The Trillion Dollar Coin: Joke or Game-changer? by Ellen Brown

Trillion Dollar Coin

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

by Ellen Brown
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
webofdebt.com
January 18, 2013

The trillion dollar coin actually represents one of the most important principles of popular prosperity ever conceived: the creation of money by sovereign governments, debt-free.

Last week on “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart characterized the proposal that the White House circumvent the debt ceiling by minting a trillion dollar coin as an attempt to “just make shit up.”

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Paul Krugman’s Economic Blinders by Michael Hudson

by Michael Hudson
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://michael-hudson.com
May 14, 2012

Tax the Rich - May Day 2012

Image by swanksalot via Flickr

Paul Krugman is widely appreciated for his New York Times columns criticizing Republican demands for fiscal austerity. He rightly argues that cutting back public spending will worsen the economic depression into which we are sinking. And despite his partisan Democratic Party politicking, he warned from the outset in 2009 that President Obama’s modest counter-cyclical spending program was not sufficiently bold to spur recovery.

These are the themes of his new book, End This Depression Now. In old-fashioned Keynesian style he believes that the solution to insufficient market demand is for the government to run larger budget deficits. It should start by giving revenue-sharing grants of $300 billion annually to states and localities whose budgets are being squeezed by the decline in property taxes and the general economic slowdown.

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Stranger in an Insane Land by Philip A. Farruggio

by Philip A. Farruggio
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
May 6, 2012

turn off the tv live your life

Image by { d } via Flickr

I’m sorry, but I am convinced beyond reproach that we are all part of some giant dream. I mean, this cannot be real! All one has to do is what I just did this Tuesday morning; channel surf all the so called  news talk shows on the boob tube. I started out with Imus, quite appropriately, on the Bloomberg business channel. After all, Donny baby has been a shill for the super rich and famous for decades. His right wing crew of phony blue collar rebels, with the ghosts of ”Rudy Rudy, USA USA” echoing in the background is enough to give any rational person agita. Continue reading

The toppling of the corporate state by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Truthdig
Oct. 24, 2011 Continue reading

America’s China Bashing: A Compendium of Junk Economics by Michael Hudson

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

by Prof Michael Hudson
Global Research
September 29, 2010

It is traditional for politicians to blame foreigners for problems that their own policies have caused. And in today’s zero-sum economies, it seems that if America is losing leadership position, other nations must be the beneficiaries. Inasmuch as China has avoided the financial overhead that has painted other economies into a corner, nationalistic U.S. politicians and journalists are blaming it for America’s declining economic power.

I realize that balance-of-payments accounting and international trade theory are arcane topics, but I promise that by the time you finish this article, you will understand more than 99% of U.S. economists and diplomats striking this self-righteous pose.

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Paul Krugman: The Return of Depression Economics

Dandelion Salad

FORA.tv

New York Times columnist and Nobel economist Paul Krugman comes to the Hudson Union Society to talk about the aftermath of the global economic crisis.

He discusses what it will take to make a full recovery, and explores how issues ranging from cap and trade legislation to healthcare reform will affect America’s economy. Continue reading

Is This The End Of America’s Superpower Status?

Dandelion Salad

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

http://cspanjunkie.org/
October 20, 2008 BBC World

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Socialists say Barack Obama is not

Kucinich Questions Wall Street “Bonuses”

Behind the Panic: Financial Warfare and the Future of Global Bank Power

No More Investment Banks – Turn Them Into Public Utilities By Mike Whitney

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Countdown: Paul Krugman on the Econimic Crisis

Dandelion Salad

heathr456
Sept. 15, 2008

Keith reports on the crisis coming out of the financial markets today and Paul Krugman weighs in.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Countdown: Paul Krugman on the Econim…“, posted with vodpod

Bushed!

Tonight’s: Unitary Executive-Gate, Stop Giving Me Such Good Material-Gate and GOT-Gate.

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The Wall Street crisis and the failure of American capitalism

Lehman, Bear, Freddie, Fannie: What Does It All Mean??? by Josh Sidman

Capital Punishment: Lehman on its way to the Gallows? By Mike Whitney

Marc Faber about Lehman Brothers bankruptcy

Wilbur Ross: Possibly a Thousand Banks Will Close + Nouriel Roubini: If Lehman collapses expect a run

Merrill now in shorts’ sights as Lehman crumbles

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Welcome to Third World, U.S.A. By Arthur Donner & Doug Peters

Dandelion Salad

By Arthur Donner & Doug Peters
ICH
01/01/07 “The Star

“What we’re seeing (in the U.S.) isn’t the rise of a fairly broad class of knowledge workers. Instead, we’re seeing the rise of a narrow oligarchy: Income and wealth are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged elite … It’s time to face up to the fact that rising inequality is driven by the giant income gains of a tiny elite, not the modest gains of college graduates.” – Paul Krugman, New York Times, Feb. 27, 2006.

In the mid-1990s, the Wall Street Journal delivered the classic insult to this nation when it called Canada an honorary Third World country.

Indeed, at that time Canada’s economy was coming out of a period of relative difficulty.

Our balance of payments was shaky, the federal government had posted a long string of budget deficits and the Canadian dollar was weak.

Adding to these economic woes, as of the mid-1990s, Canada also had a long history of posting substantially higher inflation rates than in the United States.

Now, however, the trade and fiscal deficits situation has been turned on its head, with the United States incurring huge fiscal deficits and borrowing enormous amounts of foreign capital to balance its hefty international trade deficit. In fact, in a relatively short time span, the U.S. has become the largest debtor nation in the world.

And as Paul Krugman and many other economists have pointed out, U.S. income disparity is obscenely large and increasing, while higher education is not overcoming the polarization of income and the shrinking of the middle class.

The latter point is somewhat surprising, since most Western democracies see the elimination or reduction of economic inequality as a good idea. Indeed, it is a generally accepted principle that the underlying causes of economic inequality based on such non-economic differences as race, gender, or geography should also be minimized or eliminated.

In other words, there is a strong predilection in most Western countries to level the economic playing field as much as possible. This seems not to be the case in the United States.

The United Nations publishes a Human Development Index that ranks countries in terms of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living. The latest published data were based on 2005 statistics. The U.S., despite its vast wealth and power, placed only in the 12th position among industrial countries. The top four countries were Iceland, Norway, Australia and Canada. These top four countries still pay some lip service to income distribution as an important economic and social goal.

Ironically, the U.S. today has many more features in common with Third World status than Canada ever did back in the mid-1990s.

What is usually meant by a Third World economy? A half-century ago, the term was associated with the economically underdeveloped countries of Africa, Asia, South America and Oceania. The common characteristics of these Third World countries were high levels of poverty, income inequality, high birth rates and an economic dependence upon the advanced countries. Third World countries were simply not as industrialized or technologically advanced as Western countries.

But what are some of the distinguishing characteristics of contemporary Third World countries? They go beyond these nations’ fiscal position or undue concentration on natural resource exports.

The glaring features today include poverty, lack of democratic institutions, controlling oligarchies and the unequal distribution of income and wealth. In other words, the few enjoy a rich lifestyle while the many share subpar incomes and poverty.

Another characteristic of Third World countries is that a major portion of their fiscal expenditures is allocated to the military. In many Third World countries, the military is controlled by an elite or a small collection of the wealthy.

Finally, in many Third World countries one finds that leadership is passed from one generation to the next, often via a close relative.

Guess what country we are talking about now?

Arthur Donner and Doug Peters are Toronto-based economists.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

After the Money’s Gone By Paul Krugman

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Krugman
Truthout
The New York Times
Go to Original
Friday 14 December 2007

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced plans to lend $40 billion to banks. By my count, it’s the fourth high-profile attempt to rescue the financial system since things started falling apart about five months ago. Maybe this one will do the trick, but I wouldn’t count on it.

In past financial crises – the stock market crash of 1987, the aftermath of Russia’s default in 1998 – the Fed has been able to wave its magic wand and make market turmoil disappear. But this time the magic isn’t working.

Why not? Because the problem with the markets isn’t just a lack of liquidity – there’s also a fundamental problem of solvency.

Let me explain the difference with a hypothetical example.

Suppose that there’s a nasty rumor about the First Bank of Pottersville: people say that the bank made a huge loan to the president’s brother-in-law, who squandered the money on a failed business venture.

Even if the rumor is false, it can break the bank. If everyone, believing that the bank is about to go bust, demands their money out at the same time, the bank would have to raise cash by selling off assets at fire-sale prices – and it may indeed go bust even though it didn’t really make that bum loan.

And because loss of confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, even depositors who don’t believe the rumor would join in the bank run, trying to get their money out while they can.

But the Fed can come to the rescue. If the rumor is false, the bank has enough assets to cover its debts; all it lacks is liquidity – the ability to raise cash on short notice. And the Fed can solve that problem by giving the bank a temporary loan, tiding it over until things calm down.

Matters are very different, however, if the rumor is true: the bank really did make a big bad loan. Then the problem isn’t how to restore confidence; it’s how to deal with the fact that the bank is really, truly insolvent, that is, busted.

My story about a basically sound bank beset by a crisis of confidence, which can be rescued with a temporary loan from the Fed, is more or less what happened to the financial system as a whole in 1998. Russia’s default led to the collapse of the giant hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, and for a few weeks there was panic in the markets.

But when all was said and done, not that much money had been lost; a temporary expansion of credit by the Fed gave everyone time to regain their nerve, and the crisis soon passed.

In August, the Fed tried again to do what it did in 1998, and at first it seemed to work. But then the crisis of confidence came back, worse than ever. And the reason is that this time the financial system – both banks and, probably even more important, nonbank financial institutions – made a lot of loans that are likely to go very, very bad.

It’s easy to get lost in the details of subprime mortgages, resets, collateralized debt obligations, and so on. But there are two important facts that may give you a sense of just how big the problem is.

First, we had an enormous housing bubble in the middle of this decade. To restore a historically normal ratio of housing prices to rents or incomes, average home prices would have to fall about 30 percent from their current levels.

Second, there was a tremendous amount of borrowing into the bubble, as new home buyers purchased houses with little or no money down, and as people who already owned houses refinanced their mortgages as a way of converting rising home prices into cash.

As home prices come back down to earth, many of these borrowers will find themselves with negative equity – owing more than their houses are worth. Negative equity, in turn, often leads to foreclosures and big losses for lenders.

And the numbers are huge. The financial blog Calculated Risk, using data from First American CoreLogic, estimates that if home prices fall 20 percent there will be 13.7 million homeowners with negative equity. If prices fall 30 percent, that number would rise to more than 20 million.

That translates into a lot of losses, and explains why liquidity has dried up. What’s going on in the markets isn’t an irrational panic. It’s a wholly rational panic, because there’s a lot of bad debt out there, and you don’t know how much of that bad debt is held by the guy who wants to borrow your money.

How will it all end? Markets won’t start functioning normally until investors are reasonably sure that they know where the bodies – I mean, the bad debts – are buried. And that probably won’t happen until house prices have finished falling and financial institutions have come clean about all their losses. All of this will probably take years.

Meanwhile, anyone who expects the Fed or anyone else to come up with a plan that makes this financial crisis just go away will be sorely disappointed.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Banks Gone Wild By Paul Krugman

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Krugman
ICH
11/24/07 “

“What were they smoking?” asks the cover of the current issue of Fortune magazine. Underneath the headline are photos of recently deposed Wall Street titans, captioned with the staggering sums they managed to lose.

The answer, of course, is that they were high on the usual drug — greed. And they were encouraged to make socially destructive decisions by a system of executive compensation that should have been reformed after the Enron and WorldCom scandals, but wasn’t.

In a direct sense, the carnage on Wall Street is all about the great housing slump.

This slump was both predictable and predicted. “These days,” I wrote in August 2005, “Americans make a living selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from the Chinese. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like a sustainable lifestyle.” It wasn’t.

But even as the danger signs multiplied, Wall Street piled into bonds backed by dubious home mortgages. Most of the bad investments now shaking the financial world seem to have been made in the final frenzy of the housing bubble, or even after the bubble began to deflate.

In fact, according to Fortune, Merrill Lynch made its biggest purchases of bad debt in the first half of this year — after the subprime crisis had already become public knowledge.

Now the bill is coming due, and almost everyone — that is, almost everyone except the people responsible — is having to pay.

The losses suffered by shareholders in Merrill, Citigroup, Bear Stearns and so on are the least of it. Far more important in human terms are the hundreds of thousands if not millions of American families lured into mortgage deals they didn’t understand, who now face sharp increases in their payments — and, in many cases, the loss of their houses — as their interest rates reset.

And then there’s the collateral damage to the economy.

You still hear occasional claims that the subprime fiasco is no big deal. Even though the numbers keep getting bigger — some observers are now talking about $400 billion in losses — these losses are small compared with the total value of financial assets.

But bad housing investments are crippling financial institutions that play a crucial role in providing credit, by wiping out much of their capital. In a recent report, Goldman Sachs suggested that housing-related losses could force banks and other players to cut lending by as much as $2 trillion — enough to trigger a nasty recession, if it happens quickly.

Beyond that, there’s a pervasive loss of trust, which is like sand thrown in the gears of the financial system. The crisis of confidence is plainly visible in the market data: there’s an almost unprecedented spread between the very low interest rates investors are willing to accept on U.S. government debt — which is still considered safe — and the much higher interest rates at which banks are willing to lend to each other.

How did things go so wrong?

Part of the answer is that people who should have been alert to the dangers, and taken precautionary measures, instead blithely assured Americans that everything was fine, and even encouraged them to take out risky mortgages. Yes, Alan Greenspan, that means you.

But another part of the answer lies in what hasn’t happened to the men on that Fortune cover — namely, they haven’t been forced to give back any of the huge paychecks they received before the folly of their decisions became apparent.

Around 25 years ago, American business — and the American political system — bought into the idea that greed is good. Executives are lavishly rewarded if the companies they run seem successful: last year the chief executives of Merrill and Citigroup were paid $48 million and $25.6 million, respectively.

But if the success turns out to have been an illusion — well, they still get to keep the money. Heads they win, tails we lose.

Not only is this grossly unfair, it encourages bad risk-taking, and sometimes fraud. If an executive can create the appearance of success, even for a couple of years, he will walk away immensely wealthy. Meanwhile, the subsequent revelation that appearances were deceiving is someone else’s problem.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. The huge rewards executives receive if they can fake success are what led to the great corporate scandals of a few years back. There’s no indication that any laws were broken this time — but the public’s trust was nonetheless betrayed, once again.

The point is that the subprime crisis and the credit crunch are, in an important sense, the result of our failure to effectively reform corporate governance after the last set of scandals.

John Edwards recently came out with a corporate reform plan, but it didn’t receive a lot of attention. Corporate governance still isn’t regarded as a major political issue. But it should be.

Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics at Princeton University and a regular New York Times columnist. His most recent book is The Conscience of a Liberal.

© 2007 The New York Times

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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“A Generalized Meltdown of Financial Institutions” By Mike Whitney

Enough, Already! by The Other Katherine Harris

Paul Krugman: The Conscience of a Liberal (video)

Updated: Dec. 21, 2007 as first video became unavailable.

Dandelion Salad

 pdxjustice

Princeton University Professor of Economics and International Affairs, author and columnist for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, talks about his most recent book, THE CONSCIENCE OF A LIBERAL.  Added: December 20, 2007

Crisis in the U.S.: “Plan B”? by Richard C. Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, November 11, 2007

Strange events are taking place in the U.S.

By August 2007, a lot of very smart people were reading the tea leaves, convinced that the upper echelons of the U.S. government had their own hidden reasons for forecasting an event even more heinous than the attacks of September 11, 2001.

President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff had been hinting that another 9/11 could be coming.

Figures from the U.S. military had also projected a 9/11-type event. On April 23, 2006, for instance, the Washington Post published a statement by an unnamed Pentagon source that, “Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets.”

9/11 was a turning point in history, and not just because it provided a pretext for the Bush administration to use off-the-shelf plans to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The 9/11 Commission criticized the government for failing to do enough to act on danger signs that attacks may have been afoot. But a movement has formed which argues that the reality was worse—that 9/11 was an inside job staged to further the geopolitical ambitions of an elite seeking to use U.S. military power to advance its own imperialistic agenda.

What is indisputable is that from the 2000 presidential election through the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman termed a “revolutionary power” took control of the U.S. government.

Krugman’s statement, contained in the introduction to his 2005 book The Great Unraveling, has not been taken seriously enough. George W. Bush had lost the popular vote to Al Gore but was named to office by a Supreme Court that rubber-stamped what Greg Palast and others have proven was an extended process of electoral fraud in Florida. The subsequent actions and policies of the Bush/Cheney administration have been in accord with its dubious beginnings.

From the emergence of the Neocons as an ideological power base dominant over U.S. foreign policy, to destruction wreaked on the Bill of Rights by illegal surveillance of citizens, to the senseless creation of the bureaucratically monstrous Department of Homeland Security and passage of the Patriot Acts, to the initiation of “wars of choice” leading to the devastation of two nations and the killing or displacement of perhaps a million Middle Eastern non-combatants, to violation of international treaties and conventions against wars of aggression and torture of prisoners, to presiding over an economy ruined by the continued export of manufacturing jobs and the creation and deflation of the housing bubble, to the wrecking of the federal budget by over a trillion dollars of wartime expenditure, to the abandonment of the city of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, to tax cuts for the most wealthy while the income of the middle class has drastically eroded, and to threats to start another war, this time against Iran, based on deceptions similar to those which preceded the Iraq invasion, the Bush/Cheney administration has brought the U.S. to the brink of catastrophe.

What is now being asked is whether there was a plan that was to take place in September-October 2007 whereby the rest of the job would have been done. Speculation was that a nuclear device was to have been detonated in a U.S. city, perhaps one of the six attached to cruise missiles that were “inadvertently” carried by the Air Force B-52 bomber that flew from South Dakota to Louisiana just before Labor Day.

Check this link from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for the official explanation of the incident:
http://www2.arkansasonline.com/

According to the Air Force’s report, the missiles were being mothballed due to “a treaty,” but ground personnel at Minot Air Force Base “grabbed the wrong ones” and loaded missiles with nuclear warheads by mistake.

Some have argued that these nukes were secretly bound for Iran to prepare for a nuclear attack on that country. But would such a Keystone Cops routine have been necessary to prepare for military action as a contingency to implement a possible decision coming from the highest political levels?

Suppose, on the other hand, that one of the nukes was targeted for a false-flag domestic attack, perhaps a city like Portland, Oregon, where military exercises simulating a major terrorist incident had been scheduled and where residents actually were warning each other to leave town.

Was the attack to trigger an economic collapse, leading as a side-effect to a payoff of billions of dollars for the placers of the “bin Laden bets” that were reportedly made in the financial markets anticipating a fifty percent decline in stock prices? Of course such an attack would be blamed on foreign terrorists. The trail of the explosion would be found to lead to Iran, resulting in war against that nation. Would the Constitution then have been suspended and martial law declared? Would citizens have been rounded up and herded into prison camps?

Such a scenario seems unfathomable, horrendous, even incredible. But it still may have been in character for a regime whose actions have led the world to view the U.S. as the greatest existing threat to peace. Rumors about such possible events have been churning on the internet for months.

But the rumors have not been confined to “conspiracy theorists.” Regarding President Bush’s commitment to the sanctity of constitutional processes, Congressman John Olver expressed the prevailing view in government circles when he told twenty of his constituents at a private meeting in Massachusetts on July 5, 2007, that he could not support a movement to impeach Bush. According to an attendee, the reason the Congressman gave was that, “The President would declare a national emergency, institute martial law, and suspend the 2008 elections.”

Therefore we might ask if it is true, as some sources have alleged, that the reason these events have not taken place was that there was a revolt by the U.S. military, which refused to carry out the false-flag attack that may have been intended?

What then has happened differently which indicates that events may have altered or postponed such a sinister denouement to the nightmare of the last seven years?

What has happened appears to be that the U.S. establishment has decided to move to “Plan B.” This may be defined as a decision that the sway of the Bush/Cheney regime must end and that some semblance of normality should be restored, at least in appearance, by making Hillary Clinton the next President.

Of course part and parcel of any Hillary Clinton presidency would be the presence and participation of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. We may rightly speak of “the Clintons” as a unit in this context.

The signs that Hillary Clinton is the President-designee have been appearing in droves. These include her rise in the polls, especially in Iowa, the emergence of an anti-Bush surge in the mega-media, especially on MSNBC, and the appointment of Democrats with ties to the Clintons at the Defense and Treasury Departments. Other signs include the emergence of a campaign by certain well-connected websites to keep tabs on pro-Neocon news commentators and offensives being launched against some particularly obnoxious right-wing media figures such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

The way Hillary Clinton is being portrayed in the mega-media is of decisive importance, because media-owning conglomerates such as GE, Viacom, and Disney serve the interests of the establishment, not the public. Nothing makes it to the airwaves without the approval of the financial interests which control these giants. Also decisive was the appearance of Hillary and Bill on the cover of the October 6 edition of The Economist, long the keystone publication of the Anglo-American international financial empire.

The Washington Post, another establishment house organ, has noted that Hillary herself is couching her election in terms of “when, not if.” The theme she is projecting is that of an anointed insider calling for “national unity.” For this she is being duly attacked by her competitors, most notably John Edwards.

The best example of how the mega-media is telegraphing establishment intent was Chris Mathews’ lead story on Hardball on Monday night, November 5, which displayed MSNBC’s “Power Rankings” for presidential candidates. The segment began with an adulatory profile of Hillary’s campaign. Mathews then set a record for premature declaration of victory by predicting her as “the most likely winner of the Democratic nomination and presidential election” a full year before the election is even to take place.

Mathews repeated his judgment several times in what was obviously rehearsed language, even as the members of his three-person panel of commentators were trying in vain to raise objections, including the view that Hillary might not even win the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. Mathews repeatedly overrode his own experts with his insistence that Hillary was the MSMBC pick.

Oh yes, we will have the formality of a presidential election. Doubtless some fur will fly, because Hillary will always be the Clinton the right-wing most loves to hate. So we won’t see a coronation.

It is certain, however, that the current regime will exact a price for accepting at least temporary defeat. So far the price seems to be agreement by Hillary Clinton that the conquest of Iraq is a fait accompli, that the building of the Baghdad supersize embassy will continue, that permanent military bases in Iraq will be maintained a lá Korea, and that the option of an attack on Iran will remain “on the table.”

She has not raised her voice against any of this. The vehicle by which Clinton signed on to a possible attack on Iran was her vote in favor of the Senate resolution naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist sponsor. Perhaps there is also an understanding between the Clintons and the Bush/Cheney camp that the latter will not be prosecuted for crimes committed in office.

No matter who becomes president in 2008, that person will be left with a nation in disarray. This includes a foreign policy that has been sacrificed to militaristic interests, the rise of a militant Russia now allied with China through the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, and a Latin America in open revolt against U.S. domination. Even maintaining a post-Bush foreign policy will be a challenge, given Condoleezza Rice’s legacy of a State Department whose morale is in shreds due to a vicious Neocon takeover of the foreign service that will persist for a generation or more.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a wreck, with out-of-control debt, the housing collapse in full flower, continued erosion of manufacturing jobs, a sinking dollar, a crumbling physical infrastructure, soaring oil and food prices, out-of-control illegal immigration, and hordes of well-heeled foreigners buying U.S. assets with rapidly depreciating dollars.

The economy is in much worse shape today than when Bill Clinton took over from George H. W. Bush in 1992. It will be a miracle if the next president is able to keep the U.S. from sinking into a depression. The only qualification to this assessment lies with the large companies heavily invested in the growing Chinese economy—GM, GE, IBM, etc. But a majority of the stock of these and other corporations is owned by financial institutions, while the trickle-down effect of dividends will provide only a fraction of the purchasing power needed to keep the U.S. economy afloat.

While the views of the American public still seem to register to a slight degree, the Democrats have failed to respond to their restoration by the electorate to power in Congress by ending the Iraq War. But by their votes in 2006 and by consistently giving George W. Bush such low ratings in the polls, Americans have delivered a message. So have the many internet sites covering the real news of the war and the economy.

As well have the two maverick presidential candidates, Ron Paul the Republican and Dennis Kucinich the Democrat, who have been saying things not heard in the supine world of American politics for a long time. Things like getting rid of the inept handling of credit by the Federal Reserve and stopping the war in Iraq by exiting right now, without any more lies or excuses.

But it is by no means certain that there is much immediate hope of salvaging the nation from the current debacle. The interests of millions of Americans have been severely damaged by the financial and political malfeasance that has gone on for so long. Abroad, the deaths or ruin of large numbers of people in the Middle East must be accounted for. That region is now less stable than ever, as the situation in Pakistan shows. A negotiated two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians seems a distant dream. Finally, sane multilateral systems for sharing of the world’s resources among nations or dealing with global warming are nowhere in sight. And a nuclear holocaust involving the U.S. vs. Russia and possibly China is a growing danger.

Further, the U.S. economy can’t simply be “fixed.” It is too far gone for that. The elite began their takedown of the economy during the 1970s and show no signs of being able to reverse course. It started with the removal of the gold-peg to the dollar in 1971 and continued with the explosion of U.S. currency on the international scene due to the petrodollar, soaring trade and fiscal deficits, action to permanently mortgage us to military-backed dependence on imported Middle Eastern oil, a permanent tilt in favor of Israel vs. the Islamic world, and, finally, the galloping 1970s inflation.

These events led to the Fed-induced crash of 1979-83 which left us with today’s travesty of a “service” economy. Now in 2007 the Fed is trying to engineer a “soft landing” of an economy trapped in unsustainable debt and collapsing bubbles, at least until the 2008 election. But everyone knows a crash is coming, particularly as China and other nations dump the plummeting dollar as their reserve currency.

So what are the Clintons and their government-in-waiting planning? You would think they had something in mind. But maybe not. During the 1990s, Bill Clinton acted in full accord with the globalists’ agenda by continuing with the Reagan/Bush I privatization of the economy, with downsizing of government, and with promotion of the dot.com bubble that ended with the 2000 market crash. Unfortunately, it will not be as simple to engineer a repeat performance of even the ephemeral prosperity of the 1990s when what is lacking today is a real economic driver.

The grievous condition of the U.S. is reflected in an epidemic of mental and emotional illness and a rising violent crime rate. It is reflected in a USA Today poll, where 72 percent of Americans say the nation is moving in the wrong direction (74 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll). And who knows what disasters global warming has in store?

To face all this will require a decisive reorientation of U.S. governance. There is little in the history of the Clintons, their opportunistic style, and their passivity to the financier elite that justifies this much optimism. The financial controllers today exert more power over the U.S. economy and the nation’s politics than at any time in history. They are not giving up this power. In fact, Hillary is their “safest” choice among the Democrats in maintaining control.

Perhaps we may want to indulge in a sigh of relief at how much worse things could have been—or may still be—if Bush/Cheney unleash even more disasters. But stay tuned. The next four years are likely to be decisive—particularly because the plan to elevate Hillary Clinton may be a trap by which she is left holding the bag for an economic collapse that would make it much easier than at present for the Neocon storm troopers to rush back in.

What is absolutely certain is that the people of the world do not want war, regardless of their religion, race, or nationality. The people of the world want economic fairness. The people of the world want to live by honest labor, not bank credit. And the people of the world want an environment that is clean and safe for future generations. The only people who do not appear to want these things have been those who are currently in charge of the U.S. government.

The question now is what are the American people willing to do to assure that what is truly in the best interests of the nation will prevail? Will they continue to be manipulated by the fear which has been the basis of the Bush/Cheney mode of governance? Will they continue to act as obedient puppets as it becomes harder and harder to earn a living and raise a family in an economy throttled by debt and a declining standard of living? Will they simply vote for whom they are told to support by the media and the pollsters? Or will some decide that enough is enough and resolve to take America back in 2008?

But even if they do, can they succeed?

While Hillary Clinton is likely the designated Democratic nominee, Rudy Giuliani leads the polls for the Republicans. Giuliani, with his own group of Neocon advisers and his militant outbursts promising more war, is the ideological godson of Bush/Cheney.

Whoever is pulling the strings behind the scenes, it is likely obvious to them that to allow a character like Giuliani to step in while so many raw nerves are exposed among the American populace could lead to a premature explosion. Especially since Giuliani spent most of his adult life as a prosecutor putting people in jail. It’s hardly a time in the nation’s life when what is needed as head of state is an expert at slamming people into detention.

So what if Giuliani actually threatens to defeat Hillary while the establishment has decided to support her, perhaps just to buy time?

The establishment is taking precautions. It seems to be doing so by starting to promote a plan that could see Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate. You can see this unfolding, for instance, in his favorable treatment on CNN’s “Situation Room.” And could Dr. Paul really have begun suddenly to raise enormous amounts of campaign cash without someone in the establishment giving a green light?

Ron Paul as a candidate would obviously generate enormous excitement. But he could end up playing the same role as Ross Perot in the 1992 election, where Perot allowed disgruntled voters to let off steam while drawing enough votes to allow Bill Clinton to defeat George H.W. Bush.

One way or the other, the fix is on.

Finally, we should note that the “revolutionary power” Paul Krugman refers to is not just the Bush/Cheney/Neocon regime. They are only the most visible recent manifestation.

The true “revolutionary power” is much less visible but may reasonably be identified with the higher echelons of the “financier elite” and “establishment” referred to throughout this article. The underlying agenda of this group seems to be to destroy the U.S. as the world’s greatest industrial democracy, turn it into a province of a globalist system under their control, and use its land and population as muscle for world monetary and military dominance.

Can anything be done? Of course. The underlying problem is that the power and wealth acquired by the U.S. after World War II has eroded—has perhaps been squandered—as the rest of the world has grown up. Certainly, if the right people were in charge the U.S. could accept the inevitable, rebuild its failed domestic economy on democratic principles, and assume its rightful place as one of several major world powers, with the responsibility this would entail. Instead, we have been trying to hold onto what has slipped away by a continued resort to financial aggression combined with force of arms, rather than altruistic action based on enlightened ideals.

It’s a failed mission. What has happened to America in the last decade is turning into the greatest tragedy of modern history.

And what can ordinary people do while all this is unfolding? The best advice seems to be not to try to hoard paper assets, which the elite are able easily to manipulate or devalue. It’s to get out of debt, hone our manual skills, invest in a small business, grow our own food, stay positive, help others, work hard, eschew the consumption lifestyle, pray and meditate, be sober, and learn to think for ourselves. We might try to work within the political system if we can and want to, but should not count on easy successes, because, as the man said, “It’s a hard rain’s gonna fall.”

Richard C. Cook is a retired federal analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at www.richardccook.com.

Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook
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Real Time with Bill Maher (videos)

Dandelion Salad

heathr234

Real Time’s Overtime segment with Joy Behar, Paul Krugman and Tucker Carlson.

Tucker Carlson shows how much of a hack he is with this agrument on health insurance. Why should those who benefit from the system pay into it instead of those that are insured paying the cost when they show up in the emergency room? In Tucker’s view this is “authoritarianism” Look at how the Democrats messed up the bill according to Tucker when it was actually the Republicans who decided it was better to tax smokers than the insurance companies and taxing smokers was the only way to get it through or do nothing. Carlson then goes on to defend the Malkin attacks on the kid who did the Democratic address on SCHIP and it makes you look “mean” if you don’t attack him and actually have to debate your points instead. Tucker tries to act like he’s not a “shill for a party”, yeah right. Bill gets it wron since the family tried to get insurance and were denied. It wasn’t only because they might not have been able to afford it. Then the point is made about the money we’re spending in Iraq and what our priorities are. Then Krugman makes the point that the GOP doesn’t want the goverment to work. Tucker tries to play the good and evil card after that and that everyone just hates Bush baloney and Maher shoots him down.

The panel discusses just what Blackwater is doing in Iraq and Tucker Carlson says that we have to have them there or our diplomats could not be protected and that our troops could not do the same job. Paul Krugman tells him his arguments are idiotic.

Bill Maher’s Real Tims intro on the SCHIP veto.

Real Time New Rules Oct. 12, 2007. Romney for the robot hair, making mistakes at any age, Xerox machines, flag lapel pins, phony outrage and the trouble with the MSM.

Krugman: The Conscience of a Liberal (vid interview)

Dandelion Salad

Veracifier

On Monday we sat down (virtually) with the New York Times oped page’s Paul Krugman to talk about his new book, The Conscience of a Liberal, what it… On Monday we sat down (virtually) with the New York Times oped page’s Paul Krugman to talk about his new book, The Conscience of a Liberal, what it’s like being ‘radicalized’ by the Bush administration and what he thinks the “big stand up and cheer moment” of the 2008 campaign has been so far.