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Thu Feb 16, 2012, 06:15 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH - Friday, 17 February 2012

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Friday, 17 February 2012


SMW for 16 February 2012

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON 16 February 2012

Dow Jones 12,904.08 +123.13 (0.96%)
S&P 500 1,358.04 +14.81 (1.10%)
Nasdaq 2,959.85 +44.02 (1.51%)



10 Year 1.98% +0.04 (2.06%)
30 Year 3.14% +0.04 (1.29%)











Market Conditions During Trading Hours






Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold
















Handy Links - Government Issues:

LegitGov
Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov





Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09 =
12
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS









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.



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Reply STOCK MARKET WATCH - Friday, 17 February 2012 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 OP
Ghost Dog Feb 2012 #1
Demeter Feb 2012 #31
Ghost Dog Feb 2012 #65
Demeter Feb 2012 #69
Demeter Feb 2012 #2
Demeter Feb 2012 #3
Demeter Feb 2012 #16
Demeter Feb 2012 #4
Hotler Feb 2012 #86
hamerfan Feb 2012 #5
Demeter Feb 2012 #6
Demeter Feb 2012 #7
Demeter Feb 2012 #12
Hugin Feb 2012 #61
Demeter Feb 2012 #13
Demeter Feb 2012 #14
Demeter Feb 2012 #15
Demeter Feb 2012 #22
westerebus Feb 2012 #56
Hugin Feb 2012 #62
westerebus Feb 2012 #73
AnneD Feb 2012 #64
westerebus Feb 2012 #74
Demeter Feb 2012 #71
westerebus Feb 2012 #75
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #76
DemReadingDU Feb 2012 #81
Demeter Feb 2012 #77
westerebus Feb 2012 #80
Demeter Feb 2012 #72
Demeter Feb 2012 #8
Demeter Feb 2012 #9
Demeter Feb 2012 #10
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #46
Demeter Feb 2012 #49
AnneD Feb 2012 #57
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #60
Demeter Feb 2012 #70
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #82
Demeter Feb 2012 #85
DemReadingDU Feb 2012 #83
Demeter Feb 2012 #11
Demeter Feb 2012 #26
Demeter Feb 2012 #37
Demeter Feb 2012 #38
Demeter Feb 2012 #17
Demeter Feb 2012 #18
Demeter Feb 2012 #19
Roland99 Feb 2012 #78
Demeter Feb 2012 #20
Demeter Feb 2012 #21
Demeter Feb 2012 #23
Demeter Feb 2012 #39
Demeter Feb 2012 #40
Demeter Feb 2012 #24
Demeter Feb 2012 #25
Demeter Feb 2012 #27
Demeter Feb 2012 #29
xchrom Feb 2012 #28
Demeter Feb 2012 #30
xchrom Feb 2012 #33
xchrom Feb 2012 #32
Demeter Feb 2012 #34
Demeter Feb 2012 #35
Demeter Feb 2012 #36
Demeter Feb 2012 #43
Demeter Feb 2012 #44
xchrom Feb 2012 #41
Roland99 Feb 2012 #42
xchrom Feb 2012 #45
Demeter Feb 2012 #48
xchrom Feb 2012 #50
Demeter Feb 2012 #47
Demeter Feb 2012 #51
xchrom Feb 2012 #53
Fuddnik Feb 2012 #67
xchrom Feb 2012 #52
xchrom Feb 2012 #54
LineLineReply .
DemReadingDU Feb 2012 #58
xchrom Feb 2012 #55
TalkingDog Feb 2012 #59
Hugin Feb 2012 #63
xchrom Feb 2012 #66
TalkingDog Feb 2012 #68
Demeter Feb 2012 #79
hamerfan Feb 2012 #84
Hotler Feb 2012 #87
Lisa D Feb 2012 #88
hamerfan Feb 2012 #89
westerebus Feb 2012 #90


Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:01 AM

31. GD! What's the news in Europe?

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Response to Demeter (Reply #31)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 10:40 AM

65. Well,

I'll say this: There is amazing wealth and modern infrastructure applying tasteful architecture in mainland Western Europe, and it gets more and more densely concentrated the further North you get.



http://www.leap2020.eu/GEAB-N-62-is-available-Global-Systemic-Crisis-Euroland-2012-2016-Perpetuation-of-a-new-global-power-on-condition-of_a9183.html

... By mid-2012, as we have already indicated in preceding GEAB issues, Euroland will be endowed with a whole set of new national leaders (Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Slovenia, Belgium,…) and the following months there will be elections in Germany. Euroland will thus be led by men and women who, for the most part, came to power after the start of the crisis.

Until the end of 2011 it wasn’t the case; quite the contrary, most Eurozone leaders were electoral products of the world before the crisis. The fact that these leaders, mediocre politicians in the main, and completely unprepared for the collapse of the values/beliefs which they held until 2008, were nevertheless able to face relatively well the global crisis, then the Greek crisis and its effects, against the background of a violent attack on the European single currency by City of London and Wall Street, was proof of the dynamics of European integration at work within Euroland. In fact, our team considers that they were the generation of politicians the least prepared to “save European integration” since they were generally not very interested in Europe and often under the control of the banks and Washington. To pick up from an analysis of Franck Biancheri’s going back to 1989, “the babyboomer politicians are likely to break the European project of which they understand nothing, prior to the “Erasmus” generations entering the fray”...

... This analysis is reinforced by another determining factor of the European decision-making process: in the absence of the system’s democratization, the technocrats are the real masters of the game on the EU circuit including Frankfurt, Brussels,… and national capitals (7). They, since the creation of ECSC in 1951, wove the fabric of European integration. They, who offered our disorientated leaders the solutions of these last two years. They, who are already preparing the initiatives for the next few years. But to be able to take the leap of European integration, they need the politicians. And the politicians are only ready to take risks in two cases: when they are afraid and when they are visionaries (8). Fear was the incentive in 2010/2011. The vision of the future will be that in 2012/2016...

... Moreover, from the second half of 2012, Euroland will see the French’s constructive return to the European project. It’s a reality forgotten by many since it’s been 17 years since it disappeared from the European decision-making process. Whether it be Jacques Chirac or Nicolas Sarkozy, none of the French presidents since 1995 had a European streak (unlike their predecessors - De Gaulle, Giscard and Mitterrand). Jacques Chirac at least had the Gaullist backbone of the refusal to be subservient, which enabled him to resist the general recruitment for the invasion of Iraq, in partnership with the German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Nicolas Sarkozy himself hasn’t had any backbone, national or European. He will have done nothing, only cross the political landscape (14) driven by interests foreign to the common good of the French and Europeans.

These declining or anecdotal trends have, of course, been reinforced by the Anglo-Saxon domination of the European agenda, pushing expansion and the European Market to the detriment of integration and European power. In the end, that’s 17 years that France has ceased making its intellectual contribution to the advance of European integration (15). This “French absence” at European level was only the reflection of a growing disconnect between Parisian power and the true country (16); a situation which, according to LEAP/E2020, is approaching its denouement with the overwhelming rejection of the current president by the French.

Without too much of a wait, the next election of François Hollande at France’s helm will allow the bond between the true country (17) and French leaders to be rebuilt, at least for a year or two; sufficient time to revitalize the French contribution at European level. The socialist candidate’s personality also works in favour of this development. He’s a politician for whom Europe is a key component of his commitment, along Mitterrand-Delors lines; and he has the right profile for future Euroland leaders over this 2012-2016 period: they will have to be good team players because managing Euroland will be a team business and not one for individuals. These five years will more resemble an in-house stowing of a space station’s various pieces of equipment than a cavalry charge. Each epoch needs a certain kind of leader: the Euroland of the next few years needs European team members, reliable and inventive, knowing where they want to go and aware that they can’t get there on their own. Beyond any partisan considerations, in his course and the conduct of his campaign, our team thinks that François Hollande has shown that he has these qualities (18).

In this context, he has to urgently reposition his campaign speeches on the renegotiation of the current European treaty into promising to negotiate additions to it. It’s necessary to reassure the German and Dutch partners in particular; and it’s useful for Angela Merkel to avoid making the major strategic error of entering the campaign at Nicolas Sarkozy’s side (19). For, on the one hand, this does nothing to avoid the defeat of the latter (and even the opposite); and, on the other, that will make the first months of Franco-German co-operation after the 6th May 2012 more difficult, even if it’s urgent to open the driving core of Euroland to other countries (Netherlands, Spain, Italy,…).

At the same time these two years will see the acceleration of the difference between Euroland and the EU. It is a phenomenon which will in fact characterize the whole of the decade. Euroland which functions to a large extent in the form of informal networks will gradually have to equip itself with some institutional bases. They will be modest because nobody wants a repeat of the bureaucracy which definitively ossified Brussels; but modelled on the ECB, the MES, a secretariat of Euroland governance will prove to be necessary very quickly, then certain specific institutions as well as a specific Euroland component within the European Parliament (meetings reserved for the European representatives of the Euroland countries to discuss specific Euroland questions, modelled on the Euroland summits).

This development will be all the more strong and rapid that the United Kingdom will try to slow down or block Euroland actions. There was such an example of the counter-productive effect of the British veto last December; it quite simply obliged the others to move on without London.

In general, Eurolanders will seek to use the existing EU institutions but distancing non-Eurolanders from the decision-making processes. Each time it’s impossible or too complicated, a new institutional base will be created. This development will be all the easier as all the EU countries, except for the United Kingdom, have a rationale for adhesion to the Euro in fact (20). Most EU countries know that they will be in Euroland by 2017; which greatly facilitates Euroland progress for the years to come.

Thus, after about fifteen years of mistakes under British and US influence, during which Europeans were misled on enlargement projects without a future (Turkey, Ukraine,…) (21) and illusory economic-financial strategies (Lisbon treaty strategy,…), the next few years will bear the mark of the return to political and economic integration, as was the case at the time of the first EU renaissance in 1984-1992. According To LEAP/E2020, 2012/2013 will thus mark the beginning of the second EU renaissance.

http://www.leap2020.eu/GEAB-N-62-is-available-Global-Systemic-Crisis-Euroland-2012-2016-Perpetuation-of-a-new-global-power-on-condition-of_a9183.html

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Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #65)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 12:36 PM

69. I concur with the historical analysis

and personalities, and I hope that the predictions come true.

Otherwise, the Anglo criminal conspiracy has only China and India and Russia to oppose it.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 07:08 PM

2. Barry Ritholtz Has the Main Theme Right, But Gets a Few Specifics Wrong About MF Global

http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2012/02/ritholz-has-main-theme-right-but-gets.html

...In a recent piece titled MF Global Reveals You Are a Bank Counter-Party he makes a very strong case that financial institutions that trade for their own accounts place everyone who has money with their firm at counter-party risk. He uses this to reinforce his opinion, with which I heartily agree, that when private speculation becomes mingled with public funds and government guarantees, a moral hazard results that quite often leads, some might say almost inevitably, to fraud, the mispricing of risk, and bailouts...

But in making his case, that the MF Global situation proves this rule even though they were not a bank, he characterizes some of the things regarding the MF Global scandal in a way that could be misconstrued, and has been misconstrued in that way by some of the main stream financial media...

MORE..JPMORGAN AND JAMIE DIMON SHOULD BE GOING DOWN, AS SHOULD CORZINE

Here is what Barry said:

"Recall the basic facts of MFG: Management engaged in leveraged speculations with monies — whether it was their own or clients became irrelevant as the losses were so great as to wipe out much more capital than the bank actually had. Billions in losses meant MFG was insolvent and was wound down. On the winning sides of those trades were folks like JPM and George Soros. It is neither their duty nor obligation to verify whose money is on the other side of the trade — the clearing firms make sure the trade settles.

Those trade settlements are the only possible outcome. Why? Imagine a burglar robs a house of cash, goes to a casino and loses the money playing Roulette. The Casino settles that bet, it clears — and the burgled homeowner can never recover the money. Exchanges work the same way. They simply cannot validate the capital sources of every transaction. In the case of MFG, the money wasn’t even burgled — it was simply entrusted (sic) to an entity that became so insolvent thru excess speculation that even money in “Segregated accounts” was highly compromised."


There are at least three things that are wrong with that version of the story. I had to struggle a bit to understand what Barry was really saying...First, it was NOT irrelevant whether MF Global was using customer money or their own to finance their trades. That is a matter of regulatory law as recently expressed in Rule 190, and the CFTC has made it very clear that brokerage firms cannot use customer funds in whatever manner they please despite the presumption of regulatory creep that is a favorite ploy amongst the Wall Street wiseguys. What Barry implies is that this is a nicety, and I would say it most certainly is not. To use customer funds in this manner is a violation of fiduciary trust, known in lesser circles as stealing. MF Global thought they could take the money and put it back with no one being the wiser, but they were caught up in the discovery of events. This is not much different than taking company money to pay your private debts, and then failing to return them before the loss is discovered....There is a difference between a creditor and shareholder in a financial institution like a brokerage and a customer, who has their own private assets on deposit, with specific protections outlined by the exchange and government regulators. Just because someone is not indicted does not make a thing legal or morally acceptable.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 07:11 PM

3. MFGlobal Reveals You Are A Bank Counter-Party By Barry Ritholtz

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Response to Demeter (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:19 AM

16. After MF Global, traders hold tight to excess collateral

http://news.yahoo.com/mf-global-traders-hold-tight-excess-collateral-065850005.html

Until last October, farmers and fund managers rarely lost sleep over the extra money that they habitually maintained in their brokerage accounts, confident that it would be there the next morning.

Now, stung by the loss of customer money from the failure of MF Global Inc, many cannot sleep soundly without transferring every spare cent into their own banks overnight.

It is a sea change in the way that traders manage their "excess collateral" -- cash on account that is over and above the margin required to guarantee their trades. It means that floor traders and corn growers are spending more time, and in some cases money, moving cash in a process known as "sweeping."

It is also one the clearest examples of the damaged trust between futures commission merchants and their customers in the wake of MF Global, which had been the country's most active commodity broker. Former clients are still missing over $1.5 billion of their MF Global funds, much of that "excess."

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 07:12 PM

4. Fire FHFA Director Ed DeMarco PETITION

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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:27 PM

86. My pleasure. n/t

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 01:26 AM

5. K&R!

For the great 'toon! Thanks.
hamerfan

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:20 AM

6. Corruption Invades Pure Science and Technology



Just like the banksters...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:24 AM

7. Obama’s Wrong Note on Foreclosures By Alan Jenkins

http://www.nationofchange.org/obama-s-wrong-note-foreclosures-1328715543

...the President has repeatedly hit a wrong note in talking about the foreclosure crisis. Not only is his story inaccurate, but he is promoting a harmful narrative that will make it harder to fix the problem. The President said in his State of the Union address that “we’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them.” He repeated that theme a week later at a speech in Falls Church, VA, contending that people who did the “right and the responsible thing” were hurt by “lenders who sold loans to people who they knew couldn’t afford the mortgages; and buyers who bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford; and banks that packaged those mortgages up and traded them to reap phantom profits, knowing that they were building a house of cards.” According to the President’s narrative, then, large numbers of Americans who are struggling beneath unsustainable mortgages willfully chose that fate and deserve roughly equal blame as do the lending and financial giants who cooked up the subprime scheme, targeted vulnerable communities, engaged in deceptive and discriminatory practices, chopped up and distributed faulty loans, and forced fraudulent foreclosures. A different class of “innocent, hard-working” people are the only ones paying the price in this narrative.

Let’s be clear. The foreclosure crisis was caused by reckless misconduct by the lending and financial industries, inadequate rules and enforcement, and staggering long-term unemployment. America’s long history of overwhelmingly successful homeownership went to pot because regulators looked the other way and unscrupulous corporations took advantage, not because working Americans suddenly became wildly irresponsible. Indeed, conscientious lenders like Self-Help Credit Union in North Carolina successfully made loans to the same group of working Americans over the same period with negligible default rates. Am I saying that no American homeowner ever applied for a mortgage without a realistic plan to repay it? Of course not. A key purpose of proper underwriting standards and regulations is to help lenders and buyers determine what’s mutually sustainable. But to divide American homeowners into “responsible” ones who’ve managed to stay current on their payments and supposedly “irresponsible” ones who’ve fallen behind is inaccurate and harmful.

After confessing that he and the First Lady—two Harvard-trained lawyers—had trouble deciphering their own first mortgage, the President has nonetheless failed to convey how many Americans were victimized by deceptive and predatory practices; how many families sacrificed all to pay the mortgage after one or both parents lost a job; and how many people facing foreclosure today would be successful homeowners if fair rules and vigilant regulators had been in place. He also leaves out how much each of us benefits when we help our neighbors avoid foreclosure, even if we’ve personally managed to stay current on our own mortgages. The President’s flawed story erodes the public will to aid struggling homeowners and bolsters those who say that the foreclosure crisis should be allowed to “run its course”—why rally to help people you’ve told us are irresponsible? Yet, without a more ambitious policy agenda than we have now, we’ll see millions more Americans lose their economic security, families uprooted from schools and communities, senior citizens thrown into uncertainty or destitution, and the economy in continued chaos.
The President’s current story is also deepening the feelings of shame that keep too many Americans from seeking the advice that could help them save their homes or, at least, make a successful transition. Housing counselors say the stigma attached to foreclosure keeps many people in the shadows instead of accessing the services that exist. It doesn’t help when the Commander in Chief labels them irresponsible.

It’s time for a new, accurate story about homeownership, opportunity, and the American Dream. It’s a story that places blame where it belongs while recognizing that we each have economic and moral responsibilities. It’s a story about the solutions to the crisis that exist, including many that the Administration can take without any action from Congress. And it’s a story about why, in this crisis as in so many others, we are all in it together. As communicator-in-chief, the President should take the lead in telling that story.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:57 AM

12. New York Creates New Foreclosure Courts to Clear Backlog

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/new-york-creates-new-foreclosure-courts-to-clear-backlog.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

Given the horrible history of special foreclosure courts in Florida, which as we recounted (see here and here for some past discussions) resulted in a bank-friendly travesty of justice, one has good reason to regard dedicated foreclosure courts with more than a modicum of concern.

The variant that is planned to be implemented in New York appears to be more fair-minded in intent than its Florida cousin. And while it appears unlikely to produce the sort of kangaroo court outcome that occurred there, it is not hard to see that this initiative is likely to fall well short of its objectives....a New York court requirement implemented in October 2010, that required lawyers filing for foreclosures to certify that they had taken reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the information in the filing. That in turn lowered the bar for sanctioning lawyers who failed bogus information or documents signed by parties with no personal knowledge. That led to a near-halt of new foreclosure actions, which speaks volumes as to the accuracy of prior filings. If the problems were mere “paperwork,” you might have seen a hiatus as banks implemented new procedures, but this points to far more basic problems with the banks’ ability to prove they have the right to foreclose on loans they service.

My skepticism relates to the banks’ intent. The assumption is that they want to foreclose and that the various complaints about foreclosure delays reflect their frustration. But this is like Bre’er Rabbit complaining about being thrown in the briar patch. Banks make money on attenuated foreclosures. Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin has written about how servicers put borrowers in a fee sweatbox. If nothing else, they continue to earn servicing fees even when a borrower is hopelessly delinquent, as well as late fees, which they finally recoup when the home is sold. So I’m not confident the banks are going to enter into these talks with an eye to modifying mortgages. As both Adam Levitin and attorney and securitization expert Tom Adams have said, servicers are not set up to do mods. It’s like a new loan underwriting and they don’t have the staff or the fee structures for that to make sense.

Nevertheless, there is one area where this effort could make a big difference, and that is in short sales. I’ve heard complaints from different states that banks won’t even respond to a short sale proposal. In LA, owners have to advertise “no short sale,” otherwise brokers won’t bring buyers to a viewing. This format will make it awfully difficult for a bank to reject a short sale offer that is in line with current market prices. So this new system will probably yield some benefit but I don’t expect it to be the remedy that its sponsors hope it will be.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:47 AM

61. Try as they might...

They couldn't put Humpty-dumpty back together again.


How's about trying something new and different? No?

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:00 AM

13. HUD’s Donovan Tells Remarkable Whoppers About Settlement to Mortgage Investors

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/huds-donovan-tells-remarkable-whoppers-about-settlement-to-mortgage-investors-and-pari-passu-101-or-why-this-matters.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

If you are going to lie, it appears the Obama Administration believes there is nothing to be lost by telling a Big Lie.

Late Tuesday afternoon, HUD Secretary held a conference call with member of the Association of Mortgage Investors. His remarks were consistent with previous rumors we have heard about how the settlement deal is supposed to work.

Several items stood out. The first is that Donovan claimed that the settlement respected the creditor hierarchy, when that is a patent falsehood. He has, in other calls, described the treatment of second liens as “at least pari passu”. As we have discussed, second liens are to be written off when they are more than 180 days delinquent, but banks can pretty much arrange that that does not happen (they can put the loan into negative amortization or increase the credit line on HELOCs, so the borrower is paying with newly-lent money). The treatment of second loans is set forth starting on p. 3 of this “General Framework” document from late January. You don’t need to understand the formulas. All you need to know is anything other than “second liens are extinguished before undertaking any modification of a first lien” is contrary to the payment priority of second liens. And that is most decidedly not what is happening.

Second is that Donovan claimed that the servicers would not violate their existing agreements with investors. There is verbiage to that effect in the General Framework document: MUCH DETAIL AT LINK

CONCLUSION:

It is nevertheless yet another sign of Obama Administration brazenness: to have officials tell lies to an audience that will KNOW it is being lied to, with no concern about backlash. They clearly assume that they have sufficient control over the media that they need not worry about disgruntled participants spreading word of the offensive conference call. Even if negative stories leak out, the officialdom is apparently confident that it has enough paid or brainwashed cheerleaders to drown them out.

WELL, WE WOULDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT "PAID OR BRAINWASHED CHEERLEADERS" AROUND HERE, WOULD WE? AS A POLITICAL STRATEGY, THIS SUCKS.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:03 AM

14. Fun With Numbers: Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Figures Tough to Add Up

http://news.firedoglake.com/2012/02/14/fun-with-numbers-foreclosure-fraud-settlement-figures-tough-to-add-up/

Almost a week after the announcement of a foreclosure fraud settlement, experts are trying to determine what’s in it, given the absence of a term sheet. This chart at analyst SNL’s site shows one problem: it has a total settlement listed at $25 billion, but just California and Florida’s numbers add up to $26.4 billion. The accounting, as we discussed, goes this way:

The accounting in the settlement is somewhat confusing. The much-quoted $25 billion figure includes $17 billion that banks must spend on a variety of programs to help beleaguered borrowers. Banks will receive credits for each dollar spent. “Sometimes they get a dollar for dollar credit, sometimes they get 45 cents on the dollar, sometimes they get 10 cents on the dollar,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller explained during a press conference. “The benefit to homeowners on the full dollar amount is $32 billion.” In addition, the deal includes $3 billion dedicated to refinancing loans and $5 billion to be paid to federal and state governments.

Using these figures, the settlement totals closer to $40 billion. California will receive up to $18 billion — a large proportion of the overall settlement and far more than the estimated $4 billion in relief that the state was set to receive when California Attorney General Kamala Harris walked away from negotiations in September 2011.


The New York Times, in a beat sweetener on Harris today, praise the Attorney General for getting maximum value for California.

But this is not as cut and dried as Harris or Miller make it, and the giveaway is the line that “up to” the various dollar amounts will be collected. We cannot possibly know what the $17 billion in short sales and principal reduction will end up as in real value. It’s largely at the discretion of the banks to determine what types of principal reduction they will undertake. They get certain “credits” for certain types of write-downs, and I don’t believe they have even formulated a strategy as to what write-downs to target. Moreover, media reports have alternately said that banks will write down a “substantial” amount on private-label mortgage-backed securities loans, or that they have no authority to do so without the consent of the investors and will thus opt against it. We know that PLS loans will get less credit – around 40 cents on the dollar – but we do not have a precise menu about types of principal reductions and the associated credits they will rate...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:06 AM

15. Is the $25 Billion Foreclosure Settlement a Stealth Bank Bailout?

http://business.time.com/2012/02/13/is-the-25-billion-foreclosure-settlement-a-stealth-bank-bailout/?xid=rss-topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+time/topstories+%28TIME:+Top+Stories%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#ixzz1mQCJ7RLi

(IMO, THERE'S NOTHING "STEALTHY" ABOUT IT--DEMETER)

Thursday’s $25 billion foreclosure settlement received praise from some consumer groups, but the reaction was not all positive. One detail of the deal that has raised questions and concerns is reports that the five major U.S. banks will get credit for principal reduction of mortgages they do not own. While the fine print of the plan has yet to be released, mortgage investors fear they will be forced to write down the value of their holdings.

So how would the big banks get credit for using other people’s money to pay for principal write-downs? The answer lies in the evolution of the way mortgages are financed. In the old days, when a home buyer wanted to buy a home, he took out a loan from his local bank. The savings and loan business model involved collecting deposits from the community and then loaning that money back out, at higher rates, to home buyers and other borrowers.

This model, however, left banks open to certain risks like regional economic downturns or rising interest rates. (The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s was an example of what can happen to this business model in an environment of rising interest rates.) So in the 1990s more and more lenders began to “securitize” mortgages; that is, they would sell the cash flows from their mortgages — the monthly principal and interest payments — to investors, while continuing to “service” those payments in exchange for fees.

Yes, these are the mortgage-backed securities that we’ve heard so much about for the past few years — but their affect on the recent foreclosure settlement is a new wrinkle. The problem is that the five major banks involved in the settlement service many mortgages, but it is unclear how many of these loans the banks actually own. Any kind of large scale principal write-down would have to include some cooperation with the investors that own the mortgages. But these investors were not responsible for the misdeeds that precipitated the settlement, so it seems unfair — and may not be legal — to force them to take losses when they weren’t the ones committing fraud.

Read more: BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH TO THIS, IT'S UNWORKABLE ON ITS FACE.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #15)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:42 AM

22. US taxpayers to subsidise $40bn housing settlement


An unannounced clause in the provisional agreement allows banks to count future loan modifications made under Hamp towards their new restructuring obligations

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/G8OTZZ/ORC1UH/1O51V/JE3L1D/U1MG62/T3/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=17

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Response to Demeter (Reply #22)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:27 AM

56. The only thing missing from the "let my banker's go" agreement is skittle shitting unicorns!!

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Response to westerebus (Reply #56)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:49 AM

62. They'll be by shortly.

I bet.

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Response to Hugin (Reply #62)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 01:43 PM

73. They appear every four years by some accounts. n/t

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Response to westerebus (Reply #56)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 10:16 AM

64. I guess instead of ponies...

we will all be getting those skittles shitting unicorns.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #64)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 01:49 PM

74. The other pot of goodies at the end of the rainbow.

We're gonna need a bigger shovel.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #71)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 01:50 PM

75. You made my day with that set. thanks

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Response to Demeter (Reply #22)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 02:01 PM

76. Sigh..I am finding all this overwhelmingly depressing.

Been following the mortgage meltdown since 2007, closely.
but now, after all the unending repeated dirty tricks of the banks, aided and abetted by the Government, I have gotten to the point where my eyes just glaze over, and I barely flinch at new stories of the Giant Rip Off.
And that is just the mortgage fraud issue..throw in the rest of the economy rep offs, I can barely manage to shudder anymore.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #76)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 04:10 PM

81. I think that is the plan


Get everyone not to pay attention, and spend spend spend.

Then one day when we are the least unawares, KABOOM


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Response to Demeter (Reply #22)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 02:34 PM

77. Quelle Surprise! Taxpayers Will Be Paying for Part of Mortgage Settlement

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/quelle-surprise-taxpayers-will-be-paying-for-part-of-mortgage-settlement.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

The whole purpose of a settlement is that a party pays damages to rid themselves of liability, and the amount they pay (and “pay” can include the cost of reforming their conduct) is less than what they expect to suffer if they were sued and lost the case (otherwise, it would make more sense for them to fight).

But in the topsy-turvy world of cream for the banks, crumbs for the rest of us, we have, in the words of Scott Simon, head of the mortgage business at bond fund manager Pimco, in an interview with MoneyNews, lots of victims paying for banks’ misdeeds:

“A lot of the principal reductions would have happened on their loans anyway, and they’re using other people’s money to pay for a ton of this. Pension funds, 401(k)s and mutual funds are going to pick up a lot of the load…

“Think about this, you tell your kid, ‘You did something bad, I’m going to fine you $10, but if you can steal $22 from your mom, you can pay me with that.’”


So not only is the settlement designed to shift the costs of the banks’ misdeeds onto already victimized investors, but taxpayers will also be picking up some of the widely touted $25 billion tab. Shahien Nasiripour tells us in the Financial Times that banks will be able to count future mods made under HAMP towards the total:

However, a clause in the provisional agreement – which has not been made public – allows the banks to count future loan modifications made under a 2009 foreclosure-prevention initiative towards their restructuring obligations for the new settlement, according to people familiar with the matter. The existing $30bn initiative, the Home Affordable Modification Programme (Hamp), provides taxpayer funds as an incentive to banks, third party investors and troubled borrowers to arrange loan modifications.

Neil Barofsky, a Democrat and the former special inspector-general of the troubled asset relief programme, described this clause as “scandalous”.

“It turns the notion that this is about justice and accountability on its head,” Mr Barofsky said.

BofA, for instance, will be able to use future modifications made under Hamp towards the $7.6bn in borrower assistance it is committed to provide under the settlement. Under Hamp, the bank will receive payments for averting borrower default and reimbursement from taxpayers for principal written down..

….people familiar with the matter told the FT that state officials involved in the talks had had misgivings about allowing the banks to use taxpayer-financed loan restructurings as part of the settlement. State negotiators wanted the banks to modify mortgages using Hamp standards, which are seen as borrower-friendly, but did not want the banks to receive settlement credit when modifying Hamp loans. Federal officials pushed for it anyway, these people said.

Alys Cohen, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said that if the arrangement increased help, then it was ”good for homeowners in the long term”.

“But in the end the servicers are not really being punished. They’re getting off easy,” Ms Cohen said.


Although, as we all know, there is no final agreement, this appears to be the section of a January 19 term sheet published by the Wall Street Journal that sets forth how HAMP mods were to have been handled as of that date:

SEE LINK---IS THERE ANYTHING LARGER THAN A CLUSTERFUCK?

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Response to Demeter (Reply #77)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 03:34 PM

80. Congress.

A Congress of clusterfucks.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 01:16 PM

72. Foreclosure abuse rampant across U.S., experts say

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/17/us-usa-housing-defaults-idUSTRE81G04M20120217

A report this week showing rampant foreclosure abuse in San Francisco reflects similar levels of lender fraud and faulty documentation across the United States, say experts and officials who have done studies in other parts of the country. The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city on Wednesday.

"The audit in San Francisco is the most detailed and comprehensive that has been done - but it's likely those numbers are comparable nationally," Diane Thompson, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told Reuters.

Across the country from California, Jeff Thingpen, register of deeds in Guildford County, North Carolina, examined 6,100 mortgage documents last year, from loan notes to foreclosure paperwork.

Of those documents, created between January 2008 and December 2010, 4,500 showed signature irregularities, a telltale sign of the illegal practice of "robosigning" documents.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:30 AM

8. Mind-Boggling Nonsense from John Cochrane

http://economicsofcontempt.blogspot.com/2010/02/mind-boggling-nonsense-from-john.html

After reading John Taylor and John Cochrane's analyses Lehman's failure, I'm beginning to understand how it's possible for economists to say that "we're still arguing about the causes of the Great Depression." It's generally hard to come to an agreement when one side simply lies, or refuses to acknowledge undeniable facts. I've already dealt with John Taylor's ridiculous claim about Lehman's derivatives counterparties. John Cochrane's "analysis" of Lehman's failure is equally fictitious:

Why would Lehman's failure cause a panic? Why, after seeing Lehman go to bankruptcy court, would people stop lending to, say, Citigroup, and demand much higher prices for its credit default swaps (insurance against Citi failure)? Nothing technical in the Lehman bankruptcy caused a panic. The usual "systemic" bankruptcy stories did not happen: We did not see a secondary wave of creditors forced into bankruptcy by Lehman losses. Most of Lehman's operations were up and running in days under new owners. Lehman credit default swaps (CDSs) paid off. Sure, there was some mess — repos in the United Kingdom got stuck in bankruptcy court, some money market funds "broke the buck" and had to borrow from the Fed — but those issues are easy to fix and they do not explain why Lehman's failure would cause a widespread panic. What is more, Lehman's failure did not carry any news about asset values; it was obvious already that those assets were not worth much and illiquid anyway.


This is just mind-boggling nonsense. It's genuinely frightening that a prominent professor of finance can be so utterly clueless about modern financial markets.

Let's start with Cochrane's claim that there wasn't a secondary wave of failures after Lehman's bankrtupcy. First of all, that's not even true. Plenty of hedge funds failed as a result of Lehman-related losses. However, since they were generally structured as LLPs, they went into pre-defined liquidation procedures rather than filing for bankruptcy. But that doesn't make those failures any less real. Second, Cochrane, like Taylor, inexplicably ignores the fact that Lehman's biggest counterparties — the other dealers — were virtually all bailed out by their governments.

Next, let's take Cochrane's bizarre attempt to minimize the importance of the obvious knock-on effects from Lehman's bankruptcy — namely, the problems at Lehman's European broker-dealer (LBIE), and the run on the money markets. Contrary to Cochrane's assertion, it wasn't just "repos in the United Kingdom" that were affected by LBIE's failure. In addition to the 140,000 failed trades, over $40bn in prime brokerage client funds and assets were frozen by LBIE's administrator. That's $40bn that was suddenly and unexpectedly unavailable to hedge funds — and when you consider that hedge funds use their prime brokers to lever up, the end result is that LBIE's failure caused hundreds of billions in liquidity to suddenly vanish from the markets. It also caused other hedge funds to pull their money out of their prime brokerage accounts at Morgan Stanley and Goldman (the two biggest prime brokers), since they were now scared that they wouldn't be able to access their funds if either of the prime brokers failed. Investment banks used clients' prime brokerage accounts for funding (which is why prime brokerage accounts are called "free credits"), so when hedge funds started pulling their prime brokerage accounts, that was the equivalent of having counterparties stop lending to them.

And there was absolutely nothing minor about the run on the money markets. One of the biggest money market mutual funds, the Reserve Primary Fund, "broke the buck" because of losses on Lehman commercial paper. This caused a massive run on money market mutual funds, with redemptions totaling over $100bn. So the run on the money markets was directly attributable to Lehman's bankruptcy. As to why the run on the money markets would cause people to stop lending to banks like Citigroup, there are several reasons. The biggest reason the run on the money markets affected Citi's (and other banks') wholesale funding was that to meet the massive redemptions, money funds all drew down their backup lines of credit with banks at the same time. Institutional investors knew this, and started to pull back aggressively from the big banks in the wholesale funding markets. And then there were all the asset firesales by money funds...

(Cochrane's claim that these two problems were "easy to fix" further demonstrates how detached from reality he is. The vast majority of the prime brokerage client assets frozen by LBIE's administrator still haven't been returned yet. Not only was that problem not "easy to fix," but it still hasn't been fixed yet! Also, the money market funds never borrowed from the Fed. I know the structures of the Fed's various financing facilities are a bit complicated, but Cochrane is supposed to be a professor of finance at a prestigious business school, is he not?)

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! SEE LINK

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:49 AM

9. Noam Chomsky: America's Decline Is Real -- and Increasingly Self-Inflicted

http://www.alternet.org/world/154133/noam_chomsky%3a_america%27s_decline_is_real_--_and_increasingly_self-inflicted%20?page=entire

Noam Chomsky on how America "lost" the world....


At the moment, we are failing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s decision to launch the most destructive and murderous act of aggression of the post-World War II period: the invasion of South Vietnam, later all of Indochina, leaving millions dead and four countries devastated, with casualties still mounting from the long-term effects of drenching South Vietnam with some of the most lethal carcinogens known, undertaken to destroy ground cover and food crops.

The prime target was South Vietnam. The aggression later spread to the North, then to the remote peasant society of northern Laos, and finally to rural Cambodia, which was bombed at the stunning level of all allied air operations in the Pacific region during World War II, including the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this, Henry Kissinger’s orders were being carried out -- “anything that flies on anything that moves” -- a call for genocide that is rare in the historical record. Little of this is remembered. Most was scarcely known beyond narrow circles of activists. When the invasion was launched 50 years ago, concern was so slight that there were few efforts at justification, hardly more than the president’s impassioned plea that “we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence” and if the conspiracy achieves its ends in Laos and Vietnam, “the gates will be opened wide.” Elsewhere, he warned further that “the complacent, the self-indulgent, the soft societies are about to be swept away with the debris of history only the strong... can possibly survive,” in this case reflecting on the failure of U.S. aggression and terror to crush Cuban independence.

By the time protest began to mount half a dozen years later, the respected Vietnam specialist and military historian Bernard Fall, no dove, forecast that “Vietnam as a cultural and historic entity… is threatened with extinction......the countryside literally dies under the blows of the largest military machine ever unleashed on an area of this size.” He was again referring to South Vietnam. When the war ended eight horrendous years later, mainstream opinion was divided between those who described the war as a “noble cause” that could have been won with more dedication, and at the opposite extreme, the critics, to whom it was “a mistake” that proved too costly. By 1977, President Carter aroused little notice when he explained that we owe Vietnam “no debt” because “the destruction was mutual.”

There are important lessons in all this for today, even apart from another reminder that only the weak and defeated are called to account for their crimes. One lesson is that to understand what is happening we should attend not only to critical events of the real world, often dismissed from history, but also to what leaders and elite opinion believe, however tinged with fantasy. Another lesson is that alongside the flights of fancy concocted to terrify and mobilize the public (and perhaps believed by some who are trapped in their own rhetoric), there is also geostrategic planning based on principles that are rational and stable over long periods because they are rooted in stable institutions and their concerns. That is true in the case of Vietnam as well. I will return to that, only stressing here that the persistent factors in state action are generally well concealed.

MUCH MORE AT LINK...HE'S WORDY, BUT IT'S USUALLY WORTH THE READ

...American decline is real, though the apocalyptic vision reflects the familiar ruling class perception that anything short of total control amounts to total disaster. Despite the piteous laments, the U.S. remains the world dominant power by a large margin, and no competitor is in sight, not only in the military dimension, in which of course the U.S. reigns supreme...Planners were naturally well aware of the enormous disparity of power (AFTER WWII), and intended to keep it that way...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:51 AM

10. AS FOR THE "DECLINE BY DESIGN" PART

By 1970, U.S. share of world wealth had dropped to about 25%, roughly where it remains, still colossal but far below the end of World War II. By then, the industrial world was “tripolar”: US-based North America, German-based Europe, and East Asia, already the most dynamic industrial region, at the time Japan-based, but by now including the former Japanese colonies Taiwan and South Korea, and more recently China.

At about that time, American decline entered a new phase: conscious self-inflicted decline. From the 1970s, there has been a significant change in the U.S. economy, as planners, private and state, shifted it toward financialization and the offshoring of production, driven in part by the declining rate of profit in domestic manufacturing. These decisions initiated a vicious cycle in which wealth became highly concentrated (dramatically so in the top 0.1% of the population), yielding concentration of political power, hence legislation to carry the cycle further: taxation and other fiscal policies, deregulation, changes in the rules of corporate governance allowing huge gains for executives, and so on.

Meanwhile, for the majority, real wages largely stagnated, and people were able to get by only by sharply increased workloads (far beyond Europe), unsustainable debt, and repeated bubbles since the Reagan years, creating paper wealth that inevitably disappeared when they burst (and the perpetrators were bailed out by the taxpayer). In parallel, the political system has been increasingly shredded as both parties are driven deeper into corporate pockets with the escalating cost of elections, the Republicans to the level of farce, the Democrats (now largely the former “moderate Republicans”) not far behind.

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which has been the major source of reputable data on these developments for years, is entitled Failure by Design. The phrase “by design” is accurate. Other choices were certainly possible. And as the study points out, the “failure” is class-based. There is no failure for the designers. Far from it. Rather, the policies are a failure for the large majority, the 99% in the imagery of the Occupy movements -- and for the country, which has declined and will continue to do so under these policies.

HIS THESIS: HAVING CRUSHED MANY A NASCENT DEMOCRACY ABROAD, THE US THEN TURNED TO CRUSHING IT AT HOME....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:40 AM

46. ". . . the declining rate of profit in domestic manufacturing. . . ."

The elites had done well through the Golden Age and even through the Depression, but after WWII, the enormous increase in consumer product manufacturing, the rising power of unions, and post-war education benefits hugely benefited the middle class. It was that prosperity that fueled the various civil rights movement for blacks, for women, for the elderly, for the poor, for gays. Through the 50s and 60s there was an enormous push for legislation that would overturn the various forms of oppression that had protected the elites and inhibited the growth of a dominant middle/working class that posed a serious threat to the power of the elites.

Given the history of "The Family" as presented a couple years ago by Jeff Sharlet, I suspect now that the high water mark of the middle/working class may have been reached right around 1973, with the Roe v Wade decision, which dealt a massive blow to the social structure of the patriarchal elites. (And remember, I'm writing from the perspective of a radical marxist feminist, so the power of the patriarchy is the "root" of all evil.) Prior to that, the road looked straight ahead -- there were a bunch of socialistic programs coming to fruition, everything from Head Start to the school lunch program to Medicare to Medicaid to Title IX to voting rights enforcement and so on.

But Roe was the catalyst for the rise of the right, because foundational to their ideology is the absolute hierarchical power of The Male, and Roe had sent a tremor of mortal fear through them.

Why do you think there are men on the right who actually advocate for the rights of rapists? It's not just because these nutjobs are crazy -- they believe in a doctrine that is so skewed to the patriarchy's favor that they cannot allow ANY woman to have authority over ANY man.

The elites were pretty much powerless to stop the economic rise of the working classes who were protected by increasing union membership and increasing social power through legislation like OSHA. All of this was chipping away at the ability of the elites to maintain economic control. Never mind that their short-sightedness and greed eventually turned the country off the road to success and onto the path to revolution.

We are a long way from revolution. The peasants of France and Russia and even Cuba put up with much more oppression before they chose to fight to the death than we are today. We are still too fat and comfortable, and therefore even the more revolution-minded of us continue to enable our own economic enslavement.

The BF and I were talking about it -- again -- over supper last night and while he is sympathetic to The Cause, he doesn't understand how extremely nuanced it is. There are no easy answers, there are no quick fixes.

It will take, I suspect, a young and charismatic leader to come along at just the right time and right place.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #46)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:48 AM

49. Been there, Done that, Got the Shaft

No, it's going to take a generation of cranky old broads.

We will outnumber every other demographic, if we don't already.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #49)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:29 AM

57. Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo .......

Never underestimate the power of cranky old boards. They can even make dictators piss in their boots....

<snip>
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, is a unique organization of Argentine women who have become human rights activists in order to achieve a common goal. For over three decades, the Mothers have fought for the right to re-unite with their abducted children.

In protests, they wear white head scarves with their children's names embroidered, to symbolize the blankets of the lost children. The name of the organization comes from the Plaza de Mayo in central Buenos Aires, where the bereaved mothers and grandmothers first gathered. They have continued to convene there every Thursday afternoon for a decade.

The Mothers' association was formed by women who had met each other in the course of trying to find their missing sons and daughters, who were abducted by agents of the Argentine government during the years known as the Dirty War (1976–1983), many of whom were then tortured and killed. The 14 founders of the association, Azucena Villaflor de De Vincenti, Berta Braverman, Haydée García Buelas, María Adela Gard de Antokoletz, Julia Gard, María Mercedes Gard and Cándida Gard (4 sisters), Delicia González, Pepa Noia, Mirta Baravalle, Kety Neuhaus, Raquel Arcushin, Sra. De Caimi, started the demonstrations on the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace, on 30 April 1977. Villaflor had been searching for one of her sons and her daughter-in-law for six months. She was taken to the ESMA concentration camp on 8 December 1978.

The military has admitted that over 9,000 of those kidnapped are still unaccounted for, but the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo say that the number is closer to 30,000 - a predicted 500 among this figure are the children born in concentration camps to pregnant 'disappeared' women and given to military related families, whilst the remaining number are presumed dead. The numbers are hard to determine due to the secrecy surrounding the abductions. Three of the founders of the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have also "disappeared". After the fall of the military regime, a civilian government commission put the number of disappeared at close to 11,000.

more.......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_of_the_Plaza_de_Mayo

Imagine looking out your window every Thursday afternoon, at first a few white scarves, then over time it grows into a sea of white. For YEARS


Edited to add...With all this money going to homeland security and fema camps paired with the increasingly repressive free speech laws, illegal and indefinant detainment and lassiez fare attitude toward torture, one would have to be a total idiot to think that would not happen in this country. Again, more paralles between this country and Argentina.



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Response to AnneD (Reply #57)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:33 AM

60. Yes, but consider how far away from that situation we are

We haven't had a dirty war yet. We haven't had a generation disappeared. That's why i'm saying we are nowhere near revolution. Not. Even. Close.

There will either be a peaceful revolution through the efforts of our as yet unknown charismatic leader, or there will be a bloody revolution, followed by whatever. But it's not in the immediate future. At least a generation away.


At least.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #60)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 12:47 PM

70. We have had several generations "disappeared"

The first was the Vietnam generation. The war dead, the wounded, the PSTD, the addicts, the lost and homeless. The "lucky" lost landed in Canada or other foreign lands and stayed there.

The second was the Drug generation. It started as an adjunct of the Vietnam War, or a parallel development. but now it's into its 3 or 4th generation, all by itself. And despite the hysteria on both sides of the issue, having people in alternate realities of their own choosing is not a benefit to them or the nation. This generated

the Jailed Generation, now in its second or maybe third generation.

Now we have

The Uneducated Generation. Partially due to religious meddling, partly due to budget cuts, partly due to misguided punitive measures against teacher unions, and

The Unemployed Generation.

I'm sure there are other, smaller sheddings of population. Thank goddess that at least the Death by Illegal Abortion Generation has shrunk.


Edit: I forgot to mention the Poverty Generation, which LBJ was making such progress at elevating...I am guilty of class bias, seeing as too much of the above were aspiring, working or middle class populations. But the poor we will always have with us, under these circumstances...

and our current Veteran Generation, suffering all the afflictions of previous Veteran Generations, and none of the benefits, not even a parade....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #70)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 04:35 PM

82. Not the same. Horrible, yes, but not the same thing

None of these "wars" target individual internal enemies. They target classes of internal enemies and they target institutions, but they do not target individuals for disappearing.

If a son or daughter goes into the military and is killed in "the war," that is not the same as being disappeared. The erosion of the public education system, the inequities of drug crime sentencing, the dismantling of the manufacturing economy, all of these are open and transparent and explainable.

This is not the same as having an internal domestic secret police that comes in the night and disappears a member of your family, with no explanation, no answers. You do not know if they are dead or alive. You do not know why. There is no one to go to for answers. And those who ask too many questions disappear.

While we may not have a very robust investigative media, we do not have government policies that result in journalists being routinely exterminated. Yes, journalists get killed, but they do not get disappeared.

We do not yet have a government that is operating on principles of intimidation, fear, reprisal, and disappearances. Are we going in that direction? Yes, certainly, but we are not there yet. We do not have huge government orchestrated demonstrations in support of government actions. We do not yet have the wholesale extermination of protesters. Pepper spraying OWS participants, even shooting them with rubber bullets, is wrong and should be condemned loudly. But it is not the same as firing live rounds into a group of protesters and then officially cover it up for a geneeration, as was done with the Tlalteloco massacre in Mexico City in 1968.

In part, we have been acculturated to accept the mass incarcerations of the drug war, and we have a accepted the notion of a volunteer military with the attendant risks and anticipated benefits. Until we have a society that massive rebels against any of this to the point of eliciting sympathy and support from the general population, nothing is going to happen.

We saw that with Cindy Sheehan. If she was our "madre de la plaza de mayo," she did not attract sufficient support to grow her personal protest into a movement. Was she too vocal? Was she too extreme? Or did she not have sufficient fellow travelers?

that's why i said it's going to take a charismatic leader, someone whose presence and soul and bearing and story and whole package grab the attention and hold it without every letting go until the goal is achieved. The 2008 campaign gave us a taste of what kind of person I'm talking about. Obama had -- and totally wasted -- that gift. During that summer and faul, he could have changed the whole fucking world, but he chose for whatever reasons (probably selfish) not to. In doing so, I think he destroyed the gullibility of several generations, thus essentially ensuring the status quo march to the right.

The US is not a third world nation. if we have 20% unemployed and even another 10% under employed, we do not have rampant grinding poverty of the kind that generates revolution. We do not have -- yet -- the fear of extra-judicial incarceration. We do not have a military presence in our cities.

Are we number one any more? No, and we haven't been in many ways for a long time. And that's what, I think, fuels all this malarky about the demise of the US. We're not on top any more, but that doesn't mean we're on the bottom either. Are we pretty far down on some scales? Sure. Health care in this country is pathetic, because of the private insurers. But we do not have massive starvation. We do not have outbreaks of deadly epidemics in which hundreds of thousands die. Our cities are not overrun with crime, patrolled by armed paramilitary militias on APCs. We are not engaged in a deadly civil war.

Not yet.

What this means, then, is that like Scrooge, we still have a chance to avoid that nightmare future. Whether we'll experience a colelctive epiphany like ol' Ebeneezer remains to be seen.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #82)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:32 PM

85. TPTB Are Saving That Particular Atrocity for AFTER the Elections

All their ducks are in a row already, just need a trigger and Boom! Plaza de Mayo, American style.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #60)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 04:36 PM

83. As long as there are McDonalds, food stamps and food-pantries


When people have access to food, they can persevere thru a lot. However, once there is a big shortage of things to eat, people will get desperate.

Many people nowadays just hop in the car to go to McDonalds. What if food can't be delivered to fast-food restaurants? What if the pantries can't get donations of food? Some people will have the foresight to grow a garden, but many won't. Hungry people will do desperate things, as in looting, stealing, robbing.

I think the future depends of the availability of food for the masses of people. The lack of food could definitely bring on an earlier revolution.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:53 AM

11. Greece and the return of the economic 'death spiral'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/13/greece-return-economic-death-spiral?newsfeed=true

During the latter part of 2008, central bankers around the world worried secretly that the death spiral was approaching. The concern was that it was too late to stop economies crashing. In the event, concerted international action on both monetary and fiscal policy prevented collapse – although they did get pretty darn close to the precipice.

Interest rates were cut to zero. Banks and even car companies were rescued. Massive amounts of liquidity were made available. There were tax cuts, cash for clunkers and even fridges, along with schemes to help the young unemployed. Plus the collapse came very quickly.

In the UK, then Chancellor Alistair Darling had only a few hours notice that the Royal Bank of Scotland was about to fail. The fear was that cash machines around the world would close, banks would fold and stock markets would tank within hours. This was a once-in-100-year shock: in my view, without such unprecedented intervention, unemployment rates in the US and Europe could well have risen to over 24% – which is where they are already in Greece and Spain.

Stimulus worked, simple as that.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:48 AM

26. Scepticism at talk of Greek default


Senior officials said they were becoming increasingly convinced that three eurozone triple A countries were not bluffing in talks

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/FG6LAA/IIBQ0M/IEP5S/3054LM/TU7U9A/GX/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=16

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Response to Demeter (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:22 AM

37. Germany Seeks to Avoid Two-Step Vote on Greek Bailout Plan

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-16/germany-targets-approval-for-greek-bailout-plan-on-feb-20-lawmakers-say.html

Germany wants euro-area finance chiefs discussing the Greek crisis next week to avoid splitting consideration of a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) rescue and a bond swap of the nation’s debt, coalition lawmakers were told.

As long as Greece meets conditions for the aid, the finance ministers gathering in Brussels will probably approve the package along with the debt exchange, three German officials involved in a telephone briefing by German government officials said. A Finance Ministry spokesman declined to comment. Wrangling among euro-area finance ministers on a Feb. 15 conference call over how to reduce Greece’s debt load and tighten control of the aid raised the prospect of a two-step process, according to two people familiar with the talks. In that scenario, the ministers’ Feb. 20 gathering in Brussels would be limited to kicking off the bond exchange and deferring decision on the rest of the bailout funds. “We expect the Greeks to rise to their responsibilities,” German Deputy Finance Minister Steffen Kampeter told a group of lawyers in Hamburg yesterday. “This coming Monday, we will see whether Greece delivers or whether we will be forced to decide on another course of action, one that is not desired.”

As recriminations fly between Greece and its northern European creditors, the clock is ticking toward a March 20 bond redemption when Greece must pay 14.5 billion euros or trigger the first sovereign default in the euro’s 13-year history.

MUCH MORE AT LINK

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Response to Demeter (Reply #37)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:23 AM

38. German president resigns amid loan probe

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-president-resigns-amid-loan-probe-2012-02-17?siteid=YAHOOB

Wulff second to be forced out of ceremonial post in two years...Chancellor Angela Merkel faced political embarrassment Friday as her hand-picked choice for the largely ceremonial post of German president resigned amid an investigation that grew out of allegations surrounding an improper home loan.

Christian Wulff, 52, announced his resignation a day after prosecutors asked Germany’s parliament to lift his immunity. Merkel canceled a trip to Italy in which she planned to visit Mario Monti, the country’s premier.

Flanked by his wife Bettina as he delivered a brief, televised statement, Wulff said he had made mistakes but had acted lawfully. Wulff said events made it impossible for him to carry out his duties.

Later, Merkel announced that she had accepted Wulff’s resignation “with regret.”

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:26 AM

17. Germany and France Have a Lot of Nerve



When it comes to habitual defaulting...Default is actually quite “thinkable” and rarely as disastrous as the “solution” the Greeks are now receiving. As the nearby chart shows, default is hardly a foreign concept on the European continent.

Read more: Default Therapy http://dailyreckoning.com/default-therapy/#ixzz1mdp3rCiI




Greece will never agree to stay put inside its “Golden prison.” It will break out eventually…but probably not before the wardens at the ECB and IMF waste another hundred billion dollars reinforcing the prison’s locks and walls.

This latest Greek bailout will fail just as decisively as all the bailouts that have preceded it.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:30 AM

18. Where to Wait Out the Great Correction By Bill Bonner



...Empires come and go. And in coming and going, they seem to be symmetrical. The way up takes about as long as the way down. The Roman Empire took hundreds of years to reach its peak and hundreds of years to go away. The Third Reich was supposed to last for 1,000 years, too. Instead, it lasted 12, with about 8 years of expansion and 4 years of contraction.

The British Empire got underway with the conquest of Scotland and Ireland. One hundred years after the Battle of Culloden, which crushed the clans and sealed Scotland’s fate, the Brits ruled half the world. But 100 years later, their empire was mostly gone…with the US having taken away the imperial crown.

America’s empire could be said to have begun with the defeat of the South in the War Between the States. Or, perhaps with the invasion of the Philippines in 1899. It peaked in the early ’70s…when US wages reached a top. Or, maybe in the ’80s, when China began to compete with it and the US shifted from a creditor nation to a debtor. Now it is on the downward slope. In a few years, China will have the world’s biggest economy. A few years later, it will probably have the world’s dominant military force.

Read more: Where to Wait Out the Great Correction http://dailyreckoning.com/where-to-wait-out-the-great-correction/#ixzz1mdpsEJ8f

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:37 AM

19. UBS suspends traders in Libor probe

UBS has suspended some of its most senior traders in connection with an international probe into the possible manipulation of interbank borrowing rates, in the latest controversy to hit the Swiss bank since the financial crisis...Inquiry has widened in recent weeks, with more than a dozen staff fired, suspended or placed on leave at different banks

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/0QSDPP/EX1Y2V/GYN7Q/B5EQ0T/XHWH3X/JY/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=16

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Response to Demeter (Reply #19)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 02:40 PM

78. Bank tells regulators of Libor manipulation: WSJ

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bank-tells-regulators-of-libor-manipulation-wsj-2012-02-16

A major bank has admitted to regulators that traders and brokers manipulated the London interbank offered rate (Libor), used to set lending interest rates around the world, The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday. The cooperating bank, which unnamed sources identified as UBS AG, told Canadian investigators that those involved in the alleged scheme "were able to move" the yen Libor at times between 2007 and June 2010, the report said. No charges have been brought in the international probe into rate fixing, although some people have been fired or suspended by major U.S. and European banks and brokers, the report said.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:40 AM

20. ECB avoids forced losses on Greek bonds



European Central Bank gains controversial exemption so €40bn holding will not be subject to any legal action by Athens to impose losses

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/G8OTZZ/ORC1UH/1O51V/JE3L1D/QN2LH9/T3/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=17

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:41 AM

21. ‘Flight risk’ Kazakh tycoon faces jail


A Kazakh tycoon accused of siphoning billions of dollars from one of Kazakhstan’s largest banks was thought to be on the run after he failed to appear before a High Court judge

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/G8OTZZ/ORC1UH/1O51V/JE3L1D/FKLQSO/T3/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=17

AH, TO BE IN A COUNTRY WHERE LOOTING A BANK IS STILL CONSIDERED A PROSECUTABLE OFFENSE....

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:43 AM

23. China wants say in World Bank choice


Beijing seeks to challenge a tradition that the bank’s chief be a US citizen after it said that the next president should be selected in an open competition

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/G8OTZZ/ORC1UH/1O51V/JE3L1D/ORCUTP/T3/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=17

I'D RATHER THE WHOLE EDIFICE WERE TAKEN DOWN IN A CONTROLLED DEMOLITION...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:28 AM

39. Could the World Bank turn into an election-year fight?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/will-the-world-bank-turn-into-an-election-year-fight/2012/02/15/gIQA6un6FR_blog.html

Now that Robert Zoellick has announced he’ll step down as head of the World Bank when his term ends in June, the question is who will replace him? Historically, the top spot at the World Bank, which provides infrastructure loans to developing countries, has gone to an American. Recently, however, countries like China, India, and Brazil have been pushing to change that.

So will the Obama administration push for yet another American — rumored names include Hillary Clinton or Larry Summers — or open the process up? Nancy Birdsall wonders:

But then there is the political reality: can the Obama White House in an election year, facing a Congress suspicious of a globally honored president, eschew pushing through its own American candidate? … The election year timing puts the White House in an especially unenviable position. There is a risk that the World Bank could become a highly partisan, U.S. hot-button issue, as the UN has too often been.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #39)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:29 AM

40. Hillary Clinton Is Said to Rival Summers as Contender to Lead World Bank

HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THEM....GAH!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-16/summers-clinton-said-to-be-leading-contenders-for-world-bank.html

...“It is very important that we continue to have strong, effective leadership in this important institution,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in an e-mail yesterday, four hours after Zoellick, 58, announced he will leave at the end of his five-year term. The U.S. choice will have “the experience and requisite qualities to take this institution forward,” Geithner said.

While Summers has expressed interest in the position and has supporters inside the administration, the position would be Clinton’s if she sought it, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity about the private conversations.

Clinton, who said previously she doesn’t plan to remain in her post if President Barack Obama wins a second term, repeatedly has denied having an interest in the World Bank job. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland repeated those denials yesterday...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:46 AM

24. AIG buys back old mortgage securities


The US insurer has bought back some of the same bundled mortgage securities that it sold to the US government as part of its financial crisis bail-out

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/0QSDPP/EX1Y2V/GYN7Q/B5EQ0T/ORCRI8/JY/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=16

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Response to Demeter (Reply #24)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:46 AM

25. MetLife eager to use reserve capital


Shares hit a four-month high after the insurer says it is preparing to return capital or make acquisitions once Fed oversight ends

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/0QSDPP/EX1Y2V/GYN7Q/B5EQ0T/GDTD7T/JY/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=16

THIS MUST SIGNAL THE END OF HALF-TIME...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:55 AM

27. Over-regulated America (BADLY REGULATED IS MORE ACCURATE)

http://www.economist.com/node/21547789

The home of laissez-faire is being suffocated by excessive and badly written regulation
(SAY RATHER REGULATIONS WRITTEN FOR THE CRONY CAPITALIST'S PROTECTION)

...The problem is not the rules that are self-evidently absurd. It is the ones that sound reasonable on their own but impose a huge burden collectively. America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

Consider the Dodd-Frank law of 2010. Its aim was noble: to prevent another financial crisis. Its strategy was sensible, too: improve transparency, stop banks from taking excessive risks, prevent abusive financial practices and end “too big to fail” by authorising regulators to seize any big, tottering financial firm and wind it down. This newspaper supported these goals at the time, and we still do. But Dodd-Frank is far too complex, and becoming more so. At 848 pages, it is 23 times longer than Glass-Steagall, the reform that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929. Worse, every other page demands that regulators fill in further detail. Some of these clarifications are hundreds of pages long. Just one bit, the “Volcker rule”, which aims to curb risky proprietary trading by banks, includes 383 questions that break down into 1,420 subquestions...Hardly anyone has actually read Dodd-Frank, besides the Chinese government and our correspondent in New York (see article). Those who have struggle to make sense of it, not least because so much detail has yet to be filled in: of the 400 rules it mandates, only 93 have been finalised. So financial firms in America must prepare to comply with a law that is partly unintelligible and partly unknowable.

Dodd-Frank is part of a wider trend. Governments of both parties keep adding stacks of rules, few of which are ever rescinded. Republicans write rules to thwart terrorists, which make flying in America an ordeal and prompt legions of brainy migrants to move to Canada instead. Democrats write rules to expand the welfare state. Barack Obama’s health-care reform of 2010 had many virtues, especially its attempt to make health insurance universal. But it does little to reduce the system’s staggering and increasing complexity. Every hour spent treating a patient in America creates at least 30 minutes of paperwork, and often a whole hour. Next year the number of federally mandated categories of illness and injury for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will rise from 18,000 to 140,000. There are nine codes relating to injuries caused by parrots, and three relating to burns from flaming water-skis.

Two forces make American laws too complex. One is hubris. Many lawmakers seem to believe that they can lay down rules to govern every eventuality. Examples range from the merely annoying (eg, a proposed code for nurseries in Colorado that specifies how many crayons each box must contain) to the delusional (eg, the conceit of Dodd-Frank that you can anticipate and ban every nasty trick financiers will dream up in the future). Far from preventing abuses, complexity creates loopholes that the shrewd can abuse with impunity...The other force that makes American laws complex is lobbying. The government’s drive to micromanage so many activities creates a huge incentive for interest groups to push for special favours. When a bill is hundreds of pages long, it is not hard for congressmen to slip in clauses that benefit their chums and campaign donors. The health-care bill included tons of favours for the pushy. Congress’s last, failed attempt to regulate greenhouse gases was even worse...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #27)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:58 AM

29. U.S. House Panel Approves Measure Limiting Swaps ‘Push-Out’

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-16/u-s-house-panel-approves-measure-limiting-swaps-push-out-.html

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee approved legislation that would let banks keep commodity and equity derivatives in federally-insured units by removing part of the Dodd-Frank Act’s so-called push-out rule.

The bipartisan measure, approved today by voice vote, calls for altering the 2010 law’s requirement that banks with access to deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve’s discount window move some derivatives trades to separate affiliates.

Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat who led the Senate Agriculture Committee during talks leading to the regulatory overhaul, sponsored the original provision as a way to limit taxpayer support for risky derivatives trades. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Sheila Bair, the former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman, opposed the provision and argued that it would drive derivatives trading to less-regulated entities.

“I never myself thought it made a great deal of sense,” Representative Barney Frank said today of the original measure. “Passing this bill particularly as amended will not in any way, shape or form reduce sensible regulation of derivatives,” said Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who co-wrote the law that bears his name...

I'M AFRAID WE WILL FIND OUT WHO IS CORRECT IN THE MOST DAMAGING AND DESTRUCTIVE WAY IMAGINABLE, AND VERY SOON...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:57 AM

28. friday morning!

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Response to xchrom (Reply #28)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:00 AM

30. And not a moment too soon!

I may be AWOL early this evening...but the Weekend will Start Eventually. Be of good cheer!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #30)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:04 AM

33. Good Cheer all around

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:03 AM

32. How 3 Myths Drive Europe’s Response to Debt Crisis: Harald Uhlig

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-17/how-3-myths-drive-europe-s-response-to-debt-crisis-harald-uhlig.html

In many ways, things in Europe look better than they did just a month or two ago. The European Central Bank is providing banks with almost unlimited cash to buy their governments’ bonds. Yields on Italian debt have declined.

This breather is a perfect opportunity to examine some pernicious -- and widely circulated -- myths that have emerged from the crisis and could still do much harm.

Myth No. 1: Italy’s interest burden was unmanageable.

Let’s do some math. On Nov. 25, the yield on 10-year Italian debt was 7.2 percent; it’s around 5.7 percent now. Suppose Italy had to pay that difference of 1.5 percentage points on debt it issues over the next two years that probably amounts to less than half of gross domestic product. That payment would be an additional interest burden of less than 1 percent of GDP, in a country where the government share accounts for half of output.

In December, the Bank for International Settlements conducted a more detailed calculation than mine and estimated that the interest burden would be about 2 percent of GDP; still less than 5 percent of total government spending.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:04 AM

34. Regulator targets credit reporting firms and debt collectors

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-consumers-credit-reporting-20120217,0,3410333.story

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed to subject the companies to federal oversight for the first time as part of its broad authority to regulate firms outside the banking system...proposing tough new oversight on two arcane financial groups that affect nearly all consumers.

...By sending examiners to review their operations on a regular basis, the bureau hopes to spot problems before they arise at companies that book-end the consumer financial experience — firms that help determine who gets credit in the first place and those that pursue people unable to pay their bills...The proposed rule, which is expected to be enacted in the next few months, was Cordray's first major move since being installed by President Obama last month in a controversial recess appointment.

Debt collection has been second only to identity theft in consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in recent years. The bureau estimated that 30 million Americans have debts in the collection process.

LET'S HOPE THAT SOME OF THE DEPARTMENT GETS AROUND TO INVESTIGATING THOSE COMPLAINTS, TOO!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:09 AM

35. Preparing for Alzheimer's (IN YOUR CLIENTÈLE)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/16/advisers-alzheimers-idUSL2E8D8H9720120216

Alzheimer's disease, an incurable, progressive form of dementia... presents a legal and moral morass for registered investment advisers. Once a client's mental capacity is diminished, advisers may find it impossible to fulfill their legal obligations. Hollie Mason, associate counsel at TD Ameritrade, warned that advisers can be held liable for trading losses if a client was incapacitated at the time the investments were made, even if disclosure agreements were signed. What's more, part of being a fiduciary means providing full and fair disclosure of all material facts . But if a client requests the same financial statement three times in the same month because she cannot remember receiving earlier copies, it might not even be possible to provide full and fair disclosure to that client, Mason said.

Such risks can be reduced -- but not completely avoided -- with some forethought. Durable power of attorney can be set up during the estate planning process, for starters. Advisers can also ask clients to sign disclosure documents that allow them to contact someone on the clients behalf in case of an emergency. That can cut the risk of running afoul of confidentiality and privacy policies for an adviser seeking help for a client whose mental capacity has diminished.

Around 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number could balloon to 16 million by 2050, as the population ages and lifespans increase, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The group said one in eight people over the age of 65 and nearly half of those over 85 are currently affected.

The financial costs of Alzheimer's are significant.

Fidelity Investments estimated in 2009 that a couple retiring at age 65 needed about $240,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement. But that figure would more than double to about $495,000 if one spouse developed Alzheimer's...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:14 AM

36. Oil Trades Near Six-Week High

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-17/oil-trades-near-six-week-high-on-u-s-economy-optimism-over-greek-aid.html

Oil rose for a third day as signs of an improving U.S. economy and progress on a bailout for Greece bolstered the outlook for fuel demand. Futures increased as much as 0.6 percent and are poised for the biggest weekly gain this year after U.S. jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since 2008. European governments are considering lower interest rates on emergency loans to Greece and using European Central Bank contributions to plug a financing gap for the second bailout, two people familiar with the discussions said. “For the next few months, the demand side for the oil market should be getting better,” said Tetsu Emori, a Tokyo- based commodity fund manager at Astmax Ltd. who predicts oil will reach $145 a barrel in New York and Brent crude will climb to $155 in London by the end of the year. “Oil demand in Europe is not that strong due to uncertainty over Greece. After the resolution of the issues, the economic situation of developed countries will be in better shape,” said Emori, who helps manage $390 million at Astmax.

Crude for March delivery rose as much as 64 cents to $102.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $102.84 at 4:01 p.m. Singapore time. Prices yesterday rose 51 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $102.31, the highest close since Jan. 4. They are up 4.2 percent this week, the most since the period ended Dec. 23, and have gained 19 percent from a year ago. Brent oil for April settlement rose 25 cents to $120.36 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract yesterday jumped $1.18, or 1 percent, to $120.11 a barrel, the highest close in eight months. The premium to West Texas Intermediate for the same month was at $17.38, compared with a record $27.88 on Oct. 14. Crude in New York has technical resistance along the upper Bollinger Band on the daily chart, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This indicator is around $102.82 a barrel today. Sell orders tend to be clustered near chart-resistance levels. Oil may rise next week on concern that shipments will be disrupted by tension between Iran and the West over the country’s nuclear program, a Bloomberg News survey showed. Fifteen of 37 analysts, or 41 percent, forecast oil will climb through Feb. 24. Twelve respondents, or 32 percent, predicted prices will decline and 10 estimated there will be little change. “The main driver of the market is Brent, which potentially has more lift to the upside due to supply-side risks,” said Emori. Daily volumes in options granting the right to buy Brent for more than the current market price have risen above 25,000 on four days during the past two weeks in New York, signaling an increase in bets on a possible price rally.

Iran said Feb. 15 it was cutting crude shipments to France and the Netherlands, and had loaded locally built fuel plates into its nuclear research reactor in Tehran, according to reports by the state-run Mehr news agency and Press TV. The EU decided last month to halt purchases from Iran starting July 1 in an attempt to halt its nuclear program. Iran will increase the volume of oil it ships to China “soon,” state-run Mehr news agency reported yesterday, citing an unidentified official at National Iranian Oil Co...Oil prices are rising on demand from Asian countries, including China, the world’s second biggest crude consumer, according to HSBC Holdings Plc. “Most blame geopolitics for the latest spike, and we don’t quibble with that,” Frederic Neumann, co-head for Asian economic research at the bank in Hong Kong, said in a report today. “But fundamentally, Asia’s huge appetite for crude is providing the backdrop.” China’s crude imports increased 7.4 percent from a year ago to 23.41 million metric tons in January, a record high, according to preliminary data from Beijing-based General Administration of Customs on Feb. 10. Final figures are scheduled to be released on Feb. 21. “As prices continue to climb, a number of economies, such as India, Korea and Thailand, could feel the pinch,” Neumann said. “While waiting out this Greece thing, keep an eye on oil.”

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. plans to re-open the Damman oilfield, the company’s oldest, and produce there for the first time in 30 years in response to “tight market conditions,” the Economist Intelligence Unit reported yesterday. Officials at Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, didn’t answer phone calls seeking comment.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #36)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:33 AM

43. Oil Rise Imperils Budding Recovery

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577224932060341956.html?mod=dist_smartbrief

...the recovery remains too halting to easily absorb the shock of sharply costlier oil.

An oil spike would also complicate the job of the Federal Reserve. The central bank would have to balance any calls for more Fed action to stimulate the economy against rising inflation fears. Minutes of the Fed's last policy-setting meeting in January, released Wednesday, showed the central bank divided over whether to launch a new bond-buying program to support economic growth—but the bank kept the option open. In the past, the Fed has been willing to look past temporary spikes in inflation, but it isn't clear it would be willing to do so again....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #43)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:34 AM

44. Iran oil ministry denies state media reports on EU oil stop

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/15/us-iran-oil-europe-idUSTRE81E0QA20120215

Iran's Oil Ministry denied state media reports on the Islamic state stopping its crude exports to six European countries on Wednesday.

"We deny this report ... If such a decision is made, it will be announced by Iran's Supreme National Security Council," a spokesman for the ministry told Reuters.

Iran's English language Press TV had earlier said Tehran has stopped exporting oil to France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Netherlands and Spain.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:30 AM

41. Mardi Gras means fat business for Gulf Coast

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MARDI_GRAS_SMALL_TOWNS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-02-17-06-01-49

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (AP) -- Mardi Gras. It brings to mind beads, parties and fancy floats in New Orleans as people cram in all the fun they can before Lent begins.

In reality, Mardi Gras has long been celebrated in coastal towns from Texas to Florida. And it means big business.

"It is more of a regional thing, Mardi Gras is, from Texas down to Gasparilla (pirate festival) down in the Tampa area," said Stephen Toomey, whose family started a chain of Mobile, Ala.-based Mardi Gras party supply stores.

"It means a way of life for people who live in these communities, but the bottom line is that it creates a lot of jobs."

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:31 AM

42. U.S. Jan. CPI up 0.2% vs 0.3% expected (up 2.3% year-over-year)

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:35 AM

45. Nearly half of private workforce employed by big companies

http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/17/10427389-nearly-half-of-private-workforce-employed-by-big-companies

&width=600

Big companies are also the big heavyweights when it comes to employment, according to new data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About 46 percent of Americans who work for a private company are employed by a firm with 500 or more employees, according to the most recent BLS data from March of 2011. That translates into approximately 50 million workers, the BLS said.

About 28 percent, or 30.4 million Americans, are working for a company with 49 employees or less, while about 26 percent, or 28.3 million, are working for a company with 50 to 499 employees.

The big employers also have seen the biggest growth in employment over the past two decades, according to the BLS.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #45)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:45 AM

48. Because Small Business Has Been Garroted by Policy for Past Umpteen Years

and the economy (or lack thereof) has killed it.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #48)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:48 AM

50. indeed. and i think that has made our workers more susceptible to economic upheaval.

diversity is healthy in the workforce.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:41 AM

47. How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

Every time you go shopping, you share intimate details about your consumption patterns with retailers. And many of those retailers are studying those details to figure out what you like, what you need, and which coupons are most likely to make you happy. Target, for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers...Charles Duhigg outlines in the New York Times how Target tries to hook parents-to-be at that crucial moment before they turn into rampant — and loyal — buyers of all things pastel, plastic, and miniature. He talked to Target statistician Andrew Pole — before Target freaked out and cut off all communications — about the clues to a customer’s impending bundle of joy. Target assigns every customer a Guest ID number, tied to their credit card, name, or email address that becomes a bucket that stores a history of everything they’ve bought and any demographic information Target has collected from them or bought from other sources. Using that, Pole looked at historical buying data for all the ladies who had signed up for Target baby registries in the past...

So Target started sending coupons for baby items to customers according to their pregnancy scores. Duhigg shares an anecdote — so good that it sounds made up — that conveys how eerily accurate the targeting is. An angry man went into a Target outside of Minneapolis, demanding to talk to a manager:

“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”

The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.

(Nice customer service, Target.)

On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

What Target discovered fairly quickly is that it creeped people out that the company knew about their pregnancies in advance.

“If we send someone a catalog and say, ‘Congratulations on your first child!’ and they’ve never told us they’re pregnant, that’s going to make some people uncomfortable,” Pole told me. “We are very conservative about compliance with all privacy laws. But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy.”

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:50 AM

51. Reality Calls

See you somewhat later tonight!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #51)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:59 AM

53. bye Miss Demeter -- have a good day!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #51)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 12:06 PM

67. Reality's not all it's cracked up to be.

I'm headed to the bar for lunch, and alternative reality!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:53 AM

52. Economy showing feeble signs of revival {japan}

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120217a3.html

The economy is "picking up" along with private consumption and public spending, the government repeated Thursday in its monthly report on the state of the economy.

In its February report, the Cabinet Office reiterated that production is recovering slowly from the slowdown caused by Thailand's floods and that exports are still weakening as global economic prospects remain gloomy because of the eurozone debt crisis.

The report follow's Monday's dismal report on gross domestic product, which fell at a real annualized rate of 2.3 percent in the final quarter of 2011, exceeding market forecasts, and the Bank of Japan's announcement Tuesday that additional monetary easing was in the works to battle persistent deflation.

"The Japanese economy is still picking up slowly, while difficulties continue to prevail" from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Cabinet Office said, repeating the main assessment for the fourth consecutive month.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:01 AM

54. Greece says it has cleared bailout hurdles

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/02/2012215201839789505.html

Greek party leaders have met the final two demands set by the country's international lenders to seal a bailout, according to Evangelos Venizelos, the country's finance minister.

Venizelos told reporters late on Wednesday that the cabinet had decided how to plug a 325-million euro ($422m) gap in a 3.3-billion euro ($4.3bn) budget cuts package which the EU and IMF are demanding in return for the 130-billion euro ($169bn) rescue.

Leaders of both parties Lucas Papademos' coalition government had given written undertakings to implement the austerity measures, which have provoked strikes, protests and riots in Greece, Venizelos said.

Eurozone finance ministers, collectively known as the Eurogroup, had demanded both issues be settled before making a final decision on the bailout, Greece's second since 2010.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #54)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:29 AM

58. .

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:19 AM

55. Central Bank reports rise in home mortgages in trouble {ireland}

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0217/breaking25.html

Some 100,700 of the country's 770,000 residential mortgages are in arrears or have been restructured, new data from the Central Bank showed today.

Over 9 per cent of home loans had fallen behind by 90 days or more at the end of December, which accounts for 70,911 mortgages. The numbers of homes in arrears is up by almost 8,000 compared to the end of September last year.

The figures show that 74,379 residential mortgage accounts had been restructured compared to 69,735 at the end of September.

More than 36,797 householders are keeping up with the restructured arrangements, but 37,582 are experiencing some form of arrears.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:32 AM

59. Goldman Sachs IT analyst 'caught up in major investigation'

http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/it-business/3338135/goldman-sachs-it-analyst-caught-up-in-major-investigation/

Henry King, a high profile IT analyst at Goldman Sachs, is reportedly under investigation for leaking insider trading information.

US authorities, thought to include the FBI, are said to be investigating allegations that King passed on to hedge funds a raft of insider information pertaining to technology companies.

King, who was a senior technology analyst at the bank in Hong Kong, is reported to have advised Goldman Sachs clients on shares in IT firms including Apple, HP and Lenovo. The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news, said King typically provided details on the companies' component supply chains and manufacturing activities in Asia as a measurement of demand levels in the US.

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Response to TalkingDog (Reply #59)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 10:01 AM

63. This would explain the HP tablet fiasco 7 or 8 months ago.

Way more made than the real demand would support.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:03 AM

66. Gold Bulls Expand as Paulson Says Buy

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-17/gold-traders-get-more-bullish-as-billionaire-paulson-says-buy-commodities.html

Gold traders are getting more bullish after billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson told investors it’s time to buy the metal as protection against inflation caused by government spending.

Twelve of 22 surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to gain next week and five were neutral. Paulson & Co. is already the biggest investor in the SPDR Gold Trust, the largest exchange- traded product backed by bullion, with a stake valued at $2.9 billion, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Feb. 14 showed. Investors have 2,389.7 metric tons in ETPs, within 0.2 percent of the record reached in December and more than all but four central banks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Speculators in U.S. gold futures are now their most bullish since September after the Bank of England and Bank of Japan said they will buy more assets and the Federal Reserve said it was considering purchasing more bonds. Central banks are also expanding their bullion reserves, adding 439.7 tons last year, the most in almost five decades. They may buy a similar amount in 2012, the London-based World Gold Council said yesterday.

“The appalling state of fiscal finances of most industrial nations does lead to concerns about the possibility of inflation,” said Mark O’Byrne, executive director of Dublin- based GoldCore Ltd., a brokerage that sells everything from quarter-ounce British Sovereigns to 400-ounce bars. “Gold is a crucial diversification given the various risks out there.”

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 12:32 PM

68. The Independent Special report: The hungry generation

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/special-report-the-hungry-generation-6917533.html

Over the past five years the price of food has soared across the globe, thanks to extreme weather conditions, diverting farmland to grow biofuels, speculative trading of food commodities and the global financial crisis. The poor, who spend the bulk of their income on food, are hit hardest.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 02:53 PM

79. MICHAEL HUDSON ON GREECE AND EUROZONE

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:06 PM

84. Just because...



hamerfan

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #84)


Response to Hotler (Reply #87)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 10:39 PM

88. If you have no hope

and see no future, please consider getting some help. Depression can magnify situations and make it difficult to cope. It can also make you lash out at others, as you've done in this post. I hope you'll take care of yourself.

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Response to Lisa D (Reply #88)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 04:23 AM

89. Hi Hotler!

Good to see you again.

hamerfan

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #89)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 08:56 AM

90. Hey Hotler!!

The thought police paid you a compliment in a back handed fashion. Welcome home.

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