Wednesday, March 18, 2009

from Jenna Orkin

United States Economic Collapse Facing Its Weimar Moment
Foreigners Sell Record US Securities in January
US Injecting Billions into Foreign Central Banks
US Output Plummets, Manufacturing at Record Low
US Housing Starts Probably Fell in February to Record Low
New York Manufacturing Index Slumped to Record Low
Schwarzenegger Launches Green Corps as California Fisheries Collapse
More Labor Unrest at Microsoft
US Oks Record 2.1 Billion Dollar Arms Sale to India
Wells Fargo Chair Flays TARP, "Asinine" Stress Test
Ex-Houston Banker, Son, Take on Bank of America
New Mexico Man Pleads Guilty to Mailing White Powder to Bank Branches
MGM Mirage Said to Offer Casinos as Security
Card Issuers Choke Customers with Rate Hikes, Limit Cuts
CreditRiskMonitor Reports Record Sales for 2008
Pharmaceutical Merger Bonanza

Natural Gas Rigs Shutting Means Prices May Double

Impending Water/Energy Collision
Violent Protests Disrupt Conference on How To Prevent Conflicts Over Water
Thirsty Mexico City Plans $800 Million Water Purifier

European Payroll Shrinks as Economic Slump Deepens
Gas Crisis Raised in UK Parliament
British Police to Help Greece with Guerilla Attacks
Financial Crisis Sparks Unrest in Europe
Hawkish Medvedev Orders Rearmament of Russia
Turkey and Russia on the Rise
Economy Minister Warns of Currency Crisis, Social Collapse without Reforms
Ukraine Says Russia/Europe Gas Supply Declines
Ukraine and Russia to Discuss Aviation Cooperation

Developing Nations Pushed Out of Farming By Fertilizer Costs
Kazakh Mining Output Fall Stokes Fears of Unrest
Chavez' Takeover of Popular Beer Manufacturer Likely Unpopular
Taiwan to Issue First Quadrennial Defense Report
Outages in Philippines
Attorneys of the Abyss (Op-Ed on policy in the UAE)
India: Eastern States Cash in on Power Shortages
Peace Corps Pulls Out of Madagascar Due to Unrest
US Orders its Embassy Workers to Leave Madagascar
Sierra Leone Party Rivalry Develops into Riots in Capital Freetown

Slow Food on Sixty Minutes
Considering Organics? Farmers Offer Advice on How to Get Started


pstajk said...

That first posted article ... I mean, are you serious?

That's the best goddamn piece of literature I've ever read in my entire life.




Velobwoy said...

At G20, Kremlin to Pitch New Currency

Velobwoy said...

Who owns Colorado's rainwater?,0,5585599.story?track=rss

Diaspora said...

I believe the financial gang-bangers from both sides of the tracks have just been caught in their circle of deception with their pants down.

“Dodd: Administration pushed for language protecting bonuses

"CNN) -- Senate Banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN Wednesday that he was responsible for language added to the federal stimulus bill to make sure that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money were honored.
Dodd acknowledged his role in the change after a Treasury Department official told CNN the administration pushed for the language.
Both Dodd and the official, who asked not to be named, said it was because administration officials were afraid the government would face numerous lawsuits without the new language.
Dodd, a Democrat, told CNN's Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer that Obama administration officials pushed for the language to an amendment designed to limit bonuses and "golden parachutes" at those companies.
'The administration had expressed reservations," Dodd said. "They asked for modifications. The alternative was losing the amendment entirely.'
On Tuesday, Dodd denied to CNN that he had anything to do with adding the language, which has been used by officials at bailed-out insurance giant AIG to justify paying millions of dollars in bonuses to executives after receiving federal money.”

Velobwoy said...

Maybe some of you have an opinion on this matter - I'm somewhat perplexed.

Being a long-time reader, an over-riding thought of mine while watching all of "this" come down has been "lucky I live in Hawaii". Any disadvantage we might have due to our current dependence upon goods/food/oil shipped in from elsewhere seems to me to be more than offset by a host of inherent advantages. To whit:

- Climate (obviously): year-round growing season, plentiful rainfall (in many parts of the islands).
- Rural nature: aside from largely urbanized O’ahu (and to a lesser extent, Maui), most of the islands are still largely undeveloped.
- Land availability: since the decline (if not outright death) here of large-scale plantation agriculture in the last few decades, large swaths of acreage remain available for purchase and/or lease.
- Island mentality: although it has been subsumed, it hasn’t been lost; many locals still retain memories and skills from the time, not so long ago, when if you wanted it you made it, grew it or hunted/fished it yourself.
- Cultural traditions: the foundation of Hawaiian land division is the Ahupua’a concept – a triangular piece of land containing a river valley and extending from mountain to ocean, providing for the majority of its inhabitants’ needs.

Another plus that jumps out at me is our distance from the “mothership”, which at this point bespeaks of freedom from supervision (read: repression). Not to mention, no hordes of displaced & angry victims of The Crash that so many of you are fearing. Yes, we will have some of that here too, but in a much reduced form. Whether our relative proximity to Asian markets/wealthy refugees becomes a blessing or our militarily strategic location becomes a curse remains to be seen.

But anyway, my confusion is this: why hasn’t Hawaii become Mecca? Why, instead of worrying about growing seasons and making it thru the winter and armed compounds, aren’t more of the “Collapse-Savvy” beating a path to the Islands?

Maybe there’s something I’m missing. As a Realtor on Kauai, I’m seeing the property values dropping (not as precipitously as on the mainland, but still…) and thinking, “wow, finally some affordable acreage here again. So where are all the homesteaders?” Even on the Big Island, where land can be significantly cheaper, there are tons of listings on fertile, lush land that are going unsold. Is there some terrible disadvantage to living in Hawaii that I don’t get? Maybe Victoria Hokulani or another islander has some opinion on this. For us, the more neighbors we have that are awake, aware and working with a plan, the better off we’ll all be.

Whatever – I’m going surfing now, then I’ll come home and pick something from my garden for dinner. A hui hou!

robmac58 said...

Response to Velobwoy,
MCR wrote about the very subject of your question upon his return from Venezuela. It's a worthwhile read.
Personally, I also believe that your best chance to survive and thrive is on your home turf. I live 5 miles from the place I was born. I've been here 50 years. In spite of some major negatives we face, I'd be a fool to leave.

Pandabonium said...

Hi Velobwoy-

I lived on Maui from 1976 to 2004 and was a real estate salesman and then broker from '80 on.

I don't know about recent prices, but compared to most parts of the country, when I was there land was far too expensive to farm and the money was in subdividing ag lands into the minimal allowable size (2 acres on Maui) and selling it off for gentleman farmers to build mcmansions on.

Another issue is that the soil isn't very good. It is young volcanic stuff and there is next to nothing in the way of real topsoil. Insects and tropical diseases also take a big toll without the use of chemical imputs. That's why most ag has been sugar, pineapple, and cattle grazing. I tried growing veggies for years and finally gave up the soil and started hydroponics. I did get nice lemons, avocados, papayas, and Surinam cherries in the soil, but my veggies were hydroponically grown due to pests.

Not sure about Kauai, but Maui offers little in "affordable" land even today. There may be areas on the Hamakua coast of the big island that could be do-able.

Even if one grows one's own food, there is the fact that Hawaii gets almost everything from somewhere else via ship. There is no way, IMHO, that it can sustain anywhere near its current population even were they willing to change their lifestyle to something approximating that of pre-European contact Hawaiians. Fat chance IMO.

Then there is the fact that Hawaii is a strategic location for the United Snakes military, which assures it will never be allowed independence no matter what.

I bought land in Fiji in the 90's which cost a fraction of Hawaii land, is better suited for farming, and has an almost 3rd world economy without the expectations of American consumers, so I think will adjust better to post peak conditions.

You're on the ground there, maybe you know something I miss, but looking at stats from the Realtors' Association on Maui and friends in the business, I don't see such great opportunities. What am I not seeing?

sofia said...

Hi Jenna

This is one of best speeches of Peter Schiff
it is an hour long video, he is speaking on the same principle of M R

Interesting/educating and humbling to listen

Anne said...

Maybe I'm getting too cynical, but the uproar about the AIG bonus program has me wondering if it is a 'distraction action'. Rage is certainly appropriate over this whole mess, but who gave them the bailout money? The CONgress and the Administration that are now playing their drama out on the MSM with comments like "I am choked with anger", "this is shameful", "disgusting behavior"....Where was the anger when Goldman Sachs payed even more out in bonus money?

Perhaps this outrage from the public is merely the tipping point for people just now understanding what is happening. If this is the case, maybe we are reaching critical mass on the social unrest level.

Or...the fire is being fanned to keep us from seeing something far more important that is happening.

An interesting comment from yesterday mornings post at

"But the other day, as I was reading through the government's statistics on money and such, I noticed that the US has 250+ million ounces of gold and that in whatever report I was reading, that gold was valued at $42.222 an ounce.

*Devil's in the details correction: from Wikipedia:

Gold reserves (or gold holdings) are held by central banks as a store of value. In 2001, it was estimated that all the gold ever mined totaled 145,000 tonnes.[1] One tonne of gold equated to a value of US$30.27 million as of February 14, 2009 ($941.35/troy ounces)[2]. The total value of all gold ever mined would be US$4.39 trillion at that price.[note 1]

Well, my, my, wouldn't it be a simple matter to reduce out debt and improve our nation's balance sheet (all in one fell swoop) to just let gold float up to the price which it's going for on eBay - nearly $1,000 an ounce? Suddenly, the whole US economic picture gets a lot healthier and we could get back to the real problems we have, namely, how do we put more cash into the hands of consumers?

Don't want to be the one to break this to you, but that's not the plan. You see the NWO, or at least the US-British Banker cabal has other designs, it seems, so we'll just keep perpetrating the myth that the US and world are in terrible financial times, all the while not mentioning that some of our key numbers are based on valuing gold at 1/20th of it's market value. Especially when the national debt is $11-trillion dollars. I'd sure think about putting $250 billion more value on books, but no lobbyist dough to be had on that, or what?

All this leaves me speculating endlessly that whatever the hidden agenda is behind all this, and while it's not yet clearly visible, I get all twitchery when I think about it too much."

Things to ponder.

Hef Lee said...

There is currently a bill going through congress which may render organic farming illegal, when it comes to small farms especially. The names of the bills are H.R. 875 and S.425. Please look them up! This will be done in a week and if we don't act fast this could be very bad. Tell your friends, and protect our farming heritage. There is a petition against these bills at this website Thank you all.

anton v said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FTW admin said...

Anne -
You're definitely right that the AIG bonus uproar is a "distraction action." I've read three separate articles, so far, detailing the deception by Michael Hudson, Eliot Spitzer and another author (unfortunately don't have access to the links, as I'm at work and found them at home). Look on for some of the links, and I believe I also found a link over at Catherine Austin Fitts blog.

Essentially, from what I've read of those three articles, is that the bonus up-roar, which amounts to about $160 million, takes the attention away from the BILLIONS in bailout funds that AIG paid OUT to Goldman Sachs, Chase, BofA, etc. Those at the top of the pyramid are throwing those under them to the wolves to make sure they keep theirs. I have a strong feeling this is going to prompt some pretty amazing disclosures when those getting their bonuses realize what's been done to them.

bostx said...

Interesting interview with billionaire John Catsimatidis about future price of oil and prior hedge fund manipulation.

Topic starts at 6:36....

anton v said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Velobwoy said...

Thanks for your comments, Pandabonium. Yes, in many respects you are right: land on Maui & Kauai is not "affordable" in the way it is in most other parts of the US, although there are still residential listings over 1 acre in the Puna area of the Big Island - on catchment water (it is a rainy district) - for under 100K. Yes, it’s lava zones 1, 2 & 3, but the odds are still better than Vegas.

However, for someone with more resources who is in "f--- it all" mode, the dropping prices on Kauai and the Hamakua areas on Big Island (don’t know enough about Maui) are looking increasingly attractive.

Soil also certainly does need a lot of input. I’m going to be making bio-char for expanding my own gardens. I think Kauai, being an older island the Maui or Big Island, does have more fertile pockets – I know of countless swales and small stream valleys that are fertile as hell; because of the terrain they were ignored by the large plantations and many are now choked with hau bush, but several around here were used for rice cultivation by Chinese workers in the 1800’s.

But you know, it’s the tropics – all cycles are accelerated, composting included, and it’s amazing how quickly my soil has shaped up in just 2 years of occasional attention but mostly benign neglect.

Myself and plenty of my circle use no pest or disease control – yeah, I lose some stuff, but it’s fascinating to watch how the natural balance installs itself. My dal bushes are covered with ladybugs. Birds are having a field day. Wild chickens as well, as long as they keep out of my starts.

I too was attempting a dream project outside the country – in Panama – but the energy required was too great and ended up killing the prime mover of the project, so for now I’m resigned to staying in the States. But I can tell you that every morning when I look at the headlines & the blog, I think “Thank GOD I don’t live on the mainland.”

Paul said...

re comments about bonuses...

We have exactly the same situation here in the UK, only more so.

The press is focused on one man (ex RBS Bank CEO) who got a hefty pension. Looks like he's going to get away with it too.

Jenna "I have a strong feeling this is going to prompt some pretty amazing disclosures when those getting their bonuses realize what's been done to them."

Maybe in the US - I doubt it will happen here. Those with the bonuses will most likely get to keep them. The lid will be kept on Pandora's box!

Norm Lowry said...

Three months before being crushed to death by Israeli forces beneath an American made Caterpillar army bulldozer (March 16, 2003), a 23 year old hero of mine (Rachel Corrie) said, "We are all born and someday we’ll all die…to some degree alone. What if our aloneness is what allows us to speak the truth without being afraid? What if our aloneness is what allows us to adventure – to experience the world as a dynamic presence – as a changeable, interactive thing?" It has been an honor to walk a few steps with Mike, Jenna, & following. It is time for me to go stand in the way of the Empire. Blessings to all of you...

ecosutra said...

John Catsimatidis said he purchased a New York property for $400,000 in the 1970.s. Sold it for 43 Million. Wants or expects New York Property to fall to the level in the interview. Did he say that? I think he did.

This is the predatory capital disaster imperial thinking that leads us. He is a sick dude. I hope you all see the disadvantages John represents in this great shift back to natural patterns. I dont think he is getting his recovery this time around. No resource to conquer anymore. Only to pirate and scrap fossil fuel and uranium reserves.

You all know the deal....

How about interlinking a solar thermal set up with a bore hole water tank and use it fo 3 different applications. Greenhouse, Spa, and Aquaponics. Thats the close encounter vision in my brain.

"When a fireman sees a house on fire, he sounds an alarm, dons his turnout gear, bravely rescues the occupants and puts out the fire. When an investment banker sees a house on fire, he quietly sells the burning house short, uses the proceeds to buy a larger house for himself and, when someone suggests that his taxes be raised to help the homeless, he rails against the dangers of socialism."

v said...

Growing world population will cause a "perfect storm" of food, energy and water shortages by 2030, the UK government chief scientist has warned.

London police fear violent protests at G-20 economic meeting

Also, keep reading the amazing site :


Pandabonium said...

Velobwoy said “Thank GOD I don’t live on the mainland.”

I hear that! :^) And if you can make it work for you, Kauai is a beautiful place to be - community included.

ecosutra said...

Hawaii is in big trouble
needs repair bad.

Pandabonium said...

Ecosutra, I agree, but we can say that for most of the planet. It is perhaps more obvious and urgent in Hawaii's case because there is still a lot that can be saved. The problems outlined in the article are not new and people know how to solve them. It "just" takes the will to do it.