Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Central Banks Will Become Net Buyers of Gold, WGC CEO Says

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Central banks will become global net buyers of gold, the World Gold Council’s chief executive officer said today at a conference in Edinburgh.

“I believe that central banks will be net buyers over time,” Aram Shishmanian told the conference.

Goldman Looks to Buy Fannie Tax Credits

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is in talks to buy millions of dollars of tax credits from government-controlled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, but the potential deal is running into opposition from the U.S. Treasury, which could block the deal.

A sale would bring some needed financial respite to Fannie Mae. But the administration is leery about approving a deal that would help Goldman reduce its tax bill, given the animus held by many lawmakers toward big Wall Street firms in general and Goldman in particular.

The Obama administration is looking at the deal with a critical eye and could block it. Goldman, meanwhile, is hopeful it could win approval this week.

"Treasury is reviewing and will not let it proceed unless it is clearly in the taxpayers' interest," spokesman Andrew Williams said.

Fannie Mae and its regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, declined to comment.

"Fannie Mae is owned and controlled by the federal government," said Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally, who wouldn't confirm the company was in talks with Fannie about the credits. "The only basis on which approval for any transaction would be given would be if it was clearly in the taxpayers' best interest."

Amid the housing crisis, Goldman Sachs gives, takes away

When California wildfires ruined their jewelry business, Tony Becker and his wife fell months behind on their mortgage payments and experienced firsthand the perils of subprime mortgages.

The couple wound up in a desperate, six-year fight to keep their modest, 1,500-square-foot San Jose home, a struggle that pushed them into bankruptcy.

The lender with whom they sparred, however, wasn't the one that had written their loans. It was an obscure subsidiary of Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs Group.

Goldman spent years buying hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgages, many of them from some of the more unsavory lenders in the business and packaging them into high-yield bonds. Now that the bottom has fallen out of that market, Goldman finds itself in a different role: as the big banker that takes homes away from folks such as the Beckers.

New names for Wall Street’s old games

You remember how Wall Street was going to reform itself? Stop with the loans to borrowers who couldn’t pay them back and so on. Well, before you can say subprime lending bites it, some of Wall Street’s oldest games are back with some brand new names and games, for consumers, corporations and investors, sort of an equal opportunity casino, where everyone gets screwed.

For instance, some of old Wall Street’s good old gamers, Bank of America (BofA), Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, have unveiled some lines of credit tied to those complicated, unpredictable things called derivatives. Not to be outdone, Wells Fargo and Fifth Third are rolling out payday-loan programs for cash-poor consumers, just making it paycheck to paycheck. Imagine that. What will they think of next? Well, others are pitching new, highly risky “structured notes” to small investors. Ain’t that swell?

I mean it’s not a done deal that these instruments are built to fail, ahem. That is, if the economy supposedly keeps “moving forward,” whatever that means, then the financial gismos could work out for buyers and sellers alike. Or not! And not will not be pleasant.

What scares regulators, lawmakers and consumer advocates though is a whole other ball of wax: that Wall Street’s big old banks are one more time packaging tricky loans to borrowers who can’t pay them back, and the bankers are peddling poisonous investments to investors who don’t understand the risks, which all could cause trigger trouble in the banking sector and blow another fuse in the economy. So, the banks, it seems, have learned nothing from their past criminal behavior to new and equally destructive games.

Let’s look at some of Wall Street’s new names for the old games. Lenders generally tie corporate credit lines to short-term interest rates. But now Citi, JPMorgan Chase and BofA, to mention a few, are tying credit lines to both short-term rates and the nefarious credit default swaps (CDS that brought down AIG Financial Products which insured them). These are high-risk and intricate derivatives that are supposed to behave like “insurance,” paying off the owners if a company defaults on its debt. Of course the “Too Big To Fail” three declined to comment on resuscitating these lime-pits. But trust them to try them.

In these new deals, when the price of the CDS rises -- which usually is a sign that Wall Street thinks the company’s strength is tanking -- the cost of the loan goes up, too. So it’s double trouble. The weaker the company, the higher the interest rates it has to fork out, which increases the company’s pain, and yours. Of course, the lenders say that these new time bombs, excuse me, products give them more protection. But for the companies, just the opposite will be the real deal. Why7

Managers have to deal now with two layers of volatility, both the short-term interest rates and credit default swaps, whose prices can jump for reasons beyond their control. To make it even worse for corporate borrowers are the high fees. Banks are all raising rates for credit lines, and the new CDS-based credit line costs way more than the old lines. FedEx for instance could arrive at payments of $3.6 million a month if it goes in for a new credit tap to Morgan. FedEx, back when, would have paid a mere $549,000 for it. This is the CDS nightmare redux.

But Business Week says in its August 17 issue, in “Old Banks, New Tricks,” that a lot of companies have few other choices. Corporate credit’s still tight despite the waterfall of federal money. That given, the banks, canny as they are, are steering borrowers born like suckers every minute to the CDS-linked loans. Good luck. In fact, lenders have passed out nearly $40 billion in CDS this year, about 70 percent of the total in credit lines to borrowers in good standing, meaning still standing.

That figure spiked from around 14 percent in 2008. FedEx, UPS, Hewlett Packard, and Toyota Motor Credit have all rolled the dice once more. They never learn, or even seem to care. Just do it, like Nike says, then cry on the government’s shoulder for a bailout. A UPS spokesman shrugged, “It wasn’t our idea,” as if that exonerated it of the responsibility to think about the danger clearly. “The banks pulled back from offering set rates.” Duh, but did you calculate what if rates soared?

At the other end of the borrower rainbow, big banks are offering another pot of controversial gold: payday loans, whose interest rates can zoom as high as 400 percent, yes 400 percent. In the past, the market was characterized by small non-bank lenders (loan sharks), mainly operating in poor urban areas and offering customers advances on their paychecks (and broken kneecaps if they didn’t pay back the vigorish and/or the loan).

But now big lenders Fifth Third and U.S. Bancorp started offering the old games (loans to the strapped), while Wells Fargo works to promote its payday-loan program. In fact, more big banks are jumping in the market as a flurry of recent usury laws broke the smaller players’ backs. Fifteen states, believe it or not, actually have capped interest rates on short-term loans or tossed the lenders from the game.

Ohio has laid down a 28 percent interest rate limit, which is no piece of cake, but better than 400 percent for anyone who can count. But thanks to interstate commerce rules, nationally chartered banks don’t have to follow local rules. They are above them. Just the various state banks have to follow them. How’s that for fair?

Yet after Ohio curbed rates, Cleveland’s Fifth Third, with 400 branches in the state but also operating in 11 other states, came out with an Early Access Loan, with an annual rate of only 120 percent. Argh! Kathleen Day of the advocacy group Center for Responsible Lending said, “These banks are skirting state laws.” Right Kate, but a spokeswoman for Fifth Third retorted, “Our Early Access product fully complies with federal regulations and applicable state regulations.” Why, because you called the old game by a different name?

Lenders claim they’re offering a valuable service for those who need emergency cash. And so does the local shylock. Wells Fargo claims it actually warns customers who use its Direct Deposit Advance that the loan is pricey and offers alternatives. How large of them. A spokesperson says, “We have policies in place to prevent long-term usage of the services.” I guess that’s so you only get ripped off for a short term. U.S. Bancorp didn’t even bother to answer Business Week’s phone calls. So much for full disclosure and transparency which we thought was going to be the new name of the game.

And, in fact, national regulators are noticing no-no’s. The Office of Thrift Supervision claims it’s “looking into” two institutions offering the high-interest loans. Wow, two. That’s fantastic. “We need to make sure there’s no predatory lending and also ensure that there are no risks to the institutions,” says an OTS spokesman. Well, golly.

On the investment front, guess what, the Wall Street casinos (excuse me again), investment banks are wrapping their arms around more risk. Risk is so dangerously appealing, so warm, so perfumey, so profitable, so backed by government bailouts.

Big brokerage bordellos like Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and UBS are trotting out new forms of “structured notes,” mmm, a type of debt instrument. Wall Street sold $15 billion of these honeys in the second quarter, up from $13 billion in the first, according to StructuredRetailProducts.com. So things are looking up, as long as they don’t go down. Know what I mean? Some of the new notes have a minimum investment of only $1,000 to play. So get your investment Viagra out to keep them up.

Structured notes are mainly derivatives for small investors (probably insane), but may make sense for those who truly, truly understand how they work. Basic structured notes allow buyers to benefit from the growth in stock, bond, or currency prices while offering a degree of loss protection. Like how much? Also, it’s no surprise that many of the new games are highly complex and may not, guess what, pay off all the risk. Surprise!

Buyers “have to have the [financial] experience to be able to evaluate the risk,” says Gary L. Goldsholle, general counsel at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (which is not a contradiction in terms necessarily), the securities industry’s self-governing organization (if that’s possible).

Yes, all in all, the new debt investments offer attractive rates, sometimes actually guaranteeing double-digit returns for the first couple of years. But when those old teaser rates disappear, watch out, the big ball comes very fast. And investors face huge pie-in-the-face-like losses over the life of the “instrument.”

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman says the firm “services a broad range of products for retail and ultrahigh-net-worth clients,” including structured products. It even “offers training to financial advisers to assist them in making suitability determinations,” like whose too damn dumb or naïve too buy one. UBS, wisely, declined to comment. They’re in enough trouble already with dodging taxes for clients’ deposits in off-shoring outlets.

The risks, to say the least, can be tough “to tease out” of the prospectus. But you can get yourself one of those magnifying lens with the light that you use in dark restaurants to see the credit card bill and pay it. Like a July offering from Morgan promises 10 percent interest for the first two years. But after that it pays 10 percent when short-term interest rates and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index both stay within certain ranges, and the moon has a certain purple glow to it in August, also if your teeth hurt. If the first two don’t, the investment, guess what, pays nothing. Hey ho, you in or out, bro?

The prospectus says the second scenario was a rare event over the past 15 years, but hey, you never know, and as the recent market chaos shows, history’s models aren’t always reliable, or even have clean lips, even with lipstick on these pigs. Investors in similar notes got fried last year when Lehman Brothers burned and sank.

Says Bob Williams, a broker at Delta Trust Investments in Little Rock, a man who has often pitched such “investments”: “I’m not convinced half the brokers in this country, much less their clients, understand these products.” The truth is that these instruments are not designed to be understood. They’re cooked up in mathematical double-talk by a variety of math geeks.


And if that’s not enough from Biz Week, here’s a note on Derivative Risks from the August 10, a week earlier than the “Old banks, New Tricks” pieces. It says, more or less, and I’ll try to ease the pain, that in the wake of recent financial havoc, the Financial Accounting Standards Board thought it would be a great idea to ask the big banks’ about their exposure to derivatives.

The first quarter of 2009 was the first time they had to do that, imagine, and the results are in. So hold onto your wallet and grab your seat: Exposure is extremely concentrated in the “too big to fail” institutions. In fact, “A Fitch Ratings study of 100 banking and investment firms said that 80 percent of the derivative assets and liabilities carried on the companies’ balance sheets belonged to just five outfits: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley.”

Well doesn’t that take the cake? Aren’t these the major money-suckers of the previous bailouts? Yes, they are. “What’s more, those firms hold 96 percent of the credit derivates.” Ninety-six percent! Well then, get ready as the economy sinks like the Titanic II in the murky waters of night, the thought of “forward movement” in this déjà vu economy an impossibility. Even the lifeboats are leaking. The frightened are throwing women and children overboard, the poor and the aged, the forgotten workers of a generation, all those on the losing end of the debt bonanza.

But then, for those on the winning end, the stars are shining on their Rolexes and the cash is blowing into their bonus accounts; the high times are getting higher like old times. Yes sir, and that’s what’s great about the old games and the new names or the new games with the old names. Yup, that’s what’s great about America’s Wall Streeters. They just don’t give up hustling and conning people 365 days a year. So maybe it’s time we take the gamers down, even as that iceberg gleams like a giant diamond sucking in the greedy with its seductive glow. Because if we, the everyday people up from the lower decks, don’t grab the boats, the oars and lifesavers, the fat cats will send us to the bottom with them one more time, maybe this time for good.

By Jerry Mazza
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at gvmaz@verizon.net. His new book, State Of Shock: Poems from 9/11 on” is available at www.jerrymazza.com, Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

A 95.2% Income Tax Rate?

The Tax Foundation computes the income tax rates necessary to close the deficit:

Table 1

Table 2

Financial Times

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N. Korea makes arms-grade plutonium claim

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Czech court dismisses Lisbon treaty objection

Ruling removes last obstacle to treaty ratification

US businesses at risk as lender CIT Group files for bankruptcy

The CIT Group headquarters in New York

• Restructure enables CIT to cut debt and continue trading
• US taxpayers stand to lose last year's $2.3bn state bailout

The CIT Group headquarters in New York. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in the US face financial difficulties and could go out of business after lender CIT Group filed for bankruptcy protection last night.

Although the company will keep operating, it is unlikely to be able to make the same number of loans as before. CIT provides working capital to small firms such as shops, their suppliers and restaurants, many of whom are already struggling in the recession.

In one of the the biggest corporate failures in US history, CIT made its filing in the New York bankruptcy court yesterday, after a debt-exchange offer to bondholders failed. CIT said most of its bondholders have agreed a prepackaged reorganisation plan which will reduce total debt by $10bn (£6.1bn) while allowing the company to continue to do business.

The collapse is also bad news for US taxpayers, who stand to lose the $2.3bn provided last year to prop up the troubled lender.

Creditors will end up owning the company, while common and preferred shareholders – including the US government – will be wiped out by the plan. This is the government's biggest loss yet through its Troubled Asset Relief Programme (Tarp).

"The decision to proceed with our plan of reorganisation will allow CIT to continue to provide funding to our small business and middle-market customers, two sectors that remain vitally important to the US economy," said CIT's chairman and chief executive, Jeffrey Peek, who will step down by the end of the year.

But retail trade groups are worried that many shops will be left without financing – and stock – ahead of the crucial Christmas season, with traditional banks also cutting back credit.

CIT has provided funding to 2,000 firms that supply merchandise to more than 300,000 stores. About 60% of America's clothing industry depends on CIT for financing.

Harold Reichwald of law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips said CIT's case is likely to force the company's customers to look elsewhere for financing.

"If I was a small businessman, I would say to myself, 'I have to find alternatives'," he said. "In this marketplace, there aren't a lot of alternatives."

$258,900 for a Condo in Santa Monica? One Catch. It is 400 Square Feet. Attorney General Has Eyes Set on Option ARMs.

I have been covering the option ARM fiasco for a very long time now and as I have highlighted before, this is very much a California problem. Apparently I’m not the only one that has realized that option ARMs are a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. None other than our own attorney general, Jerry Brown is going after the top option ARM banks and servicers. He has a few of the same questions that we have. How in the world are banks going to deal with the coming recasts? Have banks done anything since the crisis has started in addressing these loans? Inquiring minds would like to know.

The AG has been busy in the last year. He went after toxic mortgage poster child Countrywide successfully and recently, has gone after State Street. Jerry Brown recently came on CNBC regarding State Street:

cnbc jerry brown

Source: Zero Hedge

If anything, the AG is one of the few people that is actually going after the crony bankers and Wall Street for their financial robbery against the U.S. We should be saluting the AG for this. Instead, CNBC with their typical pandering and cheerleading for Wall Street tries to make a mockery out of the interview:

“I don’t dispute that $56 million is a lot of money, I don’t dispute the merits of the suit but you had a big press conference, you’re coming on C….N….B….C…. all this surrounding publicity over this $56 million, what do you say to people who look at this and say this is a perfect example of the demagoguery that attorney generals [sic] use when they want to run for governor.”

This is precisely what is fundamentally wrong with the financial press. Here we have a public official who has gone after Countrywide, is going after State Street, and is now openly questioning the practice regarding option ARMs that are arguably the worst loan products ever devised and CNBC has the gall to mock him for “$56 million” because in their journalistic circles, this is a tiny amount that only the proletariat would worry about. Contrary to their comrade circles, $56 million is a lot of money plus, there is the need to stop the financial thievery that has engulfed this country. Who else is going after these institutions legally? I realize that next year is a big election year and Jerry Brown is the front leading Democrat but come on financial press, we should be seeking out folks like this and Elizabeth Warren who are actually on the side of the consumer.

So what is in the letter you ask?

Global anti-Semitism demands a united response

The recent desecration of a Jewish cemetery in south Ottawa should be a wake-up call. The beast of anti-Semitism is back.

In Europe, politicians who deny the Holocaust or trivialize the massacre of Jews are elected to the European Parliament.

The Swedish left-wing paper, Aftonbladet, recently published an article claiming that Israeli soldiers kidnap and kill Palestinians to extract and sell their organs. This is the blood libel first put into circulation in the middle ages in England by anti-Jewish priests.

Another of the old anti-Semitic stereotypes is that of the secret cabal or lobby manipulating events behind the scenes to the profit and interest of Jews. A U.S.-based website called "Uncle Semite" has just published a 19-volume "catalogue of Jewish names" with 220,000 listed so that they can be sent anti-Semitic e-mails.

In Britain, the leader of the anti-Jewish National Party has been elected to the European Parliament. There, alongside openly anti-Semitic MEPs from Hungary, France, Belgium and Italy, he enjoys parliamentary immunities and lavish allowances and expenses to spend peddling his poison.

Or take the Hungarian MP, Oszkar Molnar, who speaks for the main opposition party, Fidez. He said Hungary was under threat from "global capital -- Jewish capital if you like -- which wants to devour the entire world, especially Hungary." His party is set to win power next year and his anti-Jewish remarks have been defended by the party leadership.

Then there are the difficulties of Britain's Conservative Party. Its leader, David Cameron supports Israel and is a sincere friend of Britain's Jewish community. But his hardline anti-EU associates have made an alliance in Europe with oddball Latvian politicians who celebrate the Waffen SS conscripts from Latvia despite the widespread massacres of Jews in the country during the war. British members of the European Parliament are led by a Polish politician, Michal Kaminski, who was formerly a member of a neo-Nazi party as a young man and has said Jews should apologize for killing Poles in the Second World War.

It is as if Europe's nerve-endings on anti-Semitism have atrophied and a new tolerance of what a few years ago was politics beyond the pale is now the norm. At the same time global anti-Semitism has the endorsement of state leaders such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and is propagated throughout Europe by a network of Wahabi mosques and preachers financed by Saudi Arabia. Egypt recently tried to install its Culture Minister, Farouk Hosni, as head of Unesco despite his call to burn Israeli books at Cairo University. He was defeated but only by a handful of votes and nation after nation at Unesco were ready to vote for a man with his record as the UN's education and culture supreme.

Dislike of Israel has permitted dislike of Jews to become tolerated politics again. Of course to criticize Israel is not anti-Semitic. But Jews in Canada, Britain or elsewhere in the world should not be made to feel that their beliefs and affinities can face a new anti-Semitism when other forms of racism are combatted.

That is why the initiative of the Canadian Parliament to set up its own commission of inquiry into anti-Semitism, which will begin hearings today, is to be welcomed.

I have the honour of representing the British House of Commons after I chaired a similar commission of inquiry which reported in 2006. There was no doubt after our evidence sessions and visits outside of London that British Jews faced levels of anti-Semitic pressure that was not acceptable in a modern democracy. Girls frightened to wear a Star of David chain, boys jostled on their way home from school if they sported a kippa were minor incidents, if frightening enough for students. Worse were the attacks on rabbis or Hasidic students and the organized network of anti-Semitic Islamist ideologues making university life a misery for Jewish students if they did not bow to the anti-Israel hate of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Now is time for a fightback. Government departments, editors, university leaders, diplomats and all decent politicians have to wake up to the return of organized anti-Semitism in too many of the world's democracies. Canada is showing a lead in North America but the struggle against 21st-century anti-Semitism has to be global or it will fail.

Denis MacShane, a British MP, was No. 2 at the Foreign Office under Tony Blair. He chaired the British House of Commons Commission of Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. He will be talking about his new book "Globalising Hatred: the new Antisemitism" in Ottawa and Toronto.

By Denis MacShane, Citizen Special

Cheney Failed to Answer 72 FBI Questions

(AP) Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald famously declared in the Valerie Plame affair that "there is a cloud over the vice president." Last week's release of an FBI interview summary of Dick Cheney's answers in the criminal investigation underscores why Fitzgerald felt that way.

On 72 occasions, according to the 28-page FBI summary, Cheney equivocated to the FBI during his lengthy May 2004 interview, saying he could not be certain in his answers to questions about matters large and small in the Plame controversy.

The Cheney interview reflects a team of prosecutors and FBI agents trying to find out whether the leaks of Plame's CIA identity were orchestrated at the highest level of the White House and carried out by, among others, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

Among the most basic questions for Cheney in the Plame probe: How did Libby find out that the wife of Bush administration war critic Joseph Wilson worked at the CIA?

Libby's own handwritten notes suggest Libby found out from Cheney. When Libby discovered Cheney's reference to Plame and the CIA in his notes - notes that Libby knew he would soon have to turn over to the FBI - the chief of staff went to the vice president, probably in late September or early October 2003.

Sharing the information with Cheney was in itself an unusual step at the outset of a criminal investigation in which potential White House witnesses were being ordered by their superiors not to talk to each other about the Plame matter.

"It turns out that I have a note that I had heard about" Plame's CIA identity "from you," Libby says he told the vice president.

And what did Cheney say in response? Fitzgerald asked Libby in front of a federal grand jury six months later.

"He didn't say much," Libby replied. "You know, he said something about 'From me?' something like that, and tilted his head, something he does commonly, and that was that."

Cheney's version of the conversation, as related in the FBI interview summary?

Cheney "cannot recall Scooter Libby telling him how he first heard of Valerie Wilson. It is possible Libby may have learned about Valerie Wilson's employment from the vice president ... but the vice president has no specific recollection of such a conversation."

On another basic point, Cheney simply refused to answer.

Fitzgerald had gathered evidence that Cheney apparently persuaded President George W. Bush to hurriedly declassify portions of a prewar National Intelligence Estimate on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The declassification was followed by Libby providing the information to a New York Times reporter while simultaneously talking to reporters about Plame's CIA identity.

As Fitzgerald pressed the issue in the FBI interview, Cheney refused to confirm any discussion with Bush, saying that he must refrain from commenting about any private or privileged conversations he may have had with the president.

It was an instance of Libby, who had testified two months earlier to a federal grand jury, being more forthcoming than Cheney.

Prosecutors obtained information about the leaking of the declassified NIE from Cheney's chief of staff, who testified that he had talked to New York Times reporter Judith Miller about the National Intelligence Estimate following the "president's approval relayed to me through the vice president."

Cheney's FBI interview is a study in contrasts.

Expressing uncertainty on many areas he was being questioned about and refusing to discuss another area altogether, Cheney was emphatic on at least one basic point.

According to the FBI summary, Cheney said there was no discussion of using Plame's employment with the CIA to counter her husband's criticism that the Bush administration had manipulated prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. There was no discussion, Cheney insisted, of "pushing back" on Joseph Wilson's credibility by raising the issue of nepotism, the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, the same agency that dispatched him to the African nation of Niger to run down the report of an agreement to supply uranium "yellowcake" to Iraq.

It was one example of Cheney being categorical and Libby seeming uncertain.

"In a prior FBI interview, you indicated it was possible that you may have talked to the Vice President on Air Force Two ... about whether you should share the information with the press about Wilson's wife?" the prosecutor asked Libby in his grand jury testimony.

"It's possible that would have been one of the times I could have talked to him about what I had learned," Libby replied.

"As you sit here today, do you recall whether you had such a conversation with the vice president on Air Force Two?" the prosecutor asked.

"No, sir. My, my best recollection of that conversation was what I had on my note card which we have produced which doesn't reflect anything about that," Libby replied.

Libby was indicted, tried and convicted for perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI. The president commuted his 30-month prison sentence, but rejected Cheney's pleas in the last days of the administration to pardon the vice president's former chief of staff.

The Cheney interview summary was released Friday to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which sued to get the material under the Freedom of Information Act.

10/30/09 Peter Schiff on Fox Business: Double-Dip Recession

Check this link ...... http://bit.ly/1PUu7d

Ukraine "mutated" H1N1 Swine Flu has killed 3000 people very quickly, NO CURE, NO VACCINE PNEUMONIC

Check this link ....... http://bit.ly/G7DIM