Local Stories, Events
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Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Gloomy Outlook from "Business Experts"
Friday, 6 February 2009
An economic “team of rivals” [to set best policy] is a great idea, but to get that, Obama would have to be willing to reach over to the left side of the spectrum, not just the right.Amid the news that retail sales have fallen for the fourth straight month, that housing prices continue to slump, and that another 600,000 workers were laid off in the month of January—the largest number in one month since 1974—comes word from some experts in the business community that things are not going to be getting better soon, and that when they do, they will not get back to the way things were in 2006 or early 2007, before the recession began.
In an interview I did for the trade publication Investment Management Weekly on Thursday, Putnam Investments’ global asset allocation head Jeffrey Knight said that while the stimulus could “help to prevent a Great Depression sequel,” at the same time “Those who measure prosperity against the Faustian opulence of the last 10 years may find that stability, equilibrium and even recovery will still feel like a deep depression.”
Another fund manager, Ron D’Vari, co-founder and CEO of a new fund management firm that specializes in so-called distressed assets—the very things that have the nation’s banks reeling on the edge of failure—says the economy has fallen into “an L-shaped recession where it’s hard to say how long it will be down at the bottom.” D’Vari also told me, “We think we will have a sort of subsistence economy—not like North Africa, but it could look like just getting by for some time before you see the start of a real recovery.”
Now these guys were all talking about how things look to them assuming passage of the stimulus package. In other words, the stimulus package is not going to turn things around. In fact, D’Vari pointedly referred to the close to $1-trillion package as ‘just a pain-killer, not a final cure.”
President Obama would do well to heed these kinds of hard-nosed views. He’s not likely to be hearing them right now. To date, he has chosen for his economic team mainly retreads from the Bush and Clinton administration—people like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner who helped set the nation on its current disastrous economic course by promoting globalization and the flight of jobs overseas as well as the deregulation of Wall Street, by advocating a shift of the tax burden from the wealthy to the working classes, by urging the gutting the safety net for those who lose jobs or can’t find them, and by advocating measures to artificially pump up asset values, whether real estate or the stock market.
These are clearly not people who are going to want to call attention to the economic and social train wreck that their own policies have produced.
Nor does Obama’s latest announcement of his new Council of Economic Advisers look much better. Headed up by Paul Volcker, the Carter and Reagan choice for Federal Reserve Chairman, and a close associate of the Rockefeller family and the Chase banking empire who helped bring us the heretofore worst recession since the ‘30s during the early 1980s, that panel includes Jeffrey Imelt, chairmen of mega-defense contractor General Electric, Jim Owens, chair of Caterpillar (a firm that just sacked 20,000 employees and during it’s recent contract disputes with the UAW hired scabs and locked out employees, racking up a huge number of labor law violations), William Donaldson, President George W. Bush’s SEC chair, who had to resign that position in disgrace in 2005 after his agency missed the Enron and Worldcom meltdowns and collapses as well as some early hedge fund disasters, Martin Feldstein, the head of Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and an adviser to Obama’s opponent, John McCain, and Austan Goolsbee, a senior economist with the Democratic Leadership Council, a strong proponent bank deregulation and of the job-killing NAFTA and the World Trade Organization treaties. True, the panel does include some token labor representatives like former Mineworkers Union president Richard Trumpka of the AFL-CIO and Anna Burger of the SEIU, but wholly absent are more progressive economists in line with the likes of Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Steiglitz, or former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich, much less left-leaning economists like James Galbraith or Dean Baker.
Before Obama was inaugurated, there was much blather in the mainstream press about his selection of conservative Democrats and Republicans for his cabinet, as a strategy of having a “team of rivals.” But clearly, where economic policy is concerned, those “rivals” are pretty much all on the same side of the fence. (The same can be said, by the way, of his defense department and state department teams.)
What the country really needs at this point is straight talk and creative new ideas—not returns to policies of the ‘90s, ‘80s, ‘70s or perhaps even the ‘30s.
Obama needs to hear from experts who know that the economy of the United States is not going to rebound to anything like where it was in the last few years, and that drastic new programs and approaches are needed if the US is not to continue a slow slide into third world status. And the American public needs to hear the same honest news.
An economic “team of rivals” is a great idea, but to get that, Obama would have to be willing to reach over to the left side of the spectrum, not just the right.
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 February 6, 2009.
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