Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 10 July 2009

Top media execs wonder: How will Twitter make money?

Reading - Top media execs wonder: How will Twitter make money? http://www.businessweek.com...

It turns out the media elite aren't so different from a lot of less affluent people: They think Twitter is a great communications tool, but can't figure out how the online messaging service is going to make money.

The recurring doubts about Twitter's moneymaking potential cropped up again Wednesday as an exclusive media summit hosted by investment banker Allen & Co. got under way at the posh Sun Valley resort.

One of the first sessions focused on how to capitalize on digital media. Twitter quickly became a focal point of the discussion because it has emerged as one of the Internet's fastest-growing services this year.

But Twitter hasn't attempted to profit from its popularity yet, leaving everyone guessing about how the 3-year-old startup intends to pay its bills after it exhausts its $55 million venture capital.

The participants on the panel moderated by media writer Ken Auletta of The New Yorker magazine predicted Twitter Inc. will face major challenges when the San Francisco-based company finally tries to generate revenue. Reporters were barred from the session -- like all other meetings at the media summit -- but Auletta confirmed the tenor of the Twitter talk afterward.

continue reading - http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D99AUF882.htm

China Leaves G8 Early Dollars' Status Appears Secure

Reading - China Leaves G8 Early Dollars' Status Appears Secure http://bit.ly/2wGFi3

Early reports from the G8 meeting suggest that the communiqué will not address the issue of reserve currency diversification. The bigger story however, is the sudden departure of Chinese President Hu Jintao who decided to return home in the wake of the worst ethnic violence in the country in years. At least 156 people were killed during a riot Sunday evening in Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang as warring factions of Hand Chinese and the Muslim Uighur minority clashed over issues of economic fairness.

While the Xinjiang is remote and the ongoing violence there is unlikely cause any serious economic damage to China’s growth the political ramifications of the uprising could prove to be far more problematic to Chinese authorities. In recent months China has been making a concerted public relations effort to make the yuan more acceptable in settling global trade transactions subtly challenging the dollar’s hegemony as the global reserve currency. The yuan however remains a closed, highly managed, non-convertible unit of exchange and is therefore utterly impractical as a reserve substitute for the greenback.

More importantly, today’s tumultuous events underscore the fragility of the Chinese political system which could come under enormous stress if global economic rebound fails to materialize. Yesterday’s arrest of four Rio Tinto employees including an Australian national by Chinese officials as the parties negotiate a steel price dispute further undermines the notion of rule of law and weakens any serious consideration of the yuan as an alternative store of value. The latest political developments in China, therefore, are likely to temper any speculation regarding the dollar’s reserve currency status for the time being and should prove supportive to the buck as the summit progresses.

California Registered Warrants Interagency Statement

Reading - California Registered Warrants Interagency Statement http://www.fdic.gov/news/ne...

California Registered Warrants
Interagency Statement
July 8, 2009

Summary:The federal financial institution regulatory agencies are jointly issuing the attached supervisory guidance for financial institutions regarding the regulatory capital treatment for registered warrants issued by the State of California as payment for certain obligations.

  • The Attorney General of the State of California has opined that the registered warrants that the State is issuing as a form of payment for certain of its obligations are valid and binding obligations of the State.
  • The banking agencies' risk-based capital standards permit a banking organization to risk weight general obligation claims on a state at 20 percent. These warrants, which are general obligations of the State, would, therefore, be eligible for the 20 percent risk weight for risk-based capital purposes.
  • Banks should exercise the same prudent judgment and sound risk management practices with respect to the registered warrants as they would with any other obligation of a state.

Cyber-Scare - The exaggerated fears over digital warfare

Reading - Cyber-Scare - The exaggerated fears over digital warfare http://bostonreview.net/BR3...

The age of cyber-warfare has arrived. That, at any rate, is the message we are now hearing from a broad range of journalists, policy analysts, and government officials. Introducing a comprehensive White House report on cyber-security released at the end of May, President Obama called cyber-security “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.” His words echo a flurry of gloomy think-tank reports. The Defense Science Board, a federal advisory group, recently warned that “cyber-warfare is here to stay,” and that it will “encompass not only military attacks but also civilian commercial systems.” And “Securing Cyberspace for the 44th President,” prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggests that cyber-security is as great a concern as “weapons of mass destruction or global jihad.”

Unfortunately, these reports are usually richer in vivid metaphor—with fears of “digital Pearl Harbors” and “cyber-Katrinas”—than in factual foundation.

Consider a frequently quoted CIA claim about using the Internet to cause widespread power outages. It derives from a public presentation by a senior CIA cyber-security analyst in early 2008. Here is what he said:

We have information, from multiple regions outside the United States, of cyber-intrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands. We suspect, but cannot confirm, that some of these attackers had the benefit of inside knowledge. We have information that cyber-attacks have been used to disrupt power equipment in several regions outside the United States. In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities. We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet.
continue reading - http://bostonreview.net/BR34.4/morozov.php

Senate Update on Audit the Fed legislation

Reading - Senate Update on Audit the Fed legislation http://bit.ly/vB0Dz

Earlier today, the first shot in our battle to pass Audit the Fed through the U.S. Senate was fired on the Senate floor by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Senator DeMint, who has a well-deserved reputation for taking the battle to the other side in the Senate, once again proved why he is such a valuable ally in our fight to bring transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve.

A little while ago, the Senate voted to pass HR 2918, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. This $3 billion bill contains, among many other things, provisions for GAO audits on certain agencies.

Seizing on a chance to take quick action to bring Audit the Fed up for a vote, and with the GAO provisions in mind, Senator DeMint attached the full text of S 604, the Senate version of Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill, to HR 2918 as Senate Amendment 1367 before it was considered for final passage.

However, Senate Democrats refused to even allow a vote on the amendment! That’s right. The internationalist, Fed-loving elite in the Senate used a parliamentary tactic to shut down DeMint’s amendment.

continue reading - http://www.infowars.com/senate-update-on-audit-the-fed-legislation/

Are Municipal Bond Defaults the Next Financial Crisis?

Reading -Are Municipal Bond Defaults the Next Financial Crisis? http://bit.ly/19mSu3

The usually quiet and calm municipal bond market is looking anything but. Just last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California declared a fiscal emergency for the state. What impact will this have on municipal bond investors? For sure, it would be a grave mistake to conclude California’s financial problems are isolated.

Municipal bonds are debt obligations issued by states and local government to finance various projects and services for the benefit of their communities.

California’s $24.3 billion deficit is a clear signal the financial health of state and local government is rapidly deteriorating around the country. While state governments have the power to raise taxes, they don’t have the ability to print money or manipulate interest rates like the federal government. Do you own municipal bonds or bond funds concentrated in geographically troubled regions? If you do, right now is the time to be on high alert.

Bleak Outlook
“At least 48 states addressed or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for the upcoming year totaling $166 billion or 24 percent of state budgets.” observes the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. The only two states not facing budget shortfalls are Montana and North Dakota. A decline in tax receipts has exacerbated falling state revenues and their rising debt loads.

continue reading - http://www.etfguide.com/commentary/568/Are-Municipal-Bond-Defaults-the-Next-Financial-Crisis?/

electric smooth or diesel rough? - How Economy Fares in Summer Is Crucial

Reading - electric smooth or diesel rough? - How Economy Fares in Summer Is Crucial http://www.cnbc.com/id/3177...

Politically and economically, the next three months are critical for Barack Obama's presidency.

The pace of the economic recovery heading into the fall—electric smooth or diesel rough—will determine whether Obama can prod Congress on the key features of his agenda with momentum or from a defensive crouch.

Steady economic improvement that is perceptible to the American public would boost his political standing and give him the thrust to get Congress to complete action on his ambitious plans to overhaul health care, attack climate change and put the financial sector under greater government oversight.

But a stumbling recovery would erode Obama's currently high approval ratings, a source of much of his political power. At the same time, continued high unemployment might force Obama to ask Congress for another boost in spending to stimulate the economy—a political challenge that could delay if not undermine his other goals. So far there is little cause for cheer.

Since Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill in February, the economy has shed more than 2 million jobs and unemployment now stands at 9.5 percent, the highest in more than a quarter century.

continue reading - http://www.cnbc.com/id/31779047

Rising bond yields signal more dollar weakness

Reading - Rising bond yields signal more dollar weakness http://www.reuters.com/arti...

The divergence between the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields seen for much of the second quarter is likely to continue, and may be a sign that the greenback's days as the world's safest currency are numbered.

Often, rising U.S. yields are followed by dollar strength because higher rates make the currency more attractive to overseas investors.

But that hasn't been the case since March. In the second quarter, the dollar dropped more than 6 percent against a basket of currencies .DXY, its first quarterly decline since early 2008. Yields on 10-year Treasuries, on the other hand, have risen by more than 0.8 percentage point, the biggest quarterly gain since at least 1998.

The breakdown in the relationship, while in part reflecting an unwinding of safe-haven flows into dollars and Treasuries on recovery hopes, could signal that investors' confidence in dollar assets has waned because of worries about rising deficits and weak economic growth.

"Right now, we think we're in a cycle where the perception of the dollar as a risky currency has gone up," said Steven Englander, head of currency strategy in North America at Barclays Capital in New York.

continue reading - http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSTRE5655MI20090706

Russia, India Question Dollar Reliance Before Summit

Reading - Russia, India Question Dollar Reliance Before Summit http://bit.ly/uW1jZ

Russia and India said the world economy is too reliant on the U.S. dollar and called for changes in how $6.5 trillion in currency reserves are managed, as Group of Eight leaders prepare to meet this week.

“The dollar system or the system based on the dollar and euro have shown that they are flawed,” Russian PresidentDmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Corriere della Sera, repeating his proposal for a new international reserve currency.

Suresh Tendulkar, an economic adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said in a July 3 interview that he is urging his nation to diversify its foreign holdings away from the dollar.

The challenge to the dollar, a linchpin of world finance and trade since 1945, underlines the shift in relative economic power toward emerging markets and away from the developed nations that spawned the global crisis.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, speaking yesterday at a conference in Aix en Provence, France, said that “we must explore better coordination of exchange-rate policy.”

Questions need to be asked about “the balance of currencies and the role of currencies in a world that has changed because of the crisis and the growing role of emerging countries,” she told reporters.

Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer said at the same conference, “We really need to make sure there is a greater stability between the big currencies in the period to come.”

continue reading - http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aaPXSTHmf02I

Ludicrous Diversion - 7/7 London Bombings Documentary

Watching - Ludicrous Diversion - 7/7 London Bombings Documentary http://bit.ly/BwKSU

7/7 Ripple Effect

Watching - 7/7 Ripple Effect http://bit.ly/Ubua2

U.S. must restore faith in monetary system

Reading - U.S. must restore faith in monetary system http://bit.ly/3fbUnB

Money is the root of all evil. But, according to Niall Ferguson in “The Ascent of Money,” it’s also the “root of most progress.” Woolgatherers from Rousseau to Marx have dreamed of a society that operated without money. Yet, money and its offspring — credit and debt — have been “as important as any technological innovation in the rise of civilization,” writes Ferguson.

Money in some form has been around since the beginning of time. Shells, beads, stone discs, cattle, gold and silver have performed its roles. But money got really interesting when someone figured out that paper backed by gold could serve as a medium of exchange. A unit of gold held in reserve could be multiplied by issuing units of paper money. It was a kind of magic, which dramatically stimulated economic activity and increased wealth. As long as people had faith that they could redeem their paper for gold, the magic worked.

At some point, however, the magicians created too much money. Excess liquidity drove prices up. Fear overcame euphoria. One day the gong of doom sounded and everyone wanted to exchange paper money for gold. But there wasn’t enough gold in the vaults to cover all the paper money afloat. A moment of epiphany arrived: The paper was worthless. The bubble burst. The financial system collapsed.

Physically Addictive Foods

Watching – Physically Addictive Foods http://bit.ly/sGJlH

Moon Rising documentary

Watching - Moon Rising documentary http://bit.ly/iMQOO

Ron Paul Strikes Gold

Reading - Ron Paul Strikes Gold http://bit.ly/Imi9C

Ron Paul's legislative history is a lesson in principled failure. Among the bills he has co-sponsored: ending U.S. cooperation with the United Nations, a repeal of antitrust law "to restore the inherent benefits of the market economy," and stripping the government of the right to set a minimum wage. Just last week, he again introduced a bill "to repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990," which would presumably make schools less safe but which would reinforce our right to bear arms. For Paul, ideology almost always trumps politics.

None of these bills, I should note, have picked up much support. And Paul's track record with economic legislation isn't any better. His perennial efforts—shifting the country back toward a gold standard, abolishing the personal income tax, and dismantling the Federal Reserve—are nonstarters. They so change the very fabric of this country that Paul can't marshal his colleagues to his side.

Which is why Paul's most recent legislative accomplishment is so impressive. He has rallied the majority of the House to support his new cause: an audit of the Federal Reserve. Legislators are sick of not knowing what's going on inside Bernanke's fortress, especially as the Fed becomes further enmeshed in the nation's fiscal policy. Paul's little bill has become emblematic of a larger movement, one that could spell trouble for Obama's troubled regulatory plan. Ron Paul—always an enemy of regulation—is now an enemy of Obama. And a mighty powerful one at that.

continue reading - http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/mothers-milk/2009/07/02/ron-paul-strikes-gold?page=0

Take Action to Audit the Fed

Reading - Take Action to Audit the Fed http://www.campaignforliber...

Since its inception in 1913, the Federal Reserve has helped to devalue our dollar by 95%. During the recent economic crisis, it has poured trillions of dollars into the economy with no oversight, made secret agreements with foreign banks and governments, and has refused to tell Congress who is getting the money or to give it the details of what deals are being made.

HR 1207, Ron Paul's "Audit the Fed bill," and S 604, its Senate companion, will demand full transparency from the Federal Reserve for the first time in history by removing all restrictions from Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits of the Fed and mandating an audit by the end of 2010.

Help turn up the heat on Congress and convince them to pass Ron Paul's "Audit the Fed" bill. Your petitions, e-mails, letters and phone calls have already made a huge impact, but more of your help is needed right away. Please take a few moments to tell your Congressman to support HR 1207, and urge your Senators to cosponsor S 604. Our tools below make it quick and easy to make a difference today!

There are already 260 Cosponsors for HR 1207, and 8 cosponsors for S 604! You can view the list
here, or begin your efforts by signing our online petition. A treasure trove of information on Ron Paul's Audit the Fed bill and stories from fellow Campaign for Liberty members can be found below.

Did An Embezzlement Scandal Force Sarah Palin To Resign?

Reading : Did An Embezzlement Scandal Force Sarah Palin To Resign? http://bit.ly/K6Q5U

CNN and other major news outlets have reported that Sarah Palin has abruptly resigned as governor of Alaska. The suddenness of her announcement raises the question about whether Palin resigned to avert a major scandal. One logical place to start looking is the affair that has Alaska political circles buzzing: an alleged scandal centered around a building contractor, Spenard Building Supplies, withclose ties to Palin and her husband, Todd.

Many political observers in Alaska are fixated on rumors that federal investigators have been seizing paperwork from SBS in recent months, searching for evidence that Palin and her husband Todd steered lucrative contracts to the well-connected company in exchange for gifts like the construction of their home on pristine Lake Lucille in 2002. The home was built just two months before Palin began campaigning for governor, a job which would have provided her enhanced power to grant building contracts in the wide-open state.

SBS has close ties to the Palins. The company has not only sponsored Todd Palin's snowmobile team, according to the Village Voice's Wayne Barrett, it hired Sarah Palin to do a statewide television commercial in 2004.

Though Todd Palin told Fox News he built his Lake Lucille home with the help of a few "buddies," according to Barrett’s report, public records revealed that SBS supplied the materials for the house. While serving as mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin blocked an initiative that would have required the public filing of building permits—thus momentarily preventing the revelation of such suspicious information.

Freight Train vs Tornado

Watching : Freight Train vs Tornado http://bit.ly/P0Rzc

watch till the end....

SEVEN banks closed today

SEVEN banks closed today -http://www.fdic.gov/

Toxic Trading - Saluzzi

Reading - Toxic Trading - Saluzzi http://bit.ly/14xDVU

Nutrition and Behavior Aspartame MSG

Watching - Nutrition and Behavior Aspartame MSG http://bit.ly/uqObs

Dr. Blaylock is a board certified neurosurgeon, author and lecturer. He attended the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed his general surgical internship and neurosurgical residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. During his residency he ran the neurology program for one year and did a fellowship in neurosurgery after his residency.

For the past 25 years he has practiced neurosurgery in addition to having a nutritional practice. He recently retired from both practices to devote full time to nutritional studies and research.

Goldman Sachs The Fourth Branch of the U.S. Government

Reading - Goldman Sachs The Fourth Branch of the U.S. Government http://bit.ly/AtAcr

Quietly and almost unnoticed by most Americans, the US Federal Government introduced a fourth branch to its political structure in 2006. As you know we already had three branches, they are:

The Judicial: the Supreme Court
The Executive: the President
The Legislative: Congress

This pretty much has us covered in terms of political strategy… but what about financial issues? Everyone knows Congress has no clue how to allocate capital. And the Executive Branch doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to financial matters either (we’ve run a deficit virtually every year since 1970).

Shouldn’t we have a Financial Branch of government? A group of fiscal experts entirely devoted to keeping the US’s fiscal house in order?

Well, we actually do, but instead of installing a branch of smart, genuine financiers interested in benefiting the American people, we installed a bunch of greedy crooks intent on stealing as much of the public’s money as possible with no consequences what so ever.

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you America’s Financial Branch of the Government: Goldman Sachs.

Trying to detail exactly how integrated Goldman has become to the Federal Government would be like trying to track the peanut butter swirls in Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl ice cream. Indeed, with the exception of Ben Bernanke and a few other officials, Goldman Sachs provided all the lead characters for the Tragic Comedy that is our latest Financial Crisis.

continue reading - http://www.blacklistednews.com/news-4699-0-24-24--.html

Predicting the Next Great Bubble

Reading: Predicting the Next Great Bubble http://seekingalpha.com/a/34zb

It's every investor's dream - you buy into an investment theme or idea before anyone else has caught onto it and you ride it all the way up until it gets bubbly and you sell to some sucker who buys at the very top. Didn't you wish you owned oil all last summer? Or Amazon.com in 1999? Or a house in 2006?

Well, it's not exactly reasonable to expect that you'll buy into a bubble before anyone else, or for that matter, that you'll sell at the peak, but that doesn't mean we can't dream... and maybe even catch some of the ride in between the bottom and the top. Regular readers know I would never expect you to put all your eggs in one basket so let's look at a couple different scenarios and spot the next big bubble:

continue reading - http://seekingalpha.com/article/146423-predicting-the-next-great-bubble?source=kizur

Preparing for WWIII: British declassify the 'War Book'

Reading - Preparing for WWIII: British declassify the 'War Book'

It's October 1968, and the Soviet Union has just landed cosmonauts on the moon. Warsaw Pact troops are massing on the Austrian border, and a nuclear showdown looms between east and west.

This scenario never happened — except in planning exercises by British civil servants, who meticulously rehearsed how they would govern Britain in the days before, and after, World War III. The details are included in the "War Book," a secret Cold War manual declassified this month for the first time.

The book, which featured the doomsday scenario in a 1970 version, is a step-by-step guide for dealing with a crisis, from the first stages of conflict to "R hour," the designation for the release of all Britain's nuclear weapons.

"It's a manual of how to go to war," William Spencer, military history specialist at Britain's National Archives, said Tuesday.

"It's a technical manual in a way, for the people who needed to know," he added. "But it could be seen as a horrific document for some people."

Britain became a nuclear power in 1952 and British politicians were under no illusions about the devastating effects of nuclear war. A 1955 report, kept secret until 2002, estimated that an attack by Soviet hydrogen bombs would kill 12 million people instantly.

So every two years during much of the Cold War, British civil servants participated in a dry run for the end of the world, practicing how they would do everything from crack down on subversives to evacuate art treasures from London.

The exercises, played out over weeks, included daily mock news briefings from intelligence chiefs. Senior civil servants played the prime minister and Cabinet, deciding how to respond.

continue reading - http://www.blacklistednews.com/news-4692-0-0-0--.html

God Save the Queen! And Tell Her to Get a Job

Reading - God Save the Queen! And Tell Her to Get a Jobhttp://www.cnbc.com/id/3166...

Oh my, how ghastly!

Shocking news out of Britain today: Queen Elizabeth could run out of money by 2012 unless the government steps in and gives her a raise!

(A convenient headline, given that negotiations over how much the government pays to keep the monarchy humming are set to reopen next year.)

Just one teensy problem: While the Queen was busy stomping her royal foot, Britain's economy was plunging at the fastest rate in 50 years.

And British taxpayers are already aggravated with how much the Royal family is spending of their hard-earned money during a recession. So, it’s possible her request for an increase in her allowance will be met with a slap on her gloved wrist.

continue reading - http://www.cnbc.com/id/31666731

Goldman Exits Money-Losing Bet on Loonie Versus Mexican Peso

Reading - Goldman Exits Money-Losing Bet on Loonie Versus Mexican Peso http://bit.ly/pComQ

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. exited a bet that the Canadian dollar would strengthen versus the Mexican peso after the trade lost about 5 percent.

“Recent data points have gone against our fundamental views of continued stabilization in Canada and a lagging recovery in Mexico, relative to the global cycle,” analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote today in a note, citing worse-than-expected Canadian retail sales and jobs numbers, and a less-than-forecast drop in Mexican industrial production.

Goldman entered the trade on June 8, and stands to lose about 5 percent including the cost of carry after being “stopped out” when the peso traded beyond 11.40 per Canadian dollar yesterday, the researchers wrote. A long position refers to a bet that a currency will rise. Traders place “stops” on trades to automatically limit their losses.

The peso strengthened 0.5 percent to 11.34 per Canadian dollar at 12:44 p.m. in Toronto, from 11.40 yesterday. The peso has declined 1 percent this year against the loonie, nicknamed for the aquatic bird on the C$1 coin.