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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Times They Are A-changin’

The July 4th Grand Island Independent had an editorial stating that the Founding Fathers likely would not recognize the federal government as it is now. I am continually amazed at how fast our government and Country is changing.


50 Random Facts That Make You Wonder What In The World Has Happened To America

Our world is changing at a pace that is so staggering these days that it can be really hard to fully grasp the significance of what we are witnessing. Hopefully the collection of random facts below will help you to "connect the dots" just a little bit. On one level, the facts below may not seem related. However, what they all do have in common is that they show just how much the United States has fundamentally changed. Do you ever just sit back and wonder what in the world has happened to America? The truth is that the America that so many of us once loved so much has been shattered into a thousand pieces. The "land of the free and the home of the brave" has been transformed into a socialized Big Brother nanny state that is oozing with corruption and has accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world. The greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen is falling apart before our very eyes, and even when our politicians actually try to do something right (which is quite rare) the end result is still a bunch of garbage. For those who still love this land (and there are a lot of us) it is heartbreaking to watch America slowly die.

The following are 50 random facts that show just how dramatically America has changed....

#50) A new report released by the United Nations is publicly calling for the establishment of a world currency and none of the major news networks are even covering it.

#49) The state of California is so broke that Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered California State Controller John Chiang to reduce state worker pay for July to the federal minimum allowed by law -- $7.25 an hour for most state workers.

#48) A police officer in Oklahoma recently tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she couldn't breathe because they considered her to be a "threat".

#47) In early 2009, U.S. net national savings as a percentage of GDP went negative for the first time since 1952, and it has continued its downward trend since then.

#46) Corexit 9500 is so incredibly toxic that the UK's Marine Management Organization has completely banned it, so if there was a major oil spill in the North Sea, BP would not be able to use it. And yet BP has dumped over a million gallons of dispersants such as Corexit 9500 into the Gulf of Mexico.

#45) For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

#44) It has come out that one employee used a Federal Emergency Management Agency credit card to buy $4,318 in "Happy Birthday" gift cards. Two other FEMA officials charged the cost of 360 golf umbrellas ($9,000) to the taxpayers.

#43) Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo received $389,000 from the U.S. government to pay 100 residents of Buffalo $45 each to record how much malt liquor they drink and how much pot they smoke each day.

#42) The average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen to an all-time high.

#41) The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

#40) In the U.S., the average federal worker now earns about twice as much as the average worker in the private sector.

#39) Back in 1950 each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers. Today, each retiree's Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers. By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

#38) According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

#37) The federal government actually has the gall to ask for online donations that will supposedly go towards paying off the national debt.

#36) The Cactus Bug Project at the University Of Florida was allocated $325,394 in economic stimulus funds to study the mating decisions of cactus bugs.

#35) A dinner cruise company in Chicago got nearly $1 million in economic stimulus funds to combat terrorism.

#34) It is being reported that a 6-year-old girl from Ohio is on the "no fly" list maintained by U.S. Homeland Security.

#33) During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.

#32) According to a new report, Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality and far less efficiency.

#31) Some experts are warning that the cost of bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could reach as high as $1 trillion.

#30) The FDA has announced that the offspring of cloned animals could be in our food supply right now and that there is nothing that they can do about it.

#29) In May, sales of new homes in the United States dropped to the lowest level ever recorded.

#28) In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has ranged between 300 to 500 to one.

#27) Federal border officials recently said that Mexican drug cartels have not only set up shop on American soil, they are actually maintaining lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona.

#26) The U.S. government has declared some parts of Arizona off limits to U.S. citizens because of the threat of violence from Mexican drug smugglers.

#25) According to the credit card repayment calculator, if you owe $6000 on a credit card with a 20 percent interest rate and only pay the minimum payment each time, it will take you 54 years to pay off that credit card. During those 54 years you will pay $26,168 in interest rate charges in addition to the $6000 in principal that you are required to pay back.

#24) According to prepared testimony by Goldman Sachs Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs shorted roughly $615 million of the collateralized debt obligations and residential mortgage-backed securities the firm underwrote since late 2006.

#23) The six biggest banks in the United States now possess assets equivalent to 60 percent of America's gross national product.

#22) Four of the biggest U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup) had a "perfect quarter" with zero days of trading losses during the first quarter of 2010.

#21) 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 - a 32 percent increase over 2008.

#20) BP has hired private security contractors to keep the American people away from oil cleanup sites and nobody seems to care.

#19) Barack Obama is calling for a "civilian expeditionary force" to be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq to help overburdened military troops build infrastructure.

#18) On June 18th, two Christians decided that they would peacefully pass out copies of the gospel of John on a public sidewalk outside a public Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan and within 3 minutes 8 policemen surrounded them and placed them under arrest.

#17) It is being reported that sales of foreclosed homes in Florida made up nearly 40 percent of all home purchases in the first part of this year.

#16) During a recent interview with Larry King, former first lady Laura Bush revealed to the world that she is actually in favor of legalized gay marriage and a woman's "right" to abortion.

#15) Scientists at Columbia University are warning that the dose of radiation from the new full body security scanners going into airports all over the United States could be up to 20 times higher than originally estimated.

#14) 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

#13) The FDIC's deposit insurance fund now has negative 20.7 billion dollars in it, which represents a slight improvement from the end of 2009.

#12) The judge that BP is pushing for to hear an estimated 200 lawsuits on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster gets tens of thousands of dollars a year in oil royalties and is paid travel expenses to industry conferences.

#11) In recent years the U.S. government has spent $2.6 million tax dollars to study the drinking habits of Chinese prostitutes and $400,000 tax dollars to pay researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires, Argentina to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior when drunk.

#10) U.S. officials say that more than three billion dollars in cash (much of it aid money paid for by U.S. taxpayers) has been stolen by corrupt officials in Afghanistan and flown out of Kabul International Airport in recent years.

#9) According to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the baggage check fees collected by U.S. airlines shot up 33% in the first quarter of 2010 to $769 million.

#8) Three California high school students are fighting for their right to show their American patriotism - even on a Mexican holiday - after they were forced to remove their American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

#7) Right now, interest on the U.S. national debt and spending on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 percent of GDP. By 2080, they are projected to eat up approximately 50 percent of GDP.

#6) The total of all government, corporate and consumer debt in the United States is now about 360 percent of GDP.

#5) A 6-year-old girl was recently handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.

#4) In Florida, students have been arrested by police for things as simple as bringing a plastic butter knife to school, throwing an eraser, and drawing a picture of a gun.

#3) School officials in one town in Massachusetts are refusing to allow students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

#2) According to one new study, approximately 21 percent of children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.

#1) Since 1973, more than 50 million babies have been murdered in abortion facilities across the United States.



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25 REASON TO PREP NOW

25 Signs That Almost Everyone Is Expecting An Economic Collapse In 2010

At times like these, it is hardly going out on a limb to say that we are headed for hard economic times. In fact, it seems like almost everyone in the financial world is either declaring that a recession is coming or is busy preparing for one. The truth is that bad economic signs are everywhere. Consumer confidence is plummeting, big banks are hoarding cash, top financial experts are issuing recession warnings and it seems like almost everyone is trying to accumulate as much gold as possible. Now that the G20 nations have all pledged to dramatically cut government spending in an effort to get debt under control, worries about a double-dip recession have reached a fever pitch. So will we see the full-fledged economic collapse that so many analysts are warning of before the end of 2010? Of course it is possible, but it seems much more likely that we will just see the beginning of another recession that could certainly deepen into a depression as we head into 2011 and 2012. There are so many variables and so many moving parts that it is always difficult to predict exactly how things will play out. What does seem virtually certain, however, is that we are heading into a time of extreme economic stress.

The following are 25 signs that almost everyone in the financial world is expecting an economic downturn during the second half of 2010....

#1) The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply to 52.9 in June. Most economists had expected that the figure for June would be somewhere around 62. To get an idea of how bad this is, the index was at 100 back during the baseline year of 1985.

#2) Major banks are being instructed to hoard cash in preparation for the next financial crisis.

#3) French bank Societe Generale is forecasting that gold could reach $1,430 an ounce in the third quarter of this year due to fears of a double-dip recession.

#4) Paul Krugman of the New York Times declared in a recent column that we are about to enter "the third depression".

#5) According to one recent poll, about eight out of every 10 Americans expect the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to damage the U.S. economy and drive up the cost of gas and food.

#6) Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, is not optimistic about the chances of avoiding another recession....

"There's an uncomfortably high probability that we slip back into recession."

#7) The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that the number of Americans on food stamps will increase to 43 million in 2011.

#8) George Soros claims that a European recession in the coming months is "almost inevitable".

#9) Kevin Giddis, the Managing Director of Fixed Income at Morgan Keegan says that a lot of people are making some really large financial bets that a recession is on the way....

"There is big money making

big bets that at a minimum we we'll have a recession if not a depression that could last for years."

#10) The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently said that U.S. states in fiscal 2011 could be facing the worst budget situation that they have experienced since the economic downturn began in 2007.

#11) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is publicly saying that the U.S. unemployment rate is quite likely to remain "high for a while".

#12) The National League of Cities is warning that large numbers of cities across the U.S. will be facing horrible economic conditions over the next couple of years....

"City budget shortfalls will become more severe over the next two years as tax collections catch up with economic conditions. These will inevitably result in new rounds of layoffs, service cuts, and canceled projects and contracts."

#13) According to the Wall Street Journal, debates have already begun inside the Federal Reserve about what to do in the event of a "double-dip" recession.

#14) In May, sales of new homes in the United States dropped to the lowest level ever recorded. The truth is that the American people know economic hard times are coming and so they aren't running out and buying expensive new homes that they can't afford.

#15) Mike Whitney says that without more "stimulus" from the federal government a recession by the end of 2010 is extremely likely....

"Without another boost of stimulus, the economy will lapse back into recession sometime by the end of 2010."

#16) One recent poll found that 76 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession.

#17) Richard Russell, the famous author of the Dow Theory Letters, is not mincing words about what he believes is headed our way....

"Do your friends a favor. Tell them to "batten down the hatches" because there's a HARD RAIN coming. Tell them to get out of debt

and sell anything they can sell (and don't need) in order to get liquid. Tell them that Richard Russell says that by the end of this year they won't recognize the country. They'll retort, "How the dickens does Russell know -- who told him?" Tell them the stock market told him."

#18) The Bank of International Settlements said in its annual report that major banks on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean continue to remain "highly leveraged and still appear to be on life support".

#19) Mish Shedlock recently raised eyebrows by openly proclaiming that "an economic depression is here".

#20) Bob Chapman of the International Forecaster is very pessimistic about the state of the world economy as we head into the second half of 2010....

"There is still no question in our minds that Greece was a setup to lead to a deflationary collapse later and the Greek people refused to listen. As a result it is now apparent that Greece is even worse off than the elitists imagined. We do not see European bailouts going any further. The result is the US and UK will follow. Financial Europe is history. You should all keep in mind that this is child’s play. Wait until England and the US go down, perhaps before the end of the year."

#21) An article on Bloomberg's website says that 46 U.S. states are facing a "Greek style" financial crisis.

#22) Charles Cooper at Oriel Securities says that worries about the global economy right now are actually very good for the price of gold....

"Debt on government balance sheets and worries that the world could be heading towards a double-dip recession are driving the gold price higher."

#23) Richard Suttmeier recently wrote an article for Forbes magazine in which he predicted that we are headed for another dramatic decline in housing prices....

Home prices will decline again with risk of another 50% down to get house prices back to levels of 1999 / 2000.

#24) University of Maryland professor Peter Morici is warning that the decision by European governments to slash their budgets makes the prospect of another recession much more likely....

"Europeans cutting their budgets now could thrust the global economy into a double-dip recession."

#25) John P. Hussman, fund manager of Hussman Strategic Total Return and Hussman Strategic Growth, has issued a full-fledged recession warning: "Based on evidence that has always and only been observed during or immediately prior to U.S. recessions, the U.S. economy appears headed into a second leg of an unusually challenging downturn."

So in light of all this, what should we all do?

We should all start preparing for difficult times.

Now is a great time to get out of debt, to reduce expenses, to develop additional streams of income and to start storing up food and supplies for when things really fall apart.

After all, you don't start preparing once the storm has already arrived. You start preparing the moment that you see the first signs of trouble on the horizon.

There is no excuse for not getting yourself prepared. The signs that we are headed towards an economic nightmare are all around us.

Do what you have to do for youself and for your family.



Read the original story at The Economic Collapse Blog




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