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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those that don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it - by Silence DoGood

I think it safe to say that we’ve all heard the phrase, “Those that don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” I’m talking about the upcoming election cycle, but probably not in the context in which you might be thinking. Does everyone remember how Adolph Hitler came to power? For those of you not alive during that time in history, Germany had been stripped of her wealth and ability coming out of World War I. Germany was forced to pay war reparations on the basis of, ‘to the victors go the spoils.’ Germany was in the middle of a great political struggle between a myriad of factions. And the world was heading into The Great Depression.

You may hold the opinion that there is nothing of that era that is even remotely close to things as they are today. I would like to differ with that view. An entire people had been stripped of their national identity and forced into abject poverty as a nation. There was no clear leadership and indeed, the numerous factions vying for political control of the nation were literally fighting in the streets for superiority. The people themselves had no hope and were forced into subservience. Adolph Hitler rose to power, a figurative phoenix rising from the ashes if you will, and was able to pull Germany together and give it a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose based on racial and ethnic superiority and a military economy to re-arm and re-equip the Army, Navy, and Air Force of Germany.

Today, the United States rests in the shadow of it’s former self, just like Germany prior to the arrival of Hitler. Individual and Corporate greed has stripped our ability and our status as leader in the free world, just like the Allied powers stripped Germany immediately after World War I. We are incapable of sustaining ourselves as an industrial nation.

But the coup d’tat that was to become the greatest horror of the 20th Century began as a political rallying cry from a political extremist with well orchestrated moves. The rhetoric that propelled Hitler into power was based on nationalism and fervent pride in the German people and Nation. There was no political discourse after Hitler assumed power. The only detail to be concerned with was the Nazi detail and whatever Hitler said was the way it was, in essence, might makes right. Today, rather than finding ourselves in discourse over political direction, which ideally would be slightly left or slightly right of the middle, we find ourselves locked in mortal combat as political adversaries with each other, not to accomplish the most good for the most people, but as a game of one upping each other in order to win. Just like that period of time in Germany, each faction is trying to gain political control. And as if that weren’t enough, there are factions in both mainstream parties that want to splinter and faction themselves off. Yes, the Tea Party is an example of that concept. It pays to bear in mind that America and Americans atypically gravitate toward the political middle or moderate view/stance. Few take radical or extreme stances in politics. Yet, we have this radicalization of politics and as may be elucidated in a broad and general sense, when these factions fail to succeed in one aspect, they often are willing to try another. What that means is, if they are unable to win their objectives politically, they are oft times willing to try to gain their objectives with force and violence. Take a look at how most terrorist groups grow and evolve. Born out of social strife and struggle, they fail to win or garner influence through traditional means so they turn to violence as a means to an end. Am I implying that your local tea partier will resort to violence? No, but there is that potential. To provide levity, look at groups such the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts (ALF and ELF) that resort to criminal acts and violence in order to perpetuate their ideas on others. Who dares wins? No one seems concerned about the whole, unless it involves waving a flag and the sphere of interest encompasses that pinpoint ideology that each adheres to.

Don’t take the next few statements out of context. The only reason I use the political right is because they are currently at the forefront of the national spotlight and easy to view and assess. If it were turned around, I would do the same with the left. The political frontrunners of the right tell us that all it takes is for America to stand strong. Well, I’m all for that. It’s time we started making our own cars, televisions, furniture, appliances, machinery, and food again. But it seems the only thing that we can build is bombs, tanks, and planes. It’s time we rejuvenated our steel industry, our electronics and oil industries. It’s time we made it so expensive for those criminal corporations to off shore themselves and try to do business here that it is cheaper to hire, reside, and produce here. Now you can call that a tax, tariff, or protectionism it matters not. What it does is take away the advantage of going off shore in the first place. It protects our people, our workers, and our industries. Those that clamor for a free market economy are often the ones that stand to benefit the most. They want free markets, but they likewise want tax shelters, breaks, and subsidies paid to them. They want it all. And again the corollary shows between the US and Germany during the rise of Hitler. Hitler watched the corporations grow fat on war profits and stripped the people of the means to live, subsist, and make a decent life for themselves. And he turned the focus of the people on those corporations and demonized them. Look at the insane profits being generated at present by the corporations in the United States and held off shore. I’m not talking small business. Small business is hurting right along with the middle class.

The right or conservative factions scream that it is the fault of the current sitting president. Deficit spending, huge debt, printing money devaluing the currency, all equate to a backslide of the United States from hegemon. We have stood by and watched the protections of the Constitution erode on the basis of personal safety. We aren’t any safer than we were 10 years ago, as we approach the anniversary of the bombing really, of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. There is an illusion that we’re safer. But what happens when you feel safe, regardless of whether you are or not? You relax, you let your guard down, and bam. Sure there have been reports every now and then about this, that, or the other terrorist threat or attempt successfully abated. That is to keep the masses pacified and prevent words such as these. If these words challenging the voracity of such action do arise, then it provides ‘proof’ that the Patriot Act is working.

“Freedom isn’t Free” is another one of those terms that we’ve all heard before. And it’s true. The structure of our society is such that we have the greatest personal liberty, or did, of any sovereign nation on the planet. There are risks inherent to that concept and living that way, including the occasional loss of life. Be it through a criminal act like armed robbery or a terrorist attack, domestic or international. But the fact that our system succeeds is the testament to greatness. That the people are resolute in their will to exercise the freedoms they have, despite being bombed, slashed, or repressed. Where we fail is that we barter away our liberties a bit at a time for the benefit of feeling safe, or want of a job, or a million and one other things that are of little consequence to survival.

Because that is where we are at present folks. We teeter on the brink. The middle class of this nation has been reduced to the point that it is simply getting by. The elites of this nation and world are increasing their wealth in leaps and bounds and we are admonished that we merely have to work hard in order to succeed. That day has past I’m afraid. We must work hard now just to survive. To provide food, shelter, and basic needs, we are forced to settle for less than what we are deserving of, simply because we are in a moment of weakness and accept what is offered rather than hold out and demand what is ours by right. And you know something? We have quite literally done it to ourselves. We take what we are told at face value and give control to those who would make a mockery of our freedoms and processes. So while I brought the Presidential aspirants of the right side of the line into focus earlier, it cuts hard across both sides and all political ideologies, and that brings me back to the original premise of this piece. This nation is rife for the assent to power of a person such as Adolph Hitler. This nation is at a political low tide and feelings of desperation are pervading the population. As more and more people figure out how we’ve been duped and how they’ve been taken advantage of by those who take advantage of rules and laws they’ve had passed for the express purpose of running rough shod over a vast majority of the population, all in the name of making a buck, class conflict moves closer and a person of the ilk of Hitler taking power comes closer to being a reality.

I’ve covered quite a bit and if you’re still reading, thank you. The reason I hit so many topics is because those are general topics of the talking points we all hear on what is now a regular basis. I haven’t covered them to great depth, since to do so would increase this to something of a thesis. But look at the time and number of words used to briefly bring each into context. Now look at what the politicians are wanting you to decide on a 30 second blurb of tilted logic. We are going to hear quite a bit in this election cycle, locally as we move closer to November and nationally as primary season approaches mid 2012. I would urge and encourage you to dig deep on your selections and then choose wisely. And lastly, be careful what it is you ask for. You just might get it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Money Creation - Michael E. Badgett

August 30, 2011
Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Secret Fed Loans (Video):
Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve's unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley, got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup Inc. took $99.5 billion and Bank of America Corp. $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress. Erik Schatzker and Sara Eisen report on Bloomberg Television's "InsideTrack."
Gerald Celente ~ $1.2 Trillion Secret Fed Loans to Wall St Aristocracy:

Money Creation

“Give me control of a nation’s currency and I care not who makes its laws.”
---Murray Rothschild, Banker"

It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
— Henry Ford, Car Maker


The Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve is not Federal and it doesn't have any reserves. The Federal Reserve is owned by private banks and is not under the control of our Congress. 

One of the jobs of The Federal Reserve is to supply money to the U.S. However, for every dollar The Federal Reserve supplies, a debt to the people is created. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. constitution states that our Congress has the power to coin money and regulate the value there of. Our Constitution does not say anything about a private bank controlling our money.

Recently, a partial audit of the Federal Reserve demanded by members of congress including Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders showed that the Federal Reserve had given or lent $16 trillion to both U.S. and foreign banks. 

 Many people believe that The Federal Reserve System is not the way to move us into the future.

Who Controls the Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve has a chairman. The Federal Reserve Chairman is appointed by the President of the United States. Alan Greenspan was the Federal Reserve Chairman From 1987-2006. During those years we saw the deregulation of the banks, the boom in derivatives trading, the tech bubble and the beginning stages of the housing bubble. Now, since 2006 we have Ben Bernanke. He is slated to be in office until 2014. So far under his guidance, we have seen the trillions and trillions of dollars lent at no or very low interest rates to mega banks both in the U.S. and overseas. We have also seen lending to small businesses slow and the pop of the housing bubble which has left millions of Americans unemployed and foreclosed upon.

These powerful individuals in control of our money system are not elected by us and don't seem to be in the business of helping us.

The Federal Reserve Supplies Money to the U.S.

There are two basic ways the Federal Reserve, the government and the member banks work together to get money into our system.

1) Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds 

One way we get money into the system is by selling bills, notes and bonds. Countries, states, counties and cities sell bonds in order to raise money to spend.
The difference between bills, notes and bonds are their length until maturity: 
* Treasury bills are issued for terms less than a year.
* T-notes are issued in terms of 2, 3, 5, and 10 years.
* Treasury bonds are issued in terms of 30 years.

Who Buys Bonds?
Anyone can buy a bond. Some people buy bonds as a traditionally safe way to invest their money. Investment firms often invest retirement funds in bonds. When you buy a bond, you get paid back with interest.

Interest Paid to Bondholders
 We all know the costs associated with borrowing money from the banks, whether via our credit cards, our mortgages or car loans. However, There is a hidden cost of money that we don't often think. The money our tax dollars go to to pay interest to bondholders.

Interest Paid to U.S. Treasury Bondholders

When treasury bonds are sold, the U.S. government gets the money and uses it to pay for things in its budget like national defense, social security and Medicare. When we pay our federal taxes some of it goes to paying the bondholders. Most of this interest the Federal Reserve earns from its bond holdings is returned to the treasury, but not all of it. In fact, when you pay U.S. taxes, your money goes to paying off the bondholders!

In FY 2010 the interest on the debt, incurred largely by the sale of bonds, was $414 billion. The interest on the debt is the fifth largest Federal budget item, after Defense and Security spending ($890 billion), Social Security ($730 billion) and Medicare ($490 billion). (Source: U.S. Treasury, Interest)
2) Money enters our Economy When Banks Make Loans.
Besides the sale of treasuries, another way money enters are system is through loans. Essentially, there is no money until it is borrowed from a bank. Here is a typical sequence of events:

1) The Federal Reserve lends money to one of its member banks, such as The Bank of America, Wells Fargo, or U.S. Bank. If a bank borrows $1,000 it is entered as a credit on the Federal Reserve balance sheet. There is no actual money. Money is just a bookkeeping entry on a screen. (Member banks borrow money from the Federal Reserve at a low interest rate, 0.2% to 1.27%.)

2) The member bank now has $1,000 and can leverage this $1,000, which means it can multiply it. The bank can loan out $9000 to someone. (The bank just has to keep 10% of its money on its balance sheet in reserves.)

3) Someone comes in to borrow money $9,000 to buy a car. The banker types "$9,000" into his computer. The money didn’t exist until the loan was made. It is typed in as a credit to the bank. The bank might loan out this money at 12%.

4) Now the person who borrowed the $9,000 has to pay off the $9,000 with interest. Over the life of that loan, the person might end up paying back the bank $12,000.

A: Those banks can make a lot of money just by virtue of being banks! Here in North Dakota, credit is flowing, interest rates are low and my business is booming.

B: Here in Washington, things aren't quite like that yet. But we are on our way. More people are realizing that public money should be seen as a public resource rather than as a money making mechanism for banks

 Bottom LIne:  A chunk of our U.S. debt and state debt is because of having to pay interest to bond holders. Another part of our state debt is having to pay interest on money our state borrows from big banks.

Bonds, Debt to Banks----How would a Public Bank Differ?

Once a public bank gets started, (capitalized), it holds the tax payer revenue. A public bank is mandated to invest in the people and projects in their region or state. It makes low interest loans to small businesses. More credit to businesses increases employment and increases state tax revenue. Also there is less need to sell bonds for projects because the state has it's own credit creation machine using the principle of leverage that all banks use.

Public banks help end the debt cycle. They tilt us toward a growth cycle.

Private people profit from the money creation process?
A:  I'm a little bit confused, upset and shocked by this.

B:  I was too. But public banking is a solution! We should be able to
supply our own money debt free as the U.S. Constitution instructed us, or at least at very low interest and we shouldn't have to pay interest to private people for the use of our national currency! 

The Economic Future --- North Carolina

If North Carolina had a public bank, like the one in North Dakota, we would be able to control the interest rate and decide to whom the money was lent.

The interest earned from the loans would be returned to Washington state to be used to benefit North Carolinians. Less of our money would go to paying off bondholders.

Join the Push for Public Banking!

My suggestion is that we start printing pink slips for Democrat & Republican politicians instead of more dollars!

Dump Democrats & Republicans 2012

The Future Is Now!

Michael E. Badgett
217 W. Church St.
Mount Airy, NC 27030

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- August 28, 2011

(The Hickory Hound) - In a comment related to the article from this past week entitled Hal Row doesn't want us rocking Hickory's boat, Silence GoGood wrote a comment in which he goes into specific details related to the "It takes a Retirement Village" paradigm that community leaders are attempting to shove down out throats by hook or by crook. What we need to see is balance, but the authoritarians who run this community, along with those who go along to get along, and the ostriches want to continue along the path towards the trainwreck that most of us are foretelling. The local PTBs are in hot pursuit of people who they call halfbacks, who have moved from the Northeast to Florida and the PTBs anecdotally tell are going to move to our area, because they don't like Florida's climate. What the Geniuses don't look at is how Orlando, Miami, and the Tampa area's real estate markets are completely decimated. These markets have lost half of their value from the peak. The local PTBs, who's vast majority are in this age bracket and also are several times better off than we the working class, can afford this mistake. Those of us who have to work every day can not. I have met Silence DoGood and he is a person who has been in a position to know what is going on around here. Band Aid solutions are not the answer to our problems.   This retirement area idea is a waste of time and energy and is just a way to push the problem down the road just like the politicians in Washington do. The younger generations are going to be the ones who have to deal with the fallout.

Silence DoGood commented...
Interestingly enough, some may not know of the existence of a feasibility study and committee from different government and private agencies to assess the viability of needs for seniors and their impact. That committee met across late 2009 and 2010 as a first stage study and analysis. But here’s the deal. To make Catawba County and Hickory viable in the vision of Senioropolis, it is going to take major investment in infrastructure, most notably, public transportation. The current grids and major connectors just aren’t viable for low speed vehicles and there isn’t available right of way to make low speed vehicle only lanes. The only way to do that with what you have would be to cut the number of lanes currently in use. Think of that nightmare. Now, you could adopt local ordinances authorizing low speed vehicles in the regular traffic stream. But that would only suffice on local streets. State maintained roads would limit those vehicles to being used on 35mph speed zones and under. Think of the number of state maintained roads in Hickory. Most of your major cross-town arteries are included in that group. Now think about Ma and Pa in a revved up golf kart playing in the traffic. Light rail would be an excellent alternative, but just an off the top of my head figure would be somewhere around $15 billion to minimally cover Catawba County and each of the municipalities with light rail and a single spur line. No one is going to cough up that kind of cash and the Federal Government is strapped to the point that grant money isn’t going to be available. Yes, there is a bus line and vans. Available county-wide at a price to other municipalities. So complete coverage doesn't exist because people don’t want to pay for any number of reasons. Likewise, those buses don't run out into Vale or the nether reaches of Eastern Catawba. Private investment wouldn’t realize a profit for so long because of the low fare pricing to make it utilized it’s not worth it. So despite the hype, talk, and rhetoric, the reality of making it possible just isn’t there.

That isn’t to say that the plan won’t still be implemented. By that, I mean sell the homes, the senior living centers, the healthcare availability, and once they’re here, let them worry about how to get around and get to the places they need to go. The real estate proles have made their bucks, likewise the contractors, and the investment has been minimal… at first. You now have an entire and substantial population of people that are completely or wholly dependent on public services for their needs. That will in turn stretch those tax dollars even tighter and the ability to provide services thinner. And this population is known for their participation in the electoral process.

So while it is important to listen to what is being said, it is likewise important to know the background and what isn’t being said. The later is usually more informative.

But the entire nuts and bolts issue here is planning. Just like you, Harry and Thom, have eluded to in any number of posts in the past. Those in charge, now and in generations past, failed to see the future. These people failed because they planned for now. They look at what they needed for ‘the now’ as opposed to what they needed for ‘then’. The rationale there being, “In 30 years, it will be someone else’s problem.” They fail to take into account factors such as population trends, needs, and where they want to be for the future, from point A to point Z. It’s all neat, packaged and slurped down by the masses like a hungry seal slurps down a fish. Just like now, a knee jerk deal changer with a $20 million investment is going to turn Hickory around again. You can’t do it with $20 or $200 million. Where it needs to start is a change in leadership with politicians that grasp a concept of the future and at least a vague idea of how to get there, recusing themselves and their own personal benefit from the equation. The only thing you garner looking back is a glimpse of what was.

Homeowner Associations in Need of Cash Sue to Force Foreclosures - Bloomberg - John Gittelsohn - Aug 23, 2011 - Members of the Vintage East Condominium Association in Miami Beach got tired of waiting for JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) to foreclose on unit 9, so they sued the bank in February to take control of the property... In June, more than four years after the owner stopped making payments, a judge ruled that JPMorgan lost its claim to the $144,000 mortgage. The apartment is now on the market for $87,500, and the association may stave off insolvency with proceeds from the sale and a new owner who pays monthly dues, said Jane Losson, a board member at the complex. Four of the 11 other owners at the property are also behind on dues... “I find it an outrage that the bank had decided to do nothing and the other owners got stuck,” Losson, who’s had her Vintage East condo since 2004, said in a telephone interview. “If we get this unit sold, we’ll have a little money.”... Financially troubled condo associations are taking banks to court as foreclosure delays enable delinquent homeowners to stay in their buildings for years, often without paying dues that keep boards running. The groups start by pressuring lenders to speed up home seizures and take over payment of the monthly fees. In extreme situations, like the Vintage East case, associations may force banks to give up rights to the property.

‘MERS morass’ is hanging up negotiations on foreclosure settlement - Washington Post with Bloomberg - Brady Dennis - August 24, 2011 - The pending multibillion-dollar settlement with banks centers on “robosigned” documents and court filings and other problems related to mortgage servicing that caused a national uproar last fall. Much of that flawed paperwork flowed through MERS... Meanwhile, the same system helped make possible the boom in mortgage-backed securities that fueled the housing crisis by allowing banks to quickly and cheaply transfer the ownership of loans. Questionable securitization practices have sparked other state and federal investigations, but they are not the focus of the current settlement talks.. Given the broad reach that MERS has into every aspect of the mortgage and foreclosure process, officials have been grappling with whether they can address one element of the MERS business model in the current settlement while leaving other aspects open to future investigation. In part, they say, the patchwork of conflicting laws and court decisions in different states makes a one-size-fits-all solution difficult. In addition, they are facing pressure from banks that already stand to pay billions of dollars in penalties and would prefer to steer clear of the MERS problem altogether in the current negotiations... Several people familiar with the negotiations said that officials leading the talks have no intention of releasing MERS­CORP, the parent company of MERS, from liability claims. The trickier question is how to address MERS-related foreclosure cases that involve the banks under scrutiny.

Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal
- Rolling Stone - Matt Taibbi - August 24, 2011
- On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations – the practice of chopping up assets like mortgages and converting them into saleable securities – that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008... On the other side is the Obama administration, the banks, and all the other state attorneys general... This second camp has cooked up a deal that would allow the banks to walk away with just a seriously discounted fine from a generation of fraud that led to millions of people losing their homes... The idea behind this federally-guided “settlement” is to concentrate and centralize all the legal exposure accrued by this generation of grotesque banker corruption in one place, put one single price tag on it that everyone can live with, and then stuff the details into a titanium canister before shooting it into deep space... This is all about protecting the banks from future enforcement actions on both the civil and criminal sides. The plan is to provide year-after-year, repeat-offending banks like Bank of America with cost certainty, so that they know exactly how much they’ll have to pay in fines (trust me, it will end up being a tiny fraction of what they made off the fraudulent practices) and will also get to know for sure that there are no more criminal investigations in the pipeline.

Wake Up America! 10 Very Obvious Reasons Why The Devastating U.S. Jobs Famine Is Going To Suck The Hope Right Out Of America
- The Economic Collapse Blog -
#1 Our politicians simply do not care that America is bleeding jobs. Amazingly, even with rampant unemployment plaguing this nation, Obama administration officials continue to declare that it is okay that we are losing manufacturing jobs because a lot of cheaper products are things that "we don't want to make in America" anyway. The following is what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post the other day....

#2 The Obama administration has now instituted a policy of "backdoor amnesty" for illegal immigrants by executive fiat. Janet Napolitano has announced that from now on there will be a case-by-case review of all deportation cases. Cases involving criminals will be prioritized and most others will be thrown out. A list of 19 factors that will allow government officials to use "prosecutorial discretion" in immigration cases has been distributed. Recently, I listed a few of those "factors" on The American Dream website....

#3 State and local governments all over the country are dead broke, and an atmosphere of austerity is sweeping the nation. Right now state and local governments are slashing jobs at an unprecedented rate.

#4 U.S. businesses are being absolutely crushed by mountains of nightmarish regulations, and yet the federal government, the state governments and local governments just continue to pile them on. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer. Due to these kinds of ridiculous regulations, many business owners have simply given up and many other potential business owners figure that owning a business is just not worth the hassle.

#5 As I have written about so many times before, the "global economy" is really bad for American workers. When we merged our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, we made it inevitable that we would start losing massive amounts of jobs.

#6 Unfair trade is absolutely killing our economy. It would be one thing if the U.S. was running a massive trade deficit solely because we were incompetent. But the truth is that a big factor is that a number of our "trade partners" are economic predators that are purposely trying to prey on us.

#7 Small businesses are traditionally one of the primary engines of job growth in this country. But right now, small businesses all over America are having a really hard time getting anyone to loan them money. A big reason for this is that the Federal Reserve is actually paying banks not to make loans. Unfortunately, if small businesses can't get the money that they need, then they can't hire people.

#8 A lot of people may not want to hear this, but businesses in the United States are being absolutely taxed into oblivion. The U.S. now has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, but that is only a very small part of the story.

#9 The national debt is like a giant albatross around the neck of the economy. The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 4 trillion dollars since Barack Obama took office. The rampant government spending that has been going on has not done much to create new jobs, but it will be a massive burden that will weigh down economic growth for many years to come.

#10 Right now America is very deeply divided and a tremendous sense of pessimism has set in. One recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months. With such a negative feeling in the air, it is going to make it even less likely that business owners will be in the mood to hire people.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Broken Banks = Broken United States Economic System = You

Many of you will look to my article from earlier this week entitled Gold!!! - Next stop $2,000 and think boy did he have it wrong after Gold fell back to $1,710. Well Gold finished above $1,825 today. What a wild swing. Do you think this is normal? No! Precious metals will continue to escalate, because our money is be devalued before our very eyes. The Powers that shouldn't Be can continue with these games, but the laws of nature are not going to allow this game to last forever. If one reverse engineers all that we have seen, one will realize that the markets are being fully manipulated at this point and there is no way out of this mess other than to prosecute these criminals who have fraudulently debased our currency and gutted our industry. I will stand on my record of the last 3 years. Nothing has changed, because the leaders of this nation have represent the Banks and Wall Street Executives not the other 99.9% of us.

The following videos are from Max Keiser and Nomi Prins. I have had several articles in which I have pointed towards the thoughts and presentations of information from Max Keiser, You can follow his articles at The second video sequence is an interview from Alex Jones's show of Nomi Prins who used to be a Managing Partner with Goldman Sachs. She has written a book detailing the practices of the banking cartel, which of course includes Goldman Sachs, entitled It Takes a Pillage. Her website is

There are rumors abound that Bank of America is now fully insolvent. The rumors state that JP Morgan-Chase is about ready to take over BoA. As many of you have seen Warren Buffet invested $5 billion in BoA this week. Warren Buffett is already heavily invested in Wells Fargo. His ivestment in BoA and subsequent statements are dead giveaways that something dire is happening behind the scenes. In studying economics for most of my life, I can tell you that the history of rescued failing corporations shows that Buffet saying that BoA's balance sheet is in good working order is the proverbial Kiss of Death.

Folks, if you are going to attempt to only get your news from the Presstitutes of the Lame Stream media, then there really isn't much that can be done for you. We are seeing a quickening of events. I think it is the result of the explosion of population that has happened over the last century plus. We are all exponential beings bouncing off of one another like kinetic atoms. What we all do affects not only the people we experience every day, but also the people that they experience.

Life is not wrapped up in a few words in an article in a newspaper or in 21 minutes of nightly news. Life is infinity. Why am I telling you this? Because when we allow people to do bad things and they infect the people around them, then it spreads like a contagion. This Ponzi economy contagion that we are all experiencing today is at the point of becoming a plague. It is way past the stage of being an epidemic. It has permeated every crack and crevice of our society. A fully wrecked economy is going to make life as we know it cease to exist. Life is going to be very tough, but doing nothing about what is going on today is going to mean the unnecessary struggle and ultimate death of many people who touch your life. These broken banks affect the viability of our government, our society, and ultimately each and every one of our lives.

Max Keiser & Alex Jones: 1 2 3 "Global Meltdown"

Journalist Nomi Prins: Blankfein Hires Criminal-Defense Lawyer to Save His Skin

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hal Row doesn't want us rocking Hickory's boat

Once again I listened to the Mayor this morning on Hal Row's First Talk program on WHKY. They spent most of the hour yucking it up about things such as yesterday's earthquake and last week's Harley Owner's Group rally. Nothing substantive was discussed and of course Hal threw every softball (more like T-ball) question up to Mayor Wright that one could think of. I am starting to wonder what the purpose of these radio appearances are.

I am not here to attack Hal, but I do believe that it is my right to offer constructive criticism of his program. Hal is a great host, if it is as the role of an emcee. That is the way I think Hal looks at his role. He definitely has a great talent as an orator behind the mic. But, my criticism is that his show could deliver so much more to the community and I have sent e-mails in the past to Hal stating this. The community deserves to hear all of the relevant sides of an issue, but Hal steadfastly refuses to bring any point-counterpoint issues to his show and all we get is the City Bureaucracy's side of the story. Is that fair?

Once again Hal brought up the $20 million game changer question. He asked if anyone had brought any ideas to the Mayor. The Mayor inferred that no one had and then went into a diatribe about bringing the retirees into the community and also stated that people had made fun of him about the $20 million idea and that the people in the city would come up with the money for the "RIGHT" idea.

I would like to make a couple of points. First of all, I spoke to the Mayor on that very program a few months ago about microlending and what did we see? He got very defensive about the issue and basically dismissed it outright. I think when the Mayor talks about the "Right Idea," what he is referring to is the "WRIGHT Idea." He wants something that he can take full credit for and if no one comes to him with anything he can point the finger and say, "See no one else has any ideas either." What it shows me is that the Mayor doesn't have any ideas and leaders are supposed to generate ideas through themselves or others.

The Mayor and the City Manager have proven time and time again that they are not team players. They want all of the credit for the good and none of the blame for the bad. It is like in football, the Quarterback and the Coach get the credit for the good and the blame for the bad. The great coaches and quarterbacks accept that and the ones that fail always look to deflect criticism and absolve themselves of mistakes. The greats admit fault, learn from mistakes, and apply themselves under that greater understanding in the future. I have never heard the City of Hickory admit fault or that they have made any mistakes about anything

Does anyone think that he has looked further into the issue of microlending and doing anything about it? Or bringing forward any public discussion about microlending possibilities or the pros and cons or making it possible for private capital to make funding of such an function possible?

At the end of Hal's show, he stated that no one was coming forward with ideas. He stated that the people who complain were just complainers who had nothing constructive to offer. On this issue, I will tell you that Hal was referring to this blog. Personally, I'm a little tired of the naivete offered up by the local media that never discusses the real issues that affect our area. Is that the role of the news media? To never complain or offer criticism and to only spout forth the City of Hickory or other local official's propaganda?

I have offered many solutions on this very blog about the direction this community can take. I will list some quotes that have been placed here over the years below:

An All-American City deserves first-class leadership (July 15, 2007) :
We need to be inviting alternative fuel energy companies to take a look at the area. We are located at or near several major thoroughfares. We need to look at the biotech industry and how we could entice these companies to come here. We need to look to future technologies and how we could play a part in their development. We see Charlotte thriving, yet we are floundering. It's time to end the excuses and show some results.

Hickory - Time to put the Puzzle together (August 17, 2009):
Looking at Richard Florida’s philosophy got me to thinking about Hickory’s plight. Hickory must figure out a way to retain its best and brightest citizens, especially the twenty and thirty somethings. These are the generations that help a community constantly renew and revitalize itself. These are the people who have children and spend money on commodities that help a city to grow and prosper. The way to retain these people is to encourage industries that they will be more willing to participate in; High Tech industries such as robotics, energy, health care, engineering, and biomedical technology.

A key to creativity is understanding and accepting the needs and differences of individuals. In my opinion, many creative people don’t want to live in this area, because we make them feel uncomfortable or even unaccepted. We hear a lot about like-mindedness, but what about diversity? We need people coming at local issues from all angles, conforming to one way of thinking reeks of authoritarianism. Creativity never thrives under such conditions....

When it comes to building industry in our area, it’s not about College. It’s about knowledge. Do we have the types of Knowledge Industries available that will interest and retain the educated class? Are the people who grow up here and go away to college coming back after they obtain their degree? Are the young adults that we educate in our local Institutions of Higher Education staying here after they graduate? The key to prosperity is developing employment opportunities for the educated (and trained) at a living and sustainable wage. Our area’s wage growth proves that this is not happening. Without good jobs, we cannot have a prosperous and vibrant community. We cannot have the cultural amenities so many desire, because our tax base and marketplace will not support it....
What I believe we should study is the Commercial characteristics and Cultural Amenities of these cities and how they are addressing needs that are relevant to the 21st century. Every one of these cities is addressing their Public Transportation needs and I think that it is imperative that we also do just that. Our Public Transportation system is extremely inadequate for an area of our size. Population growth has been shown to be a key to a successful economy. If we move towards a structure that encourages growth, then we must develop a public transportation central nervous system to ensure that the growth is systematic and sustainable and doesn’t have a negative impact on our ability to travel to different destinations in the area.

Hickory sits at several important geographical and transportational crossroads and should be a vital central location for Western North Carolina. In my opinion that is what caused this city to develop in the first place. Why we lost the meaning and significance of this part of our city's Mission of Existence is beyond me....

Forbes ranks Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton as #147 area out of 150 when it comes to Culture and Leisure. This Index is based on museums, theaters, golf courses, sports teams, and other activities. I think the SALT Block is an excellent public cultural facility, we have the Crawdads and, and we have a ton of golf courses (and a golf tournament) around here. So by process of elimination, I believe that this tells us that we need to improve upon our entertainment business sector. There really isn’t much to do around here other than go to bars.

Developing an entertainment complex would go hand-in hand with our restaurant and retail business sectors and it would appeal to a younger demographic. I have heard the possibilities of a mid-sized concert venue being developed and I think a nice Amphitheater in the area would have a lot to offer. Just think of people around the region converging on Hickory and spending money in our stores. That seems like a lot better scenario than always having our citizens go to concerts in Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro, or Greenville, SC and spend money there.

Many people believe me to be eternally pessimistic when it comes to my hometown. I honestly don’t believe that I am. Some don’t like the message and others don’t like the way I have delivered it. But, would they have listened if I had softballed it up to them. Empirical evidence points to the fact that they wouldn’t have. I think the issues that we have faced and continue to face are solvable. But, we need to quit wasting time and get on with solving these issues that have plagued this area for years.

In our Future Economy Council Linked In Group. I wrote this just yesterday and it is related to issues that I have delved into on this blog (8/23/2011):
It is all about Trends and I believe that is what Curtis in part is alluding to. I think that what we need to do is look to the local ingredients we have, such as craftsmanship, and tune those into what will be needed if and when the economy turns around. Look at the positioning Charlotte is doing related to energy.

I look at trends and energy is most definitely an issue. It always has been and always will be. You can look at food in much the same manner. The way that we currently source food is very inefficient. I really do believe that an industry that helps create self-sustainability of food items at home can be a good effort. Make it easy for people to grow salad and fruits at their homestead and become self-sufficient. Make it user friendly.

I also think there are ways to help people be more efficient in their energy usage when it comes to heating and cooling their houses. This along with hot water usage are the major costs of residential energy bills. I also like the ideas of residential water conservation and using run-off to our advantage through man made aquaducts, cisterns, and holding ponds. We can merge this with manufacturing of water purification systems that can service our areas and help other cities throughout the country.

I also think the sooner that we get involved in rail transportation systems, the better we are going to be positioning ourselves in the future.

And here is a response to another:
Energy, food, and water technology. Three issues that have always been important in the development of mankind. I also think home sustainability is an important issue and not being too dependent on the control grid. Industries that help people be self-sufficient are going to be very important as the economy worsens. If you can't grow a little food, you just might starve to death. People learned this the hard way back in the 1930s.
As you can see above, I have put forward things that can be done. You can talk about these being generalities. What investment isn't a generality until action is taken to make it happen and then the shovels dig the ground and then construction is finished and the project is officially utilized. Look at the Northeast Wastewater Treatment Center. That is how the steps of progress took place. That is how projects work. That project was a dream and a general concept at one time, but soon it will be part of the fabric of our infrastructure.

The problem with Hickory is not a lack of ideas. The problem with Hickory is a lack of understanding about priorities, initiatives, and a sense of urgency. We don't have time for nonsense. Our city's problems will not be solved at Bojangles or the Snack Bar. Our problems will be solved when we quit playing little games and start engaging people who care and let them be part of the team and participate in working towards the long term viability of our local economy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gold!!! - Next stop $2,000

As America continues its directionless demise, Gold crosses $1,900 per ounce on the way to $2,000 and beyond. The blind public doesn't see any of this. They don't see what is happening. What is happening isn't negative in their eyes. What is negative is me showing you how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Three years ago today (five days before this blog began) Gold sat at $822 an ounce. That is an increase of 131% in three years and Gold is up over 7-fold since 2001.

This is not happening because everyone all of the sudden thinks that Gold is beautiful. This is happening because of the destruction of our currency and other currencies around the world. There is no safe haven.

Three years ago the Dow Jones Industrial Average sat at 11,628.06. Today it closed at 10,854.65. On February 22, 2001, when Gold had fallen to $256 an ounce, the stock market sat at 10,526.81. The Dow Jones to Gold ratio was thus 41.4x on that date in 2001 and today it sits at just 6.12x.

Now people can keep talking about what investments are good and which are bad. Owning stock isn't good unless you are privy to the insider information that Corporatists and Government Cronies enjoy. The rest of us need something that we can get our hands on.

Thank You Leaders of the "Free" (for all)World. You are doing just a magnificent job of destroying this nation and thank you Ostriches for going along with them.

If you are having trouble reading this email, you may view the online version
China Offshoring
The Collapse Of The Western World

by Paul Craig Roberts

How big is planet earth? Large if compared to the moon, small if compared to the solar system, and infinitesimal if compared to the universe. The point is that the size of something depends on that to which it is being compared. 

The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank and offshoring’s shills forgot this simple point. On August 8 the SF Fed put out an Economic Letter in which US imports of goods made in China (both by Chinese and US firms) were explained away as a mere 2.7 percent of US personal consumption expenditures. 

I am confident that the staff of the SF Fed were competent to get the percentage correct. But does it mean anything? No.

For most Americans, their income is used up on housing, energy, car payments, food, and medical care. Very little income is left, especially these days, for durable (for example, furniture and household equipment) and nondurable (for example, clothing and shoes) manufactured goods. 

The appropriate comparison of imports from China (from both Chinese owned and US owned corporations) would be with the percentage of personal consumption expenditures spent on durable and nondurable manufactures. As I do not think the US is yet importing cars from China, or at least not in any volume, we can deduct motor vehicles from US personal consumption expenditures on durables. The total personal consumption expenditures on furniture, household equipment, other durables, clothing and shoes comprise 9.9 percent of personal consumption expenditures.

This means that goods imported from China (those made by Chinese and US firms) account for 27% of US expenditures on durable and nondurable manufactured goods not including cars. In other words, imports from China absorb more than one-fourth of
Americans’ expenditures on manufactured goods. The relevant figure is thus ten times the figure delivered by the SF Fed’s Economic Letter, which was picked up and shouted by shills for offshoring.

As about half of US imports from China are the offshored production of US corporations, 13-14 percent of US personal consumption expenditures on manufactures (excluding cars) is on Chinese-made products of US firms.

The substantial part of the US economy that has been offshored to China is only part of the loss of US jobs, consumer incomes, tax base and GDP. US corporations sell to Americans their goods manufactured in Indonesia, Taiwan, S. Korea, Eastern Europe and elsewhere--anywhere labor can be employed at a wage below labor’s contribution to profits. 

When you add up all the offshored production by US corporations that import their products back into the US to sell to Americans, who no longer have the jobs, or incomes from the jobs from producing the goods that they consume, we have a very high cost of offshoring that does not enter into the offshoring corporations’ costs of production.

Libertarians and “free market” economists praise Wal-Mart’s low prices achieved by offshoring, but these prices do not include the costs of the decimated state and local tax bases that are destroying American cities, the costs of the high unemployment and the personal depression, crime, and income support programs. These and other costs are expenses imposed on third parties by the movement of American jobs abroad in order to maximize profits.

The earnings of offshoring corporations and retailers do not include all of the real costs. If the costs of offshoring were included--the unemployment and destroyed careers, the cutback in public services, the impact of the trade deficit in reducing the exchange value of the US dollar, and so forth--offshoring would not pay and would not occur.

Here we see one of the greatest failures of capitalism--the ability to produce by imposing the costs of production on innocent third parties who do not participate in the gain. 

We see the same high external costs imposed on societies and countries by the financial sector’s greed for profits. The smashing of people’s retirement hopes, the foreclosure of homes, the zero interest rate on the savings of the retired are all the result of a laissez faire financial sector that took the advantage and leveraged debt to previously unimaginable levels. When the bubble burst, the financial sector, both in the US and Europe, used government to raid the pocketbooks of ordinary people in order to prevent any loss to the financial sector from its fraud, greed, and utter irresponsibility. 

Capitalism works only when the costs of production are included in the price of the product. With jobs offshoring this is not the case. Free trade works, if it works at all, only when capital and technology remain in the domestic economy and find their best use or comparative advantage. Offshoring is the contradiction of free trade. It is the pursuit of lowest factor cost and absolute advantage.

The loss of manufacturing to offshoring is not the only cost to Americans. Tradable professional services, such as software engineering, have been offshored, thus denying employment to US university graduates. In recent years, a college degree means unemployment, unserviceable student loans, and living with one’s parents.

Jobs offshoring has benefited Wall Street and corporate profits, but it has dismantled the ladders of upward mobility that made America an opportunity society. Yet, America’s political leaders have no clue. Recently President Obama said that part of the solution to the dragging US economy was to pass the “free trade” agreement with South Korea. 

In other words, more jobs offshoring will solve the problem.

Many of the few who are aware of the problem blame China for “currency manipulation,” which is also a favorite scapegoat for offshoring’s shills. The argument is that China attracts jobs offshoring by keeping its currency undervalued to the dollar by “manipulating” its currency to keep it pegged to the dollar. 

In other words, when the US government manipulates its currency by devaluing it, the Chinese currency follows it down. 

This is just another false claim that originates from the offshoring corporations, the bought-and-paid-for economists and policymakers, and the presstitute media. China pegged its currency to the US dollar in order to assure the world that the questionable money of a communist country was as good as the dollar. 

Because of US failures, the Chinese currency has become better than the dollar and is undervalued as a result of the peg. China has adjusted to this fact by replacing the fixed peg with a moving peg.  The Chinese currency is gaining in US dollar value, but the dollar is depreciating faster than the moving peg is moving. Therefore, China’s currency remains overvalued.

But this is not the reason so many US corporations are producing in China for their American customers. As China, India, Indonesia, and other countries have large excess supplies of labor, labor can be hired at wages that are below labor’s contribution to profit. 

The total lack of any patriotism by first world corporations toward their native lands is destroying, economically, Western civilization. As other factors are also destroying Western civilization, we are entering a collapse comparable to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the remaking of the world.

* About the author: Former associate editor of The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts served on personal and committee staffs in the House and Senate, and served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during the Reagan Administration.
©MMXI The Trends Research Institute®

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- August 21, 2011

The following are links to important stories written about Current Economic Activity and the relevance that these issues have upon our everyday lives. These stories will give you a flavor of the current state of the economy as it stands today and is trending to the future.

Perry Made a Million on Land While in Office - Bloomberg - By Alison Fitzgerald - Aug 18, 2011 - Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has never been paid a government salary of more than $150,000, became a millionaire while in public office through well-timed sales in the Texas real estate market...  The Republican presidential hopeful bought property from friends and political allies and sold to Texas businessmen, such as computer magnate Michael Dell, and in the process made more than $1 million. Perry’s income also was supplemented by stock sales, according to his tax returns and county land and tax records.

Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?
- A whistle-blower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals. - Rolling Stone - By Matt Taibbi - August 17, 2011 - That, it now appears, is exactly how the Securities and Exchange Commission has been treating the Wall Street criminals who cratered the global economy a few years back. For the past two decades, according to a whistle-blower at the SEC who recently came forward to Congress, the agency has been systematically destroying records of its preliminary investigations once they are closed. By whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals, the SEC has kept an entire generation of federal investigators in the dark about past inquiries into insider trading, fraud and market manipulation against companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and AIG. With a few strokes of the keyboard, the evidence gathered during thousands of investigations – "18,000 ... including Madoff," as one high-ranking SEC official put it during a panicked meeting about the destruction – has apparently disappeared forever into the wormhole of history.

Justice Department Joins Probe of S&P, Rivals Over Crisis-Era Ratings - Wall Street Journal - By EVAN PEREZ And JEANNETTE NEUMANN - 8/19/2011 - The U.S. Justice Department has joined the Securities and Exchange Commission in investigating Standard & Poor's and other credit-rating firms for their role in developing mortgage-bond deals that helped trigger the financial crisis, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter... The probe by lawyers in the Justice Department's civil division appears to be centered on the actions of S&P, though that could change as the investigation proceeds, this person said... The SEC for months has been looking closely at the conduct of S&P and reviewing the role played by Moody's Investors Service, owned by Moody's Corp., in relation to at least two mortgage-bond deals, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Waiver Count Keeps Going Up - - Helen Whalen Cohen - 8/20/2011 - The Obama administration granted another 106 waivers last month from part of the healthcare reform law — the first round of three-year waivers the Health and Human Services Department has approved... The new approvals bring the total number of waivers to 1,472, according to HHS. Those figures cover waivers granted through the end of July. HHS will stop granting new waivers after September... HHS has been approving a new batch of one-year waivers at the end of each month. The department announced it would cut off applications after September, but let companies that received one-year exemptions extend their waivers through 2014. The 106 waivers approved in July will last three years.

Shoppers will see higher prices for back-to-school shopping, but stores aim to disguise them - Associated Press 8/18/2011 - Stores are trying everything they can think of to disguise the fact that you’re going to pay more for clothes this fall... Some are using less fabric and calling it the new look. Others are adding cheap stitching and trumpeting it as a redesign. And the buttons on that blouse? Chances are you’re not going to think it’s worth paying several dollars more for the shirt just to have them... Retailers are raising prices on merchandise an average of 10 percent across-the-board this fall in an effort to offset their rising costs for materials and labor. But merchants are worried that cash-strapped customers who are weighed down by economic woes will balk at price hikes. So, retailers are trying to raise prices without tipping off unsuspecting customers.

Retailers, Restaurants Raise Prices to Offset U.S. Labor Costs - Bloomberg - Anna-Louise Jackson and Anthony Feld - 8/18/2011 - Retailers and restaurants are raising consumer prices to help compensate for higher labor costs, which increased the most in almost three years during the second quarter... Fifty-three percent of these companies with annual sales of $10 million to $500 million have lifted prices during the last 12 months, up from 32 percent a year ago, according to a quarterly survey by Barlow Research Associates. This comes as U.S. inflation excluding food and energy costs accelerated at an annual pace of 1.8 percent in July, the biggest such gain in more than a year, according to Labor Department data released yesterday.

Foreclosure Case Against MERS Reaches Supreme Court
- Housing Wire - Kerri Panchuk - 8/17/2011 - A controversial case challenging the ability of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems to foreclose on a California man was filed with the Supreme Court Monday, making it the first major MERS case to reach the nation's highest court... If the Supreme Court agrees to hear Gomes v. Countrywide, Gomes' attorney, Ehud Gersten, says the court will have to decide whether a lower court stripped his client, Jose Gomes, of due process by allowing MERS to foreclose without ensuring the registry had the noteholder's authority to foreclose.

Industry's Past-Due Mortgages Climb Above 6.5 Million - - Carrie Bay - 8/16/2011 - LPS says the national delinquency rate — loans that are at least 30 days past due but not yet in foreclosure – rose to 8.34 percent as of the end of July. That’s up 2.4 percent from June but down 10.4 percent from July 2010...   According to the company’s latest report, 4.11 percent of the nation’s outstanding mortgages were part of the foreclosure inventory at July month-end... The foreclosure inventory rate – which LPS calculates as loans that have been referred to an attorney but have not yet reached the final stage of foreclosure sale – increased 0.4 percent from June, and is up 9.7 percent from a year earlier.

Calm Before Black Swan - Midnight Contemplations On Public Enemy N°1

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Shell Game

The Financiers on Wall Street and the City of London can't keep up the game. You need to understand that money/capital is the equivalent of Water to the World or blood to an Animal's body. It is the lifeblood that allows the organism to exist. As students of the economy, we have to understand that the flow of money/capital is necessary to sustain and grow an economy. Think about a human body. Where blood flow stops that part of the body dies. Think of Earth. Where there is no water, life cannot be supported.

The U.S. government in conjunction with the Federal Reserve has been printing all of this money, but how has this been to the benefit to the people of this nation. People can't get loans/capital. If people can't get capital, then they can't start businesses or buy a house or borrow money for any long term investment. These types of capital are necessary for the middle class. These types of necessary debts allow people to progress and build personal equity. This is what our nation was built upon.

The money that has been printed has been being used as liquidity (water) for the banks (The Federal Reserve) to quail economic panics (fires), but what these "Geniuses" can't seem to grasp is that with a diverse world with disparate political systems and diverse cultural identities where they exert so much energy putting out one fire another is sure to spring up. It is like a game of "Whack A Mole."

The debt ceiling was raised and immediately the Economic Gurus of the U.S. and World sprang to action. Is the money being used to invest in infrastructure and retool American industry? No, it is being used by the President's Working Group on Financial Markets to continue to play "Whack A Mole." But the jig is up, because they have so let this system spin out of control that these artificial financial control mechanisms are beginning to have little long term effect on the real economy and all these bogus investments to try and control the marketplace are only bringing more inflation into the real (hard) asset markets.

Look at this morning. One can see where the Plunge Protection Team came into the Stock Market in New York and attempted to put a stop to the chaos that started out this morning. As soon as they did this, Gold spiked. Over the last several months you have seen silver fall back from its nearly $50 an ounce high to where it almost touched $30 an ounce. Now you see where it has climbed back to nearly $41 an ounce. I still contend that what I wrote about in the article The Impending Collapse of JP Morgan is correct. I still believe that JP Morgan is heavily shorted in the Silver market and everything in the world is being done to protect JP Morgan-Chase to buy time to try and figure a way out from this exposure.

The whole problem with this Ponzi Financial system that has been set up is that it has all been built on paper. Our currency is paper. The Precious Metals markets are built on paper. The Agricultural commodities markets are built on paper. The problems underlying these paper assets relate to the fact that there are too much of these paper assets to cover the physical demands of the market place. When these paper investors have to make good on the delivery of the product to someone who has a physical demand, then we see these investors, most of which are the Banking Interests from Wall Street, taking these freshly printed dollars into the market place and bidding up the price of the real physical commodities. That is what is creating the inflation we see.

The only way to fix this problem is to get these paper investments under control. You should not be able to short a commodity that you do not have control of. We have seen this with so many of these derivative investments. Bank Of America is in trouble in relation to Mortgage Backed Securities and a problems related to fraud within this system and their attempts to Foreclose on properties that they do not hold clear title to. I discussed that in a series of articles from last year related to fraudclosure.

Fraudclosure 201 - the Horse Race vs Governance, Fraudclosure 102: Multi-tiered Bank Fraud Exposed!, Fraudclosure 101: Bursting the PiƱata, A letter to the NC Attorney General involving Fraudclosure, You can help people save their homes!, Real Terrorism: Financial Terrorism - Time to break the Banksters, 2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here, How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?The Plunge Protection Team and the Ponzi Economy

All of this is leading to a full blown collapse. What the Elite don't seem to understand is that this isn't Economic Theory from an Ivy League University. These decisions, conflicts of interest, and fraud have real outcomes and these outcomes are going to reek havoc upon all of our lives. The "Geniuses" seem to think they have all of the answers, but the American People aren't even considered as part of the equation. Look at the trends. Commodities skyrocketing. The stock market staggering and being eaten alive by inflation. I'm not going to give anyone investment advice. I am just here to provide information.

Max Keiser : America is being sold everyday for a fee

Max Keiser : today the french banks are collapsing and particularly Society Generale , Hugo Chavez ordered the transfer of Venezuela 's Gold which is held in London's Vaults back to Caracas that's a 211 tonnes of Gold this would represent one of the largest moves of physical gold in decades , Hugo Chavez also ordered the nationalization of Venezuela's gold mines , he certainly realized that the era of paper money is finished ....before the NWO we will have a European World Order run from Berlin , Germany is using the financial crisis to conquer Europe and create the 4th Reich ...the Swiss franc is running crazy on the upside and it is hurting the Swiss economy ...the global GDP of the whole world is about 50 trillion and the global derivative market is about 600 trillions so that's your ratio right there ....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

America's 14 Most Ready to Riot Cities

This Presentation includes an article by Chaz Valenza of and a short audio presentation on the subject from Gary Null of the Gary Null Show.

Gary Null cites 14 American cities that are ready to riot according to him , number one in his list is Detroit where the official unemployment is 20 percent but which is probably around 40 percent , it has the highest crime rate in the United States . Troops and mercenaries will be used to detain Americans in prison camps, warned Gerald Celente in previous interviews , Gerald Celente says that America will see riots similar to those currently ongoing in Greece and that the cause will be a hyper-inflationary depression, leading to the inevitable use of troops and mercenaries to deal with the crisis as Americans are incarcerated in internment camps.Celente believes there is a possibility for a civil war, “but we predict that it will end with the breakup of the Empire, which can’t sustain itself,” adding that his team originally forecast this back in fall 2002. Ultimately this means that the US “will look like [post-Soviet] Russia.” Here we are in 2012. Food riots, tax protests, farmer rebellions, student revolts, squatter diggins, homeless uprisings, tent cities, ghost malls, general strikes, bossnappings, kidnappings, industrial saboteurs, gang warfare, mob rule, terror.

“Goldman Sachs is running Washington, look at the fingerprints, they are all over the place,” he said. “It is disgusting; they are robbing the nation blind. In fact, this is what we are writing about in the autumn issue of the Trends Journal. This is the greatest heist in US history, happening in broad day light.” "We want to make it very clear that the policies leading to the decline of ‘Empire America’ have been long in the making,” he said. “What has happened in the Obama Administration is that they have taken policies far beyond even what Bush took with the TARP program; for example, with his stimulus package, with the buyouts, with the bailouts, the rescue packages, these are unprecedented in American history.” “When this bubble bursts, unlike the financial/real estate bubble that burst, the dot-com bubble before that, and the ’87 stock market bubble before that” US taxpayers will now be on the hook for trillions in losses as our “government is [a major] equity holder in private corporations. That never existed before. Clearly, the people running this nation are “out of control,” Celente continues, noting that as economic conditions further deteriorate “people are going to start losing it,” he said. “But, they are going to lose it in different ways: our greatest fear for the future [is] rampant crime, and the society breaking down.” He pauses briefly, and then offers a truly frightening thought. “When we say food riots, it’s going to people rioting just to eat.”

America's 14 Most Ready to Riot Cities 
- Chaz Valenza - OpEd News - August 11, 2011

The 14 cities are Detroit, Miami, Cleveland, Memphis, New Orleans, Buffalo, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Baltimore, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Long Beach, Newark, Philadelphia.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of August 16, 2011

This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the 8/16/2011 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.
Invocation by Rev. Bud Zehmer, Pastor, Church of the Master

Consent Agenda

A. Approval of Tax Refund, as Recommended by Catawba County Tax Office, to National City Commercial Capital Co. LLC in the Amount of $620.79 - This request for refund in the amount of $620.79 is due to an incorrect listing on leased equipment in 2009. Business personal property listed by the company was leased to Duke Energy Corp. at the Hickory garage and was also listed as public utility with the State by Duke Energy Corp. The leased equipment was listed correctly in 2010 and 2011. The records have been checked and verified by the Tax Collector’s Office.

B. Request for Approval of Agreement of Conditions and Resolution to Accept Grant from North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) for Four Lidars and Four Pole-Mounted Radar Systems at a Cost of $32,000 (GHSP - $24,000; City - $8,000) - Hickory Police Department requests approval of Agreement of Conditions and Resolution to Accept Grant Funds from the NC GHSP in order to purchase four lidars and four pole mounted radar systems at a cost of $32,000 (GHSP - $24,000; City - $8,000). Lidars will cost $3,500 each and will be placed in each PACT for use to estimate speeding vehicles in order to thwart traffic crashes and injuries to citizens. The polemounted radar systems will cost $4,500 each and will be placed in high traffic areas to get the attention of oncoming drivers as a reminder to slow down.

C. Request From Hickory Downtown Development Association for Use of Union Square for 2011 Oktoberfest on October 7, 8 and 9, 2011 (Event Start Time: Noon on Friday, October 7th; Event End Time – 5:00 on Sunday, October 9th)

D. Municipal Agreement With NC Department of Transportation for Inspection of Bridges on City’s Street System in the Amount of $4,160 The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 requires the inspection of all bridges on a cycle not to exceed two years. NC DOT is requested to employ a qualified engineering firm to perform the inspections and analysis of the structures and to prepare the necessary structural inventory and appraisal forms for submission to the Federal Highway Administration. The inspections are to be performed in Spring, 2012. The Federal Highway Administration participates up to 80%, with the City being responsible for 20% in the amount of approximately $4,160. Reports for each structure will be submitted to the Engineering Department. Funds are budgeted

E. Renewal Option of Lease Agreement Dated March 5, 1996 with FMD Aviation, LLC (Frank Drendle, Owner) For An Additional Five (5) Years as Noted in the Original Lease FMD Aviation LLC constructed a hangar located on the south side of the Hickory Regional Airport in March, 1996, and desires to utilize their lease option for an additional five (5) years. All original terms and conditions will remain in full force and effect. FMD Aviation LLC is currently paying $1,321.68 per month to the City of Hickory. The lease agreement states every twelve-month period following the initial twelve-month period shall be adjusted by two percent (2%) or CPI, whichever is lower. The 5-year renewal period will expire in March, 2016. Staff recommends approval to renew the lease option with FMD Aviation, LLC for an additional five (5) years.

F. Grace Chapel to US 321 Road Project – Temporary Construction Easements for Two Properties in the Total Amount of $1,800. The following two easements are necessary to construct the Grace Chapel to US 321 Road Project. The City is responsible for acquiring the temporary construction easements, and NC DOT is responsible for the construction funding.

C. Phillip and Brenda Suttlemyre $1,300 Richard D. Berry, Jr. and Mary F. Berry $500 (Total - $1,800)
These amounts have been agreed to by the property owners, who have signed all the appropriate documents subject to approval and payment. Staff recommends approval of the negotiated transactions and purchase of the temporary construction easements.

G. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance Through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs
Ms. Liza Ramirez is being recommended to City Council for First-Time Homebuyers Assistance to purchase a house located at 1920 15th Avenue SW, Hickory, in an amount not to exceed $6,500 for assistance with down payment and closing costs. The First- Time Homebuyers Assistance Loan is zero interest, no payments and repaid upon sale, refinance or payoff of first mortgage.
Ms. Debra Patterson, 240 2nd Street, SE, Hickory, is being recommended to City Council for assistance under the City of Hickory’s 2010 Urgent Repair Program in an amount not to exceed $5,000.

H. Lease Agreement With Hickory Christian Academy for Classroom and Office/Conference Space at Neill W. Clark Jr. Recreation Park for an Initial Term of 10 Months and 15 days in the Amount of $1,851 Per Month - Hickory Christian Academy is a not-for-profit corporation which operates a private
Christian school for students in grades K-12 and is located adjacent to Neill W. Clark Jr. Recreation Park. Due to school facility constraints, school representatives approached the City about the possibility of leasing space beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. The leased space is located in the Neill Clark’s main building, and leasing of this space will have no adverse effect on any programs offered and conducted by the Parks and Recreation Dept. The lease agreement is for an initial term of 10 months and 15 days beginning August 17,2011 and continuing until June 30, 2012. The lease will automatically renew for successive one-year periods beginning July 1, 2012 and expiring June 30, 2016. Hickory
Christian Academy will pay the City $1,851 per month during the initial term of the lease.

I. Offer to Purchase and Contract By City of Hickory to Walter M. and Rebecca W. Craig for Property Located at 222 3rd Street SW (Catawba County PIN 3702-06-48-7586) in the Amount of $47,000. This offer to purchase and contract is for the .26-acre property located at 222 3rd Street SW, which is adjacent to the Hickory Police Department property. There is a structure located on the property. The property could be used for potential future expansion of the Police Department. The tax value is $48,200.

J. Proclamation – Proclaiming August 13 – 20, 2011 as “High Flying in Hickory Week” – North Carolina Harley Owners Group (HOG) Rally

K. Resolution Opposing Various Electricity Rate Increases For North Carolina On July 1, 2011, Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC filed with the NC Utilities Commission for a general rate increase to be effective February, 2012 which includes substantial rate increases. This resolution opposes the rate increases to the public lighting tariff and the other various electricity rate increases that are proposed by Duke Energy.

L. Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 3
1. To budget a $1,988 insurance claim check from Trident Insurance Company in the L.P. Frans Stadium Maintenance and Repair of Buildings line item. This claim check is for lightening damage at the stadium.

2. To appropriate $47,000 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Police Department Land line item. This appropriation is necessary to purchase property located at 222 3rd St. SW Hickory. This property is located adjacent to City property at 347 2nd Ave. SW and could be used for potential expansion of the Hickory Police Department.

3. To re-appropriate $55,044 of Water and Sewer Fund Balance to the Water Plant Maintenance and Repair of Equipment line item. This appropriation is necessary to pay Covington $29,058.20 for repair to the existing generator and Sunbelt $25,984.87 for the standby generator rental. These items were budgeted prior to the end of the fiscal year; however, work was not complete at that time. Therefore funds rolled back into Water and Sewer Fund Balance and a re-appropriation is necessary.

4. To transfer $69,295 from General Capital Reserve and $49,200 from the Library's budget for computer replacements to the Information Technology Computer Equipment, Maintenance and Repair of Computer Equipment and Departmental Supplies operational line items. The transfer of these funds in addition to $44,650 currently budgeted in the Information Technology Computer Equipment line item are needed to pay to convert the Library to a virtual desktop environment called Virtual Desktop Integration (VDI). VDI transitions from the common individual personal computer per station to a computer monitor that is integrated directly to the server. The project converts 75 computer stations and enables future computer
replacements throughout the organization to convert to virtual desktop as well. The project totals $163,145 and, as a result of this conversion, reduces the individual computer replacement cost by approximately $1,000 and doubles the useful life of each station.

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Voluntary Contiguous Annexation of the Property of the City of Hickory and Public Right-of-Way Located Along 9th Street NE and Cloninger Mill Road - The Cloninger Mill Property is a city owned, 79-acre tract of land in northeast Hickory and is adjacent to Lake Hickory. A portion of this property is already in the City limits, and the remaining 67.74 acres is recommended to be annexed. This property was first identified as a potential park site in the 1979 Parks and Recreation Master plan and was recommended again as a future park site in 1997 when the Parks and Recreation Master Plan was updated. Following an assessment of the property, it was determined that portions of the site were best suited for commercial and residential use. With this realization, staff identified a 10-acre parcel adjacent to the intersection of Highway 127 and Cloninger Mill Road that was best suited for commercial development. Likewise, an analysis of the property identified land adjacent to 9th Street NE that was well suited for residential use. The remaining balance of the property has been set aside as a future park, with the recommendation that proceeds from the sale of the commercial and residential property be used to help start park development. In 2008, planning began on the development of a master plan for the park site. City Council accepted the Cloninger Mill Park Master Plan in March of 2009. The City of Hickory has submitted a petition for the contiguous voluntary annexation of 67.74 acres of property and public street right-of-way located along 9th Street NE and Cloninger Mill Road, the same being three parcels bearing PIN Nos. 3715-19-50-8795 (Deed Book 0789, Page 0127), 3715-19-60-6388 (Deed Book 1939, Page 1441) and 3715-19-70-2637 (Deed Book 0758, Page 0345). The property is located within the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction area (ETJ) and is zoned R-1 Residential and Neighborhood Commercial (NC). The property is currently publicly owned, and the majority of the property is planned to be part of a future public park. The public street right-of-way consists of approximately 860 linear feet of 9th Street, NE, which is an improved street. The property meets all August 16, 2011 5 the statutory requirements for voluntary contiguous annexation, and adequate public services and infrastructure are available. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on August 5, 2011.

Cloninger Mill Park - 3rd meeting - The Master Plan - 3/10/2009

You can go back and read my excerpts from the first meeting that was held September 24, 2008 here (1st Cloninger Mill Park Meeting) and the second meeting on January 15, 2009 meeting here (2nd Cloninger Mill Park Meeting).

Here are Links to pictures and schematics that were presented at the Master Plan meeting along with my previous Google photo of the property (a couple aren't 100% focused, but you can see the end result):

My Google aerial photo of the property
Black and White Aerial Map
Final Master Plan photos 1 / 2 / 3
Site Analysis (1/15/2009) / Slope analysis / Soil Analysis / Site Photos

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Second Reading - Lease Agreement With Hickory Christian Academy for Classroom and Office/Conference Space at Neill W. Clark Jr. Recreation Park for an Initial Term of 10 Months and 15 days in the Amount of $1,851 Per Month Due to time constraints, Staff is requesting a second reading on this item. - Mac McLeod came addressed the council about the fact that Hickory Christian Academy has outgrown their current facilities. The city has had numerous meetings with Hickory Christian Academy related to this matter. (The Hound - This is the former North State Academy, so it definitely suits the purpose.)

The Hound's General Comments - This weeks meeting lasted less than 20 minutes. Mayor Wright and Alderman Meisner weren't present. Alderman Lail presided as the Mayor Pro-Tem. It is good to see the Cloninger Mill Park agenda moving forward. I hope you will take a look at the amenities that this park will offer.

One issue that was not pulled from the Consent Agenda was the issue of Oktoberfest. I am glad we didn't hear the rancor related to this issue that we did in relation to Hickory Alive, although I know for a fact that it is the exact same type of event, only held on a much grander scale over a three day period. I hope when next year roles along and the issue of Hickory Alive is brought to the fore again that we see the same tolerance and acceptance that we see offered to Oktoberfest.

It is also my hope that the audience that reads this newsletter will take the time to listen to the presentation from Taylor Dellinger of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments. This presentation relates the pieces of the puzzle related to the Hickory area's demographics and what needs to be addressed along the Highway 70 corridor, the South side of Hickory, and the Highland area.

Taylor Dellinger Presents Hickory Metro Census to the Future Economy Council of Catawba County

We have to accept how this area has developed and take the bad with the good related to those issues and understand that we can make positive adjustments to right this ship. There are members of our community that are working hard towards moving Hickory into a positive position going forward, but there are others who want to stand pat, because they are more comfortable with the status quo. We need to start helping the average people of Hickory or I will assure you that we are going to see a mass exodus out of here. You know that this is right in your heart of hearts. If you have a business, what will this mean for that business? What will that mean for the growth of that business? Most people are already affected by this. People need to understand that the surest path to failure is only looking out for oneself and not helping others. The smallest gestures toward helping your neighbors can make the biggest difference in the world.