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30 September, 2011

Denninger: "I Hope You've Taken the Last Couple of Years to Become Prepared"

Denninger: "I Hope You've Taken the Last Couple of Years to Become Prepared": "Karl Denninger, who forecasted the breakdown in stock markets a couple of weeks before the crash of 2008, says that all hell is now breaking loose:

'You’ve once again had your 401k and IRA whacked by the incessant lies and scams promulgated by your government and the “financial wizards” who seduced you back into the markets with half-truths and siren songs...

... as things stand right now the underlying financial conditions have not changed one iota from where they were in 2007. Instead of allowing those who were overlever[ag]ed to go bust and have capitalism do what it does best – creative destruction of the foolish – we instead took private effectively-defaulted risk and transferred it to the public balance sheet.

But that’s a scam – it simply moves the deck chairs on the economic Titanic, because governments can only raise funds through two means: They can borrow money (increasing leverage) or they can tax it (decreasing consumption or investment by private parties.) The obvious 'borrow it' choice was made here in the US and elsewhere, but just as with private borrowing government borrowing has limits and we’re now running into them, and deficit spending creates false demand signals in the economy that must eventually end.

Recognition that you’ve been scammed can be a truly ugly thing. It is usually violent at an emotional and financial level, and more often than one would like it has a habit of being violent in the physical sense as well.'..."

10 Million More Mortgages Set to Default, Expert Says

10 million more mortgages set to default, expert says - HousingWire: "Roughly 10.4 million mortgages, or one in five outstanding home loans in the U.S., will likely default if Congress refuses to implement new policy changes to prevent and sell more foreclosures, according to analyst Laurie Goodman from Amherst Securities Group.

At the end of the second quarter, more than 2.7 million long-delinquent loans, others in foreclosure and REO properties sat in the shadow inventory, more than double what it was in the first quarter of 2010. With the market averaging roughly 90,000 loan liquidations per month, it would take 32 months, nearly three years, to move through the overhang.

And that number is contingent on no other loans going into default..."

Record Low New Home Sales In 2011

Record Low New Home Sales In 2011: "New home sales in the United States are on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011. This will be the third year in a row that new home sales have set a new record low. Sadly, this is yet another sign that the U.S. economy continues to grow weaker. Back in 2005, more than four times as many new homes were being sold as are being sold today. The home building industry is one of the central pillars of the U.S. economy, and the fact that we are going to set another new record low for home sales in 2011 is a really bad sign for those hoping for an economic recovery. Unlike most of those that work in the financial industry, those that build new homes produce something of lasting value for American families. In addition, millions of Americans have traditionally made a solid living by building and selling new homes. But today the market for new homes has totally dried up and large numbers of those jobs are disappearing. Some of the reasons for this include high unemployment, a glut of foreclosures on the market and the tightening of lending standards on home loans. In order for the U.S. to have anything resembling a healthy economy again, we are going to need a revival in the sale of new homes..."

'Firefly' and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus

'Firefly' and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus - FIRE: "A professor has been censored twice, reported to the 'threat assessment team,' and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door. Campus police at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller's poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion's character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, 'Warning: Fascism,' Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

'Colleges and universities are supposed to foster brave and bold environments of freewheeling intellectual inquiry and expression. If a quote from a network science fiction show is a bridge too far, something has gone seriously wrong,' FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said..."

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29 September, 2011

Twelve Giant U.S. Banks Vulnerable To Disaster

Twelve (12) Giant U.S. Banks Vulnerable To Disaster (NYSE:XLF, NYSE:FAS, NYSE:FAZ, NYSE:BAC, NYSE:JPM, NYSE:WFC) | ETF DAILY NEWS: "Imagine this scenario … The largest economy in the world is on the brink of a financial meltdown that could make the debt debacle of 2008 seem small by comparison. Its giant banks are buried in bad loans and vulnerable to failure. Its central government is paralyzed. Chaos looms.


One weekend, in a last-ditch attempt to avoid disaster, top finance officials — representing 117 countries and six billion souls — come together and meet.

The officials engage in intense — sometimes frantic — debate. They explore every possible solution known to modern man, plus some that are still not known.

But they’re stumped. They come up with no new ideas.

That’s when the highest finance official of the world’s second-largest economy speaks.

He can barely mask his frustration — and fear — as he calls for massive, unprecedented steps to stem a domino-like series of defaults.

He cites words such as 'cascading default, bank runs, and catastrophic risk.' And he bluntly tells the group that time is running out!

But when the meeting adjourns, nothing has been done; no decisions have been made. Instead, the finance officials fly home to the far corners of the globe. They go home to their families. And secretly, they pray the financial collapse does not destroy modern society as we know it.

Unbelievable? Then Consider This:

This was not a fictional scenario. It actually happened EXACTLY as I just described — THIS past weekend!..."

Billboard Signals of Collapse

Billboard Signals of Collapse: "Wow!! The billboard signals of extreme crisis are overwhelming. Three years of near 0% with no recovery. A full year of ample USTreasury and mortgage bond monetization with no recovery. Tons of cash aid deliveries to the big US banks with no recovery. Some key corporate nationalizations with no recovery. Oodles of errant stimulus programs with no recovery. Some important misdirection in home loan aid initiatives with no recovery. The US Federal Reserve admits it can do nothing more as a recovery remains elusive. The USGovt is paralyzed by disguised fascist warmongers opposed by disguised marxist collectivists, but intent on maintaining the status quo among bank fraud. An approved accounting fraud directive is kept in place to present a picture of bank solvency. Intermediate credit markets have come to a standstill. The US stock market is in tatters. The USTreasury Bond market is the only conventional rally at work. And with all these programs, developments, and events, the USEconomy moves toward a recession with relentless determination and purpose. In today's age of lying about price inflation by at least 5%, that means the recession is about to turn into a Minus 5% Recession after never exiting the recession recognized in 2009. The billboard messages are dire, ugly, dreadful, dangerous, and full of destruction, typical of systemic failure. Too bad the Keynesian textbooks do not have a chapter on banking system insolvency, or one quarter of the households living in negative equity, or central bank toxic paper pits, or global currency war, or confiscation of tyrant accounts. The ineffective monetary & fiscal policy has ushered in the nightmarish systemic failure. That is what is occurring..."

Fed Vice Chair: Economy Worse Than You Think

Fed Vice Chair: Economy worse than you think | Campaign 2012: "Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Sarah Bloom Raskin said today that unemployment numbers present too positive a view of the economy, adding that the Federal Reserve might need to take more action to stabilize the economy.

'Nonetheless, as many families know,' said Raskin, an appointee of President Obama's, 'the headline unemployment numbers don't fully capture the weakness in labor market conditions.' She explained:

'Beyond the headline number [of 9.1 percent unemployment], an additional 8.8 million workers were classified as 'part time for economic reasons' in August because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job. In addition, about 2-1/2 million Americans were classified as 'marginally attached' to the labor force because even though they wanted to get a job, they had not searched for one in the past four weeks. And almost half of that group--nearly 1 million individuals--have given up searching for employment altogether, because they do not believe any jobs are available for them...'


The Agenda - Grinding America Down

The Agenda - Grinding America Down - YouTube

U.S. Government Used Taxpayer Funds To Buy, Sell Weapons During 'Fast And Furious,' Documents Show | Fox News

U.S. Government Used Taxpayer Funds To Buy, Sell Weapons During "Fast And Furious" Documents Show | Fox News: "Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel -- the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared.

This disclosure, revealed in documents obtained by Fox News, could undermine the Department of Justice's previous defense that Operation Fast and Furious was a 'botched' operation where agents simply 'lost track' of weapons as they were transferred from one illegal buyer to another. Instead, it heightens the culpability of the federal government as Mexico, according to sources, has opened two criminal investigations into the operation that flooded their country with illegal weapons..."

Man With Broken Leg Survives 4 Days in Utah Desert

News from The Associated Press: "A North Carolina man crawled four days across the Utah desert after breaking his leg on a solo hike, inspired by a Hollywood movie about a man who cut off his own arm to save himself after being trapped by a boulder in the same canyon.

Amos Wayne Richards, 64, of Concord, N.C., is now recovering at home. He said he was inspired to hike Little Blue John Canyon after he saw the Oscar-nominated movie '127 Hours' but fell 10 feet during his trek on Sept. 8.

Canyonlands National Park rangers found Richards four days later. Along with the leg injury, he dislocated his shoulder but was able to work it back into place..."

28 September, 2011

BBC Speechless As Trader Tells Truth: "The Collapse Is Coming...And Goldman Rules The World"

BBC Speechless As Trader Tells Truth: "The Collapse Is Coming...And Goldman Rules The World" | ZeroHedge: "In an interview on BBC News this morning that left the hosts gob-smacked (google it... it is the BBC after all), Alessio Rastani outlines in a mere three-and-a-half-minutes what we all know and most ignore. While the whole interview is worth watching, the money shot for us was "This economic crisis is like a cancer, if you just wait and wait hoping it is going to go away, just like a cancer it is going to grow and it will be too late!". While he dreams of recessions, sees Goldman ruling the world, and urges people to prepare, it is hard to disagree with much (or actually anything) of what he says and obviously interventions and machinations means we will have days like this (in Silver for instance), there is only one endgame here and we hope there is less hopeful euphoria (and more preparedness) as we pull back the curtain further and further..."

Five Banks Account For 96% Of The $250 Trillion In Outstanding US Derivative Exposure; Is Morgan Stanley Sitting On An FX Derivative Time Bomb?

Five Banks Account For 96% Of The $250 Trillion In Outstanding US Derivative Exposure; Is Morgan Stanley Sitting On An FX Derivative Time Bomb? | ZeroHedge: "The latest quarterly report from the Office Of the Currency Comptroller is out and as usual it presents in a crisp, clear and very much glaring format the fact that the top 4 banks in the US now account for a massively disproportionate amount of the derivative risk in the financial system. Specifically, of the $250 trillion in gross notional amount of derivative contracts outstanding (consisting of Interest Rate, FX, Equity Contracts, Commodity and CDS) among the Top 25 commercial banks (a number that swells to $333 trillion when looking at the Top 25 Bank Holding Companies), a mere 5 banks (and really 4) account for 95.9% of all derivative exposure (HSBC replaced Wells as the Top 5th bank, which at $3.9 trillion in derivative exposure is a distant place from #4 Goldman with $47.7 trillion). The top 4 banks: JPM with $78.1 trillion in exposure, Citi with $56 trillion, Bank of America with $53 trillion and Goldman with $48 trillion, account for 94.4% of total exposure. As historically has been the case, the bulk of consolidated exposure is in Interest Rate swaps ($204.6 trillion), followed by FX ($26.5TR), CDS ($15.2 trillion), and Equity and Commodity with $1.6 and $1.4 trillion, respectively. And that's your definition of Too Big To Fail right there: the biggest banks are not only getting bigger, but their risk exposure is now at a new all time high and up $5.3 trillion from Q1 as they have to risk ever more in the derivatives market to generate that incremental penny of return..."

17 Facts That Prove That The Average American Family Is Getting Absolutely Pulverized By This Economy

17 Facts That Prove That The Average American Family Is Getting Absolutely Pulverized By This Economy: "How in the world does the average American family survive in this economy? The median household income is a little bit less than $50,000 a year right now. So let's call that about $4000 a month. But before any of that money gets spent, you have to take out at least $1000 in taxes. That leaves about $3000 a month to pay all the bills with. With that $3000 you have to pay the mortgage (or rent), make the car payments, make the student loan payments, pay for power and water, pay for health insurance, pay for home insurance, pay for car insurance, pay the phone bill, pay the Internet bill and pay the cable bill. On top of all that, every member of the family needs three meals a day and the cars need to be filled up with gasoline or they won't go anywhere. Of course I haven't even mentioned expenses that don't happen every month such as car repairs or new shoes. No wonder so many families are feeling so financially stressed!

The truth is that American families are getting squeezed harder than they have been in ages. The number of good jobs is declining, incomes are going down, and the cost of living just keeps going up..."

Israel Has Dumped 46 Percent of Its U.S. Treasury Bills; Russia 95 Percent

Israel Has Dumped 46 Percent of Its U.S. Treasury Bills; Russia 95 Percent | CNSnews.com: "Foreign ownership of U.S. government debt declined in July for the second straight month, according to Treasury Department data released Friday...

... In June and July, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders were negotiating legislation to increase the legal limit on the U.S. government’s debt. In August, Obama signed legislation that will permit the Treasury to borrow up to another $2.4 trillion.

Among major foreign creditors of the U.S. government, entities in Russia led the way in divesting from U.S. Treasury securities...

... In fact, Russian-based owners of U.S. debt have dropped about 43 percent of their overall U.S. debt holdings over the past year...

... More dramatically, since March 2009, according to historical Treasury Department data, the Russians have dumped about 95 percent (94.94 percent) of their holdings in Treasury bills...

... Israelis have also been decreasing their ownership of U.S. government debt..."

Massachusetts: Supreme Court Approves Charging Innocent Ticket Recipients

Massachusetts: Supreme Court Approves Charging Innocent Ticket Recipients: "Motorists issued a traffic ticket in Massachusetts will have to pay money to the state whether or not they committed the alleged crime. According to a state supreme court ruling handed down yesterday, fees are to be imposed even on those found completely innocent. The high court saw no injustice in collecting $70 from Ralph C. Sullivan after he successfully fought a $100 ticket for failure to stay within a marked lane..."

27 September, 2011

Is The US Monetary System On The Verge Of Collapse?

Guest Post: Is The US Monetary System On The Verge Of Collapse? | ZeroHedge: 'Tune into CNBC or click onto any of the dozens of mainstream financial news sites, and you’ll find an endless array of opinions on the latest wiggle in equity, bond and commodities markets. As often as not, you'll find those opinions nestled side by side with authoritative analysis on the outlook for the economy, complete with the author’s carefully studied judgment on the best way forward.

Lost in all the noise, however, is any recognition that the US monetary system – and by extension, that of much of the developed world – may very well be on the verge of collapse. Falling back on metaphor, while the world’s many financial experts and economists sit around arguing about the direction of the ship of state, most are missing the point that the ship has already hit an iceberg and is taking on water fast.

Yet if you were to raise your hand to ask 99% of the financial intelligentsia whether we might be on the verge of a failure of the dollar-based world monetary system, the response would be thinly veiled derision. Because, as we all know, such a thing is unimaginable!

Think again..."

A Matter of Risk: Radiation, Drinking Water, and Deception

You'll Eat What You're Told and Like It, Mister!:.Ag. Sec. Jumps on ‘Healthy Food’ Bandwagon: It Will ‘Take Time for People’s Taste to Adjust’

Ag. Sec. Jumps on ‘Healthy Food’ Bandwagon: It Will ‘Take Time for People’s Taste to Adjust’ | CNSnews.com

OC Couple Threatened With $500-Per-Meeting Fines For Home Bible Study

Nanny-state idiocy...

OC Couple Threatened With $500-Per-Meeting Fines For Home Bible Study - CBS Los Angeles: "An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a 'church' and not as a private gathering.

Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called 'a regular gathering of more than three people'.

That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple’s legal representation.

The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further 'religious gatherings' in their home, according to PJI..."

World Is On The Verge Of A Devastating New Slump, Warns IMF

Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | World News :: World is on verge of devastating new slump, warns IMF: "BRITAIN’S economic growth forecasts were slashed by the International Monetary Fund yesterday amid warnings of a double-dip recession in Europe and the US.

The IMF said the global economy was in a 'dangerous new phase', as it cut projections for almost every region of the world.

Europe and the US must quickly tackle problems that could infect the rest of the world, it warned..."

26 September, 2011

OnStar Tracks Cars Even After Service Is Cancelled

OnStar Tracks Cars Even After Service Is Cancelled | TheBlaze.com: "Two years ago, Media Matters mocked Glenn Beck for his “conspiracy theory” that OnStar had too much power with its ability to track cars, listen to conversations and ultimately turn the car off. Well, it looks like his concerns were accurate, as GM has just made a major announcement about the GPS system...

... Wired now reports that even if you cancel your OnStar service, you are still being tracked..."

The Federal Reserve Plans To Identify “Key Bloggers” And Monitor Billions Of Conversations About The Fed On Facebook, Twitter, Forums And Blogs

The Federal Reserve Plans To Identify “Key Bloggers” And Monitor Billions Of Conversations About The Fed On Facebook, Twitter, Forums And Blogs: "The Federal Reserve wants to know what you are saying about it. In fact, the Federal Reserve has announced plans to identify 'key bloggers' and to monitor 'billions of conversations' about the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs. This is yet another sign that the alternative media is having a dramatic impact. As first reported on Zero Hedge, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has issued a 'Request for Proposal' to suppliers who may be interested in participating in the development of a 'Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution'. In other words, the Federal Reserve wants to develop a highly sophisticated system that will gather everything that you and I say about the Federal Reserve on the Internet and that will analyze what our feelings about the Fed are. Obviously, any 'positive' feelings about the Fed would not be a problem. What they really want to do is to gather information on everyone that views the Federal Reserve negatively. It is unclear how they plan to use this information once they have it, but considering how many alternative media sources have been shut down lately, this is obviously a very troubling sign..."

James Howard Kunstler: Punked World

Punked World - Clusterfuck Nation: "... Europe can really only put out stories at this point, and the $3 Tril bailout fund is just another story in a tedious string of them. Where are they going to get the money? From the machinists' union in Dusseldorf? The waiters and chambermaids in Munich? There's that rumored swap line opening from the Federal Reserve to the European Central Bank, but that's nothing more than a cheap loan window, and for a measly half a trillion ($500 billion - the late Senator Ev Dirkson is cackling in his grave). And where do those dollars come from anyway? Who is supposed to pay it back, and how? What kind of collateral is Ben Bernanke going to hold - the contents of the south wing of the Louvre? One hundred million free dinners (wine and tip included) at Taillevent? This game of musical chairs with a hot potato is not fooling anyone, really.

All it's doing is dragging out the process of the civilized world getting right with reality. Reality has a ledger and is calling in its notes. The civilized world can't believe this is happening, so they pretend it isn't, with pompous ceremonials among the highest level banking officials, and hollow declarations of heroic actions that are not the least heroic because all they are designed to do is protect their fellow bankers. It's certainly not for the sake of the nations involved, because the standard of living in all these countries will take a painful hit any way you cut it.

This mummery could dissolve in tears any moment, or it might stretch out one more month, but by going this route the leaders of Europe risk all kinds of pressures in the other seams of the system, namely markets. They are testing a 60-odd years long supply of the one indispensible resource: confidence. They've already probably squandered the little that's left. All signs point to a mega-Lehman moment when trust has fled and nobody will lend to anybody and business cannot continue. That'll be a freaky-deaky moment and it will be way worse than Lehman was. When it happens, what seemed financial will instantly go political. The rage of millions will shred the trappings of fakery, and for a while things will seem too real. The world has no idea how all this might resolve. What a show..."


James Howard Kunstler is an author and among the leading voices in the charge to be prepared to change how we live as Peak Oil approaches. He is the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century as well as the fiction novel World Made by Hand: A Novel.

Welcome To The Collapse Of 2011 in [Market-Ticker]

Welcome To The Collapse Of 2011 in [Market-Ticker]: "Welcome my friends to the collapse of 2011.

Remember the mantra that "consumers have delevered" which has been run over the last two years as an incessant bark from the media, attempting to goad you, the consumer, into more spending and more consumption to "lift the economy."

This claim has been a lie and a fraud upon the public and the new Fed Z1 makes this clear. The peak household credit liability was $13.92 trillion. It currently stands at $13.30 trillion, a reduction of a mere 4.6%.

This all came from home mortgages going ka-boom; $10.6 trillion to $9.9 trillion, a reduction of $700 billion. Total net reduction in liability was $620 billion; ex-mortgages consumer leverage has actually increased..."

FCC's Net-Neut Rules Now Official

Score one for individual rights, personal liberty and common sense.


FCC's net-neut rules now official • The Register: "The US Federal Communications Commission's open-internet rules have been published by the Federal Register, and they're set to go into effect on November 20 of this year.

The publication of the densely worded, profusely footnoted 42-page document makes it official: the FCC has come out strongly for what it deems to be 'Preserving the Open Internet'..."

25 September, 2011

Is The U.S. Government Stockpiling Food In Anticipation Of A Major Economic Crisis?

Is The U.S. Government Stockpiling Food In Anticipation Of A Major Economic Crisis?: "Is the U.S. government stockpiling huge amounts of food and supplies in anticipation that something bad is about to happen? Is something about to cause a major economic crisis that will require large quantities of emergency food? For a while, I have been hearing things about the government storing food through the grapevine and I have not been sure what to think about those rumors. Well, today I received a phone call that blew me away. I debated for quite a while before I decided whether or not to share this information with you all. Normally I do not like to talk about anything unless I am able to prove it by pointing to an article in the mainstream media. But the source of the information that I am about to share with you is rock solid. I cannot reveal his name, so you will just have to trust me on that. Hopefully the following information will be one more 'dot' as we all try to connect the dots about what is really going on out there.

This morning I received a call from a very prominent person in the storable food industry. He has asked me not to reveal his name. I have been dealing with him for an extended period of time and I consider him to be a rock-solid source. When I talked to him today, he had just received a huge order for storable food from a U.S. government source. He told me that the dollar amount of the order was in the 'five figures'.

When he asked about why so much food was being ordered, the government source told him essentially that 'you know what is coming'. When pushed further, the government official did not elaborate..."

Is Financial Instability The New Normal?

Is Financial Instability The New Normal?: "The financial world is officially going crazy. Can you believe what is going on out there right now? Financial markets have been jumping up and down like crazy for months and this is creating a lot of fear. Other than during the financial crisis of 2008, in the post-World War II era have we ever experienced as much financial instability as we are seeing right now? Should we just accept that massive financial instability is going to be part of 'the new normal' in the financial world? The wild swings that we are witnessing in the global financial marketplace are making a whole lot of people very nervous right at the moment. When markets go up, they tend to do it slowly and steadily. When markets go down, a lot of times it can happen very rapidly. Also, as I have mentioned before, more major stock market crashes happen during the fall than during any other time of the year. The last major financial crisis happened during the fall of 2008, and things are starting to look a little bit more like 2008 with each passing day. The last thing the global economy needs right now is another major financial meltdown, but that may be exactly what we are about to get..."

23 September, 2011

Guest Post: A Simple Equation

A Simple Equation

Drought + Cutting Fire Department Funding = Wildfires in Texas. Seems like an easy idea to grasp, so why did Texas lawmakers pass a bill allowing millions in funding to be cut from volunteer fire departments during a drought? 

“Volunteer departments that were already facing financial strain were slated to have their funding cut from $30 million to $7 million, according to KVUE.

The majority of Texas is protected by volunteer fire departments. There are 879 volunteer fire departments in Texas and only 114 paid fire departments. Another 187 departments are a combination of volunteer and paid.”

That’s a cut of about 75%. So, now that wildfires rage across Texas, who are we counting on to help fight the fires? That’s right, the federal government.

FEMA must now step in because Governor Perry vowed to cut taxes: Taxes that went to the Texas Forest Service, who fund the volunteer firefighters across the huge state.
While the Texas governor has been highly critical of FEMA in the past, he told CBS’ Erica Hill that now was not the time to worry about reforming the agency.

“The issue is taking care of these people right now,” Perry insisted. “We can work our way through any conversations about how to make agencies more efficient, how to make Department of Defense equipment, for instance, more available. There are a lot of issues we can talk about, but the fact of the matter is now is not the time to be trying to work out the details of how to make these agencies more efficient. Let’s get people out of harm’s way.”

So instead of funding the state firefighters, let’s just rely more on the federal government to come clean up the mess. Sounds like a grade-A plan there, Perry.

The wildfires have not been restricted to the countryside, as mass media would lead you to believe. Large fires have been reported just outside major cities, like Houston. The Magnolia, Texas fires were less than 20 miles from the outskirts of Houston proper, well within the suburban area. The fires were out of control for two days, and it took three more to get them 90% controlled. Smoke covered the metropolis for nearly a week. 

Just a few days later, George Bush Park, located in the heart of Houston, burst into flames. The heavily wooded area took over twelve hours to get under control and only favorable winds stopped it from spreading to local neighborhoods. The park is located at the intersection of two major highways and spreads to one of the most congested roads in Houston. 

Those are just two samples of the effects of the drought combined with firefighter reduction. Why should huge cities, with a population well over 5 million, rely on FEMA to fight their fires? 

 Author Bio:
Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing high speed internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to:  katecroston.croston09 @ gmail.com.

Nervous Breakdown? 21 Signs That Something Big Is About To Happen In The Financial World

Nervous Breakdown? 21 Signs That Something Big Is About To Happen In The Financial World: "Will global financial markets reach a breaking point during the month of October? Right now there are all kinds of signs that the financial world is about to experience a nervous breakdown. Massive amounts of investor money is being pulled out of the stock market and mammoth bets are being made against the S&P 500 in October. The European debt crisis continues to grow even worse and weird financial moves are being made all over the globe. Does all of this unusual activity indicate that something big is about to happen? Let's hope not. But historically, the biggest stock market crashes have tended to happen in the fall. So are we on the verge of a 'Black October'?..."

Big-Name Brands Cut The Size Of Ttheir Products... But Price Remains The Same

Hidden inflation...


Big-name brands cut the size of their products... but price remains the same | Mail Online: "Supermarket shoppers are getting less for their money as big brands reduce the size of their products, consumer watchdogs warn.

The smaller groceries still cost the same at the checkout – a tactic that has reached epidemic proportions...

... Manufacturers say they are simply responding to increases in energy, transport and ingredients costs.

But the practice, effectively a price rise by stealth and first highlighted by the Mail in 2001, will not go down well with householders, whose cost of living continues to soar while their disposable income fails to keep up..."

Depressed As A Nation? 80 Percent Of Americans Believe That We Are In A Recession Right Now

Depressed As A Nation? 80 Percent Of Americans Believe That We Are In A Recession Right Now: "According to a brand new Gallup poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that we are in a recession right now. Of course the government insists that the recession ended quite some time ago, but apparently the message is not sinking in. Not only that, most Americans also do not believe that things are going to get better any time soon. According to the Gallup poll, 61 percent of Americans believe that the economy will be the same as it is right now or will be even worse one year from now. Two years ago, only 35 percent of Americans felt that way. Talk about pessimism! So are we depressed as a nation? Have too many people been reading the Economic Collapse Blog? How do we account for such strange numbers?

Certainly there are some areas of the country that are still doing quite well. If you live in an area that is closely tied to the federal government (Washington D.C.), the big Wall Street banks (New York) or corporate America (Silicon Valley, etc.), then you can go out on the weekends and find packed restaurants and mall parking lots that are overflowing.

But most of the rest of the country is really hurting..."

Old Bomb Shelter, Supplies Harken Back to Cold War Days

Old bomb shelter, supplies harken back to Cold War days - The Daily News Online: News: "When Ursula Fuest was young, the school janitor used to take her class down to the basement.

The point was to familiarize the kids with the room should the unthinkable ever happen — a small forest of black water barrels, tinned crackers, dry toilets and other supplies.

The materials were in case of atomic attack.

'Guy Kersch would take us down here, and let us know what was down here,' said Fuest, 56, now a veteran Wyoming Central School teacher. 'Then we’d have the drills in the halls. I was pretty young at the time.'

The school’s bomb shelter re-emerged last month during Wyoming’s first-ever reunion, at a time when school officials assumed it was mostly forgotten..."

Infographic: How Big a Backyard Would You Need to Live Off the Land?

Infographic: How Big a Backyard Would You Need to Live Off the Land? | One Block Off the Grid: The Smart New Way to Go Solar

22 September, 2011

Life After An EMP Attack: No Power, No Food, No Transportation, No Banking And No Internet

Life After An EMP Attack: No Power, No Food, No Transportation, No Banking And No Internet: "Most Americans do not know this, but a single EMP attack could potentially wipe out most of the electronics in the United States and instantly send this nation back to the 1800s. If a nuclear bomb was exploded high enough in the atmosphere over the middle part of the country, the electromagnetic pulse would fry electronic devices from coast to coast. The damage would be millions of times worse than 9/11. Just imagine a world where nobody has power, most cars will not start, the Internet has been fried, the financial system is offline indefinitely, nobody can make any phone calls and virtually all commerce across the entire country is brought to a complete stop. A nation that does not know how to live without technology would be almost entirely stripped of it at that point. Yes, this could really happen. An EMP attack is America's 'Achilles heel', and everyone around the world knows it. It is only a matter of time before someone uses an EMP weapon against us, and at this point we are pretty much completely unprepared..."

Dramatic New Video of Japan Tsunami

Dramatic New Video of Japan Tsunami: "We've seen a lot of footage of the tragic Japan tsunami, but this clip is the most horrifying yet. Entitled "South Sanriku -- Tsunami seen from Shizugawa High School," it's shot from high ground, but toward the end of the video you can see panicked residents running for their lives.

Almost as dramatic as the video is its audio track, where even if you don't speak Japanese, you can tell the people are expressing concern at the beginning, but by the end, their voices have reached a high level of panic and horror as they watch their homes washing away."

Lehman Brothers II Crisis Is Coming Soon

Lehman Brothers II crisis is coming soon - Howard Gold's No-Nonsense Investing - MarketWatch: "Three years ago, the House of Lehman collapsed like a house of cards. And if you thought the original was scary, just wait until Lehman II comes to a theater near you — in IMAX 3D with digital surround sound.

That’s the view of sober-minded Canadian strategist and money manager John Stephenson, senior vice president of First Asset Management in Toronto.

He predicts a new, Lehman-like financial crisis in the next six to 12 months, only this time involving the debt of governments and European banks..."

Latest Sign of Hardship: Families Unable to Bury Loved Ones

USA TODAY: "The economic downturn has left many families across the nation unable to afford burials.

As funeral costs rise and the economy continues to founder, many communities are seeing a rise in unclaimed bodies and funerals for indigent people.

The trend has been seen 'everywhere,' says Jacqueline Byers, director of research and outreach for the National Association of Counties.

'The reality is, it's gotten worse,' she says..."

Unemployment Rates Rose in Majority of States in August

Unemployment rates rose in majority of states - Yahoo! Finance: "Unemployment rates rose in a majority of states in August for a third straight month, further evidence that the depressed job market is widespread..."

21 September, 2011

30 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is About To Go Into The Toilet

30 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is About To Go Into The Toilet: "If you think the U.S. economy is bad now, just wait for a few months. Things are about to become absolutely nightmarish. None of the long-term economic trends that are hollowing out our economy have been addressed and more bad economic news seems to come out virtually every single day. Now there is constant talk of the "next recession" in the mainstream media. But did the last recession ever truly end? The number of good jobs continues to decline, more stores are closing, incomes continue to go down, credit card debt and student loan debt are soaring, the housing market resembles a corpse, the number of Americans living in poverty continues to rise and government debt is at unprecedented levels. We are losing blood fast, and almost all of our leaders are either too corrupt or too incompetent to be able to do anything about it. The U.S. economy really and truly is about to go into the toilet, and if something is not done very quickly we are going to experience a complete and total economic disaster in this nation..."

The Coming Collapse: “We Can Buy Time, But We Can’t Change the Outcome”

The Coming Collapse: “We Can Buy Time, But We Can’t Change the Outcome” | Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance: "The Ayn Rand Institute held its annual "Atlas Shrugged Revolution" dinner Thursday night in New York City.

In attendance were a number of financial luminaries and hedge fund managers, including Peter Schiff of EuroPacific Capital, John Tamny of RealClearMarkets, Dmitry Balyasny of Balyasny Asset Management and Scott Schweighauser of Aurora Investment Management.

The setting was the tony St. Regis Hotel on Fifth Avenue but there was nothing pleasant about the primary message coming from both the speakers and those in attendance: Western civilization is heading for hell and a hand basket, just like Rand predicted in her seminal novel..."

Veteran's Lawsuit Forces Police to Return Her Needlessly Confiscated Firearms

A follow-up to a previous article.


Lakewood woman's lawsuit forces police to return confiscated firearms: "On August 30, the Cleveland Scene reported that after having attempted to get police to return her collection of firearms for an entire year, a Lakewood, OH veteran was finally forced to file a lawsuit against the police department, which had confiscated the collection from her home when she was away..."

Farmers Flee as World's Deadliest Volcano Rumbles

Farmers flee as world's deadliest volcano rumbles - Yahoo! News: "Bold farmers in Indonesia routinely ignore orders to evacuate the slopes of live volcanoes, but those living on Tambora took no chances when history's deadliest mountain rumbled ominously this month.

Villagers like Hasanuddin Sanusi have heard since they were young how the mountain they call home once blew apart in the largest eruption ever recorded — an 1815 event widely forgotten outside their region — killing 90,000 people and blackening skies on the other side of the globe.

So, the 45-year-old farmer didn't wait to hear what experts had to say when Mount Tambora started being rocked by a steady stream of quakes. He grabbed his wife and four young children, packed his belongings and raced down its quivering slopes..."

Poverty Rate Hits 18-Year High As Median Income Falls

Bottom Line - Poverty rate hits 18-year high as median income falls: "The number of Americans who have fallen into poverty rose to 15.1 percent in 2010, the highest level in nearly two decades, the Census Bureau said Tuesday in a report.

The report, which showed the poverty rate rose for a third straight year as the economy struggles with a stumbling recovery and persistent high joblessness, said the number of poor Americans in 2010 was the largest in the 52 years that it has been publishing poverty estimates, according to Reuters..."

20 September, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Predicts Riots In The Streets If Economy Doesn't Create More Jobs

"Mayor Bloomberg predicts riots in the streets if economy doesn't create more jobs: Mayor Bloomberg warned Friday there would be riots in the streets if Washington doesn't get serious about generating jobs.

'We have a lot of kids graduating college, can't find jobs,' Bloomberg said on his weekly WOR radio show.

'That's what happened in Cairo. That's what happened in Madrid. You don't want those kinds of riots here.'

In Cairo, angry Egyptians took out their frustrations by toppling presidential strongman Hosni Mubarak - and more recently attacking the Israeli embassy.

As for Madrid, the most recent street protests were sparked by widespread unhappiness that the Spanish government was spending millions on the visit of Pope Benedict instead of dealing with widespread unemployment.

Bloomberg's unusually alarmist pronouncement came as President Obama has been pressuring reluctant Republicans to pass his proposed job creation plan..."

The Economic Collapse

Part 1 - The Economic Collapse - YouTube

Part 2 - The Economic Collapse - YouTube

Huge Defunct Satellite Falling to Earth Faster Than Expected, NASA Says

Huge Defunct Satellite Falling to Earth Faster Than Expected, NASA Says | Falling NASA Satellite, Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite | Space Junk & Orbital Debris | Space.com: "NASA space junk experts have refined the forecast for the anticipated death plunge of a giant satellite, with the U.S. space agency now predicting the 6 1/2-ton climate probe will plummet to Earth around Sept. 23, a day earlier than previously reported.

The defunct bus-size spacecraft is NASA's Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), which launched in 1991 and was shut down in 2005 after completing its mission. The satellite was expected to fall to Earth sometime this year, with experts initially pegging a weeks-long window between late September and early October, then narrowing it to the last week of this month.

That window, NASA now says, has been trimmed to just three days..."

Contagion: Are We at Risk? Pt 1

Contagion: Are We at Risk? Pt 1 | The Dr. Oz Show: "Dr. Oz performs a social experiment to show you just how quickly a pandemic can spread. See why the United States may be at risk for a mass contagion and find out what it would look like in real time."

19 September, 2011

25 Signs That A Horrific Global Water Crisis Is Coming

25 Signs That A Horrific Global Water Crisis Is Coming: "Every single day, we are getting closer to a horrific global water crisis. This world was blessed with an awesome amount of fresh water, but because of our foolishness it is rapidly disappearing. Rivers, lakes and major underground aquifers all over the globe are drying up, and many of the fresh water sources that we still have available are so incredibly polluted that we simply cannot use them anymore. Without fresh water, we simply cannot function. Just imagine what would happen if the water got cut off in your house and you were not able to go out and buy any. Just think about it. How long would you be able to last? Well, as sources of fresh water all over the globe dry up, we are seeing drought conditions spread. We are starting to see massive "dust storms" in areas where we have never seem them before. Every single year, most of the major deserts around the world are getting bigger and the amount of usable agricultural land in most areas is becoming smaller. Whether you are aware of this or not, the truth is that we are rapidly approaching a breaking point..."

James Howard Kunstler: The Rainmakers

The Rainmakers - Clusterfuck Nation: "This much can be stated categorically about the USA these days: the more distressed our economy gets, the more delusional thinking you will encounter. People want to assign the cause of their misery to this or that (socialism, abortion, Jews, the New World Order). People want to believe that their world is a safe place with bright prospects (climate change is a myth, we have a hundred years of shale oil). The realm of oil is especially ripe for misunderstanding, since we depend on the stuff so desperately, and the world's geology is complex indeed, and then you have to bring math and money into the picture. But it's another thing when professional propagandists take the stage and attempt to systematically mislead the public.

Such is the case with two ersatz bombshells zinging across the web-waves this past week, fired off by two of the foremost professional liars on the scene. The first comes from the oil industry's leading prostitute, Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), owned by the mammoth HIS consulting company. CERA is the main public relations shop for the oil industry. Its mission is to blow smoke up America's ass in order to keep investment dollars flowing into oil companies because oil companies prefer to use other people's money to perform their risky operations. They make a lot of money themselves, and accumulate it diligently, but they are not so foolish as to squander it on dry holes and adventures in alchemy.

So, last week Daniel Yergin came out with a blast in the Wall Street Journal affecting to debunk peak oil. His own theory is much like Irving Fisher's economic theory set out October 21, 1929 that 'stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.' Three days later, the markets crashed and the Great Depression commenced. Yergin says we've hit a permanent plateau for oil production. He is pimping for a bonanza in shale oil, tar sands, and other innovative ventures in picking 'fruit' that is not hanging so low anymore. He says:

'Meeting future demand will require innovation, investment and the development of more challenging resources. A major reason for continuing growth in petroleum supplies is that oil previously regarded as inaccessible or uneconomical is now part of the mix, such as the 'presalt' resources off the coast of Brazil, the vast oil sands of Canada, and the oil locked in shale and other rocks in the U.S.'

Spoken like a true PR whore. Translation: give us money. Calling all investors. Give your dollars to the folks working the Bakken play, or Eagle Ford down in Texas. These shale plays represent oil that is trapped in 'tight,' low-permeability rock that has to undergo fracturing operations ('fracking') before you can drain it out. It costs a lot more to get oil this way than by sticking a pipe in the ground and running a pump-jack to get it out the old-fashioned way. There are more than a few dirty secrets about the shale oil plays, but the biggest one is that you have to throw a huge amount of capital and steel at it to keep it running as an ongoing enterprise, and that money - other people's money - will be in shockingly short supply in the years head.

Those troubles you hear distant rumblings about in places like Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain - that's the sound of the world's money whooshing into a black hole, which is what happens when debts are not repaid. Something very similar is happening in the USA, where all the unresolved mega-borrowing of the past thirty years is whirling down the drain, never to be seen again, and a craven corporate oligarchy (there, I said it) is working tirelessly to hoard the last remaining vestiges of money before it either deflates across that event horizon, or inflates away to nothing by digital multiplication. In either case the result is the same: you're broke.

Here's the truth about the US shale plays: they will never amount to more than about one million barrels-a-day (m/b/d) in production under any circumstances (the nation uses 19 m/b/d); and even more probably the money will not be there to keep the shale oil coming very many years into the future. You can take that to the bank (if your money has any value when you get there, and if the bank has not cratered).

In our fugue of techno-narcissism, America wants to believe that we can just keep on being what we used to be, pizza, DisneyWorld, WalMart, and all. So, the second big buzz of the week came courtesy of Goldman Sachs, in a sloppy press release saying America would be the world's top oil producer in 2017, at 10.9 m/b/d. The effrontery of these thieving pricks! They apparently pulled the information out of chief Goldman flak Lucas Van Praag's ass. One might infer that Goldman Sachs is campaigning to raise money for the oil industry by suggesting a bonanza is underway. It's a crude ruse. The actual 'confidential' report - as opposed to the brief summary in the media - shows that Goldman Sachs arrives at this position by referring to non-oil substances as oil. Neat trick. Be sure to call Goldman Sachs to invest your remaining savings in algae secretions and ethanol.

No doubt, though, that these two PR offensives will accomplish their secondary mission: to gird the hopes and wishes of the political right-wing, who are hell-bent on keeping this country from entering a plausible future. Watch these idea take flight and wonder that you live in such credulous nation."


James Howard Kunstler is an author and among the leading voices in the charge to be prepared to change how we live as Peak Oil approaches. He is the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century as well as the fiction novel World Made by Hand: A Novel.

Guest Post: Experience Freedom with Credit Card Debt Elimination: Yes, You Can Do It

Editor's Note: The subject of the following article describes what should be a important goal for each and every one of us on our road to personal liberty. Debt is the means by which we are controlled in modern societies, and throwing off those shackles should be a major priority.

Experience Freedom with Credit Card Debt Elimination: Yes, You Can Do It

You may know what it feels like to be hounded by debt collection calls and have to sift through piles of collector notices in the daily mail but if you want to experience the freedom of being debt free, you have to commit to focusing on your goal. Credit card debt elimination is achievable no matter how far in debt you may be. It takes an intense desire to want to become free of the debt burdens to really put forth the effort of consistently working toward eliminating your balances. It also takes a willingness to give up some of life’s luxuries temporarily to find the freedom of being debt free.

5 Steps to Credit Card Debt Freedom
Debt elimination takes a certain amount of determination as well as creativity to see results. Here are five steps you can use to start on your road to debt freedom:

1. Tally the Damage
In many cases, consumers that owe a lot of debts often ignore the situation. As a result, they have no legitimate idea where they stand financially and have no clue how much they really owe in credit card debts. It is vital to take the first step of debt elimination and gather all of your account statements, billing history, and balance summaries for your debts. Make a list for yourself of who you owe, how much is due monthly, what the interest rate is, and how much total balance remains. By creating such a visual for yourself, you are better equipped to plan your debt elimination strategy.

2. Assign Priorities
There are no one-size fits all debt strategies that suit everyone. In order to get out of debt, you’ll need to assess your own situation and assign priorities based on your own needs. Some experts believe you should take the credit card with the highest interest and pay that off first. Other experts believe you should knock out a couple of your smaller debts first. Whatever strategy you plan to use, you’ll need to identify it early on. It can help to use a debt reduction calculator, like the one from Vertex42.com, to figure out your plan. Ideally, you’ll want to pay minimums on all cards while you focus on paying as much as possible on one of the cards until it is paid off in full. Once you've paid off an account, you take the money you were paying to that account and allocate it to the next card on the list and so on until each balance has been eliminated.

3. Make Your Spending Cuts
The only way to get ahead of your debts is to start making cuts to your own spending. Consider which expenses are not needs such as expanded cable packages, work lunches outside the office, and other items not necessary to live. It can be very difficult to cut these expenses out of your life but it is necessary to free up the cash needed for debt elimination. Consider it a challenge to yourself. The faster you can pay off your existing debts, the sooner you can return to ‘normal’ life.

4. Supplement Your Income
Even if you earn a decent living and can manage your bills, it may be necessary for you to add income to your household if only on a temporary basis. It will depend on the total amount of credit card balances you owe and how fast you want to eliminate the debt. A secondary source of income is a good way to have the cash you need to allocate exclusively to your debts. Try finding a part time job during the summers or holiday season when more are available. You may even consider turning a skill or a hobby into a resource for income.

5. Learn from Your Mistakes
If after you have gone through the first few steps and you are still spending on credit, you are likely going to have to start from scratch and do the whole process over again. The biggest lesson in the debt elimination process should be that one should not let history come back again. Stop using credit cards if you do not have the financial means or discipline to pay the balance off in full. Only utilize credit when you have the cash equivalent on hand rather than use the credit card as a source of extra income.

Your ability to cut back on spending and get more refined at managing money should be carried over for the rest of your life and not just until you become debt free. It takes hard work and diligence to relieve yourself of credit card debts but takes no time at all to find yourself in financial trouble once again.   When you become debt free, you'll realize that being debt free offers much more freedom in your life.

The author of this article, provides articles for Vertex42.com – a site offering a large selection of free excel templates and personal financial calculators.

17 September, 2011

Gerald Celente: “Things Are Going to Get Much Worse…Society Is Breaking Down” | Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance

Gerald Celente: “Things Are Going to Get Much Worse…Society Is Breaking Down” | Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance

20 Signs Of Imminent Financial Collapse In Europe

20 Signs Of Imminent Financial Collapse In Europe: "Are we on the verge of a massive financial collapse in Europe? Rumors of an imminent default by Greece are flying around all over the place and Greek government officials are openly admitting that they are running out of money. Without more bailout funds it is absolutely certain that Greece will soon default on their debts. But German officials are threatening to hold up more bailout payments until the Greeks 'do what they agreed to do'. The attitude in Germany is that the Greeks must now pay the price for going into so much debt. Officials in the Greek government are becoming frustrated because the more austerity measures they implement, the more their economy shrinks. As the economy shrinks, so do tax payments and the budget deficit gets even larger. Meanwhile, hordes of very angry Greek citizens are violently protesting in the streets. If Germany allows Greece to default, that is going to start financial dominoes tumbling around the globe and it is going to be a signal to the financial markets that there is a very real possibility that Portugal, Italy and Spain will be allowed to default as well. Needless to say, all hell would break loose at that point..."

Get Ready for the Next Crash

Get ready for the next crash - 1 - European debt crisis - MSN Money: "Financial markets are behaving as if they expect a European banking crisis that would require the bailout or nationalization of some European banks. That would feel like a replay of the financial crisis that followed the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008. Only this time, the epicenter would be Europe instead of the United States, and the ripples would expand from the eurozone outward into global financial markets.

How realistic is that fear? Very, I'm afraid. European banks are facing a very real liquidity and capital crisis that could lead to the need for a government rescue of some globally significant banks.

But the crisis isn't an exact replay of the 2008 crisis. The effects of the crisis would not be limited to Europe, but the likelihood that a European crisis would take down a major U.S. bank -- in a mirror image of the 2008 crisis where problems originating in the United States did lead to the bailouts of banks in the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium -- is relatively small. On the other hand, the crisis is potentially worse this time around because the European Central Bank is much less able to intervene as a lender of last resort than the U.S. Federal Reserve was in 2008..."

Argentina : Surviving Without Money

Argentina : surviving without money | Gerald Celente Trends Blog: "Argentina's crisis occurred with the Peso was pegged with the US dollar and was not able to fluctuate. Then you have years of bad management and direction from leaders such as Fernando de la Rua putting caps on how much people can withdraw per day and how much banks can pay out per day and you get a terrible crisis. After years of lending by the IMF and the peso pegged to the dollar, the situation reached a breaking point in 2001. 20% unnemployment, alternative bons like the Patacon and Lecop being printed since we couldn't print dollars. The elite had moved their money out of the country and when the average citizen tried to close his accounts, they were frozen, to later be converted to devaluated pesos losing 70% of their value. Argentina defaulted on its 132 billion usd debt, largest default in history..."

16 September, 2011

Do You Now Understand Why You Need To Prepare For Emergencies? This Has Been The Worst Year For Natural Disasters In U.S. History

Do You Now Understand Why You Need To Prepare For Emergencies? This Has Been The Worst Year For Natural Disasters In U.S. History: "There has been a natural disaster that has caused at least a billion dollars of damage inside the United States every single month so far this year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been 10 major disasters in the United States this year. On average, usually there are only about 3 major disasters a year. At this point, disasters are happening inside the United States so frequently that there seems to be no gap between them. We just seem to go from one major disaster to the next. Last year, FEMA declared an all-time record of 81 disasters inside the United States. This year, we are on pace for well over 100. We just got done dealing with Hurricane Irene, and now we are dealing with historic wildfires in Texas and unprecedented flooding up in the northeast part of the country. This has been the worst year for natural disasters in U.S. history, and we still have nearly four months left to go..."

The Ultimate Fear of 'Contagion' Tests Trust in Health Care

Viewpoints: The ultimate fear of 'Contagion' tests trust in health care - Sacramento Opinion - Sacramento Editorial | Sacramento Bee: "As a health care provider and pandemic expert, I have never been interested in movies or television shows involving a massive outbreak. I want entertainment to escape from my work, not to watch it unfold again in front of me. Few movies aside, the medical realism could also hinder my ability to generate compassion, empathy or fear. But "Contagion," which opened in theaters last week, is different.

'Contagion' tracks the anatomy of a viral pandemic, from its zoonotic origin to social disruption. The fear of a cough, disintegration of basic social services, the ineptitude of governmental officials and the death of loved ones are all employed to generate a primal fear that is familiar to viewers. But below the surface is an even deeper fear that society rarely engages – the disintegration and distrust of the health care system. This impact of a pandemic, which the film highlights well, is the greatest fear of health care and public health experts, and for that reason, it is a very scary film..."

Cash-Strapped Adults Hunker Down, Bunk Up

Cash-strapped adults hunker down, bunk up | The Tennessean | tennessean.com: "... Increasingly, relatives and friends are moving in together to make ends meet in the midst of a battered economy in which jobs remain scarce and money is tight, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Tuesday..."

U.S. Drops in Ranking of Most Competitive of World Economies

US drops in ranking of most competitive of world economies - Boston.com: "The United States has tumbled further down a global ranking of the world’s most competitive economies, landing at fifth place because of its huge deficits and declining public faith in government, a global economic group said yesterday.

The announcement by the World Economic Forum was the latest bad news for the Obama administration, which has been struggling to boost the sinking US economy and lower an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent.

Switzerland held on to the top spot for the third consecutive year in the annual ranking by the Geneva-based forum, which is best known for its exclusive meeting of luminaries in Davos, Switzerland, each January..."

13 September, 2011

James Howard Kunstler: Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars - Clusterfuck Nation: "I don't want to be party pooper, but is it possible that all the 9/11 remembrance hoopla was a kind of weekend refuge from reality for this psychologically spavined nation? Memorializing is easy; acting resolutely in the here-and-now is another matter. To me, the various 9/11 doings that radiated out over the media gave off an indecent odor of triumphalism - a correspondent of mine referred to it as 'self-important histrionics.' We seem to put on these shows because we don't know what else to do, and because the only truly effective homegrown industry left in the USA is public relations, the business of making your own reality.

The trouble is that reality accepts no substitutes (as the old ad jingle goes). It does its thing regardless of whether you acknowledge it or not...

... reality has... plans for the U.S. economy, which is to contract, de-globalize, downscale, and go local. That so-called economy they're trying to bring back? It's gone, baby, gone. I saw the remnants of it in the supermarket yesterday afternoon, endless freezer displays of unbelievable food-like shit such as Fridays © frozen fried cheddar-stuffed jalepeno poppers and something called 'Rattlesnake Pasta.' What kind of people are we?... this trip to the supermarket was like a visit to some unholy museum. A lot of the stuff behind those glass freezer doors I'd never actually noticed before, and surely never imagined in my wildest Iron Chef fantasies. In a few years, when the US public has become accustomed to a diet of cabbage soup and corn-pone, the memory of all that will astonish us...

... The stars are lined up now pointing straight at the tragic heart of Europe. I really don't quite see how the Euro currency gets through to the end of this week. German government officials are making noises about an orderly bankruptcy in Greece. What do they mean by that? Does Greece walk into its lawyer's office with a tidy list of assets for sale? Say, the Parthenon, assorted caryatids, the contents of the Thessalonica Country Club's trophy cabinet, and Uncle Nikos's fabulous stamp collection? I don't think so. More likely, you can expect an unholy shit-storm of credit default swaps setting every bank in the OCED (and few outside it) on fire, and by extension every executive mansion, until you turn around on Saturday morning and the world's currency system looks like an incinerated slice of smoldering wonder bread...


James Howard Kunstler is an author and among the leading voices in the charge to be prepared to change how we live as Peak Oil approaches. He is the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century as well as the fiction novel World Made by Hand: A Novel.

Senate Approves $500 Billion Increase in Borrowing Authority

Cause what we really need is even MORE debt... morons...
Senate Approves $500 Billion Increase in Borrowing Authority - Washington Wire - WSJ: "The U.S. Senate, in an unusual procedure, cleared the way Thursday for the U.S. to lift its borrowing authority by $500 billion to $15.19 trillion, enough to keep the support federal government borrowing through late January or early February..."

Economy: World Entering 'Dangerous New Phase'

More calls for even GREATER levels of ultimately disastrous government meddling.
Economy: World Entering 'Dangerous New Phase' Says Lagarde - CNBC: "Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned that the global economy is entering a "dangerous new phase" on Friday, ahead of the G7 summit in Marseilles, France.

She warned that both advanced and emerging economies faced key economic challenges, and that governments must 'act now' to stop further contagion..."

Banks, Governments Move To Restrict Personal Gold Bullion Purchases

Banks, Governments Move To Restrict Personal Gold Bullion Purchases: "... All of the indicators we’re seeing – construction starts, bank lending, personal borrowing habits, economic growth, and even the (lack of) items in grocery store carts – suggest that Europe is on the brink, though as is generally the case, the average European has no clue what’s coming their way.

The most alarming situation we identified is one relating to the purchase of gold coins and bullion – specifically in the country of Austria – but one that will likely make its way across the EU if it hasn’t already..."

12 September, 2011

Bring Out Your Dead - UBS Quantifies Costs Of Euro Break Up, Warns Of Collapse Of Banking System And Civil War

Bring Out Your Dead - UBS Quantifies Costs Of Euro Break Up, Warns Of Collapse Of Banking System And Civil War | ZeroHedge: "Any time a major bank releases a report saying a given course of action is too costly, too prohibitive, too blonde, or simply too impossible, it is nearly guaranteed that that is precisely the course of action about to be undertaken. Which is why all non-euro skeptics are advised to shield their eyes and look away from the just released report by UBS (of surging 3 Month USD Libor rate fame) titled 'Euro Break Up - The Consequences.' UBS conveniently sets up the straw man as follows: 'Under the current structure and with the current membership, the Euro does not work. Either the current structure will have to change, or the current membership will have to change.' So far so good. Yet where it gets scary is when UBS quantifies the actual opportunity cost to one or more countries leaving the Euro. Notably Germany. 'Were a stronger country such as Germany to leave the Euro, the consequences would include corporate default, recapitalisation of the banking system and collapse of international trade..."

How Much Cash Would You Need After a Terrorist Attack?

How Much Cash Would You Need After a Terrorist Attack? - DailyFinance: "The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Sunday should remind us how important it is to be prepared for the worst -- and part of that preparation requires having money readily available.

Not in your bank. Not tied up in stocks. And not in the uncashed birthday check from Grandma Gertie.

In any major emergency, you'll need cash on hand to pay for the necessities -- food, water and anything else to to stay safe until the chaos subsides.

Our expert told DailyFinance that 30 days' worth of folding money is the minimum to have at home in case of the unthinkable..."

Country (Greece) in a State of Emergency

ekathimerini.com | Country in a state of emergency: "... The country has enough money to last it until the end of September and then, without the next installment of emergency loans, it will find itself unable to pay salaries and pensions.

On Tuesday, the government expressed its intention to regain lost ground by immediately implementing all the reforms it has dragged its feet over in the past months. The chief responsibility for the realization of this plan lies with Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos. The first minister who fails to do their duty or slips into procrastination and petty party politicking has to go, immediately and without much ado.

Put simply: Either the government will begin operating as if the country is in a state of emergency or the country will explode in its hands."

Wikileaks Discloses The Reason(s) Behind China's Shadow Gold Buying Spree

Wikileaks Discloses The Reason(s) Behind China's Shadow Gold Buying Spree | ZeroHedge: "Wondering why gold at $1850 is cheap, or why gold at double that price will also be cheap, or frankly at any price? Because, as the following leaked cable explains, gold is, to China at least, nothing but the opportunity cost of destroying the dollar's reserve status. Putting that into dollar terms is, therefore, impractical at best, and illogical at worst. We have a suspicion that the following cable from the US embassy in China is about to go not viral but very much global, and prompt all those mutual fund managers who are on the golden sidelines to dip a toe in the 24 karat pool. The only thing that matters from China's perspective is that 'suppressing the price of gold is very beneficial for the U.S. in maintaining the U.S. dollar's role as the international reserve currency. China's increased gold reserves will thus act as a model and lead other countries towards reserving more gold. Large gold reserves are also beneficial in promoting the internationalization of the RMB.' Now, what would happen if mutual and pension funds finally comprehend they are massively underinvested in the one asset which China is without a trace of doubt massively accumulating behind the scenes is nothing short of a worldwide scramble, not so much for paper, but every last ounce of physical gold..."

European Banks Face Collapse Under Debts

European banks face collapse under debts, warns Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann - Telegraph: "Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank, has warned that 'numerous' European lenders would collapse if they were forced to book their losses on stricken sovereign bonds.

Mr Ackermann said that the value of billions of euros of loans has plunged to a level that could overwhelm smaller banks.

He told a conference in Frankfurt: 'Numerous European banks would not survive having to revalue sovereign debt held on the banking book at market levels.'

Mr Ackermann said market conditions were as febrile as the height of the banking crisis..."