Posts tagged economy
Posts tagged economy
February 6th, 2012
In one of the most shamefully disingenuous reports we’ve seen in years, the US Labor Department released the latest employment figures on Friday showing that the headline US unemployment rate had fallen to 8.3%.
Champagne and sound bites were pre-positioned in Washington as the self-congratulatory praise flowed like the bubbly. President Obama, beaming like he’d just caught the winning touchdown pass, told the American people on Sunday that he ‘deserved’ a second term.
They call it the headline unemployment rate for a reason… it’s the only number that the papers tend to run. All weekend long, mainstream press ran headlines like:
“Unemployment rate falls to 8.3%; fifth straight monthly decline” (LA Times)
“Jobless rate drops to lowest level in almost three years” (MSNBC.com)
“Unemployment rate drops to 8.3 percent” (Christian Science Monitor)
“Hiring surges in January; jobless rate at 8.3 pct.” (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
“Jobless Rate Falls to 8.3%, Altering Face of Campaign” (New York Times)
“Unemployment report: January job gains have economists rethinking outlooks” (Washington Post)
Needless to say, few outlets with any meaningful reach covered the real story behind the employment figures– the Labor Department simply took 1.2 million Americans out of the labor force. In other words, the unemployment rate fell because the Labor Department deliberately did not count 1.2 million unemployed people.
[Note: I highly recommend that you read ZeroHedge.com, one of the only sources of undistorted economic reality on the Internet.]
It’s the same Orwellian style logic (WAR IS PEACE. DEBT IS WEALTH.) that prevailed during the Soviet Union– outright lies and deceitful reports painting a rosy picture of the economy and its glorious leaders, masking a dismal reality. It’s nothing but propaganda in the worst form.
This has been going on for years in the United States, as evidenced by the chart below:
In the truly apocalyptic scenario, McNally estimates, a complete cut-off of the 17 million barrels of oil that pass through the straits each day could cause the price of oil to rise as high as 320 percent — which would “likely tip the global economy into recession.” Now, it’s unlikely the U.S. would allow that to happen. But even lesser disruptions (if, say, Iran started harassing ships or decided to cut off some of its exports) could push the oil price up $20 or $40 or more — the sort of spike that could really put the brakes on economic growth.
So how would the world handle an Iran-related oil shock? McNally considers a couple of options, none of them perfect:
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
30 JANUARY 2012
The world economy is in the tank, and the Federal Reserve’s decision to extend its zero interest rate policy to, at least, the end of 2014 proves it. What will happen if the fragile world economy also has to deal with a war with Iran? That should have been the big headline coming out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, but what was reported was concern over slow or no growth in the world. All the signs are that the West is careening towards war with Iran, and there is not a peep about it from world leaders. Are they in a state of denial in a coming war catastrophe? I say yes.
One of the first shots fired by the EU was in the form of increased sanctions to boycott Iranian oil in about five months. The second shot looks like it will be fired by the Iranians who won’t wait for sanctions to kick in and will move to cut off oil exports of around 600,000 barrels a day to the Eurozone. (Click here for more on this story.) The Iranians have not yet cut off the oil. MSNBC reported yesterday, “The Islamic Republic declared itself optimistic about a visit by U.N. nuclear experts that began on Sunday but also warned the inspectors to be “professional” or see Tehran reducing cooperation with the world body on atomic matters. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection delegation will seek to advance efforts to resolve a row about nuclear work which Iran says is for making electricity but the West suspects is aimed at seeking a nuclear weapon.” (Click here to read the latest CNBC story.)
The immediate cut off of oil to the EU would be a disaster, and the Iranians do not have to close the Strait of Hormuz to do it. This would cause major pain to a European economy teetering on the brink of collapse. How well do you think the Eurozone would perform with a spike in energy prices? Talk about no growth, how about a giant contraction and an implosion of some of the biggest banks on both sides of the Atlantic. This is not all out war, mind you, just an immediate cut of Iranian oil to Europe.
(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator)
L: Doug-Sama, I’ve heard you say you think the US is setting Iran up to be the next fall guy in the wag-the-dog show – do you think it could really come to open warfare?
Doug: Yes, I do. It could just be saber rattling during an election year, but Western powers have been provoking Iran for years now – two decades, really. I just saw another report proclaiming that Iran is likely to attack the US, which is about as absurd as the allegations Bush made about Iraq bombing the US, when he fomented that invasion. It’s starting to look rather serious at this point, so I do think the odds favor actual fighting in the not-too-distant future.
L: Could they really be so stupid?
Doug: You know the answer to that one. We’re dealing with criminal personalities on both sides, and criminals are basically very stupid – meaning they have an unwitting tendency to self-destruction. One thing to remember is that most of those in power in the West still believe the old economic fallacy that war is good for the economy.
L: The old broken-window fallacy. Paraphrasing Arlo Guthrie, it’s hard to believe anyone could get away with making a mistake that dumb for that long. Our friends at IHS put together a great, brief video debunking the fallacy.
Doug: People like those in power still suffer the delusion that it was World War II that ended the Great Depression for the US. Actually, it was only after the end of the war that the depression ended, in 1946. In his book World Economic Development: 1979 and Beyond, Herman Kahn documented long-term growth throughout the 20th century. Between 1914 to 1946 – a very tough time, with WW I, the Great Depression, and WW II – the world economy still grew at something like 1.8%. I believe real growth would have been several times as great, were it not for the state and its products. But people still believe that spending money on things that explode and kill and destroy is somehow good for the economy.
L: I suppose they think it’s okay if it creates jobs here and destroys lives and livelihoods “over there.” But aside from the fact that it’s not safe to assume today’s enemies are not capable of bringing the battle onto US soil, it still ignores the fact that you’re spending money on stuff that gets destroyed – like broken windows – and that impoverishes us all. Worse, the cost is not just economic.
Doug: That’s right. This coming war with Iran has the potential to turn into something resembling WW III, with enormous consequences.
Now, it’s hard to speak with any certainty on such matters, because most of what we have to go on are press reports. Governments keep most really critical facts on their doings to themselves, and what you read in the press is as likely as not just a warmed-over government press release – in other words, propaganda. Meaningless, if not actively deceptive. It is correctly said that in war, truth is the first casualty.
Anonymous - Operation Black March
Thursday, March 1st 2012 to Saturday 31st March 2012
With the continuing campaigns for Internet-censoring litigation such as SOPA and PIPA, and the closure of sites such as Megaupload under allegations of ‘piracy’ and ‘conspiracy’ the time has come to take a stand against music, film and media companies’ lobbyists.
The only way is to hit them where it truly hurts.
Their profit margins.
March 2012 is the end of the 1st quarter in economic reports worldwide.
Do not buy a single record. Do not download a single song, legally or illegally. Do not go to see a single film in cinemas, or download a copy, Do not buy a DVD in the stores. Do not buy a videogame. Do not buy a single book or magazine.
Wait the 4 weeks to buy them in April: see the film later, etc. Holding out for just 4 weeks, maximum, will leave a gaping hole in media and entertainment companies’ profits for the 1st quarter, an economic hit which will in turn be observed by governments worldwide as stocks and shares will blip from a large enough loss of incomes.
This action can give a statement of intent:
“We will not tolerate the Media Industries’ lobbying for legistation which will censor the internet.” Regarding Black March: If you want to do something that makes a statement, consider shifting your money not only away from corporate media but to independent media. Buy comics published by someone other than DC and Marvel. Buy books from small and independent presses. Support independent production companies who fight to stay independent and fan-focused. Better yet, buy things directly from creators and artisans. Support independent retailers. Don’t just blanket punish media producers and distributors—refocus those resources into supporting the ones who espouse and depend on free exchange of information and ideas. Because those are the people preserving intellectual freedom. Those are the people creating work of substance. And those are the people struggling to make a living, because they aren’t bankrolled by the Corporate Elite lobbying for SOPA and PIPA.
January 30, 2012
The State of the Union is treated with utmost seriousness by the dominant news media. All four major TV networks and the cable news channels carry the event. My local newspaper devoted most of the front page and big chunks of the inside pages to its coverage: photos, accounts, sidebars, response, and analysis.
But it’s actually a spectacle that crowds out the real news. News about the impact American diplomacy is having on our future standard of living. News about the U.S. dollar’s reserve status winding down.
On the day of the State of the Union address, news flashed around the world – but not on your favorite network or in your morning paper – that India and Iran have agreed to end-run the U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran.
They will use gold to do so.
Those sanctions, which have now been agreed to by the European Union as well, will ratchet up in July. Their enforcement means that banks and financial institutions involved in oil transactions with Iran will be barred from doing any business with financial institutions in the United States and Europe.
According DEBKAfile, a news source based in Israel, Iran has taken steps to bypass American and European banks and their currency desks altogether, agreeing instead to sell its oil to India for gold. China is expected to soon agree to use gold in buying oil from Iran as well. It’s a move that would leave the long-standing global dollar pricing of petroleum in tatters.
The gold-for-oil agreement means three things:
- It hastens the unwinding of the U.S. dollar’s global reserve currency status.
The rest of the world is actively developing alternatives to the U.S. dollar. Although it will mean a falling standard of living for the American people, U.S. policies and secretaries of state, like Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, have spurred what will become a stampede away from the dollar. DEBKAfile also reports that both China and Russia have secret mechanisms already in place to pay Iran in non-dollar currencies for its oil. And only a month ago, China and Japan, the world’s second- and third-largest economies, agreed to develop direct yen/yuan trading, forgoing the dollar as the reserve currency intermediary.
- It accelerates the global monetization of gold.
Both China and India have been aggressively adding to their gold reserves. Other countries are following suit. The Keynesians, who have been in charge of American monetary policy, having destroyed the value of the dollar and enabled our ruinous debt, may actually believe that gold is a “barbarous relic.” But it is clear that their opinions have little functional value in the real world. The world is turning to gold more and more as U.S. debt continues to mount. Indeed, is there a better alternative monetary unit to be found? Certainly, it’s not the euro. Jim Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer says gold is the only answer to the question, “if not the dollar, then what?”
- It reveals the growing global impotence of the U.S.
Long able to enforce reluctant countries to adhere in its missions and embargoes around the world, the U.S. is finding its will frustrated. Nations that once had to weigh the favor of the U.S. against their own commercial and domestic political interests are increasingly ignoring the global dictates of the U.S. State Department. In 2003, Turkey, where the prospect of a U.S. invasion of Iraq was wildly unpopular, refused even bribes to allow the U.S. to stage the invasion from its soil. Today, the threat of a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran is meeting with growing disapproval, especially from countries like China and India rely heavily on Iranian oil.
by Robert Wenzel
MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012
Reich says that even if Gingrich has a 10% chance of beating President Obama, if Gingrich gets the nomination, it’s too much of a risk for Democrats to want a Gingrich nomination. He sees Gingrich as that much of a nutjob. Reich writes:…no responsible Democrat should be pleased at the prospect that Gingrich could get the GOP nomination. The future of America is too important to accept even a small risk of a Gingrich presidency…
“Weird” is the word I hear most from Republicans who have worked with him. Scott Klug, a former Republican House member from Wisconsin, who hasn’t endorsed anyone yet, says “Newt has ten ideas a day – two of them are good, six are weird and two are very weird.”
Newt’s latest idea, for example – to colonize the moon – is typically whacky.
The Republican establishment also points to polls showing Gingrich’s supporters to be enthusiastic but his detractors even more fired up. In the latest ABC News/ Washington Post poll, 29 percent view Gingrich favorably while 51 percent have an unfavorable view of him…
Independents, who will be key to the general election, are especially alarmed by Gingrich.
As they should be. It’s not just Newt’s weirdness. It’s also the stunning hypocrisy. His personal life makes a mockery of his moralistic bromides. He condemns Washington insiders but had a forty-year Washington career that ended with ethic violations. He fulminates against finance yet drew fat checks from Freddie Mac. He poses as a populist but has had a $500,000 revolving charge at Tiffany’s.
And it’s the flagrant irresponsibility of many of his propositions – for example, that presidents are not bound by Supreme Court rulings, that the liberal Ninth Circuit court of appeals should be abolished….that the First Amendment guarantees freedom “of” religion but not “from” religion…
Yet Democratic pundits, political advisers, officials and former officials are salivating over the possibility of a Gingrich candidacy. They agree with key Republicans that Newt would dramatically increase the odds of Obama’s reelection and would also improve the chances of Democrats taking control over the House and retaining control over the Senate.
I warn you. It’s not worth the risk.
Half-assed priorities of the federal government. Meanwhile the country’s infrastructure has gone to the dogs. The irony of it all is that we are no more secure as a result of all this military spending. Basically what it has accomplished is to have earned us the enmity of most of the world while dumbing down and impoverishing the populace at home. We have the Ministry of Peace and the Ministry of Plenty to thank for this. To be sure we’re not quite at the “WAR IS PEACE” stage yet, only the “PREEMPTIVE WAR IS PEACE” stage. Call me paranoid but one can’t help but wonder if the government actually wants the unemployment rate to remain high so more struggling young jobless citizens will join the armed forces. A government doesn’t need to use a military draft if it can inveigle voluntary enlistment through careful control and steadfast manipulation of poverty.
“When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die.” ~Jean-Paul Sartre