... Obama demagoguery - Hot Air
Thursday, June 30, 2011
The Federal Reserve's massive stimulus program had little impact on the US economy besides weakening the dollar and helping US exports, Federal Reserve Governor Alan Greenspan told CNBC Thursday
about its quarterly fund-raising numbers. Today, they have sent out another, slightly panickier, email about their quarterly fundraising numbers. The email is titled "Midnight," just to make it a little bit scary
Why Europe Can't Afford a Greek Haircut
Military spending is not the cause of the $1.4 trillion U.S. budget deficit, and even a "disastrous" 10 percent cut would only reduce the budget shortfall by some $50 billion — about 4 percent, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
...after France admits arming rebels
The United States is entering the next round of a nationwide boxing match over public pensions, with states approving changes to the funds, a leading municipal union challenging claims of yawning shortfalls and a research group advocating moderation.
May, the Labor Department said Wednesday. It fell in 131 cities and
remained unchanged in 37.
That's a sharp reversal from April, when
unemployment rates dropped in more than 90 percent of metro areas.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate ticked up in May to 9.1 percent and
employers added just 54,000 net jobs. Employers added an average of
220,000 jobs per month
It's been a rough June for the White House. Instead of being able to run a campaign taking credit for economic improvement, President Obama will,
according to the latest forecasts, be trying to win four more years amid
a grim economy next year. The president's reelection team, once hoping to run on a "Morning in America" theme now doesn't have that luxury.
No wonder, the president's advisers over the past month have been making
moves that suggest they're awfully concerned about his prospects:
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
"At some point this must end. With a permit, or without." With those words, an exasperated federal judge punctuated his latest decision ordering the Obama administration to process applications to drill for oil and gas offshore.
More than a year after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused the administration temporarily to halt the federal permitting process, Judge Martin Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana was prepared to accept no further bureaucratic delay by the
federal regulators who continue to bottle up almost all drilling applications
presidential race in 2013 - must attend the assembly within a month, Mehr said, after 100 lawmakers signed a motion calling him in.(snip)The conservative-dominated Parliament has often used its constitutional powers against Ahmadinejad, particularly over ministerial appointments
and budgetary matters, and most recently rejected a close ally he
nominated as deputy foreign minister.
Athens today as tens of thousands demonstrated during a nationwide
strike against the cash-strapped government. Hundreds of masked and
hooded youths punched and kicked motorcycle police, knocking several off
their bikes, as police responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades. The violence spread after the end of the march to a nearby square, where police faced off with stone-throwing anarchists and suffocating clouds of tear gas sent patrons scurrying from open-air cafes. Police say 16 suspected rioters were detained and two officers were injured.
expected to hit a record $1.5 trillion this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. "It's a real caution sign ... the four-year lease on the White House is very much dependent on how people end up looking at the economy,"
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell 4 percent from April 2010, the biggest drop since November 2009, the group said today in New York. From March to April, prices fell 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, the smallest decline since July 2010.
Monday, June 27, 2011
... President to start operating on gut instinct
... if Greece Defaults: Equity Strategist
...soar for California school administrators
drafting the budget.
Fifty percent of 1,014 people polled by Marc SA for Ethnos newspaper said the government must implement and also renegotiate the terms of Papandreou's proposal to boost revenue and cut public spending by a combined 78 billion euros ($112billion) over the next five years. An additional 21.6 percent said the government should take the austerity steps without renegotiating them. Nearly 23 percent said the prime
minister's package should be rejected even at the risk of default.
Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla 2, Voice of Israel radio reported. Netanyahu gave the order during a meeting of his Security Cabinet dedicated to preparations Israel was taking in advance of the new flotilla expected
to set sail for Gaza this week.
The Cabinet voted in favor of a Navy plan to prevent the upcoming flotilla from arriving in Gaza and granted the IDF authority to prevent the ships' arrival by any means necessary. Earlier Monday, Israel and Egypt agreed to the arrangement whereby ships taking part in the flotilla could opt to unload cargo at El-Arish. Ships that instead try to force their way to Gaza, however, will be boarded, searched, and have their passengers arrested.
French banks, among the most exposed to the Greek debt crisis, have reached an outline agreement to roll over holdings of maturing Greek bonds, part of a wider European plan to avoid sovereign default.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
...May Vote Against Austerity, As Cushion Of Safety Dwindles To 1 Vote
Chipotle Will Raise its Prices Regionally
...$20B In Air Conditioning : NPR
... over austerity plans
The Euro Will Not Exist In One Year
...Rolling over 50% of Debt
...To The Global Public Debt Crisis
Saturday, June 25, 2011
The global economic recovery faces many uncertainties, with some nations experiencing sovereign debt problems and others facing the risk of a downturn, Li said in a speech at the Second Global Think Tank Summit held by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. Emerging economies need to have more representation on global issues, he said.
The dollar gained for a third week against the euro, the longest since February, on speculation Greece’s parliament may reject Prime Minister George Papandreou’s plan to cut the budget deficit, win more aid and avoid default. The pound slid for a fourth week against the dollar after U.K. policy makers discussed more monetary stimulus. Growth in U.S. manufacturing cooled in June, a report next week may show.
China will buy a “certain amount” of Hungarian government bonds and remains a “long-term investor” in European debt markets, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Budapest today. This afternoon, Wen travels to the U.K. and then on to Germany on his three-country European tour.
“China is a long term investor in Europe’s sovereign debt market,” Wen said in translated comments at a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “In recent years we have increased by quite a big margin our holdings of government bonds. We will consistently continue to support Europe and the euro.”
Officials with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as well as market participants have pointed to unusual trading in the oil futures market before the IEA's announcement that it would release 60 million barrels of oil, the person said.
Member countries of the IEA agreed to take two million barrels of oil a day from their emergency stocks over the coming months, marking the IEA's third and largest release in its 40-year history.
The US will release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, representing four percent of its historically-high level of 727 million barrels.
He’s struggling simply to find the right words to talk about it.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Hillary Clinton Appears to give green light for Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla
Petraeus Acknowledges Differences With Obama Over Afghan Drawdown
The International Energy Agency is ready to release more oil onto the market if necessary, Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the agency, told CNBC in an interview Friday morning.
Greece's austerity plan, viewed by markets as the saving grace just a day ago, has quickly moved into irrelevance as banks and insurers try to find a path around default.
Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds
Why the Eurozone and the Euro Are Both Doomed
Papering over the structural imbalances in the Eurozone with endless bailouts will not resolve the fundamental asymmetries.
Beneath the endless announcements of Greece's "rescue" lie fundamental asymmetries that doom the euro, the joint currency that has been the centerpiece of European unity since its introduction in 1999.
The key imbalance is between export powerhouse Germany, which generates huge trade surpluses, and its trading partners, which run large trade and budget deficits, particularly Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
Those outside of Europe may be surprised to learn that Germany's exports are roughly equal to those of China ($1.2 trillion), even though Germany's population of 82 million is a mere 6% of China's 1.3 billion. Germany and China are the world's top exporters, while the U.S. trails as a distant third.
Germany's emphasis on exports places it in the so-called mercantilist camp, countries that depend heavily on exports for their growth and profits. Other (nonoil-exporting) nations that routinely generate large trade surpluses include China, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and the Netherlands.
While Germany's exports rose an astonishing 65% from 2000 to 2008, its domestic demand flatlined near zero. Without strong export growth, Germany's economy would have been at a standstill. The Netherlands is also a big exporter (trade surplus of $33 billion) even though its population is relatively tiny, at only 16 million. The "consumer" countries, on the other hand, run large current-account (trade) deficits and large government deficits. Italy, for instance, has a $55 billion trade deficit and a budget deficit of about $110 billion. Total public debt is a whopping 115.2% of GDP.
Spain, with about half the population of Germany, has a $69 billion annual trade deficit and a staggering $151 billion budget deficit. Fully 23% of the government's budget is borrowed.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
"The Obama Administration's decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is ill-advised and not the signal the markets need," Karen Harbert, the president of the Chamber's Energy Institute, said in a statement. "Unrest in the Middle East is likely to continue for quite some time, so a temporary increase in supply is not a substitute for a long term fix."
Harbert said the reserve shouldn't be tapped in response to "politically
inconvenient high prices," but rather for true emergencies, an argument that Obama himself has made.
"Rather than dabbling around the edges, the Administration should take
steps to increase domestic production of oil - on and offshore, like the bill the House passed last night," Harbert said.
The administration announced that an more barrels would be provided by
global partners in the International Energy Agency.
easily to Barack Obama.
Airbus is trouncing Boeing in the race to be the world's biggest planemaker, claiming over $72 billion dollars worth of orders and commitments at the Paris Air Show, where the popularity of its new
fuel-efficient jets twice broke records for the largest order ever.
Airbus' success cast a long shadow over Chicago-based Boeing, which recorded only $22 billion in orders and commitments, and raised questions over the U.S. planemaker's ability to compete in a market dominated by concerns over high fuel prices
Additionally, Aflac CEO Amos has added investments in public utilities and Japanese government debt to minimize the company's exposure in Europe.
Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Thursday, adding that he will not participate in the meeting of the bipartisan group that had been scheduled for later in the day.
Cantor, a Republican, said the group has identified trillions of dollars in spending cuts, but had been unable to resolve a disagreement over tax increases Democrats sought. A Senate Democratic aide said the two sides "need to continue talking", and were continuing to talk.
But an aide to Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican member of the Biden group, declined to comment on whether the senator would attend Thursday's scheduled meeting."
members experiencing a contraction for the first time since November 2009.
Markit Economics said Thursday that its monthly survey of purchasing managers at manufacturers and service providers indicated that private sector activity in the currency area grew at its slowest rate in more than a year and a half in June. That suggests economic growth will be significantly weaker in the second quarter than the 0.8% expansion recorded in the first.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's statement on expectations for the US economy on Wednesday was "quietly risk negative," Dennis Gartman, author of The Gartman Letter, told CNBC Thursday.
New claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, suggesting little improvement in the labor market this month after a stumble in May.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
described Libya's opposition National Transitional Council as an "important dialogue partner" and an "important domestic political force".
involved in the outcome of the struggle in Syria are enormous. But Obama
is still too obsessed with engaging with Islamists rather than confronting them to act decisively as did his predecessor. The result of this American dithering has been an opening for Iran to preserve its regional empire.
The seven-day repurchase rate, which measures interbank funding availability, more than doubled in the past six days since the People's Bank of China ordered lenders to set aside more money as reserves for a sixth time this year. A total of372 billion Yuan ($57.5
billion) of central bank bills and repurchase agreements will mature
next month, compared with 601 billion Yuan in June, according to China Merchants Bank Co.
"Banks have to hoard cash to meet the regulator's capital or loan-to-deposit requirements by the end of every quarter,"said Liu Junyu, a bond analyst at China Merchants, the nation's sixth-largest lender. "So we won't see the shortage easing."
DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Greece's parliament gave Prime Minister Papandreou a midnight vote of confidence, but the move doesn't mean Greece will ultimately go along with the austerity plan, or even avoid default.
in any other month in 2011, data showed on Monday, as fund returns hit
by May's commodity rout shake client confidence, reports Reuters. The
GlobeOp Forward Redemption Indicator - a monthly snapshot of clients giving advance notice they want their money back as a percentage of GlobeOp's assets under administration - rose to 4.01% from 3.92% in May. This represents the biggest month of withdrawal requests since December
developed world? We will kill the suspense up front: in all likelihood the impact on inflation in the developed world is small.
Chinese labor costs are a relatively small part of US retail prices. If the assembly cost rises 20%, and all of the cost increase is passed through, the retail price would rise only 0.2%. Of course, there may be other indirect Chinese labor costs: some of the components made by foreign companies or that are not assigned to a specific company may come from China. Overall, rising inflation is an important concern in emerging markets. And emerging markets are affecting headline inflation in the developed world through oil and other commodities. However, the pass through of rising core and wage inflation in the emerging markets is likely to have a small impact on developed world inflation
regional manufacturing indicators. Since these are sentiment indicators, it is difficult to know whether the indicators are telling us what will happen or what already has happened. The bottom-line is that this week's data-flow indicates that while the soft patch is far from over, it is at least not getting worse --BAML
Monday, June 20, 2011
Daniel, re Lindsey Graham's suggestion that everyone should just "shut up" about the Libyan Non-War, you'll recall that the last time the Senator attracted any attention in these parts he was also telling everyone to shut up - this time about Islam. Maybe it would be easier if
he just issued the rest of us with an approved list of conversational topics.
Alternatively, here's a suggestion for Senator Graham: Why don't you shut up? Not permanently, but just long enough to:
a) reflect whether this apparently reflexive response of yours is really
appropriate for a citizen-legislator in a self-governing republic;
b) articulate a rationale for the Libyan mission that would be so persuasive it would save you the trouble of making a fool of yourself by insisting that those who have the temerity to disagree with you are beyond the bounds of public discourse;
and c) spend ten minutes in a darkened room with a nice cup of herbal tea and ponder, re your assertion that those who won't "shut up" are "empowering Qaddafi", whether that line has any credibility coming from a member of the Congressional jet set who only two years ago was "empowering Qaddafi" by taking tea in the pock-marked transvestite's tent as part of some greasy little Senatorial outreach mission.
It was striking that, at Monday's debate, even the more hawkish candidates were unable to articulate a rationale for the present Afghan mission. It's hard to win a war when you don't have war aims, and, as I wrote in National Review a couple of weeks back, America has gotten into the habit of unwon wars - in part because a buffoon like Graham and his dictatorial air miles are what passes for geostrategic "expertise" in
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Fareed Zakaria: Let’s use Facebook and Twitter to create a 21st century Constitution
One of President Barack Obama’s most scrutinized statements prior to the 2008 election was one in which he concluded that the U.S. Constitution was a flawed document since it was “a charter of negative liberties.” But according to CNN host and Time magazine’s Fareed Zakaria, the president might have been on to something.
On his Sunday “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program, Zakaria explained how the island nation of Iceland is scrapping its entire longstanding constitution and is starting from scratch, even accepting suggestions from its citizens via social media.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/19/fareed-zakaria-lets-be-like-iceland-and-redo-the-u-s-constitution-or-something/#ixzz1Pmt8b7uB
Then there's a Bloomberg story saying that the next slug of cash to Greece may only be half as big as previously planned, with the goal that the country avoids an imminent default, with the rest of the cash coming when actual spending cuts are passed.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/greece-update-june-19-2011-6#ixzz1PmroGq8t
The increases have fuelled concern that the world is hurtling towards a chronic shortage of rare earth metals, which could put everyday products out of the reach of large parts of the global population.
... stirs worry on overseas demand
...In Half A Year, Russia Warns It Will Continue Selling US Debt
Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Madrid and other Spanish cities in a mass march against austerity measures, social spending cuts and unemployment
By Richard N. Haass, Published: June 17
Gates sounded a pessimistic note, warning of “the real possibility for a dim if not dismal future for the transatlantic alliance.” Yet, the outgoing Pentagon chief may not have been pessimistic enough. The U.S.-European partnership that proved so central to managing and winning the Cold War will inevitably play a far diminished role in the years to come. To some extent, we’re already there: If NATO didn’t exist today, would anyone feel compelled to create it? The honest, if awkward, answer is no.
Bank of England policymakers will spell out the risks to financial stability from the deepening crisis in Greece, as analysts warn that a default could send shockwaves through the world's financial system.
Fears are growing that Athens could be forced to renege on its debts as the government faces a confidence vote over its austerity measures tomorrow. The Bank's new financial policy committee (FPC) will make its first public pronouncements on threats to the banking system on Friday, and is expected to put the possibility of a sovereign debt crisis high on its list. Michael Cohrs, the former Deutsche Bank boss who sits on the FPC, has already made clear that the biggest threat to stability is "sovereign risk".
He told MPs what "keeps me awake at night" is the interconnectedness of the system, which could create ripple effects through financial markets. He said financial regulators should check banks' exposures to the debts of vulnerable countries.
"Central bankers are paid to worry about these things," said Peter Dixon, UK economist at Deutsche Bank. "I don't think Greece itself is a first-order concern: it's the second-round effects which are more of a worry."
Steven Major, global head of fixed income research at HSBC, warned that events in Greece could have far-reaching consequences if they are not controlled. "It matters to the UK economy," he said. This is because a default by Greece or a renegotiation of a bailout could be taken as a signal by the Irish and Portuguese governments to alter their own bailout terms: "This is why it starts to matter. The UK has very little exposure to Greece, tiny exposure to its bonds and the inter-bank market. But the UK has much larger exposure to Ireland and Spain." He added that some speculators were hoping to profit from a default.
The Treasury select committee will this week be scrutinising the accountability of the Bank of England as it takes on new powers. The FPC is a central plank of George Osborne's new approach to regulating the financial markets, but does not yet have any formal powers to control risk in the financial system.
Danny Gabay of City consultancy Fathom said the major concern for central bankers if the chaos in the eurozone deepens is banks' indirect exposure to it through complex financial products such as credit default swaps.
"We have absolutely no idea where this is going to end until somebody pulls the plug," he said. "I don't know what the FPC can possibly do about this: there are no levers we can pull except 'sell, sell, sell', but who's going to buy?"
Eurozone finance ministers will meet in the coming week to try to finalise details of the latest rescue plan for Greece, after Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced that they had agreed the principles on which a new bailout would be drawn up
...1.9 Million Fewer People Have Jobs
UK Banks Abandon Eurozone; Greek PM Seeks Constitutional Changes; Trichet Blames Everyone but Europe for Global Imbalances; Credit Crunch Coming Up?
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military's activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to "hostilities." Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.
But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team - including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh - who argued that the United States military's activities fell short of "hostilities." Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged
Friday, June 17, 2011
While Western powers display military hardware that their armies can no longer guarantee to buy, all eyes at the world's largest air show will be on civil demand from growth-hungry Asia which has supplanted North America as the busiest travel market.
The roughly $17 billion deal from Malaysia's AirAsia (AIRA.KL) for revamped Airbus (EAD.PA) A320 jets is seen as the centerpiece of an industry show once again buzzing with orders.
"With the global economy, you're seeing some soft spots but yet you're also seeing some acceleration in some parts of the world. We are seeing a lot from Asia-Pacific and the developing economies," said Gleacher & Co analyst Peter Arment.
Sources close to the deal, which is still being finalized, said AirAsia was expected to beat a record for the largest number of planes sold in one contract, even before a recent 180-plane order from India's IndiGo is formally signed.
The deal will also be a boost for French-U.S. engine venture CFM International, owned by GE (GE.N) and Safran (SAF.PA), which is scrambling to catch up with rival Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N)
The union-owned Democrats
Obama's War in Libya
Weiner's woes: No skillz to pay the billz
Thanks to War on Drugs, U.S. is World's #1 Jailer
Greek Math: €12 Billion In, €18.2 Billion Out... And That's IF The Impossible Happens
European Central Bank chiefs are determined to ensure any Greek debt restructuring won't be deemed a credit event enabling buyers of protection to seek compensation from swaps sellers. It costs $2 million annually to insure against Greek default for five years, with Portuguese and Irish swaps also seeing all-time high prices.
A debt restructuring that doesn't trigger swaps would be more damaging to the market as it would devalue contracts, according to analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Such a move would leave banks with unprotected, or unhedged, holdings, forcing them to sell bonds and ultimately drive sovereign borrowing costs higher.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The European Union's failure to contain the Greek debt crisis is sending fresh shockwaves through currencies, money markets, equities and derivatives.
The euro lost more than 2 percent against the dollar in the past two days and the cost of protecting corporate bonds soared to the highest level since January, with credit-default swaps anticipating about a 78 percent chance that Greece won't pay its debts. Equities declined around the world, while a measure of fear in fixed-income markets jumped the
most since November.
world, the two presidents said on Thursday in a declaration, as the West
seeks their support for increasing pressure on Syria.
The Communist nation's holdings of longer-term notes and bonds rose 0.8 percent to a record $1.149 trillion in April, surpassing the $1.145 trillion held in December, U.S. Treasury data released yesterday show. Holdings of short-term bills maturing in one year or less declined by 32 percent to $3.9 billion, the least since April 2004, the data show
Work began on 560,000 houses at an annual pace, up 3.5 percent from the prior month and exceeding the 545,000 median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Building permits, a sign of future construction, also increased.
The Labor Department revised the prior week's figure to 430,000 from the 427,000 initially reported.