Tag Archive: Citigroup


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The Economic Collapse

Are You Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse And The Next Great Depression?

 

JP Morgan And Citigroup Agree That The U.S. Economy Is Steamrolling Toward A Recession

Locomotive - Public Domain

As we approach the end of 2015, researchers at both JP Morgan and Citigroup agree that the probability that the U.S. economy will soon plunge into recession is rising.  Just last week, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives asked Janet Yellen about Citigroup’s assessment that there is a 65 percent chance that the United States will experience an economic recession in 2016.  You can read her answer below.  And just a few days ago, JP Morgan economists Michael Feroli, Daniel Silver, Jesse Edgerton, and Robert Mellman released a report in which they declared that “the probability of recession within three years” has risen to “an eye-catching 76%”

“Our longer-run indicators, however, continue to suggest an elevated risk that the expansion is nearing its end, and our preferred model now puts the probability of recession within three years at an eye-catching 76%.”

The good news is that the economists at JP Morgan believe that a recession will probably not hit us within the next six months.  But due to steadily weakening economic conditions, they are convinced that one is almost certain to strike within the next few years

“When we first wrote, only manufacturing sentiment was signaling an above-average probability of imminent recession,” they said. “But recent weakening in the Richmond Fed services survey and the ISM nonmanufacturing index have now pushed the nonmanufacturing sentiment probability up somewhat as well.”

In the short term, the note says that the 6-month likelihood is only 5%, but within a year it stands at 23%, in two years 48%, and in three years the “eye-popping” 76%.

To be honest, I believe that this assessment is far too optimistic, and it appears that researchers at Citigroup agree with me.  According to them, there is a 65 percent chance that the U.S. economy will plunge into recession by the end of next year.  Last week, Janet Yellen was asked about this during testimony before Congress

In testimony before Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, Yellen was asked by Rep. Pat Tiberi about a piece of research released by Citigroup’s rates strategy team Monday.

Specifically, Tiberi, an Ohio Republican, wanted to know what Yellen made of Citi’s conclusion that there is a 65 percent chance of a U.S. recession in 2016.

“The economists said that they would assign about a 65 percent likelihood of a recession in the United States in 2016. Now, 65 percent sounds high to me, but I’m not an economist and I’m not the Fed chair. But zero risk might be too low as well. So what would you assign a risk level of a recession next year?” Tiberi asked.

So how did Yellen respond?

 

Read More Here

Wall Street On Parade

Suspicious Deaths of Bankers Are Now Classified as “Trade Secrets” by Federal Regulator

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 28, 2014

It doesn’t get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees.  Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we’re told the information constitutes “trade secrets.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of a 25 year old male with a Bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2006 was 81 years of age. But in the past five months, five highly educated JPMorgan male employees in their 30s and one former employee aged 28, have died under suspicious circumstances, including three of whom allegedly leaped off buildings – a statistical rarity even during the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

There is one other major obstacle to brushing away these deaths as random occurrences – they are not happening at JPMorgan’s closest peer bank – Citigroup. Both JPMorgan and Citigroup are global financial institutions with both commercial banking and investment banking operations. Their employee counts are similar – 260,000 employees for JPMorgan versus 251,000 for Citigroup.

Both JPMorgan and Citigroup also own massive amounts of bank-owned life insurance (BOLI), a controversial practice that pays the corporation when a current or former employee dies. (In the case of former employees, the banks conduct regular “death sweeps” of public records using former employees’ Social Security numbers to learn if a former employee has died and then submits a request for payment of the death benefit to the insurance company.)

Wall Street On Parade carefully researched public death announcements over the past 12 months which named the decedent as a current or former employee of Citigroup or its commercial banking unit, Citibank. We found no data suggesting Citigroup was experiencing the same rash of deaths of young men in their 30s as JPMorgan Chase. Nor did we discover any press reports of leaps from buildings among Citigroup’s workers.

Given the above set of facts, on March 21 of this year, we wrote to the regulator of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act (See OCC Response to Wall Street On Parade’s Request for Banker Death Information):

The number of deaths from 2008 through March 21, 2014 on which JPMorgan Chase collected death benefits; the total face amount of BOLI life insurance in force at JPMorgan; the total number of former and current employees of JPMorgan Chase who are insured under these policies; any peer studies showing the same data comparing JPMorgan Chase with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

The OCC responded politely by letter dated April 18, after first calling a few days earlier to inform us that we would be getting nothing under the sunshine law request. (On Wall Street, sunshine routinely means dark curtain.) The OCC letter advised that documents relevant to our request were being withheld on the basis that they are “privileged or contains trade secrets, or commercial or financial information, furnished in confidence, that relates to the business, personal, or financial affairs of any person,” or  relate to “a record contained in or related to an examination.”

The ironic reality is that the documents do not pertain to the personal financial affairs of individuals who have a privacy right. Individuals are not going to receive the proceeds of this life insurance for the most part. In many cases, they do not even know that multi-million dollar policies that pay upon their death have been taken out by their employer or former employer. Equally important, JPMorgan is a publicly traded company whose shareholders have a right under securities laws to understand the quality of its earnings – are those earnings coming from traditional banking and investment banking operations or is this ghoulish practice of profiting from the death of workers now a major contributor to profits on Wall Street?

As it turns out, one aspect of the information cavalierly denied to us by the OCC is publicly available to those willing to hunt for it. On March 24 of this year, we reported that JPMorgan Chase held $10.4 billion in BOLI assets at its insured depository bank as of December 31, 2013.

We reached out to BOLI expert, Michael D. Myers, to understand what JPMorgan’s $10.4 billion in BOLI assets at its commercial bank might represent in terms of face amount of life insurance on its workers. Myers said: “Without knowing the length of the investment or its rate of return, it is difficult to estimate the face amount of the insurance coverage.  However, a cash value of $10.4 billion could easily translate into more than $100 billion in actual insurance coverage and possibly two or three times that amount” said Myers, a partner in the Houston, Texas law firm McClanahan Myers Espey, L.L.P.

 

Read More Here

 

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Insurance policies pertaining to bankers’ suicides classified as containing ‘trade secrets’

Published time: April 29, 2014 19:09

AFP Photo / John Moore

AFP Photo / John Moore

After a recent rash of mysterious apparent suicides shook the financial world, researchers are scrambling to find answers about what really is the reason behind these multiple deaths. Some observers have now come to a rather shocking conclusion.

Wall Street on Parade bloggers Pam and Russ Martens wrote this week that something seems awry regarding the bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) policies held by JPMorgan Chase. Traditional life insurance policies ensure that the loved ones of the deceased are compensated fairly in the event of a death, but banks are investing billions in policies that let them receive untaxed payment with the passing of each employee. While it’s not unusual for major banks to take out policies that compensate companies in the event of an employee death, the Martens wrote, attempts to find out more about that practice have been peculiarly hard and have raised a red flag among bloggers like those at Wall Street on Parade.

Four of the biggest banks on Wall Street combined hold over $680 billion in BOLI policies, the bloggers reported, but JPMorgan held around $17.9 billion in BOLI assets at the end of last year to Citigroup’s comparably meager $8.8 billion.

Both banks are global financial institutions with commercial and investment banking operations, the Martens wrote, and each employs close to a quarter-of-a-million employees. Nevertheless, they say that JPMorgan has experienced a far greater rate of suicide among employees in recent months, particularly in the midst of a series of news reports documenting unusual leaps off buildings and other bizarre deaths that have taken the lives of JPMorgan staffers.

 

Read More Here

 

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Published time: February 18, 2014 17:12
Stefan Selig.( Reuters / Mike Segar )

Stefan Selig.( Reuters / Mike Segar )

 

 

A controversial trade deal being touted by the White House is expected to give American corporations broad new authority if approved. Now according to newly released documents, big banks gave millions to the execs that are now orchestrating the agreement.

 

Investigative journalist Lee Fang wrote for Republic Report on Tuesday this week that two former well-placed individuals within the ranks of Bank of America and CitiGroup were awarded millions of dollars in bonuses before jumping ship to work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership on behalf of the White House.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a widely-contested trade deal between the US and 11 other nations adjacent to the Pacific Rim, and has been negotiated by representatives for those countries in utmost secrecy. According to leaked excerpts of the TPP and remarks from experts following the news closely, though, it’s believed that the arrangement would allow corporations to oppose foreign laws while at the same time limiting the abilities for governments to regulate those entities.

On Tuesday, Fang wrote that two major United States-based financial firms have significantly awarded former executives who have since attracted the attention of President Barack Obama and subsequently been offered positions that put them directly involved in TPP talks.

Former Bank of America investment banker Stefan Selig, Fang acknowledged, received more than $9 million in bonus pay after he was nominated to join the Obama administration in November. And Michael Froman, the current US trade representative, was awarded over $4 million from Citigroup when he left them in 2009 in order to go work for the White House. Republic Report were provided those statistics through financial disclosures included in Fang’s article.

When Selig was asked to head the International Trade Administration by the White House last November — a Commerce Department job — the New York Times considered it “a rare appointment of a Wall Street banker by the Obama administration.” If he is confirmed by the Senate as expected, he will work directly with US trade officials on hammering out final arrangements for the TPP. Froman has been the US trade representative since last June, and according to his biography on that department’s official website, is directly overseeing TPP discussions.

 

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Obama trade officials received huge bank bonusesSalon.com

Obama trade officials received huge bank bonuses

http://www.salon.com/…/obamareceived_huge_bank_bonuses

Obama’s TPP trade officials took bonus money from big banks

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/16564785-obamas

Obama Trade Officials Received Hefty Bonuses From Big Banks

Obama Trade Officials Received Hefty Bonuses From Big Banks
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/17/obama-trade-banks

 

 

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Ten Banks in FX Trading Probe Have Handed Evidence to FCA

By Ben Moshinsky Feb 4, 2014 9:55 AM CT
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The allegations are “as bad as Libor,” Wheatley told lawmakers in London today,… Read More

Ten banks turned over evidence to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority as part of an investigation into the manipulation of foreign-exchange benchmarks, its chief executive officer told lawmakers.

The allegations are “as bad as Libor,” FCA CEO Martin Wheatley said in London today, referring to the global probe into rigging of the London interbank offered rate. Those investigations have resulted in global fines of about $6 billion and led to reviews of other benchmarks, including currency rates.

The regulator is investigating “a number of benchmarks that operate in London,” Wheatley said. The foreign-exchange probe is unlikely to be concluded this year, he said, without identifying any banks under investigation.

The regulator said in October it was opening a formal probe into currency-rate trading, joining regulators in the U.S. and Switzerland in reviewing the $5.3 trillion-a-day market. The world’s seven biggest foreign-exchange dealers have now all taken action against their employees, with at least 17 traders suspended, put on leave or fired.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc has handed over records of instant messages to the FCA after concluding a former currency trader’s communications with counterparts at other firms may have been inappropriate, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Read More Here

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WRAPUP 2-Forex probe widens as New York banking regulator steps in

Emily Flitter and Jamie McGeever

 

Feb 5 (Reuters) – New York banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky is seeking documents from some of the biggest banks in foreign exchange trading, including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Barclays, a source familiar with the matter said Wednesday, as a global probe into possible market manipulation widens.

At least seven other law enforcement offices and regulators internationally are investigating whether banks rigged the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency markets. Martin Wheatley, chief executive officer of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, said on Tuesday that his watchdog group’s probe could extend into 2015, and that the allegations it is looking into are “every bit as bad” as the Libor manipulation scandal.

Read More Here

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UPDATE 1 -Citi’s global head of foreign exchange to leave bank -memo

LONDON Wed Feb 5, 2014 2:59pm GMT

Feb 5 (Reuters) – The global head of foreign exchange at Citigroup, the world’s second largest currency trader, is leaving the bank, according to an internal bank memo seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

 

London-based Anil Prasad’s departure, however, is not related to the global investigation into allegations of currency market manipulation, a source familiar with the matter said.

“Anil’s decision is his own and entirely unrelated to the on-going FX investigations,” the source said.

 

Citi sees 14.9 percent of the average $5.3 trillion that flows through the world currency markets every day, according to the last annual poll by Euromoney, just behind market leader Deutsche Bank AG which sees 15.2 percent.

 

Prasad joined Citi in India in 1986 and relocated to New York two years later. In 1996, he moved to London but left the bank the following year to join Natwest Capital Markets.

 

He returned to Citi in 2000, and was appointed Global Head of Foreign Exchange & Local Markets in February 2007. His successor will be announced in the coming weeks.

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  — Episode 259

X22Report X22Report

Published on Jan 10, 2014

Get economic collapse news throughout the day visit http://x22report.com
More economic collapse news visit http://thepeoplesnewz.com

The Greek people cannot pay their taxes. In Cyprus housing sales fell 23% in 2013. The central bankers/US government/corporate media have released the propaganda that the economy is recovering. This is false and retail sales tanked this holiday season. The central bankers US government are losing control of the middle east and the US dollar is on the brink of collapsing.

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The Economic Collapse

If You Are Waiting For An “Economic Collapse”, Just Look At What Is Happening To Europe

European UnionIf you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the “economic collapse”, just open up your eyes and look at what is happening in Europe.  The entire continent is a giant economic mess right now.  Unemployment and poverty levels are setting record highs, car sales are setting record lows, and there is an ocean of bad loans and red ink everywhere you look.  Over the past several years, most of the attention has been on the economic struggles of Greece, Spain and Portugal and without a doubt things continue to get even worse in those nations.  But in 2014 and 2015, Italy and France will start to take center stage.  France has the 5th largest economy on the planet, and Italy has the 9th largest economy on the planet, and at this point both of those economies are rapidly falling to pieces.  Expect both France and Italy to make major headlines throughout the rest of 2014.  I have always maintained that the next major wave of the economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening.  The following are just a few of the statistics that show that an “economic collapse” is happening in Europe right now…

-The unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole is still sitting at an all-time record high of 12.1 percent.

-It Italy, the unemployment rate has soared to a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 percent.

-The youth unemployment rate in Italy has jumped up to 41.6 percent.

-The level of poverty in Italy is now the highest that has ever been recorded.

-Many analysts expect major economic trouble in Italy over the next couple of years.  The President of Italy is openly warning of “widespread social tension and unrest” in his nation in 2014.

-Citigroup is projecting that Italy’s debt to GDP ratio will surpass 140 percent by the year 2016.

-Citigroup is projecting that Greece’s debt to GDP ratio will surpass 200 percent by the year 2016.

-Citigroup is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach 32 percent in 2015.

-The unemployment rate in Spain is still sitting at an all-time record high of 26.7 percent.

-The youth unemployment rate in Spain is now up to 57.7 percent – even higher than in Greece.

-The percentage of bad loans in Spain has risen for eight straight months and recently hit a brand new all-time record high of 13 percent.

-The number of mortgage applications in Spain has fallen by 90 percent since the peak of the housing boom.

-The unemployment rate in France has risen for 9 quarters in a row and recently soared to a new 16 year high.

-For 2013, car sales in Europe were on pace to hit the lowest yearly level ever recorded.

-Deutsche Bank, probably the most important bank in Germany, is the most highly leveraged bank in Europe (60 to 1) and it has approximately 70 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives.

Europe truly is experiencing an economic nightmare, and it is only going to get worse.

Read More Here

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The Economic Collapse

Why Is Goldman Sachs Warning That The Stock Market Could Decline By 10 Percent Or More?

Time Is Running OutWhy has Goldman Sachs chosen this moment to publicly declare that stocks are overpriced?  Why has Goldman Sachs suddenly decided to warn all of us that the stock market could decline by 10 percent or more in the coming months?  Goldman Sachs has to know that when they release a report like this that it will move the market.  And that is precisely what happened on Monday.  U.S. stocks dropped precipitously.  So is Goldman Sachs just honestly trying to warn their clients that stocks may have become overvalued at this point, or is another agenda at work here?  To be fair, the truth is that all of the big banks should be warning their clients about the stock market bubble.  Personally, I have stated that the stock market has officially entered “crazytown territory“.  So it would be hard to blame Goldman Sachs for trying to tell the truth.  But Goldman Sachs also had to know that a warning that the stock market could potentially fall by more than 10 percent would rattle nerves on Wall Street.

This report that has just been released by Goldman Sachs has gotten a lot of attention.  In fact, an article about this report was featured at the top of the CNBC website for quite a while on Monday.  Needless to say, news of this report spread on Wall Street like wildfire.  The following is a short excerpt from the CNBC article

A stock market correction is approaching the level of near certainty as Wall Street faces a major paradigm shift in how to achieve price gains, according to a Goldman Sachs analysis.

In a market outlook that garnered significant attention from traders Monday, the firm’s strategists called the S&P 500 valuation “lofty by almost any measure” and attached a 67 percent probability to the chance that the market would fall by 10 percent or more, which is the technical yardstick for a correction.

Of course Goldman Sachs is quite correct to be warning about an imminent stock market correction.  Right now stocks are overvalued according to just about any measure that you could imagine

The current valuation of the S&P 500 is lofty by almost any measure, both for the aggregate market as well as the median stock: (1) The P/E ratio; (2) the current P/E expansion cycle; (3) EV/Sales; (4) EV/EBITDA; (5) Free Cash Flow yield; (6) Price/Book as well as the ROE and P/B relationship; and compared with the levels of (6) inflation; (7) nominal 10-year Treasury yields; and (8) real interest rates. Furthermore, the cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio suggests the S&P 500 is currently 30% overvalued in terms of (9) Operating EPS and (10) about 45% overvalued using As Reported earnings.

There is a lot of technical jargon in the paragraph above, but essentially what it is saying is that stock prices are unusually high right now according to a whole host of key indicators.

And in case you were wondering, stocks did fall dramatically on Monday.  The Dow fell by 179 points, which was the biggest decline of the year by far.

So is Goldman Sachs correct about what could be coming?

Well, the truth is that there are many other analysts that are far more pessimistic than Goldman Sachs is.  For example, David Stockman, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, believes that the U.S. stock market is heading for “a pretty rude day of awakening”

Read More Here

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By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: January 7, 2014

Timothy Geithner Is Sworn in as 75th U.S. Treasury Secretary As His Wife, Carole, Looks On

Before Timothy Geithner became the 75th Secretary of the U.S. Treasury in 2009, he served as the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for five years. The New York Fed is one of Wall Street’s primary regulators. But after leaving his post at the New York Fed, Geithner testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services on March 26, 2009 that he was not regulating Wall Street as he earned his $400,000 a year with car, driver and private dining room.

At the 2009 hearing, in response to a question from Congressman Ron Paul, Geithner said:

“That was a very thoughtful set of questions. I just want to correct one thing. I have never been a regulator, for better or worse. And I think you are right to say that we have to be very skeptical that regulation can solve all these problems. We have parts of the system which are overwhelmed by regulation…It wasn’t the absence of regulation that was a problem. It was, despite the presence of regulation, you got huge risks built up.”

When Geithner says, “for better or worse,” I think most Americans would agree that Geithner’s failure to know that he was a regulator at an institution he headed for half a decade that employed hundreds of bank examiners was probably worse for the country, not better, given that he oversaw the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression and the most expensive taxpayer bailout in the history of finance.

In written testimony before the same hearing, Geithner added that “We can’t allow institutions to cherry pick among competing regulators, and shift risk to where it faces the lowest standards and constraints.” And yet, Geithner’s appointment calendar suggests that this is exactly what Citigroup did as Geithner accommodated it as willingly as a concierge at one of those exclusive Manhattan hotels.

According to Geithner’s appointment calendar for 2007 and 2008 (available online courtesy of an article the New York Times published in 2009), Geithner excelled in hobnobbing, despite the appearance of outrageous conflicts of interest. He was the Relationship Manager In Chief as he managed his own relationship with Citigroup into a job offer to be its CEO.

During 2007 and 2008, Citigroup entered an intractable death spiral owing to a decade of obscene executive pay, off balance sheet debt, toxic assets and mismanagement of its unwieldy disparate business lines. Instead of functioning as the tough cop on the beat in regulating Citigroup, Geithner hobnobbed, holding 29 breakfasts, lunches, dinners and other meetings with Citigroup executives.

When Sandy Weill stepped down from Citigroup in 2006, SEC filings show he still owned over 16.5 million shares of the company’s stock, in addition to the $264 million he had sold back to the company in 2003. As the company teetered toward insolvency in the 2007-2008 period, Weill had a vested interest not to see his stock position wiped out by a government receivership of Citigroup. The very last thing Geithner, as Citigroup’s regulator, should have been doing was meeting privately with Weill.

On January 25, 2007, Geithner not only hosted Weill to lunch at the New York Fed, but Geithner brought his teenage daughter to the lunch. Geithner’s appointment calendar shows Elise Geithner, his daughter, sharing his chauffeured car to work with her father and then joining him at lunch with Sandy Weill. In case you’re wondering, Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day was April 26 that year, not the day of this luncheon. A few months later, on May 17, 2007, Geithner joined Weill for breakfast at the expensive Four Seasons.

Read More Here

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Earth Watch Report  –  Flooding

3 18.01.2013 Flash Flood Indonesia Capital City, Jakarta Damage level
Details

Flash Flood in Indonesia on Wednesday, 16 January, 2013 at 17:23 (05:23 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Friday, 18 January, 2013 at 16:35 UTC
Description
Heavy rain was forecast again for Indonesia’s capital as floods that began three days ago claimed 11 lives in the city. Five people died of electrocution, four elderly victims died of hypothermia or illnesses, and two children drowned since flooding began on Jan. 15, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman at the National Agency for Disaster Management, told reporters in Jakarta today. More than 18,000 people in the city of 9.6 million have been evacuated from their homes, he said. “Rainfall with high intensity may be ongoing until this weekend,” Nugroho said. Water levels rose in the neighboring city of Depok and the resulting surge was headed toward Jakarta. The floods have disrupted businesses, stranded travelers and swamped the offices of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Consumer prices may rise because of disruptions in food distribution, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa said in Jakarta today, adding that the government is working to ensure smooth deliveries.

A state of emergency in the capital, which contributes about 16 percent of Indonesia’s economy output, will stay in effect until Jan. 27, Governor Joko Widodo said yesterday. The seasonal floods are affecting 41 square kilometers (16 square miles) of Jakarta, representing about six percent of the city’s total land area. In 2007, floods submerged 232 square kilometers and forced the evacuation of 320,000 people, Nugroho said. Indonesia’s floods are not affecting industrial areas and will have a limited impact on banks, Citigroup Inc. analyst Ferry Wong said in a report today. The overall economy will face a limited impact if the heavy rains stop now, he said in the report. Demand for home improvements, pharmaceuticals and noodles will increase, while distribution and logistics businesses will be impacted, according to the report. Jakarta sits in a low-lying area with 13 rivers and more than 1,400 kilometers of man-made waterways, making it prone to flooding, according to the World Bank. About 40 percent of Jakarta’s land area is below sea level.

 

Politics and Legislation

GOP Promises of Lower Gas Costs Belied by Dwindling Supply of World’s Oil

Amy Goodman, Video Report:

“Looking at rising fuel costs, one of the major issues raised by the Republican contenders in the 2012 presidential campaign. Since the beginning of the year, the average of price of a gallon of regular gasoline has jumped 16 percent to more than $3.80. Earlier this week, President Obama partially blamed his Republican rivals, saying one reason for the increase is rumors of war with Iran.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/gop-promises-lower-gas-costs-belied-dwindling-supply-world-s-oil-1331743269

Donors to conservative super PAC masked by nonprofit

Super PACs are the perceived demons of the 2012 campaign. But a shadowy sideshow that’s gone largely unnoticed is the set of nonprofits affiliated with them, which often provide money to the cash cows — and they don’t have to publicly disclose their donors. Case in point: FreedomWorks for America.

http://www.iwatchnews.org/2012/03/11/8360/donors-conservative-super-pac-masked-nonprofit

The New York Times: Delegate system gives small states outsize clout at convention

By Michael Cooper

Both Democrats and Republicans have long used formulas that award a state’s delegates based not just on population, but also on party loyalty in previous elections.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/us/politics/delegate-system-gives-small-states-clout-at-convention.html?_r=2&ref=politics

France’s Upcoming Election Means Euro Devaluation—and a Pop In Gold

On May 6, France is holding its second round of Presidential elections, where the Socialist François Hollande is fully expected to win.

I’m pretty sure two things will happen immediately following the election: The first is, Carla Bruni will leave Nicolas Sarkozy (because everyone knows that a professional courtesan never stays when the going gets tough for her patron).

http://gonzalolira.blogspot.com/2012/03/frances-upcoming-election-means-euro.html

Economy

10 reasons Wall Street will hit bottom, crash

Commentary: Gambling-addicted banks need a Betty Ford Center

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, Wall Street will crash. Has to. They’re gambling addicts. Dodged the bullet in 2008. But learned nothing. Now killing reforms. Teamed up with the Super Rich, CEOs, lobbyists, and crony politicians. It’s only a matter of time.

Yes, they’ll crash, again. No matter how anemic the recovery. No matter how much more debt they pile on taxpayers. No matter who’s president. Crash.
The Betty Ford Center, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

How do I know Wall Street will hit bottom? First off, most American know somebody who’s trapped in addictive behavior. I got a front-row seat years ago as a professional helping a few hundred addicts, alcoholics and gamblers getting help from the Betty Ford Center and others like it.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-reasons-wall-street-will-hit-bottom-crash-2012-03-13?pagenumber=1

The Truth About Gas Prices

Bill Scher, Op-Ed:

Conservatives are betting that a President Obama can’t succeed in talking straight about gas prices the way Candidate Obama did. First, they are exaggerating the price spike itself, saying that under Obama’s presidency, prices have jumped from $1.83 to $3.70 per gallon. That is technically true, but remember, in the summer of 2008 gas was over $4 a gallon. Prices briefly plummeted below $2 per gallon right before Obama’s inauguration because there was this little cataclysmic global economic meltdown that shattered consumer demand.

http://www.nationofchange.org/truth-about-gas-prices-1331731751

Four large US banks fail stress tests

Citigroup was one of four large US banks that flunked stress tests aimed at seeing how they would hold up in a new economic crisis, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday.

Three others — Ally, Suntrust and MetLife — also failed the tests, while 15 other large bank holding companies passed the exercise, the Fed said.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/citi-ally-suntrust-metlife-fail-stress-tests-205649742.html

Oil price spike on Iran is beyond control: OPEC

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Top exporter Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf producers say surging oil markets are beyond their control and prices could spike higher unless tensions between the West and Iran subside.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri are expected to focus on high oil prices in their addresses to the International Energy Forum gathering of oil ministers and executives on Wednesday, several OPEC sources said.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/economy-and-business/96366-oil-price-spike-on-iran-is-beyond-control-opec-

Wars and Rumors of War

What A War With Iran Really Means: Proceed

By Barry Rubin

It is quite right to be worried and hesitant about entering a war with Iran. War, as recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan show, is a dangerous, bloody, often dirty mess in which things go wrong, civilians are killed inadvertently, your own side loses people, and goals are not necessarily achieved.

Sometimes war is necessary. That was clearly true in Afghanistan in 2001 but less clear regarding Iraq in 2003. What are the goals? How are they to be gained? In what way can a war be brought to an end? How is victory defined? These are all serious issues.

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1885/416/NL/What_A_War_With_Iran_Really_Means:_Proceed.html

IDF official: Army ready for ground op in Gaza

The current round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups could prompt Israel to launch a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, a senior IDF official said Monday.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4201983,00.html

Russia says it won’t stop selling weapons to Syria

MOSCOW: Russia has no intention of curtailing military cooperation with Syria despite calls from the West to stop arming President Bashar Assad’s regime, a senior Russian government official said Tuesday.

Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Russia will abide by existing contracts to deliver weapons to Syria despite Assad’s yearlong crackdown on the opposition, during which the UN says over 7,500 people have been killed.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article587163.ece

Israel sends air force into Gaza

Gaza has been pounded for a second day by Israel’s air strength. In the worst bombing raid in the region for almost a year at least 15 militants have been killed on the Gaza side. Israel has said the air strikes are in retaliation to the firing of more than 100 rockets from the Palestinian side.

http://feeds.bignewsnetwork.com/?sid=204108507

US terror drones kill 30 in southern Somalia

At least 30 people have been killed and a dozen injured in an attack by US assassination drones in southern Somalia, Press TV reports. The unmanned aircraft fired several missiles at al-Shabab positions in the Dayniile district of south Mogadishu on Tuesday. Sheik Ibrahim Jaabar, a senior al-Shabab official, confirmed the attack, saying the aerial strike caused major damage to the group’s positions.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/231562.html

Hague to be sued for aiding US drone attacks in Pakistan

A rights group and a law firm are set to take legal action against British Foreign Secretary William Hague over his alleged the contribution of intelligence in assisting US assassination drone strikes in Pakistan. The London-based charity Reprieve and the law firm Leigh Day & Co. confirmed on Monday that they will issue formal proceedings at the High Court on behalf of Noor Khan, a Pakistani man whose father was killed by a US strike. The law firm says it has credible evidence that Hague oversaw a policy of passing British intelligence to American forces planning attacks in Pakistan. Lawyers claim that civilian staff at Britain’s electronic listening agency (GCHQ) could be liable as “secondary parties to murder” as they provided “locational intelligence” to the CIA in directing its drone attacks.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/231297.html

Environmental

Our New ‘Tough Oil’ World

Michael T. Klare, Op-Ed:

“Oil prices are now higher than they have ever been—except for a few frenzied moments before the global economic meltdown of 2008. Many immediate factors are contributing to this surge, including Iran’s threats to block oil shipping in the Persian Gulf, fears of a new Middle Eastern war and turmoil in energy-rich Nigeria. Some of these pressures could ease in the months ahead, providing temporary relief at the gas pump. But the principal cause of higher prices—a fundamental shift in the structure of the oil industry—cannot be reversed, and so oil prices are destined to remain high for a long time to come.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/our-new-tough-oil-world-1331732593

Senate Rejects Plan to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling

Sean Cockerham, News Report:

“The Senate on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a sweeping measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas to oil drilling, as well as to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline project. Tuesday’s vote was the first time in four years that the Senate has voted on a measure including ANWR drilling, and it failed miserably. The proposal needed 60 votes to pass; it only received 41 votes in favor, with 57 senators against.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/senate-rejects-plan-open-arctic-refuge-drilling-1331733615

Why Pennsylvania’s Act 13 May Be the Nation’s Worst Corporate Giveaway

Suvendrini Kakuchi, News Report:

“It’s absolutely crushing of local self-government,” said Ben Price, project director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which has helped a handful of local communities-including the city of Pittsburgh-adopt community rights ordinances that elevate the rights of nature and people to block the drilling. “The state has surrendered over 2,000 municipalities to the industry. It’s a complete capitulation of the rights of the people and their right to self-government. They are handing it over to the industry to let them govern us. It is the corporate state. That is how we look at it.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/why-pennsylvania-s-act-13-may-be-nation-s-worst-corporate-giveaway-1331733276

The shape of things to come

Miami FL (SPX)

When oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico in late April 2010, friends asked George Haller whether he was tracking its movement. That’s because the McGill engineering professor has been working for years on ways to better understand patterns in the seemingly chaotic motion of oceans and air. Meanwhile, colleagues of Josefina Olascoaga in Miami were asking the geophysicist a similar questio ..

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/The_shape_of_things_to_come_999.html

Toxic acid release again draws federal investigators

Again drawn by a leak of toxic hydrofluoric acid, federal investigators are back at a Texas oil refinery they examined three years ago. A Center investigation last year found that 50 refineries use the acid despite the availability of safer alternatives.

http://www.iwatchnews.org/2012/03/08/8354/toxic-acid-release-again-draws-federal-investigators

Activism

Think Locally, Occupy Globally: Our Fight Is The World’s – And Vice Versa

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed:

We’ve known for a long time that local protest movements carry an international message. The people here in South Africa gave hope and inspiration to the entire world during their own struggle for political freedom. Then, as now, genuine change seemed like an impossible dream. The apartheid regime had enormous wealth and was backed by some of the world’s most powerful corporate interests. The greatest governments in the world, including our own, were more than willing to ignore the regime’s worst human rights abuses in order to benefit from its trade.

http://www.nationofchange.org/think-locally-occupy-globally-our-fight-world-s-and-vice-versa-1331741531

Cyber Space

Google’s New ‘Spy’ Policy

Robert Jain, News Report:

Google has also made headlines recently regarding its new privacy policy, which Consumer Watchdog reports is a blatant misnomer, and actually describes the new invasive ways Google wants to gather information about individuals internet usage. Many of these techniques include methods for circumventing the privacy policies of Internet browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Apple’s Safari, which is used on iPhones and iPads around the country

http://www.nationofchange.org/google-s-new-spy-policy-1331740571

Teenager arrested for comments made on Facebook page

A teenager has been arrested for allegedly making comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan last week.
According to Sky News, Azhar Ahmed of Ravensthorpe (19) posted comments on his profile page, criticizing the level of attention British soldiers who died in a bomb blast received, compared to that received by Afghan civilians killed in the war.

http://digitaljournal.com/article/321102#ixzz1pAiCFNlL

US wins the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer over UK-based website

Sheffield – A 23-year old UK student is to be extradited to the USA to face trial for operating a UK-based website linking to copyright materials.

http://digitaljournal.com/#ixzz1pAizxCzz

Vatican confirms second Anonymous hack

A Vatican spokesman on Tuesday downplayed the impact of the hack on the Vatican Radio database, saying the hackers had gained access to an old server “shortly after 2pm” on Monday. Anonymous claimed to have hacked Vatican Radio in protest against the Vatican Radio… in a Pastebin post on Monday. AnonOps Communications, a recognised mouthpiece of the hacktivist collective, published a link to the Pastebin post on Tuesday. Comments on the post called for alleged LulzSec members arrested last week by the FBI and international law enforcement to be freed.

http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/security-bullet-in-10000166/vatican-confirms-second-anonymous-hack-10025615/

Radiation

Rense & Dr Blaylock – Radiation What We CAN Do

Uploaded by JRense on Apr 24, 2011

World famous Dr Russell Blaylock gives real advise on how we can protect ourselves from radiation, and a sober assessment of how our governments go for “covering up” the reality.

Misc

Speaking Truth About Power

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed:

A willingness to speak truth to power is an essential civic virtue for the well-being of a democratic-republic. Davis became a whistleblower, daring even to call out Gen. David Petraeus, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who now heads the CIA. Last year, Petraeus had told Congress that the Afghan Taliban’s momentum had been “arrested,” that our progress there was “significant,” and that the mission was “on the right azimuth,” to succeed.

http://www.nationofchange.org/speaking-truth-about-power-1331730900

Fed To Take Propaganda To The Schoolroom: Will Teach Grade 8-12 Students About Constitutionality Of… The Fed

Back in September we noted a peculiar RFP by the Fed which sought to become a secret ‘big brother’ to the social media world, and to “monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria.” The Fed’s desired product should be able to “determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document”… “The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube. It should also be able to aggregate data from various media outlets such as: CNN, WSJ, Factiva etc.” Most importantly, the “Listening Platform” should be able to “Handle crisis situations, Continuously monitor conversations, and Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers.”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/fed-take-propaganda-schoolroom-will-teach-k-8-12-students-about-constitutionality-fed

FBI Urges Coffee Shops To Report Cash-Paying Customers To Authorities

Use of paper money is a terrorist trait — if you don’t want to be considered suspect, the government commands you to use corporate-issued debit and credit cards, rather than its own currency. Via Boing Boing:

According to a set of guidelines sent out by the FBI as part of its Communities Against Terror program, ordinary citizens need to be on the lookout for suspicious characters who follow patterns of behavior of a covert operative.

http://www.disinfo.com/2012/03/fbi-urges-coffee-shops-to-report-cash-paying-customers-to-authorities/

Classified documents contradict FBI on post-9/11 probe of Saudis, ex-senator says

By Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen
Special to msnbc.com

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress’ Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has seen two classified FBI documents that he says are at odds with the bureau’s public statements that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis then living in Sarasota, Fla.

“There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents,” Graham said.

http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/13/10656262-classified-documents-contradict-fbi-on-post-911-probe-of-saudis-ex-senator-says

Broken Promises: Pensions All Over America Are Being Savagely Cut Or Are Vanishing Completely

How would you feel if you worked for a state or local government for 20 or 30 years only to have your pension slashed dramatically or taken away entirely? Well, this exact scenario is playing out from coast to coast and in the years ahead millions of elderly Americans are going to be affected by broken promises and vanishing pensions.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/broken-promises-pensions-all-over-america-are-being-savagely-cut-or-are-vanishing-completely

Bringing Down the Empire: Challenging the Institutions of Domination

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

We have come to the point in our history of our species where an increasing amount of people are asking questions, seeking answers, taking action, and waking up to the realities of our world, to the systems, ideas, institutions and individuals who have dominated, oppressed, controlled, and ensnared humanity in their grip of absolute control. As the resistance to these ideas, institutions, and individuals grows and continues toward taking action – locally, nationally, regionally, and globally – it is now more important than ever for the discussion and understanding of our system to grow in accord. Action must be taken, and is being taken, but information must inform action. Without a more comprehensive, global and expansive understanding of our world, those who resist this system will become increasingly divided, more easily co-opted, and have their efforts often undermined.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Bringing_Down_the_Empire%3A_Challenging_the_Institutions_of_Domination/18434/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Politics and  Legislation

McConnell vows full-fledged assault on health law amid threat to his leadership

By Julian Pecquet and Alexander Bolton – 03/01/12 06:42 PM ET

Top Dem on House Approps committee announces retirement

By Russell Berman – 03/02/12 11:25 AM ET

Watch Andrew Breitbart’s Fiery CPAC Speech: I Have ‘College Days’ Obama Videos

by James Crugnale | 8:58 am, March 1st, 2012

Economy

The trillions the government doesn’t account for

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trillions-the-government-doesnt-account-for/2012/02/17/gIQABgdZlR_story.html

Saudi Officials Deny Reports Of Pipeline Explosion After Crude Oil Hits $110, But We Have Photos That Could Tell A Different Story

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-01/markets/31115532_1_pipeline-area-qatif-price-of-oil-shot#ixzz1o21xvmKO

German prosecutors launch 80 raids in insider probe

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/01/uk-germany-raids-idUKTRE8201NK20120301

Americans Will Need “Black Markets” To Survive

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/606-americans-will-need-black-markets-to-survive

Federal Reserve Banker Fraud Exposed In The Mainstream

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/605-federal-reserve-banker-fraud-exposed-in-the-mainstream

Mass Resignations Of Major Bankers And Political Figures- Economic Financial Collapse?

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1838/087/NL/

Oil Companies Earn Billions While Americans Pay More

By Daniel J. Weiss, Jackie Weidman and Richard W. Caperton

http://www.nationofchange.org/oil-companies-earn-billions-while-americans-pay-more-1330707050

Plan for an economic 9/11′: Analysts warn Americans to buy guns and gold, predicting market crash and street riots within a year

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2107315/Market-crash-street-riots-year-Americans-plan-economic-9-11.html

Wall St slips but S&P up for 3rd straight week

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/stock-index-futures-point-lower-103407679.html

How Gold rises above $5000 per Ounce but is only Worth 500

ByJohn GaltMarch 1, 2012

Fannie and Freddie drop the ball

Mortgage write-downs have been rejected by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That decision hurts borrowers, their neighbors and taxpayers.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-foreclosure-20120301,0,4557762.story

Stockton could become biggest city to goStockton

Stockton council votes for mediation; city could become biggest in US to go bankrupt

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/stockton-could-become-biggest-city-062559370.html

European funding sows seeds of next crisis

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-funding-sows-seeds-of-next-crisis-2012-03-02?link=MW_latest_news

RBS raises mortgage rates as Halifax prepares to follow suit

Millions of financially stretched households are likely to lose the lifeline of low interest rates keeping them afloat, mortgage experts warned after the Halifax prepared the ground for a rise in mortgage rates and RBS announced an increase.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/mortgages/9118253/RBS-raises-mortgage-rates-as-Halifax-prepares-to-follow-suit.html

Spain planning to breach EU budget targets, warns prime minister Mariano Rajoy

Spain is already planning to breach its budgetary targets, defying European leaders on the day they signed their historic fiscal pact.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9119376/Spain-planning-to-breach-EU-budget-targets-warns-prime-minister-Mariano-Rajoy.html

Taxpayers’ ‘bad bank’ repossesses nearly 9,000 homes

Britain’s taxpayer-backed “bad bank” repossessed nearly 9,000 homes in 2011 as its profits more than doubled, allowing it to repay £2.1bn in loans to the government.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9118489/Taxpayers-bad-bank-repossesses-nearly-9000-homes.html

Oil price rise a bigger threat to global economy than Greece, says HSBC

The runaway oil price has overtaken fears of a Greek sovereign debt default as the biggest threat to the global economy, according to HSBC.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/oilprices/9119431/Oil-price-rise-a-bigger-threat-to-global-economy-than-Greece-says-HSBC.html

BP reaches £4.9bn Gulf oil spill deal

BP has reached a £4.9bn ($7.8bn) deal with thousands of people hit by by the oil giant’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/9120462/BP-reaches-4.9bn-Gulf-oil-spill-deal.html

Citigroup Chairman Parsons stepping down

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/citigroup-chairman-parsons-stepping-down-003540131.html;_ylt=Auc7NokErY10r0aEezEexSqiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0bGllaGpiBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDNDMwMTBmMjMtMWUwNC0zNDJiLTk4ZWQtNWUxMDUxNTY2MDMzBHBvcwMyBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzAyOTIxZTAwLTY0YzktMTFlMS1iZmJiLTM5ZjkzN2IxZjk1Yw–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Credit Suisse to face National Century fraud case

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/credit-suisse-face-national-century-213850783.html;_ylt=An5vPMLMjfXkPBcs3k.CL_.iuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0N2RncWNiBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDZTIyMTNkZTYtNGFmZC0zOGJkLThkOGQtMTBhZjQ1OGVmNTFlBHBvcwMzBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzRlYjIzN2IwLTY0YmItMTFlMS1iYmZmLWY5NWQ5MGM2NmM5Mw–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Morgan Stanley banker charged with hate crime

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/morgan-stanley-banker-placed-leave-163156246.html;_ylt=AoO6oQkabbsAMyzHGHhYbjCiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0MXRjN2hlBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDN2UzOTBhODUtNWJmYy0zMDY1LTg2YzUtMTU5NDllYjRlY2FhBHBvcwM3BHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzc0MDA5M2UwLTY0YTItMTFlMS1iZmZkLTU0YzM3ZTcxZTJkNA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Wars and Rumors of War

U.S. has military plan should Iran conflict erupt, says air force chief

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-s-has-military-plan-should-iran-conflict-erupt-says-air-force-chief-1.415734

Ex Senators Say Saudi Arabia May Be Linked to 9/11

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/senators-saudi-arabia-linked-911/story?id=15827925#.T1GwQLQycdR

‘Qatar, KSA seek bloodshed in Syria by arming rebels’

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/229310.html

NSA Power Grab: New Legislation Would Give It Broad Powers To Spy On ‘Critical’ Private Networks

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120229/17512717918/nsa-makes-its-power-play-to-spy-key-private-networks-pretending-that-only-it-can-protect-everyone-attack.shtml

Libyan Gov’t to Give $100M to Syrian Rebels

The Libyan government – formerly Libya’s opposition forces – says it will give $100 million in food and medicine to Syria’s rebel forces.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/153330#.T1G4PrQyega

Ireland Signs Controversial ‘Irish SOPA’ Into Law; Kicks Off New Censorship Regime

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120229/13541517916/ireland-signs-controversial-irish-sopa-into-law-kicks-off-new-censorship-regime.shtml?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Obama says he’s not bluffing on Iran nukes

By Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 8:48 PM EST, Fri March 2, 2012

Israel confirms plans to test missile system as Obama meeting looms

First test of Arrow 3 interceptor system intensifies speculation Israel is planning for military confrontation with Iran