Daily Digest

Daily Digest - December 23

Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 10:45 AM
  • In Hungary the Financial Crisis has picked up a Second Wind
  • Brazil Has ‘No Reason’ to Add (dollar) Reserves, Freitas Says
  • Mortgage-Bond Yields Jump to 4-Month High, Boosting Loan Rates
  • Manhattan Rents Fall as Tenants Take Advantage of the Recession
  • Health Interests Spend More Than $600 Million to Sway Congress
  • Arrow Trucking reportedly closes its doors, leaving drivers stranded
  • $90 billion in loans needed for unemployment funds
  • Mortgages Delinquencies Jump; More Than 1 Million Foreclosures in Process
  • Foreclosed homeowners get revenge through vandalism
  • Senate sets Christmas eve vote on debt limit
  • Ratigan: AIG emails should be public
  • State to pay unprecedented $1.1 billion to make walkways accessible to disabled
  • Flaherty Says China, Russia May Raise Canada Holdings
  • Russia's central bank may add the Australian dollar to its currency reserves
  • Ditching the Dollar: The World's Best Currency Bets
  • PBOC's Fan sees dollar depreciating in long term


In Hungary the Financial Crisis has picked up a Second Wind (Submitted by "Dorrian")

The desperation on the part of the government is such that it even results to trickery in order to secure funding for some of its programs. For example, when it was discovered earlier this year that electricity companies had overcharged customers and that a court ordered them to reimburse consumers, the government stepped in and instead of refunding customers the money was simply appropriated and put into a government program that gave financial assistance to those most affected by the financial crisis.

Brazil Has ‘No Reason’ to Add (Dollar) Reserves, Freitas Says

Brazil should pare back its dollar purchases in the foreign-exchange market because the currency’s world-beating rally is fading, said former central bank director Carlos Eduardo de Freitas.

Mortgage-Bond Yields Jump to 4-Month High, Boosting Loan Rates

Yields on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage securities climbed to the highest in four months, signaling interest rates on new home loans may extend a rebound from record lows this month and blunt a housing recovery.

Manhattan Rents Fall as Tenants Take Advantage of the Recession

Manhattan rents fell as much as 7 percent in the year ended Dec. 15 as the recession enabled some tenants to live in larger apartments for less. In buildings attended by doormen, rents for studio apartments dropped 7 percent to an average of $2,247 a month during the 12-month period, according to a report by the Real Estate Group of New York. One-bedroom apartments with doormen fell 5.6 percent to $3,262. “Renters have welcomed the discounts on doorman units,” the report said. “Whatever prices do, vacancies will follow.”

Health Interests Spend More Than $600 Million to Sway Congress

There are 3,300 lobbyists registered to lobby on health care, Senate records show, six for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate. More than 1,400 of those lobbying on health care formerly worked for Congress, the White House or federal agencies, including 55 former lawmakers.

Arrow Trucking reportedly closes its doors, leaving drivers stranded

TULSA, Okla. — News sources here report that Arrow Trucking Co., which operates some 1,400 trucks throughout the U.S., has shut its doors. Drivers have said the company has stopped payment on their fuel cards stranding them at truck stops across the country, Tulsa World reported.

$90 billion in loans needed for unemployment funds

The recession's jobless toll is draining unemployment-compensation funds so fast that according to federal projections, 40 state programs will go broke within two years and need $90 billion in loans to keep issuing the benefit checks. . . Currently, 25 states have run out of unemployment money and have borrowed $24 billion from the federal government to cover the gaps. By 2011, according to Department of Labor estimates, 40 state funds will have been emptied by the jobless tsunami.

Mortgages Delinquencies Jump; More Than 1 Million Foreclosures in Process

Americans' mortgage woes continued to get worse in the third quarter. Just 87.2% of U.S. mortgages were current in the third quarter, a decrease of 1.5% from the previous quarter, according to the OCC and OTS Mortgage Metrics Report released Monday. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision report covers 34 million loans totaling $6 trillion in principal balances, about 65% of the U.S. mortgage market. Serious delinquencies jumped to 6.2% of mortgage-servicing portfolios, an increase of 16.7% from the previous quarter. The number of prime borrowers in trouble continues to mount as 3.6% of prime mortgages were more than two months behind on payments, more than double the number in default a year ago.

Foreclosed homeowners get revenge through vandalism (Video)

"They're mad at the bank so they take it out on the house," said George Roddy, of the Addison based Foreclosure Listing Service. From the outside, the house looks attractive, but inside it's another story. Most of the walls have gaping holes, as though someone took a sledgehammer or kicked in the walls. Roddy said interior damage can be a common sight after foreclosures.

Senate sets Christmas eve vote on debt limit

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday set a Christmas Eve vote on final congressional approval of a bill to provide a two-month hike in the federal debt limit.The measure, passed last week by the House of Representatives, would provide a $290 billion increase in the debt limit, which is now at $12.1 trillion. After anticipated Senate passage, the measure will go to President Barack Obama to sign into law. The Treasury Department has warned that it would likely reach the current debt limit by December 31, potentially putting the United States at risk of default.

Ratigan: AIG emails should be public (Video)

NY Times editorial calls for investigation of AIG e-mails to discover the relationship between AIG and Goldman Sachs, Treasury and the Fed. An investigation could uncover the key to the financial meltdown. How AIG funneled money through Goldman. Eliot Spitzer and Dylan Ratigan discuss on Morning Meeting.

State to pay unprecedented $1.1 billion to make walkways accessible to disabled

In an unprecedented court settlement reached today, Caltrans has agreed to spend $1.1 billion over the next 30 years to repair and improve sidewalks, crosswalks and park-and-ride facilities across the state so they are accessible for people with disabilities.

Flaherty Says China, Russia May Raise Canada Holdings

Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said China, with the world’s largest currency reserves of $2.3 trillion, may be poised to buy Canadian dollars as it seeks to shield its reserves against the U.S. dollar’s decline. “It does not surprise me that China and Russia would take greater positions in the Canadian dollar than they have previously,” Flaherty, 59, said during an interview in his office in Ottawa. “I would expect countries looking around the world to invest in market currencies that are reliable.”

Russia's central bank may add the Australian dollar to its currency reserves

RUSSIA'S central bank may add the Australian dollar to its currency reserves, central bank chairman Sergei Ignatyev said today. "We're considering adding several currencies, including the Australian dollar," Mr Ignatyev said.

Ditching the Dollar: The World's Best Currency Bets

With America's economy facing a ballooning trade deficit and ultralow short-term interest rates for the foreseeable future, a rowdy recovery isn't likely. "I don't think we're going to see that firm basis of the U.S. dollar ever again," says Dr. Todd Hanson, a quantitative strategist who specializes in exchange rates at New York-based Team Trading. "That thing's been sinking like a stone for the past two years."

PBOC's Fan sees dollar depreciating in long term

The U.S. dollar will continue to depreciate over the long term and the world's largest economy is expected to remain sluggish for a long time, said Fan Gang, an adviser to the Chinese central bank. "This crisis is a U.S. dollar crisis, which takes a relatively long time to clear up. The problem involves the U.S. currency and U.S. debt; eventually it has to be solved through U.S. dollar depreciation," Fan, a member of the People's Bank of China's monetary policy committee, told a financial forum on Monday.


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Re: Daily Digest - December 23

"Do you believe everything the government tells you? Economist and statistician John Williams sure doesn't. Williams, who has consulted for individuals and Fortune 500 companies, now uncovers the truth behind the U.S. government's economic numbers on his Web site at ShadowStats.com. Williams says, over the last several decades, the feds have been infusing their data with optimistic biases to make the economy seem far rosier than it really is. His site reruns the numbers using the original methodology. What he found was not good.

 Maymin: So we are technically bankrupt?

Williams: Yes, and when countries are in that state, what they usually do is rev up the printing presses and print the money they need to meet their obligations. And that creates inflation, hyperinflation, and makes the currency worthless."

Hyperinflation In 2010?

"Target Corp. and U.S. retailers may lose almost $9 billion in holiday sales as banks rein in lending to cash-strapped consumers before a new credit-card law takes effect.

Sales in November and December may fall 1.2 percent to $436.7 billion from the same period in 2008, said Britt Beemer, chairman of consumer polling firm America’s Research Group. If lenders weren’t cutting customer spending limits and rejecting more credit-card applicants, sales would gain about 0.8 percent to $445.5 billion, he said in a Dec. 21 interview."

"The state of Illinois has been forced to borrow $1 billion from the federal government since mid-summer to help cover unemployment benefits, and some estimates are that the figure could go as high as $8 billion by 2012.

It is basic math resulting from a harsh recession. State figures show $4.1 billion in unemployment benefits were paid through the end of November, or nearly double the figure for all of 2008.

“The trust fund just eclipsed $1 billion. It is borrowing, and I’m not trying to split hairs, but it is drawing on a line of credit from the federal government,” Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, said Tuesday."

"Research firm ShopperTrak reported yesterday that Super Saturday sales dropped 12.6 percent from a year ago, while foot traffic fell 12.4 percent, as a winter storm lashed the East Coast. That’s on top of a 12.4 percent sales decline and a 17 percent drop in foot traffic on Super Saturday in 2008 compared with the prior year. The firm, based in Chicago, tracks total retail sales at more than 50,000 outlets.

ShopperTrak reported that Saturday’s sales totaled $6.9 billion, compared with $7.9 billion last year and $8.7 billion in 2007. For the full weekend, sales slipped 2.1 percent to $18.8 billion compared with a year ago.

“Mother Nature was very unkind to retailers on Saturday,’’ Bill Martin, cofounder of ShopperTrak, said in a statement.

He added that the sales decline was the steepest for the Saturday before Christmas since it started reporting holiday sales figures in 2002."

"Facing another huge deficit, the governor wants $8 billion or threatens massive cuts in social services. He also plans to renew push for offshore oil drilling."

"If Washington does not provide roughly $8 billion in new aid for the state, the governor threatens to severely cut back -- if not eliminate -- CalWORKS, the state's main welfare program; the In-Home Health Care Services program for the disabled and elderly poor, and two tax breaks for large corporations recently approved by the Legislature, the officials said.

Schwarzenegger also will propose extending a cut in the state payroll that is scheduled to expire this summer. That cut has translated into 200,000 state workers being furloughed three days a month, the equivalent of a 14% pay cut. Lawmakers would have the option of extending the furloughs, imposing layoffs or some combination of the two. "

"Record Auctions

The U.S. may sell $44 billion in two-year notes on Dec. 28, $42 billion in five-year debt the next day and $32 billion in seven-year securities the day after that, Wrightson ICAP LLC, an economic advisory firm in Jersey City, New Jersey, estimated.

A $44 billion two-year auction would match the record offerings of October and November. A $42 billion five-year sale and a $32 billion seven-year offering would equal the all-time highest issues set last month.

“When the U.S. has to fund its deficit through the combination of issuing more Treasuries and printing more dollars, it is inevitable that the dollar will continue to weaken,” Deputy Governer Zhu said on Dec. 17 at a forum in Beijing.

Efforts by the U.S. to cut its current-account deficit mean other nations accumulate fewer dollars through trade, leaving them with less money to buy Treasuries, Zhu said."

"Federal stimulus money has been a boon to the state" Undecided

"On a more positive note, the state ranked fourth in jobs created or saved (29,321) because of help from the federal government, according to the Government Accountability Office.

But any jobs gained or saved were swamped by the 284,000 lost during the last year. "

"Investors are jostling for the chance to buy a $1.1 billion package of commercial real-estate loans extended by failed banks, as these once-toxic assets attract growing interest.

More than a dozen investors, including Texas banker Andrew Beal, have submitted bids to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for the portfolio of loans held by Franklin Bank, IndyMac Bank and other failed lenders, according to people familiar with the matter.

But the portfolio represents only a fraction of the real-estate loans held by the FDIC and the volume is mounting as more banks fail. "

"But many banks won't sell. Some, especially community and regional banks, haven't marked down the value of their existing loan portfolios to current market rates—something that could jeopardize the survival of weaker lenders. Many hope the low cost of funds offered by historically low interest rates will let them earn their way out of trouble."




"Since last year, the FDIC has sold residential and commercial loans through eight such partnerships, with the agency's equity interest ranging from 50% to 80%. Those partnerships bought loans at discounts ranging from pennies on the dollar to more than 50 cents on the dollar of face value.

These structured deals, however, carry additional risk for the FDIC and, by extension, taxpayers. Because the agency takes a big chunk of the equity and provides financing, it stands to lose more if the markets continue to decline."

"NEW YORK, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Freddie Mac's mortgage investment portfolio shrank in November while the rate of delinquencies on the loans in guarantees escalated, the U.S. home funding company said on Wednesday.

The unpaid principal balance of its mortgage-related investments fell at a 12.9 percent annual rate last month to $761.8 billion, for a 5.8 percent through the first 11 months of the year.

The delinquency rate on its single-family mortgage portfolio jumped 18 basis points to 3.72 percent in November."

"U.S. state governments, seeking to expand the pool of potential lenders as their borrowing balloons, are beginning to look offshore.

Illinois has registered bonds for sale in Europe as part of a $3.5 billion offering next week. New York State is considering tapping into foreign demand, and California Treasurer Bill Lockyer said last week that his state, the largest muni bond issuer, is considering peddling its taxable debt abroad."

"Paterson said that tough choices are necessary to reverse a state deficit that has been growing by $83 million a day since January."

"Paterson said his biggest challenge is to change the culture in Albany so that Democrats and Republicans are debating over which party is more fiscally disciplined.

"One wants to tax and spend, the other wants to borrow and spend, but they both want to spend," he said."

"Over the weekend Arizona state lawmakers approved a budget for fiscal year 2010. Governor Jan Brewer said that these are, "the worst financial days ever." Arizona still faces a $1.5 billion dollar deficit this year, and a projected $3.4 billion dollar shortfall next fiscal year."

"Arizona State Representative Linda Lopez says Arizona is so close to bankruptcy, we could follow in California's footsteps. April tax returns could come in the form of IOUs, instead of a check."

"“The worst case would be the mother of all financial crises. According to the California State Treasurer’s office, California has over $68 billion in public debt, but the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters has tried to count total California public debt, including that of local municipalities, and his total reaches $500 billion.

“Whatever the amount, the impact of default could be larger than the debt amount would imply. Other states - New York, Illinois, New Jersey, for example - are in almost as bad shape as California, and they could follow California’s example. The realization that a state could default would shock markets every bit as much as when Lehman Brothers failed. Given the precarious state of our economy and the financial sector, another fiscal crisis would be disastrous, with impacts far beyond California’s borders.”"

"For every dollar Jacksonville pays a police officer or firefighter in the next two years, the city must put another 49 cents into the pension fund.

That math is at the heart of the city’s argument for pension reform and claims that current costs cannot continue.

But those running the Police and Fire Pension Fund say years of decisions and trade-offs combined to produce that 49 percent contribution rate. "

"Atlanta is joinging the many other state and local governments trying to deal with large increases in pension costs. Atlanta Mayor-elect Kasim Reed is forming a panel to look into the problem.

Reed has selected former AJC publisher, John Mellott, to head the group.

Atlanta`s pension costs are around $100 million or about 20% of the city`s budget.

Among the options Reed is willing to consider are changing the years to a person being vested in the plan from 10 to 15. He is also open to the city switching to Social Security."

"TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has whacked more than $800 million from the current state budget less than a month before leaving office, he said Tuesday as his successor announced preparations for steep reductions for the fiscal year ahead.

The $839 million in Corzine's additional cuts include $100 million from eliminating the state's contribution to the employee pension fund, $5 million from cancer research, $2.3 million from charter school aid and $607,000 from a hiring freeze at motor vehicle agencies."

"In an effort to make up a large funding shortfall, Louisiana’s two largest teacher retirement systems will be raising their required employer contribution rates, one from 15.5 percent of salary to 20 percent, the other from 17.6 percent to 24.3 percent. Aguillard estimates the total increase will add between $2.3 million and $2.6 million to his district’s annual budget of $83 million. “ The rates are calculated by each retirement system, and we do not have any power to alter them,” Aguillard says, adding that the sudden rate increases “will have devastating impacts on our operating budget.”

A similar situation exists in nearly every state in the country. The financial state of the nation’s public pension funds—which provide the retirement incomes for all state employees but in most states are dominated by teachers, administrators and other school employees—has gone from bad to worse, and for most it is only projected to worsen in coming decades. A perfect storm of factors has combined in the past year. Long-term trends of insufficient state funding, ever-increasing payment obligations and retirees living longer than ever, coupled with the market crash at the end of 2008, have put most teacher retirement funds on a path to financial disaster. "

"Flynt noted that the Oakland school district identified 1,500 students as homeless for the 2008-09 school year, which entitled them to certain federally mandated services. The previous year, there were fewer than 1,000 such students.

Given the grim housing outlook, Oakland schools can anticipate even more homeless students in their classrooms. An analysis by the Urban Strategies Council found that one in 16 homes in Oakland has received a notice of default on its mortgage; one in 29 homes is in a trustee sale, the second stage in a foreclosure proceeding; and one in 77 residential properties is now owned by the lending bank.

By December 2010, another 3,711 adjustable rate mortgages on Oakland homes will reset higher, ushering in another wave of foreclosure. And with it will likely come another cohort of Oakland students on the brink of homelessness."

"Some analysts predict Las Vegas home prices will drop another 10 percent to 25 percent as more foreclosures flood the market.

Realtor Steve Hawks of Platinum Real Estate said there are more than 100,000 distressed homes in Las Vegas, including 70,000 already in some stage of foreclosure. He's heard reports of 25,000 to 45,000 people who've been living in their homes for a year to 18 months without making a mortgage payment and have yet to receive a notice of default."

(Click on "more info" to see his links)

"Mortgages that were modified in the second quarter of 2009, which had a greater proportion of modifications that reduced monthly payments, are re-defaulting at a lower than those modified earlier. But nearly one out of five borrowers is still re-defaulting only three months after the lowered payments took effect."

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We've Gone Schitzo

Granted the two headlines below are for different things, new versus
existing homes, but how much different of a take can you have on the
economy, both articles from the AP and the same writer and they really
stood out because I saw both of them as top stories on Yahoo finance one
day apart.

Yesterday (12/22/2009)

        November home sales soar 7.4 percent
        Washington -- Home resales surged last month to the highest
        level in nearly three years, reflecting an extraordinary level
        of federal support hat has pulled the housing market back from
        the worst downturn since the Great Depression.
Today (12/23/2009)

        November new home sales sink 11 percent
        Washington -- Sales on new homes plunged unexpectedly last month
        to the lowest level since April, a sign the housing market
        recovery will be rocky.

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Re: Daily Digest - December 23

While you guys freeze.....

Melbourne swelters through hot night

Overnight temperatures in Melbourne were just one degree shy of the record for the hottest December night, which was set in 1961.

The minimum was 26.2C just after 3am (AEST).  (that's 79 F)

Weather Bureau spokesman Terry Ryan says hot northerly winds kept temperatures above 30 degrees for most of the night.

"Being on the southern end of a hot continent, any time you get a northerly wind blowing it can get very hot in Melbourne," he said.

"You wouldn't think it was possible some times, and particularly overnight when the sun's gone down so you haven't got the effect of the sun heating the ground, you've just got the air which is around from the previous day."

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Re: We've Gone Schitzo

rhare, the contradicting home sales headlines had my head spinning too!  I saw the one yesterday, then the one today, and did a double-take!!


ps good John Williams article, Saxplayer!  I think he's right; we are screwed!

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Re: Daily Digest - December 23

It's getting weird in the north too. Here in Seattle this summer, we blasted our heat record to 104F taken at the SeaTac airport that is quite close to the Puget Sound. In the eastern suburbs (where I live) we hit 110F.  

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Re: Daily Digest - December 23

Dollar Share of New Reserves Dropped Last Quarter, Barclays Says

"Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Central banks reduced purchases of U.S. dollars in the third quarter, possibly cutting them to a record low of less than 30 percent of new foreign-exchange reserves, Barclays Capital said in a note to clients.

Global central banks probably bought $50 billion in the quarter, out of some $250 billion of reserves that were added in the period through transactions, Barclays said, citing calculations based on data from the International Monetary Fund and U.S. official reports."

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Re: "We're Screwed!"

But why Sachs one country when you can Sachs many?

 (for key content, skip to 5:01)



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Re: We've Gone Schitzo


rhare thats funny. Today I was notice the exact same thing and muttering to myself "...god people are so stupid..."

The media does that stuff all the time. CNBC is the worst at it, or the best, depending on how you look at it. I wonder how many people read it and never question it.

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Re: "We're Screwed!"

Re: "We're Screwed!"

But why Sachs one country when you can Sachs many?

 (for key content, skip to 5:01)




Jag should be the one here posting this about what's going to happen to the sheeple.



One more news item:

U.S. state and local governments face more than $530 billion in unfunded public pension liabilities

"U.S. local government pension costs exceeds $530 billion: govern

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. state and local governments face more than $530 billion in unfunded public pension liabilities and most do not have funds set aside to pay for them, a government report showed on Wednesday.


As of June, state governments were on the hook for around $405 billion and 39 of the country's largest local governments must come up with around $130 billion for their other post employment benefits, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said.

The report said unfunded state liabilities ranged from as low as $71 million in Arizona to $62 billion in California.

Local government liabilities ranged from $15 million for a county in Arizona to over $59 billion for New York City, the GAO said."




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Re: "We're Screwed!"

Interesting video, Headless! 

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Re: Daily Digest - December 23


Venezuela, China Sign Oil Deals


23 Dec 2009

CARACAS -- Venezuela and China gave a new boost to their thriving economic ties Tuesday, signing a package of agreements that advances China strategy of locking in access to the South American country's vast oil reserves.

After two days of talks in Caracas, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation will help the government of President Hugo Chavez develop the Boyaca 3 oil block in the Orinoco-belt, a large heavy-crude basin in Eastern Venezuela.

The move is part of Venezuela's efforts to increase oil sales to China to 1 million barrels per day from the 400,000 barrels per day it says it currently supplies. Under Chavez, Venezuela has tried to curb oil exports to the U.S. and searched for new markets. Despite his efforts, the U.S. remains the main destination for Venezuela oil, with sales averaging around 1 million barrels per day.

The China National Petroleum Corporation also moved forward by securing access to another oil block in the Orinoco region that could eventually produce 400,000 barrels of oil per day.

The Chinese oil titan also agreed to build a refinery with Venezuela that will process crude from a joint oil venture between the two countries that operates the Junin 8 block.

CNPC also plans to bid alongside French firm Total in early 2010 in an upcoming oil auction known as Carabobo, which is considered the most important drilling project in Venezuela in more than a decade.

China and Venezuela have cemented a close economic bond during the last few years. Venezuela is eager to receive Chinese investment to develop its heavy-oil reserves, which require massive financing. Venezuela is a key objective for China as it pushes to secure oil and other natural resources for its economic expansion.

The two countries have developed a $12 billion development fund, with China depositing $8 billion in the fund in exchange for Venezuelan oil. The fund focuses on bankrolling infrastructure projects in Venezuela.

The economic ties between the two countries has spilled to other areas. Chinese companies launched a telecommunications satellite for Venezuela and are working on projects ranging from building a car factory to building a railway system.

Trade between China and Venezuela reached $10 billion in 2008, nearly three times the trade figure posted in 2003. China is now Venezuela's second largest trading partner, surpassed only by the U.S.

 [email protected]

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Rising Interest Rates are like Rising Gas Prices

Isn't it amazing, as soon as rates on t-bills go up, the mortgage rates go up. Reminds me when the price of a barrel of gas goes up, as soon as the price rises, you see it at the pump, but when the price falls, there is a delay...you know, they have to sell off inventory...yeah!!

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Re: Daily Digest - December 23

Peter Schiff often writes articles weekly or bi-weekly, depending on his availability with his Senate campaign, and publishes them through EuroPacific, his brokerage, or SeekingAlpha, the investment blog community website.

His writing is always very prescient and relevant, and his articles never fail to be a great read.

Here is his most recent on the Health Care bill:

Dropping the Bomb on Healthcare, Peter Schiff

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Re: Daily Digest - December 23

From: NSF <[email protected]>
Date: 18 December 2009 6:38:39 AM GMT+11:00
To: Keith Thomas <[email protected]>
Subject: [NSF] Much US Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy

This article is a number in a series on drinking water in the US. The New York Times had developed a special suite of web pages for the series and if you feel this topic is important, we can recommend you visit them at:

• ... millions of Americans become sick each year from drinking contaminated water, with maladies from upset stomachs to cancer and birth defects ...

• Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, ... scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified
hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water ...

• ... more than 62 million Americans have been exposed since 2004 to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease ...

• "People don't understand that just because water is technically legal, it can till present health risks," he said. "And so we encounter opposition that can become very personal." Some federal regulators have tried to ... to tighten drinking water standards for chemicals like industrial solvents, as well as a rocket fuel additive ... But those efforts have often been blocked by industry lobbying.

• ... when E.P.A. scientists produced assessments indicating those chemicals were more toxic ... businesses fought back by lobbying lawmakers and regulators and making public attacks. Military contractors, for example, said that
regulations on perchlorate, which has been associated with stunted central nervous system development, would cost them billions of dollars in cleanup costs. ... Military officials told E.P.A. scientists they were unpatriotic for suggesting that bases were contaminated ...

• Property owners who had rented space to dry cleaners lobbied lawmakers and top E.P.A. officials to remove government scientists from research on perc ...

• Many of the scientists opposed to new regulation receive funding from industries that use arsenic.

• ... the E.P.A. recently said it would analyze a host of chemicals — known as endocrine disruptors ... associated with cancer and other diseases. Congress called for such tests in 1996, but the agency failed to meet deadlines for 13

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Re: Daily Digest - December 23

As some of you may have discovered, I usually wait until I'm drunk and shooting life-size replicas of Bernanke, Blankfein and Geithner with my AK-47 before I post; thus, you can take me or leave me--usually leave me, but I offer this video (regardless of what you may think about Glenn Beck), and I think it's worth the watch (7 parts):


I recommend this as an American who loves his country, but who has essentially given up on it, after which I  moved abroad multiple times in search of a truly civilized government. I want to believe in the country that my grandfather went to war to protect; a war in which he killed the grandfatthers of the grandsons that I would one day teach English to...

It doesn't take much to reinspire an American to come to believe in his country again; men like the one in the above video remind me, reinspire me, and allow me to try one more time to have faith in what I thought was my country.

Our "government" has very few days remaining to prove that it is worthy of the love our parents and grandparents demonstrated (with their blood and spiritual sacrifices) was appropriate to a great country.

We need some honest men (is there ONE in congress that is not compromised) to step forward and do the right thing. People on Wall Street and in the government need to go to jail...soon, if there is any hope of nourishing the remaining vestiges of allegience that are, day-by-day,  withering away.

"When there is nothing to love, there is no reason to live."

~ Korean elementary school teacher

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Posts: 3998
Re: Daily Digest - December 23

I'm always both impressed and perplexed by patriotism.... but I can never make anything of it.


mistral53's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 19 2009
Posts: 4
Re: Daily Digest - December 23

Glen Beck is e a retard.

References to his show on this board run the risk to nullify all the good information and efforts I have come here to read and appreciate.

rhare's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1329
Re: Daily Digest - December 23

Glen Beck is e a retard.

References to his show on this board run the risk to nullify all the good information and efforts I have come here to read and appreciate.

I'm sorry you feel that way.  I like him, annoying at times, but he actually talks about the issues.  His book "Common Sense: The Case Against an Out of Control Goverment" and "Arguing with Idiots" are quite good.  If you don't like opposing views perhaps you should watch NBC, you'll find lots of people there that  probably match your views and you won't have to be inconvienced with other view points.  I personally find it refreshing to actually discuss issues and have different  points of view shared.

Thanks Headless for posting the link.

spinone's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 12 2008
Posts: 49
Re: Daily Digest - December 23

Glenn Beck's books aren't quite good.  They're terrible. He's a fool. Opposing points of view are fine, if they are logically argued.  You should not expect anyone to take Becks idiotic drivel seriously as a logically opposing viewpoint.

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