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Economy Squeezed as Debt Accelerates
BY RON PAUL - FinancialSense.com
Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee has pointed out that our per capita government debt is already larger than Greece's. Per person, our government owes over $49,000 compared to $38,937 per Greek citizen. Our debt has just reached 101% of our Gross Domestic Product. Our creditors see this and have quietly slowed down or stopped their lending to us. As a result, the Federal Reserve has been outright monetizing debt as a way to patch things together and keep the economy on life support a little longer. There is rapidly shrinking demand for our debt, and confidence in the dollar is falling. This phenomenon is hidden only by the fact that confidence in all other fiat currencies is falling faster.
Scientific Study Shows That The Powerful and Privileged
Are More LIkely to Lie, Cheat, and Steal
JESSE'S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
I seem to recall my grandmother telling me this about 50 years ago.
I have encountered quite a few of the nouveau riche, barely upper middle class, that are unscrupulous and almost unbearable. And I have met a number of very wealthy people, both old money people and the accidental rich, who are kindly, enjoyable, and exceptionally hospitable.
From my own experience it is not whether a person has money per se. Rather it is the perceived power that a person feels that they have and their attitude towards it, and how differently they consider themselves to be therefore from others.
A Planned Economy for the 1%
Michael Hudson: All economies have a certain amount of planning, the question is, for whom?
Fixing the Federal Reserve
Fed’s sole mission should be maintaining value of currency
By Richard W. Rahn-The Washington Times
There is a growing consensus that the Federal Reserve is broken - because it is. The Fed was established to provide price stability and prevent periodic banking crises. It has accomplished neither.
The wholesale price level in the United States was at almost the same level when the Fed was established in 1913 as it was in 1793, 120 years earlier. Now it takes about 22 dollars to equal the 1913 dollar. There have been far more bank failures post-Fed than pre-Fed, and we seem to be in an almost permanent state of banking crises with "too big to fail."
Gold & Silver:
Will headlines continue to play a role in the price?
The Gold Report: When we talked in the wake of the debt ceiling crisis last fall, Charles, you expected volatility to be good for gold and forecast a continuing long-term bull market for precious metals. These days, the scary stories pertain to the European Union (EU). Will negative headlines continue to play a role in the price of gold and silver?
Charles Oliver: Absolutely. The headlines about the European Central Bank (ECB) infusion of billions of euros into the banking system has been very good for the price of gold. Since the ECB announced it would be issuing €489 billion in December, gold has had a nice little rally off its lows. I expect in the next couple of weeks a further issuance of money will be quite supportive for gold.
Gold struggles to test $1800
on lingering uncertainties, uptrend seen
LONDON/MUMBAI (Commodity Online): US gold futures eased to $1773.85 an ounce after struggling to test $1800 resistance levels on Monday on profit taking, weaker Euro and weak physical demand. Trading volumes were 70% below the 30-day average. But the yellow metal could continue uptrend on Tuesday trading as prices have climbed 13% in 2012 and looks set to attain the target of $2000 per ounce by year end.
Brodsky On Buffet On Gold
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
We have repeatedly voiced our views on Buffett's relentless bashing of the only asset that is a guaranteed protection against now exponential currency debasement and central planner, and other PhD economist, stupidity, mostrecently here. We are happy that other, more politically correct asset managers, have decided to share how they fell, and take the crony capitalist to task. The first (of many we are sure), are Lee Quaintance and Paul Brodsky of QBAMCO who have just penned "Golden Boy" or the much needed "high society" response to the old man from Omaha: "Buffett may be a sage, a wizard, and an oracle when it comes to nominal relative value pricing of financial assets, but it is well worth noting that Buffett’s proclamations are not necessarily worthy of being considered "fact" in matters unrelated to finance, just as the legendary Joe Paterno’s judgment seems to have been sorely lacking when it came to sorting out matters unrelated to a winning football program....We must assume his aggressive gold comments have been meant to force the price of gold lower. (We do not know why he is so interested in doing so though we do have a reasonable theory, for another time). We strongly disagree with Mr. Buffett’s views and we thought it would be best to explore his comments and provide our counter-arguments."
Buy Gold...schlager: Booze Inflation Highest In 20 Years
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Americans can handle soaring rent, gas, and even food prices (all those thing that the Fed conveniently ignores) with the stoic patience of a Greek who welcomes 160 German tax collectors on his rehypothecated front porch. But if there is one thing that is sure to kindle the revolutionary spirits it is the soaring price of booze. As it just so happens, ships are parked in the Boston harbor with crates of Grey Goose prepped for tossage overboard as we speak. As the following chart of alcoholic beverage inflation indicates, courtesy of John Lohman, January saw the biggest month over month spike in booze inflation in 20 years. In other words, about 90% of all traders alive today have never seen a bigger jump in liquor inflation in their lives. Then again, with nobody trading any more, and since the new venue du jour of most of said now ex-traders is the local watering hole, perhaps we are seeing demand pull inflation in at least one item. Needless to say, there is something very ironic that surging alcohol inflation is the only thing that is resilient to the central banks (un)sterilized liquidity explosion. The good news: there is distinct relative deflation in the cost of ammunition. At least for the time being...
Is the Fed powerless to fix inflation?
The Fed's Anti-Recession Effort May Unleash 15% Inflation
By STEVEN R. CUNNINGHAM - Investors.com
The annual inflation rate in the United States could hit 15% by late 2013 or early 2014, and the Federal Reserve may be powerless to stop it.
While much can change the risk of inflation, the single most important driver of a rise in the general price level is the relationship of the money supply to economic activity.
Since the economic meltdown began in 2008, the Fed has pumped an unprecedented amount of money into bank reserves. In 2011 alone, adjusted bank reserves increased at a compounded annual rate of 47.1%. As these bank reserves filter into the business and consumer economy, the risk of inflation rises.
Countdown to Market Peak Has Begun
BY CHRIS PUPLAVA - FinancialSense.com
With zero-bound interest rates in the U.S. and depressed short-term rates in other developed nations, monetary tools historically used by central banks have lost their usefulness as well as their tendency to lead major economic and market turning points. Despite the constraints against using short-term rates to massage the business cycle, we still have record economic and market volatility driven by other variables that help to explain these violent swings. Francois Trahan, co-author of "The Era of Uncertainty" and head portfolio strategist at Wolfe Trahan, has identified what he believes is the chief variable explaining economic and financial market swings, coining the phrase, "Inflation is the new fed funds rate."
The 'High Oil Prices = Recession' Fallacy
by Econophile - ZeroHedge.com
Every time we see oil prices go up we hear that it will cause inflation and/or the economy will go into the tank....
The premise is wrong. What causes price inflation is an expansion of money supply (and a desire of people to spend it, often quickly). What causes recessions is malinvestment of capital caused, again, by money supply expansion.
The High Price of Oil
BY JR NYQUIST - FinancialSense.com
The price of oil has been rising despite the sluggish economy. Today gasoline prices have reached an all-time winter high. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.38 per gallon in January and the average retail price for diesel was $3.83 per gallon. In late February the average price for regular gasoline rose to $3.68 per gallon (see the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report). As of this writing, according to oil-price.net the price of WTI Crude oil was $109.62, and the price of Brent Crude oil was $125.44.
A Good Question
Should the U.S. join OPEC?
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN - NYTimes.com
AN e-mail came in the other day with a subject line that I couldn’t ignore. It was from the oil economist Phil Verleger, and it read: “Should the United States join OPEC?” That I had to open.
Verleger’s basic message was that the knee-jerk debate we’re again having over who is responsible for higher oil prices fundamentally misses huge changes that have taken place in America’s energy output, making us again a major oil and gas producer — and potential exporter — with an interest in reasonably high but stable oil prices.
Why Gasoline Prices Are So Different Around the US
By: Sharon Epperson
CNBC Senior Commodities Correspondent
Retail gasoline prices in the US have skyrocketed over 13 percent — more than 40 cents — so far this year, as the price of crude oil has surged to the highest level since last May.
The national average for regular gasoline rose to $3.70 Friday, up 14 cents in the past week — and only about 40 cents shy of the all-time record high of $4.11 a gallon reached in July 2008.
While many are feeling the pain at the pump, Americans are seeing widely divergent prices depending on where they live.
Why are drivers in Fort Collins, Colorado paying a little over $3, while those in Santa Barbara, California are seeing gas prices at $4.33 a gallon?
Lindsey Williams - Radio Liberty - 21 Feb 2012
It's Official: S&P Cuts Greece To (Selective) Default From CC
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Translation: Greece better have that PSI in the bag or else the "Selective" goes away and "Greece would face an imminent outright payment default." Our question for former Goldmanite and current ECB head Mario Dragi: does the ECB allow defaulted bonds to be pledged as collateral within the Euro System?
Greece Ratings Lowered To 'SD’ (Selective Default)
On Feb. 27, 2012, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its 'CC' long-term and 'C' short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Hellenic Republic (Greece) to 'SD' (selective default).
G-20 Rebuffs Europe’s Call for Help
By Patrick Donahue and Alan Crawford - Bloomberg.com
European leaders shift their focus this week to bolstering the euro region’s debt-crisis firewall after the Group of 20 nations rebuffed their call for help.
The decision by G-20 finance ministers to fend off pleas for assistance pending an increase in the euro-area backstop puts the onus onGermany, the biggest national contributor to bailouts, to overcome its resistance to doing more.
Harold James - Project-Syndicate.org
BERLIN – Germany’s position in Europe looks increasingly peculiar and vulnerable. In the chaos of German unification in 1990, when Germany’s neighbors were terrified of the new giant, then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised a European Germany, not a German Europe. Today, however, the terms of any European rescue effort are obviously set by Germany.
There is widespread recognition that Europe needs substantial economic growth if it is to emerge from its debt woes. But German concerns about stability – founded on its catastrophic interwar experience – push in the opposite direction. As a consequence, Germany-bashing is now in fashion.
Greece Running Out of Alternatives: Krugman
By Anabela Reis - Bloomberg.com
Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman said Greece is "close" to having no option but to quit the euro as austerity measures imposed on the nation hamper its economic recovery.
"If I were running a peripheral country I would say that you cannot leave" the 17-nation currency region, Krugman, a professor atPrinceton University, said in Lisbon late yesterday. While it would be "extremely disruptive," Greece is "very close to running out of alternatives," he said.
Spanish revolt brews
as national economic rearmament begins in Europe
Spain's new prime minister
has looked into the abyss and recoiled.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
Though he swept into office as an apostle of orthodoxy, Mariano Rajoy has since delved into Madrid’s ghastly accounts and concluded that it would be "suicidal" to try to slash the budget deficit from 8pc of GDP to 4.4pc of GDP this year, as demanded by Europe's fiscal Calvinists.
Such a policy would require a further €40bn or €50bn of cuts and accelerate the downward spiral already underway, beyond the 1.7pc contraction expected this year by the International Monetary Fund.
China risks 'middle income trap' without free market revolution
China’s spectacular catch-up growth is nearing its limits, leaving the country prey to the "middle income trap" over coming years unless Beijing embraces the free market and relaxes its suffocating grip over the economy.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
A joint report by the World Bank and China’s Development Research Centre has warned that the low-hanging fruit of state-driven industrialization is largely exhausted.
"As China’s leaders know, the country’s current growth model is unsustainable," said Robert Zoellick, the World Bank’s president. "This is not the time just for muddling through. It’s time to get ahead of events."
A World Bank for a New World
Jeffrey D. Sachs - Project-Syndicate.org
NEW YORK – The world is at a crossroads. Either the global community will join together to fight poverty, resource depletion, and climate change, or it will face a generation of resource wars, political instability, and environmental ruin.
The World Bank, if properly led, can play a key role in averting these threats and the risks that they imply. The global stakes are thus very high this spring as the Bank’s 187 member countries choose a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in July.
Bank sues itself, wins, and then forces itself into bankruptcy to satisfy judgment
By Martin Andelman - ML-Implode.com
"Former SIGTARP Neil Barofsky has promised to try to figure things out, but again suggested that in the future Ben Bernanke refrain from accepting baseball card collections as collateral for loans made by the Federal Reserve, that the too-big-to-fail banks not be allowed to do more than three or four things at a time, and that leverage of 200,000 to 6 is taking things a bit far.''
During the mortgage madness of 2003 – 2006, banks wore many hats related to the complex derivatives and mortgage-backed securities being packaged and sold to investors all over the world. Then, the meltdown forced many mortgage originators into bankruptcy and saw numerous financial institutions become insolvent. When the surviving banks acquired the various assets of the fallen… it became difficult or in some cases near impossible to ascertain from where certain risks might come.
Insider Says Promontory’s OCC Foreclosure Reviews
for Wells are Frauds. Brought to You by HUD Sec. Donovan
By Abigail Caplovitz Field,
a freelance writer and attorney - NakedCapitalism.com
U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan has embarrassed himself yet again. This time, though, he’s gone in for total humiliation. See, he praised the bank-run Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) foreclosure reviews as an important part of the social justice delivered by the mortgage “settlement“. But thanks to an insider working on an OCC review, we know that process is a sham. Worse, the insider’s story shows that enforcement of the settlement is likely to be similar, which is to say, meaningless. Doesn’t matter how pretty the new servicing standards are if the bankers don’t have to follow them.
Not What Paul Volcker Had in Mind
Editorial - NYTimes.com
The Volcker rule, a crucial provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, is supposed to stop banks from doing the sort of risky trading that was one of the big causes of the financial meltdown.
The banks hate the rule because less speculation means less profit and lower bonuses for traders and bank executives. And ever since it was signed into law in mid-2010, they have pressed Congress and regulators to weaken it. Sure enough, in late 2011, regulators issued proposed rules that are ambiguously worded and lack the teeth to rein in the banks. Paul Volcker — the former chairman of the Federal Reserve for whom the rule was named — and other reformershave rightly urged significant changes before the rule becomes final in mid-July. Regulators need to listen.
The metamorphosis of Ben Bernanke
by Gavyn Davies - blogs.FT.com
Ben Bernanke has been assailed from all sides in the economic debate in recent times. Perhaps that happens to all Fed Chairmen (except, remarkably, to Alan Greenspan, whom almost no-one criticised while he was in office). But in Chairman Bernanke’s case, the criticism has been strident, reflecting the polarisation of views on economic policy in general.
In particular, the Keynesian side has accused Mr Bernanke of doing far too little to address the problem of unemployment after short rates reached the zero bound in 2009. They are very disappointed about this, because Mr Bernanke was a very strong proponent of drastic monetary action to address comparable problems in the Japanese economy a decade ago.
Bernanke Pessimism Drives Credit
With Forced Government Cutbacks
By Caroline Salas Gage - Bloomberg.com
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is trying to compensate for the damage lawmakers threaten to inflict on the U.S. economy, even as Republicans skewer his stimulus efforts for risking inflation.
The potential drag from fiscal restraint contributed to the rationale behind policy makers’ reduced forecasts for growth this year and in 2013, according to the minutes of their Jan. 24-25 meeting. They also decided to extend their commitment to keep interest rates near zerothrough at least late 2014 instead of mid-2013 to provide “more accommodative financial conditions,” the minutes said.
Aleynikov fiasco reveals cozy ties with feds
By John Crudele - NYPost.com
The first thing Sergey Aleynikov should do is go to Disney World with his three young daughters. When he gets back, Sergey should file the Mother Of All Lawsuits against Goldman Sachs.
Aleynikov didn’t win the Super Bowl, he won something bigger — his freedom.
The 42-year-old New Jersey resident is the computer programmer who spent the last year in jail because Goldman used its clout in Washington to get him arrested.
BofA Stops Selling Loans to Fannie Mae:
Is This The First Step to Life After the GSEs?
By Aaron Task - DailyTicker - Yahoo.com
Bank of America this week announced it is severely cutting back sales of loans to Fannie Mae. The move is part of Bank of America's (BAC) ongoing efforts to undo the damage of its ill-fated acquisition of Countrywide Financial in 2008, but could have broader implications if other big banks follow suit.
To date, Bank of America has paid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac $2.6 billion to settle demands from the GSEs that the bank buy back mortgages that have gone sour, or were wrongly underwritten. Bank of America cited "ongoing differences" with Fannie Mae over these repurchase claims as a rationale for severely curtailing its dealings with Fannie. In December, the bank underwrote just $3.5 billion of loans backed by Fannie, Freddie or Ginnie Mae vs. $21.9 billion in December 2010, The WSJ reports.
BofA mortgage move not likely to have big consumer impact
Reuters - EconomicTimes.IndiaTimes.com
Bank of America Corp appears to be going it alone in not selling mortgage loans to Fannie Mae, a move that, while sending an angry signal to the nation's largest mortgage-buyer, could force the bank to charge less attractive mortgage rates.
Some major competitors indicated on Friday they are not following Bank of America's decision to stop selling most of its new loans to the government-controlled buyer of home loans.
Buffett: Banks Victimized by Excesses of Ousted Homeowners
By Andrew Frye - Bloomberg.com
Warren Buffett, who controls the biggest shareholding of the No. 1 U.S. mortgage lender, said banks were victimized by some homeowners who refinanced their loans before getting evicted.
"Large numbers of people who have 'lost' their house through foreclosure have actually realized a profit because they carried out refinancings earlier that gave them cash in excess of their cost,” Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said Feb. 25 in his annual letter. "In these cases, the evicted homeowner was the winner, and the victim was the lender."
How the Government is Robbing Pension Plans
By David Adler - InstitutionalInvestor.com
Financial repression arrives not with a bang but with a whisper. “It is a very stealthy tax,” says economist Carmen Reinhart of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Reinhart is the toast of economic circles these days for speaking out about the newest way Western governments are using financial repression to liquidate their debts, particularly after a financial crisis. They’re doing this on the backs of savers, including pension funds, according to economists. In practice, financial repression can lead to “the rape and plunder of pension funds,” Reinhart tells Institutional Investor. Financial repression consists of very low nominal interest rates combined with captive lending by large banks or pension funds to a government. The low, stable interest rate facilitates the servicing costs of large public debts. Sometimes modest inflation is added to the mix. This results in zero to negative real interest rates that reduce government debt. Hence, broadly defined, financial repression is a wealth transfer from savers to debtors using negative real interest rates — with the government as one of the key debtors.
To Pay New York Pension Fund, Cities Borrow From It First
By DANNY HAKIM - NYTimes.com
ALBANY — When New York State officials agreed to allow local governments to use an unusual borrowing plan to put off a portion of their pension obligations, fiscal watchdogs scoffed at the arrangement, calling it irresponsible and unwise.
And now, their fears are being realized: cities throughout the state, wealthy towns such as Southampton and East Hampton, counties like Nassau and Suffolk, and other public employers like the Westchester Medical Center and the New York Public Library are all managing theirrising pension bills by borrowing from the very same $140 billion pension fund to which they owe money.
It's the Houses, Stupid
The big-government/anti-business recovery has been neither big-government nor anti-business. It's just been a total disaster for everything that has to do with housing.
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich like to call the White House "the most anti-business, anti-investment, anti-job creator administration" in modern history, because they can. The economy is weak, and their audiences are likely to agree with the vague sentiment of these ominous accusations. But these statements aren't merely untestable declarations. They are falsifiable claims. And they're probably false.
20 Signs That Dust Bowl Conditions
Will Soon Return To The Heartland Of America
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
For decades, the heartland of America has been the breadbasket of the world. Unfortunately, those days will shortly come to an end. The central United States is rapidly drying up and dust bowl conditions will soon return. There are a couple of major reasons for this. Number one, the Ogallala Aquifer is being depleted at an astounding pace. The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the entire world, and water from it currently irrigates more than 15 million acres of crops. When that water is gone we will be in a world of hurt. Secondly, drought conditions have become the "new normal" in many areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and other states in the middle part of the country. Scientists tell us that the wet conditions that we enjoyed for several decades after World War II were actually the exception to the rule and that most of time time the interior west is incredibly dry. They also tell us that when dust bowl conditions return to the area, they might stay with us a lot longer than a decade like they did during the 1930s. Unfortunately, without water you cannot grow food, and with global food supplies as tight as they are right now we cannot afford to have a significant decrease in agricultural production. But it is not just the central United States that is experiencing the early stages of a major water crisis. Already many other areas around the nation are rapidly developing their own water problems. As supplies of fresh water get tighter and tighter, some really tough decisions are going to have to be made. Fresh water is absolutely essential to life, and it is going to become increasingly precious in the years ahead.
The insanity of health insurance
by RUSS ROBERTS - CafeHayek.com
I just received a lovely email from my old friend, Donna Brazile. OK, we’re not old friends. For some reason she has decided to put me on her email list. She writes:
This week, the Senate votes on a GOP amendment that would let your employer decide what health care you can receive. If they morally object to birth control, it’s gone. If some corporation thinks cancer screening is too expensive, forget it.
This amendment is dangerous, and the people pushing it need to lose their jobs.
It is insane that we get our health care from our employers. That happens because we have given a tax advantage to in-kind compensation such as health care. It’s a horrible idea and it leads people to complain about our employers deciding what health care we can receive. Our employers are just a conduit for government mandates, rent-seeking and inefficiency related to health care. What the government has done is tax-advantage health care via employers and then tell them what has to be covered. So the real outrage is that because of this, the government mandates the mix of my compensation package, biasing it toward a luxury health-care package that is the result of special interest clamoring.
11 Reasons To Get Your Kids
Out Of The Government Schools
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
It should be painfully obvious to everyone by now that it is time to get all of our kids out of the government schools. The public school system in the United States has been dramatically declining for a long time, and in most areas of the country the public schools are open sewers at this point. Yes, there are some U.S. public schools that are still very good and that do a decent job of preparing our young people for their adult lives. But those good schools are the exception to the rule. Hopefully the school shootingthat just happened in Ohio will be a wake up call to millions of parents out there. Drugs, sex and violence are rampant in American public schools today. The "teachers" are endlessly pushing specific political and social agendas down the throats of our kids, and the skills that our children really need such as reading, writing and mathematics are often badly neglected. Hopefully we can get more parents educated about what is really going on in these schools. After all, why would any parents want to send their children into an environment that is going to be highly destructive for them for six to eight hours a day?
Bob Chapman - Expatriate Expatriate
Best Countries to Expatriate to are Chile Costa Rica & Mexico
US credit-card debt nearing toxic levels
By GREGORY BRESIGER - NYPost.com
(New York Post) - More American households are falling back into the debt hole, this time without the safety net of home values to help bail them out, the New York Post reported Sunday.
Last year, total US consumer debt reached its highest point in a decade, according to a credit card industry observer.
"Now more than ever, families need to work at saving and paying off any outstanding debts," said Howard Dvorkin, a certified public accountant and founder of the credit counseling service Consolidated Credit.
Ayn Rand Beats Rick Santelli as First Teapartyer
By Gary Weiss - Bloomberg.com
The origins of the Tea Party are usually traced to Rick Santelli’s televised rant, which took place on Feb. 19, 2009 -- by coincidence exactly 83 years to the day after Ayn Rand first set foot on American soil. A few anti- tax, anti-government rallies preceded the Santelli tirade, but he and his immediate predecessors usually get the nod for originating the movement.
I beg to differ. Ayn Rand was the very first person on the national political stage to enunciate views that mesh precisely with the ones being bandied about by the Tea Party. Rand was channeling the Tea Party decades before there even was a Tea Party.
Why Other Electronics Companies
Aren't Following Apple's Lead on Factory Audits
Apple's labor solution isn't perfect, but it's more than other tech companies are willing to do to improve factory workers' lives.
By Alexis Madrigal - TheAtlantic.com
The electronics industry copies everything Apple does from its products' features to its marketing's feel. So, more than a month after Apple announced that it would tie-up with the controversial, corporation-friendly Fair Labor Association, it's a little bit surprising that not one other electronics-maker has even tried to sign on with the FLA. What gives? Bloomberg's Adam Satariano and Peter Burrows dug in to see if they could find out.
The answers to their quest should not surprise you. The companies do not want to give any even quasi-independent authority access to their supply chains. For all the real and legitimate criticism of the FLA, the reality is that they are a rock of something in a sea of nothing when it comes to labor protections for overseas workers. And gadget-makers want to maintain their freedom to operate in those open waters.
If Afghans Want to Reject the U.S.
and Embrace Theocracy, That's Their Right
Anti-American protests and violence, sparked by an accidental Koran-burning, suggest that Afghans see us as more occupiers than liberators.
By Max Fisher - TheAtlantic.com
There are 90,000 American troops in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, but it looks more and more like it's Afghanistan itself, as well as the Taliban, that's fighting them back. A week ago, two unthinking NATO troops drove some trash from an old library to an incinerator near Bagram Air Force Base. Among the trash were books, and among the books, a couple of nearby Afghan workers noticed after it was too late to save them, were Korans. Within hours, the incident became international news, and angry protesters beganburning tires outside Bagram. Though senior NATO and U.S. officials immediately televised their profuse and apparently sincere apologies, the protests have become steadily more violent. Some Afghan police have turned on their Western sponsors. On Saturday, an Afghan employee of the Interior Ministry shot two U.S. officers inside the ministry's Kabul headquarters, then walked out unmolested. On Sunday, a protester threw a grenade at a group of American troops, injuring six.
* * * * *
Israel, Kurdish fighters destroyed Iran nuclear facility, email released by WikiLeaks claims
In exchange released by website, worker at Stratfor intelligence firm doubts validity of a source claiming an Israeli ground force had already wiped out Iran's nuclear infrastructure.
By Anshel Pfeffer and Ron Ben-Tovim - Haaretz.com
The mega-leaks website, WikiLeaks, has partnered with the hackers cooperative Anonymous, to publish internal emails of the American strategic intelligence company Stratfor. In one of the hacked emails, Stratfor officials discuss information obtained from one of their sources who reports that Israeli commandos, in cooperation with Kurdish fighters, have destroyed Iranian nuclear installations.
WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, will hold a press conference today in London where he plans to reveal new details from the Stratfor emails, including details on the company's dealings with the American government and major corporations, and its network of paid sources.
Putin: An attack on Iran's nuclear facilities
will cause 'catastrophic' outcome
In article published in Russian newspapers ahead of a presidential vote next week, Russia's Prime Minister says will oppose any UN resolutions on Syria that could be interpreted as a signal for military interference.
By The Associated Press - Haaretz.com
A military strike of Iran's nuclear facilities would bring about "catastrophic" consequences, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrote in a widely circulated article on Monday, published ahead of an upcoming presidential vote.
Putin's comments weren't the first time Russian officials expressed opposition to the possibility of military action in Iran, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov saying last week that "any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations."
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