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30 April, 2010

Meat Prices To Skyrocket

Carnivores' Dilemma Widens as Pork Signals Record Meat Prices - Bloomberg: "U.S. meat prices may rise to records this summer after farmers reduced hog and cattle herds to the smallest sizes in decades, the result of surging feed costs linked to demands for more ethanol.

Wholesale pork jumped as much as 25 percent this month to 90.68 cents a pound last week, the highest since August 2008, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Beef climbed 22 percent this year to $1.6896 a pound on April 23, the most expensive since July 2008. Chicken’s gain in March was the most in 20 months.

Demand for pork chops, steaks and chicken breasts is rising as the economy improves, backyard barbecues resume and China and Russia allow more U.S. imports. Domestic supplies may drop to a 13-year low because of culls to stem losses caused by corn prices that doubled after former President George W. Bush set targets to increase ethanol use..."


Clinton: Syria's Provocations May Plunge Middle East Into War

Clinton: Syria's provocations may plunge Middle East into war - Haaretz - Israel News: "Syrian President Bashar Assad is pursuing dangerous policies that could unleash war on the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Thursday night.

In a speech to the American Jewish Committee in Washington, Clinton said that Syria's transfer of weapons to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon risks throwing the region into instability..."


Obama to Act if Mideast Talks Derailed

Obama to act if Mideast talks derailed - Yahoo! News UK: "US President Barack Obama has vowed to take action against Israel or the Palestinians if either undermines indirect peace talks, a senior Palestinian official said on Thursday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that, in a letter handed to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas by US envoy George Mitchell during a meeting last week, Obama pledged to hold both parties accountable..."


Iranian Plane Buzzes U.S. Carrier in Middle East

Iranian Plane Buzzes U.S. Carrier in Middle East - Defense News: "An Iranian maritime patrol aircraft buzzed the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower at sea in the Middle East last week, passing within 1,000 yards of the ship, but American defense officials sought to downplay the encounter as relatively common.

The Iranian navy Fokker F27 turboprop reconnaissance plane had been flying near the Eisenhower Strike Group for about 20 minutes before it made its low pass on April 21, according to a defense official who was not authorized to talk publicly about the incident and asked not to be identified. The official did not know if the Eisenhower took any defensive actions, such as changing course or ordering its fighters to escort the intruder away. No one was hurt and the Iranian aircraft soon retired..."


29 April, 2010

Rapid Growth of Militias Feeds Off Politics

Special Report: Rapid growth of militias feeds off politics | Reuters: "Lackomar is an independent contractor for a private parcel company. If you live northwest of this battered city and you recently purchased something from a home shopping network, there's a good chance the 36-year-old handled your package.

But there is one small item that never leaves his truck: a green nylon satchel Lackomar jokingly calls 'the football,' a reference to the briefcase with codes for a nuclear strike kept close to the U.S. president. Inside, along with a pocket knife and a small first aid kit, is a sealed envelope containing codes, rallying points and detailed plans that Lackomar would use to mobilize his squad of armed citizen-soldiers in an emergency.

Lackomar is a team leader in the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia (SMVM), the largest and most visible of this state's many small private armies..."


CIA Director Tells Delegates: Cyber Attack Could Be Next “Pearl Harbor”

Sacramento Press / CIA Director tells Cap-to-Cap delegates: Cyber attack could be next “Pearl Harbor”: "Central Intelligence Agency director Leon Panetta told 300 Sacramento Metro Chamber Cap-to-Cap delegates that the next 'Pearl Harbor' is likely to be an attack on the United States’ power, financial, military and other Internet systems...

... 'Cyber terrorism' is a new area of concern for the CIA, Panetta said. The United States faces thousands of cyber attacks daily on its Internet networks. The attacks are originating in Russia, China, Iran and from even hackers..."


GM Food... Feeding the Hungry or Population Control?

GM Food... Feeding the Hungry or Population Control? - Salem-News.Com: "Today Salem-News reports that a joint experiment by Russia’s National Association for Gene Security and the Institute of Ecological and Evolutional Problems has revealed that hamsters fed genetically modified (GM) foods produce grandchildren that are unable to produce fourth generation offspring.

Scientist Alexei Surov described the experiment, in which they monitored the behavior, weight gain and birthrate of several groups of hamsters. Upon birth of the second generation they noted slower rates of growth and sexual maturity. The next generation was unable to produce.

Genetically modified foods will feed the hungry. I guess that’s one way of putting it.

You could also call it population control. Technically, the final result would be an end to world hunger. They didn’t lie. Who are they? Please refer to my Salem-News story 'While We Were Sleeping...GM Food and the Brink of No Return'.

Russian scientists are not the only ones that have warned of noted health effects caused by genetically modified foods. Let us not forget that the scientists that were fired after they discovered serious health effects in animals after feeding them GM food products..."


North Korea Possibly Building Up Military For An Attack

North Korea Is Building Up Military For An Attack: "North Korea has adopted a new war invasion strategy and shifted troop
reserves accordingly...

... The new plan calls for the immediate occupation of part of Seoul, followed by negotiations for a cease-fire. It replaces plans for a Sherman's March-type invasion.

While it could be mere posturing, the plan shows ruthless understanding of the peninsula balance of power. South Korea is too timid to retaliate when attacked. North Korea has a failed economy and wants to move from charity case to parasite..."


Drone Aircraft Are Patrolling U.S. Cities

Drone aircraft are patrolling U.S. Cities | Public Intelligence: "Public Intelligence has received several messages from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department requesting the removal of a Law Enforcement Sensitive document which was published on March 25, 2010 regarding Nevada’s 'Silver Shield' infrastructure protection program. The document, which is from November 2007, reveals that Las Vegas Police are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and systems to patrol the city and deliver aerial imagery during incidents or special events. Though isolated reports of domestic UAV use do exist, there has not been widespread coverage of the growing use of unmanned aircraft systems over U.S. cities. In March 2006, Declan McCullagh of CNET News reported that police agencies around the country were looking at the use of UAVs for all sorts of purposes, including everything from border patrol to domestic surveillance..."


28 April, 2010

Another Apology

Once again, I find myself issuing a mea culpa for being MIA here on the blog; and, again, it was due to another inconveniently extended hospital stay. Sorry, guys. I very likely will need to have surgery at some point over the Summer, but hopefully I won't disappear on you again until then.


Arab Nation To Acquire Three-Month Food Stockpile

Never in my life can I recall a time when the world was in such a state of chaos as to provoke a national government to take such precautions. It seems almost biblical.


UAE eyes three-month food stockpile: "The UAE cabinet on Sunday approved a plan to build up three-month stocks of rice, flour and other staples to boost food security following the European travel chaos that disrupted supplies, local daily the National reported.

'In cases of emergencies states can stop exports to other countries ... We can’t put all of our eggs in one basket,' Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan was quoted as saying.

The food stock build-up is aimed at ensuring stocks are not vulnerable to severe price increases or supply disruptions, the newspaper said.

The country, which is reliant on imports for much of its food supplies due to its arid desert climate, has been trying to diversify its food sources for years, including buying up agricultural land in African and Asia.

The shutdown of much of European airspace last week due to a huge cloud of volcanic ash paralysed air travel and disrupted the supply of food and other goods to the UAE and other Middle East countries.

Food retailers reported running low on fresh produce, exposing how fragile food security is in the region."


The Imminent Crash Of Oil Supply: Be Afraid

The Imminent Crash Of Oil Supply: Be Afraid By Nicholas C. Arguimbau: "Look at this graph and be afraid. It does not come from Earth First. It does not come from the Sierra Club. It was not drawn by Socialists or Nazis or Osama Bin Laden or anyone from Goldman-Sachs. If you are a Republican Tea-Partier, rest assured it does not come from a progressive Democrat. And vice versa. It was drawn by the United States Department of Energy, and the United States military's Joint Forces Command concurs with the overall picture.

What does it imply? The supply of the world's most essential energy source is going off a cliff. Not in the distant future, but in a year and a half. Production of all liquid fuels, including oil, will drop within 20 years to half what it is today. And the difference needs to be made up with 'unidentified projects,' which one of the world's leading petroleum geologists says is just a 'euphemism for rank shortage,' and the world's foremost oil industry banker says is 'faith based'..."


U.S. Food Inflation Spiraling Out of Control

Market Skeptics: US Food Inflation Spiraling Out of Control: "... The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today released their Producer Price Index (PPI) report for March 2010 and the latest numbers are shocking. Food prices for the month rose by 2.4%, its sixth consecutive monthly increase and the largest jump in over 26 years. NIA believes that a major breakout in food inflation could be imminent, similar to what is currently being experienced in India.

Some of the startling food price increases on a year-over-year basis include, fresh and dry vegetables up 56.1%, fresh fruits and melons up 28.8%, eggs for fresh use up 33.6%, pork up 19.1%, beef and veal up 10.7% and dairy products up 9.7%. On October 30th, 2009, NIA predicted that inflation would appear next in food and agriculture, but we never anticipated that it would spiral so far out of control this quickly..."


16 April, 2010

Nuclear Blast Victims Would Have To Wait

This information should come as no surprise to readers of this blog or virtually any site similar to ours. Once again, the government many depend on is plainly telling you that you are going to be on your own for awhile. Please believe them and make preparations of your own.


Nuclear blast victims would have to wait - USATODAY.com: "The White House has warned state and local governments not to expect a 'significant federal response' at the scene of a terrorist nuclear attack for 24 to 72 hours after the blast, according to a planning guide.

President Obama told delegates from 47 nations at the Nuclear Security Summit on Tuesday that it would be a 'catastrophe for the world' if al-Qaeda or another terrorist group got a nuclear device, because so many lives would be lost and it would be so hard to mitigate damage from the blast.

A 10-kiloton nuclear explosion would level buildings within half a mile of ground zero, generate 900-mph winds, bathe the landscape with radiation and produce a plume of fallout that would drift for hundreds of miles, the guide says..."


More News RE: The Iclandic Volcanic Eruption

Researchers puzzle over how long Iceland volcano will erupt / The Christian Science Monitor - CSMonitor.com: "As travelers contend with global airline cancellations and delays triggered by clouds of ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland, researchers are trying to judge just how long the mountain's explosive eruptions might last.

While airlines have coped with eruptions along the Pacific Rim's Ring of Fire, this marks the first time modern Europe – with its high concentration of major airports – has had to cope with the disruptions caused by wind-steered clouds of volcanic ash, researchers say."


Asia-Europe flights halted due to Iceland volcano - BusinessWeek: "Airlines across Asia say more than 30 flights to and from Europe have been canceled because of the enormous ash cloud from a volcano erupting in Iceland. Thousands of passengers are stranded.

Japan Airlines said it canceled nine flights to Europe on Friday with 2,300 passengers. All Nippon Airways Co. said six flights were canceled, affecting 1,582 passengers.

In Seoul, 12 flights were canceled, and two en route to Europe had to turn around.

Around 1,700 Qantas passengers from five flights that had been heading to Europe were stuck in Asia. Around 1,000 were stranded in Singapore, and the rest in Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Many northern European countries closed their airspace due to the ash, which can knock out jet engines."


Iceland Volcano Ash Plume Prompts Health Worries: "Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano continued to erupt on Friday, creating an enormous ash plume visible from space that's been causing major problems here on Earth. (See pictures of the Iceland volcano's ash plume.)

In addition to scores of canceled flights, the World Health Organization has warned people across Europe to stay indoors or use masks when the ash begins to fall.

Volcanic ash is made up of tiny pieces of glassy sand and dust produced when explosive eruptions demolish solid rock or spray lava into the sky, where it solidifies before falling.

Inhaling these particulates can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Finer particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause breathing problems, particularly among those with respiratory issues like asthma or emphysema..."


U.S. Unemployment Likely to Stay High During Recovery, Ben Bernanke Warns

US unemployment likely to stay high during recovery, Ben Bernanke warns - Times Online: "The chances of the US economy sliding back into recession have diminished in recent months but unemployment could stay 'stubbornly' high, Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, said yesterday.

Speaking to the joint economic committee of Congress in Washington, Mr Bernanke said that growth was being weighed down by a weak construction sector and the poor state of the country’s finances..."


Markets Could Be Derailed Again, Warns Soros

Markets could be derailed again, warns Soros: "Railway porter-turned-billionaire financier George Soros delivered a stark warning last night that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.

The man who ‘broke’ the Bank of England (and who is still able to earn a cool $3.3 bln in a year) said the same strategy of borrowing and spending that had got us out of the Asian crisis could shunt us towards another crisis unless tough lessons are learned..."


15 April, 2010

Iceland Volcano Ash Disrupts European Flights

Iceland volcano ash disrupts European flights - USATODAY.com: "Thousands of travelers heading to and from Europe were left in limbo Thursday as a volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed a plume of ash that shut down airports and caused one of the biggest disruptions to global air travel since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

U.S. airlines canceled scores of flights to and from Europe from Wednesday night through Friday morning and said they would decide Friday if they need to cancel more as the cloud of ash hovered over the Atlantic Ocean.

The cloud, whose particles could cause aircraft engines to fail and could mar visibility for pilots, sparked a ripple effect across Europe and ruined plans for business and leisure travelers around the world. The ripple effect could affect global travel into the weekend and possibly into next week..."


Dow Theorist Richard Russell Predicts Israel Strike On Iran Nuclear Facilities

Dow Theorist Richard Russell Predicts Israel Strike On Iran Nuclear Facilities: "This has been a concern for world markets for awhile, and now the famous Richard Russell of the Dow Theory Letters chimes in.

Here's what he wrote yesterday:

Russell is thinking -- The US has always played 'big Brother' to Israel. But lately the two have had arguments and it's clear hat the US has pulled away from Israel. It occurs to me that Israel is planning to attack Iran and destroy its nuclear facilities. If so, the US does not want to be connected or involved with any attack on Iran and the Muslim world. I find it hard to believe that Israel will sit tight as Iran develops full nuclear capabilities. Iran's crazy leader has already sworn to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Israel is dealing with Ahmadinejad, who is a lying mad-man. Jews had their fill of madmen with Hitler, and I'm thinking Israelis no longer trust anti-Semitic madmen ('never again'). My bet -- Israel attacks Iran while the US plays 'Gee, what's happening?'"


Seoul Cautious as Fingers Point at N. Korea

Seoul cautious as fingers point at N. Korea - English: "The South Korean government continues to take a cautious approach on the mysterious sinking of a patrol ship in March, despite increased speculation that North Korea was behind the disaster.

Both ruling and opposition lawmakers, the media and the public are demanding answers on what caused the 1,200-ton South Korean Navy ship to split in two and sink on March 26, about 2 kilometers southwest of Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea.

Forty-six of the 104 crew members aboard were dead or missing.

Pressed for information, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young has repeatedly said, 'I have in mind all possibilities.'

Such uncertainty has already affected plans to restart the six-party talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program..."


BBC News - Today - Lovelock: 'We can't save the planet'

BBC News - Today - Lovelock: 'We can't save the planet': "Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who developed Gaia theory, has said it is too late to try and save the planet.

The man who achieved global fame for his theory that the whole earth is a single organism now believes that we can only hope that the earth will take care of itself in the face of completely unpredictable climate change..."


14 April, 2010

The last few weeks...

Once again, I find myself having to apologize for not posting regularly. This time, however, I have a great excuse. I went to the ER a few weeks ago, thinking I had a bad sinus infection, only to have a simple blood test reveal more extensive issues. What occurred next amounted to a roller coaster ride of craziness wherein several unrelated, and fairly minor illnesses conspired together to try to kill me.

My last few weeks included such wonderful adventures as having to be choppered to a larger hospital in a neighboring state; and spending several days and nights, teetering in and out of consciousness, unable to breathe well enough to keep the CO2 off my system, and being essentially kept alive by a BIPAP machine in a last ditch effort to avoid putting me on a ventilator that i very likely would never have come off of.

Luckily, that is behind me now and I am back resting comfortably at the old homestead. I'm still pretty weak, but feeling a million times better and regaining strength every day.

Anyway, enjoy the articles.


Ashtabula County: Judge tells residents to "Arm themselves"

Ashtabula County: Judge tells residents to "Arm themselves": "In the ongoing financial crisis in Ashtabula County, the Sheriff's Department has been cut from 112 to 49 deputies. With deputies assigned to transport prisoners, serve warrants and other duties, only one patrol car is assigned to patrol the entire county of 720 square miles.

'I did the best with what they (the county commissioners) gave me. If it wasn't enough, don't blame me, don't blame this department,' said Sheriff Billy Johnson.

Johnson said he is suing the commissioners to get a determination of whether he should use his limited budget to carry out obligations defined by law or put more patrol cars on the streets.

'I just can't do it anymore,' he said. 'I have to have the court explain to the commissioners and to me what my statutory duties are.'

The Ashtabula County Jail has confined as many as 140 prisoners. It now houses only 30 because of reductions in the staff of corrections officers.

All told, 700 accused criminals are on a waiting list to serve time in the jail.

Are there dangerous people free among the 700 who cannot be locked up?

'There probably are,' Sheriff Johnson said, 'but I'm telling you, any known violent criminal, we're housing them. We've got murderers in there.'

Ashtabula County is the largest county in Ohio by land area.

Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey was asked what residents should do to protect themselves and their families with the severe cutback in law enforcement.

'Arm themselves,' the judge said. 'Be very careful, be vigilant, get in touch with your neighbors, because we're going to have to look after each other'..."


CBO chief says debt 'unsustainable'

CBO chief says debt 'unsustainable' - Jonathan Allen - POLITICO.com: "The nation’s fiscal path is “unsustainable,” and the problem “cannot be solved through minor tinkering,” the head of the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday morning.

Doug Elmendorf, best known for arbitrating the costs of various health care proposals, added his voice to a growing chorus of economic experts who predict dire consequences if political leaders don’t scale back spending, increase taxes or both — and soon."


The Latest Gold Fraud Bombshell: Canada's Only Bullion Bank Gold Vault Is Practically Empty

The Latest Gold Fraud Bombshell: Canada's Only Bullion Bank Gold Vault Is Practically Empty | zero hedge: "Continuing on the trail of exposing what is rapidly becoming one of the largest frauds in commodity markets history is the most recent interview by Eric King with GATA's Adrian Douglas, Harvey Orgen (who recently testified before the CFTC hearing) and his son, Lenny, in which the two discuss their visit to the only bullion bank vault in Canada, that of ScotiaMocatta, located at 40 King Street West in Toronto, and find the vault is practically empty. This is a relevant segue to a class action lawsuit filed against Morgan Stanley, which was settled out of court, in which it was alleged that Morgan Stanley told clients it was selling them precious metals that they would own in full and that the company would store, yet even despite charging storage fees was not in actual possession of the bullion. It appears that this kind of lack of physical holdings by all who claim to have gold in storage, is pervasive as the actual gold globally is held primarily in paper or electronic form. Lenny Organ who was the person to enter the vault of ScotiaMocatta, says 'What shocked me was how little gold and silver they actually had.' Lenny describes exactly how much (or little as the case may be) silver was available - roughly 60,000 ounces. As for gold - 210 400 oz bars, 4,000 maples, 500 eagles, 10 kilo bars, 10 one kilogram pieces of gold nugget form, which Adrian Douglas calculates as being $100 million worth, which is just one tenth of what the Royal Mint of Canada sold in 2008, or over $1 billion worth of gold. As Orgen concludes: 'The game ends when the people who own all these paper obligations say enough and take physical delivery, and that's when the mess will occur'..."


With 1 in 5 Americans out of work, Obama issues over a million green cards

With 1 in 5 Americans out of work, Obama issues over a million green cards: "The Department of Homeland Security has just reported that during 2009, they issued 1,130,818 new Green Cards to foreign nationals, allowing them to work legally in this country. That number represents the fourth highest number of cards issued in one year...

... In Feb. 2009, the financial institution Merrill Lynch announced that the nation’s actual unemployment rate had reached 13.9 percent. A year later, that number had risen to 17.3 percent. This figure represents Americans who have been laid off from full-time positions and are now working part-time, as well as those who have simply stopped looking for work, and workers whose unemployment benefits have run out.

The official unemployment figure given monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is now listed around 10 percent, but represents only those Americans currently receiving unemployment checks, and is not truly indicative of the dire employment situation now facing the U.S..."


01 April, 2010

Michigan Neighborhood Overrun By Rats

Just like London and other cities that existed prior to modern infrastructure, so goes our modern metropolises. Expect to hear these types of stories more often as said infrastructure collapses and we are forced to revert to the way people lived in Dickens novels.


Mich. neighborhood complains of rats - UPI.com: "Residents of a Michigan neighborhood said they have taken pictures and video of a plague of rats overrunning the outside of their homes.

Some residents said they are staying inside their Madison Heights homes at night to avoid encounters with the rats, which have been photographed running rampant around garbage cans, under decks and inside barbecue grills, WDIV-TV, Detroit, reported Wednesday

The neighbors said they have contacted the city about the rodent problem but there has been no meaningful action on the part of officials.

'We've cleaned everything up. We've done poison, we've done this and that, and it's got worse,' resident Mick Hohner said. 'If it's only a few of us doing it, it's not going to get better.'

City officials said they recommend residents help curb rat problems by keeping their trash secure and their yards free of pet waste."


Updates On The Terrorism Front

Al Qaeda operative: Osama bin Laden healthy, calling the shots: "... A Newsweek article sheds light on recent revelations from a secret FBI recording, where captured Al Qaeda operative Raja Lharsib Khan discusses his relationship with other terrorist factions. Khan traveled back and forth to his native Pakistan recently and networked near the Afghanistan border with Ilyas Kashmiri, the head of a Sunni extremist group closely linked to Al Qaeda.

After meeting with Kashmiri, Khan was updated about bin Laden. The recognized Al Qaeda leader is 'commanding everythings [sic],' Khan said Kashmiri had told him, according to the FBI affidavit. 'He’s commanding, he’s giving orders.'”

Khan offered these tidbits in a March 12 conversation with an undercover FBI agent..."


Osama bin Laden, in tape, threatens to kill Americans | Reuters: "Osama bin Laden, in a fresh audiotape, threatened to execute any Americans taken prisoner by al Qaeda if accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is executed, al Jazeera television reported on Thursday..."