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25 February, 2011

Saudi Ruler Offers $36bn to Stave Off Uprising Amid Warning Oil Price Could Double

Saudi ruler offers $36bn to stave off uprising amid warning oil price could double - Telegraph: "The king of Saudi Arabia last night announced $36bn of extra benefits for his people in an attempt to stop the wave of Arab uprisings spreading to the world’s biggest oil exporter, as experts warned Brent crude could hit $220 a barrel.

King Abdullah’s support package offers to give 18m lower and middle-income Saudi’s inflation-busting pay rises, unemployment benefits and affordable housing.

The cash-rich Saudi government pledged to spend a total of $400bn by the end of 2014 to improve education, health care and the kingdom’s infrastructure.

Charles Robertson, an analyst at Renaissance Capital, said investors are very concerned about what might happen in Saudi Arabia’s oil rich Eastern Province, the home of the kingdom’s restless Shi’ite minority..."


Oil Prices Could Be Game-Changer for World Economy

Analysis: Oil prices could be game-changer for world economy | Reuters: "Soaring oil prices are reaching levels that could threaten to brake improving but tentative global economic recovery, with an outside chance of a new recession or that most destructive of conditions, stagflation.

If the price spike is sustained, it will soon add pressure on central banks already worried about food prices to tighten monetary policy, a move that would mop up some of the liquidity that fostered recovery in the first place.

It will also hit different regions and countries differently, depending on their underlying economic strength and whether they are oil producers or importers..."


Rivers In The Sky: Atmospheric Bands of Water Vapor Can Cause Flooding and Extreme Weather

Rivers In The Sky - Science News: "... Like freight trains loaded with water vapor, atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands whose winds funnel huge amounts of moisture through the sky. When they hit coasts, these rivers can drop their moisture as rain and cause destructive flooding, as in January 2005 when more than 20 inches of rain soaked southern California, killing 14 people and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Scientists (and San Francisco) managed to escape December’s atmospheric river without such harm, but the storm dumped more than 10 feet of snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada, putting the mountains on track for their wettest recorded season. That sort of impact underscores why researchers have recently become fascinated with atmospheric rivers. Completely unknown just over a decade ago, these rivers turn out to be not only a key factor in Western flooding and water supply, but also a major player in the planet’s water cycle..."


Cost of...Everything...About to Go Up

Cost of...everything...about to go up - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC-: "You paid more last month for practically everything you bought.

From food to gas to airfare tickets - even clothing.

And now the price of everything is about to go up again.

A new report from The Labor Department indicates its concern about inflation, and businesses are claiming they can't absorb the rising cost of commodities alone. Many say they'll have no choice but to raise prices and shrink packages. Frustrating stuff for an economy that's supposed to be recovering..."


Market Crash 2011: It Will Hit By Christmas

Market Crash 2011: It will hit by Christmas Paul B. Farrell - MarketWatch: "Politicians lie. Bankers lie. Yes, they’re liars. But they’re not bad, it’s in their genes, inherited. Their brains are wired that way, warn scientists. Like addicts, they can’t help themselves. They want to sell stuff, get rich.

We want to believe they’re telling us the truth. Silly, huh? Both trapped in this eternal “dance of death” controlled by programs hidden deep in our brains, telling us what to do, telling us to ignore facts to the contrary — till it’s too late, till a new crisis crushes all of us.

Psychology offers us a powerful lesson: Our collective brain is destined to trigger a crash before Christmas 2011. Why? We’re gullible, keep searching for a truth-teller in a world of liars. And they’re so clever, we let them manipulate us into acting against our best interests..."


24 February, 2011

Connecting the Dots to Anarchy

Connecting the dots to anarchy: "Last year here in north Idaho, my garden failed. Miserably.

Not from lack of trying. But after having the 'winter of no winter' (very little snow), we also had the 'summer of no summer.' Well into the third week of June, the cold and rainy conditions made it nearly impossible for vegetables to grow.

It was a harsh lesson in some ways. Right now a garden's failure is merely an inconvenience. But in times past, a garden's failure could be catastrophic. After all, the French Revolution was triggered in large part because people were starving. Some say the recent riots in Egypt were fueled by surging wheat prices..."


Food/Financial Crisis of 2011

Food/Financial Crisis of 2011 : Agriculture: "World food inflation is smashing down on the world’s populations as prices rise precipitously in the face of increasing shortages and absurd monetary policies. Prices are rising everywhere. It is not millions but billions of people who must tighten their belts because they have no choice but to eat less. Billions of people on our planet have no discretionary funds so they just cannot afford the increased prices. They have to get by with less to eat. They have no choice.

Things can get so bad that people will not be able to buy foods at any price because they simply will not be available because they have been bought up by someone else. I am not talking about your neighbor here who just happened to beat you to the supermarket this morning. Imagine if China pulls out a $100 billion out of its almost bottomless pockets and purchases grain to feed its billions? Why wouldn’t they, after all, spend increasingly worthless paper on a mountain of food?..."


A Tipping Point Is Nearing

American Thinker: A Tipping Point Is Nearing: "We are facing a tipping point. There will soon be a crisis affecting US citizens beyond any experienced since the Great Depression. And it may happen within the year. This past week three awful developments put a dagger into the hope for a growth-led recovery, which held promise of possibly averting a debt and currency implosion crushing the American economy..."


The Collapse of America's Labor Force

The Collapse of America's Labor Force: "America continues to face a true national tragedy as tens of millions of unemployed people have been literally discarded because of big business outsourcing to China, India, and elsewhere. Worse yet, the unemployment statistics are manipulated every month in a cruel hoax to make it look like the unemployment rate is far lower than it really is. A high unemployment rate is embarrassing and would depress workers and business psychology, so workers are surgically removed from the labor force and hidden from view.

While the financial press states that we need to create at least 150,000 jobs a month to keep up with a growing labor force, they have failed to report that the number of workers no longer employed jumped by two million last year to 85 million, from 83 million in 2009. Some of these workers hidden from view are in welfare programs, and millions more simply vanish from the workforce using the government’s statistical magic..."


Why Are Food Prices Going Crazy?

Why Are Food Prices Going Crazy? : Planet Money : NPR: "Global wheat prices more than doubled in the second half of last year, according to a new report from the World Bank. The price of corn, sugar and cooking oil also soared.

Why are global food prices skyrocketing? Who is going to go hungry as a result? And what does it mean for the U.S.?..."


23 February, 2011

Scientists Warn of $2 Trillion Solar 'Katrina'

Scientists warn of $2 trillion solar 'Katrina' - CNN.com: "The sun is waking up from a long quiet spell. Last week it sent out the strongest flare for four years -- and scientists are warning that earth should prepare for an intense electromagnetic storm that, in the worst case, could be a 'global Katrina' costing the world economy $2,000bn.

Senior officials responsible for policy on solar storms -- also known as space weather -- in the US, UK and Sweden urged more preparedness at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington..."


Planet Could Be 'Unrecognizable' By 2050, Experts Say

Planet could be 'unrecognizable' by 2050, experts say - Yahoo! News: "A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an 'unrecognizable' world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, 'with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia,' said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

To feed all those mouths, 'we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000,' said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)..."


Inflation Makes Comeback as Prices Rise for Food, Fuel

Inflation makes comeback as prices rise for food, fuel - Washington Times: "Inflation is making a quick comeback after touching the lowest levels in decades last fall.

Fast-rising prices for food, fuel and other basic necessities, stoked by rapid growth in emerging countries, are coming home to American consumers despite reluctance by U.S. businesses to raise their prices.

A report from the Labor Department on Thursday showed consumer prices rose by 0.4 percent in each of the past two months — or a 4 percent annual rate over the last quarter f fed by the biggest gains in food prices in two years and surging energy prices..."


CDC: Deadly Superbug “C-Diff” Spreading

CDC: Deadly Superbug “C-Diff” Spreading - CBS Boston: "Three months after having knee replacement surgery, Kathleen Powers of Dennis is finally feeling well enough to do something as simple as make herself a cup of tea.

Her slow recovery has nothing to do with her knee. An infection she picked up either in the hospital or in the rehab facility ravaged her digestive system. “You feel like all of your life’s energy is being sucked out of you,” she said.

Tests confirmed Kathleen had C-Diff which is short for Clostridium Difficile. It’s a bacterium that attacks your intestines...

... According to the Centers for Disease Control, C-Diff kills thousands of people every year and that number is growing...

... Antibiotics are the standard treatment, but that doesn’t always work. 'In that situation, one can get very, very sick and have to have their colon removed,' Riccardi said.

Both Dr. Riccardi and the CDC blame a new strain of the bacteria for the increased cases of the bug..."


No Trust: Fear of 'Catastrophic' Crash Rising Despite Bull Market

CNBC's Fast Money: No Trust: Fear of 'Catastrophic' Crash Rising Despite Bull Market - CNBC: "In an unprecedented move, the number of investors fearing a catastrophic stock market crash is rising even with the stock market at 2 1/2 year highs.

The unusual dislocation comes from two distinct reasons: a lack of trust in the U.S. financial markets following the so-called Flash Crash last May and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2007"


18 February, 2011


Major Food Distributor Sysco: "IMMEDIATE VOLATILE PRICES, EXPECTED LIMITED AVAILABLITITY, AND MEDIOCRE QUALITY AT BEST.": "Adding to already rising food prices due to monetary inflation and weather related supply problems around the globe, one of the world’s leading food distribution companies, Sysco Corporation, is advising clients and their customers that the recent freeze across North America has significantly impacted growing operations in Mexico (as well as parts of the U.S.) leading to 80% - 100% crop damage..."


21 Signs That The Once Great U.S. Economy Is Being Gutted, Neutered, Defanged, Declawed And Deindustrialized

21 Signs That The Once Great U.S. Economy Is Being Gutted, Neutered, Defanged, Declawed And Deindustrialized: "Once upon a time, the United States was the greatest industrial powerhouse that the world has ever seen. Our immense economic machinery was the envy of the rest of the globe and it provided the foundation for the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world. But now the once great U.S. economic machine is being dismantled piece by piece. The U.S. economy is being gutted, neutered, defanged, declawed and deindustrialized and very few of our leaders even seem to care. It was the United States that once showed the rest of the world how to mass produce televisions and automobiles and airplanes and computers, but now our industrial base is being ripped to shreds. Tens of thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas. Many of our proudest manufacturing cities have been transformed into 'post-industrial' hellholes that nobody wants to live in anymore..."


Trouble in Wisconsin: Gov. Says National Guard Could Respond to Unrest, as State Employees Learn of his Budget Proposal

WUWM: News - Walker Says National Guard could Respond to Unrest, as State Employees Learn of his Budget Proposal: "Gov. Scott Walker says he is confident state workers will continue to show up for work and do their jobs, despite their potential disappointment in his emergency budget proposal.

However, if there is worker unrest, Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond.

The governor revealed Friday that he wants the state Legislature to go into Special Session next week to take up his plan to close a budget deficit. His plan calls for workers to lose nearly all their collective bargaining rights. State employees also would be required to pay more for pension and health care benefits.

Walker first shared his plan with fellow Republican lawmakers in a closed-door meeting Thursday. He’s talking more about his proposal Friday.

The governor says he’s briefed the National Guard and other state agencies, to prepare them for any problems with workers, as they learn of Walker’s emergency budget plan."


The Greatest Ponzi Scheme Known in the Financial World

Collective financial insanity – FDIC backing $5.4 trillion in total deposits on pure faith – US banking operating with negative deposit insurance fund and massive debt leverage. The greatest Ponzi scheme known in the financial world.: "People psychologically are programmed to believe in financial realities that benefit their own cause even if they have no merit in empirical data. Many also forget that banks, especially the investment kind have a notorious track record of running amok when allowed to. The FDIC and US banking is a perfect example of a system built on nothing more than faith. Currently the FDIC insures individual deposit accounts up to $250,000. Given that most average Americans only have $2,000 saved up this is rarely an issue. However, FDIC insured banks have $5.4 trillion through insured deposits yet have a deposit insurance fund (DIF) that is in the negative to the tune of $8 billion. Is this a Ponzi scheme you ask? Not exactly but it shows that the entire financial edifice that we call US banking is built on largely a foundation of sand being held together by pure psychological confidence..."


17 February, 2011

The Worst Hyperinflation Situations of All Time

The Worst Hyperinflation Situations of All Time - CNBC: "Imagine that during the time it took to drink a cup of coffee, the price of that cup of coffee doubled. Although extreme, this becomes the reality of hyperinflation, where prices change so rapidly that everyday items rise exponentially and money becomes worthless, virtually overnight or even in the course of a working day.

Today, inflation has become a major topic of debate in the United States, and although many are concerned about the effects of a devalued dollar on the economy, history shows us examples of how inflation has been much, much worse..."


Home Invasions: Side Effects of the Drug War

Home Invasions: Side Effects of the Drug War - Article - POLICE Magazine: "... The Tucson PD reported 150 home invasions in 2008 and another 115 in 2009... Statistics for the rest of the nation are hard to come by. The crime isn't tracked by many law enforcement agencies or nationally by the FBI, which lumps them in with burglaries or assaults. But one thing is sure, law enforcement officials say the incidence of home invasion robbery is on the rise nationwide, in large part due to the activities of Mexican drug cartels.

The incidence of home invasions may even be higher than law enforcement officials think. Home invasions often go unreported because the mid- or higher-level dealer 'victim' won't report the crime to police. Single ransoms have exceeded $1 million in Phoenix, where exchanges are often arranged without the involvement of law enforcement.

Drug-related home invasions are especially prevalent in the Sunbelt. Southern Arizona, Texas, and Atlanta serve as distribution points for traffickers delivering narcotic loads from Mexican drug trafficking organizations to distribution points where dealers and street gangs wait for their arrival..."


Tunisians Vote With Their Feet, Flee The Country

My Way News - Tunisians vote with their feet, flee the country: "A month after massive protests ousted Tunisia's longtime dictator, waves of Tunisians are voting with their feet, fleeing the country's political limbo by climbing into rickety boats and sailing across the Mediterranean to Europe.

More than 5,000 illegal immigrants have recently washed up on Italy's southern islands - an unintended consequence of the 'people's revolution' that ousted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and inspired the uprisings in Egypt and beyond.

European powers cheered when Tunisia's 74-year-old ruler fled into exile in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14, but the fallout a month later has tempered their enthusiasm. It has also exposed a dilemma for western countries that allied with repressive leaders in North Africa seen as bulwarks against extremism, and now must build new diplomatic relationships in a still-uncertain political climate..."


Italy Overwhelmed as Tunisian Immigrants Flee Turmoil - Yahoo! News: "It's no coincidence that the first boats full of migrants arrived at the tiny southern Italian island of Lampedusa just two days after a revolution overthrew Tunisia's strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. That's about how long it takes for a rickety, overloaded ship to cross that stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.

The arrivals were few at first - small boats of a dozen or so people. But in recent days, as clenched-fist stability in Tunisia gave way to democracy and then near anarchy, the ships became larger, more crowded and more numerous. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), some 5,700 Tunisians have landed in Lampedusa since Jan. 16 - 5,000 of them in the past five days - leaving Italian authorities scrambling to accommodate what they describe as an exodus of 'biblical proportions.'..."


16 February, 2011

Man, 84, Survives Five Days Lost in Desert

FoxNews.com - Man, 84, Survives Five Days Lost in Desert: "An 84-year-old man who survived five days in the Arizona desert without food and water is explaining how he survived, MyFoxPhoenix reported Tuesday...

... Morello had no water with him, but did have a little bit of pasta left over from Harold's. He chose not to eat it because it made him thirsty.

Morello said he used car mats to stay warm and even read a car manual from cover to cover to pass time. Nights were hardest because he would get scared, he said.

“I got scared, panicky, a little bit,” Morello said. “I didn't know if they were going to find me or not.”

Overnight temperatures the week he was missing were in the upper 30s F to the mid-40s F (3-7 C), the National Weather Service said.

On day five, he was spotted by some campers. Morello heard a knock on a window from a hiker, and suddenly his long, painful ordeal was over..."


Engineered Economic Collapse Approaching; Budget Cuts Will Only Accelerate the Inevitable

Engineered Economic Collapse Approaching; Budget Cuts Will Only Accelerate the Inevitable - BlackListed News: "Ron Paul constantly reminds us that money is created out of thin air, which is to say it's an illusion. Therefore, the debt must be an illusion too, correct? Yet, fiscal conservatives still use the debt as a tool of fear to make budget cuts that they selectively deem expendable.

Sure, they may think these cuts make them look 'responsible,' but ultimately it is still collectivism -- just more on their terms. Make no mistake; budget cuts in our corrupt systems are just another form of wealth redistribution. After all, that money is being eliminated to pay off the debt, right? Thus, that money is removed from programs that employ people to pay off the issuers of credit (banks).

Additionally, the costs of the national debt, bank bailouts, war costs, and unfunded liabilities are fundamentally impossible to pay off. So, the notion that cutting a 'historical' $100 billion will have any positive affect on the long-term economy is absolute fiction. And although many conservative lawmakers feel like it's the right thing to do, they know it will have no measurable affect on the debt. It's a scam, and if the history of modern lawmaking is any indicator, the establishment will surely stick it to the poor and middle classes with these cuts while the oligarchs continue to flourish..."


World Bank: Food Prices at "Dangerous Levels"

World Bank: Food prices at "dangerous levels" - Yahoo! Finance: "Global food prices have hit 'dangerous levels' that could contribute to political instability, push millions of people into poverty and raise the cost of groceries, according to a new report from the World Bank.

The bank released a report Tuesday that said global food prices have jumped 29 percent in the past year, and are just 3 percent below the all-time peak hit in 2008. Bank President Robert Zoellick said the rising prices have hit people hardest in the developing world because they spend as much as half their income on food..."


Climate Change May Cause ‘Massive’ Food Disruptions

Climate Change May Cause ‘Massive’ Food Disruptions - Bloomberg: "Global food supplies will face “massive disruptions” from climate change, Olam International Ltd. predicted, as Agrocorp International Pte. said corn will gain to a record, stoking food inflation and increasing hunger.

'The fact is that climate around the world is changing and that will cause massive disruptions,' Sunny Verghese, chief executive officer at Olam, among the world’s three biggest suppliers of rice and cotton, said in a Bloomberg Television interview today...

... Shrinking global food supplies helped push the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization’s World Food Price Index to a record for a second month in January. As food becomes less available and more expensive, 'hoarding becomes widespread,' Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at FAO, said Feb. 9, predicting prices of wheat and other grains are more likely to rise than decline in the next six months..."


15 February, 2011

Drug Expiration Dates — Do They Mean Anything?

Drug Expiration Dates — Do They Mean Anything?—The Family Health Guide: "With a splitting headache you reach into your medicine cabinet for some aspirin only to find the stamped expiration date on the bottle has passed - two years ago. So, do you take it or don't you? If you decide to take the aspirin will it be a fatal mistake or will you simply continue to suffer from the headache?

This is a dilemma many people face in some way or another. A column published in Pyschopharmacology Today offers some advice.

It turns out that the expiration date on a drug does stand for something, but probably not what you think it does. Since a law was passed in 1979, drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. This is the date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug.

Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date..."


Food Prices Fastest Rise in 5 Years is Another Blow for Families

Food prices fastest rise in 5 years is another blow for families | Mail Online: "The prices of a range of basic foods surged at the start of the year, showing the biggest monthly rise in more than five years.

Bread, pasta, and packets and tins of food increased in cost by 2.7 per cent between December and January to reach an annual rate of 6.3 per cent, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Overall, the annual rate of food inflation jumped from 4 per cent to 4.6 per cent, despite claims of supermarkets to be waging a new year price war. This was the largest monthly increase in two years..."


IMF Discusses Plan to Replace Dollar As Reserve Currency

IMF discusses plan to replace dollar as reserve currency - Feb. 10, 2011: "The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world's reserve currency.

The IMF said Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, could help stabilize the global financial system.

SDRs represent potential claims on the currencies of IMF members. They were created by the IMF in 1969 and can be converted into whatever currency a borrower requires at exchange rates based on a weighted basket of international currencies. The IMF typically lends countries funds denominated in SDRs

While they are not a tangible currency, some economists argue that SDRs could be used as a less volatile alternative to the U.S. dollar..."


11 February, 2011

Food Crisis 2011? 14 Disturbing Facts That Make You Wonder If The Coming Global Food Shortage Has Already Begun

Food Crisis 2011? 14 Disturbing Facts That Make You Wonder If The Coming Global Food Shortage Has Already Begun: "Will 2011 be the year that we point to as the beginning of the great global food crisis? Food prices are soaring, supplies are very tight and already we have seen some very intense food protests flare up around the globe this year. When people don't have enough to eat, they tend to become very desperate, and unfortunately it looks like the global food situation is not going to improve much any time soon. Right now the world is really struggling to feed itself, and with each passing day there are even more mouths to feed. It is being projected that the population of the world will reach 9 billion people by the year 2050. There are already way too many people starving to death around the globe, and unfortunately starvation is only going to become more rampant as food supplies get even tighter. Some of the key food producing provinces in China are facing their worst drought in 200 years. Flooding has absolutely devastated agricultural production in Australia and Brazil this winter. Russia is still trying to recover from the horrific drought of last summer. Global weather patterns have gone haywire over the past 12 months, and this is putting immense pressure on a global food system that was already on the verge of a major breakdown..."


We Are Witnessing the Collapse of the Middle East

American Thinker: We Are Witnessing the Collapse of the Middle East: "If Egypt should fall, it will mark the beginning of the end for what little remaining stability there is in the Middle East. Jordan is facing similar unrest, as are Algeria and Yemen. Lebanon and Tunisia fell in January. It is highly unlikely that these events are unrelated. A combination of leftist and Islamist forces provoked the protests, and we are likely looking at a ring of radical Islamic states rising up to surround Israel. Once their power is solidified, perhaps in a year or two, they will combine forces to attack Israel. If Israel falls, the United States will stand alone in a sea of virulent enemies and impotent allies..."


10 Ways Weather Is Wreaking Havoc On The Global Economy

10 Ways Weather Is Wreaking Havoc On The Global Economy: "It's the story everyone wants to ignore. It seems like an excuse for bad economic performance, not a reason, but the weather situation globally is dire and is having a real impact on commodities and economies.

Yes, demand for food is rising (notably in emerging markets). Yes, there are other problems with the global recovery. But weather is a key reason for the rise in the cost of food world wide.

It's also hitting hiring and growth in key economies like the U.S., Australia, and Brazil..."


18 Cities Whose Suburbs Are Rapidly Turning Into Slums

18 Cities Whose Suburbs Are Rapidly Turning Into Slums: "When recession struck in the past, American cities became centers of poverty and crime. This time, expect dereliction in the suburbs.

A recent report by Brookings found the rise in poverty has been centered in the suburbs. Between 2000 and 2008, suburbs in America's largest cities saw their poor population grow by 25 percent -- almost five times faster than urban poverty growth.

Poverty is moving for several reasons. First, low-wage jobs are shifting away from cities, drawing blue collar workers with them. Second, while employers move to the suburbs, they do NOT move to poor suburbs, which means no relief for these areas. Third, 'the gentry' are moving back to the cities and driving up prices.

Brookings named 18 cities with a significant shift toward suburban poverty..."


10 February, 2011

Saudi Arabia Cannot Pump Enough Oil to Keep a Lid on Prices

WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices | Business | The Guardian: "The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand.

However, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the US diplomat that Aramco's 12.5m barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached..."


9% Unemployment Rate is a Statistical Lie

9% Unemployment Rate is a Statistical Lie | Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog: "The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the latest unemployment figures last Friday. There was a stunning drop to 9% from 9.4%. How did that happen? Is the economy really getting better or is the government up to its old statistical tricks. According to the mainstream media, the economy is getting better and the so-called recovery is alive and well...

... [In Truth]...

... after one year, the unemployed are no longer counted in government statistics. If unemployment was computed the way BLS did it prior to 1994, the true unemployment rate (according to Shadowstats.com) would be 22.2%. I wonder why the mainstream media feels compelled to only do stories that support government statistics. There is bona fide analysis that can show government numbers are rigged to make things look better than reality..."


America, Poised for a Hyperinflationary Event?

America, poised for a hyperinflationary event? - Michael Pollaro - The Contrarian Take - Forbes: "It is a long standing proposition of many, supported on both theoretical and historical grounds, that one of the surest roads to hyperinflation is one grounded in a government whose answer to every economic and social problem is to borrow and spend the problem away, supported by central bank able, willing and ready to finance the effort. That support is of course to simply print the money through which to buy the debt so issued by the government – what is euphemistically called monetizing the debt – thereby exploding the supply of money and eventually trashing its value..."


09 February, 2011

Crucial Preparedness Info During Severe Weather Awareness Week

As powerful storms have swept across huge portions of the country in the past few weeks, many Americans have found themselves unprepared for the weather, stranded without essential supplies. In Georgia, we are in the middle of Severe Weather Awareness Week, and the Ready Georgia campaign and Governor’s Office are encouraging all residents to prepare themselves for every type of severe weather in 2011. We thought your readers would be interested in the crucial information about preparedness highlighted during this week.

The release below includes a full list of items recommended by Ready Georgia (a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Association) to prepare for every type of weather. It also includes recommended ways to plan for emergency situations. Please feel free to share any and all of these useful strategies with your readers.

In addition, Ready Georgia is currently hosting a Facebook photo contest. Winners receive a free emergency kit, including an NOAA radio, valued at more than $100.

Let me know if I can provide any more information.

Chris Glazier
For Ready Georgia

Chris Glazier                                  
Assistant Account Executive
3500 Lenox Road, Suite 510
Atlanta, GA 30326
e-mail: chris@cookerly.com
phone: 678.686.7841
fax: 404.816.3037

Severe Weather Awareness Week a Time to Prepare for Remainder of Year
GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign helps residents prepare for a variety of natural disasters

(ATLANTA)  Georgia has already experienced its first taste of severe weather in 2011 – a snowstorm that affected 70 percent of the state.  With that in our collective memory, the governor and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)/Homeland Security encourage all Georgians to participate in this year’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, Feb. 7-11, by turning to the state’s Ready Georgia campaign. 

“Take time now to prepare for the extreme weather the rest of the year can bring,” said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “Tornadoes, storms and floods can devastate our communities, but devastation can be minimized if we’re prepared.”

The week’s activities begin with Family Preparedness Day on Feb. 7, when all Georgia households are encouraged to program their NOAA Weather Radios and create Ready Profiles at www.ready.ga.gov to get a customized checklist of emergency supplies and a tailored family communications plan. 

On Wednesday, when tornado safety is emphasized, a statewide tornado drill will be issued by the National Weather Service.  Severe Weather Awareness Week’s specific observations are:

Monday, Feb. 7 – Family Preparedness / NOAA Weather Radio Day
Tuesday, Feb. 8 – Thunderstorm Safety
Wednesday, Feb. 9 – Tornado Safety and Statewide Tornado Drill (issued by NWS)
Thursday, Feb. 10 – Lightning Safety
Friday, Feb. 11 – Flood Safety (alternate tornado drill date)

"By preparing for one emergency, you are actually arming yourself against many types of disasters," continued English. “Our goal is for all residents to be their own first responders and to be able to help others in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.”

During severe weather, emergency workers might need at least 72 hours to open roadways and restore utilities.  When Georgians are prepared to survive independently, the potential for tragic outcomes is greatly reduced.  GEMA offers this information from its Ready Georgia campaign:  

Prepare for Severe Weather:
Make a Ready kit of emergency supplies for your home, car and office.  Most of the recommended items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life.
- Water: at least three gallons per person for drinking and sanitation
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Manual can opener if kit contains canned food
- Battery-powered or hand crank NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Face mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Specific items for children, family members’ special needs or pets
- Cash or travelers checks
- Important documents in a waterproof container
- Blankets and warm clothes

Plan for Severe Weather:
- Be sure every family member knows important phone numbers for schools, offices, home and emergency services.
- Identify an out-of town contact. It might be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call in town, so an out-of-town contact is in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
- Identify a meeting place near your home where family members can meet if separated during severe weather.
- Identify a meeting place away from your home where family members can meet if your neighborhood in not accessible.
- Map out evacuation routes in case you are ordered to evacuate, and always keep at least a fourth of a tank of gas in your car.
- Know your insurance policies and whether your home is in a flood zone.

Stay Informed about Severe Weather:
- Find out what type of disasters could occur and how you should respond. 
- Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify severe weather, such as advisories, watches and warnings.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of severe weather conditions.

During Severe Weather Awareness Week, Ready Georgia is also giving residents the chance to win their very own Ready kit and NOAA Weather Radio, a $100 value.  Starting Feb. 7, visit Ready Georgia’s
Facebook page and click on the “Contests” tab. Then, enter the contest by simply submitting a severe weather photo and a step you have taken to prepare.

For more information on preparing for severe weather, contact your local EMA or visit www.ready.ga.gov or www.gema.ga.gov.

About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies.  The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)/Homeland Security and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign.  Ready Georgia aims to prepare residents for maintaining self-sufficiency for the 72 hours following an emergency and uses an interactive website, online community toolkit, advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences.  For more information visit ready.ga.gov or find Ready Georgia at Facebook.com/ReadyGA and YouTube.com/ReadyGAfromGEMA.


South Korea Must Prepare for Food Crisis

S. Korea must prepare for food crisis—president - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos: "South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak called Monday for new strategies to help secure a stable supply of food amid growing concerns about a global food crisis.

'The likelihood of a global food crisis is rising due to climate change. We need to set up national strategies and research to tackle the issue,' Lee's spokesman quoted him as saying during a meeting with senior advisers.

Lee also called for a task force from the government and private sector to be set up to attract investment in farming, and stressed the need to tackle rising energy prices also blamed for fanning inflation..."


Why Global Food Price Inflation Really Matters

Why Global Food Price Inflation Really Matters - DailyFinance: "Perhaps central bankers are like potted plants, able to subsist on little more than water and sunlight. That would help explain Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's statement Thursday that -- rising commodity prices notwithstanding -- overall inflation remains 'quite low.' As for folks who eat food, well, global food prices hit an all-time high last month, in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms, according to the U.N.

True, wildfires in Russia last year, drought in the U.S. and flooding and a cyclone in Australia have helped cause price spikes for wheat and sugar. But the longer-term trend is still the same. Global food prices have increased for seven straight months, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. said Thursday, as its closely watched food price index hit its highest level ever in January..."


07 February, 2011

Egypt Diverts Media Attention from U.S. Economy | Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog

Egypt Diverts Media Attention from U.S. Economy | Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog: "The revolution in Egypt has been going on for nearly two weeks. It is intensifying. There are reports of gunfire, beatings of foreign journalists and looting. It is a riveting story because so much is at stake for America. However, the Egypt saga is sucking up resources and attention away from other stories that are also very important for America.

Crowded out of the news picture is the recent Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) report on the causes of the financial meltdown in 2008. The report was released late last week. One of the conclusions to the report was 'the crisis was avoidable.' Some of the other conclusions were: 'Widespread failures in financial regulation . . . too many financial firms acting recklessly and taking on too much risk . . . An explosive mix of excessive borrowing and risk by households and Wall Street . . . And systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels'..."


Supermarket Surprise: Smaller Servings, Same Price

Supermarket surprise: smaller servings, same price - Yahoo! News: "Out of toilet paper so soon? Who the heck ate all of the Haagen Dazs? Why is this grilled cheese sandwich less cheesy than before?

Complaints like these household staples getting used up faster; food not lasting as long -- are becoming more common.

No, members of your household aren't being wasteful or taking extra helpings of dessert. Those boxes of pasta, rolls of paper towels, jars of pesto and packages of hot dogs really are getting smaller. But manufacturers hope that you haven't noticed..."


Coming Soon: A 300-Percent Increase in Foreclosures

Coming Soon: A 300-Percent Increase in Foreclosures - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine: "At Calculated Risk, Tom Lawler, a real estate economist and former risk policy veep at Fannie Mae, tries to figure out how many people have actually lost their homes to foreclosure, short sales or deed-in-lieu desertions. The answer: Not enough. Lawler (who is now living the life of Riley on a Virginia farm) says the number of foreclosures that have been completed so far is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of loans that have gone bad...

... So what will this mean when the last moratorium is lifted, the last show-me-the-note lawsuit gets thrown out of court, and the last loan modification has failed?..."


04 February, 2011

Three of Next Five Winters Could Be as Cold or Colder

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Bastardi: Three of Next Five Winters Could Be as Cold or Colder: "This winter is on track to become the coldest for the nation as a whole since the 1980s or possibly even the late 1970s. According to AccuWeather.com Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi, three or four out of the next five winters could be just as cold, if not colder.

He is worried that next winter, for example, will be colder than this one..."


Food and Failed Arab States

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs: "Even Islamists have to eat. It is unclear whether President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt will survive, or whether his nationalist regime will be replaced by an Islamist, democratic, or authoritarian state. What is certain is that it will be a failed state. Amid the speculation about the shape of Arab politics to come, a handful of observers, for example economist Nourel Roubini, have pointed to the obvious: Wheat prices have almost doubled in the past year.

Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer, beholden to foreign providers for nearly half its total food consumption. Half of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day. Food comprises almost half the country's consumer price index, and much more than half of spending for the poorer half of the country. This will get worse, not better.

Not the destitute, to be sure, but the aspiring and frustrated young, confronted the riot police and army on the streets of Egyptian cities last week. The uprising in Egypt and Tunisia were not food riots; only in Jordan have demonstrators made food the main issue. Rather, the jump in food prices was the wheat-stalk that broke the camel's back. The regime's weakness, in turn, reflects the dysfunctional character of the country. 35% of all Egyptians, and 45% of Egyptian women can't read..."


Food Costs At Record High As U.N. Warns Of Volatile Era

Food costs at record high as U.N. warns of volatile era - Yahoo! News: "Record high global food prices showed no sign of relenting following a rash of catastrophic weather, highlighted by a major U.S. snowstorm and a cyclone in Australia, which could put yet more pressure on prices and spark further unrest around the world.

The closely watched U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index on Thursday touched its highest level since records began in 1990.

The index rose for the seventh month in a row to 231 in January, topping the peak of 224.1 in June 2008, when the world was last gripped in a food crisis..."


03 February, 2011

A Scene of Violent Chaos in Cairo

A scene of violent chaos in Cairo - CNN.com: "It started with verbal abuse, and then -- perhaps inevitably -- it got physically, terrifyingly violent.

Supporters of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak flooded into Cairo's Tahrir Square Wednesday after the president's opponents dominated the scene for more than a week.

Separated at first by barriers, the rival demonstrators exchanged insults, then began throwing anything they could find at each other, including shoes, rocks and sticks.

Suddenly the barriers came down. People surged toward each other in a chaotic scene that conjured images of a revolution..."


10 Things We Can Learn From Egypt About Preparing for Economic and Societal Collapse

10 Things We Can Learn From Egypt About Preparing for Economic and Societal Collapse: "As riots spread across the world, having started first in Europe and now engulfing the Middle East, most people in the U.S. outright reject the possibility that the same could happen right here at home. But the fact of the matter is that we remain in economic crisis and there is a real possibility of a total collapse of the system we have come to know.

If the system does happen to collapse, be it because of a hyperinflationary currency meltdown, political uprising or anything in between, here are ten things you can expect to happen, just as they are happening in the Middle East today..."


The Real Life Civilization-Building Kit

The Real Life Civilization-Building Kit: "For two years, a group of engineers has been working on the Global Village Construction Set, a collection of 40 DIY machines that can build a small, modern civilization anywhere with sun, soil, and water. Sounds like hard work.

Making these machines, the group explains, is 8 times cheaper than buying them from manufacturers, on average. And in a world where resources might be scarcer than we anticipate more quickly than we anticipate, their ambitious project could prove to be a vital one. They're publishing the full schematics and diagrams on their Wiki, so anyone can use them once shit goes Mad Max. If the internet still works, that is. OK, maybe you should print them out now just to be safe..."


Former Treasury Secretary is A-Scared; Should You Be?

Former Treasury Secretary is A-Scared; Should You Be? - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine: "... The risks of our fiscal position are serious and multiple. And while these risks become more severe over time as our debt position worsens, all of these either have begun to materialise or could do so in the near term...

To be specific about the risks, deficits could crowd out private investment, which could choke off a private investment recovery. Moreover, the capacity for public investment is already diminishing, and could be exacerbated by growing entitlement costs and mounting interest payments...

Most dangerously, there is a risk of disruption to our bond and currency markets from the fear of much higher interest rates due to future imbalances or from fear of inflation because of efforts to monetise our debt. The result could be significant deficit premiums on bond market interest rates, seriously impeding private investment and growth or, worse, acute bond market declines that cause an economic crisis. This could also start in the currency markets..."


02 February, 2011

10 Things That The Egypt Riots Can Teach Us About What Happens When Society Breaks Down

10 Things That The Egypt Riots Can Teach Us About What Happens When Society Breaks Down: "The rioting in Egypt is perhaps the biggest single news story so far in 2011. The pace at which Egyptian society has been transformed over the past week has been absolutely breathtaking. A few months ago, nobody would have ever dreamed that there would be huge riots in the streets of major Egyptian cities calling for the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. But it has happened, and now Egypt will never be the same again. So what does the future hold for Egypt? Well, many are hopeful that this revolution will bring about a better government in Egypt and a better way of life for average Egyptians. Personally, I am not nearly so optimistic. In fact, I believe that there is a great danger that an even more repressive government could take the place of the current regime. But in any event, there are important lessons that the Egypt riots can teach all of us about what happens when society breaks down. Societal collapse is often a very messy, very violent affair. Someday if the global economy completely implodes, we may see economic riots erupt all over the world (including inside the United States) and we all need to get prepared for that.

So far more than 100 people have died during the rioting that has rocked Egypt over the past week. Other reports put the true number of dead much higher. Scores of shops and businesses have been looted. There have been dozens of rapes. Groups of citizens have formed vigilante groups to protect their own homes. These are the kinds of things that happen when society breaks down..."