GM, Ford Seek $50 Billion From U.S., Double Request

And you know who will pay for all of this.
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Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler LLC and U.S. auto-parts makers are seeking $50 billion in government-backed loans, double their initial request, to develop and build more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The U.S. automakers and the suppliers want Congress to appropriate $3.75 billion needed to back $25 billion in U.S. loans approved in last year’s energy bill and add $25 billion in new loans over subsequent years, according to people familiar with the strategy. The industry is also seeking fewer restrictions on how the funding is used, the people said today.

GM and Ford lost $24.1 billion in the second quarter as consumers, battered by record gasoline prices, abandoned the trucks that provide most of U.S. companies’ profit and embraced cars that benefit overseas competitors such as Honda Motor Co. U.S. auto sales may drop to a 15-year low this year and fall even more in 2009, analysts have said.

Read moreGM, Ford Seek $50 Billion From U.S., Double Request

Russia: Georgia set for another attack


Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn

Georgia’s independence-leaning republics are to come under Georgian onslaught, high-ranking Russian military official has revealed.

Russia’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said “We have registered an increase in [Georgia’s] reconnaissance activities and preparations for armed actions in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone,” Ria Novosti reported Friday.

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Columbian Bank and Trust of Kansas Closed by U.S. Regulators

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) — Columbian Bank and Trust Co. of Topeka, Kansas, was closed by U.S. regulators, the nation’s ninth bank to collapse this year amid bad real-estate loans and writedowns stemming from a drop in home prices.

The bank, with $752 million in assets and $622 million in total deposits, was shuttered by the Kansas state bank commissioner’s office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the FDIC said yesterday in a statement.

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Zogby Poll: Obama Loses Key Electoral Votes

The latest figures from pollster John Zogby show three key states have bolted from Obama, dropping him below the necessary 270 electoral votes.

Florida sent 27 electoral votes to John McCain, and both Colorado (9 votes) and New Hampshire (4 votes) went from Obama to undecided. The final tally has Obama down to 260 electoral votes – 10 shy of the necessary 270 for election.

John McCain has 173 electoral votes. There are 105 votes yet to be decided in 12 states that are too close to call, according to Zogby. Polling was done from Aug. 15-19, 2008.

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COMEX silver and gold pricing is manipulated

For years, the data contained in the weekly Commitment of Traders Report (COT), issued by the CFTC, have indicated that several large COMEX traders have manipulated the price of silver and gold. For an equal number of years, the CFTC has reluctantly responded to public pressure over this issue with blanket denials of any wrongdoing. Many analysts have agreed with the CFTC’s position, conjuring up various ways to explain why a massive short position held by a handful of traders is not manipulative.

The recent widespread shortage of silver for retail purchase coupled with a price collapse appears to have shaken these analysts’ confidence that the COMEX silver market is operating ‘fair and square.’ Well it should, since there is no rational explanation for a significant price decline going hand in hand with product shortages other than collusive manipulation.

For any remaining doubters that COMEX silver and gold pricing is manipulated, the following CFTC data should be considered. This data is taken from a monthly report issued by the CFTC, called the Bank Participation Report. Here’s the link for the report:

http://www.cftc.gov/marketreports/bankparticipation/index.htm The relevant data is found in the July and August futures sections. I will condense it.

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Freddie, Fannie Failure Could Be World `Catastrophe,’ Yu Says

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) — A failure of U.S. mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be a catastrophe for the global financial system, said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to China’s central bank.

“If the U.S. government allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,” Yu said in e-mailed answers to questions yesterday. “If it is not the end of the world, it is the end of the current international financial system.”

Freddie and Fannie shares touched 20-year lows yesterday on speculation that a government bailout will leave the stocks worthless. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson won approval from the U.S. Congress last month to pump unlimited amounts of capital into the companies in an emergency.

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Buffett Says Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac `Game Is Over

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage finance companies, “don’t have any net worth,” billionaire investor Warren Buffett said.

“The game is over” as independent companies said Buffett, the 77-year-old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in an interview on CNBC today. “They were able to borrow without any of the normal restraints. They had a blank check from the federal government.”

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A Few Speculators Dominate Vast Market for Oil Trading

Regulators had long classified a private Swiss energy conglomerate called Vitol as a trader that primarily helped industrial firms that needed oil to run their businesses.

But when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission examined Vitol’s books last month, it found that the firm was in fact more of a speculator, holding oil contracts as a profit-making investment rather than a means of lining up the actual delivery of fuel. Even more surprising to the commodities markets was the massive size of Vitol’s portfolio — at one point in July, the firm held 11 percent of all the oil contracts on the regulated New York Mercantile Exchange.

The discovery revealed how an individual financial player had gained enormous sway over the oil market without the knowledge of regulators. Other CFTC data showed that a significant amount of trading activity was concentrated in the hands of just a few speculators.

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The Big Sting Two

By Bob Chapman

The plan for an economic takedown, the results of rampant market speculations, insiders picking up assets for pennies on the dollar, the coming hyperinflation, the credit crunch, collapse of the dollar carry trade, suppression of metals prices, American meddling in Georgia

Read moreThe Big Sting Two

Resistance of flu virus to Tamiflu growing

Questions are arising over how long the Tamiflu retro-viral drugs being stockpiled by the New Zealand government — and many other countries — will remain an effective weapon against the next flu pandemic.

Tamiflu-resistant forms of the “ordinary” seasonal influenza are rapidly spreading and the drug may be ineffective in fighting the dominant flu strain in South Africa this winter.

World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows tests on 107 people in South Africa with the H1N1 strain — one of the three most common flu viruses in humans — found all had a mutant bug resistant to Tamiflu, the WHO said in a statement. Only one of the patients was taking Tamiflu at the time of sampling.

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