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“From now on, depressions will be scientifically created.” — Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr. , 1913
Everyone loves money. Even people like myself who abhor the abuse of money and commerce, who understand the fraudulent nature of the system we live in, still work hard and save so that we might attain a sense of stability within that system. Many people see money as a focal point to their existence. But is it really money that they are after, or is it something else entirely? In truth, money represents ‘security’ in the minds of the masses. Money affords us the ability to survive, and the more of it we have, the safer we all feel. Because we subconsciously associate the extension of our very life with the variable health of the economic structure in which we live, we tend to become unwitting devotees to its continued existence, even if it is corrupt and condemned to failure. We gullibly deny the system or the currency that supports it is doomed to the contrary of all evidence because, even though it has beaten us bloody, we have never known anything else.
In light of this entrenched way of perceiving things, especially in the U.S., it is difficult enough to convince some people that the economy is in fact not providing the security they desire, but is actually destroying their future completely. To explain to them that this is deliberate, that the economy is designed to self-destruct, that is another prospect altogether.
Last week the monthly first time unemployment claims number rose “unexpectedly” to a seasonally adjusted 484,000 new recipients. There are many things wrong with this number other than the fact that establishment economists can never seem to anticipate what is obvious. The first problem with the 484,000 new claims number is that it was seasonally adjusted, the real number is higher. Seasonal adjustments came into being as a means to show stable employment figures around holidays such as Christmas and the vacation season. In the summer months the government has historically used the seasonal adjustment to account for periods in the production cycle of the auto industry where American manufacturers have shut down and not produced any vehicles and laid off huge numbers of workers. To adjust, the government takes out a certain number of people counted among the unemployed to account for the typical seasonal fluctuations. There is a major problem in using a seasonal adjustment this year, the car companies have not shut down this summer and there is no typical fluctuation. It is a knowing manipulation of the headline labor statistics (since the BLS did this as well for the U-3 statistic). This is nothing new of course. When including discouraged workers the broadest U-6 employment metric has unemployment figures north of 16% for some time now. When actually looking at people who never fall into an employment category, independent contractors, the unemployment number is around 22% (John William’s Shadow Statistics). Since contractors such as independent real estate agents, stock brokers, carpenters, etcetera, do not lose a job, they just lose income, they are not employed in the first place to BLS statisticians and are not counted in the ranks of the jobless when they stop getting contracts. Not getting paid and being unemployed is the same thing of course to real people who live outside the calculators of government pencil pushers.
The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control. Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery. As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner penned a New York Times column, “Welcome to the Recovery.”
As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear on many occasions, an appearance of recovery was created by over-counting employment and undercounting inflation. Warnings by Williams, Gerald Celente, and myself have gone unheeded, but our warnings recently had echoes from Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff and from David Stockman, who excoriated the Republican Party for becoming big-spending Democrats.
Dr David Kelly was on a hitlist, says UN weapons expert as calls grow for full inquestBy Miles Goslett and Arthur Martin
A leading UN weapons inspector last night added his voice to the growing clamour for a full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.
Dr Richard Spertzel claimed Dr Kelly was on a ‘hitlist’ in the final years of his life.
The former head of the UN Biological Section, who worked closely with Dr Kelly in Iraq in the 1990s, has written to Attorney General Dominic Grieve about the ‘mysterious circumstances’ surrounding the death.
The weapons inspector’s body was found after he was unmasked as the source of a damaging BBC news report questioning the grounds for the Iraq war.
Officially, he took his own life.
S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US. It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money.
“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.” ~Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower
President Obama has abolished the position in his White House dedicated to transparency and shunted those duties into the portfolio of a partisan ex-lobbyist who is openly antagonistic to the notion of disclosure by government and politicians.
Obama transferred “ethics czar” Norm Eisen to the Czech Republic to serve as U.S. ambassador. Some of Eisen’s duties will be handed to Domestic Policy Council member Steven Croley, but most of them, it appears, will shift over to the already-full docket of White House Counsel Bob Bauer.
Bauer is renowned as a “lawyer’s lawyer” and a legal expert. His resume, however, reads more “partisan advocate” than “good-government crusader.” Bauer came to the White House from the law firm Perkins Coie, where he represented John Kerry in 2004 and Obama during his campaign.
Growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production will send prices soaring, according to the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Food prices are set to rise as much as 40% over the coming decade amid growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production, according to a United Nations report today which warns of rising hunger and food insecurity.
Farm commodity prices have fallen from their record peaks of two years ago but are set to pick up again and are unlikely to drop back to their average levels of the past decade, according to the annual joint report from Paris-based thinktank the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Ben Bernanke, otherwise known as Helicopter Ben today states that he is puzzled by the continued climb of gold.
“I don’t fully understand movements in the gold price,” Mr. Bernanke admitted.
What Mr. Bernanke does not seem to recognize is the extraordinary inflation pressures already in the system. The fact that asset prices are being artificially held up is price fixing and is accomplished through inflation. Gold is not reflecting immediate price inflation so much as mid to long term inflation concerns. Simply put, gold is recognizing the effects of quantitative easing on the monetary base. The Federal Reserve and central planners generally have no ability to think long term as a pool of collective consumers without coercion otherwise known as a free market do. It is debatable if manipulation of gold prices by central banks occurs or to what extent. It is definite that bailouts to preferred corporations and banks constitute economic fascism and inflate the asset value of the company receiving the infusion. This is turn coerces investors into preferred asset classes of the political class, mainly the paper equities of the otherwise failing institutions. This misallocation of capital only prolongs the misery and delays the day of reckoning. An economy can not be endlessly built on a pyramid of debt and be driven mainly by consumption. There is a point that consumers leave the game, even if employed. Households have to budget and plan; governments seem to believe they do not. Bernanke in his narrow Keynesian economic view think the only measure and indicators of inflation are bond yields or the manipulated CPI numbers.
by Geoffery S. Shough
hat tip: GeofferyShough.wordpress.com
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” —Thoreau
For the past century, a general trend has taken shape in America where Americans are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. There was a time in this country when only one member of the average household needed to work in order to support a family, and now it is not uncommon to have both adults in the household working to support their families. To make matters worse, many of the products we buy are declining in quality, and in many cases these same products are becoming more expensive. America has gone from a nation of savers and producers to a nation of debtors and consumers.
There are many explanations behind why this trend is occurring in America, but the most cogent among them is that the Central Bank, called the Federal Reserve (Fed), through its ineptitude in managing monetary policy, produces a hidden tax and causes serious imbalances in the economy with long term and far reaching effects.
hat tip: dandelionsalad
by Chris Hedges
April 6, 2009
America is devolving into a third-world nation. And if we do not immediately halt our elite’s rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. Our anemic democracy will be replaced with a robust national police state. The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty. This is the inevitable result of unchecked corporate capitalism. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them. We can resist, which means street protests, disruptions of the system and demonstrations, or become serfs.
We have been in a steady economic decline for decades. The Canadian political philosopher John Ralston Saul detailed this decline in his 1992 book “Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West.” David Cay Johnston exposed the mirage and rot of American capitalism in “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill),” and David C. Korten, in “When Corporations Rule the World” and “Agenda for a New Economy,” laid out corporate malfeasance and abuse. But our universities and mass media, entranced by power and naively believing that global capitalism was an unstoppable force of nature, rarely asked the right questions or gave a prominent voice to those who did. Our elites hid their incompetence and loss of control behind an arrogant facade of specialized jargon and obscure economic theories.
The lies employed to camouflage the economic decline are legion. President Ronald Reagan included 1.5 million U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine service personnel with the civilian work force to magically reduce the nation’s unemployment rate by 2 percent. President Bill Clinton decided that those who had given up looking for work, or those who wanted full-time jobs but could only find part-time employment, were no longer to be counted as unemployed. This trick disappeared some 5 million unemployed from the official unemployment rolls. If you work more than 21 hours a week—most low-wage workers at places like Wal-Mart average 28 hours a week—you are counted as employed, although your real wages put you below the poverty line. Our actual unemployment rate, when you include those who have stopped looking for work and those who can only find part-time jobs, is not 8.5 percent but 15 percent. A sixth of the country is now effectively unemployed. And we are shedding jobs at a faster rate than in the months after the 1929 crash.