The wait will soon be over. Greece submitted a final compromise plan to its eurozone creditors on Thursday, European finance ministers will meet on Saturday to discuss the proposal, and an emergency summit of all 28 EU nations on Sunday will make a final decision on what to do. The summit on Sunday is being billed as a “final deadline” and a “last chance” by EU officials. In essence, Greece is being given one more opportunity to embrace the austerity measures that are being demanded of them by their creditors. So has Greece gone far enough with this new proposal? We shall find out on Sunday.
For months, the entire planet has been following this seemingly endless Greek debt saga. Global financial markets have gyrated with every twist and turn of this ongoing drama, and many people have wondered if it would ever come to an end. But now European leaders are promising us that the uncertainty is finally going to be over this weekend…
This time, the leaders’ summit called for Sunday is being billed by all concerned as the definitive moment that will determine Greece’s future in the euro. It’s “really and truly the final wake-up call for Greece, but also for us — our last chance,” EU President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday, the day after the most recent emergency session.
So what is the general mood of European leaders as they head into this summit?
Overall, it does not appear to be overly optimistic.
For example, just consider what the head of the Bundesbank is saying…
Bundesbank Chief Jens Weidmann, meanwhile, said that central banks have no mandate to safeguard the solvency of banks or governments, and stressed that emergency liquidity to Greece should not be increased.
And even normally upbeat leaders such as ECB President Mario Draghi are sounding quite sullen…
Just how uncertain the coming days are was highlighted when ECB President Mario Draghi voiced highly unusual doubts about the chances of rescuing Greece.
Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore quoted the ECB chief, under growing fire in Germany for keeping Greek banks afloat, as saying he was not sure a solution would be found for Greece and he did not believe Russia would come to Athens’ rescue.
Asked if a deal to save Greece could be wrapped up, Draghi said: “I don’t know, this time it’s really difficult.“
That certainly does not sound promising.
It isn’t as if the Greeks are not trying to find a compromise. Their latest offer reportedly contains some very painful austerity measures…
Greece is seeking another bailout totaling at least 50 billion euros ($55 billion) from its European creditors and offering to make painful spending cuts and tax increases as it races to avert a financial meltdown, according to government sources.
Under a 10-page blueprint completed late Thursday, the country said it would undertake austerity measures worth between 12 billion and 13 billion euros ($13 billion to $14 billion), including raising taxes on cafes, bars and restaurants.
But once again, it appears that pensions may be a major sticking point. The following comes from a Zero Hedge report about the latest Greek proposal…
The biggest surprise is once again in the biggest hurdle: pensions. Recall that as we accurately predicted two weeks ago, it was the government’s unwillingness to directly cut pensions that led to the IMF refusing to even negotiate the Greek proposal.
As a further reminder, this is what IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard said almost a month ago on the topic:
Why insist on pensions? Pensions and wages account for about 75% of primary spending; the other 25% have already been cut to the bone. Pension expenditures account for over 16% of GDP, and transfers from the budget to the pension system are close to 10% of GDP. We believe a reduction of pension expenditures of 1% of GDP (out of 16%) is needed, and that it can be done while protecting the poorest pensioners
Fast forward to today when MNI reports that “there are no pension cuts in the draft of the proposal.”
And if recent experience is indicative, this likely means that the Troika will once again refuse to move on with the draft.
We shall see what happens on Sunday.
I have a feeling that it is all going to come down to what Germany wants to do. At this point, the Greeks owe the Germans approximately 86.7 billion euros. The German people are overwhelmingly against pouring more money down a financial black hole, and German leaders have taken a very hard line with Greece in recent days.
If Germany does not like this new Greek proposal, it will almost certainly fail. And if there is no deal, Greek government finances will totally freeze up, the Greek banking system will utterly collapse, and the Greeks will probably be forced to switch back to the drachma.
Speaking of the drachma, check out what Bloomberg is reporting…
Between June 28 and July 4 at a Hilton hotel in Athens, transactions on a Bloomberg reporter’s Visa credit card issued by Citigroup Inc. were posted as being carried out in “Drachma EQ.”
The inexplicable notation — bear in mind, the euro remains Greece’s official currency — flummoxed two very polite customer service representatives and spokesmen for the companies involved. It depicts a currency changeover that the Greek government and European officials have been working for over six months to avoid.
Banks around the world are bracing for the increasingly real possibility that Greece may be forced to abandon the euro, a currency it shares with 18 other European countries.
Could plans to roll out the drachma already be in motion behind the scenes?
The next few days promise to be extremely interesting.
Meanwhile, there are all sorts of other indications that big economic trouble is ahead for the entire planet. For instance, global commodity prices have been plunging big time…
While market commentators worry whether an economic collapse in Greece could trigger turmoil in financial markets, a slump in commodity markets may be signaling the world is already in a deep recession.
The slump in the Chinese stock market and concern over the Greek debt crisis sent commodities towards multiyear lows. The S&P GSCI—an index which represents a diversified basket of commodities—has been down nearly 40% over the past year and had slumped by more than six percent as of Wednesday, July 8th.
We witnessed a similar pattern just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.
And in addition to the problems that have erupted in China, Greece and Puerto Rico, CNN is reporting that every major economy in Latin America “is slowing down or shrinking”…
Every major Latin American economy is slowing down or shrinking. The World Bank predicts this will be Latin America’s worst year of growth since the financial crisis. As if that’s not dire enough, the world’s two worst performing stock markets are in the region as well.
Very few people are talking about Latin America right now, but the truth is that the region is in the midst of a slow-motion economic implosion. Here is more from CNN…
Venezuela is arguably the world’s worst economy with sky-high inflation. Next door, Colombia has the world’s worst stock market this year. Its index is down 13% so far this year. The second worst is Peru, down 12.5%.
Right now, trouble signs are emerging all over the planet. That is why we shouldn’t just focus on Greece. Yes, if Greece is kicked out of the euro that is going to greatly accelerate things. But no matter what happens with Greece, the truth is that we are steamrolling toward another major worldwide financial crisis. Perhaps you didn’t notice, but I purposely did not use the word “Greece” once in my recent article entitled “The Economic Collapse Blog Has Issued A RED ALERT For The Last Six Months Of 2015“.
Yes, I am taking what is happening over in Europe very seriously. I believe that we are about to see some things happen over there that we have never seen before.
But the Greek crisis is only part of the picture. Everywhere on the globe that you look, red flags are going up.
Sadly, just like in 2008, most people have chosen to be willingly blind to what is happening right in front of their eyes.
A horse named “American Pharoah” just won the Triple Crown. Is this some sort of a sign for America? The office of the presidency was greatly strengthened under previous administrations, but now Barack Obama has grabbed an unprecedented amount of power for himself. In this article, I am going to focus on immigration, but Obama’s power grab is certainly not limited to this area. And as I have written about previously, if there is some sort of major “national emergency” over the next year or so, the legal framework has already been created for Obama to use his “emergency powers” to take total control of virtually everything. So is comparing Obama to the pharoahs of ancient Egypt unfair? I don’t think so at all. He is certainly acting as if he would like the powers of a dictator, his policies in the Middle East would make the pharoahs proud, and without a doubt Obama loves the adoration and worship of his fans. In my opinion, he is the closest thing to a pharoah that the United States has ever seen.
Just consider Obama’s approach to immigration. The laws of our land require him to protect our borders, but he has left them wide open and has openly encouraged illegal immigration because that is what he decided was best. He also attempted to use his “executive powers” to grant amnesty to millions upon millions of immigrants that were in this country illegally. Fortunately, that action has been blocked in the courts (at least for now), but Obama says that he is going to keep trying to do everything he can to “bring them out of the shadows”.
Personally, I am someone that believes that the United States will always need a certain level of legal immigration. But the key word there is “legal”. It is absolutely imperative that we require everyone to come in by the front door, so that we can weed out those that would be damaging to our society. But instead of adopting a system that makes sense, we have left the back door wide open while making it extremely challenging to come in through the front door. As a result, we have seen an endless flow of gang members, drug dealers, serial criminals, welfare parasites and political radicals enter this country illegally. We have made it really easy for the “bad guys” to come in, but extraordinarily difficult for the “good guys” to move here. What we are doing does not make any sense at all.
And thanks to our foolishness and the refusal of recent presidential administrations to enforce the law, all of this immigration has fundamentally altered the employment picture in this nation. According to the latest numbers, nearly all of the job gains that the U.S. economy has experienced since 2007 have gone to foreign born workers…
Assuming, the Household and Establishment surveys were congruent, this would mean that there was just 1K native-born workers added in May of the total 280K jobs added.
Alternatively, assuming the series, which is not seasonally adjusted, was indicative of seasonally adjusted data, then the 272K increase in total Household Survey civilian employment in May would imply a decline of 7K native-born workers offset by the increase of 279K “foreign borns.”
But while all of these comparisons are apples to oranges, using the BLS’ own Native-Born series, also presented on an unadjusted basis, we find the following stunner: since the start of the Second Great Depression, the US has added 2.3 million “foreign-born” workers, offset by just 727K “native-born”.
This means that the “recovery” has almost entirely benefited foreign-born workers, to the tune of 3 to 1 relative to native-born Americans!
It is getting to the point where we have a national epidemic on our hands. According to one recent study, nearly one out of every 10 workers in the entire state of California is here illegally. Imagine how much easier it would be to get a job in that state if the illegal workers were not part of the equation.
And of course it isn’t just employment that we need to be concerned about. Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, there are now 1.4 million gang members living in our cities, and these gang members often commit crimes that are absolutely horrific. For example, the following is from an article about a crime that was recently committed by members of MS-13…
Three teenage reputed members of the MS-13 street gang were ordered held without bail Friday on charges they forced a 16-year-old into a wooded area of a Long Island golf course, where two of them took turns raping her while the third stood as a lookout.
‘This is one of the most brutal, heinous crimes that I have seen in a long, long time,’ Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said at a news conference following the suspects’ arraignments.
‘This poor young woman is so lucky that, quite frankly, that she is alive. These are vicious young men, vicious young men and what they did to her was absolutely terrible.’
If Barack Obama had protected our borders like he should have, those members of MS-13 would have never gotten into this country and they never would have raped that girl.
But instead of admitting that what he has done has been wrong, Pharoah Obama is doubling down on his current approach. He insists that leaving the border wide open is “the right thing to do”, and he pledges to “bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows”. The following comes from the Examiner…
After executive amnesty was blocked in the courts and in the House the last two days, President Obama used his weekly radio address to ridicule House Republicans for blocking a vote on immigration reform, while promising that he would keep up the fight for undocumented immigrants.
“I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system more just and more fair,” Obama said. “Last fall, I took action to provide more resources for border security; focus enforcement on the real threats to our security; modernize the legal immigration system for workers, employers and students; and bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can get right with the law.”
“Some folks are still fighting against these actions,” Obama said, without directly naming the legal hurdles his executive actions face. “I’m going to keep fighting for them. Because the law is on our side. It’s the right thing to do. And it will make America stronger.”
And if Obama has his way, this is only just the beginning.
I have previously written about the devastating impact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have on our economy, but did you know that this secret new treaty that Obama is negotiating will also allow for the free flow of people within the Asia-Pacific region? The following comes from WND…
The European Union was founded on “four freedoms”: the free flow of people, goods, money and services among members. We learned at a recent White House press conference the Trans-Pacific Partnership will ensure “people, goods and money will flow freely within the Asia Pacific region.”
So what does that mean?
Will immigrants be able to move around the nations that are involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as freely as they do in the European Union today? Mexico is one of the countries that will be a part of this new treaty. Does that mean that people will now “flow freely” between our two nations?
We have seen it time and time again – once Obama is blocked one way, he just comes back and tries to advance his agenda another way. When he promised to “fundamentally transform” this country, I don’t think that most people had any idea of what we would really be in for.
At this point, many regard Barack Obama as a “lame duck” president that is on his way out.
I don’t see it like that at all. In fact, I believe that the most tumultuous time of Obama’s presidency is still to come.
Do you agree? Tell us what you think the remainder of Obama’s time in the White House will look like by leaving a comment below…
Presidents have always exercised emergency powers, but now thanks to dozens of new laws, regulations, court decisions and executive orders, Barack Obama is the most powerful president in all of U.S. history. Of course the U.S. Constitution does not actually give the president any special powers during a time of national emergency, but over time presidents have decided that they should be able to exercise such powers and the courts have generally agreed with them. During World War II and prior to that, these emergency powers were largely uncodified and were primarily used during times of war. But since World War II things have completely changed, and this has particularly been true since 9/11. Over the past decade or so, a whole host of extraordinary powers have specifically been given to the office of the president, and all that it takes to exercise them is a major “national emergency”. So if we do have a full-blown economic collapse, a historic natural disaster, a significant war or a massive pandemic, Barack Obama could use the emergency powers that he has been given to essentially take authority over everything.
There is not a single document or series of documents that contain all of the emergency powers that Barack Obama could potentially wield during a major national emergency. As I mentioned above, these powers come from literally dozens of laws, regulations, court decisions and executive orders. But in this article I will discuss a few important documents. One of these is a presidential directive that was issued during the second term of George W. Bush. It is entitled NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD – 51/HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD – 20, and you can take a look at it on the FEMA website right here. This document is primarily concerned with the continuity of our federal government in the event of a catastrophic emergency. So precisely what would constitute a “catastrophic emergency”? The following is how the document defines that term…
“Catastrophic Emergency” means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;
That sounds quite broad to me. It could apply to all sorts of scenarios.
If we do have such a “catastrophic emergency”, the president essentially becomes a dictator at that point. The document certainly talks about the need to ensure that “constitutional government” continues, but during the course of the emergency there really is not much of a role for the other two branches of government to play. Instead, the “shadow government” takes over under the overall command of the president. The following is a short excerpt from the document…
The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination.
Of course the 11 page document that we have on the FEMA website is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to continuity of government planning. Unfortunately, most of the plans are top secret and are not allowed to be seen by the public. Astonishingly, this even applies to members of Congress. The following comes from Wikipedia…
On July 18, 2007, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a member of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, requested the classified and more detailed version of the government’s continuity of government plan in a letter signed by him and the chairperson of the House Homeland Committee, which is supposed to have access to confidential government information. The president refused to provide the information, to the surprise of the congressional committee.
Another document that raises a lot of red flags is an executive order entitled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” that was issued by Barack Obama on March 16th, 2012. This particular executive order updates previous executive orders, and it gives the president extraordinary authority during a time of national emergency. Below, I have posted most of section 201 of that executive order. As you can see, it potentially gives Barack Obama authority over just about everything during a time of national emergency if he feels it is needed for “national defense”…
Sec. 201. Priorities and Allocations Authorities. (a) The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:
(1) the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;
(2) the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;
(3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;
(4) the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;
(5) the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and
(6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
(b) The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions. Each Secretary shall authorize the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, to place priority ratings on contracts and orders for materials, services, and facilities needed in support of programs approved under section 202 of this order.
A similar executive order regarding national communications was issued on July 6th, 2012.
But the powers that Barack Obama could potentially wield during a time of national emergency are not just limited to what is written down. This may shock many Americans, but it is true. In the past, presidents have used their “emergency powers” to suspend habeas corpus, to place American citizens in internment camps and to seize private property. The following comes from Wikipedia…
A claim of emergency powers was at the center of President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus without Congressional approval in 1861. Lincoln claimed that the rebellion created an emergency that permitted him the extraordinary power of unilaterally suspending the writ. With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension in Ex Parte Merryman, although Lincoln ignored the order. 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861).
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt similarly invoked emergency powers when he issued an order directing that all Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast be placed into internment camps during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States. 323 U.S. 214 (1944).
Harry Truman declared the use of emergency powers when he seized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952. With the Korean War ongoing, Truman asserted that he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the material resources necessary to keep the troops well-equipped. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, voting 6-3 that neither Commander in Chief powers nor any claimed emergency powers gave the President the authority to unilaterally seize private property without Congressional legislation. 343 U.S. 579.
And it is important to keep in mind that Barack Obama now possesses far more power than any of those presidents ever did. All it is going to take for him to exercise those powers is a major national emergency. This is something that Jim Powell discussed in an article for Forbes…
Not long after that, we found ourselves in an open-ended national emergency declared on September 14, 2001 and extended since by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. This means the president has standby powers from hundreds of statutes that would enable him to re-introduce military conscription, seize private property and in myriad ways establish a government-run economy.
Thankfully, things are still somewhat stable for the moment so Obama does not have a reasonable excuse to use all of the powers that he has been given. But that could change at any time. If we do see a “catastrophic emergency” in the next year or so, there are very few limits on what Barack Obama would be able to do. That includes potentially postponing or suspending the 2016 election so that he can remain in office throughout the course of the national emergency.
We have never seen such a thing happen before, and hopefully we never will. And of course it isn’t just Barack Obama that we need to be concerned about. A future leader of this nation could potentially be even worse than him. It has been exceedingly foolish for us to give a single person so much power in the event of a “catastrophic emergency”, and in the end we may regret this bitterly.
Nearly two-thirds of all Americans are completely and totally unprepared for the next economic crisis. As you will read about below, a new survey has found that only 38 percent of Americans have enough money on hand to cover “a $500 repair bill or a $1,000 emergency room visit”. That essentially means that 62 percent of the people in this country do not have an emergency fund. Even after the extremely bitter financial lessons that millions of Americans learned during the last recession, most of us are still choosing to live on the edge. That is utter insanity, and when the next major economic downturn strikes most people are going to find themselves totally unprepared.
The number one thing that you need to do to get ready for the coming economic collapse is to build up an emergency fund.
I know that is not the most “sexy” piece of advice in the world, but it is the truth. Just think about it. During the last recession, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs. Because they did not have any cushion to fall back on, millions of them also suddenly could not pay their bills and their mortgages. Foreclosures skyrocketed and countless families went from living a very comfortable middle class lifestyle to being out on the street in very short order.
And now because the people of this country have been so foolish it is going to happen again.
Because of my website, people are constantly asking me what they should do to prepare for the coming economic collapse.
I think that they expect me to say something like this…
“Sell everything that you possibly can and buy gold and silver, go purchase a llama farm, and dig a bunker where you can bury 10,000 cases of MREs.”
Not that there is anything wrong with those kinds of preparations.
But before you do anything else, you have got to have an emergency fund. My recommendation is to have an emergency fund that can cover at least six months of expenses in case something happens.
Sadly, a solid majority of Americans do not have any emergency cash at all. The following comes from the Wall Street Journal…
Only 38% of those polled said they could cover a $500 repair bill or a $1,000 emergency room visit with funds from their bank accounts, a new Bankrate report said. Most others would need to take on debt or cut back elsewhere.
“A solid majority of Americans say they have a household budget,” said Bankrate banking analyst Claes Bell. “But too few have the ability to cover expenses outside their budget without going into debt or turning to family and friends for help.”
The survey found that an unexpected bill would cause 26% to reduce spending elsewhere, while 16% would borrow from family or friends and 12% would put the expense on a credit card. The remainder didn’t know what they would do or would make other arrangements.
And of course this is not the only poll that has come up with these kinds of results. In fact, a Federal Reserve survey from last year produced similar numbers…
The findings are strikingly similar to a U.S. Federal Reserve survey of more than 4,000 adults released last year. “Savings are depleted for many households after the recession,” it found. Among those who had savings prior to 2008, 57% said they’d used up some or all of their savings in the Great Recession and its aftermath. What’s more, only 39% of respondents reported having a “rainy day” fund adequate to cover three months of expenses and only 48% of respondents said that they would completely cover a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money.
Meanwhile, the financial condition of most American families is far worse than it was just prior to the last major economic crisis. As a recent MarketWatch article detailed, the average family currently has far less wealth than it did back then…
But while the jobs market is improving and the Affordable Care Act has given an estimated 15 million people access to medical care, the Great Recession does appear to have taken its toll on Americans’ finances; in fact, they’re 40% poorer today than they were in 2007. The net worth of American families — that is, the difference between the values of their assets, including homes and investments, and liabilities — fell to $81,400 in 2013, down slightly from $82,300 in 2010, but a long way off the $135,700 in 2007, according to a report released last month by the nonprofit think tank Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.
So we have a lot less wealth, and almost two-thirds of us have no emergency cushion to fall back on whatsoever.
What could go wrong?
In addition, there is lots of evidence that much of the country has not bothered to make any preparations at all for even a basic emergency that would last for just a few days. For example, the following are results from a survey conducted by the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation that I featured in a previous article…
- 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
- 48 percent lack emergency supplies
- 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
- 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
- 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
- 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
- 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
- 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
- 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents
What are all of those people going to do if there is an extended crisis or disaster in this nation?
That is a very good question.
Meanwhile, the signs that we are on the verge of the next major economic crisis just continue to grow. Yesterday, I shared 10 things that happened just prior to the financial crisis of 2008 that are happening again right now.
Today, we learned that a major oil driller down in Texas has just declared bankruptcy, and many more energy companies are expected to follow suit in the coming months. The following is from the Wall Street Journal…
[S]igns of strain are building in the oil patch, where revenue growth hasn’t kept pace with borrowing. On Sunday, a private company that drills in Texas, WBH Energy LP, and its partners, filed for bankruptcy protection, saying a lender refused to advance more money and citing debt of between $10 million and $50 million. Neither the Austin-based company nor its lawyers responded to requests for comment.
Energy analysts warn defaults could be coming. “The group is not positioned for this downturn,” said Daniel Katzenberg, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. “There are too many ugly balance sheets.”
And we also learned today that teen retailer Wet Seal is going to be closing two-thirds of its stores.
Dozens more retailers are expected to make similar announcements over the coming months.
We are moving into the most chaotic time for the U.S. economy that any of us have ever seen, and most Americans are totally oblivious to what is happening and are totally unprepared.
So what is our country going to look like when tens of millions of unprepared people are blindsided by a crisis that they never saw coming?
If an ice storm can cause this much panic in our major cities, what will a real crisis look like? The biggest news story in the United States right now is the “historic ice storm” that is hammering the South. Travel will be a nightmare, schools and businesses will be closed, and hundreds of thousands of people will lose power. In fact, it is being projected that some people could be without power for up to a week. But at the end of the day, the truth is that this ice storm is just an inconvenience. Yes, the lives of millions of Americans will be disrupted for a few days, but soon the ice will melt and life will be back to normal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for people to start behaving like crazed lunatics. As you will see below, the winter weather is causing average Americans to ransack grocery stores, fight over food items and even pull guns on one another. If this is how people will behave during a temporary weather emergency, how will they behave when we are facing a real disaster?
This is a perfect example that shows why it is wise to always have emergency food supplies on hand. According to CNN, all that is left on the shelves of some grocery stores in Atlanta is “corn and asparagus”…
As the skies turned heavy, Atlantans cleaned stores out of loaves of bread, gallons of milk, bundles of firewood and cans of beans and beer. In some stores, all that was left were the apparently less-popular corn and asparagus.
And according to an Infowars report, some people down in Atlanta were actually getting into fights over basic essentials such as milk and bread…
Atlanta residents ransacked neighborhood grocery stores in frantic preparation for their second major snowstorm of the year, waging fights over food items and leaving destruction and empty shelves in their wake, a stunning precursor to what will ensue once a major crisis impacts the U.S.
After three inches of snow shut the city down two weeks ago, causing major havoc and leaving miles of cars stranded on immobile roadways, the residents of Atlanta took heed and shopped early.
According to people who Tweeted photos of barren store shelves, residents went crazy over essentials like milk, bread, water and eggs, and in some cases “people were fighting. Yes fighting,” alleges one user.
The photo that I have shared below was posted to Twitter by Kris Muir. It shows what the bread aisle at a Kroger in the Atlanta area looked like as the storm approached…
So what would happen if this was an extended crisis and you had not stored up any emergency supplies for your own family?
That is something to think about.
And just like during the last major winter storm in the South, there are reports of hundreds of vehicles being abandoned on the side of the road in major cities. For example, just check out what has been happening in Raleigh, North Carolina…
“I live and work in downtown. I was able to get from my office back home. My wife works in Morrisville, about 25 minutes away. She left the office at 12 p.m. and is still on the road. I am coaching her home with Google Maps. It appears that, from WRAL TV, the ramp from Wade Avenue to 440 is blocked by abandoned cars. That is a HUGE ramp (downtown Raleigh to highway).”
We are also seeing quite a few reports of “snow rage” as this cold, snowy winter drags on. In fact, on Sunday someone actually pulled out a shotgun and threatened to shoot a snow plow driver on Long Island…
As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday, people have found themselves fed up with the hassle of plowing, shoveling and salting. In fact, they have been pushed to the edge, to the point where they have been taking out their frustrations on plow drivers.
Eric Ramirez, a snow plow driver on Long Island, said an irate man went so far as to rack a shotgun Sunday and threaten to shoot him because he was piling snow in front of the man’s Manorhaven home.
And a similar incident involving a pistol was recently reported in Union Township…
The incident happened Monday afternoon along Underwood Street in Union Township.
Police say Eckert became angry when the self-employed driver, John Abraham, accidentally pushed some snow into his yard while cleaning a neighbor’s driveway.
“I went like this to put it in park and there was a gun right here in my face,” Abraham said.
Eckert is then accused of taking a .22-calibur pistol out of his coat, and pressing it against Abraham’s cheek, telling him to remove the snow.
As I write about so frequently, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear. A whole host of surveys and opinion polls have shown that Americans are angrier and more frustrated than ever. Our society has become a ticking time bomb, and it isn’t going to take much for it to explode.
When it does explode, most people are going to be depending on the government or someone else to take care of them. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Mac Slavo…
Despite warnings from FEMA, as well as the prevalence of popular preparedness TV shows, Americans still don’t seem to understand how susceptible we are to a complete destabilization of life as we know it. It boggles the mind that most people seem to think that when disasters strikes they’ll be able to depend on someone else to provide them with assistance.
Fortunately, at least a few people seem to be learning some lessons about the importance of being prepared from these winter storms…
“Last time I was totally unprepared, I was completely blindsided,” said Lisa Nadir, of Acworth, who sat in traffic for 13 hours and then spent the night in her car when the storm hit Jan. 28. “I’m going to be prepared from now on for the rest of my life.”
What about you?
Are you prepared?
We live at a time when our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and it doesn’t take much to imagine a bunch of scenarios in which this nation would be facing a major crisis for an extended period of time…
-A major eruption of Mt. Rainier or the Yellowstone supervolcano
-The “Big One” hits California
-A massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault line
-A highly infectious pandemic that kills tens of millions of Americans
-Hackers bring down the Internet or crash the banking system
-A massive tsunami hits either the east coast or the west coast destroying numerous major cities
-A major war erupts in the Middle East and the United States gets involved
-A crisis involving North Korea sparks a major war in Asia
-A terror attack that specifically targets our power grid
-A terror attack involving a weapon of mass destruction in one of our major cities
-A terror attack or a major natural disaster causes one or more nuclear facilities in the heart of the United States to experience a “Fukushima-like crisis”
-A massive EMP blast that fries our electrical grid and our communications systems
-Last but certainly not least, a massive economic collapse that fundamentally changes life in America on a permanent basis
So what do you think?
Are there additional scenarios that you would add to the list above?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
Hurricane Sandy is another reminder of just how incredibly fragile the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis really is. Many of the hardest hit areas along the Jersey shore and the coast of Long Island have descended into a state of anarchy. More than 7 million people live on Long Island, and millions more live along the Jersey shore and right now they are getting a taste of what life would be like during a total economic meltdown. At the moment, there are still approximately 4.7 million homes and businesses that do not have power. Officials say that some of those homes and businesses may not have their power restored until the weekend of November 10th and 11th. Meanwhile, it is getting very cold at night. This weekend the low temperatures on Long Island are supposed to dip into the upper thirties. There have been reports of people diving into dumpsters behind supermarkets in a desperate search for food, and there have been other reports of roaming gangs of criminals posing as officials from FEMA or Con Edison and then robbing families at gunpoint once they have gained entrance into their homes. If people will behave like this during a temporary emergency that lasts only a few days, what would they do during a total economic collapse? That is a frightening thing to think about.
Most gas stations along the Jersey shore and on Long Island are either totally out of gasoline or they don’t have any power to operate the gas pumps. It is estimated that more than half of all gas stations in New York City are closed at the moment, and officials say that more than 80 percent of all gas stations in New Jersey are not able to sell gas right now. So needless to say, the lines at the gas stations that remain open are horrific.
It is being reported that some people are waiting in line for hours for gasoline in some areas and that state troopers have actually been deployed at every gas station along the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.
The following is how one New Jersey mayor described the situation…
“Gas lines are stretching for a couple of miles,” said Anthony Ammiano, mayor of Freehold, N.J., who recalled the oil crisis of the 1970s. “It’s like the Jimmy Carter years. It’s a flashback of bad memories.”
There have even been reports of people literally fighting each other over gasoline…
“It’s so crazy. Cars are pulling up and people are fighting each other. There is no gas around here,” said Mena Aziz, who manages a Gulf Express station in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “It’s been so busy.”
According to Breitbart, there have been continuous reports of “fistfights and people bringing guns to gas stations” on Twitter. The following are a couple of examples…
Just awful! RT @metrogypsy: Someone just pulled a knife at Greenpoint #gas station as line stretches with hours long wait #gettingrealFAST
— Camila Xavier (@camilaxavier) November 1, 2012
You know things are bad when you ask the gas station attendent “when do you think you’re going to get more gas?” and he just laughs at you.
— Prede (@predederva) November 1, 2012
Unfortunately, authorities are projecting that the gas shortage may last for another week at least.
How angry and frustrated will people get by that time?
There are vast stretches of the Jersey Shore and the coast of Long Island that will never be the same again. The following is an excerpt from a comment that a reader of mine from Long Island left on one of my recent articles…
I live in Massapequa NY …..No power to 95%. almost every home south of Merrick Road ( 1.5 miles from open water ) has been flooded. No electricity, no supermarkets in immediate area, no gas (approx 80% of gas stations closed on Long Island).
This was not just another storm. It was a life-altering event for millions of people.
Unfortunately, just as we have seen after every other major storm in recent years, looters are taking advantage of the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy.
According to the New York Post, a number of arrests for looting have already been made on Long Island…
In the Rockaways, lowlifes were sneaking into clothing stores and cleaning out pizzerias. Two men and a woman were arrested for robbing a BP gas station on Beach Channel Drive, three men and one woman were cuffed for pillaging a Radio Shack on Beach 88th Street, and two people were arrested for raiding a clothing store near Beach 86th Street, cops said. Stores were emptied along a two-block stretch of Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island. Seven people were busted.
Over on Coney Island, looting appeared to be out of control during the immediate aftermath of the storm…
Thieves broke in to the badly damaged Mega Aid Pharmacy on Mermaid Avenue and reportedly stole more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items, including prescription drugs.
“The water went away and these people started walking down the streets and just robbed stores,” a pharmacy worker told HuffPo’s Andy Campbell.
Manager Stan Gutkin said the major heist essentially “breaks the business.”
Looters reportedly also targeted banks, other shops, and other pharmacies.
And residents are noticing.
“People are turning on each other — they’re attacking each other,” Ocean Towers resident Dena Wells told Campbell.
Amazingly, a number of not-so-smart looters have actually been displaying their looted goods on Twitter. Just check out the shocking photos in this article.
But most people living in the areas that were most affected by Hurricane Sandy are decent people that just want some assistance. One resident of Hoboken, New Jersey became so frustrated that he inflated an air mattress and used it to float down to city hall in an attempt to get some answers…
Nearly 20,000 people have been trapped at home in the New Jersey city of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City, amid accusations that officials were slow to deliver food and water.
One man blew up an air mattress and floated to City Hall, demanding to know why supplies had not reached residents – at least a quarter of homes there are flooded and 90% do not have power.
Just like we saw after Hurricane Katrina, the response by the federal government and by big aid agencies such as the Red Cross has been very slow. In fact, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro has gone so far as to call the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and is urging people that live in his area to quit giving money to them…
“You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”
If this is how angry and frustrated that people become over a temporary disaster, how angry and frustrated would they get if there was a total economic meltdown that was permanent?
Sadly, the truth is that what we are seeing during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is just a very small preview of what is coming on a national level.
Our economy is a complete and total mess right now, and things are going to get a whole lot worse.
When unemployment starts skyrocketing again and large segments of the population realize that there is no hope for a turnaround, many of them are going to totally give in to despair and become very desperate.
And as we are seeing along the Jersey Shore and on Long Island right now, desperate people do desperate things.
That is why I am constantly pounding on the need to prepare for what is ahead. There are signs of social decay all around us, and most Americans are not equipped to deal with the pressures that come with a major emergency. When things totally fall apart, you don’t want your family to be totally unprepared and surrounded by millions of angry and desperate people.
Hopefully Hurricane Sandy will serve as a wake up call for millions of American families. Time is definitely running out, and we all need to get prepared while we still can.
Whenever a major disaster or emergency strikes, millions of lives can be turned upside down in an instant. Fortunately Hurricane Irene was not as catastrophic as originally projected, but millions of people did lose power and at least 35 people lost their lives. Large numbers of homes were destroyed and the economic damage from Hurricane Irene is going to be in the billions of dollars. Now that Hurricane Irene has passed, this is a good opportunity for all of us to look back and learn some important lessons about how to prepare for disasters and emergencies. The reality is that a major disaster or emergency has happened somewhere in the United States almost every single month so far this year, and it is only a matter of time before you and your family will be faced with another disaster or emergency.
No plan is perfect, but if you have a plan you are going to be far better off than if you do not have a plan. September is “National Preparedness Month“, so now is a great time to focus on preparing your family for the future disasters and emergencies that are inevitably coming.
The following are 12 things that we can learn from Hurricane Irene about how to prepare for disasters and emergencies….
#1 Disasters And Emergencies Are Inherently Unpredictable
When a disaster or an emergency strikes, you never know what is going to happen. Even a storm such as Hurricane Irene that was tracked for weeks can end up being highly unpredictable.
For example, while a tremendous amount of attention was paid to New York City, the reality is that some of the worst damage ended up being caused in Vermont. Hurricane Irene actually caused the worst flooding that Vermont has seen since 1927.
The following is how the governor of Vermont described the devastation that was caused in his state by this storm….
“It’s just devastating,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said Monday. “Whole communities under water, businesses, homes, obviously roads and bridges, rail transportation infrastructure. We’ve lost farmers’ crops,” he said. “We’re tough folks up here but Irene … really hit us hard.”
#2 During A Major Disaster Store Shelves Become Empty Very Rapidly
What do we see happen every single time there is even a minor disaster or emergency?
Every single time, food and other emergency supplies disappear from store shelves in a matter of hours.
If you do not have at least a couple weeks of food stored up you are being totally foolish.
In fact, considering how unstable the world has become, it is amazing that only a small percentage of the population has enough food stored up to be able to last for at least six months.
If an economic apocalypse happens, a major war breaks out, an EMP attack takes place, a huge comet strikes the planet or weapons of mass destruction are used in this country, you may not have access to mass quantities of very cheap food any longer.
Get prepared while you still can.
#3 Always Have A “Go Bag” Ready
When disaster strikes, you may only have a couple of minutes before you have to race out the door.
Your “go bag” should contain some food, some water, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, some cash, copies of your most important documents and any medicine that you may need.
#4 Know Your Escape Routes And Always Have Maps Of The Area In Your Vehicle
Have a plan and know where you are going to be heading in the event of an emergency.
If you don’t have a plan or if you don’t give yourself enough time, you could end up dead. A number of people died during Hurricane Irene while they were in their cars. The following is one example that was noted in a recent CNN article….
A 64-year-old woman was found dead Sunday by Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, police after her family grew concerned when she did not show up for work. Her body was found a half-mile from where her car was abandoned in a deluged creek, police said.
#5 During A Major Disaster Or Emergency There Is A Good Chance That You Will Lose Power For An Extended Period Of Time
During Hurricane Irene, more than 5 million people lost power. That is why it is crucial to have a battery-powered radio, a battery-powered (or solar) flashlight and extra batteries in your home.
Know what you are going to do once the power goes out. Anyone that has been through an extended power outage knows how life can change almost instantly once the power goes down.
#6 Have Enough Water Stored Up
What was one of the biggest problems in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?
It turned out that one of the most critical problems was a very serious shortage of bottled water.
Yes, even after Katrina dumped unprecedented amounts of water on New Orleans one of the biggest problems was still a lack of water.
If you do not have clean water to drink, you can die within just a few days.
So when planning for disasters and emergencies, please be sure to store up enough water.
#7 During A Natural Disaster, Major Transportation Routes May Be Shut Down
A lot of people were horrified to find roads closed or washed out during Hurricane Irene. Just because you are used to traveling on certain roads it is not safe to assume that they will always be available during disasters and emergencies.
#8 Have Respect For The Sheer Power Of Natural Disasters
We live at a time when people like to make a joke out of anything, but major natural disasters are not to be trifled with.
If you do not respect nature, you can end up dead. Amazingly, some people were actually out boating and canoeing during Hurricane Irene. According to one CNN article, one 53-year-old man that tried boating during Hurricane Irene was later found dead….
One man in Croton, New York, died Sunday while boating along with four others down the Croton River, said Lt. Russell Haper, a spokesman for the Croton police. The boat overturned in the strong rapids. The 53-year-old man was found dead after a three-hour rescue effort. The other men were pulled safely from the water.
#9 Living Near Water Can Be Very Dangerous
If you live near the ocean or near a major river, you need to understand that the potential for danger is always there.
Even if you live a good bit in from the coast, the danger for substantial flooding is always there. The following is how one CNN article described the situation in Philadelphia at the height of Hurricane Irene….
Outside Philadelphia, waters had already climbed to street-sign levels in Darby, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said, with the water sending “couches, furniture, all kinds of stuff floating down the street.”
#10 During A Major Disaster Bring In All Objects From Outside
During any disaster that involves high winds, anything that is left outside can quickly become a very dangerous projectile. The last thing that you want is for the wind to pick up heavy objects and send them crashing into your home or the home of a neighbor. If you know that a major storm is coming, please bring in everything that you can from outside.
#11 Have A Plan But Be Flexible
Your best chance of making it through a disaster or emergency is to have a plan. But that doesn’t mean that you should always stick with that plan. Disasters and emergencies are inherently unpredictable, so it will be very important to be as flexible as possible.
#12 If You Wait Until Disaster Strikes To Prepare It Is Too Late
Right now is the time to prepare for the next disaster or emergency. If you wait until an emergency happens, you will be out of luck. You need to develop a disaster plan for yourself and your family if you do not have one already.
If you plan on storing up food, water, medicine and other emergency supplies, you need to do it ahead of time. Victory belongs to the prepared, and if you think that you will never wind up in the middle of a major disaster you are just being foolish.
Hurricane Irene was a terrible storm, but fortunately it was not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Hopefully this storm will serve as a wake up call for many of us.
The next time that a disaster strikes, we may not be let off the hook so easily.