France

Islamic State: Kill Disbelieving Americans

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve taken the threat of terrorism by Muslim extremists seriously for years now- whether Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, their affiliates, or sympathizers. While it’s obvious to me a number of entities (particularly politicians) are taking advantage of the newly-minted caliphate’s boogeyman factor these days for their own gain, I do believe the Islamic State does pose a real danger to Americans here and abroad. As such, I plan on blogging about the group formerly known as ISIS/ISIL on a regular basis.

Now that that’s been established, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani looks to have released a new speech in which he threatens Americans and its European allies. From “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful,” which was distributed on social media yesterday:

O Americans, and O Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe. It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price. You will pay the price when your economies collapse. You will pay the price when your sons are sent to wage war against us and they return to you as disabled amputees, or inside coffins, or mentally ill. You will pay the price as you are afraid of travelling to any land. Rather you will pay the price as you walk on your streets, turning right and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms. You will pay the price when this crusade of yours collapses, and thereafter we will strike you in your homeland, and you will never be able to harm anyone afterwards. You will pay the price, and we have prepared for you what will pain you

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war [the civilian by belonging to a state waging war against the Muslims]. Both of their blood and wealth is legal for you to destroy, for blood does not become illegal or legal to spill by the clothes being worn. The civilian outfit does not make blood illegal to spill, and the military uniform does not make blood legal to spill. The only things that make blood illegal and legal to spill are Islam and a covenant (peace treaty, dhimma, etc.). Blood becomes legal to spill through disbelief. So whoever is a Muslim, his blood and wealth are sanctified. And whoever is a disbeliever, his wealth is legal for a Muslim to take and his blood is legal to spill. His blood is like the blood of a dog; there is no sin for him in spilling it nor is there any blood money to be paid for doing such…

If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him. Do not lack. Do not be contemptible. Let your slogan be, “May I not be saved if the cross worshipper and taghūt (ruler ruling by manmade laws) patron survives.”

If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or business. Or destroy his crops.

If you are unable to do so, then spit in his face. If your self refuses to do so, while your brothers are being bombarded and killed, and while their blood and wealth everywhere is deemed lawful by their enemies, then review your religion. You are in a dangerous condition because the religion cannot be established without walā’ and barā’.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Elsewhere in the speech, the Vatican is threatened:

And so we promise you by Allah’s permission that this campaign will be your final campaign. It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated, except that this time we will raid you thereafter, and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Nick Squires reported on The Telegraph (UK) website Saturday that the Roman Catholic Church is already on heightened security:

Security in the Vatican has been increased after intelligence agencies reportedly intercepted an unspecified threat against Pope Francis, on the eve of his visit to Muslim-majority Albania.

The number of uniformed and plain clothes police patrolling St Peter’s Square during the Pope’s weekly audiences on Sunday and Wednesday has been increased, sniffer dogs are being used and extra metal detector machines have bern installed, the Italian media reported on Saturday.

The measures were adopted after a foreign intelligence agency, possibly American, intercepted a conversation between two unidentified Arabs in which they reportedly discussed ‘doing something in the Vatican’.

Jihadists from Isil have in recent weeks boasted of wanting to extend their caliphate to Rome, the heart of Western Christendom, and have talked of planting the jihadist black flag on top of St Peter’s Basilica…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There are also fears the Pope’s life may also be in danger. Squires added:

Habeeb Al Sadr, Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican, said there were also indications of a more specific threat against Pope Francis, who recently spoke out in favour of the US and its allies halting the advance of Isil in Syria and Iraq.

“What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear – they want to kill the Pope. The threats against the Pope are credible,” the ambassador told La Nazione, an Italian daily, on Tuesday.

“I believe they could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome. There are members of Isil who are not Arabs but Canadian, American, French, British, also Italians.

“Isil could engage any of these to commit a terrorist attack in Europe.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Considering Pope Francis often makes himself quite “accessible” to the public, as a Roman Catholic myself, I pray this doesn’t come back to haunt him.

There’s a reason why the Church rolled out the Popemobile, after all.

You can read that entire speech in English here (.pdf format).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Squires, Nick. “Security stepped up at Vatican over fears of terror attack.” The Telegraph. 20 Sep. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11110644/Security-stepped-up-at-Vatican-over-fears-of-terror-attack.html). 22 Sep. 2014.

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Eric Holder: Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee Created To Combat ‘Homegrown’ Terrorists

Occasionally when I hear/see the word “Committee” used in reference to an ad hoc, high-level governmental entity, my thoughts drift to another time and place I’ve read about in the history books.

1793 France. And the Comité De Salut Public (Committee of Public Safety)

From the Encyclopaedia Brtiannica website:

The Committee of Public Safety was set up on April 6, 1793, during one of the crises of the Revolution, when France was beset by foreign and civil war. The new committee was to provide for the defense of the nation against its enemies, foreign and domestic…

I heard this morning that a mothballed committee at the federal level has just been resurrected. Timothy Phelps reported on the Los Angeles Times website yesterday morning:

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder, Jr. on Monday announced the creation of a task force within the Justice Department to combat an “escalating danger” from “homegrown” terrorists within the United States.

The task force will chiefly comprise leaders from the FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division and U.S. Attorneys. Called the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, it is a recreation of a task force formed by former Atty. Gen. Janet Reno after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The task force fell into disuse after 9/11.

Though the original task force, which was little known, focused mainly on right-wing zealots, Holder’s version is aimed at U.S. citizens or visitors radicalized via the Internet

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While I don’t dispute the threat posed by “homegrown” terrorists to public safety and the need for the federal government to keep on top of this matter, I also fear the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee could eventually go the way of the Committee of Public Safety, which under Maximilien François Marie Isidore Robespierre spearheaded the ensuing Reign of Terror in France.

Already there’s chatter across the Internet of DTEC being used against the “enemies” of the Obama administration.

Mikael Thalen wrote on Infowars.com earlier today:

In reality, Holder’s task force will undoubtedly focus on the Obama administration’s political enemies, mainly returning military veterans, conservatives and those who identify with the Tea Party. Such groups have been increasingly linked to terrorism by multiple federal agencies…

Undoubtedly? Let’s hope the targeting of political “enemies” isn’t the real intention behind resurrecting and giving life to DTEC.

All I know is this. If that Nevada rancher- Cliven Bundy- and others like him get designated “homegrown terrorists” in the coming days/weeks/months, I’ll get suspicious as to the real motives of the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee.

In the meantime, I’ll give the Committee the benefit of the doubt regarding their stated mission.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Phelps, Timothy M. “Holder announces task force on ‘homegrown’ terrorists.” Los Angeles Times. 2 Jun. 2014. (http://www.latimes.com/la-na-nn-holder-terrorism-task-force-20140601-story.html). 3 Jun. 2014.

Thalen, Mikael. “ Holder to Create ‘Homegrown’ Terrorism Task Force.” Infowars. 3 Jun. 2014. (http://www.infowars.com/holder-to-create-homegrown-terrorism-task-force/). 3 Jun. 2014.

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How Prepping Saved Many Alsatian Jews From the Nazis

Back when I was in high school, I was given an assignment that involved researching my family’s history. I decided to talk to my grandmother about the project, and she provided me a good deal of information. I knew we had been around Chicago since its early years. And that my family came from a number of Western European countries prior to that, including a branch that resided in the region of Alsace-Lorraine- sometimes a part of France, other times Germany. It was these ancestors I thought of the other day when I stumbled upon a November 10, 2013, article in The Times Of Israel entitled “Anticipating the Nazis, Alsace Jews prepared for the worst.” Cnan Liphshiz wrote:

His hearing isn’t what it used to be, but Georges Loinger still remembers Adolf Hitler’s voice emanating from the radio at his Strasbourg home.

Growing up in the heavily Germanic Alsace region of eastern France, Loinger and his family tuned in regularly to broadcasts of Hitler’s speeches. They heard his “electrifying voice” and the plans he had in store for the Jews of Europe.

So when the Nazis’ anti-Jewish propaganda turned to deadly violence on Kristallnacht, the pogrom unleashed on the Jews of Germany and Austria 75 years November 10, the Jews of Strasbourg were ready.

“We had read Nazi propaganda,” said Loinger, 103, who fought in the French resistance. “We spoke to hundreds of Jewish refugees from Germany. We knew what was coming.”

Historians say the knowledge, unusual for Jewish communities outside Germany and Austria, made the 20,000 Jews of Alsace and nearby Lorraine better prepared to face the forthcoming Nazi occupation.

The community was able to help German Jews, hide heritage assets and private possessions and, most important, survive. Ten percent of the Jewish population of Alsace and Lorraine perished in the Holocaust, compared to 22 percent elsewhere in France…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Liphshiz pointed out that between 1934 and 1941, Alsatian Jews banded together to protect themselves and help others in advance of and at the onset of the Nazis arrival in the region.

Lucien Lazare, a historian at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, was also quoted in the piece. Lazare’s family was one of those living in the area prior to the German takeover. Liphshiz added:

Like many Alsatian Jews, Lazare’s family sold their home and other valuables months before the Nazi invasion. Within hours of the arrival of the German army in 1940, the family was prepared to go into hiding

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Great article. With plenty of valuable lessons applicable to preppers today, including:

• Keep up on current events (while filtering out the nonsense, of course)
• Seek knowledge about possible threats
• Put together a plan
• Be mentally-prepared to follow through with the plan
• And last but not least, take care of the community and others seeking help when possible

You can read the rest of Liphshiz’s article on The Times Of Israel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 Europe, Preparedness, War No Comments

Quote- No, Headlines- For The Week

Something different for readers this week. Instead of a quote, here’s two news headlines which made my eyes roll upon spotting them this weekend…

“Dow 20,000 here we come: It’s different this time”

-MarketWatch.com, November 22, 2013

“It’s different this time.”

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard this phrase uttered over the years as some asset bubble was being inflated.

It’s not just me either.

From Michael Kling on the Moneynews website back on May 23, 2013:

Time and again, as stock prices continue rising to unsustainable heights, stock enthusiasts have preached, “This time is different.”

And it’s not just stocks either.

From Charles Hugh Smith on LewRockwell.com this past Halloween:

Defenders of current real estate valuations can draw upon an array of justifications, but they boil down to the same one used to justify valuations in every asset bubble: this time it’s different.

As for my two cents? Like I commented on a Chicago Tribune article last week, it’s my belief that after the economic crisis reared it’s ugly head in the fall of 2008, home prices nose-dived, and the “Great Recession” took hold, Washington and the Fed only managed to paper over the situation and monetary policy was designed to inflate a new asset bubble (or two, what the hell) to “save” the U.S. economy and larger financial system. Subsequently, we find ourselves immersed in QE Infinity and what some of those who correctly-predicted the “Panic of ’08” and housing crash see as new bubbles forming in residential real estate and equities.

I don’t envision this ending well.

Speaking of the Tribune, here’s another headline that made me cackle in disbelief.

“Breakthrough deal curbs Iran’s nuclear activity”

-Chicago Tribune website, November 24, 2013

All I can say about this hopium-infused headline is that I expect one of two scenarios down the road:

1. Downtown Tehran packed to the gills as the Islamic Republic of Iran parades its first nuclear weapon for the entire world to see. Those in the know understand state actors in this region of the world can only salivate over the prospect of having a nuke in their arsenal- Iran included. Realpolitik, people.

2. A mushroom cloud over an Israeli or U.S. city. If the technology/opportunity presents itself, an electromagnetic pulse originating from a nuclear device detonated in the atmosphere over one of these countries (more bang for the buck).

Of course, all bets are off over these two scenarios taking place if some one (the Israelis?) take out Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities with military force.

Question is, is that even possible anymore given the time Iran has had?

Again, there’s others who think the claim that the interim pact reached betwen Iran and China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States “curbs Iran’s nuclear activity” is one big joke.

Enter Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, “the world’s foremost value investor” with a net worth of $20 billion as of March 2013 according to Forbes magazine. Here’s what the Saudi royal had to say about a potential deal with Iran. From Jeffrey Goldberg on Bloomberg.com Friday night:

“There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran,” he told me, with a directness that would make Benjamin Netanyahu blush. “We’re really concerned — Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries — about this.”

It is quite something for a Saudi royal to state baldly that his country is part of a tacit alliance with Israel, but Saudi leaders, like Israel’s leaders, are frantic with worry that an overeager Obama will accede to Iran’s desire to become a threshold state, one whose nuclear program is so advanced that it would only need several weeks to assemble a deliverable weapon. Alwaleed, like Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, believes that Iran, in its ongoing negotiations with the world’s major powers, will pocket whatever sanctions relief it gets without committing to ending its nuclear program. “Why are they offering relief?” he asked. “Keep the pressure on. Sanctions are what brought about the negotiations to begin with! Why not keep the pressure up?”

Obama, Alwaleed says, is a man who is in desperate political straits and needs a victory — any victory — to right his presidency. “Obama is in so much of a rush to have a deal with Iran,” he said. “He wants anything. He’s so wounded. It’s very scary. Look, the 2014 elections are going to begin. Within two stamonths they’re going to start campaigning. Thirty-nine members of his own party in the House have already moved away from him on Obamacare. That’s scary for him.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Note Goldberg’s headline for his Bloomberg piece:

“Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Saavy Saudi Prince”

Iran is “playing” Obama and many others, judging by the buzz being reported in the mainstream media this Sunday.

Not me. I just can’t see Dow 20,000 being sustained just yet or Iran’s nuclear aspirations being curbed through diplomacy any time soon.

Sources:

Kling, Michael. “New Yorker: No Stock Bubble- This Time Is Different.” Moneynews.com. 23 May 2013. (http://www.moneynews.com/InvestingAnalysis/stock-market-bubble-different/2013/05/23/id/506002). 24 May 2013.

Smith, Charles Hugh. “What Real Estate Bubble? Oh, You Mean the One That’s Bigger Than the 2007 Bubble?” LewRockwell.com. 31 Oct. 2013. (http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/10/charles-hugh-smith/what-real-estate-bubble/). 24 Nov. 2013.

Goldberg, Jeffrey. “Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Savvy Saudi Prince.” Bloomberg.com. 22 Nov. 2013. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/iran-is-playing-obama-says-savvy-saudi-prince.html). 24 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Central Banks Net Purchasers Of Gold For 11 Consecutive Quarters

Earlier today, Janet Yellen, the American economist and Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System who is President Obama’s nominee to succeed Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Fed, participated in her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Victor Reklaitis wrote on The Tell blog on the MarketWatch website this afternoon:

At Yellen’s confirmation hearing on Thursday, [U.S. Senator from Nevada Dean] Heller asked the Fed chair nominee whether she follows gold prices and what causes them to rise or fall.

“Well, I don’t think anybody has a very good model of what makes gold prices go up or down,” Yellen responded.

“But certainly it is — it is an asset that people want to hold when they’re very fearful about potential financial market catastrophe or economic troubles and tail risks. And when there is financial market turbulence, often we see gold prices rise as people flee into them.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I had to chuckle when I read that. Here’s a central banker linking the acquisition/possession of gold with fear, yet as I pointed out back in July 2011, central banks were by then holding onto and even accumulating the precious metal after years of selling.

As a matter of fact, the London-based World Gold Council, the gold industry’s market development organization, issued a press release today which demonstrated central banks around the world continue to amass the yellow metal. From the release:

Net central bank purchases totalled 93t, 17% down on Q3 2012. Central banks have now been net purchasers of gold for 11 consecutive quarters.

“Net purchasers of gold for 11 consecutive quarters.” Something to remember next time someone brings up that “barbarous relic” claim (if gold is so barbaric, why does it continue to play a role in the modern global banking system?).

There’s also this from Nat Rudarakanchana, writing on the International Business Times website on October 30. He reported:

-Collectively, central banks have bought about 218 tons of gold so far in 2013
-Central bank holdings are up about 1.7 million ounces this year
-France, Germany, Italy, and the United States maintain more than 80 percent of their foreign reserves in gold

Ms. Yellen mentioned in her confirmation hearing that gold is “an asset that people want to hold when they’re very fearful about potential financial market catastrophe or economic troubles and tail risks.”

Does that apply to central bankers as well?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Reklaitis, Victor. “Yellen on gold: “People want to hold (it) when they’re very fearful.” The Tell. 14 Nov. 2013. (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/11/14/yellen-on-gold-people-want-to-hold-it-when-theyre-very-fearful/). 14 Nov. 2013.

“Gold continues its journey from West to East as buoyant consumer markets balance investment outflows.” World Gold Council. 14 Nov. 2013. (http://www.gold.org/media/press_releases/). 14 Nov. 2013.

Rudarakanchana, Nat. “Perspectives On Central Bank Gold Buying: Gold Experts.” International Business Times. 30 Oct. 2013. (http://www.ibtimes.com/perspectives-central-bank-gold-buying-gold-experts-1448444). 13 Nov. 2013.

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WHO To Health Workers: Be On Alert For Viruses With Pandemic Potential

Prior to Survival And Prosperity’s two-week hiatus, I’d been tracking and blogging about viruses that have pandemic potential. This included the H7N9 bird flu virus in China and the novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the Middle East. While compiling material to blog about I stumbled on the following yesterday on the FOX News website. From Reuters:

The World Health Organization on Monday urged health workers around the world to be on the alert for symptoms of the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS), which has the potential to circle the globe and cause a pandemic.

The United Nations agency, which issued new, long-awaited guidance to countries on influenza pandemics, said the world was also in the same “alert phase” for two human strains of bird flu – H5N1, which emerged a decade ago, and H7N9, first detected in China in March.

So the novel coronavirus in the Middle East is now being called MERS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published information about the virus on their website (they refer to it as MERS-CoV). I found the most important to be:

Q: What are the symptoms of MERS?
A: Most people who got infected with MERS-CoV developed severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About half of them died. Some people were reported as having a mild respiratory illness.

Q: Does MERS-CoV spread from person to person?
A: MERS-CoV has been shown to spread between people who are in close contact. Transmission from infected patients to healthcare personnel has also been observed. Clusters of cases in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UK, France, Tunisia, and Italy are being investigated.

Q: Is CDC concerned?
A: Yes, CDC is concerned about MERS-CoV. The virus has caused severe illness in most infected people, and about half of them have died. Also, the virus spreads from person to person and has spread between countries. CDC recognizes the potential for the virus to spread further and cause more cases and clusters globally, including in the United States.

Q: Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?
A: So far, there are no reports of anyone in the United States getting infected with MERS-CoV.

Hopefully, it stays that way, as there is no vaccine available to fight MERS-CoV.

Of the 55 recorded cases of MERS-CoV, 31 of those infected with the virus have died.

More information about MERS-CoV can be found on the CDC website here.

As for H7N9, yesterday China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission reported there are only 14 patients from the outbreak still in hospitals (via The Japan Times). Warmer weather following the end of winter in China is thought to have helped contain the outbreak.

Of the 131 recorded cases of H7N9, 39 of those infected with the virus have died.

More information about H7N9 can be found on the CDC website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“WHO: MERS coronavirus has potential to cause pandemic.” Reuters. 10 June 2013. (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/10/who-mers-coronavirus-has-potential-to-cause-pandemic/). 11 June 2013.

“China H7N9 patients dwindle to 14: report.” The Japan Times. 10 June 2013. (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/06/11/asia-pacific/china-h7n9-patients-dwindle-to-14-report/#.Ubd0c9g4yeY). 11 June 2013.

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Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 Asia, Emergencies, Europe, Health, Middle East No Comments

Pandemic Potential? H7N9 Bird Flu And Novel Coronavirus

Back on April 19, I asked if readers were paying attention to the spread of the H7N9 bird flu virus in China.

That followed a similar post from February 18 about the novel coronavirus (nCoV).

Here’s the latest regarding these deadly respiratory viruses. From the CBS News website Monday morning:

Two outbreaks of new, deadly respiratory infections in two different parts of the world have international health officials on edge, actively researching how to stay head of the new diseases.

In recent months, an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu called H7N9 has hit China while a new coronavirus that first appeared last year has been infecting an increasing number of people in the Middle East — and now Europe.

Last week, the coronavirus related to SARS spread to France, where one patient who probably caught the disease in Dubai infected his hospital roommate. Officials are now trying to track down everyone who went on a tour group holiday to Dubai with the first patient as well as all contacts of the second patient. Since it was first spotted last year, the new coronavirus has infected 34 people, killing 18 of them. Nearly all had some connection to the Middle East.

CBS ran a follow-up article about the novel coronavirus this afternoon. From that later piece:

Saudi Arabia has confirmed four new cases of a deadly new respiratory virus related to SARS that appears centered in the Arabian Peninsula but that has also been reported in Europe…

Other cases have appeared in France, Germany and Britain, possibly linked to travel in the Gulf region.

While the novel coronavirus has infected 34 and killed 18 since last September, the H7N9 bird flu strain in China has infected 131 and killed 32 since March.

So, do either of these viruses have pandemic potential? Possibly. Consider what the World Health Organization (WHO) said in Monday’s CBS piece:

WHO, which is closely monitoring the viruses, says both have the potential to cause a pandemic — a global epidemic — if they evolve into a form easily spread between people.

So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case. And luckily for us, there are no reports of anyone in United States getting infected and sick with either H7N9 or the novel coronavirus.

Just as well, as there are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by the novel coronavirus, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. However, the CDC does say this about treating illnesses caused by the H7N9 avian flu:

CDC received an H7N9 virus sample from China on April 11. Antiviral resistance testing on the first virus isolate at CDC has been completed and indicates that this virus would be sensitive (susceptible) to the two influenza antiviral drugs that are used to treat seasonal flu: the neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®)

For more information about these viruses, you can visit the CDC website here (novel coronavirus) and here (H7N9).

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Coronavirus and bird flu: Scientists tracking outbreaks of two new infections.” Associated Press. 13 May 2013. (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57584184/coronavirus-and-bird-flu-scientists-tracking-outbreaks-of-two-new-infections/). 14 May 2013.

“New coronavirus infects four more in Saudi Arabia.” Associated Press. 14 May 2013. (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57584412/new-coronavirus-infects-four-more-in-saudi-arabia/). 14 May 2013.

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Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 Asia, Europe, Health, Middle East No Comments

Eurozone Slipped Deeper Into Double-Dip Recession At End Of 2012

Bad news from across the pond. Europe is getting pummeled by a double-dip recession. Philip Blenkinsop and Annika Breidthardt reported on the Reuters website this afternoon:

The euro zone slipped deeper than expected into recession in the last three months of 2012 after its largest economies, Germany and France, shrank at the end of a wretched year for the region.

It marked the currency bloc’s first full year in which no quarter produced growth, extending back to 1995. For the year as a whole, gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.5 percent.

Economic output in the 17-country region fell by 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, EU statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday, following a 0.1 percent output drop in the third.

The quarter-on-quarter drop was the steepest since the first quarter of 2009

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

What is it we’ve witnessed in Europe on a consistent basis since the global economic crisis really roared its ugly in the fall of 2008? A sovereign debt crisis emerges in one Eurozone nation, the problem is literally papered over, and then another one flares up somewhere else in the region.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Brian Blackstone and Christopher Emsden wrote on the Wall Street Journal website tonight:

The 2.3% drop in euro-zone gross domestic product in the fourth quarter, at an annualized pace, suggests that Europe’s economic and financial crisis is far from over. The region’s deepening malaise challenges European authorities’ insistence that fiscal austerity will lead to growth by boosting business confidence, economists say.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Europe tries to tackle its debt problem by implementing austerity, and they get a double-dip recession.

America keeps borrowing, spending, and growing its debts, and we manage to keep our heads above water for the time being.

“Spending our way to prosperity.” That’s the course the powers-that-be have charted for us.

As if the rules of finance and economics don’t apply here.

I fear the coming lesson will be a painful one. History shows it usually is.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Blenkinsop, Philip and Breidthardt, Annika. “Euro zone economy falls deeper than expected into recession.” Reuters. 14 Feb. 2013. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/14/us-europe-economy-idUSBRE91D0CX20130214). 14 Feb. 2013.

Blackstone, Brian and Emsden, Christopher. “Europe Woes Deepen as Economies Contract.” Wall Street Journal. 14 Feb. 2013. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324162304578303503840132168.html). 14 Feb. 2013.

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Behold The Golden Bear: Russia Now World’s Biggest Gold Buyer

For years I’ve heard the term “Russian Bear” being used to describe Russia and its might.

For example, “NATO better not put too many missiles in Eastern Europe, or they’re going to anger the Russian Bear.”

After reading this morning about Russia acquiring literally tons of gold over the last ten years, perhaps they should be referred to as the “Golden Bear” going forward.

Scott Rose and Olga Tanas reported on the Bloomberg website this morning:

When Vladimir Putin says the U.S. is endangering the global economy by abusing its dollar monopoly, he’s not just talking. He’s betting on it.

Not only has Putin made Russia the world’s largest oil producer, he’s also made it the biggest gold buyer. His central bank has added 570 metric tons of the metal in the past decade, a quarter more than runner-up China, according to IMF data compiled by Bloomberg. The added gold is also almost triple the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I’m starting to see what legendary investor Jim Rogers was getting at regarding Russia.

While a number of “developed” countries are selling the precious metal these days- including economically-troubled France, Portugal, and Spain- “developing” nations are acquiring it with a fervor. Rose and Tanas added:

Quantitative easing by major economies to support financial asset prices is driving demand for gold in the emerging world, said Marcus Grubb, head of investment research at the World Gold Council. Before the crisis, central banks were net sellers of 400 to 500 tons a year. Now, led by Russia and China, they’re net buyers by about 450 tons, Grubb said by phone from London, where his industry group is based…

“That’s a very significant switch, and obviously a very positive one for the gold market,” Grubb said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Meanwhile, the price of paper gold is taking a hit this morning. Barbara Kollmeyer and Myra Saefong reported this morning on the MarketWatch website:

G-7 nations could release a statement this week reaffirming a commitment to “market-determined” exchange rates, responding to heated talk about a currency war…

The Group of 20 nations will meet later in the week, with currencies expected to be at the top of the agenda.

As gold has benefitted from currency devaluations, traders are wary of these developments.

In addition, light volumes due to Asia’s observance of the Lunar New Year and a lack of economic data being released today are fueling downward pressure on the gold price.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Rose, Scott and Tanas, Olga. “Putin Turns Black Gold to Bullion as Russia Outbuys World.” Bloomberg.com. 11 Feb. 2013. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-10/putin-turns-black-gold-into-bullion-as-russia-out-buys-world.html). 11 Feb. 2013.

Kollmeyer, Barbara and Saefong, Myra. “Gold hit on worry of possible G-7 currency salvo.” MarketWatch. 11 Feb. 2013. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-edges-higher-as-dollar-weakens-2013-02-10). 11 Feb. 2013.

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Labor Minister: France ‘Is A Totally Bankrupt State’

Speaking of France, how is the Socialist-led European state faring these days?

Not so great, it seems.

In fact, a pretty reliable source claims they’re bankrupt.

Graham Ruddick reported on The Telegraph (UK) website Monday:

Michel Sapin made the gaffe in a radio interview, which left French President Francois Hollande battling to undo the potential reputational damage.

“There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr Sapin said. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

The comments came as President Hollande attempts to improve the image of the French economy after pledging to reduce the country’s deficit by cutting spending by €60bn (£51.5bn) over the next five years and increasing taxes by €20bn.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As I mentioned earlier tonight, some claim President Obama desires French-style Socialism for the United States.

If France’s economy truly is in shambles, and the U.S. President really wants to emulate them, well- here’s a glimpse of what Americans could expect. From an Investor’s Business Daily editorial yesterday:

Fresh after May 2012’s election, President Francois Hollande wasted no time raising government spending, hiking tax rates to 75% on those above $1.3 million in income, hiring 60,000 bureaucrats, cutting the retirement age for public pensions to 60 and undoing fiscal reforms by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. During his campaign, Hollande declared himself “the enemy of finance.” France today proves it…

Public debt has soared from 68% of GDP in 2008 to 90% in 2012, joblessness has hit 11%, and GDP growth of its $2.8 trillion economy is projected in 2013 at zero.

Tax hikes have driven the richest taxpayers from the country, making the $43 billion budget hole unlikely to be plugged by Hollande’s $26 billion tax hike. Meanwhile, a squeeze on business creates rising numbers of unemployed, who in turn demand state services.

Time will tell how this will all work out for the Socialists in France. But if history rhymes once again, keep in mind something former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said in a 1976 interview:

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalise everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalisation, and they’re now trying to control everything by other means. They’re progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people.

Any of this sound familiar?

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Ruddick, Graham. “France ‘totally bankrupt’, says labour minister Michel Sapin.” The Telegraph. 28 Jan. 2013. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9832845/France-totally-bankrupt-says-labour-minister-Michel-Sapin.html). 30 Jan. 2013.

“Like The Bourbons, France’s Socialists Have Learned Nothing, Forgotten Nothing.” Investor’s Business Daily. 29 Jan. 2013. (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/012913-642388-france-socialist-model-is-same-old-recipe-for-bankruptcy.htm). 30 Jan. 2013.

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CNBC’s Rick Santelli After GDP Report: ‘We Are Now Europe’

Here’s something I keep hearing with more frequency these days:

Barack Obama is transforming America into Europe.

More specifically, the U.S. President is pushing us towards French-style Socialism.

Now, I’m not so sure about that. But CNBC’s Rick Santelli sure seems to think there’s some truth to it.

Get a load of the on-air editor down at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this morning when the fourth quarter GDP was announced:


“Rick Santelli Responds to Negative GDP Report: ‘We Are Now Europe’”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 Deficits, Europe, GDP, Government, Socialism, Spending No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 5: Mayan Apocalypse Detour?

The past couple of days, I’ve been watching quite a bit of “doomsday”-related TV on the National Geographic Channel and on H2.

Even though I don’t buy into the whole December 21, 2012, end-of-the-world thing, it was still depressing to watch. And this is coming from someone who (I think) is rather good-spirited in nature.

I have to be in order to blog about a lot of the material I do.

At one point in this “doomsday” TV show viewing marathon, I started questioning myself and wondered if perhaps I should go on a buying spree for supplies before the Mayan 13th b’ak’tun runs out.

It wasn’t an apocalyptic event I was worried about as much as the action(s) of some nut-job(s) making life for the rest of us more “difficult.”

But that’s a danger we face on a daily basis, so after weighing the evidence at hand regarding a Mayan Apocalypse occurring on December 21, I decided against taking a detour from Project Prepper by doing some “panic buying.”

Still, a lot of people are worried about this date. Remember that Reuters/Ipsos “end times” poll I blogged about back in May? One of the findings was that 12 percent of Americans surveyed agreed with the statement “the Mayan calendar, which some says ‘ends’ in 2012, marks the end of the world.”

“12 percent.” As percentage of the U.S. population in 2011, that’s approximately 37.4 million Americans who might agree with that statement about the world ending in a couple of weeks.

Well, that probably helps explain some of the shortages I’ve been seeing with prepper/survivalist-related gear and supplies.


“Preparing For Mayan Doomsday”
ABC San Diego Video

The fear of this date extends beyond our borders. Remember my post about Pic de Bugarach, a mountain in southern France, back in March, and how some believe aliens waiting in a spacecraft inside the mountain will save all nearby humans from the Apocalypse on December 21? Well, The Sun (UK) reported the following on November 16:

A FRENCH village has banned a Doomsday cult from heading to a “mystical mountain” that followers believe will save them from extinction…

Bugarach mayor Jean-Pierre Delord said his village of just 200 people had now become “overrun with esoteric weirdos” hoping to survive in six weeks time.

He said: “The mountainside is swarming with hippies, many of them naked, who drop litter and make a mess…

Regional prefect Eric Freysselinard has now issued an order barring anyone from climbing the mountain, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, on “Doomsday”.

He said: “It will be closed off for three days before and two days after the world is supposed to end.”

“Sorry about my litter. Save the Earth.”

Even the Russians are concerned. Ellen Barry wrote on The New York Times website this past weekend:

There are scattered reports of unusual behavior from across Russia’s nine time zones.

Inmates in a women’s prison near the Chinese border are said to have experienced a “collective mass psychosis” so intense that their wardens summoned a priest to calm them. In a factory town east of Moscow, panicked citizens stripped shelves of matches, kerosene, sugar and candles. A huge Mayan-style archway is being built — out of ice — on Karl Marx Street in Chelyabinsk in the south.

Despite such incidents, I still haven’t seen any definitive evidence pointing to the end of the world on December 21. In fact, as a result of all that TV, I’m now aware of other Mayan calendars suggesting life will go on after this date.

As such, there’ll be no mad rush for Apocalypse supplies on my end.

See you at the December 22 post-doomsday fire sales?

Sources:

“Officials ban doomsday followers from French village.” The Sun. 16 Nov. 2012. (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4648192/bugarach-bans-doomsday-followers-from-village.html). 4 Dec. 2012.

Barry, Ellen. “In Panicky Russia, It’s Official: End of World Is Not Near.” The New York Times. 1 Dec. 2012. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/world/europe/mayan-end-of-world-stirs-panic-in-russia-and-elsewhere.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0). 4 Dec. 2012.

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Romney 3, Obama 0

Last night I watched the last in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Once again, the incumbent came out swinging. However, despite it sounding once again like the audience was in his corner, President Obama lost.

More so than in the second debate, if you ask me.

An analyst on one of the TV stations covering the debate said it best when she pointed out that Obama was, in effect, debating himself. Since his Republican challenger lacked significant foreign policy experience (the supposed focus of last night’s exchange), it was the incumbent’s record in this area over the past four years that came under scrutiny.

And plenty of dedicated observers of U.S. foreign policy- myself included- will tell you that it’s in shambles.

Particularly in the Middle East.

As I see it, the Obama administration, in its attempt to tone-down what it perceives as an overly-aggressive U.S. foreign policy under the Republicans, has:

Not deterred Iran from advancing towards a nuclear weapon. Regular readers of this blog know that I believe the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to take advantage of proposed “talks” and other delays to continue work on such a weapon. Notwithstanding military action, they will get a nuke. The prospect of having one is just too tempting. Pop one or two of these over the U.S., and we’ll have a real problem on our hands.

Not left a stable regime in place in Iraq. I predict a real power vacuum here in the coming years, with a number of internal and external actors vying for ultimate control of the geopolitically-important failed state and its resources.

Made a big blunder in announcing the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Nothing like giving an enemy a timetable to work with. I suspect Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies will throw everything they’ve got at our men and women in uniform over there as the end of 2014 draws closer, knowing full-well they need only sustain such intensity until the announced exit date. Then what? Attack us on our home soil, possibly. Some terrorism experts have suggested one reason why Al-Qaeda hasn’t launched a massive operation against the United States mainland since 9/11 is because they’ve figured out it’s simply easier to kill scores of Americans on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, their stated goal is 4 million Americans dead. Back to being another failed state down the road.

Alienated our ally Israel. President Obama seems to see Israel- like past U.S. foreign policy- as being too aggressive. And it doesn’t appear the sitting President doesn’t care too much for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu either- despite Vice President Biden and all that “Bibi” talk from the Vice Presidential debate. Consider the following:

November 3, 2011- Several media outlets reported an open-mic incident where then French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his American counterpart, “Netanyahu, I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.” Obama reportedly responded with, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.”

September 11, 2012- The White House said President Obama would not meet Prime Minister Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later that month. A number of media outlets suggested the Israeli leader was being spurned.

September 12, 2012- President Obama was taped for the CBS show 60 Minutes. From an exchange with Steve Kroft:

KROFT: You’re—you’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

OBAMA: When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there.

Israeli concern over an Iranian nuke is “noise?”

Don’t even get me started on Libya and the deaths of 4 Americans, including an ambassador.

How the Obama administration has handled the Middle East is indicative of U.S. foreign policy as a whole.

Weak.

Worse yet, our adversaries recognize it and actively exploit it.

It shouldn’t be too much of surprise U.S. foreign policy has come to this. After all, Democrats aren’t really known to be big on foreign affairs. If anything, they seem to look at it as an annoyance.

Whenever I think of foreign policy in the Clinton years, two words come to mind.

Cruise missiles.

These days, perhaps it can reduced to just one word.

Drones.

Mitt Romney did a good job at pointing out the poor foreign policy record of the Obama administration.

But, truth be told, most Americans don’t care too much about international affairs.

The Republican challenger won this last debate not by talking about foreign policy- as was the intended focus- but by leading the discussion back to President Obama’s equally-dismal record on the economy.

This is what I meant when I said “more so than in the second debate, if you ask me” earlier in this post.

Romney kept hammering away at Obama’s domestic record as it pertains to take-home pay, unemployment, food stamps, government overreach, over-regulation, small-business woes, trillion dollar deficits, the $16 trillion national debt, the list goes on, and all the way to the end.

It was circling back to the Chicago Democrat’s domestic record these past four years that won the Republican challenger the debate.

In fact, all three debates.

Whether this will translate into a White House win come November 6 remains to be seen.

Regrettably, when it comes to that financial crash I predict is in store for us, I doubt a Romney win will make much of a difference at this point in the game. Economic pain is a certainty. Still, if he’s elected President of the Unites States and implements a sustained, meaningful program of fiscal responsibility, our financial “reckoning day” may not be as devastating as I suspect it would be should the nation continue on its current path.

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Switzerland Holds Military Exercise For Civil Unrest, Eurozone Refugees

Not only is the global economic crisis that reared its ugly head in 2008 still alive, but its presence is clearly visible in Europe these days, where sovereign debt crises and civil unrest in places such as Athens and Madrid make the news on a regular basis.

Not surprisingly, the Swiss have taken notice.

And the wealthy nation of 8 million people that’s noted for its armed neutrality is preparing just in case things “go south” with their neighbors. And within.

Matt Clinch wrote on the CNBC website yesterday:

Switzerland launched the military exercise “Stabilo Due” in September to respond to the current instability in Europe and to test the speed at which its army can be dispatched…

Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag reported recently that the exercise centered around a risk map created in 2010, where army staff detailed the threat of internal unrest between warring factions as well as the possibility of refugees from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.

The Swiss defense ministry told CNBC that it doesn’t not rule out having to deploy troops in the coming years.

According to Clinch, some 2,000 troops took part in the exercise that included eight different towns across the country.


“M&N PICTURES Video 149: CH Manöver ‘Stabilo Due 2012’”
YouTube Video

Alex Newman wrote on the website of the biweekly magazine The New American earlier today:

“The Swiss are famous for preparing for everything and having an absolutely huge army, relative to their population, to deal with any eventuality,” observed U.S. Naval War College national security affairs Professor John Schindler, adding that Switzerland was “clearly on to something” as evidenced by its history. “The Swiss have stayed out of the EU — one more thing the very prosperous Swiss are gloating about these days — and they certainly don’t want EU problems spilling over into their peaceful little country.”

“Switzerland was ‘clearly on to something’”

As should we be.

Sources:

Clinch, Matt. “Swiss Prepare Army for Euro Zone Fallout.” CNBC. 15 Oct. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/49385502). 16 Oct. 2012.

Newman, Alex. “Swiss Military Preparing for EU Meltdown Scenario.” The New American. 16 Oct. 2012. (http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/europe/item/13234-swiss-military-preparing-for-eu-meltdown-scenario). 16 Oct. 2012.

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Wanted: Rich Immigrants

Is there anyone else out there besides me who thinks the United States should be rolling out the red carpet to wealthy residents of other countries whose compatriots are itching to tax the crap out of them?

Why raise taxes on rich Americans when you can grow the pool of millionaires and billionaires exponentially?

Just one brief look around the world today shows how ripe they are for the picking. From Robert Frank on the CNBC website last Friday:

As part of his budget announced today, French President Francois Hollande made good on a campaign promise to tax France’s top earners at 75 percent. It would apply to taxpayers with earnings of 1 million euros a year…

[Paris-based tax lawyer Vincent] Grandil said many of the French wealthy are making plans to leave the country. He said the tax was less of a concern than the long-term budget situation in France and the declining global competitiveness of the nation’s businesses.

He said many younger successful French are moving to the San Francisco area to be part of the tech boom. “It’s not just a tax question for them, they really seem to like it there.”

One might think the French Socialists might stop there. Oh no. Hugh Carnegy wrote in a Financial Times (UK) piece that appeared on the CNBC website earlier today:

Francois Hollande’s Socialist government is facing a new tax revolt — this time not from big business protesting against the president’s 75 percent income tax band but in the form of a viral online campaign by small French entrepreneurs furious about a jump in capital gains taxes.

Calling themselves “the Pigeons” — French slang loosely translated as “the fall guys”- a group of Internet entrepreneurs took to social networking sites to voice their opposition to the measure within hours of its announcement in last Friday’s 2013 budget.

The cause of their ire is the government’s plan to tax capital gains at the same rates as earned income. Jean-David Chamboredon, chief executive of ISAI, a venture capital fund, and leader of an investors’ lobby group called France Digitale, said the result in some cases would be a jump in the effective marginal tax rate to as high as 60 percent from 32 percent for investors and entrepreneurs selling out of a business.

Yoo hoo. Wealthy Frenchmen and Frenchwomen. A pair of new Birkenstocks and a case of Napa Valley wine awaits you on the other side of the pond.

And then there’s this by the Associated Press last Saturday (also on CNBC.com):

Thousands of people across Germany have protested for the introduction of taxes on wealth and financial transactions.

Organizers said Saturday around 40,000 people took to the streets in 40 cities to demand a more equal society.

France. Germany. Give us your tired, wealthy, fashionably-dressed masses yearning for lower taxes and hard-working Americans to staff their new businesses here in the U.S.


“France Gall – Ein bißchen Goethe, ein bißchen Bonaparte (Live 1969 HQ)”
YouTube Video

Sources:

Frank, Robert. “French Tax May Hit Only 5,000 Earners and Raise Little.” CNBC. 28 Sep. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/49213586). 3 Oct. 2012.

Carnegy, Hugh. “French ‘Pigeons’ in Flutter Over Tax Rise.” CNBC. 3 Oct. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/49267828). 3 Oct. 2012.

“Thousands in Germany Protest for Wealth Tax.” CNBC. 29 Sep. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/49223665). 3 Oct. 2012.

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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 Class Warfare, Europe, Immigration, Socialism, Taxes, Wealth No Comments


Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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