Monday, December 28, 2009

A Decade Called "The BIG ZERO"

"And as for the Republicans: now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is — tax cuts and deregulation."

December 28, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist
The Big Zero

Maybe we knew, at some unconscious, instinctive level, that it would be an era best forgotten. Whatever the reason, we got through the first decade of the new millennium without ever agreeing on what to call it. The aughts? The naughties? Whatever. (Yes, I know that strictly speaking the millennium didn’t begin until 2001. Do we really care?)

But from an economic point of view, I’d suggest that we call the decade past the Big Zero. It was a decade in which nothing good happened, and none of the optimistic things we were supposed to believe turned out to be true.

It was a decade with basically zero job creation. O.K., the headline employment number for December 2009 will be slightly higher than that for December 1999, but only slightly. And private-sector employment has actually declined — the first decade on record in which that happened.

It was a decade with zero economic gains for the typical family. Actually, even at the height of the alleged “Bush boom,” in 2007, median household income adjusted for inflation was lower than it had been in 1999. And you know what happened next.

It was a decade of zero gains for homeowners, even if they bought early: right now housing prices, adjusted for inflation, are roughly back to where they were at the beginning of the decade. And for those who bought in the decade’s middle years — when all the serious people ridiculed warnings that housing prices made no sense, that we were in the middle of a gigantic bubble — well, I feel your pain. Almost a quarter of all mortgages in America, and 45 percent of mortgages in Florida, are underwater, with owners owing more than their houses are worth.

Last and least for most Americans — but a big deal for retirement accounts, not to mention the talking heads on financial TV — it was a decade of zero gains for stocks, even without taking inflation into account. Remember the excitement when the Dow first topped 10,000, and best-selling books like “Dow 36,000” predicted that the good times would just keep rolling? Well, that was back in 1999. Last week the market closed at 10,520.

So there was a whole lot of nothing going on in measures of economic progress or success. Funny how that happened.

For as the decade began, there was an overwhelming sense of economic triumphalism in America’s business and political establishments, a belief that we — more than anyone else in the world — knew what we were doing.

Let me quote from a speech that Lawrence Summers, then deputy Treasury secretary (and now the Obama administration’s top economist), gave in 1999. “If you ask why the American financial system succeeds,” he said, “at least my reading of the history would be that there is no innovation more important than that of generally accepted accounting principles: it means that every investor gets to see information presented on a comparable basis; that there is discipline on company managements in the way they report and monitor their activities.” And he went on to declare that there is “an ongoing process that really is what makes our capital market work and work as stably as it does.”

So here’s what Mr. Summers — and, to be fair, just about everyone in a policy-making position at the time — believed in 1999: America has honest corporate accounting; this lets investors make good decisions, and also forces management to behave responsibly; and the result is a stable, well-functioning financial system.

What percentage of all this turned out to be true? Zero.

What was truly impressive about the decade past, however, was our unwillingness, as a nation, to learn from our mistakes.

Even as the dot-com bubble deflated, credulous bankers and investors began inflating a new bubble in housing. Even after famous, admired companies like Enron and WorldCom were revealed to have been Potemkin corporations with facades built out of creative accounting, analysts and investors believed banks’ claims about their own financial strength and bought into the hype about investments they didn’t understand. Even after triggering a global economic collapse, and having to be rescued at taxpayers’ expense, bankers wasted no time going right back to the culture of giant bonuses and excessive leverage.

Then there are the politicians. Even now, it’s hard to get Democrats, President Obama included, to deliver a full-throated critique of the practices that got us into the mess we’re in. And as for the Republicans: now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is — tax cuts and deregulation.

So let’s bid a not at all fond farewell to the Big Zero — the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing. Will the next decade be better? Stay tuned. Oh, and happy New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wall Street's 10 Biggest Lies of 2009


Les Leopold

Author, "The Looting of America"
Posted: December 21, 2009 04:06 PM

Say goodbye to 2009, the worst economic year since the Great Depression.

Say hello to the billionaire bailout society in which the super-rich gamble, lose and get bailed out by the rest of us.

To save the system from total collapse we poured trillions of dollars into the financial sector. The result? Banks still are refusing to lend. Thirty million Americans are looking for full-time jobs and 49 million are skipping meals including one out of four children. But Wall Street again is reaping record profits and bonuses.

Not only are we richly rewarding those who wrecked our economy, but also, we have to put up with hundreds of fabrications about how the big banks got us here. Here is my biggest, fattest lies list for 2009:

1. "Government programs for low-income home buyers caused the financial crash." Wall Street defenders were quick to blame the Community Reinvestment Act, which urges banks to loan money in minority communities. In fact, almost none of the CRA loans are sub-prime and the vast majority are doing well, thank you. Blaming government programs deflects us from the real cause: Wall Street's incredibly reckless creation, marketing, selling and trading of "innovative" new securities that supposedly removed the risk from pools of risky debt. It didn't work. Wall Street, not the poor, crashed our economy.

2. "Income inequality is good for everyone." Lord Brian Griffiths, Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs at least had the nerve to say what so many of the super-rich really believe:
"We have to accept that inequality is a way of achieving greater opportunity and prosperity for all."
Unfortunately, the facts suggest otherwise. There is a high correlation between the mal-distribution of income and economic crashes. The last time our wealth and income distribution was as skewed as it is today was 1929, and that's not an accident. When too much money is in the hands of the few it runs out of real world investment and gravitates towards speculative investments. This inevitably creates asset bubbles and crashes. Record pay and bonuses on Wall Street and high unemployment are connected. (See The Looting of America Chapter 11).

3. "The rising number of billionaires is a sign of economic health." It's accepted media wisdom that the more billionaires the better. China with 130 billionaires now trails only the US, which has 359, according to Forbes magazine. But in our billionaire bailout society, the rising number of billionaires signals a collapsing middle class. Ponder this statistic: In 1970 the ratio of the compensation of the top 100 CEOs compared to the average production worker was 45 to 1. By 2006 it was an astounding 1,723 to one. Does that look healthy to you?

4. "Paying back TARP means banks are no longer on government welfare." Bank after bank is rushing to repay TARP funds during the worst economic year since 1937. They want to get out from under the Pay Czar (not that he's been sufficiently tough on the banks under his purview.) Banks that were insolvent only a few months ago now say they have the financial strength to refund tens of billions of dollars to the government. Where did all that money come from? Much of it comes from other government welfare programs for Wall Street (over $12 trillion worth) that aren't publicized. (See Nomi Prins's excellent accounting.) It may be the case that our banks are paying us back with our own money. Now that's financial innovation.

5. "Wall Street's freedom to innovate must be protected." Congressional leaders are tripping all over themselves to say new regulations will not discourage Wall Street innovations, something they claim is vital to our economy. Oh really? Do those "innovations" add anything useful to our country other than new casino games for the super-rich? Former Federal Reserve Chairman, Paul Volker, recently blew the whistle on this fabrication:
"I hear about these wonderful innovations in the financial markets and they sure as hell need a lot of innovation. I can tell you of two - Credit Default Swaps and CDOs - which took us right to the brink of disaster: were they wonderful innovations that we want to create more of?
.... I wish that somebody would give me some shred of neutral evidence about the relationship between financial innovation recently and the growth of the economy, just one shred of information....
The most important financial innovation that I have seen in the past 20 years is the automatic teller machine... How many other innovations can you tell me of that have been as important to the individual?" ("What Has Financial Innovation Done for You?")
6. "To retain critically needed talent, Wall Street must be free to pay top salaries and bonuses." Where would they flee if they just got paid like normal people rather than like gods? The British are putting in place a 50 percent tax on bonuses. Also, compensation is much, much lower in the European Union. But the real lie is that we need such "talent" in the first place. That kind of "talent" just crashed our economy. That kind of "talent" is widely overpaid - no way should bond traders receive 10 to 100 times what is earned by the best neurosurgeons in the world. Something is really wrong and it starts with the lie of banking "talent."

7. "Overpaid American workers are the real cause of unemployment." The New York Times writers who concocted this argument didn't think they were lying. But this is one of the most preposterous ideas put forth during 2009. ("American Wages out of Balance" New York Times November 11, 2009) Edward Hadas, Martin Huchinson and Antony Currie informed us that:
"American manufacturing workers should take average real wage cuts of as much as 20 percent to get into global balance."
They don't mention that the average non-supervisory worker has already taken an 18 percent cut in real wages between 1973 and 2007. What's worse, they claim that if workers don't take these additional cuts, these "overpaid" working stiffs will be the cause of another Great Depression. They write:
"But if American wages get stuck above global market-clearing levels, as in the 1930s, the result could well be something approaching Depression-era levels of unemployment."
Not a word is mentioned about how Wall Street's gambling caused all of this unemployment and how the continued failure of Wall Street banks to lend is stalling job growth, right now.

8. "I'm doing God's Work." Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman of Goldman Sachs said what too many Wall Street leaders truly believe: that they are so privileged and entitled that it seems as if the heavens bless their work. Why else are they earning hundreds of millions of dollars? Mr. Blankfein believes he is creating a virtuous circle by raising capital for corporations who create jobs and help our society prosper. But Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and the rest of the apostles helped to bring the entire world economy to its knees. Does that mean God likes unemployment and widespread hunger?

9. "We're out of money." Who's we? Yes, the middle class is tapped out but the super-rich haven't even begun to pay their fair share for the mess they created. Yet the top 400 richest Americans alone are sitting on $1.27 trillion or so in wealth. Here's a dangerous thought. What if we had a very steeply progressive wealth/income tax that reduced the net worth of the super-rich to "only" about $100 million each? You wouldn't be suffering if you had $100 million kicking around. Now do the math: The 400 richest x $100 million each would equal $40 billion. That would leave about $1.23 trillion to help pay back the country for the Wall Street meltdown that we, our children and their children will be subsidizing.

10. "We are becoming a socialist economy." Somewhere between 68 and 78 percent of the US GDP is private sector activity, the highest among developed nations. And much of the government expenditures go to private contractors as well. But there's a kernel of truth in the socialist scare: What do you call a society that encourages the private accumulation of wealth without limit, and then when the super-wealthy get into serious trouble, we bail them out with taxpayer funds - largely from a declining middle-class? That's not free-enterprise. That's not socialism either. It's something new and it deserves to be called the billionaire bailout society.

Here's hoping that in 2010 we can begin to undo it.

Les Leopold is the author of The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It, Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2009.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Senate Health Care Reform Bill: Incremental Gain or Poison Pill?

The title question was recently asked on one of the e-mail discussion forums I belong to.  This is a wise question, which recognizes that the Senate Health-Care Bill is much less than savvy Americans have been demanding, namely, a full-blown single-payer system.  So, it is being aggressively opposed by many progressive Democrats, who see so little positive reform and so much given away the the health-insurance industry that they regard it to be a "poison pill."  Yet, it is being vehemently opposed by the Republican right, who assert (basically by bald-faced lies) that it is "socialized medicine" that would put government bureaucrats in charge of deciding who your doctors will be and even running "death panels." 

The only reliable balancing of the pros and cons of this bill that I am aware of is that of Paul Krugman.

I have to trust Krugman.  While I am certain he's muzzled when it comes to writing about things like rampant election theft in the U.S. -- or 9/11 being an inside job -- I sincerely believe he stands behind every word he is permitted to publish in his column.  And he is perhaps the most credible single expert in the country on both economic issues (where he is a Nobelist) and anything else he spends enough time studying to write a column on.  So read Krugman's make on the Health Care bill and decide for yourself.

And regarding the right-wing-nut opposition in the Senate, I highly recommend that you watch the stirring speech by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), which lasts only 15 minutes out of the total 10 1/2 hour Senate session, beginning at minute 107.  But, rather than playing the entire session below, you should be able to directly access Senator Whitehouse's speech here.

Post Script: Well, I actually trust Senator Bernie Sanders about as much as I do Paul Krugman, and as it turns out Senator Sanders appears to be on the same page.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Health Care Reform DOA: Triumph of the Money Party

There are many of us who have anywhere from serious to desperate need of health care reform. How surprised are you that the current effort is about to collapse under its own weight? There should be no surprise at all. We are going off to an undeclared war again, bankers reap profits while the real rate of unemployment is 17% at least, and there's no rush to restore the Constitutional rights stripped from us over the past years. It's The Money Party 24/7 as greedy and rapacious as they've ever been.

by Michael Collins

Dr. Howard Dean, MD, just said pull the plug on the current health care reform effort. The cure is worse than the disease, according to the good doctor.

Why the surprise?

Last week the president announced that he's sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan without a declaration of war by Congress and without Afghanistan posing a direct threat to the United States violating both the United States Constitution and international law at the same time.

The bailed out Wall Street failures are paying back just enough of their loans to the Treasury Department to allow a new round of huge bonuses. At the same time, they continue to get tons of cash through the Federal Reserve. Pay back a few billion; get 7 trillion dollars in credit. Not a bad deal.

Congress failed to pass a bill to help with foreclosures. We're at eight million so far since 2008 with another four million predicted for 2010. The beat goes on.

The Justice Department and Congress failed to seriously investigate massive mortgage fraud from the very top on down to loan officers during the real estate bubble.

The White House and Congress forgot to include a cap on credit card rates in its credit card bill of rights. How unfortunate since the credit card companies jacked rates way up shortly after the bill passed.

The official unemployment rate of 10 percent is far below the true unemployment rate of about 17 percent or higher. Why? Because it might upset us to know that we're at Great Depression levels of unemployment.

Poverty is rising at a rapid rate with no end in sight but you'd never know it for all the attention it gets. Let the markets take care of it.

The people who made the financial mess on Wall Street are now running the U.S. Treasury. The key players, Secretary of the Treasury Geithner and insider extraordinaire Larry Summers, were appointed right after the inauguration.

The constitutional rights stolen by the previous administration are still missing in action with no real effort underway to restore them. The Patriot Act is alive and well. The feds can still tap your phone and email. They can get at any of your financial data they want and it's all done in secret. But we still haven't had a real investigation of 911.

Congress is about to consider an international treaty of copyright that will turn anyone with a public blog or web site into a cop required to enforce the new laws or face prosecution.

Throughout it all, not one member of Congress or the financial elite will miss a meal, worry about their health care, lose their house, or ever face prosecution for destroying the economy of the United States.

Their Ponzi scheme is literally too big to fail. If there were ever the least bit of concentrated scrutiny on the various wars and financial rip offs over just the past decade, it would be the end of all of them.

But The Money Party is a permanent fixture in our lives. It dominates politics, the media and the economy. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy that is always accurate. Rig the game so only those with money can run for office. Hold elections with invisible ballots on electronic voting machines that nobody really understands. Allow all sorts of legal bribes for legislators. And never allow the term election fraud to be mentioned anywhere but on a few internet web sites.

Marginalize the poor, ethnic groups, immigrants, and anyone who protests the system. Kill the unions. Then intimidate those who have the courage to show up and protest with SWAT teams decked out for a serious beat down.

Take all you can from the middle class to support the big casino in banking and on Wall Street. Make husbands and wives work two jobs and be grateful for the opportunity. Provide children a lousy education that costs more every year while you talk about how much you love education.

Create false issues that pit one group against another -- race against race, class against class -- so that the great horror is never realized -- a unified public movement to demand freedom, dignity, and respect in our personal and public lives and a chance to earn a decent living in return for our hard work.

The Money Party has no ideals or goals other than to take as much as they can, at every turn, all the time and never let up.

Blame citizens for the fraud committed by the financiers.

Turn a blind eye as people lose their homes, savings, health care and jobs.

Blame humanity for pollution when it's just a few industries that create the filth that's threatening us daily.

Create side shows not worthy of a second rate carnival that you call politics and never mention that changes in administrations are really cosmetic and stylistic, not substantial. Meet the new boss, not exactly the same as the old boss, but close enough.

It's all good if you're at the top or on the take. The river keeps flowing, filthy as it is, in your direction with more and more based on the real work and the real economy of citizens who, despite all of this, strive to improve their lives and contribute to the larger good.

If things get too hot, you can just stage a big drama, get everybody upset, and make people feel grateful that they have the opportunity to be perpetual victims of the most rapacious, relentless, and callous scheme around to transfer wealth from the many to the very few.

It's only class war when we fight back and they're ready with their distracting dramas and debates on issues where the two sides are separated by just a few degrees of difference. Then demand bipartisan solutions where compromise is routinely used to break major campaign promises.

They don't care if we live or die although they do want us to be as productive as possible up to the end, as long as we don't expect to retire or enjoy the fruits of our labor.

We are nothing to them.

Michael Collins publishes Election Fraud News. His articles can also be found on Scoop Independent News, The Daily Censored  and The Smirking Chimp, among others.
This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

Monday, December 14, 2009

9/11 TRUTH: The OFFICIAL Conspiracy Theory Is a Monstrous LIE!

(1) Charlie Sheen’s Video Message to President Obama

Here below is the best video I’ve seen that summarizes in 7 minutes or less the reasons why anyone should suspect that the OFFICIAL conspiracy theory of the 9/11 attacks is not merely defective, it’s a deliberate pack of lies.

(2) 9/11 Truth in 9 Minutes

In my estimation the following video provides the best 9-minute explanation for why we should conclude that all three World Trade Center towers were brought down by explosives and not fires. Completing the proof is the fact that a recently published scientific article shows the presence of significant amounts of a high-tech explosive material in the dust from the collapsing towers.

(3) SPEED - Scene from "9/11: WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK"
by PilotsFor911Truth

The 24-minute video below presents a highly technical, but clearly presented, analysis of the reported speed of the Boeing 767 that struck the second World Trade Center tower on 9/11. While the Pilots For 9/11 Truth state that they “do not endorse any theory” of the events of 9/11, in this video the narrator states that the analyses presented “...conclusively proves the story we’ve been told by our government is at the very best not accurate and at the worst intentionally deceptive for an apparent agenda.”

SPEED - Scene from "9/11: WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK" from PilotsFor911Truth on Vimeo.

While the Pilots For 9/11 Truth restrict themselves to fact finding, I have developed a new hypothesis as to how the real 9/11 conspirators could have pulled off the attacks using resources that Osama bin Laden could only dream of. This hypothesis is supported in large part by what is seen in the following two videos.

(4) 2nd WTC Attack: Jersey Shore

In the following video taken from the Jersey Shore, just as the jetliner believed to be United Flight 175 is seen to strike the South Tower, a very fast object pulls out of a dive nearby, turns and disappears eastward in “the batting of an eye” ...specifically, all in just one second! The defenders of the OFFICIAL conspiracy theory claim this and other such objects (see below) were birds, but to see why they weren’t please use this link to download my latest original research (when you reach the DriveHQ site, please select A New 9/11 Hypothesis v12 for the text, and SlidesForNew911Hypothesis for the figures – preferably the animated PowerPoint version of the slides if you can play it, otherwise the pdf).

(5) 9/11 Altered Footage Comparison: Pax TV

Here below, someone going by the nom de plume “TheDust” shows how the news media swiftly altered the amateur videos that they had broadcast early on. These videos originally showed objects which looked like aircraft arriving a split second after, and flying at speeds similar to, the Boeing 767 attacker. In ultra slow motion the altered versions now show that bird silhouettes were substituted in place of (most of) the frames revealing aircraft. Again, go to my latest original research to see evidence that these cannot have been real birds of the sizes portrayed but can have been, and almost certainly were, fighter aircraft.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Eliot Spitzer: Geithner, Bernanke “Complicit” in Financial Crisis and Should Go

DemocracyNow!'s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales are granted an extended interview with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer about the financial crisis and how it was handled by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Before becoming governor, Spitzer was known as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" for his vigorous legal actions against ponzi schemers and brokers profiting from manipulating the financial markets. In the present interview, Spitzer states that Bernanke and Geithner “actually built and participated in creating the structure that now has collapsed” and calls on them to be replaced. Spitzer also talks about the scandal that erupted last year that forced him to resign as governor.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Record US poverty, hunger. Real unemployment rate: 22%. "Leadership" ignores obvious solution

November 19, 11:09 AM
LA County Nonpartisan Examiner Carl Herman

If a government has useful jobs to do and unemployed workers, the obvious solution is for the government to be the employer of last resort and create fiat currency to pay the workers. The added currency creates higher GDP, negating inflation. Problem solved.

Napoleon did it after ten years of chaos from the French Revolution. Germany did the same after their tragic-comic hyperinflation. In both cases, the two economies quickly became the most successful on the planet. Many of America’s brightest minds have argued for government-created currency, including Benjamin Franklin citing direct experience with the prosperity of the Pennsylvania colony with almost zero taxes. Government-created money can be used to directly pay for government goods and services rather than taxes.

But in America today, we have record poverty and hunger: 50 million Americans, 17 million households, one in every six Americans. We have a real unemployment rate of 22% when discouraged and part-time workers are added; close to the highest levels in American history. The so-called stimulus of job creation is symbolic. The numbers of new jobs claimed versus the number of unemployed make the odds of getting one of these jobs about as likely as getting into Harvard. And according to our government’s report on stimulus spending, $6.4 billion went to job recovery in “phantom” congressional districts that do not exist. Remember, this is the same government that regularly steals 25% of the Department of Defense budget that by their own admission becomes “unaccounted for.”

With crumbling US infrastructure, we could put the unemployed to work, but our political leaders tolerate poverty, hunger, homelessness, despair, and crime instead from political fear and feigned compassion, change and hope.

A Harvard study reports that 45,000 Americans die every year from unnecessary causes due to lack of health insurance. This, when Americans pay twice as much per capita for health care than all other developed countries and would save us money (and here). This too is a cruel hoax of leadership.

On our planet, we tolerate a million children dying every month from preventable poverty, when the investment to solve all related problems is less than one percent of US income. Ending poverty in every historical case reduces population growth rates, decreases crime and terrorism, and improves environmental quality. Our political “leaders” of both parties spend trillions on wars, but only fund our commitment in UN Summits to end poverty at about 20% of our promises. We spend trillions on US banksters, but won’t solve Americans’’ problems of poverty, hunger, unemployment, death from lack of basic health care, and do even less for the billion human beings living in poverty around our world.

The ONE campaign to make poverty history has an accurate and powerful slogan: We don’t want your money, we want your voice.

A starting place for Americans is recognizing that your leadership doesn’t represent your interests. We must discover a way for our will to be represented using our 1st Amendment right:
Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Following are 1-minute and 3-minute videos from, then a 4-minute video reminding us who the people we save from poverty are.

As always, please share this article with all who claim civic competence. If you appreciate my work, please subscribe by clicking under the article title (it’s free). Please feel free to use my archive of work to help build a brighter future.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Well-Research History of Swine Flu A/H1N1 and Its Unneeded (and Undesirable!) Vaccine

BELL TOLLING for the Swine Flu (CAMPANAS por la gripe A) subtitled from ALISH on Vimeo.

This video is presented in very clear Spanish, with well done English subtitles (which to see clearly you must remove your cursor from the start/stop button).

The speaker, Sister Teresa Forcades, has a doctorate in Public Health from the University of Barcelona with a specialization in Internal Medicine (State University of New York).

Here she relates a history of the swine flu virus A/H1N1 that is not well known to those who get their news from the U.S. "mainstream media." Among other things, we learn here that:

Data from the southern hemisphere, "shows that the swine flu has a lower mortality rate and complications rate than the annual flu."

"At the end of January, 2009, the Austrian subsidiary of the North American pharmaceutical company, Baxter, delivered 72 kilos of vaccine material to 16 laboratories in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. A laboratory technician from the company, BioTest in the Czech Republic decided on his own to test the vaccines in ferrets" ...and all of these ferrets died.

"On the 29 April, 2009, 12 days after the detection of the first cases of the swine flu, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO, declared that the level of alert because of the danger of pandemic was phase 5 (on a scale 1-6) and ordered all governments of the member states of the WHO to activate emergency plans and maximum health alert. A month and a half later, on June 11, 2009, Dr. Chan declared that the A/H1N1 S-OIV pandemic was a reality (phase 6)"

Dr. Forcades explains that this announcement by WHO embodies an entirely new definition of pandemic as essentially any new disease that may spread around the world irregardless of its communicability or mortality rate. Unfortunately, however, when WHO declares a phase-6 pandemic, it has the authority to command that "a given segment of the people or even of the whole population" be vaccinated.

In fact, swine flu is not new. It has just reappeared after an absence of 70 years ...possibly in a laboratory working with DNA of 70-year-old cadavers.

In the U.S there are national and state laws on the books that require every resident to be inoculated in the event of a pandemic under pain of $1000/day fines and/or imprisonment.

These vaccines include unusually high amounts of co-adjuvants to boost the immune system. "The problem with this rationale is that no one can be sure that this artificial stimulus to the immune system will not provoke serious autoimmune diseases (like Guillain-Barré paralysis)."

"The third novelty that distinguishes the swine flu vaccine from [those for seasonal flu] is that the manufacturing companies are demanding that the States sign agreements so that they will have impunity if the vaccines have more side effects than expected (e.g. the Guillain-Barré paralysis may affect 10 people in every million who are vaccinated with the annual flu vaccine): The USA has signed a document which frees the politicians and the pharmaceutical companies from all responsibilities associated with unexpected side effects of the swine flu vaccine."

Dr. Forcades delicately broaches the subject of conspiracy theories, advising us to remain calm and objective, but reminding us that history has shown that persons in positions of great power have repeatedly tended to use their power to enslave the people they control and kill or weaken those they don't.

If you choose not to watch the whole video or would like to review certain details, a summary written by Dr. Forcades is available.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Kucinich: Truth, Human Dignity, and the Goldstone Report

Kucinich: Truth, Human Dignity and the Goldstone Report | Press Release

Washington D.C. (November 3, 2009) –Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement on the House Floor about H. Res 867, which condemns the ‘Goldstone Report’ or the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict:

“Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt. Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.

“Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.

“The resolution before us today, which would reject all attempts of the Goldstone Report to fix responsibility of all parties to war crimes, including both Hamas and Israel, may as well be called the “Down is Up, Night is Day, Wrong is Right” resolution.

“Because if this Congress votes to condemn a report it has not read, concerning events it has totally ignored, about violations of law of which it is unaware, it will have brought shame to this great institution.

“How can we ever expect there to be peace in the Middle East if we tacitly approve of violations of international law and international human rights, if we look the other way, or if we close our eyes to the heartbreak of people on both sides by white-washing a legitimate investigation?

“How can we protect the people of Israel from existential threats if we hold no concern for the protection of the Palestinians, for their physical security, their right to land, their right to their own homes, their right to water, their right to sustenance, their right to freedom of movement, their right to the human security of jobs, education and health care?

“We will have peace only when the plight of both Palestinians and Israelis is brought before this House and given equal consideration in recognition of that principle that all people on this planet have a right to survive and thrive, and it is our responsibility, our duty to see that no individual, no group, no people are barred from this humble human claim.”


For Immediate Release:

Contact: Nathan White (202)225-5871

Monday, November 02, 2009

Why Congress Should Pass a Health-Care Reform Bill with a Robust Public Option

Subsidiary of WellPoint Sues Maine to Raise Insurance Premiums 18.5%

A Brave New Films Video

A wild story out of Maine.

Anthem Health Plans of Maine, a subsidiary of WellPoint, is suing the state because they want to increase premium rates by 18.5% on their 12,000 individual insurance policy holders, so they can guarantee themselves a 3% profit margin. This story shows how silly it would be to solely rely on regulation to rein in insurance industry practices.

Like many other states, Anthem Health Plans hold a monopoly on the individual insurance market in Maine, controlling 79% of all the plans. Also like many other states, they are licensed to sell insurance through the Department of Insurance, who must clear all rate increases prior to implementation. Originally, Anthem Health Plans were a nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield corporation licensed to practice in Maine since 1939. In 1999, Anthem bought the business and began to operate it as a for-profit company. Since that point, Anthem has raised premium rates 10 times, and 8 of those times have been double-digit rate increases.

The average individual Maine rate-payer is paying four times as much for insurance than they did ten years ago.

But this isn’t good enough for Anthem Health Plans. They first proposed a 14.5% rate increase for its individual insurance products, then they revised it up to 18.1% and finally 18.5%. This is an average increase. Some plans would see increase of 24.5%, some 38.4%, and for its Preventive Care and Supplemental Care Accident rider, which is part of 1/3 of all their policies, Anthem proposed a rate increase of 58.2%. This amounts to Maine consumers paying $12 million more in annual premium dollars for the exact same level of benefits.

Anthem isn’t hurting for profit. Their Maine operations have generated an average annual return of $70 million dollars over the last five years. Anthem paid dividends to their parent company, WellPoint, of $75 million dollars last year alone, and $152 million since 2006. Their nine highest-paid employees totaled over $4.3 million in compensation. The individual market, while a smaller portion of their overall business, still generated $5.4 million in profit over the last two years.

The reason Anthem desires these rate raises is because their actuarial charts show they can guarantee a 3% profit through this increase. That’s an estimate, however, and in 8 of the last 10 years the profit margin achieved has actually been higher. The Maine Superintendent of Insurance ruled in May 2009 that the 3% profit and risk margin sought was “excessive and unfairly discriminatory,” as per the laws of the state, and instead approved a rate increase of 10.9% for Anthem. Given the recession, the financial health of the company, and the years of large rate increases, there was no way she could approve anything higher.

So Anthem sued the state. But not after filing revised rates at a 10.9% increase so they could get that going while they litigated for an even higher rate.

The Superintendent of Insurance explained in a court filing that there is no statute mandating that Maine must provide Anthem or any other insurer with a guaranteed profit. Given Anthem’s ability as a large operation to cut costs, just as any family must do during a recession, the Superintendent argued there is nothing preventing them from making a profit with a 10.9% rate of premium increase. But Maine is under no obligation to guarantee one. That would be a “socialized profit,” which Anthem is asserting the right to without any legal basis in fact. Furthermore, policyholders have contributed $17.4 million in profit to Anthem’s bottom line over the past decade, which should be more than enough to cover potential losses from just the individual insurance line this year.

Anthem argued that they were discriminated against relative to other companies in Maine because one other individual insurer was provided a 3% profit and risk margin (that company, MEGA, asked for 2.2% rate increase back in 2007, a far different scenario). This, the corporation said, violated their equal protection rights under the federal and state Constitutions. This is a laughable claim, that the state must guarantee a profit for every insurance company licensed to provide a product. It’s nowhere to be found in the Maine Insurance Code, and the Superintendent of Insurance is allowed under Maine law to consider each company’s situation individually. In this case, she ruled that a 18.5% increase in premiums would be unfair and excessive.

This is a very revealing case. Those arguing against a public option claim that insurance regulations alone will be sufficient to provide an affordable product for everyone. Here’s a case where Maine is attempting to regulate the industry, and the industry sues the state in an effort to grab more profit. While claiming to be on the side of reform, they will fight tooth and nail, and can be expected to do so for every regulation in the national health care bill, right down the line.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Should We -- or Our Children -- Be Vaccinated Against Swine Flu?

Doctors speak out about H1N1 VACCINE DANGERS
A new video (October 22, 2009) in question-and-answer format, multiple speakers

Swine Flu Vaccine: Will We Have a Choice?

An older video (June 23, 2009), single very good speaker:
President National Vaccine Information Center

Post Script: A CBS News report finds that the number of H1N1 flu cases may be vastly overestimated AND that this fact seems to have been actively covered up by U.S. Government health services.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Greatest Overview of History's Greatest Heist

2009 US Economy: Largest Transfer of Wealth to Financial/Political Elite in Global History
Amped Content, Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
By Carl Herman, Examiner

Political “leadership” of the two oligarchy parties spin their economic policy as being for the public benefit. Professional economists increasingly cast economic policy in unprecedented harsh criticism, even calling for public demonstrations against what they claim as gross violations of financial law. Let’s consider current facts of high importance:

• Transfer of somewhere over $3 trillion with a total potential of $23.7 trillion to banks and financial institutions for the socialization of their gambling losses on illegal sub-prime mortgages and credit default swaps. We know the sub-prime lending was illegal because the FBI concluded 80% of all sub-prime criminal fraud originated from the lenders.

• A so-called bailout designed to give money to the banksters without accountability of where the money is going. This is according to testimony of Elizabeth Warren, Harvard law professor appointed to oversee the bailout for Congress, with video explanation below. The bankster-bailout was chosen rather than simply protecting depositors and reorganizing the banks under standard bankruptcy procedure. The two oligarchy political parties denied Congressional hearings for the bankster-bailout, which should have considered cost-benefit analysis for public banks rather than private banks. An important fact that would have come out of the hearings is that the total market capitalization of all the major US banks was less than $300 billion; meaning that the government could have outright bought all of them for less than a tenth of the amount given away. Think about that.

• A 2009 record payout to bank employees, including lucrative bonuses, on pace for $140 billion. Goldman Sachs, with three recent CEOs who have also been Secretary of the US Treasury, is doubling their bonuses from 2008.

Depression-level unemployment, with the government’s “official figures” understating true unemployment by half.

100,000 laid-off teachers with class sizes expanding to over 40 students per class, and over a million homeless US students.

• The economic crushing of the American middle class, as explained by Elizabeth Warren in her video.

• Record high home foreclosures. An alternative policy to the bankster-bailout would have been to have the banks write-down the value of the mortgages they fraudulently wrote, and reset that lower value as the new loan amount for the homeowner. This could have been a preliminary move to creating non-profit mortgage rates for the public benefit.

• Record federal budget deficit of $1.4 trillion.

• Record federal debt of $12 trillion with annual interest payments of ~$450 billion every year. The oligarchy has no policy to ever pay the national debt, only to make the minimum interest payment. They don’t even try to defend that the national debt is in the public good and never discuss monetary reform to end the debt.

• Record total US debt from all sources of over $70 trillion.

• US military recruitment hitting targets because young Americans have no other options for work. These men and women will feed the expansion of illegal US Wars of Aggression.

Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC’s show, “Morning Meeting,” calls the economic “bailout” and subsequent policy, “the largest theft and cover-up ever,” “the worst deal since the Indians sold Manhattan,” “the ‘Masters of the Universe’ are on the take from the taxpayers,” “the biggest transfer of money in the history of the world,” and “No one, the Pharaohs, you pick ‘em, no one even comes close to how much the banks and politicians have stolen from us.” His video is also below.

Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term, Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, and Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University simply writes, “The rich have stolen the economy.”

If it’s any comfort, remember that America was born from recognition that our government was playing us, exploiting our labor for their financial gain and not for the public good. Remember that our government labeled Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, James Madison, and all the Founding Fathers as “traitors” when they didn’t blindly and stupidly believe the empty spin that the government was acting in the public good. They also predicted that future generations would have to fight to retain the liberty they wrested from lying political whores who murdered the public good in exchange for personal wealth, fame and power.

If you ever wondered how educated Germans could ever believe Nazi propaganda, all you have to do is look around the US today.

The good news is that the structural economic change for the public good is simple. Monetary reform ends the banks from creating money, shifts this power to the Treasury for the direct payment of public goods and services and minimizing the peoples’ cost of credit (think 1% interest-rate mortgages). Real regulation will end casino capitalism with exotic derivatives betting on future economic outcomes that produce no public benefit in the gambling. Taking money out of elections and politics will limit political corruption. Breaking up the five corporations that currently serve as the propaganda arm of the oligarchy will help; the so-called mainstream media, or sheepstream media corpse as I like to call it.

To get from here to the good news is a formidable task. I suggest a Truth and Reconciliation process to exchange our getting the complete truth and ending all criminal and damaging political and economic acts for the perpetrators’ cooperation and return of public assets. I’d even allow them a stipend to facilitate their surrender of our government and economy; what the oligarchy presently consider their own twisted private playground.

The two interviews are necessary education for the public to see the economy for what it is. They are 6-minutes and 7-minutes.

As always, please share this article with all who say they want economic competence and want to be responsible citizens. If you appreciate my work, please subscribe by clicking under the article title. Please feel free to peruse my archive of work here.


There was a warning long before this mega-crime was committed, but it was ignored.
FRONTLINE gives you the little known history.

Professor Chossudovsky tells you how the scam works.

From here on, no more "socialist" government taking our hard-earned tax money to aid the poor. No! The new privatized U.S.A. will socialize the gambling losses of the big banks, taking money from the poor -- soon to include the former middle class -- to "aid" the super rich.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

DemocracyNow!: As Foreclosures Hit All-Time High, Wall Street on Pace to Hand Out Record $140B in Employee Bonuses

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has topped 10,000 for the first time in a year, as JPMorgan Chase reported massive profits in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that major US banks and securities firms are on pace to pay their employees about $140 billion this year—a record high. But on Main Street, foreclosures are also at record levels, and the official unemployment rate is expected to top ten percent. We speak to former bank regulator William Black, author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.
Post Script: Foreclosures: 'Worst three months of all time.'

If I Had 30 Seconds with the President in New Orleans

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Deficit Neutral" Health Care Reform -- Absurdity upon Absurdity

The health care debate and general political climate compound absurdity upon absurdity.

First we're told that our health care is only worth the time and effort if the remedy has no negative impact on the budget. No deficits allowed. The deficit risk defines your chances for health and longevity.

At the same time, we see that Wall Street failures and the overseas war effort are not held to the same standard on deficits spending.

The federal government has committed $23 trillion dollars to prop up Wall Street's failed financial institutions. That's a fantasy figure and clearly deficit-friendly since it's twice the 2008 Gross Domestic Product of the United States.

On Tuesday of this week a smaller amount was offered up for the 2010 expenditures on the Iraq war and the expanded efforts in Afghanistan. The $128 billion was approved without a Congressional Budget Office analysis (note the absence of a link for "CBO Cost Estimates"). Since we're already over budget for 2010, this is also in the deficit column.

It's all right to run huge deficits to bailout Wall Street crooks and to wage deadly wars but it's not all right to even think about a deficit when it comes to preserving the health and lives of citizens.

The second absurdity concerns priorities. A rational approach to national policy would place citizen health care well above both Wall Street welfare and endless wars on any list of priorities. But that wouldn't do much good with the current legislative approach.

A political victory amounts to a loss for the public. Why?

The current legislation delays help for the uninsured for years. It limits the "public option" to those without health insurance. It does little or nothing to contain rising health care costs for in the near term. And it ignores prescription medication -- a major factor in out-of-control costs.

If you are insured now, you will get the pre-existing conditions exclusion lifted from future policies and some other benefits like moving your plan from one employer to another, etc. If you're self employed or a small business owner paying insurance directly to the tune of $1,200 to $1,400 a month per employee, there are no built-in cost control measures. If you're among the 54% of U.S. employees working for an employer that pays your health costs (self funded health insurance), using the Blue Crosses of the world to simply administer the plan, the savings you have now are, for the most part, what you will have after the "reforms" on the table.

Why? Because there are no cost controls for the underlying service, health care, and profit-driven insurance fees.

The cost saving elements of the bill from electronic records etc. are not going to appear in the next two years, if ever.

Current polling shows that 65% of citizens support "the government offering everyone a government health insurance plan like Medicare." The 10% to 40% that private insurers take out of the system for overhead and profits compares to less than 5% administrative costs for Medicare. By shifting health care costs away from employers to the government as single payer (in line with the rest of the industrialized world), U.S. businesses and workers could compete more effectively at home and abroad. After ten years, we might actually get some new jobs and higher incomes.

Unfortunately, the wisdom and logic of the people are not heeded by Congress and the administration. Government funded single payer health care is an approach forbidden in the current debate. A watered down version is the "public option" which President Obama said would be available to only the uninsured and, even then, on a limited basis. Congress is even talking about the states having public options at their discretion. It's all about getting a bill passed.

Meaningful reform and immediate relief are not on the agenda.

Those in charge think that we're so stupid we won't notice that our health care is either the same or worse should the proposed legislation be made law. Clearly, they think that there's no urgency to address the availability and affordability of health care. A political victory trumps a clear and present set of requirements for the good health of citizens.

It's time that the administration and Congress start behaving like adults and tell the truth.

As of now, the truth is that endless war and endless bailouts are the national priorities. The other key truth, soon to become painfully evident, is that the current health care reform legislation will do little in the near term to relieve the immediate problems of cost availability and affordability. It is faith-based reform that inspires little faith other than among the latest bailout beneficiaries, insurance companies that stand to acquire tens of millions of new customers.

Why isn't the health of citizen the number one priority?

Why aren't we getting the truth?


See: House and Senate single payer bills

What Obama Actually Said About Health Reform
Screwing the Self Employed Out of Health Insurance

Corporate Tantrums - Can we trust these companies with our health?

Do you deserve to die?

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

Here is the Link.


Friday, October 09, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2009 Had Better Heed Nobel Economic Sciences Prize Winner 2008 ...or We're Fucked

October 9, 2009

The Uneducated American


If you had to explain America’s economic success with one word, that word would be “education.” In the 19th century, America led the way in universal basic education. Then, as other nations followed suit, the “high school revolution” of the early 20th century took us to a whole new level. And in the years after World War II, America established a commanding position in higher education.

But that was then. The rise of American education was, overwhelmingly, the rise of public education — and for the past 30 years our political scene has been dominated by the view that any and all government spending is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Education, as one of the largest components of public spending, has inevitably suffered.

Until now, the results of educational neglect have been gradual — a slow-motion erosion of America’s relative position. But things are about to get much worse, as the economic crisis — its effects exacerbated by the penny-wise, pound-foolish behavior that passes for “fiscal responsibility” in Washington — deals a severe blow to education across the board.

About that erosion: there has been a flurry of reporting recently about threats to the dominance of America’s elite universities. What hasn’t been reported to the same extent, at least as far as I’ve seen, is our relative decline in more mundane measures. America, which used to take the lead in educating its young, has been gradually falling behind other advanced countries.

Most people, I suspect, still have in their minds an image of America as the great land of college education, unique in the extent to which higher learning is offered to the population at large. That image used to correspond to reality. But these days young Americans are considerably less likely than young people in many other countries to graduate from college. In fact, we have a college graduation rate that’s slightly below the average across all advanced economies.

Even without the effects of the current crisis, there would be every reason to expect us to fall further in these rankings, if only because we make it so hard for those with limited financial means to stay in school. In America, with its weak social safety net and limited student aid, students are far more likely than their counterparts in, say, France to hold part-time jobs while still attending classes. Not surprisingly, given the financial pressures, young Americans are also less likely to stay in school and more likely to become full-time workers instead.

But the crisis has placed huge additional stress on our creaking educational system.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States economy lost 273,000 jobs last month. Of those lost jobs, 29,000 were in state and local education, bringing the total losses in that category over the past five months to 143,000. That may not sound like much, but education is one of those areas that should, and normally does, keep growing even during a recession. Markets may be troubled, but that’s no reason to stop teaching our children. Yet that’s exactly what we’re doing.

There’s no mystery about what’s going on: education is mainly the responsibility of state and local governments, which are in dire fiscal straits. Adequate federal aid could have made a big difference. But while some aid has been provided, it has made up only a fraction of the shortfall. In part, that’s because back in February centrist senators insisted on stripping much of that aid from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a k a the stimulus bill.

As a result, education is on the chopping block. And laid-off teachers are only part of the story. Even more important is the way that we’re shutting off opportunities.

For example, the Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported on the plight of California’s community college students. For generations, talented students from less affluent families have used those colleges as a stepping stone to the state’s public universities. But in the face of the state’s budget crisis those universities have been forced to slam the door on this year’s potential transfer students. One result, almost surely, will be lifetime damage to many students’ prospects — and a large, gratuitous waste of human potential.

So what should be done?

First of all, Congress needs to undo the sins of February, and approve another big round of aid to state governments. We don’t have to call it a stimulus, but it would be a very effective way to create or save thousands of jobs. And it would, at the same time, be an investment in our future.

Beyond that, we need to wake up and realize that one of the keys to our nation’s historic success is now a wasting asset. Education made America great; neglect of education can reverse the process.