Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All Hail Schiff

Real Estate Downfall

Wayne County Foreclosures

Print Print Print

Peter Schiff: The Dollar Is Going To Crash

The Plunge Protection Team?

CIA and Hollywood

An Offer They Couldn't Refuse

Everyone who watches films knows about Hollywood's fascination with spies. From Hitchcock's postwar espionage thrillers, through cold war tales such as Torn Curtain, into the paranoid 1970s when the CIA came to be seen as an agency out of control in films such as Three Days of the Condor, and right to the present, with the Bourne trilogy and Ridley Scott's forthcoming Body of Lies, film-makers have always wanted to get in bed with spies. What's less widely known is how much the spies have wanted to get in bed with the film-makers. In fact, the story of the CIA's involvement in Hollywood is a tale of deception and subversion that would seem improbable if it were put on screen.

Jules "The Robot"

Why Veins Could Replace Fingerprints

Why Veins Could Replace Fingerprints

Forget fingerprinting. Companies in Europe have begun to roll out an advanced biometric system from Japan that identifies people from the unique patterns of veins inside their fingers. Finger vein authentication, introduced widely by Japanese banks in the last two years, is claimed to be the fastest and most secure biometric method. Developed by Hitachi, it verifies a person's identity based on the lattice work of minute blood vessels under the skin. Easydentic Group, a European leader in the biometric industry based in France, has announced that it will be using Hitachi's finger vein security in a range of door access systems for the UK and European markets. In Japan, thousands of cash machines are operated by finger vein technology. Hitachi announced today that it will introduce 20,000 finger vein authentication systems at shops and kiosks belonging to two Japanese companies, which will use the devices to protect the privacy of customer information by requiring storeworkers to authenticate themselves before accessing the customer database.

Big Three Take Private Jets To Beg For Money

Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets

The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation's capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy. he CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler may have told Congress that they will likely go out of business without a bailout yet that has not stopped them from traveling in style, not even First Class is good enough. All three CEOs - Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler - exercised their perks Tuesday by flying in corporate jets to DC. Wagoner flew in GM's $36 million luxury aircraft to tell members of Congress that the company is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone.

Oblong's G-Speak

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.

Citigroup Cutting 50,000+ Jobs

Citigroup Set To Cut
Citigroup will slash a staggering 53,000 jobs - the second-largest cut ever by a US company - because of punishing losses and a reeling economy, the financial giant announced yesterday. The massive job cuts, which will shrink New York-based Citigroup's workforce by about 15 percent, comes just two months after the banking behemoth finished trimming 23,000 positions. About half of the new cuts will come through layoffs and attrition. The other half will come from the sale of units.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Citi Will Halt Some Foreclosures

Citi Will Halt Some Foreclosures

A total of 765,558 U.S. properties got a default notice, were warned of a pending auction or were foreclosed on in the third quarter, the most since records began in January 2005, according to Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac, which sells default data. ``Citi is focusing particularly on borrowers in areas that are likely to face extreme economic distress,'' the release said. Home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell in July at the fastest pace on record, and sales of previously owned homes in August were 32 percent below the peak of September 2005. Citigroup plans to reach out to loan holders working with the bank, who live in their homes, and have ``sufficient income for affordable mortgage payments,'' the statement said. The bank will extend a moratorium on foreclosures to those who meet these criteria.

Obama's Afghan War Plans

Obama's Afghan War Plans...

Staff Sergeant Brendan Kearns went through urban combat training six months ago with the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, preparing for a planned return to Iraq. In January, his brigade is heading to Afghanistan instead. While Iraq has long dominated headlines, Afghanistan will demand more immediate attention, as President-elect Barack Obama becomes the first commander-in-chief since Richard M. Nixon in 1969 to take charge during wartime. Intensifying violence is ramping up U.S. involvement, costing money and lives when America faces a record budget deficit and the public is weary of war. Backing off may allow al-Qaeda and the Taliban to return to power. ``The most pressing problem for the next president will be the Afghan-Pakistan conundrum,'' says retired Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl, lead author of the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual

China's Stimulus Package

China's Rescue Plan

China's massive effort to shore up its domestic economy may also do the world a favor. ``Very few countries are going to match this stimulus -- it's huge,'' said Nicholas Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. ``It's a very strong step and puts them in a commanding position in setting an example to other economies.'' The $586 billion stimulus package, announced on Nov. 9, pushed the price of copper and silver higher yesterday and sent stocks soaring from Hong Kong to Frankfurt. The reaction was a sign of global dependence on the $3.3 trillion Chinese economy, which accounted for about a quarter of world growth last year and consumed 41 percent of coal production. The global financial crisis and resulting collapse in demand has led to a contraction in Chinese manufacturing and a slump in exports. In addition to propping up domestic industries, the measures may give the world a cushion as the U.S., European and Japanese economies shrink.

2 Trillion Of Loans To Unknown

Fed Defies Transparency

The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return. ``The collateral is not being adequately disclosed, and that's a big problem,'' said Dan Fuss, vice chairman of Boston- based Loomis Sayles & Co., where he co-manages $17 billion in bonds. ``In a liquid market, this wouldn't matter, but we're not. The market is very nervous and very thin.

AIG Bailout Doubled

AIG Gets Expanded Bailout
American International Group Inc. got a $150 billion government rescue package, almost doubling the initial bailout of less than two months ago as the insurer burns through cash at a record rate. AIG will get lower interest rates and $40 billion of new capital from the government to help ease the impact of four straight quarterly deficits, including a $24.5 billion third- quarter loss posted today by the New York-based company.

Schiff: More Of The Same, Only Worse With Obama

Part #1

Part #2

Brown: Its Time To Build A Global Society

Brown Says Time To Build...

The financial crisis has given world leaders a unique opportunity to create a truly global society, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday. Brown, who has spearheaded calls for the reform of international financial institutions, said that Britain, the United States and Europe are key to forging a new world order."The alliance between Britain and the U.S. -- and more broadly between Europe and the U.S. -- can and must provide leadership, not in order to make the rules ourselves, but to lead the global effort to build a stronger and more just international order," Brown said in a speech in London.

GM Rated Worthless

GM Plunges as Deutsche
General Motors Corp. plummeted to its lowest level in 59 years after a Deutsche Bank AG analyst downgraded the shares, saying they may be worthless in a year. Even if GM succeeds in averting a bankruptcy, we believe that the company's future path is likely to be bankruptcy- like,'' Deutsche Bank's Rod Lache wrote today in a note. The New York analyst recommended selling the shares and cut his 12-month price target to zero. He previously advised holding the stock.

Economic Impact Of Obama

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Credit Card Crisis Next?

Dealing With The Next Crisis
The mortgage meltdown is by no means over, but now consumers need to brace for another economic crisis--credit cards. According to the consumer Web site, at the end of last year, U.S. consumers owed more than $961 billion in credit card debt. Although not as large as the $11 trillion mortgage market, that's still a lot of lost cash and lenders are starting to feel the consequences of the huge lines of credit they have been allowing. American's have been borrowing more money than they can pay back, and credit card companies have been there to support the habit every step of the way.

Bankruptcies Up, Housing Down In Canada

Personal Bankruptcies Up

There were 8,836 bankruptcies in Canada in September, almost 1,400 more than in August and almost 2,000 more than in September 2007. The superintendent of bankruptcy reports that's an 18.7 per cent rise from August and 28.4 per cent increase from a year ago. The number of bankruptcies over 12 months through September was 91,434, up 6.4 per cent from 85,969 in the 12-month period through September 2007. There were 8,347 consumer bankruptcies in September, up from 6,977, or 19.6 per cent from August, and nearly 2,000 more than in September 2007.

Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area fell 35 per cent this October compared with sales a year earlier, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. Prices fell 10 per cent over the same period, leading the industry to acknowledge the existence of a deep slump in the market.

Pelosi Aims for Second Stimulus

Pelosi Aims for Second Stimulus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called for a two-part economic stimulus package that would include up to $100 billion in aid by the end of the year, followed early next year by some form of permanent tax cut, according to a published report. Pelosi (D., Calif) told The Wall Street Journal that she hoped to get a "two month jump" on the aid by passing something during the lame duck session of Congress that begins this month. Democrats, however, would take a "longer view" once the party and president-elect Barack Obama take over in January, she said. The speaker said she preferred a payroll tax cut over a rebate, like the first round of stimulus, or capital gains tax cuts favored by Republicans.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Peter Schiff: Origins Of The Economic Crisis

Part 1

Part 2

Phoney Economy

Inflation Nation

Mark Faber On The US Dollar

Iran Aids Militias From Iraq

Documents Say Iran Aids Militias From Iraq

They wake before dawn, with time to exercise, eat and pray before the day’s first class in firing Kalashnikov rifles. Over the next eight hours, they practice using bazookas or laying roadside bombs, with a break for lunch and mandatory religious instruction. There is free time in the evening to watch television or play Ping-Pong. Lights out at 11 p.m. Such is a typical day at a dusty military base outside Tehran, where for the past several years members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives have trained Iraqi Shiites to launch attacks against American forces in Iraq, according to accounts given to American interrogators by captured Iraqi fighters.