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28 February, 2010

No Protected Constitutional Right in Canada to Possess or Use Firearms

With legal precedents like this one being set, I would get the hell out of that place post haste.

R. v. Montague, 2010 ONCA 141: "... the trial judge considered in detail the Montagues’ constitutional challenge to the impugned firearms provisions of the Code, the Firearms Act and associated regulations enacted under the latter statute. His reasons in support of his ruling dismissing that challenge are thoughtful and comprehensive. He essentially held that there is no protected constitutional right in Canada to possess or use firearms. We agree with this conclusion and see no basis on which to interfere with his ruling..."


Killer Storm Pounds Europe

Europe's killer storm tracks north - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "At least 50 people have been killed in violent storms that have caused chaos in Europe.

Most were killed in France, but Spain, Germany and Portugal have all recorded fatalities.

Packing winds just under 150 kilometres an hour, the intense low caused havoc in many countries.

Flooding was most serious in France and Spain and a 10-year-old boy was one of a number of people killed by falling trees.

In the French Vendee region, houses were inundated and people had to be rescued by helicopter from their roofs.

At least a dozen people in France remain unaccounted for and there have been at least 60 injuries.

Up to a million people were without power..."


27 February, 2010

New Sale

Please be advised that Ready Made Resources, one of our great sponsors, will once again be offering a 25% discount *AND* free shipping on all case lots of Mountain House Freeze-Dried Foods beginning March 1st.


U.S. Senator Warns of 'Financial Meltdown’ Risk

FT.com / US / Politics & Foreign policy - US senator warns of ‘financial meltdown’ risk: "The US is heading for a debt-driven “financial meltdown” within five to seven years, according to Judd Gregg, the outgoing Republican senator for New Hampshire.

In a robust and at times testy video interview for the Financial Times’s View from DC series, Mr Gregg also complimented China for showing rising alarm about the US’s mounting levels of public debt...

... But the senator, who was the most high-profile Repub­lican invited by Barack Obama, the president, to join his administration last year, an offer Mr Gregg accepted and then turned down, said he doubted that the two parties would get together to tackle it..."


Recovery? Who Are You Trying to Kid?

Recovery? Who are you trying to kid? - Telegraph: "There was rare cause for celebration in Downing Street on Friday. Revised figures showed that the economic “recovery” of the fourth quarter of last year was a bit better than originally thought. Unfortunately, quarterly growth of 0.3 per cent is neither here nor there after a contraction of nearly 6 per cent. Most of the data continues to look grim to diabolical, and throughout the West there are growing fears of a “double-dip” recession.

I can give little more guidance on this likelihood than anyone else. If there is one lesson to be drawn from this crisis, it is that most economic forecasting is bunkum, so on the big calls, I’ve given up trying. But what does seem clear is that hopes of a strong, V-shaped recovery have been put on indefinite hold. At best, we’ll be bumping along the bottom for some time, with alternate quarters of negative and positive growth..."


Magnitude 8.8 Earthquake Off The Coast Of Chile



26 February, 2010

Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Rocks Japan

Magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocks Okinawa islands in southern Japan: "An earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude on the Richter scale on Saturday rocked Okinawa Prefecture and its vicinity in southern Japan, said the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The focus of the quake, which occurred at 5:31 a.m. local time (2031 GMT Friday), was located some 10 km under the sea 50 km east off Naha, capital of Okinawa, said the agency.

Two people, both female and aged 74 and 66, were reportedly slightly injured in the earthquake, local government reported.

The agency issued an warning of up to 2-meter high tsunami seismic waves for coastal regions of the main Okinawa island soon after the quake, but soon downgraded it to an advisory at about 6: 30 a.m., and later lifted it at around 7 a.m..

Small waves of up to around 10 centimeters reached Nanjo city on the island and Minamidaito village just before 6 a.m., the agency said..."


Mammoth Country-Sized Iceberg Has Broken Off From Antarctica

Iceberg the size of Luxembourg could plunge Europe into cold winters | Mail Online: "An iceberg the size of Dorset has broken off from Antarctica and could disrupt weather patterns for years to come.

The iceberg, which measures 50 miles by 25 miles, snapped off the Mertz Glacier, a 100-mile long tongue of ice earlier this month.

It was dislodged by an older, 60-mile-long iceberg called B9B, which broke off the glacier in 1987.

The two icebergs, which have a combined weight of 1,000billion tons, are now floating 90 miles off Antarctica's northern coast."

Mammoth iceberg could alter ocean circulation: study: "An iceberg the size of Luxembourg knocked loose from the Antarctic continent earlier this month could disrupt the ocean currents driving weather patterns around the globe, researchers said Thursday.

While the impact would not be felt for decades or longer, a slowdown in the production of colder, dense water could result in less temperate winters in the north Atlantic, they said."


Concerns Grow Over China's Sale of U.S. bonds

Concerns grow over China's sale of US bonds - Telegraph: "Evidence is mounting that Chinese sales of US Treasury bonds over recent months are intended as a warning shot to Washington over escalating political disputes rather than being part of a routine portfolio shift as thought at first."


25 February, 2010

'Snow Hurricane' ???

Would it make any difference if I cry "Uncle" already!


Snow Hurricane Threatens East Coast: Snow, Flooding, Winds - ABC News: "No! Please! Enough already! This winter stinks. We need a break!

The eastern United States, already having a rough winter after a string of mild ones, has been warned to be ready for another storm -- and just where it will have the most effect is proving maddeningly difficult for forecasters to predict.

A low-pressure system is slowly heading up the East Coast, mixing with another from the west. It is right on a boundary line for meteorologists. On one side is moist but relatively mild air from the Atlantic. On the other is colder air from the northwest.

The boundary line naturally wanders. A shift of just a few miles could determine whether you get flooding rains -- or a foot or more of snow. And the line is not far from Interstate 95, the major highway that runs along the east coast from Maine to Florida, passing through Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington..."


New U.S. Embassy in London Going Medieval

It fascinates me that they would even consider spending such an exorbitant amount of money on an Embassy that could probably do with a lot less stringent security measures than those in more hostile regions, but I have to say that the return to medieval sensibilities does please me. Older technologies, in my opinion, are nearly always preferable, having proven their worth for centuries.

Medieval Times: New US embassy in London to have high-tech security device: "Because the US is apparently flush with cash, we will shortly close our London embassy where our security measures have annoyed our neighbors to build a new one in a former industrial area — for over one billion dollars. The much-derided Green Zone embassy in Baghdad cost just over half that amount, and our new Islamabad embassy will cost close to $850 million. The obvious conclusion: our diplomats require more expensive security in London than they do in Baghdad or Pakistan, a weird and unexplained decision.

However, our embassy in the “Battersea wasteland” will have one ultra-high-tech feature that the others lack … a moat..."


Debt-Induced Armageddon

Armageddon | Money and Markets: Free Investment Email Newsletter: "If you thought Wall Street’s debt crisis was traumatic, wait till you the see the consequences of Washington’s debt crisis!

Never before in history has a world power like the U.S. been so utterly buried in debt! And never before has that debt been financed so massively by foreign investors!

Nineteenth century Mexico, Spain, and Argentina accumulated so much debt, they were forced to default.

In the 20th century, a similar fate befell Germany (1932) … China (1939) … Turkey (1978) … Mexico again in 1982 … Brazil and the Philippines (1983) … South Africa in 1985 … plus Russia and Pakistan in 1998.

Argentina kicked off the 21st century with a default in 2001. And barring a euro zone rescue, Greece, Spain, and Portugal are prime candidates for debt defaults this year.

But in NONE of these examples did we — or do we — see the debt crisis striking a dominant world power! In ALL cases, the debts represent little more than a small fraction of the total debts outstanding worldwide.

Not so in our case today!..."


FDIC Insurance Fund Is Broke To The Tune Of Nearly $21 Billion

Another safety net collapsing before our eyes.

FDIC Insurance Fund Is Broke To The Tune Of Nearly $21 Billion | iStockAnalyst.com: "Today the Federal deposit Insurance Company released the latest quarterly banking profile...

The most important revelation is that the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF), the money available to pay back customers at failed banks, has dropped to a record low.

The Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) decreased by $12.6 billion during the fourth quarter to a negative $20.9 billion (unaudited) primarily because of $17.8 billion in additional provisions for bank failures..."


24 February, 2010

'Buy Farmland and Gold,' Advises Dr. Doom

'Buy farmland and gold,' advises Dr Doom - Times Online: "The world’s most powerful investors have been advised to buy farmland, stock up on gold and prepare for a 'dirty war' by Marc Faber, the notoriously bearish market pundit, who predicted the 1987 stock market crash...

... Dr Faber, who advised his audience to pull out of American stocks one week before the 1987 crash and was among a handful who predicted the more recent financial crisis, vies with the Nouriel Roubini, the economist, as a rival claimant for the nickname Dr Doom.

Speaking today, Dr Faber said that investors, who control billions of dollars of assets, should start considering the effects of more disruptive events than mere market volatility.

'The next war will be a dirty war,' he told fund managers: 'What are you going to do when your mobile phone gets shut down or the internet stops working or the city water supplies get poisoned?'

His investment advice, which was the first keynote speech of CLSA’s annual investment forum in Tokyo, included a suggestion that fund managers buy houses in the countryside because it was more likely that violence, biological attack and other acts of a 'dirty war' would happen in cities..."


Bad Credit Sidelines Some Jobless Workers

Talk about kicking folks when they're down...

Bad credit sidelines some jobless workers - Eye on the Economy- msnbc.com: "Three years ago, after working as a temporary data entry clerk and receptionist for a Los Angeles skin care company, Debra Banks was pleased when her manager offered her a full-time job...

... There were just a couple of formalities, including a check of her credit history.

'My heart dropped,' said Banks, who has no health insurance and a large unpaid medical bill. When the results came back, she said, the manager gave her the bad news. 'Tomorrow’s your last day.'

Employers’ growing reliance on credit checks when screening new hires is turning out to be bad news for millions of jobless Americans. Losing a job can often mean trouble paying bills for many unemployed people. And the damage done to their credit history increasingly can become a barrier to finding another job, touching off a vicious downward spiral..."


New Law Allows Loaded Guns in National Park

Here, here. For once, the Federal government passes a law that actually makes sense.

New Law Allows Loaded Guns in National Park: "A new law took effect Monday allowing a licensed gun owner to bring a loaded gun into Shenandoah National Park.

It's a federal law that effects most national parks in the country.

Shenandoah Park spokesperson Karen Beck-Herzog says the law aligns park gun laws with gun laws in the state.

She says, while a legal gun owner can bring a loaded gun into the park, other laws regarding guns in the park haven't changed.

'Hunting doesn't change, again the taking of wildlife doesn't change. So really, this law comes down to just the fact that an individual may possess a firearm. What also doesn't change is the discharge. Nobody can discharge a firearm in the national park, so it's really about possessing a firearm,' says Beck-Herzog."


Real, Uglier American Unemployment

Real, Uglier American Unemployment: "Economic inequality is shown by much higher unemployment rates with lower income households. The political use of a national unemployment rate is political propaganda designed to hide the real problem that is intractable."


23 February, 2010

School Spying Scandal Could Lay Dangerous Groundwork Involving The Future Of Our Privacy

US school district spied on students through webcams, court told | World news | guardian.co.uk: "A school district in Pennsylvania spied on students through web cameras installed on laptops provided by the district, according to a class action lawsuit filed this week.

Lower Merion school district, in a well-heeled suburb of Philadelphia, provided 2,300 high-school students with Mac laptops last autumn in what its superintendent, Christopher McGinley, described as an effort to establish a 'mobile, 21st-century learning environment'.

The scheme was funded with $720,000 in state grants and other sources. The students were not allowed to install video games and other software, and were barred from 'commercial, illegal, unethical and inappropriate' use.

The district retained remote control of the built-in webcams installed on the computers – and used them to capture images of the students, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court this week.

The ruse was revealed when Blake Robbins, a student at Harriton high school, was hauled into the assistant principal Lindy Matsko's office, shown a photograph taken on the laptop in his home and disciplined for "improper behaviour".

According to Robbins, Matsko said the school had retained the ability to activate the laptop webcams remotely, at any time. Backed by his parents, Robbins filed a lawsuit on behalf of all students provided with laptops by the school..."


Pennsylvania School Faces FBI Probe for Webcam Use on Students. Is it Spying? - ABC News: "The FBI and a Philadelphia-area prosecutor are looking into whether a school district broke the law when it remotely activated cameras on school-owned laptops and watched students in their homes.

The parents of 15-year-old Blake Robbins have filed a lawsuit against Harriton High School of the Lower Merion School District, alleging their son's privacy was violated.

The teenager said he found out about the remote surveillance when he was confronted by his assistant principal at the Rosemont school.

His suit, which seeks class-action status, alleges that school vice principal Lindy Matsko on Nov. 11 cited a laptop photo in telling Blake that the school believed he was engaging in improper behavior. He and his family have told reporters that an official mistook a piece of candy for a pill and thought he was selling drugs..."


FBI Tracks Suspects' Cell Phones Without a Warrant

FBI Tracks Suspects' Cell Phones Without a Warrant - Newsweek.com: "Amid all the furor over the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program a few years ago, a mini-revolt was brewing over another type of federal snooping that was getting no public attention at all. Federal prosecutors were seeking what seemed to be unusually sensitive records: internal data from telecommunications companies that showed the locations of their customers' cell phones—sometimes in real time, sometimes after the fact. The prosecutors said they needed the records to trace the movements of suspected drug traffickers, human smugglers, even corrupt public officials. But many federal magistrates—whose job is to sign off on search warrants and handle other routine court duties—were spooked by the requests. Some in New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas balked. Prosecutors 'were using the cell phone as a surreptitious tracking device,' said Stephen W. Smith, a federal magistrate in Houston. 'And I started asking the U.S. Attorney's Office, 'What is the legal authority for this? What is the legal standard for getting this information?' '

Those questions are now at the core of a constitutional clash between President Obama's Justice Department and civil libertarians alarmed by what they see as the government's relentless intrusion into the private lives of citizens. There are numerous other fronts in the privacy wars—about the content of e-mails, for instance, and access to bank records and credit-card transactions. The Feds now can quietly get all that information. But cell-phone tracking is among the more unsettling forms of government surveillance, conjuring up Orwellian images of Big Brother secretly following your movements through the small device in your pocket.

How many of the owners of the country's 277 million cell phones even know that companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint can track their devices in real time? Most 'don't have a clue,' says privacy advocate James X. Dempsey..."


Fighting Swine Flu Fatigue With Clever Marketing

Fighting Swine Flu Fatigue With Clever Marketing - NYTimes.com: "... health departments around the country are going to great lengths to spread the word that swine flu vaccines are in abundant supply and available for free to anyone who wants one...

... The fact that clinics are practically begging people to get vaccinated is a dramatic shift from just a few months ago when people stood in long lines and waited -- sometimes for hours -- to get the scarce vaccine.

While the outbreak has waned, the virus is still circulating and authorities warn that another wave of infections could hit. The 2009 H1N1 flu strain was first identified in April and a second wave of infections followed in the fall. At least 15,000 people have died worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, most of those in the U.S...."


22 February, 2010

Appearing On The Prepper Podcast

I was recently contacted by a representative of the show and asked to be a guest. More details will follow as to when the broadcast will air!


Blackouts And Missing Power Plants Threaten Venezuelan Collapse

Blackouts And Missing Power Plants Threaten Venezuelan Collapse, As Chavez Blames The Bourgeois For Grid Sabotage: "Power shortages continue to ravage Venezuela due to depleted output from drought-starved hydroelectric facilities that provide 70% of the nation's power.

Black outs and brown outs are an increasingly serious threat to an already weakened Venezuelan economy, since with power shortages come reduced operating hours for factories, offices, and stores. Less output means economic contraction, pure and simple.

According to the opposition, more than a dozen thermoelectric power plants have been delayed over the years due to mismanagement. Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez is accusing the bourgeois of electricity sabotage..."


New Israeli Drone Capable of Reaching Iran

New Israeli giant drone ‘Eitan’ capable of reaching Iran: "The Israelis have unveiled a type of drone known as Eitan, (“strong” in Hebrew) the size of a Boeing 737. The drone, a Heron TP operated by some NATO countries, is getting a lot of attention in the Middle East media, because its range extends to Iran.

The Heron TP family of drones, of which Eitan is the latest, are designed as surveillance planes. They have a lot of stamina, and Eitan can stay in the air for 24 hours. It has a payload of 1000kg, according to some sources, while others say it can take 1000kg of sensors. The meanings are relevant, because there's a big difference between a combat load of that size and cameras.

The furor about its range is based on the ongoing “debate” about whether Israeli planes can reach Iran. The Iranians say they can’t, the Israelis say they can. This fascinatingly unproductive debate has somehow managed to overlook the fact that any combat plane can refuel in the air. Hence the great interest in the long range drone..."


21 February, 2010

Assorted 'Peak Oil' Stuff

Energy Tribune- Saudi Oil Exports to US Lowest in 21 Years: "... Estimates by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy showed Saudi Arabia's crude exports to the US plummeted to about 837,000 barrels per day in November, their lowest level in 21 years.

Saudi Arabia's crude exports to US have remained above one million bpd for most of the years in the past three decades as the two countries had maintained strong political and economic relations. But they have started to decline rapidly over the past months because of Opec quota restrictions on Saudi oil output, plans by the US to cut hydrocarbon imports from the Middle East, strained ties between the two countries and a drive by the kingdom to expand its exports of oil and other products to the Asian markets."

Barclays and Bank of America see looming oil crunch - Telegraph: "Bank of America and Barclays Capital, two leading oil traders, have told clients to brace for crude above $100 a barrel by next year, before it pushes relentlessly higher over the decade. This is a stark contrast from recessions in the 1980s and 1990s, when it took years to work off excess drilling capacity built in the boom.

'Oil has the potential to flirt with $100 this year. We forecast an average price of $137 by 2015,' said Amrita Sen, an oil expert at BarCap. The price has doubled to $78 in the last year.

'The groundwork for the next sustained step up in oil prices is now almost complete. Global spare capacity is likely to be reduced to low levels within a relatively short time. The global economic crisis has postponed, but not canceled, a crunch which would otherwise be starting to bite now,' said Barclays..."

Mobility in the World of $200 Oil: "... Until the world can find a way to 'turn oil into salt', to quote Gal Luft and Anne Korin, turning it into just another commodity instead of a strategic asset, the world after 2015 or 2017, depending on whose analysis you tend to believe, is going to be a lot different than the one in which we live today. Being able to afford a $40,000 Volt or $30,000 Leaf (both numbers being just speculation at this point), presumes either sufficient personal wealth (savings) or income (a steady, high-paying job... with medical benefits).

Assuming that the projections of the like of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Bank, CIBC's Jeff Rubin are correct and oil production starts to slide towards $200 a barrel oil and $10 a gallon gasoline, what will your mobility options be?..."


Bill O'Reilly Is A Moron

He believes the government has the right to confiscate firearms during an emergency.


Homeland Security Reports Losing Guns

Homeland Security reports losing guns - USATODAY.com: "The nation's Homeland Security officers lost nearly 200 guns in bowling alleys, public restrooms, unlocked cars and other unsecure areas, with some ending up in the hands of felons. The problem, outlined in a new federal report, has prompted disciplinary actions and extra training.

Most of the misplaced weapons — including handguns, shotguns and military rifles — were never found. 'Most losses occurred because officers did not properly secure firearms,' says the Homeland Security inspector general report.

At least 15 of the guns ended up in the hands of gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers, inspector general Richard Skinner found. His report documented 289 missing firearms from fiscal year 2006 through 2008, although not all were lost because of negligence. Some were lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and others were stolen from safes.

The report is the first accounting of guns lost by Homeland Security's 185,000 workers..."


NYT: Millions Face Years Without Jobs

NYT: Millions face years without jobs - The New York Times- msnbc.com: "Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come..."


20 February, 2010

Question Re: "Aladdin lamps"

Reader J. Young asked:
"Is the Aladdin lamp worth the money? I can not find a source that gives lumins per...? "

My Response:
According to this site, "Aladdin lamps use a mantle that glows and produces up to 60 watts of light on less kerosene than non-mantle lamps used to produce dimmer lighting."

Hope that helps!


Guide to Conspiracy Theories

Guide to Conspiracy Theories - Newsweek.com: "Like recurring nightmares, conspiracy theories aren't necessarily gone for good just because they disappear for a while. They often come back, sometimes in slightly different forms. Their last golden age came during the middle of the Bush administration, which saw rumors from the political left about connections between the Bushes and the bin Ladens, insinuations about the military-industrial complex and the Patriot Act—actually, pretty much every plotline in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Nothing breeds paranoid theories like political exile, which means that with Democrats back in the White House, it's the right's turn to take up the standard, a task it isn't shirking. And of course, several leftist theories remain in circulation. If you're having a hard time keeping all these paranoid points of view straight, here's a handy primer..."


Expiration Dates Mean Very Little

Expiration dates mean very little. - By Nadia Arumugam - Slate Magazine: "There's a filet mignon in my fridge that expired four days ago, but it seems OK to me. I take a hesitant whiff and detect no putrid odor of rotting flesh, no oozing, fetid cow juice—just the full-bodied aroma of well-aged meat. A feast for one; I retrieve my frying pan. This is not an isolated experiment or a sad symptom of my radical frugality. With a spirit of teenage rebellion, I disavow any regard for expiration dates.

The fact is that expiration dates mean very little. Food starts to deteriorate from the moment it's harvested, butchered, or processed, but the rate at which it spoils depends less on time than on the conditions under which it's stored. Moisture and warmth are especially detrimental. A package of ground meat, say, will stay fresher longer if placed near the coldest part of a refrigerator (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), than next to the heat-emitting light bulb. Besides, as University of Minnesota food scientist Ted Labuza explained to me, expiration dates address quality—optimum freshness—rather than safety and are extremely conservative. To account for all manner of consumer, manufacturers imagine how the laziest people with the most undesirable kitchens might store and handle their food, then test their products based on these criteria..."


Capital of Yemen to Become World's First Capital City to Run Out of Water

Sanaa, Yemen to Become World's First Capital City to Run Out of Water | | AlterNet: "A Yemeni water trader profiled in a recent Reuters investigation explains that even though his well is 1,300 ft deep, he's hardly extracting any water at all. The same goes for wells that are 2,000 and even 3,000 ft deep--in Yemen's mountainous capital city Sanaa, more water is being consumed than produced. Families have reported going without getting access to water for weeks. Sanaa is home to 2 million people, and is growing fast--but experts say that if trends continue, it could be a ghost town in 20 years. To make matters worse, Reuters reports that much of the shortage can be blamed on a 'national drug habit'..."


British military insider: World War III is being staged; starting with Israel and Iran

British military insider: World War III is being staged; starting with Israel and Iran: "U.S. 'leadership' and their corporate media minions are pushing juvenile-level propaganda for war with Iran; lies that anyone can verify with a few moments’ attention. If you haven’t already confirmed the Orwellian-level disinformation, stop and read the above two links now.

Many people hypothesize the confirmed lies for wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, and a final war with Iran, is to control oil. Connected is the theory that US political and economic “masters” are so confident in their propaganda, and so correct in their conclusion that the critical mass of humanity is too feeble to stop them, that they brazenly move forward for global hegemony.

This article provides a different explanation of the facts; with heightened urgency to prevent war with Iran, as it is a planned step to begin a Third World War.

Project Camelot is a world-renowned safe-haven for whistle-blowers on the inside of the military and economic “Big Lies” that millions of Americans are discovering. Below is Bill Ryan’s video explanation of his interview with a vetted British military insider discussing the planning of manipulated global war..."


Military Coup in Niger Seizes Power From Longtime President

BBC News - Military coup ousts Niger president Mamadou Tandja: "A coup has taken place in Niger and the president has been captured after a gun battle in the capital, Niamey.

In a televised announcement, a spokesman for the plotters said Niger's constitution had been suspended and all state institutions dissolved.

The junta imposed a curfew and closed the country's borders.

President Mamadou Tandja, in power for more than a decade in the uranium-rich nation, is believed to be in captivity at a military barracks.

Reports say government ministers are also being held..."


19 February, 2010

Barton Biggs: Stock A Safe Haven With Food And Firearms To Protect Against Pillagers

Barton Biggs: Stock A Safe Haven With Food And Firearms To Protect Against Pillagers: "... Morgan Stanley research guru turned hedge fund manager Barton Biggs, who called the market rally, advises that you buy a farm a good distance away from a city and, he advises, make sure that your doomsday safe-haven:
  • Be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food
  • Be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc

And get a gun, he says, because 'a few rounds over the approaching brigands' heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage.'

Mark "Gloom Boom Doom" Faber also recommends buying farmland. Our society has peaked and is on the decline, he says:

'Once a society becomes successful it becomes arrogant, righteous, overconfident, corrupt, and decadent ... overspends ... costly wars ... wealth inequity and social tensions increase; and society enters a secular decline'..."


Food Crisis Worsens As Agricultural Output Fails to Keep Up with Demand

FT.com / UK - Food crisis worsens as agricultural output fails to keep up with demand: "... As lentil prices have tripled over the past two years, the family has gone from eating 10kg of pulses a month to only two or three. Their consumption of vegetables and meat - which have also shot up in price - has plunged, too. Many of their meals consist only of rotis, a flatbread, and spicy pickle.

'The kids say, 'I want milk; I want ghee', but how can I buy it for them?' Mrs Khan asks.

Policymakers have long considered broad-based growth as the way to fight India's problems of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. But while the economy has grown, agricultural production has stagnated.

That has led to rocketing prices for nutritious foods. So while Indians with links to the new economy eat better than ever, many urban working-class families, who spend up to 55 per cent of their household budgets on food, are being squeezed..."


Finns Considering Banning Handguns

Finns propose ban on handguns after shootings | Seattle Times Newspaper: "A Finnish government commission on Wednesday proposed a ban on semiautomatic handguns after two school shootings in recent years left 20 people dead.

The ban, which needs parliamentary approval, would sharply reduce the number of legal weapons in a country that ranks among the world's top five in civilian gun ownership.

'We've had a very weapon-friendly culture,' commission chairman Pekka Sauri said. 'In carrying out the proposals we would, of course, pay compensation to anyone who turns in weapons.'

The Nordic nation of 5.3 million has 650,000 licensed gun owners. Of some 250,000 handguns, more than 200,000 are semiautomatic, according to Sauri..."


CNN Confirms: Iran Is Actively Developing Nuclear Weapons

Iran resumes nuclear weapon work, U.S. report expected to say - CNN.com: "A soon-to-be completed U.S. assessment of Iran's nuclear program is expected to conclude that the government has resumed limited work on a nuclear weapon, according to a U.S. official.

Such a conclusion in the new National Intelligence Assessment would revise a controversial assessment released in 2007 that said Iran had stopped its weaponization program in 2003. Many Western intelligence services disagreed with the U.S. conclusion at the time..."


17 February, 2010

Greeks Bomb Offices of JP Morgan Branch In Athens

Bomb Explodes At JP Morgan Branch In Athens, Greece: "Police in the Greek capital say a bomb has exploded at the offices of American financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co., causing no injuries.

The blast occurred early evening Tuesday in an upscale area of central Athens, following a warning telephone call to an Athens newspaper.

The extent of the damage was not immediately clear."


Norway Plans the World's Most Powerful Wind Turbine

Norway plans the world's most powerful wind turbine - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent: "Norway plans to build the world's most powerful wind turbine, hoping the new technology will increase the profitability of costly offhsore wind farms, partners behind the project said Friday.

With a rotor diametre of 145 metres (475 feet), the 10-megawatt protype will be roughly three times more powerful than ordinary wind turbines currently in place, Enova, a public agency owned by Norway's petroleum and oil industry ministry, said..."


Eliminating The 12th Grade?

Sounds like a great idea. Inject millions more into the job market a year early, even considering the fact that the economy already cannot support the number of folks seeking work. Or, send them to school early as funds for student loans are not exactly overflowing early.

In Utah, a plan to cut 12th grade - latimes.com: "At Utah's West Jordan High School, the halls have swirled lately with debate over the merits of 12th grade:

Is it a waste of time? Are students ready for the real world at 17?...

... The sudden buzz over the relative value of senior year stems from a recent proposal by state Sen. Chris Buttars that Utah make a dent in its budget gap by eliminating the 12th grade.

The notion quickly gained some traction among supporters who agreed with the Republican's assessment that many seniors frittered away their final year of high school, but faced vehement opposition from other quarters..."


US, Turkish Officials Get Into Physical Confrontation in Qatar

Nerves are frayed and tensions are rising.

US, Turkish officials get physical in Qatar: "A fight broke out between high-ranking US and Turkish officials at a meeting held between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Qatar.

The fight was reported between the US ambassador to Qatar and an advisor to the Turkish prime minister at the end of a 20-minute meeting between Clinton and Erdogan on Monday.

The altercation took place after the US envoy entered the room to remind those present to close the meeting as the time was over.

In response, Erdogan's adviser said, 'It is not for you to judge the importance of our meeting, you offend our country,' the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported.

The quarrel led to physical confrontation and the two diplomats were separated with difficulty."


Illinois Pension Fund $61 Billion Underwater; State Borrows Money For 2010 Contribution; California $20 Billion in the Hole Again

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Illinois Pension Fund $61 Billion Underwater; State Borrows Money For 2010 Contribution; California $20 Billion in the Hole Again: "Illinois's pension fund is deep in the hole and getting deeper every year.

The state's reaction never changes: borrow money and hope the returns beat the cost of borrowing. Former governor Rod Blagojevich tried that to the tune of $10 billion and it worked out less than spectacularly to say the least. Nonetheless Illinois is back at it for 2010..."


16 February, 2010

Snow Traps Man for Three Days in his Car in National Forest and He Survives

Good for this guy! He kept his wits about him and he survived. Just imagine how much easier the ordeal might have been, however, had he had the foresight to stock his vehicle with a proper emergency survival kit? I'm just sayin'...

Snow Traps Indiana Driver for Days in Rio Grande National Forest - The Denver Post: "An Indiana man survived three days in his SUV stuck in deep snow in the Rio Grande National Forest before he managed to make his way to a road Sunday morning to get help.

Jason Pede stayed in his Lincoln Navigator, surviving on soft drinks and melted snow until his gasoline — and engine heat — ran out.

He then left the safety of his sport utility vehicle, fearing a night in the cold.

He made it through the melting snow to a more-traveled road 7 miles away, where passers-by helped him...

... Pede, 31, says he watches television survival shows. The one lesson he has learned is to stay with the vehicle. So from Thursday morning until Sunday morning — when the last of his gas ran out — he and the dog stayed in the vehicle. They drank a couple of cans of soda, a bottle of water his kids had left in the car and snow that he melted with a fire made from eight chairs that he was delivering to a woman in Topeka, Kan.

When the gasoline ran out, Pede said, he knew he had to try to walk out. The weather wasn't bad; the sun was out. He thought he would freeze to death with temperatures dipping to 6 degrees at night if he stayed in a non-heated vehicle.

He started walking...

... Seven miles down the road, he came across another road, and there he saw a convoy of five vehicles. He waved his flashlight at them and collapsed..."


Forget Greece, The U.S. Almost Had A Failed Treasury Auction

Forget Greece, The US Almost Had A Failed Treasury Auction | iStockAnalyst.com: "... This auction was a very small step away from a failed auction. To see Primary Dealers buying so much (remember they HAVE to buy it) and Indirect Buyers so little, only confirms what I've been saying for months, that the US is entering a Debt Spiral: a situation in which it must issue more and more debt (while rolling over trillions of old debt) at the very time that fewer and fewer investors are willing to lend to the US for any lengthy period of time (more than ten years)..."


The Mogambo Guru: Economic Warnings from an Elderly 3rd Grader

The man has returned!

Economic Warnings from an Elderly 3rd Grader: "... the monetary party, which is pronounced ‘par-tay’, is winding down since, as I understand it, it got started in 1971 when Nixon severed the dollar/gold link, and especially since 1987 when Alan Greenspan took over the Federal Reserve, and doubly-especially since 1997 when this same moron named Alan Greenspan lost his freaking mind and really started creating excess credit in the banks, and triply especially since 2008 when that raving lunatic bastard, Ben Bernanke, took over at the damned Federal Reserve and really, really, really started to create money by the trillions of dollars, using some of it to actually buy up worthless, dog-crap assets and the rest to buy government bonds so that the commie rats in the White House and Congress could continue to deficit-spend us into bankruptcy, a budget deficit which now approaches 12% of GDP, but which they had to do since they could not stop partying once they got started, or the whole rotten financial structure, made out of cards, erected on a bed of sand, on borrowed money, at huge degrees of leverage, collapses, the currency collapses, finally ending up with bread going up in price so much that nobody can afford to eat, and everybody tragically starves to death in a huge, horrible inflation in prices caused by the incredible inflation in the money supply, except the people who have gold, silver and oil. The end..."


15 February, 2010

Americans Stock Up To Be Ready for End of the World

Americans stock up to be ready for end of the world | World news | The Observer: "... Unlike the 1990s survivalists, preppers come from all backgrounds and live all over America. They are just as likely to be found in a suburb or downtown loft as a remote ranch in the mountains. Prepping networks, which have sprung up all over the country in the past few years, provide advice on how to prepare food reserves, how to grow crops in your garden, how to hunt and how to defend yourself. There are prepping books, online shops, radio shows, countless blogs, prepping courses and prepping conferences...

... There are several reasons for the rise of prepping. The first is that, in the post-9/11 world, mass terror attacks have become a fear for many Americans. At a time when US diplomacy is focused on preventing Iran getting nuclear weapons and terror experts continue to warn of 'dirty bombs' on American soil, it is no surprise that many Americans feel threatened. Added to that paranoia has come the recession. Suddenly, millions of Americans have been losing their jobs and their homes, reinforcing a feeling that society is not as stable as it once seemed..."


More Homeless Americans Living in Cars and Campers

More Homeless Americans Living in Cars and Campers - Yahoo! News: "... For people who cannot afford rent, a car is the last rung of dignity and sanity above the despair of the streets. A home on wheels is a classic American affair, from the wagon train to the RV. Now, for some formerly upwardly mobile Americans, the economic storm has turned the backseat or the rear of the van into the bedroom. 'We found six people sleeping in their cars on an overnight police ride-along in December,' says John Edmund, chief of staff to Long Beach councilman Dee Andrews..."


Desolate Malls, Empty Offices May Come Soon

Desolate malls, empty offices may come soon - Real estate- msnbc.com: "Over the next several years, failed commercial real estate loans could litter American cities with empty stores and office complexes, cause hundreds of bank failures and weaken the economy, a watchdog report says.

Banks face up to $300 billion in losses on loans made for commercial property and development, according to a report released Thursday by the Congressional Oversight Panel..."


Dramatic Changes in Agriculture Needed as World Warms and Grows

Dramatic changes in agriculture needed as world warms and grows: "Yields from some of the most important crops begin to decline sharply when average temperatures exceed about 30 degrees Celsius, or 86 Fahrenheit. Projections are that by the end of this century much of the tropics and subtropics will regularly see growing season temperatures above that level, hotter than the hottest summers now on record..."