Saturday, October 13, 2012

Financial Armageddon Coming After Election

Famed investor Jim Rogers is saying that the meltdown of the global economy is coming after the election.

In a riveting interview on CNBC, legendary investor Jim Rogers warned Americans to prepare for "Financial Armageddon," saying he fully expects the economy to implode after the U.S. election.

Rogers, who for years has been an outspoken critic of the Feds policies of "Quantitative Easing," says the world is "drowning in too much debt." He put the blame squarely on U.S. and European governments for abusing their "license to print money." In the U.S. alone, the national debt has surged to nearly $16 trillion, that's more than $50,000 for every American man, woman and child.

"[They] need to stop spending money they don't have," Rogers said. "The solution to too much debt is not more debt... What would make me very excited is if a few people [in the government] went bankrupt..." Rogers added.

Rogers also charged Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel with promoting dangerous policies that create the illusion the economy is stable... but are really only intended to buy time before their upcoming elections.

How bad? Worse than Rogers predicts, according to a new investigation.

In a newly released documentary that went viral last month, a team of influential economic experts say they have discovered a "frightening pattern" they believe points to a massive economic catastrophe unlike anything ever seen in the history of the world.


Did you see that??  An economic catastrophe unlike anything ever seen in the history of the world??

That's darn serious...because the world has seen plenty of economic disasters.

What is interesting is that for the first time in the history of  the world the global finances are very closely linked.  No one has any idea how much Greece owes Italy, Italy owes France, France owes Germany and how much the USA owes Europe.

Of course if this is true, we may be enjoying the calm before the storm.  We may be in for something the likes of which the world has never seen.

Are we all holding on to a Firm Foundation?  What is everything in our comfortable lives is about to disappear?

Hat tip to Kevin W.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Buying Time with Borrowed Money

I remember when the man in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest how he was treated by local officials while he tried to sell his produce. He came from a town that was suffering from a 30% unemployment rate and was trying to provide for his family. As I watched the protest drift into other countries, I just had a notion that this was going to be the start of something huge. Indeed it was huge; developing into the Arab Spring. (Interesting note-I was guest blogging when that started to spread.)

I can’t help but feel that way about the burgeoning austerity measuring spreading across Europe and the Middle East. I know it’s been going on for several years, but I think countries try to quell the financial fears of people very strenuously. No country wants to be responsible for collapsing the entire financial domino so precariously built by all. Still, I see this getting bigger and bigger, with immense consequences.

After all, it really only makes sense. The financial crisis spreading over the globe has to land somewhere; it’s only a matter of time – things have to come to a head, both in the US and around the world. Dennis is much better suited to discuss the intricacies of the financial balance; I just want to point out some of the headlines that keep rising to the surface, because they are indicators of things to come.

The biggest news of the day comes from Tokyo, where the IMF is meeting.

Cuts may not be best way to tackle debt, says IMF chief
In a surprising reversal, Christine Lagarde, IMF head, suggests that stringent austerity programs may not be the answer after all for severely depressed economies like Greece and Spain. She suggests that austerity methods may have hurt countries more than helped them, perhaps shifting them into a double-dip recession.

Ms Lagarde said eurozone countries should not blindly stick to tough budget deficit targets if growth weakens more than expected. She argued that they should allow "automatic stabilizers" -- higher welfare spending and lower tax revenues -- to kick in if the economy deteriorated."

"It is sometimes better to have more time," Ms Lagarde said, noting that if countries tried to cut their budgets simultaneously it could multiply austerity's impact on the economy.”

Now, I’m not by any stretch a financial magnate, but first of all, I would think that the policy people like Lagarde, who do this for a living, would have known there might be unintended consequences.

Then there’s the rebuttal from the German Finance Minister who made a very good point: “When there is a certain medium-term goal, it doesn't build confidence when one starts by going in a different direction," Mr Schäuble said. "When you want to climb a big mountain and you start climbing down the mountain, then the mountain will get even higher."”

Again, I’m not a finance wonk by any definition, but like I always tell my children, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. You strap on your bib and grab a fork. No sense in hiding the front half in another room and either hope it shrinks on its own or gets eaten by someone else. Seems to me to be the same with faltering economies, is more welfare pumped into the system from borrowed money really going to help long term? How much money needs to be pumped into countries like Greece and Spain to increase their spending? When will it end?

Luckily, Dennis’ audience is smart enough to figure this out. Sure, it’s easy to point out that so many of these countries are being held hostage by low retirement ages, high pensions and government subsidies; the point now is, what to do? How much longer until a world currency that everyone’s tied to?

Anyway, enough from me. I just want to compile some of the headlines that indicate what kind of mess the world is in right now.

Eurozone crisis as it happened: Spain downgrade ups bailout pressure
Spain was downgraded by S & P from BBB+ to BBB-, a step above junk. Interestingly enough, I saw a picture of a protest on a Spanish street. They were protesting cuts of free medical assistance for illegal aliens.

Italy Austerity Protests Force Closure Of Colosseum, Roman Forum
At 10.7%, Italy’s unemployment is the highest since 2004.

Croatians stage first protest against austerity drive
Due to join the EU, Croatia wants to improve their financial standing ahead of that transition. Unions are not pleased.

UK's Cameron won't ease austerity after IMF downgrade
"What we need in Britain is not 'Plan B', which is more borrowing. How can you borrow your way out of a debt crisis?" Cameron told Sky News.

Lithuania set to eject government
They have yet to join the Euro, waiting for the eurozone to sort out its problems. Still, the people are tired of the belt-tightening.

For Ireland, More Austerity Is a Strain
Rising unemployment and the prospect of a long stretch of tepid economic growth have cast a shadow over Ireland's hopes of keeping its austerity plan on course as the country emerges from its financial crisis.

Germany in 'great danger' of falling into recession - this is a big one
Once considered the bedrock of the eurozone, “The euro crisis is negatively impacting economic activity in Germany,"

Tear gas fired at French job protests
France's unemployment rate stands above 10 percent and the number of jobless has topped 3 million for the first time in 13 years.

Greece's Biggest Company Quits Country
"This [Coca-Cola] is a healthy company that does not want to suffer from Greece's high country risk," said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

And in the Middle East;

Iran government likely to win battle of wills over currency
“The slide in the rial is boosting inflation, officially at around 25 percent already, as imported goods become dearer. Last week riot police clashed near Tehran's Grand Bazaar with crowds protesting at the currency's drop, while Ahmadinejad is under fire from parliament for his economic management.”

Austerity budget forces early Israel election
"'At this time, in the face of the turmoil around us, security and economic, it is my obligation as Prime Minister to put the national interest above all,'' Bibi said in a national televised address.”

The Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's Coming Economic Storm - big one too
“Egypt faces four economic crises: rapidly rising food prices and budget deficits, a precipitous economic slowdown driving high unemployment even higher, and a long-term crisis over the water resources of the Nile River.”

I’m sure there are more, because I glanced at them. But I think we get the picture. Pray for people in these countries to turn and rely on Jesus to get them through this.  This would be a time when they would be questioning the big pictures in life.

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
Be wise enough to know when to quit.
In the blink of an eye wealth disappears,
for it will sprout wings
and fly away like an eagle. – Proverbs 23:4-5

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Turkey's Tensions

(I didn’t mention it earlier, but if you haven’t figured it out yet, this isn’t Dennis. This is Lisa, a guest blogger. I have a blog at a different site but I love to write for Dennis when he’s away.)

Panetta: US sends forces to Jordan

It would appear that we are getting involved in the rising tensions in the Middle East. We have now sent troops to the Syria/Jordan border. The goal is to support Jordan with the influx of refugees from Syria, and also to help the Jordanian military ramp up its efforts if Syria continues to attack its neighbors.

"But the revelation of U.S. military personnel so close to the 19-month-old Syrian conflict suggests an escalation in the U.S. military involvement in the conflict, even as Washington pushes back on any suggestion of a direct intervention in Syria."

"We have a group of our forces there working to help build a headquarters there and to insure that we make the relationship between the United States and Jordan a strong one so that we can deal with all the possible consequences of what's happening in Syria," Panetta said.

It stands to reason that we could become involved in an enormous conflict that will overtake that region. Without a clearly defined role in the situation, we also could end up in a position that we don’t necessarily want to be in.

In the meantime, tensions between Syria and Turkey are escalating rapidly.

Turkey, Seeking Weapons, Forces Syrian Jet to Land

Turkish fighter jets intercepted a plane coming from Moscow, heading to Damascus. They had a suspicion that the plane contained weapons to be used in the fighting. There were reports that pieces of a missile were removed, but Turkey is remaining mum on what they found.

This article is full of statements that if they are realized, could be the beginning of the war that we are watching for signs of. Here are a few of the most notable ones to me:

"The fighting in Syria has touched all other neighbors of the country as well, with fighting reported recently in villages near a border crossing to Lebanon in the west, while in the east, Syrian authorities have lost control of some crossing points on the border with Iraq. Tens of thousands of Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon and Jordan, straining resources in those countries. Last month several mortar shells fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights near Israel’s northern border. " - Seems an easy way to get Israel tangled up in this mess.

And this sounds ominous…

"The rising tensions between Turkey and Syria are seen as especially troublesome because Turkey is a member of NATO, which considers an attack on one member an attack on all, and this implicitly raises the possibility that NATO will be drawn into a volatile Middle East conflict."

Finally, to what I alluded to earlier tonight:

Don’t drag NATO into Syria, Baghdad warns Ankara

As I mentioned earlier tonight, Russia and Iraq have been getting closer and closer. They are venturing in joint ventures in hydrocarbon, trade, investments and construction. Mr. Putin also said Russia and Iraq “share close or identical views on many very acute international issues”.

But while they were meeting, they discussed the tensions in the region. The Iraqi Prime Minister, who is close to Iran as well, said, “Turkey is being presumptuous, you could say, as if it were taking responsibility for solving the Syrian conflict instead of the Syrian people and wants to impose its own solution. For this reason the international community needs to stop Turkey from intervening,” he said.

“The veiled support for the Syrian government came soon after Baghdad revived its military ties with Moscow. Mr. Maliki, a close ally of Iran, asserted that Syria was not threatening Turkey, which should not seek NATO’s intervention.”

To recap; the current players in the news today are Russia, Turkey, Damascus, Iraq and Iran. Libya could throw their hat in the ring, considering they’re still in the news every day since the anniversary of 9.11 this year. It wouldn’t be difficult to see the powers in the region gang up on Israel. If Israel is getting more jumpy about Iran and decides to do something about it, the rest of these players would join against Israel in a hurry.

However this plays out, God’s plan continues to go as scheduled and He will receive all the glory.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Russia's Arms

It would seem that Russia continues to rise to the forefront of the news.

Putin seeks to expand energy and military ties with Iraq, reviving Soviet-era relationship

Vladimir Putin is seeking to reestablish ties with Iraq:

"We see the development of trade and economic relations and the deepening of political dialogue as our contribution to the process of speeding up Iraq's return to peaceful life," Putin said after the talks.

Of course, PM Nouri al-Maliki is game to play along. He needs his country rebuilt and besides, Russia has the largest international oil company in Iraq.

‘Al-Maliki said during the negotiations that Iraq is willing to develop military and security co-operation with Russia, which supplied billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saddam Hussein.'

Al-Maliki told the Interfax news agency that Iraq may buy more than $4 billion of weapons from Russia, including helicopter gunships and air defense missiles.

"Iraq has had Soviet weapons, and it has highly-skilled experts who know how to use them," Interfax quoted al-Maliki as saying. "That's why we are interested in getting weapons from Russia’."

I found the most interesting line under the photo caption of the two men; ‘Putin hosted the Iraqi Prime Minister for talks, hoping to take ties to a new level amid agreement between Moscow and Baghdad over the conflict in Syria.’ (More on this in another posting)

The next news story, more chilling:

Russia says it will not renew arms agreement with U.S.

"The basis of the program is an agreement of 1991 which, by virtue of the time when it was conceived, the way it was worked out and prepared, does not meet very high standards. The agreement doesn't satisfy us, especially considering new realities," Interfax quoted him [Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov] as saying.

The arms deal, which was based on both countries deactivating nuclear and chemical weapons, is due to expire in 2013.

‘Ryabkov said that Russia now had the finances to carry out its own programs and that Moscow was interested in continuing partnerships in third countries.’

Translation: We tire of America and her toothless complaining. We want to seek bigger and stronger partners such as Iran and Iraq.

American diplomats appear to be trying to downplay this turn of events, saying that they are just looking to ‘amend’ the arms agreement.

One last little piece:

Russia: use of force against Iran would spell end of talks

‘Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Wednesday that the use of force against Tehran would spell the end of the negotiating process on Iran’s nuclear program.’

I include this last one because I thought it was striking that Russia was speaking on behalf of Iran.

All in all, it seems like Russia keeps marching toward its inevitable prophetic future role.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Merkel Visits Greece, and They Are Mad

It should come as no surprise to regular readers that Greece is a financial and economic mess.

Germany's leader, Angela Merkel, is going to Greece in the next few days for some meetings.  It appears that most Greeks will be less than enthusiastic to see her.  Why?  Because they need someone to blame their massive mismanagement and over-spending on...they certainly aren't going to blame it on themselves.

Now check out these paragraphs from the article.

As Angela Merkel visits Athens on Tuesday, she will find a Greece in its fifth consecutive year of recession. In 2008 and 2009, the recession was a spillover from the global financial crisis. Since then it has been caused and deepened by the austerity policies imposed on Greece by the troika – of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the European Central Bank – and the Greek government.

These policies are devastating the Greek people, especially workers, pensioners, small businessmen and women, and of course young people. The Greek economy has contracted by more than 22%, workers and pensioners have lost 32% of their income, and unemployment has reached an unprecedented 24% with youth unemployment at 55%. Austerity policies have led to cuts in benefits, the deregulation of the labour market and the further deterioration of the limited welfare state that had survived a neoliberal onslaught.

The government argues that only the austerity agenda can make the Greek public debt viable again. But the opposite is true. Austerity policies prevent the economy from returning to growth. Austerity creates a vicious spiral of recession and an increase in debt that in turn leads both Greece and its lenders to calamity.

All this is known to the European and Greek policymakers and elites, including Merkel, who aim to implement similar programmes in all European countries facing debt problems, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy. Why do they insist so dogmatically on this disastrous political and economic path? We believe that their aim is not to solve the debt crisis but to create a new regulatory framework throughout Europe that is based on cheap labour, deregulation of the labour market, low public spending and tax exemptions for capital. To succeed, this strategy uses a form of political and financial blackmail that aims to convince or coerce Europeans to accept austerity packages without resistance. The politics of fear and blackmail used in Greece is the best illustration of this strategy.


I is entirely the fault of the IMF and other European Central Bankers that Greece's economy sucks....and that your youth unemployment is at 55%.

Of course there is no blame to be found, with the author, in the corruption of the Greek government, the poor education system, the massive government pensions, the free health care and social programs that quash personal responsibility and resourcefulness.  Nope!  No blame there!

Nope!'s all those dang bankers who are taking away Greece's fun!  What a bunch of kill-joys!

The liberal mind knows no limits as to how illogical it can become when pressed.

When you view the world to be made up of a single pie, and that pie can only be sliced in so many end up with the idea that someone got a bigger piece than you did...AND THAT'S NOT FAIR!!  WE NEED TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSE'S PIECE OF PIE AND RE-CUT IT!

In reality, the world is a place that pie can be CREATED by innovation, thrift, technology, stewardship, hard work, education, and a whole bunch of other pie making machines.

The simple fact is that Greece spent way too much money.  And now that the Central Bankers of the world are asking for a responsible payment plan with an eye on what Greece is going to do to sustain itself...THE GREEKS ARE MAD!

Two things to world history, when you have 55% of the young people of any country with no job, no future and no hope...what usually results?  Yep...revolution and/or war.

The second thing is to cut and paste the information we are witnessing in Greece onto the the good ol' U.S. of A.  What do you think will happen here when 55% of our youth can't find good paying jobs, and a large percentage of our high school grads can't read or write and have virtually NO WAY of entering the middle class?  One statistic I heard last week is that over 150,000 college grads are currently working as janitors.  I wonder how they are going to pay back their $80,000 student loan, buy health insurance, car payments and pay rent on those salaries?  I wonder if they may be prone to join the OCCUPY WALL STREET movement when that heats up again?

Yep....revolution and/or war.

Turkey and Syria Exchange Fire....Again

It started off as Syria making a 'mistake' and lobbing a mortar shell into Turkey.  But now, after it has happened for 6 days in a may be getting much harder to make that claim and still have the Turks believe it.

We have no idea if Syria is trying to provoke Syria or if these mortars are simply falling into Turkey because mortar-fire isn't very accurate.

What we do know is that Damascus was mentioned in the article and it still needs to be destroyed according do Isaiah 17...and to be so utterly destroyed that it will be uninhabitable. (Nukes?  Chemicals?)

Just more evidence of 'nation against nation' that Jesus told us to watch for.

The Middle East is simmering in all sorts of places.  It's just a matter of time before it boils over and burns lots of people in the process.