Tag Archives: economy

Gulf Oil Spill a (Purposeful) ‘Opportunity’?

Robert Gibbs says former FEMA director Michael Brown intimated that the Gulf Spill was ‘leaked on purpose’, though apparently, he made no such accusations. Is Gibbs leaking to us that it was a done on purpose?

Brown Never Said Obama Was Behind The Oil Spill


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Barack Obama turns the oil spill into his poor man’s 9/11 to revive Cap-and-Trade climate legislation

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s chief of staff, famously remarked. “And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” The extent to which his master has absorbed this maxim is demonstrated by Obama’s exploitation of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

After obsessively demonising “British Petroleum”, as his administration calls BP – a company 40 per cent British and 40 per cent American owned – Obama plumbed new depths this week by comparing the accident to the Twin Towers atrocity in 2001. To equate an environmental accident in which 11 workers tragically lost their lives with a ferocious terrorist attack that killed 2,995 people, 67 of them British, shows the extent to which Obama has lost touch with reality.

His agenda is to exaggerate the significance of the oil spill crisis to massive proportions, for two reasons. The first is that, the more Americans can be persuaded to regard the accident as a monumental, historic disaster, the less his patent impotence in the face of it will appear blameworthy. His second reason is that, in accordance with the Emanuel doctrine, he sees this as an opportunity to breathe new life into his moribund Cap-and-Trade climate change legislation.

The House of Representatives narrowly passed the climate change Bill last year, but it has stalled in the Senate. Last month, in the wake of the BP oil rig explosion, Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced a “compromise” Bill in the Senate to which Obama is desperate to give a fair wind. He is trying to whip up a green frenzy, to persuade Americans of the evil of oil. Yet ironically, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reminded his colleagues last week, “it’s been widely reported that a major part, a major part of the Kerry-Lieberman Bill was essentially written by BP”.

Cap-and-Trade is extremely difficult to pass in Congress, especially after the forcing through of the unpopular health care legislation, as more and more Americans begin to waken up to the consequences of Obama’s climate change programme. A freedom of information initiative has disclosed that, in contradiction of claims made by the administration, a study by the US Department of Treasury estimated that Cap-and-Trade laws would impose new taxation of up to $200bn a year, equivalent to a 15 per cent increase in income tax.

That is why Obama is trying, very unconvincingly, to brainwash Americans into thinking they are facing a crisis as grave as 9/11 – presumably casting BP as the new al-Qaeda – in order to gain support for legislation that would ratchet up energy prices, destroy jobs and cause the economy to contract. The fact that he is reduced to so transparent an imposture is testimony to how dramatically his status and credibility have shrunk during his 17 months in office. The latest Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll has his Presidential Approval Index rating at a humiliating –18, with 42 per cent strongly disapproving of his performance and just 24 per cent strongly approving. It is that haemorrhaging of support in the run-up to mid-term elections, rather than the oil leak, that is Obama’s real crisis.

Oil Spill, Climate Bill
Obama blocked clean-up of BP oil spill by America’s allies; Failed to issue timely Jones Act waiver
Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock before spill

Obama Nation: Ray of Hope has Already Darkened for Many

State of Obama Nation: One year on from America’s choice

The Coming Bank Crisis

Coming Soon: Banking Crisis of Historic Proportions

With everyone (well, almost everyone – I am one of the lonely skeptics) convinced that we have stepped back from the “edge of the abyss”, the title of this article may be viewed as laughable. When you connect the dots, as I will in this article, you will at least stop laughing, and, maybe, realize that we still have a big problem.

We have a confluence of five factors that have the potential to create damage to banking not seen in 80 years, and that includes the Great Depression. We’ll hit these factors one at a time.

First Factor: Banks Are Not Doing Enough Business
Second Factor: Banks Are Failing at a Rate Not Anticipated Two Months Ago
Third Factor: Defaults Are Going to Increase for Several More Quarters
Fourth Factor: The FDIC Is in Trouble
Fifth Factor: We May Be Going to Historic Lows in Bank Credit

Full Article

America’s Make Believe Economy

What Economy?
There’s Nothing Left to Recover
Paul Craig Roberts

There is no economy left to recover. The US manufacturing economy was lost to offshoring and free trade ideology. It was replaced by a mythical “New Economy.”

The “New Economy” was based on services. Its artificial life was fed by the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates, which produced a real estate bubble, and by “free market” financial deregulation, which unleashed financial gangsters to new heights of debt leverage and fraudulent financial products.

The real economy was traded away for a make-believe economy. When the make-believe economy collapsed, Americans’ wealth in their real estate, pensions, and savings collapsed dramatically while their jobs disappeared.

The debt economy caused Americans to leverage their assets. They refinanced their homes and spent the equity. They maxed out numerous credit cards. They worked as many jobs as they could find. Debt expansion and multiple family incomes kept the economy going.

And now suddenly Americans can’t borrow in order to spend. They are over their heads in debt. Jobs are disappearing. America’s consumer economy, approximately 70% of GDP, is dead. Those Americans who still have jobs are saving against the prospect of job loss. Millions are homeless. Some have moved in with family and friends; others are living in tent cities.

Meanwhile the US government’s budget deficit has jumped from $455 billion in 2008 to $2,000 billion this year, with another $2,000 billion on the books for 2010. And President Obama has intensified America’s expensive war of aggression in Afghanistan and initiated a new war in Pakistan. Full Story

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V.P. Biden: “We Misread How Bad The Economy Was”

‘The Impoverishment of Many to Satisfy the Greed of a Few’

Amnesty International Report 2009

IT’S NOT JUST THE ECONOMY, IT’S A HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS

In September 2008 I was in New York to attend the UN high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the internationally agreed targets to reduce poverty by 2015. Delegate after delegate talked about the need for more funds to eradicate hunger, to cut preventable deaths of infants and pregnant women, to provide clean water and sanitation, to educate girls. The life and dignity of billions of people were at stake, but there was only limited will to back up the talk with money. As I left the UN building I could see the ticker tapes running a very different story coming from another part of Manhattan: the crash of one of the largest investment banks on Wall Street. It was a telling sign of where world attention and resources were really focused. Rich and powerful governments were suddenly able to find many more times the sums that could not be found to stem poverty. They poured them with abundance into failing banks and stimulus packages for economies that had been allowed to run amok for years and were now running aground.

By the end of 2008, it was clear that our two-tier world of deprivation and gluttony – the impoverishment of many to satisfy the greed of a few – was collapsing into a deep hole.

As with the case of climate change, so too with global economic recession: the rich are responsible for most of the damaging action, but it is the poor who suffer the worst consequences. While no one is being spared the sharp bite of the recession, the woes of the rich countries are nothing compared with the disasters unfolding in poorer ones. From migrant workers in China to miners in Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), people desperately trying to drag themselves out of poverty are feeling the brunt sharply. The World Bank has predicted 53 million more people will be thrown into poverty this year, on top of the 150 million hit by the food crisis last year, wiping out the gains of the last decade. International Labour Organization figures suggest that between 18 and 51 million people could lose their jobs. Skyrocketing food prices are leading to more hunger and disease, forced evictions and foreclosures to more homelessness and destitution.

“The world needs a different kind of leadership, a different kind of politics as well as economics – something that works for all and not just for a favoured few.”

While it is too early to predict the full impact on human rights of the profligacy of recent years, it is clear that the human rights costs and consequences of the economic crisis will cast long shadows. It is also clear that not only have governments abdicated economic and financial regulation to market forces, they have failed abysmally to protect human rights, lives and livelihoods.

Billions of people are suffering from insecurity, injustice and indignity. This is a human rights crisis. Full Story

Army Using Simulated Games to Lure New Soldiers

US Army recruitment turns to games

The US is turning to technology to step up its recruitment drive for new soldiers by introducing a $13 million virtual world of combat simulations where people can experience the adrenaline of a military mission.

‘Does a Broken Country Have a Future?’

The Criminal Injustice System
Paul Craig Roberts

Ronald Cotton spent 11 years in prison because Jennifer Thompson provided eye witness testimony that he was the person who raped her. On March 9, National Public Radio revisited the story.

It turned out that Thompson was completely wrong, DNA evidence indicated that it was not Cotton but another man who had bragged about the rape.

Thompson asked Cotton for forgiveness, and he gave it. The two became friends and have collaborated on a book. On NPR Thompson said that eye witness testimony is incorrect 70 percent of the time.

I am familiar with psychological studies that conclude that eye witness accounts are wrong half of the time. That is enough to discredit eye witness testimony as evidence; yet, police and juries always bank on it.

Rape victims tend to be angry, and they want someone to pay. When shown mug shots or a lineup, they tend to pick someone, naively believing that if it is the wrong person the police investigation will clear the person.

Witnesses to crimes who are not themselves victims want to be helpful to the police. Consequently, they also tend to deliver up the innocent to justice.

And then there is the purchased “witness” testimony that prosecutors pay for with money and dropped charges in order to close a case. A favorite trick is to put a “snitch” in the cell with a defendant. The snitch then comes forward and reports that the defendant confessed.

Law and order conservatives think that the only miscarriages of justice are effected by liberal judges and liberal parole boards who can’t wait to release dangerous criminals to prey on the public.

The absurd idea that the justice system doesn’t make mistakes about those it convicts, except when they are let off by liberals, has made it impossible for innocent people wrongfully convicted to be paroled.

To be paroled, a person must admit to his crime and go through rehabilitation. Of course, only the guilty admit their crimes, and so only the guilty qualify for parole. Innocent people tend to maintain their innocence.

Full Story