Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Economy of Staying Home

Daisy Luther
Activist Post

Reallocating money for prepping demands some sacrifices. Freeing up the money you need to prepare means that you can’t necessarily keep up with the Joneses. Trust me, though, the time will come when the Joneses would trade their big screen TVs, their brand new SUVs and their fancy gym memberships in order to keep up with you.

One of the easiest ways to save money is also one of the simplest. For some people, it’s one of the most difficult.

Stay home.

That’s it – nothing fancy at all. Just stay home more.

Now, before the flurry of emails begins, I’m not suggesting that you become a mad hermit up on a mountain, only trekking to the village on foot once a year to buy salt and sugar. In fact, as I write this, I’m on vacation with my daughters. (The first one in five years!) Actually, being on vacation is what inspired me to write this.

I noticed some of the little things we spend money on when we’re out and about. Because I work from home, I am not “tempted” by all the things there are to spend money on very frequently. While I don’t think that we should stop living and enjoying life, during your everyday, non-vacation life, there are a lot of financial benefits to finding most of your entertainment, companionship and solace from the comfort of your home.


The first big savings of staying home more frequently is the cost of your transportation. With fuel prices skyrocketing, you’ve probably noticed the pain each time you go to the pumps.

Group your errands. Obviously, you have to go to work and run errands. By grouping these things into fewer outings, however, you will save money on fuel. Stop by the grocery store on the way home from work instead of making a special trip on the weekend. If you go to a gym, go on the way to work and use the showers there. If your kids are involved in activities, consider doing some errands while they are engaged instead of dropping them off, going home, and going out again to pick them up.

Walk. Are you within walking distance of any of the things you have to do? If so, walk to the Post Office on your lunch break. Walk to work and school if you’re near enough. Not only will your wallet thank you, so will your health.

Food and Beverages

We live in a pretty rural area. We do our grocery shopping once a month because it’s a drive of an hour and a half. While we always take some drinks and snacks, nearly every single time we end up buying something during our time away. Maybe it’s a treat like ice cream in the summer or hot chocolate in the winter or even lunch at a restaurant. Since it’s only once a month, I plan this into the budget. However, when you’re out every day, these treats really begin to add up.

Bring your lunch, your drinks and your coffee. When I worked outside the home, I always brought my lunch and refilled my water bottle at the cooler. Many of my coworkers went out for fast food every day at lunch. They came in with a drive-thru coffee cup in their hands, went to the vending machine for a coke and a bag of chips. When you hit a drive-thru every time you go out the door, the price of leaving home goes up.

When you grocery shop, make a plan. When you go out for the explicit purpose of buying food and beverages, it’s best to make a list. Bring a drink with you, so you aren’t tempted to grab an overpriced bottle of water. Eat before you go so that everything in the store doesn’t looks so delicious that it makes its expensive, full-price way into your cart.


It seems like a lot of people can’t have fun at home anymore. Maybe I have a warped perspective of fun, but I really enjoy gardening, doing arts and crafts with the kids, making popcorn and watching a movie together or just reading a book. Our society has become so overstimulated that people constantly require more and greater stimulation in order to not feel “bored”. Take for example the folks who are glued to their iPhones while spending time at a place that should be entertaining in and of itself. We once saw an entire family at a restaurant, each with their own device out, eating food and ignoring one another. Because we don’t go out that often, I guess it’s more of a treat, so we are fully engaged in it. I’ve noticed that going to the backyard to play is no longer interesting enough – it has to be a water park or an amusement park for many kids to be excited about it.

By learning to entertain ourselves simply we can get a lot more happiness out of a lot less money. By developing some productive hobbies, we can be creative while meeting needs. By being active in our pursuits instead of passively entertained, we can be healthier in mind and body.

And while we’re on the topic of entertainment – shopping should not be “entertainment”. When you shop as “something to do” you are bound to spend money on something you don’t need. I have daughters, and they really don’t love my theory on this, but we shop when we need to get something. We don’t just go hang out at the mall. If it’s time to buy some school clothes, I allot a certain amount of money and time, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I do the same thing with Christmas shopping. The mall is fraught with ways to drain your money – you get thirsty and buy a bottle of water or another drink. You weren’t hungry but the smells from the food court are so tantalizing you can’t resist. That display in front of the store has doohickeys that are ONLY a dollar.

It’s Not You, It’s Them

Don’t feel bad if you’ve read the suggestions above and recognized yourself. People go to college for 4-6 years just to learn how to part you and your money. Advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry. Western society is based on commercialism.

A 2007 article in the New York Times said that the average city dweller is subjected to more than 5,000 ads every single day. It’s a barrage that hits you not only when leaving your house, but when turning on the radio, surfing the internet and watching television.
Add this to the endangered list: blank spaces. 
Advertisers seem determined to fill every last one of them. Supermarket eggs have been stamped with the names of CBS television shows. Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance. Chinese food cartons promote Continental Airways.US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags. And the trays used in airport security lines have been hawking Rolodexes. 
Marketers used to try their hardest to reach people at home, when they were watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines. But consumers’ viewing and reading habits are so scattershot now that many advertisers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at literally every turn. 
“We never know where the consumer is going to be at any point in time, so we have to find a way to be everywhere,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, chief executive at the Kaplan Thaler Group, a New York ad agency. “Ubiquity is the new exclusivity.”
Recognizing that you are the target of commercialism run amok is the first step in resisting the marketing schemes. Your awareness that you are being manipulated makes you less likely to think, “Wow, that sounds great! I have to have it!”

Be sure that you are the one who decides where your money should be spent. Identify your priorities (preps, your stockpile, a better location, lessons that will improve your chances when/if the SHTF) and avoid the marketing machine as much as possible.

By centering your life around your home, you can stay focused on your goals. You can begin to see your home as a retreat from the stressors of the world instead of a grim place where you’re trapped.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

One in four Germans would vote for party which promised to quit the euro as anti-establishment spirit grows across EU

  • 26% of German voters want to vote for eurosceptic party, says poll
  • News comes on day new anti-euro party is set up by group of academics

  • A quarter of Germans would vote for a party pledging to quit the euro, according to a poll published today.
    The survey suggests that if they had the option, voters in Germany might record the same anti-establishment sentiments as were seen in the recent election in Italy.
    The country's mainstream parties are all pro-euro, although a new party being launched today describes the single currency as 'a fatal mistake' and calls for Germany to withdraw.
    Under threat? Angela Merkel could be vulnerable to an anti-euro party at September's elections
    Under threat? Angela Merkel could be vulnerable to an anti-euro party at September's elections
    A German taboo on nationalism, rooted in atonement for the crimes of the Nazi era, has helped to muffle eurosceptic voices.
    But the poll conducted by TNS-Emnid for the weekly Focus magazine showed 26 per cent of Germans would consider backing a party that wanted to take Germany out of the euro and as many as four in 10 Germans in the 40-49 age bracket would do so.
    The survey, which canvassed the views of 1,007 people on March 6-7, coincides with the launch of a new party, Alternative for Germany (AfD).
    AfD and other German critics of the euro say it is unfair and undemocratic to expect Germany to bear the costs of other countries' economic mistakes and call for a return to the Deutschmark.
    'Every people should be able democratically to decide its own currency,' the AfD says on its website.
    Success: Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment message propelled him to third place in the recent Italian elections
    Success: Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment message propelled him to third place in the recent Italian elections
    Emnid chief Klaus-Peter Schoeppner said the survey results were partly a signal from conservative supporters of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition that they expected a strong defence of German interests in Europe and would not accept any moves towards 'euro bonds', a sharing of liability for euro zone debt.
    'There is scope in Germany for a protest party to win two or three per cent support but it would be very difficult for it to enter parliament,' he said.
    A political party needs to win five per cent to get seats in Germany's Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.
    Despite the euro zone crisis, which has pitched southern Europe into deep recession, Germany is faring relatively well.
    Unpopular: More EU voters are turning against the single currency and backing rogue political parties
    Unpopular: More EU voters are turning against the single currency and backing rogue political parties
    The new eurosceptic party, the AfD, comprising mostly academics and businessmen, is due to hold its first meeting on Monday evening in a suburb of Frankfurt.
    'Let's put an end to this euro!' reads the message on the front page of its new website at www.alternativefuer.de.
    'The Federal Republic of Germany is in the deepest crisis in its history. The introduction of the euro was a fatal mistake that is threatening our prosperity. The old parties are grizzled and worn out. They are stubbornly refusing to admit their mistake and correct it.'
    The AfD said the European Central Bank should not be allowed to buy up the debt of struggling euro zone members. It fears this could stoke inflation that will destroy the value of Germans' savings.
    The party will be hoping to capitalise on the anti-establishment feeling which led to the strong performance of comedian Beppe Grillo at the Italian election two weeks ago.
    Merkel's conservatives are tipped to win most votes in the September election, helped partly by her tough stance on euro zone bailouts and her insistence that heavily indebted countries embrace harsh austerity measures.
    The main opposition centre-left Social Democrats and Greens have broadly backed Merkel's efforts to tackle the euro crisis.

    Silicon Valley Poverty Is Getting Much Worse Amidst Insane New Tech Wealth Boom

    poverty in silicon valley
    A San Jose city worker hands a resident an eviction notice at a tent city
    Silicon Valley has more jobs than it did at the height of the dot-com boom. But despite its seemingly healthy economy, poverty is on the rise, Martha Mendoza of The Associated Press reports.
    The number of people on food stamps recently hit a 10-year high and homelessness went up 20% in two years, according to the annual Silicon Valley Index.
    "In the midst of a national economic recovery led by Silicon Valley's resurgence, as measured by corporate profits and record stock prices, something strange is going on in the Valley itself," Cindy Chavez, executive director of Working Partnerships USA, told the AP. "Most people are getting poorer."
    But why?
    It's mostly due to the cost of living in Silicon Valley.
    The median price for a home is $550,000, while rent is, on average, a little under $2,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. And a family of four in Silicon Valley needs about $90,000 a year in order to cover rent, food, transportation, and childcare, according to the nonprofit Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
    The average income for Hispanics, who make up one in four residents in Silicon Valley, fell to an all-time low of $19,000 a year, according to the annual Silicon Valley Index. In the meantime, Silicon Valley's wealthiest are worth billions of dollars.
    "The fact is that we have an economy now that's working well only for those at the very top," Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel told the AP. "Unless we adopt a new approach to economic policy, we're going to continue going down this path, which means growth that does not really benefit the great majority of people in this country."

    The World’s ‘Richest’ Country? More Than 30% Of Population No Longer Working, Nearly Half Are Either “Poor” Or “Low Income” And Lives In Households Receiving Gov’t Benefits, And 40 Percent Of The Population Are Close To The Edge Of Financial Ruin

    March 8th, 2013
    The number of Americans designated as “not in the labor force” in February was 89,304,000, a record high, up from 89,008,000 in January, according to the Department of Labor. This means that the number of Americans not in the labor force increased 296,000 between January and February.
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work.
    The increase marks the second month in a row, after rising in January from 88.8 million in December. Those not in the labor force had declined in December from 88.9 million in November.
    89 million not in the labor force =  29%, give or take, assuming the US population is 310,000,000 + official unemployment 7.7%

    Another all-time high for the Dow.

    First the scoreboard:
    Dow: 14,390, +61.4 pts, +0.4 percent
    S&P 500: 1,551, +6.9 pts, +0.4 percent
    NASDAQ: 3,244, +12.2 pts, +0.3 percent
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/closing-bell-march-8-2013-2013-3#ixzz2N07y8hYv

    Nearly Half Are Either “Poor” Or “Low Income” And Lives In Households Receiving Gov’t Benefits

    U.S. Poverty: Census Finds Nearly Half Of Americans Are Poor Or Low-Income
    WASHINGTON — Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans – nearly 1 in 2 – have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
    The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.
    According to US Census Bureau data, 49.1% of the US population lives in a household where at least one member is receiving government benefits:
    The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.

    The increase in recent years is likely due in large part to the lingering effects of the recession. As of early 2011, 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits. Families doubling up to save money or pool expenses also is likely leading to more multigenerational households. But even without the effects of the recession, there would be a larger reliance on government.
    The Census data show that 16% of the population lives in a household where at least one member receives Social Security and 15% receive or live with someone who gets Medicare. There is likely a lot of overlap, since Social Security and Medicare tend to go hand in hand, but those percentages also are likely to increase as the Baby Boom generation ages.
    Foodstamp Recipients Hit Record, Alongside Record Dow Jones And Record Debt: 20% Of Eligible Americans On EBT
    Record Dow Jones, record US debt ($16,701,846,937,879.74), and now, once more, record number of Americans on foodstamps. According to the USDA, an all time high of 47,791,966 Americans closed 2012 in possession of the highly desired Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, managed by who else but JPMorgan. And with a civilian non-institutional population of 244.4 million in December, this means that a record 19.56% of eligible Americans are on Foodstamps.
    In December an additional 109,924 Americans became reliant on foodstamps for their poverty-level needs, bringing the total to 47.8 million.


    40 Percent Of The Population Are Close To The Edge Of Financial Ruin

    Rumors of the spendthrift American consumer may be slightly exaggerated. Bankrate’s 2013 February Financial Security Index found that a majority of consumers — by a narrow margin — say they have more savings than credit card debt.
    For more than half the country, 55 percent, an emergency fund outweighs credit card debt. Nearly a quarter, 24 percent, admit to having more debt on plastic than money in the bank, while 16 percent say they have neither credit card debt nor savings. That puts 40 percent of the population close to the edge of ruin while everyone else seems to be sitting pretty.

    IOUSA: One Nation. Under Debt. In Stress. (Full Version)

    An interesting, informative and factual summary of the US financial health up to the end of the Bush era. It covers the growing deficit and debt of the nation, its effect on Social Security and our heavy dependence on foreign funds.
    Most concerning is that this does not cover the enormous spending of the Obama Administration, which is borrowing far more money every year than the highest spending years of the Bush administration. Due to the recession, there is less money to pay the debt than there was three years ago.

    Nasdaq's New Private Market: Trading Unlisted Stocks

    Helping the start-up ecosystem.
    (Bloomberg) -- Bob Rice of Tangent Capital talks about Nasdaq's new private market.
    Details are here...
    Nasdaq, SharesPost To Set Up Market For Unlisted Stocks
    The new venture, Nasdaq Private Market, will help the exchange rebuild its reputation as the exchange of choice for unlisted companies, after it was criticized for its role in the botched Facebook IPO last May.
    "NYSE was taking a lot of share away from the Nasdaq even in tech listings, so I think it's kind of an opportunistic move for Nasdaq," said Josef Schuster, founder of Chicago-based financial services firm IPOX Schuster LLC.
    Major market makers and broker dealers say they lost upward of $500 million because of technical glitches on the Nasdaq during Facebook's May 18 stock market debut.
    Privately held SharesPost was charged by the SEC for failing to register as a broker-dealer before offering securities in its marketplace. It registered as a broker-dealer and paid $100,000 to settle the allegations.
    Recent legislation, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, has boosted opportunities for trading of unlisted companies. Under the act, an unlisted company can have 2,000 shareholders, up from 500.
    Can't tell yet if the Naz announcement is related to this story from a few weeks ago.
    SEC Seeks Stock Exchange Only For The Rich

    Will The Long-Anticipated Financial Collapse Finally Occur In 2013? Average Americans Are Starting To Feel The Pain of US Debt And Monetary Base Expansion About To Go Into TURBO DRIVE

    Are we heading towards an Economic Collapse? Preparing for Financial Armageddon

    Our county sits at over 16 trillion dollars in debt, with unfunded obligations that make the actual debt number about $120 trillion. The reality of the situation is there’s really no way out of the situation. Our government, thanks to both political parties, has spent us into a hole that we cannot dig ourselves out of. The facts, that nobody seems to want to talk about, indicate our country is still heading towards a complete meltdown of the financial system.
    You can choose to believe the lies that are being spoon feed to you by the mainstream media, or you can look at the reality of the situation; our Economy is still facing some enormous challenges, and the prospects for a full economic recovery don’t look very good. The financial problems that lead to the housing / financial market crash of 2008 have not been fixed; in fact, many of these problems are even worse today than they were in 2008.
    Preparing for an economic collapse
    Twenty years ago, most people would have said you were crazy for thinking our system could collapse. Even today, most of our country is either unaware, or has forgotten how closely we came to a complete collapse of the financial system during the banking crisis of 2008.

    Average Americans are feeling pain of US debt

    When it comes to the nation’s debt, payback time might be here.
    Years of low tax rates and rising federal spending, amplified by the devastating economic effect of the Great Recession, have driven the U.S. borrowing tab to more than $16 trillion from less than $1 trillion in 1981.
    Deficit reduction has become the dominant issue in Washington. The first major tax increase since 1993 took effect last month. And large automatic spending cuts – $1.2 trillion in the next decade – are set to kick in Friday.
    The result: Average Americans are starting to feel the pain.
    “The day of reckoning is here,” said David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general who has been warning about the nation’s long-term fiscal problems for several years.
    “We’re at the end of an era where we have Democratic spending policies and Republican tax policies,” he said. “The result has been huge deficits and mounting debt burdens. It doesn’t work.”
    In attempts to solve the problem, Republicans have focused on reducing government spending. Democrats have aimed at increasing taxes on the wealthy. And both parties leveraged their influence in the past two years to get their way.



    AltInvestors has released an interview with GoldMoney’s Alasdair Macleod regarding the recent sell-off in the gold and silver markets.
    Macleod states that gold and silver have nothing to worry about, and the long-anticipated global financial collapse will finally occur in 2013.

    DAVID WOO: The Economy Will Get ‘Decisively Slower’ And There’s Already One Worrisome Sign

    … BofA strategist for FX and rates David Woo said that the U.S. economy was about to see the “moment of truth.” At the time he reckoned that the data over the coming weeks would show whether the U.S. recovery would survive or not.

    So we asked Woo what he thought of the latest good data that has the market and folks like Goldman Sachs so excited.
    He remains skeptical.
    Via email he writes:
    The Feb data have been impressive but I still think March data will be decisively slower. The Rasmussen daily consumer confidence is down nearly 10 points from mid-Feb and the impact of the sequester will start to show up in the next 2-3 weeks (CBO is forecasting 750K job looses this year from sequester implementation).

    Monetary base expansion about to go into TURBO DRIVE! Are you ready for unintended outcomes?

    FRED Graph
    Federal Reserve Monetary Base:

    Jim Rogers: We’re Wiping out the Savings Class Globally, to Terrible Consequence


    03-05-13-Macro Analytics – The Global End Game – with Charles Hugh Smith

    The Dow Hits An All-Time High! Translation: A Bubble Is Always Biggest Right Before It Bursts

    Reckless money printing by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has pumped up the Dow to a brand new all-time high.  So what comes next?  Will the Dow go even higher?  Hopefully it will.  In fact, it would be great if the Dow was able to hit 15,000 before it finally came crashing down.  That would give all of us some more time to prepare for the nightmarish economic crisis that is rapidly approaching.  As you will see below, the U.S. economy is in far, far worse shape than it was the last time the Dow reached a record high back in 2007.  In addition, all of the long-term trends that are ripping our economy to shreds just continue to get even worse and our debt just continues to explode.  Unfortunately, the Dow has become completely divorced from economic reality in recent years because of Fed manipulation.  All of this funny money that the Federal Reserve has been cranking out has made the wealthy even wealthier, but this bubble will not last for too much longer.  What goes up must come down.  And remember, a bubble is always biggest right before it bursts.

    PEOPLE WAKING...."Bugger The Bankers " THE OFFICIAL VIDEO (High)

    10 companies profiting the most from war

    The business of war is profitable. In 2011, the 100 largest contractors sold $410 billion in arms and military services. Just 10 of those companies sold over $208 billion. Based on a list of the top 100 arms-producing and military services companies in 2011 compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 companies with the most military sales worldwide.
    These companies have benefited tremendously from the growth in military spending in the U.S., which by far has the largest military budget in the world. In 2000, the U.S. defense budget was approximately $312 billion. By 2011, the figure had grown to $712 billion. Arm sales grew alongside general defense spending growth. SIPRI noted that between 2002 and 2011, arms sales among the top 100 companies grew by 51%.
    However, the trend has recently reversed. In 2011, the top 100 arms dealers sold 5% less compared to 2010. Susan Jackson, a SIPRI defense expert, said in an email to 24/7 Wall St. that austerity measures in Western Europe and the U.S. have delayed or slowed the procurement of different weapons systems. Austerity concerns have exacerbated matters. Federal budget cuts that took effect in March mean military spending could contract by more than $500 billion over the coming decade unless policymakers negotiate a pullback on the mandated cuts.
    In addition, the U.S.' involvement in conflicts abroad continue to wind down. The last American convoy in Iraq left the country in December 2011. Troop withdrawals from Afghanistan also began in 2011. Finally, SIPRI pointed out sanctions on arms transfers to Libya have contributed to declining arms sales.
    Many defense contractors are looking overseas to make up for slowing sales in the U.S. and Europe. Arms producers are especially keen on Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Asia, Jackson said. For instance, BAE is securing contracts with Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the chief financial officer of Northrop Grumman has recently indicated his company may sell its Global Hawk airplane to South Korea or Japan.
    Based on the SIPRI report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 biggest weapons companies. Arms were defined as sales to military customers, either for procurement or for export, but do not include sales of general purpose items, such as oil or computer equipment. We looked at sales figures for two years through 2011, among other metrics. Here are the 10 companies that profit the most from war:
    10. United Technologies (UTX) -- aircraft, electronics, enginesArm sales: $11.6 billion, total sales: $58.2 billionGross profit: $5.3 billion, total workforce: 199,900 United Technologies makes a wide range of arms — notably military helicopters, including the Black Hawk helicopter for the U.S. Army and the Seahawk helicopter for the U.S. Navy. The company was the biggest employer in the top 10 though arms sales accounted for just 20% of revenue. UTX also produces elevators, escalators, air-conditioners and refrigerators. International sales comprised 60% of the company's revenue in 2012.
    9. L-3 Communications (LLL) -- electronicsArm sales: $12.5 billion, total sales: $15.2 billionGross profit: $956 million, total workforce: 61,000
    Some 83% of L-3 Communications sales in 2011 came from arms sales, but this was down from what it sold the prior year. The company has four business segments: electronic systems; aircraft modernization and maintenance; national security solutions; and command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Among many products manufactured, the company has become a major provider of unmanned aircraft systems.

    8. Finmeccanica -- aircraft, artillery, engines, electronics, vehicles and missilesArms sales, $14.6 billion, total sales: $24.1 billion
    Gross profit: $ -3.2 billion, total workforce: 70,470
    Italian company Finmeccanica makes a wide range of arms, including helicopters and security electronics. Nearly 60% of the company's sales in 2011 were in arms. Finmeccanica lost $3.2 billion in 2011. The Italian company is currently fending off allegation that it paid bribes to win an approximately $750 million contract to provide 12 military helicopters to the Indian government in 2010. The then-head of the company, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested in February but has denied wrongdoing. Other executives, including the head of the company's helicopter unit, have been replaced, and the company has delayed the release of recent financial results.
    7. EADS -- aircraft, electronics, missiles and spaceArm sales: $16.4 billion, total sales: $68.3 billionGross profit: $1.4 billion, total workforce: 133,120The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), based in the Netherlands, had sales in 2011 roughly in line with the prior year. Arms sales comprised just 24% of the company's revenue. EADS and BAE Systems unsuccessfully attempted to merge for $45 billion in 2012, which would have created the world's largest aerospace company. The deal collapsed in October after German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concerns about the merger.
    6. Northrop Grumman (NOC) -- aircraft, electronics, missiles, ships, space
    Arm sales: $21.4 billion, total sales: $26.4 billion
    Gross profit: $2.1 billion, total workforce: 72,500
    Northrop Grumman's 2011 arms sales comprised about 81% of total sales even after a sharp decline in arms sales year over year. The company attributed the decline to reduced government spending on defense projects. Nevertheless, the company was more profitable than in the prior year.
    5. Raytheon (RTN) -- electronics, missilesArm sales: $22.5 billion, total sales: $24.9 billionGross profit: $1.9 billion, total workforce: 71,000Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., is one of the largest defense contractors in the U.S. The company makes the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, among others. Arms sales comprised about 90% of the company's sales in 2011 though they as a total they were lower than in the prior year. The slide hasn't let up. Total sales in 2012 fell 1.5%, and Raytheon is expecting sales to fall 3% in 2013, a projection which doesn't take into account the effects of mandated budget cuts. The company can rely on overseas customers to somewhat offset weak sales at home. As of January, approximately 40% of the company's backlog was booked overseas. The company expects approximately a 5% increase in international sales in 2013.
    4. General Dynamics (GD) -- artillery, electronics, vehicles, small arms, shipsArm sales: $23.8 billion, total sales: $32.7 billionGross profit: $2.5 billion, total workforce: 95,100With 18,000 transactions in 2011, General Dynamics was the third-largest contractor to the U.S. government. Of those contracts, approximately $12.9 billion worth went to the Navy, while an additional $4.6 billion went to the Army. The company's arms sales in 2011 comprised 73% of total sales. Arms sales in 2011 were slightly below 2010 levels. The company makes a host of products, including electric boats, tracked and wheeled military vehicles, and battle tanks. The company announced layoffs in early March, blaming mandated federal budget cuts.
    3. BAE Systems -- aircraft, artillery, electronics, vehicles, missiles, shipsArm sales: $29.2 billion, total sales: $30.7 billionGross profit: $2.3 billion, total workforce: 93,500BAE Systems was the largest non-U.S. company based on arms sales. Arms sales represented 95% of the company's total sales in 2011 even though they were lower as a total of overall sales compared to the prior year. The products BAE sells include the L-ROD Bar Armor System that shields defense vehicles and the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer that provides sophisticated simulation training for military pilots. In 2013, the company said its growth would likely come from outside the U.S. and Great Britain — its home market. BAE noted that its outlook for those two countries was "constrained," likely due to the diminished presence in international conflicts and government budget cuts.
    2. Boeing (BA) -- aircraft, electronics, missiles, spaceArm sales: $31.8 billion, total sales: $68.7 billionGross profit: $4 billion, total workforce: 171,700Boeing was the second-largest U.S. government contractor in 2011, with about $21.5 billion worth of goods contracted. The Chicago-based company makes a wide range of arms, including strategic missile systems, laser and electro-optical systems and global positioning systems. Despite all these technologies, just 46% of the company's total sales of $68.7 billion in 2011 came from arms. Boeing is the largest commercial airplane manufacturer in the world, making planes such as the 747, 757 and recently, the 787 Dreamliner. The company is also known for its space technology — Boeing had $1 billion worth of contracts with NASA in 2011.
    1. Lockheed Martin (LMT) -- aircraft, electronics, missiles, spaceArm sales:$36.3 billion, total sales: $46.5 billionGross profit: $2.7 billion, total workforce, 123,000Lockheed Martin notched $36.3 billion in sales in 2011, slightly higher than the $35.7 billion the company sold in 2010. The arms sales comprised 78% of the company's total 2011 sales. Lockheed makes a wide range of products, including aircraft, missiles, unmanned systems and radar systems. The company and its employees have been concerned about the effects of the "fiscal cliff" and sequestration, the latter of which includes significant cuts to the U.S. Department of Defense. In the fall of 2012, the company planned on issuing layoff notices to all employees before backing down at the White House's request.
    24/7 Wall St.com is a financial news and analysis web site.

    Report Prepared for Obama’s DHS & DOJ targets Survivalists, Patriots & Conservatives as Terrorist Threats

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group who regularly attacks patriotic Americans by masquerading as a civil rights group, is compiling lists and conducting surveillance on what it calls “patriots”, “survivalists”, and “conspiracy theorists”. Even more disturbing, is the access this group has to the Obama administration’s Department of Justice.
    In a report prepared for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is asking the Federal Government to create a new inter-agency task force which will be dedicated to tracking and taking down conspiracy theorists, survivalists, “Patriot groups” and the “American radical right”.
    The Government Supported Attack Group, who is actively creating lists and conducting surveillance on Americans, says the following people need to be tracked by the Federal Government.
    • Those who talk about, or believe in Conspiracy Theories.
    • Those who talk about or believe in Agenda 21 — a United Nations sustainability plan that was signed by President George H.W. Bush and is part of a plan to impose socialism on America and strip away private property rights.
    • Those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns.
    • Those who believe the President is trying to impose Socialism on the American people.
    • Those who call themselves Survivalist or belong to Patriot Groups.
    • Right-wing groups like the Tea Party, the Constitution Party, the Oath Keepers, or other “conspiracy-oriented Patriot groups”
    The report was written by J. Richard Cohen, President of the SPLC and a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.
    The fact that our government entertains the thoughts of a raving madman is a testament to how far this country has fallen from its founding doctrines. How a person who labels patriotic Americans as a terrorist threat is allowed to work with the federal government, especially at a time when the DHS is in the middle of so many Spying & Drone Scandals, is a complete mystery that should scare the hell out of every American in this country.
    We have a government who is declaring war on the thoughts, opinions and principles that founded this country. When a man who declares Patriots to be a “terrorist group” is allowed such high level access to our leaders, there is something seriously wrong with our system.

    Homeless Houston Veteran Cited for Dumpster Diving in Search for Food [Listen]

    Homeless Veteran's Ticket
    A homeless Houston veteran has been ticketed for dumpster diving, in his quest for food. (Credit: Provided)
    Scouring for his next meal in a dumpster downtown, a homeless man is ticketed by Houston Police. Now, opponents point to the citation as validation of arguments against the city’s homeless feeding ordinance.
    NEWS 92 FM’s Norm Uhl has more:

    Cited for “disturbing the contents of a garbage can in downtown central business district,” the 44-year-old Caucasian man is known only as K.J., in a redacted ticket issued by police the morning of March 7.
    But now, he is quickly becoming a symbol of how the city’s 2012 feeding ordinance victimizes the poor, says Joe Ablaza, an opponent of the policy.
    K.J. is a homeless veteran forced to dumpster dive for food where he once relied on the kindness of strangers. And now, even that source of food is in jeopardy, he says.
    Update: How Much is this Veteran’s Fine? Find Out Here
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    “What little dignity this man has continues to be assaulted by the uncompassionate leadership of this city,” Ablaza writes, in a Facebook post since shared over 400 times since Sunday afternoon.
    The voluntary homeless feeding ordinance was passed last April  in a 11-6 vote by Houston City Council. The program moves for registration of formal and informal food service organizations, free food handling training by the city’s Department of Health and Human Services, and coordination of locations and times of feeding.
    Registrants are also required to obtain the consent of public or private property owners before distributing food.
    Councilman James Rodriguez, who represents District I, told the Houston Chronicle the policy was meant to “treat our homeless with dignity, to be more efficient and to protect public property.”
    Ablaza and other opponents aren’t buying it, however, saying Mayor Annise Parker has forced the homeless into a difficult situation.
    Chris Carmona, a candidate for Council At-Large Position 3, said Parker did not allow residents to vote on the issue and is “[j]ust another example of Big Brother policies.”
    Meanwhile, as some are embroiled in the politics of the issue, others are sharing concern for the well-being of K.J. and others like him.
    Republican activist Jason Baldwin, of Houston, took to Twitter Sunday seeking information about K.J.’s identity so he could offer him a warm meal.
    K.J. is expected to appear in court on April 10th.

    The Global Austerity Resistance Continues

    Protesters march against government austerity measures in Madrid, March 10, 2013. (Reuters/Sergio Perez)

    Tens of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Spain and Greece this week in response to ongoing budget cuts and high unemployment. In Spain, unemployment has passed the 5 million mark for the first time since records began—attracting widespread criticism over the conservative government’s austerity plans. Similarly, Greece, which has served as a laboratory for austerity enthusiasts, has suffered mass poverty, unemployment and suicide since severe budget cuts were implemented by the government.
    “Poverty, unemployment, suicides. Enough is enough,” was the slogan chanted on Syntagma square by some 1,500 Greek demonstrators non-affiliated with political parties who were mobilized through social media. The demonstration ended when police shot tear gas at protesters—a police tactic also used during the anti-austerity demonstrations in Athens when the debt crisis began in late 2009.

    Earlier this month, three people in central Greece killed themselves on the same day, and analysts said there is a correlation between the rising rates and three years of pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions that have pushed many people into poverty. According to the Greek Reporter:
    There has been a sharp rise in the number of suicides in Greece since the beginning of the crisis in 2009, with official sources putting the figure at over 3,100 from the start of 2009 to August 2012, though experts say that deaths by suicide are often not documented as such because of the social stigma attached to them.
    On Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras promised that there would be “no more austerity measures” as international creditors prolonged an audit of crisis reforms.
    “There will be no more austerity measures,” Samaras said in a televised speech to his conservative party’s political committee.
    “And as soon as growth sets in, relief measures will slowly begin,” Samaras said.
    But he noted that Greece’s ailing economy was “out of intensive care, not out of the hospital.”
    However, it seems unlikely Samaras will have the last word on budget cuts, and auditors have made it clear they expect to see an increase in privatization plans. Under the bailout conditions adopted last year, Greece needs to cut public sector workers by 25,000 in 2013 and a total of 150,000 by the end of 2015.
    In Spain, the Madrid protest ended when police fired tear gas at protesters and arrested forty-five people, including nine minors. Reportedly, forty people were injured during the protest, and police claim they found four firebombs in a backpack abandoned on a street, in addition to twenty-two firecrackers, five flares and a stick from two minors near Madrid’s main railway station.

    The AP reports that rallies were organized in Madrid and sixty other cities by 150 organizations, including trade unions representing the construction, car and television industries as well as police and health services. Police estimated some 20,000 people marched in Barcelona, but authorities did not have figures for a large rally held in Madrid.
    Protesters marched to the Spanish parliament in opposition to tax hikes, spending cuts, high unemployment and alleged corruption. At the tail end of the demonstrations, young protesters threw bar chairs into a road and burned garbage containers.

    At the beginning of the month, many thousands of demonstrators held marches in more than twenty cities in Portugal to protest against austerity measures. Tens of thousands filled a Lisbon boulevard during the protests and headed to the finance ministry carrying placards that read, “Screw the troika, we want our lives back.” The troika is a slang term for the three organizations which have the most power over debt-ridden countries’ financial futures: the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
    Protesters can be heard in the video below singing a song linked to a 1974 popular uprising known as the Carnation Revolution—named because no shots were fired when the population started descending the streets to celebrate the end of Marcello Caetano’s reign; instead protesters placed carnation flowers into the muzzles of rifles and on the uniforms of the army.

    Portugal is expected to suffer a third straight year of recession in 2013, and the overall jobless rate has grown to a record 17.6 percent—of which young people are a particularly devastated demographic with unemployment close to 40 percent.
    It’s time to reclaim labor rights as an American ideal, John Nichols writes.

    US Spending Hundreds of Millions on Secret Israeli Bunkers

    US Spending Hundreds of Millions on Secret Israeli Bunkers –The Washington Post fleshed out the original Construction Project in Israel, called ‘Site 911,’ in November. 09 Mar 2013 Last year, it was announced the U.S. was looking to build a secret underground complex in Israel. On February 13, a contract was awarded to Conti Corp Federal Services in Edison, NJ to complete the project. Their bid of almost $63 million came in well below the possible $100 million set aside for the project. Conti’s bid went toward building five underground levels and six above ground buildings that they have 900 days from February 13 to complete. The U.S. government then issued another request for proposal December 28 to construct Site 81 Phase II. Also in Israel, also partially underground, this project calls for up to $100,000,000 to refinish six underground facilities and some currently occupied surface buildings.

    US War Economy

    Arguably, ever since entering World War II, the United States of America’s economy has been a war economy. Starting or fostering wars became essentially, independently of geopolitical reasons, a “good” business proposition. The early 1940s marked the start of the era of systematic wars for profit. War defined as the ultimate capitalist enterprise. The extraordinary war efforts of World War II turned the United States into a giant global arms factory for the war in Europe and in the Pacific. It was even, cynically, credited as the main factor in ending the Great Depression of 1929.
    This trend continued at a slower pace, but without any real interruption, with the Korean war in the early 1950s, the Vietnam war in the 1960s until the early 1970s, and various proxy wars worldwide- including Afghanistan in the 1980s- against the Soviet Union. The event of 9/11/ 2001 gave American politicians the unique opportunity to start the perfect war on behalf of their friends and patrons of the military industrial complex. It is the endless war: the “war on terror” without any geographic boundaries, time frame or even the necessity to have a well defined enemy.
    This permanent war business proposition is criminal in nature, but absolutely fool proof in terms of maximum returns on the investment. Money is made when the weapons are manufactured. They are used to kill million and to destroy countries which eventually will get rebuild through programs such as the Marshall Plan used in the aftermath of World War II in Europe.
    The blood thirsty machine that is the US industrial-military complex makes billion at all three phases of the war industry process: the manufacturing of ever more lethal and complex weapon systems, the destruction stage, and then finally the occupation and rebuilding phase in countries such as Germany, Japan, Korea, and more recently Iraq and Afghanistan. This war machine and its political associates always needs new conflicts. The United States of America is the uncontested juggernaut of the war business or war for profit, defining the economy of permanent war.

    According to a report released August 24, 2012 by the Congressional Research Service ( CRS), business has been booming for the industrial-military complex with export of US weapons abroad increasing more than three times from $21.4 billion in 2010 to $66.3 billion in 2011. This is the largest increase for a single year in the history of US arms export. The United States is, by far, the largest arm dealer of the planet with 78.1 percent of the overall market. The CRS report put Russia at a very distant second at $8.7 billion and Britain third at $3 billion.
    The leading buyers of US weapons from 2004 to 2011 were Saudi Arabia with $75.7 billion, India with $46.6 billion, the United Arab Emirates with $20.3 billion, Egypt at $14.3 billion and Pakistan at $13.2 billion. The accumulation of weapons in the Middle-East sold by the US to Saudi Arabia and the UAE- with the blessing of Israel- is unquestionably in preparation of the next big profitable venture for the industrial-military complex: a war with Iran.
    The “staging” of it is on its way, with the civil war in Syria serving as an appetizer or a dress rehearsal. Iran appears to be the next victim of the criminal capitalist logic of war for profit. The accomplices of the war crimes are plenty, they are not limited to the politicians declaring wars or the soldiers pulling the triggers. They are also the engineers designing the weapon systems, the workers making them, the stock holders buying shares of public traded companies of the military industrial complex, and of course the ultimate war profiteers: the merchants of death from Wall Street.


    Workers stage demos in 60 Spanish cities

    Angry workers staged mass demonstrations in Spanish cities on Sunday, protesting the country's high unemployment rate and demanding political reform.

    Thousands of demonstrators including health, transport and administrative workers marched in central Madrid and Barcelona, to the din of horns, drums and yells of "Government resign!"
    Similar demos were called in 60 cities in a nationwide movement led by the two main trade unions, CCOO and UGT, and a wide collective of other civil groups.
    They were the latest in months of strikes and protests against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's austere economic reforms in a recession that has driven the unemployment rate over 26 percent.
    Sunday's actions were called "against unemployment and for the renewal of democracy," the UGT said in a statement.
    Protestors raged against Rajoy's spending cuts, which they say are hitting public services such as schools and hospitals and sharpening hardship in the recession.
    "Bread and a roof at a fair price," read some of the signs waved by protestors. Others brandished pictures of Rajoy with the words "Wanted: serial con man".
    Rajoy says the cuts are necessary to meet the targets for cutting Spain's budget deficit that he has agreed with European authorities. He insists the painful measures will strengthen Spain's finances and economy in the long run.
    Protestors complained that through this austere economic drive the government and European Union leaders were imposing unfair suffering on citizens.
    They also vented anger at the political establishment, aggravated by recent investigations into alleged corruption in the governing Popular Party and even the royal family.
    "Our current problems can only be solved by political change," said one demonstrator in Madrid, Pilar Gomez, a 52-year-old nursing assistant, wrapped in a red, yellow and purple Republican flag.
    "The risk premium is going down and the stock market is going up. But the one thing that isn't changing is the six million people unemployed," she said.
    "We can't allow them to condemn us to economic misery with the stroke of a pen."
    The UGT in its statement urged "a radical and urgent change in economic policy in Europe as well as Spain".
    "The policies of 2012 have been a resounding failure in tackling the crisis and have only made all our problems worse," it said.
    The Spanish unions held Sunday's demonstrations ahead of a European Union-wide protest called by the European Trade Union Confederation on March 13th and 14th.
    AFP (news@thelocal.es)

    Incredible Video: Beppe Grillo Dissects the Financial System…in 1998

    “Whom does the money belong to?  Who does its ownership belong to?  To the State fine…then to us, we are the State. You know that the State doesn’t exist, it is only a legal entity.  WE are the state, then the money is ours…fine.  Then let me know one thing.  If the money belongs to us…Why…do they lend it to us??”
    - Beppe Grillo in 1998
    If you really want to know why Beppe Grillo is causing Central Planners throughout the European continent to wet themselves, this video will show you.  There’s a real revolution happening in Italy.  This guy is the real deal and he understands the heart of the whole issue plaguing the world.  All I can say is:  WOW.

    Budget Cuts Force Military To Drop Air Shows

    Even a rural festival celebrating the harvest of Georgia's famous sweet onions isn't safe from the federal budget battle 600 miles away, as automatic cuts are threatening to take away the star attraction for the Vidalia Onion Festival's popular air show: the Navy's daredevil fighter pilots, the Blue Angels. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
    Even a rural festival celebrating the harvest of Georgia’s famous sweet onions isn’t safe from the federal budget battle 600 miles away, as automatic cuts are threatening to take away the star attraction for the Vidalia Onion Festival’s popular air show: the Navy’s daredevil fighter pilots, the Blue Angels. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Even a rural festival celebrating the harvest of Georgia’s famous sweet onions isn’t safe from the federal budget battle 600 miles away, as automatic cuts are threatening to take away the star attraction for the Vidalia Onion Festival’s popular air show: the Navy’s daredevil fighter pilots, the Blue Angels.
    The $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1 have thrown planning for the festival’s air show into a tailspin, just weeks before the April 20 event that officials agreed to hold a week earlier than usual so they could book the vaunted group. The Navy plans to cancel Blue Angels shows booked next month in Vidalia and three other cities. And there is a good chance dozens more air shows across the U.S. could get the ax as well, leaving host cities facing threats of lost tourism revenue and dwindling ticket sales.
    “It’s going to hurt us,” said Marsha Temples, chief organizer of the Vidalia air show, who estimates past festival weekends have drawn 15,000 extra people when the Blue Angels were on the bill. “People like to see the Blues because they put on an absolutely phenomenal show. You have people who actually follow them and a lot of people come from out of town just to see them.”
    While the Blue Angels’ spring schedule is in doubt, the Air Force’s formation-flying Thunderbirds and the Army’s Golden Knights skydivers have canceled their performances outright. Combined, the three teams had booked more than 190 performances between the spring and fall. That’s left many air show organizers scrambling to find replacements, such as civilian pilots with loud, fast jets from the Vietnam era or vintage planes from World War II. The uncertainty has forced others to simply cancel altogether.
    John Cudahy, president of the Virginia-based International Council of Air Shows, said at least 150 U.S. air shows each year count on military performers to draw big crowds. A group like the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds can account for 10 to 30 percent of attendance — in some cases enough to determine if a show makes or loses money.
    Canceled appearances don’t just mean fewer dollars spent on tickets, souvenirs and concessions. They also mean fewer fans traveling to shows out of town and spending on hotels, restaurants and gas.
    “If the military does not participate in air shows during the 2013 season, the economic impact will reach far beyond the show itself and deeply into the communities in which those shows are held,” Cudahy said.
    Several air shows hosted by military bases, which show off their flashiest planes for publicity and as a recruitment tool, were canceled almost immediately. They include shows at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.; Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.; Langley Air Force Base, Va.; Dover Air Force Base, Del.; and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas.
    Businesses and community boosters at Pensacola Beach, Fla. — where the Blue Angels are stationed — are already trying to avert possible cancellation of the team’s July show that’s become one of the city’s biggest tourism bonanzas. An economic impact study last year estimated the Pensacola air show lured more than 15,000 visitors in addition to the normal July weekend beach crowd of about 109,000.
    Buck Lee, chairman of the Santa Rosa Island Authority that oversees Pensacola Beach, said business owners and sponsors are offering to donate $100,000 or more to pay for jet fuel and other costs if that means the Blue Angels will commit to flying.
    “We have a restaurant that just opened that contacted me and said, ‘We’re in for $10,000 if you need it,’” Lee said. “It’s a $2 million weekend for the area. That’s for hotels, employees, restaurants, souvenirs. It’s just a great three days out here.”
    While the Las Vegas-based Thunderbirds and the Golden Knights from Fort Bragg, N.C., have outright canceled their schedules beginning April 1, the Blue Angels have hedged. The team has continued training in California for upcoming March shows in El Centro, Calif., and Key West, Fla. On Monday, the team updated its Facebook page with a statement saying the Navy “intends to cancel” the Blue Angels’ April performances.
    Air show organizers said the Blue Angels have been unable to tell them if they will perform or not. A spokeswoman for the Navy jet team, Lt. Katie Kelly, said the Blue Angels are waiting until the last minute in the hope something will change.
    Private organizers of big air shows in Dayton, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky., have vowed to continue even if military pilots are no-shows. Others have folded their tents for 2013. The Thunder Over the Blue Ridge air show scheduled for May 11-12 in Martinsburg, W.Va., was canceled after the Air Force’s Thunderbirds announced they had been grounded.
    Organizers of the Indianapolis Air Show also decided to pull the plug despite the Blue Angels holding out hope they might be able to fly in the show Father’s Day weekend. The air show’s chairman, Robert Duncan, said a $10,000 sponsor pulled out as soon as the president and Congress failed to avert the budget cuts. If the Blue Angels canceled, organizers expected the show to lose 25 percent or more of its audience. Duncan said that kind of financial blow would likely leave the show unable to cover expenses.
    “They weren’t committing to anything other than to say, ‘We will continue to practice and fly,’” Duncan said of the Blue Angels.
    The Indianapolis show, which has raised $1.3 million for charity in its 15-year history, attracted more than 65,000 spectators last year when the Thunderbirds performed.
    On the South Carolina coast, the April 27-28 air show hosted by Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort remains on track — at least for now. Chief organizer Ivey Liipfert said “there’s still some time to hold out hope.”
    More than 100,000 spectators swarm into Beaufort, a city of 12,400, for the air show. Surveys indicate more than a third of the crowd travels more than 50 miles to see it, and many spectators stay for more than three days. Liipfert said without the Blue Angels, it’s possible the show would be canceled.
    John Rembold, a board member of the local Chamber of Commerce, said that will definitely deprive hotels and other business of tourism dollars. It would serve as an unavoidable civics lesson, however.
    “If folks have not been paying attention to the dire budget problems our nation faces,” Rembolt said, “this might be a little bit of cold water in the face.”
    (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    US Companies Keeping Even More Money Offshore

    Oscar Siagian/AFP
    U.S. companies are keeping more of their profits offshore, choosing overseas tax havens amid talk in Washington about closing corporate tax loopholes, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The business newspaper said its analysis of 60 big American companies had found that they had collectively parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year.
    That shielded more than 40 percent of their annual profits from U.S. taxes, the report said.
    Each of the 60 companies chosen for the analysis had held at least $5 billion offshore in 2011, according to The Journal.
    The list included Abbott Laboratories, whose store of untaxed overseas earnings rose by $8.1 billion, to $40 billion, the paper said. The increase exceeded the pharmaceutical maker's net income of $6 billion.
    Industrial conglomerate Honeywell International Inc. boosted its store of untaxed earnings held by its offshore subsidiaries and earmarked for foreign investment by $3.5 billion last year to $11.6 billion, a rise equal to the company's annual profit, excluding a pension adjustment, The Journal said.
    The practice is a result of U.S. tax rules that allow companies to not pay taxes on profits earned by overseas subsidiaries if the money is not brought back to the United States, the report pointed out.

    Japan: Tsunami anniersary what has changed? What was learned?

    Today 2 years ago was the great Tsunami in Japan as well as a massive earthquake. To the tens of thousands dead RIP. Now we still haven't raised the sea walls which is disgraceful. And Money raised for victims made homeless has been squandered on field trips to Japan for rich New Yorkers' children. People sleep in gyms, and American kids are staying in the nicest hotels in Japan and traveling around on a private tour bus. The PR to mend tourism is more important that the actual homeless victims of the tsunami. No fundamental changes in prevention, and no one is in jail for removing warnings in reports from seismologists to TEPCO's reports. And currently the piping at the plant in Fukushima is being run shoddy hiring mafia workers and other expendables. Reflection for the thousand of dead but also some sober thinking about all of the human ends pre and post disaster which remain unaccountable and irresponsible all in the name of saving face. The world suffers from severe political ignorance and apathy. Bring any of it up though and you'll be accused of throwing mud in the face of the victims. Everything is completely backwards.

    Hyperinflation Nation - Coming Economic Collapse

    The Chart That Proves That The Mainstream Media Is Lying To You About Unemployment

    By Michael
    Employment-Population Ratio 2013
    The mainstream media is absolutely giddy that the U.S. unemployment rate has hit a “four-year low” of 7.7 percent.  But is unemployment in the United States actually going down?  After all, you would think that it should be.  The Obama administration has “borrowed” more than 6 trillion dollars from future generations of Americans, interest rates have been pushed to all-time lows, and the Federal Reserve has been wildly printing more money in a desperate attempt to “stimulate” the economy.  So have those efforts been successful?  Well, according to the mainstream media, the U.S. unemployment rate is falling steadily.  Headlines all over the nation boldly declared that “236,000 jobs” were added to the economy in February, but what they didn’t tell you was that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by 296,000.  And that is how they are getting the unemployment rate to go down – by pretending that huge numbers of unemployed Americans don’t want jobs.  Sadly, as you will see below, the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that have a job is just 0.1% higher than it was exactly three years ago.  And we have not even come close to getting back to where we were before the last economic crisis.  For example, more than 146 million Americans were employed back in 2007.  But today, only 142.2 million Americans have a job even though our population has grown steadily since then.  So where in the world is this “economic recovery” that they keep talking about?
    At this point, the “unemployment rate” has become so meaningless that it really isn’t even worth paying much attention to.  If you really want to know what the employment picture looks like in the United States, you need to look at the employment-population ratio.
    As Wikipedia tells us, many economists consider the employment-population ratio to be far superior to other measurements of employment…
    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development defines the employment rateas the employment-to-population ratio. The employment-population ratio is many American economist’s favorite gauge of the American jobs picture. According to Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist for Capital Economics, “The employment population ratio is the best measure of labor market conditions.” This is a statistical ratiothat measures the proportion of the country’s working-age population (ages 15 to 64 in most OECD countries) that is employed. This includes people that have stopped looking for work.
    A chart of the employment-population ratio in the United States over the past several years is posted below…
    Employment-Population Ratio 2013
    As you can see, the percentage of Americans with a job fell from about 63 percent to below 59 percent during the last economic crisis.  Since that time, it has not risen back above 59 percent.  This is the first time in the post-World War II era that we have not seen the employment rate bounce back following a recession.  At this point, the employment-population ratio has been below 59 percent for 42 months in a row.
    Yes, we should be thankful that things have stabilized, but as you can see there has been no recovery.  The percentage of Americans with a job is essentially exactly where it was three years ago.  Despite the trillions of dollars that the U.S. government has borrowed, and despite the reckless money printing that the Federal Reserve has been doing, the employment situation in the U.S. has not turned around.
    Data for the employment-population ratio from the beginning of 2008is posted below…

    2008-01-01 62.9
    2008-02-01 62.8
    2008-03-01 62.7
    2008-04-01 62.7
    2008-05-01 62.5
    2008-06-01 62.4
    2008-07-01 62.2
    2008-08-01 62.0
    2008-09-01 61.9
    2008-10-01 61.7
    2008-11-01 61.4
    2008-12-01 61.0
    2009-01-01 60.6
    2009-02-01 60.3
    2009-03-01 59.9
    2009-04-01 59.8
    2009-05-01 59.6
    2009-06-01 59.4
    2009-07-01 59.3
    2009-08-01 59.1
    2009-09-01 58.7
    2009-10-01 58.5
    2009-11-01 58.6
    2009-12-01 58.3
    2010-01-01 58.5
    2010-02-01 58.5
    2010-03-01 58.5
    2010-04-01 58.7
    2010-05-01 58.6
    2010-06-01 58.5
    2010-07-01 58.5
    2010-08-01 58.5
    2010-09-01 58.5
    2010-10-01 58.3
    2010-11-01 58.2
    2010-12-01 58.3
    2011-01-01 58.3
    2011-02-01 58.4
    2011-03-01 58.4
    2011-04-01 58.4
    2011-05-01 58.4
    2011-06-01 58.2
    2011-07-01 58.2
    2011-08-01 58.3
    2011-09-01 58.4
    2011-10-01 58.4
    2011-11-01 58.5
    2011-12-01 58.6
    2012-01-01 58.5
    2012-02-01 58.6
    2012-03-01 58.5
    2012-04-01 58.5
    2012-05-01 58.6
    2012-06-01 58.6
    2012-07-01 58.5
    2012-08-01 58.4
    2012-09-01 58.7
    2012-10-01 58.7
    2012-11-01 58.7
    2012-12-01 58.6
    2013-01-01 58.6
    2013-02-01 58.6
    So is there anyone out there that still wants to insist that the employment picture in the United States is getting significantly better?
    Anyone that wants to claim that “unemployment is going down” should at least wait until the unemployment-population ratio gets back up to 59 percent.  Otherwise they just look foolish.
    Yes, the Dow is at an all-time high right now.  But a bubble is always the biggest right before it bursts.
    Most Americans understand that the Dow has been pumped up with all of the funny money that the Fed has been printing.  Most Americans understand that the stock market really does not accurately reflect the health of the U.S. economy as a whole.
    Just consider these numbers…
    -The number of homeless people sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City has increased by 19 percent over the past year.
    -The number of Americans on food stamps has risen from 32 million to 47 million while Barack Obama has been in the White House.
    -According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income” at this point.
    -Median household income in the United States has fallen for four consecutive years.
    No, the truth is that everything is most definitely not fine.
    If everything is fine, then why did the Federal Reserve inject another 100 billion dollars into foreign banks during the last full week of February?
    The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are desperately trying to prop up the entire global economy.  Unfortunately, the global financial system has been built on a foundation of sand and the tide is coming in.
    Back in 2008, a derivatives crisis was one of the primary causes of the worst financial panic since the Great Depression.
    So did we learn our lesson?
    No, the boys on Wall Street are back at it again as a recent article by Jim Armitage described…
    Historically, stock markets, being driven by humans, have tended to have a similar length memory of catastrophes, before making the same dumb mistakes again.
    But it hasn’t even been five years since derivatives (on that occasion based on daft mortgages) blew up the world, and yet these exotic creatures have already returned. With a vengeance.
    Research from Thomson Reuters declared that banks were creating more derivatives known as asset-backed securities than at any time since before the Lehman Brothers crash. Of those, 22 percent were made up of – and forgive me the alphabet soup here – CDOs and CLOs. The very type of derivatives that exploded last time. At this stage last year, only 6 percent fell into those categories.
    In other words, banks are creating more of the riskiest types of the riskiest products.
    At some point, we will have another derivatives crisis even worse than the last one.
    When that happens, financial markets all over the globe will crash, economic activity will grind to a standstill and unemployment will go skyrocketing once again.
    But as you saw above, we have never even come close to recovering from the last crisis.
    So you can believe the mind-numbing propaganda that the mainstream media is trying to feed you if you want.  Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that we have not recovered from the last major economic crisis, and another one is rapidly approaching.
    I hope that you are getting ready.