Archive for category Economy

“Cluster Of Central Banks” Have Secretly Invested $29 Trillion In The Market

This article was originally published at Zero Hedge

Also posted at oathkeepers.org

Another conspiracy “theory” becomes conspiracy “fact” as The FT reports a cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets.” The report, to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), confirms $29.1tn in market investments, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries, which “could potentially contribute to overheated asset prices.” China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has become “the world’s largest public sector holder of equities”, according to officials, and we suspect the Fed is close behind (courtesy of more levered positions at Citadel), as the world’s banks try to diversify themselves and “counters the monopoly power of the dollar.” Which leaves us wondering where are the central bank 13Fs?

While most have assumed that this is likely, the recent exuberance in stocks has largely been laid at the foot of another irrational un-economic actor – the corporate buyback machine. However, as The FT reports, what we have speculated as fact for many years now (given the death cross of irrationality, plunging volumes, lack of engagement, and of course dwindling credibility of central planners)… is now fact…

Central banks around the world, including China’s, have shifted decisively into investing in equities as low interest rates have hit their revenues, according to a global study of 400 public sector institutions.

“A cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets,” says a report to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (Omfif), a central bank research and advisory group. The trend “could potentially contribute to overheated asset prices”, it warns.

The report, seen by the Financial Times, identifies $29.1tn in market investments, including gold, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries.

China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has become “the world’s largest public sector holder of equities”, as the report argues is “partly strategic” because it “counters the monopoly power of the dollar” and reflects Beijing’s global financial ambitions.

In Europe, the Swiss and Danish central banks are among those investing in equities. The Swiss National Bank has an equity quota of about 15 per cent. Omfif quotes Thomas Jordan, SNB’s chairman, as saying: “We are now invested in large, mid- and small-cap stocks in developed markets worldwide.” The Danish central bank’s equity portfolio was worth about $500m at the end of last year.
Read more here

So there it is… conspiracy fact – Central Banks around the world are buying stocks in increasing size.

To summarize, the global equity market is now one massive Ponzi scheme in which the dumb money are central banks themselves, the same banks who inject the liquidity to begin with.

That would explain this.

That said, good luck with “exiting” the unconventional monetary policy. You’ll need it.

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Barclays Fined For Manipulating Price Of Gold For A Decade; Sending “Bursts” Of Sell Orders

gold

If you haven’t yet realized that ALL financial markets are rigged, it is time you opened your eyes. – Shorty Dawkins, Associate Editor of oathkeepers.org

This article comes from ZeroHedge.com

by Tyler Durden

It was almost inevitable: a week after we wrote “From Rothschild To Koch Industries: Meet The People Who “Fix” The Price Of Gold” and days after “Barclays’ Head Of Gold Trading, And Gold “Fixer”, Is Leaving The Bank“, earlier today the UK Financial Conduct Authority finally formalized what most in the “tin-foil” hat community had known for years, when it announced that it fined Barclays £26 million for manipulating “the setting of the price of gold in order to avoid paying out on a client order.” Furthermore, the FCA confirmed that those inexplicable gold raids which come as if out of nowhere, and slam gold with a vicious force so strong sometime they halt the entire market, had a very specific source: Barclays, whose trader Daniel James Plunkett, born 1976, “sent out a burst of orders aimed at moving the price of the yellow metal.”

This took place for a decade. As the FT reports:

The FCA said Barclays had failed to “adequately manage conflicts of interest between itself and its customers as well as systems and controls failings, in relation to the gold fixing” between 2004 and 2013.

Some further details on Plunkett’s preferred means of manipulating the gold price.

The FCA said Mr Plunkett had manipulated the market by placing, withdrawing and re-placing a large sell order for between 40,000 oz and 60,000 oz of gold bars.

He did this in an attempt to pull off a “mini puke”, which the FCA took to mean a sharp fall in the price of gold. As a result, the bank was not obliged to make a $3.9m payment to the customer under an option contract.

Which is precisely what we have shown many times here for example in “Vicious Gold Slamdown Breaks Gold Market For 20 Seconds“, when a sell order so aggressive comes in it not only takes out the entire bid stack with an intent not for “best execution” but solely to reprice the market lower. Recall from September:

“There was a time when, if selling a sizable amount of a security, one tried to get the best execution price and not alert the buyers comprising the bid stack that there is (substantial) volume for sale. Of course, there was and always has been a time when one tried to manipulate prices by slamming the bid until it was fully taken out, usually just before close of trading, an illegal practice known as “banging the close.” It appears that when it comes to gold, the former is long gone history, and the latter is perfectly legal. As the two charts below from Nanex demonstrate, overnight just before 3 am Eastern, a block of just 2000 GC gold futures contracts slammed the price of gold, on no news as usual, sending it lower by $10/oz. However, that is not new: such slamdowns happen every day in the gold market, and the CFTC constantly turns a blind eye. What was different about last night’s slam however, is that this time whoever was doing the forced, manipulation selling, just happened to also break the market. Indeed: following the hit, the entire gold market was NASDARKed for 20 seconds after a circuit breaker halted trading!
“To summarize: a humble block of 2000 gold futs (GC) taking out the bid stack, and slamming the price of gold, managed to halt the gold market: one of the largest “asset” markets in the world in terms of total notional, for 20 seconds.”

Read more here.

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Kremlin: If The US Tries To Hurt Russia’s Economy, Russia Will Target The Dollar

economic warfareIf the US and NATO Countries impose economic sanctions on Russia, they are playing with fire. The only thing keeping the US economy afloat is the dollar’s status as the world’s Reserve Currency.  – Shorty Dawkins, Associate Editor – Oath Keepers

This article comes to us from testosteronepit.com

Another warning shot was fired before an all-out assault on the dollar system begins. This time, an official shot: Alexey Ulyukaev, Russia’s Minister of Economic Development and former Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank, fired it. It was a major escalation, Valentin Mândrăşescu, editor of The Voice of Russia’s Reality Check, told me from Moscow.

Last time, it was Sergei Glazyev, an advisor to Vladimir Putin who’d fired the shot. But he wasn’t a government official. “Anonymous sources” at the Kremlin claimed he wasn’t speaking for the government. As Mândrăşescu reported in his excellent article, From Now On, No Compromises Are Possible For Russia:
From the economic point of view, everyone should get ready for tough actions from Moscow. Sergei Glazyev, the most hardline of Putin’s advisors, sketched the retaliation strategy: Drop the dollar, sell US Treasuries, encourage Russian companies to default on their dollar-denominated debts, and create an alternative currency system (reference currency) with the BRICS and hydrocarbon producers like Venezuela and Iran.
Unlike radical-sounding Glazyev, Ulyukaev is part of Dmitry Medvedev’s Cabinet. And as former Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, he doesn’t take currencies lightly. He told Rossia-24 news channel about possible retaliatory measures if Washington adds economic sanctions to the political sanctions. Moscow wouldn’t worry too much about political sanctions, he said, but if Washington tries to hurt Russia’s economy, Moscow would retaliate by targeting the US dollar.

Some of it is already happening

Washington’s decision to release a minuscule 5 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve caused the price of oil to tank – a direct attack on the main revenue source of the Russian government, and a sign that Washington is willing to hit where it hurts the most [read a trader’s lament.... Commodity Markets Will Be Used As A Weapon Against The Putin Regime, Starting Now].

Russia instantly retaliated, it seems. Suddenly, there was a mysterious mega-plunge of $104.5 billion in US Treasuries held in custody by the Federal Reserve during the reporting week ended March 12. It brought the balance down to $2.86 trillion. These securities are owned by foreign countries. As of the US Treasury’s December statement, the most recent available, the Fed held $138.6 billion in Treasuries that belonged to Russia – down by $22.9 billion from a year earlier. The mega-plunge of $104.5 billion? No data is available yet to confirm these securities belonged to Russia. And if they did, it’s unlikely that Russia dumped them on the market, but it could have transferred them to another banking center, such as Luxemburg, to get them out of reach of the US government, and be able to dump them at an opportune moment.

Getting out from under the dollar

Russia has been palavering with other countries about initiating alternatives to the dollar. Formal plans emerged from the Kremlin last May on how Russia wanted the BRICS to dismantle the dollar system. So now it was Ulyukaev, an official heavy-weight, who said that Russia would work on increasing the volume of international trade denominated in national currencies, thus bypassing the dollar (translation by Mândrăşescu):

“Why should we have dollar contracts with China, India, Turkey?” he said. “Why do we need this? We must have contracts in national currencies. And this applies to energy and other spheres.” The focus would be on Russian oil and gas companies. “They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries,” he said. “I think now there is an additional impetus to finally finish this job.”

And the “currency reserve policy” would need some adjustment with maximum focus on “local currencies”; it was the normal way, he said. In Mândrăşescu’s analysis, Ulyukaev was outlining an attack on the petrodollar system and the enormous advantages it confers on the US, with the goal of creating parallel petro-currencies.

Media blackout in the US

The warning, issued officially and publicly by a Cabinet member, to target the dollar, has been vigorously ignored by the mainstream media in the US. It’s a touchy subject here. The dollar reigns supreme. Its status as the sole world reserve currency, which has provided the US with enormous economic advantages, remains unquestionable forevermore. Or so wishes the Fed, which has done such a wonderful job of managing the dollar for the last 100 years that it has lost most of its value, though it’s still a heck of a lot better than the ruble.

“I have a suspicion the Western media don’t want to report on this,” Mândrăşescu said. “It could be a bit unpleasant for the S&P 500 and the nanobots trading the US stock market.” Better keep them in the dark.

It took a while. But it had to come, the public warning shot – after some ferocious lobbying behind closed doors. No one in Germany is allowed to get in the way of the sacrosanct exporters. Read…. German Exporters Fire Warning Shot About Russia “Sanction-Spiral,” Banks At Risk

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How War Affects The Cash In Your Pocket And The Food On Your Plate

rationsafeThis article was written by Lizzie Bennett and originally published at Underground Medic

Also posted at oathkeepers.org

I was born in 1960…yes, I know, I sound much younger! Anyway moving swiftly on…

Rationing finally ended in England in 1953, seven years before I was born, but my parents didn’t get over it quite that quickly. I grew up in a house where nothing was wasted, where there was always at least 10 pounds of sugar in the cupboard, nestling alongside tinned meats (plain nasty as I recall) a wide variety of canned fruit and enough canned soup to float a battle ship.

It was even worse down at Gran’s place in the heart of the Devon countryside. Living four miles from the nearest street light let alone shop, and living in a cottage with no running water or mains gas or electricity frugality was the order of the day.

Every bit of string was stored for future use, brown paper from packages folded and pressed in the back of the huge family Bible, and God help you if threw out a newspaper rather than cut it into the required sized sheets for future outhouse use.

Just like at home there was a cupboard so stuffed with tinned foods and home bottled jams, chutneys and pickles we could have survived for months no problems at all, and as they explained to me as I got older, that was the whole point.

My grandparents and my parents lived in fear of further food shortages…and it showed.

Without even knowing it, they were the preppers, the first I came into contact with, so blame them for my obsession with food security.

They remembered the times when money was short, but food was shorter still, when having money in your pocket made no difference to ordinary people. The rich could still get almost anything on the black market, but ordinary working people just couldn’t afford those prices.

For them it was a ration card. They were allocated a certain amount of almost every foodstuff, they got the card stamped when they collected that weeks portion of meat or butter or whatever, and that was it until the following week.

Even clothing was rationed the raw materials were in such short supply. I was raised on make do and mend.

As unscrupulous store owners jacked up the prices to levels unaffordable to the man in the street, working people turned to barter. Those with large gardens, which was far more common then than now, had two vegetable patches, one for the basic needs of the family and a second, the contents of which had been agreed upon by other gardeners as well as the owner of the plot. The idea was to not end up with three tons of carrots and no cabbages. The produce would be swapped when it was harvested, or given to others should the harvesting times not match, in the sure knowledge that you would get your ‘exchange’ veg within a couple of hours of it being dug up.

In rural areas vegetables and fruit, eggs and sometimes cheese is still ‘swapped’ for produce that you don’t have. Informal gardening ‘clubs’ where who grows what is agreed in the school playground or at the local pub are incredibly common outside of the cities and for the most part it works well. I didn’t get much choice this year, as the newcomer to the island and as I will be growing in raised beds I am tasked with producing extra carrots as they do not grow well in the ground here. My reward will be some very nice plums, apples and greengages from another gardeners fruit trees, trees that I don’t have at this point.

The local greengrocer is always ready to take home grown produce that’s surplus to requirements. No money changes hands of course, but a  dozen eggs a week for an agreed amount of time always comes in handy.

War isn’t just about the death and destruction wrought by guns and bombs, though God knows there was enough of that to last many generations of lifetimes. War comes in many forms, and not all of it involves tanks and missiles. War disrupts the general scheme of things, it alters the parameters we live within, in ways you wouldn’t consider.

Our just in time food supply chain for example, is vulnerable to disruption in so many ways. A cyber attack taking out the computer systems that control distribution would cause widespread panic and the storming of supermarkets.  A failure of the power grid, either due to cyber attack, a physical attack or a solar kill shot would cause mayhem in a matter of hours.

There are many ways that war can be waged against an enemy.

Even a conventional war thousands of miles away can exert an effect on the rest of us, more so if major players are involved. Markets usually fall when instability and uncertainty levels are high.  Any economic uncertainty or crisis is magnified, and recoveries are stunted. The price of essential goods start to rise, the money in your wallet buys less each week. More and more people drop below the poverty line, unable to feed their families. Unemployment rises and the state is stretched as the benefits bill increases.

The increasing costs of imported energy, as is the case with Europe getting a full 25% of it’s natural gas from Russia via Ukranian pipelines, results in fuel insecurity, which causes further price hikes. Eventually, the cycle breaks plunging people into fuel poverty.

Fuel, like food starts to be rationed. This leads to a reduction in productivity from industries considered to be non-essential. Anything produced by those companies will only be freely available until the stock holding has gone, and what is available will be sold at higher prices than usual. Once the stock levels have dropped those items will become scarce as the manufacturer works reduced hours due to reduced fuel. Workers will be laid off or face reduced hours, and with that reduced pay.

Petrol and diesel prices will rise quickly, just today oil rose 2% on the volatility in Ukraine.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of what awaits a sizable proportion of the global population in wartime conditions.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking a war half a world away won’t affect you, because one way or another, it will.

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China Starts To Make A Power Move Against The U.S. Dollar

chinadollarThis article was written by Michael Snyder and originally published at The Economic Collapse

Also posted on oathkeepers.org

In order for our current level of debt-fueled prosperity to continue, the rest of the world must continue to use our dollars to trade with one another and must continue to buy our debt at ridiculously low interest rates.  Of course the number one foreign nation that we depend on to participate in our system is China.  China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the planet (including the United States), and most of that trade is conducted in U.S. dollars.  This keeps demand for our dollars very high, and it ensures that we can import massive quantities of goods from overseas at very low cost.  As a major exporting nation, China ends up with gigantic piles of our dollars.  They lend many of those dollars back to us at ridiculously low interest rates.  At this point, China owns more of our national debt than any other country does.  But if China was to decide to quit playing our game and started moving away from U.S. dollars and U.S. debt, our economic prosperity could disappear very rapidly.  Demand for the U.S. dollar would fall and prices would go up.  And interest rates on our debt and everything else in our financial system would go up to crippling levels.  So it is absolutely critical to our financial future that China continues to play our game.

Unfortunately, there are signs that China has now decided to start looking for a smooth exit from the game.  In November, I wrote about how the central bank of China has announced that it is “no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves”.  That means that the pile of U.S. dollars that China is sitting on is not going to get any higher.

In addition, China has signed a whole host of international currency agreements with other nations during the past couple of years which are going to result in less U.S. dollars being used in international trade.  You can read about many of these agreements in this article.

This week, we learned that China started to dump U.S. debt during the month of December.  Many have imagined that China would try to dump a flood of our debt on to the market all of a sudden once they decided to exit, but that simply does not make sense.  Instead, it makes sense for China to dump a bit of debt at a time so that the market will not panic and so that they can get close to full value for the paper that they are holding.

As Bloomberg reported the other day, China dumped nearly 50 billion dollars of U.S. debt during the month of December…

China, the largest foreign U.S. creditor, reduced holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in December by the most in two years as the Federal Reserve announced plans to slow asset purchases.

The nation pared its position in U.S. government bonds by $47.8 billion, or 3.6 percent, to $1.27 trillion, the largest decline since December 2011, according to U.S. Treasury Department data released yesterday.

This is how I would do it if I was China.  I would try to dump 30, 40 or 50 billion dollars a month.  I would try to make a smooth exit and try to get as much for my U.S. debt paper as I could.

So if China is not going to stockpile U.S. dollars or U.S. debt any longer, what is it going to stockpile?

It is going to stockpile gold of course.  In fact, China has been voraciously stockpiling gold for quite some time, and their hunger for gold appears to be growing.

According to Bloomberg, more than 80 percent of the gold that was exported from Switzerland last month went to Asia…

Switzerland sent more than 80 percent of its gold and silver bullion and coin exports to Asia last month, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration said today in an e-mailed report. It imported most from the U.K.

Hong Kong was the top destination at 44 percent on a value basis, with India at 14 percent, the Bern-based customs agency said in its first breakdown of the gold trade data since 1980. Singapore accounted for 8.6 percent of exports, the United Arab Emirates 7.9 percent and China 6.3 percent.

When China imports gold, most of it goes through Hong Kong.  We know that imports of gold from Hong Kong into China are at an all-time record high, but we don’t know exactly how much gold China has accumulated at this point because they quit reporting that to the rest of the world a number of years ago.

When it comes to global finance, China is playing chess and the United States is playing checkers.  China knows that gold is a universal currency that will hold value over the long-term.  As the paper currencies of the world race toward collapse, China could end up holding most of the real money and that would be a huge game changer when they finally reveal that fact…

The announcement of China’s new gold hoard will send shockwaves through the financial markets, and make China and the Chinese yuan (their national currency) even bigger players at the international table.

International banking expert James Rickards compared it to a game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker:

“You want a big pile of chips. The U.S. has a big pile of chips, Europe has a big pile of chips. The U.S. has 8,000 tonnes [metric tons] of gold, 17 members of the euro system have 10,000 tonnes. China at 1,000 tonnes is not a player, but at 5,000 tonnes, they are a player.”

There are some really good points made in the quote above, but I do take exception with a couple of things.  First of all, I believe that China now has far more than 5,000 tons of gold.  Secondly, I seriously doubt that the U.S. still actually has 8,000 tons of gold or that Europe still actually has 10,000 tons of gold.

As China (and eventually the rest of the world) moves away from a U.S.-based financial system, the consequences are going to be dramatic.

For instance, right now the average rate of interest that the U.S. government pays on debt is just 2.477 percent.  That is ridiculously low and it is way below the real rate of inflation.  It is simply not rational for anyone to lend the U.S. government money so cheaply, and at some point we are going to see a dramatic shift.

When that day arrives, interest rates are going to rise dramatically.  And if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rises to just 6 percent (and it has been much higher than that in the past), we will be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

Even more frightening is what a rapidly changing interest rate environment would mean for our banking system.  There are four large U.S. banks that each have exposure to derivatives in excess of 40 trillion dollars.  You can find the identity of those banks right here.  Interest rate derivatives make up the biggest chunk of those derivatives contracts.  As John Embry told King World News just the other day, when that bubble bursts the carnage is going to be unprecedented…

“Stockman brought up a brilliant point, the fact that we have hundreds of trillions of dollars of interest rate swaps, which are polluting the world’s banking system. If we see growing volatility in interest rates, and I think that’s inevitable with what’s going on, that would cause spasms in the financial system. And if something goes wrong in the derivatives market, Heaven help us because the leverage that is imparted to the banking system through these derivatives is unholy.”

Unfortunately, very few of the “experts” will ever see this crash coming.

Very few of them saw it coming in 2000.

Very few of them saw it coming in 2008.

And very few of them will see it coming this time.

I really like what Paul B. Farrell had to say about this…

Early warnings of a crash are dismissed over and over (”just a temporary correction”). They gradually numb us about the inevitable. Time after time we forget history’s lessons. Until finally a big surprise catches us totally off-guard. Financial historian Niall Ferguson put it this way: Before the crash, our world seems almost stationary, deceptively so, balanced, at a set point. So that when the crash finally hits — as inevitably it will — everyone seems surprised. And our brains keep telling us it’s not time for a crash.

Till then, life just goes along quietly, hypnotizing us, making us vulnerable, till a shocker like Lehman Brothers upsets the balance. Then, says Ferguson, the crash is “accelerating suddenly, like a sports car … like a thief in the night.” It hits. Shocks us wide awake.

Don’t let the upcoming crash take you by surprise.

The warning signs are very clear.

Get ready while you still can.

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15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start Soaring

drought-monitor-mapThis article was written by Michael Snyder and originally published at The Economic Collapse

Also posted at oathkeepers.org

Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951?  Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that “food prices soar as incomes stand still“, but the truth is that this is only just the beginning.  If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere.  Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be “disaster areas”, and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.  Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do).  As you will read about below, one expert recently told National Geographic that throughout history it has been quite common for that region of North America to experience severe droughts that last for decades.  In fact, one drought actually lasted for about 200 years.  So there is the possibility that the drought that has begun in the state of California may not end during your entire lifetime.

This drought has gotten so bad that it is starting to get national attention.  Barack Obama visited the Fresno region on Friday, and he declared that “this is going to be a very challenging situation this year, and frankly, the trend lines are such where it’s going to be a challenging situation for some time to come.”

According to NBC News, businesses across the region are shutting down, large numbers of workers are leaving to search for other work, and things are already so bad that it “calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s“…

In the state’s Central Valley — where nearly 40 percent of all jobs are tied to agriculture production and related processing — the pain has already trickled down. Businesses across a wide swath of the region have shuttered, casting countless workers adrift in a downturn that calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

If you will recall, there have been warnings that Dust Bowl conditions were going to return to the western half of the country for quite some time.

Now the mainstream media is finally starting to catch up.

And of course these extremely dry conditions are going to severely affect food prices.  The following are 15 reasons why your food bill is going to start soaring…

#1 2013 was the driest year on record for the state of California, and 2014 has been exceptionally dry so far as well.

#2 According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 91.6 percent of the entire state of California is experiencing “severe to exceptional drought” even as you read this article.

#3 According to CNBC, it is being projected that California farmers are going to let half a million acres of farmland sit idle this year because of the crippling drought.

#4 Celeste Cantu, the general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, says that this drought could have a “cataclysmic” impact on food prices…

Given that California is one of the largest agricultural regions in the world, the effects of any drought, never mind one that could last for centuries, are huge. About 80 percent of California’s freshwater supply is used for agriculture. The cost of fruits and vegetables could soar, says Cantu. “There will be cataclysmic impacts.”

#5 Mike Wade, the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, recently explained which crops he believes will be hit the hardest…

Hardest hit would be such annual row crops as tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, cantaloupes, garlic, peppers and corn. Wade said consumers can also expect higher prices and reduced selection at grocery stores, particularly for products such as almonds, raisins, walnuts and olives.

#6 As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  Just consider the following statistics regarding what percentage of our produce is grown in the state…

-99 percent of the artichokes

-44 percent of asparagus

-two-thirds of carrots

-half of bell peppers

-89 percent of cauliflower

-94 percent of broccoli

-95 percent of celery

-90 percent of the leaf lettuce

-83 percent of Romaine lettuce

-83 percent of fresh spinach

-a third of the fresh tomatoes

-86 percent of lemons

-90 percent of avocados

-84 percent of peaches

-88 percent of fresh strawberries

-97 percent of fresh plums

#7 Of course it isn’t just agriculture which will be affected by this drought.  Just consider this chilling statement by Tim Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies…

“There are places in California that if we don’t do something about it, tens of thousands of people could turn on their water faucets and nothing would come out.”

#8 The Sierra Nevada snowpack is only about 15 percent of what it normally is.  As the New York Times recently explained, this is going to be absolutely devastating for Californians when the warmer months arrive…

Experts offer dire warnings. The current drought has already eclipsed previous water crises, like the one in 1977, which a meteorologist friend, translating into language we understand as historians, likened to the “Great Depression” of droughts. Most Californians depend on the Sierra Nevada for their water supply, but the snowpack there was just 15 percent of normal in early February.

#9 The underground aquifers that so many California farmers depend upon are being drained at a staggering rate

Pumping from aquifers is so intense that the ground in parts of the valley is sinking about a foot a year. Once aquifers compress, they can never fill with water again. It’s no surprise Tom Willey wakes every morning with a lump in his throat. When we ask which farmers will survive the summer, he responds quite simply: those who dig the deepest and pump the hardest.

#10 According to an expert interviewed by National Geographic, the current drought in the state of California could potentially last for 200 years or more as some mega-droughts in the region have done in the past…

California is experiencing its worst drought since record-keeping began in the mid 19th century, and scientists say this may be just the beginning. B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California at Berkeley, thinks that California needs to brace itself for a megadrought—one that could last for 200 years or more.

#11 Much of the western U.S. has been exceedingly dry for an extended period of time, and this is hurting huge numbers of farmers and ranchers all the way from Texas to the west coast…

The western United States has been in a drought that has been building for more than a decade, according to climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“Ranchers in the West are selling off their livestock,” Patzert said. “Farmers all over the Southwest, from Texas to Oregon, are fallowing in their fields because of a lack of water. For farmers and ranchers, this is a painful drought.”

#12 The size of the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951.  But our population has more than doubled since then.

#13 Extremely unusual weather patterns are playing havoc with crops all over the planet right now.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Lizzie Bennett

Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia have experienced rainfall heavy enough to flood fields and rot crops where they stand. Volcanic eruptions in Ecuador are also creating problems due to cattle ingesting ash with their feed leading to a slow and painful death.

Parts of Australia have been in drought for years affecting cattle and agricultural production.

Rice production in China has been affected by record low temperatures.

Large parts of the UK are underwater, and much of that water is sea water which is poisoning the soil. So wet is the UK that groundwater is so high it is actually coming out of the ground and adding to the water from rivers and the sea. With the official assessment being that groundwater flooding will continue until MAY, and that’s if it doesn’t rain again between now and then. The River Thames is 65 feet higher than normal in some areas, flooding town after town as it heads to the sea.

#14 As food prices rise, our incomes are staying about the same.  The following is from a CBS News article entitled “Food prices soar as incomes stand still“…

While the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011, chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent, making it a holiday when it’s on sale.

#15 As I have written about previously, median household income has fallen for five years in a row.  So average Americans are going to have to make their food budgets stretch more than they ever have before as this drought drags on.

If the drought does continue to get worse, small agricultural towns all over California are going to die off.

For instance, consider what is already happening to the little town of Mendota

The farms in and around Mendota are dying of thirst. The signs are everywhere. Orchards with trees lying on their sides, as if shot. Former farm fields given over to tumbleweeds. Land and cattle for sale, cheap.

Large numbers of agricultural workers continue to hang on, hoping that somehow there will be enough work for them.  But as Evelyn Nieves recently observed, panic is starting to set in…

Off-season, by mid-February, idled workers are clearly anxious. Farmworkers and everyone else who waits out the winter for work (truckers, diesel providers, packing suppliers and the like) are nearing the end of the savings they squirrel away during the season. The season starts again in March, April at the latest, but no one knows who will get work when the season begins, or how much.

People are scared, panicked even.

I did not write this article so that you would panic.

Yes, incredibly hard times are coming.  If you will recall, the 1930s were also a time when the United States experienced extraordinarily dry weather conditions and a tremendous amount of financial turmoil.  We could very well be entering a similar time period.

Worrying about this drought is not going to change anything.  Instead of worrying, we should all be doing what we can to store some things up while food is still relatively cheap.  Our grandparents and our great-grandparents that lived during the days of the Great Depression knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry, and it would be wise to follow their examples.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  The United States has never faced anything like this during most of our lifetimes.  We need to shake people out of their “normalcy bias” and get them to understand that big changes are coming.

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After 100 Years Of Failure, It’s Time To End The Fed!

Federal Reserve 1This article was written by Ron Paul and originally published at Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk

Also posted on oathkeepers.org

A week from now, the Federal Reserve System will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. Resulting from secret negotiations between bankers and politicians at Jekyll Island, the Fed’s creation established a banking cartel and a board of government overseers that has grown ever stronger through the years. One would think this anniversary would elicit some sort of public recognition of the Fed’s growth from a quasi-agent of the Treasury Department intended to provide an elastic currency, to a de facto independent institution that has taken complete control of the economy through its central monetary planning. But just like the Fed’s creation, its 100th anniversary may come and go with only a few passing mentions.

Like many other horrible and unconstitutional pieces of legislation, the bill which created the Fed, the Federal Reserve Act, was passed under great pressure on December 23, 1913, in the waning moments before Congress recessed for Christmas with many Members already absent from those final votes. This underhanded method of pressuring Congress with such a deadline to pass the Federal Reserve Act would provide a foreshadowing of the Fed’s insidious effects on the US economy—with actions performed without transparency.

Ostensibly formed with the goal of preventing financial crises such as the Panic of 1907, the Fed has become increasingly powerful over the years. Rather than preventing financial crises, however, the Fed has constantly caused new ones. Barely a few years after its inception, the Fed’s inflationary monetary policy to help fund World War I led to the Depression of 1920. After the economy bounced back from that episode, a further injection of easy money and credit by the Fed led to the Roaring Twenties and to the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in American history.

But even though the Fed continued to make the same mistakes over and over again, no one in Washington ever questioned the wisdom of having a central bank. Instead, after each episode the Fed was given more and more power over the economy. Even though the Fed had brought about the stagflation of the 1970s, Congress decided to formally task the Federal Reserve in 1978 with maintaining full employment and stable prices, combined with constantly adding horrendously harmful regulations. Talk about putting the inmates in charge of the asylum!

Now we are reaping the noxious effects of a century of loose monetary policy, as our economy remains mired in mediocrity and utterly dependent on a stream of easy money from the central bank. A century ago, politicians failed to understand that the financial panics of the 19th century were caused by collusion between government and the banking sector. The government’s growing monopoly on money creation, high barriers to entry into banking to protect politically favored incumbents, and favored treatment for government debt combined to create a rickety, panic-prone banking system. Had legislators known then what we know now, we could hope that they never would have established the Federal Reserve System.

Today, however, we do know better. We know that the Federal Reserve continues to strengthen the collusion between banks and politicians. We know that the Fed’s inflationary monetary policy continues to reap profits for Wall Street while impoverishing Main Street. And we know that the current monetary regime is teetering on a precipice. One hundred years is long enough. End the Fed.

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During The Best Period Of Economic Growth In U.S. History There Was No Income Tax And No Federal Reserve

railroads

Time for a little history lesson. Yes, there was a time before the Federal Reserve and the Income Tax, and America prospered! – Shorty Dawkins, Associate Editor

This article comes from The Economic Collapse.

Also posted at oathkeepers.org.

by Michael Snyder

How would America ever survive without the central planners in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve?  What in the world would we do if there was no income tax and no IRS?  Could the U.S. economy possibly keep from collapsing under such circumstances?  The mainstream media would have us believe that unless we have someone “to pull the levers” our economy would descend into utter chaos, but the truth is that the best period of economic growth in U.S. history occurred during a time when there was no income tax and no Federal Reserve.  Between the Civil War and 1913, the U.S. economy experienced absolutely explosive growth.  The free market system thrived and the rest of the world looked at us with envy.  The federal government was very limited in size, there was no income tax for most of that time and there was no central bank.  To many Americans, it would be absolutely unthinkable to have such a society today, but it actually worked very, very well.  Without the inventions and innovations that came out of that period, the world would be a far different place today.

It is amazing what can happen when the government just gets out of the way.  Check out all of the wonderful things that Wikipedia says happened for the U.S. economy during those years…

“The rapid economic development following the Civil War laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. industrial economy. By 1890, the USA leaped ahead of Britain for first place in manufacturing output.

An explosion of new discoveries and inventions took place, a process called the “Second Industrial Revolution.” Railroads greatly expanded the mileage and built stronger tracks and bridges that handled heavier cars and locomotives, carrying far more goods and people at lower rates. Refrigeration railroad cars came into use. The telephone, phonograph, typewriter and electric light were invented. By the dawn of the 20th century, cars had begun to replace horse-drawn carriages.

Parallel to these achievements was the development of the nation’s industrial infrastructure. Coal was found in abundance in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania south to Kentucky. Oil was discovered in western Pennsylvania; it was mainly used for lubricants and for kerosene for lamps. Large iron ore mines opened in the Lake Superior region of the upper Midwest. Steel mills thrived in places where these coal and iron ore could be brought together to produce steel. Large copper and silver mines opened, followed by lead mines and cement factories.

In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, a step in the process that became known as mass-production”

Read More here.

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“Legalized Plunder Of The American People” – G. Edward Griffin

G Edward Griffin

This is part of a speech given by the author of “The Creature From Jekyll Island”. As usual, G. Edward Griffin hits the nail on the head.

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You Know How This Ends Right? This Ends Through War.

missilelaunch

This article was written by Mac Slavo and originally published at SHTFplan.com

In 2006, when Americans were flying high on ever-expanding credit and double digit real estate growth, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass came to the conclusion that something was very wrong. He and his investors determined that a massive real estate bubble was forming in sub-prime mortgages. But rather than just making a prediction, they put their money where their mouth was, and took a $4 billion gamble that the real estate market was about to detonate.

At the time, many in the industry and within financial circles thought him crazy.

History, however, proves he was right.

When the real estate bubble did finally burst, stock markets plummeted and mortgage backed securities fell to pennies on the dollar. Bass and his hedge fund made billions in the process.

Bass’ foresight was 20/20, and now he has issued a warning so dire that it, like the real estate crisis and recession that followed, is unimaginable for most Americans.

In many of these situations the quantitative analysis is already done. It’s just a question of when will this unravel and how will it unravel, which I think is the key when we’re thinking about the chronology of events and the likelihood of events going forward.

Something that I think is really important to pay attention to, in the last 10 years debts around the world – this is total credit market debts, this is on balance sheets, sovereign obligations, corporate debt, household debt – has grown from $80 trillion to just over $200 trillion.

We sit today at the world’s largest peacetime accumulation of debt in world history…

…You know how this ends right?

This ends through war…

…I don’t know who’s going to fight who, but I’m fairly certain in the next few years you will see wars erupt, and not just small ones…

You’re going to see more social unrest.

You saw HUGE riots in Greece, and you’re seeing HUGE riots in other parts of the world over food (and lack of food) and those are actually derivatives of the financial problems that we’re seeing. We’re exporting inflation to some other nations. Going forward it’s going to be a problem.

They’re not going to tell you [that a collapse is coming]. You’re going to have to see it for yourself. [During the Tequila crisis], the Mexican government affirmed they would not default, that they would not devalue, almost daily. The day after they said “we wont devalue,” they devalued by 60%.

The government’s never going to tell you that it’s going to happen.

Greece’s Yunker said recently, ‘When it becomes serious – you have to lie’. These guys are never going to tell you the truth, because they can’t tell you the truth. Their job is to promote confidence, not to tell you the truth.

Watch Kyle Bass:
Full Speech at the AmerCatalyst 2012 Conference (Approx 1 hour)

The United States, Europe and the rest of the world have created more debt than has ever existed in the history of the world. Debt is nothing more than a representation (and expectation) of future earnings – future work. But, as many of us know, there has been so much money borrowed that we can’t possible every expect to pay it back. In fact, the only thing we can expect is that we will continue to take on even more debt.

At some point in the (near) future, the plug is going to be pulled and no one is going to lend anyone any more money. We saw this on a small scale in 2008 when credit markets around the world froze up. No one was lending money. There was so much risk that banks not only refused to lend money to individuals and businesses, but they refused to even lend each other money.

Central banks around the world, namely the U.S. Federal Reserve, calmed financial markets by pumping out trillions of dollars in emergency lending. This gave many a perception that things were returning to normal, but as Kyle Bass points out, we are in anything but a normal situation.

Debt has sky rocketed and we’re not going to pay it back – ever.

Like the mafia does when debts don’t get paid, our creditors are eventually going to resort to ‘breaking some legs.’

But we’re talking about debts of entire sovereign nations here, so the tools used to ‘take care of it’ won’t be crowbars or baseball bats, but rather, soldiers, tanks and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

War is coming – just as it has throughout history.

And the 99% of Americans who believe in a benevolent, all knowing, all caring government will be the last ones to get the memo.

Ignore the warnings at your peril.

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