ICH: Ron Paul: The Creation of the Second Great Depression

September 26, 2008
The Creation of the Second Great Depression
By Ron Paul
Whenever a Great Bipartisan Consensus is announced, and a compliant media assures everyone that the wondrous actions of our wise leaders are being taken for our own good, you can know with absolute certainty that disaster is about to strike. The events of the past week are no exception.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20862.htm
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Show Us the Money
By William Greider
Taxpayers should wake up the politicians and ask them to tell Wall Street: “We want the same deal Warren Buffett got.”
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20867.htm
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Richest Americans See Their Income Share Grow
By Jesse Drucker
In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation’s adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20863.htm
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America’s Elephant In The Room
By David Michael Green
The scope of the destruction is breathtaking to gaze upon. The rapidity with which American affluence and power and respect and responsibility were converted into their opposite numbers is mind-boggling.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20868.htm
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McCain’s Debate Ploy
By Michael Tomasky
A move so unserious, contemptible and cynical that it’s hard to imagine how they even thought of it.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20866.htm
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The New World War
The Silence Is A Lie
By John Pilger
It is a war of the world. In Latin America, the Bush administration is fomenting incipient military coups in Venezuela, Bolivia, and possibly Paraguay, democracies whose governments have opposed Washington’s historic rapacious intervention in its “backyard”. Washington’s “Plan Colombia” is the model for a mostly unreported assault on Mexico.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20864.htm
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Morales Cites “Evidence” of U.S. Meddling
By Haider Rizvi
Bolivian President Evo Morales reiterated the charge Tuesday that the U.S. government was plotting to overthrow his government and that Washington had a hand in the recent episodes of violence in which a number of his supporters were killed and wounded by opposition gangs.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20860.htm
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The Destabilization of Bolivia and the “Kosovo Option”
By Michel Chossudovsky
The death squads armed with automatic weapons responsible for killing supporters of Evo Morales in El Porvenir are supported covertly by the US. According to one report, “USAID has an “Office of Transition Initiatives” operating in Bolivia, funneling millions of dollars of training and support to right-wing opposition regional governments and movements.”
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20861.htm
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The Future Is One Nation
The two-state approach in the Middle East has failed. There is a fairer, more durable solution
By Ghada Karmi
Imagine the scene: the United Nations general assembly meets to discuss a resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Unlike previous resolutions, which have been based on a Jewish state in most of historic Palestine with Palestinians relegated to the remnants, this one calls for a new state, covering what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, whose present and former inhabitants are equal under the law. Such a resolution has, in fact, already been drafted and discussions have begun to place it on the agenda at the UN.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20865.htm
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Horrors of War Our Leaders Never Have to Confront
By Robert Fisk
Private James Owen was to describe how an enraged friend was trying to bayonet another German. “He lunged at the German again and again, who each time lowered his arms and stopped the point of the bayonet with his bare hands. He was screaming for mercy. Oh God it was brutal!”
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20856.htm
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The Blood of Dresden
By Kurt Vonnegut
The author Kurt Vonnegut was a prisoner of war in Dresden during the allied bombing raids and was later forced to dig out bodies from the ruined city. In papers discovered by his son after his death last year, he provides a searing eyewitness account of the ‘obscene brutality’ that inspired his novel Slaughterhouse-Five.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20857.htm
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Naomi Klein: Now Is the Time to Resist Wall Street’s Shock Doctrine

September 24, 2008
Now Is the Time to Resist Wall Street’s Shock Doctrine
By Naomi Klein
The best summary of how the right plans to use the economic crisis to push through their policy wish list comes from Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. On Sunday.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20848.htm
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Mike Whitney: Mushroom Cloud over Wall Street

September 23, 2008

In his latest post on his blog at The Smirking Chimp, Mike Whitney paints a very dark picture ahead for the U.S.:

“One bank to rule them all;
One bank to bind them…”

These are dark times. While you were sleeping the cockroaches were busy about their work, rummaging through the US Constitution, and putting the finishing touches on a scheme to assert absolute power over the nation’s financial markets and the country’s economic future. Industry representative Henry Paulson has submitted legislation to congress that will finally end the pretense that Bush controls anything more than reading the lines from a 4′ by 6′ teleprompter situated just inches from his lifeless pupils. Paulson is in charge now, and the coronation is set for sometime early next week. He rose to power in a stealthily-executed Bankster’s Coup in which he, and his coterie of dodgy friends, declared martial law on the US economy while elevating himself to supreme leader.

“All Hail Caesar!” The days of the republic are over.

Section 8 of the proposed legislation says it all:

“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

Right; “non-reviewable” supremacy.

[…]

Read the remainder of this post here.


Arianna Huffington: The Bailout Plan: Welcome to Economic Shock and Awe

September 23, 2008

In the preface to her post, Arianna Huffington has this to say about the Paulson bailout package:

“Over the past 30 years, Americans have been bombarded with sermons evangelizing for the free market religion of the Right. In the course of selling us on buying, the market-worshippers tried to convince us that all concerns about the most vulnerable members of society could be left up to the soulless, self-correcting calculus of supply and demand. Government involvement was an anachronism, regulatory oversight an impediment. The last few weeks have demolished that notion. In the battle over the proper role of government, the high priests of the church of the Free Market — including Bush, Paulson, and the Masters of Wall Street — have suffered a monumental defeat. So why are we allowing them to dictate the terms of their surrender?

Arianna begins her corresponding article The Bailout Plan: Welcome to Economic Shock and Awe with this:

See if this sounds familiar:

There is a gathering threat to the safety of the United States. We must take immediate action. Congress must quickly grant the President and the Secretary what they want and also give them full and unfettered authority to execute the plan.

Welcome to Economic Shock and Awe (or as some have dubbed it, according to Paul Krugman, “the Authorization for Use of Financial Force”).

Even the amount of taxpayer money being bandied about — $1 trillion — is similar. Think you got your money’s worth for the Iraq war? Congratulations — you’re about to buy another pricey debacle.

[…]

Read the rest of this article here.


Larisa Alexandrovna: Welcome to the final stages of the coup…

September 23, 2008

This latest bailout is the ultimate power grab with Congress giving up its power over finances into the hands of crooks. It is terrible and suicidal for a country that once was a ‘beacon of freedom and democracy’ to the rest of the world.

“If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.” ~ Julius Caesar

Read Larisa Alexandrovna’s chilling piece in the Huffington Post here.

No time needs to be wasted on hearings as we already now have in writing, formally as presented to Congress, the intentions of this administration to nullify Congressional powers permanently, to alter Judicial powers permanently, and to openly steal public funds using as blackmail the total collapse of the US economy if these powers are not handed over. You do see how this is blackmail, do you not? You do see how this is a manufactured crisis precisely designed to be used as blackmail, do you not?

[…]


Mike Whitney: Full-Spectrum Breakdown

September 23, 2008

Mike Whitney calls Henry Paulson’s bailout plan “a band-aid approach to a sucking chest wound”. He goes on to say: “The debts are enormous and the pain will be substantial, but the problem cannot be resolved by crushing the middle class or destroying the currency”. Whitney’s article condemns and explains the deregulated US financial system: “Now taxpayers will pay for the lawless system which men like “industry rep” Henry Paulson put in place. That’s deregulation in a nutshell; a system that allows Wall Street banksters to create credit out of thin air and then run weeping to Congress when their swindles backfire. shows the dire consequences of an unsupervised marketplace where individual players are allowed to create as much credit as they choose”.

The system is at the breaking point, and despite Wall Street’s elation from the proposed $1 trillion dollar bailout to remove toxic mortgage-backed debt from banks balance sheets, the market is still correcting in what has become a vicious downward cycle. This cycle will persist until the bad debts are accounted for and written off for or until the exhausted dollar-system collapses altogether. Either way, the volatility and violent dislocations will continue for the foreseeable future.

And more…

The problems cannot be resolved by shifting the debts of the banks onto the taxpayer. That’s an illusion. By adding another $1 or $2 trillion dollars to the National Debt, Paulson is just ensuring that interest rates will go up, real estate will crash, unemployment will soar, and foreign central banks will abandon the dollar. In truth, there is no fix for a deleveraging market anymore than there is a fix for gravity. The belief that massive debts and insolvency can be erased by increasing liquidity just shows a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. That’s why Henry Paulson is the worst possible person to be orchestrating the so called rescue project. Paulson comes from a business culture which rewards deception, personal acquisitiveness, and extreme risk-taking. Paulson is to finance capitalism what Rumsfeld is to military strategy. His leadership, and the congress’ pathetic abdication of responsibility, assures disaster. Besides, why should the taxpayers be happy that the stocks of Morgan Stanley, Washington Mutual and Goldman Sachs surged on the news that there would be a government bailout yesterday? These banks are essentially bankrupt and their business models are broken. Keeping insolvent banks on life support is not a rescue plan; it’s insanity.

[…]

Read Mike Whitney’s entire article here.


Tomgram: Steve Fraser, The End of a Gilded Age

September 18, 2008

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Nothing like asking for contributions on the eve of a potential economic meltdown, as I did the other day… so I was stunned that a number of you actually reached for the new “Resist Empire. Support TomDispatch” button to the right of the main screen and offered a hand. I can’t begin to tell those of you who did how appreciative I am, and how appreciative future TD writers, who may want to go somewhere to investigate something, are likely to be. (I’ll write you in person as soon as I dig out from under.)

In the meantime, here’s something TD readers can do to support this site’s well-being, should the urge to be helpful strike you. In addition to everyone who bookmarks TomDispatch, more than 20,000 of you now get emails letting you know whenever a new piece has been posted. Those emails, as you may have noticed, have just been snazzily redesigned to offer many windows into the site. It’s a perfect moment for new readers to sign on. Most of them do so thanks to word of mouth, a formidable force in the on-line world. For those of you already hooked on TD, I want to urge you to lend the site a little more of that word-of-mouth power. I hope you’ll consider putting together a modest list of friends, colleagues, relatives who might benefit from getting TomDispatch regularly, urge them to go to the “sign up” window at the upper right of the main screen, put in their e-mail addresses, answer the confirmation letter that will quickly arrive in their email in-boxes (or, fair warning, their spam folders), and join the TD crew. Where else, for instance, could you have read, last January, a piece by Chalmers Johnson, “Going Bankrupt,” on the weak underbelly of the American financial system only now beginning to unravel?]

Among the many media spectacles of the moment, the most unnerving is undoubtedly the crisis on Wall Street that has already essentially toppled Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Merrill Lynch, and — probably not last and certainly not least — the gigantic insurance company AIG, which has just been given $85 billion in taxpayer moneys to liquidate itself. Before we’re done, that hoary old oxymoron of the Left, “late capitalism,” may gain new life.

Elsewhere on the planet, it turns out, it was more obvious that the U.S. was in crisis. One small sign of the changing state of the globe’s “sole superpower” is that, even before banking institutions started to tumble off walls like so many Humpty Dumpties, the International Monetary Fund, that dominatrix of global capital, was planning to pay Washington a working visit. This is the sort of thing you expect, with great trepidation, if you’re Haiti, or Pakistan, or Malawi, or Argentina on the brink of financial meltdown — but the United States? Nonetheless, according to NPR’s David Kestenbaum, “The U.S. Treasury says America has now agreed to get a stability assessment from the IMF. The announcement didn’t get much attention, but officials at the IMF expect to start examining U.S. finances in the next couple [of] months.”

Welcome to the Third World, America. Now, hold your hats while the whirlwind blows and the stock market goes into heart-attack mode. Steve Fraser, an expert on Gilded Ages (and how they end), as well as the author of a superb new book on our financial “masters of the universe” from the eighteenth century to the present, Wall Street: America’s Dream Palace, brought up the dreaded “D” word (for depression) this April at TomDispatch when, in the mainstream, pundits were still wondering whether we might possibly, actually, really be edging toward, or near, a recession. He wrote at the time: “The current breakdown of the financial system is portentous. It threatens a general economic implosion more serious than anyone has witnessed for many decades. Depression, if that is what it turns out to be, together with the agonies of a misbegotten and lost war no one believes in any longer, could undermine whatever is left of the threadbare credibility of our Gilded Age elite.” Now he’s being quoted on the front page of the New York Times. How times (of every sort) have changed in just the space of a few months… Drawing on his knowledge of the history of Wall Street and Washington, now let him offer you now a little perspective for the months to come. Tom

Wall Street and Washington

How the Rules of the Game Have Changed

By Steve Fraser

What is Washington to do as the financial system collapses? Clearly, stark differences in approach as well as in public policy have already emerged. Bail-out Bear Stearns and pump up the brokerage and investment business with new lines of credit. Nationalize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the backs of the taxpayer — but let Lehman drown. Tell the financial community to save itself, after which Bank of America salutes and buys Merrill Lynch. Then, the Fed gets cold feet and decides it can’t let an institution the size of the insurance giant AIG go under as well. Washington is left staring into the abyss. The old rules no longer apply.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.