Nov 26


Toyota has lost its top credit rating

Toyota Motor, the world’s biggest automaker and a towering icon of Japanese industrial power, has been stripped of its AAA credit rating under the darkening global economic storm.

The downgrade, said analysts at Fitch Ratings, effectively passes sentence on the entire worldwide auto industry, showing that the business of building cars can no longer produce a single player with the sort of cast-iron corporate resilience of Exxon Mobil or Johnson & Johnson.

“This crisis is demonstrating that the auto industry cannot support a triple-A rating,” said Frederic Gits, a Tokyo-based credit analyst at Fitch Ratings, which issued the downgrade earlier today and declared the auto-industry’s problems “substantial and fundamental”.

Fitch Ratings’ downgrade of Toyota’s unsecured debt to AA deals a stunning blow to Japanese corporate pride, but reflects “severe” turmoil across world car markets and the company’s own spectacular profits warning earlier this month.

To demonstrate the extent of the problem, brokers in Tokyo have recently started circulating aerial photographs of a military airfield in Oxfordshire that has become a colossal warehouse for thousands of unsold cars.

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Nov 26

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve’s new $800 billion effort to combat the financial crisis is designed to make credit more accessible to shaken consumers who aren’t sure they want more debt.

Households and lenders may not respond much because of the wealth destruction from plunging property and stock values, and the deepening economic slump, economists say. That means banks may end up returning the Fed’s new liquidity through deposits at the central bank.

“We are sort of spitting in the wind,” said Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners LP in Greenwich, Connecticut. “Banks won’t be throwing a lot of loans out there when they fear — rationally — those loans may not be paid back.”

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Nov 26


TOSS-UP: Volunteer Shannon Amparan organizes bags of fruit before a food giveaway at Montebello Park. About 5,000 people showed up. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands turn out for separate offerings of free food and mortgage help. Some leave empty-handed.

Some sought a cart of groceries the week before Thanksgiving, others sought a way to keep from losing their homes in the new year. By the thousands, a diverse group of Southern Californians converged on two events Saturday aimed at helping families in hard economic times.

The problems, and the aid offered, were vastly different. But both reflected the worries and needs of many.

In Montebello, nearly 5,000 turned out for a food giveaway, a number that stunned organizers who had tried to keep it a low-key event, targeting publicity to several churches and schools. But word of mouth proved stronger than a few fliers, and crowds inundated Montebello Park. A diverse mix of people stood in a six-hour-long line — families from middle- and working-class communities, including Pico Rivera, Montebello, Norwalk and Whittier. No one left empty-handed, though.

In Van Nuys, about 2,000 homeowners attended a workshop promoted as Home Preservation Day. But this was not about how to lay tile or install plumbing. A bank had mailed notices to homeowners in trouble with their mortgages, and Saturday offered them a chance to rework the terms of their loans. Bankers had hoped 100 would turn out, and planned for 200. Loan counselors had time to meet with a fraction of homeowners and some were turned away.

Filling empty cupboards

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Nov 26

The People’s Bank of China cut interest rates by more than 1pc point as the economy crumbles and millions of jobs are predicted to go ahead of Christmas.


Factory workers surround a damaged police car during a protest outside Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan, China. Photo:REUTERS

The move came just one day after the World Bank predicted that China would grow by 7.5pc next year. The level of growth may appear robust by Western standards, but it would represent the slowest economic expansion in China for the last two decades.

It is also perilously close to the 7pc minimum level of growth that Chinese economists believe is necessary in order to create enough jobs for the 6m university graduates who will enter the jobs market next year.


Factory workers smash an office during a protest at Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan, China. Photo: REUTERS

It is the fourth interest rate cut from the Chinese central bank in the last ten weeks as the government desperately battles an evident economic collapse. “China is out to save itself here,” said Patrick Bennett, an analyst with Societe Generale in Hong Kong.

The PBOC reduced its main borrowing rate by 1.08pc points to 5.58pc, the biggest one-off cut since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.

In recent weeks, a series of riots across central and southern China have flowered as disgruntled employees aired their grievances at the downturn.

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Nov 26

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it had discovered the toxic chemical melamine in infant formula made by an American manufacturer, raising the possibility that the problem was more extensive in the United States than previously thought.

While few details were available late Tuesday, agency officials said they had discovered melamine at trace levels in a single sample of infant formula. It was also discovered in several samples of dietary supplements that are made by some of the same manufacturers who make formula.

F.D.A. officials insisted that the levels of melamine were so low that they did not pose a health threat.

“There’s no cause for concern or no risk from these levels,” said Judy Leon, an agency spokeswoman. Ms. Leon said the contamination was most likely the result of food contact with something like a can liner, or from some other manufacturing problems, but not from deliberate adulteration.

She declined to name the company that made the tainted infant formula.

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Nov 26

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) — Food prices will rise next year, prompting a revival of protectionism from food-growing nations and risking a renewed bout of rioting, according to Jochen Hitzfeld, an analyst at UniCredit SpA in Munich.

“Agricultural commodities will outperform the broad commodity indices in 2009,” Hitzfeld wrote in a research note this week. “If key crop-producing countries then impose export bans again and speculators drive up prices via physical stockpiling and futures contracts, new food unrest is even conceivable in the second half of 2009.”

The CHART OF THE DAY shows food prices for the past 10 years as measured by an index compiled by UBS AG and Bloomberg that tracks at least 13 foodstuffs, including wheat, soybeans, sugar, cocoa and coffee. The index has declined 35 percent since peaking in July.

“The prices of many agricultural commodities are now clearly below their production costs,” Hitzfeld wrote. “We expect the coming year to bring a cutback in area under cultivation as well as a decline in the yield per hectare.”

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Nov 26

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — Thai authorities warned of flight chaos for thousands of passengers and damage to the tourism industry after anti-government protesters stormed the main terminal at Bangkok’s international airport, closing it down.

Four people were injured by a grenade this morning at the airport, TPBS television station reported. Parnthep Pongpourpan, a spokesman for the protesters, said the injuries weren’t serious and the People’s Alliance for Democracy group will wait for the return of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, whose resignation they are demanding.

The demonstrators, who want Somchai to take responsibility for deadly clashes with police last month, may force him to declare a state of emergency to prevent escalating violence. The prime minister, set to return today from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru, has rejected the resignation calls and police have avoided using force since the Oct. 7 clash in which two people died and 470 were injured.

“Tens of thousands of tourists will be stranded here as we stopped departure flights,” Porntip Hirunkate, secretary-general of the Tourism Council of Thailand, told Thai PBS television late yesterday. “This will hurt our tourism in December, which is our high season. The impact may go further to next year too.”

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Nov 25

Here are three videos concerning Ron Paul’s questioning of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during a congressional hearing on November 18, 2008.

The first video shows the actual questioning during the hearing; the second video shows Ron Paul commenting on his questioning of Bernanke; and the third video shows Ron Paul being interviewed on Fox News later the same day regarding his questioning of Bernanke, and his views on the current financial crisis in general, the bailouts, and the need for sound money.

Ron Paul Questions Fed Chairman Bernanke About a New International Currency on Nov. 18, 2008

Ron Paul’s Own Video Commentary Regarding His Questioning of Bernanke on Nov. 18, 2008.

Ron Paul on Fox Business News, 11/18/2008, regarding his questioning of Bernanke, and his views regarding the Wall Street Bailout, the proposed auto bailout, and the need for sound money.

Written by Larry Greenley
Sunday, 23 November 2008 15:56

Source: The John Birch Society

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Nov 25

Lorie Kramer – November 25, 2008

In 39 cities across the country, FED-UP! citizens protested
the Federal Reserve Banking System in the United States.
This page is a collective report of those demonstrations.

End The Fed 2008

Washington DC

End the Fed [Washington, DC] 22-Nov-2008

Rick Williams: “The Fed is a Fraud!”

Adam Kokesh: “Matter of Life and Death”

Tony Teolis: Legacy of the Fed is Death

Gary Franchi: “Bury the Beast!”

Jordan Page Sings “The War Machine”

Ted Terbolizard Call 4 END of FED & IRS

End The Fed Nationwide Rally! – Photos

3 YT’ers @ End the Fed

Houston, Texas

Ron Paul: End the Fed!

Ron Paul’s Address at Houston Rally

Complete Address – 4 parts

Video of Ron Paul’s Questioning of Fed Chairman Bernanke
Regarding a New International Currency on Nov. 18, 2008

Dallas, Texas

Alex Jones End the Fed Interview

End the Fed Rally 112208

“End the Fed” protesters assemble in downtown Dallas

El Paso, Texas

Protest group calls for an end to the Federal Reserve Bank

San Antonio, Texas

Protesters state their case in front of Federal Reserve FOX

END THE FED – SAN ANTONIO 11-22-08

End the Fed San Antonio Local News

Talking to a SA Cop about september 11th

Educating Tourists at the Alamo about HR 2755

WeAreChange San Antonio End the Fed 11-22-08

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Nov 25

Saturday afternoon Ron Paul addressed a crowd of about 500 people in front of the Fed building in downtown Houston. They had come together for one of many End the Fed demonstrations throughout the country.

Here’s a partial transcript of Ron Paul’s speech (slightly edited for clarity):

“It is a great event, and I understand that there are a lot of events like this throughout the country. And this should be very significant. We won’t be on the evening tonight, I’m quite sure of that around the country. But we are on the evening news every single night, every single day, and we’re on the minds of the people every single day because there is a crisis in this country that is as bad as, if not worse than the crisis of the Depression of the 30s. That’s on endlessly [on TV], and we know who caused it. It was the Federal Reserve that gave us all this trouble.

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Nov 25


British journalist and peace activist Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Palestinian development envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits a family in the Rafah refugee camp, south Gaza on Sep. 14. Booth arrived in Gaza on a boat carrying human rights activists protesting against an Israeli blockade. (UPI)

GAZA CITY, Gaza — Half of Gaza’s bakeries have closed down and the other half have resorted to animal feed to produce bread as Israel’s complete blockade of the coastal territory enters its 19th day.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon alarmed at the escalating humanitarian crisis called incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week and demanded that he lift the blockade.

Following the continued closure, the secretary-general reiterated his appeal on Friday but to no avail.

Karen AbuZayd, commissioner-general for the U.N.’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees, warned that a humanitarian “catastrophe” loomed if Israel continued to prevent aid from reaching Gaza.

“It’s been closed for so much longer than ever before. We have nothing in our warehouses. It will be a catastrophe if this persists; a disaster,” said AbuZayd.

AbuZayd added that the human toll of this month’s closure of the territories was “the gravest since the early days of the second intifada or Palestinian uprising.

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Nov 25


A GPGC employee presses a button at the company’s power plant in Nusseirat

GAZA CITY (AFP) – Gaza’s sole power plant has shut down because Israel will not allow the importation of replacement parts needed for urgent repairs, an official in the impoverished Palestinian territory’s energy authority said on Tuesday.

“Despite deliveries of fuel on Monday, the power plant stopped functioning because of breakdowns in the production units,” said Kanaan Obeid, assistant director of the authority.

He said the frequent shutdowns of the plant, caused by fuel shortages, damaged parts of the production units that cannot be replaced because of the Israeli blockade of the territory.

Israel “refuses to allow in the necessary parts and the plant cannot restart without them,” he said.

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Nov 25


Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Citizen Soldiers May Need More Training On Homeland Operations, Defense Secretary Says

(AP) Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday ordered his top department leaders to conduct a broad review to determine whether the military, National Guard and Reserve can adequately deal with domestic disasters and whether they have the training and equipment to defend the homeland.

The 41-page memo signaled an acknowledgment that the military must better recognize the critical role of the National Guard and Reserves in homeland defense, but stopped short of requiring many specific policy changes.

His memo comes in the wake of a stinging 400-page independent commission report that concluded the military isn’t ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and that National Guard forces don’t have the equipment or training they need for the job.

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Nov 25

Related article: Fed Pledges Top $7.4 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit


Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. spoke at a news conference at the Treasury Department on Tuesday in Washington.

The federal government unveiled $800 billion in new loans and debt purchases on Tuesday, hoping another infusion of cash can help unfreeze troubled credit markets and make borrowing easier for homebuyers, small businesses and students.

The Federal Reserve said that it would buy up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed assets from the government-sponsored mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency would also buy up to $100 billion in debt directly from the companies and up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

“This action is being taken to reduce the cost and increase the availability of credit for the purchase of houses, which in turn should support housing markets and foster improved conditions in financial markets more generally,” the Federal Reserve said in a statement.

Separately, the Fed and Treasury Department announced a $200 billion program to ease commercial lending on debts like student loans, car loans or business loans. The Fed would lend up to $200 billion to holders of asset-backed securities supported by car loans, credit card loans, student loans, and business loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

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Nov 25

By the way Volkswagen shares declined 22,66% today.

Last month, Porsche surprised the world by announcing it had acquired a nearly 43% stake in Volkswagen with an option to buy 32% more. Without anybody noticing, ‘wee little’ Porsche, maker of scarcely 100,000 cars a year, had cornered a 75% position in VW, which cranks out nearly 6 million vehicles. Source: Los Angeles Times
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Porsche Panamera

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) — Porsche SE, the maker of the 911 sports car, said it will suspend production at its main plant for seven days to help cope with dwindling auto sales.

Porsche fell the most in a month in Frankfurt trading after the company said today it will idle the factory in Stuttgart, where it is based. Production was also halted for one day last week, the carmaker said in a statement, without specifying on which days the other closures will fall.

“I don’t think that Porsche’s customers have suddenly fallen into poverty, but they’re reacting to the fact that it may be inappropriate to pull up in a new Porsche when their neighbor’s house is being foreclosed,” said Christoph Stuermer, a Frankfurt-based analyst with research firm IHS Global Insight. “It’s an appropriate reaction.”

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Nov 25


A new price sign stands atop a sign outside a home in Park Ridge, Illinois, on Nov. 6, 2008. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) — House prices in 20 U.S. cities declined in the year ended in September at the fastest pace on record as rising foreclosures pushed down property values.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index dropped 17.4 percent in September from a year earlier, more than forecast, after a 16.6 percent decline in August. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007, and year-over-year records began in 2001.

Mounting foreclosures are contributing to the drop in home prices, while adding to the inventory of unsold homes on the market. Lower property values are weighing on household wealth, causing consumers to cutback on spending and increasing the likelihood that the U.S. economy will contract for a second consecutive quarter.

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Nov 25

On Friday November 21, the world came within a hair’s breadth of the most colossal financial collapse in history according to bankers on the inside of events with whom we have contact. The trigger was the bank which only two years ago was America’s largest, Citigroup. The size of the US Government de facto nationalization of the $2 trillion banking institution is an indication of shocks yet to come in other major US and perhaps European banks thought to be ‘too big to fail.’

The clumsy way in which US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, himself not a banker but a Wall Street ‘investment banker’, whose experience has been in the quite different world of buying and selling stocks or bonds or underwriting and selling same, has handled the unfolding crisis has been worse than incompetent. It has made a grave situation into a globally alarming one.

‘Spitting into the wind’

A case in point is the secretive manner in which Paulson has used the $700 billion in taxpayer funds voted him by a labile Congress in September. Early on, Paulson put $125 billion in the nine largest banks, including $10 billion for his old firm, Goldman Sachs. However, if we compare the value of the equity share that $125 billion bought with the market price of those banks’ stock, US taxpayers have paid $125 billion for bank stock that a private investor could have bought for $62.5 billion, according to a detailed analysis from Ron W. Bloom, economist with the US United Steelworkers union, whose members as well as pension fund face devastating losses were GM to fail.

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Nov 25

OECD says developed world could face worst recession since early 1980s; warns of deflation

LONDON (AP) — The financial crisis will likely push the world’s developed countries into their worst recession since the early 1980s, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Tuesday.

In its half-yearly economic outlook, the Paris-based organization said economic output will likely shrink by 0.4 percent in 2009 for the 30 market democracies that make up its membership, against the 1.4 percent growth prediction for 2008. As a result, the OECD said it supported fiscal rescue measures, including tax cuts, provided they were targeted and temporary.

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Nov 25

Prof. Panarin I will add you to the short list of people (Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers etc.) who do speak ‘their’ truth about what is going on. Thank you for speaking the truth and for warning the people. Special thanks for mentioning the ‘Amero’.
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MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti) – A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.

Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily Izvestia published on Monday: “The dollar is not secured by anything. The country’s foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse.”

The paper said Panarin’s dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year’s events.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: “It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world’s financial regulator.”

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Nov 24

As the Federal bailout bonanza prepares to spread beyond the mortgage and financial sectors to fill Detroit’s depleted coffers, few economic or policy analysts have spared a thought for the destitution of the U.S. government itself.

Put simply, our government doesn’t have enough spare cash to bail out a lemonade stand let alone a bloated and failing industry that is losing tens of billions of dollars per month.

Washington can only offer funds that it has borrowed from abroad or printed. Unfortunately, the nation is in the grips of a delusion that money derived from these sources has the power to heal. But history has clearly shown that borrowed or printed money only has the power to destroy.

The argument that energizes the pro-Detroit camp is that the government should extend the same courtesy to the rank and file auto workers that it lavished upon the fat cats of Wall Street.

While two wrongs certainly do not make a right, the fact remains that the Wall Street firms are still floundering despite the bailouts. What’s worse, the money spent was either printed or borrowed from abroad. Both options are destructive to America.

When it comes to bailouts, the real discussions are not centered in Washington but rather in Beijing, Tokyo, and Riyadh. With no money of our own, our ability to bailout our own citizens is completely dependent on the world’s willingness to foot the bill.

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