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The Largest Economy In The World Is Imploding Right In Front Of Our Eyes

October 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Source: Michael Snyder The Economic Collapse

A devastating economic depression is rapidly spreading across the largest economy in the world.  Unemployment is skyrocketing, money is being pulled out of the banks at an astounding rate, bad debts are everywhere and economic activity is slowing down month after month.

So who am I talking about?  Not the United States – the economy that I am talking about has a GDP that is more than two trillion dollars larger.  It is not China either – the economy that I am talking about is more than twice the size of China.  You have probably guessed it by now – the largest economy in the world is the EU economy.  Things in Europe continue to get even worse.  Greece and Spain are already experiencing full-blown economic depressions that continue to deepen, and Italy and France are headed down the exact same path that Greece and Spain have gone.  Headlines about violent protests and economic despair dominate European newspapers day after day after day.  European leaders hold summit meeting after summit meeting, but all of the “solutions” that get announced never seem to fix anything.  In fact, the largest economy on the planet continues to implode right in front of our eyes, and the economic shockwave from this implosion is going to be felt to the four corners of the earth.

On Friday, newspapers all over Europe declared that Greece is about to run out of money (again).

The Greek government says that without more aid they will completely run out of cash by the end of November.

Of course the rest of Europe is going to continue to pour money into Greece because they know that if they don’t the financial markets will panic.

But they are also demanding that Greece make even more painful budget cuts.  Previous rounds of budget cuts have been extremely damaging to the Greek economy.

The Greek economy contracted by 4.9 percent during 2010 and by 7.1 percent during 2011.

Overall, the Greek economy has contracted by about 20 percent since 2008.

This is what happens when you live way above your means for too long and a day of reckoning comes.

The adjustment can be immensely painful.

Greece continues to implement wave after wave of austerity measures, and these austerity measures have pushed the country into a very deep depression, but Greece still is not even close to a balanced budget.

Greece is still spending more money than it is bringing in, and Greek politicians are warning what even more budget cuts could mean for their society.

For example, what Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had to say the other day was absolutely chilling….

“Greek democracy stands before what is perhaps its greatest challenge,” Samaras told the German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview published hours before the announcement in Berlin that Angela Merkel will fly to Athens next week for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis.

Resorting to highly unusual language for a man who weighs his words carefully, the 61-year-old politician evoked the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to highlight the threat that Greece faces, explaining that society “is threatened by growing unemployment, as happened to Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic”.

“Citizens know that this government is Greece’s last chance,” said Samaras, who has repeatedly appealed for international lenders at the EU and IMF to relax the onerous conditions of the bailout accords propping up the Greek economy.

But don’t look down on Greece.  They are just ahead of the curve.  Eventually the U.S. and the rest of Europe will go down the exact same path.

Just look at Spain.  When Greece first started imploding, Spain insisted that the same thing would never happen to them.

But it did.

By itself, Spain is the 12th largest economy in the world, and right now it is a complete and total mess with no hope of recovery in sight.

The national government is broke, the regional governments are broke, the banking system is insolvent and Spain is in the midst of the worst housing crash that it has ever seen.

On top of everything else, the unemployment rate in Spain is now over 25 percent and the unemployment rate for those under the age of 25 is now well above 50 percent.

An astounding 9.86 percent of all loans that Spanish banks are holding are considered to be bad loans which will probably never be collected.  Before it is all said and done, probably ever major Spanish bank will need to be bailed out at least once.

Manufacturing activity in Spain has contracted for 17 months in a row, and the number of corporate bankruptcies in Spain is rising at a stunning rate.

Five different Spanish regions have formally requested bailouts from the national government, and the national government is drowning in an ocean of red ink.

Meanwhile, panic has set in and there has been a run on the banks in Spain.  The following is from a recentBloomberg article….

Banco Santander SA (SAN), Spain’s largest bank, lost 6.3 percent of its domestic deposits in July, according to data published by the nation’s banking association. Savings at Banco Popular Espanol SA, the sixth-biggest, fell 9.5 percent the same month.

Eurobank Ergasias SA, Greece’s second-largest lender, lost 22 percent of its customer deposits in the 12 months ended March 31, according to the latest data available from the firm. Alpha Bank SA (ALPHA), the country’s third-biggest, lost 26 percent of client savings during that period.

Overall, the equivalent of 7 percent of GDP was withdrawn from the Spanish banking system in the month of July alone.

Thousands of Spaniards have become so desperate that they have resorted to digging around in supermarket trash bins for food.  In response, locks are being put on supermarket trash bins in some areas.

But Greece and Spain are not alone in seeing their economies implode.

As I wrote about recently, the number of unemployed workers in Italy has risen by more than 37 percent over the past year.

The French economy is starting to implode as well.  Just check out this article.

The unemployment rate in France is now above 10 percent, and it has risen for 16 months in a row.

It is just a matter of time before things in Italy and France get as bad as they already are in Greece and Spain.

The chief economist at the IMF is now saying that it will take until at least 2018 for the global economy to recover, but unfortunately I believe that he is being overly optimistic.

As I have said so many times before, the next wave of the global economic crisis is rapidly approaching.  Depression is already sweeping much of southern Europe, and it is only a matter of time before it sweeps across northern Europe and North America as well.

Neither Obama or Romney is going to be able to stop what is coming.  The global economy is getting weaker with each passing day.  The central banks of the world can print money until the cows come home, but that isn’t going to fix our fundamental problems.

The largest economy in the world is imploding right in front of our eyes and nobody seems to know what to do about it.

If you believe that Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Ben Bernanke can somehow magically shield us from the economic shockwave that is coming then you are being delusional.

Just because what is going on in Europe is a “slow-motion train wreck” does not mean that it will be any less devastating.

Yes, we can see what is coming and we can understand why it is happening, but that doesn’t mean that we will be able to avoid the consequences.

Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril

October 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Source: Jennifer Waters, MarketWatch

This update corrects the spelling of Georgetown Law School’s Jonathan Band.

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4.

At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture, as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products.

A Supreme Court case could limit the resale of goods made overseas but sold in America.

Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale.

Put simply, though Apple Inc. AAPL -2.13% has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen has it on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.

That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad, and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling, it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

“It means that it’s harder for consumers to buy used products and harder for them to sell them,” said Jonathan Band, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association for Research Libraries. “This has huge consumer impact on all consumer groups.”

Another likely result is that it would hit you financially because the copyright holder would now want a piece of that sale.

It could be your personal electronic devices or the family jewels that have been passed down from your great-grandparents who immigrated from Spain. It could be a book that was written by an American writer but printed and bound overseas, or an Italian painter’s artwork.

There are implications for a variety of wide-ranging U.S. entities, including libraries, musicians, museums and even resale juggernauts eBay Inc. EBAY -1.54%  and Craigslist. U.S. libraries, for example, carry some 200 million books from foreign publishers.

“It would be absurd to say anything manufactured abroad can’t be bought or sold here,” said Marvin Ammori, a First Amendment lawyer and Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation who specializes in technology issues.

The case stems from Supap Kirtsaeng’s college experience. A native of Thailand, Kirtsaeng came to America in 1997 to study at Cornell University. When he discovered that his textbooks, produced by Wiley, were substantially cheaper to buy in Thailand than they were in Ithaca, N.Y., he rallied his Thai relatives to buy the books and ship them to him in the United States.

He then sold them on eBay, making upward of $1.2 million, according to court documents.

Wiley, which admitted that it charged less for books sold abroad than it did in the United States, sued him for copyright infringement. Kirtsaeng countered with the first-sale doctrine.

Hawaii fishermen find skiff from Japan tsunami

October 5, 2012 Leave a comment

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, Joshua Marvit, of the State of Hawaii Dept. of Health, tests a 16-foot skiff for radiation after the vessel was salvaged by the crew of the F/V Zephyr approximately 800 miles north of Honolulu, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. The skiff was confirmed to have been debris from the 2011 Japan Tsunami by the Japanese Consulate, after they contacted the owner, through the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and confirmed that they did not seek its return. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler)

Associated Press/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler – In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, Joshua Marvit, of the State of Hawaii Dept. of Health, tests a 16-foot skiff for radiation after the vessel was salvaged by the crew of the F/V Zephyr approximately 800 miles north of Honolulu, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. The skiff was confirmed to have been debris from the 2011 Japan Tsunami by the Japanese Consulate, after they contacted the owner, through the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and confirmed that they did not seek its return. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler)

HONOLULU (AP) — State and federal officials say Hawaii fishermen have found a 16-foot Japanese skiff swept out to sea by last year’s tsunami and brought it to Honolulu.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Friday the crew of the fishing boat Zephyr found the small boat intact and floating about 700 miles northeast of Maui.

The Japanese consulate in Honolulu says the boat is registered in Iwate, a northeastern prefecture hit by the tsunami. The owner doesn’t want it back.

Hawaii officials checked the boat for invasive species and radiation as a precaution but found nothing of concern.

The boat is the second confirmed piece of tsunami debris to arrive in Hawaii. Last month, a large blue plastic bin from Fukushima was found floating in waters off eastern Oahu.

Mexican troops arrest two in killing of U.S. border agent: officials

October 4, 2012 Leave a comment

In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, law enforcement officers gather at a command post in the desert near Naco, Ariz., Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, after a Border Patrol agent was shot to death near the U.S.-Mexico line. The agent, Nicholas Ivie, 30, and a colleague were on patrol about 100 miles from Tucson, when shooting broke out shortly before 2 a.m., the Border Patrol said. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Gabriel Guerrero)

MEXICO CITY/PHOENIX (Reuters) – Mexican troops arrested two men on Wednesday suspected of involvement in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot dead in Arizona while responding to a tripped ground sensor, Mexican security officials said.

The agent who died was among three who were patrolling on foot about 5 miles north of the international border when gunfire erupted well before daybreak on Tuesday. A second agent was also wounded while the third, a woman, was unharmed.

The agents involved in the incident had been patrolling in an area near the border town of Naco, well-known as a corridor for smuggling, and the Cochise County Sheriff’s department has said that tracks were found heading south after the shooting.

The two suspects detained in Mexico were arrested in a Mexican military operation in the city of Agua Prieta, in Mexico’s northern Sonora state, a few miles (km) from the spot where Nicholas Ivie, 30, was shot dead, a Mexican Army officer, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

A Mexican police official in Naco, across the border from the Arizona town of the same name, confirmed the arrests, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday.

The killing marked the fourth death of a Border Patrol agent in a violent confrontation in Arizona in less than two years and reignited concerns about border security in a state that is already at the forefront of the national immigration debate.

The violence drew sharp words from Republican Governor Jan Brewer, a vocal foe of President Barack Obama’s administration on immigration. She said it should lead to anger over “the federal failure and political stalemate that has left our border unsecured and our Border Patrol in harm’s way.”

Authorities on the U.S. side of the border combed rugged terrain looking for clues into the shooting near Naco, which remains a smuggling corridor despite the construction of a tall, steel fence along the border.

“We’re still out there collecting evidence,” said Brenda Nath, a Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman in Phoenix, declining to say what had been found so far.

Cochise County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas could not immediately comment on the arrests in Mexico, saying that she had not received any information about them. Nath also declined to comment on word of the arrests.

Ivie, a border agent since 2008, was found dead at the scene. The wounded agent, who has not been publicly identified, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and has been released from the hospital, the border patrol said on Wednesday.

The agents had been responding to a sensor, which picks up movement or vibrations in areas authorities suspect are used by drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. When an alert is triggered, agents have the option to respond.

The agents were assigned to the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station, named after an agent whose 2010 death in the line of duty in Arizona borderlands was linked to a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled to Mexico.

Two Border Patrol agents were killed last year in an accident during a car chase with smugglers near Phoenix.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sandra Maler)

TSA Worker Steals $500 From Traveler As Punishment For Complaining

October 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Travelers who display lack of obedience targeted for retaliation

Source: Paul Joseph Watson

A former TSA worker has pleaded guilty to stealing over $500 in cash from a man who complained about the TSA’s invasive pat down procedure, with the TSA agent admitting the theft was a punishment for the man’s lack of obedience.

60-year-old John W. Irwin pleaded guilty to one count of grand larcenyfollowing an incident in November 2011, during which a man asked that he be given a pat down rather than face a body scanner due to a medical condition.

When TSA agents ordered the man undergo the pat down in a private room, he complained but agreed to do so.

The man placed $520 in cash in a gray plastic bin before accompanying the TSA agents to the private room. When he returned, the money was gone, with Irwin having hidden it in a TSA supervisor’s draw.

When the man asked Irwin where the cash had gone, Irwin claimed ignorance and the incident was subsequently reported to the police.

After first denying to police that he had stolen the money, Irwin later admitted he had put the cash in his locker as a form of punishment in retaliation for the man complaining over his treatment.

“When the passenger returned and I saw that it was the passenger who had given my fellow employees a hard time. I just didn’t let on that I had the money,” Irwin said in a statement to police.

“The TSA’s spokesliars have long insisted that employees never, ever retaliate, nor do they punish dissidents — though every passenger fearing he’ll miss his flight if he so much as sighs while thugs grope him would vehemently disagree. Now here’s a goon admitting he did just that,” writes Becky Akers.

Indeed, as we have previously highlighted, travelers are routinely punished for opting out of the body scanner by being subjected to more invasive pat downs.

As Consumer Traveler’s Charlie Leocha reported, “When meeting with privacy officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA later that month, I was told unofficially that there were two standards of pat-downs. One for the normal situation where passengers are going through metal detectors and a different pat-down for those who refuse to go through the whole-body scanners.”

“With this latest announcement, TSA admits that it has been clandestinely punishing passengers for refusing to go through the invasive whole-body scans with an even more intrusive aggressive pat-down and that soon those more invasive pat-down will creep from airport to airport,” adds Leocha.

During the height of the national op-out day backlash against the TSA in 2010, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was told by a TSA agent directly that pat downs were made increasingly invasive not for any genuine security reason, but to make the experience so uncomfortable for the traveler that they would be forced to use the body scanner.

Even being seen to display a “bad attitude” in not instantly complying with the TSA’s obedience training can lead to trouble.

As we reported last month, a TSA screener admitted to a woman traveling through Houston Airport that she was prevented from boarding her flight for retaliatory reasons as punishment for a bad attitude rather than any genuine security threat, after the woman refused to allow TSA agents to test her drink for explosives.

Journalists who have been critical of the TSA have also been targeted for reprisals. CNN reporter Drew Griffin was also put on a TSA watch list immediately after he filed reports critical of the organization back in 2008.

John W. Irwin is set to be sentenced in December.

NETWORK FINDS 57 UNREPORTED WEAPONS

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

 

The ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious allowed over 2,000 guns to walk into the hands of already dangerous Mexican drug cartels.  The agency made no attempt to interdict them. People used the guns to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian and hundreds of Mexican citizens.

Univision News found 57 unreported firearms from Fast and Furious and three of these weapons were used in a massacre on January 30, 2010. Twenty hit men surrounded a birthday party filled with high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez. They opened fire on the party guests. Fourteen were murdered and twelve more were wounded. The assassins were hired by the Mexican cartel La Linea.

In August, I did my best to document the hysteria in Mexico caused by Fast and Furious. The most well known case is the murder of prominent Mexican attorney Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, brother of then Chihuahua Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez. He was kidnapped, forced to “confess” on tape that his sister worked with the Juarez cartel. They found his body in a shallow grave on November 5, 2009. Two of the AK-47s connected to his death were linked to Fast and Furious.

One hour before the special vice president nominee Paul Ryan told The Daily Caller he thinks Attorney General Eric Holder should resign.

No one within the Department of Justice has been held accountable. They have been allowed to resign quietly or reassigned to another position. No one has been fired or arrested.

 

 

 

 

UNIVISION report connects ‘Fast & Furious’ to murders of 16 Mexican teenagers

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

This still from a September 30, 2012 Univision broadcast shows a dead body on a street in the Mexican town of Villas De Salvarcar after a massacre allegedly committed by criminals using guns trafficked through Operation Fast And Furious. (Image: Univision)
Source: The Daily Caller

The Spanish language television news network Univision unleashed a bombshell investigative report on Operation Fast and Furious Sunday evening, finding that in January 2010 drug cartel hit men slaughtered students with weapons the United States government allowed to flow to them across the Mexican border.

“On January 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez,” according to a version of the Univision report in English, on the ABC News website.

“Near midnight, the assassins, later identified as hired guns for the Mexican cartel La Linea, broke into a one-story house and opened fire on a gathering of nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who had managed to escape. Fourteen young men and women were killed, and 12 more were wounded before the hit men finally fled.”

Citing a Mexican Army document it obtained and published, Univision reported that “[t]hree of the high caliber weapons fired that night in Villas de Salvarcar were linked to a gun tracing operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

That operation was Fast and Furious.

The “massacre,” as Univision described it, was not the only bombshell the network unveiled in its Sunday evening report.

“Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre,” the Univision report reads.

Watch:

The network also uncovered another Fast and Furious weapons “massacre.” On September 2, 2009, 18 young men were killed at  “El Aliviane, a rehabilitation center in Ciudad Juarez,” according to the report.

Univision found many of these victims through “access to the list of serial numbers for weapons used in Fast and Furious” and the “list of guns seized in Mexico,” according to English subtitles on the Spanish-language video.

“After cross-referencing them both lists, it became clear that a least a hundred of them were used in crimes of all kinds,” the subtitles read. “We found 57 weapons that were not mentioned in [the U.S.] Congress’ investigation.”

Though Univision tracked many more victims down, it said that “the death toll that this free flow of weapons authorized by ATF had in Mexico has not been tallied.”

Univision held nothing back in its broadcast, airing images and video of bloodied, dead bodies. The network showed the faces of the dead and walked viewers through how cartel operatives hunted their victims down with the weapons President Barack Obama’s administration allowed straw buyers to traffick to them.

One photo, for instance, showed pools of blood in the streets of a Mexican town after a “massacre” committed by murderers armed with Fast and Furious weapons. Video footage showed where some of the victims were killed and how the cartels chased their helpless victims to their deaths.

The Univision broadcast implicitly suggested that Americans have no regard for the victims of violence American policy helps fuel — that is, until one of those victims ends up being an American.

It wasn’t until U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder prompted whistle-blowers to come forward to Congress to publicly voice concerns about ]he program that the Obama administration stopped allowing firearms to flow into Mexico.

One victim’s father, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, told Univision he thinks “Americans are not often moved by the pain of those outside [their country].”

“But they are moved by the pain of their own,” Sicilia added.

“Well, turn around and watch the massacres.”

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