Sunday, September 8, 2013

Businesses can easily absorb fuel price hike, says Mahathir

The recent hike in fuel prices should only result in a 5% increase in the prices of goods and services, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic).
"Fuel makes up only a small portion of costs for producers and businesses. Therefore, any fuel price hike can be absorbed by the businesses.
"There is no need for businesses to increase the price of their goods and services. Fuel only makes up 10% of input for products and services," Dr Mahathir said in a blog posting today.
Dr Mahathir was of the opinion it was a percentage which any business could easily absorb without passing the cost to the public.
Although there were certain products and services which used more fuel, Dr Mahathir said in such cases, the increase in the price of goods and services should only be about 5% to 10%.
"Any subsidy rollback should be done gradually, so that the public will be able to slowly adjust. But it's a fact which Malaysians must slowly accept, prices will increase."
He also cautioned the government to be more prudent in the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) payments, as he had noticed some recipients drove new cars and lived in decent homes.
"Malaysia mustn't be like failed socialist regimes who have shown the folly of continuous handouts which creates over-dependence, poor productivity and revenue for the government."
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek had previously revealed that research showed prices of food should only rise by 0.1%.
The Real Estate and Housing Development Association had also estimated the price of new homes to increase by 10% due to the fuel hike and operations against illegal immigrants.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on businesses not to increase the prices of goods and services when making the announcement on Monday. - September 6, 2013.

Dubai's DAE ends tie-up talks with BBA Aviation

DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), owner of U.S.-based engine repair and maintenance business StandardAero, said on Sunday it was no longer in talks with British aircraft services firm BBA Aviation (BBA.L) to merge parts of its business.
The two firms had said in late August that they had started talks to merge some of their assets, after media reports said that BBA was looking at a 2.7 billion pound ($4.2 billion) tie-up with Arizona-based StandardAero.
"Dubai Aerospace Enterprise announced today it is no longer in discussions with BBA Aviation about a potential combination of certain parts of its business," DAE said in an emailed statement.
DAE, which specializes in aircraft maintenance and leasing, gave no further details on why the discussions had ended.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter said there was no formal sale process in place yet for StandardAero.
"BBA had made a preliminary approach and discussions were at an early stage. Obviously the asset is for sale but the price has to be right for both the parties," said the source.
After ordering more than 200 aircraft during an industry boom in 2007, DAE's leasing unit has been forced to cancel orders. In 2011, it canceled outstanding Airbus orders worth $5.8 billion and also canceled orders for 35 Boeing 737s.
The Dubai-government owned firm put StandardAero up for sale in 2010 and retained Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) to advise on the sale, Reuters reported at the time. However, the process moved slowly.
"As of now there are no banks or advisors assisting on a sale for StandardAero. The sale discussions have not reached a material stage with any party for that to happen," the source added.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon and Dinesh Nair; Editing by Mirna Sleiman and William Hardy)

NYC Comptroller's race: borough boss vs. Wall St. sheriff

By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK (Reuters) - In most election years, the campaign for New York City's top financial job is a sideshow affair compared with the larger battle for the mayor's office.
When a former governor who resigned in disgrace due to a prostitution scandal tosses his hat into the ring, the race for New York City comptroller can take center stage.
That is the story line in this year's unexpectedly heated Democratic primary for comptroller, a job that carries responsibility for overseeing New York City's $140 billion public pension fund, reviewing the city's $70 billion annual budget and auditing city agencies.
Tuesday's contest is seen as a tossup between disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer and Scott Stringer, the Manhattan Borough president who appeared to have the nomination all sewn up before Spitzer burst back onto the political scene in July.
The winner of the comptroller race is seen as a likely shoo-in for the job given a Republican has not won the post in over six decades.
The Democratic establishment and the city's big-hitting newspapers have backed Stringer. That has allowed Spitzer, nicknamed "Sheriff of Wall Street" for his crackdown on financial crime as state attorney general, to cast himself as an anti-establishment outsider ready to shake up a broken system.
Stringer has hit back by focusing on trust. He has attacked Spitzer for the prostitution scandal that led to his demise as governor in 2008 and painted him as a loose cannon.
"We need a steward not a sheriff, he lost the honor of that badge a long time ago," Stringer told Reuters in a recent interview. "This is about managing the finances of the city, about being a strong auditor and investigator."
Spitzer declined to be interviewed for this article.
The challenges are formidable. The new comptroller will inherit a city projecting a budget gap of $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2015 with fixed public sector benefit costs growing nearly 8 percent a year. Public sector workers are also demanding retroactive pay increases that the city says could cost nearly $8 billion, or more than 10 percent of the size of the fiscal year 2014 operating budget.
The race remains highly fluid. A Quinnipiac poll published on September 4 shows Spitzer trailing Stringer by 2 percentage points, a margin too thin to be decisive. That is a big change from an August 14 poll that showed Spitzer ahead by a 19 point margin.
In a joint New York Times and Siena College poll published on August 30 Spitzer was still leading Stringer by 15 points and indicated Stringer was struggling with name recognition outside his home borough. That compares to Spitzer's near celebrity status.
Harrison Goldin, city comptroller for 16 years before an unsuccessful bid for mayor, said the sharp reversal in at least one of the polls was encouraging for Stringer and showed Democratic voters becoming more familiar with him.
"Spitzer's early and dramatic lead was a factor of name recognition," said Harrison Goldin. "Stinger is pulling even and in my mind is highly likely now to win."
Goldin, who called the contest "the most dramatic race for Comptroller in memory", has endorsed Stringer for the nomination.
Stringer has picked up endorsements from the New York Times, and the city's tabloid papers the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Spitzer, by comparison, has been endorsed by the Queens Chronicle.
Spitzer inherited his family's real estate wealth and self-funded his campaign to the tune of $3.7 million, records from the New York Campaign Finance Board show.
Spitzer's late candidacy meant the Stringer campaign had to hire extra hands and ramp up its fund raising to stay competitive, according to a person close to the campaign. Records show Stringer raised $3.2 million from 5,600 donations.
Doug Muzzio, an expert in New York politics at Baruch College, believes Stringer may have the edge in getting the party faithful out to vote on election day, a factor he believes will be decisive.
"With Stringer's organizational muscle, with all the unions, all the political establishment in his corner one would expect they would have a substantial get out the vote operation," he said.
The winner in the September 10 primary vote will face John Burnett, the unopposed Republican candidate, on November 5. A Republican has not held the post since Joseph McGoldrick, who served from 1938 to 1945.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy: Editing by Tiziana Barghini and Andrew Hay)

Nearly One-Sixth of Population On Food Stamps

Food-stamp use grew 2.3% in June from a year earlier, with nearly one-sixth of the U.S. population receiving benefits.
Illinois showed the largest enrollment increase from last year with a 14.7% gain, according to Agriculture Department data released Friday. Wyoming was in second place, with rolls up 11.1% since the same time last year. Utah experienced the largest annual decline in food-stamp use, dropping 11.2%, among a dozen states to post a decrease. (Enrollment also decreased in Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington.)
One of the largest social safety net programs in the United States, food stamps – formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – expanded substantially during and after the recession, with enrollment rising about 70% from 2007 to 2011. At the same time, the government also temporarily increased benefits and allowed users in the hardest-hit areas to receive aid for longer-than-usual periods of time. The average monthly benefit was $133 last year.
Critics clamor against what they see as a disturbing rise in government dependency. But new economic research suggests the program’s expansion isn’t alarming and can, in fact, be explained by business cycles.
In a recent paper  published by the National Bureau of Economic Research,Jeffrey B. Liebman and Peter Ganong find that food-stamp enrollment shows a strong and persistent correlation with local unemployment rates. They attribute the increase in food-stamp rolls from 2007 to 2011 primarily to the recession—both higher unemployment and the temporary policy changes made to the program in response to the downturn. The surge in enrollment over the period was mostly due to the “program’s built-in automatic stabilizer features operating as usual in the midst of a very severe recession,” they write.
In another paper released in May, economists Hilary Hoynes and Marianne Bitlerpresent similar findings, arguing that the enrollment patterns during the most recent recession align with previous recessions when controlling for the magnitude of the downturn. “The program is responsive to business cycles to the same degree it has been in other recessions,” says Ms. Hoynes. “This is a large recession—the enrollment levels are in step with the magnitude of the labor shock.”
The recession ended in 2009, and the economy has steadily been adding jobs. If food-stamp rolls can largely be explained by fluctuations in business cycles, then why hasn’t the program been shrinking as the economy started recovering? “It’s a timing issue,” says Ms. Hoynes.
Historical data show that the decline in the unemployment rate after recessions tends to lag behind GDP growth. Similarly, the drop in food-stamp participation lags behind the decrease in unemployment.  “This is consistent with previous recessions,” she says.
The 2009 fiscal stimulus program’s temporary increase in food stamp benefits, which may have also boosted incentives to enroll, is set to expire Nov. 1. Congress is not expected to mitigate the scheduled cuts.
Growth in food-stamp use has leveled off in the last year, increasing at a slower pace than it did from 2007 to 2011. The Congressional Budget Office projects that food-stamp expenditure, measured as a share of gross domestic product, will decrease to its mid-1990s level by 2019, according to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank.

“National Security” versus “Food Insecurity”: One in Seven Hungry in America as Obama Prepares for Syrian War

The number of starving US citizens during Obama’s terms in office is a whopping one in seven, worse than the global average of one in eight. As he continues to pour several hundred billion dollars into the Middle East war theater that will likely soon include Syria, Congress wants to cut $40 billion in food aid to its constituents.
A recent USDA report reveals that nearly 18 million families, or 49 million people, lacked “food security” which is defined as “consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living.” Food insecurity is a polite term for starvation.
Since 1995, the percent starving in the US hovered at or below 12%. That changed in 2008 when it jumped to 14.6%, and has stayed above 14% since then. In 2012, the percentage was 14.5%, or one in seven people.
Only 59% of those counted as “food insecure” used any of the three major federal food assistance programs, researchers found. They looked at Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps); Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch Program.
Though food stamps provide an average of $1.33 per meal for its recipients, Republicrats plan to cut $40 billion over ten years from this essential social service, Think Progress reports. People get nasty when hungry; and many sociologists and historians point to widespread hunger as the cause of most, if not all, major revolutions in world history. Even recent ones. The Romans understood this, ergo the saying, panem et circenses (give the masses ‘bread and circuses’ to appease them and thus retain control).
Despite that one out of seven US citizens goes hungry, Obama, like his predecessors, continues to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the war machine. At last count, the US spent $684 billion in 2012, or 39% of the total global defense spending, reports Global Issues.

US military spending is down from 2008, when it spent $711 billion, if sources are accurate.
US Military spending vs world 2008
Even so, notes Jobs Not Wars, “If the U.S. cut its military spending in half, it would still outspend China, Russia and Britain together.”

Obama’s Food ‘Security’ Program

Obama’s military spending is ironic given his Global Food Security Initiative announced just months into his presidency, at the April 2009 G20 Summit held in London. As part of a global development strategy, Obama stated his plan to:
“Increase our investments and engagement in development-focused innovation by seeking and scaling up potential game-changing development technologies such as vaccines for neglected diseases, weather-resistant seed varieties, and clean energy technologies.”
The World Food Programme of the United Nations estimates the global hunger rate at one in eight. Under these circumstances, no US president has any business worrying about hunger over there. But that he is, at least superficially.
The food security initiative includes a “Feed the Future” program that established “the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) – a multilateral trust fund, based at the World Bank and launched by the United States in collaboration with other donors, including private philanthropy — designed to help poor farmers grow, market and earn more.”
In reality, “Feed the Future” is merely a scheme to blanket the planet in genetically modified food and toxic chemicals.
Obama’s concern about homegrown poverty, as we see from bankster bailouts and never-ending war, is nonexistent. He certainly hasn’t bucked long-time federal policy of legalizing slavery under the name minimum wage. No adult can support herself on minimum wage. Hunger is guaranteed under minimum wage.

The War on Farms

Obama’s FDA, run by former Monsanto executives, has a peculiar interest in destroying small farming operations in this nation. Nutritious food, grown organically and raised humanely, has been the target of several federally directed raids, supported by local sheriffs and police. No one has been sickened by food sold by these farms, or in the private buying clubs (like Rawsome Foods) that distribute it. But that’s not the point. Instead, the federal government clearly seeks to eliminate giant agribiz competition.
The current war on small US farmers is detailed in David Gumpert’s two books, The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights (2009), and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights (2013).
We also see the feds’ real motives in the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (formerly S 510), and the bandaid fix known as the Tester Amendment which was adopted to protect small farms from onerous food safety regulations that would put them out of business. Even former supporters now recognize that the FSMA will devastate small farm operations. The Cornucopia Institute now admits:
“Instead, the regulations would ensnare the country’s safest family farmers in burdensome regulations in a misdirected attempt to rein in abuses that are mostly emanating from industrial-scale factory farms and giant agribusiness food processing facilities.” [emphasis in original]
On the state level, we continue to find news items where children’s lemonade and raspberry stands are being shut down, for failure to acquire a permit. At the city level, feeding the homeless, a time-honored act of charity, has been criminalized across the US. Even fundraising bake sales have been criminalized.
Ron Finley, a self-admitted “gangsta gardener” faced a $400 fine for growing free-for-the-taking vegetables on his tree lawn.

The War on Herbs

The federal government, in line with globalists, also seeks complete control over medicinal and nutritional herbs. By and far, the best advocate protecting our right to natural herbs with which humans evolved is the National Health Federation, the only populist representative on the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a forum ostensibly created to facilitate global trade in foods. Unfortunately, we learn from NHF:
“This will be used to exclude high-potency American supplements and move towards harmonization of the more-liberal U.S. food regulatory regime with the harsh European regulatory model that only allows ridiculously low-potency and expensive supplements to be marketed.”
The “more-liberal U.S. food regulatory regime” is being overturned as we speak, with the introduction of several bills to force natural herbs into a testing protocol more strict, and more expensive, than what pharmaceuticals endure.  In opposing hyper-regulation of supplements (as spearheaded by Senator Dick Durbin and others), Dr. Mercola explains:
“Data from the U.S. National Poison Data System’s annual report, which tracked data from 57 U.S. poison centers, showed vitamin and mineral supplements caused zero deaths in 2010, whereas pharmaceuticals caused more than 1,100 of the total 1,366 reported fatalities. FDA-approved drugs cause 80 percent of poison control fatalities each year. Poison control centers report 100,000 calls, 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and nearly 500 deaths each year from acetaminophen (Tylenol) alone.
“Data from the European Union indicate that pharmaceutical drugs are 62,000 times as likely to kill you as dietary supplements. You’re actually more likely to be struck dead by lightning or drown in your bathtub than have a lethal reaction to a dietary supplement. These figures make it quite clear where the danger lies. If Senator Durbin really cared about your health, his efforts would be centered on doing something to make drugs safer, as they obviously pose a FAR greater risk to your health.”
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), among other laws, already controls supplements. Instead of enabling enhanced nutrition of its citizens, the feds concern themselves with increasing pharmaceutical profits.
The same can be said for other nations. In 2011, legislation introduced in Australia sought to ban thousands of plants, including its national flower, because they contain DMT, a naturally-occurring hallucinogen that even the human brain produces.

The War on Weed

Though rarely considered in food criminalization discussions, not only does marijuana have medicinal and recreational benefits, but its “seeds contain essential fatty acids and amino acids, which can be baked into foods to boost their nutritional value, in seed oil when sauteing foods, or taken as a supplement,” report Fox, Armentano and Tvert in Marijuana Is Safer So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?
Marijuana Is Safer details numerous medical benefits including anti-carcinogenic properties, preventing epileptic seizures, reducing peripheral neuropathy pain along with other types of pain, and thus reduces opiate dosage needs. It increases craving for food, a boon for those on appetite-suppressing chemotherapy, and it promotes sleepiness.
Not only does marijuana treat the symptoms of disease, Marijuana Is Safer reports, but:
“In some cases, it appears that marijuana can effectively treat disease itself. For instance, marijuana possesses strong antioxidant properties that can protect the brain during trauma and potentially ward off the onset of certain neurological diseases such as Alzheimers.
“In fact, in one of the great political ironies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent – it’s patent no. 6630507 – on the use of cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. That’s right, the same government that classifies cannabis as a Schedule I illicit drug (which under federal law is defined as possessing ‘no currently accepted medical use in treatment’) owns the intellectual property rights to several of the plant’s naturally occurring, therapeutic chemicals.”
That patent was filed back in 1999, deep amid the war on drugs.
Genetically modified marijuana research has been ongoing for over two decades, detailed by numerous freelance researchers. Several insist that a former agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency, Sam Selezny (aka David Watson aka Skunkman) developed his strains of GM weed in Holland with funding from the DEA. His company, Hortapharm, stands to make billions when pot is fully legalized in the States.
Just as natural, unmodified fresh milk is a market threat to drug-laden, industrial milk; natural, privately grown marijuana is a threat to the GM weed market. And so we see legal marijuana suffering under Obama.
Raids on legal cannabis farming and sales has cost nearly $300 million in the past four years, reports Americans for Safe Access:
ASA MM War by Administration
Last month, however, we saw some key changes in federal policy. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a “compassionate release” program to let medical marijuana users out of prison. Next, the Dept. of Justice reversed itself by agreeing to allow banks to work with medical marijuana clinics, and agreed to abide by voter decision in Washington and Colorado which allows for recreational use.
The DoJ’s policy reversals follow a unanimous resolution adopted by US mayors at their annual conference in June, supporting the notion of “states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference.”

Food as Trade Commodities

Finally, we cannot discuss starvation without mentioning food commodities. The dissolution of trade barriers and deregulation of the banking sector has led to price manipulation, increasing food insecurity and causing widespread starvation.
F. William Engdahl explains that for over 4,000 years, grains were safely stored for up to seven years to protect against war, drought and famine. That all changed in 1993 with the passage of GATT – the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – when:
“[T]he European Union finally agreed in 1993 to the GATT Uruguay Round, requiring a major reduction of national agriculture protection. Central to the Uruguay Round deal was agreement on one major change: national grain reserves as a government responsibility were to be ended….
“The elimination of national grain reserves in the USA and EU and other major OECD industrial countries set the stage for the next step in the process—elimination of agricultural commodity derivatives regulation, allowing unbridled unchecked speculative manipulations.
“Under the Clinton Treasury (1999 – 2000) the elimination of grain reserves was formalized by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)—the government body charged with supervising derivatives trade in exchanges such as the Chicago Board of Trade or NYMEX— and in legislation drafted by Tim Geithner and Larry Summers at Treasury. As will be shown below, it was no accident that Wall Street pushed Geithner, former President of the NY Federal Reserve, to become Obama’s Treasury Secretary in 2008, amid the worst financial debacle in history. Something to do with having foxes guard henhouses.”
The Fox scored big in the henhouse:
“When Henry Kissinger was Secretary of State in 1972-1973, acting in league with the Department of Agriculture and major US grain trading companies, he orchestrated an unprecedented 200% jump in the price of grain. The price hike was triggered at that time by the US signing a three-year contract with the Soviet Union that had just gone through a disastrous harvest failure.
“The US-Soviet deal hit amid global drought and severely reduced harvests worldwide, hardly a prudent time to sell the entire US grain cupboard to an ostensible Cold War opponent. The sale took place amid a major world grain harvest shortfall leading to the explosive price rise. Critical voices in US press at the time appropriately dubbed it the Great Grain Robbery. Kissinger had even arranged for much of the cost of shipping US grain to the Soviets to be paid by US taxpayers. Cargill and company laughed all the way to the bank.”
Next, writes Engdahl, came the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000:
“The two key architects of Clinton’s new law were a former Goldman Sachs consultant and Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and his Assistant at Treasury Tim Geithner, friend of Wall Street and today Obama’s Treasury Secretary. Secretary Summers was also a key player in preventing efforts to regulate financial derivatives in commodities and financial products….”
“At the time, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) proposed also to deregulate trading in derivatives between major banks or financial institutions, including derivatives of grain and other agricultural commodities.
“The historic and unprecedented deregulation opened a massive hole in Government supervision of derivatives trading, a gaping hole that ultimately facilitated the derivatives games leading to the 2007 financial collapse. It also formed the deregulation free-for-all that is behind much of the recent explosion in grain prices.”

The Emerging Local Food Movement

There’s still hope.
Despite the FDA’s war on private food and herb sources, private buying clubs and direct farm to consumer sales are spreading as fast as Monsanto-resistant weeds, and are a boon to local farm economies. The following chart shows the growth in direct sales from 1997 thru 2007, segregated by region:
Farm to Fork Sales 1997-2007
Urban agriculture is taking off in blighted areas in Detroit, Los Angeles, and other cities.  Rooftop and bus top gardens represent innovations beyond the ken of Obama and his agribuddies. They profit urbanites by providing local, healthy produce in food deserts, where fresh, nutritious food is lacking. They also provide a food cushion, should disaster strike and the local store’s 3-day food supply runs out.
While peace activists the world over vocally oppose more MidEast wars, agtivists continue to battle the biotech giants whose products are genetically contaminating natural crops and destroying our pollinators and soils with their requisite toxic chemicals. A fortnight of actions for Seed and Food Freedom is planned for Oct. 2-16 around the planet.
As “generals gather in their masses,” we can expect little positive aid from the feds. We can and should get local regulators on our side, so that our kids can have lemonade stands, our churches can have bake sales, and our private buying clubs or food co-ops can provide the food we want, that is much healthier for us, and that works with nature instead of against it.
The real trick to reducing hunger is to decentralize the food system, to grow our own, and to buy local. This is food democracy in action, and we don’t need permission to do it.
It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
~ Leonard Cohen

Kerry urges EU to postpone funding ban in Israeli-occupied territories

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the European Union on Saturday to postpone a planned ban on EU financial assistance to Israeli organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories, a U.S. official said.
Kerry made the request at a meeting with EU foreign ministers at which he also called on them to support Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which resumed on July 29 after a nearly three-year hiatus.
The EU imposed restrictions in July, citing its frustration over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in territory captured by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East War.
A senior U.S. State Department official told reporters in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius that Kerry called on the Europeans to consider postponing the implementation of EU guidelines on aid.
"There was strong support for his efforts and an openness to considering his requests," he said.
The guidelines render Israeli entities operating in the occupied territories ineligible for EU grants, prizes or loans, beginning next year.
They angered Israel's rightist government, which accused the Europeans of harming Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and responded by announcing curbs on EU aid projects for thousands of West Bank Palestinians.
Palestinians praised the guidelines as a concrete step against settlement construction, which they fear will deny them a viable state.
Asked her response to Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters the guidelines were simply "putting down on paper what is currently the EU position".
Ashton announced, however, that the EU would send a team, headed by a senior EU diplomat, to Israel on Monday to make sure the implementation of the new guidelines was done sensitively.
"We of course want to continue having a strong relationship with Israel," she said.
The EU team would talk to the Israelis about implementation of the new guidelines but not about renegotiating them, an EU source said.
A senior U.S. State Department official, briefing reporters before the Vilnius talks, said Kerry would give a clear message to EU ministers on the funding issue.
He would tell them that "it's important for those parties who have an interest in a successful outcome (to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations) that they be supportive of this effort and that they find a way to embrace the negotiators and encourage them to move forward, rather than, as it were metaphorically, bang them over the head," the official said.
Jewish settler leaders say the aid they receive from Europe is minimal. But many in Israel worry about possible knock-on effects the EU steps may have on individuals or companies based in Israel that might be involved in business in the settlements, deemed illegal by the international community.
The EU and Israel began talks last month on Horizon 2020, a prestigious 80-billion-euro ($107-billion) European research funding program. The dispute over the guidelines could jeopardize an agreement on Israel's participation in it.
Israeli-Palestinian peace has been Kerry's main foreign policy initiative since becoming secretary of state on February 1.
He is scheduled to brief some Arab League ministers on his peace efforts in Paris on Sunday and then to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the same day in London.
He is also expected to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon.
The core issues that need to be settled in the more than six-decade-old Israeli-Palestinian dispute include borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem.
(Additional reporting by Adrian Croft and Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Andrew Roche)

Record 90,473,000 Not in Labor Force…So that would put the unemployment rate at what %? Post’s Say from 35% to 40%!!! WTF?

( – The number of Americans who are 16 years or older and who have decided not to participate in the nation’s labor force has pushed past 90,000,000 for the first time, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS counts a person as participating in the labor force if they are 16 years or older and either have a job or have actively sought a job in the last four weeks. A person is not participating in the labor force if they are 16 or older and have not sought a job in the last four weeks.
In July, according to BLS, 89,957,000 Americans did not participate in the labor force. In August, that climbed to 90,473,000–a one month increase of 516,000.
- See more at:
Our government tell us the unemployment rate is only at 7.3%, down 0.5% from 7.8%.
If there are 350 million Americans in this country and 90.4 million of them are unemployed, what is the percentage of unemployed in America according to these numbers?
Official Numbers
Civilian nonistitutional population = 245,959,000
Labor force = 155,486,000
Employed = 144,170,000
Unemployed = 11,316,000
Not in labor force = 245,959,000 – 155,486,000 = 90,473,000
Now if add the “not in labor force” to unemployed:
Unemployed = 11,316,000 + 90,473,000 = 101,789,000
Then unemployment rate is:
Unemployment rate = 101,789,000/245,959,000 = 41.13845%
Jobs Report Confirms QE Isn’t The Only Thing Not Working

Who Is Going To Buy Our Debt If This War Causes China, Russia And The Rest Of The World To Turn On Us?

Syrian Rebel ForcesCan the U.S. really afford to greatly anger the rest of the world when they are the ones that are paying our bills?  What is going to happen if China, Russia and many other large nations stop buying our debt and start rapidly dumping U.S. debt that they already own?  If the United States is not very careful, it is going to pay a tremendous economic price for taking military action in Syria.  At this point, survey after survey has shown that the American people are overwhelmingly against an attack on Syria, people around the globe are overwhelmingly against an attack on Syria, and it looks like the U.S. Congress is even going to reject it.  But Barack Obama is not backing down.  In fact, ABC News is reporting that plans are now being made for a "significantly larger" strike on Syria than most experts had expected.
If Obama insists on going forward with this, it will be the greatest foreign policy disaster in modern American history.
Right now, both Russia and China are strongly warning Obama not to attack Syria.  And Russia is not just warning Obama with words.  According to Bloomberg, Russia has sent quite a collection of warships into the region...
Russia is sending three more ships to the eastern Mediterranean to bolster its fleet there as a U.S. Senate panel will consider President Barack Obama’s request for authority to conduct a military strike on Syria.
Russia is sending two destroyers, including the Nastoichivy, the flagship of the Baltic Fleet, and the Moskva missile cruiser to the region, Interfax reported today, citing an unidentified Navy official. That follows last week’s dispatch of a reconnaissance ship to the eastern Mediterranean, four days after the deployment of an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the area, which were reported by Interfax. Syria hosts Russia’s only military facility outside the former Soviet Union, at the port of Tartus.
China is also letting it be known that they absolutely do not want Obama to hit Syria.  On Friday, China issued a warning about what military conflict in the Middle East could do to "the global economy"...
"Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price – it will cause a hike in the oil price."
And according to Debka, China has also deployed "a number of warships" to the region...
Western naval sources reported Friday that a Chinese landing craft, the Jinggangshan, with a 1,000-strong marine battalion had reached the Red Sea en route for the Mediterranean off Syria.  According to DEBKAfile, Beijing has already deployed a number of warships opposite Syria in secret. If the latest report is confirmed, this will be the largest Chinese deployment in the Middle East in its naval history.
If the U.S. attacks Syria, Russia and China probably will not take immediate military action against us.
But they could choose to hit us where it really hurts.
According to the U.S. Treasury, foreigners now hold approximately 5.6 trillion dollars of our debt.  Over the past couple of decades, the proportion of our debt owned by foreigners has grown tremendously, and today we very heavily depend on nations such as China to buy our debt.
At this point, China owns approximately 1.275 trillion dollars of our debt, and Russia owns approximately 138 billion dollars of our debt.
So what would happen if China, Russia and other foreign buyers of our debt all of a sudden quit purchasing our debt and instead started dumping the debt that they already own back on to the market?
In a word, it would be disastrous.
As I have written about previously, the U.S. government will borrow about 4 trillion dollars this year.
Close to a trillion of that is new borrowing, and about three trillion of that is rolling over existing debt.
If China and other big foreign lenders quit buying our debt and started dumping what they already hold, that would send yields on U.S. Treasuries absolutely soaring.
And we have already seen bond yields rise dramatically in recent weeks.  In fact, on Thursday the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries briefly broke the 3 percent barrier.
So what is going to happen if the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries continues to go up?  The following are a few consequences of rising bond yields that I have discussed in previous articles...
-It will cost the federal government more to borrow money.
-It will cost state and local governments more to borrow money.
-As bond yields go up, bond values go down.  In the end, rising bond yields could end up costing bond investors trillions of dollars.
-Rising bond yields will cause mortgage rates to skyrocket.  In fact, we are already starting to see this happen.  This week the average rate on a 30 year mortgage hit 4.57 percent.
-Higher interest rates will mean a slowdown in economic activity at a time when we definitely cannot afford it.
-As economic activity slows down, that will be very bad for stocks.  When the next great stock market crash happens (and it is coming), equity investors could end up losing trillions of dollars of wealth.
-Of course the biggest threat of all is the 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives time bomb that is sitting out there.  Rapidly rising interest rates could potentially bring down several of our "too big to fail" banks in rapid succession and throw us into the greatest financial crisis the nation has ever seen.
Are you starting to get the picture?
And the 3 percent mark is just the beginning.  Brent Schutte, a market strategist for BMO Private Bank, told CNBC that he expects the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries to eventually go up to 6 or 7 percent...
"4 percent (on 10-year Treasurys) somewhere around the end of the year to early next year would be a good intermediate-term level. And if you look over the longer term, I don't think that 6 or 7 percent is out of the question."
If that happens, we will experience a full blown financial meltdown.
Of course it would greatly help if Obama would back down and not attack Syria.  As Vladimir Putin noted at the G20 summit, large nations such as India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia are all strongly against the U.S. taking military action...
In reply to the question what other country in the world may theoretically be subjected to aggression similar to that Syria is facing, Putin said, “I do not want to think that any other country will be subjected to any external aggression.”
A military action against Syria will have a highly deplorable impact on international security at large, Putin emphasized.
He said he was surprised to see that ever more participants in the summit, including the leader of India, Brazil, the South African Republic, and Indonesia were speaking vehemently against a possible military operation in Syria.
Putin cited the words of the South African President, Jacob Zuma, who said many countries were feeling unprotected against such actions undertaken by stronger countries.
“Given the conditions as they, how would you convince the North Koreans, for example, to give up their nuclear program,” he said. “Just tell them to put everything into storage today and they’ll be pulled to bits tomorrow.”
He underlined the presence of only one method for maintaining stability - “an unconditional observance of international law norms.”
Can we really afford to have most of the international community turn on us and quit buying our debt?
Of course not.
Sadly, as I noted the other day, Obama appears to be locked into doing the bidding of Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In fact, as the Washington Post reported the other day, Secretary of State John Kerry has even admitted that they are even willing to pay all of the costs of a U.S. military campaign that would overthrow Assad...
Secretary of State John Kerry said at Wednesday’s hearing that Arab counties have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily.
"With respect to Arab countries offering to bear costs and to assess, the answer is profoundly yes," Kerry said. "They have. That offer is on the table."
Asked by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) about how much those countries would contribute, Kerry said they have offered to pay for all of a full invasion.
"In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way we’ve done it previously in other places, they’ll carry that cost," Kerry said. "That’s how dedicated they are at this. That’s not in the cards, and nobody’s talking about it, but they’re talking in serious ways about getting this done."
Why aren't we hearing more about this in the news?
Fortunately, despite the relentless propaganda coming from the mainstream media, a lot of members of Congress are choosing to take a stand against this war.  For example, U.S. Representative Tom Marino recently shared the following about why he is voting against military action in Syria...
Secretary Hagel could not tell lawmakers who the U.S. could trust among the Syrian opposition, stating "that’s not my business to trust."  Like many Americans, I believe it is our duty as decision makers to be informed and confident when making choices – especially in those choices that could result in sending U.S. troops or money abroad.  It is no wonder Secretary Hagel isn’t in the business to trust when more players are added daily to the growing list of ‘Syrian opposition’—many of them jihadist, terrorists, known Al Qaeda affiliates, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and enemies of the U.S. and our allies.  To simplify, the Secretary of Defense was unable to tell us, after nearly three years of the Syrian Civil War, who the good guys are or if there are any at all.
And Marino is very right.  There are no "good guys" in Syria.  The "rebels" are murderous jihadist psychotics that would be even worse than Assad if they took power.
For much more on what the mainstream media is not telling you about the war in Syria, check out a stunning video report from investigative reporter Ben Swann that you can find right here.
Syrian Rebels
The picture above comes from the official Facebook page of one of the "rebel groups" in Syria.
I am sure that you do not need me to point out that the White House is burning in the background of the picture.
These are the people that Obama wants to help?
According to NBC News, the rebels are also displaying images of the black flag of al-Qaeda on Facebook too...
The image is one of eight photos posted on the official Facebook page of the “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,”  a small armed Sunni rebel faction fighting with the Free Syrian Army, the main umbrella military organization of the opposition forces. Two other photos posted on the group’s page feature the widely recognized black flag of the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group, which operates freely in Syria.
Let's assume for a moment that Obama is successful in Syria and that Assad is overthrown.
That would hand Syria over to al-Qaeda.
Once in power, the "rebels" would slaughter or force the conversion of millions of Christians, Jews and non-Sunni Muslims that have been living peacefully in Syria for centuries.
To those that would support this war, I would ask you this question...
Is that what you want?
Do you want the blood of millions of Christians, Jews and non-Sunni Muslims on your hands?
If you are a Christian that is supporting Obama on this, I would ask you to consider an excerpt from a letter from Christian nuns in Azeir, Syria that I have posted below...
We look at the people around us, our day workers who are all here as if suspended, stunned: “They’ve decided to attack us.” Today we went to Tartous…we felt the anger, the helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense to all this: the people trying their best to work and to live normally. You see the farmers watering their land, parents buying notebooks for the schools that are about to begin, unknowing children asking for a toy or an ice cream…you see the poor, so many of them, trying to scrape together a few coins. The streets are full of the “inner” refugees of Syria, who have come from all over to the only area left that is still relatively liveable…. You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then you remember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’s time to do something,” as it is worded in the statements of the important men, who will be sipping their tea tomorrow as they watch TV to see how effective their humanitarian intervention will be….
You can read the rest of that letter right here.
Also consider the following shocking video of Senator John McCain being confronted by a very emotional woman that says that her 18-year-old cousin in Syria was just killed by rebels loyal to al-Qaeda...

Any American that supports this war is aiding al-Qaeda.
Any American that supports this war is choosing to ally themselves with radical jihadist Christian killers that want to conquer the entire Middle East in the name of Sunni Islam.
If Congress votes to approve this war, then we should do what one site has suggested and send those that vote yes to Syria.
They don't even have to fight.  We'll just drop them off in the middle of the "rebel forces" and entrust them into the gentle hands of the al-Nusra Front.
But of course they would never go.  The ones that will be endangered will be the precious sons and daughters of other Americans.
This is not a war that has a good outcome for America.  Conservative voices and liberal voices all over the country are joining together to speak out against this war.
Hopefully Barack Obama will listen and cooler heads will prevail.  If not, things could spin wildly out of control very rapidly.

Peter Schiff: Jobs Report Confirms QE Isn't The Only Thing Not Working

Exactly As I Warned, "Cyprusization" Goes Mainstream! Ireland On Tap, Next Up For Citizen Fund Confiscation (Again)

Last year I wrote "The "Believe In Germany Bailing The EU" Trade: Go Long Magic Wand Raw Materials & Harry Potter Paraphernalia" wherein I warned of both the risk in Germany as a save all, and the risks posed to European FIRE sector companies (and insurers in particular) as a result of this belief in magic over math. 
Well, now Bloomberg reports that Poland has literally confiscated private pension manager's (read insurance companies) bonds with essentially no compensation, ex., they stole them, as per Bloomgerg - Poland to Cancel Bonds From Pension Funds in System Revamp:
Poland will take over and cancel government bonds held by its privately managed pension funds, stopping short of fully “nationalizing” the system as it seeks to curb public debt, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said.
Whaaaat!!!??? Cancel bonds? Outright theft! Listem carefully here. It's not as if I didn't tell you so. Now, what happens to those insurers whose pension funds under management were robbed? Again, revisit "The "Believe In Germany Bailing The EU" Trade: Go Long Magic Wand Raw Materials & Harry Potter Paraphernalia". This plain as day and easy to see coming, and there's a lot more coming!
Remember my many warnings this year on the Irish and EU banking system:
If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It...), the chances of there being any recovery is somewhere between zilch and nil, give or take a euro or two - reference LGD 100+: What's the Possibility of Certain European Banks Having a Loss Given Default Approaching 100%? and The Anatomy of a Serial European Banking Collapse to realize that once a counter party driven bank run starts, there may be less than nothing to divy up in the end. Lehman Brothers' US creditors received roughly 10 to 40 cents on the dollar, but after 5 years of wrangling, the European International arm was full repaid. Hey, do you feel lucky with your life savings? Even if you do feel lucky, you'll still need 5 years to spare and a ton of cash for legal fees.
However, some member states have not ruled out the possibility that insured deposits, i.e. deposits under €100,000, would be forced to bear losses in the event of a bank collapse even though these deposits would be likely to be protected by the deposit guarantee scheme.
As stated earlier, this ain't AAA coverage!
This year Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the group of 17 euro zone finance ministers, said that losses on bondholders and depositors could form part of future bank bailouts as euro zone officials seek to move the burden of bailouts away from taxpayers – as was the case in the Irish bailout – and on to private investors.
The European Commission argues that this switch from so-called “bailouts” to “bail-ins” would result in an allocation of losses that would not be worse than the losses that shareholders and creditors would have suffered in regular insolvency proceedings that apply to other private companies.
Ahem, that non-sense only works on the uneducated and/or the unassuming. The major difference is that creditors that would be subject to regular dissolution proceedings AND that are unsecured, would demand considerably higher rates of return. A borderline solvent bank whose officers AND regulators admit publicly is in need of additional capital infusions after receiving three thus far, and 96% losses in its publicly traded equity, would have to borrow money at 18%, not 2% - and that's being generous. See the bank deposit rate calculator below.
While the inclusion of large savers in future bank bailouts is now widely accepted, significant differences still remain between member states.
While the new rules governing bank resolution were first intended to come into place in 2018, since the Cypriot bailout there have been calls from senior EU figures such as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and EU economics affairs commissioner Olli Rehn to introduce the new regime as early as 2015.
The Irish presidency of the European Council is hoping to reach a common position by the end of next month.
The little app below calculates what return you should expect to receive to take on the risk of a potential 40% haircut. The second tab offers what recent Cyprus bank rates were. Do you see a disparity???

The video below was the result of a collaborative effort to bring Mr.Middleton to Ireland through a crowdfunded campaign. While the effort fell through, we have recycled some of the material to ascertain interest in his visiting Ireland on an independent basis.  If you're Irish, from Ireland or simply find this financial/ethical malarkey disagreeable and would be interested in seeing Reggie Middleton visit Ireland to disseminate his research, create new resarch, hold town hall style discussions on how to "occupy the banks" or simply have a good, old-fashioned breaking of the bread, let us know of your willingness to contribute to a crowdfunded project on Indiegogo. If there is enough interest to make this happen, we will create a project to fund Reggie's trip and create saleable research. Let Reggie know directly by contacting him via email: reggie at boombustblog dot com

12 Year Old Girl Tells The People the Truth about ROTHSCHILD CORRUPT BANKERS and ECONOMY

12 Year Old Girl Exposes Illuminati!

Obama and Larry Summers: Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Video produced by

WaPo: Autumn Looks 'Scary' for US Workers, Economy

American households may want to prepare for some chilling moments this fall, and not because of the weather.

For American workers and the U.S. economy, "autumn could be scary," The Washington Post states.

In fact, polls show more than half of U.S. workers believe the United States is still in a recession. And it warns that the economy is facing a bundle of headwinds this fall that could prove particularly tough for poor and middle class Americans.

Editor’s Note:
Add Up to $152,046 to Your Social Security Benefits Using Weird Trick

"Unfortunately, we seem to be entering another of those periods of elevated risk," economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch warned in a report last week, The Post reports.

In an economy plagued with low-wage and part-time jobs, Americans' wages have declined since the recession. It's not just gas station attendants or fast-food workers that are feeling the wage pinch, The Post notes, government wages have fallen 5 percent since January.

Gains in incomes are hardly keeping pace with inflation, which is a sign employment will need to pick up for the expansion to strengthen, according to Bloomberg.

But millions are still aching for jobs and employers are not expected to rush to boost salaries given the state of the labor market.

Consumer spending is a lifeblood of the U.S economy and data show declines in July, indicating the world's largest economy was off to a slow start in the third quarter, Bloomberg explains.

And some are skeptical about seeing improvement in consumer spending when the August data is released.

With household budgets already showing signs of strain, Americans are facing the prospects of rising fuel costs as they move toward the cooler months. Generally, Labor Day marks the end of high summer gas prices.

However, USA Today says drivers should not hold their breath expecting the typical September savings any time soon.

Gasoline is currently averaging $3.56 a gallon. There were widescale expectations for a decline to $3.40 by early fall, but USA Today says many forecasters are now looking for a short-term spike of 10 cents a gallon, amid fears of military action against Syria.

The housing recovery was considered a bright spot in the economy, underwriting optimism that economic conditions were improving. But now there are questions emerging about potential cracks in that market as interest rates are rising faster than expected.

Added to these concerns are fears that the Federal Reserve will taper its stimulus program, removing support from a seemingly fragile economy. Then, there's the likelihood that lawmakers in Washington will create economic turbulence fighting over the federal budget and debt limit.

And despite the apparent strain, sequestration looks like it's here for at least another year, the Post says.

"Just when you thought the U.S. economy was ready to break out of its lackluster 2 percent growth pace that has dominated the recovery, reality hits," The Post say researchers at RBC Capital Markets wrote in a report.

Editor’s Note: Add Up to $152,046 to Your Social Security Benefits Using Weird Trick

© 2013 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

Metals & Markets: One Last Metals Smash Ahead as Fed Prepares to Taper? (video)

In this week’s show, The Doc & Eric Dubin cover:
1. The Doc’s report on the retail physical market, including record Silver Eagle sales.
2. This week’s metals trading action vis-a-vis mining shares, 10 year breaks 3%, econ data.
3. GOFO slips into positive territory, only to go negative again while prices declined (cartel footprints).
4. Military strike? Congress? What’s up? – Meanwhile Putin threatens Russia will retaliate for any US strike on Syria.
5. September FOMC meeting/statement looming, expect the Fed to announce a $10-15 B taper to QE- how will it affect gold & silver?

TDV: Jeff Berwick on Symposium Australia and The Coming Fiat Currency Collapse (video)

Jeff Berwick from his home office in Acapulco, Mexico is interviewed by the good people at the Symposium in Sydney, Australia for a preview of what is to come when he attends the Gold Symposium in Sydney on October 16th. Jeff talks about the upcoming end of the current financial system, the effects of inflation in the US and how Chile has changed over the last 20 years to become one of the most attractive expat countries in the world with communities such as Galts Gulch Chile starting up.