* Bumped Up *

I’m almost tempted to lift the ban on the obnoxious, idiotic PPAA just to get a taste of his delusional claims about how swell Obama’s economy is doing. The news trickling in is not good. Let’s start with the IMF, which believes the euro is in big trouble:

The crisis-hit euro is teetering on the brink of collapse, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

In a significant vote of no-confidence, Tuesday’s report from the global financial organisation admitted the troubled European single currency had “flaws” and was at risk of a “disorderly default and exit by a euro area member”.

And it warned that a euro meltdown could be even more devastating for the world economy than the 2008 credit crunch, the express.co.uk reported.

But who cares about Europe. Things here are peachy. Right?

Wrong!! The National Association of Realtors are out today with some more grim news:

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes in March unexpectedly fell for the third time in the last four months, showing an uneven recovery in the housing market.

Purchases dropped 2.6 percent to a 4.48 million annual rate from 4.6 million in February, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for an increase to 4.61 million. In January, sales at a 4.63 million rate were the strongest since May 2010. . . .

Short sales surpassed foreclosures for the first time in January, the latest month for which figures are available, according to Lender Processing Services Inc. Almost 24 percent of purchases were short sales in January, compared with 19.7 percent for sales of foreclosed homes.

Foreclosure filings, including notices of defaults and bank repossessions, fell 16 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier after lenders under legal scrutiny slowed actions against delinquent homeowners, RealtyTrac Inc. reported this month.

Investors accounted for 21 percent of purchases last month, down from 23 percent in February, today’s data showed. Such figures suggest the recovery in housing isn’t broad-based, said Jay McCanless, a housing analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We’ve seen investors and cash sales continue to be anywhere from 20 percent to 33 percent of monthly sales,” McCanless said. “That may be giving the appearance that there’s more activity, more demand for housing than may actually be the case.”

Remember. Until the glut of underwater properties are cleared off the books and buyers keen on living in the properties they purchase increase significantly the economy will continue to struggle.

How about jobs? Any good news there? Nope, so says the Labor Department:

In the week ending April 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 388,000. The 4-week moving average was 374,750, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 369,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending April 7, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 2.6 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 7 was 3,297,000, an increase of 26,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,271,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,317,750, a decrease of 21,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,339,250.

Soaring gas prices are taking a toll. This is not a case of more people flooding into a robust, rapidly expanding job market. Just the opposite. The job scene remains anemic.

Things could get really interesting in the next couple of months–there are growing indicators that Israel is going to strike Iran. If that happens the world economy is likely to tank and any hope of recovery in the United States will be dashed for the foreseeable future.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.