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Found 11 results

  1. BoE cut its benchmark interest rate to a new low and said it would buy government and corporate bonds as part of easing efforts to counter the economic impact of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Is this step going to help Britain
  2. Iraq's about to plunge off a fiscal cliff — and the consequences could be dire From Business Insider The plunge in oil prices is already having far-reaching effects on countries whose economies are dependent on oil exports. But in Iraq, the stakes of cheap oil are even higher than in Saudi Arabia, which is instituting unprecedented taxation and austerity, or in Nigeria, which isnow asking for an $11 billionWorld Bank loan. What little remains of Iraq's government and social order might collapse if oil remains in its current price trough — with dire consequences. According to a Monday AFP report, Iraq is now selling oil at half of the country's apparent fiscal break-even price. Right now, Iraq is selling its oil at around $22 a barrel, half of what it would need to fetch for the country to be able to fund the upcoming year of government budgetary obligations, the report said. United Nations Joint Analysis UnitIraqi government revenue by year, divided by oil and non-oil sources. But Iraq's situation is actually even worse. As recently as the 2014 fiscal year, Iraq was formulating its national budget on the assumption that oil would remain at around $90 a barrel and that the country's oil exports would continue to climb (which they have). Iraqi government revenue experienced dramatic annual increases between 2009 and 2013, almost entirely because of oil (see the chart on the left). That's all over, now that oil is expected to stay under $40 a barrel through the end of the year. Though Iraqi oil is comparatively cheap to extract, it also contains unusually high levels of sulfur, meaning that it typically sells for around 10% less than Brent crude, the global price benchmark. The Iraqi government is still making money pumping oil — just not nearly enough to fund the country's anticipated national budget. Such a daunting fiscal cliff would be challenging for a stable or politically coherent country. But it's potentially disastrous in a place like Iraq, where the majority of territory is split between the terrorist group ISIS and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Even the areas still under some semblance of federal control are fought over by a constellation of militia groups with ties to recognized political parties. Ali Khedery, the CEO of Dubai-based Dragoman Partners, a former adviser to US Central Command, and a former Exxon executive with extensive on-the-ground experience in Iraq, warned that cheap oil threatens the country's last remaining semblance of order. "You are looking at a significant possibility of state collapse due to civil unrest," he told Business Insider. RNGS ReutersTerritorial control of Iraq as of January 22nd, 2016. ISF refers to the Iraqi Security Forces, the state's official uniform military. Cheap oil will eat into the Iraqi state's ability to continue fighting ISIS, which still controls Mosul, the country's second-largest city. And it could have an alarming effect on the patronage, corruption, and militancy that buoys the already dysfunctional Iraqi state. As Khedery explained to Business Insider, the number of Iraqi government employees is believed to have shot up from around 850,000 at the time of the US-led invasion in 2003 to more than 2.5 million by early 2015. It's a revealing statistic, considering Iraq's transition from a strong, centralized state under Saddam Hussein to a loose and often-violent federation under its current system. Khedery said that people were added to government rolls because of family, sectarian, or tribal connections. Some officials would pocket money through "ghost job" scams, embezzling salaries from employees that didn't actually exist. Some of the government's oil revenues would go towards militias with ties to official Iraqi political parties — organizations like the powerful Badr Group. "Why did the number of government employees go up 200%? The reason is that Iraq is a kleptocracy built on systemic corruption and patronage as a means of buying votes," Khedery told Business Insider. As a result, Iraq has little ability to hedge against against a plunge in oil prices. "Unlike Russia or Saudi, which have hundreds of billions in hard currency reserves and trillions in assets and state owned entities, Iraq is insolvent and bankrupt," he said. In a price crunch, Saudi Arabia has the option of selling off chunks of Saudi Aramco, itsperhaps multi-trillion-dollar state oil concern — which is exactly what Riyadh is reportedly planning on doing. Russia is a major gas exporter, and has a more-diversified economy than many other rentier states. Iraq, on the other hand, has little to show for the nearly half-trillion dollars in oil-export revenue the country received just in the decade after the 2003 invasion. It's largely been stolen, or dispensed to militia groups. The Brookings InstitutionIraq's oil export revenues in the decade after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country. As Khedery explained, an Iraqi "hard landing" has some alarming ramifications. A plunge in federal revenue would only harden the division between Baghdad-administered Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, which already has is own oil ministry, government, and security apparatus, and which sells more than 600,000 barrels of oil a day independently of Baghdad. In addition to hastening the country's breakup, a budget plunge would also badly destabilize Basra, the southern export point for the vast majority of Iraq's oil. The city has already seen increases in violence between Shi'ite militia groups that the federal government has been unable to disarm. Once organizations like Khataib Hezbollah, Jaysh al-Mahdi, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq see their bottom line threatened, the city on which much of the Iraqi economy is dependent could begin to erupt. "The militias are going to start turning on the state, and they're going to start turning on each other," Khedery told Business Insider. "They're basically vultures who feasted on ethno-sectarian hatreds and high oil prices and patronage. And now they're going to have to start fighting each other for the scraps as the oil-funded pie has shrunk by more than 80%."
  3. Posted on May 16, 2015by Martin Armstrong This Sovereign Debt Crisis is the nature of the beast we face. Understanding that crisis is half the battle for after the business cycle turns, there will be a lot of finger-pointing but you can bet it will never be pointing at government. It does not matter what country we are from, the people are the same. The audience last night in Warsaw was articulate, understood, and the audience made it known that they too distrust government. It really matters not our nationality. People never start wars, only governments which are not the people. It is also never private debt that causes the end of a nation, it is the debt of government. When people default, their assets are seized and they were often thrown in debtors prison. When government defaults, you get revolution. Adam Smith called this the highest impertinence of kings to pretend to watch over the debts of the people and not their own. This cycle of political change is about 309.6 years. The last wave began in the 1600s and culminated in the late 1700s, The wave before that is where capitalism began during the 14th century with the reintroduction of wages and taxes following the Black Death of 1346-1353. The American people were not in support of the revolution until the very end like a Phase Transition. Those who wanted to leave Britain were only about 33%. Then a writer issued a pamphlet by the name of Thomas Paine entitled Common Sense. Paine explained that the nation or society is only the people and that government views itself as the nation yet is entirely different right from its origin. He further explained that “Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse (cooperation of people creating an economy) the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher.” We can see that despite the American and French Revolutions, government reverts always back to the dominant punisher assuming the very same power against which the people revolted to begin with. We can see Thomas Paine’s words are applicable today. The US government called Snowden a traitor for telling the people the government was illegally searching and seizing everything. It was irrelevant that he informed the people about the illegal acts of government. It was treason by their definition because he revealed what they were doing illegally to the people. That reflect what Paine said – they see themselves as the nation not the people who they exploit for their own survival. Understanding who is the enemy is the very first step in the reform process. About every 309 years we reach a crisis in government. This has been resolved unfortunately with violence for whoever is in power never goes quietly into the light. The late 1700s was of course the American and French Revolutions and today the people of both nations have less rights than existed when they rose up in their respective revolutions. Both were sparked by a debt crisis. In Britain, George III needed money so badly, he was taking Spanish coins and counterstamping his own image and making them English. The Assignates were paper money issued by the French that was back by confiscating the property of the Catholic Church. The Crown had bailed out the debt of the Mississippi Bubble of 1720 and that imposed harsh taxes upon the French people. We are in the very same position of a Sovereign Debt Crisis once again that is turning to confiscating everything we have as well as government is always driven by debt. Thomas Jefferson was highly practical. He wanted the Constitution to automatically expire every 19 years and he was against any government debt. Why? A national debt to Jefferson was taxing the next generation without representation. Indeed, we are being heavily taxed to support the continued rollover of debt. Without question, this is where we are once again. Jefferson understood looking at history that it repeats because human nature never changes. He saw war was caused by standing armies and once government is paying to maintain such a force, it is like have a car you never drive. If we look back 309 years from the 1700s, we come to the 14th-15th centuries. In Florence it began with a revolution where they too ran out and hanged bankers. The great series of tax revolts began on that cycle in England and France that finally culminated following the Black Death (1346–53) where capitalism really began with the reintroduction of wages given the shortage of labor. Perhaps this time we can put pressure for political change in eliminating debts and this viscous cycle of Sovereign Debt Defaults that destroy society. We can prepare for our individual survival by comprehending the nature of the beast. As was discussed in the session in Warsaw, it is true gold is no longer the savior since we cannot hop on a plane with a briefcase full of gold and seek a new start. Gold’s role may be local and in an underground economy, but make no mistake about that, government is well aware of that role as well. Governments are robbing anything travelers might have these days. There were even signs in Poland warning if you have more than €10,000 in cash or “assets” when traveling it was illegal. They will look for jewelry, stocks, gold, or diamonds. Anything they deem of value they can confiscate. This is a new age of authoritarianism and is not ending nicely. The idea of crypto-currencies is also rather foolish for nothing can compete against a government that is ruthless and broke. They have the guns and then tanks and will use them against the people. Our hope is to identify the problem and spread the word. Yeltsin stood on the tanks in Russia and asked the troops not to fire on their own people. If the pawns of government refuse to massacre their own people, then we can win. It is critical to understand that police and military will become the tool for both sides. This is why Brussels is now calling for a European Army. That will be their power and sending Greek troops into Germany will prevent the troops from siding with the people. This is also why there is a mad rush to create robots for war. They have no emotions and cannot be turned. Government understands their weak-link for throughout history it has always been the loyalty of the troops. That is what we must understand and we must understand that private assets are the means to survive – not pensions or government bonds. Eliminating cash is their way to force people into banks and prevent a bank-run. That will end in the total authoritarian government for you will not be allowed to buy or sell except without the grace of government.
  4. Hello again my friends. Let's have a discussion on how we quantify value in the IQD in a very simplified way. There is a well respected and accepted economic principle called the "Quantity Theory of Money". Simply put, the theory states that there is a direct relationship between the quantity of money in an economy and the level of prices of goods and services sold. The equation goes like this: MV=PT or M(money supply) [x] V (velocity) = T(avg price of good and services [x] volume of goods and services) for the sake of keeping the explanation simple we will call T - goods and services throughout this write up Let's break the equation down in english - For a defined window of time, the amount of printed money multiplied by the average number of times the money changes hands equals the total goods and services at average price. When there are changes on one side of the equal sign, there must be changes on the other side of the equal side. Change in goods and services directly effects money supply, velocity or both. Please continue no further until that is clearly understood. Quickly we can recognize a few scenarios from this direct relationship: When goods and services boom, there must be a significant rise in either money supply, velocity (number of times the money changes hands) or both in order for the equation to stay equal/balanced. When money supply booms, if goods and services stays the same, there must be a reduction in velocity When money supply booms and velocity stays the same, there must be a resulting boom in goods and services When velocity of the currency booms, and goods stays the same, money supply must be reduced I could continue on drawing up scenarios with this equation but I believe I gave enough examples to help highlight the direct relationship between opposite sides of the equal sign. Should we accept this respected theory as a means to compute value, what do we see Iraq doing? We know for fact that Iraq has significantly reduced its Money Supply. We watched much of this happen through the auction process where the CBI purchased IQD with USD. We have seen reports from the CBI that the notes in circulation has been reduced to 4 Billion with a goal to get to 1 Billion. We might assume that the velocity of the money is up from articles of currency been worn out through overuse. We know that the GOI and CBI are working to boost privatization on a massive scale which will significantly increase the volume of goods and services in the economy. We know that as the volume of goods and services increases, the monetary policy of Iraq is to PREVENT inflation (increasing money supply). My friends I hope we are all able, from this simple means of measurement, to see that the IQD is intended to gain value....significant value. The only thing standing in the way of realizing the real value of the currency is the presence of the USD. Eventually we will see the time when foreign investment into the country will demand a true foreign exchange market where the foreigner's money will be exchanged into IQD in order to execute business in the country resulting in boosting the country's volume of goods and services. The only thing we really have to watch for at this point that will work adverse to our hope is 1) Reduction in the nation's security 2) Anything denoting that Iraq begins increasing/inflating the money supply. As of today however, these two indicators are either being addressed (1) or the exact opposite (2). Now, I bet more people are happy to read about the 50 note being removed from the economy. That alone should have given the dinars you hold a boost in value! Be blessed my friends.
  5. Parliamentary Finance: we are working on important legislation would be passed during the current legislative term and its impact will be great on the country's economy History of edits:: 11.03.2015 five fifty-four p.m. • 131 visits readable {Baghdad: Euphrates News} parliamentary finance committee says it is working on important legislation would be passed during the current legislative term, and made it clear that these laws will impact positively on the country's economy. A member of the committee MP Faleh sari told {Euphrates News} "We have laws on banks and deposit protection, taxes and other where significant financial returns and final accounts, and how to address the violations that occurred in previous years." He said the Attorney effect that "the Commission prepare reports and host of experts and specialists to amend certain laws, and I think it will be for the Finance Committee and important laws during this legislative session and will have a significant impact on the Iraqi economy and administrative reform and the development of the State Administration on the track in the coming years. " and the force that "the salary scale Law is a great Bmsas the lives of citizens and private employees who layer exceeding the number of the country's four million employees, and if we consider the hearts of single-family rate of five members, the number up to twenty million citizens, meaning that 7080% of people rate depends directly dependent on the salary. " He added, "We are in the Finance Committee, taking this into consideration , and is now under the hands of Civil Service Law is an important and fundamental reform of administrative and financial have we presented to the House of Representatives for the first reading, and the private salaries paragraph but regrettably the government has kept the peace as it is, but we are in the Finance Committee decided to work on a ladder in cooperation with the government and Ministry of Finance General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers that the maturing him new salary and down the new numbers in this law and are voting on it. " He went on, saying, "We demand the government applied at the beginning of the new fiscal year on the grounds that this year the problems, which scarce resources are not sufficient for the application of this law." "We are in the Finance Committee are serious and determined to amend the employees' salaries and special functional scores of fourth and below and the abolition of the vast differences between the salaries of staff in some ministries and departments, as these differences of up to five or six times, indicating that he will not be reduced by the high salaries but low increase moderately and admissibility, noting that this law will be equipped during the current year, hoping to apply next year. " Given the importance of some of the laws and Msasha the smallest details of the lives of the citizens, the political and popular circles always and never need to approve these laws passed and implemented on the ground demanding; to touch citizen usefulness and compensated for the years of deprivation, poverty and destitution. Ended as Q
  6. Really good article that puts all phony mainstream media hype in true perspective, along with how easily most Americans perceptions of reality are shaped by it. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/propaganda-fear-mongering-works Propaganda & Fear-Mongering Works President Obama inShare13 Submitted by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, When I see the results of polls like the one below, I realize there is no chance the majority will do anything to reverse the course of our nation in terminal decline. It will take a complete collapse and bloody reset before we have a chance at putting this country back on a sustainable rational course. How the f..k can Americans actually think terrorism should be Obama and Congress’ top priority? Are Americans really that stupid? WTF do they want Obama and Congress to do? Double the DHS budget? Increase electronic surveillance on our communications? Give local police more military hardware? Ban guns? Repeal the 4th Amendment? Do the ignorant masses know their actual chances of being killed by a terrorist? To say the chances are astronomically miniscule is an understatement. See for yourself: You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack You are 23,528 times more likely to die from obesity than from a terrorist attack You are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than terrorism. You are 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from terrorism. You are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack. You are 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist. You are 452 times more likely to die from risky sexual behavior than terrorism. You are 353 times more likely to fall to your death doing something idiotic than die in a terrorist attack. You are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than terrorism. You are more than 9 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than by a terrorist. You are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than terrorism. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-terrorism-statistics-every-american-needs-to-hear/5382818 What policies do Americans want Obama and Congress to prioritize in 2015? According to the Pew Research Center’s policy priorities survey, 76 percent of people in the United States believe tackling terrorism should be the nation’s top priority this year. It is the first time in four years terrorism has made the top of Pew’s list and its appearance for 2015 can be attributed to economic improvement as well as persistant terrorist threats. Despite considerable improvement, the economy is still an area of concern for Americans and 75 percent of them want President Obama to give it attention. Job creation is closely linked to economic improvement so it comes as little surprise that it rounds off the top three with 67 percent of respondents expecting it to be prioritized. * * * The fact Americans think terrorism is our top priority proves that Edward Bernays was an evil genius. The combination of mass media and propaganda can convince the willfully ignorant and dumbed down populace of anything. Facts are unnecessary when fear and feelings are far more powerful. We are truly doomed.
  7. The average person probably does not think about the impact of things like the ebola virus directly or even indirectly on their everyday life -- It did not even hit me until just recently as I began to read more - I am probably still too late to stock up on cocoa without the price already being adjusted - I use a lot of cocoa - probably every week with all the brownies, cookies and candy I make and give away -- Just as I have written before - everything has a ripple effect -- With things like this virus, storm devastation, war & other major catastrophes -- though ----- one can wonder how and what was pre planned -- hummmmmm....... <3 <3 <3 UNEEK Ebola Outbreak In Africa Threatens World Chocolate Supplies As Harvest Nears The West African nation of about 20 million people, also known as Côte D’Ivoire, has yet to experience a single case of Ebola, but the world outbreak has already impacted this nation's economy, raising prices on chocolate around the world. Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cacao, which is the raw ingredient in M&M’s, Butterfingers, Snickers Bars, and your favorite chocolate bar. Experts say that the Ebola outbreak in and around the Ivory Coast region has placed a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins. Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images Due to the Ebola outbreak in neighboring countries, officials in the Ivory Coast have shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major burden on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the cacao harvest season begins. According to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Ivory Coast produces about 1.6 million metric tons of cacao beans per year, or about a third of the world's total. More than 8,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola in several African nations, and nearly 4,000 have died in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Next to Ivory Coast is Ghana, the world’s third-largest producer of cacao beans with 15 percent of the world’s total. Investors are also worried about this potential drastic economic impact. Jack Scoville, an analyst and vice president at the Chicago-based Price Futures Group, said prices on cocoa futures jumped from their normal trading range of $2,000 to $2,700 per ton, to as high as $3,400 in September over concerns about the spread of Ebola to the Ivory Coast. The world's chocolate makers have also began taking donations for an Ebola initiative, hoping to stop the rapid spread of the disease and help those who are sick to recover. http://www.examiner.com/article/ebola-outbreak-africa-threatens-world-chocolate-supplies-as-harvest-nears?cid=taboola_inbound
  8. I have been doing a lot of reading on China, and Ebola but had not connected any dots -- I think there are some dots now to connect -- This is very interesting - Add Russia , Gold, US , Iraq, and a few other players and we have a major Monopoly Game ongoing !! Cultural, Economics Ebola and West Africa’s Offshore Oil September 16, 2014 A New Front in the Proxy Resource Wars By JC Collins The movement of troops, especially American troops, is the dead giveaway to any broader game plan which is intended to be hidden within the structure of propaganda and media campaigns. So it is with muted surprise that we hear the news of the United States sending 3,000 troops to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. As reported in the New York Times yesterday: Under pressure to do more to confront the Ebola outbreak sweeping across West Africa, President Obama on Tuesday is to announce an expansion of military and medical resources to combat the spread of the deadly virus, administration officials said. What isn’t reported in the article is that 1/3rd of all new oil discoveries have taken place in West Africa. As reported by Business Day back in May: West Africa Region accounts for a third of the world’s new oil discoveries, especially in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta basin and the Gulf of Guinea. According to the US Geological Survey, the West African Coastal Province has an estimated 3 200 million barrels of oil. Oil exploration off the coast of West Africa has surged since 2007 when Tullow Oil found the Jubilee field in Ghana, one of the continent’s biggest recent finds. New finds have been made in Liberia and Sierra Leone, while Mauritania’s discoveries over the last decade remain to be replicated. Niger has now become a producer and Mali awaits discovery of commercial hydrocarbons. There has also been a burst of exploration activity in the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gabon with the hope of finding Jubilee-type giants in the Cretaceous fan formations and pre-salt structures. In Guinea, Tullow is undertaking a seismic survey looking at a potential reserve of 10 billion barrels of oil, and Simba is exploring for oil in Guinea, Ghana, Mali, and Liberia. Cote d’Ivoire has been through a number of political changes and a civil war but Lukoil are on the verge of investing about $400-million in exploration activities in a prospect there. Considering the resource proxy wars which are taking place in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, are we to think that the large offshore oil fields in Western Africa are not subjected to the same proxy strategy? But it gets even more interesting. From the same Business Day article: Now, the attention is shifting to East Africa. Recent discoveries in Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have turned the focus on the region. Massive investments have followed the discoveries in the region too. In 2012, more than 50 exploration wells were completed in East Africa, which is more than half of conventional oil and gas resources found worldwide. And here from a Policy Paper published in 2012 from the Center for Chinese Studies titled “China’s role in the East African oil and gas sector: a new model of engagement?” we learn of how China is actively and strategically setting itself up for control of the oil and gas in Eastern Africa. And to add even further credence to the importance of African resources, here is another publication, Middle Africa Briefing Note on Energy, this time by Ecobank, the Pan African Bank, titled “Exploration in West Africa’s Frontier Could Unlock 9 Billion Barrels in 2014″. Right out of the gate the policy paper states the following: Oil and Gas independent companies have spent US$200 million over the past 4 years acquiring assets in some of West Africa’s less explored countries, notably, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Liberia. So lets take a look at a map of the offshore oil discoveries in West Africa. Here is a map from the USGS: And here is a map of the Ebola outbreak from the same region. This map is provided by USAID and the CDC: You can literally superimpose one map over the other and conclude that the mobilization of 3000 American troops to West Africa has more to do with securing the offshore oil resources than it does the Ebola outbreak. But like all great plans and strategies there are multiple moves at work here. There is a very high probability supported with strong evidence, that the Ebola virus was manufactured and dispersed intentionally. As covered in the previous post Global Pandemic and Quarantine, the Ebola outbreak is offering a very convenient pretext for shutting down global equity markets and invoking a subtle form of martial law across the spectrum of western and eastern countries. This would obviously facilitate the transition to the multilateral financial system while offering a reason to the disorganized masses for the failure of the old and the need for the new. Any forward action on these fronts well likely be a slow burn as opposed to fast jumping movements. The economic transition in essence started back in 2008 and has been progressing as a very slow pace. This will continue until 2018. The Ebola outbreak, for its part, offers the same slow burn approach as the economic policy and institutional changes which are taking place. There are seldom coincidences of this calibre which take place on such a global scale. The resource proxy wars continue in Ukraine and Iraq, and now we can recognize the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa as another front in the same war. What will be interesting down the road is what will happen when the US controlled West African fields and the China controlled East African fields eventually meet in Middle Africa. What proxy war structure can be established in the region at that time? Perhaps the North Africa country of Libya is more strategic than first realized. – JC
  9. Makers Of Kit Kat And Milkyway Join Ebola Fight By Ben Rooney @ben_rooney October 14, 2014: 11:16 AM ET ebola cocoa Health workers in Liberia dress in protective clothing before taking the body of an Ebola victim. NEW YORK (CNNMoney) The world's largest chocolate companies are joining the fight against Ebola. West Africa is where most of the world's cocoa beans are grown and the companies are concerned that the virus could disrupt supply of the raw material for chocolate. Already, wholesale cocoa prices have been soaring in recent weeks. Nestlé, Hershey and Mars say they have already responded to a call from the World Cocoa Foundation, a non-profit that helps small cocoa farmers. The group plans to disclose Wednesday how much it has raised. Others in the group include Hershey (HSY), Godiva, Ghirardelli, General Mills (GIS) and Mondelez International (MDLZ). Donations will go to the International Federation of Red Cross, the Red Crescent Societies, and Caritas, a charity affiliated with the Catholic Church. Related: Hazmat suit maker's stock up 50% on Ebola fears Nestlé, the Swiss company that makes KitKat, Butterfinger and Crunch said it is "deeply concerned" about the spread of Ebola in West Africa, where many of its 6,300 African employees are based. Ebola crisis: World Bank pledges $400M Mars Chocolate -- maker of MilkyWay, Twix and M&Ms -- said it was "happy to support" the initiative. West Africa produces 70% of the world's cocoa supply. The largest cocoa producer in the world is the Ivory Coast, which has so far avoided contamination. But there is concern that migrant workers may not be allowed into the country to help with this year's harvest. The Ivory Coast, also called Côte D'Ivoire, closed off its borders with Guinea and Liberia in August. More than 4,000 people have died from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization. If it is not contained, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there could be hundreds of thousands of Ebola cases in coming months. The United States and other governments have pledged tens of millions of dollars to pay for everything from medicine and protective clothing for aid workers to safe burials for the deceased. Last month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday it will donate $50 million to help fight the Ebola outbreak. http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/13/news/ebola-cocoa/index.html
  10. Memphis: "I hope that thru such pondering, and on the back side of economic change, we will all be prepared to take care of others because I submit that many of them will be in serious need of someone who has had....vision." Memphis Comments: I was just reminded of a favorite bible verse that reminds us where to keep our focus in life. It starts out with these simple words: "Looking unto Jesus..." In today's western world these words have been largely re-written as we are told to look to government for all things. I reckon that this truth will be among our worst enemies in the years to follow as it will single-handedly bring ruin to many who know nothing else. Today's blog is an important reality check from Simon Black. He has a unique flare for taking the ugly mess in the world and weaving a story, a lesson, from it. What you will read here is both very funny and very troubling. But hey, Argentina? Greece? What have they to do with us right? Reading this has prompted me to consider something that has not been among my highest priorities and yet it is deserving of much thought! As we watch Europe enter a slow economic meltdown that will spread northward from it's southern shores, we need to recognize that there is a 'new normal' coming and it is coming to us all. This reality seems far off to Americans but is it? Is the current rush of capital flows into the USD a sign that all is well or simply a case of our economy not stinking as badly as others with money flowing into our economy as it seeks both security AND a return? My point today is not to get into the problem but rather to project ahead and look to the effects that will be felt when things shake out and settle into the realm of everyday life. There is a future date coming when our promised benefits will no longer be paid and basic services that we take for granted will no longer be delivered. This is not speculation but fact and we must have a plan. This plan however will require more planning than most of us have considered because it must cover many more than your immediate family. Think for a moment of all the relatives that have not a clue that our current system is not only destined to fail but in reality is already failing. Make mention of 'Detroit' to your 2nd cousin at the family reunion in October and then make note of the blank stare that is to be your only reply. And being generous here, let's pretend you come from an enlightened group of people where global economics and unsustainable debts is the hot topic while roasting marshmallows. How many of your family have the economic means to actually do 1/2 of what they say they want to (or plan to) do? See where I am going with this? I could wear you out with endless examples (in evidence) that we are facing a new normal but Simon's blog here will do just fine for now. I hope that thru such pondering, and on the back side of economic change, we will all be prepared to take care of others because I submit that many of them will be in serious need of someone who has had....vision. Blessings, Memphis ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Simon Black: September 18, 2014 Santiago, Chile Imagine coming home from work and finding that a group of men have broken into your house. What do you do? I have a gratified feeling that for an increasing number of our readers, the answer would be to draw their firearm and defend the home. But it’s safe to say most folks would… call the police. This happened in Greece recently, as recounted to me in an email by a colleague who was visiting his family in a rural, seaside town in the country’s southern mainland. There’s recently been rash of home burglaries in the village-- a remarkable turn of events for a place accustomed to leaving windows and doors unlocked. In one instance, a local resident came home and spied a thief in progress; he immediately called the police to dispatch a unit as quickly as possible. And the police reportedly told the man, “We haven’t enough fuel to come out there right now.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that public services are being cut back in Greece given how messed up their economy is. But protecting citizens against crime is supposedly one of the sacrosanct terms of the social contract. Citizens around the world have exchanged their freedom for security. It’s a completely absurd trade. . . but nevertheless it’s happened. And in doing so, governments have essentially monopolized the security business. By and large, police and security are public services provide exclusively by the government. And supposedly the taxes that we all pay go to fund those services. . . ensuring that someone from the government will come and ‘save’ us when the bad guys approach. That’s the promise, at least. But in difficult economic times, bankrupt governments routinely set aside promises they’ve made to taxpayers. They slash pension (social security) benefits or use funky gorilla math to understate cost of living increases. They completely violate the sacred vow of maintaining a strong, sound currency. And they drastically reduce or even eliminate funding for critical services that people have come to depend on. Of course, this situation isn’t unique to Greece. Every bankrupt nation reaches this point sooner or later. Recently in [bankrupt] Argentina, a single police officer was left in charge of an entire jail in the Buenos Aires area which was housing several dozen prisoners. The lone officer, who was clearly in over her head and poorly trained, heard suspicious noises somewhere in the building. So what did she do? She (a police officer) called the police. Argentine media has published a recording of the officer’s 911 call, where the emergency dispatcher told the officer to get a colleague to ‘try and stop by.’ Oh hey, I hope you’re not too busy issuing parking tickets and providing security for thieving politicians-- would you mind making sure we don’t have a prison break on our hands? But the police officer’s response really reveals just how desperate the situation is, “I have only one vehicle to patrol the whole district.” Again, these aren’t isolated events. This is a major trend that is due to befall any bankrupt government. Think about it: are we really so arrogant to believe that a bankrupt government can continue to borrow money forever without consequence? Bottom line: independence is key. You cannot rely on a bankrupt government to provide the services that they promise. That goes for anything… from providing basic security to insuring bank deposits to paying out Social Security benefits. They simply don’t have the financial means to make good on their promises. And this is a reality that’s important to recognize and prepare for before it’s too late. Until tomorrow, Simon Black
  11. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-01/36-tough-questions-about-us-economy-everyone-should-be-asking 36 Tough Questions About The U.S. Economy That Everyone Should Be Asking Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/01/2013 18:34 -0400 Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog, If the economy is improving, then why aren't things getting better for most average Americans? They tell us that the unemployment rate is going down, but the percentage of Americans that are actually working is exactly the same it was three years ago. They tell us that American families are in better financial shape now, but real disposable income is falling rapidly. They tell us that inflation is low, but every time we go shopping at the grocery store the prices just seem to keep going up. They tell us that the economic crisis is over, and yet poverty and government dependence continue to explode to unprecedented heights. There seems to be a disconnect between what the government and the media are telling us and what is actually true. With each passing day the debt of the federal government grows larger, the financial world become even more unstable and more American families fall out of the middle class. The same long-term economic trends that have been eating away at our economy like cancer for decades continue to ruthlessly attack the foundations of our economic system. We are rapidly speeding toward an economic cataclysm, and yet the government and most of the media make it sound like happy days are here again. The American people deserve better than this. The American people deserve the truth. The following are 36 hard questions about the U.S. economy that the mainstream media should be asking... #1 If the percentage of working age Americans that have a job is exactly the same as it was three years ago, then why is the government telling us that the "unemployment rate" has gone down significantly during that time? #2 Why are some U.S. companies allowed to exploit disabled workers by paying them as little as 22 cents an hour? #3 Why are some private prisons allowed to pay their prisoners just a dollar a day to do jobs that other Americans could be doing? #4 Why is real disposable income in the United States falling at the fastest rate that we have seen since 2008? #5 Why do 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year? #6 Why are wages as a percentage of GDP at an all-time low? #7 Why are 76 percent of all Americans living paycheck to paycheck? #8 Why are so many large corporations issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter? Does this indicate that the economy is about to experience a significant downturn? #9 Why is job growth at small businesses at about half the level it was at when the year started? #10 Why are central banks selling off record amounts of U.S. debt right now? #11 Why did U.S. mortgage bonds just suffer their biggest quarterly decline in nearly 20 years? #12 Why did we just witness the largest weekly increase in mortgage rates in 26 years? #13 Why has the number of mortgage applications fallen by 29 percent over the last eight weeks? #14 Why has the number of mortgage applications fallen to the lowest level in 19 months? #15 If the U.S. economy is recovering, why is the mortgage delinquency rate in the United States still nearly 10 percent? #16 Why did the student loan delinquency rate in the United States just hit a brand new all-time high? #17 Why is the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of municipal bonds being postponed? #18 What are the central banks of the world going to do when the 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives bubble starts to burst? #19 Why is Barack Obama secretly negotiating a new international free trade agreement that will impose very strict Internet copyright rules on all of us, ban all "Buy American" laws, give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and force even more domestic manufacturing offshore? #20 Why don't our politicians seem to care that the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975? #21 Why doesn't the mainstream media talk about how rapidly the U.S. economy is declining relative to the rest of the planet? According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011. #22 Why is the percentage of self-employed Americans at a record low? #23 What are we going to do if dust bowl conditions continue to return to the western half of the United States? If the drought continues to get even worse, what will that do to our agriculture? #24 Why is the IRS spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on kazoos, stove top hats, bathtub toy boats and plush animals? #25 Why did the NIH spend $253,800 "to study ways to educate Boston’s male prostitutes on safe-sex practices"? #26 Why do some of the largest charities in America spend less than 5 percent of the money that they bring in on actual charitable work? #27 Now that EU finance ministers have approved a plan that will allow Cyprus-style wealth confiscation as part of all future bank bailouts in Europe, is it only a matter of time before we see something similar in the United States? #28 Why does approximately one out of every three children in the United States live in a home without a father? #29 Why are more than a million public school students in the United States homeless? #30 Why are so many cities all over the United States passing laws that make it illegal to feed the homeless? #31 Why is government dependence in the U.S. at an all-time high if the economy is getting better? Back in 1960, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 10 percent. In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent. Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent. #32 Why does the number of Americans on food stamps exceed the entire population of the nation of Spain? #33 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 32 million to 47 million while Barack Obama has been occupying the White House. So why is Obama paying recruiters to go out and get even more Americans to join the program? #34 Today, there are 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. In 2035, there will be 91 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. Where in the world will we get the money for that? #35 Why has the value of the U.S. dollar fallen by over 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913? #36 Why has the size of the U.S. national debt gotten more than 5000 times larger since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913?
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