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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"Executive Summary" of the Global Disaster in Progress

Still more high-level info for you, in case your coma kept you in bed the last several months.

World stability hangs by a thread as economies continue to unravel

The political bubble is bursting. Spreads on geo-strategic risk are now widening as dramatically as the spreads on financial risk at the onset of the credit crunch.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 7:15PM GMT 01 Dec 2008

Whether it is the Indian rupee, the Shanghai bourse, or Kremlin debt, the stars of the credit boom have fallen to earth. Investors are retreating into 3-month US Treasury bills – the ultimate safe-haven. The yield has fallen to 0.02pc, less than zero after costs. You pay Washington to guard your money.

The working assumption of the "Great Boom" is – or was – that we live in a benign era where most societies are converging towards some form of market liberalism; where trade and capital flows are unrestricted; where governments have enough legitimacy to keep order by light touch; where a major war is unthinkable.

This illusion is now being tested.

We should not to read too much into the Bombay carnage. It may or may not be significant that the Deccan Mujahideen – whoever they are – picked India's financial hub to launch their spectacular.

Even so, the love affair with Bombay's bourse was cooling anyway. The Sensex index is down almost 60pc from its peak.

The exodus of foreign capital may now quicken, laying bare the horrors of Indian public finance. The combined federal and state deficit is 8pc of GDP. Plainly, spending will have to be slashed.
If the atrocity now propels the Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi into office at the head of a revived Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), south Asia will once again face a nuclear showdown between India and Pakistan.

Events are moving briskly in China too. Wudu was torched by rioters this month in a pitched battle with police. Violence has spread to the export hub of Guangdong as workers protest at the mass closure of toy, textile, and furniture factories.

"The global financial crisis has not bottomed yet. The impact is spreading globally and deepening," said Zhang Pin, head of the national development commission. "Excessive bankruptcies and business closures will cause massive unemployment and stir social unrest".
We are about to find out whether China has made the wrong bet with a development strategy of vast investment in manufacturing plant for mass export at thin margins to the US and Europe.

The shocking detail in the World Bank's latest report on China is that wages have fallen from 52pc to 40pc of GDP since 1999. This is evidence of an economic model that is disastrously out of kilter, and unlikely to retain popular support.

The Communist Party lost its ideological mission long ago. The regime depends on perpetual boom to stay in power. As the economy sours, there must be a high risk that it will resort to the nationalist card instead.

Tokyo certainly thinks so. When I visited Japan's Defence Ministry last year the deputy minister showed me charts detailing the intrusion of China's fast-growing fleet of attack submarines into Japanese waters. "We see its warships in the Sea of Japan all the time," he said.

Shoichi Nakagawa, the head of the ruling LDP party, was even more explicit. "What happens when China attacks Japan? Will the US retaliate on our behalf?" he said.

As for Europe, it is already fragile. Iceland, Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Serbia have turned to the IMF. Russia is a hostage to oil prices. If Urals oil stays below $50 a barrel for long, we are going to see an earthquake of one kind or another.

It is too early in this crisis to conclude whether Europe's monetary union is a source stability, or is itself a doomsday machine. The rift between North and South is growing. The spreads on Greek, Irish, Italian, Austrian, and Belgian debt remain stubbornly high. The lack of a unified EU treasury has become glaringly clear. Germany has refused to underpin the system with a fiscal blitz.

In the 1930s, it was not obvious to people living through debt deflation that their world was coming apart. The crisis came in pulses, each followed by months of apparent normality – like today.

The global system did not snap until September 1931. The trigger was a mutiny by Royal Navy ratings at Invergordon over pay cuts. Sailors on four battleships refused to put out to sea. They sang the Red Flag.

News that the British Empire could not uphold military discipline set off capital flight. Britain was forced off the gold standard within five days. A chunk of the world followed suit.

Nor was it obvious that Germany would go mad. Bruning persisted with deflation, blind to the danger. The result was the election of July 1932 when two parties committed to the destruction of Weimar – the KPD Communists and the Nazis – won over the half the seats in Reichstag.

We can hope that governments have acted fast enough this time – with rate cuts and a fiscal firewall – to head off such disasters. But then again, the debt excesses are much greater today. If in doubt, cleave to those countries with a deeply-rooted democracy, a strong sense of national solidarity, a tested rule of law – and aircraft carriers. The US and Britain do not look so bad after all.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Citigroup Internal Client Memo: Gold to Blast Off as Economy Tanks

Looking back at the last several posts here, it looks like we're proclaiming the end of the world via a dissolving economy. We normally try to keep an even keel and simply raise awareness of a wide range of potential threats. Our overall goal is to encourage preparedness.

A full spectrum of critical threats remain visible all around the globe. However, the economy is obviously so integral to everyone's well-being, the dismal state of the world's finances is now raising most every other threat level out there as well.

Today's post, linking to an article at www.telegraph.co.uk, indicates that there is a belief within Citigroup that either the world is on the brink of an inflation shock or we are nearing widespread economic and political meltdowns leading to unrest and probably wars. Either way, the financial giant expects gold to skyrocket in value over the short to medium term.

Another must-read:
Citigroup says gold could rise above $2000 next year as world unravels
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Martin Weiss: Collapse of the Banking System Possible

On November 25, Dr. Martin Weiss posted a well-detailed warning to his legions of readers, which thankfully is available to the public. Read this all the way through if you have any aspirations for keeping your head above water in the coming deluge:

"Citigroup Collapses! Banking Shutdown Possible!"

Weiss mentions in his article the free service on Jim Cramer's TheStreet.com ratings of financial institutions. Check your own bank's ratings here: http://www.thestreet.com/screener/index.html?src=ratingsindex&tab=3
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Economy to Take Years to Recover

We have to say it again--optimism is increasingly rare. The authorities are hoping things can take a turn for the better in a few years. Do what you must now for your family's future well-being.

Worst of financial crisis yet to come: IMF chief economist
Nov 22 07:04 PM US/Eastern

The IMF's chief economist has warned that the global financial crisis is set to worsen and that the situation will not improve until 2010, a report said Saturday.

Olivier Blanchard also warned that the institution does not have the funds to solve every economic problem.

"The worst is yet to come," Blanchard said in an interview with the Finanz und Wirtschaft newspaper, adding that "a lot of time is needed before the situation becomes normal."

He said economic growth would not kick in until 2010 and it will take another year before the global financial situation became normal again.

[snip]
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On

Riding out the seismic collapse of the global economy probably won't provide much in the way of learnin' applicable to the genuine "big one" if and when it rumbles through our living rooms.

It's not the easiest thing to prep for a mega earthquake. Most critical is to ensure your own home (and hopefully your workplace) is built to rigorous standards. Beyond that, standard water, food, and reserve power resources are in order.

Government Warns of "Catastrophic" U.S. Quake


Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:42pm EST

By Carey Gillam


KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - People in a vast seismic zone in the southern and midwestern United States would face catastrophic damage if a major earthquake struck there and should ensure that builders keep that risk in mind, a government report said on Thursday.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency said if earthquakes strike in what geologists define as the New Madrid Seismic Zone, they would cause "the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States."


FEMA predicted a large earthquake would cause "widespread and catastrophic physical damage" across Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee -- home to some 44 million people.


Tennessee is likely to be hardest hit, according to the study that sought to gauge the impact of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in order to guide the government's response.


In Tennessee alone, it forecast hundreds of collapsed bridges, tens of thousands of severely damaged buildings and a half a million households without water.


Transportation systems and hospitals would be wrecked, and police and fire departments impaired, the study said.


The zone, named for the town of New Madrid in Missouri's southeast corner, is subject to frequent mild earthquakes.


Experts have long tried to predict the likelihood of a major quake like those that struck in 1811 and 1812. These shifted the course of the Mississippi River and rang church bells on the East Coast but caused few deaths amid a sparse population.


"People who live in these areas and the people who build in these areas certainly need to take into better account that at some time there is ... expected to be a catastrophic earthquake in that area, and they'd better be prepared for it," said FEMA spokesperson Mary Margaret Walker.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Merrill Lynch CEO Warns that Epic Global Slowdown to be Like 1929

Arnaud De Borchgrave's columns are always worth reading and often incude unique scoops. This week's column about the velocity of the economic spiral is no exception.

Click on the title below to read the entire column. The excerpt included here is confirmation that Wall Street barons see the blight at the end of the tunnel.

TARP Trap
Arnaud de Borchgrave
Monday, November 17, 2008

... John Thain, chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, warned that the global economy is entering a slowdown of epic proportions. Addressing the company's annual banking and financial services conference, Mr. Thain said: "Right now, the U.S. economy is contracting rapidly. We are looking at a period of global slowdown. This is not like 1987 or 1998 or 2001. The contraction now going on is bigger than that. We will in fact look back to the 1929 period to see the kind of slowdown we are seeing now."
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Prepare for Mass Layoffs"--Chicago's Mayor Daley

This is the kind of thing that can spark panic, so you have to wonder why Mayor Daley is sharing this at this point. I mean, what is there to gain from this knowledge?

Oh yeah ... I guess there IS a last chance at some level of preparedness, right?

Anyway, there appears to be little reason for optimism or hopefulness anymore. If you haven't yet taken the time to carefully read the entire "Five Stages of Collapse" linked in my previous post, do it now and really think about how you might be able to cooperate with others in your area who are reliable and trustworthy. And get started on that immediately.

Nov 13, 2008 11:05 am US/Central
Mayor Daley: Prepare For Mass Layoffs
CEOs Tell Mayor They Plan Huge Layoffs In November, December


CHICAGO (CBS) ― The warning is out – Mayor Richard M. Daley says a parade of corporate chief executives have told him huge layoffs are planned around the city and will carry into next year.

As CBS 2's Joanie Lum reports, when Daley made the announcement, workers around the city felt a chill, and they are wondering who will be laid off next.

The news is especially alarming because the discussion concerns not just city jobs, but the private sector. Thus, it seems the City That Works is about to become the city that gets laid off.

Mayor Daley says corporate leaders told him huge layoffs will impact the city this month and next, and into the new year. He also says city, county and state governments should be prepared for their revenue to fall dramatically because of the souring economy.

"This is going to be all year, so it's going to be a very frightening economy," Mayor Daley said. "Each one tells me what they're laying off, and they're going to double that next year. We're talking huge numbers of permanent layoffs for people in the economy. It's going to have a huge effect on all businesses."

The mayor said the gravity of the situation cannot be underestimated.

"We never experienced anything like this except people who came from the Depression," Mayor Daley said. "When you have that many layoffs early – and they're telling me this is only the beginning of their layoffs – that is very frightening."

Mayor Daley also warned that local governments will be in jeopardy and may not have enough money to meet payroll, although he is not worried about paying City of Chicago employees.

In addition, the federal bailout plan is changing, and the big three automakers are all warning they could go bankrupt, and lawmakers say if the auto industry goes down, the huge number of jobs lost would cause more house foreclosures.

[snip]
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Five Stages of Collapse, by D. Orlov

Several months ago, uttering the word collapse in "respectable circles" in reference to the economy or America in general, probably would have resulted in your being ostracized.

Today, the word causes everyone to shut-up in an effort to overhear and glean some tidbit of wisdom that might mean one's very survival in the upcoming crisis.

Dmitry Orlov is a well-known individual in the fields of "peak oil" and societal crisis. Linked below, he provides an important, rather detailed overview of what it is America may very well be mired in already at this very moment, and what we yet can expect to come about ...

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/47157
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Veterans Day IS One of Our Most Important Holidays

Few are willing to sacrifice one's tomorrows for our nation today. But those who do are prized beyond measure for what they mean to America.

79% Have High Regard for U.S. Military This Veterans Day

rasmussenreports.com Rasmussenreports.com – Mon Nov 10, 8:53 am ET

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of the U.S. military, and 45% regard Veterans Day as one of the nation's most important holidays. The military's favorability rating is up eight points from a Rasmussen Reports survey for Veterans Day a year ago.

Just nine percent (9%) have an unfavorable view of the military, and 12% are undecided, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

One-out-of-three (34%) say they have close friends or relatives who have given their lives while serving in the U.S. military.

Only seven percent (7%) say Veterans Day is one of our least important holidays, with 46% rating it somewhere in between the least important and most important holidays.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Republicans say Veterans Day is one of our most important holidays, but just 40% of Democrats and unaffiliated voters agree.

More women under age 40 (45%) consider the holiday to be important than men under 40 (18%). Twenty-two percent (22%) of men under 40 rate Veterans Day as one of our least important holidays.

Only 19% say they have served in the U.S. military, including one-third (33%) of men and six percent (6%) of women. Just 15% of Republicans, 18% of Democrats and 25% of unaffiliated voters say they have had military service.

Twenty-eight percent (28%) of African-Americans say they have been in the military, compared to 16% of whites.

Forty percent (40%) of men, including 52% of men under age 40 -- and 28% of women say they have had close friends or relatives who lost their lives in military service.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of blacks have close friends or relatives who were killed while serving in the military, compared to 29% of whites.

Ninety-six percent (96%) of Republicans have a favorable view of the U.S. military, as do 72% of unaffiliated voters and 69% of Democrats. Eighty-two percent (82%) of whites and 74% of blacks agree.

The older the voter, the more favorable their view of the military tends to be.

Forty-three percent (43%) say they plan to do something special on Veterans Day to honor those who have given their lives for our country, while 36% do not. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of Republicans, 41% of Democrats and 33% of unaffiliated voters plan to do something special on the holiday. So do 43% of whites and 47% of African-Americans.

Pluralities of men over age 40 (46%) and women under 40 (48%) plan something special on Veterans Day in honor of those who have given their lives for our country.

This national telephone survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted by Rasmussen Reports November 6-7, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Treasure Trove of Disaster Prep Videos

Now THIS is a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn survival skills the easy way.

http://www.wonderhowto.com/disaster-preparation/

Scroll though a few pages of the video listings and you'll quickly get the drift of what you have to gain if you choose to invest some time at the site.
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Send a Safecastle Gift Certificate This Year

If you're like me, you tend to want to give practical gifts to those closest to you ... ones that will actually prove useful and maybe even be important somehow in the recipient's life.

Imagine how valuable a Safecastle gift certificate could turn out to be for that special someone.

Sure, for the people on your list who are into crisis preparedness, they'll love you for giving THIS gift certificate!

But imagine what kind of an impact you just may make on the DGIs on your list ("Don't Get Its"). They'll have to come visit us at Safecastle Royal to redeem their gift, and WHAM! They'll have no choice but to start thinking about how preparedness ought to logically fit into their life, as it does already for so many other smart people. ;-)

No more preaching to the choir today. I think you'll immediately understand how this just may be the opportunity you've been waiting for ... to turn those uninspired relatives or neighbors into real allies and common sojourners on the road to peace of mind in a world going mad.

Here is our gift certificate page.

Sorry, no member discounts can be applied to the gift certificates (Think about it and you'll realize how we could go bankrupt in no time if we allowed that.)
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http://www.safecastleroyal.com

Friday, November 07, 2008

White Supremacists to Be Watched Closely

This is an interesting report from Stratfor regarding the topic that many around the country have wondered about--the threat to President-elect Obama from would-be assassins.

As if it needs to be said--I do NOT sympathize in the least with any racially prejudiced viewpoints and I certainly do not ever hope to see another US President physically attacked in any way.

Obama and the Presidential Security Challenge

November 6, 2008 1850 GMT


By Fred Burton and Ben West


The U.S. presidential campaign trail presents a host of challenges for the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) protective detail assigned to cover the presidential candidates, something we’ve discussed previously. Major presidential candidates have been afforded USSS protection since the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy at a campaign event. Due to the nature of modern presidential campaigns, the candidates’ schedules are packed with events that often start at breakfast and continue long after dinner. Candidates also hopscotch across the country, often visiting several cities in a day and sometimes visiting multiple venues in the same city.


The Security Challenge of Campaign Season


In the last weeks before the Nov. 4 election, the campaign of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama hit several different cities in one day, meaning that several teams of advance agents were deployed around the country at any given time. For example, on Nov. 3, Obama visited Jacksonville, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Manassas Park, Va. Campaign managers often adjust itineraries on the fly to meet the needs of the campaign.


This tempo constantly forces protection agents into new environments with very little time to plan and implement security measures. Wherever Obama traveled during the campaign, USSS agents would send advance teams to scout airports and motorcade routes, plan security for campaign sites, conduct liaison with local police and keep tabs on any persons of interest during the visit. The advance agents are supplemented by teams of extra agents to help secure sites; dog handlers and explosive ordnance disposal technicians to check for explosive devices; and uniformed officers to help control access to sites, man metal detectors and provide countersniper support.


Due to the nature of political campaigns, once a candidate like Obama lands and safely arrives at an event location, there is frequently tremendous exposure to the public. This is true not just on stage behind a podium but also as the candidate works the crowd, shaking hands, kissing babies and talking to voters. As seen during the May 1972 attempted assassination of George Wallace and the later attempts against presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, it is during these times of close interaction with the public that a VIP is at the highest risk. Would-be assassins can use the crowd for camouflage and quickly get a close shot at the VIP, leaving little time for agents to respond to the threat. Because of this, working the crowd is a difficult task and one protection agents hate. Fortunately for the Obama protective detail, with the election period over they will find themselves in these kinds of situations less frequently.


Finally, there is the issue of the USSS being stretched very thin due to the nature of an election season. The USSS is charged with protecting former presidents and first ladies as well as, of course, the first family and the vice president. But during an election season, the presidential and vice presidential candidates are also assigned a security detail. Due to the perceived threat against Obama, a detail equivalent to a full presidential protection team was assigned to him. Such a high level of protection is unprecedented for a presidential candidate, and it helped stretch the USSS very thin.


Now that the election is over, Obama’s schedule will be greatly simplified, and it will take far less manpower to cover him. Obama will certainly have some travel, but the majority of this time probably will be spent between Chicago and Washington. This will allow the USSS agents protecting him to catch a breather and to establish a more secure, stable perimeter around the president-elect. Sen. John McCain’s protective detail also will be eliminated, freeing up even more bodies. The relative calm of the transition period will end with the January 2009 inauguration ceremony and festivities, the next serious headache the USSS will face.


Past Threats to U.S. Presidents


U.S. presidents always face an array of threats. Four U.S. presidents have been assassinated: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy. Assassination attempts have frequently occurred, with every president since Richard Nixon having been targeted for assassination, with some threats more credible than others.


The tremendous amount of power and symbolism of the office makes U.S. presidents prime targets for assassination. Obama will be no exception. But in addition to bearing the title of president, Obama also will be the first black president — something that introduces a whole new and more serious threat matrix. Obama uniquely faces a threat from white supremacist groups, some of which believe a black president should be killed.


Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. During his campaign, Obama was the target of a few threats that attracted considerable press coverage but in the end didn’t amount to much. Press portrayals aside, reviewing the facts establishes that these incidents were certainly not viable threats to Obama.


In one instance, authorities announced in late August that three Colorado men had been arrested after police found illegal weapons and methamphetamines on the men. During interrogation, federal agents learned that the group of methamphetamine users had discussed harming Obama. One of the men wore a swastika ring, indicating a possible link to the neo-Nazi movement. In the end, though, the three men were indicted on drugs and weapons charges alone, as the U.S. attorney overseeing the case said the evidence was insufficient to charge the men with conspiring to do bodily harm to a presidential candidate. While the group had discussed the topic, it apparently had made no overt acts in furtherance of an attempt, an element required to bring conspiracy charges.


In another instance, two young men from Tennessee and Arkansas who had conspired to go on a crime spree that would end with an attempt on Obama’s life were arrested Oct. 22. Their scheme was outlandish from the start, and included robbing a gun store, killing 88 blacks and beheading 14 (both significant numbers to the white supremacist movement) and then performing their coup de grace on the presidential candidate while dressed in white tuxedos and top hats. As it was, the two managed only to be scared off by dogs during an attempted home burglary, shoot out a window of a nearby African-American church and draw neo-Nazi symbols on their car in sidewalk chalk. The two had met to discuss their plans on a Web site associated with white supremacists and skinheads. While their plan hardly got off of the ground, the two did show a high level of enthusiasm for their mission that certainly could be replicated within the white supremacist movement.


White Supremacists and an African-American President


The Obama presidency occurs against the unfortunate backdrop of a history of assassinations of prominent African-American leaders in the United States. These have included Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. (Evers’ assassin was a Ku Klux Klan member, while King’s assassin, James Earl Ray, at the very least harbored racist sentiments.)


Broadly, there are three schools of thought among white supremacist groups on how to view Obama’s election.


The first school of thought is that someone should (or will) threaten Obama because of his race since his election has outraged white supremacists. While publicly making such a call is grounds for arrest, plenty of white supremacist blogs and Web message boards talk of the inevitability of an attack on Obama in a very suggestive way. This school of thought believes that such an attack would inflame racial tensions, sparking riots along the lines of those that followed the 1968 King assassination. Such violence would be viewed as positive in this thinking, as open combat between whites and blacks would bring their ideology to the forefront.


The second school, reflecting perhaps the most widely echoed dogma within the white supremacist movement, believes that an Obama presidency benefits their movement since it will serve as a wake-up call to white America. Once Americans of European descent realize how far they have fallen now that a black man has been elected to the most powerful office in the country, goes the argument, they will flock to join white supremacist groups to reassert their power. An Obama presidency, this school argues, is thereby good for the white supremacists since it would swell their membership rolls and give them more influence and publicity. Former Louisiana state representative and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke supports this line as does fellow white supremacist leader Tom Metzger.


This second school of thought is bolstered by the argument that the other candidates weren’t going to be any better, as they were all under the influence of the even more despised Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG). Adherents of this anti-Semitic conspiracy theory believe that Jews pull the strings behind a puppet U.S. government. Obama, in their opinion, is at least not under the heavy influence of Jewish interests. This line of reasoning is in no way an endorsement of Obama, but more of an instance of them making the best of a situation they see as terrible for whites in the United States.


The third and last school of thought holds that the U.S. government, which is secretly controlled by the ZOG, is plotting to attack Obama itself. This group believes ZOG will blame white supremacists for the killing, which they will use as an excuse to clamp down on white supremacist hate speech as well as gun ownership.


Conspiracies and Lone Wolves


The USSS is much more adept at countering group conspiracies than lone wolf actors. Lone wolves are very, very difficult to uncover, especially if they remain isolated and tell no one of their plans. Groups are much easier to track, as their movements are more noticeable and their operational security weaker, as all members must remain silent to keep the plot clandestine. The money trail is also a dead giveaway for groups, as outside organizations will often fund their operations, helping them buy equipment and supplies in preparation for an attack.


Considering this, white supremacist groups are under very tight surveillance by U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, and scrutiny of their activities will only increase as Obama takes office. As seen in the Tennessee case, online discussions and postings can come back to haunt Internet collaborators. It would be very difficult for even a small group to operate below the radar of not just the USSS but also the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency, all of which will have their proverbial ear to the ground to protect the president — one of the most important national security missions these groups have.


The lone wolf, in the end, poses the most likely threat to Obama, and to any target for that matter. The lone wolf’s ability to act alone, keeping his intentions, activities and whereabouts to himself, makes it very difficult for law enforcement agencies to identify a threat before it is too late. But the lone wolf also must be very smart and have some access to resources such as weapons and vehicles — characteristics severely lacking in the two cases above that targeted Obama.


The real threat emerges when intent and capability are joined. White supremacists have the intent, but so far have not exhibited capability. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues. So long as they remain amateurish like those in Denver and Tennessee, the president remains secure from the white supremacist threat. But if a combination of ideology and ability to act as a lone wolf comes along, the threat level rises.


Given the ties that figures within the white supremacist movement like Duke have with hostile foreign countries such as Russia and Iran, a scenario comes to mind in which a foreign country could secretly fund and train a low-level member or simply a sympathizer of the white supremacist movement to carry out an assassination. Duke has praised Russia’s nationalist movement and has traveled there several times. He also attended a 2006 Holocaust denial conference in Tehran, Iran, where he was in general agreement with the Iranian regime.


Indications of such foreign connections have come up during investigations of past assassinations. Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to obtain Cuban and Soviet visas in Mexico City before he assassinated JFK. Recently, declassifications have tied Oswald to known KGB assassin Valery Kostikov. While these circumstances alone are not enough to conclusively link outside meddling with the JFK assassination, they certainly do raise questions. Additionally, Ray fled to Europe on a fake Canadian passport after killing King. He was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport two months after the King assassination with large amounts of cash, indicating Ray had outside help in the killing.


Presidential security is a serious national security matter. A successful (or even unsuccessful) attack on a president causes instability in the United States and in the wider world. And given the especially delicate balance that the United States, Russia and countries of the Middle East are striking right now, an attack on the president would destabilize U.S. foreign policy and have a heightened impact on national security. Domestically, the assassination of the country’s first black president would run the risk of devastating race relations — and white supremacist movements see themselves as substantially benefiting from racial strife.

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This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to http://www.stratfor.com/

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Very Busy in the Preparedness Marketplace

Just a quick note ...

I have not had much time of late to post to the blog here. The crisis preparedness marketplace, pretty much through October, has been overwhelming us with demand at Safecastle.

An additional part of my unavailability has been our efforts to retool a couple of our order fulfillment processes. At times, it's been like rewiring the house with the power still on. Or at least like running through the house with my hair on fire.

All in all, I'd have to say that our little company is in a growth spurt and we are doing our best to keep everyone happy as we go.

It's a time when there are again many new people shopping for "last minute" preps. This time, it's the worrisome state of the economy and the uncertainty of what a liberal, progressive government will actually mean to our daily lives.

We're here to help in whatever way we can. Peace of mind is what we offer, though given the sheer magnitude of the risks ahead, we must admit that there are limits to what a full larder can do for your insomnia today.

Stay safe!
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Any Honest Journalists Left?

Orson Scott Card is well-known as a sci-fi novelist (whose books are great reading for preparedness nuts). He is also a newspaper columnist who declares himself to be a Democrat.

But given his party affiliation, and judging from his two most recent columns, he may be the LAST American journalist out there with some integrity.

VERY important reads here:

Would the Last Honest Journalist Please Turn On the Lights?

Upholding the Constitution
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Get Ready ... Seriously - http://www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In a Storm, You've Gotta' Be Tied Down

What are your anchors in life?

In other words, what is it that you absolutely rely on, believe in, and live for?

In major crisis those anchors are hopefully going to be solid enough to keep you from being swept away in the madness and chaos.

God, family, home, country, money, liberties, work, booze, drugs, sex ... the possibilities are many. Some of them obviously are going to be more effective than others in getting you through tough times.

Time to Reassess and Batten Down?

Make your own judgment as to where we are headed, but it seems to me that we are at an auspicious point in history. We who are here to sail through these increasingly turbulent seas are not all going to make it to shore.

You want to get there, I suggest right now looking very carefully at what it is that you want to live for and what it is you think will help you make it.

Consider too that a few of those "givens" on my short list may just disappear suddenly. Or they may be transformed into unrecognizable shadows of themselves. If that happens, you might find yourself confusingly adrift.

Tie-down to more than one solid mooring. Get yourself right with God and your family in particular. All else may be little more than shifting sands.
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Get Ready ... Seriously - http://www.safecastleroyal.com

Friday, October 17, 2008

Prepare for an Unchecked Liberal Mandate

What does it mean to look into a not so murky crystal ball and see a government fully liberalized after this upcoming election? ... With both houses of Congress brimming over in Democratic majorities and the most liberal president ever in the White House?

I could weave a a prediction or two, but then that would make this blog a bit more political than I want to have it.

Nontheless, from a preparedness standpoint, it's important to understand what in all likelihood our new America will look like very soon.

Read all about it here in a WSJ piece:


Get ready for 'change' we haven't seen since 1965, or 1933.
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Excerpt:
Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Panic, Food-Run in Iceland

Is Iceland perhaps a telescope into our own future?

Icelandic Shoppers Splurge as Currency Woes Reduce Food Imports
By Chad Thomas


Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- After a four-year spending spree, Icelanders are flooding the supermarkets one last time, stocking up on food as the collapse of the banking system threatens to cut the island off from imports.

``We have had crazy days for a week now,'' said Johannes Smari Oluffsson, manager of the Bonus discount grocery store in Reykjavik's main shopping center. ``Sales have doubled.''
Bonus, a nationwide chain, has stock at its warehouse for about two weeks. After that, the shelves will start emptying unless it can get access to foreign currency, the 22-year-old manager said, standing in a walk-in fridge filled with meat products, among the few goods on sale produced locally.

Iceland's foreign currency market has seized up after the three largest banks collapsed and the government abandoned an attempt to peg the exchange rate. Many banks won't trade the krona and suppliers from abroad are demanding payment in advance. The government has asked banks to prioritize foreign currency transactions for essentials such as food, drugs and oil.

The crisis is already hitting clothing retailers. A short walk from Bonus in the capital's Kringlan shopping center, Ragnhildur Anna Jonsdottir, 38, owner of the Next Plc clothing store, said she can't get any foreign currency to pay for incoming shipments and, even if she could, the exchange rate would be prohibitively high.

``We aren't getting new shipments in, as we normally do once a week,'' Jonsdottir said. ``This is the third week that we haven't had any shipments.''

Bankrupt

Iceland's 320,000 inhabitants have enjoyed four years of economic growth in excess of 4 percent as banks and businesses expanded abroad, buying up companies from brokerages to West Ham United soccer club. Now, the three biggest banks, Kaupthing Bank hf, Landsbanki Island hf and Glitnir Bank hf have collapsed under the weight of about $61 billion in debts, 12 times the size of the economy, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The central bank, or Sedlabanki, ditched its attempt to peg the krona to a basket of currencies on Oct. 9, after just two days, citing ``insufficient support'' in the market. Nordea Bank AB, the biggest Scandinavian lender, said the same day that the krona hadn't been traded on the spot market, while the last quoted price was 340 per euro, compared with 122 a month ago.

``There is absolutely no currency in the country today to import,'' said Andres Magnusson, chief executive officer of the Icelandic Federation of Trade and Services in Reykjavik. ``The only way we can solve this problem is to get the IMF into the country.''

Imports Dependency

The International Monetary Fund sent a delegation to the island last week. Prime Minister Geir Haarde said on Oct. 9 his country may ask it for money after failing to get ``the response that we felt that we should be able to get'' from European governments and central banks. The state will also start talks with Russia over a possible 4 billion-euro ($5.5 billion) loan.

Iceland's rugged, treeless terrain, a barren stretch of volcanic rock, geysers and moss, means the country imports most food, other than meat, fish and dairy products.

Magnusson said last week that one of Iceland's largest supermarket chains was unable to get any foreign currency to make purchases abroad and another retailer's electronic payment didn't go through. Iceland will begin to see shortages of ``regular goods'' by the end of the week if nothing changes, he said.

``We are struggling to make the economy survive from hour to hour,'' Magnusson said. ``There is an enormous amount of capital that wants to get out of the country.''

Sedlabanki told lenders on Oct. 10 that residents who want foreign currency should first prove they need the money for traveling by providing documentation for their trip.

Essential Goods

Wholesalers are demanding that importers pay before any goods are shipped, said Knutur Signarsson, head of the Reykjavik-based Federation of Icelandic Trade. Under normal circumstances, wholesalers abroad would extend credit for 30 to 90 days, he said.

``Many of them ask us to pay cash before they send the goods to Iceland,'' Signarsson said.

``Because of the situation, Iceland has become a country that no one trusts any longer.''

Bogi Thor Siguroddsson, owner of Johan Roenning, an import and retail business which has about 7 billion krona ($71 million) in annual sales, says he's instructed his purchasing managers to only import the core goods, including light bulbs, lamps and electrical cables, they need to serve their customers.

``It's enough to have the credit crisis,'' he said.

``Then you have the currency crash. Unfortunately, we have shown that we can't handle it ourselves.''

Food Inflation

Icelanders, whose per capita gross domestic product is the fifth highest in the world, according to the United Nations 2007/2008 Human Development Index, will have to tighten their belts.

Shoppers are paying more for the goods they do get. The cost of fruits and vegetables, nearly all of which are imported, have gone up about 50 percent in recent months, said Steinunn Kristinsdottir, a 33-year-old Reykjavik resident who was leaving the Bonus store with her cart full.

``This situation really has been a bit troubling for people,'' she said. ``They don't know what's going to happen.''
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Friday, October 10, 2008

What a Week! ... and It's Only the Opening Act

I think we all probably feel a little punchy after enduring the week the markets dragged us through. Thing is, at this point it all means so much more than just economics and living standards.

Look around and you will see that nations and alliances are recalibrating all over the world. Everything's different now. Some recognize it already, more will soon.

J.R. Nyquist today posted a provocative commentary on a budding potential partnership between Germany and Russia. In fact, he references STRATFOR's George Friedman as having introduced the facts a few days earlier. This is an ABSOLUTE-MUST READ. The link is below (click on his title) along with a short excerpt.

My comment--If geopolitical history teaches us one thing, it it that nation-states are fickle in their loyalties. And unfortunately that is out of necessity.

National survival is a complex and delicate operation. Interacting international economies, competing military maneuvers, ethnic mixing and/or segregation, cultural head banging, and elitist puppeteering are just a few of the upper level gears that grind and quake.

Eventually, it all seizes up, breaks down, and demands demolition before reconstruction can take place.

I suspect that where we really are now is a point where nations are going to have to make a clear choice as to what side of the battlefield they will line up for the great demolition derby.

The Monster at the Bottom of the Abyss
by J. R. Nyquist
Weekly Column Published: 10.10.2008

In an October 6 article titled The German Question, STRATFOR’s George Friedman poured a pitcher of cold logic on America’s plan for NATO’s future. It appears that Germany is determined to block NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. The long-term implications of this decision are stunning. “Since NATO operates on the basis of consensus,” wrote Friedman, “any member nation can effectively block any candidate from NATO membership.” The Russian invasion of Georgia has forced Germany into this position. The conflict in Georgia has forced the Germans to clarify their geopolitical thinking. What we see now, quite clearly, is Germany turning away from NATO. They can call it whatever they like. They are thinking as Germans. Russia’s thrust into Georgia was a masterstroke because it successfully redirected Germany’s political sensibility from a NATO-centered view to a German-centered view. In Europe there is one question that stands above all others, and the Germans must give the answer. Either Europe will confront Russia in a new Cold War, or Europe will become Russia’s partner. According to Friedman’s logic, Germany has already decided on partnership with Russia.

Imagine a partnership between Russia and Germany. The Russians supply the military muscle, the natural resources, and cheap labor. The Germans supply the technology, the money, and European finesse. Friedman says that Germany’s energy situation is “desperate,” and that German leaders are merely looking after their country’s national interest.

[snip]
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

NORAD Now Vulnerable

Frickin' bureaucratic, bean-counting, dimwits! Read it and weep:

Dangerous move for NORAD?
Relocating facilities fraught with security risks
Michael de Yoanna and Bill Gertz

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, Sunday, October 5, 2008

excerpt:

Critics say a decision two years ago to move the operations center of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to the basement of an office building on Peterson Air Force Base in nearby Colorado Springs and to disperse other missions at the mountain could undermine U.S. national security.

According to military and defense sources familiar with the missions and U.S. government documents obtained by The Washington Times, the move — billed as a cost-cutting measure — received insufficient government review, violated previous Pentagon directives, may have broken U.S. law and has left the United States less able to track potential threats and the operations center more vulnerable to attack.

"We see decisions like closing Cheyenne Mountain that are driven for cost purposes only, not military requirements," said Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney. "Cheyenne Mountain should remain an active facility but cost pressures are driving combatant commanders to make riskier decisions."
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

For Two Weeks Only: 25% Off All Mountain House Cans (and Free Shipping ++)

We asked our buyers club members for input yesterday on whether this was the right time for a big Mountain House sale. A strong majority want this opportunity now, so here it is.

From October 2-15 Only ...

A two-week sale on all our Mountain House can listings.

Not just a little sale, but a 25% OFF sale!

Our listings will reflect the sale price starting tomorrow ... both in our buyers club store and in our eBay store ... for buyers club members and non-members alike!

As always shipping is FREE to the lower 48.

Remember, you have the option of interest-free financing if you make an 8-case package or 35-case package purchase in our eBay store. You must apply for the eBay credit card there to get that deal. If that credit card offer is not something you want, we ask that you make your purchase in our buyers club store (membership not required for these sale prices).

Buyers Club Members Are Issued High-Value Vouchers for Volume Purchases!

As always, membership does have its privileges. Buy ANY 8-cases of Mountain House cans and receive a $120 Safecastle voucher good for a subsequent purchase of anything in our store (other than Mountain House cans).

Buy any 35 cases of Mountain House cans and receive a $500 voucher! (Same terms as above.)

Yes, you can use any or all of these offers together as a member. That's quite a deal.

The 25% off is good only till Oct. 15, so don't delay.

MH is the world's premier storage food, good for 30 years! At today's prices! ... lock it up--it's money in the bank.

Stay safe (and invest your money wisely)!

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Oh, and of course you'll want to know how quickly you will take delivery of your order. Mountain House is right on top of their orders at the moment. They will ship your food fresh directly to you and you'll have it within two to three weeks.
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Get Ready ... Seriously - http://www.safecastleroyal.com/