Daily Digest - Apr 4

Saturday, April 4, 2009, 10:11 AM
  • One in 10 Americans gets food stamps
  • Generation of Denial
  • Flash: AIG Called Criminal Scam! (H/T MarkP)
  • G20 Cheerleading - A One World Paradise...
  • Miss Mark-to-Market Catches Mr. Market's Fancy
  • Office VacancyRate (Chart)
  • Jeffrey Shafer (Video)
  • Calling on the Animal Spirits of Inflation: Forcing the Inflation Genie out of the Economic Bottle
  • Changing The Rules Of The Game (H/T Fred)
  • TIPS (Chart)
  • Matthew Simmons (H/T Vital)
  • Balance Sheet Ben Bernanke
  • Population vs. Workforce (Chart)
  • Non-Farm Payrolls Report: Revisio ad Absurdum (Charts) Orwellian use of statistics, par excellence


One in 10 Americans gets food stamps 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A record 32.2 million people -- one in every 10 Americans -- received food stamps at the latest count, the government said on Thursday, a reflection of the recession now in its 16th month. 

Generation of Denial 

There seems to be a sad pattern developing among the formerly august financial figures of the passing generation. We've seen Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin twist themselves into verbal pretzels in order to deny any responsibility for the current state of the financial system. Now, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg joins the fraternity of former titans unwilling to accept that they were present at the creation of our current destruction. From today's Wall Street Journal we have this gem: 

Flash: AIG Called Criminal Scam! (H/T MarkP) 

In fact, our investigation suggests that by the time AIG had entered the CDS fray in a serious way more than five years ago, the firm was already doomed. No longer able to prop up its earnings using reinsurance because of growing scrutiny from state insurance regulators and federal law enforcement agencies, AIG's foray into CDS was really the grand finale. AIG was a Ponzi scheme plain and simple, yet the Obama Administration still thinks of AIG as a real company that simply took excessive risks. No, to us what the fraud Bernard Madoff is to individual investors, AIG is to the global financial community. 

As with the phony reinsurance contracts that AIG and other insurers wrote for decades, when AIG wrote hundreds of billions of dollars in CDS contracts, neither AIG nor the counterparties believed that the CDS would ever be paid. Indeed, one source with personal knowledge of the matter suggests that there may be emails and actual side letters between AIG and its counterparties that could prove conclusively that AIG never intended to pay out on any of its CDS contracts. 

G20 Cheerleading - A One World Paradise... 

April 3 (Bloomberg) -- Global leaders took their biggest steps yet toward a new world order that's less U.S.-centric with a more heavily regulated financial industry and a greater role for international institutions and emerging markets. 

At the end of a summit in London, policy makers from the Group of 20 yesterday delivered a regulatory blueprint that French President Nicholas Sarkozy said turned the page on the Anglo-Saxon model of free markets by placing stricter limits on hedge funds and other financiers. The leaders also pledged to triple the resources of the International Monetary Fund and to hand China and other developing economies a greater say in the management of the world economy.

"It's the passing of an era," said Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, who helped prepare summits for presidents Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. "The U.S. is becoming less dominant while other nations are gaining influence." 

Miss Mark-to-Market Catches Mr. Market's Fancy 

"If an axe murderer walks into your bedroom and your reaction is to hide under the sheets, you know what? He's still there, Pete..." 

Office VacancyRate (Chart)

Jeffrey Shafer (Video)

Calling on the Animal Spirits of Inflation: Forcing the Inflation Genie out of the Economic Bottle

"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists."
-Ernest Hemingway

Changing The Rules Of The Game (H/T Fred)

At the end of the day, nothing fundamental has changed. There aren't new buyers for the problem assets the banks are carrying on their books, no matter what they claim those assets are worth. And there is no more real capital in the banks to back their lending.

The new rules are one more gift to the large Wall Street banks that played such a large part in creating the economic mess we are now in. And like the rest of the gifts those institutions have been getting lately, I suspect it will be Main Street and the tax payers who will end up paying for it.

TIPS (Chart)

Matthew Simmons (H/T Vital)

From Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: The Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet. In this speech Bernanke discusses the recent Fed initiatives in terms of the impact on the balance sheet.

One key question is how all of this will be unwound. Here are some excerpts from Bernanke's speech:

In pursuing our strategy, which I have called "credit easing," we have also taken care to design our programs so that they can be unwound as markets and the economy revive. In particular, these activities must not constrain the exercise of monetary policy as needed to meet our congressional mandate to foster maximum sustainable employment and stable prices.
The large volume of reserve balances outstanding must be monitored carefully, as--if not carefully managed--they could complicate the Fed's task of raising short-term interest rates when the economy begins to recover or if inflation expectations were to begin to move higher. We have a number of tools we can use to reduce bank reserves or increase short-term interest rates when that becomes necessary. First, many of our lending programs extend credit primarily on a short-term basis and thus could be wound down relatively quickly. In addition, since the lending rates in these programs are typically set above the rates that prevail in normal market conditions, borrower demand for these facilities should wane as conditions improve. Second, the Federal Reserve can conduct reverse repurchase agreements against its long-term securities holdings to drain bank reserves or, if necessary, it could choose to sell some of its securities. Of course, for any given level of the federal funds rate, an unwinding of lending facilities or a sale of securities would constitute a de facto tightening of policy, and so would have to be carefully considered in that light by the FOMC. Third, some reserves can be soaked up by the Treasury's Supplementary Financing Program. Fourth, in October of last year, the Federal Reserve received long-sought authority to pay interest on the reserve balances of depository institutions. Raising the interest rate paid on reserves will encourage depository institutions to hold reserves with the Fed, rather than lending them into the federal funds market at a rate below the rate paid on reserves. Thus, the interest rate paid on reserves will tend to set a floor on the federal funds rate.

Not that we have to worry about unwinding any time soon.

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Re: Daily Digest - Apr 4


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Re: Daily Digest - Apr 4

Moneynews email alert, April 3, 2009

U.S. Preparing a Military Response to Coming Social Chaos

As the shocking confidential information contained in this briefing shows, the threat of social meltdown and chaos is so large a domestic law-enforcement arm of the U.S. military (referred to by The Army Times as the "Consequence Management Response Force") has been created to deal with what U.S. officials believe to be a coming, unprecedented wave of massive social chaos.

Later I'll show you why many Washington insiders (including officials directly involved in homeland security) are personally making emergency preparations for social chaos. In addition, outgoing Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told Sen. James Inhofe and Rep. Brad Sherman that so much financial mayhem lies ahead U.S. troops may have to impose martial law to deal with social unrest.

Yes, U.S. Officials Are Quietly Preparing for BIG Trouble Ahead

A new report by the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute states flatly the U.S. military must prepare for "a violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States" that could be provoked by "unforeseen economic collapse" or "loss of functioning political and legal order."

Late last year, The Washington Post noted the incoming Obama Administration is going to "earmark" at least 20,000 troops returning from Iraq to deal with "domestic emergencies." Since then, the Army Times has broken the story that the domestic emergency army unit has been increased to 80,000 troops, who are being trained right now in Georgia.

In short, U.S. officials expect big trouble ahead — but they are not warning the general public about the danger (much less urge the unsuspecting masses to make basic preparations).

A rare critic of the government's keep-the-public-in-the-dark mentality is former head of the U.S. Commission on National Security, Stephen Flynn. He noted in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial: "Too many officials believe telling the truth to Americans about the risk would set off a nationwide panic. Thus, they keep us sheep in the dark for our own good."

Boiled down, you need a real plan to deal with massive social dislocations that are headed our way. And you need to get started right now, because the government isn't going to give you a heads-up.

Here’s Why Washington Expects to Use Troops Against Americans

Let me get straight to the point about the high probability of social chaos, what it will look like, and what you can do to not be among the millions of unsuspecting Americans who are going to get caught flat-footed.

You see, a government-consumer debt bubble 20+ years in the making is imploding — as desperate federal meddling to stave off financial collapse is "funded" by frantic funny-money printing to shower trillions of dollars over a restive public.

Even "mainstream" financial figures are finally admitting we may be in more than a recession. For example, the CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, recently conceded the U.S. may be descending into a depression.

Until a few short months ago, official Washington wasn’t even using the "R" word. The "experts" are finally fessing up to what the rest of us can already see: Ghost malls springing up from coast to coast, with an estimated 148,000 store closures projected so far for 2009 — including Steve and Barrys, Sharper Image, Wicks, Levitz, CompUSA, Circuit City, Linens and Things, KB Toys, Whitehall Jewellers, and Shoe Pavilion.

Frightened U.S. policy-makers also note a number of giant chains are on the brink of bankruptcy for 2009, including Phillip Van Heusen (IZOD/Calvin Klein), Macys, Office Depot, Pacific Sunware, Bombay Company, Pep Boys, Sprint-Nextel service stores, Ethan Allen, Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Dillards, Starbucks, the Gap, Footlocker, and Home Depot.

Dire Unemployment Picture Foreshadows Social Chaos

John Williams of the authoritative Shadow Government Statistics notes that unfudged, un-manipulated government statistics suggests a whopping civilian unemployment rate of 17% — with a projected total to exceed 30% (during the Great Depression, unemployment approached an historic 25%).

In the U.S., job-shedding has now exceeded post-World War II levels and the January 28 Wall Street Journal warned: "One troubling sign is that the states that were first into recession — those with a heavy concentration of home building and manufacturing — are getting worse, not better..."

In December, the International Monetary Fund's managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned of riots and unrest sweeping through Western countries as lower-income households are beset with credit constraints and rampant unemployment. (Such riots have already caused the government of Iceland to fall and triggered riots in Greece.)

Today's Americans Don't Resemble the Hardy Depression-Era Generation

Not to be politically-incorrect, but the simple truth is millions of Americans who've never known anything but prosperity and easy-money have a militant expectation that society "owes" them something. And with so many families on the margins of survival already, the speed of the downward unemployment spiral is downright ominous (and unprecedented).

Worse, there are few signs the taxpayer dependents of today have any of the self-reliance skills that saw the hardy Great Depression generation through the tough times.

In fact, there is mounting evidence tens of millions of low-income government dependents and many others infected with a sense of entitlement are prone to crime and violence — especially when it dawns on the masses there are not enough jobs and government promises of "relief" are as empty as the U.S. Treasury is bankrupt.

For example, in response to financially-troubled New York State making minor trims to its budget, an ugly 50,000+ mob took to the streets around city hall to demand higher taxes against the "rich." (Similar protests were mounted in Albany, Buffalo, and White Plains.)

In just the last year, when fuel prices were soaring and metals such as platinum were exploding, gasoline thefts across the nation became rampant. Copper was being ripped off from construction sites, pipes were torn out of abandoned houses and catalytic converters containing trace elements of platinum were being shanghaied from parked cars all over the country.

Of course, the possibility of a full-scale depressionary unemployment is just one "trigger" threatening to cause society to come completely unglued.

Systemic Collapse is a Real Possibility: Other Shoes Are Getting Ready to Drop

It is far too dangerous to ignore the growing signs of impending national social chaos. Even after absorbing some of the unsettling facts in this briefing, you need to act calmly and decisively make sure you can get the things you need and protect what’s yours — with undertones of frantic — while you still can. The signs of trouble abound.

Congressional Quarterly notes that pension fund losses are about to spill out onto the front pages — with nearly as much financial exposure as that which brought down America's banking giants.

It has not made much news yet, but the pension funds of millions of retirees is down by a whopping $1.9 trillion. This is why cities such as Philadelphia are quietly seeking federal money to bolster pension funds which CQ notes are 60% invested in the stock market — which itself has collapsed by a catastrophic 50% in just the last 18 months.

Not to scare the pants off you, but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has quietly informed Congress that the "insurance" agency for private pension funds, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, is at high risk of failure. (This will not become a "crisis" until desperate people start trying to tap early retirement money that is not there — for now the looming pension catastrophe remains a "dormant" threat).

Worse, the former head of the U.S. Comptroller General Office, David Walker, essentially told Congress (before resigning in disgust) that the Social Security "Trust Fund" is a vault of IOUs; and Medicare will soon be effectively bankrupt.

State Governments Are Becoming Too Broke for Law-Enforcement

The American Association of Architects' historically-reliable construction index has plunged 34.7% — a grim indication the commercial real estate market is the next shoe to drop, which analyst Mike Larson forecasts will lead to an "unstoppable chain reaction of bankruptcies."

The reason I bring this up is because 46 states are already experiencing major budget shortfalls. And yet it is taxes from U.S. commercial real estate on which local and state governments depend to fund fire, police and social services. (Not to mention major insurance carriers — many of which are going to go belly-up when the full extent of the commercial real estate bust hits their reserve portfolios.)

States such as California and Kansas don't even have enough money to send out tax refund checks (much less properly fund police departments) and are coping with the biggest annual job loss in a single year since 1945 (down 2.8 million jobs in 2008 alone).

The Washington Post notes two out of three large police departments in U.S. cities are already reporting budget cuts and hiring freezes, even as 233 departments told the Police Executive Research Forum that they are noticing a major "uptick" in property crime which they attribute to financial unrest.

The National Center for the Victims of Crime reports a whopping 24% increase in calls from October 2007 to October 2008 as "job losses and economic stress factor into increased violence."

In addition, cash-strapped states have been forced by collapsing tax revenue to release hardened criminals back into society, noted the Post. On February 21, The Charlotte Observer reported on a disturbing trend which is going on all over the country: Major budget cuts for jails even as criminality is on the rise.

The Observer story cited the closing of a youth detention center for violent offenders, an all-too-common "low-profile" budget-cutting practice going on all over the country.

More Evidence the You-Know-What is Going to Hit the Fan

Think about the widespread collapse of order and emergency services in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — except on a national level. The implementation of gun-confiscation laws, looters and thugs terrorizing the elderly with impunity, besieged hospitals without power, doctors and medicine. People forcibly herded into "containment zones" and denied access to food, water, and medical attention. At least 45 patients died in one city-run hospital after being abandoned by doctors and staff.

More recently, a simple fuel pipeline break in America's barely-functioning, antiquated energy infrastructure spawned major gasoline delivery disruptions throughout the entire Southeastern Seaboard region. For over six weeks, drivers could not find gasoline except by standing in line for hours to get just a few gallons of fuel.

The recent regional collapse of the U.S. fuel infrastructure is a major warning sign that the energy supply chain is stretched dangerously thin — which combined with financial unrest has the strong potential to create major disruptions in the food supply chain (most population centers have only three days of food available to the public through supermarkets — meaning panic runs on food are a distinct possibility as the potential for social chaos continues to mount).

If you think these scenarios cannot happen in the United States of America, talk with anyone who has ever been in the path of a hurricane. They will confirm that by the time the general public catches on to the danger, getting everyday items such as gasoline, batteries, plywood, medicine, water, and food becomes next to impossible. Social services, police protection, public transportation, and highway systems become next to useless.
When the Police Abandon

Law-Abiding Neighborhoods to Mobs

And don't even get me started on police protection. Past riots in Washington DC and Los Angeles portend a disturbing pattern when social chaos overwhelms order. The police almost always "pull back" and abandon entire neighborhoods to vicious mobs.

In the case of the 1992 Los Angeles Rodney King riots (as Caucasians and Asians were hunted down, robbed, and slaughtered), the police hunkered behind their defensive cordons as the murderous racist rage unfolded — the only outside contact law-abiding victims had in the riot zone were with intrepid news helicopters hovering overhead, broadcasting the racial pogroms on live TV.

You may even remember the only community to come out unscathed were sections of Los Angeles populated by Asian merchants — who fended off the mobs by placing shooters on the roofs of buildings within their defense perimeter. These heroic Korean merchants successfully protected their families, shops and homes. All because they knew how worthless bureaucrats truly are and made their own preparations. Where are you in this process?

The coming social chaos will magnify these problems a thousand-fold. In short, it is extremely important to be one step ahead of the general public during an unfolding crisis. And at least three long steps ahead of the government's draconian, blunderbuss, freedom-stealing response.
Government Deliberately Keeps Public in the

Dark About Multiple Threats to Public Order

Some Americans have learned from past history and are quietly making basic emergency preparations for social chaos. Private gun sales at all-time record highs. Safe makers and alarm and generator installers have never been so busy. Not even close.

Highly successful financial players such as commodities genius Jim Rogers now openly says the U.S. is heading for an inflationary holocaust.

Which is why, for over a year — as confidence in the U.S. financial and political system continues to evaporate — physical gold and silver have been flying off the shelves — not just in the United States but all over the globe. The unavailability of physical gold and silver has become so acute that major U.S. mints have either curtailed or stopped taking orders for new coins.

The Washington Elite Are Quietly Making Themselves More Self-Reliant

Now I want to share an important personal insight with you that will probably never make the news. You see, I belong to two Washington, D.C. membership organizations which date back to the 1800s — with members that include a smattering of cabinet officials, members of Congress, mid-level federal managers and many, many, retired former insiders.

This is how I first learned that many top-level Washington insiders — many of whom have been directly involved in developing the Homeland Security Department, do not have confidence in government preparations for social chaos.

I know this for a fact, not just because of my conversations with club members. I am also an acquaintance with a private contractor who has a booming specialty business which does nothing but work in posh DC neighborhoods, installing emergency back-up generators, freezers for food, and safes (Even a quick review of the DC yellow pages suggests that installing emergency generators and other survival precautions has become a prospering cottage industry in the Washington area.)

As one of my very best Hillsdale College professors would have mused: "What would lead so many influential Washington insiders (who are in a position to know) to seek out ways to become so much more self-reliant than the average citizen?"
Outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney’s

Chilling Prediction

Of course, financial mayhem may be the least of America’s problems. Right after leaving office, Vice President Dick Cheney warned of the possible deaths of "perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans" in a terror attack using nuclear or biological weapons. "I think there is a high probability of such an attempt," the straight-talking Cheney warned during an interview with Politico.

An important item buried deeply in The Washington Post recently noted there are already 20,000 commercially-available labs in the world where a single person could synthesize any existing virus. In those same 20,000 labs, five people with $2 million can create an advanced pathogen—meaning a virus that will be able to infect even those people who have been immunized with conventional vaccines, and kill perhaps a million of them.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson confessed to a reporter he "worries every single night" about a possible bioterror attack on the U.S. food supply. "For the life of me," he said, "I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is the easiest thing to do".

Two Categories of People: The Prepared vs. the Clueless

Whatever form the "triggering event" takes, not only will millions of Americans suddenly discover they are completely on their own, they will be completely unprepared for the government’s draconian response to social chaos.

So there are two categories of people in America right now: Category 1 are the millions of clueless who blissfully assume their political overlords are going to take care of them. These are the people most likely to get caught flat-footed when all hell breaks loose. Category 2 are prudent, savvy people who are taking basic steps toward making their families and their households more self-reliant.

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Re: Daily Digest - Apr 4

A really disturbing article on the mentality of the chinese government and its people.

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Re: Daily Digest - Apr 4

NEW YORK – When it bought the Boston Globe
for a record $1.1 billion in 1993, the New York Times Co. added one of
the nation's most acclaimed and profitable newspapers to its empire.

analysts say the 137-year-old Globe has been a money-loser since, and
the Times, now $1.1 billion in debt, is threatening to shut down Boston's pre-eminent paper unless it gets $20 million in union concessions.

Faced with the global recession
and declining revenues, the newspaper business is reeling — one major
paper has already folded this year and several others are seeking
bankruptcy protection. But the threat to the Globe, announced Friday on
the Globe's Web site, has shocked some industry insiders, who say it
shows no one is safe.

"It is a huge warning shot
across the bow of the newspaper industry. If this can happen to the
storied Boston Globe, pretty much nothing is safe," said Boston University communications professor Tobe Berkovitz.

Of the major dailies that have gone down, none has the cache of the Globe, he said.

threat to close the paper "sends a very clear message to all employees
and unions of surviving newspapers — that this is not business as
usual," said Ken Doctor, a media analyst with the research firm
Outsell. "This is uncharted territory."

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Re: Daily Digest - Apr 4


The IMF and Eastern Europe

More than 10,000 protesters gathered in Kiev to protest against the government and against measures being imposed on the Ukraine by the International Monetary Fund. The police estimated the crowd at 8,000, but other estimates were as high as 20,000 and it is the second mass protest in as many weeks.

The demonstrations came at the end of a tumultuous week in a tumultuous country. On Wednesday, an overwhelming majority in Ukraine's Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to move up and hold presidential elections on October 25. On Thursday, deputies from the pro-Russian Party of Regions swarmed the podium in the legislature, blocking the doors ahead of an important vote on measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition of further aid.

In November, the IMF extended a $16.4 billion loan to the Ukraine. The IMF had approved the emergency loan package back on November 6, 2008 but suspended the credit's second tranche after disagreement over implementation of the programme. At issue was the size of the budget deficit. The Ukraine received the first $4.5 billion tranche but the IMF will not release any further funds until the Ukraine agrees to steep budget cuts that would affect public sector salaries and pensions. The IMF loan was suspended last month due to Prime Minister Tymoshenko's reluctance to make the unpopular move of cutting social spending ahead of the presidential election.

The Ukraine had boomed in recent years benefiting from higher commodity prices and from an inflow of investment capital as the country undertook a liberalization of its property and financial sector embracing neo-liberal free market reforms. Now the Ukraine is among the countries hardest-hit in the global financial meltdown, which has depressed demand for the steel and chemicals that are crucial sources of its export income. Industrial output fell by nearly one-third in February, year-on-year, the national currency, the hryvnia, has shed nearly half its value against the US dollar since September and the economy is expected to shrink by 6 percent this year.

What makes the Ukraine so interesting is that the country is a cleft country. It's split down the middle literally. The Ukraine is divided between the Orthodox East and the Catholic West, between a Ukrainian-speaking West and a Russian-speaking East, and between those who look to be part of the West and those who seek to restore historic ties with Russia. And the division is basically 50-50. Here's an assessment by Ibrahim Özturk in Today's Zaman, a Turkish newspaper:


The Ukraine is a country at a crossroads. Not only is it among those being hit hardest by the current global financial crisis, but it is now flirting with actual dissolution. The country's economy is fundamentally weak, and ongoing political strife has made economic reforms necessary but impossible. Furthermore, the country is the cornerstone of the geopolitical battle between the West and Russia. Its weakness makes Ukraine dependent on outside powers, but outside powers appear to be working to pull the country apart.

Ukraine's dependence on foreign capital for development has been badly abused by foreigners, international organizations and domestic oligarchs. Capital went to services (banking, trade and consumption sectors) rather than to the manufacturing industry to upgrade existing structures and increase productivity.

The country's budget deficit is 2.8 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and is likely to increase before it decreases, as declining industrial output triggered by the global recession will inevitably reduce expected tax receipts.

Moreover, Ukrainian currency problems are also quite severe. Foreign investment has been leaving Ukraine's equity markets and speculators have been attacking Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia. As confidence inside Ukraine slides, bank runs are taking place. In my view, this could be the worst news, as it will force the country into default and even into internal chaos.


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Re: Daily Digest - Apr 4
Liam wrote:

A really disturbing article on the mentality of the chinese government and its people.

That is a real heartbreaking story. I cannot even wrap my mind around that way of thinking!

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Re: don't stop laughing just yet...

What the hey is this, Mike? It's only a few seconds long and then just loops? Or am I missing something? 

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Re: Daily Digest - Apr 4
paranoid wrote:

Moneynews email alert, April 3, 2009

U.S. Preparing a Military Response to Coming Social Chaos

As the shocking confidential information contained in this briefing shows, the threat of social meltdown and chaos is so large a domestic law-enforcement arm of the U.S. military (referred to by The Army Times as the "Consequence Management Response Force") has been created to deal with what U.S. officials believe to be a coming, unprecedented wave of massive social chaos.

Interesting reading here, but consider the author . . . 

Note that the email was written by Lee Bellinger, who runs Independent Living and has written some "Brace for the Greatest Depression"-style articles for Moneynews in the past. He has been forecasting financial doom and using it to huckster his preparation books and products for a long time. 

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