Daily Digest

Daily Digest - October 5

Monday, October 5, 2009, 9:51 AM
  • Expert on Structured Finance and Derivatives Gives the Big Picture
  • Inventory in the Shadows Twice as Big as Normal Resale Inventory in Los Angeles
  • US Senate OKs 1-Month Emergency Extension Of Federal Government Funding Levels 
  • 'Planned recession' could avoid catastrophic climate change
  • Stiglitz Deflation Threat Pushes Fed to Stay at Zero
  • Will California become America's first failed state?
  • Key S.F. departments warn of cash shortfalls
  • Another Finger of Instability
  • Economy Losing 11,000 Jobs per day since December of 2007

Economy

Expert on Structured Finance and Derivatives Gives the Big Picture (Vinny A.)

Janet Tavakoli is one of the foremost experts on structured finance and derivatives. Tavakoli made an outstanding presentation to the IMF last week on the fraud which led to the financial crisis.

US Senate OKs 1-Month Emergency Extension Of Federal Government Funding Levels (Vinny A.)

Facing a midnight deadline, the U.S. Senate Wednesday approved an emergency one-month extension of current funding levels for the federal government. The extension is necessary because lawmakers have been unable to complete work on the 12-must pass spending bills required to keep the various arms of the federal government running each year. With the federal government's fiscal year in its waning hours, all non- essential parts of the government would have been required to shut down at midnight had the extension not been agreed to.

The Senate voted 62-38 to agree to the extension. House lawmakers voted strongly in favor of the measure last week. President Barack Obama must sign it into law by midnight to avert the shutdown. The extension was attached to one of the spending bills - legislation to fund Congress and its related agencies. It is the first of the dozen bills that lawmakers have finished.

Inventory in the Shadows Twice as Big as Normal Resale Inventory in Los Angeles

The shadow inventory is larger than the actual re-sale number. The reality is that most of these loans won’t cure. Sure, a handful will be modified. But the REO number won’t be modified, the bank already owns these properties. Those scheduled for auction are pretty much a lost cause with the owner.

The notice of default data is linked to an audience that is 3 to 6 months behind and given the large mortgage payments in California, if you are this behind chances are you are not catching up. Keep in mind that this data is only for homes that have action being taken on. There is probably a shadow to the shadow inventory! That is, we have heard and know that many banks are not even sending notice of defaults to some late paying borrowers. In other words, there is a boatload of toxic debt out there.

'Planned recession' could avoid catastrophic climate change (Vinny A.)

Britain will have to stop building airports, switch to electric cars and shut down coal-fired power stations as part of a 'planned recession' to avoid dangerous climate change.

Stiglitz Deflation Threat Pushes Fed to Stay at Zero (Vinny A.)

The U.S. faces the possibility of deflation for the first time since the Eisenhower administration, a threat that may prompt the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero through next year. Executives at Kroger Co., the largest U.S. supermarket chain, blamed deflation for a 7 percent drop in earnings in the second quarter, while falling prices for food, gasoline, and electronics left August sales unchanged at Costco Wholesale Corp. A sustained price drop might set off a chain reaction in which lower profits force employers to pare wages and payrolls. That would erode consumer demand, exacerbating wage cuts and firings. Such a spiral led to Japan’s “lost decade” of slow economic growth in the 1990s. A more vicious version in the U.S. helped create the Great Depression six decades earlier. Bond investors are forecasting retreating consumer prices, as shown by the yield they demand to hold a one-year bond versus a similar inflation-protected bond.

Will California become America's first failed state? (lpowell23)

California has a special place in the American psyche. It is the Golden State: a playground of the rich and famous with perfect weather. It symbolises a lifestyle of sunshine, swimming pools and the Hollywood dream factory.

But the state that was once held up as the epitome of the boundless opportunities of America has collapsed. From its politics to its economy to its environment and way of life, California is like a patient on life support. At the start of summer the state government was so deeply in debt that it began to issue IOUs instead of wages. Its unemployment rate has soared to more than 12%, the highest figure in 70 years. Desperate to pay off a crippling budget deficit, California is slashing spending in education and healthcare, laying off vast numbers of workers and forcing others to take unpaid leave. In a state made up of sprawling suburbs the collapse of the housing bubble has impoverished millions and kicked tens of thousands of families out of their homes. Its political system is locked in paralysis and the two-term rule of former movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger is seen as a disaster – his approval ratings having sunk to levels that would make George W Bush blush. The crisis is so deep that Professor Kenneth Starr, who has written an acclaimed history of the state, recently declared: "California is on the verge of becoming the first failed state in America."

Key S.F. departments warn of cash shortfalls

Just three months into the new fiscal year, several of San Francisco's largest departments are warning they will run out of money unless the mayor and Board of Supervisors find extra cash during one of the worst financial times in city history.

Already, the jails are housing 300 more inmates each day than planned for in the sheriff's budget. The public defender's office is declining five major felony cases a day, forcing the city to hire private defense lawyers instead. The Superior Court says its indigent defense program, which picks up many of the cases refused by the public defender, is incredibly strapped financially. The Asian Art Museum warns it can't fully pay for the security staff to guard its treasures.

And the fire, police and public health departments have told the controller's office they have concerns about their funding, too.

Another Finger of Instability (Jim B.)

The Obama administration tells us that the government deficit is going to be well over $1 trillion a year for at least ten years. And that does not take into account the outlier years in the 2020s when the really heavy lifting of Social Security and Medicare kicks in. There is a truism that goes a little like, "If something can't happen, then it won't." Let me make a prediction. We won't have a trillion-dollar deficit in ten years. Why? Because it can't happen. The market will simply not allow it.

Economy Losing 11,000 Jobs per day since December of 2007 (C. Watcher)

824,000 Jobs Lost in Statistical Revision: 8 Million Jobs Lost Since Start of Recession. Nationwide Unemployment Rate at 17 Percent. That is, in February of 2010 (sic) when revisions are made some additional 824,000 jobs were lost! That is correct, some 824,000 jobs have been lost and these do not show up in the current BLS data....This revision if incorporated today would put the official number of jobs lost during this recession at 8 million, or 10 percent higher than what is being fed in the headline numbers. The U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve sold the American people that banks needed money to lend out in the so-called liquidity crisis. What really happened is banks got money to protect themselves from additional losses that they know they will face....Banks are holding tight to this money because we have many issues coming down the pipeline including the $3 trillion in commercial real estate that will cause further problems.

21 Comments

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

http://www.financialarmageddon.com/2009/10/more-dependent-on-the-consume...

"America's overreliance on consumer spending helped create the mess we are in. To finance our spendthrift ways, we borrowed more than we could afford. We also saved less than necessary and bet that rising home and stock prices would make up the difference. In addition, our willingness to consume more than we produce led to unhealthy imbalances with nations like China.

Well, guess what. The latest data reveals that America is more dependent on the consumer than ever."

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

This article came out today reviewing the Crash Course: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20091005/BUSINESS/910050319

I thought it did a fair job of summarizing the content of the CC. Good to see the word is spreading!

Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

1) (PENNSYLVANIA) Harrisburg should file for bankruptcy?

2) Goldman Sachs Stands To Receive $1 Billion Payment, If CIT Files For Bankruptcy

3) Oil May Pass $100 on ‘Loose’ Policy, Merrill Says

"Oil may jump above $100 next year as emerging market demand rises and “loose” monetary policy weakens the U.S. dollar, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit said."

4) European Banks Need to Raise $78 Billion, JPMorgan Estimates

5) ICN News (Video) (click on "more info" to see her links)

        #1 Did 60 million mortgages become unforeclosable?

        #2 Faber on shadow housing inventory

        #3 FHA reserves drop below requirement

        #4 Delinquencies at record pace

        #5 Moody's Some home prices won't rebound until 2030

        #11 Feds loan $500m for Al Gore backed electric car start up

        #12 FDIC to borrow form banks

6) Jim Sinclair we are in a Hyperinflation Era (1)

     Jim Sinclair we are in a Hyperinflation Era (2)

     Jim Sinclair we are in a Hyperinflation Era (3)

7) Waves of new fund cuts imperil US nursing homes

8) Taxpayers are stuck with public pension increases

"Contra Costa's county administrator has said that in the next four years pension costs will rise from 34 percent of payroll to 50 percent. So for every $100,000 paid out in salary, the county will have to set aside an additional $50,000 for pension benefits.

At the state level, the chief actuary of the California Public Employees' Retirement System has warned that pension costs for police and firefighters could rise from 27 percent of payroll to "unsustainable" levels of 40 to 50 percent."

9) Economic downturn drains pension funds for public employees (Kansas)

10) (Cincinnati) City's pension woes deepen

"To keep pace with projected expenses, the city's $26.4 million contribution to the pension fund this year would need to rise to $84 million in 2010 - a scenario that council members and other city leaders concede is unrealistic.

With the city facing a 2010 budget deficit estimated at $51.5 million, a shortfall that City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. has warned is all but certain to force layoffs and worker furloughs, council likely will find it difficult to allocate much more to the pension fund than it did this year.

"There's no way the city is going to be able to make a contribution of $84 million to the retirement fund," Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls said. "That's stating the obvious.""

 11) The state financial picture illuminated by David Coates was grim. (Vermont)

"The bottom line of what Coates, a retired partner from international accounting firm KPMG's Burlington office and member of the Vermont Business Roundtable, told the audience gathered at College of St. Joseph Tuesday night was that the state's unfunded obligations to debt service, education funding, retirement plans and other post-employment benefits place it on an unsustainable path.

For instance, the state currently is facing down a combined unfunded liability of $466 million for its state employee and teacher pensions. Its responsibility for other post-employment benefits — namely health-care plans — for the same group of workers is even worse: As of June 30, that figure approached $1.6 billion."

12) California borrows another $4.5 Billion

13) Report on Bailouts Says Treasury Misled Public

"WASHINGTON — The inspector general who oversees the government’s bailout of the banking system is criticizing the Treasury Department for some misleading public statements last fall and raising the possibility that it had unfairly disbursed money to the biggest banks."

13A) Study: Bernanke, Paulson misled public on bailouts

14) Slumping revenue may trigger more state cuts, layoffs (Mass.)

15) City’s housing voucher surplus about to be depleted

"Governor Deval Patrick announced this morning that September revenues came in $243 million below expectations, a shortfall that may trigger more state cutbacks and layoffs.

The slumping revenue came after several tax hikes and will force state officials over the next two weeks to downgrade revenue estimates for the remainder of the fiscal year."

16) New York Income Tax Revenue Falls 36% in Year, Paterson Says

17) Prepaid College Savings Plans Might Not Cover All Costs

"In the last two decades, more than a million families around the country have invested in state funds that pledged to cover the cost of attending their state’s public colleges and universities, regardless of how much tuition increased.

But in the last year, the stock market slump and rising college costs have combined to drive all but two of the nation’s 18 such funds, known as prepaid college savings plans, into the red, jeopardizing those pledges."

18) Retirement system needs more money

"The Retirement Systems of Alabama says the public education health insurance plan will need $282 million, cuts in benefits, significant increases in member contributions, or a combination of all three next fiscal year, to stay even."

19) $78 billion in Treasury auctions this week

20) States worry about strain on Medicaid as uninsured numbers rise

"Medicaid covered about 42.6 million people in 2008, up 7.6% from

39.6 million in 2007, according to the Census Bureau. Some estimates put the number of people on Medicaid nationwide today at 60 million."

(Lots more info in the link above)

21) States Resist Medicaid Growth

Governors Fear For Their Budgets"

""huge unfunded mandate" likely to result in state tax increases."

22) Martin Weiss – Three Government Reports Point to Fiscal Doomsday

23) China Banking Regulator: Sep New Yuan Loans CNY300B-CNY400B

"Earlier during the seminar, he responded to a question on whether the yuan could become an international reserve currency by saying, "it's far too early to mention [that] the yuan can be an international reserve currency."

But he said the existing reserve currency, the U.S. dollar, needs to be managed more responsibly"

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

As the article points out, the BLS revision numbers are 3x the historical range of revisions:

“For national CES employment series, the annual benchmark revisions over the last 10 years have averaged plus or minus two-tenths of one percent of total nonfarm employment. The preliminary estimate of the benchmark revision indicates a downward adjustment to March 2009 total nonfarm employment of 824,000 (0.6 percent).”

revision

The only positive revision is "government," and even that I am skeptical of.

Just what areas of the government have added 31k jobs?

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

Its one thing to care for the environment its another to believe that humans are causing "climate change". The planned recession article about the UK sends shivers down my spine. It was this type of central economic planning that caused million of Russians and Chinese to starve.

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5 - politicians+science = dangerous

Ditto... This climate alarming article is full of false fact and conclusions that come with no supporting premise. Perhaps they should begin their education here: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

And exactly WHAT makes you think billions of people will NOT starve to death this century....?

Mike

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on hyperinflation

http://www.mmnews.de/

Egon von Greyerz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Matterhorn
Asset Management AG in Zurich http://matterhornassetmanagement.com

The prerequisites for hyperinflation are a deflationary or non-inflationary recession/depression leading to major government deficits. The government issues debt paper to finance the deficits. Initially investors continue to buy the government bonds especially as in the case of the US with the dollar being a reserve currency. This is the first stage of the money printing cycle. Then foreign investors stop buying the bonds and the government has to buy their own paper. This is the second stage of the money printing cycle which is called quantitative easing (a nonsensical fancy word for money printing). As the money printing accelerates due to growing deficits, foreigners will no longer buy the worthless paper and the currency begins to fall. This leads to a vicious circle of a falling currency, more money printing, inflation and finally hyperinflation. I realise that this is simplified version of the course of events leading to hyperinflation but I believe in explaining things so that most people can understand.

In my view the quantitative easing will now accelerate both in the UK and the US. Unemployment is going up in both countries. Real unemployment in the US is over 20% which is 30 million people. With dependents there are now 100 million people in the US affected by unemployment. In the UK real unemployment including benefit seekers
is 17% or 6.4 million. Including dependents there are 20 million people affected by unemployment. That means that both in the US and in the UK there around 1/3 of the population is affected by unemployment and the numbers are getting bigger daily. This is an untenable situation.

The next area which will necessitate acceleration in money printing this autumn is the financial system. None of the problems in the banks or the financial system have been solved in the last 12-18 months. They have just been swept under the carpet. The toxic debt situation is still critical. A big percentage of the $1 quadrillion derivatives is worthless. The lower figure, circa $500 trillion, of outstanding derivatives published by the BIS is just another
adjustment in order to massage the figures. Other major problem areas in the US are Option A and Alt A mortgages. This could be a bigger problem than sub-prime. Then we have commercial real estate, personal credit, car loans, etc. Most of these loans were raised in good times and there is no chance whatsoever that they will be repaid
in bad times. The average Americans is one pay check from bankruptcy. The UK is in a similar position.

My strong opinion is that the US dollar and the UK pound are going to very weak this autumn. This is the beginning of the hyperinflationary stage which will later spread to many countries.

<MORE>

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

US Economy, Dr Doom, Peter Schiff (NWO SERIES US ECONOMY COLLAPSE

 Peter SChiff on Fast Money this evening

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

Warren Pollock Beyond the Valley

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World Bank could 'run out of money'

http://www.tele graph.co.uk/fin ance/financetop ics/financialcr isis/6255816/Wo rld-Bank-could- run-out-of-mone y-within-12-mon ths.html

World Bank could 'run out of money' within 12 months

The World Bank is close to running out of money, its president, Robert Zoellick, has disclosed.

The Bank, whose job it is to support low-income countries, has had to hand out so much cash in the wake of the financial crisis that its resources could run dry within 12 months.

“By the middle of next year we will face serious constraints,” said its president Robert Zoellick, as he launched a major campaign to persuade rich nations to pour more money into the Washington-base d institution.

The money would be shared between the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development – the key part of the bank, which lends to poor nations – and the International Financial Corporation (IFC), which lends to companies.

Mr Zoellick said: “We recognise that all countries are under budgetary strain and it is not an easy time to be asking for these things”.

He said that a shortfall of cash for the IFC was a cause for particular concern, Mr Zoellick added, “because one of the issues in this recovery is the hand-off from government stimulus programs to private-sector development.”

The Bank has had to lend significantly more cash than the three-year $100bn programme it committed to last year because of the virulence of the financial and economic crisis. The majority of the money has been spent ensuring the survival of the most vulnerable nations.

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

(Note...I don't know this site and am not sure of its accuracy. Big news if true though)

The demise of the dollar

"In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years."

More info

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The Demise of the Dollar

Well this is news!  And Drudge posted it as his headline.  I'm surprised he didn't include the wirring siren on it.

The demise of the dollar

 

In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

By Robert Fisk

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.  Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars. The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

For all my fellow dollar-bulls out there (yeah, all three of us), this is good news!  If this doesn't mark the bottom of the dollar (at least until after the Great Deflation is over) I don't know what will.  This should put whatever downward pressure hadn't already been applied on Uncle Buck, and that's as bad as it can get. 

link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/the-demise-of-the-dollar-1798175.html

 

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Re: on hyperinflation

Since when has it become impossible to edit one's own post...?

The full URL for that most worthwhile story is in fact

http://www.mmnews.de/index.php/200910043905/Gold-Silber/Gold-vs.-Paper-M... and I urge you all to read the entire article......

Mike

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Re: on hyperinflation

Can someone from the tech office please explain why (at least from my end!) there is NO edit button on my original post, but one appears on the reply I wrote as an edit? Doesn't make a lot of sense from where I sit...

Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/10/5/headlines

Activist Arrested for Using Twitter During G-20 Protest

A New York activist has been arrested for using the social networking site Twitter to spread information about police actions during the recent G-20 protests in Pittsburgh. Elliot Madison was arrested on September 24 in Pittsburgh.

On Thursday, FBI agents raided his home in Queens and spent sixteen hours searching it. While protesters have used text messages and Twitter to communicate before, Madison is believed to be one of the first activists to be charged criminally for sending information electronically to protesters about the police.

A criminal complaint in Pennsylvania accused Madison of “directing others, specifically protesters of the G-20 summit, in order to avoid apprehension after a lawful order to disperse.” His attorney Martin Stolar said, “He and a friend were part of a communications network among people protesting the G-20. There’s absolutely nothing that he’s done that should subject him to any criminal liability.”

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars.

In the past I have chastised this administration's economic advisors, save all but for Volcker who has been marginalized and muzzled. This, IMHO is proof of their utter and absolute stupidity and arrogance. All their stimulus which equated to like a 1% bump in the economy could have and should have been spent on alternate forms of energy.

They, like most every administration before them, have gone along thinking that because we have the reserve currency we can and will do whatever we want - 2 wars, health care, cap and tax, increase the size of the government to pick up the consumer spending slack.

I seriously doubt this is going to have a pretty geo-political outcome or a pretty USD/economic outcome.

Take care

This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.

 The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states. 

Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.

China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq – blocked by the US until this year – and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.

 

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Employment Department phones and computers crash

<blockquote>

Thousands of jobless Oregonians hit a wall Sunday when they tried to file their weekly unemployment claims after the Oregon Employment Department's telephone lines clogged and computers crashed.

By this morning, about half of the 165,000 people collecting unemployment pay had managed to file for their weekly checks. The demand that helped crash the department's phone and computer systems reflects the state's soaring 12.2 percent unemployment rate.

</blockquote>

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2009/10/employment_departm...

 

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

Bearmarkettrader,

 

Why is it so hard to believe that humans could be the ones behind climate change?  Do you also believe that it is possible to have unlimited growth in a finite system?  or how about that the earth simply replenishes oil from deep within its bowels.  I suggest you wrap your head around the possibility that these things are indeed possible.

 

E

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

Gulf States in Talks on Replacing US Dollar for Oil: Report

http://www.cnbc.com/id/33185885

Peter Schiff Vlog-Recovery or Inflation,the politics of spin

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Re: Daily Digest - October 5

"WORLD FOREX: Dlr Falls Vs Yen, Euro On Arab Oil Report

By Andrew Monahan

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--The dollar fell against the yen and euro in Asia Tuesday as Asian hedge funds and other short-term players sold the U.S. unit after a report said that Gulf states are planning to stop using the dollar for oil dealing."

 

More info from Bloomberg  and Telegraph.

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