Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
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Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]
07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]
07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]
07.16 As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing' [And the South shall rise again...]
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]
07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]
07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]
Time for Obama and Us to Face the Economic and Political Music
Thursday, 8 January 2009
There will not be the usual rebound. The housing market will not recover. Neither will the stock market. Americans will not, in a year or two or three, feel as wealthy as they did before it all fell apart.The real cost of the Bush Administration’s trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street is becoming painfully apparent as the incoming Obama administration attempts desperately to make a case for its own $800-billion economic stimulus package, while warning about “trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.”
On its own merits, all other considerations aside, with the economy slipping into a sinkhole, President-elect Barack Obama’s call for $800 billion in stimulus spending should be a slam dunk for Congress. The problem is, Congress already caved in a hurry and approved nearly that same amount--$700 billion—in a matter of days when Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and his Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke said they needed the money to prevent a collapse of the financial industry, as the nation’s biggest banks, investment banks and insurance companies teetered on the brink of insolvency last fall.
In fact, there was no need for panic. Paulson reportedly warned assembled Congressional leaders in late September that a financial Armageddon loomed, which would lead to mass runs on the banks, rioting in the streets, and ultimately martial law. Although the number of Americans who have more than the insured amount of $100,000 in a bank is not enough to make for one small staged bank run, the Congress blinked, and gave him essenntially a blank check to spend $350 billion right away. Paulson and Bernanke took that authorization and ran with it, spending most of it to invest in those institutions, and adding even more money using all kinds of tricks that ultimately could put the taxpayer on the hook for as much as $8 trillion dollars. They cranked up the printing presses too, and, like a North Korean counterfeiting ring, ran off an extra $2 trillion in greenbacks, just for good measure.
No wonder that now that Obama comes in asking for another $800 billion over the next two years—just a tenth of the sum the Bush/Cheney regime has pissed away over a couple of months—Congress is balking.
In fact, Obama actually caved before he even began, making half his request for stimulus money actually a in the form of a proposed $500/per/taxpayer tax rebate. We already saw how successful that idea was when we got the Bush tax rebate last year. The money was used by most hard-strapped citizens to pay down debt. When they actually went out and bought stuff with their rebate—which was the intent of the program—since almost nothing is actually made in the US, the money ended up just being shipped abroad to Mexico, China, Sri Lanka and India. Some stimulus!
The same thing will happen to the Obama tax rebate. It will go to paying down debt, or it will be spent on imports. But unless he talks straight to the American people, politically, Obama has to include a rebate in any bailout, or he won’t get any Republican support in Congress for his stimulus package.
Meanwhile, the evidence is that the Bush/Cheney boondoggle, while it enriched the owners and investors in the big banks that got the investments (many used the federal largesse to pay executive bonuses, or to buy other banks at firesale prices), did nothing to loosen up credit. Banks that found themselves with more cash on hand, instead of lending it out to businesses or homeowners, reportedly simply deposited it at the Fed to collect the interest. Company financial executives and industry economists say nothing has really changed in credit markets in response to the blowing of hundreds of billions of dollars on the financial industry.
So what we have here is either a monumental and unprecedented rip-off of the taxpayer, which has now jeopardized the ability of the incoming administration and Congress to do what needs to be done: namely to relieve the financial distress of ordinary people and to try and kick-start the economy, or an example of true financial stupidity on the part of the current administration, compounded by the gutless acquiescence of a Congress that already showed, in the run-up to the Iraq War, that it is no longer up to the task of monitoring and challenging the executive.
Either way, we’re in a heap of trouble going forward. The Obama administration, even if it wants to, will not have the resources to finance a recovery. Take away the $400 billion that Obama wants to waste on tax rebates, and you have left a paltry $400 billion, to be spread over two years, which we’re expected to believe is going to revive a depressed US economy that last year was running at $15 trillion.
The other thing to consider is the impact of all this incredible borrowing on he soundness of the US dollar. We know that China is thinking more and more seriously about unloading its trillions of dollars of reserves. If it does, Japan and other major holders of US currency will likely do the same thing, as will the oil producing states in OPEC and outside of OPEC. (If you thought buying oil in dollars was painful last year, wait until you see how expensive it is when you are paying in Euros or Renminbi or Yen!). Some economists are warning that because of all the US borrowing of recent months, the dollar could take a 40-percent hit in value against other key currencies in the coming year or two. That would slam consumers hard, since so much of what we need for our daily lives—food, clothes, cars, furniture, etc.—is produced overseas and would become instantly 40 percent more expensive. It would also be a death blow to any economic recovery, because the Federal Reserve would be compelled to raise US interest rates in hopes of slowing down the decline of the dollar. Higher interest rates would cripple any Obama administration economic stimulus efforts.
What we need at this point is a new realism. The US economy is in a shambles because we Americans have been living in a fool’s paradise, with the government boosting domestic incomes and consumer spending by inflating housing prices to absurd levels, and pumping up the Wall Street casino with easy credit and a blind eye to scandal. Now that it has all come crashing down, there will not be the usual rebound. The housing market will not recover. Neither will the stock market. Americans will not, in a year or two or three, feel as wealthy as they did before it all fell apart. The wealth people thought they had last year was an illusion, and now it’s gone, like a morning mist.
The remaining unspent Treasury Assets Relief Program (TARP) money Congress authorized should be withdrawn and applied to a real stimulus program, and the tax rebate Obama is proposing should be dropped. If the new president wants to help lower income individuals, that’s one thing, but just giving everyone a tax credit is nonsense.
Economist James Galbraith, a professor of economics in Texas, has proposed some good uses for federal stimulus dollars—a Home Owners Loan Corp. that would refinance bad mortgages at the true value of the homes in question, and grants to struggling state and local governments that are otherwise going to be laying off workers and killing critical programs like health and education. He is also calling for a supplement to Social Security for people nearing retirement whose private 401(k) funds and IRAs have been killed.
These are all good ideas. A better one would be to slash military spending by 50 percent and to close the 800 or more US military bases that are scattered across the globe.
Do all this and the country has a shot at avoiding a new depression and a slow slide into third world status.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on January 9, 2009.
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