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Bank Failures #4 and 5 in 2012: Florida and Tennessee
From the FDIC: CenterState Bank of Florida, National Association, Winter Haven, Florida, Assumes All of the Deposits of First Guaranty Bank and Trust Company of Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida
From the FDIC: Republic Bank & Trust Company, Louisville, Kentucky, Assumes All of the Deposits of Tennessee Commerce Bank, Franklin, Tennessee.
Bank Failure #6 & 7: Tennessee and Minnesota
From the FDIC: First Resource Bank, Savage, Minnesota, Assumes All of the Deposits of Patriot Bank Minnesota, Forest Lake, Minnesota...
From the FDIC: U.S. Bank National Association, Cincinnati, Ohio, Assumes All of the Deposits of BankEast, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Why gold may be a better investment
than a pension for retirement
The word 'pension' never seems to be far from the headlines at the minute. Pensions were obviously the cause of the recent industrial action at the end of 2011, whilst pensions were also at the heart of George Osborne’s autumn statement last year as the news that the rise in the state pension age to 67 was to be brought forward to 2026 from 2034.
Indeed the days of your pension maintaining a particular type of lifestyle when you retire are well and truly over. It has come to be accepted that retirement brings frugality.
Ron Paul - Gold / Fiat Money
Silver may outperform gold in near term
By Debbie Carlson - CommodityOnline.com
Gold could build on its rally into next week and possibly close out the month of January with a gain, market participants said.
Countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year, such as China, will return to work next week, and others said that momentum that started following the dovish statement by the Federal Open Market Committee on its long-term interest rate outlook will likely continue.
Gold-S&P ratio indicates weak stocks and surging gold
By Jordan Roy-Byrne - CommodityOnline.com
It has been a tough last year for precious metals investors but not so much for common stocks. Sure, the Euro crisis benefited Gold initially but as the panic has abated, stocks are rallying back to their highs while Gold has sold off and the gold stocks are trying to hold their lows. What is going on? Are we in the twilight zone?
Ackermann Says Greek Default Would Be 'Playing With Fire'
By Christine Harper - Bloomberg.com
The economic and political consequences of Greece defaulting instead of reaching a voluntary debt-restructuring deal are being underestimated, Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) Chief Executive OfficerJosef Ackermann said.
"Default risk is much higher than what people normally take into account," Ackermann said today in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "You see already that some markets are nervous about certain countries," he said. “That is playing with fire if you think that a default will have no impact."
IIF Says Expects to Conclude Deal on Greek Swap Next Week
By Maria Petrakis - Bloomberg.com
The Institute of International Finance, which represents private holders of Greek debt in talks with the Greek government, said further progress was made in discussions in Athens today and that a final deal will be concluded in the coming week.
"Further progress was made, building on the understandings reached yesterday on the key legal and technical issues," the IIF said in an e-mailed statement today. "We are close to the finalization of a voluntary PSI within the framework expressed publicly earlier this week by Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean- Claude Juncker in his capacity as chairman of the Eurogroup. We expect to conclude next week as discussions on other issues move forward."
Greece - Between Iran and a Hard Place
By John Daly - OilPrice.com
Well, its official – on 23 January European Union foreign ministers agreed to ban the import of Iranian oil as part of sanctions designed to pressure Iran to end its alleged covert pursuit of nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear uranium enrichment program.
Measures approved by Brussels Eurocrats include an immediate ban on the signing of new supply contracts for Iranian crude oil and petroleum products for EU refineries, with existing contracts being scheduled for phasing out by 1 July. The EU currently buys around 20 percent of Iran's oil exports. The International Energy Agency estimate that the European embargo will lead to roughly 600,000 barrels of oil being removed from the European market daily.
Jim Rogers - This Could Cause Chaos
The Report That Will Blow Up The Eurozone
By Ilargi: No, I’m not talking about the fact that Germany and Holland want to take over as the de facto government in Greece, as Noah Barkin writes for Reuters (that they want to do it through Brussels is a mere technicality).
Germany wants Greece to give up budget control
Germany is pushing for Greece to relinquish control over its budget policy to European institutions as part of discussions over a second rescue package, a European source told Reuters on Friday.
"There are internal discussions within the Euro group and proposals, one of which comes from Germany, on how to constructively treat country aid programs that are continuously off track, whether this can simply be ignored or whether we say that's enough," the source said.
The $1.2 Tril Gap:
Obama's Subpar Recovery Continues
Economy: The latest economic data make it clear that President Obama's policies aren't helping the country get stronger. Rather, they're smothering what should have been a solid recovery.
Real GDP climbed a less-than-expected 2.8% in final quarter of 2011, and just 1.7% for the entire year, down from 3% in 2010. The trend of subpar growth under Obama continues.
To get a better sense of how bad Obama's recovery is, consider this: Under Obama, real GDP has climbed a total of just 6% in the two-and-a-half years since the recession ended in June 2009.
Why Capital Flows Uphill
Keyu Jin - Project-Syndicate.org
LONDON – At first, it seems difficult to grasp: global capital is flowing from poor to rich countries. Emerging-market countries run current-account surpluses, while advanced economies have deficits. One would expect fast-growing, capital-scarce (and young) developing countries to be importing capital from the rest of world to finance consumption and investment. So, why are they sending capital to richer countries, instead?
China is a case in point. With its current-account surplus averaging 5.5% of GDP in 2000-2008, China has become one of the world’s largest lenders. Despite its rapid growth and promising investment opportunities, the country has persistently been sending a significant portion of its savings overseas.
CNBC 26 Jan 2012
Simpson Says 'Terrified' Obama
Walked Away From Deficit in State of Union
By Julie Bykowicz - Bloomberg.com
President Barack Obama “walked away" from his bipartisan U.S. deficit-cutting commission’s plan "because he knew he’d be torn to bits," said former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, who was co-chairman of the panel.
Obama is “terrified” of the deficit issue, Simpson said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend. "He didn't deal with it" in his annual State of the Union address to Congress on Jan. 24.
Keiser Report: State Of The Banana (E242)
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss the State of the Banana Republic, the blowout at Apple with its profits 'trapped' overseas and the gloomy State of the Stiff Upper Lip as UK family debts soar by nearly 50%. And, finally, Max and Stacy examine a proposal that bankers, like Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon, should compete like strippers on the open job market.
Obama Expands Aid For Delinquent Homeowners
By Lorraine Woellert - Bloomberg.com
The Obama administration, seeking to help more homeowners lower their interest rates and shed mortgage debt, will relax the rules on a federal loan- modification program and triple its incentives to banks.
The revised Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, also would pay Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMCC) to forgive debt on homes that have lost value. The government-owned companies, citing cost, don’t reduce principal, a policy that has limited HAMP’s reach because they own or guarantee nearly half of U.S. home loans.
When Will Housing Hit Bottom?
By Megan McArdle - TheAtlantic.com
The National Association of Realtors is (quelle surprise!) quite bullish on the future of the housing market. Not so fast, says Lance Roberts of StreetTalk Advisors:
He sees 2012 as another year of lagging sales, considering the average household debt for Americans over the age of 16 comes to $96,229 per person. In addition, the average income before taxes is roughly $54,110 and many Americans have a debt-to-income ratio of 177.8%, making it difficult for them to qualify for a home loan.
Has Housing Really Bottomed?
By Charles Hugh Smith -OfTwoMinds.com
Massive intervention by Federal agencies and the Federal Reserve have kept the market from discovering price and the risk premium in real estate. That sets up a "catch the falling knife" possibility for impatient real estate investors.
A substantial percentage of many households' net worth is comprised of the equity in their home. With the beating home prices have taken since 2007, existing and soon-to-be homeowners are keen to know: Are prices stabilizing? Will they begin to recover from here? Or is the "knife" still falling?
REO-to-rentals another Fed subsidy for big investors and select banks. Federal Reserve looking to engineer yet another bailout for key banking allies. Fed acknowledges 12,000,000 homes with negative equity.
The Federal Reserve recently came out with an unprecedented analysis directed to the Committee on Financial Services regarding various methods to improving the housing market. The paper is striking because it magnifies how little was learned from this banking and housing debacle. One of the big recommendations centers on creating a "REO to rental" program by facilitating bulk sales to large investors. Ironically the Federal Reserve by bailing out select banks has allowed home values to remain inflated thus causing this backup in inventory to emerge in the first place. Setting that obvious point aside, let us examine the merits of an REO to rental program.
Keiser Report: Kill Hollywood! (E241)
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss killing Hollywood, poor Chris Dodd and how Mubarak's fall brought about the assault on the internet. In the second half of the show, Max interviews Mike Ruppert about SOPA, the NDAA and Iranian oil.
California Orders Automakers to Sell More Non-Polluting Cars
By Alan Ohnsman and James Nash - Bloomberg.com
California will require automakers to sell millions of “zero-emission” vehicles -- battery- electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-powered -- setting new standards followed by states from New York to Oregon.
The rules adopted today by the California Air Resources Board mean manufacturers will have to produce about 1.4 million advanced vehicles for sale in that state alone by 2025, more than 40 times the number put on the road from 1996 through 2010, according to a state analysis.
Peter Schiff RTTV - 24 January 2012
Peter Schiff, Rt America - 25 January 2012
Freedom and Federalism
Mises Daily: Friday, January 27, 2012 by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Americans — and much of the rest of the world — have been deprived of one of the most important means of establishing and maintaining a free society, namely, federalism or states' rights. It is not just an accident that states' rights have either been relegated to the memory hole, or denigrated as a tool of racists and other miscreants. The Jeffersonian states'-rights tradition was — and is — the key to understanding why Thomas Jefferson believed that the best government is that which governs least, and that a limited constitutional government was indeed possible.
What Are "States' Rights"?
The idea of states' rights is most closely associated with the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and his political heirs. Jefferson himself never entertained the idea that "states have rights," as some of the less educated critics of the idea have claimed. Of course "states" don't have rights. The essence of Jefferson's idea is that if the people are to be the masters rather than the servants of their own government, then they must have some vehicle with which to control that government. That vehicle, in the Jeffersonian tradition, is political communities organized at the state and local level. That is how the people were to monitor, control, discipline, and even abolish, if need be, their own government.
WHOM DO YOU TRUST?
By John Hinderaker - PowerlineBlog.com
Not too many months ago, likely voters trusted Republicans over Democrats on all ten top issues. It was probably too much to expect those heady days to continue, and I suspect that the GOP presidential primary season has damaged the party’s standing. That is unfortunate: if the Republican candidates had devoted their energies to non-stop attacks on President Obama, the result would have been positive. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and the bashing of fellow Republicans that we have seen over the last couple of months has no doubt damaged the party’s brand.
Wolf Blitzer says that Ron Paul is the only candidate that will reduce spending
Newt Gingrich's Space Oddity
by Kent Hoover - Portfolio.com
Ground control to Major Newt: Your proposal to build a colony on the moon has subjected you to ridicule and accusations that you’re pandering to voters on Florida’s Space Coast. Don’t worry about that—take your protein pills and put your helmet on, and keep giving us those big ideas!
Newt Gingrich took some hits last night from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination over his proposal to build a colony on the moon.
"If I had a business executive come to me and say I want to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, ‘You’re fired," said Mitt Romney.
ACTA = Global Internet Censorship – Now Even Foreign Governments Will Be Able To Have Your Website Shut Down
Global Internet censorship is here. SOPA and PIPA have been stopped (at least for now) in the United States, but a treaty known as ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is far worse than either of them. ACTA was quietly signed by Barack Obama back on October 1st, 2011 and most Americans have never even heard of it. But it could mean the end of the Internet as we know it. This new treaty gives foreign governments and copyright owners incredibly broad powers. If you are alleged to have violated a copyright, your website can be shut down without a trial and police may even show up at your door to take you to prison. It doesn't even have to be someone in the United States that is accusing you. It could just be a foreign government or a copyright owner halfway across the world that alleges that you have violated a copyright. It doesn't matter. So far, the U.S., the EU and seven other nations have signed on to ACTA, and the number of participants is expected to continue to grow. The "powers that be" are obsessed with getting Internet censorship one way or another. The open and free Internet that you and I have been enjoying for all these years is about to change, and not for the better.
Why Free Speech is an All or Nothing Deal
Floyd Abrams on Free Expression, Broadcast Regulation, WikiLeaks, Citizens United and SOPA
by Jonathan Peters - HLPRonline.com
What’s the most serious threat today to free expression?
I would say, to begin, that First Amendment law is in good shape, that there is a high level of protection for freedom of expression with the current Supreme Court. Although there are some cases with which I disagree, the Court has been highly solicitous of First Amendment interests. That said, there’s too much legislation and regulation adopted on the basis of content. One example would be the rights of broadcasters. They are relegated to a second level of protection, to being judged by standards that couldn’t survive First Amendment scrutiny if applied to newspapers, the Internet or other outlets.
U.S. military sales to foreign nations doubles
Dayton Business Journal by Joe Cogliano
Sales of military weapons to foreign countries have risen dramatically in the most recent four-year period, with sales to top 10 buyers more than doubling from the previous period.
The 10 contries that bought the most U.S. military goods and services from 2007 to 2010 placed combined orders of $66.3 billion, up from $29.4 billion in the 2003 to 2006 periods, according to data from the Congressional Research Service.
Violence Sweeps Central America
by PAUL IMISON - CounterPunch.org
Mexico City- While Mexico grabs the headlines of soaring murder rates and rampaging drug gangs, the really heavy bloodshed is taking place to the south. The much smaller nations of Guatemala and El Salvador are seeing their worst violence since the civil wars of the 1980s, while Honduras is currently the murder capital of the world with 86 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants; a murder rate nearly five times higher than Mexico’s.
Even relatively peaceful Costa Rica, which boasts the highest standard of living in Central America, has seen its murder rate double since 2004 in a wave of violence that authorities largely attribute to drug-trafficking. As a result, Washington is encouraging its mostly right-wing allies in the region to pursue the same policies of militarization that have devastated Colombia and Mexico.
Arab League Suspends Syrian Mission
By Glen Carey and Mourad Haroutunian - Bloomberg.com
The Arab League suspended its observer mission in Syria as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad pressed on with a deadly attacks against protesters in areas of the country strengthened by army defectors.
The 22-member group halted the mission due to "the grave deterioration of the situation in Syria, and the continuation of violence and exchange of shelling and shooting," the group’s secretary-general, Nabil El-Arabi, said in a statement.
Looking into the Syrian abyss
By Derek Henry Flood - ATimes.com
ANTAKYA, Hatay province southern Turkey - Five weeks before the beginning of Syria's unarmed uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri laid a symbolic cornerstone for the so-called "Friendship Dam" that was to help control the course of the Orontes River (known as the Asi River in Turkey) that flows through what has traditionally been - and is once again - a bitterly divided Levant region.
Otri declared to the state Syrian Arab News Agency that the dam would be "an important symbol on the edifice of the strategic relations" that would revive a long neglected border region that has been littered with land mines for a lengthy party of its post-colonial existence.
Saudi Official Calls for Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in Mideast
Prince Turki Al Faisal warned of a nuclear arms race without a region-wide agreement
by John Glaser - AntiWar.com
A prominent member of the Saudi royal family has called for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, warning of the potential for a nuclear arms race in the region.
Prince Turki Al Faisal urged the five permanent U.N. Security Council members to guarantee a nuclear security umbrella for Mideast countries that agree to a nuclear weapons-free zone and impose sanctions on countries that develop or maintain nuclear weapons.
Build up to WW3 - CHINA is hiding 3,000 Underground NUKES! Are they preparing for something?
Growing elite opposition to strike on Iran
By Jim Lobe - ATimes.com
WASHINGTON - Like the imminent prospect of one's hanging, to paraphrase the 18th century British essayist Dr (Samuel) Johnson, the suddenly looming possibility of war can concentrate the mind wonderfully.
If that aphorism didn't apply in the run-up to the United States invasion of Iraq nearly 10 years ago, it appears to be the case now for key sectors of the US foreign-policy elite - notably, liberal hawks who supported the Iraq war - with regard to the sharp rise in tensions between Iran and both the US and Israel earlier this month.
Gerald Celente on Iran War
Iran to halt oil sales to 'some countries'
By Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran - FT.com
Iran’s oil minister said on Sunday that oil sales to "some countries" would be halted soon, amid pressure from the parliament that the government should pre-empt a looming European embargo.
"Iran has a market for its oil exports even with cuts [in sales] to Europe and will face no problem in this regard," Rostam Ghasemi told local journalists.
But the Iranian parliament failed to pass a proposed law over the weekend that would have banned oil exports to the European Union, apparently because of differences between the legislative body and the government of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.
Iran to take Action Against the West
by Banning Oil Exports to the EU?
By James Burgess - OilPrice.com
Following the recent agreement by the EU to impose trade sanctions against Iran the Iranian parliament will debate a law that could halt all oil exports to the continent.
"On Sunday, parliament will have to approve a 'double emergency' bill calling for a halt in the export of Iranian oil to Europe starting next week," Hossein Ibrahimi, vice-chairman of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying.
Richard N. Haass - Project-Syndicate.org
NEW YORK – We know quite a bit about Iran’s nuclear program, and what we know is not encouraging. Iran is reported to be enriching uranium at two sites – some of it to levels of 20%, far beyond what is required for civilian purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency also reports that Iran is carrying out research to develop designs for nuclear warheads. In short, Iranian officials’ claims that their nuclear program is aimed solely at power generation or medical research lacks all plausibility.
LINDSEY WILLIAMS - 2012 agenda for the ILLUMINATI
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