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30 November, 2011

22 Reasons Why We Could See An Economic Collapse In Europe In 2012

22 Reasons Why We Could See An Economic Collapse In Europe In 2012: "Will 2012 be the year that we see an economic collapse in Europe? Before you dismiss the title of this article as 'alarmist', read the facts listed in the rest of this article first. Over the past several months, there has been an astonishing loss of confidence in the European financial system. Right now, virtually nobody wants to loan money to financially troubled nations in the EU and virtually nobody wants to lend money to major European banks. Remember, one of the primary reasons for the financial crisis of 2008 was a major credit crunch that happened here in the United States. This burgeoning credit crunch in Europe is just one element of a 'perfect storm' that is rapidly coming together as we get ready to go into 2012. The signs of trouble are everywhere..."

James Howard Kunstler: Your New American Dream

Your New American Dream - Clusterfuck Nation: "It's really something to live in a country that doesn't know what it is doing in a world that doesn't know where it is going in a time when anything can happen. I hope you can get comfortable with uncertainty.

If there's one vibe emanating from this shadowy zeitgeist it's a sense of the total exhaustion of culture, in particular the way the world does business. Everything looks tired, played out, and most of all false. Governments can't really pay for what they do. Banks have no real money. Many households surely have no money. The human construct of money itself has become a shape-shifting phantom. Will it vanish into the vortex of unpaid debt until nobody has any? Or will there be plenty of worthless money that people can spend into futility? Either way they will be broke.

The looming fear whose name political leaders dare not speak is global depression, but that is not what we're in for. The term suggests a temporary sidetrack from the smooth operation of integrated advanced economies. We're heading into something quite different, a permanent departure from the standard conception of economic progress, the one in which there is always sure to be more comfort and convenience for everybody, the economy of automatic goodies.

A big part of the automatic economy was the idea of a 'job.' In its journey to the present moment, the idea became crusted with barnacles of illusion, especially that a 'job' was a sort of commodity 'produced' by large corporate enterprises or governments and rationally distributed like any other commodity; that it came with a goodie bag filled with guaranteed pensions, medical care to remediate bad living habits, vacations to places of programmed entertainment, a warm, well-lighted dwelling, and a big steel machine to travel around in. Now we witness with helpless despair as these illusions dissolve.

The situation at hand is not a 'depression,' though it may resemble the experience of the 1930s in the early going. It's the permanent re-set and reorganization of everyday life amidst a desperate scramble for resources. It will go on and on until there are far fewer people competing for things while the ones who endure construct new systems for daily living based on fewer resources used differently.

In North America I believe this re-set will involve the re-establishment of an economy centered on agriculture, with a lot of other activities supporting it, all done on a fine-grained local and regional scale. It must be impossible for many of us to imagine such an outcome - hence the futility of our current politics, with its hollow promises, its laughable battles over sexual behavior, its pitiful religious boasting, its empty statistical blather, all in the service of wishing the disintegrating past back into existence..."


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.

Paper Money Is Not Wealth

Paper Money Is Not Wealth : Personal Liberty Digest™: "Have you ever seen “old people” hold and fondle their paper money? They count it, hide it under the mattress and bury it for safekeeping.

Remember my example of the power of inflation? I said that you could bury your paper money 40 miles deep in a sealed concrete vault, and it still could be inflated or devalued to nothing. There is no way to preserve your paper money. It is up to the money creators to not overprint.

Here’s how we are fooled: People equate fiat paper money like U.S. dollars with wealth. Only if paper money held its purchasing power could it be a store of value. Only then could you bury it and forget it...

... The U.S. dollar does rally from time to time, but the long-term trend is down. We must understand this in order to protect our savings and investments.

The only thing that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve can do under any pretense is to debase the currency. They do this by printing money or massive devaluation. It is not a solution, only a delay.

It’s a cruel hoax! Debasing the currency cannot and will not bring prosperity. It will bring ruin. It always has. It can come only to final default.

Printing money plus big devaluation means default — maybe not suddenly, but default is guaranteed..."

Italy Is Closer To Collapse Than Anyone Realized, And So Is The World

Italy Is Closer To Collapse Than Anyone Realized, And So Is The World: "Some stories in the European press suggest that Italy is working on a very big loan package from the IMF. I have no doubt that there are ongoing discussions. There have to be. Either someone puts a finger in the dike or Italy goes tapioca.

That thought is difficult for me to fathom. How could we be so close to the brink? At this point there is zero possibility that Italy can refinance any portion of its $300b of 2012 maturing debt. If there is anyone at the table who still thinks that Italy can pull off a miracle, they are wrong. I’m certain that the finance guys at the ECB and Italian CB understand this. I repeat, there is a zero chance for a market solution for Italy. Either the ECB (aka Germany) steps in and underwrites the debt with some form of Euro bonds or the IMF (aka the USA) steps in with some very serious money..."

Family Lost in the Woods On Christmas Tree Hunt Forced to Call 911 for Rescue

Family Lost On Christmas Tree Hunt Calls 911 - Denver News Story - KMGH Denver: "A family of four hunting for that perfect Christmas tree got lost in Jefferson County Sunday afternoon, called 911 and were escorted to safety after dark by the Alpine Rescue team, authorities said.

The family, a couple and their two children, ages 9 and 13, became lost in the backcountry near Highway 126 and Forest Service Road 550 in the Buffalo Creek area, said Jefferson County sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley..."

29 November, 2011

Scientists Create Man-Made Flu Virus That Could Potentially Wipe Out Millions If It Ever Escapes Research Lab

Scientists create man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out millions if it ever escapes research lab | Impact Lab: "A group of scientists is pushing to publish research about how they created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilization.

The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time.

The research has caused a storm of controversy and divided scientists, with some saying it should never have been carried out.

The current strain of H5N1 has only killed 500 people and is not contagious enough to cause a global pandemic.

But their are fears the modified virus is so dangerous it could be used for bio-warfare, if it falls into the wrong hands.

Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily..."

The 10 Most Shocking Videos from Black Friday 2011: Depicting America’s Greed

What has our civilization become?


The 10 Most Shocking Videos from Black Friday 2011: Depicting America’s Greed: "Black Friday seems to grow further out of control every year, and 2011 was no exception. Millions of Americans waited overnight to storm retailers’ gates and battle for limited deals across the nation. We’ve sorted through every video released so far to bring you the 10 most chaotic. Prepare yourself!..."

The Threat of Electromagnetic Pulse

The threat of electromagnetic pulse! by John Silveira Issue #132: "I like 'doomsday' scenarios — even ridiculous ones, such as the supposed Mayan calendar prophecy for 2012 or what had been Y2K doom-and-gloom leading up to the year 2000. Of course, there are some genuine doomsday threats to worry about, such as the possibility of another flu pandemic like the one of 1918-1919 or other pandemics health officials worry could be caused by drug resistant "superbugs" that could kill tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, worldwide.

There are also unlikely but plausible catastrophes I like to mull over, such as the eruption of one of the world's super volcanoes, the impacting of a large asteroid, or the onset of another glacial age, all of which are going to happen — eventually — and, if one of those happened now it could wipe out as much as 90 percent of humanity, and we're powerless to stop them.

But what if there was a well-documented, but preventable threat, that could bring this country to its knees and kill as many as a quarter of a billion Americans, yet we were doing nothing to prevent it. In fact there are fixes we could put in place now to lessen the consequences — but the media and our nation's leaders not only ignore it, Congress has even cut money from the budget that could provide the means to deal with it.

The threat is called electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and it could come about as the result of detonating one well-placed nuclear device high over the United States. In fact, it could happen even without a nuclear attack as a result of a naturally-occurring solar flare from our own sun..."

EPA Targets Families That Generate Heat Off The Grid Using Traditional Wood-Burning Stoves

EPA targets families that generate heat off the grid using traditional wood-burning stoves: "Traditional wood-burning stoves are still one of the most cost-efficient, sustainable, and renewable sources of energy production that families can use to heat their homes. But the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not a huge fan of them, as was evidenced by its recent decision to push those who use traditional models to convert to EPA-approved -- and oftentimes much more expensive -- alternative models.

Throughout history, civilizations have relied on the burning of wood to cook food, warm water, and heat places of dwelling. After all, trees are an abundant and renewable source of wood, which means that the costs associated with obtaining energy and heat from burning wood are minimal. This, of course, is why many cash-strapped folks today are turning to wood-burning stoves rather than their local utilities.

But the EPA is now expressing concern about the 80 percent-or-so of wood stove users that still rely on non-EPA approved models. Most of the wood stoves manufactured before 1990 do not contain the EPA's certification stamp of approval which, in the eyes of the agency, means they are an unnecessary contributor of excess environmental pollution..."

Think We've Got It Bad? Read About the British Expats Whose Lives Have Become a Nightmare in a Violent, Chaotic Greece

Think we've got it bad? Read about the British expats whose lives have become a nightmare in a violent, chaotic land | Mail Online: "Last month, I dropped off my two-year-old daughter Nicci Alise at her nursery during a downpour that lasted barely an hour. But this being Athens, that’s all it took for many of the shoddily maintained roads to flood. As I navigated the five-minute drive home, stinking bags of uncollected garbage sailed past in the torrents.

It could have been a scene from Slumdog Millionaire, except that I was driving past multi-million-euro mansions with gilded gates and cascading bougainvillea in one of Athens’s most affluent suburbs. The imagery was potent. Greece 2011: a country that has allowed itself to be capsized by its own accumulated waste.

It’s been barely a fortnight since new prime minister Lucas Papademos was parachuted in, and Greece’s so-called ‘national unity’ government has already devolved into a Mexican stand-off over the crucial signing of the eurozone rescue deal. But regardless of any new political scenario, Greece’s citizens still face years of brutal austerity when, even now, there are so many who haven’t been paid in months.

On that rainy day, the city’s refuse collectors were on strike, as they had been for the past fortnight, along with a good proportion of Greece’s labour force. We were in the grip of a 48-hour general strike. Airports, state schools and banks stopped working. They were joined by bakers, doctors, customs officials, taxi and bus drivers and even judges. Clothes shops and tax offices shut down, but the beggars who clog Athens’s road junctions cleaning windscreens were still hard at it.

Every night, my husband Dimitri and I log on with foreboding to the strike website that has the most reliable information on the next day’s industrial action. That’s right: we have chosen to live in a country where we must consult a website devoted solely to strikes. It is dawning on us that we must be crazy.

Six years ago we left London for Athens in a spirit of great optimism with our first child, Poppy Grace. It was a chance for Dimitri to reconnect with his Greek roots in the great Olive Belt.

Last month’s 48-hour paralysis was certainly the most severe I have witnessed. The day before, we all rushed out to stock up on milk, bread and petrol: siege preparations.

When rumours of another extended petrol station strike broke earlier that month, I queued for an hour to fill my tank. The last time it had happened, we had no petrol for more than a week.

Eighteen months ago, three people died – one of them a pregnant woman – when protesters torched the Marfin Egnatia bank in Syntagma Square, 300 yards from where my husband works for a small Greek investment bank. Like thousands that day, he had to fight his way home on foot through tear gas and flying rocks...

... A month ago, Dimitri once again braved the riots and tear gas, the piles of burning rubbish and Molotov cocktails to get home from the city’s beleaguered centre. But the mood of the people, he reported, had shifted and there was now an ugly undercurrent to these ritual protests that frightened him.

For the first time, protesters targeted one of the guard boxes outside Parliament House. Traditionally, these military sentinels have been revered by the Greeks as a symbol of the people. Last month, they burned a guard box too. Greece – her unemployment rate soaring at 16.5 per cent – now officially appears to be a country that is fragmenting..."

28 November, 2011

Black Friday Violence Worse Than Ever As American Consumers Fight Over Deals Like Crazed Animals

Black Friday Violence Worse Than Ever As American Consumers Fight Over Deals Like Crazed Animals: "We all knew that this was coming, didn't we? Each year Black Friday violence just seems to get worse and worse. What does it say about American consumers when they are willing to fight like crazed animals just to save a few bucks on cheap plastic crap made in China? Not that retailers are innocent in any of this. It certainly seems as though many of them purposely create wild situations on Black Friday where customers will rush like crazy people into their stores and nearly riot as they fight over discounted merchandise. The more Black Friday madness there is, the more of an "event" it becomes, and the higher the profits of the retailers go. This year there was more Black Friday hype than ever and there was also more Black Friday violence than ever. It is being projected that this year a record-setting 152 million Americans will go shopping between Thanksgiving and Sunday night. That may be good news for the big corporate retailers, but the shocking lack of character being displayed by American consumers all over the country this weekend is very bad news for the future of this nation..."

Gingrich Warns EMP Greatest Strategic Threat to U.S.

Gingrich warns EMP greatest strategic threat to U.S.: "... presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced a threat to U.S. national security that no other candidate has discussed and that commentators described as "out of the box" until they researched it for themselves.

The potential threat Gingrich referred to was an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack that 'would literally destroy the country's capacity to function.' Gingrich pointed out that no one is talking about the potential for such an attack to cripple America's critical infrastructure.

Business Insider said that 'at first, we thought Gingrich had been playing too many video games, but after looking into it, it turns out EMP attacks are actually real and pretty damn scary'..."

45 Percent in U.S. Struggle to Make Ends Meet

45 percent in US struggle to make ends meet - Business - Stocks & economy - msnbc.com: "Nearly half of all Americans lack economic security, meaning they live above the federal poverty threshold but still do not have enough money to cover housing, food, healthcare and other basic expenses, according to a survey of government and industry data.

The survey, released on Tuesday by the advocacy group Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), found that 45 percent of U.S. residents live in households that struggle to make ends meet.

That breaks down to 39 percent of all adults and 55 percent of all children, the group found..."

Popular Mom-and-Pop Water Purification Business Shuttered by DEA's Meth-Hunting "Knotheads"

Popular Mom-and-pop water purification business shuttered by DEA's meth-hunting "knotheads" - Boing Boing: "... Bob Wallace, an 88-year-old chemist who started a very successful cottage business selling iodine crystals under the 'Polar Pure' brand new, used by hikers and disaster relief workers for water purification. Wallace has been put out of business by the Drug Enforcement Agency, who say they once busted a meth lab that was using Wallace's iodine in their process. The DEA says it's not their fault: 'If Mr. Wallace is no longer in business he has perhaps become part of that collateral damage, for it was not a result of DEA regulations, but rather the selfish actions of criminal opportunists. Individuals that readily sacrifice human lives for money'..."

Man Builds Human-Sized Hobbit House for Less Than $5,000 Using Scraps and Sustainable Materials

Man Builds Human-Sized Hobbit House for Less Than $5,000 Using Scraps and Sustainable Materials | TheBlaze.com: "This is not some set left over from The Lord of the Rings. This hobbit house is an honest-to-goodness man-sized home. Not only does it fit a family of four, but it cost just over $4,650 to build..."

[Pics @ Link]

25 November, 2011

17 Quotes About The Coming Global Financial Collapse That Will Make Your Hair Stand Up

17 Quotes About The Coming Global Financial Collapse That Will Make Your Hair Stand Up: "Is the world on the verge of another massive global financial collapse? Yes. The western world is drowning in an ocean of debt unlike anything the world has ever seen before, and our financial markets are gigantic casinos that are dependent on huge mountains of risk and leverage remaining very stable. In the end, this house of cards that has been built on a foundation of sand is going to come crashing down in a horrifying manner. Usually in this column I go on and on about why things will soon get much worse. But today I am going to take a bit of a break. Today, I am going to let some of the top financial professionals in the world tell you why things will soon get much worse. Many of the quotes that you are about to read just might make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Most people out there have no idea what is about to happen. Most people out there are working hard and are busy preparing for the holidays and they are hopeful that the economy will turn around soon. But that is not going to happen. We are heading for another major global financial collapse, and when it happens the U.S. economy is going to get even worse..."

Blog: 'It's Going to Happen Again' - Financial Meltdown Committee Head

Blog: 'It's going to happen again' - Financial meltdown committee head: "The man who headed up the US government's investigation into the causes of the 2008 financial crisis says that we haven't learned our lesson and that conditions are ripe for another crisis to hit financial markets.

Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston:

The U.S. politician-businessman that Congress put in charge of determining the reasons for the 2008 financial crisis has a sobering message for us: 'It's going to happen again.'

Phil Angelides, the real estate developer and former California state treasurer who chaired the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, said on Friday that 'all across the marketplace the warning signs were there' of a coming disaster but the mechanisms and political will to stop it were not.


Angelides warned of a recurring economic nightmare unless Congress and the next president start paying attention to the facts and stop listening to the people who caused, profited from or failed to detect the crisis..."


Trouble: "The global economy is heading for a massive amount of trouble in the months ahead. Right now we are seeing the beginning of a credit crunch that is shaping up to be very reminiscent of what we saw back in 2008. Investors and big corporations are pulling huge amounts of money out of European banks and nobody wants to lend to those banks right now. We could potentially see dozens of "Lehman Brothers moments" in Europe in 2012. Meanwhile, bond yields on sovereign debt are jumping through the roof all over Europe. That means that European nations that are already drowning in debt are going to find it much more expensive to continue funding that debt. It would be a huge understatement to say that there is "financial chaos" in Europe right now. The European financial system is in so much trouble that it is hard to describe. The instant that they stop receiving bailout money, Greece is going to default. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Spain and quite a few other European nations are also on the verge of massive financial problems. When the financial dominoes start to fall, the U.S. financial system is going to be dramatically affected as well, because U.S. banks have a huge amount of exposure to European debt..."

New Flu Virus Surfaces in Iowa Raising Concern About Wider Spread

Vitals - New flu virus in three Iowa kids raises concern about wider spread: "Three children in Iowa have come down with a new type of flu virus previously linked to pigs, but this time the bug appears to have been spread by people.

The children, who live in rural Webster and Hamilton counties, did not become seriously ill, said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, medical director for the Iowa Department of Public Health. But the detection of the virus known as swine-origin A/H3N2 in patients who hadn't had contact with animals raises concerns about potentially greater spread of a new type of flu.

"We have pretty good evidence of person-to-person spread," Quinlisk said. "None of the children or anyone around them had exposure to swine, turkeys or other sources."

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously detected seven cases of people with the new H3N2 virus that appears to have acquired a gene that may make it more transmissible from H1N1, the flu that sparked the so-called swine flu pandemic in 2009. Flu viruses often swap genetic parts. Officials say the new virus was probably formed when a pig became infected with the H3N2 virus and the H1N1 virus at the same time..."

James Howard Kunstler: The Blue Bus Is Calling Us

The Blue Bus Is Calling Us - Clusterfuck Nation: "... Surely all the pretending nears its dire conclusion. Everybody is broke and everybody is in hock up to his prefrontal lobes and everybody is whirling around the drain over in the grand continental theme park of lovely cities and great eats. I'm sorry, but I don't see how they can stop the hemorrhaging as we slide into the season of holiday enchantment.

Every bank (and its uncle) is dumping everybody's sovereign bonds as though they were discovered to be croissants imported from a leper colony. Feh...! Folks of all stripes and accents desperately seek to move their money to some safe harbor - but where is this cozy mooring? To the US for the moment perhaps; but what happens Monday morning when the markets react to the weekend news that the US Senate super-committee has been utterly unable to agree on decisive action that would forestall the scheduled massive automatic budget cuts built into this red-white-and-blue doomsday machine - not to mention the ratings agencies threats to knock UST-paper down another notch upon such failure...

... Just to be plain here: nothing is working. The global system of accounting control fraud has completely unraveled. Nobody will lend money to anybody anymore because everybody suspects everybody else is lying about their ability to meet any obligation. The whole world has become a daisy chain of schnorrers and schmiklers. All those hundreds of trillions of dollars in credit default swap insurance (ha!). Worthless and pointless, because now that a Greek default of at least 50 percent, officially, has failed to ignite a payout, then no default will. Instead, you'll just get cascades of un-hedged defaults. All the lawyers who ever lived could litigate until the sun turns into a red dwarf and they will never resolve these swindles..."


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.

These States Will Suffer the Most in the Event of an EU Collapse

These States Will Suffer the Most in the Event of an EU Collapse | TheBlaze.com: "Some analysts believe that a collapse of the EU will have a calamitous effect on the U.S. economy. But exactly how will that play out, that is, who will get hit the hardest?

Although every state would feel the effects of a possible EU collapse, as a halt of billions of dollars in exports to the EU could prove to be disastrous, analysts believe there are some states in particular that will bear the brunt of the burden.

As it turns out, Utah, South Carolina, Indiana, Alabama, Washington state, and West Virginia, all relying heavily on exported commodities, will most likely suffer the worst, according to a new study by Wells Fargo Securities..."

25 Bitter And Painful Facts About The Coming Baby Boomer Retirement Crisis That Will Blow Your Mind

25 Bitter And Painful Facts About The Coming Baby Boomer Retirement Crisis That Will Blow Your Mind: "For decades we were warned that when the Baby Boomers started to retire that this country would be facing a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Well, that day has arrived ladies and gentlemen. Back on January 1st, the Baby Boomers began to retire and more than 10,000 of them will be retiring every single day for years to come. Most of them have not saved up nearly enough money for retirement. At the same time, private sector pension plans are failing all over the place, hundreds of state and local government pension plans from coast to coast are woefully underfunded, and the Social Security system is on the road to complete and total disaster. A massive wave of humanity is hitting retirement age at a moment in history when the U.S. economy is coming apart at the seams. We do not have the resources to keep the promises that we made to the Baby Boomers, and most of them have not made adequate preparations for retirement. What we have is a gigantic mess on our hands, and millions of Baby Boomers are going to find retirement to be very bitter and very painful..."

The Coming European Superstate That Germany Plans To Cram Down The Throats Of The Rest Of Europe

The Coming European Superstate That Germany Plans To Cram Down The Throats Of The Rest Of Europe: "A lot of people were puzzled about what German Chancellor Angela Merkel meant when she recently stated that the ultimate solution to the financial crisis in the EU would 'mean more Europe, not less Europe'. Well, now we are finding out. A leaked internal German government memo entitled 'The Future of the EU: Required Integration Policy Improvements for the Creation of a Stability Union' actually proposes the creation of a 'European Monetary Fund' which would be given the power to run the economies of troubled European nations. This 'stability union' would be quickly followed by the creation of a full-fledged 'political union'. Essentially, this leaked memo proposes the creation of a 'European Superstate' which will be crammed down the throats of the rest of Europe whether they like it or not. National sovereignty would be a thing of the past and European bureaucrats would run everything. Of course this will never be accepted by the people of Europe until they feel the bitter pain of the coming financial collapse, but we are starting to see that there is already a clear plan for what the Germans wish to implement in the aftermath of the coming crisis..."

23 November, 2011

Epic Failure: The Supercommittee Was A Super Joke

Epic Failure: The Supercommittee Was A Super Joke: "Does anyone need any additional evidence that our political system is completely broken? The bipartisan congressional supercommittee that was given two months to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts over the next decade has failed to reach an agreement. It is an epic failure and a national embarrassment. The truth is that they never even came close to an agreement. In fact, as you will read below, the two sides on the panel have been barely even talking to each other. In the end, the supercommittee was a super joke. Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt has passed the 15 trillion dollar mark and we are facing trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. We are heading directly for a national financial disaster, and our "leaders" seem powerless to do anything about it..."

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict - YouTube

The Next Financial Crisis Will Be Hellish, and It’s On Its Way

The next financial crisis will be hellish, and it’s on its way - Yahoo! News: "'There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner,' says hedge fund legend Mark Mobius, 'because we haven't solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis.'

We're raising our alert status for the next financial crisis. We already raised it last week after spreads on U.S. credit default swaps started blowing out. We raised it again after seeing the remarks of Mr. Mobius, chief of the $50 billion emerging markets desk at Templeton Asset Management.

Speaking in Tokyo, he pointed to derivatives, the financial hairball of futures, options, and swaps in which nearly all the world's major banks are tangled up.

Estimates on the amount of derivatives out there worldwide vary. An oft-heard estimate is $600 trillion. That squares with Mobius' guess of 10 times the world's annual GDP. 'Are the derivatives regulated?' asks Mobius. 'No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes.'..."

8 Tips for Really Frugal Living

8 Tips for Really Frugal Living - SecondAct.com: "Jeff Yeager doesn't clip coupons -- surprising for a frugal living expert whose books on the subject have landed him on The Today Show.

Using coupons leads to unnecessary spending, and Yeager, author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door, preaches spending a little and reusing a lot. Give him an orange rind and he'll use it to shine copper pots. Show him an empty toilet paper roll and some dryer lint, and he'll stuff one with the other for a homemade fire starter.

A pared-down lifestyle isn't solely about saving money. It's also about getting happy, he says. 'It's about choices. Every time you get your wallet out and decide what you're going to spend on, you're making a choice.'

To get into the frugal habit, Yeager suggests going a week without buying anything, what he calls a 'fiscal fast.' Pay bills that are due and buy prescription medication ahead of time. Otherwise, don't stockpile food or anything else. Fix meals from what's on hand. Stretch the gas in your tank by telecommuting, carpooling, biking, walking or taking public transportation. For fun, play board games or read a book. When the week's over, use any money you saved to pay down debts, or put it in savings, Yeager says..."

Over 50% Of U.S. Homeowners Are Underwater

REPORT - Over 50% Of U.S. Homeowners Are Underwater - Home - The Daily Bail: "A new report on still falling home prices today highlights the fact that the lower those prices go, the more American borrowers fall into an negative equity position; that is, they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

Many of those borrowers are already behind on their mortgage payments, and some are likely already in the foreclosure process. The rest of them are in danger of defaulting, not because they can't pay their mortgages, but because they either won't want to (seeing as they will never see any real appreciation in their investment) or because any change in their economic or personal situation might force them into default (change of job, divorce).

While 14.6 million might seem like a lot, it's not the real number when you consider negative equity in housing's recovery. That's because it doesn't factor in "effective" negative equity, which is borrowers who have so little equity in their homes that they cannot afford to move..."

22 November, 2011

Somalia Piracy Spurs Private Navy to Start Within Five Months

For the sake of perspective, it was commonplace during the Middle Ages for merchants to hire mercenary guards to keep their goods and themselves and their employees safe from so-called "Highwaymen" who preyed on their convoys. Society is de-evolving.

Somalia Piracy Spurs Private Navy to Start Within Five Months - Businessweek: "The company behind the world’s first private navy to protect merchant ships against Somali pirates plans to start armed escorts through the Gulf of Aden within five months after attacks rose to a record this year.

Convoy Escort Programme Ltd., backed by the marine insurance industry, will initially deploy seven former naval patrol boats, each with armed security teams of eight people on board, Angus Campbell, chief executive officer, said by phone from Swarland, England today. The bullet-proofed boats will charge about $30,000 per ship traveling in a convoy of around four vessels over three to four days, he said..."

Man Arrested for Planning to Detonate a Bomb in NYC, ‘al-Qaida Sympathizer’ | Video | TheBlaze.com

Man Arrested for Planning to Detonate a Bomb in NYC, ‘al-Qaida Sympathizer’ | Video | TheBlaze.com: "Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday an “al-Qaida sympathizer” who plotted to bomb police and post offices in New York City as well as U.S. troops returning home has been arrested on numerous terrorism-related charges.

Bloomberg announced at a news conference the Saturday arrest of 27-year-old Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, a U.S. citizen originally from the Dominican Republic.

The mayor said Pimentel was “plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning from abroad.” But authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else, the mayor said.

“He appears to be a total lone wolf,” Bloomberg said..."

Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Spread Through Europe

Antibiotic-resistant infections spread through Europe - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent: "The world is being driven towards the "unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections", experts are warning, because of the growth of superbugs resistant to all antibiotics and the dwindling interest in developing new drugs to combat them.

Reports are increasing across Europe of patients with infections that are nearly impossible to treat. The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) said yesterday that in some countries up to 50 per cent of cases of blood poisoning caused by one bug – K. pneumoniae, a common cause of urinary and respiratory conditions – were resistant to carbapenems, the most powerful class of antibiotics.

Across Europe, the percentage of carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae has doubled from 7 per cent to 15 per cent. The ECDC said it is "particularly worrying" because carbapenems are the last-line antibiotics for treatment of multi-drug-resistant infections..."

Warning From Wall Street Broker: "The Entire System Has Been Utterly Destroyed"; Recommends "ALL customers Withdraw From All of the Markets"

Warning From Wall Street Broker: "The Entire System Has Been Utterly Destroyed"; Recommends "ALL customers Withdraw From All of the Markets": "... You will rarely, if ever again, see a brokerage firm close their doors not as a result of losing all of their customers’ money, but rather, preemptively in order to prevent them from being wiped out. That’s exactly what Ann Barnhardt of Barnhardt Capital Management did Thursday morning when she advised clients that her firm was liquidating all customer brokerage and options accounts. In a series of letters published on her web site, disseminated by Zero Hedge, and brought to us by The Daily Crux, Ms. Barnhardt takes the unprecedented step of shutting down her firm in order to prevent losses in what she says is a system that 'is no longer functioning with integrity and is suicidally risk-laden.'

The reasons for her taking the steps she did to save client investments are, in our opinion, nothing short of heroic (prompting even Rush Limbaugh to give her kudos) given recent developments in the global economic crisis that include the collapse of government primary dealer MF Global and the untennable situation in Europe. While most Wall Street tycoons and brokers continue to manage money in a highly leveraged marketplace on the verge of collapse while talking their books on financial news shows in an effort to instill confidence in their customers who are swallowing the hopium hook, line and sinker, Barnhardt will have none of it and chose, instead, to pull the plug and get her customers out.

This is an absolute must read warning for all American investors. Though Barnhardt’s firm dealt primarily in futures and options trading, she cautions that ALL markets have been infected with systemic contagion, including the underlying cash commodities – known in layman’s terms as the physical delivery of goods. With the recent collapse of MF Global, the details of which suggest direct fraud and theft of customer accounts, and the government’s lack of any serious response, Barnhardt seems to think there is a real possibility of cascading, system-wide failures in the broader financial sector..."

How Can The American People Ever Trust Congress Again After Learning Of The Rampant Insider Trading That Has Been Going On?

How Can The American People Ever Trust Congress Again After Learning Of The Rampant Insider Trading That Has Been Going On?: "Will the shocking insider trading revelations that have come to light in recent days finally be enough to motivate the American people to start throwing all of the con men and charlatans out of Congress? On Sunday, 60 Minutes opened up a huge can of worms when it did a feature story on insider trading by members of Congress. Up until now, the vast majority of Americans had no idea that insider trading was actually legal for members of Congress. In fact, as will be documented later on in this article, members of Congress have been using secrets that they have learned during the course of their duties to make huge amounts of money in the stock market. If you can believe it, during the financial crisis of 2008 some members of Congress were making huge stock moves that would only pay off if the stock market crashed really hard at a time when they should have been focusing on creating legislation that would help the U.S. financial system survive. It is hard not to feel sick after learning how low some of our "leaders" have stooped to enrich themselves. Now that the American people are learning the truth, how can they ever trust Congress again?..."

21 November, 2011

How the United States Will Become a 3rd World Country

How the United States Will Become a 3rd World Country :: The Market Oracle :: Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting Free Website: "The United States is increasingly similar to a 3rd world county in several ways and is accelerating towards 3rd world status. Economic data indicate a harsh reality that obviates mainstream political debate. The evidence suggests that, without fundamental reforms, the U.S. will become a post industrial neo-3rd-world country by 2032.

Fundamental characteristics that define a 3rd world country include high unemployment, lack of economic opportunity, low wages, widespread poverty, extreme concentration of wealth, unsustainable government debt, control of the government by international banks and multinational corporations, weak rule of law and counterproductive government policies. All of these characteristics are evident in the U.S. today..."

Building Your Own 20kW Hydroelectric Power Plant

Design News - News - Case Study: Building Your Own 20kW Hydroelectric Power Plant: "Microhydroelectric power is making a comeback in electricity generation for homes, farms, and small businesses. This trend is fueled by factors including favorable regulation, rising energy prices, and advances in automation. And do-it-yourselfers worldwide are diving in.

The only requirement to generate electricity is access to a stream with a two-foot drop in water level and two gallons of flow per minute. A hydroelectric system isn’t overly complicated, isn’t difficult to operate and maintain, has longevity, and is often more cost-effective than any other form of renewable power..."

Science Panel: Get Ready for Extreme Weather

Science panel: Get ready for extreme weather | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment: "Top international climate scientists and disaster experts meeting in Africa had a sharp message Friday for the world’s political leaders: Get ready for more dangerous and “unprecedented extreme weather” caused by global warming.

Making preparations, they say, will save lives and money.

These experts fear that without preparedness, crazy weather extremes may overwhelm some locations, making some places unlivable.

The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new special report on global warming and extreme weather after meeting in Kampala, Uganda. This is the first time the group of scientists has focused on the dangers of extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, droughts and storms. Those are more dangerous than gradual increases in the world’s average temperature.

'We need to be worried,' said one of the study’s lead authors, Maarten van Aalst, director of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre in the Netherlands. 'And our response needs to anticipate disasters and reduce risk before they happen rather than wait until after they happen and clean up afterward. ... Risk has already increased dramatically.'..."

Foreign Hackers Targeted U.S. Water Plant in Apparent Malicious Cyber Attack, Expert Says

"Foreign hackers targeted U.S. water plant in apparent malicious cyber attack, expert says - Checkpoint Washington - The Washington Post: Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.

Companies and government agencies that rely on the Internet have for years been routine targets of hackers, but most incidents have resulted from attempts to steal information or interrupt the functioning of Web sites. The incident in Springfield, Ill., would mark a departure because it apparently caused physical destruction...

... News of the incident became public after Joe Weiss, an industry security expert, obtained a report dated Nov. 10 and collected by an Illinois state intelligence center that monitors security threats. The original source of the information was unknown and impossible to immediately verify.

The report, which Weiss read to The Washington Post, describes how a series of minor glitches with a water pump gradually escalated to the point where the pump motor was being turned on and off frequently. It soon burned out, according to the report..."

35 Facts About The Gutting Of America’s Industrial Might That Should Make You Very Angry

35 Facts About The Gutting Of America’s Industrial Might That Should Make You Very Angry: "Did you know that an average of 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year? As World War II ended, the United States emerged as the greatest industrial power that the world has ever seen. But now America's industrial might is being gutted like a fish and both political parties seem totally unconcerned. Yes, we will always need trading relationships that are fair and balanced with other countries that have economic systems that are similar to our own. However, the truth is that most of our trading relationships are neither 'fair' nor balanced. For example, China manipulates currency rates so that Chinese products are much cheaper than they should be, they brazenly steal our technology and we let them get away with it, they deeply subsidize their most important industries and they exploit their citizens by allowing them to be paid slave labor wages. How in the world does that resemble the 'free market' at work? Predatory nations such as China do everything that they can to distort the free market. So why in the world would any rational economist ever recommend that we should keep trading with other countries that are cheating us blind? After you read the facts in this article about the gutting of America's industrial might, hopefully you will get very angry. We need the American people to start getting very upset about these very important issues..."

18 November, 2011

The Police State Vs. Occupy Wall Street: This Is Not Going To End Well For Any Of Us

The Police State Vs. Occupy Wall Street: This Is Not Going To End Well For Any Of Us: "Right now, we are watching the early rounds of a heavyweight fight between two extremely determined opponents. Occupy Wall Street has no plans of losing this fight and neither do law enforcement authorities. Perhaps those running the show actually believed that raiding Zuccotti Park and more than a dozen other 'Occupy camps' around the nation would end these protests, but that is just not going to happen. Whatever your opinion of Occupy Wall Street is, everyone should be able to agree that this is one dedicated bunch. They are absolutely obsessed with their cause... But if Occupy Wall Street protesters want to take things to 'the next level', they should not underestimate the resolve of the police state. Over the past decade, the homeland security apparatus of the federal government has been slowly but surely turning this country into a 'Big Brother' police state. Today, our law enforcement authorities are obsessed with watching us, listening to us, tracking us, recording us, and gathering information on all of us. We are constantly reminded that we live in a prison grid (just think about what they do to you before you are allowed on an airplane) and they are not about to put up with anyone challenging their authority or their control. Have you even known parents that constantly feel the need to prove that they are 'the boss' of their children? Well, that is essentially what the homeland security apparatus in this country has become. All over the United States, law enforcement personnel are taught that every American is a potential terrorist and they are actually trained to 'act tough', to bark orders at us and to not let anyone question their authority. If Occupy Wall Street believes that it can get the police state to 'back down', they are sorely mistaken. Hopefully everyone will cool off a bit as the temperatures go down this winter. But if we do see a 'cooling off', it probably will not last for long. As the U.S. economy continues to get worse, these kinds of protests are going to keep growing and they will become even more intense. Eventually, mass civil unrest will cause the streets of many of our major cities to closely resemble war zones. When it is all said and done, this is not going to end well for any of us..."

Economic Collapse? We’re Soaking In It!

Economic Collapse? We’re Soaking In It!: "A rather unobservant or at the very least 'unlucky' man strolls across a faulty bridge; weathered, termite ridden, and over-traveled. He hops and skips and jumps about like a brain damaged orangutan without a care in the world. He does this not only because he is oblivious to the fundamental physics behind the workings of the bridge, and the structural signs of a bridge that is on the verge of collapse, but also because numerous highly paid 'experts' on bridges have told him it is absolutely safe to do so. The bridge, of course, crumbles right under his feet, and he falls.

Now, if the ground was relatively close to our unfortunate freefalling dupe, the sudden collapse and the painful shock of slapping into the rocky floor would be an understandable surprise. Given only moments between the failure of the bridge and the ultimate conclusion of the spine crunching granite bottom swan dive, one could hardly ponder the situation at all. However, in this event, the ground is not close. In fact, the ravine is dark, and the fall is long. Perhaps three or four years long. In this case, a man has plenty of time to think through the circumstances of his predicament, and realize that eventually, he WILL meet the future like a warm pancake smacking cold linoleum at 200 mph.

If such a man is unable to discern the problems he faces, or to even acknowledge the fact that the ground has given way beneath him, after such a long stretch of time, it becomes very hard to feel sorry for him. But then again, we were all like this man once…

Since the derivatives and housing market implosion of 2008, America and the rest of the world has been spiraling down a chasm some in this country still refuse to take note of. The question has never been whether there 'will be' a full scale financial disaster. The end to that chapter of this story was already written years ago. Rather, the real question has been 'when' will this inevitable event culminate? Sadly, speculation on the matter has met an irreconcilable road block. The fact is, all the necessary elements are in place to bring down our fiscal shelter not in five years, not in one year, not in six months, but today. That’s right…..the economy as we know it has the potential to derail completely before you wake up for your morning poptart..."

Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands - Washington Whispers (usnews.com): "Gun owners who have historically been able to use public lands for target practice would be barred from potentially millions of acres under new rules drafted by the Interior Department, the first major move by the Obama administration to impose limits on firearms.

Officials say the administration is concerned about the potential clash between gun owners and encroaching urban populations who like to use same land for hiking and dog walking.

'It's not so much a safety issue. It's a social conflict issue,' said Frank Jenks, a natural resource specialist with Interior's Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres. He adds that urbanites 'freak out' when they hear shooting on public lands.

If the draft policy is finally approved, some public access to Bureau lands to hunters would also be limited, potentially reducing areas deer, elk, and bear hunters can use in the West..."

Tough Times: Life Inside the Hardest Hit County in the U.S.

Tough times: Life inside the hardest hit county in the U.S. - The Globe and Mail: "... Rowan County [North Carolina] is not the poorest in America, but it is among those that have experienced the most stunning loss during Barack Obama’s first term. Once a blue-collar county, Rowan has morphed into an unemployed one, where everything from federal stimulus money to state home loans to government retraining programs have failed to impede a deeper slide into poverty..."

17 November, 2011

Europe's Financial Crisis is Headed to America

Europe's Financial Crisis is Headed to America - The Daily Beast: "... most Americans are baffled by the ongoing economic pandemonium in the European Union. For them, places like Greece and Italy are primarily tourist destinations they’ll visit at most once. The finer points of Mediterranean politics leave them cold, except insofar as they’re funny. After all, who could resist the opera-buffa character of Silvio “Bunga-Bunga” Berlusconi?

But only a few weirdos really feel their pulses quicken when they hear news like: the new Greek prime minister is a former central banker called Papademos! Ever tried to explain to a New Yorker the finer points of Slovakian coalition politics? I have. He almost needed an adrenaline shot to come out of the coma.

So why should Americans care about any of this? The first reason is that, with American consumers still in the doldrums of deleveraging, the United States badly needs buoyant exports if its economy is to grow at anything other than a miserably low rate. And despite all the hype about trade with the Chinese, U.S. exports to the European Union are nearly three times larger than to China.

Until March, it seemed as if exports to Europe were on an upward trajectory. But the eurozone crisis has stopped that. Governments that ran up excessive debts have seen their borrowing costs explode. Unable to devalue their currencies, they’ve been forced to adopt austerity measures—cutting spending or hiking taxes—in a vain effort to reduce their deficits. The result has been Depression economics: shrinking economies and unemployment rates approaching 20 percent.

As a result, according to the new president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, a 'double dip' recession in Europe is now all but inevitable. And that’s lousy news for U.S. exporters targeting the EU market.

But there’s more. Europe’s problem is not just that governments are overborrowed. There are an unknown number of European banks that are effectively insolvent if their holdings of government bonds are 'marked to market'—in other words, valued at their current rock-bottom market prices. In our interconnected financial world, it would be very odd indeed if no U.S. institutions were affected by this. Just as European institutions once loaded up on assets backed with subprime U.S. mortgages, so most big U.S. banks have at least some exposure to eurozone bonds or banks. One institution—MF Global, run by former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine—just blew up because of its highly levered euro bets. Others are biting their fingernails because it is suddenly far from clear that the credit default swaps they have bought as insurance against, say, a Greek default are worth the paper they are. written on.

But the third reason Americans should care about Europe is more important even than the risk of a renewed financial crisis. It is the danger that what is happening in Europe today could ultimately happen here. Just a few months ago, almost nobody was worried about Italy’s vast debt, which amounts to 121 percent of GDP. Then suddenly panic set in, and Italy’s borrowing costs exploded from 3.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

Today the U.S. gross federal debt stands at around 100 percent of GDP. Four years ago it was 62 percent. By 2016 the International Monetary Fund forecasts it will be 115 percent. Economists who should know better insist that this is not a problem because, unlike Italy, the United States can print its own money at will. All that means is that the U.S. reserves the right to inflate or depreciate away its debt. If I were a foreign investor—and half the debt in public hands is held by foreigners—I would not find that terribly reassuring. At some point I might demand some compensation for that risk in the form of ... higher rates..."

Guess How Many Americans Don't Have Enough Saved To Cover A $1000 Emergency

Guess How Many Americans Don't Have Enough Saved To Cover A $1000 Emergency: "According to a recent study from The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 33 percent of Americans do not have a savings account of at least $1,000 or more to cover emergency expenses.

The NFCC study surveyed 1,010 Americans to determine how much money they had set aside in the event of a financial emergency that could cost around $1,000.

Of the respondents surveyed, 64 percent claimed to possess emergency funds..."

Fed Surveys: Economy in Worse Shape Than Feared, Recession Odds Spike to 50%

Fed Surveys: Economy in Worse Shape Than Feared, Recession Odds Spike to 50%: "The economy is in worse shape now than feared and the outlook for the next two years looks bleak, with the probability of a recession spiking in early 2012, Federal Reserve studies show.

Economists surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia lowered their U.S. economic growth outlook for the next two years while hiking up their forecasts for unemployment rates, the bank reports.

The survey of 45 economic forecasts expect real gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent this quarter, unchanged from a previous estimate.

It's all downhill from there for at least for another year..."

Gold Demand Doubles Amid Economic Gloom and Frozen Interest Rates

Gold demand doubles amid economic gloom and frozen interest rates – Telegraph Blogs: "Fears about the global credit crisis, the euro, inflation and the falling real value of paper money of all descriptions helped more than double demand for physical gold held by BullionVault last year; pushing up profits by 48pc it reports today.

The dealing facility, which was set up just five years ago, now holds gold and silver worth more than £1bn on behalf of 33,000 investors. It’s an ill wind that blows no good and rotten returns from bank and building society deposits have boosted demand for valuable metals. Paul Tustain, founder and chief executive, said: 'The major driver of growth has been the steady realisation among private savers that low interest rates are here to stay.

'Central bank statements have confirmed their fears. Savers rarely regret the decision to steer clear of governments which address economic problems by printing money. At the moment, every day, about 2,000 people in the English-speaking world are despairing of economic policy and its effects on their savings, and they are turning to gold and silver.'..."

16 November, 2011

Somebody Ordered Tons of Satellite Photographs of China's Mysterious Structures

Somebody Ordered Tons of Satellite Photographs of China's Mysterious Structures: "There are lots of explanations for the gigantic structures built in China's desert. But the most mysterious thing is invisible: according to a former CIA analyst, there's someone who has ordered tons of satellite photos of this area since 2004.

And the plot thickens.

Allen Thomson, an analyst who used to work for the agency in the field of reconnaissance satellites, has noticed that 'starting in 2004, somebody has ordered many, many satellite pictures of it.'..."

The Modern Presidency Is Dangerously Close to an Elective Dictatorship

The Modern Presidency Is Dangerously Close to an Elective Dictatorship - venturacountyteaparty: "These are frustrating times for the President. Having been swept into office with a seemingly strong mandate, he enjoyed a Congress controlled by members of his own party for the first two years of his term. However, midterm elections brought gridlock and a close division of power between the two parties. With a crucial re-election campaign coming up, there is desperation in the president’s desire to “do something” in spite of his severely weakened mandate.

Getting something done is proving to be a monumental task. This may be news to the supposed constitutional scholar who is now our president, but if the political process seems inconvenient to the implementation of his agenda, that is not a flaw in the system. It was designed that way. The drafters of the Constitution intended the default action of government to be inaction. Hopefully, this means actions taken by the government are necessary and proper. If federal laws or executive actions can’t be agreed upon constitutionally- which is to say legally- such laws or actions should be rejected.

The vision of the founders was to set up a government that would remain small and unobtrusive via a system of checks and balances. That it has taken our government so long to get this big speaks well of the original design. The founders also knew the overwhelming nature of governments was to amass power and grow. The Constitution was to serve as the brakes on the freight train of government.

But the Obama administration, like so many administrations in the 20th century, chooses to ignore the Constitution entirely. The increasingly broad use and scope of the Executive Orders is a prime example. Executive Orders are meant to be a way for the president to direct executive agencies on the implementation of congressionally approved legislation. It has become increasingly common for them to be misused in ways that are contradictory to congressional intent, or to bypass Congress altogether in enacting political agendas. The current administration has unabashedly stated that Congress’s unwillingness to pass the president’s jobs bill means that the president will act unilaterally to enact provisions of it piecemeal through Executive Order. Obama explicitly threatens to bypass Congress, thus aggregating the power to make and enforce laws in the executive. This clearly erodes the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. It brings the modern presidency dangerously close to an elective dictatorship.

Of course, the most dangerous and costly overstepping of executive authority is going to war without a congressional declaration. Congress has been sadly complicit in this usurpation by ceding much of its war-making authority to the executive because it wants to avoid taking responsibility for major war decisions, but that is part of our job in Congress! If the President cannot present to Congress and the people a convincingly strong case for going to war, then perhaps we should keep the nation at peace, rather than risk our men and women’s lives for ill-defined reasons!

This administration certainly was not the first to behave in ways that have defied the Constitution to overstep its bounds. Sadly, previous administrations have set precedents that the current administration is only building upon. It is time for Congress to reassert itself and its constitutional role so that future administrations cannot continue on this dangerous path."

Gerald Celente on Alex Jones Show

Gerald Celente - Alex Jones Show 03 Nov 2011[FULL] - YouTube

Couple Retires in Home Built from 30 Steel Shipping Containers

Couple retires in Rimbey home built from 30 steel shipping containers: "The Glennon family’s retirement home might just look like a stack of shipping containers of all different colours from the outside.

But once it’s complete, it will be a sprawling, 5,000-square-foot, four storey building — two levels above ground, a walkout basement and another level below — with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a games and media room, garage and workshop, and two enclosed decks.

A massive garden with a potato crop, chickens, and a trout pond, will surround the residence on the eight-hectare property just outside Rimbey, about 180 kilometres north of Calgary.

And the shipping containers won’t be visible forever — the plan is to cover the exterior with stucco.

'It’s just going to look like a regular home,' said homeowner Bill Glennon..."

15 November, 2011

22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear

22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear: "In order for a society to function, there has to be a certain level of trust. Each day when we leave our homes, we take for granted that most people are not going to attack us for no reason, that there will only be isolated incidents of theft in our community and that rioting and violence are not going to erupt in the streets. Whether we realize it or not, we depend on the fact that the vast majority of the people around us are going to act in a civilized manner. Unfortunately, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear. When I was growing up, I was taught that challenging times reveal our true character. There are many that believe that the declining economy is causing a lot of the chaos that we are now witnessing, but perhaps what is going on is that these challenging economic times are simply revealing the character that has been there all along. For decades, a "false prosperity" that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt has masked a lot of the internal rot that has taken hold in America. But now that our prosperity is crumbling, our lack of values is becoming startlingly clear.

Greed, corruption and extreme self-centeredness have deeply infected our society. We see this on Wall Street and in Congress, and we see this among those that are trying to survive on the mean streets of our largest cities.

Our nation is breaking down on every level. If by some miracle we were able to fix our economy, that would mask our problems for a while, but it would not solve them.

Unfortunately, as I write about nearly every day, there are a whole host of indications that our economy is about to get even worse. When it does, millions of Americans will become even more desperate, and as we are now seeing all over this country, desperate people do desperate things..."

[Be sure to follow the link above to read the list. This article lays out the concepts I've been hoping to help people understand with this blog.]

100% Chance of Crisis, Worse Than 2008 says Jim Rogers

100% Chance of Crisis, Worse Than 2008: Jim Rogers - CNBC: "The world is definitely going to face another financial crisis stemming from problems in Europe, Jim Rogers said Wednesday.

'We're certainly going to have more crises coming out of Europe and America; the world is in trouble. The world has been spending staggering amounts of money that it doesn't have for a few decades now, and it's all coming home to roost,' Rogers, CEO and chairman Rogers Holdings told CNBC.

He added that the crisis would be much worse than the one markets saw in 2008 because the debt is much higher now..."

Chinese Agency Threatens U.S. with New Debt Downgrade

China threatens US with new debt downgrade | Business | The Guardian: "The head of China's biggest ratings agency, Dagong Global Credit Rating, is warning that it may downgrade the US's sovereign debt rating again because of Washington's failure to tackle the federal budget deficit.

The remarks by Dagong's chairman, Guan Jianzhong, to be broadcast in an interview with al-Jazeera on Saturday morning, come at the end of another week of deep turmoil for the world economy..."

Recession Reshapes Life in USA

Recession reshapes life in USA - USATODAY.com: "The dismal economy is having a profound effect on the American way of life, from delaying marriage and divorce to reducing car ownership and private school enrollment, according to new Census data.

Lingering bad times may alter expectations and lifestyles for years to come, some demographers say..."

Use of Wood Stoves On Rise in U.S.

Use of wood stoves on rise in U.S. - UPI.com: "More U.S. homes are being heated with wood stoves, raising concerns about pollution and health risks, officials said.

Rising energy prices have pushed many homeowners to purchase wood-burning stoves, many of them using tax credits for efficient stoves that expire next month, USA Today reported Friday.

The trend has prompted federal officials to consider updating the 23-year-old certification criteria for stoves, the newspaper reported.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it plans to propose the new rules next year..."

14 November, 2011

The Truth about Violence : 3 Principles of Self-Defense

The Blog : The Truth about Violence : Sam Harris: "As a teenager, I once had an opportunity to fly in a police helicopter over a major American city. Naively, I thought the experience might be uneventful. Perhaps there would be no crime between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. However, from the moment we were airborne, there was a fresh emergency every fifteen seconds: Shots fired… rape in progress… victim stabbed…It was a deluge. Of course, the impression this left on me was, in part, the result of a sampling bias: I was hearing nothing but incident reports from a city of 4 million people, most of whom would never encounter violence directly. (No one calls the police to say “Everything is still okay!”) Yet it was uncanny to discover the chaos that lurked at the margins of my daily routine. A few minutes from where I might otherwise have been eating dinner, rapes, robberies, and murders were in progress...

... In my experience, most people do not want to think about the reality of human violence. I have friends who sleep with their front doors unlocked and who would never consider receiving instruction in self-defense. For them, gun ownership seems like an ugly and uncivilized flirtation with paranoia. Happily, most of these people will never encounter violence in any form. And good luck will make their unconcern seem perfectly justified.

But here are the numbers: In 2010, there were 403.6 violent crimes per 100,000 persons in the United States. (The good news: This is an overall decrease of 13.4 percent from the level in 2001.) Thus, the average American has a 1 in 250 chance of being robbed, assaulted, raped, or murdered each year. Actually, the chance is probably greater than this, because we know that certain crimes, such as assault and rape, are underreported.

Of course, your risks vary depending on who you are and where you live. In Compton, one of the more dangerous parts of Los Angeles, your chances of experiencing violent crime in 2010 were 1 in 71; if you lived in Beverly Hills they were 1 in 458. Still, even in good neighborhoods, the likelihood of being attacked is hardly remote. In the comparative safety of Beverly Hills, assuming the crime rate stays constant, the probability that you will be robbed, assaulted, raped or murdered at some point over the next 30 years is 1 in 16. (The average risk in the U.S. is 1 in 9; in Compton it’s better than 1 in 3.) Again, these statistics surely paint too rosy a picture, because many crimes go unreported.

It may seem onerous to prepare yourself and your family to respond to violence, but not doing so is also a form of preparation. Failing to prepare is, generally speaking, preparing very well to do the wrong thing. Although most of us are good at recognizing danger, our instincts often lead us to behave in ways that increase our chances of being injured or killed once a threat emerges.

Why can’t civilized people like ourselves simply rely on the police? Well, look around you: Do you see a cop? Unless you happen to be a police officer yourself, or are married to one, you are very unlikely to be attacked in the presence of law enforcement. The role of the police is to respond in the aftermath of a crime and, with a little luck, to catch the person who committed it. If you are ever targeted by a violent predator, whether you and your family are injured or killed will depend on what you do in the first moments of the encounter.⁠ When it comes to survival, therefore, you are entirely on your own. Once you escape and are in a safe place, by all means call the police. But dialing 911 when an intruder has broken into your home is not a strategy for self-defense..."

Doomsday Scenarios - 65% Chance of Banking Crisis by End November says Research Firm

Doomsday Scenarios - 65% Chance of Banking Crisis by End November: Research Firm - CNBC: "There is a 65 percent chance of a banking crisis between November 23-26 following a Greek default and a run on the Italian banking system, according to analysts at Exclusive Analysis, a research firm that focuses on global risks.

Having tested a number of assumptions in a scenario modeling exercise, the Exclusive Analysis team warned it is becoming less and less likely that EU leaders will simply 'muddle through' and have made some bold calls with clear timelines on when the euro zone will be thrown into a major financial crisis.

The most likely outcome according to their analysis is a sudden crisis in which the US, UK and BRICs nations refuse to provide funding via the IMF for the euro zone. In a world where predictions are made with no time lines, the paper makes some bold predictions which can be held to account over the next three weeks..."

The Great Depression Is The Best Case

The Greatest Truth Never Told 12. The Great Depression Is The Best Case - YouTube

Bernanke Says That Any Criticism Of The Federal Reserve Is Based On “Misconceptions”

Bernanke Says That Any Criticism Of The Federal Reserve Is Based On “Misconceptions”: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is taking his show on the road in at attempt to help Americans feel better about the Federal Reserve. During a visit to the Fort Bliss headquarters of the Army’s 1st Armored Division this week, Bernanke held a town hall meeting during which he took questions from some of the soldiers. Bernanke tried to sound as compassionate as possible as he assured the soldiers that the Federal Reserve is looking out for the American people and is doing everything that it can to help create jobs. At one point, Bernanke even made the following statement: 'For a lot of people, I know, it doesn't feel like the recession ever ended.' That probably helped a lot of people feel better. A few probably even had a good cry. But what Bernanke did not explain to the troops is that the Federal Reserve is very much responsible for the fact that unemployment is rampant, for the fact that the U.S. dollar is rapidly being devalued and for the fact that we have accumulated the largest national debt in the history of the world..."

11 November, 2011

God Bless Our Veterans

Baxter, Same Company That Unleashed Tainted Avian Flu Vaccines, Recalls 300,000 Flu Vaccines For Serious Adverse Reactions

Baxter, same company that unleashed tainted avian flu vaccines, recalls 300,000 flu vaccines for serious adverse reactions: "Baxter Healthcare Corp. has announced it is recalling roughly 300,000 doses of its Preflucel influenza vaccine due to what it says is an excessive number of adverse events. Baxter is the same drug company that was caught inserting Avian Flu Virus into flu vaccines back in 2009.

The UK's Daily Mail reports that a high number of individuals injected with an apparently tainted batch of Preflucel have been reporting side effects like fatigue, muscle pain, and headaches. The vaccine, which was crafted specifically for those with egg allergies, has only been in use since March when it was first approved for use in the UK..."

U.S. Researchers and Pharmaceutical Companies Conducting Human Experimentation in Africa

People's Blog for the Constitution - US researchers and pharmaceutical companies conducting human experimentation in Africa: "A new policy brief faults prominent institutions and drug companies like Pfizer, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and Population Council, for their involvement in unethical and illegal human experimentation in Africa.

The report is titled “Non-Consensual Research in Africa: The Outsourcing of Tuskegee” in reference to the illegal human experiment conducted in Tuskegee, Alabama, between 1932 and 1972 by the US Public Health Service. In that experiment, some 600 impoverished African-American men were observed in a study on the progression of untreated syphilis. Some of the men were intentionally infected with the disease and all of them were denied the cure. Regrettably, the report notes, no one was held accountable for this crime against humanity.

The new report details human experiments led by US researchers and drug companies on Africans who are typically undereducated, poor, and lack full understanding of their rights. The human subjects often are led to believe that they are receiving medical treatment from governmental health services or health ministries..."

Eugenics Past And Present, Driven By Race, Class, Economics Says Researcher

Nano Patents and Innovations: Eugenics Past And Present, Driven By Race, Class, Economics Says Researcher: "University of Cincinnati (UC) historian Wendy Kline will present her case study research on coercive birth control used as a form of eugenics. She will present that research at an international conference in Europe on Nov. 11.

Eugenics – the science of improving the human population via selective breeding or reproduction – is not a concept confined to past centuries and decades, nor to locales outside the United States.

That’s the finding of recent research by University of Cincinnati historian Wendy Kline, who will present a case study on the topic – a case study that examines the use of the controversial contraceptive injection, Depo-Provera, as a eugenic tool...

... It’s research that is particularly timely given that recent national news coverage has featured North Carolina’s current plans to compensate surviving victims of forced sterilizations that took place there from the 1920s to the 1970s..."

A Financial Nightmare For Italy: The Yield Curve For Italian Bonds Is Turning Upside Down

A Financial Nightmare For Italy: The Yield Curve For Italian Bonds Is Turning Upside Down: "What we are all watching unfold right now is a complete and total financial nightmare for Italy. Italian bond yields are soaring to incredibly dangerous levels, and now the yield curve for Italian bonds is turning upside down. So what does that mean? Normally, government debt securities that have a longer maturity pay a higher interest rate. There is typically more risk when you hold a bond for an extended period of time, so investors normally demand a higher return for holding debt over longer time periods. But when investors feel as though a major economic downturn or a substantial financial crisis is coming, the yield on short-term bonds will often rise above the yield for long-term bonds. This happened to Greece, to Ireland and to Portugal and all three of them ended up needing bailouts. Now it is happening to Italy and Spain may follow shortly, but the EU cannot afford to bail out either of them. An inverted yield curve is a major red flag. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be much hope that there is going to be a solution to this European debt crisis any time soon..."

The Dollar is Done - Deal with It

The Dollar is Done - Deal with It - SilverSeek.com: "Psychologists tell us that there are five stages of grief over loss of whatever kind, usually death, or breaking up with a loved one, which are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I've applied these to the loss of the dollar, as I see most people today are still stuck in denial, and here's how to deal with that.

Denial. Most people in America are in total denial. But the dollar is done. Most probably don't think it's done, because we all still use dollars to buy things. But do you notice prices going up? That's the key sign that the dollar is done. The dollar is abandoning you, the dollar does not care about you, and you have to deal with it..."

10 November, 2011

"We Are Looking Straight Into The Face of a Great Depression"'

Blog: 'We are looking straight into the face of a Great Depression': "Who said it? Some blow dried, CNBC Cassandra? Perhaps a Fox Business jokester?

Nope. MIT Sloan School of Management professor Simon Johnson speaking at the opening of the CFA conference in Paris:

'We have built a dangerous financial system in the United States and Europe,' said the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. 'We must step back and reform the system.'

Professor Johnson cited alarming parallels with October 1931, when 'people thought the worst was behind them, but the smart people were wrong and instead the crisis just broadened.'

Johnson began his talk by pointing to the recent failure of MF Global (MF) as good news because it 'barely caused a ripple in markets, despite its $40 billion balance sheet.' But he contrasted this with the conundrum of 'too-big-to-fail' banks in the financial system, which have all benefited hugely from an implicit state guarantee. Citigroup (C) survived even with $2.5 trillion of liabilities at the time of its rescue, Johnson noted, and the U.S. government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lobbied hard to pump up their risk - but both had to be rescued by the U.S. taxpayer..."

12 Mistakes That Welcome a Home Invasion

Activist Post: 12 Mistakes That Welcome a Home Invasion: "... If someone breaks in to your home -- be it a ranch in Eastern Texas, a cottage in Washington State, an apartment in the city, or a garden home in a planned community -- a break-in is a break-in and is therefore a violation of your most sacred space: your home.

With the shorter days of winter, as well as the holidays that are coming up, burglars and thieves are going to be on the lookout for homes that are easy targets.

The [authors] want to share 12 things people do to roll out the welcome mat and invite the bad guys to pay them a visit.

We also want to offer some suggestions of things you can do now to make your home less attractive to these uninvited visitors..."

12 Facts About Money And Congress That Are So Outrageous That It Is Hard To Believe That They Are Actually True

12 Facts About Money And Congress That Are So Outrageous That It Is Hard To Believe That They Are Actually True: "Do you want to get rich? Just get elected to Congress. The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are absolutely packed with wealthy people that are very rapidly becoming even wealthier. The collective net worth of the members of Congress is now measured in the billions of dollars. The people that we have elected to the House and Senate are absolutely swimming in money. Unfortunately, it is not easy to get elected to Congress. In this day and age you generally have to be heavily connected to those that are very wealthy to get into Congress because it takes gigantic amounts of cash to win campaigns. But if you can get in to the club, you pretty much have it made. The numbers that you are about to read are very difficult to believe and they should deeply sadden you. They show that Congress has become all about money. Congressional races are mostly financed by wealthy people, most of the people that we elect to Congress are very wealthy, and they rapidly get wealthier after they are elected. All of this money has turned our republic into something far different than our founding fathers intended..."

China's Elite Are Privately Talking About A Revolution

China's Elite Are Privately Talking About A Revolution: "... In private conversations, many of the people who supposedly make up the ruling elite of China express serious misgivings about the direction and future stability of the country, while admitting that they feel largely powerless to affect meaningful change.

'There is a sense that we are approaching an inevitable breaking point, when the pressures in society will boil over and consume the rulers,' says one Chinese banker with close ties to a number of powerful political families.

'Almost all of the elements are in place for an uprising like we saw in 1989 – corruption is worse today than it was then, people feel they can’t get ahead without political connections, the wealth gap is much bigger and growing and there has been virtually no political reform at all. The only missing ingredient now is a domestic economic crisis.'..."