Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age

Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age
11.01.2009 Source: Pravda.Ru URL: http://english.pravda.ru/science/earth/106922-earth_ice_age-0

The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years.

Ice cores, ocean sediment cores, the geologic record, and studies of ancient plant and animal populations all demonstrate a regular cyclic pattern of Ice Age glacial maximums which each last about 100,000 years, separated by intervening warm interglacials, each lasting about 12,000 years.

Most of the long-term climate data collected from various sources also shows a strong correlation with the three astronomical cycles which are together known as the Milankovich cycles. The three Milankovich cycles include the tilt of the earth, which varies over a 41,000 year period; the shape of the earth’s orbit, which changes over a period of 100,000 years; and the Precession of the Equinoxes, also known as the earth’s ‘wobble’, which gradually rotates the direction of the earth’s axis over a period of 26,000 years. According to the Milankovich theory of Ice Age causation, these three astronomical cycles, each of which effects the amount of solar radiation which reaches the earth, act together to produce the cycle of cold Ice Age maximums and warm interglacials.

Elements of the astronomical theory of Ice Age causation were first presented by the French mathematician Joseph Adhemar in 1842, it was developed further by the English prodigy Joseph Croll in 1875, and the theory was established in its present form by the Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovich in the 1920s and 30s. In 1976 the prestigious journal “Science” published a landmark paper by John Imbrie, James Hays, and Nicholas Shackleton entitled “Variations in the Earth’s orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages,” which described the correlation which the trio of scientist/authors had found between the climate data obtained from ocean sediment cores and the patterns of the astronomical Milankovich cycles. Since the late 1970s, the Milankovich theory has remained the predominant theory to account for Ice Age causation among climate scientists, and hence the Milankovich theory is always described in textbooks of climatology and in encyclopaedia articles about the Ice Ages.

In their 1976 paper Imbrie, Hays, and Shackleton wrote that their own climate forecasts, which were based on sea-sediment cores and the Milankovich cycles, “… must be qualified in two ways. First, they apply only to the natural component of future climatic trends – and not to anthropogenic effects such as those due to the burning of fossil fuels. Second, they describe only the long-term trends, because they are linked to orbital variations with periods of 20,000 years and longer. Climatic oscillations at higher frequencies are not predicted… the results indicate that the long-term trend over the next 20,000 years is towards extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation and cooler climate.”

During the 1970s the famous American astronomer Carl Sagan and other scientists began promoting the theory that ‘greenhouse gasses’ such as carbon dioxide, or CO2, produced by human industries could lead to catastrophic global warming. Since the 1970s the theory of ‘anthropogenic global warming’ (AGW) has gradually become accepted as fact by most of the academic establishment, and their acceptance of AGW has inspired a global movement to encourage governments to make pivotal changes to prevent the worsening of AGW.

The central piece of evidence that is cited in support of the AGW theory is the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph which was presented by Al Gore in his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth.” The ‘hockey stick’ graph shows an acute upward spike in global temperatures which began during the 1970s and continued through the winter of 2006/07. However, this warming trend was interrupted when the winter of 2007/8 delivered the deepest snow cover to the Northern Hemisphere since 1966 and the coldest temperatures since 2001. It now appears that the current Northern Hemisphere winter of 2008/09 will probably equal or surpass the winter of 2007/08 for both snow depth and cold temperatures.

The main flaw in the AGW theory is that its proponents focus on evidence from only the past one thousand years at most, while ignoring the evidence from the past million years — evidence which is essential for a true understanding of climatology. The data from paleoclimatology provides us with an alternative and more credible explanation for the recent global temperature spike, based on the natural cycle of Ice Age maximums and interglacials.

In 1999 the British journal “Nature” published the results of data derived from glacial ice cores collected at the Russia’s Vostok station in Antarctica during the 1990s. The Vostok ice core data includes a record of global atmospheric temperatures, atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and airborne particulates starting from 420,000 years ago and continuing through history up to our present time.

The graph of the Vostok ice core data shows that the Ice Age maximums and the warm interglacials occur within a regular cyclic pattern, the graph-line of which is similar to the rhythm of a heartbeat on an electrocardiogram tracing. The Vostok data graph also shows that changes in global CO2 levels lag behind global temperature changes by about eight hundred years. What that indicates is that global temperatures precede or cause global CO2 changes, and not the reverse. In other words, increasing atmospheric CO2 is not causing global temperature to rise; instead the natural cyclic increase in global temperature is causing global CO2 to rise.

The reason that global CO2 levels rise and fall in response to the global temperature is because cold water is capable of retaining more CO2 than warm water. That is why carbonated beverages loose their carbonation, or CO2, when stored in a warm environment. We store our carbonated soft drinks, wine, and beer in a cool place to prevent them from loosing their ‘fizz’, which is a feature of their carbonation, or CO2 content. The earth is currently warming as a result of the natural Ice Age cycle, and as the oceans get warmer, they release increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Because the release of CO2 by the warming oceans lags behind the changes in the earth’s temperature, we should expect to see global CO2 levels continue to rise for another eight hundred years after the end of the earth’s current Interglacial warm period. We should already be eight hundred years into the coming Ice Age before global CO2 levels begin to drop in response to the increased chilling of the world’s oceans.

The Vostok ice core data graph reveals that global CO2 levels regularly rose and fell in a direct response to the natural cycle of Ice Age minimums and maximums during the past four hundred and twenty thousand years. Within that natural cycle, about every 110,000 years global temperatures, followed by global CO2 levels, have peaked at approximately the same levels which they are at today.

Today we are again at the peak, and near to the end, of a warm interglacial, and the earth is now due to enter the next Ice Age. If we are lucky, we may have a few years to prepare for it. The Ice Age will return, as it always has, in its regular and natural cycle, with or without any influence from the effects of AGW.

The AGW theory is based on data that is drawn from a ridiculously narrow span of time and it demonstrates a wanton disregard for the ‘big picture’ of long-term climate change. The data from paleoclimatology, including ice cores, sea sediments, geology, paleobotany and zoology, indicate that we are on the verge of entering another Ice Age, and the data also shows that severe and lasting climate change can occur within only a few years. While concern over the dubious threat of Anthropogenic Global Warming continues to distract the attention of people throughout the world, the very real threat of the approaching and inevitable Ice Age, which will render large parts of the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable, is being foolishly ignored.

Gregory F. Fegel

Gunmen throw grenade at Mexican TV station

Gunmen throw grenade at Mexican TV station

Reuters
January 7, 2009

MONTERREY, Mexico, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Gunmen threw a grenade and opened fire outside a television news station during its evening broadcast in Mexico on Tuesday and left a message warning journalists from reporting on drug war violence.

Gunmen hurled the grenade at the regional studios of Mexico’s top broadcaster Grupo Televisa in the northern city of Monterrey during the evening news show, the station’s reporters said live on the air.

No one was hurt in the attack, believed to be the first against a TV station in Mexico, and in which the gunmen sprayed one of the complex’s outside doors with bullets. The grenade exploded in a studio workshop used to build sets.

Gunmen also left a handwritten message on a car bumper near the studio that read: “Stop reporting just on us. Report on the narco’s political leaders,” in a apparent reference to the Mexican government.

U.S. debt approaches insolvency

U.S. debt approaches insolvency

Asia News
December 20, 2008

In the United States, the danger of debt insolvency is growing, putting at risk the currency reserves of foreign countries, China chief among them. According to new figures published by Bloomberg in recent days (Nov. 25, 2008 [1]), the American government has employed a total of 8.549 trillion dollars to stop the financial crisis. This means a total of about 24-25.4 trillion dollars of direct or indirect public debt weighing on American taxpayers. The complete tally must also include the debt – about 5-6 trillion dollars – of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are now quasi-public companies, because 79.9% of their capital is controlled by a public entity, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which manages them as a public conservatorship.

In 2007, public debt in the United States was 10.6 trillion dollars, compared to a GDP (gross domestic product) of 13.811 trillion dollars. In just one year, direct and indirect public debt have grown to more than 100% of GDP, reaching 176.9% to 184.2%. These percentages exclude the debt guaranteed by policies underwritten by AIG, also nationalized, and liabilities for health spending (Medicaid and Medicare) and pensions (Social Security)[2]. By way of comparison, the Maastricht accords require member states of the European Union (EU) to reduce their public debt to no more than 60% of GDP. Again by way of comparison, in one of the EU countries with the largest public debt, Italy, public debt in 2007 was equal to 104% of GDP.

In 2007, 61.82% [3] of America’s public debt was held by foreign investors, most of them Asian. So the U.S. public debt held by nonresident foreigners is equal to about 109.39% (113.86%) of GDP. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, countries with more than 60% of their public debt held by nonresident foreigners run a high risk of currency crisis and insolvency, or debt default. On the historical level, there are no recent examples of countries with currencies valued at reserve status that have lapsed into public debt insolvency. There are also few or no precedents of such a vast and rapid expansion of public debt.

The United States also runs large deficits in its public balance sheet and balance of trade. Families and businesses are also deeply in debt: in 2007, American private debt was equal to a little more than 100% of GDP. At the moment, it is not clear how much of America’s private debt has been “nationalized” with the recent bailouts.

In the early months of next year, when the official data are published, the United States will run a serious risk of insolvency. This would involve, in the first place, a valuation crisis for the dollar. After this, the United States could face a social crisis like that in Argentina in 2001. A crisis in U.S. public debt would likely have a severe impact on the Asian countries that are the main exporters to the United States, China first among them. Chinese monetary authorities, thanks to a steeply undervalued artificial exchange rate, at about 55% of its fair value, have limited imports (including food) and have achieved an export surplus. This has allowed them to accumulate a large stockpile of dollar reserves. In a currency crisis, China risks losing much of the value of its accumulated currency reserves. At the same time, pressure on imports (wheat, other grains, and meat) have led to inflation in the prices of food, the most important expenditure for more than 900 million Chinese. This is nothing more than a small confirmation of the recent statements of the pope, in his message for the World Day for Peace, where the pontiff calls the current financial system and its methods “based upon very short-term thinking,” without depth and breadth (nos. 10-12), preoccupied with creating wealth from nothing and leading the planet to its current disaster. [4]

Depression Hits Detroit: Average home price $18,513 – Unemployment rate 21%

Depression Hits Detroit: Average home price

$18,513 – Unemployment rate 21%

Tribble Ad Agency
Tuesday, Dec 23, 2008

The Great Depression has reached Detroit. The average price of a home is now $18,513 and unemployment has reached 21%, and it’s expected to get worse. Detroit is facing a crisis of epic proportions that officially puts Detroit statistically (and real term) on par with the great depression. Many readers of Tribble Ad Agency are advertising centric.. and due to the rash of layoffs within all Detroit Advertising firms has put the city on the map for the wrong reasons.

It has become the center of all that is wrong with America… and nothing of what is right.

For example, the crime rate has fallen…. because of lack of targets within the city. Meaning there is nothing left to steal. In fact, even the criminals don’t want to leave jail.

Heard confirmed that some offenders, notably those without homes of their own, were now expressing reluctance to leave jail when their sentences were done.

Home values have plummeted to levels not seen in 1/2 a century… and the 21% unemployment has in some cases been projected to double within 12 months if the auto industry totally collapses.

To make matters even worse, Detroit has superseded New Orleans as the “worst city” in America…. but New Orleans had a Hurricane they could assign blame to… Detroit has no such natural disaster crutch.

“It’s a depression — not a recession,” McDuell said, with the authority of someone who has lived through both. “It will get worse before it gets better.”

It’s a man-made disaster.

Regarding a local food bank in Detroit that has seen record numbers of individuals entering the system:

“Many people are first-timers — they have no idea how to navigate the system, how to qualify for food stamps,” Wells said. “Last year, some were donors — now they’re clients.”

In short, last year they donated money into the system… now they are feeding from it because they themselves are in hard financial times.

Detroit needs a miracle, the chances of it showing a resurgence is slim to none in the current economic outlook.

Angry Government Employees Protest Lay Offs

Angry Government Employees Protest Lay Offs

Stuart Pfeifer
Los Angeles Times
December 24, 2008

Faced with a gaping budget deficit, Orange County officials disclosed plans Tuesday to lay off nearly 60 Probation Department employees and to start releasing some juvenile criminal suspects rather than holding them in juvenile hall.

Word of the cutbacks came the same day that 1,000 angry workers stormed the Orange County Hall of Administration to protest previously announced plans to lay off 210 social services employees.

The social services cuts stem from a steep reduction in state funding that county officials said left them with no option but to eliminate jobs. In addition to the layoffs, the county has disclosed plans to require 4,000 social services employees to take two weeks off without pay next year.

Read article

2009 is Going To Be a Bumpy Ride

2009 is Going To Be a Bumpy Ride

George Washington’s Blog
January 5, 2009

Here are my predictions for 2009. If these predictions sound too gloomy and you don’t buy them, bookmark this, and come back to it later in the year to see whether or not it was right.

After a short rally in the stock markets, lasting somewhere on the order of 1 to 4 months after Obama is inaugurated as President, people will realize that Obama’s stimulus plan isn’t going to work.

Specifically, it will become obvious that we’re in a Great Depression, and that nothing that Bushco or Obamaco did can get us out of it (it may take a while longer for people to realize that what both administrations did actually made the financial crisis much worse).

At that point, the stock market will crash like a waterfall. Mish thinks the crash will leave the S&P at 600. Robert McHugh thinks the crash will drive the S&P to 500 or lower (in McHugh’s worst-case scenario, the S&P could end up at 50).

At around the time of the crash, the bubble in long-term treasuries will burst. Retirees and other people who have socked away their money in treasuries will get hit hard.

The government itself will start massively buying its own long-term treasuries.

Obama will institute numerous “emergency measures” to “restore stability”. None of them will be pretty, and none of them will work . . . except to undermine our liberties still further.

Its going to be a bumpy ride.

Note: I am not an investment advisor and this should not be taken as investment advice.

U.S. debt is losing its appeal in China

U.S. debt is losing its appeal in China

Keith Bradsher
International Herald Tribune
January 8, 2009

HONG KONG: China has bought more than $1 trillion in American debt, but as the global downturn has intensified, Beijing is starting to keep more of its money at home – a shift that could pose some challenges to the U.S. government in the near future but eventually may even produce salutary effects on the world economy.

At first glance, the declining Chinese appetite for U.S. debt – apparent in a series of hints from Chinese policy makers over the past two weeks, with official statistics due for release in the next few days – comes at an inopportune time. On Tuesday, the U.S. president-elect, Barack Obama, said Americans should get used to the prospect of “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come” as he seeks to finance an $800 billion economic stimulus package.

Normally, China would be the most avid taker of the debt required to pay for those deficits, mainly short-term Treasury securities. In the past five years, China has spent as much as one-seventh of its entire economic output on the purchase of foreign debt – largely U.S. Treasury bonds and American mortgage-backed securities.

But now, Beijing is seeking to pay for its own $600 billion economic stimulus – just as tax revenue falls sharply as the Chinese economy slows. Regulators have ordered banks to lend more money to small and midsize enterprises, many of which are struggling with slower exports, and Chinese bankers say they are being instructed to lend more to local governments to allow them to build new roads and other projects as part of the stimulus program.

“All the key drivers of China’s Treasury purchases are disappearing,” said Ben Simpfendorfer, an economist in the Hong Kong office of the Royal Bank of Scotland. “There’s a waning appetite for dollars and a waning appetite for Treasuries. And that complicates the outlook for interest rates.”

Fitch Ratings, the credit rating agency, forecasts that China’s foreign reserves will increase by $177 billion this year – a large number, but down sharply from an estimated $415 billion last year.

In the United States, China’s voracious demand for American bonds has helped keep interest rates low for borrowers ranging from the government to home buyers. Reduced Chinese enthusiasm for buying those bonds takes away some of this dampening effect.

But with U.S. interest rates still at very low levels after recent cuts to stimulate the economy, it is quite cheap for the U.S. Treasury to raise capital now. And there seem to be no shortage of buyers for Treasury bonds and other debt instruments: Prices for U.S. debt have soared as yields have declined.

The long-term effects of this shift in capital flows – with China keeping more of its money home and the U.S. economy becoming less dependent on one lender – are unclear, but the phenomenon is something economists have said is long overdue.

What is clear is that the effect of the global downturn on China’s finances has been drastic. As recently as 2007, tax revenue soared 32 percent, as factories across China ran flat out. But by November, government revenue had actually dropped 3 percent from a year earlier. That prompted Finance Minister Xie Xuren to warn Monday that 2009 would be “a difficult fiscal year.”

A senior central bank official mentioned last month that China’s $1.9 trillion in foreign exchange reserves had actually begun to shrink. The reserves – mainly bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury and by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance companies – had been rising quickly ever since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

The strength of the dollar against the euro in the fourth quarter of last year contributed to slower growth in China’s foreign reserves, said Fan Gang, an academic adviser to China’s central bank, at a conference in Beijing on Tuesday. The central bank keeps track of the total value of its reserves in dollars and a weaker euro means that euro-denominated assets in those reserves are worth less in dollars, decreasing the total value of the reserves.

But the pace of China’s accumulation of reserves began slowing in the third quarter along with the slowing of the Chinese economy, and appears to reflect much broader shifts.

China manages its reserves with considerable secrecy, but economists believe about 70 percent is in dollar-denominated assets and most of the rest in euros. The country has bankrolled its huge reserves by effectively requiring its entire banking sector, which is state-controlled, to hand nearly one-fifth of its deposits over to the central bank. The central bank, in turn, has used the money to buy foreign bonds.

Now the central bank is rapidly reducing this requirement and pushing banks to lend more money instead.

At the same time, three new trends mean that fewer dollars are pouring into China – and as fewer dollars flow into China, the government has fewer dollars to buy American bonds and help finance the U.S. trade and budget deficits.

The first, little-noticed trend is that the monthly pace of foreign direct investment in China has fallen by more than a third since the summer. Multinational companies are hoarding their cash and cutting back on the construction of factories.

The second trend is that the combination of a housing bust and a two-thirds fall in the mainland Chinese stock markets over the past year has resulted in moves by many overseas investors – and even some Chinese – to get money quietly out of the country. They are doing so despite China’s fairly stringent currency controls, prompting the director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Hu Xiaolian, to warn in a statement Tuesday of “abnormal” capital flows across China’s borders; she provided no statistics.

China’s most porous border in terms of money flows is with Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory that has its own internationally convertible currency. So much Chinese money has poured into Hong Kong and been converted into Hong Kong dollars that the territory has had to issue billions of dollars’ worth of extra currency in the past two months to meet the demand, shattering its previous records for such issuance.

A third trend that may further slow the flow of dollars into China is the reduction of its huge trade surpluses.

China’s trade surplus set another record in November, at $40.1 billion. But because prices of Chinese imports like oil are starting to recover while demand remains weak for Chinese exports like consumer electronics, most economists expect China to run trade surpluses closer to $30 billion a month.

That would give China a sizable sum to invest abroad. But it would be considerably less than $50 billion a month that it poured into international financial markets – mainly U.S. bond markets – during the first half of 2008.

“The pace of foreign currency flows into China has to slow,” and therefore the pace of China’s reinvestment of that currency in foreign bonds will also slow, said Dariusz Kowalczyk, the chief investment officer at SJS Markets, a Hong Kong securities firm.

For a combination of financial and political reasons, the decline in China’s purchases of dollar-denominated assets may be less steep than the overall decline in its purchases of foreign assets.

Many mainland Chinese companies are keeping more of their dollar revenues overseas instead of bringing them home and converting them into yuan for deposit in Chinese banks. In essence, they would not show up on the central bank’s books. So, overall Chinese demand for dollars would not be falling as much as the government’s demand for dollars, said Sherman Chan, an economist in the Sydney office of Moody’s Economy.com.

Treasury data from Washington suggest the Chinese government might be allocating a higher proportion of its foreign currency to the dollar in recent weeks and less to the euro. The data also suggest China is buying more Treasuries and fewer bonds from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Figures from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Treasury point to a sharp increase in Chinese holdings of Treasury bonds in October. China passed Japan in September as the largest overseas holder of Treasuries, and took a commanding lead in October, with $652.9 billion compared to $585.5 billion for Japan.

But specialists in international money flows caution against relying too heavily on these statistics. They mostly count bonds that the Chinese government has bought directly, and exclude purchases made through banks in London and Hong Kong; with the financial crisis weakening many banks, the Chinese government has a strong incentive to buy more of its bonds directly.

The overall pace of foreign reserve accumulation in China seems to have slowed so much that even if all the remaining purchases were U.S. Treasuries, the Chinese government’s overall purchases of dollar-denominated assets will have fallen, economists said.

But China’s leadership is likely to avoid any complete halt to purchases of Treasuries for fear of looking like it is torpedoing the chances for a U.S. economic recovery at a vulnerable time, said Paul Tang, the chief economist at the Bank of East Asia here.

“This is a political decision,” he said. “This is not purely an investment decision.”

U.S. companies face $409 billion pension deficit: study

U.S. companies face $409 billion pension deficit: study

Reuters
January 8, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Volatile markets have saddled U.S. companies with a $409 billion deficit on pension plans, reversing a $60 billion surplus a year earlier, and will cut into earnings in 2009, consulting firm Mercer said.

As of December 31, pension plans among members of the Standard & Poor’s 1500 had $1.21 trillion of assets and $1.62 trillion of liabilities, Mercer said in a report released on Wednesday. At the end of 2007, pension plan assets totaled $1.66 trillion and liabilities totaled about $1.6 trillion, Mercer said.

The S&P 1500 is a broad portfolio representing large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap segments of the U.S. equity markets.

The shortfall suggests that more companies will have to pump cash into their pension plans to ensure they can meet their commitments to retirees.

Bill Gross: We’ve Got a “Ponzi-Style Economy”

Bill Gross: We’ve Got a “Ponzi-Style Economy”

George Washington’s Blog
January 9, 2009

Bill Gross is managing director of the world’s largest bond fund, Pimco, which manages some $790 Billion Dollars in assets. Pimco also is managing the commercial-paper assets for the Federal Reserve as part of the government’s Commercial Paper Funding Facility program. As such, Pimco is in many ways an insider.

In his January 2009 Investment Outlook, Gross writes that it is not only Madoff who ran a Ponzi scheme, but the entire U.S. economy is a Ponzi-like scheme. He calls it “our Ponzi-style economy”.

This may be obvious to many of us. But the fact that Gross said it is news.

Obama Says Recession Requires Scaling Back Promises

Obama Says Recession Requires Scaling Back

Promises

Edwin Chen
Bloomberg
January 12, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama said reviving the U.S. economy will require scaling back on his campaign promises and personal sacrifice from all Americans.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

“I want to be realistic here, not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace we had hoped,” Obama said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program broadcast this morning. “Everybody’s going to have to give.”

Obama also said in the interview recorded yesterday that he wants stricter guidelines and greater transparency in spending the remaining $350 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Obama takes office Jan. 20 and is pressing Congress to act quickly on a two-year economic stimulus plan of about $775 billion that includes new government spending and tax cuts. As part of his campaign to build support from lawmakers and the public, Obama has been speaking about the economy every day over the past week, warning of a deeper and more prolonged recession without government action.

Bond Bubble Looms

Bond Bubble Looms

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Telegraph
January 12, 2008

They are betting too that debt deflation will overwhelm the effects of near-zero interest rates across the G10 and nullify a £2,000bn fiscal blast in the US, China, Japan, Britain, and Europe.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

Above all, they are betting that the Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke will fail to print enough banknotes to inflate the US money supply, despite his avowed intent to do so.

Yields on 10-year US Treasuries have fallen to 2.4pc – a level that was unseen even in the Great Depression. This is “return-free risk”, said bond guru Jim Grant.

It is much the same story across the world. Yields are 1.3pc in Japan, 3.02pc in Germany, 3.13pc in Britain, 3.26pc in Chile, 3.47pc in France, and 5.56pc in Brazil.

“Get out of Treasuries. They are very, very expensive,” said Mohamed El-Erian, the investment chief at the Pimco, the world’s top bond fund, in a Barron’s article last week.

It is lazy to think that China, Japan, the petro-powers and the surplus states of emerging Asia will continue to amass foreign reserves, recycling their treasure into the US and European bond markets.

Latvians Riot in Response to IMF, Bank Failure


Latvians Riot in Response to IMF, Bank Failure

Infowars
January 13, 2009

Back on December 8, the “center-right” government of the forner Soviet republic Latvia signed an agreement with the IMF, New Europe
reported. “Both sides agreed that the Latvian budget deficit next year
would not be allowed to exceed five percent of the gross domestic
product,” a program that would “require agreement on exceptionally
strong domestic adjustment policies and sizeable external financing, as
well as broad political consensus in Latvia.” It appears that
“consensus” has not arrived. Instead, Latvians have taken to the street.

An Infowars reader reports:

A riot is currently (13.01, around 22:00 EET) taking place in
Riga, the capital city of Latvia. A peaceful demonstration that took
place at Dome Square to convince the current government to resign
gradually turned violent as protesters refused to leave the front of
the parliament building.

Batons were used to clear the entrance to the building, there
are reports of people trying to converse with the police only to be
sprayed with tear gas.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

The Estonian Broadcasting Company reports that the speaker of
the Latvian parliament, Gundars Daudze, has asked the people of Latvia
to be reasonable, because he fears that the actions of the people (e.
g. calling for the government to step down and announce elections
early) might jeopardize the loan package from IMF and financial help
from other countries.

The riot comes after one of the main banks in Latvia, Parex
Banka, failed. Latvia also has a terrible credit expansion rate. The
government has been unable to cut expenses in the public sector or
propose any helpful solutions to the current economic crisis.

Earlier today the Associated Press reported:

Angry demonstrators turned over a police van and set it on fire,
and smashed windows of government buildings in the historic Old Town
district of the capital, Riga. Police used tear gas in an attempt to
disperse the crowd.

The Interior Ministry said several police officers were injured,
but didn’t specify how many. It was not immediately clear if there were
any arrests.

The violence erupted toward the end of a rally of around 10,000
people calling on the president to dissolve Parliament and the
center-right government to resign. The clashes started as some of the
protesters approached the Parliament building.

Latvians are increasingly upset about rising unemployment and
unpopular reforms including tax increases and many blame the government
of Ivars Godmanis for the Baltic country’s economic woes.

Obama is merely a fop for the global elite

Obama is merely a fop for the global elite

Judi McLeod
The August Review
January 13, 2009

Have you ever wondered how capitalism was pushed over the edge of the cliff just six weeks before the American presidential election?

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

According to financial experts, the world, as we know it will change dramatically by the year 2012. People, who provided for their families only three years ago, will be desperately searching for food.

The story of the economic meltdown of 2008 begins and ends with the United Nations and its carefully managed One World Order.

Behind the curtain of this dark chapter in human misery are ogres Maurice Strong and George Soros.

It is both power lust and an all-consuming hatred of the United States of America that elevated this deadly duo to ogre status.

Fortunately for all of those searching for answers, much of their plan for the world, post November 4, 2008 is already mapped out in writing.

Leading economic experts and Strong agree that in 2012 people will be going hungry.

“Strong has worked diligently and effectively to bring his ideas to fruition, He is now in a position to implement them.” (Henry Lamb, The Rise of Global Governance, available at http://www.soverignty.net). “His speeches and writings provide a clear picture of what to expect. In 1991, Strong wrote the introduction to a book published by the Trilateral Commission, called Beyond Interdependence: The Meshing of the World’s Economy and the Earth’s Ecology, by Jim MacNeil. (David Rockefeller wrote the foreword)

U.S. Retail Sales Decline for a Sixth Month

U.S. Retail Sales Decline for a Sixth Month

Bob Willis
Bloomberg
January 14, 2009

Sales at U.S. retailers fell more than twice as much as forecast in December as job losses and the lack of credit led Americans to cut back on everything from car purchases to eating out.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

The 2.7 percent slump marked the sixth straight month of declines, the longest string since comparable records began in 1992, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Labor Department data showed the global collapse in commodities caused prices of goods imported by the U.S. to fall for a fifth month.

Today’s sales figures indicate the hit to spending in the recession is even deeper than estimated, and spurred a sell-off in stocks. The loss of 2.6 million jobs and declining home and stock values are squeezing households, hurting retailers from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to Tiffany & Co., which today said its holiday sales fell 21 percent and cut its earnings forecast.

“There is a major retrenchment going on,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., a New York forecasting firm. “All that policy can do at this stage is cushion this. You can’t short circuit it.”

U.S. military report warns ’sudden collapse’ of Mexico is possible

U.S. military report warns ’sudden collapse’ of

Mexico is possible

Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
January 14, 2009

EL PASO – Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

The command’s “Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)” report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. “In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

“The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.”