Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Economy Didn't Grow, It Hemmoraged Money

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Stocks shot up and everyone celebrated the startling news that the economy "grew" fast last quarter especially after hurricanes devastated a huge part of the country. This isn't a healthy sign, the spending was a loss, jobs are down and pay is way down.

From Counterpunch:
With hourly wages falling in real terms, the only way working families can raise their incomes is by working more hours-certainly not the path to improving living standards that we would expect in an economy posting strong productivity gains.

This 2.3% rate is a slight tick down from the 2.4%--the previous historical low--that prevailed for the last four quarters. Compensation-wages plus benefits-also grew more slowly in the third quarter of this year, up 3.1% over the same quarter last year, the slowest yearly growth in six years.
When an economy is healthy, wages go up, worker's share rises due to the fact that employment is high and thus, they can bargain for higher wages. This hasn't been true for years, indeed, since the tidal wave of red ink has hit America, wages stagger along and employment barely grows!

The minute I saw the news that America's economy grew over 3% this last quarter, I frowned. If this last quarter which saw economic destruction of huge proportions, was good, then maybe all out nuclear war is a great way to grow. Geeze. This is open insanity. The stockmarket was gliding downwards as expected with raging energy hikes and rising unemployment and other signs of a bad economy, but this "news" caused a huge surge in stock buying.

Bizarre, no? We also learned the dollar is weaker. And this is another good sign? What? Maybe we want to have the dollar drop so low in value, no one will sell to us any more! Yup. A great way to close the trade deficit! Stop all trade by making money worthless!

These sorts of "solutions" are poison pills!

I notice that many professionals writing about the economy have decided to go along with the flow. Party on, dudes! This is why stocks rose when the new Greenspan clone was chosen to lead the Fed deeper into the red. He wasn't going to change anything so the wild spending will continue! He even stated he was totally blase about the wild spending in Congress as well as consumer debt rises. He just doesn't give a hoot. It is all OK so pay no attention to the sea of red ink, it doesn't matter and besides, the Chinese will bankroll us forever and forever. Lalalala.

This stupidity doesn't astonish me. Indeed, this is the historic norm which is why all empires collapse into economic malasie.

I keep challenging the "economy is doing great" people by asking them to raise taxes on the rich and corporate America. Hey, they are doing great, right? Instead, Congress is chopping away even more at the social safety net. Basically, they said to us all, if the south gets hit by hurricanes, Uncle Sam will foot the bill totally, but if any other parts of the country have anything go wrong, sorry, buddy, you are on your own.

In fact, the aid flowing to the poor in the south who were very hard hit by the hurricanes, will also cease soon enough, as soon as the eye of the media moves on to other matters. Meanwhile, the poor in Pakistan, our "ally", are now freezing and starving to death because of the earthquakes and we don't give a hoot and we are very surly about giving them any more money which we don't have anyway because, as I keep pointing out and virtually no one in the media or economic blogs are saying, the Chinese are no longer extending us eternal open ended credit.

Note that the yen dropped in value because the Japanese bought more of our debt this quarter but the yuan rose in value because the Chinese are now refusing our debts we offer them. The Chinese know the Japanese can't absorb half a trillion in American debt every year forever. They have decided to sink both the Japanese and American nuclear ships.

Oh well. When the obvious happens, and it will happen, at least I can use my cartoons to illustrate "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire."

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mary Cheney Gets Job with AOL Teaching Business

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Instead of breaking new ground by forcing the military to accept an openly gay woman who is the VP daughter, Mary Cheney settles for making easy money teaching people something she knows nothing about: how to make money honestly.

From the Washington Post:
America Online Inc. hired Mary Cheney, the 36-year-old daughter of Vice President Cheney, to offer advice on building up Web site businesses, a company spokesman said yesterday.

Cheney starts the job later this year and will work primarily with longtime AOL executive Ted Leonsis, who as president of AOL's Audience Business focuses on increasing viewership of its Web sites, said Nicholas Graham, a spokesman for the Dulles-based company. He declined to disclose additional details about her position.

"Her knowledge and experience in the public policy and business world will be helpful," Graham said. "This is a very busy time for us."
Busy in DC, of course. Even if Cheney is going down, he still has goodies to dispense so AOL is eager to get something for very little. Heck, they could hire all the POTUS and VP drunken female kids and still have some spare change!
AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc., is in the midst of trying to shift from its original business selling monthly Internet-access subscriptions to one that generates advertising revenue by offering free news and entertainment content on its Web sites, such as AIM.com and AOL.com.
I hear lapdancing makes a lot of money. So does online gambling. And of course, those ridiculous 'cheap mortgages' ads! I'm sure that Mary, a person who is the snidest of the snide, a woman who is being paid a million bucks to tell us all about how she can be a gay while working hard to prevent gays from having any civil rights, I can't wait.

Right. And Simon and Schuster are shysters. Geeze. All these legacy/silver spoon memories! I hope her rich daddy can remember what he did in the Valerie Plame case.

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The Rich Have Too Much Money

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Our "rich" nation has to suck up all available funds from the world's savings pool and on top of that, the rich here don't want to pay taxes. They waste money on goofy things while soaking up this supposed "savings glut". This is a big problem.

From the NY Daily News:
He's a married Internet mogul who ran up a $241,000 tab at Scores and then stiffed American Express on the bill - claiming it was more padded than one of the strip club's busty beauties, according to a lawsuit.

Savvis Communications chief executive Robert McCormick, who hails from the "Show-Me State" of Missouri, allegedly charged the mind-blowing sum to his corporate card two years ago.

But when the bill came due, the father of three girls refused to pay, insisting he didn't spend more than $20,000 at the East Side pleasure palace.

Now Amex is suing Savvis and McCormick, claiming Scores turned over signed documents that suggest the bottom line - the cost of a condo or a Ferrari - is legit.

"He was celebrating a big billion-dollar deal - that's a B for billion," Scores spokesman Lonnie Hanover said of McCormick's one-night stand.

"We can't go to a customer and say, 'Are you sure you want to spend another $50,000?' He would be insulted. If they are millionaires and they are sober, they are free to spend."
Our President isn't sober. Neither is our Congress. Nor are our industry captains nor seemingly anyone. Drunk on open credit, endless looting of the world's savings, careening along, charging everything to the credit cards, refusing to pay taxes to keep things afloat, obviously, they have way too much money and way too much credit to spend.

Bennett blew his way through the entire profits he made off of his goofy "Virtues" books, gambling naked in Vegas. One CEO spent all his company's money on birthday parties. Another recently was caught stealing $400 million for fancy houses and artwork. They all have not only gigantic salaries, they have this open ended need to throw money away just to show off that they can do it. This human need to show off has infected everything.

DeLay of Texas can't keep track of all the loot pouring through his pockets, for example. His daughter conducted champagne hot tub parties in Vegas. The Bush twins spend a fortune drinking, too, for that matter. All the lobbyists and GOPers spend money like crazy, they think, there is no limit, why not?

Now they are telling us there is no more money and they have to eliminate heating help, medicines and educations for those who have no money to burn. We are told, we can't raise taxes on these party boys, they need every penny of it for champagne and lap dancers! And gambling. Whatever. Far from being responsible people leading the world to a better future, these jack asses are party boys playing with Monopoly Money. Whoo hoo. Buy a girl!

Corporate America's contribution to keeping things going has plummetted. As Social Security funds are raided, their contribution has dropped to the single digits and down. Their goal is zero taxes on the corporate entity that is giving these open ended credit cards to bosses and the bosses want near zero taxes on their personal incomes to boot. Meanwhile, we spend our public fortune on war and casino building. Casinos exist to suck money from people's pockets as fast as possible. It produces nothing and adds little. Oh, I forgot, it increases embezzlements and suicides as well as theft. Great by-product!

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Congress and Bush Won't Increase Aid for Heating Homes in North

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

With nearly the entire deep south voting "no", the emergency heating aid increase bill failed in the Senate yesterday. While pouring money on themselves, they go Mr. Scrooge on the north. Time to cut America in half and let them swim on their own.

From the Washington Post:
The Senate decided yesterday the money was not there for a substantial spending boost for the federal home heating program, deflecting arguments that soaring energy prices could force the poor to choose between heat and food this winter.

Senators voted 54 to 43 in favor of a proposal to boost the fiscal 2006 budget for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program from $2.2 billion to $5.1 billion. A 60-vote majority was needed to approve new spending not coupled with equivalent spending cuts.

Northern senators who pushed for increased spending for the program, led by Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), argued that low-income families would be particularly hurt by the surge in fuel costs.
It is worse than that! The south is where the energy comes from and they allowed the oil and gas giants to reap huge literal windfall profits due to the hurricanes and now, as the south rubs their greedy little paws together, mapping out the wonderful building boom they will now enjoy at our expense, they get nasty with us in the north, asking for some help.

I was very angry when I saw FEMA paying private contractors to put tarps on middle and upperclass homes in the south after a storm. This was ridiculous. I already had a gloomy article about how they plan to "freeze a Yankee" and sure nuff!

They do exactly that. They are also cutting student aid and money for medicine and other essentials. This "cut important things to the bone so we can build resorts and palaces in hurricane alley" prioritization is killing our country. This is insanity. We don't need federal funds to build casinos and vacation homes and resorts. This is wasteful spending in a huge way.

Easing the financial crush of high fuel bills while funding insulating and fixing homes and apartments in the north is sane. Why?

Because if we don't, cities will burn! Last time we went through this, when the poor couldn't heat their homes, when landlords no longer made any money on apartments because fuel bills ate up everything, cities literally burned. I watched hundreds of thousands of housing units in NYC burn, for example. The loss of housing in New Orleans and the south is nothing compared to this great destruction that ran from 1974 to 1979. It was terrifying and people died in those fires!

David Broder:
Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, another of the DLC panelists, said the principle on which Democrats should approach the next campaign is a simple one: "Anything worth doing is worth paying for." Carper said that implies restoring the old budgetary rule of pay-as-you-go for both tax cuts and spending programs -- something Bush and the congressional Republicans have refused to do.

It also implies a greater readiness on the part of Democrats to reexamine the entitlement spending that poses the long-term danger of unsustainable deficits.

This message was spelled out by Maya MacGuineas, a panelist from the New America Foundation and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. As one who has worked with Republican moderates as often as with Democrats, she was particularly insistent that Democrats must ante up for any bipartisan solutions to become possible.

Specifically, the Democrats who have profited politically this year (as in the past) by opposing any change in Social Security must, she said, recognize the necessity of reforming the country's retirement system before it becomes an impossible economic burden on working-age Americans.
This is ridiculous.

Social Security taxes are a hidden tax. This extra money, for it is a lot of extra money right now, it is the only federal system running in the green, is used to hide the true nature of the budget mess for the $150 billion is counted as profit when they lie about the deficit, claiming it is falling when it really isn't.

The disasters and wars that are eating up all our money these days are predictible as well as a waste. One can predict, if you build resorts and playlands on land that is at 1'-10' above sea level where massive hurricanes regularily scour everything away, this is insanity. If one insists on doing stupid things, they do it on their own dime, not mine.

My village, a tiny place with a small tax base, pays for its own snow removal. We have a crew and trucks for winter. We make plans for the inevitable snow falls. No one helps us. We build our homes to take snow loads and modern homes like mine are well insulated at great cost for the same reason.

The extra costs, dealing with winter, are substantial. Why don't southern states tax themselves and lay aside hurricane funds? Eh? Huh? What? They should prepare for the inevitable. If they don't want to save or fix properties that are build on really stupid places, they should forbid it. Instead, they see a sand spit and build as fast as possible, as I have detailed here.

What is going to happen now to America is, we will go bankrupt rebuilding over and over, vacation resorts and casinos while destroying the industrial base. We will make ourselves weaker and sicker and work the working class to death while pouring all our wealth into the hurricane zones. Like Iraq which is a bloody sponge soaking up money, all wasted on nothing.

Iraq: the spending rise on fuel aid is about 2 weeks of Iraqi hell. If we withdrew troops today, we could rebuild the south so it can be wrecked next year, and heat the north and let the baby boomers retire, too! Amazing.

But no one in power suggests this. PNAC and AIPAC are against this. The war machine lobbyists are against this. They would blythly kill off all of us if this makes them rich or protects Israel. The born again Christians can't wait for Americans to get mad at the Jews for this. This is part of the Apocalypse plan, to herd all the Jews into Israel and then destroy it in WWIII.

The news fed chief, Barnacle Bernanke, is OK with the deficit as it stands.
Concerns that new Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will prove dovish are likely to prove unfounded. But some of his most widely quoted speeches suggest that he is relatively relaxed on the US’s bulging current account deficit and booming housing market.

There is little evidence from Mr Bernanke’s record as a Fed governor or past writing to suggest he will be be soft on inflation, assuming he wins Senate confirmation to replace Alan Greenspan. Mr Bernanke is an advocate of inflation targeting, and is likely to be intolerant of it either accelerating above or plunging below his preferred range.

Confirmation hearings are likely to draw plenty of questions on inflation and targeting, not to mention sparring between lawmakers on fiscal policy and the administration’s record.

On the current account, Mr Bernanke sees little role for the Fed in directly addressing the US deficit, which stands at 6 per cent of gross domestic product. Rather, his view is that the trade deficit should largely be left to take care of itself, and that the Fed should act only if a sharp financial market adjustment threatens to destabilise the economy – a similar view to Mr Greenspan’s.

In the Fed’s analysis, the drag from the trade deficit has required looser monetary policy, to stimulate domestic consumption and to prevent an unacceptable drop in US growth.
Ouch. Such monumental stupidity. We are running a trade deficit with the world so the answer is to make loans cheaper than savings so we can increase consumer spending so our economy can "grow"? Trade deficit "take care of itself"? It will, like building a casino in a hurricane zone, it will be taken care of, all right!

If the new Fed Head and the old Fed Head are OK with the deficit, why is Congress madly cutting aid to the North? Why the alarm bells? If all is well, why do they need to cut over $50 billion this fall, right now? Is it perhaps because China is no longer buying our debts? Eh? Har.

Further, the excuse for cutting off much of the money that keeps the North running is so we can pay for the South so they can build more casinos after hurricanes wreck them. They will also build other forms of housing, but the vast majority of the funds will flow to the big lobbyist's pet projects. As we can see with the Abramoff scandals, there is big money in those southern casinos! There is excited talk of totally re-engineering the entire Gulf coast to make it exactly like Las Vegas, no more off shore casinos, they will be firmly planted on land and surrounded by the nice homes for casino workers and the rich, the workers set back on undesirable landfills and the rich right on the ocean where they can enjoy themselves and get sparkling new homes every other year or so, after ten years, it is wrecked and Uncle Sam will cheerfully rebuild. Note how Bush and Barbour joked with Lott about this.

"Can't wait to sit on the porch of your new vacation home!" Bush gloated. Hahaha. Hey, you dopes. Give me a new vacation home. Hell, give me a vacation home.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Walmart Wants To Work Staff Harder To Discourage Disabled

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Walmart announced they will provide health insurance for their workers but then a secret memo details how they will evade doing this by hiring only healthy workers, drive out the disabled and elderly and force everyone to work part time.
From the Labor Blog
To discourage unhealthy job applicants, [the memo] suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."...
"It will be far easier to attract and retain a healthier work force than it will be to change behavior in an existing one," the memo said. "These moves would also dissuade unhealthy people from coming to work at Wal-Mart."

Wal-Mart has hopefully bought itself a nice Americans with Disabilities Act class action lawsuit.
Thank you, Nathan. Walmart, a nest of traitors, since they can't hire illegal aliens and deny them basic wages and benefits, to stem opposition to this arm of the Chinese communist government, has decided mere waving of American flags won't work so they did a publicity stunt, pretending to offer health insurance when their intention is to keep their staff toothless and sick. Ever see who works there? Gads.

You can rate poverty by missing teeth. And by this scale, Walmart workers are definitely third world!

Many governments are cutting back on Medicaid today. State and federal. In the Congress, they are debating cutting Medicaid to the bone, raising deductables and charges and eliminating various services and cutting money going to pharmacies so they won't sell medicines to the poor while not cutting the prices the big lobbying pharmcutical giants charge!

Meanwhile, corporate America is on a health care cutting binge, even the biggest unions are suffering huge cutbacks especially for retirees. Soon, we will all be lining up to die. Like the third world country we are becoming, we will run around trying not to drown, being blown over or killed by plagues and famines. Whoopee for the New World Order.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

New Fed Chief Will Be Foolish Bernanke

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Professor Barnanke invented the "Global Glut" to explain why hostile foreign governments are offering us seemingly unlimited loans. He thinks they are doing this because America is a good investment. I say, they are setting a trap.

From the BBC:
Global banking chiefs have continued to welcome the nomination of Ben Bernanke to succeed Alan Greenspan as US Federal Reserve chairman.
If approved, Mr Bernanke is set to take over from Mr Greenspan early next year.

Bank of England governor Mervyn King said Mr Bernanke had the required "intellectual and personal qualities".

The European Central Bank (ECB) described Mr Bernanke as "a highly respected central banker and a remarkable economist".

"I will be happy to have the possibility to develop with him the same fruitful cooperation and enjoy the same confidence and friendly relationship that I had with Alan Greenspan," said ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet.
You bet, they are all overjoyed. The Greenspan mess is great for them. They, like our ruling class, want this gravy train to continue. Do remember, our ruling class hates America and despises American workers. Destroying these entities is top of their "to do" list. Making Americans weak, in debt, powerless, is highly important to them. This serfizing of America is a long term project. Already, they are getting us used to the idea that the lowest classes should be allowed to drown like rats.

They deliberately keep medical care from increasing numbers of Americans and intend to reduce it to zero eventually. Having deep in debt, helpless American workers die before they reach retirement age is a top priority with our rulers.

Bernanke is their front man. He lies about things in order to keep disasterous policies going. The sea of red ink is explained away by the astonishing notion that Russia which is killing off their workers, has a savings glut and thus needs to buy American government bonds. And China, with a billion peasants, has too much money and therefore needs to squirrel it away as American bonds. And that Japan is continuing to win WWII by buying our debts in huge amounts. They don't need the money, it is all extra! Today, I was astonished to read the yen is trading for 117+ for the dollar. We have a gaping trade deficit with them, the dollar is weak all over the place, we demand the yuan of China be more valuable and meanwhile, Bernanke and the US government is silent about this ridiculous set up in Japan! Guess what!

We had to go there, hat in hand, after Katrina, looking for more loans. So they were able to devalue their currency more so they can continue to destroy our economic base. Banzai!

Indeed, we are a dying empire surrounded by vultures picking us apart. The fact that we are conducting a fucking fire sale at a time when our cities are being ground into dust even as we are in the middle of a frantic house building binge....This is insanity. Just this week, we passed the $8 trillion dollar marker in government debt. Our trade deficit with the world is gigantic and growing greater each month. Japan, who won WWII which is why the Prime Minister is openly laughing at the many American dead from WWII by visiting the War Shrine and honoring the war criminals who attacked Pearl Harbor...Has ANYONE here heard a fucking PEEP from our traitors who are destroying America? Did Bush join the Chinese and Koreans, protesting this slap in our silly faces?

Why was he, why is our media, why is Bernanke silent about this?

The Japanese own America. The Chinese own America. If they aren't busy buying out our corporations and moving them out, they are buying them here and putting Americans on their payrolls and collecting the profit and paying taxes to their own countries! Duh!

I heard on NPR the astonishing story about how North Carolina is courting Chinese communist organizations to open factories in America paying less than $10 an hour building things our formerly unionized companies owned by Americans used to build: refrigerators and washing machines! And worse, the government in NC gave the Chinese a multimillion dollar tax break and millions in loan guarantees!

This is sheer insanity. The gov was happy because he got jobs for people! Toyota is openly complaining to other countries that they tire of their American subjects who they think are stupid and lazy and fat. They grouse that it is only due to the fact they need to keep this market safe that they "invest" in America.

Meanwhile, where is the VFW guys? Those flag waving idiots? Why do they sit there, drooling, while the Japanese honor Hirohito? Banzai!

On with the comedy!

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bill Gates Dumps Dollars, Endorses China as Better Place to Invest

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

At Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates just gleefully announced he is dumping US currency and will bet on China and the Euro in the future. Patriotism from the World's Richest Man.

From Bloomberg.com:
Bill Gates, whose net worth of $46.6 billion makes him the world's richest person, is betting against the U.S. dollar.

``I'm short the dollar,'' Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., told Charlie Rose in an interview late yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. ``The ol' dollar, it's gonna go down.''
Ain't he charming? Talking street slang? Ol' USA gonna go down! Ho ho. He hated Al Gore. Al Gore was gonna crimp this Crip by preventing Microsoft to be a nasty monopoly. Well, here we are, Microsoft can tromp on whomever it wishes and I don't use Microcrap, myself, if it can be avoided at all.

Grrr.
``It is a bit scary,'' Gates said. ``We're in uncharted territory when the world's reserve currency has so much outstanding debt.''
Tax this man! Tax the rich! They have money! All of them! Tax the Cayman Islands! Tax Swiss bank accounts!
U.S. President George W. Bush is pledging to clamp down on spending to halve the budget deficit -- $427 billion in the 12 months through Sept. 30 -- during his second term. The administration releases its fiscal 2006 budget on Feb. 7.
Hahaha. I kept writing that the real deficit is nearly or probably already over half a trillion this year and it is October! And the press and Bush lied as usual, pretending it "dropped" to a "mere" $345 billion.

I was right! Yipee. As usual.
Gates reflected the views of his friend Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has bet against the dollar since 2002. Buffett said last week that the U.S. trade gap will probably further weaken the currency.

``Unless we have a major change in trade policies, I don't see how the dollar avoids going down,'' Buffett said in an interview with CNBC on Jan. 19.

Gates in December joined the board of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the investment company that Buffett runs. Forbes magazine's list of billionaires ranks Gates, 49, No. 1. Buffett, 74, is second, with more than $30 billion. Almost all of it is in Berkshire stock.

Gates described China as a potential ``change agent'' for the next two decades. ``It's phenomenal,'' Gates said. ``It's a brand new form of capitalism.''

Gates's $27 billion foundation in September received approval from China's foreign-currency regulator to invest as much as $100 million in the nation's yuan shares and bonds.
Incredible. The Chinese "new form of capitalism" is pure 19th century capitalism. And Bill knows this for he is trying to force our nation to become the same thing.

Karl Marx is laughing darkly somewhere. And where is Teddy Roosevelt? He, unlike Bush, could ride horses and fight, too, and he fought his fellow rich people!

Well, looks like wall to wall traitors, doesn't it, today? I wonder if we can arrest all of them. Or the very least, tax them.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rumsfeld Lectures Chinese About Military Spending

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Once again, arrogant Americans go off to China to tell them how to run things...Our way. This week, Treasury Secretary Snow and the head of the Pentagon, Rumsfeld, both visited and both first lectured the Chinese about money. This is in anticipation of further meetings by President Hu of China and President Bush of America. The main topics of discussion will be money and trade. We want more money and less trade. The Chinese want Taiwan.

From the NYT:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld landed in the Chinese capital Tuesday with words inviting China to play an increasing role in global economic and security affairs, while also urging the communist leadership here to fully explain the growth in military spending that has powered a significant arms build-up.
This is part of the grand strategy called "Make the Chinese communists laugh to death." Obviously, our government underestimates the Chinese ability to keep a straight face while laughing gleefully deep inside. Anyone observing President Hu can see what a poker face looks like. Unlike our ruler who is a vast sea of ticks and blinks, wiggles and mangled English. He is woefully easy to read. The Chinese prize the ability to keep a controlled face and for their diplomats to appear diplomatic.

The communist Chinese after the take over of China banished all that history of carefully groomed diplomats but this has been rediscovered and now the Chinese have a university which has only one mandate: to groom and train diplomats. Already, the fruits of this project are showing up in many successful diplomatic missions undertaken by a phalanx of Chinese, none of whom come back to Beijing empty handed except when they visit America.

In this case, most of the agreements have been verbal and then when the political heat rises, repudiated by Bush and his crew. This has seriously eroded trust with the Chinese.
But Mr. Rumsfeld warned that China must deal with what he said are evident tensions between its desires for sustained economic growth and restrictions imposed by the communist government that limit openness and the free-flow of information.

"Those of us in the United States and in other countries around the world, free countries, hope that the choices they make are choices toward a more open society, a more transparent society," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
This really infuriates me. Using the excuse of homeland security, the Bush adminstration has cut down our access to important information. They have greatly increased the funding of secret spook organizations and won't even let Congress see the details, they have used tax money to fund false news stories or buy the alligience of reporters, they lie nonstop about conditions in Iraq, they hide climate information and censor anyone who uses too much of this information, they attack free speech on nearly every front, such as recently arresting a web site owner for "obscenity" when he allowed troops to post pictures of mangled Iraqi corpses. On nearly every level, our country is rapidly imitating the worst of the Chinese system. American corporations are the censors in China just as they attempt to censor or silence the left here in America, attacking us nonstop and trying desperately to egg Congress into passing laws which control blog content so they can silence this last bastion of semi-free speech!
Mr. Rumsfeld's staff had requested that the defense secretary be allowed to visit the Western Hills military complex outside of Beijing, described as China's real Pentagon, but the request was denied by the Chinese government. "It tells something about them," Mr. Rumsfeld said of the decision.
Hahaha. OK, when did the Chinese get to visit our super duper deep cave nuclear headquarters? Aside as spies, that is? Since our Pentagon has been thoroughly penetrated by foreign spies thanks to our need to hire mercenaries from overseas and the AIPAC need to control the American military so it can be used as Israel's cat's paw, it shouldn't make much difference allowing the Chinese to see all our WWIII prep work. After all, according to Rumsfeld, the Chinese need to understand the need to not spend money building huge military underground complexes like we do.

Never forget that Bush and Cheney spent over $600 million just this last three years building huge bomb shelters in DC for themselves.
The Pentagon's annual study of Chinese military power, required by Congress, reported over the summer that China faces no direct military threat, yet has the third-largest military budget in the world.

The report, released in July, criticized Chinese national security spending as opaque, arguing that large military expenses are hidden in accounts outside the Defense Ministry and the armed services, and so Chinese military spending is larger than reported officially by the Chinese government. The Pentagon's report said China is modernizing its military and emphasizing preparations "to fight and win short-duration, high-intensity conflicts" over Taiwan. It acknowledged that China's conventional military force remains unable to threaten the territory of the United States, although China is modernizing and expanding its arsenal of nuclear missiles capable of reaching American soil.
The fake Pentagon budget is nearly half a trillion dollars, an amount that dwarfs the spending of all other nations. For China, the world's biggest nation on nearly any scale, to spend the third greatest amount on the military makes perfect sense. After all, per capita, we spend 10 times as much as they! And this is the official budget. Since the secret spy budgets and homeland security are all part of the hyper military machine we are building, the true numbers are astonishing, we spend probably nearly a trillion a year on security stuff. This is, of course, bankrupting us since the budget shortfall is running at over $400 billion a year, often more than half a trillion dollars in the red.

&spades From Japan Today:
Ignoring strong protests by Japan's Asian neighbors China and South Korea, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Tokyo's war-related Yasukuni Shrine on Monday, throwing Tokyo's already strained ties with the two countries further down the gutter.

The visit could not have come at a worse time as Japan has a number of items lined up for its diplomatic schedule including Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura's planned visit to China next week and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun's visit to Japan likely in December to hold talks with Koizumi.

The shrine visit has left Japan's Foreign Ministry to step up its efforts in mending relations with China and South Korea, with Machimura seeking to downplay the visit's impact on future Japan-China relations.

Asked about the visit's effect on upcoming diplomatic meetings, including his visit to China, Machimura cited Koizumi's remark that it is wrong for a single issue to sway overall bilateral relations.
It is horrible, watching Japan play North Korea's role vis a vis opposing powers. Namely, just as the Chinese use North Korea as a way of destabilizing American power in the Pacific, so we use Japan to destabilize Chinese power. Only difference is, Japan's businessmen need to do trade stuff with Asia and any hypermilitarism freaks out the customers who then remember the not too distant past.

This is causing real problems for Japan but Koizumi doesn't seem to give a fig. Like Tony Blair, he has higher priorities and it is probably called "Carlyle". Tony Blair recently admitted he is planning to join this octopus organization. Given the corrupt past of the Japanese primierships, it shouldn't surprize anyone to see Koizumi do the same. The Japanese, like the Americans, imagine that China, who has a history of locking doors, will stay open to us even as we slap at them repeatedly. This is a stupid belief. If our intention is to shut the Chinese down, get them so angry, they withdraw from the world and go into a shell.

Well, I see one failed diplomatic mission after another here and none of them are Chinese. They are Japanese and American.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

GOP BUDGET CUTTERS SWING AXE AT POOR

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

From the Washington Post:
House Republican leaders have moved from balking at big cuts in Medicaid and other programs to embracing them, driven by pent-up anger from fiscal conservatives concerned about runaway spending and the leadership's own weakening hold on power.

Beginning this week, the House GOP lawmakers will take steps to cut as much as $50 billion from the fiscal 2006 budget for health care for the poor, food stamps and farm supports, as well as considering across-the-board cuts in other programs. Only last month, then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and other GOP leaders quashed demands within their party for budget cuts to pay for the soaring cost of hurricane relief.
This is proof I was right! Last month, the GOP and Bush and Greenspan were all trumpetting that we would all be billionaires thanks to the destruction of a major port city! "$250 billion!" they all chorused happily. I noted the Chinese were hit by 12 typhoons and were in no mood to rebuild America at a gold plated cost except if we gave tit for tat.

President Hu came to NYC and had a very private meeting with Bush and he said "Yes" to all the deals including surrendering to the North Koreans and signing a peace treaty with goodies for the NK people. But when Bush came back to DC the neocons and theh Pentagon nixed everything and this infuriated the Chinese no end.

So they are playing hardball.
But faced with a revolt among many conservatives sharply critical of him for resisting spending cuts, DeLay three weeks later told a closed meeting of the House Republican Conference, "I failed you," according to a number of House members and GOP aides. Then, in a nod to the most hard-core conservatives, DeLay volunteered, "You guys filled a void in the leadership."

The abrupt shift reflects a changed political dynamic in the House in which a faction of fiscal conservatives -- known as the Republican Study Committee, or RSC -- has gained the upper hand because of DeLay's criminal indictment in Texas, widespread criticism of the Republicans' handling of Hurricane Katrina, and uncertainty over the future of the leadership, according to lawmakers and aides.

Now, cutting the budget -- which only months ago seemed far from possible -- is at the center of the agenda in the House. "No one wants to have an argument with friends, but that argument facilitated the debate that led to the package [of cuts] that [House Speaker J. Dennis] Hastert has now put out there," said Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), chairman of the RSC and a leading proponent of cuts to offset new government spending.
Well, instead of undoing all those fricking tax cuts for the rich, the GOP will institute the Great Die-Off, starting today. Anyone who isn't independently wealthy will be shoved off the ship of state to feed the sharks. They intend to kill as many Americans as possible. This is Compassionate Conservativism up the yin yang. They claim they will cut farm subsidies but this is a fake, they have no control over that, already, the WTO is forcing us to do this anyway.

But no one is forcing us to eliminate even more health care! We had this crummy dual system because unions and white collar workers had great medical benefits. But this is being relentlessly rippe to shreds. Already, 42+ million don't have any insurance. After this month, they will be totally at the mercy of the non-system and can't even go bankrupt if they need a life saving surgery!

Another bill Congress won't take back, either!
Conservatives were furious, Flake said, but not nearly as furious as they would become Sept. 13. The RSC was created in the early 1970s by conservative gadfly Paul Weyrich and other outside activists to watch over the House GOP leadership, but its power has waxed and waned, largely according to the dictates of the leadership it was supposed to be watching over.

Now, under Pence, the group was flexing its muscles. He had announced a news conference for Sept. 14 to unveil "Operation Offset," a menu of spending cuts that would more than pay for hurricane relief. On Sept. 13, DeLay suggested that "after 11 years of Republican majority, we've pared [the government] down pretty good." Then he issued what conservatives took as a challenge.
Hahaha. "Operation Offset" is going to turn into "Operation Upset" as the Democrats sweep into power.

If they haven't sold their souls.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

CHINESE SPENDTHRIFT PROGRAM FAILS

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Treasury Secretary Snow who got his office because the previous TS was canned for suggesting the Iraq war would cost more than $120 billion, is hard at work trying to convince the Chinese that our way of doing things is great and they should imitate us, not the Japanese.

Needless to say, this is failing in translation. From the NYT:
Administration officials say the plan is part of an effort to put the yuan into a broader debate over China's lopsided reliance on exports as the main source of economic growth.

The plan, to be discussed in two days of talks here and in Beijing, calls for China to speed up the privatization of state-owned companies, including banks; to develop a Chicago-style futures market for currency trading; to establish an independent credit-rating agency; and to crack down on bailouts for banks left holding bad loans.

"What we tried to do is take a quantum leap in sophistication and scope," said Timothy D. Adams, undersecretary for international affairs at the Treasury Department. "It gives you a picture of the truly complex nature of what we are trying to do."

Though many of the ideas are familiar, and often supported by Chinese leaders in principle, the list reflects an increased effort to lecture China about internal financial issues.
In between begging on his knees for more money so we can continue to run deep in the red, he thinks he can tell the Chinese how to best run a country? This is like the local lush leaving his barstool to go across the street to lecture a banker about money managment. "Jusssh don't pay attenshion to yer tab, jusssh tell da bartender you will pay next Tuessshday! Sheee?"

Yup, very convincing.
That could backfire.
Hahaha. Flaming train wreck ahead!
Chinese leaders invariably bristle at pressure from American officials, and they could view the new American "priorities" as an unwelcome intrusion.

The new tack comes as Treasury Secretary John W. Snow continues to show little progress on the volatile economic dispute with China over exchange rates.
You know, the Japanese manipulate our currency totally. All they do is buy our debts and bouy up the dollar. Every time we tried to shake them they laughed and kept the exchange rate in a very strict 105-110 limit. It seldom deviates. Do we see the Japanese Prime Minister sending envoys here to beg us to steady our currency? Ha. See?

Speaking of which, here is a Japanese take on all this: From the Asahi Shimbum:
In China today, a popular satirical song goes something like this: The hospital doors are wide open. But we can't go in because we're broke. Once we get sick, we panic. Oh, how we yearn for the days of a planned economy.

It is not uncommon to hear such songs whose lyrics are full of venom about the state of China's medical services.

When the state ran the economy from top to bottom, employers took care of medical and other expenses. But with the advent of a market economy, many state-owned companies were disbanded. Suddenly, people were having to fork out for their own medical care.
Well, we could have China do it our way: nearly bankrupt the government trying to keep a creaky, ill designed system running, one that brings ruination upon anyone without extensive health insurance.
Market forces have brought havoc to not only medicine but also welfare and pension systems. The vast ocean of poor people across China are in dire straits indeed.

Even the government-affiliated research institute of labor and wages has warned that the social order will no longer be maintained in five years.

Against this background, riots have flared in rural areas after farmers were dispossessed of their land for paltry sums in the name of development.

Inevitably, corrupt local government officials and developers are colluding. According to a pro-mainland Hong Kong newspaper, 60,000 riots erupted across China in 2003.
The Japanese won't be so indelicate as to mention the explosion of anti-Japanese riots, eh? The peasants certainly are on the march and this certainly scares the Chinese leaders who will take care of this through various means, none of which will please Americans since this means ending the gravy train we all enjoy riding.

The Japanese didn't fear any backlash for their ineptitudes because the ethos of Japan right now is to commit suicide which many young and middle aged people do, in great numbers. The mind-numbing despair is so great in Japan, the main form of entertainment is end of world violence or impossible sexual tensions that are relieved in antisocial ways. The ability to build families is collapsing rapidly. Japan is imploding in a spectacular way. They hide behind a stronger America but this is a dead end as America, when it goes inevitably bankrupt, will be forced to abandon Japan.

From Yahoo news:
The declines in the first half of the month haven't made anyone calmer. The Dow Jones industrial average has fallen 281.36 points, or 2.66 percent so far. Percentage declines in the Nasdaq composite and the Standard & Poor's 500 are even steeper: The Nasdaq has lost 4.03 percent and the S&P, 3.44 percent.

Now that we're midway through the month, it's worth looking back at what past Octobers have brought and looking ahead to assess investors' biggest fears for the immediate future.

If investors think October has the potential for absolute misery, it's because most of the market's darkest days came in October: the crash of 1929, the Black Monday crash of 1987 and 1989's Friday the 13th mini-crash. According to "The Stock Trader's Almanac," Oct. 11 has historically been the worst trading day of the year.
The thinking is, October is when brokers and financial officers living in NYC suddenly notice it is getting very nasty outside and the sunny optimism fades rapidly.

After 9/11, this gloom rose but Bush and Greenspan rained money and loot and tax cuts on everyone and we had a very false prosperity built entirely on running up gigantic debts. Every time the red ink was slowed, the economy died so they kept it going until now when the dragon of inflation and the goblin of cost over runs team up to destroy profits and kill jobs. Just in time for Halloween.
Investors have been hoping for months that the Federal Reserve would signal the end its short-term interest rate increases. Instead, notes form the Fed policy maker's Sept. 20 meeting read "further rate increases will probably be required."

"We are now convinced the Fed it going to tighten through year-end and into 2006," Rosenberg said.

Kleintop's assessment of the Fed watch is "we're all at that same point of wondering what the end is."

Why is this so important? Because stocks rally near the end of a Fed tightening regime.
Cheap money ain't gonna happen no more. Note this article doesn't mention China anywhere. The only way we can create cheap money is the ancient way: print a lot of dollars. This will kill the currency as the Japanese cannot buy up $200+billion loose dollars every year. Their trade deficit is only $60 billion a year. The Chinese could in tandem buy up this excess currency with the Japanese since both run a deficit of about $200 billion a year but alas for us, it is time for them to kill the big, fat goose, America.

Urp.

There is no stock market rally coming out of this mess.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

REFCO--REPRO 1929

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I have been watching the news about the Refco derivative speculator enterprise going belly up. As with Enron, it began with naked greed causing the President of that company to heist $450 million. He obviously isn't working the hustings in Iraq where that is considered spare change. In Iraq, more than one "purchaser" for the war has absconded with many millions and instead of buying stuff for the government there, dissappear into Lebanon or the Cayman Islands.

WIth Refco, we are witnessing the October Surprise a la 1929. This organization promised to make tons of money for everyone without anyone lifting a finger. This magic money was supposed to just pour into one's bank account without any real function. Money making money.

But this machine is breaking down, what a shocker-oo.From the NYT:
Refco said today that it would unwind its securities business, and the Securities and Exchange Commission barred customers of two divisions of the commodities brokerage firm from withdrawing funds from for 20 days.
The insiders got their money out now the chumps get stuck, like with Enron, watching their money evaporate.
The shutdown of the securities business and S.E.C. prohibition were only the latest in a fast-moving series of events at one of the world's largest futures broker since it said Monday that it had failed to disclose transactions with its chief executive, who was suspended.

In a statement, the company said Refco Securities would "only be engaging in security transactions to the extent necessary to offset and effectively liquidate outstanding long and short customer and proprietary positions."
When the top of an organization is a criminal, all under him probably are, too. Ask Ken Lay.
Standard & Poor's cut Refco's credit rating on Refco's debt for the third time this week today, this time to "CC" from "B-" - both junk bond ratings - and maintained a negative credit watch on the rating, indicating that it may downgrade the company further.

"These announcements indicate that a technical default by Refco Group on its rated debt is almost certain to occur and that a payment default is highly likely due to Refco Group's negative tangible net worth and the deterioration of its franchise," Tom Foley, a credit analyst with Standard & Poor's, wrote in a note. "The 'CC' rating indicates a high vulnerability to nonpayment."
Ie: the money is gone. If you want to see it, go to the Cayman Islands or call up the call girls who spent some of it. They might give a freebie blow job.

From the NYT:

Mr. Bennett, smartly dressed and in good spirits, sat and chatted about the paintings on the office walls and the options that Refco had for moving when its lease came up at the end of the year. In riding a worldwide boom in the trading of commodities and derivatives, Refco was on top of its game: the company had successfully gone public in August, selling $583 million in stock and making Mr. Bennett and other top executives very rich men.

"He didn't seem to have a care in the world," said the chairman of the Philadelphia exchange, Meyer S. Frucher.

Mr. Bennett is no longer chief executive. Forced to wear a monitoring device on his ankle, he now faces a charge of securities fraud in connection with $430 million in debt that prosecutors say he hid from regulators and investors. His firm is rapidly sliding over the brink as customers flee and regulators and bankers look to pick up the pieces.

Wall Street's history is littered with abrupt financial collapses, but few have been as fast and furious as the implosion of Refco this week.
Few? Well, maybe the NYT reporter should read up about the 1929 Stock market collapse. Like this one, it was way inflated by realestate speculation and bizarre trusts designed to make money from money and of course betting on currency differences. Oops.

From Market Watch:
But now the possible collapse of the largest independent commodities and futures broker in the U.S. has top investment banks, regulators and exchanges scurrying to save a company that's quietly become an integral part of the nation's financial markets.

Experts said Refco's failure won't threaten global financial markets in the way Enron's collapse did in 2001 and the demise of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management did in 1998. Still, the company's troubled tentacles stretch far and wide, from pork bellies to futures on stocks and bonds.
hahahaha. Experts said the same thing in Oct, 1929. They are always nearly uniformly wrong when things like this happen. They are paid to keep the rubes and outsiders deluded so more money can be stolen before the cops blow the whistle.
Refco processed 461 million derivatives contracts in its 2004 fiscal year, about the same amount traded on the Chicago Board of Trade and more than the volume traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The company also cleared more than $9 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury bond repurchase, or repo, transactions and processed over $680 billion in the foreign exchange markets for clients.

The broker has more than 200,000 customers, including corporations, government agencies, hedge funds, pension funds, financial institutions and retail and professional traders.
OK, dear readers, what have I been yelling about all this time?

China just called in the chips, everyone. China is the buyer of government bonds that Refco was selling! Speculating on the rise in the yuan is what Refco was doing. The people working with Refco were all those clowns going to and from China, trying to make the yuan rise happen so that is would benefit them. They are the same clowns who were the traitors selling our debts to the fricking COMMUNIST CHIINESE PARTY so we could run lots of red ink so they could loot the Treasury via Iraq!

These traitors thought this game would run forever but the Communist party of China just cut them off, quite brutally and suddenly. This is why our Secretary of the fucking Treasury is over there, begging on his fucking knees! He knew they are all in hot water now and he wanted to keep this ball rolling and they made him eat dirt and then laughed at him.

Look at this yet again, $9 TRILLION IN US TREASURY BOND REPROS. Trillion. Think about this. How much does America owe the world? Guess! Maybe this is a typo! I don't know! If they meant billions, it is still a lot but trillions is...OUR ENTIRE DEBT!!!!

OK. Sigh. One thing our real rulers don't want is for us to see the actual bank accounts. They never do. For hundreds of years, they made a ton of loot lying about what is actually in the bank. This is why runs on the bank annoy them so much, there NEVER IS ENOUGH IN THE BANK! This is by definition. At this point, the amount in the bank is very little, hardly anything, probably as deep in the red as all our other operating systems, this means we are in total red alert territory.

Time to review the past: From The Crash:
On October 19 1987, the Dow-Jones industrial average suffered a major devaluation. The Dow lost over 500 points. Stock trading markets worldwide were all suffering similar declines. At the time, there was a lot of concern over what this meant to the overall economy of the world. The reason for this concern comes from the fact that the last time there was a large devaluation in the stock market, there followed a depression. Economists used a yardstick from the Jazz Age to evaluate this 'correction'; the yardstick was the crash of October 1929.The crash of 1929 continues to be a fascinating example of panic in high finance and is still a staple of Economics 101. This event involved all people, big and small, rich and poor, young and old. Everyone.
It began on Thursday, October 24, 1929. 12,894,650 shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange-a record. To put this number in perspective, let us go back a bit to March 12, 1928 when there was at that time a record set for trading activity. On that day, a total of 3,875,910 shares were traded. As you can see, Wall Street was a very, very busy place, as were markets world-wide. A big problem not mentioned so far in all this was communication.
*snip*
The ticker tape machine had gone through great amounts of perfections since its early applications in the 1870s-80s by Edison and others. Even at telegraphic speed, the volume was having an effect on time. Issues were behind as much as one hour to an hour and a half on the tape. Phones were just busy signals on hooks. It was causing crowds to gather outside of the NYSE trying to get in the communication. Police had to be called to control the strangest of riot masses; the investors of business. It is not yet noon.

The habit of lunch eased the panic somewhat and New York paused for a breath. There were rumblings of bargain grabbing to come in the afternoon, so maybe something could be salvaged. And it did comeback to regain much of the losses. For example, a stock like Montgomery-Ward opened at 83 and dropped to 50 and recovered to 74. This was typical for the big name companies. On Friday, the mixture of margin call bargains combined with sells that were waiting from the late tickers on Thursday led to a bit of a gain. The trading was about 6 million shares. There was a short session on Saturday which brought everything back to the level of Thursday.

The weekend was indeed welcome relief. It gave investors a chance to sort out their portfolios and plan for what might be a rough week. If we go back to our 100 shares of Red Wagon shares is worth about $13500-that's better than $9800 we were faced with before noon on Thursday the 24th! I think we wouldn't mind just sitting. Don't think I want to buy anymore right now. Our broker has called us and asked if we want to sell or put up the margin. Well we paid $1500 for the thing, why not cover the margin with $2500? It keeps our investment viable. We'll raise the cash somehow.
A good read, this site.

Well, the economic news sucks. We lost a major city, a major port AND crippled a very major industry, the energy sector. On top of this, there is a draining war and a budget crisis.

From Yahoo.com:
Consumer prices surged in September by the largest amount in more than 25 years as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita sent energy prices soaring at the fastest pace on record.

The Labor Department reported Friday that inflation jumped 1.2 percent last month. It said that 90 percent of that increase came from a record-setting 12 percent surge in energy prices which reflected gasoline prices that briefly topped $3 per gallon last month after widespread shutdowns of refineries and oil and natural gas platforms along the Gulf Coast.

The White House downplayed the report.

"The president has confidence in the Federal Reserve when it comes to monetary policy and their ability to address any inflation concerns," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve reported that the devastating hurricanes sent output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities plunging by 1.3 percent in September, the biggest one-month drop in more than 23 years.
Geeze. I mean, duh! All the lies they told during September. Every pronouncement by nearly every expert and pundit was a lie. They lied. They weren't misinformed, they weren't blindsided. They lied so they could bail out before the rubes noticed their ship was sinking.

A quick review of my cartoons showing ships sinking, people flying off of cliffs, thrown out of planes, money burning, bubbles busting knows that this lying wasn't accidental. It was malicious and deliberate. I knew about Refco for several weeks now but didn't write about it because this isn't an investor's newsletter. If it were, I would charge money.

Maybe I should change this site! Heh. But writing about money frankly bores me. Concentrating on it would wither my soul.

But I just want to say, I was right, they were all 100% wrong, la-la-la.

Keep your eye on the Chinese. They are the ones holding the other end of the rope around our necks. They stopped feeding us more line.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

IT'S A BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD TRADE DEFICIT NEWS

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

It gets worse and worse. We lose a major port, we lose a whole slew of oil/gas rigs, we lose our minds, we lose our wallets, the stupid bankruptcy laws that don't apply to Donald Trump or Delphi or Northwestern Airlines, world stock markets are wailing like lost children on an out of control roller coaster and the building boom is bumming out and what happens next?

Oh, it is October. The scary month. Few remember why, intimately. If you are over 80 years old, it is a dim memory, isn't it?

From Yahoo:
The nation's trade deficit rose 1.8 percent to $59.03 billion in August, the third highest in history, driven by higher oil prices.

Import prices climbed by 2.3 percent in September — the biggest one-month rise in 15 years — giving consumers new reasons to fear that inflation is rising and the Federal Reserve will continue to hike interest rates.

The rise in import prices was noticeably greater than the 0.9 percent increase that economists had predicted.

The cost for foreign oil rose by 12.2 percent to an all-time high of $17.16 billion in August, up from $15.3 billion in July. The average per barrel price of imported crude oil also set a record at $52.65 in August with further increases forecast given the surge in oil prices since August.

Analysts predicted further bad news on the trade deficit in the months ahead, reflecting the surge in energy costs that occurred after Katrina and Rita shut down refineries and oil and natural gas platforms along the Gulf Coast. Crude oil prices briefly spiked above $70 per barrel right after Katrina hit.
None of this is mysterious. What is mysterious is the refusal to mention that the Chinese will no longer bankroll our red ink in the quantities we desire, ie, a lot. This change which has been instituted just this week, is historic and will have a giant impact, humongous.
America's deficit with China increased to $18.47 billion in August, up 4.6 percent from the July level. The deficit with Japan narrowed slightly to $6.59 billion in August, compared to $6.63 billion in July.
The Japanese recirculate this surplus but the Chinese are now opting out of this system.
In other news, the government reported that the number of people who have lost their jobs because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita jumped to 438,000 last week, helping push the number of first-time jobless claims nationwide for the week to 389,000. The Labor Department reported that an additional 75,000 hurricane-related claims were filed last week out of the nationwide total.
Well, duh. I said here, they couldn't process the tidalwave of jobless claims and now it is hitting hard like a tidal surge in a hurricane. Meanwhile, both Russia and America struggle to contain the fury of the Muslim believers who are all fired up and ready to fire on us. This religious force burns ever fiercer the more we fight them, duh.

Throwing oil literally on these fires and whooosh. We go up in flames. Ditto our money. We are spending $150 billion a year in other countries in order to keep the National Guard and other troops where they can't protect us! This is adding hugely to the trade deficit! Geeze. Duh again! Will anyone put the numbers together and realize the cost of this vast empire, one that is in nearly every country, even Haiti, is bankrupting us?

Naw. Too complicated.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

NOTHING BY NORTHWEST

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

You can tell if an economy is tailspinning by the size and number of corporate failures. So what is going on? Well, we watched Delphi shoot the rapids and dissappear, General Motors is trailing close behind, ratings now so low they are competing with Haiti for loans. Now Northwest Airlines, after going belly up on Sept. IIth, does what all our corporate entities are doing: assassinating the unions.

From Yahoo news;
Northwest Airlines Corp. asked a federal bankruptcy court Wednesday to reject its existing labor contracts if it can't agree to new terms with its unions. The move was expected as the company works through a Chapter 11 financial restructuring.

The nation's fourth biggest air carrier wants to cut $2.5 billion in costs, including $1.4 billion annually in labor costs.

Doug Steenland, the airline's president and chief executive officer, called the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York a "backstop" to negotiations for consensual cuts.

The airline outlined new targets for union concessions in the filing, and said salaried and management employees would also take a second round of pay and benefit cuts soon.

Northwest mechanics, cleaners and custodians have been on strike since Aug. 20, although Northwest has kept flying without them. The last round of talks broke off on Sept. 11. Northwest filed for bankruptcy three days later.
They are all using bankruptcy laws to shield their management while savaging the unions. Note how Delphi increased pay and bonuses to its managers while savaging the union. The pain of bankruptcy used to be shared, in Victorian days, by the owners of companies as well as the staff and employees.

Now this is no longer true, bankrupcy has nearly zero impact on pay of executives, it may ruin their stock options but even that is protected since they sell this off discreetly before bad news, the real people who take a whack are the stockholders who don't know the bad news except when the MSM reports it, the management is always covered.

So one can predict that in ten years there will be no unions left in America. All unionized entities will flee into bankruptcy in order to drop wages! And what is a depression?

When wages fall and fall and excess workers grow ever greater in number and it becomes a dog eat dog world and usually, the next step is war and revolution. Usually in tandem.

Why our rich rulers want this? Greed. Simple greed. They never see what lies at the bottom of the lake, what lurks around the next corner even if they hear the wolves howling. They think, they are the Masters of the Universe.

They don't need to fear Fenir's wrath.

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TAXING THE MIDDLE CLASS TO DEATH

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Once again, the sneaky pests of the GOP are trying to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the very rich. Class warfare run by kindergarden thugs.

From the NYT:
President Bush's tax advisory commission indicated on Tuesday that it would not propose replacing the income tax with a national sales tax or a value-added tax, but would recommend limits in the popular tax deductions for mortgage interest and employer-provided health insurance.

The commission, scheduled to make its recommendations to the president by Nov. 1 on how to change the tax system, did not take votes or dwell on details, but its consensus on many important issues was clear.

"We're getting focused on the income tax as a base," said the panel's chairman, Connie Mack, a former Republican senator from Florida.
Sneaky, sneaky! Removing or restricting deductions is raising taxes. Duh. Of course, they will pretend the usual tricks of removing protections and increasing fees and other hidden revenue rasising forms, isn't tax hikes.

This is for political reasons. The rich can't tax the poor, this is impossible. They restrict funds flowing to the poor instead. Which has been done already. Now, with little safety net available, the rumblings from below are increasing. Time for the rich rulers to squeeze the middle class. They do this via inflation and restriction of money flowing to the middle class via school loans, etc.

But every time they cut this, the middle screams and they reinstate the spending which is why we are in a budget deficit from hell, created 100% by GOP pandering to the rich during elections, buying the loyalty of corporate America and greedy media owners.
At its last meeting, in July, the commission agreed to recommend abolishing the alternative minimum tax for individuals, a step that would cost the federal government $1.2 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years.

With a mandate to develop a proposal for changing the tax system that is revenue neutral - meaning it neither raises nor lowers total tax receipts - the commission must find enough revenue to offset the amount now generated by the alternative minimum tax.
Insanity. Looks like FEMA is running this commission!

We need more revenue! This is painfully obvious, running up $2.5 trillion in debt in five years, rising still, eating up Social Security money at a mad rate, this is insanity. And note that they are cutting taxes to the upper 10% yet again, this minimum tax is designed to get some revenue from people with many deductions.

So why cut deductions to all people via changes to the mortgage deduction? Heh. To spread the pain downstairs, of course.
The panel's vice chairman, John B. Breaux, a former Democratic senator from Louisiana, acknowledged the political difficulty but said, "We've got to make bold recommendations without regard to politics."
So, the vice chair is a Democrat who is really a right winger Republican! Louisiana, model for America!!!

Hahaha. Indeed. Well, Louisiana sucks money away from the Northeast just like all the south. And quess who pays these stupid taxes?
That level changes each year and varies depending on housing costs in each county, with a maximum loan limit now of $312,895 in communities where housing is most expensive and a national average of $244,000, according to the housing administration.

Another proposal under consideration was to change the interest deduction to a credit, meaning that taxpayers with the same size mortgage payments would get the same tax break regardless of what tax bracket they were in.

A third idea was to limit the deduction to 15 percent or 25 percent of a taxpayer's mortgage interest payments. The wealthiest taxpayers can now deduct 35 percent of the interest.
I am not rich but my farm is valued at $250,000. I once owned a very fine house in New Jersey which in 1984, cost me $120,000 which I fixed up beautifully and sold three years later for $325,000!

I know someone very dear to us that bought a one room condominium in Manhattan for $400,000! This is not "rich" by any means! He needs this mortgage deduction! To the averages the government uses is crazy for it doesn't reflect reality in any of the big cities which produce the most revenue for Uncle Sam. And you know, they won't change these numbers to reflect changes in relative values, market crashes, inflation, whatever.

Bad proposals.

Just recind the goddamn Bush tax cuts, you morons.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

CHINA UNREST ROILS

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Serious unrest hits China where they don't want to see this happen: in the peasant communities where the vast majority of people in China live and work:f
Communist party hack goonsquad attacks elected politician
From the BBC:
He remembers being dragged from a car by a group of around 30 men.

His attackers beat him until he was unconscious, and his next memory is waking up in hospital.

He is now recovering at his home village in China's Hubei province.

Tired and bruised, Mr Lu told the BBC that he had little recollection of the events following his beating on Saturday night.
snip
"I won't take further action to protect my own rights either by means of law or in other ways because it will take too much energy and money.

But he says he remains committed to helping the villagers of Taishi in their battle for democracy and greater political freedom.

"[The villagers] are in a terrible situation now. Around 20 to 30 villagers are still being detained. Many villagers ran away and they dare not come back," he said.
All over the world, peasants who dare to fight back, to protect their homes, the land itself, the planet, even, are attacked. The entire Vietnam war was all about us trying to intimidate, control or murder, peasants.

The war in Iraq, the same. All rulers fear and hate their peasants. Peasants are dangerous. They can lay quiet and inert and unchanging as the soil itself and then suddenly erupt like a volcano or a mudslide or earthquake. Over and again, they patiently rebuild their lives as war and famine pass them over.

One of the problems the city Chinese have with the peasants is the revolutionary past which they teach in school. Since they have to pretend to love the peasants, they teach them to be proud. This is always dangerous since proud peasants can be quite stubborn.

Stalin's biggest battles were with them, not the city people who were boxed in and easily controlled. More peasants were murdered by Stalin than any group of people.

From the Guardian:
Mr Lu, one of a new breed of peasant leaders elected without the support of the party, had been in the area on the outskirts of Guangzhou city since August, encouraging residents to vote out officials accused of corruption.

With Taishi seen as a symbol of the movement for peasant rights, this was an increasingly dangerous activity. Several academics, lawyers and human rights campaigners have been arrested by police and threatened by a mob that villagers say has been hired to keep visitors away. Several journalists who have entered the area have been detained or beaten, most recently last Friday, when correspondents for Radio France and the South China Morning Post were assaulted.
Note that America assaults reporters like the one that tried to film the police beating in New Orleans, for example. The most fearsome thing for rulers is to have a curious press covering government proxies hitting people or killing people.

All this is roiling Chinese politics. As I said last month, the Chinese communists have to now prove their credentials. They have cozened up to so many capitalist running dogs that they are going bow-wow more than even Blair, the poodle of America. In their many schemes to annex American industrial bases, the Chinese communists put billions of dollars into American coffers while peasants starve. This has finally gotten up the ire of said peasants. So the sluices funnelling hundreds of billions of dollars into America is being shut down.

From Xinhua net:

China's top Communist Party officials at a plenary meeting in Beijing are expected to adopt the "11th five-year plan" for economic and social development from 2006-2020, which will center on more even wealth distribution among its citizens.

The concept of "scientific development," first put forward by President Hu Jintao, will be enshrined into the plan. Beijing is also calling for the building of a society that will improve the lives of millions of farmers and poor urban dwellers currently left out of the country's economic boom, and therefore eradicating the roots of social unrest, observers said.

Despite the Party awoken to the inequity concern, it is unclear what can be done to help the poor. Some economists have said China is witnessing a stage of economic development in which many people are going to be left behind, raising the danger of unrest.

Over the years, government coffers and state-run banks have funded many viable infrastructure projects, but also unworthy ones such as city plazas and high-tech parks that remain empty.

Corruption and lack of accountability played a big part in the wasteful spending as local officials are able to pocket kickbacks from developers and others, and face little reprimand for pushing through unnecessary projects.

Such "blind" investment has led to a waste in resources such as steel and energy, causing prices to shoot up and raising fears of a depletion of resources.

This has also led to large-scale environmental degradation, with many of China's rivers and lakes polluted and many Chinese cities blanketed with filthy air.
Ah, the air, the water! Cities don't care if they foul up these but we notice, we who run farms! I notice global warming, acid rain, all sorts of things that directly impact on the fertility and wholesomeness of my lands and I am very angry at Bush and his corrupt crew enabling the pollution that is killing my lands, just so city people can live inside their blasted bubbles!

Outside the bubbles, hell is breaking loose.

China has been America's inflation sinkhole, not matter how things devolve, they made money cheap for us, they enabled us to run huge deficits on every level and they made everything cheap. Now this is coming to an end. The Chinese rulers will punish all peasants who revolt but they can't control a billion peasants all at once. We can't control several million in Iraq! No one controlled the Vietanamese peasants.

The impact of this social revolution that is in its infancy will be felt here in America. Right now, negotiators for the third world peasants as well as China's peasants, are demanding the first world, America and the European Union stop subsidizing our corporate farmers and play fair. This is going to impact the GOP which feeds vast sums to "farmers" in the red states who are some of our biggest Welfare Queens, driving John Deere equipment.

We have stripped our own peasants, the small farmers, of nearly everything they used to sell. Defeated, they live in slums in the cities or work in casinos or hire themselves as cops. The midwest is emptying out of all young people as all our villages, those legendary villages, die.

Ditto Japan.

Well, there are way too many Chinese peasants to pour into the cities! Look at Mexico City! Full to the gills with dispossessed peasants who try desperately to come to America, too.

The unease of the peasants is troubling the rulers. They are scared.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

NOBLE NOBEL GAME THEORY

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I will never win any awards. The winner of this year's Nobel economy prize (clue: look at past winners and choke!) is a liberal, Professor Thomas C. Shelling. He came up with the idea that all political, historical and economic information can be modeled on "game theories," thus making human activity easy to reduce and quantify.

It also leads one to learn very little that is useful and indeed, can lead to very dangerous results. I read a number of his things and he can't escape his cultural limitations, thus he talks happily about how politics and international relations are like...chess! Chess is exactly the wrong model. In that, all efforts are focused on capturing a king. All else is incidental. The board is divided in two and have defined limits that don't matter since pieces can go in diagonals or jump over other pieces. It is the "unique leader/assassination" model.

For example, we pretended that to take over Iraq, all we had to do was kill or capture Saddam. BZZZZT. No. Wrong.

Asia's favorite tactical game has been for many centuries, GO. The art here shows a famous general, General Kuan Yu.
Kuan Yu (`Kan U' in the Japanese pronunciation), was canonized as an Immortal in 1128 and deified as the Chinese God of War in 1594.

The first illustration (Print 3-1) shows one of a set of impressive triptychs by Kuniyoshi that he published in 1853-54. It depicts a striking and memorable passage in Chapter 75 of Book XII of the Chinese novel. Kuan Yu's arm has been injured in battle, and he insists on having it attended to without fuss:

"The surgeon, accordingly, pressed down with his knife and made an incision in the flesh as far as the bone, exposing the infected part. With his knife he scraped away at the bone, making a grating noise as he did so. Everyone who was watching, soldiers as well as civilians, averted their faces and turned pale. Kuan Yu drank wine, ate some meat, cracked jokes, and played go, showing not the slightest sign of pain as the basin filled with blood. The surgeon scraped away the last of the infection, then applied medicine and bound up the wound with a silken cord.

Kuan Yu gave a hearty laugh and got to his feet. He turned to his lieutenants and said, `Now I can stretch my arm as before, without trouble. Truly, this is an eminent doctor!'"
One way to win a board game is to gross everyone out! Hey! That is what war is all about, isn't it?

Here is just a sample of the Professor Emeritus about nuclear war: From Daily times.com:
If ‘brinkmanship’ means anything, it means manipulating the shared risk of war. It means exploiting the danger that somebody may inadvertently go over the brink, dragging the other with him. If two climbers are tied together, and one wants to intimidate the other by seeming about to fall over the edge, there has to be some uncertainty or anticipated irrationality or it won’t work. If the brink is clearly marked and provides a firm footing, no loose pebbles underfoot and no gusts of wind to catch one off guard, if each climber is in full control of himself and never gets dizzy, neither can pose any risk to the other by approaching the brink. There is no danger in approaching it; and while either can deliberately jump off, he cannot credibly pretend that he is about to. Any attempt to intimidate or to deter the other climber depends on the threat of slipping or stumbling. With loose ground, gusty winds, and a propensity toward dizziness, there is some danger when a climber approaches the edge; one can credibly threaten to fall off accidentally by standing near the brink.
"Shared risk of war." Just that alone makes me laugh. Nuclear war nearly broke out more than once in my own lifetime. Over really stupid things. We were prepared to annihilate all of Europe over possession of Berlin! Bad trade-off! Let's do game theory, you save one Go stone by slicing the board in two with your sword while screaming. There is a famous Go game where this happened. Ahem.

Mutual Assured Destruction was so obvious that warmongers even flinched. They tried hard to convince each other it was winnable...if you spring first! And get all the missiles. But this "tripwire" is a very faulty mechanism. Before WWI, so many nations rigged up so many tripwires that they all blundered into them simultaneously and started what had to be the most moronic, destructive war except for WWII which was started deliberately by insane people who wanted to rule the earth and didn't care how many humans perished, this was their insane plan in the first place! So when bombs were dropping, they hid in deep caves and laughed demonically.

Whoopee doo!

Guess what! Our insane rulers have deep caves which they spent $600+million tax dollars on stocking and fortifying so they can launch a nuclear war and then hide from the results, to emerge like a butterfly of destruction from the pupa after we are all blown to smithereens.

There is only one way to stop insane wars: prevention of insane people running things. Alas, there is no easy way to keep psychopaths from the power they lust. WWI was started by a stupid family of royals, all closely related and a collective IQ of a trepanned monkey.

I don't go mountain climbing with a stumbling idiot. Imagine climbing Mt. Everest with Bush or Cheney. Cheney will stop breathing and fall, but you won't go down a crevasse with him, his fat carcass will fill the gap. But Bush is guaranteed to stumble or worse, push one off the cliff.

And credibly pretending to jump? Gads. Ask any five year old! "I'm going to jump, mommy!" "Yeah, right." (Kid jumps. Mom screams). See?
Without uncertainty, deterrent threats of war would take the form of trip-wires. To incur commitment is to lay a trip-wire, one that is plainly visible, that cannot be stumbled on, and that is manifestly connected up to the machinery of war. And if effective, it works much like a physical barrier. The trip-wire will not be crossed as long as it has not been placed in an intolerable location, and it will not be placed in an intolerable location as long as there is no uncertainty about each other’s motives and nothing at issue that is worth a war to both sides. Either side can stick its neck out, confident that the other will not chop it off. As long as the process is a series of discrete steps, taken deliberately, without any uncertainty as to the consequences, this process of military commitment and manoeuvre would not lead to war. Imminent war — possible war — would be continually threatened, but the threats would work. They would work unless one side were pushed too far; but if the pushing side knows how far that is, it will not push that far.
Tripwires are all over the earth. Kashmir is criss-crossed with them and this earthquake doesn't improve the situation, it makes it more destabilized. Another is anything China wants like Taiwan, a huge trip wire. We pretend we are strong enough to stand on the edge of that cliff daring to drop into WWIII over this trip wire. It will be tripped, or rather, the Chinese will shove us off the cliff after konking us on the head.

Afghanistan is a trip wire but a hellish one is Iraq. For the last 6,000 years, the Middle East/Euphrates Valley has been the world's oldest and nastiest trip wire spot. Ouch. This is why it just might start WWIII! We are not out of it at all and we are making things worse and worse each day and the fundamentals are getting more and more "edge of the abyss"-like and our ruler is an insane psychopath who is jumping up and down on a financial/political cliff, shrieking.
The resulting world — the world without uncertainty — would discriminate in favour of passivity against initiative. It is easier to deter than to compel. Among a group of arthritics moving delicately and slowly at a cocktail party, no one can be dislodged from his position near the bar, or ousted from his favourite chair; bodily contact is equally painful to his assailant. By standing in the doorway, one can prevent the entrance or exit of another ailing guest who is unwilling to push his way painfully through.
I think a sharp umbrella or handy cane would be just fine, my dear. Bang. This is assuming the door blocker is some old fart.

There is the tactic of stepping on toes, too. Even arthritics can do that. Put on really hard soled shoes...crunch.
In fact, without uncertainty all the military threats and manoeuvres would be like diplomacy with rigid rules and can be illustrated with a modified game of chess. A chess game can end in win, lose, or draw. Let’s change the game by adding a fourth outcome called ‘disaster.’ If ‘disaster’ occurs, a heavy fine is levied on both players, so that each is worse off than if he had simply lost the game. And the rules specify what causes disaster: specifically, if either player has moved his knight across the center line and the other player has moved his queen across the center line, the game terminates at once and both players are scored with a disaster. If a white knight is already on the black side of the board when the black queen moves across to the white side, the black queen’s move terminates the game in disaster; if the queen was already across when White moved his knight across the center line, the knight’s move terminates the game in disaster for both players. And the same applies for the white queen and the black knight.
During the Cold War, the two contesting empires used only pawns, luckily for us. Few Americans or Russians died but millions of Africans and Asians and Third World people perished or suffered hideously. Not that we gave a hoot, did we? Peasants and tribal people, hey, thousands can perish namelessly, heck, our own, ditto! Who cares if they die!

Again, chess is a terrible analogy. In Go, you capture not only stones but territory. Consolidation of territory and hemming in the opponent is what matters. Like real life, it flows on many levels. One can hamstring an empire by bankrupting it, for example. Bin Laden is playing that game successfully with us. Fighting to the death to protect one corner of the board while your opponent merrily goes about, every other turn, taking fresh territory, is a great way to lose at GO. This is what we are doing in Iraq: fighting to the death for one corner while losing the whole earth. What a mess.

No one is interested in our King. Indeed, both bin Laden and the Chinese and their new allies, Russia, all assured us that their wanted us to be led by Bush. His is overwhelmingly their favorite opponent! And so he is losing this game as they all expect and he trips over one wire after another and we are being hammered economically and none of this is game theory.

It is an ancient story as to why all empires collapse.

They always end up with some stupid ruling family putting increasingly dumb people into positions of power. All dynasties rot. Reek and rot. And the greater the empire, the worse the rot. For this is what living in a bubble does: it rots the mind and soul. You can't gage what is going on because the bubble protects one from all discomfort. The ultimate bubble is the nuclear bomb shelter. Why we allow our overlords who can launch insane wars, access to a total bubble protecting them from the wars they launch?

No! Absolutely no. I am against these structures. I want the Pentagon to close them down. I want everyone to imagine they will die first in WWIII. This is no game. This is reality.

Of course, disarming is even better but we ain't doing that!

Hell.

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