Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Desperate Times

To say these are desperate times is both a "no brainer" and a bit of unmerited anxiety.

China and the U.S.

It looks more and more like China and the US will be squaring off for a fight. Not too long ago, it was the US and N.Korea. And it has always been that way between those two countries and the US. Especially in the 70's and 80's when Communist operatives in our universities and media were telling us that China had no expansionist agenda and would never be a threat to us. Purely defensive, they told us. Right.

But in the grand scheme of things, these countries are, right now, just a distraction from what everyone familiar with the Kingdom of God and Biblical Prophesy knows we should be watching (and for those who don't know, it is Israel and her enemies).

Wars and Rumors of Wars
When the U.S. Navy deployed warships in the Yellow Sea in a show of support for the South Korean government, Beijing denounced America, blandly denying North Korea’s guilt. The Chinese claimed that they were merely displaying even-handedness and restraint, but an exasperated President Obama said: ‘There’s a difference between restraint and wilful blindness to consistent problems.’
Washington is increasingly sensitive to the fact that its bases in the western Pacific have become vulnerable to Chinese missiles. This is one reason why last week the U.S. made a historic agreement with Australia to station up to 2,500 U.S. Marines in the north of the country.
Beijing denounced the deal, saying it was not ‘appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interests of countries within this region’.


While the Global Warming (oops, I mean climate change) wackoes are still telling us we are about to run out of oil and our carbon emmisions are changing the global climate, a quiet change in the crude oil and natural gas supply has now produced easily harvestable reserves that will last for more than 40 years. Maybe more than 100 years.

As for the Global Warming Wacko crowd. These are the people who look at a roller coaster and believe the people on that little train are causing it to go up and down and around. The tracks are just incidental. Man Made Global Warming or Anthropological Climate Change, or whatever you want to call it is now know to be a complete fraud. Apparently made up by some guys in a university to keep them in scholarship (or fellowship) money. It just snowballed from there, as certain LEFTIST liberals found ways to turn weak minded people's anxiety into cash.

Global Famine.

Well this one is real. But maybe not immediate. Others have been writing about the famine that I wrote about. But as I said a few weeks ago, it doesn't look like it will be a major famine next year. Of course, anything can happen, and we could face a major famine even a couple of months from now. But it currently doesn't look that way.

With grain supplies still tight and worldwide demand growing quickly, food price inflation looks set to remain high and even worsen in the years ahead.
It will likely take years of near-perfect crops to replenish global stockpiles of corn and wheat, the staples of the world food system, and minimize the risk of price spikes.
Stockpiles of corn in the United States, the No. 1 producer, are forecast to drop to 16-year lows — 870 million bushels — by summer 2012. As a percentage of use, that would be the second-tightest since the Dust Bowl devastated crops in the 1930s.
This time around, crops are historically large, but demand is also surging due to Chinese consumers and U.S. ethanol producers.
As for wheat, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects world inventories will improve by June 2012 to reach 182 million tons, up from their 26-year low of roughly 126 million in 2007-08 during the last run-up in prices. But growing demand, notably from the livestock sector, will keep prices high, as will a scarcity of high-protein, high-quality milling wheat.

Israel and Islam.

This is Real. And Big.

It is looking like Israel will take a preemptive strike against Iran

Israel believes it could carry out military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities and suffer fewer than 500 civilian fatalities were Tehran to retaliate, the country's defense minister said on Tuesday.

Ehud Barak raised the prospect of military action with Iran once again as he hinted that splits in the international community over imposing sanctions regarded as crippling enough by Israel could leave the Jewish state with no option but to take matters into its own hands.

Economic Disaster in Europe

This one is also real. But we don't know when the meltdown will occur, or how long it will last.

The biggest problem in our economies today is that the money we need to invest or use today, was spent several years ago. This is true throughout most of the western world. The next biggest problem is that those who seem to be willing to either bail us out or buy up the shattered remains of our self destructed civilizations are our enemies.

I have said before, on this blog, that the insanity has gone on so long that a sudden removal of the insanity would be disastrous, and that continuing the insanity will be disastrous, but that we as individuals need not participate in the insanity.

I said at the beginning of the month that the banks are still safer than hiding money under your mattress, but that "the margin is getting thinner." Well, things have gotten worse, and it looks like it will only be a matter of time before there is a melt down in Europe, with the economic destruction spreading to the US. Now may be the time to begin watching the silver and gold markets and moving some money into silver and gold coins, if you haven't already. And I mean physical coins that you have in your hand, not certificates. Of course that means you will need physical security. A safe deposit box might be ideal, or not. If the melt down is severe enough, the banks will lock their doors and you will not be able to get in. I have researched home safes, and can say that anything is better than nothing, but most home safes can be broken into. What you need depends on what you have. I am fortunate, as I have very little money, I don't need much of a safe. (Maybe I should bury a coffee can in the back yard?)

We came close to a meltdown and run on the banks

By Bob Ivry, Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz - Nov 27, 2011 6:01 PM CT
Bloomberg Markets Magazine
The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy.
And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.
This could go under "disaster prep" also
British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain.
As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.

Run on the banks?

24 November 2011
Don't mention the R word
By Laurence Knight Business reporter, BBC News
R is for run. As in bank run.

IMF said to be readying Italian bail-out 28.11.11 @ 09:29
By Leigh Phillips
BRUSSELS - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is preparing a multi-billion-euro rescue of Italy, reports in the Italian media on Sunday (27 November) claim.
The Washington-based lender is in talks readying a €600 billion assistance package for Rome in return for swingeing austerity and structural adjustment measures, according to an article in Italian daily La Stampa, quoting unnamed officials in the American capital.
Spain meanwhile may not need a full bail-out programme and be offered instead a credit line.
Buttressing speculation that the IMF is set to bail out the eurozone’s third biggest economy, ECB member and Bank of France governor Christian Noyer was asked directly by reporters whether the IMF is preparing a programme of support for Italy, but he refused to comment.

A note on my lack of style in this article.

I didn't have time to embed the links properly this time, I left them in the raw form I use in my notes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Change in blogging habits

I will be changing the way I do blogging in the future. For now, the main change is the articles will be more random, and probably shorter. In a short time, I will change all the commenting to "moderated," meaning that no comment will get posted unless I see it first.

This is driven by three factors. One is I am planning to move my writing to another blog (maybe in a few months or so). Two is that I don't seem to be as good as I though I might be at writing articles on time, on several subjects. So I am letting the "on time" part go away. Third is that I intend to allow people in the local area know about this blog, and I don't want my local address posted to it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Monthly Economics Report

All eyes are fixed on Greece and its slow downward spiral into bankruptcy. But, I think we are paying too much attention to that, and not enough to our own. President Obama is still pushing the bus (our economic future) ever closer to the abyss(the point where we, like Greece, will not be able to pay our debts and will spiral into a financial meltdown), and the Republicans in congress are still stonewalling his efforts.

In the mean time, the payroll report is out for this month. It shows that employment is down slightly(from 9.1% to 9.0%), not because of the numbers from October, but because of revisions to the numbers in August and September. September saw the addition of about 100k jobs that had not been previously reported, so the unemployment numbers were adjusted. It still stinks just a little, because manufacturing jobs for Aug and Sept are still at a net loss.

There is still some 8% (give or take some) that is under employed (working at whatever they can find) or dropped out of the job market completely. And 42% of the unemployed have been out of a job for 27 weeks or longer, meaning they will have increasing difficulty finding work and may eventually join the numbers of those who have dropped out.

Over all, the situation is still grim, just as it was two years ago and it will remain grim for more than another year.


Now, about Greece (to be followed by Spain, Portugal, Ireland, California, etc.) and the current state of the bailout. The other nations of the EU (Germany in particular) have agreed to forgive half of Greece's debt, if Greece will agree to live within its means in the future.

Most of the markets climbed with the news that the EU had came to an agreement with Greece, and felt that life could go on and they would work their way out of this mess.

Now, Greece is not certain they want to accept the deal. Well, to be more precise, a large fraction of the population, accustomed to living off the government dole, doesn't want to accept the reduction in their comfort level the deal would require. And another large fraction of Greece cheats on their taxes with an audacity not even imagined by most people.
It is commonplace to rail against the flaws that drove the state to bankruptcy. Statistics that betray the extent of the state’s failure are part of everyday conversation. One million people, or a tenth of the population, last year gave a backhander to the civil service to grease the wheels of bureaucracy. Only 15,000 people declared earnings of more than €100,000 in 2010 but one in 20 purchasers of £2?million houses in London lived in Greece.

It shouldn't surprise anyone. They didn't get into this mess by being Puritans, willing to work long hours, live frugally, save methodically, and treat all others honestly.

Now, why is this important to us? There is a concern that the crisis could snowball into a run on the banks, and that could spread here. This is not a completely empty concern. The banking system in both Europe and the US is largely based on trust, backed up by nothing. And most are leveraged about 20 to 1. This means that if 5% of their customers decide to withdraw their money, the bank will collapse.

This is what happened in 1929, and is the reason the FDIC (and subsequently, the FSLIC and NCUA) was created. Except that if the panic is widespread, they are all a house of cards, and will crumble quickly.

Now, I am not trying to panic anyone. First, this is not likely to happen within the next month. Second, the likely hood of it happening within a year is fairly small. Your bank is still safer than your mattress. But the margin is getting thinner. Next year may be a different story, and I can't tell yet.


Some day in the future, we must be aware that our economies will try to enslave us. Read the story, in a post on "the oildrum" website, that begins with "many years ago." It wasn't really science fiction. My grandfather escaped one such camp on the west coast of the US.

While it will probably not happen with oil (since we recently discovered enough gas to last many years) it will likely happen with food and clothing.

Thus is the reason I am beginning a regular posting on food and famine.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Reformation Day

Reformation day passed without too much excitement. I should have written this before, but truthfully, I didn't think too much about it until a Catholic I joust with frequently made a couple of, over the top disparaging, remarks about Martin Luther.

A skirmish of words ensued, and I decided I needed to get some resources lined up, and all linked to a central place.

For those of you who are scratching your head, Reformation Day is the day that Martin Luther tacked a list of 95 theses (or grievances against the Roman Catholic Church) on the church door (or did he?), and said he would hold a public meeting the next day if anyone wanted to debate with him on any point on which they had question or difference of opinion.

No one took him up on the debate, but the Pope eventually put out the word that he was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, to be considered an outlaw and should be killed, if possible. They failed to kill him, and in the following years, the Roman Catholic Church was largely removed from Germany.

It is notable that the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod (a large grouping or convention of Lutheran Churches), is the only major branch of the old mainline Churches I can find, that has not gone into apostasy.

I found most of these by doing a search on Reformation and Protestant.


"Brief history in chart form of over 20 reformers from Arminius ..."

"An essay on the beginning of the Reformation, concentrating on Luther's reaction to the sale of indulgences and his developing the doctrine of
(This is mainly a Seventh Day Adventist site, and most of the site seems to be a forum)

short outline presents key points and supportive links

Catholic Encyclopedia

On Halloween of 1517, Luther changed the course of human history when he nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, accusing the Roman Catholic church of heresy upon heresy. Many people cite this act as the primary starting point of the Protestant Reformation… though to be sure, John Wycliffe, John Hus, Thomas Linacre, John Colet, and others had already put the life’s work and even their lives on the line for same cause of truth, constructing the foundation of Reform upon which Luther now built. Luther's action was in great part a response to the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel, a Dominican priest. Luther's charges also directly challenged the position of the clergy in regard to individual salvation. Before long, Luther’s 95 Theses of Contention had been copied and published all over Europe.

Luther lived incognito at the Wartburg; he called himself Junker Jörg (Knight George) and "grew his hair and a beard."

In addition, I found resources on other Protestant Movements in the Theopedia entries.


The Council of Trent played an important part in determining the outcome of the Counter-Reformation. Along with the part played by the Jesuits and certain individuals, the Council of Trent was a central feature of the Counter-Reformation. But whether Trent represented a positive move by the Catholic Church remains contentious.

newadvent.org (Catholic Encyclopedia)
The nineteenth ecumenical council opened at Trent on 13 December, 1545, and closed there on 4 December, 1563. Its main object was the definitive determination of the doctrines of the Church in answer to the heresies of the Protestants; a further object was the execution of a thorough reform of the inner life of the Church by removing the numerous abuses that had developed in it.

The books of those heresiarchs, who after the aforesaid year originated or revived heresies, as well as of those who are or have been the heads or leaders of heretics, as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Balthasar Friedberg, Schwenkfeld, and others like these, whatever may be their name, title or nature of their heresy, are absolutely forbidden.

"Most of the speakers seemed only too happy to treat Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox as “brothers and sisters in the faith,” as easily as a Baptist might refer to a Presbyterian. Now, I trust that some RC and GOs are Christians, but such unqualified, unnuanced passing remarks effectively dismiss the Reformation and jeopardize souls. Don’t you realize the effect your passing comments have on sheep?"

There are many in our day who say that the Roman Catholic person is a brother with one who professes salvation through faith alone. Rome, in its own documents, denies this, using the word “anathema” toward those who disagree with certain doctrinal issues.