Inflation hits consumers worldwide

(AXcess News) – Gas pumps in the United States tell the same story as rice prices in Thailand: Inflation is a global phenomenon this year.

Oil hit a record $112 per barrel this week, and a United Nations official warned of continued pressure on food prices, which by one index are up 45 percent in the past year.

The challenges are worst in developing nations, where raw materials account for a larger share of consumer spending. But another factor – the sagging value of the US dollar – means that imports cost more in America and other nations that peg their currencies to the dollar.

Still, regardless of this currency phenomenon, several broad forces are pushing prices up.

After years of strong global economic growth, prices of oil, grains, and some metals have spiked. Investors are adding fuel to that fire by buying up hard assets like commodities, which are viewed as a hedge against inflation.

More fundamentally, many nations have been relatively loose in the creation of money supply. For all the news about interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, this trend goes well beyond US shores.

Read moreInflation hits consumers worldwide

Cheney Moves Forward with Plans to Nuke Iran

While everyone is focused on celebretard drivel, the failing economy, the outrageous price of oil (after Iraq goes down in flame with 4,000-plus Americans who lost their lives for what exactly?), and the slimy campaign shenanigans, the Bushbots are quietly ramping up plans to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.

exxxxallent.jpgUnreported in corporate media:burnsapproves.jpg Cheney is currently running around the Middle East drumming up war on Iran. (Lots more on this here, here, here, and here). But this hellacious old man hasn’t even finished his other two wars yet: Is the “surge” in Iraq about to unravel?

Good lord. McCain has a 67-percent approval rating as Democrats squabble. If he’s elected, that means eight more years of genocidal horrors. But the complicit corporate media will never tell you what’s really going on while we sleep.

Journalists have been writing about the effects of a nuclear attack on Iran for years. It’s in the interest of every human being on earth to read Nuclear Bunker Buster Bombs against Iran: This Way Lies Madness

An estimated 16-20 million Iranians would die in a nuclear war with Israel, according to a report issued by a respected Washington think tank.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) also estimates that between 200,000 and 800,000 Israelis would be killed, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The report, which is theoretical and based on limited verified knowledge of Israel’s and Iran’s nuclear capability, paints a bleak picture for both nations.
On March 22 Chris Floyd wrote a frightening piece, One Foot in the Grave, Iran Attack Nearer, More Likely Than Most Suspect.

Then on March 23 he wrote Saudis Prepare for “Sudden Nuclear Hazards” After Cheney Visit.

Read it and freak:

I. One Tick Closer to Midnight

Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. On Saturday, it was revealed that the Saudi Shura Council — the elite group that implements the decisions of the autocratic inner circle — is preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors,” one of the kingdom’s leading newspapers, Okaz, reports. The German-based dpa news service relayed the paper’s story.

Simple prudence — or ominous timing? We noted here last week that an American attack on Iran was far more likely — and more imminent — than most people suspect. We pointed to the mountain of evidence for this case gathered by scholar William R. Polk, one of the top aides to John Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to other indicators of impending war. The story by Okaz — which would not have appeared in the tightly controlled dictatorship without approval from the top — is yet another, very weighty piece of evidence laid in the scales toward a new, horrendous conflict. We don’t know what the Saudis told Cheney in private — or even more to the point, what he told. But the release of this story now, just after his departure, would seem to be a clear indication that the Saudis have good reason to fear a looming attack on Iran’s nuclear sites and are actively preparing for it. And they certainly should be bracing themselves. A U.S. attack on Iran will come suddenly, and if it is indeed aimed at destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities — a “threat” being talked up again with new urgency by both Cheney and Bush lately — it has the potential for unimaginable consequences. As we noted here in a previous piece:

Twelve hours. One circuit of the sun from horizon to horizon, one course of the moon from dusk to dawn. What was once a natural measurement for the daily round of human life is now a doom-laden interval between the voicing of an autocrat’s brutal whim and the infliction of mass annihilation halfway around the world. Twelve hours is the maximum time necessary for American bombers to gear up and launch an unprovoked sneak attack – a Pearl Harbor in reverse – against Iran, the Washington Post reports. The plan for this “global strike,” which includes a very viable “nuclear option,” was approved months ago, and is now in operation. The planes are already on continuous alert, making “nuclear delivery” practice runs along the Iranian border, as Sy Hersh reports in the New Yorker, and waiting only for the signal from President George W. Bush to drop their payloads of conventional and nuclear weapons on some 400 targets spread throughout the condemned land. And when this attack comes – either as a stand-alone “knock-out blow” or else as the precusor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like the earlier aggression in Iraq – there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no hearings, no public debate. The already issued orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of the president: he picks up the phone, he says, “Go” – and in twelve hours’ time, up to a million Iranians could be dead.

This potential death toll is not pacificist hyperbole; it comes from a National Academy of Sciences study sponsored by the Pentagon itself, as The Progressive reports. (Although Bush’s military brass like to peddle the public lie that “we don’t do body counts” of the enemy, in reality, like all good businessmen they keep precise accounts of their production outputs: i.e., corpses.) The Pentagon’s NAS study calibrated the kill-rate from “bunker-busting” tactical nukes used to take out underground facilities – such as those which house much of Iran’s nuclear power program. Another simulation by scientists, using Pentagon-devised software, was even more specific, measuring the aftermath of a “limited” nuclear attack on the main Iranian underground site in Esfahan, the magazine reports. This small expansion of the Pentagon franchise would result in stellar production figures: three million people killed by radiation in just two weeks, and 35 million people exposed to dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Bush has about 50 nuclear “earth-penetrating weapons” at his disposal, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.Nor is the idea of a nuclear strike on Iran mere “liberal paranoia.” Bush himself pointedly refused to take the nuclear option “off the table” this week. But what’s more, Bush has made the use of nuclear weapons a centerpiece of his “National Security Strategy of the United States,” issued last month, The Progressive notes. While reaffirming the criminal principle of “pre-emptive” attacks on perceived enemies which may or may not be threatening America with weapons they may or may not possess, Bush declared that “safe, credible and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role” in the “offensive strike systems” that are now a key part of America’s “deterrence.” In the depraved jargon of atomic warmongering, a “credible” nuclear force is one that can and will be used in the course of ordinary military operations. It is no longer to be regarded as a sacred taboo. This has long been the dream of the Pentagon’s “nuclear priesthood” and its acolytes, going back to the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For decades, a strong faction within the American power structure has been afflicted with a perverted craving to unleash these weapons once more. An almost sexual frustration can be discerned in their laments as time and again, in crisis after crisis, their counsels for “going nuclear” were rejected – often at the very last moment. To justify their abberant desire, they have relentlessly demonized an ever-changing array of “enemies,” painting each one as an imminent, overwhelming threat, led by “madmen” in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, fit only for destruction. Evidence for the “threat” is invariably exaggerated, manipulated, even manufactured; this ritual cycle has been enacted over and over, leading to many wars – but never to that ultimate, orgasmic release.

Now this paranoid sect has at last seized the commanding heights of American power…they have found a most eager disciple in the peevish dullard strutting in the Oval Office. Under their sinister tutelage, Bush has eviscerated 40 years’ worth of arms control treaties; officially “normalized” the use of nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear states; rewarded outlaw proliferators like India, Israel and Pakistan; and is now destroying the last and most effective restraint on the spread of nuclear weapons: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The treaty guarantees its signatories – such as Iran – the right to establish nuclear power programs in exchange for rigorous international inspections. But Bush has arbitrarily decided that Iran – whose nuclear program undergone perhaps the most extensive inspection process in history – must end its lawful activities. Why? Because the country is led by “madmen” in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, who one day may or may not threaten America with weapons they may or may not have…. So the NPT is dead. As with the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution, it now means only what Bush says it means. Force of arms, not rule of law, is the new world order. The attack on Iran. The obvious, murderous insanity of such a move in no way precludes its implementation by this gang – as their invasion of Iraq clearly shows.

The nuclear sectarians have waited decades for this moment. Such a chance may never come again. Will they let it pass, when with just a word, in just twelve hours, they can see their god rising in a pillar of fire over Persia?

And more evidence on March 22 from Deutsche Presse-Agentur

The Saudi Shura council will secretly discuss national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors, media reports said Saturday.

The Saudi-based King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology has prepared a proposal that encapsulates the probabilities of leaking nuclear and radiation hazards in case of any unexpected nuclear attacks in Iran, the Okaz Saudi newspaper said.

The Saudi Shura or consultative council plans to debate the proposal on Sunday.

The power plants in the south-western Iranian port of Bushehr were built with German assistance in 1974 and resumed with Russian aid in 1992, after it had been stopped by the Islamic revolution.

And if this attack moves forward this fall, you can forget any elections, now or ever again…and anyway, do you seriously think they’re going to let go of the power they’ve seized over the past several decades? You’re dreaming if you think they’re going to relinquish their power to the likes of Obama.

You know you live in a dictatorship when the pResident commits unending pre-emptive wars at his own whim, without public comment, without Congressional approval, without any discussion whatsoever.

And you thought you wouldn’t have to see that smug expression ever again after 2008…

March 25, 2008

Source: luminaria

Venezuela’s state-run oil company begins demanding payment in euros as US dollar weakens

CARACAS, Venezuela: Venezuela’s state-run oil firm is starting to demand payment in euros a measure aimed at protecting revenues from a weakening U.S. dollar, Venezuela’s oil minister said Tuesday.

Read moreVenezuela’s state-run oil company begins demanding payment in euros as US dollar weakens

Going Bankrupt: The US’s Greatest Threat

The military adventurers of the George W. Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room”, the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neo-conservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

Read moreGoing Bankrupt: The US’s Greatest Threat

The other oil shock: Vegetable oil prices soar

KUANTAN, Malaysia: Rising prices for cooking oil in India are forcing residents of Mumbai to ration every drop. Bakeries in the United States are fretting over higher shortening costs. And here in Malaysia, brand-new factories built to convert vegetable oil into diesel for trucks sit idle, their owners unable to afford the raw material.
This is the other oil shock. Shortages and soaring prices for palm oil, soybean oil and many other types of vegetable oils are the latest, most striking example of a developing global problem: costly food.

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A PRECIOUS COMMODITY — In Mumbai, Rajkanya Kawle, 11, held palm oil for her family’s dinner. (Michael Rubenstein for The New York Times)

Read moreThe other oil shock: Vegetable oil prices soar

Rising Inflation Creates Unease in Middle East

AMMAN, Jordan – Even as it enriches Arab rulers, the recent oil-price boom is helping to fuel an extraordinary rise in the cost of food and other basic goods that is squeezing this region’s middle class and setting off strikes, demonstrations and occasional riots from Morocco to the Persian Gulf.

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The cost of many basic foods, like at this market in Amman, has doubled. Some in the middle class are tilting toward poverty

Read moreRising Inflation Creates Unease in Middle East

Empire on the Brink: Republicans and “Free Market” Zealots Bring Disaster to America

March 13, 2008
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

March 12. Crude oil for April delivery hit $110 per barrel. The US dollar fell to a new low against the Euro. It now takes $1.55 to purchase one Euro.

These new highs against the dollar are the ongoing story of the collapse of the US dollar as world reserve currency and corresponding collapse of American power.

Each new decision from the insane Bush regime pushes the dollar a little further along to oblivion. The same Fed announcement that boosted the stock market on March 11 sent the dollar reeling and the price of oil up. The Fed’s announcement that it and other central banks are going to deal with the derivative crisis by monetizing $200 billion of the troubled instruments signaled more dollar inflation.

Read moreEmpire on the Brink: Republicans and “Free Market” Zealots Bring Disaster to America

Derivatives Have Become the World’s Biggest Black Market

Buffett and Gross warn: $516 trillion bubble is a disaster waiting to happen

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. – “Charlie and I believe Berkshire should be a fortress of financial strength” wrote Warren Buffett. That was five years before the subprime-credit meltdown.

“We try to be alert to any sort of mega-catastrophe risk, and that posture may make us unduly appreciative about the burgeoning quantities of long-term derivatives contracts and the massive amount of uncollateralized receivables that are growing alongside. In our view, however, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.”

Read moreDerivatives Have Become the World’s Biggest Black Market

Global “Oil Shock” Rattles World Stock markets

Cleaning up the mess that Mr Greenspan left behind was never going to be easy. Banks and brokers around the world face more than half-trillion dollars in write-offs as a consequence of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, which is spreading from the US property market and roiling global stock markets. It’s toppled the US economy into a recession and the tremors are also rattling Asian stock markets.

Roughly $7 trillion has been wiped from world stock markets since the beginning of the year amid fears of a severe US economic recession and financial institutions reporting more mega losses. “The market crisis will preoccupy us well into 2008,” he said German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck on Feb 15th. “The financial risks securitized by banks contained packaged explosives,” and he accused rating agencies of having a conflict of interest in the role they played in the process.

So far, the Bernanke Federal Reserve has pumped more than half-a-trillion dollars into the markets with open market operations and special emergency lending schemes, to help cushion the blow to the US economy and stock markets. However, there’s evidence that the Fed’s prescription for dealing with the sub-prime debt crisis, is actually making matters much worse, and leading to “Stagflation.”

Read moreGlobal “Oil Shock” Rattles World Stock markets