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31 January, 2011

100 Million Potentially Impacted by Next Storm

100 Million Potentially Impacted by Next Storm - weather.com: "What: After slamming the Plains and Midwest, a significant winter storm will move into the Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic and New England.

When: Early Wednesday morning (Groundhog Day) through early Thursday (February 3)

Cities Potentially Impacted: Greensboro | Roanoke | Charlottesville | Charleston, WV | Pittsburgh | Washington, DC | Baltimore | Philadelphia | New York | Syracuse | Buffalo | Albany | Hartford | Boston

Scenario: A winter storm containing a good deal of moisture will move from the Ohio Valley and mid-South into the Northeast. A secondary storm system could develop off the Virginia coast and track toward Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Impacts: Significant icing could unfold for West Virginia, the Piedmont of Virginia leading into Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. For a time, icing could target Washington, DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

As it stands right now, the heaviest snow has the best chance to fall across the interior Northeast from Pennsylvania into upstate New York and New England. With several days until this significant storm event, the finer details will be outlined early next week."


Egypt and Tunisia Usher in the New Era of Global Food Revolutions

Egypt and Tunisia usher in the new era of global food revolutions - Telegraph: "... Events have moved briskly since a Tunisian fruit vendor with a handcart set fire to himself six weeks ago, and in doing so lit the fuse that has detonated Egypt and threatens to topple the political order of the Maghreb, Yemen, and beyond.

As we sit glued to Al-Jazeera watching authority crumble in the cultural and political capital of the Arab world, exhilaration can turn quickly to foreboding...

... The surge in global food prices since the summer – since Ben Bernanke signalled a fresh dollar blitz, as it happens – is not the underlying cause of Arab revolt, any more than bad harvests in 1788 were the cause of the French Revolution.

Yet they are the trigger, and have set off a vicious circle. Vulnerable governments are scrambling to lock up world supplies of grain while they can. Algeria bought 800,000 tonnes of wheat last week, and Indonesia has ordered 800,000 tonnes of rice, both greatly exceeding their normal pace of purchases. Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Bangladesh, are trying to secure extra grain supplies..."


Communicate If Your Government Shuts Off Your Internet

Communicate if Your Government Shuts Off Your Internet - Wired How-To Wiki: "Scenario: Your government is displeased with the communication going on in your location and pulls the plug on your internet access, most likely by telling the major ISPs to turn off service.

This is what happened in Egypt Jan. 25 prompted by citizen protests, with sources estimating that the Egyptian government cut off approximately 88 percent of the country's internet access. What do you do without internet? Step 1: Stop crying in the corner. Then start taking steps to reconnect with your network. Here’s a list of things you can do to keep the communication flowing..."


28 January, 2011

Risk of Riots Rising as Governments Cut Food Subsidies, UN's Sheeran Says

Risk of Riots Rising as Governments Cut Food Subsidies, UN's Sheeran Says - Bloomberg: "Risks of global instability are rising as governments cut subsidies that help the poor cope with surging food and fuel costs to ease budget crunches, the head of the United Nations’ World Food Program said.

'We’re in an era where the world and nations ignore the food issue at their peril,' Josette Sheeran said in an interview yesterday at the agency’s Rome headquarters.

The global recession has eroded government aid that helped people in poorer countries afford bread, cooking oils and other staples. The trend raises the odds of unrest even though prices have improved in many nations from 2007-2009, Sheeran said. During that period, more than 60 food riots occurred worldwide, according to the U.S. State Department..."


Only 47% Of Working Age Americans Have Full Time Jobs

Only 47% Of Working Age Americans Have Full Time Jobs: "... The total non institutional civilian labor force (Americans 16 years and older who are not in a institution -criminal, mental, or other types of facilities- or an active military duty) is reported as 238.889 million. Of these, we see:

* Employed: 139.206 million people (58.3% of labor force)

* Unemployed: 14.485 million people (6.1% of labor force)

Obviously, that can't be the total picture, we're only at 64.4%. This is why:

* Part time employed for economic reasons: 8.931 million people. This concerns people who want a full-time job but can't get one.

* Part time employed for non-economic reasons: 18.184 million people. Non-economic reasons include school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, but also childcare problems and family or personal obligations.

But the by far largest category 'missing' from both the Employed and Unemployed statistics is the 'Not In Labor Force': 85.2 Million people.

The BLS definition states: 'Not in the labor force (NILF). A person who did not work last week, was not temporarily absent from a job, did not actively look for work in the previous 4 weeks, or looked but was unavailable for work during the reference week; in other words, a person who was neither employed nor unemployed.' (Clearly, this does include lot of unemployed people).

To summarize: 108.616 million people in America are either unemployed, underemployed or "Not in the labor force". This represents 45.5% of working age Americans.

If you count the 'Part time employed for non-economic reasons", you get 126.8 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, working part time or "Not in the labor force'. That represents 53% of working age Americans.

So only 47% of working age Americans have full time jobs..."


The Great Debt Shift

The Great Debt Shift | FINANCIAL SENSE: "If one were asked to describe the major global economic changes that have unfolded since the financial crisis began, a good starting place would be the massive shift of debt from the private to the public sector. Attempting to arrest a deepening crisis, governments all around the world have bailed out businesses and companies by transferring bad debts to the public books. Although these moves have provided some current stability (after all, governments are much less likely to default), the long-term consequences may be dire.

Two of the world's largest economies, the EU ($16 trillion) and the US ($14 trillion), have become the leading practitioners of private-to-public debt shifting. The US has assumed the debts of banks, insurers, mortgage holders, and even entire industrial sectors. The European Union has done the same for entire states. The resulting public debt levels are, predictably, placing strains on both the dollar and the euro..."


27 January, 2011

The Day After The Dollar Crashes - A Survival Guide for the Rise of the New World Order

YouTube - The Day After The Dollar Crashes - A Survival Guide for the Rise of the New World Order


Paper Money Madness: Inflation-Fueled Economic Growth Does Not Indicate That An Economy Is Getting Stronger

Paper Money Madness: Inflation-Fueled Economic Growth Does Not Indicate That An Economy Is Getting Stronger: "If the U.S. economy 'grows' by 4 percent in 2011, but by the end of the year we are paying $3.00 for a loaf of bread, $4.00 for a gallon of milk and $5.00 for a gallon of gasoline are the American people going to be better off economically or worse off? The answer is obvious, but most 'experts' in the mainstream media continue to insist that as long as U.S. GDP is increasing and as long as the stock market is going up that our economy is improving. But that is just not the case. If the amount of money in circulation was relatively constant, those measurements would be helpful, but unfortunately the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are dramatically pumping up the money supply right now. Just because larger amounts of paper money are changing hands does not mean that the economy is getting stronger. Of course GDP is going to rise when there is much more money in the system. But economic growth that is fueled by inflation is just an illusion and it is not an indicator of economic health at all..."


Economic Stimulus: Quantitative Easing QE3

Economic Stimulus: Quantitative Easing QE3 | Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog: "In November 2010, the Federal Reserve announced a second round of economic stimulus commonly referred to as Quantitative Easing (QE2). The reason, according to the Fed, was 'progress toward its objectives has been disappointingly slow.' So, to try and turn the economy around, the Fed said, '. . . the Committee intends to purchase a further $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter (June) of 2011, a pace of about $75 billion per month.' QE means the Fed basically creates money out of thin air to buy debt. The current money printing orgy is financing more than half of U.S. government right now. The first round of QE bought toxic mortgage debt and bailed out the bankers.

What was not said in the press release was much more important and may go down as one of the biggest turning points in the history of America. Bringing on QE2 meant QE1 ($1.75 trillion) failed to provide a sustained recovery. It also exposed the $12.3 trillion total spent or loaned by the Fed since the meltdown of 2008 failed to give the economy a lasting boost. The Fed did save some businesses and all the big Wall Street Banks from bankruptcy, but we now know nothing has really been fixed..."


Finally, It’s the Fed That Has Become Too Big to Fail

Finally, It’s the Fed That Has Become Too Big to Fail: "We’re still not sure whether CNBC was making a joke or simply advertising its ignorance with a recent headline, “Accounting Tweak Could Save Fed from Losses,” This was a tweak about as subtle and ingenuous as Bernie Madoff’s balance sheet. What the central bank did was revise and advantage its own rules so that if some financial catastrophe were to inflict huge losses on the Federal Reserve System, the U.S. Treasury would take the hit, not the Fed itself. Oh, and taxpayers needn’t be concerned about the presumptuousness of this coy arrangement, since the changes provide for the Fed to pay back the losses with future profits. Do we really need to point out to CNBC et al. that any such profits would have to come almost entirely from…interest income on Treasury bills, bonds and notes held by the Fed?..."


26 January, 2011

These Deadly Animals Will Kill You In Seconds

These deadly animals will kill you in seconds | Before It's News: "Everyone knows that big, mean animals can kill you.

Most people with common sense try to avoid creatures with big teeth and claws and eyes that view humans as a potential next meal.

Lions and sharks and bears and rhinos, slithering jungle snakes, chomping alligators and crocodiles, and even jumping fanged spiders are to be avoided at all costs.

Yet thousands of people lose their lives every year to harmless-looking animals that can kill or paralyze a human in a matter of moments. These are the secret killers that strike out and steal away a person's life when least expected.

Many of the dead and dying are vacationers, often visiting exotic, adventurous spots featuring enticing food and drink, great weather, bright sunshine...and a handful of death lurking around the next corner..."


"Buy A Gun" Google Queries Hit All Time High, And Other Off The Grid Economic Indicators

"Buy A Gun" Google Queries Hit All Time High, And Other Off The Grid Economic Indicators | zero hedge: "In lieu of a credible macroeconomic data reporting infrastructure in America, increasingly more people are forced to resort to secondary trend indicators, most of which have zero economic 'credibility' within the mainstream, yet which provide just as good a perspective of what may be happening behind the scenes in this once great country... And so, in looking for a variety of other 'off the grid' economic indicators we read a recent report by Nicholas Colas, which proves to us that we are not the only 'nerdy' entity out there increasingly searching for metrics that have some rooting in reality, and not in the FASB-BLS-Census Bureau joint ventured never-never land. And while we recreate the key points from the report, the one item that should be highlighted is that, as we have suspected for a while, the social undertow of fear, skepticism and anger is coming to a boil, as Google queries of the 'Buy A Gun' search querry have just hit an all time high..."


Siberians Raided Rodent Caches for Food

Siberians Raided Rodent Caches for Food: "To survive brutal winters, inhabitants of Siberia and the Russian Far East as recently as the late 19th century raided food stores—of rodents.

According to a new study, records by 18th-century Russian, Swedish, and German explorers describe people using sticks, hoes, or hooks to dig up caches of food gathered by voles and other small mammals.

At the time, most indigenous groups in the region lived nomadically, getting the bulk of their food from hunting, fishing, or herding sheep and horses.

In the absence of agriculture, people living in the region got all their vegetables from the wild, said study leader Ingvar Svanberg, an ethnobiologist at Uppsala University's Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies in Sweden.

'Instead of gathering themselves, by digging up roots in the fields, [people] let rodents do that for them,' Svanberg said..."


Lost City of 'Cloud People' Found in Peru

Lost city of 'cloud people' found in Peru - Telegraph: "The settlement covers some 12 acres and is perched on a mountainside in the remote Jamalca district of Utcubamba province in the northern jungles of Peru's Amazon.

The buildings found on the Pachallama peak are in remarkably good condition, estimated to be over 1,000 years old and comprised of the traditional round stone houses built by the Chachapoya, the 'Cloud Forest People'.

The area is completely overgrown with the jungle now covering much of the settlement but explorers found the walls of the buildings and rock paintings on a cliff face.

The remote nature of the site appears to have protected the site from looters as archaeologists found ceramics and undisturbed burial sites..."


U.K. Economy Shrinks and Pound Plunges

UK economy shrinks and pound plunges: "An unexpected contraction in the British economy shocked investors on Tuesday, prompting a sharp drop in the pound and reigniting debate about the government's plans to slash spending and raise taxes to reduce public debt.

The figures showing a 0.5 percent GDP drop in the last three months of 2010 reined in expectations that the Bank of England would start raising interest rates soon in response to stubbornly high inflation levels..."


25 January, 2011

Yellowstone Has Bulged as Magma Pocket Swells

Yellowstone Has Bulged as Magma Pocket Swells: "Yellowstone National Park's supervolcano just took a deep 'breath,' causing miles of ground to rise dramatically, scientists report.

The simmering volcano has produced major eruptions—each a thousand times more powerful than Mount St. Helens's 1980 eruption—three times in the past 2.1 million years. Yellowstone's caldera, which covers a 25- by 37-mile (40- by 60-kilometer) swath of Wyoming, is an ancient crater formed after the last big blast, some 640,000 years ago.

Since then, about 30 smaller eruptions—including one as recent as 70,000 years ago—have filled the caldera with lava and ash, producing the relatively flat landscape we see today.

But beginning in 2004, scientists saw the ground above the caldera rise upward at rates as high as 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) a year.

The rate slowed between 2007 and 2010 to a centimeter a year or less. Still, since the start of the swelling, ground levels over the volcano have been raised by as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) in places..."


Tiny California Town Prints Its Own Currency

Stimulus Writ Small: Tiny California Town Prints Its Own Currency | The Utopianist - Think Bigger: "Josh Freeman of North Fork, CA sure took President Obama’s talk about providing help to “Main Street, not Wall Street” seriously. The tiny town of 2,400 people, located near Yosemite National Park, sits in a county with a staggering 15.7 percent unemployment rate. Seeing his town struggle, Freeman did what any red-blooded American would do: create his own currency. North Fork Shares, emblazoned with pictures of a butterflies and hummingbirds, are worth $12 per share, and are available in half and quarter shares.

This idea actually isn’t new; Ithaca, NY has its own currency, Ithaca Hours, which it launched way back in 1991. There are plenty of other local currencies around the United States: BerkShares in Massachusetts, the Plenty in Pittsboro, N.C., etc. The idea is to keep money in the community by encouraging spending only at local vendors who accept the money, like Disney Dollars..."


What Every American Needs To Understand About The Economy

What Every American Needs To Understand About The Economy: "As the United States debates its economic future in light of large government budget deficits, it is important that the public has a clear understanding of how the economy works. A good starting point for understanding how the economy works is to understand how it is measured.

Economies are measured in terms of their Gross Domestic Product or GDP. GDP is made up of personal consumption expenditure, private investment, net trade (i.e. exports minus imports) and government spending at both the federal level and the state and local level. If the size of each of these components is known, it is only necessary to add them together to find the size of the whole economy. In 2009, the United States GDP was $14.1 trillion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Of that amount, spending on personal consumption accounted for 71% or $10 trillion; private investment 11% or $1.6 trillion; and government spending 21% or $2.9 trillion, with federal government spending of $1.1 trillion and state and local government spending of $1.8 trillion. Net trade deducted 3% or $390 billion from GDP because exports from the US were $390 billion less than imports into the US.

So, what is the outlook for the US economy? The outlook for personal consumption is bad..."


'Super Stagflation' End Game?

'Super Stagflation' End Game?: "'Britain in battle over stagflation ... New figures set to confirm that growth has slowed, while unemployment and oil prices rise – a severe problem that blighted the 1970s. Fears are growing that the UK is running the risk of a period of painful 'stagflation', as official figures should this week show that growth continued to slow down in the final three months of 2010. Analysts think the economy is already showing symptoms of stagflation – the toxic cocktail of stagnating growth and rising prices that leaves policymakers unable to tackle one problem without making the other worse. Households suffer, as the weak labour market means wages do not keep pace with wider price rises in the economy. The UK experienced a severe bout of stagflation in the 1970s, when the oil price shock contributed to larger contractions in output and a surge in inflation. Similar forces are at work in the UK economy now, analysts say, pointing to the persistently above target inflation despite the slowing pace of growth.' – UK Telegraph..."


24 January, 2011

The "Independent" Fed Admits The Truth

The "Independent" Fed Admits The Truth in [Market-Ticker]: "It is not independent, it is an arm of Treasury.

Everything you were told was a scam and a lie...

'But the new rules have slowly begun to catch the attention of market analysts. Many are at once surprised that the Fed can set its own guidelines, and also relieved that the remote but dangerous possibility that the world's most powerful central bank might need to ask the U.S. Treasury or its member banks for money is now more likely to be averted.

The change essentially allows the Fed to denote losses by the various regional reserve banks that make up the Fed system as a liability to the Treasury rather than a hit to its capital. It would then simply direct future profits from Fed operations toward that liability.'

Got it?

Independent monetary authority my ass.

Function follows form. Anyone who believes that The Fed is independent after this charade, which incidentally it did on its own (and that, by itself, is cute - The Fed's 'balance sheets' would never have passed examination under GAAP) has rocks in their head..."


The U.N. Wants New Global Currency to Replace Dollar

UN wants new global currency to replace dollar - Telegraph: "In a radical report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said the system of currencies and capital rules which binds the world economy is not working properly, and was largely responsible for the financial and economic crises.

It added that the present system, under which the dollar acts as the world's reserve currency , should be subject to a wholesale reconsideration.

Although a number of countries, including China and Russia, have suggested replacing the dollar as the world's reserve currency, the UNCTAD report is the first time a major multinational institution has posited such a suggestion..."


Kroger Storm Watchers Prepare 24/7

Kroger storm watchers prepare 24/7 | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com: "In a non-descript Blue Ash office building, Kroger associates work around the clock to track bad weather forming from Anchorage to Atlanta.

They're looking for mudslides in Washington State, forest fires in California, tornados in Kansas, hurricanes in Texas, ice storms in the Southeast.

Today, it's a snowstorm right here at home.

At the earliest signs of any natural disaster, Kroger associates begin a detailed process of preparing stores, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, truck fleets and store employees to make Kroger's response to a storm as unnoticeable to customers as possible..."


Which Of The Currencies Of The World Is Going To Crash First?

Which Of The Currencies Of The World Is Going To Crash First?: "Last year was an absolutely fascinating time for world currency markets. The yen, the dollar and the euro all took their turns in the spotlight. Each experienced wild swings at various times, but the overall theme that we saw was that faith in paper currencies is dying. The biggest reason for this is the horrific sovereign debt crisis that has swept the globe. The United States, Japan and a whole host of European nations are all drowning in debt. The U.S. and Japan are both steamrolling toward insolvency, and several European nations would have already defaulted on their debts if they had not been bailed out. So which of the major currencies of the world is going to crash first? Will one (or more) of the big currencies fall before the end of 2011? Once one major currency collapses will the rest start to fall like dominoes? The truth is that the world has never seen a sovereign debt crisis of this magnitude in all of human history. Almost the entire globe is drowning in a sea of red ink and it has brought us right to the brink of financial disaster..."


21 January, 2011

'Explosive' Food Prices the Biggest Risk According to Analyst

Food Inflation - 'Explosive' Food Prices the Biggest Risk: Analyst - CNBC: "Overheating emerging markets, in China in particular, pose the biggest threat to the market and political situation in 2011 according to Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets.

'These economies are clearly overheating and governments are putting measures in place to slow them down to fight inflationary pressure. More than anything else, food inflation is a problem,' Gijsels told CNBC.com.

'In countries were 70 percent to 80 percent and sometimes more of a family's budget goes to food, explosive price rises risk to destabilize these societies. Remember the old saying: 'hunger starves civilizations'' he added..."


The Great Depression II

American Thinker: The Great Depression II: "One basis for deciding whether we are in a 'recession' or a 'depression' is distinguishing how recessions become depressions. With the hindsight of history, we already know.

Parallels between America's current economic crisis and the 1930's Great Depression are instructive. Then, as now, hardship was preceded by a major banking upheaval. Then, as now, a regulatory blizzard followed. Then, as now, millions were displaced. And then, as now, the cause of the Great Depression was widely misunderstood. Many believe today that the 1929 stock market crash caused the Great Depression all by itself, that it was so severe it mysteriously destroyed wealth for another 13 years. To put that in perspective, the serious Carter-era recession should have, by this logic, precluded the Reagan recovery in 1982 and perhaps wreaked havoc until 1990. Not only is this argument absurd, it manifestly did not happen..."


Disinformation Fog Intensifies As Economic Turmoil Develops

Neithercorp Press - Blog Archive - Disinformation Fog Intensifies As Economic Turmoil Develops: "In the past few years, the concept of economic globalism has revealed itself as quite the Trojan horse; once posing as the next step in the evolution of “free market” capitalism and the savior of third world nations striving for development status, now revealed as a fiscal plague spreading delirium and destruction wherever it touches ground. There is no denying that the economies of the world are irrevocably tied to one another, but until recently, this was always thought of as a “good thing” in mainstream financial circles. Today, the great failings of engineered interdependency are painfully apparent. The EU’s many peripheral nations are dropping one after another like flies in a fog of DDT, rising economies in Asia are bloated with investment capital escaping from debt default in the West, causing impressive levels of inflation, and the U.S. is on the verge of a currency implosion as the Federal Reserve opens the floodgates of fiat in a bid to hide our system’s extreme destabilization and maintain what little international faith is left in our ability to service our rampant liabilities. Globalism has led us to disaster..."


The True State of the Economy -- You Better Be Darn Scared

The True State of the Economy -- You Better Be Darn Scared: "The damnable lies that continue out of lazy, corrupt media mouthpieces regarding the true state of the economy is nothing short of reprehensible. We expect politicians to lie every time they open their mouths. We expect ethically bankrupt crooks like Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner to lie every time they open their mouth to protect their banking interests. However, a free media is supposed to be the watch dog for government corruption and report the facts, not propaganda. Not so for a long, long time for what is known as the 'mainstream' media. Fools they are because like tens of millions of others, they will also be reduced to penury. Lackeys for their corporate masters no longer question numbers; perhaps they are as ignorant as the majority of adults in this country when it comes to fiat currency and taxation..."


Austerity In America: 22 Signs That It Is Already Here And That It Is Going To Be Very Painful

Austerity In America: 22 Signs That It Is Already Here And That It Is Going To Be Very Painful: "Over the past couple of years, most Americans have shown little concern as austerity measures were imposed on financially troubled nations across Europe. Even as austerity riots erupted in nations such as Greece and Spain, most Americans were still convinced that nothing like that could ever happen here. Well, guess what? Austerity has arrived in America. At this point, it is not a formal, mandated austerity like we have seen in Europe, but the results are just the same. Taxes are going up, services are being slashed dramatically, thousands of state and city employees are being laid off, and politicians seem to be endlessly talking about ways to make even deeper budget cuts. Unfortunately, even with the incredibly severe budget cuts that we have seen already, many state and local governments across the United States are still facing a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see..."


20 January, 2011

Crime-Ridden City Forced to Cut Police Force Nearly in Half

Crime-ridden Camden, N.J., cuts police force nearly in half - CNN.com: "The mayor of crime-ridden Camden, New Jersey, has announced layoffs of nearly half of the city's police force and close to a third of its fire department.

One hundred sixty-eight police officers and 67 firefighters were laid off Tuesday, as officials struggle to close a $26.5 million budget gap through a series of belt-tightening measures, Mayor Dana Redd told reporters. The layoffs take effect immediately...

... The apparent impasse has left administrators of a city with the second-highest crime rate in the nation scrambling to figure out solutions to keep residents safe. Camden is second only to St. Louis, Missouri, in annual rankings of cities based on compilations of FBI crime statistics..."


Investigators Baffled As Wheat Fields Wither

Investigators Baffled As Wheat Fields Wither: "The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University are investigating the yellowing of upward of 40,000 acres of wheat in Umatilla and Morrow counties.

So far, the cause is a mystery, and researchers do not know if the problems in the two counties are related.

In early November, Umatilla County growers noticed wheat fields turning yellow and dying, OSU Extension soil scientist Don Wysocki said.

Sixteen fields from three to 10 miles northwest of Pendleton were affected, Wysocki said..."


Analysis: What Is Plan B If China Dumps Its U.S. Debt?

Analysis: What is Plan B if China dumps its U.S. debt? | Reuters: "When borrowing money it's always good to have a Plan B in case a big creditor pulls the plug. That should be true whether the sum is a few thousand dollars or about a trillion, the size of the United States government's debt to China.

With Chinese President Hu Jintao due to arrive in Washington on Tuesday, it is worth asking about U.S. officials' Plan B just in case one day relations take a surprise turn for the worse and Beijing dumps its holdings of U.S. treasuries.

China is officially the United States' biggest foreign creditor, with roughly $900 billion in Treasury holdings -- or over $1 trillion with Hong Kong's holdings included.

That means it could do severe damage to U.S. debt markets if it suddenly started selling large amounts..."


19 January, 2011

Doom & Gloom: Food Riots

Doom & Gloom: Food Riots: "Have you noticed that most Americans seem to know far more about American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Justin Bieber and their favorite sports teams than they do about world affairs? Most Americans cannot even find Tunisia and Algeria on a map, and if you told them that food riots are happening in those nations right now most of them would not even care anyway. We have become a very self-centered, self-involved and self-absorbed nation. Quite a few people have accused this column of being obsessed with 'doom and gloom', but the truth is that the world really is falling apart out there. What are we supposed to do? Are we all supposed to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be okay? Should we all not try to warn others so that they can prepare for what is coming? Until people understand that we are facing absolutely massive problems they are not going to be motivated to take significant action, and hopefully those of us that are proclaiming 'doom and gloom' are doing a good enough job of describing what is really going on out there that some people are starting to wake up and actually make changes..."


Scientists Warn California Could Be Sruck By Winter ‘Superstorm’

Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm’ - Yahoo! News: "A group of more than 100 scientists and experts say in a new report that California faces the risk of a massive 'superstorm' that could flood a quarter of the state's homes and cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage. Researchers point out that the potential scale of destruction in this storm scenario is four or five times the amount of damage that could be wrought by a major earthquake.

It sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic action movie, but scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey warned federal and state emergency officials that California's geological history shows such 'superstorms' have happened in the past, and should be added to the long list of natural disasters to worry about in the Golden State..."


The Black Swan Events of 2011?

The Black Swan Events of 2011? - FoxBusiness.com: "Remember the sickening plunge in the stock market last spring, May 6, 2010, the mysterious flash crash?

Remember that day? It felt like the markets were in a massive power blackout.

Can it happen again? What are the Black Swan events of 2011, the unpredictable events that can wreak utter chaos in the markets?

On that day last spring, protests in the streets of Greece were just aborning over fiscal austerity measures proposed by the government to rein in its debt crisis. As students winged oranges and bottles at cops, the markets here plunged a chilling 300 points plus by 2:42 p.m.

I was on set at the time on Fox Business covering the plunge. What happened next was terrifying. It reminded me of the 1987 crash, back when I was at Money Magazine. That was scary, too..."


China's Control of Rare-Earth Metals Poses Risk to U.S. Solar Future

China's control of rare-earth metals poses risk to U.S. solar future - The Denver Post: "China's tight control of rare metals may hurt developing domestic solar industries, according to a research director at the National Renewable Energy Lab.

'Folks are looking at, if we don't get it from China, how will we get it?' said Ryne Raffaele, director of the center for photovoltaics at NREL, the U.S. government's premier energy lab. 'Can it easily be mined?'

Scientists at NREL, west of Denver, use an array of rare metals in their research.

The Chinese government's recent move to cut rare-metal exports by 35 percent and rapid growth of solar-panel manufacturing inside China also are chilling the climate for scientific cooperation. China produces 55 percent of the world's solar panels..."


18 January, 2011

Next Shock Will Be High Food Prices

Next shock will be high food prices: "You will pay for all this water. Unless you are insulated from the normal costs of living, you can expect sticker shock at some point this year, or next, when paying for the weekly food shopping. We've had oil shocks. Prepare for food shocks.

Ten years ago, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's composite world food price index stood at 92. For the month of December it was 215.

The most expensive year on record was 2008, when 60 million people slid into poverty because of higher food costs. There were food riots. Over the past three months, the trend in the FAO's food price index was worse than 2008.
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The pressure in 2011 won't just be on food prices. The inundation of Queensland sent cotton futures to a record high. Cotton is basically twice as expensive as it was 10 years ago because of fundamentals: supply and demand..."


"... America will collapse..."

YouTube - 'America will collapse'


Civil War in Tunisia

Tunisia's security chief arrested - Washington Times: "Tunisian authorities struggled to restore order Sunday, arresting the top presidential security chief and trying to stop gunfights that erupted in and beyond the capital. One clash broke out around the deposed president's palace on the Mediterranean shore, another near the headquarters of the main opposition party.

Observers worldwide were looking to see which way the North African nation would turn as its new leadership sought to tamp down the looting, arson and random violence that has occurred since autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on Friday. The nation was in the midst of an unprecedented power shift for the Arab world..."


17 January, 2011

Inexpensive Perimeter Alarm

Inexpensive perimeter alarm | ModernSurvivalOnline.com: "Security after TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It) will be important. Depending upon your location – methods used to be aware of 'trespassers' will vary. For those on a budget – I have discovered a very inexpensive method to provide a decent alert when a passerby trips the alarm.

The main component is a window/door alarm that can be purchased at your local Dollar Tree for $1.00 each. These alarms are very loud (90 decibels). They contain a simple on-off switch and work via a corresponding piece that when moved away from the main unit – activates the alarm. Below are the step-by-step instructions on how I made one..."


Leading Computer Expert Warns Of Cyber Attack On National Grid

Leading computer expert warns of cyber attack on National Grid - News, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent: "The national electricity grid is wide open to a devastating cyber attack that could wreak havoc on the economy and make the 2008 financial crisis seem puny by comparison, a leading computer industry guru has told The Independent.

James Martin, who has made a fortune from making predictions about future developments in computers, warned that the only sure way of safeguarding the electricity grid against a coordinated cyber assault is to disconnect it completely from the internet..."


Higher Commodity Prices May Spur Inflation

Higher commodity prices may spur inflation - Yahoo! News: "Rising wholesale prices for food and energy are putting pressure on manufacturers and retailers to pass higher costs to customers. It's a trend that could raise inflation in the United States and slow economies in Asia and Latin America.

U.S. gas prices have topped $3 a gallon, and grain prices have reached a 2 1/2-year high. Some lawmakers say the increases illustrate the need for tighter limits on speculation in commodities markets.

Airlines, clothing manufacturers and some grocery stores have already raised retail prices. And even those companies that have resisted increases because they worry that customers can't afford them may be more reluctant to hire because of the squeeze..."


Brazil Mudslide Survivors Carry Food, Water to Those in Remote Villages

FoxNews.com - Brazil Mudslide Survivors Carry Food, Water to Those in Remote Villages: "Weary from days of steady rain, and bracing for severe thunderstorms predicted for Sunday, survivors of mudslides that have killed 611 in Brazil carried food, water and blankets to friends, neighbors and relatives still stranded in remote, stricken villages.

A slow stream of wet, muddy men and women, some in their bare feet, tied supermarket bags together and slung them over shoulders to carry basic provisions to those too frail to make the treacherous hike down to the city Saturday..."


14 January, 2011

John Williams Eyes Gold as Insurance Against Hyper Inflation Armageddon

John Williams Eyes Gold as Insurance Against Hyper Inflation Armageddon :: The Market Oracle :: Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting Free Website: "Stronger corporate balance sheets, tighter reins on costs and better stock performance in 2010 haven't swayed ShadowStats Editor John Williams' assertion that the bottom-bouncing economy is weaker than ever, with specters of hyperinflation and systemic financial collapse on the not-so-distant horizon. As he says in this exclusive Gold Report interview, the yellow metal is his 'insurance against Armageddon'—or at least the single best asset that people can use to ride out the storm..."


JPMorgan: Surging Food Prices Fueling Global Inflation

JPMorgan: Surging Food Prices Fueling Global Inflation: "Rising food prices are stoking global inflation with many agricultural commodity markets driven higher by bad weather in key producing countries, a senior trader at JPMorgan said.

'If you break down the inflation numbers then the impact of food has been extremely significant,' Will Shropshire, head of investor trading, product development and agriculturals for JPMorgan said in an interview.

'Increased prices for key agricultural food components (are) undoubtedly going to have an impact on inflation,' he added.

High food prices have moved to the top of policymakers' agendas because of worries about the impact on inflation, protectionism and unrest..."


Downsized! More and More Products Lose Weight

Downsized! More and More Products Lose Weight: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance: "Georgia reader Brian Petrino looked at his Angel Soft toilet tissue, labeled 'our thickest ever,' and fumed. The old roll had 352 sheets per roll; the new one had just 300 sheets, and they were narrower. 'It should say 'our smallest,' he groused.

From toothpaste to tuna fish, hot dogs to hand soap, companies have been shaving ounces and inches from packaged goods for years, usually blaming it on rising costs for ingredients and energy. They've got a point: Higher commodity and fuel costs are expected to cause a spike in food prices by as much as 3 percent in 2011. But if manufacturers are skimping when costs go up, why aren't they more generous when costs hold steady or fall?

No one likes a price hike, but what riles readers are the ways manufacturers hide their handiwork: indenting the bottom of containers (a favorite trick among peanut butter processors), making plastic wraps thinner, or whipping ice cream so that you pay for air instead of ingredients..."


13 January, 2011

Rise of the Preppers: Survivalists Get a Makeover

American Preppers Network and Survival - Natural Disasters and Preppers - Popular Mechanics: "As a truck driver hauling produce and food up and down the West Coast, Tom Martin knows first-hand how vulnerable the U.S. food supply is to disruption. 'I know what our supply chains are like,' he says. 'I know grocery stores rely on just in time services; they only have three days worth of food in any grocery store.'

In a disaster, that food will be gone in less than a day, and if you don't have food stored up, you'll be stuck, says Martin, who is one of a growing number of 'preppers,' or people who are prepping for large-scale disaster. The American Preppers Network, an online forum Martin started in 2009 that quickly grew to 4000 members in nearly all 50 states.

Are preppers just another group of paranoid doomsdayers? Not at all. Many of the scenarios they prepare for, like hurricanes, are quite real, unlike some of the outlandish scenarios (like a United Nations takeover, religious cleansing or government despotism) that drive more extreme members of the fringe. Jerry Young, a longtime prepper in Reno, Nevada, says he has list of 137 scenarios he's preparing for, though 'only a handful of those' are things he's seriously worried about. 'Mostly of my preparations are for natural disasters,' he says. 'But the basic preparations apply to all of them'..."


'One Poor Harvest Away From Chaos'

'One poor harvest away from chaos' - Telegraph: "'Within a decade,' promised the top representative of the world's mightiest country, 'no man, woman or child will go to bed hungry.'

Dr Henry Kissinger, at the height of his powers as US Secretary of State, was speaking to the landmark 1974 World Food Conference. Since then, the number of hungry people worldwide has almost exactly doubled: from 460 million to 925 million.

And this week the airwaves have been full of warnings that the formidable figure could be about to increase further, as a new food crisis takes hold. Some experts warned that the world could be on the verge of a 'nightmare scenario' of cut‑throat competition for the control of shrinking supplies..."


Survival Food Strategies for Real Food Minded Modern Warriors

Sarah Connor Charm School Blog: Survival Food Strategies for Real Food Minded Modern Warriors:: "Survivalist, Disaster Plan, Preparedness, TEOTWAWKI.

These are all words that conjure up end of the world scenarios in which, we are humans must fight to survive.

One of the key components to surviving an apocalyptic event is food storage. No matter the scenario, if you are going to survive to fight another day, you must be well nourished and fed not all stripped and burned out from eating heavily processed foods that you have had in the basement for the past 10 years. Most survivalists are well-versed in the MRE or Meal-Ready-To-Eat. These are much touted in the neo-survivalist community for their ability to be stored for years, and lightweight enough to grab and stuff in your bug-out bag, when you need to get the hell outta Dodge. But they don’t offer much in the way of nutrition.

Although I think having a few MREs on hand for very dire emergencies is OK, there are some major issues with them that caution me from making them my primary source of apocalyptic food. These factors also make me question having them on hand at all. They are full of preservatives, contain very little dietary fiber, and have an abundance of trans fats. All of which can wreak havoc on the body, weakening you when you need to be strong and making it hard for you to be at your best physically, thus earning them the nickname of 'Meals Requiring Enemas'. You really don’t want to be dealing with constipation, hives, or projectile vomiting when you are running for your life in the wilderness or fighting off Terminators..."


Deepening Crisis Traps America's Have-Nots

Deepening crisis traps America's have-nots - Telegraph: "There is a telling detail in the US retail chain store data for December. Stephen Lewis from Monument Securities points out that luxury outlets saw an 8.1pc rise from a year ago, but discount stores catering to America’s poorer half rose just 1.2pc.

Tiffany’s, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are booming. Sales of Cadillac cars have jumped 35pc, while Porsche’s US sales are up 29pc.

Cartier and Louis Vuitton have helped boost the luxury goods stock index by almost 50pc since October. Yet Best Buy, Target, and Walmart have languished.

Such is the blighted fruit of Federal Reserve policy. The Fed no longer even denies that the purpose of its latest blast of bond purchases, or QE2, is to drive up Wall Street, perhaps because it has so signally failed to achieve its other purpose of driving down borrowing costs.

Yet surely Ben Bernanke’s `trickle down’ strategy risks corroding America’s ethic of solidarity long before it does much to help America’s poor..."