Saturday, March 17, 2012

History’s Biggest Heist? UK MP Says Fed Secretly Transferred $15 Trillion

UK Member of Parliament Lord James says nearly three years’ worth of analysis of gigabytes of data points to a secret Fed transfer of $15 Trillion in bonds

American Free Press
By Pat Shannan
March 13, 2012
History’s Biggest Heist?• Federal Reserve Bank of New York denies claims
On Feb. 16, 2012, Lord James of Blackheath made a request for Parliament to investigate the suspicious findings of nearly three years’ worth of analysis and data, complete with the delivery of gigabytes of documents to support his position.
What finally surfaces may expose the single biggest bank heist in world history.
The secret creation and transfer of $5 trillion or more on three occasions to places and persons still unknown—a total of over $15 trillion—could precipitate the collapse of the U.S. economy.
Is this the secret plan of those insiders from the beginning to destroy the United States?
Released from the House of Lords were further examples that Lord James says “expose the betrayal of not only the British and American nations by this secretive cabal of international banksters but [betray] the whole world’s banking system as well.”
In April and May 2009, according to Lord James’s report to the House of Lords, the situation started with the transfer of $5 trillion to Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC) in the United Kingdom.
Seven days later, another $5 trillion came to HSBC and three weeks later another $5 trillion. A total of $15.4 trillion is alleged to have been passed into the hands of HSBC for transfer to the Royal Bank of Scotland.
“I have been trying to sort out the sequence by which this money has been created and where it has come from for a long time,” he said.
“It starts off apparently as the property of Yohannes Riyadi, who has some claims to be considered the richest man in the world. I have seen some accounts of his showing that he owns $36 trillion in a bank.”
Lord James went on to cite an “astonishing” 2006 document—clearly showing the signatures of Alan Greenspan, as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Timothy Geithner as a witness on behalf of the International Monetary Fund—that confirmed the deal took place.
However, a January report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York denies it is involved in any grant program and says that it does not maintain grant money or any funds or accounts for individuals.
Although no mention of the secretive, mega-rich Rothschild clan has been made by Lord James, this is exactly the sort of scam that the Rothschilds have been pulling off for almost 300 years.
AFP will report further on this as details emerge, but meanwhile, readers need not bother looking for any updated news on this subject from Time, Newsweek, CNN, NBC or CBS. For some reason the Zionist-controlled media is not interested in this story. Go figure.
Pat Shannan is a contributing editor of American Free Press. He is also the author of several videos and books including One in a Million: An IRS Travesty, I Rode With Tupper and Everything They* Ever Told Me Was a Lie. All are available from FIRST AMENDMENT BOOKS. Call 1-888-699-6397 toll free to charge.
Source: The Intel Hub

What Closing The Straits Of Hormuz Will Mean In 3 Simple Charts

These 3 simple charts fully explain the shock waves that will be sent through the global economy if Iran decides to shut down in response to western military threats.

Zero Hedge reports:
While WTI hovers around $105.5 (slightly underperforming USD strength), Brent has notably outperformed with the Brent-WTI spread now edging towards $20 (from under $15 two weeks ago). Given the increasing tension, we thought it useful to get a grasp of just what an oil-supply shock means. BNP points out that in all but one of the historical oil price shocks of the last 40 years, equities have notably underperformed oil (understandably) but the higher the oil price rise, the higher the chance of negative absolute returns for stocks. We also note that oil prices tend to rise in anticipation of the crisis and then explode (so arguing that we are discounting an event is proved moot) and the impact (in lost supply) from closing the Straits of Hormuz is an order of magnitude larger than the next five largest events. Regionally, positioning favors the middle-eastern oil producers obviously with Asian EM nations set to suffer dramatically worse than DMs.
Here’s the fallout:
Global Oil Supply Shocks…

According to the IEA, 24% of the Global oil consumption passes through that strait. If tensions in Iran increases and this possibility becomes a reality then that would lead to a big tail event.
A further spike of 20% in the oil price will be a serious threat to the global economy and we believe in that scenario the equity prices will quickly decouple from the oil prices as we show above in retrospect to the previous oil price shocks.
Oil Price Action During Periods Of Shock…

And how to position regionally: Oil Consumption Minus Production As % of GDP…

Crucially the stage is not yet completely set for demand crushing oil spike although current levels will already be sufficient to drive sector rotation.
[Note how winners 2) Saudi, 3) Qatar and 6) UAE are all activity fueling the current unrest in Syria by supplying the rebels with arms. Of course if Iran is attack, each of those winners will stand to profit even more].
Source: Zero Hedge

Short sales and foreclosures made up 52 percent of all recent Southern California home sales – Lenders aggressively pricing lower-end properties to move. Two Pasadena examples.

The Southern California housing market is starting to have fewer places to hide in regards to zip codes immune to the correction.  The latest data shows a fractured market where over 52 percent of all home sales in the last month were distressed properties.  This is clearly not your father’s housing market.  We are deep into uncharted waters and as the shadow inventory begins to leak out into the market, we are starting to get a sense of how lenders are approaching the clearing out of inventory.  Much is being made about the recent jump in sales but put into context as you will see, is nothing more than bouncing along the bottom.  Some tend to think that once a bottom is reached that we will somehow have another boom.  That is highly unlikely unless the overall economy and more importantly, wages improve.  No one is going to buy a McMansion with a McDonald’s income anymore.  The boom lasted for a decade but was completely based on artificial mortgage products that no longer exist (and likely will never come back).  We will also look at the low end of the correction in mid-tier cities like Pasadena.

Southern California by the numbers
Southern California home sales are up by 8 percent year-over-year but what wasn’t in most headlines was that the median home price fell at the same time by 3.7 percent driven by investors and FHA first time home buyers looking at cheaper starter homes.  If you look at the chart, that jump barely even registers:
socal home prices and sales
To put the current sales rate in perspective 23,000 homes sold in February of 2004 (over 50 percent more sales 8 years ago).  The shadow inventory is still large with properties with high mortgage balances:
foreclosures by price 2012
*California foreclosures
The bottom line is the market is hungry for cheaper properties however many sellers do not want to accept this fact so demand has shifted to short sales and REOs for the past couple of years.  If you want to see delusion in action take a look at Zillow’s “make me move” option and you will see it in full force.  Even with mortgage rates at record low prices and very generous products like FHA insured loans that only require 3.5 percent down, the market seems to be moving lower in mid-tier to upper-tier areas.
If we look at how much Southern California home buyers are committing to their mortgage payment we see that it has completely collapsed:
typical mortgage payment southern california
Californians are committing to roughly a 60 percent lower mortgage payment than they were from 2005 to 2007.  Let us look at Pasadena to see what is happening at the lower-end.
short sale condo pasadena
372 East Ashtabula Street #204 Pasadena, CA 91104
2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 0 partial bath, 820 square feet, CONDO
This condo is listed as a short sale.  I’ve noticed more properties being listed as short sales on the MLS recently.  A big move has come from the condo section in various markets.  Not sure if banks are triaging the movement in shadow inventory and are choosing to move quicker on condo inventory.  The above condo is listed as a short sale.
The list price is $199,500.  Even with that price it has been on the MLS for over 200 days.  A few years ago it was:
“Prices only go up in Pasadena”
Then it was…
“Prices will remain steady in Pasadena”
Then it was…
“Prices will only go down a little in certain areas”
Then it was…
“Prices will only go down in bad areas”
Then it was…
“Prices will only go down on condos and a little on mid-tier areas”
You get the point.  The circles are closing in and problems hit from the bottom first.  A sub $200k condo with 2 beds and 2 bathrooms would have been snatched up in minutes anywhere in Pasadena only a few years ago.   Today it has lingered for over 200+ days.
Or take a look at the big price cuts now being done by banks on lower-end single family homes:
pasadena foreclosure
1430 Forest Ave Pasadena, CA 91103
2 beds, 1 bath 582 square feet
This is an example of how banks are now operating in 2012.  The place was listed for $214,900 on December 2011.  They reduced the price by $6,000 on January 2012.  It was reduced by another $6,300 in February of 2012.  The current list price is $202,600.
Look at the pricing history here:
pasadena foreclosure history
Someone paid $385,000 for this place in 2006.  As we have been saying, corrections take many years to play out and trust the data, Pasadena has a pipeline of distressed properties:
pasadena current inventory
This is one example of the many cities in Los Angeles that will face volatile price corrections in the next few years.  Banks in the last year have become more realistic.  Even in 2010 you would see lenders listing places for the actual balance and letting homes linger for months.  Now, on short sales and REOs that do hit the market they seem to be priced to move.  The shadow inventory is large and California mid-tier markets are in the process of seeing lower prices.

Mayor Bloomberg Visits Goldman Sachs to Show his Support After Whistleblower Revelations

The Intel Hub
March 16, 2012
Billionaire bankster and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently visited Goldman Sachs headquarters to show his support for one of the most corrupt companies in the history of America.
The visit comes after a departing employee became a major whistleblower and exposed the culture of corruption that is at the core of Goldman Sachs.
A Bloomberg Businessweek (owned by Mayor Bloomberg) article quoted the mayors spokesman as saying:
“The mayor stopped by to make clear that the company is a vital part of the city’s economy, and the kind of unfair attacks that we’re seeing can eventually hurt all New Yorkers.”
The whistleblower, a former executive director at Goldman Sachs, recently exposed the companies disgusting treatment of employees. He also singled out CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
The fact that Bloomberg openly visits and supports Goldman Sachs should be enough to identify him as nothing more than a corrupt gangster, working directly with the banksters who have literally destroyed this country from within.

Sinclair - Is the Fed Selling Europe’s Gold During Interventions

Today legendary trader and investor Jim Sinclair told King World News that a number of European countries are beginning to ask themselves where the gold is coming from which is being used for interventions in the gold market.  Sinclair also said some European countries are beginning to think it’s their gold, stored by the US Fed, which is being used for these interventions.  But first, here is what Sinclair had to say about the recent plunge in gold:  “Eric, this has been going on since $248 in gold.  Any idea or concern that this kind of intervention is going to cause the gold bull market to cease or shorten or even contain where it will potentially go is simply wrong.”

Jim Sinclair continues:

“Every time you intervene in any market or any time you intervene economically, it’s the same as using a controlled drug.  The first application gives you the best high you’ll ever have.  After that you have to do more and more just to near duplicate what you expected.

The selling down of the gold, what this means now is time....

“If in fact they can’t bring the market under the $1,600 level, then the demand here is beyond the willingness for intervention.  That means that if the demand is greater than the supply, the price is going to rise.  

If gold does go through $1,764 and stabilizes there, you are beginning an unwind in terms of gold cooperating with the management of perspective economics (MOPE).  (Central planners) would want gold to be very soft at a time when a credit event takes place in Greece, that very few of the participants and even bondholders knows yet exactly what happened.”

Jim Sinclair had predicted many European countries would want their gold back, which is being stored by the Fed in the US.  This movement is beginning to take hold in Switzerland and Germany as well as other countries.  When asked about his prediction beginning to take place, Sinclair responded, “It had to happen because we all ask ourselves the question, ‘Where does the gold come from on these attempts at intervention?’  Because it’s not simply paper gold, it’s also in the cash market.  There is a concern that the gold that’s being used to intervene might not be our (US) gold.  

Basically they (Germany, Switzerland and other countries) are now asking the question, where is the gold coming from?  There are two possibilities, Fort Knox or the Federal Reserve seller, in the cash sense.  Fort Knox, nobody knows what’s there.

Everybody knows what’s at the Fed, other people’s gold.  The trend that we discussed a long time ago which is really turning into a modest torrent, is to take back gold.  I mean the truth is what do the Germans need the Fed to store their gold for?  Are they afraid France will invade?  It doesn’t make any sense.”   

Jim Sinclair provides some extraordinary insights in this interview.  He discusses the gold plunge and what investors should expect next.   He also goes into detail about key events that are currently unfolding.  The KWN audio interview with Jim Sinclair is available now and you can listen to it by CLICKING HERE.

© 2012 by King World News®. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  However, linking directly to the blog page is permitted and encouraged.

Eric King

Francis Cabrel Le monde est sourd

Bankers win.  The people pay.

One of my less scrupulous bosses once told me, "The way I like to win a race is to punch the other guy in the stomach and then yell, 'Let's race.'"

And I replied, "Well that may be all well and good, but if the guy you punch is Italian or Greek, I would not stop running at the finish line."

He was a Irish lad,  who having enjoyed a temporary run of luck, was left terribly over his head, pretty much in everything.  And as you might suspect, he ended badly, and took a lot of his type, whom he had gathered into his contrivances, down with him.  Its the little things that make life worth living.

No wonder the American derivatives dealers are leaving Europe.   They are probably just a few steps ahead of the pitchforks and torches.  Europeans keep a ledger of wrongs that never expires until the debts are paid.

The bad news is that they are coming home.

These Wall Street hooligans remind me of an old acquaintance of German descent, (nice fellow although a bit cheap, confirmed bachelor, good card player, but an unbearable drunk), who had been banned from so many pubs around his modest country home that we used to have to go over forty kilometers to get a drawn beer on the weekend. It got so bad that he finally gave up drinking altogether, just to save on gas. Found a nice woman, or rather I think she discovered him, and got married at fifty. Found his happiness. True story.

Italy Said to Pay Morgan Stanley $3.4 Billion
By Nicholas Dunbar and Elisa Martinuzzi
Mar 16, 2012 10:10 AM ET

When Morgan Stanley (MS) said in January it had cut its “net exposure” to Italy by $3.4 billion, it didn’t tell investors that the nation paid that entire amount to the bank to exit a bet on interest rates.

Italy, the second-most indebted nation in the European Union, paid the money to unwind derivative contracts from the 1990s that had backfired, said a person with direct knowledge of the Treasury’s payment. It was cheaper for Italy to cancel the transactions rather than to renew, said the person, who declined to be identified because the terms were private.

The cost, equal to half the amount to be raised by Italy’s sales tax increase this year, underscores the risk derivatives countries use to reduce borrowing costs and guard against swings in interest rates and currencies can sour and generate losses for taxpayers. Italy, with record debt of $2.5 trillion, has lost more than $31 billion on its derivatives at current market values, according to data compiled by the Bloomberg Brief Risk newsletter from regulatory filings.

These losses demonstrate the speculative nature of these deals and the supremacy of finance over government,” said Italian senator Elio Lannutti, chairman of the consumer group Adusbef.

The transaction may prompt regulators to push for greater transparency and regulation of how governments use derivatives, said the head of the European Parliament panel that deals with market rules.

“This latest revelation shows that we need to know a lot more,” Sharon Bowles, chairwoman of the economic and monetary affairs committee, said in an interview today. “I’m reluctant to have quite as many exemptions for central banks and countries” from transaction-reporting rules, she said.

Morgan Stanley said in a Jan. 19 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it “executed certain derivatives restructuring amendments which settled on January 3, 2012” and reduced its Italian exposure by $3.4 billion.

Mary Claire Delaney, a spokeswoman for the New York-based firm, declined to comment further. Officials at the Italian treasury in Rome declined to comment on the contracts...

16 SHTF Barter Items to Stockpile

by Tyler on March 12, 2012

Every good survivalist has a stockpile of things he or she recognizes their family may need to survive a natural or man-made disaster. However, many people forget the value of maintaining a barter store as well.

If things hit the fan, particularly in an economic collapse where the dollar is nearly worthless, a number of non-monetary goods will be more valuable than a fistful of dollar bills.

It’s also important to recognize that we can’t possibly store enough of every item to account for every scenario for an indefinite period of time. However, what we can do is have some items on hand to barter with neighbors to plug gaps in our preparations.

Imagine a neighbor with a large garden and some chickens trading a half dozen eggs and some squash for a box of ammo, or a small bottle of Vodka.

Consider stocking up on the following items, even if you have no plans to use them yourself, for their potential barter value.

16 Things to Stockpile with High Barter Value

Cigarettes. I hate smoking, and can’t stand being around anyone that smokes. Having said that, I recognize that in a SHTF situation many others will be cut off from their access to cigarettes, so there is plenty of barter potential.

Soap. Bars of soap, and even those little cleaning napkins/wipes that you get at the BBQ restaurants could be very valuable in a SHTF scenario. Ever see “The Book of Eli?”

Bullets. Obviously, it’s a good idea to have a decent store of ammo representing all calibers of the weapons you own. However, it is also a good idea to store extra ammo in common calibers (9mm, .22, .38, 12-guage shells, etc.) as a potential barter. After all, a gun without ammo is just an inacurate throwing object.

Alcohol. Alcohol could serve a variety of purposes in a SHTF situation. It is valuable as a potential bartering commodity, and it also has medicinal uses. Did you know Vodka is a great home remedy to counteract the reaction to poison ivy?

MREs. More portable and easier to barter than larger 5-gallon buckets, or even #10 cans of dried foods, MREs are great to have on hand for bartering. Keep a variety of flavors and different kinds of foods because you could be holding something that could complete a meal for a hungry person.

Silver Coins. Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean only silver dollars with a full ounce of silver, but even older, less expensive coins with a high silver component (the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar, for example).

Detergent. Don’t think people are interested in bartering detergent? Check out the story about the recent rash of detergent thefts across the country. Apparently, Tide detergent on the black market is now referred to as “liquid gold.” Interesting.

Water bottles. To someone in bad need of water, a water bottle could be worth its weight in gold. Remember the rule of threes: you can live three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Store accordingly.

Matches and lighters. A box of matches is relatively inexpensive, but for someone needing to build a fire a pack of matches or a lighter could be very valuable. Be sure these are stored safely, and if they are not waterproof make them so by storing in a watertight container.

Sugar. My grandfather used to tell stories of things that were in limited supply in the Great Depression. Sugar was something he often mentioned. Imagine how easily you could win over a sweet-tooth with the promise of a bag of sugar in exchange for something you are short on.

Toilet paper. This one is rather self-explanatory, isn’t it? Sure, there are substitutes for Charmin, but who wants to keep using leaves when paper feels so much better.

Water Filters/Purifiers. Water purification drops and filters could mean the difference in offering family members treated water or potentially harmful, bacteria-infested water. Who’d be willing to trade for that?

Bleach. May be used to disinfect water, or keep living quarters and soiled clothing sanitized.

Batteries. Can be used to power up flashlights, radios, and other electronic devices.

Candles. Emergency candles would be a great barter item for those in need of providing some light to their living quarters without electricity.

What other items would you add to your barter store?

Wall Street Is Betting on Higher Oil Prices

as prices continue to rise, which is finally giving Republicans an issue. Mitt Romney is demanding the President open up more domestic drilling; the super PAC behind Rick Santorum just released a new ad in Louisiana blasting the President on gas prices; and the GOP is attacking the White House on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
But the rise in gas prices has almost nothing to do with energy policy. It has everything to do with America's continuing failure to adequately regulate Wall Street. But don't hold your breath waiting for Republicans to tell the truth.
As I've noted before, oil supplies aren't being squeezed. Over 80 percent of America's energy needs are now being satisfied by domestic supplies. In fact, we're starting to become an energy exporter. Demand for oil isn't rising in any event. Demand is down in the U.S. compared to last year at this time, and global demand is still moderate given the economic slowdowns in Europe and China.
But Wall Street is betting on higher oil prices in the future - and that betting is causing prices to rise. The Street is laying odds that unrest in Syria will spill over into other countries or that tensions with Iran will affect the Persian Gulf, and that global demand will pick up as American consumers bounce back to life.
These bets are pushing up oil prices because Wall Street firms and other big financial players now dominate oil trading.
Financial speculators historically accounted for about 30 percent of oil contracts, producers and end users for about 70 percent. But today speculators account for 64 percent of all contracts.
Bart Chilton, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission - the federal agency that regulates trading in oil futures, among other commodities - warns that too few financial players control too much of the oil market. This allows them to push oil prices higher and higher - not only on the basis of their expectations about the future but also expectations about how high other speculators will drive the price.
In other words, a relatively few players with very deep pockets are placing huge bets on oil - and you're paying.
Chilton estimates that drivers of small cars like Honda Civics are paying an extra $7.30 every time they fill up - and that money is going into the pockets of Wall Street speculators. Drivers of larger vehicles like the Ford Explorer are paying speculators $10.41 when they fill up.
Funny, but I don't hear Republicans rail against Wall Street speculators. Could this have anything to do with the fact that hedge funds and money managers are bankrolling the GOP as never before?
Wall Street isn't bankrolling Democrats nearly as much this time around because the Street is still smarting from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law pushed by the Democrats, and from the president's offhand remark in 2010 calling the denizens of the Street "fat cats."
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is trying to limit how much speculators can bet in oil futures - a power it was given by Dodd-Frank. It issued a rule in October, but it won't take effect for another year.
Meanwhile, Wall Street has gone to court to stop the rule. It's already won a stay.
As rising gas prices start wagging the election-year dog, the President should let America know what's really causing prices to rise.

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

  Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

As Chuck E. Cheese Goes So Goes America

Why are wild brawls breaking out at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants all over the United States?  Sadly, the epidemic of Chuck E. Cheese fights that we have seen in recent months is just another symptom of what is happening to America on a larger scale.  The truth is that the fabric of our society is slowly but surely coming apart, and the rest of the world is laughing at us.  But it is really sad to see Chuck E. Cheese become known more for brawls than for entertainment.  When I was a kid, I loved to go to Chuck E. Cheese.  The combination of pizza, arcade games and animatronic music shows was irresistible.  But if you go to Chuck E. Cheese today, there is a chance that you might get taken out of there in an ambulance.  In Susquehanna, Pennsylvania police were called out to one particular Chuck E. Cheese restaurant 17 times in just one recent 18 month time period.  Of course it is not just Chuck E. Cheese that is having these kinds of problems.  All over the nation we are seeing brawls break out in public places, we are seeing thieves become incredibly bold, and we are seeing a general breakdown in civilized behavior.  So where does America go from here?

That is a very good question.

If we are seeing parents brawl with each other in front of their children at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants all over America, what does that say about the character of our citizens?

Susquehanna Police Chief Robert Martin told ABC News the following about why there have been so many of these brawls in his neck of the woods....

"It got crowded, and kids would run into each other or fight over games, which would lead to parents getting involved in fights."
When I was growing up I don't remember parents getting into wild brawls.
So what has changed?

These days, many Americans seem to be so "on edge" that just about anything can cause them to snap.  The following is what one mother remembers after being brutally attacked by another mother while at Chuck E. Cheese....
"All I remember was hitting the floor and being kicked again and again in the head," she told "Nightline." "I think her husband jumped in and was kicking me too."
Clifton said she believes she was targeted because her children were taking too long in the photo booth.
"My daughter threw up, and another one of the children wet their pants because they were so scared," she said.
If you go on to YouTube and do a search for "Check E. Cheese fight" it will bring up dozens and dozens of search results.

But of course the same could be said about Denny's, IHOP and McDonald's too.

The Chuck E. Cheese brawls are particularly disturbing because Chuck E. Cheese is supposed to be a place for children.  It is supposed to be a place where they can feel safe and forget about the worries of the world for a little while.
Unfortunately, Chuck E. Cheese is now a place where violence could break out at any time.  For example, the following is a news report about a 60 year old grandmother that was taken away in an ambulance after being brutally attacked at a Chuck E. Cheese in Michigan....

This next video is a compilation of news reports about brawls at Chuck E. Cheese put together by Current TV....

If you want to see more you can go on to YouTube and watch restaurant brawl videos from all over America for hours.

So why are Americans acting this way?

What is causing all of this anger and frustration to come out?

Up in Massachusetts, one very angry father brutally assaulted a 6th grade basketball coach after his son's team lost a recent game and actually bit off a piece of his ear.

Why would someone do something like that?

Of course the economy has gotten much worse over the past few years, but certainly that can't account for all of this behavior, can it?

Another very disturbing trend is that thieves all over America are becoming much bolder and are stealing things that you normally wouldn't think they would steal.

For example, Tide detergent has become a form of alternative currency in many urban areas and there is now an epidemic of Tide thefts from coast to coast.

Yes, really.

The following is from a recent article from The Daily....
Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid. 
One Tide taker in West St. Paul, Minn., made off with $25,000 in the product over 15 months before he was busted last year.
“That was unique that he stole so much soap,” said West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver. “The name brand is [all] Tide. Amazing, huh?”
Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high — roughly $10 to $20 a bottle — and it’s a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.
Special "task forces" to deal with Tide theft?
That can't be a good sign.

In some communities across America, thieves has become so desperate that they are literally tearing apart buildings brick by brick.  Just check out what is happening over in St. Louis....
The bandits who are slowly dismantling north St. Louis -- brick by brick -- are becoming more daring these days.
Architectural historian Michael Allen, who has perhaps written more than anyone on the subject of brick thievery, notes on his blog that the mason rustlers are now working heavily trafficked streets north of Delmar Boulevard.
"Brick thieves apparently have carte blanche to harvest building stock on the north side's busiest streets," writes Allen, who reports that two abandoned properties on Page and St. Louis avenues have recently been targeted.
When Americans start tearing apart their own communities in a desperate attempt to find things to sell, that is a clear indication that our social decay has gotten quite bad.

There are millions of Americans out there that are desperate and hungry and that don't really care how their actions affect the public.

In New Haven, Connecticut thieves have been stealing dozens of sewer grates....
Police in New Haven are trying to figure out who's been swiping dozens of sewer grates from city streets.
Fair Haven Heights has been hit hard. At almost every turn of Russell Street new grates are visible. Police say they're replacing them as fast as they can.
As economic conditions get even worse, there are going to be even more desperate criminals running around looking for anything that they can steal and sell.

Nobody is going to be immune from this.

Already, there are some thieves that are even stealing from churches....
A local church has become the latest victim of the growing number of copper thefts in Burke County.
Congregants at Willow Tree AME Church reported Saturday that someone stripped four heat pumps at the 2500 Willow Tree Church Road building, according to a sheriff’s report. Damage was estimated at $18,000.
The Rev. Rupert G. Ferguson said his parishioners are irate about the theft.
Each year, a couple million more Americans fall into poverty and right now there are an all-time record 46.5 million Americans on food stamps.

There is a whole lot of economic suffering going on in this nation right now, and there are an increasing number of Americans that will do just about anything for money.

In Ohio, two men recently abducted a family dog and held it for ransom.

How would you feel if that was your dog?

In America today, people are becoming very cold-hearted and many people are only looking out for themselves and for their own families.

When our economy really starts falling apart, there are going to be millions of desperate people out there that will not hesitate to steal the things that you own if it will make things better for them.
So don't ignore what is going on at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants right now.
The fights and the brawls at Chuck E. Cheese are symptoms of what is happening to America on a larger scale.

Our country is changing and it is not emotionally prepared for what is about to happen.
Let us hope for the best for America, but let us also prepare for the worst.

Greece develops cashless, Euro-free currency in tight economy

Greek's cashless economy via  Ragne Kabanova/Shutterstock
Jon Henley, The Guardian
A determination to ‘move beyond anger to creativity’ is driving a strong barter economy in some places
In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy: beware), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and enjoyed the services of an accountant to help fill in his tax return.

None of it has cost him a euro, because he had previously done a spot of electrical work – repairing a TV, sorting out a dodgy light – for some of the 800-odd members of a fast-growing exchange network in the port town of Volos, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki.
In return for his expert labour, Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts.
“It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” said Bernhardt Koppold, a German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist in Volos who is an active member of the network. “It’s also a way of showing practical solidarity – of building relationships.”
He had just treated Maria McCarthy, an English teacher who has lived and worked in the town for 20 years. The consultation was her first tem transaction, and she used one of the vouchers available for people who haven’t yet, or can’t, set up an online account.
“I already exchange directly with a couple of families, mainly English teaching for babysitting, and this is a great way to extend that,” said McCarthy. “This is still young, but it’s growing very quickly. Plainly, the more you use it the more useful to you it gets.”
Tems has been up and running for barely 18 months, said Maria Choupis, one of its founder members. Prompted by ever more swingeing salary cuts and tax increases, she reckons there are now around 15 such networks active around Greece, and more planned. “They are as much social structures as economic ones,” she said. “They foster intimacy and mutual support.”

The network is currently busy transforming a disused building owned by Volos university into a permanent exchange and barter space. It will host a daily market from next month at which members can meet and exchange without using cash. Several highly successful open-air markets were held throughout last summer, Choupis said, until the weather got too cold.
“They’re quite joyous occasions,” she said. “It’s very liberating, not using money.” At one market, she said, she approached a woman who had come along with three large trays of homemade cakes and was selling them for a unit a cake. “I asked her: ‘Do you think that’s enough? After all, you had the cost of the ingredients, the electricity to cook …’
“She replied: ‘Wait until the market is over’, and at the end she had three different kinds of fruit, two one-litre bottles of olive oil, soaps, beans, a dozen eggs and a whole lot of yoghurt. ‘If I had bought all this at the supermarket,’ she said, ‘it would have cost me a great deal more than what it cost to make these cakes.’”
What rules the system has are designed to ensure the tems continue “to circulate, and work hard as a currency”, said Christos Pappionannou, a mechanical engineer who runs the network’s website using open-source software.
No one may hold more than 1,200 tems in the account “so people don’t start hoarding; once you reach the top limit you have to start using them.”
And no one may owe more than 300, so people “can’t get into debt, and have to start offering something”.
Businesses that are part of the network are allowed to do transactions partly in tems, and partly in euros; most offer a 50/50 part-exchange.
“We recognise that they have their fixed costs, they have to pay a rent and bills in euros,” said Pappionannou. “You could say that their ‘profit’ might be taken in Tems, to be reinvested in the network.”
Choupis said she thought the network would have grown even faster that it has if people were not so “frozen, in a state of fear. It’s like they’ve been hit over the head with a brick; they’re dizzy. And they’re cautious; they’re still thinking: ‘I need euros, how am I going to pay my bills?’ But as soon as people see how much they can do without money, they’re convinced.”
The Greek parliament recently passed a law encouraging “alternative forms of entrepreneurship and local development”, including exchange networks such as Volos’s, giving them official non-profit status for tax purposes.
Choupis said there was a new mood abroad in Greece, a determination to “move beyond anger to creativity”.
“You are not poor when you have no money,” she said, “you are poor when you have nothing to offer – except for the elderly and the sick, to whom we should all be offering.” © Guardian News and Media 2012</p>
(Typical greek taverna with tables outside in the yard via Ragne Kabanova/

Grime Wave: Tide Detergent Thefts Sky Rocket; Masses Turn to Black Market For Essential Goods

With real unemployent approaching 25% of the population, 50 million Americans on food stamps, and the prices of essential goods rising every month, it’s no surprise that black market peddlers are turning to new product offerings to make a buck.
In What Is Money When the System Collapses? we highlighted some items that would take the place of traditional currency in the event of a catastrophic financial and economic collapse – things like food, fuel, firearms and footwear.
But for many, the world as they know it has already collapsed. Unable to afford retail prices for home essentials, these people will do what they need to in order to survive, and that includes the bartering and exchange of goods similar to what will happen in a complete economic meltdown. As Brandon Smith of Alt-Market recently pointed out, when the totalitarians squeeze the masses, those rebelling against the system because they have been left with no other choice will turn to the free (black)  market to make ends meet.
These most recent thefts have law enforcement officials ‘puzzled’, but the reasons behind them are pretty simple to understand if you consider the bigger picture:
Law enforcement officials across the country are puzzled over a crime wave targeting an unlikely item: Tide laundry detergent.
Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid.
One Tide taker in West St. Paul, Minn., made off with $25,000 in the product over 15 months before he was busted last year.
“That was unique that he stole so much soap,” said West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver. “The name brand is [all] Tide. Amazing, huh?”
Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high — roughly $10 to $20 a bottle — and it’s a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.
Tide can go for $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market, authorities say. Enterprising laundry soap peddlers even resell bottles to stores.
“There’s no serial numbers and it’s impossible to track,” said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft. “It’s the item to steal.”
Source: The Daily
While detergent soap, in this case Tide, may be the item of the day, it’s only a small part of the expanding black market for home essentials and critical goods.
Nutritional assistance benefits are another example of a black market that moves millions of dollars of goods monthly. Those receiving benefits – often times through fraudulent means – will utilize government issued EBT cards to purchase meat, cheese, milk and other products at retail grocers, only to redistribute those items at 25% to 50% discounts on the street. In this case, both parties win. Buyers stay ahead of food inflation by getting items at discount, while sellers are able to make a living in an environment plagued with job losses. Everyone’s a winner – except, of course, the taxpayer who has  to foot the bill.
So long as the economic situation in America continues to deteriorate, these black markets will continue to expand. This is exactly what happened in crumbling economies of the East Block, where cigarettes, alcohol, food and Western goods became hot commodities in underground circles.
This, and the crime that will come with it, is an inevitable outcome of a nation that has bit off more than it can chew.

80 Percent Of Americans Say That They Are Not Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago

Source: The Economic Collapse

Are you better off today than you were four years ago?  If not, then you are just like most other Americans.  According to a CBS News/New York Times poll that was released a few days ago, 80 percent of Americans say that their financial situation is not “better today” than it was four years ago.  But if you turn on the television and listen to what the “pundits” are saying, you would be tempted to think that we were in the midst of a robust economic recovery.  You would be tempted to think that the U.S. economy is in great shape and that we are heading for a really bright future.  But the fact that the stock market is soaring does not mean much to most Americans.  In fact, most Americans couldn’t care less that the Dow is well above 13,000 and that the NASDAQ is above 3,000.  What most Americans care about is having a job and being able to provide for their families.  If you haven’t paid the mortgage in three months or if you don’t have enough money to take your daughter to go see the doctor it really is not going to matter to you how well the boys and girls over on Wall Street are doing.  Right now most American families are doing worse than they were doing four years ago, and no amount of media hype is going to change that fact.
Yes, the stock market is doing really well for the moment, but the truth is that more than 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percent of the U.S. population.
Good for them.  It looks like the trillions of dollars that the Federal Reservepoured into the big Wall Street banks is really paying off nicely for the financial community.
Meanwhile, much of the rest of the country is deeply suffering.
It was recently reported that 1.5 million American families live on less than two dollars a day (before counting government benefits).
That is horrifying.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living in “extreme poverty” is now sitting at an all-time high.

All across this country poverty is exploding.  Food banks are experiencing more demand than ever before and those offering free healthcare are absolutely swamped.
And every single measure of government dependence has gone way up since Barack Obama entered the White House.
For example, since Barack Obama became president the number of Americans on food stamps has gone up by 45 percent.
Just think about that.
At this point the federal government is helping to feed an all-time record 46.5 million Americans every month.
Oh yeah, times are good.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
That is much higher than it has been historically.
For example, back in 1983 less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
The big problem is that there are simply not enough jobs for everyone.
Listening to the media, you would be tempted to think that the U.S. economy is now pumping out huge numbers of good jobs.
But that is simply not the case.
Right now there are 5.6 million fewer jobs than there were when the last recession began back in late 2007.
So where are the millions of jobs you promised us Obama?
The federal government is trying to convince us that the unemployment rate is going down, but that is not really true.
The key is to look at the percentage of working age Americans that actually have jobs.  During the last recession that percentage fell dramatically as you can see from the chart below.  After every other recession since World War II the employment to population ratio has always bounced back.  But it has nothappened this time.  Instead, the employment to population ratio has remained between 58 and 59 percent since the end of 2009….
80 Percent Of Americans Say That They Are Not Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago  Employment Population Ratio 2012 440x264
We have not had a jobs recovery.  Hopefully we will have one before the next recession hits, but we are running out of time for that.
Tonight there are millions upon millions of hard working Americans that are staring at their television screens and wondering why they can’t find good jobs.  The pretty people on television are telling them that the employment situation is getting much better but they can’t find work no matter how hard they try.  It is a cruel joke on them.
When Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million.  Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.
Thanks for the improvement Obama.
Meanwhile, the average duration of unemployment continues to hover near a record high.  Just look at the chart posted below.  Does this look like a “jobs recovery” to you?….
80 Percent Of Americans Say That They Are Not Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago  Average Duration Of Unemployment 2012 440x264
But of course Obama and those that support him want to make things sound like they are getting better.  They want people to run out and vote for him again in November.
If things are going well for you right now, be thankful, and also remember the millions upon millions of Americans out there that are deeply hurting in this economy.
If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States at this point into one nation, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the entire world.  It would be a nation larger than Greece or Portugal.
That is a lot of people.
Obama promised us that the Wall Street bailouts would make everything better.  He promised us that if we poured gigantic mountains of money into Wall Street that it would end up helping “Main Street”.
Well, the last time I looked Goldman Sachs was doing just fine.
So where is the help for Main Street?
In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
How much wealthier do they have to get before they start creating more jobs for the rest of us?
Obama (like most of our politicians) is a complete fraud when it comes to the economy.  He is all saddle and no horse.  He talks a good game but he doesn’t have any game.
As Wall Street has recovered, the rest of the country has actually been in decline.  Median household income in the United States is down 7.8 percentsince December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.  Millions of American families are reaching the breaking point and millions of other families have already reached it.
Incomes have been declining but the cost of living has not.
For example, health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.
Has your paycheck increased by 23 percent?
The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by more than 90 percent since Barack Obama became president.
Has your paycheck increased by 90 percent?
Millions of American families have lost their homes while Obama has been president and millions more will soon lose their homes.  At this point there aremore than 6 million mortgages in the United States that are overdue.
It is a horrible, horrible feeling to know that you can’t pay your mortgage and that you will soon lose your home and your family will be put out on the street.
None of us would ever want to end up in that situation.
And the housing market sure has not shown any signs of recovery under Barack Obama.
In January, U.S. home prices were the lowest that they have been in more than a decade.
Weren’t home prices and home sales supposed to be turning around by now?
Under Barack Obama, new home sales in the United States set a brand new all-time record low in 2009, they set a brand new all-time record low again in 2010, and they set a brand new all-time record low once again during 2011.
That trend is not going in the right direction.
Of course Barack Obama is not solely responsible for the performance of the U.S. economy.  Congress should share part of the blame as well, and the Federal Reserve is more responsible for our economic performance than anyone else is.
But one area where Barack Obama has had a huge impact is in the area ofgovernment spending.
While Barack Obama has been president, the U.S. national debt has risen from 10.6 trillion to 15.5 trillion.
Thanks Obama.
During the first three years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did between 1776 and 1995.
So is Obama planning a change of course?
Of course not.
At this point, our national debt is increasing by about 150 million dollars every single hour.
So should we be thanking Obama for stealing 150 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every hour?
Should we be thanking Obama for ruining our future?
I think not.
But you know what?
According to the CBS News/New York Times poll mentioned above, about half of America would actually vote for Obama if the next presidential election was held today.
That alone is a clear sign that this country is in a massive amount of trouble.
The truth is that the leaders we elect are an accurate reflection of who we are as a country.
And when you look at the collection of misfits in Washington D.C. right now, that does not say a lot about the character of this nation.
So where does America go from here?
That is up to you America.