Daily Digest

Daily Digest - April 12

Monday, April 12, 2010, 10:56 AM
  • Deflation, Inflation, Hyperinflation, Bubbles and Gold
  • If This Is A Recovery, Why Does It Seem Like Things Keep Getting Worse?
  • Coffee with Joe – Debt Saturation
  • Recession Arbiters, Wary of Certifying an Upturn
  • China Reports Rare Trade Deficit
  • China On "Treadmill To Hell" Amid Bubble, Chanos Says
  • NREL Finds a Way to Give LEDs the Green Light
  • GE Fast Forwards to Future of LED Lighting
  • Unbearable Lightness?
  • Do Rising Oil Prices Threaten The Economic Recovery?
  • Oil, Not China, Is The Real Destroyer Of America's Trade Balance
  • The Cost of Coal
  • One Of The World's Biggest Oil Producers Is Going Bust
  • Radical Ass-Kicking Home Economics (Part 1): The Salad

Economy

Deflation, Inflation, Hyperinflation, Bubbles and Gold (mooselick7)

Yes, it is the age-old debate on where price inflation comes from. It is also a foregone conclusion that the US is heading towards a Weimar style hyperinflationary depression. Left to normal circumstances, that is logical conclusion. However, there are several developments that point to the possibility of another deflationary depression, similar to the 1930’s.

If This Is A Recovery, Why Does It Seem Like Things Keep Getting Worse? (mooselick7)

We are told that the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression is behind us and that the great American economic machine is roaring back to life and everything will be back to normal soon. So why does it seem like things keep getting worse?

Coffee with Joe – Debt Saturation (mooselick7)

Joe and Pete, from the site Economic Stability.org, discuss “The Chart of the Century” and debt saturation. Joe is also on top of the fact that our debt money system is not sustainable and that we are entering the end game in regards to this version of our money system.

Recession Arbiters, Wary of Certifying an Upturn (SolidSwede)

A committee that determines official turning points plans to announce that it cannot declare an end to the recession.

"The committee, created in 1978, has assigned the start and end dates of economic contractions for every business cycle since 1854. It has long emphasized that it looks only backward, and does not make forecasts or predictions."

China Reports Rare Trade Deficit (Christian W.)

Officials blame the $7.2bn (£4.7bn) deficit on rising volumes and prices of the raw materials the country needs to import to power its economy.

China On "Treadmill To Hell" Amid Bubble, Chanos Says (Christian W.)

China is “on a treadmill to hell,” said Chanos, who said in January the nation is Dubai times a thousand. “They can’t afford to get off this heroin of property development. It is the only thing keeping the economic growth numbers growing.”

Energy

NREL Finds a Way to Give LEDs the Green Light (E.S.)

Light bulbs that last 100 years and fill rooms with brilliant ambiance may become a reality sooner rather than later, thanks to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory discovery.

NREL scientists found a way to generate a tricky combination of green and red that may just prove to be the biggest boost for illumination since Edison's light bulb.

GE Fast Forwards to Future of LED Lighting (E.S.)

The new GE Energy Smart® LED bulb is expected to outperform currently available products that may be underwhelming consumers right now. GE scientists and engineers designed the bulb to better direct light downward on the intended surface and all around, not just out the top of a lampshade, as most current LED bulbs are prone to do. The new GE LED bulb offers 450 lumens—the Energy Star® threshold to be considered a 40-watt incandescent replacement.

Unbearable Lightness? (mooselick7)

Though themselves not cheap, clean diesels, with their 35% greater efficiency, would be a better bet—if only Americans could be persuaded to embrace them as Europeans have. Although no longer justified, the diesel’s reputation for being slow, smelly, noisy, unreliable and difficult to start in cold weather has lingered since the 1980s, when Detroit rushed out half-baked designs in response to the oil crisis.

Do Rising Oil Prices Threaten The Economic Recovery? (mooselick7)

Ten of the eleven recessions in the United States since World War II have been preceded by a sharp increase in the price of crude petroleum. Oil had been holding around $80/barrel over the last month, but traded as high as $87 last week, leading the Financial Times to ask whether oil could give the "kiss of death to recovery." Here is how I would answer that question.

Oil, Not China, Is The Real Destroyer Of America's Trade Balance (Christian W.)

Looking at the movements from the late 1990s through 2006, when the overall U.S. deficit worsened from 2 percent of GDP to nearly 7 percent of GDP at the trough, a full three percentage points of that adjustment came from other advanced economies and from fuel imports; only two percentage points came from China and other non-fuel emerging markets. And the recent drop in the U.S. deficit had almost nothing to do with China; again, it was oil prices and developed trade that explains the entire swing over the past 18 months.

The Cost of Coal (mooselick7)

Warren Cheng, associate analyst with Macquarie Research thinks the operational impact on Massey is not as significant as the drop in shares reflects and keeps an outperform tag on the stock. The accident will affect earnings per share by 20 to 30 cents for the whole 2010, says Cheng. The mine where the blast occurred accounts for 2 million tons of coal out of the total 40 million extracted annually by the company.

One Of The World's Biggest Oil Producers Is Going Bust (Christian W.)

Most Americans don't realize it, but Mexico is a major player in global oil production. According to the Energy Information Agency, it was the seventh largest oil-producing country in 2008. Mexico is the U.S.'s second-largest source of imported oil, behind Canada.

You read that correctly: We import more oil from Mexico than we do Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, or any other Middle Eastern country. You don't read about it much in the papers, but Mexico is a critical supplier to American drivers.

Environment

Radical Ass-Kicking Home Economics (Part 1): The Salad (mooselick7)

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable. It’s fairly easy to grow, by crown or by seed. The ferny foliage after the harvest finishes make a beautiful plant in its own right. Fresh asparagus, really, needs nothing other than a mouth to appreciate it. It is nothing like canned asparagus, and even frozen asparagus does not have the charm of that which is still as vibrantly alive going into one’s mouth as it was ten seconds ago rooted in earth.

Please send article submissions to: [email protected]

19 Comments

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

"TOKYO — Greece's debt problems may currently be in the spotlight but Japan is walking its own financial tightrope, analysts say, with a public debt mountain bigger than that of any other industrialised nation.

Public debt is expected to hit 200 percent of GDP in the next year as the government tries to spend its way out of the economic doldrums despite plummeting tax revenues and soaring welfare costs for its ageing population.

Based on fiscal 2010's nominal GDP of 475 trillion yen, Japan's debt is estimated to reach around 950 trillion yen -- or roughly 7.5 million yen per person.

Japan "can't finance" its record trillion-dollar budget passed in March for the coming year as it tries to stimulate its fragile economy, said Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

"Japan's revenue is roughly 37 trillion yen and debt is 44 trillion yen in fiscal 2010, " he said. "Its debt to budget ratio is more than 50 percent."

Without issuing more government bonds, Japan "would go bankrupt by 2011", he added"

"Across the country, local governments have been borrowing relentlessly to finance their infrastructure projects, as a government-led surge in fixed asset investment pushed China to an astonishing 8.7% GDP growth in 2009, in the midst of the global economic crisis.

The central government's financial situation is rather healthy, with a sizable budget surplus despite spending on a massive stimulus program over the past year. However, the undisclosed exposure of local government debts is a much bigger problem. Local experts estimate that the total amount of local government debt reaches RMB 5-6 trillion, or 16.5% of the country's GDP and 80.2% of China's total fiscal revenue."

"April 11 (Bloomberg) -- The average price of regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations rose to $2.852 a gallon as crude oil futures jumped more than 5 percent.

Gasoline gained 3.79 cents in the three weeks ended April 9, according to a survey of 5,000 filling stations nationwide by Trilby Lundberg, an independent gasoline analyst in Camarillo, California."

"Saddled with debt and ever increasing borrowing costs, European finance ministers said Sunday they would offer the country up to 45 billion euros ($61 billion) in financial loans at below market interest rates.

The move comes after Greece’s borrowing costs surged to an 11-year high. The pledge will not only restore confidence in Greece’s ability to service its debt, but will also restore some faith in the euro, which has been in a downtrend in recent months.

The euro has dropped 5.7 percent against the dollar so far this year as investors worried over the Greek debt crisis and how it would impact the rest of the 16-nation eurozone.

The finance ministers said they would offer up to 30 billion euros in three year loans this year at roughly 5 percent. An additional 15 billion euros would come from the International Monetary Funnd (IMF)."

"Oil prices rose above $85 a barrel on Monday, buoyed by a drop in the U.S. dollar and bullish data that showed Chinese crude imports jumping to their second-highest monthly level in March."

"Nearly $3 billion worth of mortgage bonds tied to office buildings in Orange County is coming due in the next five years, with about $200 million due this year alone, according to local market trackers.

The bulk of $2.7 billion in debt—most of it issued near the peak of the commercial real estate market in 2007 and 2008—is expected to go into default as building prices remain as much as 50% lower than during the boom."

"SAN FRANCISCO — As The City negotiates with workers for labor concessions, new numbers show that employee costs for workers are projected to increase each year by more than $100 million because of salary hikes and the price of pension and medical benefits.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is asking labor groups to agree to 12 furlough days — and a few labor groups to give up the equivalent in concessions — to help close the $483 million deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1."

"Without factoring in pending labor concessions, however, salaries and benefits for San Francisco workers are expected to increase by $121.4 million during the upcoming fiscal year. That includes a $52 million increase for pension costs, according to the City Controller’s Office.

The pension costs have skyrocketed for The City after the market crashed last year and the retiree investment fund took a hit.

The retiree projections assume The City receives returns of 7.75 percent each year, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said during the Wednesday Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee meeting.

“If we don’t hit seven and three quarters percent, those numbers are going to get even higher,” Elsbernd said."

"By Tribune Washington bureau and The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Despite recent job gains, one grim statistic casts a long shadow over the recovering economy and the futures of more than 6 million workers: Fully 44 percent of the nation's 15 million unemployed have been out of work for more than six months.

And evidence suggests many of them may never rebuild their working lives completely.

Never since the Great Depression has the U.S. labor market seen anything like it. The previous high in long-term unemployment was 26 percent in June 1983, just after the deep downturn of the early '80s. The 44 percent rate this year translates into more than 6.5 million people.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of these workers actually have been jobless for a year or longer, new Labor Department reports show."

"At the same time, government revenues have fallen as Social Security, payroll and other tax receipts have shriveled with fewer jobs and lower earnings. That's contributed to massive fiscal problems in many states. California already owes the federal government about $7 billion for unemployment-benefit loans and is getting deeper in the hole by the week.

"It's really killing the deficit," said David Card, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, which has made cuts in faculty pay and course selections.

The rise in long-term unemployment — coupled with economists' projections of a slow jobs recovery — mean the toll to individual and government budgets is likely to persist for some time. Labor Department figures suggest there are 5.5 unemployed workers today for each job opening, compared with two job seekers for every opening in 2007.

The problem has another, less direct impact as well: Since many of the long-term unemployed are older workers, some will have little choice but to retire earlier than planned — which means more people drawing Social Security and Medicare, and fewer contributing to the programs through payroll taxes."

"Bing is scheduled to release his proposed budget today and present it to the City Council on Tuesday. It's expected to include significant cuts aimed at reducing a $300 million deficit and helping the city avoid state receivership or bankruptcy."

.........................9A) Chapter 9 among Detroit’s few options: Budget crisis puts city in danger of bankruptcy

"OLYMPIA — Today the state Senate should stamp its approval on a controversial bill for raising taxes and conclude a wearisome political journey for Democratic lawmakers.

Senate Democrats are expected to pass the $667 million package containing higher taxes on candy, bottled water, beer, soda pop, service businesses and professionals such as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents."

"Boston’s promise to city workers to pay their medical costs in retirement until they die is shaping up as a pipe dream.

The city’s estimated unfunded liability on that promise soon could zoom past $6 billion, a conservative figure that still ranks as one of the highest in the nation.

“This is an incredibly large number and it represents promises that have been made,” said Lisa Calise Signori, Boston’s director of administration and finance.

But the city has set aside only a token amount to address the estimated unfunded liability for retiree medical costs. Last summer, that unfunded liability was pegged at nearly $5.8 billion by an actuarial firm hired by the city. That’s up from about $5.5 billion in 2007."

"Public employee pensions have become one of the prickliest topics The Bee covers, and our front-page story today adds some sobering numbers to the discussion.

Here's one: $28 billion.

That's the collective gap, according to The Bee's analysis, between the amount of pension money that's invested and the amount that's promised to employees and retirees in California's 80 largest city and county governments. "

  • Other headlines and news stories:

Pensions Burden Economy (Korea)

Moody's Expresses Concerns Over Korea's Banking Sector

IMF tells Pakistan: no compliance, no money

Bankruptcy: LA's best option?

The riots bleeding Thailand dry

SLO County retirement costs are busting the budgets (San Luis Obispo)

Incinerator project burns up Pa. capital's cash "If you can get out of the city, get out of the city"

Md. sacrifices road repair to pay teacher pensions (Editorial)

Interactive Map of Public Pension Plans; How Badly Underfunded are the Plans in Your State? (Mish)

Merced County wants to catch up on pensions but not now (CA....unfunded by $1,700 per household)

Dubai’s $330 Billion Deferred Buildings Impose Fees

  • Repost from last night:
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Re: Daily Digest - April 11

 

US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015

• Shortfall could reach 10m barrels a day, report says
• Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

 Mortgage Defaults May Be Driving Consumer Spendinghttp://www.cnbc.com/id/36422316

Hate to be an "I told you so..."

Lender Processing Services just put out its "Mortgage Monitor Report," and we have a new record:

The nation's foreclosure inventories reached record highs. February's foreclosure rate of 3.31 percent represented a 51.1 percent year-over-year increase. The percentage of new problem loans also remains at a five-year high. The total number of non-current first-lien mortgages and REO properties is now more than 7.9 million loans. Furthermore, the percentage of new problem loans is also at its highest level in five years. More than 1.1 million loans that were current at the beginning of January 2010 were already at least 30 days delinquent or in foreclosure by February 2010 month-end.

Okay, so 7.9 million Americans are not paying their mortgages. 

Foreclosed Home
Repres
Foreclosed Home

Are we really thinking about the implications of that? 

I've already reported studies that show Americans are now far more likely to pay their other bills first before their mortgage (which is a big turnaround historically speaking.)

That means they pay off their credit cards, cable bills, car loans in place of their home loans. Some are forced to, while others are doing so strategically. Don't get me started again on strategic defaults...

Paul Jackson, publisher of Housingwire.com, wrote a fascinating article last week that put this into real cash perspective.

He cites an older stat of 7.4 million delinquent loans, but you'll get the picture. 

First he describes a case study of someone who applied for the government's Home Affordable Modification Program.

The person had an $1,880.00 monthly mortgage payment on which they'd defaulted, but said person's monthly bank statement showed payments to a tanning salon, nail spa, liquor stores, DirecTV bill with premium charges, and $1,700.00 in retail purchases from The Gap, Old Navy, Home Depot, Sears, etc. 

Writes Jackson: 

Even if you assume that just half of the current 7.4 million currently delinquent mortgages fit this sort of ’spending profile’ (that is, they are spending their mortgage) and you assume a $1,000 median monthly mortgage payment for most U.S. homeowners — you get a $3.7 billion boost per month to consumer spending. It’s certainly enough spending to matter in the overall scheme of things.

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

Wow, SaxPlayer, what a meaty and sobering array of news stories today. Thank you.

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

iDoctor: Super post, thanks! I listened to a King World News interview this past weekend, 1.8 million foreclosures in 2008, 2 million in 2009 and like you posted another 8 million mortgages that are 90 days late and should go into foreclosure. 

That says it all! Even without CRE collapsing and event without a 9 trillion GAAP deficit - this alone will be enough to fry the banks and collapse the economy in a very systemic fashion.

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

Is China a Prepper Nation?

Regarding the article on China's deficit, many see them as inflating themselves a bubble that will lead to oblivion, but I suspect they are just being more strategic than the rest of the world powers.

While everyone else is in extend and pretend mode, they are spending soon to be worthless fiat currencies to acquire tangible wealth. Buildings, grain, gold, railways, highways, mines, power plants, are all things that post world economy collapse will allow them to continue to functioning as a stand alone nation. What if they are building the infrastructure they think they will need for the next 20 years because they are eyes wide open about the coming collapse?

Perhaps they are simply converting electronic wealth into tangibles as many preppers advocate.

http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/08/a_vault_full_of_hedges_tangibl.html

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

"Spending on unemployment insurance increased by $39 billion or 83 percent because of those high unemployment levels and the extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed. In addition, Medicaid spending rose by $17 billion, Social Security was up by $23 billion and Medicare spending was up by $12 billion. "

"Revenue during the period was $37 billion lower than 2009 because of a $45 billion decline in payroll taxes due to lower wages. Corporate income tax payments were about 5 percent less."

(Please read the the whole article to see how they sugar-coat this. Running up the debt like this will eventually have one of three results: Failfail or fail). 

 

Fitch Concerned About Greek Finances After EU Deal

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Peak Oil story leeeaaking into MSM consciousness

This from the Guardian UK:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

Drip...drip...drip...the PO story is going mainstream.

Viva -- Sager

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Re: Peak Oil story leeeaaking into MSM consciousness
SagerXX wrote:

This from the Guardian UK:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

Drip...drip...drip...the PO story is going mainstream.

Viva -- Sager

Sager,

you gotta love this paragraph in amongst the article though: -

[quote=]

The US military says its views cannot be taken as US government policy but admits they are meant to provide the Joint Forces with "an intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concept to guide out future force developments."

I only wish I could write as benign ...

~ VF ~

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One Of The Biggest Oil Producers Is Going Bust ...

Great article in the DD today:-

One Of The Biggest Oil Producers Is Going Bust

http://www.dailywealth.com/1323/One-of-the-World-s-Biggest-Oil-Producers-Is-Going-Bust

[quote=]

Most Americans don't realize it, but Mexico is a major player in global oil production. According to the Energy Information Agency, it was the seventh largest oil-producing country in 2008. Mexico is the U.S.'s second-largest source of imported oil, behind Canada.

You read that correctly: We import more oil from Mexico than we do Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, or any other Middle Eastern country. You don't read about it much in the papers, but Mexico is a critical supplier to American drivers.

~ VF ~

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Re: Peak Oil story leeeaaking into MSM consciousness
Vanityfox451 wrote:
SagerXX wrote:

This from the Guardian UK:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

Drip...drip...drip...the PO story is going mainstream.

Viva -- Sager

It is a great piece of "conditioning"..........

Sager,

you gotta love this paragraph in amongst the article though: -

[quote=]

The US military says its views cannot be taken as US government policy but admits they are meant to provide the Joint Forces with "an intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concept to guide out future force developments."

I only wish I could write as benign ...

~ VF ~

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

Deflation, Inflation, Hyperinflation, Bubbles and Gold

While the collapse in M3 growth does not yet constitute de facto proof that we’re headed for the default scenario, it is certainly something that has to be considered. The good news in that scenario is that cash money would be worth more because it would be in short supply. The bad news is that there won’t be enough of it to maintain our current standard of living – especially in a situation where there is a concurrent devaluation.Many will be wondering how I can be an advocate of Gold and Silver in such an environment? The benefits of precious metals are well documented in the case of hyperinflation, but not so much so in the case of deflation. It is a pretty simple and logical conclusion that if there is a shortage of cash, then the presence of cash ‘substitutes’ will be very beneficial. This is especially true in local commerce as in the 1930’s when many areas saw the widespread use of ‘co-ops’ or local trading blocs. The rationale for holding precious metals will be different than if we experience hyperinflation, and their use would be different as well, but I think it is foolish to assume that they’d be a detriment in either case. By: Andy_Sutton

 

I'm confused by this. I own gold and wouldn't be able to trade it to buy groceries, like I would be with a local currency or maybe even small  silver coins. What happened to the price of gold in the 30's?

Also, is it better to stay half gold/half cash than totally gold invested?

 

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

Hello there, welcome to the site!

djstrodl wrote:

I'm confused by this. I own gold and wouldn't be able to trade it to buy groceries, like I would be with a local currency or maybe even small  silver coins. What happened to the price of gold in the 30's?

I'm sure you would see exchange boutiques popping up all over the place to convert your gold bullions into silver coins or whatever... after all, it's just about melting metal and making smaller pieces out of it. They valued gold (or devalued the dollar if you prefer) from $20 to $35 in 1934... is this enough inflation in one year for you? :)

Samuel

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

Gotta milk so will be brief,

If you've precious metals then I can assure you you won't starve. We would be happy to provide you with locally

grown veggies,dairy,beef,pork,lamb,cabrito,honey,fruit,(you can fish in one of our three ponds)

robie

 

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12
djstrodl wrote:

I'm confused by this. I own gold and wouldn't be able to trade it to buy groceries, like I would be with a local currency or maybe even small  silver coins. What happened to the price of gold in the 30's?

Also, is it better to stay half gold/half cash than totally gold invested?

 

Just read up on Zimbabwe, & Argentina & Russia. Google currency no longer accepted in grocery stores +Zimbabwe +panning rivers for gold. Better yet, here is a link from that search. Zimbabwe grocery stores didn't take gold before their currency crash & after it went to h*ll they hung up signs in public rest rooms that said don't use currency as toilet paper and they hung up signs in stores like some stores hang up no checks accepted signs.

Times change. This isn't like the sun rising in the east sort of a thing. There is only one currency that lasted 5,000 years and it isn't Fiat.

Look, no one knows for certain how and what will happen, but common sense sure tells me that if 1.5 trillion in subprime took out the economy in 2008 then this year is going to be even worse for we have 8 million mortgages 90 days late (foreclosure meat), we have 3.5 - 5 trillion in CRE ready to slide off the cliff and the government is running 8-9 trillion dollar GAAP deficits all while we have small countries going into default and we have PE's that are @ssinine and 22% unemployment, not to mention some states (who can't print unless you count IOU issuance) are insolvent and oh lastly many pensions are underwater.

I'm not being gloomy and doomy here, just realistic, if you want delusionalism dressed up as realism and cheer there is always CNBS.

I'm certain if the banks tank, and this time I don't see how they can keep them propped up, that cash will be king - until the currency crisis kicks in. I don't know what half is and I don't want to know, but IMO 1 year of food and as many supplies now would be a good investment. With oil going up food goes up (transportation and petrochemical growing). 

I myself wouldn't look at PM's in the light that just because they don't take it today means they won't take it tomorrow. Also, gold is a currency that can be exchanged at a bank's currency window - if the banks remain open.

PS As for what happened to the price of gold in the 1930s it really is a question of what happened to the price of the dollar in the 1930s. Basically in the 1920's Germany couldn't pay it's war debt. In Genoa 1922 they met and decided that the countries could count the cash and the gold it represented as 2. Money doubled, people did stupid things with cheap money and they wound up with a crash. FDR seized the gold in 1933. 70% didn't turn it over. Once he had it and it was illegal to own (bullion, numismatic and jewelry was excluded) he said it wasn't worth 20.65 anymore it was worth 35.00.

Read what you want, but in my mind he devalued the dollar by 70%.

 

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Muslim Demographics

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Re: Muslim Demographics
gregroberts wrote:

...

Aaaah, these Muslim terrorists... baby booming us to world overpopulation Foot in mouth

Samuel

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Re: Daily Digest - April 12

Sounds like the Catholics havnt been doing it right..

But thats old news... mere gossip.. most adamantly and catagorically denied.

 

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Re: Muslim Demographics
gregroberts wrote:

Hi Greg,

it's a very good piece of scaremongering propaganda for sure, and I know from my past experience that you've placed it up, not necessarily as a personal political or religious statement, but as a vehicle for an interesting discussion, or at least as food for thought.

I'm thinking of the Christian faith rising up alongside the fall of the Roman Empire. Try this. Read this Wiki link called Rise of Christianity during the Fall of Rome, but transpose the word Christian for the word Muslim, adding modern day and future events to present day World history.

I always think of America as a fluid and changing country, constantly re-inventing itself, not just with every replacement Presidential leader, but by the flock of incoming immigrants to its shores from all countries of the globe. With or without embracing change, adaptation and acceptance, open and non-indoctrination-al education and multiculturalism, each passing change draws away the trend or fashion that we were born into; our generational sub-culture that we see as fixed, unalterable and ours.

Each generation draws from the past what it sees as good, leaving what it sees as worthless where it was left. Our cultural media and generational identity deems the Muslim faith unacceptable, yet, just a few generations back, the slave trade was an accepted ideal. In fact John Newton, who penned the hymn Amazing Grace was just such a trader. Where I live right now was built upon a history of such cruelty, yet nobody seems to notice because one generation dies off and another replaces it, and so on and so forth, until history is either re-written or not seen as important.

If I knew that my faith in life was temporary? If I knew that the inevitable changes in my home town were going to wipe out my history as sure as if I hadn't even been born? If I could go forward a hundred years in time just to see how little of my life was left in the future.?

I think it is mans quest to appear immortal. In Plymouth, a military harbour in the south of the UK where nuclear submarines are stored alongside warships, statues of old men on horseback, turn green and act simply as a perch for the seagulls. I have no idea who these old men were. Today, children kick footballs up against them, and elders walk by without chastising them for it our of respect.

My thoughts are that you cannot catch the wind in your hand and keep it there. I think of exponential growth in population and wonder quite why people are still having babies as though they're the height of fashion. Until we realise we haven't the resources to feed ourselves, nobody is going to be paying attention to the silent and unnoticeable rise in a brand new French, Norwegian or multi-national Muslim culture in under 50 years ...

Best,

Paul

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Vanityfox451
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City That Can't Cope Any More ...

A lead on to my previous post ...

City That Can't Cope Any More

Helena Horvatova is proud of her seven children. She lines them up in the back garden of her terrace house and explains that the youngest, aged four months, is called Kevin.

'It is a very British name. We want him to grow up British,' says the 27-year-old Czech mother, who arrived in Peterborough two weeks ago. In broken English, she continues: 'We came to Britain because we wanted a better life for all of our children.'

Mrs Horvatova pats little Kevin on his head, before plopping down on a battered bench in the middle of her garden, which is littered with rubbish.

The Horvatovas: Mother Helena (sitting) with her children Nicola, baby Kevin, Frankie, Marek, Helena, David and Natalia

The Horvatovas: Mother Helena (sitting) with her children Nicola, baby Kevin, Frankie, Marek, Helena, David and Natalia

Outside the kitchen door there are grubby children's clothes and some beer cans.

Inside the house sits Mrs Horvatova's husband, Frankie. He is 29 and also is able to speak only a few words of English.

'He does not go to work,' his wife says, as her ten-year-old daughter, Nicola, tries to help as an interpreter.

As the other children (Frankie, 12, Helena, nine, Marek, seven, Natala, six, and David, four) clamour for attention, their mother explains: 'My husband is claiming the Jobseekers' allowance. Back in our country he was a school cleaner, but in Peterborough they say there are no vacancies.

'The council has been very good to us. It has given us a house because we have the children. It only has three bedrooms, though, and we would like more.

'The only problem is our oldest boy has to go to school five miles away. It is difficult to get him there, but we have a car and my husband drives.

'The schools nearby are full of children who came to Peterborough before us,' she says.

I went to Peterborough after receiving a copy of a letter originally sent to the prime minister and leaders of the other main political parties by two independent councillors.

The letter revealed how the city's public services are under strain and struggling to cope with levels of immigration. The councillors begged the politicians for help.

Officially, the Horvatovas are among 10,000 new eastern European immigrants who have turned up in the city in the past six years.

But that is a conservative count. The East Of England Regional Assembly believes 16,000 have settled in Peterborough since Britain opened its borders to migrants from the former communist bloc countries in 2004.

Yet local people are convinced this figure is a gross underestimation of the tally of foreigners arriving in this beautiful and once quintessentially English city, with a Norman cathedral where Henry VIII's first wife Catherine of Aragon is buried.

'There must be at least 20,000,' said one GP with a surgery near the city centre. 'We can tell because the total number of patients we have registered has gone up by 3,000 in just a few years. Most of the new patients are from Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.'

Boarded up: Some of Peterborough's many derelict houses, which are used by the homeless

Boarded up: Some of Peterborough's many derelict houses, which are used by the homeless

At this surgery staff are also overwhelmed with increasing numbers of pregnant women.

'This whole place is about to explode with babies,' explained a nurse at a clinic, half-a-mile from Mrs Horvatov's home.

'It is a common thing for 14, 15 and 16-year-old girls who have arrived from Slovakia and Lithuania to come in pregnant or wanting fertility advice. We tell them it is illegal in this country to have sexual intercourse at their age.

'We suspect they want babies because they know it will lead to a house and child benefits. There are so many foreign girls having babies that it will change the face of Peterborough.'

That change, it would seem, has already begun. Last month, it was revealed migrant workers in Peterborough are killing swans to eat and are also preying illegally on fish.

Local anglers claimed ' legally-protected swans' were being 'butchered' by immigrants who are 'raping' the city's waterways by snaring the birds, battering them to death with iron bars and roasting them on open fires on the bank of the River Nene.

Witnesses say migrants camping in woods are using inhumane methods to kill fish, such as long lines with multiple hooks, which are left in the water overnight and cause a slow and painful death.

While it should be stressed that many of the new arrivals work very hard for low wages - doing jobs local people are not prepared to do - there are many who have quickly learned how to work the benefits system.

Each day at 1pm, when the Inland Revenue Office at Hereward House opens, a queue of girls speaking foreign tongues snakes down the road.

Their buggies and prams crowd the pavement as they wait to sign on for tax credits and child benefits - as they are entitled to under EU law.

Yet, despite the availability of generous benefits, there is a growing foreign underclass in Peterborough, which is said to be the fastest growing multi-ethnic community in Britain.

People sleep rough in derelict houses, alleyways, garden sheds or under crude shelters made of wood and plastic sheeting in the parks - anywhere they can find a place to rest their weary heads at night.

These are the homeless European migrants that Labour promised this week (an announcement cynically made on the opening day of the election campaign) would be thrown out of Britain, because they cannot support themselves financially.

Slovakians Ivan, Monica and Vadim in their squat

Slovakians Ivan, Monica and Vadim in their squat

According to EU rules, foreigners can live in other member countries for up to three months, but can only remain if they are financially independent, working or registered as students.

Peterborough, with its considerable migration problems, has been chosen as the pilot scheme for the expulsion project.

This week, I saw two uniformed UK Border Agency officers (plus a policeman and two Peterborough Council staff) search three empty properties in Thistlemoor Road. They found no one.

Yet the stench of urine inside, the abandoned bed clothes on the floor and a pile of unwashed cups in the kitchen sinks was proof someone had been staying there until very recently.

When I pointed out that three penniless and jobless Slovakians were living in a property just along the street, the officers got in their cars and drove away.

As a result, Ivan, 37, Monica, 30, and Vadim, 42, managed to escape detection. Inside a shabby, boarded up house, they have made a home.

There are two single beds and a couple of dirty rugs on the concrete floor downstairs. Through the rotting roof you can see the sky.

'We came here 20 days ago,' says Monica, with tears in her eyes.

'I worked yesterday for the first time - getting £10 for doing cleaning at a house.

'We have nothing apart from what we have found on rubbish tips. We try to keep clean and have bought a few bars of soap. The only thing I have eaten today is a bag of grapes.'

Why Ivan, Monica and Vadim have left home and journeyed across Europe to live such a squalid existence is hard to understand.

'We knew the name of Peterborough from people in Slovakia,' says Monica in pitifully bad English while tossing back her mane of black hair.

'They said we could get everything here. There are no jobs in Slovakia. We don't want to go back and we will work hard.'

Thousands of east European migrants were drawn to Peterborough 20 years ago, attracted by jobs picking and packing fruit and vegetables, grown on the flat fenlands of East Angli.

According the East Of England Regional Authority, an estimated 60 local employment agencies target migrants from the old communist bloc nations to work in agriculture.

The employment is seasonal, poorly paid and back-breakingly hard. Few Britons will contemplate doing it.

From the spring until the autumn, the work allows foreigners to eke out a living. But during winter, many become increasingly desperate.

Vadim takes up the story. He has a bruised cheek and a bloodshot left eye. 'We came here to earn money,' he says.

'It has not been good for us. We asked some Ukrainians renting a house down the road to take us in, to at least let us sleep on the floor. They banged me to the ground.'

This group's wretched tale is typical. Peterborough simply cannot cope with such a huge influx of foreigners - particularly at a time of economic crisis when the indigenous families are struggling in the jobs market and public services are threatened with years of cuts.

The city's housing list is longer than at any time since World War II. There are nearly 7,000 families waiting for accommodation.

At the housing office, 95 per cent of the people who are seen by officials do not speak English and interpreters (paid £30 an hour) are on hand to help out.

Meanwhile, primary school teachers say they are struggling to cope with the increasing numbers of pupils who speak Slavic languages.

One 32-year-old teacher told me this week: 'Their parents believe in education, but the children are arriving in such vast numbers that even the most dedicated of us wonder how this will all end.'

It was three years ago that local MP Stewart Jackson raised Peterborough's social problems during a debate in the House of Commons.

'There are suburbs which were settled and peaceful, if not affluent,' he said.

'They are now the centre of mass migration. They are becoming ghettoised.

'There has been a massive increase in the number of houses in multiple occupation, some with ten people. Their demand on public services grows weekly.

'Neighbour disputes are rife. The police try to keep disparate communities from conducting turf wars, which prevents them from tacking routine crime.'

Peterborough has a history of immigration. However, until recently, the numbers were small enough for most incomers to integrate happily.

Originally, Italians arrived to work in the city's brick factories. By the Eighties, Pakistanis came to be taxi drivers, run restaurants and build property empires, buying up streets of the terraced houses which they now let out room by room to the new wave of migrants. But this time, things are different.

As the MP warned: ' Resentment, anger and hostility is rising in the host communities - the white British, AfroCaribbeans and Pakistanis alike. There are enormous potential problems brewing for Peterborough.'

Prescient words. And what a pity no one was listening.

the councillors letter.jpg

 

~ VF ~

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