Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Here's some facts...
-- As an employee, your wages are hit with the 12.4% Social Security tax up to the annual wage ceiling ($106,800). Half the Soc. Sec. tax bill (equal to 6.2%) is withheld from your paychecks. The other half is paid by your employer.
--> For those who made that much or more last year, the Social Security tax hit on your 2010 wages was $13,243 (12.4% x $106,800). Half came out of your paycheck ($6,621). Your employer paid the other half.
--> Example: If your annual wages was $45,000, 6.2% or $2,790 would be taken out to cover Soc. Sec. taxes and your employer would match another 6.2%
-- For 2011 only, the tax hit is less, a 2 percentage-point reduction in the Social Security tax withholding rate on wages -- from the normal 6.2% to 4.2% (your employer's 6.2% rate is unchanged).
--> For 2012 and beyond, however, tax withholding on wages jump back to 6.2%
-- Those self-employed must pay the entire 12.4% tax rate out of their own pockets, based on the amount of their net self-employment income.
--> This is a big reason why companies often prefer to treat workers as self-employed independent contractors rather than employees. Social Security tax is not owed by companies on amounts paid to independent contractors.
--> The self-employment income ceiling is $106,800 (same as for employees). So if your 2010 self-employment income was $106,800 or more, you paid the Social Security tax maximum of $13,243.
~ Some people think the government has set up an account with their name on it to hold the money to pay for their future Social Security benefits... Nope. There are no individual accounts. Actually, in years past when the Social Security system would run a surplus (which it did in most years until recently), the federal government would suck out the excess cash and issue the system an IOU.
This was done by Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43... when there was a need for money for some pet project, and the President didn't want to generate the revenue by raising taxes, he'd simply take from the Soc. Sec. fund with an IOU to pay it back later. (Really its no different than putting $ in a cookie jar for your child's college fund and along the way, taking some out so you can buy a HDTV but with a promise to yourself you'll put the $ back later... which of course you don't.)
This is why even though Soc. Sec. taxes increased under Reagan, the program is threatened with eventual insolvency. The only way those IOUs will ever be paid is through future taxes. Meanwhile, the system is now projected to run out of money (including those nebulous IOUs) in 2036 unless taxes are raised or benefits are cut.
So it is fair and accurate to say that 4 Presidents between 1981-2009, representing both political parties, did a very good job F-ing up Social Security when based on all the additional revenue since 1981, it should have been Strong for a long time to come.
Posted by Susquehanna at Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
"The Greek people are anarchic and difficult to tame. For this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots: Perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail. Thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, to all this neuralgic territory of great strategic importance for us, for the politics of the USA."
-- Henry Kissinger, at the time of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus, while addressing a group of Washington, D.C. businessmen in Sept.1974, republished from Turkish Daily News in 1997.
Entities are trying to tame Greece in 2011- the American run IMF and the ECB...
To save its sovereignty and populace more pain, Greece should default.
Leadership won't.. No courage.. Too important that investors not get hurt..
But it should default.
A&G has stated repeatedly there is No recovery. Some find that pronouncement a bit pessimistic. Nonetheless, it is truthful.
A&G has also stated that it took about 3 years from the start of the 1929 Market Crash for the print media of the time to cut back on their rosy outlook stories and start reporting the Great Depression in an honest, sincere way. This October will make 3 years since Lehman Bros fell, the $700 Billion initial bailout and all that other good stuff which downward spiraled this economy under the guise of 'saving' it..
And A&G stated in previous postings that honest reporting of the Great Recession is beginning, right now in little droplets, but in time the 'flood' of honest news reporting Will come. The economic malaise will just be too obvious to too many for the media to continue glossing over for their own political and financial motivations.
So here's another 'droplet' of honesty, this time from an unexpected source- CNBC, one of the biggest "Rah-Rah Profit!" market and corporation cheerleaders you will find. The piece written Friday, May 27th is entitled, 'Where's the Recovery? Hopes For Economic Rebound Fade' ... Some highlights (in blue font):
"At a time when things were supposed to be getting better they are instead turning worse: Commodity prices are eating into consumer spending, historically low interest rates haven't done a thing to help housing, and, most worrisome, the job market rebound has been stopped in its tracks... Economists busy ratcheting down their forecasts for gross domestic product, unemployment and other metrics still think growth will resume later in the year. But GDP gains, both in the US and around the world, are likely to be considerably slower than anticipated."
~ Interesting-- Economists were Wrong when they didn't predict the recession to begin in 2007. And they were Wrong when they couldn't predict a Genuine recovery.. And the keep having to alter their findings... and Yet, economists' predictions are supposed to be trusted and given validity? Think about that- if people who are repeatedly wrong, keep making predictions, isn't there a certain point you just laugh them off as Ignorant Fools?
"Government data released Friday showed consumer spending remains weak, pressured by food and gas prices that Bernanke has famously described as "transitory." That has come on the heels of a miserable week for economic news in manufacturing and jobs. At the same time, the Fed's zero interest rate policies and quantitative easing programs may have spurred the stock market to a stunning recovery but have done virtually nothing for housing, which has become the elephant in the recovery's living room."
~ Of course the market has recovered but there's nothing 'stunning' about it. If the Fed pumped Trillions and Trillions of dollars into the housing market, it would be recovered too, albeit it as artificially as the market is. By the way, housing prices are expected to fall another 5% between now and the end of 2011, with any potential rebound occurring at earliest, in the second half of 2012. In other words, a Full Year from now..
"The good news, and what likely will prevent a technical double-dip, is that corporate America is faring well. Aggressive cost-cutting through layoffs and production efficiency has resulted in healthy bottom lines..."
~ Aww, poo... thought we could avoid what I call the "bullshit 'positive".. the little nugget of false optimism that permeates every financial news story... The 'good news' is that we'll avoid a double-dip... technically. We won't really avoid a Real one.. just a technical one.
And how will we avoid this double-dip? Who will save the day? Why, Corporations will-- thank Goodness for their 'aggressive cost-cutting', aggressive firing, and overworking their skeleton staffs made up of a combination of cowardly workers afraid of losing their jobs, and temps who you don't have to give any benefits or job security to. Corporate bottom lines are "healthy' thanks to the hoarding of cash which they refuse to use to hire more workers, and that's really good for us all, isn't it?
"As such, a year that began with great promise could end with recovery hopes that will have to be delayed a while."
The last sentence should have been written as such if it was honest--
' As such, a year that began with the illusions of great promise will likely end with recovery hopes and fantasies that will have to be delayed quite a while '
So how will you know if the economy is truly, sincerely recovery? Its no different than knowing it the skies are sunny and cloudless, or if a particular meal eaten tastes delicious.. You just KNOW it and don't need others to tell it to you.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
1)What is the difference between Veteran's Day (which actually was set up originally to honor those who served in World War I ONLY, and Memorial Day (set up to honor Civil War soldiers ONLY)?
a) Memorial Day offers better sales & discounts
b) Most can't enjoy BBQs and the beach in mid November
c) One holds annual auto races, one doesn't
d) One honors soldiers who are alive, the other those who've died
Ans: D - In modern times, after completely altering the specific reasons the two holidays were established, Veteran's Day was meant to honor all those who served the US in war. Memorial Day is to honor specifically those who died in military service.
~ * ~ * ~
2) What was Memorial Day originally called?
a) Remembrance Day
b) Decoration Day
c) Republic Day
d) Democracy Day
~ Pres. William H Taft, circa 1909-1912
Ans: B - Decoration Day, in 1866.
~ * ~ * ~
3) The tone of the first Memorial Day/Decoration Day was:
Ans: B - The first Memorial Day/Decoration Day wasn't established as an excuse to BBQ, watch NASCAR, go to the beach or get wasted. It was organized as a day of mourning with solemn parades and quiet reflection.
~ * ~ * ~
4) Why is Memorial Day a holiday now meant for all soldiers of all wars?
a) US has been in so many wars since 1866, we'd end up with 8 more 'holidays'
b) Its just easier and more convenient this way
c) People can't relate to the past so things must be changed to connect to the present
d) All of the above.
Ans: D - Since 1866, the US has fought in Span. Amer War, WWI & II, Korea, Vietnam, Op. Desert Storm, war in Afghanistan and Iraq-- if we honored soldiers of each war separately, that'd be 8 more holidays. So the Government decided a while ago it was easier this way to make Memorial Day (and Veterans' Day) blanket holidays to cover all wars in the past, present and future.
~ * ~ * ~
5) In 1971, Congress designated the last Monday in May as a national holiday for Memorial Day.. Why?
a) to give Americans a three-day weekend.
b) for noble and honorable purposes
c) out of respect to those who served
d) kindness and compassion
Ans: A - Yep.. to give a three-day weekend; an official 'start' to summer. Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance
More than 100 people were injured in Spain - riot police clashed with protesters on Friday, May 27th
Don't worry folks.. this probably won't ever happen here in the States. We're too self-involved in our individual lives and too believing of "recovery", optimism/'Hope' and elections to ever stand-up like those silly people in Spain, Greece, Egypt, Tunisia, etc..
Aren't those people funny? Tee Hee..
So no worries.. Monday is Memorial Day.. I'm sure there'll be sports on TV and yummy hot dogs and burgers grilling on the BBQ.. All is well with the world... Everything is Just Fine ~ smiles ~
I make reference to the following person not because I necessarily like or dislike him.. or I agree or disagree with most of his views... But because on this SPECIFIC topic of faux economic 'recovery', he is spot-on, and so I always give credit when its properly due irregardless of political orientation.
So without further ado, Rush Limbaugh's take on the so-called recovery...
Source: Radio transcript in blue from May 26, 2011, RushLimbaugh.com)
** I only provided relevant quotes pertaining to the specific topic of a pretend recovery, and set aside political rhetoric, etc. because it serves no point and needlessly alienates readers into that left-right blame game that is helpful to no one.
"Headline for the Associated Press: "Stocks, Bond Yields Sink After Gloomy US Reports -- Stocks are mostly lower and bond yields are at a new low for the year after two reports dimmed hopes for the job market and the U.S. economy. The government says more people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the first increase in three weeks." By the way, it was unexpected. Ahem. "A separate report says the economy grew at a sluggish 1.8 percent in the January-March quarter. Surging gasoline prices and cutbacks in government spending offset strong corporate earnings."
Stocks "unexpectedly" tumble... Unemployment "unexpectedly" rises.
You know, these people actually believe that we're in an economic recovery. They actually have written themselves into believing that, not just talk themselves into believing it. I'm talking about the media. They really believe it..."
"According to Reuters: "A department official said there were no exceptional factors to account for the rise in last week's claims." No exceptional factors, like no snowstorms, no tornadoes, no nothing. The usual thing that they could rely on to explain it, nothing out there. Even the Department of Labor is running out of excuses now. Do you ever think maybe the reason unemployment numbers go up is because we're still in a recession? You think maybe you people in the media might want to consider a possibility: The unemployment numbers went up because we haven't yet begun an economic recovery. It is absolute false, absolutely false to report that we're in an economic recovery."
"Everybody knows we're not in an economic recovery. Now, you can give me three quarters in a row of economic growth of 1.2%, but it's not translating to real life. Your stats, your reports (suspect as they are) do not translate to an improving quality of life for people. People don't see more jobs available. They don't see higher wages. There's nothing with a recovery to be seen. You can tout the recovery going on, you can lament it's not fast enough, you can lament that the pace of hiring is lagging behind where you want it to be. There is no replacement employment taking place -- and, by the way, last week's jobless number was revised up by 15,000 new claims."
"There's more economic news out there from the AP: "Sales of homes in some stage of foreclosure declined in the first three months of the year, but" dot, dot, dot "they still accounted for 28% of all home sales." ... Foreclosure sales slow but remain astronomically very high. There's no evidence there's any economic recovery, and there hasn't been any evidence of an economic recover because there isn't an economic recovery."
Like him, love him or loathe him, on this specific topic, Rush Limbaugh is 100% correct. There is No sincere economic recovery taking place... None.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Does China manipulate their currency?
The Obama Administration says China doesn't... "The Obama administration on Friday declined to cite China for manipulating its currency to gain trade advantages against the United States" (AP)
Ah... yes, of course...
So, what did Pres. Candidate Obama think 1 week before Election, 2008?
Obama says China must stop manipulating currency (DemocraticUnderground) 10/29/08 - "China's huge trade surplus with the United States is "directly related to its manipulation of its currency's value," Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said... The blunt statement from the frontrunner heading into next week's U.S. election follows years of Bush administration refusal to label China as a currency manipulator.... "China must change its policies, including its foreign exchange policies, so that it relies less on exports and more on domestic demand for its growth," Obama said in a letter to the National Council of Textile Organizations."
Yes.. I see... What did the US Treasury Sec. & the newly sworn-in President think in early 2009?
Geithner Says China Manipulates Its Currency (Washington Post) 1/23/09 - "As Timothy F. Geithner moved closer yesterday to confirmation as Treasury secretary, he signaled a more confrontational approach toward China, bluntly stating that the new administration thinks Beijing is "manipulating" its currency and it will act "aggressively" using "all the diplomatic avenues" to change China's currency practices."
In fact, the previous day 1/22/09, according to MarketWatch.com, Geithner said, "President Obama believes that China is manipulating its currency... President Obama has pledged as President to use aggressively all the diplomatic avenues open to him to seek change in China's currency practices,"
Bernanke to China: Stop manipulating currency (AP) 2/18/11 - "Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke has appeared to call on China to stop manipulating its currency. "Countries with excessive and unsustainable surpluses (China) will need to allow their exchange rates to better reflect market fundamentals"... The Fed chair's typically dry language did little to mask a pointed effort to increase the pressure on China to end the practice by which it gives its exports a boost--at the cost of U.S. exports--by keeping the yuan artificially low."
And the U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission in 2010?
China manipulates currency, U.S. panel says (CNN Money) 11/17/10 - "China continues to manipulate its currency and the nation's "exclusionary" trade policies have contributed to a massive deficit with the United States, a special commission said..."
China Manipulates Its Currency, Say 130 Congressmen (WallStreetPit.com) 3/17/10- "More than 100 members of the US Congress are asking the Obama administration to label China a currency manipulator... (in a letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner), both Republican and Democrats accuse China of artificially manipulating the value of its currency to ensure its exports remain competitive and by extension, increasing America’s trade deficit with China."
You the reader decide for yourself, but I leave you with one stat-- China's trade deficit with the United States hit $273 billion last year, the largest deficit the United States has ever had with any country.
Posted by Susquehanna at Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Now time for another episode of "Have You Slapped your local AP writer today?"
Here's two headlines.. both from AP:
1) 'Rising consumer confidence lifts stocks'
2) 'Gas tanks are draining family budgets'
The rising consumer confidence article even begins with this... "Maybe American consumers are better off than everybody thought."
Perhaps in Bizarro world, higher gasoline costs = confidence in the US economy but here on planet Earth umm... No. But remember, investors/traders will sell their children to make a profit and any rationale for a rising market before Memorial Day is a good one.
Oh, and if you think The F**king media is going to let one article pass without injecting faux-recovery, well...
From the 'Gas tanks are draining family budgets' article: "The squeeze is happening at a time when most people aren't getting raises, even as the economy recovers."
So.. Gas prices UP.. Wages stagnant.. yet.. Economy recovers..
This so no accident.. no fraudian slip..
You WILL be controlled... You WILL accept Recovery in the face of all facts telling you otherwise or they will suffocate you trying...
The media are a collection of whores, or to quote accurate trend forecaster Gerald Celente, "presstitutes", and they will Push 'recovery' until you figuratively choke to death on it.
Remember folks-- To continue a public ruse of a dying/dead plant being alive or recovering, you must continue publicly watering it.
As we said yesterday, there used to be a time you simply opened a newspaper or clicked an internet link, and simply read. The information was straightforward and any possible biases or agendas were usually transparent and didn't take much effort to understand what the writer's motives were.
Things noticeably changed over the last few years as the word 'recovery' crept into more and more economy and financial news stories until it became 'Fact'.
But see, the problem was that there has not been one single piece of definitively good news since the crash of 2008. Think about that. None. No dramatic decrease in unemployment.. No surge up in home prices.. Banks haven't started lending in force.. And if you say "what about the (artificially pumped) stock market?" then you are naive.
Simple example: you have the flu and along with it, a fever of 102.7-- you are feeling terrible. Now, you do not begin 'recovering' from the flu when your fever drops to 102.5. The beginnings of 'recovery' occur when your temperature dramatically drops to say 100.5. And when fever does break, that's stage 2 of your recovery, and so on.
Recovery from anything requires noticeable signs; stages of improvement...
Now we look at today's spin article and how it tries to bullshit a 'recovery'...
Pending Home Sales Plunge, Reaching Seven-Month Low (Reuters)- "Pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped far more than expected in April to touch a seven-month low... dealing a blow to hopes of a recovery in the housing market. National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index dropped 11.6 percent to 81.9 in April, the lowest since September... Economists, who had expected pending home sales to fall 1.0 percent last month, said bad weather in some parts of the country might have affected home shopping."
~ Ok.. let's analyze this-- pending sales dropped double digits in One month and economists are rationalizing this as the result of bad weather? Has it never rained in April before? And as horrific and destructive as tornadoes are, does a prospective home buyer honestly say to him/herself "Hmm.. looks like tornadoes this week so I better hold off home shopping..." ???
" "Higher gasoline may be making potential home buyers a bit cautious. It is signaling further weakness in housing, but we do expect housing to turn around later this year. It just hasn't happened yet.(according to NAR)"... The weak housing market is one the headwinds facing the economy as it makes a slow recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s. The economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter after expanding at a 3.1 pace in the last three months of 2010."
1) Who gave the quote? Reuters simply puts a quote and never attributes a source. I will assume its one of the many 'economists' the writer took the time to personally interview, but still.. who?? Maybe it was the world-renowned economist Abe Solut Lyar or the equally venerable Rich Lee N' Dow'd.
2) The sentence about housing, headwinds is being declarative; that this nation is fully in recovery and continues to be even with this or any other bad data. In other words, recovery is SO Strong, that it doesn't need good housing numbers or even good job data.. Hell.. it doesn't need anything tangible or real... just trust in us that we're recovering.
3) The difference between a 3.1% expansion and a 1.8% expansion is a decrease by 42%. The US economy DECREASED in its growth by 42% in One quarter. That doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about our supposed 'recovery'.
It is kinda ironic just yesterday we analyzed another Reuters article spinning an increase in first-time unemployed as undeterring the 'recovery'.
~ We've said it often and say it again-- A&G wants recovery. We honestly do. We want the economy to improve and people back working, home prices stabilizing, etc.. We want nothing but good things...
But... We're not children either and don't want to be told of tooth fairies either.
We want a Sincere recovery based on real improvement and real progress. And not one based on collusion between politicians desperate to paint a picture of 'things are better' for re-election purposes, and a media that wants to make its readers and viewers feel good so they'll keep reading and watching.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
US News & World Report did a poll of teenagers just graduating high school asking questions around the premise of how do they feel about the recession. And the questions asked in the survey were pretty simple- what percentage of teens have had their parents talk about money and finances with them... what percentage of teens know how to write a check, balance a checkbook and/or figure credit card interest...
All very nice..
But it got me thinking of better questions to ask graduating high schoolers..
-- How many of you are aware that college is a business?
-- How many of you are choosing a viable major that will give you a good chance to find real, meaningful employment upon graduation?
-- How many of you are prepared emotionally at the possibility that by the time you graduate college, you will be 21 years old and have at least $50,000 in student loan debt hanging around your neck like a figurative noose?
-- How many of you understand that when you eventually apply to work at Foot Locker or Wal Mart while waiting for the 'great job' to come, that going to Princeton or Harvard doesn't really mean much to the employer?
-- How many of you are aware that other than full repayment or death, the student loans are Never Ever going away?
part B-- How many of you are Truly aware that you can not discharge student loans in a bankruptcy and that if you stop paying voluntarily, eventually a portion of your paycheck will be confiscated if/when you work by whoever is holding your student debt?
part C-- How many of you are Truly, Truly aware that if you still haven't fully paid the student loan debts off by the time you are elderly, a portion of your social security check can be confiscated from you each month by the debt holder?
-- How many of you believe you will have a good future ahead of you, considering how the System is set up for you to be a debt slave?
I guess it was more fun for the polling people to ask teens fun lollipop questions like "Do you regard your parent(s) as great role models?"
If their parents were really "great", they wouldn't send their kids to college
Now, if you read news on this Great Recession, those skills are a Must!
From Reuters: "New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to 424,000 last week from a revised 414,000 in the prior week, pointing to a painfully slow improvement in the nation's job markets... Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast that claims last week would decline to 400,000, rather than rise. "
~ Did you catch that contradiction? Did you see how the article manipulates?
So... New U.S claims for unemployment benefits... as in people who've applied for the First Time this week (people who never were counted before in unemployment statistics because they were only Just fired)... well it Unexpectedly Climbed.. Three years later and unemployment still Climbs.. and yet.. Reuters says it points to a painfully slow "Improvement" in the nation's job markets.
There are hundreds of articles like this Every Single Days coming from AP, Reuters, CNBC, etc.. and All of them have a specific agenda-- get you to believe this nation is in "recovery" so you will go out and spend again and so you the public continue being docile in the face of Non-Stop negative economic news on joblessness, falling home values, unstable oil prices, rises in other commodities, 14+ Trillion National Debt, etc...
The media wants you informed on their terms & they want you dumb and numb. Don't react.. don't take any control of your life.. simply accept the narrative that every Bad piece of news that occurs will not affect the "recovery"
Cock-a-doodle-doo my friends... ~bangs on pans.. Really gotta wake up now...
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
From AP: "The Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it has withdrawn its application to trademark the phrase "SEAL Team 6," the elite unit that killed Osama bin Laden, after the Navy moved to protect its rights and the entertainment giant endured a wave of criticism and late-night jibes. "
"Disney sought the trademark rights on May 3, two days after U.S. operatives raided a luxury compound in Pakistan and killed the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Disney's ABC subsidiary wanted to develop a TV show along the lines "NCIS" and "JAG," which are also real-life Navy units, and would have focused on the drama and heroism of the special forces members. But it drew flak for not only its rapid filing, but also for a trademark application that included items like Christmas stockings and snow globes".
By the way, I wasn't being sarcastic about the Navy. I am genuinely happy they forced Disney to buckle. They are sincerely a most evil, greedy corporation with its tentacles in everything-- movies, music, books, amusement parks, hotels, television networks, etc.., and their attempt to trademark "SEAL Team 6" is just one of many examples of how F**king blood-money hungry this corporation is.
Now if only we could send the US Marines in to stop Disney from making movies...
Every year, there are elections somewhere in the world from President/Prime Minister/Chancellor all the way down the political ladder to Assemblyman. And what is the biggest load of bullsh.. I mean campaign promise that politicians of ALL political stripes say?
"I will fight for you..."
Meaning.. "I will not back down.. I will not concede to special interests or the will of others.. I will fight.. I will Not compromise!" etc..etc..
So for "fun" I went on Google & keyworded the term "compromise"
Here's headlines just of the last 24 hours...
Obama Says Middle East Peace Requires ‘Wrenching’ Compromise (Bloomberg) - "The remarks followed an address to the U.S. Congress yesterday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel is willing to make “painful compromises” to achieve Middle East peace..."
(State of Washington) House approves compromise budget that cuts heavily from education (Kitsap Sun)
(Nevada) Democrats' proposed budget compromise includes $250 million in cuts (Las Vegas Sun)
Greens Party (Australia) backtrack on carbon tax, saying they’ll accept a compromise price (Eco-business.com)
(NY Governor) Cuomo and Silver Compromise on 2 Percent Tax Cap (RyePatch.com)
~ Now here's the interesting thing.. while searching news with the word 'compromise' I found editorials either insisting their government leaders do it, or justifying that its in the best interests of a state or nation to do so. I was amazed at a couple of the editorials that even used historical precedent to justify compromise as a "good thing" such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
But let's delve into that a second. In 1776, the northern colonies led by John Adams and other delegates wanted to abolish slavery because it was morally wrong and looked really two-faced to demand freedom from King George III while they themselves enslaved others.. The southern colonies were insistent that it be protected and that no mention of it be in the Declaration. So the northern delegates Compromised by conceding the point entirely.
In 1787 during the Constitutional Convention, the same issue of slavery came up- whether to abolish it or allow it to continue with the birth of a new nation draped in the slogans of 'freedom' and 'liberty'. So, what happened? -- Compromise again. It was agreed by all that blacks were to be considered 3/5ths a human being for tax collection purposes since southerners insisted they were chattel not people, thus not to be counted in census or taxed. And it was agreed via compromise that the slave trade was allowed to go on for 20 more years until the accepted date of 1807.
And everyone was so happy & shook hands & patted themselves on the back.. well except for the slaves but.. Hey, they got that Compromise!
Then Compromise continued repeatedly of the first half of the 19th century where slave state and free state had to be balanced out so neither north or south had an advantage in representation in the US Senate (Missouri Compromise & Compromise of 1850 the most famous of them) All those compromises did, beyond having politicians sell their soul for appeasement, is cause an eventual four year long Civil War resulting in 600,000 Needless casualties on the Union and Confederacy because the Founding Fathers were Cowards to dig in their heels and fight for their principles.
Compromise on insignificant things is harmless.. Things like 'where do we go for dinner?'... Compromise when it matters and when others lives will be directly impacted is harmful and self-serving.
Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain sums it up best:
"Compromise is killing this country... Compromise is killing this economy."
Yes, Compromise is killing all the economies of all nations.
Is the stock market going up or down today?
Based on my very simple to understand "Cheat Sheet", when oil climbs and/or the dollar weakens, Americans suffer which means the US Stock Market goes up.
So let's see... hmm..
"Stocks turned higher Wednesday... as rising oil prices offset worries about the global economic recovery. Europe's worsening debt crisis and weak Japanese exports raised concerns that the world's major economies were flagging. Oil jumped above $100 per barrel, helping to turn energy stocks higher." -- AP
Yep.. why the news of oil spiking over $100/barrel was So wonderful to the Cockroaches who make their living trading and investing, that they were able to pretend something will not happen that EVERYONE knows will eventually happen-- an eventual Greece default sending the European Union into financial chaos.
Here's how AP spins it: "Greece's government and opposition party failed late Tuesday to reach consensus on how to control the country's debt troubles, adding to the uncertainty around Greece's financial future. Many analysts believe Greece will eventually have to restructure its debt, but it's unclear what form that would take."
Um.. no- Greece is way past restructuring. Quite honestly it should have threatened default on the EU and ECB about two years ago,playing a game of "chicken" to force delayed repayment and/or extremely good interest rates, or to simply let everything collapse then. And if Greece had done this convincingly enough, they would be in a better financial shape no matter whether the EU conceded or not. Instead, Greece has delayed the inevitable while the Investors who are holding onto Greek debt are able to keep making profit off the nation.
Oh you''ll never hear the word 'default' used when it Does happen (you can't choke an entity to death and demand it 'breathe' at the same time), it would trigger nasty credit default swaps, heavy bank losses and financial insanity which would in time extend globally. So expect a clever term to be invented, much like "Quantitative Easing" was invented as a phrase to replace the word bailouts because the public didn't seem to like it much for some reason...
Ah but I digress.. Oil is up today.. which hurts Americans entering Memorial Day weekend travel.. so US markets rise and US media news outlets report it joyously...
See how insidious it all is?
Did it? Let's see...
- Did it create any jobs as Bernanke said it would?
Yep.. created 700k full time jobs -- which averages to $850k per job. And let's not forget that over the same period, the number of part-time workers has gone down by 600,000, basically shifting 600,000 or 700,000 workers from part-time jobs to full-time jobs.
- Did it help stabilize home prices?
Nope- House prices are officially in a double dip and there's a bank over-inventory of about 2 million homes needed to be put up for sale by the end of 2011. This doesn't count everyday people seeking to sell their homes.
Did you know April housing starts fell 11%.? Also, did you know that according to the National Association of Realtors, the average price of an “existing” (i.e. used) home was $177,300 in August, 2010 just before QE2.
Today? It’s $163,700 — or 8% less. That's a loss of $13,600 on ave. per home!
- Did economic growth pick up?
Nope- GDP the last 2 quarters is around 2% which is anemic (its specifically 1.8% the last quarter) and the only reason its that high is due to exports since the American consumer is tapped out on debt and stagnant wages (assuming they have jobs)
- Did QE2 help curb inflation?
Nope- the opposite actually. Bernanke Wanted inflation and QE 1 & 2 were supposed to ratchet it up. Even with the rise in oil futures and pretty much all commodities from wheat to cotton, a couple months back, Bernanke said inflation was not high enough.
- Did it spark the stock market's rise?
Yep.. along with the fact that a saver gets nothing on his/her money when leaving it in a bank or CD, thus forcing investment into the riskier, shark-infested waters of the stock market. But even this rise in the market is pretend- most of it is due to the decline of the dollar, another manipulation by the Fed.
What QE2 did was create a massive new bubble in dollar-based financial assets, from gold and silver to stocks, while at the same time having NO visible effect on the real economy.
In other words the US taxpayers saw $1.5 Trillion dollars spent against their will on economic policies that gave them Zero benefit while the mainstream media, particularly the financial media applauded it in glowing terms.
The worst part is there will be a QE3 pretty soon.. the name may change to something less identifiable with QE 1 & QE2 but trust me, its coming. This two-tiered (wealthy & everyone else) US economy will collapse without it.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
And we don't play favorites- both parties and we do mean BOTH have collectively destroyed the American dream for tens of millions of Americans over a forty year period, and in 2011, it only appears to be worsening.
So in the effort to be "fair & balanced", and more accurately because the following article is completely true, here's highlights from a MarketWatch.com (May 24th) article of how Ronald Reagan and the rest of the GOP decimated the US economy... (Article will be in blue font)
Warning: long posting but like all long articles, very much worth reading...
" “My G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy.” Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece... the GOP has “destroyed” the U.S. economy, setting up an “American Apocalypse"... Last fall, Stockman’s hard-hitting op-ed was loaded with jabs like ..."The nation’s public debt” screams “for austerity and sacrifice,” instead, the GOP insisted “the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase... Obama blinked, pulled his punch..."
"Stockman’s latest attack proves he’s still a powerful fighter... instead of just looking back at the failure of a self-destructive Reaganomics, (he) focuses us on the paradigm shift that’s destroying America from within... Today, professional economists are no more than hired guns for politicians with myopia... Capitalism has morphed into a monopoly ruled by politicians who are serving a wealthy elite. Competition is a joke. Democracy is a farce. “We the People” no longer exists... (a) coming crisis will trigger another mega-crash, bigger than the dot-com crash and subprime meltdown combined..."
"(Here are) 10 principled facts seen fueling the political drama surrounding the 2012 elections and challenging all Americans at this historic turning point...
1. Politicians are addicts, can’t stop spending America’s future
Reagan’s big government policies “led to the utter failure of spending control.” Today America is “living way beyond our means,” and yet politicians are incapable of thinking past the next election. “They hear the squeaky wheel (of corporate interests), and they respond...
2. Cutting taxes: a cruel joke, defers big tax burden onto kids
“In the Bush era … nothing was cut. Everything was ratified. In fact, they added to Medicare through the drug benefit… you’re kidding yourself if you think cutting taxes today is really cutting taxes. We’re simply deferring massive tax increases into the future... Tax-cutting is a “massive Christmas tree of special-interest tax benefits and loopholes...
3. Social Security is a myth: Forget 2036, there’s no money today
“The top one-third (of Soc. Sec & Medicare) goes to retirees who have private assets, private pensions, other sources of income... and there really is no trust fund there — that’s all fiscal mythology … that money wasn’t saved or hived … it was spent on cotton subsidies and bribes to warlords in Afghanistan. The fact is, this is simply an intergenerational transfer program. … social insurance is a myth...
4. Reaganomics loves war: Military spending is off the table
“Reagan was utterly uninterested in any detail of the defense budget, of any of the claims for dollars made by the Pentagon,” says Stockman... “He gave them a blank check, without question, and that … ballooned spending just as we were massively reducing the revenue” and “it created an enormous political impasse...
5. Gross leadership failure: clueless ex-Goldman CEO at Treasury
“[Henry] Paulson frankly is the most incompetent, reckless secretary of the Treasury that we’ve had in modern history, if ever. He had no schooling in public policy, he had no schooling in the longer-term issues of fiscal management, or even what sound money is all about.” When “the crisis metastasized in” 2008 Paulson got “panicked calls from his buddies on Wall Street who were seeing their pyramids of debt coming crashing down.” And when Goldman Sachs’ stock cratered, Paulson really panicked. “There was no philosophy behind it; there was never an analysis done.” Driven by a clear conflict of interest, he wanted to protect the $600 million fortune he built at Goldman, while saving his Wall Street buddies from bankruptcy. So Paulson failed the American people.
6. Bank bailouts: Bad economics now accelerating America’s decline
Paulson’s panicky failure “was a profound moment in political history in September 2008… Had we allowed nature to take its course, maybe Goldman Sachs stock would have gone down to $10. But that’s their problem and that’s the problem of speculators who owned the stock, not a systemic problem for the economy.” Instead, Paulson’s panic made matters worse
7. In a “free market,” Wall Street banks must be free to fail
“The fundamental principle of free-market capitalism is that you have to be free to fail as well as succeed,” but “when you go in the opposite direction and socialize losses and privatize gains, you will destroy” our system of capitalism. Why? Because moral hazard encourages new “reckless risk taking, misallocation of capital.”
8. Today’s “crony capitalism” is destroying our faith in America
Wall Street is killing trust in the economy: “Once the broader public sees that the cronies of capitalism are bailed out by their friends in Washington or the Fed, why should they believe that the system we have is fair or is working in their interest?”
9. Derivatives speculation: Wall Street gambles in shady casinos
Gold was “at the heart of it a fixed exchange rate system” before 1971 obligating “each country to settle its accounts at the end of every year … Chronic payments deficits and you were going to… lose your monetary reserves.” But when we “went to pure fiat money … financial volatility and instability” created a “massive speculative casino …
10. Too-greedy-to-fail banks are creating another bigger meltdown
Before the crisis hit in 2007, “the top four banks in this country had $5 trillion of assets combined. After the whole crisis of too-big-to-fail and all of the bailouts, today the top four banks have $7 trillion of asset footings.” ... Antipathy that’s developed towards the crony-capitalist policy of bailing out anybody that’s big and strong like GM and Goldman Sachs” has created a new “generation of workers that’s going to be turned into tax slaves …
"American capitalism is so corrupted that change is impossible without a mega meltdown, a historic paradigm shift with an inevitable collapse... the political process is manipulated by a wealthy elite that cares nothing of the people, nothing of Main Street, nothing of the future of America. They care only for themselves... "
~ Do not allow yourself to get caught up in the political left-right game which both parties play every election cycle and every evening on cable news. Neither party has solutions and neither party is truly representing you. Obama does not care about you. Bush did not either.. Nor did Clinton or Bush Sr or Reagan... on and on.. These are all politicians who did their fair share of soul-selling and spiritual compromising to get to be President.
The 2012 election is going to be a most difficult one- every Rep candidate is some form of failure as is this current Democratic incumbent. So there's not much to choose from... Understand this: the quality of life for most Americans has deteriorated since 1970- that's a Fact. And it continues deteriorating at a more rapid rate.. No one--- No political party or leader is absolved of blame.
Posted by Susquehanna at Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Rise N' Shine!... Wakey wakey!... Up n' At'em!..
~bangs on pots & pans
Time to start waking up if you're not already-- there is No recovery and will not be one for quite some time. Time to get very angry and start targeting the men and women in public office of both parties who are destroying your future while they play the blame-game.
Well in case you didn't know by know, housing is officially in a 'double dip, and I don't mean chocolate ice cream with whipped creme and jimmies.. and its getting worse. The following article is from New York Times printed yesterday, May 22 in blue font and gives some context to how bad things really are:
As Lenders Hold Homes in Foreclosure, Sales Are Hurt
"The nation’s biggest banks and mortgage lenders have steadily amassed real estate empires, acquiring a glut of foreclosed homes that threatens to deepen the housing slump and create a further drag on the economic recovery.... they own more than 872,000 homes as a result of the groundswell in foreclosures, almost twice as many as when the financial crisis began in 2007... In addition, they are in the process of foreclosing on an additional one million homes and are poised to take possession of several million more in the years ahead."
~ Simple math: 872,000 + 1,000,000 = 1.872 million homes simply by year's end. These are or will be bank-owned homes. Not new homes held by developers and yet to be sold... Or homes that people have lived in an need to or wish to sell for various reasons..
"Five years after the housing market started teetering, economists now worry that the rise in lender-owned homes could create another vicious circle, in which the growing inventory of distressed property further depresses home values and leads to even more distressed sales. With the spring home-selling season under way, real estate prices have been declining across the country in recent months.
Over all, economists project that it would take about three years for lenders to sell their backlog of foreclosed homes. As a result, home values nationally could fall 5 percent by the end of 2011, according to Moody’s, and rise only modestly over the following year. Regions that were hardest hit by the housing collapse and recession could take even longer to recover — dealing yet another blow to a still-struggling economy."
~ OK- First, what does it mean to lose 5% value of your home is basic math? Let's say you have a home that Dec 31, 2010 was worth $225k.. and by Dec 31, 2011, you will have lost 5% value.. That means a loss to you of $11,250 in Real money based on that example. And if your home is worth more, you will lose more. Think of it this way- if you make a yearly salary of $50k, it would take you about 3 months of working to generate enough paychecks to equal $11,250... and the real estate market wiped it away... Poof~ How do you recoup the loss?
Second, notice how the Times expresses the problem.. "yet another blow to a still-struggling economy". Yes, an economy that is struggling and Still continues to struggle is NOT recovering. When a national economy that is Both jobless and real estate-less, it is NOT even beginning to 'recover'.
"Banks and other lenders remain overwhelmed by the wave of foreclosures. In Atlanta, lenders are repossessing eight homes for each distressed home they sell... In Minneapolis, they are bringing in at least six foreclosed homes for each they sell... Before the housing implosion, the inflow and outflow figures were typically one-to-one...
The major lenders say they are not deliberately holding back any foreclosed homes. They say that a long sales process can stigmatize a property and ratchet up maintenance and other costs. But they also do not want to unload properties in a fire sale. “If we are out there undercutting prices, we are contributing to the downward spiral in market values,” said Eric Will, who oversees distressed home sales for Freddie Mac. “We want to make sure we are helping stabilize communities.”"
It is government manipulation of the real estate markets via Freddie and Fannie Mae which have played a major role in the instability of prices and nothing is going to alter it. Its basic law of supply and demand.. unless a home is exceptional or in a very desirable location, the buyer has the upper hand in the real estate transaction and he/she can wait a very long time if need be to get their price point.
Then again, that's assuming there's plenty of buyers around for sellers to negotiate with. To be a home buyer you have to have great credit, a good paying, secure job and enough money in the bank to make the down payment. In order for there to be a true buy/sell market free from manipulation, there has to be people with jobs and savings stashed away.
When official unemployment is at 9% (its really at 17% unofficially), its hard to create the same pool of buyers as you had pre-crisis. And without pool competing with one another, prices would have to continue dropping precipitously until that larger pool of buyers was created which could be able to purchase the distressed homes and decrease the overall glut in available properties.
Wake up dear readers.. you're being lied to and not Even for your benefit.
As of 2:20p --
- Dow is down 127 pts at 12385.. means Investors losing $$.. Good
- Oil dropped another 3% so far meaning those speculators holding oil futures lost money and eventually drivers will see prices decline at the pump another 3%.. Good
- Dollar strengthened, especially vs the euro as investors cowardly fled into the Dollar as a safe haven because of all the uncertainty involving Greece, Spain, Italy, etc. Stronger the dollar, the better for US consumers and worse for US corporations exporting abroad.. Good
looks like we got the trifecta
Remember the 'cheat sheet' I provided the other week to following the market--
~ Stronger US dollar.. lower oil.. Americans benefit- market goes down
~ Weaker US dollar.. higher oil.. Americans suffer- market goes UP
For the millionth time- the global stock markets lead by US markets are manipulated.. rigged.. fixed.. however you wish to say it. And if not for the Fed pumping trillions of dollars into it, (which everyday people and their children will be re-paying), the Dow would be at 5,000. And in the process, savers are being Decimated by these artificially low interest rates, and steered like cattle from safe investing to the markets in an attempt by people to find some rate of return to live on.
You don't get too many days like this in a manipulated market where the US Federal Reserve sabotages its own currency, so best enjoy them while you can...
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I recently started a second blog, one which has nothing to do with finance or the news of the world. One of my hobbies/relaxing diversions is photography and at the suggestion of others, I created a new blog to share with those who may be interested..
I can not promise posting to 'Kaleidoscope Worlds', the photography blog as often as I do 'Ants & Grasshoppers' but just check back from time to time as you wish if looking at photos of various nature and architecture is something you enjoy...
I can not promise posting to 'Kaleidoscope Worlds', the photography blog as often as I do 'Ants & Grasshoppers' but just check back from time to time as you wish if looking at photos of various nature and architecture is something you enjoy...
Since this is an economics/finance blog, I won't spend much time on this topic but since most people I've spoken with and have received emails from, agreed with the position A&G took in a blog posted on Saturday entitled "What have we learned this week", I thought I would follow up with this video.
KISS bassist Gene Simmons was born in Israel in 1949, living there until he and his mother emigrated to the US when he was eight... Here are his views on Obama's statement on Israel returning to its 1967 borders and his thoughts on the United Nations...
Kermit: Yes I know, but its such a nice, sunny day & I want to finish the paper
Prawn: What are you reading?
Kermit: The comics section..
Prawn: Ahh.. but shouldn't you be reading the unemployment section?
Kermit: Well.. yes but first I read the comics, then I do the crossword puzzle
Prawn: I see...
Kermit: Then I do Sudoku and then I enjoy the sports section..
Prawn: Ahh.. I suppose I shouldn't expect my wages paid today then?
Kermit: Don't worry Prawn.. as soon as I find work, you'll get all your back wages
Prawn: Ahhh yes.. Perhaps it is I who should be reading the unemployed section..
Statler: Well, I don't like you either Waldorf because you're a Republican.
Waldorf: Hmmmff.. you Democrats are all alike.. I bet you believe in higher taxes for the rich, don't you?
Statler: Well um.. no, not really. I don't want to pay a penny more than I absolutely must
Waldorf: Well you Democrats are a bunch of anti-war love-power hippies
Statler: Hehh.. hardly.. I support our operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya
Waldorf: Well.. Hmm.. you Dems are pinko Marxist Socialist Commies who do not believe in free markets
Statler: No, I fully support doing anything to help the markets grow and allow corporations banks to become larger and more wealthy
Waldorf: I don't get it then.. if we agree on everything, why are you a Democrat?
Statler: Heh Heh.. Exactly.. I've always wondered why you're a Republican??
Scooter: Hi Kermit.. what a great day isn't it?
Kermit: Not really.
Scooter: Why's that
Kermit: Well its bad enough I can't get a job but now I'm dealing with higher gas prices.. Jeez Louise! How is a frog supposed to drive from interview to interview when it costs me $60-75 each week to fill my car! It's just terrible Scooter...
Scooter: I totally sympathize with you buddy.
Kermit: So anyways... why are you so happy?
Scooter: Well, I put all my money in crude oil futures it is paying out like a bandit Kermit.. I just simply sit at home, click a few buttons and watch my bank account go Up as oil prices rise. And since everything I do is within walking distance, I am totally unaffected.. Heh Heh, yessirree.. a great day
Kermit: Get... Away... From.. Me..
Scooter: It is something I said?
Piggy: In other news, a poll taken today stated that the number of people who believe recovery is on a strong footing grew by 300% compared to just the previous month when only 1 person said he/she strongly believed the recovery was a success. The other 97% felt um.. differently... back to you Gonzo
Gonzo: Thanks Piggy. A study released by the University of Southwestern Alaska said that those unemployed who say the word "recovery" out loud 5x in a row each and every day are much more likely to find jobs than those who do not. Reportedly, a chemical is released from the brain upon saying the word 'recovery' in rapid succession which attracts potential employers to you much like a pheromone. Well that's good news Piggy..
Piggy: Yes it sure is Gonzo..Plus it is fun to say.. recovery..recovery..recovery heehee... Turning to finance, the Dow went up, Gold went up, the Dollar went down and judging by the smiling faces on the trading floor of the NYSE, I'd say its a pretty safe bet to assume this nation is Stronger than Ever
Gonzo: Yes Piggy.. Tougher than timber and Stronger than steel...coming up after the break, we'll continue with our Special Report called "How to charge you're way to Happiness"... We'll be right back
Waldorf: Not a clue- do you?
Statler: Nope, not a clue either.
Waldorf: It does seem pretty early to decide though doesn't it
Statler: You can never start the Presidential campaign too early
Waldorf: So how do you think the election will go?
Statler: The Democrat candidate will run as a fiscal Conservative and the Republicans will nominate a crazy old coot.. Before you laugh Waldorf, think about it.. Clinton beat Dole in 96 and Obama beat McCain in 08.
Waldorf: Well how come it didn't work out for the Democrats in 2000 & 2004?
Statler: Because both Gore and Kerry ran against a middle-aged coot.
Waldorf: Ahh.. So you're saying...
Statler: Yep- the Democrats are praying Newt Gingrich wins Rep nomination
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Ah, the work week that was.. So what did we learn?
We learned that a US President can tell another nation to alter its borders back to how it was demarcated at a previous point in time and like a good little puppy dog, a nation that is our friend and ally is supposed to do it. Ironically, another world leader telling the US to alter its borders back to a previous date, let's say, pre-Mexican War demarcations i.e.1841 (no Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, etc...) would not sit well with us... Go Figure ~
We learned a US President doesn't need Congressional permission or even to communicate with the governing body to drop bombs on another country (Libya), to target its leader Ghadafi for assassination via smart bombs, or prepare military forces to invade it as long as the role is "limited". Well, at least the military got some 'bang' for its buck by killing Ghadafi's son and his three children. Good thing our motives are pure- would hate to think we were doing all this for oil.
We learned that former IMF head Dominque Strauss-Kahn and former California governor Arnold Schwartzenegger are both vile scum. Of course neither are currently in positions of power and influence so now their stories are just tabloid fodder. The thing is.. for many, many years, both Were in positions of power and influence, and kept their proclivities a nice secret.
We learned the US is technically over the National Debt ceiling limit but through clever math and accounting tricks by Tim Geithner, the real deadline is sometime in August, at which time everything will work out happily ever after- the debt ceiling will go up, the Reps in Congress will force some additional financial pain upon the poorest and most helpless, and the President can call it a 'victory'.
We learned the stock market went down for a third consecutive week. Also oil per barrel has gone down which helped push stocks lower. Also dropping are home prices, consumer confidence and extra discretionary spending for people who have not seen the price of gasoline drop per gallon equal to the drop in crude oil. Not everything's gone down though-- the number of times the Administration and media say 'recovery' has gone up...
We learned that Greece is in terrible economic shape as its credit rating was cut even further. And while Strauss-Kahn was busy raping a woman in NYC, the IMF was beginning its long, agonizing rape of Portugal via its 26 billion Euro loan. And we learned that since all the tax revenue of Ireland is going to the IMF and ECB to pay its loans off, the government had to start taxing private pensions to generate additional revenues.
We learned that investors are cockroaches who only care about making profit and will exploit any advantage for their portfolio gain even at the suffering of millions of others... Oh wait, we already knew that one..
And lastly, we learned Ashton Kutcher will be replacing Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men", which means the uncertainty about the survival of the show is over-- it will go on for another season, be as unfunny as it was previously, and its super-wealthy producer, Chuck Lorre will make more money..
And now you're all properly informed of the work week that was- May 17-21
Posted by Susquehanna at Saturday, May 21, 2011