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Capital Controls Have No Place in a Free Society
BY RON PAUL - FinancialSense.com
The characteristic mark of a tyrannical regime is that it eventually finds it necessary to erect walls to keep people from leaving. This is why we should be troubled by the "Ex-PATRIOT Act," an egregiously offensive bill recently introduced in the Senate. Following a long line of recent legislation and regulations attempting to expropriate more and more wealth from hard-working Americans, this new bill spits in the face of overburdened taxpayers and tramples on the Constitution.
Alarm bells in the U.S.
Alarms are ringing as negative trends come together in a perfect storm. Is the United States sleepwalking into economic and geopolitical decline?
By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor at Large
WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- Gen. David Richards, the British chief of staff, in the understatement of the week, says the strategic landscape is "worrying" and the outlook "bleak."
The United States as the world's strongest geopolitical player has become ungovernable, saddled with a dysfunctional Congress. House and Senate together, with 535 members, maintain 250 committees and subcommittees and micromanage muscular government decisions into unworkable policy directives.
No fewer than 108 committees have oversight jurisdiction on Homeland Security.
More reasons why the LME should not fall into Chinese hands
Following my piece on Tuesday on the London Metal Exchange, here are some more reasons why selling the LME to China, or any other government for that matter, would be a bad idea.
By Damian Reece - Telegraph.co.uk
China is the world's leading consumer of commodities so gaining influence over the pricing and warehousing of those commodities is crucial to China and owning the LME would deliver that. The advantages to Chinese industry, over rivals, are obvious. It is therefore very surprising that no one in Europe, or the UK, has realised the importance of this putative deal.
The LME doesn't physically own the warehouses but it does regulate them - thus dictating terms to the site owners. The LME is a hugely strategic piece of market infrastructure which should not fall into the hands of any one government. But it is a "must have" asset for China which is bidding for it through the state controlled Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. That's why it's willing to pay more than £1bn for it, even though the LME makes only about £10m in profit - a multiple that even Facebook couldn't command in its over priced IPO.
Enter The Swan
by John Aziz - ZeroHedge.com
Charles Hugh Smith (along with many, many, many others) thinks there may be a great decoupling as the world sinks deeper into the mire, and that the dollar could be set to benefit:
This "safe haven" status can be discerned in the strengthening U.S. dollar. Despite a central bank (The Federal Reserve) with an avowed goal of weakening the nation's currency (the U.S. dollar), the USD has been in an long-term uptrend for a year–a trend I have noted many times here, starting in April 2011.
That means a bet in the U.S. bond or stock market is a double bet, as these markets are denominated in U.S. dollars. Even if they go nowhere, the capital invested in them will gain purchasing power as the dollar strengthens.
Europe Is Literally Running Out of Money
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
Europe has a lot of problems. But none is more pressing than this: The euro zone is running out of money.
The chart below from Scotty Barber shows broad money and private sector loan growth in the euro zone over the past decade. The numbers for the past year are not good. Not good at all.
Economies need money. Without it, businesses and households stop. Just ask Spain. It's further along in the "no money" race than most. Unemployment is 25 percent, credit is drying up, and the government is supposed to cut its deficit an almost unthinkable amount.
Europe Is About to Implode... Are You Ready?
By Graham Summers - ZeroHedge.com
I've warned time and again that the EU would collapse in May-June. That collapse is here right on schedule. And NO ONE will be able to stop it.
1) According to the IMF, European banks as a whole are leveraged at 26 to 1 (this data point is based on reported loans... the real leverage levels are much, much higher.) These are a Lehman Brothers leverage levels.
2) The European Banking system is over $46 trillion in size (nearly 3X total EU GDP).
3) The European Central Bank's (ECB) balance sheet is now nearly $4 trillion in size (larger than Germany's economy and roughly 1/3 the size of the ENTIRE EU's GDP). Aside from the inflationary and systemic risks this poses (the ECB is now leveraged at over 36 to 1).
4) Over a quarter of the ECB's balance sheet is PIIGS' debt which the ECB will dump any and all losses from onto national Central Banks (read: Germany)
European officials propose banking union to ease debt crisis, relieve pressure on Spain
AP - WashigtonPost.com
FRANKFURT, Germany — As Europe's debt crisis intensifies, top officials say the continent urgently needs a central authority with the financial muscle to fix its broken banks.
The proposal could give immediate relief to Spain's increasingly fragile economy, with its borrowing rates rising to unsustainable levels, rattling investors.
Madrid in 'Game of Chicken' With EU
By: Miles Johnson and Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times - CNBC.com
When Mariano Rajoy climbed the victory podium in November, having won the biggest electoral majority in his party's history, he would never have imagined that six months later his country's destiny could be slipping out of his hands.
With yields on sovereign debt rising and the economy falling deeper into recession, the second in three years, the veteran Galician politician is battling harder than at any other time in his short premiership to prove his country can sort out its finances without an international bailout.
EUROPE – HERE WE GO AGAIN
The Rise of European Fascism - [see chart]
By James Quinn - TheBurningPlatform.com
Will Fed Printing Press Try to Save Europe?
By Greg Hunter's USAWatchdog.com
You know things are heating up when the banks start with scare tactics. In Greece, the bankers are in full court press to sway voters for next month's election. Reuters reported yesterday, "In a report released ahead of an election on June 17 that may determine whether the country stays in the single currency, the country's biggest bank said the risk of Athens exiting the euro was no longer just a theoretical possibility, warning that the fallout from such a move would be dramatic. 'An exit from the euro would lead to a significant decline in the living standards of Greek citizens,' the NBG wrote ahead of a vote which parties opposed to austerity measures that have kept Greece in the euro so far have a chance of winning." What would you expect from bankers who want the people to keep them in business as debt slaves? There is never any mention of pain for some gain. In Iceland, the people voted not to pay back much of their sour debt and, now, the country is in a real recovery.
Why Spain Is Officially Europe's Biggest Crisis
Spain is up next in As The Euro Crisis Turns after it admitted that it can't afford to bail out its banks.
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
Spain has a problem. It's running out of money.
More precisely, it's running out of euros. It can't print them. It can't borrow them, except at ruinous rates. It's bailout or bust.
But first, a bit of background. Spain was, as Paul Krugman colorfully put it, the Florida of Europe. It had a prodigious housing bubble that has subsequently gone into reverse. But that's where the similarities end. Spain is on its own. Florida isn't. Remember, Florida doesn't pay for its social insurance spending or bank bailouts. The federal government does. Social Security checks keep coming and the FDIC keeps taking over failing banks regardless of the state of Florida's finances. Spain doesn't have that safety net. That's how you get 25 percent overall unemployment and over 50 percent youth unemployment.
Spain faces 'total emergency' as fear grips markets
Spain is facing the gravest danger since the end of the Franco dictatorship as the country is frozen out of global capital markets and slides towards an epic showdown with Europe.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
"We're in a situation of total emergency, the worst crisis we have ever lived through" said ex-premier Felipe Gonzalez, the country's elder statesman.
The warning came as the yields on Spanish 10-year bonds spiked to 6.7pc, pushing the "risk premium" over German Bunds to a post-euro high of 540 basis points. The IBEX index of stocks in Madrid fell 2.6pc, the lowest since the dotcom bust in 2003.
An Argentine Guide to the Greek Crisis
By Andrés Velasco - Project-Syndicate.us
SANTIAGO – Policymakers in Europe seem to be surprised at the ongoing bank run in Greece (and the nascent run in Spain). They should not be. Anyone familiar with emerging-market meltdowns knows that a financial crisis nearly always follows a fiscal crisis.
Argentina's default in 2001 is but one useful example. In the Argentine crisis, the economy contracted by 18% and unemployment soared to 22% of the labor force. Greece is already close to these levels.
Rothschild and Rockefeller: their family fortunes
As a Rothschild trust prepares to buy a stake in the Rockefeller empire, how have these two dynasties managed to hold on to their wealth for so long?
By Harry Mount - Telegraph.co.uk
You know you've really made it when your surname becomes an adjective.
In the late 19th century, the term "Rothschild Tudor" came into use to describe the family's half-timbered estate cottages, sprinkled across their vast landholdings in Buckinghamshire. And in America, for more than 80 years, Rockefeller has been shorthand for "very rich indeed". The name crops up in two classic Thirties Broadway numbers: On the Sunny Side of the Street ("If I never had a cent, I'd be rich as Rockefeller") and the Gershwins' They All Laughed ("…at Rockefeller Centre – now they're fighting to get in").
Rockefellers and Rothschilds unite
By Daniel Schäfer in London - FT.com
Two of the best-known business dynasties in Europe and the US will come together after Lord Jacob Rothschild's listed investment trust and Rockefeller Financial Services agreed to form a strategic partnership.
RIT Capital Partners is to buy a 37 per cent stake in the Rockefeller's wealth advisory and asset management group for an undisclosed sum, giving Lord Rothschild's London-listed trust a much sought-after foothold in the US.
The transatlantic union brings together David Rockefeller, 96, and Lord Rothschild, 76 – two family patriarchs whose personal relationship spans five decades.
Is The End Nigh: Rockefellers And Rothschilds Merge
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
You know its bad when... two of the largest and best-known 'familia' in Europe and the US come together. As the FT reports, The Rockefellers and The Rothschilds are uniting under a common group as Rothschild Investment Trust and Rockefeller Financial Services become one. The patriarchs (David Rockefeller 96, and Lord Rothschild 76) have been 'connected' for five decades. Between the Rothschild's 'sprawling' multi-century banking empire across Europe and the Rockefeller's roots in 1882 Oil-money, we can only imagine the Illuminati, Freemasons, Templars, and Central Bankers of the world are quaking in their boots at this new global force for change - The Rothsellers or is it The Rockchilds. What next? It seems only Soros is left to complete the holy trinity...
How Political Clout Made Banks Too Big to Fail
By Luigi Zingales - Bloomberg.com
The U.S. has historically kept the financial sector in check through a combination of sound principles and serendipitous decisions. But as the financial system gained strength in recent years, it also gained political influence. In the last decade, it has become too concentrated and too powerful, which has damaged not only the economy but the financial sector itself.
How did it happen? In 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act erected a wall between two ways that banks could help customers borrow money. The idea was to keep commercial banks from exploiting their depositors, who might get saddled with the bonds of firms that could not repay the money they owed. One beneficial side effect of the Glass-Steagall Act was to fragment the banking sector and reduce the financial industry's political power. Another was to foster healthy competition between commercial banks and investment banks.
Obama signs reauthorization of Export-Import Bank
despite earlier opposition
By Susan Crabtree - The Washington Times
President Obama on Wednesday reauthorized the Export-Import Bank, raising its lending authority 40 percent to $140 billion by 2014, one day before the 78-year-old federal bank would have been shut down had he not signed the bill.
Increasing the bank's lending power ensures "that we're not just known as a nation that consumes," the president said at a signing ceremony. "We've got to be a nation that produces."
JPMorgan CIO Swaps Pricing Said To Differ From Bank
By Matthew Leising, Mary Childs
and Shannon D. Harrington - Bloomberg.com
The JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) unit responsible for at least $2 billion in losses on credit derivatives was valuing some of its trades at prices that differed from those of its investment bank, according to people familiar with the matter.
The discrepancy between prices used by the chief investment office and JPMorgan's credit-swaps dealer, the biggest in the U.S., may have obscured by hundreds of millions of dollars the magnitude of the loss before it was disclosed May 10, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren't authorized to discuss the matter.
The Second Act Of The JPM CIO Fiasco Has Arrived -
Mismarking Hundreds Of Billions In Credit Default Swaps
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
As anyone who has ever traded CDS (or any other OTC, non-exchange traded product) knows, when you have a short risk position, unless compliance tells you to and they rarely do as they have no idea what CDS is most of the time, you always mark the EOD price at the offer, and vice versa, on long risk positions, you always use the bid. That way the P&L always looks better. And for portfolios in which the DV01 is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (or much, much more if your name was Bruno Iksil), marking at either side of an illiquid market can result in tens if not hundreds of millions of unrealistic profits booked in advance, simply to make one's book look better, mostly for year end bonus purposes. Apparently JPM's soon to be fired Bruno Iksil was no stranger to this: as Bloomberg reports, JPM's CIO unit "was valuing some of its trades at prices that differed from those of its investment bank, according to people familiar with the matter. The discrepancy between prices used by the chief investment office and JPMorgan's credit-swaps dealer, the biggest in the U.S., may have obscured by hundreds of millions of dollars the magnitude of the loss before it was disclosed May 10, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren't authorized to discuss the matter. "I've never run into anything like that," said Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.'s Brad Hintz in New York. "That's why you have a centralized accounting group that's comparing marks" between different parts of the bank "to make sure you don't have any outliers," said the former chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc."
Rosengren wants more Fed easing; Dudley, Fisher don't
By Corrie MacLaggan and Ros Krasny
(Reuters) - Underscoring the divide at the U.S. Federal Reserve over its next move, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren on Wednesday called further policy easing to bring down high unemployment even as two other top Fed officials said no further action was now needed.
"I believe further monetary policy accommodation is both appropriate and necessary," Rosengren told the Worcester Regional Research Bureau's annual meeting.
And if Europe's debt crisis worsens or U.S. lawmakers allow scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts to sending the domestic economy over a "fiscal cliff" at year's end, "more aggressive actions would certainly be warranted," Rosengren warned.
Dylan Ratigan: The Troubling Revolving Door
Between Federal Reserve Officials and Wall Street
Also, an optimistic view of California's entrepreneurial culture
James J Puplava CFP with Dylan Ratigan - FinancialSense.com
Jim is pleased to welcome back Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show to discuss a story he helped break regarding the cozy revolving door between Fed officials taking lucrative Wall Street positions, and then returning to the Fed. Dylan also discusses the general lack of transparency at the Federal Reserve. On an optimistic note, he was encouraged by the entrepreneurial culture he discovered on a recent visit to California.
Pending home sales post surprise fall in April
By Jason Lange
(Reuters) - Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in April to a four-month low, undermining some of the recent optimism that the housing sector was touching bottom.
The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, fell 5.5 percent to 95.5, its lowest level since December, after a downwardly revised 3.8 percent increase in March.
Public Pension Plans Faulted for Lofty Return Assumptions
BY DANIELLE PARK - FinancialSense.com
For more than a decade pension plans have been using unreasonable investment return assumptions in their funding plans. Since no one wants to admit this or face the increased contributions needed to catch up to capital requirements, the hole just keeps getting bigger. This article offers a good update:
While Americans are typically earning less than 1 percent interest on their savings accounts and watching their 401(k) balances yo-yo along with the stock market, most public pension funds are still betting they will earn annual returns of 7 to 8 percent over the long haul, a practice that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently called "indefensible."
20,000 applicants - 877 job openings
Auto Jobs: Sign of the Times
By: Phil LeBeau - CNBC.com
It should not come as a surprise with unemployment over 8% that good paying jobs in manufacturing are harder than ever to land.
At the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama more than 20,000 people have applied for one of the 877 job openings.
The surge of people applying may seem unusual, but it's not.
Take a look:
United To Cut 1,300 Houston Jobs After Win By Southwest
By Mary Jane Credeur and Mary Schlangenstein - Bloomberg.com
United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) plans to cut 1,300 jobs and some service at Houston's main airport after the city backed Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV)'s bid to start international flights from a secondary facility.
The 10 percent reduction in seating capacity at George Bush Intercontinental Airport includes dropping a planned route to Auckland, United told employees in a memo today. Most of a $700 million terminal project at IAH, as the airport is known, is "in significant doubt," Chicago-based United said.
White Working Class: Angry, Cynical and Losing Faith
By MARGOT ROOSEVELT, Reuters - TheFiscalTimes.com
Eight months ago, Kathleen Wilmink was a single mother, waitressing at night and coding fees for a medical billing company by day. Her pay: $10 an hour. Today she works 12-hour shifts at a steel plant, tending a ladle that pours 300 tons of red-hot liquid metal into molds. It is a sooty, sweaty task. "We wear leather gloves," she said, "so our hands don't catch on fire." Her pay: $21 an hour plus incentives, bonuses and generous medical benefits.
Wilmink's new job is good news for President Barack Obama. ArcelorMittal, the global steel giant, is hiring again at the century-old mill that straddles the Cuyahoga River. Orders are up, thanks in part to a revival of the U.S. automobile industry for which the Obama administration claims credit.
Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years
By Peter Whoriskey - WashingtonPost.com
The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation's economic prospects.
By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn's worst, according to federal statistics.
Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent.
Unemployment Benefits Ending
Sooner Than Expected for Many
By John Grgurich, The Motley Fool - DailyFinance.com
On May 12, displaced workers in eight states lost their unemployment benefits -- anywhere from 13 to 20 weeks earlier than expected. That brought the total number of workers who have prematurely lost their benefits so far this year to 400,000 in 27 states, and next month, 70,000 more Americans will.
This is all happening despite Congress extending the long-term unemployment benefits program in February.
It Was Nice While It Lasted.
How The Super Rich Avoid Taxes
Even As They Demand That The Rest Of Us Pay More
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
The way that we tax people in the United States is fundamentally broken and should be completely discarded. The U.S. tax code is absolutely riddled with loopholes that allow the super rich to legally avoid taxes while many of the rest of us are being taxed into oblivion. In our system of taxation, middle class families that work hard and try to play by the rules are deeply penalized while those that are willing to abuse the system make out like bandits. There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that enables wealthy politicians such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to pay a smaller percentage of their incomes in taxes than millions of middle class families. Mitt Romney has millions of dollars parked down in the Cayman Islands and in other tax havens. He does this to avoid taxes. Unfortunately, most Americans do not have the resources to funnel money through offshore tax havens. Most Americans just automatically have their paychecks shredded by taxes and then try to live on whatever is left over. Most Americans are just trying to survive financially from one month to the next. But the super rich have options. Thanks to technology, they can live almost anywhere they want and they can run their companies and manage their investments from anywhere in the world. The truth is that the wealthier you are the easier it is to avoid taxes. But even as the ultra-wealthy do their best to avoid taxes, many of them still feel free to demand that the rest of us be taxed more.
California tuna connoisseurs shy away
from sushi over Japan radiation fears
Radiation traces from the Fukushima nuclear disaster have been found off the US coast, and consumers are being cautious
By Rory Carroll in Los Angeles - Guardian.co.uk
Rodel Jugao studied the menu's sushi options a moment, then pondered the Pacific ocean surf foaming just two blocks away. He shook his head. "Nah. I'm going for the chicken or beef."
This Los Angeles outlet of Sarku Japan, a restaurant chain, did excellent fish and Jugao, 33, was a sushi lover. But for this lunch he preferred to stay terrestrial. "It's concerning. You don't want food, you know, to glow."
He appeared to speak for many other diners in a city which adores sushi – on condition it's not radioactive.
Survey says Internet traffic to grow fourfold by 2016
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The boom in the number of mobile Internet devices and tablet computers in use will help quadruple Web traffic in the coming years, a study said Wednesday.
The Cisco Visual Networking Index said global Internet traffic by 2016 will be 1.3 zettabytes. A zettabyte is one trillion gigabytes, or one sextillion bytes.
That will be four times the level of traffic generated in 2011, according to Cisco, and comes from a proliferation of tablets, smartphones and other devices that use the Internet.
U.S. tech companies warn of threat
to Internet from foreign governments
By Cecilia Kang - WashingtonPost.com
U.S. officials and high-tech business giants have launched an assault against what they view as a massive threat to the Internet and to Silicon Valley's bottom lines: foreign governments.
In a congressional hearing Thursday, they will warn lawmakers of a growing movement led by China, Russia and some Arab states to hand more control of the Web to the United Nations and place rules on the Internet that the U.S. companies say would empower governments to clamp down on civil rights and free speech.
How Facebook Killed the Virtual World
By Mark Wallace - Wired.com
The Facebook IPO, however rocky, marked a coming of age for the loose collection of technologies and services known as "social media." If Mark Zuckerberg had been elected governor of California, it would not have done as much to confer society's seal of approval. It was almost as if the internet itself went public.
The promise of new and richer means of interacting remotely with friends, colleagues, associates, and strangers; the medium for distributed communities to come together in meaningful fashion, create new forms of narrative and entertainment (as well as new form of marketing), and connect in ways not possible in the physical world; the ability to be just who you are, or whoever you'd like to be, or to drop off the grid entirely if you so chose (and could manage it) — if those promises sound familiar, it's no wonder. They are the promises (or threats) that have been made by every new communications technology since at least the telephone. Most recently, though, they were being made by a class of online service known as virtual worlds — and if Facebook's IPO was an apotheosis for social media, it also marked a harsh awakening from the dream of the future presented by virtual worlds, a dream that has kicked around the internet in one form or another since the late 1970s.
Teen's Facebook Posting Gets Her Mom's House Robbed
By Jill Krasny- Business Insider - DailyFinance.com
Here's another reason you might consider quitting Facebook: Posting photos of your cash could get you robbed.
Daily Telegraph'sClementine Quero reports a 17-year-old washelping her 72-year-old grandma count her savings when she decided to snap a photo of some wads of cash and post it to Facebook.
It wasn't long after that two men armed with a wooden club and knives broke into the teen's mother's house, demanding to know about the money. The guys made off with some personal items, but thankfully no one was hurt, including the mother, who'd told the the crooks her daughter no longer lived there. (We only hope the teen has since switched her Facebook settings to private.)
Facebook - equities' death knell
By Martin Hutchinson - ATimes.com
The Facebook initial public offering, with its combination of management arrogance, private equity greed and Nasdaq ineptitude, has certainly changed the atmosphere in the United States and global stock markets. The question is whether, like the ill-fated AOL-Time Warner merger of 2000, it has merely marked the peak of a temporary bubble or the final end of the equity investing cult among the ordinary public.
In the stable days before 1914, retail investors bought few stocks. Bonds represented the best means of saving for retirement or other purposes. Because Britain and the United States were on the gold standard, principal on bonds of first-class governments and major railroads and corporations was secure against inflation and the interest suffered either no income tax (in the United States before 1913) or a low rate of income tax (as in Britain from 1842 to 1914).
Why Does The Mainstream Media Ignore The Bilderberg Group?
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Over the next several days, more than a hundred of the most powerful people on the planet will attend a secret conference at a hotel in Chantilly, Virgina. Some of the biggest names in politics and business will be there. The hotel is going to be completely locked down and will be swarmed by hordes of security guards carrying machine guns. This conference is so important that even the U.S. Secret Service is rumored to be involved in providing security. These meetings have been held yearly since 1954, but no record of what goes on at them has ever been officially released to the public and all the attendees are sworn to secrecy. Decisions made at this conference will affect the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet. But the vast majority of Americans will have no idea that the Bilderberg Group is meeting about 20 miles from Washington D.C. this year because the mainstream media in the United States ignores the Bilderberg Group almost entirely year after year. Based on the coverage it gets from the U.S. media, you would think that the Bilderberg Group was a non-event. But if some of the most powerful people on the planet are getting together to discuss our future, don't you think the mainstream media should be covering it?
Pete Hoekstra Defends Birther Commission Proposal
By BENJY SARLIN - TalkingPointsMemo.com
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) defended his proposal to create a new federal commission staffed with FBI and CIA officers that would investigate presidential candidates' place of birth Wednesday, after video of him suggesting such a group surfaced online.
Hoekstra, who is running for Senate and hoping to challenge incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), first pitched the idea at a town hall last month, footage of which surfaced Wednesday. The Michigan Democratic Party derided the idea as a "birther office" and said it placed Hoekstra firmly in the Donald Trump zone of the conservative fringe.
Who Will the President Kill Next? It's a Secret
By Bill Boyarsky - Telegraph.co.uk
The revelation that President Barack Obama is personally selecting names for a kill list of suspected al-Qaida terrorists is a striking illustration of what actually occurs behind the White House's closed doors.
The New York Times revealedTuesday how the president "has placed himself at the helm of a top secret 'nominations' process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical." He insists "on approving every new name on an expanding 'kill list,' poring over terrorist suspects' biographies on what one official calls the macabre 'baseball cards' of an unconventional war."
China's Political Storm
By Brahma Chellaney - Project-Syndicate.us
NEW DELHI – As senior leaders are purged and retired provincial officials publicly call for Politburo members to be removed, it has become clear that China is at a crossroads. China's future no longer looks to be determined by its hugely successful economy, which has turned the country into a world power in a single generation. Instead, the country's murky and increasingly fractured politics are now driving its fate.
U.S. must stop using China's fake military parts
By Alan Tonelson - Special to The Washington Times
While addressing West Point's newest graduates last weekend, Vice President Joseph R. Biden praised the gathered cadets as "leaders of your generation" and "the key to whatever challenges the world has in store."
For full disclosure's sake, Mr. Biden should have added: "For the foreseeable future, however, the advanced weapons and military systems you'll use in training and in combat will remain shot through with unreliable counterfeit electronics parts.
Chinese 'looking for opportunities' in U.S.
Companies bullish when it comes to investing
in American businesses
By Tim Devaney-The Washington Times
China is bullish on the U.S. economy.
The world's most populous country is in the midst of a wave of purchases and investments in American companies.
The influx of Chinese capital is welcomed by some economists, while others fear the increasing influence of the rising superpower.
"There are a lot of Chinese companies that are interested in coming to America and buying companies," said Siva Yam, president of the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce. "We have seen an increasing trend of Chinese companies investing in America."
China steals $114 million U.S. defense deal with Peru
Beijing learns tricks in contracts market
By Kelly Hearn - Special to The Washington Times
LIMA, Peru — Trade between China and Peru, a key U.S. ally in the regional drug war, is at a new high. Now the Chinese defense industry is getting in on the action.
Military officials from Beijing increasingly are making high-level visits, pushing initiatives to protect Chinese nationals and companies here and, in some instances, undermining U.S. arms deals in order to sell their own weapons to this resource-rich Andean nation.
Moscow pledges to block UN over foreign intervention in Syria
Russian minister maintains foreign military action after Houla massacre will only worsen violence in Syria
By Ian Black, Middle East editor - The Guardian
Russia has made clear that it will block UN support for foreign military intervention in Syria, scotching slim hopes that the massacre of more than 100 people at Houla would break the impasse in the international response to ongoing violence.
Moscow's crucial support for Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, has not changed after confirmation from a UN human rights body that 108 people, including 49 children under 10, were killed in the weekend incident near Homs, mostly in summary killings by the feared Shabiha militia, linked to the Assad regime.
Updates on the Syrian Conflict
Among the latest developments in the Syrian humanitarian crisis, China and Russia have reaffirmed their opposition to a forced regime change; Turkey and Japan joined 11 other countries in expelling Syrian diplomats, and the U.N.'s Human Rights Council is due to meet to discuss the massacre in the city of Houla.
Turkey warned that it and the international community would take "further measures" if the Assad regime's slaughter of Syrians continued.
Syrian rebels issue cease-fire deadline
DAMASCUS, Syria, May 30 (UPI) -- Rebel forces in Syria Wednesday gave President Bashar Assad's government 48 hours to implement a United Nations cease-fire plan, a rebel leader said.
Col. Qassim Saadeddine of the Free Syrian Army said if officials in Damascus fail to end the violence by midday Friday, the opposition group would consider itself "no longer bound by the ... peace plan," the BBC reported.
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