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Germany Has A Generous Proposal
To The Broke PIIGS: "Cash For Gold"
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Back in February, as part of the latest Greek bailout of European banks, we noted that the most subversive part of the German-led proposal was nothing short of a gold confiscation scheme.
...the European bailout of Greece, is now formally a Greek bailout of Europe, funded by the country's already negative primary surplus, or better said - deficit (don't try to make mathematical sense of that - a scene out of Scanners is guaranteed). Hence, negative bailout. But the piece de resistance, and the reason why Greece is the in situ version of bankster heaven is the news from the NYT that Greece is also about to have negative gold.
...Ms. Katseli, an economist who was labor minister in the government of George Papandreou until she left in a cabinet reshuffle last June, was also upset that Greece's lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal.
Europe's debtors must pawn their gold for Eurobond Redemption
Southern Europe's debtor states must pledge their gold reserves and national treasure as collateral under a €2.3 trillion stabilisation plan gaining momentum in Germany.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
The German scheme -- known as the European Redemption Pact -- offers a form of "Eurobonds Lite" that can be squared with the German constitution and breaks the political logjam. It is a highly creative way out of the debt crisis, but is not a soft option for Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other states in trouble.
The plan is drafted by the German Council of Economic Experts and inspired by Alexander Hamilton's Sinking Fund in the United States -- created in 1790 to clean up the morass of debts left by the Revolutionary War. Flourishing Virginia was comparable to Germany today.
When The Derivatives Market Crashes (And It Will)
U.S. Taxpayers Will Be On The Hook
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Warren Buffett once said that derivatives are "financial weapons of mass destruction", and that statement is more true today than it ever has been before. Recently, JP Morgan made national headlines when it announced that it was going to take a 2 billion dollar loss from derivatives trades gone bad. Well, it turns out that JP Morgan did not tell us the whole truth. As you will see later in this article, most analysts are estimating that the losses will eventually be far larger than 2 billion dollars. But no matter how bad things get for JP Morgan, it will not be allowed to fail. JP Morgan is the largest bank in the United States, so it is essentially the "granddaddy" of the too big to fail banks. If JP Morgan gets to the point where it is about to collapse, the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve will rush in to save it. Because of this "security blanket", banks such as JP Morgan feel free to take outrageous risks. Today, JP Morgan has more exposure to derivatives than anyone else in the world. If they win, they win big. If they lose, U.S. taxpayers will be on the hook. Not only that, but thanks to Dodd-Frank, U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for bailing out the major derivatives clearinghouses if there is ever a major derivatives crisis. So when the derivatives market crashes (and it will) you and I will be left holding a gigantic bill.
Consumer confidence falls in May
By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A gauge of U.S. consumer confidence declined for a third month, with gloomier views in May on present and future conditions, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.
The consumer-confidence index fell to 64.9 in May — the lowest level since January — from a revised 68.7 in April. A prior estimate for April pegged the level at 69.2, according to the Conference Board, a membership and research group.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a reading of 70 for May.
Warning: America's new Age of Austerity starts now
Denials, delays will deepen the impact
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Warning, tighten your belts, America's new Age of Austerity is already here, today. There I said it. I admit it. And you better too. Prepare now. Could be like the 1930s depression austerity.
You've seen the warnings all across the major newspapers about a global slowdown. But why no warnings of austerity dead ahead? Why? America's still deep in denial. We prefer happy talk to the truth. No, nobody will get honest about austerity till after the elections. Then it'll hit hard.
One More Melt-up Before the Crash?
By: Rick Ackerman - GoldSeek.com
Whatever happened to all that money Helicopter Ben printed? Surprisingly not very much. Between late 2008 and the end of 2011, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the financial system. Most of it, however, is parked in banks as reserves. At the same time, the Fed announced it would pay interest on those reserves. They paid $2 billion in 2009 alone. Since the Fed created an incentive for banks to hold that cash, 88 percent of it was still being held as of December 31. There goes the theory that we could inflate our way out of this mess! In fact, the Fed has done exactly the opposite, creating a system that pumps banks full of interest-free money while keeping that money from circulating. How ingenious! M2 velocity, which measures the frequency with which a unit of money is used, then re-used, to buy goods and services, has been contracting since 1999. In fact, it is near an all-time low. At least, it was up until a few months ago. The recent announcement of a huge borrowing frenzy last month could be an anomaly, or a breakout of all that zero-velocity cash. But up until recently, the money has not been lent, or spent.
No such thing as a free lunch
By Irwin Kellner, MarketWatch
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (MarketWatch) — When it comes to assigning blame for Washington's humongous debt, we need only look in the mirror.
The tenor of a number of comments on last week's column suggests that I did not make my point clearly, so let me re-phrase. I was not asserting that there was a need for debt; rather I merely chronicled its rise.
Let me follow this up: To determine why Washington's debt grew to today's proportions, you need to recall the immortal words of that great philosopher, Pogo, who said "We have met the enemy and he is us."
Why We're Ungovernable: Gridlock and the Fiscal Cliff
BY JOHN RUBINO - FinancialSense.com
Europe's political problems are hogging the headlines, with good reason. So much debt is coming due so soon that big decisions about Greece and Spain have to be made within the next couple of months to avoid a systemic melt-down.
But the US has some deadlines of its own, with no consensus on what to do about them. Consider:
Congress staring over edge of 'fiscal cliff'
For Congress, the outlines of the pending fiscal crisis are clear: Don't do a thing, and watch the economy slip into a double-dip recession early next year. Or cancel the looming tax increases and spending cuts, watch the deficit rise, and push the government ever closer to a European-style debt crisis.
The Broken Legs of Global Trade
By Jagdish Bhagwati - Project-Syndicate.org
NEW YORK – The Doha Round, the latest phase of multilateral trade negotiations, failed in November 2011, after ten years of talks, despite official efforts by many countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany, and by nearly all eminent trade scholars today. While trade officials in the United States and the European Union blamed the G-22 developing countries' excessive demands for the failure of earlier negotiations in Cancún in 2003, there is general agreement that this time it was the US whose unwarranted (and unyielding) demands killed the talks. So, now what?
Debt crisis: a $46 trillion problem comes sweeping in
Bad stuff, they say, comes in threes. We've already got the banking and the eurozone sovereign debt crises. Next comes the corporate funding crisis.
By Jeremy Warner - Telegraph.co.uk
Just as you thought things couldn't get any worse, credit markets are about to be hit by a veritable tsunami of maturing corporate debt. Standard & Poor's estimates that companies in Europe, the US and the major Asian economies require a combination of refinancing and new money to fund growth over the next four years of between $43 trillion and $46 trillion. The wall of maturing debt is unprecedented, raising the prospect of further, extreme difficulties in credit markets.
With the eurozone debt crisis still at full throttle, the Chinese economy slowing fast and a still tepid US recovery, it's not clear that the banking system is in any position to deal with this incoming wave of demand.
Bank of England readies plan for Euro collapse
The Bank of England is poised to cut interest rates or launch another round of quantitative easing if the euro collapses, it has emerged.
By Robert Winnett - Telegraph.co.uk
A senior official for the Bank said the measures would "again play [their] part in mitigating the impact" of Greece or other countries leaving the single currency.
The comments come after the head of the IMF suggested last week that British interest rates may have to be cut to zero if the economic situation deteriorates.
The Bank has already completed a quantitative easing programme, effectively printing more money, worth £325 billion and this may be extended again.
Greece Pours $22.6 Billion Into Four Biggest Banks
Reuters - CNBC.com
Greece handed 18 billion euros ($22.6 billion) to its four biggest banks on Monday, an official said, allowing the stricken lenders to regain access to European Central Bank funding.
The long-awaited injection — via bonds from the European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund — will boost the nearly depleted capital base of National Bank, Alpha, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank.
"The funds have been disbursed," an official at the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
Germany not willing to foot bill for bottomless pit
Greeks Furious Over Harsh Words from IMF and Germany
As Greeks prepare to head to the polls once again in three weeks, international criticism of the country is intensifying. IMF head Christine Lagarde on Friday said citizens must begin paying their taxes, while a member of the German cabinet referred to Greece as a "bottomless pit."
Der Spiegel - Spiegel.de
It's not often that world markets react to pre-election political surveys in countries the size of Greece. But on Monday, investor relief appears to be widespread at reports that support for pro-austerity parties in Greece is rising ahead of general elections scheduled for June 17.
According to the polls, an increase of support for the center-right party New Democracy could give it enough seats in parliament to team up with the Socialist PASOK party, both of which support pursuing the austerity policies handed down by the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for massive bailout aid. The anti-austerity party Syriza is likely to come in second. The new elections became necessary after results from the vote on May 6 made the formation of a governing coalition impossible.
Serbian leader would give up EU to keep Kosovo
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Serbia's new President, Tomislav Nikolic, has told Russia he would give up EU membership for Kosovo, but wants to have both.
Nikolic went to Moscow on Friday (26 May) in his first post-election but pre-inauguration foreign trip.
He told press after the meeting that if the EU ever asks him to recognise Kosovo's independence, then: "We cannot do that, even if it meant breaking off [EU entry] negotiations at that very moment."
Spanish and Italian borrowing costs soar
BY VALENTINA POP - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - The cost of insurance against a Spanish default reached another record on Monday, with Italy's borrowing costs also rising sharply amid continued market fears about the fate of the eurozone.
"With a risk premium at 500 points, it is very difficult to raise finances," Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday (28 May) in a press conference. His country's 'debt risk premium' - the default insurance investors demand on Spanish bonds compared to German bunds - that day leapt to a eurozone record of 514 basis points.
ECB rejects Spain's Bankia recap plan
By Wallace Witkowski, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Spain will have to come up with another plan to recapitalize Bankia SA after the European Central Bank reportedly torpedoed a proposal to use government debt.
The ECB said Spain's plan to use 19 billion euros ($24 billion) in sovereign bonds to recapitalize the bank was in danger of violating a ban forbidding the central bank to finance governments, the Financial Times reported in its online edition late Tuesday, citing European officials.
Another treaty, another Irish referendum
BY ANDREW DUFF - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Another European treaty. Another Irish referendum. Once again the main political parties, somewhat battle weary, join forces to argue Yes. Sinn Fein and Declan Ganley, the maverick federalist, campaign for a No.
Most voters evince no or little knowledge about what the referendum is officially about ‑ the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, or fiscal compact treaty for short. Come polling day, 31 May, many may not vote.
The significance of the Irish referendum seems also to have escaped Ireland's EU partners.
Europe Prepares 'New Stage' in Financial Union
European leaders preparing radical steps toward creation of a European superstate—on German terms.
BY ROBERT MORLEY - TheTrumpet.com
Europe is at a "crucial moment in its history," said European Central Bank President Mario Draghi last Thursday. "The process of European integration needs a courageous jump in political imagination to survive."
Will Europe find enough courage to do what emperors and dictators have spilled oceans of blood to attain?
Bible prophecy says yes—a new European empire is getting close to revealing itself to the world.
By Stephen S. Roach - Project-Sundicate.org
NEW HAVEN – Asian authorities were understandably smug in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Growth in the region slowed sharply, as might be expected of export-led economies confronted with the sharpest collapse in global trade since the 1930's. But, with the notable exception of Japan, which suffered its deepest recession of the modern era, Asia came through an extraordinarily tough period in excellent shape.
That was then. For the second time in less than four years, Asia is being hit with a major external demand shock. This time it is from Europe, where a raging sovereign-debt crisis threatens to turn a mild recession into something far worse: a possible Greek exit from the euro, which could trigger contagion across the eurozone. This is a big deal for Asia.
Bill Black "disinvited" from Testifying
before Congress about Derivatives
We Must Not Speak Uncomfortable Truths to Power:
Why I Won't be Briefing Congress about Derivatives
By William K. Black - CapitalismWithoutFailure.com
When I was the Deputy Director of FSLIC, House Banking Committee Chairman St Germain was helping Speaker Wright hold the FSLIC recapitalization bill hostage to extort favors for Texas control frauds, including Don Dixon's Vernon Savings (which was providing prostitutes to the State of Texas' top S&L regulator and was building towards having 96% of its ADC loans in default – which is why we referred to it as "Vermin"). The attack on our agency was that we were mad dogs biased against Texas S&Ls and causing the Texas crisis by closing too many insolvent but well-run Texas S&Ls. Our response had many elements, but one of our principal points was that the Texas S&Ls we were closing were typically control frauds. At this juncture, St Germain's staffers made a mistake. They requested that we testify on a host of issues, but the invite letter had a zinger, premised on an article saying that the Feds were slow to prosecute frauds in the Southwest. The invite specifically called for us to respond and discuss the role of fraud in the Southwest. We used the opportunity to explain the extensive role of fraud in Texas S&L failures.
If California Were Greece
BY JOHN MAULDIN - FinancialSense.com
It is simply hard to tear your eyes away from the slow-motion train wreck that is Europe. Historians will be writing about this moment in time for centuries, and with an ever-present media as we see it unfold before our eyes. And yes, we need to tear our gaze away from Europe and look around at what is happening in the rest of the world. There is about to be an eerily near-simultaneous ending to the quantitative easing by the four major central banks while global growth is slowing down. And so, while the future of Europe is up for grabs, the true danger to global markets and growth may be elsewhere. But, let's do start with the seemingly obligatory tour of Europe.
By Joe Flood - NYMag.com
Massive account withdrawals are in the news thanks to Europe. But while the proximate causes of the situation are unique to our time, the tradition of freaking out and demanding one's money is thousands of years old.
Read article for details...
• Fourth Century B.C.: The Platonic Ideal of Financial Chicanery
• 1620s: Currency Problems in Germany? You Don't Say.
Kipper-und Wipperzeit, Holy Roman Empire
• 1772: Financial Haggis
• 1873: The Great Freakout of 1873
• 1914: Schwenk Bank Run
New York, New York
• 1930s: Great Depression
• 1946: Potter's Panic
Bedford Falls, New York
• 1980s: Savings-and-Loan Crisis
• 2001: Malos Aires
• 2011–present: EuroBlown
Will There Be Stimulus?
BY JAMES J PUPLAVA CFP - FinancialSense.com
This weekend's Memorial Day holiday marks the unofficial start of summer. It is also the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season which officially begins June 1st and runs until the end of November. The question many investors are asking right now: Is it time to "sell in May and go away?" Will the events of 2010/2011 be repeated again? Will the summer be sunny with mild balmy weather or tumultuous with thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes? Our belief is that it depends on at least two main conditions:
1) Further policy responses
2) More positive economic news
The fate of global financial markets and economies are once again in the hands of policymakers. The third wave of global monetization is now coming to an end. The Fed's "Operation Twist"—switching short-term bonds for long-term bonds—ends in June...
The Disastrous Invention of a New Middle Class
By Robert Weissberg, TheFiscalTimes.com
To hear politicians tell it, the college diploma is the guaranteed gateway to middle-class life, so everybody should probably go to college. The argument seems self-evident—over a lifetime, college graduates far out-earn those without a degree ($2.1 million, supposedly), so go to college, live the American Dream. Unfortunately, as many recent college graduates have discovered, diplomas no longer guarantee success.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics study, reported that in 1992 some 119,000 waiters and waitresses had college degrees. But by 2008, this figure had soared to 318,000. The study also found similar increases of under-employment in other low-level occupations. In 2010, the unemployment rate for college graduates was the highest since 1970.
Consumer Confidence In U.S. Fell In May To Four-Month Low
By Timothy R. Homan - Bloomberg.com
Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly fell in May to the lowest level in four months as optimism about employment prospects faded.
The Conference Board's index decreased to 64.9 this month from a revised 68.7 in April, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Home prices in 20 cities dropped in the 12 months ended in March at the slowest pace in more than a year, according to another report.
The share of Americans expecting fewer job opportunities in the next six months climbed to the highest level since November, raising the risk that consumers will limit spending. A 30-cent decline in gasoline prices since early April failed to brighten spirits, showing that more progress is needed in the job market.
It's the Jobs, Stupid
by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies - CFR.org
The Conference Board's consumer confidence measure has, since its inception in 1967, been a perfect predictor of presidential incumbent election performance. As shown in the large figure above, every time the measure has averaged under 95 in the election year, the incumbent has lost; over 95, he has won.
Politicians and pundits seem to believe that gas prices will have a major impact on this November's election. "My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis," President Obama said in April, "and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people." The average national price of a gallon of gas has fallen from $3.94 on April 5 to $3.64 today. How happy should the White House be?
US public pension funds take on more risk
US public pension funds have used loose regulation to camouflage their liabilities and take on risks as they have matured, according to a new study by academics from Yale and Maastricht universities.
US corporate pension plans, as well as corporate and public plans in Canada and Europe, responded to rising numbers of retirees and falling interest rates over the last 20 years by reducing investment risks, the study finds.
But US public funds have moved in the opposite direction: increasing allocations to risky investments such as stocks, private equity and alternatives even as their proportion of retired members increased.
Home prices lowest since 2002
By Jessica Dickler @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Home prices hit new post-bubble lows in March, according to a report out Tuesday.
Average home prices were down 2.6% from 12 months earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major markets. Home prices have not been this low since mid-2002.
"While there has been improvement in some regions, housing prices have not turned," said David Blitzer, spokesman for S&P.
March Case Shiller Misses Expectations:
Housing Set For Quadruple Dip
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Following the now long-gone LTRO induced risk ramp through March, many of the C-grade economists out there predicted that housing would bottom in March (this time for real) and it would be smooth sailing from there. Alas, the just released March Case Shiller data puts this latest speculation very much in doubt (once again), following a miss of consensus expectations in the Top 20 Composite of a 0.20% increase, printing at half that, or 0.09%, and more importantly, a decline from the February rate of increase, which was 0.15%. The non-seasonally adjusted number declined by 0.03%, the 7th consecutive drop in a row. All this begs the question: did housing just quadruple dip, with a February local extreme in the Sequential rate of change. As the chart below shows, we had comparable peaks in the summer of 2009, in April 2010, and again in April 2011, following which the downward slide resumed every single time once the temporary benefits of monetary and fiscal easing subsided. Also, recall that March was the last month receiving benefits of a record warm winter: in effect a mini demand pull program. And now comes the hangover. Bottom line: based on a broad index, housing is about to decline once again, and make a total joke out of all those who, yet again, made "bold" annual housing bottom predictions.
The Fork in the Road for Health Care
By UWE E. REINHARDT - NYTimes.com
Milliman, the global actuarial and employee benefit consulting firm, released its annual Milliman Medical Index for 2012 on May 15. Based on a large, nationwide sample of families with employment-based health insurance, the index tracks the total cost of spending on health for a typical family of four under age 65 that is covered by an employment-based, preferred-provider health insurance plan.
The virtue of this index lies in its inclusion of out-of-pocket spending in total health spending. Just tracking premiums for employment-based health can be misleading, if employers shift more and more of the cost of health care out of their benefit package into deductibles or coinsurance paid by employees, exclude certain benefits altogether or otherwise limit coverage.
Groundbreaking Study Shows
Why Fixing Healthcare Costs Is Still a Top Priority
And repealing the Affordable Care Act certainly won't magically lead to better outcomes.
By Joshua Holland - AlterNet.org
The greatest rip-off in the world is getting worse. According to a groundbreaking study released last week (PDF), the cost of employer-based health insurance – which covers a majority of the population -- has risen at twice the rate of inflation during the Great Recession, even while Americans have come to use less medical services.
It is a tragic irony that even as Washington debates whom to screw over to cut the Phantom Menace of our federal deficit, it has so far failed to address the single most important factordriving those deficits over the long term (if we paid the same for health care per person as the 30-plus countries with longer average life expectancies, we'd be looking at budget surpluses). It's a problem that also leads to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths annually, creates some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world, makes American firms less competitive in the global marketplace and contributes a great deal to wage stagnation for the middle class and the working poor.
Not worth the debt
Student loans: the ugly truth
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds - NYPost.com
I've been writing for years about a bubble in higher education: too much demand, causing sky-high prices — all because of cheap government money, much like the housing bubble. Now those warnings have become conventional wisdom — so conventional that they've reached The New York Times and even 60 Minutes.
Pretty much everyone agrees that the increases in tuition (which have vastly outpaced consumer prices and family incomes) and the growth in student-loan debt (which now exceeds credit-card or auto-loan debt) are unsustainable. As economist Herb Stein famously said, something that can't go on forever, won't. So, how should we respond?
U.S. Winds Down Longer Benefits for the Unemployed
By: Shaila Dewan, The New York Times - CNBC.com
Hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Americans are receiving their final unemployment checks sooner than they expected, even though Congress renewed extended benefits until the end of the year.
The checks are stopping for the people who have the most difficulty finding work: thelong-term unemployed. More than five million people have been out of work for longer than half a year. Federal benefit extensions, which supplemented state funds for payments up to 99 weeks, were intended to tide over the unemployed until the job market improved.
Whatever happened to "spare the rod... spoil the child"?
Pastor Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison
For Teaching That Parents Should Spank Their Children
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Do you believe that parents should be able to spank their children? Do you ever express that opinion to others? If so, then you could be sent to prison. Sadly, that is exactly what happened to one pastor up in Wisconsin recently. A minister named Philip Caminiti was sentenced to 2 years in prison for simply teaching that parents should spank their children when they misbehave. Please note that Caminiti was not accused of spanking anyone or of physically hurting anyone. He was put in prison simply for his speech. He was put in prison simply for what he was teaching others to do. Whether you agree with spanking or not, this should be incredibly sobering for all of us. Increasingly, speech is being penalized in the United States. Much of the time, the focus of the attacks by the forces of political correctness is on religious speech. If this trend continues, many of you that are reading this article might be put in jail for the things that you say in the coming years.
The War on Gays
By Chris Hedges - Truthdig.com
The sentencing of Dharun Ravi for the hateful abuse that may have driven his gay roommate at Rutgers, Tyler Clementi, to commit suicide, or Barack Obama's public acceptance of gay marriage, prevents many of us from seeing that life for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people is getting worse—much worse.
No one understands this better than the gay activist and pastor Mel White. White, along with his husband and partner of 30 years, Gary Nixon, founded Soulforce, an organization committed to using nonviolent resistance to end religion-based oppression. White and hundreds of Soulforce volunteers protest outside megachurches that preach hatred and bigotry in the name of religion. White travels to communities where young gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender people have committed suicide. He holds memorial services for them in front of the church doors. He accuses the pastors of these churches of murder. His books "Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America" and "Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tell Us to Deny Gay Equality," are two of the most important works that examine the innate cruelty and proto-fascism of the Christian right. White, more than perhaps any other preacher in the country, has pulled young men and women back from the brink of despair, from succumbing to the tragic fate of Tyler Clementi. And White is scared.
Senator Feinstein's Egg Bill (S. 3239) Faces Strong Opposition from Animal Protection Organizations
Source: PR Newswire
Rotten Egg Bill" Would Kill California's Proposition 2 and Keep Hens in Cages
SAN FRANCISCO, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Humane Farming Association (HFA) and a coalition of animal protection organizations today expressed outrage over Senator Feinstein's introduction of "The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012" (S. 3239). Referred to by many as the Rotten Egg Bill, Feinstein's measure is modeled on a similar bill (H.R. 3798) that was introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader in the House earlier this year over the vehement objections of animal advocates nationwide.
The Sebelius Precedent: Time to Regulate Liberalism?
Kansas votes to tax abortions --
should labor unions be taxed as well?
By JEFFREY LORD - The American Spectator.org
Let's call it The Sebelius Precedent.
If we're now going to breach the Constitutional right to religious liberty -- can an assault on political liberty be far behind?
Or, plainly put, is it time to tax and regulate liberalism?
The government, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (the headmistress of Obamacare) is going to regulate the Catholic Church.
In the words of CNN, last January:
Catholics around the country got an earful on Sunday from the pulpit over a new health insurance policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventative care regardless of religious beliefs. The use of abortion and contraceptives violates Catholic teachings.
Shame on Zuck... the cheapscate billionaire
Zuckerberg stiffs Rome waiter on honeymoon
by George Mathis - AJC.com
Facebook's $20 billion dollar man probably didn't get rich by being overly generous.
Now, Mark Zuckerberg's penurious ways are attracting the attention of at least one Rome waiter, who received no tip from the Facebook founder.
Zuckerberg is in Italy on his honeymoon. He married longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan in his back yard the day after the social media giant's company went public, making him and many of his employees some of the richest people on Earth.
Investors Bet on Facebook Fall
First Day of Options Trades Brings Wave of Skeptics;
Shares Off 24% Since IPO
By KAITLYN KIERNAN And JONATHAN CHENG - WSJ.com $$
Facebook Inc. shares slid an additional 9.6% Tuesday, as options trading began and investors placed largely negative bets on the stock's future.
Tuesday's decline to $28.84 puts shares of the social-networking company down 24% from their initial public offering at $38 apiece. Facebook's debut has been one of the worst performing of any large company, according to data tracker Dealogic.
The Menlo Park, Calif., company is now valued at $79 billion, compared with $104 billion at the time of its IPO. Chief Executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has seen the value of his stake sliced to about $14.5 billion from $19.1 billion.
Drone Strikes Continue Thanks to Obama's 'Kill List'
By DASHIELL BENNETT - TheAtlanticWire.com
Memorial Day weekend brought news of more U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan asThe New York Times raises new questions about President Obama's so-called "Kill List" of terrorists targeted for assassination. An extensive report in Tuesday's paper looks at the use of targeted attacks to take out terrorism suspects in other parts of the world, an increasingly important part of the government's anti-terrorism policies that Barack Obama himself has taken personal responsibility for. According to the story, the President approves every name on the list of terrorism targets, reviewing their biographies and the evidence against them, and then authorizing "lethal action without hand-wringing."
Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will
By JO BECKER and SCOTT SHANE - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.
President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.
Too Big to Work: Dewey and LeBoeuf Bankruptcy Sets Records
by ALEXANDER ABAD-SANTOS - TheAtlanticWire.com
Dewey & LeBoeuf, a law firm that employed thousands, filed for bankruptcy on Monday night. We probably would too if we had a debt of $245 million. Dealbook's Peter Lattman calls the filing, "the largest law firm collapse in United States history" and Bloomberg's Linda Sandler, Sophia Peterson, and Joe Schneider point out that Dewey is about $245 million in debt which overshadows its $193 million in assets. Lattman adds that the firm has in total some $315 million in liabilities. Oof.
Iran–EU Debt Crisis Update
By Greg Hunter's USAWatchdog.com
The meeting, last week, in Iraq to negotiate a resolution to Iran's nuclear program ended with zero concessions on either side. The only thing positive was an agreement for another meeting, next month, in Russia. This meeting is more than a discussion over Iran's nuclear ambitions but more about the world powers trying to avoid all out global war. Now, there is a new wrinkle. The Israelis are putting the military option back on the table after secretly making an agreement with the Obama Administration to hold off until after the November elections. The Israelis are distraught that the Iranians continue to manufacture highly enriched uranium that is near weapons grade. It was, also, reported late Friday night that the Iranians have doubled their stock pile of enriched uranium in the last few months. As far as the EU debt crisis is concerned, things are getting worse.
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