March 2011 | Page 2 of 4 | | Page 2







24
Mar 11

Sales Of Luxe Doomsday Bunkers Up 1,000%

(Blake Ellis)  A devastating earthquake strikes Japan. A massive tsunami kills thousands. Fears of a nuclear meltdown run rampant. Bloodshed and violence escalate in Libya.

And U.S. companies selling doomsday bunkers are seeing sales skyrocket anywhere from 20% to 1,000%.

Northwest Shelter Systems, which offers shelters ranging in price from $200,000 to $20 million, has seen sales surge 70% since the uprisings in the Middle East, with the Japanese earthquake only spurring further interest. In hard numbers, that’s 12 shelters already booked when the company normally sells four shelters per year.

“Sales have gone through the roof, to the point where we are having trouble keeping up,” said Northwest Shelter Systems owner Kevin Thompson.

UndergroundBombShelter.com, which sells portable shelters, bomb shelters and underground bunkers, has seen inquiries soar 400% since the Japanese earthquake. So far sales of its $9,500 nuclear biological chemical shelter tents are at an all-time high — with four sold in California last week, compared to about one a month normally.

Hardened Structures said inquiries have shot up about 20% since the earthquake — particularly for its apocalyptic 2012 shelters, radiation-protection tents, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) air filters.

Vivos, a company that sells rooms in 200-person doomsday bunkers, has received thousands of applications since the massive earthquake in Japan, with reservations spiking nearly 1,000% last week. And people are backing their fear with cash: A reservation requires a minimum deposit of $5,000.

“People are afraid of the earth-changing events and ripple effects of the earthquake, which led to tsunamis, the nuclear meltdown, and which will lead to radiation and health concerns,” said Vivos CEO Robert Vicino. “Where it ends, I don’t know. Does it lead to economic collapse? A true economic collapse would lead to anarchy, which could lead to 90% of the population being killed off.”

The last time people flocked to purchase bunkers in such droves was right before the Y2K scare, according to Stephen O’Leary, an associate professor at University of Southern California and an expert on apocalyptic thinking.

“Tens of millions of people believe in a literal apocalypse, which involves earthquakes, storms, disasters of global proportions and especially disasters related to the Middle East,” O’Leary said.

Source-http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/22/real_estate/doomsday_bunkers/index.htm?hpt=C2

 


24
Mar 11

Unreported Soros Event Aims To Remake Entire Global Economy

Two years ago, George Soros said he wanted to reorganize the entire global economic system. In two short weeks, he is going to start – and no one seems to have noticed.

 

(Dan Gainor)  On April 8, a group he’s funded with $50 million is holding a major economic conference and Soros’s goal for such an event is to “establish new international rules” and “reform the currency system.” It’s all according to a plan laid out in a Nov. 4, 2009, Soros op-ed calling for “a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order.”

 

The event is bringing together “more than 200 academic, business and government policy thought leaders’ to repeat the famed 1944 Bretton Woods gathering that helped create the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Soros wants a new ‘multilateral system,” or an economic system where America isn’t so dominant.

 

More than two-thirds of the slated speakers have direct ties to Soros. The billionaire who thinks “the main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat” is taking no chances.

 

Thus far, this global gathering has generated less publicity than a spelling bee. And that’s with at least four journalists on the speakers list, including a managing editor for the Financial Times and editors for both Reuters and The Times. Given Soros’s warnings of what might happen without an agreement, this should be a big deal. But it’s not.

 

What is a big deal is that Soros is doing exactly what he wanted to do. His 2009 commentary pushed for “a new Bretton Woods conference, like the one that established the post-WWII international financial architecture.” And he had already set the wheels in motion.

 

Just a week before that op-ed was published, Soros had founded the New York City-based Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), the group hosting the conference set at the Mount Washington Resort, the very same hotel that hosted the first gathering. The most recent INET conference was held at Central European University, in Budapest. CEU received $206 million from Soros in 2005 and has $880 million in its endowment now, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

This, too, is a gathering of Soros supporters. INET is bringing together prominent people like former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and Soros, to produce “a lot of high-quality, breakthrough thinking.”

 

While INET claims more than 200 will attend, only 79 speakers are listed on its site – and it already looks like a Soros convention. Twenty-two are on Soros-funded INET’s board and three more are INET grantees. Nineteen are listed as contributors for another Soros operation - Project Syndicate, which calls itself “the world’s pre-eminent source of original op-ed commentaries” reaching “456 leading newspapers in 150 countries.” It’s financed by Soros’s Open Society Institute. That’s just the beginning.

 

The speakers include:

  • Volcker is chairman of President Obama’s Economic Advisory Board. He wrote the forward for Soros’s best-known book, ‘The Alchemy of Finance’ and praised Soros as “an enormously successful speculator” who wrote “with insight and passion” about the problems of globalization.
  • Economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute and longtime recipient of Soros charity cash. Sachs received $50 million from Soros for the U.N. Millennium Project, which he also directs. Sachs is world-renown for his liberal economics. In 2009, for example, he complained about low U.S. taxes, saying the “U.S. will have to raise taxes in order to pay for new spending initiatives, especially in the areas of sustainable energy, climate change, education, and relief for the poor.”
  • Soros friend Joseph E. Stiglitz, a former senior vice president and chief economist for the World Bank and Nobel Prize winner in Economics. Stiglitz shares similar views to Soros and has criticized free-market economists whom he calls “free market fundamentalists.” Naturally, he’s on the INET board and is a contributor to Project Syndicate.
  • INET Executive Director Rob Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who is on the Board of Directors for the Soros-funded Economic Policy Institute. Johnson has complained that government intervention in the fiscal crisis hasn’t been enough and wanted “restructuring,” including asking “for letters of resignation from the top executives of all the major banks.”

 

Have no doubt about it: This is a Soros event from top to bottom. Even Soros admits his ties to INET are a problem, saying, “there is a conflict there which I fully recognize.” He claims he stays out of operations. That’s impossible. The whole event is his operation.

 

INET isn’t subtle about its aims for the conference. Johnson interviewedfellow INET board member Robert Skidelsky about “The Need for a New Bretton Woods” in a recent video. The introductory slide to the video is subtitled: “How currency issues and tension between the US and China are renewing calls for a global financial overhaul.” Skidelsky called for a new agreement and said in the video that the conflict between the United States and China was “at the center of any monetary deal that may be struck, that needs to be struck.”

 

Soros described in the 2009 op-ed that U.S.-China conflict as “another stark choice between two fundamentally different forms of organization: international capitalism and state capitalism.” He concluded that “a new multilateral system based on sounder principles must be invented.” As he explained it in 2010, “we need a global sheriff.”

 

In the 2000 version of his book “Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism,” Soros wrote how the Bretton Woods institutions “failed spectacularly” during the economic crisis of the late 1990s. When he called for a new Bretton Woods in 2009, he wanted it to “reconstitute the International Monetary Fund,” and while he’s at it, restructure the United Nations, too, boosting China and other countries at our expense.

 

“Reorganizing the world order will need to extend beyond the financial system and involve the United Nations, especially membership of the Security Council,’ he wrote. ‘That process needs to be initiated by the US, but China and other developing countries ought to participate as equals.”

 

Soros emphasized that point, that this needs to be a global solution, making America one among many. “The rising powers must be present at the creation of this new system in order to ensure that they will be active supporters.”

 

And that’s exactly the kind of event INET is delivering, with the event website emphasizing “today’s reconstruction must engage the larger European Union, as well as the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia.” China figures prominently, including a senior economist for the World Bank in Beijing, the director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the chief adviser for the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations.

 

This is all easy to do when you have the reach of George Soros who funds more than 1,200 organizations. Except, any one of those 1,200 would shout such an event from the highest mountain. Groups like MoveOn.org or the Center for American Progress didn’t make their names being quiet. The same holds true globally, where Soros has given more than $7 billion to Open Society Foundations – including many media-savvy organizations just a phone call away. Why hasn’t the Soros network spread the word?

 

Especially since Soros warns, all this needs to happen because “the alternative is frightening.” The Bush-hating billionaire says America is scary “because a declining superpower losing both political and economic dominance but still preserving military supremacy is a dangerous mix.”

 

The Soros empire is silent about this new Bretton Woods conference because it isn’t just designed to change global economic rules. It also is designed to put America in its place – part of a multilateral world the way Soros wants it. He wrote that the U.S. “could lead a cooperative effort to involve both the developed and the developing world, thereby reestablishing American leadership in an acceptable form.”

 

That’s what this conference is all about – changing the global economy and the United States to make them “acceptable” to George Soros.

 

- Iris Somberg contributed to this commentary

Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.

Source-

http://www.mrc.org/bmi/commentary/2011/Unreported_Soros_Event_Aims_to_Remake_Entire_Global_Economy.html


23
Mar 11

The 8 Best Protesters Ever, In Pictures

(CRACKED.COM)  Protesters are, by their very nature, badass. Whether or not you agree with whatever it is they’re standing for, you have to agree that it takes balls to go up against an entire system of government — one comprised of thousands of highly trained, expertly equipped police and soldiers — using whatever you find in the street on the walk down to the battlefield. There are two current protests that might be changing the world for the better: One in Wisconsin, trying to preserve what very few bargaining rights public workers still have, and another in Libya, that has since turned into a full scale revolution. It’s the least we can do to support them, by spreading the word and increasing awareness. Oh no, wait, the least we can do is to look at a bunch of pictures of badass protesters and make jokes about them. Let’s do that instead:

 

 

 

 

 

#8.
Shield Maiden

 

 

 

 

This picture was taken at the Amona outpost, West Bank, when armed-to-the-teeth riot police raided the unarmed shanty-town to evict the settlers. There are about twenty cops on the other side of that shield, all of them rushing downhill at full-tilt toward one elderly Jewish woman who looks like she just dropped a casserole dish mid-wash when she realized she was late to the mid-afternoon riot.

 

Twenty riot police on full charge, against one old Jewish woman, and

She.

Is.

Holding.

She looks like she’d be denied a part in a LifeAlert commercial on the grounds of frailty, and here she is Gandalfing the holy shit out of two dozen riot cops.

Two things had to have happened after this photo: One, every single one of those cops turned around, went home, called their mothers and apologized for every cross word they’d ever said. And two: One very old Jewish lady picked herself up, dusted off her apron, walked calmly back to her home, closed the door, took a deep breath, hurled the stove through the wall to vent the excess energy, and then quietly finished scrubbing up.

 

 

 

 

 

#7.
Gas Mask Guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, this isn’t a screenshot of Fallout 4: New Athens; this was taken during the protests in Greece after their economy collapsed back in spring of 2010. When their government agreed to severe austerity measures that cut wages and benefits to public servants, and raised taxes on the rest of the citizens, but left the higher-ups largely untouched, the protests quickly turned into full-blown riots. Everything about this particular protester — from the fact that he so accepted being tear-gassed that he brought his own mask, to his battle-corduroys, to his plain red flag apparently proclaiming his loyalty to berserker blood rage — testifies that he has simply run out of fucks to give. And he didn’t have all that many to begin with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6.
Bee Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s one thing to go to a protest, with the screaming, and the tension, and the ever present threat of violence — it’s another thing to do all that while absolutely covered in bees. This is Ahn Sang-gyu, a South Korean bee farmer in a 2006 protest about a territorial dispute between Japan and Korea. He says he chose to cover himself with “187,000 bees to represent the 187,000 square meter dimensions of the islets” in contention, but that sounds like pretty shaky reasoning. It’s far more likely a matter of familiarity bias: When you have absolute dominion over the insect kingdom, you tend to think every problem is just a matter of finding the right volume of bees to throw at it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5.
The Kickbomber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though it looks like he’s caught in the middle of a 12 hit combo — just after landing the fireball but right before the flying dragon kick — this is actually a man in the midst of firebombing an empty policetruck during the anti-Mubarak riots in Egypt. Sure, plenty of destruction happens in a riot, and sure, the riot truck was empty to start with, but he’s still dead-sprinting at an armored tank in what appear to be loafers; the fact that he can even get airborne with balls that dense is clear evidence of the Egyptian Basketball Team’s terrifying efficiency.

 

Mubarak ran the gamut of cartoonish evil, from raising prices on food while cutting worker’s wages, to running a state of fear and police brutality, but the final nail in his regime’s coffin was shutting off the internet. In the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the internet, so I kick-bombed the shit out of a riot truck.”

#4.
Flaming Scarf Guy

Image found by the awesome Strigoi

 

 

 

Another protester in the anti-Mubarak riots, Flaming Scarf Guy looks like he walked straight out of an anime (that he just firebombed). The context is unclear even in the original Al Jazeera photo, so we can’t say if he caused that explosion, or if he just sort of appears out of the ether whenever there is an explosion. We’re going to assume a terrifying combination of the two, like a napalm-based variant of the Bloody Mary legend.

 

Plenty of people see this picture and make jokes about that old action hero cliche: Cool guys don’t look at explosions, they just turn and walk away. But that’s not what’s happening here, exactly. There’s no indication that he’s walking away from anything; he’s entirely content where he is. He felt the hot breath of that multi-story fireball on his neck, and decided that a good precautionary measure for that kind of danger was to put a scarf on. If he casually strolls away from anything, it will be no less than the heat death of the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.
Surf Tha Police

 

 

 

 

You can fight the riot cops. You can scream at them, spit in their faces, accuse them of supporting fascism, and question their morals, their motives, and the integrity of their mother’s vagina. Or you can give a giggling, psychotic finger to logic and reason, and opt instead to just pull a Dukes of Hazzard on those bastards. Hey, it makes sense: Those shields are like makeshift ramps, he probably got some sweet air.

 

This is yet a third Egyptian protester, and this image completes the most epic trilogy since Lord of the Rings. Yes, pictures are all a matter of timing, and yes, there was probably an unfortunate aftermath immediately after this, and no, it probably didn’t do much to stop the police in the grand scheme of things. But for just this one single moment in time, this is a man dive-tackling an entire fucking precinct worth of riot cops and he is unquestionably succeeding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.
Dairy Rioter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dairy farmer was protesting the EU headquarters in Brussels over rapidly falling milk prices. And that’s…probably the least exciting protest that’s ever been staged, wrestling away the #1 spot from long-standing champ: The “mail peanuts to executives to keep Jericho on the air” campaign. But this man did not earn his spot on a list populated with iconic badasses hurling grenades and roaring obscenities in the face of authority because of what he’s doing here. He’s on this list for what he did right before this, which was to take a look at all his friends as they geared up for the protest — strapping on their gas masks, pocketing their eye wash, testing their tasers, and hefting their clubs – before solemnly reaching down and grabbing the one and only weapon he needed. Then he went to a riot armed with a tit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1.
Water Cannon Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You knew he was coming.

 

You knew because he’s an internet staple by now. You knew because everything about him — from his Superman-stance, to his contemptuous sneer, to his kickin’ Cable-knit sweater ensemble — is the very embodiment of defiance. But mostly you knew he was coming because you can’t even show pictures of injustice without Water Cannon Man mysteriously popping out of the ground to stare them down until they burst into flame. This image was taken in South Korea during the APEC protests in 2005, when thousands of union workers tried to storm a meeting of the Pacific Rim leaders to protest a bill that opened their rice markets to foreign powers. And before you go writing this man off as an isolated event — some sort of temporary avatar of badass on Earth, acting alone and against all odds like the Korean John McClane — you should probably watch the rest of the video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t have enough patience for the build-up, just skip ahead to the payoff at 2:06, when the farmers all band together, hurl their grapples into the gargantuan steel shipping containers that the police are hiding behind, and then pull them to the ground with their bare hands before throwing them into the god damn sea. You can even see what looks like a dry Water Cannon Man standing off to the side at 1:53. Which means that he either hadn’t made his iconic stand yet, or far more likely, that his clothes were simply dried by the residual heat emanating outward from him when he Optic Blasted injustice in the dick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy Robert’s book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook or you can join him and FIGHT THE POWERS THAT BE! He’ll uh…he’ll be in the back. Right behind you. Totally. All the way.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-8-most-ridiculously-badass-protesters-ever-photographed_p2#ixzz1HTyg4W7S

 

 


23
Mar 11

US City Urges Tax On Toilet Paper

(OMAHA.COM)  Mayor Jim Suttle went to Washington Tuesday flush with ideas for how federal officials could help cities like Omaha pay for multibillion-dollar sewer projects.

Among the items on his brainstorming list: a proposal for a 10-cent federal tax on every roll of toilet paper you buy.

Based on the four-pack price for Charmin double rolls Tuesday at a midtown Hy-Vee, such a tax would add more than 10 percent to the per-roll price, pushing it over a buck.

The idea came from a failed 2009 House measure by an Oregon congressman to help cities and the environment.

“I heard about it and said, ‘Well, this is simple. Let’s put it on the table,’” said Suttle. “It doesn’t mean I endorse it.”

The mayor says Omaha needs help with the metro area’s $1.7 billion bill for federally mandated sewer improvements. The work must be done by 2024.

Suttle talked about the mandate at a Tuesday meeting held by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He didn’t mention the toilet paper tax but said later that he’s open to that and other ways to cover the sewer bill.

“How are we affording this … as we come out of the recession?” he asked.

Suttle plans to ask Nebraska’s congressional delegation to ease the blow to Omaha and other cities. He’d like the federal government to cover half of the cities’ costs, possibly with grants.

Whether the toilet paper tax has legs remains to be seen, but Omaha’s large industries that balked under significant sewer rate increases are listening.

Julia Plucker, a lobbyist for Kellogg’s and Skinner Baking, says food industries carry an unfair portion of the increases.

A toilet paper tax? Sure.

“I did chuckle when I first heard about it,” Plucker said. “But this is a serious problem. We would love to take a look at any more equitable solution.”

Source-http://www.omaha.com/article/20110323/NEWS01/703239866

 


23
Mar 11

Rich vs Poor: 28 Statistics About This “Economic Recovery”

(ECONOMIC COLLAPSE)  Today there are two very different Americas.  In one America, the stock market is soaring, huge bonuses are taken for granted, the good times are rolling and people are spending money as if they will be able to “live the dream” for the rest of their lives.  In the other America, the one where most of the rest of us live, unemployment is rampant, a million families were kicked out of their homes last year and hordes of American families are drowning in debt.  The gap between the rich and the poor is bigger today than it ever has been before.  In fact, this article is not so much about “rich vs poor” as it is about “the rich vs the rest of us”.  Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke keep touting an “economic recovery”, but the truth is that the only ones that seem to be benefiting from this recovery are those at the very top of the economic food chain.

Below you will find 14 funny statistics about this economic recovery and 14 not so funny statistics about this economic recovery.  Actually, if you find yourself deeply struggling in this economy you will probably not find any of the statistics funny.  In fact, you will probably find most of them infuriating.  After all, there are very few people that actually enjoy hearing about how well the rich are doing when they are barely able to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

In any event, the 28 statistics below show the stark contrast between the “two Americas” that share this nation today.  Many liberals will likely try to use these statistics as an example of why we should tax the rich.  But handing more money to the government is not going to magically create more jobs for the poor.  What the American people desperately need are good jobs, and many liberals don’t seem to understand that.  Many conservatives will likely try to use these statistics as evidence that “capitalism” is working.  But the truth is that what we have in the United States today is not capitalism.  Rather, it is more aptly described as “corporatism”, because money and power is increasingly becoming concentrated in the hands of gigantic corporations that individuals and small businesses simply cannot compete with.  The truth is that when wealth is concentrated at the very top it does not “trickle down” to the rest of us.  In the old days the wealthy at least were forced to hire the rest of us to run their factories and their businesses, but with the advent of globalism that isn’t even true anymore.  Now they can just move their factories and businesses overseas to places where they can legally pay slave labor wages to their employees.

Very large concentrations of money and power are almost always bad for the prosperity of average citizens.  Our founding fathers never intended for our central government to have so much power and they never intended for giant corporations to have so much power.  But we have abandoned the principles of our founding fathers.

When large concentrations of power (whether governmental or corporate) are allowed to flourish, it almost becomes inevitable that the gap between the rich and the poor will grow.  We are seeing this happen all over the world today.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that any of this is going to change any time soon.  In the United States, both the federal government and multinational corporations are constantly attempting to grab even more power.  It has gotten to the point where individual Americans really don’t have much power left at all.

In any event, hopefully you will find the following statistics informative or at least entertaining.  The wealthy are most definitely enjoying an “economic recovery” while most of the rest of us are still really struggling….

Funny – Who said that the titans of Wall Street couldn’t look hot?  According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, facelifts for men jumped 14 percent last year.

Not Funny – According to the U.S. Labor Department, unemployment actually increased in 351 of the 372 largest U.S. cities during the month of January.

Funny – The average bonus for a worker on Wall Street in 2010 was only$128,530.  It appears that more Wall Street bailouts may be needed.

Not Funny – During this most recent economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

Funny – According to DataQuick Information Systems, the sale of million dollars homes rose an average of 18.6 percent in the top 20 major metro areas in the U.S. in 2010.  But is spending a million dollars on one house really worth it?  After all, over the past several years there have been times when you could buy a house in some bad areas of Detroit for just one dollar.

Not Funny – In 2010, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.

Funny – According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.  Most of the rest of us don’t have much discretionary income to spend these days, but at least we have Justin Bieber, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars to keep us entertained.

Not FunnyAccording to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate in mid-March was 10.2%, which was virtually unchanged from the 10.3% figure that it was sitting at exactly one year ago.

FunnyAccording to the Wall Street Journal, sales of private jumbo jets to the ultra-wealthy are absolutely soaring….

Sales of private jumbo jets are so strong that Airbus and Boeing now have special sales forces devoted to potentates and the hyper-rich.

Not Funny – There are now over 6.4 million Americans that have given up looking for work completely.  That number has increased by about 30 percent since the economic downturn began.

Funny – Porsche recently reported that sales increased by 29 percent during 2010.  Even Porsche jokes are coming back into style….

Question: Why did the blonde try and steal a police car?

Answer: She saw “911” on the back and thought it was a Porsche.

Not Funny – Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.

Funny – Cadillac recently reported that sales increased by 36 percent during 2010.

Not Funny – According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average U.S. household will spend approximately $700 more on gasoline in 2011 than it did during 2010.

Funny – Rolls-Royce recently reported that sales increased by 171 percentduring 2010.

Not Funny – According to a new study by America’s Research Group,approximately 75 percent of all Americans are doing less shopping because of rising gasoline prices.

FunnyAccording to the New York Post, Barack Obama enjoyed a total of 10 separate vacations that stretched over a total of 90 vacation days during the years of 2009 and 2010.  Apparently Barack Obama was not talking about himself when he told the American people the following….

“If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.”

Not Funny – When 2007 began, 26 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, an all-time record 44 million Americans are on food stamps.

Funny – Ralph Lauren reported a 24 percent increase in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010.  It is good to know that preppies are thriving in this economy.

Not Funny – The Ivex Packaging Paper plant in Joliet, Illinois is shutting down for good after 97 years in business.  79 good jobs will be lost.  Meanwhile, China has become the number one producer of paper products in the entire world.

Funny – Luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. recently announced that their profits increased by 29 percent in the 4th quarter of 2010.  All of the men that did not buy their women jewelry during the holidays are trying to keep this particular news item from getting passed around.

Not Funny – Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.

Funny – In 2009, only 18,288 vehicles with a price tag of $100,000 or more were sold in the United States.  In 2010, 32,144 such vehicles were sold.  It appears that “showing off for chicks” is now very much back in style.

Not Funny – The U.S. economy now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

Funny – Porsche has announced that they will soon be taking orders for their first hybrid sports car, the 918 Spyder.  The price tag on one of these puppies will only be $845,000.

Not Funny – The average CEO now makes approximately 185 times more money than the average American worker.

Funny – Barack Obama recently played only his 61st round of golf since moving into the White House.  Many are now concerned that Obama is simply not getting enough free time.

Not Funny – According to one recent study, 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line during 2010.

Source-http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/rich-vs-poor-14-funny-statistics-and-14-not-so-funny-statistics-about-this-economic-recovery

 


23
Mar 11

US Navy Map Of The Future

(ALT NEWS FORUM)  US Navy Map representing the future geophysical landscape,consequences from the cosmic and geophysical events during 2011-2012.

GORDON MICHAEL SCALLION

FOUR MAPS – ALL VERY SIMILAR

SOURCES:

US Navy’s Earth Changes USA Flood Map, New Madrid Earthquake ZoneNLE 2011: What Does the Navy Know?

 


23
Mar 11

Gold Near Record, Silver Tops $37 On Safe-Haven Bid

(Reuters) – Gold rose to within a whisker of its all-time high on Wednesday, as record low U.S. new home sales stirred talk of extended central banks’ accommodative policies, and a possible collapse of Portugal’s government rekindled euro zone debt worries.

Bullion rose 0.7 percent to $1,439.76 per ounce, just short of its record $1,444.40 set on March 7, rebounding over 4 percent in the last eight sessions amid safe-haven buying and ongoing Western air strikes onLibya.

“Gold rose on a culmination of further concerns about the European debt issue, coupled with the situation in Libya and very strong crude prices,” said Brian Hicks, portfolio manager of U.S. Global Investors’ Global Resources Fund (PSPFX.O) with about $1 billion assets under management.

Rising U.S. crude futures also stoke inflation worries on heightened political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Yemen’s president offered to step down by year end to appease mounting demands for his resignation.

Spot gold rose 0.7 percent to $1,439.60 an ounce by 3:29 p.m. EDT (7:29 p.m. GMT).

Gold accelerated gains to hit a session high of $1,440.90, its highest since March 7, after data showed the U.S. housing market slide was deepening as new home prices fell to their weakest since 2003.

U.S. April futures settled up 0.7 percent at $1,438 an ounce. While commodity markets were mostly quiet on Wednesday, COMEX gold was one of the most actively trading markets with volume approaching 140,000 contracts.

Portfolio managers, including Hicks, said that disappointing new home sales data could lead to an extension of the Fed’s $600 billion bond buying program — dubbed QE2 because it is the second round of quantitative easing — before it is scheduled to end in June.

“The new home sales data inspired some to think that we may not see the demise of QE2, and we are going to see money printing continue past its potential expiration at the end of June,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist of broker-dealer Janney Montgomery Scott with $53 billion assets under management.

“That would likely mean more stimuli and more prospect for inflation, and that’s gold friendly,” Luschini said.

Spot silver soared to a 31-year peak of $37.34 an ounce, surpassing its previous high set two weeks ago. It later gained 2.6 percent to $37.30 an ounce.

Year to date, silver has gained over 20 percent, and gold was up just over 1 percent. Silver was boosted by near-term supply tightness and strong industrial demand on expectations the global economy continued to recover.

FED POLICY IN FOCUS

A senior official at the U.S. Federal Reserve said the Fed must be “extremely wary” not to let price pressures take hold in the U.S. as they seem to be doing in parts of Europe.

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher’s comments highlight divisions at the U.S. central bank as its bond-buying plan is about to expire.

Source-http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/23/us-markets-precious-idUSTRE72C3Z120110323


21
Mar 11

11 Country’s At Risk Of Becoming The Next Libya

(Gregory White)  The revolutions in North Africa have expanded from a tiny uprising in Tunisia, to a full blown Middle East revolt that has toppled governments and brought the west’s biggest powers to war. 

Now, with Tunisia finished, Egypt primed for elections, and Libya at war, who’s next?

We guide you through those candidates still in the midst of change, who have yet to see their regimes toppled. Some are countering with extreme force. Others are trying to appease their upset populations. But all remain under stress as protesters take to the streets.

 

Syria: President’s regime now under threat

Syria: President's regime now under threat

Investments to watch: None 

Style of government: Single party authoritarian, President Bashar al-Assad

Conclusion: Though the economic situation is not as dire in Syria as in other countries, protesters have still stormed government buildings, burning some, and now threaten the stability of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The president believes his partnership with Iran and support for the Palestinian cause will keep him safe, but recent evidence would suggest that’s no longer the case.

Bahrain: Saudi Arabia helps to crush uprising

Bahrain: Saudi Arabia helps to crush uprising

Investments to watch: WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund (GULF), Market Vectors Gulf States ETF (MES) 

Style of government: Constitutional monarchy

Conclusion: Bahrain’s majority Shia protest movement has been violently crushed by a combination of domestic authorities and aid from fellow GCC members, most notably Saudi Arabia. The assault has been brutal, but effective.

If Bahrain’s protest movement does not receive external support from either the U.S. or Iran, it will likely fail. Each of those parties has something at stake in the conflict, however. The U.S . Navy has a key base in the country, from which it operates. And Iran is naturally allied with its fellow Shias.

The likely result, however, is a continuation of Saudi Arabia-Bahrain’s brutal suppression tactics until calm is achieved.

Yemen: Government brutally su pressing protesters

Yemen: Government brutally su pressing protesters

Investments to watch: None 

Style of government: Presidential democracy, elections not entirely free

Conclusion: Yemen’s protest movement has been brutally attacked by government forces. On Friday, more than 20 people were killed in a government crackdown, with snipers firing on protesters. Just two days later, Yemen’s president fired his government.

Yemen’s future is tied to that of the region’s main power, Saudi Arabia. If Saudi continues to run with a policy of fierce government crackdowns, Yemen’s protest movement will continue to experience bloody days like Friday, and limited political change.

Saudi Arabia: The lynchpin holding the Gulf together

Saudi Arabia: The lynchpin holding the Gulf together

Investments to watch: WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund (GULF), Market Vectors Gulf States ETF (MES) 

Style of government: Absolute Monarchy

Conclusion: Saudi Arabia is the regional key to preventing the Gulf from turning into North Africa. The government’s willingness to use force against its own people, and against the populations of other GCC countries, has been evidenced.

For Saudi, this is as much about maintaining regional hegemony as it is about quieting a domestic disturbance. Their main rival is Iran, and Saudi Arabia’s leadership will do everything it can to prevent Iran from influencing minority Shia populations throughout the Gulf.

Iran: Could Tehran try to move in on Bahrain?

Iran: Could Tehran try to move in on Bahrain?

Image: ap

Investments to watch: None 

Style of government: Islamic Republic, with democratically elected representatives. Less than certain how “democratic” elections truly are. Ruled by Supreme Leader, who is a both religious and political leader.

Conclusion: Iran has been dealing with protests domestically in the wake of the broader movement in the Middle East, but has thus far been successful in quelling the opposition. Iran had a massive revolution in 2009, which it quelled brutally.

It could soon attempt to interfere in Bahrain, where there is a large Shia population. This could bring it into a broader conflict with Saudi Arabia, and is likely the “worst case scenario” on the mind of most geo-strategists.

Morocco: Reforms already lined up

Morocco: Reforms already lined up

Investments to watch: SPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa ETF (GAF) 

Style of government: Constitutional Monarchy

Conclusion: Morocco is now experiencing a protest movement calling for political reforms, even thought the country’s King has made clear he is moving forward with such actions. Impatience is very much the order of the day, but protests here will likely speed up progress rather than overthrow the government or derail reform.

Jordan: King Abdullah tries to get ahead of the crisis

Jordan: King Abdullah tries to get ahead of the crisis

Investments to watch: SPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa ETF (GAF) 

Style of government: Constitutional monarchy, incorporating limited democracy

Conclusion: Jordan is continuing to experience protests against the government, even though the country’s leadership has been reshuffled. Hundreds of people protested on Friday, again. The government is working to line up reforms to the country’s constitution, and much like in Morocco, protesters are piling on the pressure for these reforms to be sped up.

Pakistan: Democracy under threat as state remains unstable

Pakistan: Democracy under threat as state remains unstable

Investments to watch: Claymore’s BNY Mellon Frontier Markets ETF (FRN) 

Style of government: Democratic republic

Conclusion: Pakistan has a serious economic crisis, a weakness of state shown in recent flooding, confused positions over the U.S. and Taliban, as well as large anti-government, pro-Muslim fundamentalist forces.

The potential for change is there. The biggest power source remains the military, however, and another coup, similar to the one that brought Musharraf to power, could occur.

Vietnam: A sharp recession could lead to opposition against Communist rule

Vietnam: A sharp recession could lead to opposition against Communist rule

Investments to watch: Market Vectors Vietnam (VNM) 

Style of government: Authoritarian capitalism

Conclusion: In Asia, Vietnam looks a likely candidate for protests, particularly if the economy slows down and unemployment increases. The economic trigger for a downturn would need to be pulled, however, before any change would take place.

Venezuela: Has Hugo Chavez outstayed his welcome?

Venezuela: Has Hugo Chavez outstayed his welcome?

Investments to watch: None 

Style of government: Authoritarian republic

Conclusion: The economic numbers scream change, but there’s no way to know whether or not Chavez has outstayed his welcome. The country hasn’t had the same, long-term oppressive experience as a country like Egypt. And its leadership still appeals to the anti-American sentiment held by the populace.

China: Could a severe economic downturn derail the Chinese regime?

China: Could a severe economic downturn derail the Chinese regime?

Investments to watch: iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI), iShares MSCI Hong Kong Index Fund (EWH) 

Style of government: Authoritarian

Conclusion: There’s no guarantee rural China won’t see an uprising related to soaring prices and high unemployment there, but it’s unlikely to be passed on to the country’s cities. It would take a massive economic downturn, like one created by a liquidity crisis leading to a banking crisis leading to a recession, to trigger an unemployment surge that would threaten the regime.

A small protest movement, referred to the Jasmine Revolution, is developing, and may yet hold more protests.

Think all that matters is the surge in food prices?

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/middle-east-uprising-guide-2011-3?op=1#ixzz1HHhnQ5Fc

 


21
Mar 11

Let’s Send Ann Coulter To Fukushima

(Kurt Nimmo)  Last week faux conservative and shameless self-promoter Ann Coulter went on the Bill O’Reilly Show and said “radiation is good for you” in response to questions about the Fukushima nuclear reactors (see video below).

She claimed that a growing body of evidence shows exposure to high levels of harmful radiation actually reduces cancer.

On her website, Coulter wrote an article entitled A glowing report on radiation, in which she wrote: “With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.”

She declared “excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.”

On his nationally syndicated radio show today, Alex Jones offered to foot the bill and send Ms. Coulter to Fukushima where she might deliver a speech on the benefits of radiation.

Let’s encourage Coulter to take Alex up on his offer. She can be reached through Premiere Speakers Bureau.

Send Coulter a message and encourage her not to miss this opportunity to defend her ideas.

    Source-http://www.infowars.com/lets-send-ann-coulter-to-fukushima/


    21
    Mar 11

    Bilderberg To Meet In Switzerland 2011

    (James P. Tucker Jr)  The shadowy group known as Bilderberg will be gathering this year for its annual meeting at the resort city of St. Moritz, in southeastern Switzerland, June 9-12, but they will have a lot of company. St. Moritz is a short distance from Davos, the site of the regular high-priced meeting of thousands of bankers, political leaders and other notables called the World Economic Forum. But unlike at Davos, where the press is always welcome, Bilderberg still tries to maintain absolute secrecy.

    Bilderberg has met in Switzerland four times over the years but never in the same city. Normally, when their sibling in crime, the Trilateral Commission (TC), meets in North America, Bilderberg does, too. This year, the TC will meet in Washington on April 8 to 10, but the Bilderbergers are avoiding the United States, in what may be an effort to fool the press.

    Bilderberg has been called the most exclusive and secretive club in the world. To be admitted, you have to own a multinational bank, a multinational corporation or a country. Since its first meeting in 1953, it has been attended by the top powerbrokers, financial minds and world leaders.

    The Bilderbergers hope that part of their common agenda with the “Trilateralists” will be accomplished by the time they meet: a U.S. invasion of Libya to generate increased Middle East turmoil so America can go to war with Iran, on Israel’s behalf.

    As has happened for several years, the Bilderbergers will blubber about how “ evil nationalists” are blocking their efforts to achieve world government. They will order oil prices to climb so desperate Americans might be made more willing to surrender sovereignty to a world government. They will promote wars for profit, and will advance the call for a world government to impose peace—as if peace can be imposed.

    It is ironic that Bilderberg attendees love Switzerland so much because they are poles apart politically from Switzerland, which declared itself a non-interventionist neutral country four centuries ago. It has been involved in none of the world’s bloody wars since.

    The Bilderbergers can expect to be loudly greeted by AFP, European news outlets and some in the U.S. independent media. In Europe, major metropolitan daily newspapers from Paris, London and other cities give major coverage to Bilderberg. But The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and their numerous chains will submit to muzzling because their top representatives are actual Bilderberg participants themselves.

    Source-http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/bilderberg_in_switzerland_262.html


    21
    Mar 11

    Photos Of U.S. Soldiers Posing With Corpses Leak From Afghan War Crimes Probe

    (HUFFINGTON POST)  A photograph of a U.S. soldier smiling as he posed with the bloodied and partially naked corpse of an   Afghan civilian was among those published digitally Sunday by a German news organization, despite attempts by Army officials to keep them under wraps as part of a war crimes probe.

    The photos published by Der Spiegel were among several seized by Army investigators looking into the deaths of three unarmed Afghans last year. Five soldiers based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle, have been charged with murder and conspiracy in the case.

    Officials involved in the courts-martial had issued a strict protective order, seeking to severely limit access to the photographs due to their sensitive nature. Some defense teams had been granted copies but were not allowed to disseminate them.

    It was not immediately known how Der Spiegel obtained copies.

    One of the published photographs shows a key figure in the investigation, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, grinning as he lifts the head of a corpse by the hair. Der Spiegel identified the body as that of Gul Mudin, whom Morlock was charged with killing on Jan. 15, 2010, in Kandahar Province.

    Another photo shows Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, of Boise, Idaho, holding the head of the same corpse. His lawyer, Daniel Conway, said Sunday that Holmes was ordered “to be in the photo, so he got in the photo. That doesn’t make him a murderer.”

    The photo was taken while the platoon leader, Lt. Roman Ligsay, was present, Conway said. Ligsay has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to testify in the legal proceedings against his troops.

    Conway sought copies of the photographs so that he could present them to a ballistics expert, who he argued might be able to tell whether the victim had been struck by the weapon Holmes was carrying. His request was rejected.

    “I’m very disappointed that in an American judicial proceeding, I have to get potentially exculpatory evidence from a German newspaper,” Conway said.

    A third photo depicts two apparently dead men propped against a small pillar. Der Spiegel said the photo was seized from a member of the platoon, but did not involve the deaths being investigated as war crimes. Soldiers have told investigators that such photos of dead bodies were passed around like trading cards on thumb drives and other digital storage devices.

    “Today Der Spiegel published photographs depicting actions repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States Army,” the Army said in a statement released by Col. Thomas Collins. “We apologize for the distress these photos cause.”

    The killings at issue occurred during patrols in January, February and May 2010. After the first death, one member of the platoon, Spc. Adam Winfield, sent Facebook messages to his parents, telling them his colleagues had slaughtered one civilian, were planning to kill more and warned him to keep quiet about it.

    His father notified a staff sergeant at Lewis-McChord, but no action was taken until May, when a witness in a drug investigation in the unit separately reported the deaths. Winfield is accused of participating in the final killing.

    Morlock has given extensive statements claiming the murder plot was led by Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs of Billings, Mont.; Gibbs maintains the killings were legitimate.

    Morlock told investigators he and Holmes shot Mudin without cause; Holmes says that he fired when Morlock told him to, believing that Morlock had perceived a legitimate threat.

    Morlock’s court martial was scheduled for Wednesday. He has agreed to plead guilty to murder, conspiracy and other charges and to testify against his co-defendants in exchange for a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison.

    One of his lawyers, Geoffrey Nathan, said while Morlock might be “physically responsible” for his crimes, including actions depicted in the photograph, “the people who are morally responsible are the American leaders who have us in the wrong war at the wrong time.”

    In addition to the five soldiers charged in the deaths, seven soldiers in the platoon were charged with lesser crimes, including assaulting the witness in the drug investigation, drug use, firing on unarmed farmers and stabbing a corpse.

    Source-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/21/afghanistan-war-crimes-probe-photos_n_838254.html


    21
    Mar 11

    12 Things You Should Definitely Buy Organic

    (HUFFINGTON POST)  By now, we all know there’s a benefit to buying some stuff organic. But these days you’re faced with the option of getting everything organic — from fruits and veggies to mattresses and clothing. You want to do right by your body, for sure, but going the all-natural route en masse can be pricey.

    So we wondered: What’s really essential for our health? That’s why we came up with this definitive list. Here’s what should be in your cart — and what you don’t have to worry about.

    BEEF

    You’ve probably read plenty of stories about the risks of eating chicken. But the most important protein to buy organic may well be beef. “Research suggests a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans, particularly breast cancer,” says Samuel Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

    Specifically, the concern is that the estrogen-like agents used on cattle could increase your cancer risk, adds Ted Schettler, M.D., science director at the Science and Environmental Health Network.

    Though there are strong regulations about the use of hormones in cattle, “not all beef producers are following those regulations strictly, and some studies continue to find hormone residue in cattle,” Dr. Schettler says.

    When you buy beef that’s been certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you’re not only cutting out those hormones, you’re also avoiding the massive doses of antibiotics cows typically receive, which the USDA says may lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in people.

    Read More @http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/19/why-organic-_n_837794.html#s255280&title=Beef_

     


    21
    Mar 11

    Obama Tarnishes Nobel Peace Prize With “Indiscriminate” Military Action In Libya

    (RT)  Moscow harshly condemns an international military operation against forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, while Washington downplays its role in the hostilities.

    It has taken US President Barack Obama just over one year – and less than that if we consider that he earlier agreed to keep open the Guantanamo Bay detention facility – to damage his Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in Oslo, Norway in October 2009.

    On Saturday, US warships unleashed a massive sea-based missile salvo against targets inside of Libya, where Col. Muammar Gaddafi has been engaged in a desperate showdown against anti-government forces. The battle is largely centered on the city of Benghazi, where oppositional forces have announced an “interim Libyan government.”

    US warships and submarines fired more than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libyan territory to disable air-defense systems, allowing French and British fighter jets to more easily enforce a no-fly zone. The attack on Libya marks the third Muslim country that the United States is now engaged in military operations with.

    So much for “sitting down and talking with enemies,” as Obama promised to do during his political campaign for the US presidency.

    It should be no surprise that Washington is going out of its way to disassociate itself from the Libyan military campaign, or at least the leadership part of it.

    “We did not lead this,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a gaggle of reporters in Paris over the weekend.“We did not engage in unilateral actions in any way, but we strongly support the international community taking action against governments and leaders who behave as Gaddafi is unfortunately doing.”

    Observers say Washington’s reluctance to advertize its hefty contribution in the military operation suggests that the Obama administration, already under attack inside of its own party for “towing the Bush line,” is an attempt to deflect hostility from the Muslim world, not to mention Main Street, U.S.A., which certainly cannot afford to foot the bill for yet another overseas adventure.

    “They [the Obama administration] really want this to be a short, jolly operation,” remarked a senior British defense analyst, who asked not to be identified due to his position. “But all the bets are off on this one. Nobody is quite sure what the allied forces will be able to accomplish [in Libya] over the long haul.”

    Incidentally, Saturday’s attack also marked the eighth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, begun by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.

    Russian officials have slammed the US missile attack, while calling on the international coalition to stop the“indiscriminate use of force” it says has killed civilians.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the air strikes exceed the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution, which approved a no-fly zone and authorized all necessary measures to protect civilians.

    “We are emphatically urging the coalition states to stop indiscriminate use of force,” Lukashevich told reporters, according to Interfax.

    “We are firmly convinced that the mandate deriving from Resolution 1973 of the UN Security Council, which was adopted as a rather controversial step, cannot be used for attaining goals going clearly beyond its provisions, spelling out measures solely intended to protect civilians,” he said.

    As “Operation Odyssey Dawn” kicked off on Saturday, missile strikes delivered on Libya also hit non-military facilities in the capital of Tripoli, as well as in Tarhuna, Maamur and Jmeil, Lukashevich said, before providing a grim picture of the attack’s collateral damage.

    “As a result [of the missile strikes], 48 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded,” Lukashevich revealed. “A medical center has been partially destroyed and roads and bridges have been damaged.”

    Russia announced Sunday that it was evacuating some of its diplomatic staff and other citizens from Tripoli.

    Meanwhile, Liberal-Democratic Party leader and State Duma Vice Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has described the coalition forces’ military operation against the Gaddafi regime as pure “aggression,” while calling for a “new Nuremburg.”

    “Shame on NATO and all the murderers and barbarians,” the Russian firebrand told media on Sunday. “All of these rogues will be brought to account one day. The aggressors will get their due for the numerous crimes committed at an independent international tribunal, in a new Nuremberg trial.”

    The UN Security Council voted on Thursday to impose a no-fly zone against pro-Gaddafi forces, which has been accused itself of using inordinate force against anti-government forces.

    Russia and four other council members – China, Germany, Brazil and India – abstained from the vote.

    According to Gaddafi, Tripoli regards the West’s military operation against Libya “as an unlawful invasion of a sovereign state and sees it as nothing else but an act of terrorism.”

    Speaking on Libyan television, Gaddafi said that the United States and Europe had “proven to the world that you are not civilized, that you are terrorists – animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you.”

    Libya is ranked as one of the top-ten biggest oil producers in the world.

    Source-http://rt.com/politics/libya-russia-military-force/

     


    21
    Mar 11

    Allied Forces Strike Gadhafi Compound; Whereabouts Unknown

    (CNN) The heart of Moammar Gadhafi’s compound in Tripoli lay in shambles Monday as the United States and allies continued their mission to dilute the Libyan leader’s strength. But Gadhafi’s whereabouts — and his plans after promising a “long-drawn war” — remained unknown.

    A coalition military official insisted neither Gadhafi nor his residence were intended targets of the bombing late Sunday. But the official — who was not being identified because of the sensitivity of the information — said the compound was targeted because it contained capabilities to exercise command and control over Libyan forces.

    U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney reinforced the coalition’s objective.

    “We are not going after Gadhafi,” he said at a Pentagon press briefing. “Regime forces are more pressed and less free to maneuver.”

    Asked about reports of smoke rising from the area of Gadhafi’s palace, Gortney said, “We are not targeting his residence.”

    Western journalists, including CNN’s Nic Robertson, were taken inside the compound by Libyan officials to survey the destruction.

    Robertson reported a four-story building was heavily damaged, possibly by cruise missiles. He held a chunk of metal retrieved from the site — with writing in English — that appeared to be from a missile.

    A Libyan government official said the building was used by Gadhafi officials and said there were no casualties from the building.

    The building is only 100 yards or so from a statue of a golden fist crushing a model plane emblazoned with “USA” — a monument to the 1986 American bombing of Libya, in which a U.S. plane was shot down.

    Meanwhile, a witness in the Libyan city of Misrata reported “absolute destruction and carnage” by Gadhafi forces on Monday — despite the regime’s recent call for a cease-fire.

    “Misrata is being flattened and razed to the ground as we speak,” said the man, who was not identified safety reasons. “He (Gadhafi) is using tanks and snipers to terrorize the city.”

    He added, “They are shooting people in the main street and on the back street.”

    The Libyan military announced the cease-fire after an attack near Benghazi — the heart of the Libyan opposition forces. Coalition forces pounded a Libyan military convoy there Sunday. At least 70 vehicles — including armored personnel carriers and tanks — were destroyed.

    When asked about the possibility of trying to kill Gadhafi to end his regime, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said it would be “unwise” to set specific goals.

    “I think that it’s important that we operate within the mandate of the U.N. Security Council resolution,” Gates told reporters Sunday while on a plane to Russia. “If we start adding additional objectives, then I think we create a problem in that respect. I also think that it is unwise to set as specific goals, things that you may or may not be able to achieve.”

    The Security Council resolution, which passed Thursday, allows member states “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country … while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory,” according to the United Nations.

    But not all countries agree with foreign attacks in Libya. The Russian government said the mission has killed innocent civilians and urged more caution. The foreign ministry in Moscow cited reports that “nonmilitary” targets were being bombed, including a cardiac center. China and Venezuela have also spoken out against the airstrikes.

    The Libyan government has claimed that 48 people, mostly women, children and clerics, have died in allied attacks.

    However, Gortney said, “We have no indication of any civilian casualties.”

    And France — which conducted the first strike in Libya on Saturday when fighter jets fired at a military vehicle — also disputed claims of civilian deaths.

    “There is no information of killed civilians recorded by the French command,” French government spokesman Francois Baroin said Monday on the French TV channel Canal+. “We must be cautious of communication campaigns and propaganda.”

    Ahmed Gebreel, a member of the Libyan opposition, told CNN the Gadhafi government collected bodies of people killed in fighting in the past week and displayed them over the weekend, trying to show they were killed by coalition airstrikes.

    The British defense ministry said it halted a mission to attack a target in Libya after information surfaced about civilians in the area.

    “As the RAF GR4 Tornados moved into the area, further information came to light that identified a number of civilians within the intended target area,” the ministry said in a statement Monday. “As a result the decision was taken not to launch weapons. This decision underlines the UK’s commitment to the protection of civilians.”

    In the coming days, U.S. officials said they plan to hand over operational control of the military mission. The coalition has nine other announced partners: Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Qatar and Spain.

    “One of the things that was very much on (U.S. President Barack Obama’s) mind is the importance of a meaningful coalition, meaning other countries making serious military contributions so the United States isn’t carrying the preeminent responsibility for an indefinite period of time,” Gates said.

    Obama and his national security team have worked behind the scenes to shore up support within the Arab world for the military mission in Libya, according to senior administration officials.

    Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa told reporters Sunday that what is happening in Libya is different from what was intended by imposing a no-fly zone, according to Egypt’s al-Ahram newspaper.

    “What we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians,” he said. He added that “military operations may not be needed in order to protect the civilians.”

    But Arab League chief of staff Hisham Youssef said Moussa’s comments did not signify a shift by the organization.

    “The Arab League position has not changed. We fully support the implementation of a no-fly zone,” Youssef said. “Our ultimate aim is to end the bloodshed and achieve the aspirations of the Libyan people.”

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — who met with Moussa other world leaders to discuss Libya on Saturday — said support from Arab leaders was key to the Security Council’s decision.

    “The strong recommendation by the league of Arab states to take decisive measures — including the establishment of a no-fly zone — figured prominently in the adoption of the Security Council resolution,” Ban told reporters in Egypt on Monday. “This decisive measure is meant to protect the civilian population, who are being killed by Col. Gadhafi and his regime.”

    Gates acknowledged that the mission could potentially be perceived by Arab leaders as a NATO operation.

    “I think there is a sensitivity on the part of the Arab League to being seen to be operating under a NATO umbrella, and so the question is if there is a way we can work out NATO’s command and control machinery without it being a NATO mission and without a NATO flag,” Gates said.

    As of Sunday night, the United States and British military had fired a total of 124 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libya’s air defense sites, Gortney said.

    In a televised speech earlier Sunday, Gadhafi said the strikes were a confrontation between the Libyan people and “the new Nazis.” He promised “a long-drawn war.”

    “You have proven to the world that you are not civilized, that you are terrorists — animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you,” Gadhafi said.

    But many in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi expressed gratitude for the foreign intervention, saying they eventually would have been massacred if not for the operation.

    A senior physician said 95 people died in an assault there by Gadhafi troops over the weekend.

    The beseiged rebels hope that with the new international support, they can advance their mission to overthrow Gadhafi to the nation’s capital — and take the offensive against loyalist troops.

    Source-http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/21/libya.civil.war/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

     

     


    21
    Mar 11

    10 Economic Disasters Which Threaten To Rip World Financial Markets To Shreds

    (ECONOMIC COLLAPSE)  2011 has already been the most memorable year in ages and we haven’t even reached April yet.  Revolutions have swept the Middle East, an unprecedented earthquake and tsunami have hit Japan, civil war has erupted in Libya, the price of oil has been soaring and the entire globe is teetering on the brink of economic collapse.  It seems like almost everything that can be shaken is being shaken.  Unfortunately, it does not appear that things are going to settle down any time soon.  The Japanese economy has been dealt a critical blow, the European sovereign debt crisis could flare up again at any moment and the U.S. economy could potentially plunge into another recession by the end of the year.  The global economy and world financial markets were really struggling to recover even when things were relatively stable.  If all of this global instability gets even worse it could literally rip world financial markets apart.

    Yes, things really are that bad.  The mainstream media has been really busy downplaying the economic impact of the disaster in Japan and the chaos in the Middle East, but the truth is that these events have huge implications for the global economy.  Today our world is more interconnected than ever, so economic pain in one area of the planet is going to have a significant effect on other areas of the globe.

    The following are 10 economic disasters which could potentially rip world financial markets to shreds….

    #1 War In Libya

    Do you think that the “international community” would be intervening in Libya if they did not have a lot of oil?  If you actually believe that, you might want to review the last few decades of African history.  Millions upon millions of Africans have been slaughtered by incredibly repressive regimes and the “international community” did next to nothing about it.

    But Libya is different.

    Libya is the largest producer of oil in Africa.

    Apparently the revolution in Libya was not going the way it was supposed to, so the U.S. and Europe are stepping in.

    Moammar Gadhafi is vowing that this will be a “long war”, but the truth is that his forces don’t stand a chance against NATO.

    Initially we were told that NATO would just be setting up a “no fly zone”, but there have already been reports of Libyan tank columns being assaulted and there has even been an air strike on Moammar Gadhafi’s personal compound in Tripoli.

    So since when did a “no fly zone” include an attempt to kill a foreign head of state?

    Let there be no mistake – the moment that the first Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched the United States declared war on Libya.

    Already the Arab League, India, China and Russia have all objected to how this operation is being carried out and they are alarmed about the reports of civilian casualties.

    Tensions around the globe are rising once again, and that is not a good thing for the world economy.

    On a side note, does anyone recall anyone in the Obama administration even stopping for a moment to consider whether or not they should consult the U.S. Congress before starting another war?

    The U.S. Constitution specifically requires the approval of the Congress before we go to war.

    But very few people seem to care too much about what the U.S. Constitution says these days.

    In any event, the flow of oil out of Libya is likely to be reduced for an extended period of time now, and that is not going to be good for a deeply struggling global economy.

    #2 Revolutions In The Middle East

    Protests just seem to keep spreading to more countries in the Middle East.  On Friday, five Syrian protesters were killed by government forces in the city of Daraa.  Subsequently, over the weekend thousands of protesters reportedly stormed government buildings in that city and set them on fire.

    Things in the region just seem to get wilder and wilder.

    Even in countries where the revolutions are supposed to be “over” there is still a lot of chaos.

    Have you seen what has been going on in Egypt lately?

    The truth is that all of North Africa and nearly the entire Middle East is aflame with revolutionary fervor.

    About the only place where revolution has not broken out is in Saudi Arabia.  Of course it probably helps that the United States and Europe don’t really want a revolution in Saudi Arabia and the Saudis have a brutally effective secret police force.

    In any event, as long as the chaos in the Middle East continues the price of oil is likely to remain very high, and that is not good news for the world economy.

    #3 The Japanese Earthquake And Tsunami

    Japan is the third largest economy in the world.  When a major disaster happens in that nation it has global implications.

    The tsunami that just hit Japan was absolutely unprecedented.  Vast stretches of Japan have been more thoroughly destroyed than if they had been bombed by a foreign military power.  It really was a nation changing event.

    The Japanese economy is going to be crippled for an extended period of time.  But it is not just Japan’s economy that has been deeply affected by this tragedy.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the recent disaster in Japan has caused supply chain disruptions all over the globe….

    A shortage of Japanese-built electronic parts will force GM to close a plant in Zaragoza, Spain, on Monday and cancel shifts at a factory in Eisenach, Germany, on Monday and Tuesday, the company said Friday.

    Not only that, GM has also suspended all “nonessential” spending globally as it evaluates the impact of this crisis.

    The truth is that there are a whole host of industries that rely on parts from Japan.  Supply chains all over the world are going to have to be changed as a result of this crisis.  There are going to be some shortages of certain classes of products.

    Japan is a nation that imports and exports tremendous quantities of goods.  At least for a while both imports and exports will be significantly down, and that is not good news for a world economy that was already having a really hard time recovering from the recent economic downturn.

    #4 The Japan Nuclear Crisis

    Even if the worst case scenario does not play out, the reality is that the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is going to have a long lasting impact on the global economy.

    Already, nuclear power projects all over the world are being rethought.  The nuclear power industry was really starting to gain some momentum in many areas of the globe, but now that has totally changed.

    But of much greater concern is the potential effect that all of this radiation will have on the Japanese people.  Radiation from the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is now showing up in food and tap water in Japan as an article on the website of USA Today recently described….

    The government halted shipments of spinach from one area and raw milk from another near the nuclear plant after tests found iodine exceeded safety limits. But the contamination spread to spinach in three other prefectures and to more vegetables — canola and chrysanthemum greens. Tokyo’s tap water, where iodine turned up Friday, now has cesium.

    Hopefully the authorities in Japan will be able to get this situation under control before Tokyo is affected too much.  The truth is that Tokyo is one of the most economically important cities on the planet.

    But right now there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Tokyo.  For example, one very large German real estate fund says that their holdings in Tokyo are now “impossible to value” and they have suspended all customer withdrawals from the fund.

    Once again, let us hope that a worst case scenario does not happen.  But if we do get to the point where most of the population had to be evacuated from Tokyo for an extended period of time it would be absolutely devastating for the global economy.

    #5 The Price Of Oil

    Most people believe that the U.S. dollar is the currency of the world, but really it is oil.  Without oil, the global economy that we have constructed simply could not function.

    That is why it was so alarming when the price of oil went above $100 a barrel earlier this year for the first time since 2008.  Virtually everyone agrees that if the price of oil stays high for an extended period of time it will have a highly negative impact on the world economy.

    In particular, the U.S. economy is highly, highly dependent on cheap oil.  This country is really spread out and we transport goods and services over vast distances.  That is why the following facts are so alarming….

    *The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is now 75 cents higher than it was a year ago.

    *In San Francisco, California, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is now $3.97.

    *According to the Oil Price Information Service, U.S. drivers spent an average of $347 on gasoline during the month of February, which was 30 percent more than a year earlier.

    *According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average U.S. household will spend approximately $700 more on gasoline in 2011 than it did during 2010.

    #6 Food Inflation

    Many people believe that the rapidly rising price of food has been a major factor in sparking the revolutions that we have seen in Africa and the Middle East.  When people cannot feed themselves or their families they tend to lose it.

    According to the United Nations, the global price of food hit a new all-time high earlier this year, and the UN is expecting the price of food to continue to go up throughout the rest of this year.  Food supplies were already tight around the globe and this is certainly not going to help things.

    The price of food has also been going up rapidly inside the United States.  Last month the price of food in the United States rose at the fastest rate in 36 years.

    American families are really starting to feel their budgets stretched.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, the cost of living in the United States hit a brand new all-time record high in the month of February.

    What this means is that U.S. families are going to have less discretionary income to spend at the stores and that is bad news for the world economy.

    #7 The European Sovereign Debt Crisis

    Several European governments have had their debt downgraded in the past several months.  Portugal, Spain, Greece and Ireland are all in big time trouble.  Several other European nations are not far behind them.

    Right now Germany seems content to bail the “weak sisters” in Europe out, but if that changes at some point it is going to be an absolute nightmare for world financial markets.

    #8 The Dying U.S. Dollar

    Right now there is a lot of anxiety about the U.S. dollar.  Prior to the tsunami, Japan was one of the primary purchasers of U.S. government debt.  In fact, Japan was the second-largest foreign buyer of U.S. Treasuries last year.

    But now as Japan rebuilds from this nightmare it is not going to have capital to invest overseas.  Someone else is going to have to step in and buy up all of the debt that the Japanese were buying.

    Not only that, but big bond funds such as PIMCO have announced that they are stepping away from U.S. Treasuries at least for now.

    So if Japan is not buying U.S. Treasuries and bond funds such as PIMCO are not buying U.S. Treasuries, then who is going to be buying them?

    The U.S. government needs to borrow trillions of dollars this year alone to roll over existing debt and to finance new debt.  All of that borrowing has got to come from somewhere.

    #9 A New Oil Spill In The Gulf Of Mexico?

    As if everything above was not enough, there are reports of a possible major new oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The U.S. Coast Guard is on the scene and is investigating.  The following is what a new report in the Wall Street Journal says about it….

    The Coast Guard said in a news release that it received a report of a three-mile-long rainbow sheen off the Louisiana coast just before 9:30 a.m. local time on Saturday. Two subsequent sightings were relayed to the Coast Guard, the last of which reported a sheen that extended from about 6 miles south of Grand Isle, La. to 100 miles offshore.

    #10 The Derivatives Bubble

    Most Americans do not even understand what derivatives are, but the truth is that they are one of the biggest threats to our financial system.  Some experts estimate that the worldwide derivatives bubble is somewhere in the neighborhood of a quadrillion dollars.  This bubble could burst at any time.  Right now we are watching the greatest financial casino in the history of the globe spin around and around and around and everyone is hoping that at some point it doesn’t stop.  Today, most money on Wall Street is not made by investing in good business ideas.  Rather, most money on Wall Street is now made by making shrewd bets.  Unfortunately, at some point the casino is going to come crashing down and the game will be over.

    Most people simply do not realize how fragile the global economy is at this point.

    The financial crash of 2008 was a devastating blow.  The next wave of the economic crisis could be even worse.

    So what will the rest of 2011 bring?

    Well, nobody knows for sure, but a lot of experts are not optimistic.

    David Rosenberg, the chief economist at Gluskin Sheff and Associates, is warning that the second half of the year could be very rough for the global economy….

    “A sharp slowing in global GDP in the second half of the year cannot be ruled out.”

    Let us hope that the world economy can hold together and that we can get through the rest of 2011 okay.  The last thing we need is a repeat of 2008.  The world could use some peace and some time to recover.

    But unfortunately, we live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable.  With the way that the world has been lately, perhaps we should all just start to expect the unexpected.

    But world financial markets do not respond well to instability and unpredictability.  In fact, investors tend to start fleeing to safety at the first signs of danger these days.

    Most Americans simply have no idea how vulnerable the world financial system is at this point.  Nothing really got “fixed” after 2008.  If anything, global financial markets are even more fragile than they were back then.

    So what do all of you think about the state of the global economy?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

    Source-http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/shaken-10-economic-disasters-which-threaten-to-rip-world-financial-markets-to-shreds

     


    21
    Mar 11

    Elites On The Move In India

    (ZENGARDNER)  As Bob Dylan sang, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”. Especially if you’re an elite and happen to know the agenda and where the nuclear meltdown will be occurring..and where the ill wind will be blowing for some time to come…WEST…so why not travel somewhere safe in the east?….or is it just a coincidence?

    Rockefeller’s visiting Delhi

    It seems that India has caught the fancy of American trillionaire David Rockefeller. We have learnt that the 96-year-old, head of one of the biggest American business dynasties, is currently in the country with his family and is travelling all over North India.

    We hear that the honcho landed in Delhi with more than two dozen relatives, including his children and grandchildren. The clan is learnt to be keen on visiting famous Indian monuments and places like the Taj Mahal, Rajasthan and Delhi. Rockefeller is believed to have landed in Delhi and chartered three planes to tour the country. Source

    Not Only Rocky’s Family, but the Gates’ and Warren Buffet are there as well

    Another coincidence?

    http://foreignpolicydigest.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Bill-Gates-and-Warren-Buffet.jpg

    “Oh no, the idiot masses would never believe our depopulation plan is real..ha ha”

    Bill Gates Is Now In India

    Bill Gates is now travelling in India (at present in Uttar Pradesh). If you interested in seeing or talk to him then read this post. I’m going to give  some tip on how to find “where is Bill Gates now in India”. Source

    Warren Buffet to Visit India

    (Reuters) – Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will travel to India next week to launch his firm’s insurance selling portal and will meet policyholders at an event in New Delhi, according to information on the company’s website.

    Is It the Nuclear Bunkers?

    India building nuclear-proof bunkers for top leaders

    (2003) NEW DELHI: The Indian government has begun building several hi-tech bunkers to enable its top leadership, including Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to survive a possible nuclear attack, official sources said.

    The move to build the bunkers, including one near the South Block, an imposing red sandstone building that houses the prime minister’s office and the defence and external affairs ministries, was reportedly cleared at the first meeting of the Nuclear Command Authority on September 1. Source

    Epilogue

    The bunkers are finished now. Perhaps it’s like musical chairs and the elites are hoovering near safe spots as the cataclysm unfolds, knowing they have an “out” when the music stops.

    Just wondering,  Zen

    www.zengardner.com


    20
    Mar 11

    Michael Moore: Michigan Governor Pushing Unbelievable Anti-Democracy Measures

    (ALTERNET)  The call has gone out and I’m asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.

    What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries — and then ran in the general election as “just a nerd from Ann Arbor” who was a moderate, not an ideologue — has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I’ve ever seen in electoral politics.

    Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.

    In just 8 short weeks he has:

    * Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him “Emergency Management” powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.

    * Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising everyone’s personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by — I kid you not — senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been “sharing the sacrifice” the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people — even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!

    * Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.

    These actions are breathtaking when you realize they will drive our already battered state straight into the ground. What we needed right now was an inspiring leader to help us reinvent Michigan and to find creative ways to create new jobs and lift us out of our economic depression. The rest of the country may call what they’re experiencing the “Great Recession,” but few argue that Michigan is suffering a “one-state Depression.”

    I know many of you are filled with a great sense of despair and a justifiable loss of hope these days in Michigan. But you must not let things get even worse. You must stand up against these Draconian measures and this outrageous attempt to rip our democratic rights from us by turning our state over to well-paid hacks from Wall Street and corporate America. They see our state as one big fire sale — and they are licking their chops to get their hands on what is still a state rich in natural resources and industrial infrastructure.

    Please show up at noon on Wednesday for our first mega-rally against this insanity. Hundreds of groups are already organizing car pools and buses. You can right now just declare yourself an organizer and get your friends and neighbors committed to being in Lansing. If ever there were a day to call in sick, Wednesday is it (because this IS sick). Students, if ever there were a day to cut class and become a participant in your democracy, Wednesday is it. This event needs to be HUGE — and I believe it will be if you will simply be there and take a stand.

    Much attention has been paid to Wisconsin in recent weeks. Well, they got nothing on what’s going on here in Michigan. Rick Snyder is Scott Walker on steroids. There’s never been what even the AARP calls “an all-out attack” like this on us. Trust me, you will rue the day you sat home and did nothing while thieves posing as politicians stole your Great Lakes State from you.

    Don’t let it happen. Be at the capitol by noon on Wednesday for the largest demonstration the state has ever seen.

    Go Spartans! Go Wolverines! Go Everyone Else In Between!

    Source-http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/150264/michael_moore%3A_michigan_governor_pushing_unbelievable_anti-democracy_measures_–_join_the_fight_wednesday/?page=entire


    20
    Mar 11

    Listen: Secret Libya Psyops, Caught by Online Sleuths

    (WIRED)  The U.S. military has dispatched one of its secret propaganda planes to the skies around Libya. And that “Commando Solo” aircraft is telling Libyan ships to remain in port – or risk NATO retaliation.

    We know this, not because some Pentagon official said so, but because one Dutch radio geek is monitoring the airwaves for information about Operation Odyssey Dawn — and tweeting the surprisingly-detailed results. On Sunday alone, “Huub” has identified the tail numbers, call signs, and movements of dozens of NATO aircraft: Italian fighter jetsAmerican tankersBritish aerial spiesU.S. bombers, and the Commando Solo psyops plane (pictured).

    “If you attempt to leave port, you will be attacked and destroyed immediately,” the aircraft broadcasted late Sunday night.

    http://boos.audioboo.fm/swf/fullsize_player.swf

    It’s the kind of information that the American military typically tries to obscure, at least until a mission is over. But Huub is just a single node in a sprawling online network that trawls the airwaves for clues to military operations.

    Huub, also known online as “BlackBox” and @FMCNL, has been monitoring longer than most — more than a quarter-century. A former member of the Dutch military, he says that he’s captured the sounds of everything from Air Force One to CIA rendition flights to the travels of Yugoslavian war criminal Slobodan Mlosevic.

    “I just combine the global and free information on the Internet with my local received information from the ether,” Huub e-mails Danger Room. “[My] main goal to listen to this communication is to listen to ‘the truth,’ without any military or political propaganda.”

     

    Military aircraft have to provide basic information about their position over unencrypted, unclassified UHF and VHF radio networks; otherwise, they’d risk slamming into civilian jets in mid-air. That allows savvy listeners like Huub to use radio frequency scanners, amplifiers, and antennas to capture the communications. Some spend thousands of dollars homebrewing their own DIY listening stations. Many others – Huub included – rely on handheld gear, much of which can be ordered through Radio Shack. Huub uses the ICOM R20 receiver and the Uniden UBC-785XLT scanner, both of which retail for a little more than $500.

    But the type of gear is almost secondary, Huub writes. “I do not simply listen to ATC [air traffic control] or NATO frequencies,” he says. Instead, he monitors everything from aircraft transponder data to IRC chatrooms to pinpoint his planes. “I use a combination of live listening with local equipment, audio streaming, video streaming, datamining, intelligence, analyzing and the general knowledge of ATC procedures, communication, encryption, call signs, frequencies and a lot of experience on this!”

    Huub, who ordinarily spends his days as a digital forensics manager in the town of Hilversum, has lately spent up to 16 hours a day, scanning for clues about the attack on Libya. Some of his Twitter followers aren’t so sure Huub should be devoting that much time to plucking military data from the sky.

    “If you are not delaying your tweets by a WIDE margin, you are putting the pilots in harms way!!!!” tweets@Joe_Taxi. “When the sounds of the #operationoddesydawn aircraft are heard in #Libya it should be a complete surprise.”

    Huub is hardly the only one eavesdropping on this operation, however. At least two others recorded the Commando Solo in action on Sunday, for instance.

    And that shows just how easily average folks can now gather intelligence in ways once reserved for the best-funded spy agencies. Online sleuths now use Google Earth to find everything from North Korea’slaunch facilities to Pakistan’s drone bases. Plane-spotters scoured tail numbers to uncover the CIA’s torture flights. So it’s no wonder that the sounds of this newest air war are being broadcast online — even before the planes return to their airstrips.

    Photo: USAF

    Source-http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/03/secret-libya-psyops/

     


    20
    Mar 11

    New Site Tells You What Your Facebook Friends Think Of You

    (CNET)  Of course you love Facebook. You love the way it makes you feel to have so many friends. Yes, thousands of them. You love the fact that you can have open, personal interactions with all of those who mean something to you.

    And then there’s what you really think about them. Which, should you be human, can be something a little more critical, a little more personal.

    A new site called AboutEveryone.com understands your feelings. It purports to offer you the opportunity to vent your real feelings about your Facebook friends, with a security that Facebook cannot possibly offer. Yes, you can do it anonymously.

    The site’s method is blissfully simple. It asks you to “select a user by visiting the user’s Facebook profile and pasting the URL below.”

    Once you do that, you can release your thoughts about the way your Facebook friend smells and about how he’s the most untrustworthy, conniving pifflehead since Genghis Khan’s law tutor.

    (Credit: Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

    Here is a sample of the deep-seated improvisation that is offered on AboutEveryone: “f*** you. You think you have the perfect little life (and you do) but that’s why I hate you.. and ppl like you. You think you can just walk all over us poor, not-as-smart-as-you ppl and get away with it so, thanks for not being there when I needed you cuz you decided you were better than me. f*** youuuu.”

    This was not written in reference to any tech company CEO. Still, you have to wonder about some of the awful–and awfully human–possibilities this site extends.

    Here’s another: “I am such an easy-going person. I have never LOATHED anyone before this chick. She was my bff and then I caught her in a lie, accidentally. When confronted she said she’d make my life a living hell. And that she did, she ICED me out of all my friendships. I hate her. I want to beat the shit out of her, but I won’t. I’ve got responsibilities and I can’t afford to be in jail.”

    You wouldn’t see posts like that on Facebook so often, would you? Anyone who has anything against you–for whatever unjustified and perverse reason–can post something to this site. You just know this could have consequences.

    Within days, some enthusiastically modernized human resources person will waft there, just before you are extended a job offer or a promotion. Suddenly, the words of one critic might drown out the adoring fawning of your Facebook friends.

    But perhaps even worse than that is the idea that people will start posting positive things about themselves in order to balance out (or even pre-empt) any criticism. “John is the most wonderful, caring, thoughtful, wealthy, great-in-bed boyfriend I’ve ever had,” a poster might offer (about himself). “I can’t believe I ever let him go.”

    I fear this site will become the repository of much trouble. I fear the odor of retaliations and lawsuits. I fear it is another site that can only, in the end, offer pain and anguish to the innocent just as much as to the guilty.

    Yes, I fear many people are going to love it.

    Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20045186-71.html#ixzz1HCW8dZvB

     


    20
    Mar 11

    Secretive Plan For a Global Currency

    By acting together to fulfill these pledges we will bring the world economy out of recession and prevent a crisis like this from recurring in the future. We are committed to take all necessary actions to restore the normal flow of credit through the financial system and ensure the soundness of systemically important institutions, implementing our policies in line with the agreed G20 framework for restoring lending and repairing the financial sector. We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn into the world economy and increase global liquidity.– G20 Communiqué, London, April 2, 2009

     

    Towards a New Global Currency?

     

    Is the Group of Twenty Countries (G20) envisaging the creation of a Global Central bank? Who or what would serve as this global central bank, cloaked with the power to issue the global currency and police monetary policy for all humanity? When the world’s central bankers met in Washington in September 2008 at the height of the financial meltdown, they discussed what body might be in a position to serve in that awesome and fearful role. A former governor of the Bank of England stated:

     

    The answer might already be staring us in the face, in the form of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)… The IMF tends to couch its warnings about economic problems in very diplomatic language, but the BIS is more independent and much better placed to deal with this if it is given the power to do so.[1]

     

    And if the vision of a global currency outside government control was not enough to set off conspiracy theorists, putting the BIS in charge of it surely would be. The BIS has been scandal-ridden ever since it was branded with pro-Nazi leanings in the 1930s. Founded in Basel,Switzerland, in 1930, the BIS has been called “the most exclusive, secretive, and powerful supranational club in the world.” Charles Higham wrote in his book Trading with the Enemy that by the late 1930s, the BIS had assumed an openly pro-Nazi bias, a theme that was expanded on in a BBC Timewatch film titled “Banking with Hitler” broadcast in 1998.[2] In 1944, the American government backed a resolution at the Bretton Woods Conference calling for the liquidation of the BIS, following Czech accusations that it was laundering gold stolen by the Nazis from occupied Europe; but the central bankers succeeded in quietly snuffing out the American resolution.[3]

     

    In Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (1966), Dr. Carroll Quigley revealed the key role played in global finance by the BIS behind the scenes. Dr. Quigley was Professor of History at Georgetown University, where he was President Bill Clinton’s mentor. He was also an insider, groomed by the powerful clique he called “the international bankers.” His credibility is heightened by the fact that he actually espoused their goals. Quigley wrote:

     

    I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments… In general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known…

     

    The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.[4]

     

    The key to their success, said Quigley, was that the international bankers would control and manipulate the money system of a nation while letting it appear to be controlled by the government.

     

    The statement echoed one made in the 18th century by the patriarch of what became the most powerful banking dynasty in the world. Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild is quoted as saying in 1791: “Allow me to issue and control a nation’s currency, and I care not who makes its laws.” Mayer’s five sons were sent to the major capitals of Europe – London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin and Naples – with the mission of establishing a banking system that would be outside government control. The economic and political systems of nations would be controlled not by citizens but by bankers, for the benefit of bankers.

     

    Eventually, a privately-owned “central bank” was established in nearly every country. This central banking system has now gained control over the economies of the world. Central banks have the authority to print money in their respective countries, and it is from these banks that governments must borrow money to pay their debts and fund their operations. The result is a global economy in which not only industry but government itself runs on “credit” (or debt) created by a banking monopoly headed by a network of private central banks. At the top of this network is the BIS, the “central bank of central banks” in Basel.

     

    Behind the Curtain

     

    For many years the BIS kept a very low profile, operating behind the scenes in an abandoned hotel. It was here that decisions were reached to devalue or defend currencies, fix the price of gold, regulate offshore banking, and raise or lower short-term interest rates. In 1977, however, the BIS gave up its anonymity in exchange for more efficient headquarters. The new building has been described as “an eighteen story-high circular skyscraper that rises above the medieval city like some misplaced nuclear reactor.” It quickly became known as the “Towerof Basel.” Today the BIS has governmental immunity, pays no taxes, and has its own private police force.[5] It is, as Mayer Rothschild envisioned, above the law.

     

    The BIS is now composed of 55 member nations, but the club that meets regularly in Basel is a much smaller group; and even within it, there is a hierarchy. In a 1983 article in Harper’s Magazine called “Ruling the World of Money,” Edward Jay Epstein wrote that where the real business gets done is in “a sort of inner club made up of the half dozen or so powerful central bankers who find themselves more or less in the same monetary boat” – those from Germany, the United States, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and England. Epstein said:

     

    The prime value, which also seems to demarcate the inner club from the rest of the BIS members, is the firm belief that central banks should act independently of their home governments… A second and closely related belief of the inner club is that politicians should not be trusted to decide the fate of the international monetary system.[6]

     

    In 1974, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision was created by the central bank Governors of the Group of 10 nations (now expanded to twenty). The BIS provides the twelve-member Secretariat for the Committee. The Committee, in turn, sets the rules for banking globally, including capital requirements and reserve controls. In a 2003 article titled “The Bank for International Settlements Calls for Global Currency,” Joan Veon wrote:

     

    The BIS is where all of the world’s central banks meet to analyze the global economy and determine what course of action they will take next to put more money in their pockets, since they control the amount of money in circulation and how much interest they are going to charge governments and banks for borrowing from them…

     

    When you understand that the BIS pulls the strings of the world’s monetary system, you then understand that they have the ability to create a financial boom or bust in a country. If that country is not doing what the money lenders want, then all they have to do is sell its currency.[7]


     

    The Controversial Basel Accords

     

    The power of the BIS to make or break economies was demonstrated in 1988, when it issued a Basel Accord raising bank capital requirements from six percent to eight percent. By then, Japan had emerged as the world’s largest creditor; but Japan’s banks were less well capitalized than other major international banks. Raising the capital requirement forced them to cut back on lending, creating a recession in Japan like that suffered in the U.S. today. Property prices fell and loans went into default as the security for them shriveled up. A downward spiral followed, ending with the total bankruptcy of the banks. The banks had to be nationalized, although that word was not used in order to avoid criticism.[8]

     

    Among other “collateral damage” produced by the Basel Accords was a spate of suicides among Indian farmers unable to get loans. The BIS capital adequacy standards required loans to private borrowers to be “risk-weighted,” with the degree of risk determined by private rating agencies; farmers and small business owners could not afford the agencies’ fees. Banks therefore assigned one hundred percent risk to the loans, and then resisted extending credit to these “high-risk” borrowers because more capital was required to cover the loans. When the conscience of the nation was aroused by the Indian suicides, the government, lamenting the neglect of farmers by commercial banks, established a policy of ending the “financial exclusion” of the weak; but this step had little real effect on lending practices, due largely to the strictures imposed by the BIS from abroad.[9]

     

    Economist Henry C K Liu has analyzed how the Basel Accords have forced national banking systems “to march to the same tune, designed to serve the needs of highly sophisticated global financial markets, regardless of the developmental needs of their national economies.” He wrote:

     

    National banking systems are suddenly thrown into the rigid arms of the Basel Capital Accord sponsored by the Bank of International Settlement (BIS), or to face the penalty of usurious risk premium in securing international interbank loans… National policies suddenly are subjected to profit incentives of private financial institutions, all members of a hierarchical system controlled and directed from the money center banks in New York. The result is to force national banking systems to privatize…

     

    BIS regulations serve only the single purpose of strengthening the international private banking system, even at the peril of national economies… The IMF and the international banks regulated by the BIS are a team: the international banks lend recklessly to borrowers in emerging economies to create a foreign currency debt crisis, the IMF arrives as a carrier of monetary virus in the name of sound monetary policy, then the international banks come as vulture investors in the name of financial rescue to acquire national banks deemed capital inadequate and insolvent by the BIS.

     

    Ironically, noted Liu, developing countries with their own natural resources did not actually need the foreign investment that trapped them in debt to outsiders: “Applying the State Theory of Money [which assumes that a sovereign nation has the power to issue its own money], any government can fund with its own currency all its domestic developmental needs to maintain full employment without inflation.”[10]

     

    When governments fall into the trap of accepting loans in foreign currencies, however, they become “debtor nations” subject to IMF and BIS regulation. They are forced to divert their production to exports, just to earn the foreign currency necessary to pay the interest on their loans. National banks deemed “capital inadequate” have to deal with strictures comparable to the “conditionalities” imposed by the IMF on debtor nations: “escalating capital requirement, loan write-offs and liquidation, and restructuring through selloffs, layoffs, downsizing, cost-cutting and freeze on capital spending.” Liu wrote:

     

    Reversing the logic that a sound banking system should lead to full employment and developmental growth, BIS regulations demand high unemployment and developmental degradation in national economies as the fair price for a sound global private banking system.[11]

     

    The Last Domino to Fall

     

    While banks in developing nations were being penalized for falling short of the BIS capital requirements, large international banks managed to skirt the rules, although they actually carried enormous risk because of their derivative exposure. The mega-banks took advantage of a loophole that allowed for lower charges against capital for “off-balance sheet activities.” The banks got loans off their balance sheets by bundling them into securities and selling them off to investors, after separating the risk of default out from the loans and selling it off to yet other investors, using a form of derivative known as “credit default swaps.”

     

    It was evidently not in the game plan, however, that U.S. banks should escape the regulatory net indefinitely. Complaints about the loopholes in Basel I prompted a new set of rules called Basel II, which based capital requirements for market risk on a “Value-at-Risk” accounting standard. The new rules were established in 2004, but they were not levied on U.S. banks until November 2007, the month after the Dow passed 14 000 to reach its all-time high. On November 1, 2007, the Office of the Controller of the Currency “approved a final rule implementing advanced approaches of the Basel II Capital Accord.”[12] On November 15, 2007, the Financial Accounting Standards Board or FASB, a private organization that sets U.S. accounting rules for the private sector, adopted FAS 157, the rule called “mark-to-market accounting.”[13] The effect on U.S. banks was similar to that of Basel I on Japanese banks: they have been struggling to survive ever since.[14]

     

    The mark-to-market rule requires banks to adjust the value of their marketable securities to the “market price” of the security.[15] The rule has theoretical merit, but the problem is timing: it was imposed ex post facto, after the banks already had the hard-to-market assets on their books. Lenders that had been considered sufficiently well capitalized to make new loans suddenly found they were insolvent; at least, they would have been if they had tried to sell their assets, an assumption required by the new rule. Financial analyst John Berlau complained in October 2008:

     

    Despite the credit crunch being described as the spread of the ‘American flu,’ the mark-to-market rules that are spreading it were hatched [as] part of the Basel II international rules for financial institutions. It’s just that the U.S. jumped into the really icy water last November when our Securities and Exchange Commission and bank regulators implemented FASB’s Financial Accounting Standard 157, which makes healthy banks and financial firms take a ‘loss’ in the capital they can lend even if a loan on their books is still performing, even when the ‘market price’ [of] an illiquid asset is that of the last fire sale by a highly leveraged bank. Late last month, similar rules went into effect in the European Union, playing a similar role in accelerating financial failures…

     

    The crisis is often called a ‘market failure,’ and the term ‘mark-to-market’ seems to reinforce that. But the mark-to-market rules are profoundly anti-market and hinder the free-market function of price discovery… In this case, the accounting rules fail to allow the market players to hold on to an asset if they don’t like what the market is currently fetching, an important market action that affects price discovery in areas from agriculture to antiques.[16]

     

    Imposing the mark-to-market rule on U.S. banks caused an instant credit freeze, which proceeded to take down the economies not only of the U.S. but of countries worldwide. In early April 2009, the mark-to-market rule was finally softened by the FASB; but critics said the modification did not go far enough, and it was done in response to pressure from politicians and bankers, not out of any fundamental change of heart or policies by the BIS or the FASB. Indeed, the BIS was warned as early as 2001 that its Basel II proposal was “procyclical,” meaning that in a downturn it would only serve to make matters worse. In a formal response to a Request for Comments by the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision, a group of economists stated:

     

    Value-at-Risk can destabilize an economy and induce crashes when they would not otherwise occur… Perhaps our most serious concern is that these proposals, taken altogether, will enhance both the procyclicality of regulation and the susceptibility of the financial system to systemic crises, thus negating the central purpose of the whole exercise. Reconsider before it is too late.[17]

     

    The BIS did not reconsider, however, even after seeing the devastation its regulations had caused; and that is where the conspiracy theorists came in. Why did the BIS sit idly by, they asked, as the global economy came crashing down? Was the goal to create so much economic havoc that the world would rush with relief into the waiting arms of a global economic policeman with its privately-created global currency?

     

    Notes

     

    [1] Andrew Gavin Marshall, “The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government”, Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13070, 6 April 2009. See also Chapter 17.

    [2] Alfred Mendez, “The Network”, The World Central Bank: The Bank for International

    Settlements, http://copy_bilderberg.tripod.com/bis.htm.

    [3] HubPages, “BIS – Bank of International Settlement: The Mother of All Central Banks”, hubpages.com, 2009.

    [4] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, 1966.

    [5] HubPages, “BIS – Bank of International Settlement: The Mother of All Central Banks”, hubpages.com, 2009.

    [6] Edward Jay Epstein, “Ruling the World of Money”, Harper’s Magazine, November 1983.

    [7] Joan Veon, “The Bank for International Settlements Calls for Global Currency”, News with Views, 26 August 2003.

    [8] Peter Myers, “The 1988 Basle Accord – Destroyer of Japan’s Finance System”, http://www.mailstar.net/basle.html, 9 September 2008.

    [9] Nirmal Chandra, “Is Inclusive Growth Feasible in Neoliberal India?”, networkideas.org, September 2008.

    [10] Henry C. K. Liu, “The BIS vs National Banks”, Asia Times, http://www.atimes.com/global-econ/DE14Dj01.html, 14 May 2002.

    [11] Ibid.

    [12] Comptroller of the Currency, “OCC Approves Basel II Capital Rule”, Comptroller of the Currency Release, 1 November 2007.

    [13] Vinny Catalano, “FAS 157: Timing Is Everything”, vinnycatalano.blogspot.com, 18 March 2008.

    [14] Bruce Wiseman, “The Financial Crisis: A look Behind the Wizard’s Curtain”, Canada Free Press, 19 March 2009.

    [15] Ellen Brown, “Credit Where Credit Is Due”, webofdebt.com/articles/creditcrunch.php, 11 January 2009.

    [16] John Berlau, “The International Mark-to-Market Contagion”, OpenMarket.org, 10 October 2008.

    [17] Jon Danielsson, et al., “An Academic Response to Basel II”, LSE Financial Markets Group Special Paper Series, May 2001.

     

    Ellen Brown is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Ellen Brown