, it is difficult to see an improvement in labor-market data anytime soon,” Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in London, said in an e-mail. “For the moment, the only direction for France’s unemployment rate is up.”

The International Monetary Fund called this month for an overhaul of France’s labor market and more competition in its services sector as the economy faces a “fragile” growth outlook. Every poll leading up to last May’s presidential election listed jobs as the top priority in France, and Hollande used a visit to a wholesale food market outside Paris yesterday to pledge again that his aim is to bring down unemployment.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #32)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:20 AM

37. Wolf Richter: A Revolt Against Corporate Welfare Programs For Multinationals In France

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/wolf-richter-a-revolt-against-corporate-welfare-programs-for-multinationals-in-france.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

“Foreign Investment Paradox” is what the New York Times called France’s ability to attract €42.5 billion in foreign investment through October this year. Only China and the US were ahead for the first two quarters. A paradox because it shouldn’t happen. Investors should be scared off by restrictive labor laws, high income-tax rates, high cost of labor, and now the mud-wrestling bouts over nationalizing some industrial plants . But turns out, astute multinational corporations pay practically no income tax.

As if to underline the harsh reality in France, the article ran the same day that Texas Instruments announced its intention to shutter a research and development plant at Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice, in southern France, as part of its corporate weight-loss program. Of the 541 employees, 517 would be axed. The remainder would be transferred. It would leave TI with fewer than 100 employees in France. But companies, like TI, that are packing up their marbles are not subtracted from the foreign investment total.

Yet France can be a veritable gold mine: it offers tax credits of 30% of R&D expenditures of up to €100 million. For the first two years, these credits are even higher. A huge benefit for small companies. “You can recoup a lot of your R&D expenses,” said Gene Bajorinas, Vice President of Novian Health, a biotech outfit from Chicago. “It’s an ideal scenario.”

As for large companies, the article cites other benefits—an educated workforce, infrastructure, and so on—to explain why Google located its headquarters for southern Europe in Paris, why Amazon is building a second distribution center, and why 171 foreign companies set up manufacturing plants in 2011, way ahead of Germany and the UK. A phenomenon Ernst and Young partner Marc Lhermitte called “paradoxical.”

MORE

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Response to Demeter (Reply #37)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:21 AM

38. +1

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:55 AM

33. Here's What's Behind The Collapse Of The Japanese Yen — The Biggest Economic Story In The World

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-the-yen-has-been-getting-crushed-2012-12

***SNIP

Indeed this is really the huge story in global markets right now. In addition to being a major shift in one of the world's biggest and strongest currencies, it affects all sorts of manufacturers who do business in yen, or compete with companies that do business in yen.

Here's a three-year chart of the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust, an ETF that's designed to track the yen. As you can see, it's been collapsing, and is now at a level that hasn't been seen in over two years.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:59 AM

34. Sorry, Folks, We Don't Just Have "A Spending Problem"

http://www.businessinsider.com/government-spending-and-taxes-2012-12

***SNIP

We DO have a spending problem.

And if we are ever to get our budget deficit under control, we need to trim long-term spending growth.

But blaming the whole deficit problem on "spending" ignores the other half of the problem: Taxes.

Our federal tax revenue right now is historically low.

n recent years, the federal government has developed a huge budget deficit. This is because federal spending (red) has surged, while federal tax revenue (blue) has stagnated


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:17 AM

36. Senator John Kerry Sold His Soul to Be Secretary of State

http://www.kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article137392

U.S. Ambassador positions are for sale to the highest bidder. This unsavory policy, which accelerated under President Bill Clinton, continues under President Barack Obama. For the past four years Senator John Kerry has sought to curry favor from the Obama Administration by rubber-stamping this corrupt practice. As Chairman of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, he has also ignored criminal waste within USAID and gross mismanagement within the State Department. Oversight of the State Department has virtually ceased to exist. None of that matters because the prize that Senator Kerry seeks is an appointment as Secretary of State. He has sold his soul for a chance at fame and publicity...As many as a third of U.S. Ambassador positions are awarded to political supporters of Barack Obama and to those who have raised large sums of money for his campaign. The Administration essentially accepts bribes in exchange for diplomatic postings. This practice is damaging to State Department morale and it undermines America’s standing in the world. How can U.S. diplomats object to corruption in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, when the Obama Administration is selling Ambassador posts?

The Administration is only able to sell Ambassadorships because Senator Kerry allows it to happen. An ethical Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would refuse to even bring such nominees to a vote. The U.S. Constitution mandates that the President advise but the Senate must consent. As an equal partner in the process, Senators could insist that U.S. Ambassadors be professional diplomats.

Senator Kerry has never challenged the State Department’s bloated budget or its proposed billion-dollar embassy in London or the massive spending on its Baghdad and Kabul embassies, which now are seen as colossal wastes of public funds. He refused to hold State Department and USAID officials accountable for the massive mismanagement of development aid projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the failure of the civilian “surge” in both countries. He has refused to hold aggressive public hearings into the September 12, 2012 deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador, at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Finally, he has served as an apologist for Ambassador Susan Rice and her disreputable conduct in lying to the American people about the incident. Ambassador Rice’s defense is that she misled the public because to do otherwise would have revealed classified information. Senator Kerry has refused to label such an excuse as nonsense.

For years the U.S. Department of State has drifted along. Despite billions expended to gather and analyze intelligence information on foreign counties, U.S. diplomats continue to react to crises, seemingly because they are unable to predict them. It is difficult to find a federal agency that performs at such a consistently low level of competency. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to retire in January with a record that consists of virtually no diplomatic successes, other than a warming of relations with authoritarian regimes in Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Egypt and Burma. Four years of diplomatic failures, mismanagement and a loss of public trust will not be reversed by naming a lackluster Senator as Secretary of State. John Kerry would bring nothing to the State Department. America needs a hard-working Secretary of State who is dedicated to concrete achievements rather than photo opportunities and press releases heralding mythical “progress.” It needs a Secretary of State who is not afraid to risk failure in order to achieve success...

WHILE THIS STORY FITS MY SUSPICIONS, AND COMES FROM KABUL, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO CONTRADICT IT. OFTENTIMES, OUR ENEMIES ARE OUR BEST MIRRORS.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:25 AM

39. Japan economy: Latest data underlines weakness

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20855924


Japan has reported weak economic data, underlining the challenges the new government faces in reviving growth in the world's third-largest economy.

Industrial output fell in November as demand for exports continued to slow.

Consumer prices also dipped, indicating that deflation continues to remain a hurdle in boosting domestic demand.

Japan has been seeking to spur domestic demand to offset the decline in exports, which have fallen for six months in a row, and sustain growth.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:35 AM

40. Privatizing healthcare law passed in Madrid assembly

http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/12/27/inenglish/1356637286_141578.html

The Madrid assembly on Thursday approved the Fiscal and Administrative Measures Law, which paves the way for the privatization of healthcare in the region. As of January 1, tenders can be submitted for healthcare services at six hospitals and 27 clinics. Also included in the legislation is a new and controversial supplementary charge of one euro per prescription.

The law was passed through the Popular Party’s absolute majority in the assembly with 72 votes. The opposition Socialists, United Left and UPyD all voted against the measures, which they said included a “made-to-measure suit” for the region’s EuroVegas aspirations; the law meets all the requirements of US casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson to construct his vision in Madrid.

Socialist deputy Antonio Carmona called for the resignation of health chief Javier Fernández-Lasquetty. “Privatizing healthcare isn’t efficiency; its business. This isn’t a law, it is a scandal.”

Regional premier Ignacio González has faced a raft of protests and continued strikes over the privatization plan, but on Thursday accused public employees of “abusing” the right to strike. González said stoppages had cost the region 1.74 billion euros in 2012.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:37 AM

41. I'm off to fight the good fight (and lose badly, no doubt)

see you all tonight on the WEE Thread! Stay warm!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:58 AM

42. US Futures - Gonna be an ug-lee start

S&P 500 -0.6%
DOW -0.5%
NASDAQ -0.5%


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:58 AM

43. NYSE Volume Chart is Deceptively Informative

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/12/nyse-volume-chart-is-deceptively-informative/



I want to nominate what may be the most deceptive chart you will see: NYSE Volume. Its deceptive because its simplicity reveals so many things beyond what it is ostensibly covering of mere trading volume.

Consider what the overall falling volume trend means:

• The financial services industry is shrinking;

• Commissions are falling

• Stock picking is being replaced with ETFs;

• Psychology is negative, as Main St is not participating and Mom & Pop have left;

• Active trading is being replaced with passive indexing;

• HFT Algos may spoof millions of phony bids, but they are having a harder time getting executed.

That’s why I nominate NYSE Volume as my chart of the year . . .

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Response to Demeter (Reply #43)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:14 AM

48. HFTs are the whales in the retention pond of trading

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:13 AM

47. Pending home sales rise 1.7% in November (Highest since April 2010)

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:06 PM

51. Matt Taibbi: Angelo Mozilo, Former Countrywide CEO, Claims He Doesn't Know What 'Verified Income' Is



12/28/12 Angelo Mozilo, Former Countrywide CEO, Claims He Doesn't Know What 'Verified Income' Is

Another day, another corporate titan suffering from devastating amnesia. This time, the memory-loss patient is none other than Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of Countrywide Financial.
Deposed in the landmark lawsuit between the monoline insurer MBIA and Countrywide/Bank of America, Mozilo professed not to know the difference between "verified" income and "stated" income. He also made some incredible remarks regarding his notorious "Friends of Angelo" lending program, in which, among others, political figures like North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad and Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd received Countrywide mortgages on highly advantageous terms just because they were tight with the CEO.

As chief of Countrywide, Mozilo headed the single most corrupt subprime mortgage lender in America during the period preceding the crisis. Charged with mass fraud and headed for trial in October of 2010, Mozilo and the SEC ultimately settled four days before opening arguments were set to begin in Los Angeles. Ultimately, Mozilo got away with no jail time, paying a $67.5 million settlement, $20 million of which was covered by Countrywide, which by then had been acquired by Bank of America, a major bailout recipient. Just in the years between 2000 and 2008, Mozilo made over half a billion dollars – $521.5 million, according to one corporate research firm.

If you were going to assign blame to any single person for the financial crisis, Angelo Mozilo would rank right up there with people like Lehman's idiot CEO Dick Fuld, deranged credit-default-swap peddler Joe Cassano of AIG's Financial Products unit, and deregulatory pioneers like Bob Rubin and Phil Gramm. Mozilo's role, however, was probably the single most shameful, as he represented the conscious decision of mortgage underwriters to abandon lending standards in order to claim ever-larger chunks of market share.

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http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/angelo-mozilo-former-countrywide-ceo-claims-he-doesnt-know-what-verified-income-is-20121228



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Response to DemReadingDU (Reply #51)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:58 PM

52. The poor guy probably never even tried to get a mortgage in his lifetime.

As long as I can remember, it usually consisted of a few recent pay stubs, and a couple of years of tax returns.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:09 PM

53. Dang!!! The Uncertainty Gremlins are running amok!

Head for the shelters and hills!

Will Boner cry? Will little Rat-Face Cantor stab him in the back? Or just taser him? Will Obama and Timmeh hold him down?

The answer to these and more stupid questions, on the next episode of "Doap!"

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #53)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:39 PM

54. Expect a dramatically down day on Monday

because a lot of people will be selling off equities to take advantage of the lower capital gains taxes this year, since the Clown Congress left town rather than negotiate in good faith with a black president and we're going over the Fiscal Bluff.

A few of the institutions doing this will sell high and buy back low. Ordinary people who try to do this will likely get hosed, but hey, they didn't send money to the mean old government!

The next months will be fun to watch as bill after bill restoring cuts to the Holy Five Sided Rathole in Alexandria and tax cuts for fat cats are passed in the House and disappear in the Senate.

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