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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sails on the Square Music Series as reported by Dr. Jody Inglefield - May 24, 2013

I work at night on the weekends, so I can't attend these events. So I asked Dr. Inglefield if he would record it for me, since he likes to attend these events anyway.

I was curious after all of the introductions and actions involving the Sails on the Square, from its inception to the Beer Sales agenda item from a couple weeks ago. Hickory Inc. has put a lot of eggs in this basket. We have been wondering why?

I have additional comments at the end of the video.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- May 26, 2013

Will It Be Inflation Or Deflation? The Answer May Surprise You - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael - May 22nd, 2013 - s the coming financial collapse going to be inflationary or deflationary?  Are we headed for rampant inflation or crippling deflation?  This is a subject that is hotly debated by economists all over the country.  Some insist that the wild money printing that the Federal Reserve is doing combined with out of control government spending will eventually result in hyperinflation.  Others point to all of the deflationary factors in our economy and argue that we will experience tremendous deflation when the bubble economy that we are currently living in bursts.  So what is the truth?  Well, for the reasons listed below, I believe that we will see both.  The next major financial panic will cause a substantial deflationary wave first, and after that we will see unprecedented inflation as the central bankers and our politicians respond to the financial crisis.  This will happen so quickly that many will get "financial whiplash" as they try to figure out what to do with their money.  We are moving toward a time of extreme financial instability, and different strategies will be called for at different times.                       So why will we see deflation first?  The following are some of the major deflationary forces that are affecting our economy right now...
The Velocity Of Money Is At A 50 Year Low
The rate at which money circulates in our economy is the lowest that it has been in more than 50 years.  It has been steadily falling since the late 1990s, and this is a clear sign that economic activity is slowing down.  The shaded areas in the chart represent recessions, and as you can see, the velocity of money always slows down during a recession.  But even though the government is telling us that we are not in a recession right now, the velocity of money continues to drop like a rock.  This is one of the factors that is putting a tremendous amount of deflationary pressure on our economy...

The 3 Reasons Why Stocks Have Skyrocketed Over the Past Couple of Years - Washington's Blog - May 25, 2013 - Stocks have soared since 2009 because the Fed’s quantitative easing has – intentionallypumped them up.               They’ve also skyrocketed because central banks are directly buying stocks.                      NBC News reports on a third major reason that stocks took off … corporate buybacks:
Flush with cash and a world of opportunity at their doorstep, companies have decided there’s nothing more attractive than themselves. So, they’re offering big money to buy back their own stock. This year, big U.S. companies have given the go-ahead for $286 billion of buybacks, up 88 percent from the same period last year, according to Birinyi Associates, a market research firm. If the pace continues for the rest of the year, the tally will exceed the record set in 2007.                     Every manner of company is caught up in the buying binge, including home-improvement chains, makers of farm equipment and jet engines, airlines, sellers of soft drinks and of hard liquor alike. Not one to miss a hot trend, Apple recently authorized as much as $50 billion of buybacks.                 Investors like buybacks because they suggest companies think their stock is cheap. They also help reduce the number of shares outstanding, which automatically increases earnings per share. And higher earnings per share often, though not always, lead to rising stock prices.                    But buybacks are also crucial to the rally for a reason that’s not widely known. Companies are one of the few big stock purchasers nowadays. Nearly every other big player in the stock market has been selling more than they’ve been buying.                          Pension funds have been selling. Local and state governments have been selling. Investment brokerages have been selling. And, yes, until recently, even Main Street investors.
Postscript: Max Keiser points out that quantitative easing and corporate buybacks are related.               Specifically, the Fed’s easy monetary policy means that big corporations can borrow cheaply … and then use the money to buy back their own stock.                     The bailouts and easy money aren’t going into helping Main Street or stabilizing the economy.     Of course, most of the trading is done by high frequency computers these days.

Is America’s Economy Being Sovietized? - - Brandon Smith - May 22, 2013 -
The foundation of the Soviet model of trade and investment was centralization under the guise of “universal public ownership”. The entire goal of communism in general was not to give more social and political power to the people, but to extinguish alternative options and focus power into the hands of a select few. The process used to reach this end result can vary, but the goal always remains the same. In most cases, such centralization begins with economic hegemony, and it is in our fiscal structure that we have the means to see the future. Sovietization in our financial life will inevitably lead to sovietization in our political life.                       Does the U.S. economy’s path resemble the Soviet template exactly? No. And I’m sure the very suggestion will make the average unaware free market evangelical froth at the mouth. However, as I plan to show, the parallels in our fundamentals are disturbing; the reality is that true free markets in America died a long time ago.          
The Tyranny Of Planned Economy - The characteristics of a free market society defy the use of centralized planning. Adam Smith’s original concept of free market trade stood as an antithesis to what was then referred to as “mercantilism,” a select few “joint stock companies” (corporations) monopolizing production while using government ties to destroy any new competition. Unfortunately, there are to this day economists and politicians who believe that corporate centralization is a “natural” function of a free market. In reality, corporate monopolies are an unnatural creation of collusion between governments and big-money interests designed to suffocate any entrepreneurship outside of their sphere of influence. Over time, as we now see in the United States today, government power and corporate power begin to hybridize, until one can barely be distinguished from the other.                            The bottom line is that you cannot have planned structures, monopolized production or controlled capital flow within an economy and still claim it to be a “free market. There are no exceptions to this rule.                      The Soviet system was the ultimate in centralization. Every aspect of financial life was dictated by the communist government, from industrial input and output to investment to food production and rationing to wages and retail prices. Some people might argue that this structure is a far cry from what we now have in the United States, but let’s look at the fundamentals.

NC Biotech Center braces for worst as Senate slashes budget, too - WRAL TechCenter - Rick Smith - May 21, 2013 - A Senate budget calls for a 50 percent cut in funding for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. While not as bad as Gov. Pat McCrory's 60 percent slash, the Senate's total would mean big reductions for the Center. It's also a nasty indicator that major cuts are coming with two of the three budget players supporting a substantial reduction. Can the House save the day?...

Arrow Home to close Gaston plant, cut 103 jobs
- Charlotte Business Journal - May 24, 2013

Hot Trend in Automobiles: Not Owning One - CNBC - Paul Eisenstein - May 24, 2013 - Whether by choice or through financial reality, the percentage of American households without a car has doubled over the past two decades-and is now approaching 1 in 10.                   The impact of this trend could be significant, especially when it comes to alternatives to driving, such as car-sharing and mass transit, according to research by CNW Marketing.                    "While the recession was in large part responsible for the latest spurt, the trend was already clear," said CNW's research chief Art Spinella, "A growing number of Americans felt they didn't need or want a personal car."                       (Read More: Younger Americans: No House, No Car, Less Debt )                According to CNW data, the number of U.S. households without a car stood at a modest 5.7 percent in 1991. That figure stayed relatively stable through the early part of the new millennium. But it has been increasing slowly since then, with a "rapid rise" beginning in 2007. By last year, the total number of carless households hit 9.3 percent.

China's has been placed as the world's manufacturing engine by the Global Financial Cartel, but China is having a hard time dealing with the Social and Environmental factors associated with the New World Order's "Free For All" trade model, which is all about cutting costs today and maximizing profits today at the expense of a sustainable future for all of mankind.

Hickory City Alderman Brad Lail talks about Hickory Economy and a visit to Washington made by City officials, in which they discussed the Hickory Economy with local Congress members and other Washington Officials.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 21, 2013

This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

City Website has changed - Here is a link to the City of Hickory Document Center

All materials and maps for this meeting are provide at this link:

City Council Action Agenda - May 21, 2013

(:20) Invocation by Rev. Mark Andrews, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

Special Presentations
A. (Not Present) - Presentation of a Proclamation for Barbershop Harmony Week. -
B. (3:40) - Presentation of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2012. This is the eighteenth consecutive year the City has received this recognition.
C. (6:55) - Presentation of the Business Well Crafted Award to Gar Atchison, Vice President of  Business Development, Frye Regional Medical Center by Laurie Hoover from the Business Development Committee.

Persons Requesting to Be Heard
(14:20) - Larry G. Pope, commented on the rehabilitation of the swimming pools in Morganton and Newton.

(18:00) - James Thomas Shell,  spoke on the request for public information.

(25:15) - J. Franklin Davis asked City Council about bidding processes on projects in the City. He stated he would like City Council to set up a civil police review board with subpoena capabilities. He commented that he wanted the City Council Meetings televised.

Consent Agenda: (29:00)
A. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs. -  The following requests were considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on May 2, 2013:
Andrea Davis was approved for recommendation to City Council for first-time homebuyer’s assistance to purchase a house located at 470 South Center Street, Hickory. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval in the amount of $6,500 for assistance with down payment and closing costs. The First-Time Homebuyers Assistance Loan is zero interest, no payments and repaid
upon sale, refinance or payoff of first mortgage.
James & Elaine Coulter, 651 7th Avenue SE, Hickory, was awarded a City of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval for assistance not to exceed $15,000 for repairs to their house. Assistance would be in the form of a 3% interest loan for a 15 year period.
Funds are budgeted for these items through the City of Hickory’s former Rental Rehabilitation Program income received in FY 2012 and/or program income received through the City of Hickory’s Community Development Block Grant Program.
B. Request Acceptance of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Management Review.
C. Request Approval of Modifications to the Special Event Permit for Sails Music Series. City Staff has modified the agreement with OHB to charge $25 for the privilege of being the sole vendor at the Sails on the Square Music Series. This is in line with the monthly fee for outdoor dining that other Union Square retailers pay. As additional vendors are invited to participate in this event in the future, if additional brewers have the proper ALE permit, then the fee will be factored into any future agreements with additional vendors. Staff recommends approval of the modification of the Special Event Permit for the Sails Music Series.
D. Special Events/Activities Application for Rotarian Idols on Tour, Mandy Pitts, Communications Director/Brand Manager, June 3, June 10, June 17, and June 24, 2013, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Sails on the Square stage on Union Square.
E. Special Events/Activities Application for A Hickory Holiday, Connie Kincaid, Hickory Downtown Development Association, December 12, 2013, 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Union Square and surrounding blocks.
F. Special Events/Activities for Heritage Music Series Concerts 3 & 4, Mandy Pitts, Communications Director/Brand Manager, July 28, 2013 and August 25, 2013, 12:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Sails on the Square.

New Business - Public Hearings
1. (29:40) - Voluntary Satellite Annexation of .9853 acres of Property Located on a Portion of 3005 and 3107 Springs Road NE Hickory. -  Ashton Properties, Inc., agent for Nguyet Thu Ngo, has submitted a petition for the voluntary satellite annexation of 0.9853 acres of property, which are portions of 3005 and 3107 Springs Road NE. The petitioner intends to construct a retail business (Family Dollar) on the property and needs sanitary sewer service for its operations.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. (33:15) - Call for Public Hearing on the City Manager’s FY2013-2014 Recommended Annual Budget. (Authorize Public Hearing for June 4, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers of the Julian G. Whitener Municipal Building). The 2013-2014 Recommended Annual Budget has been distributed to City Council as required by law and is available for review in the Office of the City Clerk, Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Ridgeview Library.

 The Hound's Summation: The Property Tax rate isn't going up in 13-14, but fees are going up. They don't want to raise the property tax rate, because this is an election year and that is all most of the simpleton's seem to care about, The deal is if you listen to what is said here, then you hear them tell you that the tax rate is going to rise sooner rather than later.

I would like to see everyone in Catawba County aggressively challenge their tax assessment rates that are coming due next year. Properties are way overvalued in the area, especially residential properties. The local governments have basically lowered Commercial and Industrial Property rates, while balancing their budgets on the backs of Residential properties. I estimate that on average these properties are overvalued by around 20%, some higher some lower. I really don't care what their formula is. The realistic value of a home lies in how much you can get for it in six months. If you have to lower it substantially to get it to move, then that is its value, not the conjecture of an appraiser. 

You can look at the Power Point slides below. Sales Tax receipts are up by 2%, but that isn't real growth. We know that the actual inflation rate ,not the cooked book Consumer Price Index, is higher than this. The CPI is kept conservatively low so that the government and corporations don't have to pay higher cost of living adjustments. So what we are actually seeing is a contraction in the local economy. The Real Inflation rate this year has been around 4%, so with a 2% growth in the sales tax what we are seeing is a contraction in real consumer spending. Ask people around you if they are buying fewer goods and services.

Some of these people know this. They are just trying to buy time, hoping something will happen to improve our economic situation, but buying time is like sands running through an hour glass and the pace is quickening. All it does is take you to the end result.

Inspiring Spaces... honestly I'd like to see that be a positive, but is it just a stimulus for these people's buddies? And the more well to do don't need to be making all of the decisions, because let's be frank, some of the stuff that money has been spent on around here sucks. We know that the geniuses will oppose Aquatic Recreation just to spite those who support it. The "Bigger Man" theory only applies to we people who are looked upon as losers. The onus is on Hickory Inc. to show that this will be for everyone and not Corporate Welfare on the local level.

Matters Not on the Agenda:
(1:31:00) Alder Patton spoke about Swinging under the Stars at the Sails this weekend May 25, 2013

(1:31:30) Alderman Lail had some good comments about a trip to Washington that some of the Council and Assistant City Manager Surratt took recently. Those comments come at the        mark of the video and I will include this in the Economic Stories of Relevance this week, because this is exactly what has needed to happen. We have needed to confront this situation head on for years now. The Mayor still thinks none of this is our fault. The Mayor is wrong. Y'all know how I feel about that.

City of Hickory City Council Video Presentation:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 21, 2013 -- Citizens Requesting to be Heard

The Hound: I am happy to announce that the City video recorded the meeting tonight and these meetings will be available at the City's website and on their Youtube channel shortly if they follow through on this plan. This is a victory for everyone and Hickory Incorporated should be applauded for moving forward in this direction. Yes, we still want the meeting to be provided also on Charter Cable Television, but we are 90% in the right direction and I thank the City for this. I think it is important to the progress of this community and I truly believe this will move us forward in leaps and bounds.

The Hound will still provide you with information and this will help this site to comment more fully and bring the public more into the loop and conversation about what is going on and needs to happen in the area. This City moving forward could not and would not move forward without an interactive citizenry. It is my hope that we will see multiple movements develop and more people become involved in their governance.

What started out as Happy Hipps and I, has grown to involve more than a dozen people on a full-time basis and many more people who participate on a part-time basis, who have steadfastly resolved to help this city move forward into the realities of the 21st Century and all the possibilities that entails and how this community can prosper through those offerings.

Larry Pope spoke about Morganton and Newton's Rehabilitation of there pools and would like Hickory to speak with officials from their area about what they have done and what we could possibly do, moving forward.

I, James Thomas Shell, addressed the City Council with the following:

Once again I am here to talk about reality. I could speak on this issue for hours, but I will be brief as possible. Last Summer I feel like I was accused of representing something that is completely against my belief system, when I was said to be part of a group representing ACORN. At one point, the Citizens for Equity in Government was called by a man who had the audacity to ask us if we have a conscience. Yes, We have a conscience.

We don't question the Collective Conscience of people who were basically labeling us Communists, when we had invited one man to speak about getting out the vote. Do people here have a problem with people voting. I know that I don't. I tend to disagree with some of the people I associate with about individuals showing an I.D. when they vote, because in my opinion one fraudulent vote is one too many, it denigrates the integrity of the system, but I also don't want to see a poor person denied the right to vote and I don't want to see our military troops serving perilously overseas not having their vote counted. And as we have seen in the past, every vote is important.

All this gentleman did was spend 30 minutes talking about getting out the vote before we talked for an hour about the CEG's point of view on the ward specific voting issue.

It was an open meeting. It was open to all, but there were people that told others not to go because it was an ACORN meeting and they shouldn't associate with ACORN and then they purported to know what the meeting was all about.

Like Danny Hearn said at the last meeting, people are down on what they aren't up on. He's right, pushing forward ignorance as fact is not a virtue. Trying to keep people from obtaining information about public issues of relevance is therefore not virtuous. But, in reality we know this is about politics don't we. We know this is about enabling a small minority of people to hold power over a small city by controlling the message disseminated to its people.

We have repeatedly asked for the costs of the Structure that was built on Union Square. There is a paper trail that shows that we have been asking for those numbers for over a year. Low and Behold a few days before the referendum vote, I was informed that the information was available in this very building and so I released the fact that I had been told that those numbers were available to my associates with the CEG.

A friend and a fellow member of the CEG went to City Hall and got a Hickory Incorporated "Well Crafted" run around and fortunately due to my personal diligence I know what happened that day and my associates and I are very disappointed in how some, not all, of our Public Servants represented the public that day, but we should have known better from the start.

The document dump provided that day seems to have been just a political ploy aimed towards the Hickory Daily Record to send the message out that Hickory Incorporated had cooperated fully with the CEG, so what is all the fuss about. This was a little political gambit meant to sway the public's opinion a few days before the election. Isn't it ironic that you are here to receive an Accounting award tonight, when the budget, implementation, and accounting involving this project on Union Square would never pass an audit.

Rebecca Inglefield takes the law more seriously than anyone I know. What happened that day truly does bother her. She was writing down questions asking for Public Information as sanctioned by North Carolina General Statute 132, when she was arrested. Arrested while asking for information that she is entitled to. Arrested for information that has not been provided to us to this day.

One of the questions is, "What was the cost of the Fabric used for the "Sails on the Square" project?"

Mr. Mayor, at the last city council meeting, you said this information would be provided if it were separately available. Are you telling me that we can't find out from the company that implemented the construction of this project the cost per square yard of this material and the square yardage used to build this project? We can do the math.

If you are telling me that there was such a lack of oversight on this project, then I am truly embarrassed. You all are entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility to operate fully on the public's behalf, whether most of the public chooses to be willfully ignorant or not. I really could care less about the "Chattanooga Way." It seems to me that the "Chattanooga Way" equals "Hot Water."

I am sure that you know that the CEG doesn't like the entire process surrounding this structure, but the structure has been built. The structure belongs to the public, the dollars belong to the public, and the information belongs to the public. So let's move forward.

I am sure that Alderman Lail remembers an incident the last few days of ninth grade when a group of us got sent to the Principal's office, because we were actually looking out for the interest of our Teacher's safety; only to find ourselves to be the one's in trouble. The only mistake that Rebecca Inglefield made that day is one that I have always understood. Sometimes you have to step back and Live to Fight another Day. Today is another day and tomorrow will be another day.

James Davis asked the City Council to provide information about City Bidding Processes. He then asked the City to look into implementing a Police Review Board with Subpoena Powers. And last he addressed the city about televising Hickory City Council Meetings.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- May 19, 2013

Washington Signals Dollar Deep Concerns  -  Paul Craig Roberts - May 18, 2013 - ...
That leaves gold and silver. The enormous increase in the prices of gold and silver over the last decade convinced Washington that there are a number of miscreants who do not trust the dollar and whose numbers must not be permitted to increase.                         The price of gold rose from $272 an ounce in December 2000 to $1,917.50 on August 23, 2011. The financial gangsters who own and run America panicked. With the price of the dollar collapsing in relation to historical real money, how could the dollar’s exchange rate to other currencies be valid? If the dollar’s exchange value came under attack, the Federal Reserve would have to stop printing and would lose control over interest rates.                   The bond and stock market bubbles would pop, and the interest payments on the federal debt would explode, leaving Washington even more indebted and unable to finance its wars, police state, and bankster bailouts.              Something had to be done about the rising price of gold and silver.                     There are two bullion markets. One is a paper market in New York, Comex, where paper claims to gold are traded. The other is the physical market where personal possession is taken of the metal–coin shops, bullion dealers, jewelry stores.                     The way the banksters have it set up, the price of bullion is not set in the markets in which people actually take possession of the metals. The price is set in the paper market where speculators gamble.                    This bifurcated market gave the Federal Reserve the ability to protect the dollar from its printing press.                   On Friday, April 12, 2013, short sales of gold hit the New York market in an amount estimated to have been somewhere between 124 and 400 tons of gold. This enormous and unprecedented sale implies an illegal conspiracy of sellers intent on rigging the market or action by the Federal Reserve through its agents, the BTBF that are the bullion banks.                       The enormous sales of naked shorts drove down the gold price, triggering stop-loss orders and margin calls. The attack continued on Monday, April 15, and has continued since.                 Before going further, note that there are position limits imposed on the number of contracts that traders can sell at one time. The 124 tons figure would have required 14 traders with no open interest on the exchange to sell all together in the same few minutes 40,000 futures contracts. The likelihood of so many traders deciding to short at the same moment at the maximum permitted is not believable. This was an attack ordered by the Federal Reserve, which is why there is no investigation of the illegality.                   Note also that no seller that wanted out of a position would give himself a low price by dumping an enormous amount all at once unless the goal was not profit but to smash the bullion price.                 Since the April 12-15 attack on the gold price, subsequent attacks have occurred at 2pm Hong Kong time and 2 am New York time. At this time activity is light, waiting on London to begin operating. As William S.Kaye has observed, no entity concerned about profits would choose this time to sell 20,000 to 30,000 futures contracts, but this is what has been happening.                  Who can be unconcerned with losing money in this way? Only a central bank that can print it.                    Now we come to the physical market where people take possession of bullion instead of betting on paper instruments. Look at this chart from ZeroHedge. The demand for physical possession is high, despite the assault on gold that began in 2011, but as the price is set in the non-real paper market, orchestrated short sales, as in the current quarter of 2013, can drive down the price regardless of the fact that the actual demand for gold and silver cannot be met.                     While the corrupt Western financial press urges people to abandon bullion, everyone is trying to purchase more, and the premiums above the spot price have risen. Around the world there is a shortage of gold and silver in the forms, such as one-ounce coins and ten-ounce bars, that individuals demand.                  That the decline in gold and silver prices is an orchestration is apparent from the fact that the demand for bullion in the physical market has increased while naked short sales in the paper market imply a flight from bullion.                     What does this illegal manipulation of markets by the Federal Reserve tell us? It tells us that the Federal Reserve sees no way out of printing money in order to support the federal deficit and the insolvent banks. If the dollar came under attack and the Federal Reserve had to stop printing dollars, interest rates would rise. The bond and stock markets would collapse. The dollar would be abandoned as reserve currency. Washington would no longer be able to pay its bills and would lose its hegemony. The world of hubristic Washington would collapse.                       It remains to be seen whether Washington can prevail over the world demand for gold and silver. Can the dollar remain supreme when offshoring has deprived the US of the ability to cover its imports with exports? Can the dollar remain supreme when the Federal reserve is creating 1,000 billion new ones each year, while the BRICS, China and Japan, China and Australia, and China and Russia are making deals to settle their trade balances without the use of the dollar?                      If the consumption-based US economy deprived of consumer income by jobs offshoring takes a further dip down in the third or fourth quarter–a downturn that cannot be masked by phony statistical releases–the federal deficit will rise. What will be the effect on the dollar if the Federal Reserve has to increase its Quantitative Easing?
A perfect storm has been prepared for America. Real interest rates are negative, but debt and money are being created hand over foot. The dollar’s demise awaits the world’s decision how to get out of it. The Federal Reserve can print dollars with which to keep the bond and stock markets high, but the Federal Reserve cannot print foreign currencies with which to keep the dollar afloat.                   When the dollar goes, Washington’s power goes, which is why the bullion market is rigged. Protect the power. That is the agenda. Is it another Washington over-reach?

Shut Them Down! – Payday Loan Companies Are Making Billions Preying On The Misery Of The Poor - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael - May 12th, 2013 -Would you take out a loan that has an annual percentage rate of 391 percent?  Yes, I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but millions of Americans do it every single year.  The typical payday loan requires borrowers to pay about 15 dollars for every $100 that they borrow for two weeks.  That comes out to a yearly rate of about 391 percent.  And the payday loan companies know exactly who to target.  They have set up thousands of shops in the poorest communities all over the nation over the last several decades.  Each year, approximately 12 million Americans take out payday loans and they pay approximately 7.4 billion dollars in interest and fees on those loans.  Sadly, once you get hooked on payday loans they are very hard to stop.  In fact, one study found that only 13 percent of payday borrowers get two loans or less per year.  All other borrowers take out more loans than that.  In fact, more than a third of all payday borrowers take out between 11 and 19 loans during the course of a single year.  And as was mentioned earlier, the interest rates on these loans are beyond exorbitant.  Payday loans are estimated to be about  20 times more expensive than bank loans, with annual interest rates that are sometimes as high as 500 percent.  The payday loan companies circle the poor like vultures, because they know that the poor are the only ones desperate enough to agree to such terms.  This is why we need to shut them down.  The payday loan companies are making billions preying on the misery of the poor and it needs to be stopped.                 And it just isn't small, disreputable banks that are involved in these practices.  The truth is that some of the largest banks in America are now making payday loans...

29 Shocking Facts That Prove That College Education In America Is A Giant Money Making Scam - The End of the American Dream Blog - Michael  - May 7, 2013 - College education in the United States has become a cruel joke.  We endlessly push our high school kids to invest tens of thousands of dollars and at least four years of their lives to get a college education because they won’t have any sort of a “future” without it.  So they sign up for decades of debt slavery and spend years listening to pompous windbags fill their heads with utter nonsense.  The sad truth is that most college courses are a total joke and they do very little to actually prepare those students for the real world.  I know – I attended public universities in the United States for eight years.  Most college courses are so easy that the family dog could pass them.  When they finally graduate, our young people discover that they were lied to all along.  The promised “good jobs” are not there for most of them, but the huge debts that they committed themselves to will follow them around permanently.  When you are just starting out and you are not making a lot of money, having to make payments on tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt can be absolutely crippling.  This is why I say that college education in America is a giant money making scam.  Our young people are seduced by the idea of college being a five year party that will provide an automatic ticket into the middle class, but the reality is that the only guarantee is that it is a ticket to serfdom unless you have wealthy parents that are willing to foot the bill for you.  And bankruptcy laws have been changed to make it incredibly difficult to get rid of student loan debt, so once you have signed up for student loan debt slavery you are basically faced with two choices: either you are going to pay it or you are going to die with it.                         Yes, college graduates do make more money and they do have a lower unemployment rate.  But most of them are also burdened by absolutely suffocating levels of student loan debt that will haunt them for decades.                  So who is really better off?                  If you can get someone to pay for your college education that is great.  Because otherwise you are probably getting a rotten deal.  The following are 29 shocking facts that prove that college education in America is a giant money making scam…

To the Seniors of the Class of 2013 - Make Sure Your Commencement Ceremony Helps to Pass Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act ! - - May 8. 2013 - As every college student knows, the crushing burden of student loan debt poses the single greatest obstacle to anyone seeking a good education. An undergraduate degree frequently means $30,000-$50,000 and up in debt. An advanced degree starts at twice that, and medical and law degrees can saddle the student with six figures of loans. For the nation as a whole, student loan debt is a social crisis set to exceed $1 trillion. Interest rates vary, but they are always far too high for young people starting out in life, or for anyone else. And things are scheduled to get worse, with the interest rate on one key type of student loan set to double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1. A whole generation of young people is being forced to put their lives on hold, prevented by high interest debt from continuing their schooling, from renting or buying a home, from getting married and having children. This is simply intolerable.                  At the same time, Wall Street banks can borrow from the Federal Reserve Discount Window for a mere 0.75%. That’s right — just three quarters of 1%. Why should students be crushed when the bankers who caused the present economic crisis with their wild and irresponsible derivatives speculation get a sweetheart deal?                           Fortunately, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has now offered a bill which would force the Federal Reserve to fund federal Stafford loans through the US Department of Education at an annual interest rate of just 0.75% — the discount rate the Fed offers banks. Do the arithmetic and you can easily figure out how much interest this bill will save you every year. But this bill faces an uphill battle to become law, since it is likely to be opposed by Wall Street lobbyists, the congressional leadership of both parties, and by the Obama White House. The only hope for the Warren bill lies in a massive outpouring of support, starting with the graduation ceremonies of the class of 2013. That means a big part of your economic destiny is now in your hands.
Fact Sheet: Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act

More Americans Committing Suicide than During the Great Depression - Washington's Blog - May 17, 2013

Glenn Beck - IRS Gives Laughable Defense

10 Amazing Charts That Demonstrate The Slow, Agonizing Death Of The American Worker
- The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael - May 16th, 2013

 #1 Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

#2 Average Annual Hours Worked Per Employed Person In The United States

#3 Manufacturing Employment

#4 Employment-Population Ratio

#5 Labor Force Participation Rate

#6 Duration Of Unemployment

#7 Delinquency Rate On Residential Mortgages

 #8 New Homes Sold

 #9 Consumer Credit

 #10 Self-Employment At A Record Low

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 7, 2013

This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

City Website has changed - Here is a link to the City of Hickory Document Center

All materials and maps for this meeting are provide at this link:

City Council Meeting Agenda May 7, 2013 (16MB)

Invocation by Rev. Rick Schilling, Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church

Special Presentations

A. Presentation of National Police Week 2013 Proclamation by Chief Tom Adkins to Officer Gordon Killian.

B. Presentation of Building Safety Month Proclamation to Code Enforcement Supervisor Bobby Baker and Deputy Chief Steve Moore.

C. Presentation of Older American’s Month 2013 Proclamation to Wade “Hamp” Shuford.

Persons Requesting to Be Heard
Walter Witherspoon - How much is the cost of the actual Fabric of the Sails on the Square?

James Davis - "Beer sales during Sails Music Series"

Consent Agenda:
A. Approval of a Proclamation for National American Public Works Week May 19 -25, 2013.

B. Approval of Grant Recommendations from Community Relations Council for Spring 2013. - Community Relations Council’s recommendations for Spring 2013 Grants: Clinton Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion Church, $1,500, project African American Cultural Festival; Outright Youth of Catawba Valley, $1,500, project LGBT Diversity for School Counselors, Resource Officers and Nurses; Hickory Community Theater, $1,030, project RubGub Theatre@HCT Bi-Lingual Project; Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry,$1,030, project Good Communications; Council on Adolescents of Catawba County, $1,440, project Teens 4 R.E.A.L. Summer Camp. Total recommended for funding by Community Relations Council $6,500.

C. Call for a Public Hearing – Voluntary Satellite Annexation of .9853 acres of Property Located on a Portion of 3005 and 3107 Springs Road NE, Hickory. (Authorize Public Hearing for May 21, 2013)

D. Special Events/Activities Application for Ignite Hickory, Charles Moretz and Christopher Harris, Managers, September 28, 2013 from 2:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Sails on the Square.

E. Special Events/Activities Application for Hickory Police Department Special Olympics/Law Enforcement Torch Run, Captain Thurman Whisnant and Mandy Pitts, May 17, 2013 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Union Square, on stage at the Sails on the Square.

F. Request Approval to Apply for a Grant to Assist in Funding the Purchase of Bulletproof Vests for Police Officer. - Hickory Police Department request approval to apply for a grant to purchase 40 vests at an estimated price of $625 for each vest, for a total of $25,000. Life expectancy of each vest is approximately five years. Monies are placed in the police department budget uniform line annually to purchase vest for police officers. The police department recommends the submission of this grant to receive up to 50% funding to purchase bulletproof bests for police officers.

G. Request Approval for the City to Issue Written Notice to LandDesign, Inc. to Proceed into Phase 200 of the Contract for the Inspiring Spaces Plan. - After each phase, the contract with LandDesign, Inc. calls for the City to issue a written Notice to Proceed, to the Consultant. This gives the City a few checkpoints to ensure that the project is on track. Within the contract, the plan is broken into three distinct phases: Phase 100 is the Master Plan and fee for that portion of the project is $126,000; Phase 200 is the Implementation and Report Phase with a fee of $62,000; Phase 300 is preparation of an Executive Summary document that is easily reproducible for a cost of $10,000; and City miscellaneous costs have been budgeted at $6,000 for a total project budget of $204,000.

H. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 18.
1. To budget a $50 Library donation in the Library books line item for a non-fiction honor book.
2. To transfer $32,000 of Water and Sewer Contingency to the Sewer Treatment line item. Sewer treatment is the treatment and processing of sanitary sewer prior to discharge. This transfer will provide necessary funds in this line item for the remainder of this fiscal year.
3. To appropriate $23,604 of Community Development Block Grant funds and budget in the Street Division Capital Improvements line item. This appropriation is reimbursement for curb and gutter materials for the Main Avenue/Hollar Hosiery project.
4. To appropriate $1,811 of Transportation Fund Balance and budget in the Transportation Fuel Farm Construction Capital project. This appropriation represents the final 10% local match required for the N.C. Department of Transportation to close this project.

I. Grant Project Ordinance Amendment Number 4.
1. To accept a $1,811 transfer from the Transportation Fund-General Fund Balance and budget in addition to $16,279 of Federal Government Revenue in the projects Miscellaneous and Construction expenditure line items. This amendment is to recognize the final Federal Revenue contribution and the local 10% match necessary to close this project.

J. Request Approval to Reimburse Fifty Percent of the Amount Paid by ZLoop for Civil Penalties Accrued as a Result of Violations Through the Permitting Process. In an effort to renovate and reopen an existing vacant building, ZLoop did an extensive amount of work, some of which without the proper plans and permits. A fine of $100 per day for every day in violation was issued according to the Land Development Code Article 13. The total amount is $14,500. ZLoop has paid the full amount of the fine and is requesting a 50% reimbursement based upon good faith to finalize their work to submit plans for approval so that all required permits can be issued for the project. Catawba County agreed to the same provision to resolve County permitting issues.

Informational Items
A. Report of Mayor Wright’s travel to Raleigh, NC to meet with Governor McCrory on April
22, 2013 (Meals - $30.75; Mileage Reimbursement $189.84; Lodging - $118.39).
B. Report of Mayor Wright’s travel to Durham, NC for Council Workshop, April 23 and 24,
2013 (Meals - $30.54, Lodging - $103.29).
C. Report of Councilwoman Jill Patton’s travel to Durham for Council Workshop, April 23
and 24, 2013 (Meals - $30.54, Lodging - $103.29).
D. Report of Councilman Danny Seaver’s travel to Durham for Council Workshop, April 23
and 24, 2013 (Meals - $30.54, Lodging - $103.29).
E. Report of Councilman Hank Guess’ travel to Durham for Council Workshop, April 23 and
24, 2013 (Meals $30.54, Lodging - $103.29).
F. Report of Councilman Brad Lail’s travel to Durham for Council Workshop, April 23 and
24, 2013 (Meals $30.54, Lodging - $103.29).
G. Report of City Manager Mick Berry’s travel to Durham for Council Workshop, April 23 and
24, 2013 (Meals $30.54, Lodging - $103.29 and Fuel Expense - $84.98).

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Voluntary Satellite Annexation of 2.67 Acres of property located at 3254 South NC Hwy 127, Hickory. - The Broadway Group, LLC has submitted a petition for the voluntary satellite annexation of 2.67 acres of property located at 3254 South NC Hwy 127. The petitioner is requesting annexation in order to connect to the City of Hickory’s sanitary sewer system. The petitioner intends to construct a +/- 9,300 square foot retail business on the property.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Review of Council Planning Sessions and Outcomes. - Staff will highlight the Council planning activities over the past 18 months and the subsequent initiatives and projects, including the recent analysis of redevelopment in Durham, North Carolina and an update of the Catawba County Economic Competitiveness Plan by Chamber President Danny Hearn.

The Hound - You can look at the slides below and see the busy work that has taken place pertaining the the Inspiring Spaces initiative, They point to the Chattanooga Way, which apparently means that you do things By Hook or By Crook and worry about the details and consequences later. As I have said, I am Inspired by Inspiring people and not by infrastructure. What we know about Bureaucrats is that they aren't Entrepreneurs and they don't mind operating as bullies yo try and intimidate those they deem weak in order to create the end justifying the means scenarios. In the long run this leads to disasters.


2. Request Approval to Modify the Special Event Permit for Sails Music Series. - Music Series represents Hickory’s Life. Well Crafted. Brand, and providing local beer crafted in Hickory fits the brand print and is similar to local farmers as vendors at the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market. An opportunity has risen that would allow OHB to serve its crafted beer during the Sails Music Series under the Sails on the Square in Downtown Hickory. A designated area will be provided for the boundary of the area where beer is allowed while still ensuring that the event is open to all ages. OHB staff is responsible for carding and serving the beverages to those over 21 years of age. Hickory Police Department and city staff will be present and monitor the event which is 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday nights in May and June.

Thank You Alderman Lail, Alder Fox, and Alderman Guess for addressing the multiple inconsistencies relating to this issue and City Policies.

The following is the City Council's discussion of the Beer Sails issue:

My Letter to the Editor of the Hickory Daily Record as published on Sunday May 12, 2013

Your story in today's (HDR) paper doesn't tell much about what actually led to the discussion by Council of the Beer Sales during the "Sails on the Square Music Series" and so let me fill you in and help you out on the major missing part of the puzzle.

Hickory Incorporated was called out by the Citizens for Equity in Government during "Citizens Requesting to be Heard" at the beginning of the meeting. That is what started the discussion and that is the reason why Citizens Requesting to be Heard needed to be moved to the beginning of City Council Meetings. They tried to do this as a Departmental Report just like they did at various points during the whole process of this structure being built on Union Square. Public Hearings require allowing citizen input, Departmental Reports do not.

In the past that would have led to a Departmental Report rubber stamp approval without any citizen input, but we have defanged that monster with our request that "Citizens Requesting to be Heard" be moved to the beginning of meetings, as it has been, because of our persistent insistence. Now Citizens can get issues out in the Sunshine and basically force discussion. Before they would have ramrodded this through with little to no discussion and we would not have been able to voice our concerns until after the vote and approval had taken place.

It is my hope in sending this message to you that you would be interested in painting the whole picture of this Democracy in Action; letting citizens know that they can have a voice and do have effective advocates. Can you see which is more effective? Can you see which is more Just and Citizen Friendly? Which would you say is more based upon traditional American Principles?

3. Proposed Youth Protection Ordinance- At the February 19, 2013 City Council Meeting, Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins introduced a proposed youth protection ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance is to protect juveniles from victimization and exposure to criminal activity by establishing a curfew for juveniles under the age of 16 years in the city. The principles behind the ordinance are promoting the role of the parent in raising and guiding children and promote the health, safety, and welfare of both juveniles and adults by creating an environment offering better protection and security for all concerned. Reducing the possible exposure of children during the nighttime hours to being victims of crime and being involved in criminal activity would be a desired outcome of the ordinance. Another desired outcome is to assist the parents and guardians of minors to establish community guidelines for children not to be in public areas during nighttime hours without adult supervision. As outlined at the February 19, 2013 Council Meeting, Chief Adkins has conducted 13 meetings informing citizens about the proposed youth protection ordinance. Two of the public meetings were held last week after over 4,000 letters were sent to parents of students of Hickory Public Schools. The meetings were productive, allowing citizens to review concepts and provide feed back. Chief Adkins will update City Council on the public input and his thoughts on next steps in evaluating the ordinance. (Draft Ordinance Attached)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- May 12, 2013

The American Dream Is Dead; Long Live the New Dream - Truthout - Cliff DuRand -  May 10, 2013 - The American Dream of upward mobility is dead, thanks to the neoliberal ministrations of capital and government. But a new dream could rise from the mess left by globalization, off-shoring and austerity.                The continuation of the economic crisis of 2008 up to the present has driven home a social trend that has been evident since the late 1970s, the decline of what is usually called "the middle class" and the accompanying American Dream.                     The American Dream is the belief that if you work hard, if you are blessed with at least a modicum of ability and have a little luck, you can succeed. That is, you can rise in society no matter how humble your origin to something better in the way of material well-being, economic security, a settled life and social prestige. It is the dream of upward mobility for oneself, or at least for one's children.                       As Richard Wolff has pointed out in Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to do About it, this upward mobility was a reality for most citizens of the United States for several generations, from 1820 to 1970. For 150 years, real wages rose. In the quarter century from 1947 to 1973, average real wages rose an astounding 75 percent. But that shared prosperity came to a halt in the mid '70s. In the next 25 years, from 1979 to 2005, wages and benefits rose less than 4 percent. The sustained rise in standards of living had been made possible by a conjunction of historical circumstances, circumstances that began to reach exhaustion by the mid 1970s.                      Post WWII prosperity was based on 1. the global economic dominance of the United States; 2. pent up consumer demand from the depression and war years; 3. supportive social programs; 4. some political clout due to a strong union movement that could demand a share of the prosperity; and 5. Keynesian stimulus (military spending, infrastructure development like the interstate highway system, etc.).

The Price Of Copper And 11 Other Recession Indicators That Are Flashing Red - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael - May 7th, 2013 - There are a dozen significant economic indicators that are warning that the U.S. economy is heading into a recession.  The Dow may have soared past the 15,000 mark, but the economic fundamentals are telling an entirely different story.  If historical patterns hold up, the economy is heading for a very rocky stretch.  For example, the price of copper is called "Dr. Copper" by many economists because it so accurately forecasts the future direction of the U.S. economy.  And so far this year the price of copper is way down.  But that is not the only indicator that is worrying economists.  Home renovation spending has fallen dramatically, retail spending is crashing in a way not seen since the last recession, manufacturing activity and consumer confidence are both declining, and troubling economic data continues to come pouring out of Asia and Europe.  So why do U.S. stocks continue to skyrocket?  Will U.S. financial markets be able to continue to be divorced from reality?  Unfortunately, as we have seen so many times in the past, when stocks do catch up with reality they tend to do so very rapidly.  So you better put on your seatbelts because a crash is coming at some point.                   But most average Americans are not that concerned with the performance of the stock market.  They just want to be able to go to work, pay the bills and provide for their families.  During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs and millions of Americans lost their homes.  If we have another major recession, that will happen again.  Sadly, it appears that another major recession is quickly approaching.
The following are 12 recession indicators that are flashing red...                     #1 The price of copper has traditionally been one of the very best indicators of the future performance of the U.S. economy.  The fact that it is down nearly 20 percent so far this year has many analysts extremely concerned...

How Elites and Media Minimize Dissent and Bury Truth — Paul Craig Roberts - May 10, 2013 -  Over the last several years I have watched the rise of an important new intellect on the American scene. Ron Unz, publisher of The American Conservative, has demonstrated time and again the extraordinary ability to reexamine settled issues and show that the accepted conclusion was incorrect.               One of his early achievements was to dispose of the myth of immigrant crime by demonstrating that “Hispanics have approximately the same crime rates as whites of the same age and gender.” You can imagine the uproar, but Unz won the debate.                             Unz provoked and prevailed in another controversy when he concluded that Mexican-Americans have approximately the same innate intelligence as whites, with their lower IQs being due to transitory socio-economic deprivation.                         He next surprised by showing the connection between the declining real value of the minimum wage (about one-third less than in the 1960s) and immigration. Americans cannot survive on one-third less minimum income than four decades ago, and the unfilled jobs are taken by Hispanics who live many to the room. A higher minimum wage, Unz pointed out, would cure the illegal immigration problem as American citizens would fill the jobs.                      I wrote about some of Unz’s remarkable findings. One of my favorites is his comparison of the responsiveness of the Chinese and US governments to their publics. I found his conclusion convincing that the authoritarian one-party Chinese government was more responsive to the Chinese people than democratic two-party Washington is to the American people.                       The person is rare who can take on such controversial issues in such a professional way that he wins the admiration even of his critics. In my opinion, Ron Unz is a national resource. He has established online libraries of important periodicals and magazines from the pre-Internet era, information that otherwise essentially would be lost. I have not met him, but he donates to this site and is an independent thinker free of The Matrix.                         Unz’s latest article, “Our American Pravda,” is a striking account of the failure of media, regulatory, and national security organizations and subsequent coverups that leave the public deceived. Unz uses the Iraq war as one example:                            “The circumstances surrounding our Iraq War demonstrate this, certainly ranking it among the strangest military conflicts of modern times. The 2001 attacks in America were quickly ascribed to the radical Islamists of al-Qaeda, whose bitterest enemy in the Middle East had always been Saddam Hussein’s secular Baathist regime in Iraq. Yet through misleading public statements, false press leaks, and even forged evidence such as the “yellowcake” documents, the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies utilized the compliant American media to persuade our citizens that Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs posed a deadly national threat and required elimination by war and invasion. Indeed, for several years national polls showed that a large majority of conservatives and Republicans actually believed that Saddam was the mastermind behind 9/11 and the Iraq War was being fought as retribution. Consider how bizarre the history of the 1940s would seem if America had attacked China in retaliation for Pearl Harbor.

Current deficit plunges 32% - CNN Money - May 7, 2013 -  Tax collections rose by $220 billion -- or 16% -- between the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 through April 30. Individual and payroll taxes accounted for $184 billion of that increase.                     The tax haul rose sharply primarily because wages and salaries were higher, the payroll tax cut of the past two years expired on Jan. 1 and the fiscal cliff deal brokered over New Year's raised tax rates on high earners.                  Spending, meanwhile, fell 1.9% year over year, the CBO estimated.                               The biggest percentage drop occurred in the payment of unemployment benefits, which were down nearly 25%, or $15 billion. Defense spending fell 5.3%, or $20 billion, and "other activities" -- primarily spending on nondefense programs -- fell 8.6%, or $58 billion.

New Regulations Are Strangling Community Banks - Bloomberg - Camden R. Fine - May 7, 2013 -  The wave of new banking regulations that Congress created to deter and punish Wall Street’s misdeeds is landing with much greater impact on the U.S.’s almost 7,000 community banks than on the too-big-to-fail lenders.                   Community banks didn’t cause the financial crisis; they played by the rules. Because of their time-tested business model, one based on customer relationships rather than transaction volumes, community banks aren’t a threat to the financial system. Yet they are being forced to pay a penalty in regulatory costs -- to comply with rules aimed at preventing the bad behavior on Wall Street from happening again.                              Community banks are also disproportionately affected by the new rules. Right now, banks with less than $10 billion in assets control only 20 percent of total U.S. banking assets. Washington lawmakers and regulators are holding back community banks from devoting their full attention and resources to making more loans and fueling a more robust economic recovery.                     The effect of these regulations is that Congress has added insult to injury for community banks while rewarding the real villains. The megabanks are benefiting from what Bloomberg View calculated is an $83 billion annual taxpayer subsidy, the value of implicit guarantees by the U.S. Treasury. Bloomberg View was correct to characterize the too-big-to-fail subsidy as “a major driver of the largest banks’ profits.”...

New York to sue BofA, Wells Fargo over mortgage practices - Reuters - Karen Freifeld and Aruna Viswanatha - May 6, 2013 - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday he plans to sue Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and Wells Fargo and Co (WFC.N) for violating the terms of a settlement designed to end mortgage servicing abuses.                  Schneiderman issued the announcement, which suggests lawsuits could be filed against the banks within two months, ahead of a widely anticipated report from the monitor for the multi-state settlement, which is expected to be critical of banks.                     The planned action is the first involving allegations that top banks, which agreed last year to provide $25 billion in relief to homeowners and comply with a set of servicing standards to atone for foreclosure misconduct, are not living up to their obligations under the deal.                        Schneiderman said that, since last October, his office had documented 339 violations of standards - 210 by Wells Fargo and 129 by Bank of America - dictating the timeline for banks to process mortgage modification applications.                      Schneiderman said he would seek injunctive relief and an order requiring the two banks to comply with the settlement. His statement did not say he was seeking damages or penalties.                         But it is unclear how far Schneiderman can take his efforts, because they come outside the primary channel authorized by the settlement for any potential violations.                        The settlement authorized the monitor to first work with a servicer to correct any potential violations and sue only if the servicer does not fix the errors.                       In an afternoon news conference, Schneiderman acknowledged the authority provided to the monitor, but said he could still move forward.

Japanese manufacturer to add 200 jobs in N.C. (Greenville) - Triangle Business Journal - Lauren K. Ohnesorge - May 8, 2013
Allscripts to add 350 jobs in Raleigh - Triangle Business Journal - Jason deBruyn - May 8, 2013

No Volume, No Problem - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - May 11,2013

The IRS as a Political Tool of Tyranny