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How Detroit’s Automakers went from Kings of the Road to Roadkill
The following is adapted from a speech delivered by Joseph B. White at a January seminar (2009) on the topic, “Cars and Trucks, Markets and Governments.”
I’d like to start by congratulating all of you. You are all now in the auto business, the Sport of Kings — or in our case, presidents and members of Congress. Without your support — and I assume that most of you are fortunate enough to pay taxes — General Motors and Chrysler would very likely be getting measured by the undertakers of the bankruptcy courts. But make no mistake. What has happened to GM is essentially bankruptcy by other means, and that is an extraordinary event in the political and economic history of our country.
GM is an institution that survived in its early years the kind of management turbulence we’ve come to associate with particularly chaotic Internet startups. But with Alfred P. Sloan in charge, GM settled down to become the very model of the modern corporation. It navigated through the Great Depression, and negotiated the transition from producing tanks and other military material during World War II to peacetime production of cars and trucks. It was global before global was cool, as its current chairman used to say. And it was the world’s largest automaker until just a year or so ago.
How does a juggernaut like this become the basket case that we see before us today?
By Prof. James Petras
Hat tip: Global Research
March 30, 2009
All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigm and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch: Experts everywhere witness the collapse of the US and world financial system, the absence of credit for trade and the lack of financing for investment. A world depression, in which upward of a quarter of the world’s labor force will be unemployed, is looming. The biggest decline in trade in recent world history – down 40% year to year – defines the future. The immanent bankruptcies of the biggest manufacturing companies in the capitalist world haunt Western political leaders. The ‘market’ as a mechanism for allocating resources and the government of the US as the ‘leader’ of the global economy have been discredited. (Financial Times, March 9, 2009) All the assumptions about ‘self-stabilizing markets’ are demonstrably false and outmoded. The rejection of public intervention in the market and the advocacy of supply-side economics have been discredited even in the eyes of their practitioners. Even official circles recognize that ‘inequality of income’ contributed to the onset of the economic crash and should be corrected. Planning, public ownership, nationalization are on the agenda while socialist alternatives have become almost respectable.
With the onset of the depression, all the shibboleths of the past decade are discarded: As export-oriented growth strategies fail, import substitution policies emerge. As the world economy ‘de-globalizes’ and capital is ‘repatriated’ to save near bankrupt head offices – national ownership is proposed. As trillions of dollars/Euros/yen in assets are destroyed and devalued, massive layoffs extend unemployment everywhere. Fear, anxiety and uncertainty stalk the offices of state, financial directorships, the office suites the factories, and the streets
We enter a time of upheaval, when the foundations of the world political and economic order are deeply fractured, to the point that no one can imagine any restoration of the political-economic order of the recent past. The future promises economic chaos, political upheavals and mass impoverishment. Once again, the specter of socialism hovers over the ruins of the former giants of finance. As free market capital collapses, its ideological advocates jump ship, abandon their line and verse of the virtues of the market and sing a new chorus: the State as Savior of the System – a dubious proposition, whose only outcome will be to prolong the pillage of the public treasury and postpone the death agony of capitalism as we have known it.
By Paul Craig Roberts
March 30, 2009
Obama and his public relations team have made it appear that his trillion dollars in higher taxes will fall only on “the rich.” Obama stresses that his tax increase is only for the richest 5 percent of Americans while the other 95 percent receive a tax cut.
The fact of the matter is that the income differences within the top
5% are far wider than the differences between the lower tax brackets and the “rich” American in the 96th percentile.
For Obama, being “rich” begins with $250,000 in annual income, the bottom rung of the top 5 percent. Compare this “rich” income to that of, for example, Hank Paulson, President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary when he was the head of Goldman Sachs.
In 2005 Paulson was paid $38.3 million in salary, stock and options. That is 153 times the annual income of the “rich” $250,000 person.
Despite his massive income, Paulson himself was not among the super rich of that year, when a dozen hedge fund operators made $1,000 million. The hedge fund honchos incomes were 26 times greater than Paulson’s and 4,000 times greater than the “rich” man’s or family’s $250,000.
For most Americans, a $250,000 income would be a godsend, but envy can make us blind. A $250,000 income is not one that will support a rich lifestyle. Moreover, many people prefer lesser incomes to the years of education, long work hours and stress of personal liability that are associated with many $250,000 incomes. In truth, those with $250,000 gross incomes have more in common with those at the lower end of the income distribution than with the rich. A $250,000 income is ten times greater than a $25,000 income, not hundreds or thousands of times greater. On an after-tax basis, the difference shrinks to about 6 times.
We are so excited to bring you this edition. We are featuring not only informative articles about our criminal justice system, including “Jury Nullification: The Right of Free Americans” and “The American [In]justice System” by Paul Craig Roberts, we also have in depth insights about our current bailout situation: “Bailouts Are Taxation Without Representation” by “George Washington blog”, “GM — The New Government Motors” and “Meet the Old Boss, Same as the Old Boss.”
More disturbing articles include one about FEMA camps in America called, “Preparing for Civil Unrest in America” by Michel Chossuvsky (Global Research) and other trends like “The New Terrorists — Use U.S. Constitution as Manual” and “Bailout for Mainstream Media May Be Next.”
Other articles include a 1978 speech by Ronald Reagan called, “Hmmm…Was Reagan a Terrorist?”, “Beware Obama’s Road to Serfdom,” “545 People vs 300 Million,” “Obamavilles and Hoovervilles — TARPtown, USA,” “Ron Paul: Culprits of Financial Collapse Should Be Arrested” and a transcript of Jon Stewart’s Epic Rant against CNBC called, “CNBC:’Information and Experience you Need*’ But Won’t Get.”
All of these stories are now easy to read in our new, larger broadsheet format. We are now officially the “biggest, thinnest, most powerful paper” in Ohio!
If you aren’t a subscriber, it’s not too late to get your copy delivered to you! Subscribe to The Liberty Voice, and “Know Truth, Know Power!” Go to the “Subscribe” tab above, and we’ll send one out to you right away.
To view the pdf online, click here:The Liberty Voice –April 2009
President helped fund profiteers of carbon tax program he is now seeking to implement
Hat tip: Steve Watson
Monday, March 30, 2009
A combination of interesting mainstream and alternative media reports reveal compelling links between president Obama and a privately owned carbon trading group, which also has direct ties with elitist groups such as the Club of Rome and the Trilateral Commission.
Judi McLeod’s excellent article for Canada Free Press, which she expanded from a Fox News piece, highlights how years before he became president, Obama helped directly fund a carbon trading exchange that will likely play a critical role in the proposed cap-and-trade carbon reduction program.
The charity was the Joyce Foundation on whose board of directors Obama served and which gave nearly $1.1 million in two separate grants that were “instrumental in developing and launching the privately-owned Chicago Climate Exchange, which now calls itself “North America’s only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide.”
Essentially Obama helped fund the profiteers of the carbon taxation program that he is now seeking to steer through Congress.
McLeod also notes that The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) has direct ties to both Al Gore and Maurice Strong, two figures intimately involved with a long standing movement to use the theory of man made global warming as a mechanism for profit and social engineering.
Gore’s investment company, Generation Investment Management, which sells carbon offset opportunities, is the largest shareholder of CCX.
While Maurice Strong, who is regularly credited as founding father of the modern environmental movement, serves on the board of directors of CCX. Strong was a leading initiate of the Earth Summit in the early 90s, where the theory of global warming caused by CO2 generated by human activity was most notably advanced.
hat tip: George Washington‘s blog
Sunday, March 29, 2009
If Jon Stewart walked out of his studio with his camera crew, went to where establishment figures were speaking, and threw tough questions at them, you’d get something like We Are Change.
The We Are Change reporters have asked the tough questions – a la Stewart (well, minus the comedy) – to former presidents, secretaries of defense, leading Neocons and Iraq war architects, and many other establishment figures.
So their interviews are syndicated nationally and they’ve all received Pulitzer prizes, right?
Not exactly . . .
We Are Change founder Luke Rudkowski was arrested for trying to ask New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about his refusal to pay for the health care of 9/11 first responders.
The charges? “Impersonating a member of the press” and trespassing.
Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, created the concept of “professional journalism”. What is professional journalism, you may ask?
Renowned veteran journalist John Pilger summarizes it as follows:
Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It is a history few journalist talk about or know about, and it began with the arrival of corporate advertising. As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called “professional journalism” was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear respectable, pillars of the establishment-objective, impartial, balanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalist. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media and with the great corporations, and the whole thing was, as Robert McChesney put it so well, “entirely bogus”.
The pushback against federal power began under Bush, but may now be accelerating.
By Patrik Jonsson
Hat tip: The Christian Science Monitor
from the March 27, 2009 edition
CSM Reporter Patrik Jonsson discusses what’s behind the states’ revolt against Washington’s mandates.
There’s an old joke in South Carolina: Confederate President Jefferson Davis may have surrendered at the Burt-Stark mansion in Abbeville, S.C., in 1865, but the people of state Rep. Michael Pitts’s district never did.
With revolutionary die-hards behind him, Mr. Pitts has fired a warning shot across the bow of the Washington establishment. As the writer of one of 28 state “sovereignty bills” – one even calls for outright dissolution of the Union if Washington doesn’t rein itself in – Pitts is at the forefront of a states’ rights revival, reasserting their say on everything from stem cell research to the Second Amendment.
“Washington can be a bully, but there’s evidence right now that there are people willing to resist our bully,” said Pitts, by phone from the state capitol of Columbia.
Zhou did not mention the dollar by name but said the financial crisis had shown the need for reform.
The head of the Chinese central bank has called for a new global currency controlled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying such a move would give governments particularly in the developing world the ability to manage their economies more efficiently.
In an online essay Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, said the global financial crisis had exposed the danger of relying on one nation’s currency for international payments.
The essay, released on the bank’s website late on Monday, did not mention the US dollar by name, but the vast majority of international finance is carried out in dollars.
The comments come ahead of a major meeting of leaders from the Group of 20 major economies in London which will focus on measures to alleviate the global economic crisis.
“This will significantly reduce the risks of a future crisis and enhance crisis management capability”
Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China.
During the meeting, beginning on April 2, China is expected to call for developing economies to have a bigger say in global finance and step up pressure for changes to a system dominated by the US dollar and Western governments. The unusual step of publishing Zhou’s essay in both Chinese and English versions is seen as indicating his comments are aimed at an international audience ahead of the G20 meeting.
China has become increasingly assertive in economic issues and while the global financial crisis has hit Chinese export industries hard, its leaders are also viewing the crisis as a potential opportunity to increase China’s global clout.
by Mr M
March 26, 2009
The 12th amendment to the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act(“GIVE” or download the ), that was just rubber stamped by the Senate, states, “Amendment to prohibit organizations from attempting to influence legislation; organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes; and assist, promote, or deter union organizing.”
This is being attached to a bill that will make military service mandatory and which will create a seven-million person domestic army under direct authority of the Federal government. And they’re going to be trained into believing that trying to influence legislation, engaging in protests, signing a petition, boycotts, striking, or to assist, promote, union organizing, will be an act against our government and under those guidelines, under the still in place Patriot Act, be considered an enemy combatants and can be interned without charge indefinitely.
Lets add this on to MICA document last week that was leaked buy real patriotic police that told police to treat Ron Paul, Chuck, Baldwin, and Bob Barr supporters along with “people that carry copies of the Constitution”, as suspected terrorists threats. And things start adding up.
by Ralph Lopez
hat tip: www.opednews.com
Saying that calls for prosecution of Bush officials can never let up, the director of the staid and respectable Center for Constitutional Rights, who is a legal scholar, has said that the legal arguments made in the infamous Yoo memos amount to treason against the nation’s institutions, similar to the “Fuhrer’s law” of Nazi Germany.
Naomi Wolf, a non-lawyer, mused before her interview with Michael Ratner:
The memos [revealed in early March] lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress…The memos could not be clearer: This was the legal groundwork of an attempted coup. I expected massive front page headlines from the revelation that these memos exited. Almost nothing. I was shocked.
Wolf then sought out the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Michael Ratner to understand what she was missing. The Yoo memos seemed to say that the president’s authority as commander in chief is not bound by any law, any treaty, or the protections of free speech, due process and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. “The First, Fourth and Fifth amendments — gone,” she wrote.
Legal expert Michal Ratner agreed:
What [the Yoo memos] actually mean is that the president can order the military to operate in the U.S. and to operate without constitutional restrictions. They — the military — can pick you or me up in the U.S. for any reason and without any legal process. They would not have any restrictions on entering your house to search it, or to seize you. They can put you into a brig without any due process or going to court. (That’s the Fourth and Fifth amendments.)
Who has suspended the law this way in the past? It is like a Caesar’s law in Rome; a Mussolini’s law in Italy; a Fuhrer’s law in Germany; a Stalin’s law in the Soviet Union. It is right down the line. It is enforcing the will of the dictator through the military.