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WAITING FOR THE STORM

WAITING FOR THE STORM has a lot of good videos and articles.

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WWIII Countdown: CFR declares “Time to Attack Iran”

The Number One Catastrophic Event That Americans Worry About: Economic Collapse

The Economic Collapse Blog
December 30, 2011

Can you guess what the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about is?  There are certainly many to choose from.

Many Americans are deathly afraid of a major terrorist attack.  Others live in constant fear of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes.

Still others are incredibly concerned that a massive pandemic will break out at any time or that World War III will erupt in the Middle East.  Yes, there are certainly a lot of potential catastrophic events that one can worry about in the times in which we live, but the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about is actually “economic collapse”.

At least that is what a recent survey conducted by Leiflin Inc. for the EcoHealth Alliance found.  But this goes along with what so many other polls have found over the past few years.

Over and over again, opinion polls have found that the number one issue that American voters are concerned about is the economy.  The truth is that average Americans are deeply, deeply concerned about unemployment, debt, the housing crash and the steady decline in the standard of living.

It has been years since the U.S. economy has operated at a “normal” level, and many Americans are afraid that things could soon get a whole lot worse.

In the new survey mentioned above, those contacted were asked to select the top three potential catastrophes that worry them the most.

The following results come directly from the survey….

Economic Collapse: 63%
Natural Disaster: 46%
Terrorist Attack: 44%
Global Disease Outbreak: 33%
Global War: 27%
Nuclear Accident: 25%
Global Warming: 22%
Fuel Shortage: 15%
Cyber War: 8%
Famine: 8%
Oil Spill: 6%
Industrial Accident: 5%

As you can see, “economic collapse” was the winner by a wide margin.

So are there good reasons for the American people to be concerned about an economic collapse?

Of course there are.

Back in 2008, a financial crisis that began on Wall Street was felt in the farthest corners of the globe.

This time, ground zero for the financial crisis is going to be in Europe.  As I have written about previously, the European financial system is rapidly coming apart at the seams.  The euro continues to drop like a rock, and banking stocks continue their long-term decline.

Many people expect a “financial collapse” to happen on a particular day.  But that is not how it happens usually.  Instead, it is often like a snowball that starts rolling downhill very slowly at first but that eventually become a huge avalanche.

Right now, we are seeing the financial world come apart in slow motion.  A recent article posted on Automatic Earth included a list of the year-to-date performance of some of the most prominent global banking stocks.  These numbers are absolutely staggering….

  • BofA: -60.38%
  • Citi: -44.76%
  • Goldman Sachs: -46.41%
  • JPMorgan: -23.03%
  • Morgan Stanley: -45.24%
  • RBS: -50%
  • Barclays: -34.32%
  • Lloyds: -63.02%
  • UBS: -29.33%
  • Deutsche Bank: -28,55%
  • Crédit Agricole: -56.04%
  • BNP Paribas: -37.67%
  • Société Générale: -59.57%

But because these numbers happened over the course of a year and not on a single day it doesn’t feel quite as much like a “collapse”.

Unfortunately, things are about to get a whole lot worse.  Global credit markets are really freezing up – especially in Europe.

Considering the fact that the entire global financial system is based on credit and debt, that is a very bad thing.

Our system simply does not work when banks do not want to lend money to each other or to businesses.

Just yesterday there was an article in the Guardian that talked about how it looks like the credit crunch may be getting even worse….

“If European banks are still this concerned, it’s not a good sign,” said Karl Schamotta, senior markets strategist with Western Union Business Solutions. “That underlines the possibility that this liquidity crunch is getting worse and will continue into the new year.”

When banks cut back on lending, that causes the money supply to shrink.  When the money supply shrinks substantially, it is almost impossible to avoid a recession.  A recent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard detailed how the money supply in many eurozone nations is shrinking at a very rapid pace right now….

Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors said “narrow” M1 money – which includes cash and overnight deposits, and signals short-term spending plans – shows an alarming split between North and South.

While real M1 deposits are still holding up in the German bloc, the rate of fall over the last six months (annualised) has been 20.7pc in Greece, 16.3pc in Portugal, 11.8pc in Ireland, and 8.1pc in Spain, and 6.7pc in Italy. The pace of decline in Italy has been accelerating, partly due to capital flight. “This rate of contraction is greater than in early 2008 and implies an even deeper recession, both for Italy and the whole periphery,” said Mr Ward.

Those are very, very frightening numbers.

About the only thing propping up European banks right now is the fact that the European Central Bank is loaning them gigantic piles of cheap money.

But there is a big problem.

European banks are running out of collateral for those loans as an article in the Wall Street Journal recently noted….

Even after the European Central Bank doled out nearly half a trillion euros of loans to cash-strapped banks last week, fears about potential financial problems are still stalking the sector. One big reason: concerns about collateral.

The only way European banks can now convince anyone—institutional investors, fellow banks or the ECB—to lend them money is if they pledge high-quality assets as collateral.

Now some regulators and bankers are becoming nervous that some lenders’ supplies of such assets, which include European government bonds and investment-grade non-government debt, are running low.

So what happens when banks all over Europe start running out of collateral and can’t get any more loans?

The answer should be obvious.

As I detailed a few days ago, many prominent voices in the financial world now believe that we could be looking at a financial crisis that will be even worse than 2008.

If you want to see what happens when a collapse happens and a depression begins, just look at what is happening in Greece….

*100,000 businesses have been closed since the beginning of the crisis.

*About a third of the nation is now living in poverty.

*The unemployment rate for those under the age of 24 is 39 percent.

*The number of suicides has increased by 40 percent in the past year.

*Thefts and burglaries nearly doubled between 2007 and 2009.

Things have gotten so bad that hundreds of families in Greece are abandoning their children.

Some are taking their children to charitable institutions and others are handing them directly over to the government.

The following sad story of one Greek family comes from an article in the Guardian….

“Psychologically we were all in a bit of a mess,” said Gasparinatos. “We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, the rent hadn’t been paid for months, something had to be done.”

And so, with Christmas approaching, the 42-year-old took the decision to put in an official request for three of his boys and one daughter to be taken into care.

“The crisis had killed us. I am ashamed to say but it had got to the point where I couldn’t even afford the €2 needed to buy bread,” he told the Guardian. “We didn’t want to break up the family but we did think it would be easier for them if four of my children were sent to an institution for maybe two or three years.”

Does that seem shocking to you?

Well, all of this is coming to America eventually.

Someday we will see American parents abandoning their children because they cannot take care of them anymore.

Someday we will see suicides absolutely skyrocket in America because people have lost all hope.

Someday we will see thefts and burglaries soar to unprecedented heights as millions of desperate people attempt to try to find some way to survive.

It is all coming.

The federal government cannot pile up a trillion dollars of additional debt every year indefinitely.

We cannot afford to see an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day in the United States shut down.  Eventually there won’t be anymore factories to shut down.

We cannot afford to keep putting millions more Americans on welfare.  At this point the government is feeding 46 million Americans a month.  Will the government eventually be feeding most of us?

The U.S. economy is getting weaker and weaker and weaker.  All of the long-term trends are absolutely nightmarish.  We are accumulating debt faster than ever, and our ability to produce wealth is diminishing faster than ever.

There is no way that things are going to be okay if we stay on the path that we are currently on.

So the truth is that Americans should be very concerned about an economic collapse.

It is coming and it is going to be very painful.

Softening Up Iran for the Final Attack

Wayne Madsen
Madsen Report
December 31, 2011

In many ways, America’s and Israel’s much-anticipated war against Iran has already begun. It is not the type of war that was expected — an Israeli textbook style surprise and swift attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, followed by a sustained U.S. and NATO air campaign — but a covert war with quite an unexpected feature. The covert war, which has seen increased U.S. drone activity over Iranian skies and an increase in suspicious explosions at Iranian military facilities, has been coupled with American support for destabilization efforts against all of Iran’s allies and friends, including Syria, Russia, China, North Korea, and Venezuela…

This multi-pronged attack strategy has sent a clear message to Iran, it is not safe from covert sabotage at home and it cannot look to its friends abroad for help as they deal with their own U.S. and Israeli-inspired domestic strife.

Although Libya under Muammar Qaddafi was no friend of Iran, the coming to power of pro-Saudi Wahhabi Salafist-Sunni elements in Tripoli and Benghazi increases the phalanx of Arab states actively opposing the Shi’a government in Tehran. The success of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties in Egypt’s parliamentary election also spells problems for Iran.

However, it is the potential loss of power by the Bashar al Assad regime in Syria that poses the worst immediate defeat for Iran. Syria has been Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world. The West and the Saudis and Qataris have been supporting Salafist elements, including terrorists, who have committed their own share of atrocities in Syria, much as the same ilk conducted massacres of pro-Qaddafi, as well as black African guest workers and black Libyans, during the Libyan civil war.

On Iran’s borders and adjacent waters, countries hosting U.S. military forces — Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Turkey, and Afghanistan — are being prepared for a military conflict with Iran. Although the Obama administration proclaimed the end of the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, some U.S. forces remain in the country, as well as a group of para-military private security contractors.

With news that Iraq that the predominantly Shi’a and pro-Iranian Nouri al Maliki government in Baghdad has forged a military alliance with Iran and that Iraq’s Sunni Vice President, Tareq al-Hashimy, has sought protection from arrest by Maliki’s government in Iraqi Kurdistan, the U.S. can be expected to increase its own covert and overt military presence in Iraqi “Sunnistan” in the west of the country, as well as in Iraqi Kurdistan. The first front lines in a U.S. and/or Israel military showdown with Iran could be along the Shi’a-Sunni front lines in Iraq, a nation already so weary and decimated from war.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces could end up crossing into Iraq to take on remaining U.S. forces and their Sunni and Kurdish proxies.

The U.S. has pressured Maliki to not take action against the 3,400 Iranian exiles, most of them Mujaheddin-e-Khalq guerrillas, who were once backed by Saddam Hussein. The anti-Tehran regime MEK forces now enjoy the backing of a number of U.S. politicians but they are considered terrorists by Tehran. Since the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the MEK refugees have been under siege at Camp Ashraf. The U.S. has pressured Maliki to allow the Iranians to be resettled at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad, prior to exfiltration from Iraq by the United States. No final agreement between Washington and Baghdad has been signed but the MEK loyalists could end up in one of the Gulf states and be available for future guerrilla operations inside Iran.

The other wild card in any future U.S. is Pakistan, which now has a fractured relationship with Washington after incessant U.S. drone attacks have killed Pakistani border troops and a number of civilians. Pakistan’s corrupt President, Ali Asraf Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, is seen as a lame duck. Just as with U.S. National Endowment FOR Democracy (NED) “themed” rebellions currently being waged fomented against Iran’s diplomatic allies and economic and military partners Russia and China, Pakistan, the Muslim world’s only nuclear power, is experiencing a “people’s” uprising led by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice, PTI) recently saw over 100,000 turn out for a rally in Karachi, where the protesters called for political and economic reforms and an end to the corruption practiced by Zardari and his cronies. The message is similar to the anti-Vladimir Putin forces in Moscow — anti-corruption and the institution of political reforms. Even the number of protesters is the same between the last protest against Putin in Moscow and the anti-Zardari protest in Karachi: 100,000.

However, Khan is supported by Pakistan’s educated and professional, mostly young, elite.

Khan has had to take on an anti-American tone by condemning drone strikes and the U.S. military presence in Pakistan. However, Khan, to be a contender for power, must tack to a nationalist line because America is hated by a wide cross-section of the Pakistani population.  Khan is adopting the same wishy-washy political platform that Barack Obama adopted in 2008, even borrowing from the Obama campaign by using “Hope” and “Change” campaign materials throughout Pakistan and even borrowing from another Obama campaign slogan with a slight twist: “Yes We Khan.”

U.S. drone unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone activity, using intelligence-collection and weaponized drones, can be expected to continue. notwithstanding Iran’s capture of a sophisticated jet-powered RQ0170 Sentinel drone that was brought down in Iran. In addition, it is strongly rumored that Israel may have drone and other intelligence bases from which to operate against Iran in Azerbaijan on Iran’s northern border.  The United States, Britain, and Israel are suspected of being behind covert attacks — physical and cyber — against Iran’s nuclear development program.

Iranian nuclear scientists and defense officials have been assassinated and kidnapped by Western intelligence agents operating within Iran and abroad. There have been mysterious devastating explosions at an Iranian missile production facility outside of Tehran and at a nuclear facility near Isfahan. The West is also using Iranian minority guerrilla groups to conduct operations inside Iran, including Iranian Arabs in the southwest, Kurds in the north, and Baluchis in the southeast.

Although UAV activity against Iran has been widely reported, the use of Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) against Iran’s naval forces, currently conducting a major exercise in the Gulf, cannot be discounted. The U.S. Navy may be using UUVs to conduct targeting activities inside Iran’s Bandar Abbas naval base on the Gulf and in the near future may see UUVs conducting sabotage of Iranian naval vessels and in counteracting Iranian mines by blowing them up.

Israel is also known to maintain two of its Dolphin class diesel electric submarines in the Gulf. The submarines carry cruise missiles that are likely tipped with nuclear warheads.

Meanwhile, no stone is being left unturned by the West in neutralizing Iran’s support from allies. In addition to supporting themed rebellions against Russia and China, so-called “White” revolutions, Iran’s friend in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is facing charges that he and Iranian personnel are developing nuclear weapons in Venezuela, an old and totally-debunked charge, and that Venezuelans and Lebanese Hezbollah are involved in drug smuggling in Mexico. The latter fairy tale is courtesy of the Spanish-language news network Univision, owned by notorious Israeli-American Hollywood mogul Chaim Saban, a Zionist who bankrolls the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. The Saban Center also provides propagandists from its satellite office in Doha, Qatar to influence the Fox News-style propaganda, masked as “news,” that emanates from the Doha studios of Al Jazeera.

Iran’s Lebanese Hezbollah allies and the governments of Sudan and North Korea, known to be close to Tehran, are facing renewed pressure from the West, especially North Korea after the unexpected death of Kim Jong Il. With rumors in Seoul and Beijing that Kim Jong Il may have been assassinated by military officers in a power struggle that led to a coup, North Korea as a source for Iranian missiles and nuclear technology may now be in doubt. Sudan, which already lost South Sudan to a pro-Israeli regime, is now facing the possibility that Darfur and North Kordofan could be peeled away from the country, leaving a powerless rump regime in Khartoum.

In the U.S., the Zionist propagandists are spinning the fanciful tale that Iran was involved with “Al Qaeda,” the fairy tale organization concocted by Mossad and the CIA, in carrying out the 9/11 attacks.

One fact remains. Iran is now facing an undeclared war being waged by the West and Israel. It is a war of computer viruses like the Israeli-developed Stuxnet, propaganda, support for armed insurgents, covert assassinations and sabotage, and political pressure against Iran’s friends around the world. This softening up of Iran is expected by the West to make a final military assault on the country a “cake walk.”

Slow Kill Holocaust: Proof the Government is Killing You