Friday, November 18, 2011

1 Through 30 – The Coming U.S. Financial Crisis By The Numbers

The American Dream
Friday, November 18, 2011
The United States is drowning in a sea of red ink from coast to coast and most Americans have absolutely no idea what is about to happen. Hopefully you have started to prepare for the coming U.S. financial crisis. If not, hopefully this article will be a wake up call for you.

Right now, governments all over Europe are on the verge of financial implosion. Most Americans aren’t paying much attention to that, but they should be, because what is happening to Greece and Italy right now will eventually be happening here. Just recently, the U.S. national debt passed the 15 trillion dollar mark. State and local government debt is also at record levels. Tens of millions of American families are in debt up to their eyeballs, and millions more Americans fell into poverty last year. Meanwhile, the “too big to fail” banks just keep getting larger and the Federal Reserve continues to inflate the debt bubble. At some point this debt bubble is going to burst, and when it does it is going to unleash financial hell all over America.
Below you will find a list of numbers – 1 through 30. For each number, a statistic has been chosen that demonstrates the financial nightmare that the United States is facing. It is simply not possible to rack up debt at staggering rates forever. At some point the debt spiral is going to stop.
A lot of politicians are claiming that they can stop the coming financial crisis from happening. But the truth is that unless our entire financial system is fundamentally transformed, nothing is going to be able to stop the financial nightmare that is headed our way.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of our politicians still believe that the current financial system can be fixed and the vast majority of them still fully support the Federal Reserve.
That is going to prove to be a gigantic mistake. The following are 30 facts that show that the United States is heading directly for a massive financial crisis….
1 – For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit ofnearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.
2 – The balance sheet of the Federal Reserve has been ballooning like crazy. At this point, the Federal Reserve has very little capital backing a balance sheet that iswell over 2 trillion dollars.
The following is how Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital describes the situation that the Fed is in….
Today, the Fed has $52.5 billion of capital backing a $2.7 trillion balance sheet.
Prior to the bursting of the credit bubble, the public was shocked to learn that our biggest investment banks were levered 30-to-1. When asset values fell, those banks were quickly wiped out. But now the Fed is holding many of the same types of assets and is levered 51-to-1! If the value of their portfolio were to fall by just 2%, the Fed itself would be wiped out.
3 – It is being estimated that it would take a total of 3 trillion euros to bail out all of the countries in Europe that are in imminent danger of financial implosion. Europe is heading for a gigantic financial crisis, and when it happens the United States is going to be dragged down as well.
4 – As the U.S. economy continues to decline, millions of American families are having a very hard time feeding themselves. Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

5 – The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year. It looks like the federal government is going to have to help the U.S. Postal Service out financially.
6 – Freddie Mac says that it is going to need another $6 billion bailout from the federal government.
7 – Fannie Mae says that it is going to need another $7.8 billion bailout from the federal government.
8 – We are told that the economy is recovering, but the number of Americans on food stamps has grown by another 8 percent over the past year.
9 – The U.S. unemployment rate has been hovering around 9 percent for 30 straight months. It is currently sitting at 9.0 percent.
10 – The total cost of just three federal government programs – the Department of Defense, Social Security and Medicare – exceeded the total amount of taxes brought in during fiscal 2010 by 10 billion dollars.
11 – Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty. Today,15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.
12 – The “free trade” agenda being pushed by our globalist politicians is absolutely killing us. Even in industries that we were once dominant in we are now getting wiped out. For instance, in 2010 South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them. Hundreds of billions of dollars that should be going to support American jobs and businesses is going overseas instead.
13 – Since 1985, the federal government has added 13 trillion dollars to the national debt.
14 – The U.S. Treasury Department says that instead of $14.3 billion, the total losses from the auto industry bailouts will actually be $23.6 billion.
15 – Amazingly, the U.S. federal government is now 15 trillion dollars in debt. When Obama first took office the debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.
16 – According to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Federal Reserve made 16 trillion dollars in secret loans to big corporations, Wall Street banks, foreign nations and wealthy individuals during the financial crisis.
17 – The “too big to fail” banks just keep getting larger and larger. In the year 2000, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo held approximately 22 percent of all banking deposits in FDIC-insured institutions. By the middle of 2009 that figure was up to 39 percent. That is an increase of 17 percent in less than a decade.
18 – More Americans than ever are totally dependent on the government. In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.
19 – As a result of the lack of good jobs, we have huge numbers of Americans in their prime working years that cannot financially support themselves. As I have written about previously, 19% of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are living with their parents.
20 – America is rapidly getting poorer. Today, more than one out of every seven Americans is living in poverty and more than 20 million of them are considered to be living in extreme poverty.
21 – Income inequality is rising to very dangerous levels. According to a joint House and Senate report entitled “Income Inequality and the Great Recession“, the top one percent of all income earners in the United States brought in a total of 10.0 percent of all income in 1980, but by the time 2008 had rolled around that figure had skyrocketed to 21.0 percent.
22 – It is not just the federal government with a debt problem. State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP. Many state and local governments are even closer to going broke than the federal government is.
23 – If you can believe it, during 2010 an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States. Our economy is literally being gutted like a fish.
24 – Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
25 – According to Shadow Government Statistics, the “real” rate of unemployment in the United States is creeping up toward 25 percent.
26 – The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (an agency of the federal government) says that it ran a deficit of $26 billion during the fiscal year that just ended and that it will probably need a bailout from the federal government.
27 – In the midst of everything else, the United States is bleeding national wealth like crazy. Tens of billions of dollars more goes out of this country each month than comes into it. Instead of improving, our trade deficit just keeps getting worse. For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.
28 – The U.S. housing crash is a crisis that never seems to end. According to one source, approximately 28 percent of all home loans in the United States are currently “underwater”. So what is going to happen if the economy gets even worse?
29 – The federal government has borrowed more than 29,000 dollars per household since Barack Obama first took office.
30 – 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about 15 times smaller than it is today. How in the world are we ever going to explain this foolishness to future generations?
Please share these facts with as many people as you can. The reality is that most Americans have no idea just how bad things have become.
Instead of dealing with the problems that this country is facing, most Americans just try to numb the pain. As a nation, we are incredibly addicted to pleasure and entertainment. It is so much easier to spend endless hours staring at the television than it is to get out there and try to do something to turn this country around.
America is in big time trouble. We desperately need a new generation of heroes to step up to the plate.
All of us have different talents and all of us have something that we can contribute.
Will you answer the call?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Prophets Of Doom: 12 Shocking Quotes From Insiders About The Horrific Economic Crisis That Is Almost Here

The Economic Collapse
Oct 1, 2011
Prophets Of Doom: 12 Shocking Quotes From Insiders About The Horrific Economic Crisis That Is Almost Here Prophets Of Doom 12 Shocking Quotes From Insiders That Are Warning About The Horrific Economic Crisis That Is Almost Here
We are getting so close to a financial collapse in Europe that you can almost hear the debt bubbles popping. All across the western world, governments and major banks are rapidly becoming insolvent. So far, the powers that be are keeping all of the balls in the air by throwing around lots of bailout money. But now the political will for more bailouts is drying up and the number of troubled entities seems to grow by the day. Right now the western world is facing a debt crisis that is absolutely unprecedented in world history. Europe has had a tremendously difficult time just trying to keep Greece afloat, and several much larger European countries are now on the verge of a major financial crisis. In addition, there is a growing number of very large financial institutions all over the western world that are also rapidly approaching a day of reckoning. The global financial system is a sea or red ink, and when we get to the point where there are hundreds of ships going under how is it going to be possible to bail all of them out? The quotes that you are about to read show that quite a few top financial and political insiders know that things cannot hold together much longer and that a horrific economic crisis is coming. We built the global financial system on a foundation of debt, leverage and risk and now this house of cards that we have created is about to come tumbling down.

A lot of people in politics and in the financial world know what is about to happen. Once in a while they will even be quite candid about it with the media.

As I have written about previously, Europe is on the verge of a financial collapse. If things go really badly, things could totally fall apart in a few weeks. But more likely it will be a few more months until the juggling act ends.

Right now, the banking system in Europe is coming apart at the seams. Because the global financial system is so interconnected today, when major European banks start to fail it is going to have a cascading effect across the United States and Asia as well.

The financial crisis of 2008 plunged us into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
The next financial crisis could potentially hit the world even harder.

The following are 12 shocking quotes from insiders that are warning about the horrific economic crisis that is almost here….

#1 George Soros: “Financial markets are driving the world towards another Great Depression with incalculable political consequences. The authorities, particularly in Europe, have lost control of the situation.”

#2 PIMCO CEO Mohammed El-Erian: “These are all signs of an institutional run on French banks. If it persists, the banks would have no choice but to delever their balance sheets in a very drastic and disorderly fashion. Retail depositors would get edgy and be tempted to follow trading and institutional clients through the exit doors. Europe would thus be thrown into a full-blown banking crisis that aggravates the sovereign debt trap, renders certain another economic recession, and significantly worsens the outlook for the global economy.”

#3 Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy, global head of securities services at UniCredit SpA (Italy’s largest bank): “The only remaining question is how many days the hopeless rearguard action of European governments and the European Central Bank can keep up Greece’s spirits.”

#4 Stefan Homburg, the head of Germany’s Institute for Public Finance: “The euro is nearing its ugly end. A collapse of monetary union now appears unavoidable.”

#5 EU Parliament Member Nigel Farage: “I think the worst in the financial system is yet to come, a possible cataclysm and if that happens the gold price could go (higher) to a number that we simply cannot, at this moment, even imagine.”

#6 Carl Weinberg, the chief economist at High Frequency Economics: “At this point, our base case is that Greece will default within weeks.”

#7 Goldman Sachs strategist Alan Brazil: “Solving a debt problem with more debt has not solved the underlying problem. In the US, Treasury debt growth financed the US consumer but has not had enough of an impact on job growth. Can the US continue to depreciate the world’s base currency?”

#8 International Labour Organization director general Juan Somavia recently stated that total unemployment could “increase by some 20m to a total of 40m in G20 countries” by the end of 2012.

#9 Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackerman: “It is an open secret that numerous European banks would not survive having to revalue sovereign debt held on the banking book at market levels.”

#10 Alastair Newton, a strategist for Nomura Securities in London: “We believe that we are just about to enter a critical period for the eurozone and that the threat of some sort of break-up between now and year-end is greater than it has been at any time since the start of the crisis”

#11 Ann Barnhardt, head of Barnhardt Capital Management, Inc.: “It’s over. There is no coming back from this. The only thing that can happen is a total and complete collapse of EVERYTHING we now know, and humanity starts from scratch. And if you think that this collapse is going to play out without one hell of a big hot war, you are sadly, sadly mistaken.”

#12 Lakshman Achuthan of ECRI: “When I call a recession…that means that process is starting to feed on itself, which means that you can yell and scream and you can write a big check, but it’s not going to stop.”

In my opinion, the epicenter of the “next wave” of the financial collapse is going to be in Europe. But that does not mean that the United States is going to be okay. The reality is that the United States never recovered from the last recession and there are already a lot of signs that we are getting ready to enter another major recession. A major financial collapse in Europe would just accelerate our plunge into a new economic crisis.

If you want to read something that will really freak you out, you should check out what Dr. Philippa Malmgren is saying. Dr. Philippa Malmgren is the President and founder of Principalis Asset Management. She is also a former member of the Bush economic team. You can find her bio right here.

Malmgren is claiming that Germany is seriously considering bringing back the Deutschmark. In fact, she claims that Germany is very busy printing new currency up. In a list of things that we could see happen over the next few months, she included the following….
“The Germans announce they are re-introducing the Deutschmark. They have already ordered the new currency and asked that the printers hurry up.”
This is quite a claim for someone to be making. You would think that someone that used to work in the White House would not make such a claim unless it was based on something solid.

If Germany did decide to leave the euro, you would see an implosion of the euro that would be truly historic.

But as I have written about previously, it should not surprise anyone that the end of the euro is being talked about because the euro simply does not work.

The only way that the euro would have had a chance of working is if all of the governments using the euro would have kept debt levels very low.

Unfortunately, the financial systems of the western world are designed to push governments into high levels of debt.

The truth is that the euro was doomed from the very beginning.

Now we are approaching a day of reckoning. We have been living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, but the bubble is ending. There are several ways that the powers that be could handle this, but all of them will lead to greater financial instability.

In the end, we will see that the debt-fueled prosperity that the western world has been enjoying for decades was just an illusion.

Debt is a very cruel master. It will almost always bring more pain and suffering than you anticipated.
It is easy to get into debt, but it can be very difficult to get out of debt.

There is no way that the western world can unwind this debt spiral easily.

The only way that another massive economic crisis can be put off for even a little while would be for the powers that be to “kick the can down the road” a little farther by creating even more debt.

But in the end, you can never solve a debt problem with more debt.

The next several years are going to be an incredibly clear illustration of why debt is bad.

When the dominoes start to fall, we are going to witness a financial avalanche which is going to destroy the finances of millions of people.

You might want to try to get out of the way while you still can.

Monday, September 26, 2011

America and Europe: Saving the Rich and Losing the Economy

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Prisonplanet.comSept 26, 2011
Economic policy in the United States and Europe has failed, and people are suffering.
Economic policy failed for three reasons: (1) policymakers focused on enabling offshoring corporations to move middle class jobs, and the consumer demand, tax base, GDP, and careers associated with the jobs, to foreign countries, such as China and India, where labor is inexpensive; (2) policymakers permitted financial deregulation that unleashed fraud and debt leverage on a scale previously unimaginable; (3) policymakers responded to the resulting financial crisis by imposing austerity on the population and running the printing press in order to bail out banks and prevent any losses to the banks regardless of the cost to national economies and innocent parties.

Jobs offshoring was made possible because the collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in China and India opening their vast excess supplies of labor to Western exploitation. Pressed by Wall Street for higher profits, US corporations relocated their factories abroad. Foreign labor working with Western capital, technology, and business know-how is just as productive as US labor. However, the excess supplies of labor (and lower living standards) mean that Indian and Chinese labor can be hired for less than labor’s contribution to the value of output. The difference flows into profits, resulting in capital gains for shareholders and performance bonuses for executives.

As reported by Manufacturing and Technology News (September 20, 2011) the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages reports that in the last 10 years, the US lost 54,621 factories, and manufacturing employment fell by 5 million employees. Over the decade, the number of larger factories (those employing 1,000 or more employees) declined by 40 percent. US factories employing 500-1,000 workers declined by 44 percent; those employing between 250-500 workers declined by 37 percent, and those employing between 100-250 workers shrunk by 30 percent.

These losses are net of new start-ups. Not all the losses are due to offshoring. Some are the result of business failures.

US politicians, such as Buddy Roemer, blame the collapse of US manufacturing on Chinese competition and “unfair trade practices.” However, it is US corporations that move their factories abroad, thus replacing domestic production with imports. Half of US imports from China consist of the offshored production of US corporations.

The wage differential is substantial. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2009, average hourly take-home pay for US workers was $23.03. Social insurance expenditures add $7.90 to hourly compensation and benefits paid by employers add $2.60 per hour for a total labor compensation cost of $33.53.

In China as of 2008, total hourly labor cost was $1.36, and India’s is within a few cents of this amount. Thus, a corporation that moves 1,000 jobs to China saves saves $32,000 every hour in labor cost.These savings translate into higher stock prices and executive compensation, not in lower prices for consumers who are left unemployed by the labor arbitrage.

Republican economists blame “high” US wages for for the current high rate of unemployment. However, US wages are about the lowest in the developed world. They are far below hourly labor cost in Norway ($53.89), Denmark ($49.56), Belgium ($49.40), Austria ($48.04), and Germany ($46.52). The US might have the world’s largest economy, but its hourly workers rank 14th on the list of the best paid. Americans also have a higher unemployment rate. The “headline” rate that the media hypes is 9.1 percent, but this rate does not include any discouraged workers or workers forced into part-time jobs because no full-time jobs are available.

The US government has another unemployment rate (U6) that includes workers who have been too discouraged to seek a job for six months or less. This unemployment rate is over 16 percent. Statistician John Williams ( estimates the unemployment rate when long-term discouraged workers (more than six months) are included. This rate is over 22 percent.

Most emphasis is on the lost manufacturing jobs. However, the high speed Internet has made it possible to offshore many professional service jobs, such as software engineering, Information Technology, research and design. Jobs that comprised ladders of upward mobility for US college graduates have been moved offshore, thus reducing the value to Americans of many university degrees. Unlike former times, today an increasing number of graduates return home to live with their parents as there are insufficient jobs to support their independent existence.

All the while, the US government allows in each year one million legal immigrants, an unknown number of illegal immigrants, and a large number of foreign workers on H-1B and L-1 work visas. In other words, the policies of the US government maximize the unemployment rate of American citizens.

Republican economists and politicians pretend that this is not the case and that unemployed Americans consist of people too lazy to work who game the welfare system. Republicans pretend that cutting unemployment benefits and social assistance will force “lazy people who are living off the taxpayers” to go to work.

To deal with the adverse impact on the economy from the loss of jobs and consumer demand from offshoring, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates in order to create a real estate boom. Lower interest rates pushed up real estate prices. People refinanced their houses and spent the equity. Construction, furniture and appliance sales boomed. But unlike previous expansions based on rising real income, this one was based on an increase in consumer indebtedness.
There is a limit to how much debt can increase in relation to income, and when this limit was reached, the bubble popped.

When consumer debt could rise no further, the large fraudulent component in mortgage-backed derivatives and the unreserved swaps (AIG, for example) threatened financial institutions with insolvency and froze the banking system. Banks no longer trusted one another. Cash was hoarded. Treasury Secretary Paulson, browbeat Congress into massive taxpayer loans to financial institutions that functioned as casinos. The Paulson Bailout (TARP) was large but insignificant compared to the $16.1 trillion (a sum larger than US GDP or national debt) that the Federal Reserve lent to private financial institutions in the US and Europe.

In making these loans, the Federal Reserve violated its own rules. At this point, capitalism ceased to function. The financial institutions were “too big to fail,” and thus taxpayer subsidies took the place of bankruptcy and reorganization. In a word, the US financial system was socialized as the losses of the American financial institutions were transferred to taxpayers.

European banks were swept up into the financial crisis by their unwitting purchase of the junk financial instruments marketed by Wall Street. The financial junk had been given investment grade rating by the same incompetent agency that recently downgraded US Treasury bonds.

The Europeans had their own bailouts, often with American money (Federal Reserve loans). All the while Europe was brewing an additional crisis of its own. By joining the European Union and (except for the UK) accepting a common European currency, the individual member countries lost the services of their own central banks as creditors. In the US and UK the two countries’ central banks can print money with which to purchase US and UK debt. This is not possible for member countries in the EU.
When financial crisis from excessive debt hit the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) their central banks could not print euros in order to buy up their bonds, as the Federal Reserve did with “quantitative easing.” Only the European Central Bank (ECB) can create euros, and it is prevented by charter and treaty from printing euros in order to bail out sovereign debt.

In Europe, as in the US, the driver of economic policy quickly became saving the private banks from losses on their portfolios. A deal was struck with the socialist government of Greece, which represented the banks and not the Greek people. The ECB would violate its charter and together with the IMF, which would also violate its charter, would lend enough money to the Greek government to avoid default on its sovereign bonds to the private banks that had purchased the bonds. In return for the ECB and IMF loans and in order to raise the money to repay them, the Greek government had to agree to sell to private investors the national lottery, Greece’s ports and municipal water systems, a string of islands that are a national preserve, and in addition to impose a brutal austerity on the Greek people by lowering wages, cutting social benefits and pensions, raising taxes, and laying off or firing government workers.

In other words, the Greek population is to be sacrificed to a small handful of foreign banks in Germany, France and the Netherlands.

The Greek people, unlike “their” socialist government, did not regard this as a good deal. They have been in the streets ever since.

Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the ECB, said that the austerity imposed on Greece was a first step. If Greece did not deliver on the deal, the next step was for the EU to take over Greece’s political sovereignty, make its budget, decide its taxation, decide its expenditures and from this process squeeze out enough from Greeks to repay the ECB and IMF for lending Greece the money to pay the private banks.

In other words, Europe under the EU and Jean-Claude Trichet is a return to the most extreme form of feudalism in which a handful of rich are pampered at the expense of everyone else.

This is what economic policy in the West has become–a tool of the wealthy used to enrich themselves by spreading poverty among the rest of the population.

On September 21 the Federal Reserve announced a modified QE 3. The Federal Reserve announced that the bank would purchase $400 billion of long-term Treasury bonds over the next nine months in an effort to drive long-term US interest rates even further below the rate of inflation, thus maximizing the negative rate of return on the purchase of long-term Treasury bonds. The Federal Reserve officials say that this will lower mortgage rates by a few basis points and renew the housing market.

The officials say that QE 3, unlike its predecessors, will not result in the Federal Reserve printing more dollars in order to monetize US debt. Instead, the central bank will raise money for the bond purchases by selling holdings of short-term debt. Apparently, the Federal Reserve believes it can do this without raising short-term interest rates, because back during the recent debt-ceiling-government-shutdown-crisis, the Federal Reserve promised banks that it would keep the short-term interest rate (essentially zero) constant for two years.

The Fed’s new policy will do far more harm than good. Interest rates are already negative. To make them more so will have no positive effect. People aren’t buying houses because interest rates are too high, but because they are either unemployed or worried about their jobs and do not see a recovering economy.

Already insurance companies can make no money on their investments. Consequently, they are unable to build their reserves against claims. Their only alternative is to raise their premiums. The cost of a homeowner’s policy will go up by more than the cost of a mortgage will decline. The cost of health insurance will go up. The cost of car insurance will rise. The Federal Reserve’s newly announced policy will impose more costs on the economy than it will reduce.

In addition, in America today savings earn nothing. Indeed, they produce an ongoing loss as the interest rate is below the inflation rate. The Federal Reserve has interest rates so low that only professionals who are playing arbitrage with algorithm programmed computer models can make money. The typical saver and investor can get nothing on bank CDs, money market funds, municipal and government bonds. Only high risk debt, such as Greek and Spanish bonds, pay an interest rate that is higher than inflation.

For four years interest rates, when properly measured, have been negative. Americans are getting by, maintaining living standards, by consuming their capital. Even those with a cushion are eating their seed corn. The path that the US economy is on means that the number of Americans without resources to sustain them will be rising. Considering the extraordinary political incompetence of the Democratic Party, the right-wing of the Republican Party, which is committed to eliminating income support programs, could find itself in power. If the right-wing Republicans implement their program, the US will be beset with political and social instability. As Gerald Celente says, “when people have have nothing left to lose, they lose it.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A President Who is Helpless in the Face of Middle East Reality

Obama's UN speech insists Israelis and Palestinians are equal parties to conflict
By Robert Fisk

September 23, 2011 "
The Independent" --Today should be Mahmoud Abbas's finest hour. Even The New York Times has discovered that "a grey man of grey suits and sensible shoes, may be slowly emerging from his shadow".
But this is nonsense. The colourless leader of the Palestinian Authority, who wrote a 600-page book on his people's conflict with Israel without once mentioning the word "occupation", should have no trouble this evening in besting Barack Hussein Obama's pathetic, humiliating UN speech on Wednesday in which he handed US policy in the Middle East over to Israel's gimmick government.

For the American President who called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, an end to the theft of Arab land in the West Bank – Israeli "settlements" is what he used to call it – and a Palestinian state by 2011, Obama's performance was pathetic.

As usual, Hanan Ashrawi, the only eloquent Palestinian voice in New York this week, got it right. "I couldn't believe what I heard," she told Haaretz, that finest of Israeli newspapers. "It sounded as though the Palestinians were the ones occupying Israel. There wasn't one word of empathy for the Palestinians. He spoke only of the Israelis' troubles..." Too true. And as usual, the sanest Israeli journalists, in their outspoken condemnation of Obama, proved that the princes of American journalists were cowards. "The limp, unimaginative speech that US President Barack Obama delivered at the United Nations... reflects how helpless the American President is in the face of Middle East realities," Yael Sternhell wrote.

And as the days go by, and we discover whether the Palestinians respond to Obama's grovelling performance with a third intifada or with a shrug of weary recognition that this is how things always were, the facts will continue to prove that the US administration remains a tool of Israel when it comes to Israel's refusal to give the Palestinians a state.

How come, let's ask, that the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, flew from Tel Aviv to New York for the statehood debate on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's own aircraft? How come Netanyahu was too busy chatting to the Colombian President to listen to Obama's speech? He only glanced through the Palestinian bit of the text when he was live-time, face to face with the American President. This wasn't "chutzpah". This was insult, pure and simple.

And Obama deserved it. After praising the Arab Spring/Summer/ Autumn, whatever – yet again running through the individual acts of courage of Arab Tunisians and Egyptians as if he had been behind the Arab Awakening all along, the man dared to give the Palestinians 10 minutes of his time, slapping them in the face for daring to demand statehood from the UN. Obama even – and this was the funniest part of his preposterous address to the UN – suggested that the Palestinians and Israelis were two equal "parties" to the conflict.

A Martian listening to this speech would think, as Ms Ashrawi suggested, that the Palestinians were occupying Israel rather than the other way round. No mention of Israeli occupation, no mention of refugees, or the right of return or of the theft of Arab Palestinian land by the Israeli government against all international law. But plenty of laments for the besieged people of Israel, rockets fired at their houses, suicide bombs – Palestinian sins, of course, but no reference to the carnage of Gaza, the massive death toll of Palestinians – and even the historical persecution of the Jewish people and the Holocaust.

That persecution is a fact of history. So is the evil of the Holocaust. But THE PALESTINIANS DID NOT COMMIT THESE ACTS. It was the Europeans – whose help in denying Palestinian statehood Obama is now seeking – who committed this crime of crimes. So we were then back to the "equal parties", as if the Israeli occupiers and the occupied Palestinians were on a level playing ground.

Madeleine Albright used to adopt this awful lie. "It's up to the parties themselves," she would say, washing her hands, Pilate-like, of the whole business the moment Israel threatened to call out its supporters in America. Heaven knows if Mahmoud Abbas can produce a 1940 speech at the UN today. But at least we all know who the appeaser is.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor’s Demise As A Countervailing Power: "Labor Day" should be renamed "Corporation Day" or "War Day"

September 3, 2011

It is Labor Day weekend, 2011, but labor has nothing to celebrate. The jobs that once gave American workers a stake in capitalism have left and gone away. Corporations in pursuit of near-term profits have moved labor’s jobs to China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea and Eastern Europe.

Labor arbitrage, that is, the substitution of foreign labor that is paid less than its productivity for American labor, has enriched Wall Street, shareholders and corporate CEOs, but it has devastated American employment, household incomes, tax base, and the outlook for the US economy.

This Labor Day week-end’s job report, announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, September 2, says zero net new jobs were created in August, a number 250,000 less than the amount of monthly job creation necessary to make progress in reducing America’s high rate of unemployment.

The zero figure is actually an optimistic number. As John Williams ( has made clear, problems with the BLS’s seasonal adjustments and “birth-death” model during the prolonged downturn that began in December 2007 result in the BLS over-estimating new jobs and underestimating lost jobs.

Seasonal adjustments and the “birth-death” model were designed with a growing economy in mind and result in miscounts during downturns. For example, the “birth-death” model estimates new jobs that are created from new start-up companies that are not yet reporting, and it estimates the job losses from companies that have gone out of business. In a growing economy, start-ups exceed jobs losses, but the situation reverses during downturns or during periods of sub-normal job growth. For the past forty-four months, the “birth-death” model has overestimated the number of new jobs created. When the annual revisions are made to the job reports, the excess jobs are taken out, but it is seldom headline news.

The reason that nearly four years of economic stimulus, consisting of large federal budget deficits and near zero interest rates, hasn’t revived the economy is that the jobs that Americans once had have been moved offshore. Stimulus cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been given to foreign countries.

Post-World War II Keynesian economists, such as Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, think that if the federal government would add more stimulus by enlarging the already massive federal deficit, new jobs would somehow be created to take the place of those that have left. This is a delusion. Not only have the supply chains necessary to support US economic activity been disrupted and broken by offshoring, but also the same incentive--excess supplies of foreign labor that produces more value than it is paid--that sent jobs abroad is still operative.

In a word, the US economy has been de-industrializing, moving from a developed to an underdeveloped economy, for the past two decades. It has been the case for many years that when the US economy manages to eke out new jobs, they are in non-tradable domestic services, such as health care and social assistance, waitresses and bar tenders, retail clerks. Non-tradable employment consists of jobs that do not produce goods and services that could be exported to reduce the large US trade deficit.

The long-term deterioration in the US economy has been covered up by “reforming” the official measures of unemployment and inflation. The U3 measure of unemployment, the current 9.1% unemployment rate, only measures unemployment among those who are actively seeking a job. Those who have become discouraged by the inability to find a job and have ceased looking are not counted as being among the unemployed, and the U3 measure makes no adjustment for those who are forced into part-time jobs because there is no full-time employment.

The government knows that the U3 “headline” unemployment rate is seriously understated and provides a broader measure known as U6. This measure, which is seldom reported by the financial media, includes short-term discouraged workers (those who have not looked for jobs for six months or less) and an adjustment for those who wish full time employment but can only find part time work. Currently, this measure of unemployment stands at 16.2%.

In 1994 the Clinton “progressive” administration defined long-term discouraged workers out of existence. Consequently, no official unemployment rate includes long-term (more than six months) discouraged workers as unemployed. John Williams estimates this number and adds it to the U6 measure to produce a current rate of US unemployment of 22.7%, an unemployment rate 2.5 times higher than the official rate.

Similar understatement exists in the measure of inflation known as the Consumer Price Index. In order to reduce cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security checks and to hold down other inflation adjustments, the “progressive” Clinton administration accepted the Boskin Commission’s recommendation to introduce substitution into what had been a fixed, weighted, basket of goods used to measure the cost of a constant standard of living. In the new “reformed” measure, if the price of an item increases, say New York strip steak, the index assumes that consumers switch to a less expensive cut, such as round steak. Thus, the price increase doesn’t show up in the CPI.

Consumers, or a number of them, do tend to behave in this way. However, since the basket of goods comprising the CPI is no longer constant, but changes with price changes, the CPI has become a variable measure of the cost of living that reduces the inflation rate by measuring a lower standard of living.

John Williams estimates the CPI according to the previous official methodology that used a fixed basket of goods. He finds the rate of inflation to be much higher than is reported by the substitution-based methodology.

The understatement of inflation serves to boost real Gross Domestic Product growth. In order to compare how much larger (or smaller) the economy is this year compared to last year, the GDP figure has to be adjusted for inflation. If the economy grew 5% in nominal terms and inflation was 3%, then GDP grew 2% in real terms, that is, real goods and services, as opposed to mere price rises, increased 2% over the year.

When John Williams adjusts US GDP with the former or traditional measure of inflation, he finds that there has been no growth in real GDP for several years. In other words, during the period of “economic recovery” the economy has actually been declining.

American economic decline began with offshoring during the Clinton administration. Instead of addressing this threat, the Clinton administration launched the neoconservative program of American Empire with American and NATO naked aggression against Serbia, sending the Serbian leader off to be tried as a war criminal for resisting the dissolution of his country.

The Bush/Cheney regime elevated the pursuit of American Empire under cover of “the war on terror.” Based entirely on lies and falsified intelligence, Bush/Cheney launched wars against the Taliban, who were unifying Afghanistan, and against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

In the 1980s Hussein was used by Washington to launch a war against the revolutionary government in Iran that had overthrown the American puppet government, headed by the Shah of Iran. Ever since Washington lost its puppet rule over the Iranians, Washington has refused diplomatic relations with Iran. In the place of diplomatic relations, Washington demonizes Iran in order to set the country up for another attack a la Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. Syria is next.

Saddam Hussein’s service to Washington was overlooked when it became more important to eliminate support for Hamas and Hezbollah, two barriers to Israel’s expansion in the Middle East, than to maintain Washington’s gratitude to an Iraqi pawn.

Despite unequivocal reports from arms inspectors that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and most certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, top Bush/Cheney regime officials demonized Iraq as the greatest threat to America. The imagery of mushroom clouds from nuclear weapons was evoked, A war was launched entirely on false pretexts that destroyed a country and left over one million Iraqis dead and four million displaced. What Washington did to Iraq is what the Nazis were tried and executed for at the Nuremberg Trials.

Obama was elected in order to stop the illegal and senseless wars. Instead, Obama both continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expanded the wars into Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen. Since the deregulation of the financial system under the Bush/Cheney regime and the “war on terror,” the entire economy of the US has been sacrificed for the benefit of the financial sector and the military/security complex.

Labor Day is an anachronism. It should be renamed Corporation Day or War Day to celebrate the success of Bush/Obama in eliminating labor unions as a countervailing power to corporate power and the elevation of War as the highest goal of the American state.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Four Years Later: The Kennebunkport Warning of August 2007 Confirmed by Dick Cheney in his New Autobiography

Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
August 31, 2011

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the Kennebunkport Warning, whose text the reader will find elsewhere on the web site, together with related documentation. The Kennebunkport Warning of late August 2007 sought to prevent a false flag terror operation designed by the US-UK rogue network to facilitate an attack on Iran and/or Syria. Today, four years later, world events have come full circle, and we must once again be on guard for a new and wider war in the same region. This might take the form of an attack by Turkey on Syria, organized in advance with the NATO command and occurring under the cover story of events inside Syria, where an uprising of armed commandos of the Moslem Brotherhood now appears to have been largely quelled by the Syrian Army.

In order to attack Syria without being portrayed as an aggressor, Turkey will need a better pretext. Given the traditions of NATO, it is likely that an attempt will be made to furnish such a pretext in the form of a false flag terror event inside Turkey to be blamed on Syria or Hezbollah, or in the form of an staged Gulf of Tonkin incident to permit the charge that Syria attacked Turkey first. Or, a large massacre of Moslem Brotherhood supporters inside Syria could be carried out in reality or merely simulated on a Hollywood set in Doha, Qatar, to motivate an invasion based on humanitarian grounds.

Cheney’s June 2007 Demand for an Attack on Syria

Dick Cheney
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney is about to publish his autobiography, In My Time. Here, according to pre-publication press accounts, Cheney describes his June 2007 attempt to convince Bush to launch a bombing attack on Syria over the alleged Syrian nuclear program. Cheney says that he raised the issue, apparently at a meeting of the National Security Council. Bush asked if there was any support for the idea, and there was none. So, Cheney’s attempt to launch the attack on Syria by way of legal and institutional channels failed.

Cheney does not relate in his book what happened then. The US rogue network (variously referred to as invisible government, secret government, parallel government, or deep state – of which Cheney is a spokesman, operative, or appendage), having been rebuffed by the legal government in the form of the Bush NSC, characteristically sought to carry out the desired attack anyway, by illegal means.

It was around July 21, 2007 that I posted on the internet an article entitled “Cheney Determined to Strike in US.” This article became the headline story on the front page of the Rock Creek Free Press, and was thus widely distributed in boxes all over Washington DC, especially around Metro stations.
During August 2007, “Cheney Determined to Strike in US” was a very accurate description of the central political reality. This is what Cheney has now confirmed for us in his autobiography.

The Rogue B-52, Hijacked by the Parallel Government

Rogue network personnel embedded in the US Air Force hijacked a US Air Force B-52 intercontinental strategic bomber equipped with six nuclear-armed cruise missiles and flew it from Minot AFB in Colorado to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, the latter being the main point of departure for US flights to the Middle East. This flight was made totally outside of the command and control procedures of the US Air Force; it was an invisible government operation. It is clear that this rogue B-52 was intended to join the Israeli attack on Syria, which did in fact occur at the end of the first week of September, 2007.

Fortunately, the flight of this hijacked rogue B-52 towards the Middle East was blocked on the runway at Barksdale. This was done partly by rival intelligence factions, whose clash enveloped official Washington in a test of wills. In the end, the neocon faction was defeated, and the Brzezinski faction gained the upper hand.

In the background, it is entirely possible that the Kennebunkport Warning, for which signatures had been organized by Bruce Marshall and others, was on its way to being posted on over 110,000 websites, contributed something to blocking the flight of the rogue B-52.

In the wake of these events, a number of individuals and web sites in the 9/11 truth movement outdid themselves in condemning not the faction behind Cheney, but rather the Kennebunkport Warning and its supporters. They should have been agitating for an immediate investigation of the rogue B-52, which might have exposed some of the tentacles of the rogue network, which has remained more or less untouched. By their actions, these individuals and web sites helped usher in the substantial collapse of the 9/11 truth movement, which largely fell apart during 2008 and 2009.

The following summary of issues around the Kennebunkport Warning, written in October 2007, sums up the lessons of these events. Continue reading Four Years Later: The Kennebunkport Warning of August 2007 Confirmed by Dick Cheney in his New Autobiography