The End Of All Crossroads

Where the TAXI makes a stop, to ponder upon which road mayhap be true

Category: USA

20 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead

20 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead.

 

#1 Freight shipment volumes have hit their lowest level in two years, and freight expenditures have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#2 The average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen by more than 50 cents over the past two months. This is making things tougher on our economy, because nearly every form of economic activity involves moving people or goods around.

#3 Reader’s Digest, once one of the most popular magazines in the world, has filed for bankruptcy.

#4 Atlantic City’s newest casino, Revel, has just filed for bankruptcy. It had been hoped that Revel would help lead a turnaround for Atlantic City.

#5 A state-appointed review board has determined that there is “no satisfactory plan” to solve Detroit’s financial emergency, and many believe that bankruptcy is imminent. If Detroit does declare bankruptcy, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

#6 David Gallagher, the CEO of Town Sports International, recently said that his company is struggling right now because consumers simply do not have as much disposable income anymore…

“As we moved into January membership trends were tracking to expectations in the first half of the month, but fell off track and did not meet our expectations in the second half of the month. We believe the driver of this was the rapid decline in consumer sentiment that has been reported and is connected to the reduction in net pay consumers earn given the changes in tax rates that went into effect in January.“

#7 According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence in the U.S. has hit its lowest level in more than a year.

#8 Sales of the Apple iPhone have been slower than projected, and as a result Chinese manufacturing giant FoxConn has instituted a hiring freeze. The following is from a CNET report that was posted on Wednesday…

The Financial Times noted that it was the first time since a 2009 downturn that the company opted to halt hiring in all of its facilities across the country. The publication talked to multiple recruiters.

The actions taken by Foxconn fuel the concern over the perceived weakened demand for the iPhone 5 and slumping sentiment around Apple in general, with production activity a leading indicator of interest in the product.

#9 In 2012, global cell phone sales posted their first decline since the end of the last recession.

#10 We appear to be in the midst of a “retail apocalypse“. It is being projected that Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack will also close hundreds of stores by the end of 2013.

#11 An internal memo authored by a Wal-Mart executive that was recently leaked to the press said that February sales were a “total disaster” and that the beginning of February was the “worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

#12 If Congress does not do anything and “sequestration” goes into effect on March 1st, the Pentagon says that approximately 800,000 civilian employees will be facing mandatory furloughs.

#13 Barack Obama is admitting that the “sequester” could have a crippling impact on the U.S. economy. The following is from a recentCNBC article…

Obama cautioned that if the $85 billion in immediate cuts — known as the sequester — occur, the full range of government would feel the effects. Among those he listed: furloughed FBI agents, reductions in spending for communities to pay police and fire personnel and teachers, and decreased ability to respond to threats around the world.

He said the consequences would be felt across the economy.

“People will lose their jobs,” he said. “The unemployment rate might tick up again.”

#14 If the “sequester” is allowed to go into effect, the CBO is projecting that it will cause U.S. GDP growth to go down by at least 0.6 percent and that it will “reduce job growth by 750,000 jobs“.

#15 According to a recent Gallup survey, 65 percent of all Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty“, and 50 percent of all Americans believe that the “best days” of America are now in the past.

#16 U.S. GDP actually contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percentduring the fourth quarter of 2012. This was the first GDP contraction that the official numbers have shown in more than three years.

#17 For the entire year of 2012, U.S. GDP growth was only about 1.5 percent. According to Art Cashin, every time GDP growth has fallen this low for an entire year, the U.S. economy has always ended up going into a recession.

#18 The global economy overall is really starting to slow down…

The world’s richest countries saw their economies contract for the first time in almost four years during the final three months of 2012, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said.

The Paris-based thinktank said gross domestic product across its 34 member states fell by 0.2% – breaking a period of rising activity stretching back to a 2.3% slump in output in the first quarter of 2009.

All the major economies of the OECD – the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and the UK – have already reported falls in output at the end of 2012, with the thinktank noting that the steepest declines had been seen in the European Union, where GDP fell by 0.5%. Canada is the only member of the G7 currently on course to register an increase in national output.

#19 Corporate insiders are dumping enormous amounts of stockright now. Do they know something that we don’t?

#20 Even some of the biggest names on Wall Street are warning that we are heading for an economic collapse. For example, Seth Klarman, one of the most respected investors on Wall Street, said in his year-end letter that the collapse of the U.S. financial system could happen at any time…

 

(continues – check source at the top)

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Goldman Sachs’ Global Coup D’etat

“Goldman made similar deals here in the United States, masking the true value of investments, then selling those worthless investments to customers while placing bets that those same investments would eventually fail.”

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:07
By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks

When the people of Greece saw their democratically elected Prime Minister George Papandreou forced out of office in November of 2011 and replaced by an unelected Conservative technocrat, Lucas Papademos, most were unaware of the bigger picture of what was happening all around them.

Similarly, most of us in the United States were equally as ignorant when, in 2008, despite the switchboards at the US Capitol collapsing under the volume of phone calls from constituents urging a “no” vote, our elected representatives voted “yes” at the behest of Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen and jammed through the biggest bailout of Wall Street in our nation’s history.

But now, as the Bank of England, a key player in the ongoing Eurozone crisis, announces that former investment banker Mark Carney will be its new chief, we can’t afford to ignore what’s happening around the world.

Steadily – and stealthily – Goldman Sachs is carrying out a global coup d’etat.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos in his office at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece, January 16, 2012. (Photo: Eirini Vourloumis / The New York Times)

There’s one tie that binds Lucas Papademos in Greece, Henry Paulsen in the United States, and Mark Carney in the U.K., and that’s Goldman Sachs. All were former bankers and executives at the Wall Street giant, all assumed prominent positions of power, and all played a hand after the global financial meltdown of 2007-08, thus making sure Goldman Sachs weathered the storm and made significant profits in the process.

But that’s just scratching the surface.

As Europe descends into an austerity-induced economic crisis, Goldman Sachs’s people are managing the demise of the continent. As the British newspaper The Independent reported earlier this year, the Conservative technocrats currently steering or who have steered post-crash fiscal policy in Greece, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, and now the UK, all hail from Goldman Sachs. In fact, the head of the European Central Bank itself, Mario Draghi, was the former managing director of Goldman Sachs International.

And here in the United States, after Treasury Secretary and former Goldman CEO Henry Paulsen did his job in 2008 securing Goldman’s multi-billion dollar bailout, he was replaced in the new Obama administration with Tim Geithner who worked very closely with Goldman Sachs as head of the New York Fed and made sure Goldman received more than $14 billion from the bailout of failed insurance giant AIG.

What’s happening here goes back more than a decade.

In 2001, Goldman Sachs secretly helped Greece hide billions of dollars through the use of complex financial instruments like credit default swaps. This allowed Greece to meet the baseline requirements to enter the Eurozone in the first place. But it also created a debt bubble that would later explode and bring about the current economic crisis that’s drowning the entire continent. But, always looking ahead, Goldman protected itself from this debt bubble by betting against Greek bonds, expecting that they would eventually fail.

Ironically, the man who headed up the Central Bank of Greece while this deal was being arranged with Goldman was – drumroll please – Lucas Papademos.

Goldman made similar deals here in the United States, masking the true value of investments, then selling those worthless investments to customers while placing bets that those same investments would eventually fail. The most notorious example was the “Timberwolf” deal, which brought down an Australian hedge fund, and which Goldman Sachs banksters emailed each other about, bragging, “Boy, that Timberwolf was one shitty deal.”

This sort of behavior by Goldman helped inflate, and then eventually pop, the housing bubble in the United States. The shockwave then ran across the Atlantic, hitting Europe and turning Goldman’s debt-masking deal with Greece years earlier sour, thus deepening the crisis.

All of these antics should have brought about the demise of Goldman as well, but with their alumni in key policy positions on both sides of the Atlantic, Goldman not only survived, it flourished.

As the DailyKos sums up, “The normal scenario usually involves helping a nation hide a problem and sell its debt until the problem blows up into a bubble that bursts in a spectacular way…Goldman Sachs then puts their ‘man’ into a position of power to direct the bailouts so that Goldman gets all its money back and more, while the nation’s economy gets gutted.”

For years, tinfoil hat crazies who’ve bookmarked Glenn Beck’s websites and often appear as “experts” on Fox so-called News have warned us about a one-world government (here, here, and here). The latest threat, according to them, is Agenda 21 and the creation of a Soviet-style world authority that will confiscate private party everywhere, redistribute wealth to developing nations, and force us all to live by new global laws that sacrifice our national sovereignty. It’s totalitarian governments and not transnational corporations that we should be afraid of, they warn.

But when the tinfoil hat is removed, you can see that a sort of one-world government has already been established in a far more subtle form, through the rise of Goldman Sachs and their colleagues in the Wall Street elite.

A million questions arise when looking at what’s happening around the world. But many of these questions can be answered, once it’s acknowledged that Goldman Sachs alumni have executed a global coup d’etat.

Why are the working people of Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy suffering under austerity and being asked to sacrifice their pensions, their wages, and their jobs when, after five years, it’s clear these policies are only making these nations’ debts even harder to pay off?

It’s because Goldman Sachs is sucking the last remaining wealth out of those nations to recoup whatever failed investments they made before the Crash.

Why have thousands of homeowners in the United States turned to suicide, domestic violence, and even mass murder when faced with home foreclosure, when a simple solution like re-writing mortgages, which FDR did successfully during the Great Depression, could put an end to the bloodshed and misery?

It’s because re-writing mortgages would force banks like Goldman Sachs to take a hit. And thanks to the game they’ve created, they actually make more money when a home they own is foreclosed on.

Why, despite mountains of evidence, have banksters at Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street institutions not been thrown in jail for defrauding customers, manipulating LIBOR interest rates, and throwing thousands of Americans out of their homes illegally in a massive robo-signing scandal?

It’s because we have a two-tiered justice system in which those in power, like Goldman Sachs executives, get a slap on the wrist when they steal $50 billion, but people like you and me go to jail for stealing a 7-11 Slurpee.

Now does it make sense why Wall Street was bailed out and Main Street was sold out?

In this post-crash world, where agents of Goldman Sachs have infiltrated key positions of power all around the world, we must all fundamentally re-understand how we view the global economy and just how much effect our democratic institutions have on this economy.

We no longer have an economy geared to benefit working people around the world; we have an economy that’s geared to exploit working people for Goldman Sachs’ profits. Trader Alessio Rastani told the BBC in September before Goldman’s Lucas Papademos was installed as Greece’s Prime Minister, “We don’t really care about having a fixed economy, having a fixed situation, our job is to make money from it…Personally, I’ve been dreaming of this moment for three years. I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession.” Rastani continued, “When the market crashes… if you know what to do, if you have the right plan set up, you can make a lot of money from this.”

And as we’ve seen over the last decade, Goldman Sachs knows exactly what to do. They’ve had the right plan set-up, and it’s nothing short of a global coup d’etat.

As Rastani bluntly told the BBC, “This is not a time right now for wishful thinking that governments are going to sort things out. The governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.”

 

SOURCE:
http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/12996-goldman-sachs-global-coup-de-tat.html#13547977288201&action=collapse_widget&id=3478441

Chemical weapons reports in Syria, exactly as warned

“American soldiers likely will be on ground in Syria, facing not just Assad’s army, but the Iranians and the Russian armies. The Russians already have about 100,000 soldiers in Syria. There have already been 40,000 deaths in Syria. Are you ready for four million?”

By Douglas J. Hagmann

4 December 2012: And so it begins, or should I say, so it continues. CNN is now reporting that an unnamed U.S. intelligence official claims that Assad’s Syrian forces are “combining chemicals that would be used to make deadly sarin gas for use in weapons to attack rebel and civilian populations.”

As I wrote here before in various reports pertaining to Benghazi, this was the plan all along and you are seeing it play out, albeit a bit behind schedule as Obama, Clinton and their national security advisers had to coordinate the Benghazi cover-up that few admitted existed and even fewer would report. Information about the use of chemical weapons, specifically gas, was detailed in the second part of my interview with an intelligence insider:

“One aspect of the weapons plan was to set up a false flag operation to make it appear that Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. Imagine the outcry from the civilized world to the news that Assad ‘gassed’ his own people. That would be an invitation to NATO and the West to openly intervene. Don’t forget about the timing of all of this. Two months before the elections, and time was running out. The job of taking out Assad was not yet complete. Such an event would quickly advance this agenda. By this time, however, being caught and placed in a rather unenviable position between Russia and the U.S., the Turkish consul general was in a ‘CYA, clean-up’ mode, assuring that none of the chemical weapons that might have still been in Libya were headed for Turkey.”

Now, because no one has stepped in to expose the big lie behind Benghazi, it is nearly certain that the U.S. and NATO will become involved. By not exposing the big lie, American soldiers likely will be on ground in Syria, facing not just Assad’s army, but the Iranians and the Russian armies. The Russians already have about 100,000 soldiers in Syria. There have already been 40,000 deaths in Syria. Are you ready for four million?

As I wrote before, the fuse for WW III has been lit. You are witnessing history playing out right before your very eyes. I mapped out their plan. Has anyone been paying attention?

SOURCE:
http://www.homelandsecurityus.com/archives/7215

Bay Area Storm Causes 2 Giant Sinkholes, Swallowing Roads

December 3, 2012 5:58 PM

LAFAYETTE (CBS SF) — Two giant sinkholes formed in separate Bay Area communities during the heavy rain from a powerful storm that passed through the Bay Area over the weekend.

In one instance, a giant sinkhole swallowed two lanes of a street in a residential neighborhood in Lafayette Sunday.

High water levels and a clogged storm drain in Lafayette Creek destroyed a portion of Mountain View Drive Sunday, creating a sinkhole where the road once was, Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk said.

Erosion of the road accelerated when the heavy current of the creek clogged the storm drain with large debris, including branches and a bureau, some time between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., Falk said.

A storm caused a 20-foot sinkhole to form along Mountain View Drive in Lafayette on December 2, 2012. (CBS)Water began to run over the top of the road, forcing its closure soon after. Around 3 p.m. Sunday, the road collapsed onto the storm drain and left a hole 80 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 15 feet deep, Falk said.

Utility agencies came out and shut off the gas and sewer lines that are below the road. East Bay Municipal Utilities District crews were still on scene at 2 p.m. Monday attempting to shut off the water line.

A handful of customers are still without water and one customer is without gas. PG&E has provided an alternate gas service for that one, Falk said.

 

Falk said the city’s plan is to convey the water temporarily across where the road was, and create a temporary storm drain that will handle all the water from whatever remaining storms there are this season.

Once that is completed, a team of civil engineers will create a plan to permanently fix the storm drain and road.

The collapse has left one home without access to its driveway but should not create a significant hardship to anyone in the area, Falk said.

The longest detour around the sinkhole is a block and a half, he said.

A second sinkhole opened up in the Santa Cruz mountains over the weekend as well.

 

SOURCE (videos also avaliable there):
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/12/03/bay-area-storm-causes-2-giant-sinkholes-swallowing-roads/

Police gun buyback program Sat. also offers shots … flu shots

“We’re asking folks to bring in any guns that they can’t store properly,” Dr. Hirsh said. “And by being stored properly, I mean unloaded and locked away from children.”

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Friday, November 30, 2012

By Linda Bock

WORCESTER — Flu shots instead of gunshots. People can get free flu shots Saturday and next Saturday, even if they don’t turn in a gun at the city’s annual Goods for Guns buyback program.

City residents, or residents of any other community, may bring their unwanted weapons, unloaded and wrapped in a bag, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to the Worcester Police headquarters in Lincoln Square, or from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 8 to the Worcester Division of Public Health, 25 Meade St.

Since the program’s inception in 2002, the Goods for Guns Program have collected 2,200 guns in exchange for gift certificates.

“Absolutely, positively, come one, come all,” said Deputy Police Chief Edward J. McGinn. “We’re not asking any names or questions.”

A year ago, 40 guns were turned in to police. Deputy Chief McGinn said guns turned in are destroyed.
The Goods for Guns program is similar to buyback programs throughout the country. In this case, people who anonymously turn in operable guns at the police station will be given a Wegman’s gift certificate with a value that depends on the type of gun. A long rifle earns a $25 gift certificate, a handgun nets a $50 gift certificate, and a semiautomatic weapon yields a $75 gift certificate.

The program is collaboration between the city police and public health departments, UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Injury Prevention and community partners.

Also involved is the office of District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. On days of the buyback program, people bringing guns directly from home to the police station will be granted amnesty if they are not properly licensed.

Dr. Michael P. Hirsh, chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery & Trauma at UMass Memorial and the city’s acting public health commissioner, said the city’s successful program has become a model for other cities. He also believes the successful gun buyback program over the years is a contributing factor in the city having the lowest firearm fatality rate of any New England city.

“We’re asking folks to bring in any guns that they can’t store properly,” Dr. Hirsh said. “And by being stored properly, I mean unloaded and locked away from children.”

Dr. Hirsh started the first gun buyback program in Pittsburgh in 1994 because he suffered the loss of a fellow surgeon, John C. Wood II, who was shot and killed on his way to work one day outside the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in upper Manhattan on Nov. 2, 1981. His son, John C. Wood III, plans to participate this year.

LaNyia Johnson, sitting in a wheelchair, and his mother, Marcy Johnson of Worcester, attended a news conference at Worcester Police headquarters to offer their continuing support of the program. Mr. Johnson, 18, was just 13 when he was struck by a stray bullet while was sitting on a couch at his aunt’s house on Douglas Street. The bullet came through a door and struck him in the spine. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

“Dr. Hirsh and my mom are very cool,” Mr. Johnson said when asked how he became involved with the program.

His advice for other teens? “Find a goal in your life and chase it instead of being inside negative activities,” he said.

Terrance Reidy, chief of the gang unit for the district attorney’s office, prosecuted Mr. Johnson’s shooter, and said it was a tragedy that should have never have happened. Mr. Reidy said the way he looks at the program; over 2,000 potential tragedies were averted.

“There was the potential for over 2,000 people to be hurt,” Mr. Reidy said.

The day of reckoning for global total debt – total credit market debt up from $28 trillion in 2001 to $53 trillion in 2012. US consumer debt went up in last few months but largely because of giant amounts of student loan debt taken on.

You have to really question what passes for financial analysis these days. One financial show was discussing the recent increase in consumer debt as something positive. In the same breath this person also said that households increased savings. Now think about this statement. If you financed a $2,000 vacation on your credit card but increased savings by $500 did your balance sheet improve? Of course not. Let us not even dive into the fact that most of the recent consumer debt increase has come at the hands of student debt which is already in a massive bubble. We are simply repeating the same mistakes with a different soundtrack. We are trying to get out of a debt led crisis with more debt. The facts even show this and we have compiled some of the more troubling data by putting the entire debt market into perspective here. Is it really possible to solve a problem based on too much debt with more debt?
The total market of debt shows our addiction to borrowed money

We flat out have an addiction to borrowing. Total market debt is now up to an astonishing $53 trillion and continues to grow. Take a look at this frightening data:

In 2001 total credit market debt was up to $28 trillion. Today it is now well above $53 trillion and inching closer to slapping on another trillion dollars this year. If you look at Greece as a microcosm of the bigger issue, you realize they are treating a solvency issue as if it were a liquidity issue. Let us be absolutely clear that all of this debt will never be paid off. This warrants repeating:

“The $53 trillion in total credit market debt will never be fully repaid.”

In essence the total debt markets are growing even though the debt will never be paid off. Since most thinking people get this, the banking sector is leveraging central banks to basically print money since no person would lend money out knowing they would never be paid back. Do people really think we are going to pay off our $15 trillion national debt when our deficits look like this:

We’ve been running continuous budget deficits since the late 1970s. We had a brief respite when it came to having a surplus with the tech boom but that was blown out the window completely with the real estate mania. Contrary to what most will say, deficits do matter and massive deficits really matter.

Let us be abundantly clear that the total market debt is incredible. You now start having this challenging race where you are trying to avoid having your total debt surpass your annual GDP. The US has passed that mark and so have many other countries. The results in the long-run are never positive especially when people wise up and start asking for their money back. Since most don’t have the funds, they pay for it via inflation and a devaluation of their currencies. A few articles have circulated where Greece is trying to enforce stronger tax collections yet their system on collecting taxes is so corrupted that they have no way of achieving this without completely revamping the system.

If you think Europe is done just look at Portugal since they are next in the debt grinder queue:

To the debt increase in the US

The access to easy debt creates massive amounts of bubbles. We saw this in housing and now we are seeing it here in the US with the giant higher education bubble:

Keep in mind this is only a tiny part of the student debt market. This year we will surpass $1 trillion point for student loan debt. I believe this will be another crisis that will hit and many indebted students are already feeling this. Many are being sucked into paper mill for-profits that are essentially scam factories that raid the government backed student loan funds. They lobby Congress to make it easier for them to report horrific placement data and change the metric on default reporting so it doesn’t look as atrocious. Even with these softballs from our bought out politicians, the data is still horrible.

A debt bubble cannot be solved with more debt. That should be obvious just like saying savings increased but people went into more debt should cause you to pause. Yet few in the financial media ever take a timeout and many missed the tech bubble bust, the housing bubble bust, and gear up because they will miss the other debt bubble bust as well.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.mybudget360.com/day-of-reckoning-for-global-total-debt-total-credit-market-debt-consumer-debt-large-charge-of-household-debt-trillions/

Our Collapsing Economy and Currency

“Is the “fiscal cliff” real or just another hoax? The answer is that the fiscal cliff is real, but it is a result, not a cause. The hoax is the way the fiscal cliff is being used.”

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December 1, 2012

The fiscal cliff is the result of the inability to close the federal budget deficit. The budget deficit cannot be closed because large numbers of US middle class jobs and the GDP and tax base associated with them have been moved offshore, thus reducing federal revenues. The fiscal cliff cannot be closed because of the unfunded liabilities of eleven years of US-initiated wars against a half dozen Muslim countries–wars that have benefitted only the profits of the military/security complex and the territorial ambitions of Israel. The budget deficit cannot be closed, because economic policy is focused only on saving banks that wrongful financial deregulation allowed to speculate, to merge, and to become too big to fail, thus requiring public subsidies that vastly dwarf the totality of US welfare spending.

The hoax is the propaganda that the fiscal cliff can be avoided by reneging on promised Social Security and Medicare benefits that people have paid for with the payroll tax and by cutting back all aspects of the social safety net from food stamps to unemployment benefits to Medicaid, to housing subsidies. The right-wing has been trying to get rid of the social safety net ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt constructed it, out of fear or compassion or both, during the Great Depression.

Washington’s response to the fiscal cliff is austerity: spending cuts and tax increases. The Republicans say they will vote for the Democrats’ tax increases if the Democrats vote for the Republican’s assault on the social safety net. What bipartisan compromise means is a double-barreled dose of austerity.

Ever since John Maynard Keynes, economists have understood that tax increases and spending cuts suppress, not stimulate, economic activity. This is especially the case in an economy such as the American one, which is driven by consumer spending. When spending declines, so does the economy. When the economy declines, the budget deficit rises.

This is especially the case when an economy is weak and already in decline. A declining economy means less sales, less employment, less tax revenues. This works against the effort to close the federal budget deficit with austerity measures. Instead of strengthening the economy, the austerity measures weaken it further. To cut unemployment benefits and food stamps when unemployment is high or rising would be to provoke social and political instability.

America: The Food Stamp Nation

Bread Lines of the Modern Era– The Great Recession
IF all EBT recipients shopped at only Walmart Super Centers for ALL their SNAP benefits, then this is how the Bread Line would look each month– 14,588 people.
There are 3051 Walmart Super Centers in USA and 44,510,598 participants in SNAP (2011), making the average SNAP line at each Walmart at 14,588 people.
The Modern Era’s Bread Lines are not visible because the business is handled discreetly through EBT Cards.
According to this Food Stamps report pg 16-17, Walmart receives half of all SNAP dollars in Oklahoma.
Walmart is the largest retailer in America.
Short Facts:
47% of Food Stamp participants are children.
78.6% of all SNAP participants are in metropolitan areas.
93.2% of all SNAP benefits go to US citizens.
Only 4% are self-employed.
(CLICK IMAGE FOR SOURCEPAGE)

Some economists, such as Robert Barro at Harvard University, claim that stimulative measures, the opposite of austerity, don’t work, because consumers anticipate the higher taxes that will be needed to cover the budget deficit and, therefore, reduce their spending and increase their saving in order to be able to pay the anticipated higher taxes.

In other words, the Keynesian effort to stimulate spending causes consumers to reduce their spending. I don’t know of any empirical evidence for this claim.

Regardless, the situation on the ground at the present time is that for the majority of people, incomes are stretched to the limit and beyond. Many cannot pay their bills, their mortgages, their car payments, their student loans. They are drowning in debt, and there is nothing that they can cut back in order to save money with which to pay higher taxes.

Many commentators are complaining that Congress will refuse to face the difficult issues and kick the can down the road, leaving the fiscal cliff looming. This would probably be the best outcome. As the fiscal cliff is a result, not a cause, to focus on the fiscal cliff is to focus on the symptoms rather than the disease.

The US economy has two serious diseases, and neither one is too much welfare spending.

One disease is the offshoring of US middle class jobs, both manufacturing jobs and professional service jobs such as engineering, research, design, and information technology, jobs that formerly were filled by US university graduates, but which today are sent abroad or are filled by foreigners brought in on H-1B work visas at two-thirds of the salary.

The other disease is the deregulation, especially the financial deregulation, that caused the ongoing financial crisis and created banks too big to fail, which has prevented capitalism from working and closing down insolvent corporations.

The Federal Reserve’s policy is focused on saving the banks, not on saving the economy. The Federal Reserve is purchasing not only new Treasury bonds issued to finance the more than one trillion dollar annual federal deficit but also the banks’ underwater financial instruments, taking them off the banks’ books and putting them on the Federal Reserve’s books.

Normally, debt monetization of this amount results in rising inflation, but the money that the Federal Reserve is creating in its attempt to manage the public debt and the banks’ private debt is hung up in the banking system as excess reserves and is not finding its way into the economy. The banks are too busted to lend, and consumers are too indebted to borrow.

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However, the debt monetization poses a second threat that is capable of biting the US economy and consumer living standards very hard. Foreign central banks, foreign investors in US stocks and financial instruments, and Americans themselves observing the Federal Reserve’s continuous monetization of US debt cannot avoid concern about the dollar’s value as the supply of ever more dollars continues to pour out of the Federal Reserve.

Already there is evidence of central banks and individuals moving out of dollars into gold and silver bullion and into other currencies of countries that are not hemorrhaging debt and money. According to John Williams of Shadowstats.com, the US dollar as a percentage of global holdings of reserve assets has declined from 36.6% in 2006 to 28.7% in 2012. Gold has increased from 10.5% to 12.8% and other foreign currencies except the euro increased from 38.4% to 44.4%.

Russia, China, Brazil, India, and South Africa intend to conduct trade among themselves in their own currencies without use of the dollar as reserve currency. The EU countries conduct their trade with one another in euros, and although not reported in the US media, Asian countries are discussing a new common currency for trade among themselves.

The world is abandoning the use of the dollar to settle international accounts, and the demand for dollars is falling as the Federal Reserve increases the supply of dollars.

This means that the price of the dollar is threatened.

Concern over the dollar means concern over dollar-denominated financial instruments such as stocks and bonds. The Chinese hold some $2 trillion in US financial instruments. The Japanese hold about $1 trillion in US Treasuries. The Saudis and the oil emirates also hold large quantities of US dollar financial instruments. At some point the move away from the dollar also means a move away from US financial instruments. The dumping of US stocks and bonds would destabilize US financial markets and wipe out the remainder of US wealth.

"Federal

As I have previously written, the Federal Reserve can create new money with which to purchase the dumped financial instruments, thus maintaining their prices. But the Federal Reserve cannot print gold or foreign currencies with which to buy up the dollars that foreigners are paid for their US stocks and bonds. When the dollars in turn are dumped, the exchange value of the dollar will collapse, and US inflation will explode.

The onset of hyperinflation can be as sudden as the collapse of a currency’s exchange value.

The real crisis facing the US is the impending collapse of the US dollar’s foreign exchange value. The US dollar’s value in relation to silver and gold has already collapsed. In the past ten years, gold’s price in US dollars has increased from $250 per ounce to $1,750 per ounce, an increase of $1,500. Silver’s price has risen from $4 per ounce to $34 per ounce. These price rises are not due to a sudden scarcity of gold and silver, but to a flight from the dollar into the two forms of historical money that cannot be created with the printing press.

The price of oil has risen from $20 a barrel ten years ago to as high as $120 per barrel earlier this year and currently $90 a barrel. This price rise has come about despite a weak world economy and without any supply restrictions other than those caused by the attempted US occupation of Iraq, the Western assault on Libya, and the self-harming Western sanctions on Iran, impacts most likely offset by the Saudis, still Washington’s faithful puppet, a country that pumps out its precious life fluid in order to save the West from its own mistakes. The moronic neoconservatives wish to overthrow the Saudi Arabian government, but what more faithful servant has Washington ever had than the Saudi royal house?

What can be done? For a number of years I have pointed out that the problem is the loss of US employment, consumer income, GDP, and tax base to offshoring. The solution is to reverse the outward flow of jobs and to bring them back to the US. This can be done, as Ralph Gomory has made clear, by taxing corporations according to where they add value to their product. If the value is added abroad, corporations would have a high tax rate. If they add value domestically with US labor, they would face a low tax rate. The difference in tax rates can be calculated to offset the benefit of the lower cost of foreign labor.

As all offshored production that is brought to the US to be marketed to Americans counts as imports, relocating the production in the US would decrease the trade deficit, thus strengthening belief in the dollar. The increase in US consumer incomes would raise tax revenues, thus lowering the budget deficit. It is a win-win solution.

The second part to the solution is to end the expensive unfunded wars that have ruined the federal budget for the past 11 years as well as future budgets due to the cost of veterans’ hospital care and benefits. According to ABC World News, “In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, 2,333,972 American military personnel have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or both, as of Aug. 30, 2011 [more than a year ago].” These 2.3 million veterans have rights to various unfunded benefits including life-long health care. Already, according to ABC, 711,986 have used Veterans Administration health care between fiscal year 2002 and the third-quarter of fiscal year 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-veterans-numbers/story?id=14928136#1

The Republicans are determined to continue the gratuitous wars and to make the 99 percent pay for the neoconservatives’ Wars of Hegemony while protecting the 1 percent from tax increases.

The Democrats are little different.

No one in the White House and no more than one dozen members of the 535 member US Congress represents the American people. This is the reason that despite obvious remedies nothing can be done. America is going to crash big time.

And the rest of the world will be thankful. America along with Israel is the world’s most hated country. Don’t expect any foreign bailouts of the failed “superpower.”

 

SOURCE:
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/12/01/our-collapsing-economy-and-currency/

Street Artist Behind Satirical NYPD ‘Drone’ Posters Arrested

“Essam Attia, 29, was hit with 56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession after allegedly having an unloaded .22-caliber revolver under his bed at his Manhattan apartment when he was arrested early Wednesday.”

By Shayna Jacobs / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, November 30, 2012, 1:02 AM

A street artist whose mock public service ads around the city claimed the NYPD used spy drones to monitor citizens was busted after outing himself in a website interview, authorities and sources said.

NYPD_drone_posters

Essam Attia, 29, was hit with 56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession after allegedly having an unloaded .22-caliber revolver under his bed at his Manhattan apartment when he was arrested early Wednesday.

Authorities said Attia planted dozens of ads in display cases around the city between Sept. 14 and 16. Many of them even used his artist signature, “ESSAM.”

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“The meaning of the drone campaign for me its really about creating a conversation,” Attia apparently said in an Animalnewyork.com interview, his face cast in shadows and his voice disguised to protect his identity.

 

In the interview, the self-described photographer and street artist — who boasts a military background — discussed his fears for a Big Brother-like police spying initiative.

 

Despite his efforts to remain anonymous, the video and other evidence led investigators in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the NYPD to identify the alleged prankster as a local artist, sources said.

 

Attia declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday night. He posted bail, which was set at $10,000 bond or $2,500 cash, and is due back in Manhattan Criminal Court on Dec. 3.

 

drones-poster
SOURCE:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/street-artist-mock-ads-claimed-nypd-spy-drones-busted-article-1.1210708#ixzz2E6n3AQeV

US households already went off their fiscal cliff and breached their debt ceiling – US quickly approaching another debt ceiling limit aligning with the fiscal cliff

Few people realize that the debt ceiling is aligning right on track with the fiscal cliff. Total public outstanding debt is now at $16.369 trillion and is only $63 billion away from breaching the limit. Not a coincidence that the fiscal cliff is also on the horizon. In essence, we are addicted to debt. However US households have been on a multi-year long process of deleveraging yet this is not being asked from banks or governmental institutions. Of course we knew this was coming. Anyone that was honestly objective realized that we were on an unsustainable path. Yet the name of the game is now about kicking the can furiously down the road so it falls beyond or line of vision. Then we act surprised when we arrive at the can and it has only gotten heavier with debt. So as we are T-minus a few days from the fiscal cliff, let us examine the debt ceiling.

Debt ceiling being breached

We are fast approaching the debt ceiling:

total-debt-to-gdp_0

As stated, we are $63 billion away from hitting this.  This week another $26 billion will be added courtesy of a few auctions so we will hit this before the New Year.  Debt has been expanding at a furious pace:

Total-Debt-Dec-3

snowball. The reality is, the only way out of these mountains of debt is through a slow methodical inflation. The Fed is not even shy about admitting this. Why else would they be digitally printing money with no fear? They realize the debt destruction of American households is enough to offset the trillions of extensions and side programs that are being offered to the banking system. But after years of this, we are now seeing spillover effects via housing bubbles, student loan bubbles, food price hikes, healthcare costs soaring, and other items of that nature all in line with stagnant incomes.

An interesting parallel is looking at US households. Instead of adjusting to lower incomes in the 1990s and 2000s, US households decided to go into massive debt. Yet that access to debt has now been breached. In essence, US households hit their own debt ceiling and fiscal cliff:

household-debt

It is rather clear where the deleveraging started to happen. This is now a typical recession. This is shifting the landscape of how much debt households can really take on. Yet for government and banks, there doesn’t seem to be a limit although globally we are starting to see peak debt situations. Many countries are having issues even servicing their interest payments let alone thinking about paying back the debt they owe. These bailouts are simply methods of extending lines of credits to pay off already existing lines.

US households are clearly facing the grim reality that maybe they were not as wealthy as they once thought. After all, many do not even have enough for retirement and millions will completely rely on Social Security for years to come. This works well when you have a small older population with a large healthy working young population. Today we have a larger older population with a young less affluent population, with many not even working unfortunately.

So here we are hitting another debt ceiling limit right on time for the fiscal cliff. Combine this with 47 million Americans on food stamps and you need to ask yourself if this really sounds like an economic recovery.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.mybudget360.com/us-households-fiscal-cliff-debt-ceiling-2012-peak-debt/

What’s all the fuss about fracking?

“Benzene, lead, mercury, toluene, uranium, methanol, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde and xylene are among the 750+ “ingredients” used in the chemical mix often pumped into wells some 8,000 feet underground.”

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SPOILER: Listen to this, ’cause I’m not gonna repeat it often:

THIS IS WHAT YOUR FUCKING ILL-MINDED GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN INJECTING ALL OVER THE NATURAL UNDERGROUND FISSURES THOROUGH THE ENTIRE U.S., YOU FUCKED TWAT!!!! 

WAKE UP, STUPID SHEEPLE, WE’RE TALKIN’ ‘BOUT REAL SHIT HERE!!!

THIS IS FREAKIN’ SERIOUS!!!

Please, fellow Americans, *PLEASE* WAKE UP BEFORE ‘TIS BUT TOO LATE FOR THE ENTIRE PLANET!!!!

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By David Quilty –
set 17, 2012

The state of Vermont in the US has banned it. The countries of France and Bulgaria have banned it too. What is it about fracking that has so many people up in arms but energy companies chomping at the bit to get involved?

fogo-agua

Short for hydraulic fracturing, fracking is a method of getting at hard-to-reach natural gas reserves deep underground. Massive amounts of sand, water and toxic chemicals are injected into shale rock layers via wells, inducing fractures which then release the contained natural gas. The gas comes up to the surface of the well in the wastewater where it is separated and stored. While that’s the simple explanation of fracking, at first glance it doesn’t read as being all that bad – at least not until you get into the nitty-gritty of the operation.

Between one and eight million gallons of water is used for each frack… With each natural gas well capable of being fracked 18 times, it could require 144,000,000 gallons of clean water to complete a job.

First, let’s talk about the water needed for fracking. Depending on how deep the well is and how difficult the gas is to get to, between 1 and 8 million gallons of water is used for each frack. With each natural gas well capable of being fracked 18 times, it could require a whopping 144,000,000 gallons of clean water to complete a job. As of 2010, there were nearly 700,000 underground waste and injection wells in the U.S. and one would imagine that number is a lot higher as of this year. Billions of gallons of water are being used to frack in the U.S. alone, never mind around the globe.

So, now we have established that fracking uses a lot of water: no one disputes that fact. Where it gets tricky, and where proponents and opponents of the technique take sides, is when the subject of the chemicals used in the process comes up. Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used for each frack and while the industry is not required to release information on what substances they are using, it is known that many of them are volatile organic compounds and human carcinogens supposedly regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health. Benzene, lead, mercury, toluene, uranium, methanol, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde and xylene are among the 750+ “ingredients” used in the chemical mix often pumped into wells some 8,000 feet underground.

Since 2005, over 30 trillion gallons of these toxic chemicals have been injected deep into the Earth because of natural gas drilling. These chemicals have been linked to groundwater pollution, flammable tap water, localized earthquakes, assorted cancers, air pollution, and elevated levels of ground-level ozone. There are thousands of documented cases of respiratory and neurological damage from the consumption of contaminated water by residents living near natural gas wells. Of course, proponents of the technique say these links are overblown at best and probably not even likely. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disagrees as do many scientists and researchers.

As far back as 1987 the EPA released a report to Congress which stated that fracking could pollute groundwater and as recently as 2011 they released another report noting possible groundwater contamination in Pavilion, Wyoming, where fracking had taken place. In addition, a 2012 University of Texas study listed water contamination and adverse health effects as problems associated with shale gas development. Who should we trust to look into claims of environmental damages from fracking, industry insiders or environmental agencies? While they certainly aren’t perfect, I’ll go with the agencies.

Lately, several high-profile celebrities and groups are speaking out against fracking. Artists Against Fracking, started by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, is trying to stop the fracking of the Marcellus Shale in upstate New York by meeting with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in order to convince him to ban it. Currently the group has more than 180 artists and well-known celebrities as members – including Lady Gaga and Paul McCartney – fighting to keep fracking out of the state. Actor Mark Ruffalo has been a staunch opponent of fracking for many years, and Matt Damon’s next film, ‘Promised Land’, brings an anti-fracking message to theatres later this year. Sometimes celebrities get laughed off for their real-world concerns, but if it helps get the message out, who are we to complain?

Is it worth potentially destroying billions of gallons of clean water, worldwide drinking supplies, and the very soil we use to grow the food necessary for our survival all in the name of cheap natural gas? Wouldn’t our efforts be better served by serious investments in solar, wind, hydro, and other renewable energy technologies? According to estimates from the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. has enough natural gas reserves to supply the country for the next 110 years. But what kind of planet would we be left with after 110 years of fracking?

SOURCE:
http://www.virgin.com/people-and-planet/blog/whats-all-the-fuss-about-fracking