Saturday, November 24, 2012

'United Nations Wants to Use Drones'

Weekly Standard
November 24, 2012


The U.N. wants to use drones, the French news agency Agence France-Presse reports. "The United Nations wants to use drones for the first time to monitor fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where Rwanda has been accused of aiding rebels," says the report, quoting U.N. officials.
United Nations ZP.svg .png
The international body "is considering a range of ways to strengthen the capabilities of MONUSCO to protect civilians from the threat of armed groups in the vast area of eastern DR Congo," a U.N. spokesman says.
"Unarmed aerial vehicles, drones for monitoring the movements of armed groups, are one tool we are considering."
The spokesman, Kieran Dwyer, insists the U.N.'s use of drones would be done carefully.
"Of course, we would do this carefully, in full cooperation with the government of the DR Congo, and trialing their most effective uses for information gathering to help implement our mandate to protect civilians," says the spokesman.
"Ultimately, to introduce these, we would need the support of member states to equip the mission."
An unnamed diplomat says, "The UN has approached a number of countries, including the United States and France, about providing drones which could clearly play a valuable role monitoring the frontier. ... Clearly there will be political considerations though."
It is not clear whether any of the countries have agreed to work with the U.N. on the budding drone program.
According to AFP, this recommendation could be coming to the Security Council soon. "UN leader Ban Ki-moon is to recommend options to the UN Security Council soon," reports AFP.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Worst Economic Numbers In More Than A Year


Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
Nov 16, 2012
With everything else that is going on in the world, a lot of people have failed to notice that we are seeing some of the worst economic numbers that we have seen in more than a year.  For example, it was announced on Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits have hit their highest level in a year and a half.  Hopefully this is just a temporary blip in the data, because initial unemployment claims tend to have a very strong correlation with the overall performance of the economy.  We also continue to see poverty statistics rise.  According to government statistics released earlier this month, the number of Americans living in poverty and the number of Americans on food stamps are both at all-time record highs.  Meanwhile, the Dow and the S&P 500 are both down more than 5 percent since the election and the U.S. government rolled up 22 billion dollars more debt in October 2012 than it did in October 2011.  The unfortunate truth is that things are not getting better.  The U.S. economy continues to become weaker and more unstable, and there are a whole lot of reasons to be very pessimistic about our economic situation as we move into the winter months.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the troubling economic numbers that have been released in recent days…
Initial Claims For Unemployment Benefits
The optimism that many analysts had about jobs is rapidly dissipating.  Over the past few weeks there has been a huge wave of companies announcing layoffs.  Just check out this article and this article.
But now we are actually seeing a significant rise in the number of American workers applying for unemployment benefits.  Initial claims for unemployment benefits soared to 439,000 for the week ending November 10th.  This is the highest level that we have seen in more than a year.  The last time initial claims were this high was April 2011.  It is interesting to note that the largest numbers of new unemployment claims came from the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Record Food Stamp Numbers
In dozens of articles I have carefully documented the steady rise of poverty in America and the steady decline of the middle class.
Even though our politicians insist that we are in the middle of an “economic recovery”, the number of Americans dependent on the government for their very survival just continues to keep going up.
A few days ago, the latest food stamp numbers were released.  It turns out that the number of Americans on food stamps increased by 420,947 from July to August.  That was the largest one month increase that we have seen in a year.  At this point, an all-time record 47.1 million Americansare enrolled in the food stamp program.  What would that look like if all of those people had to actually stand outside in bread lines like in the old days?
Stunning Stock Market Declines
A few days ago, I wrote about how many wealthy Americans are dumping stocks and other financial assets in anticipation of the looming “fiscal cliff”.
Well, if things get much worse we may soon have a “market crash” on our hands.
The Dow and the S&P 500 are both down by more than 5 percent since the election and many are wondering if things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Shares of Apple are down by 25 percent since late September.  Some analysts are actually using the term “panic selling” to describe what is happening to the stock.
Slowing Economic Activity
All over America there are indications that economic activity is starting to slow down.  Is Superstorm Sandy responsible for this, or are there other factors at work?
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, economic activity appears to be contracting in areas that were hit particularly hard by Superstorm Sandy…
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index was minus 5.2 this month after minus 6.2 in October. Readings of less than zero signal contraction in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.
Things appear to be slowing down in the mid-Atlantic region as well.  According to CNBC, manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region has contracted much faster than analysts were projecting…
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index slumped to -10.7 from 5.7 the month before. The fall was much steeper than economists’ expectations for slippage to a reading of 2.0, according to a Reuters poll.
Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.
New Poverty Numbers
More American families are falling out of the middle class every single day.
New numbers that were just released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of Americans living in poverty rose to a new all-time record of 49.7 million last year.
Once upon a time, people would have laughed at you if you suggested that someday 50 million Americans would be living in poverty.
But here we are.
Soaring Government Debt
Anyone that follows my columns on a regular basis knows that government debt is one of my major pet peeves.
Well, despite all of the “budget deals” that have been made between the Republicans and the Democrats, the amount of debt that we are accumulating just continues to balloon in size.
The federal budget deficit for October 2012 was 120 billion dollars.  That was a huge increase over the October 2011 federal budget deficit of 98 billion dollars.
How long can we possibly continue to do this?
Things In Europe Are Getting Worse Too
In case you had not noticed, the economic situation in Europe continues to unravel as well.  The eurozone is officially in a recession once again, and unemployment in the eurozone is at an all-time record high.  Violent protests and rioting happen on an almost daily basis over in Europe now.  The largest economy on the planet continues to implode right in front of our eyes, and this is another factor that will continue to drag down the U.S. economy.
So is there anyone out there that actually still believes that things are “getting better”?
The brief period of economic stability that we have been experiencing is rapidly coming to an end.  The “recovery” turned out to be extremely disappointing, and now the next major downturn is almost here.


Call to Strip Citizenship of Those Who Sign Secession Petitions

The New American
November 17, 2012




Call to Strip Citizenship of Those Who Sign Secession Petitions
Every day, thousands of citizens of all 50 states add their names to the petitions posted on the White House’s “We, the People” website calling for secession from the union.
The “We, the People” program includes a “create a petition” tab on the White House website. The explanation of the site claims that "if a petition gets enough support" — more than 25,000 signatures within 30 days — the "White House staff will review it, ensure it's sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response." 
Not everyone thinks these people are simply exercising their right of expression, however. There are many — even some conservatives — who consider the act of calling for secession an act of treason.
"We here at RedState are American citizens. We have no plans to secede from the union,” wrote RedState founder Erick Erickson. “If you do, good luck with that, but this is not the place for you."
In response to previous articles written by this reporter, readers have argued that to call for secession is an act of treason and should any elected official propose such a measure, he should be tried for treason and summarily removed from office.
Additionally, a few thousand (as this is being written, on Friday) Americans have signed a competing “We, the People” petition demanding that citizenship be stripped from anyone who has signed one of the secession petitions.
"Mr. President, please sign an executive order such that each American citizen who signed a petition from any state to secede from the USA shall have their citizenship stripped and be peacefully deported," the full petition reads. 
The title of the petition is, "WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Strip the Citizenship from Everyone who Signed a Petition to Secede and Exile Them."
As of this writing, 14,328 people have virtually signed the petition; 10,672 short of the number of signatures required before the issue is eligible to be addressed by the White House.

Top Economic Advisers Forecast World War


Washington’s Blog
November 18, 2012
Kyle Bass, Larry Edelson, Jim Rogers and Marc Faber Predict Widespread War
Kyle Bass writes:
Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusionWe believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.
Larry Edelson wrote an email to subscribers entitled “What the “Cycles of War” are saying for 2013″, which states:
Since the 1980s, I’ve been studying the so-called “cycles of war” — the natural rhythms that predispose societies to descend into chaos, into hatred, into civil and even international war.
I’m certainly not the first person to examine these very distinctive patterns in history. There have been many before me, notably, Raymond Wheeler, who published the most authoritative chronicle of war ever, covering a period of 2,600 years of data.
However, there are very few people who are willing to even discuss the issue right now. And based on what I’m seeing, the implications could be absolutely huge in 2013.
Why are these economic gurus forecasting war?
For one thing, many influential people wrongly believe that war is good for the economy.
In addition, Jim Rogers says:
If it turns into a trade war, it is the most momentous thing of 2011,” said Rogers. “Trade wars always lead to wars. Nobody wins trade wars, except general who end up fighting the physical wars when they happen. This is very dangerous.
Rogers also explains:
A continuation of bailouts in Europe could ultimately spark another world war, says international investor Jim Rogers.
***
“Add debt, the situation gets worse, and eventually it just collapses. Then everybody is looking for scapegoats. Politicians blame foreigners, and we’re in World War II or World War whatever.”
And Marc Faber says that the American government will start new wars in response to the economic crisis:
Faber also believes the U.S., China and Russia may go to war over Mideast oil.

Video Report: Giant Middle East War Looming


Infowars.com
November 18, 2012
As the exploding conflict between Gaza and Israel intensifies, it’s important to point out this is being done intentionally to bankrupt nations and to further increase dependency on foreign banks.

'Shadow Banking' Still Thrives, System Hits $67 Trillion

CNBC
November 18, 2012



The system of so-called "shadow banking," blamed by some for aggravating the global financial crisis, grew to a new high of $67 trillion globally last year, a top regulatory group said, calling for tighter control of the sector.

A report by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on Sunday appeared to confirm fears among policymakers that shadow banking is set to thrive, beyond the reach of a regulatory net tightening around traditional banks and banking activities.

The FSB, a task force from the world's top 20 economies, also called for greater regulatory control of shadow banking.

"The FSB is of the view that the authorities' approach to shadow banking has to be a targeted one," the group wrote in a report, noting the current lax regulation of the sector.

"The objective is to ensure that shadow banking is subject to appropriate oversight and regulation to address bank-like risks to financial stability," it said.

Officials at the European Commission in Brussels also see closer oversight of the sector as important in preventing a repeat of the financial crisis that has toppled banks over the past five years and rocked the euro zone.

The study by the FSB said shadow banking around the world more than doubled to $62 trillion in the five years to 2007 before the crisis struck.

But the size of the total system had grown to $67 trillion in 2011 — more than the total economic output of all the countries in the study.

The multitrillion-dollar activities of hedge funds and private equity companies are often cited as examples of shadow banking

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