Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exxon Earns $9.5 Billion Q1 Profit One Month After Arkansas Oil Spill That It Pays No Taxes To Help Clean Up

One month after dumping 500,000 gallons of tar sands crude oil from a ruptured pipeline in Arkansas, the most valuable and profitable corporation in the world ExxonMobil announced higher first quarter profits. Exxon earned $9.5 billion in the first quarter, compared to $9.45 billion last year, and Exxon’s total oil and natural gas production declined 3.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Exxon is exempt from paying taxes toward the oil spill liability fund that helps clean up spills like in Arkansas, where wildlife have been killed and covered by oil. The 1980 law exemption applies to diluted bitumen so companies escape paying the 8-cents-per-barrel fee to the fund that helps clean up hundreds of spills each year. At the federal level, Exxon’s tax rate comes to only 13 percent.
Here is how else Exxon spends its dollars, and what it receives in return:
– Exxon spent $12,970,000 on lobbying in 2012 to protect low tax rates and block pollution controls and safeguards for public health. In the first three months of 2013, Exxon spent $4.84 million lobbying.
– The company sent $3.6 million in total political contributions to PACs, candidates, and outside groups for the 2012 election cycle, and 89 percent of contributions went to Republicans. It has spent over $76,000 for the 2014 cycle so far.
– Exxon receives an estimated $600 million in annual federal tax breaks. In 2011, Exxon paid just 13 percent in taxes. The company paid no federal income tax in 2009, despite $45.2 billion record profits.
– In the first quarter, Exxon bought back $5.6 billion of its stock, or 59 percent of its profit, which enriches the largest shareholders and executives of the company.
– This year, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson received a 15 percent raise to a $40.3 million salary.

8 Revisions to Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill That You Need to Know About

image source
Joe Martino
Activist Post

The House of Commons passed the new anti-terrorism bill on April 24th 2013 and received royal assent on the 25th. The bill revived provisions from the Anti-terrorism Act passed just after the Sept. 11 attacks and adds some new ones that can very easily violate civil rights.

It is no secret that since 9/11 the increase in security and the sheer removal of civil rights and freedoms has been extensive. This of course comes under the guise of protection and safety, but still we fail to see any major terror attacks that have not been either 1. caused by the FBI themselves 2. have had government and other agency groups heavily involved or 3. have had a large number of factors suggesting the event was a staged attack. In fact, it was recently disclosed that of the 22 terror related attacks since 9/11, 14 of them have been created and caused by the FBI themselves. [1]

Some new provisions such as investigative hearings and preventive detentions have been added to the new act and are creating quite a controversial stir as many begin to question the real intention behind the passing of these bills. These came after an suspected terror plot was foiled where two men were allegedly plotting to derail a train in Toronto. Another shady accusation.

1. Investigative hearings are reinstated

An individual can be forced to appear at a secret hearing without any charges being laid if authorities believe he or she has knowledge of a terrorist activity. The individual must appear and answer questions or risk being jailed for up to 12 months.

2. Preventive detentions are reinstated

An individual can be held for up to three days on suspicion of being involved with terrorism. Upon release, he or she can be ordered to uphold probation-like conditions, such as not contacting certain people, for up to 12 months, without ever being charged with any offence.

3. Both provisions are ‘sunsetted’ again

Both investigative hearings and preventive detention are “sunsetted” to expire in five years, as they were under the original 2001 law, and which is what happened in 2007. Under the new law, the government must explain annually why it’s necessary to extend these measures.

4. New offences target foreign travel

An individual can be charged with leaving or attempting to leave the country with the intent of committing an act of terrorism. This provision could apply if someone travelled from Canada to attend a terrorist training camp overseas.

5. Acts committed outside Canada can be prosecuted

An individual can be prosecuted for hijacking an aircraft or endangering safety on a plane or at an airport in another country if that person is found in Canada.

6. Facilitating terrorism in another country is illegal

For instance, anyone who knowingly facilitates the communication of false information — such as by knowingly lending someone his or her cellphone, outside Canada, to make an emergency call about a false bomb threat against an aircraft — could, if found in Canada, face up to 14 years imprisonment.

7. Wiretapping provisions stay in place

In a terrorism case, authorities do not have to prove that electronic surveillance is a last resort. Wiretaps can stay in place for up to a year. People don’t have to be informed they’ve been wiretapped for up to three years after the surveillance took place.

8. Some penalties are toughened

The penalty for harbouring or concealing a person known to have committed a terrorist act has been extended from a maximum of 10 years to 14 years in prison.

As you can tell, the media and government continues to use fear as a means to remove more and more rights from citizens. We sometimes believe this is for our own safety, but very seldom does any real and legitimate event take place. I think as a people, it’s important to not allow the fear to take over and be such a factor in not being able to properly view the events taking place.

Fear is one very effective way the media has been able to use our emotions to cover up our intuition and logic when it comes to critically thinking about what is taking place. See past the fear, find the calm and neutrality that is within you. This is a great tool in navigating through the interesting times we are in.


JPMorgan Accounts For 99.3% Of The COMEX Gold Sales In The Last Three Months

Submitted by Mark McHugh from Across The Street
Jamie Dimon Has Issues
When just one firm accounts for 99.3% of the physical gold sales at the COMEX in the last three months it’s not what most of us on this side of the rainbow would consider “broad-based” selling.  Of course discovering this kind of relevant information requires an internet connection, 2nd grade math and reading skills, and the desire to do a teeny-weeny bit of reporting.  Sadly they’ve wandered so far down the rabbit hole that the concept of “physical demand” (i.e. people actually wanting to take possession of the stuff) is puzzling to them because the vast majority of the world’s so-called “gold-trading” takes place in the realm of make believe (which is their natural habitat).  It’s all fun and games until somebody loses their metal and “somebody” has lost one hell of a lot of metal in the last 90 days.
This is the CME Group’s COMEX metals issues and stops year-to-date report, which can be found here everyday for free.  It chronicles the physical delivery notices of various metals, including gold.  Let’s have a look:

“I” is for “Idiot”
That’s how I remember it, anyway. “I” actually stands for “issues,” meaning the firm parted with its metal (@ 100 troy ounces a shot), and “S” stands for “stops,” meaning the firm took delivery of gold. “C” is for customer accounts, “H” is house accounts.  The first thing you should notice is that most transaction net out to zero in a given month (blue boxes), meaning the firm’s gold holdings didn’t change. What they delivered one day they got back the next, or vice versa.  The green boxes show firms who received more than they delivered and the red boxes indicate firms who coughed up gold for Bernanke bucks (aka idiots). Note that Deutsche Bank’s massive take in February more than offsets its deliveries in December and April.
Notice one more thing before we move on: Despite Goldman’s much ballyhooed “Gold Sucks!” call a few weeks ago, the squid has not parted with any yellow metal whatsoever in 2013.  Hmmm.
Now for the main event:

J P Morgan has fumbled ownership of 1,966,000 Troy ounces of gold since February 1.  That’s 74% more gold than the US mint delivered through the US mint’s American Eagle program in all of 2012.  I mention this because there’s little doubt in my mind that the US government is one of JPM’s gold “customers.”  So (if I am correct) the same US government who just let the Morgue dump its gold on the COMEX floor will once again be suspending gold sales to peasants.
Maybe Jamie Dimon figures he’ll buy back all that gold on the cheap when the rest of the world realizes how smart he is.  Or maybe he’s once again displaying that his firm doesn’t have the slightest idea what “hedging” is and is teetering on the brink of collapse.  That would explain the April 11th meeting between President Obama and the Pig 5 bank CEOs, wouldn’t it?  And you just have to get a little misty that Lloyd Blankfein was nice enough to provide some hot-air cover for his competitor, don’t you?
One thing’s very clear: When it comes to selling physical gold, J P Morgan is acting alone.  The 130 contracts NOT delivered by JPM in the last three months (of which  110 were fromABN AMRO) are but a footnote.  If Jamie’s right, he’ll look like a genius in a few months, if not he should be able to recycle his quote regarding the infamous “London Whale” losses: “Just because we’re stupid, doesn’t mean everybody else was.”  Time will tell.
100 years ago John Pierpont Morgan famously testified to Congress, “Money is gold, and nothing else.” (Note: That is the exact quote, the full testimony can be found here).  One has to wonder what the big guy would think of his legacy’s disregard for sound money, $70 Trillion derivatives book, and "House of Cards" "Fortress" balance sheet.
One more very, very important thing.
Anybody who says there’s been gold selling in the GLD is a freaking moron (Bob Pistrami, I’m looking in your direction).   The GLD works much like a coat check.  Unless you think checking your coat constitutes a real transaction of some kind you shouldn’t think of changes in the GLD’s gold holdings as sales. They’re not. When you check your gold into the GLD you get shares (like a claim check). Where it gets wierd is you can sell these claim checks to nimrods who seem to think they’ve bought your coat, but aren’t actually allowed to wear it.
What nobody seems to appreciate is that every share of GLD is allowed to be sold TWICE (long and short, and it’s really important to understand that).  If you’re foolish enough to doubt me (and foolish enough to short gold), go short GLD shares and see if anyone knocks on your door demanding gold.  Saying the GLD is 100% backed by gold is a bold face lie because they’re can be twice as many shares in play as gold backing them, which means GLD shares may be only 50% backed by gold before any rules are broken.
When GLD (or any ETF for that matter) shares sold exceed the existing shares PLUS all the shortable (double-sold) shares, legitimate shares can not be found for settlement and that must be reported to the SEC’s “Fails to Deliver” list, which is published twice a month with about a four-week delay (here).
April 15, 2013 was this biggest volume day ever for GLD (93.7mm) and I’ll guarantee you right now that record fails to deliver will be reported on or around that date, which should have required more gold to be deposited with the GLD (but that didn’t happen).  So instead of the half-assed explanation Pistrami offered (here) of how he thinks the GLD works, he should have raised the question of whether or not there were enough legitimate shares of GLD to facilitate trading (I say no way in hell).
Gold continues to be pulled from the GLD (which really means people want their coats back) and still no one’s concerned about the number doubled-owned shares.  Worse yet, the responsibility for sorting this unholy mess out falls to SEC chief Mary Jo White who is celebrating her 16th day in office.
I can’t wait to see what happens next….
Notes for Nerds:  This piece is not intended to describe the inner workings of the COMEX or GLD in detail, so don’t bust my balls with minutiae, unless it is relevant to the discussion of JPM’s massive gold sales or the double-ownership of ETF shares. Double-owned ETF shares are huge problem with ETFs in general, but the misrepresentation (by omission) of this fact by ETFs supposedly backed by tangible assets like gold and silver seems more egregious to me.  
In addition to the YTD CME Group metals report, you can track the hilarity on a day-by-day basis here.
The February 1 to April 25 delivered gold contracts info referenced included only transactions between firms.   For that reason Morgan Stanley’s 307 contracts transferred from  house account to customer account was excluded from the calculations.
Total Net gold deliveries Feb 1 to April 25:
Vision Financial – 1 contract
R J O’Brien – 2
ADM Investor Services INC – 2
Marex – 5
Citigroup Global Markets – 10
ABN AMRO – 110
JP Morgan – 19,660

Highest fallout levels in Tokyo since soon after Fukushima crisis began

Title: 環境放射線測定結果 – 1か月毎の降下物の放射能調査結果
Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health
Date: April 2013
h/t Fukushima Diary

See also: Japan Study: Fukushima fallout "unlike the past nuclear accidents" -- Radioactive silver prominently observed

In 1912, J. P. Morgan stated that only gold was money.

Read more

National Guard On America’s Streets: “It Is Absolutely An Option”

Mac Slavo
April 26th, 2013

Now that heavily militarized law enforcement and National Guard troops have been accepted as a necessity to preserve the safety and security of Americans, city officials across the country are undoubtedly starting to consider how they can best utilize their new found policing powers.
In Steubenville, Ohio, for example, where assaults, robberies, rapes and murders are well above the national average, city manager Cathy Davison is reportedly in talks with the state’s governor and National Guard to assist with the ever rising crime rate.
Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison said Wednesday that calling for assistance from the National Guard is “absolutely an option”

Oh, absolutely. It is an option and that’s part of the conversation we’re having with city council and the governor,” answered Davison.
If that’s what step we need to take to get people out of our city, can we utilize it?”
Attention on violent crime was raised this week after the Fraternal Order of Police Steubenville Lodge President Jim Marquis called a news conference at which he listed more than 40 “weapons calls” handled by the city police department since January.
Marquis suggested the rise in weapons crime was linked to the decrease in the number of officers employed by the Steubenville Police Department.
Full interview at WTOV 9
Make no mistake. This is not a one-off consideration restricted to Steubenville. With budget cuts gutting emergency services personnel across the country, and many of America’s once proud cities turning into poverty-stricken hellholes, we can fully expect crime rates to soar in coming months and years.
City council members all over the nation will be faced with similar dilemmas as they are forced to lay off more police officers.
As crime sky rockets, the residents of these cities will panic. They’ll be afraid to leave their homes, especially in areas where restrictive gun laws provide no self defense options should one be faced with a life threatening situation.
It is a near certainty that not only will these terrified citizens willingly accept a military presence in their neighborhoods, they’ll actively organize to encourage leaders in their cities and states to make it happen.
There will be no outcry, but rather, applause.
The America of the future will be replete with heavily armed law enforcement and military personnel patrolling our city streets, identification verification stops to ensure you have permission to be in a given area, and a total surveillance web monitoring the everyday activities of our once free citizens.
Hattip Grizzly A.

Toledo, Ohio - Welcome to America's 11th most-miserable city.

Peter Schiff: We Haven't Had A Real Recovery Or Even A Real Recession Yet

Economic collapse and price controls on commodities!

Right now there is price manipulation happening in virtually all markets!! Stocks, bonds, commodities, etc. There is a very big unintended consequence of the artificial suppression of commodity prices that I want you to think about. We all now are seeing how the price of gold and silver on the comex is no where near what costs to acquire the physical. That is because the premium (or the markup from the spot price). I believe this is happening in most commodity markets to try and hide TRUE inflation. The problem is we will see a greater discrepincy between the spot price and the actual price. Think about gas??? In 2007ish the price of a barrel was about the same as it is today, yet we were only paying $1.50ish then for a gallon of gas. Today, They have manipulated the price of oil to “artificial” price however the “actual” price to us is virtually double!!!!! This is very similar in many commodities…
Here is the big problem, my belief is that before we see the huge price spikes in commodities we will first see SHORTAGES!!!! This is a direct result of the manipulation!!! What we are seeing in the precious metals today with a decoupling between the spot price and “actual” price will hit other commodities as well! IMHO!!!
Price controls tend to lead to shortages!
What will this mean for us potentially? Price controls and the free market tend to be at odds? So a farmer who knows he can get twice as much in China will gladly sell to China for double. Think… Oil, food, Precious Metals, imports will all be affected!
Please people remember the gas lines of the 1970′s because of price controls/lack of supply!!! Now imagine that on most commodities! That is whats coming!!


General election under way in Iceland

Iceland's voters tipped to punish ruling coalition over tax rises and austerity measures to shore up nation's finances.


Iceland goes to the polls in a general election expected to punish the ruling Social Democrat coalition over the austerity measures to bring the economy back from the brink.

The last opinion poll published before voting booths were due to open on Saturday showed that the opposition centre-right coalition was likely to make major gains four years after it was ousted over its handling of a dire financial crisis.
Iceland's 235,000 eligible voters began casting their ballots at 0900 GMT and the first results are expected shortly after polls close at 2200 GMT.

The ruling coalition which dragged Iceland back towards economic viability after the 2008 banking crisis faces backlash amid promise of tax cuts and debt relief by the opposition.

"To me, this election is about whether my daughter will be able to keep her house or not," said Thury Steinthorsdottir, 55, who runs a small bed and breakfast in Laugarvatn, 30km east of the capital, Reykjavik.

"The crash wiped out all the equity on her house and she's now working 70-80 hours a week with three children just to keep up with payments. This can't go on anymore."

Polls favour Bjarni Benediktsson, the 43-year-old leader of the Independence Party, who has a slight lead over the Progressive Party's Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, 38.
Al Jazeera's Tim Friend, reporting from Reykjavik, said voters were hoping for a return to the success that Iceland enjoyed before the 2008 economic meltdown.

"In the intervening time, parties they elected in - the left of centre Social Democrats - have had to introduce some pretty tough austerity measures and I think people, particularly with their mortgages here, are finding it very hard going," he said.

Benediktsson told Al Jazeera that taxes were too high, while Progressive Party leader Gunnlaugsson said that Iceland first had to tackle household debt because it was hindering the development of the economy.

"What is now missing in the economy is new job creation and new investment," Benediktsson said.
Coalition government

Their two parties, which have led the polls through much of the campaign, have, often jointly, been in power for nearly 30 years before the crash. They are expected to form a coalition.

To me, this election is about whether my daughter will be able to keep her house or not
Thury Steinthorsdottir, Businessman
An opposition win would likely end Reykjavik's EU membership negotiations because the centrist Progressive Party and the eurosceptic conservative Independence Party are in favour of putting a halt to Iceland's bid.
Outgoing Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, of the Social Democrats farewelled about 300 supporters on Friday after she previously announced her retirement from politics at the age of 70.

Sigurdardottir's leftist coalition was swept to power in 2009 amid a wave of angry protests, as Icelanders blamed the then centre-right coalition government for allowing the country's financial sector to balloon out of control.
It caused the three main banks to collapse and pushing the island nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

The election campaign has focused on voters' discontent over four years of tax rises and austerity measures to shore up the state's finances to meet international lenders' demands.
For much of her mandate, Sigurdardottir has implemented the stern instructions laid out by the International Monetary Fund, which lent Iceland $2.1bn from 2008 to 2011.
Economic growth, a respectable 2.6 percent in 2011, slowed to 1.8 percent last year and some forecast a further slowdown this year as lack of investment weighs on output.

Voter discontent is visible in the unprecedented number of political parties that have exploded onto the scene. Fifteen parties will vie for the 63 seats in the Althing, or parliament.

One of them, the online file-sharing activist movement Pirate Party, could be the first of its kind elected to a national parliament.
Al Jazeera And Agencies

US GDP is about to get a lot bigger

The economy will grow by 3% in July because of a shift in how the government measures output, especially of intangible assets. 


$100 bills growing in grass © REB Images, Blend Images, Getty ImagesStarting in July, the U.S. gross domestic product will officially jump by 3%. The change isn't due to some miraculous economic event but rather from a shift in the way the government looks at statistics in the digital age.

Brent Moulton, an associate director at the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, says the revised benchmark economic number will take into account billions of dollars in intangible assets that have previously been left out.

"We’re capitalizing research and development," Moulton told the Financial Times, "and also this category referred to as entertainment, literary and artistic originals, which would be things like motion picture originals, long-lasting television programs, books and sound recordings."
For example, according to the FT, the output of iPads produced by Apple (AAPL +2.16%) is currently included in GDP, but the R&D needed to create those iPads isn't. With the changeover this summer, R&D will now be considered an investment and will add to the overall measured size of the economy.

Shortfalls in defined-benefit pension plans will also be reevaluated. "We will now show a liability for underfunded plans, which particularly has large ramifications for the government sector," said Moulton, "where both at the state level and the federal level we have large underfunded plan."

The revisions will make the U.S. one of the first countries to adopt a new international standard for tallying up GDP figures.

Other BEA officials say the changes aren't expected to alter views of economic trends and cycles over the past several years -- but they're not sure how the revised data and methodology will affect the future.

"We are carrying these major changes all the way back in time -- which for us means to 1929," Moulton told the FT, "so we are essentially rewriting economic history."

The new accounting will apparently add the equivalent of a country the size of Belgium to the international economy. And it might also, according to Management Today, prompt other countries to follow Washington's lead because "the U.S. provides the de facto standard for GDP measurement around the globe."

Central Banking with “Other People’s Gold”: A Multi-billion Treasure Trove in Lower Manhattan

Germany is repatriating its gold reserves from the New York Federal Reserve. This decision has created a frenzy in the gold market. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to the NY Fed, there are (2012) approximately 530,000 gold bars, with a combined weight of circa 6,700 metric tonnes stashed away in the Fed’s Lower Manhattan vaults.
These are official figures which are impossible to verify.
The gold is stored in the fifth sub-floor of the New York Fed building on Liberty Street. The vaults on the bedrock of Manhattan Island are located 80 feet below street level.
Each of the 530,000 gold bars weighs 400 troy ounces, or about 12.44kg.
At today’s market value of approximately US$1700 dollars a troy ounce, the New York Fed has within its vaults a multi-billion dollar treasure trove.
The 400-ounce gold bar is quoted at $677,640.
A 1kg gold bar is quoted at about $55,000. (purchase price)
Each metric tonne of gold is worth approximately $55 million.
The total value of the New York Federal Reserve’s gold bullion trove of 6700 tonnes is a staggering $368.5 billion.
But according to the New York Federal Reserve: “We do not own the gold. We are mere custodians.”
A wall of gold bricks in the globally owned collection at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (Photo courtesy of the New York Fed’s press center)
The gold is in “safe-keeping” on behalf of more than 60 sovereign countries and a few organizations. Close to 98 per cent of the gold bullion stored in the NY Fed’s lower Manhattan vaults, according to the Fed, belongs to central banks of foreign countries.
The remaining 2 per cent “is owned by the United States and international organizations such as the IMF.”
Germany’s central bank owns a total of 3400 tonnes of gold. According to recent reports, a staggering 69 per cent of its gold bullion bars (namely 2346 tonnes) are held in custody at the New York Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Banque de France.
The NY Federal Reserve Bank holds in custody 1536 metric tonnes of gold owned by the Bundesbank of the Federal Republic of Germany, 22.9 per cent of its total gold holdings in custody (6700 tonnes).
The Bundesbank has announced that it will repatriate “all of its 374 metric tonnes stored at the Banque de France (11 per cent of its total reserves), and 300 metric tonnes held in the vault of the New York Fed, reducing its share in the US from 45 per cent to 37 per cent.” .
Two other European countries, namely Italy and the Netherlands, have significant yet undisclosed gold bullion reserves held in custody in the vaults of the NY Federal Reserve Bank. There are no immediate plans to repatriate this bullion.
While the NY Federal Reserve Bank does not actually own the gold, it is guardian of a multibillion-dollar gold treasure, which indelibly provides ‘collateral’ (at virtually no cost) as well as ‘leverage’ in its multibillion-dollar central banking operations, often at the expense of its European partners.
The New York Fed’s gold vault on the basement floor of its main office building in Manhattan provides account holders with a secure location to store their monetary gold reserves.
None of the gold stored in the vault belongs to the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System. The New York Fed acts as the guardian and custodian of the gold riches on behalf of account holders, which include the US government, foreign governments, other central banks and official international organizations.
In other words, the Fed runs its operation ‘with other people’s gold’, using this huge treasure as ‘collateral’ to back its various financial undertakings.
Foreign countries around the world were pressured after World War II into depositing their gold reserves, not within the vaults of their own central banks, but in that of the world’s foremost imperial power.

A view of the strongroom of the Swiss National Bank SNB in Berne. (Reuters)
According to the NY Federal Reserve:
“Much of the gold in the vault arrived during and after World War II as many countries wanted to store their gold reserves in a safe location. Holdings in the gold vault continued to increase and peaked in 1973, shortly after the United States suspended convertibility of dollars into gold for foreign governments.” (emphasis added)
For many countries, part of the US dollar proceeds of commodities sold to the US, were converted into gold at 32 dollars an ounce (1946-71) and then ‘returned’ – so to speak – to the US for deposit in the vaults of the NY Federal Reserve.
Germany’s decision to repatriate part of its gold has sent a cold shiver into the gold and forex markets.
The German Federal Court of Auditors has recently called for an official inspection of German gold reserves stored at the New York Federal Reserve, “because they have never been fully checked.”
Are these German bullion reserves held in the vaults of Lower Manhattan ‘separate’ or are they part of the Federal Reserve’s fungible ‘big pot’ of gold assets.
According to the Fed, “the gold is not commingled between account holders.”
Does the New York Federal Reserve Bank have “Fungible Gold Assets to the Degree Claimed”?
Could the Fed reasonably handle a process of homeland repatriation of gold assets initiated by several countries simultaneously?
According to the Fed, there are 122 separate gold accounts mainly held by the central banks of foreign countries, as well as a few organizations including the International Monetary Fund.
Following the verification process, the gold is moved to one of the vault’s 122 compartments, where each compartment contains gold held by a single account holder. In rare cases, small deposits are placed on separately numbered spaces on shelves in a ‘library’ compartment shared by several account holders. Each compartment is secured by a padlock, two combination locks and an auditor’s seal. Compartments are numbered rather than named to maintain confidentiality of the account holders.
The New York Fed does not indicate in any of its reports, including its annual financial statements, the names of the countries and account holders.
Most of the 122 accounts are held by the central banks of sovereign countries, which in addition to their gold accounts have statutory agreements with the NY Federal Reserve.
An employee of Deutsche Bundesbank uses a metal analysis device on a gold bar. (Reuters / Lisi Niesner)

Money and National sovereignty

America’s Unipolar World hinges on sustaining the US dollar as a global reserve currency. US hegemony in monetary matters is supported by the custody in the USA of gold bullion reserves on behalf of more than 60 countries.
Instead of gold bullion, national central banks (with the exception of the US) hold US dollar paper instruments as ‘reserves’. Gold reserves under national jurisdiction are central to establishing sovereignty in monetary policy, without depending on the Federal Reserve which holds a nation’s gold bullion in safe-keeping in its Lower Manhattan vault.
National sovereignty requires the repatriation of the gold bullion deposited in custody with the NY Fed. The leverage and collateral in all monetary transactions largely accrues to the NY Federal Reserve Bank rather than to the owners of the bullion deposited in custody.
Follow the example of Germany. Repatriate your gold.
In a related development, both China and Russia are dumping their US dollars and building up their gold reserves.
In turn, both China and Russia have boosted domestic production of gold, a large share of which is being purchased by their central banks.
Michel Chossudovsky for RT

Subprime by any other name: FHA insured loans are least appealing financing option for home sellers. The psychology of rising home prices.

FHA insured loans filled a giant void from the private mortgage market exiting the game by brute force as the housing bubble burst.  One thing is certain when it comes to consumer psychology especially with such an emotional decision like buying a home.  People have wine expectations but come with beer budgets and this is especially true in housing.  Becoming accustomed to low down payment mortgages, the bust in housing was a hard retreat for many Americans.  In the 1970s and 1980s nothing down or close to it was left to the late night infomercials for those too inebriated to sleep before midnight.  Most people knew this was a tiny pipedream.  It was only until the 2000s that this became a common pathway to owning a home.  FHA insured loans with a 3.5 percent down payment are now viewed as the subprime of current loans.  Even recent potential home seller surveys confirm this perception.

Seller’s perception on loans
People are under the impression that sellers are somehow oblivious to the differing financing options out in the market.  A recent Redfin survey asked potential home sellers what kind of financing option would they choose for their buyers?
redfin survey
Is it surprising that FHA is at the bottom of the list?  And keep in mind this is for sellers in various regions.  For prime locations, I assure you the figures are much more skewed.  Why would anyone take an offer with such little skin in the game when you can simply go with an all-cash offer and know escrow will close without a problem?  It really is a no brainer.
On the side of buyers, FHA insured loans have actually gotten much more expensive with mortgage insurance.  It is crazy that FHA mortgage insurance premiums can add up to 1.55 percentage points to your overall effective FHA mortgage rate.  That is very high in this rock bottom interest environment.  Why is the rate so high?  Because of legacy defaults but also the reality that you are giving people 30x leverage right off the bat.
FHA loan volume picked up right in line with the burst of the housing bubble:
Over $1.1 trillion in FHA insured loans are now outstanding.  Keep in mind FHA insured loans were never intended to be a big part of the market.  For many years they have consumed a large part of all mortgage originations.  Even in Southern California FHA insured loans make up 22.9 percent of all purchases (another 34 percent came from all cash buyers).
It is abundantly clear that the government and banks are all in on the housing market.  We’ve recently talked about the reemergence of interest only mortgages.  The market is now tilting to a full sense that home prices cannot and will not go down, regardless of underlying economic fundamentals.  What is tenuous about this recovery is that it is being spurred on by massive monetary intervention that has never been witnessed in history.  So those that claim they have a sense as to how this is all going to play out have a much better crystal ball.  Yet one thing seems certain in the short-term and human nature and behavior is not going to evolve just because we had the worse financial crises since the Great Depression.  Take a look at another piece of data from the Redfin survey:
why selling
Two big things jump out at me here.  The first is that more people are planning to sell because home prices are going up.  That makes sense.  Yet adding more inventory is likely to help in keeping prices in place or lowering them depending on how much is put on the market.  The next one is the “enough equity” section.  Obviously perceptions are changing and many underwater homeowners are now reemerging from their negative equity positions.
In most of the country, owning a home makes a whole lot of sense today.  Rock bottom interest rates and home prices that have adjusted from the peak make it a sensible move.  In higher priced regions, the decision isn’t so clear cut.  It is interesting that some think $200,000 is chump change when it comes to a down payment.  Yet compounding $200,000 at 7 percent over 10 years will get you close to $400,000 during this time.  Will a $600,000 home suddenly rise to $800,000 in this period if incomes are not going up?  Right now homes are reaching max levels courtesy of all cash buying, hot foreign money flowing in, and people now leveraging up and entertaining interest only loans again.  At least with the interest only loans of today, you need 20 percent down.  FHA insured loans are not exactly the Ferrari option in the housing market.