Saturday, January 25, 2014

While the prior bout of global financial distress which started in 2008 and has resulted in major financial markets of the West ( and Japan ) being essentially captured by Central Banks of the Federal Reserve , ECB , BOE and BOJ -- We are seeing clear signs that things are globally unraveling once again and this time it would appear things actually could be different ! Michael Snyder offers " 20 Early Warning Signs That We Are Approaching A Global Economic Meltdown "

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-24/20-early-warning-signs-we-are-approaching-global-economic-meltdown


20 Early Warning Signs That We Are Approaching A Global Economic Meltdown

Tyler Durden's picture





 
Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,
Have you been paying attention to what has been happening in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Ukraine, Turkey and China?  If you are like most Americans, you have not been.  Most Americans don't seem to really care too much about what is happening in the rest of the world, but they should.  In major cities all over the globe right now, there is looting, violence, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks.  We are not at a "global crisis" stage yet, but things are getting worse with each passing day.  For a while, I have felt that 2014 would turn out to be a major "turning point" for the global economy, and so far that is exactly what it is turning out to be.  The following are 20 early warning signs that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown...
#1 The looting, violence and economic chaos that is happening in Argentina right now is a perfect example of what can happen when you print too much money...
For Dominga Kanaza, it wasn’t just the soaring inflation or the weeklong blackouts or even the looting that frayed her nerves.

It was all of them combined.

At one point last month, the 37-year-old shop owner refused to open the metal shutters protecting her corner grocery in downtown Buenos Aires more than a few inches -- just enough to sell soda to passersby on a sweltering summer day.
#2 The value of the Argentine Peso is absolutely collapsing.
#3 Widespread shortages, looting and accelerating inflation are also causing huge problems in Venezuela...
Economic mismanagement in Venezuela has reached such a level that it risks inciting a violent popular reaction. Venezuela is experiencing declining export revenues, accelerating inflation and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods. At the same time, the Maduro administration has foreclosed peaceful options for Venezuelans to bring about a change in its current policies.

President Maduro, who came to power in a highly-contested election last April, has reacted to the economic crisis with interventionist and increasingly authoritarian measures. His recent orders to slash prices of goods sold in private businesses resulted in episodes of looting, which suggests a latent potential for violence. He has put the armed forces on the street to enforce his economic decrees, exposing them to popular discontent.
#4 In a stunning decision, the Venezuelan government has just announced that it has devalued the Bolivar by more than 40 percent.
#5 Brazilian stocks declined sharply on Thursday.  There is a tremendous amount of concern that the economic meltdown that is happening in Argentina is going to spill over into Brazil.
#6 Ukraine is rapidly coming apart at the seams...
A tense ceasefire was announced in Kiev on the fifth day of violence, with radical protesters and riot police holding their position. Opposition leaders are negotiating with the government, but doubts remain that they will be able to stop the rioters.
#7 It appears that a bank run has begun in China...
As China's CNR reports, depositors in some of Yancheng City's largest farmers' co-operative mutual fund societies ("banks") have been unable to withdraw "hundreds of millions" in deposits in the last few weeks. "Everyone wants to borrow and no one wants to save," warned one 'salesperson', "and loan repayments are difficult to recover." There is "no money" and the doors are locked.
#8 Art Cashin of UBS is warning that credit markets in China "may be broken".  For much more on this, please see my recent article entitled "The $23 Trillion Credit Bubble In China Is Starting To Collapse – Global Financial Crisis Next?"
#9 News that China's manufacturing sector is contracting shook up financial markets on Thursday...
Wall Street was rattled by a key reading on China's manufacturing which dropped below the key 50 level in January, according to HSBC. A reading below 50 on the HSBC flash manufacturing PMI suggests economic contraction.
#10 Japanese stocks experienced their biggest drop in 7 months on Thursday.
#11 The value of the Turkish Lira is absolutely collapsing.
#12 The unemployment rate in France has risen for 9 quarters in a row and recently soared to a new 16 year high.
#13 In Italy, the unemployment rate has soared to a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 percent.
#14 The unemployment rate in Spain is sitting at an all-time record high of 26.7 percent.
#15 This year, the Baltic Dry Index experiencedthe largest two week post-holiday decline that we have ever seen.
#16 Chipmaker Intel recently announced that it plans to eliminate 5,000 jobs over the coming year.
#17 CNBC is reporting that U.S. retailers just experienced "the worst holiday season since 2008".
#18 A recent CNBC article stated that U.S. consumers should expect a "tsunami" of store closings in the retail industry...
Get ready for the next era in retail—one that will be characterized by far fewer shops and smaller stores.

On Tuesday, Sears said that it will shutter its flagship store in downtown Chicago in April. It's the latest of about 300 store closures in the U.S. that Sears has made since 2010. The news follows announcements earlier this month of multiple store closings from major department stores J.C. Penney and Macy's.

Further signs of cuts in the industry came Wednesday, when Target said that it will eliminate 475 jobs worldwide, including some at its Minnesota headquarters, and not fill 700 empty positions.
#19 The U.S. Congress is facing another deadline to raise the debt ceiling in February.
#20 The Dow fell by more than 170 points on Thursday.  It is becoming increasingly likely that "the peak of the market" is now in the rear view mirror.
And I have not even mentioned the extreme drought that has caused the U.S. cattle herd to drop to a 61 year low or the nuclear radiation from Fukushima that is washing up on the west coast.
In light of everything above, is there anyone out there that still wants to claim that "everything is going to be okay" for the global economy?
Sadly, most Americans are not even aware of most of these things.
All over the country today, the number one news headline is about Justin Bieber.  The mainstream media is absolutely obsessed with celebrity scandals, and so is a very large percentage of the U.S. population.
A great economic storm is rapidly approaching, and most people don't even seem to notice the storm clouds that are gathering on the horizon.
In the end, perhaps we will get what we deserve as a nation.



In light of the above , are we surprised by the following ?

Pentagon to launch blimps to guard against cruise missiles

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David Martin
CBS News
January 24, 2014
The Pentagon has discovered a gap in the defenses of Washington, D.C., and it’s about to test a solution.
But depending on your point of view, the solution is either vital for national security or a threat to American privacy.
Starting this fall, two blimps will float at 10,000 feet over the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in an attempt to develop a defense for the nation’s capital against cruise missiles fired from ships offshore.




Court system hit with cyberattack

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Tony Romm
Politico
January 25, 2014
No official comment on the attack. Credit: fh-ap.com
The Justice Dept. has yet to comment on the attack. Credit: Flo.hirzinger via Wiki

Unidentified hackers took aim at the federal court system Friday, blocking access to its public website while preventing lawyers and litigants from filing legal documents online.
The incident affected uscourts.gov, the federal court’s public hub, as well as most if not all federal court sites — not to mention the federal court system’s electronic filing system and its access page, PACER, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said Friday.








Bank-Run Fears Continue; HSBC Restricts Large Cash Withdrawals

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Zero Hedge
January 25, 2014
Following research last week suggesting that HSBC has a major capital shortfall, the fact that several farmer’s co-ops were unable to pay back depositors in China, and, of course, the liquidity crisis in China itselfnews from The BBC that HSBC is imposing restrictions on large cash withdrawals raising a number of red flags. The BBC reports that some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it. HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November for their own good: “We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual… the reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.” As one customer responded: “you shouldn’t have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.”
Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it, the BBC has learnt.
Listeners have told Radio 4′s Money Box they were stopped from withdrawing amounts ranging from £5,000 to £10,000.
HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November.
The bank says it has now changed its guidance to staff.
When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved.”
The arrogance is incredible…



NSA’s monitoring is a violation of Fourth Amendment rights

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Mike Makinney
gazette.com
January 22, 2014
NSA stands for National Security Agency. They monitor every telephone call you make and all your electronic communications. Using a tool called XKeyscore, the NSA tracks and stores all Internet activity. Analysts search by name, telephone number, and key words. Contrary to administration claims about not targeting anyone, that’s targeting. The NSA also tracks your phone call records, permanently recording that information.
Our Fourth Amendment reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
When something is intercepted, like an intimate telephone conversation between you and your boyfriend, and then stored, it has been effectively seized. The NSA employs “selectors” to examine the contents of what they’ve seized. What’s that mean? That means, in effect, they target people, places and things.



U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces train with local cops in a secretive joint exercise

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Joshua Cook
Ben Swann.com
January 21, 2014
Unwarranted NSA surveillance, the passage of NDAA, stop and frisk programs, and the rise of warrior cops, have essentially turned America into a centralized police state.
Image: Special Forces (Wikimedia Commons).
Blurring the lines between the U.S. military and local sheriff departments sets a dangerous precedent that erodes freedom and civil liberties.
Those lines are being blurred right now in South Carolina.
According to The State, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department will participate in secretive joint exercise Monday and Tuesday with unnamed units from Ft. Bragg.
The drills are scheduled to run up to midnight on both days and occur primarily in Lower Richland, around Hopkins and Eastover. Exercises will also take place around the Screaming Eagle Road near Elgin and North Richland County near outbound Monticello Road.
According to The State, a sheriff’s department spokesman refused to provide which units from Ft. Bragg are involved. Ft. Bragg is home to the U.S. Army’s elite groups, including the Special Forces and Delta Force.
The spokesman also said the drills would be noisy at times.
“Citizens may see military and departmental vehicles traveling in and around rural and metropolitan areas and may hear ordnance being set off or fired which will be simulated/ blanks and controlled by trained personnel,” a sheriff’s department press release said.
The secretive exercises are off limits to the media, reports The Activist Post.
The implications are serious.
Locally elected Sheriffs take an oath to uphold, preserve, and defend the Constitution. They are not an extension of the centralized federal government. They have the ultimate say in their county as the top law enforcement officer.
If sheriff deputies engage an enemy in conjunction with the U.S. military who do they take orders from? The ARMY commander? Or their Sheriff?
This violates the separation of local authorities and the federal government. If the separation of powers are eliminated, who will protect the Constitutional rights of citizens?