Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Collapse Coming–Not Recovery
By Greg Hunter’s - USAWatchdog.com
The way the latest unemployment numbers were reported by the mainstream media (MSM), you would think the Great Recession was over and the United States was solidly on the road to recovery. The Associated Press reported the numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with a story that said, "The United States added 227,000 jobs in February, the latest display of the breadth and strength of the economic recovery. The country has put together the most impressive three months of job growth since before the Great Recession. The unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent. It was the first time in six months it didn’t fall, and that was because a half-million Americans started looking for work." (Click here for the complete AP story.) I don’t see how the MSM can say this one number is "the latest display of the breadth and strength of the economic recovery."
How High Will The Gold Bull Climb?
By Mark Motive - GoldSeek.com
Gold is once again above $1,700 and eyeing its all-time high. Yet, the same two camps are saying the same things they have since the yellow metal was at $600: either this is a bubble, or it's headed much higher. While the gold bulls have clearly been right for over ten years, that doesn't mean they will always be right. There are many ways to determine whether gold will continue its historic climb. In the past, I have looked at gold fundamentals - such as monetary inflation, increasing government deficits, and an unsustainable debt - all which indicate a bullish future. Today, I am examining a technical bellwether which has been used for decades to analyze the relative performance of stocks vs. gold.
Barclays: Long term picture supportive for gold,
near term technicals neutral
LONDON (Commodity Online): Barclays Capital lists a supportive long-term view for gold but is technically neutral for the short term.
Barclays describes the macro environment and investor flows as bullish but fundamentals as neutral.
"Gold had been boosted by investor interest but sidelined the mixed physical market. While some physical buying has emerged upon the sharp price corrections, the cushion for prices has not proved to be solid thus far. However, it bodes well for prices that ETP (exchange-traded-product) holdings have remained stable at record highs," Barclays continued.
UBS maintains bullish outlook for gold;
but says technical picture challenging
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): UBS describes gold’s technical picture as "challenging" at the moment but says it maintains its overall bullish outlook for the longer term.
According to UBS, another price drop after a strong U.S. jobs report Friday suggests the bulk of quantitative easing expectations built into the market after the Jan. 25 FOMC meeting have been remove.
"Although gold has managed to claw its way back above $1,700, our technical strategist highlights that the overall picture remains challenging…," bank added.
The Silver Catalyst:
An Exclusive Interview with Hugo Salinas Price
BY JOHN BUTLER - FinancialSense.com
This month I am pleased to provide readers with the transcript of my recent interview withHugo Salinas-Price, focusing on his plan for re-introducing circulating silver coinage. For those not familiar with Mr. Salinas-Price, he has been a tireless and eloquent hard-money advocate for decades. However, rather than merely rant at the destabilizing effects of inflationary monetary policies, some years ago he formulated a detailed plan to not only help protect savers from the erosion of wealth through inflation but also to potentially catalyze a return to sound monetary policy in his native Mexico and elsewhere. While ambitious in its potential effects, his plan is nevertheless refreshingly simple and would be quick to implement, making it ideal for any country seeking a way to restore financial stability, protect savings, attract investment and create jobs.
Important Data Outlook for U.S. Economy
BY SHERAZ MIAN - FinancialSense.com
Stocks will likely not do much in today’s trading session given the absence of anything meaningful on the economic calendar. But we do have a host of economic reports on deck for the rest of this week that will likely further confirm the improving outlines of the domestic economic outlook.
Investors will be keenly evaluating the odds of further quantitative easing from the Fed through Tuesday's FOMC announcement. The overall trading action this week will largely reflect investors’ desire for more Fed help in each economic release.
FOMC Preview: No Policy Changes Expected At Fed Meeting
By MORAN ZHANG: - IBTimes.com
Federal Reserve officials, scheduled to hold their March Federal Open Market Committee meeting Tuesday, are not expected to announce any policy changes, say economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Fed officials will debate whether the economy is making sufficient progress under the current policy and what conditions might warrant additional easing, and Tuesday's statement should provide some clues as to what the Fed is and is not prepared to do.
The Case for Shorting U.S. Bonds
By Doug Kass - TheStreet.com
NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Bonds have achieved a near 50% total return since year-end 2009. With those outsized returns, shorting bonds has been a toxic strategy.
Over the last half century, bonds have historically been considered a risk-free asset class.
Nevertheless, I believe bonds should now be seen as a return-free asset class that is very risky, and long-dated fixed income should require a warning label for all potential buyers.
Meredith Whitney was right The more general point that Meredith Whitney was trying to make about public debt -- that municipal finances in this country were a mess that was only going to get messier -- was dead on.
By Duff McDonald - Fortune.com
FORTUNE -- To readers of the business press, the story is a familiar one: fifteen months ago, superstar analyst Meredith Whitney rocked the world of municipal finance with a December 2010 prediction on 60 Minutes that a wave of municipal debt defaults was headed our way. Her forecast was quite specific: "You could see fifty to a hundred sizable defaults," she told her interviewer, correspondent Steve Kroft. "This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of defaults."
Banks Buy Treasuries at Seven Times 2011 Pace
By Susanne Walker - Bloomberg.com
U.S. banks bought more government and related debt in the first two months of 2012 than they did in all of last year, an endorsement of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s assessment of the economy that’s boosting demand for bonds even with yields near the lowest on record.
Commercial lenders purchased $78.2 billion of Treasuries and securities of agencies in January and February, compared with $62.6 billion in all of 2011, bringing their holdings to $1.78 trillion, Fed data show. Deposits exceeded loans by a record $1.63 trillion last month, up from $1.17 trillion in January 2011, providing scope to buy more bonds.
Obamanomics delayed the recovery What took so long? Why O’s policies slowed recovery
By Charlie Gasparino - NYPost.com
The US economy finally seems on course toward a sustained recovery — but why did it take so long?
Consider this analysis: Job creation is strong, while economic growth as measured by the gross domestic product will finally creep back to pre-2008 levels, something close to 3.5 percent.
That was not the takeaway from last week’s strong jobs report, but a prediction more than a year ago from Goldman Sachs analysts, possibly the best economics team on Wall Street.
Two-Year Treasury Yields
Match Highest in Seven Months Before Retail Sales
By Masaki Kondo - Bloomberg.com
Treasury (YCGT0025) two-year yields matched a seven-month high before U.S. data that economists said will show retail sales increased, easing speculation that the central bank will add to monetary easing.
Ten-year notes were little changed after four days of declines before the Federal Reserve holds a policy meeting today. The Treasury is scheduled to sell $21 billion in 10-year notes today and $13 billion in 30-year debt tomorrow.
Big banks: Too big to behave?
By Eleanor Bloxham, CEO of The Value Alliance
and Corporate Governance Alliance - Forbes.com
FORTUNE – Disclosure failuresrelated to mortgage offerings are again in the sights of the SEC, this time related to Goldman Sachs (GS) and Wells Fargo (WFC). And a recent court order describes potential client conflicts of interest involving advice provided by Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (with the apparent knowledge and participation of CEO Lloyd Blankfein) related to the Kinder Morgan-El Paso acquisition. Are these and other large financial firms just too big to behave?
Portugal Yield at 13% Says Greek Deal Not Unique: Euro Credit
By Lucy Meakin and Keith Jenkins - Bloomberg.com
The good news is Greece won’t default on March 20, and 10-year borrowing costs for Spain and Italy have dropped below 5 percent. The bad news is similar - maturity Portuguese bonds still yield more than 13 percent.
Last week, Greece pushed through the biggest sovereign restructuring in history, with private holders forgiving more than 100 billion euros ($131 billion) of debt, a condition for the nation to win the bailout it needs to repay 14.5 billion euros of debt coming due next week.
Biggest debt restructuring in history
buys Greece only 'a bit of time' Private investors agreed to write off 85.8 percent of Greece's private debt, but analysts warn that if Greece doesn't address underlying problems, the deal will not fix things for long.
By Michael Steininger - CSMonitor.com
BERLIN - Greece has succeeded in pushing through the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history, with 85.8 percent of those holding private Greek debt agreeing to join a debt write-off deal, according to the Ministry of Finance in Athens.
The deal cuts Greek debt by around €105 billion ($138.8 billion) – about half of the country's private debt – and clears the way for Greece's second international bailout package, this one worth €130 billion ($173 billion). European finance ministers said today that they would immediately release the first tranche of the funds, worth €35 billion ($46.2 billion).
Not Solving the Greek Debt Crisis
Might Just Solve the Greek Debt Crisis Everybody assumed that when Greece defaulted, Europe would fall apart. This weekend, Greece defaulted. And Europe's still around. What if extend-and-pretend actually works?
by Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
Greece and the euro zone are the Sid and Nancy of currency unions. We know these crazy kids are going to break up eventually -- so why not go ahead and get it over with already? The answer is that neither side is prepared for their inevitable divorce. The Germans have roughly a trillion reasons to keep Greece around for now. And the Greeks, for their part, still want to stay in the euro zone. The prospect of bringing back the drachma simply terrifies many of them. It shouldn't. Greece's recent managed default shows that leaving the euro, though ignominious, wouldn't need to be the end of the world.
Euro ministers to approve 2nd Greek bail-out
BY VALENTINA POP - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday (12 March) to give their final approval to the second Greek bail-out. But Spain's deficit problem is likely to weigh heavily on the talks.
In a conference last Friday, the so-called Eurogroup ministers approved the release of around half of the €130 billion bail-out, which is to help fund a massive bond-swap between Greece and private debt-holders
Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee
calls for Greece to exit the euro Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, tonight called for Greece to exit the euro and for the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be significantly boosted to tackle future financial crises.
By Damian Reece - Telegraph.co.uk
In a well received speech at the annual British Venture Capital and Private Equity Association's annual chairman's dinner, Mr Tyrie said the current lull in the single currency's crisis, after last week's Greek bond swap, should be used to engineer a permanent exit for Greece.
The economic and political challenges facing the country if it stays in the eurozone would be too great to be sustainable, he argued.
Mr Tyrie also said increasing the size and fire power of the IMF was essential. But he also warned the body should avoid getting too close to the eurozone in future but should instead "get tough" with the single currency bloc.
Hungary feels the heat under strengthened EU budget rules
BY VALENTINA POP - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Finance ministers are on Tuesday expected to approve the freezing of €495 million in funds for Hungary if Budapest fails to bring down its deficit in the coming six months. - the first such move under the EU's strengthened budget rules.
A large majority of member states is said to favour the two formal proposals: One giving Hungary a six-month deadline for "sufficient corrective measures" slashing budget spending by 0.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the other setting a funding freeze from 1 January 2013 if the deadline is not met.
Finland: EU countries do not want joint foreign policy
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Finland's foreign minister has said EU countries are more divided on foreign policy now than before the Lisbon Treaty came along.
Erkki Tuomioja made the remarks after informal talks with his EU counterparts in Copenhagen on Friday (9 March) and Saturday.
"The real problem is with member states and their willingness to work together - this should be a basic pre-condition when we start a discussion on this or that subject, there should be no red lines ... [But] the commitment to this is actually less than it was five years ago. The Lisbon Treaty has given us a new instrument, but this is a matter of political will," he told EUobserver by phone from the Danish capital.
A reality check on the US economy More volatile even than the markets, media reporting veers from double-dip recession to strong recovery. So, some sobriety …
By Dean Baker - Guardian.co.uk
Economists and economic reporters are about as quick to change their assessments of the economy as teenagers are to shift allegiances to the latest pop star. While the economy rarely undergoes rapid shifts in direction, the public could be excused for not recognizing this fact – based on economic reporting.
Unfortunately, the analyses that look at underlying trends to determine the future course of the economy are the exception. More typically, reporting amplifies the latest report and ignores other evidence about the likely future direction of the economy.
Fed to Test 19 Banks’ Capital Against Recession Scenario
By Craig Torres - Bloomberg.com
The Federal Reserve will show how the capital of 19 U.S. banks might fare through a deep recession and a second housing crisis when they unveil stress-test results in three days.
The tests will show results for revenues, capital ratios and profits or losses at each firm over a nine-quarter period, the Fed said in a paper released today in Washington. The results will be released at 4:30 p.m. on March 15. Templates included in the Fed release today showed an array of categories it plans to disclose, from trading and counterparty losses to credit cards and first-lien mortgages.
Two Reasons Why the Global Economy Will Slow
and Government Promises to Retirees Will be Broken
Submitted by Phoenix Capital Research - ZeroHedge.com
The coming years will be marked by a seismic change in the economic landscape in the US. Firstly and most importantly, we are going to see economic growth slow down dramatically. Jeremy Grantham, an asset manager I respect, believes we’ll see global growth at 2% over the next seven years. Personally I believe it could be even lower than that.
The reasons for this slow down are myriad but the most important are:
• Age demographics: a growing percentage of the population will be retiring while fewer younger people are entering the workforce.
• Excessive debt overhang.
Gas prices top $3.80 a gallon
By CNNMoney staff @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The national average price for a gallon of gasoline rose above the $3.80 mark Monday, resuming the advance that has plagued drivers throughout the winter.
The average price rose nine-tenths of a cent, according to the survey of gas stations conducted for the motorist group AAA. It was the third straight advance, with prices gaining 3.4 cents a gallon over Saturday and Sunday.
No Jobs For Americans
By: Paul Craig Roberts - PaulCraigRoberts.org
Today (March 9, 2012) the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that 227,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs were created by the economy during February. Is the government’s claim true?
No. Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that 44,000 of these jobs or 19% consist of an add-on factor derived from the BLS’s estimate that 44,000 more unreported jobs from new business start-ups were created than were lost by unreported business failures. The BLS’s estimate comes from the bureau’s "birth-death model," which works better during normal times, but delivers erroneous results during troubled times such as the economy has been experiencing during the past four years.
Wyoming Town for Sale Is Cheaper Than Most Houses
By ADAM MARTIN - TheAtlanticWire.com
It looks like one of the great bargains in American real estate right now: A whole town in Wyoming is going up for auction with a starting bid of $100,000. That's far cheaper than the average U.S. home price, cheaper than listings in the closest city of Laramie, and far cheaper than the average price of most whole towns. Compared to recent zip-code sales, such as that of Scenic, South Dakota, which went for $799,000 last year, and Wauconda, Washington, for $360,000 in 2010, the asking price for Buford, Wyoming -- current population: one, Don Sammons, the man who's selling it and retiring from his self-proclaimed "mayorship" -- is a steal.
Locked into an underwater mortgage, low-pay job Job mobility hurt by housing woes
By Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Jose, 47, hoped to build a life with his wife Maria, 43, and three children in Phoenix, where he took a new job at a plastic-bag factory in 2007.
Unfortunately, he was unable to sell a home he and his wife had bought in 2002 in La Puente, Calif., six hours away by car. After five years of frustration, Jose moved back there in September to take a lower-paying job at a factory where he had previously worked.
Like many of their neighbors in La Puente, a community of about 40,000 located 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles, they are "underwater," which means they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.
Housing settlement details filed in court
By Jennifer Liberto @CNNMoney
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Final details were filed in federal court Monday in the $26 billion settlement to help struggling homeowners and settle charges against big banks of abusive and negligent foreclosure practices.
The Department of Justice filed five separate consent agreements, each more than 300 pages, between 49 states, federal agencies and the largest bank servicers:Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500), JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Ally Financial (GJM).
Health reform's cost under scrutiny
By Jeanne Sahadi @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Capitol Hill's official budget cruncher will offer new estimates on Tuesday of one of the most controversial parts of health care reform: the government's cost of covering tens of millions of uninsured Americans.
The Congressional Budget Office's estimates will be part of its annual March revision to its budget baseline -- the marker against which any spending and tax proposals are measured.
US government blocks controversial Texas voter ID law Department of justice says Texas has not proved that new voting laws would not punish Hispanic voters disproportionately
By Ryan J Relly - Guardian.co.uk
The federal government will not preclear a photo voter identification law signed by Texas governor Rick Perry because it would have a greater impact on Hispanic voters, a Justice Department official said in a letter to state authorities on Monday.
Hispanic registered voters in Texas were either 46.5% or 120% more likely than average voter to lack a form of photo ID, according to data the state submitted to DOJ. The first data set was sent in September and the second in January, though Texas has refused to tell federal authorities which they believe is more accurate.
The hidden traps in new 2012 tax forms A number of new forms may surprise taxpayers this year
By Eva Rosenberg, MarketWatch
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Bingo! The new 1099-K forms — just one of a number of tax-form changes this year — caught a PayPal seller.
This young man, selling things from his home, did not think of himself as being in business, but he just received a Form 1099-K. It doesn’t take into account any of his charge-backs or refunds. This is exactly the kind of person they had in mind when they created the 1099-Ks.
Ron Paul Tells Reporters He Is Suspicious
About Results Of GOP Caucuses Congressman says he has "theories"
that foul play may be involved
By Steve Watson - Infowars.com
In a conversation with reporters in Missouri this weekend, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul said that he and his supporters were suspicious about the outcomes of several caucuses because the crowds and volumes of support have been much bigger for him than for any other candidate.
"Quite frankly I don’t think the other candidates get crowds like this, and we get them constantly" Paul said, after he had spoken to yet another crowd of over 2500 supporters in Missouri.
LinkedIn is a hacker's dream tool
By Stacy Cowley @CNNMoneyTech
SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney) -- If you use LinkedIn, you've probably told the site where you work, what you do and who you work with. That's a gold mine for hackers, who are increasingly savvy in using that kind of public -- but personal -- information for pinpoint attacks.
It's called "spear phishing," and it paid off last year in two especially high-profile security breaches: a Gmail attack that ensnared several top U.S. government officials and a separate attack on RSA, whose SecurID authentication tokens are used by millions.
When a Robot Becomes the Life of the Party Ms. Garriott Uses Keyboard
to Shake Her Robootie at Remote Wedding
By EMILY GLAZER - WSJ.com
When Richard Garriott de Cayeux threw a costume party the night before his wedding in Paris, his 82-year-old mother dressed up as an Indian princess and attended as a robot.
Helen Mary Garriott wasn't strong enough to make the long trip from her home in Las Vegas. So Mr. Garriott de Cayeux went looking for alternatives. The one he hit upon was a portable robot about the size of a canister vacuum cleaner with a telescoping neck, binocular-shaped eyes and a screen for a forehead.
Homeless hotspots plan causes controversy for BBH ad agency
An "experiment" which involved using homeless people as mobile wi-fi hotspots has attracted criticism, forcing the advertising agency behind it to defend itself.
A division of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) equipped 13 homeless people with 4G mifi devices in Austin, Texas.
It suggested the public pay $2 (£1.30) for 15 minutes access to the net.
Comments posted to the BBH's site accused the project of being "unseemly" and "wrong".
Members of Twitter asked "what has this world come to?" and accused the project of being a "gimmick".
Celente: Hawks circling over Iran as only ally Syria on ropes
The White House may be claiming it wants a diplomatic solution in Syria, but it seems it may not have faith in its own convictions.The Pentagon has been ordered to review its potential options.
Gerald Celente, publisher of the Trends Journal talks to RT, claiming Washington might be contemplating a military operation, because bringing down the Syrian regime would weaken Iran.
Syria crisis: US and UN urge Security Council unity
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the US secretary of state have urged the international community to speak with one voice on Syria.
Hillary Clinton said that Syria's "horrific campaign of violence" had "shocked the conscience of the world".
Russia and China have blocked resolutions condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In Syria, activists report that at least 47 people were killed in an attack by government militia in Homs.
Taliban Promise Revenge for Civilian Murders in Afghanistan
By Kurt Nimmo - Infowars.com
The Taliban has called for revenge following the massacre of 16 civilians in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, allegedly by a U.S. soldier on a rampage. The Taliban posted a message on their website denouncing the "barbaric actions" of "sick-minded American savages" and said they would seek revenge.
Taliban Vow Revenge for Afghan Civilian Deaths
The Taliban vowed revenge Monday for an "inhumane attack" in which an American soldier allegedly shot to death 16 civilians in southern Afghanistan and torched their bodies.
"Is there any military … in the entire world which gives legality for unstable persons to be armed and drafted into the military and then be given the duty of so-called peacekeeping?" the group asked.
Afghan shooting will not affect 2014 security handover, says US US soldier's killing of 16 civilians 'inexplicable', says Hillary Clinton, as White House and Pentagon stress 'isolated incident'
By Ben Quinn - Guardian.co.uk
Efforts to prevent the massacre of 16 civilians by a US soldier inAfghanistan from derailing the international military strategy were stepped up on Monday as western political leaders tried to portray the incident as an isolated case.
The killings on Saturday were "inexplicable," said the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who insisted that the episode would not force a change of course.
Obama and Cameron set to end
troops' lead combat role in Afghanistan Leaders meeting to discuss plans for British and US military move to support and training role by middle of 2013
By Nicholas Watt and Nick Hopkins - The Guardian
David Cameron and Barack Obama will on Wednesday agree tentative plans for British and US troops to end their "lead combat role" inAfghanistan by the middle of next year.
Their meeting comes amid growing anger in Afghanistan over the killing of 16 civilians on Sunday by a US soldier, and follows the funerals in Britain of six soldiers killed by a bomb earlier this month, taking the death toll of UK troops over the 400 mark.
An Israeli Attack Against Iran
"Would Destroy Chance of Peace for Generations"
By Richard Silverstein - Infowars.com
In an interview in The Nation, David Grossman, Israel’s leading novelist and moral conscience, expresses the conviction that Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak want a war against Iran:
…He said he had "a very bad feeling" that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were going to order an attack, even against America's wishes. “There is a dynamic to all these warlike declarations," he said.
Israel’s Grand Strategy
BY JR NYQUIST - FinancialSense.com
"When the principle of authority is injured in the public mind it dissolves very rapidly," wrote Gustave Le Bon in The Psychology of Revolutions. The figure of authority for the United States is the president, who is commander-in-chief of a powerful military machine. Although the military situation of the United States may be characterized in terms of growing weakness, the free world nonetheless looks to America for security. Israel, among other countries, would be overrun by enemies without the support of the United States. And that is why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Washington last week to meet with President Barack Obama.
War with Iran - Obama looking for a way out?
March 8, 2012 - Iran has agreed to take part in nuclear talks. The country is prepared to engage in face-to-face negotiations after feeling intense pressure from both the US and Israel to abandon it's nuclear program. America and Israel have intensified their rhetoric when it comes to using military action against Iran, and earlier this week President Obama expressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that diplomacy efforts should be given more time. Obama didn't rule out military action against Iran to protect US interests just yet though, and Paul Craig Roberts, a former Reagan administration official, joins us for the latest development.