Thursday, December 27, 2012

How the UK tax authority got cozy with big business

For Ian Barlow, Britain's tax authority has gone from being fearsome to being really rather nice.

In the 1990s, when the accountant was head of UK taxation for KPMG, he argued Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was creating an "increasingly fierce environment" for corporations. But last month, Barlow, 61, said senior American business executives found the UK taxman's approach "refreshing."

"It is a tax authority that is much easier to deal with than their own tax authority, and I think that's no bad thing," he said over a banquet of salmon mousse and rib of beef at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/27/us-tax-hmrc-idUSBRE8BQ03220121227

Snow buries parts of Northeast, flights canceled

A powerful winter storm pushed through the U.S. Northeast on Thursday, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of airline flights while bringing some holiday cheer to families hoping for snow and lifting spirits at ski resorts in the region.

The storm dumped a foot of snow on parts of the United States with the heaviest snow falling across northern New York and New England, the National Weather Service reported.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/27/us-usa-weather-idUSBRE8BO05K20121227

Norfolk Car Crash: Two Young Girls Killed

Two girls aged seven and 10 have been killed and three other people injured after a car crash in Norfolk, police have said.

The children were in a car along with two adults and another child which crashed on the A47 near Wisbech at 6.40pm, according to Norfolk Police.

All five occupants of the black Ford Focus were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, where the girls died from their injuries.

http://news.sky.com/story/1030792/norfolk-car-crash-two-young-girls-killed

US Snow Storm Heads East After Hitting Midwest

A severe US snow storm is threatening more devastation as it heads east after pounding the Midwest, killing 15 people.

Up to 18 inches of snow is forecast inland on Thursday, from western New York to Maine, before tapering off into a mix of rain and snow closer to the coast.

It follows snowy gusts of 30mph and an outbreak of 34 tornadoes on Tuesday in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama - causing travel chaos and power cuts.

http://news.sky.com/story/1030518/us-snow-storm-heads-east-after-hitting-midwest

Antarctic Lake Drilling Attempt Abandoned

An attempt to melt a borehole through the continental ice sheet to reach a hidden Antarctic lake has been abandoned by a team of British scientists and engineers.

The freshwater Lake Ellsworth, which has been sealed off by the ice 3km (2 miles) down for up to half a million years, could hold life forms not seen before.

But in the early hours of Christmas Day the mission for this Antarctic season ended after running into problems with the drilling.

http://news.sky.com/story/1030625/antarctic-lake-drilling-attempt-abandoned

Newtown Scam: Woman Set Up Fake Funeral Fund

A woman has been arrested by federal authorities who say she tried to scam donors by posing as a relative of one of the children killed at a Connecticut elementary school.

Thirty-seven-year-old Nouel Alba was arrested Thursday and charged with lying to FBI agents.

Federal prosecutors say she used her Facebook account, telephone calls and text messages to seek donations for what she called a "funeral fund".

http://news.sky.com/story/1030778/newtown-scam-woman-set-up-fake-funeral-fund

Shark Tank Explodes At Shopping Shanghai Centre

Sixteen people were hurt when a 33-ton aquarium containing sharks, other fish and turtles exploded at a shopping centre in the Chinese city of Shanghai.

CCTV pictures captured the moment the giant tank burst, sending glass and fish flying into the crowd.

A man who was taking pictures of the aquarium when it broke was swept away by water.

http://news.sky.com/story/1030569/china-shark-tank-explodes-at-shopping-centre

Charmaine MacMuris Murder: Man Charged

A man has been charged with murder after the body of a mother-of-three was found at a house in Camarthen on Christmas Day.

Charmaine MacMuris' body was discovered at a home in Maes y Ysgol.
Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that a local man arrested at the scene had now been charged.

A spokeswoman said: "A 28-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Charmaine MacMuris."

http://news.sky.com/story/1030785/charmaine-macmuris-man-charged-with-murder

28 Good Questions That The Mainstream Media Should Be Asking

Why is there so little trust in the mainstream media these days? CNN ratings have been hovering close to record lows over the past few months. A recent Gallup survey found that 60 percent of all Americans "have little or no trust" in the mainstream media. That was a record high according to Gallup. So why is this happening? Sadly, the truth is that the mainstream media quit telling the truth a long time ago. The mainstream media has an agenda, and more Americans than ever are beginning to recognize this. Once upon a time, control of the news in the United States was at least somewhat decentralized. But now there are just six giant media corporations that control almost everything that we see, hear and watch. The version of "the news" that they give us is designed to serve the interests of those corporate giants and the other corporate giants that spend billions of dollars to advertise their products through those outlets. Watching the news on television can be an extremely frustrating experience these days. Yes, there are little bits and pieces of the truth in there, but you have to wade through an awful lot of "infotainment" to get to those bits and pieces. That is one of the reasons why the "alternative media" has absolutely exploded in recent years. The American people are hungry for the truth, and they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of news on the Internet in an attempt to find it.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/28-good-questions-that-the-mainstream-media-should-be-asking

21 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is About To Go To A Whole New Level

The following are 21 signs that the global economic crisis is about to go to a whole new level....

#1 Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer says that the global economy is "awfully close" to recession.

#2 It was announced last week that the unemployment rate in Greece has reached an all-time high of 25.1 percent. Unemployment among those 24 years old or younger is now more than 54 percent. Back in April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only sitting at 11.8 percent.

#3 The IMF is warning that Greek debt may have to be "restructured" yet again.

#4 Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says that it is "probable" that Greece will leave the euro, and that it might happen within the next six months.

#5 An angry crowd of approximately 40,000 angry Greeks recently descended on Athens to protest a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel...

From high-school students to pensioners, tens of thousands of Greek demonstrators swarmed into Athens yesterday to show the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, their indignation at their country's continued austerity measures.

Flouting the government's ban on protests, an estimated 40,000 people – many carrying posters depicting Ms Merkel as a Nazi – descended on Syntagma Square near the parliament building. Masked youths pelted riot police with rocks as the officers responded with tear gas.

The authorities had deployed 7,000 police, water cannon and a helicopter. Snipers were placed on rooftops to ensure the German leader's safety.

#6 The debt crisis is Argentina is becoming increasingly troublesome.

#7 The government debt to GDP ratio in Italy is expected to hit 126 percent this year. In Greece, it is expected to hit 198 percent. In Japan, it is expected to hit a whopping 237 percent.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/21-signs-that-the-global-economic-crisis-is-about-to-go-to-a-whole-new-level

Greece Is Not Poor - It Actually Has Massive Uptapped Reserves Of Gold, Oil And Natural Gas

It turns out that the poster child for the European debt crisis is not actually poor at all. In fact, the truth is that the nation of Greece is sitting on absolutely massive untapped reserves of gold, oil and natural gas. If the Greeks were to fully exploit the natural resources that are literally right under their feet, they would no longer have any debt problems. Fortunately, this recent economic crisis has spurred them to action and it is now being projected that Greece will be the number one gold producer in Europe by 2016. In addition, Greece is now opening up exploration of their massive oil and natural gas deposits. Reportedly, Greece is sitting on hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and gigantic natural gas deposits that are worth trillions of dollars. It is truly sad that Greece should be one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe but instead the country is going through the worst economic depression that it has experienced in modern history. It is kind of like a homeless man that sleeps on the streets every night without realizing that a relative has left him an inheritance worth millions of dollars. Greece is not poor at all, and hopefully the people of Greece can learn the truth about all of this wealth and chart a course out of this current mess.

I have written extensively about the nightmarish economic conditions that Greece is experiencing right now. Just check out this article, this article and this article. Since the depression began in Greece, the Greek economy has contracted by more than 20 percent. In April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only 11.8 percent. Since then it has skyrocketed to 25.1 percent.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/greece-is-not-poor-it-actually-has-massive-uptapped-reserves-of-gold-oil-and-natural-gas

The Last Days Of America? 25 Signs Of Extreme Social Decay

So are these the last days of America? The following are 25 signs of extreme social decay....

#1 We have come to accept that it is "normal" that security goons should be allowed to touch the private parts of our women and our children in the name of "national security". Just check out the ordeal that conservative radio host and Breitbart editor Dana Loesch suffered through recently at the hands of the TSA...

They performed the regular pat-down and then the agent informed me that she would be using the front of her hands to "sweep" my groin. She pressed and swept across my crotch three times horizontally and three times vertically. In any other circumstance this would be sexual assault.

The agents themselves were friendly and smiled, yet I was still denied a public screening and no witness of my own present for the screening itself (a second agent was in the room at the time). I had no reason to be angry with the agents themselves, yet I was angry, and still am, at the regulations which require them to routinely violate men, women, and children in the name of a false sense of security.

#2 Police up in New Jersey say that a man kept his girlfriend padlocked in a bedroom for most of the last 10 years.

#3 It is hard to imagine some of the sick things that people do behind closed doors. Down in Florida, one former medical examiner was apparently collecting human body parts...

In what could be described as an episode of “Auction Hunters” turned reality horror show, authorities in Pensacola are investigating after finding human brains, hearts and lungs in a storage unit they say belonged to a former medical examiner.

Someone bought the storage unit at an auction last week and noticed a foul smell as they were sifting through furniture and boxes.

Officials at the medical examiner’s office in Pensacola say the remains of more than 100 people were found crudely stored in Tupperware containers, garbage bags and drink cups.

#4 A former fifth grade teacher down in Atlanta has admitted that she helped her students cheat because they were "dumb as hell".

#5 Many debt collectors are willing to say absolutely despicable things in order to collect debts. One debt collector recently told a disabled military veteran that if he would have "served our country better" he would not be disabled and that he "should have died"...

“If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off Social Security while the rest of us honest Americans work our asses off,” one of the agency’s debt collectors allegedly told the vet. “Too bad, you should have died.”

Michael Collier was declared 100 per cent disabled after suffering permanent spine and head injuries while in the Army. As a result, both Collier and his wife receive disability payments from the federal Social Security Administration, which are exempt from seizure by debt collectors.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-last-days-of-america-25-signs-of-extreme-social-decay

55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know

The following are 55 facts about the debt and U.S. government finances that every American voter should know....

#1 While Barack Obama has been president, the U.S. government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in.

#2 During the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. government took in 2.449 trillion dollars but it spent 3.538 trillion dollars.

#3 During fiscal year 2011, over a trillion dollars of government money was spent on 83 different welfare programs, and those numbers do not even include Social Security or Medicare.

#4 Over the past four years, welfare spending has increased by 32 percent. In inflation-adjusted dollars, spending on those programs has risen by 378 percent over the past 30 years. At this point, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Once again, these figures do not even include Social Security or Medicare.

#5 Over the past year, the number of Americans getting a free cell phone from the federal government has grown by 43 percent. Now more than 16 million Americans are enjoying what has come to be known as an "Obamaphone".

#6 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, about 32 million Americans were on food stamps. Now, nearly 47 million Americans are on food stamps. And this has happened during what Obama refers to as "an economic recovery".

#7 The U.S. government recently spent 27 million dollars on pottery classes in Morocco.

#8 The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently spent $300,000 to encourage Americans to eat caviar at a time when more families than ever are having a really hard time just trying to put any food on the table at all.

#9 During 2012, the National Science Foundation spent $516,000 to support the creation of a video game called "Prom Week", which apparently simulates "all the social interactions of the event."

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/55-facts-about-the-debt-and-u-s-government-finances-that-every-american-voter-should-know

What If We Adopted A System Where The Banks Did Not Create Our Money?

What if there was a financial system that would eliminate the need for the federal government to go into debt, that would eliminate the need for the Federal Reserve, that would end the practice of fractional reserve banking and that would dethrone the big banks? Would you be in favor of such a system? A surprising new IMF research paper entitled "The Chicago Plan Revisited" by Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof is making waves in economic circles all over the globe. The paper suggests that the world would be much better off if we adopted a system where the banks did not create our money. So instead of a system where more money is only created when more debt is created, we would have a system of debt-free money that is created directly by national governments. There have been others that have suggested such a system before, but to have an IMF research paper actually recommend that such a system be adopted is a very big deal. At the moment, the world is experiencing the biggest debt crisis in human history, and this proposal is being described as a "radical solution" that could potentially remedy some of our largest financial problems. Unfortunately, apologists for the current system are already viciously attacking this new IMF paper, and of course the big banks would throw a major fit if such a system was ever to be seriously contemplated. That is why it is imperative that we educate people about how money really works. Our current system is in the process of collapsing and we desperately need to transition to a new one.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/what-if-we-adopted-a-system-where-the-banks-did-not-create-our-money

18 Startling Quotes About The Incredible Destruction Caused By Hurricane Sandy

The following are 18 startling quotes about the incredible destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy...

#1 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

"The devastation on the Jersey Shore is some of the worst we’ve ever seen. The cost of the storm is incalculable at this point."

#2 MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota

"The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots. As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal."

#3 Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor Dawn Zimmer

"The Hudson River came in and filled half of Hoboken like a bathtub"

#4 Little Ferry resident Leo Quigley

"I looked out and the next thing you know, the water just came up through the grates. It came up so quickly you couldn’t do anything about it. If you wanted to move your car to higher ground you didn’t have enough time"

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/18-startling-quotes-about-the-incredible-destruction-caused-by-hurricane-sandy

Somebody Should Start The 'Stuff Costs Too Much' Party

Stuff costs too much. Seriously. Every time I go to the grocery store these days, I am absolutely horrified by the prices. I try not to buy anything that is not on sale, but the problem is that I am discovering that the new sale prices are the old regular prices. So now paying what used to be "full price" is supposedly a "good deal". The other way that they are trying to hide rising prices is by shrinking package sizes. As if we wouldn't notice that a box of 21 garbage bags is now being sold for the exact same price that a box of 25 garbage bags used to be sold for. It is one of my pet peeves. I feel like I am in the middle of some bizarre movie entitled "The Incredible Shrinking Dollar". Sadly, I am far from alone. There are millions upon millions of American families that are seeing their expenses continue to rise even as their paychecks remain the same. But neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney seems very concerned about inflation. In fact, the Federal Reserve, QE3 and Ben Bernanke were not even mentioned in any of the three presidential debates. So I think that somebody should start the "Stuff Costs Too Much" Party. Inflation is a tax which is destroying the value of each dollar that we hold a little bit more every single day, and the American people deserve to know the truth about what is going on.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/somebody-should-start-the-stuff-costs-too-much-party

The Politicians We Have Chosen Reflect Who We Are As A Nation

The American people have spoken. It is estimated that approximately 6 billion dollars was spent on political campaigns in 2012, and we ended up exactly in the same place that we were before. Barack Obama is still in the White House, the Democrats still have solid control of the U.S. Senate and the Republicans still have solid control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Clearly, the American people want more of the same, and that is really bad news. The path that we have been on will only lead to unprecedented disaster, and now it is abundantly clear that there are not going to be any solutions to our problems on the national level. Not that things would be that much different if we reversed things and gave Republicans control of the White House and the Senate and we gave Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the past several decades, nothing has really seemed to get any better no matter what faces we have sent to Washington. But this time there is really a feeling of "finality" to things. The American people have made their choices, and those choices are going to have consequences. There is no turning back now. The politicians that we have chosen reflect who we are as a nation. It is not just our leaders that have turned their backs on the U.S. Constitution and on the principles that this country was founded upon - the truth is that the majority of the American people have rejected them. We have willingly chosen our destiny, and there are no more excuses.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-politicians-we-have-chosen-reflect-who-we-are-as-a-nation

Share This Massive List Of Post-Election Firings And Layoffs With Everyone You Can

#1 Utah

A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.

The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.

The layoffs are necessary because of the president's "war on coal," the statement said. The slogan is one used frequently during the election by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who was an ardent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

In its statement, UtahAmerican Energy blames the Obama administration for instituting policies that will close down "204 American coal-fired power plants by 2014" and for drastically reducing the market for coal.

#2 Ohio

I work for the oldest and largest health insurer in the state of Ohio in the underwriting department. At 9 a.m.this morning, my department (about 50) were called into a meeting in the executive boardroom. We were informed that due to a provision in the healthcare 'reform' effective 2014 called guarantee issue, our services would no longer be needed, and we were offered severance So Obama got to keep his job, and we lost ours. It is maddening that some tyrant 400 miles away can have such a ruinous effect on peoples lives.

#3 Nevada

A Las Vegas business owner with 114 employees fired 22 workers today, apparently as a direct result of President Obama’s re-election.

“David” (he asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) told Host Kevin Wall on 100.5 KXNT that “elections have consequences” and that “at the end of the day, I need to survive.”

Here’s an excerpt from the interview. Click the audio tab below to hear even more from this compelling conversation:

“I’ve done my share of educating my employees. I never tell them which way to vote. I believe in the free system we have, I believe in the right to choose who they want to be president, but I did explain as a business owner that I have always put my employees first. I always made sure that when I went without a paycheck that [I] made sure they were paid. And I explained that I always put them first and unfortunately I’m at a point where I’m being forced to have to worry about me and my family now and a business that I built from just me to 114 employees.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/share-this-massive-list-of-post-election-firings-and-layoffs-with-everyone-you-can

They Are Going To Make It Nearly Impossible To Pass On A Farm Or A Business To Your Children

If you have a farm or a small business, would you like to pass it on to your children when you die? Well, unless Congress does something, it is going to become much, much harder to do that starting next year. Right now, there is a 5 million dollar estate tax exemption and anything above that is taxed at 35 percent. But on January 1st, the exemption will go down to 1 million dollars and the tax rate will go up to 55 percent. A lot of liberals are very excited about this, because they believe that the government will be soaking wealthy people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. But the truth is that a lot of farms, ranches and small businesses will be absolutely devastated by this change in the tax law. There are many farmers and ranchers out there today that do not make much money but are sitting on tracts of land that are worth millions of dollars. According to the American Farm Bureau, approximately 97 percent of all farms and ranches in the United States would be subject to the estate tax if the exemption was reduced to just a million dollars. That means that the children of these farmers and ranchers would be faced with a very cruel choice when it is time to inherit these farms and ranches. Either they come up with enough money to pay the government about half of what the farm or ranch is worth, or they sell the farm or ranch that may have been in their family for generations. Needless to say, most farm and ranch families do not have that kind of cash lying around. Most of them are just barely making it from year to year. So this change in the tax law is going to greatly accelerate the death of the family farm in America. This is also going to devastate many family-owned small businesses. Many small businesses don't make much money, but they have buildings or land or assets worth millions of dollars. Children that may have wanted to continue the family legacy will be forced to sell because of the massive tax bill that they get from Uncle Sam. This is an insidious cruelty, and it shows just how broken our system has become.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/they-are-going-to-make-it-nearly-impossible-to-pass-on-a-farm-or-a-business-to-your-children

Please Visit The Economic Collapse Bookstore Actions You Should Take Immediately When Markets Get Spooked Aquaponics:The most sustainable and productive way to grow your own food. And it's easy! DIY Plans and Compete Training The Mother of All Financial Bubbles is Just Now Starting to Pop… Click here to learn more. Save ($$$) up to 45% on Premium (non-GMO) Freeze Dried Food today! Soaring Food Prices Could Make You a Fortune Click here for FREE Urgent Strategy Report The #1 MOST valuable item in a crisis... (watch video) 37 Things You Should Hoard: These 37 Items vanish first in a crisis. Here is how to get them before anyone else! Power Companies HATE This! Energy companies are scared that people will learn how to produce free energy for their homes using this unique device. Watch Video! Keep your family safe in the coming collapse: expert tips on how to survive the end of society. Recent Posts 75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe 20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest What In The World Are Barack Obama And John Boehner Thinking? 22 Stats That Prove That There Is Something Seriously Wrong With Young Men In America Society Is Crumbling Right In Front Of Our Eyes And Banning Guns Won’t Help We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America 55 Reasons Why California Is The Worst State In America Sorry Protesters: Your Jobs Are Being Sent To China And They Aren’t Coming Back 15 Signs That The Economy Is Rapidly Getting Worse As We Head Into 2013 Unemployment Is Not Going Down: The Employment Rate Has Been Under 59 Percent For 39 Months In A Row Archives Kindle Help Us Spread The News By Sharing These Articles With Others: Are Black Friday Riots A Preview Of The Civil Unrest That Is Coming When Society Breaks Down?

If Americans will trample one another just to save a few dollars on a television, what will they do when society breaks down and the survival of their families is at stake? Once in a while an event comes along that gives us a peek into what life could be like when the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is stripped away. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey there was rampant looting and within days people were digging around in supermarket dumpsters looking for food. Sadly, "Black Friday" also gives us a look at how crazed the American people can be when given the opportunity. This year was no exception. Once again we saw large crowds of frenzied shoppers push, shove, scratch, claw, bite and trample one another just to save a few bucks on cheap foreign-made goods. And of course most retailers seem to be encouraging this type of behavior. Most of them actually want people frothing at the mouth and willing to fight one another to buy their goods. But is this kind of "me first" mentality really something that we want to foster as a society? If people are willing to riot to save money on a cell phone, what would they be willing to do to feed their families? Are the Black Friday riots a very small preview of the civil unrest that is coming when society eventually breaks down?

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/are-black-friday-riots-a-preview-of-the-civil-unrest-that-is-coming-when-society-breaks-down

Hungry For The Holidays: 20 Facts About Hunger In America That Will Blow Your Mind

All over America there are millions of people that will be missing meals and going hungry this holiday season. Even as much of the country indulges in the yearly ritual of unbridled consumerism that we refer to as "the holiday season", more families in the United States than ever before will be dealing with not having enough food to eat. Food stamp use is at an all-time high. Demand at food banks is at an all-time high. They keep telling us that we are in an "economic recovery" and yet the middle class continues to shrink and the number of Americans living in poverty just continues to grow. We are witnessing unprecedented hunger in America, and this especially seems tragic during the holidays. Much of the country is partying as if the good times will never stop, but families that are living from one meal to the next are facing a completely different reality. How do you tell your children that there isn't going to be any food to eat for dinner? How do you explain to them that other families have plenty to eat but you don't? Sadly, many food banks are overstretched at this point. All over the nation, food pantries have actually had to turn people away because of the overwhelming demand. And more Americans used food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinners this year than ever before. This is a problem that is not going away any time soon, and when the next major economic downturn strikes the problem of hunger in America is going to get even worse.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/hungry-for-the-holidays-20-facts-about-hunger-in-america-that-will-blow-your-mind

The Giant Currency Superstorm That Is Coming To The Shores Of America When The Dollar Dies

By recklessly printing, borrowing and spending money, our authorities are absolutely shredding confidence in the U.S. dollar. The rest of the world is watching this nonsense, and at some point they are going to give up on the U.S. dollar and throw their hands up in the air. When that happens, it is going to be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy. Right now, we export a lot of our inflation. Each year, we buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and so the rest of the world ends up with giant piles of U.S. dollars. This works out pretty well for them, because the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world and is used in international trade far more than any other currency is. Back in 1999, the percentage of foreign exchange reserves in U.S. dollars peaked at 71 percent, and since then it has slid back to 62.2 percent. But that is still an overwhelming amount. We can print, borrow and spend like crazy because the rest of the world is there to soak up our excess dollars because they need them to trade with one another. But what will happen someday if the rest of the world decides to reject the U.S. dollar? At that point we would see a tsunami of U.S. dollars come flooding back to this country. Just take a moment and think of the worst superstorm that you can possibly imagine, and then replace every drop of rain with a dollar bill. The giant currency superstorm that will eventually hit this nation will be far worse than that.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-giant-currency-superstorm-that-is-coming-to-the-shores-of-america-when-the-dollar-dies

34 Signs That America Is In Decline

The following are 34 signs that America is in decline...

#1 According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011. That is not just a decline - that is a freefall. Just check out the chart in this article.

#2 According to The Economist, the United States was the best place in the world to be born into back in 1988. Today, the United States is only tied for 16th place.

#3 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.

#4 According to the Wall Street Journal, of the 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders, half of them plan to reduce capital expenditures in coming months.

#5 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.

#6 America once had the greatest manufacturing cities on the face of the earth. Now many of our formerly great manufacturing cities have degenerated into festering hellholes. For example, the city of Detroit is on the verge of financial collapse, and one state lawmaker is now saying that "dissolving Detroit" should be looked at as an option.

#7 In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

#8 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/34-signs-that-america-is-in-decline

Wake Up! 11 Facts That Show That Europe Is Heading Into An Economic Depression

The following are 11 facts that show that Europe is heading into an economic depression...

1. The economies of 17 out of the 27 countries in the EU have contracted for at least two consecutive quarters.

2. Unemployment in the eurozone has hit a brand new all-time record high of 11.7 percent.

3. The unemployment rate in Portugal is now up to 16.3 percent. A year ago it was just 13.7 percent.

4. The unemployment rate in Greece is now up to 25.4 percent. A year ago it was just 18.4 percent.

5. The unemployment rate in Spain has hit a brand new all-time record high of 26.2 percent. How much higher can it possibly go? This is already higher than the unemployment rate in the United States ever reached during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

6. Youth unemployment levels in both Greece and Spain are rapidly approaching the 60 percent level.

7. Earlier this month, Moody's stripped France of its AAA credit rating, and wealthy individuals are leaving France in droves as the socialists implement plans to raise taxes to very high levels on the rich.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/wake-up-11-facts-that-show-that-europe-is-heading-into-an-economic-depression

Lock Your Doors And Prepare To Defend Your Family

Do you think that is an alarmist headline? Well, I am not the one saying this. Law enforcement authorities all over the country are telling citizens that they can no longer deal with all the crime and that people need to lock their doors and prepare to defend their families. Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to "lock their doors and load their guns" because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer. The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year, but the city is dealing with bankruptcy and has been forced to lay off 80 police officers. But San Bernardino is not the only city dealing with this kind of a thing. In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year, and to say that there is a "crime wave" going on in Oakland would be a massive understatement. If you can believe it, in Oakland "more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year – translating to about 33 burglaries a day." Sadly, there simply are not enough police to keep up with it all. Due to budget cuts, it is being projected that by February the size of the police force in Oakland will be about 25 percent smaller than it was back in 2008. But what is happening in Detroit is perhaps even more frightening. Today there are about 1,000 fewer police officers in Detroit than there was a decade ago. But crime just continues to rise. So now even the police are telling people to "enter Detroit at your own risk". With very little police protection, an increasing number of citizens are taking matters into their own hands. As I noted in a previous article, justifiable homicide in the city of Detroit increased by 79 percent in 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is approximately 2200 percent above the national average. But don't laugh at what is happening in cities like San Bernardino, Oakland and Detroit. What is happening in those cities will be coming to your community soon enough.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/lock-your-doors-and-prepare-to-defend-your-family

The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets

When financial markets in the United States crash, so does the U.S. economy. Just remember what happened back in 2008. The financial markets crashed, the credit markets froze up, and suddenly the economy went into cardiac arrest. Well, there are very few things that could cause the financial markets to crash harder or farther than a derivatives panic. Sadly, most Americans don't even understand what derivatives are. Unlike stocks and bonds, a derivative is not an investment in anything real. Rather, a derivative is a legal bet on the future value or performance of something else. Just like you can go to Las Vegas and bet on who will win the football games this weekend, bankers on Wall Street make trillions of dollars of bets about how interest rates will perform in the future and about what credit instruments are likely to default. Wall Street has been transformed into a gigantic casino where people are betting on just about anything that you can imagine. This works fine as long as there are not any wild swings in the economy and risk is managed with strict discipline, but as we have seen, there have been times when derivatives have caused massive problems in recent years. For example, do you know why the largest insurance company in the world, AIG, crashed back in 2008 and required a government bailout? It was because of derivatives. Bad derivatives trades also caused the failure of MF Global, and the 6 billion dollar loss that JPMorgan Chase recently suffered because of derivatives made headlines all over the globe. But all of those incidents were just warm up acts for the coming derivatives panic that will destroy global financial markets. The largest casino in the history of the world is going to go "bust" and the economic fallout from the financial crash that will happen as a result will be absolutely horrific.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-coming-derivatives-panic-that-will-destroy-global-financial-markets

From Good Jobs To Bad Jobs To No Jobs - The Tragic Downfall Of The American Worker

There was a time in America when virtually anyone that wanted a job could go out and get one and the United States boasted the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world. Sadly, those days are long gone. Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. But now there are millions of Americans in their prime working years that cannot find a job. Millions of others are working low wage jobs or part-time jobs because that is all they can get. The other day I went to a large retail store and I got into a conversation with the lady who was checking me out. She said that she had worked professional jobs all her life, and that she had taken this job to tide her over as she searched for a new job, but now she had been there for two years with no end in sight. I felt really bad for her, because she was obviously a sharp lady with a lot of skills. But this is the new reality. Good paying manufacturing and professional jobs are being replaced by low paying service jobs. We are transitioning from an economy with plenty of good jobs to an economy with plenty of bad jobs. The next stage in our transition will be to an economy where it seems like there are no jobs for anyone. We are witnessing the tragic downfall of the American worker, and it is heartbreaking.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/from-good-jobs-to-bad-jobs-to-no-jobs-the-tragic-downfall-of-the-american-worker

Show This To Anyone That Believes That Taxes Are Too Low

Just counting federal, state and local income taxes, some Americans will be paying marginal tax rates of over 50 percent in 2013. But like I said, there are a lot of other taxes we pay than just those.

The following are 44 more taxes that at least some average Americans are paying now or will be paying soon other than federal, state and local income taxes...

#1 Building Permit Taxes

#2 Capital Gains Taxes

#3 Cigarette Taxes

#4 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#5 Dog License Taxes

#6 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)

#7 Federal Unemployment Taxes

#8 Fishing License Taxes

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/show-this-to-anyone-that-believes-that-taxes-are-too-low

Wild dolphins reported giving gifts to humans

On 23 occasions over the past several years, wild dolphins were observed giving gifts to humans at the Tangalooma Island Resort in Australia. The gifts included eels, tuna, squid, an octopus and an assortment of many other types of different fin fish. While these gifts might not be your choice for a gift to find underneath your Christmas tree, some of the items that were offered to humans are highly valued food sources for cetaceans such as dolphins. A report describing this rare form of food sharing behavior in wild dolphins was published on December 4, 2012 in the journal Anthrozoƶs: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People & Animals.

Food sharing is a fairly common behavior among animals of the same species, but it is a much rarer phenomenon between animals that are from different species. Perhaps one of the best known examples of inter-species food sharing occurs in domesticated cats that have a tendency to drop prey items at their owner’s feet. Inter-species food sharing in wild animal populations has not been widely documented in the scientific literature.

There has been one observation of inter-species food sharing in false killer whales, a member of the dolphin family (Delphinidae). During an encounter that National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin had in Hawaii, a false killer whale swam up to the photographer, released a large mahi mahi from its mouth and backed away. The photographer accepted the gift then, returned the fish to the whale. I suppose that is proper etiquette if a large cetacean offers you food while you’re in the water with it.

http://earthsky.org/earth/gift-giving-wild-dolphins-to-humans-in-australia

"Tokyo Almost As Irradiated As Fukushima"

We’ve documented the spread of radiation from Fukushima to Tokyo for a year and a half.  See this, this, this, this, this and this.
Unfortunately, as the following recent headlines from Ene News show, things are only getting worse:
  • Tokyo getting 5 times more radioactive fallout than prefectures closer to Fukushima
And we’ve previously noted that the radiation will spread worldwide (by water and air). For example:
A new study says that the West Coast will get slammed with radioactive cesium starting in 2015 

Much, much more here:
http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-12-27/tokyo-almost-irradiated-fukushima

A Canadian Summarizes America's Collapse: "Everyone Takes, Nobody Makes, Money Is Free, And Money Is Worthless"



On this lackluster Boxing Day dominated by illiquid moves in every asset class, we thought a few succinct minutes spent comprehending the US and European government policies of social welfare and their outcomes was time well spent. Canadian MP Pierre Poilievre delivers a rather epic speech destroying the myths of US and European 'wealth' noting that "Once the US citizen is in debt, the US government encourages them to stay in debt," noting that "the US government encouraged millions of Americans to spend money they did not have on homes they could not afford using loans they could never repay and then gave them a tax incentive never to repay it." His message, delivered seamlessly, notes the inordinate rise in the cost of all this borrowing, adding that "through debt interest alone, soon the US taxpayer will be funding 100% of the Chinese Military complex." From Dependence to Debt to the Welfare State and back to Dependence, this presentation puts incredible context on the false hope so many believe in the US and Europe. Must watch.

"By 2020, the US Government will be spending more annually on debt interest than the total combined military budgets of China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Israel."

"Through government spending the indulgence of one is the burden of another; through government borrowing, the excess of one generation becomes the yoke of the next; through international bailouts, one nation's extravagance becomes another nation's debt"

"Everyone takes, nobody makes, work doesn't pay, indulgence doesn't cost, money is free, and money is worthless."

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-26/canadian-summarizes-americas-collapse-everyone-takes-nobody-makes-money-free-and-mon

Blind dog Abby finds her way home in depths of Alaskan winter


When their blind eight-year-old dog went missing from their remote Alaskan home in a heavy snowstorm, the Grapengeter family felt sure they'd never see her again. But after more than a week of searching in temperatures as low as minus 40C, Abby, a brown-and-white mixed-breed whom the Grapengeters rescued from an animal shelter as a puppy, turned up safe and sound at the home of a local vet.

Abby first disappeared from the family's five-acre property near Fairbanks on 13 December. Given she'd gone blind a year ago, McKenzie Grapengeter and her three children held out little hope for her return. But on 23 December they received a call saying Abby had been found more than 10 miles away – and without even a trace of frostbite.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/blind-dog-abby-finds-her-way-home-in-depths-of-alaskan-winter-8431589.html

'Chemical weapons were used on Homs': Syria's military police defector tells of nerve gas attack -- But is it true?

The head of Syria’s military police defected to the opposition, accusing the Assad regime of systematic “murder” and claiming that reports of chemical weapons being used against rebels in the restive city of Homs were true.

Maj-Gen Abdul-Aziz Jassim al-Shallal became one of the highest ranking Syrian military officers to throw their support behind the rebels, accusing forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of turning their weapons on innocent civilians in the now 22-month-long civil war.

“I declare my defection from the army because of its deviation from its fundamental mission to protect the nation and [its] transformation into gangs of murder and destruction,” he said in a video message posted online, reportedly from the Turkish border.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/chemical-weapons-were-used-on-homs-syrias-military-police-defector-tells-of-nerve-gas-attack-8431380.html

Advanced humanoid Roboy to be ‘born’ in nine months

Meet Roboy, “one of the most advanced humanoid robots,” say researchers at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich.

Their 15 project partners and over 40 engineers and scientists are constructing Roboy as a tendon-driven robot modeled on human beings (robots usually have their motors in their joints, giving them that “robot” break-dance look), so it will move almost as elegantly as a human.

Roboy will be a “service robot,” meaning it will execute services independently for the convenience of human beings, as in the movie Robot & Frank.

And since service robots share their “living space” with people, user-friendliness and safety, above all, are of great importance, roboticists point out.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/advanced-humanoid-roboy-to-be-born-in-nine-months

Hollywood studios employees caught pirating films


The US movie industry claims online piracy is costing it billions of dollars in lost revenues. However, data released by TorrentFreak shows “BitTorrent piracy is rampant in Hollywood” where studios employees are busy pirating films.

­“Hollywood isn’t without ‘sin’ when it comes to piracy. The MPAA and others lobby very hard for anti-piracy measures, but can’t even stop piracy in the offices of their own member studios,” Torrentfreak.com reported.

The website dedicated to reporting the latest news and trends on the BitTorrent protocol and file sharing claims “BitTorrent piracy is rampant in Hollywood.”

Torrentfreak published some of the files that Hollywood studios were sharing; starting with Paramount Pictures who’s static IP-addresses were associated with the downloading of a wide variety of content. The indie production “Battle Force” was one of the movies shared, as well as the Lionsgate film “The Hunger Games”. However, the list also included “Happy Feet”, a movie distributed by competitor Warner Bros.

http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/hollywood-studios-pirating-bittorrent-844/