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Health Care & Environment
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 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...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
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.]
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.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Thinking About 2010
I really hate to admit that I don’t have a clue where we are headed in 2010, and I'm really quite amazed that 2009 turned out as good as it did.
I’ve been thinking about 2010. Actually I’ve been thinking about 2009, predictions, meddling, muddling, Real Estate, and Yemen. Happy New Year!!! I don’t know about you, but I am really happy that 2009 is behind US. When Queen Elizabeth II discussed 1992 as her “annus horribilis” (horrible year), because of two sons’ divorces and a major fire at her home at Windsor Castle, she captured my feeling about 2009. What a year that was for not only me, but practically everybody I know.
You see not everyone had two open heart surgeries compounded by a near fatal MRSA infection, but virtually no American household (excepting maybe those of some Wall Street Bankers and defense contractors) got thru the year unscathed. Granted some enjoyed a recapture of their earlier stock holding losses but I fear such gains are illusory and more losses will accrue in 2010 --- but more about that later.
I normally write my first column of the New Year about my predictions for the coming year. I’ve been scouring the internet and reading newspapers and magazines to get a grip on where we are headed since late November. I’ve always felt that the past is but a prologue of what is coming at US/us in the coming year. This time I am literally at a loss. No, I didn’t lose my Nostradamus genes because of all the antibiotics that were infused into my body. Still... I really hate to admit that I don’t have a clue where we are headed in 2010. I am really quite amazed that 2009 turned out as good as it did on the national scene. 2010 is going to be a year to watch closely. At best, I foresee more of the same!
Every prior economic downturn was “fixed” by the FED cutting interest rates and printing money to encourage the populace to borrow and spend money they didn’t have, on things they didn’t need. This recession/depression was actually caused by such ill sighted policies. So... what did Chairman Bernanke (Time’s man of the year) and Treasury Secretary Timmy Geithner do? They kept interest rates at practically zero for the banks, agreed to buy (and warehouse) worthless banking paper investments, and encouraged the populace to borrow more and spend still more on foreign made “stuff.” It was a policy of meddling and muddling at best. If this BIG CON actually worked, it would buy more time until the invisible hand of free markets or wartime spending actually fixed things. Despite my doubts and reservations, this lame policy of spin, more debt and perpetual warfare seemed to work.
To stimulate car sales and home sales Uncle $ugar upped the poker ante by escalating the inert value of used cars, and Uncle gave an $ 8,000 tax credit to first time home buyers. This worked, but the sales began to slow as soon as the incentives expired. Will these and other “freebies from the Potomac” be reactivated, or extended? Time will tell. (I suspect some of both will occur.)
I have said all along that a jobless recovery is not possible. I still hold to that prediction despite the rumbling/ramblings of the Obama Administration. The 250,000 PLUS monthly net job losses which began in mid 2008 continue. This growing body of the unemployed will go on for the coming twelve months of 2010. I should point out those jobs created were in the various minimum wage service sectors with little, if any, benefits. These do NOT provide enough income for any middle class existence. It becomes a matter of “I owe, I owe... it’s off to work I go.”
Keep a close eye out for significant developments in the real estate markets in 2010. We shall see a significant increase in “available” properties of both residential and commercial types. “Available” is the politically correct way of saying vacant and for sale (or lease). In the coming weeks we shall learn which retailers made enough cash in the past Christmas season to keep them going in 2010. Significant numbers of alternative A and interest only/negative amortization home loans will be due to reset. Unless the highly favorable initial loan terms are renewed, walk-a-ways and foreclosures can only increase.
I must confess I do not have a clue why the equity stock markets rose 14% to 19% in 2009. Continued strength will only come from foreign held bucks and those who “believe” we are at the threshold of another BULL market. I can see the Dow trading in a 14,000 to 3,800 range in 2010!
Two certainties for 2010 will be:
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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This story was published on January 4, 2010.