Don’t Worry, Funny Money Will Go On

I see a lot of chit chat about a so-called “fiscal cliff”. Oh come on…even someone with a lukewarm IQ can figure this out. At the last minute, some silly deal will be ironed out and everyone will praise and bow down to our fearless leader and whatever some republican of the week. The media will inevitably fawn over the incredible bipartisan leadership exhibited by our slavemasters. I tend to ignore journalism memes; when I hear fiscal cliff, I want to throw up. We are way past the cliff and in the quicksand by now. The federal reserve and their puppet politicians control everything now. Not that I am conceding, mind you. I will fight until death. Things seem rather dire right now, but I refuse to live on my knees.

They are able to effectively control via fear. Too bad I have too much of that pesky Viking blood in me, eh?

The police state is ratcheting up. Alas, this is what the American populace seems to want, so who am I to argue? Drones, wiretapping, intimidation, fear, senseless wars and “operations”, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, economic warfare, public schools…this will be your demise, although you might not realize it. I think most of you know subconsciously that it is occuring; I see it etched on people’s faces. For whatever reason, people have chosen to ignore it. Tomorrow’s history books will be written with an asterisk.

On the subject, I have been informed that my blog is verboten for the armed forces. This blog is blocked by the military. I don’t know why, but perhaps it is an honor. It is a bit disconcerting, but as I said it has been willed.

Personally, I am choosing to better myself and invest in family and preparations. This Christmas/Yule will be different. Gifts will be knowledge…science, books, and the like.

I’m too old to be arguing silly ideologies with the naysayers. I don’t see the point. I’ve been doing this information dissemination for 12 years now, I’m getting too tired. Argumentation on Twitter, Facebook, forums, etc. is not doing myself any favors; I have been using this time to further my knowledge on a wide array of subjects. I have no patience for ad hominem attacks, threats, parrot repeating, those that refuse to give a damn, the materialistic crowd, etc.
Seek love and knowledge. Let go of fears. Plant a garden. Educate family/friends. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

God luck and good speed.

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It Is Getting Crazy Out There

Economy must be tanking, I keep getting bombarded by pre-Black Friday sales. I wonder if the minions are going to fall for it? I like to think of it as the mindless zombification American ritual. Not that Black Friday truly means anything, mind you. The stores will be open on Thursday! You can get in on the violence for a 3 dollar toaster game. Hell, why bother with Thanksgiving anyway? The family that stands in line for Chinese crap is the family that stays together, right? Yay!!!!!!

It is so skewed I don’t understand how people fall for it. Alas, it is a different world now. I am merely a relic from another time. Might as well go off into the dark night. You reap what you sow…at least the TSA will let ya take a turkey leg onto the planes.

*Gets into bunker to watch it in HD*

Why we REALLY need to worry for the future

The bad news continues. Educational systems are collapsing in the USA. Schools being closed down, budgets slashed, teachers laid off, school weeks shortened.

So, what effect will this have later on down the line?

NASA is going to experience massive cuts…knowledge, of course, is being punished. Intelligence is going to be a liability in the new America.

Of course, it is more than obvious this is the goal.

Sadly, our masters feel it is more necessary to fund banks and economic sectors…apparently, money is the answer.

But tell me…what good is money if your next generation cannot count it? Once again, the goal.

This saddens me terribly. While our media concentrates on what Obama ate for breakfast, our children suffer.

This is the ultimate doom.

Dumbed-down zombies incapable of doing anything other than McDonald’s.

Congratulations, partisan whores…

Struggling cities cancel Fourth of July fireworks

Mayor Bill Cervenik has spent a lifetime celebrating the Fourth of July curled up on a blanket in this city’s Memorial Park beneath bursts of fireworks across a darkened Ohio sky.

People have long considered the fireworks a treasure of this Cleveland suburb, where flags fly year-round in neighborhoods of bungalows and stores post signs for passersby to “support our troops.”

But the fireworks and singing along to “The Star-Spangled Banner” on a warm summer night — and the police and firefighters needed to manage the 30,000 people who turn out — don’t come cheap.

So this year, Euclid will have no fireworks. “I’m 55 years old and I can’t remember not going to one of these,” Cervenik said.

As the economic crisis has dragged on, city leaders around the country say fireworks are a luxury they can no longer afford. Big and small, urban and rural, the skies will remain dark over at least four dozen communities nationwide come July 4.

“It came down to this: Did we want to spend $150,000 on something that would be over in a few hours?” Cervenik said. “Or did we want to use that money to keep city workers employed?”

The news has sparked outrage and protests among residents who long to preserve an American tradition that dates to 1777. They say that fireworks displays are more than a nod to nostalgia: They allow communities to come together, set aside their woes and build up town pride — even if only for a few hours.

“Good times, bad times, there’s always been fireworks,” said Robert Baker, who heads the Fourth of July festival committee in Abington, Mass.

Baker, a shipping foreman with a shoe manufacturer, has been out of work for a year. The festival was quashed this month amid city budget fights.

“This is one more blow in a year of blow after blow,” Baker said.

In San Jose, slumping tourism and dwindling sales tax receipts shut down the city’s America Festival and its evening display over a half-mile stretch of Highway 87.

“We’re faced with balancing an $84-million budget shortfall,” said mayoral spokeswoman Michelle McGurk. “We don’t have the money to support a lot of things we’d like to.”

Some cities would rather feed their residents than entertain them. In the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello, where unemployment hovers at 12%, the City Council unanimously voted to use its $39,000 fireworks budget on donations to local food banks.

“The last food bank line I saw had more than 1,000 people in it,” said Mayor Rosemarie Vasquez. “We figured that, instead of burning the money in the air, why not give it to people who need it.”

In Lowell, Mass., Mayor Edward Caulfield canceled the city’s annual show to help save one city job. He had already cut 48.

Big cities, such as Chicago and New York, have been able to keep their shows thanks to corporate sponsors, according to the American Pyrotechnics Assn.

But Julie Heckman, executive director of the association, said that smaller communities tended to rely on a combination of city funds and local donations to pay for their displays of patriotism.

When budgets grow tight, she said, towns are forced to be creative with less.

That was the case for Punta Gorda, Fla., a community of 17,000 on the Gulf Coast. The city, devastated in 2004 by Hurricane Charley, is still rebuilding itself. The recession hasn’t helped.

When the city pulled its backing for the show over Charlotte Harbor last year, the town’s Main Street association took over.

Struggling cities cancel Fourth of July fireworks
June 29 2009

Fundraising has been slow. The group has raised only two-thirds of what it needs. The pyrotechnic company stepped in to help: It offered a discount, a shorter show and fewer explosions.

So a much smaller show will go on, but the city came up with extra activities to make up for the abbreviated fireworks: three-legged races, water balloon tosses, hula-hooping and key lime pie-making contests.

“What do those cost?” asked Linda Dobson, executive director of Main Street Punta Gorda. “Nothing.”

In a few places, such as New Providence, N.J., a last-minute benefactor has stepped in to save the show.

After local newspapers wrote about how the town of 12,000 was canceling its holiday fireworks because of economic troubles, the local Investors Savings Bank stepped in and offered to cover the $15,000 bill.

Elsewhere, towns have just given up.

This will be the second year Carrollton, Texas, has canceled its $20,000 fireworks order and won’t have street vendors hawking plates of barbecue and buttery corn on a stick.

Residents were furious last year, said Mayor Ronald Branson. City leaders promised to try to bring the fireworks back in 2009.

But as the economy grew worse in the north Texas town of 121,000, those hopes fizzled.

Faced with a $2.3-million budget shortfall, the city is weighing whether to close City Hall and its libraries one day a week and make City Council members — who get paid $200 a month — take a pay cut.

Voters are still calling, but not to complain.

Branson said they were pleading with him to use the fireworks money to put people to work fixing city sprinklers or planting trees.

Branson, though, is still hoping next year will be different.

“We all would like to get the fireworks going again,” he said, “because it would mean the economy had turned around.”

Obama seeks to ‘give government new powers to seize key companies’

Obama to propose strict new regulation of financial industry

President Obama is expected to unveil a plan that would give the government new powers to seize key companies whose failure jeopardizes the financial system.

The plan would give the government new powers to seize key companies whose failure jeopardizes the financial system, as well as creation of a watchdog agency to look out for consumers’ interests.

Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration this week will propose the most significant new regulation of the financial industry since the Great Depression, including a new watchdog agency to look out for consumers’ interests.

Under the plan, expected to be released Wednesday, the government would have new powers to seize key companies — such as insurance giant American International Group Inc. — whose failure jeopardizes the financial system. Currently, the government’s authority to seize companies is mostly limited to banks.

But critics say the easing of the financial crisis that gripped the country last year appears to have reduced the momentum for some of the most far-reaching proposals, such as merging several banking regulatory agencies.

They’re also concerned that the proposed agency whose mission would be to protect consumers against financial misconduct wouldn’t have the authority to do so for a wide-enough range of products.

“This is too little, too late,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), based on his understanding of the plan. “It’s going to be way less than it should be.”

On Monday, Obama administration officials sketched the outlines of the plan the president is to unveil Wednesday. They said it would seek to reduce gaps in regulatory oversight, rein in the use of mortgage-backed securities and other complex derivatives, reduce incentives for companies to take excessive risk and give the government new power to quickly intervene during any future crises.

“We had a system that proved too unstable, too fragile. . . . Those are things we have to change,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Monday at an economic forum in New York.

The administration also is expected to propose creation of a regulatory body for financial products marketed to consumers, such as credit cards, whose oversight is now spread over several agencies.

In addition, the administration wants to impose regulation over the market for derivatives — the murky financial contracts used to hedge risky investments — including new reporting and disclosure requirements. Institutions that originate loans would be required to retain 5% of the credit risk when the loans are turned into securities.

All the proposals would have to be approved by Congress in a process the administration hopes to complete by the end of the year.

In the heat of the financial crisis last year, there were widespread calls for the government to merge several banking regulatory agencies into one to reduce gaps in oversight and stop what might be called “regulator shopping.”

For example, AIG was able to choose the Office of Thrift Supervision for its non-insurance financial business when it bought a small savings and loan in the late 1990s. That office has been viewed as a weaker regulator, and was strongly criticized in a government report this year for ignoring repeated warning signs about Pasadena-based IndyMac Bancorp before the thrift’s failure last summer.

“I’m concerned that people think we’ve stepped back from the brink of disaster and so they’re not as committed to seeing real meaningful reforms adopted,” said Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America.

For their part, business groups have worried that the Obama administration might go too far in responding to the financial crisis with new regulations, stifling the market and hurting financial firms at a time when the economy is still weak.

They have been pushing back against some of the proposals floated by the administration, lawmakers and consumer advocates, such as a consumer protection agency for financial products.

But Scott Talbott, chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents large financial institutions, said there was still a strong impetus in Washington for regulatory reform and dismissed the suggestion that the Obama administration had missed its chance to implement it.

“This has moved at lightning speed,” he said. “You’re talking about a historic piece of reform.”

Administration officials also have dismissed suggestions that they had moved too slowly, saying they had pushed ahead despite calls from some quarters for them to wait until the end of the crisis before acting.

“There are people who believe that the wrong time to reorganize the fire department is while the fire may still be burning,” Lawrence H. Summers, chairman of the White House’s National Economic Council and Obama’s chief economic advisor, said in a speech Friday. “The president has concluded very strongly that that view is wrong. . . . Experience teaches that once the crisis has passed, the will to reform will pass as well.”

Douglas J. Elliott, an economics fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former investment banker, said there was still enough political momentum to pass major reforms. But as the financial crisis has eased, there is less ability to tackle the difficult turf battles involved in merging regulatory agencies.

For that reason, Elliott said, the Obama administration appeared more focused on setting new rules and principles than on the blowing up the government’s regulatory structure.

“There are entrenched interests that benefit and are allied with each of these agencies. . . . That just makes it hard,” he said.

“As far as I can tell, the administration doesn’t think it’s as important to get that structure right as to get the rules right and make sure people are focused on acting the right way.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-financial-regs16-2009jun16,0,4262249.story

Russian Scholar Says U.S. Will Collapse Next Year

*YA THINK????*

MOSCOW —  If you’re inclined to believe Igor Panarin, and the Kremlin wouldn’t mind if you did, then President Barack Obama will order martial law this year, the U.S. will split into six rump-states before 2011, and Russia and China will become the backbones of a new world order.

Panarin might be easy to ignore but for the fact that he is a dean at the Foreign Ministry’s school for future diplomats and a regular on Russia’s state-guided TV channels. And his predictions fit into the anti-American story line of the Kremlin leadership.

“There is a high probability that the collapse of the United States will occur by 2010,” Panarin told dozens of students, professors and diplomats Tuesday at the Diplomatic Academy — a lecture the ministry pointedly invited The Associated Press and other foreign media to attend.

The prediction from Panarin, a former spokesman for Russia’s Federal Space Agency and reportedly an ex-KGB analyst, meshes with the negative view of the U.S. that has been flowing from the Kremlin in recent years, in particular from Vladimir Putin.

Putin, the former president who is now prime minister, has likened the United States to Nazi Germany’s Third Reich and blames Washington for the global financial crisis that has pounded the Russian economy.

Panarin didn’t give many specifics on what underlies his analysis, mostly citing newspapers, magazines and other open sources.

He also noted he had been predicting the demise of the world’s wealthiest country for more than a decade now.

But he said the recent economic turmoil in the U.S. and other “social and cultural phenomena” led him to nail down a specific timeframe for “The End” — when the United States will break up into six autonomous regions and Alaska will revert to Russian control.

Panarin argued that Americans are in moral decline, saying their great psychological stress is evident from school shootings, the size of the prison population and the number of gay men.

Turning to economic woes, he cited the slide in major stock indexes, the decline in U.S. gross domestic product and Washington’s bailout of banking giant Citigroup as evidence that American dominance of global markets has collapsed.

“I was there recently and things are far from good,” he said. “What’s happened is the collapse of the American dream.”

Panarin insisted he didn’t wish for a U.S. collapse, but he predicted Russia and China would emerge from the economic turmoil stronger and said the two nations should work together, even to create a new currency to replace the U.S. dollar.

Asked for comment on how the Foreign Ministry views Panarin’s theories, a spokesman said all questions had to be submitted in writing and no answers were likely before Wednesday.

It wasn’t clear how persuasive the 20-minute lecture was. One instructor asked Panarin whether his predictions more accurately describe Russia, which is undergoing its worst economic crisis in a decade as well as a demographic collapse that has led some scholars to predict the country’s demise.

Panarin dismissed that idea: “The collapse of Russia will not occur.”

But Alexei Malashenko, a scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center who did not attend the lecture, sided with the skeptical instructor, saying Russia is the country that is on the verge of disintegration.

“I can’t imagine at all how the United States could ever fall apart,” Malashenko told the AP.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,504384,00.html

Bernanke Says U.S. May Need to Expand Bank Rescue

*It will NEVER end. Welcome to the new world.*

March 3 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said policy makers may need to expand aid to the banking system beyond the $700 billion already approved and take other aggressive measures even at the cost of soaring fiscal deficits.

“Without a reasonable degree of financial stability, a sustainable recovery will not occur,” the Fed chairman said today in testimony prepared for the Senate Budget Committee. “Although progress has been made on the financial front since last fall, more needs to be done.”

Bernanke’s comments suggest he sees a role for bigger federal outlays as the Obama administration seeks congressional approval for a budget of $3.55 trillion for the fiscal year beginning in October. President Barack Obama has already signed into a law a $787 billion economic stimulus package of tax cuts and government spending.

Obama’s first budget seeks standby authority for as much as $750 billion in new aid to the financial industry. Whether those funds will be needed “depends on the results of the current supervisory assessment of banks” and the evolution of the economy, Bernanke said.

Bernanke said policy makers would have “preferred to avoid” what is likely to be the largest ratio of federal debt compared with gross domestic product since the end of World War II, and he urged lawmakers not to lose sight of fiscal discipline.

Cost to Budget

“But our economy and financial markets face extraordinary challenges,” and doing less now would eventually prove to be more costly, he said. “We are better off moving aggressively today to solve our economic problems; the alternative could be a prolonged episode of stagnation” that would cause budget deficits to swell further, increase unemployment and undermine incomes “for an extended period.”

The Fed has more than doubled its assets to $1.9 trillion during the past year by expanding loans to banks, launching programs to revive commercial paper and other markets and backing the merger of Bear Stearns Cos. with JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The 55-year-old Fed chairman told the Senate Banking Committee last week there’s a “reasonable prospect” the recession will end in 2009 “if the actions taken by the administration, the Congress and the Federal Reserve are successful in restoring some measures of financial stability.”

Stock Slump

Fed policy makers face headwinds from equity markets, with the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index falling this year by 22.5 percent and the S&P Financials Index tumbling 44.2 percent.

The government is still trying to stabilize large financial institutions such as Citigroup Inc. and insurer American International Group Inc. Shares of Citigroup traded at $1.33 this morning at 9:33 a.m., and the government expanded its aid to AIG yesterday after the company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $61.7 billion, the worst loss by any U.S. corporation.

The spending blueprint delivered to Congress last month forecasts government spending this year of $3.94 trillion, up 32 percent from a year ago. That would yield a record deficit of $1.75 trillion in the year ending Sept. 30, equal to about 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, the highest since World War II. Government spending of $3.55 trillion next year will include about $350 billion approved as part of the stimulus package.

Stimulus Impact

“By supporting public and private spending, the fiscal package should provide a boost to demand and production over the next two years as well as mitigate the overall loss of employment and income that would otherwise occur,” Bernanke said.

Still, the size of the impact on the economy from government spending is “subject to considerable uncertainty,” Bernanke said. Consumers may decide to pay down debt or save their cash rather than spend it, he noted.

January forecasts by Fed officials suggest “a full recovery of the economy from the current recession is likely to take more than two or three years,” Bernanke told lawmakers last week.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January, the highest level since 1992. Job losses spanned almost all industries from trucking and construction to retailing and finance.

Fed officials expect unemployment in the fourth quarter to average 8.5 percent to 8.8 percent, which would be the highest since 1983, according to their January forecasts. Gross domestic product will contract 1.3 percent to 0.5 percent, and inflation will run at just 0.3 percent to 1 percent this year, their projections indicate.

Fed Forecasts

Fed officials don’t see labor markets improving until 2011, when growth forecast at 3.8 percent to 5 percent reduces the unemployment rate to a range of 6.7 percent to 7.5 percent.

Economic models used by Macroeconomic Advisers LLC show the Obama stimulus package could keep the jobless rate at about 8.8 percent instead of the 9.5 percent rate that would result without the package.

The Fed is stepping up efforts to stem the worst credit crisis in seven decades by expanding a program aimed at supporting consumer and business loans to $1 trillion from $200 billion and adding commercial real estate. It is also buying $600 billion of debt sold by government-backed housing finance companies and mortgage-backed securities they guarantee.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aabXQOXBRk8E&refer=worldwide