Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
FDIC closes bank in New Jersey,
makes 17 US bank failures so far in 2012
AP - WashingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON — Federal regulators have shuttered a bank in New Jersey, bringing to 17 the number of banks that have failed so far this year.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday that it closed Fort Lee Federal Savings Bank, FSB, in Fort Lee, N.J. The bank, with has a single branch, had about $51.9 million in assets and $50.7 million in deposits as of Dec. 31.
Many Signs Point to Gold Higher Prices
By: Przemyslaw Radomski - MarketOracle.co.uk
The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday surprised investors with a bigger-than-expected half-percentage-point cut to its key lending rate, sending it to 8%, saying the state of India's economy is "a matter of growing concern." Assuming a normal monsoon season, continuing improvement in industrial production and in the global outlook, the RBI said it expects growth for the current year at 7.3%. Inflation in India slowed less than expected in March. Indians, who love gold in any case, could turn to it as an inflation hedge. Meanwhile, the Indian Post office system is offering a 6% rebate on gold coins of various denominations for the forthcoming Akshaya Tritiya festival, which is one of the biggest gold buying festivals in the country.
Missouri Gold And Silver Money Bill Moves Forward
By Mike Lear - Implode-explode.com
The House has approved a plan its sponsor says would give Missourians a more efficient way to back purchases with gold and silver, and hedge against inflation in the process.
Representative Paul Curtman (R-Pacific) says his proposal is based on a new kind of business that has developed in Utah, that he describes as a sort of "clearing house" for goldand silver
A Return to the Gold Standard,
or Gold Behind Currencies Part 4
BY JULIAN PHILLIPS - FinancialSense.com
Today we have a set of circumstances that are totally different to those times. All currencies are in a "dirty float" that sees exchange rates moving relatively freely, being the subject of market forces, including manipulation by their own governments. The days of revaluation and devaluation are things of the past. So no amount of systemic change will see the re-imposition of fixed exchange rates. Any new monetary system or adjustment to the present system will have to accept this reality.
Currency Wars: Gambling With Other Peoples' Money
By: Axel Merk - MarketOracle.co.uk
If running out of your own money wasn't bad enough, policy makers are increasingly spending other peoples' money to bail their country out. At the upcoming G-20 meeting, finance ministers from around the world will contemplate an increase to the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At stake for politicians is whether they can continue to do what they know best – to play politics. In contrast, at stake for investors may be whether currencies will retain their function as a store of value.
Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 939 Institutions
As expected, the OCC released its enforcement action activity through mid-March this week, which contributed to many changes to the Unofficial Problem Bank List. In all, there were 12 removals and seven additions that result in the list having 939 institutions with assets of $365.6 billion. A year ago, the list held 976 institutions with assets of $422.2 billion.
One Nation Under Debt With Endless Debt Slavery For All
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Debt is a "soft" form of slavery. In America today, it is not legal to bind people up with chains and force them to work for you, but that doesn't mean that there are not millions upon millions of slaves in this country. When you borrow money, you willingly become a servant to the lender. Sadly, there are millions of Americans that will spend the rest of their lives working to pay off their debts but they will never escape the endless debt slavery that they have gotten themselves into. When you add up all forms of debt in the United States at this point, it comes to more than 54 trillion dollars. That is more than $178,000 for every man, woman and child in America. We truly are one nation under debt, and we have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet. Unfortunately, all debt bubbles eventually burst, and when this one bursts the consequences are going to be unlike anything ever seen before.
Keiser Report: Corpse of Economy (E278)
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert discuss Dr Bernanke's hologram and his real tsunami of money. In the second half of the show Max talks to Alec Empire of Atari Teenage Riot about copyright, Anonymous and free speech and the armed government goons sent to shakedown grannies.
No Way Back
By Frederick Sheehan - DailyReckoning.com
04/19/12 Gold and silver will both rise far above their current levels. "When" is unknowable. "Why" is due to the unremitting and insolent amorality of central bankers and their practices. If not Simple Ben at the Fed, his compatriots across the globe are a daily source of confusion, contradiction, and stupidity.
The stupidity may be real or it may have evolved from an unwillingness to think, as George Orwell wrote of Stanley Baldwin's and Neville Chamberlain's abdication of responsibility in the 1930s: "What is to be expected of them is not treachery or physical cowardice, but stupidity, unconscious sabotage, an infallible instinct for doing the wrong thing… Only when their money and power are gone will the younger among them begin to grasp what century they are living in."
FOMC Meeting Preview
There will be a two day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. I expect no changes to the Fed Funds rate, or to the program to "extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities" (scheduled to end in June), or to the program to "reinvest principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities". I don't expect further accommodation (aka "QE3") to be announced at this meeting.
Did Bernanke Prevent Another Depression?
Mises Daily: by Frank Shostak
In a lecture given at George Washington University on March 27, 2012, the chairman of the Fed said that the US central bank's aggressive response to the 2007–2009 financial crisis and recession helped prevent a worldwide catastrophe. Various economic indicators were showing ominous signs at the time. After closing at 3.1 percent in September 2007, the yearly rate of growth of industrial production fell to minus 14.8 percent by June 2009. The yearly rate of growth of housing starts fell from 20.5 percent in January 2005 to minus 54.8 percent in January 2009.
Bernanke's Plan for the Middle Class
by MIKE WHITNEY
Do you want to understand what the Fed is doing, but don't have time to wade through volumes of tedious economics writing?
Well, now the pros at dshort.com have made all that possible. They've reduced 4 years of monetary policy into one chart that illustrates exactly what the Fed is up-to and who benefits from the policy.
Here's the link.
The chart shows how the Fed's lending facilities, zero interest rates and $700 billion bank bailout (TARP) helped to put a bottom under a market that had fallen off a cliff. Then came the first round of Quantitative Easing (QE1) during which the Fed purchased $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS), $200 billion in US Treasuries and $150 billion in agency debt (Fannie and Freddie) This massive infusion of liquidity triggered a sharp rebound in equities starting on March 9, 2009. It also transformed the Central Bank's balance sheet into the largest waste treatment facility on planet earth.
Results of this Weekend's G-20 Meeting
Could be Huge for the Market
BY BRUCE KRASTING - FinancialSense.com
There will be some drama, and few splashy headlines out of the G-20 meeting in D.C. this weekend. Europe is cracking up (again), and the IMF and big guns of the G-20 will spout about "expanded firewalls" and "global co-ordination" in the final communique Sunday evening. If we don't get a big dose of "happy talk" then the markets will crap out.
A big agenda item for the weekend is the $400b capital raise for the IMF. There will be plenty of corridor conversations and side deals regarding which country puts up what, and what deals it gets for the money.
There are two sideshows of interest in the IMF's new money raise. The first is the USA; the second is Switzerland.
Geithner Says Europe Must Be Creative, Aggressive in Crisis
By Ian Katz - Bloomberg.com
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the global economic recovery is fragile and Europe's effort to prevent the spread of its debt crisis depends on the willingness and ability of the region's leaders to act aggressively and creatively.
"The recovery remains fragile, with continued risks from the euro area and higher oil prices," Geithner said in a statement today in Washington to the International Monetary Fund's policy steering committee. The U.S. economy "continues to gather strength," he said.
Correction Likely to Continue on Weak Rebound;
Spain Is Key
BY CHRIS PUPLAVA - FinancialSense.com
Since peaking earlier in the month the S&P 500 sold off less than 5% into last week's lows while the markets have consolidated over that time. After last week's correction we reached technical levels often associated with decent rallies and yet the weak rebound in the markets tends to suggest less enthusiasm from the bulls and likely indicates the correction isn't over. There are a few potential catalysts out there that could move the markets in either direction so watching these key points of data may provide clues as to the market's likely direction.
France's Sarkozy, Hollande head for runoff Far-right's Le Pen seen in third in French first round
By William L. Watts, MarketWatch.com
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch)—French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces an uphill battle to avoid becoming the latest European leader to be ousted in the wake of the global financial crisis after being projected to come in second to Socialist challenger François Hollande in Sunday's first-round presidential election.
In an unexpected twist, far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen was set for a third-place finish in the 10 candidate field, while far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon appeared set to underperform pollsters' expectations with a fourth-place finish.
Hollande edges Sarkozy in French vote, Le Pen surges
By Paul Taylor and Vicky Buffery
(Reuters) - Far-rightist Marine Le Pen threwFrance's presidential race wide open on Sunday by polling nearly 19 percent in the first round - votes that may tip a runoff between Socialist favourite Francois Hollande and conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande led Sarkozy by 28.2 percent to 27.0 percent with more than four fifths of votes counted, the Interior Ministry said, meaning the two will meet head-to-head in a decider on May 6 that may be closer than pundits had been expected.
An Eye On France, Italy And The Speculators
by Doug Noland - PrudentBear.com
I wanted to dive a little deeper into John Taylor's March 29, 2012, Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Dangers of an Interventionist Fed - A century of experience shows that rules lead to prosperity and discretion leads to trouble." The monetary policy "rules vs. discretion" debate is near and dear to my analytical heart, and I again tip my hat to Dr. Taylor for adeptly raising this critical issue. For this Bulletin, I'll shift the focus somewhat.
Spain Bans Cash Dominant Social Theme: This cash has gotta go. It's evil.
TheDailyBell via LewRockwell.com
Free-Market Analysis: They are not even making a pretense anymore that the West is run via market economies. As we have long predicted, the phony "sovereign debt" crisis in Europe is being used to justify all sorts of authoritarian measures.
It is government pols that gladly borrowed what European banks threw at them. And somehow the upshot earlier this week is that Spanish citizens now lose the right to conduct many transactions in cash.
IMF encourages Europe's economic suicide China, Japan, America, the oil powers, and the rising economies of Latin America had a chance to pull Europe back from suicide through IMF pressure, but the world dropped the ball.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
Another vast pledge to save the euro, another chance lost to break the hold of Europe's austerity mystics and force a shift in strategic direction.
"We're north of a trillion dollars," said Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund's queen bee. Kudos to her for netting such sums in her Louis Vuitton handbag but what exactly does this achieve, given that Europe remains bent on committing "economic suicide" -- in the words of Nobel laureate Paul Krugman?
IMF allows eurozone to stay in its fantasy world Under Christine Lagarde's stewardship the IMF is continuing to indulge the eurozone's banks while the fund's donor countries seethe.
By Liam Halligan - Telegraph.co.uk
For some time, International Monetary Fund supremo Christine Lagarde has argued that a stronger "global firewall" is needed, to contain "any future financial crises". Well, at this weekend's IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington, she announced there are now "firm commitments" from member states to boost the IMF's lending power.
European Union is coming apart As France Goes, So Goes Europe?
by Patrick J. Buchanan - LewRockwell.com
When survival is at stake, one may hear from a politician not what he believes – but what he thinks the people deciding his fate wish to hear.
By that standard, what do the people of France, in the final weeks of their presidential election, wish to hear from their candidates?
President Nicolas Sarkozy seems to believe his countrymen are in a deeply nationalistic frame of mind.
European Splintering Escalates:
Dutch Government Falls;
Slovakia Government Collapsed in March;
Czech Government Collapse Coming Right Up
By Mike Shedlock - GlobalEconomicAnalysis.com
The Netherlands government has officially collapsed in a dispute over austerity measures. Elections likely in September. Meanwhile, the Czech government is also on the verge of collapse, for the same reason: austerity measures.
The Financial Times reports Dutch government falls over budget talks
The Dutch governing coalition collapsed on Saturday when far-right politician Geert Wilders pulled out of budget cut talks, saying it was not in the Netherlands' interest to meet the deficit limit of three per cent imposed by the new European fiscal pact.
Talking Gangster Banks with Max Keiser
Matt Taibbi - RollingStone.com
I originally was going to post this video and just direct readers to my appearance on the always-excellent Max Keiser report at the 12:30 mark – Max, who usually lives in Paris, is in the States, and I got to come on his show for a quick interview. We talked about organized crime, the slavish media, and other topics. I've liked Max ever since his seminal "They're scum!" YouTube classic TV spot about Goldman, Sachs, so it was cool to finally meet him in person. I would be remiss in not also suggesting that readers take a quick look at Max's inspired Jamie Dimon impersonation at the 8:40 mark.
Keiser Report: Vicious Circle of Bankster Huddles
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert discuss huddles and cuddles with the Goombahs of Wall Street and the technical violations that cannot be called by name. In the second half of the show Max talks to Rolling Stone journalist, Matt Taibbi, about the Wall Street mafia, their small and big time rackets and the process of writing these crime stories for a wide audience.
In Economists We Trust We are a society built on market-based solutions—
but should everything have a price?
By JONATHAN V. LAST - WSJ.com
Economists don't really like presents. They think they are irrational. No gift giver can know what another person wants most, and any present is just a wasteful approximation. The only gift anyone should ever give is cash. It is optimally efficient.
Michael J. Sandel, the Harvard political philosopher, takes a different tack in "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets." He argues that while giving a present may not make much economic sense, it is perfectly sensible in terms of our cultural values. There are social ethics that have long marked the practice, maximizing sympathy, generosity, thoughtfulness and attentiveness. The optimal value, despite what the economists tell us, isn't always the most efficient one.
The Fallacy of "Too Big To Fail"–
Why the Big Banks Will Eventually Break Up
Why politicians let MF Global investors get taken
James J Puplava CFP interview with Chris Whalen
In a riveting interview on the banking industry, Christopher Whalen of Tangent Capital Partners in New York joins Jim on Financial Sense Newshour to discuss the fallacy of "too big to fail," conflicts of interest in the derivatives markets, problems with the 2005 bankruptcy laws, and why politicians let MF Global investors get taken.
Beijing takes mini-step to free-float currency
By Richard Colapinto - ATimes.com
NEW YORK - The People's Bank of China (PBOC) recently announced that it would widen the daily trading limit of its currency, the yuan, against the US dollar from 0.5% to 1.0%. This would allow the yuan to fluctuate in a wider range around a central parity rate set each day by the government.
As the new policy somewhat relaxes the controls over the currency by the government, it comes at a time when the economy is showing signs of slowing amidst the most significant political turmoil occurring inside the Communist Party since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
China: Triumph & Turmoil - Episode I Emperors
Niall Ferguson shows how the vast apparatus of the Chinese state has always been called on to subjugate individual freedom to the higher goal of unity. Ferguson also examines how, on the other hand, centralised control produces tensions that threaten to destroy the country.
1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed
WASHINGTON - The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.
A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge.
Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.
Obama officials push Congress
to block doubling of student loan interest rate
By Daniel de Vise - WashingtonPost.com
The Obama administration on Friday urged Congress to step in to prevent a doubling of the interest rate on a massive federal student loan program this summer, affecting an estimated seven million borrowers.
Congress halved the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent in 2007. If the legislation isn't extended, the rate reverts to 6.8 percent in July.
In a news conference Friday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the higher rate would add $1,000 a year to the repayment cost of the average loan.
Not all foreclosures are equal
By Michelle Singletary - WashingtonPost.com
We know from numerous reports that the housing crisis hit minority families pretty hard. Minority homebuyers by the tens of thousands were trapped in predatory mortgage loans and, as a result, their communities disproportionately felt the impact of foreclosures.
Now fair-housing organizations have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging discrimination in the marketing and maintenance of foreclosed properties in minority neighborhoods in nine major cities. The banks targeted by the National Fair Housing Alliance and four of its member organizations are U.S. Bank and its parent company, U.S. Bancorp, along with Wells Fargo.
US Republicans eye health plan
should court overturn reform
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in Congress are getting ready to answer an election-year question that has dogged the party's campaign for months: How would it replace President Barack Obama's healthcare law if the measure is overturned or repealed?
House Republicans are working to create a legislative blueprint they can sell to voters after the Supreme Court rules on Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the nation's most sweeping healthcare legislation since Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s.
Kathleen, I've got a feeling you're still in Kansas Republicans embrace big-government health care
Sebelius left behind
By Dr. Milton R. Wolf-The Washington Times
Liberals are a curious breed. They actually believe the government can mandate you into prosperity. They wave a magic wand, and the universe bends to their whim. At the end of each day, they rest their weary heads blissfully - willfully - unaware of the damage they cause.
Witness Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Before she was wielding the iron fist of power granted to her by Obamacare, she was the Kansas' governor and, before that, the Kansas insurance commissioner. Health insurance mandates were her stock in trade, and with each new government dictate, Kansans saw their premiums increase. No matter how well-intentioned, the very nature of a mandate is that it forces consumers to buy something they don't want, or why the need for a mandate? It's unavoidable, then, that Kansas families' costs increased and many simply could no longer afford insurance.
How to Care for Your Aging Loved Ones
While Still Taking Care of Yourself San Francisco researchers Alexander Smith and Jennifer King share expert advice on how to look after the elderly without losing sight of your own well-being.
Hans Villarica - TheAtlantic.com
New research shows that most disabled seniors are relatively happy with their lives.
"These folks are not doing badly," says senior investigator Alexander Smith. "Their quality of life, as they rate it, is definitely higher than some might assume it would be for older people with disabilities."
Smith and co-author Jennifer King conducted a series of in-depth interviews with an ethnically diverse group of 62 disabled elders for their Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study. Eight-five percent of them responded "fair to very good" when asked about their well-being.
Stung by the Keystone XL Debacle,
Canada Looks Eastwards
By John Daly - OilPrice.com
Given that the Keystone XL pipeline is apparently dead in the water at least until after the next presidential election, Canada is seeking new export markets in Asia for its booming oil and natural gas production.
Few Americans realize it, but according to the U.S. Energy Administration, the United States total crude oil imports now average 9.033 million barrels per day (mbpd), with Canada sending 2.666 mbpd southwards to the U.S., making it America's top source of oil imports. In 1988, Canada and the United States signed a free trade agreement that was supposed to ensure Canada would never prevent the U.S. from having first access to its huge oil reserves and bilateral trade is now worth $750 billion annually, with annual Canadian imports of U.S. goods now worth yearly than those taken by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) South Africa, Germany, and Great Britain combined.
The Aftermath of Deepwater Horizon
by JORDAN FLAHERTY - Counterpunch.org
On April 20, 2010, a reckless attitude towards the safety of the Gulf Coast by BP, as well as Transocean and Halliburton, caused a well to blow out 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. As the world watched in horror, underwater cameras showed a seemingly endless flow of oil – hundreds of millions of gallons – and a series of failed efforts to stop it, over a period of nearly three months. Two years later, that horror has not ended for many on the Gulf.
"People should be aware that the oil is still there," says Wilma Subra, a chemist who travels widely across the Gulf meeting with fishers and testing seafood and sediment samples for contamination.
Bank of America leads the way in short sales
Sacramento Business Journal by Adam O'Daniel
Blame Bank of America for its fair share of foreclosure problems all you want. But the Charlotte-based lender also is getting some credit for alternatives to the foreclosure process.
RealtyTrac this week says BofA outpaces all other large lenders in approving short sales, according to a Bloomberg report. The bank approved more than 5,000 short sales in January, nearly twice the number of Wells Fargo.
Bank of America is the Sacramento region's second largest bank in terms of local deposits. Wells Fargo is the largest bank.
Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus A leading U.S. demographer and 'Truman Democrat' talks about what is driving the middle class out of the Golden State.
By ALLYSIA FINLEY - WSJ.com
'California is God's best moment," says Joel Kotkin. "It's the best place in the world to live." Or at least it used to be.
Mr. Kotkin, one of the nation's premier demographers, left his native New York City in 1971 to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley. The state was a far-out paradise for hipsters who had grown up listening to the Mamas & the Papas' iconic "California Dreamin'" and the Beach Boys' "California Girls." But it also attracted young, ambitious people "who had a lot of dreams, wanted to build big companies." Think Intel, Apple and Hewlett-Packard.
California City Hit With $2 Million 'Parking Ticket'
By Rich Smith, The Motley Fool - DailyFinance.com
Faced with the prospect of becoming the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, in February, the city of Stockton, Calif., decided on a novel gambit. To avoid going "bankrupt," they'd simply stop paying some of their bills, leaving more money to pay their other bills.
Specifically, Stockton's City Council decided to skip a $779,935 payment to Wells Fargo (WFC), owed as an installment on $32.8 million worth of bonds issued to finance the construction of two downtown parking garages. So problem solved, right? No?
Would you buy a $60 energy-efficient light bulb?
By Rene Lynch - LATimes.com
Earth Day 2012 arrives with sticker shock: Brace yourself for the $60 light bulb.
Light bulb manufacturer Philips is flipping the switch Sunday on its new super-duper energy-efficient LED light bulb; that's when the bulb will go on sale at various outlets, including Home Depot. The full retail price is $60, but consumers will be able to find online deals, rebates and subsidies that will cut the price by $10 or more, according to the Associated Press.
Walmart's Massive Bribery Scandal: What Happens Now? Revelations that the company may have hushed up evidence of kickbacks to Mexican officials could drag down past and present executives.
By Ben Heineman Jr. - TheAtlantic.com
Senior Walmart executives stopped a far-ranging investigation into pervasive bribery in Mexico, which the company engaged in so it could build stores quickly and obtain market dominance.
So alleges a lengthy, carefully reported New York Times story that is likely to set off an explosion affecting America's eighth largest company and its top leaders, including present and past CEOs. Although facts have to be established by the authorities, this piece is a must read because it presents a detailed case that something was rotten in both Mexico City and Bentonville (Walmart's Arkansas headquarters).
Judge Napolitano Reacts to GSA
Admin. Jeff Neely Pleading the 5th
As we all know, the GSA is in more than a little hot water for a conference they held in Las Vegas ... that was paid for by America's dime. Monday, GSA Administrator Jeff Neely took the stand in the House Oversight Committee's hearings on Capitol Hill. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment for every answer asked by Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa.
Network Science of the Game of Go
By Samuel Arbesman - Wired.com
You can make networks from pretty much anything. Connect people based on friendships or phone calls, proteins based on interaction, words based on sound or meaning, and lots more.
It is high time to start using networks to understand games. And this is already beginning to happen.Aaron Clauset and Winter Mason have used a massive dataset from the videogame Halo to understand teams and how they operate.
But what of the structure of games themselves? In a paper that was recently published in Europhysics Letters, two French scientists decided to apply network science to the game of Go.
Earth Unprepared for Super Solar Storm
by Mike Wall, SPACE.com
Humanity needs to be much better prepared for massive solar storms, which can wreak havoc on our technology-dependent society, a prominent researcher warns.
Powerful blasts from the sun have triggered intense geomagnetic storms on Earth before, and they'll do so again. But at the moment our ability to predict these events and guard against their worst consequences — which can include interruptions of power grids and satellite navigation systems — is lacking, says Mike Hapgood of the British research and technology agency RAL Space.
Feral Drones…and Other Invasive Species
By Eric Fry - DailyReckoning.com
04/20/12 Laguna Beach, California – "There's a bull market in targeted killings," quips Lauren Lyster, the witty and insightful anchor of RT's Capital Account.
Admittedly, this bull market is in its early stages. (Only a couple of American citizens, so far, have met their demise at the losing end of a killer-drone strike). But Lyster is formulating her view of the future by drawing trend-lines from the present — just like any forward-looking investor would do.
Embraer warns on US Air Force contract
By Joe Leahy and Arash Massoudi in New York
Brazil's Embraer has threatened to pull out of the retendering of a politically charged light attack aircraft contract with the US Air Force if the product requirements are changed significantly.
The Brazilian aircraft maker and its US partner Sierra Nevada won the contract last year but it was abruptly cancelled in February after the US Air Force said its staff had botched the documentation for the deal.
* * * * *
Why Is It Necessary For The Federal Government
To Turn The United States Into A Prison Camp?
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
There has been no society in the history of the world that has ever been 100% safe. No matter how much money the federal government spends on "homeland security", the truth is that bad things will still happen. Our world is a very dangerous place and it is becoming increasingly unstable. The federal government could turn the entire country into one giant prison camp, but that would still not keep us safe. It is inevitable that bad stuff will happen in life. But we have a choice. We can choose to live in fear or we can choose to live as free men and women. Our forefathers intended to establish a nation where liberty and freedom would be maximized. But today we are told that we have to give up our liberties and our freedoms and our privacy for increased security. But is such a trade really worth it? Just think of the various totalitarian societies that we have seen down throughout history. Have any of them ever really thrived? Have their people been happy? Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government has decided that the entire country needs to be put on lock down. Nearly everything that we do today is watched and tracked, and personal privacy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Many of the things that George Orwell wrote about in 1984 are becoming a reality, and that is a very frightening thing. The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadly, we are rapidly becoming the exact opposite of that.
Judge Andrew Napolitano says the NSA has gone to far.
Intercepting e-mails, secretly turning cell phones on to listen to conversations, gathering finger prints and DNA, etc... If you think I'm talking terrorists you're wrong, this is how our government treats American citizens and "The Judge" Andrew Napolitano says things have gone to far.
Obama is named gun 'salesman of the year' Industry cites uncertainty over policy
By Tim Devaney-The Washington Times
The Obama years have proved to be a boon to the nation's gun industry, which has posted strong gains in jobs, sales, economic impact and taxes paid in the teeth of an economic downturn.
The economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry - a figure that includes jobs, taxes and sales - hit $31 billion in 2011, up from $19 billion in 2008, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Background check requests for firearms purchases set records in 2010 and 2011, according to FBI data.
Gen. Dempsey: US in for 'wild ride' in the Middle East
over the next decade
By Carlo Munoz - TheHill.com
America is heading into an increasingly tumultuous decade in the Middle East, punctuated by repeated popular uprisings that will continue to dismantle long-standing power structures in the region, according to the Pentagon's top uniformed officer.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he believes the fallout from the ongoing Arab Spring movement will eventually lead to a more democratic Middle East.
Turkey: The odd man in
By Peter Lee - ATimes.com
With a high-profile visit to China, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his campaign to increase the geopolitical clout of his country.
Turkey has great hopes of emerging (or re-emerging, if one recalls the heyday of the Ottoman Empire) as more than the geographic and economic linchpin of Eurasia. Erdogan hopes to leverage that central position by establishing Turkey as a regional power, a country that can set the agenda for events across the continents.
Afghanistan and US agree
on strategic partnership document A spokesman for the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has said a deal has been reached, subject to final consultation
By Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul - Guardian.co.uk
Afghanistan and the United States have agreed the contents of a long-awaited deal to define their relationship after most foreign troops leave at the end of 2014, although the document sidesteps some of the thorniest questions about the US military presence.
Negotiations on the strategic partnership deal have dragged on for over a year, initially held up by two demands from the Afghan president,Hamid Karzai, that he said were critical to restoring national sovereignty: Afghan control of jails and an end to night raids on Afghan homes.
Why the West is Supporting an Anti-Western Solution in Syria By Yossef Bodansky - OilPrice.com
A Jihadist, Anti-Western Agenda is Being Forced on Syria
The international community has been blindly following a jihadist-driven agenda for Syria; a solution the majority of Syrians reject, but which Turkey and Qatar have been driving. It begs the question: why are analysts in Washington — or Paris or London — not digging more deeply into what is really happening, given that the solution they have endorsed is so profoundly anti-Western?
The key test of the Annan plan and ceasefire to help end the widespread violence in Syria came on Friday, April 13, 2012, in the aftermath of the Friday Sermons across Syria, when agitated and incited masses came out of the mosques, ready to challenge anew the legitimacy of a non-Sunni-Islamist Government in Damascus.
China steps back from supporting Assad,
parts ways with Russia
Beijing has decided to distance itself from the Assad regime of Syria. Notice of this policy shift came about in a secret exchange of messages with the Obama administration, revealed here exclusively byDEBKAfile's Washington sources. The latest message received in the latter half of last week said: China will no longer be a problem for America in dealing with Assad. That leaves only Russia.
This change of face surfaced at the UN Security Council on Saturday, April 21, when after voting for another 300 observers for Syria, the Chinese delegate Li Baodong made an unusual speech:
"We also call upon the international community to continue its firm support for Mr. Annan's good offices' efforts and consolidate the results achieved, and we strongly oppose any word and act aimed at creating difficulties for Mr. Annan's good offices."
Will Netanyahu Tempt Fate? Will Iran War be Another October Surprise?
by ANDREW LEVINE - Counterpunch.org
Will Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu concoct a war with Iran? Not if they have a tenth of the sense they were born with. But that's not much consolation when we're dealing, on the one hand, with a vulture capitalist and one time Mormon bishop whose flip flopping gives opportunism a bad name and, on the other, with a fascistically inclined ethnocratic zealot on a mission from God.
Each of them is nefarious enough to tempt fate. To make matters worse, it turns out that the two of them are friends.
Barak to Panetta:
What is your bottom line for Iran?
Notwithstanding the hugs and personal friendship, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrived in Washington Thursday April 19 to tax his host, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, with tough questions about the administration's dialogue with Iran. They followed the lines of, "What's going on? Is there a deal? Don't tell me what you have settled with the Iranians, just your minimal demands, your bottom line."
The questions reflected Israel's concern at being kept in the dark about US-Iranian back-track negotiations and American concessions, including President Barak Obama's willingness to yield on full transparency and international nuclear watchdog inspections at Iran's nuclear sites. DEBKAfile reports: The Israeli minister had come to ask for the truth from Panetta's own lips on the urgent instructions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who himself had just received worried phone calls from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. They wanted to find out how far Washington had gone in concessions to Iran. You Israelis have more clout in Washington than us, they said. You have to try and stop the downhill decline. Concern was also registered from Berlin.
Iran says it recovered data from captured US drone
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press – Google.com
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran claimed Sunday that it had recovered data from an American spy drone that went down in Iran last year, including information that the aircraft was used to spy on Osama bin Laden weeks before he was killed. Iran also said it was building a copy of the drone.
Similar unmanned surveillance planes have been used in Afghanistan for years and kept watch on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. But U.S. officials have said little about the history of the particular aircraft now in Iran's possession.
Iran 'building copy of captured US drone' RQ-170 Sentinel
Iran has begun building a copy of the US surveillance drone it captured last year, after breaking its encryption codes, Iranian officials say.
"The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane," General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, military aerospace chief said.
The RQ-170 Sentinel was shown on Iranian state television last December.
Tehran says it was brought down using electronic warfare; Washington says it malfunctioned.