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Mon Apr 16, 2012, 08:24 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Tuesday, 17 April 2012

[font size=3]STOCK MARKET WATCH, Tuesday, 17 April 2012[font color=black][/font]

SMW for 16 April 2012

[center][font color=green]
Dow Jones 12,921.41 +71.82 (0.56%)
[font color=red]S&P 500 1,369.57 -0.69 (-0.05%)
Nasdaq 2,988.40 -22.93 (-0.76%)

[font color=green]10 Year 1.98% -0.01 (-0.50%)
30 Year 3.13% -0.01 (-0.32%) [font color=black]


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[font size=2]Market Conditions During Trading Hours[/font]


[font size=2]Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold[center]




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[font color=black][font size=2]Handy Links - Market Data and News:[/font][/font]
Economic Calendar
Marketwatch Data
Bloomberg Economic News
Yahoo Finance
Google Finance
Bank Tracker
Credit Union Tracker
Daily Job Cuts

[font color=black][font size=2]Handy Links - Government Issues:[/font][/font]
Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov

Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09 = [/font][font color=red]12[/font]
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS
3/6/12 Allen Stanford, former Caribbean billionaire and general schmuck, convicted on 13 of 14 counts in $2.2B Ponzi scheme, faces 20+ years in prison

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[font size=3][font color=red]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.[/font][/font][/font color=red][font color=black]

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Reply STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Tuesday, 17 April 2012 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Apr 2012 OP
Po_d Mainiac Apr 2012 #1
Fuddnik Apr 2012 #2
Tansy_Gold Apr 2012 #3
AnneD Apr 2012 #52
Demeter Apr 2012 #4
Demeter Apr 2012 #5
Demeter Apr 2012 #6
Demeter Apr 2012 #7
Demeter Apr 2012 #8
Demeter Apr 2012 #9
Demeter Apr 2012 #19
Tansy_Gold Apr 2012 #42
Demeter Apr 2012 #10
Demeter Apr 2012 #11
Demeter Apr 2012 #12
AnneD Apr 2012 #53
Demeter Apr 2012 #13
Demeter Apr 2012 #14
Fuddnik Apr 2012 #17
Demeter Apr 2012 #29
Demeter Apr 2012 #15
Demeter Apr 2012 #16
Fuddnik Apr 2012 #18
Demeter Apr 2012 #30
Demeter Apr 2012 #20
Demeter Apr 2012 #21
Demeter Apr 2012 #22
Demeter Apr 2012 #23
Demeter Apr 2012 #24
Demeter Apr 2012 #34
Demeter Apr 2012 #25
Demeter Apr 2012 #26
AnneD Apr 2012 #54
Demeter Apr 2012 #56
AnneD Apr 2012 #59
Demeter Apr 2012 #27
AnneD Apr 2012 #55
Demeter Apr 2012 #57
Demeter Apr 2012 #28
xchrom Apr 2012 #31
Demeter Apr 2012 #32
Demeter Apr 2012 #33
xchrom Apr 2012 #35
xchrom Apr 2012 #36
Demeter Apr 2012 #37
Demeter Apr 2012 #38
Fuddnik Apr 2012 #47
Demeter Apr 2012 #39
xchrom Apr 2012 #40
xchrom Apr 2012 #41
xchrom Apr 2012 #43
xchrom Apr 2012 #44
xchrom Apr 2012 #45
DemReadingDU Apr 2012 #46
Eugene Apr 2012 #48
Demeter Apr 2012 #49
xchrom Apr 2012 #51
Demeter Apr 2012 #58
xchrom Apr 2012 #60
Roland99 Apr 2012 #50
girl gone mad Apr 2012 #61
hamerfan Apr 2012 #62

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 09:37 PM

1. life gave me a melon

so I made melonade....Am I dyslexic?

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Response to Po_d Mainiac (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 09:39 PM

2. Nope, just thirsty.

Life gave me vodka, and I made lemonade.

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 11:02 PM

3. Yer both goofy

and that's why I luv ya's!

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Response to Po_d Mainiac (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:50 AM

52. Life gave me a melon....

I had some vodka. I added the vodka to the melon and chilled it. It tasted great. Nwo I lexdisic adn I dni'it vige a cufk.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:31 AM

4. The Monsanto Affair


As promised, attack articles on the company we love to hate

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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:40 AM

5. Just One of Monsanto’s Crimes, or Why We Can’t Trust the EPA By Alexis Baden-Mayer



2,4-D and the dioxin pollution it creates are too dangerous to allow, period, but in the hands of bad actors like Monsanto and Dow Chemical the dangers increase exponentially. What's the Environmental Protection Agency doing? Helping cover-up the chemical companies' crimes!

In February, Monsanto agreed to pay up to $93 million in a class-action lawsuit brought by the residents of Nitro, West Virginia, for dioxin exposure from accidents and pollution at an herbicide plant that operated in their town from 1929 to 2004. That may seem like justice, but it is actually the result of Monsanto's extraordinary efforts to hide the truth, evade criminal prosecution and avoid legal responsibility. A brief criminal fraud investigation conducted (and quickly aborted) by the EPA revealed that Monsanto used a disaster at their Nitro, WV, plant to manufacture "evidence" that dioxin exposure produced a skin condition called chloracne, but was not responsible for neurological health effects or cancers such as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. These conclusions were repeatedly utilized by EPA and the Veterans Administration to deny help to citizens exposed to dioxin, if these persons did not exhibit chloracne.

The EPA knew the truth about Monsanto's dioxin crimes, but it decided to hide it. Why? It would have affected us all. EPA's brief criminal investigation of Monsanto included evidence that Monsanto knowingly contaminated Lysol with dioxin, even as the product was being marketed for cleaning babies' toys. Here are the details of this jaw-dropping and heart-breaking case of corporate criminality and EPA collusion.

According to Natural News:

In the town of Nitro, West Virginia, Monsanto operated a chemical plant from 1929 to 1995, making an herbicide that had dioxin as a by-product. The name dioxin refers to a group of highly toxic chemicals that have been linked to heart and liver disease, human reproductive disorders, and developmental problems. Dioxin persists in the environment and accumulates in the body, even in small amounts. In 2001, the U.S. government listed dioxin as a "known human carcinogen".

In 1949, at the Nitro plant, a pressure valve blew on a container of this herbicide, producing a plume of vapor and white smoke that drifted out over the town. Residue coated the interior of buildings and those inside them with a fine black powder. Within days, workers experienced skin eruptions, and many were diagnosed with chloracne, a long lasting and disfiguring condition. Others felt intense pains in their chest, legs and trunk. A medical report from the time said the explosion "caused a systemic intoxication in the workers involving most major organ systems." Doctors detected a strong odor coming from the patients they described as men "excreting a foreign chemical through their skins".

Monsanto downplayed the incident, saying that the contaminant was "fairly slow acting" and only an irritant to the skin.

Meanwhile, the Nitro plant continued to produce herbicides, In the 1960's it manufactured Agent Orange, the powerful herbicide used by the U.S. military to defoliate jungles during the Vietnam War, and which became the focus of lawsuits by veterans contending they had been harmed by exposure to the chemical. Agent Orange also created dioxin as a by-product.

At the Nitro plant, dioxin waste went into landfills, storm drains, streams, sewers, into bags with the herbicide, and then the waste was burned out into the air. Dioxin from the plant can still be found in nearby streams, rivers, and fish.

According to Source Watch, in 1990, Cate Jenkins, a PhD chemist at EPA, became convinced that Monsanto had deliberately manipulated studies of worker victims of the Nitro disaster showing that dioxin was a human carcinogen.

Dr. Jenkins wrote a memorandum entitled "Newly Revealed Fraud by Monsanto in an Epidemiological Study Used by EPA to Assess Human Health Effects from Dioxins." Read the memo at PureFood.org.

According to her memo:

Dr. Raymond Suskind at the University of Cincinnati was hired by Monsanto to study the workers at Monsanto's Nitro, West Virginia plant. Dr. Suskind stated in published studies in question that chloracne, a skin condition was the prime indicator of high human dioxin exposures, and no other health effects would be observed in the absence of this condition. Unpublished studies by Suskind, however, indicate the fallacy of this statement. No workers except those having chloracne were ever examined by Suskind or included in his study. In other words, if no workers without chloracne were ever examined for other health effects, there is no basis for asserting that chloracne was "the hallmark of dioxin intoxication."

These conclusions have been repeatedly utilized by EPA, the Veterans Administration, etc., to deny any causation by dioxin of health effects of exposed citizens, if these persons did not exhibit chloracne.

The results of Dr. Suskind's studies also were diluted by the fact that the exposed group contained not only individuals having chloracne (a genuine, but not the only effect of dioxin exposure), but also all workers having any type of skin condition such as chemical rash. The workers could have had no or negligible dioxin exposures, but they were included in the study as part of the heavily exposed group. This fact was revealed only by the careful reading of the published Suskind study.

Further, Dr. Suskind utilized statistics on the skin conditions of workers compiled by a Monsanto clerical worker, without any independent verification.

Dr. Suskind also covered-up the documented neurological damage from dioxin exposures. At Workers Compensation hearings, Suskind denied that the workers experienced any neurological health effects. In the Kemner, et al. v. Monsanto proceedings, however, it was revealed that Suskind had in his possession at the time examinations of the workers by Monsanto's physician, Dr. Nestman, documenting neurological health effects.

In his later published study, Dr. Suskind denied the continuing documented neurological health effects suffered by the workers, falsely stating that symptoms "had cleared."

All of the Monsanto dioxin studies also suffer another fatal flaw. The purported "dioxin unexposed" control group was selected from other workers at the same Monsanto plant. An earlier court settlement revealed not only that these supposedly unexposed workers were exposed to dioxins, but also to other carcinogens. One of these carcinogens, para-amino biphenyl, was known by Monsanto to be a human carcinogen and it was also known that workers were heavily exposed.

Another Monsanto study involved independent medical examinations of surviving employees by Monsanto physicians. Several hundred former Monsanto employees were too ill to travel to participate in the study. Monsanto refused to use the attending physicians reports of the illness as part of their study, saying that it would introduce inconsistencies. Thus, any critically ill dioxin-exposed workers with cancers such as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma (associated with dioxin exposures), were conveniently excluded from the Monsanto study.

There are numerous other flaws in the Monsanto health studies. Each of these misrepresentations and falsifications always served to negate any conclusions of adverse health effects from dioxins.

Within days of learning that the Office of Enforcement had initiated a criminal investigation of Monsanto based on Jenkins' allegations, her job duties were withdrawn without warning. She was not given any assignments from August 30, 1990 until she was reassigned on April 8, 1992 to a job which was primarily administrative or clerical.

According to a 1994 report on "EPA's Phony Investigation of Monsanto," by William Sanjour, Policy Analyst, US Environmental Protection Agency, published in Rachel's Hazardous Waste News:

Dr. Jenkins filed a complaint with the Department of Labor claiming that she was being harassed for carrying out perfectly legal activities. The Labor Department investigated and found in Jenkins favor. The EPA appealed three times all the way up to the Secretary of Labor but each time the Department came down in favor of Jenkins finding that "None of the rationales [explaining her transfer] given by EPA ... appear valid".

In August of 1992, EPA quietly closed the criminal investigation without ever determining or even attempting to determine if the Monsanto studies were valid or invalid, let alone fraudulent. ... There was no public announcement that the investigation was closed. Dr. Jenkins didn't learn about it until fifteen months later. Yet Monsanto knew within a few days of EPA's closing the case.

Why did Monsanto and the EPA go to such great lengths to hide the truth? It would have affected us all. EPA's brief criminal investigation of Monsanto included evidence that Monsanto knowingly contaminated Lysol with dioxin, even as the product was being marketed for cleaning babies' toys. Dr. Jenkin's memo also contained evidence that Lysol, a product made from Monsanto's Santophen, was contaminated with dioxin with Monsanto's knowledge. The manufacturer of Lysol was not told about the dioxin by Monsanto for fear of losing his business. Other companies using Santophen, who specifically asked about the presence of dioxin, were lied to by Monsanto. This is just one example of why we can't trust the EPA to stop Monsanto and Dow Chemical from poisoning us with dioxin.

TAKE ACTION: Call EPA's Fail! Tell the EPA You Won't Accept a Decision on 2,4-D Based on Dow Chemical's Biased Studies!

TAKE ACTION: Tell USDA to Stop Agent Orange Corn!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:44 AM

6. Millions Against Monsanto: The Food Fight of Our Lives By Ronnie Cummins



For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture, aided and abetted by indentured politicians and regulatory agencies, supermarket chains, giant food processors, and the so-called “natural” products industry. Finally, public opinion around the biotech industry’s contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We’re fighting back. This November, in a food fight that will largely determine the future of what we eat and what we grow, Monsanto will face its greatest challenge to date: a statewide citizens’ ballot initiative that will give Californians the opportunity to vote for their right to know whether the food they buy is contaminated with GMOs.

A growing corps of food, health, and environmental activists - supported by the Millions against Monsanto and Occupy Monsanto Movements, and consumers and farmers across the nation - are boldly moving to implement mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods in California through a grassroots-powered citizens ballot initiative process that will bypass the agribusiness-dominated state legislature. If passed, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act will require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, and outlaw the routine industry practice of labeling GMO-tainted foods as “natural.” Passage of this initiative on November 6 will radically alter the balance of power in the marketplace, enabling millions of consumers to identify - and boycott - genetically engineered foods for the first time since 1994, when Monsanto’s first unlabeled, genetically-engineered dairy drug, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), was forced on the market,

As Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director for the Organic Consumers Association, pointed out at an Occupy Wall Street teach-in in Washington DC in early April: “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act ballot initiative is a perfect example of how the grassroots 99% can mobilize to take back American democracy from the corporate bullies, the 1%. By aggressively utilizing one of the last remaining tools of direct democracy, the initiative process (available to voters not only in California and 23 other states, but in thousands of cities and counties across the nation), we can bypass corrupt politicians, make our own laws, and force corporations like Monsanto to bend to the will of the people, in this case granting us our fundamental right to know what’s in our food.”

Moving the Battleground

This is not the first time Monsanto has been challenged by citizens’ initiatives or state and local legislative efforts. But this time, the momentum is in our favor. In the past, GMO “right-to-know” activists have been outmaneuvered and outgunned by Monsanto and its minions in every state, except Vermont and Connecticut, where passing a labeling bill is still, at least theoretically, a long-shot. (Monsanto recently threatened to sue the state of Vermont if legislators there pass a GMO labeling bill). Efforts to pass GMO labeling laws at the federal level have gone nowhere, despite the fact that more than one million consumers have emailed “Just Label It” petitions to the FDA, demanding mandatory labeling. (The FDA counted only 394 of the signatures, claiming that the main petition was submitted as a single document, or docket, and therefore counted as only one signature.)

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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:53 AM

7. Street Riots Form in Response to Monsanto Intrusion into Nepal By Anthony Gucciardi



After the Nepalese government decided to allow Monsanto into their borders and subsequently force farmers to use genetically modified seeds, the citizens took to the streets. The starving nation let Monsanto in despite recent and massive bans in a number of EU countries. In addition, Monsanto’s GMO crops have been shown by a team of 900 scientists to be virtually ineffective at combating starvation — in fact, they perform way worse than traditional and sustainable agriculture.

Now, according to some Nepal-based activists, Monsanto has been run out of the country by fierce protesting. Threatening the nation’s main crop, corn, Monsanto’s GM corn would certainly not help the 40% of Nepalese citizens who are currently malnourished. It seems that the Nepalese people are quite aware of this fact as well, as hordes of activists demonstrated their opposition to Monsanto and genetically modified creations on the city streets. Hundreds of the anti-Monsanto activists gathered in Kathmandu in front of the U.S. embassy, pouring out from their homes just shortly after the announcement was made.

According to the activist group ‘Stop Monsanto in Nepal’, the protests may have succeeded. In a post on Facebook on April 6th, the group stated:

Celebrating Victory! We knew from internal sources that the Nepal-Monsanto-USAID deal was postponed indefinitely but we didn’t have a public document to claim the victory officially. But Hari Dahal, Joint secretary and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) mentioned on a recent ‘BBC Sajha Sawal’ that Monsanto will NOT be allowed in Nepal.

The news comes just after Monsanto was taken to court over ‘knowingly poisoning workers‘ and causing devastating birth defects. Argentinean tobacco farmers stated that the biotech giant knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:57 AM

8. Citi’s trading rebound lifts profits


Citigroup reported improved first-quarter earnings on Monday, with steady growth in the bank’s globe-spanning consumer businesses and a rebound in investment banking from a poor previous quarter.

Net income was $3.4bn in the first quarter compared with $3.2bn a year earlier as revenue grew just 1 per cent to $20.2bn. Those measures exclude the impact of so-called “debt valuation adjustments” – an accounting rule that makes companies take gains or losses from swings in the price of their own debt. On a reported basis, including DVA, Citi’s net earnings were down at $2.9bn.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:14 AM

9. Time To Panic About Europe Again



...After a monthslong reprieve initiated by the European Central Bank’s decision to offer the continent’s banks nearly unlimited quantities of low-interest medium-term loans, the sovereign debt crisis has returned. This time ground zero is Spain rather than Italy, but the pattern is familiar. Interest rates on Spain’s debt went up a little, putting further strain on Spain’s budget. That called its solvency into question and pushed up rates further still. And as interest rates rise, Spanish banks’ viability comes into doubt, squeezing credit to the domestic economy and further weakening the budget. Depending on how you look at it, it’s a sovereign debt crisis, a banking crisis, or a simple growth crisis, but in any case, there is a risk of national default, total bank meltdown, and perhaps the collapse of the single currency or even the larger European project.

The key symptoms include a Spanish bond auction on Wednesday that drew little demand from investors, and a flight back into U.S. Treasury bonds and away from European debt. And of course while Spain is a big deal on its own terms, lurking behind it is the reality that if Spain goes down, the larger economies of Italy and even France will be pulled into the muck.

Fundamentally, the crisis recurred because the last “solution” to the crisis solved nothing. It was a half-genius, half-mad suture to narrowly address the banking crisis. Given enough free money from the ECB, any bank has the ability to stay solvent. That calmed nerves, and the newly solvent banks were quietly encouraged to load up on European government debt, which helped bring interest rate spreads down. At the time, critics assailed this as little more than an effort to kick the can down the road, and they were right. But oftentimes in a panic situation, down the road is exactly where you want the can to go. If resolving the underlying problems with Europe’s economic framework were easy, it would have been done already. Solving hard problems takes time, so stopgap time-buying measures are welcome. The trouble is that months later, not only are the fundamental issues still with us, it’s difficult to say that any progress at all has been made.

Simply put, Europe’s current institutions are unworkable. The aim of kicking the can down the road must be to create better ones. Before the crisis, capital flowed from Germany (and to an extent small countries such as Austria, Finland, and the Netherlands) into the so-called “peripheral” countries. By importing capital, the peripheral countries were able to import more than they exported, and their citizens consumed more than they saved. In Greece and Portugal, this entailed a great deal of government borrowing, but in Spain and Ireland, the borrowing was largely in the private sector. Then came a loss of confidence in the soundness of this lending, and the capital stopped flowing in. This kind of “sudden stop” of external financing is sadly common in the annals of international finance. What normally happens is the indebted country finds the value of its currency plummeting. Real wages tumble, and workers can buy less as the value of the currency falls. Eyeball deep in debt, the country’s citizens find themselves working longer for less. Perhaps politicians are inspired by the suffering to enact smart policy reforms that speed the recovery of pre-crisis living standards or perhaps not....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #9)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:07 AM

19. Committing Financial Suicide to Appease Big Finance Spain Marches Toward a Depression By Mike Whitne



“Other countries have gone through similar experiences. Latin American countries suffered a lost decade after 1982, and Japan has been stagnating for a quarter of a century; both have survived. But the European Union is not a country and it is unlikely to survive. The deflationary debt trap threatens to destroy a still-incomplete political union.”

George Soros, Financial Times

April 15, 2012 "Information Clearing House" --- Money might “make the world go ’round”, but it’s not going to stop the eurozone from breaking apart. That’s the lesson investors learned on Tuesday when global stock markets plunged on news that yields on Spanish and Italian debt had again entered the red zone. Stocks rebounded on Wednesday, but to little effect, after all, the cat is out of the bag. Now everyone knows that the European Central Bank’s 1 trillion euro ”adrenalin rush” (Long-Tern Refinancing Operation or LTRO) is a short-term fix that won’t relieve the debt troubles of struggling countries in the south or even reduce the prospects of a vicious credit crunch in the second half of the year. (As of Friday morning, Spanish 10-year bond yields are back in the nosebleed section, 5.92 percent, a rate which most economists see as “unsustainable”.) So, what exactly did the LTRO achieve anyway? Not much, it appears. While the lavish 3-year low interest loans allowed a significant number of underwater banks to roll over their debts; it did not address the eurozone’s institutional flaws, or –as economists Simon Tilford and Philip Whyte say– “reverse the increasingly perverse and self-defeating policies that the region is pursuing.” Policymakers in Frankfurt and Brussels have refused to heed the warnings of competent economists and other experts who’ve reiterated ad nauseam that “a monetary union outside a fiscal union is deeply unstable.” What’s needed is greater “fiscal integration and debt mutualisation” they advize. But the ECB will have none of it. The Central Bank has decided to pursue its own blinkered strategy and use the crisis to push through excruciating anti-labor and privatization reforms that will help to divert more capital to big finance. The results speak for themselves. Spain is marching headlong into a depression.

To say that Spain’s financial situation is dire would be an understatement. According to International Finance Review:

“Covered bond syndicate bankers are expecting weak jobs data out of the US and a persistent deterioration of Spanish bank credit to weigh heavily on the new issue market for the foreseeable future. It’s a backdrop that is likely to lock Spanish banks out of the primary market and deprive the country’s banks of a funding plan B, according to one banker….

“The Spanish are completely shut out of the market,” said a covered bond trader. “You won’t get any momentum for a deal, and for investors, they have no incentive to buy into a deal when the market is declining.” (“Spanish banks face funding lock-out”, IFR)

Also, while unemployment across Europe has risen to its highest point in more than 14 years, (17.3 million people) in Spain, joblessness has soared to 23 percent, and among young people, it’s nearly 50 percent. An entire generation is being sacrificed so the 1 percent can grab a greater portion of the wealth. If Spain is unable to manage its finances due to rising bond yields, then the eurozone will surely fail. The country is simply too big to bail out. It’s more than twice the size of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined. And Spain’s three largest banks — Banco Santander, BBVA, and La Caixa, “have combined assets of about $2.7 trillion. Spain’s GDP is just about $1.4 trillion. In other words: Spain’s three biggest banks are nearly twice as big as the entire Spanish economy.” (CNBC) Spain’s problems go far beyond its collapsing real estate market, its skyhigh unemployment, its widening debt-to-GDP ratio, and its teetering banking system. A historic structural adjustment program (“Austerity measures”) implemented by newly-elected Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has accelerated the rate of decline by slashing spending and thrusting the economy into a deflationary spiral. Here’s a clip from Bloomberg:

“Under EU orders, Spain is promising what might be the tightest fiscal squeeze that it or any other European economy has ever faced. The new plan calls for the budget deficit to fall from 8.5 percent of gross domestic product to 5.3 percent this year. Since the economy is already shrinking, this requires a discretionary fiscal tightening of roughly 4 percent of GDP — with the unemployment rate already standing at about 23 percent.” (“Spain Not Greece Is the Real Test for the European Union,” Bloomberg)

This is fiscal suicide authored by rightwing fanatics who want to use the ongoing crisis to impose their own business-friendly economic model on Europe. As journalist Pepe Escobar says in a recent article, (It’s) “a counter-reformation that erases with a single stroke many labour and union rights acquired by the working class in decades and generations”. That includes extremely harsh cuts in health, education and social services….”

Here’s more from Escobar:

“The catalogue of Spain’s “austerity” is the usual catalogue of neoliberalism in trouble. A previous, nominally socialist and now an ultra-conservative government have furiously decimated unemployment, retirement and severance benefits; turned virtually all labour contracts into precariousness hell; steeply raised fees for education and transportation; vastly militarised the police; and spent fortunes to bail out banks….” (“All the pain in Spain”, Pepe Escobar, Aljazeera)

Now that the ECB’s lending program (LTRO) has failed and Spanish banks are more indebted than ever (Spanish banks borrowed more money from the ECB than any other country—227.6 billion euros or $300 billion); what’s next? For starters, ECB president Mario Draghi will be forced to revive the vastly unpopular Securities Markets Program (SMP) and purchase more Spanish debt outright. Investors will see this as a sign of desperation since Draghi scotched the idea of reviving the program just last week. Now he will have to reverse himself and hastily resume the EZ’s version of QE. Restarting the program will set off fireworks in Berlin where hardliners at the Bundesbank will fight tooth-and-nail to stop Draghi in his tracks. Even so, the wily ex-G-SAX managing director Draghi will undoubtedly outmaneuver his rivals and the bailout will go forward. That means big finance’s plan to crush organised labor, savage the social safety net and reduce EZ workers to a life of debt peonage will continue apace.


MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #19)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 08:47 AM

42. Gettin' closer. n/t

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:17 AM

10. Feb. 29, 2012: Cartel Dumps 225M Ounces of Paper Silver Over 30 Minutes As Gold, Silver Raided



...The raid began at exactly at 10:00am EST coinciding with the Fed's release of its monetary policy statement to the House Financial Services Committee.
For those who claim these immediate waterfall gap-downs in both metals were as a result of Bernanke's dissapointment in no further QE, please realize this occurred exactly as the full report was released, and note the massive paper volume of 225 MILLION OUNCES OF PAPER SILVER OVER 30 MINUTES used to smash gold by $65 and silver by $2!:


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Response to Demeter (Reply #10)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:30 AM

11. Silver Smoke Screen zerohedge.com




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Response to Demeter (Reply #11)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:35 AM

12. Precious Metals Déjà Vu For Morgan Stanley?



In the middle of 2007, Morgan Stanley paid out $4.4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit initiated against it by its own clients. Why were Morgan Stanley’s clients suing it? They alleged that Morgan Stanley took money from them for buying precious metals on their behalf, took money from them for “storage” of these precious metals accounts, but only pretended to purchase the bullion. Morgan Stanley (reading from the standard Wall Street script) denied the allegations, but settled the case “to avoid the cost and distraction of continued litigation.” Before moving on to Morgan’s Stanley’s latest exploits in the precious metals market, this deserves a few comments.

First of all, if Morgan Stanley did only pretend to purchase bullion on behalf of its clients, while charging them for the “bullion” and storage fees on that imaginary bullion, we have a word for such actions: fraud. So if Morgan Stanley was guilty of swindling its own clients in this manner then why wasn’t it required to acknowledge its guilt? The answer is simple. Morgan Stanley is based in The Land of Fraud (aka the United States of America). In The Land of Fraud swindling people (whether total strangers or long-term clients) is a way of life – just ask a former Goldman Sachs employee. Thus the Wall Street banksters can commit fraud without ever having to admit fraud. Indeed, Bloomberg explicitly confirmed that the SEC’s commit-but-never-admit policy has been standard practice for more than four decades, with such settlements then rubber-stamped by the U.S. judiciary. Bloomberg noted this institutionalized corruption when it criticized a (lone) U.S. judge who has had the temerity to challenge the commit-but-never-admit doctrine:

…As part of the agreement, New York-based Citigroup neither admitted nor denied the allegations, a clause which has been standard in such settlements for at least four decades.

But it gets better for the Wall Street fraud factories. Not only can they commit acts of fraud with impunity while never having to admit to them, but the “fine” they receive after being caught in the act is rarely more than 10% of their proceeds of crime – and often much, much less. A classic example was the travesty of American Justice when Wachovia Bank was caught laundering nearly $400 billion dollars of drug cartel profits. It paid less than $200 million in fines and penalties. This was less than 2% of the bank’s 2009 profits, and less than 0.05% of the drug-money it laundered. Given the colossal size of the crime, given the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who would have been murdered to produce those profits, given the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people who would have become addicted to the drugs which produced those profits; one would have thought that Wachovia would have faced the maximum possible wrath of the law. After all, this crime occurred in the country which has foisted its hypocritical “War on Drugs” upon the world. Yet what we saw (and what we always see in The Land of Fraud) was something far less than “a slap on the wrist.”...The implication here is clear with a commit-but-never-admit doctrine which goes back at least 40 years: in the United States the word “fraud” is considered redundant. The presumption of the so-called regulators can only be that all of Wall Street’s transactions are fraudulent, and thus classifying any individual Wall Street business deal as a “fraudulent transaction” would be like referring to “wet water” or “cold ice”.

This is confirmed by the quantum of fines for this litany of fraud, which is never called fraud. We have another term for when someone is forced to surrender a tiny portion of their profits from a transaction to an “associate”: a commission. These farcical legal proceedings are nothing for the Wall Street banksters but a (minor) cost of doing business. In other words, it is yet another absurd fraud to refer to the pennies levied against Wall Street as “fines”. A fine (by definition) penalizes someone for doing something wrong. Obviously if you “fine” someone only 1% or 2% of their ill-gotten gains you are not penalizing them at all – you are encouraging them to rape-and-pillage as a way of life....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #11)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:12 PM

53. Well that explaines.....

That wierd activity. Figures there was tinkering. I just do smart shopping and take advantage of sales.

I have noticed the less I deal with stocks, credit cards, and banks; the larger my bottom line is becoming. I don't think it is a coinky dink either.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:43 AM

13. For Capitalism to Survive, Crime Must Not Pay



Unequal enforcement of the law will distort and destroy any capitalist society, and we may be witnessing just such a downward spiral in the financial sector.

Capitalism is not an abstract idea. It is an economic system with a distinct set of underlying principles that must exist in order for the system to work. One of these principles is equal justice. In its absence, parties will stop entering into transactions that create overall wealth for our society. Justice must be blind so that both parties — whether weak or powerful — can assume that an agreement between them will be equally enforced by the courts.

There is a second, perhaps even more fundamental, reason that equal justice is essential for capitalism to work. When unequal justice prevails, the party that does not need to follow the law has a distinct competitive advantage. A corporation that knowingly breaks the law will find ways to profit through illegal means that are not available to competitors. As a consequence, the competitive playing field is biased toward the company that does not need to follow the rules.

The net result of unequal justice is likely to be the destruction of the overall wealth of our society. I don’t mean the wealth of individuals; I mean the total wealth of goods and services that are the benefits of healthy competition. To the extent that unequal justice prevails, entities that are exempt from the laws will, in all likelihood, be more profitable than law abiding competitors. Then they use their profits to further weaken competitors by using their illegal profits to further build their businesses at the expense of competitors. All of this business building activity is based on a foundation of sand, and ultimately the entire industry — or even the larger economy — becomes distorted. The “rogue” company gains power, changes markets, and destroys direct and indirect competitors because it is playing by different rules... As economic inequality increases, two sets of laws implicitly develop: one set for powerful members of society and another set for the weaker. These two sets of laws are often defined by a single question: who is prosecuted for crimes and who is not. When powerful members of society can break the law without fear of prosecution, they will inevitably exploit this competitive advantage by engaging in profitable (but illegal) activity. At the same time, the weaker members of society can’t compete; they are shackled by the need to follow the laws of the land. Meanwhile, everyone loses as the profits of companies violating the law distort the competitive playing field and the activities of everyone in it and divert societal activity from the creation of real wealth.

In effect, equal enforcement of the law is not simply important for democracy or to ensure that economic activity takes place, it is fundamental to ensuring that capitalism works. Without equal enforcement of the law, the economy operates with participants who are competitively advantaged and disadvantaged. The rogue firms are in effect receiving a giant government subsidy: the freedom to engage in profitable activities that are prohibited to lesser entities. This becomes a self-reinforcing cycle (like the growth of WorldCom from a regional phone carrier to a national giant that included MCI), so that inequality becomes ever greater. Ultimately, we all lose as our entire economy is distorted, valuable entities are crushed or never get off the ground because they can’t compete on a playing field that is not level, and most likely wealth is destroyed...The evidence that crime does, in fact, pay is perfectly clear. Before the 1990s, the total profits of the financial services sector rarely accounted for more than 20 percent of the total corporate profits of the nation’s economy. By 2005, they averaged about one-third of all corporate profits. After sinking as a result of the crash, they rebounded dramatically. By early 2011, the sector once again accounted for about 30 percent of total corporate profits. As The Wall Street Journal noted, “That’s an amazing share given that the sector accounts for less than 10 percent of the value added in the economy.” Finance serves a valuable function. Its principal role is to ensure that capital is most efficiently allocated in a society. However, financial services are also an intermediate good. They grease the wheels, through capital allocation, so that real goods and services that people consume or experience can be created. Yet, as the Journal noted, the sector’s profits are far in excess of the value the sector adds to the overall economy. At the same time, recent academic research has suggested that the financial sector has become less efficient over time, with the gains from information technology cancelled out by increases in trading activity (whose social value is certainly open to question)....


Bruce Judson is Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute and a former Senior Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:45 AM

14. Argentina to renationalise oil group


Cristina Fernández brushes off Spanish outrage and announces that the country’s biggest oil group will come under state supervision


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Response to Demeter (Reply #14)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:50 AM

17. That's going to piss off the cartel.

She had better avoid all aircraft.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #14)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:13 AM



Argentine leader moves to nationalize oil company

In a bold move to gain control of Argentina's energy reserves, President Cristina Fernandez pushed forward a bill to renationalize the country's largest oil company on Monday despite fierce criticism from abroad and the risk of a major rift with Spain. In a national address, Fernandez said the legislation put to congress would give Argentina a majority stake in oil and gas company YPF by taking control of 51 percent of its shares currently held by Spain's Repsol. Both Repsol and Spain strongly oppose the move and have warned that it could turn Argentina into an international pariah.

YPF is vital for Argentina's energy future, especially after its recent find of huge unconventional oil and natural gas reserves. But the company is under pressure from Fernandez's government to raise output while its shares have plunged in recent months on fears of possible state intervention. Argentina this year expects to import more than $10 billion worth of gas and natural liquid gas to address an energy crisis even though it is an oil-producing nation, according to estimates from the hydrocarbon sector.

"We are the only country in Latin America, and I would say in practically the entire world, that doesn't manage its own natural resources," Fernandez said. She said her proposal "is not a model of statism" but "the recovery of sovereignty."

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/16/2751941/argentine-president-plans-to-nationalize.html#storylink=cpy

CFK sends to Congress draft bill to expropriate Repsol-YPF


...The draft bill contemplates the expropriation of Argentina's biggest company, with the Argentine State holding 51 percent stake of the 57.43 percent that Spanish Repsol controls since 1999.

Out of the 51 percent expropriated, the Executive Power will own 51 percent which equals to 29.3 percent of the company's stake, while Argentina's 23 provinces plus the Buenos Aires City will own 49 percent of the 51 expropriated to Repsol, thus owning 28.14 percent of the company.

Spanish Repsol will so far preserve 6.43 percent of the company, while 17.09 percent will remain for trade at Buenos Aires, New York and Madrid stock exchanges.

Likewise, the Petersen Group -own by the Ezkenazi family- will keep its current 25.46 percent stake in the company ...

Spain Vows “Forceful” Response to Argentine YPF Nationalization


The expropriation announced Monday “breaks the verbal accord” Spanish Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria reached on Feb. 28 with representatives of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, which called for the dispute between Repsol and Buenos Aires to be resolved by “dialogue and negotiation,” the Spanish government said in a statement

Spain condemned on Monday the Argentine government’s “arbitrary decision” to nationalize YPF, a unit of Spanish oil major Repsol, and vowed to adopt “clear and forceful” measures in response.

Argentina’s move “shatters the climate of cordiality and friendship” that has traditionally marked bilateral relations, the Spanish government said in a statement read to reporters by Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s administration will adopt “all the measures it deems appropriate in defense of the legitimate interests of Repsol and of all Spanish firms and interests abroad,” the statement continued....Madrid has already contacted the relevant institutions of the European Union to request that the European Parliament take up the YPF issue this week. The European Commission, which had echoed Spain’s previous warnings to Argentina against nationalizing YPF, spoke out earlier Monday against the expropriation....


...YPF accounts for just over half of Repsol’s total oil and gas production and around 40 percent of the Spanish firm’s reserves....

...YPF, once held up by Fernandez’s administration as a model corporation, has come under escalating official criticism for fuel shortages, a drop in oil and gas output and inadequate investment.

“Continuing the policy of asset stripping, with no production and no exploration, effectively would have turned us into an unviable country, not from lack of resources, but from business policies,” the president said Monday.

Repsol currently holds 57.43 percent of YPF, while Argentina’s Grupo Petersen has a 25.46 percent stake....

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:46 AM

15. Madrid threatens to intervene in regions


Spain’s central government is poised to take over the budgets of regions that fail to enforce strict limits on deficits, according to officials


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:47 AM

16. US Senate vote blocks ‘Buffett rule’


The vote sets the stage for an ideological fight that will play out all the way to the presidential election in seven months’ time



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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:59 AM


Since it was an upper 0.3% bill, probably not many of them. But, they do serve their masters.

Back in 2006, I was at a Republican Congresswomans town hall doing some opposition research. She was asked what the problem was with lifting or removing the cap on Social Security. Her reply was, "Contrary to internet rumors, we do in fact pay into Social security (they do), and nobody in Congress is going to pass a bill to raise their own taxes."

Probably the only time I ever heard her tell the truth.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:23 AM

30. For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start WORTHY READ



...“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”

As much as Mr. Piketty’s and Mr. Saez’s work has informed the national debate over earnings and fairness, their proposed corrective remains far outside the bounds of polite political conversation: much, much higher top marginal tax rates on the rich, up to 50 percent, or 70 percent or even 90 percent, from the current top rate of 35 percent.

The two economists argue that even Democrats’ boldest plan to increase taxes on the wealthy — the Buffett Rule, a 30 percent minimum tax on earnings over $1 million — would do little to reverse the rich’s gains. Many of the Republican tax proposals on the table might increase income inequality, at least in the short term, according to William G. Gale of the Tax Policy Center and many other left-leaning and centrist economists. ...

“In a way, the United States is becoming like Old Europe, which is very strange in historical perspective,” Mr. Piketty said. “The United States used to be very egalitarian, not just in spirit but in actuality. Inequality of wealth and income used to be much larger in France. And very high taxes on the very rich — that was invented in the United States,” he said....That has led the two economists to renew their calls for higher rates on the rich. Along with Peter Diamond, an emeritus professor at M.I.T. and a Nobel laureate, Mr. Saez has estimated the “optimal” top tax rates for the wealthy — getting the most revenue from those most able to surrender it — to be between 45 and 70 percent.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:17 AM

20. You Are Free To Travel—If The IRS Lets You



A bill that nobody is paying any attention to is sailing through Congress: Senate Bill 1813. It passed the Senate by 74 to 22, and is expected to sail through the House as well. It’s an act “[t]o reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.” It’s the “and for other purposes” part of the title that has me worried—specifically Section 40304: “Revocation or denial of passport in case of certain unpaid taxes.” This section would give the IRS the power to keep a U.S. citizen from traveling— —and it’s another example of Executive Power run amok. It’s another example of how the United States is turning into a police-state.

The right to travel freely is sacrosanct—it’s not some privilege that the government bestows on us: It’s one of our basic freedoms as citizens. In point of fact, the countries that have limited their citizens’ ability to travel—the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba—were all rightfully called “police-states”: It’s one of their defining characteristics—the fact that they were keeping their citizens hostage.

In the United States, there are several, clearly defined reasons why you would have your passport either denied or revoked—and all of them pass the smell test. In the case of a passport being denied, according to the U.S. State Department, the reasons are:

“a federal warrant of arrest, a federal or state criminal court order, a condition of parole or probation forbidding departure from the United States (or the jurisdiction of the court), or a request for extradition by a foreign country.

Additionally, failure to pay a court-ordered child-support in excess of $5,000 can also be grounds for the State Department to refuse to issue a passport to a U.S. citizen.
In the case of a passport being revoked, the law (22 CFR 51.72) says very clearly that:

A passport may be revoked or restricted or limited where:
(a) The national would not be entitled to issuance of a new passport under §51.70 or §51.71 the above conditions; or
(b) The passport has been obtained illegally, by fraud, or has been fraudulently altered, or has been fraudulently misused, or has been issued in error; or
(c) The Department of State is notified that a certificate of naturalization issued to the applicant for or bearer of the passport has been canceled by a federal court.
54 FR 8532, Mar. 1, 1989, as amended at 64 FR 19714, Apr. 22, 1999

Now, notice how both in the case of a denial or a revocation of a passport, the State Department is essentially carrying out the judgment of the courts. An arrest warrant can only be issued by a court. A parolee is, again, limited under the aegis of a judicial order. An extradition request will only be complied if a foreign court is making the request, not a foreign law enforcement agency. A court-ordered child support payment is, again, a judicial decision. In all of these cases, the State Department is acting on the orders of a court. It is the Judiciary that decides to restrict the freedom of movement and travel of a U.S. citizen—as is their exclusive prerogative. According to the Constitution, the Legislature does not have the right to judge the guilt or innocence of a person, be they a citizen or not. According to the Constitution, the Executive does not have the right to judge the guilt or innocence of a person, be they a citizen or not. According to the Constitution’s separation of powers, only the Judiciary has the right to determine guilt or innocence. Thus, ultimately, only the Judiciary has the right to revoke or deny a citizen’s ability to travel—and only for serious crimes.

But with this Bill 1813, it will now be the IRS—without any judicial oversight—which will determine if a citizen can travel or not. Not even the IRS as an institution—just some random IRS bureaucrat, with no oversight or restraint, will be able to decide to strip you of your right to travel freely. As written, Bill 1813 states that the IRS must find that $50,000 or more is owed by the citizen—but this is a unilateral determination by the IRS, and it includes penalties and interest. So the alleged amount that you owe could be substantially less—but you are now no longer allowed to travel. Notice I say “alleged”: It is not that the IRS has to present proof of tax delinquency to anyone—they just have to say that you owe back taxes. No proof required, no judicial oversight or restraint. In other words, the IRS’s word is enough—and you do not have the possibility of appeal. Who would you appeal to—a judge? There’s no judge in this case—because no judge supervises and monitors the IRS’s decision.

That’s why Madison invented the idea of checks-and-balances: To make sure that no one branch of the government acquired the power to deprive people of their life, liberty or property. But here is Senate Bill 1813, doing precisely that...This Senate bill 1813 will in all likelihood pass the House vote, and be signed into law by President Obama. Few people will notice it now, and when the history of this shameful period is written it will not be given much pride of place: Senate bill 1813 will simply be mentioned as one more law that was passed that turned the United States from a free Republic into a closed Police-State.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #20)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:20 AM

21. Only Little People Pay Taxes




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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:27 AM



Sterling’ bounty offered for Obama, Bush


In an expression of solidarity with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, British parliamentarian of Kashmiri origin Lord Nazir Ahmed has announced a reward for the captor of US President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush.

He made the announcement at a reception arranged in his honour by the business community of Haripur on Friday. Former foreign minister Goher Ayub Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) central leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed and provincial Minister for Education Qazi Muhammad Asad were also present on the occasion.

Lord Nazir said that the bounty placed on Saeed was an insult to all Muslims and by doing so President Obama has challenged the dignity of the Muslim Ummah.

“If the US can announce a reward of $10 million for the captor of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of 10 million pounds on President Obama and his predecessor George Bush,” Lord Nazir said, adding that he would arrange the bounty at any cost even if he was left with the option of selling all his personal assets, including his house...

Labour peer Lord Ahmed denies Obama 'bounty' remarks


Ahmed, who has been suspended by the Labour party, denies he offered cash for capture of US president...A Labour peer suspended by the party over reports that he offered a £10m "bounty" for the capture of Barack Obama has denied making the remarks.

A newspaper in Pakistan quoted Lord Ahmed offering cash for the capture of the US president and his White House predecessor George Bush at a reception in Haripur on Friday. The Express Tribune said he spoke out in direct response to a US reward being offered for the capture of a prominent Pakistani radical....Labour moved swiftly to suspend the peer, pending an investigation.

"If these comments are accurate we utterly condemn these remarks, which are totally unacceptable," a spokeswoman said. "The international community is rightly doing all in its power to seek justice for the victims of the Mumbai bombings and halt terrorism."

But Ahmed complained that party chiefs had not spoken to him before announcing the move and challenged the party to produce evidence against him. However, speaking from Pakistan, Ahmed admitted he had told the meeting that Bush and former Labour prime minister Tony Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes....

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:30 AM



Iceland Forgives Mortgage Debt of its Population

The government of Iceland has forgiven the mortgage debt for much of its population. This nation chose a very different way of stopping the crisis from the rest of European countries. It decided to hear the requests of the population and to put politicians and bankers on the bench of the accused three years after their financial excesses would sank one of the most prosperous economies in 2008. teleSUR:

Iceland's President Explains Why The World Needs To Rethink Its Addiction To Finance


“If you want your economy to excel in the 21st century [...] a big banking sector, even a very successful banking sector, is bad news. You could even argue that the bigger the banking sector is, the worse the news is for your economy... Europe is and should be more about democracy than about financial markets. Based with this choice, it was in the end, clear that I had to choose democracy.”

By Adam Taylor

April 15, 2012 "Information Clearing House" -- Here's the full transcript of our interview with Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who has been President of Iceland since 1996, and announced last month he would be running for a fifth term. Keep reading to hear his thoughts on Iceland's recovery, and how a large financial sector can ruin a nation. SEE LINK

Inter-Parliamentary Union Condemns Government Investigation into Member of Iceland’s Parliament (WIKILEAKS)


For more than a year, Icelandic Member of Parliament and EFF client Birgitta Jonsdottir—along with security researchers Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp—has fought the efforts of the Department of Justice to force Twitter to give up information about their online activities. In December of 2010, the government obtained a court order requiring, among other things, Twitter to hand over their IP addresses at login (which can be used to trace their locations) along with a long list of other information. EFF, with the ACLU and a host of private attorneys, fought back, but the U.S. courts rebuffed our efforts.

The courts’ analysis is troubling on many grounds. One such ground is the fact that the courts determined Ms. Jonsdottir’s information could be seized despite the fact that Ms. Jonsdottir, whose actions on behalf of Wikileaks all seem to have occurred in Iceland, appears to have complete immunity against this investigation under Icelandic law as a member of the Icelandic Parliament.

While Ms. Jonsdottir’s specific situation is unique, many non-U.S. users of Twitter are rightfully unnerved. At least according to the magistrate and judge in Virginia, all of a users' communications records can be subject to review by the U.S. government without a warrant because the users chose to use an online "cloud" service that stores data about them in the U.S.

But even as the U.S. courts have refused to see the dangerous implications of their rulings, others have appropriately raised alarm. In a little noticed story last fall, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which represents members of parliament from 157 countries, issued a stunning rebuke to the United States and the Department of Justice over its investigation into Ms. Jonsdottir. In a unanimous declaration, the IPU condemned the Justice Department’s conduct as a violation of Ms. Jonsdottir’s free speech and privacy rights, and even suggested the demands for her private information violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:38 AM

24. Japan vows $60 billion to boost IMF firepower IT'S JUST A LOAN, THOUGH



Japan said on Tuesday it will provide $60 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund, becoming the first non-European nation to commit money to boost the fund's financial firepower to contain the euro zone debt crisis.

Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Japan hoped Tokyo's contribution, which will be formally announced at a Group of 20 financial leaders' meeting later this week, will encourage other countries to follow suit.

The IMF wants to boost its funding by $600 billion but securing firm commitments at meetings in Washington this week of the fund, the World Bank and the G20 will be difficult.

The United States has insisted it will not be part of these efforts and other economies, including emerging powers China, Brazil and Russia have been holding out....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #24)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:42 AM

34. Jim O'Neill - The eurozone needs a seat at the IMF table


Since the introduction of the single European currency, the conduct of domestic monetary policy has been fully delegated to the ECB; however, the realm of international monetary relations remains a grey area, with responsibility opaquely attributed to the ECB and the eurozone group of finance ministers. As a result of this significant gap in the institutional design of the single currency, euro area member countries maintain their country-based—as opposed to a euro area-based—representation on the IMF’s executive board, the institution’s main policymaking organ, despite the increasing integration among eurozone countries in all other related policy domains. This tension may escalate now due to some potentially-adverse developments in IMF reform.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:50 AM

25. JPMorgan Said to Transform Treasury to Prop Trading A SCHOOL OF WHALES?



JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has transformed the bank’s chief investment office in the past five years, increasing the size and risk of its speculative bets, according to five former executives with direct knowledge of the changes.

Achilles Macris, hired in 2006 as the CIO’s top executive in London, led an expansion into corporate and mortgage-debt investments with a mandate to generate profits for the New York- based bank, three of the former employees said. Dimon, 56, closely supervised the shift from the CIO’s previous focus on protecting JPMorgan from risks inherent in its banking business, such as interest-rate and currency movements, they said.

Some of Macris’s bets are now so large that JPMorgan probably can’t unwind them without losing money or roiling financial markets, the former executives said, based on knowledge gleaned from people inside the bank and dealers at other firms. Bruno Iksil, a London-based trader in Macris’s group, gained attention last week after moving markets with his trades, drawing a comparison to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s power in the government-bond market.

“What Bernanke is to the Treasury market, Iksil is to the derivatives market,” Bonnie Baha, head of the global developed credit group at DoubleLine Capital LP in Los Angeles, where she helps oversee $32 billion, said in a telephone interview. Macris’s team amassed a portfolio of as much as $200 billion, booking a profit of $5 billion in 2010 alone -- equal to more than a quarter of JPMorgan’s net income that year, one former senior executive said. ....MORE

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 03:07 AM

26. Algorithms Gone Wild - AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN



What more is left to say at this point other than the fact that the hedge fund computers and their damnable algorithms have destroyed the integrity of the US futures markets. The sheer size, extent, ferocity and volatility of the moves that these pestilential computers are creating have rendered these markets basically useless for what they originally came into being for, namely, risk management for commercial entities.

Price swings of this magnitude are blowing up hedged positions put on by commercials and other end users/merchants/processors, etc. While margins are reduced for legitimate hedgers, they still must meet any and all margin calls on any hedged position, whether that is a long position or a short position. Some will say that all they need to do is to buy or sell the corresponding physical commodity and while simultaneously lifting the hedge. That might work fine on paper but in the real world it is a fabrication.

A cattle feedlot, a grain elevator owner/operator, a cocoa processor, a cotton mill, etc, may or may not have the actual product ready to sell as it is still maturing or growing in the field or may not be ready yet to actually buy the product but they might have hedges in place while they are waiting. So much for their hedges in this sort of idiotically insane trading environment. Their hedges are getting blasted to kingdom come but they must maintain the thing if it moves against them meaning that they need cash to meet any and all margin calls.

At some point, the cost of doing so, with hedge fund running prices all over the damn planet on a daily basis, is no longer feasible. I am predicting here and now that unless something is done to corral these hedge funds, the futures market is going to become useless as a risk management tool for non-speculative entities....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #26)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:29 PM

54. It was not my favorite episode.....

but as I read the article....I kept thinking of the Star Trek episode The Doomsday Machine. Just my gut reaction.

I must be channeling Jimmy the Greek today: either that or what they said about those drugs in the 70's was really true.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #54)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:06 PM

56. I don't think you mean that episode



The USS Enterprise encounters the wrecked USS Constellation and its distraught captain who's determined to stop the giant planet-destroying robot ship that killed his crew.

I think you meant http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708414/

A Taste of Armageddon

Kirk and Spock must save their ship's crew when they are declared all killed in action in a bizarre computer simulated war where the actual deaths must occur to continue the peace treaty between two planets.


In my search for the episode, I noticed that Obama and Co are playing out several different episodes simultaneously, with different nations and at home, all at the same time.

It is no wonder they don't get anything done....they never drew the correct conclusions in these simple morality tales (and basic science lessons). And they don't know how to concentrate.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #56)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:12 PM

59. No. I got the episode right....

those HFT are killing the markets they enter, sooner rather than later.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 03:08 AM

27. Frackers Outbid Farmers For Water in Colorado Drought




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Response to Demeter (Reply #27)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:37 PM

55. That has got to be....

most stupidly suicidal thing I have ever heard. I hate to even think what fracking is doing to the underground water tables.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #55)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:07 PM

57. One of many brought to you by Obama and Co


They are nothing if not versatile...ambidextrous, even.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 06:50 AM

28. India cuts rates by 50bp in growth gamble


India’s central bank cut key lending rates for the first time in three years on Tuesday in an aggressive effort to stimulate growth and boost investment at a time when the shine is rapidly coming off Asia’s third largest economy.

The Reserve Bank of India cut the repo rate – the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks – by a more than expected 50 basis points to 8 per cent. The reduction was widely welcomed by business.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:31 AM

31. i woke up thinking about Prince and ...Morris Day, remember him?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:32 AM

32. Here Are The Fed Transcripts That Dylan Ratigan Is About To Release



The Federal Reserve has agreed to make the transcripts of Federal Open Market Committee meetings held between 2007 and 2010 open to the public, pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The minutes, which have been heavily redacted, give some insight into what the Federal Reserve was doing when the country headed into its deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Of the more than 7,000 pages the Federal Reserve says it reviewed before the release, it will make 513 available.

The Federal Reserve typically waits some five or more years before releasing full transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee meetings, which offer a greater view into the Fed's thought process than the posting of monthly minutes.

Click here for the minutes (PDF) > http://www.federalreserve.gov/foia/files/2007-2010-draft-fomc-transcript-excerpts.pdf

In January, the Federal Reserve released full transcripts from its 2006 meetings.

An analysis by Business Insider found surprisingly dismissive conversation at the nation's central bank, including jokes comparing the housing market to Brad Pitt's newly adopted child.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-fed-minutes-that-dylan-ratigan-is-about-to-release-2012-4#ixzz1sIPtW0BY

Fed Posts Redacted Transcripts From 2007-2010


The Federal Reserve has pledged to be more transparent, but it is only willing to go so far.

The central bank normally releases comprehensive transcripts of its policy-making meetings five years after the sessions. But when news organizations requested transcripts of the meetings around the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed released redacted documents that revealed only pleasantries from the sessions and no substantive discussions...

Federal Reserve Officials Leave For Wall Street With Privileged Info


...The Huffington Post and MSNBC's "Dylan Ratigan Show" filed Freedom of Information Act requests in January to obtain the minutes of Federal Open Market Committee meetings from 2007 to 2010. That month, the Fed had released the 2006 minutes of the confidential committee, which essentially sets national monetary policy. In response, the bank provided 513 pages of mostly blacked-out paper and cited policy to justify withholding the information. "The Committee has a long-standing policy of routinely releasing full transcripts on a five-year schedule. Each year's transcripts will be made public in their entirety according to that schedule," the bank offered by way of explanation.

By withholding the 2007 and 2008 minutes, the Fed is able to keep secret certain information on how it decided to respond to the financial crisis until after the presidential election, hampering what could be a serious debate between the two parties on its response. During the financial crisis, Mitt Romney was broadly supportive of the federal response, with the exception of the bailout of the auto industry. He has since spoken much more skeptically of the Wall Street bailout. Barack Obama, as a candidate and then as president, spoke favorably of the federal intervention as unfortunate but necessary. On Friday, his Treasury Department released a full-throated defense of its activity.

How the Fed made its decisions, however, will be kept hidden until the bank releases the transcripts year by year...There are some market participants, however, who know exactly what happened in those meetings. One of the few things not redacted in the Fed's FOIA response is the list of officials who attended each confidential meeting. Many of those people have since left the central bank and gone to work in the financial industry, taking with them privileged information about the Fed's thinking that is still closed to the public....


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:39 AM

33. The Obvious Solution to Our Social Security Problem By Dick Meister



Guaranteeing America's working people a decent retirement has become increasingly difficult with the decline of traditional pension plans and the glaring inadequacy of the 401 (k) savings accounts that have replaced them. So what to do? The answer is obvious to the AFL-CIO, and should be to everyone else: Increase Social Security benefits.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka notes, "Social Security is a phenomenally successful program that represents the very best in American values and has virtually no waste, no corruption and almost no overhead." The program does have one serious problem, however – "its benefits are too low."

Trumka certainly has that right. The average Social Security payout for men is only about $16,000 a year, barely above the minimum wage. Payouts for women average only about $12,000 a year, barely above the poverty line. Most of those drawing benefits earned much more during their working days. The retirement programs in most other industrialized countries pay retirees benefits in amounts far closer to what they made while working.

It's for a very good reason that the AFL-CIO has taken an official position calling for "an across the board increase in Social Security benefits," including adjustments to account for retirees' steadily escalating health care costs and, among other economic setbacks, "the loss of home equity experienced by millions of Americans in the Great Recession." Remedial action is clearly needed. As the AFL-CIO says, "Our retirement system is falling apart at the seams. Millions of Americans are afraid to retire because they know they can't maintain their standard of living in retirement, and more and more seniors have to keep working well past the age when they should be retiring."

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who calls Social Security "the most successful program in history," has introduced a bill – the Rebuild America Act – that includes changes in the program such as the AFL-CIO is advocating. Harkin's bill would increase benefits by about $60-$70 a month and guarantee that the trust fund from which benefits are drawn would remain solvent and able to pay out full benefits for at least another 40 years, in large part by removing the $110,100 cap on income subject to Social Security deductions...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:57 AM

35. US taxes cost some expatriates their citizenship


Genette Eysselinck renounced her U.S. citizenship early this year. Her husband, a European Union civil servant, saw no good reason to share his account information with the IRS.

A year ago, in Action Comics, Superman declared plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship.
"'Truth, justice, and the American way' — it's not enough anymore," the comic book superhero said, after both the Iranian and American governments criticized him for joining a peaceful anti-government protest in Tehran.

Last year, almost 1,800 people followed Superman's lead, renouncing their U.S. citizenship or handing in their Green Cards. That's a record number since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing a list of those who renounced in 1998. It's also almost eight times more than the number of citizens who renounced in 2008, and more than the total for 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.

But not everyone's motivations are as lofty as Superman's. Many say they parted ways with America for tax reasons.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:58 AM

36. Goldman profit tops estimates; raises dividend


Goldman Sachs said Tuesday its first-quarter earnings fell from a year earlier, but were better than many analysts had anticipated thanks to aggressive cost-cutting and better-than-expected investment banking and trading revenues.
Goldman earned $2.1 billion, or $3.92 per share, during the quarter. In the year-ago period, which was generally stronger for investment banks' trading and banking activity, Goldman earned $4.38 per share, excluding a one-time cost for buying back preferred stock.
The Wall Street investment bank also said it would raise its quarterly dividend to 46 cents per share from 35 cents.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 08:01 AM

37. Rousseff Warns of Tsunami of Money



Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, used her opening speech at the Sixth Summit of the Americas to reiterate her criticism of Western monetary policy, which she said was damaging Latin American industry. The summit, which was held last weekend in Cartagena, Colombia, brought together 33 heads of states from across the Americas, including the U.S. President Barack Obama...

Rousseff called for Latin American nations to defend themselves against the “tsunami of money” that she said was hitting emerging market economies as a result of Eurozone expansionary monetary actions (massive State-backed cash injections) designed to maintain international liquidity in the face of the European sovereign debt crisis.

This money has led, she said, to rocketing levels of foreign investment into Latin America, resulting in an overvaluation of the region’s currencies and subsequently damaging exports.

“Of course we must take action to defend ourselves. To defend is different from to protect. It means not letting our manufacturing sector be cannibalized,” Rousseff said in the speech.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 08:10 AM

38. Wells Fargo Now A Major Shareholder In For-Profit Prisons



Even though crime rates in American have either stabilized or gone down, the incarceration rate (especially for people who are in this country illegally) has gone up - way up. (As this video points out, more people are being incarcerated on civil charges, not criminal.)

Naturally, as with most changes in this country, this has more to do with profit than anything else - and now we find that Wells Fargo is a major shareholder in for-profit prisons. Hmm. So this is what's taken the place of mortgages as the banking cash cow? From Salon:

As Wells Fargo has grown over the years, using its bailout funds to gobble up rival Wachovia and expand to the East Coast, so has the U.S. prison population. By 2008, one in 100 American adults were either in jail or in prison – and one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34, many simply for non-violent offenses, justice not so much blind as bigoted. Overall, more than 2.3 million people are currently behind bars, up 50 percent in the last 15 years, the land of the free now accounting for a full quarter of the world’s prisoners.

These developments are not unrelated.

A driving force behind the push for ever-tougher sentences is the for-profit prison industry, in which Wells Fargo is a major investor. Flush with billions in bailout money and an economic system designed to siphon wealth from the working class to the idle rich, Wells Fargo has been busy expanding its stake in the GEO Group, the second largest private jailer in America.

At the end of 2011, Wells Fargo was the company’s second-largest investor, holding 4.3 million shares valued at more than $72 million. By March 2012, its stake had grown to more than4.4 million shares worth $86.7 million.

Unfortunately, it’s a safe investment. While a 50 percent growth in the number of human beings our society cages in rape factories may sound impressive – or perhaps the word is “revolting” – a study released last year by the Justice Policy Institute found that the private prison industry grew by more than 350 percent over the last decade and a half. While other industries of course benefit from state-granted privileges, companies like GEO profit by the state literally kidnapping and handing them clientèle, particularly as of late about-to-be-deported immigrants, of which President Barack Obama has ensured there is a steady, record-breaking supply.

“All prisons are awful,” says Melanie Pinkert, an activist based in Washington, DC, who along with other members of Occupy DC’s “Criminal Injustice Committee” is helping lead a boycott of Wells Fargo, which just expanded to the nation’s capital. “But private prisons take it to the next level.” Indeed, a recent report from the U.S. Justice Department found that at one GEO-run juvenile facility in Mississippi, sexual abuse was endemic, “among the worst that we have seen in any facility anywhere in the nation.” According to the report, GEO staff demonstrated:

Deliberate indifference to staff sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior with youth;
Use of excessive use of force by [prison] staff on youth;
Inadequate protection of youth from youth-on-youth violence;
Deliberate indifference to youth at risk of self-injurious and suicidal behaviors; and
Deliberate indifference to the medical needs of youth.

These findings, shocking though they may seem, are not surprising. With an eye on maximizing quarterly profits, privately run facilities are even less inclined than state-run prisons to treat their involuntary customers humanely, skimping on health care and anything else that could hurt their bottom line, particularly programs aimed at reducing recidivism. As the ACLU noted in a report released late last year, “Not only is there little incentive to spend money on rehabilitation, but crime, at least in one sense, is good for private prisons: the more crimes that are committed, and the more individuals who are sent to prison, the more money private prisons stand to make.”

If you haven't closed your Wells Fargo account yet, this would be a good time to do so. But let's not pretend that closing our bank accounts is going to hold back the tide. There's very, very big money involved in sending people to jail for minor infractions (so much so that our political "leaders" won't even entertain the notion of legalizing marijuana) and it's only getting worse. Why, now we even lock up the mentally ill instead of treating them!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #38)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 10:18 AM

47. GEO, aka Wackenhut.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 08:13 AM

39. "The Migration Myth"



Greg Mankiw argues that:

If people feel that their taxes exceed the value of their public services, they can go elsewhere. They can, as economists put it, vote with their feet.

How much evidence is there that people actually do this, i.e. move to another place to flee high taxes?:

Migration Myth Strikes Again, by Jon Shure, CBPP: Proponents of the migration myth are at it again, trying to sell the idea that if states with lower taxes gain more population than states with higher taxes, taxes must be the reason.

To prove that people migrate from state to state in search of lower taxes, the latest edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) “Rich States, Poor States” report notes that, over the past two decades, Hawaii (which has an income tax with a relatively high top rate) has lost twice as many residents to other states as Alaska (which has no income tax).

Wait, you might ask. What about differences in the job market? Oil prices? Housing costs? Shouldn’t we take these and other potential factors into account? Indeed we should.

As we discussed in a major report last year,... Studies by economists and demographers that take into account the wide range of other factors show consistently that taxes have little if any impact on migration.

The ALEC report ignores the growing body of research that debunks the tax-flight myth, instead citing statistical tidbits that might seem compelling at first glance but wilt under scrutiny.

For example, ALEC attributes Florida’s 46 percent population gain between 1990 and 2010 to its lack of an income tax, ignoring the fact that neighboring Georgia — which has an income tax — grew by 50 percent over that period.

As for Alaska and Hawaii – the states that ALEC uses to illustrate the tax-flight myth — IRS data show that, in fact, slightly more households are moving from no-income-tax Alaska to high-income-tax Hawaii than the other way around. ...

As our report stated:

It would not be credible to argue that no one ever moves to a new state because of the desire to live someplace where taxes are lower. But neither is it credible to say that taxes are a primary motivation, nor that migration has a large impact on the revenue impact of tax measures.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 08:30 AM

40. Euro zone inflation obstinately shows no signs of easing


Reuters) - The EU's statistics agency revised upwards its March inflation reading for the euro zone on Tuesday, adding to the case for the European Central Bank to hold back from further monetary stimulus.

Costlier oil pushed consumer prices higher.

Prices in the 17 nations sharing the euro were up 2.7 percent in March from a year ago, Eurostat said on Tuesday, the same level as in February but up from a first estimate for March of 2.6 percent.

Brent crude prices are near $120 a barrel, hitting prices at a time when a depressed economy with rising unemployment, government cuts and weak business confidence has eaten into consumers' ability to spend.

That and the return to debt crisis mode in Spain and Italy have prompted speculation that the ECB could do more to stimulate growth. But high headline inflation numbers to some extent tie the bank's hands.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 08:32 AM

41. GLOBAL MARKETS-Spanish debt sale, German data bring relief


LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - Spanish borrowing costs jumped at a debt auction on Tuesday but the sale went smoothly and German data gave an upbeat reading of the euro zone's largest economy, providing some relief to investors worried about the debt crisis.

The euro and European shares rose and Spanish 10-year bond yields fell further below six percent, a key level breached on Monday.

Investors fear Spain's economic problems will reignite Europe's troubles; a break in a country's debt yields above 6 percent has in the past accelerated the rise in borrowing costs to unsustainable territory.

But Spain sold 3.2 billion euros of 12- and 18-month Treasury bills, slightly above its target, although yields were higher than at the last sale and analysts said the success was largely due to the participation of domestic banks.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:03 AM

43. Who said the World Bank was humourless?


In case you missed the news Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim was appointed new head of the World Bank on Monday. Whatever about the controversy over Dr Kim’s appointment he certainly seems to have a sense of humour – and a little talent in the singing and dancing department.

The video below shows Dr Kim (at about 2:05 in) taking part in Dartmouth College’s fourth annual “Idol” contest and he looks like he’s “having the time of his life”. You couldn’t make it up.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:17 AM

44. World Bank accused of lack of transparency after US chief chosen


THE WORLD Bank chose Jim Yong Kim, the US nominee, as its next president yesterday, but his leading rival attacked the selection process and said the decision was not made on merit.

Dr Kim, a public health expert and former president of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, becomes the first World Bank leader with a background in development. Previous presidents have always been bankers or Washington officials.

Dr Kim will have to consolidate his authority after both of his rivals – Nigeria’s finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and José Antonio Ocampo, a former Colombian finance minister – said he was a weaker candidate and won only because of US voting and political power.

“You know this thing is not really being decided on merit,” Ms Okonjo-Iweala said in a briefing reported by the AFP news agency. “It is voting with political weight and shares and therefore the United States will get it.”

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:19 AM

45. Japan to provide $60bn to IMF


Japan is to provide $60 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund, becoming the first non-European nation to commit money to boost the fund's financial firepower to contain the euro zone debt crisis.

Finance minister Jun Azumi said Japan hoped Tokyo's contribution, which will be formally announced at a Group of 20 financial leaders' meeting later this week, will encourage other countries to follow suit.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde was quoted as saying she hoped to secure government agreements this week to raise the IMF's funds by more than $400 billion, about two-thirds of the amount the Fund had said in January it would need.

"I really hope this week we'll reach the critical mass of more than $400 billion. We are determined to do all we can," she was quoted as telling Italy's main financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, though she also said finally sealing the funds might take a bit longer.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:30 AM

46. Housing Starts Slide In Latest "Housing Recovery" Disappointment; Permits Rise On Expectations Of Re

4/17/12 Housing Starts Slide In Latest "Housing Recovery" Disappointment; Permits Rise On Expectations Of Rental Surge

Today's housing starts number is merely the latest datapoint confirms the housing bottom callers will be once again early. In March, housing starts, expected to print at 705K (which is crawling along the bottom as is, so it is all mostly noise anyway, but the algos care), came at a disappointing 654K, the lowest since October 2011, and a third consecutive decline since January. Want proof that the record warm Q1 pulled demand forward? This is it. As the chart below shows, the all important single-unit housing starts have not budged at all since June 2009.

So was there any good news in today's data? Well, housing permits, which means not even $1 dollar has been invested in actually 'building' a home soared to 747K, from 715K in February, and well above expectations of 710K - the highest since September 2008. That a permit is largley meaningless if unaccompanied by a start, not to mention an actual completion goes without saying. However, what is notable is that even the permit dat was skewed: single unit structures came at 462K, lower than February's 479K. Where the ramp was in 5 units or more, aka multi-apartment units, aka straight to rental. It appears that now everyone is piggybacking on the administartion's REO-to-rent plan, and instead of buying "home to buy", all future constrcution will be apartments to rent. Which is great: since rents have been going up, builders are already redirecting their attention to the one segment in the market that is not moribund. As a result, in a few short months expect a glut of rental properties, which will kill even the incipient possibility of a recovery, as the supply drowns any latent demand, as more and more households shifts from owner to renter mentality.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 10:43 AM

48. Industrial output flat in March as manufacturing falls

Source: Reuters

Industrial output flat in March as manufacturing falls

WASHINGTON | Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:01am EDT

(Reuters) - Industrial output was flat for a second straight month in March, held back by a drop in manufacturing, according to a Federal Reserve report on Tuesday that suggested a cooling in factory activity.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected industrial production to increase 0.3 percent last month.

For the first quarter as a whole, industrial production rose at an annual rate of 5.4 percent, with manufacturing advancing at a 10.4 percent pace - the largest gain since the second quarter of 2010.

[font size=1]-snip-[/font]


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 10:49 AM

49. IMF urges eurozone to boost growth


The International Monetary Fund has urged the eurozone to step up efforts to recapitalise its banks using the bloc’s rescue fund to ward off another financial crisis. The Fund said the eurozone also needed to do more to boost growth, warning that the region’s economy is poised to shrink this year.


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Response to Demeter (Reply #49)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:07 AM

51. IMF sees 'optimism return' as faster growth predicted


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that "some optimism has returned" to the global economy and has predicted slightly faster growth.

The IMF revised world economic growth for 2012 to 3.5%, up from its previous forecast of 3.3%.

It also expects the UK to grow faster this year, by 0.8% rather than 0.6%.

But the IMF noted another eurozone crisis was possible and that most major economies "still face major brakes on growth".

*** what else were they gonna say? it sucks out there? bunch a jerks.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #51)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:10 PM

58. that made me giggle


You don't usually come off so aggressively opinionated....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #58)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:56 PM

60. Oh I have my moments...

In here I tend to defer to those - like you - who know a lot more than me.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 10:53 AM

50. Today's Reports (Housing-related)

February starts revised down slightly to 694,000
U.S. housing starts drop 5.8% to 654,000 in March
Permits to build new homes rise 4.5% to 747,000
Housing starts in U.S. 10.3% higher from year ago

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 02:49 PM

61. BTFD

This public service announcement has been brought to you by the letters H, F and T, and by the non-number ∞.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 03:12 PM

62. Musical Interlude

Spinning Wheel. Blood, Sweat & Tears.

"What goes up must come down..."

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