Food & depopoluation 4 of 4

Food & Depopulation: Scams and Solutions

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Cassandra Anderson
Infowars.com
June 24, 2010

Part 4 of 4

kagan
Greenpeace is dedicated to the policies of the UN’s Agenda 21 Sustainable Development.

The Food & Depopulation series of articles has been written for people who think that conspiracies are mere theories, that the American government is working in our best interest and that the United Nations is benevolent. Nothing could be further from the truth; irrefutable proof of this is explained in the previous three articles. Sharing the truth about food is an exceptionally effective way to wake people up because all people have a personal relationship with food every day. Here are the important points to remember:

1. The US Department of Agriculture holds a patent on the ‘Terminator’ gene (the seed goes sterile after the first harvest) which has the potential to destroy all plant life on the planet. This patent is co-owned by Monsanto.

2. The US Supreme Court has studiously avoided trying any anti-GMO cases, despite the obvious health dangers to people and contamination of farms by cross pollination. On June 21, 2010 the Supreme Court lifted the nationwide ban growing GMO alfalfa due to its potential to contaminate other farms, pending a Environmental Impact Study (EIS) performed by the US Department of Agriculture. We predicted 2 weeks ago that the Supreme Court justices would rule in favor of Monsanto as they collect their paychecks from the federal government. If sanity had prevailed and the ban on polluting GMOs was upheld, the result would have put the USDA’s Terminator gene patent in peril, countless prior court cases would have to be overturned and an avalanche of new lawsuits against Monsanto may have bankrupted the company. The federal government and Monsanto are so deeply intertwined that we expect the USDA’s EIS, which they expect to finish by next Spring, to allow planting of the contaminating GMO alfalfa.

The Supreme Court refused to hear any of the facts regarding the dangers and past record of contamination; lone dissenter Justice Stevens said, “the district court did not abuse its discretion when, after considering the voluminous record and making the aforementioned findings, it issued the order now before us.” In other words, Stevens reports that the lower district court’s GMO alfalfa ban was put into place due to voluminous records of contamination to other farms, but this was not taken into consideration by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court only considered the national GMO alfalfa ban was “too broad”, without examining the damaging effects of contamination. This was a slippery move because if they had considered the devastating effects of GMOs, it would have been impossible to argue that they are safe. And the corrupt USDA will issue its EIS to determine the safety. The remote potential upside to this is that the jurisdiction is now in the lower courts, which may be more reasonable, but that means more lawsuits and more money.(1)

3. The United Nations is corrupt to its core and its programs are designed for depopulation, total control and profit. UN Agenda 21 is the overarching blueprint for depopulation and total control, using the environment and sustainability as the excuse for its policies.

4. The Rockefeller family has been pursuing control over food for decades, using monopolies and government structures that are funded by taxpayers through complex schemes that they have created to accomplish this goal.

NGO SCAM:

NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations), in the modern definition, spring from the United Nations and act as ‘consultants’ to the UN; no government representatives are allowed as members. However, NGOs are hardly independent as most of them are funded by governments. In other words, our tax dollars are paying for our own demise. This is how the scam works: • NGOs create policy statements to be adopted by the UN that become international policy. NGOs then receive money from the UN. • The UN policies are then are pushed the on national governments who then fund the globalist programs with money from taxes.

• The NGOs then lobby governments and the public to implement the programs, using misguided public pressure that they create by fooling people into believing that UN policies benefit the population (like local government acceptance of global warming regulations. These are based on lies and sold to the public by way of alarmism over environmental catastrophe). They are dispatched in your community with specific targeted agendas. Local government contracts with organizations like the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) insure local implementation of these globalist objectives.

• US government Advisory Committees are comprised of UN affiliated NGOs, businesses and organizations, while no Advisory Committees represent the American citizens’ interests.

• UN accredited NGOs are well funded and try to discredit populist organizations that oppose them. UN affiliated NGOs began when eugenicist Julian Huxley created the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), which created a more public spin-off, the WWF (World Wildlife Federation) and a third one called the WRI (World Resources Institute which is a think tank and communication network). These three NGOs are the driving force and behind the rise in NGO influence around the world. For full details, you can read the excellent analysis by Maryetta Ables.(2)

NGOs are treacherous and they lie. While an NGO may take the right action with one hand, the other hand is reaching out and grabbing your liberty by allocating its vast resources to advance the UN agenda. For example, the IUCN, the center of all UN NGOs, claims on their website that they have a moratorium on further release of GMOs, which makes them seem like they are against GMOs. GMOs have already contaminated much of the world, so a moratorium on further release of GMOs is a feeble attempt to rid the world of GMOs and NGOs pretend they have no power when more regulations are created to advance the UN agenda.(3)

Instead of taking serious action to combat GMOs, the IUCN allocates their resources toward promoting ‘biodiversity’, (the theft of private property by way of the Endangered Species Act) and global warming, which has been thoroughly discredited.(4)

The WWF keeps a low profile on their website about GMOs, but the WWF does fully endorse GMOs.(5)

Greenpeace is a UN accredited NGO, and like all UN affiliated NGO’s Greenpeace is dedicated to the policies of the UN’s Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. In order to appear that they are working in the public’s interest, they oppose GMOs and have taken some small actions, like publicizing the dangers of GMOs and pressuring the Trader Joe’s food chain stores into refusing GMO food for their private label. However, their opposition to GMOs, according to Michael Shaw of www.FreedomAdvocates.org, is an example of painting themselves as a public interest group to cover up their true intent, the implementation of Agenda 21. On their website they endorse global warming lies and energy restrictions that support consolidation of globalist power. While their website claims that they do not “solicit” contributions from governments or corporations, there is proof that they have received grants from the Tides Foundation (Rockefeller Foundation is major a contributor), BP Oil and Exxon, but these ‘donors’ are not listed on their website. In other words, Greenpeace, along with many other environmental NGOs, receive “donations” from globalists and funnel money into other like-minded NGOs and “non-profit” organizations to accomplish Agenda 21.(6)

THE “NON-PROFIT” SCAM:

“Non-Profit” organizations and foundations are anything but not-for-profit! A more accurate definition is that they are tax exempt. What is it they don’t want you to know? Many, if not most are funded by governments, NGOs and “philanthropic” foundations. Tax exempt non-profit 501(c)3 organizations and foundations owe it to the American taxpayer to clearly and publicly disclose who their donors are because they benefit from a tax free status, but it is rare to find this information on their websites or on the Internet.

Michael Shaw pointed out that tax exempt organizations are increasing exponentially in order to capitalize on government funding, however, this makes tax exempt organizations beholden to the government. Public- Private Partnerships, or the coupling between government and private enterprise is the foundation of fascism. Non profits often fit the political–economic definition of Public-Private Partnership.

“Philanthropic” tax exempt foundations have been working toward the destruction of America for many decades. In the 1950’s a Congressional investigation into the Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie Foundations was conducted with scandalous results, so the information was suppressed. However, G. Edward Griffin was able to obtain an interview with Senator Norman Dodd, one of the lead investigators, on video and in a written transcript available in the footnote below.(7)

Some “non-profit” tax exempt 501(c)3 organizations have been known to engage in controlled opposition. For example, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) represented farmers in opposition to Monsanto in the Supreme Court GMO alfalfa case and in many other anti-GMO cases. While we have no way of knowing whether Andrew Kimbrell, the Executive Director of CFS and his brother George (of counsel) performed solid work in opposing Monsanto or whether they sandbagged the endeavor, there are reports that CFS and its parent company have taken in $1.75 million dollars from the John Merck Fund, which has ties to the Rockefeller Family Fund. Andrew Kimbrell of CFS filed a petition with the EPA to ban colloidal silver which is a natural antibiotic agent with many benefits that competes directly with Merck’s dubious pharmaceutical drugs. This organization has the appearance of working in the public’s interest, but in a separate action, it has operated in opposition to public benefit.(8)

Further, Andrew Kimbrell reported reported a “success” in the Supreme Court GMO alfalfa ruling. He said that GMO alfalfa is still illegal to plant. While this is true today, the USDA has only to complete its Environmental Impact Study in order to approve the seeds.(9)

How to check websites of NGOs, Non-Profits and Foundations for corruption:

• Check out which actions they support. If they champion the global warming hoax, then they are likely to be compromised • Check the organization and the Board of Directors for UN and Rockefeller connections • Look for certain buzz words related to Agenda 21(10)

Beware as almost all major environmental groups are pursuing the objectives of Agenda 21, even when they oppose GMOs. It is important to do a little bit of research to determine their motives to avoid being fooled.

FOOD SOLUTIONS:

Here are some suggestions to eat healthy food, starve the corporate giants and create self-sufficiency:

Watch this amazing video of a family that turned their yard into a farm and earn money selling produce to restaurants:

Eat organically grown or non-GMO food.

Buy and store seeds- organic and heirloom seeds are best.

Natural seeds are scarce and could be a good item for investment or barter. The number of seed companies has dwindled from approximately 300 down to 100 due to corporate buy-outs (primarily by Monsanto).

Support farmers’ markets and local farms. Avoid imports to discourage food dependency. America is resource rich and there is no excuse for becoming dependent. Also, this limits the power of the WTO.

Plant your own organic garden. You can use diatomaceous earth instead of pesticides and nets to keep larger pests out of the garden.

If you don’t have a yard, find a neighbor who wants a garden and then share the food.

Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group that delivers fresh produce to a pick up location in your town; there are many listings for these on the Internet. This is a good idea because if there is a food shortage, the farmer will be more willing to help someone who supported him.

Remote farming- there is farm in Oregon that leases land, does the farming for you and then ships the food to you.(11)

Watch this video of Shelly Roche of ByteStyle.tv as she reports that the anti-GMO food market is booming:

A letter to the Editor of Off the Grid News from someone who lives in Tasmania describes how he copes with Codex Alimentarius, and reports that Australia was the guinea pig for this UN program starting 6 years ago. Supplements are not allowed ($60,000 penalty) and food is restricted, so he grows his own in old rainwater tanks to keep animals out and uses composted cow manure. He says that he gets an unbelievable bounty. This letter is worth reading because he claims that the food grown in Australia is exported and replaced by cheap imports from China, in addition to food being destroyed to keep prices high.(12)

We recommend obtaining information from people like Scott Tips and Jeffrey Smith for GMO truth.(13)

It is of the utmost importance that farmers become aware of the Monsanto licensing agreement trap, it is crucial that they fully understand that once they plant GMO seed, they will be stuck paying patent royalties even if they don’t use GMO products after the initial planting. America’s farmers must comprehend how Monsanto operates in order to avoid paying infinite royalties; if they buy cheap Monsanto seeds now, they will pay for it dearly later. Please share these articles with them.

POLITICAL SOLUTIONS:

Bad science must be exposed. ‘Climategate’ was very successful in revealing global warming lies and motives. All science attached to political policies should be scrutinized. The USDA’s upcoming EIS (Environmental Impact Study) is due soon, and must be investigated as there is no way GMOs will be approved unless the EIS is based on fraudulent science or some other loophole is used.

Remember monopolies are dependent on governmental regulations, so the way to break a monopoly is to remove the regulations.

Beware of all NGOs and so-called “non-profit” organizations. If they want your support, they should provide financial information readily and you can research them online. The secret scams and motives must be exposed.

With the November elections coming up, it is of vital importance to choose government officials wisely and to avoid being fooled by the Right/ Left paradigm. State and local governments are very powerful and you have more influence with them. Look for freedom candidates with Constitutional values and who oppose GMOs, Agenda 21, the United Nations and the globalist consolidation of power.

Share this information with everyone you know and create a voting coalition that includes citizens and businesses, especially at state and local levels. Word-of-mouth marketing is the more effective than anything else (even TV), so please share this information, especially candidates who may be unaware of Agenda 21.

Start locally and expand upward in securing freedom. The federal government is remote, but state and local officials are more accessible. Consider running for office. Support the Tenth Amendment and State sovereignty. Support local bans on planting GMO crops in your area.

You can visit Michael Shaw’s website at www.FreedomAdvocates.org for more information on securing liberty at a local level and for understanding the tentacles of Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. His site is a great place to find out how to take action.

Please visit Cassandra Anderson’s website at www.MorphCity.com to find the prior three articles on ‘Food & Depopulation’ and future articles about solutions.

Sources:

1. http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/06/21/…

2. http://www.freedomadvocates.org/articles/…

3. http://www.iucn.org/about/work/initiatives/biotechnology/gmos/

4. http://www.morphcity.com/agenda-21/environment/esa http://www.morphcity.com/…

5. http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php…

6. http://www.westernjournalism.com/exclusive-investigative-reports… http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/… http://www.policestateplanning.com/id52.htm

7. http://www.realityzone.com/hiddenagenda2.html

8. http://www.naturalnews.com/027186_silver_Merck_colloidal_silver.html http://www.zimbio.com/Administrator+Stephen+Johnson… http://www.undueinfluence.com/rockefeller_family_fund.htm http://activistcash.com/foundation.cfm/did/138

9. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-kimbrell…

10. http://www.morphcity.com/agenda-21/definitions

11. https://myorganicacres.com/

12. http://offthegridnews.com/letter-to-the-editor-june-7/

13. http://www.thenhf.com/health_freedom_news_12.htm http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Home/index.cfm

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Broke central banks, UK must monetize or collapse, 20 major countries on the edge of insolvency, No way but down for the Stock markets, defaulting on bailout payments, Fed audit going through Senate, shrinkage of high-end properties, VAT coming.

The devastating results of Keynesianism didn’t take hold of the western world until after WWII. Cycles were created for the accumulation of wealth. A boom occurs and you get wealthy from investments on the way up and even wealthier on the way down, because the elitists are controlling the supply of money and credit and interest rates. That is the real underlying mission of the Fed, which is owned by banking and Wall Street. All the power to control markets and create inflation and deflation lies with the Federal Reserve. Politicians do not create monetary policy, the Fed does. The politicians do as they are told. They know from time to time there will be economic pain, but the payoffs are so good they learn to live with it.

This time the damage is so bad that the Fed has been forced to monetize trillions of dollars of debt. The disease this time has spread to Europe with the ECB, using, quantitative easing by simply creating money out of thin air. That is something they said they would never do. The only real liquidity in Europe is emanating from the ECB and the Fed. We believe that eventually countries will fail, as Iceland has. You know all the possible victims. There are presently 20 of them including the US and UK. Three-card Monte games do not last forever. If liquidity is that scarce then where is the money coming from? The only place it could be coming from is the Fed. Not only is a $2 trillion bailout in process, but also as banks and thrift institutions fail stress tests some will be bailed out by being absorbed by other supposedly solvent institutions. When that option is gone then governments must bail them out. When the monetization hits the entire system collapses. After 50 or more years in this business we believe the system is definitely going to fold.

All the central banks involved are broke or virtually broke. If they are not broke why is their condition a big secret? The Bundesbank told Spain last week that we do not want stress test results made public. The reason obviously was because of the sad condition German banks are in and their penchant again to keep everything secret. These are the same people who want a one-world currency in the form of an SDR, which is worthless, because it has no backing. It is just another fiat currency. They all are in such bad shape they cannot even sterilize their interventions. The new trillions we see in the system in Europe and the US cannot be sterilized.

In England we see the Bank of England financing and monetizing the UK budget deficit. The alternative is financial collapse. The UK is in such terrible shape that they refused to partake in the almost $1 trillion bailout of the euro zone PIIGS. Recently the Fed bought $1.25 trillion in toxic waste and $800 billion in Treasury paper for over $2 trillion dollars. Adding to the incompetence and desperation, the ECB is buying the toxic debt of euro zone that are on the verge of bankruptcy. All entities are extending their debt buying programs with money they do not have and for people that can never pay the debt back. The central banks do not care as they save the financial institutions. The citizens are an afterthought. Not one of them wants to give up their power base. They don’t want to declare insolvency – they want the public to pay their debts. Weimar wasn’t much different, except it wasn’t caused by German greed, but by the vengeance of its enemies to bring about a war worse than the war to end all wars. This time it is propelled by greed and a quest for world government.

The result of all this is that some 20 major countries are on the edge of insolvency, not to mention scores of other countries. We see one funding crisis after another. Even major countries can’t sell their bonds even with higher than normal yields. Interest rates are close to zero. We suppose they could go into minus territory, where they would pay you to borrow money. Don’t laugh, it has happened more than once. It was also not uncommon to see negative lease rates, as countries engaged in the suppression of gold prices. Governments do anything they want. This same state of mind exists in increases in money and credit. Presently almost all governments are in trouble. If they haven’t made a dog’s breakfast out of their own economies they have bought bonds from those who have and stand to take stiff losses. Look at the euro zone’s almost $1 trillion bailout of the PIIGS. Do you really think those bonds will ever be paid off – we don’t. It is this concept of interconnectivity that as the players are finding out it is a disaster. How can solvent European countries even contemplate a $2 trillion bailout for nations that really do not care if the debt is ever paid off? That is how today’s world turns.

We fall back on a very important underlying concept and that is if you do not understand what is really going on behind the scenes you can never get the right answers and conclusions. People talk about cycles and super cycles as if they occurred out of nowhere. They all happen by design. As an example, the economy has improved, but that is because of $800 billion in stimulus and Fed spending. The growth that evolved was tepid at best. Now that the economy is trailing off, the stimulus having expended itself, and the question is what comes next? The only way to stave off recession/depression is to have another stimulus plan. That, of course, doesn’t affect the root causes – it just gains time.

In this debt parade we find it interesting that but for one source, we see no mention in the media of America’s contribution, via the IMF, of some $60 billion. The frauds and criminality continue unabated. Nowhere do they tell you that among the biggest speculators were the banks that you are being forced to bailout.

Over this past year we have seen a stampede into corporate and Treasury bonds, at miniscule yields, due to the perception that bonds are safer. These investors are in for a big surprise as banks and other professionals start to factor in the risks involved, which throw off such poor returns. As the world economy runs out of stimulus and liquidity that has been chocked off by central banks, the realization will be that the prospects of countries and corporations have been severely diminished. GDP is falling and could in many countries, led by the US, should be negative for the last two quarters of the year and beyond. There is no safety in bonds, particularly municipals. Bonds are in a bubble, as many will soon discover. If income falls the ability to service bonds gets more difficult, both by government and corporations. While these myriad problems exist our Congress grovels before the political masters of Wall Street, banking, insurance, big Parma and transnational conglomerates. Pricing of risk is now impossible, which means risk rises exponentially. Eventually this reality will make credit harder to access as we move into the future.

What is important more than anything else are jobs and those who create them cannot easily borrow money. At the same time free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing kill our jobs and fill the coffers of transnational conglomerates that keep their profits tax-free offshore. You cannot do that. While this transpires yourCongress stuffs their pockets with cash from elitists who own them.

The troubles we see in Europe are but a reflection of what is going on worldwide. This leads us to the conclusion that Americans and others are being systematically betrayed by their legislators. – A problem that can be remedied in November by removing almost all of them.

The European rescue attempt will not work nor will phony, temporary stimulus, or increased issuance of money and credit. Do not forget as well that a great deal of that European debt is being held by US institutions. Expending volatility is on the way, as the debt implosion continues. Is it any wonder, as we predicted, gold and the shares are hitting new highs.

Stock and bond markets have no way to go but down. If you are not out of both, with the exception of gold and silver shares, you had better be. The big money, the professionals, are in a state of panic and that money has to go somewhere. Yes, you guessed it, and that is very bullish for gold and silver related assets. As an added incentive the dollar is in the process of completing a head and shoulders, which means the rally is over and the dollar is headed down. Even though the dollar decoupled from gold over a year ago, as we predicted, and probably only affects gold by some 20%, it is still gold bullish and not neutral or negative. Adding further fuel to the fire we predicted four years ago not only real estate would collapse and that foreclosures would wipe out trillions in real estate values, but that millions would walk away from their underwater homes. Homes where mortgages were greater than the home value. The first wave began two years ago, but we now see affected those with good to excellent credit who are defaulting because one or even two breadwinners have lost their jobs. Now we have those underwater that won’t sit with a wasting asset. Besides they realize this could now go on for years, perhaps two more years to the bottom of the market and many more before any semblance of normality is seen. They have now become about 13% of all defaults, up from 4% three years ago. Mortgage holders also see this as payback for the banks that caused the debacle and screwed the homeowner in the first place. Banks aided and abetted all kinds of fraud and no one has ever been charged, never mind sent to jail. The Fed and government also bailed out the banks and not the public and that has further incensed homeowners and others. It pays to be a crook. The banks are losing about $100 billion a year and that is funneled into the economy via other channels – another stimulus plan, that is because many no longer pay a mortgage or rent. In the next two years homes in negative equinity will rise from 25% to 50% to 60%. Lots of lenders are going under and that is the way it should be. It, of course, will be devastating for the economy.

Last week saw the Dow gain 2.3%, S&P 2.4%, the Nasdaq 100 3.6% and the Russell 2000 2.7%. Cyclicals gained 2.4%; transports 2.6%; consumers 1.7%; utilities 4%; banks 2.3% as broker/dealers fell 0.4%. High tech rose 3.1%; semis 6.2%; Internet 2.4% and biotechs 2.9%. Gold bullion rose $29.50 to a new record high, the HUI rose 6.8% and the USDX, dollar index, fell 2.2% to 85.58, which could be ominous.

Two-year T-bills fell 2 bps to 0.68%; 10-year T-notes fell 1 bps to 3.23% and the 10-year German bund rose 16 bps to 2.73%.

Freddie Mac 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose 3 bps to 4.75%; one-year ARMs fell 9 bps to 3.82%; 15’s rose 3 bps to 4.20% and 30-year jumbos rose 1 bps to 5.58%.

Fed credit expanded $8.3 billion to $2.322 trillion, up 9.9% YTD and 13% YOY. Fed foreign holdings of Treasury and Agency debt increased $4 billion to a record $3.080 trillion. Custody holdings for foreign central banks rose $125 billion YTD, or 9.1% annualized, or 11.9%.

M2 narrow money supply rose $7.3 billion to $8.602 trillion. It is up $90 billion YTD and 2% YOY.

Money market fund assets fell $34.5 billion to $2.806 trillion. Year-to-date it has fallen $488 billion and YOY 23.6%.

Total commercial paper out rose $18.8 billion to $1.083 trillion. CP has declined $87 billion, or 16.1% YTD and YOY 9.9%.

BP on Monday faced new allegations that it had ignored safety warnings before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded – sending its shares down another 2pc in London.

While a congressman, Emanuel asked for trades with embattled gov.

Emanuel agreed to sign a letter to the Chicago Tribune supporting Blagojevich in the face of a scathing editorial by the newspaper that ridiculed the governor for self-promotion. Within hours, Emanuel’s own staff asked for a favor of its own: The release of a delayed $2 million grant to a school in his district.

More than 90 U.S. banks and thrifts missed making a May 17 payment to the U.S. government under its main bank bailout program, signaling a rising number of lenders are struggling to meet their obligations.

The statistics, compiled by SNL Financial from U.S. Treasury data, showed 91 banks and thrifts skipped the May dividend payment under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. It was the first missed payment for 23 of the banks; for the others, it was at least their second miss.

The number of banks missing their TARP payments rose for the third straight quarter. In February, 74 banks deferred their payments; 55 deferred last November.

SNL Financial’s analysis found 20 banks have missed four or more payments since the program began in 2008, while eight banks have missed five payments.

Under the TARP program, the U.S. Treasury invested in preferred shares issued banks looking for funds. The banks were to make regular dividend payments to the Treasury, and have the right to repurchase the shares at some point in the future.

While many of the largest U.S. banks easily repaid billions in TARP aid, more than 600 smaller banks still hold $130 billion from the program, created at the height of the financial crisis.

In some cases, small banks are renegotiating the repayment terms. Midwest Banc Holdings [MBHI 0.019  0.002  (+11.76%)], for example, agreed to swap $84.8 million in preferred shares issued under the TARP program in 2008 for $15.5 million in common shares. That would have meant an 80 percent loss for the government—and the U.S. taxpayer—on the initial investment. But the swap was contingent on the bank raising more private capital, which it failed to do. Regulators seized the bank in May.

The next quarterly TARP payments to the U.S. Treasury are due by August 16.

The Senate will accept an expanded Federal Reserve audit proposal from the House as part of Wall Street conference committee deliberations, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) told the panel Wednesday evening.

The House proposal allows repeated future audits of discount window and open market transactions, whereas the Senate proposal had only allowed a one-time audit.

The Senate’s provision had already been stronger than what the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department had previously been willing to accept.

The details of the final proposal are still being worked out, but momentum is with advocates of Federal Reserve transparency. Depending on the specific language, however, Fed critics are worried the House proposal will still allow the Fed to keep information secret by keeping certain operations ongoing.

Look at unit sales over $1 million in Sarasota County Florida and all appears well. Twelve-month sales equaled 128 units at March 1 versus 151 units the previous year. The 15 percent fall in sales is real, but it isn’t scary. If you want to sell your home there, you may not like the rest of the math as much.

Talk to Hannerle Moore, an agent at Michael Saunders & Co. She suggests a sobering strategy. Reduce prices at least 40 percent from 2005 highs.

“I tell them, ‘You could be the lady who has had her home on the market for 936 days, or you could sell,’” Moore told the Sarasota Herald Tribune (Are High-End Properties Going Down? 4/26/10).

In putting together this story, I was unable to get all the data I was after on high-end inventory. I am firing shotgun to lead to something worth knowing. My review runs near and far in six posts starting today and includes most importantly data on the mortgage performance of jumbo mortgages. My hypothesis is that mortgage performance serves as a leading indicator of both future inventory and price trends. The worse the payment performance, the more prices will fall. Signs of serious distress on many other measures have been in open evidence for expensive properties and we will see it most clearly in jumbo mortgage performance.

Consider the statement of National Association of Realtors’ chief economist Lawrence Yun. Almost exactly a year ago he said the supply of existing homes for sale over $750,000 had reached a forty-month supply (High-End Foreclosures Are Next, 5/27/09, CNBC). Translate that into something you understand: Inventory was SIX TIMES higher than it should be.

Inventory is the king of the castle. We need to analyze it in guessing the direction of future prices. The high-end market is always a small presence, but also of peculiar significance — to the owners of those properties.

Some stories of the log-jam in high-end property are dramatic. In Charlotte in 2009, less than 3% of all homes listed above $500,000 closed each month. In 2007, homes sales in that category closed at a 33% rate. My pigeon math says the old times were ten times better than the new times. How else to describe this but as a frightening fall off (High-End home lending market has Wells Fargo on line.  4/9/10. Charlotte Business Journal)?

The Wall Street Journal reported in a front page story that supply in June of last year of unsold homes priced above $750,000 equaled 17 months of sales from an already high 14.5-months the previous year (I don’t know yet why Dr. Yun’s report had the supply at 40 months from a story in the same time period.).

An agent from the wealthiest suburb of Chicago had an unmixed report on supply last August.

“We’re extremely oversupplied,” said Sherry Molitor, a real-estate agent in Kenilworth Illinois – the boyhood home of your HousingStory.net blogger (High-End Homes Frozen Out of Budding Housing Rebound. 8/3/09. WSJ).

She reports today (June 2010) that the Kenilworth market supply equals 18 months, down from 22 months a year earlier. The average selling-period is 349 days and 49 homes are listed for sale of a total of 800 households. Ms. Molitor believes values have fallen about 25 percent in Kenilworth and in the other wealthy suburbs of the North Shore of Chicago (Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest).

High-end Dallas also looks long in tooth. At the end of this March, listings over $500,000 provided 20 months of supply and 4500 units. Overall that market had six months of supply. This obvious indicator of high-end distress may be true in all markets across the United States. Each one is different and needs to be studied on its own, but national trends are real and must also be considered.

The element of subterfuge is highest in expensive neighborhoods. You can expect ambitious concealment when a thing which requires massive sacrifice – blowing 5k or 10k out the door every month just to keep running in place — has a price falling in the wrong direction.

One Russell Shaw of John Hall & Associates (self-reporting as in the top 1% of all property agents nationally) says that real estate owned by banks following a foreclosure is big business in high-end homes and the only game in town for asset managers whose work is reselling homes lost after payment failure and bank seizure.

“Those high end agents are getting inventory, lots of it,” Mr. Shaw said (The Shadow Inventory Equals Shadow Gibberish.  5/8/10, AgentGenius.com).

The fall in price can be wicked. If you think your digs are north of $13 million in value, take note that a Walla Walla Washington residence boasting 15,000-square-feet listed for $13 million and closed last spring for $3.5 million. Truly a Hannibal haircut (You remember the scene where one’s scalp is now outer brain – as the scalp has been neatly removed by Hannibal. So much better for your brain to take in the sun and produce vitamin D.).

So what do we know so far about the direction of inventory of expensive properties? A pro says to knock down prices 40% to list in Sarasota County. The National Association of Realtors reported a high-end supply of 40 months — or more than SIX TIMES higher than it should be. Charlotte is selling out ten times slower than in better times. Kenilworth Illinois is “extremely oversupplied”. And in Lake Forest power houses are selling, but it takes 20 years to get rid of the thing. Does anybody see a trend? I have one question for you Mrs. Lincoln: Did you love your husband?

More than 90 U.S. banks and thrifts missed making a May 17 payment to the U.S. government under its main bank bailout program, signaling a rising number of lenders are struggling to meet their obligations.

The SNL Financial statistics show 91 banks missed their dividend payment under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The statistics, compiled by SNL Financial from U.S. Treasury data, showed 91 banks and thrifts skipped the May dividend payment under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. It was the first missed payment for 23 of the banks; for the others, it was at least their second miss.

The number of banks missing their TARP payments rose for the third straight quarter. In February, 74 banks deferred their payments; 55 deferred last November.

SNL Financial’s analysis found 20 banks have missed four or more payments since the program began in 2008, while eight banks have missed five payments.

Under the TARP program, the U.S. Treasury invested in preferred shares issued banks looking for funds. The banks were to make regular dividend payments to the Treasury, and have the right to repurchase the shares at some point in the future.

While many of the largest U.S. banks easily repaid billions in TARP aid, more than 600 smaller banks still hold $130 billion from the program, created at the height of the financial crisis.

In some cases, small banks are renegotiating the repayment terms. Midwest Banc Holdings [MBHI  0.02  —  UNCH  (0)   ], for example, agreed to swap $84.8 million in preferred shares issued under the TARP program in 2008 for $15.5 million in common shares. That would have meant an 80 percent loss for the government—and the U.S. taxpayer—on the initial investment. But the swap was contingent on the bank raising more private capital, which it failed to do. Regulators seized the bank in May.

The next quarterly TARP payments to the U.S. Treasury are due by August 1.

Voters are forcing Democrats into an election-year equation they may be unable to solve: How to spend more money to create jobs and at the same time reduce the deficit.  Democrats have abandoned billions of dollars in proposed jobs initiatives to avoid adding to the deficit, risking that a pending bill may now seem ineffective to the 15 million unemployed. To further cut costs, they added more than $50 billion in taxes on buyout managers, oil companies and other businesses, seized upon by Republicans as job killers.  Yet there are few signs Democrats’ contortions to avoid adding to the deficit are winning over voters, especially when the savings are compared with this year’s $1.5 trillion shortfall.  ‘We’re in a vise,’ said Representative Gerald Connolly – It’s a real dilemma.

California, already facing a $19.1 billion budget deficit, will have to pay 18% more in retirement costs for government workers to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The fund’s 13-member board voted today to boost the state’s contribution by $600.7 million, to $3.9 billion. Fund managers said an increase is needed after a 24% drop in asset value in the past fiscal year and because of higher benefit costs as retirees live longer.

New York Governor David Paterson set a June 28 deadline for an accord on the state’s overdue budget and said if lawmakers don’t cooperate he will submit an emergency bill that would have to be passed or else government would shut down. Lawmakers, under pressure from Paterson, have passed 11 consecutive weekly spending bills that trimmed the $9.2 billion deficit in the governor’s $135.2 billion budget to about $8.1 billion.

Investors are ignoring warning signs in the $2.8 trillion municipal-bond market, raising the risk of a reckoning, according to some market specialists.  Numerous municipalities are struggling financially. A Rhode Island city recently said it faces insolvency. Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, is considering a municipal-bankruptcy filing. And famed investor Warren Buffett recently warned of a ‘terrible problem’ ahead for municipal bonds. But municipal-bond prices aren’t reflecting much concern.

Citigroup Inc. plans to raise more than $3 billion for its private-equity and hedge funds, even as U.S. lawmakers consider banning banks from owning and investing in so-called alternative funds, people with direct knowledge of the plan said.  Citi Capital Advisors, which oversees about $14 billion, may seek $1.5 billion for private equity this year and $750 million for hedge funds, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans aren’t public. An additional $1 billion is targeted next year for hedge funds, the people said.

Listen up – those of you who want to move out of IRA’s should consider this: With almost 60% of national spending devoted to Medicare, Social Security and other mandatory programs, shrinking the deficit with budget cuts would require the elimination of virtually all entitlement outlays. “You can’t solve the deficit problem with spending cuts alone. It’s inevitable that we’re going to have to raise taxes to do so.”… the tax cuts enacted by President Bush in 2001 and 2003 will expire at year’s end, and tax rates could go up significantly for almost all taxpayers. The current 10% bracket will disappear. While income cutoffs haven’t been specified, couples earning up to about $70,000 would probably pay a 15% rate. The 25%, 28%, 33% and 35% brackets would most likely pop up to 28%, 31%, 36% and 39.6%.

Letting the Bush cuts lapse also would push the long-term capital-gains rate from 15% to 20%. Dividends, now taxed at 15%, would become subject to rates on ordinary income.

Obama outlined in his 2011 budget proposal: Extend the tax cuts for most taxpayers, but let them expire for couples earning more than $250,000 and singles making more than $200,000. This means that the top two tax rates would rise to 36% and 39.6%…If you’ve been considering selling any highly appreciated investments—whether a stock or a second home—consider doing so in advance of the capital-gains increases… [This will impair stocks in Q3 &4.]

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970203296004575308923080973564.html?mod=BOL_hps_highlight#articleTabs_panel_article%3D1

Barron’s also notes that coming tax hikes will not produce enough revenue to remedy the budget mess; so be prepared for a VAT in coming years, or the theft of your retirement.

Bob chapman

A plan for the euro, a response to declines is made with gold, pension benefits exposed, BP will default, Baltic Dry Index gets drier, oil deluge to flow for years, Fannie and Freddie to delist from exchanges, banks missing TARP payments.

Note how gold explodes whenever the euro takes a dive.  Those of you who think that the euro is going much lower in the near future had better think again.  The explosion of gold whenever the euro goes down will alone give the Illuminati powerful reasons to support the euro, as will the potential for a devastating trade imbalance that will aggravate the US debt problem from a balance of payments perspective.  Gold is now rising with the dollar because it is now competing with the dollar for safe-haven money, even when the stock markets are tanking.  Gold will win this battle eventually once it is clear that the US economy is going to go under, and that event is not far off. Silver may catch up with gold based on the ridiculous gold to silver ratio alone, but could suffer if the stock market starts to tank, since the combined attack from J P Morgan Chase and the ensuing downward expectation for commodities demand could take their toll.  Gold will continue strong in the current environment no matter what due to the unsolvable sovereign debt crises that have become evident around the world.

Remember what J P Morgan himself said:  “Gold is money, period.”  And soon it will be the only money that has any value, period.  Gold, silver and their related shares are the only place to be.  Stay clear of paper gold and silver and buy physical only and take possession.  These paper gold and silver Ponzi schemes, like GLD, SLV, OTC derivatives and mint certificates are going to be exposed soon.  The Sprott Gold Bullion Fund is a viable possibility if you want to buy some paper gold, otherwise go physical only.  Very shortly, JP Morgan will be sued in class actions by big players that have been criminally screwed in the silver markets, and this could be the catalyst that finally blows the whole precious metals fraud wide open.  So load up! Don’t forget as well, for those who want inherent leverage, do not forget the gold and silver shares that is where the most money is made with moderate risk.

Let’s start with your annual letter from the commissioner of Social Security. It recaps your work record and projects your future retirement benefits. It also warns that benefit payments will exceed employment tax collections by 2016. Worse, it says the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2037. When that happens, employment taxes will cover only 76 percent of promised benefits.

As it turns out, the letter is optimistic.

Benefit payments already exceed employment tax collections. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a crush of retirees and fewer w

orkers has turned the expected surplus of employment taxes over benefit payments into a shortfall.

Fortunately, it’s estimated at only $29 billion this year, piffle in government finance. The piffle, however, is expected to continue. There will be a need to find cash, and we will be talking about it in 2012.

Some readers will say, “Gee, isn’t that what our Social Security Trust Fund is for?’’ It’s a reasonable, if naive, idea. While it is true that anyone who worked between 1983 and today has shoveled some extra money into the trust fund, it’s not sitting there like dollar bills in Scrooge McDuck’s vault. The trust is just a collection of IOUs from the Treasury.

In 1983, when Alan Greenspan led a commission that reformed Social Security, federal debt was only $1.4 trillion. Our reformed Social Security was supposed to be solvent for a full 75 years. Its accumulating surplus, held in trust, would cover the hefty cost of the baby boomers when they retired.

But the commission missed the mark. Today the unfunded liabilities of Social Security alone are $5.3 trillion. And the surplus is no more. Worse, Treasury debt is now $12.4 trillion which includes $2.3 trillion of IOUs held by the trust fund. So when Social Security goes to redeem its IOUs and cover that $29 billion shortfall, it will go to the Treasury. Sadly, the Treasury is empty except for its tax revenue and whatever it can borrow.

And what does that mean?

You can get an inkling by reading a recent report from the Senate Committee on Aging. It provides an extensive menu of steps to address the problem. Here are two extremes on the list:

■ “Increase worker and employer contributions by 1.1 percent.’’ Since worker and employer now pay 12.40 percent of payroll in employment taxes, the 2.2 percentage point increase in the tax would be a 17.7 percent increase on all workers, including those working short shifts at McDonald’s.

■ “Reduce benefits by 5 percent for new beneficiaries in 2010 and later.’’ That’s a hefty cut, but hardly enough. It would cover only 30 percent of the projected 75-year shortfall.

Between those two extremes, the Senate committee lays out a list of tools and calls it “modernization.’’ The bottom line is that more will be going in and less will be coming out at least to the people who paid it in.

BP and the Obama administration have reached a preliminary agreement that the oil company will place $20 billion in an escrow account to be administered by Kenneth Feinberg, a White House official said. Feinberg also oversaw payments to families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Credit investors are pricing in a more than 39 percent chance BP Plc will default within five years as it tangles with the Obama administration over cleanup costs and claims for the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.

The risk implied by credit-default swaps is up from 7 percent a month ago, according to CMA DataVision. BP swaps climbed 112 basis points today to a record 618. Investors are demanding 800 basis points more in yield to own BP debt due next year rather than Treasuries.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of commodity-shipping costs that’s tumbled 28 percent during its longest losing streak this year, may decline further, according to technical analysis by Barclays Capital.

The gauge fell to 3,020 points yesterday, extending a 13- day fall on speculation weaker Chinese construction may curb raw material demand. That may include iron ore, more of which is hauled at sea than any other dry-bulk commodity. The attached chart shows the index’s 200-day moving average of 3,164. It fell as low as 2,911 points in April, 3.6 percent less than now.

Fitch lowered BP’s credit rating 6 notches from AA- to BBB-, one notch above junk. Pensioners and other UK investors are about to get crushed, as if the black nobility run by the Queen and the Rothschild’s cared. It is obvious BP is destined for failure. Wait until the public finds out the oil fiasco was a false flag operation to pass Cap & trade and carbon taxes among other things. BP is junk and everyone knows it in spite of the attempted payoffs to Fitch. It won’t be long before the rating is junk and institutions are forced to sell the bonds for virtually nothing. It is even money BP will bite the dust. The bad news on the oil blowout gets worse every day as Obama tries to

hide what is really going on so they can get carbon taxes.

The Illuminists blew it. They didn’t know they were drilling into an oil volcano. There will be no way to plug the hole. The deluge will flow for years.

Between the real estate fiasco and now the oil mega disaster the banking system is closing in on collapse. Unemployment is definitely headed higher as millions of additional jobs are lost. Now the US economy is beset with the worst environment disaster in history that will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. The banking system is beset with trillions of dollars in toxic assets to accompany financial entities with two sets of books. When have you ever heard of banks being given a trillion dollars to stay in business rather than go bankrupt and the taxpayer is allowed to pay for it. The main culprit in this fiasco, the Fed, is about to be rewarded with new monopoly power to financially subject the American populace. What kind of a system is that? In the meantime the public is thrown a bone. There is no end to the toxic assets and the monetization. Is it any wonder gold and silver are climbing higher?

Government-sponsored mortgage purchasers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plan to delist their shares from the New York Stock Exchange.

The companies’ regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said Wednesday that it expects Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares to trade on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, an electronic quotation service.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. on Tuesday laid off 220 hourly and 41 salaried workers from its two Las Vegas hotel-casinos, CEO Steve Wynn said.

Wynn told The Associated Press the cuts were made after some workers expressed support for layoffs instead of wage and hour reductions. The company cut wages and hours 18 months ago, and were meant to be temporary, he said.

“It became a morale issue,” Wynn said.

Wynn says 2,300 hourly workers who want to work full time but were reduced to 32 hours per week will have their hours restored. Wynn said 1,400 workers earning less than $200,000 per year who took 15 percent pay cuts will have their salaries restored.

Wynn said the moves will add $7.7 million to the company’s payroll. Without the layoffs, restoring the hours and salaries would have cost nearly $10 million.

Total housing starts were at 593 thousand (SAAR) in May, down 10% from the revised April rate of 659,000 (revised down from 672 thousand), and up 24% from the all time record low in April 2009 of 477 thousand (the lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking housing starts in 1959). 

Single-family starts collapsed 17.2% to 468,000 in May. This is 30% above the record low in January 2009 (360 thousand). 

The second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968. This shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and that housing starts have mostly been moving sideways for over a year.

.

Housing Starts:

Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000. This is 10.0 percent (±10.3%)* below the revised April estimate of 659,000, but is 7.8 percent (±9.7%)* above the May 2009 rate of 550,000.

Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 468,000; this is 17.2 percent (±7.9%) below the revised April figure of 565,000.

Building Permits:

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 574,000. This is 5.9 percent (±2.2%) below the revised April rate of 610,000, but is 4.4 percent (±2.6%) above the May 2009 estimate of 550,000.

Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 438,000; this is 9.9 percent (±2.1%) below the revised April figure of 486,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 117,000 in May.

Note that permits fell sharply, suggesting another significant decline in housing starts next month. This is way below expectations (I took the under!), and is good news for the housing market longer term (there are too many housing units already), but bad news for the economy and employment short term.

George Osborne, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, a role equivalent to that of Tim Geithner in the US, at least in public office, not sure about tax “avoidance”, has just announced the abolition of the FSA – the English just as worthless equivalent to the SEC. It is time Mary Shapiro’s corrupt organization share the same fate. “George Osborne moved to redress what he described as the spectacular regulatory failure of the City, announcing the abolition of the Financial Services Authority and a sweeping increase in the Bank of England’s powers.” And in other news, UK’s Bernanke-equivalent will now double up as uber regulator and Viceroy of the West Indies, due to amazing new powers given to him by the Osbourne super mushroom: “Mervyn King, the Bank’s governor, will become one of the most powerful central bankers in the world, with a new remit to prevent the build-up of risk in the financial system in addition to his monetary policy role.” In other words, one big step forward, and an infinite number of steps back. After all why bother with petty theft, when the Central Banks will soon be funneling trillions away from what’s left of the global middle class, perfectly legally, in broad daylight, and at record 2s10s. [This is a move towards consolidation of power and a monopoly of everything to do with things financial in England, the same as we are seeing under financial legislation in the US. Financial tyranny is about to hit England as well as the US. Next will come exchange control.]

The former chairman of a large mortgage lending company has been charged in a $1.9 billion fraud scheme that contributed to the failure of Colonial Bank, one of the nation’s 50 largest banks before it was seized by regulators last year, the Justice Department said yesterday.

Lee Bentley Farkas, who led Florida-based Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, was arrested Tuesday in Ocala, Fla., after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on bank fraud and other charges.

Taylor, Bean was one of the nation’s largest privately held mortgage lending companies before it filed for bankruptcy protection last year, and officials said the fraud scheme precipitated its collapse as well.

Court documents said Farkas and coconspirators at both companies misappropriated more than $400 million from Colonial and about $1.5 billion from a Taylor, Bean-owned firm to cover the firm’s operating losses.

Farkas, 57, is also charged with trying to defraud the government out of $553 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout funds as the losses mounted. If convicted, Farkas faces a likely sentence of life in prison.

The state’s foreclosure crisis continued in May as the number of homeowners who lost their properties more than doubled compared with the same month a year ago, according to data released yesterday.

Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks local real estate, reported that 1,283 residents lost their homes in May, a 119.7 percent increase from the 584 foreclosures reported in May 2009. There were 6,107 completed foreclosures reported from January to May, a 48.4 percent hike from the same time last year. But fewer homeowners are now on the precipice of foreclosure, which means the problem may eventually begin to ebb. Foreclosure petitions, the first step in the process, fell to 2,110 in May, a 9.4 percent drop compared with the same time last year, Warren Group said. Petitions also were down 13.2 percent from April.

The fact the HFT, which is nothing more than front-running customer orders, is still allowed is the strongest evidence possible that regulators and solons are grossly inept and/or abjectly corrupt.

One reason that solons allow, even encourage, HFT and other computer trading is because it is useful in manipulating stocks higher – by both the whims of traders and under direction by the elites.

Solons and regulators know that trader games and manipulations are usually to the upside, so they allow the pillaging of customers because it is a useful tool of market manipulation. Traders and wise guys know that upside manipulation is allowed and encouraged, so they eagerly manipulate stocks, futures and options to the upside. This is why there is a triple digit rally for expiration week for something like 10 of 12 expirations each year. After the 1987 Crash, program trading and OEX/SPU trading came under great scrutiny. So the Street colluded to prevent large downside expirations. This is not a guess or conjecture; we received the calls.

If there was a large imbalance of stock to sell on expiration, NYSE brokers called traders to buy up the shares in order to prevent the expiration from showing a large decline. The Street did this to keep Congress and regulators from shutting down the very profitable derivative schemes and trading.

Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that aberrant trading recently in Diebold Inc. and the Washington Post Co. isn’t good for the market.

“Markets must be credible, or they’re no good,” he said. Such extreme advances and declines in stocks for no apparent reason is “death by a thousand cuts,” he said.

Note” Diebold plunged 30% in six seconds on June 2. Volume exploded to 11 times normal activity.

Senate Democrats suffered a blow Wednesday in an attempt to conclude debate on a sweeping bill that would extend a range of popular tax credits, renew several expired federal programs and provide financial aid to states.

In a defeat that saw Democrats abandoned by moderate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle concerned over the cost of the $140 billion measure, Senate leaders will now be forced to go back to the drawing board to devise a way to get a pared down bill through the Senate.

For almost a year, we have noted each expiration week that Ben Bernanke pours liquidity into the system to juice stocks. Even though the Fed’s MBS monetization scheme officially ended in March, Bennie Mae has been monetizing MBS for each expiration week since the official termination date.

Bennie Mae again monetized MBS for the current expiration week. The $13.922B of MBS monetized this week increased the Fed’s balance sheet by $12.778B.

Last week Ben told a Congressional inquirer that the Fed does not intervene in the stock market. This is another Bernanke deception. The Fed does not directly intervene, i.e. buy stocks or SPUs. But the Fed indirectly intervenes incessantly in the stock market by injecting juice into the system and by sending surrogates into the market. Think Al Capone ordering subordinates to do dastardly deed.

Consumer prices recorded their biggest decline in nearly 1-1/2 years in May as energy costs dropped, according to a government report on Thursday that pointed to tame inflation pressures and low interest rates.

The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index fell 0.2 percent last month, the largest decline since December 2008, after dipping 0.1 percent in April.

The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance unexpectedly rose last week as the manufacturing, construction and education sectors shed employees, adding to worries that the economic recovery is slowing.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000 in the week ended June 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The four-week moving average of new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market trends, slipped 500 to 463,500.

In the first week of June, the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 88,000 to 4.57 million, the Labor Department said.

The insured unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of the insured labor force that is jobless, edged up to 3.6 percent from 3.5 percent.

The U.S. current account deficit widened in the first quarter to $109.0 billion, or 3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, from a sharply smaller estimate for the fourth quarter of 2009, a Commerce Department report said on Thursday.

It was the third consecutive quarterly increase from a low of $84.4 billion in the second quarter of 2009, when world trade fell sharply because of a global recession.

The Commerce Department lowered its estimate of the fourth quarter current account deficit to $100.9 billion, or 2.8 percent of GDP, from a previously reported $115.6 billion. Wall Street analysts had expected the first quarter deficit to widen to about $120.7 billion.

The Conference Board, an industry research group, said on Thursday its gauge of leading indicators rose to a new peak, suggesting the U.S. economic recovery will continue. The leading index, which tries to predict future levels of economic activity, rose 0.4 percent to a record 109.9, after stagnating in April. Analysts polled by Reuters had been looking for a slightly firmer 0.5 percent gain.

The Conference Board found the average length of unemployment had risen to 34.4 weeks in May from around 30 at the start of the year.

Factory activity growth plummeted in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region in June, a survey showed on Thursday, adding to worries that the short and tepid U.S. economic recovery is now fizzling.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index dropped to 8.0 in June from May’s 21.4. Economists had expected a reading of 20.9, based on the results of a Reuters poll, which ranged from 10.0 to 24.0.

More than 90 U.S. banks and thrifts missed making a May 17 payment to the U.S. government under its main bank bailout program, signalling a rising number of lenders are struggling to meet their obligations.

The statistics, compiled by SNL Financial from U.S. Treasury data, showed 91 banks and thrifts skipped the May dividend payment under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. It was the first missed payment for 23 of the banks; for the others, it was at least their second miss.

The number of banks missing their TARP payments rose for the third straight quarter. In February, 74 banks deferred their payments; 55 deferred last November.

SNL Financial’s analysis found 20 banks have missed four or more payments since the program began in 2008, while eight banks have missed five payments.

Under the TARP program, the U.S. Treasury invested in preferred shares issued banks looking for funds. The banks were to make regular dividend payments to the Treasury, and have the right to repurchase the shares at some point in the future.