Friday, January 20, 2012 Reviews – Legit or Scam? is the largest penny auction website currently operating in the United States. Penny auctions have been around for awhile, but have only recently gotten lots of attention from people outside of the penny auction community.
Penny auction websites attract people to them by promising expensive, big ticket items at unbelievably low prices – for example, QuiBids shows a new iPad, which retails at $499 for the most basic model, selling for $22.54.  But this winning bid of $22.54 is misleading.  This isn’t the truth of how much it costs to win that iPad.
The way penny auctions work is that you are only able to bid a single penny at any time during the auction.  However, at, you must purchase each 1 cent bid for 60 cents.  So an iPad that retails for $499 but was won for the grand total of  2,254 one cent bids (or $22.54) which actually cost 60 cents each means that the iPad just sold for $1352.40.
Though the person who wins the item usually has paid less than retail for what they have received, citing $22.54 as the winning bid is extremely misleading.

So is QuiBids a Scam?

All penny auctions, regardless of reputation, are a bad idea and should be avoided.
First of all, and other penny auction sites require people to pay for the option to bid, but don’t allow them to bid in increments of their choosing.  This means that QuiBids is forcing the price up and profiting all the while.

On eBay, the seller and buyer have the auction monitored by the website, which is the trusted third party.  On, there is no trusted third party.  QuiBids is the seller and the auctioneer.  It works in their favor – and their favor only – to drive the price up in these small 1 or 2 cent increments.
QuiBids attempts to redeem themselves by offering you the “By It Now” option, which is when you can take the total amount of your failed bids and apply that toward the retail price of the item you were bidding on.  Say you bid $80 total on an iPod Nano that cost $150.  For the remaining $70, Quibids will sell you a Nano.  Well, $70 plus tax, fees, and shipping and handling.
With the added “fees,” tax, and S&H, that Nano will cost you more than it would at Apple, and usually much more than it would at a discounted retailer like or Target. In addition, QuiBids is not an approved retailer of Apple – or any major brand name – products.
This means that if you get the item from them, the manufacturer warranty is void – if it breaks within the first 60 days, you will not be able to get it repaired or exchanged. If you have a problem within the first 30 days, QuiBids will refund the final auction price you paid, but not a single dime of the bids it took to win the auction.
It’s much better to stick to legitimate auction sites like eBay, instead of spending lots of frustrating time and effort on penny auction websites like

Americans Still Have the Power to Save America

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

While mainstream economic reports continue their attempt to rally spirits with selective statistics about the decrease in unemployment, major companies are still laying off huge numbers, have frozen hiring altogether, or are now simply bankrupt and out of business.

However, most often it is the race to the bottom spurred by corporate globalization (outsourcing) that has eroded America's prosperity.

Faced with this reality, even ABC News showed how a typical American family could in fact meet all of their needs with only American-made products. So, how many American-made companies are there?

“Too many to count.”

Surprisingly, little tweaks in buying habits really can save the jobs of our fellow men and women. It is good news, because it shows that no matter how hopeless the job situation gets, some degree of recovery is possible with positive action. Just like the human body, some positive changes can lead to a recovery that is quicker than the time it took to develop ill health.

But is it to late?

It is never to late to support innovation! The upside of the recession/depression is the entrepreneurial fever that has swept America in the last decade.

 Many small, independent businesses based from home and on the Internet have bypassed the typical red tape and overhead (thereby keeping things affordable). Supporting them, as well as American manufacturers, keeps things afloat and could create jobs.

Moreover, it may simply push companies and consumers in a different direction. Instead of large infrastructures with many middle men that eventually become outsourced, the near-future economy could be rife with alternative markets, micro businesses, and no-nonsense innovation.

Unfortunately, the corporate media is only now reporting information that would have been beneficial all along. But, luckily, many of you have adhered to the USA-made buying diet. Is it difficult and expensive? No, it just takes a little research; the same amount of research most people devote to other important purchases.

To simplify your USA-made pursuit, here is a site that showcases only American-made products: How Americans Can Buy American.  This company provides an aggregate of tons of American manufacturers, saving lots of time in research.

To find out about manufacturing in your state and manufacturing strides and issues, visit Alliance for American Manufacturing.

The companies are there; Americans simply need to tune in to the right channel and support the companies who in turn support them, while boycotting those that don't.

Public Choice: Why Politicians Don't Cut Spending

Photography pioneer Kodak files for bankruptcy

A Kodak filter box is seen in a photo store in London January 19, 2012.     REUTERS-Stefan Wermuth
Two of Eastman Kodak's most successful cameras, a Brownie Special Six-20 (L), circa 1938-1942, which sold for $4, and the Pocket Instamatic 20 (R), which sold for about $28 in 1972, are shown January 12, 2012 in this studio illustration in Washington. REUTERS-Gary Cameron
An Eastman Kodak Carousel slide projector, with 35mm color slide and film cannisters, are shown January 6, 2012 in this studio illustration in Washington.      REUTERS-Gary Cameron

(Reuters) - Eastman Kodak Co, the photography icon that invented the hand-held camera, has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to shrink significantly, capping a prolonged plunge for one of America's best-known companies.
The Chapter 11 filing makes Kodak one of the biggest corporate casualties of the digital age, after it failed to quickly embrace more modern technologies such as the digital camera -- ironically, a product it invented.
Kodak once dominated its industry, and its film was the subject of a popular 1973 song, "Kodachrome," by Paul Simon.
The bankruptcy may give Kodak, which traces its roots to 1880, the ability to find buyers for some of its 1,100 digital patents, a major portion of its value. Kodak now employs 17,000 people worldwide, down from 63,900 just nine years ago.
"It is a very sad day even though we had anticipated it," said Shannon Cross, an analyst at Cross Research who has had a "sell" rating on the company since 2001. "If it emerges, it will be a much smaller entity."
According to papers filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak had about $5.1 billion of assets and $6.75 billion of liabilities at the end of September.
In court documents, Chief Financial Officer Antoinette McCorvey said, without elaborating, that Kodak plans to sell "significant assets" during the bankruptcy. Non-U.S. units are not part of the Chapter 11 case.
Kodak also said it obtained a $950 million, 18-month credit line from Citigroup Inc so it can keep operating and avoid having to liquidate. It said it expects to complete the bankruptcy process in 2013.
"This is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak," Chairman and Chief Executive Antonio Perez said in a statement on Thursday.
Kodak's market value has sunk well below $200 million from $31 billion 15 years ago, when its share price topped $94.
The shares began trading on Thursday on the Pink Sheets. By the end of the day they were down 6 cents at 30 cents each.
In recent years, Perez has steered Kodak toward consumer and commercial printers.
But that failed to restore annual profitability, something Kodak has not seen since 2007, and did not arrest a cash drain.
Kodak has struggled to meet its pension and other obligations to more than 65,000 workers, retirees and others who
participate in its employee benefit programs.
McCorvey said Kodak ultimately suffered from a "liquidity shortfall" as some vendors stopped shipping and providing services, and demanded shorter payment terms.
Kodak said in court papers it has about $820 million of cash and equivalents, but was down to just $56.7 million of cash in the United States.
"They got behind the curve on the analog-to-digital shift, and they were way behind for a long time," said Ananda Baruah, an analyst at Brean Murray who covers Kodak.
The company's downfall has also hit its Rust Belt hometown of Rochester, New York, with its workforce there falling to about 7,000 from more than 60,000 in Kodak's heyday.
Andrew Cuomo, New York's governor, on Thursday called the bankruptcy "difficult and disappointing news" for the city, whose population was about 211,000 in the last census.
Kodak named Dominic DiNapoli, a vice chairman at business turnaround specialist FTI Consulting Inc, as its chief restructuring officer.
The investment bank Lazard is also providing advice and has been helping Kodak look for a buyer for its digital patents. Kodak's law firm is Sullivan & Cromwell.
Last week, Kodak reorganized its business operations, creating a commercial unit and a consumer unit. It previously had units for consumer digital imaging; film, photofinishing and entertainment; and graphic communications.
Mark Zupan, dean of the University of Rochester's business school, said "there's still too much value" at Kodak for the company to be forced to liquidate. "Segments will be profitable enough to survive as a leader, as a smaller company."
Perez, who has been chief executive since 2005, said the bankruptcy would help Kodak maximize the value of patents related to digital imaging, which Kodak said are used in virtually every modern digital camera, smartphone and tablet.
"I've talked to companies who will buy assets who said they were waiting for Kodak to go bankrupt to pay a better price," said Baruah, the Brean Murray analyst.
In the last few years, Kodak has used extensive litigation with rivals such as Apple Inc, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co and Taiwan's HTC Corp over those patents as a means to try to generate revenue.
Among Kodak's many creditors are retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp, and movie companies Sony Corp and Walt Disney Co.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp is the largest unsecured creditor, in its capacity as trustee for creditors, with more than $670 million of claims.
According to Kodak, George Eastman, a high-school dropout from upstate New York, founded the company in 1880 and began making photographic plates. To get his business going, he splurged on a second-hand engine to make the plates for $125.
Within eight years, the Kodak name had been trademarked, and the company had introduced the hand-held camera as well as roll-up film, where it became the dominant producer.
Eastman also introduced the "Wage Dividend" in which the company would pay bonuses to employees based on results.
Kodak went on to create famous cameras such as the Brownie, launched in 1900 and sold for $1, and the Instamatic in 1963.
The company on its website said a Kodak camera was used on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. A Kodak camera was used by the astronauts to film the lunar soil from only inches away, according to NASA.
Kodak film has been used on 80 movies that have won Best Picture Oscars, according to the company.
Six years after Apollo 11, and not long after songwriter Simon told his mama not to take his Kodachrome away, Kodak invented the digital camera.
The size of a toaster, it was too big for the pockets of amateur photographers, whose pockets now are stuffed with digital offerings from the likes of Canon, Casio and Nikon.
But rather than develop the digital camera, Kodak put it on the back burner and spent years watching rivals take market share that it would never reclaim.
In 1994, Kodak spun off a chemicals business, Eastman Chemical Co, which proved to be more successful.
Kodak's final downfall in the eyes of investors began in September when it unexpectedly withdrew $160 million from a credit line, raising worries of a cash shortage.
It remained unclear how Kodak will address its pension obligations, many of which were built up decades ago when U.S. manufacturers offered more generous retirement and medical benefits.
Many retirees hail from Britain, where Kodak has been manufacturing since 1891. The company had promised to inject $800 million over the next decade into its British pension plan.
McCorvey, the chief financial officer, said in court papers on Thursday that she expects the trustee for the British pension plan to have a "significant" general unsecured claim against the company.
The case is In re: Eastman Kodak Co et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.

Four South Carolina Senators Endorse Ron Paul for President 2012


Warning Signs That We Should Prepare For The Worst

Warning Signs That We Should Prepare For The Worst

The warning signs are all around us. All we have to do is open up our eyes and look at them. Almost every single day there are more prominent voices in the financial world telling us that a massive economic crisis is coming and that we need to prepare for the worst. On Wednesday, it was the World Bank itself that issued a very chilling warning. In an absolutely startling report, the World Bank revised GDP growth estimates for 2012 downward very sharply, warned that Europe could be on the verge of a devastating financial crisis, and declared that the rest of the world better "prepare for the worst." You would expect to hear this kind of thing on The Economic Collapse Blog, but this is not the kind of language that you would normally expect to hear from the stuffed suits at the World Bank. Obviously things have gotten bad enough that nobody is even really trying to deny it anymore. Andrew Burns, the lead author of the report, said that if the sovereign debt crisis gets even worse we could be looking at an economic crisis that could be even worse than the last one: "An escalation of the crisis would spare no-one. Developed- and developing-country growth rates could fall by as much or more than in 2008/09." Burns also stated that the "importance of contingency planning cannot be stressed enough." In other words, Burns is saying that it is time to prepare for the worst. So are you ready?

But of course it isn't just the World Bank that is warning about these things. The chorus of voices that is warning about the next great financial crisis just seems to grow by the day.

Some of these voices were profiled in a Bloomberg article the other day entitled "Apocalypse How? Dire ’12 Forecasts". The following is just a sampling of quotes from that article....

-John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Advisors: "We've got a cancer. That cancer is debt"

-Mark Spitznagel of Universa Investments: "Too much malinvestment has been kept alive, and history shows an inevitable wipeout, which started in 2000."

-Michael Panzner of Financial Armageddon: "The fundamental outlook is even worse now than it was a few weeks ago, given (the lack of positive) developments in Europe and growing evidence that the economies of major countries around the world are deteriorating fast."

If you have time, you should go check out the rest of that article. It really is fascinating.

When this crisis is over, all sorts of people are going to be running around claiming that they predicted it. But it does not take a genius to see what is coming. All you have to do is open up your eyes and look at the flashing red warning signs.

So what should we all be looking for next?

March 20th is a key date to keep your eye on. That is the day when Greece will either makes its 14.5 billion euro bond payment or it will default.

Greece does not have a prayer of making that payment without help. If Greece can convince the EU and the IMF to release the next scheduled bailout payment and if Greece can reach a satisfactory deal with private bondholders, then the coming Greek default might be "orderly". But if something goes wrong, the coming Greek default might be quite "disorderly".

At this point, almost everyone in the financial world is anticipating a Greek default of one form or another....

-Edward Parker, the managing director for Fitch's sovereign and supranational group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, recently declared that a Greek default is inevitable....

"It is going to happen. Greece is insolvent so it will default."

-Moritz Kraemer, the head of S&P's European sovereign ratings unit, made the following statement on Bloomberg Television on Monday:

"Greece will default very shortly. Whether there will be a solution at the end of the current rocky negotiations I cannot say."

-Richard McGuire, a strategist at Dutch bank Rabobank, was recently quoted by CNBC as saying the following....

"People often ask if Greece is going to default which ... is a misnomer because Greece is (already) defaulting"

-Diane Swonk, the chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, says that the default by Greece will probably be an "orderly" one but that the situation could change at any moment....

"It appears at the moment that the market is accepting a Greek default as inevitable, and it will be an orderly default. But that can change on a dime."

But whether there is a default or not, the reality is that Greece is already experiencing a full-blown economic depression. In Greece, 20 percent of all retail stores have already shut down. The unemployment rate for those under the age of 24 is now at 39 percent. Large numbers of Greeks are trying to get themselves and their money out of the country while they still can.

Pessimism regarding Greece is at an all-time high. Michael Fuchs, the deputy leader of Angela Merkel's political party, recently made the following statement....

"I don't think that Greece, in its current condition, can be saved."

But of course Greece is not the only declining economy in Europe by a long shot.

Italy has a much larger economy, and if Italy totally collapses it will be an absolute nightmare for the entire globe.

Right now, the Bank of Italy is forecasting a significant recession for the Italian economy in 2012. The following is from a statement that Bank of Italy has just released....

"The uncertainty that surrounds the medium-term perspectives of the Italian economy ... are extraordinarily high and are directly linked to the evolution of the eurozone debt crisis"

Italy's youth unemployment rate has hit the highest level ever, and nearly all sectors of the Italian economy are showing signs of slowing down.

Plus there is the looming problem of Italian debt. As I wrote about yesterday, when you add the maturing debt that the Italian government must roll over in 2012 to their projected budget deficit, it comes to 23.1 percent of Italy's GDP.

Originally it was hoped that the economic problems in Europe could be contained to just a few countries. But now it has become clear that is just not going to happen.

Trends forecaster Gerald Celente recently explained to ABC Australia that much of Europe is already essentially experiencing an economic depression....

"If you live in Greece, you’re in a depression; if you live in Spain, you’re in a depression; if you live in Portugal or Ireland, you’re in a depression,” Celente said. “If you live in Lithuania, you’re running to the bank to get your money out of the bank as the bank runs go on. It’s a depression. Hungary, there’s a depression, and much of Eastern Europe, Romania, Bulgaria. And there are a lot of depressions going on [already]."

The troubling news out of Europe just seems to keep coming in waves. Here are some more recent examples....

-Manufacturing activity in the euro zone has fallen for five months in a row.

-Germany's economy actually contracted during the 4th quarter of 2011.

-It is being reported that the Spanish economy contracted during the 4th quarter of 2011.

-Bad loans in Spain recently hit a 17-year high and the unemployment rate is at a 15-year high.

So will all of this economic trouble eventually spread to the United States?

Of course it will.

The global economy is more interconnected today than ever. Back in 2008 the financial crisis that started on Wall Street ended up devastating economies all over the planet. The same thing will happen during this next great financial crisis.

Only this time the U.S. is in a much weaker position. The U.S. debt problem has gotten much worse since the last crisis.

During 2008, our national debt crossed the 10 trillion dollar mark. Less than 4 years later, we have crossed the 15 trillion dollar mark.

So what are we going to do the next time large numbers of banks fail and unemployment skyrockets?

Where are we going to get the money to bail out all of those banks and to take care of all of those newly unemployed people?

Some people say that socialism is the answer, but the truth is that we are already a socialist welfare state. If you can believe it, nearly half of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of financial benefits from the U.S. government.

During the next great crisis, the number of people that are dependent on the government will go even higher.

If you don't want to end up dependent on the government, you should heed the warning signs and you should use this time to prepare for the hard times that are coming.

When even the World Bank tells us to hope for the best but to prepare for the worst, you know that it is late in the game.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people out there only believe what they want to believe. They don't want to believe that a great economic crisis is coming, and so when it does happen they are going to be absolutely blindsided by it.

Newt Gingrich’s Disgraceful Ignorance About Poor People

This man is so repulsive in his attitudes toward the poor and the working poor that he makes Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum look like humanitarians. Today, The Hill reported his comments while campaigning in Iowa:
Start with the following two facts. Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of “I do this and you give me cash” unless it’s illegal.
Jonathan Capehart:
A lot can be said about the plight of families unlucky enough not to make $60,000 for a half-hour of bloviation or about their equally unlucky children who are deprived delightful cruises through the Greek isles. But Gingrich’s blanket condemnation of “really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods” is unbelievably disgusting. And it’s disrespectful of the overwhelming majority of those children and their families who live their lives with far more integrity and far less cash than Gingrich ever will.

Translating Zero Hedge: Your Wages Will Be Cut In Half

Yesterday Zero Hedge ran a story that most people will never see or really understand. Zero Hedge reported that the Russians have sold off half of their US Treasury bonds over the past year. China has been dumping their dollar holdings too but still have over a trillion dollars left. Other foreigners have been dumping their dollars too. The current US inflation rate is 12%. Ben Bernanke has been creating trillions of dollars to bail out banks in Europe, to buy worthless securities from US banks and to fund the US debt. That will accelerate inflation. Inflation will go from 12% to 15% and then 20% in less than a year. The media will no longer be able to repeat the lie that the inflation rate is only 3 1/2%. Inflation will become an issue in the 2012 races for congress, Senate and the presidency.
Accelerating inflation will force people overseas to dump any dollars they receive for selling Americans food, clothes, electronics, cars, oil and other raw materials as soon the transaction is completed. This phenomenon is called an increase in the velocity of money. It is a sign your economy is transitioning from an inconveniently high rate of inflation to hyperinflation. The US dollar is an international reserve currency which means that if France wants to buy food from Brazil they will likely have to use US dollars to make that transaction. In colonial America the colonists had to earn British pounds or gold to buy something from overseas. Michael Hudson in his book Super Imperialism described how the US was funding its wars by inflating the supply of currency used to settle trade. Since WW II we have been getting real goods like cars and clothes from foreigners in exchange for increasingly worthless paper. When Hudson explained this to the Pentagon, a general said, “Wow. We are ripping people off.”
I would define hyperinflation as beginning at 25% for an international reserve currency like the dollar. That is why when inflation surged in the latter part of the Carter presidency (1979-1980) Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker raised interest rates. Home mortgages went to 15 1/2%. Ben Bernanke cannot raise interest rates today. His only option would be to devalue the dollar which is what he said he would do in that now infamous speech he made in Washington DC on 11-21-2002.
That means after the 2012 elections the Russians, the Chinese, Iran, Venezuela plus their clients states and a few other nations can and will force a devaluation of the dollar by refusing to accept Federal Reserve Notes in international trade. If Americans balk, China just has to dump a hundred billion dollars and buy commodities driving the price of food out of the reach of WalMart shoppers. Of course I realize the Chinese will just be doing what the bankers want them to do.
An international conference will be held at which the dollar will be devalued by about 40% as predicted by Bernanke. This will complete that 50% pay cut I have been predicting.
The Chinese will have dumped most of their dollars before the conference so that their economy will not be harmed by a dollar devaluation. If Americans can’t afford to buy Chinese products, China will just sell them to people whose currencies were revalued upwards.
I would suggest you buy storable food, silver coins (not collectibles) and household items that will just increase in cost.
Of course this was all planned long ago by the bankers. I will conclude with this quote from a previous essay:
The Fundamental Fact of Your Existence as a modern man or woman is that the bankers of New York and London want to reduce you to Debt Slavery.
Accept that fact and move on to the solution.
And I also said:
That is their plan for you.
What is your plan for them?
Author’s Notes: These are related articles.
2012 Timeline: Assets Seizure, Hyperinflation And Debt Slavery
America Is Now A Criminal Enterprise And That Is The Good News
The Mathematics Of Austerity: Proving Austerity Never Was Even Intended To Work
A Fractional Reserve Gold Standard: The Next Big Fraud
Nine Myths And Misconceptions About Money That Can Literally Kill You
Reference: That Zero Hedge article is here:
China Brings US Treasury Holdings To One Year Low, Russia Cuts Treasury Exposure By 50% In One Year