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Instead Of Black Friday Materialism, Thanksgiving Weekend Should Be A Time To Live, Laugh And Love

thanksgiving-dinner-public-domainOn Friday, hordes of desperate zombies were spotted desperately trying to save a few dollars on toys, apparel and cheaply made electronic goods all over America.  Seemingly oblivious to the fact that virtually all of these goods were made outside of the United States in nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, these zombies often clashed violently with one another over items such as soap, toilet paper and jumbo-sized televisions.  Black Friday puts the worst excesses of American materialism on display for the whole world to see, but most Americans don’t seem to care how pathetic we appear to be to the rest of the planet.  The only thing that most Americans know is that it is “the holiday season”, and so now it is time to spend, spend, spend even if it means going into crippling amounts of credit card debt.

Overall, it is being projected that Americans will spend an all-time record high of 650 billion dollars this holiday season.  That is an amount of money roughly equivalent to the yearly GDP of the nation of Saudi Arabia.

But it would be one thing if we did all of this spending with some class.  But instead, many Americans braved freezing cold temperatures and stood in very long lines on Thanksgiving evening so that they could have the opportunity to fight over “great deals” such as $1.60 towels

In video apparently recorded inside a Walmart in Bainbridge, Georgia, showed shoppers fighting over towels that were on sale for $1.60 during the Black Friday rush on Thursday.

At one point, one woman so eager to get her hands on a towels that she fell into the box.

Meanwhile, shoppers at a Walmart in Houston broke into an all-out melee on Black Friday, as customers battled it out for some $99 kiddie convertibles.

We have become a nation that is entirely consumed by greed.  The average American has the television on approximately five hours a day, and that means that we are being endlessly exposed to commercials that are telling us to buy stuff.  Sadly, all of this “programming” does cause many Americans to actually behave like zombies as filmmaker Mark Dice has so brilliantly illustrated

And unfortunately, the violence on Black Friday is often not limited to the ridiculous brawls over Chinese-made electronic goods.  In fact, according to WND four people were shot around the country during the Black Friday “festivities”…

One shooting happened on Thanksgiving Day in a Walmart parking lot in Nevada, apparently as a result of a dispute over a parking spot.

In New Jersey early Friday, two people were shot, one fatally, in a parking lot outside a Macy’s store at the Hamilton Mall, the New York Post said.

Also early Friday, in Tennessee, a man was hit and injured when shots were fired at Wolfchase Galleria Mall in Memphis.

Personally, I don’t understand why people would want to deal with all of this mayhem just to save a few bucks on mass-produced trinkets that they and their families probably don’t even need.

Fortunately, a lot of people are starting to reject Black Friday altogether.  For example, one group is now promoting the day after Thanksgiving as “Buy Nothing Day”

International “Buy Nothing Day” falls on the day after American Thanksgiving each year. Celebrated since the 1990s, the day is meant to inspire worldwide action against mass consumerism, according to Adbusters, a not-for-profit anti-consumerism magazine. 

“Buy Nothing Day isn’t just about changing your habits for one day it is about rediscovering what it means to live freely,” according to Adbusters. “Join millions of us in over 60 countries on November 25, 2016, for Buy Nothing Day and see what it feels like to take a stand against corporate domination.”

And I am a big proponent of buying nothing on the day after Thanksgiving as well, but for different reasons.

Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that virtually everyone can agree on, and it is one of the only times of the year when families all over the country gather together.

Ultimately, the experience of spending time with family and friends is far more valuable than any “deals” you may be able to pick up at the stores.  If I was going to be the next president, I would strongly consider making the entire four-day period over the long Thanksgiving weekend a national holiday.  But the only way that I would do that is if I could pass a law that the stores must shut down as well.

Because the truth is that the vast majority of us do not need any more stuff, but without a doubt we could all definitely use some more love in our lives.

It has been said that “he who dies with the most stuff wins”, but that is a total lie.

Some of the most miserable people in the world are also some of the most wealthy.  And there are lots of people out there that “make a lot of money” that are some of the coldest, cruelest people that you would ever want to come across.

Success in life is not measured by how much money you make.

Rather, it is measured by how much love you give.

And the more love you spread to those around you, the more likely it is that you will be loved in return.

Sadly, in our day and age love has become heavily linked with sex.  But having a sexual relationship with someone does not mean that you are loved.  Just ask any prostitute.

Others feel like they aren’t loved because they are not in a romantic relationship at the moment.  But that is not what love is all about either.  In fact, some of the loneliest individuals on this holiday are people that are actually married.

And even if you don’t have any family at all this holiday, that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out.  Some people have deeper and more meaningful relationships with close friends than they ever had with their family.  And even though I am very thankful for my family, I have friendships that I have cultivated over the past couple of years that I consider to be on the same level because I love those individuals so dearly.

Look, you can run out and buy stuff at Wal-Mart any time.

But how many times a year do you get to spend concentrated time with those that you love in a quiet, peaceful environment?

The long Thanksgiving weekend should be a time to live, to laugh and to love.

Unfortunately, many Americans have become completely blinded by greed and they have forgotten what really matters…

Bird Flu Has Already Killed More Than 20 MILLION Turkeys And Chickens In The United States

Chick - Public DomainAre you prepared to go without turkey this Thanksgiving?  Yes, it might actually get that bad.  So far, the worst outbreak of bird flu in U.S. history has claimed the lives of more than 20 million turkeys and chickens, and the pandemic continues to rage wildly out of control.  Once one bird becomes infected, this particular strain of the virus is so virulent that it can virtually wipe out an entire flock in just a matter of days.  At this point, scientists think that this virus is being spread by wild birds, but they have no idea how it is getting inside barns and other enclosed facilities so easily.  Considering how important turkey, chicken and eggs are to our food supply, it is quite alarming that scientists don’t really understand what is going on.  If this bird flu outbreak is not brought under control, how many birds will eventually die?  Right now, it is already in the tens of millions.  Could the total eventually reach into the hundreds of millions?

Minnesota is the top producer of turkeys in the United States, and Iowa is the top producer of eggs, and that is why it is so alarming that both of these states are right at the heart of this current outbreak

Virulent H5 avian influenza strains have spread to 14 states in five months and affected about 24 million birds so far, mostly egg-laying hens and turkeys, according to USDA.

That tally is expected to grow, as U.S. authorities confirm pending cases. The outbreak, which is also affecting two Canadian provinces, shows little sign of slowing.

In Minnesota, the largest producer of U.S. turkeys, state officials said almost 5.5 million turkeys and egg-laying chickens have either died from the flu virus or are set to be killed in an effort to contain the outbreak.

In Iowa, the top U.S. egg producer, state agriculture officials said an estimated 20 million chickens and turkeys have been affected there.

So just in those two states alone, we are talking about more than 25 million chickens and turkeys that are already dead or that are scheduled to be killed in an attempt to slow down this outbreak.

Things have already gotten so bad that some in the industry are already projecting that this may cause a shortage of turkeys at Thanksgiving

And now, with Thanksgiving just seven months away, farmers say they may be running out of time to raise enough turkeys -the traditional centerpiece of holiday feasts – to meet the demand.

Once a farm has been infected, flocks must be culled, composted in barns, then disposed of. Buildings must then be thoroughly disinfected. The whole process can take up to three months before a new flock of turkey poults can be brought in, said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Of course any notion of “recovery” assumes that this outbreak will be shortly brought under control and that breeder farms are not being infected.  But we have already had reports that some breeder farms in Minnesota have been infected.

Last year, the United States produced 240 million turkeys.  Almost 20 percent of them came from Minnesota.  So this outbreak in Minnesota is a really, really big deal.

And if you like to eat eggs, you should expect to start to pay more for them as well.  As of now, this pandemic has already wiped out 6 percent of all “layer hens” in this country

Egg producers have been hit hardest. In 2014, 362 million “layer” hens in the U.S. produced 100 billion eggs. With more than 20 million hens now in the process of being culled, nearly 6 percent of the nation’s population has been taken offline.

Even if this pandemic ends very quickly, and that is a huge if, the economic impact would still be huge.  Food producers in the affected states are already starting to lay off workers, and prices for meat and eggs are already starting to rise.

However, what happens if this pandemic cannot be brought under control any time soon and we lose 20, 30 or 40 percent of our turkeys and chickens?

I am recommending that people consider stocking up on canned and frozen meat while they still can.  Prices on those items are certainly not going to be going anywhere but up for the foreseeable future.  And if you can afford it, a second freezer is often a good idea for many families.

The truly frightening thing is that this bird flu pandemic is coming at a time when the U.S. food supply is already under an unprecedented assault.  Just consider some of the things that are currently happening

-More than 40 percent of our fresh produce comes from the state of California, but thanks to the worst multi-year drought in the history of the state much of the region is turning back into a desert.

-Also due to the persistent drought, the size of the U.S. cattle herd is now as small as it was during the 1950s, and the price of beef has doubled since the last recession.

-Over the past few years, something called “porcine epidemic diarrhea” has wiped out approximately 10 percent of the entire pig population in the United States.

-Just off the west coast of the United States, a wide variety of sea creatures are dying in unprecedented numbers.  For example, the sardine population along the west coast has dropped by a staggering 91 percent just since 2007.

-Down in Florida, citrus greening disease is absolutely crushing the citrus industry.  Crops just keep on getting smaller year after year.

-There is a disease known as the TR4 fungus that is devastating banana production worldwide.  In fact, it has been reported that this fungus could someday completely wipe out the variety of bananas that we commonly eat today.

Are you starting to understand?

Just because we have always been able to rely on massive quantities of extremely inexpensive food does not mean that it will always be that way.

At this point, scientists tell us that the strain of the bird flu that is hitting chickens and turkeys poses “little risk” to humans.  But it does pose a tremendous risk to our food supply – especially if our scientists can’t figure out a way to bring this outbreak under control.

So why is all of this happening?  Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…

Are You Better Off This Thanksgiving Than You Were Last Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving Dinner - Photo by Marcus QuiqmireAre you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving?  If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate because most Americans are not.  As you chow down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce this Thursday, please remember that there are millions of Americans that simply cannot afford to eat such a meal.  According to a shocking new report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million.  And right now one out of every seven Americans rely on food banks to put food on the table.  Yes, life is very good at the moment for Americans at the top end of the income spectrum.  The stock market has been soaring and sales of homes worth at last a million dollars are up 16 percent so far this year.  But most Americans live in a very different world.  The percentage of Americans that are employed is about the same as it was during the depths of the last recession, the quality of our jobs continues to go down, the rate of homeownership in America has fallen for seven years in a row, and the cost of living is rising much faster than paychecks are.  As a result, the middle class is smaller this Thanksgiving than it was last Thanksgiving, and most Americans have seen their standards of living go down over the past year.

In 2014, there are tens of millions of Americans that are anonymously leading lives of quiet desperation.  They are desperately trying to hold on even though things just keep getting worse.  For example, just consider the plight of 49-year-old Darrell Eberhardt.  Once upon a time, his job in a Chevy factory paid him $18.50 an hour, but now he only makes $10.50 an hour and he knows that he probably would not be able to make as much in a new job if he decided to leave…

For nearly 20 years, Darrell Eberhardt worked in an Ohio factory putting together wheelchairs, earning $18.50 an hour, enough to gain a toehold in the middle class and feel respected at work.

He is still working with his hands, assembling seats for Chevrolet Cruze cars at the Camaco auto parts factory in Lorain, Ohio, but now he makes $10.50 an hour and is barely hanging on. “I’d like to earn more,” said Mr. Eberhardt, who is 49 and went back to school a few years ago to earn an associate’s degree. “But the chances of finding something like I used to have are slim to none.”

Of course you can’t support a family on $10.50 an hour.

You can barely support one person on $10.50 an hour.

But there are many men out there that would absolutely love to switch positions with Darrell Eberhardt.  At this point, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) does not have a job.  That is an absolutely crazy number.

And of course just because you “have a job” does not mean that things are going well.  The number of Americans that are “working part-time involuntarily” has risen by over 50 percent since the beginning of the last recession.  There are millions of hard working Americans that would love to get a full-time job if they could land one.  But these days “decent jobs” are in short supply.

For example, CNN recently profiled the story of college graduate Meghan Brachle…

Meghan would love to be a music teacher or play full-time in an orchestra. She studied music at Loyola University in New Orleans and plays the flute.

Instead, Meghan works a slew of part-time jobs and receives no benefits.

She is a cashier at Whole Foods, a substitute teacher, a flute tutor and an administrative assistant at a non-profit.

Even with all of her hard work, Brachle and her husband often really struggle to pay the bills

With inconsistent hours, Meghan monthly income fluctuates between $1,000 and $3,000. Even with her husband’s teaching salary, the couple sometimes struggles to cover the $3,600 of monthly expenses they have.

“It’s very stressful,” Meghan, a college graduate, says. “I think about all the job applications I’ve turned in and all the interviews I’ve been on and all the other people who are in the same situation, looking for those same [full-time] jobs. It’s frustrating.”

Sadly, a lot of these part-time employers know that their employees desperately need these jobs and are using that leverage to treat them very poorly.

For example, it is being reported that any KMart employees that do not show up for work on Thanksgiving will be automatically fired.

What kind of nonsense is that?

And around the country at Wal-Mart stores, food drives are being held for “needy employees“.

So why wouldn’t Wal-Mart just pay their workers enough so that they could afford to take care of themselves in the first place?

Most people don’t realize this, but approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is currently living below the poverty line.  Many of them are working as hard as they can and still can’t make enough to take care of themselves.

Meanwhile, our paychecks are getting stretched further and further with each passing month.

When you don’t make much money, every dollar is precious.  And when food prices go up substantially, it can be very painful.  Unfortunately, that is precisely what is happening right now…

-From September to October, the price of a pound of Turkey rose from $1.58 to $1.66.  That represents a 5.2 percent price increase in just one month.

-The price of a pound of ground beef has just risen to a brand new record high of $4.15 a pound, and more price increases are on the way.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting that U.S. beef production will drop by another 1 billion pounds next year due to a variety of factors including the horrific multi-year drought out west.

-The entire planet is bracing for a huge chocolate shortage, and this threatens to push the price of chocolate beyond the reach of many American families…

Start hoarding those Hershey’s Kisses and stockpile your Snickers: The world could soon experience a chocolate shortage.

Mars Inc. and Barry Callebaut, two of the world’s largest chocolate makers, say that’s the path we’re headed down. They cite a perfect storm of factors: Less cocoa is being produced as more and more people are devouring chocolate.

In 2013, consumers ate about 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than was produced, The Washington Post reports, and that deficit could go up to 1 million metric tons by 2020. The Ivory Coast and Ghana produce more than 70 percent of the world’s cacao beans, and both countries are experiencing dry weather that limits growth. To make things worse, a fungal disease called frosty pod has destroyed 30 to 40 percent of global cocoa production.

As a result of all of the things that I have just discussed above, more Americans than ever are being forced to turn to the government for assistance.  Today, the number of Americans getting a check from the government each month is at an all-time high, and at this point Americans collectively get more money from the government than they pay in taxes.  For much, much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “21 Facts That Prove That Dependence On The Government Is Out Of Control In America“.

So if things are going well for you this Thanksgiving, you should be truly thankful.

For most of the country, things just continue to get even worse.  And if the next major wave of our economic crisis arrives next year like many are projecting, this may just be the beginning of our economic pain.

Collecting Donations For Wal-Mart Employees That Cannot Afford Thanksgiving Dinner?

Wal-Mart Collecting Donations For Their Employees - Photo Courtesy Of OUR Wal-MartYou may find what is happening at one Wal-Mart in Ohio very hard to believe.  At the Wal-mart on Atlantic Boulevard in Canton, Ohio employees are being asked to donate food items so that other employees that cannot afford to buy Thanksgiving dinner will be able to enjoy one too.  You can see a photo of the donation bins that has been posted on Twitter right here.  On the one hand, it is commendable that someone at that Wal-Mart is deeply concerned about the employees that are so poor that they cannot afford to buy the food that they need for Thanksgiving.  On the other hand, this is a perfect example that shows how the quality of the jobs in this country has gone down the toilet.  Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States and it had operating income of 26.5 billion dollars last year.  Wal-Mart is not required to pay their employees a decent wage, and it is very unlikely that anyone will force them to.  But they should.  Because Wal-Mart does not pay decent wages to their employees, the rest of us end up with the bill.  As you will see below, huge numbers of Wal-Mart employees end up on Medicaid and other government assistance programs.  Meanwhile, those that control Wal-Mart continue to enjoy absolutely massive profits.

The following is a short excerpt from a local news story about the donation bins that have been set out at the Wal-Mart in Canton, Ohio.  As the story notes, this does not appear to be a nationwide program, and the donation bins are only available in an employee-only area…

The storage containers are attractively displayed at the Walmart on Atlantic Boulevard in Canton. The bins are lined up in alternating colors of purple and orange. Some sit on tables covered with golden yellow tablecloths. Others peer out from under the tables.

This isn’t a merchandise display. It’s a food drive – not for the community, but for needy workers.

“Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner,” read signs affixed to the tablecloths.

It just seems really crazy that the largest employer in the country pays so little that some of their employees cannot even afford to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

Is this what the future of America is going to look like?

According to official Wal-Mart numbers, more than half of their hourly workers make less than $25,000 a year.

That breaks down to about $2,000 a month before taxes.

Could you survive on that?

Could you afford to support a family on that?

It turns out that a lot of Wal-Mart employees simply cannot get by without financial help from the government, and the numbers are staggering.  A recent Businessweek article discussed one study that found that 300 employees at just one Wal-Mart in Wisconsin actually receive a combined total of nearly a million dollars a year in public assistance…

“A decent wage is their demand—a livable wage, of all things,” said Representative George Miller (D-Calif.). The problem with companies like Wal-Mart is their “unwillingness, not their inability, to pay that wage,” he said. “They hand off the difference to taxpayers.” Miller was referring to a congressional report (PDF) released in May that calculated how much Walmart workers rely on public assistance. The study found that the 300 employees at one Supercenter in Wisconsin required some $900,000 worth of public assistance a year.

And according to Politifact, in many states Wal-Mart employees represent the largest single group of people enrolled in the Medicaid program…

In Florida, Wal-Mart topped all companies operating in Florida with the largest number of employees and family members (12,300) eligible for Medicaid, according to a 2005 Tampa Bay Times story. Wal-Mart also ranked highly (No. 2) for dependents enrolled in Florida Healthy Kids or KidCare, trailing Miami-Dade County employees.

In Missouri, where Wal-Mart is the largest employer behind state government, the state’s social services department determined Walmart employees outnumbered all others with employees and family members enrolled in MO HealthNet, the state’s Medicaid plan, in the first quarter of 2011. However, at almost 14 percent, it did not represent the highest percentage of workers enrolled or responsible for an enrollee (Dollar General, for instance, was much higher at 42 percent).

And in Pennsylvania, a 2006 Philadelphia Inquirer investigation revealed the company had the highest percentage of employees enrolled in Medicaid. One in six of Walmart’s 48,000 Pennsylvania employees were enrolled in Medicaid, costing the state about $15 million a year (it’s likely higher because the Inquirer’s story did not cover employees’ dependents on Medicaid, or any other public assistance such as food stamps).

This is a disgrace.

Your taxes and my taxes are going to subsidize Wal-Mart.

The government has to take more money from all the rest of us because Wal-Mart will not pay their workers a decent wage.  Because Wal-Mart will not support them, we end up supporting them.

Meanwhile, the six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

So why do people still work there?

Well, because there is a huge shortage of jobs in this country.  As I noted yesterday, the total number of working age Americans without a job has increased by 27 million since the year 2000.

Right now we have a growing unemployment crisis in this country that is being seriously downplayed by the mainstream media.

According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if long-term discouraged workers were still included in the official government employment figures like they were back in 1994, then the broadest measure of unemployment would now be approaching 25 percent.  In fact, according to his charts unemployment in the U.S. is now worse than it was at any point during the last recession.

And even the New York Times is admitting that long-term unemployment in America is up by 213 percent since 2007.

At this point, there are millions upon millions of desperate Americans that will take just about any job that they can get.

Meanwhile, the quality of the jobs in this country continues to go downhill very rapidly.

For example, did you know that about 40 percent of all U.S. workers actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968?

And did you know that 65 percent of all American workers make less than $40,000 a year before taxes?

For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “15 Signs That The Quality Of Jobs In America Is Going Downhill Really Fast“.

At the same time, the good paying high tech jobs that our politicians have been promising us continue to disappear.  For instance, 19,507 biopharma jobs were eliminated between January 1, 2013 and October 31, 2013.  That is a 68 percent increase over the pace of biopharma job losses during the same period last year.

So are there any areas of the country that are actually doing well right now?

Well, yes there is.  In fact, the Washington D.C. region has added more “1 percent households” over the past decade than anyone else has…

The winners in the new Washington are not just the former senators, party consiglieri and four-star generals who have always profited from their connections. Now they are also the former bureaucrats, accountants and staff officers for whom unimagined riches are suddenly possible. They are the entrepreneurs attracted to the capital by its aura of prosperity and its super-educated workforce. They are the lawyers, lobbyists and executives who work for companies that barely had a presence in Washington before the boom.

During the past decade, the region added 21,000 households in the nation’s top 1 percent. No other metro area came close.

I used to live in the D.C. area, and I can tell you that the folks out there are living the high life at your expense.

In one recent article, I noted that the average federal employee living in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000 in one recent year.

Of course you and I are paying the bill for this too.  The U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during the eight years of the Obama administration, and our politicians seem to have no trouble continuing to steal about 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

Meanwhile, thousands of other communities all over the nation are slowly being transformed into rotting, festering hellholes.  The following is an excerpt from a recent CNBC article that discussed what is happening to Trenton, New Jersey…

When a city is badly broken, it can be very tough to fix.

Just ask Darren Green, president of a coalition of community groups in Trenton, N.J., where deep budget cuts in 2011 forced the city to lay off a third of its police force.

“We’re at a place now where it’s very dangerous to walk the streets,” he said, his thoughts periodically interrupted by the distant sound of passing sirens. “The school system is dysfunctional and not working. You have young people who are robbing elders. Young people who are destroying communities. With no leadership and the community in disarray, there’s a lot of bad here.”

So what is happening in your neck of the woods?

And what do you think of the fact that donations are being collected for Wal-Mart employees that cannot afford Thanksgiving dinner?

Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…

Black Friday Violence Worse Than Ever As American Consumers Fight Over Deals Like Crazed Animals

We all knew that this was coming, didn’t we?  Each year Black Friday violence just seems to get worse and worse.  What does it say about American consumers when they are willing to fight like crazed animals just to save a few bucks on cheap plastic crap made in China?  Not that retailers are innocent in any of this.  It certainly seems as though many of them purposely create wild situations on Black Friday where customers will rush like crazy people into their stores and nearly riot as they fight over discounted merchandise.  The more Black Friday madness there is, the more of an “event” it becomes, and the higher the profits of the retailers go.  This year there was more Black Friday hype than ever and there was also more Black Friday violence than ever.  It is being projected that this year a record-setting 152 million Americans will go shopping between Thanksgiving and Sunday night.  That may be good news for the big corporate retailers, but the shocking lack of character being displayed by American consumers all over the country this weekend is very bad news for the future of this nation.

Most Americans would agree that there is a tremendous amount of selfishness and greed on Wall Street, but as the videos posted below demonstrate, there is also a tremendous amount of selfishness and greed on “Main Street” as well.

This year, Black Friday violence included robberies, gunfire and shootings, but the most shocking incidents actually happened inside the big retail stores.

For example, as merchandise was being unveiled on Black Friday night at a Wal-Mart in the Los Angeles area, one woman actualy pulled out pepper spray and sprayed it at other customers that were gathered around her.

Did she do this because she felt threatened?

No, according to the Los Angeles Times, authorities say that the woman was just seeking a “competitive” edge.

It is being reported that at least 20 people were affected by the pepper spray.

The pepper spray incident just added to the wild and frenzied atmosphere inside that Wal-Mart last night.

The following is how the Los Angeles Times described the scene….

Employees attempted to hold back the scrum of shoppers and pick up merchandise even as customers trampled the video games and DVDs strewn on the floor.

“It was absolutely crazy,” he said.

Another customer said screams erupted after about 100 people waiting in line to snag Xbox gaming consoles and Wii video games got into a shoving match.

Alejandra Seminario, 24, said she was waiting in line to grab some toys at the store around 9:55 p.m. when people the next aisle over started shouting and ripping at the plastic wrap encasing gaming consoles, which was supposed to be opened at 10 p.m.

“People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray,” the Sylmar resident said.

Pepper spray was used at a Wal-Mart on the other side of the country as well.  Over in Kinston, North Carolina an off-duty police officer used pepper spray as an unruly shopper was being subdued.  Approximately 20 people (including some children) were affected by the pepper spray.

Most Americans are not really concerned over the fact that this country is rapidly heading into the toilet, but they sure will get worked up into a frenzy over some good deals.  Just check out the following video that was filmed in California.  In the video, a huge crowd can be seen storming the entrance of Urban Outfitters in the Thousand Oaks Mall on Black Friday night….

There are lots of other crazy videos of Black Friday madness on YouTube today as well.  Just check out some of the following examples….

*In Fresno, California law enforcement authorities were barely able to keep a stampede at the entrance of one store from turning into a riot.

*In this next video, you can see people going absolutely crazy over memory cards at about the 1:20 mark.

*On Black Friday night, American consumers will riot over just about anything.  For example, there was a huge panic over Tupperware at one Wall-Mart last night.

*Of course electronics is probably the hottest category in most stores on Black Friday night.  In some areas, the fighting over video games became incredibly intense.

*Some of the worst Black Friday rioting goes on inside Wal-Marts.  Just check out this shocking video of what happens inside a Wal-Mart on Black Friday night.

*Also, what happened last night at a Wal-mart Supercenter in Greenville, North Carolina, was nothing short of idiotic.

If this is how the American people will act just to save a few bucks on cheap plastic crap made in foreign countries, how are they going to act when the economy collapses?

If Americans will literally fight each other over saving 20 bucks, what is going to happen someday when millions of them don’t know where their next meal is going to come from?

Thankfully the economy is still in good enough shape that most Americans can participate in these orgies of consumerism.  But the reality is that the global financial system is in a massive amount of trouble, and it looks like we could be on the verge of another global financial collapse.

Do the American people have enough character to be able to deal with a full-blown economic depression?

In a recent article entitled “22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear“, I commented on the declining character of the American people….

Instead of teaching our children to love and care for one another, we have taught them to be incredibly self-involved.  Today, way too many Americans deeply love themselves, deeply love money and are deeply addicted to entertainment.  Each new generation seems to be even more prideful, even more arrogant and even more violent.  As a nation, we are losing our empathy for others, our compassion for the needy and our respect for the elderly.  Our family units are breaking down and thousands of our communities are being transformed into hellholes.

Over the past several decades, the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world has enabled us to enjoy unprecedented prosperity.  But it has been a “false prosperity”, and it is frightening to think about what America is going to look like when the good times finally end.

The other thing that is really disturbing about Black Friday is the fact that the vast majority of the products that Americans are fighting over are made overseas.

As I pointed out recently, 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year.

Since 2001, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities.

This country is bleeding jobs, bleeding businesses and bleeding wealth at a pace that is nearly impossible to fully grasp.

We are becoming poorer as a nation every single day, and yet Americans are seemingly more enamored with consumerism than ever before.

Most Americans could not care less about where something was made.  The only thing that matters to them is how cheap it is.

It doesn’t matter to them that a record-setting 2.6 million Americans slipped into poverty last year or that there are 10 percent fewer middle class jobs in America today than there were a decade ago.

We have become a nation that is so self-centered that it is hard to find the words to describe it.

Rather than caring about what is good for America, most of us only care about what is good for ourselves.

The madness that we see every Black Friday is just one more sign that our society is coming apart at the seams.

America has become a nation that is absolutely saturated with greed.  Unfortunately, all of that greed is going to make the hard economic times that are coming much, much more painful.

Happy Thanksgiving! Are You Better Off Today Than You Were Four Years Ago?

As you gather around the table with your family this Thanksgiving, ask yourself this question: are you better off today than you were four years ago?  Unfortunately, most Americans are not.  Both political parties have controlled the White House during the last four years – Barack Obama has been in office for nearly two years and before him it was George W. Bush – and yet no matter what politicians we send to Washington D.C. things just seem to keep getting worse.  We buy more than we produce, we spend more than we bring in, we have 18 times as many “problem banks” as we did 4 years ago, the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set a new all-time record every month and we are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world.  But at least the majority of Americans are still prosperous enough to enjoy a happy Thanksgiving inside a warm, comfortable home.  Unfortunately, if things keep going the way they are going, we are going to experience a national economic nightmare that nobody will be thankful for.

If you watch the economic statistics from week to week and month to month, it will seem like sometimes they are getting worse and sometimes they are getting better.  However, once you take a longer-term view of things, exactly what is happening to us starts to come clearly into focus.  The truth is that the United States is in the midst of a long-term economic collapse, and many economic statistics just keep getting worse every single year.

The following are 11 statistics that reveal just how far the U.S. economy has fallen over the past four years….

#1 In November 2006, the “official” U.S. unemployment rate was 4.5 percent.  Today, the “official” U.S. unemployment rate has been at 9.5 percent or greater for more than a year.

#2 At Thanksgiving back in 2006, 26 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, there are over 42 million Americans on food stamps and that number is climbing rapidly.

#3 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States fell from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  Median household income declined the year before that too.  Meanwhile, prices have continued to rise throughout that period.

#4 At the end of the third quarter in 2006, 47 banks were on the FDIC “problem list”.  At the end of the third quarter in 2010, 860 banks were on the FDIC “problem list”.

#5 California home builders began construction on 1,811 homes during the month of August, which was down 77% from August 2006.

#6 In 2006, new home sales in the United States were near record highs.  In 2010, new home sales in the United States are at record lows as the following graph from Calculated Risk demonstrates….

#7 A recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

#8 According to one analysis, the United States has lost a total of 10.5 million jobs since 2007.

#9 In 2006, the Social Security program took in somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 billion more dollars than it paid out.  Of course the U.S. government spent all that money instead of setting it aside.  So now more U.S. retirees than ever are ready to start drawing on Social Security and a “tipping point” is rapidly coming.  Social Security will pay out more in benefits in 2010 than it receives in payroll taxes.  This was not supposed to happen until at least 2015, and the years ahead look very, very grim….

#10 The U.S. government’s debt ceiling has been raised six times since the beginning of 2006.

#11 In 2006, the U.S. national debt was getting close to 9 trillion dollars.  Today, the U.S. national debt is well past 13 trillion dollars and is rapidly closing in on 14 trillion dollars.

So is there much hope for an economic turnaround any time soon?

No, not really.

Even the Federal Reserve, usually one of the biggest cheerleaders for the U.S. economy, is not very optimistic right now.  In fact, the Fed has just announced that they are projecting that unemployment will still be at about 8 percent when the next presidential election arrives in 2012.

Actually, if the official unemployment rate was to get that low by then that would really be something to celebrate.  Many economists fear that unemployment will be even higher than it is now by then.

Several years ago, a very foolish politician (Dick Cheney) famously said that “deficits don’t matter”.  That is kind of like saying that credit card balances don’t matter.  For decades, politicians from both political parties have been running up staggering amounts of government debt as if it would never catch up with us.  For decades, Americans have been addicted to debt and have been buying more than they produce.  We have enjoyed living beyond our means for so long that most of us simply have no idea that there are any consequences for doing so.

Living on debt is fun on the way up, but on the way down the pain can be excruciating.  We are about to experience that on a national level, and it is going to be an absolute nightmare.

Did any of you actually believe that we were just going to go on living way, way, way beyond our means indefinitely?

America has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and unfortunately we are all going to pay the price for that.

So enjoy your turkey while you can.  In future years we may have a lot less to be thankful for.

Finca Bayano

Panama Relocation Tours




 

ProphecyHour

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