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The FDA Is Not Protecting You!
Sunscreen May Actually Accelerate Cancer
Birth Defects Caused By World’s Top-Selling Weedkiller
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Today, the director of Farmageddon, Kristin Canty, stops by to give you the inside story on what really happened during the Rawesome Foods raid and why her documentary is so important for every American to see! Plus, is America becoming a dictatorship right before our eyes?
Congress’ Next Challenge: Forming The Debt “Super Committee”
Shift On Executive Power Lets Obama Bypass Rivals
Rise Of The Petty Dictator
Two-Party Dictatorship: US Choosing Lesser Evil?
Judge Allows American To Sue Rumsfeld Over Torture
Is Western Democracy Real Or A Facade?
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March 29, 2012
By Barry Grey
While the United States remains mired in the deepest slump since the Great Depression, President Barack Obama is touting a modest improvement in employment over the past several months to boost his electoral prospects in November.
The three-month period from December through February has, according to the Labor Department, seen a net gain of 744,000 jobs, the largest for any three-month stretch since 2006. The official jobless rate has fallen from 9.1 percent in September to 8.3 percent in February.
It is necessary to place these gains within the context of the catastrophic collapse in employment that followed the Wall Street crash of 2008, which has left the US economy with 5 million fewer jobs than at the official start of the recession in December 2007. At the height of the crash, US businesses were cutting more than 744,000 jobs every month.
While the US economy added 335,000 net new manufacturing jobs in 2010 and 2011 combined, it lost 1.6 million manufacturing jobs between January 2008 and March 2009, a reduction of 10 percent. The current level of 12 million manufacturing jobs is down 7.5 million from its peak in 1979.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking Monday at a business conference in Washington DC, was notably cautious about the recent upturn in employment figures. He suggested that the improvement in the labor market could not be sustained at the current rate of economic growth.
“A significant portion of the improvement in the labor market has reflected a decline in layoffs rather than an increase in hiring,” he said, adding, “Conditions remain far from normal, as shown, for example, by the high level of long-term unemployment and the fact that jobs and hours remain well below pre-crisis peaks, even without adjusting for growth in the labor force.”
What Obama and his supporters in the trade union apparatus conceal is the basis for the modest growth in jobs in general, and manufacturing jobs in particular. The president hinted at the question when he spoke last month at the Master Lock factory in Milwaukee. “Our job as a nation,” he declared, “is to do everything we can to make the decision to insource more attractive for more companies.”
What Obama has been doing is spearheading an intensified assault on the working class. He has escalated the attack on working class living standards that has been underway for more than three decades, focusing on a drastic and permanent reduction in wages and benefits. There have been several stages in this process.
In the months immediately following the financial meltdown in September 2008, US corporations carried out massive layoffs, using unemployment as a weapon to bludgeon the working class into accepting unprecedented concessions. Big business employed new technology (automation, computerization) as well as speedup to cut costs and rapidly return to record profits on the basis of a smaller work force, despite lagging sales and revenues.
Obama’s forced restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 ushered in a wave of wage- and benefit-cutting throughout the private sector. The bailout of the auto giants was predicated on the agreement of the United Auto Workers union to impose a 50 percent wage cut and the gutting of pensions and benefits for all newly hired workers. This set a new benchmark of $12-$15 an hour for US auto workers, previously among the highest paid manufacturing workers in the world, reducing wages to near-poverty levels.
Februry 10, 2012
The 50-state settlement with the banks (Oklahoma didn’t sign, but supports letting the banks go scot-free) over mortgage fraud is a stealth bank bailout, according to many top observers. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
This is par for the course … All of Obama’s previous “mortgage relief” programs have really been stealth bank bailouts which screwed the homeowner. And see this.
Most independent experts say that the government’s housing programs have been a failure. That’s too bad, given that the housing slump is now … worse than during the Great Depression.
Indeed, PhD economists John Hussman and Dean Baker, fund manager and financial writer Barry Ritholtz and New York Times’ writer Gretchen Morgenson say that the only reason the government keeps giving billions to Fannie and Freddie is that it is really a huge, ongoing, back-door bailout of the big banks.
Many also accuse Obama’s foreclosure relief programs as being backdoor bailouts for the banks. (See this, this, this and this).
Settling prosecutions for pennies on the dollar is a form of stealth bailout. It is also arguably one of the main causes of the double dip in housing.
January 26, 2012
A government watchdog says U.S. taxpayers are still owed $132.9 billion that companies haven’t repaid from the financial bailout, and some of that will never be recovered.
The bailout launched at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008 will continue to exist for years, says a report issued Thursday by Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the $700 billion bailout. Some bailout programs, such as the effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing mortgage payments, will last as late as 2017, costing the government an additional $51 billion or so.
The gyrating stock market has slowed the Treasury Department’s efforts to sell off its stakes in 458 bailed-out companies, the report says. They include insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG), General Motors Co. (GM) and Ally Financial Inc.
If Treasury plans to sell its stock in the three companies at or above the price where taxpayers would break even on their investment – $28.73 a share for AIG, $53.98 for GM – it may take a long time for the market to rebound to that level, the report says. AIG’s shares closed Wednesday at $25.31, while GM ended at $24.92. Ally isn’t publicly traded.
It will also be challenging for the government to get out of the 458 companies as the market remains volatile and banks struggle keep afloat in the tough economy, it says.
Congress authorized $700 billion for the bailout of financial companies and automakers, and $413.4 billion was paid out. So far the government has recovered about $318 billion. The bailout is called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
“TARP is not over,” Romero said in a statement. She said her office will maintain its commitment to protect taxpayers for the duration of the program.
Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson said the department “has made substantial progress winding down TARP and has already recovered more than 77 percent of the funds disbursed for the program, through repayments and other income.”
“We’ll continue to balance the important goals of exiting our investments as soon as practicable and maximizing value for taxpayers,” Anderson said.
December 8, 2011
By Eliot Spitzer
Imagine you walked into a bank, applied for a personal line of credit, and filled out all the paperwork claiming to have no debts and an income of $200,000 per year. The bank, based on these representations, extended you the line of credit. Then, three years later, after fighting disclosure all the way, you were forced by a court to tell the truth: At the time you made the statements to the bank, you actually were unemployed, you had a $1 million mortgage on your house on which you had failed to make payments for six months, and you hadn’t paid even the minimum on your credit-card bills for three months. Do you think the bank would just say: Never mind, don’t worry about it? Of course not. Whether or not you had paid back the personal line of credit, three FBI agents would be at your door within hours.
Yet this is exactly what the major American banks have done to the public. During the deepest, darkest period of the financial cataclysm, the CEOs of major banks maintained in statements to the public, to the market at large, and to their own shareholders that the banks were in good financial shape, didn’t want to take TARP funds, and that the regulatory framework governing our banking system should not be altered. Trust us, they said. Yet, unknown to the public and the Congress, these same banks had been borrowing massive amounts from the government to remain afloat. The total numbers are staggering: $7.7 trillion of credit—one-half of the GDP of the entire nation. $460 billion was lent to J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley alone—without anybody other than a few select officials at the Fed and the Treasury knowing. This was perhaps the single most massive allocation of capital from public to private hands in our history, and nobody was told. This was not TARP: This was secret Fed lending. And although it has since been repaid, it is clear why the banks didn’t want us to know about it: They didn’t want to admit the magnitude of their financial distress.
December 7, 2011
The mind becomes confused and dismayed when confronted with chaotic situations it can hardly figure out – situations such as today’s Global Financial Woes. Maybe we’re looking too close-up. Let’s take a step back and look again…
Complexity is often engineered into what are basically simple problems by people who benefit from manufactured complications and have the power to control them. When money is involved, the powerful people who benefit from ripping off untold millions of hard workers make sure that their “money machine” will just keep steaming ahead. Take the ongoing Global Financial Crisis.
Firstly, it is not a “crisis” at all: what the world is confronted with today is a full-fledged, irreversible and unsustainable Global Financial Collapse that, if not properly addressed, may bring down the whole global economy with it.
Secondly, this has pushed the Real Economy into a “crisis” from which, if proper measures are taken, it can – and must! – be saved.Because all national economies are basically intact (although many have been badly clobbered!) they can be brought back to health.
Thirdly, the real core of today’s problem is that Finance – that virtual world of banking, fractional lending, usury compound interest, fraudulent derivatives, casino-like speculative “investments” and other parasitic and anti-social activities – has illegitimately risen above the Real Economy which is the world of work, production, manufacturing, effort, toil, sweat and creativity.
In numbers, we see that today Finance has grown to be 20, perhaps 30 times larger than the Real Economy.
First Key Question: HOW AND WHY did that happen?
Easy: all you need to grow Finance is to design a complex, perverse and fraudulent Model that will allow bankers and traders to type in irrational formulae into a Computer Spreadsheet (Spreadsheets never complain: they will compound interest and unsavory profits with no sweat!), so that it churns out “profits” for the few, making them grow and grow and grow. The Real Economy, however, uses WORK as its input, not funny virtual numbers. And work is what runs planet Earth: you need work, talent and effort to build new cars or airplanes or clothes or new homes or roads; work to bake more bread and harvest more food.That’s why the Real Economy can only grow arithmetically, whilst Virtual Finance can grow exponentially… Ah, there’s the rub!
Second Key Question: WHO made that happen?
Global Power Elite international bankers have been doing this openly, knowing few will understand what is actually happening. I mean, was not it former US Federal Reserve Bank governor Alan Greenspan who, during a black-tie Washington DC dinner of the American Enterprise Institute on 5 December 1996, “explained” away such inexplicable growth as being due to “irrational exuberance”? What a solid technical explanation coming from the then No. 1 Central Banker!
November 21, 2011
The Daily Mail
By Rick Dewsbury
“The government didn’t only bail out banks, but apparently they bail out super rich nephews of former presidents. Nice. Really nice.” –KTRN
The nephew of former president John F. Kennedy has been given a secret £1.4bn bailout for his company thanks to his White House connections, a new book has claimed.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr is said to have received the vast sum of tax-payers’ cash for his ‘green energy’ firm BrightSource while it was $1.8bn in debt in 2010.
The payment was made by Sanjay Wagle, a former BrightSource employee who after raising money for Barack Obama was rewarded with a job in the U.S. Department of Energy, it is claimed.
The revelation was made in an explosive new book, Throw The All Out, which exposes the secret financial deals of an inner circle of businessmen and politicians in the White House.
November 16, 2011
By Steve Saville
This is a point we touched on in a couple of earlier commentaries, but it is important enough to reiterate. The point is that the sovereign debt crisis began in Europe because the countries of the euro-zone (EZ) do not have captive central banks. A captive central bank is one that stands ready, willing and able to monetise all government debt should it become difficult or impossible to find other buyers for the debt.
A government with a captive central bank could always CHOOSE to directly default on its debt, but it will never be FORCED to do so because it will always have the option of selling more debt to the central bank in exchange for newly-created money. In other words, it will always have the option of going down the inflation path. The US federal government, for example, will never run short of dollars as long as the Fed exists. Earlier this year there was a brief period when it seemed as if the US government was in danger of running out of money, but this was just for show.
The US government’s debt situation is only marginally better than that of Italy’s government. Furthermore, Italy’s government has a much healthier balance sheet than Japan’s government. And yet, the 10-year bonds issued by Italy’s government currently yield more than 6%, while the 10-year bonds issued by the governments of the US and Japan yield 2.0% and 1.0%, respectively. The critical difference is that the governments of the US and Japan have their own central banks whereas the government of Italy shares a central bank with 16 other European governments. Of greatest relevance, Italy shares a central bank with inflation-shy Germany.
By way of further explanation we point out that Italy’s government could not attempt to inflate its way out of trouble without imposing a cost on German savers, and German savers, strangely enough, aren’t keen on donating some of their purchasing power to a bailout of Italy (or, to put it more aptly, to a bailout of the Italian government’s bondholders).
November 11, 2011
By Robert Scheer
There is no three-strikes law for crooked bankers, not even a law for a fifth strike, as The New York Times reported in the case of Citigroup, cited last month in a $1 billion fraud case. Unlike the California third-striker I once wrote about whom a district attorney wanted banished forever to state prison for stealing a piece of pizza from the plate of a person dining outdoors, Citigroup executives get off with a fine and by offering a promise not to do it again, and again and again.
As the Times reported when Citigroup agreed to settle SEC charges last month: “Citigroup’s main brokerage subsidiary, its predecessors or its parent company agreed to not violate the very same antifraud statue in July 2010. And in May 2006. Also as far back as March 2005 and April 2000.”
Not that the bankers face prison time, since the Justice Department has refused to act in these cases, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is bringing only civil charges, which the banks find quite tolerable. This time, the fine against Citigroup was $285 million, which may sound like a lot except that the bank raked off as much as $700 million on this particular toxic securities deal. As the Bloomberg news service editorialized, “… there should be only one answer from Jed S. Rakoff, the federal judge in New York assigned to weigh the merits of the agreement: You’ve got to be kidding.”