Politics and Legislation
Obama administration, including his czars and his closest Progressive supporters, are planning a manufactured insurgency against America. Using the media to garner both sympathy and support for his unfinished goals
The planned re-election of Obama, revolutionary style
It was not the proverbial 3:00 a.m. phone call, but close enough. And it was not made to the White House, but to my house, which is not white, nor is it in DC. It was about 2:30 a.m. on 25 April 2012, and the call itself was somewhat unexpected. I had anticipated the telephone call from my DHS insider much earlier the previous day, but our schedules didn’t synch up. I was traveling on an investigative assignment, while my source was in meetings all day. I had just fallen asleep, and was slumbering no more than 20 minutes when the phone rang.
In most households, a ringing phone at that time of night causes concern for everyone who hears it. In my household, it seems to surprise only my surly, 140 pound light-sleeping German Shepherd. He let out an objective grunt as I stepped over him to take the call in another room. It was “Rosebud,” the code name given my insider source.
Just a little bit here about my source and his “super-secret code name.” I’ve known this government insider since 1979, when he first became a municipal patrol officer. He took a job in a bigger city and had a very successful run as a cop. Before retirement and after the events of 9/11, he was tapped by the feds, where he worked in various capacities under the umbrella of DHS. He worked his way up, and suddenly found himself in what he terms the inner sanctum of the “TEC” building. TEC, he explains, is an acronym for what he calls “The Estrogen Challenged,” which houses the upper echelon of the Department of Homeland Security. I’ll leave it at that.
As far as his code name, it originates from an incident that occurred at the end of the disco era. It is something that we both privately laugh about, but rarely ever talk about. His “code name” is known to him, me, and at the time, a young woman who has since vanished amid the glitter of disco balls and constant replays of the Bee Gees in a dark nightclub some 32 years ago, and has no “cloak and dagger” origins.
But he is real, his position serious, and his knowledge vast. Unfortunately, that’s what makes the whole situation frightening and deadly serious.
It began on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 with a 45-minute interview on TruNews with Rick Wiles when I first disclosed the information I received the previous week from my source. The information I relayed “went viral,” as they say, across the internet.
To support the statements I made during that interview, I am showing my handwritten notes taken contemporaneously during our conversation. My notes consist of two pages and are, at various points, admittedly difficult to decipher. I ask that points not be deducted for my penmanship given the time of the morning which they were taken.
According to my source, there is talk among the highest levels of the uppermost echelon of the Department of Homeland Security, which he describes as effectively under the control of Barack Hussein Obama. During this call, he said that the DHS is actively preparing for massive social unrest inside the United States. He then corrected himself, stating that “a civil war” is the more appropriate term. Certain elements of the government are not only expecting and preparing for it, they are actually facilitating it,” stated my source.
“The DHS takes their marching orders from the Obama administration, from Obama himself, but mostly from his un-appointed czars. And Jarrett, especially Valerie Jarrett. Don’t think for a minute that the administration is doing anything to stabilize events in the U.S. They are revolutionaries, and revolutionaries thrive on chaos,” he added.
My source stated that he has not seen things this bad since he began working within DHS. “It’s like they [DHS agency heads] don’t care about what the American people see or feel about what the DHS agencies are doing. They figure that if the average American will put up with being “sexually groped and nuked” just to fly, they’ll accept almost anything. “That’s why their actions are becoming more overt. “It’s in your face and the brass actually chuckle about it” said my source.
Astounded by the information my source provided “going viral,” I spoke to him again early Sunday morning. This was a scheduled telephone call (as noted on page 2 of my notes) based on a high level meeting of DHS personnel that was scheduled for and took place in Chantilly, Virginia, on Saturday, 5 May 2012. He hoped to provide me with more information to supplement that which he already given. Although he was not personally present, his source was. While he would not say who was at the meeting on Saturday or give its precise location, he said that the many of the names would be recognizable. He spoke to his source late Saturday night.
I contacted him on his cellular phone early Sunday morning to get the promised update.
“Geez, nice job on getting the word out about what’s really going on at DHS and in this administration,” were the first words out of his mouth, followed by “thanks a lot.” I asked him why he would be thanking me. “I just wanna’ tell you that I’m going to have to hire someone to start my car, and I’m surely not going for any rides in small planes in the immediate future,” he said with a bit of nervous laughter. “I hope no one finds out who I am or it’s going to be more than my pension I’ll have to worry about.”
“I can tell you word is getting out that people are starting to wake up, which is causing a lot of ‘pissed off brass.’ I can’t tell if they are more desperate or upset about the exposure, but the tone is starting to become a lot more tense. I hope that we’re having something to do with that,” he added.
With that, he provided me with additional information to supplement that which he already given me on 25 April. For clarity purposes, I have combined the information together from both contacts. The following information includes the updated information provided to me Sunday morning.
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Four reasons Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign had a bad week
View PhotoREUTERS – U.S.President Barack Obama speaks about the economy while at the SUNY-Albany Nano-Fab Extension Building in Albany, New York May 8, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES – Tags: POL …more
If you don’t believe rigid mathematical formulas can tell you who will win a presidential election—and I don’t—you should be even more dubious about hunches divined from a stray incident or two.
So why do I have the feeling that just such an incident—OK, make it four—made last week a very bad one for President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects?
Because they connect to much bigger problems that go to the heart of the Obama campaign’s arguments for a second term. Moreover, the time to repair these problems is rapidly running out.
Let’s take the first event, which on the surface may seem ludicrous: the Empty Seats in Columbus.
Obama semiofficially launched his re-election campaign—as opposed to the hundreds of “nonpolitical” appearances he has made over the past three years—at a rally Saturday at Ohio State University. Some 14,000 supporters filled the arena—or rather, did not fill the arena. Coverage of the event focused heavily on the 4,000 empty seats, and Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod was pressed by ABC’s Jake Tapper about whether the turnout demonstrated a lack of “enthusiasm” for the president.
If that were the beginning and the end of the story, I’d be ashamed to be writing about it. Yes, advance teams try to fill halls. The founding father of such work, Jerry Bruno, always booked smaller halls so that the press would have to write that a candidate spoke to “an overflow crowd.” And yes, the press blow logistical mistakes out of all proportion. In 1988, ABC’s Sam Donaldson reported that a faulty sound system “called into question the competence of the Dukakis campaign.” (On the other hand, given that campaign, he may have been onto something.) By itself, the turnout for Obama was no big deal.
What makes those empty seats mean more are other, more substantive matters: The jobs picture for young people is especially bleak; the April unemployment rate for workers under 25 was 16.4 percent—double the overall national rate; as many as half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed; younger workers have fared worse than any other age group in terms of recovering from the hammer blows of 2008.
If the president is to be re-elected, he is going to have to come reasonably close to his success with younger voters four years ago, when he won 66 percent of the vote among people between the ages of 18 and 29. It was that margin, along with a respectable (though not spectacular) turnout, that made the difference in close states like Florida and North Carolina. If the jobs outlook for new college graduates and younger workers continues to be bleak, the problem won’t be filling seats in an arena, but filling the polls in November.
Or consider the dust-up when Vice President Joe Biden, on “Meet the Press,” declared himself “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage—a position echoed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan a day later.
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Political Tumult in Greece After Uncertain Elections
Kostas Tsironis/Associated Press
Alexis Tsipras, of Syriza, the left-wing, anti-austerity party that came in second, said Monday in Athens that he would try to form a coalition of leftist groups opposing terms of Greece’s bailout.
ATHENS — Greece teetered on the verge of political chaos on Monday, with few signs that any party could form a governing coalition and the prospect of the nation leaving the euro zone looming increasingly large.
Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press
Greece’s conservative leader of New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras arrived at the headquarters of his party in Athens on Monday, May 7, 2012.
The Greek election and ensuing political tumult showed that “it’s not clear how they can survive within the euro over the longer term,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard and a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. That could have grave implications for the rest of Europe.
“A Greek exit,” Mr. Rogoff said, “would underscore that there’s no realistic long-term plan for Europe, and it would lead to a chaotic endgame for the rest of the euro zone.”
On Sunday, the traditionally dominant parties, New Democracy and the Socialists, which both backed Greece’s latest loan agreement with its foreign creditors, failed to get enough votes for a majority in Parliament. Several smaller parties, whose fortunes rose on a rich harvest of protest votes, refused to join in a coalition with the larger parties.
“We did everything we could but it just wasn’t possible,” the leader of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, said in a televised statement after failing to secure support from other political parties. Greek law gives the front-runner three days to form a government before the baton is passed to the runner-up.
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Angela Merkel’s party faces ouster in German state vote
Social Democratic candidate Torsten Albig speaks to party fellows after first exit polls for the federal state elections of Germany’s northern state of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel on Sunday.
BERLIN—Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives were in danger of being ousted from power in another German state on Sunday after the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) said they wanted to form a three-way coalition with two smaller centre-left parties.
The Christian Democrats’ (CDU) vote fell to 31 per cent, their worst result in the state since 1950, but they were still just the largest party in the rural region between the Baltic and North Seas, a projection by Germany’s ARD TV network showed.
The SPD, which won 29.9 per cent in the northernmost state, said it wanted to form a coalition with the Greens and South Schleswig Party (SSW) that represents the Danish majority. The three parties would have 35 seats in the 69-seat state assembly.
Merkel’s conservatives have been voted out of power in three states in the last two years. If knocked out in the traditionally conservative region of Schleswig-Holstein the CDU would rule just seven of Germany’s 16 states ahead of the 2013 federal election, when Merkel is seeking a third term.
“She’ll probably lose another state premier and this will make things harder for her re-election campaign,” said Gero Neugebauer, political scientist at Berlin’s Free University. “She can’t be satisfied about the performance of her centre-right coalition.”
The chancellor’s resolute stance through the drama of the euro-zone crisis has left her personal popularity intact. But her national centre-right coalition has looked in jeopardy after a slump support for her junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP).
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Peter Schiff: We aren’t that far behind Greece
Published on May 4, 2012 by RTAmerica
The new jobs numbers are out and the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in April 115,000 non-farm jobs were added, but at the same time 342,000 people left the labor force. In February the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent. At this rate will the US ever climb out of the jobs crisis? Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, joins us to take a closer look at the numbers.
Low student loan interest rates in limbo after Democrats’ bill stalls in Senate
By Daniel Strauss and Alexander Bolton
The Senate on Tuesday rejected a motion to advance legislation that would prevent student loans from doubling, sparking a fresh round of partisan finger-pointing.
President Obama and congressional Democrats accused Republicans of obstructing the bill, which was blocked along party lines. Republicans countered by noting the House recently acted on similar legislation, and said Democrats are needlessly politicizing the issue.
Democratic leaders called on presumptive 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to become more engaged in the debate.
“Mitt Romney says he supports what we’re trying to do. I would suggest he pick up the phone and call Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] and tell him he favors what we’re trying to do,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
While both parties agree on the merits of the bill, they are miles apart on how to pay for its $6 billion price tag.
Romney has not embraced a specific proposal, but has said he does not want student loan rates to increase this year.
Sixty votes were needed to move to a debate on the legislation, but Democrats and Republicans were unable to reach a deal to prevent a GOP filibuster.
The failure leaves the Senate with an unclear path going forward on keeping the interest rates from doubling. If Congress does not act, the rate on federal student loans would rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 on July 1.
Obama has sought to turn the issue of student loans against Republicans, but the Senate’s failure to pass its own bill will make that more challenging.
The House late last month approved legislation that would keep the interest rate stable, though Obama has threatened to veto that measure. Obama supports extending the low interest loans but opposes the House GOP offset, which would cut from a preventive healthcare fund set up by the 2010 healthcare reform law.
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Will Obama lose his presidency over the economy?
Published on May 9, 2012 by RTAmerica
We’ve seen around the world what an ailing economy can do to a country, from France to Greece people are growing tired of their countries’ financial troubles and have ousted their leaders over the matter. In a recent study, approximately one fourth of Fortune 500 companies paid less than 10 percent income tax, so will that affect President Obama’s chances for the 2012 election? Liz Wahl tells us more.
In this April 17, 2012 file photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which handles deportation and security cases, in London. (AP)
Published: May 9, 2012 20:49 Updated: May 9, 2012 23:11
LONDON: A radical preacher accused of giving inspiration to one of the 9/11 hijackers lost a legal bid in the European courts yesterday to challenge Britain’s long-running attempts to deport him to Jordan to stand trial on terrorism charges.
Abu Qatada, once described by a Spanish judge as “Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe,” had asked the European Court of Human Rights to refer his case to a panel of its most senior judges. The court said it turned down his request, paving the way for Britain to send him back to Jordan after a decade of legal wrangling over his fate. It gave no reasons for its refusal.
Qatada’s lawyers had argued that he risked being tortured in Jordan or being convicted using evidence extracted from others using torture. Britain reached an agreement with Jordan in 2005 to try to ensure Qatada is not mistreated if he is returned to Jordan.
“I am pleased by the European court’s decision,” said British Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May. “The Qatada case will now go through the British courts. “I am confident the assurances we have from Jordan mean we can put Qatada on a plane and get him out of Britain.”
However, in an embarrassment for the British government, the judges confirmed that Qatada had lodged his appeal request in time, contradicting May’s original claims that he had been too late.
His case has been a headache for successive British governments, accused by critics of not doing enough to deport Qatada.
Twice convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement in terrorism plots, the preacher is still a national security risk, Britain says, and should be deported before London hosts the Olympic Games in July and August.
Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, has been in and out of jail since he was first detained without charge under British anti-terrorism laws in 2002. Britain says videotapes of his sermons were found in a German apartment used by three of the people who carried out Al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
German trade booms despite EU troubles
Published on May 9, 2012 by Euronews
http://www.euronews.com/ German exports and imports both leapt to record monthly levels in March.
Exports were up by 0.9 percent – adjusted for seasonal factors – and imports rose 1.2 percent.
That bolsters hopes that Europe’s largest economy has escaped recession.
Coming on the heels of strong German industrial output and orders figures that highlights the country’s resilience to the eurozone’s deepening debt crisis.
Economists said the jump in imports also provided crumbs of comfort to Germany’s struggling peers in the euro zone.
Trade figures from France, the euro zone’s second biggest economy, showed its exports to Germany and other northern European countries increasing in March even as its sales to the crisis-stricken Mediterranean region tumbled.
The competitive German economy is profiting from the revival of global trade after a soft patch at the end of 2011.
Today’s figures support our forecast that the German economy has grown slightly at the start of the year,” said Ulrich Rondorf, an analyst at Commerzbank.
This would enable Germany to avoid a technical recession – defined as two successive quarters of contraction – as its economy shrank by 0.2 percent in October-December 2011.
Germany’s eight leading economic institutes have revised upwards their 2012 growth forecast to 0.9 percent. The government is sticking to its forecast of 0.7 percent.
Outcry Against Banking Practices with Michael Tellinger
Published on May 7, 2012 by ABNDigital
Author, researcher and scientist, Michael Tellinger has just filed his 1,100 page notice of motion against Standard Bank in the Constitutional Court, accusing the bank of “unlawful and unconstitutional activity”. He also served the notice on the Reserve Bank and the Minister of Finance. Michael Tellinger joins ABN’s Samantha Loring in studio to give us more details.
Investors hedge against losses as Europe fears resurface
By Angela Moon and Doris Frankel
(Reuters) – The resurgence of the euro zone’s debt woes as a dominant force in the U.S. equity market has sparked a flurry of cautious bets in the options market as investors brace for more uncertainty.
The S&P 500 may have lost only a little over 1 percent for the week, but markets have become noticeably more volatile following elections in Greece and France that changed expectations for how the euro zone will deal with long-standing debt problems.
“People are scrambling for portfolio insurance and are picking up puts and selling stock as they prepare for a further breakdown in the U.S. stock market. At this point, investors are indifferent about the health of the U.S. economy with a clear focus on the fate of Greece,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co Inc in New York.
The CBOE Volatility index (MXP:^VIX), Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge, rose to its highest in over two months at 21.59 earlier on Wednesday. The VIX, a 30-day risk forecast of stock market volatility conveyed by S&P 500 options, has come off its highs to 20.25, up 6.3 percent on Wednesday afternoon.
Bearish sentiment this week can be seen in the CBOE equity put-to-call ratio, which hit its most extreme level since August 2011, said Jason Goepfert, president of SentimenTrader.com in a report.
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S&P 500 flirts with two-month low before rebound
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell for the fifth day in six on Wednesday as investors kept their focus on the turmoil in Europe, but news that Greece will receive its latest debt bailout payment helped cut losses late in the session.
In the afternoon the Nasdaq briefly turned positive and the S&P rose to break-even after news that Greece will get 5.2 billion euros in emergency aid.
The turmoil in Europe has driven Wall Street’s slide and more investors were hedging against potential further losses. The Dow fell for a sixth straight day and the S&P touched a two-month low before cutting losses.
“It’s a very difficult market to trade in. I’m advising my clients to just hedge out all the way into July because we are going to see some heightened volatility like today for awhile,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
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By Prashant Gopal
Prices for single-family homes climbed in half of U.S. cities in the first quarter as real estate markets stabilized.
The median sales price increased from a year earlier in 74 of 146 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. In the fourth quarter, only 29 areas had gains.
A development in Oswego, Illinois. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
May 7 (Bloomberg) — Michelle Meyer, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, talks about the U.S. economy and real estate market. She speaks with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television’s “Surveillance Midday.” (Source: Bloomberg)
The U.S. housing market is showing signs of bottoming as improving employment and record-low mortgage rates boost demand while inventories of available properties tighten. At the end of March, 2.37 million previously owned homes were available for sale, 22 percent fewer than a year earlier, the Realtors said.
“The housing market is still depressed but it had a good quarter,” Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, said in a telephone interview today. “We’re on the mend but it’s still something that will take two or three years before we’re back to normal.”
The national median existing single-family home price was $158,100 in the first quarter, down 0.4 percent from the first three months of 2011, according to the Realtors group.
The best-performing metro area was Cape Coral, Florida, where prices increased 28.1 percent from a year earlier. Prices rose 19 percent in Grand Rapids, Michigan; 16.9 percent in Palm Bay, Florida; and 16.6 percent in Erie, Pennsylvania.
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Oil falls to near $97 amid weak US, Europe demand
PABLO GORONDI, Associated PressHome Prices Rise in Half of U.S. Cities as Markets Stabilize
Updated 06:59 a.m., Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Oil fell to near $97 a barrel Tuesday, extending nearly a week of losses as signs of sluggish economic growth in the U.S. and Europe foreshadowed tepid demand for crude.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for June delivery was down 87 cents to $97.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled down 55 cents at $97.94 in New York on Monday after trading as low as $95.34 per barrel — its cheapest level this year.
In London, Brent crude was down 93 cents at $112.23 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Crude has dropped from $106 last week as indicators from major developed economies show they continue to struggle. Last week, the U.S. said factory orders fell in March while the economy added fewer jobs than expected in April. Spain said its economy slipped into recession last quarter as the unemployment rate reached 24 percent.
“While it is easy to malign the European recovery, the latest round of U.S. macroeconomic data is troubling in itself,” energy trader and consultant The Schork Group said in a report.
If the fall in oil prices continues, the cost of crude products such as gasoline should also drop, providing a potential boost for consumer spending.
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ECRI’s Lakshman Achuthan: No, I’m Not Wrong — We’re Still Headed For Recession
By Henry Blodget
Last fall, some U.S. economic data began to come in weak, and the stock market sold off. This prompted many economists and analysts to begin talking about the possibility of a new recession.
One analyst, however–Lakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute–did not just talk about the possibility of one.
He said, definitively, that the U.S. was “tipping back into recession. And there’s nothing that policy makers can do to head it off.“
Well, the U.S. economy did not tip back into recession. In fact, the data started coming in better-than-expected again, and the country experienced modest growth in Q4 and Q1.
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Spanish bank rescue plans moves forward
Published on May 9, 2012 by Euronews
http://www.euronews.com/ Spain is stepped up it efforts to save the country’s troubled banks with a plan to make them recognise the huge losses from the bursting of the property bubble.
The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to reveal full details on Friday, but financial sources said the lenders will be told to put aside another 35 billion euros to cover bad loans.
That is on top of the 54 billion euro financial cushion already demanded in reforms announced in February.
Spain’s banks have close to 300 billion euros in total exposure to the building sector, including property seized as collateral. That is equivalent to around 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Repayment is unlikely of at least 184 billion euros worth of those loans.
Meanwhile shares in Spain’s fourth largest lender, Bankia, fell further on Wednesday ahead of the expected announcement of a 10 billion euro government bailout for the bank. It holds 10 percent of the Spanish banking system’s deposits and is the most exposed to toxic assets.
Previously Prime Minister Rajoy had said he would not put more public money into rescuing the banks but he has had to do a U-turn.
Uncertainty over the final cost of a rescue meant Spanish government bond yields broke through the psychologically important six percent level, which is considered unaffordable over the long term.
Investors have yet to be convinced as this will be the fourth banking sector overhaul in three years.
As some Spanish lenders are unlikely to be able to find the extra funds without public help, there is an increased probability that the Madrid government may have to issue more debt to bail them out.
Ben Levett, analyst at consultancy 4Cast said: “It depends what’s announced, but right now it feels like smoke and mirrors and not the cathartic moment that Spain needs. It looks more like the government has panicked and pushed something out.”
A trader monitors stocks at a Saudi bank in Dammam. (Reuters)
By KHALIL HANWARE | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published: May 10, 2012 00:18 Updated: May 10, 2012 00:18
JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s stock exchange made its largest one-day drop in three weeks yesterday as global market jitters and volatile oil prices spurred investors to reduce their risk exposure.
The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) dropped 2 percent to close at 7,221.5 points, its biggest one-day loss since April 15. The market is still up 12.52 percent so far this year.
The TASI fell along with stock markets around the world owing to heightening concern about the prospects for the euro zone, said Paul Gamble, chief economist and head of research at Jadwa Investment.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and Al-Rajhi Bank fell 1 percent each.
The insurance stocks were the worst hit yesterday as the index dropped 5.2 percent.
The value of traded shares reached SR7.87 billion.
“The ongoing failure of Greek political parties to form a new government has raised prospects of a new election and brought closer the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro zone,” Gamble added.
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, said: “The swing of the European political mood away from austerity, as reflected by the anti-incumbent vote in France and Greece, has clearly intensified market perceptions of uncertainty and risk. In particular, the political stalemate in Greece and the growing frustration of especially with this, is beginning to raise existential questions about the euro zone.”
He said the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro was being openly discussed in Greece and outside.
Such a possibility in turn is heightening speculation about contagion, potentially even into major economies such as Spain and Italy, said Kotilaine.
“Should the euro zone indeed unravel, even just partially, the market disruptions would be potentially enormous even though important preventive steps have been taken to contain potential damage,” he said.
Basil Al-Ghalayini, CEO of BMG Financial Group, commented: “With the market concern at Greek instability, the Spanish government’s bail out of the third largest bank and the unknown outcome of the newly elected French leadership, the euro zone is in crisis. Considering the correlation of the Saudi market with those of major market zones, this decline is expected.”
Farouk Miah, head of equity research at NCB Capital, said: “I think its a combination of heightened worries in Europe due to the outcome of the French and Greek elections. Investors are selling out before the summer lull, as well as profit-taking from the very good Q1, 2012 performance.”
He added: “It is not surprising that speculative names are falling the most, given the lack of any fundamental story in many of those names. We continue to prefer quality names which are locally driven and defensive such as Savola and Mobily.”
Published: May 10, 2012 00:18 Updated: May 10, 2012 00:18
NEW YORK: Gold dropped below $1,600 an ounce in heavy trading on Wednesday, nearly wiping out gains for 2012 as political uncertainty in Greece and Spanish bank worries prompted investors to sell bullion for a third straight daily decline.
The precious metal was down more than 3.5 percent so far this week on European debt fears due to a change in the French presidency, the frail state of Spanish banks and political
gridlock in Greece.
This week’s turmoil in Europe prompted investors to unwind long positions in gold built on optimism that followed a 130-billion euro bailout deal between the EU, the IMF and Greece.
“With the fate of the euro once again hanging in the balance, investors may have also soured on gold, perhaps questioning whether they are now going to be seeing sufficient
amounts of ‘bail-out euros’ that could potentially help the precious metal find a bid,” said Edward Meir, metals analyst at INTL FCStone.
Spot gold bounced off session lows and was down 0.7 percent on the day at $1,593.81 an ounce 11:42 a.m. (1542 GMT) Bullion hit a four-month low of $1,579.30, its lowest since Jan. 3.
US gold futures for June delivery fell $10.40 to $1,594.10 an ounce, with trading volume surpassing its 30-day average for a second straight day.
The gold price has been in decline for most of the past two months, since US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave no signal that the central bank would start a third round of government bond buying, or quantitative easing.
Gold’s 2012 gains totaled 14 percent in late February, but now it is up less than 2 percent on the year to date.
Gold this year had tended to trade in tandem with riskier assets such as equities and crude oil. But this week’s losses have the precious metal underperforming 2012 gains of about 9 percent in the S&P 500 stock index and nearly 6.5 percent in crude oil.
Nic Brown, Natixis’ head of commodity research, said a lack of inverse correlation between gold and perceived risky assets such as the euro suggested the metal was not attracting demand from jittery European investors.
Other precious metals were down but off their session lows. Silver fell 0.5 percent to $29.28 an ounce.
Palladium slightly outperformed gold and silver following the release of Chinese data that showed robust year-on-year growth in car sales in the world’s largest auto market.
Palladium was last down 0.1 percent on the day at $614.47 an ounce, while platinum edged down 0.5 percent at $1,496.24 an ounce.
Published: May 10, 2012 00:18 Updated: May 10, 2012 00:18
AMMAN: Jordan has no plans to revalue its dinar currency or sever the currency’s peg to the US dollar and will maintain a tight monetary policy to preserve the attractiveness of dinar-denominated assets at a time of regional uncertainty, the central bank deputy governor said on Wednesday.
“I think that the peg to the dollar has served the country well for many many years and we don’t see at this point that we need to change the regime or change the level of the Jordanian currency vis-a-vis the US dollar,” Maher Sheikh Hasan told a conference.
The dollar peg has provided stability in a period of regional instability to an aid-dependent economy hurt by a drop in capital inflows and remittances as Jordan is still struggling to recover from the global downturn of 2008-2009.
Jordan is expected to manage 2.8 percent growth this year, a slight pick-up from last year’s 2.5 percent and almost half the levels it attained during a boom period before the financial crisis.
“One thing one has to keep in mind in the Arab spring, we are facing a lot of nominal shocks where a fixed exchange regime plays a positive role in absorbing such shocks,” Sheikh Hasan added.
Sheikh Hasan also said last February’s rise in benchmark rates that went counter to a global rate trend was prompted by potential inflationary risks and to encourage savings in dinar-denominated assets at a time of regional political uncertainty.
“We recognized the level of concern … to maintain such attractiveness (of dinar-denominated assets), and to compensate investors for the relatively high risk premium it was appropriate to raise interest rates,” he added.
Bankers said the tightening of monetary policy had now the priority of encouraging dinar-denominated savings by widening the differential between the dinar and the dollar to over 3 percent to stem capital flight
Some bankers have said recent months have seen modest transfers to the dollar as a safe haven.
Sheikh Hasan said a freeze on gasoline prices had helped to keep inflation under control. So far this year it has averaged 3.6 percent, compared to 4.4 percent in the same period last year, the central bank official said. However, it is forecast to rise to almost 6 percent in 2012.
But inflation was expected to rise with plans to raise electricity prices and rationalize a costly subsidy system that has added to the kingdom’s fiscal pressures, Sheikh Hasan said.
Officials say reforming a universal system of fuel subsidies was crucial to reduce the budget deficit to around 5 percent of GDP this year from 6 percent in 2011. Economists say the deficit could reach as high as 8 percent without aid from Western donors and Saudi Arabia.
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Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi speaks during Singapore International Energy Week on Monday. (Reuters)
Published: May 10, 2012 00:18 Updated: May 10, 2012 01:09
TOKYO: Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi said oil markets would remain well supplied even after fresh international sanctions against Iran take effect, as global crude oversupply is already as much as 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd).
“There is a surplus oil in the market. There is surplus supply,” he told reporters in Tokyo after holding talks with Japanese officials about energy supplies.
US and European Union sanctions on Iran’s oil exports take effect in June and July.
When asked if he saw oil supplies tightening in coming months as global sanctions against Iran come into effect, Al-Naimi said: “Absolutely not.”
He said: “There is today about 1.3 to 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of extra supply over demand.”
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumped about 1.3 million barrels per day above its output target in March, according to the group’s monthly report in April.
Saudi Arabia is pumping around 10 million barrels per day (bpd) and is storing 80 million barrels to meet any sudden disruption in supplies, Al-Naimi said on Tuesday.
Worries of a supply disruption from the Middle East due to escalating tensions between the West and Iran pushed benchmark Brent crude prices over $128 in March, a gain of over 20 percent from the start of the year.
Prices have since eased but have stayed well above $100, keeping global fuel costs high and threatening to derail the fragile global economic recovery.
The US, Britain and France have discussed a release from oil reserves to help prevent fuel prices choking economic growth in a US election year.
Al-Naimi said it was up to developed nations to decide whether to release oil from their strategic reserves.
“That’s their decision,” he said.
Wars and Rumors of War
Tehran, May 8 (Xinhua-ANI): Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast reiterated on Tuesday his country’s concerns over the security pact recently signed between the United States and Afghanistan.
The Islamic republic has informed the Afghani officials about its concerns over the agreement, said Mehmanparast in his weekly press briefing.
Peace, stability and security in Afghanistan is highly important for Iran, and Afghanistan’s security is intertwined with the security of the whole region and Iran. Any instability or insecurity can leave its impact on the Islamic republic, said the Iranian spokesman.
“We believe the presence of foreign forces, including the U.S. forces and its allies is the root cause of insecurity and instability in the regional countries and especially in Afghanistan,” said Mehmanparast.
He stressed that the regional countries can assist the establishment of security in Afghanistan.
On Sunday, Mehmanparast said that the unclear roles defined for U.S. forces and their military bases, in the strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan, are major sources of concerns for Iran and other regional countries.
The pact cannot resolve Afghanistan’s security problems; instead, it will further destabilize the country and increase insecurity, Mehmanparast said.
Iran believes a complete withdrawal of foreign forces and closure of their military bases is the only way to solve Afghanistan’s problems and to bring peace and security to the country, he added.
Afghanistani President Hamid Karzai last Thursday assured the country’s neighbors that signing strategic partnership with the United States does not pose any threat to them. “There is no threat from Afghanistan soil to our neighbors,” Karzai told journalists at a press conference one day after inking the pact with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.
Obama paid a surprise visit to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, last Tuesday night. During his tour, Obama inked the strategic pact with Karzai and visited main U.S. military facilities in Bagram.
Karzai said that under the pact, the United States needs to support Afghanistan in all fields including economy and security.
According to Karzai, Afghanistan wants to further enhance relations with both Pakistan and Iran. He added that the U. S.-led coalition forces should pursue terrorists hiding in sanctuaries outside the Afghan borders, instead of fighting them in Afghan villages. (Xinhua-ANI)
Iran threat overblown? Israel split over possible attack
Published on May 9, 2012 by RussiaToday
Israel’s politicians have avoided the need for early elections, after the ruling coalition announced it’s struck a surprise deal with the opposition Kadima party. But the country’s military leadership still isn’t seeing eye to eye with lawmakers, accusing them of being hysterical over the perceived threat from Iran. RT’s Paula Slier looks at the growing rift.
Published: May 9, 2012 22:37 Updated: May 9, 2012 22:37
VIENNA: A US security institute says commercial satellite imagery shows new activity at an Iranian military site which raises concern that the country may be “washing” a building the United Nations’ nuclear agency wants to inspect.
The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suspects nuclear weapons-related research may have taken place at the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran.
Iran has dismissed the allegations but has yet to allow the agency to visit the facility, despite repeated requests.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said last week that the agency had recently noticed some “activities” there. He gave no details but Western diplomats suspect Iran may be cleaning the site before any inspection. Tehran denies this. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington-based think-tank specializing on nuclear proliferation, said it had acquired commercial satellite imagery from April 9 which back up the IAEA’s concern.
“The new activity seen in the satellite image occurred outside a building suspected to contain an explosive chamber used to carry out nuclear weapons related experiments,” it said on its website in a May 8 report including the satellite image.
Iran’s mission to the IAEA was not immediately available for comment. It has previously dismissed allegations aired about Parchin as “childish” and “ridiculous.”
The images showed items lined up outside a building and what appeared to be a stream of water, ISIS said.
“The items visible outside the building could be associated with the removal of equipment from the building or with cleansing it,” it said. “The stream of water that appears to emanate from the building raises concerns that Iran may have been washing inside the building, or perhaps washing the items outside the building,” ISIS said.
Previous satellite images from recent months did not show any similar activity at the building, indicating it is not a regular occurrence, it added.
The IAEA has said that gaining access to Parchin is a priority when it holds a new round of talks with Iran in Vienna next week after two previous meetings in Tehran failed to make any notable progress.
Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to develop the capability to make nuclear bombs. Iran, one of the world’s largest oil producers, says its program is peaceful.
An IAEA report late last year revealed a trove of intelligence pointing to research activities in Iran of use in developing the means and technologies needed to assemble nuclear weapons, should it decide to do so.
One finding in the report was information that Iran had built a large containment chamber at Parchin in which to conduct high-explosives tests that the IAEA said are “strong indicators of possible weapon development.”
A senior US official said on Tuesday that Iran must cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation and provide access to relevant sites, personnel and documents.
“Iran continues to delay and obstruct that process,” Thomas Countryman, assistant secretary for international security and nonproliferation, told a meeting in Vienna.
Published: May 2, 2012 01:04 Updated: May 3, 2012 15:30
THE HAGUE/TRIPOLI: Libya fired the latest salvo in a legal battle over the trial of Muammar Qaddafi’s son, officially asking world war crimes court judges to quash a surrender request and throw out the case.
“The Libyan government requests the Chamber to declare the case inadmissible and quash the surrender request,” Libya’s lawyers said in a document, filed before the International Criminal Court.
Tripoli and the ICC have been at loggerheads since Seif Al-Islam’s capture in November last year over where he should be tried, with Libya arguing it could put him in the dock before a local court.
But the ICC had issued an arrest warrant in late June last year against Seif and ex-Libyan security boss Abdullah Al-Senussi and it wants to see them tried in The Hague. A third warrant for the late Libyan strongman was nullified after Qaddafi was killed by rebel forces in October 2011.The new Libyan government said earlier it would file official papers by April 30 before the ICC to spell out reasons why Seif should be tried at home.
“Denying the Libyan state and its people the opportunity to carry out national proceedings, in accordance… with the Libyan law, would likely mean no state emerging from conflict could ever benefit from the complementary principle,” Libya’s lawyers said in the document.
Libya is referring to the ICC’s jurisdiction that is complementary to that of national courts, enabling it to act only when member states were unwilling or unable to do so.
Tripoli’s stance also got support Monday from the Arab League which said in a statement in Cairo: “The Libyan government has repeatedly assured that all conditions … would be met to organize a fair and impartial trial on its territory.”
Separately, Nuri Abbar, head of the Libyan electoral committee, told AFP
that it has opened voter and candidate registration centers, in another step towards its goal of holding elections for a constituent assembly in June. “Registration for voters and candidates opened today.”
The vote will mark the first nationwide poll after decades of dictatorship under Qaddafi, who was toppled and killed in an uprising last year.
Abbar said there are 1,350 voter registration centers across Libya, including 220 in the capital Tripoli. Another 13 centers are tasked with registering candidates. Libya, with a population of 6 million, has 3.4 million eligible voters, he said.
The ruling National Transitional Council, which took power last August, has pledged to hold elections for a constituent assembly in June.
The 200-member assembly is to appoint a panel of experts to draft a constitution which will then be put to a referendum.
Articles of Interest
TEHRAN, Iran— A United Nations nuclear inspector from South Korea was killed Tuesday and a colleague was injured in a car crash near a reactor site in central Iran, news reports said. There were no immediate indications of foul play. But the crash is likely to undergo intense scrutiny. The official Islamic Republic News Agency said the International Atomic Energy Agency inspector died when the car overturned around a heavy-water reactor being built in Khondab, about 150 miles southwest of Tehran. Iran says the reactor, part of the Arak complex, will be used to produce isotopes for peaceful medical and industrial uses. But the U.S. and others fear that spent fuel from the reactors could be reprocessed into plutonium for a warhead. Iran denies it seeks nuclear weapons. IRNA identified the fatally injured inspector as Seo Ok-Seok. Another news agency, ISNA, said an inspector from Slovakia was injured in the crash and taken to a hospital. The Vienna-based IAEA had no immediate comment on the reports. The incident comes ahead of a new round of technical discussions between Tehran and the IAEA to be held in Vienna beginning Sunday. Higher-level negotiations also are planned later this month in Baghdad between envoys from Iran and six world powers including the U.S. Inspectors from the U.N nuclear watchdog regularly visit Iran’s nuclear facilities, which include a Russian-built energy reactor and uranium-enrichment laboratories. The stops often receive far less attention than the high-level IAEA teams sent to Iran to discuss access to other sites, such as the Parchin military base near Tehran, where the U.N. suspects nuclear-related work has taken place. Iran says Parchin is a conventional military base.
Now A Witness To Breitbart’s Death Disappears
A private investigator has been unable to find the only eyewitness to the sudden death of media innovator and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.
The apparent disappearance of Christopher Lasseter, who says he saw Breitbart drop to the sidewalk in front of a restaurant, adds to the mystery surrounding Breitbart’s March 1 death.
On the day the Los Angeles County coroner released Breitbart’s autopsy report, a photographic technician at the corner’s office died suddenly of suspicious causes.
In addition, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., just three weeks before Breitbart’s death – where he promised to unveil “damning” new video evidence of Barack Obama’s radical past that would change the election – Breitbart gave WND details of his upcoming revelations.
He claimed to WND that he had a video showing radical Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and Barack Obama at Harvard planning revolution in the United States. But the video, aired just after he died, was of Obama introducing a radical Harvard professor, and the general response was flat.
Filmmaker Steve Bannon, appointed executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network after Breitbart’s death, has insisted to WND that the media mogul died of natural causes and to suggest anything else is irresponsible.
“Breitbart had an enlarged heart,” Bannon told WND. “He had been hospitalized for the problem last year and told to lose weight that he did not lose.”
Bannon, formerly a Breitbart News Network board member, told WND that for months prior to his death, Breitbart had been working overtime to finalize a refinancing of his news agency.
“He died of natural causes,” Bannon said. “The family wants the matter put to rest, and WND is beginning to irritate me suspecting foul play.”
In addition to Bannon, Laurence Solov, formerly president and chief operating officer, was elevated after Breitbart’s death. Solov took Breitbart’s place as CEO.
Read Full Article Here
Banking giant HSBC ‘a criminal enterprise’
Whistleblower makes damning case in video interview
The global banking giant HSBC is a “criminal” operation, charges a former officer for the company’s southern New York region in a video interview with WND.
John Cruz, a former vice president and relationship manager, has turned over to WND more than 1,000 pages of documents, including customer account ledgers for dozens of companies through which, he charges, the financial institution was laundering money each month.
Cruz told WND that as a relationship manager, it was his responsibility to look up various accounts in the HSBC computer system and visit the account holders in person to offer additional banking products and services.
“I pulled these documents because I thought they were evidence of suspicious activity taking place,” Cruz affirmed when presented by WND with various HSBC computer ledgers of customer accounts. “These same documents I brought to bank security and my managers in the bank.”
To his surprise, HSBC management and security did not welcome his reports of suspicious activity.
“My managers told me I was crazy and I didn’t know what I was talking about,” he said. “They told me it was none of my business what goes on in transactions. But that’s my job.”
WND showed Cruz the HSBC account ledger for a business named United Express, as seen redacted in Exhibit 1 below:
Read Full Article Here
SEC charges ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in investment scheme
By Ron Recinto | The Lookout
The Security and Exchange Commission today charged the former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick with secretly exchanging lavish gifts to peddle his influence over the investment process of the city’s pension funds.
The SEC also charged Jeffrey W. Beasley, the former city treasurer and investment adviser to the pension funds along with Kilpatrick.
The complaint alleges Kilpatrick and Beasley, who were trustees of the pension funds, solicited and received $125,000 worth of private jet travel and other perks paid for by MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors LLC, an investment adviser whose CEO, Chauncey Mayfield, was recommending to the trustees that the pension funds invest approximately $117 million in a real estate investment trust controlled by the firm.
Read Full Article Here
Obama’s Second Term Transformation Plans
By Steve McCann
The 2012 election has often been described as the most pivotal since 1860. This statement is not hyperbole. If Barack Obama is re-elected the United States will never be the same, nor will it be able to re-capture its once lofty status as the most dominant nation in the history of mankind.
The overwhelming majority of Americans do not understand that Obama’s first term was dedicated to putting in place executive power to enable him and the administration to fulfill the campaign promise of “transforming America” in his second term regardless of which political party controls Congress. That is why his re-election team is virtually ignoring the plight of incumbent or prospective Democratic Party office holders.
The most significant accomplishment of Obama’s first term is to make Congress irrelevant. Under the myopic and blindly loyal leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats have succeeded in creating an imperial and, in a second term, a potential dictatorial presidency.
During the first two years of the Obama administration when the Democrats overwhelming controlled both Houses of Congress and the media was in an Obama worshipping stupor, a myriad of laws were passed and actions taken which transferred virtually unlimited power to the executive branch.
The birth of multi-thousand page laws was not an aberration. This tactic was adopted so the bureaucracy controlled by Obama appointees would have sole discretion in interpreting vaguely written laws and enforcing thousands of pages of regulations they and not Congress would subsequently write.
For example, in the 2,700 pages of ObamaCare there are more than 2,500 references to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There are more than 700 instances when he or she is instructed that they “shall” do something and more than 200 times when they “may” take at their sole discretion some form of regulatory action. On 139 occasions, the law mentions that the “Secretary determines.” In essence one person, appointed by and reporting to the president, will be in charge of the health care of 310 million Americans once ObamaCare is fully operational in 2014.
The same is true in the 2,319 pages of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act which confers nearly unlimited power on various agencies to control by fiat the nation’s financial, banking and investment sectors. The bill also creates new agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, not subject to any oversight by Congress. This overall process was repeated numerous times with other legislation all with the intent of granting unfettered power to the executive branch controlled Barack Obama and his radical associates.
Read Full Article Here
Russian Sukhoi SuperJet-100 missing on test flight in Indonesia
Published on May 9, 2012 by RussiaToday
UPDATES ON http://on.rt.com/7bm552
A Russian jet with 50 people on board has disappeared from the radars during a demonstration flight for potential buyers in the Indonesian capital. Hijacking and a high-altitude crash into a mountain have not been ruled out. Due to low visibility and fog the helicopters had to stop the search and return to base. The rescue operation is now restricted to a ground search. The search will continue throughout the night.
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