The End Of All Crossroads

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

Entire Ukraine government resigns

“Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the entire government resigned today in a surprise move after controversial elections as the economy teeters on the brink of recession.”

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3:46PM GMT 03 Dec 2012

The presidency said President Viktor Yanukovych had accepted Mr Azarov’s request to give up his post and become an MP, a move expected to be repeated by several cabinet ministers.

It remained unclear who would fill the powerful post of premier, with some analysts speculating it could go to a member of the elite close to Mr Yanukovych known as the “Family”.

“President Viktor Yanukovych accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, satisfying the demand of the latter,” the statement added.

The move cames as a new parliament prepares to meet after October 28 legislative elections which raised new concerns about democratic standards under Mr Yanukovych.

The ruling Regions Party appears to have retained control of the Verkhovna Rada with the help of independents despite a strong challenge from the opposition parties of boxer Vitali Klitschko and imprisoned ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko.

OSCE observers slammed the polls as a setback for Ukraine, marred by the absence of Ms Tymoshenko who is serving a seven-year sentence on abuse of power charges she says were trumped up by Mr Yanukovych.

But economists also fear the country is entering troubled times and could be on the brink of a new recession that would see it seek billions of dollars in disbursements from an IMF standby package.

Ukraine’s economy contracted by 1.2 percent in the third quarter of this year, and several banks fear the country is heading for zero growth in 2012, not to mention a sharp devaluation of the local currency.

“This (the resignation) is linked to a number of economic challenges which Ukraine has fallen into thanks to this president and this government,” said opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

A Russian-speaking bureaucrat mocked by many in Ukraine for his dry and humourless image, Mr Azarov took office in 2010 shortly after Mr Yanukovych defeated Ms Tymoshenko in a fiercely-contested presidential election.

Mr Azarov has always been seen as a close ally of Mr Yanukovych, but some analysts believe his power base has been undermined by the recent rise of a “Family” of close acquaintances of the president into top positions.

Possible successors to Mr Azarov could include First Deputy Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky and National Bank chief Sergiy Arbuzov, analysts said.

mr Arbuzov, 36, is seen as a key member of the “Family” of Yanukovych allies.

His meteoric rise to one of the most important economic jobs in the country has raised eyebrows in Ukraine. He is a confidant of Mr Yanukovych’s increasingly powerful son Olexander, who is regarded as the Family kingpin.

“It is possible that this radical resignation makes sense; it is better to dissolve the government and appoint another one,” said Kostyantyn Bondarenko, head of the Ukrainian Politics Institute.

He said that resignation made sense for Mr Azarov, who was approaching the pension age of 65 and would have had to work on replacing a string of ministers had he stayed in power.

Mr Yanukovych has been criticised for concentrating ever more power around himself and allies since defeating the leaders of the pro-Western Orange Revolution in the 2010 polls.

Other candidates for prime minister could include national security chief Andriy Kluyev and deputy presidential chief of staff Iryna Akimova.

Ukrainian parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said that a decision on the composition of the new government could be taken on December 13 or 14 after the new parliament convenes.

The ministers will remain in their posts until a new government is formed, the presidency said.

It also noted that under Ukrainian law, whenever the prime minister resigns the entire government must do so.

The presidency explained the mass resignation by saying that Mr Azarov had decided to take up a parliamentary seat rather than staying on as prime minister.

Under Ukrainian law, deputies have to cease their former work in order to take up their seats in parliament.

Along with Mr Azarov, a number of other ministers were elected to parliament including Deputy Prime Minister Sergiy Tigipko and Economy Minister Petro Poroshenko.

SOURCE:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/9719263/Entire-Ukraine-government-resigns.html

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December brings record-high temperatures after November brings record highs without rainfall

Published on December 3, 2012 at 1:41 am
Last update on December 3, 2012 at 11:05 am
By Allie Kolechta

High temperatures in the Austin area have already broken records during December, after November also brought record high temperatures and, for the first time in decades, no rain in Austin for the entire month.

Austin saw no measurable rainfall in November, according to reports compiled on the Austin-Bergstrom Airport Area by the National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters. According to the report, this is the first year Austin has had only trace amounts of rainfall in the month of November since 1970, more than four decades ago.

Record highs were set on Nov. 1 at 88 degrees and Nov. 3 at 87 degrees. High temperatures reached into the 80s on 15 days in November, and lows never reached freezing. The most days it has reached 80 degrees in the area in November was in 1931, with 17 days in the 80s.

Temperatures Saturday hit 83 degrees, breaking the daily record of 82 degrees set in 1954. The high reached 80 degrees Sunday, and is forecast to hit 83 degrees Monday. Previous December highs were 84 degrees Dec 2. 2007 and 86 degrees Dec. 3 1995.

As of the end of November, the Austin area and 81 percent of the state was in a drought classified as moderate or worse, the second of five classifications for drought severity, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 54 percent of the state was in a drought classified as severe or worse, 25 percent was classified as extreme or worse and 8 percent was classified as exceptional.

Printed on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 as: Record-high climate continues in winter

SOURCE:
http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2012/12/03/december-brings-record-high-temperatures-after-november-brings-record-highs-without

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.

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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/

Russia will back Egyptian efforts to end Israeli aggression: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will back Egyptian efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression in the besieged Gaza Strip.

 


In a telephone conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Friday, Putin said Russia planned to support Cairo’s efforts directed at normalizing the situation in the Palestinian territory, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The remarks come after Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited the Gaza Strip on Friday, where he urged the world leaders to stop Tel Aviv’s attacks.

Qandil promised to intensify Egypt’s efforts to “stop this aggression and achieve a lasting truce.”

On Thursday, President Morsi also condemned the Israeli aggression as “unacceptable” and warned it could lead to instability in the region.

Some 25 people have been killed and more than 250 others injured in the new wave of attacks since November 14.

The Israeli regime frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.

MAM/HMV

 

SOURCE:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/16/272661/russia-to-back-egypt-against-israel-putin/

Bus driver cannibal gnaws woman’s face

“It was then that Dong started biting Du’s face, leaving her covered in blood and weeping as passers-by tried to pull the attacker off his victim.”

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Daily Mail July 03, 2012 9:44AM

THE recent terrifying spate of ‘cannibal attacks’ seems to have spread to China, as a drunk bus driver was caught on camera gnawing at a woman’s face in a horrific random attack.

The unfortunate woman will apparently require plastic surgery to repair the damage done by her crazed attacker.

According to local news reports, the driver, named Dong, had been drinking heavily during lunch with his friends before the outburst on Tuesday.

He then ran on to the road in the city of Wenzhou, in south-east China, and stood in front of the car being driven by a woman named Du, stopping her from moving.

Dong climbed on the car’s hood and started beating the vehicle while the panicked woman screamed for help.

When she left the car and tried to escape, the bus driver leaped on top of her and wrestled her to the ground.

It was then that Dong started biting Du’s face, leaving her covered in blood and weeping as passers-by tried to pull the attacker off his victim.

Witnesses said that the bus driver had gone ‘crazy’ and was successfully resisting attempts to subdue him.

When police arrived, they managed to take Dong into custody, bringing the appalling rampage to an end.

Du was taken to hospital, where doctors said she would need surgery to repair her nose and lips.

The incident comes in the wake of a number of similar attacks committed by drugged-up psychopaths in the U.S.

Perhaps the best-known of these came in May, when Rudy Eugene chewed a homeless man’s face off before being shot dead by police.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/bus-driver-cannibal-gnaws-womans-face/story-e6freuy9-1226415360372

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?

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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