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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 14,945

Journal Archives

Obama Must Choose on Housing: A Sweetheart Deal for the 1% or a Fair Deal for the 99%

Rumor has it that on Monday, after months of negotiation with big banks, the White House may announce a settlement that would let the banks off the hook for their role in the foreclosure crisis -- paying a tiny fraction of what's needed in exchange for blanket immunity from future lawsuits.

We hope these rumors are untrue.

President Obama has the ability to stop and change the direction of this sweetheart deal. He should reject any deal that benefits the one percent and lets the big banks get away with their crimes. Instead, the president should stand with the 99 percent and push for real accountability and a solution that will help millions of people in this country.

Here are the hard facts about the housing crisis we face:

3.5 million Americans are homeless.
18.5 million homes sit vacant.
Since 2007, more than 7.5 million homes have been foreclosed.


Exporting Fracking Gas to drive up Home Heating Cost

Americans need an Excise Tax on LNG exports to keep the American Economy Growing and viable

Here is a list of Fracking Gas / LNG Exports

The U.S. Energy Department has granted Jordan Cove Energy Partners a 30-year license to export liquefied natural gas to a short list of nations with which the United States has free trade agreements.

Read more: http://theworldlink.com/news/local/article_e2b86f69-f43f-5380-81a3-51131e0dda44.html#ixzz1kIHeWXoK

10% LNG Export by 2015?

Despite a well-supplied market, Henry Hub has experienced a rare excitement spiking to a 10-month high partly on the prospect of increasing LNG trade (See Chart) and export after the U.S. Energy Department authorized Cheniere Energy (Amex: LNG) to export LNG from its Sabine Pass terminal.

Chart Source: FT.comSabine Pass is the largest of nine import LNG facilities in the United States. Cheniere Energy plans to retrofit the import terminal for liquefaction capabilities. Construction is set to begin in 2012 and the production is expected to come online in 2015.

Morgan Stanley has estimated that North American LNG export capacity may exceed 6 bcf/d by 2015, or around 10% of the current US daily production of 60 bcf/d. Morgan Stanley said it expects the ramp-up of the LNG export to ease the current stranded price environment as both the US and Canada have LNG export projects in the works targeting LNG export by 2015.

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-07-10/markets/29989302_1_lng-import-terminals-lng-export-lng-trade#ixzz1kIKclJx4

Some Corporate propaganda here

Freeport LNG’s liquefaction facility and export terminal will take advantage of the huge natural gas reserves that have been unlocked in recent years to provide substantial job creation and economic stimulus to the U.S. at large. New natural gas production and export of LNG represents a long-term economic lift to the nation’s natural gas-producing regions and the overall US economy.


COOS BAY (AP) — A company that originally wanted to import liquefied natural gas from overseas through Coos Bay received a preliminary permit Wednesday allowing it to switch to exporting.


On December 7, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC) granted a 30-year license to Jordan Cove LNG (liquefied natural gas), located in Coos Bay, Oregon, to transform its existing import terminal license into an export terminal license. It would be the first LNG export terminal on the west coast of the U.S., with multiple LNG export terminals also in the negotiation phase, set to be located on the west coast in Kitimat, British Columbia.


Payday lenders can expect regulation soon

Payday lending is one of the few growth areas in financial services, but it's likely to come under pressure now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has set its sights on the industry.

In one of his first public appearances, the bureau's recently appointed director, Richard Cordray, chaired a hearing on payday lending in a packed ballroom in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday. Birmingham has so many payday lenders - 93 by one count - that the City Council last month imposed a six-month moratorium on new ones opening.

Also on Thursday, the bureau published guidelines it will use to examine whether payday lenders, both banks and nonbanks, are complying with consumer financial laws.

"Fundamentally, I believe regulation is coming," says FBR Capital Markets analyst Edward Mills, who attended the hearing. "The CFPB has clearly demonstrated that they mean business. They want to show they are doing things that are meaningful to the average consumer. I think they consider reforms to payday loans low-hanging fruit."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/21/BU9B1MS93V.DTL#ixzz1kCX8jzGI

Commentary: Getting 'those people' to straighten up and fly right

Terry Plumb | The Rock Hill Herald

The General Assembly is back in session, thank the Lord; now, we'll have some protection against Those People.

Take, for instance, the bill Republicans have introduced to require drug tests for anyone applying for unemployment checks. We certainly don't want to give taxpayers' hard-earned money to some druggie just because he's out of work.

Gov. Haley's all for this idea. Last year she pointed out that half of the applicants for jobs at the Savannah River Site were being disqualified because they failed a drug test.

Sure, she later had to retract her claim after learning that the actual rejection rate was only about one percent, but her main point was correct: You just can't be too careful with Those People.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/01/22/136029/commentary-getting-those-people.html#storylink=cpy

China No Match for Dutch Plants as Philips Shavers Come Home

Maaike Noordhuis

Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHIA) workers in the Dutch town of Drachten who expected to be fired were astonished when the site manager said the company was bringing production of its top-priced electric shavers home from China.

Rob Karsmakers, the factory manager who returned from four years working for Philips in Asia, told the baffled crowd that the consumer-electronics company would boost investment in Drachten, where it employs 2,000 staff.

“A product engineer in Shanghai now is just as expensive as in Drachten,” said Karsmakers, who has overseen the plant since 2009, in an interview. “But in China, the headcount turnover is high. That is not sustainable.” Philips, which also lights the Eiffel tower and the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, employs a total of 14,000 people in the Netherlands.

The nation, the fifth-largest economy in the euro region, has expanded its allure as a manufacturing powerhouse next to its dominant German neighbor. The Netherlands leads in areas as varied as paints and combat uniforms for the U.S. Army. Apple Inc. (AAPL) uses chips produced by machines from ASML Holding NV (ASML) for its iPhone and iPad, and TomTom NV (TOM2) help drivers navigate unfamiliar roads.


All I can say is they must have a vastly different Corp Tax structure if they are bring manufacturing plants home

Electric Cars No More Prone to Fires Than Gas-Powered Vehicles, U.S. Says

Angela Greiling Keane

U.S. regulators, who ended their investigation yesterday into the Chevrolet Volt, said electric- powered vehicles do not pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline cars.

“Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in an e-mailed statement.

The conclusion by NHTSA came two weeks after General Motors Co. (GM) told Volt owners to bring the vehicles to dealerships for repair.

The government started investigating the Volt after a side- impact crash test in May led to a fire three weeks later. During that test, the lithium-ion battery pack broke open and coolant leaked into the battery. When the car was physically rotated as part of the test, more coolant leaked into a circuit board, leading to a fire. NHTSA replicated the fire in November and started an official probe Nov. 25.


Tax Havens: How Globalization Really Works

Cornell University Press is soon to launch a major new book about tax havens, co-written by Ronen Palan, Richard Murphy and Christian Chavagneux. As the blurb indicates:

"From the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man to the Principality of Liechtenstein and the state of Delaware, tax havens offer lower tax rates, less stringent regulations and enforcement, and promises of strict secrecy to individuals and corporations alike. In recent years government regulators, hoping to remedy economic crisis by diverting capital from hidden channels back into taxable view, have undertaken sustained and serious efforts to force tax havens into compliance.

In Tax Havens, Ronen Palan, Richard Murphy, and Christian Chavagneux provide an up-to-date evaluation of the role and function of tax havens in the global financial system-their history, inner workings, impact, extent, and enforcement. They make clear that while, individually, tax havens may appear insignificant, together they have a major impact on the global economy. Holding up to $13 trillion of personal wealth—the equivalent of the annual U.S. Gross National Product—and serving as the legal home of two million corporate entities and half of all international lending banks, tax havens also skew the distribution of globalization's costs and benefits to the detriment of developing economies.

The first comprehensive account of these entities, this book challenges much of the conventional wisdom about tax havens. The authors reveal that, rather than operating at the margins of the world economy, tax havens are integral to it. More than simple conduits for tax avoidance and evasion, tax havens actually belong to the broad world of finance, to the business of managing the monetary resources of individuals, organizations, and countries. They have become among the most powerful instruments of globalization, one of the principal causes of global financial instability, and one of the large political issues of our times."


Does Corp tax code send U.S. jobs offshore?

Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have cast it as an outrage that should be a key target for the next president: a tax break they say encourages employers to ship American jobs abroad.

The charge could be dismissed as typical campaign-trail exaggeration during a Democratic primary season marked by populism, except for one thing. Many analysts say it's true. "The U.S. tax system does provide an incentive to locate production offshore," says Martin Sullivan, a contributing editor to Tax Notes, a non-profit publication that tracks tax issues.

At issue is the U.S. tax code's treatment of profits earned by foreign subsidiaries of American corporations. Profits earned in the United States are subject to the 35% corporate tax. But multinational corporations can defer paying U.S. taxes on their overseas profits until they return them to the USA — transfers that often don't happen for years. General Electric, for example, has $62 billion in "undistributed earnings" parked offshore, according to recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Drug giant Pfizer boasts $60 billion. ExxonMobil has $56 billion.


Why does Ron Paul remind me of "My Favorite Martian"

Just Saying ...

Exports of LNG May Raise U.S. Prices as Much as 54%, Agency Says

Bloomberg) -- Exporting liquefied natural gas may increase U.S. prices for the fuel as much as 54 percent, the Energy Information Administration said in a report sought by the Energy Department for its review of export permits.

The findings support manufacturers who oppose sales overseas, saying their production costs would rise. Sempra Energy, owner of the Cameron gas terminal in Louisiana, Freeport LNG in partnership with Macquarie Group Ltd., and Dominion Resources Inc. are seeking permits to ship the fuel, as hydraulic fracturing boosts production.

“Rapid increases in export levels lead to large initial price increases that moderate somewhat in a few years,” the agency said in the report. “Slower increases in export levels lead to more gradual price increases but eventually produce higher average prices during the decade between 2025 and 2035.”

After Cheniere Energy Inc. won a U.S. permit in May to ship gas from its Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana, manufacturers using natural gas, led by the Washington-based Industrial Energy Consumers of America, complained that sales to foreign countries may raise prices at home.

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