Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Stocks Down, Housing Stalling, Energy Unstable, Asia Unstable: Bad News Bears Down

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

All the Pollyannas predicting a boffo year with America printing infinite money thanks to the Feds hiding the M3 funds from prying eyes, we are going to shop until we drop, there is no limit, everything is coming up roses. Yeah, right. Have to fool investors so the rich and unload their Enron stocks. Now, there are tremors of fear. Duh.

From Marketplace:
U.S. stocks fell sharply in late-afternoon trading Tuesday after Google Inc's chief financial officer warned of slowing growth at the Internet company with a number of weak economic reports further undermining sentiment.

"The main impetus behind the sell-off was the news from Google," said Al Goldman, chief market strategist at AG Edwards. "Google has been a market superstar and when you pull out the rug from underneath it, it creates a wet blanket on the whole mood of the market."
Goldman said the disappointing economic data did little to help sentiment.
"But the good news here is that the impact of a specific news item, i.e. one company, usually goes away quickly. We're looking at this pullback as a buying opportunity.
As if the loonies who bid up Google stock to insane levels are now solely responsible for the sudden cold water? How about the cold, literally? It has barely broken zero here on my mountain for a week and looks to be very cold for the foreseeable future since the cold spot that used to sit over Europe has shifted to our part of the universe, as I expected.

Last month, I waved my Cassandra arms and yelled about the foolish shopping spree America did when they thought all winter would be warm, I even told the story of the ant and the grasshopper but the hoppers were to happy, popping around, laughing, to notice ants like myself.

I like the mixed metaphors. "You pull the rug...and it creates a wet blanket." Well, the rugs being pulled are all those people in the hurricane zone giving up on their homes, one by one. Rotted rugs, indeed. The impact of this hasn't shown up in statistics because the banks held off calling in the mortgages for fear of a collapse. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are already circling the toilet, being investigated for fishy business practices, this is going to hit them very hard, by this time, next year, the vast majority of homeowners who lost their homes will be declaring bankruptcy.

If we get more hurricanes like this, but hitting different communities, Florida and the East Coast, anyone? How about a replay of the hurricane, unnamed, that hit in 1938? And of course, the inevitable earthquakes that are due to level parts of the West Coast? Well, we have no grace, no excess funds for any of this! The money collected by our government and the generosity of fellow Americans and sheiks seeking influence after the hurricanes last summer is running dry. Soon, many of the victims putting tons of money into the economy, paying for housing, hotels and food, etc, is going to abruptly end and a whole slew of people will end up living in refrigerator boxes. So this stream of funds will end.

Congress is madly cutting money that is used in America, prefering to spend on overseas wild adventures, so this money buying power is ending rapidly, too. The $250 billion in hurricane spending our rulers yapped about last fall has fallen to a grudging $7.5 billion which is what? 4%? I mean, the amount is pathetic in comparison with the dream amounts. And our government can't even afford this since they asked for another $80 billion for six more months of the Iraq Meathead Mystery Tour?

I blogged how Snow, the guy who sold us down the riverfront to the UAE, this traitor is confiscating Federal worker's pension funds to keep the government going until the GOP figures out how to raise the debt ceiling to $9 trillion which is an amazing number, it is well inside what I would call "the RED zone." Which is where our deaths lie, for, to pay our debts, we will cast many Americans overboard.

From AP:

The economy, which stubbed its toe in the final quarter of 2005, is probably back on firm footing in the opening quarter of this year despite a cooling housing market and somewhat skittish consumers.

After digesting the latest batch of economic reports, released Tuesday, analysts predicted that economic activity is rebounding nicely in the January-to-March quarter and will grow by at least a 4.5 percent rate. For all of 2006, the economy will log another year of solid — though slower — growth, they said.

"The economy is doing pretty well now in terms of momentum," said Brian Bethune, economist at Global Insight.
These people are barking insane. The entire "economy" has been soley a faith-based affair involving foisting massive debts onto the future for today's goofy spending on McMansions and McDonalds. This childish spending spree was encouraged by Bush and his gang, after 9/11, he told everyone to go to Disneyland and go shopping and this would defeat the terrorists.

Who are using bombs and guns. They went shopping, too. Unfortunately for us.

Look as I can, I see no good economic news anywhere. The ability to ship out inflation is hitting a wall now because it takes more and more a bite, the energy costs of transporting goods, compared to when oil was $20 a barrel. This is translating into inflation. The rich will continue to bid up top properties and art work and other things they want, their mega-toy spending spreee will go for another year but the economy can't float on that boat.

Mr. & Mrs. Middle America won't be able to access their Home ATM machines anymore. This will cause a collapse of spending. There is no soft landing. Like any thing that is flying high, when it stalls out and begins to decline, that isn't the point of most pain! From Boston.com:
The Gulf Coast has not rebounded from Hurricane Katrina's blows. It had 12 casinos before the storm made landfall in August and a 13th was about to open. But the coast is on its way to recovery. As it turns out, it was holding the ace card all along. Now, perhaps more than ever, people want to gamble.

''The numbers have been off the charts," said Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. ''I was absolutely in shock when I saw the numbers. It was absolutely amazing."

Gaming in Mississippi is typically a $2.8 billion industry, and even with 12 of its 30 casinos out of commission for nearly four months after the storm, gaming revenues still topped $2.4 billion last year. Inland casinos that were spared actually saw double-digit percentage increases in revenue in the last quarter of 2005. Then came what Gregory called the real shocker.

The three casinos that opened in Biloxi -- the IP Hotel & Casino on Dec. 22, the Isle of Capri on Dec. 26, and the Palace Casino Resort on Dec. 30 -- took in $14.5 million by year's end, more than seven times what the entire Gulf Coast casino industry typically makes in a week.
And this is where it all ends. A debased economy, everyone gambling their last bucks hoping to rake in the loot. Despair and fear feeding the frenzy. Casinos are a blight on an economy. They are totally nonproductive. They sap the soul, they eat family financing, they weaken the will to work. Get rich quick and do it having fun! This is a con game, a rip off that should be outlawed. And it is now the fastest growing segment of our economy, another deadly sign.

Our economic plane is at the stall point. The way down is very far and we won't feel too much pain-----Until we plow into the earth. This particular flight might end up with many of our cities being destroyed in a major war which our rulers might desperately wage as things fall apart. Like, a nuclear with with China and Russia or bin Laden gets his paws on Pakistan's nukes.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Bush's Long Range Budget Sees Huge Cuts In Vet Health Care Funding!

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Even as this week alone, over 20 USA soldiers are blown up, many of them killed but the survivors in very sad shape, the 15,000 severely injured and the 100,000+ suffering psychological damage, what with most of Desert Storm I soldiers sick or dying thanks to DU weapons dust, not to mention all the Vietnam war vets to WWII vets using the services, the Bush plan is to cut staff and reduce service.

From Associated Press:
At least tens of thousands of veterans with non-critical medical issues could suffer delayed or even denied care in coming years to enable President Bush to meet his promise of cutting the deficit in half — if the White House is serious about its proposed budget.

After an increase for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing by leaps and bounds, White House budget documents assume a cutback in 2008 and further cuts thereafter.

In fact, the proposed cuts are so draconian that it seems to some that the White House is simply making them up to make its long-term deficit figures look better. More realistic numbers, however, would raise doubts as to whether Bush can keep his promise to wrestle the deficit under control by the time he leaves office.
The long range plan is for most Americans to have reduced lives. The baby boomers dare not be retired, the plan for us boomers is to die swiftly after being flushed out of the work system. It is worse for our children. They can be replaced by the army of displaced peasants across the planet so marching them into the teeth of death rapidly so they die of overwork and disease before age 55 is just fine with our rulers who intend to extend their own lives tremendously thanks to modern science.

Isn't that a fun world?

Of course, like the rulers in the Middle Ages, once disease and disorder are raging outside the castle walls, Mother Nature has an infinite number of ways of spreading the fun. More importantly, when the replacement peasants (barbarian) become restive, they can and have killed off the upper classes. This has happened over and over in history.

Why our rulers want this is laughable. Bush and his buddies have various hidey holes set up so they can hide from the rage of the masses. Bush thinks, once he has bankrupted America, he can found a thing like the "Hoover Institute" which is a hotbed of hothead idiots, well, he will get his funding from the UAE sheiks, won't he?

We spend a fortune on our military and today, Bush has been trying to plug the dike with Republican govenors who are upset about him stealing various state's National Guard units and stripping all units of equipment and men. From Associated Press:
President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld offered private assurances to the nation's governors over plans to make cuts to the National Guard, but some governors said Monday they were still worried.

Republican and Democratic governors said discussions are just beginning on Guard units, the backbone of state emergency and homeland security response.

"No, there's no sense of hugs, handshakes and cut the cake," said Republican Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. "At least now, we're talking."

Governors went into closed-door meetings with Bush, and later with Rumsfeld and top military leaders, unified in their opposition to administration budget plans that state leaders had warned would reduce the planned force levels for the Guard. The state-controlled citizen soldiers have been heavily used by the federal government in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All 50 govenors protested this hijacking of our local defenders and shipping them off to very distant, nay, hopelss missions. Now, thanks to fake promises Bush has no intention of fulfilling, they are backing off even though not one troop has been returned to their proper postions. So, we will have the United Emirates running America while our troops are running around over there? Eh? What is this?
Bush's 2007 budget submission would support a Guard of about 333,000 citizen soldiers — the current level — rather than the 350,000 authorized by Congress. It also proposes to pay for 188,000 Army Reserve troops rather than the 205,000 authorized by Congress.
Once again, Bush is budget cutting at the bottom, not the top.

Halliburton, despite being cited for cheating all of us, is getting a whopping $250 million dollars even though reporters have uncovered scams like driving empty trucks back and forth in Iraq just to run up milage as if they were taxi drivers milking foreign visitors at Kennedy Airport.
(Gov. Vilsak of Iowa) He and other governors have repeatedly asked why the administration would tinker with the Guard when the states rely on it so heavily and the nation has put such an emphasis on homeland security.

"The reality is we cannot keep this nation safe by keeping the states less safe," Vilsack said.
BINGO! Everything Bush is doing now is guarunteed to increase our danger! Duh! I wish we could tap his phone. Bet he called the bin Ladens, pleading with them, "I need another one!" The anthrax attacker who only attacked Democrats, the media and a photo editor who ran pictures of Jenna half naked, drunk, he is still available but I doubt he can pull another trick, it got too hot for him when the anthrax was traced back to a top secret military base.

Which takes us back to the military. Are they doing all this so we have an insurrection? So the miltiary is so angry, they take over the White House in a coup? To stop Bush? I can see that.

What is going on here? All I know, our system is in tatters, the hurricane season is creeping closer by the day and earthquakes will inevitably destroy a lot of places on the west coast because tectonic plate movements insure this, the Pacific Plate is very busy, very many 6+ earthquakes this year, all along every front of it except for the west coast of North America.

Well, death, doom and destruction. The Bush trifecta.

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France Defends Its Own Industries While Wanting Free Trade Elsewhere

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Here is an amusing example of a country that doesn't cave into "free traders". France. Once again, they decide national control is more important than selling everything off and firing French workers.

From Reuters:
Gaz de France (GAZ.PA) and Suezoutlined a deal to create Europe's second largest energy utility on Monday in a government-brokered move seen as a lightning French response to designs on Suez by Italy's Enel.

A statement issued by both companies after a weekend of intense political and boardroom activity sketched out a ``merger of equals'' that will see Gaz de France privatized with the state left holding a blocking minority and Enel shut out of Suez.

Further details of the deal -- including the politically crucial question of which company will have the upper hand in the new 72 billion euro combination -- were left vague ahead of talks between the French government and skeptical unions.
Of course, the unions are skeptical. Across the globe, the free traders and international bankers are desperate to break all unions, destroy the power of all workers to fight for wages and benefits. We are all supposed to degrade our condition so we are all peasants or slaves.

Capital must have total freedom while labor have only slavery. This is exactly what the 1984 doublespeak motto, "Slavery is Freedom" is all about. Money, which has no living beings attached, must be free but in order for it to exist, it must chain living humans into penury and perpetual labor or it loses value.

As Marx noted, labor=value. And the capitalists working with financial entities know their money is nothing but worthless paper unless it can harness the labor of billions and "grow".
Finance Minister Thierry Breton and the heads of the two companies were holding talks with trade unions on Monday morning to try to break down their opposition.
The unions are rightfully fearful of any merger, even one designed to "save" the energy company from foreign control. This is because all mergers=people losing jobs. Since mergers involve exchanges of money, this has to be paid for and the only method is via labor concessions.
Plans for the alliance have angered Italy and could alarm the European Commission because of concerns that France's stated policy of ``economic patriotism'' goes against the spirit of free movement of capital.

The merger plan is widely seen as a defensive mechanism to stave off any takeover bid by Enel, although French officials deny building a fortress against foreign takeovers.
France is part of the European Union and uses the euro. Yet they are understandably nervous of losing all control of their own country yet they will happily buy similar things in the USA or neighbors like Belgium, in Europe. These vacillations are typical of all "free traders" who want freedom to invade other people's systems but want to do it from a fortress of solitude.

Like Japan. This is 100% what Japan is all about. Securely locking their own borders while exploiting free trade in other countries. Even after years of detailing this, the USA still is unable to retaliate even slightly because the red ink caused by Japan and now China's trade surplusses means we can't financially retaliate except via one method only: closing our ports!

Instead of handing them over to the Chinese and the UAE.

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Bush Selling Off Huge Tracts Of National Forest Lands

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

After selling off our ports and our factories, Bush turns back to decimating our national treasures. He plans to auction off public lands to the highest bidders. This, after letting oil companies off of paying royalties in the Gulf of Mexico! Eventually, all of America will be sold to people who hate us.

From News Journal Online:
From almost any public-minded perspective, President Bush's plan to sell off up to 300,000 acres in the national forest system and 500,000 acres within the Bureau of Land Management is a mistake. From some vantage points, it looks like an outright scam.

Once this land falls into the hands of developers, it can never be reclaimed. And the Bush administration's excuse -- that it would use the money from the sale of forest land to temporarily fund a federal rural-school program -- doesn't hold water. The sale would produce enough revenue to make up a deficit from federal timber sales for six years. But the administration is phasing out the rural-school program, not saving it.
The plan is to have no public lands, no public services, everything "privatized" and sold to the highest bidder which isn't the average American, most Americans can't buy much of anything anymore except by going steeply into debt. So the buyers will be individuals with deep pockets. Like the sheiks of the UAE.

It is totally bizarre, the excuse for this rip-off, "funding rural schools". Rural schools are rapidly closing due to lack of a natural resource: students. The true reason for these sales is exposed by the fact that the Feds claim they will resell the lands to the county or state where they lie! Well, if the states or counties have the funds to buy this land, why can't they fund their own rural schools with that money instead of spending it on buying federal lands? Hmmm?

Of course, this is all a Potemkin front plan like all the others.

Since writing my earlier articles, I notice the right wing editorials and scream machines are working full blast to shame Americans who are upset about selling our ports to Arab Sheiks who have a recent history of coddling and assisting attackers of America, namely, the 9/11 attacks. None of these editorials or screamers mention 9/11. It is spooky how Bush and the GOP suddenly have forgotten 9/11 and the date has literally disappeared off their collective calendars.

Take note of the individuals doing this. These are traitors. They misused the 9/11 attacks to misdirect us into attacking Iraq and now the same people are screaming at us to not be upset about Dubai. Well, way back in the stone age, on 9/11/1, we wondered why Bush protected the bin Laden clan, the Saudis and the UAE. None of these entities were questioned or examined. Even today, it is VERBOTEN for Americans to read even one page of the 9/11 Commission Whitewash Report concerning the Saudis or the UAE.

If Bush and his traitors want us to hand over American ports to these people, then they should release not only this material but reappear in public to under go questioning, under oath this time, about 9/11 and why Bush just sat there in that classroom and how all of these clowns knew Atta was leading the attack within hours of it happening.
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Free Trade=Sevitude For American Citizens

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Once again, the whole world is joining in with the traitors running America to scream at us that we need "free trade" and our shores should be open wide to whoever wants to loot or control America. Any citizen who falls for this deserves to wear the slave's iron collar being forged via IOUs and pay cuts.

From the Independent:

Lucrative opportunities taken away on a political whim; the danger of being locked up by an over-mighty government agency; the brick wall of protectionism - the business community expects to do battle with all these things in an emerging market.

Yet this suddenly seems to be a description of doing business in that most developed of all markets, the United States of America.

In the UK, in the cash-rich Gulf states and in fast-growing India, different incidents in the past week have made people ask the same question: is it worth doing business with the US?

Critics say the outcry over the £3.9bn acquisition of P&O by Dubai Ports World, which will transfer the running of five US ports to a state-controlled Middle Eastern company, has exposed the US Congress at its xenophobic worst. But it has also revealed more starkly than ever the protectionist tide that is waxing in America under the guise of national security.

The acquisition was due to close this Thursday, but DP World has had to delay completing the deal as it faces a protracted Congressional and legal fight to keep hold of the US contracts, which account for 6 per cent of the business it is buying.
My, how the British power elite screams! They were allowed to buy our ports because they were supposedly our allies in dominating the planet. Of course, they pay zero dollars in American taxes, our British colony, that is, except for some offshore amounts which are little more than small potato tribute to keep Americans from thinking these are really bad deals we are making.

The UAE is some ally. Far from being a colony, even, they roll in wealth because of oil and they are happily buying up whole segments of America. This is because we eat 24% of the world's oil so we can tool around in SUVs that we don't own but are owned by finance institutions and we live in houses we don't own, being up the river of mortgages, on a raft without a paddle.

All of America is for sale! This fire sale is due to our trade deficit which yawns every wider and the more free trade we have, the wider the red river runs and we passed three quarter trillion in red ink last year on trade and this year are heading towards a trillion. This is impossible.
Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, says it has been a profoundly depressing episode, and one that could have lasting repercussions if it derails a planned free-trade deal between the United Arab Emirates and the US. "These are not societies given to a lot of rhetoric - they are not going to hold a press conference and call off negotiations," he explains. "But what would happen is that things would slow down - forms of co-operation would not happen any more."
The National TRAITOR Trade Council is crying? Well boo, f**king hoo. This clown gets paid to work day and night at destroying our nation. He sleeps in a fancy bed in a fancy house in a fancy neighborhood and drives a fancy car and has fancy health care. Of course, he wants to hand us over to our enemies. They pay him very well for this.

The "other societies" that don't talk but withhold money are a fancy way for Mr. Fancy Pants to describe the oil sheiks and kings who are not our allies in anything. They are our OWNERS. And they own Mr. Fancy Pants and this is why Bush kisses them on the lips and holds their hands, he is their jockey slave who rides camels for them.

What is this "co-operation" the trade traitor is talking about? We are dying for them in the Middle East. They hated and feared Saddam and they hate Iran. So they push us secretly into wars while pretending to hate Christians and Jews. This fake game isn't fooling their populaces anymore, witness the near destruction of the top oil refinery in the world. It is only a matter of time that the outraged populace takes these men down. And us, with them.
When a firestorm of protest threatens to drive a Middle Eastern company out of the US, it is only business sense to look for opportunities elsewhere. The Dubai government has begun to build up a modest aerospace industry, launching a components business that might, one day, mean it is less reliant on the US for aircraft. Its new airport management business is targeting contracts in India.
See what I mean?

Even as these beasts snarl at us to shut up and let them rule us, they already, ALREADY are working hard at undermining us! Our sole, last, remaining item we sell overseas that is still made here in America is aircraft and already, TODAY, they are building factories which hire ONLY semi-slave foreign labor, owned by them, to build aircraft that will undersell ours since the laborers will come from Bangladesh.

China is doing this, too. Everyone is doing this! This works! Thanks to our insane "free traders" here at home, we have been completely crippled.
Perceived discrimination in other areas might also damage America's economic future. The head of chip maker Intel, Craig Barrett, has complained repeatedly that the US is losing out on international talent because of the tightening of immigration laws after 9/11, which led to lots of hi-tech engineers losing their work permits. Intel, Microsoft and others are channelling investment into India that might otherwise have stayed in the US.

The issue flared up again last week when a prominent Indian scientist was refused a visa for the US because of concern that his work had chemical weapons applications. The case of Goverdhan Mehta, who is president of the International Council for Science, a Paris-based group of national scientific academies, has caused a storm in India.
Good grief. So, the intelletuals of India want to take away American jobs and we are putting up some small barriers? Well. Cry me the river Ganges!

We have an army of high-tech engineers who were undercut by these characters. We are so demoralized, few Americans even bother enrolling in engineering classes in fields dominated by invaders from India brought in by traitors who wanted cheaper labor. It cost a lot to get a degree. And then when one can only get a very cheap job, it means never being out of debt! And for what?

The rage building in America as citizens discover they are on a sinking ship and the rats have eaten the hull so badly it is swiss cheese is going to lead to a big explosion of rage, particularily when the bills for all the trillions in debt, over three trillion during the Bush insanity, when this is presented to us, we will be flabbergasted.

Everyone wants the gravy train to continue. Particularily those who are forging the iron ring of slavery around our necks. They are tremendously afraid that we might call a halt to this but first we have to change, ourselves. No more oil wasting. I am for energy controls that prevent people from wasting energy. This is a national emergency.

We have to swiftly eliminate all foreign bases. Pull back our military to our home base. And then cut oil imports by 50%. Think we can't do this?

It isn't hard, if we have to. But who wants to stop the party? We are supposed to sell each other McMansions and burgers! This will make us rich and powerful. Ask Bernanke!
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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bernanke Says Keeping Inflation Low By Shipping Our Money (and manufacturing jobs!) To China Creates Jobs Here

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I warned everyone that Bernanke is an idiot. He celebrates the destruction of our manufacturing base, claiming that shipping jobs to China to scrub inflation due to energy hikes creates jobs here in America. Alas, the jobs created are also not "inflationary" since no one can ask for or get pay raises! Great. Sounds like a depression.

Ben Bernanke, in his first public speech as Federal Reserve chairman, laid out a scholarly case Friday that keeping inflation low and stable tends to foster economic growth and jobs.

This sensibility — now largely a consensus view — marked an evolution in economic thinking, Bernanke said in remarks at Princeton University in New Jersey.
A bunch of white males in their pretty ivory treehouse. Oh, how very happy they are! One reason not one of the liberal economic bloggers who know me via my comments at their sites (I really no longer bother with them, they are so out of touch with reality!) don't quote me at all is because of my ferocious attacks on their fraternity.

Well, I predicted from my very first article about Bernanke that he would be both insane as well as ill-informed. He is going to finish us off. We are so very doomed thanks to this idiot.
"Central bankers, economists and other knowledgeable observers around the world agree that price stability contributes importantly to the economy's growth and employment prospects," he said. "But that view did not always command the support it does today."
Well, he better consult with me! Or read this story of mine!

Price stability exists? What the farking hell? I see none, none at all!

All fundamental prices are going up and up and up in dollar value. The M3 figures show the government printed up more than $700 billion dollars out of thin air and this matches, nearly, our trade deficit. These dollars didn't drive up the price of cars or planes because of oversupply keeps prices down and since most people had to pay cash for these things, there was less demand despite the flood of new dollars but...the big but!---this $700 billion has come home to roost in the form of loans which have shot through the roof.

More Americans are deeper into debt. The inflation beast moved into our livingrooms and we greeted it with joy for it said, "Feed me and I will make you rich!" So we played this merry-go-round and now the money is stopping because the dollar is losing value on all fronts and not due to excessive production, either, but due to excessive creation of dollars ...BY THE FED ITSELF!

The only way to hide this severe deterioration of over 50% value, our trading partners who all run surpluses vis a vis the USA have conspired to feed us our own money back into our system via home loans. This is coming to an end, though, for finanical and political reasons.

China, for example, is now switching direction. It will continue to feed the American beast a tiny bit more until they get their aerospace factories humming then they will dump us. Already, after our government nixed American aerospace ventures in China, forcing them to eat the inflation at home which is killing their profits despite frantic efforts to kill the unions and reduce wages by 50%, Airbus of Europe has decided to build factories in China to rid them of inflation and viola!

China doesn't need us anymore. Kiss the "no inflation" miracle ta-ta.

Here is an example of the great jobs Greenspan and Bernanke have created thanks to their stupid "no inflation" policies:From the Sun Herald of Duluth:
When Lisa Koch asked several people at a Chicago soup kitchen to complete a survey of the people who eat there, she got a surprising response: "They asked how long it would take because they had to get back to work after lunch."

A national survey of people eating at soup kitchens, food banks and shelters found that 36 percent came from households in which at least one person had a job. In the Chicago area, it was 39 percent.

"Even though the economy might be changing, it isn't creating the kinds of jobs that allow people to make ends meet," said Koch of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

More than 25 million Americans turned to the nation's largest network of food banks, soup kitchens and shelters for meals last year, up 9 percent from 2001, says the report by America's Second Harvest.
Isn't it pathetic? Alms for the poor! Alms for the poor! Of course, smug, silly Bernanke doesn't care, at no time in his besotted life did he have to worry his pretty little bearded face over things like job instability and low pay and give backs. Every seven years, a year's holiday. Huzzah! Pip pip and all that.
The surveys were done before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. After the hurricanes, demand for emergency food assistance tripled in Gulf Coast states, according to a separate report by the group.

The new report, being released today, found that 35 percent of people seeking food came from households that received food stamps. Cousin said the numbers show that the government program, while important, is insufficient.
Thank the GOP for that! They have been cutting food stamps ruthlessly.

Many workers from the Deep South are still shattered by the hurricanes and have no jobs because even though their jobs are available in New Orleans, there is no housing or infrastructure for them. This is driving them literally insane. From Agence France Presse:
It has been six months since he stood guard in the lobby of the hotel his wife managed, using the flashlight mounted on his shotgun to fend off looters who rattled at the glass doors as his daughters slept uneasily upstairs.

Six months since he carried a man who had been savagely beaten to the Convention Center, only to be told by police that there was nothing they could do but let the man die.

Six months since his faith in his country was shattered.

But he has not been able to let go of the fear. And the anger. And the pain.

"I don't go out of my house a lot," he said as he sat behind his computer, his once muscle-bound frame softened by the loss of 28 pounds (13 kilograms). "I can't stand to be in crowds. It makes me very nervous."
His wife is working but he isn't. And she makes nearly no income beyond what covers their barest necessities. The landlord wants rent on an unihabitable house merely because they parked their FEMA trailer there. No one is fixing anything because it is unfixable. I know, I restore old buildings. After a flood, they have to be stripped to the studs!

And in New Orleans, that isn't enough. For it is a termite heaven there and even if the wood looks like it is dry, it isn't and the bugs love wood that is wet in the core. They eat it up in no time flat. All the flooded houses, even if rebuilt, are doomed to fall apart rapidly thanks to termites.

It is like our economy. Termites busily eating away the foundation. Dry rot in the attic and the roof has holes in it and the next hurricane is filing her fingernails right now, over Africa. When the prevailing winds west begin to blow in the Sahara, as the earth shifts past the equinox, we are going to see much more devastation this year, much more.

Already, there was a report today that the fish in North Carolina suddenly scrambled up from the deep because of lack of oxygen, beaching themselves by the thousands just like they did all summer long in the Gulf. A bad sign, that. And it is still February!

Speaking of fish floundering ashore! From Energy Bulletin:
Bourse Director Sven Arild Andersen is fed up with Norwegian oil having to be traded in London and wants to have a commodities and energy bourse in Norway.

The Bourse Director believes that Norway already has the prerequisites for building up a Norwegian or Scandinavian energy bourse.

"This would in such case compete with the bourse in London. Why not have the ambition to outcompete the British petroleum bourse," says Sven Arild Andersen.

"Here, you could trade crude oil, natural gas contracts and establish derivatives for these products."

"In addition, we must set up a larger financial industry around this, as important in other large markets and employ many people. And which are important for the competencies that are needed beyond the extraction itself of oil and gas," says Andersen.

In Euros.
We invaded Iraq for this very thing. We are already snarling at Norway, demanding they kow tow to the mighty dollar and to obey us in our crusade against the Muslim world. But here they are, yet another country dropping the oil dollar.

This is fatal to us. We know the dollar is essentially worthless, it lost over 50% of its real value this year and will drop even more, next year, since our trade deficit totally stinks, due to the need to export our jobs to hide inflation! Gack.

Venezuela is mulling doing this and if Norway and Iran do it, Venezuela will, too. This leaves only the corrupt kings and sheiks of the Gulf kingdoms, supporting the dollar. Already, Putin has said, Russia is very happy to switch over to euro pricing!

Once China declares this, boom!

The Chinese already have extended business deep into the European Union. Soon, they won't need us as customers or rather, we can buy but only via euros! We stupidly let the euro soar in value, we laughed that this would make us billionaires but not in the sense of Weimar billionaires.

Well, that was a dumb idea. We fixed nothing by letting the euro soar and now we will literally pay the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sec. Snow Stealing Pension Funds To Keep Government Running!

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Sec. Snow has unilaterally decided he can raid Federal pension funds for an extra $68 billion so the GOP government can continue to lose money all over the planet earth. He plans to pay back these funds when Congress raises the debt ceiling to $9 TRILLION. Of course, to do this, he has to visit China and beg. The Chinese are laughing to death even as I blog this.

From Marketwatch:
The U.S. Treasury acted Thursday to avoid hitting the national debt limit and said it's "imperative" Congress raise the debt ceiling by the middle of March.

Treasury is suspending reinvestment in the so-called "G-Fund," an investment vehicle for a federal employees' retirement system. The action will free up $65.266 billion, a Treasury spokeswoman said.

"Without this action we would reach the debt limit today," spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said Thursday.

Congress and the Bush administration have been negotiating an increase in the current $8.18 trillion debt limit. On Wednesday Treasury said it would suspend sales of state and local government non-marketable securities.
Time to bring back Bernanke and have a big kissy-kissy session! Wait! We will see those tax cuts cut out of the budget! No! We must cut taxes to the rich or they might flee to Tokyo again!

Or Paris! Wait, old Europe is in trouble! They will live on various tropical islands that are going under water thanks to global warming.
"Once I am able to make the G-Fund whole, the effect on the G-Fund and its beneficiaries will be the same as if this temporary action had never taken place," Snow wrote to Frist.

Meanwhile, with the federal budget deficit projected to reach $423 billion in 2006, both Republicans and Democrats have so far balked at raising the debt limit.
And to make the fund "whole" he is going to punch another hole in the hold of USS Titanic. As the red ink pours in, we have to balance things by shipping more dollars out. Japan's government is up to their own eyeballs in debt trying to suction up as much of our debt as possible. This is why our stockmarket is up today, whoo hoo! Money is going to just rip-roar into America because Bernanke and his gang won't raise interest rates much because Chinese workers are cheap! Cheap, I tell you! Very cheap!!!! And they loan us money, to boot!!!! CAN'T BEAT THAT!!!!

Glub. From Charlotte:
Syria has switched the primary hard currency it uses for foreign goods and services from the U.S. dollar to the euro in a bid to make it less vulnerable to pressure from Washington.

The decree signed by Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari on Monday ordered government bodies and public-sector companies to use euros to pay for foreign transactions, including payment for exports.

The head of the state-run Commercial Bank of Syria, Dureid Dergham, was quoted as saying Tuesday that the switch to euros was "important and necessary in light of the current U.S. threats against Syria, and the ensuing complications in banking procedures and transfer operations to Syria from U.S. and European banks."
Step by step, everyone is tip toeing away from our currency. Like all landslides, it starts with a few stones rolling down the hill. No landslide happens slowly, only the beginning is slow.

When they do happen, it is like a lightning bolt. From the LA Times:
In an unexpected breakthrough in negotiations with Louisiana officials, the Bush administration announced Wednesday that President Bush would ask Congress for an additional $4.2 billion to help the state repair and rebuild homes battered by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Federal support for housing reconstruction, which has been the subject of protracted negotiations between Washington and local officials, is considered a prerequisite for wider recovery because it opens the way for thousands of displaced people to return to New Orleans and surrounding areas.
Santy Claus is still alive! Whoo hoo. So, even as we smack up against the fourth debt ceiling under Bush's rule, he says, aw, what the heck, another $5 billion more or less, the Chinese will give it to me after I insult them some more!" Condi wants to spend money proselytizing Iran about democracy even though, unlike Egypt or Saudi Arabia, they actually have elections that are only barely slightly crummier than our own! Stick to buying shoes, you slut.

As for student loans: nope. Those get paid back and the kids go on to earn real money. Can't have that. And health? Die, bitches!

Meanwhile, Pelosi, head of the Democrats, is calling the budget busting bill Congress just weaseled through in the middle of the night after twisting arms, by one vote, she says it is unconstitutional and I would say, our Founding Fathers would agree, despite Scalia calling our Constitution a dead document and we must channel only Alexander Hamilton to find out if it is OK to do things as if this were Nazi Germany or worse, Italy under Mussolini. From AP:


"Republican leaders chose to ignore House rules, precedent and even the Constitution itself" in sending the politically charged measure to the White House, said Pelosi, D-Calif.

She said the legislation was defective because it had cleared the two houses in different forms, and added that Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., "knew full well this was an invalid bill."

Republicans, citing an 1894 court precedent, say the measure is valid because top House and Senate leaders put their own signatures on the bill before it was sent to the White House.

On a party-line vote, Republicans shelved the call for an investigation, and Hastert's office did not respond directly to Pelosi's charges.
Of course, they will do whatever they want. Who cares if everything wrought by the GOP is a flaming wreck? No one cares! No one ever expected the dikes to fail last year, or terrorists attack the WTC, or anything.

Clueless. I once was with this religious leader of a cult. He suddenly said, "I can drive with my eyes closed," and shut his eyes. I hit him on the side of the head and grabbed the steering wheel and we had a brief tussle which involved me nearly strangling him while stomping on his foot, trying to brake the car (I succeeded, otherwise I would be a ghost typing here using an ouija board instead of an Apple). Yes, I was only a teenager but even then, I understood psychotic lunatics when I see them and certainly, someone has to stomp on the feet of these clowns driving our collective car off the cliff.
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Kyrgyzstan Wants Lots Of Money From Neo-Soviet America

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The neo con fantasy that Ronnie Reagan defeated the Soviets because the arms race weakened them allows them to get America sucked into the exact same mess that killed the Soviet Union. They bled to death from a thousand wounds. One big one was, their factories made stuff no one wanted to buy (General Motors, anyone?). Another was their colonial wars/colonial outposts were a huge financial drain on them. Particularily in Afghanistan and all the other Stans. Ahem.

From the BBC:
Kyrgyzstan is seeking a huge increase in the rent it earns from the US for a military base inside the country.

President Kurmanbek Bakiev said the annual rent should rise from $2m to $207m, according to a Russian paper.
We have four airbases there. We have been closing air bases here in America, several in New York, for example, for several years. Atta and his gang leisurely flew over much of NY state, flying across to Albany, entering the Albany radar space and then flying down the Hudson Valley, and not a single fighter craft flew nearby to check things out. This is because virtually all our aircraft are off in Soviet territory, patrolling the Iron Curtain states!

Of course, we expect Putin to be pleased we are doing this and he would be except we make snarly noises to him and to China rather frequently so he is not very appreciative at all and in fact, wants us to stop. Why we are doing this is where the issue of insanity arises.

The sole reason we can give in public is "to defend liberty and democracy". Oops. Alas, there is none there to defend. And our attempts and making some in neighboring countries by dropping bombs on the pitiful tents harboring terrorist peasant families barely ekeing out a living herding sheep, is a failure.

One thing the former Soviet rulers of these various "stans" are good at is palming money. And twisting arms for more money. Wasting money. Graft and corruption are their tools and they know how to open a vein and bleed it ruthlessly which brings us back to why the Soviet state lost the Cold War: they went bankrupt clinging to these very same "stans".

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bernanke Says Economy Is "On Track" And I Say, To Hell

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Bernanke told Congress what they wanted to hear: everything is coming up roses and the economy is "on track" and we are going to grow and grow and the Chinese can't sink our ship since they "only" hold around a quarter of a trillion plus in government bonds (!!!!!) so they can't deep-six us. I suppose this is part of the war plan to make the Chinese laugh to death?
And no one mentioned "Japan".

From Associated Press:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, delivering his first economic report to Congress, declared Wednesday that the economy has snapped smartly out of an end-of-year lull, although inflation and other risks remain. He left the door open to higher interest rates in the future.

Recent economic barometers on jobs, production, retail sales and other business activity in January "suggests that the economic expansion remains on track," Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. The expansion, he said, does have "a lot of staying power."
OK, gang, what exactly are we "expanding"?

Well, the trade deficit. Walmart and other box stores are expanding. Alas, most of what they sell is manufactured in Chinese factories. Hmmm. There are more construction jobs last year but that seems to be going on the fritz now. Real Estate Agents! Yes! 009 himself! He will save the economy from Goldfinger!

Of course, Congress and Bernanke refused to say what track we are on, didn't they? They just said, we were on "it". "It" seems to be the track leading to a third world nation status. The only factory jobs created this year were in Japanese assembly spots set up to keep a good throttle hold on our market. Our car companies did near zero business in Japan. We sold a lot of cars in...China! The place we have decided to fight! Talk about stupid.

Well, maybe we could export real estate agents, lawyers (shot up ones are going to be sold at a discount), has-been politicians, K Street lobbyists and TV preachers. Then we might, just might save America!

For a slightly more realistic, downbeat assesment of this crazy hearing, from the NYT:
In an generally upbeat assessment of the economy, the Federal Reserve's new chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, told members of the House of Representatives that the Fed may have to raise interest rates a bit further to assure that inflation does not flare up.

Noting the difficulty of predicting the course of the economy, Mr. Bernanke said: "Nevertheless, the risk exists that, with aggregate demand exhibiting considerable momentum, output could overshoot its sustainable path, leading ultimately — in the absence of countervailing monetary policy action — to further upward pressure on inflation."

Danger: completely stupid economist with great powers running into competely corrupt politicians! How on earth will "output" cause inflation? Output was supposed to be "manufactured stuff" and he is using it to describe people buying things merrily because there is tons of money running around, purchased via cheap, below inflation rate loans! And this will cause inflation, all right, in HOUSING. Which is exactly what has been going on so far! And which is excatly what is wrong with everything! The Fed deliberately turned our homes into ATM machines so we can churn out money to our heart's content and of course, buy stuff which never showed any inflation because the Chinese pegged the yuan to the dollar and the Japanese do this even more outrageously.

Inflation won't happen because people want to buy stuff, it happens because the irresponsible Fed is upping the money amounts while not backing it with anything and the only reason this worked so far is because the Chinese government needs to entrap us by selling us IOUs which they plan to collect in a horrible way since the game we are playing, "Let's see who consumes all the planet's resources" is a very deadly game which will end when everyone decides to cull the world's population just like Hilter decided to do way back in 1933 with his "Lebensraum" program.
Investors have been eagerly anticipating Mr. Bernanke's remarks to see how and if the Fed changes, even slightly, any of its philosophical or policy positions. Some analysts have questioned Mr. Bernanke's commitment to fighting inflation because of past remarks and studies he has done on the risks of falling prices. As he has done in the past, Mr. Bernanke said he "maintain continuity" with the "Greenspan era." Another topic of abiding interest among investors and Fed watchers is the housing market, which was described last year by Mr. Greenspan as "frothy."

But Mr. Bernanke has inherited a markedly different situation. Instead of worrying about the excesses of housing, he provided assurances that the housing market was not in danger of falling off a cliff. He noted a slowdown in sales, rising number of unsold homes on the market and weakening confidence among home builders and buyers. He added, though, that mortgage interest rates have only risen moderately.
A lot of people are making fortunes on the present, crippled, dangerous track. They don't want the gravy train to stop. They don't want it shuttled off to another route. They don't care if I am walking along the roadbed, swinging a red lamp, waving my arms. Who is this odd female? Best to ignore her.

And yes, I once did walk along a real train track, waving a red lamp because a violent thunderstorm did wash out the roadbed. The train stopped, by the way. So it didn't make the news.

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China Is Very Loud About Helping Peasants/Stopping America

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The Chinese peasants made life difficult for the Chinese rulers. It is very simple. They didn't quietly leave their pitiful farms and surrender, they fought back, hard. People were killed. The government snapped and growled. Now they grovel. One can be imprisoned in America for suggesting anyone do what Chinese peasants did. It is called "insurrection". But it worked, didn't it?

From Xinhua net:
Chinese President Hu Jintao Tuesday asked provincial and ministerial heads to attach importance and take concrete actions to boost rural development.

"Building a socialist new countryside is a major historic mission set by our Party," Hu Jintao, who is also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, told a seminar on building a socialist new countryside.

He asked all CPC members and the whole nation to work jointly to make the drive "a project for the people" that truly benefits the vast number of farmers.

Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan also attended the opening ceremony chaired by Zeng Qinghong, a members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, vice Chinese president and president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Hu said that in building a well-off society in an all-round way in China, the most arduous tasks are in the countryside. To accelerate China's modernization, it is imperative to properly handle the relationships of industry and agriculture and urban and rural areas.
Maybe they will act like Republicans and weasle out of this. Maybe they won't. I know some Chinese history and I am betting they are sweating bullets (stay away from Cheney! I warned you all!) concerning the rising wave of rage building deep inside China. This can overturn them in a flash and they know it. So they are trying to co-opt this power by assauging it which is appropriate, it is better than our government which is slapping us in the face while giving Chinese money to Iraqi or Iranian corrupt cronies in the name of democracy! Gack.

Speaking of which, our bankers, the Chinese, are giving our dictator his latest marching orders and he better obey or a certain dam filled with a trillion American debts will suddenly collapse. From Xinhua net:
China has called for the international community to remain sober-minded, patient and flexible when trying to resolve the Iran nuclear issue, said the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao at a regular news conference here Tuesday.

China encourages all parties to do more to increase trust and avoid any actions that may worsen the issue, Liu said.

He told reporters that China is concerned with the latest development of the Iran nuclear issue. There are still enough room to resolve the issue under the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the international community should not abandon diplomatic efforts, he said.

Regarding the scheduled nuclear talks between Russia and Iran on Feb. 16, Liu said China hopes the talks will be held on time and achieve positive outcome.
In other words: North Korea. Remember that place? Oooh, we were so going to fix it our way! And quess who is control of that place now?


And more: we have zero control, we pissed the Chinese off who, for a small fee, arranged not only a peace treaty for us but a trade deal. Now it is a no-go with us on the outside.From Xinhua net:
"We concede that China is running a relatively big trade surplus with the United States, but they shouldn't politicize the issue," Cheng, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, or parliament, told a China-U.S. business forum.

China revalued the yuan by 2.1 percent in July, scrapped the currency's decade-old peg against the dollar and set it free to float within tightly managed bands. To Washington's frustration, the yuan has since risen by less than 0.8 percent.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao reaffirmed China's determination to continue with reform of the yuan -- code for eventually letting it float more freely -- but said Beijing would dictate the pace of change.

"China will push forward the reform according to the development of the situation and the principle that is most favorable to the international economy and China's economy," he told a regular news briefing.
Note, not for the American economy but for China's economy. Namely, we can't ask China to be Mexico for us. They are lining up with Venezuela which we attack verbally nonstop on every venue. I recently read a paper here that called the democratically elected popular government in Venezuela, "a regime" as if it were like the USA which has really no proper way of voting for President anymore, not even the fiction of one man, one vote.

I just heard Barnake say that China doesn't hold enough fiscal resources in dollars to hurt us if we decide to commit suicide and get involved in a big financial dust-up with them. He is, like everyone involved in running America off the cliff, insane. He also claims our enconomy is just great and doing great. This is also totally insane. Well, the Chinese just might laugh to death. Seems the Mulims are laughing to death.

And if we are doing so fine and dandy, why are all the programs helping peasants being cut here? What gives, guys? Either things are hunky dory and there is zero reason to cut my son's school loans or we are a sinking ship. Which is it?

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Condi Wants $75 Million For Democracy Propaganda For Iranians Holed Up In America

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Even as the Bush clowns savage aid for students and even cut student loans for Americans, they want to pour $75 million more dollars into producing crappy propaganda, most of this money will feed Iranians living here, just like we spend many millions on propaganda for Cuba that mostly feeds rightwing Cubans camped out in Florida. This is ridiculous. If anyone wants democracy, they know how to do about doing it, just don't copy America, we don't have a democracy anymore.

From the New York Times:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is asking Congress for $75 million in an emergency spending bill to support U.S. efforts to build democracy in Iran, Bush administration officials said Wednesday.

The money, to be included in a supplemental 2006 budget request the White House is expected to send to Congress as early as this week, will be used for radio and satellite television broadcasting and for programs to help Iranians study abroad, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because Rice had not yet announced the request.
Sweet. So, my son will not be able to finish college so some Iranians who have family here in America can go to school here in his place.

I really appreciate this. NOT. How dare they? Who are these monsters placing total strangers and foriegners to boot, over the welfare of my 100% American son who was born here and raised here and intends to live here? What?

Cut, cut, cut goes the great Bush scissors but the cloth cut gets handed over to foreigners?

From The Northern Light:
In an effort to lower the national deficit, President Bush is looking to student borrowers to help foot the bill.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Deficit Reduction Act on Feb. 2 in a 216-214 vote without the assistance of a single Democrat. Bush signed the bill into law Feb. 8, 2006 and said his budget for 2007 will eliminate federal programs that have performed poorly.

The budget cuts aim to decrease this year’s federal deficit by $39 billion, which represents a sizeable chunk of the nearly $400 billion deficit the White House is projecting in 2006, due in large part to the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.
Not one Iranian student will go home. This program is a hidden Trojan horse to enrich Iranian families already here. They will run the TV and radio stations, they will decide who gets the scholarships (guess who!) and so on. And meanwhile, we strangle the American populace.

We still have to go to China for money and we are signing those IOUs in our name and we will have to pay them and it isn't for us! The truly gargantuan IOUs for the stupid wars we are losing are already devastating health, education and welfare programs at home. These wars of "democracy and freedom" are like a giant hurricane screaming across America, tornadoes smashing people's homes, the dikes threatening to collapse and a tidalwave of red ink will bust out of China to drown all of us.

For the Chinese aren't happy with us at all now and we told them in no uncertain terms, they are our future enemies and we want to disarm them and steal from them so they stand there, at the sluice gates of a trillion in red ink, calculating when to turn the wheel, open the gates and drain out all that red ink.

And we are all in New Orleans.

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Washington Post Writer Thinks Europe Is Losing the Economic Race and America Is Winning????

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

It is amazing to me that anyone can understand anything anymore. The Washington Post hands over the editorial pages, like the NYT does, to total idiots who don't know or understand basic economic facts or any facts at all. Here is a typical example.

From the Washington Post:
By Fareed Zakaria
Tuesday, February 14, 2006; Page A15

Cartoons and riots made the headlines in Europe last week, but a far less fiery event, the publication of an academic study, may shed greater light on the future of the continent. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), headquartered in Paris, released a report, "Going for Growth," that details economic prospects in the industrial world. It is 160 pages long and written in bland, cautious, scholarly prose. But the conclusion is clear: Europe is in deep trouble. These days we all talk about the rise of Asia and the challenge to America, but it may well turn out that the most consequential trend of the next decade will be the economic decline of Europe.
Yeah. Europe, who runs a collective as well as individual trade surpluses with America, are stumbling, while America, deep in the red on nearly every level, bad economic data up the yin-yang, is triumphant. Gads. Talk about insane. I see no other explanation for this. This week, I blogged the news that Europe is hitting us for...Protectionism! Whoo hoo.
It's often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the E.U. has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the United States, and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years.
OK, what happened in the last 15 years?

Oh! The European Union has grown! It added some really poor countries that used to be Soviet states. So if you average things out, it looks as if the Europeans have gotten poorer! Isn't that cute? Like as if we suddenly took over Mexico (I know, we run the joint secretly), our statistics would stink, too.
In March 2000, E.U. heads of state agreed to make the European Union "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010." Today this looks like a joke. The OECD report goes through the status of reforms country by country, and all the major continental economies get a B-minus. Whenever some politician makes tiny, halting efforts at reform, strikes and protests paralyze the country. In recent months reformers such as Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels and Angela Merkel in Germany have been backtracking on their proposals and instead mouthing pious rhetoric about the need to "manage" globalization. E.U. Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's efforts to liberalize trade have been consistently undercut. As a result of the European Union's unwillingness to reduce its massive farm subsidies, the Doha trade expansion round is dead.
The European farm policies are wonderful. They prevent mega farms from taking over everything like we have here. The family farm has been utterly destroyed in America thanks to the big corporate entities.

I applaud the European farmers for fighting back unlike the farmers here who, probably because few owned the same farm for more than a generation, didn't give hoot about losing the farm but the Europeans owning farms dwellt there often for a hundred or more generations! I had a girlfriend in Germany, Beate, whose family farm house was 500 years old and the family lived there since the end of the Roman empire. I couldn't picture them throwing this all aside and leaving.

America was settled by second sons. The first son got the land, the second had to find his own homestead. So they colonized like crazy.
And I haven't even gotten to the demographics. In 25 years the number of working-age Europeans will decline by 7 percent, while those older than 65 will increase by 50 percent. One solution: Let older people work. But Europe's employment rate for people older than 60 is low: 7 percent in France and 12 percent in Germany (compared with 27 percent in the United States). Modest efforts to allow people to retire later have been met with the usual avalanche of protests. And while economists and the European Commission keep proposing that Europe take in more immigrants to expand its labor force, it won't. The cartoon controversy has powerfully highlighted the difficulties Europe is having with its immigrants.
What a stupid, right wing tool this clown is. I wish the gods would make this lazy man work in Walmart when he is 65 years old! The fact that we force the elderly to work isn't something to celebrate!

It is a sign we are heading towards third world status! DUH!
Its dwindling defense spending weakens its ability to be a military partner of the United States, or to project military power abroad even for peacekeeping purposes. Its cramped, increasingly protectionist outlook will further sap its vitality.

The decline of Europe means a world with a greater diffusion of power and a lessened ability to create international norms and rules of the road. It also means that America's superpower status will linger.
Is "projecting power" helping us? I see rising fury, rising hate, boycotts, embargoes caused by American aggression. I see more and more people secretly working to undermine us because they fear our power and our very nasty rulers, one of whom just showed himself to be a psychopath quite openly, trying to hide the fact that he carelessly shot a friend, nearly killing him! Shock and awful!

Why should Europe be our military partner? This makes zero sense. We are abusing our power by attacking the wrong people like invading Iraq and we are going around, threatening war with Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Russia, everyone. Our demented howls of rage are now deafening. We run a gigantic budget deficit which is $500 billion in the red which matches our military budget which happens to be around half a trillion, too! Far from making us strong, this has destroyed our ability to project power or do anything since we constantly have to beg the Chinese and Japanese for spare change!

Europe doesn't do that.

So, who is going to get the last laugh here?
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Giddy With Joy, Americans Spend Money Like There Is No Tomorrow

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Thanks to the lopsided weather patterns this year, tremendous cold and snow blanketed Europe and Asia while it was springtime for us in January. Now, the cold zone is slipping over us. Temperatures near zero on my farm this coming week. Recklessly, Americans spent money in an insane carnival of consumption, thinking there would be no winter at all.

From the New York Times:
Shaking off a middling holiday shopping season and fears of higher heating bills, Americans spent freely in January, the government reported yesterday, providing reassurance that the economy is beginning the new year with fresh strength.

Buoyed by the unexpectedly robust spending data and a drop in oil prices, investors sent stocks higher across the board. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 1 percent, to 1,275.53, and the Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 11,000 level again, climbing 1.3 percent, to 11,028.39. Crude oil prices dipped below $60 for the first time since late December.

"The momentum going into 2006 is clearly healthy," said Anthony Chan, chief economist at J. P. Morgan's private client services group. "We will be able to withstand weaker growth for the rest of the quarter and almost not miss a heartbeat."
All the data is dire. I see no ray of light at all. The wild spending we indulged in last month was foolish in the extreme. It was insanity.

The hidden inflation plays out these days in a new form. Unlike in past eras when unions contended for pay raises and so this made things more expensive so inflation was obvious, now it is shipped to China who takes out the "high wage" element from the nexus and thus, squeezes out inflation. In turn, since interest rates are still (as always these days) below the rate of inflation and the interest offered for "saving" money is woefully behind the rate of inflation, no one saves and everyone spends as fast as possible and combined together, this increases importation of goods that have been scrubbed of inflationary forces and voila, we have a trade deficit of nearly a trillion unsustainable dollars.

Aesop's Ant and Grasshopper Story is one we easily misinterpet. The ant plans ahead for bad times and works in concert with other ants (this is the important part) to insure the ant community can live through the winter of hard times. The grasshopper doesn't cooperate with anyone and happily hops about, stuffing its face and living hand to mouth. Then it dies in winter. Just call it a libertarian or Republican.

The grasshopper imagines the Chinese ants will pity it and feed it when hard times happen. The Chinese assure us that they, themselves, come first and the handouts we are getting right now won't be there. We refuse to understand this and hop around happily, eating everything in our path.

From the Bible which few Republicans ever read:
1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
First book in the Bible, too. Genesis. What is so difficult about understanding this story? As a child, I thought the dream was painfully obvious and the writers of the Bible were pulling our legs by pretending the sophisticated Egyptians who pretty much invented agriculture couldn't figure out the business of storing seeds?

This was the whole point for growing grain in the first place!

Anyway, the point is only 6,000+ years old and what ails us? We can't figure this out? We have vast grain stores and are actively planning to wantonly turn it into fuel by burning it or distilling it. This is because the great bounty of oil makes growing corn ridiculously easy and seemingly cheap. But when the oil becomes dear in price, kiss corn goodbye!

Mother Nature isn't finished with Winter yet. She is now very lopsided thanks to global warming and the disorder the oceans are in with the melting ice changing salinity and the rate of flow. But bored with plummelling Asia, She is lifting her skirts and coming back to us.

Remember November? It was like January. Brrr. I work outside so I am hyper aware of the weather! Then mid December to now, ridiculously warm, like mid to late spring. Seeing this, people decided to spend money they set aside for fuel, spend it all on junk and fun stuff! Whoohoo.

Now Mother Nature is blanketing us with snow and in the next days, she will be blasting us with ferocious winds and extreme cold. I have seen Marches here when the temperature seldom climbs above zero. I suspect we just might have that this year.

Barnanke is going to tell Congress today that he plans to "control inflation" and if this means higher interest rates, our fragile grasshopper economy will collapse. If he calls for cheap loans so we can continue to eat merrily, this means our society will collapse. What a fine choice.

He will choose "society will collapse" because the GOP want to stay in power as long as possible.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

USA, In A Panic, Starts Trade War With China

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The trade deficit yawning ever deeper, in a panic, the USA decides to attack trade from China, ignoring totally trade issues with Japan who is a greater danger to us, I believe. Alienating 1/4th of the planet while placating 1/16th is a very stupid plan. China is ready to bop us on the nose in this spat.

From Washington Post:
The Bush administration on Tuesday announced it will step up enforcement of U.S. trade laws governing China, following a top-to-bottom review of America's trading relationship with the Asian giant.

The increased enforcement will be led by a new chief counsel for China trade enforcement within the office of U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman.

Portman announced a number of steps during a news conference in which he released a 29-page report detailing the findings of a six-month review of America's economic relationship with China.
This, on top of the Pentagon report which basically declares war on China is going to ratchet up tension between China and the USA. China, unlike Japan, actually is our inflation sink, keeping prices down on many common domestic items. Most of what they ship here are low grade stuff. Japan and Korea send mostly high value stuff like automobiles. Because China is very big, they can produce lots of little things which add up but Japan, by far and away, gets much more bang for their buck and their trade surplus with us nearly doubled this last year and they wickedly drove down the value of the yen to record levels in the last ten years.

The Chinese, unlike the Japanese, are eager customers for high value items. Like jets. From Xinhua net:
Of the 863 operating civil planes in China by November 2005, 534 are from Boeing company of the United States, a senior Chinese civil aviation executive said here Tuesday.

"Calculated according to the catalogue price, China has spent nearly 40 billion U.S. dollars on purchasing planes from the United States," said Li Jiaxiang, president of the China National Aviation Holding Company, at the China-US Business Forum opened here Tuesday.

He said that growth in China's civil aviation industry has contributed tremendously to development of Sino-US economic and trade relations. "The greatest beneficiary is the US plane manufacturing business," said Li.

"China purchases a large number of plane engines, aero-electric equipment, accessories and advanced navigating devices each year and enjoys maintenance service provided by U.S. companies," said Li.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of employees of China's airplane companies have received various forms of professional training in the U.S., which have brought more profits to the U.S. aviation field, Li said.

"The growth of China's civil aviation has provided hundreds of thousands job opportunities to the U.S. aviation industry, which proves that the two nations have win-win economic and trade relations," said Li.
This article, spat out by the official powers that be in China on their official website is an official shot across our stupid prows. Or shall I update this with, a load of buckshot across our eyebrows.

It is a sharp reminder of who buys what. And if we think any of those 70+ Boeing contracts will be fulfilled, well, I predicted this won't come to fruition because of increasing friction. For we are in a head to head battle over who gets to suck up all that oil and the only way we can win this is to kill lots and lots and lots of people. Like, world war levels of killing. We can't entice the Muslim world to hand it over so we lord it over them.

From NYT:
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has moved to postpone by two years elections for thousands of local government positions initially scheduled for April, turning away from a promise made during his recent presidential race to promote democratic practices, Egyptian political analysts and political leaders said today.

The move was widely seen in Egypt as an effort to preserve the governing National Democratic Party's monopoly on power at a time when its grip has begun to falter. It also was seen as an effort to block the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which made unprecedented gains in recent parliamentary elections, from promoting an independent candidate for president in 2011.
Forget the freedom and democracy stuff. We don't want that. And in Pakistan, this: From the BBC:
Pakistani security guards have shot dead two protesters in Lahore during unrest over Western newspaper cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.
The shots were fired by guards at a bank as crowds attacked buildings, including US fast-food outlets.
We want them to buy our stuff but we tell them to stuff a sock in their mouths and shut up. Note, no one is burning Chinese businesses...yet.

Like with the Great Depression, all nations will turtle up. Even though our rulers want to range across the planet making deals and sticking knives in our ribs, when populations get fed up and start revolutionizing and rioting, well, the elites have to have a world war! That will fix things!

The biggest international workers' meeting happened in....1914, mid July, to be exact. All ruling elites wanted a small conflict to bring their workers in line and were pleased to watch that famous meeting dissolve into nationalist yells for war and splitting up.

Later, the Russian royals were shot dead and Lenin took over Russia. The war didn't work so hot, did it?

When launching wars, the thing to remember is, once the trigger is pulled, you don't know who gets plastered in the face with buckshot.

America runs a deficit with the world because we have interlocking fiscal conspiracies to create a totally fake currency whose value is pretend every bit as the ruble was pretend, back in the Soviet Union, only this is the whole world doing this. Holders of our dollars are rapidly buying up all of our important infrastructures and systems and factories. This is why not one factory job has been created in excess of those lost in the last...since we hit the Hubbert Oil Peak here in 1972. Even our military/industrial giants are being purchased by foreigners.

And we haven't even begun to balance the budget. I read the other day that Africa is losing $180 billion a year. This money flows to our Treasury. It is part of the tidalwave of dollars churning around the planet. So, we get all this money and are deep in the hole? This is insane! Impossible.

From Associated Press:
NEW YORK - Stocks moved higher Tuesday, gathering momentum as oil prices fell close to the $60 level and a retail sales report showed that consumers are indeed willing to spend. The Dow Jones industrials were up nearly 100 points.

Broader indexes also advanced even as investors nervously awaited testimony starting Wednesday from new Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

The Commerce Department said retail sales outside of autos rose by the largest amount in more than six years. And crude oil futures fell amid expectations that a U.S. supply report will show higher crude inventories. A barrel of light crude was quoted at $60.45 a barrel, down 79 cents, in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Every bobble in oil prices sends waves of irrational euphoria through the markets. Like, we will soon see endless seas of oil in the future, once again, prices will drop and drop and there will be no inflation because we will send all that money to China to be woven into gold and shipped back here, cheap.

And cheap loans! It seems everyone, saving not even a penny, are banking on cheap loans stretching from here to the distant horizons. Only we are heading into a serious trade war with everyone.

From USA Today:
Trade tensions escalated between the United States and Europe Monday after the World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S. had not gone far enough to end illegal tax breaks to big American exporters.
European trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson threatened to impose sanctions on U.S. goods unless the U.S. came into compliance with the WTO ruling within three months.
See? Europe is mad at us and we are mad at them and the Muslims are burning down our businesses and the Emirates are buying up our sea ports and China is sewing up all oil future contracts with many nations who hate us.

So it is time to shop, America! Buy more stuff from China! Cheap! Hurry now, it ain't gonna last much longer. As I said in the past, our fake prosperity will end the day the Chinese decide to ring down the curtain on us.

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America's Main Ports Sold To United Emirates--Some of the 9/11 Attackers Came From There

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

America has let domestic control over shipping slip more and more until it is now nearly totally gone. Now we are letting control of our ports slip into potentially hostile hands, one by one. Letting the UAE take over our ports is pure insanity. After all, some of the 9/11 attackers came from there. None were Iraqis.

From The State:
A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.

The Bush administration considers the UAE an important ally in the fight against terrorism since the suicide hijackings and is not objecting to Dubai Ports World’s purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. The $6.8 billion sale is expected to be approved Monday.

The British company is the fourth largest ports company in the world, and its sale would affect commercial U.S. port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.
Anyone who claims Bush didn't want us attacked on 9/11 can go jump in a lake. Just like bin Laden's clan is very close to the Bushes, all the oil Sheiks and Kings love Bush and he literally kisses up to them, fawning on them, loving them, couldn't wait to court them after they attacked us on 9/11.

What the hell is going on? Is it sane for the country that imports more stuff than the entire world put together, can't we even own our own ports? Huh? This is what rich America is all about? Huh? Why in heaven's name are we handing over the keys to our front door to people who have attacked us only four years ago? Our rulers assure us, their kissy-kissy buddies in the UAE won't attack us, themselves.

But the fact is, they will control our ports and our security. And they don't do the paperwork or processing information, their employees do this! And who knows who will let what slip into our main ports! We can't tell nor see nor know since all this will be run outside of America. In a foreign language few of us can read!


We handed over America's security to a dual citizen who never ever appears in public and who showed depraved indifference when thousands of Americans were dying and still seems pretty psychopathic even now. Like Cheney and Bush. Where do these guys come from (shudder)?

Secondly, this news shows what I have been illustrating: as we go deeper and deeper into debt, as our country frecklessly spends whatever we can scrape up on gee gaws and gagets and goofing around, the world is buying up our assets, our properties, everything. This is a yard sale from hell. We are sticking little cardboard tags on the family car, the livingroom, the oak tree in the front yard. All, so we can redecorate the kitchen!
Shipping experts noted that many of the world’s largest port companies are not based in the United States, and they pointed to DP World’s strong economic interest in operating ports securely and efficiently.

DP World said it won approval from a secretive U.S. government panel that considers security risks of foreign companies buying or investing in American industry.
Why are we at the mercy of foreign shippers? Isn't that bizarre! We not only have a gigantic trade deficit with the world, we don't make one thin dime on transporting all this junk! Amazing.

And the secretive panel: Carlyle, anyone? Who are these clowns? I want names! Who are these traitors?

Arrest them all.
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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Muslim Boycotts of All Things Dane Are Wrecking Danish Exporters

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The boycott of Danish goods has gathered steam and is drawing real blood now. This is a very popular boycott, not one sponsored by the rulers of the greater mass of Muslims but is genuinely from the grass roots. The Danish Prime Minister is bemused by all this but remains unrepentant.

From the Washington Post:
The Arla Foods plant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which produces cheese and flavored yogurt drinks, sits idle and the company's 800 employees in the country have been sent home because of a Middle East boycott of Danish goods, following a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

"It took us 40 years to build up our business in the Middle East, and five days to bring it to a total stop," said Astrid Nielsen, spokeswoman for the Danish company here. She said suspending operations at the Riyadh plant, the company's regional base, and a near-total boycott of the company's products have cost Arla about $1.7 million a day since Jan. 28.

The boycott of Danish goods, propelled by Muslim leaders and imams preaching in mosques, has brought exports of Danish products to the Middle East and North Africa to a virtual standstill. It has scuttled a flow of goods to the region that was worth about $1 billion in the first 10 months of 2005, according to government statistics.
Eventually, this will extend to boycotting everything from the European and American alliance. We worked hard to draw Europe into our latest imperialist ventures and this is biting back, hard. The Europeans do much more trade with the Muslim world than we do, simple relative distance as well as shared past from the earlier colonial days.

Ghandi's famous nonviolent actions wouldn't have bothered the Brits one bit except one of his top tools he used was the boycott. This got the British rulers very angry and it is what got him put in prison. Martin Luther King's favorite tool wasn't nonviolent being beaten up type things, it was...boycotts! This and only this makes others stop what they are doing and forces them to change! They don't care about anyone singing "We shall overcoooooome." They worry about "We shall not BUY."

If the Danish Prime Minister had condemned mocking Allah and apologized and then made some nice gesture like saying, "Invading Muslim lands is a bad idea and we call upon America to withdraw all troops from the Middle East," then there would have been no boycott.

The fury that all this has unleashed always lurked below the surface waiting for something to trigger it. One can't boycott everything which is why only one item at a time or one country is selected for a demonstration of collective power. For example, Ghandi, a lawyer and very smart, pondered for some time before selecting salt as the first item to be boycotted. This lead to his famous "March to the Sea" to use seawater to make salt instead of buying it from the imperial government.

Whatever one thinks about Muslim society such as the restrictions on civil rights for women and others, blungeoning them over the head is a whacked way to change anything. Liberalism spreads because it is the logical and sane way to do things, one sets examples, one organizes, one reaches out.

I have spent years, reaching out to Muslim women. I have even had the honor of being invited into a Mosque once to talk about all this. I used to bring my children with me on these ventures. In NYC, I spoke with and to more than one Muslim group. Building bridges is a delicate operation and one that we should all be doing, not burning bridges.

The Muslims are burning their bridges with us only because we are using them to march in and steal stuff!

Just like with India or China: when we work together, we get along.

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