Euro Problems not Over

July 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

Since my last posting on this subject,not a whole lot has changed. Well, except the fact that this situation is getting worse, as we all knew it would, and the markets are noticing.

 

The stock markets have fallen in 3 of the last 4 days and most of the MSM is placing the blame on the European Financial crisis. Our corporate earnings are getting hit, with more to come many think, and the prices are diving.

 

It was just the other day that one of the ‘doomsday’ guys, that have good track records by the way, was saying we have fallen off the financial precipice. I don’t think he is far from wrong.

 

Common sense indicates that the world wide economy, including our own, has yet to see the worst. That is coming on a daily basis. Please don’t believe these talking heads when they tell you that they are ‘fixing’ the problem. I am not sure they, nor anyone else, know what the problem really is!

 

When you don’t know the problem, you certainly can’t fix it, even if they could and I for one don’t believe that the efforts (read money they are printing) undertaken will do any good at all.

 

The entire system is crumbling as I write. Since the Lehman debacle we have seen far too many financial houses succumb tot he economic pressures and of course sheer greed and fraud.

 

Look at PFG, the future clearing house that went broke and dang few of these people will ever see any money. Given the fragile state of affairs, why would anyone want to put their money in such a clearing house, just to take more risk to make money that, due to the risk of bankruptcy of the futures firm, they might never see again!

 

Folks, this financial crisis will slowly unravel the fundamentals of our economy. I suggest you get prepared…take a look at where your money is and how easy or difficult it will be to access it in the event of some financial catastrophe. Do you own any gold or silver? How easy is that to get to? I am all for the Boy Scout Motto here “Be Prepared”!

It’s Official, Stockton CA files for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy

June 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

Following up on yesterdays post about Stockton CA and the likelihood of having to file bankruptcy…Well it is official they are filing Chapter 9. Just a sign of the times, first the citizens then the cities themselves as real estate prices and incomes fall…

 

This has not stopped and as we are seeing world wide, the trend is still in place…falling real estate, employment and incomes! I expect people to get pretty mad. Can’t believe that the people here are not more vocal about it…although when we do become ‘vocal’ the press doesn’t seem to notice. While in Europe people get really vocal…of course our press doesn’t notice that too much…would be a distraction from all the great reality TV shows now wouldn’t it?

 

Stockton, California, to File for Bankruptcy Protection

By Steven Church and Alison Vekshin – Jun 27, 2012 7:52 AM MT

 

Stockton, California, said it will file for bankruptcy after talks with bondholders and labor unions failed, making the agricultural center the biggest U.S. city to seek court protection from creditors.

 

“The city is fiscally insolvent and must seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection,” Stockton said in a statement released yesterday after its council voted 6-1 to adopt a spending plan for operating under bankruptcy protection. “In addition to the bankruptcy petition, the city will file a motion with the courts to share information from the confidential mediation.”

 

Stockton Bankruptcy Slide Measured in Murder Surge

 

June 20 (Bloomberg) — Stockton, California, Mayor Ann Johnston and residents talk with Bloomberg’s Alison Vekshin about the city’s surging murder rate The number of murders in the city has more than doubled since 2008 as Stockton cuts service and staff to stay afloat. Stockton, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of San Francisco, is poised to become the largest city in U.S. history to seek bankruptcy protection. (Source: Bloomberg)

The budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 calls for defaulting on $10.2 million in debt payments and cutting $11.2 million in employee pay and benefits under union contracts that could be voided by the bankruptcy court. The city of 292,000 may file its petition as soon as today.

 

“It’s a sad day in the city of Stockton,” Mayor Ann Johnston said before the budget vote. “I see no other solution to this.”

 

Municipal bankruptcies in the U.S., while still rare compared to corporate filings, became more common after the housing and financial crisis began. Ten of 42 cases filed since 1981 came in the past four years, according to court records.

 

The biggest municipal bankruptcy was filed last year by Jefferson County, Alabama, which is trying to restructure $4.2 billion in debt, most of which is tied to sewer bond deals tainted by corruption.

Vallejo Bankruptcy

 

Stockton’s bankruptcy will probably resemble the 2008 case of another California city, Vallejo, which exited court protection last year, bankruptcy attorney Dale Ginter said. Both cities have been hurt by high labor costs, particularly health insurance for retirees, he said.

 

“Retirees are not going to be happy,” said Ginter, who represented retired Vallejo workers in that city’s bankruptcy. “My prediction is that retiree health care is cut. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it cut to zero.”

 

Bondholders and current employees will probably also have to take less, said Ginter, who has reviewed city financial reports.

 

“We think Chapter 9 protection is the only choice left,” City Manager Bob Deis told the City Council, referring to the section of the federal bankruptcy code that applies to municipalities.

Municipal Bonds

 

Stockton’s expected bankruptcy filing won’t create a sell- off in the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market because investors of tax-exempt debt have known about the city’s budget deficit and rising health-care expenses, Matt Fabian, managing director at Concord, Massachusetts-based Municipal Market Advisors, said in a telephone interview.

 

“There’s been enough talk about municipal bankruptcy and worries about it that when one actually happens, it’s a little beside the point,” Fabian said. “It’s hard to see one city’s faltering pushing the market weaker.”

 

Investors will buy municipal debt for its relative safety and low default rate, said Chris Ryon, who helps manage $8.25 billion of municipals, including a $367 million California fund, at Thornburg Investment Management. The average cumulative default rate in the past four decades was 0.13 percent for municipal bonds versus 11.2 percent for corporate debt, Moody’s Investors Service data show.

‘Extremely Low’

 

“The overall default rates in municipal bonds are extremely low and Stockton is a small participant in the $3.7 trillion market,” Ryon said in a telephone interview.

 

A taxable Stockton pension bond sold in 2007 and due September 2037 traded June 25 as high as 80.68 cents on the dollar, down from when it traded as high as 102.03 cents on the dollar on Feb. 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

 

The City Council’s approval paves the way for Deis to proceed with the bankruptcy filing. Stockton, a river port about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of San Francisco, ran out of options after three months of negotiations with creditors ended June 25 without enough concessions to close a $26 million deficit.

 

“We’ve worked really hard with our creditors and we’ve been unable to close the gap,” Deis said. “If we get any agreements in the near future, then those will be honored in Chapter 9.”

Break Contracts

 

Bankruptcy would allow the city to break contracts with creditors without the threat of lawsuits, though it won’t assure the city’s recovery, he said.

 

“This basically is the equivalent of the pause button,” Deis told the council. “It provides you a breather to adopt a budget and maintain services during this next year. It doesn’t guarantee success in the long term. That’s going to require some negotiating and some give-and-take.”

 

Dale Fritchen, the only one of seven council members to vote against the plan, said he wasn’t convinced there was no alternative.

 

“I think it’s going to hurt Stockton more than it will help Stockton,” Fritchen said. “For heaven’s sake, I hope I’m wrong.”

 

In February, the city began a process during which it is required by state law to review its finances with help from a “neutral observer” who is picked in cooperation with creditors. That review is similar to a mediation process in which creditors have a right to participate, according to the law, passed last year at the request of California labor unions.

 

Salaries for current workers and benefits for them and former employees account for about 68 percent of the city’s general fund, the city said.

Service Cuts

 

The city has cut services so much the past two years that “public safety is at a crisis level,” officials said in a June 5 fiscal report. Unemployment, at 15.4 percent in April, was almost double the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

Stockton ranked third in murders last year among large California cities, behind Los Angeles and Oakland, according to FBI data.

 

The collapse of the housing market left Stockton to contend with mounting retiree health-care costs and eroding tax dollars in the wake of the recession, amid accounting errors that overstated municipal revenues. One in every 195 homes in Stockton’s metropolitan area received a foreclosure filing in May, the fifth-highest rate in the U.S., according to RealtyTrac Inc.

Creditor Talks

 

Negotiations with creditors began on March 27 and were extended to June 25. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the nation’s biggest home lender, and bond insurer Assured Guaranty were among at least 18 creditors involved in the talks.

 

Last year, three municipalities entered bankruptcy, including Jefferson County.

 

Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is reserved for cities, counties and quasi-governmental bodies, such as special water or tax districts. It offers more protection from creditors than Chapter 11, which is used by companies and wealthy individuals.

Did you see the little snippet in there about the surging murder rate in Stockton.  Remember this is the largest city yet to file so far…I stick to my recommendation yesterday:  As the judge says “I suggest that the citizens arm themselves’…or everyone agree to become 100% nonviolent…that won’t happen today I am pretty sure!

 

Colorado is on FIRE

June 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

For those that don’t watch mainstream news, Colorado is suffering the worst wildfire season in history. Hundreds of homes burned to the ground in several areas and the fires continue to rage.

 

As a resident of Colorado we are keeping a constant watch on the forest and mountain areas near us. Fortunately for us none of the fires are near our home but many people are being evacuated as we speak in several different areas.

 

These folks need some very positive energy and prayers!

 

Colorado wildfires: Wildfires burning Colorado, prompting evacuations, destroying properties

KUSA – There are several active fires burning in Colorado as of Tuesday morning, and it is hard to keep all the fires straight if you are not in the immediate area. 9NEWS is here to help with this comprehensive list.

 

Below are the largest fires in the state that are causing either evacuations or threatening homes.

 

CHIMNEY ROCK FIRE

 

A downed power line sparked a one-acre blaze in southwestern Colorado Monday, threatening homes and prompting evacuations. The Forest Service says the fire is burning on the north side of Cabezon Canyon. The fire was running up the canyon towards the residences Monday afternoon. Pre-evacuation orders were given to residents, but firefighters were able to fully supress the fire. The firefighters are in the mop-up stages now.

 

CR 102 FIRE

 

The containment of the CR 102 Fire in Elbert County was changed around midnight on Monday from 100 percent contained to 75 percent contained. By Monday afternoon, the fire reached 90 percent containment. The fire has burned 300 acres and caused 100 people to be evacuated. The pre-evacuation order for the town of Elbert was lifted on Monday. The CR 102 Fire broke out Sunday afternoon.

 

FLAGSTAFF FIRE

 

A fire burning in Boulder County Tuesday afternoon has prompted evacuation notices. Boulder County officials say the fire is 300-acres and burning on the west side of the Flatirons. The Rocky Mountain Fire Department is using a heavy tanker and ground crews on the Flagstaff Fire. Residents living south of Dartmouth Avenue, west to Table Mesa and east to Broadway are under a pre-evacuation notice. A resident in the area says lightning was seen before the fire started. Smoke can be seen from the City of Boulder and surrounding areas.

 

HIGH PARK FIRE

 

The High Park Fire is now 87,250 acres with only 55 percent containment. The fire started on June 9 around 6 a.m. and is burning approximately 15 miles west of Fort Collins. More than 1,900 personnel are fighting the blaze. On June 11, authorities confirmed 62-year-old Linda Steadman died from the blaze. Search crews found Steadman’s remains at her house on Old Flowers Road. Authorities say Steadman received two notification calls. A deputy was on his way to personally warn her, but he was pushed back by flames. Larimer County officials confirm at least 248 homes are destroyed from the High Park Fire. The cause of this fire is lightning.

 

LAST CHANCE FIRE

 

A fire burning near the town of Last Chance prompted evacuations and closed a portion of Highway 71. The 44,000-acre fire is 95 percent contained as of Monday night. It forced residents near the town of Last Chance and Woodrow to evacuate. Two homes and three outbuildings have been destroyed.

 

LITTLE SAND FIRE

 

The Little Sand Fire is now 22,010 acres with only 29 percent containment. The fire started on May 13 around 4 p.m. and is burning approximately 13 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs. More than 200 personnel are fighting the blaze. No structures have burned or threatening in this blaze. The cause of this fire is lightning.

 

STATELINE FIRE

 

The Stateline Fire grew to 350 acres and is at 50 percent containment. The fire started on June 23 and is burning near the Colorado-New Mexico line along U.S. Highway 550. About 140 personnel are fighting the blaze. One home was destroyed by the fire, but no other homes are threatened. It is burning in a very remote area. The fire is considered to be human caused, but there are no suspects at this time. An information line is now available at 970-799-1179.

 

TREASURE FIRE

 

The Treasure Fire is burning 320 acres with only 10 percent containment. The fire started on June 23 at 11:10 a.m. and is burning five miles northeast of Leadville. No structures have burned in this blaze. The cause of this fire is human-caused, but it is still under investigation.

 

WALDO CANYON FIRE

 

The Waldo Canyon Fire is now 5,165 acres with 5 percent containment. The fire started on June 23 around noon and is burning in Pike National Forest in El Paso County. About 600 personnel are fighting the blaze. The cause of this fire is under investigation. Massive amounts of evacuations were issued for Tuesday afternoon.

 

WEBER FIRE

 

The Weber Fire is burning more than 8,930 acres. The fire is 15 percent contained. It started on June 22. The fire is burning in Montezuma County just six miles south of Mancos and just south of Highway 160. More than 100 homes were evacuated. No homes have been damaged in this fire. Nearly 400 personnel are fighting this fire. Officials say someone started the fire, but no further details are available at this time.

 

Think about it, what would you grab in the event of an emergency? Take some time and think about it. Food, water, important papers perhaps? Being prepared is not a bad idea for most people and those in Colorado are really having to either get out fast unprepared or preparing in a double quick hurry. Where are you on the preparedness scale?

 

Steve Quayle live Friday night 6/15/12

June 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

Join Hawk and Steve Quayle for the latest breaking updates on the Euro Zone Crisis and how this could well affect our lives here in the U.S.

Euro Collapse Imminent

June 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

With Greece wanting out of the EC and further economic woes hitting all the ‘PIGGS’, some are reporting that the Euro has collapsed, at least unofficially.

 

A bit of background: MSM has reported that there have been huge capital outflows from Greece, in the billions per day and now Spain. It isn’t like this is just falling from the sky unannounced. Remember Ireland, Italy and Portugal all have been in the news with bailouts of some sort over the past year or two. The press has played this well, sort of like the frog in water who slowly dies as the water begins to heat up and boil.

 

Now it appears we might have hit critical mass with the problems in the EC. The Bailouts will continue to happen as we see more and more capital outflows, they will continue to get larger and larger as the liquidity issues mount. Much like the U.S. the ‘quantative easing(printing money) will be to infinity.

 

Which brings me to the point of this piece, as more money is printed and less and less economic activity there to back it up we will begin to see inflation hit the goods and services that we use on a daily basis. Moreover, the typical assets like real estate will most likely not enjoy such price inflation as no one will have the buying power to afford such purchases and without buyers prices will not rise as will prices in basic commodities, such as food and gas.

 

The governments are trying to fill the financial hole created by the banks and their insane lending and ‘betting'(read derivative) practices which have still not come to full force. We have been given a small insight into the destructive power of these instruments in the recent JP Morgan debacle, losing 2 billion in one 3 month period. There are trillion upon trillions of these dangerous bets floating around the world. When the music stops, we will all pay!

 

How can you prepare for this catastrophe should it come to pass (again many are saying that it is coming to pass right now!)?

 

I for one own some gold and silver, probably not enough but some. Many survivalists disagree with this strategy saying you can’t eat or drink the metals. I agree there but also see them as a short term solution to the things that I might need but haven’t seen that need yet. I do own quite a bit of storable foods, all organic, non-GMO foods that are high in nutrition. I urge everyone to educate themselves on the value of nutrition versus calories. Both are necessary but good nutrition is critical. Water is another necessity and I am fortunate enough to live very close to a river and own a gravity filter system to clean it up.

 

I hope everyone is somewhat prepared, if not physically mentally for what appears to be coming over the horizon. Stay Strong!

Another Large Japanese Earthquake

March 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

Just a couple of days after the 1 year anniversary the earth apparently decided to draw a bit more attention to the area and gave the NE area of Japan, one of those devastated last year, another large earthquake, 6.8 magnitude, and small tsunami.

 

As an aside, some of the Japanese people have filed to stop the restart of Nuclear plants in some areas.

 

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes Japanese coast, tsunami wave hits coast

 

By Shingo Ito in Tokyo

From: AFP

March 14, 2012 10:50PM

 

 

japan quake

 

An earthquake close to Japan caused a small tsunami to reach shore.

 

20cm tsunami wave hits Japan’s northeastern coastline

6.8 magnitude quake struck around 210km off the coast

Agency confirmed an earlier 10cm wave had hit land

 

A small tsunami wave has hit Japan’s northeastern coastline, officials say, after a strong earthquake rocked the region a year on from the country’s worst post-war natural disaster.

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Today’s 20cm wave and 6.8 magnitude quake, which struck around 210km off the northern island of Hokkaido, prompted local authorities to issue an evacuation warning for coastal residents before it hit land.

 

Japan’s meteorological agency also confirmed that an earlier 10cm wave had hit land.

 

The waves hit two locations in Aomori prefecture, which was one of the areas in Japan’s northeast devastated by last year’s disaster.

 

The agency had initially said a tsunami could be as high as 50cm, but US monitors said there was no Pacific-wide tsunami threat.

 

The quake struck at a relatively shallow 10km below the seabed at 6.09pm local time (8.09pm AEDT).

 

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the tsunami posed no threat to mainland Australia, its islands or territories.

 

The tsunami warning – which was lifted at 9.40pm – comes after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a monster wave on March 11 last year that killed more than 19,000 people and crippled Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.

 

The tsunami swamped cooling systems at the Fukushima site and sent three reactors into meltdown, spewing radiation into the environment and sparking the world’s worst atomic accident in a generation.

 

There were no immediate reports of damage at nuclear facilities in the area affected by today’s quake.

 

A spokesman for Tohoku Electric Power, which operates two nuclear power plants in the country’s northeast, said the facilities were unaffected.

 

“There was no damage to our nuclear power facilities following the earthquake,” he told AFP.

 

“We have not monitored any change in radiation levels around the facilities following the quake.”

 

The meteorological agency also warned the tsunami could reach the Kuril islands, off Hokkaido, which Russia has controlled since Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II.

 

On Sunday, Japan fell silent to remember last year’s tragedy, with tearful families gathering in towns and villages across the country’s shattered northeast to remember those they lost when the towering waves smashed ashore.

 

Tens of thousands were forced to evacuate a 20km exclusion zone immediately around the Fukushima plant, while many families with small children moved away from the prefecture completely.

 

At Sunday’s anniversary, thousands protested against nuclear power in demonstrations across the world.

 

Japan has temporarily shut most of its 54 commercial nuclear reactors, but plans to re-open the plants has set off a highly-charged debate in a country prone to earthquakes.

 

On Monday, a group of Japanese citizens filed a lawsuit to prevent the restart of a nuclear power plant, warning that there was little proof the reactors would were quake-resistant.

 

The disaster also hammered Japan’s already struggling economy, stoked fears about radioactive contamination in the food chain and set off multi-billion dollar reconstruction efforts.

 

I don’t know about you but living in an earthquake zone close to the coast would be somewhat silly if you weren’t prepared with an escape route and some supplies cached on high ground. Escaping the immediate threat is one thing, then you have to survive.

Earth and Asteroid on Collision Course?

March 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Disaster News, Featured

So NASA has confirmed that a huge asteroid is headed on a possible collision course for earth. I really don’t know what to say about this one. It would be a huge event for the entire world and many people will certainly die.

 

There are many possibilities for this to be ‘fixed’ and one has to wonder, with all the cuts aimed at NASA is this a fabrication or is it real?

Blast it or paint it: Asteroid to threaten Earth in 2013

To avert a possible catastrophe – this time set for February 2013 – scientists suggest confronting asteroid 2012 DA14 with either paint or big guns. The stickler is that time has long run out to build a spaceship to carry out the operation.

 

­NASA’s data shows the 60-meter asteroid, spotted by Spanish stargazers in February, will whistle by Earth in 11 months. Its trajectory will bring it within a hair’s breadth of our planet, raising fears of a possible collision.

 

The asteroid, known as DA14, will pass by our planet in February 2013 at a distance of under 27,000 km (16,700 miles). This is closer than the geosynchronous orbit of some satellites.

 

There is a possibility the asteroid will collide with Earth, but further calculation is required to estimate the potential threat and work out how to avert possible disaster, NASA expert Dr. David Dunham told students at Russia’s University of Electronics and Mathematics.

 

“The Earth’s gravitational field will alter the asteroid’s path significantly. Further scrupulous calculation is required to estimate the threat of collision,” said Dr. Dunham, as transcribed by Russia’s Izvestia. “The asteroid may break into dozens of small pieces, or several large lumps may split from it and burn up in the atmosphere. The type of the asteroid and its mineral structure can be determined by spectral analysis. This will help predict its behavior in the atmosphere and what should be done to prevent the potential threat,” said Dr. Dunham.

 

In the event of a collision, scientists have calculated that the energy released would equate to the destructive power of a thermo-nuclear bomb.

 

In response to the threat, scientists have come up with some ingenious methods to avert a potential disaster.

­Fireworks and watercolors

 

With the asteroid zooming that low, it will be too late to do anything with it besides trying to predict its final destination and the consequences of impact.

 

 

A spaceship is needed, experts agree. It could shoot the rock down or just crash into it, either breaking the asteroid into debris or throwing it off course.

 

“We could paint it,” says NASA expert David Dunham.

 

Paint would affect the asteroid’s ability to reflect sunlight, changing its temperature and altering its spin. The asteroid would stalk off its current course, but this could also make the boulder even more dangerous when it comes back in 2056, Aleksandr Devaytkin, the head of the observatory in Russia’s Pulkovo, told Izvestia.

2012 DA14 orbit diagram

2012 DA14 orbit diagram

Spaceship impossible?

 

Whatever the mission, building a spaceship to deal with 2012 DA14 will take two years – at least.

 

The asteroid has proven a bitter discovery. It has been circling in orbit for three years already, crossing Earth’s path several times, says space analyst Sergey Naroenkov from the Russian Academy of Sciences. It seems that spotting danger from outer space is still the area where mere chance reigns, while asteroid defense systems exist only in drafts.

 

Still, prospects of meeting 2012 DA14 are not all doom and gloom.

 

“The asteroid may split into pieces entering the atmosphere. In this case, most part of it will never reach the planet’s surface,” remarks Dunham.

 

But if the entire asteroid is to crash into the planet, the impact will be as hard as in the Tunguska blast, which in 1908 knocked down trees over a total area of 2,150 sq km (830 sq miles) in Siberia. This is almost the size of Luxembourg. In today’s case, the destination of the asteroid is yet to be determined.

 

I would get prepared, spiritually, mentally and physically if I were you. Of course, these are all areas that all of us should be working on all the time!

Rising Gas Prices

February 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

Everyone is talking about the ‘new’ economic recovery yet gas prices are rising and may torpedo the process. Let’s face it, our economy responds to consumer purchases and with higher gas prices there is less left for us to buy anything.

 

The article below might help you find the best gas prices, the pennies, nickels and dimes you save add up over the long term. So for what it is worth….

 

 

ust as the economic recovery begins to accelerate, another roadblock has jumped in the way. In this case it’s America’s old familiar enemy: Rising prices at the gas pumps. The national average cost for regular unleaded gasoline is already 8% higher this year alone, now at $3.529 a gallon, according to AAA.

 

This is the highest price point ever seen this early in the year. Seasonally prices rise heading into the Summer driving season, but never has the average price of gasoline topped $3.50 this earlier in the New Year.

 

Furthermore, gasoline demand has dropped 10%; meaning Americans are driving less but the amount of money we’re spending on gasoline is rising.

 

As individuals we can’t do much about price hikes but Gregg Laskoski of GasBuddy.com says there are some things we can do to minimize the damage done to our personal finances every time to fill the tank. In the attached clip Laskoski discusses 5 ways to find cheap gas prices.

 

1. Track Prices Via Websites and Mobile Apps

 

Is your local station gauging you? The only way to know is to be aware of what you should be paying. Thanks to the Internet, drivers can drill down and find the average price by zip code. Laskoski’s Gasbuddy.com, Gaspricewatch.com or scores of other web sites or mobile applications make it easy to find gas stations taking the least amount of profit from consumers.

 

2. Inconvenience Yourself

 

It shouldn’t come as much of a shock but the easier it is to find a gas station, the more you’re going to pay. Laskoski says gas stations just off the highway cost more than others just down the way. If you’re willing to spend an extra ten minutes in your car you can find stations that make it time well spent. And, avoid affluent areas; that gas station conveniently existing right in the middle of town is likely charging a premium.

 

3. Fill Up at the Right Time

 

Urban legend says gas prices are lowest during hours when most folks are sleeping, from midnight to 5am. Laskoski debunks that myth, but says there is a best time to fill-up that most people wouldn’t think of: Wednesday. Gas prices are highest on weekends when the most people are out on the road. Filling up in the middle of the week saves you both sleep and money.

 

4. Mind the Fine Print on Your Credit Card & Reward Programs

 

Many companies offer “club” membership at their stations but the real savings come somewhere else. Liskoski says to look for partnerships between your local gas retailer and other merchants. Often times pairing the right card with the right grocery store is where you’ll find the benefits.

 

5. Get Out of the Car (Opt for Self-Service)

 

Despite the near-death of full-service, many gas stations will give you the option of having an attendant fill it up. The next time you’re tempted, take note of the premium being charged per gallon and start doing some math. At a reasonable-sounding quarter per gallon premium, you’re going to pay $5 more to fill a 20 gallon tank. One stop per week for a year works out to $260 a year for the right to sit in your car.

 

The bottom line is gasoline prices are going higher for all of us, and likely to get much worse. We can’t reverse that trend but with a few simple tips we can ease the pain, if only a little bit.

 

Let us know if you have other tips in the comment section below, visit us on Facebook, or Tweet me @Jeffmacke

 

For more money-saving ideas check out Yahoo! Shopping!

 

Good luck in the days to come. I hope this will help you save a few bucks.

More saber rattling in Iran…WW III coming?

February 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

The news never stops when it comes to Iran vs. The West/Israel. It certainly looks as if an armed conflict is on the horizon. The belligerence from all parties is getting pretty intense in my opinion.

 

With Russia and China both supporting Iran, looks like they are itching to see the pawns at play…Will the U.S. take the bait? Or will someone in D.C. become suddenly enlightened and figure a way out of this mess.

 

A war will be devastating for the population and the world economy. Then again, going further down the bunny hole, maybe that is what the power elite want…less people and more control over resources…anything is possible in my opinion.

 Iran threatens to hit any country used to attack its soil

 

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran will target any country used as a launchpad for attacks against its soil, the deputy Revolutionary Guards commander said, expanding Tehran’s range of threats in an increasingly volatile stand-off with world powers over its nuclear ambitions.

 

Last week, Iran’s supreme clerical leader threatened reprisals for the West’s new ban on Iranian oil exports and the U.S. defense secretary was quoted as saying Israel was likely to bomb Iran within months to stop it assembling nuclear weapons.

 

Although broadened and sharpened financial sanctions have begun to inflict serious economic pain in Iran, its oil minister asserted Saturday it would make no nuclear retreat even if its crude oil exports ground to a halt.

 

Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes. But its recent shift of uranium enrichment to a mountain bunker possibly impervious to conventional bombing, and refusal to negotiate peaceful guarantees for the program or open up to U.N. nuclear inspectors, have thickened an atmosphere of brewing confrontation, raising fears for Gulf oil supplies.

 

“Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces,” Hossein Salami, deputy head of the elite Revolutionary Guards, told the semi-official Fars news agency Sunday.

 

The Guards began two days of military maneuvers in southern Iran Saturday in another show of force for Iran’s adversaries associated with tensions over its disputed nuclear program.

 

Sunday Israel appointed a new air force chief who last month, in his position as top military planner, warned publicly that Israel could not deal a knock-out blow to its enemies, including Iran, in any regional conflict.

 

The United States and Israel, Iran’s arch-enemies, have not ruled out a military strike on Tehran if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear stalemate. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to visit Washington next month, his office said Sunday, and Israeli political sources said he is likely to meet U.S. President Barack Obama while there.

 

Iran’s Salami did not identify which countries he meant as possible hosts for military action against it.

 

The six, U.S.-allied Arab states in the Gulf Cooperation Council, situated on the other side of the vital oil exporting waterway from Iran, have said they would not allow their territories to be used for attacks on the Islamic Republic.

 

But analysts say that if Iran retaliated for an attack launched from outside the region by targeting U.S. facilities in Gulf Arab states, Washington might pressure the host nations to permit those bases to hit back, arguing they should have the right to defend themselves.

 

The Gulf states that host U.S. military facilities are Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

 

THREAT TO SHUT VITAL OIL CHANNEL

 

Iran has warned its response to any such strike will be “painful,” threatening to target Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf, along with closing the Strait of Hormuz used by one third of the world’s seaborne oil traffic.

 

Betraying nervousness about possible blowback from any military strike on Iran, two of its neighbors – Qatar and Turkey – urged the West Sunday to make greater efforts to negotiate a solution to the nuclear row.

 

Speaking at the annual Munich Security Conference attended by top world policymakers, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said an attack would be a “disaster” and the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program could be ended very rapidly.

 

“If there is strong political will and mutual confidence being established, this issue could be resolved in a few days,” he said. “The technical disputes are not so big. The problem is mutual confidence and strong political will.”

 

He added: “A military option will create a disaster in our region. So before that disaster, everybody must be serious in negotiations. We hope soon both sides will meet again but this time there will be a complete result.”

 

Turkey was the venue of the last talks between Western powers and Iran a year ago which ended in stalemate because participants could not even agree on an agenda.

 

Qatari Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed al-Attiyah said an attack “is not a solution, and tightening the embargo on Iran will make the scenario worse.

 

“I believe that with our allies and friends in the West we should open a serious dialogue with the Iranians to get out of this dilemma. This is what we feel in our region.”

 

Tehran has warned several times it may seal off the Strait of Hormuz, throttling the supply of Gulf crude and gas, if attacked or if sanctions mean it cannot export its oil.

 

A military strike on Iran and Iran’s response, which might include an attack on the oilfields of No. 1 exporter Saudi Arabia, would send oil prices soaring, which could seriously harm the global economy

 

(Additional reporting by William Maclean in Munich and Michael Holden in London; Writing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Sophie Hares)

 

I suggest prayer and lots of it might be in order here. Appears that the human logic to the situation is lacking.

 

You might want to consider preparing with some food and water stored up at home…just in case.

 

WW III…on the horizon?

February 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

In my mind WW III will begin with a strike on Iranian Nuclear facilities. China and Russia are firmly in the Iranian camp. That this will happen is almost a certainty now.

 

The best case is that the ‘super powers’ allow their pawns to fight it out and not get involved directly. Sure lots of covert business will most likely transpire but short of a ‘declaration of war’ or an invasion might keep the contest from spreading.

 

I personally hope and pray that all of this can be avoided. How is anyone’s best guess considering the belligerent stances of everyone involved.

 

Israel, U.S. Divided Over Timing of Potential Military Strike Against Iran

By Nicole Gaouette and Jonathan Ferziger – Feb 3, 2012 2:21 PM MT

 

The U.S. and Israel are publicly disagreeing over timing for a potential attack on Iran’s disputed nuclear facilities, as that nation’s leader said it won’t back down.

 

The U.S. and Israel have a “significant analytic difference” over estimates of how close Iran is to shielding its nuclear program from attack, Aaron David Miller, a former Mideast peace negotiator in the Clinton administration, said today.

 

“There’s a growing concern — more than a concern — that the Israelis, in order to protect themselves, might launch a strike without approval, warning or even foreknowledge,” he said in an interview.

 

The differing views were underscored by public comments this week by senior Israeli and U.S. defense officials.

 

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday that Israel must consider conducting “an operation” before Iran reaches an “immunity zone,” referring to Iran’s goal of protecting its uranium enrichment and other nuclear operations by moving them to deep underground facilities such as one at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom.

‘Nearing Readiness’

 

“The world has no doubt that Iran’s nuclear program is steadily nearing readiness and is about to enter an immunity zone,” Barak said in an address to the annual Herzliya Conference at the Interdisciplinary Center campus north of Tel Aviv. “If the sanctions don’t achieve their goal of halting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, there will arise the need of weighing an operation,” Barak said.

 

The U.S. holds the view that “there is still time and space to pursue diplomacy” with Iran over its nuclear program, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said today in Washington. He added that the U.S. “is absolutely committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

 

In Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today that his nation won’t abandon its nuclear efforts and warned that a strike against the nuclear program would damage U.S. interests in the Middle East “10 times over,” according to the Associated Press. He said, without providing details, that he would disclose a letter that he said President Barack Obama sent Iran’s leaders.

 

Referring to Israel as a “cancerous tumor,” Khamenei said in his Friday sermon that “if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will help.” He said that Iran has assisted anti-Israel groups such as Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas.

SWIFT Sanctions

 

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved yesterday a bill that would increase the economic pressure on Iran. The proposal targets Iran-related banking transactions, Iran’s national oil company and leading tanker fleet, joint ventures in mining and energy projects. It also would require corporate disclosure of Iran-related activity to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

One provision calls on the administration to provide a report to Congress within 60 days detailing Iran-related financial transactions facilitated by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the Belgian member-owned institution known as Swift, and its competitors. The measure would give the president authority to sanction Swift to cut off such services. A similar bill, with stronger language mandating the imposition of sanctions, was submitted in the House yesterday.

 

Within Israel, there isn’t consensus that striking Iran is either good or necessary. Ephraim Halevy, a former head of Israel’s Mossad security agency, is one of two former intelligence chiefs who have spoken against a strike.

Panetta’s Concerns

 

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declined to comment directly on a report by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius that Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June. Panetta and other U.S. officials have repeatedly warned Israel not to act alone.

 

“Israel has indicated that they’re considering this” through public statements, Panetta told reporters traveling with him yesterday in Brussels. “And we have indicated our concerns.”

 

Israelis think Iran will reach the immunity zone in “half the time the Americans think it will,” Miller said. “To take that difference and talk about a growing rift” between Israel and the U.S. “is by and large an overstatement,” he said.

Obama-Netanyahu Relations

 

Tension between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be complicating communications on the issue, a U.S. defense official said. “There’s no love lost between the two of them, and there’s a trust deficit,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the news media.

 

Defense officials have been concerned that Obama hasn’t warned Netanyahu directly enough about the risks of a Israeli preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, including for U.S. interests in the region such as bases in in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, according to the official.

 

James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, said Jan. 31 that communication with Israel was good. “We’re doing a lot with the Israelis, working together with them,” he told the Senate intelligence panel.

Unknown Intentions

 

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, has said it is “premature” to resort to military force because sanctions are starting to have an impact on Iran. In a Jan. 26 interview with National Journal, Dempsey said he delivered a similar message of caution to Israel’s top leadership during a visit to the Jewish state in early January.

 

U.S. intelligence agencies think Iran is developing capabilities to produce nuclear weapons “should it choose to do so,” said Clapper.

 

“We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” he said.

 

While leaders of both countries agree that time must be given to gauge the impact of the latest set of economic sanctions on Iran, Israel’s patience is shorter than that of the U.S., Ephraim Kam, deputy director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, said.

‘Too Late’

 

“It will take at least six months to see whether sanctions are effective and by then it may be too late,” said Kam, author of the 2007 book, “A Nuclear Iran: What Does it Mean, and What Can be Done.”

 

“We’re definitely using different clocks,” he said.

 

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz told the Herzliya conference on Feb. 1 that his nation must be “willing to deploy” its military assets because Iran may be within a year of gaining nuclear weapons capability. Gantz said international sanctions are starting to show some results.

 

Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s vice prime minister and its former top military commander, played down Iran’s ability to shelter its activities from a military attack. “It’s possible to strike all Iran’s facilities, and I say that out of my experience as IDF chief of staff,” he said at the conference, referring to the Israeli Defense Forces.

 

The U.S., its European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency have challenged the government in Tehran to prove that its nuclear work is intended only for energy and medical research, as Iranian officials maintain.

 

Mehdi Khalaji, an Iran specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said in an interview that he doubts that the U.S. or Iran will launch a military strike this year. Rather, he cited the possibility than Iran might stage a provocation and use any response as an excuse to launch an asymmetrical attack against U.S. and Israel targets using proxies such as Hezbollah

 

My advice is to keep praying for peace and preparing for some hard times to come….food, water, guns and ammo. Preparedness is not a bad idea especially considering the hardship you could experience if you don’t…

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