Archived Alerts 7/16/13 – 7/31/13

 

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7.30.13 – Indiana DHS demands restaurant owner get permit to play live music

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Why is DHS in charge of enforcing state laws. Isn’t the DHS suppose to fight terrorism? Just another piece of evidence that the DHS has nothing to do with fighting terrorism. More taxes, more permits, more control. They are put in place to watch, spy, control the people before, during and after the collapse.

UPDATE: It seems that this story might not be true: read here

[/stextbox]

  • Despite being created ostensibly as a response to the terror attacks on 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security has now expanded its role to include issuing permits without which restaurant owners are barred from playing live music.
  • Unbelievable as it sounds, in the state of Indiana, the DHS, which was supposedly founded to protect against and respond to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters, now regulates live entertainment.
  • Mike Martin, the owner of Folly Moon, a restaurant in downtown Muncie, IN, claims that the DHS “is actually saying it is illegal to play music or operate a business where music is played for any reason without paying the Department of Homeland Security, and giving them much personal and private information.”
  • Last April, the Indiana DHS claimed Martin’s business had violated state law by failing to obtain an entertainment permit for live music. Martin charges that the DHS is selectively enforcing the rule in order to “shut down small business with outdated laws.”
  • He attracted support from Don Marquardt, president of the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association, who told the Muncie Free Press that the law was archaic and outdated and should only apply to night clubs and dance halls which are not restaurants. Marquardt added that the law was part of an assault on small businesses already hit with smoking bans, higher taxes and overzealous health code violations.
  • Martin asserts that the DHS’ actions are “an outrage to freedom” and just the first step in the federal agency’s ever-expanding attempt to micro-manage many aspects of American society.
  • “If the DHS can regulate the performance of a song where do you think they will stop? The fact is they won’t!” warns Martin.
  • “The Department of Homeland Security does not have the jurisdiction to enforce laws in the United States. They have purposefully and misleadingly attached themselves to the Fire Marshall to circumvent American constitutional rights and automatically give themselves jurisdiction in every business in the United States. This is enforced through the Fire Marshall’s inspection of commercial public businesses,” writes Martin, calling on Americans to “stand united against the unlawful abuses of the Department of Homeland Security and this increasingly fascist government.”
  • This story is yet another example of government bureaucracy running wild. Earlier this week it emerged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture busted a stage magician for not having a license for his rabbit.
  • “A small-time magician from Missouri that does magic shows for kids was absolutely horrified when he learned that the Obama administration is requiring him to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the rabbit that he uses in his shows,” writes Michael Snyder. “Yes, this is actually true. His name is Marty Hahne, and he thought that it was bad enough when the U.S. Department of Agriculture busted him for not having a “license” for his rabbit. He went out and acquired the proper “license” for his rabbit, but he never dreamed that eventually he would also have to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the same rabbit.”

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7.30.13 – Spain Is Now Manipulating Unemployment Numbers Like The US

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Spain reported that their unemployment started to decline to 26.26 percent and it was all over the mainstream media, today it seems that Spain looked at the US to see how they calculate their unemployment and decided to copy it and have their unemployment numbers go down.[/stextbox]

  • At a time when Spain is back in the limelight on account of its ever-sprouting corruption scandals, the government is trying to switch public attention to the prospect of impending economic recovery.
  • Last Thursday, when the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported a 0.90 percent drop in the active population unemployment rate (down to 26.26 percent from the previous quarter’s 27.16 percent), Economy Minister Luis de Guindos assured: “Despite all the difficulties, today I am convinced that the worst is over and that the Spanish economy will leave behind the negative growth rates.”
  • Although some may find the minister’s statement a rather cynic proposition considering the reality on the streets, there seems to be a growing readiness to embrace the government’s optimistic message.
  • Before uncorking the cava, however, let’s take a look at the arguments put forth by the Spanish government to announce that the country is finally leaving the crisis behind.
  • Besides Q2’s 0.90 percent unemployment rate drop, Spain’s National Statistics Institute offers more data, which helps understand part of what is really happening to the country’s labor market:
  • 76,000 people have left the labor market (i.e., retirees, people who have stopped looking for work and emigrants). Over the past year, some 500,000 people have been ejected from the active population census.
  • 149,000 people have found jobs. A good number, only the context is not as good since the full sentence should read: 107,400 men and 41,700 women found temporary and precarious jobs, of which 60% percent were temporary contracts.
  • 50,000 permanent contracts were lost in Q2 –over 430,000 YoY.
  • Long-term unemployment remains unaltered, as only 3,500 people in this category found a [temporary, precarious, part-time] job in Q2.
  • ‘Tis the season for field laborers and wait staff: the bulk of the reported new jobs were created in the agriculture and services sector (mainly tourism).
  • The following chart (courtesy of estadolimitado.com) illustrates Spain’s dramatic demographic structure. The bottom line is that 29.62 percent of the Spanish population (public workers not included) keeps the entire country afloat.

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7.30.13 –Russia urges end to Syrian carnage by “international terrorists”

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Russia knows exactly what the US government/central bankers are doing. They know they have paid the mercenaries to start this war in Syria.  They are telling the US to stop before it goes to far and this conflict turns into WWIII[/stextbox]

  • Russian Foreign Ministry has demanded an end to the bloodshed unleashed in Syria by what it describes as “international terrorist’’ backed by the US and its regional Arab allies and Turkey.
  • Pointing to “atrocious killing” of nearly 150 people in an attack over the weekend on the northern town of Khan Assal by radical militants from Jabhat al-Nusra and Ansar al-Khilafah groups, Moscow urged “all responsible sides” to end the carnage, RIA Novosti reported late Tuesday citing a Foreign ministry statement posted on its website on Monday.
  • “The barbarous nature of the crime has come as a shock to all Syrians: It has been condemned not only by the country’s authorities but also by leading opposition groups,” said the statement in part.
  • The two al-Qaeda-linked, foreign-backed militant groups have claimed responsibility for taking control over the town, near the city of Aleppo, earlier in July in a joint attack that has reportedly killed 100 soldiers, the report says.
  • The Russian foreign ministry further expressed its deep condolences to the entire Syrian nation, strongly condemning the atrocities perpetrated by the foreign-backed “terrorists and their accomplices” on Syrian soil.
  • This is while according to UN figures, nearly 100,000 people have so far been killed in the foreign-sponsored insurgency in Syrian since it began in March 2011.
  • Foreign-sponsored Takfiri groups have been behind many of the deadly bombings and attacks targeting both civilians and government institutions across Syria.
  • On April 9, the leader of al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq network, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a merger with the terrorist al-Nusra Front in Syria to play an even greater role in the crisis plaguing the Arab state.
  • A day later, Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani, the head of al-Nusra, pledged allegiance to the al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

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7.30.13 –US judge rules that Espionage Act does not require proof of any harm done

[stextbox id=”x22report”]All rights of the people are slowly being stripped away.  No one in their right mind would now speak out against the government. The prosecutors now do not need to prove that the information is damaging to national security. “the judge accepts the prosecution’s argument that interpretation of the Espionage Act does not necessitate that the government prove its case”[/stextbox]

  • In another potential setback for whistleblowers, a US judge has made a ruling that essentially lowers the requirements for government prosecutors to prove damage to national security committed by alleged leakers.
  • The case concerns Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who in 2010 was indicted on two counts of disclosing national defense secrets to Fox News reporter James Rosen the year prior. Kim’s information was based on an intelligence report which was available to a limited number of government employees.
  • Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the prosecution does not need to show that the information Kim allegedly leaked could damage US national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially.
  • Her ruling went against the 1985 v. Morison case, in which Samuel L. Morison was convicted of unauthorized disclosure of satellite imagery to Jane’s Defence Weekly. Kollar-Kotelly said that she disagreed with the precedent it set, which required prosecution to prove harm to national security.
  • “The Court declines to adopt the Morison court’s construction of information relating to the ‘national defense’ insofar as it requires the government to show that disclosure of the information would be potentially damaging to the United States or useful to an enemy of the United States,” Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
  • That decision could well modify interpretation of the 1917 Espionage Act for future whistleblower cases. Kim’s legal defense says that without the need to prove harm done to national security, the Espionage Act is essentially converted into a “Government Secrets Act.”
  • “The requirement that disclosure of the information be ‘potentially damaging’ is ‘implicit in the purpose of the statute and assures that the government cannot abuse the statute by penalizing citizens for discussing information the government has no compelling reason to keep confidential,” wrote the defense.
  • In her ruling, the judge accepts the prosecution’s argument that interpretation of the Espionage Act does not necessitate that the government prove its case, contrary to 1985 v. Morison and subsequent cases since then.
  • “By its terms, Section 793(d) [of the Espionage Act] does not require the United States to prove any harm, whether potential or not…” wrote the prosecution.
  • Kim’s story has become one of the most well known instances of an Obama administration clampdown on government information leaks, and attracted national attention following disclosure of a warrant for Rosen’s personal emails and the potential to prosecute the reporter as a co-conspirator. That warrant came to light on the heels of evidence showing far wider surveillance of phone records pertaining to the Associated Press.

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7.30.13 –70 Straight Days: Treasury Says Debt Stuck at Exactly $16,699,396,000,000.00

[stextbox id=”x22report”]By stopping the debt clock doesn’t mean that they are not spending, they are spending at the fastest pace ever, it only means they are not showing the sleeping American.[/stextbox]

  • According to the Daily Treasury Statement for July 26, which the Treasury released this afternoon, the federal debt has been stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000.00 for 70 straight days.
  • That is approximately $25 million below the legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60 that Congress has imposed on the debt.
  • The portion of the federal debt subject to the legal limit set by Congress first hit $16,699,396,000,000.00 at the close of business on May 17. At the close of every business day since then, it has also been $16,699,396,000,000.00, according to the official accounting published by the Treasury Department.
  • If the debt had increased by even $30 million at any time during those 70 days, it would have exceeded the statutory limit. But, according to the Treasury, the debt did not do that. Instead, it remained precisely $16,699,396,000,000.00.
  • Even though the government’s official accounting of the debt has not budged for 70 days, the Treasury has continued to sell bills, notes and bonds at a value that exceeds the value of the bills, notes and bonds it was redeeming.
  • In fact, according to the Daily Treasury Statement for May 17, the Treasury had by then already redeemed approximately $4,776,995,000,000.00 since the beginning of the fiscal year (which started on Oct. 1, 2012). As of that same day, the Treasury had already sold $5,354,508,000.000.00 new bills, notes and bonds during the fiscal year. That represented a net increase in publicly circulating U.S. government debt instruments of $577,513,000,000.00 for the fiscal year.
  • As of July 26, according to the latest Treasury statement, the Treasury had already redeemed approximately $6,128,368,000,000.00 in bills, notes and bonds during this fiscal year. But, at the same time, according to the statement, the Treasury had sold an additional $6,759,148,000,000.00 bills, note and bonds–for a net increase of $630,780,000,000.00 for the year.
  • Thus, the value of U.S. Treasury debt instruments circulating in the public has increased $53.267 billion since May 17–even though the Treasury says the debt has remained exactly at $16,699,396,000,000.00 during that time.
  • How could the value of extant U.S. Treasury securities increase by $53.267 billion during a 70-day period when the federal government’s debt subject to the legal limit has remained constant at $16,699,396,000,000.00—just $25 million below the legal limit?
  • On May 17, the day the debt began its long stay at $16,699,396,000,000.00, Treasury Secretary Lew sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. In the letter, Lew said the Treasury would begin implementing what he called “the standard set of extraordinary measures” that allows the Treasury to continue to borrow and spend money even after it has hit the legal debt limit.

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7.30.13 – Big Banks Manipulated Energy Markets In California and the Midwest … Ripping Off Tens of Millions of Dollars in 9 Months

[stextbox id=”x22report”]We are living in an illusion, the FED controlled banks have manipulated everything. The FED is now the entire market.[/stextbox]

  • Energy Markets Are Manipulated
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says that JP Morgan has massively manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest, obtaining tens of millions of dollars in overpayments from grid operators between September 2010 and June 2011.
  • As shown below, big banks have manipulated virtually every other market as well – both in the financial sector and the real economy – and broken virtually every law on the books.
  • Commodities Are Manipulated
  • The big banks and government agencies have been conspiring to manipulate commodities prices for decades.
  • The big banks are taking over important aspects of the physical economy, including uranium mining, petroleum products, aluminum, ownership and operation of airports, toll roads, ports, and electricity.
  • And they are using these physical assets to massively manipulate commodities prices … scalping consumers of many billions of dollars each year.
  • Interest Rates Are Manipulated
  • Interest rates are rigged:
  • The big banks have conspired for years to rig interest rates … upon which $800 trillion in assets are pegged
  • This was the largest insider trading scandal ever … and the largest financial scam in world history
  • Local governments got ripped off bigtime by the Libor manipulation
  • Libor is still being manipulated
  • Derivatives Are Manipulated
  • The big banks have long manipulated derivatives … a $1,200 Trillion Dollar market.
  • Indeed, many trillions of dollars of derivatives are being manipulated in the exact same same way that interest rates are fixed: through gamed self-reporting.
  • Currency Markets Are Rigged
  • Currency markets are massively rigged.
  • Gold and Silver Are Manipulated
  • The Guardian and Telegraph report that gold and silver prices are “fixed” in the same way as interest rates and derivatives – in daily conference calls by the powers-that-be.
  • Oil Prices Are Manipulated
  • Oil prices are manipulated as well.
  • Everything Can Be Manipulated through High-Frequency Trading
  • Traders with high-tech computers can manipulate stocks, bonds, options, currencies and commodities. And see this.
  • Manipulating Numerous Markets In Myriad Ways
  • The big banks and other giants manipulate numerous markets in myriad ways, for example:
  • Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this and this
  • Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here
  • Charging “storage fees” to store gold bullion … without even buying or storing any gold . And raiding allocated gold accounts
  • Committing massive and pervasive fraud both when they initiated mortgage loans and when they foreclosed on them (and see this)
  • Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See this, this, this, this and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car
  • Cheating homeowners by gaming laws meant to protect people from unfair foreclosure
  • Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, this, this and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “frontrunning” to manipulate markets. See this, this, this, this, this and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this
  • Otherwise manipulating markets. And see this
  • Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See this, this and this
  • Charging veterans unlawful mortgage fees
  • Cooking their books (and see this)
  • Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments
  • The Big Picture
  • The big picture is simple:
  • The big banks manipulate every market they touch
  • Too much interconnectedness leads to financial instability
  • The government has given the banks huge subsidies … which they are using for speculation and other things which don’t help the economy. In other words, propping up the big banks by throwing money at them doesn’t help the economy
  • Top economists, financial experts and bankers say that the big banks are too large … and their very size is threatening the economy. They say we need to break up the big banks to stabilize the economy
  • The big banks own the D.C. politicians … so Congress and the White House won’t do anything unless the people force change

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7.29.13 –Iran: Armageddon at hand, prepare for war

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Iranians know that something is coming, they know the US government/central bankers will not stop until they get what they want. What do they want, the US dollar as the reserve currency and a western central bank setup in Syria and Iran. They will even start a war to get what they want. Iranians have not initiated a war since 1826.[/stextbox]

  • Iran is again asserting that Armageddon is at hand and that the Islamic regime’s followers, indeed all of Islam, must prepare for a monumental change in the world.
  • Officials of the Islamic regime last month held their annual conference on the Mahdism Doctrine to prepare for the coming of the last Islamic messiah, the Shiites’ 12th Imam, Mahdi.
  • Shiites, whose clerics rule Iran with an iron fist, believe that at the end of times, Mahdi, a 9th century prophet, will reappear with Jesus Christ at his side, kill all the infidels and raise the flag of Islam in all four corners of the world, establishing worldwide Islamic governance.
  • Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, said at the conference that, “I hope (Iran’s) Islamic Revolution is that of the righteous government before the coming,” according to Fars News Agency, the regime’s media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards.
  • “Righteous government” is a key to Mahdi’s return, the Shiites believe.
  • “It has been stated in the Islamic hadith that a wave of uprisings (such as the current upheavals in the Arab world) … takes place before the main uprising and that the righteous government (takes place) before the coming, which I hope (Iran’s) Islamic Revolution is that.”
  • The speaker said that metaphysics and modern technology have diminished human spiritualism, causing a sense of nervousness in which people have lost hope, and that this effect will reach its maximum before the coming.
  • “All mental crises are rooted in hopelessness and despair in life,” Larijani said, “and from a society point of view, this is because the big powers of the world are pushing for a culture that has no identity and with their power give their illicit desires a legal aspect. With the help of their media, they explain away the biggest corruption.”
  • Many regime officials participated in this year’s conference, including military commanders, and several guests spoke of the importance of the Shiite ideology on Mahdi’s coming and the need for jihad for the final battle. The Mahdaviat conference is convened annually to prepare for the coming.
  • A high Iranian politician said recently that he believes the Syrian revolution could be the catalyst for sparking a worldwide conflagration that will usher in an era of Muslim domination of the world.
  • Become a part of the investigative reporting team uncovering the truths about Iran, and get author Reza Kahlili’s “A Time to Betray” about his life as a double agent inside Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
  • “One can smell from the crisis in Syria the coming … of the end of times and the coming of the last Islamic messiah,” said Ruhollah Hosseinian, a member of the Islamic regime’s parliament. Hosseinian has served as deputy of the Intelligence Ministry and a member of the board of trustees of the Islamic Revolution Document Center.

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7.29.13 –Syria and Iran sign framework agreement on transporting gas

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Syria getting supplies from Iran bypassing the sanctions imposed by the US Government/Central Bankers. The paid mercenaries are losing the battle, Israel is selling arms to Saudi Arabi to have them put in the hands of the mercenaries, the US is trying to get weapons to them and they are paying Syrian police officer salaries that defected from the Syrian government. All of this is not helping Assad almost has his country back and the US/central bankers backs are against the wall. Next move false flag event to bring the war to the next level.[/stextbox]

  • Petroleum Minister Sleiman al-Abbas discussed on Sunday with Iranian counterpart Rustom Kasimi the implementation of agreements between the two countries in the field of petroleum and gas.
  • The meeting, which was attended by Governor of Central Bank of Syria Adib Mayyaleh and Syria’s Ambassador in Tehran Adnan Mahmoud, discussed importing petroleum and gas from Iran via a credit line, and means to overcome economic sanctions and the war waged on the Syrian people.
  • The Iranian side affirmed readiness to support Syria and provide its petroleum needs, stressing that the escalation of the economic war will not undermine the Syrian people’s determination to combat terrorism.
  • For his part, al-Abbas said that the Syrian-Iranian agreements will have positive effects on the living conditions of the Syrian people.
  • On the sideline of the meeting, the two sides signed a framework agreement on transporting Iranian gas to Syria via Iraq.
  • In the same context, Secretary General of the Syrian Prime Ministry Taisir al-Zoubi held talks on commerce and economy with Iranian Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mehdi Qazanfari to follow up on agreements to secure food and consumer products.
  • They also discussed implementing the USD 1 billion credit line to provide Syria’s needs of electricity, medical supplies and food.
  • The two sides stressed the need to continue cooperation and develop it to help the Syrian people remain steadfast during the current crisis, with al-Zoubi asserting that the Syrians are capable of overcoming conspiracies and emerging victorious, stressing the need to provide supplies quickly to reduce the burdens of the Syrian people.
  • Talks were also held between CBS Governor Mayyaleh and officials from the Central Bank of Iran to discuss the implementation of the credit line.

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7.29.13 –JPMorgan Accused By FERC Of Manipulating Power Market, To Be Fined $400 Million

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Soon we will be able to add metals manipulation to this.[/stextbox]

  • Just flashing red headlines for now:
  • JPMORGAN ACCUSED BY U.S. REGULATOR OF MANIPULATING POWER MARKET
  • JPMORGAN ACCUSED OF MANIPULATIVE ENERGY-BIDDING STRATEGIES
  • JPMORGAN ACCUSED OF ENERGY-MARKET MANIPULATION IN 2010 AND 2011
  • U.S. FERC ANNOUNCES JPMORGAN ALLEGED VIOLATIONS IN E-MAIL
  • And now we look forward to learning how many hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of cents the settlement will be, which will also include a full wristslapping pardon of Blythe Masters of course. From Bloomberg:
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. manipulated power markets in California and the Midwest from September 2010 and June 2011, according to allegations unveiled today by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • The bank has agreed to sanctions that include a fine of about $400 million, to settle the investigation in a deal that may be announced as early tomorrow, according to a person familiar with the case who asked not to be identified because the terms aren’t yet public. Other claims may include forfeiting or forgoing excess profits, this person said.
  • The federal agency, which announced the allegations today in an e-mail, has been investigating a JPMorgan trading unit’s market activities for more than a year, separate regulatory and court filings have revealed.
  • And there you have it: a $400MM fine (on $99.5 billion in projected 2013 revenues, or about 0.4%) and all is well – for the SAC watchers, this is roughly how much worth of tuna (and sometime whale) the firm orders for its Hamptons’ parties.
  • Also, while JPM may now officially have been charged and admitted to manipulating the power market, it never, EVER, manipulated the gold or other previous metal markets. EVER.

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7.29.13 – Is The Emptying Of Comex’ Silver Vaults Next On The Agenda?

  • As the Comex gold has recently gotten depleted at an unprecedented pace with total gold holdings plunging to 2006 levels, not to mention JPM’s gold inventories plunging to record lows with just over 1 tonne of physical eligible gold left, one question has emerged and is so far unanswered: where has this gold moved to? For the answer, look east. This is the topic of GoldCore’s recent paper titled appropriately enough, “As the crisis deepens, gold flows east.” It is also the topic of our long-running series showing gross Chinese gold imports from Hong Kong. But of course, the real story here is that the “West” floods itself with paper representations of gold (leading to such market perversions and shortage-based dislocation as the longest stretch of negative gold GOFO rates in history), the “East” is seeking to fill up all those gold vaults opened up in the past two years with as much gold as possible.
  • Recall from September 2011, when Bloomberg looked at the Singapore gold vaulting scramble:
  • Deep in the 7.4-acre Singapore FreePort next to Changi International Airport’s runways is the bullion vault of Swiss Precious Metals, behind seven-metric-ton steel doors built to survive a plane crash or earthquake. The rooms are almost full after demand rose fivefold in the year since the Geneva-based company opened the facility. The firm plans an extension, and relocated Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois Pages to Singapore last month to cope with the surge of investors willing to pay as much as 1 percent of the value of their holdings each year to keep them secure.
  • Barclays Capital is building a new vault, The Brink’s Co. (BCO) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) may add more space, and the Perth Mint may expand for the first time since 2003, a sign they expect demand to keep increasing after the 11-year rally during which prices increased sevenfold. Investors in exchange-traded products backed by gold bought 2,236 tons of bullion since 2003, exceeding all except four countries’ official stockpiles.
  • Yet unlike the US, where vaults are getting mothballed and innocent, non-manipulative firms like JPM are looking at exiting the physical commodities business entirely, the Chinese rush to fill precious metals vaults continues at a fervent pace. Just three weeks ago, “UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, started storing gold for wealth-management clients at a facility in Singapore, citing interest from investors in the region even after the metal slumped into a bear market.”
  • The leased vault in the Singapore FreePort is available for clients in the city-state and Hong Kong, according to Peter Kok, regional market manager for wealth management in Singapore and Malaysia. While bullion is heading for the first annual drop in 13 years, client interest persists, Kok said.
  • UBS joins Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in offering storage services in Asia, where China may surpass India as the largest user this year. Bullion fell to a 34-month low on June 28 in a rout that’s erased $66 billion from the value of investor holdings. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecasts further declines as the U.S. Federal Reserve may withdraw stimulus.
  • Almost as if to the Chinese, actual possession of physical and the verified presence of the monetary alternative is more important than binary reps and warranties which simply enable the collateral-based fractional reserve model.
  • But while the collapse in Comex gold holdings is well-documented and generally understood, so far silver has remained isolated from the physical volatility affecting the gold market.
  • A look at represented silver Comex holdings shows that unlike gold, which has recently plunged in both price and inventory, silver has only seen its price slide while Comex silver is near all time highs.
  • On the surface this makes no sense: silver, like gold, is largely subject to the same underlying supply/demand dynamics (whether legal or not) where on the margin it trades merely as a precious metal, and those misguided pundits out there who claim that the drop in gold Comex holdings is purely a function of ETF reallocation, are surprisingly mum when it comes to explaining Comex silver which has not followed the move of gold in physical holdings and is in fact near all time holding highs despite an even more aggressive plunge in its price.
  • Alternatively if indeed gold’s inventory plunge was driven by the permissive nature of Singapore vaults as willing recipients for all the gold that has departed the assorted Comex system vaults, and thus are merely a physical receptacle to absorb the pent up Chinese “golden” demand, it would explain why this has not happened to silver. At least not yet.
  • That may change very soon because as Bloomberg reports, silver is the new gold when it comes to vaulting in Singapore, and thus China’s precious metal warehousing ambitions.
  • A silver vault that can hold 200 metric tons opens in Singapore this week to cater for increasing demand for physical precious metals among Asia’s wealthy even as the commodity leads declines this year.
  • The new facility is 30 percent booked at the opening, said Joshua Rotbart, precious-metals general manager at owner Malca-Amit Global Ltd. The storage will add to the firm’s five vaults at the Singapore FreePort, which are fully reserved for gold, he said in an interview. The repository can hold $128 million of silver at today’s prices. Gold is about 67 times more expensive.
  • While silver has lost 34 percent in 2013 on concern the U.S. Federal Reserve will taper stimulus, holdings in exchange-traded products have held steady. The number of high-net-worth individuals in the Asia-Pacific region expanded 9.4 percent last year, according to Cap Gemini SA (CAP) and Royal Bank of Canada. Deutsche Bank AG, UBS (UBSN) AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are among banks operating metals storage in Singapore.
  • “Our existing vaults at the FreePort are highly secured and the rate is too expensive to store silver there,” said Rotbart, who declined to say where the new facility is sited. “We need to find a solution, and we also see a strong demand.”
  • About 50 percent of silver is used in industry, compared with 10 percent for gold, data from the Silver Institute and World Gold Council show. Industrial applications for silver include photography and electronics.
  • Malca-Amit’s vaults in Hong Kong and Singapore have a precious-metals capacity of 1,000 tons each, and the company also has facilities in New York, Zurich, Geneva, London and Bangkok. The company leases vault space to banks, and stores items for its own customers.
  • The Singapore government has been promoting the country as a bullion-trading hub, removing a 7 percent sales tax on investment-grade precious metals in 2012. About 2 percent of world gold demand flows through Singapore, and the government aims to increase that to as much as 15 percent.
  • So as physical gold fever shifts to silver, now that commercial US gold vaults are being emptied at a record pace, and the country is being bled of all its commercial PM holdings (with the product shifting east), will silver follow gold’s fate and see Comex silver vaults start being emptied out slowly at first, then fast?
  • Keep an eye on the daily Comex silver update (link) for the answer. If China and thus Singapore is indeed intent on “warehousing” all the loose precious metals in the world, this is where the action will be in the coming months.

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7.29.13 – House Set to Approve Yet More Iran Sanctions

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The war with Syria is not going well for the US governments paid mercenaries and the nuclear bomb propaganda with Iran is not working. So what does the US government do to get the war moving forward and hopefully provoke countries into do something that will start a war, the implement sanctions[/stextbox]

  • A vote is expected later this week in the House of Representatives to impose yet more sanctions on Iran ahead of the inauguration of President Rohani next weekend. As with all Iran sanctions bills, it is expected to pass overwhelmingly.
  • The sanctions, once imposed, will further underscore Congressional opposition to any possible negotiations with the Iranian government, as President Rohani ran on a campaign of diplomacy and has been talking up direct bilateral talks with the US.
  • The newest sanctions will further target Iran’s oil exports, aiming to dramatically reduce the amount of exports allowed worldwide. At present the US issues “waivers” to nations like China and India allowing them to buy a limited amount of oil, and this bill would reduce the amount they are allowed to get.
  • The move may not sit well with South Korean officials, who have been planning to purchase significantly more oil from Iran going forward. With the price of oil rising on the global market recently, it may be a difficult time to sell the idea of new sanctions to other nations, even if Congress is always willing to approve them.

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7.29.13 –Deceptive ‘Parental Rights Amendment’ to hand over control of your children to federal government

[stextbox id=”x22report”]More rights being taken away from the people for the economic collapse. Remember the government seeks control over everyone. The people empower the government it is not the other way around. The people need to start speaking out. Every person/parent should be horrified over this bill [/stextbox]

  • The founding fathers crafted what we now know as the Constitution, which clearly enumerates, or spells out, the specific powers that We the People have delegated to the federal government — and these powers do not include any authority whatsoever over children. In fact, the federal government has very little power over anything, at least as far as the Constitution is concerned.
  • This is an important concept that you must understand in order to see why the PRA is problematic. As spelled out in immense detail by Publius Huldah over at FreedomOutpost.com, passage of the PRA would essentially place parental authority under the ultimate jurisdiction of the federal government rather than the God of the universe, granting the Supreme Court the power to rule over matters involving such authority.
  • “The name, ‘parental rights amendment’ (PRA), sounds so good! But it actually strips parents of their God-delegated authority over their children, and transfers that authority to the federal government,” writes Huldah. “The PRA would transform ‘families’ and ‘children’ from matters over which the federal government now has no lawful authority to matters under the total control of the federal government.”
  • Most of the controversy stems from Section 3 of the PRA, which dictates that both federal and state governments can override or infringe parental authority if it serves the “highest order” of government interests. This disturbing and vague language would most assuredly open up a Pandora’s box of government authoritarianism, in which federal judges would be free to redefine the terms of parental authority at whim, as long as it serves the “highest order.”
  • “The PRA is a delegation of lawmaking power over families and children to the federal government,” adds Huldah. “Congress may make whatever laws it pleases pertaining to YOUR children; the Executive Branch may issue whatever rules or orders it pleases pertaining to YOUR children — and under Section 3 of the PRA, federal judges will decide whether these laws, orders & rules serve the government’s interest. If so, you lose.”

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7.29.13 –Monthly Home Payment Soars 40% To 2008 Levels

  • Credit Suisse fully explains why the US housing “recovery” has just ground to a halt: in a few short weeks, US housing affordability (a topic we first covered a month ago) has collapsed as a result of the monthly payment on the median home sold soaring by nearly 40% from under $800 to just shy of $1100, a level not seen since 2008. Now if only US personal incomes would keep pace, instead of doing this…

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7.29.13 – Syrian army and Hizballah capture Homs – opening way to Aleppo and decisive Assad victory

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

As the Syrian army continually pushes forward and the paid mercenaries continually lose ground, the US government and central bankers are put into a corner. Their plan is failing, they will strike out with some type of false flag event to get the war started to cover the economic collapse. They will need to do something to wake the people and congress up so they beg for war.

[/stextbox]

  • Three months after winning the strategic town of Al Qusayr, the combined Syrian and Hizballah armies have captured the historic Muslim Brotherhood city of Homs, 162 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that Sunday, July 28, jeeps with recoilless guns, pick-up trucks with anti air guns – all loaded with defeated rebel Farouq Brigades fighters were to be seen fleeing the city. As they fled, Syrian and Hizballah army tanks facing no resistance rolled into the center of Homs, the old city and the Khladiyeh district and hoisted images of President Bashar Assad.
  • The fall of Homs, which the rebels designated from the start of the uprising “capital of the revolution,” opens the way for Syrian-Hizballah forces to move north on Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.
  • Aleppo’s capture would grant Assad a decisive victory in the civil war and confer on the Lebanese Shiite terrorist Hizballah for the first time the standing of an armed force with strategic capabilities, as well as giving the Iran-Syrian-Hizballah alliance a major boost.
  • Early Monday, Syrian ground-to-ground missiles were pounding rebel fortifications Aleppo to soften their resistance, while Syrian air force helicopters struck Kurdish PYG units ranged along the Syrian-Turkish border. Although the helicopters flew over the frontier, they did not run into any interference from the Turkish air force, its artillery emplacements or the NATO Patriot anti-missile batteries deployed there.
  • The Kurdish units were targeted to prevent them moving into Aleppo in defense of the city’s Kurdish quarters against the Syrian army-Hizballah advance.
  • After the fall of Homs and the fast approaching Syrian assault on Aleppo, Washington, Jerusalem and Ankara have run out of time for quibbling whether to step into the Syrian conflict. The critical decision facing them now is whether to save Aleppo from a savage Syrian army-Hizballah onslaught that will determine the final fate of the war, or continue to stand aside.
  • The various tactics outlined by top US soldier Gen. Martin Dempsey last week for US military intervention at a cost of $1 billion per day have been overtaken by events. The Obama administration must now decide very quickly whether Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers should be allowed to win the Syrian civil war or stopped at Aleppo.

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7.29.13 – The Government “Revises” 84 Years Of Economic History This Week

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Lets see now, the government/FED have changed, the unemployment, GDP, inflation calculations to make the economy to look like its recovering. Now they are changing history to show GDP higher since the recalc of GDP is not working. If we use the unchanged formulas for unemployment, GPD and inflation the economy is in a downward spiral into the economic collapse.[/stextbox]

  • Don’t like how high debt-to-GDP figures are? Revise ’em. Unhappy at the post-‘recovery’ growth rates? Revise ’em. Disappointed at the pace of economic improvement in the last decade or two compared to the rest of the world? Revise ’em. This week “we are essentially rewriting economic history” as the BEA is set to revise GDP data from as far back as 1929. The ‘adjustments’ to account for intangibles (that best known of micro- accounting fudge factors) and as we noted previously in great detail, will increase GDP by around $500 billion. Of course, these changes are defended aggressively (just as the hedonic adjustments to inflation calculations ‘make perfect sense’) as GDP will now reflect spending on research, development, and copyrights as investment – and reflect pension deficits for the first time (think of all that potential future GDP from massive pension deficits now). With Q2 GDP growth estimates set for a dismal 1.1%, expectations are for the short-term economic data to be revised upwards (and with any luck the great recession never happened at all).
  • Via WSJ,
  • US economic history will be rewritten this week, as the most far-reaching methodological changes in years will add the equivalent of a country the size of Belgium to output in the world’s largest economy.
  • The most important change by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, to be announced on Wednesday, will be to start counting spending on research, development and copyrights as investment, and reflect pension deficits for the first time.
  • Combined they are expected to add 3 per cent to gross domestic product.
  • “We are carrying these major changes all the way back in time – which for us means to 1929 – so we are essentially rewriting economic history,” Brent Moulton, who manages the national accounts at the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Which brings up an important question: will government spending on R&D on how to fudge GDP result in the most spectacular Excel circular reference ever created?

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7.29.13 – ‘S Arabia signs deal with Israeli army to buy weapons for militants fighting Syria govt.’

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The paid mercenaries that the US government controls are losing the war on Assad, they will do anything to push this war forward. Weapons will not be enough the government will take steps to create a false flag event in America to bring America into the war. [/stextbox]

  • Saudi Arabia reportedly reaches a deal with Israeli army to buy Israeli weapons for militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
  • Israeli Radio reported that Saudi Arabia signed a 50-million-dollar deal with Israeli army to supply the foreign-backed militants with old Israeli military equipment and arms.
  • The reports added that the weapons include different kinds of anti-tank missiles, military vehicles, artillery equipment, and night vision devices.
  • Other sources have quoted Takfiri sources as saying that the Israeli weapons will be used to maintain control over Aleppo and its surrounding areas in northern Syria.
  • The report came as The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported last month that Saudi Arabia has provided the Takfiri militants with Russian-made Konkurs anti-tank missiles.
  • It quoted militant sources as saying that they had received the first batch of the heavy weaponry from Saudi Arabia in northern city of Aleppo.
  • On June 14, US President Barack Obama ordered his administration to provide the militants with weapons, claiming that the Syrian government had used “chemical weapons” against the militants and thus crossed Washington’s “red line.” Damascus has rejected the allegation as “lies.”
  • Israeli President Shimon Peres voiced support for Washington’s arming of the Takfiri militants in Syria. Takfiris accuse most Islamic sects of being infidels.
  • However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned other states against providing weapons to the militants in Syria, saying that the arms could end up in Europe one day.
  • The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are supporting the militants.

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7.29.13 – Anti-Protest Law Passes Nearly Unanimously And Is Signed By The President

[stextbox id=”x22report”]This bill was passed back in March 2012. This is in preparation for the collapse. The government believes if they make it law people will not do it when the collapse comes.[/stextbox]

  • So I have some great news folks! The Republicans and the Democrats in Congress and the White House FINALLY came together and agreed on something. This is HUGE. These guys disagree on EVERYTHING! Getting them to see eye-to-eye is like getting the Jews and the Palestinians to do a trust fall together. Or getting Eskimos and polar bears to play Jenga.
  • I’m referring to the bill H.R. 347 that was signed by President Obama the other day, passed unanimously in the Senate, and 388-3 in the House. That’s nearly EVERY SINGLE lawmaker. The last time they agreed that closely on something, it was a bill raising monthly Congressional pay to include a box of Ding Dongs, two erotic cakes featuring Bonanza star Pernell Roberts, and a gentle yet inquisitive prostate exam every Tuesday.
  • What did this magical universally-loved bill say? Well some are calling it the anti-Occupy law and it allows the government to bring charges against Americans involved in many kinds of political protest at any location the secret service, quote, “is or will be temporarily visiting.” So basically if the government wants to shut down a protest, they just send a secret service officer down there to scratch his balls, and then they can start putting people in jail for a year or more.
  • This is all lovely except for that bitchy bothersome document, the Constitution. I believe somewhere in the back it says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Aw shit! That musta sucked when Congress found that out! To get that close to passing it and then shot down? It musta been like getting hired to rub baby oil on the contestants of Miss Universe before the bathing suit portion of the competition and then losing your hands in a freak exploding cell phone accident! So when Congress heard about that first amendment they musta been like, “God damnit! That really f**ks up all our plans. That f**king line in the Constitution says not to do EXACTLY what we just did.” That’s what they must’ve said, right? … They didn’t just pass it anyway … Right?
  • But the bill doesn’t stop there. I mean, when you have the entirety of Congress with the exception of Ron Paul agreeing on something, why not swing for the fences? The bill also says it could be a federal crime to protest near an event of, quote, “national significance.” Well, that’s not vague at all. So you could be convicted of a federal crime and locked away for a year or more for the following things:
  • 1) Marching outside the Democratic or Republican National Conventions
  • 2) Yelling “C**k-face corporate whore” outside a barber shop where Mitt Romney is getting his ear hair trimmed.
  • 3) Marching in front of the entrance of the New York Stock Exchange
  • 4) Sprinkling magic homosexual glitter on Rick Santorum, or even anyone near Rick Santorum, or even just making fun of his stupid sweater vest!
  • 5) Going to the gates of the White House and demanding the President read the Constitution. …You know, if he gets a chance.

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7.28.13 – “The Taper Is Coming” – What Wall Street Thinks

[stextbox id=”x22report”]All indicators point to the first part of the collapse this fall. I believe the first part of the collapse will be this fall. The FED will cut back temporarily and it will rock the economy to its core. The government is accelerating everything.  The gun bill, UN arms treaty and CISPA are pending in the senate. The executive orders have been setup to support all these bills by the President which means they will be passed. The war in Syria will need to be pushed forward with an event because the fiscal year ends Sept 30 for the money to support the rebels in Syria. We will see false flag events to pass the gun bills, CISPA and to start the war in Syria. Be prepared something is coming.[/stextbox]

  • But when, and by how, much does Wall Street see the end of tapering, and what is the sell-side consensus? The list below summarizes the current view by bank.
  • Goldman – Sept taper, – $20b in Tsys
  • JPMorgan – Sept taper
  • Credit Susse – Sept taper, -$20b via -$10b MBS and -$10b Tsys
  • BNP – Dec taper w Sept’14 ending; – $10b ea Tsys/MBS; poss less MBS/more UST’s
  • Barclays – Sept taper of – $10b Tsys/- $5b MBS, end buys in Mar’14
  • Bank of America – Dec taper but ‘sizable chance’ of Sept
  • Deutsche Bank – Sept taper, risk of Dec
  • Pierpont- Sept taper;
  • BMO – Sept taper;
  • RBC – Sept taper likely
  • Citi- Sept announce, start taper with Oct 1 buys to $60-65b, stop in mid’14
  • ING – Sept taper in Tsys;
  • BTM-UFJ – Sept taper
  • ScotiaBank – Dec taper
  • Jefferies – Oct announce taper, go to smaller buys in Nov
  • Nomura – Sept announce taper, begin taper in Q4
  • Cantor Fitzgerald -first taper in Sept, of Tsys -$10B and MBS -$5B
  • Consensus: September tapering start with ~$20 billion in initial reduction. As we said over two months ago.

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7.28.13 – Egypt’s interim leader gives green light for civilian arrests

[stextbox id=”x22report”]With the force of the US government/central bankers the puppet government is now arresting those that oppose the existing government.  The US is trying to control the situation by protecting the US dollar as the reserve currency. John Kerry is calling on the puppet regime to get a hold of the situation.  Which means if you want aid get rid of the protesters, protect the US dollar or the US will get involved.[/stextbox]

  • Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has signed a decree giving the military the right to arrest civilians. The move has sparked fears of a further escalation of violence throughout the country.
  • The death toll from Saturday clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi has risen to at least 80, unnamed officials from Egypt’s health ministry told AP.
  • Two more people were killed on Sunday as violence broke out during the funerals for those who had lost their lives in the preceding days.
  • The deaths occurred in two separate incidents: one in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, where 28 people also reportedly sustained injuries, and the other in the town of Kafr el-Zayat in northern Egypt.
  • The figures have made Saturday the bloodiest day in Egypt since Morsi’s deposal, with the interim president’s office stating that it was “saddened” by the loss of life on such a large scale. The office added that any action taken by the military is carried out in the “context of terrorism.”
  • President Mansour’s decree, which allows Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi to give the military power to arrest civilians, was announced in the government’s official gazette on Sunday. The decision could lead to a major crackdown on both Brotherhood supporters and militants who have been attacking security forces in the Sinai Peninsula with renewed vigor, government officials say.
  • This decree is not the first time that Egyptian armed forces have been given the go-ahead to arrest civilians. In June 2012, the previous army-backed interim government tried to issue the same order following the stepping down of former President Hosni Mubarak. The decision was immediately challenged by human rights activists and politicians who accused the military council of reviving an unpopular emergency law that lapsed the previous May. An Egyptian court eventually overturned the justice ministry’s decree.
  • On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Egypt’s military-backed interim government to “act immediately to help their country take a step back from the brink,” expressing deep concern over the situation and calling it “a pivotal moment for Egypt.”
  • EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton arrived in Cairo on Sunday to meet with a host of officials, including Mansour and Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei – who in a statement expressed his desire for Egypt “to achieve a peaceful solution to the current crisis.” State news agency MENA said that Ashton will also meet with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the Tamarod group, who was the driving force behind the protests leading up to Morsi’s ouster.
  • The former Islamist-backed president was in power for only one year before being deposed by the Egyptian armed forces on July 3. The move sparked nationwide protests and widespread violence, painting a scene similar to the events of February 2012 which led to former long-time President Hosni Mubarak stepping down.

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7.28.13Philippines to move air force, navy camps for faster access to disputed South China Sea areas

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US is redeploying assets to the Philippines so when WWIII begins they are in place. The Philippines are moving their base of operation to the northwest of Manila so when war breaks out they[/stextbox]

  • The Philippines plans to relocate major air force and navy camps to a former U.S. naval base northwest of Manila to gain faster access to waters being contested by China in the South China Sea, according to the country’s defense chief and a confidential government report.
  • Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Sunday that as soon as relocation funds are available the government plans to transfer air force and naval forces and their fleets of aircraft and warships to Subic Bay, which has become a busy free port since the 1992 departure of the U.S. Navy.
  • “It’s for the protection of our West Philippine Sea,” Gazmin said from South Korea, where he was on a visit, using the name adopted by the Philippine government for the disputed South China Sea.
  • “We’re looking now for the funding,” he said.
  • Subic Bay is a natural deep harbor that can accommodate two large warships acquired recently by the Philippines from the United States, a defense treaty ally, he said, especially compared to shallower harbor at the naval fleet base at Sangley Point in Cavite province, south of Manila.
  • The first U.S. Coast Guard cutter was relaunched as the Philippines’ largest warship in 2011. President Benigno Aquino III will lead ceremonies on Aug. 6 to welcome the second ship at Subic, the Philippine navy said.
  • A confidential defense department document obtained by The Associated Press says Subic’s location will cut reaction time by fighter aircraft to contested South China Sea areas by more than three minutes compared with flying from Clark airfield, also north of Manila, where some air force planes are based.
  • “It will provide the armed forces of the Philippines strategic location, direct and shorter access to support West Philippine Sea theater of operations,” the document said.
  • The report said the cost of repairs and improvements for an air force base in Subic would be at least 5.1 billion pesos ($119 million). It said that compares with an estimated 11 billion pesos ($256 million) that it would cost to build a new air force base, because the vast Subic complex about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Manila already has a world-class runway and aviation facilities.
  • Relocating about 250 air force officers and men to Subic, along with “increased rotational presence of foreign visiting forces” would bolster business and trade at the port, the military document said.
  • Subic’s international airport has been underutilized since U.S. courier giant FedEx transferred its lucrative regional hub from Subic to China in 2009, officials said.
  • The Philippines plans to grant visiting U.S. forces, ships and aircraft temporary access to more of its military camps to allow for a larger number of joint military exercises than are currently staged each year.
  • A larger U.S. presence could be used for disaster response and serve as a deterrent to what Philippine officials say have been recent aggressive intrusions by China into its territorials waters.
  • The Philippines has backed Washington’s efforts to reassert its military presence in Asia as a counterweight to China’s rise. While it has taken diplomatic steps to deal with China’s sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea, the Philippines has struggled to upgrade its military, one of Asia’s weakest.
  • Philippine vessels backed off from the disputed Scarborough Shoal last year after weeks of a tense standoff with Chinese surveillance ship, a move that gave China effective control over the vast fishing ground off the country’s northwest.
  • Many fear the territorial conflicts in the South China Sea, which also involve Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, could set off a serious conflict that could threaten Asia’s growing economies.

7.28.13 – Now Lloyd’s of London warns of EMP

  • Lloyd’s of London, the world’s specialist insurance company providing services to companies in more than 200 countries, has issued a dire warning of the potential consequences of an electromagnetic pulse event from a solar storm, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
  • Lloyd’s study, titled “Solar Storm Risk to the North American Electric Grid,” centered on the highly populated region from New York City to Washington, D.C., but added that other high-risk regions are in the Midwest and in regions along the Gulf Coast.
  • The fact a major insurance company is looking at the economic consequences of an EMP from a direct solar storm suggests there is increasing concern in the insurance industry that companies may be facing the danger of severe economic losses.
  • As a major trend setter in the insurance world, Lloyd’s unusual warning about the effects from an EMP could have an impact on insurance company coverage.
  • “A severe space weather event that causes major disruption to the electric network in the U.S. could have major implications for the insurance industry,” the Lloyd’s study said. “If businesses, public services and households are without power for sustained periods of time, insurers may be exposed to business interruption and other claims.”
  • Sources suggest insurance companies could begin requiring companies they insure make sufficient efforts to harden their electronics to protect their companies, especially since companies now can collect insurance for work stoppage due to electrical outages.
  • “A severe space weather event that causes major disruption to the electricity network in North America could have major implications for the insurance industry,” the study said. “The total U.S. population at risk of an extended outage from a Carrington-level storm ranges between 20-40 million with durations up to 1-2 years.”
  • Some experts suggest an EMP with this catastrophic effect on major U.S. urban centers could, in effect, wipe out city populations because of their dependency on those critical infrastructures that rely on electricity, electronics and automated control systems to exist.
  • Sources say that it is curious that a British insurance company would center on the effects of an EMP on U.S. cities rather than in Britain, which has decided to undertake efforts to harden its national electrical grid system. They add, if the United States doesn’t take action, the effects will have profound effects on the world economy.
  • Saying that the corridor between Washington, D.C., and New York City is at serious risk, the impact on a society that is increasingly dependent on electricity is “likely to be severe and wide-ranging,” the report said.
  • The 1859 Carrington event is regarded as the most severe solar storm recorded in U.S. history. It occurred 154 years ago. The Lloyd’s study warned, however, that such “very extreme storms” occur every 150 years.

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7.28.13 – Cyprus, lenders set Bank of Cyprus bail-in at 47.5 percent, sources say

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Just imagine if the bail-ins were happening in your country and they took 47.5 percent of your money and froze your account so you were not able to withdraw your money. Well this was the test and this will be happening everywhere, the US, UK, Europe, Canada etc already have laws in place or are introducing them.[/stextbox]

  • Cyprus and its international lenders have agreed to convert 47.5 percent of deposits exceeding 100,000 euros in Bank of Cyprus to equity to recapitalize it, banking sources said on Sunday.
  • Under a programme agreed between Cyprus and lenders in March, large depositors in Bank of Cyprus were earmarked to pay for the recapitalisation of the bank. Authorities initially converted 37.5 percent of deposits exceeding 100,000 euros into equity, and held an additional 22.5 percent as a buffer in the event of further needs.
  • “There was an agreement concluding at a final figure of 47.5 percent this morning,” a source close to consultations told Reuters.

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7.28.13 – Key U.S. Rep. says curbing NSA would be dangerous

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

Mike Rogers is the same person who is trying to push CISPA through the senate. I hate to say this but terrorist are not using the phone system to coordinate terrorists attacks. The attacks are planned by the government to move their agenda forward or to get a bill passed. Mike Rogers seems to leave out that if CISPA passes his wife seems to benefit greatly from the passing of CISPA.

So it seems rather interesting to note that Rogers’ wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers, was, until recently, the president and CEO of Aegis LLC a “security” defense contractor company, whom she helped to secure a $10 billion (with a b) contract with the State Department. The company describes itself as “a leading private security company, provides government and corporate clients with a full spectrum of intelligence-led, culturally-sensitive security solutions to operational and development challenges around the world.”

[/stextbox]

  • The head of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday it is necessary to monitor the U.S. communication systems because it’s the same one terrorists use.
  • In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said National Security Agency collection of telephone and Internet data is a well-regulated and effective anti-terrorism tool.
  • “Terrorists now use the same communication systems in America that we do, so they are intermingled with us,” said Rogers — who contended limiting the surveillance program was “taking away the one tool that we know will allow us to (find) a nexus between a foreign terrorist overseas talking to somebody in the United States.”
  • Rogers warned limitations on the NSA would amount to turning back the calendar to the state of security prior to Sept. 11, 2001, when a lack of constant surveillance of seemingly routine and private communications contributed to ability of al-Qaida operatives to carry out attacks in the United States.
  • Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., countered that the NSA data-gathering capability was far too broad and allowed intelligence agencies to poke around people’s financial and medical records.
  • Udall said the NSA should be required to obtain a court warrant before obtaining records from phone carriers, as is the current practice for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
  • “We don’t need the NSA to be collecting in bulk all of these records of innocent Americans,” said Udall. “It’s not effective. I would argue that it also comes close to being unconstitutional, and there is a better way to do this.”

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7.28.13 – Bahrain parliament upholds banning protests in capital

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Bahrain is controlled by the US government/central bankers and is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.  They can not have the government of Bahrain overthrown and lose the dollar as the reserve currency plus the strategic location for a navy base. We are seeing protests and revolutions breaking out all over and the control of this area is slipping away from the US government/central bankers which means the US will need to take action.[/stextbox]

  • MPs in Bahrain have recommended banning all protests in the capital, Manama, to safeguard people and businesses. Unconfirmed reports on Twitter say the bill has already been signed by the king.
  • The parliament also proposed the imposition of harsh laws including the death penalty for anyone found in possession of explosives or any other equipment used in terrorist operations. It recommended that all funds be frozen of any organization that has a suspected link to terrorism, the state news agency BNA said.
  • Reports also suggest that bill which also recommends raising grip on social media has already been signed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
  • Before the vote, Bahrain’s Justice Minister Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa had been calling for stronger measures against escalating violence in the kingdom. In a special parliamentary session to discuss the mounting violence he warned that the almost 30-month unrest could be prolonged.
  • Khalifa added that Bahrain must quell “terrorism” before there can be any discussions about reconciliation.
  • Bahrain has been witnessing mass protests since February 2011, when thousands of protesters swarmed the streets of Manama demanding democratic reforms and the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa. Home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, while over 75 percent of the population is Shiite.
  • Ever since then, protesters have repeatedly staged rallies in the capital and all across the country, including a series against the Formula One race in April. Many of the demonstrations grew into clashes with security forces.
  • The Bahraini government has often referred to protesters as “terrorists” or “thugs” and recently used a car bomb explosion outside a Sunni mosque as a pretext to ban the opposition protests in several Shiite villages.
  • There have been numerous reports of police brutality against activists in the tiny Gulf kingdom. The government has cracked down on bloggers doctors and opposition activists, according to reports from their family friends and Human Rights groups.
  • A group of Bahraini doctors were sentenced to up to five years in jail for their alleged role in the 2011 protests. Initially, 20 of them were convicted of attempting to bring down the government, but they were eventually acquitted in 2012.
  • In March this year, the UN special rapporteur on torture expressed his “deep disappointment” over Bahrain’s decision to indefinitely postpone his visit to the county accused the Bahraini government of trying to “avoid responsibility” for the postponement.
  • Officials say about 60 people have died in the unrest, but activists put the figure closer to 100.

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7.28.13 – 4 in 5 in U.S. face near-poverty, no work

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So how is the unemployment around 7.6%,  this makes no sense if we just look at this number. By using the calculation prior to 1994 the unemployment is 23% and if you use the U6 it is 14%. The people are struggling but the illusion is kept up by the stock market going higher and the food stamps keep people from forming food lines. There is a complete disconnect between the stock market and the economy.[/stextbox]

  • Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.
  • Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.
  • The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.
  • Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”
  • “I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.
  • “If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”
  • While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.
  • The gauge defines “economic insecurity” as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.
  • “It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,” said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty.
  • He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama’s election, while struggling whites do not.
  • “There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,” Wilson said.
  • ___
  • Sometimes termed “the invisible poor” by demographers, lower-income whites are generally dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are also numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America’s heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains.
  • More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.
  • Still, while census figures provide an official measure of poverty, they’re only a temporary snapshot. The numbers don’t capture the makeup of those who cycle in and out of poverty at different points in their lives. They may be suburbanites, for example, or the working poor or the laid off.
  • In 2011 that snapshot showed 12.6 percent of adults in their prime working-age years of 25-60 lived in poverty. But measured in terms of a person’s lifetime risk, a much higher number — 4 in 10 adults — falls into poverty for at least a year of their lives.
  • The risks of poverty also have been increasing in recent decades, particularly among people ages 35-55, coinciding with widening income inequality. For instance, people ages 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during the 1969-1989 time period; that risk increased to 23 percent during the 1989-2009 period. For those ages 45-55, the risk of poverty jumped from 11.8 percent to 17.7 percent.
  • By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.
  • By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity.
  • “Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them’, it’s an issue of ‘us’,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers. “Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.”
  • Rank’s analysis is supplemented with figures provided by Tom Hirschl, a professor at Cornell University; John Iceland, a sociology professor at Penn State University; the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute; the Census Bureau; and the Population Reference Bureau.
  • Among the findings:
  • —For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.
  • —The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teen pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, up from 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.
  • The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped sharply, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children ticked higher, from 38 to 39 percent.
  • ___
  • Going back to the 1980s, never have whites been so pessimistic about their futures, according to the General Social Survey, which is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Just 45 percent say their family will have a good chance of improving their economic position based on the way things are in America.
  • The divide is especially evident among those whites who self-identify as working class: 49 percent say they think their children will do better than them, compared with 67 percent of non-whites who consider themselves working class.
  • Last November, Obama won the votes of just 36 percent of those noncollege whites, the worst performance of any Democratic nominee among that group since 1984.
  • Some Democratic analysts have urged renewed efforts to bring working-class whites into the political fold, calling them a potential “decisive swing voter group” if minority and youth turnout level off in future elections.
  • “They don’t trust big government, but it doesn’t mean they want no government,” says Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who agrees that working-class whites will remain an important electoral group. “They feel that politicians are giving attention to other people and not them.”

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7.28.13 – Chicago Next? Windy City Cash Balance Plummets To Only $33 Million As Debt Triples

  • While everyone’s attention is focused on the Detroit bankruptcy, and just what assets the city will sell in lieu of raising a DIP loan, perhaps it is time to refocus attention to the city 300 miles west: Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun Times citing year-end audits, Obama’s former right hand man, Rahm Emanuel, closed the books on 2012 with $33.4 million in unallocated cash on hand — down from $167 million the year before — while adding to the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers. In addition to a liquidity problem, Chicago may also be quite insolvent as the city’s total long-term debt soared to nearly $29 billion. That’s $10,780 for every one of the city’s nearly 2.69 million residents. More than a decade ago, the debt load was $9.6 billion or $3,338 per resident. Of course, in a world in which debt is “wealth”, this is great news… at least until debt becomes “bankruptcy.”
  • Ironically last year, now-retiring City Comptroller Amer Ahmad argued that the city’s debt load was not “troubling” because, “We still have a very strong bond rating. Our fiscal position is getting better every year and we are aggressively managing our liabilities and obligations” (very much awhat the ECB’s Mario Draghi tells the world when he gives the periodic monthly update of European capital markets during the central bank’s press conference). It is ironic because last week, Moody’s downgraded Chicago from Aa3 to A3 in an unprecedented three notch cut in the city’s bond rating, citing Chicago’s “very large and growing” pension liabilities, “significant” debt service payments, “unrelenting public safety demands” and historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel.
  • Moody’s noted that the city’s total fund balance at the close of 2012 was $231.3 million and that Chicago has just $625 million in “leased asset reserves.” Had the city fully funded its $1.5 billion “actuarially required contribution” to its four under-funded city employee pension funds in 2012 alone, “these two reserves would have been entirely depleted,” Moody’s said.
  • The “unassigned” balance is $33.4 million. Experts recommend a cash cushion of at least $200 million for a budget the size of Chicago’s, according to the Civic Federation. The city ended 2009 with an unallocated checkbook balance of just $2.7 million.
  • According to the Sun Times, Chicago budget Director Alex Holt blamed the $133.6 million drop in cash on hand balances on “honest” budgeting and ending the long-standing practice of carrying “ghost” vacancies. “We’re trying to be more transparent about what we’re really spending and taking in — not just carrying a bunch of people who took up money in the budget and left money on the table at the end of the year,” Holt said. Well that’s a welcome development – unfortunately the inevitable outcome of honest in the New Normal is bankruptcy.
  • “Let’s be straightforward about what we’ve got to spend and not pretend we’re gonna hire for a position we haven’t hired for, who know how many years when those resources are need to provide other services. … This is about matching revenues with expenses. You don’t want to over-tax people.”
  • Chicago’s principal private employers were: J.P. Morgan Chase (8,168 workers); United Airlines (7,521); Accenture LLP (5,590; Northern Trust (5,448); Jewel Foods (4,572) and Ford Motor Co. (4,187). The 2012 city payroll was 33,708 — down from 40,297 in 2006.
  • The number of “physical arrests” by Chicago Police officers declined again — from 152,740 in 2011 to 145,390 in 2012. That continues a six-year trend that coincides with the hiring slowdown that caused a dramatic decline in the number of police officers. Police made 227,576 arrests in 2006. The number of arrests has been dropping like a rock ever since. The Chicago Police Department has long argued that it doesn’t measure the success of crime-fighting strategies simply by the number of arrests.
  • Emergency responses continued their steady rise — to 472,752. That’s up from 300,971 in 2006.

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7.28.13 – Obama Signs Executive Order, Sends $500 Million To Terrorists

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So the sequester is on the American people but the money flows out to help the central bankers/US government keep the dollar as the reserve currency. Like I said they need this war to be started, they will do anything it takes to make it happen, we are in the desperation phase.[/stextbox]

  • Citing “national security interests,” President Obama effectively sidestepped Congress by signing an executive order which enables him to send $500 million to fund Muslim terrorists in the West Bank.
  • The executive order, addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry, was quietly signed Friday afternoon, as the media’s full attention was focused upon a royal birth.
  • In the order, President Obama writes, “I hereby certify that it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of section 7040(a) of the Act as carried forward by the CR, in order to provide funds appropriated to carry out chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, to the Palestinian Authority.”
  • The move comes on the heels of a 2012 executive order in which Obama waived a congressional ban on funding the Palestinian Authority and sent the Hamas terror led organization $147 million American taxpayer dollars. He also removed all spending restrictions on that money, restrictions which dictate what the funds can and cannot be used for, ie. humanitarian assistance, education, betterment of society, etc. Thus enabling the money to be used for military equipment.
  • Ed Brown, a DC watchdog writes, “When the next Palestinian/Israeli conflict erupts because Hamas led Palestine is lobbing rockets over the fence into Israel —– don’t forget who paid for those rockets: you did, Mr. & Mrs. American taxpayer.”
  • Brown’s assertion is backed by those made by political commentator Dean Garrison. Garrison says, “I am not sure why we even have a legislative branch in 2013, because it’s obvious that Obama and company are going to do what they want anyway.”
  • “Whether this money eventually finds its way into the hands of terrorists, or not, is not entirely the point. Americans are sick of hearing how we need to make cuts, tighten our belts and sacrifice while our government keeps sending money elsewhere.”

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7.28.13 – Reports: Israel attacked another weapons convoy in Syria

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So Israel can fly into another country, bomb weapons and leave and the Syrian government, US, Russia and China have no problem with this. Lets turn this around, if Syria flew into Israel or the US would there be a problem?[/stextbox]

  • Arab media outlets and websites affiliated with Syrian opposition report on Saturday that Israeli fighter jets bombed a weapons convoy intended to reach Hezbollah • Rebel group’s Facebook page claims convoy carried warheads for long-range missiles.
  • Israel has attacked yet again, according to foreign reports, in Syria. Arab media outlets and websites affiliated with Syrian opposition forces reported on Saturday that Israeli fighter jets seen flying over Quneitra bombed a weapons convoy intended to reach Hezbollah.
  • It was also reported by Lebanese news outlet El-Nashra that Israeli jets bombed weapons warehouses at Syrian army outposts in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon.
  • A Syrian rebel group’s Facebook page claimed that the weapons convoy carried warheads for long-range missiles.
  • Over the past few months foreign reports have attributed several airstrikes inside Syria to Israel, which allegedly targeted and destroyed advanced weaponry slated to be delivered to Hezbollah.
  • According to these reports, Israel also attacked weapons warehouses in Latakia in northern Syria, where Russian-made land-to-sea Yakhont missiles were allegedly stored.

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7.28.13 – Chairman of Harvard Economics Department: BUY GOLD

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Even the chairman of Harvard Economics tells people that you should hold precious metals.[/stextbox]

  • Well, this is a surprise. Best selling Keynesian economics textbook author and chairman of the Harvard economics department, Greg Mankiw, is out with an NYT column advising that investors should hold some gold in their portfolio. It appears that he has been studying up on the yellow metal. In 2008, in his fifth edition of Principles of Macroeconomics (p.339) he had only this somewhat dismissive mention of gold:
  • One example of commodity money is gold. Gold has intrinsic value because it is used in industry and in the making of jewelry. Although today we no longer use gold as money, historically gold has been a common form of money because it is relatively easy to carry, measure and verify for impurities. When an economy uses gold as money (or uses paper money that is convertible into gold on demand) it is said to be operating under a gold standard.
  • That was it, the beginning and end of his discussion of gold. But this is what he has to say today about gold:
  • A friend posed that question to me a few weeks ago, after watching gold’s wild ride over the last few years. The price of gold was less than $500 an ounce in 2005, but soared to more than $1,800 in 2011, before falling back to about $1,300 recently. He wasn’t sure what to make of it all.
  • My instinct was to say no. Like most economists I know, I am a pretty boring investor. I hold 60 percent stocks, 40 percent bonds, mostly in low-cost index funds. Whenever I see those TV commercials with some actor hawking gold coins, I roll my eyes. Hoarding gold seems akin to stocking up on canned beans and ammo as you wait for the apocalypse in your fallout shelter.
  • But I was also wary of imposing my gut instinct on my friend, who was looking for a more reasoned judgment. I knew that some investors saw gold as a key part of a portfolio. The author Harry Browne, the onetime Libertarian presidential candidate, recommended a permanent 25 percent allocation to gold. In 2012, the Federal Reserve reported that Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, had more than $1 millionof gold in his personal portfolio.
  • So, before answering my friend’s question, I dived into the small academic literature on gold as a portfolio investment. Here is what I learned:
  • THERE ISN’T A LOT OF IT The World Gold Council estimates that all the gold ever mined amounts to 174,100 metric tons. If this supply were divided equally among the world’s population, it would work out to less than one ounce a person.
  • Warren E. Buffett has a good way to illustrate how little gold there is. He has calculated that if all the gold in the world were made into a cube, its edge would be only 69 feet long. So the cube would fit comfortably within a baseball infield.[…]
  • Because gold is a small asset class with meager returns and high volatility, an investor may be tempted to avoid it altogether. But not so fast. One last fact may turn the tables.
  • IT MARCHES TO A DIFFERENT BEAT An important element of an investment portfolio is diversification, and here is where gold really shines — pun intended — because its price is largely uncorrelated with stocks and bonds. Despite gold’s volatility, adding a little to a standard portfolio can reduce its overall risk.
  • How far should an investor go? It’s hard to say, because optimal portfolios are so sensitive to expected returns on alternative assets, and expected returns are hard to measure precisely, even with a century or two of data. It is therefore not surprising that financial analysts reach widely varying conclusions.•
  • In the end, I abandoned my initial aversion to holding gold. A small sliver, such as the 2 percent weight in the world market portfolio, now makes sense to me as part of a long-term investment strategy.

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7.28.13 – Biden says US will remain a resident Pacific power

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So lets get this straight, the US blames China for cyber attacking the US. Japan and China are fighting over an island that has oil. China along with Russia backs Syria where the US is trying to start a war so they can implement the US dollar as the reserve currency and then move onto Iran and do the same thing. The US is using the Philippines as a base. China is making deals with other countries which bypasses the dollar. This is not for peace, the US is strategically placing its assets around China for WWIII, because the US government/central bankers will go down fighting to keep the dollar as the reserve currency.[/stextbox]

  • US vice president Joe Biden has said his country will remain a power in the Asia-Pacific region because it has maintained peace and stability there.
  • Biden claimed on Saturday that the presence of the US military in the region has been an opportunity for countries there to focus on their economies.
  • Biden, who was in a two-day visit to Singapore, was addressing sailors of the US Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Freedom.
  • “Our mere presence in the Pacific is in and of itself the basis upon which stability of the region is built. You are the glue that holds all this together,” he said.
  • Washington has recently decided to increase its presence in the Pacific region.
  • The Obama administration’s so-called “pivot to Asia” involves the repositioning of American military forces throughout the Asia-Pacific region as well as strengthening US military alliances and strategic partnerships in that part of the world.
  • The United States is spreading its military tentacles throughout the Asia-Pacific region amid a massive and unprecedented series of war games in the region.
  • As part of the Pivot, approximately 20,000 US troops descended on Australia’s east coast for a joint military exercise in July for the biggest such exercise to date.
  • Observers believe America’s effort to increase its presence in the region is aimed at containing China, which has emerged as the biggest threat to the US hegemony.

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7.28.13 – Bahrain: The Arab Spring Protests You Don’t Know About

[stextbox id=”x22report”]These countries are controlled by the central bankers/US government. They all have central banks and trade oil using the US as the reserve currency. The people want a change in government.  The empire of the US and the US dollar as the reserve currency is starting to lose ground and its getting harder and harder to keep the dollar as the reserve currency.[/stextbox]

  • I am astonished by how little the media has covered the ongoing protests in Bahrain, Kuwait, and eastern Saudi Arabia. You would think that the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states would be under a microscope, because what happens there immediately affects oil prices. But large media corporations have opted not to cover events in these countries, so as not to cause market panic. And there is a lot to panic about.
  • The Arab Spring, or something like it, in Bahrain is all about Sunni-Shia tensions. Bahraini Shia make up almost 70% of the country’s total population. They are freer than the Saudi Shia (who are a distinct minority) to practice their faith in public, and they have never been subject to the incredible brutality of anti-Shia campaigns like the ones that were conducted in Iraq by Saddam’s forces following the 1991 uprising. That said, Bahrain’s Sunni Al-Khalifa ruling family excludes the Shiite population from participating in public life, and discriminates against them economically and politically.
  • Any attempts by the Shia to address their needs by democratic and peaceful means are repressed by the government, because they are seen as a threat to the regime. The ruling family has portrayed all Shiite calls for reform, democratization, and constitutional government in the country as a radical Shiite agenda aimed at destabilizing the island, and has linked Shia protesters to Iran. As a result, Bahrain has become extremely polarized, and Shiite Islamists have become the strongest political opposition group.
  • The government of Bahrain has made a mistake by ignoring the will of the majority of its own people. King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa has refused to incorporate members of the Shiite elite into the government. It is possible that, if the Emir had sacrificed several ministerial posts to the Shia elite, the 2011 uprising could have been prevented. Instead, prior to the elections, the government exposed a Shiite conspiracy, which led to the events of 2011.
  • Protests started in February 2011, and were inspired by the events in Tunisia and Egypt. The Gulf Cooperation Council’s collective force (which is composed of mainly Emirati and Saudi troops)successfully suppressed the demonstrations, and the world did not express discontent with the fact that Bahrain’s purely internal tensions were resolved through military intervention. Many suspected that a crucial, behind-the-scenes role was played by the United States, whose Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain, and could be jeopardized by local turmoil.
  • After the major protests, the government didn’t change the country’s political system to incorporate the Shia majority into politics. Bahrain’s electoral system is one of the most notorious examples of the persisting discrimination. To ensure Sunni domination in the elections, constituencies have been gerrymandered; although Shiite citizens account for two-thirds of the population, less than half of the seats in the National Assembly are held by Shiite representatives. The government has allowed harassment of opposition politicians, banned several NGOs that monitored the government, andarrested journalists and bloggers.
  • The Shiite community has suffered economically since the end of the major wave of protests in 2012. Due to high unemployment, almost 53,000 Shiite families are waiting to receive housing from the government, but most are passed over due to Bahrain’s policy of naturalizing and providing housing toPakistanis, Yemenis, Jordanians, and Syrians to balance the Shia-Sunni ratio.
  • Although protests still smolder in Bahraini towns, world attention is turned to the spectacular events in Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. All protests have been banned in Bahrain since October, but the ban hasn’t stopped the opposition from taking to the streets to demand the resignation of the world’s longest-serving prime minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the king’s uncle, who has been in office for 32 years now. The passion of protesters has remained strong; they are still able to fill the streets of the capital, Manama, as well as smaller towns.
  • The government, which mainly consists of ruling-family members, does everything possible to prevent the resolution of the conflict: puppet courts acquit policemen of torture charges, protesting students are expelled from universities, and the Shiite majority seems invisible to the authorities.
  • People are continuing to die in the protests, and the whole thing seems to have taken a dangerous and extreme turn. Until recently, protesters were relatively peaceful and only resorted to assembling in the streets. But on July 17, a car exploded in a mosque parking lot near the royal residences in Manama, marking an escalation of tensions between protesters and the government. That same day, an office building was set ablaze in another area of the city, and several days before that, a car exploded by the house of one of Bahrain’s members of parliament.
  • Judging by the authorities’ recent behavior — both the army and the police have been mobilized — they are preparing for the biggest protest yet, scheduled for August 14. The demonstration, which is being referred to as a “rebellion” on social media, is calling for the overthrow of the government, and has gained massive support among Bahrainis. The prime minister warned Bahrainis against joining the movement, but the warning, coming from someone who is regarded the most corrupt politician in the country, had the opposite effect. Whether the much anticipated overthrow of the government happens or not, Bahrain’s August 14 demonstrations will certainly bring the country back into the world’s headlines.

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7.28.13 – Thousands of anti-govt protesters teargassed by Peru police

  • Riot police blocked the passage of thousands of anti-government protesters marching on congress in Peru’s capital, Lima. Officers used tear gas and water cannon on activists who slammed government corruption and called on the president for change.
  • Clashes broke out between police and the protesters as the crowd tried to push its way to congress. Hooded youths pelted riot officers with stones, while some protesters burnt and trampled a coffin-shaped box with President Ollanta Humala’s name on it.
  • Lima police Chief General Luis Praeli said 15 people were arrested during the unrest
  • Protesters allege that President Humala has not implemented the changes he promised in the public sector two years after his election in 2011.
  • “The citizens, trade unions, youth are expressing our opposition and our grievance against the policies of the government of Humala, a government that promised a series of changes, a series of reforms and all he has done in these two years of government is not fulfill them,” said protester Javier Torres.
  • The protest is the latest in a wave of anti-government demonstrations as discontent with Humala’s rule grows. His rating in popularity polls has slipped to 33 percent, the lowest since he assumed the presidency.
  • Public discontent focuses on new legislation that seeks to reform government bureaucracy and universities. Civil workers are worried that the new laws will lead to massive cuts in the public sector.
  • ‘Broken promises’
  • Professor Fernando Tuesta of the Peruvian Catholic University told RT’s Spanish channel, RT Actualidad, that President Humala had lost the support of the left without achieving the support of the right.
  • “Humala has left himself dangerously isolated from the left,” said Tuesta, adding that the Ollanta promised “totally different policies” to the ones he has adopted for the last two years.
  • Political analyst Yusef Fernandez stressed that Humala gained popular support with pledges of a political and economic policy based of the demands of the people, but never came good on his promises. He told RT Actualidad that the real winners under Humala’s rule had been foreign businesses investing in Peru.

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7.28.13 – Is This The Recovery Obama Is Talking About?

  • Obama: “…the economy is far stronger now than it was four and a half years ago.”
  • …as long as one ignores the reality of the following chart…

  • We’ve seen macro “Hope”and micro “Reality”, but for the man in the street, it would appear from the chart above that the trajectory for ‘recovery’ green shoots is decidedly down and getting worse… even as the President tells the American public they are so much better off…

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7.27.13 – RUSSIAN GOALS INCLUDE MEDITERRANEAN BASE

[stextbox id=”x22report”]All countries are positioning their assets for the upcoming war. As you can see the US strategically placing troops in the Philippines which is close to China and Russia has placed missiles in Armenia and they upgrading the base there, plus now Russia wants a strategic location in Cyprus.[/stextbox]

  • Russia quietly is renewing a request to set up an air and naval base in Cyprus with the goal of being better able to deploy troops to Syria to back the government of President Bashar al-Assad against possible Turkish and Western intervention, informed sources have told Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
  • There apparently has been increased contact between Cypriot and Russian diplomats in recent weeks – over plans to set up a naval base at Limassol and use the Andreas Papandreou Air Base at Paphos.
  • Sources add that any such agreement would be inconsistent with Cyprus’ desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, even though it is the only member of the European Union that doesn’t belong to Western security alliance.
  • For years, NATO member Turkey has blocked Cyprus’ membership because of the island’s predominant Greek influence and central government which commands the southern portion of the island.
  • Turkey controls the northern portion.
  • But sources say Russia has begun showing a more assertive posture in the Mediterranean.
  • With it becoming questionable for the Russians to continue maintaining their Syrian naval base at Tartus, Cyprus has become more desirable.
  • The naval base at Limassol and the air base at Paphos would serve Moscow’s purpose for amphibious operations and the air base for support of ground troops that could be deployed rapidly, especially to Syria.
  • “In that case, the request made by Moscow would mark a serious intensification or escalation of Russian ambitions and capabilities for power projection into the Middle East,” according to a report from the think-tank Jamestown Foundation.

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7.27.13 – States seek to nullify Obama efforts

[stextbox id=”x22report”]We the people can say no via the states.  That is where the real power comes from[/stextbox]

  • Infuriated by what they see as the long arm of Washington reaching into their business, states are increasingly telling the feds: Keep out!
  • Bills that would negate a variety of federal laws have popped up this year in the vast majority of states – with the amount of anti-federal legislation sharply on the rise during the Obama administration, according to experts.
  • The “nullification” trend in recent years has largely focused on three areas: gun control; health care; and national standards for driver’s licenses. It’s touched off fierce fights within the states, and between the states and the feds, as well as raising questions and court battles about whether any of it is legal.
  • In at least 37 states legislation has been introduced that in some way guts federal gun regulations, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The bills were signed into law this spring in two states, Kansas and Alaska, and in two more lawmakers hope to override a governor’s veto. Twenty states since 2010 have passed laws that either opt out of or challenge mandatory parts of Obamacare, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. And half the states have OK’d measures aimed knocking back the Real ID Act of 2005, which dictates Washington’s requirements for issuing driver’s licenses.
  • “Rosa Parks is the beacon of light: If you say no to something, you can change the world,” Michael Boldin, the Founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, which favors states’ rights, told POLITICO.
  • “Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be, ‘We, the people?’” he added. “Over the past few years you’ve seen this growing…People are getting sick and tired of federal power.”
  • In fact, the state-level anger at the nation’s capital has reached such a fever pitch that many of the bills do not even address specific federal laws, but rather amount to what is in effect “preemptive” nullification, wiping out, for instance, any federal law that may exist in the future that the states determine violates gun rights. The flurry of such efforts was spurred by fear on the part of states that in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that Congress would pass restrictive gun control legislation.
  • Supporters of nullification say it’s the best tool they have to try to beat back an intrusive federal government that they say is more and more trampling on the rights of states.
  • But critics respond that the flood of legislation to override the feds is folly that won’t stand up in court and amounts to a transparent display of the political and personal distaste for President Barack Obama. And in some cases, the moves in the states has provoked an administration counter-offensive: Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Kansas after it passed the “Second Amendment Protection Act” threatening legal action if necessary to enforce federal laws.
  • Even some conservatives – certainly no lovers of the Obama administration – warn that the states are going down the wrong path with nullification, distracted by a what lawmakers think is a silver-bullet solution, but that likely won’t stand up in the courts, when in fact there are much better (and legal) ways for the states to resist.
  • While most states have wrapped their legislative sessions for the year, the fight on these bills is taking only a brief pause. In Missouri, for example, lawmakers are preparing for a veto session in September, where supporters of a gun measure that would eviscerate any future congressional attempts to regulate gun ownership are planning to attempt to override the governor’s veto. The nullification battle has also spilled over into the courts, with more challenges and rulings expected during the year.
  • In Kansas, state Rep. John Rubin sponsored successful legislation that dictates that federal gun laws do not apply to firearms and accessories made in Kansas and that never leave its borders, and makes it a felony for any federal agent to enforce those laws within the state.
  • The Republican lawmaker told POLITICO his bill is about states’ rights – not gun rights.
  • “The federal government doesn’t have the authority to do a lot of what it’s trying to do these days, from regulating guns within state borders, as my bill deals with, or telling us what kinds of light bulbs to put in our lamps,” Rubin said.
  • He noted a rise in the number nullification bills.
  • “I think we have the Obama administration to thank for that.” Rubin said. “The more federal overreach in Obamacare and elsewhere, the more [the administration] chooses to act in ways we believe are unconstitutional, the more we’re going to push back. I would encourage any state to assert to the strongest possible extent against the Obama administration, or any federal administration, rights clearly reserved to the states.”

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7.27.13 –KERRY: Egypt’s Leaders Need To Pull ‘Back From The Brink’

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US government/central bankers are worried that if this revolution/civil war goes any further and threatens the US dollar as the reserve currency the US will need to send in troops to keep order and keep control of the US dollar as the reserve currency and the central bank intact.[/stextbox]

  • Egypt’s leaders must act now to pull their country “back from the brink,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday, saying Egypt was at a pivotal moment after scores of protesters were killed in the last day.
  • The top U.S. diplomat said he had spoken to two senior officials of Egypt’s interim government – Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy – to voice “deep concern about the bloodshed and violence in Cairo and Alexandria over the past 24 hours that has claimed the lives of scores of Egyptian demonstrators and injured more than 1,000 people.”
  • Egyptian security forces shot to death dozens of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, witnesses said, days after the army chief called for a popular mandate to wipe out “violence and terrorism”.
  • “This is a pivotal moment for Egypt,” Kerry said in a written statement. “The United States … calls on all of Egypt’s leaders across the political spectrum to act immediately to help their country take a step back from the brink.”
  • He also called on the Egyptian security forces to respect Egyptians’ right to protest peacefully, saying that was “a moral and legal obligation.”
  • “At this critical juncture, it is essential that the security forces and the interim government respect the right of peaceful protest, including the ongoing sit-in demonstrations,” he added.
  • He also urged an inclusive political process involving representatives of all political parties that would lead as soon as possible to “a freely and fairly elected government committed to pluralism and tolerance.”

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7.27.13 –China sends 200 troops to Russia at start of joint anti-terror drills

[stextbox id=”x22report”]More drills for China and Russia’s military.  We have seen the US and South Korea, US and Japan, Israel and US and many other drills taking place. Russia and China had their joint navy drill, all countries are prepping for war.[/stextbox]

  • Almost 200 Chinese soldiers were deployed Saturday to begin three weeks of joint anti-terror drills with Russian troops, officials said.
  • The soldiers will be joined by others — eventually totaling 646 — at the operation site in Chelyabinsk in Russia’s Ural Mountains by Aug. 2, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.
  • Five military helicopters transported 72 of the soldiers first contingent of soldiers on the 3,100-mile flight from Hailar in Inner Mongolia, said Zhang Yan, deputy commander of the soldiers participating in the drill.
  • Another 119 soldiers and officers are being moved by train from the border city of Manchuri, Zhang said.
  • Five fighter bombers will join the drill July 31.
  • The “Peace Mission 2013” exercises are scheduled to run through Aug. 15.
  • The operation begins less than a month after the two countries completed their largest-ever naval drill in the Sea of Japan.

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7.27.13 –Spain Levies Consumption Tax on Sunlight

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Keep taxing the people, more taxes on the most ridiculous things to keep the governments above water.  More taxes, more spying, more military drills, the world is very close to the economic collapse. [/stextbox]

  • Proving that idiocy truly has no bounds, Spain issued a “royal decree” taxing sunlight gatherers. The state threatens fines as much as 30 million euros for those who illegally gather sunlight without paying a tax.
  • The tax is just enough to make sure that homeowners cannot gather and store solar energy cheaper than state-sponsored providers.
  • Via Mish-modified Google Translate from Energias Renovables, please consider Photovoltaic Sector, Stunned
  • The Secretary of State for Energy, Alberto Nadal, signed a draft royal decree in which consumption taxes are levied on those who want to start solar power systems on their rooftops. The tax, labeled a “backup toll” is high enough to ensure that it will be cheaper to keep buying energy from current providers.
  • Spain Privatizes the Sun
  • Via Google translate from El Pais, please consider Spain Privatizes The Sun
  • If you get caught collecting photons of sunlight for your own use, you can be fined as much as 30 million euros.
  • If you were thinking the best energy option was to buy some solar panels that were down 80% in price, you can forget about it.
  • “Of all the possible scenarios, this is the worst,” said José Donoso, president of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), which represents 85% of the sector’s activity.
  • Before the decree it took 12 years to recover the investment in a residential installation of 2.4 kilowatts of power. Following the decree, it will take an additional 23 years according to estimates by UNEF.
  • Petition of the Candle Makers Revisited
  • And so the “Petition of the Candle Makers” comes to pass.
  • I have written about the “petition” on many occasions, but here is the latest reference: Extremely Difficult to Keep Up With Economic Stupidity
  • Reflections on “Unfair Competition”
  • Corporations always consider it “unfair” when any other company can do things faster, smarter, or cheaper than they can. The buggy whip industry once protested cars.
  • Today, land-line telecom companies have to compete with wireless and they don’t like it. Now, we see protests about VOIP (voice over internet protocol).
  • Technology marches on. But France does not like it. The French solution is to tax Skype because it has an “unfair advantage”.
  • This is an age-old unwinnable argument.
  • Petition of the Candle Makers
  • The ultimate irony is France’s preposterous “unfair advantage” argument was lampooned by French economist Frederic Bastiat back in 1845 when he penned ‘Petition of the Candle Makers’.
  • In his article, candle makers were incensed that the light of the sun could be had for free. The sun’s unfair trade advantage was to the “detriment of fair industries” who could not compete against the sun’s price.
  • Something had to be done to “shut off as much as possible, all access to natural light, and thereby create a need for artificial light” so that “industry in France will encouraged”.
  • The moral to this story is “Don’t propose something purposefully stupid hoping to make a point. Some idiot might actually think it’s a good idea and do it”.

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7.27.13 –S&P Wants Government Documents About Other Investigations

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The only reason the US government is suing S&P is to stop them from downgrading the US. S&P downgraded the US before and the government stamped their feet and acted like children about it. To stop them from downgrading the US again the started a lawsuit.  Now S&P wants the documents to find out why they decided to file the lawsuit. [/stextbox]

  • McGraw Hill Financial Inc. (MHFI)’s Standard & Poor’s, preparing its defense to the fraud lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department, will ask the government for information about investigations of other credit raters.
  • The Justice Department and S&P yesterday filed a joint report ahead of a hearing July 29 in federal court in Santa Ana, California. The report lays out the kind of evidence each side will seek from the other in preparation for a trial of the government’s claims that S&P lied to investors about its ratings being independent and free of conflicts of interest.
  • S&P wants the government to provide it with documents about its investigation of S&P and others, about the government’s decision to file the lawsuit, and information the government received about residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized-debt obligations in investigations of others, including other credit rating providers.
  • The parties “anticipate that S&P’s document discovery in these areas will generate objections from the government,” according to the filing.
  • The Justice Department will initially seek evidence related to whether particular S&P-rated residential mortgage-backed securities and CDOs were affected by the alleged fraud and the losses to financial institutions from these particular securities, according to the filing.
  • $5 Billion
  • The Justice Department seeks as much as $5 billion in civil penalties from New York-based S&P, based on losses federally insured financial institutions incurred from investments in mortgage-backed securities and CDOs that included these securities, which had received investment-grade credit ratings from S&P.
  • U.S. District Judge David Carter on July 16 denied S&P’s request to throw out the government’s complaint without ruling on the merits of the allegations. The Justice Department in its complaint met the legal standards to proceed with its fraud claims, the judge said.
  • Edward Sweeney, a spokesman for S&P, and Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. in Los Angeles, declined to comment on the filing.
  • The case is U.S. v. McGraw-Hill Cos., 13-cv-00779, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).

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7.27.13 – U.S. eases sanctions on Iran in consideration of ‘humanitarian needs’

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The world was looking at the US as the aggressor in Iran, letting sick people die because of the sanctions that were put in place. This was not helping the US overthrow the government to put a central bank and to establish the US dollar as the reserve currency. This will not in anyway stop the war that is coming with Syria and Iran. Because the US Government/central bankers need to push the US dollar as the reserve currency on each nation or the US dollar collapses.[/stextbox]

  • The United States, in wake of Iranian presidential elections, has eased export restrictions on Teheran. The administration of President Barack Obama has expanded the list of export goods to Iran that would not require special approval. Officials said the move was meant to enable U.S. shipments of medical devices to the Teheran regime.
  • “Safeguarding humanitarian trade is an important element of our policy [towards Iran],” Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said. In a statement on July 25, Cohen, responsible for financial intelligence, said the latest measure would enable rapid U.S. exports of medical devices. The equipment was meant to include electrocardiograph and dialysis machines. Officials said the administration has also eased restrictions on U.S. exports of pharmaceuticals to Iran.
  • They said the move was meant to demonstrate U.S. concern for the humanitarian needs of Iran, deemed by Washington as the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world. “We will continue to apply powerful pressure on Iran while taking steps to ensure that we do not impact the humanitarian needs of the Iranian population,” Cohen said.
  • The measures were announced in wake of an appeal by more than 120 members of Congress for Obama to engage with Teheran. The lawmakers argued that the election of Hassan Rowhani could present an opportunity for Washington to resolve the nuclear crisis with Teheran. “So, the point of our bi-partisan letter to the president is to encourage him and other negotiators to test that proposition to see what the possibilities might be for some kind of diplomatic breakthrough here,” Rep. David Price, a co-author of the letter, said.
  • Officials said the administration was also encouraging American and other suppliers to export pharmaceutical and medical products to Iran. They said Treasury revised guidelines that would prevent these suppliers from coming under U.S. sanctions. “We expect that today’s actions will ease lingering concern about the export to Iran of medicine and medical equipment,” Cohen said.

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7.27.13 – Kiwis on the march: Thousands turn out against new spy powers in New Zealand

[stextbox id=”x22report”]If you notice the spying on the people is spreading all across the globe. The governments need to know who will cause trouble, where everyone is and what they are planning when the economic collapse occurs.  We are also seeing the use of drones all over the world by every country, for surveillance and warfare.[/stextbox]

  • Thousands of people have protested across New Zealand against the new surveillance bill that would enable the country’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to spy on its citizens.
  • The protests were held in 11 cities and towns. with the strongest turnouts in Auckland and Wellington, showing the growing level of New Zealanders’ concern over the GCSB bill, the NZ Herald reports. Once passed into law, the bill will extend the bureau’s powers granting the agency a right to eavesdrop on telephone conversations.
  • Protesters took to the streets in Auckland blocking the traffic in the central part of the city. A march down Queen Street attracted an estimated 2,000 people.
  • MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom joined the rally, addressing the people in a speech at Auckland’s Aotea Square. He told the crowd that the government had invaded his privacy and “if they can do that to me they can do that to any of you.”
  • It would be an “uphill battle” to stop the passage of the pending bill, said Labour Party leader David Shearer, adding that “there’s now a lack of confidence by New Zealanders in our intelligence agencies,” as quoted by the NZ Herald.
  • In Wellington more than 500 protesters marched to the steps of parliament, many wearing stylized Guy Fawkes masks, adopted as a universal symbol against tyranny. The people held signs and chanted slogans like “we don’t want your spying state” and “surveillance is for war.”
  • Chief executive of Kim Dotcom’s new Mega website and the former head of Internet NZ, Vikram Kumar, was met with a resounding “no” when he asked the crowd whether they want to be spied on, the Herald said.
  • “The land of the long white cloud becoming the land of the NSA spy cloud? No!”
  • Civil liberties campaigner and Tech Liberty co-founder Thomas Beagle said the GCSB bill was about “mass surveillance” that gives extensive power to the state.
  • “It’s about spying on everyone, no matter what they’ve done, no matter what they’re going to do,” he said. “This sort of mass surveillance changes the balance of power in our society away from the people and towards the state.”

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7.27.13 – NC Expands Gun Carry Rights To Colleges, Bars & Playgrounds

  • This is one of those movements that are in the right direction, though one does wonder how those who have met the requirements to carry concealed were not allowed to carry their weapons in bars and colleges in the first place. However, a new law went into effect on Friday in North Carolina which allows residents in the state with a carry permit to take their firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol, bars, playgrounds and even colleges! You know the gun grabbers are going to be beside themselves on this one, but keep an eye on statistics. I’m sure they will prove this is a step in the right direction.
  • Amazing enough, the new law (HB937) takes 17 pages to explain! The bill passed earlier in the week and Republican Governor Pat McCrory (Don’t think for a moment that this guy isn’t a RINO, because he is) signed the bill into law. To prove my case about McCrory, listen to how he defended his decision with typical liberal talk about “the children.”
  • “I just want to make sure that kids are safe,” McCrory said in December, according to WRAL. “The long-term solution I think is not changing any current laws — we’ve got a lot of laws on the books — but taking care of those people who have some serious, serious problems in their minds. I think that’s where a lot of the concentration needs to be. Because if you look at all these incidents throughout the nation, it’s been these loners that have some serious, serious issues. I think that’s the thing we’ve got to concentrate on.”
  • Then Mr. McCrory, stop infringing on their parents’ rights and abilities to defend them! While I agree that the shootings we have seen, at least in how they are reported have been from loners, but that doesn’t mean you treat every citizen as if they fall into that category.
  • Before passing the final law, the state legislature dismissed a controversial provision which aimed to repeal a law requiring a permit and background check from a county sheriff in order to purchase a handgun. As I said parts of the law are a step in the right direction and others, not so much.
  • So what all does the new law allow for my neighbors to the north? When you go out to a bar or a restaurant serving alcohol, you no longer have to go in defenseless, unless the owner specifically prohibits it. In that case, you can do like I do and take it in anyway and then if they discover you have a firearm, they will merely ask you to leave, which you should do so and never darken the doors of their establishment again.
  • The problem with entering establishments serving alcohol is that you cannot consume any! Really, it’s utterly ridiculous to have such a law as this, as it does nothing but restrict your freedom to eat and drink as you please. After all, you are a law abiding citizen. Do lawmakers seriously think you are going to take your wife out for a nice meal and get hammered in the process and shoot the place up? If they do, perhaps they don’t need to be making decisions.
  • You can also take your weapons to public recreation areas, parade grounds and funeral processions. I’m not sure why they would have been off limits to law abiding citizens in the first place.
  • Gun owners will now also be allowed to store their guns in a locked vehicle on public-school or university campuses or any other state-government parking lot. OK, at least the gun made it onto the campus grounds, but it’s not doing very much good sitting in your car when a shooter enters your classroom is it? Exactly, another bad part of the law here.
  • I would say the University of North Carolina Police chiefs at least made a good point in their opposition to this part of the law, citing the potential increase of car break-ins on campus. However, I don’t think that their claim of it leading to increased gun violence holds water. That is already in effect with them not allowing people to actually carry on campus to defend themselves.
  • Oh, and about the liberal gun grabbers being beside themselves? One MSNBC reporter actually said, “Really wish you could take a gun with you on your next visit to the public playground with your kids? Then you might want to consider a move to North Carolina.”
  • Ah yes, make it look like law abiding citizens want to murder innocent young children on a playground. Obviously parents want to carry their firearms in such places to defend their children against anyone that would seek to do them harm.
  • Finally, understanding that North Carolina’s constitution doesn’t have what several states have and that is a similar wording of not infringing on the right to bear arms, this is would account for the state infringing on your rights, abilities, even duties to bear arms to defend yourself. For the NC constitution reads:
  • That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and, as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
  • In other words you have a right to bear arms to defend the State, but that doesn’t mean the State can’t infringe upon those rights.
  • As I said, some measures in the new law are good and some not so good, but it seems that there were at least some positive steps in the right direction.

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7.27.13 – EU planning to ‘own and operate’ spy drones and an air force

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The EU knows the collapse is coming and they are doing the same thing as the US. Putting drones in the air to spy and keep track of people and eventually they will use them to fire on the people. [/stextbox]

  • The European Union is planning to “own and operate” spy drones, surveillance satellites and aircraft as part of a new intelligence and security agency under the control of Baroness Ashton.
  • The controversial proposals are a major move towards creating an independent EU military body with its own equipment and operations, and will be strongly opposed by Britain.
  • Officials told the Daily Telegraph that the European Commission and Lady Ashton’s European External Action Service want to create military command and communication systems to be used by the EU for internal security and defence purposes. Under the proposals, purchasing plans will be drawn up by autumn.
  • The use of the new spy drones and satellites for “internal and external security policies”, which will include police intelligence, the internet, protection of external borders and maritime surveillance, will raise concerns that the EU is creating its own version of the US National Security Agency.
  • Senior European officials regard the plan as an urgent response to the recent scandal over American and British communications surveillance by creating EU’s own security and spying agency.
  • “The Edward Snowden scandal shows us that Europe needs its own autonomous security capabilities, this proposal is one step further towards European defence integration,” said a senior EU official.
  • The proposal said “the commission will work with the EEAS on a joint assessment of dual-use capability needs for EU security and defence policies”.
  • It continued: “On the basis of this assessment, it will come up with a proposal for which capability needs, if any, could best be fulfilled by assets directly purchased, owned and operated by the Union.” A commission official confirmed the proposal.
  • “Looking at the current gaps, possibilities could be from surveillance Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems to airlift and command and communication facilities,” said the official.
  • There is a already an intense behind-the-scenes battle pitting London against the rest over plans to create an EU military operations headquarters in Brussels.
  • Lady Ashton, the European foreign minister, the commission and France – backed by Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland – all support the plans. Both sets of proposals are likely to come to a head at an EU summit fight in December.
  • “We would not support any activity that would mean the Commission owning or controlling specific defence research assets or capabilities,” said a British government spokesman.
  • Britain has a veto but the group of countries have threatened to use a legal mechanism, created by the Lisbon Treaty, to bypass the British and create a major rift in Nato.
  • Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, Conservative European defence and security spokesman, accused the commission of being “obsessed” with promoting the “EU’s military ambitions”.
  • “It would be alarming if the EU – opaque, unaccountable, bureaucratic and desperately trying to turn itself into a federal state – were to try and create an intelligence gathering capability of its own. This is something that we need to stop in its tracks before it is too late,” he said.
  • Nigel Farage MEP, the leader of Ukip, described the plans for EU spy drones and satellites as “a deeply sinister development”.
  • “These are very scary people, and these revelations should give any lover of liberty pause for thought over the ambitions of the EU elite.”
  • The Open Europe think tank has warned that the EU “has absolutely no democratic mandate for actively controlling and operating military and security capabilities”.
  • “The fact is European countries have different views on defence and this is best served by intergovernmental cooperation, not by European Commission attempts at nation-building,” said Pawel Swidlicki, a research analyst at Open Europe.
  • The spy drones and secure command systems would be linked to a £3.5 billion spy satellite project known as Copernicus which will be used to provide “imaging capabilities to support Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations”. Currently Copernicus is due to be operated by the European Space Agency.
  • It is part of the Sentinel system of satellites, which is costing British taxpayers £434 million. Previously known as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security project, which is due to become operational next year.

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7.27.13 – Obamacare Call Center Will Not Offer Health-Care Benefits to Employees

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Obamacare is so great that the call center is hiring 204 people but half will be part time so they don’t have supply health insurance to those employees.[/stextbox]

  • In order to ensure Americans understand how to access the benefits available to them when many provisions of the Affordable Care Act go online October 1, the Obama administration announced last month that it is setting up a call center that will be accessible to Americans 24 hours a day.
  • One branch of that call center will be located in California’s Contra Costa County, where, reportedly, 7,000 people applied for the 204 jobs. According to the Contra Costa Times, however, “about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.” The county supervisor, Karen Mitchoff, called the hiring process “a comedy of errors” and said she “never dreamed [the jobs] would be part-time.”
  • The Times indicates that a job posting advertised all of the jobs as full-time, and one call center employee, who said no reason for the apparent change was provided, told the paper, ”It reminded me of that George Clooney movie where he goes around the country firing people [Up in the Air]. The woman said, ‘I know you were led to believe you would be full-time, but things have changed. . . . You are actually ‘part-time intermittent.’”
  • The Contra Costa employees are currently in training, and the call center — one of three based in California — is set to go live on October 1.

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7.27.13 –Israel army holds parachuting exercise

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The fiscal year ends Sept 30 for providing the weapons for Syria, the US will need to ramp up the war before that time. US has started aerial drills with Israel and now Israel is training nighttime parachuting exercises. The American people and congress do not want to invade Syria, a general already reported how expensive the invasion would be. To get the US into war they will need an event to have the American people and congress begging for war.[/stextbox]

  • Israeli regime’s army has held a nighttime parachuting exercise in Negev desert in the southern part of the occupied land.
  • Reports say about 1,000 paratroopers took part in the Wednesday military drill, but only two-third of them succeeded to jump out of Hercules transport planes.
  • At least 18 Israeli soldiers sustained injuries and 5 of them were taken to hospital for treatment.
  • Colonel Eliezer Toledano, the commander of Paratroop Brigade of the army, praised the parachuting exercise.
  • The Israeli army parachuted small tractors, drones and heavy machine guns as well as ammunitions during the drill.

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7.27.13 – US-led airstrikes leave 60 people dead across Afghanistan

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US reports they will pulling out of Afghanistan, then an US government official reported that they would be staying, now an airstrike. The US government understands that Afghanistan is full of rich natural resources, they already protect the poppy fields and the understand that their is a huge copper, lithium and other deposits. China is making deals to mine the copper. The central bankers/US government will never leave all of these natural resources to China.[/stextbox]

  • At least 60 people have been killed as a result of separate US-led airstrikes in Afghanistan’s provinces of Paktia, Kunar and Helmand, Press TV reports.
  • Local officials in the eastern province of Paktia said 13 Taliban militants were killed in two airborne assaults in the Zurmat district of the province, situated more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the capital city of Kabul on Saturday.
  • The unnamed authorities noted that two militant commanders — identified as Abdul Rahman and Jome al-Din — were also killed in the attacks.
  • The Taliban have not yet confirmed any casualties, and made no comments on the airstrike.
  • On Friday, at least 45 people were killed when foreign forces carried out an airstrike in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.
  • The US-led forces have increased their airstrikes against civilian areas of Afghanistan in recent months.
  • On June 21, another US-led airstrike claimed the lives of two people in the southeastern province of Paktika.
  • At least ten people were killed after American forces carried out an airstrike in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Logar on July 13.
  • On July 3, twenty people were killed and nine others injured when foreign forces launched an airstrike in the Musa Khel district of Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost.
  • Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the Afghan government and US-led forces, and have dramatically increased anti-US sentiments in the country.
  • The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
  • The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country, despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.

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7.27.13 – Drones to fly U.S. skies, FAA approves 1st civilian UAVs

[stextbox id=”x22report”]US and Canada are building up the police state. Both countries will need drones and blimps to keep an eye on everyone during the collapse.[/stextbox]

  • Federal regulators in the the U.S. say they have certified two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use, a milestone expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operations in the U.S. later this summer.
  • ‘Endless’ uses for drones under Canadian laws
  • Drones work the skies for police, scientists, media
  • The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the drones, officially named unmanned air vehicles (UAV) or unmanned air systems (UAS), are Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment’s PUMA.
  • Both fixed-wing aircraft look like miniature planes and weigh less than 25 kilograms each, are a metre and a half long and have wingspans of 3 metres. The UAV-makers already have clients lined up. A major energy company plans to fly the Scan Eagle off the Alaska coast starting next month to survey ice floes and migrating whales.
  • The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for oil spill monitoring and wildlife surveillance over the Beaufort Sea.
  • Up until now, most nonmilitary use of UAVs in the U.S. has been limited to police and other government agencies.
  • In Canada, UAVs have been used commercially since 2008. Transport Canada governs their uses, which range from aerial mapping and photography to aiding the RCMP with search and rescue operations.

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7.27.13SEC seeking warrant exemption for private email access

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

We might as well give the government access to everything, vaults, private records in your filing cabinet, bank accounts. This completely violates the 4th Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

[/stextbox]

  • It’s been an odd earnings season so far. Talking heads are replete with examples of ad hoc names that have exceeded beaten-down earnings expectations choosing to ignore the belwether names that have missed and guided down. Data are thrown around left and right to support the argument that stocks are cheap to forward-earnings, that growth is around the corner, and that all is well in the real economy supporting the lofty exuberance among US equity markets. However, if one so chooses, the chart below should give you a glimpse behind the facade of the Q2 2013 EPS ‘beat’. There is one source of the elixir of life, one provider of the mother’s milk of stocks; S&P aggregate Q2 EPS is tracking $0.38 above the season start levels (around 0.8% beat) and financials account for an astounding $0.63 of that!
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has become the latest federal government agency to push for greater access to private email data. An agency proposal next week is expected to request warrantless powers.
  • Financial regulators with the SEC are now set to propose legislation that will grant the agency access to electronic communications without the need for a warrant, according to a report by The Daily Caller. The agency is the regulatory body which, among other things, oversees stock and options exchanges.
  • According to a source familiar with an ongoing discussion between legislators and the SEC, the new surveillance powers would come in the form of an amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA), granting the agency an exception for civil warrants during civil investigations.
  • The Senate is currently debating new legislation which would specifically require federal agencies to obtain warrants before searching through private emails. A loophole currently allows federal investigators access to emails without a warrant as soon as they are 180 days old, or have been opened and are still being held by an email server.
  • Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have for years been pushing for modernization of the 1986 legislation, arguing in large part that technology has simply outpaced the spirit of the law, and left behind unreasonable expectations of privacy.
  • The ACLU recently made headlines after obtaining and publishing internal documents which alleged that the criminal investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the FBI were interpreting laws under the ECPA to essentially circumvent warrant requirements.
  • Though the SEC has itself declined to comment on the allegations, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley’s office did confirm on Friday that the matter was under discussion.
  • “Staff discussions are ongoing about language to preserve the SEC’s ability to enforce the law in limited situations and protect investors and the public from fraud, but nothing has been finalized,” said spokesperson Beth Levine.
  • “In addition, Senator Grassley has authorized a hotline to determine if there are other concerns from members that need to be addressed,” she added.
  • As the government’s financial regulatory body, the SEC is ostensibly looking for greater powers – or at the very least hoping to maintain its current access in order to collect evidence as it pursues civil investigations into possible fraud. For example, this week saw a high profile indictment filing against one of the country’s largest hedge funds, the $10 billion SAC Capital Advisors, on charges of widespread insider trading.
  • Greater access to email information could allow the SEC to more aggressively pursue a civil case against SAC chief Steven Cohen, or any other executive suspected of breaching the law.
  • In an April letter to Congress, SEC Chairman Mary Jo White argued that amendments to the ECPA could have “a significant negative impact” on enforcement efforts.
  • The SEC has “often” asked internet service providers for e-mails “because persons who violate the law frequently do not retain copies of incriminating communications,” White said in her letter to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a sponsor of a bill that would enact warrant requirements over electronic information gathering.
  • The SEC does not currently have the authority to obtain any warrants, although it can coordinate with law enforcement to collect needed evidence. The agency can issue administrative subpoenas, although SEC probes are often conducted stealthily, so as not to tip off the target of their investigations.
  • Steve Crimmins, a former SEC trial attorney who spoke to Bloomberg this week, agreed that warrant requirements would blunt the agency’s probes.
  • “In dealing with large corporations which have responsibly maintained email communications, the SEC will be able to get all the email it needs,” Crimmins said. “But in cases with less responsible entities or investigations just involving individuals, the SEC will be severely hampered in getting the evidence it needs to bring a case.”
  • Still, efforts by the SEC to exempt itself from warrants are likely to be seen with a great amount of skepticism by privacy advocates like the EFF and the ACLU, which are already concerned over present access to private communications by federal investigators.

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7.26.13Obama should allow government shutdown if sequestration continues

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The congress is going to do what they have done 14 times now. Raise the debt ceiling, they have no choice, the know it, Obama knows it, the central bankers/FED knows it. [/stextbox]

  • One of the top Democrats in the House said Friday that his party should be willing to shut down the government this fall unless the spending cuts brought on by sequestration are ended.
  • Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), the co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, said that he hadn’t blithely come to the conclusion that this type of political standoff was necessary. Rather, it was talks with victims of the spending cuts and a new Congressional Budget Office study showing that up to 1.6 million jobs would be at risk next year if sequestration continued that convinced him a government shutdown threat was worth it.
  • “I think the president should draw that line in the sand,” Andrews told The Huffington Post in an interview. “I think it would create clarity, that our side wants to have a no-drama, sensible economic policy and that they want drama. So let’s have the fight.”
  • “Here is my instinctive feeling about this,” he said. “Republicans generally win fights over taxes and spending, that’s their turf. We win fights about jobs. So how this fight is framed will affect the outcome.”
  • “I’m not eager to do it. There is no honor in shutting the government down,” Andrews said. “But I would like to make that case strongly and see how far we can go.”
  • It’s fairly bold for a member of the president’s own party to advocate shutting down the government. It also creates a bit of an awkward situation, as Democrats attack Republicans for threatening a shutdown in their quest to defund the president’s health care law.
  • Andrews stressed that he was speaking on his own behalf and not drawing on conversations he has had with members of the administration.
  • But frustration with the spending cuts, and worries that they will linger beyond this fiscal year, is clearly a motivating force as Democrats enter the major budget battles of this fall. Andrews called the need to continue funding the government the “next have-to” event on the political calendar and the logical time to make the conversation “about sequestration and the very real impact it is having across the country.”
  • On Friday morning, the Washington Post reported that White House officials too were “discussing a potential strategy” in which the president “might refuse to sign a new funding measure that did not roll back the sequester.”
  • An administration official dismissed that report and general talk of a government shutdown as premature, noting that a new government funding agreement won’t be needed for more than two months. But that official still warned House Republicans that if they pushed appropriations bills that went “beyond the sequester,” they would be met with “a guaranteed veto” from the president.
  • “We will see where discussions get us in the next few weeks before any decisions are made about the best way to solve the panoply of fiscal issues,” the official said.
  • Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to the president, echoed those points in an email statement to The Huffington Post.
  • “Right now, the House Republicans continue to move appropriations bills that gut middle class priorities,” he said. “These are bills the President will not sign, because they will hurt the economy, job growth and the middle class.”
  • House Republicans, so far, seem likely to call the White House’s bluff, passing appropriations bills that dramatically cut domestic programs.
  • “His priorities are going nowhere,” Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said bluntly.
  • But the GOP doesn’t want to shoulder the blame should a standoff with the president result in a government shutdown. And in response to the Washington Post story, the office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent out several emails to reporters pointing out that it was the administration, not Republicans, who was reportedly contemplating such an end game.

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7.26.13Obama to circumvent US law over Egypt

  • In the case of Egypt, the Obama administration has found an easy way to circumvent a US law that limits aid to governments ruled by military coup.
  • Obama simply will not make up his mind about whether Egypt has undergone such a coup, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told the Senate and House Thursday.
  • “The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination,” an Obama administration official later admitted to Reuters under condition of anonymity.
  • The silence offers a convenient loophole as the Obama administration struggles to maintain influence in Egypt amid ongoing political upheavals and mass movements.
  • Obama has been slammed by critics for his cynical support of whatever regime asserts authority in Egypt-whether Mubarak, Morsi, or the Supreme Council of Armed Forces-to cement US power in the region at the expense of the Egyptian people.
  • “America’s primary concern, as always, is how best to preserve its interests in the region,” declared Rachel Shabi last week in the Guardian. “Calling a coup a coup would legally bind the US to withdraw $1.5bn in aid to the army – and it’s the army, whose chief attended America’s top military academy, that keeps the US and its regional ally Israel happy.”
  • The move comes despite documented military massacres of Morsi supporters by the military and ongoing (many fear growing) political violence and growing tensions.
  • The $1.55 billion annual payments in US military aid are key provisions of the 1979 Camp David Accords aimed at securing US and Israeli geopolitical power in the Middle East and North Africa. The US has continuously funded the Egyptian military for decades despite their backing of, and participation in, authoritarian regimes and rampant military human rights abuses, including torture and secret military trial of civilians.
  • As the Obama administration scrambles to build influence with the party in power, an emerging “Third Square” movement in Egypt is opposing both Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF rule. Sarah Carr with Mada Masr reports Friday:
  • In a leaflet distributed in the protest they describe themselves as “a group of Egyptians who protested on January 25 against the corruption of the [Hosni] Mubarak state… protested against [former head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Hussein] Tantawi’s men who gave the army a bad name during the transitional period and protested against Morsi and religious fascism in order to call for early elections.”

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7.26.13J.P. Morgan to Explore Strategic Alternatives for its Physical Commodities Business

  • New York, July 26, 2013 – JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) announced today that it has concluded an internal review and is pursuing strategic alternatives for its physical commodities business, including its remaining holdings of commodities assets and its physical trading operations.
  • To maximize value, the firm will explore a full range of options over time including, but not limited to: a sale, spin off or strategic partnership of its physical commodities business. During the process, the firm will continue to run its physical commodities business as a going concern and fully support ongoing client activities.
  • J.P. Morgan has built a leading commodities franchise in recent years, achieving a top-ranked revenue position. The business has been consistently named as a top client business in Greenwich Associates’ annual client surveys and was recently named Derivatives House of the Year by Energy Risk magazine.
  • Following the internal review, J.P. Morgan has also reaffirmed that it will remain fully committed to its traditional banking activities in the commodity markets, including financial derivatives and the vaulting and trading of precious metals. The firm will continue to make markets, provide liquidity and offer advice to global companies and institutions that have, for years, relied on J.P. Morgan’s global risk management expertise.
  • And then the question: which Fed-backed bank will “buy” JPM’s commodity exposure? Or maybe this time Bernanke will cut away the middlemen and make the tunnel between its gold vault and that of JPM across Liberty Street, official?
  • After weeks of emptying of their Gold vaults and making headlines in recent days over their oligolopolization of commodity warehousing, it seems the threat of a probe has excited Blythe and her colleagues to dump while the dumping is good:
  • JP. MORGAN TO EXPLORE STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES FOR ITS PHYSICAL COMMODITIES BUSINESS
  • Options include sale, spin-off, or strategic partnership as they re-confirm that they are “fully committed to traditional banking activities,” as they look to drop the holdings of commodities assets and the physical trading business. We can only assume that “physical commodities” include the company’s extensive inventories of tungsten (as well as the vault housing it), and not so extensive stores of gold and silver. That said, we are confident that the collapse in represented (but not warranted) JPM Comex gold vault holdings to a record low, and this news is completely unrelated.

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7.26.13China, Australia push FTA talks

[stextbox id=”x22report”]China is setting itself up to be the world reserve currency, it is making deals all around the globe with many countries, while in the meantime the US government is waging war to keep the US dollar as the reserve currency. [/stextbox]

  • Officials from China and Australia have announced that they will step up talks on a strategic free trade agreement (FTA) during a meeting in Beijing.
  • Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said he hoped the two countries could reach a trade agreement soon during talks with Australia’s Trade Minister Richard Marles on Wednesday.
  • The Asian nation is Australia’s largest trading partner.
  • Marles said the Australian government attaches great importance to the development of bilateral trade relations.
  • “We need to put these on a path to conclusion; there is so much for the Australian economy to benefit by having a trade agreement in terms of expanding the breadth of our economic engagement with China beyond resources,” Marles was quoted by the Australian.
  • The two countries began free trade talks in 2005.
  • Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called in June for the earliest possible conclusion to the pending FTA during his first news conference since returning to office.
  • “The Australian side is willing to show flexibility and will actively push for progress in the FTA negotiations”, Marles said during the meeting on Wednesday.
  • The 19th round of talks was held in June but the negotiations did not go smoothly due to differences on opening up markets and protecting intellectual property rights.
  • In a recent Lowy Institute poll, 50-57 per cent of respondents said there was too much Chinese investment in Australia, in stark contrast to opinions of government officials and business people, shows an analysis by Dirk van der Kley of the Lowy Institute.

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7.26.13Afghanistan Analysts Network: US holds inmates in Bagram’s secret jail

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

Tens Steps To A Close Down An Open Society:  Here is step 2

2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law(as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal “outer space”) – where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, “enemies of the people” or “criminals”. Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders – opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists – are arrested and sent there as well.

[/stextbox]

  • The Afghanistan Analysts Network has found that the U.S. is still running a secret jail at Bagram prison in which Afghan inmates are being tortured.
  • In March 2013, the U.S. military said it handed over the control of Bagram detention facility to the Afghan government.
  • But now interviews with detainees and Afghan officials have revealed that inmates are still being secretly taken, interrogated, and tortured by U.S. military forces on a secret site on Bagram Airbase known as Tor Jail meaning black prison.
  • Afghanistan Analysts Network is an independent non-profit Research Organization.

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7.26.13Senate threatens to sanction countries that aid Snowden

[stextbox id=”x22report”]“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”[/stextbox]

  • The Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday that they want the Department of State to consider imposing sanctions on any nation willing to assist NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
  • A hearing held by the 30 member, bi-partisan Senate committee Thursday afternoon in Washington ended with a unanimous decision by way of voice vote to move towards sanctioning countries coming to the aid of the former intelligence analyst.
  • Snowden, 30, has been charged with espionage and other counts by the United States for leaking classified National Security Agency documents to the media. He has been on the run from authorities for nearly two months and is currently in Moscow awaiting the results of an asylum request filed with Russia’s Federal Migration Service. Should the Kremlin come to Snowden’s aid, however, some lawmakers in the US say the State Department should respond with sanctions.
  • On Thursday, one of the leaker’s most vocal critics in Congress succeeded in having his colleagues advance a bill that directs the Secretary of State John Kerry “to consult with the appropriate congressional committees on sanction options against any country that provides asylum to Mr. Snowden, including revocation or suspension of trade privileges and preferences.”
  • The bill’s author, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), told the committee, “I don’t know if he’s going to stay in Russia forever. I don’t know where he’s going to go . . . But I know this: That the right thing to do is to send him back home so he can face charges for the crimes he’s allegedly committed.”
  • An indictment against Snowden was unsealed last month while he was reportedly in hiding in Hong Kong. Just hours later, Snowden surfaced in Moscow and has since been confined to the transit area of the Sheremetyevo airport.
  • Snowden filed asylum requests with more than 20 countries, and has been offered assistance from Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Earlier this week he met with his attorney at Sheremetyevo, who then told RT that Snowden is seeking Russian’s permission to stay in the country indefinitely.
  • “He’s planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a job. And I think that all his further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in,” attorney Anatoly Kucherena told RT.
  • Sen. Graham previously demanded Russia remove Snowden from the country and suggested the US boycott the Sochi Olympics if Pres. Vladimir Putin agrees to keep Snowden safe from the reach of American authorities. Last month Graham called the ordeal “an important test of the ‘reset’ in relations between our two countries,” and said, “If our two nations are to have a constructive relationship moving forward, Russian cooperation in this matter is essential.”
  • “On multiple fronts, Russia is becoming one of the bad actors in the world,” Graham said previously. “Russia continues to provide cover to the Iranian nuclear program and sell sophisticated weapons to the Assad regime in Syria to butcher tens of thousands of its own citizens. For Russia to grant temporary asylum to Mr. Snowden on top of all this would do serious damage to our relationship. It is past time we send a strong message to President Putin about Russia’s actions and this resolution will help accomplish that goal.”
  • Speaking to the Senate committee on Thursday, Graham added, “When it comes to Russia, it’s just not about Snowden.”

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7.26.13Final ‘haircut’: Cyprus to levy deposits by 50 percent

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Don’t worry you money is safe in the banks, we will only take around 50 percent of your money hopefully less, and you know if they are saying hopefully less than 50 percent its going to be more.  Personal opinion I would remove some money from the bank just in case.[/stextbox]

  • The ‘Troika’ of creditors have agreed the final deposit levy on Cypriot accounts will be 45 percent for shareholders, bondholders, and depositors with more than 100,000 euro in the two largest banks.
  • The official decision will be announced later by the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, Itar-Itass reported, citing a Cypriot news outlet.
  • Central Bank Board of Director Sophocles Mihaelidis reported a slightly different figure, saying about 50 percent, but not more than 60 percent, will be levied, Vesti reported.
  • Previous exact loss estimates have ranged from 12.5 percent, later revised to 30 or 40 percent, and in April, 60 percent. Cyprus hopes to keep the deposit levy under 50 percent.
  • As a condition for receiving a $13 billion (10 billion euro) bailout package, Cyprus was forced by Troika lenders to sponsor a portion of their bailout, which they will raise by levying shareholders, bondholders, and depositors with more than 100,000 euro in accounts.
  • In addition, the Bank of Cyprus will be restructured under the Troika’s watch, and the second largest bank, Laiki will be completely shut down, and losses will be compensated for depositors with less than 100,000 euros.
  • The ‘bail-in’, or the idea of having depositors, and not taxpayers, finance the bailout, was suggested by Troika lenders and embraced by Cypriot government officials facing heated protests.
  • In part, the idea gained popularity because Cyprus was a financial hot-spot for foreign investment. About 50 percent of deposits in the Bank of Cyprus belonged to non-EU residents, and much of the funds were suspected to belong to Russian oligarchs.
  • Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich believes at one point there was over $30 billion in Russian holdings in Cyprus.
  • The Central Bank of Cyprus said domestic residents’ deposits totaled 34.96 billion euro, down 2.56 billion euro compared to May 2013.
  • The Cyprus scenario marked the first time depositors were forced to contribute to the bank’s bailout and now it is set to become the norm.
  • Cypriot Banks have weakened under the re-structuring period, and have been the source of negative credit ratings.
  • Both Moody’s and Standard & Poor have downgraded Cyprus credit, warning the tiny island nation may soon default on its debt again. Moody’s issued a statement in July that they had already technically defaulted again, as they delayed paying back 1 billion euro worth of bonds.
  • Together, the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki account for 80 percent of the banking sector in Cyprus. Hellenic Bank, formally the island’s third largest bank, is now the island’s biggest lender not under re-structuring.
  • By the end of 2013, the Bank of Cyprus plans to lay-off 2,500 workers, and close a number of its branches.
  • The future is bleak, too. The economy is forecast to shrink by more than 10 percent this year, up from the Troika’s 8.7 percent estimate in March while sorting out bailout details. The economy is expected to retract by 2016.

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7.26.13Cyberattack locks systems at Istanbul airports

  • Passport control systems were locked at Istanbul’s Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports due to an alleged cyberattack early Friday, causing dozens of flights to be delayed for several hours
  • Passport control systems were locked at Istanbul’s Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports due to an alleged cyberattack early Friday, causing dozens of flights to be delayed for several hours.
  • Hundreds of passengers stood in passport control lines for more than an hour after the İstanbul Provincial Security Directorate’s data system was locked. Many flights were delayed, and a Libya- bound Turkish Airlines (THY) flight was canceled. The system was restored after an hour.

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7.26.13Lakeland customers urged to change passwords following cyber-attack

  • Kitchenware retailer Lakeland has suffered a “sophisticated and sustained” cyber-attack, which involved hackers gaining access to its two encrypted databases.
  • In an email to customers, Lakeland’s managing director, Sam Rayner, said that there is no evidence that any data has been stolen, but all passwords used on the website have been deleted as a precaution.
  • Customers will be asked to reset their password next time they log-in to their Lakeland account. The company has also advised customers to ensure that they are not using the same passwords anywhere else on the internet.
  • “We deeply regret that this has occurred and apologise for the inconvenience caused. The security of our customers’ data is hugely important to us and we are devastated to have fallen victim to these criminals,” said Rayner.
  • “This has occurred despite the best efforts of ourselves and the industry leading IT company that runs our website for us to use the best security systems available. We are committed to protecting our customers’ data and will continue to seek additional measures to ensure the integrity of our systems.”
  • Rayner added that the hackers had exploited “a very recently identified flaw” in the Java server running its website – and indeed numerous websites around the world – to gain access to its unauthorised access to its web systems and data.

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7.26.13US blows out $16.7 trillion debt limit

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The government has increased the debt limit 14 times now, the only way to stop the increase of the debt ceiling is to stop all spending, why? Because the government does not bring in enough money to cover all expenses so the debt will always increase, even with the sequester the debt continually rises.[/stextbox]

  • The US Treasury has already exceeded the federal legal borrowing limit of $16.7 trillion in May. That signals the main structural problems remain unresolved putting at risk the fragile recovery.
  • The country’s outstanding public debt is already $38.82 million above the statuary debt ceiling and now at $16,738,220,000,000.00, according to Treasury data.
  • Christopher Weafer from the Economist Macro Advisory Consultancy says the numbers show “that the debt issue along with the deficit is two very structural problems in the US that remain unresolved and without any clear mechanism on how they are going to be resolved”.
  • “In the short term it doesn’t cause any immediate crisis and that’s why I guess the news is not widely covered, ” Weafer told RT.
  • The American economy grew at 1.8 percent during the first three months of the year, lower than its 2.5 percent average pace during the last two decades. The unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent in June, remains above its 6 percent average during the period, Reuter’s reports.
  • Despite the US Fed and politicians are speaking about recovery, that US economy which is picking up and looking stronger next year, the unsolved debt and deficit issues may reverse the process, Weafer says.
  • “The US budget deficit has only been twitted down by a few hundred million dollars. It’s still massively in deficit, and therefore the amount that the US government needs to borrow to fund that is still rising, so we’ve reached this technical limit and it will go higher. These are issues that still need to be resolved and they will determine whether or not the pace of recovery can be expanded or whether it will be temporary and reverse next year.”
  • On Thursday President Barack Obama criticized House Republicans for demanding conditions on raising the US debt ceiling as he tries to shape the coming congressional debate over the nation’s budget priorities, Reuters reports. Obama accused Republicans of skirting responsibility to “pay the country’s bills” and refusing to spend for needed investments in education, energy and research.
  • “That’s not an economic plan,” Reuters quotes Obama. “That’s just being a deadbeat.”
  • House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week said Republicans won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts. The current limit was expected to be reached sometime between October and December, according to Reuters.
  • In the debt ceiling debate two years ago, lawmakers and the White House battled for months before Obama signed an increase into law on Aug. 2, 2011, the day the Treasury Department warned that US borrowing authority would expire, Reuters reports.

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7.26.13Syrian rebels press US to send weapons fast, Kerry sees no military solution to crisis

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US is arming the Syrian rebels, but there is a problem the funding for this runs out on Sept 30 the end of the fiscal year. This poses a problem for the US government.  John Kerry is talking about peace but they always need to throw in the peace talks to make everyone believe that the US wants peace, but in fact their real goal is to get to Iran through Syria so there will be no peace, the only peace talk they will accept is that both Syria and Iran allow the US dollar as the reserve currency. Since funding runs out in September they will need to bring this war to America with a false flag event to get everyone on board with this war.[/stextbox]

  • Syrian opposition leaders on their three-day visit to the US have urged Washington to get a move on with sending promised arms to the rebels. John Kerry has declared there’s no military solution to the crisis.
  • A delegation representing the Syrian National Coalition, headed by its newly-elected leader Ahmed Jarba, met with John Kerry on Thursday at the US mission to the United Nations in New York. The statement Jarba issued following the closed-door talks described the situation in Syria as “desperate” and urged the US to start delivering on its military aid promise as soon as possible.
  • “The US commitment of military support to the Supreme Military Council is vital, but it needs to happen fast, and in a way that allows us to defend ourselves and protect civilians,” Jarba said.
  • The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have recently given a green light to arm Syrian rebels, declaring they had their concerns alleviated. Not fully though, as can be seen from a comment made by Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
  • “One of our main issues is to make sure that, whatever we do, that nothing gets in the hands of Al Qaeda,” said Ruppersberger, as cited by Reuters.
  • The task is impossible to fulfill, according to political science academic Dr. Colin Cavell, who spoke to RT.
  • “Anybody who sends arms to the Syrian opposition, they know that it’s going to support the jihadists. When you go ahead and violate international law and support opposition fighters in a country in attempt to overthrow it, then you are declaring yourself at odds and at war with that country. The United States along with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchs have declared themselves at war with Syria… We’ve just gone through two terribly expensive wars and lost thousands of American soldiers, and now we’ve got Barack Obama and John Kerry trying to get us into a third war,” Cavell said.
  • Even if the US does start supplying arms to the Syrian rebel forces, it might be for a short term only. Funding for the program will cease with the end of the US fiscal year, which is September 30. The US Congress will then have to approve the plan once again, which would mean a new round of bitter debate among the lawmakers.
  • Despite the congressional approval of weapons supplies, John Kerry was cautious speaking of the Syrian crisis on Thursday, pledging commitment to its peaceful settlement.
  • “There is no military solution to Syria. There is only a political solution, and that will require leadership in order to bring people to the table,” John Kerry said.
  • Russia and the US bringing to the Syrian government and the opposition the negotiating table is something the two countries have been trying to do for quite some time, despite their differences on the crisis. In May Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov announced their joint initiative to organize a peace conference in Geneva. Dubbed ‘Geneva II’, the conference is a follow-up to last year’s international meeting in the Swiss city, where a peace roadmap for Syria was drafted.
  • Prospects for Geneva II
  • The Syrian National Coalition’s visit to New York is part of the US’s effort to make the opposition forces sit down for talks. That possibility will be tested at an informal meeting Jarba and his three colleagues are about to have with the 15-member UN Security Council.
  • The meeting is not a sign of the UN official recognition of the Syrian National Coalition, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has warned.
  • “The aim of this event should be to encourage the National Coalition and its leadership to prepare for Geneva II,” he said as cited by RIA Novosti. “It’s an informal event, it’s not even a UN Security Council event. The fact that this meeting takes place should not be viewed as a step towards the National Coalition’s recognition in any official role.”
  • The group is yet to prove its legitimacy and to respond to some critical voices questioning its status, according to RT’s Marina Portnaya, reporting from New York.
  • “Critics say the group has no official power and lacks support and recognition inside Syria. The Syrian National Coalition was founded in Doha and is based in Istanbul. Some see this group as outsiders lobbying for more arms to import into Syria’s already-bloody civil war,” Portnaya said.
  • John Kerry seems not to be one of those skeptics, sounding quite optimistic following his Thursday meeting with the leadership of the Syrian National Coalition.
  • “The Syrian opposition committed that they believed Geneva II is very important and they agreed to work over the course of the next couple of weeks to pinpoint the terms, the conditions under which they think it could work,” he said.
  • Conditions and terms put forward by the opposition are however exactly what hampered peace talks in the past, as some of them are hardly realistic, such as the current Syrian President’s giving up his power.
  • “In principle nobody is against Geneva II, but we cannot enter into talks while the regime continues to kill hundreds every day and use arms of mass destruction,” said Burhan Ghalioun, a senior coalition member who was in the delegation, as cited by AFP.
  • The Syrian government in turn describes the rebels as terrorists and blames the US for double standards.
  • “Washington’s decision to arm the terrorist groups in Syria proves that the United States [wants to] exacerbate the crisis in Syria, and shows up its dishonesty in the search for a political solution at a [proposed peace] conference in Geneva,” a Syrian Foreign Ministry official said in a statement.
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has called on both sides of the conflict to halt the violence which has raged since the start of the unrest in March 2011 resulting in more than 100,000 deaths.
  • “Military and violent actions must be stopped by both parties, and it is thus imperative to have a peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible, as was initiated by Secretary Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov,” Ban said.

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7.26.13Defying US warnings of civil war, Egyptian military to crack down on armed protest and mounting terrorism

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US government/central bankers are losing control over Egypt, they have stopped the delivery of the F-16 fighter plains because they were suppose to be delivered to the Egyptian controlled government. If the reserve currency and central bank are in jeopardy the US will send in troops to protect them both.[/stextbox]

  • Braving Washington’s warning of civil strife, Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is not backing away from his resolve to quickly crack down, even by military force, on armed protesters using live bullets on city streets and generating chaos, on Salafist terror in Sinai coupled with a Muslim Brotherhood uprising, and on their Palestinian Hamas collaborators in the Gaza Strip. This is reported by DEBKAfile’s sources in Cairo.
  • When the Obama administration warned Gen. El-Sisi that his actions could generate bloodshed leading to an outbreak of civil war, the Egyptian leader replied that military inaction was the more dangerous course, because terrorism and live fire in protest demonstrations must be controlled forthwith before they too degenerated into civil warfare.
  • After failing to win the Egyptian defense minister around to its view, Washington announced it was suspending the delivery to the Egyptian air force of four American F-16 fighter planes, as a mark of the administration’s displeasure with the military leader’s approach. He showed no signs of being put off his plans.
  • Wednesday, July 24, after a week of surging opposition violence and attacks on Egyptian military positions in Sinai, Gen. El-Sisi’s turned to the Egyptian people in a television speech: “I urge the people to take to the streets this coming Friday to prove their will and give me, the army and police a mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism.”
  • In the past week, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood protesters continued to fill the streets of Egypt’s main cities, demonstrating against the interim government and the military and demanding the reinstatement of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Some groups have begun closing off entire city blocks, declaring them independently-ruled entities. These enclaves have been fortified with sandbag barriers and sentries posted to check the documents of people going in and out. Entry is barred to those suspected of collaborating with the army and security forces.
  • Large photos of Morsi are draped over buildings along with banners of injunctions to obey no authority other than that of the elected president.
  • The generals fear that these “independent closed enclaves” could become the nuclei of a full-scale revolt which if not curbed in time could run out of control.
  • They are increasingly concerned by the spreading use of firearms by Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators against their opponents in Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura, Port Said and Ismailia.
  • An outright terrorist incident seen as an ill omen of Iraq-style tactics to come occurred in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura, 45 kilometers north of Cairo, Wednesday, when a bomb tossed from a passing car killed one person and injured seventeen. The Egyptian general staff believes that terrorist tactics may be filtering into the cities from Sinai.
  • DEBKAfile’s sources say that El-Sisi’s call for a mass demonstration of government supporters on Friday portends their first large-scale clash with Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators who will no doubt turn out in force. The army and police would intervene only after the confrontation begins. This tactic carries a high risk of becoming the match which ignite civil war in Egypt.
  • In Sinai, the Muslim Brotherhood is activating the machinery for an armed uprising in collusion with Salafits linked to al Qaeda and the Palestinian Hamas by means of escalating attacks on Egyptian military and security targets.
  • In a meeting on Thursday July 25 at the Egyptian General Staff headquarters, Gen. Ahmed Wasfi, commander of the Second Army, and Gen. Osama Askar, commander of the Third Army, who are leading counter-terror operations in Sinai and against the Gaza Strip, reported that they expect to report the success of their campaign by the middle of next week.

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7.26.13Japan Food And Energy Prices Rise; All Others Drop

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So in America they changed the inflation calculation and they did not include food and energy because people really don’t use these everyday.  But for Japan those same people in the US include food and energy to show inflation[/stextbox]

  • Today, to much fanfare, the FT and other media blast that “Japan posts highest inflation rate since 2008” using this as evidence that Abenomics is once again working (i.e., that the Nikkei 225 has resumed its upward nominal path). Unfortunately, as usually happens, there is a problem here: this is simply not true.
  • The only reason why Japan posted its first positive CPI print in years has nothing to do with demand-pull broad “benign” inflation driven by rising wages, and everything to do with the “cost-push” of a plunging Yen forcing food and energy prices higher, something we predicted long ago would happen. In fact, when stripping away food and energy, core inflation was slightly weaker than expected with the first month-on month declines in both Tokyo and nationwide in the latest data in several months (seasonally adjusted). Which is to be expected: with incomes flat at best, in order to accommodate soaring food and energy prices the local population has to cut their spending for all other products, leading to deflation.
  • But what is most ironic is that economists in the US advise everyone to ignore soaring food and energy costs and to focus on the benign sub 2% annual rise in “other” hedonically-adjusted prices. However, when it comes to Japan, it is the opposite.
  • Ah, economists. As Seth Klarman observed:
  • “One day a physicist, a biologist, and an economist were sitting at a café across from an apparently empty building. They watch two people enter and then, later, three leave. The physicist says, “Apparently there was some error with our measurements,” while the biologist says, “Obviously, they reproduced while in the building.” Then the economist observes, “If another person were to enter the building, it would once again be empty.”
  • SocGen has some more detail:
  • Japan’s June nationwide CPI as well as Tokyo’s July CPI turned positive even in year-on-year terms, following several months of sequential price rises. Headline nationwide CPI rose by 0.2% yoy, the first positive rate since May 2012 and ahead of expectations (median and SG 0.1%). Core nationwide CPI (ex fresh food) also showed positive growth of 0.4% yoy, up from zero in May and the strongest growth since November 2008 (median 0.3%, SG 0.6%). However, the narrower definition of core inflation – excluding food and energy – remained in negative territory at -0.2% yoy (after -0.4%), though it was still the strongest reading since January 2009 (median -0.3%, SG -0.1%). The gap between the two core rates of course reflects the importance of energy costs in driving inflation at this stage.
  • Oh well: time to change the definition of inflation then. The above visually for headline:
  • Headline inflation in Tokyo also turned positive in July to the tune of 0.4% yoy, from 0.0% yoy in June, and well ahead of expectations (median and SG 0.2%). This was the strongest since February 2009. Core Tokyo CPI (ex fresh food) also strengthened to 0.3% yoy from 0.2%,
  • continuing the run of positive annual rates that has been in place since May. However, the ex food and energy core measure was stable at -0.4%, which was weaker than expected (median -0.3%, SG -0.2%), and the result of the first monthly decline in this measure, of 0.1% mom (seasonally adjusted) in seven months. This was arguably the disappointing element in the report, along with a 0.1% mom decline in the same measure at the nationwide level.
  • Correct, so let’s not talk about it, and let’s certainly say that unlike in the US where food and energy costs are ignored, that people actually eat and drive (which means less money to spend on other things).
  • Finally, broken down by component:
  • At the component level, electricity prices rose by 9.8% yoy (nationwide) and gasoline prices rose by 6.4% yoy (nationwide) (15.4% yoy and 10.2% yoy respectively in Tokyo)… However, prices in a broad range of areas such as housing rent, recreation, furniture/household utensils and medical care still show price declines from a year ago.
  • So instead of a victory for Abenomics, one actually finds a complete defeat. But to understand that there is zero improvement in the one aspect that does matter to economic growth: rising wages and incomes, one actually has to move beyond the rose-colored headlines.
  • Ironically, there is a brief mention of the above in the FT article… in the final paragraph:
  • “Yasunari Ueno, chief markets economist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo, said: “Deflation is unlikely to be overcome if the strategy relies simply on supply-side shocks to lift energy prices.”
  • Shhh. Speak quietly or someone may hear you.

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7.26.13Central Banks ‘Vote For Gold’ Due To Sovereign And Currency Concerns

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Countries and central banks are stacking up on gold (real money).  As Ben Bernanke said that gold that seen by some is a disaster insurance.  Well a disaster is coming, its called the economic collapse and everyone around the world is getting prepared.[/stextbox]

  • Gold is on course for its third week of gains, buoyed by a weak dollar, no definite end to quantitative easing and continuing ultra loose monetary policies. Central bank gold buying is also supporting gold.
  • Premiums in India are $20 per ounce over London prices as demand outstrips government restricted supply before the festival season on the subcontinent.
  • Premiums in China have come down but remain robust at $12 per ounce and gold forward rates (GOFO) remain negative in the near term – 1, 2 and 3 months (see table above and chart below).
  • Central banks remained net buyers of gold last month as seen in the IMF data released overnight.
  • Many emerging-market countries with considerable foreign exchange reserves continue to diversify their fx reserves, most of which are in dollars and euros, and increase their gold reserves.
  • Emerging market central banks have increased their holdings of the monetary asset over the past few years as the sovereign debt crises in the EU, U.S. and Japan put pressure on reserve currencies such as the Japanese yen, U.S. dollar and the euro.
  • Falling gold prices to their lowest levels in almost three years made gold more attractive to many central banks.
  • Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Azerbaijan increased their gold holdings in June according to the IMF data.
  • Mozambique, Serbia and Tajikistan increased holdings in May, which updates as countries report according to Bloomberg.
  • Russia which now has the seventh-largest gold holdings in the world,added just 9,000 ounces to its holdings, which now stand at 32.0 million ounces.
  • Russia, which has purchased significant volumes of gold in recent years, has increased its reserves by almost 10% over the past year alone.
  • Kazakhstan, another regular bullion buyer in recent months, also increased its holdings in June. The country’s central bank bought more than 45,000 ounces, taking its reserves to 4.2 million ounces.
  • Russia and Kazakhstan increased their gold reserves for a ninth straight month in June.
  • Greece added 1,000 ounces to its 3.6-million-ounce reserve, while Kyrgyzstan and Belarus also added a small amount of gold to their holdings.
  • Ukraine returned for the second month running in June, adding another large 80,000 troy ounces of gold to its official reserves, which now stand at nearly 1.3 million ounces.
  • Azerbaijan bought nearly 65,000 ounces, lifting its reserves to more than 250,000 ounces. It is the sixth consecutive month the country has added to its official holdings, which in December stood at nearly nothing.
  • Central banks were overwhelmingly buyers and were net buyers again last month but there were some gold reserve sales too.
  • Guatemala, which last sold gold in July 2012 cut its holdings by 7,300 ounces. The Central American country’s reserves now stand at 214,300 ounces. Neighboring Mexico and the South American nation Suriname made small cuts to their official reserves too.
  • Germany sold a very small amount of their gold reserves in June and it is believed this was done in order to mint commemorative gold coins. Germany lowered its gold holdings by 25,000 ounces. The reduction is, however, small compared with the overall size of the country’s reserves, which stand at more than 109.0 million ounces.
  • Germany has the second-largest reserves of gold, behind the U.S. and is attempting to repatriate to Germany its gold reserves that have been stored in the New York Federal Reserve since after World War II.
  • The Bundesbank wasn’t immediately available for comment according to Marketwatch. It has previously said it sporadically sells gold to the nation’s Ministry of Finance to mint commemorative coins.
  • Turkey’s gold reserves also declined by just over 120,000 ounces to 14.2 million ounces. Their gold reserves have nearly quadrupled over the past two years after its central bank began accepting gold as collateral from commercial banks. It is believed that rather than on-market purchases, this is the main reason for the recent increases.
  • China does not report to the IMF and there are strong grounds for believing that China continues to accumulate gold quietly and without declaring … for now.
  • When China does announce its expected increase in holdings it could be of a significant amount that could reignite gold’s secular bull market.
  • ‘Vote For Gold’
  • “You have to choose, as a voter, between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability and intelligence of the members of the government. And with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”
  • The above quotation from GB Shaw who was born on this day July 26, in 1856, is ringing true during these uncertain political and economic times.
  • Shaw’s witty but pointed quotation was featured in a letter printed in the Financial Times today and it is featured on our Facebook page today.
  • Given the high level of financial and economic uncertainty facing us, it is wise to step back and take a long term historical perspective of the current crisis.
  • Throughout history, gold has been used as the safest form of money – a form of money that cannot be debased or printed into oblivion by bankers, politicians and reckless governments. When experiments with paper money and massive creation of debt go wrong as unfortunately they inevitably have done throughout history, economic hardship has been the result.
  • This is why wise people throughout history have always appreciated the finite currency that is gold.
  • From Aristotle to G. B. Shaw to Kyle Bass to Voltaire their thoughts help enlighten why one should save or invest in precious metals.
  • Kyle Bass, the respected hedge fund manager recently said:
  • “Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It’s that simple.”
  • Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and genius (384-322BC) wrote:
  • “In effect, there is nothing inherently wrong with fiat money, provided we get perfect authority and god-like intelligence for kings.”
  • Lord Rees Mogg, economist & former editor of The Times & assistant editor of The Sunday Times said:
  • “Governments lie; bankers lie; even auditors sometimes lie: gold tells the truth.”
  • More recently Hans Sennholz, author & economist of Austrian school wrote:
  • “For more than two thousand years gold’s natural qualities made it man’s universal medium of exchange. In contrast to political money, gold is honest money that survived the ages and will live on long after the political fiats of today have gone the way of all paper. No other commodity enjoys as much universal acceptability and marketability as gold.”

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7.26.13Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Everyday we hear more and more news on the government spying on the people. Now they want the usernames and passwords to take a look into peoples private accounts. Since the NSA cannot be stopped and as the collapse is getting closer they will not stop the spying and it will get more intense as the collapse gets closer.Don’t forget this all violates the 4th Amendment[/stextbox]

  • The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.
  • If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.
  • “I’ve certainly seen them ask for passwords,” said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We push back.”
  • A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies “really heavily scrutinize” these requests, the person said. “There’s a lot of ‘over my dead body.’”
  • Some of the government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.
  • A Microsoft spokesperson would not say whether the company has received such requests from the government. But when asked whether Microsoft would divulge passwords, salts, or algorithms, the spokesperson replied: “No, we don’t, and we can’t see a circumstance in which we would provide it.”
  • Google also declined to disclose whether it had received requests for those types of data. But a spokesperson said the company has “never” turned over a user’s encrypted password, and that it has a legal team that frequently pushes back against requests that are fishing expeditions or are otherwise problematic. “We take the privacy and security of our users very seriously,” the spokesperson said.
  • A Yahoo spokeswoman would not say whether the company had received such requests. The spokeswoman said: “If we receive a request from law enforcement for a user’s password, we deny such requests on the grounds that they would allow overly broad access to our users’ private information. If we are required to provide information, we do so only in the strictest interpretation of what is required by law.”
  • Apple, Facebook, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast did not respond to queries about whether they have received requests for users’ passwords and how they would respond to them.
  • Richard Lovejoy, a director of the Opera Software subsidiary that operates FastMail, said he doesn’t recall receiving any such requests but that the company still has a relatively small number of users compared with its larger rivals. Because of that, he said, “we don’t get a high volume” of U.S. government demands.
  • The FBI declined to comment.
  • Some details remain unclear, including when the requests began and whether the government demands are always targeted at individuals or seek entire password database dumps. The Patriot Act has been used to demand entire database dumps of phone call logs, and critics have suggested its use is broader. “The authority of the government is essentially limitless” under that law, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence committee, said at a Washington event this week.
  • Large Internet companies have resisted the government’s requests by arguing that “you don’t have the right to operate the account as a person,” according to a person familiar with the issue. “I don’t know what happens when the government goes to smaller providers and demands user passwords,” the person said.
  • An attorney who represents Internet companies said he has not fielded government password requests, but “we’ve certainly had reset requests — if you have the device in your possession, than a password reset is the easier way.”
  • Even if “the NSA is asking for access to hashed bcrypt passwords,” Mazières said, “that doesn’t necessarily mean they are cracking them.” Easier approaches, he said, include an order to extract them from the server or network when the user logs in — which has been done before – or installing a keylogger at the client.
  • “If you can figure out someone’s password, you have the ability to reuse the account,” which raises significant privacy concerns, said Seth Schoen, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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7.25.13 – BofA Intends to Shed 20 Branches

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Looks like BofA is raising capital to strengthen in financials, do they know something is coming??[/stextbox]

  • Bank of America Corporation (BAC) recently announced the decision to sell its branches to Berkshire Bank – a subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. (BHLB) – and Community Bank System Inc. (CBU). BofA plans to dispose its branches situated in both New York markets and northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • The company is planning to divest 20 New York market branches to Berkshire Bank (BERK). These branches have total deposits of around $640 million and total loans worth about $5 million.
  • Moreover, Berkshire Bank plans to retain the employees of the acquired branches. BofA is selling its branches for $14.4 million, representing a deposit premium of 2.25% on the collective total deposits.
  • The acquisition of BofA’s branches by Berkshire Bank is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014. Moreover, the deal is subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
  • Apart from this, BofA plans to sell 8 northeastern Pennsylvania branches to Community Bank at a 2.39% premium for about $369.0 million in deposits. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory review and approval.
  • Last week, BofA agreed to sell 51 branches situated in Eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon and New Mexico to Washington Federal Inc. (WAFD). The branches represent total deposits of about $1.8 billion and total loans of about $11 million.
  • This transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013. Moreover, the deal is subject to regulatory approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
  • Over the past few years, BofA has been selling its branches and shuttering operations in an attempt to simplify its structure and strengthen its financials. Moreover, BofA’s effort to dispose branches is expected to reduce its employee base, thereby lessening its expenses.

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7.25.13 – Have Rich Parents? Here Is How Much You Will Inherit

  • Parents old and rich? Eying that new Veyron as the stock market lifts your family wealth to all-time heights? Don’t get carried away quite yet! As estates rise in size, most families give a greater percentage to charity rather than their heirs. As JPMorgan’s CIO, Michael Cembalest notes, taxes as a % of the estate disposition remain roughly constant for estates greater than $5 million. What this suggests: wealthy families have in mind a baseline level of support for their heirs, and once it is met, they channel more assets to charities.

  • On the bright side, bequests (parental transfers to children through their estates) are generally divided equally by child, irrespective of the child’s income, proximity to parents or behavioral differences vs. siblings (i.e. a suck up or drug-taking outcast). Various studies estimate that the “equal treatment of siblings” approach applies to 88%-92% of all estates.

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7.25.13 * Goldman And JPMorgan Probed Over Metals Warehouse Manipulations

  • Following our initial uncovering of the manipulation and monopolization of the metals warehousing business two years ago, the last few days have seen the public’s attention grabbed by the reality of what the banks are actually doing. Following this week’s hearing, as the Fed reconsiders banks roles in non-banking businesses (and the ‘societal benefit’), it seems the CFTC has woken up. As the WSJ reports, the Department of Justice has opened an initial probe into the metals warehousing industry and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has also sent letters to some firms telling them to preserve documents, in what is likely the beginning stages of an investigation.
  • Via WSJ,
  • The probe comes amid growing concern in Washington over banks’ ownership of metals warehouses and other commodity assets.
  • Banks that trade physical commodities have come under attack by government officials, companies and consumer groups, who worry about the ability of the financial sector to exert influence over markets for raw materials.
  • Mr. Brown held a hearing on the subject this week at which some company officials alleged banks are deliberately creating shortages of aluminum and other raw materials for financial gain.
  • The Federal Reserve has said it is reconsidering the permission it granted to banks over the past decade to participate in physical commodity markets. The permission expires later this year.

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7.25.13 – Bottom Feeding: The latest Chinese investment craze, downtown Detroit housing

  • Downtown Detroit has long been one of the nation’s worst housing markets. Home values have plummeted. Vacancies abound. And foreclosure numbers are through the roof. Not that that’s surprising; who’d want to live in a neighborhood with soaring unemployment and the highest rate of violent crime in the US?
  • The bad news for Detroiters is that the city’s bankruptcy will likely only deepen the decay of its downtown housing market.
  • That might deter most prospective home buyers. But some look at Detroit’s hard times and see profit.
  • Specifically, bargain-hunting Chinese investors. Since the bankruptcy was announced, Caroline Chen, a real estate broker in Troy, Michigan, says she’s received “tons of calls” from people in mainland China.
  • “I have people calling and saying, ‘I’m serious—I wanna buy 100, 200 properties,’” she tells Quartz, noting that one of her colleagues recently sold 30 properties to a Chinese buyer. “They say ‘We don’t need to see them. Just pick the good ones.’”
  • China has the most expensive housing on the planet. Plus, capital controls make it difficult to invest large sums in overseas stocks or property. That’s why when a CCTV broadcast aired in March—after the emergency takeover was announced—saying that for the price of a pair of leather shoes, you could buy two Detroit houses, Chinese investors got excited.
  • $39 for this three-bed, two-bath at 8234 Normile St.Realtor.com
  • Millions commented on the CCTV post about Detroit on Sina Weibo. As one user put it, “Seven-hundred thousand people, quiet, clean air, no pollution, democracy — what are you waiting for?”
  • This wasn’t just talk. Wei Kefei, an organizer of a Beijing property fair, told the Global Times in March that deals were picking up. ”Some people did rush to buy houses in Detroit, betting on the US economic recovery, which they believe will boost development in the auto industry,” he said. A Mandarin-speaking Detroit broker reported getting 3am phone calls from interested investors (link in Chinese). Detroit mania was enough that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned citizens about investing risks (link in Chinese). And it had a point; there are slews of hidden costs that buyers take on..
  • Though Chinese realtors had planned tours of the area in late spring, those were cancelled when most investors didn’t receive visas, says Chen. Therefore, many Detroit home purchases by Chinese investors are sight unseen. “It’s like buying the lotto,” says Chen, explaining that mainland investors see the chance the property will appreciate as worth the dirt-cheap price. “But I’ve been in the Detroit area for 35 years. 35 years ago downtown Detroit was like this, and it’s not getting better.”
  • That becomes more apparent to those who do visit. Chen says that Chinese investors sometimes pick up and fly to Detroit without notice and call her to say, “Hey, I’m at the airport.” Because Chen is unwilling to risk her safety for a $3 commission on a home sale, she recommends that they hire a taxi to drive them through downtown Detroit. So far, most haven’t called her back. “Once they see the scary area, they give up,” she says.

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7.25.13 – Florida airport evacuated after depleted uranium discovered

[stextbox id=”x22report”]From the news station in Florida the airport was Opa-Locka Airport and the container the uranium was in became unsealed, nobody know how. What was it doing their in the first place?  The story is very vague[/stextbox]

  • Portions of an airport in Miami, Florida were evacuated after depleted uranium was discovered early Thursday.
  • Firefighters cleared a 150-foot area of the Opa-locka Executive Airport in south Florida after a 55 gallon drum located either on or near part of a dismantled aircraft was discovered to be containing exposed, depleted uranium, NBC 6 South Florida reported.
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Arnold Piedrahita Jr tweeted that a haz-mat scene was dispatched to the scene to assess the severity of the situation and monitor the levels of radiation.
  • he rescue team later reduced the size of the impacted “hotzone” to just a five-foot perimiter and declared that the depleted uranium posed minimal to no hazard.
  • Opa-locka is a reliever airport which serves as a secondary landing field for aircraft normally going in and out of the larger Miami International Airport. It also is a hub used by the United States Coast Guard for air and sea rescue stations.
  • Depleted uranium is a radioactive product used in military munitions and fission bombs, and is regulated by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Earlier this week, RT reported that the US military’s use of depleted uranium during the war in Iraq has led to a sharp increase in cases of Leukemia and birth defects, according to some local doctors.
  • “After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf. The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases. We believe it’s because of the’ illegal’ weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans. When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu,” Dr. Sundus Nsaif told RT.
  • According to a local NBC affiliate, officials at Opa-locka say there are no reported injuries.
  • The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department has asked the US Environmental Protection Agency for assistance.

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7.25.13 – What’s Up With Inflation?

  • Purchasing power and exposure to real costs are more realistic measures of inflation than the consumer price index.
  • That the official rate of inflation doesn’t reflect reality is easily intuited by anyone paying college tuition and healthcare out of pocket. The debate over the accuracy of the official consumer price index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE–the so-called core rate of inflation) has raged for years, with no resolution in sight.
  • The CPI calculates inflation based on the prices of a basket of goods and services that are adjusted by hedonics, i.e. improvements that are not reflected in the price of the goods. Housing costs are largely calculated on equivalent rent, i.e. what homeowners reckon they would pay if they were renting their house.
  • The CPI attempts to measure the relative weight of each component:

  • Many argue that these weightings skew the CPI lower, as do hedonic adjustments. The motivation for this skew is transparent: since the government increases Social Security benefits and Federal employees’ pay annually to keep up with inflation (the cost of living allowance or COLA), a low rate of inflation keeps these increases modest.
  • Over time, an artificially low CPI/COLA lowers government expenditures (and deficits, provided tax revenues rise at rates above official inflation).
  • Those claiming the weighting is accurate face a blizzard of legitimate questions. For example, if healthcare is 18% of the U.S. GDP, i.e. 18 cents of every dollar goes to healthcare, then how can a mere 7% wedge of the CPI devoted to healthcare be remotely accurate?
  • Those claiming that the CPI is more or less accurate point to the inflation rate posted by The Billion Prices Project @MIT as real-world evidence. The Billion Prices Project collects real-world prices from online retailers for thousands of goods. The Project’s rate of annual inflation closely tracks the official CPI, though recently it has diverged, climbing above 2.5% annually while the CPI is below 1.5%.
  • The fatal flaw in The Billion Prices Project is that it does not track the real-world cost of big-ticket services such as healthcare or tuition that dominate household budgets for those who have to pay for these services.
  • Those claiming the CPI grossly underestimates inflation often compare the current CPI with the CPI methodology of the 1980s. Using the old methodology, inflation is more like 9% rather than 1.5%.
  • Critics of this comparison claim the old methodologies were flawed and the new method is statistically superior.
  • Another way to track inflation is via households’ actual spending as reflected in their budgets. Intuit collects anonymous spending data from 2 million users of Mint.com and posts the results: Presenting Inflation… the rise in expenses 2011 – 2013 (Zero Hedge). This data suggests the cost of daycare, healthcare insurance, kids’ activities and tuition have skyrocketed in the past few years, making a mockery of the official annual inflation rate of 1.5% to 2%.
  • Chartist Doug Short recently published this graph plotting college tuition, medical care and the cost of a new car. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator, $1 in 1980 = $2.83 in 2013. For example, the average cost of a new car in 1980 was $7,200, so the inflation-adjusted price in 2013 would be $20,376. The actual average price today is around $31,000, so after adjusting for inflation the current average price of a new car is higher than in 1980.

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7.26.13Obama should allow government shutdown if sequestration continues

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The congress is going to do what they have done 14 times now. Raise the debt ceiling, they have no choice, the know it, Obama knows it, the central bankers/FED knows it. [/stextbox]

  • One of the top Democrats in the House said Friday that his party should be willing to shut down the government this fall unless the spending cuts brought on by sequestration are ended.
  • Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), the co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, said that he hadn’t blithely come to the conclusion that this type of political standoff was necessary. Rather, it was talks with victims of the spending cuts and a new Congressional Budget Office study showing that up to 1.6 million jobs would be at risk next year if sequestration continued that convinced him a government shutdown threat was worth it.
  • “I think the president should draw that line in the sand,” Andrews told The Huffington Post in an interview. “I think it would create clarity, that our side wants to have a no-drama, sensible economic policy and that they want drama. So let’s have the fight.”
  • “Here is my instinctive feeling about this,” he said. “Republicans generally win fights over taxes and spending, that’s their turf. We win fights about jobs. So how this fight is framed will affect the outcome.”
  • “I’m not eager to do it. There is no honor in shutting the government down,” Andrews said. “But I would like to make that case strongly and see how far we can go.”
  • It’s fairly bold for a member of the president’s own party to advocate shutting down the government. It also creates a bit of an awkward situation, as Democrats attack Republicans for threatening a shutdown in their quest to defund the president’s health care law.
  • Andrews stressed that he was speaking on his own behalf and not drawing on conversations he has had with members of the administration.
  • But frustration with the spending cuts, and worries that they will linger beyond this fiscal year, is clearly a motivating force as Democrats enter the major budget battles of this fall. Andrews called the need to continue funding the government the “next have-to” event on the political calendar and the logical time to make the conversation “about sequestration and the very real impact it is having across the country.”
  • On Friday morning, the Washington Post reported that White House officials too were “discussing a potential strategy” in which the president “might refuse to sign a new funding measure that did not roll back the sequester.”
  • An administration official dismissed that report and general talk of a government shutdown as premature, noting that a new government funding agreement won’t be needed for more than two months. But that official still warned House Republicans that if they pushed appropriations bills that went “beyond the sequester,” they would be met with “a guaranteed veto” from the president.
  • “We will see where discussions get us in the next few weeks before any decisions are made about the best way to solve the panoply of fiscal issues,” the official said.
  • Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to the president, echoed those points in an email statement to The Huffington Post.
  • “Right now, the House Republicans continue to move appropriations bills that gut middle class priorities,” he said. “These are bills the President will not sign, because they will hurt the economy, job growth and the middle class.”
  • House Republicans, so far, seem likely to call the White House’s bluff, passing appropriations bills that dramatically cut domestic programs.
  • “His priorities are going nowhere,” Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said bluntly.
  • But the GOP doesn’t want to shoulder the blame should a standoff with the president result in a government shutdown. And in response to the Washington Post story, the office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent out several emails to reporters pointing out that it was the administration, not Republicans, who was reportedly contemplating such an end game.

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7.26.13Obama to circumvent US law over Egypt

  • In the case of Egypt, the Obama administration has found an easy way to circumvent a US law that limits aid to governments ruled by military coup.
  • Obama simply will not make up his mind about whether Egypt has undergone such a coup, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told the Senate and House Thursday.
  • “The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination,” an Obama administration official later admitted to Reuters under condition of anonymity.
  • The silence offers a convenient loophole as the Obama administration struggles to maintain influence in Egypt amid ongoing political upheavals and mass movements.
  • Obama has been slammed by critics for his cynical support of whatever regime asserts authority in Egypt-whether Mubarak, Morsi, or the Supreme Council of Armed Forces-to cement US power in the region at the expense of the Egyptian people.
  • “America’s primary concern, as always, is how best to preserve its interests in the region,” declared Rachel Shabi last week in the Guardian. “Calling a coup a coup would legally bind the US to withdraw $1.5bn in aid to the army – and it’s the army, whose chief attended America’s top military academy, that keeps the US and its regional ally Israel happy.”
  • The move comes despite documented military massacres of Morsi supporters by the military and ongoing (many fear growing) political violence and growing tensions.
  • The $1.55 billion annual payments in US military aid are key provisions of the 1979 Camp David Accords aimed at securing US and Israeli geopolitical power in the Middle East and North Africa. The US has continuously funded the Egyptian military for decades despite their backing of, and participation in, authoritarian regimes and rampant military human rights abuses, including torture and secret military trial of civilians.
  • As the Obama administration scrambles to build influence with the party in power, an emerging “Third Square” movement in Egypt is opposing both Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF rule. Sarah Carr with Mada Masr reports Friday:
  • In a leaflet distributed in the protest they describe themselves as “a group of Egyptians who protested on January 25 against the corruption of the [Hosni] Mubarak state… protested against [former head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Hussein] Tantawi’s men who gave the army a bad name during the transitional period and protested against Morsi and religious fascism in order to call for early elections.”

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7.26.13J.P. Morgan to Explore Strategic Alternatives for its Physical Commodities Business

  • New York, July 26, 2013 – JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) announced today that it has concluded an internal review and is pursuing strategic alternatives for its physical commodities business, including its remaining holdings of commodities assets and its physical trading operations.
  • To maximize value, the firm will explore a full range of options over time including, but not limited to: a sale, spin off or strategic partnership of its physical commodities business. During the process, the firm will continue to run its physical commodities business as a going concern and fully support ongoing client activities.
  • J.P. Morgan has built a leading commodities franchise in recent years, achieving a top-ranked revenue position. The business has been consistently named as a top client business in Greenwich Associates’ annual client surveys and was recently named Derivatives House of the Year by Energy Risk magazine.
  • Following the internal review, J.P. Morgan has also reaffirmed that it will remain fully committed to its traditional banking activities in the commodity markets, including financial derivatives and the vaulting and trading of precious metals. The firm will continue to make markets, provide liquidity and offer advice to global companies and institutions that have, for years, relied on J.P. Morgan’s global risk management expertise.
  • And then the question: which Fed-backed bank will “buy” JPM’s commodity exposure? Or maybe this time Bernanke will cut away the middlemen and make the tunnel between its gold vault and that of JPM across Liberty Street, official?
  • After weeks of emptying of their Gold vaults and making headlines in recent days over their oligolopolization of commodity warehousing, it seems the threat of a probe has excited Blythe and her colleagues to dump while the dumping is good:
  • JP. MORGAN TO EXPLORE STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES FOR ITS PHYSICAL COMMODITIES BUSINESS
  • Options include sale, spin-off, or strategic partnership as they re-confirm that they are “fully committed to traditional banking activities,” as they look to drop the holdings of commodities assets and the physical trading business. We can only assume that “physical commodities” include the company’s extensive inventories of tungsten (as well as the vault housing it), and not so extensive stores of gold and silver. That said, we are confident that the collapse in represented (but not warranted) JPM Comex gold vault holdings to a record low, and this news is completely unrelated.

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7.26.13China, Australia push FTA talks

[stextbox id=”x22report”]China is setting itself up to be the world reserve currency, it is making deals all around the globe with many countries, while in the meantime the US government is waging war to keep the US dollar as the reserve currency. [/stextbox]

  • Officials from China and Australia have announced that they will step up talks on a strategic free trade agreement (FTA) during a meeting in Beijing.
  • Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said he hoped the two countries could reach a trade agreement soon during talks with Australia’s Trade Minister Richard Marles on Wednesday.
  • The Asian nation is Australia’s largest trading partner.
  • Marles said the Australian government attaches great importance to the development of bilateral trade relations.
  • “We need to put these on a path to conclusion; there is so much for the Australian economy to benefit by having a trade agreement in terms of expanding the breadth of our economic engagement with China beyond resources,” Marles was quoted by the Australian.
  • The two countries began free trade talks in 2005.
  • Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called in June for the earliest possible conclusion to the pending FTA during his first news conference since returning to office.
  • “The Australian side is willing to show flexibility and will actively push for progress in the FTA negotiations”, Marles said during the meeting on Wednesday.
  • The 19th round of talks was held in June but the negotiations did not go smoothly due to differences on opening up markets and protecting intellectual property rights.
  • In a recent Lowy Institute poll, 50-57 per cent of respondents said there was too much Chinese investment in Australia, in stark contrast to opinions of government officials and business people, shows an analysis by Dirk van der Kley of the Lowy Institute.

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7.26.13Afghanistan Analysts Network: US holds inmates in Bagram’s secret jail

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

Tens Steps To A Close Down An Open Society:  Here is step 2

2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law(as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal “outer space”) – where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, “enemies of the people” or “criminals”. Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders – opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists – are arrested and sent there as well.

[/stextbox]

  • The Afghanistan Analysts Network has found that the U.S. is still running a secret jail at Bagram prison in which Afghan inmates are being tortured.
  • In March 2013, the U.S. military said it handed over the control of Bagram detention facility to the Afghan government.
  • But now interviews with detainees and Afghan officials have revealed that inmates are still being secretly taken, interrogated, and tortured by U.S. military forces on a secret site on Bagram Airbase known as Tor Jail meaning black prison.
  • Afghanistan Analysts Network is an independent non-profit Research Organization.

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7.26.13Senate threatens to sanction countries that aid Snowden

[stextbox id=”x22report”]“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”[/stextbox]

  • The Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday that they want the Department of State to consider imposing sanctions on any nation willing to assist NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
  • A hearing held by the 30 member, bi-partisan Senate committee Thursday afternoon in Washington ended with a unanimous decision by way of voice vote to move towards sanctioning countries coming to the aid of the former intelligence analyst.
  • Snowden, 30, has been charged with espionage and other counts by the United States for leaking classified National Security Agency documents to the media. He has been on the run from authorities for nearly two months and is currently in Moscow awaiting the results of an asylum request filed with Russia’s Federal Migration Service. Should the Kremlin come to Snowden’s aid, however, some lawmakers in the US say the State Department should respond with sanctions.
  • On Thursday, one of the leaker’s most vocal critics in Congress succeeded in having his colleagues advance a bill that directs the Secretary of State John Kerry “to consult with the appropriate congressional committees on sanction options against any country that provides asylum to Mr. Snowden, including revocation or suspension of trade privileges and preferences.”
  • The bill’s author, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), told the committee, “I don’t know if he’s going to stay in Russia forever. I don’t know where he’s going to go . . . But I know this: That the right thing to do is to send him back home so he can face charges for the crimes he’s allegedly committed.”
  • An indictment against Snowden was unsealed last month while he was reportedly in hiding in Hong Kong. Just hours later, Snowden surfaced in Moscow and has since been confined to the transit area of the Sheremetyevo airport.
  • Snowden filed asylum requests with more than 20 countries, and has been offered assistance from Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Earlier this week he met with his attorney at Sheremetyevo, who then told RT that Snowden is seeking Russian’s permission to stay in the country indefinitely.
  • “He’s planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a job. And I think that all his further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in,” attorney Anatoly Kucherena told RT.
  • Sen. Graham previously demanded Russia remove Snowden from the country and suggested the US boycott the Sochi Olympics if Pres. Vladimir Putin agrees to keep Snowden safe from the reach of American authorities. Last month Graham called the ordeal “an important test of the ‘reset’ in relations between our two countries,” and said, “If our two nations are to have a constructive relationship moving forward, Russian cooperation in this matter is essential.”
  • “On multiple fronts, Russia is becoming one of the bad actors in the world,” Graham said previously. “Russia continues to provide cover to the Iranian nuclear program and sell sophisticated weapons to the Assad regime in Syria to butcher tens of thousands of its own citizens. For Russia to grant temporary asylum to Mr. Snowden on top of all this would do serious damage to our relationship. It is past time we send a strong message to President Putin about Russia’s actions and this resolution will help accomplish that goal.”
  • Speaking to the Senate committee on Thursday, Graham added, “When it comes to Russia, it’s just not about Snowden.”

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7.26.13Final ‘haircut’: Cyprus to levy deposits by 50 percent

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Don’t worry you money is safe in the banks, we will only take around 50 percent of your money hopefully less, and you know if they are saying hopefully less than 50 percent its going to be more.  Personal opinion I would remove some money from the bank just in case.[/stextbox]

  • The ‘Troika’ of creditors have agreed the final deposit levy on Cypriot accounts will be 45 percent for shareholders, bondholders, and depositors with more than 100,000 euro in the two largest banks.
  • The official decision will be announced later by the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, Itar-Itass reported, citing a Cypriot news outlet.
  • Central Bank Board of Director Sophocles Mihaelidis reported a slightly different figure, saying about 50 percent, but not more than 60 percent, will be levied, Vesti reported.
  • Previous exact loss estimates have ranged from 12.5 percent, later revised to 30 or 40 percent, and in April, 60 percent. Cyprus hopes to keep the deposit levy under 50 percent.
  • As a condition for receiving a $13 billion (10 billion euro) bailout package, Cyprus was forced by Troika lenders to sponsor a portion of their bailout, which they will raise by levying shareholders, bondholders, and depositors with more than 100,000 euro in accounts.
  • In addition, the Bank of Cyprus will be restructured under the Troika’s watch, and the second largest bank, Laiki will be completely shut down, and losses will be compensated for depositors with less than 100,000 euros.
  • The ‘bail-in’, or the idea of having depositors, and not taxpayers, finance the bailout, was suggested by Troika lenders and embraced by Cypriot government officials facing heated protests.
  • In part, the idea gained popularity because Cyprus was a financial hot-spot for foreign investment. About 50 percent of deposits in the Bank of Cyprus belonged to non-EU residents, and much of the funds were suspected to belong to Russian oligarchs.
  • Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich believes at one point there was over $30 billion in Russian holdings in Cyprus.
  • The Central Bank of Cyprus said domestic residents’ deposits totaled 34.96 billion euro, down 2.56 billion euro compared to May 2013.
  • The Cyprus scenario marked the first time depositors were forced to contribute to the bank’s bailout and now it is set to become the norm.
  • Cypriot Banks have weakened under the re-structuring period, and have been the source of negative credit ratings.
  • Both Moody’s and Standard & Poor have downgraded Cyprus credit, warning the tiny island nation may soon default on its debt again. Moody’s issued a statement in July that they had already technically defaulted again, as they delayed paying back 1 billion euro worth of bonds.
  • Together, the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki account for 80 percent of the banking sector in Cyprus. Hellenic Bank, formally the island’s third largest bank, is now the island’s biggest lender not under re-structuring.
  • By the end of 2013, the Bank of Cyprus plans to lay-off 2,500 workers, and close a number of its branches.
  • The future is bleak, too. The economy is forecast to shrink by more than 10 percent this year, up from the Troika’s 8.7 percent estimate in March while sorting out bailout details. The economy is expected to retract by 2016.

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7.26.13Cyberattack locks systems at Istanbul airports

  • Passport control systems were locked at Istanbul’s Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports due to an alleged cyberattack early Friday, causing dozens of flights to be delayed for several hours
  • Passport control systems were locked at Istanbul’s Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports due to an alleged cyberattack early Friday, causing dozens of flights to be delayed for several hours.
  • Hundreds of passengers stood in passport control lines for more than an hour after the İstanbul Provincial Security Directorate’s data system was locked. Many flights were delayed, and a Libya- bound Turkish Airlines (THY) flight was canceled. The system was restored after an hour.

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7.26.13Lakeland customers urged to change passwords following cyber-attack

  • Kitchenware retailer Lakeland has suffered a “sophisticated and sustained” cyber-attack, which involved hackers gaining access to its two encrypted databases.
  • In an email to customers, Lakeland’s managing director, Sam Rayner, said that there is no evidence that any data has been stolen, but all passwords used on the website have been deleted as a precaution.
  • Customers will be asked to reset their password next time they log-in to their Lakeland account. The company has also advised customers to ensure that they are not using the same passwords anywhere else on the internet.
  • “We deeply regret that this has occurred and apologise for the inconvenience caused. The security of our customers’ data is hugely important to us and we are devastated to have fallen victim to these criminals,” said Rayner.
  • “This has occurred despite the best efforts of ourselves and the industry leading IT company that runs our website for us to use the best security systems available. We are committed to protecting our customers’ data and will continue to seek additional measures to ensure the integrity of our systems.”
  • Rayner added that the hackers had exploited “a very recently identified flaw” in the Java server running its website – and indeed numerous websites around the world – to gain access to its unauthorised access to its web systems and data.

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7.26.13US blows out $16.7 trillion debt limit

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The government has increased the debt limit 14 times now, the only way to stop the increase of the debt ceiling is to stop all spending, why? Because the government does not bring in enough money to cover all expenses so the debt will always increase, even with the sequester the debt continually rises.[/stextbox]

  • The US Treasury has already exceeded the federal legal borrowing limit of $16.7 trillion in May. That signals the main structural problems remain unresolved putting at risk the fragile recovery.
  • The country’s outstanding public debt is already $38.82 million above the statuary debt ceiling and now at $16,738,220,000,000.00, according to Treasury data.
  • Christopher Weafer from the Economist Macro Advisory Consultancy says the numbers show “that the debt issue along with the deficit is two very structural problems in the US that remain unresolved and without any clear mechanism on how they are going to be resolved”.
  • “In the short term it doesn’t cause any immediate crisis and that’s why I guess the news is not widely covered, ” Weafer told RT.
  • The American economy grew at 1.8 percent during the first three months of the year, lower than its 2.5 percent average pace during the last two decades. The unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent in June, remains above its 6 percent average during the period, Reuter’s reports.
  • Despite the US Fed and politicians are speaking about recovery, that US economy which is picking up and looking stronger next year, the unsolved debt and deficit issues may reverse the process, Weafer says.
  • “The US budget deficit has only been twitted down by a few hundred million dollars. It’s still massively in deficit, and therefore the amount that the US government needs to borrow to fund that is still rising, so we’ve reached this technical limit and it will go higher. These are issues that still need to be resolved and they will determine whether or not the pace of recovery can be expanded or whether it will be temporary and reverse next year.”
  • On Thursday President Barack Obama criticized House Republicans for demanding conditions on raising the US debt ceiling as he tries to shape the coming congressional debate over the nation’s budget priorities, Reuters reports. Obama accused Republicans of skirting responsibility to “pay the country’s bills” and refusing to spend for needed investments in education, energy and research.
  • “That’s not an economic plan,” Reuters quotes Obama. “That’s just being a deadbeat.”
  • House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week said Republicans won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts. The current limit was expected to be reached sometime between October and December, according to Reuters.
  • In the debt ceiling debate two years ago, lawmakers and the White House battled for months before Obama signed an increase into law on Aug. 2, 2011, the day the Treasury Department warned that US borrowing authority would expire, Reuters reports.

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7.26.13Syrian rebels press US to send weapons fast, Kerry sees no military solution to crisis

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US is arming the Syrian rebels, but there is a problem the funding for this runs out on Sept 30 the end of the fiscal year. This poses a problem for the US government.  John Kerry is talking about peace but they always need to throw in the peace talks to make everyone believe that the US wants peace, but in fact their real goal is to get to Iran through Syria so there will be no peace, the only peace talk they will accept is that both Syria and Iran allow the US dollar as the reserve currency. Since funding runs out in September they will need to bring this war to America with a false flag event to get everyone on board with this war.[/stextbox]

  • Syrian opposition leaders on their three-day visit to the US have urged Washington to get a move on with sending promised arms to the rebels. John Kerry has declared there’s no military solution to the crisis.
  • A delegation representing the Syrian National Coalition, headed by its newly-elected leader Ahmed Jarba, met with John Kerry on Thursday at the US mission to the United Nations in New York. The statement Jarba issued following the closed-door talks described the situation in Syria as “desperate” and urged the US to start delivering on its military aid promise as soon as possible.
  • “The US commitment of military support to the Supreme Military Council is vital, but it needs to happen fast, and in a way that allows us to defend ourselves and protect civilians,” Jarba said.
  • The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have recently given a green light to arm Syrian rebels, declaring they had their concerns alleviated. Not fully though, as can be seen from a comment made by Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
  • “One of our main issues is to make sure that, whatever we do, that nothing gets in the hands of Al Qaeda,” said Ruppersberger, as cited by Reuters.
  • The task is impossible to fulfill, according to political science academic Dr. Colin Cavell, who spoke to RT.
  • “Anybody who sends arms to the Syrian opposition, they know that it’s going to support the jihadists. When you go ahead and violate international law and support opposition fighters in a country in attempt to overthrow it, then you are declaring yourself at odds and at war with that country. The United States along with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchs have declared themselves at war with Syria… We’ve just gone through two terribly expensive wars and lost thousands of American soldiers, and now we’ve got Barack Obama and John Kerry trying to get us into a third war,” Cavell said.
  • Even if the US does start supplying arms to the Syrian rebel forces, it might be for a short term only. Funding for the program will cease with the end of the US fiscal year, which is September 30. The US Congress will then have to approve the plan once again, which would mean a new round of bitter debate among the lawmakers.
  • Despite the congressional approval of weapons supplies, John Kerry was cautious speaking of the Syrian crisis on Thursday, pledging commitment to its peaceful settlement.
  • “There is no military solution to Syria. There is only a political solution, and that will require leadership in order to bring people to the table,” John Kerry said.
  • Russia and the US bringing to the Syrian government and the opposition the negotiating table is something the two countries have been trying to do for quite some time, despite their differences on the crisis. In May Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov announced their joint initiative to organize a peace conference in Geneva. Dubbed ‘Geneva II’, the conference is a follow-up to last year’s international meeting in the Swiss city, where a peace roadmap for Syria was drafted.
  • Prospects for Geneva II
  • The Syrian National Coalition’s visit to New York is part of the US’s effort to make the opposition forces sit down for talks. That possibility will be tested at an informal meeting Jarba and his three colleagues are about to have with the 15-member UN Security Council.
  • The meeting is not a sign of the UN official recognition of the Syrian National Coalition, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has warned.
  • “The aim of this event should be to encourage the National Coalition and its leadership to prepare for Geneva II,” he said as cited by RIA Novosti. “It’s an informal event, it’s not even a UN Security Council event. The fact that this meeting takes place should not be viewed as a step towards the National Coalition’s recognition in any official role.”
  • The group is yet to prove its legitimacy and to respond to some critical voices questioning its status, according to RT’s Marina Portnaya, reporting from New York.
  • “Critics say the group has no official power and lacks support and recognition inside Syria. The Syrian National Coalition was founded in Doha and is based in Istanbul. Some see this group as outsiders lobbying for more arms to import into Syria’s already-bloody civil war,” Portnaya said.
  • John Kerry seems not to be one of those skeptics, sounding quite optimistic following his Thursday meeting with the leadership of the Syrian National Coalition.
  • “The Syrian opposition committed that they believed Geneva II is very important and they agreed to work over the course of the next couple of weeks to pinpoint the terms, the conditions under which they think it could work,” he said.
  • Conditions and terms put forward by the opposition are however exactly what hampered peace talks in the past, as some of them are hardly realistic, such as the current Syrian President’s giving up his power.
  • “In principle nobody is against Geneva II, but we cannot enter into talks while the regime continues to kill hundreds every day and use arms of mass destruction,” said Burhan Ghalioun, a senior coalition member who was in the delegation, as cited by AFP.
  • The Syrian government in turn describes the rebels as terrorists and blames the US for double standards.
  • “Washington’s decision to arm the terrorist groups in Syria proves that the United States [wants to] exacerbate the crisis in Syria, and shows up its dishonesty in the search for a political solution at a [proposed peace] conference in Geneva,” a Syrian Foreign Ministry official said in a statement.
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has called on both sides of the conflict to halt the violence which has raged since the start of the unrest in March 2011 resulting in more than 100,000 deaths.
  • “Military and violent actions must be stopped by both parties, and it is thus imperative to have a peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible, as was initiated by Secretary Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov,” Ban said.

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7.26.13Defying US warnings of civil war, Egyptian military to crack down on armed protest and mounting terrorism

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US government/central bankers are losing control over Egypt, they have stopped the delivery of the F-16 fighter plains because they were suppose to be delivered to the Egyptian controlled government. If the reserve currency and central bank are in jeopardy the US will send in troops to protect them both.[/stextbox]

  • Braving Washington’s warning of civil strife, Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is not backing away from his resolve to quickly crack down, even by military force, on armed protesters using live bullets on city streets and generating chaos, on Salafist terror in Sinai coupled with a Muslim Brotherhood uprising, and on their Palestinian Hamas collaborators in the Gaza Strip. This is reported by DEBKAfile’s sources in Cairo.
  • When the Obama administration warned Gen. El-Sisi that his actions could generate bloodshed leading to an outbreak of civil war, the Egyptian leader replied that military inaction was the more dangerous course, because terrorism and live fire in protest demonstrations must be controlled forthwith before they too degenerated into civil warfare.
  • After failing to win the Egyptian defense minister around to its view, Washington announced it was suspending the delivery to the Egyptian air force of four American F-16 fighter planes, as a mark of the administration’s displeasure with the military leader’s approach. He showed no signs of being put off his plans.
  • Wednesday, July 24, after a week of surging opposition violence and attacks on Egyptian military positions in Sinai, Gen. El-Sisi’s turned to the Egyptian people in a television speech: “I urge the people to take to the streets this coming Friday to prove their will and give me, the army and police a mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism.”
  • In the past week, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood protesters continued to fill the streets of Egypt’s main cities, demonstrating against the interim government and the military and demanding the reinstatement of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Some groups have begun closing off entire city blocks, declaring them independently-ruled entities. These enclaves have been fortified with sandbag barriers and sentries posted to check the documents of people going in and out. Entry is barred to those suspected of collaborating with the army and security forces.
  • Large photos of Morsi are draped over buildings along with banners of injunctions to obey no authority other than that of the elected president.
  • The generals fear that these “independent closed enclaves” could become the nuclei of a full-scale revolt which if not curbed in time could run out of control.
  • They are increasingly concerned by the spreading use of firearms by Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators against their opponents in Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura, Port Said and Ismailia.
  • An outright terrorist incident seen as an ill omen of Iraq-style tactics to come occurred in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura, 45 kilometers north of Cairo, Wednesday, when a bomb tossed from a passing car killed one person and injured seventeen. The Egyptian general staff believes that terrorist tactics may be filtering into the cities from Sinai.
  • DEBKAfile’s sources say that El-Sisi’s call for a mass demonstration of government supporters on Friday portends their first large-scale clash with Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators who will no doubt turn out in force. The army and police would intervene only after the confrontation begins. This tactic carries a high risk of becoming the match which ignite civil war in Egypt.
  • In Sinai, the Muslim Brotherhood is activating the machinery for an armed uprising in collusion with Salafits linked to al Qaeda and the Palestinian Hamas by means of escalating attacks on Egyptian military and security targets.
  • In a meeting on Thursday July 25 at the Egyptian General Staff headquarters, Gen. Ahmed Wasfi, commander of the Second Army, and Gen. Osama Askar, commander of the Third Army, who are leading counter-terror operations in Sinai and against the Gaza Strip, reported that they expect to report the success of their campaign by the middle of next week.

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7.26.13Japan Food And Energy Prices Rise; All Others Drop

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So in America they changed the inflation calculation and they did not include food and energy because people really don’t use these everyday.  But for Japan those same people in the US include food and energy to show inflation[/stextbox]

  • Today, to much fanfare, the FT and other media blast that “Japan posts highest inflation rate since 2008” using this as evidence that Abenomics is once again working (i.e., that the Nikkei 225 has resumed its upward nominal path). Unfortunately, as usually happens, there is a problem here: this is simply not true.
  • The only reason why Japan posted its first positive CPI print in years has nothing to do with demand-pull broad “benign” inflation driven by rising wages, and everything to do with the “cost-push” of a plunging Yen forcing food and energy prices higher, something we predicted long ago would happen. In fact, when stripping away food and energy, core inflation was slightly weaker than expected with the first month-on month declines in both Tokyo and nationwide in the latest data in several months (seasonally adjusted). Which is to be expected: with incomes flat at best, in order to accommodate soaring food and energy prices the local population has to cut their spending for all other products, leading to deflation.
  • But what is most ironic is that economists in the US advise everyone to ignore soaring food and energy costs and to focus on the benign sub 2% annual rise in “other” hedonically-adjusted prices. However, when it comes to Japan, it is the opposite.
  • Ah, economists. As Seth Klarman observed:
  • “One day a physicist, a biologist, and an economist were sitting at a café across from an apparently empty building. They watch two people enter and then, later, three leave. The physicist says, “Apparently there was some error with our measurements,” while the biologist says, “Obviously, they reproduced while in the building.” Then the economist observes, “If another person were to enter the building, it would once again be empty.”
  • SocGen has some more detail:
  • Japan’s June nationwide CPI as well as Tokyo’s July CPI turned positive even in year-on-year terms, following several months of sequential price rises. Headline nationwide CPI rose by 0.2% yoy, the first positive rate since May 2012 and ahead of expectations (median and SG 0.1%). Core nationwide CPI (ex fresh food) also showed positive growth of 0.4% yoy, up from zero in May and the strongest growth since November 2008 (median 0.3%, SG 0.6%). However, the narrower definition of core inflation – excluding food and energy – remained in negative territory at -0.2% yoy (after -0.4%), though it was still the strongest reading since January 2009 (median -0.3%, SG -0.1%). The gap between the two core rates of course reflects the importance of energy costs in driving inflation at this stage.
  • Oh well: time to change the definition of inflation then. The above visually for headline:
  • Headline inflation in Tokyo also turned positive in July to the tune of 0.4% yoy, from 0.0% yoy in June, and well ahead of expectations (median and SG 0.2%). This was the strongest since February 2009. Core Tokyo CPI (ex fresh food) also strengthened to 0.3% yoy from 0.2%,
  • continuing the run of positive annual rates that has been in place since May. However, the ex food and energy core measure was stable at -0.4%, which was weaker than expected (median -0.3%, SG -0.2%), and the result of the first monthly decline in this measure, of 0.1% mom (seasonally adjusted) in seven months. This was arguably the disappointing element in the report, along with a 0.1% mom decline in the same measure at the nationwide level.
  • Correct, so let’s not talk about it, and let’s certainly say that unlike in the US where food and energy costs are ignored, that people actually eat and drive (which means less money to spend on other things).
  • Finally, broken down by component:
  • At the component level, electricity prices rose by 9.8% yoy (nationwide) and gasoline prices rose by 6.4% yoy (nationwide) (15.4% yoy and 10.2% yoy respectively in Tokyo)… However, prices in a broad range of areas such as housing rent, recreation, furniture/household utensils and medical care still show price declines from a year ago.
  • So instead of a victory for Abenomics, one actually finds a complete defeat. But to understand that there is zero improvement in the one aspect that does matter to economic growth: rising wages and incomes, one actually has to move beyond the rose-colored headlines.
  • Ironically, there is a brief mention of the above in the FT article… in the final paragraph:
  • “Yasunari Ueno, chief markets economist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo, said: “Deflation is unlikely to be overcome if the strategy relies simply on supply-side shocks to lift energy prices.”
  • Shhh. Speak quietly or someone may hear you.

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7.26.13Central Banks ‘Vote For Gold’ Due To Sovereign And Currency Concerns

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Countries and central banks are stacking up on gold (real money).  As Ben Bernanke said that gold that seen by some is a disaster insurance.  Well a disaster is coming, its called the economic collapse and everyone around the world is getting prepared.[/stextbox]

  • Gold is on course for its third week of gains, buoyed by a weak dollar, no definite end to quantitative easing and continuing ultra loose monetary policies. Central bank gold buying is also supporting gold.
  • Premiums in India are $20 per ounce over London prices as demand outstrips government restricted supply before the festival season on the subcontinent.
  • Premiums in China have come down but remain robust at $12 per ounce and gold forward rates (GOFO) remain negative in the near term – 1, 2 and 3 months (see table above and chart below).
  • Central banks remained net buyers of gold last month as seen in the IMF data released overnight.
  • Many emerging-market countries with considerable foreign exchange reserves continue to diversify their fx reserves, most of which are in dollars and euros, and increase their gold reserves.
  • Emerging market central banks have increased their holdings of the monetary asset over the past few years as the sovereign debt crises in the EU, U.S. and Japan put pressure on reserve currencies such as the Japanese yen, U.S. dollar and the euro.
  • Falling gold prices to their lowest levels in almost three years made gold more attractive to many central banks.
  • Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Azerbaijan increased their gold holdings in June according to the IMF data.
  • Mozambique, Serbia and Tajikistan increased holdings in May, which updates as countries report according to Bloomberg.
  • Russia which now has the seventh-largest gold holdings in the world,added just 9,000 ounces to its holdings, which now stand at 32.0 million ounces.
  • Russia, which has purchased significant volumes of gold in recent years, has increased its reserves by almost 10% over the past year alone.
  • Kazakhstan, another regular bullion buyer in recent months, also increased its holdings in June. The country’s central bank bought more than 45,000 ounces, taking its reserves to 4.2 million ounces.
  • Russia and Kazakhstan increased their gold reserves for a ninth straight month in June.
  • Greece added 1,000 ounces to its 3.6-million-ounce reserve, while Kyrgyzstan and Belarus also added a small amount of gold to their holdings.
  • Ukraine returned for the second month running in June, adding another large 80,000 troy ounces of gold to its official reserves, which now stand at nearly 1.3 million ounces.
  • Azerbaijan bought nearly 65,000 ounces, lifting its reserves to more than 250,000 ounces. It is the sixth consecutive month the country has added to its official holdings, which in December stood at nearly nothing.
  • Central banks were overwhelmingly buyers and were net buyers again last month but there were some gold reserve sales too.
  • Guatemala, which last sold gold in July 2012 cut its holdings by 7,300 ounces. The Central American country’s reserves now stand at 214,300 ounces. Neighboring Mexico and the South American nation Suriname made small cuts to their official reserves too.
  • Germany sold a very small amount of their gold reserves in June and it is believed this was done in order to mint commemorative gold coins. Germany lowered its gold holdings by 25,000 ounces. The reduction is, however, small compared with the overall size of the country’s reserves, which stand at more than 109.0 million ounces.
  • Germany has the second-largest reserves of gold, behind the U.S. and is attempting to repatriate to Germany its gold reserves that have been stored in the New York Federal Reserve since after World War II.
  • The Bundesbank wasn’t immediately available for comment according to Marketwatch. It has previously said it sporadically sells gold to the nation’s Ministry of Finance to mint commemorative coins.
  • Turkey’s gold reserves also declined by just over 120,000 ounces to 14.2 million ounces. Their gold reserves have nearly quadrupled over the past two years after its central bank began accepting gold as collateral from commercial banks. It is believed that rather than on-market purchases, this is the main reason for the recent increases.
  • China does not report to the IMF and there are strong grounds for believing that China continues to accumulate gold quietly and without declaring … for now.
  • When China does announce its expected increase in holdings it could be of a significant amount that could reignite gold’s secular bull market.
  • ‘Vote For Gold’
  • “You have to choose, as a voter, between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability and intelligence of the members of the government. And with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”
  • The above quotation from GB Shaw who was born on this day July 26, in 1856, is ringing true during these uncertain political and economic times.
  • Shaw’s witty but pointed quotation was featured in a letter printed in the Financial Times today and it is featured on our Facebook page today.
  • Given the high level of financial and economic uncertainty facing us, it is wise to step back and take a long term historical perspective of the current crisis.
  • Throughout history, gold has been used as the safest form of money – a form of money that cannot be debased or printed into oblivion by bankers, politicians and reckless governments. When experiments with paper money and massive creation of debt go wrong as unfortunately they inevitably have done throughout history, economic hardship has been the result.
  • This is why wise people throughout history have always appreciated the finite currency that is gold.
  • From Aristotle to G. B. Shaw to Kyle Bass to Voltaire their thoughts help enlighten why one should save or invest in precious metals.
  • Kyle Bass, the respected hedge fund manager recently said:
  • “Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It’s that simple.”
  • Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and genius (384-322BC) wrote:
  • “In effect, there is nothing inherently wrong with fiat money, provided we get perfect authority and god-like intelligence for kings.”
  • Lord Rees Mogg, economist & former editor of The Times & assistant editor of The Sunday Times said:
  • “Governments lie; bankers lie; even auditors sometimes lie: gold tells the truth.”
  • More recently Hans Sennholz, author & economist of Austrian school wrote:
  • “For more than two thousand years gold’s natural qualities made it man’s universal medium of exchange. In contrast to political money, gold is honest money that survived the ages and will live on long after the political fiats of today have gone the way of all paper. No other commodity enjoys as much universal acceptability and marketability as gold.”

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7.26.13Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Everyday we hear more and more news on the government spying on the people. Now they want the usernames and passwords to take a look into peoples private accounts. Since the NSA cannot be stopped and as the collapse is getting closer they will not stop the spying and it will get more intense as the collapse gets closer.Don’t forget this all violates the 4th Amendment[/stextbox]

  • The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.
  • If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.
  • “I’ve certainly seen them ask for passwords,” said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We push back.”
  • A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies “really heavily scrutinize” these requests, the person said. “There’s a lot of ‘over my dead body.’”
  • Some of the government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.
  • A Microsoft spokesperson would not say whether the company has received such requests from the government. But when asked whether Microsoft would divulge passwords, salts, or algorithms, the spokesperson replied: “No, we don’t, and we can’t see a circumstance in which we would provide it.”
  • Google also declined to disclose whether it had received requests for those types of data. But a spokesperson said the company has “never” turned over a user’s encrypted password, and that it has a legal team that frequently pushes back against requests that are fishing expeditions or are otherwise problematic. “We take the privacy and security of our users very seriously,” the spokesperson said.
  • A Yahoo spokeswoman would not say whether the company had received such requests. The spokeswoman said: “If we receive a request from law enforcement for a user’s password, we deny such requests on the grounds that they would allow overly broad access to our users’ private information. If we are required to provide information, we do so only in the strictest interpretation of what is required by law.”
  • Apple, Facebook, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast did not respond to queries about whether they have received requests for users’ passwords and how they would respond to them.
  • Richard Lovejoy, a director of the Opera Software subsidiary that operates FastMail, said he doesn’t recall receiving any such requests but that the company still has a relatively small number of users compared with its larger rivals. Because of that, he said, “we don’t get a high volume” of U.S. government demands.
  • The FBI declined to comment.
  • Some details remain unclear, including when the requests began and whether the government demands are always targeted at individuals or seek entire password database dumps. The Patriot Act has been used to demand entire database dumps of phone call logs, and critics have suggested its use is broader. “The authority of the government is essentially limitless” under that law, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence committee, said at a Washington event this week.
  • Large Internet companies have resisted the government’s requests by arguing that “you don’t have the right to operate the account as a person,” according to a person familiar with the issue. “I don’t know what happens when the government goes to smaller providers and demands user passwords,” the person said.
  • An attorney who represents Internet companies said he has not fielded government password requests, but “we’ve certainly had reset requests — if you have the device in your possession, than a password reset is the easier way.”
  • Even if “the NSA is asking for access to hashed bcrypt passwords,” Mazières said, “that doesn’t necessarily mean they are cracking them.” Easier approaches, he said, include an order to extract them from the server or network when the user logs in — which has been done before – or installing a keylogger at the client.
  • “If you can figure out someone’s password, you have the ability to reuse the account,” which raises significant privacy concerns, said Seth Schoen, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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7.25.13 – BofA Intends to Shed 20 Branches

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Looks like BofA is raising capital to strengthen in financials, do they know something is coming??[/stextbox]

  • Bank of America Corporation (BAC) recently announced the decision to sell its branches to Berkshire Bank – a subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. (BHLB) – and Community Bank System Inc. (CBU). BofA plans to dispose its branches situated in both New York markets and northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • The company is planning to divest 20 New York market branches to Berkshire Bank (BERK). These branches have total deposits of around $640 million and total loans worth about $5 million.
  • Moreover, Berkshire Bank plans to retain the employees of the acquired branches. BofA is selling its branches for $14.4 million, representing a deposit premium of 2.25% on the collective total deposits.
  • The acquisition of BofA’s branches by Berkshire Bank is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014. Moreover, the deal is subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
  • Apart from this, BofA plans to sell 8 northeastern Pennsylvania branches to Community Bank at a 2.39% premium for about $369.0 million in deposits. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory review and approval.
  • Last week, BofA agreed to sell 51 branches situated in Eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon and New Mexico to Washington Federal Inc. (WAFD). The branches represent total deposits of about $1.8 billion and total loans of about $11 million.
  • This transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013. Moreover, the deal is subject to regulatory approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
  • Over the past few years, BofA has been selling its branches and shuttering operations in an attempt to simplify its structure and strengthen its financials. Moreover, BofA’s effort to dispose branches is expected to reduce its employee base, thereby lessening its expenses.

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7.25.13 – Have Rich Parents? Here Is How Much You Will Inherit

  • Parents old and rich? Eying that new Veyron as the stock market lifts your family wealth to all-time heights? Don’t get carried away quite yet! As estates rise in size, most families give a greater percentage to charity rather than their heirs. As JPMorgan’s CIO, Michael Cembalest notes, taxes as a % of the estate disposition remain roughly constant for estates greater than $5 million. What this suggests: wealthy families have in mind a baseline level of support for their heirs, and once it is met, they channel more assets to charities.

  • On the bright side, bequests (parental transfers to children through their estates) are generally divided equally by child, irrespective of the child’s income, proximity to parents or behavioral differences vs. siblings (i.e. a suck up or drug-taking outcast). Various studies estimate that the “equal treatment of siblings” approach applies to 88%-92% of all estates.

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7.25.13 * Goldman And JPMorgan Probed Over Metals Warehouse Manipulations

  • Following our initial uncovering of the manipulation and monopolization of the metals warehousing business two years ago, the last few days have seen the public’s attention grabbed by the reality of what the banks are actually doing. Following this week’s hearing, as the Fed reconsiders banks roles in non-banking businesses (and the ‘societal benefit’), it seems the CFTC has woken up. As the WSJ reports, the Department of Justice has opened an initial probe into the metals warehousing industry and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has also sent letters to some firms telling them to preserve documents, in what is likely the beginning stages of an investigation.
  • Via WSJ,
  • The probe comes amid growing concern in Washington over banks’ ownership of metals warehouses and other commodity assets.
  • Banks that trade physical commodities have come under attack by government officials, companies and consumer groups, who worry about the ability of the financial sector to exert influence over markets for raw materials.
  • Mr. Brown held a hearing on the subject this week at which some company officials alleged banks are deliberately creating shortages of aluminum and other raw materials for financial gain.
  • The Federal Reserve has said it is reconsidering the permission it granted to banks over the past decade to participate in physical commodity markets. The permission expires later this year.

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7.25.13 – Bottom Feeding: The latest Chinese investment craze, downtown Detroit housing

  • Downtown Detroit has long been one of the nation’s worst housing markets. Home values have plummeted. Vacancies abound. And foreclosure numbers are through the roof. Not that that’s surprising; who’d want to live in a neighborhood with soaring unemployment and the highest rate of violent crime in the US?
  • The bad news for Detroiters is that the city’s bankruptcy will likely only deepen the decay of its downtown housing market.
  • That might deter most prospective home buyers. But some look at Detroit’s hard times and see profit.
  • Specifically, bargain-hunting Chinese investors. Since the bankruptcy was announced, Caroline Chen, a real estate broker in Troy, Michigan, says she’s received “tons of calls” from people in mainland China.
  • “I have people calling and saying, ‘I’m serious—I wanna buy 100, 200 properties,’” she tells Quartz, noting that one of her colleagues recently sold 30 properties to a Chinese buyer. “They say ‘We don’t need to see them. Just pick the good ones.’”
  • China has the most expensive housing on the planet. Plus, capital controls make it difficult to invest large sums in overseas stocks or property. That’s why when a CCTV broadcast aired in March—after the emergency takeover was announced—saying that for the price of a pair of leather shoes, you could buy two Detroit houses, Chinese investors got excited.
  • $39 for this three-bed, two-bath at 8234 Normile St.Realtor.com
  • Millions commented on the CCTV post about Detroit on Sina Weibo. As one user put it, “Seven-hundred thousand people, quiet, clean air, no pollution, democracy — what are you waiting for?”
  • This wasn’t just talk. Wei Kefei, an organizer of a Beijing property fair, told the Global Times in March that deals were picking up. ”Some people did rush to buy houses in Detroit, betting on the US economic recovery, which they believe will boost development in the auto industry,” he said. A Mandarin-speaking Detroit broker reported getting 3am phone calls from interested investors (link in Chinese). Detroit mania was enough that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned citizens about investing risks (link in Chinese). And it had a point; there are slews of hidden costs that buyers take on..
  • Though Chinese realtors had planned tours of the area in late spring, those were cancelled when most investors didn’t receive visas, says Chen. Therefore, many Detroit home purchases by Chinese investors are sight unseen. “It’s like buying the lotto,” says Chen, explaining that mainland investors see the chance the property will appreciate as worth the dirt-cheap price. “But I’ve been in the Detroit area for 35 years. 35 years ago downtown Detroit was like this, and it’s not getting better.”
  • That becomes more apparent to those who do visit. Chen says that Chinese investors sometimes pick up and fly to Detroit without notice and call her to say, “Hey, I’m at the airport.” Because Chen is unwilling to risk her safety for a $3 commission on a home sale, she recommends that they hire a taxi to drive them through downtown Detroit. So far, most haven’t called her back. “Once they see the scary area, they give up,” she says.

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7.25.13 – Florida airport evacuated after depleted uranium discovered

[stextbox id=”x22report”]From the news station in Florida the airport was Opa-Locka Airport and the container the uranium was in became unsealed, nobody know how. What was it doing their in the first place?  The story is very vague[/stextbox]

  • Portions of an airport in Miami, Florida were evacuated after depleted uranium was discovered early Thursday.
  • Firefighters cleared a 150-foot area of the Opa-locka Executive Airport in south Florida after a 55 gallon drum located either on or near part of a dismantled aircraft was discovered to be containing exposed, depleted uranium, NBC 6 South Florida reported.
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Arnold Piedrahita Jr tweeted that a haz-mat scene was dispatched to the scene to assess the severity of the situation and monitor the levels of radiation.
  • he rescue team later reduced the size of the impacted “hotzone” to just a five-foot perimiter and declared that the depleted uranium posed minimal to no hazard.
  • Opa-locka is a reliever airport which serves as a secondary landing field for aircraft normally going in and out of the larger Miami International Airport. It also is a hub used by the United States Coast Guard for air and sea rescue stations.
  • Depleted uranium is a radioactive product used in military munitions and fission bombs, and is regulated by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Earlier this week, RT reported that the US military’s use of depleted uranium during the war in Iraq has led to a sharp increase in cases of Leukemia and birth defects, according to some local doctors.
  • “After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf. The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases. We believe it’s because of the’ illegal’ weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans. When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu,” Dr. Sundus Nsaif told RT.
  • According to a local NBC affiliate, officials at Opa-locka say there are no reported injuries.
  • The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department has asked the US Environmental Protection Agency for assistance.

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7.25.13 – What’s Up With Inflation?

  • Purchasing power and exposure to real costs are more realistic measures of inflation than the consumer price index.
  • That the official rate of inflation doesn’t reflect reality is easily intuited by anyone paying college tuition and healthcare out of pocket. The debate over the accuracy of the official consumer price index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE–the so-called core rate of inflation) has raged for years, with no resolution in sight.
  • The CPI calculates inflation based on the prices of a basket of goods and services that are adjusted by hedonics, i.e. improvements that are not reflected in the price of the goods. Housing costs are largely calculated on equivalent rent, i.e. what homeowners reckon they would pay if they were renting their house.
  • The CPI attempts to measure the relative weight of each component:

  • Many argue that these weightings skew the CPI lower, as do hedonic adjustments. The motivation for this skew is transparent: since the government increases Social Security benefits and Federal employees’ pay annually to keep up with inflation (the cost of living allowance or COLA), a low rate of inflation keeps these increases modest.
  • Over time, an artificially low CPI/COLA lowers government expenditures (and deficits, provided tax revenues rise at rates above official inflation).
  • Those claiming the weighting is accurate face a blizzard of legitimate questions. For example, if healthcare is 18% of the U.S. GDP, i.e. 18 cents of every dollar goes to healthcare, then how can a mere 7% wedge of the CPI devoted to healthcare be remotely accurate?
  • Those claiming that the CPI is more or less accurate point to the inflation rate posted by The Billion Prices Project @MIT as real-world evidence. The Billion Prices Project collects real-world prices from online retailers for thousands of goods. The Project’s rate of annual inflation closely tracks the official CPI, though recently it has diverged, climbing above 2.5% annually while the CPI is below 1.5%.
  • The fatal flaw in The Billion Prices Project is that it does not track the real-world cost of big-ticket services such as healthcare or tuition that dominate household budgets for those who have to pay for these services.
  • Those claiming the CPI grossly underestimates inflation often compare the current CPI with the CPI methodology of the 1980s. Using the old methodology, inflation is more like 9% rather than 1.5%.
  • Critics of this comparison claim the old methodologies were flawed and the new method is statistically superior.
  • Another way to track inflation is via households’ actual spending as reflected in their budgets. Intuit collects anonymous spending data from 2 million users of Mint.com and posts the results: Presenting Inflation… the rise in expenses 2011 – 2013 (Zero Hedge). This data suggests the cost of daycare, healthcare insurance, kids’ activities and tuition have skyrocketed in the past few years, making a mockery of the official annual inflation rate of 1.5% to 2%.
  • Chartist Doug Short recently published this graph plotting college tuition, medical care and the cost of a new car. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator, $1 in 1980 = $2.83 in 2013. For example, the average cost of a new car in 1980 was $7,200, so the inflation-adjusted price in 2013 would be $20,376. The actual average price today is around $31,000, so after adjusting for inflation the current average price of a new car is higher than in 1980.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.25.13 – China’s Yuan Set To Become Global Reserve Currency With Gold Backing?

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The question is will the US/central bankers let this happen, NO WAY!!.  They rather go to war than lose the reserve currency to China and this is exactly what they will do. Why do you think the US is continually reporting that Cyber Attacks are coming from China, this is to prepare for the doomsday event which is the Cyber Attack. As the US has stated a Cyber Attack is an act of war, it is a cyber pearl harbor.[/stextbox]

  • Today’s AM fix was USD 1,312.00, EUR 994.92 and GBP 857.63 per ounce.
  • Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,340.00, EUR 1,012.31 and GBP 872.40 per ounce.
  • Gold fell $22.50 or 1.68% yesterday and closed at $1,319.90/oz.
  • Silver slid $0.30 or 1.47% and closed at $20.16.
  • Gold is trading down after falling nearly 2% yesterday after challenging resistance at $1,350/oz.
  • Resistance is at $1,350/oz and $1,400/oz and the first level of support is at $1,300/oz which may be tested today. Below that support is at $1,200/oz and the recent multi year low on June 28 at $1,180/oz.
  • Some positive economic data from the U.S. and the EU was cited as a reason for the move lower but the data was mixed and all the data is suggesting that major economies are very vulnerable to recessions which will support gold.
  • Goldman Sachs is leaving its estimate of $1,413/oz for gold this year unchanged as they do not see sharp reductions in the U.S. Fed’s stimulus program.
  • Newcrest Mining, the world’s number three producer, is forecasting no changes in its gold output from last year but said it has to cut operating costs.
  • Major gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd reported a net loss on Wednesday, hurt in part by a maintenance shutdown, and said it was “reviewing all aspects” of its business in light of the recent drop in gold prices.
  • The gold industry and people in India are braced for a fall in supply and higher premiums ahead of festivals. The Indian Central Bank’s steps to restrict imports are expected to cut supplies for domestic consumption which is leading to huge black market activity and importation.
  • There have been numerous reports in recent days of Indians being arrested in airports carrying gold coins and bars.
  • Recent media reports in China and Russia suggest that China is continuing to consider backing the yuan with gold. Since 2005, we have said that such a move by China was likely as China seeks to become a superpower and lessen and undermine U.S political dominance. We have in the past discussed the possibility of the Chinese pegging their currency to gold bullion.
  • According to media reports, the People’s Bank of China is considering phasing out the dollar as the reference currency or peg for the yuan, and to start using gold as the reference point.
  • The reports have not been confirmed officially, but there has been official comments to that effect in recent years and Chinese academics have advocated backing the renminbi or yuan with gold.
  • Beijing’s possible move to back the yuan with gold would be a strategic move in order to, lessen the risk of inflation, increase the yuan’s attractiveness as an investment medium and create faith in the yuan as a reserve currency.
  • Besides being an important financial and geopolitical move it would also be a symbolic act intended to show the U.S. and the world that they are capable of taking the risks associated with a departure from the dollar standard.
  • It would be a strategic gamble and while it would cause much short term economic pain for China and indeed the world – it could lead to long term benefits. The Chinese tend to think long term rather than quarter to quarter.
  • The move could in time lead to more stable long term economic growth rather than the boom and bust cycles of recent years.
  • The Chinese authorities have been pushing for a more international role for their currency and as an alternate reserve currency to the embattled dollar and euro. Indeed the Bundesbank recently admitted that the yuan was becoming a global reserve currency.
  • With gold now traded in yuan, it appears to be only a matter of time before oil is traded in yuan thereby positioning the yuan as ‘petro yuan’ and a rival to the petrodollar as the global reserve currency.

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7.25.13 – DR Horton On The Real Impact Of Soaring Rates: “Shocked Homebuyers”

  • Homebuilder stocks are down 4% on the week (and -6.3% from the FOMC) as D.R.Horton’s CEO dares to utter some ugly truths on his earnings call. Despite any and every talking-heads reassurance that rising mortgage rates won’t impact the awesomeness of the housing recovery, it seems the actual homebuilders have a different view:
  • *HOMEBUYERS ‘SHOCKED AND DISTURBED’ BY RATE JUMP, TOMNITZ SAYS
  • *D.R. HORTON CEO SAYS ‘DISAPPOINTED’ RATES ROSE SO ‘VIOLENTLY’
  • *D.R. HORTON CEO SAYS TRAFFIC COUNT HAS SLOWED SINCE RATE RISE
  • What? No? Un-Possible. With home prices collapsing (despite headlines trying their best to proclaim victory), it seems the fragile ‘recovery’ in an inventory-less housing market is about to pop once again (as we note, mortgage rates have not tracked lower as Treasuries un-Tapered).

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7.25.13 – About That US Recession…

  • Whenever the annual change in core capex, also known as Non-Defense Capital Goods excluding Aircraft shipments goes negative, the US has traditionally entered a recession. Where is this number now: +0.8%, and declining fast. Feeling lucky?
  • Of course, in no other previous recession, was the US Fed holding $3.5 trillion in securities and increasing at a pace of $85 billion per month.

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7.25.13 – Amash Amendment Defeated: The Phone Records of Americans Shall Continue to be Collected by the NSA

[stextbox id=”x22report”]As you can see the 4th Amendment means nothing anymore. The government is removing and changing the bill rights right in front of everyone’s eyes and they don’t event know it. Take a look , scroll down to the amendment section.[/stextbox]

  • The House has defeated a Justin Amasah amendment that would have drastically curbed a national-security program that collects the phone records of millions of Americans, after a tense debate.
  • The Obama administration and House Speaker John Boehner joined forces to reject the amendment to a defense spending bill, 217-205. Boehner, who as speaker rarely votes on the House floor, opposed it as did House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, according to CNN.
  • Michele Bachmann voted with Boehner and Pelosi.
  • The defense spending bill now moves to the Senate. But in the Senate, there is little support for making major changes to the NSA program.

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]President said, “However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process. We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation.”[/stextbox]

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7.25.13 – Pacifist Japan no more? Tokyo to consider pre-emptive strike strategy

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The war is escalating, countries are preparing themselves for war. The war needs to be started to cover the economic collapse. Japan can no longer be a pacifist, they need to be ready and put plans into action before the war is started, the US is not saying a word about this because they know war is coming and Japan is part of the western central banking structure.[/stextbox]

  • An interim report to be discussed by PM Shinzo Abe’s government suggests that a fundamental change in Japan’s military defense doctrine may be coming: a pre-emptive strike strategy against potential aggressors.
  • Abe’s government is revising its defense policies, with an interim report due on Friday, while the final conclusions on the matter will be made by the end of 2013. The study explores the ways to “strengthen the ability to deter and respond to ballistic missiles,” Japanese media revealed on Thursday.
  • However, the report prepared by Japan’s Defense Ministry reportedly does not mention by what measures would be taken against foreign military bases if a threat became imminent.
  • At the same time Tokyo confirms it has no intentions of becoming a nuclear power – despite the fact that its major potential adversary, China, has been one for decades, possessing a fully-fledged nuclear triad, while nearby North Korea has been demonstrating nuclear ambitions since at least 2007.
  • “The acquisition of offensive capability would be a fundamental change in our defense policy, a kind of philosophical change,” a professor at the National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies, Marushige Michishita, told Reuters. The scholar stressed though that such an undertaking would be expensive and time-consuming, because “It’s easier said than done.”
  • Experts say that to get the pre-emptive strike ability may require Japan to develop intercontinental and cruise missiles along with a more powerful Air Force.
  • “It would cost lots of money, and take time, training and education to acquire a robust and meaningful capability,” Michishita concluded.
  • The Japanese leadership is moving further away from the pacifist constitution imposed on Tokyo by the American occupation administration over half a century ago. The last time Tokyo updated its National Defense Program Guidelines was in 2010, with the Democratic Party being in power.
  • The US-drafted Article 9 of the Japanese constitution prohibits the very possibility for Japan to wage war and have its own modern army. Despite that, today Japan boasts one of the best armies in Asia.
  • Japanese servicemen have vast real warfare experience, having taken part in all of the conflicts started by the US in the past two decades. Japanese peacekeepers are also actively participating in the UN missions in Africa and Asia.
  • To take part in international projects, Japan has already had to ease its self-imposed ban on weapons exports. Now the leaders of Japanese military industrial complex, giants like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, await clear guidelines for the promotion of their military business overseas.
  • Because Japan has been stretching the limits of Article 9 for decades, some say the change is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. And since there have been no negative remarks on Japan’s military development coming from Washington, it could mean that Abe’s team is transforming nation’s military in a direction not incompatible with the US.
  • The potential threats Japan might face at the moment come from the Asian continent.
  • China not only has world’s largest army, but has been dramatically modernizing its military forces over the last decade. Pyongyang is an old adversary of Washington, rivaling American dominance in the Pacific. As for Japan, it has territorial disputes over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese tradition) with China, meaning that Washington’s and Tokyo’s interests coincide.
  • On the other hand North Korea, that strives to achieve a nuclear power status, has been openly threatening Tokyo with destroying US military bases on Japanese territory.
  • To deal specifically with territorial disputes at remote islands, Japan reportedly plans to establish a Marines task force. Purchase of unmanned surveillance drones is also planned to monitor the country’s maritime borders.

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7.25.13 – Netanyahu rehashes false claims about Iran’s nuclear energy program

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

Its been around 21+ years that Iran has been building this nuclear bomb. So the BS coming out of Netanyahu is the same BS that has been used for 21+ years. They are really ramping up this war, they really, really, really need to get it started and something is going to happen soon. So why does Israel and the US want to get into Iran so badly.  No central bank and the US dollar is not the reserve currency. The US government and the central bankers are losing the battle of keeping the US as the reserve currency around the world. Many countries are not using it and are trading directly with China, Russia and other countries in other currencies

1992: Leaked copy of the Pentagon’s “Defense Strategy for the 1990s” makes little reference to Iran, despite laying out seven scenarios for potential future conflict that stretch from Iraq to North Korea.

1995: The New York Times conveys the fears of senior US and Israeli officials that “Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought” – about five years away – and that Iran’s nuclear bomb is “at the top of the list” of dangers in the coming decade. The report speaks of an “acceleration of the Iranian nuclear program,” claims that Iran “began an intensive campaign to develop and acquire nuclear weapons” in 1987, and says Iran was “believed” to have recruited scientists from the former Soviet Union and Pakistan to advise them.

1997: The Christian Science Monitor reports that US pressure on Iran’s nuclear suppliers had “forced Iran to adjust its suspected timetable for a bomb. Experts now say Iran is unlikely to acquire nuclear weapons for eight or 10 years.”

1998: The New York Times said that Israel was less safe as a result of the launch even though Israel alone in the Middle East possessed both nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles to drop them anywhere. “The major reaction to this is going to be from Israel, and we have to worry what action the Israelis will take,” the Times quoted a former intelligence official as saying. An unidentified expert said: “This test shows Iran is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, because no one builds an 800-mile missile to deliver conventional warheads.”

1998: The same week, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reports to Congress that Iran could build an intercontinental ballistic missile – one that could hit the US – within five years. The CIA gave a timeframe of 12 years.

2002: CIA warns that the danger from nuclear-tipped missiles, especially from Iran and North Korea, is higher than during the cold war. Robert Walpole, then a top CIA officer for strategic and nuclear programs, tells a Senate panel that Iran’s missile capability had grown more quickly than expected in the previous two years – putting it on par with North Korea. The threat “will continue to grow as the capabilities of potential adversaries mature,” he says.

2002: President George W. Bush labels Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” along with Iraq and North Korea.

2004: Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell tells reporters that Iran had been working on technology to fit a nuclear warhead onto a missile. “We are talking about information that says they not only have [the] missiles but information that suggests they are working hard about how to put the two together,” he said.

2005: US presents 1,000 pages of designs and other documentation allegedly retrieved from a computer laptop in Iran the previous year, which are said to detail high-explosives testing and a nuclear-capable missile warhead. The “alleged studies,” as they have since been called, are dismissed by Iran as forgeries by hostile intelligence services.

2006: The drums of war beat faster after the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh quotes US sources saying that a strike on Iran is all but inevitable, and that there are plans to use tactical nuclear weapons against buried Iranian facilities.

2007: President Bush warns that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III.” Vice President Dick Cheney had previously warned of “serious consequences” if Iran did not give up its nuclear program.

2007: A month later, an unclassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran is released, which controversially judges with “high confidence” that Iran had given up its nuclear weapons effort in fall 2003.

The report, meant to codify the received wisdom of America’s 16 spy agencies, turns decades of Washington assumptions upside down. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls the report a “victory for the Iranian nation.” An Iranian newspaper editor in Tehran tells the Monitor, “The conservatives … feel the chance of war against them is gone.”

June 2008: Then-US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton predicts that Israel will attack Iran before January 2009, taking advantage of a window before the next US president came to office.

May 2009: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee reports states: “There is no sign that Iran’s leaders have ordered up a bomb.”

2010: US officials note that Iran’s nuclear program has been slowed by four sets of UN Security Council sanctions and a host of US and EU measures. The Stuxnet computer virus also played havoc through 2011 with Iran’s thousands of spinning centrifuges that enrich uranium.

January 2011: When Meir Dagan steps down as director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, he says that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon until 2015. “Israel should not hasten to attack Iran, doing so only when the sword is upon its neck,” Mr. Dagan warned. Later he said that attacking Iran would be “a stupid idea…. The regional challenge that Israel would face would be impossible.”

January 2011: A report by the Federation of American Scientists on Iran’s uranium enrichment says there is “no question” that Tehran already has the technical capability to produce a “crude” nuclear device.

February 2011: National intelligence director James Clapper affirms in testimony before Congress that “Iran is keeping the option open to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities and better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so,” Mr. Clapper said. “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

November 2011: The IAEA claims for the first time that Iran is has worked on weapons-related activities for years, publishing detailed information based on more than 1,000 pages of design information that is corroborated, it says, by data from 10 member states and its own investigation and interviews.

[/stextbox]

 

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rehashed his unfounded claims about Iran’s nuclear energy program, urging greater pressure on the Islamic Republic.
  • In a meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday, Netanyahu once again baselessly accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, alleging that the Islamic Republic posed a threat to Israel and the world.
  • “I think we need to increase the pressure on Iran,” Netanyahu said, claiming Tehran will ‘change its nuclear policy’ only if it comes under mounting pressure.
  • The US, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly charged that Iran may intend to acquire nuclear-weapons capability in the future.
  • Over the false allegation, Washington and the European Union have imposed a series of illegal unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s oil and financial sectors. The bans come on top of four rounds of US-instigated UN Security Council sanctions against Iran under the same pretext.
  • Iran rejects the allegation over its nuclear energy program and argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
  • Meanwhile, numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the IAEA have yielded no evidence that the Iranian nuclear energy program has been diverted toward non-civilian purposes.
  • This is while the Israeli regime is a non-signatory to the NPT and continues to defy international calls to join the treaty.
  • Israel, which is widely believed to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads, maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity over its nuclear weapons work.

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7.25.13 – Ten reasons why Egypt is vital to US economy and security

  •  Whatever the reasons the US public is less excited about Egypt’s ongoing revolution, the country is in fact important to the US.
  • A Pew poll shows that far fewer Americans are following events in Egypt closely now than in January-February 2011. Actually, about the same percentage are following it “fairly closely” as then (a quarter now versus 31% in 2011). The big fall-off is in people following events on the Nile “very closely,” which are only 15% nowadays. I think this outcome in part derives from corporate news executives’ calculation that there was far more advertising money to be made from the Zimmerman trial than from events in Cairo, which are much more expensive and much more difficult to cover.
  • I can’t explain why, but my own experience is that the three cable news channels, along with the networks, somehow set the American public’s news agenda. The viewership for cable news in any one hour is relatively small, but people must talk about it over the water cooler or something. Of course, my observation is anecdotal, but as a prominent blogger I do have ways of telling when a subject is popular. But another consideration is that the events in Egypt began the week of the Fourth of July, and a lot of Americans were on vacation then, and went on vacation after. Students are very interested in news nowadays, but are less so in the middle of the summer when they are off and sometimes traveling.
  • Whatever the reasons the US public is less excited about Egypt’s ongoing revolution at the moment, the country is in fact important to the US. Even if we want to put aside sentimental considerations (we should care about the fate of 83 million kindred human beings), there are realist reasons for which Egypt matters. Just on the security side, it is baffling that so many Americans are uninterested in Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency spying on millions of Americans, because they say that the security thus gained is “worth it”. But what happens in Egypt affects US security, so it is part of the thing for which they are willing to just toss away the Bill of Rights. Shouldn’t they be more interested in security-related developments if they are going to use them as a pretext to give up our key constitutional liberties? In any case, here are some material reasons for which Egypt is important to every American, beyond the humanist and humanitarian ones that should be foremost:
  • 1. How many bargains you get when shopping depends on Egypt’s Suez Canal being open for business. Between 8% and 12% of all international trade goes through Egypt’s Suez Canal, which cuts thousands of miles off ship journeys from Asia to Europe and to the North American East Coast. We can call it 10% of world trade on a rolling average (trade is still down after the 2008 crash). But note that if the Suez Canal were to be closed by the country’s turbulence, it wouldn’t just affect that ten percent– the impact on prices of many commodities would be across the board.
  • 2. The price of your smart phone and tablet are dependent on Egypt. Some 22% of the world’s container traffic goes through the Suez Canal, which can handle larger ships at lower tolls than the Panama Canal, at least for the next few years. Containers are those huge boxes in which goods are packed compactly, allowing one ship to carry many tons of them. Your iPhones and tablets, made mostly in Asia, would be much more expensive without the Suez Canal.
  • 3. Although Egypt is not a big exporter of fuels, a lot of oil and gas comes through the canal or through pipelines across Egypt. Even without interruptions, the instability in Egypt will likely put gasoline prices up around 30 cents a gallon for the rest of the summer, just on speculation. Over 2m barrels a day of petroleum goes either through the Suez Canal or through pipelines across Egypt, destined for the European and American markets. (Despite what the right wing tells you, the US imports 40% of its oil daily, and there is no prospect of it being oil independent anytime soon unless we go to electric cars powered by wind and solar). Likewise, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipments through the canal have increased 8-fold since 2008 and as the US Energy Information Agency notes: “Countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Italy received over 80 percent their total LNG imports via the Suez Canal in 2010, while Turkey, France, and the United States had about a quarter of their LNG imports transited through the Canal.” Moreover, those businessmen who want to export fracked natural gas from the US to, e.g. India, need it to go through the Suez Canal. If the canal were closed by political instability or the pipelines were blown up by guerrillas, the impact on energy and fuel prices in the United States would not be trivial.
  • 4. The fate of democracy in Egypt, which is admittedly a wounded bird nowadays, will not only affect its own future. Egypt is an opinion leader for much of the Arab world, and its form of government has often been influential for regional governments such as Libya and Syria. Mediterranean and European security i.e. that of NATO allies of the US, is deeply wrought up with the Middle East and hence depends partly on what happens in Egypt.
  • 5. What happens in Egypt is important to Americans because it deeply affects the several hundred thousand Egyptian-Americans and the millions of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans.
  • 6. The Egyptian military provides a security umbrella to much of the Arab world, including to the small countries of the Oil Gulf and of the Arabian Peninsula along the Red Sea. The Middle East has 65% of the world’s known petroleum reserves, and produces about 30% of the world’s oil. Although it is true that the US in particular gets only about 20% of its petroleum imports from the Old World, energy markets are tightly interconnected and US security depends on inexpensive Middle Eastern gas and petroleum. If Egypt becomes unstable and its instability is catching, American access to fuel and energy will be affected, as will that of many close American allies.
  • 7. If devotees of political Islam give up on democracy because their president, Mohamad Morsi, was deposed in Egypt and if they turn instead to violent politics (i.e. terrorism), that change would certainly have a huge impact on security in the United States.
  • 8. Some 45% of Egypt is made up of youth under the age of 30, and Egyptians account for about a fourth of all Arabs. Egypt is central to the Arab world, and if its youth give up their attachment to democracy, it would be a significant loss to US and Egyptian security.
  • 9. Turkey is a NATO ally of the US, and its center-right, Muslim-leaning government, has been extremely upset about the coup against their friend Morsi. Turkish foreign policy in the Arab world was almost non-existent in 2000, but it is now substantial, along with trade flows. Turkey’s success as a regional power depends in part on improving relations with Egypt.
  • 10. Among the major American projects in the Middle East is ensuring the security of Israel. Over the long run, this effort seems to me likely to be futile, since Israel as it is presently configured faces severe demographic, political and military challenges, challenges it deepens and multiplies by its colonisation of the West Bank. In the short term, however, there is no country as crucial to the security of Israelis as Egypt.
  • John Donne said that no man is an island. Neither is any country in our globalised world, even the countries that are, geographically, islands. The US, with its $16tn a year economy dependent on global trade, is least island-like of all, and Egypt is a major country that is important to the trade, prosperity and security of the United States. We should care what happens there on humanistic grounds– nothing human should be alien to us. But we are fooling ourselves if we don’t at least care because our own fate is wrought up with that of the Egyptians.

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7.25.13 – NBC NEWS- Obama legalizes prison camps – New Regime!

[stextbox id=”x22report”]This is what they are planning for everyone when the collapse comes.This is why they are making their lists, this is why they are spying on everyone.[/stextbox]

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7.25.13 – DHS Pushes Finger Scan at Child Care Centers

  •  The Department of Human Services is going forth with its plan to install finger scans at child care centers. The program will start October 1st.
  • Officials say the finger scans will save money and protect tax dollars. Parents, who receive government assistance, will have to scan their finger when they drop off or pick up their child. Child care centers will receive federal vouchers based on attendance records.
  • Officials say parents and centers who wish to continue receiving government aid will have to register for the program within the next few weeks.

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7.24.13 – When Will The Economy Collapse?

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7.24.13 – MAX KEISER: “Deutsche Bank Is OFFICIALLY On SUICIDE WATCH….WILL Be The NEXT LEHMAN that Triggers COLLAPSE”

  • My Geneva fund contact: Deutsche Bank is officially on suicide watch. DB will be the next ‘Lehman’ moment that triggers new collapse..
  • Deutsche Bank Opaque Loans From Brazil to Italy Hide Risk
  • Deutsche Bank’s Accounting Raises Questions
  • ….In other words, these ‘secured’ loans are not really secured, unless one considers what is effectively a short position on the bonds that were provided as collateral to represent adequate security. In addition, DB apparently ‘spiced’ the deals up by writing credit default swaps, exposing it to even more credit risk.
  • As Bloomberg further reports, this isn’t the first time DB has obscured its true financial position by means of accounting practices that are not necessarily illegal, but certainly raise questions about how to properly evaluate the risks the bank is exposed to.
  • Meanwhile, the banks that have received the loans in question were able to continue to report ownership of the bonds DB has sold, allowing them to misrepresent their own financial health as well…..
  • ….
  • Banking insider: Deutsche Bank in danger zone and will go belly up
  • Deutsche Bank. Big bank. Biggest bank in Germany, and one of the biggest banks in the Euro Zone… they’re going to go belly up. Watch it. Watch it, I said it, it’s going to happen.
  • They are in such a danger zone, they don’t know what to do. Deutsche Bank’s derivative debt is greater than the global economy. That is one bank. $72 trillion in derivative exposure. The entire global economy, all the countries in the world is only $66 trillion GDP.
  • JIM WILLIE: BREAKDOWN SIGNALS: CONTAGION LOOMS!
  • WE’RE ALWAYS ON THE VERGE OF ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS: 3 MAJOR BANKS ARE UNDER CONSTANT THREAT OF FAILURE OVERNIGHT, EVERY NIGHT
  • Exclusive: Deutsche Bank ‘horribly undercapitalized’ – U.S. regulator!!!
  • Moments ago the market jeered the announcement of DB’s 10% equity dilution, promptly followed by cheering its early earnings announcement which was a “beat” on the topline, despite some weakness in sales and trading and an increase in bad debt provisions (which at €354MM on total loans of €399.9 BN net of a tiny €4.863 BN in loan loss allowance will have to go higher. Much higher). Ironically both events are complete noise in the grand scheme of things. Because something far more interesting can be found on page 87 of the company’s 2012 financial report.
  • The thing in question is the company’s self-reported total gross notional derivative exposure.
  • And while the vast majority of readers may be left with the impression that JPMorgan’s mindboggling $69.5 trillion in gross notional derivative exposure as of Q4 2012 may be the largest in the world, they would be surprised to learn that that is not the case. In fact, the bank with the single largest derivative exposure is not located in the US at all, but in the heart of Europe, and its name, as some may have guessed by now, is Deutsche Bank.
  • The amount in question? €55,605,039,000,000. Which, converted into USD at the current EURUSD exchange rate amounts to $72,842,601,090,000…. Or roughly $2 trillion more than JPMorgan’s.

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7.24.13 – Obama Approval Tests Record Low; Majority Of Americans Would Vote Out Entire Congress

  • Just 45% of those surveyed in the NBC News-WSJ poll said they approved of the job the President was doing. This is a big drop from just a few months ago – even as stocks surge (and apparently so do jobs?). This is close to the lowest ever approval rating for a President proclaiming things are on the up. Congress is even worse – with its lowest approval rating on record – as bad as during the debt-ceiling debt debacle. What is most stunning is that a huge 57% of those surveyed would vote fopr a ballot measure to replace all members of Congress. As is clear from the charts below – people in the real economy do not care about the market (anymore) as it appears the link between Obama’s popularity and stocks broke in February 2013.
  • President Obama’s approval rating nears its record lows – even as the stock market surges…

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7.24.13 – Helicopter Training Wakes Up Chicago Twitterverse

[stextbox id=”x22report”]We are now seeing more and more military drills in cities, we have seen this in Miami, Houston, LA and Chicago, all performing drills in public areas and normally at night.[/stextbox]

  • Chicago is hosting routine military, low-range helicopter training exercises through Thursday, according to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
  • Cities across the nation are performing similar training exercises to ensure the military knows the proper protocol in urban areas, the OEMC said. Military service personnel are going through mandatory training to prepare for future overseas deployments.
  • Similar exercises were performed last year in Chicago.
  • Training exercises are not open to the public and are designed to limit the disruption of Chicago residents.

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7.24.13 – US stalling chances for peaceful solution to Syria crisis: Russia

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US/central bankers don’t want peace, they want Assad out and the US dollar as the reserve currency, plus they see this as a direct line to get into Iran. Without Syria and Iran agreeing to a central bank and having the US dollar as the reserve currency there is no peace. Actions speak louder than words.[/stextbox]

  • Russia has accused the United States of stalling chances of a peaceful solution to the ongoing Syria crisis by continuing to arm militants fighting against the government in Damascus.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Washington’s plan to arm militants operating in Syria would hinder joint efforts to organize an international peace conference the two countries agreed in May to hold on Syria.
  • “If our American partners are now focusing on arming the opposition and are sharing plans … to strike Syrian government positions, then this, of course, runs against agreements to hold a conference,” Reuters quoted Lavrov as saying in a press conference in Moscow.
  • Russia has repeatedly warned US, the European Union and their regional allies against the consequences of supplying more weapons to the militants in Syria, saying the move would only encourage the opposition to step up fighting instead of sitting down for talks.
  • “The activities aimed at providing weapons to the opposition, which have recently intensified, only mean that the precondition [set by the foreign-backed militants to restore a balance of power on the battlefield] is supported by the West and other countries which are going to supply such weapons, this contradicting the very concept of the conference, which is to begin without any preconditions,” Lavrov said on Friday.
  • Washington and Moscow are at odds over the Syrian crisis. While the US supports anti-Damascus militants seeking to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia remains a supporter of Assad.
  • Russia accuses the West of fuelling the Syrian conflict by calling for Assad’s ouster. In return, Washington says Moscow is not doing enough to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

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7.24.13 – About That PMI: Unemployed French Rise To New Record

 

  • French bonds are rallying; French stocks are rallying; French PMI is rising (though still below 50); so everything must be great in the Gallic nation. Despite a Brit having won the Tour de France for the 2nd year in a row, however, it seems the dismal reality on Main Street is that the number of unemployed French people has reached yet another all-time record high. As Les Echos noted previously, this casts even greater doubt on President Francois Hollande’s pledge to reverse a long-running rise in joblessness. As we have explained in great detail (here and here most recently) France’s economic fortunes remain depression-like and today’s Jobseeker data merely goes to confirm this.

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7.24.13 – Obama Delays Sale Of F-16 Fighter Jets To Egypt, Lockheed Martin Unhappy

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Looks like they don’t know who the new government will be.  They will only ship the planes if they government is controlled by the US/central bankers.[/stextbox]

  • Several days after Schrodinger’s Egyptian coup, which is both a particle and a wave, but certainly not a coup in the eyes of the Muslim Brotherhood-backing Obama administration, the Pentagon decided that it would go ahead and proceed with a previously planned sale of several F-16 fighter jets to the country, even though it was unclear just who the recipient would be: the revolutionary forces or the previous administration. Moments ago AP reported that this sale has now been “delayed” for reasons unknown.
  • The Obama administration says it is delaying a planned sale of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in light of the military overthrow that ousted Mohammed Morsi as president.
  • Pentagon press secretary George Little says President Barack Obama made the decision to hold up the sale.
  • Little said the administration has decided to proceed with an annual U.S.-Egyptian military exercise, called Bright Star.
  • Those seeking Obama’s reason for halting this transaction, however, will have to wait some more: Little was not specific about the reason for delaying the F-16 sale, beyond saying that it was deemed “prudent” in light of “the current situation.”
  • Another thing is quite clear though: the party paying for the purchase of the Lockheed Martin-made fighter jets, would be none other than the US of course. “Little said the delay applies only to the F-16 sale; the broader question of whether to suspend $1.3 billion in annual military assistance in response to the Egyptian military’s removal of the country’s Islamist president three weeks ago has not been settled.”
  • But with this issue unresolved, how will US private military contractors get paid by the US government for promote war in Egypt and other US “allies” abroad?

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7.24.13 – Bloomberg’s Anti-Gun Group Imploding as 50 Mayors Leave

  • Between the 50 mayors who have checked out of Hotel Bloomberg, some of whom were arrested, one for demanding gay sex at gunpoint, the number of people in the control freak mayor’s boutique anti-gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, run with pilfered city resources, is dropping.
  • Not helping matters was Bloomberg’s declaration of war on Southern Democrats and even gun-control Republicans who didn’t hew to his exacting standards. And so Napoleon IV is watching his little empire of attack ads coming apart.
  • New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is finding it hard to keep its membership up, thanks to dozens of resignations and lost elections over the last few months.
  • Worse for Bloomberg, who has become one of the faces of the gun control movement: the people replacing his lost comrades aren’t particularly eager to sign up with the organization, a rare group battling in the trenches against the well-organized and deep-pocketed National Rifle Association. Some appear not quite to have signed on for that level of political heat.
  • “The original focus, I thought, was going to be on focusing on better on enforcement of our existing laws, and if anything, we have talked about not getting involved with things like banning assault weapons and banning magazine clips,” said Rockford, Il. Mayor Lawrence Morrissey, who left the group in June because, he said at a town hall meeting, the group had veered from what he originally thought it was about.
  • The name Mayors Against Illegal Guns was quite misleading. Mayors Against Guns would have been more accurate. But the group’s fatal flaw was letting Bloomberg, an unpopular man even in his own city, become their public face.
  • According to an old version of its member list, saved on a blog dated back to late February, more than 50 mayors who were then listed on MAIG’s website are no longer there. Most of the mayors whose names are no longer affiliated with the group are off the list either because they resigned or lost an election, but others have specifically asked to be removed.
  • Meanwhile the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website, which is run using stolen city resources, hasn’t been updated since April. Not exactly promising for a group that promised to destroy the NRA and transform America.
  • The final message from the doomed group closes by stating. “In 2014, our ever-expanding coalition of supporters will work to make sure that voters don’t forget.”
  • It’s been two months.

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7.24.13 – EU bowed to US, Israel pressure on blacklisting Hezbollah: Syria envoy

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US government already staged a revolution and put the puppet regime in place. Now the people are speaking out and they want their country back. So the US has no alternative but to declare this second revolution and act of terror.[/stextbox]

  • The Syrian envoy to Iran says the EU has bowed to pressure from the US and the Israeli regime by blacklisting the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization.
  • Adnan Mahmoud said on Tuesday that the decision was part of a plot to target Syria.
  • Hezbollah members have been fighting alongside Syrian troops against foreign-backed Takfiri militants in Syria, defeating the extremist terrorist groups in different areas, including in the strategic town of Qusayr which was recaptured by the Syrian army in early June.
  • On June 22, the 27-nation bloc unanimously decided to put Hezbollah’s military wing on the EU blacklist.
  • Pointing to the ongoing crisis in the Arab state, Mahmoud said the enemies of Syria seek to wear out the country because Damascus is an essential link in the chain of resistance.
  • The Syrian envoy stated that the developments in Syria and regional revolutions must be differentiated because in the Syria unrest, the entire Syrian civil society as well as the resistance front has been targeted.
  • Mahmoud said Damascus has repeatedly voiced its readiness to participate in the upcoming Geneva 2 conference on Syria, adding that the opponents of this conference are the parties behind the crisis who have the blood of Syrians on their hands.
  • On May 7, Russia and the US agreed in Moscow to convene an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012. There are speculations that the conference might be held in September.
  • The unrest in Syria erupted in March 2011. The United Nations says at least 93,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the foreign-sponsored militancy against the Syrian government.

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7.24.13 – China unveils armed coast guard to manage ‘sea conflicts’

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Now all divisions of the coast guard can now be armed and they are integrated together. Preparing for war.[/stextbox]

  • China’s new unified coast guard agency has gone into operation, state media reported yesterday amid maritime disputes with its neighbours, and experts said more ships will be armed as a result.
  • The China Coast Guard integrates the functions of marine surveillance, the existing coast guard which came under the police, fisheries law enforcement and Customs’ anti-smuggling maritime police.
  • The divisions “that were not allowed to be equipped with weapons can be armed now”, Yang Mian, professor of international relations at the Communication University of China, was quoted as saying by the Global Times newspaper.
  • “The new agency will also make our law enforcement more powerful.”
  • The agency will “have reasonable and legal law enforcement equipment” and “detect and rapidly handle in accordance with the law acts that harm China’s maritime rights and interests”, Zhang Junshe, a military researcher, wrote in a commentary in the PLA Daily.
  • Tensions have been growing in Beijing’s island disputes with Tokyo and other neighbours.
  • Chinese surveillance ships have frequently approached disputed islands in the East China Sea, which Japan controls and knows as the Senkakus but China claims as the Diaoyus, after Tokyo nationalised some of them last September.
  • The Philippines and Vietnam have accused Beijing of aggressively asserting its extensive claims in the South China Sea, although tensions have abated slightly with Hanoi in recent weeks.
  • With an eye on the rows, the US has strengthened military co-operation with Japan and the Philippines – which are both treaty-bound allies – as well as with former war adversary Vietnam.
  • Zhang said the new agency will deal with conflicts in the disputed waters according to Chinese law.
  • That “will… show the international community that China has undisputable jurisdiction over the waters”, he said.
  • The China Coast Guard will have 11 squadrons and more than 16,000 personnel, according to various media reports.
  • Gary Li, an analyst with research firm IHS, said the fleet will give China “more stamina” for coast guard patrols in the disputed waters.
  • The move “will have significant impact on China’s territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas around the Senkaku/Diaoyu and the Spratly islands, respectively”, he wrote in a research note.
  • Arthur Ding, a Taipei-based researcher at the National Chengchi University, told AFP China’s patrols in the South and East China Seas were likely to become “more frequent and more forceful”.
  • “As it is named the coast guard, (its ships) are likely to be authorised to carry light weapons so that they can enforce the law,” he said.
  • “Clampdowns on so-called illegal acts are likely to increase, with frictions with neighbouring countries expected to rise.”
  • China’s maritime capabilities have increased in recent years, and it has equipped its units with bigger vessels with longer ranges, capable of staying on patrol near disputed areas for longer periods, he added.

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7.24.13 – Liberty Slipping: 10 Things You Could Do in 1975 That You Can’t Do Now

In 1975:

  • 1.You could buy an airline ticket and fly without ever showing an ID.
  • 2.You could buy cough syrup without showing an ID.
  • 3.You could buy and sell gold coins without showing an ID
  • 4.You could buy a gun without showing an ID
  • 5.You could pull as much cash out of your bank account without the bank filing a report with the government.
  • 6.You could get a job without having to prove you were an American.
  • 7.You could buy cigarettes without showing an ID
  • 8.You could have a phone conversation without the government knowing who you called and who called you.
  • 9. You could open a stock brokerage account without having to explain where the money came from.
  • 10. You could open a Swiss bank account with ease. All Swiss banks were willing and happy to open accounts for Americans.
  • There are thousands of other examples.The monitoring is in place all that is required from here is the clampdown.
  • The differences, between now and 1975 in the business sector are even more prevalent. In recent years, in industry after industry regulations and prohibitions have been poured on top of free markets. It doesn’t look like things will get any better in years to come. Eventually, the economy will suffocate and collapse, if this continues.

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7.24.13 – McDonalds sales fall in Europe and Asia as economic crisis bites

[stextbox id=”x22report”]With so many people out of work in Europe and many are underemployed people are less willing to go out to eat, even in a McDonalds.[/stextbox]

  • McDonalds warns global weakness means its clients have started saving on burgers. The fast-food chain posted disappointing results after years of double digit increase in profits each quarter.
  • The fast food giant delivered second quarter profits of $1.4bn on Monday – a 4% increase on the same period last year. It fell short of analysts’ forecasts marking a dramatic slowdown in growth. Revenues rose 2% to $7.1bn. That’s below the $7.9bn revenue expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
  • Although the company’s shares gained more than 13 per cent in the year to date, it has lagged behind the market and some of its competitors. Burger King shares have risen nearly 20%, while Wendy’s shares are up almost 22%, according to the FT. The company’s shares lost 3.5% on the back of the news.
  • McDonald’s chief executive Don Thompson says the economic crisis was biting into sales.
  • “The informal eating out market remains challenging and economic uncertainty is pressuring consumer spending,” the Telegraph quotes Thompson. “Based on recent sales trends, our results for the remainder of the year are expected to remain challenged.”
  • McDonald’s global sales increased by 1% for the 1st quarter, primarily due to the U.S. that accounts for a third of total sales. U.S. sales increased by 1%, Europe saw 0.1% fall, Asian sales decreased by 0.3%.
  • Growth is also slowing down in Russia, where the fast-food giant still posts double digit results business daily Vedomosti reports. Last year sales of its two Russian subsidiaries, LLC McDonald’s and CJSC Moscow-McDonald’s increased by 19.6% to 55.4 billion rubles, while the year before – they were up 24.8% (year on year), according to SPARK data.
  • Mcdonalds is well ahead of its fast-food competitors in Russia with the market share of 19.3%
  • Vedomosti quotes Euromonitor International. However the competition is increasing : Burger King market share has risen to 3.1% in 2012 from 1.5% in 2011. Subway takes up to 2,7%. Euromonitor estimates the Russian fast-food market at $9.4bn last year, Vedomosti reports.
  • This year McDonald’s will open fewer restaurants than planned and reduce capital expenditure, Vedomosti quotes Thompson. Responding to the “headwinds of the world economy” McDonald’s has tries to attract customers through cheaper deals on the menu and promoting combined dinners in Europe, the FT reports.

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7.24.13 – Borrowers in Obama housing program re-defaulting

  • 306,000 borrowers have re-defaulted on their loans, SIGTARP says
  • Borrowers who received help through the government’s main foreclosure prevention program are re-defaulting on their mortgages at alarming rates, a federal watchdog said in a report released Wednesday.
  • Nearly 1.2 million mortgage modifications have been completed since the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was first launched four years ago. Yet more than 306,000 borrowers have re-defaulted on their loans and more than 88,000 are at risk of following suit, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) found in its quarterly report to Congress.
  • In addition, the watchdog found that the longer a homeowner stays in the HAMP modification program, the more likely they are to default. Those who have been in the program since 2009, are re-defaulting at a rate of 46%, the inspector general found.
  • HAMP, which was launched by the Treasury Department at the height of the foreclosure crisis, aimed to help as many as 4 million borrowers avoid foreclosure by making their payments more affordable through reduced interest rates, extended loan terms or, in some cases, reduced mortgage principals.
  • Not only has the program fallen far short of that goal but with each year of the program, a growing number of homeowners have re-defaulted, the inspector general found.
  • “Treasury needs to research why so many borrowers are dropping out of the program,” said Christy Romero, the head of SIGTARP.
  • The inspector general said it found some “clear patterns” in its own research. Homeowners who were most likely to re-default were the ones who received the smallest reduction in their loan payments or overall debt, were still underwater on their mortgage or had subprime credit scores and high overall debt at the time the modification took place.
  • The Treasury is currently researching the performance of modifications under the HAMP program and working on ways to improve the re-default rates, a Treasury official said at a press conference on Tuesday.
  • Treasury also noted that most of the re-defaults were high risk to begin with and were inked during one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression.
  • As of April 30, taxpayers have lost some $815 million on the permanent mortgage modifications that have re-defaulted, the inspector general reported. As part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Treasury allocated $19.1 billion to the HAMP program. So far, it has spent $4.4 billion, the inspector general said.
  • Nevertheless, the government has extended the program for another two years, until the end of 2015.
  • To improve HAMP’s performance going forward, the inspector general also suggested that Treasury work with mortgage servicers to create an early warning system that will enable it to reach out to at-risk homeowners before they default.
  • “Treasury pulled out all the stops for the banks, they should do the same for homeowners,” said Romero.

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7.24.13 –UN chemical weapons team arrives in Syria

  • A U.N. delegation tasked with investigating the reported use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict arrived in Damascus on Wednesday to discuss terms of a possible probe into alleged attacks.
  • This is the first such trip by international experts and the talks are expected to focus on about a dozen incidents in which chemical weapons were allegedly used. The rebels, the U.S. and others have blamed the regime for attacks, while Damascus and its ally Russia say the rebels have used chemicals.
  • Damascus has requested the U.N. to investigate one of the reported attacks — a March 19 incident in the northern village of Khan al-Assal in which both rebels and the government accuse each other of using chemicals — but refused inquiries at other alleged attack sites in the central city of Homs, Damascus and elsewhere.
  • Swedish chemical weapons expert Ake Sellstrom and U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane arrived from neighboring Lebanon and are scheduled to meet with senior Syrian officials during their two-day visit to Damascus, the U.N. said in a brief statement issued in the Syrian capital.
  • Khan al-Assal, which lies on the southwestern edge of the embattled city of Aleppo, was under government control in March but was captured by the rebels earlier this week. Even if the U.N. team does get access to Khan al-Assal from both sides, it may be difficult to find evidence from the attack because so much time has passed.
  • In June, the United States said it had conclusive evidence that President Bashar Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against opposition forces. That crossed what President Barack Obama called a “red line,” prompting a U.S. decision to begin arming rebel groups, although that has not happened yet.
  • On Tuesday, U.N. Mideast envoy Robert Serry told the Security Council that the U.N. has received 13 reports of alleged chemical weapons use in Syria. He said Sellstrom’s team is studying this and other material.
  • “There is a growing body of limited but persuasive information showing that the regime has used and continues to use chemical weapons, including sarin,” said British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.
  • Russia, Syria’s close ally, has called the chemical weapon allegations facing Assad’s regime groundless, claiming Russian experts determined that Syrian rebels made sarin nerve gas and used it in the Khan al-Assal attack, in which 31 people died.
  • More than 93,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict started in March 2011, according to U.N. estimates.

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7.24.13 – Fmr. Asst. Defense Sec. McFarland: US Can’t Succeed in Syria

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US soldiers are tired, they have been fighting in so many different wars. Even Hagel reported that the troops are near their breaking point, they are worn out from all the wars. This war is going to be expensive, bloody and long and the US might not win this one. The central bankers/government are pushing for this because their entire push is so they can put the dollar as the reserve currency in Syria and then move into Iran. The problem is that Russia and China are in the way but they don’t care if they start WWIII, because if they don’t get their way they want WWIII to make profits on both sides of the war, cover up the economic collapse and try to start the entire process over again.[/stextbox]

  • Congress should listen to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, and avoid any involvement in the Syrian civil war, says former Assistant Secretary of Defense K.T. McFarland.
  • Dempsey has outlined five options, but warned that all of them involve deeper U.S. involvement.
  • “If that’s not a red flag to somebody, I don’t know what is,” McFarland said Tuesday on Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”
  • Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is “absolutely wrong” in his push to intervene in Syria, she said.
  • “You have the military saying this is not going to work out well,” McFarland said. “You’ve seen the example of Libya where we did arm the rebels … and at the same time you see what happened to those weapons that we gave those rebels. They turned around and were used against us in Benghazi.”
  • The cardinal rule in Washington, she noted, is that if you have two enemies fighting each other, do not try to step in and stop them.
  • There might have been a option two years ago to arm some of the rebels, McFarland said, but there are so many rebel groups now that it is no longer an option, especially since the strongest group is affiliated with al-Qaida.
  • “There are other rebel groups that are well-meaning and secular and are good guys, but they’re not going to win,” she said.

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7.24.13 – Greeks protest against new austerity measure

  • Greek workers have taken to the streets in the capital, Athens, to protest against the government’s new austerity measure that mandates them to work on Sundays, Press TV reports.
  • Some 17 trade unions took part in the demonstration to express opposition to the government’s decision, which also liberalizes trade laws.
  • Under the new bill, passed by the government late on Tuesday, collective labor contracts and the eight-hour working shifts will be amended to force more trade even on the only holiday in the week, the Sundays.
  • Similar demonstration was also held in several other Greek cities, with protesters saying that the bill will abolish decades-old labor rights.
  • The bill was drafted by the country’s Labor Ministry as demanded by the troika of international lenders, the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • Greek lawmakers recently decided to pursue mass lay-offs in the civil service, pushing thousands of state employees into unemployment.
  • On July 8, the international lenders announced plans to release EUR 7 billion (USD 9.2 billion) in financial aid for Greece.
  • However, in order to receive the approved rescue funds, Greece must stick to the agenda of either transferring or laying off 12,500 civil servants, including Athens’ municipal police officers, teachers and school security personnel, by the end of this year.
  • Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession.

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7.24.13 – Caterpillar Just Downgraded The Whole World

[stextbox id=”x22report”]More companies are reporting slow growth this year and revenues are falling. Retail stores are closing, people are losing their jobs and the FED is the market. The 2nd half of this year is going to get a lot worse.[/stextbox]

  • Caterpillar’s Q2 financial results are out, and the numbers don’t look good for shareholders.
  • Q2 earnings came in at $1.45 per share, missing analysts’ estimates for $1.68 per share.
  • As a bellwether of global economic activity, the numbers look good for almost no one.
  • Among other things, management downgraded it’s forecast for global growth.
  • “World economic growth slowed in the first half of the year, and we are revising our growth estimates downwards,” they said. “Although we expect some improvement in the second half, the improvement will be less than previously expected. Currently, we expect that world economic growth for 2013 will be a little over 2 percent, slightly slower than in 2012.”
  • Here are some key bullets from their comprehensive economic outlook:
  • In the first half of 2013, industrial production in over half the countries in the world remained below pre-recession peaks and unemployment remained high. These factors have slowed inflation, and we do not expect inflation to be a problem for the world economy in the second half of 2013.
  • We expect weak growth, high unemployment and low inflation will encourage most central banks to continue pro-growth policies. Eighteen central banks cut interest rates this year, reducing average short-term rates to levels lower than 2009. We expect average interest rates to remain near record lows in the second half of the year.
  • Near-zero interest rates are causing some central banks to inject funds (quantitative easing) into financial systems to promote lending and economic growth. Japan recently adopted more aggressive policies, which appear to be effective in improving economic growth. We expect these results will encourage other countries to take similar actions.

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7.24.13 – Paul Craig Roberts: By Winter Unemployment Explodes, More Foreclosures-Worse than Great Depression

  • Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, “My prediction or expectation is by winter, the second downturn of the Great Recession will be in place. Unemployment will explode, more foreclosures are coming. It’s going to be worse than the Great Depression.” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.

 

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7.23.13 – Israel threatens to attack Syria if ‘provocations continue’

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Israel pushing the war forward reminding everyone of the chemical weapons, Israel and the US had aerial drills together, Congress gave the green light for weapon shipments to the paid mercenaries (Syrian Rebels which 95% aren’t Syrian), and US troops are training in North Carolina for the invasion of Syria, this will bring Russia into the war and WWIII will begin, just what the central bankers want. But how to convince congress and the American people to go to war, false flag event.[/stextbox]

  • Israel has once again warned the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of possible strikes.
  • “If provocations by the Syrian government continue, Israel will have no choice but to respond accordingly,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor said during a UN Security Council meeting about the Middle East on Tuesday.
  • Prosor repeated Western allegations that Syria possessed chemical weapons and that Israel could not tolerate it.
  • “I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Assad has chemical weapons,” he said.
  • “The situation is made all the more dangerous by the fact that Assad has received advanced weapons systems that Israel simply cannot allow,” Prosor added.
  • The Tel Aviv regime has launched attacks on Syria several times since the beginning of 2013.
  • Israel has the biggest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the region and is the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
  • Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to the UN, more than 90,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.
  • Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
  • The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants.
  • The militants from a number of countries have been crossing into Syria to fight against the Syrian government, contributing to an international effort to destabilize the Arab country.
  • Several international human rights organizations say the foreign-sponsored militants have committed war crimes in Syria.
  • The Syrian troops have recently conducted successful clean-up operations across the country, inflicting heavy losses on the foreign-backed militants.
  • The Syrian Army’s push against the militants rattled their foreign sponsors.

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7.23.13 – OBAMACARE SUPPORT DROPS TO RECORD LOW AMONG DEMOCRATS

  • Though ObamaCare has been unpopular in general for some time, even support among the President’s supporters is fading. A new Washington Post poll shows that only 58% of Democrats support what is now known as ObamaCare. According to the Post, this is the lowest level of Democrat support for the bill since it was passed.
  • Among all Americans, only 42% support the partisan bill while a near-majority of 49% oppose. A majority of 51% do, however, support Obama’s decision to delay enforcement of the employer mandate for a full year.This mandate forces employers with over fifty full-time employees (30 hours or more) to either offer a Cadillac health insurance plan or pay a fine of around $2000 for each employee.
  • Though the Post describes it as the “unintended consequence” of ObamaCare, no one should call the consequences of the employer mandate surprising. For example, thanks to the President’s signature “achievement,” thousands of Virginia state workers, up to 10,000, are and could have their hours slashed as the state attempts to save the $110 million cost ObamaCare adds to the price (fines or Cadillac health insurance) of employing people full time.
  • This is a story being told locally across the country and just might explain why reasonable Democrats are waking up to Obama’s boondoggle, which was passed via procedural tricks on a purely partisan vote.
  • And just like the naïve Catholic hierarchy, after it might be too late, left-wing unions are also discovering they also got hustled into supporting ObamaCare.

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7.23.13 – Boehner Signals Clash With White House on Raising Debt Limit

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So let me get this straight, the argument is that they want cuts to make the debt go higher. Think about it we won’t raise the debt ceiling until there are real cuts. So this means that debt will always go higher, the cuts that they are looking for will not work.  The sequester were cuts and the debt continually rises. It will never end, its all a show, plus they raised the debt ceiling 14 times now you know it has to be raised or the economy crashes, if they don’t raise it they can’t spend.[/stextbox]

 

  • House Speaker John Boehner signaled a clash with the White House and the Democratic-led Senate over raising the U.S. borrowing authority later this year.
  • “We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling without real cuts in spending,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters in Washington today.
  • President Barack Obama and Senate leaders have said they wouldn’t accept anything short of a clean debt-limit increase.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said July 18 that Democrats are “not going to compromise on the debt ceiling.”
  • Congress should pass a debt-ceiling increase without any “high jinks” to ensure a stable economy, Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, told reporters the same day. “Attaching other issues to the debt ceiling is playing with fire,” he said.
  • Boehner said today that Congress needs to find “significant cuts” in spending to replace $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts over nine years that took effect starting March 1.
  • In addition to spending cuts, Republicans say they’re determined to make changes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
  • Republican leaders have also weighed whether to spell out the steps and timing of a tax-code rewrite as a trigger for raising the borrowing limit. Their goal is to curb tax breaks and use the resulting revenue to lower rates. House leaders have yet to provide details of their strategy.
  • 2011 Fight
  • In 2011, lawmakers fought for months over raising the nation’s debt limit. Obama signed a debt-limit increase into law on Aug. 2, 2011, the day the Treasury Department warned that U.S. borrowing authority would expire. The bitter negotiations led to the Budget Control Act of 2011, which set discretionary spending caps for 10 years and created a process that resulted in the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. The cuts started in March.
  • Congress voted at the end of January to suspend the nation’s debt limit until May 19, temporarily removing the risk of a default. When the ceiling was restored May 19, it increased to $16.7 trillion to reflect the government’s borrowing during the past few months.
  • By shifting money among government accounts, the Treasury Department can continue borrowing for several months, perhaps as late as October or November.
  • In May, House Republicans voted to exempt federal payments to creditors from the U.S. debt limit. The House measure would ensure that U.S. government bondholders will continue to be paid and that Social Security benefits won’t be interrupted if a standoff over the nation’s debt limit causes a cash crunch. The Obama administration would be left to decide which of the government’s other bills to pay using tax revenue.

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7.23.13 – US And Russia Simultaneously Announce Intent To Arm Opposing Sides In Syria

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The war is heating up, Russia and the US are supporting opposite sides. Assad is ready to talk peace but the US/Central bankers don’t want peace, they want Assad out and the US dollar as the reserve currency and a western central bank in Syria, then they want Iran. So why would they want peace, they haven’t got  what they wanted.[/stextbox]

  • In an almost palpable irony, Russian and U.S. officials simultaneously announced their intent to move forward with controversial arms transfers to opposing sides in the Syrian civil war Monday.
  • If there were any doubts about the proxy nature of Syria for the two sides, the announcements should put them to bed.
  • Congressional hurdles have been lifted and weapons will soon flow into the hands of Syrian rebels, according to a Reuters report
  • “We believe we are in a position that the administration can move forward,” House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told Reuters Monday.
  • Half a world away, a representative of Syria’s embattled President Bashar al Assad left a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
  • “All agreements between Russia and Syria in the area of arms deliveries are in place,” said Qadri Jamil on Monday. “The contracts continue and are in force.”
  • The representative of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also asked Russia for a monetary loan, one that Moscow is still as of yet considering.
  • Meanwhile, the weapons Russia intends to deliver are of the S300 surface-to-air variety — which make enforcing a Western-backed no-fly zone all that much more dangerous, not to mention improbable.
  • The weapons transfers for the Americans have met resistance from within Washington political ranks. Vetting rebel groups in the middle of a civil war is a very difficult process.
  • “I think we also have to expect that some of the weapons we provide are going to get into the hands of those who would use them against us,” Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told Reuters.
  • Washington has urged Russia not to arm Assad — especially with weapons that can threaten Israeli airliners in Israeli airspace and, importantly, block Israel from further strikes in Syria.
  • Israel has outright told Russia that any S300 shipments would be destroyed. Analysts have said bombing those systems would result in Russian casualties.
  • In the thick of it all, Lavrov leaves his meeting with the Syrian rep and states that Assad is ready to talk peace.
  • All the U.S. has to do is bring the opposition forces to the table.

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7.23.13 Richmond Fed Index Shows Mammoth Fall In Retail Sales

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Many retailers have been closing stores, laying off people and people are out of work or have 2 part time jobs to make ends meet. Since there is a huge drop in disposable income it makes sense that people are not out in the retail stores spending on things they don’t need[/stextbox].

  • The Richmond Fed index is out, and it’s a big miss.
  • The headline number came in at -11, vs expectations of +7.
  • What’s really ugly? The retail sales component.
  • From the report:
  • Retail sales contracted this month, leaving the index at −22, twenty-three points below last month’s reading. Sales of big-ticket items declined slightly, while shopper traffic dwindled. The index for big-ticket sales slipped to −5, a point lower than the June reading, while the index for shopper traffic tumbled twenty-two points to −16. Inventories declined more slowly than last month, with that index settling at −12 compared to −22. Retailers were doubtful about sales in the next six months; the expectations index dropped to −29 from June’s reading of 11.
  • Retailers reduced their number of employees this month. The index fell twelve points lower to end at −14. Average retail wages were little changed, however. That index ended the survey period at 1, compared to the June reading of 4.

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7.23.13 – Gold Surges 3% – COMEX Default May Lead To Over $3,500/oz

  • Gold surged over 3% yesterday due to what appears to be have been significant short covering due to concerns about gold backwardation and the continual haemorrhaging of gold inventories from the COMEX.
  • Concerns about a default on the COMEX, once the preserve of a few observant market watchers, are becoming more widespread as we appear to be witnessing a run on the highly leveraged bullion banking system.
  • Very robust physical demand from the Middle East, Asia and particularly China and a decline in the dollar also helped prices log their biggest one-day gain in over a year and their first close above $1,300 an ounce in nearly five weeks.
  • Gains in silver futures, meanwhile, outpaced gold’s rise, with silver surging 5%.
  • Gold may have been higher also due to the weak U.S. dollar which is under pressure from poor U.S. home sales and comments from Bill Gross, PIMCO co-chief investment officer, who said he expected the Fed won’t tighten policy before 2016.
  • Gold has recovered nearly $150 or more than 12% in less than a month since hitting a three-year low of $1,180/oz on June 28th. Gold has made the strong gains due to robust physical demand as seen in the still high premiums in Asia.
  • Respected investor and precious metals guru, Jim Sinclair has again warned of a risk of a default on the COMEX and said that gold prices will rise to $3,500/oz and that gold at $50,000/oz is “not out of the question.”
  • Sinclair, the successful gold and silver investor and a former adviser to the Hunt Brothers in their liquidation of silver from 1981 to 1984, said in a posting on his blog that was emailed out to subscribers that:
  • “The cause of today’s spectacular rise in the gold price is the reality that with Friday continues large drops in the Comex warehouse gold inventory. No cogent argument can be formed against the reality that because of the continued fall in gold inventory that within in 90 days or sooner the Comex must change its delivery mechanism.”
  • Sinclair, said that the COMEX would have to move to cash settlement as they do not have nearly enough gold bullion to make deliveries and warned that owners of futures may be forced to accept payment in the form of the SPDR GLD ETF. This which would make them unsecured creditors of the bullion banks who are the custodians and sub custodians of the SPDR GLD.
  • He said that this could lead to the GLD ETF being “destroyed” and said that “it is a truism in gold that which is convertible into gold will in fact be converted over time.”

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7.23.13 – The Fed’s worst nightmare

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The mainstream is starting to admit they are seeing inflation. Of course energy and food are not included in the governments calculations and these are things that people buy everyday.[/stextbox]

  • If you look at the price indexes on a year-over-year basis, most measures of inflation seem to be subdued. This is even more so when you examine the so-called “core” rate of inflation, which excludes food and energy.
  • But we all have to consume food and energy, and as far as most people are concerned, it’s what’s happening now that matters more than what took place this time last year.
  • That said, an examination of the latest readings of two widely watched indexes, the producer price index and the consumer price index, reveal a rather disturbing trend. Inflation is slowly but surely returning.
  • Wholesale prices in June surged for the second straight month, rising a whopping 0.8%, the fastest rate since last September. For their part, consumer prices jumped 0.5% in June, the most since February, and matching the monthly gains posted last August and September.
  • Looking back, this should be no surprise. The degree of monetary ease emanating from the Federal Reserve these past few years has been nothing short of astounding.
  • As the great economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman famously said: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” Simply put, what we’re seeing are the consequences of too much money chasing too few goods.
  • This surfeit of liquidity had to go somewhere. First it went into the financial markets. Stocks and bonds soared to record highs.
  • Now it is showing up in the real economy. Gasoline and food, two items routinely excluded from discussions regarding the underlying rate of inflation, are spiking, thereby pushing the price indexes higher.
  • Gasoline in particular is bubbling up. Pump prices have soared more than 20 cents from their lows of early May, 15 cents of which came last week, with more hikes expected.
  • Of all the prices to exclude from the consumer and wholesale price indexes, this is the silliest. Gas and oil are vital to our economy, powering farms, factories, office buildings and, of course, providing the fuel to transport goods and people from one place to another.
  • Whenever the price of energy rises, fuel surcharges spring up until they become ubiquitous. This will occur in weak economies as well as in strong ones.
  • As a matter of fact, by transferring purchasing power from users to producers, a jump in energy prices will only serve to make our overall economy even weaker. It will hurt profits of non-oil firms as well.

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7.23.13 – No Country For First-Time Home Buyers

[stextbox id=”x22report”]If the youth unemployment is approximately 50% how can youths today buy a home. Most college graduates are working part time jobs and many can’t find work. The last thing on their mind is purchasing a big ticket item like a home.[/stextbox]

  • There was a time when the US housing market was not “driven” by hedge funds armed with government-subsidized, “REO-to-Rent” loans loading up on distressed properties, by banks refusing to release foreclosed properties into the market (thus creating a market subsidy) or by foreigners eager to park their “tax-evaded” wealth with the Anti Money-Laundering exempt National Association of Realtors. Instead, the main driver of US housing were first-time home buyers, “typically couples in their late 20s or early 30s” who historically have accounted for about 40% of home sales. Alas, last year, and all throughout the New Normal, this number has been about 25% lower, or representing just 30% of all sales (except for a brief spike to 50% in 2009 courtesy of recession-era tax credits). Then again, what 30 year old needs a home when one can now get an E-trade terminal under the bridge to generate “the wealth effect”?
  • The WSJ’s take: “The depressed level of first-time buyers could prove to be a drag on the housing rebound and the broader economic recovery over the longer haul. First-time home buyers are the foundation of the real-estate market and are major contributors to their local economies, often buying up older homes, revitalizing communities and spending money on furniture and renovations.”

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7.23.13 – UPS says 2Q profit down 4 percent

  • UPS says second-quarter profit is 4 percent lower than last year as customers shift from premium to lower-priced shipping services.
  • The company is calling the results disappointing and says it’s adapting to the changing market.
  • United Parcel Service Co. said Tuesday that it earned $1.07 billion, or $1.13 per share. That’s down from $1.12 billion, or $1.15 per share, a year earlier.
  • The big delivery company tipped off investors about the headline number last week, so analysts have been expecting the earnings per share figure. But revenue is lower than expected, at $13.51 billion. According to FactSet, analysts are expecting $13.59 billion.
  • Chief financial officer Kurt Kuehn says the results are below expectations because of disappointing performances in the freight-forwarding and international package-delivery businesses.

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7.23.13 – Turkey will respond to fire from Syria, army says

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So let me get this straight, US government/central bankers controls Turkey and they are on the border of Syria and Assads government wants to start a war with Turkey?  Or the paid mercenaries are firing on Turkey so this way the US government can use this as an excuse to help Turkey with this problem to get into Syria.[/stextbox]

  • The Turkish army has announced that it will respond in multiples to fire coming from the Syrian side of their shared border.
  • “In this context, shots that come from Syria to our territory and occasionally result in the loss of life and property are being responded in multiples in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the Turkish military said in a statement on Monday.
  • The army will take all necessary measures to beef up security along Turkey’s borders, the statement added.
  • On July 19, Turkey deployed military units along its border with Syria following clashes between a Syrian Kurdish armed party and al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, said a report by Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.
  • The report added that Turkish F-16 jets and unmanned aerial vehicles had been scrambled from southeastern Turkey for patrolling over the border.
  • Fierce clashes continue in northern Syria between Kurdish fighters and Takfiri militants who accuse all other Muslims of being infidels.
  • On the same day, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the country would respond to any incident on its borders immediately.
  • On July 17, two teenagers were killed after stray bullets from Syria hit a police station and several homes in Turkey’s southern province of Sanliurfa near the border with Syria.
  • According to Turkish media, the teenagers killed in the attack on the border town of Ceylanpinar were identified as Ahmet Gunduz, 15, and Ahmet Ertugrul, 17.
  • In October 2012, a mortar strike from Syria killed five people in the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa Province.
  • Following the October attack, the Turkish parliament authorized cross-border military action against Syria “when deemed right.”
  • Ankara has openly voiced support for the militants fighting against Damascus.
  • Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 90,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.
  • Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
  • The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants.

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7.23.13 – Russian Missile Forces Holding Snap-Check Drills

[stextbox id=”x22report”]If haven’t noticed but all of the major countries are having, air, navy, combined, and snap drills. This is all in preparation for WWIII[/stextbox]

  • The headquarters and two missile divisions of the Orenburg Missile Army in Russia’s Urals region have been put on high-alert as part of snap combat readiness drills, the Defense Ministry said.
  • The exercises that started early on Monday, involve the Tagil missile division in the Sverdlovsk region and the Yasnenskaya Missile Division in the Orenburg region.
  • “The goal of this snap check is to assess the ability of missile units to go on high-alert in required time and to evaluate their readiness to perform the designated tasks,” Col. Igor Yegorov, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said Monday.
  • The drills will continue until July 27 and will involve combat patrols and redeployment of missile units in designated field training areas, the official said.
  • According to open sources, the Tagil missile division is armed with Topol (SS-25 Sickle) intercontinental ballistic missiles, while the Yasnenskaya missile division operates RS-20V Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) ballistic missile systems.
  • The Russian Armed Forces wrapped up on Sunday the largest snap check of combat readiness in the post-Soviet period, which involved some 160,000 servicemen, about 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the Far Easter and Central military districts.

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7.23.13 – TSA: Give Us Your Fingerprints, Web History and You Can Keep Your Shoes On

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Lets ask ourselves a question, why does the TSA need all of this, to keep track of each American. They are keeping track of each person, to build their lists for when the time comes. This completely violates the 4th Amendment [/stextbox]

  • Now you can keep your shoes on when travelling through the Orwellian TSA ‘security’ checkpoints thanks to a new program that only requires one thing — the complete and utter erosion of your personal privacy.
  • Instead of cutting the various ‘anti-terrorist’ security functions employed by the TSA that have not caught a single terrorist despite expansive funding and highly invasive techniques that violate our fundamental rights, the TSA is now offering a new ‘quick pass’ system that allows enrolled US citizens through the first few security measures once they are approved by the agency for membership status within the program.
  • And in order to participate in the ‘PreCheck’ TSA program, you will need to allow them to reach down into the proverbial pants of your personal life as well. Under PreCheck, you are required to not only present your fingerprints to the TSA in person and pay a fee of $85, but the agency is also looking to gather all forms of your data as well — which reports state includes your web history and online data. With the help of a third party organization, the TSA seeks to ‘pre-screen’ (think pre-crime) individuals based on their activity in order to determine if they are worthy of bypassing the most minimal of security checkpoints.
  • We can find this in a posting made by the TSA on FedBizOpps in relation to the new PreCheck program, which discusses the tactics used to ‘pre-screen’ fliers for the PreCheck program through the use of third party contractors. And according to a report by NextGov, PreCheck members will even be offering up their web history as a part of the qualifications, writing:
  • “TSA is weighing a contract that would hire private screeners to parse an applicant’s consumer data, such web browsing histories, for signs of danger before admission into express inspection programs.”
  • So essentially, the largest amount of compliance is rewarded with a bonus given to those who go along with the TSA’s police state tactics with a smile. Rewards are given to those who offer the TSA their fingerprints, their web data (likely using a download from the TSA website that scans your usage and reports everything back to DHS), and of course 85 dollars of their finances. It’s essentially like openly allowing the NSA to come in and mine your data, but this time you’re also handing it over to the DHS.
  • And you still have to go through the naked body scanners.
  • In time we will tell how many Americans have surrendered to the TSA and criminal elements of government at large when we see just how many citizens actually give away their privacy to save time in the TSA fondling lines. Coming around fall of this year, it will truly be a sad sight to see Americans flaunting their TSA-approved PreCheck cards in a rush to the naked body scanners.
  • Instead of sacrificing your privacy on the altar of the TSA and convenience, how about we kick them out instead. The TSA is literally a worthless sector of government that can easily be fooled by any amateur who studies the basic functions of the naked body scanner machines, as we’ve seen in the past with videos explaining how to take anything past the TSA scanners. There’s a reason they never catch all of the test weapons brought through airports.

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7.23.13 – War on Syria will draw in Russia, trigger World War III: Analyst

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The central bankers are counting on it. They need the war to cover up the economic collapse.  The paid mercenaries are losing, Assad is winning and taking his country back. The central bankers know that if the US and other countries invade Syria it means war with Russia, China and the rest of the world.[/stextbox]

  • A former US Marine says any foreign military intervention in Syria would instigate a third World War by inevitably getting Russia involved in the conflict, Press TV reports.
  • Ken O’Keefe, a former US Marine, told Press TV on Saturday that Russia would not remain indifferent to a potential military attack against Syria.
  • “Russia has made [it] very, very clear that they would not sit by and allow yet another country to be bombarded and effectively raped and pillaged in terms with the empires’ designs. It will not allow this to happen,” O’Keefe said.
  • He said a third world war was possible with “even thinking [about] … military intervention, whatever it is, whether it is using some high-tech weapons, secretly weapons and whatnot; the bottom line is that we are attempting the third world war,” he added.
  • On June 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against any attempt at foreign military intervention in Syria, stressing that such a move is doomed to fail.
  • In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the West against attempting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
  • “There are governments and outside players that believe that all means are appropriate [to be used] to overthrow the Syrian regime,” Lavrov said.
  • O’Keefe added, “At the end of the day, these people who are in power, the banksters in particular are the ones pulling the strings for the Third World War,” the former Marine said.
  • The turmoil in Syria erupted in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed so far.
  • In May, Assad said militants from as many as 29 different countries were operating in different parts of the country.

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7.23.13 – SEC Warns: Prepare For Repo Defaults

  • As we warned here most recently, the shadow-banking system remains the most crisis-catalyzing part of the markets currently as collateral shortages (and capital inadequacy) continue to grow as concerns. In recent weeks, between The Fed, Basel III, and the FDIC, regulators have signalled the possible intent to change risk, netting, and capital rules that could have dramatic implications on the repo markets and now, it seems, the SEC has begun to recognize just how big a concern that could be. As Reuters reports, the SEC urged funds and advisers last week to review master repurchase agreement documentation to see if there are any procedures to handle defaults, and if necessary, prepare draft templates in advance.
  • A retrenchment in repo markets is unwelcome news for the liquidity of the underlying securities. Most repos, around 80%-90%, are against government-related collateral and it is the repo market which makes government securities relatively more liquid by allowing fast and efficient financing and short covering. It is not accidental that trading volumes in bond markets are so closely related to the outstanding amount of repos.
  • Via Reuters,
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on July 17 quietly issued new guidance to money funds that spells out the risks they could face if borrowers in the tri-party repurchase market collapse.
  • “There are a variety of ways in which a money fund and its adviser may be able to prepare for handling a default of a tri-party repo held in the fund’s portfolio,” the SEC wrote. “Such advance preparation could be part of broader efforts by the money market fund and its adviser to follow best practices in risk management.”
  • In a four-page document, the SEC urges funds and advisers to review master repurchase agreement documentation to see if there are any procedures to handle defaults, and if necessary, prepare draft templates in advance.
  • It also calls for funds to consider the operational aspects of managing a repo, and to contemplate whether there are any legal issues that could arise in the event of a repo default.
  • The SEC’s guidance comes at a crucial time for the money fund industry. The SEC is weighing controversial new rules that seek to reduce the risk of runs on money funds by panicked investors – a scenario that took place during the financial crisis.
  • The Federal Reserve is separately eyeing a new rule that would force investment banks that rely on risky short-term funding such as found in the repo markets to hold more capital.
  • At a time of rising ‘fails’, rising leveraged-carry-trades, and no real end in sight for Fed intervention, a repo default contagion could indeed be the self-inflicted wound to bring down the risk-markets in spite of Fed liquidity.

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7.22.13 – Martin Dempsey: Syria options costly, risky

[stextbox id=”x22report”]It seems that going into Syria would be very expensive and at this point congress will probably not go for this. How can the President and congress justify the expense with the sequester. Remember the President keeps reminding us about all the cuts, no fireworks for Independence day etc. So one of the ways to make this work is create some type of false flag that will get America into Syria.[/stextbox]

  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey warns a major U.S. military intervention in Syria would cost billions of dollars and carry heavy risks.
  • Responding to questions about the Syrian crisis from Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dempsey said the Pentagon was prepared for at least five options: train, advise and assist the opposition; limited stand-off strikes; a no-fly zone; buffer zones; and controlling chemical weapons.
  • But, Dempsey warned bluntly, each would be risky and expensive — some more than others — with projected costs of several options at $1 billion a month.
  • “All of these options would likely further the narrow military objective of helping the opposition and placing more pressure on the regime,” Dempsey told Levin in a three-page letter dated Friday and released Monday by the senator.
  • But the four-star Army general warned: “It is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state. We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action. Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.”
  • The use of such force is “no less than an act of war,” he said, and would come at a time of growing fiscal restraint on the Pentagon.
  • “Some options may not be feasible in time or cost without compromising our security elsewhere,” he said.
  • Levin and McCain requested more information from Dempsey on the use of military force in Syria last week as well as the path forward in Afghanistan in the wake of his reconfirmation hearing as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • During the hearing, McCain tangled with the general over Syria and afterward vowed to block his renomination in the Senate until he got answers to his questions.
  • On Monday, a McCain aide told POLITICO Dempsey’s letter released by Levin was in response to a request from Levin during the course of the hearing, rather than to the questions the two senators posed jointly afterward.
  • In his letter, Dempsey said he preferred a “regional approach” to the Syrian conflict that would isolate it “to prevent regional destabilization and weapons proliferation.”
  • “At the same time,” he said, “we should help develop a moderate opposition, including their military capabilities, while maintaining pressure on the [Bashar] Assad regime.
  • “Too often, these options are considered in isolation,” Dempsey said. “It would be better if they were assessed and discussed in the context of an overall whole-of-government strategy for achieving our policy objectives in coordination with our allies and partners.”

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7.22.13 – This Massive Discovery Has Put The Saudi’s Into a Panic

  • It’s the biggest find in 50 years and the media is completely ignoring it…
  • It is 6 times larger than the Bakken, 17 times the size of the Marcellus formation, and 80 times larger than the Eagle Ford shale.
  • All told what was recently discovered outside a sleepy Australian town contains more black gold more than in all of Iran, Iraq, Canada, or Venezuela.
  • With current estimates at 233 billion barrels its just 30 billion shy of the estimated reserves in all of Saudi Arabia.
  • According to one renowned international expert, this massive discovery could eventually dwarf the oil rich kingdom as the original estimates are revised.
  • An advisor to six of the top 10 oil producers and active consultant to 20 world governments, Dr. Kent Moors now believes the find, “may land at 300 or 400 billion barrels,” making it one of “the greatest unconventional oil discoveries any of us will see in our lifetimes.”
  • “It’s represents a bona fide redrawing of the global energy map as we know it,” Moors says, “and the mainstream media is completely ignoring it.”

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7.22.13 – DETROIT PLANS TO SLICE RETIREES’ PENSIONS

  • Gloria Killebrew, 73, worked for the City of Detroit for 22 years and now spends her days caring for her husband, J. D., who has had three heart attacks and multiple kidney operations, the last of which left him needing dialysis three times a week at the Henry Ford Medical Center in Dearborn, Mich.
  • Now there is a new worry: Detroit wants to cut the pensions it pays retirees like Ms. Killebrew, who now receives about $1,900 a month.
  • “It’s been life on a roller coaster,” Ms. Killebrew said, explaining that even if she could find a new job at her age, there would be no one to take care of her husband. “You don’t sleep well. You think about whether you’re going to be able to make it. Right now, you don’t really know.”
  • Detroit’s pension shortfall accounts for about $3.5 billion of the $18 billion in debts that led the city to file for bankruptcy last week. How it handles this problem — of not enough money set aside to pay the pensions it has promised its workers — is being closely watched by other cities with fiscal troubles.
  • Kevyn D. Orr, the city’s emergency manager, has called for “significant cuts” to the pensions of current retirees. His plan is being fought vigorously by unions that point out that pensions are protected by Michigan’s Constitution, which calls them a contractual obligation that “shall not be diminished or impaired.”
  • Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, a Republican who appointed Mr. Orr, signed off on the bankruptcy strategy for the once-mighty city, which has seen its tax base and services erode sharply in recent years. But the governor said he worried about Detroit’s 21,000 municipal retirees.
  • “You’ve got to have great empathy for them,” Mr. Snyder said in an interview. “These are hard-working people that are in retirement now — they’re on fixed incomes, most of them — and you look at this and say, ‘This is a very difficult situation.’ ”
  • On Sunday, Mr. Snyder fended off the notion that the city needed a federal bailout. “It’s not about just putting more money in a situation,” the governor said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “It’s about better services to citizens again. It’s about accountable government.”
  • Many retirees see the plan to cut their pensions as a betrayal, saying that they kept their end of a deal but that the city is now reneging. Retired city workers, police officers and 911 operators said in interviews that the promise of reliable retirement income had helped draw them to work for the City of Detroit in the first place, even if they sometimes had to accept smaller salaries or work nights or weekends.
  • “Does Detroit have a problem?” asked William Shine, 76, a retired police sergeant. “Absolutely. Did I create it? I don’t think so. They made me some promises, and I made them some promises. I kept my promises. They’re not going to keep theirs.”
  • Vera Proctor, 63, who retired in 2010 after 39 years as a 911 operator and supervisor, said she worried that at her age and with her poor health, it would be difficult to find a new job to make up for any reductions to her pension payments.
  • “Where’s the nearest street corner where I can sell bottles of water?” Ms. Proctor asked wryly. “That’s what it’s going to come down to. We’re not going to have anything.”
  • Officials overseeing Detroit’s finances have called for reducing — not eliminating — pension payments to retirees, but have not said how big those reductions might be. They emphasized that they were trying to spread the pain of bankruptcy evenly.
  • When the small city of Central Falls, R.I., declared bankruptcy in 2011, a state law gave bondholders preferential treatment — effectively protecting investors even as the city’s retirees saw their pension benefits slashed by up to 55 percent in some cases.
  • Detroit, by contrast, wants to spread the losses to investors as well as pensioners, and hopes to find cheaper ways to cover retirees through the subsidized health exchanges being created by President Obama’s health care law.

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7.22.13 – John Stossel ~ The Devaluing Dollar

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7.22.13 – U.S. military drone surveillance expanding to ‘hot spots’ globally

  • The U.S. military is shifting its huge fleet of unmanned aircraft to other hot spots around the world.
  • The move comes as the Obama administration is reducing the number of drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
  • This next phase of drone warfare is focused more on spying than killing and will extend the Pentagon’s surveillance networks far beyond traditional, declared combat zones.
  • According to the Washington Post, over the past decade, the Pentagon has collected more than 400 Predators, Reapers, Hunters, Gray Eagles and other high-altitude drones that have revolutionized counterterrorism operations.
  • The report said that some of the unmanned aircraft will return home with U.S. troops when they leave Afghanistan, but many of the drones will redeploy to fresh frontiers.
  • The drones in new frontiers will spy on a melange of armed groups, drug runners, pirates and other targets that worry U.S. officials.
  • Elsewhere in the Middle East, the U.S. Air Force has drone hubs in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to conduct reconnaissance over the Persian Gulf, the report said.
  • According to the report, in Africa, the U.S. Air Force began flying unarmed drones over the Sahara five months ago to track al-Qaeda fighters and rebels in northern Mali.
  • The Pentagon has also set up drone bases in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Seychelles.
  • In an April speech, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said the Pentagon is planning for the first time to send Reaper drones, a bigger, faster version of the Predator, to parts of Asia other than Afghanistan.
  • A Defense Department spokeswoman said the military is committed to increasing its surveillance in Asia and the Pacific, the report added. (ANI)

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7.22.13 – Stocks Are Setting Up For a Truly Epic Collapse

  • At this point, the market is beyond overextended.
  • Last week was options expiration (Wall Street’s favorite time to shred options traders). And thanks to Ben Bernanke’s promise to keep the money printers running (“none of what we’ve said implies tighter policy any time soon”) traders shot for 1,700 on the S&P 500 last week.
  • What’s truly worrisome is that stocks are rallying higher and higher while economic fundamentals get worse and worse. GDP estimates for the second quarter have been reduced to 1% or even lower. Goldman Sachs has growth at 0.8%. Barclay’s sees 0.5%. And Morgan Stanley sees us hitting 0.3% growth.
  • These are truly horrible forecasts coming after the brutal downward revision for the first quarter (from 2.4% to 1.8%). And when you consider that growth is slowing like this while the Fed is running QE 3 and QE 4, then it becomes quite clear that the Fed is fast running out of out of evidence that QE accomplishes much of anything.
  • The signs of this are already showing up in corporate results. IBM, Intel, eBay, Google, Microsoft, Philip Morris, Blackberry have all missed revenue estimates. Corporate profits can be manipulated in a variety of ways. Revenues on the other hand cannot be fudged. Either money comes in the door or it doesn’t. The fact that so many firms are missing revenues estimates does not bode well for the market.
  • And against this backdrop of slowing growth and weaker corporate returns, inflation is once again rearing its head. Crude oil just hit a 16-month high. Home prices are soaring across the US with year over year increases over 30% (the highest on record) in some metropolitan areas. Costs for food are up with beef rising 4%, steak rising 11%, and so on.
  • In short, the sheer number of negative factors facing stocks today is enormous. And in this environment of slowing growth and falling corporate results, stocks are at all time highs.
  • This will all end very badly.

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7.22.13 – Violent Clashes In Egypt Following Calls To ‘Lay Seige’ To The US Embassy

[stextbox id=”x22report”]If the central bankers and the US government believe that the reserve currency and the central bank are in jeopardy they will send in the troops to reestablish control over Egypt[/stextbox]

  • While Egypt may have left the front pages of the mainstream media, the boiling pot of tension is bubbling up nce again this morning. Ahram Online reports that violent clashes have occurred between pro- and anti-morsi groups near Tahrir Square, and the military has intervened with tanks. These clashes come on the heels of the Muslim Brotherhood calling on Egyptians to lay seige to the US embassy (for what he said was American support for Morsi’ ouster) “US Diplomats should leave Egypt… [we] hope they won’t be harmed.” and the family of the deposed leader claiming the military ‘kidnapped’ him.
  • Via Bloomberg,
  • A Muslim Brotherhood leader called on Egyptians to lay siege to the U.S embassy in Cairo to protest what he said was American support for the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
  • U.S. diplomats should leave Egypt, Essam El-Erian told Brotherhood supporters today in Cairo’s Nasr City suburb, where they’ve been staging a sit-in since Mursi’s July 3 removal by the army.
  • He said he hoped they wouldn’t be harmed. The U.S., which gives more than $1 billion a year to the Egyptian military, hasn’t labeled its intervention as a coup, though it has called for a quick transition to democracy.
  • Via Ahram Online,
  • Hundreds of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi clashed with anti-Morsi protesters who have been holding a sit-in in Tahrir Square on Monday afternoon.
  • The pro-Morsi demonstrators approached Tahrir Square after holding a protest rally at the US embassy a few blocks away.
  • CBC Satellite TV reported that organisers of the sit-in at Tahrir have called from the main stage in the square on the ministry of health to send ambulances to treat the injured.
  • Numbers of injured are not yet available.
  • Via Al-Jazeera,
  • Osama Mohammed Morsi son of Egypt’s ousted president Mohammed Morsi speaks during a press conference in Cairo on July 22, 2013.
  • The family of Morsi is to take legal action against Egypt’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, for “kidnapping” the Islamist president, his daughter Shaimaa Mohammed said.
  • Son of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, Osama Mohammed Morsi, talks to Al Jazeera about the alleged kidnapping of his father.
  • The family of Egypt’s deposed president has accused the army of kidnapping him. Morsi has not been heard from since he was overthrown and taken into custody on July 3.

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7.22.13 – Existing Home Sales Fall By Most In 2013, Biggest Miss In 12 Months

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Mortgage rates going up, people losing their jobs, more people are underemployed, which means all of these people are out of the housing market, the FED still buying 45 billion in toxic real estate assets and the previous month showing mortgage applications with a huge decline, why would anyone think real estate was going to improve.[/stextbox]

  • Existing home sales dropped 1.2% month-over-month – the biggest drop in 2013 – against expectations for a 1.5% rise. Critically though, this is for a period that reflects closings with mortgage rates from the April/May period – before the spike in rates really accelerated. Inventory rose once again to 5.2 months of supply (vs 5.0 in May) and you know the realtors are starting to get concerned when even the ever-optimistic chief economist of the NAR is forced to admit that ‘stunningly’ “higher mortgage rates will bite.” With mortage applications having collapsed since May, we can only imagine the state of home sales (especially as we see all-cash buyers falling) for July.

  • NAR chief economist, said there is enough momentum in the market, even with higher interest rates. “Affordability conditions remain favorable in most of the country, and we’re still dealing with a large pent-up demand,” he said. “However, higher mortgage interest rates will bite into high-cost regions of California, Hawaii and the New York City metro area market.”
  • Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 630,000 in June but are 16.7 percent above June 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $270,400, which is 6.8 percent above a year ago.
  • Existing-home sales in the Midwest were unchanged in June at a pace of 1.21 million, and are 17.5 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $170,100, up 8.9 percent from June 2012.
  • In the South, existing-home sales slipped 1.5 percent to an annual level of 2.03 million in June but are 16.0 percent above June 2012. The median price in the South was $186,300, which is 13.7 percent above a year ago.
  • Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.6 percent to a pace of 1.21 million in June but are 11.0 percent above a year ago. With ongoing supply constraints, the median price in the West was $282,000, a jump of 19.9 percent from June 2012.

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7.22.13 – Warning to all police, firefighters, schoolteachers: Most government pensions to be confiscated within a decade

  • The top 10 biggest U.S. cities on the brink of pension bankruptcy
  • According to Business Insider, here are the top 10 U.S. cities whose pension obligations will soon collapse: (this article was originally published in 2010, so we have updated the “years” to reflect 2013)
  • #1 Philadelphia – Unfunded liability of $9 billion, $16,696 per household, only 1 year before the pension accounts are empty
  • #2 Chicago – Unfunded liability of $44.8 billion, $41.966 per household, money runs out in 4 years
  • #3 Boston – Unfunded liability of $7.5 billion, $30,901 per household, money runs out in 4 years
  • #4 Cincinnati – Unfunded liability of $2 billion, $15,681 per household, money runs out in 5 years
  • #5 St Paul – Unfunded liability of $1.4 billion, $13,686 per household, money runs out in 5 years
  • #6 Jacksonville – Unfunded liability of $4 billion, $12,944 per household, money runs out in 5 years
  • #7 New York City – Unfunded liability of $122 billion, $38,866 per household, money runs out in 6 years
  • #8 Baltimore – Unfunded liability of $3.7 billion, $15, 420 per household, money runs out in 7 years
  • #9 Detroit – Unfunded liability of $6.4 billion, $18,643 per household, money runs out in 8 years
  • #10 Fort Worth – Unfunded liability of $2 billion, $7,212 per household, money runs out in 8 years
  • Note that some of these numbers were actually optimistic. Detroit, for example, was predicted to run out of money in 2021, yet it already declared bankruptcy in 2013. What you are looking at here is a looming cascade of municipality bankruptcies over the next 10 – 20 years.

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7.22.13 – A Black Box for Car Crashes

[stextbox id=”x22report”]This is very dangerous, these devices can be used to track people. It is just another part of the surveillance state.[/stextbox]

  • When Timothy P. Murray crashed his government-issued Ford Crown Victoria in 2011, he was fortunate, as car accidents go. Mr. Murray, then the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, was not seriously hurt, and he told the police he was wearing a seat belt and was not speeding.
  • But a different story soon emerged. Mr. Murray was driving over 100 miles an hour and was not wearing a seat belt, according to the computer in his car that tracks certain actions. He was given a $555 ticket; he later said he had fallen asleep.
  • The case put Mr. Murray at the center of a growing debate over a little-known but increasingly important piece of equipment buried deep inside a car: the event data recorder, more commonly known as the black box.
  • About 96 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States have the boxes, and in September 2014, if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has its way, all will have them.
  • The boxes have long been used by car companies to assess the performance of their vehicles. But data stored in the devices is increasingly being used to identify safety problems in cars and as evidence in traffic accidents and criminal cases. And the trove of data inside the boxes has raised privacy concerns, including questions about who owns the information, and what it can be used for, even as critics have raised questions about its reliability.
  • To federal regulators, law enforcement authorities and insurance companies, the data is an indispensable tool to investigate crashes.
  • The black boxes “provide critical safety information that might not otherwise be available to N.H.T.S.A. to evaluate what happened during a crash — and what future steps could be taken to save lives and prevent injuries,” David L. Strickland, the safety agency’s administrator, said in a statement.
  • But to consumer advocates, the data is only the latest example of governments and companies having too much access to private information. Once gathered, they say, the data can be used against car owners, to find fault in accidents or in criminal investigations.
  • “These cars are equipped with computers that collect massive amounts of data,” said Khaliah Barnes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based consumer group. “Without protections, it can lead to all kinds of abuse.”
  • What’s more, consumer advocates say, government officials have yet to provide consistent guidelines on how the data should be used.
  • “There are no clear standards that say, this is a permissible use of the data and this is not,” Ms. Barnes said.
  • Fourteen states, including New York, have passed laws that say that, even though the data belongs to the vehicle’s owner, law enforcement officials and those involved in civil litigation can gain access to the black boxes with a court order.
  • In these states, lawyers may subpoena the data for criminal investigations and civil lawsuits, making the information accessible to third parties, including law enforcement or insurance companies that could cancel a driver’s policy or raise a driver’s premium based on the recorder’s data.
  • In Mr. Murray’s case, a court order was not required to release the data to investigators. Massachusetts is not among the states to pass a law governing access to the data. Asked about the case, Mr. Murray, who did not contest the ticket and who resigned as lieutenant governor in June to become head of the Chamber of Commerce in Worcester, Mass., declined to comment.
  • Current regulations require that the presence of the black box be disclosed in the owner’s manual. But the vast majority of drivers who do not read the manual thoroughly may not know that their vehicle can capture and record their speed, brake position, seat belt use and other data each time they get behind the wheel.
  • Unlike the black boxes on airplanes, which continually record data including audio and system performance, the cars’ recorders capture only the few seconds surrounding a crash or air bag deployment. A separate device extracts the data, which is then analyzed through computer software.
  • The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a Washington-based trade association that represents 12 automakers including General Motors and Chrysler, said it supported the mandate because the recorders helped to monitor passenger safety.
  • “Event data recorders help our engineers and researchers understand how cars perform in the real world, and one of our priorities for E.D.R.’s continues to be preserving consumer privacy,” said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the trade association. “Automakers don’t access E.D.R. data without consumer permission, and we believe that any government requirements to install E.D.R.’s on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy.”
  • Beyond the privacy concerns, though, critics have questioned the data’s reliability.
  • In 2009, Anthony Niemeyer died after crashing a rented Ford Focus in Las Vegas. His widow, Kathryn, sued both Ford Motor and Hertz, contending that the air bag system failed to deploy.
  • The black box, however, derailed Ms. Niemeyer’s assertion that her husband had been traveling fast enough for the air bag to deploy.

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7.22.13 – BBC: UK GOV’T TO BLOCK PORN TO ALL HOMES

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The beginnings of the control of the internet. The government knows best and we will tell the people what they can see and what they can have access to on the internet. Next they will tell the people what news agencies they can view on the internet.  The governments need to control the flow information, they start small and then expand from there.[/stextbox]

  • Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the United Kingdom would direct Internet service providers to block all pornographic content to households unless they specifically opted in to receive it, the BBC reports. Cameron’s initiative would also prohibit pornography depicting rape. The goal, he says, is to restore the dignity of women and to provide a “real deterrent” to children’s exposure to pornography.
  • In a speech Monday, Cameron said that the Internet should not be given a “special status” and that it should not be “beyond debate” to “raise concerns about how people should access the internet or what should be on it.” He identified two challenges his government would challenge: one, illegal material such as child pornography; two, legal pornographic material that was being accessed improperly by children.
  • “By the end of this year, when someone sets up a new broadband account the settings to install family friendly filters will be automatically selected,” Cameron said. “If you just click ‘next’ or ‘enter,’ then the filters are automatically on. And, in a really big step forward, all the ISPs have rewired their technology so that once your filters are installed, they will cover any device connected to your home Internet account.”

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7.22.13 – The Economy Can’t Do Well, When The Country’s Young People Aren’t Doing Well

  • The economy can’t do well, when the country’s young people aren’t doing well. Because it’s the young people who have the greatest need to buy houses, cars, and everything else that there is to buy.
  • Ending up with huge student debts and going back to live with their parents, while working at Starbucks or at Wal-Mart, is what’s happening with many young people nowadays.
  • Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major
  • Here’s some interesting new data from Jaison Abel and Richard Dietz of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The vast majority of U.S. college grads, they find, work in jobs that aren’t strictly related to their degrees:
  • Going to college is more like gambling than a sure thing to increase your income. Which can’t be good for the country and its economy. This is like the Great Depression for the young people. They don’t end up homeless drifters, like it happened in old days. But going back to live with their parents only masks their poverty and their lack of any future.

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7.22.13 – Global Wealth Inequality

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7.22.13 – McDonalds Misses Revenue And Earnings Due To “Economic Uncertainty And Pressured Consumer Spending”

[stextbox id=”x22report”]It must have been the weather, LOL. The people just don’t have the disposable income. You know its getting bad when people are having a tough time buying off the dollar menu at McDonalds.[/stextbox]

  • It must have been the weather: at least that is what we expect McDonalds will blame the latest (in a long series) of Q2 revenue misses, but also earnings as moments ago the fast food giant reported $1.38 EPS in Q2 earnings, while revenue of $7.08 billion missed expectations of $7.09 billion. The internals were just as ugly: Q2 comp sales rose 1% on expectations of a +1.5% print; Europe was down -0.1% with the bulk of the hit coming strangely enough from Germany and France. The rest was in line, with global comp sales up 1% vs Exp. 1%, however this being the weakest of all categories it is hardly offsetting what is becoming increasing a weak lower-end consumer story, as well as one of FX headwinds with forex eating into Q2 EPS by $0.02.
  • Sadly, after reading the press release it appears the neither cold or hot spring/summer weather was at scapegoated fault (as it was for Coke and Google): “McDonald’s results for the quarter reflect our efforts to strengthen our business momentum for the long-term,” said McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson. “We remain strategically focused on the global growth priorities that help us better serve our customers. While the informal eating out market remains challenging and economic uncertainty is pressuring consumer spending, we’re continuing to differentiate the McDonald’s experience by uniting consumer insights, innovation and execution.” Innovation in the $1 meal? Good luck. More importantly, someone actually told the truth about end-demand, and the fact that consumer spending is deteriorating. Unpossible.
  • In other news, today’s revenue misses, so far, include McDonalds, Kimberly-Clark and Hasbro. Expect many, many more.

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7.22.13 – Euro Area Government Debt Rises To New Record High

  • While the European economy may be moving in a straight line from upper left to lower right, the same can not be said for the level of debt in Europe, which has taken on the inverse trajectory. As per the just released quarterly update of Euro area government debt, in Q1 2013, total government debt in Europe as a % of GDP just hit a new all time high of 92.2%. This compares to 90.6% in the previous quarter, and up from 88.2% in Q1 2012.
  • The proud Q1 debt-to-GDP outliers, where the local economies are expected to continue plunging and thus send the stock markets (if mostly that in the US) surging, are the following:
  • Euroarea: 92.2%, up from 88.2% a year ago
  • Greece: 160.5%, up from 136.5% a year ago
  • Italy: 130.3%; up from 123.8% a year ago
  • Portugal: 127.2%, up from 112.3% a year ago
  • Ireland: 125.1%, up from 106.8% a year ago
  • Spain: 88.2%, up from 73.0% a year ago
  • Netherlands: 72.0%, up from 66.7% a year ago
  • Not everything was a continuing balance sheet disaster. Three countries had barely any sovereign debt/GDP with Estonia best at 10.0%, Bulgaria second at 18.0% and Luxembourg third at 22.4%, although one wonders just how bad the last one is net of all the “lies” its now former Prime Minister may have been sweeping under the rug.

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7.22.13 – HHS Admits: You Might Not Be Able to Keep Your Doctor Under Obamacare

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The entire Obamacare is now turning out to be a disaster just like everyone thought it would be. When something is for the people you don’t need penalties when you don’t want it. Companies should not be penalized if this law as for the good of the people. [/stextbox]

  •  Flashback: “If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor,” Obama said.
  • As Obamacare was being pushed through Congress in 2010, the Obama administration and its allies were unequivocal in two claims: If you like your doctor and you like your current health care plan, you can keep them both. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius and then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi backed the president fully in this regard. The White House even went so far as to post a “Health Insurance Reform Reality Check” on its website, where “Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform debunks the myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors.” President Obama upped the ante, putting the promise in the form of a “guarantee”:

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]THE PRESIDENT: Here is a guarantee that I’ve made.If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor. Nobody is trying to change what works in the system. We are trying to change what doesn’t work in the system.[/stextbox]

  • While there has been sniping back and forth between the administration and its detractors about the real-world application and implementation of Obamacare, the new Healthcare.gov website has taken some of the mystery out of the controversy. And President Obama and his administration do not fare well in this latest “reality check.” Among the questions that HHS recently added to the website: “Can I keep my own doctor?“ via HHS Admits: You Might Not Be Able to Keep Your Doctor Under Obamacare

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7.22.13 – UK PM Cameron pledges not to arm ‘bad guys’ in Syria

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The paid mercenaries cannot win against Assad so supplying weapons to them at this point will not make a difference. The paid mercenaries are not Syrian. The US government have their backs against the wall. They need to get this war going with Syria and Iran which eventually lead to WWIII. To move this war forward the Obama administration will now need to change course and prove to the American people and congress of why they need to invade. To do this they will need a false flag event.[/stextbox]

  • Britain will not be supplying the Syrian opposition forces with arms amid fears it could fall into the hands “bad guys’, PM David Cameron has signaled, despite London having pushed for the lifting of the EU arms embargo.
  • David Cameron said he is still committed to helping rebel groups in the fight against the government but acknowledged that these groups include, in his words, “a lot of bad guys.” In an interview with the BBC, Cameron stated that it would be unwise for the country to abandon the rebels, promising that Britain would continue to provide “non-lethal” aid to the Syrian opposition forces.
  • “(There’s) no good complaining about the rebels if you’re not going to try and help those that want a free, democratic, pluralistic Syria,” he said.
  • While acknowledging the presence of extremist factions amongst rebel groups, Cameron simultaneously criticized the government of Bashar al-Assad.
  • “I think he may be stronger than he was a few months ago but I’d still describe the situation as a stalemate,” he said. There was “appalling behavior from this dreadful regime using chemical weapons,” Cameron claimed, admitting though that there also was “too much extremism amongst some of the rebels.”
  • However, the prime minister did not quite manage to make a full and sincere confirmation that Britain would not send weapons with no ifs, ands, or buts.
  • “We’re not intervening by supplying weapons, but I think we can with partners… strengthen those parts of the Syrian opposition that really do represent the Syrian people,” Cameron said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “We’re working with other like-minded countries including those in the region,” he continued.
  • Cameron’s government – along with France – went against 25 out of the then-27 EU member states who wanted to renew the arms embargo on Syria at the end of May. As a result of the opposition form the two, the embargo was dropped meaning the rebels could then be supplied with arms.
  • Since the early stage of the Syrian conflict, Cameron has been calling on the international community to engage more closely with the Syrian rebels and saying Damascus must feel pressure to be defeated.
  • Now, Cameron’s rhetoric has slightly changed, but political analyst Deepak Tripathi believes that is only because the prime minister does not have enough support either in parliament or the international community to push through the idea of openly arming the rebels.
  • “At home he will have difficulty in getting the Parliament’s approval, because there is quite a lot of unease after Iraq. His coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats are not supportive, and public opinion is not supportive,” Tripathi explained.
  • “Abroad it is being realized in the West that no matter how much there are assurances from western governments that only good guys will get help in terms of arms supplies, that’s not the case on the ground,” he added.

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7.22.13 – US, Israel launch joint aerial drill

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US government and Israel are preparing for the invasion of Syria and Iran. One way or another the US and Israel will be heading into war. The eventual war is needed to cover up the economic collapse[/stextbox]

  • The United States and Israel have begun a joint aerial drill. According to a statement by the Israel military the two-week “Juniper Stallion 13” aerial exercise began Sunday morning.
  • An undisclosed number of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets from both sides are participating in the training event. It’s held at Uvda Base in the southern Negev Desert, during which pilots will practice air-to- air combat maneuvers, mid-air refueling, bombing runs and other missions.
  • The United States European Command (EUCOM) is involved in the aerial war games which will focus air-to- air combat maneuvers, mid-air refueling, bombing runs and other missions.
  • The exercise comes after a two-day visit to Israel on July 14 by EUCOM’s Commander General Philip M. Breedlove.
  • “The combined exercise is designed to improve the interoperability and cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. air forces, and has been planned for more than a year,” an Israeli military source told Xinhua.
  • The U.S. is Israel’s biggest ally and international supporter. It supports Tel Aviv financially, militarily and diplomatically. Washington is providing billions of dollars of military aid to Tel Aviv annually.
  • During Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $8.5 million per day in military aid.
  • Meanwhile Times of Israel has reported that “Israel would receive $3.4 billion in total military aid under the 2014 U.S. budget proposal sent to Congress by President Barack Obama”. The proposal is inclusive of “$3.1 billion in general military aid for Israel, similar to 2013, plus a separate request for $220 million to finance the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.”
  • “Obama’s 2014 proposal also allocates $96 million for joint U.S.-Israel research and development projects, including the David’s Sling and Arrow missile defense systems. The overall budget proposal that Obama submitted to Congress on Wednesday totalled $3.8 trillion.”
  • If Americans Knew website (http://ifamericansknew.org/stats/usaid.html) reports that “Beginning in 2007, the U.S. has increased military aid by $150 million each year. Beginning 2012, we will be sending Israel $3.1 billion a year (or an average of $8.5 million a day) and will continue to provide military aid at that level through 2018. U.S. tax dollars are subsidizing one of the most powerful foreign militaries.”
  • In Israel’s last two wars on the Gaza Strip alone, Operation Cast Lead (27 December 2008- 18 January 2009) and November 2012, hundreds of civilians, including many women and children were killed.
  • In addition to financial and military aid, the U.S. has vetoed over 40 UN resolutions that have been critical of Israel and its policies towards Palestine.

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7.22.13 – ECONOMIC COLLAPSE May Happen Within the Next 3 – 6 Months 2013, Everything Here Is Unprecedented!

  • Bernanke Confirms: “If We Were To Tighten Policy, The Economy Would Tank”
  • Financial analysts have opined that the United States is well on the road to recovery. They cite various data points to make the case that the multi-trillion dollar bailouts and stimulus have brought us back from the brink of a collapse so serious thatCongressional leaders had been told that should the bailouts fail, there was a real possibility of martial law being declared.
  • We’re doing so well, in fact, that just a couple of years ago President Obama assured the nation of our progress, claiming that we “reversed the recession, avoided a depression, [and] got the economy moving again.”
  • But were one to take a step back from the rhetoric of talking heads, political leaders and so-called Wall Street experts, a completely different picture begins to emerge.
  • Just this week it was announced that not only are housing starts plummeting, but permit applications reported their “largest miss in history,” an indicator that the economy is not as healthy as it has been made out to be. And, while stock markets are hitting all-time record highs, what’s curious is that some of the world’s largest companies, including Intel, IBM, Google, Ebay and FedEx, are reporting significant consumer pull back and earnings below analyst expectations.
  • And if that hasn’t convinced you, then here is the reality of the situation directly from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the architect of the most massive economic recovery “plan” ever devised in the history of the world.

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

“I don’t think the Fed can get interest rates up very much, because the economy is weak, inflation rates are low,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee.

“If we were to tighten policy, the economy would tank.”

(Courier Mail)

[/stextbox]Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.22.13 – Gold Breaks Above $1300 As Shorts Cover Most In 4 Months

  • Almost 11% of short gold positions covered in the last week according to CFTC Commitment of Traders’ data. That is the largest weekly drop in net shorts for four months and the combined futures-and-options net long position jumped 13,287 contracts or an impressive 48% (the most since Nov 08). Following the ubiquitous “sell-while-Bernanke-is-speaking” dump last Wednesday gold has risen almost 4% touching $1320 this evening as Asia opens. So with Asian physical demand remaining high and COMEX vault’s running dry (and JPMorgan’s on fire), we wonder – now that Taper is off (according to equity market pundits) if this is the start of the long-awaited short-covering rally back to reality for the precious metal.

Big short-covering in gold last week…

 

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7.21.13 – If We Don’t Break Up the Big Banks, They Will Manipulate More and More of the Economy … Making Us Poorer and Poorer

[stextbox id=”x22report”]There is no more free market, the central bankers control every aspect of the worlds market. They are manipulating everything to their benefit, in the end all wealth will be moved from the people to the central bankers[/stextbox]

  • Interest Rates Are Manipulated
  • Interest rates are rigged:
  • The big banks have conspired for years to rig interest rates … upon which $800 trillion in assets are pegged
  • This was the largest insider trading scandal ever … and the largest financial scam in world history
  • Local governments got ripped off bigtime by the Libor manipulation
  • Libor is still being manipulated
  • Derivatives Are Manipulated
  • The big banks have long manipulated derivatives … a $1,200 Trillion Dollar market.
  • Indeed, many trillions of dollars of derivatives are being manipulated in the exact same same way that interest rates are fixed: through gamed self-reporting.
  • Currency Markets Are Rigged
  • Currency markets are massively rigged.
  • Commodities Are Manipulated
  • The big banks and government agencies have been conspiring to manipulate commodities prices for decades.
  • The big banks are taking over important aspects of the physical economy, including uranium mining, petroleum products, aluminum, ownership and operation of airports, toll roads, ports, and electricity.
  • And they are using these physical assets to massively manipulate commodities prices … scalping consumers of many billions of dollars each year.
  • Gold and Silver Are Manipulated
  • The Guardian and Telegraph report that gold and silver prices are “fixed” in the same way as interest rates and derivatives – in daily conference calls by the powers-that-be.
  • Oil Prices Are Manipulated
  • Oil prices are manipulated as well.
  • Everything Can Be Manipulated through High-Frequency Trading
  • Traders with high-tech computers can manipulate stocks, bonds, options, currencies and commodities. And see this.
  • Manipulating Numerous Markets In Myriad Ways
  • The big banks and other giants manipulate numerous markets in myriad ways, for example:
  • Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this and this
  • Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here
  • Charging “storage fees” to store gold bullion … without even buying or storing any gold . And raiding allocated gold accounts
  • Committing massive and pervasive fraud both when they initiated mortgage loans and when they foreclosed on them (and see this)
  • Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See this, this, this, this and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car
  • Cheating homeowners by gaming laws meant to protect people from unfair foreclosure
  • Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, this, this and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “frontrunning” to manipulate markets. See this, this, this, this, this and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this
  • Otherwise manipulating markets. And see this
  • Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See this, this and this
  • Charging veterans unlawful mortgage fees
  • Cooking their books (and see this)
  • Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments
  • The Big Picture
  • The big picture is simple:
  • The big banks manipulate every market they touch
  • Too much interconnectedness leads to financial instability
  • The government has given the banks huge subsidies … which they are using for speculation and other things which don’t help the economy. In other words, propping up the big banks by throwing money at them doesn’t help the economy
  • Top economists, financial experts and bankers say that the big banks are too large … and their very size is threatening the economy. They say we need to break up the big banks to stabilize the economy
  • Get it? Break up the big banks, or they will continue to take over and manipulate more and more of the economy … increasing their profits while making everyone else poorer.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.21.13 – Central banks told to back off by BIS

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The central bankers know what is coming and they know that the collapse is to be so horrific that they need to hold it off a little while longer to get the wars started to cover this entire mess up. So they are asking the western central bankers around the world to follow the FED which allow the first part of the collapse to happen this fall.[/stextbox]

  • Governments around the world, including the UK, have been warned in an influential new report to stop relying on their central banks to kick-start growth.
  • Just days before Sir Mervyn King (pictured) hands over the keys of the Bank of England to successor Mark Carney, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), which represents the world’s central banks, said its members have already done enough to aid a recovery and more stimulus measures would only hurt financial stability.
  • In the same week that Ben Bernanke – chairman of America’s Federal Reserve – signalled an end to quantitative easing, BIS called for banks to step back.
  • At its annual meeting in Basel, BIS general manager Jaime Caruana said: ‘Extending monetary stimulus is taking the pressure off those who need to act. Ultra-low interest rates encourage the build-up of even more debt. In fact total debt, private and public, has generally increased as a share of GDP since 2007.’
  • In its annual report BIS said: ‘After all, cheap money makes it easier to borrow than to save, easier to spend than to tax, easier to remain the same than to change.’
  • Caruana lambasted firms and households as well as the public sector for not making good use of the time bought by ‘ultra-loose’ monetary policy.
  • He said this had ended up creating new financial strains and delaying rather than encouraging necessary economic adjustments.
  • BIS, also known as the central bankers club, was one of the few organisations to foresee the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008.
  • Caruana said: ‘Since the beginning of the financial crisis, central banks have supported the global economy with unprecedented measures.
  • ‘Without these forceful and determined policy responses, the global financial system could have easily collapsed, bringing the world economy down with it.
  • ‘But easy financial conditions can do only so much to revitalise long-term growth when balance sheets are impaired and resources are misallocated on a large scale.
  • ‘Central banks have borrowed the time that the private and public sectors need for adjustment, but they cannot substitute for it.’
  • In its main economic review for the year, BIS points out that since the beginning of the global financial crisis, robust, self-sustaining growth still eludes the global economy and governments need to use a different mix of policies to achieve it.

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7.21.13 – Congress Prepares To Limit NSA Spying Reach

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

The laws that congress passed (patriot act, NDAA etc) because of fear are the same laws that are null and void according to Marbury v. Madison () 100 U.S. 1 .

Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.

[/stextbox]

  • Late on Friday, with little fanfare, the government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) reported that the secret FISA court – the “legal” administrators of the NSA’s assorted domestic espionage programs – would be granted an extension of its telephone surveillance program. And while so far the US public has shown a stoic resolve in its response to learning more details about how the US government spies on its day after day, things may soon be changing. As McClatchy reports, “Congress is growing increasingly wary of controversial National Security Agency domestic surveillance programs, a concern likely to erupt during legislative debate – and perhaps prod legislative action – as early as next week.”
  • Among the measures considered are legislation to make those programs less secret, and talk of denying funding and refusing to continue authority for the snooping. Pipe dreams of course, but one consequence of Congress finally responding to the biggest privacy intrusion flap since Watergate, will be to shift attention away from the president, and back to party politics, as it is virtually assured that a majority of republicans and democrats in both chambers will vote to continue the NSA’s programs.
  • The resultant political acrimony and bickering will lead to an even more profound political split, and as the record acute polarization in Congress means absolutely no agreement on any fiscal reforms in the near (and not so near) term, the only “economic force” in town will be the Chairman (or Chairwoman’s soon) monetary policies for years to come. In other words, the Fed will continue to “fix” the Fed’s mistakes of the past century by doing even more of the same.
  • McClatchy has more on what is coming:
  • Most in Congress remain reluctant to tinker with any program that could compromise security, but lawmakers are growing frustrated. “I think the administration and the NSA has had six weeks to answer questions and haven’t done a good job at it. They’ve been given their chances, but they have not taken those chances,” said Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.
  • The House of Representatives could debate one of the first major bids for change soon. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is trying to add a provision to the defense spending bill, due for House consideration next week, that would end the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ telephone records. It’s unclear whether House leaders will allow the measure to be considered.
  • Other legislation could also start moving. Larsen is pushing a measure to require tech companies to publicly disclose the type and volume of data they have to turn over to the federal government. Several tech firms and civil liberties groups are seeking permission to do so.
  • Other bipartisan efforts are in the works. Thirty-two House members, led by Amash and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., are backing a plan to restrict Washington’s ability to collect data under the Patriot Act on people not connected to an ongoing investigation. Also active is a push to require the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which rules on government surveillance requests, to be more transparent.
  • “It is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to have a full and frank discussion about this balance when the public is unable to review and analyze what the executive branch and the courts believe the law means,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who has asked the administration to make the opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court public.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is leading an effort along with Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, to have the court’s judges nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Currently, the Supreme Court’s chief justice selects judges from those holding other federal district court judgeships.
  • Schiff also is pushing a measure, along with Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., to require the attorney general to declassify significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act opinions, and got a boost Friday from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
  • What is most ironic, is that the NSA is operating under laws and rules previously passed by the same Congress that only now is having second thoughts on its enacted legislation. Of course, as always happens, the bills must be passed for Congress to justify its existence and only subsequently tone them down or undo them entirely.

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7.21.13 – Political Instability hinders Italy’s recovery from recession: Bank of Italy

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Europe is in trouble, unemployment, debt is spreading all over and cannot be stop. Countries will need to continue to pile on debt just to get by.  The question is this, has bailouts, bail-ins or anything else they tried worked. NO!!!.  Piling on debt on to debt, robbing the people of their money and having people not working will not solve the problem.[/stextbox]

  • The head of Italy’s central bank Ignazio Visco says political instability in the debt-ridden country will affect Milan’s recovery from recession.
  • “This is a critical phase…There is a stability issue, also from a political point of view, which affects the (country’s) ability to pursue opportunities for recovery,” Visco said on Saturday.
  • Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year.
  • Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy.
  • In June, Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta apologized to unemployed Italian young people who must leave the debt-stricken country to find jobs, saying “The biggest debt that we are accumulating, by repeating the mistakes of the previous generations, is towards the young people, which is an unforgivable mistake.”
  • On July 12, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings agency downgraded its credit ratings on the two biggest Italian banks, UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo.
  • On July 9, S&P downgraded Italy’s sovereign credit rating to BBB from BBB+, with a negative outlook.
  • Meanwhile, Italy’s national statistics office said in a report that the number of Italians living in absolute and relative poverty has soared in 2012 with families in southern Italy being hit the hardest.
  • The report, citing a study conducted by ISTAT, revealed on July 17 that about 4.8 million people, or 8 percent of the population, are grappling with absolute poverty, meaning they are unable to afford the minimum acceptable living standard.
  • In 2011, 3.4 million people were reported to be living in poverty.

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7.21.13 – NSA Spokesman Accidentally Admits that the Government Is Spying On Virtually All Americans

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Spying is just that spying, it violates the 4th amendment. [/stextbox]

  • NSA Spying: A Matter of Degree
  • We have long noted that the government is spying on just about everything we do.
  • The NSA has pretended that it only spies on a small number of potential terrorists. But NSA Deputy Director John C. Inglis inadvertently admitted that the NSA could spy on just about all Americans.
  • Inglis told Congress last week that the agency conducts “three-hop” analysis.
  • Three-hop (also known as “three degree”) analysis means:
  • The government can look at the phone data of a suspected terrorist, plus the data of all of the contacts, then all of those people’s contacts, and all of those people’s contacts.
  • This means that a lot of people could be caught up in the dragnet:
  • If the average person calls 40 unique people, three-hop analysis could allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans when investigating one suspected terrorist.
  • Given that there are now approximately 875,000 people in the government’s database of suspected terrorists – including many thousands of Americans – every single American living on U.S. soil could easily be caught up in the dragnet.
  • For example, 350 million Americans divided by 2.5 million Americans caught up in dragnet for each suspected terrorist, means that a mere 140 potential terrorists could lead to spying on all Americans. There are tens of thousands of Americans listed as suspected terrorists … including just about anyone who protests anything that the government or big banks do.
  • As the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes:
  • According to an unusually blunt Senate investigation of so-called “fusion centers” released last month, the TIDE [i.e. suspected terrorist] database is also full of information of innocent people that have nothing to do with terrorism. The report gave examples of: a TIDE profile of a person whom the FBI had already cleared of any connection to terrorism, a TIDE profile of a two-year old-boy, and even a TIDE profile of Ford Motor Company.

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7.21.13 – Syria government is stronger now, British PM admits

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The central bankers and governments have their backs against the wall. The war on Syria is not going well, they need to create some type of urgency to have a reason to bring troops into Syria. One way to do this is with a false flag event[/stextbox]

  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has strengthened his position in recent months, British Prime Minister David Cameron admits.
  • Speaking on the state-run BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Cameron said the Syrian government is stronger now than few months ago.
  • “I think he [Assad] may be stronger than he was a few months ago but I’d still describe the situation as a stalemate,” Cameron said.
  • He also said London is still committed to help the insurgents in Syria despite dorpping plans to arm them in the Arab country.
  • Britain pushed to lift an European Union (EU) arms embargo on Syria militants to open up the possibility for the West to arm the insurgents fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
  • Cameron, however, held off after military chiefs warned over the risks of arming the insurgents.
  • According to reports, British public is largely against sending arms to the militats in Syria. There are also fears that any weapons Britain supply could fall into the hands of extremists.
  • Syrian government forces recaptured the strategically important town of al-Qusayr in Western Syria in June. Most of the much bigger city of Homs also has been retaken by the government troops.
  • Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 90,000 people have died and millions of others displaced in the violence.
  • The Western countries, including Britain, and their other regional allies, have been supporting over two years of militancy in Syria.

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7.21.13 – The Confiscation of Bank Savings to “Save the Banks”: The Diabolical Bank “Bail-In” Proposal 

[stextbox id=”x22report”]To prepare for this, personally I would remove as much money as you can from the banks. I am sure the Cyprus people wished they had.[/stextbox]

  • Is the Cyprus Bank “Bail-in” a “dress rehearsal” for things to come?
  • Is a “Savings Heist” in the European Union and North America envisaged which could result in the outright confiscation of bank deposits?
  • In Cyprus, the entire payments system has been disrupted leading to the demise of the real economy.
  • Pensions and wages are no longer paid. Purchasing power has collapsed.
  • The population is impoverished.
  • Small and medium sized enterprises are spearheaded into bankruptcy.
  • Cyprus is a country with a population of one million.
  • What would happen if similar ‘hair cut” procedures were to be applied in the U.S. or the European Union?
  • According to the Washington based Institute of International Finance (IIF) (right) which represents the consensus of the global financial establishment, “the Cyprus approach of hitting depositors and creditors when banks fail, would likely become a model for dealing with collapses elsewhere in Europe.” (Economic Times, March 27, 2013).
  • It should be understood that prior to the Cyprus onslaught, the confiscation of bank deposits had been contemplated in several countries. Moreover, the powerful financial actors who triggered the bank crisis in Cyprus, are also the architects of the socially devastating austerity measures imposed in the European Union and North America.
  • Does Cyprus constitute a “model” or scenario?
  • Are there “lessons to be learned” by these powerful financial actors, to be applied elsewhere, at some later stage, in the Eurozone’s banking landscape?
  • ording to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), “hitting depositors” could become the “new normal” of this diabolical project, serving the interests of the global financial conglomerates.
  • This new normal is endorsed by the IMF and the European Central Bank. According to the IIF which constitutes the banking elites mouthpiece, “Investors would be well advised to see the outcome of Cyprus… as a reflection of how future stresses will be handled.” (quoted in Economic Times, March 27, 2013)
  • “Financial Cleansing”. Bail-ins in the US and Britain
  • What is at stake is a process of “financial cleansing” whereby the “too big to fail banks” in Europe and North America (e.g. Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, et al ) displace and destroy lesser financial institutions, with a view to eventually taking over the entire “banking landscape”.
  • The underlying tendency at the national and global levels is towards the centralization and concentration of bank power, while leading to the dramatic slump of the real economy.
  • Bail ins have been envisaged in numerous countries. In New Zealand a “haircut plan” was envisaged as early as 1997 coinciding with Asian financial crisis.
  • There are provisions in both the UK and the US pertaining to the confiscation of bank deposits. In a joint document of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England, entitled Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions, explicit procedures were put forth whereby “the original creditors of the failed company “, meaning the depositors of a failed bank, would be converted into “equity”. (See Ellen Brown, It Can Happen Here: The Bank Confiscation Scheme for US and UK Depositors,Global Research, March 2013)
  • What this means is that the money confiscated from bank accounts would be used to meet the failed bank’s financial obligations. In return, the holders of the confiscated bank deposits would become stockholders in a failed financial institution on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • Bank savings would be transformed overnight into an illusive concept of capital ownership. The confiscation of savings would be adopted under the disguise of a bogus “compensation” in terms of equity.
  • What is envisaged is the application of a selective process of confiscation of bank deposits, with a view to collecting debt while also triggering the demise of “weaker” financial institutions. In the US, the procedure would bypass the provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which insures deposit holders against bank failures:

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7.21.13 – TSA Orders Vehicle Searches Without Consent At Airports

  • Nowadays the Transportation & Security Administration (TSA) is everywhere. From your kids high school prom, to bus stations and airports, Americans rights are being violated daily now and no one cares.
  • In an all out draconian push, the TSA is likely now ordering the search of vehicles that utilize the valet parking amenities at airports as reported by others. One woman found a card, similar to the ones inserted into searched luggage, in her private vehicle after being inspected by valet attendants. The yellow card reads, “Your vehicle has been inspected under TSA regulations” in full violation of citizens rights.
  • However, according to a WHEC.com report, the TSA admits they have only been inspecting valet parked vehicles, not vehicles parked in short and long-term parking areas. Some wonder what is the bias. Why not search all cars if you search valet? The TSA says that short and long-term parking structures poses less risk to the airport. The TSA is instructed to look for large amounts of explosive materials as they search the trunk, engine, and the inside of valet parked vehicles.
  • The woman who fell victim to the unlawful search and others like her are furious.

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7.21.13 – Greece may have to leave eurozone, European economist says

[stextbox id=”x22report”]How can you reduce debt when they keep piling on new debt? Unemployment is continually rising and without business and people working there are no taxes. Greece is moving towards collapse, but don’t worry this is what the central bankers want because Greece has natural resources they want.  [/stextbox]

  • A European economist, Ben May, says the recession-hit Greece may be forced to leave the eurozone if the country’s international creditors cannot reduce Athens’ debts.
  • “If Eurozone creditors behave unwilling in decreasing Greece’s debt burden, it might lead to the country’s collapse and quit from Euro zone,” said the economist at the London-based finance institution Capital Economics on Saturday.
  • Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its sixth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.
  • On July 8, Eurozone finance ministers decided to agree on the recommendations by the so-called troika of international lenders — the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — to release nearly 7 billion euros (USD 9.2 billion) in financial aid for Greece.
  • This is while, in order to receive the approved rescue funds, Greece must stick to the agenda of either transferring or laying off thousands of civil servants, including Athens municipal police, teachers and school security personnel, by the end of this year.
  • Athens was granted a 110-billion-euro (USD 145-billion) bailout by the so-called troika in May 2010.
  • Another 130-billion euro (USD 170-billion) rescue package was approved in February 2012.
  • The record high unemployment level in Greece stands at 27 percent and 62.5 percent of the youths are without work.
  • One out of every five Greek workers is currently unemployed; banks are in a shaky position, and pensions and salaries have been slashed by up to 40 percent.

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7.21.13 – 25 Facts About The Fall Of Detroit That Will Leave You Shaking Your Head

  • 1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors.
  • 2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.
  • 3) Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.
  • 4) In 1950, there were about 296,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit. Today, there are less than 27,000.
  • 5) Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.
  • 6) There are lots of houses available for sale in Detroit right now for $500 or less.
  • 7) At this point, there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.
  • 8) About one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.
  • 9) An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.
  • 10) Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.
  • 11) If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
  • 12) Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, but over the past 60 years the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.
  • 13) The city of Detroit is now very heavily dependent on the tax revenue it pulls in from the casinos in the city. Right now, Detroit is bringing in about 11 million dollars a month in tax revenue from the casinos.
  • 14) There are 70 “Superfund” hazardous waste sites in Detroit.
  • 15) 40 percent of the street lights do not work.
  • 16) Only about a third of the ambulances are running.
  • 17) Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 miles on them.
  • 18) Two-thirds of the parks in the city of Detroit have been permanently closed down since 2008.
  • 19) The size of the police force in Detroit has been cut by about 40 percent over the past decade.
  • 20) When you call the police in Detroit, it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond.
  • 21) Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.
  • 22) The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higher than the national average.
  • 23) The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.
  • 24) Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.
  • 25) Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk”.

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7.21.13 – BREAKING: Massive Fire Reported In The Basement At The JP Morgan Gold Warehouse On Wall Street, 20 Firetrucks Showed Up!

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Seriously!!!  Is this the excuse they are going to use of why the gold is missing from the vaults.  How convenient [/stextbox]

  • 20 Firetrucks, 4+ ambulance and police showed up
  • There is zero media coverage about this beside Stopmotions stream of the event and a few locals tweeting about it
  • This is supposedly where JP Morgan keeps their gold. The very same gold that has been dwindling down at astonishing rates lately. JP Morgan warehouse 100 feet below CMP 1 on Wall Street.
  • Tons of Fire Trucks and even Ambulances on the scene.
  • FDNY Confirms Fire in JPMorgan/Chase Vault
  • New York – There has been a fire in the basement of the JP Morgan headquarters in New York. Independent Journalist Motionsolo was on scene to film the action from outside.
  • *BREAKING* MASSIVE FIRE REPORTED IN JP MORGAN BASEMENT VAULT! GOLD FORCE MAJEURE?
  • *UPDATE: FDNY tweet confirms fire is in a commercial vault!
  • A journalist on scene on Wall Street this evening has just sent us footage of a massive fleet of Firetrucks and ambulances in front of JP Morgan’s headquarters at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, with fire-fighters stating they are responding to a COMMERCIAL VAULT FIRE IN THE BASEMENT!
  • With JPM’s gold inventory plunging 66% Friday to an all-time low of 46,000 ounces, and with reportedly over 502,000 ounces still standing against JPM for the JUNE gold contract, is the long anticipated force-majeure event in progress?

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7.21.13 – China buying the equivalent of 100% of global gold mine production

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Seems like the Chinese are preparing to be the reserve currency of the world backed by gold[/stextbox]

  • The physical gold market continues to develop in the most wonderfully counterintuitive way. While the paper gold price languishes below US$1,300 per ounce, physical demand out of China is now reaching previously unforeseen levels. If you’ve heard this story before, it’s more of the same, except that the demand tonnage is now so high as to be almost comical.
  • According to data released by the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the amount of gold contracts settled for physical delivery on its exchange reached a staggering 1,098 metric tonnes year-to-date as of the end of June.1 This is an astoundingly large amount of physical gold. For perspective, 1,098 tonnes represents approximately 40% of the entire estimated global gold mine production in 2013. It also represents roughly 1/8th of the US Treasury’s official gold reserves, and over 100% of China’s stated official gold reserves. If the rate of physical delivery on the Shanghai Gold Exchange continues at current levels, it will deliver the equivalent of over 100% of global mine production by the end of this year… all through one exchange.

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7.21.13 – China Warns Of “Overly Optimistic Forecasts”; Tells G-20 To Mind Your Own Economies

  • In a wide-ranging interview with Xinhua, the Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei started from the normal fantasy-land of central-planners by noting that the topic of a Chinese hard-landing “was not discussed at the G-20,” because “no participant believes in the existence of that risk.” Commenting on calls for the Chinese to launch new stimulus (to save the world’s economy), Lou admonished the other nations, adding “I suggest they fulfill their own due work rather than counting mainly on others.” He remained adamant that China is still growing and creating jobs but fears what everyone else fears: “The global market will sustain negative impact should the Fed fail to interact properly with other components of the market.” In other words, “get to work, Mr. Bernanke, and don’t remove the punchbowl,” because as Lou notes, “some countries are overly optimistic on their outlooks.”
  • Via Xinhua,
  • China Finance Minister Lou Jiwei as saying at G-20 meeting in Moscow:
  • Some developed countries appear to be overly optimistic about the economic outlook and
  • The U.S. is actually planning to exit its quantitative easing.
  • Private consumption in U.S. may weaken if U.S. rolls back QE
  • U.S. economic growth may slow again and
  • U.S. may be forced to roll out a new round of QE which may jolt global financial markets, affecting not only emerging markets but also peripheral countries in Europe
  • U.S. must implement stable strategy to exit QE to avoid the situation that it may have to restart easing after a withdrawal

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7.20.13 – Boehner, GOP Renew Pledge to Overturn Obamacare

[stextbox id=”x22report”]This is what happens when you don’t read and review what is being voted on. Now they see that Obamacare has nothing with providing the people with something good. How can something be good for the people because if don’t take Obamacare the government takes your money. [/stextbox]

 

  • House Speaker John Boehner renewed his vow to abolish President Barack Obama’s health-care law after the Republican-controlled chamber voted to postpone two of the legislation’s key provisions.
  • “Obamacare is bad for America,” Boehner said in a taped interview for “Face the Nation” on CBS that airs on Sunday, according to an excerpt released by the network.
  • “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that it never happens,” the Ohio Republican said.
  • The House this week voted to delay by a year the enforcement of both the employer mandate and a centerpiece of the health law: the requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine.
  • In Saturday’s weekly GOP address, Reps. Tim Griffin and Todd Young urged Senate Democrats to allow a vote on legislation to protect all Americans from Obamacare mandates. Griffin, of Arkansas, and Young, of Indiana, spoke about the delays in the Obamacare plan and call for protective measures to be taken.
  • “As Americans, we want to see our children have the same opportunities we’ve had,” said Griffin. “We want them to work hard and have a fair shot at achieving success. So whenever Washington helps businesses and ignores families and workers, Americans have a duty to speak up.”
  • The Democratic Obama administration announced earlier this month that it would delay until 2015 a mandate that U.S. businesses with 50 or more workers provide their employees with health insurance.
  • “If Obamacare was workable, why did the president announce he wasn’t going to enforce the employer mandate?” Boehner asked in the CBS interview.
  • Young said the Obama administration’s plans to delay the employer mandate in the healthcare law has left many hardworking taxpayers asking “what about me? What about my family?” when it comes to the looming mandate that all Americans obtain insurance.
  • “After all, the law’s mandates are just as daunting for individuals ,” said Young. “And they don’t have an army of lawyers, lobbyists and accountants at their disposal to make sense of it all. The government just put out an additional 145 pages of regulations on the individual mandate alone. How are ordinary citizens supposed to keep up?”
  • Griffin said Republicans understand how Obamacare is worrying the American public, and said that if the president is helping out businesses by exempting them from mandates, “he ought to give the same relief to folks like you.”
  • Young, who sponsored the House “Fairness for American Families Act,” which provides the same mandate relief to individuals as business enjoy, said many Democrats voted against the measure and to “stand with big business and against fairness for individuals and families.”
  • Obama has also threatned a veto on the proposals, said Young, which Republicans are urging him to reconsider.
  • “We take that to mean he thinks it’s fair to let businesses off the hook while leaving middle-class families in harm’s way,” said Young. “Well, it most certainly is not, and we urge him to reconsider his veto threat. We also call on Democratic leaders in the Senate to give our proposals a vote immediately in the name of fairness.”
  • Griffin said the whole Obamacare plan “is a train wreck, plain and simple,” and Young noted that “the sooner we can delay, dismantle, and repeal the president’s health care law, the sooner we can get people back to work and focus on expanding opportunity for everyone.”
  • The Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to take up the House measures, which Senator Patty Murray of Washington called “pointless pandering.”
  • Obama defended his health law at the White House on Thursday.
  • “Health-care costs have slowed drastically in some areas since we passed the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “New competition, new choices, market forces are pushing costs down.”

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7.20.13 – JPM Eligible Gold Plummets By 66% In One Day To Just Over 1 Tonne, Total Gold At Fresh All Time Low

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So where is all this gold going? Are people demanding their gold and trading in their worthless paper contracts? With this much gold leaving JPM this is a signal of what is coming, everyone is preparing themselves for the collapse. [/stextbox]

  • For over a month, JPMorgan managed to mysteriously avoid matching up the gold held in its (world’s largest) vault with the Comex delivery notice update. However, as of today, that particular can will be kicked no more. Starting yesterday, JPM reported that just under 12,000 ounces of Eligible gold (the same Registered gold that two days earlier saw its warrants detached and convert to eligible) were withdrawn from its warehouse 100 feet below CMP 1. But it was today’s move that was the kicker, as a whopping 90,311 ounces of eligible gold were withdrawn, accounting for a massive 66% of the firm’s entire inventory of non-Registered gold, and leaving a token 46K ounces, or a little over 1 tonne in JPM’s possession.

  • Needless to say, today’s massive move which increasingly puts JPM’s gold holdings in the danger zone vis-a-vis future delivery notices which just refuse to stop, has pushed total JPM vault gold to a new all time low of just 436k ounces, or a little under 14 tonnes with just 12 tonnes, or 390k ounces, of Registered gold left and rapidly draining. And to think that two years ago around this time JPM had over 3 million ounces of gold in its possession.
  • Finally, those who believe there is a connection between the ongoing run on JPM’s vault gold, the suppressed price of the metal, the redemption of Bundesbank gold, and the fact that 3M GOFO has now been negative for 10 straight days or the longest period in history it has been below zero, and indicating an unprecedented gold collateral shortage, you are correct.

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7.20.13 – FAA warns Colorado town that shooting down drones could lead to prosecution

  • On the heels of a Colorado town’s announcement that it was floating the idea of legalized drone hunting, the Federal Aviation Administration has warned that the practice could result in prosecution and fines.
  • The small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is currently weighing an ordinance that would grant residents permits to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, and even encourage the practice by awarding a $100 bounty to anyone presenting identifiable pieces of a drone that has been shot out of the sky.
  • Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, who introduced the ordinance for debate – while admitting the move would be largely symbolic – voiced distrust towards the quickly proliferating technology already shared by many others, in particular privacy advocates who recoil at the thought of flying cameras hovering over American communities.
  • “Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way,” says Steel.
  • “We do not want drones in town. They fly in town, they get shot down,” he added.
  • In response, the FAA has released a statement that seeks to answer many of the questions raised by such a city ordinance, whether symbolic or otherwise.
  • A drone “hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air,” the statement said.
  • “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane,” adds the FAA.

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7.20.13 – No new developments regarding Tehran, Washington talks: Iran

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US government and central bankers do not want peace, this is why there are sanctions to try to force Iran to give in. They want the country of Iran to adopt the US dollar as the reserve currency with a central bank.  Until Iran does this there will be no peace.[/stextbox]

  • Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araqchi says there have been no new developments with regards to direct negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the US.
  • “No new issue has been raised with regards to direct negotiations,” Araqchi said Saturday.
  • The Iranian official added that speculation by individuals or institutions have no concrete basis.
  • “The new [Iranian] administration has not made any decisions about entering talks with the US,” Araqchi added.
  • Former US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said in an article published by The Times Record on Friday that Tehran and Washington may hold their first direct negotiations in 34 years in the second half of 2013.
  • Earlier this week, nearly 120 American lawmakers in the US House of Representatives signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to engage in negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
  • We believe it would be a mistake not to test whether Dr. Rohani’s election represents a real opportunity for progress toward a verifiable, enforceable agreement. … In order to test this proposition, it will be prudent for the United States to utilize all diplomatic tools to reinvigorate ongoing nuclear talks,” the letter read.
  • Iran’s President-elect Hassan Rohani won 50.7 percent of the latest presidential election in Iran to secure an outright victory.
  • This is while according to a report by The Washington Post, the US Congress has postponed sending its annual sanctions legislation on Iran to the White House.
  • Citing Congressional Quarterly, the report claimed that the legislation will not be considered until October at the earliest.
  • While no specific reason has been officially announced as to why the sending of the legislation has been delayed, The Washington Post report said it might have been due to certain considerations by the Congress following the election of Rohani.
  • The US, Israel and some of their allies falsely claim that Iran might be pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with Washington and the European Union using the unfounded allegation as a pretext to impose illegal sanctions on Iran.
  • Tehran strongly rejects the groundless claim over its nuclear energy activities, maintaining that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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7.20.13 – Iran set to sign gas export deal with Iraq in Baghdad

[stextbox id=”x22report”]See what the central bankers have done, they need to get control of Iran and Syria to get their natural resources, pump them into the other US/central banker controlled countries and have each deal done in the US dollar.   They need to have Iran and Syria on the US reserve currency.[/stextbox]

  • Tehran and Baghdad are set to officially sign an agreement for Iran to supply natural gas to neighboring Iraq’s Al-Baghdad and Al-Mansouriyah power plants, an Iranian official says.
  • Deputy Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said Saturday that the agreement would be signed by Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi and his Iraqi counterpart, Abdul Kareem Luaibi, in Baghdad on Sunday.
  • Noting that negotiations between the two countries’ officials have been under way since two and a half years ago, Owji said that Iran would be pumping 25 mcm per day of natural gas to the two Iraqis power plant.
  • The official stated that Iran would receive nearly USD 10 million a day and USD 3.7 billion a year from natural gas exports to Iraqi power plants.
  • This is while the construction of the “friendship” pipeline between Iran, Iraq and Syria has been under way since last year. The pipeline will be designed to enable gas delivery to other Muslim countries like Jordan and Lebanon in the future.
  • The pipeline will stretch from Assaluyeh, near the massive offshore South Pars Gas Field in southern Iran, and will continue into neighboring Iraq to feed Iraqi power plants running on gas.
  • Iran, which sits on the world’s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, is making efforts to up its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, especially in South Pars Gas Field.

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7.20.13 – Egypt to reevaluate relations with Syria: Interim foreign minister

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Nabil Fahmy is taking the opposite approach of Morsi in respect to Syria.  He will be walking a fine line and we will see if the US government and central bankers will approve of his actions of not backing their paid mercenary troops to over through Assad.[/stextbox]

  • Egypt’s newly installed Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy says his country will reevaluate its severed relations with Syria, and will improve ties with the conflict-stricken Arab nation.
  • “The decision to cut full diplomatic ties with Syria will be re-examined,” Fahmy told reporters at a press conference in Cairo on Saturday.
  • He further noted that the situation in Egypt is difficult, and that the North African state will work to enhance its relations with neighboring countries as well as other international players.
  • “Our relations will be with countries and peoples, not with leaders or parties,” the interim Egyptian foreign minister pointed out.
  • Fahmy also stressed that Egypt has no intention of waging a holy war against Syria.
  • Last month, Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus and backed a no-fly zone over Syria. The move pitted the most populous nation in the Arab world against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
  • Fahmy added that “political solution” is the only way to get out of the Syrian crisis.
  • “Only political solution could preserve Syria’s sovereignty,” he added.
  • The Egyptian diplomat noted that Cairo supports the Syrian people’s right to democracy, and is keen to communicate with all Syrian parties.
  • The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed so far.
  • The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants most of whom come from other countries.
  • In addition, several international human rights organizations say the militants operating in Syria have committed war crimes.

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7.20.13 – Worldwide Unemployment Crisis: There Are 93 Million Unemployed Workers In G20 Nations

  • Did you know that the total number of unemployed workers in G20 counties is now up to 93 million and that it is increasing with each passing day? You see, the truth is that the United States is not the only one dealing with a systemic unemployment crisis. This is literally happening all over the planet. So what is causing this crisis? Is there any hope that it will be turned around? Well, unfortunately there are several long-term trends that have been developing for decades that have played a major role in bringing us to this point. First of all, the giant corporations that now totally dominate the global economy have figured out that they can make a lot more money by replacing expensive workers that live in major industrialized nations with workers that live in nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. So it isn’t really a huge mystery why there is such a huge problem with unemployment in the western world. If you were running a giant corporation, why would you want to hire workers that will cost you 10 to 20 times as much as other workers? A worker is a worker, and over the past decade we have seen a massive movement of jobs to countries where labor is cheaper. In addition, large corporations are also trying to completely eliminate as many jobs as they can by using technology. If a corporation can get a computer or a machine or a robot to do a task more cheaply than a human worker can do it, then why would that corporation want to continue to rely on human labor? And of course we have seen an overall weakening of the economies of the western world in recent years as well. This has been particularly true in the United States. As these long-term trends intensify, the worldwide unemployment crisis is going to get even worse.
  • In fact, the director general of the International Labor Organization is fully convinced that unemployment is going to continue to rise in G20 nations. Just check out what he told CNBC on Friday…
  • -The unemployment rate is above 25 percent in South Africa.
  • -The unemployment rate in France recently hit a 15 year high.
  • -The unemployment rate in Italy is up to 12.2 percent, which is the highest in 35 years.
  • -The unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole is up to an all-time high of 12.2 percent.
  • -The unemployment rate in Poland is 13.2 percent.
  • -The unemployment rate in Ireland is now 13.6 percent.
  • -The unemployment rate in Portugal has rocketed up to 17.7 percent.
  • -The unemployment rate in Greece is currently sitting at 26.9 percent and it is being projected that it will soon hit 30 percent.
  • -The unemployment rate in Spain is even worse than in Greece. The unemployment rate in Spain is a staggering 27.2 percent.

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7.20.13 – Big Media’s push for extreme new Internet censorship rules stalls secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership talks

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Whenever government needs to have these types of discussion behind closed doors it means they are doing anything that is in the interest of the people.  They don’t want people to know about it until it is to late. [/stextbox]

  • Big Media lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats are holding closed-door meetings in Malaysia this week, as they continue secret talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a highly secretive and extreme trade deal being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States, Singapore, and Vietnam.
  • Reports from Malaysia indicate that the TPP talks are stalled over five key issues – including a key chapter on copyright and Intellectual Property rights that would censor and criminalize Internet use. This is not good news for Big Media lobbyists, who are demanding the TPP include extreme new copyright rules that could end the open Internet as we know it. Big Media is spending a fortune on lobbying as they try to shore up an old-fashioned, high-cost command and control media business model that no longer makes sense in the Internet age.
  • TPP organizers are going to incredible lengths to lock citizens out of these negotiations – when talks recently took place in Vancouver, Canada’s trade ministry instituted what amounted to a media blackout, even refusing to tell journalists in which part of town the talks were taking place. TPP documents are top secret – unless you’re one of just 600 big industry lobbyists invited to take part.
  • Why all this secrecy? Well, because what’s on the negotiating table is so unpopular that it would never pass with the whole world watching. We know from leaked documents that the TPP contains extreme proposals on copyright that would never pass muster with the public. According to the drafts Big Media’s extreme proposals would criminalize your online activity, invade your privacy, and cost you money.
  • But it’s starting to look like they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, as, despite the secrecy, word is spreading fast about Big Media’s secret and extreme proposals. Citizens across the region are speaking out, with over 15,000 citizens and 30 major organizations uniting behind the Our Fair Deal Coalition, which is demanding an end to restrictive copyright proposals and a fair deal for the future of the Internet.
  • Our allies at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are also sounding the alarm, noting that Big Media’s proposals mean that: “normal online activities could lead you to be cut off from the Internet, have your computer seized, be fined up to $150,000, or even land you in prison.”
  • With talks stalled, momentum is rapidly building behind the campaign to open up the talks to citizen input. Over 23,000 have told U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman not to criminalize our Internet, with thousands more speaking out on Facebook and on Twitter.

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7.20.13 – Hezbollah Sending 80,000 Troops, Trained by Iran, to Syria

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Lebanon is controlled by the US government, they just rounded up 80,000 troops to bring them into the mix to get this war started. I wonder how much they are getting paid to do this? [/stextbox]

  • Some 80 thousand military forces trained by Lebanese Hezbollah were preparing to launch a ground offensive to recapture Syria’s commercial city of Aleppo.
  • According to a report in the UK-based Sunday Times, a Hezbollah commander said the fighters belonging to Syria’s National Defense Force (NDF) have been taught “to fight street by street.”
  • The fighters were also trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the newspaper added.

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7.20.13 – The Economic Recovery Is A Fake, Poverty and Government Dependence Continue To Rise And The Cost of Living Is Beyond Astronomical. The American Dream Turned Nightmare?

  • IMF Economists Say The Economic Recovery Is A Fake
  • MUCH MORE DRAMATIC IMPLICATIONS FOR THE US
  • Daniel Amerman writing in ‘Financialsense’ 11 July points out that the latest IMF leak is not only damagingly truthful, or truthfully damaging about Europe’s economic meltdown, but is at least as damaging for the USA. In fact more so.
  • As the IMF report says, not exactly in these words, since late 2008 a substantial chunk of the US economy has become “artificial”. Another term we could use is “virtualized”. In brief, as the leaked report says, the USA’s private sector basically imploded and has not recovered to this day.
  • Both IMF and national government statistics have either lied about, or miscalculated the economic impact of “fiscal tightening” or the reduction of government spending – or projected reduction as in the case of the US and most other OECD countries. The merest glance at the absurdly manipulated financial markets of today will show their present all-time highs obviously do not relate to the shrunken, downsized and dysfunctional real economy on which these markets squat. Since 2008, the “damage containment” operated in the US, Europe, Japan and other countries, which propels financial markets to literally uncharted highs, is dependent on running unsustainable government deficits.
  • None of these governments have the ability to pay down their snowballing debt, under ordinary circumstances. The Catch 22 is they have to pay it back.
  • THE ECONOMY IS TANKING – REAL GDP IS NOW TRACKING NEGATIVELY!
  • More economic data was released on Monday which further reinforces my contention that entire economy is in a serious decline. In fact, based on several recent economic reports, it’s probably safe to say that the GDP, on a real, inflation-adjusted basis, is now retracting – i.e. we’re in a recession.
  • Please note that to measure real GDP, I’m using the latest reported annualized CPI as calculated by the Government. In fact, the true inflation rate is significantly higher, which means that real GDP is in serious contraction.
  • Don’t act shocked when the Fed announces even more QE before the end of the year…
  • Paying For College Used To Be Like Buying A Car, But Now It’s Like Buying A House
  • My friend Robert Brokamp, one of the stalwarts at The Motley Fool, called my attention to an interesting Atlantic article published earlier this week: A Mystery Behind the Rise of Student Debt. The mystery is embedded in this set of observations:
  • “…out-of-pocket spending started to slide during the ’90s. Adjusted for inflation, students contributed about $4,000 of their own money a year towards tuition at the start of that decade. By 2000, though, student contributions were down to about $3,000. They roughly stabilized until the recession, at which point they plunged once more. Today, students are paying just $2,125 out of pocket.”
  • The mystery, it seems, is how to explain the 25% decline in real (inflation-adjusted) out-of-pocket funding during the roaring ’90s, when real household incomes actually rose, unlike the 21st century (more on household income here).

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7.20.13 – ‘Justice for Trayvon’: Rallies to hit 100 cities

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Will the government use this as an opportunity. Today there will be rallies will there be agents implanted into these rallies to stir something up. We will see?[/stextbox]

  • Rallies throughout America are scheduled outside federal buildings on Saturday to protest a Florida jury’s decision last week to find neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman not guilty of shooting dead unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
  • It is expected that Trayvon Martin’s parents will join the protests organized by the veteran civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton to push the US Justice Department to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman.
  • Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton will lead the Saturday rally along with Sharpton just outside police headquarters in New York.
  • Martin’s father is to lead the demonstration in Miami, where Trayvon lived with his mother and older brother.
  • Reverend Al Sharpton said the protests are planned for more than 100 cities throughout America and expressed hope that they would be peaceful. Earlier this week, protests against the ruling in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay turned violent, resulting in a number of arrests.
  • Trayvon Martin was shot dead over a year ago by Zimmerman, who claimed he acted in self-defense. The prosecution argued that Zimmerman was guilty of second-degree murder, stating that he racially profiled the unarmed teen and assumed he was a criminal when he saw him walking through a gated community in Sanford, Florida. They further claimed that Zimmerman tracked the teenager down and started the fight that led to the shooting.
  • On July 13, Zimmerman, whose voter registration record listed him as hispanic, was acquitted of all charges relating to the fatal shooting of the black teen by a panel of six women jurors. The former neighborhood watch volunteer could have been sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder or up to 30 years for manslaughter if he was found guilty.
  • Zimmerman’s acquittal sparked nationwide protests last weekend as thousands took to the streets in major American cities protesting against the verdict and related issues regarding race, profiling and vigilantism.
  • Federal prosecutors are pursuing an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated civil rights laws, but civil rights experts doubt new charges are likely.
  • On Thursday Florida Governor Rick Scott met with sit-in demonstrators outside his office in Tallahassee. He said he supports the Stand Your Ground law and has no intention of convening a special legislative session to change the self-defense statute that have been adopted in 30 states.
  • On Friday American President Barack Obama warned the public against violence while protesting.
  • He agreed that “There is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws,” and that “If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario … both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”

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7.19.13 – Senators Press for Answers on Syria From Joint Chiefs Chairman

  • Two senior senators pressed Gen. Martin Dempsey for answers about Syria, a day after testy exchanges with the Joint Chiefs chairman over his willingness to provide a personal view of the use of U.S. military force.
  • Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sent a letter to Dempsey on Friday with 11 extensive questions about Syria and Afghanistan. The letter comes a day after McCain and Dempsey tangled at a congressional hearing, and the lawmaker said he would block Dempsey’s nomination to a second term until he gets an adequate response from Dempsey.
  • The two senators said in a statement that they expected answers “as soon as possible in order to move forward promptly with the confirmation proceedings.”
  • Among the questions was a request for Dempsey’s assessment of the “costs, benefits and risks associated with training and arming vetted elements of the Syrian opposition? In your view, could such action alone be sufficient to adequately build the military capability of the moderate opposition in Syria and create the necessary conditions for the administration’s stated policy objective – Bashar Assad’s departure and a negotiated solution to the conflict in Syria — to succeed?”
  • The senators also asked Dempsey whether the U.S. military has the ability to significantly reduce Syria’s air power, ballistic missiles and heavy artillery, and whether taking that step would shift the balance of power in the 2-year-old civil war that has killed an estimated 93,000.
  • At the hearing Thursday, McCain asked Dempsey to provide his personal opinion on which approach in Syria carries greater risk for U.S. national security interests: continued limited action on the part of Washington, or more significant steps such as establishment of a no-fly zone and arming rebel forces with the weapons they need to stem the advance of Assad’s forces.
  • Dempsey said he has provided President Barack Obama with options for the use of U.S. military force in Syria, but he declined to detail those choices. “It would be inappropriate for me to try to influence the decision with me rendering an opinion in public about what kind of force we should use,” Dempsey said.
  • Dempsey added that the question of whether to support the opposition forces in Syria “with direct kinetic strikes … is a decision for our elected officials, not for the senior military leader of the nation.”
  • The use of kinetic strikes, a military term that typically refers to missiles and bombs, “is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government,” he said.
  • Dempsey’s response, McCain said, contradicted his commitment to provide the committee with his personal views, even if those opinions differ from the administration in power.
  • McCain told reporters after leaving the hearing room that he planned to put a hold on the nomination, essentially blocking any further action until he gets acceptable answers from Dempsey.
  • The letter also seeks Dempsey’s assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces and the risks associated with drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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7.19.13 – Judge Seeks to Halt Detroit Bankruptcy Filing

  • Investors dumped Detroit’s municipal bonds a day after the city’s historic bankruptcy filing even as a ruling in state court raised questions about whether the bankruptcy will stand up to court review.
  • Attempts by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to put a positive spin on the filing failed to reassure investors. Prices on some Detroit bonds plunged and there were wider declines in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market.
  • Related: Detroit Files for Bankruptcy
  • The state court judge in Michigan’s capital of Lansing ordered Orr to withdraw the bankruptcy petition because the state law that allowed Snyder to approve the bankruptcy violated the Michigan Constitution. The governor lacks the power to “diminish or impair pension benefits,” according to the ruling by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.
  • Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, acting on behalf of Snyder, quickly filed an appeal with the state appeals court. His office said motions seeking emergency consideration were expected to be filed later on Friday.
  • Ken Klee, a bankruptcy lawyer at Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP, said the Judge Aquilina’s orders could be coming too late in the Detroit bankruptcy case.
  • “The state judge could not order Detroit to dismiss the case or Kevyn Orr to dismiss it, because once it’s filed the automatic stay under the bankruptcy code kicks in, to protect the city and its employees from lawsuits,” he said.
  • Neither Snyder nor Orr could necessarily be compelled to withdraw the city’s petition at this juncture, he added.
  • Orr, who was appointed by Snyder in March to try to resolve the city’s financial crisis and tackle its $18.5 billion in long-term debt, acknowledged that court battles over the need for a bankruptcy filing could be protracted and difficult.
  • A first test in a Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding is whether the city has explored other reasonable options before filing, and the city will “have an eligibility fight, I suspect” over the decision, Orr said.

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7.19.13 – Detroit’s Demise In One Chart

[stextbox id=”x22report”]No jobs, no manufacturing, shrinking population, debt on top of debt, on top of debt leads to this.  Sounds just like America. This is the preview of what’s to come on a very small scale.[/stextbox]

  • Presented with little comment aside to note that no matter how much free money is mis-allocated to a problem, the can-kicking eventually runs out of road and reality bites.

  • Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, with debts of about $18 billion.
  • The population, which peaked at 1.85 million in 1950, has declined to about 700,000, according to U.S. Census data.
  • Manufacturing jobs have fallen from about 296,000 in 1950 to fewer than 27,000 in 2011.

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7.19.13 – The first U.S. land-based ballistic missile defense base in Europe is to be constructed in Romania by KBR.

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Prepping and building more missile bases for the eventual war, which of course is WWIII[/stextbox]

  • The construction contract to build the facility at Romania’s Deveselu Air Base was issued to the Texas-headquartered company by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, and is worth $134 million.
  • “This award demonstrates KBR’s strong technical and project management capabilities, as well as our proven history of performing large, technically challenging projects around the world,” said Andy Summers, group president of KBR Infrastructure, Government and Power. “KBR is honored to have been selected to provide support of vital services to the U.S. Department of Defense and we look forward to the successful and safe completion of this project.”
  • KBR said that under the contract it will re-locate a four-story radar deckhouse structure from the East Coast of the United States to Romania and build various facilities and infrastructure to support the Aegis Ashore weapons system.
  • The contract includes roads, support buildings, communications, security and utilities.
  • The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System is a land-based variant of the Navy’s shipboard Aegis Air and Ballistic Missile Defense System.

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7.19.13 –The NSA Admits It Analyzes More People’s Data Than Previously Revealed

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The NSA is doing way more than this, they are spying on every single American to categorize them into groups so when the collapse comes they know where to look and who to control or get. They are also using the data to blackmail government officials so certain legislation can be passed, steal patent information, receive information on companies and stocks.[/stextbox]

  • As an aside during testimony on Capitol Hill today, a National Security Agency representative rather casually indicated that the government looks at data from a universe of far, far more people than previously indicated.
  • Chris Inglis, the agency’s deputy director, was one of several government representatives—including from the FBI and the office of the Director of National Intelligence—testifying before the House Judiciary Committee this morning. Most of the testimony largely echoed previous testimony by the agencies on the topic of the government’s surveillance, including a retread of the same offered examples for how the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act had stopped terror events.
  • But Inglis’ statement was new. Analysts look “two or three hops” from terror suspects when evaluating terror activity, Inglis revealed. Previously, the limit of how surveillance was extended had been described as two hops. This meant that if the NSA were following a phone metadata or web trail from a terror suspect, it could also look at the calls from the people that suspect has spoken with—one hop. And then, the calls that second person had also spoken with—two hops. Terror suspect to person two to person three. Two hops. And now: A third hop.
  • Think of it this way. Let’s say the government suspects you are a terrorist and it has access to your Facebook account. If you’re an American citizen, it can’t do that currently (with certain exceptions)—but for the sake of argument. So all of your friends, that’s one hop. Your friends’ friends, whether you know them or not—two hops. Your friends’ friends’ friends, whoever they happen to be, are that third hop. That’s a massive group of people that the NSA apparently considers fair game.
  • For a sense of scale, researchers at the University of Milan found in 2011 that everyone on the Internet was, on average, 4.74 steps away from anyone else. The NSA explores relationships up to three of those steps. (See our conversation with the ACLU’s Alex Abdo on this.)
  • Inglis’ admission didn’t register among the members of Congress present, but immediately resonated with privacy advocates online.

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7.19.13 –Syria Army gains control over Aleppo’s al-Rashedin district

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Now we see why the US government is pushing so hard to get into Syria at this point. The paid mercenaries are losing ground and the Syrian forces are taking back their areas. This is unacceptable to the central bankers, so they need to do something to get this war started big time.[/stextbox]

  • The Syrian Army has gained full control over al-Rashedin District in the northern city of Aleppo following fresh advances in the strategic city.
  • Syrian soldiers seized al-Rashedin on Friday after fierce fighting with foreign-backed Takfiri militants across Aleppo, where they destroyed a hideout used by militants for rigging vehicles with explosives.
  • Army units killed a large number of terrorists near al-Ashrafieh, al-Sheikh Maksoud and al-Khalidieh districts and destroyed large caches of weapons and ammunitions used by the militants.
  • Elsewhere, Syrian troops targeted several militant headquarters in the western city of Homs and the southwestern city of Dara’a, just north of the border with Jordan, killing and wounding a number of them.
  • Meanwhile, a commander of the notorious al-Nusra Front was killed during infighting between terrorist gangs in Barzeh, near the Syrian capital.
  • Fierce clashes continue between Kurdish fighters and Takfiri militants who accuse most Islamic sects of being infidels.
  • The fighting is mostly focused on towns and villages near the flashpoint town of Ras al-Ayn, which was recently seized by Kurdish fighters.
  • More than 40 people have been killed since the clashes erupted on Tuesday.
  • Syria has been experiencing deadly unrest since 2011. Many people including large numbers of security and army personnel have been killed in the violence, which has forced millions of others to flee their homes.
  • Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
  • The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants.

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7.19.13 – Filibuster Agreement Means Obama & Reid Can Push Gun Control Through Senate

[stextbox id=”x22report”]As you can see this has nothing to do with the people, they are making back room deals to get certain bills without going through the proper process. Now President Obama is making a deal to get the UN Arms treaty and the Gun Bill through the Senate,  Barack Obama has said he will sign quietly when Congress is not in session. Mr. President if you have to sign something when congress is not in session you are not for the people. [/stextbox]

  • On Tuesday I told you that the Republican leadership in the Senate shook hands with the devil and came to an agreement in order for Barack Obama to push through his radical nominees, among them new Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and the new head of the EPA Gina McCarthy. However, keep in mind that this agreement may just be applied to gun control.
  • McConnell called Democrats’ proposed changes contrary to Senate tradition, which typically requires 60 votes to end debate and move forward on nominations or legislation.
  • “I hope that we’ll come to our senses and not change the core of the Senate. We’ve never changed the rules of the Senate by breaking the rules of the Senate,” McConnell said.
  • But Democrats control the Senate, and Republicans could be at their mercy.
  • However, by Tuesday a deal was done that would not only stop filibusters of the above confirmations, but also confirmations of Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Fred Hochberg for the Export-Import Bank, and Mark Pearce would be confirmed to the NLRB.
  • Gun Owners of America warns though that this could this is just a signal that Harry Reid and the Democrats are merely making it clear they are willing to break the rules in order to win and once that is done the rules are meaningless.
  • So it is with some alarm that we note that Harry Reid — in an exercise of raw power — intends within the next week to try to openly break the Senate rules in order to confirm all pending Executive Branch nominees.
  • You may remember that, at the beginning of the year, Reid made the specious argument that you could change the rules at the beginning of a two-year congressional session — and only at the beginning of the congressional session.
  • Well, we are no longer at the start of the term.
  • GOA then adds:
  • Once it is impossible to filibuster Executive Branch appointments, Obama will soon carry through on his word to slam through a rabidly anti-gun zealot to head the ATF.
  • And does anyone think that the Senate would comply with the niceties of the rules it has obliterated — if what was at stake was an anti-gun zealot nominated to the Supreme Court in order to overturn the Heller and McDonald decisions?
  • Finally, it is just not credible for Reid to say: “I’m going to cheat. But I’m going to define the way in which I cheat to limit my cheating to this narrow way.”
  • So what’s the conclusion? If the Senate’s filibuster rules are removed completely, expect any and all gun control legislation to pass, including the Toomey Manchin amendment, with universal gun registries and possibly even ratification of the United Nations Small Arms Treaty, which Barack Obama has said he will sign quietly when Congress is not in session.
  • GOA reminds us “Gun owners should realize that the Feinstein gun and magazine bans lost by such a large margin only because a lot of anti-gun senators knew they would not muster the 60 votes needed. If there were a 50-vote margin — and their votes made a difference — many of these anti-gunners would switch their votes and pass Feinstein. So the reason gun control did not pass is because the Senate rules allowing us to filibuster it. They may seem dry and boring, but the question of whether we win or lose will depend on them.”
  • Our senators need to hear our voices once again that this type of playing with Senate rules in order to help their political enemies achieve victory is nothing more than selling out their constituents. You can contact your senator here.

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7.19.13 – Pentagon Says 75,000 Troops Might Be Needed to Seize Syria Chemical Arms

[stextbox id=”x22report”]They need to start the war one way or another to cover the collapse. They are still using the chemical weapon story but the American people and congress are not willing to invade Syria for this. The missiles that Syria is importing are self defense missiles and cannot be used for striking out. So how will they convince congress and the American people, either Obama just does what he wants or there is some type of false flag event that will bring us into war with Syria.[/stextbox]

  • The Pentagon has told the Obama administration that any military effort to seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons would require upward of 75,000 troops, amid increasing concern that the militant group Hezbollah has set up small training camps close to some of the chemical weapons depots, according to senior American officials.
  • The estimated size of the potential effort, provided to the White House by the military’s Central Command and Joint Staff, called into question whether the United States would have the resources to act quickly if it detected the movement of chemical weapons and forced President Obama, as he said in August, to “change my calculus” about inserting American forces into Syria. So far Mr. Obama has avoided direct intervention into the most brutal civil conflict to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings, and the Pentagon assessment was seen as likely to reinforce that reluctance.
  • The White House on Thursday declined to comment on the Defense Department’s assessment.
  • The Pentagon has not yet been directed to draft detailed plans of how it could carry out such a mission, according to military officials. There are also contingency plans, officials say, for securing a more limited number of the Syrian chemical weapons depots, requiring fewer troops.
  • The discovery that Hezbollah has set up camps close to some of the depots, however, has renewed concern that as the chaos in Syria deepens, the country’s huge chemical weapons stockpiles could fall into the wrong hands. Hezbollah fighters have been training at “a limited number of these sites,” said one senior American official who has been briefed on the intelligence reports and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But the fear these weapons could fall into the wrong hands is our greatest concern.”
  • So far, there is no evidence that Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon but has become increasingly active in protecting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, is making any effort to gain control over the chemical weapons. Its decision to train fighters close to the major chemical sites, some officials speculate, could be rooted in a bet that their camps will not be bombed if the West believes there is a risk of hitting the stockpiles.
  • Mr. Assad has openly threatened to retaliate beyond his country’s borders if outside forces try to break the current stalemate to unseat him, and there is renewed concern about whether he or his proxies might use the chemical weapons as their last shield. Officials say that attacks along the borders with Turkey and Israel have forced the administration to consider the risks of Syria’s troubles spreading in the region.
  • Mr. Obama has been clear for more than a year that he would resist direct American intervention, but in August he said one circumstance would cause him to revisit that position. “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” he said at a news conference. “That would change my calculus.”
  • Mr. Obama brought those concerns up again in a news conference on Wednesday, saying that the United States was in close contact with Turkey and Jordan “and obviously Israel, which is having already grave concerns as we do about, for example, movements of chemical weapons that might occur in such a chaotic atmosphere and that could have an impact not just within Syria but on the region as a whole.”
  • The American concerns have been heightened by another sign that Mr. Assad may be arming himself to strike out — Syria’s continued imports of missile technology, even at a time when the Assad government is reeling under sanctions.
  • Syria already has a vast arsenal of missiles able to reach Turkey or strike Israel, and in the past it has provided Hezbollah with missiles. But American officials voice concern over even modest improvements in Syria’s missile stockpiles.
  • American intelligence and security officials, in interviews in recent days, said that the United States had picked up evidence that North Korea had resumed providing Syria with some missile technology, including assistance with Scud missiles.
  • A shipment of graphite cylinders that could be used in missiles and are suspected to have come from North Korea were found in May aboard a Chinese ship en route to Syria, Reuters reported Wednesday. North Korean technicians and engineers stationed in Syria have recently increased their efforts on a joint program to improve the Scud D missile’s accuracy and the warhead’s ability to defeat interceptors, IHS Jane’s International Defense Review reported in June.
  • Given the chaos in Syria, and Mr. Assad’s daily effort to survive, it is not clear what condition the Syrian missile program is in. The Turkish military has expressed worry about Syria’s ballistic missiles and its chemical weapons stocks. Concerned about this potential threat, Turkey and NATO nations have informally been discussing the possibility that some of the alliance’s Patriot antimissile system could be sent to Turkey, which has no Patriot batteries of its own.
  • Independent analysts expressed concern that if Mr. Assad is backed into a corner, he could use or threaten to use missiles tipped with chemical weapons against the rebels, despite the threat of Western intervention if he did.
  • “There is credible information that the Assad regime has been upgrading and expanding its chemical weapons arsenal, which needs to be maintained,” said Emile Hokayem, a Middle East analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “A credible delivery capability is also needed, hence the North Korean angle.”
  • The estimation that it would take 75,000 troops to neutralize the chemical weapons grew out of what Mr. Obama, in his August news conference, referred to as extensive contingency planning for how the United States would respond if the chemical weapons were on the move or appeared vulnerable.
  • “The problem is that you can’t just pick this stuff up and ship it out of the country,” said one senior military official who has studied the problem. The chances of contamination of nearby Syrian towns, and of attacks on the effort to move the weapons, were simply too high. Because many of the containers holding the material are old, or of unknown reliability, the risk of leakage is high.
  • As a result, the official said, much of the chemical stockpiles might have to be destroyed in place. That is a lengthy, dangerous job, and would require enormous force protection around the sites. When the United States went through similar efforts to destroy its own stockpiles — under strict environmental regulations that would likely not apply in Syria — the process took years.
  • A second official familiar with the plans disputed the idea that all of the stockpiles would have to be destroyed in place. Some, he suggested, could be airlifted out for destruction elsewhere or burial at sea. “There are several options,” he said, “but all carry varying degrees of risk.”
  • That official said that rebel groups receiving nonlethal help from the United States have been asked to mark and secure any chemical weapons sites they come across.
  • The United States has varying estimates of how many sites exist, with the C.I.A. estimating about three dozen and the military using figures in the high 40s.
  • Officials said that the United States military had quietly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there, among other things, to prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons.

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7.19.13 – Going, Going, Gone: Crisis-Plagued Madrid Sells Out

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Doing and everything so they don’t end up like Detroit. Every city and country will need to sell off everything just to survive. [/stextbox]

  • In the midst of the crisis, Madrid’s regional government and city administration are hawking their treasures and altering ordinances in order to make the Spanish capital more attractive to investors. The Spaniards are even selling the names of subway lines.
  • Sol, is the Spanish word for sun. Could there be a better name for the most important square in Spain’s capital. The square, where Puerta del Sol, or the sun gate in the old city wall, once stood, marks Spain’s geographic center. From this ground zero, the national roads lead out into the country, and it’s where the kilometer counting begins. Three subway and two commuter train lines also converge under the square.
  • But so much for Sol. As of early June, the announcements on the subway identify the famous square as “Next station: Vodafone Sol.” Even the time-honored signs at the metro entrances were replaced. Now the red logo and name of the British wireless group are displayed on new enamel signs. Starting in September, line 2 will simply be called “Vodafone.”
  • The advertising generates €1 million ($1.3 million) a year in revenue for the capital region, which is deeply in the red. Its government headquarters building is located at the front of the square, where Ignacio González, the conservative president of the Madrid region with the Popular Party (PP), has his office. He finds the new revenue model convincing, and he now wants to offer companies other subway lines as PR vehicles. In the last five, crisis-ridden years, the company that operates the Madrid metro has seen its passenger numbers decline by more than 12 percent, and it has accumulated a record €500 million ($655 million) in debt. González wants to generate additional revenues by privatizing the city bus lines.
  • Although Madrid residents shake their heads over such tonterías, they no longer resist the foolish things their administration does. After five years of growing unemployment and an economic recession, Spaniards are demoralized. With debts of €7.4 billion, the capital is the most highly indebted city in the country.
  • Mayor Ana Botella — the wife of conservative former Prime Minister José María Aznar, also with the PP — would like to bring the Summer Olympics to Madrid in 2020, following the city’s third attempt to capture the games. Her predecessors have already invested more than €6 billion in the effort, and she needs at least another €2.5 billion. That might explain why, in recent months, Botella has begun to sell off public buildings and properties — even if she hasn’t managed to raise very much money so far. A Chinese bank snatched up a magnificent building near the Prado Museum at a price discount of almost a third.
  • The fire sale also included 26 works by Spain’s best-known contemporary artists, which were part of the city hall’s inventory. Botella justified the sale, saying the works had “only decorative value.”
  • Bending Rules for Eurovegas
  • Madrilenians feel resigned and, if they are scoffing at anything, it is another bizarre idea: Popular Party politicians want to build Eurovegas, a giant entertainment complex, on a 750-hectare (1,850-acre) site in the southwestern part of the city. Under the plan, skyscrapers would shoot up from the wheat fields in the coming years, to house casinos, hotels and convention centers. Backers claim the project, which would become one of the biggest construction sites in Europe, also has the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs, chicken soup for the soul in a country with 27 percent unemployment, and with 682,000 people out of work in the Madrid region alone.
  • Madrid region President González inherited the project from his predecessor Esperanza Aguirre, a major People’s Party figure. For years, Aguirre wooed Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a staunchly right-wing supporter of the Tea Party and advocate of settlement construction in Israel. The €17-billion deal was sealed over cold gazpacho at Aguirre’s house last August. Now there are only a few legal problems standing in the way.
  • They could be cleared away quickly, the president of the region promised. He hopes to lay the foundation this year so that the complex can open in 2017. But Adelson, who will celebrate his 80th birthday in early August, hasn’t presented any plans yet. He’s still waiting for some guarantees, including one that smoking will be allowed at the gambling tables — a move that would require the lifting of strict anti-tobacco laws.
  • To sweeten the deal for Adelson, Madrid has already reduced its gambling tax from 45 to 10 percent. The American investor, one of the 15 richest people in the world, was given permission to build his structures as tall as he wishes. Minors, accompanied by adults, will also be permitted to visit the gambling city. All of this would normally have been impossible.
  • As another incentive for the American billionaire, in late June the regional president gave the go-ahead for a new airport in the area — even though Terminal 4 at Madrid’s main airport, completed in 2006 at a cost of €6.2 billion, is far from operating at full capacity.
  • To raise money, the government of the Madrid region also decided, in early July, to sell six more public hospitals, equipment included.
  • But last Wednesday the country’s highest court put a temporary end to the privatization of healthcare. On the past few Sundays, thousands of doctors and nurses in white robes demonstrated against the plan on Madrid’s central square, of course — at Vodafone Station.

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7.19.13 – Syria’s rebel commander expected to visit United States

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Since congress does not want to give aid to the US paid mercenaries at this time and Syria is winning the battles, what is left to do, implement a no fly zone, but this requires the US to invade or have the paid mercenary fighter visit the US to get the next round of instructions on what the US is preparing to do to start this war. [/stextbox]

  • Syria’s top rebel commander is likely to visit the United States next week, U.S.-based Syrian opposition representatives said on Thursday, and he is expected to make a plea for speedy U.S. arms shipments.
  • General Salim Idriss, who leads the rebel Supreme Military Council, is expected to go to New York for meetings at the United Nations and will perhaps also visit Washington.
  • His trip to the United States is not fully confirmed and details are still being worked out, said Elizabeth O’Bagy, political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force advocacy group.
  • The Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad are frustrated that U.S. plans to send weapons to them have been delayed in Congress.
  • “I’m sure it will be foremost on the agenda of whatever meetings he (Idriss) has,” O’Bagy said. “I’m sure they will talk a lot about conditions on the ground inside Syria, which are very critical.”
  • Mariam Jalabi of the Syrian National Coalition and a U.N. Security Council diplomat confirmed plans for Idriss to visit the United States.
  • A former Syrian army general, Idriss was chosen seven months ago as a consensus figure to lead the Supreme Military Council, an umbrella group which runs the Free Syrian Army rebel group.
  • Idriss is a former military academic who was educated in East Germany.
  • President Barack Obama’s administration announced on June 13 that it had decided to supply direct military assistance to the Syrian opposition, but the plan was delayed by objections from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

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7.19.13 – Obama To Detroit: “No Bailout For You”

  • While in the past President Obama has been more that willing to throw good money after bad and “refuse to let Detroit go bankrupt,” it seems when push comes to shove – under the intense scrutiny of a nation awash in scandal, a drastically bifurcated congress – that despite the imploring from local congressmen for “moar” already – that the savior of the city will not this time ride to the rescue on his white horse. In a statement, the White House said they “are monitoring the situation in Detroit closely,” with no hint – just as they have made clear for months – of any sort of Federal bailout. As USA Today notes, the federal government provided federal loans to prevent New York City from declaring bankruptcy during the 1970s. But times have changed; the federal government has debt and financial problems of its own, and a Detroit bailout could run into significant opposition in Congress and cause serious damage in the Muni market.
  • While the GM debacle put pensioners ahead of creditors, it would be unprecedentedly bad for the massive Muni bond market should Obama acquiesce and change the law once again to put pensioners ahead of GOs…
  • The White House statement on Detroit.
  • “The president and members of the president’s senior team continue to closely monitor the situation in Detroit.
  • While leaders on the ground in Michigan and the city’s creditors understand that they must find a solution to Detroit’s serious financial challenge, we remain committed to continuing our strong partnership with Detroit as it works to recover and revitalize and maintain its status as one of America’s great cities.”
  • Translation: “sorry guys, you’re on your own on this one!”

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7.19.13 – BREAKING: Egyptian army has set Friday, July 19, as D-Day for launching a major offensive in Sinai , while the Iron Dome has been set up in Eilat overnight

  • The Egyptian army has set Friday, July 19, as D-Day for launching a major offensive, dubbed Fattah 2 (Conquest 2), against a coalition of aggressive Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood operatives, Hamas and Jihad Islami groups terrorizing Sinai. The commanders of Egypt’s Second and Third Armies are leading the campaign. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Second Army chief, Gen. Ahmed Wasfi, has established his command center at El Arish in northern Sinai, and Gen. Osama Askar, head of the Third Army has set up his headquarters in the central Sinai village of Nakhal. They have sealed off the exit from the Gaza Strip through Rafah, and warned its Hamas rulers that the crossing will remain closed until the campaign ends.
  • Israeli forces along the Egyptian and Gaza borders are on alert; so too are the 2,600 US Marines aboard two amphibious helicopter carriers anchored opposite the Red Sea shores of Southern Sinai and the Gulf of Suez since the start of the Egyptian crisis.
  • Thursday, the Egyptian military reported that a security operation carried out by the armed forces in northern Sinai in the past 48 hours had led to the deaths of 10 jihadists. Armed militants killed three Egyptian policemen in earlier separate attacks overnight.
  • The IDF positioned an Iron Dome battery in Eilat on Thursday night

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7.19.13 – ‘Face of terror’: Boston sgt suspended over leak of Tsarnaev’s arrest photos

[stextbox id=”x22report”]What, the government lied, where is the neck wound, no blood, he is not holding his neck.  How can this be? False flag truth is coming out. Now you know why the central bankers and government need to control the flow of information[/stextbox]

Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере

  • After Boston Magazine published previously unseen photographs of the night of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s capture, in response to a now controversial Rolling Stone cover, the man who released the pictures has had his badge revoked.
  • The new images, which were provided by Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer with the Massachusetts State Police, were accompanied by a statement written by Murphy, who was angered by the magazine cover of Tsarnaev, arguing that it promoted an unfair image of the suspected terrorist.
  • “The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine,” wrote Murphy.
  • On Thursday evening Murphy told CNN that he had been placed on leave from his job pending a review next week. Earlier in the day, a police spokesman had told reports that the agency had not authorized publication of the photos Murphy had taken.
  • “Today’s dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police. The department will not release the photographs to media outlets. The State Police will have no further comment on this matter tonight.”
  • Unlike the Rolling Stone cover, which takes what critics describe as a glamorous, stylized portrait of the youngest Tsarnaev brother – the eldest having been killed during a confrontation with police – Murphy’s photographs depict Tsarnaev at the moment of his capture, bloodied and emerging from a boat in the residential backyard where police converged on him in Watertown, Massachusetts just prior to his surrender.
  • Most striking to what has become that key image is a sniper’s clearly visible red laser target on Tsarnaev’s forehead as he surrenders to authorities.
  • dditional images taken on April 19 show Tsarnaev lying on the ground and receiving emergency medical care, as well as photos of police and emergency response workers during the manhunt through the Boston suburbs.
  • “This guy is evil,” Murphy tells Boston magazine. “This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

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7.19.13 – Second-Quarter Corporate Earnings Are Revealing the Truth About the Market

[stextbox id=”x22report”]A complete disconnect between the stock market and the real earnings of companies.[/stextbox]

  • In the first quarter of 2013, we saw an interesting and unexpected development. While the corporate earnings of S&P 500 companies were better than expected, their revenues weren’t nearly as impressive.
  • Just 46% of S&P 500 companies reported revenues above estimates. (Source: FactSet, May 31, 2013.) And the second-quarter corporate earnings might be similar—if not worse.
  • As we are just entering the earnings season, many S&P 500 companies have yet to report their corporate earnings, but some of the big household names have already started to strengthen my opinion.
  • Take The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE/KO), for example. The S&P 500 company not only reported a decline in corporate earnings, but also showed a decline in revenues. For the second quarter, Coca-Cola’s net revenues declined three percent from a year ago. Similarly, the company’s corporate earnings also dropped three percent, registering at $0.59 per share in the second quarter, compared to $0.61 in the same period a year ago. (Source: The Coca-Cola Company web site, July 16, 2013.)
  • In much the same vein, Mattel, Inc. (NYSE/MAT)—the world’s largest toy maker and constituent of the S&P 500—reported corporate earnings that were 25% lower than a year ago, noting that sales missed analysts’ expectations. Revenues registered at $1.17 billion, while analysts had been expecting $1.22 billion. Corporate earnings for Mattel declined to $0.21 per share from $0.28 per share year-over-year. (Source: Reuters, July 17, 2013.)
  • Another big name that’s reporting negatively is Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ/YHOO). This S&P 500 company reported corporate earnings that were above the consensus, but revenues witnessed a slight decline—$1.071 billion compared to $1.081 billion in the second quarter of 2012. In the near future, the company expects revenues to be lower than what it previously anticipated. (Source: Reuters, July 16, 2013.)
  • Keep in mind that before second-quarter earnings season began, we had 87 S&P 500 companies issue negative earnings guidance. The information technology and consumer discretionary sectors of the S&P 500 had the largest number of companies issuing negative guidance about their corporate earnings relative to their five-year average. (Source: FactSet, June 28, 2013.)
  • It’s odd that all these troubling developments in the corporate earnings of big-cap companies are going unnoticed in the mainstream media. What I see in the media are just stock advisors staying optimistic and not taking into consideration the reliability of corporate earnings.
  • Consider the Investors Intelligence Advisor Sentiment index. It has been increasing for three consecutive periods and is closing in on highs made in mid-May of 2012. (Source: Investors Intelligence, July 17, 2103.)
  • But I still see big-cap companies still trying their best to boost their corporate earnings through other means—call it financial engineering.
  • Take Yahoo!, for example. In the past few quarters, the S&P 500 company has purchased $3.65 billion worth of its own shares back, and in its first-quarter corporate earnings announcement, the company was very clear that it plans to purchase another $1.9 billion worth of its own shares back.

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7.19.13 – DHS warning: “Big Brother” could be about to get much bigger

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The government believes this is needed because when the collapse occurs they need someone to tough to control the people to do things that others would not dare to do[/stextbox].

  • If you thought Big Brother couldn’t possibly get bigger, and if you thought this Dr. Strangelove era couldn’t possibly get any Strangelovier, welcome to the debate over the next head of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • In the midst of disclosures about the Obama administration’s sprawling — and likely illegal — national security state, the news today is that current Secretary Janet Napolitano is stepping down and that senior Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly to fill the position. And predictably, from their green room couches, elite media blowhards are already frantically cheering on a potential Kelly nomination.
  • Lost in the noise is the fact that in the midst of disclosures about the Obama administration’s sprawling — and potentially illegal — national security state, a Kelly nomination would put a national surveillance apparatus fit for a sci-fi satire in the hands of a comic-book-worthy thug.
  • Five parts of the police commissioner’s record paint a picture of Kelly that seems almost too cartoonish to be accurate. But, alas, it is Kelly’s undisputed record:
  • 1. Kelly is the man behind New York City’s brutish stop-and-frisk program. According to New York state legislators, Kelly defends the program’s disproportionate targeting of people of color by insisting that it is specifically designed to “instill fear in them.”
  • 2. Kelly has helped oversee a collusion between law enforcement and tech companies for the creation of an unparalleled surveillance regime in New York City. As CNN reported, the “crime monitoring system — developed with Microsoft — designed to allow law enforcement to better collect data and review the city in real time, using a collection of cameras, license-plate readers and other resources.
  • 3. Kelly forged an unprecedented — and possibly illegal — program allowing the Central Intelligence Agency to embed itself in the NYPD for the purpose of domestic surveillance. Despite the CIA being statutorily barred from conducting surveillance inside the United States, Kelly has loyally defended the program.
  • 4. Kelly created a program to target New York’s Muslim community for mass surveillance.
  • 5. Kelly insists that law enforcement authorities should be shielded from independent public oversight. Yes, that’s right, when confronted with a proposal to follow other cities and create an independent police monitor, Kelly blowtorched the proposal.
  • Consider this record, and then consider it backed by the resources of not just the New York City police department, but the entire federal Department of Homeland Security. That’s what a Kelly nomination to head DHS would represent.
  • As mentioned before, coming in the context of an already-out-of-control national security state, it’s the stuff of a 21st century Strangelove flick. Only it wouldn’t be satire — it would be real life.

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7.19.13 – Economic Collapse Martial Law – Prepare Now – It Will Happen Really Quick – No One Will Be Immune

  • Peter Schiff: “I Think The Dollar Is Going To Collapse Before The Market Does”
  • I had the opportunity this week to reconnect with Peter Schiff, CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital.
  • It was a powerful interview, as Peter indicated the Fed is trapped in a long-term position of destroying the dollar, while mainstream voices cheer resultant new highs of the stock market. Such dollar debasement Peter explained, means “the price of gold is going to skyrocket”—once the negative propaganda wears off.
  • In response to this week’s conflicting policy statements issued by the Fed, Peter said, “They checked into the ‘Roach Motel’ of monetary policies because they can get in—but there’s no way to get out. So what they do is they bluff. They pretend there is an exit strategy knowing that exit is impossible…they just have to maintain the pretense as long as they can, before the market figures out the true predicament they’re in.”
  • “No matter what Ben Bernanke says, between now and the time he’s supposed to taper, he will come up with an excuse why he can’t and I think he already knows this. But he can’t let the market know that the whole recovery…is merely a temporary by-product of the QE, and that the minute you remove the QE—we’re right back in recession.”
  • http://bullmarketthinking.com/peter-schiff-i-think-the-dollar-is-going-to-collapse-before-the-market-does/
  • Everything Is Fine?
  • Everything is going to be just great. Haven’t you heard? The stock market is at an all-time high, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that inflation is incredibly low, and the official unemployment rate has been steadily declining since early in Barack Obama’s first term. Of course I am being facetious, but this is the kind of talk about the economy that you will hear if you tune in to the mainstream media. They would have us believe that those running things know exactly what they are doing and that very bright days are ahead for America. And it would be wonderful if that was actually true. Unfortunately, as I made exceedingly clear yesterday, the U.S. economy has already been in continual decline for the past decade. Any honest person that looks at those numbers has to admit that our economy is not even close to where it used to be. But could it be possible that we are making a comeback? Could it be possible that Obama and Bernanke really do know what they are doing and that their decisions have put us on the path to prosperity? Could it be possible that everything is going to be just fine?

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7.19.13 – Moody’s Speaks: “Detroit Bankruptcy Is A Credit Negative”

  • Just in case there was any question if a thousand monkeys armed with iPads could not only give Moody’s a run for the money (even without leaking LBO information to the highest bidder) but solidly trash Uncle Warren’s rating agency, the following statement should put any doubts to rest: “The bankruptcy filing by Detroit is a credit negative, Moody’s Investors Service said on Thursday, because it creates uncertainty for bondholders, will likely interrupt payments on general obligation and limited tax bonds, and begins a process that may span years.” That this statement comes from the same rating agency which concurrently with the Detroit bankruptcy raised its outlook on the US (a/k/a established a DOJ litigation reserve) due to, among other things, the “secure status of US dollars” is not surprising at all.
  • From Reuters:
  • “While not unexpected, the filing opens the door to what will likely be an unprecedented litigation scenario,” said the agency in a special comment. “Before issues like bondholder recovery levels and what level of services city residents will experience become clear, the bankruptcy is likely to be a complicated and protracted process.”
  • Genevieve Nolan, a Moody’s assistant vice president and analyst who helped author the special comment, said: “If we’re taking a very, very long-term view this could be the point whether the city turns around, but at this time it is a credit negative.
  • “It’s too early to tell what benefits – if any – come from this action.”
  • In June, the city defaulted on a $39.7 million payment on taxable pension debt and presented a financial restructuring plan the rating agency called “unconventional.”
  • At that point Moody’s downgraded the rating of about $1.5 billion of certificates of participation to the lowest level of D, and then moved to cut Detroit’s general obligation unlimited tax rating to Caa3.
  • The city is just at the beginning of a lengthy legal process, said fellow analyst Jeff Yorg. A judge will have to decide if Detroit can even file for bankruptcy, which includes proving the city tried to negotiate in good faith, and that alone could take months.
  • “It’s based on previous history of other bankruptcies,” he said, adding that “creditors will continue to challenge it.”
  • The city’s pension funds had already filed suit in court before Detroit filed for bankruptcy, he noted.

And that concludes tonight’s Credit for Idiots lesson of the day. In other news, dying can be unhealthy.

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7.18.13 – Congressman Asks Obama For “Immediate Support” With Detroit Bankruptcy

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Does anyone see a pattern emerging. The government is 17 trillion plus in debt. Where is the money going to come from especially when they keep reminding us of the sequester. I guess the FED can print it out of thin air for the government. It’s starting to fall apart.[/stextbox]

  • Four years ago he bailed out the city’s automotive industry, and a whole lot of union votes. Moments ago, Obama was just called in again, this time to bail out the entire city. “Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a leader of the Congressional Urban Caucus, sent a letter to President Obama today calling on the Administration to lend a helping hand to Detroit, Michigan following the news that the city has filed for bankruptcy.” So will the president play favorites? Or will the municipal bailout begin where the private sector bailout ended? And since bailouts tend to be contagious, if and when Obama does “lend a helping hand” to Detroit, paid for by all US taxpayers, which city, or rather cities, will demand the same treatment? And how long until other people’s money finally runs out?
  • Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a leader of the Congressional Urban Caucus, sent a letter to President Obama today calling on the Administration to lend a helping hand to Detroit, Michigan following the news that the city has filed for bankruptcy.
  • In the correspondence, Fattah requests the Administration intercede to make certain that Detroit’s future is secure and hopeful. He asks the President to bring together members of his cabinet and members of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities to work together to analyze Detroit’s fiscal situation and intervene on the city’s behalf.
  • Fattah said in his letter, “I understand the important role cities play in the economic vitality of metropolitan regions and our nation as a whole. Our cities serve as economic engines leading to innovations, job creation and growth. Moreover, cities like Detroit are strategically aligned, within their respective regions, to attract economic opportunities for their surrounding areas. As such, we must do all we can to protect these cities and work toward their prosperity.”

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7.18.13 – 12 Things That Will Happen Next In Detroit’s Bankruptcy

  • Here’s what happens next:
  • The city filed a Chapter 9 bankruptcy petition today in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Michigan. The filing includes additional information on the city’s financial outlook and could include details about the city’s plan to cut costs, such as potential layoffs and department consolidation, said Ken Schneider, a bankruptcy attorney with Detroit-based Schneider Miller PC.
  • Alice Batchelder, chief judge of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, will appoint a bankruptcy judge to oversee the city’s case.
  • The bankruptcy judge will determine where to hold hearings, which could take place in Detroit, Kentucky, Ohio or Tennessee.
  • An automatic stay will be issued on most of Detroit’s bills, including unsecured debts, Schneider said today. The city will continue to pay secured creditors, including water and sewer bondholders, who have the right to seize city assets if Detroit fails to pay.
  • An automatic stay also will be issued on lawsuits against the city, including outside challenges by pension officials and union members. This means hearings in those lawsuits will be indefinitely delayed. The plaintiffs can recast their arguments inside bankruptcy court, said Jay Welford, a bankruptcy attorney and partner at Southfield-based Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss.
  • The city doesn’t need approval to continue services. For example, the police, fire, water, sewer and public works are completely unaffected by the bankruptcy filing for now and will operate as usual. However, cuts are possible in the future. “You have the ability to use your cash,” Welford said. “You don’t need court approval.”
  • Creditors likely can challenge the city’s right to file for bankruptcy by issuing motions to dismiss the case.
  • In this case, bondholders and pension officials could accuse the city of failing to negotiate “in good faith,” one of the key criteria allowing the city to file for bankruptcy. The judge would hear arguments on this issue. A ruling could take days, weeks or months — perhaps even a year.
  • The city also will have to prove it is insolvent, another stipulation required to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. According to the federal bankruptcy code, this requires the city to prove that it is not paying its bills. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr recently authorized the city to stop making payments on some debts. Bankruptcy experts say they believe that action was enough to satisfy the insolvency requirement, but creditors may still find wiggle room to argue the city is not insolvent.
  • If the judge authorizes the city to move forward with a Chapter 9 bankruptcy case, Orr would propose a plan of reorganization. This could take weeks, months or years. Bankruptcy court allows the city to restructure its operations and its balance sheet. This could involve budget cuts, layoffs, consolidation, the sale of assets, slashing union contracts, selling assets and dramatically reducing city debts, including outstanding bonds.
  • The city will attempt to win support for the reorganization plan from creditors, including secured bondholders, general obligation bondholders, unions and pension boards. If the city wins enough support, the plan would be put to a vote — and with enough support, the city could emerge from bankruptcy. Without enough support, the judge could tell the city it must continue to negotiate with creditors. Orr eventually may pursue a “cram down” procedure, which would require winning support of a minority of creditors and convincing a judge that dissenting creditors are not being reasonable. “We’ll probably get to that because I don’t see how creditors are going to accept what he’s talking about paying them,” Schneider said.
  • The length of the case is widely debated. Some experts say they believe it could be as short as several months. Others say it could take years. Most complex Chapter 9 cases have taken several years.

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7.18.13 –  “I Refused To Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” – Barack Obama, October 2012

  • Just nine short months after proclaiming victory on his plan to save Detroit by throwing taxpayer money at the ‘problem’ of over-levered, over-unioned, and under-demanded auto manufacturers, it seems the ball is back in President Obama’s court once again. He “refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.”
  • Of course, what the rest of the unsuspecting US citizenry is likely unaware of yet is that once again the municipal workers’ pension plans (that face 90% losses) will be bailed-out via the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) – A US Government (ponzi) Agency. But of course, that’s for the good of the whole nation…

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7.18.13 –  America : 62% of your Doctors plan to retire in the next 1-3 Years due to Obamacare

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7.18.13 –  Bernanke Passes The Buck On “Contained” Student Debt

  • He said what?

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

2007 – “The subprime mess is grave but largely contained”

2013 – “The amount of US Student Debt is large, but not particularly likely to cause macro-economic instability.”

[/stextbox]

  • Oh yeah, nothing to worry about here at all (or here or here or here).
  • and while that is the big one, we thought a few other recent comments were worryingly similar in their over-confidnce of the Fed’s omnipotence:

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

Then – “it’s fair to say that house prices are supported by the fundamental strength of the economy… ”

Now – No obvious bubbles as “Asset prices are supported by the fundamental strength of the economy…”

Then – “I don’t buy your premise, we’ve never had a nationwide decline in house prices…”

Now – “I would respectfully disagree that inflation measures underestimate the true rate of price increases…”

Then – “confident that bank regulators will pay close attention to the froth in certain areas…”

Now – “Froth” in high-yield, we are “monitoring” closely; and “sustained low rates can prompt ‘reach for yield'”, but “we are mointoring closely”

[/stextbox]

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7.18.13 –  Bernanke Hints of the Coming Economic Collapse

  • Today marks the final day of Bernanke’s testimony to Congress.

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

Highlights from the first day of testimony and Q&A include:

Q: Are You Printing Money?

Bernanke: Not Literally

Amazingly, no one said anything after this comment. But far more importantly was the last statement made by the Fed Chairman,

“If we were to tighten (monetary) policy, the economy would tank.”

[/stextbox]

  • Tightening monetary policy means if interest rates rise. Interest rates are currently being held at ZERO and have been there four nearly five years. And Bernanke has just announced that if interest rates rise, at all, then the economy would tank.
  • Unfortunately for Ben, rates are already rising around the world. Rates on Portugal’s ten-year are over 7%. Rates on Greece’s ten-year are back over 10%. Japan, the country of zero interest rates has seen a spike in its rates since April. Even Treasuries are surging higher, despite the Fed buying $45 billion worth of them every month.
  • Bernanke has told us point blank what will happen if rates rise (economic collapse). But he’s not telling us the whole truth. The fact of the matter is that if rates rise now while the Fed is running QE 3 and QE 4 then it’s game over. The Fed will have officially lost control of the system and a wave of defaults will implode the markets.
  • This process has already begun. As I noted before we’re seeing rates spiking around the world.

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7.18.13 –  US preparing for military action in Syria, top US general says

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Building the propaganda of why the US needs to get involved, they preparing the people to reason why the US will need to get involved..  The US and Central bankers backs are against the wall, they are running out of options and the American people and congress are against any type of invasion at this time. So how will they “convince” the people and congress with some type of event or the Obama administration will just do it with no approval.[/stextbox]

  • President Barack Obama is considering using military force in Syria, and the Pentagon has prepared various scenarios for possible United States intervention.
  • Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Obama administration is deliberating whether or not it should use the brute of the US military in Syria during a Thursday morning Senate hearing.
  • Gen. Dempsey said the administration was considering using “kinetic strikes” in Syria and said “issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government,” the Associated Press reported from Washington.
  • Dempsey, 61, is the highest ranking officer in the US military and has been nominated by Pres. Obama to serve a second term in that role. The Senate Armed Services Committee questioned him Thursday morning as part of the nominating process when Dempsey briefly discussed the situation in Syria.
  • Last month, the Obama administration concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons during the ongoing battles. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said, “The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete.”
  • Pres. Obama said previously that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and likely trigger American intervention. When the White House concluded Assad had relied on chemical warfare, Rhodes said, “both the political and the military opposition . . . is and will be receiving US assistance.”
  • That claim was met with skepticism, though. The Syrian Foreign Ministry called Obama’s claims a “caravan of lies.” Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, later presented to the UN evidence supplied to his government that suggested the Syrian opposition fighters used chemical weapons.
  • With regards to foreign intervention, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, “Providing arms to either side would not address this current situation.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and his father, former congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) have also cautioned the White House against aiding Syrian rebels.
  • “You will be funding today the allies of al Qaeda” by aiding Syrian rebels, Sen. Paul said in May.
  • On his part, the retired lawmaker from Texas insisted that the administration’s lead up to possible intervention is “identical to the massive deception campaign that led us into the Iraq War.”
  • That isn’t to say the GOP is entirely opposed to taking any action. Although directly using the American military — either through boots-on-the-ground or unmanned aircraft — has been rarely discussed in public, Sens. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), two long-time leaders within the Republican party, have been relentless with efforts to equip opposition fighters.
  • “I don’t care what it takes,” Graham told Foreign Policy’s The Cable earlier this year. “If the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, I vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem.”
  • Other US officials have previously said Washington is considering implementing a no-fly zone above Syria, and last month the Pentagon left a fleet of F-16 fighter planes and its Patriot anti-missile system on the border of neighboring Jordan following a routine military drill.

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7.18.13 –  Japan to deploy ships after China detected drilling in disputed waters

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Now the truth comes out about why the Central bankers are so interested in this area, natural resources (hard assets), oil.  The main goal of the central bankers is to get rid of the paper they make out of thin air and trade it for real assets. [/stextbox]

  • Japan has allegedly ordered geological survey ships to prepare for possible deployment after the Chinese were reportedly detected drilling in Japanese waters near the disputed area of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, a source told Reuters.
  • The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) has been ordered to put both its survey ships , the Shigen and the Hakurei, on standby and to prepare to deploy without any foreign members of staff on board, according to the source .
  • Japan warned China not to expand gas exploration in the East China Sea on Thursday, following a media report according to which Chinese state-run oil companies plan to develop seven new gas fields in the sea, possibly siphoning gas from the seabed beneath waters claimed by Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.
  • “We will never accept development of gas fields in the area over which there are conflicting claims in a unilateral manner,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference. Though he added that officials are still gathering information to confirm the report.
  • After in 1968 it was discovered that oil reserves might be found under the sea near the territory of the islands in the East China Sea, sovereignty over them has been long disputed by Japan and China.
  • Meanwhile, three Chinese maritime vessels were spotted entering Japan’s territorial waters on Thursday morning, the Japanese Coast Guard reported. Beijing said was a routine surveillance and the ships later left the Japanese waters, but remain in the contiguous area, the coast guard added.
  • This particular intrusion came the day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to Japan’s southern island of Ishigaki, only 160 km away from the islets claimed by both China and Japan.

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7.18.13 –  US MINT REPORTS 27.6 MILLION SILVER EAGLES SOLD IN JULY!

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Hmmm, is this a typo or did the US mint sell 27.575 million oz of silver? If the US mint did this just goes to show you where everyone is putting their money[/stextbox]

  • The US Mint has updated its Silver Eagles sales stats this evening to indicate a massive 27.575 million ounces sold in July, and 52.62 million oz sold for the year!
  • While we suspect the Mint has made a typo, perhaps Bernanke and Dimon have thrown in the towel on a taper and have dumped their personal July compensation into phyzz?

USMint silver eagles

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7.18.13 –  Dow And S&P At New All-Time Highs

[stextbox id=”x22report”]All eyes on the stock market, new all time highs, what could be better for the people on main street? I know more money for the banks, this will create jobs, help small businesses.[/stextbox]

  • Macro disappointments? Earnings and revenues missing? Outlooks being slashed? No worries, we have Ben… and a Dow that has risen 1000 points in 17 days to just hit a new record intraday high 15,552.70 (and the S&P 500 has risen 8.3% in 17 days to a new rdord high of 1,688.58).

 

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7.18.13 –  Syria refugees “begging” John Kerry for no-fly zone

[stextbox id=”x22report”]What a bunch of BS. So let me get this straight the people of Syria are asking for a no-fly-zone, really???? Britain’s outgoing army chief has warned that attempts to impose a no-fly zone over Syria would be unsuccessful without establishing ground control.  So what the US government is trying to maneuver is to get the US into Syria, why do they want to get into Syria, to establish the US dollar as the reserve currency, setup a central bank and then move on to the next target Iran.  There is only one problem, Russia and China back Syria and Iran and the people of American and congress do not believe we should be in Syria, but if the Syrian people are asking for a no-fly zone the Us government will try to make a case of why they need to invade.[/stextbox]

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday visited a camp for Syrian refugees displaced by the fighting in their country, hearing first-hand accounts from Syrians who have fled what the U.N. says is the worst humanitarian crisis in decades.
  • In Jordan on his sixth trip to the Middle East as secretary of state, Kerry flew Thursday to the Zaatari camp north of Amman, just south of the Syrian border. He was accompanied by Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
  • Kerry, who spent his time at the camp’s administrative base and did not tour the living quarters for security reasons, met with six refugees who appealed for the U.S. and others to do more militarily to support the opposition. During the 40-minute meeting, they expressed their anger at what they called inaction and indifference on the part of the international community.
  • “We are begging you for a no-fly zone,” said Jamalat Abu al-Hariri, who fled her home in Daara, the Syrian city closest to Zaatari. All the refugees, including three more women and a man from Daraa and one woman from Homs, urged Kerry to back a no-fly zone and set up safe havens on Syrian soil.
  • Kerry responded: “A lot of different options are under consideration. I wish it was very simple. As you know, we’ve been fighting two wars for 12 years. We are trying to help in various ways, including helping Syrian opposition fighters have weapons. We are doing new things. There is consideration of buffer zones and other things but it is not as simple as it sounds.”
  • Another refugee, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said: “Mr. Secretary, if the situation remains unchanged until the end of Ramadan this camp will become empty. We will return to Syria and we will fight with knives.
  • “You as the U.S. government look to Israel with respect,” she said. “Cannot you do the same with the children of Syria?”
  • After the meeting Kerry told reporters he understood the refugees’ concerns but stressed that the U.S. is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, both inside the country and in camps.
  • “I think they are frustrated and angry at the world for not stepping up,” he said. “If I was in their shoes I would be looking for help wherever I could find it. I share their passion and frustration for the plight that they face on a day-to-day basis.”
  • The camp houses about 105,000 people, making it the fourth largest city in Jordan, which is now home to more than 600,000 Syrian refugees and is struggling to cope with their presence. Turkey and Lebanon are also hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
  • The Zaatari camp was set up in July 2012. At the high point in April, an average of 1,500 people arrived each day. The current population is down from a high of nearly 130,000 because some people are leaving — some to go back to join the fight, some to tend to properties in areas that are relatively safe and some into Jordan proper if they can prove they have relatives already there.
  • But people are still arriving, although in much smaller numbers than before; most Syrians who lived closest to the border are already in Jordan and the new arrivals are coming from farther away. One hundred arrivals Wednesday night had spent 17 days on the road coming from the Homs area, about 200 miles away. The start of Ramadan may also play a role in the reduced influx of refugees.
  • Their stories are getting worse, according to Killian Kleinschmidt, the camp manager for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • “The conflict has reached a level of brutality that is unbelievable,” he told Kerry, who asked questions about the camp’s administration, security and living conditions.
  • Kleinschmidt said every family can tell stories of rape, torture, arrest and disappearances. Children draw “horrible pictures of destruction,” he said. Of the total camp population, 60,000 are children and there are 10-12 births a day.

 

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.18.13 – Iran Barters $9 Million of Electricity for Wheat From Pakistan

[stextbox id=”x22report”]How do you get around US sanctions, well you barter. Iran is trading electricity for food. When the collapse occurs bartering will be a very effective means of getting what you need. So remember to prep so you can make that barter deal.[/stextbox]

  • Iran agreed with Pakistan to import wheat valued at $9 million from its eastern neighbor in exchange for electricity it exported, Iranian Deputy Energy Minister Mohammad Behzad said.
  • Iran supplied electricity valued at $51 million in total to Pakistan for which the Persian Gulf country hasn’t been able to secure payment, according to the state-run Mehr news agency Mehr, as international sanctions restrict its financial transactions. The prohibitions are designed to curb Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
  • “We agreed on barter of goods in exchange for electricity supplies,” Mehr cited Behzad as saying. Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade decided on the nature of goods to be received, he said. The two nations agreed for Pakistan to provide rice as well as the wheat, according to Mehr.
  • A new set of U.S. sanctions came into force in February designed to restrict buyers of Iranian oil to making payments in local currencies rather than dollars or euros, with the funds kept in escrow accounts that Iran can use only to buy locally sourced goods and services.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.18.13 – Savers And The ‘Real’ $10.8 Trillion Cost Of ZIRP

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Not only are people being robbed of interest earnings, I believe Ben Bernanke used this to his advantage by not coming out and officially saying “put your money in the stock market”, instead with no interest in the banks people had only one place to put it but the market because the market has continously made news highs and keeps rising. So to the everyday person that wants to see a return on their money where else would they go.[/stextbox]

  • As a reprisal, let’s revisit the financial impact from Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) as it applies to responsible savers. From the previous post, we just need to make a couple adjustments. To assist in charting and calculations, the following data sets provided ample information:
  • Total Savings – FRED
  • Average interest rates on savings deposits – FRED (M2OWN)
  • Interest Income – IRS tax stats, NIPA tables
  • Effective Federal Funds Rate (FRED)
  • The good news behind the bottom 85% of close-to-retiree status Baby Boomers that participate in the “markets” via sub $50,000 retirement money is that at some point, the voters might actually get smart and get mad at how much money has been siphoned from them. Consult the chart below to see a historical relationship between total savings and amount of interest income earned on the savings.
  • Note that prior to 2001, as savings increased (blue line), interest income received increased (red line) proportionally. However, after 2001, the interest earned stopped increasing. The green line shows the effective interest paid on interest bearing accounts.
  • Scaling into the shaded area representing 1986 to present, the following chart depicts the actual Fed Funds rate determined by FOMC.
  • As savings increased when Fed Funds rate remained around 5%, interest income continued to rise. However, post 2001, the interest income received stopped growing at the same rate. With the exception of 2005 to 2008 when rates went back to “normal” in the 5% range – the interest income earned has remained stable at just under 1 trillion (Ben Bernanke is so smart).
  • Let’s apply some thought experiments and make a couple calculations – what would happen if the FOMC were removed and the Fed Funds rate “floated?” Using average historical rates from the 1920’s for the 10 year note– the mean rate would sit around 5.82%. With a floating Fed Funds rate, banks would be competing for money and providing responsible savers with some interest income. Voila, a calculation is borne:
  • By calculating the estimated interest income from historical ratios (orange shaded area), we can see that as of July 2013, approximate interest income would be just over 3 trillion (1/5th of GDP) on savings of 6.8 trillion (using the left scale). Whereas the actual interest income reported by NIPA remained at 1.1 Trillion, the difference in interest received and lost interest equals roughly 2 Trillion. Remember, this is interest income to SAVERS forever lost since 2001. By aggregating the entire shaded orange area, SAVERS have missed out on a whopping 10.8 Trillion in earned interest usage. The final chart above makes a loud and clear statement toward the beneficiaries of the low interest rate environment.

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7.18.13 – ‘America has no functioning democracy’ – Jimmy Carter on NSA

  •  Former US President Jimmy Carter lambasted US intelligence methods as undemocratic and described Edward Snowden’s NSA leak as “beneficial” for the country.
  • Carter lashed out at the US political system when the issue of the previously top-secret NSA surveillance program was touched upon at the Atlantic Bridge meeting on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • America has no functioning democracy at this moment,” Carter said, according to Der Spiegel.
  • He also believes the spying-scandal is undermining democracy around the world, as people become increasingly suspicious of US internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook. While such mediums have normally been associated with freedom of speech and have recently become a major driving force behind emerging democratic movements, fallout from the NSA spying scandal has dented their credibility.
  • It’s not the first time Carter has criticized US intelligence policies. In a previous interview with
  • CNN, he said the NSA leaks signified that “the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far.” He added that although Snowden violated US law, he may have ultimately done good for the country.
  • I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.”
  • Jimmy Carter was President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. After leaving office, he founded the Carter Center, an NGO advocating human rights. The ex-president’s human rights credentials won him Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
  • Carter has frequently criticized his successors in the White House. Last year, he condemned the Obama administration for the use of drone attacks in his article “A Cruel and Unusual Record” published in the New York Times.

 

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.18.13 – Iran Barters $9 Million of Electricity for Wheat From Pakistan

[stextbox id=”x22report”]How do you get around US sanctions, well you barter. Iran is trading electricity for food. When the collapse occurs bartering will be a very effective means of getting what you need. So remember to prep so you can make that barter deal.[/stextbox]

  • Iran agreed with Pakistan to import wheat valued at $9 million from its eastern neighbor in exchange for electricity it exported, Iranian Deputy Energy Minister Mohammad Behzad said.
  • Iran supplied electricity valued at $51 million in total to Pakistan for which the Persian Gulf country hasn’t been able to secure payment, according to the state-run Mehr news agency Mehr, as international sanctions restrict its financial transactions. The prohibitions are designed to curb Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
  • “We agreed on barter of goods in exchange for electricity supplies,” Mehr cited Behzad as saying. Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade decided on the nature of goods to be received, he said. The two nations agreed for Pakistan to provide rice as well as the wheat, according to Mehr.
  • A new set of U.S. sanctions came into force in February designed to restrict buyers of Iranian oil to making payments in local currencies rather than dollars or euros, with the funds kept in escrow accounts that Iran can use only to buy locally sourced goods and services.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.18.13 – Savers And The ‘Real’ $10.8 Trillion Cost Of ZIRP

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Not only are people being robbed of interest earnings, I believe Ben Bernanke used this to his advantage by not coming out and officially saying “put your money in the stock market”, instead with no interest in the banks people had only one place to put it but the market because the market has continously made news highs and keeps rising. So to the everyday person that wants to see a return on their money where else would they go.[/stextbox]

  • As a reprisal, let’s revisit the financial impact from Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) as it applies to responsible savers. From the previous post, we just need to make a couple adjustments. To assist in charting and calculations, the following data sets provided ample information:
  • Total Savings – FRED
  • Average interest rates on savings deposits – FRED (M2OWN)
  • Interest Income – IRS tax stats, NIPA tables
  • Effective Federal Funds Rate (FRED)
  • The good news behind the bottom 85% of close-to-retiree status Baby Boomers that participate in the “markets” via sub $50,000 retirement money is that at some point, the voters might actually get smart and get mad at how much money has been siphoned from them. Consult the chart below to see a historical relationship between total savings and amount of interest income earned on the savings.
  • Note that prior to 2001, as savings increased (blue line), interest income received increased (red line) proportionally. However, after 2001, the interest earned stopped increasing. The green line shows the effective interest paid on interest bearing accounts.
  • Scaling into the shaded area representing 1986 to present, the following chart depicts the actual Fed Funds rate determined by FOMC.
  • As savings increased when Fed Funds rate remained around 5%, interest income continued to rise. However, post 2001, the interest income received stopped growing at the same rate. With the exception of 2005 to 2008 when rates went back to “normal” in the 5% range – the interest income earned has remained stable at just under 1 trillion (Ben Bernanke is so smart).
  • Let’s apply some thought experiments and make a couple calculations – what would happen if the FOMC were removed and the Fed Funds rate “floated?” Using average historical rates from the 1920’s for the 10 year note– the mean rate would sit around 5.82%. With a floating Fed Funds rate, banks would be competing for money and providing responsible savers with some interest income. Voila, a calculation is borne:
  • By calculating the estimated interest income from historical ratios (orange shaded area), we can see that as of July 2013, approximate interest income would be just over 3 trillion (1/5th of GDP) on savings of 6.8 trillion (using the left scale). Whereas the actual interest income reported by NIPA remained at 1.1 Trillion, the difference in interest received and lost interest equals roughly 2 Trillion. Remember, this is interest income to SAVERS forever lost since 2001. By aggregating the entire shaded orange area, SAVERS have missed out on a whopping 10.8 Trillion in earned interest usage. The final chart above makes a loud and clear statement toward the beneficiaries of the low interest rate environment.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.18.13 – ‘America has no functioning democracy’ – Jimmy Carter on NSA

  •  Former US President Jimmy Carter lambasted US intelligence methods as undemocratic and described Edward Snowden’s NSA leak as “beneficial” for the country.
  • Carter lashed out at the US political system when the issue of the previously top-secret NSA surveillance program was touched upon at the Atlantic Bridge meeting on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • America has no functioning democracy at this moment,” Carter said, according to Der Spiegel.
  • He also believes the spying-scandal is undermining democracy around the world, as people become increasingly suspicious of US internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook. While such mediums have normally been associated with freedom of speech and have recently become a major driving force behind emerging democratic movements, fallout from the NSA spying scandal has dented their credibility.
  • It’s not the first time Carter has criticized US intelligence policies. In a previous interview with
  • CNN, he said the NSA leaks signified that “the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far.” He added that although Snowden violated US law, he may have ultimately done good for the country.
  • I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.”
  • Jimmy Carter was President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. After leaving office, he founded the Carter Center, an NGO advocating human rights. The ex-president’s human rights credentials won him Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
  • Carter has frequently criticized his successors in the White House. Last year, he condemned the Obama administration for the use of drone attacks in his article “A Cruel and Unusual Record” published in the New York Times.

 

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7.18.13 – China sends troops to Africa

[stextbox id=”x22report”]China is bringing in troops for the eventual war, they know that Africa has a huge amount of natural resources, plus Mali has French and US troops stationed there. Why, because Mali is the worlds third largest gold producer.  That’s why the US is positioning troops in Africa, the central bankers want the natural resources and they don’t want anyone else to get their hands on them.[/stextbox]

  • For the second time in a little over a year, China has infantry on the ground in Africa, reflecting the Chinese military’s increasingly global presence.
  • Three-hundred ninety-five peacekeepers from the People’s Liberation Army just arrived in the Saharan nation of Mali as part of the UN mission to help restore order there. Specifically, Beijing has sent engineering, medical and “guard” teams to the Malian capital of Bamako, according to the Chinese defense ministry. These troops are reportedly part of the PLA’s 16th Army, a formation comprised of infantry, armor and artillery divisions.
  • China traditionally sends thousands of engineering, medical and other support troops on UN missions each year. Of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China is the largest manpower contributor to UN peacekeeping missions.
  • Until very recently, however, China did not send infantry on UN missions. In fact, Beijing officially insists the soldiers in Mali aren’t combat troops, perhaps in order to maintain the idea that China doesn’t send official combat troops on peacekeeping missions.
  • “The Chinese security force is actually a guard team that will mainly be responsible for the security of the [UN mission] headquarters and the living areas of peacekeeping forces,” a Chinese defense ministry spokesman is quoted by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.
  • Still, this latest deployment marks the second time in the last two years that China has sent infantry soldiers to Africa with the purpose of guarding peacekeeping missions. In 2011, Beijing sent infantrymen to guard PLA engineers participating in a UN mission in South Sudan. Despite Beijing’s claims that these troops were there solely for the purpose of guarding the engineers, the U.S. China Economic and Security Review pointed out that these guards were from an “elite” combat unit.
  • The mission to protect PLA engineers and medics isn’t without merit; just last week, seven UN personnel were killed when their convoy was attacked in Sudan. And the operation reflects China’s growing interest in Africa. Chinese business leaders have been all over the continent for the last decade, spending billions of dollars on projects and prompting some to worry that Beijing was going to beat the U.S. in the African influence game (an assertion U.S. President Barack Obama dismisses). All of this has prompted Chinese military deployments aimed at protecting Chinese workers abroad.
  • The Chinese navy has been conducting anti-piracy operations in the Arabian Sea for years. And in early 2011, China sent military transport planes and even a guided missile destroyer to Libya to help evacuate some of the tens of thousands of Chinese citizens there as the revolution against former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi heated up.
  • These latest deployments of Chinese infantry are simply a reflection of China’s growing role in the world, motivated by the need to protect Chinese investments and to be seen as a more responsible player in global security affairs, say several experts.
  • “This role is not limited to Africa, and thus I don’t see this current shift as an ‘Africa’ policy, but rather the evolution of their UN role coupled, possibly, with a long-standing special relationship with Mali,” professor Deborah Brautigam with John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. “If they want to play a leadership role in the UN, they need to step up and expand what they contribute to its various parts.”
  • For now, that means sending in a relative handful of troops. In the future, the numbers may not be quite so small.
  • “China is slowly setting the scene for eventually sending a combat unit to some future UN peacekeeping operation,” said David Chinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso who now teaches at The George Washington University. “In this sense, this is a significant development and is in keeping with China’s policy of slowing expanding the size and function of its support to peacekeeping.”

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7.18.13 – Austerity in action: Greece approves to lay off 25,000 teachers, police

[stextbox id=”x22report”]How does Austerity help the nation when the nation is in so much debt. It makes the problem worse. Eventually there will be ~25,000 more people out of work, add this to the already high, high unemployment which means no more disposable income, they will not produce, most likely they will lose their home, they will eventually end up taking money from the government to survive.[/stextbox]

  • The Greek Parliament approved the redeployment of 25,000 public sector workers by the end of the year in order to secure its next much needed aid installment of $9.2 billion (7 billion euro) from the Troika of creditors.
  • A total of 12,500 public sector workers, mainly teachers and municipal police will enter a ‘mobility pool’, in which they are given eight months to find new work or be fired, and another 15,000 face the same fate next year.
  • Prime Minister Antonis Samaras led his conservative coalition to narrowly pass the unpopular austerity scheme in the late evening hours on Wednesday.
  • 153 members of parliament voted in favor out of a total 293 present, a bill which was a perquisite of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and European Commission to receive the next aid tranche.
  • The decision was reached amid a backdrop of demonstrations, as anti-austerity protestors, many who will be directly affected by the massive government distribution of pink slips, who called for ‘no more sacrifices’ and to ‘fire the Troika’ hours before the vote.
  • With unemployment at over 27 percent, and 60 percent of Greece’s young adults out of work, the public doesn’t resonate with the Parliament’s decision to cut more jobs to heal the crippled economy.
  • “I fully understand the hardship the Greek people are going through during the great crisis,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said during the debate. “But I am fully convinced that the path we have chosen is correct.”
  • The government also decided to cut VAT, value-added tax, for the food service industry from 23 percent to 13 percent in an effort to lure more tourist spending.
  • In a planned visit, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will visit Greece and hold talks with Samaras.
  • Wolfgang Schaueble said Greece is ‘on the right track’ and their austerity measures ‘will continue to pay off’.
  • “Better days will come for our people. We will not let up. We will climb uphill and reach the end, which is not far,” Samaras said in a televised address before parliament convened for the vote.
  • Greece has received over $315 billion (240 billion euros) since 2010, as the EU seeks to help pull out the troubled member state out of a deep 6-year recession which has spread throughout the continent.

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7.17.13 – The Reality Ahead Is A Looming Plunge Into The Abyss For Financial Markets In A Repeat Of 2008-9, Moving To Cash Or Precious Metals Never Made More Sense

  • Wake up Ben Bernanke has lost control of US interest rates!
  • The US bond market has quietly slipped into a worse slump than in the Armageddon year of 1994 with bond yields up 40 per cent on benchmark T-bonds since the start of May.
  • Bond prices move in the reverse direction to yields, so that means US bonds have entered a massive bear market. It matters not very much what Fed chairman Ben Bernanke does or does not telegraph to the markets, they have stopped listening and US interest rates are firmly on the way up.
  • ….
  • The reality ahead is a looming plunge into the abyss for financial markets in a repeat of 2008-9. Nobody should expect a smooth rotation from bonds to stocks. Moving to cash or precious metals never made more sense.
  • http://www.arabianmoney.net/us-dollar/2013/07/17/wake-up-ben-bernanke-has-lost-control-of-us-interest-rates/
  • THE US FINANCIAL SYSTEM: ON THE BRINK
  • Most people have no idea that the U.S. financial system is on the brink of utter disaster. If interest rates continue to rise rapidly, the U.S. economy is going to be facing an economic crisis far greater than the one that erupted back in 2008. At this point, the economic paradigm that the Federal Reserve has constructed only works if interest rates remain super low. If they rise, everything falls apart. Much higher interest rates would mean crippling interest payments on the national debt, much higher borrowing costs for state and local governments, trillions of dollars of losses for bond investors, another devastating real estate crash, and the possibility of a multi-trillion dollar derivatives meltdown.
  • Everything depends on interest rates staying low. Unfortunately for the Fed, it only has a certain amount of control over long-term interest rates, and that control appears to be slipping. The yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has soared in recent weeks. So have mortgage rates. Fortunately, rates have leveled off for the moment, but if they resume their upward march we could be dealing with a nightmare scenario very, very quickly.
  • Mauldin – The Fed Is Creating Enormous Financial Instability
  • Today John Mauldin warned King World News that the U. S. Federal Reserve is creating enormous instability in the global financial system. Mauldin, who is President of Millennium Wave Securities, also cautioned that if things spin out of control, “the central bank doesn’t have any weapons.”
  • Mauldin: “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future. I’m in the process of finishing up a book with the co-author of ‘End Game.’ We have a book coming out this fall called, ‘Code Red.’
  • We are writing about quantitative easing, currency wars, and the next 5 years. The upshot of it is that our current policies in both governments, and in central banking, are coming to a point that it’s (actually) increasing the instability of the system….

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7.17.13 – 10 Ways That The Iron Grip Of The Big Brother Prison Grid Is Tightening On All Of Our Lives

  • Do you ever feel trapped in an invisible control grid that is slowly but surely closing in all around you? Do you ever feel like virtually everything that you do is being watched, tracked, monitored and recorded? If so, unfortunately it is not just your imagination. Our society is rapidly being transformed into a Big Brother prison grid by a government that is seemingly obsessed with knowing everything that we do. They want a record of all of our phone calls, all of our Internet activity and all of our financial transactions. They even want our DNA. They put chips in our passports, they are starting to scan the eyes of our children in our schools, and they have declared our border areas to be “Constitution-free zones” where they can do just about anything to us that they want. The Bill of Rights has already been eroded so badly that many would argue that it is already dead. The assault against our most basic freedoms and liberties never seems to end. The following are 10 ways that the iron grip of the Big Brother prison grid is tightening on all of our lives…
  • #1 Automated License Plate Scanners
  • All over the United States automated license plate scanners are being installed. Sometimes they are mounted on police vehicles, and other times they are put on stationary locations like bridges and road signs. These automated license plate scanners are collecting a staggering amount of information about the travel patterns of millions of innocent American citizens every single day…
  • #2 Government Workers Ordered To Spy On The “Lifestyles, Attitudes And Behaviors” Of Their Fellow Workers
  • Did you know that the Obama administration has ordered federal workers to spy on one another?…
  • If you do not spy on your fellow workers and something goes wrong, you could lose your job or potentially even be prosecuted yourself.
  • #3 Eye Scanners In Our Schools
  • According to CNN, iris scanners are already going into schools all over the country, and soon they will be used in banks, at airports and at ATM machines…
  • Will we soon live in a world where we no longer use passwords and instead use our eyeballs?…
  • #4 Biometric Chips In Our Passports
  • Did you know that all U.S. passports contain biometric identity chips? The following is from a recent CNSNews.com article…
  • #5 All Your Financial Transactions Tracked By The Government?
  • Most Americans have never even heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but one U.S. Senator is warning that this agency wants to keep a record of all of your financial transactions…
  • #6 Complaining About The Tap Water Makes You A Terrorist?
  • Have you ever complained about the water?
  • If so, you might be a terrorist.
  • #7 DNA Databases
  • The United States already has a database that contains the DNA of approximately 11 million criminals…
  • ut of course authorities will never be satisfied until they have all of our DNA. And we are definitely moving in that direction. The following comes from my recent article entitled “The Coming National DNA Database“…
  • #8 Copying Your Hard Drive At The Border
  • How would you feel if you went to cross the U.S. border and officials grabbed your computer and made a copy of the hard drive?
  • As incredible as that sounds, it is happening all the time. As I wrote about recently, if they do take your computer, you might not get it back for an extended period of time…
  • #9 NSA Snooping
  • Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know much more about NSA snooping. Sadly, the NSA seems to want to collect every piece of data about everyone in the world that they possibly can.
  • And right now the NSA is building a place to store all of that data. It is being constructed out in Utah, and it will be the largest data center in the history of the world. It is going to have approximately a million square feet of storage space, it is going to cost nearly 2 billion dollars to build, and it is going to take about 40 million dollars a year just to pay for the energy needed to run it. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know“.
  • #10 Obama Now Has The Power To Seize Control Of The Internet?
  • Why does Barack Obama keep releasing very important executive orders very late on Friday afternoons?
  • Is he trying to sneak things through that nobody will notice?
  • For example, it is being reported that Barack Obama has just signed an executive order that will allow him to seize control of the Internet during a national emergency…
  • This executive order is apparently worded so vaguely that it would allow Obama to do just about anything he wanted to as far as the Internet is concerned…

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7.17.13 – Gov’t Bureau ‘Creating a Google Earth on Every Financial Transaction,’ Senator Warns

[stextbox id=”x22report”]There are a 2 reasons for all of this surveillance in American, the first reason is to create the lists of people who will be a problem during the economic collapse so it will be easy to locate these people. Second and this is before the crash to try to get as much money from the people and to track down where everyone’s assets are, blackmail government officials, and get insider information.[/stextbox]

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking to create a “Google Earth” of every financial transaction of every American, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) warned today in a Senate speech opposing confirmation of Richard Cordray as CFPB director.
  • “This bill (creating the CFPB) was supposed to be about regulating Wall Street. Instead, it’s creating a Google Earth on every financial transaction. That’s right: the government will be able to see every detail of your finances. Your permission – not needed,” Sen. Enzi said.
  • “They can look right down to the tiny details of the time and place where you pulled cash out of an ATM,” Enzi warned.
  • And, there’s nothing you can do about, since Americans don’t have the ability to “opt out” or prohibit the government from collecting their personal financial data, Enzi said:
  • “You can’t tell ’em to stay out of your records. It’s not possible. If your data is being collected, you do not have the option to opt out. Nor, does the CFPD need any kind of permission from you to gather your personal information.”
  • Enzi called for greater congressional oversight authority to ensure the CFPB does not abuse its power, but Republican still dropped plans to filibuster the nomination, caving to threats by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to change the filibuster rules.

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7.17.13 – Nov5th 2013: Anonymous pledges to hack govt websites globally on Guy Fawkes Day

  • Hacktivist group Anonymous threatens to target all government facilities across the globe on November 5 2013, calling activists to mark the day with protests in support of the Occupy movement.
  • “Now it’s time to occupy everywhere” says the video named “Anonymous #NOV5TH 2013 – the lion sleeps no more” posted on Youtube. It calls for “a day of global civil disobedience” to mark Guy Fawkes Day in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The video urges to ‘relight the flame of protest’ and claims that unions from around the world are supporting actions of Anonymous and the Occupy movement, adding ‘austerity means war.’
  • November 5 commemorates Guy Fawkes’ failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London.
  • Last year’s protest on November 5 launched by Anonymous gathered hundreds of supporters in London’s Trafalgar Square, according to RT’s London Bureau, for Operation Vendetta – a march to the Houses of Parliament.
  • People were carrying banners that read “We are Anonymous. We are the legion” and “Stop creating imaginary debt!”
  • A rash of cyber-attacks were reported the same day on Australian government sites and Argentina’s government bank. Anonymous also claimed to have stolen some 28,000 passwords and other confidential information from US based company Paypal, however the company disputed the hack. Another cyber-attack was reportedly launched against the website of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to draw attention “to election manipulation in the Ukraine.”
  • Hackers also reportedly targeted US company Trapwire and European analogue INDECT, which develop software that can access closed-circuit cameras to monitor citizens’ movements. On November 6 an Anonymous affiliated group identified as “pyknic” hacked several sites for the US TV network NBC , however the sites were quickly restored.
  • Anonymous hactivists have long supported the Occupy movement and used web technologies and social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to accelerate the rhythm of protests. The social network users apply hashtags such as #OccupyWallSt, #OWS or #Occupy which help to coordinate the demonstrations.

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7.17.13 – Okay: Now Do You Realize Why CISPA’s Granting Of Broad Immunity For Companies Sharing Data With The Feds Is An Issue?

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The Government and the NSA need CISPA to pass, this way they will be able to collect all information from companies. The companies need not worry because they are immune and won’t be touched. NSA and Government want complete control over the internet and if they can get CISPA passed they will say the law says they are aloud to control it. CISPA is still pending in the senate and at this point the Government will need an event of some kind to get this bill passed.[/stextbox]

  • You may recall that, back during the CISPA debate, one of our biggest concerns was the broad immunity from liability that the bill gave to tech companies if they shared data with the government — including the NSA. Many people campaigned for limitations on that, including restricting what kind of information would be shared, and trying to keep that info away from the NSA. Of course, given the revelations over the last couple months about the amount of information sharing that already happens with the NSA and the DOJ/FBI, — including giving zero day exploits to the government and building in backdoors — it seems doubly worrisome what CISPA would allow.
  • And yet, people insisted that our worries about the broad liability protections were overblown, noting over and over again that it was “voluntary” and that companies wouldn’t just give up their data like that. Yet, as we pointed out, if you give the ability to get this information to the government, the government will find a way to take it. And, from the various revelations, it’s clear they were already taking it, and the purpose of CISPA may have been to just to further protect these companies from liability.
  • In the recent Washington Post profile of NSA boss Keith Alexander, it ends with a detailed description of how Alexander has been pushing for more direct control over internet company networks, which should give you a pretty clear suggestion of how the NSA intended to use CISPA:
  • At a private meeting with financial industry officials a few years ago, Alexander spoke about the proliferation of computer malware aimed at siphoning data from networks, including those of banks. The meeting was described by a participant who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussion was off the record.
  • His proposed solution: Private companies should give the government access to their networks so it could screen out the harmful software. The NSA chief was offering to serve as an all-knowing virus-protection service, but at the cost, industry officials felt, of an unprecedented intrusion into the financial institutions’ databases.
  • The group of financial industry officials, sitting around a table at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, were stunned, immediately grasping the privacy implications of what Alexander was politely but urgently suggesting. As a group, they demurred.
  • Now, some may argue that it would be crazy to interpret CISPA liability protections from leading to that sort of situation, but given how the NSA has pushed for incredibly broad interpretations of other laws, how crazy is it really?
  • Given all of this, one hopes it means that CISPA is officially dead in the water.

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7.17.13 – Following 45% Collapse, Mortgage Applications Are Back To 2011 Lows

[stextbox id=”x22report”]If the applications for mortgage apps are falling and supposedly the housing market is doing really well there can only be two reasons that this can happen, 1. everyone is paying in cash (maybe outside investor or hedge funds but I doubt many Americans are paying in cash without jobs), 2. the sales are lagging behind the mortgage app collapse and soon you will see the sales start to plummet.  I believe it is “2” [/stextbox]

  • For the 9th week of the last 10 mortgage applications fell (led by refis – down 55% from their peak). Now down an incredible 45% from its May highs – the largest 10-week plunge since December 2010 – overall mortgage activity is languishing around the lowest levels of the post-recession ‘recovery’. Year-over-year, applications have dropped 44% which is close to the worst on record as applications and mortgage rates track one another in their ‘whocouldanode’ perfectly correlated manner. It seems – for all those blinkered pollyannas – given this morning starts and permits disaster, that home sales are the next shoe to drop and judging by the empirical relationship with apps and rates, the ‘surprise’ could be significant for many who remain hopeful.

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7.17.13 – The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act seeks to co-opt foreign banks as long-arm enforcement agencies of the IRS.

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

Well here we go, tax, tax the government needs to find those taxes. Remember when we see more taxes, more rights taken away and when we see more drills with real gun fire we are getting closer to the collapse. Here is my list from Episode 74

1. Quickly creating laws to remove rights
2. More taxes
3. More troops on the ground
4. More military exercises within our borders
5. Bail ins (bank holiday)
6. More false flags to pass gun control laws, CISPA law, martial law, War
7. War has started

We are being hit hard with more taxes and this is a big one.

[/stextbox]

  • Beware the sledgehammer used to crack the nut. In this case, the nut is the U.S. government’s laudable goal of catching tax evaders. The sledgehammer is the overreaching effect of legislation that is alienating other countries and resulting in millions of U.S. citizens abroad being forced to either painfully reconsider their nationality, or face a lifetime of onerous bureaucracy, expense and privacy invasion.
  • The legislation is Fatca, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. To appreciate its breathtaking scope along with America’s unique “citizen-based” tax practices, imagine this: You were born in California, moved to New York for education or work, fell in love, married and had children. Even though you have faithfully paid taxes in New York and haven’t lived in California for 25 years, suppose California law required that you also file your taxes there because you were born there. Though you may never have held a bank account in California, you must report all of your financial holdings to the State of California. Are you a signatory on your spouse’s account? Then you must declare his bank accounts too. Your children, now adults, have never been west of the Mississippi but they too must file their taxes in both California and New York and report any bank accounts they or their spouses may have because they are considered Californians by virtue of one parent’s birthplace.
  • Extrapolate that example to the six million U.S. citizens living around the globe. Many, if not most, don’t know about these requirements. Yet they face fines, penalties and interest for not complying—even if they owe no U.S. taxes, own no U.S. property, have no U.S. bank account and haven’t lived there in years—if ever.
  • A particularly alarming aspect of Fatca is that it seeks to co-opt foreign banks as long-arm enforcement agencies of the Internal Revenue Service—even when it might contravene that country’s own privacy or data-protection laws. If financial institutions don’t report U.S. citizens holding accounts with them, these institutions face a 30% withholding tax on securities transactions that originate in the U.S.
  • Given this threat, why allow an American, or even suspected American, to bank with you? The reporting costs, and the consequences of a mistake, are too onerous. It isn’t always obvious who’s a U.S. citizen, either. Many, like the very British mayor of London, Boris Johnson, are “accidental Americans.” He was born in New York, where his father worked for the U.N. And unless Mr. Johnson has actively renounced his citizenship, which requires an appointment at a U.S. Embassy, forms and fees, he is still an American citizen. Mayor Johnson repudiated his American citizenship in a newspaper column once, but it’s far from clear that this would satisfy U.S. authorities. Mr. Johnson, have you filed your taxes and reported all your U.K. bank accounts to the U.S. Department of Treasury yet?
  • Foreign financial institutions trying to avoid these new requirements have two alternatives: to drop American clients, or don’t invest in the U.S. Neither scenario benefits America. And yet it’s hard to believe that Chinese financial institutions will acquiesce in reporting their clients’ account information to the U.S. Imagine the howls down the halls of Congress if China informed U.S. banks that they must report to China all of the bank accounts held by Chinese citizens in the U.S. or face penalties.
  • This infringement on the sovereignty of other nations has not gone down well abroad and has only served to reinforce the most negative stereotypes of America. To address this, the U.S. Treasury has been negotiating “Inter-Governmental Agreements” which promise reciprocity in return for compliance. But in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, U.S. Congressman Bill Posey—a member of the House Financial Services Committee from Florida—alleged that Treasury had exceeded its authority in promising reciprocal financial reporting to foreign nations. If Congressman Posey is wrong, U.S. banks will face enormous reporting requirements and costs. If he is right, the U.S. government will face enormous international embarrassment after having coaxed nations into signing IGAs.
  • The core injustice in America’s tax policy is that it is based on citizenship rather than residency. This novel approach is practiced by only two countries in the world: the U.S. and Eritrea. Ironically, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice condemned this practice by Eritrea in 2011 as “the extortion of a ‘diaspora tax’ from people of Eritrean descent living overseas.” Many would describe U.S. practice in similar terms.
  • Dual citizens like me who live bi-continental lives are aware that there is no upside in our tax position. We are required to file in both countries, we pay taxes where the taxes are highest, and we can take none of the tax advantages either country has to offer. But for many others, whose lives are only in one country—and that one country is not the U.S.—this type of taxation is particularly destructive. It forces honest people with affection for their ties to America to either keep quiet about their heritage, or spend potentially thousands of dollars a year to prove that they owe no U.S. taxes. Or, as is increasingly occurring, it forces them to give up their U.S. citizenship. The result is that the U.S. is turning millions of “good will” ambassadors into “bad will” ambassadors. Can any of this be good for America?

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7.17.13 – A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The government and FED can change the calculation, manipulate numbers but the truth of the matter always shines through the crap. If there are no jobs how possibly can the economy be improving. If jobs are improving then businesses are expanding, new businesses are opening, people have more disposable income, retail sales increase, new retail stores open, people purchase big ticket items like a house, but we see none of this, we see the total opposite of this.[/stextbox]

  • In recent months, Americans have heard reports out of Washington and in the media that the economy is looking up—that recovery from the Great Recession is gathering steam. If only it were true. The longest and worst recession since the end of World War II has been marked by the weakest recovery from any U.S. recession in that same period.
  • The jobless nature of the recovery is particularly unsettling. In June, the government’s Household Survey reported that since the start of the year, the number of people with jobs increased by 753,000—but there are jobs and then there are “jobs.” No fewer than 557,000 of these positions were only part-time. The survey also reported that in June full-time jobs declined by 240,000, while part-time jobs soared by 360,000 and have now reached an all-time high of 28,059,000—three million more part-time positions than when the recession began at the end of 2007.
  • That’s just for starters. The survey includes part-time workers who want full-time work but can’t get it, as well as those who want to work but have stopped looking. That puts the real unemployment rate for June at 14.3%, up from 13.8% in May.
  • The 7.6% unemployment figure so common in headlines these days is utterly misleading. An estimated 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed; they are virtually invisible and mostly excluded from unemployment calculations that garner headlines.
  • At this stage of an expansion you would expect the number of part-time jobs to be declining, as companies would be doing more full-time hiring. Not this time. In the long misery of this post-recession period, we have an extraordinary situation: Americans by the millions are in part-time work because there are no other employment opportunities as businesses increase their reliance on independent contractors and part-time, temporary and seasonal employees.
  • Even the federal government payroll is turning to part-timers: In June 2012, 58,000 federal workers were part-timers. This year it’s 148,000, and we still don’t know how the budget sequester will play out, for many agencies have resorted to furloughs rather than layoffs.
  • The latest unemployment report was as underwhelming as the Household Survey. The biggest gains in June came from leisure and hospitality industries, including hotels and fast-food restaurants. Of the 195,000 new payroll jobs, 75,000 were in restaurants and bars, where the average weekly paycheck is about $351, less than half the average for all other private industries. Not to mention that these positions offer fewer hours, especially in the restaurant world, which has averaged 26.1 hours per week versus 34.5 hours for all private employers.
  • What’s going on? The fundamentals surely reflect the feebleness of the macroeconomic recovery that began roughly four years ago, as seen in an average gross domestic product growth rate annualized over the past 15 quarters at a miserable 2%. That’s the weakest GDP growth since World War II. Over a similar period in previous recessions, growth averaged 4.1%. During the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, the GDP growth rate dropped below 2%. This anemic growth is all we have to show for the greatest fiscal and monetary stimuli in 75 years, with fiscal deficits of over 10% of GDP for four consecutive years. The misery is not going to end soon.

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7.17.13 – US Totalitarianism Wins Again As Appeals Court Brings NDAA’s Indefinite Military Detention Back

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Think about it, why is the US government fighting so hard to keep the NDAA. Because it removes your right to due process.  They don’t want anything standing in their way when the economic collapse hits, they want to round up those people who don’t agree with the government, who want to replace the government and those who would fight against the government.[/stextbox]

  • Back in September we, somewhat naively, penned “US Totalitarianism Loses Major Battle As Judge Permanently Blocks NDAA’s Military Detention Provision” in which we said that “in May, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in favor of a temporary injunction blocking the enforcement of the authorization for military detention. Today, the war against the true totalitarian terror won a decisive battle, when in a 112-opinion, Judge Forrest turned the temporary injunction, following an appeal by the totalitarian government from August 6, into a permanent one.” Sadly, the “victory” lasted about 10 months. Today, US totalitarianism wins again.
  • U.S. APPEALS COURT THROWS OUT PERMANENT INJUNCTION THAT HAD LIMITED U.S.
  • GOVERNMENT’S USE OF INDEFINITE MILITARY DETENTION — COURT RULING
  • In other words, every legal decision will be binding… until Obama’s cronies in the 13 circuit courts of the appellate system get a tap on the shoulder. And good luck with the SCOTUS.
  • And with that, the time to be on the lookout for black helicopters is back.

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7.17.13 – Farewell “Housing Recovery” – Housing Starts Miss Most Since January 2007, Permits Have Biggest Miss In History

[stextbox id=”x22report”]We knew the FED was driving the market, the people just don’t have the jobs and money to purchase homes again. The FED wiped a majority of the people last time and this time everyone is tapped out.If the housing was really in a recovery would the FED to continually purchase the toxic assets, wouldn’t the banks just wait for the housing to rise and sell off what they have??[/stextbox]

  • In all the noise surrounding Bernanke’s rehash of statements made countless times before, today’s only relevant data point – June housing starts and permits – was largely ignored. And one can see why: printing at 836K, the starts number was the lowest since August 2012, the second largest sequential drop (down from 928K in May) since 2011 and the biggest miss to expectations of 957K since January 2007!

  • As for the reason? Simple: as we have been warning, Wall Street’s infatuation with housing as a flippable investment asset, praying that a greater fool has cheaper access to credit and will thus buy up all the diestressed property, just evaporated manifesting itself in a 27% drop, or 86K units, in multifamily housing, which plunged back to September 2012 levels or 236,000. And while single-family units never actually benefited from the “housing recovery”, as the REO-to-Rent scheme never involved actual houses, the decline in single-family housing continued for the 4th month in a row, dropping to only 591K, or the lowest since November 2012.
  • So much for myth of a housing recovery, which as we claimed all along, was merely the latest cheap-credit fuelled housing bubble, only this time one in which only the Primary Dealers, hedge funds and occasional offshore oligarch seeking to park his ill-gotten, tax-evaded cash, is participating.

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7.17.13 – Executive Order Accelerates Mandatory HIV Testing For All Citizens

  • President Barak Obama posted an executive order yesterday which appears to mandate HIV testing for “all individuals ages 15 to 65 years.”
  • The HIV Care Continuum Initiative claims responsibility for recent successes in the study of HIV but says “further Federal action is appropriate in response to these new developments.”
  • That federal action appears to be in the form of mandated HIV testing, and Obama seems to suggest that HIV testing will be free under the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Administration says mandatory testing is warranted because early detection is helpful to fighting HIV and, according to the executive order, twenty percent of people with HIV remain undiagnosed.
  • It doesn’t directly say that all citizens will be rounded up and forced to get HIV tests, rather that clinics will be required to test for HIV as part of routine testing.

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7.17.13 –  Critical Warning: Sucker’s Bull Market of 1928 Now Repeating; Dow Set To Crash 65%, Drop To 5,000, But Nobody Listens, Till Too Late

  • Critical warning #17? Lost count? Here’s the latest: “The stock market is about to have a devastating decline; we will see Dow 5,000 before we see Dow 20,000.”
  • That’s Terry Burnham onPBS, former Goldman Sachs trader, biotech entrepreneur, money manager, author of “Mean Markets and Lizard Brains: How to Profit from the New Science of Irrationality.” A former Harvard professor of behavioral economics, a guy on par with Nobel economist Daniel Kahneman, “Black Swan’s” Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and Dan Ariely, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”
  • Dow 5,000? Yes, investors, the big one’s coming, dead ahead. We’ve been reporting these warnings, maybe 20 this year alone. But unfortunately, thanks to what Burnham calls the investor’s “lizard brain,” you can’t, you won’t hear the crash coming, till it’s too late.
  • ‘Gloomiest of all gloomsters:’ We’re repeating 1928 sucker’s rally
  • As if to punctuate his new warning, Burnham’s PBS editor added this postscript: “Over the weekend at ZeroHedge.com, the gloomiest of all gloomsters, Tyler Durden,” compared the current stock market to the sucker’s rally of 1928 that set up and led the lambs to the 1929 slaughter. So history buffs, be warned that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s risky cheap-money bubble-blowing “depression-fighting remedies” are repeating the 1928 bull-market sucker’s rally whose “side effects could include … another depression.”
  • Warning bells are everywhere: Dow 5,000 … another depression … massive denial on Wall Street and Main Street … a new meltdown bigger than the 2000 dot-com crash … longer than the 30-month recession of 2000-2003 where Wall Street lost $8 trillion of America’s retirement money … worse than the fact Wall Street narrowly breaks even on an inflation-adjusted basis … and bigger than the 2008 bank-credit meltdown with the de facto bankruptcy of all Wall Street’s banks … with trillions of new debt dumped on taxpayers by the U.S. Treasury … and Bernanke’s wanton “grand experiment” showering endless cheap money into speculation … and blowing the biggest bubble in history.
  • Denial? Yes, massive denial. Why? Lizard brains, 95 million Main Street investors. And Wall Street crawling with a million lizard brains. That’s the primitive, survival-first, irrational part of our old brain that began developing a few hundred million years ago.
  • You have one of these bio-algorithm drones wired in your brain. It takes over, reacts on autopilot to old fears trapped in outdated behavioral patterns that override your rational brain.
  • Wall Street’s in denial. Main Street in denial. Nobody hears, till too late.
  • Here’s how Burnham put it: “The signs of collapse are right in front of us. We cannot see the signs now, however, because our brains aren’t built to seem them … we are more often than not at the mercy of ‘lizard brains,’ which evolved in lizards to drive them to eat, survive and reproduce.”
  • Today our “lizard brains lead us to buy stocks after they have gone up and blind us to the obvious realities.”
  • Not only are the vast majority of America’s 95 million investors trapped in this bubble of denial chasing stocks, but Burnham warns that his prediction is “the opposite of the conventional wisdom” pushed by gurus like “Jeremy Siegel, author of ‘Stocks for the Long Run,’ who is predicting new all-time highs for stocks, while Warren Buffett, the best investor of the previous century, is 100% behind stocks.”
  • And yet, in spite of all this happy-talk from Siegel, Buffett and all Wall Street gurus and pundits, Burnham asks rhetorically: “Am I taking a risk in making such a dire forecast? Yes. I could be stuck with the label ‘Mr. Dow 5,000.’”
  • Actually he’s loving it. Burnham wears his prediction as a badge of honor: “I embrace the title Mr. Dow 5,000.” That’s how confident he is the markets will come crashing down like 2008, like 2000, like 1929.
  • Burnham also emphasizes, this is not a new prediction: “I’m not predicting a Dow of 5,000 just because it hit 15,000 so rapidly. I’ve been saying since well before the Crash of ‘08 that the U.S. economy was headed for disaster.” Just like we have here in these columns.

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7.17.13 –  Chris Casey: Massive Inflation is Coming! Hold 20-30% in Gold & Silver Outside the Banking System

  • Chris Casey of WindRock Wealth Management says, “U.S. debt is completely out of control, and it’s a huge incentive to continue to inflate the money supply. Also, the Fed is buying 90% of the Treasury market. So, if they taper or scale back what they’re doing, it would certainly send interest rates spiking.” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with wealth manager Chris Casey.

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7.17.13 –  Cyprus Resists International Pressure To Sell Gold Reserves

[stextbox id=”x22report”]In the end it is always the same, the central bankers want hard assets, they will continue to pressure Cyprus until they have their gold and natural resources.[/stextbox]

  • Gold is lower in all major currencies today but remains well bid near the $1,300/oz level.
  • Physical demand, particularly from China, remains very robust and premiums high at over $30 per ounce overnight.
  • Physical gold delivered to buyers by China’s largest bullion bourse in the first half of this year almost matched the entire amount taken from its vaults in 2012 (see Shanghai Gold Exchange charts below), and was more than double the country’s annual production.
  • Breaths will be held prior to Bernanke’s testimony but as ever it will be prudent to ignore the noise and his often contradictory words and focus on actions and the reality of continuing ultra loose monetary policies.
  • Cyprus is resisting pressure from the European Commission (EC) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to sell its gold reserves to finance its “bailout”.
  • Yesterday the Cypriot Finance Minister said that a sale of its gold reserves was not the only option under consideration to pay down its debt and that other alternatives were being considered.
  • Cyprus has 13.9 tonnes (c. 447,000 troy ounces) of gold reserves which are worth some 436 million euros at today’s market prices.
  • The international bailout imposed on Cyprus involved 10 billion euro ($13 billion) and therefore the Cypriot gold reserves are worth a mere 4.36% of the bailout.
  • “The possibility of selling gold is known, but only as an option,” Finance Minister Harris Georgiades told reporters. He did not elaborate on what the alternatives were according to Reuters.
  • The government in Cyprus may realise that in the event of Cyprus leaving the euro and returning to the Cypriot pound, their gold reserves could provide support to the fragile newly launched national currency.
  • International lenders have imposed a 10 billion euro bailout on the country, which was forced to seize bank deposits in two major banks in radical new “bail-ins” to finance the sudden “bail out” in March.
  • Cyprus continues to see capital and currency controls today – meaning that a euro in Cyprus is no longer the same as a euro in France or Germany.
  • The International Monetary Fund and the European Commission stipulated that Cyprus should sell its gold reserves at the time of the bailout.
  • “It will be considered, when the time comes, with options, or rather, all other options,” Georgiades told reporters. Asked if this meant there was a possibility of Cyprus not selling its gold, he answered: “When that time comes other options will be examined.”
  • At the weekend, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said he hoped there would never be a need for the sovereign nation to sell its gold reserves. Anastasiades said responsibility for the issue rested with the country’s central bank.
  • “I want to believe there will never be such a need,” Anastasiades told a news conference in Nicosia at the weekend. “The issue is not being discussed by the government, it is a responsibility of the central bank,” he told reporters.
  • An assessment of Cypriot financing needs prepared by the European Commission in March said that Cyprus has to sell its gold reserves. Officials have attempted to play the issue down, saying the matter is not a priority for the government.

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7.16.13 –  Cyber attacks on stock exchanges put markets at risk: report

[stextbox id=”x22report”]This just in, a cyber attack could hit the financial markets and cause havoc on the entire financial system and the central bankers with the help of the government sophisticated cyber capable countries will rob the people of their money. They are preparing everyone for the main event.[/stextbox]

  • Around half of the world’s securities exchanges were the target of cyber-attacks last year, according to a paper based on a survey of 46 exchanges released on Tuesday.
  • The prevalence of attacks along with the interconnected nature of the markets creates the potential for widespread impact, said the joint staff working paper by the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) research department and the World Federation of Exchanges Office.
  • “There could be systemic impacts … from cyber attacks in the securities markets, especially considering that our financial system is relying more and more on technological infrastructure,” the report’s author, Rohini Tendulkar of the IOSCO Research Department, said in an interview.
  • Among the exchanges surveyed, 53 percent said they experienced a cyber attack last year. The most common forms were Denial of Service attacks, which seek to disrupt websites and other computer systems by overwhelming the targeted organizations’ networks with computer traffic, and viruses.
  • Other forms of cyber-crimes reported by the exchanges included laptop theft, website scanning, data theft, and insider information theft. None of the exchanges reported financial theft as part of the attacks.
  • “Cyber-crime also appears to be increasing in terms of sophistication and complexity, widening the potential for infiltration and large-scale damage,” the report said, adding that a major attack could result in widespread public mistrust and a retreat from the markets.
  • In Britain, worries over hacking and other cyber attacks have pushed aside the euro zone crisis as the top risk for that country’s banks, a senior Bank of England official said last month.
  • In the United States, exchange operators Nasdaq OMX Group and BATS Global Markets said in February of last year that they were targeted with denial of service attacks. In October 2011, NYSE Euronext’s New York Stock Exchange’s website was inaccessible for 30 minutes, according to an Internet monitoring company, but the exchange said there was no interruption of service.
  • And in 2010, hackers who infiltrated Nasdaq’s computer systems installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on the directors of publicly held companies, Reuters reported.
  • There is limited data on the costs of cyber-crime to securities markets, but the paper said a number of studies have looked at the costs of cyber-crime to society as a whole, with estimates ranging between $388 billion to $1 trillion.
  • The exchanges in the survey said the direct and indirect cost of cyber-attacks cost them each less than $1 million last year.
  • A spokeswoman for BATS said on Tuesday the exchange operator invests heavily in proactive security technology, and has made some significant hires on the security side, though for competitive and security issues, she could not give more details.
  • Nasdaq and NYSE declined to comment.
  • The lack of widely available insurance against cyber-crime adds to the risk, as nearly four in five exchanges would have to bear the costs of a major attack themselves, the survey found.
  • The 58-page report said the survey of exchanges was the first of a series of surveys on cyber-crime across different types of securities market actors.

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7.16.13 –  Eric Holder Slams “Stand Your Ground” Laws, Claims Self-Defense May “Sow Dangerous Conflict”

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So what is he saying, lets remove the self defense laws, no one should defend themselves. Why is he saying this, because when the economic collapse hits, and DHS and other military agencies are deployed they don’t want people fighting back, just do what we say.[/stextbox]

  • US AG Eric Holder, who it appears is not busy committing perjury before Congress, or failing to prosecute one single TBTF bank due to their systemic nature, or eavesdropping on the AP, or recording every American electronic communication, or selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels, or generally using the constitution as one-ply toilet paper, has found some time to peddle his thoughts on the Trayvon Martin shooting at an NAACP convention in Orlando. So what did the head of the US department of justice say? He proceeds to blast “Stand your ground” laws, because, you see, having the right to self-defense is dangerous and may lead to escalations. No really: “Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.” In other words, Holder is spreading a very christian message: when slapped, present the other cheek.
  • But it gets even more ridiculous: “By allowing—and perhaps encouraging—violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety.” Ideally, in Holder’s world all Americans should just hand over all self-defense rights (because you never know – someone’s eye may be poked out) and wait for the government to rescue them.
  • More from the WSJ:
  • Attorney General Eric Holder blasted “stand-your-ground laws” in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin—saying such laws cause more violence than they prevent.
  • Mr. Holder, speaking to the NAACP Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., not far from where Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted last week, took direct aim at stand-your-ground laws, which say a person can use force in self-defense without first attempting to retreat from the situation.
  • In speaking out publicly against such laws for the first time, Mr. Holder is taking aim at the gun-rights groups that promote such laws and linking them to the death of Trayvon Martin.
  • Twenty-five states, including Florida, have adopted some version of stand-your-ground laws. While the law was a factor in the initial investigation of the Martin shooting, lawyers for Mr. Zimmerman didn’t base their defense on the law, arguing instead that their client had no option of retreat, and therefore the stand-your-ground principle didn’t apply.
  • The speech marked the second day in a row that Mr. Holder spoke publicly about the Martin killing. Mr. Zimmerman over the weekend was found not guilty of all charges in the case, a decision that sparked protests across the country, and some rioting in Los Angeles Monday night.
  • Mr. Martin, a black teenager, was walking to his father’s house in Sanford, Fla., from a nearby convenience store in the early evening when he was spotted by Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer who thought Mr. Martin was suspicious. Mr. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, called 911 and began following Mr. Martin, leading to a confrontation in which the 29-year-old Mr. Zimmerman shot the teenager.
  • Mr. Holder’s Justice Department is investigating Mr. Zimmerman to see if he should be charged with federal hate crimes or civil-rights violations, but legal experts say the chances of such charges being filed—or won in court—are small.
  • And the punchline:
  • “These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” Mr. Holder argued, saying pre-existing self-defense law allowed the use of deadly force if no safe retreat is possible. If a person is attacked in their own home, there is no duty to retreat.
  • In other words, to Mr. Holder, the best defense when fighting for one’s life, when the option of running away even if chased by a bunch of rabid zombies, is harsh language.

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7.16.13 – Brace For Impact: The Global Crisis Is In Full Swing Again And Asset Prices Are In Danger of Falling Globally

  • The global crisis is a financial crisis driven primarily by global trade and capital imbalances. This is the macro theme we have pursued these past 7 years. We believe the global crisis is in full swing again and asset prices are in danger of falling globally. Money is less effective at catching the falling knife. Emerging market countries are exhibiting the signs of crisis-like price action associated with deteriorating balance of payment balances, even though many have built up significant foreign exchange reserves. Investors and policymakers do not believe this is the beginning of a major EM contagion crisis. They are lulling themselves into a false sense of security. They see the EM market tremors, and do not fear are-run of the EM crises of old. They are right. This is not (just) going to be an EM crisis. Recent events portend a far more serious crisis is at hand; the unraveling of our global monetary system.
  • 1% U.S. Economic Growth: QE Policy a Failure, Time for A Change
  • Economists are now ratcheting down their forecasts for final 2nd quarter GDP to 1% which just further illustrates the ineffectiveness of fed policy measures. Ben Bernanke blames fiscal policies out of Washington, saying he can only do so much to counteract their lack of a healthy tax code, job creation plans, and inefficiencies.
  • Europe Is On The Verge Of A Japanese-Style Lost Decade
  • Recently the IMF made it clear that the current euro area leadership needs to address its ongoing banking problems. The Eurozone’s banks are continuing to deleverage, with total loan balances to euro area residents now at the lowest level in 5 years. What makes the situation even more troubling is that many Eurozone banks banks are repeating the Japanese experience of the 90s. They are carrying poor quality and often deteriorating assets on their balance sheets, refusing to take writedowns that will require recapitalization.
  • The IMF: – Faced with high funding costs, weak [Eurozone] banks are unable to recognize losses. This perpetuates uncertainty about the quality of their assets, hinders fresh private capital injections, and ultimately restrains credit. To reverse these dynamics, bank losses need to be fully recognized, frail but viable banks recapitalized, and non-viable banks closed or restructured.
  • Big Institutions Have Been Rotating Out Of Stocks All Year
  • So far in 2013, BAML’s retail clients have put $7.37 billion into equities, while big institutions have taken $10.69 billion out of the stock market, and hedge fund clients have reduced their holdings of the asset class by $423 million.

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7.16.13 – Thousands of Greeks join strike against public sector staff cuts

[stextbox id=”x22report”]All these bail-outs and bail-ins don’t work, you cannot pile debt on top of debt and then rob the people of their money. It will never work. We are seeing this played out in Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Italy and soon America.[/stextbox]

  • Tens of thousands of Greeks have abandoned their workplaces on Tuesday and rallied in front of parliament in the capital Athens against government plans to satisfy foreign lenders by firing public sector employees.
  • It is the third and the largest general strike the crisis-hit country has experienced since the start of the year.
  • The 24-hour walkout came a day before the Greek MPs vote on a series of unpopular reforms, which the European Union and International Monetary Fund say are obligatory if Greece want more financial aid.
  • “The public sector still composes a major part of the Greek economy. These jobs are protected by the constitution since the end of the 19th century,” RT’s correspondent, Egor Piskunov, reports from Athens.
  • Over 30,000 demonstrators, including municipal police and teachers targeted in the lay-off scheme, gathered in central Syntagma Square.
  • The protesters were beating drums, blowing whistles and chanting: “No more sacrifices.”
  • They also displayed banners, reading “Fire the troika” in reference to the trio of European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF propping up Greece with over €200 billion in aid.
  • “It feels like Greece is dead and now the vultures are fighting over its corpse,” Eleni Fotopoulou, a retired teacher and mother of two, told Reuters. “I’m not angry anymore, I am disgusted. We have to fight back.”
  • Domestic flights were disrupted after civil aviation unions staged a four-hour work stoppage as part of the strike.
  • The main tourist attraction of the Greek capital – the Acropolis – closed early. City transport was also affected by the walkout, with bus and trolley bus drivers holding work stoppages in the morning and in the evening.
  • Tax offices and municipal services were shut, with railway traffic also stalled. Garbage collectors, bank employees and journalists were among other groups, who joined the protest.
  • The EU must find new ways to tackle the financial crisis as austerity measures aren’t working, Vasilios Xenakis from ADEDY trade union, which organized the strike together with GSEE union, told RT.
  • “We’re three years on the street, trying to explain to everybody, to the government and to the lenders also that it’s not an effective policy,” he said. “Let me just say, that the public debt was €281 billion three years ago and – they promised that it should be a recovery – but instead of that, after the haircut, we now owe €321 billion… At the same time, they said that everything in the market should be OK. But as we can see the market is still frozen. There’s no growth. Instead of this, we have unemployment in the private sector, unemployment in the public sector, for the first time. What’s needed is a new policy – a new policy not only in Greece, a new policy in the EU and Eurozone.”
  • Greece’s lenders, who have bailed the country twice with €240 billion worth of aid since it slid into a debt crisis in late 2009, are unhappy with how their money is being used.

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7.16.13 – Hungary asks IMF to leave the country after early payback

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Are they in the process of kicking out the central bankers?[/stextbox]

  • Hungary has announced plans to repay its bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund early and asked the organization to leave the country.
  • The head of Hungary’s Central Bank Gyorgy Matolcsy wrote a letter to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Monday asking for it to close its representative office in Budapest as it was “not necessary to maintain” it any longer.
  • The IMF says it is ready to agree since the current IMF representative in Hungary is due to leave soon anyway.
  • Hungary is heading for a general election next year, and many see the move as an attempt to show the government’s ability to avoid austerity programs and to act without outside help.
  • In 2008, amid the global crisis Hungary was saved from bankruptcy with a $26 billion rescue package from the IMF and the EU. Two years later Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government decided not to renew the deal to avoid closer IMF scrutiny of its economic policies.
  • However, in 2011, Economy Minister Matolcsy turned to IMF for a precautionary deal but didn’t get any reply.
  • In February 2013 Prime Minister Orban issued the country’s first international bond since 2011, thus demonstrating the country could go it alone by borrowing on global financial markets.
  • Relations between Orban’s government and the IMF have always been strained. In 2010, when Orban came to power, his government issued new laws, which were criticized as curtailing democracy, the justice system and freedom of speech.
  • The European Parliament responded with a resolution calling on Hungary to repeal the “anti-democratic changes.”
  • Hungary still owes $2.125 billion to the IMF from its original credit line of $25.5 billion.

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7.16.13 – European Car Sales Double-Dip, Lowest Since 1993: “No Recovery Until Late 2014”

[stextbox id=”x22report”]We now see the disconnect between the stock market and the economy. Europe is facing very tough times just like in the Great Depression. Europe was doing very poorly and America’s stock market was hitting all time highs. It is the same as today.  The western economies of the world are suffering and are on the verge of collapse.[/stextbox]

  • Following the hopes and dreams of green-shooters everywhere with April’s +0.6% YoY growth in European car sales, the last two months have been a bitter disappointment as sales have collapsed once again – down 6.3% YoY in June. Sales have been negative year-over-year for 18 of the last 19 months – longer than the 18 months during the financial crisis in 2008/9 and just printed at a fresh 20 year low. Car manufacturers are not amused and are demanding action, as Reuters reports, “What is the government waiting for to enact measures to support investment in this key sector?”
  • The drop in sales is across every make with luxury brands just as affected (BMW fell 7.7% and Audi -8.9%) as others (Fiat -13.6% and Peugeot -10.9%). Despite some desperate hope from industry associations “The market has bottomed out, for sure,” it seems the actual CEOs are less positive as BMW’s boss noted he did not expect a rebound in western European markets until at least the middle of next year.
  • Remember April when we were told Europe was on its way back because of the improvement in car sales… how now?
  • More from Bloomberg:

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

European car sales slumped to a two-decade low, German investor confidence unexpectedly dropped and euro-area exports fell for a second month, adding to signs that the region is struggling to emerge from recession.

The region’s car sales in the first half fell 6.7 percent to 6.44 million vehicles. The June figure was the lowest for the month since 1996, and the six-month number was the least since 1993, said Quynh-Nhu Huynh, the ACEA’s economics director.

“It’s still a weak car market, and I don’t think that it will get better in the very near future,” Sascha Gommel, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Commerzbank AG, said by phone. “I wouldn’t expect a recovery in the second half, but rather a stabilization at a low level.”

[/stextbox]

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7.16.13 – CPI Jumps On Food, Energy, Apparel, Medical Care Costs

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Lets just change the calculation and not include you know the stuff everyone buys on a everyday basis to live. Lets just include garbage cans for our inflation calculation, if they don’t go up in price then there is no inflation.[/stextbox]

  • For those who don’t eat or use energy: feel free to stop reading now – your inflation came in just as expected, at 0.2% up from May, and 1.6% higher compared to a year ago. However, those unlucky few who are forced to eat, use and A/C and/or commute, your inflation just saw its biggest monthly hedonically-adjusted jump (don’t forget the deflationary impact of that 80 inch LCD TV you have zero intention of buying), or 0.5%, since February’s 0.7% and well above the 0.3% expected.
  • This was driven by a 6.3% surge in gasoline prices, and a nat gas price index soaring 11.7% leading to a 3.4% increase in Energy prices, even as the Food increase of 0.2%, tied for the highest since December 2012 was subdued. And while non-food and energy components did not see major spikes, June apparel prices jumped 0.9%, the highest since 2012, as did Medical Care Commodities and Services, rising 0.5% and 0.4% respectively, both posting the highest M/M jump since well into 2012.
  • Food
  • The food index increased 0.2 percent in June after declining 0.1 percent in May. The food at home index, which fell 0.3 percent in May, increased 0.2 percent in June. Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes posted increases. The indexes for cereals and bakery products and for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs both increased 0.4 percent. The indexes for nonalcoholic beverages and for other food at home each increased 0.2 percent in June after declining in May. In contrast to these increases, the indexes for fruits and vegetables and for dairy and related products both declined slightly in June, falling 0.1 percent. Over the last 12 months, the index for food at home has risen 0.9 percent, with all the major food group indexes increasing except nonalcoholic beverages, which declined 0.9 percent. The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in June, the same increase as in May, and has increased 2.2 percent over the last 12 months.
  • Energy
  • The energy index rose 3.4 percent in June after increasing 0.4 percent in May. The gasoline index, which was unchanged in May, rose 6.3 percent in June and accounted for almost all of the energy increase. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 0.6 percent in June.) The electricity index also increased in June, rising 0.2 percent. However, the fuel oil index fell 0.5 percent, its fourth consecutive decline, and the index for natural gas decreased 0.4 percent, ending a streak of four consecutive increases. All the major energy component indexes have increased over the past 12 months. The index for natural gas rose 11.7 percent while the gasoline index increased 2.8 percent. The indexes for electricity and fuel oil rose more modestly, increasing 1.9 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
  • All items less food and energy
  • The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in June. The shelter index, which rose 0.3 percent in May, increased 0.2 percent in June. The indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both increased 0.2 percent. The index for medical care, which declined in May, increased 0.4 percent in June, its largest increase since last July. The index for medical care commodities, which declined 0.5 percent in May, rose 0.5 percent in June as the prescription drug index turned up. The index for medical care services rose 0.4 percent in June after being unchanged in May. The apparel index increased 0.9 percent in June, its largest increase since August 2011. The index for new vehicles, unchanged in May, rose 0.3 percent in June. The indexes for household furnishings and operations, personal care, and tobacco also increased in June. In contrast to these increases, the index for airline fares declined in June, falling 1.7 percent after rising 2.2 percent in May. The index for used cars and trucks fell for the second month in a row, declining 0.4 percent. The recreation index also declined, falling 0.1 percent.

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7.16.13 – GET PREPARED: The U.S. Economic Collapse is Still Coming

  • The U.S. Economy is still heading for a train-wreck, but you wouldn’t know it if you pay attention to the information and data coming out of the Main Stream Media. I am completely surprised at the apathy and nonchalant behavior of the investing public as the economic conditions continue to deteriorate.
  • At some point in time, these conditions will disintegrate more rapidly into an exponential free-fall. Once the U.S.A. Titanic finally sinks this time, there will be no coming back. This will be the time we will experience the great wealth transformation from paper to physical… especially gold and silver.
  • I saw the foreboding economic collapse coming back in 2005. My wife and I lived in a large city in the southeast and after a few years, decided it was time to sell the business and move to the country. So, in the beginning of 2007, during one of the biggest ice-storms to hit the mid-west, we picked up our belongings, loaded the dogs in the truck and moved out west.
  • We live in a small ranching community in the west, and I have to say, many of the people here know what’s coming. Furthermore, the folks here are in much better shape to weather the coming economic storm compared to their city-folk brethren.
  • Say Good-bye to Orthodox Analysis
  • I have said this before, and I will say it again…. the majority of analysis out there is completely worthless. Moreover, some of the forecasts coming from the precious metal community may turn out to be incorrect as well. More on this in future articles.
  • However, here are three typical examples of the failure of the MSM analyst community to properly forecast the heartbeat of the market:
  • The talking heads on CNBC and Wall Street were beating the drum for these and other stocks right up until the time they collapsed. Within a year, the prices of these equities imploded to a fraction of their original value.
  • Did this phase the Wall Street Analyst-For-Hire-Treadmill from continuing to put out worthless garbage? Of course not. Today, we still have the same overpaid analysts putting out Rosy forecasts as the economic conditions continue to disintegrate. Thus, orthodox analysis has outlasted its usefulness and is now, completely dead.
  • The Time for Unorthodox Analysis has Finally Arrived
  • In order to survive and to protect ones wealth in the future, investors must look outside the box and into the realm of the “Unorthodox” mind. There are many excellent examples of these analysts in the precious metal community, but the one that comes to mind more than most is Jim Willie.
  • Early on, Jim was writing about the corruption in the Wall Street Banking system which he calls a criminal syndicate. His label seems fitting as there have been no arrests or convictions to date of anyone from Wall Street since the collapse of the Banking and Housing Market in 2008. Sure, maybe a few fines have been levied, but when the Fed is handing out printed money to the member banks, it’s basically an inside joke to the establishment.
  • One of the major flaws I see made by the analyst community (including many in the precious metal camp), is the failure to incorporate energy into their forecasts. Truth be told, I don’t include Jim Willie in this group because he understands the dire ramifications of the energy situation going forward.
  • This is the very reason why I started to research how energy would impact the precious metals, mining and the overall economy — I just didn’t see anyone else really doing it.
  • For example, the top 5 gold miners diesel consumption for each ounce of gold produced increased 72% from 2005 to 2011. This turns out to be a 9% annual increase of diesel consumption per ounce of gold as production remained flat or slightly decreased during the period.
  • Moreover, the results for 2012 are coming out, and I have to say the trend seems to be getting worse. If we look at the chart below, we can see that AngloGold’s diesel consumption for each ounce of gold produced increased a staggering 31% from 2011 to 2012:

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7.16.13 – Granny’s Gold Bars Are Key to Vietnam Push to Boost Dong

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Its amazing that around the world people use gold to store their wealth, because they understand it is real money. Here in America we were brainwashed into thinking that the dollar was real wealth. If we took a twenty dollar bill from 1928 and bought 1 ounce of gold in 1928 for $20 what are they both worth today. Well, the $20 bill lost around 96% of its value and the gold has gone up to $1288. Which would you rather have.[/stextbox]

  • The target of Vietnam’s campaign to stabilize its currency is in the locked bedroom wardrobe of retired civil servant Vu Thi Huong: gold bars.
  • “It’s been my habit for ages, buying gold whenever I can save up some money,” said Huong, 57, who watches the financial news every day to monitor the price of the precious metal. “With gold, I can save my fortune and later on have something valuable to pass down to my children and grandchildren.”
  • Huong is among millions of Vietnamese who hold an estimated 300 tons to 400 tons of bullion to store their wealth — valued at as much as $19 billion at domestic prices and equal to official U.K. holdings — a legacy of more than a century of war, revolution and economic turbulence. The central bank wants to convert the hoard, much of it smuggled in, into dong deposits to strengthen the currency, which has slid 21 percent against the dollar in five years.
  • Private gold holdings “reflect both the Vietnamese cultural values as well as the lack of confidence in the dong,” said Trinh Nguyen, Hong Kong-based economist at HSBC Holdings Plc. “High inflation and depreciation of the dong in the past have caused people to keep their savings in gold.”
  • Demand for bullion prompts importers and smugglers to sell dong for dollars to buy gold from abroad, depressing the local currency, Michael Kokalari and Hang Vu, analysts at Maybank Kim Eng Securities in Ho Chi Minh City, wrote in a note July 3.

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7.16.13 – North Korea ‘behind cyber attack’ on South websites

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Building the propaganda for the main event and WWIII to cover the economic collapse[/stextbox]

  • South Korea believes North Korea was behind cyber attacks against several websites last month, officials say.
  • The attacks, which took place on the anniversary of the Korean War, hit the presidential office website, and several other official and media sites.
  • Investigators said an IP address used in the attack matched one used in previous hacking attempts by Pyongyang.
  • The North has also been blamed for cyber attacks on six South Korean banks and broadcasters in March.
  • “We speculate the hacking was done by North Korea,” Park Jae-moon, a director-general at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, said.
  • Analysis of “82 malignant codes [collected from the damaged devices] and internet addresses used for the attack, as well as the North Korea’s previous hacking patterns,” showed that “the hacking methods were the same” as those used in the 20 March cyber attacks, he added.
  • “[A] North Korean IP [address] was found in passages of the malignant codes and some of the damaged organisations. I can say this is the decisive evidence,” Mr Park said.
  • Almost all the websites and servers affected by the attack had been repaired, he added.
  • The hackers attempted to steal personal information from the websites, AP news agency reported, citing investigators.
  • Identity confusion
  • “The cyber attack seriously undermined the country’s image by [altering] the websites of symbolic government organisations, such as the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae,” the science ministry said in a statement.
  • Those behind the attack also “caused confusion… by assuming the identity of the hacktivist group Anonymous”, the ministry added.
  • During the 25 June attacks, messages praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and claiming that hacking collective Anonymous was responsible were left on the hacked websites.
  • North Korea has not commented on the hacking accusations.
  • In the past, it has accused both the South and the US of preventing users from being able to visit its official media sites.
  • On 20 March, cyber attacks on banks and broadcasters in the South affected 32,000 computers and disrupted banking services.
  • South Korea blamed that incident – which came at a time of heightened tensions between the two Koreas following Pyongyang’s nuclear test on 12 February – on North Korea.
  • North Korea has also been blamed for previous cyber attacks in 2009 and 2011.

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7.16.13 – DHS warns employees not to read leaked NSA information

[stextbox id=”x22report”]People are aloud to read the any periodical that is put out to the public. This is a violation of the 1st Amendment. Controlling the DHS employees so they don’t start asking questions of what is really going on. Got to keep them in the dark. We are also seeing censorship with the military and the Guardian. [/stextbox]

  • The Department of Homeland Security has warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications.
  • An internal memo from DHS headquarters told workers on Friday that viewing the document from an “unclassified government workstation” could lead to administrative or legal action. “You may be violating your non-disclosure agreement in which you sign that you will protect classified national security information,” the communication said.
  • The memo said workers who view the article through an unclassified workstation should report the incident as a “classified data spillage.”
  • The NSA is a Defense Department agency, meaning it does not fall under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security. It was not immediately clear whether all federal agencies released similar warnings to their employees.

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]Sent: Friday, July 12, 2013 9:50 AM
Subject: SECURITY ALERT ***Washington Post Article***
Importance: High
FYSA…From DHS HQ
Per the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center:
There is a recent article on the Washington Post’s Website that has a clickable link titled “The NSA Slide you never seen” that must not be opened on an Unclassified government workstation. This link opens up a classified document which will raise the classification level of your Unclassified workstation to the classification of the slide which is reported to be TS/NF.
If opened on an Unclassified system, you are obligated to report this to the SSO as a Classified Data Spillage (Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov> <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov> >).
Again, please exercise good judgment when visiting these webpages and clicking on such links. You may be violating your Non-Disclosure Agreement in which you sign that you will protect Classified National Security Information. You may be subject to any administrative or legal action from the Government.[/stextbox]

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7.16.13 – Japanese move to nationalise isles likely to raise tension with China

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The Japanese government and central bankers know they are screwed and the economic collapse is coming. So they need to provoke a war with China, by taking Islands and telling China these are ours will provoke China. The central bankers and government know they need to get the war started to cover up the economic collapse.[/stextbox]

  • Japan may nationalise hundreds of unclaimed islands off its coast in a bid to bolster its territorial claims, reports said, in a move that could complicate already simmering relations with China over existing maritime disputes.
  • Quoting government sources, the Yomiuri newspaper reported yesterday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government was planning to set up a multi-agency task force to identify around 400 islands that are not already explicitly identified as Japanese territory and confirm their ownership and the names of the islands.
  • If it was not possible to ascertain ownership, the island would be given an official name and nationalised, the paper said.
  • “This does not come as a surprise really and it’s something that the Japanese government had to do sooner or later,” Go Ito, a professor of international relations at Tokyo’s Meiji University, said.
  • “It’s also significant because they are acting now before China can start lodging claims to these islands. Of course, that means that we will again have conflicting claims over the sovereignty of some of these territories, just as we have over the Senkakus now.”
  • It’s also significant because they are acting now before China can start lodging claims to these islands. That means that we will again have conflicting claims over the sovereignty of some of these territories, just as we have over the Senkakus now
  • Go Ito, professor of international relations at Tokyo’s Meiji University
  • Ito was referring to the territorial row over the islands known as the Diaoyus in Chinese, which was reignited last September when Tokyo nationalised three islands in the chain in what it said was a mere administrative change of ownership.
  • As well as China, Japan is in dispute with Taiwan, South Korea and Russia over land that it considers to be its own territory.
  • “There is a relatively small number of islands that fall into the category of being potentially claimed by both sides, but it could still cause problems,” Ito said.
  • Chinese analysts have otherwise played down the potential impact on Sino-Japanese relations, which are already the lowest they have been in years.
  • “Tokyo is doing this out of fear as it has not sought sovereignty of these islands through a proper legal procedure,” said Lian Degui , deputy director of Japanese studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
  • “The plan is unlikely to cast a significant impact on the relationship between China and Japan.” He said there was no indication the islands Tokyo wanted to nationalise were also claimed by China.
  • Another Japanese affairs expert, Da Zhigang of the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said this could be an attempt by Abe to rally support for his Liberal Democratic Party ahead of Sunday’s upper house election. A victory would help end six years of parliamentary deadlock. “The Abe administration wants to divert voters’ attention from domestic issues to external affairs,” Da said.
  • With the geopolitical situation in East Asia changing dramatically and China increasingly looking to exert influence ever further from its shores, Tokyo hopes its new campaign, due to be completed next year, will erase any doubts over sovereignty.
  • As well as legal moves, the Japanese government is improving its military capabilities in areas that are considered at risk.
  • Tokyo is considering deploying a new unit to the Henoko district of Okinawa, where it will train and work closely with the US Marine Corps based at Camp Schwab.
  • The proposal to station an additional unit in Okinawa was first outlined in 2010, when the Mid-term Defence Plan stated the unit would be tasked with conducting rescue operations in the event of a natural disaster, protecting Japanese territory from external threats and hosting support units from other parts of Japan.
  • Three years later, Tokyo considers the threat posed by China to the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands to have reached a new high and is going ahead with the deployment.
  • In another development, a report on revising the National Defence Programme Guidelines is expected before the end of the month and will place renewed emphasis on amphibious and pre-emptive strike capabilities.
  • One of the key proposals will be the creation of a new branch of the military trained to perform the same tasks as the US Marine Corps. At present, Japan’s focus on defence has meant it refrained from developing military units trained to land on enemy-held terrain in advance of a main invasion force.

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7.16.13 – Report: Brinks Vaults Are Being Depleted: “This Has the Appearance of a Run On the Bank”

[stextbox id=”x22report”]I have heard reports that gold and silver are in a bubble, if that is the case then everyone would be trying to get rid of their physical gold and silver. So how come their are premiums on the precious metals and in other parts of the world they are buying it like it is going out of style.[/stextbox]

  • The price of gold and silver has seen a massive decline as of late, prompting one analyst to suggest that there is no compelling fundamental reason to own precious metals and the only thing investors can do now is “hope and panic, in that order.”
  • But while current prices and technical charts may leave some with the feeling that gold’s bull run is over and the bubble has popped, others are scooping up as much yellow and silver metal as they can find, and in some cases they’re doing it by the tens of thousands of ounces.
  • According to recent data from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, private investors are rapidly exchanging their paper holdings and turning them into deliverable physical assets, an indication that the purported ‘free market’ price for gold on global exchanges is grossly undervalued.

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

Brinks is now being depleted.

They have gone from 447,199 on July 3rd to 134,525 on July 9th which is a drop of 312,674 oz.

If this is correct, then this is a decline of 70 percent in the gold held in private accounts at Brinks in just one week.

If this is data is correct, it would not be too much of a stretch to say that this has the appearance of ‘a run on the bank.’

Jesse’s Cafe Americain via Steve Quayle

[/stextbox]

  • Commodities guru Doug Casey recently noted that it costs mining companies about $1200 an ounce to get gold out of the ground. Given that the price of gold is hovering right at that amount as of this writing it should be obvious that the going price for gold at this time is not sustainable. Either demand has waned and gold producers are going to be closing up shop soon because their business models will not be able to function under these prices, or we’re set to see prices bounce back significantly in coming months and years.
  • If we are to believe that investors are losing interest in precious metals, then how is it possible that major gold retailers like JM Bullion were reporting weeks-long delivery delays citing “astounding volume” from the retail sector?
  • Even the US Mint has seen such high demand (118% increase year-over-year) that they have actually suspended the sale of some of their gold American Eagles because they are unable to source the gold blanks required to strike the coins.
  • Obviously what mainstream analysts are reporting and what is happening in the real world are two different things, as evidenced by the large scale physical deliveries being reported around the globe.
  • The price of gold may have dropped 25% in the last 12 months, but a similar scenario unfolded from 1975 to 1976 when gold dropped nearly 50%, only to recover and go to new highs, quadrupling in value over the subsequent five years.
  • We’ve noted previously that the volatility in financial markets will be so extreme that even gold investors will be shaken.
  • If there’s one thing that should be clear, it’s that the global economic crisis is nowhere close to be resolved, and recovery could be a decade or more away. In fact, chances are we have yet to see the worst of it.
  • It is during environments exactly like these – when the people fear their government and lose confidence in its ability to mitigate crises – that precious metals become the investment asset of last resort.
  • It has happened throughout history. And it’s happening right now.

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7.16.13 – Chicago police start using facial-recognition software to arrest suspects

[stextbox id=”x22report”]They are not just tracking criminals, they will tracking every person, they will know where you went, who you met with, if you were at restaurant with certain people that you might not even know and they will know exactly who you are with facial recognition. It will be like having a government official with you at all times.[/stextbox]

  • Police officers in Chicago, Illinois can remotely access video shot from any of the city’s 24,000 closed-circuit television cameras, and they are already using that ability to nab suspects who thought they could outsmart surveillance.
  • According to a recent Chicago Sun-Time article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Frank Main, police officers in the Windy City recently issued their first arrest stemming from the use of space-age facial-recognition technology coupled with thousands of cameras that collect live video in real-time at all hours of the day.
  • Pierre Martin, 34, was arrested on May 2 and charged with armed robbery in connection with two incidents from earlier this year. During one of those events, a video camera owned by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and wired to the city’s three detective branches and the Criminal Information Prevention Center at police headquarters was rolling when Martin allegedly encountered his victim.
  • Months later, investigators were able to use the footage recorded using the CTA cameras and comb through a database of 4.5 million criminal booking shots in order to identify Martin as a person of interest. He is the first individual to be picked up by the CPD using the facial-recognition technology, but only one month after a city-wide roll-out he is likely to not be the last.
  • The Transportation Security Administration has given the CTA a $5.4 million grant to aid with the program, and that money has been used to update an already impressive arsenal of city-licensed surveillance cameras to run in tandem with NeoFace, a high-tech analysis program used by various governments and law enforcement agencies around the globe to grab biometric data off of an image and match it to another.
  • According to an April 2013 press release from NeoFace’s parent company, NEC Corporation of America, NeoFace exemplifies “facial recognition as an effective and non-intrusive tool for identification,” and has been deployed more than 200 times across 30 countries in only a few short years. Its use in Chicago is one of the latest, however, and the arrest of one individual already signals that other cities may follow suit.
  • “This was our first success,” Chicago Police Cmdr. Jonathan Lewin told the Sun-Times, adding, “as we pick up our training, you will see ongoing successes.”
  • Currently, Chicago cops can only rely on pre-recorded footage, with the system configured to avoid real-time surveillance. “It’s only post-event,” Lewin told the Sun-Times. But as similar programs become introduced elsewhere, the capabilities of systems like NeoFace are likely to put the activity of anyone, anywhere on the radar of authorities.
  • RT reported last week that the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC feeds footage from over 150 speed cameras, 50 red light lenses and more than 120 other closed-circuit television cams across the city to special analysis centers where local investigators can try to identify people caught on film breaking the law after the fact. One lawmaker likely to pursue an opportunity to run for DC mayor next year told the Washington Times that he wants officers everywhere to be able to monitor those cameras in real-time, and intends on fighting for that ability as Election Day approaches. Civil liberty advocates in Chicago, DC and elsewhere aren’t impressed, however, and warn that systems such as NeoFace could let police profile anyone of their choosing.
  • “Given Chicago’s history of unlawful political surveillance,” Harvey Gross man of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois said in 2011, “it is critical that appropriate controls be put in place to rein in these powerful and pervasive surveillance cameras now available to law enforcement throughout the city.”
  • “The ubiquity and technological reach of Chicago’s surveillance camera system present a fundamental threat to the privacy and First Amendment rights of all persons in Chicago,” added ACLU of Illinois senior staff counsel Adam Schwartz in a statement at the time. “The current mayor and other city officials have said that their goal is to place a camera on every corner, blanketing the entire city in an integrated fashion. If that goal is achieved, the lives of residents of Chicago will be changed. We will be forced to make decisions about where to go and when with the knowledge that all of our actions can be watched and recorded.”
  • Two years down the road, those cameras are quickly growing in number and federal aid courtesy of the TSA is only helping speed up the process of putting an eye in the sky on every street block.
  • Lewin, the CPD commander that spokes to the Sun-Times for this week’s article, said, “There will absolutely no random surveillance — and facial recognition—of subjects in the public way.” Meanwhile, though, federal officers are investigating new ways to help identify anyone, anywhere using a database that aims to contain biometric information on every adult in the country. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced plans to have a database of 14 million photographs on file by next year when it rolls out its Next Generation Identification system, which will use surveillance camera clips and other footage to match suspects almost instantaneously up with a pool of persons derived from state DMV photo-shoots and other government-owned images. Both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have sued the FBI in hopes of learning more about the NGI program before its intended roll-out in 2014.

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7.16.13 – Japan Scrambles Fighter Jets to Track Russian Bombers

  • Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force had to scramble fighter jets in response to flights by Russian military aircraft near Japanese airspace and over the disputed Kuril Islands on Monday, local media reported.
  • Two Tu-95 Bear bombers flew over the Sea of Japan moving from the Korean Peninsula, and proceeded along the Japanese archipelago to the north of Hokkaido. Another plane, the IL-20, flew over the Kuril Islands, NHK television said late Monday citing the Defense Ministry.
  • According to Japanese officials, the Russian aircraft had not violated the country’s airspace.
  • The Russian Defense Ministry later said that two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers, flying a training mission as part of the snap military rills in the Eastern Military District, were followed by South Korean and Japanese fighter jets.
  • “The flight of the pair of Tu-95MS bombers continued for 7 hours and 15 minutes. They were ‘shadowed’ by two South Korean F-15K fighter jets and pairs of Japanese F-4J, F-15J and F-2A aircraft,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
  • “The mission was carried out north of the coast of Japan were strictly in accordance with international rules and took place over international waters in the Pacific Ocean,” the statement said.
  • Russia launched last Friday an extensive snap check of combat readiness in the country’s Far East, ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
  • The exercise, which has involved about 160,000 servicemen, 5,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 Pacific Fleet warships, will continue until July 20.
  • Japan remains very sensitive to the Russian military activity near its borders as bilateral relations have long been overshadowed by a territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands in the north Pacific.
  • The four disputed islands – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai – were occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II and are still claimed by Japan.
  • The two states never signed a permanent peace treaty following the end of World War II because of the row over the islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories.

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7.16.13 – Premiums High In China and India – China Gold Deliveries Double

  • Today’s AM fix was USD 1,286.00, EUR 983.03 and GBP 853.24 per ounce.
  • Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,281.25, EUR 983.08 and GBP 850.65 per ounce.
  • Gold rose $0.50 or 0.04% yesterday and closed at $1,285.00/oz. Silver gained $0.07 or 0.35% and closed at $19.96.
  • The cost of borrowing gold remains near its highest level since January 2009, reflecting a lack of supply from bullion banks and resilient demand for physical gold products, especially in Asia.
  • Trading volumes for gold and silver on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) rose to record volumes on Friday, with premiums in Asian gold products remaining at sharply higher levels than in North America and Europe.
  • Gold premiums in China remain high at nearly $30 per ounce (see table above) an indication of strong demand in the People’s Republic of China and premiums in India remain robust despite the recent fall in demand.
  • Chinese gold demand remains insatiable with record deliveries being seen on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE). Physical gold delivered to buyers by China’s largest bullion bourse in the first half of this year almost matched the entire amount taken from its vaults in all of 2012, and was more than double the country’s annual production.
  • The Shanghai Gold Exchange supplied 1,098 metric tons in the six months through June, compared with 1,139 tons for the whole of last year, according to data from the bourse reported by Bloomberg.
  • The surge in deliveries underscores buying interest in China, which is likely to pass India as the largest bullion consumer as early as this year after the government in New Delhi raised import taxes while regulators in Beijing made investing in the metal easier.
  • Miners, smelters and refineries are required to sell gold via the Shanghai bourse, the only state-sanctioned marketplace for spot bullion in China.

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7.15.13 – A Glimpse Of Things To Come: KKR Suspends First Data’s 401(k), Replaces Cash Bonuses With Stock

[stextbox id=”x22report”]I wonder what the fine details are, normally they want you to stay with the company at least 5 years before you actually get the stock. So what they are doing is giving them stock which they cannot have right now. Everyone is receiving less money this year. Less money means less disposable income. Everyone will have to do with less.  Coming to all companies in the not to distant future[/stextbox]

  • With the untapering due any minute, and cost of debt set to plunge to even lower record levels, one thing is certain: the private equity industry is about to be bathed with even more costless credit and, with a portfolio of companies already accounting for 8% of US GDP, is about to accelerate its “going private” take over of America’s corporations. Of course, in the pursuit of the almighty cashflow driven IRR, all is fair in love and LBO wars, however, one group of people who may not like the outcome are America’s workers especially following tonight’s glimpse of the “cost-cutting” process that is about to be unleashed by the Fed-funded corner office on workers everywhere. A few hours ago First Data Corp., a KKR portfolio company, announced that it will suspend 401(k) contributions to employees and replace cash bonuses with stock “as part of its new chief executive’s strategy to return the credit-card processor to profitability.” The move was announced to all 24,000 employees of the Atlanta company in an internal memo Monday.
  • How big is the impact of this stunning move?
  • WSJ explains: “The pay overhaul takes effect Jan. 1 and will save the company about $60 million in cash next year. The yearly total is expected to grow to $100 million by 2017, equivalent to less than 1% of First Data’s overhead-related costs in 2012.”
  • In other words, the overall impact is negligible at best. Yet it is also so very crucial for KKR’s IRR analysis, if its portfolio company is forced to cut from its very muscle, and crush even the faintest worker dreams of a stable retirement funding (as a reminder, the traditional Pension Plan also died some time ago thanks to Ben Bernanke). It also means that even in a time of record low costs of capital, rational, sophisticated investors can no longer extract balance sheet arbitrage returns from portfolio firms, and the next big round of major layoffs (when this trifling 1% overhead cut is concluded) is just around the corner.
  • But that’s not all: as part of the cost-cutting initiative, rank and file workers will be forced to see the world through banker eyes: i.e., forego cash payments in exchange for a stock-based bonus. “First Data Chief Executive Frank Bisignano also wants to align the pay of top executives, rank-and-file workers and everyone in between more closely with owner KKR & Co., which took First Data private in 2007 for about $26 billion in one of the biggest leveraged buyouts ever but has struggled with the deal ever since.
  • First Data now matches 3.5% of employee contributions to 401(k) retirement-savings plans. Under the new plan, those contributions will be suspended, with employees getting stock instead. The changes will broaden employee stock-ownership, now roughly 1%, to nearly every First Data employee, including those at the company’s headquarters and a customer-service call center in Omaha, Neb.”
  • In addition, about 3,000 managers will get roughly half of their annual bonuses in stock. Those employees previously got half of their bonuses in immediate cash, plus a long-term cash payment that vested over three years. That long-term payment will now be granted in the form of stock.
  • “Given our challenged current profitability, it is necessary at this time and will allow us to fund investment in innovation and new product development,” Mr. Bisignano said about the changes in his memo to employees.
  • So now the choice is clear 401(k)s, and more overhead cuts… or CapEx. One wonders how many workers will bail immediately for greener pastures where the executive management still doesn’t follow the orders of Messers Kravis and Roberts.
  • Oh, and where does Mr. Bisignano – the man supposed to enact KKR’s plan – hail from? Why JPM of course.

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7.15.13 – Goodbye Full-Time Jobs, Hello Part-Time Jobs, R.I.P. Middle Class

[stextbox id=”x22report”]

Many of today’s jobs are only part time or consultant type of jobs and with the help of Obamacare many employers are cutting hours and the number people they employ.  So this health care that Obama is pushing on the American people is really a huge penalty on the American people.

Quick explanation, health insurance for cheap prices, how it helps the people.

1. Individual penalty if you don’t take it, you are taxed
2. Businesses are penalized if employees work a certain amount of hours or if they have a certain number of people working full time
3. Each person is forced to take the health insurance, you don’t have a choice
4. Businesses will not hire more people, this should help the job situation, not
5. Businesses will cut back on employees hours, this should help the job situation, not

So who is helped by Obamacare, the insurance companies because it is mandatory and now you don’t need competition, the government to collect more taxes to pay the national debt.

[/stextbox]

 

  • A fundamental shift is taking place in the U.S. economy. In fact, this transition is rapidly picking up momentum and is in danger of becoming an avalanche. The percentage of full-time jobs in our economy is steadily declining and the percentage of part-time jobs is steadily increasing. This is not a recent phenomenon, but now there are several factors which are accelerating this trend. One of them is Obamacare. The truth is that Obamacare actually gives business owners incentive to cut hours and turn full-time workers into part-time workers, and according to the Wall Street Journal and other prominent publications this is already happening all over the United States. Perhaps this is part of the reasons why the U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month.
  • In a recent article entitled “Restaurant Shift: Sorry, Just Part-Time”, the Wall Street Journal explained the choices that employers are faced with thanks to Obamacare…

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

The Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent workers to offer affordable insurance to employees working 30 or more hours a week or face fines. Some companies have said the requirement could increase their costs significantly, although others have played down the potential hit.

The cost for small firms to comply with the health law will depend largely on the number of additional full-time employees that sign up for employer-sponsored coverage. Average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2012 were $5,615 for single coverage and $15,745 for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That is up from $3,083 and $8,003, respectively, in 2002.

[/stextbox]

  • Thankfully the implementation of this aspect of Obamacare was recently delayed, but a lot of employers are saying that it won’t make a difference. They know that it is coming at some point, and so they are already making the changes that they feel they will need to make in order to comply with the law…

[stextbox id=”highlight” shadow=”false”]

Restaurant owners who have already begun shifting to part-time workers say they will continue that pattern.

“Does the delay change anything for us? Absolutely not,” Mr. Adams of Subway said, explaining that whether his health-care costs go up next year or in 2015, he will have to comply with the law. “We won’t start hiring full-time people.”

[/stextbox]

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7.15.13 – Economy skids dangerously close to contraction

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The warnings begin, just like in 2008 before the crash[/stextbox]

  • U.S. economic growth has again slowed sharply, skidding dangerously close in the second quarter to an outright contraction in gross domestic product.
  • Following the releases Monday of tepid reports on retail sales and inventory accumulation, forecasters marked down their GDP expectations from 1.4% to 1.1%. It’s probable that U.S. GDP rose less than 2% for the third quarter in a row, and it’s possible that growth was less than 1% for the second quarter in the last three.
  • It’s not news that the global growth is sluggish, and that sluggishness is weighing on U.S. manufacturers’ export growth. And we know that the federal government is cutting back its spending.
  • But we thought that the household sector was holding up a little better. The surprise Monday was that U.S. consumers were more cautious as well. Retail sales rose 0.4% in June, with most of the growth coming from automobile sales. Most retailers reported weak sales for the month.
  • Because spending started the quarter on a weak note, it’s likely that consumer spending increased at less than a 2% annual rate in the quarter. Without stronger growth in consumer spending, businesses won’t invest as much. And investors are likely to be disappointed with flat revenue growth at their favorite companies.
  • Most people have been expecting a weak first half of the year, what with the tax hikes, falling government spending and anemic global growth. But the assumption has always been that the economy would pull out of its funk in the second half of the year.

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7.15.13 – Russian military stages biggest war games since Soviet times

[stextbox id=”x22report”]All countries are preparing for the eventual war. Putin is preparing his country, he knows what the central bankers will do, they don’t want peace they will never stop and will create war in the end if they don’t get what they want.[/stextbox]

  • 160,000 servicemen, 1000 tanks, 130 planes and 70 ships are taking part in Russia’s biggest military drill since Soviet times. The war games will continue in the country’s Far East until July 20.
  • The maneuvers are the latest in series of surprise military checks which performed by Russia, in an effort to reveal and oust flaws in the country’s defense program.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu received an order to test the battle readiness of the Eastern command, which unites military forces in the Far East and Trans-Baikal. The request was received from President Vladimir Putin at 01:00 local time (21:00 GMT) on Saturday, July 13.
  • Following the order, 160,000 servicemen were put on high alert and began advancing toward the training sites.
  • According to the Defense Ministry, around 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 planes and helicopters, and 70 ships are taking part in the war games.
  • Military commanders in the Far East and Trans-Baikal learned of the drill’s details only after it had begun, receiving a secret parcel from Defense Minister Shoygu.
  • “The main purpose of the activities is to check the readiness of the military units to perform assigned tasks and evaluate of the level of personnel’s training and technical preparation as well as the level of equipment of units with arms and military equipment,” the defense ministry said in statement.
  • The statement noted that the drill would require some units to travel more than 3,000 kilometers from their usual deployment sites. Seven hundred flat wagons and 50 railway cars were assigned to perform the transfer.
  • The ground forces have been given two days to reach their destination. They have been tasked with pitching field camps, masking their positions, and organizing defense strategies upon arrival.
  • The transfer is being secured by military air power. Sukhoi Su-27 fighters took off from their bases in Ussuriysk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur in order to protect ferry crossings to Sakhalin Island and escort Pacific Fleet ships. The pilots are also practicing search and destroy methods of water-based targets.
  • The Russian Navy, along with its fleet, is participating in drills in the Sea of Okhotsk. The Navy owns the guided-missile cruiser ‘Varyag,’ large anti-submarine ships ‘Marshal Shaposhnikov’ and ‘Admiral Vinogradov,’ assault ships ‘Oslyabya’ and “Nikolay Vilkov,’ and fleet destroyer ‘Bystry,’ and a number of other vessels – all of which are taking part in the war games.
  • The fleet, accompanied by Tupolev Tu-124 and Ilyushin Il-38 anti-boat planes, has already successfully executed the task of search and detection of simulated enemies’ submarines.
  • President Putin also asked the defense minister to train “rescue at sea and rescue of vehicles, including submarines” during the maneuvers.
  • Surprise checks within the Russian military began after Shoygu took up the position of defense minister in November 2012.
  • Similar unannounced drills have already been performed in the southern, west and central military districts, with President Putin calling them “extremely useful and effective in terms of identifying problems and their subsequent removal.”

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7.15.13 – Cyprus’s default risk remains elevated, says Moody’s

[stextbox id=”x22report”]Does anyone really believe that Cyprus can recover?  It is like giving a drug attic more of the same drugs and wondering why they aren’t getting better.  Cyprus still has the same problems, they piled more debt on top of debt, robbed the people of their money, capital controls are still in effect, foreign business are afraid to invest so there is no fresh money coming into the country, no new accounts can be opened, people still can’t take out their money etc. So how in the world is Cyprus going to recover, it isn’t, the central bankers are after the natural resources and the countries gold.[/stextbox]

  • The risk of another default by Cyprus over the coming years remains elevated, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service. The ratings agency says this is due to very substantial risks to the country’s economic performance and, as a result, the government’s finances. This is reflected in the negative outlook on the Caa3 rating of the government. Although it is not the rating agency’s central scenario, Moody’s sees a material risk of a Cypriot exit from the euro area, which is captured in the Caa2 country ceiling. The rating agency’s report is an annual update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action. Moody’s determines a country’s sovereign rating by assessing it on the basis of four key factors — economic strength, institutional strength, government financial strength and susceptibility to event risk — as well as the interplay between them.

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7.15.13 – Pakistani Taliban sent hundreds to Syria to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with rebels

[stextbox id=”x22report”]So what do we know, the paid US mercenaries are fighting amongst each other and losing the battle with Syria.  So what does the central bankers and the US government need to do, bring in more troops to fight along the rebels and bring them back into order. Strange how these Taliban want to join in now, how long has the fighting been going on?  The government and central bankers are running out of fall back plans, if this plan doesn’t work look for a false flag to get the people of America to beg for war with Syria[/stextbox]

  • A Pakistani branch of the Taliban has sent hundreds of men to Syria to fight alongside rebels in the battle to topple President Assad. The militant organization has reportedly set up camps, aiming to foster ties with al-Qaeda’s central leadership.
  • Taliban commanders told Reuters on Sunday that they decided to join the cause in Syria in order to fight alongside their “Mujahedeen friends.”
  • “When our brothers needed our help, we sent hundreds of fighters along with our Arab friends,” one senior commander said, mentioning that his group would be providing the general public with videos of their “victories” in Syria.
  • One commander told the agency that the help was sent at the request of “Arab friends.”
  • “We have established our own camps in Syria. Some of our people go and then return after spending some time fighting there,” a Pakistani Taliban commander said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
  • “Since our Arab brothers have come here for our support, we are bound to help them in their respective countries and that is what we did in Syria,” he added.
  • Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is known for its affiliation with the al Nusra front, recognized as a branch of al-Qaeda. The majority of Pakistani Taliban groups work under the banner of the TTP.
  • They operate in Pakistan’s insurgency-plagued areas along the Afghan border, seeking to topple Pakistan’s government and install its own branch of Islam.
  • Taliban factions are motivated to fight by religion in Syria, working under the belief that Sunni Muslims – who are a majority in Syria – are being oppressed by the Shia government.
  • Foreign Sunni fighters now flock to Syria from countries such as Tunisia and Libya, in order to wage a holy war against perceived Shia oppressors.
  • Prominent Pakistani author and Taliban expert Ahmed Rashid told Reuters that sending Taliban fighters would be regarded as an act of loyalty by al-Qaeda.
  • “The Pakistani Taliban has remained a sort surrogate of al-Qaeda. We’ve got all these foreigners up there in Federally Administered Tribal Areas who are being looked after or trained by the Pakistani Taliban,” said Rashid. He explained that the fighters are like global jihadists, and drew the conclusion that they are aiming to “cement relationships with the Syrian militant groups.”

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7.15.13 – Setting Up for a Financial Collapse Worse than 1929-Karl Denninger

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7.15.13 – Retail Sales Slide, Miss: Biggest Drop And Miss In 12 Months

[stextbox id=”x22report”]It all makes sense, with less disposable income and people out of work, underemployed and the real unemployment at 23% how could retail sales increase. Back in Feb 2013 USA TODAY listed thousands of retail stores closing.  This is a complete disconnect from the stock market. [/stextbox]

  • If the worst retail sales number in 12 months doesn’t send the S&P to 1,700 nothing will. Because that is precisely the data point we got moments ago when the Census bureau reported June retail sales growth of 0.4%, missing expectations of a 0.8% print and down from a downward revised 0.5%. However, the only growth in the headline number was thanks to auto and gas sales. Ex autos retail sales were unchanged on expectations of a 0.5% increase, while ex autos and gas the print was down -0.1%, crushing hopes of a +0.4% increase. Any minute now, however, the Fed’s S&P500 trickle down will, with a 4 year delay, hit the end consumer: the entire Princeton economics department pinky swears.
  • Ironically for the housing recovery had a bit of a sputter, with Building Material and related retail sales dropping 2.2% on an adjusted basis in June (and crashing Unadjusted but who cares about real, unfudged data):

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7.15.13 – Spy drones in widespread use across USA, targeting Americans, secret documents now reveal

  • Nowhere in the world is privacy as under assault as it is in America, the one country with a written governing document – the U.S. Constitution – that specifically prohibits our government from denying us our right to privacy. If we had leaders of integrity this wouldn’t be an issue, but the government in Washington is behaving precisely the way our leaders have fashioned it, so serial violations of our rights is the norm these days rather than the exception.
  • ‘Look – up in the sky! Smile! You’re on camera…’
  • Take the issue of drone usage to spy on us. The use of drones by government has exploded in recent years, and for reasons that have nothing to do with “security” or “law enforcement” or under the guise of “protecting us.” No, these drones are being used by both state and federal governments to spy on Americans, as if tracking our snail mail and all electronic communications isn’t enough.
  • Per the Electronic Freedom Frontier, an advocacy group that tracks abuses of privacy in the Digital Age:
  • Recently released daily flight logs from Customs & Border Protection (CPB) show the agency has sharply increased the number of missions its 10 Predator drones have flown on behalf of state, local and non-CPB federal agencies. Yet, despite this increase – eight-fold between 2010 and 2012 – CBP has failed to explain how it’s protecting our privacy from unwarranted drone surveillance.
  • Now granted, the Border Patrol has a tough job patrolling the nearly 2,000-mile long U.S. border with Mexico, which is where the bulk of illegal aliens and drugs enter our country. But the 10 Predators the agency acquired over the past few years are no longer being used solely for border enforcement.
  • “As far as I know, CBP’s drone program was intended and authorized by Congress for the purpose of patrolling the nation’s borders,” writes Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “It was not intended to be a general law enforcement drone “lending library,” in which Predator drones (which are quite unlike the small UAVs that police departments around the country are beginning to acquire and deploy) are used for all manner of purposes across the country.”
  • Bad and getting worse
  • According to documents obtained by EFF, the CBP’s drones have been utilized to conduct surveillance for a range of federal agencies including the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Marshal Service and the Coast Guard. In addition, the Predators have been used to support surveillance operations for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the North Dakota Army National Guard, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, EFF said, adding:
  • CBP also flew its drones for non-law enforcement agencies and missions. The logs show that CBP conducted extensive “electro-optical, thermal infrared imagery and Synthetic Aperture Radar” surveillance of levees along the Mississippi River and river valleys across several states, along with surveillance of the massive Deep Water Horizon oil spill and other natural resources for the US Geological Survey, FEMA, the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, the Department of Natural Resources, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Look, even innocuous-sounding missions should raise red flags. Americans cannot go anywhere anymore to simply function in society – to buy groceries, go to the movies or visit friends, for instance – without being under some kind of surveillance every step of the way.
  • Cities, states and now the federal government are telling us they are watching us 24/7/365 to simply try to keep us safe, but the Constitution does not permit such broad, continuous surveillance. It is a blatant violation of our right to privacy, which is not allowable. There is no “except in cases of ensuring public safety” provision in the Fourth Amendment.
  • That said, expect the violations to get worse – that is, unless the whole of Washington and elected leaders in cities and states around the country suddenly grow a conscience, and you know what the chances are of that happening.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.15.13 – India will make all payments for Iran crude in Rupees

[stextbox id=”x22report”]This is why the US government and the central bankers want to get into Iran so badly.  They are not using the US dollar as the reserve currency and there is no central bank.  [/stextbox]

  • India is to settle its 1.53 billion dollars dues with Iran in Rupees. From now on, all the trade will only be done in Indian currency. Until February, 45 percent of the Indian oil import payments were made in Euros, with the money going through Turkish Halkbank. Since then Indian crude oil importers have held on to their payments. A Russian route to make payments in Ruble was explored however it did not work out. Finally the Rupee transactions are left as the only alternative.UCO Bank is the only Indian designated institute under the rupee-payment mechanism with Iran. It is backed by its tie-ups with five Iranian banks which worked on carrying out the process of settlements of dues in April last year.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.15.13 – New Black Panthers: Zimmerman verdict means ‘war’

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The US government is still trying to get the race rioting going. At this point we have seen some protests a little bit of rioting but they are trying their best to get this false flag moving along. If they do get it moving this will allow the President to declare the situation an emergency, enact Executive Orders, declare martial law, confiscate weapons etc.[/stextbox]

  • Urge followers to ‘take to the streets’ and ‘stay there’
  • The George Zimmerman verdict is a declaration of war that only the devil can applaud, according to the Twitter feed for the New Black Panther Party.
  • The Twitter account, managed by the group’s national chairman, Malik Zulu Shabazz, further urged followers to “take to the streets [and] stay there.”
  • “Were at war,” Shabbazz Tweeted. “Its (sic) silly and immoral to call for peace when war has been declared.”
  • The NBPP slammed what it called the “white mans (sic) justice system,” claiming the courts base their law on “the white is right theory.”
  • “Only a devil would applaud that verdict. Only natural born devil. By applauding that verdict you in fact admit that you are a devil,” wrote Shabbazz.
  • “The major problem with whites is they see white as exalted over others,” the Twitter feed added.
  • Shabbazz Tweeted that “As a lawyer, I am deeply dissapointed & embarassed (sic) at a judicial system that can’t deliver jail time for clear killer.”
  • Of whites, Shabbazz charged, “You all are born to kill and murder the darker peoples as Jesus says in John 8th chapter 44 verse. ‘A liar and a murderer from beginning.’”
  • Continued Shabbazz: “Everywhere the white man has gone since released from the caves and hills of europe the white man has killed & murdered the dark peoples :(”
  • The NBPP is a controversial black extremist party whose leaders are notorious for their racist statements and for leading anti-white activism.
  • The NBPP’s official platform states, “White man has kept us deaf, dumb and blind,” refers to the “white racist government of America,” demands black people be exempt from military service and uses the word “Jew” repeatedly in quotation marks.
  • Shabazz has led racially divisive protests and conferences, such as the 1998 Million Youth March, in which a few thousand Harlem youths reportedly were called upon to scuffle with police officers and speakers demanded the extermination of whites in South Africa.
  • The NBPP chairman was quoted at a May 2007 protest against the 400-year celebration of the settlement of Jamestown, Va., stating, “When the white man came here, you should have left him to die.”
  • He claimed Jews engaged in an “African holocaust,” and he has promoted the anti-Semitic urban legend that 4,000 Israelis fled the World Trade Center just prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
  • When Shabazz was denied entry to Canada in May 2008 while trying to speak at a black action event, he blamed Jewish groups and claimed Canada “is run from Israel.”
  • Canadian officials justified the action stating he has an “anti-Semitic” and “anti-police” record, but some reports blamed what was termed a minor criminal history for the decision to deny him entry.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.15.13 – Russian Military on Alert After Suspected Israeli Airstrike Destroys Russian Missiles in Syria

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The beginnings of WWIII.  Lets put this into perspective. If the US was shipping missiles to Israel and Syria blew up the missiles inside Syria would this be an act of war?[/stextbox]

  • Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been placed on alert after a suspected Israeli airstrike destroyed advanced, Russian missiles recently delivered to Syria.
  • Last week, in the Syrian port city of Latakia, several pre-dawn explosions were reported to have destroyed advanced Russian missiles that had recently arrived and were being temporarily stored at the port. A spokesman for the opposition Free Syrian Army, describing the July 5 attack, said Tuesday that “It was not the FSA that targeted this. It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels.” The FSA spokesman, Qassem Saadeddine, went on to say “This attack was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean.” The suggestion is that Israel was behind the attack. The Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles, it is speculated, could have been considered a threat to Israel’s naval forces.
  • Israel has not commented on the attack. In May, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon commented that Israel “will know what to do” in the event that Russian missiles were delivered to Syria. Israel has carried out previous airstrikes in Syria, including and attack upon vehicles carrying weapons towards the Lebanese border.
  • In a July 13 report from the official Russian news agency, ITAR-TASS, The Russian Defense Ministry has announced what is being described as “the most ambitious [check alert] in the history of post-Soviet test readiness.” A check alert, according to the Defense Ministry is a mobilization for exercises designed “to test the readiness of units to perform assigned tasks, and assessment of the level of training of personnel, staffing and technical readiness units and formations with arms and military equipment.” The alert, according to the ITAR-TASS report, involves more than 80,000 troops, around a thousand tanks and armored personnel carriers, some 130 aircraft and 70 naval vessels.
  • This massive military alert is seen as a response to the disclosure Friday to CNN, by unnamed US officials, that the destruction of the Russian missiles in Syria was a result of Israeli airstrikes.
  • The United States government has previously indicated its desire to provide the rebels in Syria with weapons and other military assistance. Meanwhile, both the rebels and pro-government forces in Syria have obtained American weapons – likely via Iraq.
  • The Syrian army – aided by Iran and Lebanese-based Hezbollah, continues to make slow progress in rolling back rebel gains. FSA pockets of resistance in the city of Homs continue to struggle against a tightening siege by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad. This latest suspected Israeli airstrike and Russian military alert signals a growing danger that the more than two-year-old Syrian conflict will escalate into a wider, regional conflict.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

7.15.13 – Bernanke Has Created a $4 Trillion a Day Ticking Time Bomb

[stextbox id=”x22report”]The bubbles (stock, treasury bond, real estate and student loan) is becoming so big that when it all comes tumbling down it will cause the derivative market to implode and the collapse will be worse than anyone thinks.[/stextbox]

  • The entire move last week was the result of Ben Bernanke waffling about when to taper QE (if ever).
  • The Fed hinted at tapering QE a mere two months ago. We now know that half of the Fed’s Board of Governors want QE tapered or even stopped entirely by the end of the year.
  • And yet, for some reason Bernanke cannot bring himself to even consider this, as he stated on Wednesday (after the market closed of course) that a “highly accommodative policy,” would be needed for some time.
  • Stocks hit a new high on the announcement.
  • However, the big story about Bernanke’s statement was the effect it had on the US Dollar.
  • Bernanke’s comments absolutely slammed the Dollar. Why is this important? Because the currency market is the largest most liquid market in the world trading volumes of over $4 trillion per day.
  • Wild price swings in a market of this size (that is often leveraged at 80 to 1 or even 100 to 1) mean massive amounts of wealth evaporating instantly. Historically, currencies are the first asset class to register when the system is in big trouble. These wild swings in the US Dollar are a major red flag that trouble is beginning to brew behind the scenes in the financial system.
  • Stocks may hit new highs, but this rally has all the hallmarks of a blow off top, coming at the final stage of a bubble. Indeed, stocks have not been this overextended in over 20 years… that includesthe 2007 peak. Soon after we reached that point… we then plunged into one of the worst market Crashes of all time.
  • By today’s metrics, this would mean the S&P 500 falling to 1,300 then eventually plummeting to new lows.
  • This is not doom and gloom. This is a fact. The Fed has created an even bigger bubble than the 2007 one.
  • The time to prepare for this is not once the collapse begins, but NOW, while stocks are still rallying. Stocks take their time moving up, but when they crash it happens VERY quickly.

Economic Collapse,  Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

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