Unprecedented levels of unemployment in America

According to a report by ADP, the number of people who lost their jobs in March surpassed 742 thousand.

The American company ADP announced: “The numbers of Americans who lost their jobs in March surpassed 742 thousand. This increase was astonishing and surpassed all predictions.”

The economists all predicted that the number of people who would loose their jobs would be less than the 697 thousand who lost their jobs in February – they were wrong.

Economical analyzers added that the scale of unemployment in this country is predicted to surpass ten percent by the end of the year. This is a huge hurdle that Obama has to overcome and that he will not be able to overcome.

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Eastern Europe is about to Blow

Eastern Europe is about to blow. If it does, it could take much of the EU with it. It’s an emergency situation but there are no easy solutions. The IMF doesn’t have the resources for a bailout of this size and the recession is spreading faster than relief efforts can be organized. Finance ministers and central bankers are running in circles trying to put out one fire after another. Its only a matter of time before they are overtaken by events. If one country is allowed to default, the dominoes could begin to tumble through the whole region. This could trigger dramatic changes in the political landscape. The rise of fascism is no longer out of the question.

The UK Telegraph’s economics editor Edmund Conway sums it up like this:

“A ‘second wave’ of countries will fall victim to the economic crisis and face being bailed out by the International Monetary Fund, its chief warned at the G7 summit in Rome….But with some countries’ economies effectively dwarfed by the size of their banking sector and its financial liabilities, there are fears they could fall victim to balance of payments and currency crises, much as Iceland did before receiving emergency assistance from the IMF last year.” (UK Telegraph)

Foreign capital is fleeing at an alarming rate; nearly two-thirds gone in matter of months. Deflation is pushing down asset prices, increasing unemployment, and compounding the debt-burden of financial institutions. It’s the same everywhere. The economies are being hollowed out and stripped of capital. Ukraine is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary have all slipped into a low-grade depression. The countries that followed Washington’s economic regimen have suffered the most. They bet that debt-fueled growth and exports would lead to prosperity. That dream has been shattered. They haven’t developed their consumer markets, so demand is weak. Capital is scarce and businesses are being forced to deleverage to avoid default. All of Eastern Europe has gotten a margin call. They need extra funds to cover the falling value of their equity. They need a lifeline from the IMF or their economies will continue to crumble.

The UK Telegraph’s economics correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has written a series of articles about Eastern Europe. In “Failure to save East Europe will lead to Worldwide meltdown” he says:

“Austria’s finance minister Josef Pröll made frantic efforts last week to put together a €150bn rescue for the ex-Soviet bloc. Well he might. His banks have lent €230bn to the region, equal to 70pc of Austria’s GDP.

“A failure rate of 10pc would lead to the collapse of the Austrian financial sector,” reported Der Standard in Vienna. Unfortunately, that is about to happen.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says bad debts will top 10pc and may reach 20pc….

Stephen Jen, currency chief at Morgan Stanley, said Eastern Europe has borrowed $1.7 trillion abroad, much on short-term maturities. It must repay – or roll over – $400bn this year, equal to a third of the region’s GDP. Good luck. The credit window has slammed shut.

Almost all East bloc debts are owed to West Europe, especially Austrian, Swedish, Greek, Italian, and Belgian banks. En plus, Europeans account for an astonishing 74pc of the entire $4.9 trillion portfolio of loans to emerging markets. They are five times more exposed to this latest bust than American or Japanese banks, and they are 50pc more leveraged (IMF data). (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard UK Telegraph)

An economic crisis is quickly turning into a political crisis. Riots have broken out in capitals across Eastern Europe. Mr. Geithner had better be paying attention. The prospects for political upheaval are growing. Public anxiety can spill out onto the streets at a moments notice. Governments must act quickly and with resolve. These countries need hard currency and guarantees of support. If they don’t get help, the simmering public fury will turn into something much more lethal.

UK Telegraph’s economics correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

“Global banks have so far written down half the $2,200bn losses estimated by the IMF. On top of this, EU banks have $1,600bn of exposure to Eastern Europe — increasingly viewed as Europe’s subprime debacle, and EU corporate debts are 95pc of GDP compared to 50pc in the US, a mounting concern as default rates surge.

“It is essential that government support through asset relief should not be on a scale that raises concern about over-indebtedness or financing problems. Such considerations are particularly important in the current context of widening budget deficits, rising public debt levels and challenges in sovereign bond issuance.” (UK Telegraph)

It’s the same wherever banks merged their commercial and investment branches. Debt has skyrocketed to unsustainable levels destabilizing the entire economy. The banks have been operating like hedge funds, concealing their activities on off-balance sheets operations and maximizing their leverage through opaque debt-instruments. Now the global economy is caught in the downdraft of a collapsing speculative bubble. East Europe has been hit hard, but it’s just the first of many bowling pins that will fall. All of Europe has been infected by the same virus which originated on Wall Street. Monday’s New York Times summarizes developments in the EU:

“Europe sank even deeper into recession than the United States in the closing months of last year, according to figures published Friday…The economy of the 16 countries sharing the euro currency declined by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, (an annualized drop of roughly 6 percent) according to the European Union’s statistics office. That is even worse than the 1 percent decline in the United States economy during that period, compared with the previous quarter.

“Today’s data wipes out any illusion that the euro zone is getting off lightly in this global downturn,” said Jörg Radeke, an economist at the Center for Economics and Business Research in London. (“Europe Slump Deeper than Expected” New york Times)

The “liquidationists” would like to see governments cut off the flow of funds to ailing financial institutions and let them fail by themselves. It’s Darwinian madness, like waiting out a heart attack on the kitchen floor instead of rushing to the hospital for emergency care. The global economy is decelerating at the fastest pace on record. 40 percent of global wealth has been wiped out. The banking system is insolvent, unemployment is soaring, tax revenues are falling, the markets are in shock, housing is crashing, deficits are soaring, and consumer confidence is at its lowest point in history. This is no time to cling to half-baked ideology. The global economy is undergoing a massive system-wide contraction which could spin out of control and plunge us into another world war. Political leaders need to grasp the urgency of the moment and keep the vehicle from careening into the ditch.

Informationalclearinghouse

Capitalism Without Capital?

Stock Market

Stock Market

It has been long understood that our federal government is going deeper into debt, consistently raising the debt ceiling and demonstrating no fiscal restraint. In recent years, debt ceiling increases have been placed in “must pass” legislation as a means to guarantee that Republicans as well as Democrats would vote for them when Congress was under Republican control.

We also know our nation’s “negative savings rate” reflects the habits of private citizens, showing those habits to be not tremendously different than the habits of the public sector. Yet, the signs of decline are becoming ever more apparent. So apparent, in fact, that it seems unlikely that bailouts or other gimmicks will have even short-term success. More inflation, and creating moral hazard by bailing out egregious offenders, is a recipe for disaster. These activities can seem to provide some short-term relief, but it seems we are now at a significant crisis point, where monetary policy gimmicks don’t provide the band-aids they did in the past.

Not only is our nation on the verge of bankruptcy, but so are its people and private institutions. We are now repeatedly hearing about businesses “needing to access the credit market to make payroll.” This is an unmistakable sign of more dire consequences ahead for the economy. If businesses must borrow just to make payroll, this is evidence of a severe undercapitalization that cannot be sustained, even for the short run.

full article: www.insight-info.com

The American Triangle of Depression

Stock Market

Stock Market

Ten months ago (January 18th, 2008) Henry Paulson, the American Secretary of the Treasury, announced that in the long run the economical structure of America is solid and that he believes that the economy will grow. Official members of George W. Bush’s government, for instance the Chair of the Federal Reserve, did not say anything about the downfall of the American economy. Two months later (March 16th, 2008) the Secretary of the Treasury repeated his reliance on the American economy and emphasized that he has complete trust of the American financial institutions and that the American marketplace can resist difficulty.

Four weeks before the American economic sun set, people woke up from their slumber and heard that huge and old American banks, American financial institutions, and American insurance agencies went bankrupt. The news of America’s financial crisis and bank crises hit like a bomb and shook the world’s financial system for a few minutes. The American stock market fell 40 percent and the stocks of large stock markets in the world fell dramatically. The week that world leaders, for instance Dr. Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, were in New York attending the annual session of the United Nations, the American Secretary of the Treasury, who was the managing director of a huge American financial institute – Goldman Sachs on Wall Street – put forth tireless effort to confirm George Bush’s 700 billion dollar plan in the congress in order to prevent the complete fall of the American banking system which the American economy has not seen since the time of the previous president Franklin Rosevelt, in the 1930s.

This financial crisis and bankruptcy of United States banks was not astonishing for people who read the analyses regarding America and the events of the world in the Kayhan Newspaper. Exactly ten months ago (January 31st, 2008) when Henry Paulson, the Secretary of the Treasury reported about a healthy American economy, the Kayhan Newspaper predicted an American financial crisis in an article titled Depression in America. I wrote there that this country is practically in an economic crisis. The first paragraph of that article was started with: “The depression has started in America, but the government and treasury department have yet to announce it. There is has always been a three to six month gap between an economical event and its official announcement in the history of the American economy. The depression of 2008, which we are still in, is not an exception to this rule. News regarding the depression must be given gradually and slowly because the modern economy has a direct connection with people’s imagination and trust. America has the largest economy in the world and in the age of internationalizing capital, work, and technology any change in the financial and banking areas of America will have a large effect on the international economy.” This has happened.

full article: www.insight-info.com

Bush’s Middle East foreign policy creates moral tragedies

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, recently called the United States “a hegemonic power that has lost the high moral ground.” Our politicians have ruined not only our economy but also our image and integrity. President George W. Bush didn’t practice what he preached of a “humble foreign policy” but applied instead the attitude of “might is right.”

imam mohammad ali elahi and imam khomeini

 

Our country, once a beacon of hope and freedom for the world, has squandered our prosperity to create conflicts and instigate civil wars among other nations by funding one group against another. This is a moral tragedy.

The successful presidential election in Lebanon indicates the failure of the Bush foreign policy. The people of the region are searching for reconciliation. The United States should get on the right side of the struggle and be part of the triumph of peace. The president said he gave up golfing “in solidarity” with the families of soldiers in Iraq. I hope the president resumes his golfing soon. A more constructive display of solidarity would be to stop these wars, fix the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan and don’t start yet another war in the Persian Gulf.

There is no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons. United Nations atomic watchdog chief, Mohamed El-Baradei, accused the Bush administration of adding “fuel to the fire” with bellicose rhetoric. The national intelligence estimate in November 2007 confirmed that Iran’s nuclear program has no military aspect — it is not pursuing nuclear weapons. Under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran, just like any other country, has the right to produce peaceful nuclear technology.

full article by Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

Regime Change: An American Addiction

“The seizure of faraway lands by America…is a perversion of our national mission.” – President Grover Cleveland, in 1893.

 

democracy

It didn’t start with the U.S.’s Neocon-inspired invasion of Iraq in March, 2003. Whether knowingly or not, the morally bankrupt Bush-Cheney Gang was following an imperial script which is over 110
years old. During that period, the U.S. has “overthrown fourteen governments that displeased it for various ideological, political and economic reasons,” writes Stephen Kinzer, in his riveting book,
“Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.”

Why did America betray its values and become itself a brutal colonizer? Well, after you blow away all the baloney about “national security and liberation,” Kinzer reveals: “The U.S. acted mainly for
`economic’ reasons–specifically, to establish, promote and defend the right of `Americans’ to do business around the world without interference.” By “Americans,” Kinzer mostly means the giant
multinational corporations.

Each of the respective countries on which the U.S. forced a regime change followed a basic kind of pattern, an M.O., if you please. Unfortunately, for our closest neighbors in Central and South America,
they felt, more than any other nations, the consistent brunt of our greedy, violent, murderous and racist reach. Destabilization and intervention were two of our tactics, which often times resulted in
horrific consequences for the targeted country and their inhabitants. Kinzer puts it this way: “Almost every American overthrow…left in its wake a bitter residue of pain and anger. Some have led to the
slaughter of innocents…The U.S. was willing to support any governing clique, `no matter how odious,’ as long as it did America’s bidding.”

Over time, Cuba, Guatemala, Puerto Rica, Panama, Chile, Grenada, Nicaragua and Honduras to our South were subjected to some type of coercive, gangster-like intervention from the U.S. bully. Sometimes, it took the form of a direct invasion by military forces, like in Panama and Grenada. In other cases, the CIA initiated covert activity to bring the targeted regime to its knees.

Source

Not in My Name

On my birthday last year, I declared my independence from a national leadership that, through its votes in support of the war machine, is now complicit in war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace.

cynthia mckinney

I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every veteran maimed, and every child killed.

I noted that the Democratic leadership in Congress had failed to restore this country to Constitutional rule by repealing the Patriot Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, and the Military Commissions Act.

That it had aided and abetted illegal spying against the American people. And that it took impeachment off the table.

In addition, the Democratic Congressional leadership failed to promote the economic integrity of this country by not repealing the Bush tax cuts. They failed to institute a livable wage, Medicare-for-
all health care, and gave even more money to the Pentagon as it misuses our hard-earned dollars.

We can add to that list, too, an abject failure to stand up for human rights and dignity.

If the Democratic and Republican leadership won’t respect the right of return for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors, how can we expect them to champion the right of return for Palestinians?

If this country’s leadership tolerates the wanton murder of unarmed black and Latino men by law enforcement officials—extra-judicial killings—how can we expect them to stop or even speak out against targeted assassinations in the Middle East?

If the Democratic and Republican leadership accept ethnic cleansing in this country by way of gentrification and predatory lending, why should we expect them to put an end to it in Palestine?

If the leadership of this country impedes self-determination for native peoples in this country, why should we expect them to support indigenous rights for anyone abroad?

And sadly, the sensationalist corporate media would rather trick us into thinking that reporting on a pastor, a former Vice Presidential nominee, and a former cable TV magnate constitutes this country’s
much-needed discussion of its own apartheid past and present, so why should we expect an honest discussion of apartheid and Zionism?

By: Cynthia McKinney