Monday, August 29, 2011

MAP - Food Inflation Riots Around The World

The map is interactive.  Just click HERE.
The first map is a disturbing illustration of food and inflation riots around the globe in 2011 (updated through Feb. 19) I came across on Google. The second map is actually an infographic from The Economist explaining the politics behind the military action against Libya.
Most of the inflation riots and protests are concentrated in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, but as you can see on the Google map, they are starting to migrate into Europe, as well as China and India.
In the U.S., anemic growth, an ongoing housing depression, high unemployment and two rounds of quantitative easing (QE) probably have laid a pretty solid foundation for a similar riot map if Chairman Bernanke decides to grace us with QE3. I guess we shall find out when he delivers his speech at Jackson Hole on Friday morning, Aug. 16.
Adding to the food inflation riot is the international military action against Libya.  It looks like Muammar Qaddafi's 42-year rule of Libya has finally come to an end.  As the rebel put up a $1.7 million bounty on Gaddafi, the mystery of the day is the whereabouts of Gadaffi who's last known to be still in Tripoli.
Regardless, it might take some time to restore Libya to the pre-NATO state, which undoubtedly would give oil speculators plenty of excuse to drive up oil prices touting the Sweet Libyan Crude shortage myth.
Google Map Legend
Fist = Overthrown Governments
Flames = Actual food / inflation riots
Police = Protests / other riots
nbsp;= Price increase announcements / Price Controls / Stock market issues
! = Strike in inflation / food related industries
Phone = Internet/ Twitter /shutdown

Source - Econ Matters


It is the duty of the Patriot to protect his country from his government. – Thomas Paine
George Washington’s Prayer at Valley Forge
War, War, War
Why? Our war machine generates such “spectacular profits that many people around the world” are convinced America’s “rich and powerful must be deliberately causing catastrophes so that they can exploit them,” warns Naomi Klein in “Shock Doctrine.” No wonder the GOP takes military spending, like tax cuts for the rich, off-the-table: The war industry is a major political donor. – Paul Farrell
Unlike Vietnam, today you hear very little news about America’s wars.  Again why?  Mat Taibbi correctly points out, “These are for profit companies and there’s no money in doing the right thing.”  So, as long as the MSM keeps it off the nightly news the people are content with America’s sociopathic spree of senseless destruction and killing of innocents.  Yet they’re captivated by sensationalized coverage when a deranged Mother kills her baby.  It’s a sad state when an isolated incident is “sold” as infotainment that trumps real news of wholesale murder and mayhem.  According to Chris Hedges; “News As Entertainment has trumped actual journalism.”  Wake up America!  Throw in the food stamps and this is the modern version of Bread and Circuses.  Our sophistication makes us either the most ignorant or hypocritical people on earth.
Must See: Chris Hedges: MSM Feeds Masses ‘Road Kill’
The media and the government, both are hijacked by big corporations and through their two identical twins they provide us with the illusion of democracy.  As Chomsky well-put, the media is in the business of “manufacturing consent” – Edip Yuksel
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps, both. – James Madison

Osama bin Laden’s stated intent was to embroil the US in Middle Eastern wars and to destroy our financial well being.
The USA-Inc has a magic word to hypnotize us: “Terrorists!” So that our tax dollars could be transferred to war profiteers, the military industrial complex and its allies!  – Edip Yuksel
The U.S. is entrenched in three illegal and immoral wars in the name of security.  In the latest; Libya we’re supposedly protecting the people, which of course is a lie.  First, we’ve thrown in with a group of militants with terrorist ties.  And the civilians we’re protecting; nearly 1,000 have been killed and according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees 686,422 had fled Libya as of May 4, mostly for Egypt and Tunisia.
The cost of President Obama’s unconstitutional attack on Libya has been $716 million as of June 3.  According to the LA Times Obama’s unauthorized war on Libya costs $9,421,000 a day:
“The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” – James Madison
It’s estimated the U.S. government has spent over 379 billion dollars on the war in Afghanistan and over 775 billion dollars on the war in Iraq (see video below for more accurate and higher $ amounts).  Worse than the raw numbers, none of this is paid for.  It’s all been borrowed from the one group who always wins when there’s war, the bankers.
6,114 American lives have been cut short and 44,596 have been wounded in action; many severely (  600,000 to one million in Iraq alone will not see tomorrow.
Here is a great take on our current military entanglements which is probably more accurate re: cost. via World Revolution News.
Defense accounts for 58% of discretionary spending.
Defense is 19% of the total budget and increasing, (this does not include interest).
Military expenditures have more than doubled since 9-11-2001.
Defense; we spend as much as the rest of the world combined and borrow the money to do so.  Debt-funded wars – say, in Afghanistan and Iraq – are easier to defend than pay-as-you-go wars that voters must finance up front with taxes.   See: War, Debt and Democracy
And for what?
Fact is, deaths attributable to terrorism are lower year on year than those caused by allergic reactions to peanuts.  As subsidies to the wealthiest Americans explodes upwards the Military Industrial Complex is cashing in on an ever increasing number of foreign interventions (6 to 8 depending on who’s counting) while the wealth of Americas working and middle class is in dramatic decline.  And when it comes to budget cuts; the three wars and the 777 to 1000 + US military bases (even the Pentagon can’t say for sure; is it any wonder why billions go missing?) barely get a cursory review.     See: WAR; 58% Of Discretionary Spending Is Off Limits – 1% Robs The 99%
Would not the trillions wasted on this nonsense have gone a long way toward rebuilding our infrastructure and retraining Americans for the 21st century, rather than killing those still stuck in the 20th?  Instead of strengthening our homeland for all Americans, we engage in foreign interventions which makes us less secure while siphoning off hundreds of $billions to Independent Contractors, Weapons Manufacturers and Banksters; the financiers of destruction and misery.
While millions of American people are jobless, millions are losing their homes, and millions of American children suffer from hunger and malnutrition, we are spending about to a trillion dollars for the business of destruction and creating more enemies so that the business of destruction will become even more needed and lucrative. While the so-called “elected officials” in our Federal and state governments are seriously debating of cutting vital social programs such as education and health care, they never talk about cutting the mushrooming military budget -Edip Yuksel

From a deep watery grave, it would seem Osama has us right where he wanted us!

Before any domestic austerity measures (cuts in public services and promised benefits) are imposed on the American people we must demand the draw down of troops and a timely end to these senseless and costly wars.  We must also reaffirm the constitutional process in waging war and put in check, the presidents implied Imperial Powers.
Savagery perpetrated on innocents in far away lands is a prelude to it’s use here at home. – Inflection Point

See: WARFARE STATE: Defense Firms Want To See US Combat Missions Continue
2011 Arab Revolt Usurped by US-Saudi Counter-Revolution

DEBT: Charge It Please
According to the National Inflation Association, when you factor in the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government, total federal debt obligations now come to a grand total of 76 trillion dollars.  Other sources put the figure over $ 100 Trillion.
The facsimile of U.S. “growth” now depends entirely on Central State manipulation and stimulus of risk trades and financial slight-of-hand… we’re spending/injecting $7 (of borrowed money) to create $1 of “growth” in GDP. – charles hugh smith

See: Borrowing $7 to Produce $1 in GDP is a “Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham, Phase II”
AMERICA: A “De-constructed Third World Nation-State
Kucinich: Obama Presides Over A Moral Deficit – Must See Video…
Congress Cuts Annual Budget By $39 Billion As Bernanke Issues $100 Billion A Month Through POMO
It’s The DEBT Stupid!
American military spending nearly outweighs the rest of the planet combined.  Our interventions are not making us safer and costs are unsustainable.  Domestically we face serious structural challenges, a crumbling infrastructure and unprecedented social issues.  At the very top of our most important financial, corporate and governmental institutions the Rule of Law has been suspended in an orgy of fraud and corruption.  Our leadership is morally bankrupt and borrowing $1.5 Trillion + a year to continue down the same path is the definition of insanity.
In his latest piece Jim Quin at was on a tear in a piece called KEYNESIAN SOLUTIONS – AFTER TOTAL FAILURE – TRY, TRY AGAIN
I’d like to remind the Harvard educated Keynesian economists that Federal government spending is currently chiming in at $3.8 trillion per year. Federal spending was $2.7 trillion in 2007 and $3.0 trillion in 2008.  Keynesians believe government spending fills the gap when private companies are contracting. Obama has taken Keynesianism to a new level.  Federal spending will total $10.8 trillion in Obama’s 1st three years, versus $8.4 trillion in the previous three years. Even a Harvard economist can figure out this is a 29% increase in Federal spending.  What has it accomplished?  We are back in recession, unemployment is rising, forty six million Americans are on food stamps, food and energy prices are soaring, and the middle class is being annihilated.
As for the avoidance of a 2nd great depression:
The 2nd Great Depression was not avoided, it was delayed… The banks at fault could have been liquidated in an orderly bankruptcy with stockholders and bondholders accepting the consequences of their foolishness. Unemployment would have soared to 12%, GDP would have collapsed, and the stock market would have fallen to 5,000.  The bad debt would have been flushed from the system.  Instead our Wall Street beholden leaders chose to save their banker friends, cover-up the bad debt, shift private debt to taxpayer debt, print trillions of new dollars in an effort to inflate away the debt…  These strokes of genius have failed miserably.  Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner and Obama have set in motion a series of events that will ultimately lead to a catastrophic currency collapse.  Obama declared his stimulus ($862 billion) would create 3.5 million jobs, later changed to “create or save”.  There were 144 million Americans employed in January 2009. Today, there are 139 million Americans employed… We have entered the 2nd phase of the Greater Depression and there are no monetary or fiscal bullets left in the gun…  – KEYNESIAN SOLUTIONS – AFTER TOTAL FAILURE – TRY, TRY AGAIN

As the Federal governments Keynesian experiment pushes small and medium sized businesses aside, the best local economy in the U.S. is, by far, the DC metropolitan area.  Average incomes in the region top $150,000, more than triple the national average.   Since 9/11  public borrowing and spending has skyrocketed to the delight of defense/homeland security contractors and other firms providing goods and services to the government.  While the real economy economy is facing a crisis of high unemployment, stagnant wages and an implosion of private sector manufacturers, the Capitol is booming.
The latest “false flag” debt ceiling crisis was a total obfuscation.   It’s time for the PEOPLE to WAKE UP! The President’s scare tactic; threatening your SS checks may not go out, was a ruse to get you to except cuts.  He wants to break the social contract between the government and you so the richest Americans can maintain their frivolities while you choose between food and healthcare.  See: Cut Social Security: TWO PARTY OLIGARCHY VS THE PEOPLE
Yevs Smith says “The finance sector used extortion against the American people in 2007-09 and are doing it again now.”   Make no mistake this is class warfare disguised as equal sacrifice.  The fact is; both sides agree on massive cuts to social programs.  The elite, whose annual fortunes have risen by $1.5 Trillion (the size of the deficit; see below), at your expense, over the last 30 years are being asked to make token sacrifices while the working class and retirees will see huge cuts in living standards.  When the President asks you to urge your representatives to make the needed cuts, he is asking you to support legislation that lowers your standard of living while maintaining unequal benefits for the ultra wealthy.   See: Debt Crisis Ruse & PEACOCK SYNDROME
It’s said the Presidents post labor day speech will propose cuts exceeding the ‘debt ceiling’ deal of $1.5 trillion.  The ‘cuts’ however, are in the future as he will recommend new spending programs ‘for now’.   And true to the ways of Washington, the cuts are actually a reduction of proposed increases.  Regardless, the agenda is set which entails an end run around the Constitution.  Further, in a now all to familiar strategy, the President has abdicated his leadership responsibility, allowing lawmakers to form a ‘super congress’ (cat food commission) that effectively cuts “We The People” out of the process.   As such; the people be damned and with no accountability, the two party oligarchy is  free to make “their brand” of sausage, behind closed doors.  This may be the final death knell to “OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRATIC PROCESS”.   See: Debt Ceiling Side Show Creates “CATFOOD COMMISSION”
Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people. – Thomas Jefferson
On the Presidents upcoming speech, again Jim Quin
Barack Obama will stand in front of the American people and lie.  He is a born again cost cutter, who will propose new spending.  As anyone with a calculator can figure out, the two guaranteed proposals from his upcoming speech will increase spending by $165 billion in 2012.  If you go back to the handy dandy chart from the CBO showing the “horrific spending cuts” from the recent debt ceiling deal you will see  these “cuts” total $122 billion between 2012 and 2014.  Barack will wipe out all of the supposed savings through mid 2015 with his new Keynesian plan.  But don’t worry.  His plan will have huge spending cuts in 2017 after his hoped for 2nd term is finished.  Keynesians always promise to cut spending once their current emergency ends.   
To reestablish our Constitutional Democracy and reinstate free markets we must rally every citizen to take personal action.  Civil disobedience and or withdrawing our support from the criminal regime are our weapons.
XX century tactics of mass loitering have been proven useless over and over again.  If you want to change something, there is no need to join a crowd.  Quite the opposite: leave the crowd; disconnect from the idiots (even the best-meaning of them); make a change in your life.  – Mustafa Cohen August 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm
“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.  A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul. – Mahatma Gandhi
Anger and violence waged against each other or perceived culprits  gives these corrupt sociopaths an excuse to further curtail our rights, crack down and diminish our hopes to stand together and demand the return of our Constitutional Democracy and the Rule of Law for all American’s.  Do not give them the excuse.
As Alexis de Tocqueville said, “In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.”  JFK was more terse in stating, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
In 1854 a small village newspaperman, Colonel Charles V. De Land wrote; “This is not a question of party loyalty, but a great fundamental principle of freedom, justice and humanity, a tenet of truth, law and legal right which is sought to be tampered with, and down-trod.”  From these simple words a revolution of the conscience ensued and after a tragic tumult freedom spread.  The words ring true to our patriotic duty today.
“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” – Thomas Jefferson
As Thomas Paine  said, “It is the duty of the Patriot to protect his country from his government.”  Our leaders have failed to uphold the Constitution.  They have broken their social contract and thus, have lost the consent of the governed.  To protect our liberty and restore the republic, every Patriot must PHYSICALLY TAKE ACTION.
Real Democracy In Action:
It is our Constitutional birthright that “We The People” physically stand together against Tyranny.  We are also endowed with inalienable right to withdraw our support from a system that does not represent the people. – Inflection Point

The Grand Illusion: When a Cut Is Not a Cut
There Are Monsters, And They Walk Among Us.” – Jesse’s Café Américai
President Obama Tells The Truth? FAIL

Watch for: The Founding Fathers: Myth Aside… Part III

Wake Some People Up!

Euro bail-out in doubt as 'hysteria' sweeps Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer has enough coalition votes in the Bundestag to secure backing for Europe's revamped rescue machinery, threatening a consitutional crisis in Germany and a fresh eruption of the euro debt saga. 

Mrs Merkel has cancelled a high-profile trip to Russia on September 7, the crucial day when the package goes to the Bundestag and the country's constitutional court rules on the legality of the EU's bail-out machinery.
If the court rules that the €440bn rescue fund (EFSF) breaches Treaty law or undermines German fiscal sovereignty, it risks setting off an instant brushfire across monetary union.
The seething discontent in Germany over Europe's debt crisis has spread to all the key institutions of the state. "Hysteria is sweeping Germany " said Klaus Regling, the EFSF's director.
German media reported that the latest tally of votes in the Bundestag shows that 23 members from Mrs Merkel's own coalition plan to vote against the package, including twelve of the 44 members of Bavaria's Social Christians (CSU). This may force the Chancellor to rely on opposition votes, risking a government collapse.
Christian Wulff, Germany's president, stunned the country last week by accusing the European Central Bank of going "far beyond its mandate" with mass purchases of Spanish and Italian debt, and warning that the Europe's headlong rush towards fiscal union stikes at the "very core" of democracy. "Decisions have to be made in parliament in a liberal democracy. That is where legitimacy lies," he said.

A day earlier the Bundesbank had fired its own volley, condemning the ECB's bond purchases and warning the EU is drifting towards debt union without "democratic legitimacy" or treaty backing.
Joahannes Singhammer, leader of the CSU's Bundestag group, accused the ECB of acting "dangerously" by jumping the gun before parliaments had voted. The ECB is implicitly acting on behalf of the rescue fund until it is ratified.
A CSU document to be released on Monday flatly rebuts the latest accord between Chancellor Merkel and French president Nicholas Sarkozy, saying plans for an "economic government for eurozone states" are unacceptable. It demands treaty changes to let EMU states go bankrupt, and to eject them from the euro altogether for serial abuses.
"An unlimited transfer union and pooling of debts for any length of time would imply a shared financial government and decisively change the character of a European confederation of states," said the draft, obtained by Der Spiegel.
Mrs Merkel faces mutiny even within her own Christian Democrat (CDU) family. Wolfgang Bossbach, the spokesman for internal affairs, said he would oppose the package. "I can't vote against my own conviction," he said.
The Bundestag is expected to decide late next month on the package, which empowers the EFSF to buy bonds pre-emptively and recapitalize banks. While the bill is likely to pass, the furious debate leaves no doubt that Germany will resist moves to boost the EFSF's firepower yet further. Most City banks say the fund needs €2 trillion to stop the crisis engulfing Spain and Italy.
Mrs Merkel's aides say she is facing "war on every front". The next month will decide her future, Germany's destiny, and the fate of monetary union.

National Debt Is Growing $3 Million Per Minute, Has Increased $4.2 Trillion In Obama's First 945 Days

To provide perspective, it took 216 years, from 1776 until 1992, for the national debt to reach $1 trillion.  Now we add $1 trillion every 8 months.
LA Times
Swallow all liquids in your mouth before reading any further.
Updated numbers for the national debt are just out: It's now $14,639,000,000,000.
When Barack Obama took the oath of office twice on Jan. 20, 2009, CBS' amazing number cruncher Mark Knoller reports, the national debt was $10,626,000,000,000.
That means the debt that our federal government owes a whole lot of somebodies including China has increased $4,247,000,000,000 in just 945 days. That's the fastest increase under any president ever.
Remember the day the Democrat promised to close the embarrassing Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility within one year? That day the national debt increased $4,247,000,000. And each day since that the facility hasn't been closed.
Same for the day in 2009 when Obama flew all the way out to Denver to sign the $787 billion stimulus bill that was going to hold national unemployment beneath 8% instead of the 9.1% we got today anyway? Another $4,247,000,000 that day. And every day since, even Obama golfing and vacation days.
Same sum for the day Obama flew Air Force One nearly four hours roundtrip to Columbus, Ohio for a 10-minute speech about how well the stimulus was working in the politically crucial Buckeye state. Ohio's unemployment rate just jumped to 9% from 8.8% anyway.
Continue reading...

The Many Collapses of Keynesianism

It should be obvious to everyone but the most dedicated adherent of Keynesianism that the stimulus did not accomplish its end. The combination of outright spending by Congress, the desperate schemes to reflate the housing market, the attempt to transfuse bleeding firms with other people’s money, and the creation of trillions in artificial money, has not done a thing to lift the US economy.
Actually, the reverse has been true. All these efforts have prevented the adjustment of economic forces to the post-boom world. And all the resources that the stimulus consumed were extracted from the private sector, for we must always remember that government has no resources of its own. Everything it does must come from the hides of private producers and the citizenry in general, in the future if not immediately. 

It’s tedious that we had to learn this lesson yet again, for it was only 38 years ago that we experienced yet another collapse of the Keynesian paradigm. The color of the theory was a bit different in those days. The fine-tuning operations of the government were supposed to operate according to a fixed model in which there was a tradeoff between inflation and recessionary unemployment. If unemployment got too high due to slow economic growth, their solution was said to be simple: reflate and deal with the costs. If unemployment then became too low in recovery – leading to an "overheating," as the parlance of the time put it, the answer was to deflate.
The point of this simple trade-off was to boil down the opaque notions of Lord Keynes to their central-planning essence, and to avoid the endless legislative tangles that plagued the New Deal years. The Keynesians had claimed that FDR’s experiment in countercyclical policy was not well planned and not scientifically administered, which is why it didn’t go as planned. Thanks to the postwar clarity of the new, simple model, Keynesians would get it right this time.
They certainly got their way in terms of policy. In 1971, Richard Nixon had abolished the last vestiges of the gold standard, finally untying the dollar from any relationship to physical gold and setting it loose to float like a kite on a string – or maybe without the string. It was supposed to be the Keynesian ideal. No more fetters. No more of the barbarous relic. No more limitations on what the scientific planners in government could or could not do. Now they could act to bring about the socially optimal combination of inflation and unemployment. Nirvana!
Now keep in mind, here, that this was a testable proposition. If there was a trade-off at work here that the government could manage, what we would not see would be, for example, unemployment increasing at the same time as inflation. Mostly we had not seen this in the past, it is true. During the Great Depression, prices kept falling (and thank goodness for that, for this was the only saving grace of the entire period). There was a slight uptick of inflation in the mid-1950s but it wasn’t enough to set off alarm bells.
Then came 1973-1974. Unemployment was high and rising from 4 to 6 percent from the recession lows – and, yes, that was considered high in those days. At the very same time, inflation rocketed upward into the double digits. Thus was born the inflationary recession. This was an animal that was not supposed to exist, according to the model as understood at the time.
Writing in an essay now featured in his giant collection Economic Controversies, Murray Rothbard explained:
This curious phenomenon of a vaunting inflation occurring at the same time as a steep recession was simply not supposed to happen in the Keynesian view of the world. Economists had always known that either the economy is in a boom period, in which case prices are rising, or else the economy is in a recession or depression marked by high unemployment, in which case prices are falling. In the boom, the Keynesian government was supposed to "sop up excess purchasing power" by increasing taxes, according to the Keynesian prescription – that is, it was supposed to take spending out of the economy; in the recession, on the other hand, the government was supposed to increase its spending and its deficits, in order to pump spending into the economy. But if the economy should be in an inflation and a recession with heavy unemployment at the same time, what in the world was government supposed to do? How could it step on the economic accelerator and brake at the same time?
The answer, of course, was that government and its policymakers could do no such thing. This was when panic set in, and every cockamamie theory known to man was employed to reduce unemployment and inflation at once. But there was a problem. The policy makers are always and everywhere loath to admit fault for anything. Surely it is not monetary policy that is to blame, they said. Instead, it was the greed of businessmen, the voraciousness of the consumer class, the panic of the general population – anything and everything was at fault except the government itself.
So while the Keynesian paradigm had obviously failed, who in government was willing to take responsibility for this failure? No one. Therefore matters only became worse, and the inflationary recession became a way of life for Americans, all the way to the outrages of the late 1970s that finally swept Ronald Reagan into office.
Reagan campaigned on an anti-Keynesian platform. He even talked about re-instituting a gold standard. He said he would cut taxes and let the economy work. Those promises amounted to nothing, but there did seem to be some consciousness at the time that government was not capable of forever leaning against the market winds. The real credit, of course, goes to Carter-appointee Paul Volcker. As head of the Fed, he engineered an actual reduction in the money supply, and broke the back of the crisis. Think of him as the anti-Greenspan or the anti-Bernanke.
Greenspanism-Bernankeism reigns today, and that is the true tragedy of our times. The Fed, the Treasury, the president, the regulators, and the Congress have done everything possible to reflate, stimulate, stabilize, and counter market forces. As expected, they have lost the battle. Unemployment is still outrageously high, and inflation is working its way up yet again. But there is an even more serious problem. In the course of stimulating the economy, the Fed has created incredible amounts of fake money that it has stuffed in the vaults of its best friends in the banking industry. And those phony reserves seem now to be leaking out to cause horrific waves of price inflation.
Those who blame Obama for this might consider whether any Republican but Ron Paul would not have done exactly the same thing. The Obama prescription for economic recovery was actually started under George Bush – in exactly the same way that Hoover was the first New Dealer. The problem is the man in the White House, to be sure, but he is not the only problem. The core issue is that 1) we have a monetary and banking system that is socialistic and therefore used by the power elite to enrich themselves at our expense, and 2) the policy elite clings to the Keynesian pretense that government is capable of waging a war against market forces. That, and the fact that Keynesianism empowers the elite, is why this pathetic and dangerous history keeps repeating itself.
In the market economy, there is a long-run tendency for errors to be corrected and replaced by different practices that uplift the people. In government, there is a long-run tendency to keep trying the same thing again and again, no matter how often or how badly it fails. Keynesianism is, after all, as Joseph Salerno points out, the "economics of state power." And that guides us to the foundational problem: the monopoly entity that rules and devastates society for its own benefit.
August 27, 2011

Obama The National Debt Hypocrite - Caught On Tape

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Video - On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama blames Bush for adding $4 trillion to the national debt, calling it 'irresponsible and unpatriotic' - July 3, 2008 - Runs 40 seconds
  • "The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back -- $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic."
The problem for Obama is the following (from CBS News):
Obama has already added over $4 trillion to the national debt in only 2 1/2 years, or exactly 945 days.
  • "The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Obama took office.  The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion.  It's the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.  The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush."
Read more here:

National Debt Is Growing $3 Million Per Minute, Has Increased $4.2 Trillion In Obama's First 945 Days

G. Edward Griffin: The Rothschild Formula

This is the eleventh installment in a series of chapter summaries from G. Edward Griffin's must-read book The Creature From Jekyll Island.  This book may be the most important "red pill" available and we highly recommend that you read the full book.  Buy it today at RealityZone.

G. Edward Griffin

Buy Here
Activist Post

Chapter 11 Summary: The Rothschild Formula

By the end of the eighteenth century, the House of Rothschild had become one of the most successful financial institutions the world has ever known.  Its meteoric rise can be attributed to the great industry and shrewdness of the five brothers who established themselves in various capitals of Europe and forged the world's first international financial network.  As pioneers in the practice of lending money to governments, they soon learned that this provided unique opportunities to parlay wealth into political power as well.  Before long, most of the princes and kings of Europe had come within their influence.

The Rothschilds also had mastered the art of smuggling on a grand scale, often with the tacit approval of the governments whose laws they violated.  This was perceived by all parties as an unofficial bonus for providing needed funding to those same governments, particular in time of war.  The fact that different branches of the Rothschild network also might be providing funds for the enemy was pragmatically ignored.  Thus, a time-honored practice among financiers was born: profiting from both sides.

The Rothschilds operated a highly efficient intelligence gathering system which provided them with advanced knowledge of important events, knowledge which was invaluable for investment decisions. When an exhausted Rothschild courier delivered the first news of the Battle of Waterloo, Nathan was able to deceive the London bond traders into a selling panic, and that allowed him to acquire the dominant holding of England's entire debt at but a tiny fraction of its worth.

A study of these and similar events reveals a personality profile, not just of the Rothschilds, but of a special breed of international financiers whose success typically is built upon certain character traits. Those include a cold objectivity, immunity to patriotism, and indifference to the human condition.  That profile is the basis for proposing a theoretical strategy, called the Rothschild Formula, which motivates such men to propel governments into war for profits they yield.  This formula most likely has never been consciously phrased as it appears here, but subconscious motivations and personality traits work together to implement it nevertheless. As long as the mechanism of central banking exists, it will be to such men of irresistible temptation to convert debt into perpetual war and war into perpetual debt.

In the following chapters we shall track the distinctive footprint of the Rothschild Formula as it leads up to our own doorstep in the present day

Get the book for yourself or for others you want to wake up.  It reads like a mystery novel and is filled with colorful metaphors that make the seemingly complex world of banking very easy to comprehend. Visit RealityZone for your copy today. Summary is re-printed with permission from G. Edward Griffin.

See other parts below:
PART 1: The Journey to Jekyll Island
PART 2: The Name of the Game is Bailout

PART 3: Protectors of the Public
PART 4: Home, Sweet Loan
PART 5: Nearer to the Heart's Desire
PART 6: Building the New World Order
PART 7: The Barbaric Metal
PART 8: Fool's Gold
PART 9: The Secret Science
PART 10: The Mandrake Mechanism


Hamptons Hurricane: A Bankers’ Katrina

By Greg Palast
Don’t worry:  the bankers are safe.  The sub-prime sharks, derivatives divas, media mavens and their hairdressers, their trophy wives and their trophies’ personal trainers, the movers and shakers and money-makers, are all out of danger. Despite the warning that in a couple of days Hurricane Irene could well hit The Hamptons, the beach of the best of the ruling class will not lose a tan line.
I made sure they’re safe.  A couple of decades ago, I worked on an emergency evacuation plan for the county of Suffolk, New York, home of the Hamptons.  It’s the wealthiest county in the United States.
The Hamptons’ hurricane plan is six volumes thick.  The police and the politicians, the fire department and the first responders have their copies, their orders, their equipment and they are ready to roll before a single fake-blonde curl is ruffled by untoward weather.
The last hurricane to hit Long Island, far fiercer than Katrina, took two lives, not 2,000.
But then, the Hamptons isn’t New Orleans, is it?
In 1992, a big storm washed into 190 houses on West Hampton Dunes, getting many grade-B film scripts very wet.  The federal government, with your tax dollars, rebuilt every single home on the beach (average value then, $2 million each)—and even rebuilt the beach with an endless samba line of trucks filled with sand, care of the Army Corps of Engineers.
There’s a photo of one, in case you’d like to move in.  (Shouldn’t we each get at least a weekend in the surf for our money?)
Now look at Patricia  Thomas’ home in the Lafitte Housing Project in New Orleans.  I met her a year after the city flooded; she and her cousin and her cousin’s two kids, just off the bus from refugee centers in Texas, were told that if they returned to their homes, they would be arrested.  It’s been six years and they still are not allowed back in.  Doesn’t matter:  three years ago, their houses were torn down to make way for yuppie condos, for the nouvelle carpetbaggers who will enjoy Lafitte’s locale near the French Quarter.
Last year, a judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government were completely responsible for the flooding of Lafitte and half the city.
Under the Constitution, the President and Congress must authorize payment to flood victims, as they did for the Westhampton luvvies.  But for the Thomas family, Obama requested, and Congress, appropriated … absolutely nothing.
What about the New Orleans evacuation plan? Where were their six volumes? When I watched the chaos in August 2005, I immediately called FEMA to ask for a copy of the plan. Why were there no busses to take out those without cars? The number of deaths should have been ZERO.
The answer: the New Orleans plan couldn’t be found.  The company paid to draft it, Innovative Emergency Management, couldn’t find a copy either. Long after 2,000 drowned, I found the “plan”:  no provision at all for the 27,000 residents without cars. That’s not surprising: the hurricane evacuation contractor had zero experience in hurricane evacuation. Rather, IEM’s chief did have lots of experience in donating to the Republican Party.
This week marks the sixth anniversary of the biggest ethnic cleansing in America since the Indian wars of the 19th Century:  the flooding of New Orleans.  We will celebrate this weekend, by worrying that Hurricane Irene will make the President and his donors on Martha’s Vineyard spill their daiquiris.
I met Patricia’s cousin five years ago today when, as dusk fell, she was in tears, wondering where she was going to stay with her kids that night.  ”That’s what I want to know, Mister, where we going to?”
Well, I know of some usually-empty and quite nice federal housing units on Westhampton Dunes…
Greg Palast’s investigative report, Big Easy to Big Empty: the Untold Story of How the White House Drowned New Orleans is available as a free download at, provided by the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501(c)3 charitable trust, on the Sixth Anniversary of the New Orleans’ flood.
Palast’s continuing investigation of the flood and its connection to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, filmed for Channel 4 Dispatches UK, will be published in November by Penguin USA.

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The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man

What’s the solution? Hmm.
War: Now Even Better for Wiping Out Excess Men (and Women and Children and Elderly). Buy Now!
Via: Business Week:
A smaller share of men have jobs today than at any time since World War II
As President Barack Obama puts together a new jobs plan to be revealed shortly after Labor Day, he is up against a powerful force, long in the making, that has gone virtually unnoticed in the debate over how to put people back to work: Employers are increasingly giving up on the American man.
If that sounds bleak, it’s because it is. The portion of men who work and their median wages have been eroding since the early 1970s. For decades the impact of this fact was softened in many families by the increasing number of women who went to work and took up the slack. More recently, the housing bubble helped to mask it by boosting the male-dominated construction trades, which employed millions. When real estate ultimately crashed, so did the prospects for many men. The portion of men holding a job—any job, full- or part-time—fell to 63.5 percent in July—hovering stubbornly near the low point of 63.3 percent it reached in December 2009. These are the lowest numbers in statistics going back to 1948. Among the critical category of prime working-age men between 25 and 54, only 81.2 percent held jobs, a barely noticeable improvement from its low point last year—and still well below the depths of the 1982-83 recession, when employment among prime-age men never dropped below 85 percent. To put those numbers in perspective, consider that in 1969, 95 percent of men in their prime working years had a job.
Men who do have jobs are getting paid less. After accounting for inflation, median wages for men between 30 and 50 dropped 27 percent—to $33,000 a year— from 1969 to 2009, according to an analysis by Michael Greenstone, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor who was chief economist for Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. “That takes men and puts them back at their earnings capacity of the 1950s,” Greenstone says. “That has staggering implications.”


Reserve Bank boss warns of further job cuts

RESERVE Bank boss Glenn Stevens has issued a chilling warning to workers: job losses are not only a sign of the times, but a signal of worse still to come.
Reeling from a massive unemployment carve up in the manufacturing industry, the RBA governor gave cold comfort to families whose loved ones are now out of work, declaring: "I'm sorry, but that is just the reality."
BlueScope Steel devastated more than 1000 workers when it announced a restructure after posting losses of more than $1 billion. The news followed similar announcements by Qantas, OneSteel and Westpac, and brought the official number of job losses for the month to 9000, although the true figure is likely to be higher.

Mr Stevens warned the global economy had significantly worsened in recent months and that restructuring in various sectors couldn't be helped.
"Some parts of the economy will shrink while others grow. I wish I could say we had a way of avoiding that; I don't think we do . . . We don't have an instrument that can prevent these shifts in the structure of the economy from occurring. I'm sorry but that is just the reality," he said.
Economists claim job losses already announced are just the tip of the iceberg and that the figure could jump drastically - reaching 100,000 by Christmas.
Labor MP for Throsby Stephen Jones, whose constituents are bearing the brunt of the cuts at BlueScope, claimed Australia was experiencing a "hollowing out of manufacturing at a pace we haven't seen before" before asking Mr Stevens what consideration the RBA was giving to regional economies and industries, such as manufacturing.
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver predicts the unemployment rate will rise from 5.1 per cent to 5.5 per cent - equal to 80,000 jobs being shed - by the end of the year. He warned that aside from manufacturing, construction firms not benefiting from the mining boom, such as Leighton Holdings and Stockland, are likely to cut workers.
Retailers are also expected to shed staff. Electronics have been hit hard with Dick Smith's owner Woolworths reporting electronics sales were down almost 30 per cent across Australia and New Zealand.
Harvey Norman has already announced the closure of seven stores.
Food and drink processors such as Coca-Cola Amatil are closing factories to slash costs as the strong Aussie dollar means certain product lines are not competitive in many export markets. Others are expected to follow suit, causing the disappearance of further jobs.
Steve Keen, Professor of Economics at the University of Western Sydney, said consumers paying down debts and saving were causing retailers and other discretionary businesses to "suffer terribly". "They are already shedding jobs, and then you have the high dollar, which is being held up in part by the possibility that rates in Australia still have further to rise," he said. "That is crushing manufacturers and will cause more jobs to be lost over the coming months."

Has the Fed Started QE3?

The Fed surprised the market by extending its policy of 0 to 0.25% Fed funds rate to mid-2013. The way the Fed manages to drive rates lower is to buy Treasuries with newly created money – driving the price up and the rates down. The big question is whether the policy will have a sizeable effect on markets. The chart below shows the historical jump in the Fed’s combined policy tools that were used to lower rates and bail out financial institutions through a variety of programs. These include the big purchase of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) called QE1 and the large purchase of Treasuries called QE2.
The point of the extrapolation in the chart is just to guess how much more money the Fed might need to create to keep the rate extremely low for another two years. By connecting a straight line from the start of the unusual policy tool expansions in late 2008 to today’s number, and then extending it to 2013, we can estimate that the policy might require about $1.5 trillion in order to keep the rate low.
(Click on image to enlarge)
The Fed doesn’t calculate the amount of money that might be required and probably doesn’t know for sure. They just keep buying on the open market until the rate comes to its target. If there were a loss of confidence in the dollar, the amount could become very large – and in the extreme, printing more money contributes to that loss of confidence, which in turn causes runaway inflation. We are not there yet. But this kind of open-ended promise is a dangerous precedent because we can’t be sure of the cost of the commitment.
However, we can say that the Fed policy is to let the dollar fall and to support the bankers and politicians who want to stimulate the economy.
[Many analysts at Casey Research foresaw the problems that are playing out today with US debt and the dropping value of the dollar. Join Bud, Doug Casey, other Casey Research experts, and special guests including John Mauldin and Mike Maloney in a free online event focusing on the American debt crisis – including how you can protect yourself and your wealth.]

Jim Rogers: We have to cut spending with a chainsaw

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Families in modern Ireland skip food to pay the mortgage

70pc support debt forgiveness as Morgan Kelly shows how it can work

FAMILIES in modern Ireland are going without food to meet the demand of mortgage debt.
The arrival of the second wave of the economic crisis, giving rise for the first time in many decades to the spectre of hunger, has caused shock across the country.
The decision of homeowners to choose hunger over a fear of eviction helps expose as irrelevant the issue of "moral hazard", the defence of policymakers who resist calls for debt forgiveness.
A nationwide Sunday Independent/Quantum Research poll has found massive support for the concept of debt forgiveness to help those who are genuinely unable to meet their full mortgage payments.
The poll found that 70 per cent supported the idea of debt forgiveness and, more tellingly, 73 per cent would not resent such relief for homeowners while they themselves continued to meet their commitments.
Yesterday the economist Morgan Kelly, who was among the first to warn of such a mortgage crisis, said that the purpose of debt forgiveness was not to eliminate negative equity but to deal with the
risk of people defaulting on smaller mortgages and "losing their family homes".
Professor Kelly told the Sunday Independent: "The State can save itself huge losses in firesales of foreclosed properties and end the anguish of many ordinary families."
The fear of losing their home is causing many anguished families to go without enough to eat in order to ensure that they have sufficient money to pay their mortgage.
The case highlighted last week of a family in Co Kerry which feels obliged to "cope with a new torment -- hunger" to service a mortgage of €80,000 has caused widespread shock.
In a letter to the Irish Times on Friday, MP Mac Domhnaill -- possibly a pseudonym -- an unemployed man from Tralee, wrote of the "anxiety and pain" the economic crisis had wreaked on his family.
The letter writer, who has chosen to use his dole payment to meet a €780 monthly repayment, told of how he had nothing to feed his children except bread and cereal.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that circumstances such as his are now prevalent, even though help is available through negotiation with a mortgage provider as well as through other State services.
There are currently up to 60,000 mortgage holders in the country who are in arrears on their mortgages.
Having sparked a debate on the issue of debt forgiveness, the UCD economist Morgan Kelly, in an email to the Sunday Independent yesterday, outlined the targeted measures he believed the State must now introduce to "end the anguish of many ordinary Irish families".
Responding directly to the claim made last week by the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, amongst others, that he had called for a "blanket write-off of mortgage debt", Prof Kelly stated that the "purpose of debt forgiveness is not to eliminate negative equity, but to deal with the risk of people defaulting on smaller mortgages and losing their family homes".
Referring to these troubled homeowners specifically, he said: "By identifying the people at risk and reducing their mortgages to manageable levels, or, in the case of the unemployed, renting people their homes as effectively council houses, the State can save itself huge losses on fire sales of foreclosed properties and end the anguish of many ordinary Irish families."
Commenting on what he believes should be done to assist those in trouble with substantial boom-era mortgages, he added: "A few families with absurdly large mortgages will need to be given assistance to relocate to more affordable property, but they are a small part of the problem."
Prof Kelly dismissed outright the introduction of any form of mortgage debt relief for those in negative equity, but who could still afford to pay.
"However, the large majority who can afford to pay their mortgages must pay every cent; regardless of how much they are in negative equity or may now regret their purchase," he said.
His call for a targeted solution to deal with the issue of those at risk of losing their homes is supported by the vast majority of those who participated in our telephone poll.
While 72 per cent believed that many people would stop paying their mortgage in an attempt to avail of a forgiveness scheme, 65 per cent said it would be possible to restrict forgiveness to those genuinely in need.
Central Bank figures to be released tomorrow are expected to show in the region of 60,000 mortgages that are more than three months in arrears -- a marked increase on the 49,609 figure recorded at the end of March.
The growing problem of mortgage arrears for the AIB and Bank of Ireland is reflected in worrying detail in the latest annual reports for their respective mortgage subsidiaries.
The latest annual report for the AIB Mortgage Bank shows that as of December 31 last year, a total of €839.5m of its €20.074bn Irish mortgage book was classed as impaired. The figure marked an increase of €457.77m on the €381.74m of home loans the bank recorded as being impaired at the end of 2009.
The AIB accounts further show how an additional €927.13m in home loans was recorded as being past due on December 31, 2010, compared to the €477.78m of mortgages classed as past due on December 31, 2009.
But as worrying as the AIB's numbers are, they do not fully reflect the number or value of the mortgages on its books that are in trouble.
In a note to its 2010 accounts, the bank discloses how once the terms of a distressed mortgage have been renegotiated, it is removed from the bank's 'past-due' list.
Unlike other Irish mortgage lenders however, AIB is actively considering ways to deal with cases where there is no prospect of borrowers repaying their mortgages.
Among the possible solutions being explored are "intergenerational" mortgages and debt forgiveness, where a part of the loan is written off in return for the bank taking a share of the home.
The State-owned AIB recently submitted a package of possible proposals for consideration to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, the bank's majority shareholder.
In the case of the Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank, meanwhile, total impaired loans had spiralled to €624.5m by the end of 2010, an increase of €207.2m on the €417.3m figure recorded just nine months earlier.
Commenting on this, the bank's accounts for 2010 state: "The level of accounts falling into arrears is increasing due to rising unemployment, lower disposable income and declining property prices.
"The bank continues to work closely with customers who find themselves in financial difficulty, with a view to achieving mutually satisfactory outcomes."
Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank had €20.915bn in mortgages outstanding on December 31, 2010, the accounts show.
Originally published in

A story missing from our media: Iceland's on-going revolution

An Italian radio program's story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world.  We may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt.  The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example.  Here's why: Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatised, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return.  The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many UK and Dutch small investors.  But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt.  In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent.  The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalised, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro.  At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.
Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution.  But only after much pain.
Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister of a Social Democratic coalition government, negotiated a two million one hundred thousand dollar loan, to which the Nordic countries added another two and a half million.  But the foreign financial community pressured Iceland to impose drastic measures.  The FMI and the European Union wanted to take over its debt, claiming this was the only way for the country to pay back Holland and Great Britain, who had promised to reimburse their citizens.
Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign.  Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros.  This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties.  It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.
What happened next was extraordinary.  The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents.  The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.
Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland.  Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country.  As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF.  The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts.  As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North.  But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)
In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt.  The IMF immediately froze its loan.  But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis.  Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.
But Icelanders didn't stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money.  (The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word ‘president’ replaced the word ‘king’.)
To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.
Some readers will remember that Iceland’s ninth century agrarian collapse was featured in Jared Diamond’s book by the same name. Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution.  And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.
They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.   
That’s why it is not in the news anymore.

Courtesy of - (A nod to Bella Caledonia for making us aware of this article)

Japanese Island’s Activists Resist Nuclear Industry’s Allure

Kosuke Okahara for The New York Times
Kazuo Isobe, who worked at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant before the disaster, opposes a plant near his old home, Iwaishima.

IWAISHIMA, Japan — When the boats came to start work on a planned nuclear power plant just off this tiny island, an aging fisherwoman named Tamiko Takebayashi carried out a dramatic protest: she lashed herself to the dock.

The move, while reminiscent of a Greenpeace action, was highly unusual in understated Japan. But it was emblematic of the islanders’ nearly three-decade fight against the powers arrayed against them — their own government and the nuclear industry it has championed.
“The sea is our livelihood,” said Ms. Takebayashi, 68, whose family has fished for sea bream, mackerel and other local delicacies for generations. “We will never let anyone sully it.”
The story of Iwaishima’s battle has become something of a touchstone in Japan, especially among those who feel uneasy in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for having accepted decades of government assurances that nuclear power was safe. And because the plans to build the plant are closer to approval than any others in Japan, many antinuclear activists see the island’s struggle as their best hope of ending the country’s reliance on nuclear energy.
If the plans are scuttled, they believe, the decision is likely to set a precedent that will end the construction of nuclear plants in Japan.
Iwaishima’s tale of resistance started in 1982. The town of Kaminoseki — made up of Iwaishima, two islets and the Murotsu peninsula off Japan’s main island, Honshu — was one of many backwaters that seemed ripe for the revitalization that the nuclear industry promised.
With no industry to speak of beyond small-scale farming and fisheries, the town struggled to keep up with Japan’s rapid changes in the postwar era.
So in 1982, when the Chugoku Electric Power Company first raised the idea of building a nuclear power plant on the peninsula’s deserted tip, many residents were enthusiastic.
Chugoku Electric wooed them, paying for lavish “study tours” to nuclear reactors around the country — trips that included stops at hot springs, according to residents who participated. It also offered local fishing cooperatives compensation for the loss of fishing grounds that would be filled in to build the 3.5-million-square-foot plant.
“The town needed the money,” said Katsumi Inoue, 67, who led a movement supporting the plant. “Kaminoseki was shrinking. We needed to grow.”
But Iwaishima, an island of about 1,000 people just two and a half miles from the planned site, was not convinced. The island’s fishing cooperative voted overwhelmingly against the plans. On a chilly morning in January 1983, almost 400 islanders cut short their New Year’s festivities to stage a protest march, the men in their fishing boots and the women in bonnets, through alleyways lined with stone walls.
It was the first of more than 1,000 protests the islanders would carry out, some of them involving scenes of high drama to rival Ms. Takebayashi’s 2009 protest.
In one protest this year, a small armada of fishermen raced out to sea to head off the utility’s vessels. “No nuclear power plant here!” they shouted, their boats’ engines in full throttle. “This sea does not belong to you.”
Not even the residents of Iwaishima are exactly sure why they were willing to challenge the establishment when so many of their compatriots were not. The best they can venture is that their livelihoods depend on the sea too much to take a chance, and that if disaster struck, it would be much harder to flee.
Beyond that, many of the island’s men had, over time, left for work elsewhere. Some of them worked in nuclear plants, and they returned home with worrisome stories. They would become part of the front line in the island’s struggle.
Kazuo Isobe, 88, was one of them. He left the island in Japan’s postwar chaos and initially worked at construction sites. But in the 1970s, he started work at the newly opened Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
He worked to clean up radioactive buildup at the plant’s No. 2 reactor, using rags while sweltering in a protective suit.
His radiation records from the time, which he provided, show he received about 850 millirems of radiation during just three months of work — about the amount of radiation allowed for nuclear workers in a year, and more than eight times as much as the limit set for civilians.
When Mr. Isobe heard, on a trip back to Iwaishima in 1982, that Chugoku Electric planned to build a nuclear plant just across the water, he was “terrified.”
“I had seen with my own eyes that radiation is hard to contain,” Mr. Isobe said. “I told everyone in the neighborhood not to agree to anything they said.”

Bernanke urges Obama, Congress to strengthen recovery

  • A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange looks up at monitor after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke concludes his speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange looks up at monitor after… (Jin Lee, Associated Press)
August 26, 2011|By Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, insisting that the long-term U.S. economic prospects remain good, took aim at Washington policymakers for causing upheaval in financial markets and failing to do their part in bolstering the flagging recovery.
Bernanke did not rule out new action by the central bank to stimulate growth, but he emphasized in a much-anticipated speech Friday that the Fed could do only so much by regulating interest rates and other monetary policy.
He practically goaded the White House and Congress to do more to create jobs and strengthen the economy using fiscal policy, which would include both tax cuts and federal spending.
Although it is important to reduce the nation’s deficits over time, he said in unusually blunt language for a central bank leader, it would be a mistake to “disregard the fragility of the current economic recovery” and create “fiscal head winds,” a reference to short-term spending cuts at a time of immediate economic needs.
Some analysts took Bernanke’s speech as a sign that the Fed was prepared to provide new monetary stimulus, possibly as early as its next policymaking meeting in late September.
“He basically punted until then,” said Cornelius Hurley, a Boston University professor and a former assistant general counsel at the Fed.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said Bernanke would probably have to take some action because no major fiscal stimulus was likely to come out of the deeply divided Congress and a “political system that is mostly broken.”
Bernanke spoke at an annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., shortly after the government released a report that revised downward the second-quarter economic growth to a meager annual rate of 1%, from 1.3%.
The revision was largely a result of weaker exports. On the other hand, private spending and investment in the April-through-June period were slightly higher than initially estimated.
Growth in the second half of this year is expected to be a bit stronger, but consumer spending — a major driver of the economy — remains weak amid sluggish hiring and stagnant income gains.

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Michael Moore Attempts A Citizen's Arrest On AIG Executives (HD Trailer From 'Capitalism: A Love Story')

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Clck HERE for the other trailer for 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

  • Michael Moore's new film explores the root causes of the global economic meltdown and takes a comical look at the corporate and political shenanigans that culminated in what has been described as the biggest robbery in the history of this country, the massive transfer of U.S. taxpayer money to private financial institutions (1:15).
From Michael Moore:
  • "It's a crime story. But it's also a war story about class warfare. And a vampire movie, with the upper 1 percent feeding off the rest of us. And, of course, it's also a love story. Only it's about an abusive relationship.
  •  "It's not about an individual, like Roger Smith, or a corporation, or even an issue, like health care. This is the big enchilada. This is about the thing that dominates all our lives — the economy. I made this movie as if it was going to be the last movie I was allowed to make.
Trailer #2

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If You Thought August Was Bad, Just Wait Until September!

Up until August, this year had been fairly dull as the S&P 500 was in a trading range somewhere between 1250 and 1350. July ended near the upper end of that range and by August 2nd we were once again testing the lower 1250 level. Over the following week the S&P 500 plunged roughly 150 points to hit 1101 on August 8th before rallying. The selloff was due to a slew of negative economic releases which led to lowered economic growth expectations as well as renewed concerns over European sovereign debt markets and banks.

Since August 8th the S&P 500 rallied just under 10% before selling off once more. The S&P 500’s trading range is now between 1205 and 1120, and unfortunately I think we may have another repeat in which negative economic releases and continued worries over Europe may see the current trading range broken to the downside with the markets erasing all of QE2’s rally from 2010.

What really spooked the markets this past month were the Michigan Consumer Sentiment’s plunge, the early release of Q2 GDP, and the Philadelphia Fed Survey, all of which showed declines and were well below the consensus forecast. Other regional Fed manufacturing surveys like the New York Empire Index and the Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing Index data for August also showed contractions and sent the markets lower.

Outside of a few reports this month most of the data released was for July, which saw a bounce in economic activity. The big concern going forward is what these reports will show for August as it appears economic activity has stalled. Over the course of the next two weeks we will be treated to several big economic releases and only one of them is for June and one for July, with the bulk of the releases showing August data...

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