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Demographics - Crash Course Chapter 15

Chris Martenson - September 26, 2014 - 15:21

Our national demographic architecture no longer can afford the entitlement system we have. And that's even assuming entitlements were currently sufficiently funded. But as the last chapter showed, the existing programs are underfunded to the tune of $100-200 Trillion. 

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Categories: Economics

Off the Cuff: The Tail Wags Harder

Chris Martenson - September 26, 2014 - 14:16

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • Topping Markets
    • Signs of an imminent correction continue to mount
  • Central Banks Gone Wild
    • No longer hiding their rampant asset purchases
  • Perpetual War
    • The military-industrial complex is the tail wagging the dog

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Categories: Economics

16 Uses for Plastic Sheeting

Chris Martenson - September 26, 2014 - 12:31

A bunch of good ideas and uses for clear plastic sheeting.  It can be very handy to have a roll on hand to be used in many DIY projects and survival situations.  How do you use it on your homestead?

http://thesurvivalmom.com/16-uses-plastic-sheeting-aka-visqueen/

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 9/26 - How Banks Affect Family Size, Can Gold Act as a Safe Haven Again?

Chris Martenson - September 26, 2014 - 07:21
  • Dismantling Empires Through Devolution
  • U.S. Growth Quickest in Two and a Half Years on Business Spending, Exports
  • Ned Naylor-Leyland Suggests Media Overhanging an Exposé of Rigging in the Silver Markets
  • Can Gold Act as a Safe Haven Again?
  • Companies’ Worst Hacking Threat May Be Their Own Workers
  • America, the Plannable: How Banks Affect Family Size
  • How Rising Interest Rates Could Spell the End of the U.S. Energy Boom
  • Japanese conceptual artists to offer soup made from Fukushima vegetables at Frieze Art Fair

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Categories: Economics

Holz Hausen

Chris Martenson - September 25, 2014 - 15:51

Learn how to build this very interesting and different way to stack wood.  I might just have to try building a "Holz Hausen".

http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/how-build-beehive-shaped-holz-hausen-wood-pile-video.html

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Categories: Economics

Ready Or Not...

Chris Martenson - September 25, 2014 - 13:00

If risk has been taken from where it belongs and instead shuffled onto central bank balance sheets, or allowed to be hidden by new and accommodating accounting tricks, has it really disappeared? In my world, risk is like energy: it can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed or transferred. 

If reality no longer has a place at the table -- such as when policy makers act as if the all-too-temporary shale oil bonanza is now a new permanent constant -- then the discussions happening around that table are only accidentally useful, if ever, and always delusional.

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Categories: Economics

The 3 Likeliest Ways Things Will Play Out From Here

Chris Martenson - September 25, 2014 - 12:58
Executive Summary
  • The wisdom and value of scenario planning
  • Scenario #1: A Slow Burn
  • Scenario #2: Fragmentation
  • Scenario #3: A Hard Landing
  • The prudence of taking individual action now, vs depending upon "the system" to react to future events

If you have not yet read Part 1: Ready Or Not... available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

It all begins with the clear-eyed recognition that the old way of doing business is clearly unsustainable. And yet knowing that the various governmental and institutional powerbrokers are doing everything they can to perpetuate the status quo way of doing business.

Business-as-usual is literally going to end in some flavor of disaster, and yet we collectively adhere to it, even when the end-point is as obvious as calculating the linear rate of withdrawal of water from a non-renewing aquifer.

But there's nothing linear about the nested and/or intertwined complex systems we call the Economy, the Environment and Energy.  Each of these is independently complex, meaning they often easily defy the attempts to manage them. And they are utterly unpredictable for anything longer than the immediate term.

For example, of the three, Energy seems the simplest, and it is.  But even there, we note that the amount of energy that can and will be extracted is a function of the price of energy, available technology and skills, capital available for investment, and what's actually down there in the earth to be pulled up.  In that list, several factors are courtesy of the Economy, which is itself dependent on Energy. A glitch in one can feedback rapidly to create a glitch in the other.

Given all of this complexity, one good way to get a handle on things is to identify the scenarios we deem to be most likely given all available evidence, and then assign probabilities to each. Asking ourselves, What can we today to prepare for Scenario X? then allows us to begin constructing action plans to mitigate our vulnerability, and even better in cases, position ourselves to prosper as the future unfolds. 

Scenario #1:  A Slow Burn

In 2008, the practice of borrowing too much caught up with the developed world and a serious financial crisis threatened to take down the entire financial system.  Indeed, according to after-action reports from Hank Paulson (then Treasury Secretary) and Mervyn King (then BoE chairman), the world came within mere hours of a full-blown global banking system meltdown...

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 9/25 - Wallowing In Bias, 10 Things That Affect Your Purchasing Power

Chris Martenson - September 25, 2014 - 08:05
  • CDC: Ebola could infect 1.4 million in Liberia and Sierra Leone by end of January
  • Ten Things That Affect Your Purchasing Power
  • Financial Gateways in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine: Nomi Prins
  • FBI Releases Report Examining Mass Shootings
  • Gold, Silver, Debt, And Taxes
  • Wallowing In Bias
  • Despite Rising Voice of Climate Movement, Global Leaders Dither
  • At U.N., Obama Calls Climate Change a ‘Global Threat’

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Categories: Economics

Nurses’ Unions Send Thousands to Climate March, Call Global Warming a “Health Care Emergency”

Photo by Yessenia Funes.

This story is part of the Climate in Our Hands collaboration between Truthout and YES! Magazine.

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York’s Bellevue Hospital and cut off its power, Anne Boyé, a registered nurse and president of the union’s Health and Hospitals Corporation Executive Council, helped evacuate more than 740 patients.

Meanwhile, Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez and her team of nurses were walking door to door through the floods with flashlights on their heads, determined to find and save victims of the storm.

Climate change is a public health care emergency.

“The heroism that I saw among average people was extraordinary,” said Sheridan-Gonzalez, president of the New York State Nurses’ Association (NYSNA).

Some hurricane victims were left stranded in the city’s high-rise buildings because, as Sheridan-Gonzalez says, “No one’s going to get there.”

But her nurses did. They walked through dark hallways, knocking on doors without knowing who—or what—lurked behind them. Sheridan-Gonzalez could hear dogs barking in some apartments. At some residences, her team was threatened with guns.

“Some people were desperate,” she said.

While the connection between public health and climate change may seem abstract to some, Sheridan-Gonzalez sees it every day. Even when her city is not besieged by hurricanes, in the Bronx—where she works as an emergency room nurse at Montefiore Medical Center—pollution emitters like power plants, sludge processing facilities, and waste disposal industries contribute to the borough's consistently high asthma-related death rates.

These sites emit pollutants that not only hurt her patients’ health, but the planet’s health too. In fact, climate change is a public health care emergency, says Fernando Losada, director of environmental health and climate justice for National Nurses United (NNU).

That’s why Losada and other nurses’ union members showed up by the thousands at the People’s Climate March in New York City September 21. Of the roughly 400,000 marchers, 5,000 were from United Healthcare Workers East (1199SEIU). Another 100 nurses showed up, from all around the United States, to represent NNU, a national union with about 185,000 members.

Jean Ross, one of three NNU presidents, came from Minnesota.

“This is just the beginning,” she said. “This is going to be big, but it’s going to get bigger and bigger.” Organizers are looking for action from world leaders, not just talk, she told YES.

Photo by Yessenia Funes.

Nurses’ concerns about climate change are rooted both in their history of organizing and in the effects they experience every day. So this relationship is only natural, said Chelsea Lyn-Rudder, 1199SEIU’s press secretary.

Many union members are poor women of color who face environmental injustice in their daily lives. “We’re looking at it as a social justice issue,” Lyn-Rudder said.

The nurses provide a justice framework that enables other unions concerned about class issues to become involved, said Tammy Lewis, a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College who’s studied the history of “blue-green alliances”—or partnerships between labor and environmental groups.

Climate impacts on human health

The alliance between labor unions and environmental advocacy is nearly as old as labor unions themselves. It began in the two decades following World War II. Until that time, unions had primarily focused on wages. But the focus shifted to health once union leaders and rank-and-file realized pollution could harm union members, their families, and their communities.

“Labor was interested in this early and from the perspective of the environmental impacts on human health,” said Kenneth Gould, another professor of sociology at Brooklyn College who has worked with Lewis.

“The connection between public health and climate can never be separated because what is bad for the planet is bad for health."

These impacts on human health are already being noted—not only in communities like the Bronx but in extreme weather disasters many believe are exacerbated by climate change: Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and last year’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Nurses served on the front lines after each of these disasters.

For some labor unions, solidarity with environmental protections are not as straightforward. Many fear that environmental regulations will take workers’ jobs away. Workers in the fossil fuel industry worry that transitioning into renewable energy will cost them their livelihoods.

“There will always be points of conflict between environmental protection and organized labor, especially as long as organized labor doesn’t have control of production processes,” Gould said.

But nurses' unions are the exception to that rule, Losada said. While some unions worry about losing jobs, Losada and other nurse union members worry about losing patients.

NYSNA and NNU now hold education programs on climate change for their members. “We’re not just here to pressure and criticize,” Losada said. “We’re also here to offer solutions.” For one, oil and coal workers should be the first ones to take new jobs in clean, sustainable energy, when that transition happens.

Photo by Yessenia Funes.

Another solution’s been offered too: the Robin Hood Tax. Also known as a Financial Speculation Tax or Financial Transaction Tax, the Robin Hood Tax would place a tiny sales tax of less than half of 1 percent on Wall Street transactions. It's an idea that could generate $350 billion in revenue, according to estimates.

Bill Gallagher, the campaign coordinator and organizer for NNU, said this revenue can go toward addressing climate change and other effects of pollution. Treating asthma alone costs $56 billion a year. Moreover, air quality is expected to worsen—so the number of people with asthma will increase too.

On Sunday, nurses paraded through the streets, holding signs that read, “Tax Wall Street. End climate change.” Members of several different unions expressed their support for a Robin Hood Tax by sporting green hats topped with the trademark single red feather.

Losada and Sheridan-Gonzalez marched among the array of red and green. It looked like Christmas—and sounded like it too. A hand drum echoed throughout the crowd as nurses sang, “Tell me what nurses stand for! Climate justice, climate justice!”

“The connection between public health and climate can never be separated because what is bad for the planet is bad for health," Gallagher said. "Period.”

Yessenia Funes wrote this article for YES! Magazine. It's presented here as part of Climate In Our Hands, a collaboration with Truthout that focuses on the climate justice movement. Yessenia is a double major in magazine journalism and environmental studies at SUNY Plattsburgh and a freelance writer.

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Categories: Economics

Peers Hires RelayRides' Shelby Clark as Executive Director

Shareable Magazine - September 24, 2014 - 10:24

Sharing economy advocacy group Peers announced today the hiring of Shelby Clark as it's new executive director.

Shelby, an early employee of Kiva, founded the peer-to-peer carsharing service RelayRides, which operates carsharing marketplaces in 2,300 U.S. cities. Clark will continue to serve as a Board Member of that company.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 9/24 - Why College Costs More Than You Think, Student Homelessness At Record High

Chris Martenson - September 24, 2014 - 07:17
  • The Reason College Costs More Than You Think
  • Push joblessness down, N.Y. Fed President William Dudley says
  • Danish Central Bank Cuts 2014 Economic Growth Forecast to 0.8%
  • French economy flat-lines as business activity falters
  • Eurozone Economy Struggles for Growth Momentum
  • Brazil cuts 2014 GDP growth forecast, keeps fiscal goal
  • Student homelessness hits another record high
  • German conservatives cast doubt on French reform pledges
  • Renzi's revolution running late as Italians seek action
  • By the numbers: 1.4 million cases of Ebola forecast by January

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Categories: Economics

Why Bother Composting?

Chris Martenson - September 23, 2014 - 17:01
Categories: Economics

Is Ridesharing Killing San Francisco's Taxi Industry?

Shareable Magazine - September 23, 2014 - 16:21

Lyft's ridesharing vehicles are known by their pink stick-on mustaches. (Lyft via Kansas City Business Journal)

Categories: Economics

5 Minute Prep

Chris Martenson - September 23, 2014 - 15:07

A great article exploring the reasons and methods to copy important information from your wallet and other sources as backup and for emergency situations.

http://rethinksurvival.com/make-copies-of-wallet-cards/

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Categories: Economics

Interviewed: The World's First Tiny House Hoteliers

Shareable Magazine - September 23, 2014 - 07:54

The tiny house movement is booming. There are off-grid tiny houses, Airbnb tiny houses, tiny house villages and now a tiny house hotel. The first of its kind (we believe), Caravan Tiny House Hotel, in Portland, Oregon, comprises six tiny houses in the Alberta Arts District.

Categories: Economics

Kentucky Town Beats High Gas Prices by Opening a Public Gas Station

Shareable Magazine - September 23, 2014 - 07:52

Photo credit: crowt59. Cross-posted from Community Wealth.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 9/23 - A Global Carbon Tax, Has The Gold Price Drop Run Its Course?

Chris Martenson - September 23, 2014 - 07:45
  • ‘Poor people don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken’ 
  • The Fight Of Their Lives
  • Feds say Bitcoin miner maker Butterfly Labs ran “systematic deception”
  • Has The Gold Price Drop Ran Its Course?
  • Gold And Silver - Current Price Is The Story
  • Could Low Oil Prices Point To A Debt Bubble Collapse?
  • We Need A Global Carbon Tax
  • U.N. climate summit is high-profile, but some of world’s most important leaders will skip it

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 9/23 - A Global Carbon Tax, Has The Gold Price Drop Ran Its Course?

Chris Martenson - September 23, 2014 - 07:45
  • ‘Poor people don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken’ 
  • The Fight Of Their Lives
  • Feds say Bitcoin miner maker Butterfly Labs ran “systematic deception”
  • Has The Gold Price Drop Ran Its Course?
  • Gold And Silver - Current Price Is The Story
  • Could Low Oil Prices Point To A Debt Bubble Collapse?
  • We Need A Global Carbon Tax
  • U.N. climate summit is high-profile, but some of world’s most important leaders will skip it

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Categories: Economics

18 Hilarious Yet Extremely Useful Illustrated Tips for City Living

Shareable Magazine - September 23, 2014 - 06:45

City living is all the rage. The diverse people, vibrant street life, rich cultural offerings, career opportunities, and easy access to a myriad of amenities are a big draw. But there's another side to city living that doesn’t get as much play at Shareable: the sardine-like over-crowdedness, inconsiderate neighbors, public transport bullies, and stinky-ass garbage piles.

Categories: Economics

#MapJam 2.0 to Put the New Economy on the Map!

Shareable Magazine - September 22, 2014 - 17:16

This October, the Sharing Cities Network will launch the Second Annual Global #MapJam to bring activists together in cities around the world to connect the dots and map: grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, community resources, and the commons.

Categories: Economics