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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Comet races toward Earth at peak of God's holy days

In the summer of 1998, Americans raced into movie theaters for not one, but two major Hollywood productions featuring giant asteroids about to smash into Earth.

The films –"Deep Impact"and"Armageddon"– had plots so similar, many people confuse the two.

Now 13 years later, a newly discovered, real-life comet named Elenin is racing toward our home planet.

No, it's not an asteroid, and no, it's not on a crash course, but it is expected to be at its closest point to us – some 21 million miles – during the culmination of God's annual holy days mentioned in the Bible.

This has sparked a wave of speculation that it could be some sort of miraculous sign possibly heralding the long-anticipated return of Jesus to Earth.

It's coming!" thunders Paul Begley, a preacher at Community Gospel Baptist Church in Knox, Ind., in a YouTube video. "It's on its way and right in the middle of the Feast of the Trumpets, it is going to come through and get in between the Earth and the sun."
"We've only known about this thing six months, folks," he continued, reflecting the fact the comet was discovered here in the U.S. by Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin on Dec. 10, 2010, at International Scientific Optical Network's robotic observatory near Mayhill, N.M.

Begley wondered aloud what sort of physical effect the comet might have.

"Will there be some type of magnetic pull? Will the poles shift? Will there be some type of pull of gravity that creates earthquakes and tsunamis and volcanoes and hurricanes and tornadoes and cyclones and mudslides, forest fires? What's gonna go on?"

He notes the comet's nearest point to Earth will take place Oct. 16, during the Feast of Tabernacles, according to today's Jewish calendar.

"I'm here to tell you right now, we're getting closer and closer and closer and closer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ," Begley said.

In the New Testament, Jesus predicted celestial signs concerning the end of this current age and His return to Earth to govern the kingdom of God.
"And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory." (Mark 13:25-26)

"And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:11)

Space.com article noted, "Internet rumors about Elenin began spreading earlier this year. Its approach to Earth was blamed for shifting the Earth's axis by 3 degrees in February, precipitating the Chile earthquake, then shifting the pole even more to trigger the Japan quake in March."

David Morrison, a planetary astronomer at NASA's Ames Research Center and senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, wrote, "Ignoring plate tectonics as the cause of earthquakes, they suggest that the comet exerted strong gravitational or electromagnetic effects on our planet."

When it was pointed out how small the comet actually is – just 2 to 3 miles wide – with no magnetic field and that it won't even pass very near Earth, rumors began to circulate about NASA withholding information about Elenin.

"Ironically, the inconspicuous nature of this comet plays into some of the conspiracy theories," Morrison told Space. "For people who are convinced the comet did cause the earthquakes, this proves that Elenin is not a comet at all, but a much more massive, and dangerous, interloper."

Elenin's nucleus could resemble that of Comet Hartley 2 seen here by NASA's Deep Impact mission.

Astronomer Colin Johnston at theArmagh Planetarium in Northern Irelandis among those trying to put disaster fears and 2012 hysteria to rest.

"As Elenin will not hit Earth," he said, "some have claimed instead that its gravitational effect on the Earth's interior will cause earthquakes and similar cataclysms on our planet, offering the recent disasters in New Zealand and Japan as harbingers of the horrors to come. This is nonsense. I estimate the comet's nucleus to have a mass of about 20 billion tons, which is vast in human terms, minute in astronomical terms. Compared to the gravitational effects of the moon and other planets, Elenin's effects will be immeasurably small. In fact, Dear Reader, your gravitational influence on the Earth as you sit reading these words is greater than Comet Elenin's will be at its strongest!"

Others agree.

Astronomer and blogger Ian Musgrave in Adelaide, Australia, has posted afrequently-asked-questions pageonline about this celestial glob of ice and rock that has less than a billionth of the tidal force of the moon.

"If the moon can't cause the poles to tip, cause massive tidal floods or earthquakes, Comet 2010 X1 Elenin won't. We've been closer to other comets before with no ill effect," Musgrave said.

"The comet will pass no closer to us than 84 times the Earth-moon distance," said Ray Villard atDiscovery News.

Comet Elenin will be at its closest point to Earth in October, during the culmination of God's holy days. (courtesy: Discovery)

"The effects of the comet on Earth at closest approach will be as inconsequential as that of a mosquito slamming head-on into an ocean-going supertanker."

This is certainly not the first time some in the Christian community have made connections between the biblical feast days and events in outer space.

Total lunar eclipses often make the moon appear red

AsWND previously reported, a minister who promotes the Old Testament roots of Christianity suggests a rare string of lunar and solar eclipses said to fall on God's annual holy days in 2015 could signal the return of Jesus.

Pastor Mark Biltz ofEl Shaddai Ministriesin Bonney Lake, Wash., noted a coming rare phenomenon of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, known as a tetrad, and often called "blood moons" since the moon often takes on a bloody color.

He says during this century, tetrads occur at least six times, but what's interesting is that the only string of four consecutive blood moons that coincide with God's holy days of Passover in the spring and the autumn's Feast of Tabernacles (also called Succoth) occurs between 2014 and 2015 on today's Gregorian calendar.

"The fact that it doesn't happen again in this century I think is very significant," Biltz explained. "So then I looked at last century, and, believe it or not, the last time that four blood red moons occurred together was in 1967 and 1968 tied to Jerusalem recaptured by Israel."

He then started to notice a pattern of the tetrads.

"What's significant to me is that even before 1967, the next time that you had four blood red moons again was right after Israel became a nation in '48, it happened again in 1949 and 1950 ... on Passover and Succoth. You didn't have any astronomical tetrads in the 1800s, the 1700s, the 1600s. In the 1500s, there were six, but none of those fell on Passover and Succoth."

When checking the schedule for solar eclipses, Biltz found two – one on the first day of the Hebrew year and the next on the high holy day of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the seventh Hebrew month. Both of these take place in the 2014-2015 year.

Biltz says, "You have the religious year beginning with the total solar eclipse, two weeks later a total lunar eclipse on Passover, and then the civil year beginning with the solar eclipse followed two weeks later by another total blood red moon on the Feast of Succoth all in 2015."

In February of last year, the astronomical community wasdazzled with a spectacular unknown object that some felt could be a sign from God, as it they said it resembled a flying cross or a Star of David.

The Hubble Space Telescope observed a mysterious, X-shaped debris pattern and trailing streamers of dust that may have been the result of a head-on collision between two asteroids. Click image for larger view.

"The truth is, we're still struggling to understand what this means," comet expert David Jewitt at UCLA told Britain's Daily Mail. "It's most likely the result of a recent collision between two asteroids."

Read more:Comet races toward Earth at peak of God's holy dayshttp://www.wnd.com/?pageId=326893#ixzz1Tyewh0LV

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Reservist call-up orders ready for September

IDF reservists

IDF sources say the call-up orders would be issued per operational requirements, army is training reservists in crowd-control techniques.

The IDF has drawn up plans to issue emergency call-up orders to reservists who might be needed to beef-up security along Israel’s borders following a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood at the United Nations in September.

IDF sources said the call-up orders would be issued per operational requirements, but that in the meantime it was training reservists in crowd-control techniques. The IDF has certified the Central Command’s Lahish Base as the main training center for active and reservist units ahead of September.

“We do not know exactly what to expect so we are preparing for a wide-range of scenarios,” a senior IDF officer said this week.

Chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Shaul Mofaz, said Tuesday the IDF will need to draft reservists to contain the demonstrations.

As reported earlier this year in The Jerusalem Post, the IDF has embarked on a multi-million dollar procurement plan for new riot control equipment ahead of riots it fears will erupt along its borders following the PA’s declaration of statehood in September.

Current IDF assessments refer to the possibilities of a large outbreak of violence or sporadic, large and non-violent marches towards Jewish settlements or IDF checkpoints.

The new equipment is in addition to other riot gear like tear gas, rubber bullets andprotective equipment, as well as new technological systems such as the “Scream,” a device that emits penetrating bursts of sound that leave protesters dizzy and nauseous, as well as the “Skunk Bomb,” which contains a foul-smelling liquid sprayed on protesters. Some of these devices have been used to disperse antisecurity barrier demonstrations in the past in the West Bank.

In June, the IDF held a two-day workshop at the Lahish Training Base near Kiryat Gat, which was attended by all IDF brigade, battalion and company commanders serving in the Central Command, the Southern Command and the Northern Command.

Jerusalem Post

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Debt-hit students urged to sell their kidneys

STUDENTS should be able to sell their kidneys for tens of thousands of pounds to pay off university debts, according to a Scots academic.
Sue Rabbitt Roff believes making it legal to sell the body part would boost the number of organs available to save lives and help students struggling with money.

She argues that donors should be paid the average UK annual income of around £28,000.

It is currently illegal to sell organs and tissues in the UK under the Human Tissue Act (2004) and across the world apart from in Iran.

The National Union of Students (NUS) in Scotland described the idea as "ludicrous" and said students should not be expected to lose a body part to pay for their education.

The Dundee University academic makes the controversial comments in an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) today. Mrs Roff, senior research fellow at the university's Department of Medical Sociology, told The Scotsman: "We are allowing young people to undertake £20,000 to £30,000 of university fee payments.

"We allow them to burden themselves with these debts. Why can't we allow them to do a very kind and generous thing but also meet their own needs?"

Ethics organisations argue changing the law would exploit poor people desperate for money.

However, Mrs Roff wrote in the BMJ article: "One reservation that many people express about such a proposal is that it might exploit poor people in the same way the illegal market does now.

"But if the standard payment were equivalent to the average annual income in the UK, currently about £28,000, it would be an incentive across most income levels for those who wanted to do a kind deed and make enough money to, for instance, pay off university loans."

She pointed out that three people on the kidney transplant list die in the UK every day.

However, Robin Parker, president of NUS Scotland, said: "Although the lack of available kidneys for transplant is truly tragic given the need, it's ludicrous to suggest that selling body parts is a viable solution to alleviating student poverty.

"Young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, are already being asked to take on huge debt to afford an education. They shouldn't be expected to remove a body part as well."

Gold price strikes record on global growth fears

GOLD futures pushed to record highs today as concerns about a slowdown in global growth and Europe's debt crisis spurred investor demand for the metal as a refuge.

US leaders today gave final approval to legislation raising the country's debt limit, averting a default. But the deal wasn't enough to stem the tide of investment in perceived safe-haven assets, as investors remain cautious on the chance that US could see its credit rating downgraded and as growth stumbles across much of the developed world.

The most actively traded gold contract, for December delivery, climbed $US22.80, or 1.4 per cent, to settle at a record $US1644.50 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract climbed as high as $US1646.80 an ounce, a record intraday high.

"There's still concern about the weak economy, growth generally, weak (purchasing managers' indices) in a range of countries," said David Jollie, strategic analyst at Mitsui Global Precious Metals. US debt was only part of the story behind gold's recent rise, he added.

Gold futures rose further into record territory during electronic trading after the New York trading-floor settlement, climbing as high as $US1661.90 a troy ounce as US equities indices slumped to their session lows at the end of their trading day.

"It's the fear trade," said Charles Nedoss, a senior market strategist with Olympus Futures. The US debt deal "is obviously not the panacea people had hoped it would be. You're just seeing safe-haven money moving in" to gold as equities slide, he added.

Gold's rise after the settlement was also fuelled as Fitch Ratings said it could still place a negative outlook on the US government's credit rating. The firm, which hasn't put the US on review for a possible downgrade, is expected to complete a regular review by the end of the month.

Weaker-than-expected US and European manufacturing data earlier in the week dampened investors' appetite for risky assets. And currency markets today were rattled as worries about Europe's debt crisis sent Italian and Spanish bond yields to their widest levels since the adoption of the euro.

Some investors turn to gold as a refuge from turmoil in other markets, and the yellow metal has reached all-time highs for four consecutive weeks. The Swiss franc hit record highs against the US dollar and euro today and US Treasury prices rose, highlighting the demand for a safe place to park cash.

"People are concerned about what currencies they hold," said Sterling Smith, a market analyst with Country Hedging. "Risk aversion is growing stronger."

Sentiment in the gold market also received a boost from the news that South Korea's central bank made its first gold purchases in 13 years. The bank acquired 25 tonnes of gold during June and July, bringing its total reserves to 39.4 tonnes at the end of last month. Central banks have been moving to reduce their dependence on the US dollar, the world's chief reserve currency.

The central banks of Russia, Mexico and Thailand have also announced substantial gold purchases this year.

The US Senate and President Barack Obama earlier today, as expected, approved a measure raising the debt ceiling and cutting government spending, ending the risk of a default in the near term. The Treasury Department had said that the borrowing limit must be raised today for it to be able to meet all of its commitments.

Wall Street Journal

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Keiser Report: Peak Everything

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Record high radiation at fukushima

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Europe's money markets freeze as crisis escalates in Italy and Spain

The three-month euribor/OIS spread, the fear gauge of credit markets, reached the highest level in two years today, jumping 7 basis points to 40 in wild trading.

"Europe's money markets are undoubtedly starting to freeze up," said Marc Ostwald from Monument Securites.

"It's not as dramatic as pre-Lehman but it is alarming and shows the pervasive degree of fear in the markets. People are again refusing to lend except on a secured basis."

The credit stress was triggered by fresh mayhem in the southern European bond markets and ominously in parts of the eurozone's soft core as well, including Belgium. Spanish yields pushed further into the danger zone to 6.42pc. Italian debt reached a post-EMU high of 6.22pc before falling back slightly on reports of Chinese buying.

"We have a revolt taking place by foreign investors in these bond markets," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at Morgan Stanley. "There have been hardly any purchases for several months. We are seeing net disinvestment because people fear that these countries lack the potential to grow their way out of the problem, and risk falling into a Fisherite debt trap."
The Telegraph

Max Keiser: AAA to junk - just what Wall St. wants!

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Celente: Dollar not worth it's paper...

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Wall Street tumbles despite debt deal agreement

Fresh evidence that the US recovery is faltering, and fears over the need for possible bail-outs in Italy and Spain rocked investors’ confidence. They overshadowed the agreement to lift the $14.3 trillion (£8.2 trillion) debt ceiling in the US and highlighted how a second bail-out for Greece had not dampened fears over an escalating sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone.

“You’re seeing a buyers’ strike,” Kenneth Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities, told The Daily Telegraph on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. “It’s not panic but people are very nervous about the US economy and what’s happening in Europe."

The Dow closed down 265.87 points, or 2.2pc, to close at 11,866.60. Its eighth day of declines is its worst losing streak since the height of the financial crisis in September 2008. The S&P 500 finished 2.6pc lower at 1,254.05. Sentiment was hit by the first drop in US consumer spending in almost two years, raising fears of a double-dip recession.

In Europe, Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero cancelled his summer holiday and Rome called an emergency meeting, triggering fresh alarm on bond markets. Yields on Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond hit their highest level since 1999’s launch of the euro, closing at 6.11pc after touching 6.22pc. The equivalent Spanish bond reached a near record peak of 6.43pc, before ending a febrile day’s trading at 6.25pc.

Mr Zapatero’s decision to cancel his holiday in Spain’s Doñana national park spooked traders in Madrid, where the local bourse fell 2.17pc. In a statement, the administration said his holiday had been delayed so he could “follow more closely the evolution of economic indicators”.

Spanish and Italian bond yields inched closer to the 7pc level that forced the emergency rescues of Greece, Ireland and Portugal. The premiums Madrid and Rome have to pay to borrow compared with Germany also hit record highs . All major stock exchanges in Europe fell, with the FTSE 100 closing down 0.97pc at 5,718.39, Germany’s DAX slipping 2.26pc and the CAC 40 in Paris dropping 1.82pc.

“In this US-versus-Europe ugly contest, it’s hard to decide where to start from,” said analysts at BNP Paribas.

In a further sign of fear, the yield on safe-haven German bonds fell below the nation’s inflation rate for the first time since the country’s reunification in 1990, dipping to 2.395pc before closing at 2.42pc.

Gold touched an all-time high of $1,640.39 and the Swiss franc rallied to a fresh peak against the euro.

Italy’s stock market fell 2.5pc after economy minister Giulio Tremonti called a meeting of the country’s financial stability committee. Italy’s debt to GDP ratio of 120pc is the worst of any euro nation after Greece’s 160pc. “The fear of the market is that the world is going into recession again,” said Alessandro Giansanti, an ING bank strategist.

European Commission officials played down fears that Spain or Italy would require a bail-out, but were monitoring the situation closely. An EC spokesman said: “We are very confident in both the Spanish and Italian authorities’ determination to get their economies back on track”.
The telegraph


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Gold goes up 13 percent up each time the Dollar goes down 1 percent

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The US debt deal and the recovery

Stephanie Flanders

Stephanie Flanders

It's peace in our time on Capitol Hill, but the risk of a formal US default was always tiny. Two more important worries hanging over the markets have been that the US will lose its AAA rating and that America's recovery might be grinding to a halt.

Recent events have done little to appease those concerns. Indeed, in the case of the economy, the outlook looks considerably worse.

There's no word, yet, from the major ratings agencies, whether Washington has done enough to hold on to America's top credit rating. Reasonably enough, they are probably waiting to see the details. But if Standard & Poor's stands by its previous warnings on US debt, you have to say that a downgrade is now more likely than not - though it might wait to see the budget negotiations later in the year before pulling the trigger.

S & P had previously suggested they were looking for a "credible plan" involving spending cuts or tax rises in the region of $4 trillion over 10 years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the deal passed by Congress will lower the deficit by $2.1tn, but in several stages, and with only the first $917bn even vaguely spelled out.

Most of the ratings agencies wanted to see tax rises as a part of any plan, and - above all - a commitment to stabilising the debt as a share of GDP. The deal hammered out at the weekend doesn't seem to guarantee either. In fact, in the case of tax rises, they are largely ruled out, to the great frustration of many Democrats.

So, we could still be looking at the US losing its triple-A credit rating. Does this mean the end of the world?

As I discussed last week, a downgrade could cause trouble in the markets - or it could simply force everyone to adjust their conception of safe government debt. Usually, the world adjusts itself to the US, rather than the other way round.

Reasonable people can disagree on which is more likely. But for the moment, the financial markets seem to be more worried about the state of the US economy than its creditworthiness: the yield on US 10-year debt is today hovering around 2.9%, nearly 0.8 percentage points lower than it was six months ago.

With all the bad economic news coming out of the US in the past few days, should we be worried that an outbreak of fiscal austerity is about to make things even worse? The answer is it all depends what happens next.

This weekend's deal, on its own, is actually fairly backloaded when it comes to direct spending cuts. Of the $917bn in specified cuts over 10 years, the CBO reckons that only around $20bn will come in next year.

But the "baseline" for all the deficit forecasts assumes that neither President Obama's temporary payroll tax cut, nor the emergency extension of unemployment benefits will be extended into 2012. Between them, those are worth about $150bn and will have a much larger impact on the economy in 2012 than the cuts agreed this weekend.

If those stimulus measures are not extended, the US will be cutting borrowing by around 3% of GDP in 2012 - compared with tightening of 1.7 percentage points in the UK. That sounds like a lot, if the recovery continues to stumble.

That is why most people in Washington - including the IMF - believe those temporary measures will be extended. And it is why the president's office has confirmed that he will continue to fight for that money to be spent, even as he prepares to sign a budget deal which assumes it will not.

American politics, and its sovereign credit rating, are likely to be greatly affected by the events of the past few weeks. But the short-term impact on the US and global economy is still very much up for grabs.

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Debt Deal is a Blank Check

 Peter Schiff
Monday, August 1, 2011
By supposedly compromising to raise the debt ceiling, Congress and the President have now paved the way for ever higher levels of federal spending. Although, the nation was spared the trauma of borrowing restrictions, the actual risk of default existed solely in the minds of Washington politicians. But the real crisis is not, nor has it ever been, the debt ceiling. The crisis is the debt itself. Economic Armageddon would not have resulted from failure to raise the ceiling, but it will come because we succeeded in raising it. This outcome falls along the lines that I had forecast (See my commentary, “Don’t Be Fooled by Political Posturing” from July 9th).
Both parties are now pretending that the promised cuts in spending outweigh the increase in the debt limit. But the $900 billion in identified cuts are spread over a decade and are skewed toward the end of that period. There are an additional $1.4 trillion in cuts that the plan assumes will be identified by a bi-partisan budget committee. But similarly empowered panels in the past have almost never delivered on their mandates.
More importantly, none of these “cuts” are actually binding. There is plenty of time for future Congresses to reverse what was so laboriously agreed to over the past few weeks. My guess is renewed economic weakness will be used to justify ultimate suspension of the cuts. In addition, most of the spending reductions were already scheduled to take effect before this agreement. So what did we really get?
The Congressional Budget Office currently projects that $9.5 trillion in new debt will have to be issued over the next 10 years. Even if all of the reductions proposed in the deal were to come to pass, which is highly unlikely, that would still leave $7.1 trillion in new debt accumulation by 2021. Our problems have not been solved by a long shot.
Essentially, the structure announced today allows both political parties to talk about reform without actually changing anything. To underscore that point, the deal involves less than $25 billion in immediate cuts! This is less than a rounding error in a $3.8 trillion dollar budget. This is politics as usual.
Even these estimates are based on rosy economic assumptions that have no chance of coming to fruition. For example, for the current fiscal year, Washington estimates GDP growth at 4%. But actual growth for the first half of 2011 is below 1%! If our government is over-estimating our current year’s growth by a factor of 4, how accurate could their forecasts be ten years into the future? A more honest assessment of likely economic performance would reveal future budget deficits spiraling out of control. 
Some might say that the primary goal of this deal was to avoid the dreaded credit rating downgrade. Unfortunately, the deal addresses none of the ratings agencies’ stated grievances.  If they fail to follow through on their downgrade warnings, the rating agencies will lose whatever credibility they have left. For political reasons, the downgrades may not come right away, but they are inevitable. But as has happened so often in the past, by the time the tardy downgrades arrive, the market will have likely already rendered its verdict.
The debt ceiling itself merely represents a self-imposed limit on US borrowing. Since Congress can vote to raise the limit, its existence has been more of a political nuisance than an actual barrier. The operative factor is not how much we allow ourselves to borrow, but how much our creditors are willing to lend. That type of ceiling can’t be raised by an Act of Congress. Once our creditors come to the conclusion that they have lent beyond our capacity to repay, they will be very reluctant to lend more. As trillions in short-term Treasuries mature, the dwindling pool of buyers will demand higher rates of return to compensate them for the risk. But our government is in no condition to afford those higher rates without gutting the rest of the budget.
Last week, it was revealed that despite Obama’s warnings that a default would immediately occur if the debt ceiling were not raised, the administration had already agreed to prioritize interest payments to avoid default. Such preferential treatment is only possible because current interest rates are so low and debt service represents only about 10% of total revenue. When the pool of willing lenders evaporates, net interest payments could quickly consume more than 50% of federal revenue. This is particularly true since rising rates will also plunge the economy into a recession that will substantially reduce revenues - even as debt payments surge.
At that point, prioritizing interest payments would mean deep sacrifices in the rest of the federal budget - including Social Security, Medicare, and the Armed Forces. The question then becomes: will US politicians really be willing to take the political heat that would emerge from prioritizing interest payments to foreign creditors over payments to American voters?
I expect that as soon as our creditors decide that they are no longer willing to lend to us at ultra-low rates of interest, we will refuse to repay what they have already lent. 
Besides default or major cuts to domestic spending, inflation provides the only other means for the government to deal with this intractable crisis. Because of its political palatability, inflation is, in fact, the most likely outcome. Once we go down that path, we risk high inflation turning into hyperinflation, which would decimate the remainder of our economy. So, as our leaders congratulate themselves for saving the nation, the reality is that they may have just sold it down the river.

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