Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Seven arrested in FBI raids linked to Christian militia group Jennifer Chambers / The Detroit News At least seven people, including some from Michigan, have been arrested in raids by a FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based Christian militia group, a person familiar with the matter said. The suspects are expected to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Monday. On Sunday, a source close to the investigation in Washington, D.C. confirmed that FBI agents were conducting activities in Washtenaw and Lenawee counties over the weekend in connection to Hutaree, a Christian militia group. Detroit FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold told The Detroit News the federal warrants in the case are under court seal and declined further comment.
Fed raids in Michigan may be tied to Hutaree, a Christian-militia group BY NIRAJ WARIKOO - DetroitFreePress.com -- Federal agents conducted raids over the weekend in Lenawee and Washtenaw counties that news media reports linked to Hutaree, a Christian-militia group in the area. Agents also conducted raids in Indiana and Ohio and arrested at least three people. FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland said agents arrested two people Saturday after raids in two Ohio towns. A third arrest made in northeast Illinois stemmed from a raid in northwest Indiana. The arrests are part of an ongoing investigation led by the FBI in Michigan, according to a statement from agents in Illinois.
The coming of an American Reichstag? By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director 25 March 2010: A federal intelligence source reported in an interview last evening that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have been called in to “actively investigate incidents of violence and threats” made to at least ten Democrats and one Republican lawmaker since Sunday. Their involvement was reportedly requested by top House leadership and one unnamed, high-level White House official. According to this source, who agreed to speak to this writer under the strict condition of anonymity, “a ‘watch list’ has already been created that specifically names and turns their focus on various pro-life and tea-party organizations and individuals who are considered a threat to domestic security, continuity of government operations, and to the lives of lawmakers and their families.”
Four banks fail; FDIC pulls back on loss shares by Karey Wutkowski (Reuters) - Four small banks across the United States were seized by regulators on Friday evening, ticking up the year bank failure tally to 41. The continued parade of bank collapses comes as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is pulling back on loss-share agreements designed to lure bidders into taking on the assets of troubled banks. Two of the banks that were seized were in Georgia, which has accounted for about one-sixth of all failures since the beginning of 2008.
U.S. Bank Failures Reach 41 This Year as Four Lenders Are Shut By Phil Mattingly - BusinessWeek.com -- March 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators shut down four banks in Arizona, Georgia and Florida, bringing the total for the year to 41 as small lenders struggle with bad loans tied to commercial real estate. The banks seized March 26, including Desert Hills Bank of Phoenix, Arizona, had total assets of $1.24 billion and deposits of $1.1 billion, according statements from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Regulators have seized 181 U.S. lenders since the start of 2009.
Fed's Warsh warns on inflation risk complacency by Kristina Cooke and Steven C. Johnson (Reuters) - Central bankers should keep "a very open mind" about potential economic shocks that could emerge in the United States and overseas, a top U.S. central bank official said on Friday. Federal Reserve Board Governor Kevin Warsh told a Shadow Open Market Committee conference that the United States should not be complacent about inflation risks, adding that market signals and economic data were sending a variety of messages.
How the Next Middle East War Could Start By RONEN BERGMAN WSJ.com The three most plausible scenarios all involve Iran. This May, Israel will celebrate its 62nd Independence Day. And barring the unexpected, the country will have good reason to celebrate. This will have been the safest year in a decade and a half for Israeli civilians—the year with the fewest fatalities in acts of war or terror. Ironically, Israel's most bitter foes are responsible for this achievement. The leadership of both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza have imposed a temporary policy of nonconfrontation on their respective followers, as well as on other armed groups operating within the territories they control. They are now part of the administration and don't want to be blamed for igniting another war in the region. As a result, the once almost daily rocket attacks on civilian targets in the north and south of Israel have been reduced to a trickle.
America and the Next Major War By: Clif Droke - GoldSeek.com In the current phase of relative peace and stability we now enjoy, many are questioning when the next major war may occur and speculation is rampant as to major participants involved. Our concern here is strictly of a financial nature, however, and a discussion of the geopolitical and military variables involved in the escalation of war is beyond the scope of this commentary. But what we can divine from financial history is that “hot” wars in a military sense often emerge from trade wars. As we shall see, the elements for what could prove to be a trade war of epic proportions are already in place and the key figures are easily identifiable.
Axelrod: World has united against Iran By ASSOCIATED PRESS - WashingtonTimes.com WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top White House adviser said Sunday the United States is making progress in its efforts to find allies to hold the line on Iran's nuclear ambitions. David Axelrod, President Obama's senior political adviser, told CNN's "State of the Union" that at the start of the Obama administration, Iran was united while the world was divided on how best to deal with Iran. Mr. Axelrod said the situation now is reversed -- the world is coming together while Iran itself is divided. He said he's pleased with the cooperation that the Russians have offered and believes Moscow will support fresh penalties against Tehran.
The Final Treaty by J. R. Nyquist - FinancialSense.com More than twenty years ago, working on a book that was later titled Origins of the Fourth World War, I inserted a quote from the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, which states: "That nuclear weapons, whose terrible effects are suffered, indiscriminately and inexorably, by military forces and civilian population alike, constitute, through the persistence of the radioactivity they release, an attack on the integrity of the human species and ultimately may even render the whole earth uninhabitable." The treaty further states: "That general and complete disarmament under effective international control is a vital matter which all the peoples of the world equally demand."
Sell-off in US Treasuries raises sovereign debt fears By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk Investors are braced for a further sell-off in US Treasuries after dramatic moves last week raised fears that the surfeit of US government debt is starting to saturate bond markets. The yield on 10-year Treasuries – the benchmark price of global capital – surged 30 basis points in just two days last week to over 3.9pc, the highest level since the Lehman crisis. Alan Greenspan, ex-head of the US Federal Reserve, said the abrupt move may be "the canary in the coal mine", a warning to Washington that it can no longer borrow with impunity. He said there is a "huge overhang of federal debt, which we have never seen before". David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff said Treasury yields have ratcheted up 90 basis points since December in a "destabilising fashion", for the wrong reasons. Growth has not been strong enough to revive fears of inflation. Commodity prices peaked in January and US home sales have fallen for the last three months, pointing to a double-dip in the housing market.
Treasuries Find Greenspan’s Canary Fainting in Mine By Susanne Walker - BusinessWeek.com March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s warning that rising yields on government debt will drive up American borrowing costs is resonating with the world’s biggest bond traders, who say this month’s losses in the market for U.S. Treasuries are just the beginning. Higher yields are the “canary in the mine,” Greenspan said in a March 26 interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt.” The increases reflect concern over “this huge overhang of federal debt which we have never seen before,” he said. The budget deficit, which hit $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2009, will drive Treasury sales to a record $2.43 trillion this year, a February survey of 10 dealers showed.
Credit Crisis, Outrage, Far From Over Bob Chapman - InternationalForecaster.com Bernanke re-nominated, outrage at banks, insolvency the real state of banks, crime pays when you are at the top, sovereign debt crisis around the world, debt and derivatives products were all just a ponzi scheme, the problem wont go a way when the system is purged, PIMCO Bill Gross warns of inflation, big cutbacks in services... The re-nomination of Ben Bernanke, as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, has to be one of the ultimate political insults, particularly coming from Republicans, as did his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, both have taken America and the world down the sewer. Ben Bernanke saved Wall Street, the banks, insurance companies and a myriad of other Illuminist firms.
Feds Warsh: Fed cannot be "ultimate rescuer" WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve must steer clear of dabbling in fiscal policy or risk losing its hard-fought independence, a top Fed official said on Friday. "The Fed, as first responder, must strongly resist the temptation to be the ultimate rescuer," Fed Governor Kevin Warsh said in a speech prepared for delivery to the Shadow Open Market Co. "No matter the congressional calendar or the pleadings of the elected, the Fed is not a repair shop for broken statutes or broken financial ecosystems," he said.
Europe has left Greece hanging in the wind By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk However you dress it, the Greek package agreed by EU leaders is a capitulation to German-Dutch demands. There will be no European debt union as long as Angela Merkel remains Iron Chancellor of Germany. The Frankfurter Allgemeine summed up the deal succinctly: "No member of Europe's monetary union should be liable for the debts of another state. Bilateral credit from Berlin for Athens is not the same as German acceptance of responsibility for Greek debt." This shatters the assumption since Maastricht that monetary union leads inexorably to fiscal union. By drawing the IMF into Euroland's affairs, Germany has broken the spell and reduced EMU to a fixed-exchange system with knobs on, like the 1930s Gold Standard that it so resembles. No wonder Jean-Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank is cross.
Ron Paul on Healthcare and Foreign Policy
Gold: The United States Of Crisis John Ing Last year it was Wall Street's debts, this year it is sovereign debt problems. Just when everybody was told it was safe to go into the water, once again investors are told that yet another bailout is needed to stem the threat of a default. This time it is sovereign defaults. Taxpayers are again being asked to pony up as governments pile up more debt, further devaluing their purchasing power. When will it end? Investors are losing confidence in propping up heavily indebted governments, banks and corporate entities, either explicitly or implicitly. Inflation and currency depreciation is next.
Gold may trade above $1,100 this week By Dr Jeffrey Lewis - CommodityOnline.com Gold may trade above $1,100 this week. A move to $1,140 or even higher is quite possible based on short-term short covering. There have been heavy volumes of buying and selling between $1,084 and $1,130 over the last two weeks, reflecting a battle between shorter term investors liquidating positions based on a stronger dollar and economic indicators and longer term investors taking price dips as opportunities to buy.
The Gold Price will be affected by the Oil price in future – How? Julian D.W. Phillips - FinancialSense.com -- For many years it was believed that the oil price had a direct impact on the gold price. Then the ‘credit crunch’ arrived, after the oil price had hit $145+ before tumbling to $35 a barrel. Since then the oil price has been treated as irrelevant to the gold price. We at Gold Forecaster believe it only had an indirect influence on the gold price in the first place.
Big Oil Entering the Shale Natural Gas Arena by Hans Wagner - FinancialSense.com Successful exploration of natural gas from shale has contributed to a drop in natural gas prices during the past two years. Yet the large energy companies have taken notice of the potential from natural gas from shale, lead by Exxon’s acquisition of XTO Energy and the Total/Chesapeake joint venture. Does the move by “Big Oil” indicate a strong future for shale based natural gas?
IMF Gold Not Up For Sale? GoldSeek.com I wish I could talk about the recent CFTC hearings in regards to position limits on metals in a more favourable light, but it seems all the build-up was for naught. There were too many opposed to limits and when it really comes down to it the powers that be are the ones who don’t want position limits, so there is a snowballs chance in hell of ever seeing any as far as I can see. Is that so bad after-all? Perhaps not.
Divide home loans with ounce price of gold! By Adrian Ash - CommodityOnline.com It is hard to say quite how the latest slug of tax-payer cash thrown at US housing will affect prices. Because at first glance, the $14 billion of aid (aka meddling) apportioned on Friday seems set to both inflate and depress prices. Subsidizing over-priced contracts stops the market from clearing, and people whose homes are worth less than their mortgage can now seek government-backed loans to cover the difference. But that's only thanks to lenders writing down what they're owed – or rather, what the securitized bonds holding their debtors' mortgages are due at maturity – thus resetting the existing loan's value closer to current reality.
Is IMF holding back its gold sale plan? By Tyler Durden - CommodityOnline.com In an exclusive report, Kitco has just released yet another stunner in the world of precious metals. It turns out that Eric Sprott has attempted to purchase gold from the IMF, according to information provided to Kitco by Frank Holmes, CEO of US Global Investors. "I just spoke with Eric Sprott, who bid to buy [the IMF's remaining gold on the block] and they refuse to sell it." As Kitco points out, "the IMF might be holding out for a bigger buyer or a central bank or for higher prices. But Holmes argues the IMF's rejection of Sprott's bid means markets are being manipulated."
ECU Group's Philip Manduca "We Are At A Tipping Point" And The Only Thing That May Save The Euro Is A Collapse Of The US by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com -- For once, some actually good insight from a CNBC guest. Philip Manduca, Head of Investment of the ECU Group, discusses Greece and the very severe implications of what the final outcome will look like. "Trichet said the Greeks are crooks, and they've been lying about the numbers. There is a deeply embedded corruption within the Eurozone. Combined with the endemic European socialism and there is just no way you are going to get spending cuts and tax raises and maintain a GDP that makes any sense of the percentage aspect of debt to GDP. So the whole show is wrong. This is an intractable situation, this is going to continue on and on. The only hope for the Eurozone, and the Euro as a currency, is that someone takes the spotlight soon, and that may be the United States." Watch the rest as Philip's perspective is spot on...Not to mention that he sees gold as the only alternative to the fiat bonfire soon to engulf the western world.
Gold is the long term currency of choice . . . get long of gold
Former Goldman Commodities Research Analyst Confirms LMBA OTC Gold Market Is "Paper Gold" Ponzi GoldSeek.com -- When we put up a link to last week's CFTC hearing webcast little did we know that it would end up being the veritable (physical) gold mine (no pun intended) of information about what really transpires in the commodities market. First, we obtained direct evidence from Andrew Maguire (who may or may not have been the target of an attempt at "bodily harm" as reported yesterday) of extensive manipulation in the silver market. Today, Adrian Douglas, director of GATA, adds to the mountain of evidence that the commodities market, and the CFTC, stand behind what is potentially the biggest market manipulation scheme in the history of capital markets (we are assuming for the time being that all allegations of the Fed manipulating the broader equity and credit markets are completely baseless). Using the testimony of a clueless Jeffrey Christian, formerly a staffer at the Commodities Research Group in the Goldman Sachs Investment Research Department and now head and founder of the CPM Group, Douglas confirms that the "LBMA trades over 100 times the amount of gold it actually has to back the trades."
GATA's Murphy produces evidence suggesting specific instance of silver and gold manipulation at CFTC hearing Author: Lawrence Williams - MineWeb.net -- Testimony from GATA's Bill Murphy to the CFTC hearing in Washington could be embarrassing for some major investment banks. Some observers feel that the Gold Anti Trust Association (GATA's) long held views on a conspiracy by some major banks and government entities to manipulate precious metals prices are off-target, but the latest evidence produced by GATA chairman Bill Murphy in open testimony at the CFTC hearing is compelling assuming the source material is accurate.
Bill Murphy of GATA Reveals Whistle-Blower in Gold Price Suppression
Silver can pull you out of debt By Dr Jeffrey Lewis - CommodityOnline.com Make no mistake about it: silver is an investment for trying times. As one the most beautifully shiny metals, silver's true economic beauty shines through in a world ruined by rampant inflation and growing debt. The Barter Economy A barter economy is one of the most primitive economic models, wherein goods and services are traded, with each party believing it received the better end of the bargain. An example would be that of a plumber and an electrician. The plumber can fix pipes, install a toilet and improve the general condition of a variety of plumbing, but likely could not rewire the light switch.
‘Silver gives better opportunity for investments’ By Dr Jeffrey Lewis - CommodityOnline.com As observed by many analysts across the world silver has been surpassing gold investments in yielding attractive returns for the investors. In last one year, silver has drawn attention of global investor community as the grey metal has outperformed gold by gaining over 24% against 16% return in gold. India, which has been the largest consumer of gold, is now found changing its focus to better yielding precious metals like silver. Several bullion traders in India have shown their interest in launching varied products for silver investments.
Dollar to Fall as U.S., U.K. ‘Two Peas In a Pod’, Barclays Says By Inyoung Hwang March 26 (Bloomberg) -- The dollar may weaken versus the pound as expanding record budget deficits in the U.S. begin to weigh on the economic recovery and the world’s primary reserve currency, according to Barclays Plc. Even though the U.S. and U.K. suffer from being consumption-driven economies with large deficits, the financial crisis had a harsher effect on sterling, Paul Robinson, a currency strategist in London at Barclays Capital, wrote in a note to clients today. He said the greenback benefited from its status as a safe-haven currency and the view the budget deficit in the U.S. would be easier to cut than in the U.K.
Ron Paul: Executive Orders are Unconstitutional We Need a Private Option in Healthcare
Tedbits 2010 Outlook by Ty Andros - FinancialSense.com When Hope Turns to Fear, Part V 2010 Outlook Conclusions As we near the APEX of the countertrend rallies in many markets and economies, the air is full of HIGHLY-COMBUSTIBLE situations just waiting for someone to light the MATCH. The full debacle of the next leg down in developed world economies is at the doorstep. What event will act as catalyst is unknowable, and the list of candidates is mountainous. Corruption and criminality within the public sectors, crony capitalists and banksters set the stage for an explosive cocktail, are set to immolate the private sectors that still produce wealth and the public at large.
S&P readying for a crash…..to 1110-1120 By SHAILY - InvestingContrarian.com This week COT data was quite illustrative of what the big boys are doing. Infact it was deja vu for me as it gave me taste of what the big boys aim to do when they need to get off their positions. I was part of all this as we used to unload huge and massive speculative postions and leaving the small guys holding the batter. For the first time in the last 6 months, we have the small traders (even retail) becoming hopeful of the rally to go on. And guess what? The big boys including the commercials and large funds and traders have gone short. This is bearish. Very!
Bank-Tax Concept Gains Momentum By BOB DAVIS - WSJ.com WASHINGTON—The U.S. and European governments are moving toward a consensus on taxing large banks to cover the cost of any future bailouts rather than asking taxpayers to foot the bill, as happened regularly in past banking crises. The tax proposals vary. Germany and Sweden would use the money to fund a "resolution authority" that would use the money to shut troubled banks whose failure would put the broader economy at risk. Others, such as France, would assess the fee after a crisis passed.
Scrutiny rises of failed bank purchases By Suzanne Kapner and Helen Thomas in New York - FT US regulators to rethink rules on buying discounted assets US regulators are stepping up their scrutiny of rules that enable buyers of failed banks to take an accounting gain – dubbed “Christmas capital” – by acquiring assets at a discount, according to people familiar with the discussions. Regulators are discussing guidelines to limit how much of a bank’s capital can be comprised of such gains. The talks involve leading bank regulators, including the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
China warned of growing ‘land loan’ threat By Geoff Dyer in Chongqing - FT.com Local governments use public terrain as collateral The Guanyinxia forest stretches up to the mountains north-west of the big central Chinese city of Chongqing. Most is protected land. “Our purpose is mainly preservation – not to make money,” says Liu Siyang, Communist party secretary of the government bureau that manages the forest. Yet the same forest has a double life in the commercial world. It has been used as collateral by a company controlled by the local government forestry bureau to help secure a Rmb300m loan it took out last year from a state-owned bank, which was then spent on infrastructure projects in Chongqing.
Think deficits don't matter? Just ask Portugal MoneyWeek.com What happened yesterday? Little of consequence. At least, not here in the UK. Alistair Darling stood up. He gave a speech in which he tried to clear the Labour party of any responsibility for the state of the economy they've been running for the past 13 years. He bribed first-time buyers. He battered cider drinkers. Then he sat down.
GMAC unit sold to Wells Fargo By Helen Thomas and Suzanne Kapner in New York - FT Wells Fargo said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy a division that provides financing to small businesses from GMAC, the troubled car and home lender, cementing its position as a leader in the field. The division provides working capital to about 150 small and medium-sized businesses, mainly suppliers of consumer products to large retailers such as Walmart and Target.
Supply fears start to hit Treasuries By Michael Mackenzie in New York and David Oakley in London - FT -- The bond vigilantes are finally flexing their muscles. A long period of stability for the US government bond market showed signs of cracking this week as a lack of investor appetite for new debt sent the benchmark 10-year yield to its highest level since last June. For more than a year, analysts have been warning that record sized debt sales by the US Treasury were at odds with a 10-year yield sitting comfortably below 4 per cent. This week, the yield on 10-year notes jumped from 3.65 per cent to a peak of 3.92 per cent on Thursday. On Friday it was 3.87 per cent.
Fed Officials Signal Asset Sales to Play Bigger Role By Craig Torres and Scott Lanman March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve officials are moving toward a consensus that asset sales will play a more prominent role in their exit from the most expansive monetary policy in the central bank’s history. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told legislators yesterday that “restoring the size and composition” of the Fed’s record $2.32 trillion balance sheet to a “more normal configuration” is a long-term policy goal. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in an interview the central bank must start making plans now for future asset sales.
US Justice Department Names JP Morgan and UBS as Conspirators in US Muni Bond Fraud and Bid Rigging JESSE'S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN -- The big American banks are starting to look more like criminal enterprises than a well managed financial system that is put forward as 'the envy of the world." Just yesterday a whistle blower stepped forward and named J. P. Morgan in a price manipulation scheme in the metals markets that reaps millions in profits by cheating investors. The CFTC commissioners said in this same public meeting that the markets have never been more transparent and efficient, even as they had known of this allegation for months, and apparently failed to seriously investigate. And there was no mention of this in the mainstream media.
CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP By David M. Dickson - WashingtonTimes.com President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation's economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday. In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president's budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.
FHA's Florida fiasco By Tami Luhby - CNNMoney.com NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- What the hell happened to the FHA's loans in Florida? The state dominates the list of troubled metro areas for Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages. In fact, 16 of the top 25 locales with the highest default rates are in Florida, as of December, with tiny Punta Gorda on the Gulf Coast leading at 22.7%. The poor performance of Florida's FHA loans has helped drag the agency down to its lowest point in decades, raising concerns that taxpayers will have to bail it out. The agency is in the midst of overhauling its operations to shore up reserves, which have fallen well below the level required by Congress.
FDIC Stands Between J.P. Morgan and a WaMu Payoff By DAN FITZPATRICK - wsj.com The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. backed away from its support for a $1.4 billion tax break benefiting J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., setting up a battle between the regulator and the nation's second-largest bank. The tax benefit stems from J.P. Morgan's acquisition of Washington Mutual and is part of the bankruptcy proceedings of the failed Seattle thrift's parent company. Washington Mutual is eligible for $2.7 billion to $2.8 billion in refunds based on a 2009 economic stimulus bill that allowed companies to apply losses from 2008 and 2009 against taxes paid in the previous five years.
Convoy of U.S. Military Armored Personnel Vehicles I was driving home from work today and did a double take as I rounded the Shuster Park Way bend to Tacoma. On the tracks behind an BNSF train [engine #5394] I saw railcar after railcar of U.S. Military Armored Personnel Vehicles heading southbound towards Oregon. If it wasn't for the Northbound Sounder transit train causing this train to pause, I would have missed it entirely.
Europe agrees IMF-EU rescue for Greece By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk After weeks of discord, Europe's leaders have agreed to an emergency facility for Greece backed by the International Monetary Fund and bilateral loans from eurozone states. The accord was vague on figures and aid can be invoked only as a "last resort" if Greece is shut out of the capital markets. Since Greece is already paying an untenable debt premium, the wording once again leaves it unclear what exactly has been settled. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch premier, leaders of the two key creditor states, imposed their demand that the IMF must be central to any rescue. While the Eurogroup is to play a "co-ordinating" role, Germany and Holland will retain a veto over use of the facility. Greece said it was "satisfied" by the terms.
Papandreou Faces 15.5 Billion-Euro Bond Burden After Aid Plan By John Fraher and Simon Kennedy -- March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, fresh from winning a European Union aid package last week, now has to prove he can keep his nation’s finances afloat. His government still has to raise as much as 15.5 billion euros ($21 billion) by the end of May, almost as much debt as it sold in the first quarter, says Petros Christodoulou, head of the country’s debt agency. Failure to do so could spark a new round of the fiscal crisis and trigger the use of the aid plan crafted by EU leaders in Brussels on March 25.
Gerald Celente on Politics & Religion Another economic collapse coming this year; no real economic recovery
Obama, scolding GOP, makes 15 appointments By Kara Rowland - WashingtonTimes.com Now that Congress has left for spring break, President Obama is making more than a dozen recess appointments to fill key administration posts at the Departments of the Treasury, Homeland Security and others, the White House announced Saturday. Citing "months of Republican obstruction," Mr. Obama made 15 appointments in all, including Craig Becker, a controversial nominee to head the National Labor Relations Board. The Senate last month voted against proceeding to confirm Mr. Becker, a former union lawyer.
White House defends special appointments By ASSOCIATED PRESS - WashingtonTimes.com WASHINGTON (AP) -- David Axelrod, President Obama's senior political adviser, has defended a decision to do an end run around Congress on 15 appointments to federal boards and agencies. Mr. Axelrod said in an interview to be aired Sunday morning on CNN's "State of the Union" that the administration faces a "huge number of vacancies" and Republicans won't act on the nominations of 77 people.
Social Security Makes History With Negative Cashflow By Bill Bonner -DailyReckoning.com 03/26/10 Baltimore, Maryland – The US government is going broke. An item in The New York Times tells us that for the first time in its history, this year the Social Security program is turning cashflow negative. Social Security “surpluses” were the source of the Clinton administration’s claim to have been running a balanced budget. Well, it was balanced…if you counted the excess Social Security contributions. But now the Social Security system is running in the red, just like everything else. And now the government is in charge of our health too.
TARP watchdog slams Obama foreclosure program By Tami Luhby NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- President Obama's foreclosure prevention program will likely fall far short of its goal and may even do more harm than good, a government watchdog said Tuesday. The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said the Treasury Department set targets that weren't "meaningful," mismanaged the implementation of the program, and now risks a substantial number of "re-defaults," with many participants ultimately losing their homes anyway
Second mortgages complicate efforts to help homeowners By Renae Merle - WashingtonPost.com As government regulators and lenders work to stabilize the housing market, one of the factors that helped propel the housing boom of the past decade is now taking a central role in thwarting their efforts: second mortgages. Programs to help distressed borrowers so far have focused on lowering the payments on their primary mortgage. But during the go-go years of the housing market, millions of homeowners took out a second or even third loan backed by their home. Many were piggyback mortgages, which enabled home buyers to put little or no money down, while others took advantage of rising home prices to secure home-equity lines of credits.
Obamacare' cops: $1 billion to force new tax compliance 16,000 new IRS agents to be required under health-care reform By Jerome R. Corsi - WND.com -- Collecting taxes under the Democrats' newly passed health-care plan will cost the federal government more than $1 billion a year in salaries alone, Republicans in Congress estimate. The legislation will require the IRS to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes imposed on Americans, according to a House Committee on Ways and Means Committee Republican report prepared March 18 for ranking members Reps. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Charles Boustany, R-La.
Healthcare Reform Losers: BY KERRI SHANNON, Associate Editor, Money Morning Companies Providing Retiree Benefits Face Multi-Million Dollar Tax Costs After sending letters of protest to Congress in the months prior to the healthcare law's approval, U.S. companies are now facing multi-million dollar after-tax hits this year due to a tax provision in the new legislation, labeling them healthcare reform losers instead of winners. Part of the new healthcare law places a federal income tax on government subsidies given to companies that provide retirees and their spouses with drug benefit plans. The 28% subsidy was created as Medicare Part D, adding a prescription plan for senior citizens to the Medicare Act of 2003. To encourage companies to continue offering retirees a drug plan, the tax-free subsidy reduced companies' costs. Fewer senior citizens then went through Medicare's prescription program - which would have cost taxpayers much more than the subsidy price.
Health-care overhaul begins now By Ezra Klein - WashingtonPost.com As someone who has spent the past year tangled in the minutia of excise taxes and curve bending and subsidy levels, it is good to finally say this: With the passage of the reconciliation fixes, the health-care reform debate is finally over. But if you're thrilled to hear that, then I also have some bad news: Health-care reform itself is just beginning. This bill marks an evolution, not a revolution, for our health-care system. Whether it proves the cornerstone of a better, fairer, more affordable system or simply another expansion of the federal welfare state has as much to do with what happens when the law is implemented as with what's written in the legislation.
Obamacare bait & switch By THE WASHINGTON TIMES - Editorial Campaign health plan promises fail reality test The health care bill that President Obama signed last week bears little resemblance to the reform package he once touted from the campaign trail. With the final legislative product in hand, it's worth evaluating how it compares to the promises Mr. Obama made to voters regarding the plan's cost, its features and the reform process itself. The difference between then and now couldn't be more stark.
Obama dares GOP to repeal HealthCare CNN.com Obama returns to Iowa to sell health care Iowa City, Iowa (CNN) -- President Obama hit the road Thursday to sell the merits of the newly enacted health care law, telling an enthusiastic Iowa crowd that the measure will lead to greater economic security for most Americans. "This is your victory," Obama said at the University of Iowa. Health care reform "was about the future of our country. And today ... that future looks stronger and more hopeful and brighter than it has in some time." The crowd, in turn, repeatedly chanted Obama's campaign theme: "Yes, we can." Obama made his remarks as the Senate passed a package of changes to the health care law. Congressional Democrats have promised to approve the changes before the end of the week.
Health reform's immediate impact: Your benefits By Parija Kavilanz - CNNMoney.com NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Under the new health care legislation, experts say the first changes Americans with employer-based insurance will see is in their benefits. Companies don't have to make any immediate tweaks to their plans, but they will have to incorporate a few of the federally mandated changes by open enrollment time late in 2010, said Tracy Watts, partner with employee benefits consulting firm Mercer.
Brewer wants AZ legislators to let her sue federal government over health care mandates Phoenix Business Journal - by Mike Sunnucks -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is asking the Legislature to grant her the authority to sue the federal government over new health care reforms and mandates. Brewer, a Republican, opposes the health care reforms approved by the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama. She does not like federal mandates on states, employers and individuals and argues it's an over-reach of federal power.
Companies say health care costs hard to swallow By JOSH FUNK (AP) The health care overhaul will cost U.S. companies billions and make them more likely to drop prescription drug coverage for retirees because of a change in how the government subsidizes those benefits. In the first two days after the law was signed, three major companies — Deere & Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Valero Energy — said they expect to take a total hit of $265 million to account for smaller tax deductions in the future. With more than 3,500 companies now getting the tax break as an incentive to keep providing coverage, others are almost certain to announce similar cost increases in the weeks ahead as they sort out the impact of the change.
Ron Paul's Definition of Our God-Given Rights Article by Anna Webb. Life, liberty, and the right to keep the fruits of our labor – not health care nor education. Crowds cheered former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul's claim that "the revolution is alive and well in Idaho," in a speech Saturday at the Morrison Center that at times took on the feel of a revival meeting. Americans, he said, have misunderstood the definition of "rights," which are God-given and include "life, liberty and the right to keep the fruits of our labor." Those rights include neither education nor health care.
Continental to lay off 150 more workers Houston Business Journal Continental Airlines Inc. is laying off 150 ground workers, including bag handlers, at seven U.S. airports and hiring contractors in their place. The Houston-based carrier said late last week that the layoffs would take effect on June 1 in Providence, R.I.; Greensboro, N.C.; Richmond and Norfolk, Va.; Pensacola, Fla.; St. Louis and Kansas City.
Hawaii loses 4,200 construction jobs Pacific Business News (Honolulu) Hawaii’s construction employment plunged 12.4 percent, or by 4,200 jobs, year-over-year in February. The state’s seasonally adjusted construction employment totaled 29,600 jobs in February, down from 33,800 a year earlier, according to the latest statistics from the Associated General Contractors of America, based in Washington, D.C. Hawaii ranked No. 21 among the states in terms of percentage change in construction jobs, with No. 1 being the best. Construction job counts declined in 49 states and the District of Columbia between February 2009 and February 2010.
U.S. Michigan Consumer Index remains Flat by Anthony Cherniawsk - FinancialSense.com Confidence among U.S. consumers was higher than anticipated in March as companies slowed the pace of job cuts and stocks advanced. Gains in confidence and fewer job losses may help sustain consumer spending and fuel the economy in coming months. A pickup in Americans’ purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, hinges on employment growth that has yet to materialize. Bernanke Wants to End Bank Reserve Requirements Completely: Does it Matter? What Chaos will Result?
Doctor-starved: America's heartland in crisis By Parija Kavilanz NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- For one doctor practicing in America's heartland, the new health care law and its incentives to keep doctors on the farm is a start, not a solution, to the medical care crisis afflicting rural America. "It's good that there will be an increase in Medicare and Medicaid payments to primary care doctors who work in underserved areas," said Dr. Downs Little. "But there is still a lot of work to be done." For Little, 60, these new measures came too late. Little, a primary care internist, closed his Lottsburg Va.-based practice on Dec. 31. Lottsburg, located in Northumberland County, is in one of the nation's designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA).
Why a $14/hour employee costs $20 By Catherine Clifford - CNNMoney.com NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- You probably cost your boss a lot more than you think you do. For Jim Garland, who owns a corporate aircraft cleaning and support services company, a $14 per hour worker has a true cost of $19.63 per hour, or about 40% more than base pay. This so-called "loaded rate" includes fixed expenses -- federal and state taxes, health insurance, workman's compensation, uniforms, and paid time off -- along with soft costs like the time spent training a new hire.
'Tea Party Express' stop in Phoenix draws crowd by Parker Leavitt - The Arizona Republic The "Tea Party Express" was greeted by about 1,200 to 1,500 supporters as it rolled into Phoenix on Sunday, the third stop on a three-week, cross-country tour that ends in Washington, D.C., on April 15. Activists from across Arizona and from as far as Seattle gathered at the Arizona State Capitol complex to sing, chant and voice their distaste of taxes, health-care reform and big government.
Tea Party priorities split Ohio GOP BY JON CRAIG AND LISA D. PRESTON COLUMBUS - When the Tea Party movement began last year, it was all about reining in government spending, questioning the massive federal stimulus package and defeating the Obama administration's health-care plan. This year, it is all about electing candidates who will do that for them. In Ohio, that has led to a split in Republican ranks, with party regulars and Tea Party activists lining up on opposite sides in GOP primaries for secretary of state and Ohio auditor.
Tea Party activists protest in Buffalo Posted by: Kate McGowan - WIBV.com Rus Thompson gives plan for upcoming election BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Tea Party activists have protested twice in the past week in Buffalo. On Saturday, organizer Rus Thompson laid out his plan for the upcoming election. "I co-founded an organization called Primary Challenge and our whole objective was to run people against the incumbents in the primary," Rus explained. Supporters are now demonstrating on a regular basis.
1 in 4 Americans censoring thoughts under Obama By Bob Unruh - WND.com Confidence in constitutional liberties plunges further still Nearly one American in four routinely censors his or her own thoughts "much" or "always" under President Obama's administration, and those who believe their personal liberties have plunged since inauguration day have grown significantly from 49 percent to more than 55 percent in just one month. This month, of course, was when Democrats rammed through a bill that essentially nationalizes health care, creating new requirements for consumers to purchase a government-chosen plan or face penalties.
Gun Charges After FBI Raids in 3 States FOXNews.com - AP The FBI conducted weekend raids in three states and arrested at least three people, and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one raid was a Christian militia group. ADRIAN, Michigan -- The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in three states and arrested at least three people, and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one raid was a Christian militia group. The raids took place in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, the FBI said. Federal warrants were sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects. Some of the suspects were expected in court Monday.
Colorado Taxi Drivers to Spy for Cops Marybeth Brush - KKTV Making our community safer; that’s the goal of a new partnership starting today with a local business and Colorado Springs police. The drivers of Yellow Cabs will now be an extra set of roving eyes and ears to help police catch criminals. One of those drivers is Andy Michopoulos. A Yellow Cab has been his office for three years. But now he will be doing double duty in an effort to help keep our city safe. “As a driver who’s out at all times of night and all over the city, you see things going on and to have a direct way of reporting that to the police is definitely a plus,” says Michopoulos.
Massive 'maelstrom' to blast incumbents By Bob Unruh - WND.com 2010 'will make 1994 election look like light summer breeze' A new survey shows a political "maelstrom" brewing in the U.S. that threatens not only Democrats in power but Republicans who have the tag "incumbent" attached to their name. "They say movie sequels are never as strong as the original film, but politics can be different. There is every indication that, following the passage this week of the massive national health-care legislation, the political maelstrom brewing across the country is building to proportions that will make the 1994 Republican Revolution look like a light summer breeze," said Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies. "But this time, Democrats may not be the only endangered incumbents, as this data shows Republican congressmen are also in serious danger."
Palin to tea party rally: Don't sit down, shut up By MICHAEL R. BLOOD SEARCHLIGHT, Nev. (AP) - Sarah Palin told thousands of tea party activists assembled in the dusty Nevada desert Saturday that Sen. Harry Reid will have to explain his votes when he comes back to his hometown to campaign. The wind whipped U.S. flags behind the former Alaska governor as she stood on a makeshift stage, holding a microphone and her notes and speaking to a cheering crowd. She told them Reid, fighting for re-election, is "gambling away our future." "Someone needs to tell him, this is not a crapshoot," Palin said.
2010 Will Be a Tough Census By Conor Dougherty - WSJ.com The 2010 Census is likely to be one of the more challenging population counts in recent history, a fact that could raise the cost of the census and reduce the accuracy of the count. “The recession could make it a lot harder to find people,” says Sean Reardon, a professor at Stanford University, who studies income inequality. It all comes down to bad timing. The government always knows when the census will be, but the state of the economy is a crapshoot. This year’s census will take place in the aftermath of the worst recession in a generation. While economists say it’s likely the U.S. emerged from recession sometime around summer 2009, the jobless rate is expected to remain well above 9% for the remainder of the year.
Washington Murdered Privacy At Home And Abroad by Paul Craig Robert - TakiMag.com In the Swiss newspaper Zeit-Fragen, Professor Dr. Eberhard Hamer from Germany asks, “How Sovereign is Europe?” He examines the issue and concludes that Europe has little, if any, sovereignty. Professor Hamer writes that the sovereign rights of Europeans as citizens of nation states were dissolved with the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on Dec. 1, 2009. The rights of the people have been conveyed to a political commissariat in Brussels. The French, Germans, Belgians, Spanish, British, Irish, Italians, Greeks, and so forth, now have “European citizenship whatever this may be.”
China’s Geely to Buy Ford’s Volvo in Record Deal By Ola Kinnander and Keith Naughton - BusinessWeek.com March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Zhejiang Geely Holding Co. agreed to buy Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co. for $1.8 billion in the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese automaker more than one-and-half-years after the two companies first entered discussions. The price includes a $200 million note and the remainder to be paid in cash, Ford Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth said yesterday in Gothenburg, Sweden. Time spent on seeking regulatory approval in different jurisdictions means the companies now aim to complete the deal in the third quarter, Geely Chairman Li Shufu said.
U.S. and E.U. Agree to Expand Open Skies Accord By JAMES KANTER and NICOLA CLARK BRUSSELS — The European Union and the United States agreed Thursday to expand a three-year old accord that allows airlines to operate more freely across the Atlantic. The move will increase access to each other’s markets and narrow differences over environmental regulations, but industry executives were disappointed that no agreement was reached to remove the remaining barriers to foreign ownership and control of airlines. Siim Kallas, the European Union transport commissioner, hailed the agreement as a “major step forward” that would remove “constraints on foreign investment and market access that have been holding back the development of the most important aviation market.” Mr. Kallas said he would seek approval by the bloc’s 27 transport ministers and the European Parliament by the end of June.
Arabs to unite against Israel at annual summit AFP - breitbart.com Arab leaders open their annual summit on Saturday determined to send a clear message to Israel that any plan to "Judaise" Jerusalem would spell doom for the Middle East peace process. The summit is the first to be hosted by Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, the longest-serving Arab head of state who considers Israel the "enemy" and has frequently lambasted Arab countries who seek peace with the Jewish state.
LIBYA: Arabs pledge $500 million to Palestinians in East Jerusalem LATimes.com -- Arab foreign ministers gathered in the Libyan city of Surt in preparation for Saturday's Arab League summit announced their plan to more than triple aid to Palestinians living in East Jerusalem from $150 million to $500 million in response to the construction of new Israeli settlements, Secretary General Amr Moussa told reporters Friday. The request for more aid was made by the Palestinian Authority, which would presumably be responsible for distributing the money.
Chinese Activist Surfaces After a Year in Custody By ANDREW JACOBS - NYTimes.com BEIJING — Gao Zhisheng, the Chinese rights activist who has been missing for more than a year, has resurfaced near his hometown in northern China. In a brief telephone interview on Sunday, Mr. Gao said that he was no longer in police custody, but that he could not give any details of his predicament. “I’m fine now, but I’m not in a position to be interviewed,” he said from Wutai Mountain, the site of a well-known Buddhist monastery. “I’ve been sentenced but released.”
Agencies Suspect Iran Is Planning Atomic Sites By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD - NYTimes.com -- WASHINGTON — Six months after the revelation of a secret nuclear enrichment site in Iran, international inspectors and Western intelligence agencies say they suspect that Tehran is preparing to build more sites in defiance of United Nations demands. The United Nations inspectors assigned to monitor Iran’s nuclear program are now searching for evidence of two such sites, prompted by recent comments by a top Iranian official that drew little attention in the West, and are looking into a mystery about the whereabouts of recently manufactured uranium enrichment equipment.
On the Edge with Max Keiser - 26 March 2010 - (1/3)
On the Edge with Max Keiser - 26 March 2010 - (2/3)
On the Edge with Max Keiser - 26 March 2010 - (3/3)
USA's Coming Crisis, Peter Schiff, David Walker, Jim Nussle, Ron Paul(NWO SERIES/Economic Collapse)