The Coming Economic Collapse And The Next Great Depression

The Coming Economic Collapse And The Next Great Depression
The forgotten man painting by McNaughton (click image for video) I believe this image best exemplifies where we stand today, pun intended.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

How I woke up to the untruths of Barack Obama

The President's State of the Union address was as weaselly as any politician's could be.

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Photo: AP
By Christopher Booker7:00PM GMT 28 Jan 2012265 Comments
When I happened to wake up in the middle of the night last Wednesday and caught the BBC World Service’s live relay of President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress, two passages had me rubbing my eyes in disbelief.
The first came when, to applause, the President spoke about the banking crash which coincided with his barnstorming 2008 election campaign. “The house of cards collapsed,” he recalled. “We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.” He excoriated the banks which had “made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money”, while “regulators looked the other way and didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behaviour”. This, said Obama, “was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work.”
I recalled a piece I wrote in this column on January 29, 2009, just after Obama took office. It was headlined: “This is the sub-prime house that Barack Obama built”. As a rising young Chicago politician in 1995, no one campaigned more actively than Mr Obama for an amendment to the US Community Reinvestment Act, legally requiring banks to lend huge sums to millions of poor, mainly black Americans, guaranteed by the two giant mortgage associations, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It was this Act, above all, which let the US housing bubble blow up, far beyond the point where it was obvious that hundreds of thousands of homeowners would be likely to default. Yet, in 2005, no one more actively opposed moves to halt these reckless guarantees than Senator Obama, who received more donations from Fannie Mae than any other US politician (although Senator Hillary Clinton ran him close).
A later passage in Obama’s speech, when he hailed the way his country’s energy future has been transformed by the miracle of shale gas, met with a storm of applause. Not only would this give the US energy security for decades, creating 600,000 jobs, but it could now go all out to exploit its gas and oil reserves (more applause). Yet this was the man who in 2008 couldn’t stop talking about the threat of global warming, and was elected on a pledge to make the US only the second country in the world, after Britain, to commit to cutting its CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 80 per cent within 40 years.
The facts about child snatching can be reported in Norway - but not here 28 Jan 2012
Obama draws election battle lines in State of the Union address 25 Jan 2012
Timeline: The sub-prime mortgage crisis 14 Sep 2007
Iranian dissidents face a tragic final act at Ashraf 01 Jan 2011
We'll soon forget the David Cameron 'veto' that never was 17 Dec 2011
Even more telling than his audience’s response to this, however, was what happened when Obama referred briefly to the need to develop “clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes”. But no mention now of vast numbers of wind turbines – those props beside which he constantly chose to be filmed back in 2008. No harking back to his boast that “renewable energy” would create “four million jobs”. And even to this sole fleeting reminder of what, four years ago, was his flagship policy the response of Congress was a deafening silence.
A few months after Obama entered the White House, I suggested here that the slogan on which he was elected – “Yes we can” – seemed to have changed to “No we can’t”. It was already obvious that, having won election as an ideal Hollywood version of what “the first black President” should look and sound like, he was in reality no more than a vacuum. His speech last week was as weaselly as any politician’s performance could be, not least in its references to the sub-prime scandal.
But on no issue has this been more obvious than political America’s wholesale retreat from the great fantasy of global warming – which leaves Britain as the only country committed to the insanity of cutting “carbon emissions” by four-fifths in less than four decades. President Obama and the rest of the world have moved on.
UN envoy consigns Iranian exiles to 'prison’ in a shameful deal with Tehran
The week before Christmas, I reported on what appeared to be a fast-looming tragedy. In Iraq, 3,300 unarmed Iranian exiles, who had lived since the 1980s at Camp Ashraf, a neat town they built in the desert near the Iranian border, were being threatened with massacre on December 31.
The threat was issued by Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, acting in conjunction with Iran’s murderous Revolutionary Guards, who regard the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (the PMOI), part of the National Council for Resistance in Iran, as their most hated enemies. As the deadline neared, following intense diplomatic activity, not least by the US government (which gave a written guarantee of protection to each of the Ashraf residents in 2003, in return for the surrender of their arms), the UN signed an agreement with the Iraqi government, brokered by the UN’s special representative in Iraq, Martin Kolber, a former German diplomat.
The Ashraf residents would be transferred to Camp Liberty, a former US base covering 25 square miles near Baghdad, from where the UN would arrange their transfer to third countries. On Christmas Day, this was welcomed by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
It then emerged, however, that the 3,300 exiles would only be permitted to occupy a tiny corner of Camp Liberty, barely quarter of a mile square, which had been completely looted, was without running water and around which the Iraqis were erecting a 15ft concrete wall. They would not be allowed to bring vehicles or personal belongings, or leave the camp. Far from being offered a safe haven, it seemed, they were to await their fate crammed into what the European Council last week denounced as “a prison”, watched inside and out by armed Iraqi and Iranian guards.
As scandalous as anything in the past month has been the part played by the UN’s Mr Kolber who, far from protesting at this betrayal, met in Baghdad with the Iranian ambassador, himself a senior Revolutionary Guards commander. After the meeting he announced first that 750, then 1,250, of the exiles were willing to return to Iran. There is nothing they could dread more, since they know that they would either be imprisoned or killed. But Kobler’s claim has been trumpeted by Tehran as a victory, and the deadly impasse remains.
General David Phillips, the former head of the US Military Police, who gave the Ashraf residents those personal guarantees of their safety, has expressed his anguish at these developments. He has now been joined in protesting at the betrayal by an array of distinguished international figures, including Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.
But on what authority could a UN official become party to this inhuman deal? And why does our Government appear to condone what is going on? The Foreign Office recently confirmed to me that they still regard the PMOI as terrorists, despite being told in 2008 that they must remove it from their list of proscribed terrorist organisations, when Lord Chief Justice Philips ruled that they had been unable to produce a shred of evidence to justify this. What dark game are they all playing – in our name?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The moneychangers are taking over the temple.

Gerald Celente on Trend Forecasting and the Crisis of Western Civilization
Sunday, January 22, 2012 – with Staff Report

Gerald Celente
The Daily Bell is pleased to publish this interview with Gerald Celente (left).

Introduction: Forecasting trends since 1980, Mr. Gerald Celente, Founder/Director of the Trends Research Institute, is author of the highly acclaimed and best selling books, Trend Tracking and Trends 2000 (Warner Books) and publisher of the Trends Journal. Using his unique perspectives on current events forming future trends, Gerald Celente developed the Globalnomic® methodology which is used to identify, track, forecast and manage trends. His on-time trend forecasts, vibrant style, articulate delivery and vivid public presence makes him a favorite of major media. The Trends Research Institute has earned the reputation as “today’s must trusted name in trends” for accurate and timely predictions. On the geopolitical and economic fronts, Celente and The Trends Research Institute are credited with predicting the collapse of the Soviet Union, the last two economic recessions, the dot-com meltdown, the 1997 Asian currency crisis, the 1987 world stock market crash, increased terrorism against America, "Crusades 2000," the quagmire in Iraq … before war began and much more.

Daily Bell: Give us some background on yourself and how you have come to your current success.

Gerald Celente: My background is such that after graduate school and I got my Masters in Public Administration, I started running political campaigns in Westchester County in New York, which is a very affluent area. I was very successful at it so they sent me up to Albany, where I became the assistant to the secretary of the New York State Senate; Albany, of course, is the capital of New York State. It was there that I really started learning about the political game. It was probably the worst job I ever had because it was watching grown men suck up and bow down all day to get to the top.

So from there I taught at St. John's University and it was the nation's first course in American politics and campaign technology – how to run a political campaign. From there I moved to Chicago and was a government affairs specialist for the chemical industry. I used to put together, when they were just being formed, political action committees. So I would hire the people, do the work to get legislation overturned or get different legislation passed. So I have been around the political scene long enough to have a good feel of it.

Then in the late 1970s it was that lightbulb moment, and Jimmy Carter had just come back from Iran. The Iranian conflict was heating up and, ironically, it is just heating up as we are speaking now. Not much has changed; only the names and players. So Carter comes back from spending New Year's Eve with the Shah and his wife and announces that the Shah is the "Island of Stability" in the Middle East. At that moment I became a political atheist. I'd been following this thing for years. I knew how the United States government and the MI5 in the UK overthrew the democratically elected government of Mossaddegh in Iran, in 1953, because he had the NERVE to nationalize the oil fields, take it away from Anglo-Iranian oil – better known today as BP and Standard Oil, better known today as Exxon. So I knew also what a brutal dictator the Shah was and how he had imprisoned and slaughtered and tortured tens of thousands of people. So when a revolution broke out, I knew it was real and I knew that Carter was lying to the American people and the world.

So then when I got over all of that I wondered what would be the implications of all of this and I realized that current events form future trends, and that is the foundation of my work. You look at things for the way they are, not the way you want them to be. It's not what you like, dislike, hope for, wish for, believe in – that has nothing to do with it. So what will be the implications? And the implications were that gold and oil prices would go up as this situation worsened. So then, not knowing what I was doing, I started playing the gold and oil futures market. And I made enough money to quit my job (laughing) and I began the Trends Research Institute, with the understanding that if you look at things as they occur on a global basis and try to assess their implications, you can get a pretty good idea where things are going to go.

Nobody can predict the future – there's too many wild cards. But you can get a good idea by seeing the face of the future, just like you're doing what you're doing and I'm doing what I'm doing because of decisions that we have made. So that's the foundation of my work. But also, what I do differently than everyone else in the field, is that our stream of consciousness is beyond just one category of information. For example, economists will continue to study the economy but what do they know about what's going on socially, changes in the family, geopolitics, environment, health care, entertainment? Are they looking at all the other integrating trends? Because all things are connected. So that's what we do differently, with the understanding that too many people see the view of the world through the eyes of their profession. I call it 'desk vision' – they see the world from behind their desk.

So our concept and our 'globalnomic' system is to take in as much information as we can on a global basis, always making connections between different fields. I believe this is really the key to our success as well as being political atheists; we don't have any so-called skin invested in this. When you turn on CNBC or CNN or anything else and you listen to the political analysts or financial analysts, they are either selling something or selling their agenda. My motto is what I learned from my dear father, may his soul rest in peace – think for yourself; don't repeat what everybody else is saying.

Daily Bell: You mentioned earlier you call yourself a political atheist. Would you elaborate?

Gerald Celente: I don't believe in anybody's political religion. Knock yourself out. You want to believe in your fairytale, that's okay with me but don't lay it on me. Don't tell me I have to believe in your political garb because I REALLY GET ANGRY! Who are you to tell me I have to believe in your line of crap? Have you been there? Do you know what it looks like? I've been there.

I used to be standing inside the Senate chambers, a new guy, standing talking to my pal, talking about what guys talk about. And all of a sudden a senator would walk in and he'd have some flunky over there, opening the door so the guy could walk in. And my buddy would leave me and follow the senator like a little puppy dog and pull out the chair so the senator could sit down. Then my friend would come back and I would say, "What's the matter, man? The cat can't sit down by himself? He needs some help?"

That's all politics is. You know what politicians are? When are people going to grow up? Politicians are the same jerks you hated in high school and college that wanted to be class president and head of the student council. The brown-nosers, suck-ups, overly-ambitious, insincere – and now they are telling you what to do and you are paying attention to them and you are bowing down?

I have a line: "Conservatives believe and liberals lie."

Arch rightwing conservatives, they actually believe their line of baloney. They say things like, "The only way we are going to make this country safe is to kill all them Muslims around the world." They actually believe that.

The liberals, on the other hand, you point out one transgression of freedom after another that Obama has committed and they will come up with a line of excuses a mile long. They're intellectually intelligent enough to know that they are lying but they don't have the courage or the self-respect to admit it.

For example, when Obama gets elected he says, the first day, 'I'm going to close Guantanamo in a year.' Guantanamo's still going on. 'Well, you know, he's not getting cooperation from Congress... Hey, listen. There's only so much he can do.' Obama just increased the war in Afghanistan when he put 100,000 more troops in there than Bush did. 'Well, you know, Obama, you know ... the military is very strong and he's trying his best.' Hey, listen. Obama said he wasn't going to continue the Bush tax cuts that benefit the very, very rich. 'Well, you know, he has to do some deals to make things happen.' Hey, wait a minute! Obama just signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act that makes a belligerent – I guess they can accuse me of being belligerent because I think they are a bunch of people I don't respect. I can have the military now come over, crash down my doors, grab me with no charges, no judge, no jury and no trial. They can blow my brains out or send me to one of their favorite countries for torture or they can even torture me at home. How come he did that? 'Well, you know, it's the Congress.' In other words, they have invested so much in it emotionally that they don't want to admit they've been conned. And the intellectually intelligent enough know they are lying to themselves but they lack the self-respect and courage to admit it.

I find in my research that the biggest offenders as Obama apologists are women because they all tell me, "You know, I like him," just like they like Clinton, the guy who sold out the government before Obama did. If Bush was pulling off what Obama is pulling off all the liberals would be screaming bloody murder. But by their blind aversion to this two-bit song and dance man they lose all credibility for themselves and what they believe. To me, they are the ones holding back positive change because they are invested in a fraud and a liar.

Daily Bell: Tell us about your firm and its predictive ability. What is your methodology? Why have you been successful?

Gerald Celente: As we discussed, we call a trend for what it is, rather than investing in a belief. You asked me why I'm a political atheist; this is the reason why. I don't care if you like this guy. I don't care if you're in a bad relationship and you're making up excuses for it. That's what people keep getting hung up on. Whether it's in economics, whether it's in politics, whether it's in social behavior, it's what they believe, what they like, what they want, rather than assessing the implications.

Daily Bell: You are a leading spokesperson for what we call alternative media. What gives you the courage to speak out?

Gerald Celente: Oh, it's very simple. I was married for 23 years. I'm divorced now, since the mid-90s. Everybody I love is dead. My parents, may they rest in peace, aunts and uncles, everybody. I have no kids. Again, I don't tell anybody what to think. My motto is, "Think for yourself." My definition of hell is taking that last breath of life and knowing that you lied to yourself and you weren't the person you claim to be. So for me, it's about speaking about who I believe I am. I don't call it courage; I call it being true to myself.

Daily Bell: Would you share some examples of your predictions?

Gerald Celente: I think my biggest one that really started to set the stage was in January of 1987, when I sent out a press release saying that the stock market would collapse in 1987, and it did.

Then I had a number of smaller predictions, though no less significant, talking about a whole different range of issues such as alternative healthcare. I was talking about vitamins and acupuncture and chiropractic when you were a heretic to talk about it. As a matter of fact, the first book I worked on, in 1986, was called Natural Healing, by Dr. Jack Soltanoff. So I started learning about organic foods and diets, and started making forecasts in those areas. In those days there was no such thing as Whole Foods or big health food stores. So then I came out with organic foods and gourmet coffees and that started making more headlines in the mainstream media.

Then in one of my books, Trend Tracking, that I wrote in the late '80s – I had forecast that there was a climb in the United States for a new third party and I mentioned Ross Perot as the type of maverick. Now, remember, this is in '88 and George Bush Sr. was president and he was very high in the popularity ratings. Then subsequent forecasts throughout the decades kept putting me ahead of the pack.

Here's one that almost killed me, almost destroyed my career and you can look it up. December 14, 2000, USA Today, the headline read, "2001 Won't be our year, Trend Seer says." And I warned that a wave of anti-Americanism was sweeping the globe and Americans wouldn't be safe at home or abroad. A number of years earlier in one of my other books, Trends 2000, I coined the term "Crusades 2000" and said there would be major terror strikes against the United States because of their foreign policy and how they were supporting dictators around the world, these monarchs and autocrats and on and on in these Muslim worlds. So this forecast comes out in December 2000, and of course, September becomes 9/11. Now I am getting flooded by the media. "How did you predict this? How did you know this was going to happen?" I said, "Are you kidding me? I have been writing about this. It has to do with foreign policy." That was the kiss of death! "NO IT WASN'T! It was because they hate our freedom and liberty! I just heard George Bush say that," they said. (Laughing)

Daily Bell: Okay. Here are some more trends questions ... some subjects, in no particular order. Give us some trends feedback, please. In other words, put them into economic and sociopolitical context for our readers. First one, the West – where are we headed?

Gerald Celente: The West is headed to dictatorship. It's already happening. The merger of state and corporate power is by definition called fascism. I just mentioned the Defense Authorization Act. Before you had that you had the abrogation of the Constitution under Bush, with the Patriot Act, which Obama reinstated and made even tougher by signing this bill. When I say the merger of state and corporate powers, look at the $16.1 trillion that the Federal Reserve has funneled into businesses around the world. Whatever happened to that thing called capitalism? This is not capitalism; it's fascism! The more societies break down and the bigger the screw-ups at the top, the harder they clamp down on the bottom. You see it going on around the world; they call it austerity measures. How about calling it enslavement?

Daily Bell: European Union and the euro ...

Gerald Celente: Same thing... It's fascism. They came up with a great little word – they call it Technocrats. How about bankers? Bankers have taken over Italy. Bankers have taken over Greece. You may have heard me say this but I'll say it again and I'll continue to say it again.

Here we have just gotten over this holiday season, the celebration of Jesus Christ, It's more about going to Walmart or crashing down doors on Black Friday to get a loss-leader item or buying a bunch of crap that you don't need to put under an artificial Christmas tree. When you think about the Prince of Peace, when's the only time he became violent? It was when he picked up a whip and drove the moneychangers out of the temple? The moneychangers have taken over the temples – the temples of Athens, the temples of Rome, the temples of Berlin and the City of London. They've taken over Washington. They've taken over every capital of every major city in the world. So where's it going? It's very simple to see where it's going. It's called class warfare.

Daily Bell: The China Miracle ...

Gerald Celente: China only does as well as Europe and the United States does. As goes the US and Europe, so goes China. As goes China, so goes Australia, Brazil, Chili and other natural resource producing countries. China has 1.3 billion people and a million problems. Already they have people rebelling – the pollution... When you don't have people working As much as people talk about the Chinese Miracle, their per capita income ranks around Iraq's. So the people are not making a lot of money. There's another great gap between the rich and the poor. If you have 500 million doing well and a billion doing really lousy you have class warfare, and a lot of problems with the government.

Daily Bell: The United States and the dollar ...

Gerald Celente: Temporarily, the dollar is being looked upon as a safe haven. For me, looking at the dollar as a safe haven is like jumping out of the Titanic and looking to the Lusitania as a safe haven. Not a good idea. In the long run, I am bullish on gold; my savings are primarily in gold and a bit of silver. All the governments are doing – whether it's the Chinese government or the US government, all they have been doing since the panic of '08 is printing digital money, not worth the paper it's not printed on, to keep the Ponzi scheme going. And that's all it is – one big Ponzi scheme.

Daily Bell: Upcoming US presidential election ....

Gerald Celente: Well, as it stands now – and we made this forecast a few months ago – it's Obama. And the dark horse, as you know, is Ron Paul. If you look at Ron Paul and what he stands for, every liberal out there should be voting for him, but they point out things that they don't agree with and highlight those and, of course, the big issues.

Daily Bell: Do you think Ron Paul can win?

Gerald Celente: It would be very difficult, particularly with the media. When you read the words – and this is not my language; this is the language of the so-called paper of record, the New York Times. They call what he says, in their editorials, "Claptrap Ideas"! Claptrap? Who are you? Don't talk to me like that! Because I believe in his ideas, they're claptrap, and I don't believe in your crap? When you hear an arrogant jerk like Newt Gingrich saying that no decent American would support Ron Paul's foreign policies – come over to me, fat boy, and call me an indecent American. Say that to my face – let me show you how tough you are. And then we have a guy running The Manchester Union, Joe McQuaid. He said the only people that support Ron Paul are the lunatic fringe. Hey, McQuaid, don't call me lunatic fringe; I don't believe in your crap. Can you handle that? This takes us back to the beginning of our conversation about people believing in their political religions and then calling anyone that doesn't believe in their religion a name.

Daily Bell: Is the mainstream media controlled? By whom?

Gerald Celente: By the corporations. I mean, who owns ABC? Who owns NBC? Who owns CBS, CNN and FOX? Again, the merger of state and corporate powers is called fascism. I've been on every show virtually in the mainstream media, and if you go on my trends and the news feature, I announced that I am not going on anymore. I turned down interview requests for the new year. I don't like hanging out with these people. I don't believe in who they are and I don't want to give support to what they are doing so I don't go on them. So it goes back to your question about courage, I don't want to lie to myself. Why am I going to do it – to make money? It's not worth it for me. If they want to come to me and interview me in my place, we can begin a conversation.

Daily Bell: Are corporations and corporatism to blame for the current system?

Gerald Celente: No, it's everybody – from the top to the bottom - from the corporate rip-off to the welfare cheat. It's the person in the bureaucracy who's not doing their job, or the person in the corporation who's trying to game the system. It's about morality and until morality is restored – and it's not only America; it's worldwide you have people taking pokes at America, you name the country. It's not all of them but a lot of them. So it comes back to morality, and until morality changes, nothing will change.

People ask me how it's going to change and I always go back to that wonderful Hindu saying, "When the student is ready the teacher appears." Anybody who has really practiced anything, and really wanted to be great at it knows you need a great teacher, and you only find those great teachers when you're dedicated. So my belief is that the leadership will appear when the people are ready, and to me the people are not ready. They're not ready emotionally, spiritually or physically. So until the people change and regain that self-respect, dignity and courage, nothing will change.

Daily Bell: It appears that you have a very divided nation right now – you have the welfare state on one hand and the warfare state on the other. How do you propose any change under these conditions?

Gerald Celente: Again, it comes with the individual. When individuals find the greatness within themselves, when they reach the highest levels that they can do and keep going higher, then they don't tolerate abusiveness, whether it's in a personal relationship or a governmental relationship. Right now it's not in their DNA! When you're doing great and creating great, you don't accept that kind of behavior from others and that's when the system changes. I believe in the 20% solution. If 20% of the people would start working at trying to improve their own well-being at those levels, then everything changes.

Daily Bell: Is there an American empire?

Gerald Celente: There used to be. Now it looks like the other faded empires – fighting in foreign conflicts as you're depleting your treasury. For example, they will laugh at Ron Paul, they will laugh him off the stage, when he said he doesn't want to give foreign aide to other countries. He said how could you give foreign aide to other countries when we are bankrupt here? It makes perfect sense. But they'll laugh at him. And you know who the media is? Remember the people who used to be in the high school newspaper and college newspaper? Just follow their career paths. It's high school and college and they haven't graduated yet.

The sickness of it all is that they are telling everybody else what to do. And the other solution that I keep coming up with – and the Daily Bell misinterpreted what I said about it – is direct democracy. They keep going back to 'This is what Gaddafi wrote about' – no, it's not! This is not what Gaddafi was talking about when he wrote about direct democracy. Direct democracy is what they are doing in Switzerland. Let the people vote. I don't need some guy like Obama hitting the stage and saying that we are going to attack Libya – and then getting on a jet plane with his wife, his kids and his mother-in-law and having a vacation in Rio. Let me vote on it. You want the war on drugs to go on? Good. I don't. Let's vote on it.

And then I hear, OH – WE COULD HAVE MOB RULE! The 51%! Mob rule – tyranny. Well ,guess what you've got now? You've got the mob ruling. Take all the Republicans and the Democrats, all 535 of them, telling 312 million people how to tie their shoes. You want to talk about mob rule?

So direct democracy is the only way out at this point in our evolution. We either evolve or we dissolve. Right now we are in dissolve mode. Look at New Year's Eve – whoop-de-doo. Bloomberg with an American flag shirt on and Lady Gaga. Oh, wonderful.

Daily Bell: How would you fix the American financial system?

Gerald Celente: Same thing I recommend to everyone. It comes back to what I said before. It starts with the individual. Buy local. First you have to improve yourself on an individual basis and then on a national level. It begins with the local level. Bring production back home – repatriate, repatriate, repatriate. It's one of our top trends for 2012. Bring production back home. You want Chinese and Indonesian or Vietnamese to make you stuff so that multi-nationals can ship it back to you and you can buy it at a low price and low quality and with that low quality and low price comes everyday paying low quality jobs? Keep doing that or go back to the model when you were making more money and you could really live a comfortable middle class life when you were making products at home, when quality, not bottom line, counted, when style mattered.

So that's the way to do it. You start at the local level. I buy at the local butcher. I do everything I can. You do that at every level. You build at the domestic level. It comes back again to the individual. There is a website, Google "derelict Detroit" or "disintegrating Detroit" and you will see these pictures of Detroit, in it's heyday and when it was being built. When you look at the architecture, look at the quality. And now what do you have? Big box stores, ugly buildings. I mean, going into one of these big box stores has all the elegance of walking into a self-storage unit to go do your shopping. Elegance and grace, quality and style. Alle romana et alla antica, they said during the Renaissance, in the manner of the Romans and the ancients, to describe the quality of their work. I don't need some jerk telling me that only the bottom line counts. I am not a bottom-line feeder. If you shoot for the bottom line that's where you end up – the bottom of the barrel. You've got money junkies out there – all they care about is money and the bottom line. Look how they have brought down not only the country but also the world.

Daily Bell: Are there some who are promoting a New World Order? What are your thoughts?

Gerald Celente: It's not a new world order; it's the bankers order. As I said, the new world order is nothing more than the moneychangers. And they are just throwing other labels on it – it's the moneychangers, capisce? It's about money – it's always about money. Hey, Obama, where are you now that the Sudan is going to pieces? There's not enough oil over there? Not enough sweet crude?

Daily Bell: What about the Federal Reserve? Should it be audited?

Gerald Celente: It needs to be dismantled. It was the major issue of this country since it's founding up until 1913. You keep the moneychangers from running the country. That's all they are. You know how they change names, they go from moneychangers to bankers – excuse me, I missed a step in there – moneychangers to loan sharks to bankers. They're moneychangers and loan sharks. Get rid of them.

Daily Bell: What is your position on fiat currency?

Gerald Celente: If you are going to put paper out there back it up with something, but certainly more than your BS.

Daily Bell: Would unrestricted fiat currency managed by the state be better than what we have now?

Gerald Celente: No. I think we should have gold as part of any currency. Even Zoellick from the World Bank said gold should be part of any currency. The thing is to slow down. There's no such thing as continued growth. Only money junkies and sick people think of continued growth. It's winter; do the crops grow in the winter? You need a time for retraction, slowing down, reorganization. It's running out of control and they keep feeding it with these steroids. I don't disagree with what he's saying. If that's what he believes, that's fine. I don't know enough about his stance to say one thing or another about it – I want to make that really clear.

For me, and only speaking for myself, I think gold should be part of any currency. Gold has been around since hieroglyphics and it's intrinsic; there's something higher than the monetary system where gold fits in. When the three wise men came, they came with gold, frankincense and myrrh; they didn't come with pork bellies and greenbacks. There's something more about it, and that's why it's still around. If it was good enough for Christ it should be good enough for us.

Daily Bell: Where do you stand on Austrian economics?

Gerald Celente: Again, it's one of those concepts where nothing is everything and some of it's great. It's the same as religion. There are pieces of it that you take and other pieces of it that you don't. I am not a libertarian, by the way. I want regulations. You need regulations because there would be no minimum wage. People would be paid nothing. The banks would be robbing us even more than they are. So I'm in favor of some but it's not black and white.

Daily Bell: Is some sort of lawless cabal running the US? In other words, do laws apply to some and not others?

Gerald Celente: The word justice is being misspelled. It's J-U-S-T – U-S. The white-shoe boys, as I call them, there's no justice for them. Like this guy, Corzine. 'I can't find 1.2 billion dollars'? Who can get away with that crap? You see him at these hearings with the other flunkies asking him questions. Did you see the plaque in front of his name? "The Honorable Jon Corzine." Honorable, my ass!

Daily Bell: We were going to ask what you thought of Jon Corzine of Goldman Sachs. Tell us what happened with the MF Global bankruptcy. How are your finances?

Gerald Celente: It's emblematic of what's going on. All I was doing – and you have all these trolls out there writing this stupid crap... I buy gold in many different forms. One of the ways is – I believe the price is going up so in April I took contracts to take delivery in gold. So I bought gold at $1443.00 an ounce in April, to take delivery in December, and kept putting money into my account and building my account to take delivery. That's all I was doing. They went in and raided my account. It's criminal activity if anyone else does it. When are people going to grow up? They become slaves to their corporate and political masters. So again, going back to what you said about courage, to me it's about dying in dignity. That's all you have.

Daily Bell: How about the CFTC? Are they doing their job of protection and prosecution?

Gerald Celente: Well who's the head of the CFTC, Gary Gensler? He was one of the lieutenants for Jon 'the Don' Corzine when Corzine was head of the Goldman Sachs gang, before he became senator of New Jersey. You get it?

Who's Obama's Chief of Staff? Bill Daley, from that wonderful Daley machine in Chicago. Where did he come from? Oh, vice chairman of Morgan Chase. Who was Bush's treasury secretary? Oh, Henry 'Frankenstein' Paulson. Where was he from? He began as the CEO of Goldman Sachs after Jon 'the Don' Corzine left. This is the guy who created TAARP and came up with the BS line of 'too big to fail.' Him? Yeah, that's right.

And who's the guy under Clinton that was treasury aecretary who put into process the deregulation of the financial industry and the ultimate killing of the Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented commercial banks becoming investment banks? Investment banks! What a bunch of baloney that is. Casinos that gamble, and we have to pay them now when they make bad bets. That couldn't be Robert Rubin, could it, the former co-chair of Goldman Sachs? And who's the guy now that they just put on the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi? Where was he from? Didn't he run the European division of Goldman Sachs? And wait a minute now ... what's this guy in Italy now, Mario 'Three-card Monte'? Wasn't he an international advisor for Goldman Sachs?

The moneychangers are taking over the temple; you don't have to go very far to look. It's right there in front of everybody's eyes and no one will call a spade a spade. The Rothschilds would be jealous to see what the Goldman Sachs gang, the JP Morgan Chase criminal operation, the Citigroup crooks, the Deutsche Bank bandits and the rest have pulled off.

Daily Bell: We believe that the Internet has spawned a kind of "Internet Reformation" and have been preaching this paradigm for about a decade. Where do you stand on this?

Gerald Celente: Oh, I believe it is, sure. But then again, we are writing about this in our top trends for 2012, about how we are about to lose that freedom as the fascist states keep taking over and using fear and hysteria to control us.

Daily Bell: Any final thoughts? Can you give us a few more predictions for 2012?

Gerald Celente: I believe that we have to watch out for something along the lines of an economic martial law. The European system is in collapse. The financial system in the United States is just as tenuous, if not more, and I believe they will not admit there will be a financial crash but rather they will use a geo-political issue to get the people in a state of fear and hysteria whereby they'll then call a bank holiday or devaluation of the currency, or a hyperinflation of the currency, and blame it on somebody else. Right now the prime scapegoat seems to be Iran.

The United States and the European Union have declared war on Iran. Let's call it what it is. They are making it impossible for Iran to sell oil. It's a form of warfare. Just as history has been re-engineered as with WWII, when you look back, it's a reverse situation of what the Americans did to the Japanese by cutting them off from oil. Now they are cutting the Iranians off from selling oil. Oil accounts for more than half of their GDP. They're the third largest oil supplier in the world. And US senators in Washington voted a hundred to zero to impose sanctions on Iran in the Senate. So I believe that Iran is going to be the flashpoint war that's going to be used as the cause to call martial law – economic martial law. And now, of course, that Obama has signed it into law on December 31 – Happy New Year, everyone – the National Defense Authorization Act will have the military in place to take care of any belligerent out there!

Daily Bell: Thanks for your courageous work and for speaking out. It's been a pleasure.

Gerald Celente: All the best. Here's hoping the new year that will bring enlightenment in a civilization that is far greater than the one we have now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


[Editor's note: Simon's friend Tim Price is a delightfully witty fund manager in the UK, one of the few free-thinking individuals in all of institutional finance. His recent thoughts below on the euro debacle, gold, and hyperinflation are some of the best ever written on the topics.]

“Under the circumstances, discussions with Greece and the official sector are paused for reflection on the benefits of a voluntary approach.” Debt talks “have not produced a constructive response.”
- The Institute of International Finance, January 13, 2012

“The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage..”
- Japanese Emperor Hirohito after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, announcing Japan’s surrender to the Allies.

There is a terrible hubris at the heart of mankind. Like every other living thing on the planet we are products of nature, but we consider ourselves to be well above it. We are beset by regular reminders of our vulnerability, but quickly dismiss them off-handedly to a spiritual plane, calling them “acts of God” as if to show that we could never have prevented them.

In a significant essay for Foreign Affairs, “The Black Swan of Cairo,” Nassim Taleb shows how the efforts of our authorities to suppress volatility actually end up making the world less predictable and more dangerous.

“Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policy makers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite. These artificially constrained systems become prone to “Black Swans” – that is, they become extremely vulnerable to large-scale events that lie far from the statistical norm and were largely unpredictable to a given set of observers.”

There is an analogy from the natural world. In the 1960s and 1970s, mid-western American states fell victim to scores of wildfires. Constant interventions by the US Forest Service appeared to have little positive impact – if anything, the problems seemed to worsen. Over time, foresters came to appreciate that fires were a normal and healthy element of the forest ecosystem.

By continually suppressing small fires, they were unwittingly creating the conditions for larger and less containable wildfires in the future. Naturally occurring fires are necessary to remove old forest cover, underbrush and debris. If they are suppressed, the inevitable fire to come has a far greater store of latent fuel at its disposal.

Economist Murray Rothbard jangled the sensibilities of the Keynesians when he wrote his classic study, “America’s Great Depression:”

“If government wishes to see a depression ended as quickly as possible, and the economy returned to normal prosperity, what course should it adopt? The first and clearest injunction is: don’t interfere with the market’s adjustment process. The more the government intervenes to delay the market’s adjustment, the longer and more gruelling the depression will be, and the more difficult will be the road to complete recovery.”

But politicians must be seen to be doing something – like encouraging the construction of a £33 billion white elephant rail link in the middle of an austerity recession.

Not interfering with the market’s adjustment process is simply allowing Schumpeterian “creative destruction” to operate, and cleanse the forest. But that process is anathema to well-compensated entrenched interests that suckle from the teat of the State. Banks, for example.

So while “laissez faire” would accelerate any banking crisis and shorten the resultant economic contraction, it would reveal the identity of too many naked swimmers when the tide retreats. Instead, courtesy of highly paid lobbyists, we get a long drawn out depression. The example of Japan’s zombie banks from the 1990s is still fresh, but ignored in the west.

Rothbard identified the ways in which government can hobble the adjustment process:

1. Prevent or delay liquidation. Lend money to shaky businesses, call on banks to lend further.

2. Inflate further. Further inflation blocks the necessary fall in prices, thus delaying adjustment and prolonging depression. Further credit expansion creates more malinvestments which, in their turn, will have to be liquidated in some later depression. A government’s “easy money” policy prevents the market’s return to the necessary high interest rates.

3. Keep wage rates up.

4. Keep prices up.

5. Stimulate consumption and discourage saving. More saving and less consumption would speed recovery; more consumption and less saving aggravate the shortage of saved capital even further.

6. Subsidize unemployment. Any subsidization of unemployment (via unemployment “insurance”, relief, etc.) will prolong unemployment indefinitely, and delay the shift of workers to the fields where jobs are available.

An iatrogenic illness is one caused by the doctor himself. The economies of the west now face policy measures of the sort highlighted by Rothbard that are stated to be in our interests, but which are more likely to do harm to the patient and prolong the recession.

Taleb uses the example of the turkey before Thanksgiving. The turkey is fed for 1,000 days and every day seems to reaffirm the farmer’s generosity of spirit. Until the last day, when the turkey’s confidence and contentment is at its maximum. The “turkey problem” occurs when “a na├»ve analysis of stability is derived from the absence of past variations”.

To put it another way, the US property market cannot decline because it hasn?t declined in living memory. As Taleb puts it, as humans we inhabit two systems simultaneously: the linear and the complex.

The linear is predictable and permits the use of mathematical tools of high predictive value.

Complex systems,on the other hand, are marked by an absence of visible causal links between their elements, “masking a high degree of interdependence and extremely low predictability.” They also incorporate non-linear elements often called “tipping points.”

One reason for the severity of the financial crisis, and the losses incurred by banks, is that bankers and financial analysts were using linear tools in a non-linear, highly complex environment otherwise known as the financial markets.The models didn’t work.

The problem we face now as investors will end up being existential for some banking institutions and sovereigns. Our (uncontentious) core thesis is that throughout the west, more debt has been accumulated over the past four decades than can ever be paid back.

The question, effectively to be determined on a case-by-case basis, is whether bondholders are handed outright default (which looks increasingly like the case to come in Greece) or whether the authorities, in their understandable but misguided attempts to keep the show on the road, resort to a policy of inflation that could at some point easily spiral out of control.

As Rothbard wrote, “The longer the inflationary boom continues, the more painful and severe will be the necessary adjustment process… the boom cannot continue indefinitely, because eventually the public awakens to the governmental policy of permanent inflation, and flees from money into goods, making its purchases while [the currency] is worth more than it will be in future.”

“The result will be a ‘runaway’ or hyperinflation, so familiar to history, and particularly to the modern world. Hyperinflation, on any count, is far worse than any depression: it destroys the currency – the lifeblood of the economy; it ruins and shatters the middle class and all ‘fixed income groups;’ it wreaks havoc unbounded… To avoid such a calamity, then, credit expansion must stop sometime, and this will bring a depression into being.”

It may be a new year, but we are beset by the same problems that have been recurring since the crisis began. In most cases, those problems have worsened. One of the few improvements has been in the recapitalisation of Anglo-Saxon banks, but continental European banks seem acutely vulnerable to the potential outcome of a disorderly sovereign default.

Since the problems are the same, so are our preferred solutions: a specific focus on only the most creditworthy sovereign and quasi-sovereign debt (where it offers a positive real return); a specific focus on only the most defensive and internationally diversified equities; genuinely uncorrelated investments; and exposure to objectively the highest quality currencies, namely precious metals.

Euro zone politicians and policy makers have had plenty of time to come to terms with the continent’s problems, and continue to show no willingness to grasp admittedly difficult nettles.

It is symptomatic of the balkanised and adversarial nature of politics in the euro zone (a unified body that exists in theory but barely in fact) that Christian Noyer, chairman of the French central bank, anticipated France’s credit downgrade by suggesting that Britain should be downgraded first.

As the Hildebrand scandal also revealed, most of Europe’s central bankers are not fit to sweep the streets. And still time is running out. Readers of a certain age will recall a late 1980s “big hair” rock anthem called “The Final Countdown.” It was released by essentially a one-hit wonder band.

Its name was Europe.

Tim Price

Director of Investment
PFP Wealth Management

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Church Document Encourages Congregation To Obey Government

A shocking document has come to light from a church in Ohio which educates its congregation that Barack Obama’s presidency is appointed by God and that Obama himself is “God’s minister,” in another perversion of Romans 13, the bible verse cited as an excuse for Christians not to oppose tyranny.
Ohio District Superintendent Rev. John Wooton was responsible for distributing the pamphlet, which was handed out at the Assembly of God church in Ohio, according to a reader who forwarded the document to us. Click here for the PDF file.
“This was handed out at the Assembly of God church that my fiance and I used to attend. We immediately stopped attending after getting this flier about ‘submitting to Obama and the government,’ states the reader.
“The pastor even brought children to the front of the church, encouraging them to submit to teachers, firemen, and the police. It was insane.”
“I confronted the pastor about his stance on Romans 13, a year prior, and he assured me that he would never sell out his church. This sermon was given on the immediate Sunday after Obama’s election win. Please post this and inform others about it. I never, ever thought this would happen in the church I was attending, but thankfully, we were informed enough to leave this church,” he concludes.

The document cites Romans 13 verses 1-4 and claims that the following “paraphrases” can be interpreted from the bible.
- Barack Obama’s presidency is appointed by God. (v 1)
- Christians should lead the way in supporting Barack Obama’s presidency. (v 2)
- Barack Obama’s presidency can be a force for good and a deterrent against evil. (v 3)
- As president, Barack Obama is God’s minister to you for good. (v 4)
The document concedes that a majority of practicing Christians probably didn’t even vote for Obama because of his pro-abortion policies, indeed one of Obama’s first acts as President was to issue an executive order which ensured that millions more black babies are aborted in third world countries, with American taxpayers picking up the tab.
Obama himself has also scoffed at Christians in the past, arrogantly stating that people “cling to guns or religion” in tough times.
Despite this, the document urges Christians to “support loudly” Obama’s policies and “remember who is in control”.

Romans 13 has routinely been cited by tyrants throughout history in an attempt to prevent Christians from opposing their rule, indeed, it was Hitler’s favorite bible verse. Religious groups such as the Catholics in 1930′s Germany also used the verse as an excuse not to rise up against the Nazis when they were still a minority political party.
A large number of mainstream church representatives claim that Romans 13 means Christians should obey the ruling authorities no matter how tyrannical they are, and yet the bible itself is full of examples of men standing up to corrupt authorities and attempting to change the system – Jesus, John the Baptist and Moses being the prime examples.
Should Jesus have refrained from throwing the money changers out of the temple? Should Moses have cowered from standing up to the Egyptian slave masters? Should John the Baptist have kept quiet about the sinful practices of Herod Antipas, his condemnation of which led to his beheading?
The fact that large churches in America are encouraging their congregation to all but obey the government and support their agenda even if it opposes basic Christian principles is a shocking indictment of how much control the state now exercises over the church through the carrot of the 501(c)(3) Status dangled in front of corruptible pastors and preachers.
Ominously. as we first exposed in 2006, FEMA is training pastors and other religious representatives to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to “obey the government” in preparation for a declaration of martial law, property and firearm seizures, and forced relocation. The bible verse that FEMA encourages religious representatives to cite while undertaking this role? Romans 13.
The individual who forwarded the document noted that around the time the sermon was given, the church seemed to have an influx of funds.
“This church has a new stage with flat screen monitors, updated church vans, and is talking about expanding the church by building a new church, which all occurred around the giving of this sermon. Mind you, we were having a hard time buying new chairs for our church, no more than a year ago. Coincidence?” he writes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

24 Statistics To Show To Anyone Who Believes That America Has A Bright Economic Future

Beware of bubbles of false hope. Right now there is a lot of talk about how the U.S. economy is improving, but it is all a lie. The mainstream media can be very seductive. When you sit down to watch television your brain tends to go into a very relaxed mode. In such a state, it becomes easy to slip thoughts and ideas past your defenses. Sometimes when I am watching television I realize what the media is trying to do and yet I can still feel it happening to me. In this day and age, it is absolutely critical that we all think for ourselves. When you look at the long-term trends and the long-term numbers, a much different picture of the U.S economy emerges than the one that is painted for us on television. Over the long-term, the number of good jobs in America has been steadily going down. Over the long-term, the number of Americans living in poverty and living on food stamps has been steadily going up. Over the past couple of decades, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth have gone out of the country. Our debt is nearly 15 times larger than it was 30 years ago, and U.S. consumer debt has soared by 1700% over the past 40 years. Year after year the rate of inflation goes up faster than our incomes do, and this is absolutely devastating the middle class. Anyone who believes that we can keep doing the same things that we have been doing and yet America will still have a bright economic future is delusional. Until the long-term trends which are taking the U.S. economy straight into the toilet are reversed, any talk of a bright economic future is absolute nonsense.

In America today, we have such a short-term focus. We are all so caught up with what is happening right now. Our attention spans seem to get shorter every single year. At this point it would not be hard to argue that kittens have longer attention spans than most of us do. (If you have ever owned a kitten you know how short their attention spans can be.) Things have gotten so bad that most of our high school students cannot even answer the most basic questions about our history. If people are not talking about it on Facebook or Twitter it is almost as if it does not even matter.

But any serious student of history knows that is is absolutely crucial to examine long-term trends. And when you look at the long-term trends, it rapidly becomes apparent that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a nightmarish long-term decline.

The following are 24 statistics to show to anyone who believes that America has a bright economic future....

#1 Inflation is a silent tax that steals wealth from all of us. We continue to shell out increasing amounts of money for the basic things that we need, and yet our incomes are not keeping pace. Just check out the following example. Gasoline prices have been trending higher for several years in a row as one blogger recently noted....

January 2009 $1.65
January 2010 $2.57
January 2011 $3.04
January 2012 $3.29

#2 If you can believe it, the average American household spent approximately $4,155 on gasoline during 2011.

#3 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#4 Health care costs continue to rise at a very alarming pace. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#5 Getting a college education has also become insanely expensive in America. After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.

#6 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1970 you would have to have more than $116 today.

#7 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1913 you would have to have more than $457 today.

#8 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added more than 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#9 The U.S. economy is bleeding millions of good jobs. Greedy CEOs are systematically shipping them overseas and our politicians are standing around and doing nothing about it. This has gone on year after year after year. The following is from a recent article by Paul Craig Roberts....

In the first decade of the 21st century, Americans lost 5,500,000 manufacturing jobs. US employment in the manufacture of computer and electronic products fell by 40%; in the production of machinery by 30%, in motor vehicles and and parts by 44%, and in the manufacture of clothing by 66%.

#10 Our economic infrastructure is being torn apart right in front of our eyes. In 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States. Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

We have made it legal for big corporations to send millions of jobs to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, where the tax burden is much lighter and where there are barely any regulations. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Economy in Crisis....

Back in the ‘80s, I called my friend Walter in California and asked: “On your next expansion we need a plant in South Carolina.” Walter replied: “We don’t produce anything in the United States. It’s all in China. China furnishes you the plant on a year-to-year basis. If your investment works out, you don’t have to pay any corporate tax; just reinvest it for another plant and more profit. If it doesn’t work out, you can walk away with no legacy costs. I send a quality controller to watch production. I check on it every day. I don’t have any labor, health, safety, or environmental concerns, and have time to play a round of golf.” The bleeding of jobs off-shore started in the ‘80s — now hemorrhages under Bush and Obama. Waiting for the economy to bounce back; calling this “the worst recession” is a bum rap. The reason the economy hasn’t bounced back since 2008 is because the economy is being off-shored.

#11 As a result of our insane economic policies, our trade balances are absolutely exploding. For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#12 As you read this, there are millions of Americans out there wondering why they can't find any jobs. According to Reuters, 23.7 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.

#13 The number of good jobs has been steadily shrinking in America. Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

#14 Over the last three decades, the percentage of low income jobs has consistently risen. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#15 The number of middle class neighborhoods also continues to decline. In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods". By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods".

#16 A decade ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult. By 2010, the United States had fallen to seventh.

#17 Our incomes continue to go down. Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#18 Unfortunately, middle class Americans have been seeing their incomes decline for a very long time. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#19 Since 1971, consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700%. Unfortunately, U.S. consumers have still not learned how to stay out of debt. According to a recent article posted on Financial Armageddon, the rate of personal savings in the United States is rapidly falling right now at the same time that the total amount of consumer credit is absolutely skyrocketing.

#20 The number of children living in poverty in America keeps rising year after year. The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010.

#21 The number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new all-time records. Just check out the following progression....
October 2008: 30.8 million Americans on food stamps
October 2009: 37.6 million Americans on food stamps
October 2010: 43.2 million Americans on food stamps
October 2011: 46.2 million Americans on food stamps

#22 The U.S. debt problem has gotten completely and totally out of control. Recently, the debt of the federal government surpassed 100% of GDP for the first time ever.

#23 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#24 Barack Obama's proposed 2012 budget projects that the national debt will rise to 26 trillion dollars a decade from now. And his budget numbers are ridiculously optimistic.

Are you starting to get the picture?
All of the long-term economic numbers are progressively getting worse.

As the economy continues to crumble, large numbers of Americans are becoming really desperate. For example, a recent Mother Jones article detailed how large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are now actually growing marijuana in an effort to make ends meet.

As things continue to get worse, people will become even more desperate. There are millions of people out there that find themselves unable to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for their families. When people hit rock bottom, they often find themselves doing things that they never dreamed that they would do.

Meanwhile, the big Wall Street banks just keep getting larger and more powerful. We have allowed the "too big to fail" banks to become much bigger than they have ever been before. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

Wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated at the very top even as the overall economic pie in America continues to get smaller.

As our economic problems become worse, more Americans than ever are trying to find ways to "escape".

For example, according to one new government report one out of every six adults in America is a binge drinker.

Other Americans "tune out" by watching endless hours of television, by playing endless hours of video games or by indulging in endless hours of other forms of entertainment.

There are even some Americans that are giving up completely. For example, one elderly man actually robbed a bank just so that he could get arrested and be taken to prison where he would get free health care.

But as I have written about previously, now is not the time to give up. Instead, now is the time to prepare for the great challenges that are ahead.

Almost every generation in history has been faced with great challenges and great hardships at some point.

Yes, there will be some incredibly hard times ahead, but that also means that there will be a need for some great heroes.

Just because the U.S. economy is falling apart does not mean that life is over.

We are living during one of the most exciting times in all of human history. Instead of cowering in fear, let us embrace these times and focus on becoming the people that we were created to be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rights? In The New America You Don’t Get Any Rights!

January 10, 2012
Print Version
Source: The American Dream

One of the unique things about the Constitution of the United States was that it guaranteed certain rights for its citizens. Those rights provided the foundation for an era of freedom and prosperity that was pretty much unprecedented in human history and dozens of other nations eventually copied many of the ideas contained in our Constitution and Bill of Rights because they worked so well. Of course our system never functioned perfectly, but when you compare it to what has gone on for most of human history, it truly was a bright light in a sea of oppression and totalitarianism. Unfortunately, our rights are now being systematically taken away from us. In America today, the politicians have convinced most of us that in order to keep us all “safe” we must give up many of our rights and move toward becoming a totalitarian police state. In the “new America”, you don’t get any rights. They tell us that giving people rights is too dangerous. Instead, you get some limited “privileges” which can be revoked at any time by the authorities. Sadly, most Americans have become so dumbed-down that they don’t even realize what is happening.

How many Americans do you think have actually read the Constitution?
Personally, I went through high school, college and even law school without ever being required to read the Constitution of the United States.

Isn’t that amazing?
Most Americans don’t even understand that they have rights because they have never even read the documents that grant them those rights.

You can find the text of the U.S. Constitution right here. If you have never taken the time to read the whole thing, you really should.

According to the U.S. Constitution, the following are some of the rights that we are supposed to have….

-Freedom of religion
-Freedom of speech
-Freedom of the press
-Freedom of assembly
-Freedom to bear arms
-Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
-The right to due process of law
-The right to a speedy and public trial
-Freedom from cruel and unusual punishments
Unfortunately, all of those rights are under attack in America today.
In most cases, a right is not taken away all at once. Instead, opponents of these rights take what is known as an “incremental approach”.

For example, we are told that there are certain limits on the freedom of speech. We are told that we cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater and we accept that because it sounds reasonable. But then once everyone agrees that there are “limits” on that right, the control freaks that run things just keep trying to tighten those limits in thousands of different ways until our freedom of speech is whittled away to almost nothing.

It is imperative that we stand up for our liberties and freedoms. If we don’t defend them now, eventually they will be gone for good.

The following are some examples of how our rights are under attack in America today….

The federal government has become absolutely obsessed with monitoring everything that Americans say. This chills free speech because it gives people the feeling that there is always somebody “watching”.

It has recently been revealed that the Department of Homeland Security plans to monitor social media outlets on the Internet. If you use the wrong “keywords” or if you are a key “influencer” on the Internet, there is no doubt that someone from the federal government will be keeping tabs on you.

The following comes from a recent RT article….

Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that came out of DHS headquarters in November, Washington has the written permission to retain data on users of social media and online networking platforms.

Specifically, the DHS announced the NCO and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”

In particular, the powers that be seem to have become absolutely fascinated with Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve has decided to start monitoring social media sites and blogs in order to keep track of what is being said about them.

And as a recent Fox News article detailed, the Department of Homeland Security is also developing such a system….

Though still in development, DHS is looking to establish a system for monitoring “forums, blogs, public websites and message boards.” The idea is to gather and analyze publicly available information, and then use that information to help officials respond to disasters and other situations.

So why do they have to spend so much time, energy and money keeping track of what we are all saying on the Internet?

Why don’t they just let us be?

One would think that the federal government has bigger problems to deal with at this point.

Unfortunately, this trend toward endlessly snooping on American citizens is not likely to reverse any time soon.

So could what you say on the Internet get you labeled as a “trouble-maker” or as a “potential terrorist”?

Recently, Barack Obama signed a new law which allows the U.S. military to arrest “potential terrorists” on U.S. soil, hold them indefinitely without trial and even ship them off to Guantanamo Bay for endless “interrogation” sessions.

The insanity of this new law was detailed in a recent article by Henry Blodget….

The reason this law is horrifying is not that terrorists deserve to be handled with kid gloves. They don’t. The reason it’s horrifying is that, without due process, it is too easy for the government to just declare someone a terrorist who isn’t actually a terrorist. It’s too easy, in other words, for government employees to do what everyone else does: Make mistakes.

If you don’t think it’s possible for the government to mistakenly assume that someone is a terrorist who isn’t, read this story by Lakhdar Boumediene, who was just held as a terrorist by the U.S. government in Guantanamo for 7 and a half years. At Guantanamo, Boumediene says he was tortured for not telling his U.S. captors what they wanted to hear–that he was a terrorist. He was only eventually freed after his case went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court ruled that it might be a good idea to ask the government to present the evidence that led it to believe that Boumediene was a terrorist (the government didn’t present any).

Sadly, according to Obama this new law just reaffirms what he already had the power to do. In his signing statement, Obama stated that he already had the authority to arrest American citizens, hold them without trial and ship them off to prison camps.

Of course that would come as a complete shock to the original drafters of the U.S. Constitution, but very few Americans seem concerned with what the U.S. Constitution actually says these days.

Now there is a new bill before Congress that would even give the federal government the power to instantly strip individuals of citizenship if they are suspected of being “hostile” to the United States.

It is known as the Enemy Expatriation Act, and you can read this new bill for yourself right here.

According to the bill, you can be stripped of your U.S. citizenship for “engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.”

So what does it mean to “materially support” hostilities against the United States?

Does simply criticizing the government fall under that category?

Unfortunately, when you have a law that is really vague it gives authorities the leeway to do pretty much whatever they want.

At least we still have the Internet where we can communicate with one another and share all of this information, right?

Well, maybe not for long.

As I have written about previously, a new law under consideration by Congress would permanently change the Internet forever and could potentially silence thousands of important voices. That is why we must stop SOPA. It is a horrible law which could be used to brutally censor the Internet.

Some of the biggest names in the Internet community are speaking out against SOPA. For example, a recent CNN article contained some stunning quotes about SOPA from one of the co-founders of Google….

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has been outspoken against the efforts.

The bills “give the U.S. government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS (the Internet’s naming system) and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial),” Brin wrote last month on his Google+ page as Congress was considering the measures. “While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.”

Everywhere you turn these days, our liberties and our freedoms are being attacked. There is a relentless assault on everything that it means to be an American. No matter how hard you try, it just seems like you can’t get away from it.

For example, many of us have been so disgusted with the TSA that we simply do not fly anymore.

Well, the TSA is not content to just monitor airports anymore. Now they are bringing their own special brand of “security” to thousands of other locations across the country as the Los Angeles Times recently detailed….

The Transportation Security Administration isn’t just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country.

“We are not the Airport Security Administration,” said Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte. “We take that transportation part seriously.”

The TSA’s 25 “viper” teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year.

So even if you never fly again, there is still a good chance that you will get the “rubber glove treatment” from a TSA “viper team” at some point.

Without a doubt, this country is slowly becoming a giant prison.

And one group that gets targeted by the government almost more than anyone else is Christians. In America today, there is a war against Christianity. The Christian faith is being attacked in hundreds of different ways, and under the Obama administration this attack has only just intensified.

There seems to be an obsession with pushing Christianity out of every single shred of public life in this country. For example, family members were recently banned from bringing Bibles to wounded veterans at Walter Reed National Medical Center. The following is from a recent CNSNews article….

In a Sept. 14 policy memorandum, Col. Chuck Callahan, chief of staff of Walter Reed National Medical Center, banned family members from bringing Bibles and other “religious items” when visiting wounded military personnel at the facility.

Thankfully, this policy was later reversed after a tremendous national outcry, but there are dozens and dozens of other “policies” like this that have not been reversed.

They say that we still have “freedom of religion” in this country, but there is a non-stop effort to push it into a box that is getting smaller and smaller with each passing day.

Our 2nd Amendment rights area also being brutally assaulted.

Restrictions on gun owners keep getting tighter and tighter and tighter. Things have gotten so bad that now even gun manufacturers don’t even know what is legal and what is not.

The following comes from a recent article in the Washington Times….

Despite overseeing an industry that includes machine guns and other deadly weapons, ATF regulations for the manufacture of weapons are often unclear, leading to reliance on a secretive system by which firearms manufacturers can submit proposed weapons for testing and find out one at a time whether they comply with the law, critics say.

The ATF recommends that manufacturers voluntarily submit weapons for case-by-case determination. But those judgments are private and, it turns out, sometimes contradictory. Critics say nearly identical prototypes can be approved for one manufacturer but denied for another.

But it is not just the federal government that is becoming incredibly oppressive. We are seeing state and local governments all over the country also move in the direction of totalitarianism.

Here are just a couple of examples that have been brought to my attention in recent days….

*Up in Massachusetts, police were recently sent to collect an overdue library book from a 5-year-old girl.

*In St. Louis, a proposed law would make it mandatory to spay or neuter all cats and dogs and would make it mandatory to microchip all cats and dogs.

When you step back and look at the bigger picture, a clear trend emerges.

As 2012 began, over 40,000 new laws went into effect all over America. Some of these new laws are good, but most of them are about restricting the liberties and freedoms of individual Americans.

We have become a nation of control freaks.

In the final analysis, we don’t have any absolute rights anymore. Instead, what we have are “privileges” that are being systematically stripped away.

But this is not how America was supposed to be.

We were supposed to be the freest nation on the face of the earth.

So what in the world happened to us?

New Bill Known As Enemy Expatriation Act Would Allow Government To Strip Citizenship Without Conviction

January 10, 2012
Print Version
Source: Addicting Info

First, Congress considered the National Defense Authorization Act, sections of which gave the President the authority to use the military to arrest and indefinitely detain Americans without trial or charge. The language was revised because of strong condemnation from the American people. But now a new bill has emerged that poses yet another threat to the American citizenry.

Congress is considering HR 3166 and S. 1698 also known as the Enemy Expatriation Act, sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Charles Dent (R-PA). This bill would give the US government the power to strip Americans of their citizenship without being convicted of being “hostile” against the United States. In other words, you can be stripped of your nationality for “engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.” Legally, the term “hostilities” means any conflict subject to the laws of war but considering the fact that the War on Terror is a little ambiguous and encompassing, any action could be labeled as supporting terrorism. Since the Occupy movement began, conservatives have been trying to paint the protesters as terrorists.

The new law would change a part of US Code 1481 which can be read in full here. Compare 3166 to 1481 and the change is small. The new section makes no reference to being convicted as it does in section (7). So even though the language of the NDAA has been revised to exclude American citizens, the US government merely has to strip Americans of their citizenship and the NDAA will apply. And they will be able to do so without convicting the accused in a court of law.

I hope I’m wrong, but it sounds to me like this is a loophole for indefinitely detaining Americans. Once again, you just have to be accused of supporting hostilities which could be defined any way the government sees fit. Then the government can strip your citizenship and apply the indefinite detention section of the NDAA without the benefit of a trial. This certainly must be questioned by American citizens. The way these defense obsessed Republicans think, our rights are always in danger of being taken away.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gay Marriage, Christians and Politics.

This has been on my mind for some time now, please let me explain.
Its seems to me that all this talking about this issue will ever
accomplish is the same as Roe v. Wade on the abortion issue.
It's all about "civil rights", and this will only lose
just like Roe v. Wade, you can't dictate moral responsibility,
you can only model it. I just wonder where in the Constitution does it say anything about government regulating marriage. This will come down to "civil rights" once again, and the pastors will be forced to perform gay marriage's or risk going to prison. This "dog will not hunt" it is time that we as Devout Christians
get the Government out of the marriage business, and stop taxing us for the luxury of there "wise council". Besides, if you vote for one man, one woman, they through the courts will over rule you. (see California Proposition 8)
A marriage is a convent between one consenting man and one consenting woman and there GOD, not between two people and there Government. How about removing all the tax benefits from marriage and let others have a Civil Union with all the other benefits that go along with it, death benefits, health care, etc. Yea I believe that a marriage is between one man and one woman, however, how about we outlaw lying ?
That would go longer way to creating a more just society, would it not? Think if we could lock up all the corrupt Lying Politicians! Wouldn't that be something!

Some of things we should be looking at for the our future,
should be youth Euthanasia and Population Control this will be the next fight. This is what the "Elite" really believe in, under the guise of "Mother Earth"(there god)" using Global warming, Abortion, Health care cost, Gun control, No death penalty for harden criminals. Through Government run health care, Planed parenthood, vaccinations etc.("if we really do a good job we can reduce the population, Bill Gates")
They don't believe in smaller Government, they believe in bigger Government and smaller "We the People" and much poorer population also. They don't really think that we should have freedom of religion or speech as the first amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Only Government Controlled religion and speech.

This one is a Must, No 501(c)3 state run Church's (This was to silence the Church on talking about the moral integrity of our leaders running for office and abortion and Homosexuality)
No tax exemption, for tithing (render unto Caesar whats is Caesar's)
No Home deduction, (this is also not there charter under the Constitution)
No marriage deduction,
Then maybe we could have a flat tax, as the bible says if you pay more than 10% you are living under tyranny! ( 1 Samuel 8:15-17)
Abortion will have to be fought under "person hood" and then there rights as a Person. I know all these things are painful (especially the money and tax deduction part, however this is the only way to get Government out of our way)
They do not have the best intentions for us as "Christ followers" or "We the People"

How you can change your life and fight back:
I participate in the system as little as possible.
No 501(c)3 Church's
No stock market (This is corrupt at its core)
As little as possible in the banking system (low dept, there is no real interest anyways) invest in gold/silver/farm land own your home. Do not over pay your taxes, why give the government a interest free loan (pay @ the end of the year) Grow your own food, healthier anyways.
Have a well for water, also healthier.
Solar for your home, Barter with others.
Try and not use large corporations for commerce, use mom and pop stores buy fruits/vegetables from local farmers.
If we don't start with these, then what will be required next?

What Kind of Christian is Ron Paul?

Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul has made it very clear that, while he is a born-again Christian, he does not like to discuss his religious views publicly:

I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do.

On Homosexuality
The other day, Dr. Paul took a bold risk and appeared for a long interview by the fundamentalist, constitution-party-flag-waving The American View to discuss his personal faith and how it would translate into his actions as president. Paul was not granted any clemency and was even grilled a bit by the interviewer on subjects such as abortion, homosexuality, the infallibility of scripture and the role of government in morality. To wit:

Q: Do you believe homosexuality is a sin?

Dr. Paul: I’m not as judgmental about that probably because of my medical background. I don’t see it in [such] simplistic terms. I think it’s a complex issue to think it’s a sin or other problems with the way people are born. It’s too complex to give an answer as simple as that [that homosexuality is a sin.]”

Q: Do you believe God says homosexuality is a sin?

Dr. Paul: Well, I believe a lot of people understand it that way but I think everybody is God’s child, too, so, you know, I have trouble with that.

Dr. Paul would not come out and say that homosexuality was a sin or whether he though God considers it sin. His answer basically boils down to one thought: it’s complicated. For many who take the view that the Bible is the Word of God (Dr. Paul made this claim on the show), it is not very complicated – homosexual behavior is a sin, and like any sin, God does not approve. At the same time, the interviewer spent considerable time on homosexuality, seeming to speak of it as though it was a more “sinful” sin and was the root of many of the problems in the country. Perhaps Paul was shrewdly considering that by affirming a positive answer on the matter, the interviewer would attempt to solicit Paul’s sanction on some of his own ideas.

You can see this is a sticking point with the host as over half his write-up discusses this matter, concluding with:

I tell him I believe God will not bless any military that’s full of unrepentant homosexuals, adulterers and fornicators. He does not reply to this observation.

On Avoiding Hypocrisy
Clearly Dr. Paul is unashamed to proclaim that he’s a Christian, however most American politicians make this claim (see John Edwards take a good twenty seconds before he figures this out). Dr. Paul makes a strong statement about this matter, one that qualifies his statements as avoiding hypocrisy rather than timidity in faith:

I’d rather my views and my convictions and my faith be shown by my actions rather than [by] what I say… also, the part in the bible about not showing off… we’re instructed to pray quietly …[and] not to play big fanfare. I’m trying to strike something in between there; where I’m not bashful and ashamed of it, at the same time I don’t want to look like others who …look to get votes because they were willing to say and do something in public.

On the Role of Religion in Government and Society
As opposed to his host on The American View, Dr. Paul sees the role of religion in government just as he sees the role of anything in government – best applied by individuals. While a Christian cannot legislate Christianity into the law, the Christian will be personally governed by God’s law and thus his administration in civil society must be consistent. This is spelled out by Dr. Paul in clear terms:

Ultimately what has to change is the morality of the society that we have, then the law will change. So I don’t think we can solve the problem by the law.

Somehow, Dr. Paul made it out of this interview on decent terms with the host, yet he did not make himself sound like a Constitution Party acolyte. Clearly Paul is a gifted politician in that respect. At the same time, it demonstrates his ability to communicate his views clearly, with an open-mind, and preserve peace in any interchange: even one with such volatile fundamental issues.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Notes from the Field

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: January 3, 2012
Reporting From: Coyhaique, Northern Patagonia

Yesterday we discussed certain events that, in my view, are nearly mathematical certainties. Things like a restructuring of public pensions and Social Security in Europe and the US. Western governments blocking Internet and mobile networks. War. The US government being forced to issue debt in a foreign currency.

All of these events are underpinned by a simple premise:

1) Public and private debts included, most western nations are insolvent. Big time.

2) History shows that economic growth in such an environment is nearly impossible when such a large percentage of GDP must be allocated solely to interest. Most countries in this position either default or [hyper]inflate. Both have catastrophic consequences.

3) Continued political and monetary intervention in the economy is counterproductive. From 'Cash for Clunkers' to negative real interest rates, such intervention only serves to make the problems, and their impacts, much worse.

4) The combined ingredients of sovereign insolvency; a global financial system based on worthless paper currency; and consumptive, import-oriented, public entitlement economies have created conditions for an epic, long-term economic depression.

5) Deteriorating economic conditions drive social unrest. [In fact, there's a great paper by two European economists which defines an explicit correlation between government budget cuts and things like rising crime rates, riots, and even attempted revolution.]

6) Faced with a marauding population that threatens their own survival, governments will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo: their power, our expense. Again, history shows that police states, boogeyman enemies, a total loss of privacy, capital controls, higher taxes, etc. will all become the norm.

7) None of these delay tactics can prevent human and financial capital from eventually migrating to where they are treated best. This will ultimately force a complete system reset by starving the beast.

8) This is not the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last. This time is NOT different. Our modern society is not a unique and special snowflake that can ward off the consequences that have plagued empires for millennia.

Everything from the way I invest to how I allocate my time and plan for the future is based on this view. It's why I'm in Chile, why we purchased a 1,000+ acre farm, and why we plan on sharing it with like-minded people.

I may be a bit early, but I'd much rather be early than thinking through these implications while I'm packing my bags. After all, things can 'feel' quite normal for a long time. Changes take place gradually, then faster and faster, until the decay looks like an upside-down hockey stick.

The Roman Empire, for example, began its spectacular decline shortly after Augustus became de facto emperor in 27 BC. He was followed by a long series of dismal failures-- Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, etc. But Rome muddled along for hundreds of years, wavering between growth and decay.

The changes were gradual. A little currency debasement here, a bit of excess spending there, and throw in plenty of assassinations and foreign wars for good measure. Along the way, though, thinking people could see the writing on the wall... and many of Rome's citizens set sail for greener pastures.

The gradual changes became more and more pronounced... and the more pronounced, the more people left. As Gibbon recounts in his seminal work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the city of Rome lost nearly 75% of its population in the Empire's final 50-years in the 5th century.

History is full of other examples of once proud nations that, facing problems for decades (or even centuries), completely unwound in a matter of years. The Ottoman Empire. The Ming Dynasty. Feudal France. The Soviet Union.

Bottom line, when the real change comes, it comes very, very quickly.

Think about the pace of change these days. It's quickening. Europe is a great case study for this-- when concerns about Greece first surfaced, European leaders were able to contain the damage. There was disquiet, but it soon dissipated.

Fast forward to today. We can hardly go a single day without a major, market-rocking headline. And European politicians' attempts to assuage the damage have a useful half life that can be measured in days... sometimes hours now.

Like the Ottomans, the Soviets, the Romans before them, Western civilization is entering the phase where its rate of decline will start looking like that upside-down hockey stick.

There is no crystal ball that can tell us exactly how/when it will all go down. It stands to reason that certain events (perhaps this year's Presidential elections in the US, Russia, France, etc.) will be pivotal in the decline, but suffice it to say that time is not on our side given the pace of change.

Each of us has a finite amount of resources-- time, energy, capital, etc. And I really want to encourage you to think clearly and deliberately about how you allocate those resources... e.g. you're better off buying an ounce of gold than making a political campaign contribution.

2011 was a challenging year. 2012 will likely prove even more. But this isn't anything to dread. It's is an incredibly exciting time to be alive-- change should be embraced, not feared.

Empires always run their course. Bubbles burst. But creative, thinking human beings always survive and thrive.

Yours in Freedom,

Simon Black
Senior Editor,