"Il Manifesto" April 22, 2011 -- The objective of the war against Libya is not just its oil reserves (now estimated at 60 billion barrels), which are the greatest in Africa and whose extraction costs are among the lowest in the world, nor the natural gas reserves of which are estimated at about 1,500 billion cubic meters. In the crosshairs of "willing" of the operation “Unified Protector” there are sovereign wealth funds, capital that the Libyan state has invested abroad.
Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell today reported first-quarter profit increases of 69 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from the same period last year. With rising gas and oil prices, analysts expected the five biggest oil companies -- with Exxon as the largest -- to report that they are swimming in revenue.
Superman renounces his U.S. Citizenship at the U.N. in an upcoming Superman comic book. The iconic figure that once stood for, “Truth, Justice and the American Way” is now nothing more than another Globalist Elitist. This blatantly obvious globalist propaganda starts with Superman non-violently standing by Iranian protestors in their demonstrations against the Iranian government. The Iranian government then says that is an act of war from the United States. So Superman decides to renounce his citizenship.
Obama's complaints about the GOP version of austerity hide the scale of his own cuts. President Obama discusses the budget at a White House press conferencePresident Obama discusses the budget at a White House press conference YOU KNOW official politics have moved to the right when a plan to cut $4 trillion from the U.S. budget over 12 years can be passed off as "liberal."
Over the past hour Zero Hedge has been inundated with reader comments notifying us that Ampex has, validating the earlier post speculating about a possible silver shortage at the metals distributor, launched a "reverse ïnquiry" in which it will pay "you $3.00 over the current spot price of Silver for your Silver American Eagles. ANY year, ANY quantity!" and "We will pay you $38.00 over the current spot price of Gold for your Gold American Eagles. ANY year, ANY quantity!"
During his State of the Union address President Obama repeated this ancient canard: "We have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in," he said. "That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same." Republicans have used this "families balance their budgets, so should government" line for years. Now Democrats are doing it too. Everyone is jumping aboard the pseudo-austerity bandwagon. (Why pseudo? Neither party really wants to balance the federal budget because it can only be done by bringing home the troops, shrinking the Pentagon by 90 percent, ending corporate welfare, and soaking the rich--i.e. major campaign donors--with higher taxes.)
All those who were hoping global stock markets would surge tomorrow based on a ridiculous rumor that China would revalue the CNY by 10% will have to wait. Instead, China has decided to serve the world another surprise. Following last week's announcement by PBoC Governor Zhou (Where's Waldo) Xiaochuan that the country's excessive stockpile of USD reserves has to be urgently diversified, today we get a sense of just how big the upcoming Chinese defection from the "buy US debt" Nash equilibrium will be. Not surprisingly, China appears to be getting ready to cut its USD reserves by roughly the amount of dollars that was recently printed by the Fed, or $2 trilion or so.
Let's talk turkey. The dollar is getting hammered by the day. And the dollar is getting hammered by design, because the Fed wants a weaker currency to boost exports and lower the real burden of debt on the banks. (Yes, Martha, the banks are still insolvent) So, down goes the greenback, lower and lower, pushing up gas and food prices while the buying power of the average US worker vanishes down the plughole. And this process will continue for the foreseeable future because--as Obama stated earlier in the year--Washington is committed to "doubling exports in the next 5 years." Think about that: "the next 5 years". That's the same as saying that the American worker will be reduced to third-world poverty in a half decade or so. It's a death sentence.
Many Americans increasingly feel like a trap door has suddenly dropped them into economic quicksand, with major corporations and their government allies pulling them further away from the middle-class security they once had. Today, as America's prolonged and severe employment crisis continues, multinational corporations continue to unilaterally repudiate their side of the “social contract.” The country's business leaders should hardly be surprised to hear Americans questioning the “free market” shield they use to justify their outrageous abandonment of American workers, their renewed attacks on decent wages by imposing two-tier wage structures, and their refusal to contribute their fair share of taxes to cope with the social damage that they are causing. A wave of public-sector union-busting laws in Wisconsin and Ohio that will encourage more private sector wage-cutting (already at a record level ), revelations about the extent of corporations “off-shoring” jobs while creating virtually no new jobs in the U.S. for the entire 1999-2009 decade and news that two-thirds of major corporations are paying no federal income taxes.
Weakness in the US dollar, which is causing everything to go up—including gas prices, food and stocks—is unlikely to go away soon as a selling frenzy hits the currency market. CNBC.com The greenback is approaching pre-financial crisis lows and threatening to smash through its all-time low when measured against the world's predominant national currencies.
As a series of US opinion polls showed massive popular opposition to the bipartisan drive to slash Medicare and other vital social programs, President Obama sought to reassure the financial markets that he would reach agreement with congressional Republicans on major spending cuts.
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced earlier this month that it was raising its overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.25 percent. This is very bad news for people across the eurozone countries and possibly the rest of the world as well.
#1 According to the World Bank, 44 million people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty since last June because of rising food prices.
#2 The world is losing topsoil at an astounding rate. In fact, according to Lester Brown, “one third of the world’s cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming through natural processes”.
#3 Due to U.S. ethanol subsidies, almost a third of all corn grown in the United States is now used for fuel. This is putting a lot of stress on the price of corn.
Many banks are insolvent, yet are allowed to stay in business. Being allowed to keep two sets of books is obscuring their real estate loan problems. This is the shadow inventory you sometimes hear about. Those millions of homes “that exist, but they don’t.” They presently admit to owning some 1 million homes they cannot sell, which is almost 25% higher than last year. If you put everything together you could be looking at an 8-year supply. Making matters worse lenders are holding homes on the books at values 40% higher than what they are worth. This is very similar to what is going on in Spain presently. We’ll say this one more time. Most major banks and some middle tier and small institutions are broke and you are being lied to regarding their condition.
The dollar took a beating Wednesday, losing ground to a range of currencies, and falling to its lowest level against the euro in 15 months. And that's pretty much been the trend in recent months. At the start of the year, the euro was trading at $1.33 against the dollar, but has since surged to $1.45 against the beleaguered greenback.
There seems to be a big debate going on now about silver going up too far, too fast. Paper money traitors traders have tried to call the silver top all the way up and have had their heads handed to them by the market. Technical analysts have called for pull backs based off of some squiggly lines on their computer screens. Even Academy members, who get the idea of owning real physical silver, have been asking me about keeping some “powder dry” for the correction.
Speculation on the futures market, rather than supply and demand, is driving up costs, analysts say. The global economy and its recovery, and the living standards of millions of plain folks, are now at risk from the sudden rise in oil and commodity prices. Gas at the pump is up, and going higher. Food prices are following. The consequences are catastrophic for the global poor as their costs go up while their income doesn't. It's menacing American workers too, who in large part have not seen a meaningful raise since the days of Reagan (keeping it this way is clearly behind the current flurry of attacks on unions).
For more than 100 years the United States has been at the center of a war being waged around the clock by a cult-of-evil clawing and biting like a rabid dog at the heart of civilization. It has been an epic struggle of an outnumbered, outgunned regiment of courageous defenders of human individuality, dignity, and liberty against a tyranny intent on the enslavement of humanity. It has been a bloody war, a costly war, and even now the battles continue. But the tide is turning, finally, toward the side of good.
How is the global financial crisis effecting job seekers across the world? Does the job we do define who we are? And, if so, what does this largely Western mantra mean for the generation of youth faced with the prospect of mass unemployment for years to come? As countries around Europe brace for a long period of austerity, high unemployment and falling living standards, many fear society is set to become harsher on those the system leaves behind.
As millions of procrastinators scramble to meet Monday's tax filing deadline, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all. The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.
It still amazes that ordinary people are so much smarter than the people placed in charge of them. Anyone could have told the UN when the deliberations were being held exactly what the aims of the US/UK and France were in the demand to establish a no fly zone over Libya. Your ordinary citizen knew it was just going to be an excuse to pound the living daylights out of the place, while the military and the freaks supporting them have orgasms at the scenes of destruction. Your ordinary citizen knew it was to regain colonial domination over the region and to steal the country's rich plethora of resources.
As millions of Americans prepare to file their income taxes ahead of Monday’s deadline, we look at how corporations and the wealthy use offshore banks and tax havens to avoid paying taxes and other governmental regulations. "Tax havens have grown so fast in the era of globalization, since the 1970s, that they are now right at the heart of the global economy and are absolutely huge," says our guest, British journalist Nicholas Shaxson. "There are anywhere between $10 and $20 trillion sitting offshore at the moment. Half of world trade is processed in one way or another through tax havens." Shaxson is the author of the new book, Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), on Capitol Hill for a hearing held by the House Oversight Committee on state budgets, had yet to even speak before Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) ripped into the Republican leader's anti-union record. "I strongly oppose efforts to falsely blame middle-class American workers for these current economic problems," Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said in his opening statement. "This recession was not caused by them. Working America - fire fighters, teachers and nurses - are not responsible for the reckless actions of Wall Street, which led to this crisis in the first place."
After former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker was appointed in 1979, the consumer price index surged into the double digits, causing the now revered Fed Chief to double the benchmark interest rate in order to break the back of inflation. Using the methodology in place at that time puts the CPI back near those levels.
The percentage of Americans who have jobs has fallen to the lowest point in three decades and now hovers just above 45 percent of the total population, according to an analysis of labor data published by USA Today.
Some people have asked me for reactions to a piece by Alan Greenspan in the latest edition of International Finance on how President Obama’s activism is preventing economic recovery.
This coming May 16, the U.S. Federal government debt ceiling will be breached; that is, the national credit card—currently topped at $14,294,000,000,000—will be maxed out. (Yeah, I know: It’s one thing to read “$14 trillion” and quite another to see the actual number, written out with all those zeroes.)
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the BRICS group of fastest growing economies – Thursday signed an agreement to use their own currencies instead of the predominant US dollar in issuing credit or grants to each other. The agreement, the first-of-its-kind, was signed at the 3rd BRICS summit here attended by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, China’s Hu Jintao, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday that Congress will allow the country to borrow more by agreeing to increase the $14.3 trillion debt limit. "So you want Congress to move as quickly as possible to raise that, and of course, they recognize that they have to do that," he said.
As the focus on Capitol Hill shifts to America's long-run fiscal woes, Congressional progressives are one step ahead of the White House and Democratic leaders in offering a counter-proposal to the House GOP approach.
Obama's failure to challenge the Right's economic mythology is both inexcusable, and a sign that the White House isn't prepared for the major battles to come.
Belarus's economy is teetering on the brink, and Minsk's relations with the West have soured following a deeply flawed presidential election last December and the ensuing crackdown on the opposition. This gives Minsk no choice but to ask Russia for a bailout.
If you had asked Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman or John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson or Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton what Democrats would defend in a fight over the future of government, there's no real question that funding for housing, public transportation, community development programs and safe air travel would be high on the list.
Do you need a good job? If so, there are millions of other Americans that are just like you. Unfortunately, most of the jobs that are available in America today are either part-time jobs, temp jobs or are “independent contractor” jobs. The “full-time job with benefits” is a dying breed. There are so many desperate unemployed workers in America today that companies don’t have to roll out the red carpet anymore. Instead, they can just hire a horde of inexpensive part-timers and temps that they don’t have to give any benefits to.
Why progressives need to think beyond the mantra of creating a "middle class America." In an era of insecurity, we all want security. We want a decent home to call our own, healthcare to heal us when we are sick or old, education to improve our minds and job prospects, healthy food and clean water to nourish us, income to provide for all our needs and even some affordable luxuries, a career to give us social status and a sense of self-worth, and a pension for our golden years.
WASHINGTON - Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People's Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan's almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People's Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.
The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have shaken the petroleum industry, triggering oil price hike and forcing it to go on the defensive. But critics say the industry carries some of the blame for the current crisis.
Although the budget plan has no chance of passage, it could be a blueprint for America's future when and if right-wing Republicans take charge. I was there in 1995 when the government closed because of a budget stalemate. I had to tell most of the Labor Department’s 15,600 employees to go home and not return the next day. I also had to tell them I didn’t know when they’d next get a paycheck.
American public support for the free market economy has dropped sharply in the past year, and is now lower than in China, according to a GlobeScan poll released today. The findings, drawn from 12,884 interviews across 25 countries, show that there has been a sharp fall in the number of Americans who think that the free market economy is the best economic system for the future.
Politicians never actually cut spending, so every time corporate America lobbies for another tax break, they're effectively raising taxes on the rest of us. How can we reconcile the simple fact that Americans are living in one of the least taxed countries in the developed world with the reality that many working people feel they're being “taxed to death”?
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