Sunday, July 14, 2013

'Glee' star Cory Monteith found dead at hotel in Vancouver

Actor CMonteith arrives at Do Something Awards in Santa Monica, California 
Actor Cory Monteith arrives at the "Do Something Awards" in Santa Monica, California …

(Reuters) - Canadian actor Cory Monteith, heart throb of Fox's musical-comedy television series "Glee", was found dead on Saturday at a hotel in Vancouver, Canada, police said.
There were no signs of foul play, they said, and the cause of death was not immediately apparent.
Paramedics responding to an emergency call found Monteith, 31, dead at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in the city centre, Vancouver Police Department acting chief Doug LePard told a news conference.
In April, a representative for Monteith, whose "Glee" character Finn was a high school football player turned enthusiastic glee club - or musical group - singer, said the actor was at a rehabilitation facility for an unspecified substance addiction.
Monteith had checked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel on July 6, and was due to check out on Saturday, LePard told reporters. Others were in the hotel room with Monteith on Friday night, but evidence including his fob key entries indicate he returned to his room by himself early on Saturday and was alone when he died, police said.
LePard said he wanted to offer condolences "to the family, friends, castmates and millions of fans of Mr. Monteith".
Montieth's spokeswoman, Melissa Kates, said in a statement, "We are so saddened to confirm that the reports on the death of Cory Monteith are accurate."
An autopsy on Monteith was set for Monday, LePard said.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Saudi princess charged with human trafficking in US

Saudi princess Meshael Alayban, arrested July 10, has been charged with human trafficking

A Saudi princess was to be released from US jail on bail after being charged with enslaving a Kenyan woman, forcing her to work in abusive conditions and withholding her passport.
Meshael Alayban, 42, one of six wives of a grandson of the Saudi King Abdullah, paid a $5 million bond and surrendered her passport, the Orange County, California district attorney's office said in a statement.
She "is required to wear a GPS tracking device, is prohibited from leaving Orange County without permission from the Court, and is barred from having any contact with the victim," the statement explained.
Alayban, who was arrested Wednesday, is accused of forcing the Kenyan woman to work 16 hour days, seven days a week, for a monthly salary of just $220.
The unnamed victim, 30, who sought overseas work to pay for her young daughter's medical care, allegedly worked in Alayban's palace in Saudi Arabia and then in her home in Irvine, California, southeast of Los Angeles.
Prosecutors said the victim had signed a contract with an employment agency that promised her a salary of $1,600 a month for a 40-hour work week.
The princess was charged with "human trafficking of a Kenyan woman into the United States and forcing the victim to work as a domestic servant against her will," the Orange County District Attorney said in a statement.
The victim, who began working in Saudi Arabia in March 2012 and moved to the US with the Saudi family in May 2013, was "forced to work tending to at least eight people in four apartments" in Irvine, California, prosecutors said.
She was given no breaks, no days off, and no chance to leave "except for a family outing so the victim could carry the family's bags."
She told authorities Alayban withheld her passport and refused to allow her to return to Kenya.
Before her move to the US, Alayban told her to lie to authorities about the conditions of her employment during a visa interview, prosecutors said.
But on Tuesday, the woman managed to escape, flagging down a bus. Noticing her nervousness, one of the passengers helped her contact the police. She carried a pamphlet with her, given during her visa interview, explaining her rights.
"She's a smart woman. She saw her opportunity to get freedom and she took it," the victim's lawyer, Steve Baric, said.
When police arrested Alayban, they found four women from the Philippines who could also be victims of human trafficking. Those cases are still being investigated, the prosecutor said.
But on this count of human trafficking alone, if convicted Alayban could face up to 12 years in jail.
It was unclear whether the victim wanted to stay in the United States, but prosecutors said that as a victim of human trafficking she would be entitled to a visa.

Gas Prices Have Biggest Daily Jump In 6 Months


Do not worry, we are told on a daily basis, the rise in crude oil prices is transitory and won't affect gas prices and implicitly the US consumer's pocket book (already ravaged by spiking mortgage rates).

Well, sorry to burst that little fantasy but gas prices in the last few days have surged (up 9c in 4 days).

In fact today's jump is the largest in six months and pushes regular close to its all-time high for this time of year.

Arguing not to worry as gas prices are more sensitive to Brent is a non-starter as it is very evident, despite the export of WTI, that gas prices are tracking the higher prices of crude oil and if history is any guide - with regard the lead-lag from crude to wholesale gasoline to retail, gas prices will be at new all-time highs for this time of year within the next month.

Bernanke Melts The Dollar And Stock Markets Rise! By Gregory Mannarino

S. American states to recall ambassadors from Europe over Bolivian plane incident

Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela pose for the official picture of the XLV Mercosur Summit, at the Mercosur headquarters in Montevideo on July 12, 2013.(AFP Photo / Miguel Rojo)
Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela pose for the official picture of the XLV Mercosur Summit, at the Mercosur headquarters in Montevideo on July 12, 2013.(AFP Photo / Miguel Rojo)

South American countries belonging to the Mercosur trade bloc have decided to withdraw their ambassadors for consultations from European countries involved in the grounding of the Bolivian president’s plane.
"We've taken a number of actions in order to compel public explanations and apologies from the European nations that assaulted our brother Evo Morales," explained Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, who revealed some of the agenda debated during the 45th summit of Mercosur countries in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo. 
The decision to recall European ambassadors was taken by Maduro, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, and Uruguay’s President, Jose Mujica, during the meeting.
Member states attending the summit expressed their grievances with “actions by the governments of France, Spain, Italy and Portugal” over the July 2 incident, when the aircraft  carrying President Evo Morales back to Bolivia after attending an energy summit in Moscow was denied entry into the airspace of a number of EU member states.

The small aircraft, which required a stop-over before completing its flight, was forced to make an emergency landing in Austria after a circuitous flight path.

It was later revealed that the European countries’ actions were prompted by accusations made by the US ambassador to Austria, William Eacho, who alleged that American whistleblower Edward Snowden had been taken on board to help him gain political asylum in Latin America.
The gravity of the incident - indicative of a neocolonial mindset - constitutes an unfriendly and hostile act, which violates human rights and impedes freedom of travel, as well as the treatment and immunity appropriate to a head of state,” the Mercosur nations affirmed in the joint statement.
The incident was further described as a “discriminatory and arbitrary” decision by European countries, as well as a “blatant violation of international law.”
By intervening in what they thought were South America’s attempts to grant Snowden asylum, the United States and its allies are undermining the fundamental principles of international law, British human rights activist Peter Tatchell told RT.
What the United States government is seeking is to obstruct Edward Snowden’s bid to seek asylum. Not to get asylum, but to seek asylum,” Tatchell said. “It has bullied and threatened and menaced other countries around the world to not grant him asylum and to not grant airspace so that a flight can take him to another country. That is a direct attack upon the United Nations’ refugee conventions, and it is shocking and appalling that a supposedly democratic government, in collusion with European governments - including the government in Britain - has been conspiring to not allow Mr. Snowden to make a valid asylum application.”

Number of Americans on federal food aid explodes to over 100 million

(NaturalNews) If you're one of the nation's dwindling number of taxpayers, you're probably not going to care much for this story. But you need to read it anyway, because hopefully it will spur you to jump head-first into the political process (if you're not involved already) and demand some answers (and, more importantly, a solution) from those responsible.

Most Americans are charitable but at the same time, we hate being taken for suckers. That's what makes the U.S. Welfare State so controversial; on the one hand, we want to help when those of us stricken with a bout of misfortune need a temporary helping hand to get back on their feet. The key words, however, are temporary and need - concepts which are being redefined on purpose to expand the Welfare State, and for purely diabolically political purposes.

To wit: New government data indicates that the number of Americans now receiving taxpayer-subsidized food assistance has grown to 101 million, which is roughly one-in-three of us (the current U.S. population estimate just over 316 million).

One-in-three on some form of food assistance - are you proud, America?

That's according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the so-called "food stamp" program - a combination of 15 food programs offered by the agency, which cost taxpayers a staggering $114 billion in 2012.

As noted by, the number of folks getting food assistance is higher than the number of full-time private-sector employees in the country (the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that number to be around 97.1 million).

Of that 101 million figure, 47 million were participating in SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - the old "food stamps" program (nowadays recipients are issued a debit card with a pre-set amount rather than a food stamp booklet, so recipients don't have to deal with the "stigma" of receiving assistance).

According to the USDA says the number of Americans on food stamps is a "historically high figure that has risen with the economic downturn."

And that's been the standard line: Nothing to see here, we are told, because the dramatic rise in food stamp rolls is due to the recessed economy.

But wait - hasn't President Obama and the bulk of the mainstream media gone on record for claiming the economy is much improved? How can we have an improving economy and have more Americans than ever on food assistance?

The reality is the economy is not all that great, but still, at less than 8 percent unemployment, is it really bad enough that one-in-three Americans need food assistance?

'Hope and change' - no hope, all change

"The financial crisis is over and the recession ended in 2009. But one of the federal government's biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn't shrinking back alongside the recovery," The Wall Street Journal reported in March.

"The biggest factor behind the upward march of food stamps is a sluggish job market and a rising poverty rate. At the same time, many states have pushed to get more people to apply for SNAP, a program where the federal government picks up the tab," the paper noted. "But there is another driver, which has its origins in President Bill Clinton's 1996 welfare overhaul. In recent years, the law has enabled states to ease asset and income tests for would-be participants, with the encouragement of the Obama administration, allowing into the program people with relatively higher incomes as well as savings."

Welcome to Obama's America, where poverty programs designed to provide assistance to the downtrodden while encouraging them to become self-sufficient have been transformed into voter-creation and savings programs - all at the expense of the taxpayer.

If you're one of those taxpayers this should bother you - a lot. Tens of millions of Americans are now subsisting on your hard work, when in fact they could have been - indeed, should have been - subsisting on their own.

Obama once pledged to "fundamentally transform" our country. With congressional assistance and the massive Administrative State, he's doing just that. What those who fell for the "hope and change" message of Obama, circa 2008, never bothered to ask was, "Change from what, to what?"

We're finding out now, aren't we?


911 ~ 7 World Trade - Full Circle

The Secret World of Gold (Full Documentary)

Why Is JPM Hoarding Silver?

There's a lot going on and I'm diligently trying to connect all of the dots.
In fact, there are so many dots to connect, I don't know where to start. I guess we'll start with price. Surprise, surprise! The Bernank tipped his hand yesterday regarding QE∞ and really moved the markets. Stocks, bonds, the metals...nearly everything has rallied. The only victim was The Pig, which immediately fell over 2 points, which is an historic, monstrously large move. I don't ever recall seeing a POSX move of that size before. Amazing!
The metals have rallied but the shorts remain in firm control, at least for now. We got a bit of a panic squeeze in the afterhours late yesterday but, once London opened, things we're jammed back down. (Why anyone in their right mind buys gold futures between midnight and 2:00 am NY time is beyond me.) The charts look better and it's always nice to see some green on the screen but don't go getting carried away just yet. Momentarily clearing $1300 and $20 is nice but we really need at least $1350 and $21 before we can begin to get excited. Until then, just keep stacking your physical, a little bit at a time. For example, I ordered 50 ASEs late Tuesday. Glad I did! smiley
OK, let's dig into the weeds a little bit and see what we find. LOTS of talk about the negative GOFO rates out there...which continue negative for the 4th consecutive day...which is unprecedented. What the heck does this indicate? My friend, DenverDave, does as good a job as I've seen explaining the implications. If you haven't yet, please take the time to read this:
So, what other indications of shortage and backwardation are out there? Well, we've got this from Harvey:
"Tonight, the Comex registered or dealer inventory of gold falls below 1 million oz to 985,969 oz or 30.66 tonnes.  This is getting  dangerously low.  The total of all gold at the comex (dealer and customer) falls again and registers a reading of  7.095 million oz or 220.680 tonnes of gold. JPMorgan's customer inventory remains constant at  136,380.609 oz or 4.24 tonnes.  It's dealer inventory also remains  constant at 401,877.493 oz but it still must settle upon contracts issued in the June delivery month which far exceeds its inventory. The total of the 3 major gold bullion dealers( Scotia , HSBC and JPMorgan)  in its Comex gold dealer account registers only 26.03 tonnes of gold. The total of all of the dealers falls to 30.66 tonnes!! And tonight, Brinks dealer inventory falls to a record low of only 4.18 tonnes of gold!!"
Let's see...The Banks only show 30.66 metric tonnes of registered (approved and ready to be delivered) gold. This may sound like a lot but it's not. Check these two charts below:
These two charts came from Jesse's site and he's got a terrific piece on the subject that you should read by clicking here:
So, inventories are extremely low and falling. The Bullion Banks (at least the U.S.-based ones) are now demonstrably long Comex gold futures. And now we have negative GOFO rates which seem to indicate a true tightness and lack of desire to part with physical gold, even in the face of an easy short-term profit. What the devil is going on here? Are we finally seeing the entire fractional reserve bullion banking scheme come apart at the seams?? It certainly appears that way.
And now to the title of this post. It appears, on the surface at least, that JPM is aggressively hoarding physical silver. Uncle Ted and Andrew have been all over this for some time now. Let's review. First Andrew.
Again, even if you're not an active trader, being a member of "Turd's Army" is well worth the money. Besides an ongoing daily commentary with instant notification of any trades he makes, Andy writes up a weekly commentary which he publishes every Sunday. This is, hands down, the most important and valuable newsletter you will ever receive. If you'd like to sign up, click here: Anyway, Andy has been noting to subscribers that, for about the past three weeks, there has been a large, institutional buyer appearing at each and every London silver fix. Because of the size of the orders, this buyer could only be a Bullion Bank and he has deduced that is likely JPM. So, if Andy is correct (and I have absolutely no reason to doubt him), then suddenly JPM has taken to quietly acquiring as much physical silver as they can.
Now, add to that what has been going on this month at The Comex. Uncle Ted (another simply outstanding newsletter you should take: has been all over this since the first of the month. Back on Saturday he wrote this:
"I believe the statistics from the first six days of the July COMEX silver futures contract provide enough data for attention.  The standout feature for the first week of deliveries against the July silver contract indicates that JPMorgan has taken roughly 90% of the metal offered for delivery, or a total of 1637 contracts out of a cumulative total of 1828 delivered so far. In turn, of the silver contracts stopped or accepted by JPMorgan, 90% (1479 contracts) were for JPMorgan’s own house or proprietary trading account. In other words, JPMorgan took delivery of roughly 7.4 million ounces of silver in the COMEX warehouses for their own benefit and risk".
He followed that up yesterday with this:
"A quick note on JPMorgan’s unusual taking of delivery of silver in the current July contract I first mentioned on Saturday. In the two delivery days since that review, JPMorgan has taken (stopped) an additional 369 contracts, 350 of which were for the bank’s house or proprietary trading account. Of the 2220 total contracts delivered so far in the July COMEX contract, JPM has taken 2006 contracts, including 1829 contracts for the bank’s own house account. Over the past two days, customers of JPMorgan have delivered close to 200 silver contracts as well, raising the question if JPMorgan is double dealing. Another point is that the 1829 contracts (9.145 million oz) that JPM has taken in its own name is above the level of 1500 contracts that COMEX rules dictate can’t be exceeded in any one delivery month by any single trader.  Hey – have you ever heard of a rule or regulation that JPMorgan couldn’t evade? Me, neither."
There are still about 1,200 July contracts that remain to be settled so we'll see where those go...but what the heck is going on here? Of the 2,220 July13 contracts that have been settled so far this month, JPM has claimed over 90% of them. Further, 90% of those have gone directly into JPM's own house account!
So we've got JPM soaking up as much Comex silver as they can without disturbing the price downtrend AND we've also got JPM appearing each day at The Fix, buying up as much silver as possible there, too. Connecting these dots leads me to this conclusion:
JPM is getting out of the silver manipulation game. Perhaps they've been warned by the CFTC. Perhaps they simply see the writing on the wall. Again, it's impossible to say. What we do know is:
  • During this 9-month decline, they've trimmed their naked Comex short position from roughly 35,000 contracts down to approximately 15,000 contracts.
  • The startling, surprising and historic rise in the "other commercial" gross long position from 40,000 to over 60,000 contracts has likely prohibited them from reducing their naked short position to zero.
So, JPM sees the writing on the wall and is left with three choices:
  1. Cover the rest into rising prices. They tried that in 2011 and it didn't work so well.
  2.  Go the "potato" route and simply default on delivery.
  3. Continue to cover the naked shorts as much and for as long as you can BUT also acquire as much physical silver as possible so that you actually can physically deliver against all your short paper if it comes down to it. If you're short 10,000 contracts and suddenly those 10,000 longs stand for delivery, it would greatly benefit you to actually have the 50,000,000 ounces on hand. Settle it out and it's over.
Again, this is just a attempt to connect some dots. Let's watch this situation closely as we head through the month and see if it continues to play out.
Just a couple of other items. First, Pat Heller has written an excellent piece called "Where's The Gold?". You should read it: And, speaking of "where's the gold?", our CBC documentary from back in April is finally set to make its American premiere on Saturday. It will debut on The History Channel known as "H2" and it will be shown at 10:00 pm EDT Saturday night.
Lastly, I had a 30-minute conversation with Felix Moreno of GoldMoney back on Tuesday. They've now released it as a podcast and I think it turned out pretty well. It's worth a listen, even if I do say so myself.

Cash Cow: US taxpayers support telecom data shopping spree

10 Reasons Why The Global Economy Is About To Experience Its Own Version Of “Sharknado”

Source: Economic Collapse

Have you ever seen a disaster movie that is so bad that it is actually good?  Well, that is exactly what Syfy’s new television movie entitled “Sharknado” is.  In the movie, wild weather patterns actually cause man-eating sharks to come flying out of the sky.  It sounds absolutely ridiculous, and it is.  You can view the trailer for the movie right here.  Unfortunately, we are witnessing something just as ridiculous in the real world right now.  In the United States, the mainstream media is breathlessly proclaiming that the U.S. economy is in great shape because job growth is “accelerating” (even though we actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month) and because the U.S. stock market set new all-time highs this week.  The mainstream media seems to be absolutely oblivious to all of the financial storm clouds that are gathering on the horizon.  The conditions for a “perfect storm” are rapidly developing, and by the time this is all over we may be wishing that flying sharks were all that we had to deal with.  The following are 10 reasons why the global economy is about to experience its own version of “Sharknado”…
#1 The financial situation in Portugal continues to deteriorate thanks to an emerging political crisis.  It all began last week when Portuguese finance minister Vitor Gaspar resigned
“Mr. Gaspar’s resignation on July 1 has opened a Pandora’s box,” says Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy. “Portuguese politicians from the President down are treating the exit of Mr. Gaspar, the architect of the fiscal and structural reforms demanded by the troika, as a green light for a public debate about the bail-out programme. Yet the manner in which this debate is taking place, with the President undermining the prime minister and the opposition leader seeking to renegotiate the terms of the programme, is spooking markets.”
The general population is becoming increasingly restless as the nation plunges down the exact same path that Greece has gone.  Nobody seems to have any solutions as the economic problems continue to escalate.  According to Reuters, the president of Portugal has added fuel to the fire by calling for early elections next year…
Portugal’s president threw the bailed-out euro zone country into disarray on Thursday after rejecting a plan to heal a government rift, igniting what critics called a “time bomb” by calling for early elections next year.
Due to all of this instability in Portugal, the yield on Portuguese bonds shot up to 7.51% this week.  That is a very bad sign.
#2 The economic depression in Greece continues to deepen, and it is being reported that Greece will not even come close to hitting the austerity targets that it was supposed to hit this year…
A leaked report from the European Commission confirms that Greece will miss its austerity targets yet again by a wide margin. It alleges that Greece lacks the “willingness and capacity” to collect taxes. In fact, Athens is missing targets because the economy is still in freefall and that is because of austerity overkill. The Greek think-tank IOBE expects GDP to fall 5pc this year. It has told journalists privately that the final figure may be -7pc.
Another 7 percent contraction for the Greek economy?
It has already been contracting steadily for years.
At this point, it would be hard to overstate how bad economic conditions inside Greece are.  The following is from a recent article by Simon Black
My friend Illias took a drag of his cigarette as he contemplated my question.
“Our government tells us that this will be a better year. No one really believes them. But all we can do is be optimistic. Too many people are committing suicide.”
His statement probably best sums up the situation in Greece right now. It’s as if the hopelessness has gone stale, and the only thing they have to replace it with is desperate, misguided, faux-optimism. And anger.
There are roughly 11 million people in this country. 3.4 million of them are employed, of which roughly one third work for the government.
1.34 million people are ‘officially’ unemployed. To put this in context, it would be as if there were 36 million officially unemployed in the US.
More startling, if you add the number of ‘inactive’ workers (i.e. those who gave up looking), the total number of unemployed is roughly 57% of the entire Greek work force.
#3 The economic crisis in the third largest country in the eurozone, Italy, has taken another turn for the worse.  The unemployment rate in Italy is up to 12.2 percent, which is the highest in 35 years.  An average of 134 retail outlets are shutting down in Italy every single day, and the debt of the country has been downgraded again to just above junk status
Italy’s slow crisis is again flaring up. Its debt trajectory has punched through the danger line over the past two years. The country’s €2.1 trillion (£1.8 trillion) debt – 129pc of GDP – may already be beyond the point of no return for a country without its own currency.
Standard & Poor’s did not say this outright when it downgraded the country to near-junk BBB on Tuesday. But if you read between the lines, it is close to saying the game is up for Italy.
#4 There are rumors that some of the biggest banks in the world are in very serious trouble.  For example, Jim Willie (a financial writer who usually puts out really solid information) is insisting that Deutsche Bank is on the verge of collapse…
The best information coming to my desk indicates that three major Western banks are under constant threat of failure overnight, every night, forcing extraordinary measures to avoid failure. They are Deutsche Bank in Germany, Barclays in London, and Citibank in New York. Judging from the ongoing defense from prosecution and cooperation (flipped) with Interpol and distraction of resources, the most likely bank to die next is Deutsche Bank. They are caught with accounting fraud and outright financial fraud over collateral shell games, pertaining to USTreasury Bonds, other sovereign bonds in Southern Europe, and OTC derivatives linked to FOREX currency contracts. D-Bank is a dead man walking.
Time will tell if he is right.  But without a doubt the global financial system is extremely vulnerable right now.
Most Americans assume that the problems that caused the financial crash of 2008 were fixed, but that is most definitely NOT the case.  In fact, our financial system is far more shaky today than it was just before the last financial crisis.  When one major bank goes down, we could start to see others fall like dominoes.
#5 Just before the financial crisis of 2008, the price of oil spiked dramatically.  Well, it is starting to happen again.  The price of oil hit $106 a barrel on Friday.  If the price of oil continues to rise at this pace, it is going to mean big trouble for economies all over the planet.
And as I wrote about recently, every time the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen above $3.80 during the past three years, a stock market decline has always followed.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States reached $3.55 on Friday.  This is a number to keep a close eye on.
#6 Mortgage rates are absolutely skyrocketing right now…
The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to 4.51%, a two-year high. Rates have been rising on expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases this year.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average on the 30-year loan jumped from 4.29% the previous week. Just two months ago, it was 3.35% — barely above the record low of 3.31%.
This threatens to throw the U.S. real estate market into a slowdown worse than anything we have seen since the last recession.
#7 This upcoming corporate earnings season is shaping up to be an extremely disappointing one.  In fact, the percentage of companies issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter is at a level that we have never seen before.
So is this a sign that economic activity is starting to slow down significantly?
#8 U.S. stocks are massively overextended right now.  In fact, according to Graham Summers, this is the most overextended stocks have been in the past 20 years…
Today, the S&P 500 is sitting a full 30% above its 200-weekly moving average. We have NEVER been this overextended above this line at any point in the last 20 years.
#9 Rapidly rising interest rates are causing the bond market to begin to come apart at the seams.  There is concern that the 30 year bull market for bonds is now over and investors are starting to pull their money out of the market at a staggering rate.  In fact, 80 billion dollars was pulled out of bond funds during June alone.
#10 Rapidly rising interest rates could cause an implosion of the derivatives market at any moment.  As I am so fond of reminding everyone, there are approximately 441 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives out there.
If interest rates continue to soar, we could potentially see a financial disaster that is absolutely unprecedented, and the too big to fail banks would be the most vulnerable.
As USA Today recently reported, there are just five major banks that absolutely dominate derivatives trading in the United States…
Five of the biggest U.S. banks — JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley — account for more than 90% of derivatives contracts. Regulators estimate that nearly half of derivatives are traded outside the United States.
Could you imagine the financial devastation that we would see if several of those banks started to collapse at the same time?
When you hear the mainstream media begin to talk about a “derivatives crisis” involving major banks, that will be a sign that disaster is upon us.
Most Americans don’t realize that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world.  Most Americans don’t realize that the major banks are literally walking a financial tightrope each and every day.
All it is going to take is one false step and we will be looking at a financial crisis even worse than what happened back in 2008.
So enjoy this little bubble of false prosperity while you can.
It is not going to last for too much longer.

Sherry Peel Jackson - Breaking The Invisible Shackles Of The IRS

America : Freedom to Fascism

US child poverty surged in 2011

Debra Watson 13 July 2013
The number of children living in families with incomes below the official poverty level rose to 16.4 million in 2011, according to the annual Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released this month. This is an increase of one full percentage point in one year, up to 23 percent from 22 percent (15.7 million) in 2010. More than one in four children under five—26 percent—were officially poor in 2011.
The increase of 700,000 children in poverty in the US between 2010 and 2011 was almost as high as the one million increase the year before.
Data from the foundation’s report last year indicated child poverty had already soared upward by nearly 30 percent from 2000 to 2010. The number of children living in poverty in the US went up by 4.2 million between 2000 and 2011.
“Kids Count Databook 2013” compares the change in several factors of child well being between 2005 and 2011 in order to compare pre- and post-Great Recession measures. Between 2005 and 2011 child poverty increased by 3 million children.
The official poverty level of $22,811 for a family of two adults and two children leaves out nearly half the families that suffer from deprivation. According to the foundation: “families need an income of roughly twice the official poverty level to meet their basic needs, including housing, food, transportation, health care and child care.” Nearly half of all children, 45 percent, live in low-income families that earn less than twice the poverty threshold.
The increases in child poverty continued well after the Obama administration officially declared that the recession had ended. The recession officially lasted for a year and a half, from December 2007 to June 2009. But after a similar period of eighteen months of “recovery” child poverty was still climbing rapidly.
This was so even as the national unemployment rate registered a gradual decline. The report ties lack of family income to two related economic indicators exacerbated by the continuing economic crisis: the availability of regular employment and housing costs.
One-third of American children live in households without secure employment, i.e., no parent has full-time, year-round employment, up from 27 percent in 2008. Part of this is due to the growing trend of replacing full-time jobs with part-time work .
The authors also note in the 2013 report: “Although the overall unemployment rate continues to decline, five years after the crisis, unemployment remains high, at 7.5 percent, with almost 12 million Americans out of work. Furthermore, long-term unemployment is increasingly a problem: A total of 4.5 million workers were unemployed for more than six months, and more than 3 million were without work for a year or more.”
Nationally, over forty percent of children live in households that spend more than the benchmark of affordability for housing each month of 30 percent of household income. This is up from 37 percent in 2005.
The report gathered data from various government agencies to rate each state on 16 different criteria. The criteria were split into four different categories: economic well being, family and community, health, and education. All four indicators revealed a dramatic increase in economic stress on children. National and statewide data were compared to previous years and states were compared to each other.
One important finding in the report is the vast regional inequality between states. They write: “States in the Southeast, Southwest and Appalachia—where the poorest states are located—populate the bottom of the overall rankings. In fact, with the exception of California, the 17 lowest-ranked states are located in these regions. For the first time, New Mexico ranked worst among states for overall child well being in this year’s KIDS COUNT Data Book. Along with Nevada and Arizona, states in the Southwest now occupy three of the five lowest rankings for child well-being.”
Detailed data for each state is available. The difference between the top- and bottom-ranked states is quite large in most categories. For example, twelve percent of children in New Hampshire live in poverty, as compared to one in three in Mississippi.
The data was also broken down for other categories such as married-couple and single-parent households and African-American and Hispanic households. The percentage of children living in single-parent families continued to climb. In 2011 more than one-third (35 percent) of all children lived in a single-parent household, as did 37 percent of infants and toddlers.
A comment in the report indicates the primary difficulty for children in single-parent families is poverty. They comment: “Such children are at higher risk of negative outcomes later in life because they typically have fewer economic and emotional resources than children growing up in two-parent families.”
Overall 8.6 million children or 12 percent lived in high poverty areas—communities where more than 30 percent of the population is under the poverty line. This is up by 2.3 million or 9 percent of all US children in 2000.
For minority populations, the measures of well being were worse than the average. Half of African-American and American Indians—more than double the national average—and almost forty percent of Hispanic and mixed-race children lived in families where no parent had stable employment year-round compared to 25 percent of non-Hispanic white children. Thirty-nine percent of black children live in poverty; 34 percent of Latino children are in poverty.
Again this year the report cites a recent Stanford University study that found “the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students has grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s and is now double the testing gap between African American and non-Hispanic whites, which declined over the same period.”
The report focuses on early childhood education, stating that “only a small percentage of poor children participate in programs of sufficient quality and intensity to overcome the developmental deficits associated with chronic economic hardship and low levels of parental education.”
However, cutbacks through the federal sequester, not mentioned in the report, have already adversely affected programs like these for low-income pre-school children that are connected to Head Start.
The report does not offer solutions to the devastating economic and social conditions. In his introduction to this year’s Kids Count report Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, endorses the falsehood that underlies the Obama Administration’s assault on social programs. He asserts: “Given the consensus on the need to reduce the country’s long-term debt, simply adding more public dollars to existing strategies is neither wise nor feasible.”
The gutting of existing assistance programs has exacerbated the alarming decline in well being for children. For example the foundation’s Michigan affiliate has released figures for the decline in welfare support to children in poor families since welfare cuts began. Then-president Clinton abolished welfare entitlement nationwide in 1996.
Peter Ruark from the Michigan League for Public Policy reported in May that the Family Independence Program (FIP) caseload dropped to 45,236—its lowest level ever. In May 2013 the number of cases dropped again.
He noted: “Twenty years ago, in April 1993, there were 232,795 Michigan households receiving cash assistance through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Ten years later, in April 2003, there were 74,851 households receiving cash assistance through the Family Independence Program, which replaced AFDC in Michigan.
“The March unemployment rate was 8.5 percent and the FIP caseload dropped below 50,000 for the first time. The last time Michigan had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, in August 2008, there were more than 69,000 families receiving assistance, but the caseload hardly budged over the following year as unemployment jumped to 14.2 percent. In fact, from 2007 to 2010, caseloads dropped consistently as the unemployment rate rose.”
The League attributes the cuts in support not to a decline in unemployment in the state, but to new sanctions and lifetime time limits imposed by Michigan lawmakers as well as policy changes at the Department of Human Services that imposed stringent application paperwork and reporting requirements.
The entire Kids Count 2013 report, along with links data and sites for Michigan and other states, can be found at Kids Count 2013 Report

Theft By Deception - Deciphering The Federal Income Tax

Money on the Mind

U.S. Constitution & Income Tax - Tom Cryer - 2009

Constitutional crisis pushes Portugal closer to the brink

Portugal's borrowing costs have spiked dramatically after key political parties failed to agree on a national salvation front, raising the risk of a snap election and an anti-austerity revolt.

A participant takes part in the '5km. More Colorful Run' in Porto, Portugal, 07 April 2013. The event took place for the first time in Europe and mixes sport and entertainment as runners throw colored powder at each other
Portugal may have to impose losses on its own taxpayers for the first time if the country needs debt relief 
Yields on 10-year Portuguese bonds jumped more than 100 basis points to 7.85pc in a day of turmoil, kicked off by a government request to delay the next review of the country’s EU-IMF Troika bail-out until August.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva set off a constitutional crisis on Thursday when he vetoed a reshuffle by the two conservative coalition parties, insisting on a red-blue national unity government with greater legitimacy to see through austerity cuts until mid-2014.
Socialist leader Antonio José Seguro has so far refused to take part, demanding fresh elections to clear the air. “We must abandon the politics of austerity, and renegotiate the terms of our adjustment programme. The prime minister must accept that his austerity policies have failed,” he said.
Some Socialist leaders have threatened debt repudiation as a way of fighting back at Germany and the creditor powers, though that is not the party position.
Standard & Poor’s downgraded Banco Comercial, and placed a string of banks on negative watch. The agency appeared to endorse warnings that austerity overkill was making matters worse, saying continued fiscal cuts “are eroding the resilience of the private sector”. It said banks were building up a “high volume of problem assets”.
Ricardo Santos from BNP Paribas said it was unclear whether Portugal could withstand a further €5bn of cuts ordered by the Troika. “The bottom line is that the policy is not reducing the debt ratio. We think public debt will reach 130pc of GDP in 2014. The country is near the tipping point,” he said.
“Everybody has been saying that Portugal is so different from Greece but if this political crisis goes on for long, that won’t be so clear anymore.”
President Cavaco Silva has limited powers to force a deal on recalcitrant parties, but experts say it is hard to see how the current government can soldier on after such a blow to its authority. He may have to resort to the “nuclear option” of snap elections, opening the way for a fragmented parliament.
Sovereign bond strategist Nicholas Spiro said the events of the past 10 days had left premier Pedro Passos Coelho a “political cripple”, and brought reforms to a “screeching halt”. The crisis was prompted by the exit of finance minister Vitor Gaspar, the chief architect of Portugal’s crisis strategy, who stormed out complaining that he had been undercut by the junior CDS party in the coalition.
“Gaspar did make strenuous efforts to curb the budget deficit, but Portugal’s debt ratio kept on rising. There has to be a risk of another macroeconomic calamity on the scale of Greece and Cyprus,” said Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research.
Portugal has until now been held up as a poster-child of EMU austerity, praised for sticking to its bail-out terms. Failure at this stage would be a grave indictment of EU strategy itself. It would also force the eurozone to clarify its own crisis policies, exposing deep rifts. Europe’s leaders have vowed never again to force a sovereign debt haircut on banks and pension funds, deeming the experiment in Greece to have been calamitous.
This means they may have to violate the pledge or impose losses on their own taxpayers for the first time if Portugal needs debt relief. A study by Eric Dor from IESEG business school in Lille says an orderly debt restructuring by Portugal would cost taxpayers €16bn in Germany, €13bn in France, €11bn in Italy and €7bn in Spain, and twice as much in an EMU exit crisis. “There is a big probability that Portugal will need debt relief, unless you believe in fairytales,” he said.
The sheer scale of public and private debt leaves the country acutely vulnerable to deflation. Nominal GDP has fallen in each of the past two years. This has pushed net external debt to a record 230pc of GDP.
Portugal’s exports have done well, growing 5pc over the past year, with sales in Latin America, Africa and China making up for the weak picture in Europe.
Yet the International Monetary Fund warns in its latest Troika review that the debt outlook remains “very fragile”, with a credit crunch still eating away at small business. Any external shock could push the country over the edge.
The Fund said contingent liabilities of the state risk adding a further 15pc of GDP to public debt, and a growth shock could add another 7pc. A “combined shock” would push debt to “clearly unsustainable” levels.
The report was written before the latest political crisis, and before the US Federal Reserve pushed up global bond yields by 70 basis points. The shock scenario risks becoming real.

Europe’s rich 'could face uprising similar to Peasants' Revolt'

Europe’s rich Baby Boomers are behaving like the nobility in the Peasants’ Revolt, and could face an uprising by the younger generation if the situation doesn’t change, HSBC’s chief economist has warned.

Occupy Wall Street protesters rally in a small park on Canal Street in New York
Stephen King said the Occupy movement was the beginnings of what could develop into more widespread protests by youths, who feel they have been shortchanged Photo: AP
Stephen King warned that the widening wealth gap and sense of “entitlement” between older generations and cash-strapped youths had echoes of the conditions which led to the 1381 uprising of British peasants against the aristocrats who ruled them.
Then, the country had just been savaged by the plague, which robbed farmers of their workforces as well as their loved ones by killing an estimated 1.5m people. However, the wealthy ruling classes refused to modify their behaviour, leaving the poorer farm workers to bear the brunt of the economic downturn.
“In those days, public spending was about warfare … resources had been severely curtailed as a consequence of the Black Death,” said Mr King. “The nobility wanted to continue as they had done previously. They did not change their ways even though there had been this terrible disease come through … there was an attempt to try and clamp down on tax evasion which led to the Plantagenet equivalent of men with baseball bats coming along to raise funds.
“Those entitlements the Boomer generation are stuck to are imposing a significant cost to the younger generation … which over the long term is very disruptive to the performance of economies.”
He said the Occupy movement and the London riots two years ago were the beginnings of what could develop into more widespread protests by youths, who feel they have been short-changed.
“I am intrigued at the moment that the youth are quite peaceful, and I wonder whether that might change. It is very difficult to predict but youth movements might become more focused on their own rights rather than the economy [at large],” he said.
The economist, who has just released a new book about the end of Western affluence, When The Money Runs Out, called for a major overhaul of public spending in order to stave off this sort of unrest.
“There should be some kind of new deal which deals with the generational divide,” he said. “Decisions are increasingly influenced by the interests of the Baby Boomer generation and therefore there are lots of commitments to pensioners’ health care and so on … we need to get a reversal of that trend, to focus on protecting the interests of the young who are in minority.”