Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thousands protest against Irish bailout

More than 100,000 people gather in Dublin to demonstrate against four-year austerity plan to reduce debts
Thousands of demonstrators march through Dublin to protest against budget cuts and an EU-IMF bailout. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP

More than 100,000 Irish citizens took to the streets of Dublin today to protest against the international bailout and four years of austerity.
Despite overnight snow storms and freezing temperatures, huge crowds have gathered in O'Connell Street to demonstrate against the cuts aimed at driving down Ireland's colossal national debt.
So far the march has passed off peacefully although there is a huge Garda presence with up to 700 officers on duty working alongside 250 security guards for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Among the marchers there is deep anger that most of the more than €80bn (£67bn) from the EU and the International Monetary Fund will be given to shore up Ireland's ailing banks.
Marching in the rally was Irish builder Mick Wallace who has had to lay off 100 workers due to the crash in the construction industry. Wallace said it was time the Irish became more militant.
"We should be more like the French and get onto the streets more often. Because our politicians go over to Europe and tell the EU that our people do not demonstrate, they don't take to the streets. It's time we changed that and openly opposed what is going on," he said.
Placards carried by the marchers reflect the mood of anger and humiliation at having to be bailed out by the EU and IMF. One was designed to look like an estate agent's billboard and read: "3,599 square miles For Sale. Full Planning Permission Granted".
The protest has not halted at the GPO in Dublin, the scene of the 1916 rising where trade unionists and workers are denouncing the government's cost cutting programme which will take €15bn out of the Irish economy over the next four years.

Contagion strikes Italy as Ireland bail-out fails to calm markets

The EU-IMF rescue for Ireland has failed to restore to confidence in the eurozone debt markets, leading instead to a dramatic surge in bond yields across half the currency bloc.

It was the worst single day in Mediterranean markets since the launch of monetary union
It was the worst single day in Mediterranean markets since the launch of monetary union

Spreads on Italian and Belgian bonds jumped to a post-EMU high as the sell-off moved beyond the battered trio of Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, raising concerns that the crisis could start to turn systemic. It was the worst single day in Mediterranean markets since the launch of monetary union.

The euro fell sharply to a two-month low of €1.3064 against the dollar, while bourses slid across the world. The FTSE 100 fell almost 118 points to 5,550, while the Dow was off 120 points in early trading.

"The crisis is intensifying and worsening," said Nick Matthews, a credit expert at RBS. "Bond purchases by the European Central Bank are the only anti-contagion weapon left. It needs to act much more aggressively."

Investor reaction comes as a bitter blow to eurozone leaders, who expected the €85bn (£72bn) package for Ireland agreed over the weekend to calm "irrational markets".

While the Irish rescue removed the immediate threat of "haircuts" for senior bondholders of Irish banks, it leaves open the risk of burden-sharing from 2013 on all EMU sovereign bonds and bank debt on a "case-by-case" basis. Traders said bond funds have been dumping Club Med bonds frantically to comply with their "value-at-risk" models before closing books for the year.

Yields on 10-year Italian bonds jumped 21 points to 4.61pc, threatening to shift the crisis to a new level. Italy's public debt is over €2 trillion, the world's third-largest after the US and Japan.

"The EU rescue fund cannot handle Spain, let alone Italy," said Charles Dumas, from Lombard Street Research. "We we may be nearing the point where Germany has to decide whether it is willing take on a burden six times the size of East Germany, or let some countries go."

Italy distanced itself from trouble in the rest of southern Europe early in the financial crisis, benefiting from rock-solid banks, low private debt, and the iron fist of finance minister Giulio Tremonti. But the crisis of competitiveness never went away, and the country has faced a political turmoil for weeks.

If Portugal and Spain have to follow Ireland in tapping the EU's €440bn bail-out fund – as widely feared after Spanish yields touched 5.4pc – this will put extra strains on Italy as one of a reduced core of creditor states. The rescue mechanism has had the unintended effect of spreading contagion to Italy, and perhaps beyond. French lenders have $476bn of exposure to Italian debt, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

In Dublin, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein have all vowed to vote against the austerity budget in early December, raising doubts over whether the government can deliver on its promises to the EU.

Echoing the national mood, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said it was "disgraceful" that the Irish people should be reduced to debt servitude to foreign creditors of reckless banks. "The costs of this deal to ordinary people will result in hugely damaging cuts," he said.

One poll suggested a majority of Irish voters favour default on Ireland's bank debt. Popular fury raises the "political risk" that a new government elected next year will turn its back on the deal.

Premier Brian Cowen said there was no other option. "We are not an irresponsible country, " he said, adding that Brussels had squashed any idea of haircuts on senior debt. Irish ministers say privately that Ireland is being forced to hold the line to prevent a pan-European bank run.

There is bitterness over the EU-IMF loan rate of 5.8pc, which may be too high to allow Ireland to claw its way out of a debt trap. Interest payments will reach a quarter of total revenues by 2014. Moody's says the average trigger for default in recent history worldwide has been 22pc. "The interest bill is enormous. The whole process lacks feasibility," said Stephen Lewis, from Monument Securities.

Olli Rehn, the European economics commissioner, said Ireland is in better shape than it looks, recording the EU's strongest growth in industrial output in September as the IT and drug industries boost exports.

"Ireland's real economy has not gone away. It is flexible, open, has strong fundamentals, and has the capacity to rebound relatively rapidly. The Irish are smart, resilient, stubborn people, and they will overcome this challenge," he said.

The Comex May Have A Problem...

Note: a commentor pointed out that tomorrow is first notice. I made an error in reading the product calendar on the CME website, which can be found HERE. My bad. The analysis below is still relevant, as I bet there was not a lot of liquidation today. We'll find out for sure tomorrow. Thanks to the reader who pointed out my mistake.

I have to allow for the typical accounting revisions that the Comex sometimes makes a day later. BUT, right now based on the o/i for gold and silver, the Comex is potentially insolvent.

Friday being the day before first notice, anyone with an account not funded to take delivery of a long position has to either sell or be liquidated by the end of last Friday's access session. I know this because I had a silver position liquidated a few years ago when I forgot what day it was lol. Any open long positions as of this morning are capable of taking delivery of gold and silver.

With that said, the open gold o/i as of this morning is 59,412 contracts. This translates into 5.9 million ounces. The Comex gold inventory shows only 2.6 million ounces of gold registered and approved for delivery. There is a total of 11.4mm ounces.

In silver, there are 17,208 open contracts. This translates into 86 million ounces. The Comex reports 48.5 million ounces available and approved for delivery, 107.2 million total ounces.

What does this mean, in the context of the cartel being unable to force liqidate a majority of the open gold/silver positions? Everyone reading this can use their imagination and I'm not willing to predict how this will unfold, but right now the Comex has a problem.

Hasta La Vista: 100,000 mortgage files missing in US

Click this link ......

Why is Greenland so rich these days? It said goodbye to the EU

Britain used to have 80 per cent of European fish stocks (Photo: PA)

Britain used to have 80 per cent of European fish stocks (Photo: PA)

If you think that leaving the EU would be catastrophic, take a look at Greenland. By rights its people ought to be poor. Their island is isolated, suffers from freezing weather, has a workforce of only 28,000 and relies on fish for 82 per cent of its exports. But it turns out that since leaving the EU, Greenland has been so freed of EU red tape and of the destruction of the Common Fisheries Policy, that the average income of the islanders today is higher than those living in Britain, Germany and France.

Greenland’s politicians realised that the fisheries policy was ruining their fishing industry. They had the guts to stand up against the all the prophets of doom and let their people vote in a referendum on leaving the European Community, as the EU was then called. On January 1, 1985, it became independent of Brussels – the only country ever to do so.

Greenland was, with Britain, one of only two EU countries to be heavily dependent on fishing. In fact, Britain had, in some estimates, 80 per cent of Europe’s fish stocks when it entered the EU, because our fishermen had carefully managed them, while the fisherman of Spain, France and Italy had destroyed most of the Mediterranean stocks.

The surprising thing is that while the unemployment from closing (loss-making) coal mines is frequently denounced by Labour politicians, more British workers lost their jobs as a result of gigantic French and Spanish boats being permitted to raid our stocks. Few of those politicians seem to care.

But care they should, because it is not just fish where the EU is damaging us, but in financial services, manufacturing – indeed, its ever-increasing regulations impose unnecessary costs across the whole of our economy. Greenland, which retains free trade with the EU, shows that we can have the benefits of European exports, without the costs of its diktats. It’s surely time that we, too, said goodbye to Brussels.

Stream of U.S. jobs flows overseas

WASHINGTON - Though some American firms are bringing overseas work back home, evidence is growing that companies are moving more jobs than ever to China and other countries - a trend that could exacerbate efforts to bring down the nation's stubbornly high unemployment rate.

One sign of increased offshoring is the rising number of applications for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance, which usually goes to factory workers who lost their jobs because their work was sent overseas or was undercut by cheaper imports.

For the six months that ended Sept. 30, workers at about 1,200 offices and plants nationwide were approved for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance. That's about 20 percent more approvals than in the same six-month period last year, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

In addition, the most recent Commerce Department data show that employment at the foreign subsidiaries and affiliates of U.S. multinational firms grew by 729,000 in two years, to 11.9 million in 2008 from 2006. Over that same period, domestic employment by such firms slipped by 500,000 jobs, to 21.1 million.

"The paradigm has shifted," said John Challenger, chief executive of outplacement and consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Most companies see the next phase or era of growth as global. ... That'll still create jobs here, just not on the scale when they were focusing on growth in the U.S."

That trend could further stall the recovery, which many economists believe will continue to lack vigor while unemployment remains at current levels - 9.6 percent nationally.

Among the companies that have recently sent jobs overseas are Hewlett-Packard Co. in Palo Alto, Calif., and Hilton Worldwide, the McLean, Va., hotelier that maintained a reservations center in Hemet, Calif., employing 295 people.

Hilton's filing and comments indicated it was moving the center to the Philippines to save money. "Across all aspects of its business, Hilton Worldwide is committed to maximizing operating efficiencies while maintaining service levels," Hilton said in a brief statement.

(2 of 2)

Also moving to the increasingly popular Philippines this year were JPMorgan Chase's telephone banking operations, from Troy, Mich.


HP is laying off an undisclosed number of human resources employees in 10 states, transferring their functions to Panama.

Not a new concept

The offshoring of American production and jobs has been going on for more than two decades, with service firms more recently pushing the trend. Experts say more offshoring could help U.S. firms better compete in the global economy, thus boosting sales and profits that will sustain them and generate new business.

Eventually, stronger, expanding firms could create more opportunities for American workers, though that's not a sure thing. More and more, for example, upscale engineering and development for products manufactured in China are being done in China - not the U.S. - near the centers of production.

"When companies succeed abroad, people at home succeed," said Mihir Desai, a finance professor at Harvard Business School.

Challenger agrees with that logic, but he also said some companies continue to engage in "pure labor arbitrage," moving overseas simply for cost savings. That kind of rationale may do little for building long-term value in the company or its products and services.

Many others, he said, don't see much choice but to do more overseas given the prospects of a hobbled American economy.

But whatever happens in the long term, current high levels of offshoring will add to the nation's employment hardships for workers with college training as well as for lower-skilled workers.

Costly to move

Dennis Donovan, a veteran corporate-relocation consultant, said many legal and engineering firms already have outsourced routine work overseas, and he sees a bigger wave of offshoring by the burgeoning health care industry. At the same time, he sees fewer companies moving overseas strictly on the basis of cost.

He said some American firms were beginning to move call centers and other back-office operations back to the U.S. because costs in China, India and other top outsourcing countries had risen sharply and quality hasn't been consistent.

We Have To Throw Bankers In Jail Or The Economy Won't Recover

As economists such as William Black and James Galbraith have repeatedly said, we cannot solve the economic crisis unless we throw the criminals who committed fraud in jail.

And Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future. See this, this and this.

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz just agreed. As Stiglitz told AOL Daily Finance on October 20th:

This is a really important point to understand from the point of view of our society. The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.


A lot of the predatory practices in automobile loans are going to be able to be continued. Why is it OK to engage in bad lending in automobiles and not in the mortgage market? Is there any principle? We all know the answer to that. No, there’s no principle. It’s money. It’s campaign contributions, lobbying, revolving door, all of those kinds of things


The system is designed to actually encourage that kind of thing, even with the fines [referring to former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozillo, who recently paid tens of millions of dollars in fines, a small fraction of what he actually earned, because he earned hundreds of millions.].


I know so many people who say it’s an outrage that we had more accountability in the ’80’s with the S&L crisis than we are having today. Yeah, we fine them, and what is the big lesson? Behave badly, and the government might take 5% or 10% of what you got in your ill-gotten gains, but you’re still sitting home pretty with your several hundred million dollars that you have left over after paying fines that look very large by ordinary standards but look small compared to the amount that you’ve been able to cash in.

So the system is set so that even if you’re caught, the penalty is just a small number relative to what you walk home with.

The fine is just a cost of doing business. It’s like a parking fine. Sometimes you make a decision to park knowing that you might get a fine because going around the corner to the parking lot takes you too much time.


I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.


So do we have any confidence that these guys who got us into the mess have really changed their minds? Actually we have pretty [good] confidence that they have not. I’ve seen some speeches where they said, “Nothing was really wrong. We didn’t get things quite right. But our understanding of the issues is pretty sound.” If they think that, then we really are in a sorry mess.


There are many aspects of [deterring people from committing crime]. Economists focus on the whole notion of incentives. People have an incentive sometimes to behave badly, because they can make more money if they can cheat. If our economic system is going to work then we have to make sure that what they gain when they cheat is offset by a system of penalties.

And that’s why, for instance, in our antitrust law, we often don’t catch people when they behave badly, but when we do we say there are treble damages. You pay three times the amount of the damage that you do. That’s a strong deterrent. Unfortunately, what we’ve been doing now, and more recently in these financial crimes, is settling for fractions – fractions! – of the direct damage, and even a smaller fraction of the total societal damage. That is to say, the financial sector really brought down the global economy and if you include all of that collateral damage, it’s really already in the trillions of dollars.

But there’s a broader sense of collateral damage that I think that has not really been taken on board. And that is confidence in our legal system, in our rule of law, in our system of justice. When you say the Pledge of Allegiance you say, with “justice for all.” People aren’t sure that we have justice for all. Somebody is caught for a minor drug offense, they are sent to prison for a very long time. And yet, these so-called white-collar crimes, which are not victimless, almost none of these guys, almost none of them, go to prison.


Let me give you another example of where the legal system has gotten very much out of whack, and which contributed to the financial crisis.

In 2005, we passed a bankruptcy reform. It was a reform pushed by the banks. It was designed to allow them to make bad loans to people to who didn’t understand what was going on, and then basically choke them. Squeeze them dry. And we should have called it, “the new indentured servitude law.” Because that’s what it did.

Let me just tell you how bad it is. I don’t think Americans understand how bad it is. It becomes really very difficult for individuals to discharge their debt. The basic principle in the past in America was people should have the right for a fresh start. People make mistakes. Especially when they’re preyed upon. And so you should be able to start afresh again. Get a clean slate. Pay what you can and start again. Now if you do it over and over again that’s a different thing. But at least when there are these lenders preying on you should be able to get a fresh start.

But they [the banks] said, “No, no, you can’t discharge your debt,” or you can’t discharge it very easily.


This is indentured servitude. And we criticize other countries for having indentured servitude of this kind, bonded labor. But in America we instituted this in 2005 with almost no discussion of the consequences. But what it did was encourage the banks to engage in even worse lending practices.


The banks want to pretend that they did not make bad loans. They don’t want to come into reality. The fact that they were very instrumental in changing the accounting standards, so that loans that are impaired where people are not paying back what they owe, are treated as if they are just as good as a well-performing mortgage.

So the whole strategy of the banks has been to hide the losses, muddle through and get the government to keep interest rates really low.


The result of this is, as long as we keep up this strategy, it’s going to be a long time before the economy recovers ….

The Trillion $$$ Dollar U.S. Economic Deficit Caused By Our Government

Click this link ......

« The Military Industrial Complex Loves You And Thanks You For Your Support (Video - Eisenhower Speech 1961) »

Stop the wars.

Slow down the military-industrial complex.

Cut the deficit.

Everybody wins.

Especially soldiers and innocent civilians.


STOP!!! Watch this one. Runs just 2 minutes.

Video: Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address -- Jan. 17, 1961

Warns of the rise of the military industrial complex. A few surprises inside. I had never seen this speech before tonight.


Video: Obama Air Force One Fly By


Video: Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner, May 1, 2010

  • "The Jonas Brothers are here. (Applause.) They're out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But, boys, don't get any ideas. (Laughter.) I have two words for you -- predator drones. (Laughter.) You will never see it coming. (Laughter.) You think I'm joking. (Laughter.)"

Reportedly one in three killed by drones in Pakistan are civilians:


Video: Holiday message from Donald Rumsfeld & George Bush...

  • "How to create an angry American..."


« 3338 DAYS & COUNTING: U.S. War in Afghanistan Now Longer than Soviet Occupation »

Video: Endgame in Afghanistan

Get more detail on this clip here...


Source - AP

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Soviet Union couldn’t win in Afghanistan, and now the U.S. is about to have something in common with that futile campaign: nine years, 50 days.

On Friday, the U.S.-led coalition will have been fighting in this South Asian country for as long as the Soviets did in their humbling attempt to build up a socialist state. The two invasions had different goals — and dramatically different body counts — but whether they have significantly different outcomes remains to be seen.

What started out as a quick war on Oct. 7, 2001, by the U.S. and its allies to wipe out al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and the Taliban has instead turned into a long and slogging campaign. Now about 100,000 NATO troops are fighting a burgeoning insurgency while trying to support and cultivate a nascent democracy.

A Pentagon-led assessment released earlier this week described the progress made since the United States injected 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan earlier this year as fragile.

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Dec. 27, 1979, its stated goal was to transform Afghanistan into a modern socialist state. The Soviets sought to prop up a communist regime that was facing a popular uprising, but left largely defeated on Feb. 15, 1989.

In 1992, the pro-Moscow government of Mohammad Najibullah collapsed and U.S.-backed rebels took power. The Taliban eventually seized Kabul after a violent civil war that killed thousands more. It ruled with a strict interpretation of Islamic law until it was ousted by the U.S.-led invasion.

Nader Nadery, an Afghan analyst who has studied the Soviet and U.S. invasions, said “the time may be the same” for the two conflicts, “but conditions are not similar.”

More than a million civilians died as Soviet forces propping up the government of Babrak Karmal waged a massive war against anti-communist mujahedeen forces

“There was indiscriminate mass bombardment of villages for the eviction of mujahedeen,” Nadery said. “Civilian casualties are not at all comparable.”

Continue reading...


More detail...

The Soviet occupation last from December 27, 1979, to February 15, 1989. The continuing U.S. campaign to route the Taliban and al Qaeda started on October 7, 2001.

The Soviet army withdrew in defeat, having suffered more than 14,000 deaths and more than 50,000 wounded. By comparison, the U.S. involvement has been less costly; 1,403 Americans have died, although that number has been rising rapidly. Half of the U.S. deaths have been in the last two years. About 7.000 Americans have been wounded.

The latest Pentagon “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan” paints a bleak picture of the current situation, with violence on the rise, corruption increasingly entrenched and the Taliban gaining strength.

Polls show that the majority of Americans have grown disillusioned with the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, both President Barack Obama and the Congressional leadership of the Republican Party are committed to keeping American troops in the country until as least until 2014.

Source - All Gov


Get more detail here:

Taliban -- Behind the Masks: The Afghan war from behind enemy lines: Documentary follows Taliban as they attack U.S. soldiers (Graphic Video)


« Max Keiser: "Obama Says Fungool! You Can Die In The Mud; We've Got Plenty Of Money Left For Killing People" »

« Bush: War Is The Engine Of Our Economy (VIDEO) »

Scroll down for PHOTOS...


Forget Oliver Stone and politics for a minute, and just watch this clip. Stone is interviewing former President of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner. He relates a personal conversation with GW from Monterrey, Mexico in January of 2004.

Anyone needing any more proof regarding the ingrained power of the military-industrial complex is advised to contact the Bushes in Crawford, Texas. And then call on fellow war-monger Deficit Obama, who has long since broken his promise for a quick pullout from Iraq and Afghanistan.


From Ryan Grim

President George W. Bush argued in 2004 that the best way to grow the U.S. economy was by waging war, according to former Argentine Prime Minister Néstor Kirchner.

Kirchner, in a meeting with Bush, suggested that the United States replicate the successful nation-building strategy it implemented at the end of World War II.

"And he stood up from his chair and got angry. He told me, 'A Marshall plan! No! That's a crazy idea from the Democrats. What needs to be done here, and the best way to revitalize the economy is -- the United States has grown based on wars,' he told me. That's what he told me," Kirchner recounted.

Bush added, said Kirchner, that "all the economic growth that the U.S. had had, had been based on the different wars it had waged."

Kirchner held a 50-minute meeting in Monterrey, Mexico with Bush in January, 2004.

"War? He said that?" Stone asked Kirchner, who was among a wave of progressive leaders elected in Latin America over the last decade.

"He said that, word for word," Kirchner assured Stone.

Stone followed up: "Is he suggesting that Latin America should go to war?"

No, said Kirchner. "Well, he was talking about the United States, never said South America. That the United States -- that it was a misunderstanding of the Democrats, that all the economic growth that the U.S. had had, had been based on the different wars it had waged."

The Kirchner interview is done through a translator and the subtitles on the screen don't exactly match what Kirchner was saying, but more closely reflect how his comments were being translated at the time. The Huffington Post had three separate native Spanish speakers translate Kirchner's remarks. His comments above are the result of those translations.

If Kirchner is accurately relaying the comments, that would make Bush the highest-ranking public official to state outright that war is and has been good for the American economy.

Bush with Kirchner in 2004 when the discussion allegedly took place...


100,000 Irish Protest IMF, Austerity Plan & Bank Bailouts

The Intel Hub
By Avalon

Over 100,000 Courageous Irish braved the cold weather to protest the Austerity Plans being supported by Irish Government and initiated by MASSIVE Banker Bailouts proposed by the European Union and provided by the IMF.

The IRISH have something to say about this – NÁ AR MO Féach

What we are witnessing is a GLOBAL REVOLUTION in Opposition of Banker Bailouts generated by speculative losses by these banks – to Socialize Debt and further Plunge the World into Economic and Social Destruction.

The following video is provided by WE ARE CHANGE EIRE (IRELAND)

Video Description:

Jim Corr: March from Wood Quay Dublin to the GPO at 11am Saturday 27th

Jim Corr has made a heartfelt appeal to the Irish public that we must act or lose our country.

Jim has bravely spoken out on many occasions in the national media. Each time he draws praise from around the world from the MILLIONS who can see whats happening here and around the world, and ridicule from the mainstream media, media who are all owned and controlled by the people Corr correctly points out are using the financial system which they designed to take over economies and hence countries, the world over.

We Are Change: Ireland © 2010 All Rights Reserved

Video Description:

On the 27th of November, the people of Ireland took to the streets of Dublin to say No to the IMF, the Austerity Plan, Corrupt Politicians, The EU and The NWO! Outside the GPO, Christy Moore addresses the People of Ireland in the most heartfelt way, through song! “The System doesn’t Work!”



The Protest in Ireland is but one in a series of RECENT protests if one remembers the Greece situation. The current outlook is that Portugal and Spain are next in what can only be an ENGINEERED Collapse of the Financial Infrastructure. If one cannot see the engineered and orchestrated design of this Worldwide Financial Destruction – then you never will. The Mastermind behind this according to many analysts (not in the MSM mind you) is The INTER-ALPHA GROUP.

The INTER-ALPHA GROUP is a ROTHSCHILD creation dating from when the United States was taken off of the Gold Standard in 1971. This group of Banking Corporations exercises control of 70 plus percent of the entire World Economy. The Inter-Alpha Group details are available via Google – about 47,600,000 results.

Incidentally, only 48 hours ago, the National Australia Bank experienced a technical glitch – was this to avert a Bank Run.

The people of Australia watch current events – maybe they were attempting to get what funds they could before a Bank Holiday is declared, preventing them to get available assets or devaluing their deposits.

In the United States, ING Bank (newly formed in 1991) and Royal Bank of Scotland are the predominant Inter-Alpha Group Partners. ING Bank(1.169 Trillion Total Assets 2009) also owns insurance company ING Direct. Royal Bank of Scotland Group owns Citizens Financial Group.



EU approves bailout deal for Ireland

« Hillary Clinton Fires The First Shot For 2012: "Rising National Debt Is A Threat To National Security" (VIDEO) »

Flashback clip for those who missed it the first time around.

Video: Hillary seems to call Obama a 'weak President' -- Aired Sep. 8, 2010

  • "I think our rising debt levels pose a national security threat in 2 ways. It undermines our capacity to act in our own interest. And it does constrain us, where constraint may be undesirable. And it also sends a message of weakness internationally."


Longer version of the clip above. Offers more detail.


Video: Dick Morris says the comments were Hillary's opening salvo for 2012


Fox News Video: Monica Crowley reacts to Hillary's comments

Is the national debt a threat to national security?


Comment from SNK who blogs at Sonic Ninja Kitty

Furthermore, you should never offer to a recovering addict a sip of the toxin they once recklessly imbibed. Shame on you for offering, and shame on me for taking the bait, but I just cannot resist taking a swipe at the salacious pseudo feminism so vigorously proffered by the PUMAnistas. Dammit, SOMEBODY's got to do it!!

Here's the take: Hillary is a different rat. Still, she is a rat. Runner of the same damned freaking rat race. Same as it ever was.

The PUMAs are sheeple. At first glance they are fluffier and sweeter sheeple than the other sheeple, but they are sheeple all the same. They admire a chick with big brains and bigger balls, which Hillary certainly has. That woman could crush Sith Lloyd Blankfein before breakfast and finish off Bernanke, Geithner and Summers before mid morning snack time, if she really wanted. Dang, she is so good at what she does! SO GOOD!! {somebody slap me--3 deep breaths--get it together SNK!}

Problem is, when you challenge the PUMAs to scratch beyond the surface they will thwack you so hard your head will spin 6 ways till two weeks from next Sunday and then some. They give No Quarter (anyone here get that one? ha ha). They will absolutely REFUSE to examine her stances on sound money, the banker/politician cabal (oh, the irony of her firing her first shot in front of a CFR backdrop--nauseatingly creeptastic), and the debt-war cycle. Yet these are the things that are TRULY critical to ALL our futures. I'll tell you her stances: hates it, loves it, loves it. Disgusting.

Hillary will probably be our next president. She and her loyal PUMAs will lead us the rest of the way, skipping and throwing rose petals, into a collapsed currency, if we don't get to if before then. It may be a fluffier, sweeter collapse than we're all currently anticipating, but an unmitigated disaster nonetheless. They will then guide us into an even more 'caring' (argh--I cannot take all this 'caring'!), even larger and farther reaching 'because they are smarter and more wonderful than you stupid little people' government, depriving us of even MORE sovereignty and personal liberties than ever before, and plunging us further into debt slavery to our self anointed savior-criminals. Goodbye Thomas Jefferson, too bad you were a dude and not a chick:

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Is THAT what PUMAs want for our country? Guess so. PUMAs don't understand the real power and control mechanisms underlying our society. PUMAs ignore it because they are too busy feeling good about the fact their female leader has balls and brains. This makes me wonder. What the hell happened to these women that they are so blind and ignorant as to be satisfied with only those superficial qualities? Who destroyed their hearts so much so that they would settle for the smaller sphere of 'women's rights' over the larger and all inclusive sphere of LIBERTY FOR ALL?!? That is: F-O-R A-L-L. AAAALLLLLLLLLLLL. Pseudo feminism. Blech.

Any questions?


« California Treasurer Spanks Legislature Over Junk Spending »

Video: California Treasurer Bill Lockyer eats his own kind...

A short flashback clip from last Fall that most of you haven't seen. This one gets excellent marks for truth-telling. Details and transcribed quotes inside.

California Treasurer, Democrat Bill Lockyer testifying (and attacking his own party) last Thursday at an informational hearing on state government reform. Lockyer is tired of the junk legislation and out of control spending coming from fellow Democrats and issues a stern warning about looming bankruptcy. Powerful stuff considering the source.

  • "I'm sorry but 2/3's of the the bills that i see come out of the Assembly, if they never saw the light of day, God Bless It. Just stop it. JUST STOP IT! Just stop it. I mean they're junk, and they're consuming all your staff time, with junk. It's not a rule, it's cultural. Nancy Reagan is right. Just say NO!
  • "It’s impossible for this legislature to reform the pension system, and if we don’t, we bankrupt the state. And I don’t think anybody can do it here, because of who elected you. … You’re just captive of the current environment — I don’t see any way out! By the way, Democrats have to call other Democrats on this problem."


The Stench of US Economic Decay: Russia and China Dump the US Dollar

On Thanksgiving eve the English language China Daily and People’s Daily Online reported that Russia and China have concluded an agreement to abandon the use of the US dollar in their bilateral trade and to use their own currencies in its place. The Russians and Chinese said that they had taken this step in order to insulate their economies from the risks that have undermined their confidence in the US dollar as a world reserve currency.

This is big news, especially for the news dead Thanksgiving holiday period, but I did not see it reported on Bloomberg, CNN, New York Times or anywhere in the US print or TV media. The ostrich’s head remains in the sand.

Previously, China concluded the same agreement with Brazil.

As China has a large and growing supply of dollars from trade surpluses with which to conduct trade, China is signaling that she prefers Russian rubles and Brazilian reals to more US dollars.

The American financial press finds solace in the episodes when sovereign debt scares in the EU send the dollar up against the euro and UK pound. But these currency movements are just measures of financial players shorting troubled EU-denominated debt. They are not a measure of dollar strength.

The dollar’s role as world reserve currency is one of the main instruments of American financial hegemony. We haven’t been told how much damage Wall Street fraud has inflicted on EU financial institutions, but the EU countries no longer need the US dollar for trade between themselves as they share a common currency. Once the OPEC countries cease to hold the dollars that they are paid for oil, dollar hegemony will have faded away.

Another instrument of American financial hegemony is the IMF. Whenever a country cannot make good on its debts and pay back the American banks, in steps the IMF with an austerity package that squeezes the country’s population with higher taxes and cuts in education, medical and income support programs until the bankers get their money back.

This is now happening to Ireland and is likely to spread to Portugal, Spain, and perhaps even to France. After the American-caused financial crisis, the IMF’s role as a tool of US imperialism is less and less acceptable. The point could come when governments can no longer sell out their people for the sake of the American banks.

There are other signs that some countries are tiring of America’s irresponsible use of power. Turkey’s civilian governments have long been under the thumb of the American influenced Turkish military. However, recently the civilian government moved against two top generals and an admiral suspected of involvement in planning a coup. The civilian government further asserted itself when the prime minister announced on Thanksgiving day that Turkey is prepared to react to any Israeli offensive against Lebanon. Here is an American NATO ally freeing itself from American suzerainty exercised through the Turkish military. Who knows, Germany could be next.

Meanwhile in America the sheeple remain content with, or blind to, their role as sheep to be slaughtered to feed the rich. The Obama administration has managed to come up with a Deficit Commission whose members want to pay for the multi-trillion dollar wars that are enriching the military/security complex and the multi-trillion dollar bailouts of the financial system by reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security, raising the retirement age to 69, ending the mortgage interest deduction, ending the tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, imposing a 6.5% federal sales tax,
while cutting the top tax rate for the rich.

Even the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates are aimed at helping the banksters.

The low interest rates deprive retirees and those living on their savings of interest income. The low interest rates have also deprived corporate pensions of funding. To fill the gap corporations are issuing billions of dollars in corporate bonds in order to fund their pensions. Corporate debt is increasing, but not plant and equipment that would produce earnings to service the debt. As the economy worsens, servicing the additional debt will be a problem.

In addition, America’s elderly are finding that fewer and fewer doctors will accept them as patients as a 23% cut looms in the already low Medicare payments to doctors.

The American government only has resources for wars of aggression, police state intrusions, and bailouts of rich banksters. The American citizen has become a mere subject to be bled for the ruling oligarchies.

The police state attitude of the TSA toward airline travelers is a clear indication that Americans are no longer citizens with rights but subjects without rights. Perhaps the day will come when oppressed Americans will take to the streets like the French, the Greeks, the Irish, and the British.

France has Now Grabbed Their People's Pension Funds to Give to Banks and Their Debt - Joining Hungary and Ireland -

Seems all over the world countries are grabbing their People's Pension and Retirement accounts, they pass the laws very fast and spring the surprise on their people. France has just joined the fray of taking their people's retirement accounts to give to the banks and buy the countries bonds. They have taken 36 Billion of people's Pension and retirement accounts.

portion from above link:

Asset managers will have the chance to get billions of euros in mandates in the next few months for the €36bn Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR), the French reserve pension fund, after the French parliament last week passed a law to use its assets to pay off the debts of France’s welfare system.

I had posted last week about Hungary taking their people's pension funds.

Ireland too is talking about taking their people's pensions and giving it to the banks.

Portion from above link:

Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin attacked the intention to use the National Pension Reserve Fund to help provide a further €10 billion in further capital for the banks. In total, the banks could end up getting another €35 billion if their losses are bigger than expected.

So, does everyone see what is happening around the world?

The banks come before the people! The people's money of which they saved and worked all their lives for is being grabbed by the leaders of countries to give to the banks. Besides people having to pay more in taxes and get less in wages. In Ireland the people have to take a cut in the minimum wage for their "bailout".

I have no doubt there will be demonstrations in the European countries regarding what the governments are doing there.

But I will say again, it is simply a matter of time before the U.S. government passes a bill that allows them to take everyone's Private IRA/Pension and 401Ks. They have had committee meetings on it already, it has been discussed many times. Remember Federal and State Government Pension funds all over the U.S., are under water right now. If you think the government will not over reach their powers by stealing everyone's private retirement accounts, then you have not been paying attention to what has been happening with crazy laws being passed or about to be voted on.

I am including the S 510 "Safe Food Bill" which has enough support to pass the Senate and House - which then effectively makes growing your own vegetables illegal and forget being able to purchase food/vegetables at a farmers market - as those will be wiped out and made illegal also. Completely Crazy and Outrageous. But it seems they are intent on passing the bill, even though people have been calling their elected officials, saying "don't pass it" they are standing by the bill. This will then give Monsanto control of all of our food and seeds. In fact under the S 510 bill, it will be illegal to save your own seeds.

We are living in bizarre times and as you think it can't get more outrageous, it does.

So, look around, pay attention and if you want to be assured you have your own retirement account to use as you want, I would advise talking to an accountant, find out all the penalties of liquidating your Private IRA/pension/401K and do what makes sense to you. Is it better to take a "tax" hit now and save your retirement money or leave it where it is and let the government possibly grab it for debt and the banks? When they do/if make the grab, it will be fast with no fore warning, IMO, just as the other countries have done. People have not had the time to get their money out, once the decisions have been made around the world to take the Pension funds. So you make the decision to what feels right to yourself, just pay attention and wake up to the desperation of countries.

When/if it does happen in the U.S. - it will be... one moment, you have your own private retirement account to invest as you want and the next it will be under government control for the banks and debt due to giving Trillions to the banks.

Ask the French now, Hungarians, Irish, Argentinians, if they expected this to happen to them - in that their government swooped in and took their retirement accounts for their banks and debt of the countries. I would bet it came as a complete surprise.

An Idea ..... for the December 7th - bank run - it should also be a Private retirement account run too and put the money into metals - which has been the best investment of the year so far anyway. The tax of liquidating retirement funds, compared to the increase of metals for the year so far..... which is more?....... considering silver is up over 46% for the year.... you make that decision!

« Comparing Federal Deficits: Bush Vs. Obama »

chart comparing federal deficit under bush vs obama

Source: CBO -- More detail inside.

In the first independent analysis, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that President Obama's budget will rack up massive deficits even after the economy recovers, forcing the nation to borrow $9.3 trillion over the next decade.

Graphic courtesy of the Washington Post.

Two short comments: the numbers have already worsened since this graphic was produced in March, and the Obama administration is on the same prescription meds as AIG execs. Take a look at 2013-2019. Holy rosy scenario.


Cutting the Deficit: Sacrificing Workers to Save the Rich

“There’s class warfare, all right, but its my class, the rich class that’s making war and we’re winning” Warren Buffet

The most important and popular social and tax programs in the United States are threatened by a self-styled “Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform”. Appointed by President Obama on February 18, 2010, co-chaired by two longstanding champions of Wall Street: ex Senator Simpson (R, WY) and former Clintonite White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. The Commission Report issued November 10 proposes to slash social security payments, reducing recipients to poverty, raise the retirement age to 69 ensuring that millions of workers will die before they can retire, or enter retirement in ill health; reduce or freeze cost of living increases through inflation indexes which understate by half the rises in food, gas, hospital and education. The Commission proposes deep cuts in Medicare, increased Medicaid co-pays and slashing $54 billion from graduate medical education. The Commission proposes to eliminate tax breaks including deductions for home mortgage interest payments while taxing employer provided medical insurance.

The same Commission Report proposes to reduce capital gains and income taxes for the rich by up to 24%.

President Obama and the Republican leadership praised the Commission and wants “to give them space to work on it”.

The so-called crisis of Social Security is a result of the Republican and Democratic governments siphoning off payments into the general fund. The forthcoming shortfall (2030) can be easily remedied by lifting the payroll tax ceiling, for the rich, taxing all earned income.

Medical costs can be reduced by 50% by replacing the for profit corporate health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations with a non-profit national health system, similar to successful programs in Europe and Canada.

Medical plans and Social Security can be easily funded by imposing a 1% sales tax on the sale of stocks and bonds.

The deficit proposals put forth by Obama’s Bipartisan Commission threaten to push the one-third of retirees who depend mainly on their social security payments into the food kitchens or destitution. The added cost and reductions in health care will increase the mortality rate among working families. The increase in retirement age will result in “work until you die”, with no time for leisure, travel or grandchildren. It is time to send a message to Washington: cut Social Security and Medicare and home interest deductions and you will visit Washington on your own time.

The Environmental Impact Of War

IMAGES OF DEVASTATED battlefields are all too familiar. A German officer in 1918 described ‘dumb, black stumps of shattered trees which still stick up where there used to be villages. Flayed by splinters of bursting shells, they stand like corpses upright. Not a blade of grass anywhere. Just miles of flat, empty, broken and tumbled stone.’ The ploughs in Flanders fields still turn up human bones every year.

But twentieth century technology, busily applied to the practice of war, has ensured a more lethal harvest. For example, landmines: planted in millions in war-torn countries across the world, killing and maiming long after wars are over, and denying agricultural use of the land in which they lurk. A Khmer Rouge general called them ‘the perfect soldier’: cheap, efficient, expendable, never hungry, never needing sleep. But eighty percent of landmine victims are civilians, not soldiers; and nearly a quarter of those are children.

Clearing mines is laborious, dangerous, and 30 times the cost of the weapon itself. So is clearing unexploded ordnance of all kinds (including worldwide munitions dumps which leak toxic wastes). The most severe UXO contamination in the world is in Laos. Bomb disposal teams have no records to work from. ‘It was America’s secret war and we can’t get the information,’ says a team leader. ‘All you can do is teach people to live with the bomb.’

But it’s the testing and manufacture of the nuclear bomb which has been responsible for some of the most profound and persistent environmental damage to life on earth. “The complex mixture of contaminants found on many military sites is dynamically moving through the environment,’ says a medical expert. Radiation problems affect people near nuclear plants in every country that has them. Repair and maintenance of many installations and equipment are dangerously inadequate.

Nuclear waste is a global problem that won’t go away, threatening environmental disaster on a vast scale: its poison, and toxic chemicals which accompany all weapon production, have travelled round the globe in the atmosphere and ocean currents; as well as water and air, they harm earth, plants that grow in it, and subsistent livestock and wildlife. Human exposure to nuclear and chemical tests and factories, or via the food chain, results in miscarriages, malformed foetuses, high infant mortality and congenital disorders, leukaemia and other cancers, tumours, thyroid disorders, and complex debilitating and life-shortening syndromes. The number of reports of such harmful effects on health, habitat and culture – always at risk in war – continues to grow.

Because war disrupts social structures, ecostructures are neglected and abused, with lasting and costly consequences.

All along the coast of Somalia huge sand dunes, 20 miles across, have crept from the sea towards the main coastal highway. ‘When the dunes hit the road, a new road will need to be built,’ says a Red Cross agronomist. ‘There used to be government plans to stop them. Now there’s nothing. The communication breakdown will be a social disaster.’ The ICRC, encouraging self-sufficiency and seawater fish in the conservative Somali diet, provided boats, nets, hooks and training – only to discover another of war’s ecological chain effects: the coastal waters off Somalia had become a free-for-all, all protocols for international fishing rights ignored. Resources are being fished unsustainably – ‘almost a mining operation,’ says a UN observer. Illegal fishermen now go armed, to protect what they perceive as their property rights.

It’s widely agreed that Sudan’s 1988 famine was caused by its protracted civil war. Southern Sudan has some of the most productive land in Africa; its people are hardworking farmers and herdsmen. If fighting stopped, they’d manage to survive. Instead, thousands have been forced out of their homes, thousands have died, and their land is uncared-for.

‘Most disasters are like this: a mess of war, displacement, hunger and ignorance,’ says Africa specialist John Ryle. ‘To feed the hungry and treat the sick in such circumstances is to become part of the war economy. Part of what aid workers do involves clearing up the chaos left by the global arms trade. They say they are saving lives – but for what? To be lost in endless wars that feed on aid?’

Meanwhile the worst outbreak of sleeping sickness this century has been spreading through the south-west; disease follows war everywhere.

The earth’s environment is battered by war, its preparation, practice and aftermath. It is destroyed as an act of war; it is used as a weapon of war; and its destruction is expensive and sometimes irreversible. Its integral involvement with war is often secret, widely ignored, and easily forgotten – until now.

Now, some people are beginning to talk and listen. Some people are beginning to act. There is a treaty to ban landmines now. There are moves towards tackling the problems of nuclear waste and weapon stockpiles. There is a growing global awareness – with charters to prove it – that war has created consequences which cross boundaries and ignore territories. Natural disasters are costly enough; the cost of war damage is much higher. Even if politics don’t achieve change, economics might.

It’s the natural tendency of governments to suppress or talk down bad news. So it’s the duty of the rest of us – to uncover and publicise it wherever possible. Without the facts, there can’t be informed public opinion, nor a corporate will to deal with the disasters that war creates – dangerous not only for combatants but for civilians, not only for the duration of the war but far into the future, not for warring countries alone but for the whole world.

In one way or another, everyone is already affected. In one way or another, the still-quickening rush to even greater disasters must be stopped.

And the first thing to go must be war

U.S. Applies Pressure In China Currency Feud

Is calling China a currency manipulator and imposing tariffs the right approach?

As Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao rejected American pressure outright, Japan has taken advantage of the tension to seek its own advantage, intervening in currency markets for the first time in years. Even Brazil has threatened its own, self-interested currency interventions. These are dangerous trends, threatening adverse economic and market effects-significant risks that recommend a less heavy-handed, bullying approach.

Of course, the United States and China have feuded over trade for years, particularly about the foreign exchange value of China's yuan. As early as 1993 the Clinton White House contemplated how China's cheap currency gave its exports unfair pricing advantages on global markets. At that time, the administration began to pressure Beijing for an upward yuan revaluation. The notion was so thoroughly rejected that in January of the following year, Beijing devalued the yuan by almost 50% in one sudden, orchestrated move-an action, incidentally, that contributed in no small way to the Asian financial and economic crisis of 1997 and 1998. After Clinton, the Bush administration fared better in getting China to yield. Even so, in 2005, after the European Union (EU) made the same complaints and it looked as though Congress had run out of patience, Beijing did allow some yuan appreciation. The appreciation, however, was more cosmetic than substantive.

The intensity of American pressure has ramped up in this latest round. By labeling China a currency manipulator, Congress will have made it easier to impose special tariffs on Chinese goods that would offset the presumably artificial advantages of Beijing's currency management. It speaks to Washington's unity of purpose that Treasury Secretary Geithner also has called for some mechanism to force countries like China to revalue their currencies and "abandon export-oriented policies."

From the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking for a group of finance ministers, has echoed American complaints.

Rather than appease those concerns, China's Premier Wen has warned (in his words) of the "chaos" that would ensue from a yuan revaluation. Even his seemingly conciliatory gesture of buying Greek government bonds effectively rejects the currency demands, since the global flow of yuan to make such purchases would only depress its value next to euros and dollars. Even if Premier Wen wanted to accommodate America and the EU, China's economic realities would tie his hands.

The country simply cannot abandon export support-at least in the near term. That's because growth in the area is the only way it can create jobs for the approximately 1 million people a month who leave farms in China's hinterland in search of a better life in China's cities. Beijing knows that a failure in exports would halt the jobs growth and risk violent social unrest. Chinese authorities got a sobering taste of the prospect during the recent global recession, when a decline in exports impelled layoffs that led quickly to rioting across the country. From Beijing's perspective, and with some justice, the risk of abandoning the cheap yuan policy is simply too great, whatever threats the Americans and Europeans level.

In the meantime, it is not apparent that such tariffs would do much to help the American economic situation. Certainly, tariffs would hurt the average American consumer by raising the price of Chinese imports, as well as living costs across the country. Moreover, China has such a huge cost advantage over its American competitors, that even in the face of high tariffs it might well sustain its export flow to America. Even if tariffs could block Chinese goods, they would hardly protect American industry and jobs from foreign competition. Vietnam, Indonesia, and other low-cost producers would just step in where China was excluded.

Rather than insist on the impossible and raise the cost-of-living in the bargain, the United States might do better to seek what common ground it has with China. Here, there is promise in a longer-term perspective. For all their immediate differences, Washington and Beijing both want a reorientation in China, from export-led growth to a more broad-based, domestic, consumer-oriented economy. The Americans see such an adjustment as a way to increase the sales in China and balance trade between the two economies.

China's leadership wants broad-based domestic development to moderate socially explosive income disparities between geographic regions and social classes. It also wants to avoid Japan's fate, and sees efforts to develop across the nation's continental size as a way to avoid the problems that arise when an export-dependent policy lasts too long. China's commitment to such ultimate objectives was strong enough to direct much in the country's massive, anti-recession stimulus of 2008.


“Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.”Edward Said

The increasingly fragile American Empire has been built on a foundation of lies. Lies we tell ourselves and Big lies spread by our government. The shit is so deep you can stir it with a stick. As we enter another holiday season the mainstream corporate mass media will relegate you to the status of consumer. This is a disgusting term that dehumanizes all Americans. You are nothing but a blot to corporations and advertisers selling you electronic doohickeys that they convince you that you must have. Propaganda about consumer spending being essential to an economic recovery is spewed from 52 inch HDTVs across the land, 24 hours per day, by CNBC, Fox, CBS and the other corporate owned media that generate billions in profits from selling advertising to corporations schilling material goods to thoughtless American consumers. Aldous Huxley had it figured out decades ago:

“Thanks to compulsory education and the rotary press, the propagandist has been able, for many years past, to convey his messages to virtually every adult in every civilized country.”

Americans were given the mental capacity to critically think. Sadly, a vast swath of Americans has chosen ignorance over knowledge. Make no mistake about it, ignorance is a choice. It doesn’t matter whether you are poor or rich. Books are available to everyone in this country. Sob stories about the disadvantaged poor having no access to education are nothing but liberal spin to keep the masses controlled. There are 122,500 libraries in this country. If you want to read a book, you can read a book. The internet puts knowledge at the fingertips of every citizen. Becoming educated requires hard work, sacrifice, curiosity, and a desire to learn. Aldous Huxley describes the American choice to be ignorant:

“Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know.”

It is a choice to play Call of Duty on your PS3 rather than reading Shakespeare. It is a choice to stand on a street corner looking for trouble rather than reading Hemingway. It is a choice to spend Black Friday in malls fighting other robotic consumers for iSomethings, the latest innovative, advanced TVs, flashy Rolexes, and ostentatious Coach bags rather than spending the day reading Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, a brilliant Pulitzer Prize winning history of the outset of World War I, which would provide insight into what could happen on the Korean Peninsula. It is a choice to watch 6 hours per day of Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, Brainless Housewives of Everywhere, or CSI of Anywhere rather than reading Orwell or Huxley and discovering that their dystopian warnings have come true.

Conspicuous Consumption Conquistadors

Americans have chosen to lie to themselves. They have persuaded themselves that buying stuff with plastic cards while paying 19% interest for eternity, driving BMWs while locked into never ending indecipherable lease schemes, and living in permanently underwater McMansions bought with 0% down on an interest only liar loan, is the new American Dream. They think watching the boob tube will make them smart. They soak in the mass media hype, misinformation and lies like lemmings walking off a cliff. Depending on their political predisposition, they watch Fox or MSNBC and unthinkingly believe the propaganda that pours from the mouths of the multi-millionaire talking heads who read Teleprompters with words written by corporate media hacks. They tell themselves that buying stuff on credit, giving them the appearance of success as measured by the media elite, is actually success. This is a bastardized, manipulated, delusional version of accomplishment. Americans have chosen to believe the lies because the truth is too hard to accept.

Becoming educated, thinking critically, working hard, saving money to buy what you need (as opposed to what you want), developing human relationships, and questioning the motivations of government, corporate and religious leaders is hard. It is easy to coast through school and never read a book for the rest of your life. It is easy to not think about the future, your retirement, or the future of unborn generations. It is easy to coast through life at a job (until you lose it) that is unchallenging, with no desire or motivation for advancement. It is easy to make your everyday troubles disappear by whipping out your piece of plastic and acquiring everything you desire today. If your brother-in-law buys a 7,000 sq ft, 7 bedroom, 4 bath, 3 car garage, monolith to decadence for his family of 3, thirty miles from civilization, with no money down and a no doc Option ARM providing the funds, why shouldn’t you get in on the fun. It’s easy. Why sit around the kitchen table and talk with your kids, when you can easily cruise the internet downloading free porn or recording every trivial detail of your shallow life on Facebook so others can waste their time reading about your life. It is easiest to believe your elected leaders, glorified mega-corporation CEOs, and millionaire pastors preaching the word of God for a “small” contribution to their mega-churches.

Americans love authority figures who act as if they have all the answers. It matters not that these egotistical monuments to folly and hubris (Bush, Obama, Paulson, Geithner, Greenspan, Bernanke) have committed the worst atrocities in the history of our Republic, leaving economic carnage and the slaughter of thousands in their wake. The most dangerous man on this earth is an Ivy League educated, arrogant ideologue who believes they are smarter than everyone else. When these men achieve power, they are capable of producing catastrophic consequences. Once they seize the reigns of authority these amoral psychopaths have no problem lying to the American public in order to achieve their objectives. They know that Americans love to be lied to, so the bigger the lie, the more likely it is to be believed.

The current lie proliferating across the land of the free financing and home of the debtor is that austerity has broken out across the land. The mainstream media and the government, aided by various “think tanks” and Federal Reserve propagandists insist that Americans have buckled down, reduced spending, increased savings, and have embraced austerity.

Austerity – Circa 1932

Austerity – Circa 2010

They now proclaim that it is time to spend again. It is the patriotic thing to do, just like defeating terrorists by buying an SUV with 0% down from GM was the patriotic thing to do after 9/11. Defeating terrorists by going further into debt was the brilliant idea of those Ivy League geniuses Bush & Greenspan. Let’s critically examine the facts to determine how austere Americans have become:

  • Consumer credit outstanding is $2.41 trillion, the same level reached in early 2007, and up from $1.5 trillion in 2000. This is a 60% increase in ten years. Personal income has risen from $8.4 trillion to $12.6 trillion over this same time frame, a 50% increase. Americans have substituted debt for income in order to keep up with the Joneses. The mass delusion lives.
  • The MSM declares that the reduction in overall consumer debt from its peak of $2.56 trillion in 2008 to $2.41 trillion today proves that consumers have been cutting back and paying off debt. This is another media lie. Non-revolving debt, which includes car loans, education loans, mobile home loans and boat loans sits at $1.6 trillion, an all-time high matched in 2008. Credit card debt has “plunged” from $957 billion to $814 billion, not because consumers paid down their balances. The mega Wall Street banks have written off $20 billion per quarter since early 2009, accounting for ALL of the reduction in credit card debt. Clueless consumers continue to charge at the same rate as the peak in 2008.
  • Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,788
  • There are 609.8 million bank credit cards held by U.S. consumers.
  • The U.S. credit card default rate is 13.01%
  • In 2006, the United States Census Bureau determined that there were nearly 1.5 billion credit cards in use in the U.S. A stack of all those credit cards would reach more than 70 miles into space – and be almost as tall as 13 Mount Everests.
  • Penalty fees from credit cards added up to about $20.5 billion in 2009.
  • The national average default rate as January 2010 stood at 27.88% and the mean default rate is 28.99%.
  • Total bankruptcy filings in 2009 reached 1.4 million, up from 1.09 million in 2008. Bankruptcies in 2010 are on pace to exceed 1.6 million.
  • 26% of Americans, or more than 58 million adults, admit to not paying all of their bills on time. Among African-Americans, this number is at 51%.

Does This Look Like Austerity? Really?

This data clearly proves that austerity has not broken out across the land of delusion. The billions in consumer loan write-offs by the Wall Street banks that run this country have masked the fact that Americans have not cut back on their spending habits at all. GMAC (taxpayer owned) and Ford Credit continue to dish out car loans to anyone with a pulse and a 600 credit score. The Federal Reserve and the FASB have encouraged, if not insisted, that banks fraudulently value the commercial real estate loans on their books. The Federal Reserve has bought $1.5 trillion of toxic mortgage loans from the criminal Wall Street banks at 100 cents on the dollar. The government’s corporate fascist public relations firms then spread the big lie that the economy is recovering and consumers should join the party and spend, spend, spend.

If Americans were capable or willing to do some critical thinking, they would realize that those in power have created the illusion of a recovery by handing $700 billion of your money to the banks that created the financial meltdown, spending $800 billion on worthless pork barrel projects borrowed from future generations, dropping interest rates to 0% so that the mega-Wall Street banks can earn billions risk free while your grandmother who depended on interest income from her CDs edges closer to eating cat food to get by, and lastly Ben Bernanke’s blatant attempt to enrich Wall Street by buying US Treasury bonds in an effort to make the stock market go up, while the middle and lower classes are crushed under the weight of soaring fuel and food price increases that exceed 30% on an annual basis. The illusion of recovery is not a recovery. With a true unemployment rate of 22%, a true inflation rate of 8% and a real GDP of -1.5% (Shadowstats), we are in the midst of the Greater Depression. You are being lied to, but most of you prefer it.

The Little Lies We Tell Ourselves

“Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know.” – M King Hubbert

When Jimmy Carter gave his malaise speech in 1979, Americans were in no mood to listen. Carter’s solutions were too painful, required sacrifice, and sought to benefit future generations. The leading edge of the Baby Boom generation had reached their 30s by 1979, and the most spoiled, pampered, egocentric generation in history could care less about future generations, long term thinking, or sacrifice for the greater good. They were the ME GENERATION. The 1970s had proven to be tumultuous episode in US history. M King Hubbert’s calculation in 1956 that U.S. oil production would peak in the early 1970s proved to be 100% correct.

File:US Oil Production and Imports 1920 to 2005.png

The Arab oil embargo resulted in gas shortages and economic chaos in the U.S. Hubbert used the same method to determine that worldwide oil production would peak in the early 2000s. If long term planning had been initiated in the early 1980s, combining exploration of untapped reserves, greater utilization of natural gas, development of nuclear plants, more stringent fuel efficiency standards, increased taxes on gasoline, and more thoughtful development of housing communities, we would not now face a looming oil crisis within the next few years. Instead of dealing with reality, adapting our behavior and preparing for a more localized society, we put our blinders on, chose ignorance over reason and pushed the pedal to the medal by moving farther away from our jobs, building bigger energy intensive mansions, and insisting on driving tank-like SUVs, Hummers, and good ole boy pickups. Kevin Phillips in American Theocracy explained that hyper-consumerism, fear, and inability to use logic have left our suburban oasis lives in danger of implosion when the reality of peak cheap oil strikes:

Besides the innate thirst of SUVs, some of the last quarter century’s surge in U.S. oil consumption has come from Americans driving more – some twelve thousand miles per motorist per year, up almost one – third from 1980 – because they as a whole live farther from work. In consumption terms, exurbia is the physical result of the latest population redistribution enabled by car culture and the electorate that upholds it.

Family values are central – if by this we mean having families and accepting lengthy commutes to install them in reasonably safe and well churched places. In the 1970’s such households might have been fleeing school busing or central city crime; in the post – September 11 era, many sought distance from “godless” school systems or the random violence and terrorist attacks expected to occur in metropolitan areas.

We willingly believe the lies espoused by the badly informed pundits on CNBC and Fox that if we just drill in Alaska and off our coasts, we’ll be fine. The ignorant peak cheap oil deniers insist there are billions of barrels of oil to be harvested from the Bakken Shale, even though there is absolutely no method of accessing this supply without expending more energy than we can access. Environmentalists lie about the dangers of nuclear power, while shamelessly promoting the ridiculous notion that solar, wind and ethanol can make a visible impact on our future energy needs. Ideologues on the right and left conveniently ignore the facts and the truth is lost in a blizzard of their lies. Here is an explanation so clear, even a CNBC “drill baby drill” dimwit could understand:

When oil production first began in the mid-nineteenth century, the largest oil fields recovered fifty barrels of oil for every barrel used in the extraction, transportation and refining. This ratio is often referred to as the Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROEI). Currently, between one and five barrels of oil are recovered for each barrel-equivalent of energy used in the recovery process. As the EROEI drops to one, or equivalently the Net Energy Gain falls to zero, the oil production is no longer a net energy source. This happens long before the resource is physically exhausted.

File:Hubbert peak oil plot.svg

After the briefest of lulls when oil reached $145 per barrel, Americans have resumed buying SUVs, pickup trucks, and gas guzzling muscle cars. They have chosen to ignore the imminence of peak cheap oil because driving a leased BMW makes your neighbors think you are a success, while driving a hybrid would make your neighbors think you are a liberal tree hugger. It boggles my mind that so many Americans are so shallow and shortsighted. According to Automotive News, at the start of 2008 leasing comprised 31.2% of luxury vehicle sales and 18.7% of non-luxury sales. This proves that hundreds of thousands of wannabes are driving leased BMWs and Mercedes to fill some void in their superficial lives.

I bought a Honda Insight Hybrid six months ago. It gets 44 mpg and will save me $1,500 per year in gasoline costs. I put 20% down and financed the remainder at 0.9% for three years. My payment is $450 per month. I will own it outright in 2 ½ years. I could have leased a 2010 BMW 328i with moonroof, bluetooth, power seats with driver seat memory, lumbar support, leather interior, iPod adapter, 17″ alloy wheels, heated seats, wood trim, 3.0 Liter 6 Cylinder engine with 230 horsepower for 3 years at $389 per month. At the end of 3 years I’d own nothing. In 2 ½ years I’ll be able to put $450 per month away for my kids’ college education and I’ll be saving more on fuel as gasoline approaches $5 per gallon. The self important egotistical BMW leaser pretending to be successful will need to hand over their sweet ride and move on to the next lease, never saving a dime for the future. I’m sure they’ll make a killing in the market or their McMansion will surely double in price, providing a fantastic retirement.

Delusional Practical

The delusion that cheap oil is a God given right of all Americans can be seen in the YTD data on vehicle sales. Pickups and SUVs account for 48.5% of all sales, while small fuel efficient cars account for only 16.5% of all sales. Americans will continue to lie to themselves until it is too late, again.

Oct 2010 % Chg from
YTD 2010 % Chg from
YTD 2009
Cars 448,127 3.9 4,840,525 5.3
Midsize 220,998 -0.2 2,407,457 9.9
Small 142,983 9.7 1,616,840 -1.5
Luxury 78,487 9.7 742,278 7.2
Large 5,659 -31.9 73,950 -0.8
Light-duty trucks 502,038 23.5 4,730,196 16.7
Pickup 147,207 16.9 1,334,133 13.9
Cross-over 195,274 20.0 1,928,191 16.8
Minivan 55,596 21.0 561,736 15.1
Midsize SUV 51,494 86.6 443,922 37.9
Large SUV 23,946 1.5 202,806 12.1
Small SUV 14,861 53.6 146,000 -3.8
Luxury SUV 13,660 22.1 113,408 26.2
Total SUV/Cross-over 299,235 27.4 2,834,327 18.3
Total SUV 103,961 44.3 906,136 21.7
Total Cross-over 195,274 20.0 1,928,191 16.8

Americans are so committed to their automobiles, hyper-consumerism, oversized McMansions, and suburban sprawl existence that they will never willingly prepare in advance for a future by scaling back, downsizing, or thinking. Our culture is built upon consumption, debt, cheap oil and illusion. Kevin Phillips in American Theocracy concludes that there are so many Americans tied to our unsustainable economic model that they will choose to lie to themselves and be lied to by their leaders rather than think and adapt:

A large number of voters work in or depend on the energy and automobile industries, and still more are invested in them, not just financially but emotionally and culturally. These secondary cadres included racing fans, hobbyists, collectors, and dedicated readers of automotive magazines, as well as the tens of millions of automobile commuters from suburbs and distant exurbs, plus the high number of drivers whose strong self-identification with vehicle types and models serve as thinly disguised political statements. In the United States more than elsewhere, a preference for conspicuous consumption over energy efficiency and conservation is a signal of a much deeper, central divide.

M King Hubbert was a geophysicist and a practical man. He observed data, made realistic assumptions, and came to logical conclusions. He didn’t deal in unrealistic hope and unwarranted optimism. He knew that our culture had become so dependent upon lies and an unsustainable growth model based on depleting oil and debt based “prosperity”. He knew decades ago that we were incapable of dealing with the truth:

“Our principal constraints are cultural. During the last two centuries we have known nothing but exponential growth and in parallel we have evolved what amounts to an exponential-growth culture, a culture so heavily dependent upon the continuance of exponential growth for its stability that it is incapable of reckoning with problems of non-growth.” M King Hubbert

Our country is at a crucial juncture. It is time for thinkers. It is time for realists. It is time to deal with facts. It is time to drive the ideologues off the stage. Are you tired of lying to yourselves? Are you tired of being lied to by the corporate fascists that run this country? It is time to wake up. Right wing and left wing ideologues will continue to spew lies and misinformation as they are power hungry and care not for the long-term survival of our nation or the unborn generations that depend upon the decisions we make today. It is time to see how we really are.

“Most of one’s life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself from thinking. People intoxicate themselves with work so they won’t see how they really are.” – Aldous Huxley