Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Flaw in US Data Overstates Growth, Productivity

A widening gap between data and reality is distorting the government’s picture of the country’s economic health, overstating growth and productivity in ways that could affect the political debate on issues like trade, wages and job creation.

Hundred Dollar
Bill Haber / AP

The shortcomings of the data-gathering system came through loud and clear here Friday and Saturday at a first-of-its-kind gathering of economists from academia and government determined to come up with a more accurate statistical picture.

The fundamental shortcoming is in the way imports are accounted for. A carburetor bought for $50 in China as a component of an American-made car, for example, more often than not shows up in the statistics as if it were the American-made version valued at, say, $100. The failure to distinguish adequately between what is made in America and what is made abroad falsely inflates the gross domestic product, which sums up all value added within the country.

American workers lose their jobs when carburetors they once made are imported instead. The federal data notices the decline in employment but fails to revalue the carburetors or even pinpoint that they are foreign-made. Because it seems as if $100 carburetors are being produced but fewer workers are needed to do so, productivity falsely rises — in the national statistics.

“We don’t have the data collection structure to capture what is happening in a real time way, or what is being traded and how it is affecting workers,” said Susan Houseman, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich., who has done pioneering research in the field. “We have no idea how to measure the occupations being offshored or what is being inshored.”

The statistical distortions can be significant. At worst, the gross domestic product would have risen at only a 3.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter instead of the 3.5 percent actually reported, according to some experts at the conference. The same gap applies to productivity. And the spread is growing as imports do.

That may help to explain why the recovery from the 2001 recession was a jobless one for many months and why the recovery from this recession is likely to generate few jobs for many months.

In addition, more detailed import data would help to explain wage inequality, by linking some low wages more accurately to particular industries exposed to import competition.

On another front, many argue that labor productivity is rising faster than the pay of workers who made the greater productivity possible. That argument would be watered down if more accurate data showed that productivity had been overstated.

“What we are measuring as productivity gains may in fact be changes in trade,” said William Alterman, assistant commissioner for international prices at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The federal agencies that compile the nation’s statistics increasingly acknowledge that they lack the detailed data needed to calculate the impact of imported goods and services as imports rise from an insignificant 5 percent of all economic activity 35 years ago to more than 12 percent today, not counting petroleum. As a result, many imports are valued as if they were made in the United States and therefore higher in price than their imported counterparts.

The problem is particularly acute in manufacturing. Imported components constitute an ever greater share of the computers, autos, appliances and other finished merchandise that roll off assembly lines in the United States — and an ever greater share of all of the nation’s imports.

But the statistical system is not yet up to the task of sorting out which components are made here, which are made overseas and the resulting impact on employment. As Lori G. Kletzer, an economist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, put it, “We don’t know what jobs have been offshored.”

The same holds for services. An accounting firm in New York with 50 employees outsources some of its functions to less expensive accountants in India: the paperwork on an income tax return, for example. That work comes back to New York by computer transmission and is billed at New York rates, as if it were value added in this country.

Grappling with these blind spots, nearly all of the 80 experts at the conference, which was sponsored by the Upjohn Institute and the National Academy of Public Administration, agreed that the statistics now published tend to overstate the strength of the economy. That view was shared by those who attended from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Reserve, all big players in measuring economic performance.

The stated goal, among those at the conference, is to repair the statistics, but that requires several years, lots of money (from Congress) to gather more information about what companies are doing, and whole new procedures for measuring imports. Much of the conference was devoted to an analysis of the gap between existing data and reality, and ways to close that gap.

Imports and exports are recorded, of course, as they enter and leave the country. The American trade deficit speaks volumes. But when it comes to who gets what import — particularly which manufacturer gets what component or what metal or what machine — these details are not gathered.

Instead, the federal agencies use an import price index, much of it imputed from small samples, that fails to capture just when an auto company switches from a domestically made carburetor to a less expensive Chinese model, and whether that shift is in all of the company’s plants or just those in Michigan.

“We can’t pick up the price shift,” Mr. Alterman said. “We are not designed to do that.”

Report: Suspected Fort Hood shooter prayed at same mosque as 9/11 terrorists

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of shooting dead 13 people and wounding 30 others in Fort Hood, Texas, prayed at the same mosque as two of the September 11 terrorists, according to a report published in the Sunday Telegraph.

Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, in 2001, at the same time as the two terrorists, and the FBI may investigate whether Hasan met them, the Telegraph reported.

Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni, who has been accused of supporting attacks on British troops and supporting terrorist organizations, was the mosque's imam at the time.

Al-Awlaki moved to Virginia from the West Coast, and three months later September 11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour began attending his services, the Telegraph reported.

A fellow Muslim officer at Fort Hood told the newspaper that Hasan's eyes "lit up" when he mentioned his deep respect for the controversial imam's teachings.

Hasan's grandfather on Saturday said he found it impossible to believe his grandson had committed the act.

"He is a doctor and loves the U.S.," Ismail Mustafa Hamad said from his home in the Palestinian town of al-Bireh. "America made him what he is."
Hasan, who was shot during last Thursday's attack at Fort Hood, was in a coma under guard at a military hospital in San Antonio, Texas, and was said to be in a "stable" condition.

Hasan opened fire using two guns including a semi-automatic weapon, apparently without warning, at Fort Hood base, where troops were getting medical checkups before leaving for foreign deployments.

Hasan was transferred to Fort Hood in April and was to have been deployed to Afghanistan, where the U.S. military is fighting Taliban and al-Qaida.

Big Bankers Say They're Doing God's Work ... Are They Right?

Preface: If you are a Christian or Jew, the importance of the Bible is probably obvious. If you are not, please consider passing this essay on to people of those faiths who you know.

If you are an atheist and believe that religion is crazy, please remember that some 85% of the American population identifies itself as Christian and millions more identify themselves as Jewish, and that most people make decisions and process information based on their beliefs and emotions.

The head of Goldman Sachs literally said he's doing "God's work" with his banking activities.

The head of Barclays also recently told his congregation that banking as practiced by his company was not antithetical to Christian principles.

Are they right? Is big banking as practiced by the giant banks in harmony with Christian principles?

Do Justice

Initially, the Bible does not counsel us to ignore the breaking of laws by the the powerful.

In fact, the Bible mentions justice over 200 times -- more than just about any other topic. The Bible asks us to do justice and to stand up to ANYONE -- including the rich or powerful -- who do injustice or oppress the people.

There have been widespread, credible allegations that Goldman Sachs and other giant banks have broken the law (see this, for example).

Indeed, one of the first things God asks of us is to do justice:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
While many churches and synagogues have become obsessed with other issues, many have arguably ignored this most important of God's demands of us. As pointed out by a leading Christian ministry, which rescues underage girls trapped as sex slaves in third world countries:
In Scripture there is a constant call to seek justice. Jesus got upset at the Pharisees because they neglected the weightier matters of the law, which He defined as justice and the love of God . . . Isaiah 58 complains about the fact that while the people of God are praying and praying and praying, they are not doing anything about the injustice.
Should Christians just pray for justice and leave the rest to God?

That's not what the Bible asks us to do. Instead, Hebrews 11:33 tells us that we are God's hands for dispensing justice, and God uses us to "administer justice."

We have to "walk our talk" and put our prayers into action.

God demands that we do everything in our power to act as "God's hands" in bringing justice. And as Saint Augustine reminds us, "Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."

Please reflect on the following Scripture:
The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene. (Isaiah 59:15-16)
This is the only place in the Bible where the word "appalled" is used for the way God feels -- in other words, the only thing which we know God is appalled by is if people are not doing justice.

There are hundreds of other references to justice in the Bible, including:
  • Blessed are they who maintain justice . . . . (Psalm 106:3)
  • This is what the LORD says: Maintain justice and do what is right . . . . (Isiah 56:1)
  • This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. (Jeremiah 22:3,13-17)
  • Follow justice and justice alone. (Deuteronomy 16:19, 20)
  • For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice . . . . (Job 11:5,7)
  • Learn to do right! Seek justice . . . . (Isaiah 1:17)
So if the powerful players in the giant banks broke the laws, they must be held to account.

Manipulating Money

Moreover, there have been credible allegations that Goldman Sachs and other giant banks manipulate the currency and other markets.

As Ron Paul notes, the Bible forbids altering the quality of money (which, at the time and place, was entirely in the form of coins):
Even the Bible is clear that altering the quality of money is an immoral act. We are instructed to follow the rules of "just weights and measures." "You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin" (Leviticus 19:35-36). "Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and a false balance is not good" (Proverbs 20:23). The general principle can be summed as "You shall not steal."
Proverbs 11:1 also provides:
Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.
So to the extent that the giant banks have engaged in any dishonest acts or the manipulation of currencies, they are violating scripture.

Of course, any bankers who charge usurious interest rates should remember the little story about Jesus turning over the money changers' tables.

Oppression of the Poor

Finally, the Bible condemns oppression of the poor for the benefit of the affluent:
He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want. (Proverbs 22:16)
To the extent that the giant banks have oppressed the poor to increase their riches, they are violating scripture.

"Ft. Hood - 9/11 link" echoes DHS attempt to set up Muslim 9/11 truth activist

The recent FBI attempt to link Ft. Hood patsy Nidal Hasan to 9/11 has elicited plenty of eyeball-rolling among Americans accustomed to extreme government duplicity and mendacity. But so far nobody has noticed that the alleged Nidal Hasan - 9/11 link echoes an attempt just over a month earlier to frame a leading Muslim 9/11 truth activist as a "terrorist sympathizer."

The Washington Post informs us:

"Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church in 2001, when its spiritual leader was Anwar al-Aulaqi, a figure who crossed paths with al-Qaeda associates, including two Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, one senior U.S. official said."

This isn't the first government effort to frame an antiwar Muslim by suggesting an association with the "pro-terrorist" Al-Aulaki. On September 24th, Muslim Marine-vet 9/11 truth activist Muhammed Abdullah was raided by an apparently DHS-coordinated team of over 10 government agents on a transparently bogus pretext. According to Abdullah, the agents repeatedly asked him about whether he might commit a terrorist act, and what he thought about Al-Aulaki. Abdullah says he felt the agents were trying to set him up.

The raid on Abdullah shows that the authorities were targeting antiwar and 9/11 truth activities of a Muslim veteran, and trying to smear that veteran by linking him to Al-Aulaki, more than a month before the shootings at Ft. Hood.

Was the Ft. Hood incident a psychological operation designed to discredit a group that the government fears -- Muslims who oppose the war and support 9/11 truth? Was it also intended to have a pro-war effect on public opinion, by portraying war resisters as "radical Muslim mass killers"?

Muslims and others are already questioning the highly-improbable official version of the Ft. Hood incident. The way the Ft. Hood "Al-Aulaki 9/11 connection" echoes an earlier attempt to frame 9/11 truth activist Muhammed Abdullah adds to those suspicions.

* * *

Shaykh Anwar Al-Aulaki, demonized by the 9/11 perps for defending the right of Muslims in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan to defend themselves against criminal wars of aggression.

Is Goldman Sachs “doing God’s work”? Its CEO thinks so


Check out the headline at the bottom left of the Sunday Times front page. The man the London paper calls the most powerful banker on Earth says he is “just a banker ‘doing God’s work’” .

The report says Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein“proudly pays himself more in a year than most of us could ever dream of — $68m in 2007 alone, a record for any Wall Street CEO, to add to the more than $500m of Goldman stock he owns” .

Goldman Sachs looks set to pay about $20 billion in bonuses for its top traders this year, at a time when the fallout from last year’s financial crisis is still being felt and the United States unemployment rate has hit 10.2 percent, a 26-1/2-year high.

In his defence, Blankfein said in the interview: “We help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It’s a virtuous cycle … We have a social purpose.”

A New System For The Privleged Is Not A Remedy For The Economy

Lessons to learn herein our newsletter, president ratings disgraceful, US citezens reduced to credit addicts, paper rife with fraud, AIG still bonusing staff after TARP, US laughing stock of capital finance.

IF subscribers are people who have taken the red pill. We are happy to show them how deep the rabbit-hole goes. - BOB aka Morpheus.
Our usurping, non-citizen, spendthrift President, together with our corrupt, elitist-bootlicking Congress of money-grabbing Dumbos and Jackasses, are spending us into a multi-trillion dollar hyperinflationary oblivion as their ratings by their constituents drop into the toilet bowl, ratings which are disgracefully the lowest in all of US history. With a diabolical "Robin Hood in Reverse" plan in place since 1913 for the extortion of money from the US middle class to reduce their serfs to poverty and abject slavery, the Illuminati have managed to use the Federal Reserve Act and US income tax, together with the Social Security Ponzi Scheme, phony, orchestrated wars for profit, socialization of bankster-gangster losses, the globalism/free trade/off-shoring/outsourcing/legal-illegal immigration agendas, and a totally bought-and-paid-for President, Congress, judiciary and regulatory agencies, to reduce US citizens to consumerist credit addicts, living pay check to pay check like narcissistic hedonists.

The future, dumbed-down serfs of the future "masters of the universe" (so-called), now watch completely meaningless sports games and trash-TV instead of getting informed and taking action to save their country from the group of satanic trillionaires who have created the Goldilocks Matrix which they now occupy. We ask our fellow citizens in the matrix: Do you want the blue pill, or do you want the red pill? So far, most Americans have unfortunately opted for the blue pill. As always, those who have opted for the red pill are going to have to save the blue pill idiots from the consequences of their own pitiful ignorance. People who take the red pill are subscribing to the IF to get the truth and are buying gold and silver like there is no tomorrow so they can live to fight another day when the worldwide financial system collapses, as planned, to pave the way for a one world police state. The bold people who took the red pills are going to be all over the Illuminati like flies on rice when that happens, and you can take that to the bank, if there is still a single bank left standing after the Quadrillion Dollar Derivative Death Star goes supernova.

After watching most of our manufacturing industries shipped overseas, we have been reduced to tapping on keyboards, greeting people at department stores, flipping burgers, providing menial healthcare services for pitiful wages and shoving stacks of paper to and fro, while producing little that has any lasting value. Our financial industry, which by and large is run by Illuminist crooks, are using insider trading information from the PPT, led by Goldman Sachs and their government-gifted, front-running trade algorithm, to gun for the fast and easy buck, thereby transforming our capital markets from places where we can invest in our future into gambling casinos complete with craps tables and roulette wheels. When they profit, they get outrageous bonuses, but when they have gambling losses, they pass them on to taxpayers via the sewer slime and pond scum in Congress and in the Executive Branch who are attached to marionette strings, with the Puppet Masters in our shadow government holding the sticks to which those strings are attached, causing them to bob and weave like the wooden dummies that they are.

While our financial industry pushes a lot of paper around, most of the paper produced is rife with fraud and deceitful schemes meant to enrich the evil Illuminati, as well as their henchmen on Wall Street, at Goldman Sachs North, aka the Treasury Department employment pool, and at Goldman Sachs South where money and employees from Goldman Sachs North are shared for a while, all at the expense of just about everyone else around the globe. The bankster-gangsters are already in the process of creating the next subprime derivative bubble through Fannie and Freddie, the FHA (Federal Housing Administration), the FHLB (Federal Home Loan Bank) and the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), to the tune of many hundreds of billions of dollars. The new subprime real estate bubble, powered by artificially low interest rates, little or no down payment requirements and lax credit standards, together with an $8,000 first time home buyers credit, will be popped later as the next round of inevitable defaults gets underway, probably one to two years from now. This fraudulent subprime loan origination and securitization not only adds nothing to our economy, it will eventually help destroy our economy. The bankster-gangsters and their henchmen will get the goldmine of commissions, fees, spreads, salaries and bonuses, and you will get the shaft.

GS, which sometimes stands for Goldman Sachs, but which always stands for Gold Suppression, is having some public relations issues, and no wonder. The Vampire Squid marches on, continuing to suck the life blood out of all the "useless eaters," helping to prepare the way for a one world police state by assisting in the collapse of the world financial system while they make a filthy fortune along the way. Some day, they are going to choke on all the filthy lucre they have purloined from the public. Ahoy there, Captain Obama. There's a Vampire Squid swimming along the port side of the USS Banana Republic. Well then, what are you waiting for First Mate Geithner, hoist up the Jolly Roger in acknowledgement!

By the way, when is GS going to pay back the tens of billions that were given to AIG by taxpayers so that Goldman would not go under as the insured counterparty to credit default swaps guaranteed by AIG that had gone sour? They have a lot of nerve issuing bonuses when they still owe the government big-time from the AIG bailout! And they would not have been able to pay the bailout money back if their totally bogus mark-to-model balance sheets were to show true mark-to-market figures. They are just as bankrupt as all the rest of the "anointed" legacy banks and investment banks, with a lot of their toxic waste still off balance sheet and offshore in SIV's, structured investment vehicles, in VIE's, variable interest entities, and in OTC derivatives, which taken together expose them to tens of billions in losses if not hundreds of billions. And who knows what their credit default swap portfolio looks like even after the AIG bailouts. We wonder how much of their toxic waste has been pawned off on the Fed in exchange for treasuries under the Term Securities Lending Facility? And how much of this GS toxic waste has been pledged as collateral at face value for near zero interest Fed loan money which they have parked with the Fed at 3% or which they have used to buy equities on insider trading information as the leading PPT operative with their front-running trade algorithms as the stock markets have rocketed 60% in six months for the first time in history despite the fact that we face the worst economic scenario in our history? Of course, we can't tell, because GS won't disclose it and the Fed says it's a state secret. GS is simply ignoring the new Basel II and Basel III mark-to-market rules which now apply to them because they opted to become a bank to get Fed bailout largesse. Who is going to make them comply? The BIS? The Fed? The Treasury? The SEC? The CFTC? The FASB? The President? The Congress? The Supreme Court?

GS either owns, or is in cahoots with, all of the above. The whole system is laughable. We are now the laughing stock of world finance.

GS would have had to keep the bailout money from the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), and the salary and bonus restrictions that go with them, in order to shore up their awful balance sheets if the terrible truth about their financial condition were made known. In addition, their profits are all totally illegal based on insider trading and government black box front-running algorithms, a gift from our government's bogus so-called regulatory agencies who sit on their fat duffs and do nothing about blatant financial scams like Madoff Ponzi schemes and the naked shorting of stocks. That is because GS and all of the regulatory agencies themselves are in on virtually all of these financial scams as silent partners. Trust us when we tell you, our regulatory criminals profit greatly from their inaction, whether from bribes, insider trading profits, shares in criminal booty and/or very lucrative jobs they just happen to fall into when they leave government service.

Incidentally, the Basel II rules were part of the overall plan to destroy our economy, much like the repeal of Glass-Steagall that allowed banks to get into investment banking activities again and the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act which deregulated the OTC derivatives market. All these legislative machinations were put in place in order to create a new, less regulated, much larger and far more vulnerable and out-of-control (i.e. highly leveraged) financial system which, when broken, would accelerate the current financial crisis, making the implosion louder and the dive steeper. The purpose in doing so was to destroy the old nation-state financial system and replace it with a satanic global financial system that would make the Vampire Squid look like a Shrimp or a Sea Horse by comparison. The current financial crisis in the US and around the world was not a failure of capitalism, but an intentional looting of the world financial system by Illuminist crony fascism sheep-dipped in capitalism. The old British Mercantilist System that has been surreptitiously adopted in the US via both the Federal Reserve Act (stealth tax on the masses by inflation of the money supply) and the US income tax (direct taxation of the masses) is a freedom-choking system of financial bondage which allows a nation's economic system to be hijacked by the wealthy and powerful. It is anything but free market capitalism. This is the very system of financial bondage that our Founding Fathers fought a very bloody and costly war to rid themselves of. They are rolling over in their graves.

Basel II, which was implemented by the ultimate Illuminist financial institution, the BIS (Bank of International Settlements) in Basel, Switzerland, is like an adjuvant to the crisis, preventing banks from lending again for fear that they may have to comply with mark-to-market rules, thus choking off our economy to pave the way for an Orwellian one world police state of feudality. Basel II is the perfect excuse for the legacy banks to stand on the sidelines while they gobble up government TARP money and refuse to lend to anyone but the "anointed." But remember, there is one system for the "anointed," and another system for everyone else. Thus, the Fed and corrupt US regulators will allow the anointed legacy banks to essentially blow off Basel II, and will only hold the feet of the non-anointed small fry to the Basel II fire. Thus, the big will get bigger, and the small will fail and get eaten by the larger. No wonder Obama and Geithner want the Fed to become the new super regulator, with even more power to decide which banks and corporations will live, and which will die. All the more reason to audit and get rid of the Fed. We do not need a drooling Head Fox guarding the henhouse.

While the resulting credit crunch was ongoing, the Fed "convinced" Congress to allow them to pay interest on member bank reserves held by the Fed. Credit, at near zero rates, is now being extended by the Fed to its "anointed" in exchange for their toxic waste as collateral, which proceeds are then being deposited with the Fed as reserves at a 3% rate of interest instead of being re-loaned, and we'll give you three guesses as to who gets to pay for this interest on reserves. That is a very profitable and risk free spread, but only for the "anointed," as the Fed can open and shut its discount loan window to whomever it darn well pleases, being a privately owned bank. The small fry can go scratch, and many have already succumbed. This will continue until the number of banks in our banking system is cut in half. The FDIC is beyond broke. They don't even have enough to cover but a tiny fraction of potential losses, much less to cover the losses from the failure of half of the banks in the entire system. Either the claims for lost deposits will not be paid, or so much money will be printed to pay those claims that the money received in payment will be virtually worthless, along with any and all remaining dollar-denominated assets. This is going to become a very big problem indeed in the not-too-distant future. The solution: Empty your bank accounts of all but one to three months of necessary household operating expenses, and buy gold and silver related assets with the rest, along with freeze-dried food, a water filter, and the means to defend your family from malefactors, both public and private.

This 3% interest on reserves is one of the primary reasons the Fed won't say which banks are getting the zero interest loans, because that would identify the Illuminist institutions who are scamming US taxpayers despite being bankrupt. These insolvent institutions should be liquidated in bankruptcy court, but instead public largesse is being used to keep them alive so they can feed their henchmen with salaries and bonuses, which would not otherwise be possible. In addition, these greedy Illuminist institutions are making a risk-free 3%, are hoarding their monetary reserves to sterilize them from having an inflationary impact on the economy in order to suppress gold and silver, and are cutting off the public from acquiring credit even though the public has bailed them out and is guaranteeing their loans from the Fed. Talk about moral hazard!

The near zero rates, and the huge spread on reserve deposits with the Fed, is being protected by currency swaps which the Fed and other foreign central banks have been exchanging with one another. This keeps foreign banks out of US credit markets so their demand for dollars won't bid up loan rates in the US. These swaps are also being used as conduits by the Fed to feed dollars to foreign banks so they can purchase treasuries, thus keeping treasury rates, and the mortgage rates that are tied into them, on the lower end of the spectrum, while at the same time the Fed uses its foreign currencies from the swap arrangements to weaken those foreign currencies by dumping them on the currency exchanges, thus strengthening the dollar and putting pressure on gold and silver. Needless to say, all the dollars and other foreign currencies used in these swap arrangements are being created out of thin air via monetization, which means that all major currencies are being debauched simultaneously, thus paving the way for a one world currency, while at the same time inexorably driving gold and silver to new heights against all currencies.

By giving the legacy banks the excuse not to continue lending due to the threat of Basel II mark-to-market rules, which rules were temporarily delayed by the FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) to delay recognition of losses so the Illuminists could continue to milk the system by originating and packaging their fraudulent loans and securitizations for profits to fund outrageous salaries and bonuses, the recovery of the US economy has been choked off for everyone except the Illuminists and their corrupt, "anointed," financial institutions. This choking off of credit also sterilizes the inflationary effect that would result if banks started lending again, because the fractional reserve banking multiplier would create a boatload of money out of thin air. In this manner, the Fed is able to feed money exclusively to its cronies in the financial system without stoking inflation to dizzying levels, while everyone else floats off into financial oblivion.

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THE head of the world’s most powerful bank yesterday claimed he was doing “God’s work”.

Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein said “everybody should be happy” about a return to big profits and bumper bonuses at banks because it meant the global economy was recovering.

Just months after taxpayers bailed out banks, Goldman Sachs could have £12billion to lavish on wages and bonuses this year.

Mr Blankfein said: “We help companies to grow by helping them raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more wealth. We have a social purpose.”

His words will enrage critics, who blame reckless bankers for causing the worst recession since the Great Depression.

They will also anger religious leaders, who have long argued that bankers’ fat pay packets and bonuses are immoral.

But Mr Blankfein said that limiting bankers’ pay would harm the financial system.

“I don’t want to put a cap on their ambition. The financial system may have led us into crisis but it will lead us out.”

China’s Premier Warns Obama to Get America’s Deficit to an “Appropriate Size”

In this video the financial imbeciles from Tech Ticker talk about a recent statement from China’s premier Wen Jiabao. Earlier today Jiabao sent a shot across the dollar’s bow by stating that the U.S. government must get its financial house in order to assure that its currency remains stable. The statement from Jiabao was a significant blow to the dollar which led to gold breaking $1,100 an ounce.

Commercial mortgage lending down 54%

Commercial and multifamily mortgage lending in the U.S. fell 12 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter and is down 54 percent from year ago levels, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The drop includes a year over year decrease in lending for all types of commercial properties. Loans for retail properties are down 62 percent. Loans for office properties are down 56 percent, MBA says.

Apartment lending is down 40 percent.

“Tight credit conditions coupled with scant demand for new loans meant that commercial and multifamily mortgage originations remained low for the third quarter,” said MBA vice president of commercial real estate research Jamie Woodwell. “A pullback by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their multifamily activity outweighed increases in commercial and multifamily lending by insurance companies and commercial banks.”

Apartment developers, like AvalonBay Communities, are facing less demand and falling rents as unemployment rises. Alexandria-based AvalonBay, the nation’s second largest apartment community owner, expects rental revenue to fall as much as 6.25 percent this quarter.

In addition, company downsizing has dampened demand for new office space across the country.

U.S. rail traffic still down sharply: industry group

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. rail traffic remains sharply down from a year ago, a trade group said, but shipments in some industries have shown improvement.

Carloadings on major U.S. railroads in the week ended October 31 dipped 13.7 percent from a year ago, the Association of American Railroads said in its weekly report.

But at 275,439 carloads, traffic was down 18.2 percent from the same week in 2007 -- before the recession hit.

A quick, widespread recovery is unlikely as modest increases in rail traffic from week to week have yet to push shipments up to pre-recession levels.

However, industry demand is showing steady improvements, with shipments of some commodities the association tracks managing to exceed year-ago levels.

U.S. carloads of grain mill products were 9.9 percent above the year-ago week, while chemical shipments were up 3.6 percent, the report said. Shipments of waste and scrap materials edged up 0.7 percent, and carloads of nonmetallic minerals inched up 0.3 percent from last year.

Consumer product-focused intermodal traffic transported 203,860 loaded truck trailers and shipping containers on flat railcars in the week, down 11.1 percent from 2008 and 15.5 percent from 2007.

Prospects for improved intermodal activity look good as other data point to the labor market healing and retail sales picking up.

The Labor Department reported that new weekly jobless claims fell to a 10-month low, but the seasonally adjusted number of workers filing claims still exceeded 500,000. [ID:nN05106320] A separate report from ADP Employer Services LLC showed private sector employers cut jobs at the slowest pace in more than a year. [ID:nN04349022]

Though October same-store sales fell short of analysts' expectations for 52 percent of U.S. retail chains, the 1.8 percent rise in sales for the month was the strongest showing since June 2008 as consumers are stepping up their shopping.

Total U.S. freight transportation in the first 10 months of 2009 reached an estimated 1.229 trillion ton-miles, trailing roughly 17 percent from the same 2008 and 2007 period. The ton-mile is a unit used by the association and represents one ton of freight hauled one mile.

By Jasmin Melvin

Intelligence Officials Deny Sitting on Information About Fort Hood Shooting Suspect

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, announced Monday that he's asked the heads of the FBI, NSA and CIA to "preserve" all documents and material connected to the attack at Fort Hood last week that killed 13 and injured 29.

U.S. intelligence officials on Monday denied that the intelligence community "sat" on valuable information about the alleged Fort Hood shooter before last week's massacre, after one lawmaker questioned whether agencies like the CIA could have done more to warn military and government officials.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, announced Monday that he's asked the heads of the FBI, NSA and CIA to "preserve" all documents and material connected to the attack. He said the administration has "critical information" that it is "refusing to release" to Congress and the public about the attack, and that lawmakers will want to "scrutinize" how intelligence officials handled information about the shooter before the attack.

Hoekstra's announcement came as ABC News reported that intelligence agencies knew for months that Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was trying to contact people associated with Al Qaeda. The report said it was unclear whether the agencies informed the Army.

But a U.S. intelligence official told Fox News it would be wrong to allege the CIA had information about Hasan contacting Al Qaeda that it did not share with the Army.

"There's no sign at this point that the CIA had collected information relevant to this case and then simply sat on it," the official said.

CIA spokeswoman Marie Hard also said in a statement that "any suggestion that the CIA refused to brief Congress is flat wrong."

Military and intelligence officials are starting to come under pressure from lawmakers in the wake of the Texas attack, which killed 13 people and wounded 29.

"I intend to push for intense review of this and other issues related to the performance of the intelligence community and whether or not information necessary for military, state and local officials to provide for the security of the post was provided to them," Hoekstra, R-Mich., said in a written statement.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., head of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said Monday that she was contacted by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair on Friday, and will be getting a fuller briefing soon.

Sen. Joe Lieberman also told "Fox News Sunday" that he will launch a congressional investigation into the attack -- including into whether there were "warning signs" that the U.S. Army should have acted upon.

The Independent Democrat, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said that if Hasan were showing warning signs, "The U.S. Army has to have zero tolerance. He should have been gone." He said there were "strong warning signs" that Hasan was an "Islamist extremist."

His office said in a statement Monday that the inquiry will begin with a public hearing next week.

Lieberman has been looking into the impact of Islamic extremism in the U.S. for years, and his Fort Hood probe would be a continuation of that investigation, according to a committee spokeswoman.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking Republican on the committee, clarified that the inquiry is "in no way to criticize the Army's investigation."

In interviews Sunday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey urged the public not to rush to conclusions about Hasan's motives with an investigation underway. He described reports about early warning signs as "speculation" based on anecdotes.

"I don't want to say that we missed it," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Hasan is now awake and speaking to medical staff at Brooke Army Medical Center. He is in critical but stable condition according to the hospital.

Fox News' Justin Fishel and Steve Centanni contributed to this report.

White House Leans Toward Sending More Than 30,000 Troops to Afghanistan

Officials said President Obama will not announce his decision until after he returns from his upcoming trip to Asia and stressed that no final decision has been made, even in private. But the plan under consideration would represent a middle ground between different requests made from the top commander in Afghanistan.

The White House and military officials are leaning toward sending more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, U.S. officials told Fox News on Monday.

Officials said President Obama will not announce his decision until after he returns from his upcoming trip to Asia and stressed that no final decision has been made, even in private.

But the plan under serious consideration would split the difference between troop requests made by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal had put forward a "high risk" request for only 10,000-15,000 troops, and a "medium risk" request of 40,000-45,000.

The plan under consideration would call for sending the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky.; the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y.,; and a Marine brigade for a total of 23,000 troops. An additional 7,000 troops would staff a new division in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Obama has deliberated over McChrystal's request for more troops for months. He's weighed calls to dramatically escalate the U.S. presence in the region as part of a full-scale counterinsurgency effort against calls to more carefully hone the U.S. mission around taking out top Al Qaeda targets -- a mission that would not require as many troops.

But a string of military officials have spoken out in recent weeks in favor of some kind of troop increase. Most recently, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said Sunday that more troops are probably needed in Afghanistan, in part to hold back the Taliban while Afghan forces are being trained.

Fox News' Steve Centanni contributed to this report.