HEADLINE Economic, Financial & Global News...
every weekday, to keep you better informed.
Boeing to close Wichita plant by end of 2013
By Molly McMillin - The Wichita Eagle
WICHITA — Boeing plans to close its Wichita facility by the end of 2013 and move the work to other sites, officials told employees this morning. Closing the facility will affect 2,160 workers in Wichita, and provide a huge economic blow to the city, surrounding communities and the state. Boeing has been part of the community for more than 80 years."The decision to close our Wichita facility was difficult but ultimately was based on a thorough study of the current and future market environment and our ability to remain competitive while meeting our customers’ needs with the best and most affordable solutions," Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for Boeing Defense Systems’ Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division said in a statement. "We recognize how this will affect the lives of the highly skilled men and women who work here, so we will do everything possible to assist our employees, their families and our community through this difficult transition."
Romney, With a Tight Win, Goes to N.H.
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE and JEFF ZELENY - NYTimes.com
MANCHESTER, N.H. — The quest for the Republican presidential nomination moved here to New Hampshire on Wednesday, after Mitt Romney eked out a win of only eight votes against the surging candidacy of Rick Santorum the night before in Iowa caucuses. Both men were arriving here on Wednesday, with Mr. Romney, the favorite in the primary just six days away, hoping for a commanding victory.
Iowa caucus results:
Santorum, Romney in virtual tie, with Ron Paul in third
By Karen Tumulty - WashingtonPost.com
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Three sharply different Republican candidates were on course to split the bulk of votes in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses as a chaotic campaign season culminated with the first real ballots cast.
With 96 percent of precincts reporting at 11:40 p.m. Eastern, former senator Rick Santorum(Pa.) was in a virtual tie with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, leading him by just 79 votes. Both of them hovered around 24.6 percent of the total, with Rep. Ron Paul(Tex.) close behind at 21 points. It seemed possible that this year’s winner — whoever it turns out to be — would finish with the lowest percentage total of any GOP winner in Iowa’s modern history, sinking below Bob Dole’s 26 percent in 1996.
Iowans press candidates
on same issues that concern Republicans across country
By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa’s caucuses may not always pick the eventual presidential nominee, but voters this year did something more helpful to the process: They asked the kinds of tough questions about the economy and government spending that are on the minds of Republicans across the country who still have yet to vote.
In what voters described as the most wide-open, freewheeling caucuses in history, Iowa kicked off the 2012 election season Tuesday night and boosted a trio of Republicans — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Ron Paulof Texas — into the top tier heading forward.
Ron Paul’s Long Game
The libertarian’s looking good in Iowa,
and he won’t just be a one-state wonder.
By David Weigel - Slate.com
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa—"We’re already done with Iowa," Eric tells me after Ron Paul’s latest speech. "We were done weeks ago."
What does he mean? He opens his MacBook Air and clicks on a spreadsheet with information about the 3.5 million glossy campaign documents he’s printing up for the "Ron Paul Super Brochure Precinct Blast." Eric has started to fill orders for people in later primary states—6,849 for a volunteer in South Carolina, a few hundred for someone in Florida, where Eric lives. (Eric doesn’t want to give a last name, as this would "take credit" away from project funder Curt Schultz.) Order a batch and you get your name printed on the back, in case you want to mail them to voters.
"It’s not hidden, like a Super PAC," says Eric. "It’s all transparent."
Is Privacy Act Violated
as Voting War’s GOP Hit Man is Fed
Leaks By Justice Department Mole?
Will the DOJ investigate leaks in attacks on Voting Section employees and major voting rights decisions?
By Steven Rosenfeld - AlterNet.org
A crusading GOP critic of the Obama Justice Department’s Voting Section, Hans von Spakovsky, has admitted to having Department sources that are leaking apparently confidential and highly personal information that he is using to viciously attack Voting Section staff and to smear the Department at large.
Leaking such information—including details from ongoing Inspector General inquiries into a previous media leak and detailing the behavior of a DOJ employee related to that internal investigation—would not only violate DOJ confidentiality rules, but also could violate the federal Privacy Act, which governs how agencies are to control records.
Iowa GOP explains moving vote tabulation away from HQ
By JONATHAN MARTIN - Politico.com
Iowa GOP chair Matt Strawn was largely mum when I asked yesterday about a tip I got that the state party was moving the vote-tabulation away from their headquarters to an "undisclosed location."
But after the Iowa GOP HQ was flooded today with questions from Ron Paul backers and conspiracy-minded types about why the Republicans were compiling the votes from the state's 99 counties in private, the state party's executive director confirmed that they were going off-site and said it was only to avoid a sabotage.
Great (if Hypocritical) News!
Iowa GOP Caucuses Will Vote
on Publicly Hand-Counted Paper Ballots!
And no Photo ID is required to register or vote!...
By Brad Friedman
Votes in next Tuesday's Republican caucuses in Iowa will be cast on paper ballots and hand counted publicly at each and every caucus site, according to a report late this week from Politico's Jonathan Martin. In other words, Republicans will be relying on"Democracy's Gold Standard" when it comes to casting and counting ballots in their own election, in which they set all of the rules, even if they will not allow the same standards to be applied to elections in which Democrats will take part.
Martin's story should come as great news for Election Integrity advocates and, in particular, Ron Paul supporters who have very good reason to be concerned about the process after witnessing --- first-hand and on video-tape --- blatant voter fraud carried out by Mitt Romney supporters in years past. The news is also welcome in light of a recent report suggesting the GOP would be counting votes in secret to avoid a purported "threat" by the hacktivist group Anonymous to disrupt next week's caucuses.
IOWA: ISSUES OF INTEGRITY
FOR THE IOWA REPUBLICAN CAUCUS
By Bev Harris - Black Box Voting Forums
Brad Friedman at Bradblog.com reports on some key procedures in the 2012 Iowa Republican caucus. At issue is just how transparent and public the process is, and whether there are any holes in the cheese. Fewer holes than 2008, it seems. A bit of diligence on the part of caucus participants will be needed (see end of this article for what to do).
There is also some consternation from concerned citizens about a recent Politico.com story, which reports that the Iowa statewide caucus counting will be moved to an undisclosed location, its author chiding those who question the transparency behind such a move as "conspiracy minded types." To be clear about this, insisting on transparency is a necessary and patriotic element of running any public election, and ridiculing public citizens who examine transparency is kind of embarrassing. For the reporter. Not the citizens.
Evidence of Massive REPUBLICAN VOTER Fraud
by Melvin Junko - DailyKos.com
The larger question being ignored in the Newt didn't qualify for the Va primary story is the OBVIOUS MASSIVE Voter Fraud that went into his failed effort. The process to qualify for the Va. Primary run off is to secure merely 10,000 signatures of registered Va voters.
It does not seem inconceivable that a candidate with a LONG history of "ethical lapses" would resort to such tactics.
It has been reported that Newt submitted roughly 11,000 plus signatures and the election officials were unable to confirm at least 10,000 of these were valid qualifying voters (we don't yet know how many actual signatures were determined to be valid or false).
US Closes 2011 With Record $15.22 Trillion In Debt, Officially At 100.3% Debt/GDP, $14 Billion From Breaching Debt Ceiling
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
While not news to Zero Hedge readers who knew about the final debt settlement of US debt about 10 days ahead of schedule, it is now official: according to the US Treasury, America has closed the books on 2011 with debt at an all time record$15,222,940,045,451.09. And, as was observed here first in all of the press, US debt toGDP is now officially over 100%, or 100.3% to be specific, a fact which the US government decided to delay exposing until the very end of the calendar year. We wonder, rhetorically, just how prominent of a talking point this historic event will be in any upcoming GOP primary debates. And yes, technically this number is greater than the debt ceiling but it excludes various accounting gimmicks. When accounting for those, the US has a debt ceiling buffer of... $14 billion, or one third the size of a typical bond auction.
The Debt Bomb:
7,600,000,000,000 Dollars Of Debt
Must Be Rolled Over In 2012
When it comes to government debt, it is not just new debt that is the problem. Every single year, governments around the world must "roll over" gigantic mountains of debt that come due. That means that the actual borrowing that takes place each year is far greater than the yearly budget deficits that you see talked about on television. In 2012, a total of 7,600,000,000,000 dollars of debt must be rolled over by the G-7 nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China. When you add in interest payments, that number rises to over $8 trillion. And that does not even include any new borrowing that all of those nations will do in 2012. This is a debt bomb that could devastate the entire global economy at any time. Everything will be fine as long as global lenders are willing to lend these countries gigantic mountains of very cheap money. But if that changes, and there are already a multitude of signs that a massive global credit crunch has begun, it will mean a complete and total financial nightmare for the entire world.
World’s Biggest Economies
Face $7.6 Trillion Bond Tab as Rally Seen Fading
By Keith Jenkins and Anchalee Worrachate - Bloomberg.com
Governments of the world’s leading economies have more than $7.6 trillion of debt maturing this year, with most facing a rise in borrowing costs.
Led by Japan’s $3 trillion and the U.S.’s $2.8 trillion, the amount coming due for the Group of Seven nations and Brazil, Russia, India and China is up from $7.4 trillion at this time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ten-year bond yields will be higher by year-end for at least seven of the countries, forecasts show.
Investors may demand higher compensation to lend to countries that struggle to finance increasing debt burdens as the global economy slows, surveys show. The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for growth this year to 4 percent from a prior estimate of 4.5 percent as Europe’s debt crisis spreads, the U.S. struggles to reduce a budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion and China’s property market cools.
On The World's Reserve Currency: What's Past Is Epilogue
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Simply put, "it does not last for ever" should be ringing in the ears of every investor in the world with more than a few millisecond return horizon. And neither do any and all chartalist conventions which rely on the articial construct of reserve permanence, for one simple reason - being artificial, means the theory is flawed from the beginning. But it is JPMorgan's Michael Cembalest who frames it the best, "I am reminded of the following remark from late MIT economist Rudiger Dornbusch: 'Crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought.'"
Gold Rallies Most in 10 Weeks on Iran, Dollar
By Debarati Roy and Nicholas Larkin - Bloomberg.com
Gold futures jumped the most in 10 weeks on demand for a haven following a report that Iran produced its first nuclear-fuel rod. Silver surged the most in five months as the dollar’s decline spurred a commodity rally.
A domestically-made rod was inserted into the core of Tehran’s atomic-research reactor, the Iranian Students News Agency said yesterday. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies as global manufacturing expanded, spurring demand for raw materials perceived as riskier assets. Blackstone Group LP’s Byron Wien, who correctly predicted last year’s gain in gold, said the metal will rally 15 percent in 2012 to $1,800 an ounce.
Could gold repeat another double digit rise in 2012?
By Debbie Carlson
Like a prizefighter who has taken a few upper cut blows, Goldmight be a bit woozy, but the metal’s longer-term uptrend is hardly on the ropes. As in many financial sectors, gold’s price direction has been guided by headlines, particularly out of Europe on the sovereign debt situation, and the volatility caused by swiftly changing news has made many markets a bit punch-drunk.
The December price break for gold came as several events aligned. First, the market was never able to retest its all-time nominal high in August of $1,923.70 an ounce. Second, gold was one of the few star performers this year and when equity and other markets soured, money managers needed to raise cash to meet margin calls and shore up positions elsewhere. Third, with investors spooked by the continued inability for eurozone leaders to convincingly shore up their union, these investors sought safety in the most liquid vehicle available – cash – again pulling profits from gold.
Who holds the world's biggest gold reserves?
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Following uncertainty in the equity markets and the global economy, countries and organizations believe that Gold is a safe haven and investing in gold is a sure ticket to preserving hard-earned wealth. A store of value and a safe one at that, gold as a commodity has been appreciating and giving investors ample returns barring a few instances.
In fact, the biggest institutional holders of gold—central banks, international entities and governments—are believed to account for approximately 16.5 percent of the world's gold, holding about 30,700 tons.
Gold and Silver gain
on Iran nuclear development
and Eurozone weakness
NEW YORK/MUMBAI (Commodity Online): Precious metals are trading up on Tuesday after reports of Iran's nuclear development made investors put money in Gold and silver. At the COMEX, January Gold contract is trading up by $13.2 at $1579/oz while Silver January contract gained $0.245 to trade at $28.12/oz as of 9:54:25 PM CT.
MCX Gold February contract is trading at Rs 27582 as of 12:15 PM IST, a gain of 0.72% while MCX Silver March contract is up by 1.31% at Rs 52000.
Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts -
Big Relief Rally From the
End of Year Mark-To-Market Boogie Woogie
JESSE'S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
It appears that the theory that the big shorts were slamming down gold and silver into the year end *might* be valid, given the huge rally today.
But it is too soon to say for sure. I have drawn a short term downtrend line on the gold chart that is a 'must take' for the bulls.
Non-Farm Payrolls report on Friday and the Euro-whiz kids meet again on the 9th to puzzle through their Gordian knot of a currency and political system.
A Palestinian leader calls for the Arab world to rise up and stop Israel from Judaizing the city of Jerusalem
By Jimmy DeYoung - ProphecyToday.com
The PM of Hamas, an Islamic terror organization located in the Gaza Strip, has made an urgent call for the international Arab and Moslem world to stop what he called Israel's Judaization of Jerusalem and all the attacks by the Jewish state on the Moslem community in Israel.
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas PM, during a recent visit to Cairo, Egypt slammed Israel for the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and a campaign against Moslem symbols.
The Hamas PM says Jerusalem is the future capital of a Palestinian state and the Moslem world must do whatever is necessary to stop the Judaization of Jerusalem by the Israelis.
Iran sought to broker Syria deal
between Assad, Muslim Brotherhood
By Ben Birnbaum - The Washington Times
ISTANBUL — A leader of Syria's Muslim Brotherhood says Iran has sought to coax the Islamist group’s support for President Bashar Assad in exchange for four high-ranking positions in the Syrian government.
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour, the top political leader in Syria's Muslim Brotherhood, told The Washington Times on Tuesday that Iran’s supreme leader — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — sent three emissaries to Istanbul in late October to try to broker the deal.
Tehran warns U.S. to stay out of Gulf
Tough talk seen as sanctions backlash
By Rowan Scarborough-The Washington Times
Iran’s stepped-up bellicosity, including a warning Tuesday that a U.S. aircraft carrier should not return to the Persian Gulf, is a reaction to increased talk in the United States and Israel of a strike on its nuclear sites, and of the West adding economic sanctions on its already struggling economy, analysts say.
The Pentagon responded to Iran’s tough talk by vowing that its warships are in the Gulf to stay and will take steps to ensure the commercial oil shipping continues to sail through the Strait of Hormuz. More than one-sixth of the world’s crude oil moves through the strategic sea lane at the mouth of the Gulf.
Iran defiant amid appeals for European sanctions
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Iran closed out naval war games in the Gulf on Tuesday much the way they began last month: striking a tone of military defiance while Western powers rallied behind tougher oil and financial sanctions as a crippling tool against Tehran's nuclear program.
The standoff atmosphere — less than a week after Iran warned it could block one of the world's key oil tanker sea lanes in response to economic pressures — appeared to deepen further with an Iranian general suggesting a U.S. aircraft carrier is not welcome to return to the Gulf.
U.S. to Iran: Warships to remain in Persian Gulf
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration on Tuesday brushed aside Iran's warning to keep U.S. aircraft carriers out of the Gulf, dismissing its threats as a consequence of hard-hitting American sanctions on the Iranian economy.
Provoking a hostile start to what could prove a pivotal year for Iran, the country's army chief said American vessels were unwelcome in the Gulf, the strategic waterway that carries to market much of the oil pumped in the Middle East.
The Islamic republic also has warned of blocking one of the world's key tanker lanes, the Strait of Hormuz, in response to new, stronger U.S. economic penalties on Iran over its disputed nuclear enrichment program. Iranian Gen. Ataollah Salehi's warning about the Gulf came just three days after President Barack Obamasigned into law new sanctions targeting Iran's Central Bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad.
Pentagon rejects threat from Iran,
says it will continue scheduled movements
of U.S. carriers on Persian Gulf
By Heather Langan and Viola Gienger - WashingtonPost.com
Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The head of Iran’s army warned the U.S. against sending an aircraft carrier back to the Persian Gulf after the USS John C. Stennis left the area a week ago, a threat rejected by the Pentagon.
"We usually don’t repeat our warning, and we warn only once," Ataollah Salehi was cited as saying by the state-run Fars news agency. "We recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf."
The Stennis, which Iran said it spotted during naval exercises, passed eastward through the Strait of Hormuz on Dec. 27 on a routine voyage and was operating in the northern Arabian Sea, according to the U.S. 5th Fleet, which has a base in Bahrain.
Published by Ian R. Campbell - StockResearchPortalBlog.com
Good Morning and A Very Happy New Year!
At the beginning of each year I have been bold enough to make predictions, both economic and societal, as to what I think will or may transpire in the coming year. This year I have divided my 2012 predictions by what I see as particularly important countries or geographic areas. I then have followed those country/area forecasts with some general comments on the financial markets, gold, and silver. While one might argue that Canada does not qualify in the overall scheme of the world’s economy and money markets as "particularly important", as a Canadian, I have included a few predictions for Canada.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warns of 'difficult' start to 2012
China's Premier Wen Jiabao has warned of a difficult start to 2012, amid concerns over a potential slowdown in the world's second largest economy.
Mr Wen also reiterated pledges to expand domestic demand as authorities try to ward off the effects of crises in the US and Europe - key markets for China's export-dependent economy.
"The first quarter of the year may be quite difficult," Mr Wen said, according to a statement by the State Council, China's cabinet.
"We are now in a situation where pressure from an economic downturn and high prices both exist," he said.
Mr Wen added that slowing external demand and the rising cost of doing business domestically further complicated the situation when compared with the financial crisis in 2008.
Hu Says West Is Trying to Divide China
by Using Ideology, Cultural Weapons
By Bloomberg News -
The West is using cultural means to divide China (PRCH), which needs to be alert to this threat, President Hu Jintao said in a Communist Party magazine.
"International forces are trying to Westernize and divide us by using ideology and culture," Hu wrote in an article in Qiushi. "We need to realize this and be alert to this danger."
Many countries, especially Western powers, are attempting to expand their influence through cultural hegemony, and China must deepen and promote its own values of "socialism with Chinese characteristics," Hu wrote in the article, which was published on the government’s website on Jan 1. China needs to strengthen its cultural values as it faces possible challenges from the West, he said.
Why Spain’s New Government is Drinking Austerity Kool-Aid and How This Threatens the Global Economy
European elites push economic myths that benefit the rich and screw the rest. Spain's program means even higher public deficits, fewer jobs, and slowed growth.
By Marshall Auerback - AlterNet.org
Spain's new government said late last month that this year's budget deficit would be much larger than expected and announced a slew of surprise tax hikes and wage freezes that could drag the country back to the center of the eurozone debt crisis. The government plans to enact public spending cuts of 8.9 billion euros ($11.5 billion) and tax hikes aimed at bringing in an additional 6 billion euros a year to tackle the shortfall. Given what has happened to Greece, and now Italy, it is almost certain that this will have the opposite impact of that which the Spanish government wants: there will be HIGHER public deficits at the end of the day, as the cuts curtail economic growth even further.
Greece 'out of euro' if bail-out fails
Greece will crash out of the eurozone unless it can agree the terms of a €130bn (£108bn) international bail-out agreement an Athens official has warned, signalling the start of another tense countdown for European leaders to avert a default.
By Louise Armitstead - Telegraph.co.uk
As European bond markets strained ahead of a vital round of debt auctions, Pantelis Kapsis, a government spokesman, said: "The bail-out agreement needs to be signed otherwise we will be out of the markets, out of the euro. The situation will be much worse."
Greece is struggling to push through tough austerity measures needed to secure the second bail-out. International officials preparing to conduct a financial inspection in Athens that will decide the terms of the rescue package that was agreed in principle in October. Greece is also racing to clinch a deal with the private holders of its sovereign bonds. Both deals have to be secured if Greece is to avoid defaulting at a major bond redemption in March.
Greece: we could exit euro in three months
New Greek government says creditors and lending troika must agree bailout terms within weeks otherwise 'we are out of the markets'
By Heather Stewart - Guardian.co.uk
The Greek government has stepped up the pressure on its eurozone paymasters by warning that unless a new bailout for the recession-hit country is agreed within the next three months it will be forced out of the single currency.
Pantelis Kapsis, a spokesman for the new coalition government led by former central bank chief Lucas Papademos, said negotiations with the "troika" of the International Monetary Fund, Brussels and the European Central Bank over the coming weeks would "determine everything".
ECB names Peter Praet as economics chief
Mario Draghi has risked provoking anger in Berlin after appointing a Belgian to head up the economics division of the European Central Bank (ECB), overlooking the German candidate for the first time.
By Louise Armitstead - Telegraph.co.uk
The Italian boss of the ECB named Peter Praet as the new head of economics, defying calls from Berlin that the tradition of a German holding the post to be upheld.
Mr Praet, 62, who joined the ECB's six-member board in June last year, replaces Juergen Stark, who resigned in September in apparent protest against the ECB's sovereign bond buying policy. The Belgian, who was formerly a board member of the Belgian central bank and is a specialist in financial regulation, will be the first non-German to hold the position since the ECB was founded in 1988.
US Federal Reserve to update public on interest rates
The Federal Reserve will start updating the public four times a year on how long it plans to keep short-term interest rates at record lows, according to written records from its December policy meeting.
AP - Telegraph.co.uk
The first forecast will be included in the central bank's economic projections after its January 24-25 meeting, the records, or minutes, said.
The change marks a significant shift in the Fed's communication strategy. It could help assure investors, companies and consumers that rates won't rise before a specific time. This might help lower long-term yields further - in effect providing a kind of stimulus.
The Fed has previously said that it plans to keep its key short-term rate near zero until at least mid-2013, unless the economy improves.
Federal Reserve will start disclosing officials’ quarterly projections
By Steven Mufson - WashingtonPost.com
The Federal Reserve took another step in its gradual march toward greater openness by agreeing to disclose its board members’ expectations about future interest rates, according to newly released minutes of the Fed’s December meeting.
The measure is designed to increase certainty and predictability about the Fed’s current policy of low interest rates — and thus encourage economic activity among investors and consumers.
Fed to Start Forecasting Changes in Interest Rates
AP - CNBC.com
The Federal Reserve will start updating the public four times a year on how long it plans to keep short-term interest rates at record lows, according to minutes from its December policy meeting.
The first forecast will be included in the central bank's economic projections after its Jan. 24-25 meeting, the minutes said.
The change marks a significant shift in theFed's communication strategy. It could help assure investors, companies and consumers that rates won't rise before a specific time. This might help lower long-term yields further — in effect providing a kind of stimulus.
Housing’s Huge Supply and Demand Imbalance
By: Diana Olick - CNBC.com
"Pent-up demand." That is the rallying cry of the housing bulls, as they forecast the great recovery of 2012. So many potential buyers are doubled up with family, stuck in undesirable rentals or just plain afraid to put their current home on the market, but that’s about to change, say these optimistic prognosticators.
"Inventories [of unsold homes] have been coming down, showing very healthy declines," Ivy Zelman, CEO of Zelman and Associates told the Wall Street Journal. And Zelman is new to the bull ring, as she is famous for predicting the housing bubble in the first place.
10 Predictions for Work and Economics in 2012
Universities in decline, women in ascension, China taking off, U.S. jobs staying grounded, and six more forecasts for the year
By Marty Nemko - TheAtlantic.com
My previous predictions have been reasonably but not perfectly accurate. Here's the link to last year's.
Long-term predictions are notoriously inaccurate. For example, 50 years ago, it was predicted we'd be commuting in flying cars. But we're probably wise to incorporate some short-term forecasts into our career, business, and investment planning. So I sally forth with my work-related predictions for 2012 and beyond:
Holidays' Retail Binge
Will Lead to a Spending Diet in Early 2012
By Barbara Thau - DailyFinance.com
The holiday season was a heck of a party for retailers, but consumers are now nursing a shopping hangover that will keep them out of the nation's stores in January and February.
While November and December will go down in the record books thanks to consumers spending like it was 1999, January retail sales are expected to sink to some of their lowest levels as Americans take stock of their credit-card spending binge, according toAmerica's Research Group, the consumer research and marketing firm.
A 2012 Conservative Case for America's Future
By Ken Blackwell; co-authored by Ken Klukowski - PatriotPost.us
The United States is at a fork in the road regarding which way we will go as a people. The 2012 election could be the most important in our lifetime, and conservative leaders have reached a consensus on how to channel the energy and concerns of the American people to realize historic change this year.
The status quo will not survive the year. Our debt and spending have reached catastrophic proportions in the context of global financial difficulties and political upheaval. Consequently, by the end of 2012, America will either have taken a decisive step toward socialistic collectivism in the name of "equality" and "social justice," where businesses and owners are punitively taxed to "pay their fair share," or America will take a major step in the direction of returning to our Founders' constitutional government, restoring the rule of law, federalism, free enterprise, and individual initiative and responsibility.
When Times Get Tough, The Tough Get A Backbone
Do not ever give up. That is one of the secrets to life. Almost everyone comes to a moment in life when things look absolutely hopeless. But those that have come through those moments know that there is always a way to turn things around. When times get tough, the tough get a backbone. Yes, a horrific economic collapse is coming and the world is going to become incredibly unstable. But the purpose of waking people up and getting them to realize what is about to happen is not so that they can shiver in fear. When a military unit gets intel that indicates that the enemy arrayed against them is far more powerful than previously thought, do they give up all hope and run away like little girls? Of course not. Instead, they use that intel to prepare for the coming battle. Only cowards give up. When you totally give up, you lose everything and the enemy wins. Our life does not consist of what we own anyway. If every single thing that you own was taken away from you, would your life be over? No! When we leave this world, we will not be remembered for what we owned. Rather, we will be remembered for how we lived.
Social Security Going Bust? That's the Small Problem
By Dan Caplinger - DailyFinance.com
Many people are in anear-panic about the woes that Social Security faces. Accused of being a Ponzi scheme, the program is projected to run out of funds by 2036 -- and if it fails, potential consequences could be disastrous. But the other major government program that retirees rely on for their financial well-being faces an even bigger problem -- one that could come sooner than Social Security's demise and lead to more bankruptcy among retirees.
That program, of course, is Medicare, and the funding situation for the portion of its benefits that retirees receive looks even scarier than Social Security's prospects right now.
Medicare's Running Out of Money, Too
Why Your Pension Is at Risk
By Dan Caplinger - DailyFinance.com
The recent bankruptcy filing from American Airlines parent company AMR (AMR) could become the latest example of what can happen to workers and their pension plans when their employers go bankrupt.
With AMR's bankruptcy proceedings having just gotten under way, it's too early to tell what could happen to some AMR employees. But past bankruptcies give a roadmap for what can happen to workers anywhere when their employer goes under.
You see, even if a company eventually gets out of bankruptcy and keeps operating throughout the process, its employees may end up with the short end of the stick -- especially those workers expecting a pension check in retirement.
Indictment in Colorado mortgage-fraud case announced
Denver Business Journal
A statewide grand jury has indicted Jill M. Evans, 46, and her company, Paramount Mortgage of Colorado Ltd. of Greenwood Village, alleging that they defruaded “more than a dozen individuals across the country out of thousands of dollars in fees for mortgages and loans she never delivered,” Colorado Attorney General John Suthersannounced Tuesday.
The 18-count indictment (download here), filed in Denver District Court, alleges that Evans defrauded her victims out of about $500,000 by charging up-front fees in exchange for what her victims believed were commercial and residential loans.
Apple television gamble the talk of CES
By Scott Martin, USA TODAY
Apple is the only company that consistently gets big buzz out of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — without even attending.
This year will be no different.
Connected TVs — TVs that connect to and can access content from the Internet — will be a big part of CES this year. And just about everyone in tech expects Apple at some point to launch such a television — an iTV — that easily consumes and shares with other Apple devices content served from the company's media-storing iCloud.
Why You May Be Drinking Soda
That Contains a Dangerous Flame Retardant
Banned in Europe and Japan
Some soda drinkers may be getting a dose of a synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO.
By Brett Israel - Alternet.org
MARIETTA, Ga. – It's Monday night at the Battle & Brew, a gamer hangout in this Atlanta suburb. The crowd is slumping in chairs, ears entombed in headphones, eyes locked on flat-screen monitors and minds lost in tonight’s video game of choice: "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim."
To help stay alert all night, each man has an open can of "gamer fuel" inches from his keyboard. "I've seen some of these dudes plow through six sodas in six hours," said Brian Smawley, a regular at the gamer bar.
Canadian man passes US border using his iPad
After leaving his passport at home Canadian man Martin Reisch managed to use his iPad to cross into the United States
By Ben Quinn - The Guardian
A Canadian man who realised that he had left his passport at home as he approached the US border managed to cross over by using his Apple iPad.
In a novel deployment of the tablet that may have come as a surprise even to the late Steve Jobs, Martin Reisch said that a mildly annoyed US border officer made an exception after he was handed the iPad displaying a scanned copy of the forgotten passport.
* * * * *
'Fracking' waste disposal tied to Ohio earthquakes
By Ben Wolfgang-The Washington Times
The disposal of wastewater used in the booming practice known as “fracking” is responsible for a rash of recent earthquakes in Ohio, and critics have latched on to the seismic events as evidence that the popular natural gas extraction method is dangerous and should be banned.
Ohio has experienced at least 11 tremors since March, including a 4.0 temblor that shook Youngstown on New Year's Eve. State officials say the earthquakes were triggered by deep injection wells, where the water, sand and chemical cocktails used to frack wells are deposited.
Taliban Takes Step Toward U.S. Peace Talks
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Eltaf Najafizada - Bloomberg.com
The Taliban’s announcement that it plans to open an office in Qatar for peace talks with the U.S. and its allies marks the first public step toward negotiations to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan, former U.S. officials and analysts said.
Contacts between the Obama administration and the Afghan Taliban, who were ousted from power by the U.S. military in late 2001, have been secret and limited to preliminary discussions between a few U.S. and Taliban representatives over whether peace talks were even feasible, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
No breakthrough on Mideast peace, talks to go on
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi
AMMAN (Reuters) - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators made no breakthrough during their first high-level discussions in more than a year on Tuesday, but agreed to hold further talks in Amman on a confidential basis, Jordan's foreign minister said.
Tuesday's talks were aimed at agreeing terms under which the two sides' leaders - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - could resume talks.
Negotiations foundered in late 2010 after Israel refused to renew a partial freeze on Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, as demanded by the Palestinians.
Iran threatens U.S. Navy as sanctions hit economy
By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran threatened on Tuesday to take action if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf, Tehran's most aggressive statement yet after weeks of sabre-rattling as new U.S. and EU financial sanctions take a toll on its economy.
The United States dismissed the Iranian threat, saying it was proof that sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme were working. The Pentagon said it would keep sending carrier strike groups through the Gulf regardless.
Iran-US tensions over Gulf send oil prices soaring
Brent crude spot prices rise from $107 to $111 after Tehran threatens US aircraft carrier over use of crucial shipping route
By Phillip Inman, economics correspondent - Guardian.co.uk
The price of oil jumped by $4 a barrel on Tuesday as tension betweenIran and the US fuelled fears of disruptions to supply.
Brent crude spot prices rose from $107 to $111 after Iran threatened to take action if the US navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf.
US light crude, which dropped below $100 a barrel before Christmas, hit $102.23 a barrel – a rise of $3.40 on the day.
Analysts said the jump in prices was likely to continue as long as Tehran appeared ready to use force against US warships patrolling the strategically vital strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Archived Page Link
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -