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ASIAN MARKETS GAIN AFTER US HOUSE PASSES STIMULUS BILL; EUROPE OPENS DOWN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 29, 2009

January 29, 2009 – 3:45 AM

by Stephen Wright – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

BANGKOK, Thailand – Asian markets advanced Thursday, with Hong Kong jumping 4.6 percent in a catch-up rally, as the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $819 billion stimulus bill that investors hope will help lift the American economy out of its worst crisis in decades. European markets opened lower.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 144.95 points, or 1.8 percent, to 8,251.24 even as new data showed that retail sales in the world’s second-largest economy sank the most in nearly four years in December.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng leaped 575.83 points, or 4.6 percent, to 13,154.43 after being closed for three days for the Lunar New Year. Mainland China’s markets are closed all week. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.7 percent and Australia’s main index rose 0.9 percent.

Sentiment in Asia got a boost as President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package moved closer to becoming a reality.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved the bill Wednesday night, sending it to the Senate where debate could begin as early as Monday. Democratic leaders have pledged to have legislation ready for Obama’s signature by mid-February.

“The U.S. stimulus package has a positive psychological impact on markets globally,” said Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong.

“But there is still going to be bad news in the form of profit warnings and unemployment,” he said. “The unemployment rate is going to continue to climb, making U.S. consumers even more hesitant about spending.”

As trading got underway in Europe, major bourses fell with France’s CAC-40 off 1.1 percent, Germany’s DAX down 1 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 slipping 1.1 percent.

U.S. stock index futures were down, suggesting Wall Street would open lower Thursday. Dow futures were down 87 points, or 1.1 percent, at 8,235 and S&P500 futures were off 8.6 points, or 1 perc(AP) — ent, at 862.90.

Financial stocks led Asia’s advance Thursday, buoyed in part by hopes of new U.S. efforts to trim bad debt and spur lending.

In Hong Kong, banking giant HSBC jumped 8.4 percent and China’s top lender, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., or ICBC, added 5 percent.

In Tokyo, megabank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group soared 13 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ jumped 4.8 percent and Mizuho added 5.2 percent.

Japanese exporters such as Sony and Toshiba reported weak quarterly results after the market closed.

Sony Corp.’s net profit tumbled 95 percent in the October-December quarter, as the global slump hurt sales of its core electronics products, while Toshiba Corp. sank into the red in the third quarter and expects a loss for the full year.

Elsewhere, New Zealand’s benchmark index was up 0.8 percent after the central bank slashed its key interest rate by 1.5 percentage points to 3.5 percent to prevent the country’s recession from deepening.

Oil prices slipped below $42 a barrel as rising U.S. crude inventories offset expectations the U.S. stimulus package will revive growth and consumer demand. Light, sweet crude for March delivery was down 34 cents to $41.82 a barrel by midday in Singapore in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In currency trading, the dollar fell to 90.02 yen from 90.41 late Wednesday in New York, while the euro declined to $1.3044 from $1.3139.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

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RUSSIA, CHINA BLAME WOES ON CAPITALISM – SPEECHES CRITICIZE INAPPROPRIATE POLICIES, FOCUS ON DOLLAR’S ROLE; YET PUTIN SENDS OBAMA CONCILIATORY SIGNAL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 29, 2009

JANUARY 29, 2009

by Marc Champion in Davos, Switzerland; Andrew Batson in Beijing and Greg White in Moscow

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE WALL STREET JOURNAL’ (USA)

The premiers of Russia and China slammed the U.S. economic system in speeches Wednesday, holding it responsible for the global economic crisis.

Both focused on the role of the U.S. dollar, with China’s Premier Wen Jiabao calling for better regulation of major reserve currencies and Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin calling over-reliance on the dollar “dangerous.”

Speaking on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, they both urged more international cooperation to escape the downturn. They also talked up the abilities of their own economies to ride out the recession. Mr. Wen said he was “confident” China would hit its 8% growth target for this year even though that was “a tall order.” (See the full text)

The Russian and Chinese leaders also called for cooperation with U.S. President Barack Obama, but it was a chilly reception for the new administration that reflected growing anger in economies that are now getting hit hard by a financial crisis that began with subprime mortgages sold in the U.S.

Mr. Putin was characteristically blunt. He called for the development of multiple, regional reserve currencies in addition to the dollar. “Excessive dependence on a single reserve currency is dangerous for the global economy,” Mr. Putin said. (See the full text)

The Russian leader mocked U.S. businessmen who he said had boasted at last year’s Davos meeting of the U.S. economy’s fundamental strength and “cloudless” prospects. “Today, investment banks, the pride of Wall Street, have virtually ceased to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr. Wen called for an expansion of regulatory “coverage of the international financial system, with particular emphasis on strengthening the supervision on major reserve currencies.”

While Mr. Wen never named the U.S., his critique of its failings was as sweeping as Mr. Putin’s. The financial crisis, he said, was “attributable to inappropriate macroeconomic policies of some economies and their unsustainable model of development characterized by prolonged low savings and high consumption; excessive expansion of financial institutions in blind pursuit of profit” – and other excesses.

“The entire economic growth system, where one regional center prints money without respite and consumes material wealth, while another regional centre manufactures inexpensive goods … has suffered a major setback,” Mr. Putin said.

Mr. Wen’s comments came just days after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner accused China of manipulating its currency for economic gain. The Chinese premier gently, but firmly warned that if Washington and Beijing chose confrontation, both would be losers.

But the different tones of the two speeches, and the fact that Mr. Wen didn’t call for replacing the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency but regulating it, reflect crucial differences in the important emerging economies.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury Department declined to comment on the remarks in the speeches. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Many of the attendees at Davos took the remarks from Mr. Putin and Mr. Wen in stride. “The sad thing is is that we might have scoffed at this a while ago. But we really dragged the world down” economically, Alan Blinder, former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said in an interview after the speeches.

The rapid collapse of oil and commodities prices has hit Russia hard on top of the ripples of the financial crisis. The government now forecasts the economy will shrink for the first time in a decade this year, after growing 6% last year.

“In a very real sense Russia has been kicked to the margins, while China has become pivotal to any resolution of the financial crisis,” says Bob Lo, Director of the Russia and China programs at the Center for European Reform in London.

Mr. Putin’s government has spent $200 billion of hard currency reserves to defend the Russian currency, the ruble. It has spent as much again in a bailout package that amounts to 15% of gross domestic product, one of the largest responses to the financial crisis in the world. Unlike China, Russia’s economy is too dependent on commodities exports and too small to play a significant role in any global recovery, says Mr. Lo.

Russia also has negligible trade with the U.S., while Chinese exports are heavily dependent on U.S. consumers and Beijing holds $2 trillion in U.S. debt, prompting a much more cautious approach towards Washington and the dollar in Beijing.

The net effect of falling oil prices and the downturn, however, has been to make Russia more vulnerable and the Kremlin weaker, analysts say. Russian officials have begun to send out more conciliatory signals to the new U.S. administration.

“We wish the new team success,” Mr Putin said Wednesday, calling on it to cooperate.

China, too, is suffering from the downturn. Many independent economists, including economists at the International Monetary Fund, question whether Beijing will be able to meet its 8% growth target this year.

Developed nations are increasingly calling for China to do more to stimulate its own economy. On Wednesday, Mr. Wen gave a detailed account of the four trillion yuan ($585 billion) investment program China announced in November. “As a big responsible country” China was actively boosting domestic, and particularly consumer demand, said Mr. Wen.

The headline sum in the program would likely be equivalent to around 3% of gross domestic product in 2009 and 2010. But even government officials aren’t promising that much of a boost to the economy. Zhang Ping, the head of the National Development and Reform Commission, in November estimated it would add about one percentage point to GDP growth this year and next.

That may have seemed like a lot at the time, but expectations for global and Chinese growth have rapidly deteriorated since then. Mr. Wen said growth slowed to 6.8% in the fourth quarter from the same period a year earlier. That’s a little more than half the 13% gain in 2007, at the height of the boom. Some economists believe China could grow by as little as 5% this year, too little to provide jobs for the graduates flooding into the labor market from Chinese universities and schools each year and a further drag on the global economy.

Less noticed in Mr. Geithner’s repetition of Mr. Obama’s campaign-trail assertion that China “manipulates” its currency last week was his argument that the long U.S.-Chinese dispute over currency didn’t matter as much as getting China to do more to boost its economic growth.

“Given the crisis the immediate focus needs to be on the broader issue of stabilizing domestic demand in China and the U.S.,” Mr. Geithner said in his written response to questions during his Senate confirmation process. “A further slowdown in China would lead to a substantial fall in world growth (and demand for U.S. exports) and delay recovery from the crisis.”

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A6

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE WALL STREET JOURNAL’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCE, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, RUSSIA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA COMMITTED TO ‘GREEN’ ECONOMY (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

by Xinhua

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

LOS ANGELES: The Obama administration is pushing forward with plans to aggressively limit greenhouse gas emissions PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMAand fight global warming, US media reported.

The plans would include a cap-and-trade initiative to limit greenhouse gases and raise the cost of pumping more carbon into the atmosphere, the Los Angeles Times said Sunday (Monday in Manila).

Under the initiative, the government would set limits on carbon emissions by power plants, factories and other installations, but allow those who emit more to buy or trade permits with companies and facilities that emitted less than the prescribed limit, according to the newspaper.

But the move would amount to a tax, raising energy costs. And several independent studies have suggested that emissions limits would only increase energy price and be a drag on economic growth, at least in the short term.

Despite such fears, the Obama government believed that a “clean energy economy” move would spur competition and promote investment in renewable alternatives to imported oil.

Two-pronged plan

The administration is expected to move forward with a two-pronged effort to stimulate renewable energy supplies and ensure demand for the megawatts they would produce, the newspaper reported.

The first part is to invest heavily in wind power, solar power and biofuels through the massive stimulus bill, while the second is to help those forms of energy compete with cheaper fossil fuels by pumping up fossil fuel costs to reflect the potential economic damage from global warming, according to the paper.

“If we don’t put a price on carbon,” said Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “We’ll never get these clean energy sources on line.”

Instead of dragging the economy, the plan to limit greenhouse emissions would stimulate the economy and “allow polluters to transition from a high-polluting environment to a low-polluting environment,” said Andy Stevenson, a former hedge fund manager who is now a finance advisor for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

Posted in AEOLIC, AGRICULTURE, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), BIODIESEL, BIOFUELS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, ETHANOL, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, GLOBAL WARMING, HEALTH SAFETY, HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATURAL GAS, POLLUTION, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STATE TARIFFS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA GREEN LIGHT FOR TOUGH FUEL LAWS – OBAMA BEGINS ROLLING BACK BUSH CLIMATE POLICY (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 26, 2009

January 26, 2009

The Times

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GLOBAL WARMING, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

ANALYSIS: HARD TIMES HELP GEITHNER’S TREASURY BID

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 25, 2009

Sunday January 25, 2009

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA’S ECONOMIC PLAN MEETS GOP PUSHBACK – PRESIDENT SHOWS BIPARTISANSHIP HAS CLEAR LIMITS; ‘I WON. I TRUMP YOU,’ HE TELLS GOP (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 24, 2009

Jan. 23, 2009

by Jake Tapper, Rick Klein and Jonathan Karl

PUBLISHED BY ‘ABC NEWS’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ABC NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in AL QAEDA, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, HEALTH CARE - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA FIRMA LA ORDEN DE CLAUSURA DE GUANTÁNAMO (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 22, 2009

22.01.09 – 21:50

Diario Vasco – AGENCIAS – WASHINGTON

PUBLISHED BY ‘DIARIO VASCO’ (Basque Country)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DIARIO VASCO’ (Basque Country)

Posted in AL QAEDA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA NAMES TWO INDIAN-AMERICANS (NEAL KUMAR KATYAL AND PREETA BANSAL) TO KEY POSTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 22, 2009

21 Jan 2009, 0120 hrs IST

IANS

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES PRO-LABOR BILLS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 21, 2009

January 20, 7:03 AM

by Matthew Nelson – Business Law Examiner

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE EXAMINER’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE EXAMINER’ (USA)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, STATE TARIFFS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT, USA | Leave a Comment »

WALL ST. SINKS ON OBAMA INAUGURATION DAY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 21, 2009

Wednesday, 21 Jan, 2009 – 05:53 AM PST

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in AL QAEDA, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, HEALTH CARE - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA’S AFGHAN STRATEGY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 21, 2009

Tuesday, 20 Jan, 2009 – 11:19 AM PST

by Shahid Javed Burki

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in AFGHANISTAN, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL, MILITARY CONTRACTS, RECESSION, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

THE NUMBERS ARE HORRIFYING (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

Jan. 26, 2009

Mohamed A. El-Erian

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ – print edition -(USA)

NEWSWEEK – Jan. 26, 2009

GLOBAL INVESTOR

By Mohamed A. El-Erian

THE NUMBERS ARE HORRIFYING

On Tuesday, President-elect Barack Obama inherits an economic calamity, and the situation will get worse in the first few months of his presidency regardless of what he does. How quickly it improves thereafter is not just a matter of which policies he decides to pursue; importantly, it is also a function of how he pursues them. Investors need to pay close attention lest they experience yet another challenging and, in some cases, devastating year.

No one should doubt that we are still in the midst of a historic economic crisis. Having incurred massive losses, individuals and companies around the world are, not surprisingly, saving more—some by choice as they attempt to restore balance to their finances and others by necessity as their credit lines are cut by beleaguered lenders. As detailed elsewhere in this edition of NEWSWEEK, the world has entered an Age of Thrift. Less spending by individuals will mean even lower demand, and the production of goods and services will be cut, again.

The latest economic data vividly illustrate the self-fulfilling nature of this global phenomenon. The numbers are horrifying, and increasingly so. There’s been a violent collapse in industrial production in Europe; the latest monthly data now show annual contractions of 17 percent in Spain, 13 percent in the U.K., 9 percent in France and Italy, and 6 percent in Germany. Emerging economies are now on the same course, with contractions of 9 percent in Russia and 4 percent in Brazil.

At the same time, the labor market is deteriorating dramatically in both Europe and America. The United States has now registered 12 consecutive months of job losses, including more than half a million in December, bringing the 2008 total to 2.6 million—a level not seen for more than 60 years. The crisis continues to catch people by surprise, suggesting that too few people sufficiently understand its dynamics. The U.S. Commerce Department reports that December retail sales declined at more than twice the rate expected by most forecasters, and further extended the record for consecutive monthly declines, now six .and counting. President elect Obama faces the prospect of more corporate defaults, pension losses and personal bankruptcies in the coming months. Fortunately, he has already shown that he has a good understanding of the need for an aggressive fiscal stimulus, and Congress seems to be onboard.

Without massive public stimulus, there is little chance of countering the highly disruptive consequences of a too sudden and too prolonged ascent of the Age of Thrift.

Yet there is a risk that this consensus could break down in quibbling over the details. Specifically, we should stop the bickering over whether to cut taxes or raise spending. Both are required. The tax cuts should work mainly through employment channels, including a cut in the payroll tax as this will directly help employment and limit the fall in consumption. Government spending should focus on sectors that will quickly raise resource productivity, like infrastructure, which helps lower production costs, and social services, which raise human productivity overtime.

Obama also needs to step up efforts to alleviate the credit crunch. This is not about an immediate recovery in the banking system. It won’t happen. The sector is too damaged to act as a conduit of funds to the general economy. Instead, the government must come up with more imaginative ways to provide direct financing, particularly for mortgages and some areas of consumer finance.

Obama’s economic appointments suggest that he understands how important it will be to get the design and implementation of these policies right. The highly capable Larry Summers and Tim Geithner should focus on coming up with a master plan to lead the country out of the crisis. This will ensure that the immediate measures implemented are consistent over time with a resumption of economic growth and rising productivity.

Managing expectations is also more important than ever. In his remarks on the financial crisis in November and December, Obama came across as informed, committed and careful not to over-promise. Yet his efforts have been largely negated by recent talk out of Washington of regulatory clampdowns, potential abrogation of property rights and other non-market solutions. The president-elect will have to step up quickly to the challenge of consistently better communication if he is to instill the confidence that is critical for a meaningful economic turn later this year.

Finally, Obama should signal clearly that he knows a global dislocation requires a global response. What was a U.S. financial crisis has morphed into a challenge to the international market system. An effective solution will not materialize unless the United States takes a policy leadership role on the global stage. It’s a role no other country can credibly play. With Obama as president, the world is exceptionally welcoming to U.S. leadership. He must seize this opportunity for the economic good of America, and the world.

ELERIAN is CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO and author of “When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change,” winner of the 2008 FT/Goldman Sachs business book of the year award.

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ – print edition -(USA)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HEALTH CARE - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STATE TARIFFS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, UNEMPLOYMENT, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

A FABLE IN THE FOLLY – AS A LEADER SEEKS TO BECOME A LEGEND – AS A CARD-CARRYING MEMBER OF THE VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY, I HAVE A SPECIAL INAUGURATION DAY MESSAGE FOR MY FELLOW CONSERVATIVES: SHUT UP

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

by Michael Graham

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BOSTON HERALD’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BOSTON HERALD’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HEALTH CARE - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STATE TARIFFS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, UNEMPLOYMENT, USA, USA HUMOR | Leave a Comment »

THE SPENDING ORGY IS OVER – BIG AND SMALL RETAILERS PREPARE TO WEATHER THE WEAK ECONOMY AND NEWLY FRUGAL CONSUMERS (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

7:22 AM EST, January 19, 2009

by Keiko Morris

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSDAY’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSDAY’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, RECESSION, USA | 1 Comment »

A NEW MENACE TO THE ECONOMY: ‘ZOMBIE’ DEBTORS – CALL THEM “ZOMBIE” COMPANIES – MANY MORE HAS-BEEN COMPANIES WILL BE FEEDING OFF TAXPAYERS, INVESTORS, AND WORKERS—SAPPING THE LIFEBLOOD OF HEALTHIER RIVALS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

January 15, 2009, 5:00PM EST

by Peter Coy

PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESSWEEK’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESSWEEK’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

U.K. SMARTER THAN U.S.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

January 18, 3:50 PM

by Scott R. Gingold – Business News Examiner

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE EXAMINER’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE EXAMINER’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

MARKET DROP HAS RANCHERS FEELING DOWN (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

Jan 17, 2009 4:00 AM

Joanne Kelley – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE EXAMINER’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE EXAMINER’ (USA)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FARMING DEBTS, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

ISSUES CANNOT BE RESOLVED IMMEDIATELY: OBAMA (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

0600 PST, Monday, January 19, 2009

The International News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL FOREIGN POLICIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SCAMS, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FRAUD, HATE MONGERING AND BIGOTRY, HEALTH CARE - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, PENSION FUNDS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STATE TERRORISM, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, UNEMPLOYMENT, USA, WAR CRIMES, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA SUCKED INTO MIDEAST CAULDRON FROM DAY ONE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

1340 PST, Monday, January 19, 2009

The International News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, CRIMINAL FOREIGN POLICIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HATE MONGERING AND BIGOTRY, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ISRAEL, MILITARY CONTRACTS, PALESTINE, RECESSION, STATE TERRORISM, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA, WAR CRIMES, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS, WEAPONS | Leave a Comment »

ALTERNATIVE-ENERGY COMPANIES GROW EVEN AS OTHERS FALTER INQUIRIES – SALES AND FUNDING RISE IN ANTICIPATION OF NEW REGULATIONS AND SPENDING FROM OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 17, 2009

January 13, 2009

by Simona Covel

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE WALL STREET JOURNAL’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE WALL STREET JOURNAL’

Posted in AEOLIC, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), BIOFUELS, BIOMASS, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY, HYDROGEN - FUEL CELLS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATURAL GAS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, SOLAR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA PRETENDE DAR NOVO IMPULSO A RELAÇÕES COM AMÉRICA LATINA (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 14, 2009

13 de Janeiro de 2009 – 18h48

Mylena Fiori – Repórter da Agência Brasil

PUBLISHED BY ‘AGÊNCIA BRASIL’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘AGÊNCIA BRASIL’

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MINISTÉRIO DAS RELAÇÕES EXTERIORES, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, POLÍTICA EXTERNA - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES DIPLOMÁTICAS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA MONTA UM GOVERNO CENTRALIZADO NA CASA BRANCA – GOVERNO DE OBAMA SERÁ CENTRALIZADOR – O PODER NO GOVERNO DE BARACK OBAMA VAI SE INCLINAR PARA A CASA BRANCA E NÃO PARA OS DIVERSOS SECRETÁRIOS (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 13, 2009

13/01/2009

por Gerald F. Seib – The Wall Street Journal

PUBLISHED BY ‘VALOR ECONÔMICO’ (Brazil)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘VALOR ECONÔMICO’ (Brazil)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, MACROECONOMY, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

THE WEST BANK: WE’RE ALL HAMAS NOW – SUPPORTERS OF FATAH UNITE BEHIND ENEMY – MAHMOUD ABBAS’S POPULARITY HAS BEEN CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE OF THE GAZA INVASION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 10, 2009

Friday, 9 January 2009

by Ben Lynfield in Ramallah

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HATE MONGERING AND BIGOTRY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ISRAEL, MILITARY CONTRACTS, PALESTINE, RECESSION, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS, WEAPONS | Leave a Comment »

A COMMON ENEMY – ISRAEL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 6, 2009

January 6, 2009

by Fred Hubner

PUBLISHED BY ‘FROM SCRATCH NEWSWIRE’ (USA)

Not being an Arab, a Muslin or a Christian and coming from a Jewish family inquisitorially converted to Christendom some five centuries ago, I feel free to admit that the present events promoted Israel as the one and only enemy of all Arab nations. I also feel free to point an accusing finger to all Arab nations, which criminally just stand by while the open extermination of the Palestinians happens right before their guilty eyes. I also feel pretty much at ease accusing the United Nations for doing nothing, thanks, for so many decades. I also accuse my goverment, Bush’s still lingering ineptness and all previous administratrions for the idea that we should, out of ‘good will’, sell weapons to such a belligerent and criminal state such as Israel’s. So yes, there’s Palestinian blood and guts in the hands of every citizen in the world. So yes, from now on Israel must be seen for what it is … a criminal state and a threat to human kind. So yes, henceforth, Israel is the enemy of all other nations be them Arabs, Christians, Americans, Muslins … and including conscientious Jews.

PUBLISHED BY ‘FROM SCRATCH NEWSWIRE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ISRAEL, MILITARY CONTRACTS, PALESTINE, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS, WEAPONS | Leave a Comment »

FIGHTING OFF DEPRESSION (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 6, 2009

January 5, 2009

by Paul Krugman

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (UK)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEPRESSION, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, HEALTH CARE - USA, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STATE TARIFFS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

HARSH DOSE OF REALITY TO HIT AMERICA AFTER INAUGURATION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

January 3, 2009

Ian Munro in New York

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SIDNEY MORNING HERALD’

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SIDNEY MORNING HERALD’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, AL QAEDA, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EDUCATION, ELECTIONS 2008 - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HEALTH CARE - USA, HISTORY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, NATO, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STATE TARIFFS, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, UNEMPLOYMENT, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN | 1 Comment »

2009: BUCKLE UP FOR A BUMPY RIDE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 28, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 12:00 AM

by Jack Broom – Seattle Times Staff Reporter

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SEATTLE TIMES’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SEATTLE TIMES’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

WISDOM SERIES: EDWARD SONSHINE WOULD SPEED UP INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 27, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Garry Marr – The Financial Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STATE TARIFFS, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA INCREASES JOBS GOAL TO 3 MILLION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 22, 2008

December 20, 2008

by Nedra Pickler – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘TOPIX.NET’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘TOPIX.NET’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

THE RETURN OF REALPOLITIK IN ARABIA – Bush’s ‘diplomacy of freedom’ gives way to Obama’s caution and reticence. The Middle East may test our fatigue

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 16, 2008

DECEMBER 15, 2008, 11:42 P.M. ET

by Amy R. Remo

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE WALL STREET JOURNAL’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE WALL STREET JOURNAL’ (USA)

Posted in AL QAEDA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

BUSH SNEAKS LAWS TO UNDERMINE OBAMA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 15, 2008

Sunday 14 December 2008 (16 Dhul Hijjah 1429)

Paul Harris – The Observer

PUBLISHED BY ‘ARAB NEWS’ (Saudi Atabia)

After spending eight years at the helm of one of the most ideologically driven administrations in American history, George W. Bush is ending his presidency in characteristically aggressive fashion, with a swath of controversial measures designed to reward supporters and enrage opponents. By the time he vacates the White House, he will have issued a record number of so-called “midnight regulations” — so called because of the stealthy way they appear on the rule books — to undermine the administration of Barack Obama, many of which could take years to undo.

Dozens of new rules have already been introduced which critics say will diminish worker safety, pollute the environment, promote gun use and curtail abortion rights. Many rules promote the interests of large industries, such as coal mining or energy, which have energetically supported Bush during his two terms as president. More are expected this week. America’s attention is focused on the fate of the beleaguered car industry, still seeking backing in Washington for a multibillion-dollar bailout. But behind the scenes, the “midnight” rules are being rushed through with little fanfare and minimal media attention. None of them would be likely to appeal to the incoming Obama team. The regulations cover a vast policy area, ranging from health care to car safety to civil liberties. Many are focused on the environment and seek to ease regulations that limit pollution or restrict harmful industrial practices, such as dumping strip-mining waste.

The Bush moves have outraged many watchdog groups. “The regulations we have seen so far have been pretty bad,” said Matt Madia, a regulatory policy analyst at OMB Watch. “The effects of all this are going to be severe.”

Bush can pass the rules because of a loophole in US law allowing him to put last-minute regulations into the Code of Federal Regulations, rules that have the same force as law. He can carry out many of his political aims without needing to force new laws through Congress. Outgoing presidents often use the loophole in their last weeks in office, but Bush has done this far more than Bill Clinton or his father, George H. W. Bush. He is on track to issue more “midnight regulations” than any other previous president.

Many of these are radical and appear to pay off big business allies of the Republican Party. One rule will make it easier for coal companies to dump debris from strip mining into valleys and streams. The process is part of an environmentally damaging technique known as “mountain-top removal mining.” It involves literally removing the top of a mountain to excavate a coal seam and pouring the debris into a valley, which is then filled up with rock. The new rule will make that dumping easier.

Another midnight regulation will allow power companies to build coal-fired power stations nearer to national parks. Yet another regulation will allow coal-fired stations to increase their emissions without installing new anti-pollution equipment.

The Environmental Defense Fund has called the moves a “fire sale of epic size for coal.” Other environmental groups agree. “The only motivation for some of these rules is to benefit the business interests that the Bush administration has served,” said Ed Hopkins, a director of environmental quality at the Sierra Club. A case in point would seem to be a rule that opens up millions of acres of land to oil shale extraction, which environmental groups say is highly pollutant.

There is a long list of other new regulations that have gone on to the books. One lengthens the number of hours that truck drivers can drive without rest. Another surrenders government control of rerouting the rail transport of hazardous materials around densely populated areas and gives it to the rail companies.

One more chips away at the protection of endangered species. Gun control is also weakened by allowing loaded and concealed guns to be carried in national parks. Abortion rights are hit by allowing health-care workers to cite religious or moral grounds for opting out of carrying out certain medical procedures.

A common theme is shifting regulation of industry from government to the industries themselves, essentially promoting self-regulation. One rule transfers assessment of the impact of ocean fishing away from federal inspectors to advisory groups linked to the fishing industry. Another allows factory farms to self-regulate disposal of pollutant runoff.

The White House denies it is sabotaging the new administration. It says many of the moves have been openly flagged for months. The spate of rules is going to be hard for Obama to quickly overcome. By issuing them early in the “lame duck” period of office, the Bush administration has mostly dodged 30- or 60-day time limits that would have made undoing them relatively straightforward.

Obama’s team will have to go through a more lengthy process of reversing them, as it is forced to open them to a period of public consulting. That means that undoing the damage could take months or even years, especially if corporations go to the courts to prevent changes.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘ARAB NEWS’ (Saudi Atabia)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

RUSSIA WARNS WEST NOT TO MEDDLE IN EX-SOVIET UNION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

December 11, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘TEHRAN TIMES’ (Iran)

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s foreign minister warned the West on Wednesday against meddling in its backyard, saying the U.S. and Sergey LavrovEuropean countries must not advance their interests in the former Soviet Union at Russia’s expense.

Sergey Lavrov told a group of foreign business leaders that Russia has no monopoly on relations with neighboring former Soviet republics, and said Moscow understands that the United States and European Union have legitimate interests in the region.

But, he said, the U.S. and EU must forge relations with former Soviet republics “through legal, understandable and transparent methods,” Lavrov said. “Behind-the-scenes meddling only creates a crisis situation. One must respect the people of these nations and give them the right to choose their own fate.”

Already long-deteriorating ties between Moscow and the West were badly damaged by Russia’s August war with Georgia, a small ex-Soviet republic that has enjoyed strong U.S. backing and is seeking NATO membership.

Lavrov gave no examples of alleged meddling. But the U.S. and Europe have been courting ex-Soviet republics as they vie with Russia for access to Central Asian and Caspian Sea energy resources and seek ties with nations close to sources of concern such as Iran and Afghanistan.

Also, Russian leaders have suggested the U.S. encouraged Georgia to launch an offensive that sparked the five-day war, and say Washington has pressed to bring Ukraine closer to NATO despite significant opposition among its people.

Lavrov stressed Russia’s opposition to U.S. missile defense plans and NATO expansion but indicated that Russia is eager for improved ties with the U.S. He suggested that it would be up to the administration of President-elect Barack Obama to make the first move.

“We are counting on the future administration of Barack Obama to confirm what he is now saying about the need to cooperate with Russia in fighting common threats — international terrorism and weapons proliferation,” Lavrov said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘TEHRAN TIMES’ (Iran)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, GEORGIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATO, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UKRAINE, USA, WEAPONS | Leave a Comment »

U.S. ARMS SALES UNDERMINE HUMAN RIGHTS, GROUP SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

Dec. 10, 2008, 1:31PM

by Barry Schweid – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE’ (USA)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. arms trade is booming — sales reached $32 billion last year — and more than half of the purchasers in the developing world are either undemocratic governments or regimes that engaged in human rights abuses, a private think tank reported today.

Timed to the 60th anniversary of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the report by the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan policy institute, named 13 of the top 25 arms purchasers in the developing world as either undemocratic or engaged in major human rights abuses.

The 13 listed in the report were Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt, Colombia, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Yemen and Tunisia.

Sales to these countries totaled more than $16.2 billion over 2006 and 2007.

The total “contrasts sharply with the Bush administration’s pro-democracy rhetoric,” the report said.

Also, the report said that 20 of the 27 nations engaged in major armed conflicts were receiving weapons and training from the United States.

“U.S. arms transfers are undermining human rights, weakening democracy and fueling conflict around the world,” the report said.

William D. Hartung, the lead author of the report, said, “The United States cannot demand respect for human rights and arm human rights abusers at the same time.”

U.S. arms sales grew to $32 billion in 2007, more than three times the level when President Bush took office in 2001, the report said.

The United States is the world’s largest arms supplier. U.S. exports range from combat aircraft to Pakistan, Morocco, Greece, Romania and Chile to small arms and light weapons to the Philippines, Egypt and Georgia.

In 2006 and 2007, the United States sold weapons to more than 174 states and territories.At the beginning of the Bush administration there were 123 arms clients, the report said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE’ (USA)

Posted in BAHRAIN, BANKING SYSTEMS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EGYPT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FORMOSA - TAIWAN, GEORGIA, GREECE, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAQ, ISLAMIC BANKS, ISRAEL, JORDAN, KUWAIT, MILITARY CONTRACTS, MOROCCO, OMAN, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, ROMANIA, SAUDI ARABIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE LEBANESE CIVIL STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE UNITED NATIONS, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS, YEMEN | Leave a Comment »

REPUBLIC WINDOWS OWNER LINKED TO IOWA PLANT PURCHASE (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

December 08, 2008 – 7:18 PM

by Peter Sachs

PUBLISHED BY ‘CHIGAGO TRIBUNE’ (USA)

A company managed by the wife of Republic Windows and Doors owner Richard Gillman recently purchased an Iowa plant that manufactures similar products, according to public records.

Gillman has come under fire in recent days for abruptly closing Republic’s Goose Island plant and refusing to provide workers there with the 60 days notice and pay required by federal labor law.

Echo Windows and Doors was created two weeks ago and lists Sharon Gillman as its manager, according copies of records obtained by the Daily News from the Iowa Secretary of the State. According to Cook County property tax records, Sharon Gillman is Richard Gillman’s wife.

The couple purchased a $2.6 million Oak Street condo together in 2007, according to property records.

The Gillimans could not be reached for comment today. But this afternoon, Richard Gillman released a statement confirming the creation of the new company.

Also, Amy Zimmerman, who has served as Republic’s marketing director, is now listed as the contact on the newly registered echowindows.com domain name. She refused comment today.

Republic officials have blamed the shutdown on Bank of America’s refusal to provide continued financing.

Republic employees have staged a sit-in at the company’s plant since Friday, and have enlisted numerous politicians in their cause.

Earlier today, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said the state would stop doing business with the bank until it gives Republic the money it needs to stay afloat. Local elected officials, as well as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and President-elect Barack Obama, have urged the company to give the workers their 60 days of pay.

The Iowa plant was formerly operated by TRACO, a window company headquartered in Pennsylvania. Traco confirmed the sale to Echo in a news release last week.

Workers at the plant say Echo officials visited the plant on Thursday, informing them of the sale and shutting down production briefly to do a full inventory of the factory.

“Everybody seemed like they were just kind of confused the day that I was there,” says Herald Wiltshire, an employee there.

Two weeks ago, Traco switched from running two production shifts per day to just one, citing slowing orders for their windows, Wiltshire said. About that same time, the company announced layoffs at another one of its factories, in Bainbridge, Ga., the Post-Searchlight newspaper reported.

But on Friday, the Red Oak plant started up its second shift again, following the announcement from Echo, Wiltshire says.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘CHIGAGO TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

VICTORY FOR THE UNITED ELECTRICAL WORKERS PLANT TAKEOVER IN CHICAGO! (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

Published: Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Author: Workers Action

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTLAND INDYMEDIA’ (USA)

On December 5, in Chicago, the owners of Republic Windows and Doors were set to close their doors after declaring financial ruin and abruptly laid off its 260 mostly Latino workers. Rather than passively accepting this kick in the teeth, the United Electrical Workers Union (UE) members decided to fight back, using a tactic not seen in this country since the 1930’s. They occupied the factory and have continued to do so in shifts since Friday.

This struggle is of exceptional importance because of its boldness in responding to the economic crisis and how it is affecting working people. This boldness could set an example for future confrontations and therefore deserves the attention and support of all workers.

The chain of events leading to this crisis started when Republic Window’s creditor, Bank of America, refused to extend credit to the company. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Republic Window’s sales had fallen from $4 million to $2.9 million in the last month. However, Bank of America is flush with $25 billion from the bi-partisan bail out. At a solidarity demonstration outside the plant on Saturday, protesters expressed the situation concisely with stickers and signs reading, “You got bailed out, we got sold out.”

Workers are demanding $1.5 million in severance and vacation pay owed them by management. Federal law mandates that workers get paid for unused vacation time and are either given 60 days notice of a mass layoff or pay for that time. The UE workers were only given three days notice of the closing. Republic Window and Door’s officials are claiming that Bank of America is not allowing them to make these required payments and benefit adjustments. Bank of America has responded by stating that they have no “…right to control whether a company complies with applicable laws or honors its commitment to its employees.” While this bickering between thieves continues, the workers’ intolerable situation and justified anger remains. “We aren’t animals,” Apolinar Cabrera, a 17-year Republic Windows employee, told Chicago Town Daily News. “We’re human beings and deserve to be treated like human beings.”

Workers have also expressed their suspicion that Republic Windows and Doors intends to move out of state and restructure their finances, leaving debt and misery in the wake. Some have reported that as early as two weeks ago the company started moving equipment out of the plant.

In this economic crisis, given what the capitalists are trying to get away with by making working people pay for the recession, the stakes are high. A 14-year machine operator at the company, Ron Bender, observed, “We’re doing this for the other working people in the country. What’s happened to us can happen to anyone — they could just close up and put you out and give you no severance pay.”

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win, as well as all other organizations concerned with the rights of working people should line up in solidarity with these UE members by educating and mobilizing their ranks in support. A victory could embolden workers across the country to resist the results of Wall Street’s greed and the bailout, which will be all the more needed as times grow harder. It could serve as a stepping stone for greater victories in the future where workers will not simply demand vacation and severance pay from a bankrupt company, but demand that such a company be nationalized under workers’ control. Furthermore, such a working class movement could go beyond addressing the problems at a given company and win victories for all workers in the areas of health care, ending the current wars, ensuring adequate funding for education, creating jobs for all, and so on.

The news has been brutal and frightening for workers over the last few months. A worldwide recession of unknown depth and duration is unfolding. In this country, the number of home foreclosures is expected to hit seven million by the end of the year. Last month alone 533,000 workers lost their jobs, contributing to the highest unemployment rate in 15 years. And while this decline accelerates, workers have been stung with a Democratic Party-led bi-partisan bailout of the financial institutions whose reckless greed is responsible for this mess. The New York Times estimates that this rescue package for the wealthy will cost seven trillion American taxpayer dollars (see “The Bail Out Intensifies” on this site). While this arrangement helps to ease the capitalists’ anxiety, they place a dark cloud over working people’s future. Rather than promoting economic growth, the bailout measures are more likely to result in hoarding on the part of the bailout’s beneficiaries as well as produce inflation. Meanwhile, unemployment will continue to climb, and there will be further slicing of our already cut-to-the-bone social safety net by the capitalists’ politicians.

The inevitable consequence of such developments is that people are left with no choice but to fight against the conditions they are forced to endure. They begin to see that there are opposed interests at play between those who control the economy and political system, and those who are expected to do all the sacrificing. Workers will be compelled to act and, as a result, begin to become aware of themselves as a class where, if they are to defend themselves and their rights, must unite against those who are accustomed to ruling them without question. Under such circumstances, the workers’ demands are always modest and partial to begin with, but, to the degree that their actions rely on their independent strength as a class, they plot a course towards growing confrontation with the capitalist status quo and thereby raise the question of who shall control society, working people or the rich minority. Nationwide, such a course initially starts with an accumulation of small skirmishes, unavoidably leading to a social explosion that can place the working class’ interests on the historical stage in a way that would have been seen as impossible just a short time ago. The worker’s occupation of Republic Windows and Doors could prove to be a skirmish that sets the example for a working class upsurge that will bring more change and hope into our lives than any capitalist politician ever could.

There is no telling how long this occupation and the struggle behind it will continue. Workers, Republic Windows and Doors, and Bank of America are supposed to meet at 4:00pm on Monday. Nevertheless, these workers’ actions have already made a mark in labor history. Food has been coming for them from all over in solidarity. You can donate by going to http://www.ueunion.org and clicking on “anger in Chicago,” or by writing a check payable to the “UE Local 110 Solidarity Fund” and sending it to UE Local 1110 Solidarity Fund, 37 S. Ashland, Chicago, IL 60607. Messages of support can be sent to organizer Leah Fried. At the Jobs with Justice Web site, you can send a message of protest to Bank of America. http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/12/101949.html. You can also call UE at 312-829-8300.

Even President-elect, Barak Obama, because of massive public support for the UE workers, has felt compelled to offer support to the workers at Republic Windows and Doors in the form of lip service, without promising any specific action.

Organized labor should call on the government to take over Republic Windows and Doors and let the workers run the plant themselves. This demand could be part of a government emergency public works project that would make all public buildings, beginning with public housing, more energy efficient by installing new windows and doors. Such a program could then be the first step in establishing a broad-based coalition that would advocate a public works program that would put people back to work while maintaining their standard of living. This program could instill confidence among working people and their allies and inspire them to proceed onwards to fundamentally change the economic system so that it would serve the needs of people, not the pursuit of profits for the rich.

In these hard times, now more than ever, an injury to one is an injury to all. A victory for UE Local 1110 at Republic Windows is a victory for all workers!

HOMEPAGE: WORKERS ACTION

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTLAND INDYMEDIA’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CONSCIENCE, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

CUBAN TOURISM SURGES AS REST OF CARIBBEAN STALLS – Tourism In Cuba Up Nearly 11 Percent Despite 3 Hurricanes

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

HAVANA, Dec. 8, 2008

The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘CBS NEWS’ (USA)

(AP) Cuba’s vacation industry has remained as hot as the tropical sun here, even as the world economic crisis sparks cancellations and layoffs elsewhere in the Caribbean.

The communist country says it’s booked solid through December and expects a record 2.34 million visitors this year _ largely because global financial woes have so far been softer on Canada, its top source of visitors.

Luck also played a role: While the island suffered three devastating hurricanes, its key tourist sites were largely spared. And where beachfront resorts did get hit, the tourist-hungry government has made sure to repair hotels _ in some cases even before damaged homes and infrastructure. Tourism is Cuba’s second-largest source of foreign income, behind nickel production.

So while other islands in the region are laying off hotel workers and suspending construction of new property, Cuban resorts are gearing up for a strong season.

“We’ve had a few cancellations, but overall our numbers are still strong,” said David Gregori of WowCuba, a travel agency in Charlottetown, Canada, that specializes in bicycle trips and other Cuba tours. “People still like to get away. They might try to save some money while doing it, but they’re still traveling.”

The number of foreign visitors has swelled nearly 11 percent this year, making up for 4 and 3 percent declines in 2006 and 2007, government figures show.

Officials offer no explanation for those slower years. But tour operators blame the island’s low returning-visitor rates: Some tourists complain of poor service, crumbling infrastructure and lousy food, indicative of a communist system where shortages are common and state employees are unaccustomed to putting customer service first.

Still, the island is often cheaper than its subtropical neighbors, because many foreigners buy all-inclusive packages offering dozens of direct flights from Europe and Canada to airports all over Cuba, as well deep discounts on hotels, food and booze.

Others are enticed by the prospect of seeing one of only five communist countries left on the planet.

“A lot of people who are going for simple fly-and-flop holiday, and there are others who are going for history and culture, dancing, music,” said Julia Hendry, marketing director for Europe and the United Kingdom of the Bahamas-based Caribbean Trade Organization. Cuba has both, she said, “whether it’s swimming and beach or the excitement of Old Havana and Cuban history.”

About 35 percent of this year’s tourists have been Canadian, with 635,000 visiting through September, one-fifth more than in the same period last year. Canada’s economy has not suffered the same losses now sapping the savings of homeowners in the U.S.

Russian tourists rose 40 percent to top 28,000 thru September, and Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero traveled to Moscow last month to further promote his country.

Visitors from Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany, the top suppliers of tourists after Canada, declined between 3 and 5 percent respectively, however.

Washington’s trade embargo prohibits Americans from visiting, though island immigration records show about 41,000 came last year, many presumably without permission. But not relying on U.S. tourists may now be a blessing.

“Canadians are going to keep coming, especially with snow at home,” said Helen Lueke of Sherwood Park, Canada, who has vacationed in Havana about once a year for decades.

Alexis Trujillo, Cuba’s deputy secretary of tourism, predicted full bookings at least through next summer.

“There’s no doubt tourism is always sensitive to everything,” he said of global economic turmoil. “But we don’t think that for Cuba that will mean an important decrease.”

Tourism generated $2.2 billion for Cuba in 2007. The government has announced no plans to delay a $185 million plan to upgrade more than 200 resorts and build 50 boutique hotels by 2010 _ nt even after Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma hit within two months, causing more than $10 billion in damages and crippling farms and infrastructure across the countryside.

Construction crews assigned to vacation properties in Havana and elsewhere have largely continued working as normal since the storms.

In the eastern province of Holguin, the island’s No. 3 tourist destination after Havana and the beach resort of Varadero, officials prioritized hotel repairs, trucking in workers to rebuild beachfront resorts. Holguin expects about 270,000 foreigners this year, about the same as 2007, despite scores of hurricane-related cancellations.

Havana’s decaying yet picturesque historic district saw little damage, as did Varadero, 90 miles (140 kilometers) to the east, where white sand and warm, see-through surf has enticed everyone from Fidel Castro to Al Capone. A record million visitors are expected to stay in the town’s 7,000 hotel rooms, which range in price from about $120 to $350 per night, with meals and open bar included.

Though European tour operators say sales have slowed since the financial crisis deepened in October, they expect trips to Cuba and some other Caribbean destinations to stay strong through the winter. Europeans are putting off short, side trips closer to home, but many families are still willing to splurge on once-a-year trips to the tropics, Hendry said.

“We have noticed that all-inclusive markets, where travelers can budget in advance, seem to be doing relative well. Cuba is quite well-populated with that sort of property,” she said.

The industry could get another boast if President-elect Barack Obama keeps campaign promises to ease restrictions on Cuban Americans who want to visit their relatives on the island. Currently, those with family here can only come once every three years.

Nelson Gonzalez, a 56-year-old physical therapist, said his mechanic brother in Miami last came to visit in 2007. But his brother called the morning after the U.S. election to say he was reserving a seat on one of the many special charters that fly from the U.S. to Havana for the last week in January _ confident Obama will ease family travel rules immediately after his Jan. 20 inauguration.

“When your family members reach a certain age, you don’t know if in three more years everyone will still be here,” said Gonzalez, who lives with his 80-year-old parents.

Though visiting family members spend less than tourists, Gregori said many Cuban Americans use his company to book rental cars in advance of visiting relatives.

But “if you want to rent a car in Havana in December, I don’t have any,” he said. “They’ve been sold out for months, and every year they get sold out earlier and earlier.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘CBS NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CANADA, COMMERCE, CUBA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, GERMANY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ITALY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, RUSSIA, SPAIN, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TOURISM INDUSTRIES, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

AFRICOM CHINA AND CONGO RESOURCE WARS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2008

by F. William Engdahl – Online Journal

PUBLISHED BY ‘INFOWARS’

Just weeks after President George W. Bush signed the order creating a new US military command dedicated to Africa, AFRICOM, events on the mineral-rich continent have erupted which suggest a major agenda of the incoming Obama Presidency will be for the son of a black Kenyan to focus US resources, military and other, on dealing with the Republic of Congo, the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, the oil-rich Darfur region of southern Sudan and increasingly the Somali ‘pirate threat’ to sea lanes in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The legitimate question is whether it is mere coincidence that Africa appears just at this time to become a new geopolitical ‘hot spot’ or whether it has a direct link to the formal creation of AFRICOM.

What is striking is the timing. No sooner had AFRICOM become operational than major new crises broke out in both the Indian Ocean-Gulf of Aden regarding spectacular incidents of alleged Somali piracy, as well as eruption of bloody new wars in Kivu Province in the Republic of Congo. The common thread connecting both is their importance, as with Darfur in southern Sudan, for China’s future strategic raw materials flow.

The latest fighting in the eastern part of the Congo (DRC) broke out in late August when Tutsi militiamen belonging to the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP, National Congress for the Defense of the People) of General Laurent Nkunda forced loyalist troops of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC, Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) to retreat from their positions near Lake Kivu, sending hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians fleeing in the process and prompting the French foreign minister, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, to warn of the imminent risk of ‘huge massacres.’

Nkunda, like his mentor, Rwanda’s Washington-backed dictator, Paul Kagame, is an ethnic Tutsi who alleges that he is protecting the minority Tutsi ethnic group against remnants of the Rwandan Hutu army that fled to Congo after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. MONUC UN peacekeepers reported no such atrocities against the minority Tutsi in the northeast, mineral rich Kivu region. Congolese sources report that attacks against Congolese of all ethnic groups are a daily occurrence in the region. Laurent Nkunda’s troops are responsible for most of these attacks, they claim.

Strange resignations

The stage for political chaos in Congo was further set in September when the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 83-year-old prime minister, Antoine Gizenga, resigned after two years. Then at end of October, with suspicious timing, the commander of the United Nations peacekeeping operation, the Mission de l’Organisation des Nations-Unies au Congo (MONUC, Mission of the United Nations Organization in the Congo), Spanish Lieutenant General Vicente Diaz de Villegas, resigned after fewer than two months on the job, citing, ‘lack of confidence’ in the leadership of DRC President Joseph Kabila. Kabila, the Congo’s first democratically elected president, has also been involved in negotiating a major $9 billion trade agreement between the DRC and China, something which Washington is clearly not happy about.

Nkunda is a long-standing henchman of Rwandan President, US-trained, Kagame. All signs point to a heavy, if covert, USA role in the latest Congo killings by Nkunda’s men. Nkunda himself is a former Congolese Army officer, teacher and Seventh Day Adventist pastor. But killing seems to be what he is best at.

Much of Nkunda’s well-equipped and relatively disciplined forces are from the bordering country of Rwanda and the rest have been recruited from the minority Tutsi population of the Congolese province of North Kivu. Supplies, finance and political support for this Congolese rebel army come from Rwanda. According to the American Spectator magazine, ‘President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has long been a supporter of Nkunda, who originally was an intelligence officer in the Rwanda leader’s overthrow of the Hutu despotic rule in his country.’

As the Congo News Agency reported on October 30, ‘Some have bought into the pretext of an endangered Tutsi minority in Congo. They never fail to mention that Laurent Nkunda is supposedly fighting to protect “his people.” They have failed to question his true motives which are to occupy the mineral-rich North-Kivu province, pillage its resources, and act as a proxy army in eastern Congo for the Tutsi-led Rwandan government in Kigali. Kagame wants a foothold in eastern Congo so his country can continue to benefit from the pillaging and exporting of minerals such as columbite-tantalite (coltan). Many experts on the region agree today that resources are the true reason why Laurent Nkunda continues to create chaos in the region with the help of Paul Kagame.’

The USA role and AFRICOM

Evidence which was presented in a French court in a ruling made public in 2006 claimed that Kagame was responsible for organizing the shooting down of the plane carrying Hutu President of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimana, in April 1994, the event that set off the indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of people, both Hutu and Tutsi.

The end result of the killings in which perhaps as many as a million Africans perished was that US and UK backed Paul Kagame — a ruthless military dictator trained at the US Army Command-General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth Kansas — was firmly in control as dictator of Rwanda. Since then he has covertly backed repeated military incursions by General Nkunda into the mineral-rich Kivu region on the pretext it was to defend a small Tutsi minority there. Kagame had repeatedly rejected attempts to repatriate those Tutsi refugees back to Rwanda, evidently fearing he might lose his pretext to occupy the mineral riches of Kivu.

Since at least 2001, according to reports from Congo sources, the US military has also had a base at Cyangugu in Rwanda, built of course by Dick Cheney’s old firm, Halliburton, conveniently enough near the border to Congo’s mineral-rich Kivu region.

The 1994 massacre of civilians between Tutsi and Hutu was, as Canadian researcher Michel Chossudovsky described it, ‘an undeclared war between France and America. By supporting the build up of Ugandan and Rwandan forces and by directly intervening in the Congolese civil war, Washington also bears a direct responsibility for the ethnic massacres committed in the Eastern Congo, including several hundred thousand people who died in refugee camps.’ He adds, ‘Major General Paul Kagame was an instrument of Washington. The loss of African lives did not matter. The civil war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were an integral part of US foreign policy, carefully staged in accordance with precise strategic and economic objectives.’

Now Kagame’s former intelligence officer, Nkunda, leads his well-equipped forces to take Goma in the eastern Congo as part of an apparent scheme to break the richest minerals region away from Kinshasha. With the US military beefing up its presence across Africa under AFRICOM since 2007, the stage was apparently set for the current resources grab by the US-backed Kagame and his former officer, Nkunda.

Today the target is China

If France was the covert target of US ‘surrogate warfare’ in 1994, today it is clearly China, which is the real threat to US control of Central Africa’s vast mineral riches. The Democratic Republic of Congo was renamed from the Republic of Zaire in 1997 when the forces of Laurent Désiré Kabila brought Mobutu’s 32-year reign to an end. Locals call the country Congo-Kinshasa.

The Kivu region of the Congo is the geological repository of some of the world’s greatest strategic minerals. The eastern border straddling Rwanda and Uganda, runs on the eastern edge of the Great African Rift Valley, believed by geologists to be one of the richest repositories of minerals on the face of the earth.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo contains more than half the world’s cobalt. It holds one-third of its diamonds, and, extremely significantly, fully three-quarters of the world resources of columbite-tantalite or “coltan” — a primary component of computer microchips and printed circuit boards, essential for mobile telephones, laptops and other modern electronic devices.

America Mineral Fields, Inc., a company heavily involved in promoting the 1996 accession to power of Laurent Kabila, was, at the time of its involvement in the Congo’s civil war, headquartered in Hope, Arkansas. Major stockholders included long-time associates of former President Clinton going back to his days as governor of Arkansas. Several months before the downfall of Zaire’s French-backed dictator, Mobutu, Laurent Desire Kabila based in Goma, Eastern Zaire, had renegotiated the mining contracts with several US and British mining companies including American Mineral Fields. Mobutu’s corrupt rule was brought to a bloody end with the help of the US-directed International Monetary Fund.

Washington was not entirely comfortable with Laurent Kabila, who was finally assassinated in 2001. In a study released in April 1997 barely a month before President Mobutu Sese Seko fled the country, the IMF had recommended “halting currency issue completely and abruptly” as part of an economic recovery programme. A few months later upon assuming power in Kinshasa, the new government of Laurent Kabila Desire was ordered by the IMF to freeze civil service wages with a view to “restoring macro-economic stability.” Eroded by hyperinflation, the average public sector wage had fallen to 30,000 new Zaires (NZ) a month, the equivalent of one US dollar.

According to Chossudovsky, the IMF’s demands were tantamount to maintaining the entire population in abysmal poverty. They precluded from the outset a meaningful post-war economic reconstruction, thereby contributing to fuelling the continuation of the Congolese civil war in which close to 2 million people have died.

Laurent Kabila was succeeded by his son, Joseph Kabila who went on to become the Congo’s first democratically elected President, and appears to have held a closer eye to the welfare of his countrymen than did his father.

Now, in comes the new US AFRICOM. Speaking to the International Peace Operations Association in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27, General Kip Ward, commander of AFRICOM defined the command’s mission as ‘in concert with other US government agencies and international partners, [to conduct] sustained security engagements through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of US foreign policy.’

The ‘military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of US foreign policy,’ today, are clearly aimed squarely at blocking China’s growing economic presence in the region.

In fact, as various Washington sources state openly, AFRICOM was created to counter the growing presence of China in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, to secure long-term economic agreements for raw materials from Africa in exchange for Chinese aid and production sharing agreements and royalties. By informed accounts, the Chinese have been far shrewder. Instead of offering only savage IMF-dictated austerity and economic chaos, China is offering large credits, soft loans to build roads and schools in order to create good will.

Dr. J. Peter Pham, a leading Washington insider who is an advisor of the US State and Defense Departments, states openly that among the aims of the new AFRICOM is the objective of ‘protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance . . . a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.’

In testimony before the US Congress supporting creation of AFRICOM in 2007, Pham, who is closely associated with the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, stated, ‘This natural wealth makes Africa an inviting target for the attentions of the People’s Republic of China, whose dynamic economy, averaging 9 percent growth per annum over the last two decades, has an almost insatiable thirst for oil as well as a need for other natural resources to sustain it. China is currently importing approximately 2.6 million barrels of crude per day, about half of its consumption; more than 765,000 of those barrels — roughly a third of its imports — come from African sources, especially Sudan, Angola, and Congo (Brazzaville). Is it any wonder, then, that . . . perhaps no other foreign region rivals Africa as the object of Beijing’s sustained strategic interest in recent years. Last year the Chinese regime published the first ever official white paper elaborating the basis of its policy toward Africa.

‘This year, ahead of his 12-day, eight-nation tour of Africa — the third such journey since he took office in 2003 — Chinese President Hu Jintao announced a three-year, $3 billion program in preferential loans and expanded aid for Africa. These funds come on top of the $3 billion in loans and $2 billion in export credits that Hu announced in October 2006 at the opening of the historic Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which brought nearly 50 African heads of state and ministers to the Chinese capital.

‘Intentionally or not, many analysts expect that Africa — especially the states along its oil-rich western coastline — will increasingly becoming a theatre for strategic competition between the United States and its only real near-peer competitor on the global stage, China, as both countries seek to expand their influence and secure access to resources.’

Notably, in late October Nkunda’s well-armed troops surrounded Goma in North Kivu and demanded that Congo President Joseph Kabila negotiate with him. Among Nkunda’s demands was that Kabila cancel a $9 billion joint Congo-China venture in which China gets rights to the vast copper and cobalt resources of the region in exchange for providing $6 billion worth of road construction, two hydroelectric dams, hospitals, schools and railway links to southern Africa, to Katanga and to the Congo Atlantic port at Matadi. The other $3 billion is to be invested by China in development of new mining areas.

Curiously, US and most European media neglect to report that small detail. It seems AFRICOM is off to a strong start as the opposition to China in Africa. The litmus will be who President Obama selects as his Africa person and whether he tries to weaken Congo President Joseph Kabila in favor of backing Nkunda’s death squads, naturally in the name of ‘restoring democracy.’

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘INFOWARS’

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PERPETRATORS SAVED – VICTIMS LOST – FINANCE SYSTEM CORRUPT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

Tuesday, 09 December 2008

by Rene Delavy (Berlin and Bournemouth)

PUBLISHED BY ‘WORLD NEWS’

Best of Perpetrators

There is a secret about the junk papers that were issued world-wide by Investment Banks in New York and London. There is a secret about how Hedge funds and other criminals dispersed over 100 trillion Dollars all around the Globe – and where these zero values are.

The very first to discover the junk securities in their balance sheets were UBS and CS of Switzerland: Why? Because they have the most sophisticated control and auditing systems of all banks in the world. And so, these banks could at a early time of this breakdown of Finance Industry, ask for supplemental equity from Arabian and Singapore funds. In addition UBS requested for further 60 billion Dollars rescue help from the Federal Counsel of Switzerland and CS is supposed to come later on. It is not clear, if by these actions, the greatest Swiss banks are saved – but at least, they seem to know what they are doing.

Lousiest of Perpetrators

The lousiest are naturally the U.S. Government, GW Bush and his Kitchen Cabinet and FED of Greenspan and non existing SEC and auditors in America. And lousiest are all Hedge Funds with their idiotic Dynamite Prize Holders.

But let’s go a step down – to the Investment bankers Merry Lynching, Liar-men Brothers, Goldman Sex, Morgan low IQ Standard and some other greedy Investment Idiots at Wall Street, Singapore and City of London. They woke up only when lots of folks wanted their money back. Lehman Brothers got bankrupt and is by now the only bank, world-wide, where the disaster of zero value securities in the accounting scheme became evident, all of a sudden – even in Germany and France.

The rest of banks, that were rescued by governments, the evident losses of trillions in lost values, are not yet known. But for all these investment banks, just as for all other banks, insurances, investments funds etc. in the whole world, no auditors or governmental control agencies have discovered to this very day – and re-valuated the scrap and forced new Balance Sheets in ten thousands of entities, world-wide, to be presented to the victims, all of us, being now the real blind mice.

Same goes for insurance companies: AIG is nothing but a little peak of an iceberg that was forced to ask for cash from U.S. congress and tax-payers and such leaving in the shadow thousands of other insurers, not yet forced to check their portfolios.

The Victims – all ordinary folks – world-wide

Primary and major victims are all workers and employees, world-wide, in fact all ordinary folks as far as they have values to get from banks, insurance, investment and hedge funds, old age and pension funds or all other millions of personal depots, when asking their money back and discovering that great part of it just had vanished.

Secondary victims are all banks, insurances, re-insurances, investment funds, pension funds, depots of nations or companies – in short, wherever for over 100 Trillions of dollars in ABS (Asset-Backed Securities), CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligations), CDS (Credit Default Swaps) and other sorts of Junk Papers with zero value was invested. The residual values behind that junk, the real background of given assets – true or false – to cover those values, is still to be invested in time and found out in millions of hours of work, by auditors and experts in accounting, for all those papers, hanging around in ten thousands of finance institutions, all around the globe.

NO victims at all are the governments of USA and England inclusive their FEDs, who are the real neo-liberal junk of the world. And Putin and Hu and Wen and all other governments of the Globe are right when pretending that such scrap should be put in jail, all at once, for the crimes they committed to the detriment of billions of normal folks on this planet. And Obama must be careful, with his odd Kitchen Cabinet, not to be the next major perpetrator …

How do I know about the huge Damages, not yet discovered?

First, I was a top accountant and consultant for the biggest entities of the world and as such, I know all logics, logistics, accounting rules, company laws, real and false mechanics etc. in banks, insurances, investment funds and all the rest of industry, communes and else.

Second, I found out about the immense stupidity of average accountants, auditors, controllers in national agencies, CEO, members in Boards of Directors and theorists and experts in economics. They will never see anything, until they tumble over it. This was so with Enron, Argentina, Swissair, Arthur Andersen and thousands of other quasi bankrupt firms, the mess only was seen by the ignorant “experts”, when billions in values were gone and lost.

Third: You can read the figures in any newspapers – NYT, Times, Economist, Spiegel, Die Zeit, even NZZ of Zurich. They tell you that the TURNOVER of rotten Papers, based alone on valueless real estate, bets on charts, bets on currencies, raw material, food, any Las Vegas Junk you could think of, reached by 2006 an annual figure of 50’000 trillions (not billions) of dollars. The NET OUTSTANDING amounts still in books of perpetrators and victims, amount roughly to 50 trillions, but be sure that this is only valid for part of the zero papers handled. The true figure must exceed by far over 100 trillions of dollars, world-wide.

Fourth: There is either ignorance or a plan of governments, especially of the U.S. men around Barack Obama, to keep quiet on the real risks and damages, our USA have thrown in the world during the last 20 years. They will not tell us the truth about the volume of undiscovered losses in all finance companies and funds, throughout our Globe.

When will the immense Losses become evident?

Here comes the reason why I am writing this article. To let each reader of this letter know, what he would never read in a normal media of Murdoch or Berlusconi – which means 99 percent of world media:

The losses of far over 100 trillions of dollars do not become evident unless – and here we have to make distinctions:

a. Investment and other banks: With Lehman Brother, the losses become immediately evident because of bankruptcy. For the U.S. and other rescued Investment Banks, the damage will only become evident – and this goes for all banks in the world – when either the banks get in bankruptcy too, are liquidated or else, clients ask all money back. In these cases, the CASH would first come from normal investments of the banks in ordinary shares, bonds, real estate (from mortgage creditors) etc. – but by the end, the bulk of ABS, CDO and CDS and all other scrap would remain in the records. AND NOW – All banks will discover that their auditors did not ask for re-evaluation of all scrap items in their accounting sheets.

b. Insurance and re-insurance companies: Same logics as for banks. Only evidence, if liquidated, got in bankruptcy or damage-claims towards insurance become so high, that they are forced, not only for transformation into cash of the valuable normal shares of “real market” and real estate, but also for Junk Papers of Hedge Funds, they bought before from Investment bankers.

c. Investment funds: Same problem. Evidence when liquidated or when going into bankruptcy. Under normal conditions – investments funds will pay cash back to part-holders on valuable elements in their books – first. But “the last investors will be bitten by the dogs” (den Letzten beissen die Hunde) – when the late-comers ask for their money back, and by then, the trillions of “non-valeurs” would become evident.

d. Old Age Pension funds: Here the problem is even more cunning, because the first workers and employees asking for pension will again see their money, as long as good items in the funds’ portfolios are sold. However, the last workers and employees going in pension, will get scrap instead of money.

Why do we know almost nothing about this financial Disaster?

The major reason is the incredibly high stupidity of politicians, bankers, CEO, investors and other normal scrap. But here, this is a normal behaviour when we think how complex the CHAOS of the world has become and how low the average intellect of most VIP is in fact.

More astonishing is the incredible truth that the experts, the accountants, the rating experts, the auditors, the consultants, the officers of State and control devices in FED, SEC, all national banks and governmental control agencies, don’t have the slightest idea, about 20 years disaster going on and on – and still today don’t get, what happened at the front of Finance Industry, kept under cover by the U.S. government around Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, GW Bush, Alan Greenspan, Cox and all CEO of all Investment and other Banks of the whole world, but especially at the source of the World Economy Clash, the famous Wall Street with the bloody banner of USA on top of the Greek columns – as a sign, how patriotic and dull all VIP out of USA have always been and always will be – and Obama is just another false number in this game of hegemony and cheating the rest of world.

And so we could say: Whatever security you may assume to have, guaranteed by hedge funds, investment funds, shares and bonds in banks, insurances, any company or nation in the world – you will never know how much worthless scrap you are buying for your personal depots or – done in your name – by the administrators of your old age funds, until the last of scrap paper has been analysed and found out, what true values on rotten real estate, Casino bets of nothing, but even on real values in down-valued other shares of “real industry”, should be set in the accounts of your perpetrators.

Therefore, you may never realize what is going on, not before at least one auditor would be able to levy the curtain on a financial mess, as it has never before existed, in trillions of dollars, making the world tumble into an overall bankruptcy, the finest and deadliest since Adam and Eve – or the worms, Darwin, very much to the anger of Bible belt and Rome’s Pope, letting develop what is better known as capitalistic, greedy, growth-sick and planet destructing Homo non-sapiens.

Rene Delavy – Author of “CHAOS” / “Rotten finances – rotten nations – rotten future” / “Breakdown of Systems – Kitchen Cabinet of Obama tumbling into the dark” etc. www.rene-delavy.comwww.pladesniekant.com

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘WORLD NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SCAMS, FRAUD, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

US FACES DEEP PROBLEMS, OECD SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

December 08, 2008 Monday – Zilhaj 9, 1429

by Steve Schifferes – Economics reporter, BBC News

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

The US economy is still facing “sharp downside risks” to growth, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Paris-based organisation warns that the credit squeeze has been spreading to other forms of lending, and other financial firms could become insolvent.

It says that another fiscal stimulus could be needed if things get worse.

But it warns that longer term problems, including health care reform and the US budget deficit, must be tackled.

Obama’s challenge

The OECD paints a grim picture of the challenges facing the incoming Obama administration, which takes office on 20 January.

It says that “the US economy is going through an exceptionally difficult period” and despite major policy interventions, it is likely that “activity will get worse before it gets better”.

The OECD suggests that the weakness will continue well into 2010.

It also warns that “house prices appear to have further to fall, and foreclosures are widely expected to rise.”

The decline in household wealth of about 20%, due to falls in the stock and housing markets, is likely to affect spending and household consumption.

The OECD broadly endorses the need for a further stimulus plan, saying that “macroeconomic policy should stand ready to provide a renewed stimulus”.

But it warns that, “given the underlying fiscal situation, the package should aim to be strictly temporary, timely and targeted” – an approach that appears to differ from the plan for big infrastructure projects that President-elect Obama has talked about.

And it adds that in the longer term, “the ageing of the population and other trends put the Federal budget on an unsustainable course” and says that increased tax revenue and controls on spending will be needed.

Financial disruption

The OECD says that “resolving the financial crisis could be a long drawn-out process”, which could require substantial government spending just as in previous banking crises.

It says that the “full effects of the forceful easing of monetary policy will only be felt after financial market conditions normalise”.

So it argues that big rate cuts by the US central bank, the Fed, “appear to be roughly appropriate in light of the adverse effect on real activity” of the credit squeeze, and says that “monetary policy should remain highly accommodative for quite some time to support the economy and the financial system”.

However, it warns that in the long run, the regulatory system needs to be fundamentally reformed, or else the rescue of troubled financial institutions “could inadvertently serve to encourage imprudent behaviour” in the future.

“A major overhaul of regulatory and supervisory policy is necessary to remedy the deficiencies in oversight that the crisis revealed,” the report says.

It also calls for reform of the supervision of mortgage brokers, underwriters and credit agencies to protect borrowers and investors.

And it says, more controversially, that in the long-term “it would be preferable to leave the securitisation of mortgages to the private sector,” eliminating or reducing the role of the big government-sponsored agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were effectively nationalised by the government earlier this year.

Health care reform

The OECD report has a special chapter highlighting the problems of the US health care system, which was much debated during the recent election campaign.

It points out that, despite spending 15% of GDP, “the health status of the US population does not appear to fare well by international comparison”.

The OECD endorses the goal of the Obama administration in making progress towards providing health care insurance for all Americans.

However, it appears to give support to the plan proposed by his electoral rival, John McCain, to replace tax subsidies to employers with subsidies to individuals to choose their own health plans that would not be tied to their jobs.

It says the current system is regressive and encourages people to buy expensive plans, as well as reducing job mobility.

But it also suggests that reforms suggested by president-elect Obama, such as a requirement to have health insurance, and regulating insurance companies more tightly so they must accept all applicants, “are likely to be necessary to expand coverage substantially”.

And it warns that the government will have to take tough measures to control costs in state-run Medicare system of health insurance for older people.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HEALTH SAFETY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD), RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

AUTO BAILOUT MAY DEEPEN RECESSION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

Published: December 08, 2008, 23:32

Bloomberg

PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF NEWS’ (Dubai – UAE)

Southfield, Michigan: US automakers’ pledges for more payroll cuts to win federal aid may deepen the recession after they had already eliminated more than 100,000 jobs in the past three years.

While the loans may spare General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC from collapse, shrinking their workforces would sap an already weak economy, said Paul Ballew, chief of consumer insight and analytics for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co in Columbus, Ohio, and an adviser to the Federal Reserve.

“The degree of restructuring is much broader and much deeper than people assume,” said Ballew, a former GM sales analyst. The industry has endured ‘a tough slog for the past few decades, and this is the next phase of restructuring that is probably going to be more severe.’

Even a successful industry rescue of the automakers would hurt suppliers and dealers along with governments and industries as disparate as railroads that haul autos and broadcasters dependent on car ads.

“Sometimes you have to sacrifice a piece to save the whole,” said Kim Rod-riguez, a principal at accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP. “Regardless of the funding you’re going to have major plant closures, major brand cuts, and there is unfortunately going to be a loss of jobs.”

Automakers say the alternative would be a domino effect in which the failure of one company likely would topple the others. GM has said it needs $4 billion (Dh14.68 billion) to keep operating through the end of this year.

Aid plan

Congress and the Bush administration are now working on a $15 billion aid package for GM, Ford and Chrysler, after the companies requested $34 billion in loans in exchange for retrenching to stem losses amid a dwindling US market. The rescue plan as outlined may do little to revive auto sales, which exceeded 15 million a year from 1996 to 2007. US sales probably will total $13.3 million in 2008, Standard & Poor’s said on November 24. Annual totals may not reach $13 million over the next four years, according to GM’s worst-case scenario. “Even if the companies succeed in getting a bailout plan enacted, the restructuring is going to be costly in terms of jobs lost,” said Robert Scott, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based research group aligned with unions.

Because the industry’s employees are among the best-paid in the US, the elimination of one auto worker amounts to erasing 1.7 jobs because of the loss of purchasing power, Scott said.

GM told Congress it projects trimming its workforce by as many as 30,000 employees by 2012, or 33 per cent. Dealers for the biggest US automaker would fall to 4,700 from about 6,500. Job losses at the dealerships might be 100,000, Scott said. “That will hit a lot of local economies, including money dealers often give to local institutions.”

The motor-vehicle and parts industry employed about 827,700 people as of November, down 15 per cent from a year earlier, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. Ford and Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler didn’t project future employment in their survival plans. Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said it expects $1 billion in operating-cost reductions in 2009, while Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Robert Nardelli told Congress the third-largest US automaker has pinpointed $4 billion savings from its restructuring.

Senator Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said yesterday that GM CEO Richard Wagoner should be replaced as a condition for federal aid and Chrysler may have to merge to survive.

“You’ve got to consider new leadership,” Dodd said on CBS’s Face the Nation. Wagoner, he said, “has to move on.”

Nothing obvious

Television stations and advertising agencies likely would suffer from GM’s strategy to focus on just four of its eight brands and Ford’s push to emphasise its namesake nameplate.

“If the dealers go out, that is the biggest local advertiser in virtually every market, with nothing obvious to replace it,” said Kip Cassino, research director at consulting firm Borrell Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Local television stations get 25 per cent or more of their advertising from automakers, dealers, and dealer associations, Cassino said. Fewer brands and models will translate into more pressure on suppliers’ employment, which fell 18 per cent through June to 590,000, according to the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF NEWS’ (Dubai – UAE)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE MEDIA (US AND FOREIGN), THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

SCHWARZENEGGER TELLS U.N.: GREEN RULES HELP MARKETS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

December 8, 2008

Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Matthew Jones

PUBLISHED BY ‘SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN’ (UK)

POZNAN, Poland (Reuters) – Green regulations will help both the environment and ailing economies, California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told a 187-nation U.N. climate conference on Monday.

“Of course, there are some people who say that we can’t afford the fight against global warming while our economies are down,” he said in a video message on the sidelines of the December 1-12 U.N. meeting in Poznan, western Poland.

“But the exact opposite is true,” he said.

California, which is the world’s fifth biggest economy on its own, has been leading other U.S. states in the fight against climate change.

“The green rules and regulations that will help save our planet will also revive our economies,” the governor aid.

The Poznan talks are reviewing progress toward a new global pact to fight climate change meant to be agreed at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen. The talks have been overshadowed by the global financial crisis.

Schwarzenegger also said he would attend the Copenhagen talks to support U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.

The Poznan talks are a step on the way to agree a new worldwide climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it runs out in 2012. The United States is the only industrialized nation that has not ratified the Kyoto treaty.

President George W. Bush said Kyoto was unfair because it did not set caps on emissions by emerging nations like China and India and he reckoned it would be too costly for the U.S.

Obama has promised much tougher action on fighting climate change and intends for the U.S. to be more involved in environmental efforts when he takes over the presidency in January.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN’ (UK)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009 | Leave a Comment »

NEWS ANALYSIS: TAKING RISKS WITH BAILOUT FOR AUTOMAKERS (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

Published: December 9, 2008

by David E. Sanger

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

WASHINGTON: When President-elect Barack Obama talked on Sunday about realigning the American automobile industry he was quick to offer a caution, lest he sound more like the incoming leader of France, or perhaps Japan.

“We don’t want government to run companies,” Obama told Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press.” “Generally, government historically hasn’t done that very well.”

But what Obama went on to describe was a long-term government bailout that would be conditioned on government oversight. It could mean that the government would mandate, or at least heavily influence, what kind of cars companies make, what mileage and environmental standards they must meet and what large investments they are permitted to make — to recreate an industry that Obama said “actually works, that actually functions.”

It all sounds perilously close to a word that no one in Obama’s camp wants to be caught uttering: nationalization.

Not since Harry Truman seized America’s steel mills in 1952 rather than allow a strike to imperil the conduct of the Korean War has Washington toyed with nationalization, or its functional equivalent, on this kind of scale. Obama may be thinking what Truman told his staff: “The president has the power to keep the country from going to hell.” (The Supreme Court thought differently and forced Truman to relinquish control.)

The fact that there is so little protest in the air now — certainly less than Truman heard — reflects the desperation of the moment. But it is a strategy fraught with risks.

The first, of course, is the one the president-elect himself highlighted. Government’s record as a corporate manager is miserable, which is why the world has been on a three-decade-long privatization kick, turning national railroads, national airlines and national defense industries into private companies.

The second risk is that if the effort fails, and the American car companies collapse or are auctioned off in pieces to foreign competitors, taxpayers may lose the billions about to be spent.

And the third risk — one barely discussed so far — is that in trying to save the nation’s carmakers, the United States is violating at least the spirit of what it has preached around the world for two decades. The United States has demanded that nations treat American companies on their soil the same way they treat their home-grown industries, a concept called “national treatment.”

Yet so far, there is no talk of offering aid to Toyota, Honda, BMW or the other foreign automakers that have built factories on American soil, employed American workers and managed to make a profit doing so.

“If Japan was doing this, we’d be threatening billions of dollars in retaliation,” said Jeffrey Garten, a professor at the Yale School of Management, who as under secretary of commerce in the 1990s was one of many government officials who tried in vain to get Detroit prepared for a world of international competition. “In fact, when they did something a lot more subtle, we threatened exactly that,” referring to calls for import restrictions.

Garten said he was stunned by the scope of the intervention that Washington was now considering. “I don’t know that we’ve seen anything like this since the government told the automakers what kind of tanks to make during World War II,” he said. “And that was just for the duration of the war — this could be for much, much longer.”

It is hard to measure just what kind of chances Obama may be taking with this plan, in part because so many parts of it are still in motion.

In the short term, Democrats are floating the idea of linking $15 billion in immediate loans to the designation of a “car czar” who, in doling out the money, could require or veto big transactions or investments — essentially a one-man board of directors. The White House indicates that President George W. Bush, who has spent his entire presidency proclaiming that the government’s role is to create an environment that spurs free enterprise and minimizes government regulation, would very likely sign the rescue plan.

The first $15 billion and the car czar who oversees it, however, are only the beginning. “After that, we’re in uncharted water,” said Malcolm Salter, a professor emeritus at Harvard Business School who has studied the auto industry for two decades and, until a few years ago, was an adviser to General Motors and Ford. “Think about this: Who in the federal government would have the tremendous insight needed to fix this industry?”

Depending on how the longer-term revamping of the industry proceeds, Washington could become a major shareholder in the Big Three, it could provide loans, or, in one course that Obama seemed to hint at on Sunday, it could organize what amounts to a “structured bankruptcy.” In that case, the government would convene the creditors, the unions, the shareholders and the company’s management, and apportion a share of the hit to each of them. If that “consensus building” sounds a lot like the role of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry in the 1970s and the 1980s, well, it is.

To promote the Japanese car industry on the way up, the trade ministry nudged companies toward consolidation, and even tried to mandate which parts of the market each could go into. (Soichiro Honda, the founder of the company, rebelled when bureaucrats told him he was supposed to limit himself to making motorcycles.) By the 1980s, Congress was denouncing this as “industrial policy,” and arguing that it put American makers at a competitive disadvantage — and polluted free enterprise.

Now, it is Congress doing exactly that, but this time as emergency surgery. Other nations will doubtless complain, or begin doing the same for their own companies. “We’re at this moment in history, in which the Chinese are touting that their system is better than ours” with their mix of capitalism and state control, said Garten, who has long experience in Asia. “And our response, it looks like, is to begin replicating what they’ve been doing.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, JAPAN, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | 1 Comment »

ARMS SALES AND THE FUTURE OF U.S.-TAIWAN-CHINA RELATIONS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

November 24, 2008 05:01 PM – Age: 13 days

by Jau-shieh Joseph Wu

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE JAMESTOWN FOUNDATION’ (USA)

Publication: China Brief Volume: 8 Issue: 22

Category: China Brief, Featured, Military/Security, China and the Asia-Pacific

The outgoing Bush Administration made an 11th hour decision to notify the U.S. Congress on GEORGE WALKER BUSHOctober 3—a day before Congress went into recess ahead of the groundbreaking November presidential election in the United States—that a raft of arms and weapons systems, which have been effectively frozen since December 2007, will be released for Taiwan. The passage of the arms package provided a temporary reprieve for Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, whose approval rating since assuming office in May has plummeted to 23.6 percent in October (Global View, November 2008). The items released by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, at the value of $6.4 billion, includes: 182 Javelin anti-tank missile; 30 Apache helicopters; four PAC-3 anti-missile batteries; 32 submarine-launched Harpoon missiles; and four E-2T radar plane upgrades. But more noticeable than the items released is the absence of the first phase of 8 diesel-powered submarines, Black Hawk helicopters, and two additional PAC-3 batteries that had been originally sought (United Daily News [Taiwan], October 5, 2008; Defense News, October 6). Taipei also requested 66 F-16 C/D jet fighters to add to its current inventory, but the Bush Administration has not received the letter of request for the reason that it would only process the above-mentioned package at the current stage.

The passage of the arms package was received with a sigh of relief in Taipei, which is concerned about the island’s strained relations with the United States,and, had a decision lapsed to the next U.S. president, weary that the package would be approved at all. As expected, Beijing complained bitterly and suspended unspecified military exchange programs with the United States (United Daily News, October 8, 2008), but overall the sale did not upset Sino-U.S. relations, nor did it interrupt the momentum of reconciliatory gestures between the Kuomintang (KMT), the ruling party on Taiwan, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, the scaling-down of the arms package signifies subtle changes in the geopolitical landscape in East Asia, where the shifting center of gravity may affect the long-term interests of the United States and its relations with the nations in the region.

Arms Sale and Taiwan’s Defense

Although the items approved only represent a fraction of Taiwan’s request and the value is half of what was originally sought, the package nonetheless improves Taiwan’s defense capability and reduces Taiwan’s widening military disparity vis-à-vis China. However, China’s military is rapidly modernizing, with its military defense budget has increased by double digit for more than 15 years while Taiwan’s defense budget has remained low. Therefore, the arms package will be unable to offset the strategic changes in the depth projection of China’s military in the region and encirclement of Taiwan’s sovereignty. Among Taiwan’s most cited threats is the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) deployment of more than 1,000-1,400 short-ranged ballistic missiles (SRBM), which have increased at the rate of 100 per year since 2001. These missiles have been aimed at Taiwan from six missile bases in Lepin, Santow, Fuzhou, Longtien, Huian, and Zhangzhou, spanning three southeastern coastal provinces of Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian [1] (Liberty Times [Taiwan], March 30, 2008). In addition, China has also acquired an estimated 50 advanced submarines, which is more than what military analysts state the PLA needs to blockade the Taiwan Strait. The PLA has also engaged in military exercises and deployments designed to sharpen its defensive capabilities so that even with limited offensive capabilities, China would be able to subdue Taiwan’s defenses in a limited amount of time by denying the access of other maritime powers that may come to Taiwan’s defense [2]. Furthermore, China has—in recent years—ratcheted up its computer-hacking activities against the Taiwanese government’s national security-related agencies and has stolen countless sensitive materials (United Daily News, April 8, 2007), so much so that some Taiwanese security officials describe that a “silent war” has already begun.

Friction between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the CCP in the Taiwan Strait was to be expected for two parties whose visions for Taiwan and its relationship with China are diametrically opposed. That the result of Taiwan’s presidential election on March 22 was embraced by the embattled U.S. leadership came as no surprise. The KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou appears more conciliatory toward China than his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian of the DPP. Chen stoked tensions in cross-Strait relations prior to the election by advocating that Taiwan join the United Nations as a new member, promoted a national referendum on the issue during the recent presidential election. These tensions have since eased following President Ma’s inauguration. Bush Administration officials—in pubic and in private—conveyed satisfaction to see Taiwan’s KMT government and the CCP re-engaged in cross-Strait dialogue, particularly the resumption of the Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) – Association for the Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) channel, severed by the CCP after former President Lee Teng-hui stated in a major policy speech in 1999 that Taiwan-China relations are “special state-to-state relations.”

Cross-Strait Politics and China’s Legal Warfare against Taiwan

From November 3 to 7, the head of ARATS, Chen Yunlin, serving as China’s special envoy to Taiwan, participated in an unprecedented visit to Taiwan to negotiate cross-Strait aviation, shipping, and food safety agreements. Chen Yunlin’s visit has attracted international attention on the warming relations between a democratic Taiwan and an authoritarian China, and also on a deepening divide in Taiwanese society.

A closer examination of ongoing cross-Strait shuttle diplomacy between the KMT and CCP, and public announcements made by President Ma raises legitimate questions about whether the current trend is in Taiwan’s national interest or for that matter U.S. long-term security interest.

The issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty has always been the focal point of cross-Strait tension, since the PRC claims that Taiwan is a part of China under its interpretation of the “one-China principle.” The Chinese government has engaged in what some analysts call a diplomatic “full-court press,” using a carrot and stick strategy in the form of financial and monetary incentives, to legalize the “one-China principle” in major international organizations and thereby legitimize its claim of sovereignty over Taiwan (Javno, November 16, 2007).

The first such step came in May 2005, when the Chinese government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat requiring the WHO to seek Chinese approval before Taiwan, under the name “Taiwan, China,” could participate in any WHO-related activities. The second came in the United Nations, which in March 28, 2007, issued a letter from the Secretariat to Nauru stating that, in compliance with the 1972 UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, “the United Nations considers Taiwan for all purposes to be an integral part of the People’s Republic of China.” The third incident was with the OIE (World Organization of Animal Health). In May 2007, Beijing attempted to pass a resolution “recognizing that there is only one China in the world and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China which includes Taiwan,” changing Taiwan’s membership into “non-sovereign regional member,” and using “Taiwan, China” or “Taipei, China” as Taiwan’s official title in this organization.

As these three examples demonstrate, the “one-China principle” has been used by the PRC as a means of waging its “legal warfare” to incorporate Taiwan and to accomplish its bottom-line goal of de jure unification, as explicitly stated by its CARCEL PARA POSADAdeclared intent to use military force if necessary under the “anti-secession law” of 2005 to “reunify” Taiwan. The examples also illustrate how, if Taipei agrees to the “one-China principle,” it may be interpreted as accepting China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. Under such pretexts, the government under the DPP had to avoid and even repel the “one-China principle” as the precondition for the resumption of cross-Strait talks. The DPP did this by seeking international support for its counter-position, which led to the standoff in cross-Strait negotiations and showed the world that the “one-China principle” effectively became a non-starter.

These efforts notwithstanding, Ma Ying-jeou in his inaugural address reversed the previous administration’s position and accepted the so-called “1992 consensus” as the foundation for cross-Strait reconciliation in spite of the fact that the PRC officially stated that the “1992 consensus” was a consensus realizing (ti-xien) the “one-China principle.” In several private meetings with foreign visitors, Ma even went on to say that he accepted the one-China principle with or without any elaboration on what he meant by it. In addition, Ma stated in September during an interview with a Mexican journal that the relations between Taiwan and China are “non-state to state special relations,” and his spokesperson Wang Yuchi further qualified that statement of policy by saying that relations should be characterized as “region to region” (diqu dui diqu) relations (September 3, 2008, news release, http://www.president.gov.tw). In the effort to participate in international organizations, Ma announced that there is no better title for Taiwan other than “Chinese Taipei” (United Daily News, April 5, 2008). During the August/September effort to participate in the United Nations, the KMT government gave up on the membership drive and pursued only “meaningful participation” in UN-affiliated organizations. Even so, the Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Wang Guang-yia, stated that Taiwan was not qualified to participate in major international organizations, and Taiwan’s participation in the WHO had to follow the MOU signed between the Chinese government and the WHO Secretariat (Liberty Times, August 28, 2008). The Ma administration made no attempt to repudiate the Chinese claim, and Ma’s spokesperson stated that it was not a “non-goodwill” (Liberty Times, August 29, 2008). In addition, when in the negotiations for cross-Strait chartered flights the Ma administration decided to open up six domestic airports in addition to two international airports, the decision apparently fell into the Chinese claim that the cross-Strait flights are domestic flights. In short, the official statements and policy actions by the KMT government on relations between the two sides of the Strait thus put Taiwan within the description of the “one-China principle,” with Taiwan being part of China.

Inner Politics and Arms Sales

In another interview by India and Global Affairs, Ma stated that HOMELESS - USAhe wanted to pursue full economic normalization with China, and that he also wanted to reach a peace agreement within his term (Liberty Times, October 18, 2008). If Ma’s concept on the relations between Taiwan and China falls within the description of the “one-China principle,” a full economic normalization will mean an arrangement similar to the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Hong Kong and China. A peace agreement between Taiwan and China within the timetable of his four-year term may necessitate that the United States prepare for an eventual termination of arms sales to and security cooperation with Taiwan. Ma’s statements may be welcomed by the international community as gestures toward peace, but it is actually putting Taiwan’s security in jeopardy. If Taiwan were to sign a peace agreement under the KMT where the conditions are defined by the KMT and CCP, the resulting equation, influenced by a much more powerful China at the other end of the negotiating table, may forfeit Taiwan’s freedom to repudiate China’s claim over Taiwan. Taiwan may be moving dangerously too close to the PRC and may not be able to maintain its current de facto independent status any longer.

The United States has for decades held a policy of refuting the PRC’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, as stated in the “six assurances” provided by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 and other private communications with Taiwan (Fredrick Chien Memoir, vol. 2, 2005, 215-6). When China manipulated the UN Secretariat to issue a letter in March 2007, which stated that Taiwan is considered by the UN an integral part of the PRC, the United States protested to the UN Secretariat, arguing that such a declaration is against U.S. policy (Liberty Times, September 6, 2007). But if Taiwan itself accepts one-China principle, the foundation for this U.S. policy may be jeopardized. In other words, Ma’s effort of reconciliation is a short-term relief for the United States at a time when it is not capable of addressing simultaneous international conflicts. However, such efforts may prove to be against U.S. long-term interests, especially if the United States continues to view China’s rapid military modernization with suspicion.

Taiwan’s domestic politics are severely divided over the course of the government’s ongoing rapprochement with China. President Ma has not made any efforts to seek domestic reconciliation or attempt to communicate with the opposition over his intentions on cross-Strait policy. In fact, Ma’s statements and actions angered many people who believe that Taiwan should keep China at arm’s length. Taiwan appears to be more divided than before in the months since Ma’s inauguration, as evidenced by several large-scale, anti-government/anti-China demonstrations. Consequently, Taiwan’s status has been relatively weakened in facing the subtle and not so subtle threats from authoritarian China. A divided and weakened Taiwan severely threatens Taiwan’s national security, and is, by extension, not in the interests of the United States or Japan, its key ally in East Asia. All interested parties should therefore encourage the KMT to engage the opposition DPP in formulating its policy across the Taiwan Strait.

Conclusion

The changes occurring within the strategic landscape of East Asia are quite subtle indeed. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are one of the most important means LOADING BOMBSfor the United States to demonstrate its security commitment to its key allies and ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. In order for the United States to continue to maintain peace and stability in the region, the United States has long held the position, as prescribed by the Taiwan Relations Act, that arms sales to Taiwan are evaluated on the merit of Taiwan’s defense needs, not political judgments or as a result of consultations with the PRC. However, the U.S. decision to scale down the volume of weapons that had already been promised may make Taiwan feel uncomfortable about the U.S. commitment at a time when Taiwan needs a strong defense in order to ward off China’s possible aggression. A continued U.S. commitment is also integral in permitting Taiwan to resist China’s political pressure, however remote it may seem, and most importantly enable Taiwan to negotiate with China from a position of strength. The unfinished issue of arms sales to Taiwan thus becomes another pressing matter for the new U.S. administration to address in order to safeguard American interests in reinforcing peace and stability in East Asia.

Notes

1. Tseng Shiang-yin, “The Enhancement of Taiwan’s missile defense,” Taiwan Defense Affairs (Vol 5, No. 3, Spring 2005) pp. 88-117, www.itdss.org.tw/pub/05_3/05_3_p088_177.pdf.

2. Ling Chang-sheng, “Research, Development and Deployment of China’s Cruise Missiles,” Defence International Issue 213 (Taiwan: April 12, 2003), www.diic.com.tw/comment/06/06930412.htm.

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Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FORMOSA - TAIWAN, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | 1 Comment »

SHARING THE RESPONSABILITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

DECEMBER 3-8, 2008

by Michael Levitin

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ – Print Edition – (USA)

He was Chief of Staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the leading voice behind 'A BIGGER BREAK' - Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the crisis forced the U.S. to leave behind its traditions - Photo by Hans-Christian Plambeck (Laif-Redux)Germany’s refusal to fight in Iraq. Now German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor in next year’s elections, running against the popular Christian Democrat incumbent, Angela Merkel. In his first major interview with the U.S. press, Steinmeier sat down with NEWSWEEK’s Michael Levitin to discuss German troop engagements in Afghanistan, Russia’s recent aggression, the global financial crisis and how Germany might work alongside the United States. Excerpts:

LEVITIN: The day after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to install missiles in Kaliningrad if Washington did not “rethink” its deployment of a NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe. Did Moscow’s latest show of aggression shift the dynamic between Russia and Europe? How should you respond- and what should Europe’s response be?

STEINMEIER: Medvedevs announcement the day after the elections was clearly the wrong signal at the wrong time. We have no illusions about Russia. In the last few years it has often proved itself a difficult partner. The question remains how to deal with this huge country in Europe’s immediate neighborhood; having to choose between containment versus engagement, I advocate the latter. We must try to develop relations with Russia that go beyond economic interests and contribute to increased stability and security. After all, it is in our own interest to make sure that a Russia that is looking for its own identity is politically and culturally anchored in die West.

LEVITIN: Do you see Germany as a middleman, acting as a buffer between Russia and the rest of Europe-perhaps at the moment even Russia’s closest EU ally?

STEINMEIER: Russia is aware of our uniquely close relationship with the United States. We are firmly embedded in NATO and the EU and thus we don’t aspire to play the role of a middleman. Together with our European partners we showed a strong and outspoken response to Russia’s role in the conflict in Georgia. I think Europe’s united voice no doubt contributed to the military conflict ending. Now the stabilization of the region as a whole has to continue, and for genuine stability we need Russian cooperation. As for energy links between the EU and Russia, the answer depends on which European country you talk to. But in general, Russia depends as much on Europe and America buying its goods as we rely on Russia supplying us with natural gas and oil. As far as Germany is concerned, it is little known in the United States that we have worked successfully for decades to diversify our suppliers of various forms of energy and fuels, with Russia but also Norway and Africa being important suppliers.

LEVITIN: You mentioned the conflict In Georgia. Should that country and Ukraine be Invited to Join NATO?

STEINMEIER: This is not a simple yes-or-no decision. With national elections looming, the domestic situation in Ukraine has changed, as has the situation in the Caucasus since the conflict broke out this summer. Yes, we remain committed to supporting and assisting these countries on the road ahead. But concerning the Membership Action Plan, Germany and other European governments continue to stand by their position.

LEVITIN: The most urgent U.S. foreign-policy question involving Germany, which Obama raised many times during his campaign, is Afghanistan and whether Germany will contribute more troops there to stabilize the south. How much is your country willing to sacrifice for this partnership, putting its soldiers into harm’s way?

STEINMEIER: I have spoken to Barack Obama twice, and from these exchanges I know that he sees Afghanistan in a very nuanced way. I feel we see eye to eye in our assessment that we’re facing a very difficult security situation, but that military means alone cannot bring about the necessary changes. Our approach has to be a comprehensive one, and contrary to what some people may say, Germany has played its part.

LEVITIN: In the north, certainly. But It’s in the south where the greatest violence has taken place, and where Obama’s asking for greater German participation.

STEINMEIER: We have shouldered our share of the military responsibility and we have also enlarged our engagement. We are about to increase our troops by 30 percent, to 4,500. We are participating in aerial surveillance across the whole of Afghanistan, including the south, and German radio engineers are also stationed in Kandahar. The German Air Force runs flights for all NATO countries throughout Afghanistan, again including the south. We took over the lead of the Quick Reaction Force in the north. And let us not forget that circumstances there have also changed; the north, too, has seen its share of armed opposition activities increasing in the last month. But our engagement in Afghanistan is about much more than military action. We have always said that we will only be successful if we succeed in helping rebuild the country and its economy. Civil reconstruction is the second important pillar of our engagement on the ground, and we’ll continue to increase our contribution in this area next year.

LEVITIN: Given the turmoil in Pakistan, what do you think the next steps forward ought to be?

STEINMEIER: The security of the whole region strongly depends on Pakistan. If we want to combat terrorism in Afghanistan, we have to succeed in stabilizing Pakistan politically and economically. This calls for a strengthened Pakistani commitment to combat terrorism, but it also calls for international assistance for this country. It needs a substantial loan from the IMF. We also need to be ready to help stabilize the country in a lasting way.

LEVITIN: On Iran, what realistic hopes do you see of bringing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the table and persuading him to give up Tehran’s nuclear ambitions? And how far will you be willing to push?

STEINMEIER: No doubt there is hope in the international community that after 29 years of standstill, a new approach may be possible. We all remember the reasons for the break-off of relations between the U.S. and Iran. Since then, U.S.-Iranian relations have also been a story of missed opportunities: when Washington signaled openness, Tehran wasn’t willing or able to respond in kind, and vice versa. I think it would be worthwhile trying to have direct talks, but the Iranians have to know it is up to them to prove they do not aspire to nuclear weapons-and that they’re willing to play a constructive role in the region. I have to admit I am skeptical, and can only express my hope that the leaders in Iran seize this opportunity.

LEVITIN: Turning to the financial crisis, the banks got a bailout. Now the automobile manufacturers are seeking the same thing. How do you see EU countries regaining their competition policy-and their legitimacy-after this?

STEINMEIER: I believe the politicians would have lost their legitimacy if they hadn’t acted. What we’re facing here is the very visible failure of the market. We had to make sure that the crisis in the financial markets does not lead to a total breakdown of the financial system as a whole. On both sides of the Atlantic, unconventional means were applied to manage the crisis. Honestly speaking, many of the measures taken in the U.S. seemed a bigger break with American tradition than can be said about European measures.

LEVITIN: How important is it that developing countries play a greater decision-making role In the future? For example, we saw hints of the G8 expanding into a G20 several weeks ago in Washington.

STEINMEIER: What is the most fundamental challenge the world is facing today? To my mind, it consists of integrating the emerging powers of the 21st century into a system of shared global responsibility. I am talk ing about countries like China and India, but also Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia. Can any of the global challenges we face be tackled without them? I don’t think so. That is why we have to make them stakeholders, and in that respect the recent financial summit in Washington was historic. To me it is obvious we cannot stop there.

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OBAMA BANKING ON LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Posted on Sat, Dec. 6, 2008

by Ann Sanner – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

OBAMA TRANSITION: CHANGE.GOV

CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama said Saturday he wants to revive the economy through a job-creating public works plan on a scale unseen since the building program of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

He offered no price estimate for the grand plan, how the money might be divided or the effect on the country’s financial health at a time of burgeoning deficits.

The ideas were outlined in the weekly radio address the day after the government reported that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years. They are part of a vision for a massive economy recovery plan Obama wants Congress to pass and have waiting on his desk when he takes office Jan. 20.

The president-elect’s address never once used the word “spend,” relying instead on “invest” or “investments,” and pledging wise stewardship of taxpayer money in upgrading roads and schools, and making public buildings more energy-efficient.

“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” Obama said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve , by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”

Obama said his plan would employ millions of people by “making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.” He said state officials would lose the federal dollars if they did not quickly use the money to repair highways and bridges.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, a 1991 final estimate of the cost of the interstate system put it at $128.9 billion, with a federal share of $114.3 billion. The estimate covered only the mileage (42,795 miles) built under the interstate construction program. Construction of the system began in 1956 under President Dwight Eisenhower.

More than 5,000 highway projects are ready to go today, state transportation officials say, if Congress will pony up $64.3 billion as part of an economic aid plan. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which compiled the list, said the projects would provide jobs and help reduce a backlog of crumbling roads and bridges.

A bipartisan group of governors recently met with Obama to press for some $136 billion in infrastructure projects in addition to money for health care costs.

Several governors welcomed Obama’s economic plan.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said the state had more than a billion dollars in “ready-to-go” projects that have been planned for and can be under contract within 180 days. “His plan will put people to work and give the economy a critically important boost,” Kaine said in a written statement.

In a joint statement, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it would help the U.S. stay ahead of other countries. “To stay competitive globally, the time to repair and modernize our nation’s infrastructure is now,” they said.

In the address, Obama also said he wants to install energy-saving light bulbs and replace old heating systems in federal buildings to cut costs and create jobs.

School buildings would get an upgrade, too. “Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools,” Obama said.

As a part of the package, Obama said he wants to expand broadband Internet access in communities. “Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online,” he said.

Hospitals also should be connected to each through the Internet. He said he wanted to ensure the facilities were using the latest technology and electronic medical records.

Obama planned to announce more details of the economic recovery plan in the coming weeks.

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Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | 1 Comment »

RUMSFELD NEMESIS SHINSEKI TO BE NAMED VA SECRETARY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Posted on Sat, Dec. 6, 2008

by Hope Yen – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama has chosen retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, turning to a former Army chief of staff once vilified by the Bush administration for questioning its Iraq war strategy.

Obama will announce the selection of Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, at a news conference Sunday in Chicago. He will be the first Asian-American to hold the post of Veterans Affairs secretary, adding to the growing diversity of Obama’s Cabinet.

“I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home,” Obama said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” to be broadcast Sunday.

NBC released a transcript of the interview after The Associated Press reported that Shinseki was Obama’s pick.

Shinseki’s tenure as Army chief of staff from 1999 to 2003 was marked by constant tensions with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which boiled over in 2003 when Shinseki testified to Congress that it might take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the invasion.

Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, belittled the estimate as “wildly off the mark” and the army general was forced out within months. But Shinseki’s words proved prophetic after President George W. Bush in early 2007 announced a “surge” of additional troops to Iraq after miscalculating the numbers needed to stem sectarian violence.

Obama said he selected Shinseki for the VA post because he “was right” in predicting that the U.S. will need more troops in Iraq than Rumsfeld believed at the time.

“When I reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by our veterans and, I think about how so many veterans around the country are struggling even more than those who have not served , higher unemployment rates, higher homeless rates, higher substance abuse rates, medical care that is inadequate , it breaks my heart,” Obama told NBC.

Shinseki, 66, will take the helm of the government’s second largest agency, which has been roundly criticized during the Bush administration for underestimating the amount of funding needed to treat thousands of injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans currently endure six-month waits for receiving disability benefits, despite promises by current VA Secretary James Peake and his predecessor, Jim Nicholson, to reduce delays. The department also is scrambling to upgrade government technology systems before new legislation providing for millions of dollars in new GI benefits takes effect next August.

Obama’s choice of Shinseki, who grew up in Hawaii, is the latest indication that the president-elect is making good on his pledge to have a diverse Cabinet.

In Obama’s eight Cabinet announcements so far, white men are the minority with two nominations , Timothy Geithner at Treasury and Robert Gates at Defense. Three are women , Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security, Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador and Hillary Rodham Clinton at State. Eric Holder at the Justice Department is African American, while Bill Richardson at Commerce is Latino.

Shinseki is a recipient of two Purple Hearts for life-threatening injuries in Vietnam.

Upon leaving his post in June 2003, Shinseki in his farewell speech sternly warned against arrogance in leadership.

“You must love those you lead before you can be an effective leader,” he said. “You can certainly command without that sense of commitment, but you cannot lead without it. And without leadership, command is a hollow experience, a vacuum often filled with mistrust and arrogance.”

Shinseki also left with the warning: “Beware a 12-division strategy for a 10-division army.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

Posted in AL QAEDA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), DEFENCE TREATIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATO, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN | Leave a Comment »

FIDEL ABRE PORTAS DE CUBA AO DIÁLOGO COM OS EUA (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

06/12/2008 – 14:53

PUBLISHED BY ‘BLOG OF ZÉ DIRCEU’ (Brasil)

por Zé Dirceu

O ex-presidente e líder cubano Fidel Castro saiu na frente e 44 dias antes da posse (20 de janeiro) do novo presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, tomou a iniciativa de abrir as portas de Havana ao diálogo com o governo norte-americano em relação à suspensão do bloqueio econômico com que Washington sufoca Cuba há 48 anos.

Em seu mais recente artigo assinado no Granma, Fidel considera que Obama é um líder com quem o governo de Cuba, hoje chefiado pelo presidente Raúl Castro, pode conversar “em qualquer lugar” que o norte-americano escolher.

Ele lembra sua condição, e de Cuba, de “não pregadores da violência e da guerra” e só adverte a Obama que se lembre de que “a diplomacia da cenoura e do porrete (afagar ou castigar)” não funcionará nos entendimentos com o governo de seu país.

Há uma semana Raúl já antecipou à revista The Nation estar disposto a encontrar-se com O presidente Obama em território neutro. Sua disposição casa-se com a do futuro secretário de Comércio de Obama, Bill Richardson, para quem os EUA têm de “mudar a política em relação à Cuba porque o embargo (bloqueio econômico) não faz sentido”.

TODOS NO MUNDO CONTRA O BLOQUEIO

Conforme registrei aqui nesse blog ontem, também a Câmara de Comércio Americana juntou-se a outras 11 entidades empresariais e entregou essa semana carta ao presidente Barack Obama na qual solicita a suspensão do bloqueio.

As 12 entidades reconhecem ser complicado a suspensão total e imediata do bloqueio de 48 anos, mas até sugere que ela se faça gradualmente – no começo, suspendendo-se a proibição de viagens e de envio de dinheiro a Cuba, dos cubanos residentes nos EUA.

Estes, conforme pesquisa que também publiquei ontem, em sua esmagadora maioria já não querem mais saber desse bloqueio. De acordo com a pesquisa, feita pela Universidade Internacional da Flórida (FIU), 55% dos cubanos de Miami (maior colônia cubana do mundo) estão a favor do fim do embargo.

Esse índice sobe para 60% que querem o fim da proibição de viagens e chega a 65% entre jovens e cubanos de meia idade de Miami que são contra as sanções. O bloqueio já foi rechaçado e teve sua suspensão pedida por 185 países em nada menos que 17 resoluções oficiais aprovadas pela Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU).

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BLOG OF ZÉ DIRCEU’ (Brasil)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), BRASIL, CUBA, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, POLÍTICA EXTERNA - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES COMERCIAIS INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES DIPLOMÁTICAS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA | Leave a Comment »

SWIMMING UP STREAM

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 6, 2008

Friday, Dec 05, 2008

REFLECTIONS BY COMRADE FIDEL

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTAL CUBA’

REFLECTIONS BY COMRADE FIDEL

Following Obama’s speech, on May 23 this year, to the Cuban American National Foundation established by Ronald Reagan, I wrote a reflection entitled “The Empire’s Hypocritical Policy”. It was dated on the 25th of the same month.

In that Reflection I quoted his exact words to the Miami annexationists:

“[…] together we will stand up for freedom in Cuba; this is my word and my commitment

[…] It’s time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent upon the Castro regime.

[…] I will maintain the embargo.”

I then offered several arguments and unethical examples of the general behavior of the Presidents who preceded the one who would be elected to that position on the November 4 elections. I literally wrote:

“I find myself forced to raise various sensitive questions:

1 – Is it right for the President of the United States to order the assassination of any one person in the world, whatever the pretext may be?

2 – Is it ethical for the President of the United States to order the torture of other human beings?

3 – Should state terrorism be used by a country as powerful as the United States as an instrument to bring about peace on the planet?

4 – Is an Adjustment Act, applied as punishment on only one country, Cuba, in order to destabilize it, good and honorable, even when it costs innocent children and mothers their lives? If it is good, why is this right not automatically granted to Haitians, Dominicans, and other peoples of the Caribbean, and why isn’t the same Act applied to Mexicans and people from Central and South America, who die like flies against the Mexican border wall or in the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific?

5 – Can the United States do without immigrants, who grow vegetables, fruits, almonds and other delicacies for Americans? Who would sweep their streets, work as servants in their homes or do the worst and lowest-paid jobs?

6 – Are crackdowns on illegal residents fair, even as they affect children born in the United States?

7 – Are the brain-drain and the continuous theft of the best scientific and intellectual minds in poor countries moral and justifiable?

8 – You state, as I pointed out at the beginning of this reflection, that your country had long ago warned European powers that it would not tolerate any intervention in the hemisphere, reiterating that this right be respected while demanding the right to intervene anywhere in the world with the aid of hundreds of military bases and naval, aerial and spatial forces distributed across the planet. I ask: is that the way in which the United States expresses its respect for freedom, democracy and human rights?

9 – Is it fair to stage pre-emptive attacks on sixty or more dark corners of the world, as Bush calls them, whatever the pretext may be?

10 – Is it honorable and sound to invest millions upon millions of dollars in the military industrial complex, to produce weapons that can destroy life on earth several times over?”

I could have included several other issues.

Despite the caustic questions, I was not unkind to the African American candidate. I perceived he had greater capacity and command of the art of politics than his adversaries, not only in the opposing party but in his own, too.

Last week, the American President-elect Barack Obama announced his Economic Recovery Program.

Monday, December 1st, he introduced his National Security and Foreign Policy teams.

“Vice President-elect Biden and I are pleased to announce our national security team […] old conflicts remain unresolved, and newly assertive powers have put strains on the international system. The spread of nuclear weapons raises the peril that the world’s deadliest technology could fall into dangerous hands. Our dependence on foreign oil empowers authoritarian governments and endangers our planet.”

“…our economic power must sustain our military strength, our diplomatic leverage, and our global leadership.”

“We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships […] American values are America’s greatest export to the world.”

“…the team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that.”

“…these men and women represent all of those elements of American power […] they have served in uniform and as diplomats […] they share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world.”

“I have known Hillary Clinton…,” he says.

I am mindful of the fact that she was President-elect Barack Obama’s rival and the wife of President Clinton, who signed the extraterritorial Torricelli and Helms Burton Acts against Cuba. During the presidential race she committed herself with these laws and with the economic blockade. I am not complaining, I am simply stating it for the record.

“I am proud that she will be our next Secretary of State,” said Obama. “[she] will command respect in every capitol; and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world. Hillary’s appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment…”

“At a time when we face an unprecedented transition amidst two wars, I have asked Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense…”

“[…] I will be giving Secretary Gates and our military a new mission as soon as I take office: responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.”

It strikes me that Gates is a Republican, not a Democrat. He is the only one who has been Defense Secretary and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, that is, he has occupied these positions under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. Gates, who is aware of his popularity, has said that first made sure that the President-elect was choosing him for as long as necessary.

On the other hand, while Condoleezza Rice was traveling to India and Pakistan under Bush’s instructions to mediate in the tense relations between these two countries, two days ago, the minister of Defense from Brazil gave the green light to a Brazilian company to manufacture MAR-1 missiles, but instead of one a month, as it had been the case until now, it will produce five every month. One hundred of these missiles will be sold to Pakistan at an estimated cost of 85 million euros.

In a public statement, the minister said that “these missiles that can be attached to planes have been designed to locate ground radars. They allow the effective monitoring of both the ground and air space.”

As for Obama, he continued unflappable his Monday statement: “And going forward, we will continue to make the investments necessary to strengthen our military and increase our ground forces to defeat the threats of the 21st century.”

On Janet Napolitano, he indicated: “[she] offers the experience and executive skill that we need in the next Secretary of Homeland Security…”

“Janet assumes this critical role having learned the lessons – some of them painful – of the last several years, from 9/11 to Katrina […] She understands as well as anyone the danger of an insecure border. And she will be a leader who can reform a sprawling Department while safeguarding our homeland.”

This familiar figure had been appointed a District Attorney in Arizona by Clinton in 1993, and then promoted to State Attorney General in 1998. Later on, in 2002, she became a Democratic Party candidate and then governor of that bordering state which is the most common incoming route used by illegal immigrants. She was elected governor in 2006.

About Susan Elizabeth Rice, he said: “Susan knows that the global challenges we face demand global institutions that work… We need the UN to be more effective as a venue for collective action – against terror and proliferation; climate change and genocide; poverty and disease.”

On National Security Advisor James Jones he said: “[…] I am convinced that General James Jones is uniquely suited to be a strong and skilled National Security Advisor. Generations of Joneses have served heroically on the battlefield – from the beaches of Tarawa in World War II, to Foxtrot Ridge in Vietnam. Jim’s Silver Star is a proud part of that legacy […] He has commanded a platoon in battle, served as Supreme Allied Commander in a time of war, (he means NATO and the Gulf War) and worked on behalf of peace in the Middle East.”

“Jim is focused on the threats of today and the future. He understands the connection between energy and national security, and has worked on the frontlines of global instability – from Kosovo to northern Iraq to Afghanistan.”

“He will advise me and work effectively to integrate our efforts across the government, so that we are effectively using all elements of American power to defeat unconventional threats and promote our values.”

“I am confident that this is the team that we need to make a new beginning for American national security.”

Obama is somebody we can talk to anywhere he wishes since we do not preach violence or war. He should be reminded, though, that the stick and carrot doctrine will have no place in our country.

None of the phrases in his latest speech shows any element of response to the questions I raised last May 25, just six months ago.

I will not say now that Obama is any less smart. On the contrary, he is showing the mental faculties that enabled me to see and compare his capacity with that of his mediocre adversary, John McCain, who was almost rewarded for his “exploits” merely due to the traditions of the American society. If it had not been for the economic crisis, television and the Internet, Obama would not have won the elections against the omnipotent racism. It also helped that he studied first in the University of Columbia, where he graduated in Political Sciences, and then in Harvard where he graduated as a lawyer. This enabled him to become a member of the modestly rich class with only several million dollars. He is certainly not Abraham Lincoln, nor are these times similar to those. That society is today a consumer society where the saving habits have been lost while the spending habit has multiplied.

Somebody had to offer a calm and serene response even though this will have to swim up the powerful stream of hopes raised by Obama in the international public opinion.

I only have two more press dispatches left to analyze. They all carry news from everywhere. I have estimated that only the United States will be spending in this economic crisis over $6 trillion in paper money, an amount that can only be assessed by the rest of the peoples of the world with their sweat and hunger, their suffering and blood.

Our principles are the same as those of Baraguá. The empire should know that our Homeland can be turned to dust but the sovereign rights of the Cuban people are not negotiable.

Fidel Castro Ruz

December 4, 2008 – 5:28p.m.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTAL CUBA’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, COMMODITIES MARKET, CUBA, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - ILLEGAL, FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CONSCIENCE, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION, MILITARY CONTRACTS, RECESSION, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE MEDIA (US AND FOREIGN), THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE WORK MARKET, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OBAMA SEES BUSH

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

11-11-2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CAGLE POST’

CHARGE BY RAINER HACHFELD – NEUES DEUTSCHLAND, GERMANY

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL IMAGE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CAGLE POST’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL HUMOR, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

LIPSTICK ON A PIG (South Africa)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

28 November 2008

by Lance Greyling, MP ID chief whip

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MAIL’ (South Africa)

The letter by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Donald Lee, “Voting on racial lines” (November 21), attempts to portray the Independent Democrats (ID) as a “coloured party”. This is an old tactic by the DA to dismiss the ID, play the race card and sow division – so much for the rebranding of the DA and a supposed change of style.

Research conducted by Markinor shows the ID has the most diverse support base of any party in SA and that the DA has far more white voters than the ID has coloured voters. The research, conducted earlier this year, shows the ID’s support among coloureds is about 40%, but for the DA nearly 60% of its support comes from whites. Twenty-six percent of the ID’s support is black, while for the DA only 11% of its support is black. About 29% of the ID’s support comes from white South Africans.

What makes the DA’s recent attempt to trick the SA public still more laughable and disgraceful is a brief look at how Helen Zille and the white leaders of the DA have systematically sidelined coloureds and blacks when it comes to appointing anyone into a position of power in the DA.

About 75% of their MPs are white, their leader is white, their parliamentary leader is white, their CEO is white and eight of their nine provincial leaders are white. Perhaps someone needs to remind them that we, white South Africans, only constitute 9% of the population and that we need to deal with the issues of transformation and diversity.

In contrast, the ID’s leadership is far more inclusive and reflective of the demographics of our country. And the many white people in the ID, myself included, understand and are committed to transformation, as opposed to the DA which wants all those who suffered under apartheid to forget or “transcend” the past.

We cannot talk about equal opportunity without taking into account the hundreds of years of oppression and underdevelopment of the majority of our people.

The ID’s vision and message has always been one of bridging the divides in SA and we have specifically chosen not to mobilise people along the lines of racial divisions.

This is in stark contrast to the DA which specifically sought to fuel racial fears in the Cape Town local elections, where one radio station even refused to play its advertisement as it was deemed to be racially offensive.

The DA’s rebranding, to paraphrase US president-elect Barack Obama, amounts to nothing more than lipstick on a pig.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MAIL’ (South Africa)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), HATE MONGERING AND BIGOTRY, INTERNATIONAL, SOUTH AFRICA | Leave a Comment »

ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLANS SPRING UP AROUND WORLD

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 3, 2008

Published Tuesday, December 2, 2008

THE WASHINGTON POST

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD’ (USA)

WASHINGTON — In a bid to jump-start the beleaguered global economy, countries around the world are introducing massive public spending programs aimed at creating millions of jobs, boosting the use of green energy and modernizing infrastructure in a way that could transform urban and rural landscapes.

The viability of some of the plans remains unclear. But observers say the number of countries moving in tandem underscores the perceived severity of the coming global recession and the view that governments must at least temporarily pick up the slack as the hard-hit private sector sheds jobs and cuts spending.

It is time “to invest massively in infrastructure, in research, in innovation, in education, in training people, because it is now or never,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a recent public address.

World leaders are pursuing various strategies to tame the economic crisis, including moves to unclog credit markets, strengthen financial institutions and ease monetary policy. But fiscal stimulus packages, in particular, have emerged as a favorite tool of policymakers.

Worldwide, economists say, the increase in public spending, if executed wisely, could add as much as 1 percent or 2 percent to global growth next year, perhaps easing recessions in the United States, Europe and Japan while cushioning the slowdown in the developing world, which until recently had seen red-hot growth.

Yet if the promise of combating a global recession with public funds is big, so too, experts say, is the danger that billions worth of taxpayers dollars could be spent in vain.

Analysts point out that the pitfalls of growth-by-spending were exposed by Japan, which launched a huge infrastructure program in the 1990s. To spur expansion after stock market and real estate crashes, the Tokyo government spent billions on new public works projects.

Those projects not only failed to prevent a decadelong economic slump but also produced a herd of white elephants that included new, but little-used, airports and ports, as well as a $250 million bridge to Kourijima Island. Population: 361.

“There is a huge danger of bridges to nowhere, and as Japan showed us, that is no way to get out of a recession,” said Grant Aldonas, a former high-level Bush administration trade official and a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

While China and Japan enjoy a surplus of reserves, spending increases will drive the United States, Britain and many other European countries deeper into debt. The cost of raising cash on world markets by some rich nations, such as Ireland, has surged as investors grow increasingly skeptical of their fiscal health, limiting their options to spend more now.

“In normal times, we would be telling countries, ‘Please reduce your debt,'” said Olivier Blanchard, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, which has taken the unusual step of calling on nations to raise public spending by 2 percent of gross domestic product to combat a global recession. “But these are not normal times.”

A snapshot of how governments plan to increase spending is emerging. Those plans include not only the building of more bridges and roads but also the introduction of measures to put more cash into the hands of strapped consumers.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department have moved to boost consumer spending and lower home mortgage rates, committing as much as $800 billion to make it easier for Americans to borrow money for cars, tuition and homes.

The British said they would slash the national sales tax from to 15 percent from 17.5 percent. The Germans are set to offer temporary tax incentives to consumers buying cars or renovating homes. The Japanese are giving out cash rebates to taxpayers.

Some of the projects being proposed are pre-existing infrastructure plans that are being accelerated. Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, estimates that only about half the “new projects” in Beijing’s $586 billion package amount to previously unplanned spending. “But that is still a great deal of money,” Lardy said.

A number of countries are gearing up for projects that offer long-term benefits, both economic and environmental.

In a move that may offer a guide to helping the ailing Big Three automakers in Detroit, the French are in the early stages of plans to assist their hard-hit auto industry by awarding government grants to boost research into hybrid and battery-power technology.

In comments last week, president-elect Barack Obama suggested that an expansion of wind and solar power generation would be part of his stimulus plans. Obama also cited a plan being circulated by environmental groups that would offer government loans to help schools update their heating and cooling systems, creating quick construction jobs and stimulating demand for building materials.

“I think the fervor in which (the Obama team) is seeking suggestions right now tells me that this kind of spending is something they are very serious about,” said Carl Pope, executive director the Sierra Club.

Some countries in Europe, such as Germany, appear more concerned about overspending. That is at odds with the leadership in France, where Sarkozy has seen the crisis as an opportunity to boost the role of government.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), BIOFUELS, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FRANCE, GERMANY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, IMF, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, MACROECONOMY, MARITIME, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RAILWAY TRANSPORT, RECESSION, ROAD TRANSPORT, SOLAR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

How Long Will The Recession Last? – And why this doesn’t matter for President-Elect Obama

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 3, 2008

December 3, 2008 at 2:04 pm

By dueconsideration

PUBLISHED BY ‘DUE CONSIDERATION’

 

The best place to start when answering this question is the past. Once we can see what’s happened before, we can begin to assess what might happen next.

The following statistics come from the US National Bureau of Economic Research.

America’s Business Cycle Dates. Duration in Months

Peak                Trough           Peak to          Trough           Trough            Peak

                                                Trough           to Peak           to Trough       to Peak

 

Feb 1945         Oct 1945         8                      80                    88                    93

Nov 1948        Oct 1949         11                    37                    48                    45

Jul 1953           May 1954       10                    45                    55                    56

Aug 1957        April 1958       8                     39                    47                    49

April 1960       Feb 1961        10                    24                    34                    32

Dec 1969         Nov 1970       11                   106                  117                  116

Nov 1973        Mar 1975        16                    36                    52                    47

Jan 1980          Jul 1980           6                     58                    64                    74

Jul 1981           Nov 1982       16                    12                    28                    18

Jul 1990           Mar 1991        8                     92                   100                  108

Mar 2001         Nov 2001        8                    120                  128                  128

As you can see quite clearly, America, like most countries, spends much more time growing (Trough to Peak) than shrinking (Peak to Trough). However, those periods of expansion and contraction vary considerably from business cycle to business cycle.

Americas ten year expansion from March 1991 to March 2001 was the longest for at least 150 years – the length of time the National Bureau has data for.

So, to answer the original question, how long is this recession likely to last? The maximum length of a Peak to Trough in the last 60 years has been 16 months. If we hope that this recession is no worse than that, and there seems to be no evidence that specific factors are going to cause an abnormally long recession (indeed with globalisation, the World’s economy is more diversified than ever and so should be more robust), and given that the National Bureau have decided that the Peak of the Cycle was December 2007, then the Trough should be around March 2009.

Although the US economy will start growing from that point, people probably won’t start feeling the benefit for around another year as the slack (that has developed in the recession) gets taken out of the economy. This slack is measured in unemployed people and companies producing less than their capacity.

Whatever does happen, it won’t matter for Obama – the recession can be blamed on President Bush and by the time his re-election comes around in 4 years the economy will be growing again, probably strongly, making him a shoe-in. The only thing that could stop this happening is if he manages to become generally unpopular in the meantime for unforeseen policy mistakes.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘DUE CONSIDERATION’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

BEYOND THE BAILOUT STATE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

First Published 2008-12-02

by Steve Fraser – (*)

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MIDDLE EAST ON LINE’

The American way of life, including its economy of mass consumption, has depended on maintaining the country’s global preeminence by any means possible: economic, political, and, in the end, military, says Steve Fraser.

Roosevelt’s Brain Trust vs Obama’s Brainiacs

On a December day in 1932, with the country prostrate under the weight of the Great Depression, ex-president Calvin Coolidge — who had presided over the reckless stock market boom of the Jazz Age Twenties (and famously declaimed that “the business of America is business”) – confided to a friend: “We are in a new era to which I do not belong.” He punctuated those words, a few weeks later, by dying.

A similar premonition grips the popular imagination today. A new era beckons. No person has been more responsible for arousing that expectation than President-elect Barack Obama. From beginning to end, his presidential campaign was born aloft by invocations of the “fierce urgency of now,” by “change we can believe in,” by “yes, we can!” and by the obvious significance of his race and generation. Not surprisingly then, as the gravity of the national economic calamity has become terrifyingly clearer, yearnings for salvation have attached themselves ever more firmly to the incoming administration.

This is as it should be – and as it once was. When in March 1933, a few months after Coolidge gave up the ghost, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated president, people looked forward to audacious changes, even if they had little or no idea just what, in concrete terms, that might mean. If Coolidge, an iconic representative of the old order, knew that the ancien régime was dead, millions of ordinary Americans had drawn the same conclusion years earlier. Full of fear, depressed and disillusioned, they nonetheless had an appetite for the untried. Like Obama, FDR had, during his campaign, encouraged feverish hopes with no less vaporous references to a “new deal” for Americans.

Brain Trust vs Brainiacs

Yet today, something is amiss. Even if everyone is now using the Great Depression and the New Deal as benchmarks for what we’re living through, Act I of the new script has already veered away from the original.

A suffocating political and intellectual provincialism has captured the new administration in embryo. Instead of embracing a sense of adventurousness, a readiness to break with the past so enthusiastically promoted during the campaign, Obama seems overcome with inhibitions and fears.

Practically without exception he has chosen to staff his government at its highest levels with refugees from the Clinton years. This is emphatically true in the realms of foreign and economic policy. It would, in fact, be hard to find an original idea among the new appointees being called to power in those realms – some way of looking at the American empire abroad or the structure of power and wealth at home that departs radically from views in circulation a decade or more ago. A team photo of Obama’s key cabinet and other appointments at Treasury, Health and Human Services, Commerce, the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, the State Department, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, and in the US Intelligence Community, not to speak of senior advisory posts around the President himself, could practically have been teleported from perhaps the year 1995.

Recycled Clintonism is recycled neo-liberalism. This is change only the brainiacs from Hyde Park and Harvard Square could believe in. Only the experts could get hot under the collar about the slight differences between “behavioral economics” (the latest academic fad that fascinates some high level Obama-ites) and straight-up neo-liberal deference to the market. And here’s the sobering thing: despite the grotesque extremism of the Bush years, neo-liberalism also served as its ideological magnetic north.

Is this parochialism, this timorousness and lack of imagination, inevitable in a period like our own, when the unknown looms menacingly and one natural reaction is certainly to draw back, to find refuge in the familiar? Here, the New Deal years can be instructive.

Roosevelt was no radical; indeed, he shared many of the conservative convictions of his class and times. He believed deeply in both balanced budgets and the demoralizing effects of relief on the poor. He tried mightily to rally the business community to his side. For him, the labor movement was terra incognita and – though it may be hard to believe today – played no role in his initial policy and political calculations. Nonetheless, right from the beginning, Roosevelt cobbled together a cabinet and circle of advisers strikingly heterogeneous in its views, one that, by comparison, makes Obama’s inner sanctum, as it is developing today, look like a sectarian cult.

Heterogeneous does not mean radical. Some of FDR’s early appointments – as at the Treasury Department – were die-hard conservatives. Jesse Jones, who ran the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a Hoover administration creation, retained by FDR, that had been designed to rescue tottering banks, railroads, and other enterprises too big to fail, was a practitioner of business-friendly bailout capitalism before present Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was even born.

But there was also Henry Wallace as Secretary of Agriculture, a Midwestern progressive who would become the standard bearer for the most left-leaning segments of the New Deal coalition. He was joined at the Agriculture Department — far more important then than now – by men like Mordecai Ezekiel, who was prepared to challenge the power of the country’s landed oligarchs.

Then there were corporatists like Raymond Moley, Donald Richberg, and General Hugh Johnson. Moley was an original member of FDR’s legendary “brain trust” (a small group of the President’s most influential advisers who often held no official government position). Richberg and Johnson helped design and run the National Recovery Administration (the New Deal’s first and failed attempt at industrial recovery). All three men were partial to the interests of the country’s peak corporations. All three wanted them released from the strictures of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act so that they could collaborate in setting prices and wages to arrest the killing deflation that gripped the economy. But they also wanted these corporate behemoths and the codes of competition they promulgated subjected to government oversight and restraints.

Meanwhile, Felix Frankfurter (another confidant of FDR’s and a future Supreme Court justice), aided by the behind-the-scenes efforts of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, fiercely contested the influence of the corporatists within the new administration, favoring anti-trust and then-new Keynesian approaches to economic recovery. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins used her extensive ties to the social work community and the labor movement to keep an otherwise tone-deaf president apprised of portentous rumblings from that quarter. In this fashion, she eased the way for the passage of the Wagner Act that legislated the right to organize and bargain collectively, and that ended the reign of industrial autocracy in the workplace.

Roosevelt’s “brain trust” also included Rexford Tugwell. He was an avid proponent of government economic planning. Another founding member of the “brain trust” was Adolph Berle, who had published a bestselling, scathing indictment of the financial and social irresponsibility of the corporate elite just before FDR assumed office.

People like Tugwell and others, including future Federal Reserve Board chairman Marriner Eccles, were believers in Keynesian deficit spending as the road to recovery and argued fiercely for this position within the inner councils of the administration, even while Roosevelt himself remained, until later in his presidency, an orthodox budget balancer.

All of these people – the corporatists and the Keynesians, the planners and the anti-trusters – were there at the creation. They often came to blows. A genuine administration of “rivals” didn’t faze FDR. He was deft at borrowing all of, or pieces of, their ideas, then jettisoning some when they didn’t work, and playing one faction against another in a remarkable display of political agility. Roosevelt’s tolerance of real differences stands in stark contrast to the new administration’s cloning of the Clinton-era brainiacs.

It was this openness to a variety of often untested solutions – including at that point Keynesianism – that helped give the New Deal the flexibility to adjust to shifts in the country’s political chemistry in the worst of times. If the New Deal came to represent a watershed in American history, it was in part due to the capaciousness of its imagination, its experimental elasticity, and its willingness to venture beyond the orthodox. Many failures were born of this, but so, too, many enduring triumphs.

Beyond the Bailout State

Why, at least so far, is the Obama approach so different? Some of it no doubt has to do with the same native caution that caused FDR to navigate carefully in treacherous waters. But some of it may result from the fallout of history. Because the Great Depression and the New Deal happened, nothing can ever really be the same again.

We are accustomed to thinking of the Bush years – maybe even the whole era from the presidency of Ronald Reagan on – as a throwback to the 1920s or even the laissez-faire golden years of the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century. In some respects, that’s probably accurate, but in at least one critical way it’s not. Back in those days, faced with a potentially terminal financial crisis, the government did nothing, simply letting the economy plunge into depression. This happened repeatedly until 1929, when it happened again.

Since the New Deal, however, inaction has ceased to be a viable option for Washington. State intervention to prevent catastrophe has become an unspoken axiom of political life in perilous times. Of course, thanks to regulatory mechanisms installed during the New Deal years, there was no need to engage in heroic rescues – not, at least, until the triumph of deregulation in our own time.

Then crises began to erupt with ever greater frequency – the stock market crash of 1987, the savings and loan collapse at the end of that decade, the massive Latin American debt defaults of the early 1990s, the collapse of the economies of the Asian “tigers” in the mid-1990s, the near bankruptcy of the then-huge hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management, later in that decade, the dot-com implosion at the turn the century, climaxing with the general global collapse of the present moment. Beginning perhaps with the bailout of the Chrysler Corporation in the late 1970s, these recurring crises have been met with increasingly strenuous efforts to stop the bleeding by what some have called “the bailout state.”

The Resolution Trust Corporation, created to rescue the savings and loan industry, first institutionalized what Kevin Phillips has since described as a new political economy of “financial mercantilism.” Under this new order the state stands ready to backstop the private sector – or at least the financial sub-sector which, for the past quarter century, has been the driving engine of economic growth – whenever it undergoes severe stress.

Today, the starting point for all mainstream policymakers, even those who otherwise preach the virtues of the free market and the evils of big government, is the active intervention of the state to prevent the failure of private-sector institutions considered “too big to fail” (as with most recently Citigroup and the insurance company AIG). So, too, the tolerance level for deficit spending, not only for military purposes but, in extremis, to help stop ordinary people from going under, is infinitely higher than in 1932. Ronald Reagan was prepared to live with such spending, if necessary, even as he removed portraits of Thomas Jefferson and Harry S. Truman from the Cabinet Room and replaced them with a canvas of Calvin Coolidge.

The question for our “new era” – not one our New Deal ancestors would have thought to ask — has become: How do we get beyond the bailout state? This is one crucial realm where genuinely new thinking and new ideas are badly needed.

At the moment, as best we can make out, the bailout state is being managed in secret and apparently in the interests, above all, of those who run the financial institutions being “rescued.” Often, we don’t actually know who is getting what from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, or on what terms, or even which institutions are being helped and which aren’t, or often what our public monies are actually being used for.

What we do know, however, is anything but encouraging. It includes tax exemptions for merging banks, prices for public-equity stakes in failing outfits that far exceed what is being paid by governments (or even private investors) abroad for similar holdings. Add to this a stark lack of accountability, aggravated by the fact that the US government has neither voting rights (nor even a voice) on boards of directors whose firms would be in bankruptcy court without Washington’s aid.

Living in an Empire of Depression

Are we, then, witnessing the birth of some warped, exceedingly partial version of state capitalism — partial, that is, to the resuscitation of the old order? If so, lurking within this string of bum deals might there not be a great opportunity? Putting the economy and country back together will require massive resources directed toward common purposes. There is no more suitable means of mobilizing and steering those resources than the institutions of democratic government.

Under the present dispensation, the bailout state makes the government the handmaiden of the financial sector. Under a new one, the tables might be turned. But who will speak for that option within the limited councils of the Obama team?

A real democratic nationalization of the banks – good value for our money rather than good money to add to their value – should be part of the policy agenda up for discussion in the Obama era. As things now stand, the public supplies the loans and the investment capital, but the key decisions about how they are to be deployed remain in private hands. A democratic version of nationalizing the financial system would transfer these critical decisions to new institutions created by the Congress and designed to pursue public, not private, objectives. How to subject the flow of credit and investment capital to public control ought to be on the drawing boards if we are to look beyond the old New Deal to a new one.

Or, for instance, if we are to bail out the auto industry, which we should — millions of jobs, businesses, communities, and what’s left of once powerful and proud unions are at stake – then why not talk about its nationalization, too? Why not create a representative body of workers, consumers, environmentalists, suppliers, and other interested parties to supervise the industry’s reorganization and retooling to produce, just as the president-elect says he wants, new green means of transportation – and not just cars?

Why not apply the same model to the rehabilitation of the nation’s infrastructure; indeed, why not to the reindustrialization of the country as a whole? If, as so many commentators are now claiming, what lies ahead is the kind of massive, crippling deflation characteristic of such crises, then why not consider creating democratic mechanisms to impose an incomes policy on wages and prices that works against that deflation?

Overseas, if everything isn’t up for discussion – and it most certainly isn’t – it ought to be. What happens there bears directly on our future here at home. After all, we live in the empire of depression. America’s favorite export for more than a decade has been a toxic line-up of securitized debt. Having ingested it in lethal amounts, every economy in the world from Iceland’s and Germany’s to Russia’s and Indonesia’s is either folding up or threatening to fold up like an accordion under the pressure of economic disaster.

Until now, the American way of life, including its economy of mass consumption, has depended on maintaining the country’s global preeminence by any means possible: economic, political, and, in the end, military. The news of the Bush years was that, in this mix, Washington reached for its six-guns so much more quickly.

A global depression will challenge that fundamental hierarchy in every conceivable way. The United States can try to recapture its imperiled hegemony by methods familiar to the Obama-Clinton-Bush (the father) foreign policy establishment, that is by using the country’s waning but still intimidating economic and military muscle. But that’s a devil’s game played at exorbitant cost which will further imperil the domestic economy.

It might, of course, be possible, as in domestic affairs, to try something new, something that embraces the public redevelopment of America in concert with the global South. This would entail at a minimum a radical break with the “Washington Consensus” of the Clinton years in which the United States insisted that the rest of the world conform to its free market model of economic behavior. It would establish multilateral mechanisms for regulating the flow of investment capital and severe penalties and restrictions on speculation in international markets. Most of all, it would mean lifting the strangulating grip of American military might that now girdles the globe.

All of this would require a capacity for re-imagining foreign affairs as something other than a zero-sum game. So far, nothing in Obama’s line-up of foreign policy and national security mandarins suggests this kind of potential policy deviance. Again, no Rooseveltian “brain trust” is in sight, even though unorthodoxies are called for, not just because of the hopes Obama’s victory have aroused, but because of the urgency of our present circumstances.

If original thinking doesn’t find a home somewhere within this forming administration soon, it will be an omen of an even more troubled future to come, when options not even being considered today may be unavailable tomorrow. Certainly, Americans ought to expect something better than a trip down (the grimmest of) memory lanes into the failed neo-liberalism of yesteryear.

(*) – Steve Fraser is a visiting professor at New York University and the author of Wall Street: America’s Dream Palace. He is a regular contributor to TomDispatch.com and co-founder of the American Empire Project series (Metropolitan Books).

Copyright 2008 Steve Fraser

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