May 31

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General Motors, once the largest company in the world, is expected to file for bankruptcy in a New York court tomorrow. Executives and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are spending the weekend finalising details ahead of the historic capitulation that comes after months of talks and billions of dollars of government investment.

The filing will come on the heels of an eleventh-hour deal this weekend under which Magna International, the Canadian motor-parts group, agreed to rescue its European operations, which include two British plants employing 5,500 workers.

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May 31

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May 30 (Bloomberg) — The dollar declined beyond $1.41 for the first time in 2009 in the year’s biggest monthly drop after investors dumped dollar-denominated assets as the U.S. budget deficit was projected to quadruple to $1.85 trillion.

The greenback fell against all of its major counterparts in May including the Australian and New Zealand dollars as the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note touched the highest level since November. The pound rose above $1.60 as speculation an economic recovery is starting enhanced the appeal of sterling.

Related articles:
Rising US bond yields may spark Credit Crisis II (Reuters)
Bond Vigilantes Confront Obama as Housing Falters
(Bloomberg)
- Marc Faber: U.S. will go into Hyperinflation, Approaching Zimbabwe Levels (Bloomberg)
US Will Eventually Lose Its AAA Credit Rating: Bill Gross (Bloomberg)
U.S. Treasury Blues: The Bond Bubble Has Burst (Barrons)

“It’s a fundamental dollar-down trade,” said James McCormick, global head of foreign exchange and local market strategy at Citigroup Inc. in London. “The truth is that countries like the U.S. with handicapped banking systems, with overextended fiscal policy, are going to see very shallow recoveries.”

The dollar weakened 6.3 percent this month to $1.4158 per euro, from $1.3230 on April 30. It was the biggest drop since December’s 9.2 percent decline. The greenback fell 3.3 percent to 95.34 yen from 98.63 at the end of last month. The yen slid 3.3 percent to 134.96 per euro, from 130.52.

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May 31

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has just issued a call for an immediate moratorium on Genetically Manipulated (GMO) Foods.

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In a just-released position paper on GMO foods, the AAEM states that ‘GM foods pose a serious health risk’ and calls for a moratorium on GMO foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes ‘there is more than a casual association between GMO foods and adverse health effects’ and that ‘GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.’ The report is a devastating blow to the multibillion dollar international agribusiness industry, most especially to Monsanto Corporation, the world’s leading purveyor of GMO seeds and related herbicides.

In a press release dated May 19, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, which describes itself as ‘an international association of physicians and other professionals dedicated to addressing the clinical aspects of environmental health,’ called immediately for the following emergency measures to be taken regarding human consumption of GMO foods:

* A moratorium on GMO food; implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labelling of GMO food.

* Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GMO foods.

* Physicians to consider the role of GMO foods in their patients’ disease processes.

* More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GMO foods on human health.

The AAEM chairperson, Dr Amy Dean notes that ‘Multiple animal studies have shown that GM foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body. With this mounting evidence, it is imperative to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our patients’ and the public’s health.’ The President of the AAEM, Dr Jennifer Armstrong stressed that ‘Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions. The most common foods in North America which are consumed that are GMO are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil.’ The AAEM’s position paper on Genetically Modified foods can be found at http:aaemonline.org.

Related information:
Exposed: the great GM crops myth
- The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see
At stake is no less than control of the world’s food supply.

The paper further states that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) technology ‘abrogates natural reproductive processes, selection occurs at the single cell level, the procedure is highly mutagenic and routinely breeches genera barriers, and the technique has only been used commercially for 10 years.’

The AAEM paper further states, ’several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signalling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.’

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May 31


Mai 30, 2009
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May 30

May 29 (Bloomberg) — They’re back.

For the first time since another Democrat occupied the White House, investors from Beijing to Zurich are challenging a president’s attempts to revive the economy with record deficit spending. Fifteen years after forcing Bill Clinton to abandon his own stimulus plans, the so-called bond vigilantes are punishing Barack Obama for quadrupling the budget shortfall to $1.85 trillion. By driving up yields on U.S. debt, they are also threatening to derail Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to cut borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.

The 1.4-percentage-point rise in 10-year Treasury yields this year pushed interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages to above 5 percent for the first time since before Bernanke announced on March 18 that the central bank would start printing money to buy financial assets. Treasuries have lost 5.1 percent in their worst annual start since Merrill Lynch & Co. began its Treasury Master Index in 1977.

“The bond-market vigilantes are up in arms over the outlook for the federal deficit,” said Edward Yardeni, who coined the term in 1984 to describe investors who protest monetary or fiscal policies they consider inflationary by selling bonds. He now heads Yardeni Research Inc. in Great Neck, New York. “Ten trillion dollars over the next 10 years is just an indication that Washington is really out of control and that there is no fiscal discipline whatsoever.”

Don’t miss:
Marc Faber: U.S. will go into Hyperinflation, Approaching Zimbabwe Levels (Bloomberg)
US Will Eventually Lose Its AAA Credit Rating: Bill Gross (Bloomberg)
U.S. Treasury Blues: The Bond Bubble Has Burst (Barrons)

Investor Dread

What bond investors dread is accelerating inflation after the government and Fed agreed to lend, spend or commit $12.8 trillion to thaw frozen credit markets and snap the longest U.S. economic slump since the 1930s. The central bank also pledged to buy as much as $300 billion of Treasuries and $1.25 trillion of bonds backed by home loans.

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May 30

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May 30

money-banks

OVERALL loan quality at American banks is the worst in at least a quarter century, and the quality of loans is deteriorating at the fastest pace ever, according to statistics released this week by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The report highlighted that even as the government and major banks have scrambled to deal with the impaired securities the banks own, the institutions have been plagued by an unprecedented volume of old-fashioned loans going bad.

Of the entire book of loans and leases at all banks — totaling $7.7 trillion at the end of March — 7.75 percent were showing some sign of distress, the F.D.I.C. reported. That was up from 6.9 percent at the end of 2008 and from 4.1 percent a year earlier. It also exceeded the previous high of 7.26 percent set in 1990 and 1991, during the last crisis in American banking.

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May 30

south-korea-navy
South Korean sailors take part in exercises Friday in disputed waters off the Korean Peninsula.

(CNN) — The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday at an international conference.

“We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region — or on us,” said Gates, speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.

“Our goal is complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state,” he said.

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May 29

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May 29

The US Federal Reserve may soon be forced to launch fresh blitz of quantitative easing whatever the consequences for the US dollar, or risk seeing economic recovery snuffed out by the latest surge in long-term borrowing costs.

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Market expects Fed will have to double purchases of Treasuries. Photo: Getty Images

Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds have risen relentlessly since March when the Fed first announced its plan to buy $300bn (£188bn) of US government debt directly, a move that briefly forced rates down to nearly 2.5pc, a level thought to be the Fed’s implicit target.

Yields have jumped to 3.69pc – after spiking as high as 3.74pc on Wednesday – pushing up the standard 30-year mortgage loan to 5.08pc and lifting the borrowing cost for corporations.

“The Fed is going to have to consider doubling its purchases of Treasuries,” said Ashraf Laidi, from CMC Capital Markets. “We could be nearing the end-game for the US dollar but the Fed has little choice at this point. We’re in a vicious circle where any policy aimed at supporting the US economy must be at the expense of the dollar.”

Related article:
Marc Faber: U.S. will go into Hyperinflation, Approaching Zimbabwe Levels (Bloomberg)

The US Mortgage Bankers Association yesterday highlighted the fragility of the US housing market, reporting that 12pc of homeowners are either behind on their payments or facing foreclosure, the highest level since records began.

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May 29

2008-world-press-photo-foreclosure
2008 World Press Photo Foreclosure

NEW YORK, May 28 (Reuters) – One of eight U.S. households with a mortgage ended the first quarter late on loan payments or in the foreclosure process in a crisis that will persist for at least another year until unemployment peaks, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Thursday.

U.S. unemployment in April reached its highest rate in more than a quarter century and is still rising, helping propel mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures to record highs.

Such economic weakness drove up foreclosures of prime fixed-rate loans, which are made to the most creditworthy borrowers. The foreclosure rate on those loans doubled in the last year and represented the largest share of new foreclosures in the first three months of this year.

“We clearly haven’t hit the top yet in terms of delinquencies or the bottom of the housing market,” Jay Brinkmann, the association’s chief economist, said in an interview.

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May 29

“In Debt We Trust.”

Yes, we can … spend the U.S. into oblivion:

- Famous investor Marc Faber: U.S. will go into Hyperinflation, Approaching Zimbabwe Levels

- Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank:
The
“very big hole” in unfunded pension and health-care liabilities is over $99 trillion.
(Full article: Here)

- Glenn Beck: United States Debt Obligations Exceed World GDP

- Federal obligations exceed world GDP

The US is totally broke.


Leap in U.S. debt hits taxpayers with 12% more red ink

Taxpayers are on the hook for an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year for retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The 12% rise in red ink in 2008 stems from an explosion of federal borrowing during the recession, plus an aging population driving up the costs of Medicare and Social Security.

That’s the biggest leap in the long-term burden on taxpayers since a Medicare prescription drug benefit was added in 2003.

The latest increase raises federal obligations to a record $546,668 per household in 2008, according to the USA TODAY analysis. That’s quadruple what the average U.S. household owes for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt combined.

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May 29

Commodities rally as expected. Just that there will be no recovery for the economy and the stock market. This is a bear market rally and it will end.


May 29 (Bloomberg) — Commodities headed for the biggest monthly rally in 34 years, led by energy, as the slumping dollar boosted demand for raw materials as a hedge against inflation.

In May, the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 energy, metal and agricultural prices has gained 13 percent, the most since July 1974. The dollar headed for the biggest monthly drop this year against a basket of six major currencies.

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May 29

US and South Korean forces raised their military alert level today, a day after North Korea renounced the 55-year-old truce on the peninsula and threatened war if its ships are searched for weapons of mass destruction.

Three days after North Korea carried out an underground nuclear test, the US-South Korea combined forces command moved its level of surveillance to the second-highest level on its scale of five, the highest since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.

Meanwhile, the North’s state media accused the allies of plotting an attack, and warned that small incidents could have disastrous consequences. “The northward invasion scheme by the US and the South Korean puppet regime has exceeded the alarming level,” the Workers’ Newspaper said in an editorial. “A minor accidental skirmish can lead to a nuclear war.”

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May 29

May 21 (Bloomberg) — The odds on the dollar, Treasury bonds and the U.S. government’s AAA grade all heading for the dumpster are shortening.

While currency forecasting is a mug’s game and bond yields can’t quite decide whether to dive toward deflation or surge in anticipation of inflation, every time I think about that credit rating, I hear what Agent Smith in the “Matrix” movies called “the sound of inevitability.”

Several policy missteps suggest that investors should stop trusting — and lending to — the U.S. government. These include the state’s pressure on Bank of America Corp. to buy Merrill Lynch & Co.; the priority given to Chrysler LLC’s unions over the automaker’s secured creditors; and the freedom that some banks will regain to supersize executive bonuses by giving back part of the government money bolstering their balance sheets.

Currency markets have been in a weird state of what looks almost like equilibrium for the past couple of months. What’s really going on is something akin to an evenly matched tug of war that fails to move the ribbon tied around the center of the rope, giving the impression of harmony while powerful forces do silent battle until someone slips.

“All currencies are being debased dramatically by their central banks at extraordinary speeds and so in relative terms it appears there is no currency problem,” Lee Quaintance and Paul Brodsky of QB Asset Management said in a research note earlier this month. “In reality, however, paper money is highly vulnerable to a public catalyst that serves to acknowledge it is all merely vapor money.”

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May 28

Earlier this year, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee joined an opinion with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Second Amendment rights do not apply to the states.

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Sonia Sotomayor smiles as President Barack Obama announces her as his Supreme Court nominee at the White House.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor could walk into a firestorm on Capitol Hill over her stance on gun rights, with conservatives beginning to question some controversial positions she’s taken over the past several years on the Second Amendment.

Earlier this year, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee joined an opinion with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Second Amendment rights do not apply to the states.

A 2004 opinion she joined also cited as precedent that “the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.”

Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow with the Family Research Council, called Obama’s nomination a “declaration of war against America’s gun owners.”

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May 28

I may have said it a trillion times but this is too important to not repeat myself every day.

When the bond bubble bursts, then the US dollar will be destroyed.
This will be the greatest financial collapse in history.
The ‘Greatest Depression’ (A hyperinflationary depression.).

And again: Got gold … and silver? (… and food and water for several months?!!)

Is gold a good investment? Consider John Paulson:
- World’s top hedge fund manager has a gold position of at least $5.5bn

It looks like John Paulson really knows what he is doing:
Paulson May Have Made $428 Million Shorting Lloyds
Paulson Fund Makes at Least $420 Million Shorting RBS

Remember when Gerald Celente said that those who weren’t listening to the many warnings (Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Gerald Celente, Marc Faber, Max Keiser) deserve their fate?

If you prepare yourself, then you have a destiny. If you don’t, then what’s left for you is fate.


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Marc Faber, managing director of Marc Faber Ltd. and publisher of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report, speaks during an interview in Hong Kong, March 16, 2009. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg News

May 27 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. economy will enter “hyperinflation” approaching the levels in Zimbabwe because the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to raise interest rates, investor Marc Faber said.

Prices may increase at rates “close to” Zimbabwe’s gains, Faber said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong. Zimbabwe’s inflation rate reached 231 million percent in July, the last annual rate published by the statistics office.

“I am 100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation,” Faber said. “The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they will be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.”

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May 28

Related article: U.S. Treasury Blues: The Bond Bubble Has Burst (Barrons)


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Oliver Quillia for CNBC.comA New York Stock Exchange trader.


The stock market is watching the bond market, wary a spike in interest rates will derail a fragile economic recovery and snuff the market’s rally.

Stocks tumbled Wednesday, but the real drama was in Treasurys and mortgages.

A selling spree in Treasurys pushed rates higher, taking the yield curve to its steepest on record as spreads between the 2-year and 10-year widened by over a dozen basis points on Wednesday alone.

The 10-year saw its yield move above 3.70 percent, after trading at 3.55 percent the previous day. The selling wave hit bonds shortly after 1 p.m., even after the auction of $35 billion in 5-year notes was well received.

“It was a great auction. It was just the follow through that was a problem,” said Brian Edmonds, head of interest rate trading at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Traders are bracing for more of the same Thursday. The Treasury is auctioning another $26 billion in notes, this time 7-years.

The heavy issuance – more than $100 billion this week alone – has been pressuring the market.

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May 28

“The Obama administration had asked the court to overturn Michigan v. Jackson, disappointing civil rights and civil liberties groups that expected President Barack Obama to reverse the policies of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.”


WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a long-standing ruling that stopped police from initiating questions unless a defendant’s lawyer was present, a move that will make it easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects.

The high court, in a 5-4 ruling, overturned the 1986 Michigan v. Jackson ruling, which said police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for one unless the attorney is present. The Michigan ruling applied even to defendants who agreed to talk to the authorities without their lawyers.

The court’s conservatives overturned that opinion, with Justice Antonin Scalia saying “it was poorly reasoned.”

Under the Jackson opinion, police could not even ask a defendant who had been appointed a lawyer if he wanted to talk, Scalia said.

“It would be completely unjustified to presume that a defendant’s consent to police-initiated interrogation was involuntary or coerced simply because he had previously been appointed a lawyer,” Scalia said in the court’s opinion.

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May 28

hypo-real-estate

BERLIN — Germany’s financial regulator warned of serious problems at Hypo Real Estate Holding AG six months before the lender was rescued in a massive bailout, but the regulator lacked powers to act and the government ignored its warnings, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The documents — brought to light in preparation for parliamentary committee hearings Thursday to examine the government’s handling of Hypo’s bailout — are likely to prove politically charged ahead of national elections in September.

For months, Germany has lectured the U.S. and others on the need for stricter regulation of financial markets, holding itself up as a model. The German parliament probe into the €102 billion ($142.6 billion) rescue of Munich-based Hypo, however, suggests Germany struggled as much as the U.S. or Britain to control the risks the country’s banks were taking.

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Hypo’s funding problems and huge losses on complex securities make it the worst of Germany’s problem banks, though it is one of many. German banks could face total losses in the current financial crisis of €200 billion to €300 billion, according to several estimates, of which only around €100 billion has been written down.

Spokesmen for Hypo and the Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, declined to comment.

Overall, banks in Western Europe could lose about $1.4 trillion in this crisis, more than expected losses in the U.S. banking system, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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