The Light Bulb Conspiracy – Extended Version (Full Documentary)

H/t reader squodgy:

“My thoughts on Economic Growth, do NOT match those of the banksters.

Rather, this wonderfully simple explanation of why we should reject advertising, marketing, fashion, updates and of course, PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE.”

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CONSUMERS NOT FOLLOWING ORDERS

CONSUMERS NOT FOLLOWING ORDERS-1 CONSUMERS NOT FOLLOWING ORDERS-2

CONSUMERS NOT FOLLOWING ORDERS (The Burning Platform, June 14, 2015):

Last week the government reported personal income and spending for April. After months of blaming non-existent consumer spending on cold weather, shockingly occurring during the Winter, the captured mainstream media pundits, Ivy League educated Wall Street economist lackeys, and Keynesian loving money printers at the Fed have run out of propaganda to explain why Americans are not spending money they don’t have. The corporate mainstream media is now visibly angry with the American people for not doing what the Ivy League propagated Keynesian academic models say they should be doing.

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The Religion Of Consumerism (Video)

Video of the Day – The Religion of Consumerism (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 27, 2014):

The notion of consumerism as the religion of the United States is nothing new. That said, Warren Pollock did an excellent job explaining just how corrosive this mindset can be to a society. I was particularly taken by the idea that since the vast majority of people define themselves almost entirely by their level of consumption, or by some desired level of future consumption, their consciousness becomes easily controlled and their worldview easily managed and molded. They simply cannot see life in any other context and so they become trapped within a very sick and twisted form of human existence.

I’ve seen several of Warren’s videos in the past, but this is the first one I’ve shared. I know you’ll enjoy.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine

17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine (Economic Collapse, April 29, 2014):

No, the economy is most definitely not “recovering”.  Despite what you may hear from the politicians and from the mainstream media, the truth is that the U.S. economy is in far worse shape than it was prior to the last recession.  In fact, we are still pretty much where we were at when the last recession finally ended.  When the financial crisis of 2008 struck, it took us down to a much lower level economically.  Thankfully, things have at least stabilized at this much lower level.  For example, the percentage of working age Americans that are employed has stayed remarkably flat for the past four years.  We should be grateful that things have not continued to get even worse.  It is almost as if someone has hit the “pause button” on the U.S. economy.  But things are definitely not getting better, and there are a whole host of signs that this bubble of false stability will soon come to an end and that our economic decline will accelerate once again.

The following are 17 facts to show to anyone that believes that the U.S. economy is just fine:

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Wow – The Holiday Shopping Season Is Off To A Horrible Start

Wow – The Holiday Shopping Season Is Off To A Horrible Start (Economic Collapse, Dec 2, 2013):

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent an average of 4 percent less over the four day Thanksgiving weekend than they did last year.  Overall, that means that approximately $1.7 billion less was spent at U.S. retailers compared to last year.  It had already been projected that this holiday shopping season would be the worst for retailers since 2009, but if these numbers are any indication it may be even worse than expected.  So why is this happening?  Well, basically the American consumer is tapped out.  The unemployment crisis in this country is actually getting worse, poverty is absolutely exploding and the middle class is being systematically eviscerated.  In other words, you can’t get blood out of a stone.  Many retailers are offering extreme discounts in a desperate attempt to lure more shoppers, but the money simply isn’t there.

According to Yahoo News, the decline in shopping over the four day Thanksgiving weekend was the first decline that we have seen since the last recession:

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22 Reasons To Be Concerned About The U.S. Economy As We Head Into The Holiday Season

22 Reasons To Be Concerned About The U.S. Economy As We Head Into The Holiday Season (Economic Collapse, Oct 14, 2013):

Are we on the verge of another major economic downturn?  In recent weeks, most of the focus has been on our politicians in Washington, but there are lots of other reasons to be deeply alarmed about the economy as well.  Economic confidence is down, retail sales figures are disappointing, job cuts are up, and American consumers are deeply struggling.  Even if our politicians do everything right, there would still be a significant chance that we could be heading into tough economic times in the coming months.  Our economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline appears to be accelerating.  There aren’t enough jobs, the quality of our jobs continues to decline, our economic infrastructure is being systematically gutted, and poverty has been absolutely exploding.  Things have gotten so bad that former President Jimmy Carter says that the middle class of today resembles those that were living in poverty when he was in the White House.  But this process has been happening so gradually that most Americans don’t even realize what has happened.  Our economy is being fundamentally transformed, and the pace of our decline is picking up speed.

The following are 22 reasons to be concerned about the U.S. economy as we head into the holiday season:

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Families Hoard Cash 5 Years After Crisis

From the article:

“The implications are huge: Shunning debt and spending less can be good for one family’s finances. When hundreds of millions do it together, it can starve the global economy.

What (kind of) economy (is that)?

In my opinion bonds are a terrible investment.

Got PHYSICAL gold and silver (to protect your assets)?


AP IMPACT: Families hoard cash 5 yrs after crisis (AP, Oct 6, 2013):

NEW YORK (AP) — Five years after U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering a global financial crisis and shattering confidence worldwide, families in major countries around the world are still hunkered down, too spooked and distrustful to take chances with their money.

An Associated Press analysis of households in the 10 biggest economies shows that families continue to spend cautiously and have pulled hundreds of billions of dollars out of stocks, cut borrowing for the first time in decades and poured money into savings and bonds that offer puny interest payments, often too low to keep up with inflation.

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Wal-Mart Says February Sales ‘Total Disaster’, Worst Monthly Start Since 2006 – Stock Drops

Flashback:

Welcome to the Recovery (New York Times, by Timothy Geithner, August 2, 2010)

Recovery is the ‘GREATEST DEPRESSION’.


Wal-Mart Says February Sales “Total Disaster”, Worst Monthly Start Since 2006; Stock Drops (ZeroHedge, Feb 15, 2013):

Wal-Mart shares are plunging as the firm reports a ‘total disaster’ in its February sales. Bloomberg obtained internal emails that note:

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company…. That points to our competitive landscape, which means everyone is suffering and probably worse than we are

It gets better:

“We have to fight against the tougher economic environment to earn a bigger share of a smaller consumer spending pie”

Obviously in WMT speak, “tougher” is what Obama would call “much better and rapidly improving.”

Things must not be serious over in Bentonville for this much truth to suddenly hit the tape.

One senior executive summed it up perfectly – “Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart U.S. Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?” The company notes the end of the payroll tax cut by Obama and asks “We need to stop the stupid.”

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US: Meat contaminated with deadly MRSA bacteria is being sold to consumers

Meat contaminated by a potentially lethal infection is being sold to consumers — creating a public health threat that has largely flown under the the radar due to powerful industry interests and lax accountability at the federal agency in charge of ensuring food safety, according to recent studies and a prominent investigative journalist.

“It makes salmonella look like a picnic,” is how David Kirby, an investigative journalist who has written about MRSA, a life-threatening pathogen, described it in an interview with Consumer Ally. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is an antibiotic-resistant staph infection that kills about 20,000 Americans — more than the number of people who die from AIDS — each year.

MRSA affects livestock and ultimately supermarket meat. Previously associated mostly with infections acquired in hospitals, nursing homes or by people with compromised immune systems, for the past 15 years MRSA is increasingly being traced to industrial animal feeding operations, so-called factory farms, where much of the nation’s protein comes from.

A number of clinical and academic studies bear this out: a recent Canadian study showed nearly 14% of pork chops (about one in seven) and 6.3% of ground pork sold in supermarkets carried the contamination — taken together, 9.6% of all pork samples. Additionally, 5.6% of the beef and 1.2% of the poultry carried the bug. The bacterium was also found in veal, lamb and other meats.

Another report, by Louisiana State University, found 5.5% of pork samples and 3.3% of beef samples taken from local supermarkets were contaminated. Yet another – this one out of the pork industry’s lobby arm, the National Pork Board — found MRSA in 3% of pork samples. That means a family buying raw pork twice a week brings MRSA home an average of three times a year.

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Alcohol Drinking In Britain Sees Sharpest Fall Since Records Began In 1948 (Recovery!)

Cheers!

See also:

UK: Winter fuel payment cuts to hit millions of pensioners, despite pre-election promises

UK: Pensioners are burning books to keep warm


Consumers drank on average five bottles of wine fewer last year as health concerns and the recession combined to bring biggest drop in alcohol consumption since records began.

There were 821 million fewer pints of beer drunk in 2008 compared with 2009, according to the British Beer and Pub Association
There were 821 million fewer pints of beer drunk in 2008 compared with 2009, according to the British Beer and Pub Association Photo: ALAMY

The average person drank the equivalent of 89 bottles of wine during the year, down from more than 94 bottles, according to new statistics.

It was the largest drop in alcohol consumed since 1948, as health concerns and the recession encouraged consumers to cut back.

This 6 per cent fall in alcohol consumption is the largest annual drop since records began in 1948, when the British Beer and Pub Association started collecting figures. The figures include all alcohol sales, both from supermarkets and at pubs.

It is the fourth annual decline in the last five years, with the average person consuming the equivalent of 8.4 litres of pure alcohol, down from 8.9 litres.

The data, compiled from Government tax receipts, back up Office for National Statistics figures published earlier this year, which suggested that after many years of people drinking less at pubs, they had also started to cut back at home for the first time.

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US: Consumer confidence retreats further in July

What confidence?

Total Desperation: Retailers Push ‘Christmas in July’


Consumer Confidence Index erodes further in July to 50.4 as job worries take toll on outlook

consumer-confidence

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans’ confidence in the economy eroded further in July amid worries about a job market that has proven stubbornly stagnant. The report raised concerns about the overall economy and the back-to-school season.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index slipped to 50.4 in July, down from the revised 54.3 in June. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 51.0. The decline follows last month’s nearly 10-point drop, from 62.7 in May, which marked the biggest since February, when the measure also fell 10 points.

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Meltup (Documentary): The Beginning Of A US Currency Crisis And Hyperinflation.


Added: 13. Mai 2010

What Recovery? US Consumers Getting ‘Dramatically Worse,’ Howard Davidowitz Says

According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend were $41.2 billion, up slightly from a year ago, while about 195 million consumers shopped, up from 172 million last year.

Meanwhile, Coremetrics says the average online shopper spent 35% more on Black Friday vs. a year ago, while robust sales were predicted for Cyber Monday.

Against that backdrop, you might expect Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates to backtrack from some of the bearishness he’s professed on Tech Ticker (and elsewhere) in the past year. But you’d be wrong.

“The consumer is in worse shape since I was here last” in August, Davidowitz says, citing the following:

  • Unemployment has exploded: “We’ve lost a ton of jobs since I was here last,” Davidowitz says, noting the “real” unemployment rate is 17.5%. “That’s an astounding number.”
  • Housing continues to sink: “The consumers’ biggest asset is down trillions” in value while “foreclosures are exploding” and a huge percentage have negative equity — 23% according to CoreLogic.
  • Record numbers of consumer bankruptcies: The American consumer has “never been further behind…never defaulted more” on mortgages, student loans, auto loans, and credit card bills, he says.
  • Poverty on the Rise: One in eight Americans and one in four children are receiving food stamps, as The NYT reported this weekend.

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US: Consumer Spending Declined in September

Recovery!

us-unemployment
Long-term unemployment


Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) — Spending by U.S. consumers fell in September for the first time in five months after the government’s auto-rebate program expired.

The 0.5 percent decrease in purchases matched the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 1.4 percent jump in the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Incomes were unchanged, while the savings rate climbed.

Stagnant wages and concern over mounting unemployment are causing confidence to wane, raising the risk that consumers will retrench in coming months as government assistance programs run out. The report also showed inflation was lower than the Federal Reserve’s long-term projection, indicating the policy makers can keep rates low.

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US: Personal Bankruptcy Filings Soar

Consumer bankruptcies topped one million for the first nine months of this year, the highest point since the system was overhauled in 2005.

The number of personal bankruptcy filings for the nine months rose to 1,046,449 as of Sept. 30, the American Bankruptcy Institute, an organization made up of attorneys, accountants and other bankruptcy professionals, said Friday, using data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center. There were 773,810 personal bankruptcy filings for the same time period in 2008.

September’s filings reached 124,790, 41% higher than the same month last year.

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Paul Craig Roberts: The Economy is a Lie, too

Ben Bernanke IS RIGHT, ‘the recession is over.’

It is now the ‘Greatest Depression’.


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

paul-craig-roberts
Paul Craig Roberts

Americans cannot get any truth out of their government about anything, the economy included. Americans are being driven into the ground economically, with one million school children now homeless, while Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announces that the recession is over.

economic crisis   The Economy is a Lie, too
Switzerland World Economic Forum Davos
At the urging of Larry Summers and Goldman Sachs’ CEO Henry Paulson, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bush administration went along with removing restrictions on debt leverage.

The spin that masquerades as news is becoming more delusional. Consumer spending is 70% of the US economy. It is the driving force, and it has been shut down. Except for the super rich, there has been no growth in consumer incomes in the 21st century. Statistician John Williams of shadowstats.com reports that real household income has never recovered its pre-2001 peak.

The US economy has been kept going by substituting growth in consumer debt for growth in consumer income. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan encouraged consumer debt with low interest rates. The low interest rates pushed up home prices, enabling Americans to refinance their homes and spend the equity. Credit cards were maxed out in expectations of rising real estate and equity values to pay the accumulated debt. The binge was halted when the real estate and equity bubbles burst.

As consumers no longer can expand their indebtedness and their incomes are not rising, there is no basis for a growing consumer economy. Indeed, statistics indicate that consumers are paying down debt in their efforts to survive financially. In an economy in which the consumer is the driving force, that is bad news.

The banks, now investment banks thanks to greed-driven deregulation that repealed the learned lessons of the past, were even more reckless than consumers and took speculative leverage to new heights. At the urging of Larry Summers and Goldman Sachs’ CEO Henry Paulson, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bush administration went along with removing restrictions on debt leverage.

When the bubble burst, the extraordinary leverage threatened the financial system with collapse. The US Treasury and the Federal Reserve stepped forward with no one knows how many trillions of dollars to “save the financial system,” which, of course, meant to save the greed-driven financial institutions that had caused the economic crisis that dispossessed ordinary Americans of half of their life savings.

The consumer has been chastened, but not the banks. Refreshed with the TARP $700 billion and the Federal Reserve’s expanded balance sheet, banks are again behaving like hedge funds. Leveraged speculation is producing another bubble with the current stock market rally, which is not a sign of economic recovery but is the final savaging of Americans’ wealth by a few investment banks and their Washington friends. Goldman Sachs, rolling in profits, announced six figure bonuses to employees.

The rest of America is suffering terribly.

The unemployment rate, as reported, is a fiction and has been since the Clinton administration. The unemployment rate does not include jobless Americans who have been unemployed for more than a year and have given up on finding work. The reported 10% unemployment rate is understated by the millions of Americans who are suffering long-term unemployment and are no longer counted as unemployed. As each month passes, unemployed Americans drop off the unemployment role due to nothing except the passing of time.

The inflation rate, especially “core inflation,” is another fiction. “Core inflation” does not include food and energy, two of Americans’ biggest budget items. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) assumes, ever since the Boskin Commission during the Clinton administration, that if prices of items go up consumers substitute cheaper items. This is certainly the case, but this way of measuring inflation means that the CPI is no longer comparable to past years, because the basket of goods in the index is variable.

The Boskin Commission’s CPI, by lowering the measured rate of inflation, raises the real GDP growth rate. The result of the statistical manipulation is an understated inflation rate, thus eroding the real value of Social Security income, and an overstated growth rate. Statistical manipulation cloaks a declining standard of living.

In bygone days of American prosperity, American incomes rose with productivity. It was the real growth in American incomes that propelled the US economy.

In today’s America, the only incomes that rise are in the financial sector that risks the country’s future on excessive leverage and in the corporate world that substitutes foreign for American labor. Under the compensation rules and emphasis on shareholder earnings that hold sway in the US today, corporate executives maximize earnings and their compensation by minimizing the employment of Americans.

Try to find some acknowledgement of this in the “mainstream media,” or among economists, who suck up to the offshoring corporations for grants.

The worst part of the decline is yet to come. Bank failures and home foreclosures are yet to peak. The commercial real estate bust is yet to hit. The dollar crisis is building.

When it hits, interest rates will rise dramatically as the US struggles to finance its massive budget and trade deficits while the rest of the world tries to escape a depreciating dollar.

Since the spring of this year, the value of the US dollar has collapsed against every currency except those pegged to it. The Swiss franc has risen 14% against the dollar. Every hard currency from the Canadian dollar to the Euro and UK pound has risen at least 13 % against the US dollar since April 2009. The Japanese yen is not far behind, and the Brazilian real has risen 25% against the almighty US dollar. Even the Russian ruble has risen 13% against the US dollar.

What sort of recovery is it when the safest investment is to bet against the US dollar?

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US credit card defaults up, signal consumer stress

And now the credit card crisis. Who will bailout the US consumers?

“The defaults are a wake-up call for those expecting a V-shaped recovery.”

V-shape recovery? There is no recovery:

Job Losses: The Scariest Chart Ever


american-express-master-card-credit-card-crisis
American Express and MasterCard credit cards are shown in Washington June 25, 2008. (REUTERS)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc customers defaulted on their credit card debts in August at the highest rates since the onset of the recession, a sign that the banks’ consumer lending woes are far from over.

The trend was echoed among most other major credit card issuers, dashing optimism sparked when many banks and specialty finance companies reported lower default rates for July.

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The US is in a ‘Death Spiral’ and ‘in the Tank Forever’, says Davidowitz

Rather than summarize, let me just highlight some of his best one-liners:

On retail:

  • “The retail business is terrible… It’s almost all negative.”
  • “We’re going to close hundreds of thousands of stores.”

On the consumer:

  • “They’re still over leveraged, they’re losing jobs, their credit has been cut back.”

On America:

  • “We are in the tank forever. As a country we are out of control, we’re in a death spiral.”

On the stock market:

  • “We’re in terrible shape. That’s what the fundamentals tell me. I can’t explain the stock market.”

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US: Consumer, Celebrity Bankruptcies Rise 34%, May Hit 1.4 Million

More green shoots!


Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) — Consumer bankruptcies show no sign of abating after rising more than a third this year and may hit 1.4 million by Dec. 31 as jobs are lost and loans are harder to get, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

More than 126,000 consumers filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. last month, 34 percent more than in July 2008, the ABI said in its latest report on Aug. 4. The increase came after a 36.5 percent rise in personal bankruptcies nationwide in the first six months, to 675,351, according to the ABI research group, which interprets data collected by the National Bankruptcy Research Center.

“Rising unemployment on top of high pre-existing debt burdens is a formula for higher bankruptcies through the end of this year,” ABI Executive Director Samuel Gerdano said in a statement. The group, composed of lawyers, accountants, bankers and judges, is based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Debt problems don’t stop with sub-prime borrowers. Celebrities who filed for bankruptcy in July included movie actor Stephen Baldwin, who sought protection from creditors after lenders began foreclosure procedures against his home. Lenny Dykstra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a petition that says the former Major League Baseball All-Star owes between $10 million and $50 million.

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