Profiles in Panic: The World of the Rich Collapses

With Wall Street hemorrhaging jobs and assets, even many of the wealthiest players are retrenching. Others, like the Lehman Brothers bankers who borrowed against their millions in stock, have lost everything. Hedge-fund managers try to sell their luxury homes, while trophy wives are hocking their jewelry. The pain is being felt on St. Barth’s and at Sotheby’s, on benefit-gala committees and at the East Hampton Airport, as the world of the Big Rich collapses, its culture in shock and its values in question.


Illustrations by Barry Blitt.

A snapshot: East Hampton, late summer, a lawn party at a house on the ocean overlooking the dunes. The host is a prince of private equity known for dressing well. One of his guests is Steven Cohen, the publicity-shy billionaire whose SAC Capital, with $16 billion under management, is perhaps the most revered of the 10,000 or so hedge funds spawned by this giddily rich time. Nearby is Daniel Loeb, of Third Point, one of the better-known “activist” hedge funds, who hopes to move soon into a 10,700-square-foot, $45 million penthouse at l5 Central Park West, a Manhattan monument to the new gilded age. Gliding easily between them is art dealer Larry Gagosian, so successful at selling Bacons and Serras to Wall Street’s new titans-including to Cohen-that he now travels in his own private jet and has his own helicopter to take him to it.

Read moreProfiles in Panic: The World of the Rich Collapses

Zimbabwe: Civilisation in reverse

Zimbabwe’s tragedy defies the world to look away

The townships of suburban Harare once boasted water and sewage systems that were the envy of Africa. They are now as broken as Zimbabwe itself. Raw sewage spills from manhole covers and is pumped into the city’s main reservoir. Thousands depend on the generosity of “water samaritans” lucky enough to have their own boreholes. Where even the poorest had taps and toilets of their own, people are queueing up at hand pumps, one engineer laments. “Civilisation has gone in reverse.”

People are also dying. A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 500 people could infect 60,000 by March, according to Oxfam. The outbreak is spreading four times faster than usual for want of transport to take victims to hospital, and basic medicines for those who get there. To contain the epidemic the Health Minister has advised Zimbabweans to stop shaking hands, but it has already spread to South Africa.

In Zimbabwe’s rural hinterland five million people will soon need food aid that the World Food Programme cannot afford to distribute. The Government is powerless to count the number dying of hunger, much less hand out food itself. But aid workers have seen children foraging in rubbish dumps alongside wild animals, and in Matabeleland one story encapsulates the despair of a nation – the story of a woman who, unable to feed her children, fed them and herself a fruit that she knew was poisonous. They were buried together.

Such are the tragedies that lend meaning to Zimbabwe’s statistics; to its 90 per cent unemployment, its 230 million per cent inflation and its average life expectancy of barely 40 years. In 1990, Zimbabweans could expect to live to 63.

Read moreZimbabwe: Civilisation in reverse

Big Brother police to get war-time power to demand ID in the street – on pain of sending you to jail

“No reasonable cause or suspicion is required, and checks can be carried out ‘in country’ – not just at borders.”

“A second clause says that people who are stopped ‘must produce a valid identity document if required to do so by the Secretary of State’. Failure to do so would be a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 51 weeks in jail or a £5,000 fine.”

The New World Order is closing in on you. How many of you are still laughing at David Icke now?

Wait until they introduce the microchip for you. It is already here:
Met Police officers to be ‘microchipped’ by top brass in Big Brother style tracking scheme:
Every single Metropolitan police officer to be be ‘microchipped’….
…there will not be any choice about wearing one.

And it causes cancer: CASPIAN RELEASES MICROCHIP CANCER REPORT

The following article is a must read.
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Checks: Police will be able to demand ID from people at any time
Checks: Police will be able to demand ID from people at any time (file picture)

State officials are to be given powers previously reserved for times of war to demand a person’s proof of identity at any time.

Anybody who refuses the Big Brother demand could face arrest and a possible prison sentence.

The new rules come in legislation unveiled in today’s Queen’s Speech.

They are presented as a crackdown on illegal immigration, but lawyers say they could be applied to anybody who has ever been outside the UK, even on holiday.

The civil rights group Liberty, which analysed clauses from the new Immigration and Citizenship Bill, called them an attempt to introduce compulsory ID cards by the back door.

The move would effectively take Britain back to the Second World War, when people were stopped and asked to ‘show their papers’.

Liberty said: ‘Powers to examine identity documents, previously thought to apply only at ports of entry, will be extended to criminalise anyone in Britain who has ever left the country and fails to produce identity papers upon demand.

‘We believe that the catch-all remit of this power is disproportionate and that its enactment would not only damage community relations but represent a fundamental shift in the relationship between the State and those present in the UK.’

One broadly-drafted clause would permit checks on anyone who has ever entered the UK – whether recently or years earlier.
Officials, who could be police or immigration officers, will be able to stop anyone to establish if they need permission to be here, if they have it, and whether it should be cancelled.

No reasonable cause or suspicion is required, and checks can be carried out ‘in country’ – not just at borders.

The law would apply to British citizens and foreign nationals, according to Liberty’s lawyers. The only people who would be exempt are the tiny minority who have never been abroad on holiday or business.

A second clause says that people who are stopped ‘must produce a valid identity document if required to do so by the Secretary of State’. Failure to do so would be a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 51 weeks in jail or a £5,000 fine.

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti Tory Mp Damian Green leaving his Acton Home this morning.
Opposed: Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti (left) and Tory MP Damian Green (right) both spoke out about the new powers

Read moreBig Brother police to get war-time power to demand ID in the street – on pain of sending you to jail

Police officers investigated after assault of Mark Aspinall caught on CCTV

Watch it.
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Three police officers are being investigated after a soldier claimed he was repeatedly beaten while being pinned to the ground.

CCTV footage shows Lance Corporal Mark Aspinall, who was praised for his bravery against the Taleban in Afghanistan earlier this year, being held down by two officers while a third appears to hit him on the back.

Mr Aspinall, 24, was later found guilty of of assaulting the police offices but the convictions have been quashed on appeal after a judge watched a video of the incident.

The nine-minute video, obtained by the Sunday Mirror, shows a drunken Mr Aspinall gesticulating at three police officers in Wigan, Lancashire, in July.

It is claimed that he was mistakenly identified by the officers who had been called to deal with a man causing a nuisance to paramedics in the centre of the town.

Mr Aspinall is then seen tripping as he attempts to run away from the police and then is then held down by three officers in fluorescent yellow jackets.

An officer, identified in court as PC Peter Lightfoot, appears to twice push Mr Aspinall’s head on the ground in the middle of the road.

Two colleagues – PC Richard Kelsall and another named only as Sergeant Russell – pin down his legs.

When Mr Aspinall bites one of the officers legs, PC Lightfoot appears to scrape his face on the road. He then hits Mr Aspinall eight times on the back before he is put in the back of a police van.

Read morePolice officers investigated after assault of Mark Aspinall caught on CCTV

Mob runs riot as Zimbabwe runs out of water

Children go to fetch water in Harare
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority turned off the pumps in the capital after it ran out of chemicals needed to to purify supplies (Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images)

Water supplies to residents in Harare were cut by the authorities yesterday as Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic tightened its grip and the city witnessed its worst unrest for a decade.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority turned off the pumps in the capital after it ran out of purifying chemicals. With cholera cases soaring above 11,000 across the country, and an anthrax outbreak ravaging the the countryside, David Parirenyatwa, the Health Minister, urged Zimbabweans to stop shaking hands to avoid spreading disease.

Companies and government offices, especially those in high-rise buildings, were sending workers home by midday as lavatories became blocked. “My office stinks and the toilet is a disgusting site,” said Mary Sakupwene, a secretary. “I won’t go back until the water’s on again.”

Read moreMob runs riot as Zimbabwe runs out of water

Poverty spreading in suburbs: study


A sign reading ‘Foreclosure For Sale’ is posted on a house in the Boston suburb of Dedham, Massachusetts March 15, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Poverty in the United States is spreading from rural and inner-city areas to the suburbs, according to a study, a situation that can worsen as the economy confronts what may be a protracted recession.

The study by the Federal Reserve’s Community Affairs department and the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program found that poverty levels in the world’s richest nation were on the rise.

“It shows that concentrated poverty is still very much with us, and that it can be found among a much more diverse set of communities and families than previous research has emphasized,” said Bruce Katz, a director Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.

“Poverty is spreading and may be re-clustering in suburbs, where a majority of America’s metropolitan poor now live.”

The study was released ahead of next week’s conference on concentrated poverty at the Fed. It shied away from explaining the causes of poverty, but past research have linked the phenomenon to loss of jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

With the U.S. economic outlook rapidly deteriorating, poverty could get worse.

Read morePoverty spreading in suburbs: study

Recession: When the money goes, so does the toxic wife

Enjoyed that one. We will see much more of that.

It is about a society that has artificial goals and lives a artificial life.

Brainwashed consumers that do not respect themselves, that do not respect others and do not respect their home (planet earth).

All of that will ‘go’ in the coming financial, political and environmental collapse. A lot of these changes are intentionally orchestrated of course. Research what really happens in politics and in the economy and you will find this to be absolutely true.

The best time to buy is when blood is running in the street.” – Nathan M. Rothschild

The best time for us to buy is before the shit hits the fan. Of vital importance are water and food supplies etc. Gold and Silver coins are very important. It is vital to not live in the cities or at least have your own piece of land far away from the big cities.

As Jim Rogers said, those Maserati driving brokers (broke-rs ) will soon be unemployed and to be a farmer is one of the jobs of the future.

There have been so many warnings from people like Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, Barton Biggs and Ron Paul.

Barton Biggs was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley and is author of “Wealth, War and Wisdom“. His advice in January 2008: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with “seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.” His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.

Can anyone afford not to listen?
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Source: The Telegraph

As the recession worsens, a lot of rich men are finding their gold-digging wives are taking to their heels

Some women are like businessmen - utterly ruthless, and seeing a rich man as their career path
Some women are like businessmen – utterly ruthless, and seeing a rich man as their career path Photo: GETTY

‘You loser!” screamed Katie, aiming a vase at her husband. “You’ve destroyed my life,” she continued, hurling it. “Just look at my hair, look at my nails! You loser, you jerk, you nobody.”

Katie’s husband, Jack, whose property portfolio disintegrated in the financial crash, had just told his wife that she would have to cut back on her thrice-weekly visits to Nicky Clarke, the nail salon in Harvey Nichols, and the oxygen facials, chemical peels and seaweed wraps at Space NK.

Not only that, but they no longer had the money to pay for an army of bullied Eastern Europeans to wait on her hand and foot.

Worse was to come – the brow-lift would have to be cancelled; her black Amex card would have to be snipped in half; and there was no way, he told her, that he could carry on spending £28,000 a year on Henry’s school fees at Eton.

Chloe, too, would have to leave the marginally cheaper (only £25,000 pa) Wycombe Abbey immediately.

Such was the aggression and verbal and physical abuse that followed that Jack was left with cut lips and blood streaming from a broken nose.

Their eight-year-old child, not yet at boarding school, sat cowering in a corner and dialling 999. When they arrived, they had to restrain Katie forcibly from attacking her husband.

Read moreRecession: When the money goes, so does the toxic wife

Wal-Mart Worker Dies in New York ‘Black Friday’ Store Stampede

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) — A worker at a Wal-Mart in Long Island, New York, was killed when a throng of shoppers broke down the doors to the store early this morning and knocked him to the ground, according to local police and the company.

The event involved a temporary worker and was “a tragic situation,” Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, said in a statement. “The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority.”

At least four other shoppers were hurt in the melee at the Valley Stream store, about 13 miles (20 kilometers) east of New York City, Nassau County Police said in a statement. The injured include a 28-year-old pregnant woman who was taken to a nearby hospital for observation and three people who suffered minor wounds, police said.

The 34-year-old worker, who wasn’t identified by police, was knocked down by the crowd shortly after 5 a.m. local time and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., the police statement said. The county medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

The man was working for a temporary agency on the company’s behalf, Wal-Mart said in the statement. He was trying to hold back the crowd of about 200 people when he was trampled, the New York Daily News reported, citing witnesses. Shoppers continued to file into the store as emergency workers tried to save the man, the newspaper said.

Read moreWal-Mart Worker Dies in New York ‘Black Friday’ Store Stampede

How an Italian judge made the internet illegal

Italian bloggers are up in arms at a court ruling early this year that suggests almost all Italian blogs are illegal. This month, a senior Italian politician went one step further, warning that most web activity is likely to be against the law.

The story begins back in May, when a judge in Modica (in Sicily) found local historian and author Carlo Ruta guilty of the crime of “stampa clandestina” – or publishing a “clandestine” newspaper – in respect of his blog. The judge ruled that since the blog had a headline, that made it an online newspaper, and brought it within the law’s remit.

Read moreHow an Italian judge made the internet illegal

Hard times and long lines for Southern Californians


TOSS-UP: Volunteer Shannon Amparan organizes bags of fruit before a food giveaway at Montebello Park. About 5,000 people showed up. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands turn out for separate offerings of free food and mortgage help. Some leave empty-handed.

Some sought a cart of groceries the week before Thanksgiving, others sought a way to keep from losing their homes in the new year. By the thousands, a diverse group of Southern Californians converged on two events Saturday aimed at helping families in hard economic times.

The problems, and the aid offered, were vastly different. But both reflected the worries and needs of many.

In Montebello, nearly 5,000 turned out for a food giveaway, a number that stunned organizers who had tried to keep it a low-key event, targeting publicity to several churches and schools. But word of mouth proved stronger than a few fliers, and crowds inundated Montebello Park. A diverse mix of people stood in a six-hour-long line — families from middle- and working-class communities, including Pico Rivera, Montebello, Norwalk and Whittier. No one left empty-handed, though.

In Van Nuys, about 2,000 homeowners attended a workshop promoted as Home Preservation Day. But this was not about how to lay tile or install plumbing. A bank had mailed notices to homeowners in trouble with their mortgages, and Saturday offered them a chance to rework the terms of their loans. Bankers had hoped 100 would turn out, and planned for 200. Loan counselors had time to meet with a fraction of homeowners and some were turned away.

Filling empty cupboards

Read moreHard times and long lines for Southern Californians