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The US Finds Solution to Competiveness

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Yes, its simple – modern-day slavery. 1% of the population are in prison and the 13th amendment of the US Constitution allows prisoners to be punished by labour. Private prison firms are booming. Check out the following clip from the BBC show. They make light of the statistic, but I am sure you recognise the seriousness behind the humor especially the part where the host Stephen Fry list off what is created by US prisoners.

the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

Further information is supplied from a GlobalResearch article written 3 years ago:

According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people.

Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).”

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How To Crush a Nation and Then Rob It !

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John Perkins explains how to economically crush a country and then rape it. Does it sound familiar? think of Greece and where do they stop. Might explain why there is no debt forgiveness which normally makes sense to do. Might explain why bankrupt bank debts are being passed onto the sovereign.

Skills that were developed and honed in Africa and Southern America, now coming to Europe and the US. Further info from John Perkins can be found on his website.

COMEX Out of Loop, as Asset Managers Go Straight To Miners for Physical Gold

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As the demand for physical gold over paper gold increases reports of asset manager going straight to mining companys to secure physical supply continue to increase. Jim Willie(GoldenJackass.com) writes about it in an article for Market Oracle.

Asset management funds are appealing to mining firms for direct metal supply. They are bypassing the COMEX in a new trend. It is a natural development, as miners seek a fair price and the funds seek a reliable supply. The COMEX is cut out of the process. The Sprott Funds have revealed how they sourced their precious metal from mining firms last year. The official exchanges are being cut off, a form of isolation as a result. The divergence between physical and paper gold price is widening.

See the Ashanti story as typical. The COMEX is seeing reduced supply lines, reduced operations, more criminal implications, horrible publicity, and fewer clients. Criminal fraud does that, as lawsuits will follow like cold rain. The trend shapes up well for higher gold & silver prices. Mark Cutifani is CEO of AngloGold Ashanti, a $16 billion mining firm. He said, “Major [asset management fund] buyers are finding it is hard to get physical gold. People are coming directly to us [for large gold purchases,] people who want tonnes of physical gold, people with serious financial muscle, because they are finding it is very difficult to secure the volume of gold they want. That is something we have noticed over the last 18 months, and it has been increasing in the last six months. People are finding its hard to get physical gold.” The clear message is that the COMEX has no spare available metal at all.Cutifani has good insights into the commodities and precious metals markets, and describes a fascination new trend regarding the global picture. He pointed out that major gold buyers are emerging from the Middle East and Asia.

The original interview with Mark Cutifani can be found at Bull Market Thinking.

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US Debt to GDP Now Over 100%

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Well it was only a matter of time, but today it has happened as reported by ZeroHedge.

it is only fitting that US debt, net of all settlements for all already completed bond auctions, is now at precisely $15,182,756,264,288.80. Why is this relevant? Because the latest annualized US GDP, according to the BEA, was $15,180,900,000.00. Which means that, as of today, total US debt to GDP is 100.012%. Congratulations America: you are now in the triple digit “debt to GDP” club!

(naturally, this is using purely “on the books” data. If one adds the NPV of all US liabilities, and adjusts GDP for such things as today’s housing contraction, then the magical triple digit threshold was breached long, long ago).

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