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Cost of Empire

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LA Times

Attorney Gary Dubin was in a Honolulu hospital, sedated and suffering from depression after the death of his son, when U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real had him handcuffed and taken to court -- still in his hospital gown -- to answer charges of failing to file tax returns.Real allowed him to send for clothes but refused to postpone the hearing, recalled Dubin, who had to defend himself in a medicated fog without his case files. Judged guilty by Real after a two-day bench trial, Dubin spent 19 1/2 months in federal prison, while his home went into foreclosure and his credit was ruined by identity thieves. He achieved a measure of vindication years later when the IRS sent him a letter saying he had not violated any tax-filing laws. But he said his encounter with Real caused him professional and economic suffering from which he is still recovering.

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Investment Watch

The FED Debt system has taken America down from the # 1 Creditor Nation to the #1 Debtor Nation: DEBT Closely Correlates to Central BANK’s Printing DEBT Paper Wealth/Credit Closely Correlates to Manufacturing Countries that have Wealth Building Exports! Rank of Countries from Most Debt Ridden to Most Credit United States

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The Business Insider

The cause? Massive, ballooning public debt. The public intuitively knows that debt is bad, Ferguson says--perhaps because consumers now have it coming out of their ears. This is why so many Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy. And it's why his future is threatened... Niall Ferguson, FT: According to the polls, voters disapprove of Congress by 61 per cent to 31 per cent. What’s more, the two parties would be neck and neck if the midterm elections were held today. The reason is clear. While the stimulus package had a sound macroeconomic rationale, the growing structural imbalance between federal revenue and spending scares the hell out of voters. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 59 per cent of Americans think government spending is excessive. Mr Obama receives his lowest approval ratings for his handling of the federal budget deficit. Voters have good reason to disapprove. The deficit this year is likely to be $1,800bn (€1,270bn, £1,090bn).

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Economic Policy Journal

The radical left is about to crank things up. Militant action is on their agenda. I just attended a panel discussion at the American Sociological Association conference to see what they were up to. It doesn't sound pretty. The panel included top left wing rabble rousers. Steve Kest, executive director of ACORN, was there. As well as an up and coming rabble rouser, George Goehl of the National People's Action Network. Also on the panel Gabe Gonzales of the Center for Community Change and Matt Hammer of the People Acting in Community Together-San Francisco. Each participant was given five minutes for an opening statement followed by discussion and audience participation. Goehl was the first to speak. He called for challenging people on the streets. "We need to put feet on the ground," he said. He then said that big ideas need to be promoted, then to my amazement, he said the Federal Reserve should be the target. Goehl's organization is the group that recently p

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Hot Air

Remember when Congress erupted in outrage over the arrival in Washington DC of the CEOs of the three major American automakers in private jets? The bumbling public relations of the Big Three gave elected officials an opportunity to indulge in populist spleen-venting at rich fat cats and their greed. Public pressure pushed the automakers to dump their private fleets of corporate jets and focus belt-tightening in the executive suites as well as on the manufacturing floor. Who knew that Congress merely wanted to undercut price on their own purchase of private jets?

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Investment Watch

Remember when BO said he was the only thing standing in the way of Wall Street and citizens with pitch forks? Good thing they contributed so heavily to him it really paying off! Energy swaps are trades in which parties exchange the difference between two price payments, one fixed and one floating, for a specific commodity for a period of time. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley accounted for about half of the $15 billion in revenue that the world’s 10 largest investment banks generated from commodities in 2007, Ethan Ravage, a financial-services industry consultant in San Francisco, estimated last year, as energy prices neared records.

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The Business Insider

Well Jamie is after all Resident obamas favorite banker!  This morning Morgan Stanley said it paid $950 million to repurchase warrants issued to the government as part of last fall's bank bailout program. So how does that stack up against recent TARP exits? Not very well, according to TARP warrant expert Linus Wilson. "This deal was not as good as the Goldman Sachs and American Express deals for taxpayers," economist Wilson says. Morgan Stanley paid just 68 cents on the dollar, according to Wilson's calcuations. By that metric, the Morgan Stanley warrant deal short changed taxpayers by about $400 million.

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CNN

First report by Obama administration details slow, uneven performance by firms implementing $75 billion mortgage modification program. Just 9% of delinquent borrowers are in trial modifications so far, the Treasury Department said Tuesday. That translates into 235,247 loans that were at least two months delinquent. Under fire for the program's rocky start, the Obama administration says it is on pace to help up to four million homeowners over the next three years. The initiative was announced in February and the first institutions to join began accepting applications in April.

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CBS

We are six months into the Obama reign, and he surely did have a good thing going until very recently. He pushed through what voters thought was a stimulus bill. He held numerous press conferences at which an adoring media allowed him to display his rhetorical skills. No mumbling George W. Bush, he. He toured the world, to the applause of adoring masses from London to Paris to Cairo. He fulfilled a campaign promise to tackle perceived global warming and lead the world to a cooler, greener future by urging Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill aimed at cutting CO2 emissions. He bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, rewarding the United Auto Workers for delivering key states to him in last year's election. Then he made the mistake about which Sondheim wrote and Sinatra sang -- he wanted too much. He attempted to push through Congress a so-called reform of the nation's health care industry -- a $1 trillion restructuring that would turn effective control of one-sixth of the ec

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NYT

Behind Democrats’ struggle to pay the $1 trillion 10-year cost of President Obama’s promise to overhaul the health care system is their collision with another of his well-known pledges: that 95 percent of Americans “will not see their taxes increase by a single dime” during his term. Enlarge This Image Stephen Crowley/The New York Times President Obama has promised that 95 percent of Americans “will not see their taxes increase by a single dime” in his term. Blog The Caucus The latest on President Obama, the new administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion. More Politics News This will not be the last time that the president runs into a conflict between his audacious agenda and his pay-as-you-go guarantee, when only 5 percent of taxpayers are being asked to chip in. Critics from conservative to liberal warn that Mr. Obama has tied his and Congress’s hands on a range of issues, including tax reform and the need to reduce deficit

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Gold Eagle

Here at Casey Research, we've been watching the actions of foreign holders of U.S. dollars as closely as a Las Vegas pit boss watches a card player on a $1 million winning streak. Many of those in the deflation camp largely, or entirely, ignore the potential role these foreign holders may play in the drama now unfolding. But in fact, foreigners have, over the last decade, been by far the single most important source of buying for U.S. Treasuries. Given the Treasury's need to flog on the order of $3 trillion worth of its unbacked paper this year just to keep the government's doors open - and that is a four- or fivefold increase over 2008 - the foreign buyers not only have to show up for the Treasury auctions, they have to show up in droves.

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Washington;s Blog

This article won't talk about how Uncle Sam has taken majority ownership in a number of financial giants and car companies. Everyone knows about that. There are a lot of other reasons the market is not free. For example, Two new quotes show that Uncle Sam has replaced individual investors. As bond king Bill Gross says: (As I wrote last September, the government's involvement in the economy has become a lot like the movie "Weekend at Bernie's").

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