Wednesday, August 31, 2011


  theREALnews                                     Permalink

August 31, 2011

Research Shows Rich Getting Richer Makes Poor Poorer

Jeff Thompson: New research shows that as wealth increases at the top, it does not lead to either greater equality or better living standards for the middle class

More at The Real News

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This photo headed the same article in Reader Supported News

The Election March of the Trolls

Posted on Aug 29, 2011
Illustration by Mr. Fish

We have begun the election march of the trolls. They have crawled out of the sewers of public relations firms, polling organizations, the commercial media, the two corporate political parties and elected office to fill the airwaves with inanities and absurdities until the final inanity—the 2012 presidential election. Journalists, whose role has been reduced to purveyors of court gossip, whether on Fox or MSNBC, descend in swarms to report pseudo-events such as the Ames straw poll, where it costs $30 to cast a ballot. And then, almost immediately, they blithely inform us that the Iowa poll is meaningless now that Rick Perry has entered the race. The liberal trolls, as they do in every election cycle, are beating their little chests about the perfidiousness of the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. It is a gesture performed not to effect change but to burnish their credentials as moralists. They know, as do we, that they will trot obediently into the voting booth in 2012 to do as they are told. And everywhere the pulse of the nation is being assiduously monitored through polls and focus groups, not because our opinions matter, but because our troll candidates understand that by parroting back to us our own viewpoints they can continue to spend their days lapping up corporate money with other trolls in the two houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and television studios where they chat with troll celebrity journalists.

The only commodity the troll state offers is fear. The corporate trolls, such as the Koch brothers, terrify the birthers, creationists, militia lovers, tea party militants, right-to-life advocates, Christian fascists and God-fearing red-white-and-blue patriots by proclaiming that unless they vote for Perry or Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann or some other product of the lunatic fringe of our political establishment, the American family will be destroyed, our children will be corrupted and the country will turn socialist. Barack Obama, who they whisper is a closet Muslim, will take away their guns, raise their taxes and bring homosexual couples into kindergartens.

For those, usually liberals, still rooted in a reality-based world, one that believes in evolutionary science, the corporate trolls offer a more refined, fear-based message of impending doom: If you abandon the Democrats we will be governed by Bible-thumping idiots who will make us chant the Pledge of Allegiance in mass rallies and teach the account of Genesis as historical and biological fact in our nation’s schools.

And underneath it all runs the mantra chanted in unison by all the trolls—terror, terror, terror. The troll establishment spins us like windup dolls and laughs all the way to the bank. What idiots, they think. And every election cycle we prove them right.

“The only people who grasp the distinction between reality and appearance, who grasp the laws of conduct and society, are the ruling groups and those who do their bidding; scientific, technical elites who elucidate the laws of behavior and the functions of society so that people might be more effectively, albeit unconsciously, governed,” wrote James W. Carey in “Communication as Culture.”

The trolls dominate or have neutralized every major institution in the country on behalf of their corporate paymasters. The press, education, Wall Street, labor and our political parties are managed by trolls or have been destroyed by them. Sometimes these trolls speak like liberals. Sometimes they speak like conservatives. Sometimes they are secular. Sometimes they are Christians. But the language they use is a cover for the relentless march toward a totalitarian capitalism and a kingdom where the trolls, if not the rest of us, live happily ever after. Rick Perry and John Boehner overtly make war on Social Security. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi say they would like to save Social Security but are sadly powerless before the decisions of a congressional super committee they helped form. The result, of course, is the same. We get to choose the rhetoric and manner in which we are deceived and disempowered. Nothing more.

All cloying appeals to the Obama administration to use stimulus money to build public works such as schools, libraries, roads, clinics, public transit and reclaiming dams, as well as to create jobs, are about as effective as writing heartfelt appeals in the era of the old Soviet Union to Uncle Joe Stalin. The trolls have gamed the system. There is no economic, political or environmental reform, from campaign finance to environmental controls, that can be implemented to impede the march of the corporate state. The rot and corruption at the top levels of our financial and political systems, coupled with the increasing deprivation felt by tens of millions of Americans, are volatile tinder for revolt. And the trolls are prepared for this too. They have put in place draconian state controls, including widespread internal surveillance, to silence our anemic left. They know how to direct the rage of the right wing toward the last pockets of the cultural, social and political establishment that cling to traditional liberal values, as well as toward the most vulnerable among us including Muslims, undocumented workers and homosexuals. They will make sure we consume ourselves.

A society is in serious trouble when its political pariahs have at the core of their demands a return to the rule of law. This inversion, with our political and cultural outcasts demanding a respect for law, highlights the awful fact that the most radical and retrograde forces within the body politic have seized control. These forces demand that we serve the dictates of the marketplace. They are destroying all legal impediments to corporate exploitation and profit, as well as dismantling the regulatory agencies that once protected the citizen. They defend torture, offshore penal colonies, black sites and kidnapping (they call it “extraordinary rendition”) of state enemies. They protect and abet financial fraud. They wage pre-emptive war. They refuse to restore habeas corpus. Without warrants, they monitor, eavesdrop on and wiretap tens of millions of citizens. They order the assassination of U.S. citizens. They deny due process. They give corporations the status of persons. They ignore the suffering of the unemployed and the poor, slashing basic social service programs while doling out hundreds of billions in taxpayer funds to corporations. On these key issues, the only ones that really matter, there is no disagreement among trolls from either the self-identified left or the self-identified right. All their public disputes in the election cycle are a carnival act.

All conventional forms of dissent, from electoral politics to open debates, have been denied us. We cannot rely on the institutions that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. The only route left is to disconnect as thoroughly as possible from the consumer society and engage in acts of civil disobedience and obstruction. The more we sever ourselves from the addictions of fossil fuel and the consumer society, the more we begin to create a new paradigm for community. The more we engage in physical acts of defiance—as Bill McKibben and others did recently in front of the White House to protest the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would increase the flow of “dirty” tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico—the more we can keep alive a new, better way of relating to each other and the ecosystem.

Most important, we must stop being afraid. We have to turn our backs for good on the Democrats, no matter what ghoulish candidate the Republicans offer up for president. We have to defy all formal systems of power. We have to listen closely to the moral voices in our society, from McKibben to Noam Chomsky to Wendell Berry to Ralph Nader, and ignore feckless liberals who have been one of the most effective tools of our disempowerment. We have to create monastic enclaves where we can retain and nurture the values being rapidly destroyed by the wider corporate culture and build the mechanisms of self-sufficiency that will allow us to survive. The corporate coup is over. We have lost. The trolls have won. We have to face our banishment.

In William Shakespeare’s play “Coriolanus” the Roman consul is deposed by the mob. Coriolanus, whatever his faults, turns on those who thrust him from power to declare a valediction we should deliver to our class of ruling trolls and all those who remain in their embrace.
    There’s no more to be said, but he is banish’d,
    As enemy to the people and his country:
    It shall be so.
    It shall be so, it shall be so.
    You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
    As reek o’ the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
    As the dead carcasses of unburied men
    That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
    And here remain with your uncertainty!
    Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
    Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
    Fan you into despair! Have the power still
    To banish your defenders; till at length
    Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
    Making not reservation of yourselves,
    Still your own foes, deliver you as most
    Abated captives to some nation
    That won you without blows! Despising,
    For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
    There is a world elsewhere.
Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”


  theREALnews                                     Permalink

August 30, 2011

Hundreds Arrested in Sustained Tar Sands Protests at White House

Protests demand Obama use veto power to halt proposed expansion of Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico

More at The Real News

Friday, August 26, 2011


Independent Investigative Journalism - Reporting from the frontlines of World War III: The Economic Elete Vs. The People

Wall Street Pentagon Papers Part III – Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Still Too Big To Comprehend?
August 23rd, 2011 · · Economy, Hotlist, Politics & Government

Another day, another trillion plus in secret Federal Reserve “bailouts” revealed. Bloomberg News exposes this latest Fed “deal” after winning a long Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) legal battle to get the details on what was done with the American people’s money. Their report runs with an AmpedStatus style headline: “Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed.”

Yes, truth hits the mainstream every now and then. The aristocracy is alive and well… thanks to the Fed, of course.

Keep in mind, this $1.2 trillion is in addition to the $16 trillion the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit revealed and the over $2 trillion in Quantitative Easing the Fed dished out, not to mention the now continued promise of the Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP). This is also separate from the $700 billion TARP program that Congress approved. This is yet another unknown secret program, throwing another mere $1.2 trillion in public money at the Wall Street elite (global banking cartel), just being revealed now.

Those of us paying attention over the past three years have had Fed crony-capitalism on steroids fatigue for awhile now. Nonetheless, this is deja vu all over again as another mindbogglingly huge story that must be covered comes to light.

Here are the details of this latest revelation:

Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.
By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort… included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.
‘These are all whopping numbers,’ said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. ‘You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.’” [read full report]
Ah yes, we can’t have the financial aristocracy go down as a result of their own fraudulent Ponzi scheme collapsing. Screw the “free market,” let’s just swipe trillions from the US public. In this program, as in others, you can clearly see how the Fed also bailed out foreign banks, i.e. selling out the American people to serve foreign banks.

Here is a chart breaking down how much each company received in this one particular program:

Blogger's Note: This is a very short outtake from a long series. If you are interested, recommend that you go here to pick up on the following title:
Collapse Roundup #5: Goliath On The Ropes, Big Banks Getting Hit Hard, It’s A “Bloodbath” As Wall Street’s Crimes Blow Up In Their Face

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Murder Spies and Voting Lies Parts 1 - 7

Uploaded by Croniicbo0o on Jul 29, 2009

Murder, Spies And Voting Lifes: The Clint Curtis Story is an incredible documentary which tells the story of a computer programmer who was contacted by a private company with ties to convicted Chinese spies, to write a program that could be used to rig elections...what follows is the breaking of a massive conspiracy in which there would be hard evidence of vote manipulation via electronic voting machines -- whether using Curtis's program or the twenty year old bootloader hack which, as show by students at Princeton University, could be loaded onto any of these machines in less than a minute. The sketchy firing of two employees -- one being Curtis himself -- from the Florida Dept of Transportation; corrupt ties to leading members of Diebold -- one of two companies responsible for vote counting in the US -- and a dead Florida DOT investigator, Raymond Lemme RIP, who was privately investigating the claims made by Curtis ...and conveniently "committed suicide" in Georgia, where autopsies are not done on suicide victims, as opposed to Florida where an autopsy would have been automatic. What really happened in 2000 to Al Gore in Florida, and again to John Kerry in Ohio in you can finally know the truth, and it ain't pretty! 7 parts

Blogger's Note: I too was present at the Jefferson St. Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville for the National Election Reform Conference, April 2005. (You can see me seating myself in the early minutes of Part 3.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The total fraud of US news reporting

Like him, love him, loathe him or indifferent, there's no question that Ron Paul is: a) the favorite of millions of Americans and b) is having his campaign systematically undermined by the epically corrupt US new media.

Paul Craig Roberts: "Today Americans are unsafe, not because of terrorists and domestic extremists, but because they have lost their civil liberties and have no protection from unaccountable government power."

August 24, 2011 at 12:26:34

Promoted to Headline (H3) on 8/24/11:


9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything?

By paul craig roberts (about the author)

In a few days it will be the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. How well has the US government's official account of the event held up over the decade?

Not very well. The chairman, vice chairman, and senior legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission wrote books partially disassociating themselves from the commission's report. They said that the Bush administration put obstacles in their path, that information was withheld from them, that President Bush agreed to testify only if he was chaperoned by Vice President Cheney and neither were put under oath, that Pentagon and FAA officials lied to the commission and that the commission considered referring the false testimony for investigation for obstruction of justice.

In their book, the chairman and vice chairman, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, wrote that the 9/11 Commission was "set up to fail." Senior counsel John Farmer, Jr., wrote that the US government made "a decision not to tell the truth about what happened," and that the NORAD "tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public." Kean said, "We to this day don't know why NORAD told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth."

Most of the questions from the 9/11 families were not answered. Important witnesses were not called. The commission only heard from those who supported the government's account. The commission was a controlled political operation, not an investigation of events and evidence. Its membership consisted of former politicians. No knowledgeable experts were appointed to the commission.

One member of the 9/11 Commission, former Senator Max Cleland, responded to the constraints placed on the commission by the White House: "If this decision stands, I, as a member of the commission, cannot look any American in the eye, especially family members of victims, and say the commission had full access. This investigation is now compromised." Cleland resigned rather than have his integrity compromised.

To be clear, neither Cleland nor members of the commission suggested that 9/11 was an inside job to advance a war agenda. Nevertheless, neither Congress nor the media wondered, at least not out loud, why President Bush was unwilling to appear before the commission under oath or without Cheney; why Pentagon and FAA officials lied to the commission or, if the officials did not lie, why the commission believed they lied, or why the White House resisted for so long any kind of commission being formed, even one under its control.

One would think that if a handful of Arabs managed to outwit not merely the CIA and FBI but all 16 US intelligence agencies, all intelligence agencies of our allies including Mossad, the National Security Council, the State Department, NORAD, airport security four times on one morning, air traffic control, etc., the President, Congress, and the media would be demanding to know how such an improbable event could occur. Instead, the White House put up a wall of resistance to finding out, and Congress and the media showed little interest.

During the decade that has passed, numerous 9/11 Truth organizations have formed. There are Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, Scholars for 9/11 Truth,, and a New York group which includes 9/11 families. These groups call for a real investigation.

David Ray Griffen has written 10 carefully researched books documenting problems in the government's account. Scientists have pointed out that the government has no explanation for the molten steel. NIST has been forced to admit that WTC 7 was in free fall for part of its descent, and a scientific team led by a professor of nano-chemistry at the University of Copenhagen has reported finding nano-thermite in the dust from the buildings.

Larry Silverstein, who had the lease on the World Trade Center buildings, said in a PBS broadcast that the decision was made "to pull" Building 7 late in the afternoon of 9/11. Chief fire marshals have said that no forensic investigation was made of the buildings' destruction and that the absence of investigation was a violation of law.

Some efforts have been made to explain away some of the evidence that is contrary to the official account, but most of the contrary evidence is simply ignored. The fact remains that the skepticism of a large number of knowledgeable experts has had no effect on the government's position other than a member of the Obama administration suggesting that the government infiltrate the 9/11 truth organizations in order to discredit them.

The practice has been to brand experts not convinced by the government's case "conspiracy theorists." But of course the government's own theory is a conspiracy theory, an even less likely one once a person realizes its full implication of intelligence and operational failures. The implied failures are extraordinarily large; yet, no one was ever held accountable.

Moreover, what do 1,500 architects and engineers have to gain from being ridiculed as conspiracy theorists? They certainly will never receive another government contract, and many surely lost business as a result of their "anti-American" stance. Their competitors must have made hay out of their "unpatriotic doubts." Indeed, my reward for reporting on how matters stand a decade after the event will be mail telling me that as I hate America so much I should move to Cuba.

Scientists have even less incentive to express any doubts, which probably explains why there are not 1,500 Physicists for 9/11 Truth. Few physicists have careers independent of government grants or contracts. It was a high school physics teacher who forced NIST to abandon its account of Building 7's demise. Physicist Stephen Jones, who first reported finding evidence of explosives, had his tenure bought out by BYU, which no doubt found itself under government pressure.

We can explain away contrary evidence as coincidences and mistakes and conclude that only the government got it all correct, the same government that got everything else wrong.

In fact, the government has not explained anything. The NIST report is merely a simulation of what might have caused the towers to fail if NIST's assumptions programed into the computer model are correct. But NIST supplies no evidence that its assumptions are correct.

Building 7 was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report, and many Americans are still unaware that three buildings came down on 9/11.

Let me be clear about my point. I am not saying that some black op group in the neoconservative Bush administration blew up the buildings in order to advance the neoconservative agenda of war in the Middle East. If there is evidence of a coverup, it could be the government covering up its incompetence and not its complicity in the event. Even if there were definite proof of government complicity, it is uncertain that Americans could accept it. Architects, engineers, and scientists live in a fact-based community, but for most people facts are no match for emotions.

My point is how un-inquisitive the executive branch, including the security agencies, Congress, the media, and much of the population are about the defining event of our time.

There is no doubt that 9/11 is the determinant event. It has led to a decade of ever expanding wars, to the shredding of the Constitution, and to a police state. On August 22 Justin Raimondo reported that he and his website,, are being monitored by the FBI's Electronic Communication Analysis Unit to determine if is "a threat to National Security" working "on behalf of a foreign power."

Francis A. Boyle, an internationally known professor and attorney of international law, has reported that when he refused a joint FBI-CIA request to violate the attorney/client privilege and become an informant on his Arab-American clients, he was placed on the US government's terrorist watch list.

Boyle has been critical of the US government's approach to the Muslim world, but Raimondo has never raised, nor permitted any contributor to raise, any suspicion about US government complicity in 9/11. Raimondo merely opposes war, and that is enough for the FBI to conclude that he needs watching as a possible threat to national security.

The US government's account of 9/11 is the foundation of the open-ended wars that are exhausting America's resources and destroying its reputation, and it is the foundation of the domestic police state that ultimately will shut down all opposition to the wars. Americans are bound to the story of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attack, because it is what justifies the slaughter of civilian populations in several Muslim countries, and it justifies a domestic police state as the only means of securing safety from terrorists, who already have morphed into "domestic extremists" such as environmentalists, animal rights groups, and antiwar activists.

Today Americans are unsafe, not because of terrorists and domestic extremists, but because they have lost their civil liberties and have no protection from unaccountable government power. One would think that how this came about would be worthy of public debate and congressional hearings.

Blogger's Note: PCR proposes an explanation for why there aren't 1,500 Physicists for 9/11 Truth.  I don't know if he is right or not, but here are my past posts on the subject:
"Hand Waving" the Physics of 9/11
Are the Events of 9/11/2001 Already History?
A 9/11 Truth: Evidence of Energetic Materials in the Debris of the Collapsed World Trade Center Towers

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Exclusive: Matt Taibbi on SEC covering up Wall Street crimes

Keith Olbermann
August 19, 2011 at 11:41 pm

In this "Countdown" exclusive interview, Keith sits down with Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi to discuss breaking the story about the Securities and Exchange Commission destroying the records of promising cases in the years leading up to the financial meltdown.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


  theREALnews                             Permalink

August 15, 2011

CFTC Commissioner: "A Hair Trigger Away from Economic Calamity"

Bart Chilton Pt.1: Wall Street lobbyists trying to slow down trading regulations and defund Commission

More at The Real News

August 16, 2011

Food, Speculation and Parasitical Trading

Bart Chilton Pt.2: Massive spikes in price of food, oil, natural gas and silver cannot be the result of supply and demand

More at The Real News

August 18, 2011

Will CFTC Limit Excessive Speculation?

Bart Chilton Pt.3: For regulations to be effective, there has to be political will and proper resources

More at The Real News


Bart Chilton is the current commissioner for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Bart Chilton was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U. S. Senate in 2007. In 2009, he was re-nominated by President Obama and reconfirmed by the Senate. He has served as the Chairman of the CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC). His career spans 25 years in government service—working on Capitol Hill in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, and serving in the Executive Branch during the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations. Prior to joining the CFTC, Mr. Chilton was the Chief of Staff and Vice President for Government Relations at the National Farmers Union where he represented family farmers. In 2005, Mr. Chilton was a Schedule C political appointee of President Bush at the U. S. Farm Credit Administration where he served as an Executive Assistant to the Board. From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Chilton was a Senior Advisor to Senator Tom Daschle, the Democrat Leader of the United States Senate, where he worked on myriad issues including agriculture and transportation policy.

The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk

The unemployed need not apply.

That is the message being broadcast by many of the nation’s employers, making it even more difficult for 14 million jobless Americans to get back to work.

A recent review of job vacancy postings on popular sites like, CareerBuilder and Craigslist revealed hundreds that said employers would consider (or at least “strongly prefer”) only people currently employed or just recently laid off.

Unemployed workers have long suspected that the gaping holes on their résumés left them less attractive to employers. But with the country in the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, many had hoped employers would be more forgiving.

“I feel like I am being shunned by our entire society,” said Kelly Wiedemer, 45, an information technology operations analyst who said a recruiter had told her that despite her skill set she would be a “hard sell” because she had been out of work for more than six months.

Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.

The practice is common enough that New Jersey recently passed a law outlawing job ads that bar unemployed workers from applying. New York and Michigan are considering the idea, and similar legislation has been introduced in Congress. The National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit organization that studies the labor market and helps the unemployed apply for benefits, has been reviewing the issue, and last week issued a report that has nudged more politicians to condemn these ads.

Given that the average duration of unemployment today is nine months — a record high — limiting a search to the “recently employed,” much less the currently employed, disqualifies millions.
The positions advertised with preferences for the already-employed run the gamut. Some are for small businesses, and others for giants, including the commercial University of Phoenix (which, like some other companies, removed the ads after an inquiry by The New York Times) or the fast-food chain Pollo Tropical. They cover jobs at all skill levels, including hotel concierges, restaurant managers, teachers, I.T. specialists, business analysts, sales directors, account executives, orthopedics device salesmen, auditors and air-conditioning technicians.

“It is really a buyer’s market for employers right now,” said Harry J. Holzer, an economist at Georgetown University and the Urban Institute. One consequence is that the long-term unemployed will rack up even more weeks of unemployment, Mr. Holzer said, and will find it harder to make the transition back to work.

Even if Congress passed a measure forbidding companies from making current employment a requirement for job applicants, companies could still simply decide not to hire people who are out of work. Discrimination would be difficult to prove.

After all, there are legitimate reasons that many long-term unemployed workers may not be desirable job candidates. In some cases they may have been let go early in the recession, not just because business had slowed, but because they were incompetent.

Idle workers’ skills may atrophy, particularly in dynamic industries like technology. They may lose touch with their network of contacts, which is important for people in sales. Beaten down by months of rejection and idleness, they may not interview well or easily return to a 9-to-5 schedule.

“We may be seeing what’s called statistical discrimination,” said Robert Shimer, a labor economist at the University of Chicago. “On average, these workers might be less attractive, and employers don’t bother to look more closely to pick out the good ones.”

Employers receive so many applications for each opening that some may use current employment status as an easy filter. In some cases — as with Ms. Wiedemer, of Westminster, Colo. — recruiters merely assume employers do not want jobless workers.

“Clients don’t always tell us ‘we don’t want to see résumés from unemployed workers,’ but we can sense from what people have interested them in the past that they’re probably looking for somebody who’s gainfully employed, who’s closer to the action,” said Dennis Pradarelli, a talent acquisition manager for Marbl, a recruiting firm in Brookfield, Wis. Many of the job ads posted by his firm seek workers who are “currently employed or only recently unemployed.”

Many firms that are not intentionally screening out the unemployed may still disqualify such applicants for having bad credit histories after having fallen behind on the bills — which they of course need a job to pay.

It’s not clear what can be done to pull workers out of this unemployment trap.

Government incentives for companies to hire unemployed workers have met with limited success. One such tax incentive from last year was poorly publicized, so most employers did not know about it. Better publicity may not suffice, either. An experiment from the 1980s found that telling companies that the unemployed were eligible for generous wage subsidies actually made employers less likely to hire such workers.

Job counselors often encourage the long-term unemployed to go back to school or volunteer to demonstrate that they are still productive, engaged members of society. But absent the actual acquisition of marketable skills — which many retraining programs do not provide — it’s not clear such efforts improve the chances of being hired.

“Mentally, it may be good for the candidate, but I think companies are still in a position to say ‘O.K., we’re looking for a candidate with the most up-to-date skills,’ ” Mr. Pradarelli said. “If you’ve been out of pocket for two years, going back to school sounds nice, but it doesn’t make or break the situation.”

The best solution, economists say, would be to encourage job growth more broadly, which may initially involve poaching people from other companies but could eventually draw even the least desirable workers back into jobs. During the boom years of the late ’90s, the labor market was so tight that ex-convicts had relatively little trouble finding work.

In the meantime, people like Ms. Wiedemer — who has been out of work for three years — are exhausting their benefits and piecing together what support they can from food stamps and family members. And they are stuck hoping that economic growth manages to outpace their own descent into permanent economic exile.

“I worry that unemployment may eventually come down, not because older workers who have been unemployed for a year or two find jobs,” Professor Shimer said, “but because older workers finally give up and drop out of the labor force.”

Friday, August 19, 2011


August 18, 2011 at 11:59:59

Promoted to Headline (H3) on 8/18/11:


Is Globalism Reversing?

By paul craig roberts (about the author)

Globalism is a conspiracy against First World jobs. It is the process by which capital extracts surplus and appropriates the earnings of labor. By moving offshore the production of goods and services for the home market, corporations benefit from labor arbitrage. Because of large excess supplies of labor, corporations can hire employees in China, India, Indonesia, and elsewhere at wages below the value of the marginal product of labor, thus raising the returns to capital.

If globalism reverses, it will have little to do with capital adequacy, deregulation, and sovereign debt. It will have to do with the fact that corporations, by offshoring jobs in pursuit of short-run profits, have undermined domestic First World economies by moving countries' GDP, tax base, consumer incomes, and career opportunities to developing countries.

The extraordinary debt leverage and fraud made possible by financial deregulation produced the financial crisis. The crisis of globalism is the inability of First World economies to produce new jobs other than in domestic non-tradable services.

As Michael Hudson has shown, the response to the debt crisis is to shift the costs of the mistakes made by banks and governments onto the backs of ordinary people. Thus, the large and persistent protests in the streets of Greece and Spain against allegedly "representative" governments for implementing the bankers' policies that reduce the living standards of people in order to protect bankers and their shareholders from losses.

It was ever thus. In his classic history, The Rise And Fall Of The British Empire, Lawrence James writes that the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882 was perceived "as having been foisted on the government by a clique of investors. Sir William Gregory, a former Tory MP and governor of Ceylon, argued that, "We are the only nation which had an honest sympathy with the unfortunate peasants of the Nile Valley, and yet we are forced to be the n-word-drivers, the administrators of the lash to exact the last piastre from these poor wretches for the benefit of bondholders.'"

Today economists are allied with globalists to drive wages to subsistence levels and to privatize for the benefit of the banks and their customers the remaining areas of public domain. To quote Hudson, globalism and financialization (the drive by the financial sector to absorb the entire economic surplus in the form of profit, interest, penalties, and fees) are "economic warfare by non-military means."

This article originally appeared in the summer 2011 edition of The International Economy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011



Massive Jobs Program Only Way Out

Tom Ferguson: Only a 1930s New Deal style jobs program can deal with the crisis

More at The Real News

Thomas Ferguson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a Senior Fellow of the Roosevelt Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and taught formerly at MIT and the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Golden Rule (University of Chicago Press, 1995) and Right Turn (Hill & Wang, 1986). Most of his research focuses on how economics and politics affect institutions and vice versa. His articles have appeared in many scholarly journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Economic History. He is a long time Contributing Editor to The Nation and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of the Historical Society and the International Journal of Political Economy.

August 11, 2011

European Central Bank and the "Sovereign Raiders"

Bill Black: ECB facilitates speculators taking a run at one European country after another

More at The Real News

William K. Black, author of THE BEST WAY TO ROB A BANK IS TO OWN ONE, teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri ? Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement. Black developed the concept of "control fraud" ? frauds in which the CEO or head of state uses the entity as a "weapon." Control frauds cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime combined. He recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae's former senior management.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

August 2, 2011 at 16:27:37

Promoted to Headline (H3) on 8/2/11: 


The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

By paul craig roberts (about the author)

The United States Government and its presstitute media have wasted time and energy creating hysteria over a non-existent "debt ceiling crisis." After reading the "news" in the Ministry of Propaganda and witnessing the stupidity of the US government, the rest of the world is struck dumbfounded by the immaturity of the "world's only superpower."

What kind of superpower is it, the world wonders, that is willing to go to the eleventh hour to convince the world, which holds its banking reserves in US Treasury debt, that the US government will default on the debt?

Every country in the world now worries about the judgment and sanity of the country with the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

This is the achievement of the Republicans, who took an ordinary commonplace increase in the debt-ceiling limit, an event that has occurred routinely many times over the course of my life, and turned it into a crisis threatening the world financial system.

To be clear, there was never any risk whatsoever of US default, as President Obama has power established by President George W. Bush's Presidential Directive 51 to declare default a National Emergency and to set aside the debt-ceiling limit and Congress' power of the purse, and to continue to issue the debt necessary to fund the US government and its wars.

That the American press ever took this highly-hyped "crisis" seriously merely demonstrates their prostitute status.

The US public debt is rising too rapidly against US GDP, although it is still below the percentages during World War II. The problem that is ignored by the idiots in Washington and the presstitutes is that the debt is rising relative to the economy because the economy is not rising, but war expenditures are.

Why is the economy not rising?

It is not rising, because it has been off-shored. What formerly was US GDP produced in Gary, Indiana, St. Louis, Detroit, Silicon Valley, and other US locations is now GDP for China, India, Indonesia and other countries where manufacturing labor and professional services can be hired below US rates.

What happens with off-shoring? The answer is clear. US GDP, consumer income, career opportunities, and tax base leave the country. Corporate profits and bonuses rise due to the lower labor costs.

Who is this good for?

The answer is that it is only good for Wall Street, corporate shareholders, and corporate management. Their incomes go up, and the GDP goes down along with the employment opportunities of Americans and the tax base for government.

The other destroyer of American economic prospects was the deregulation of the financial sector. Economists theorized that markets were self-regulating and created the illusion that greed was never a problem. This was music and dollars to Wall Street's ears. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the Wall Street-owned US Treasury jumped on board. Those, who like Brooksley Born, were empowered by US law to regulate derivatives, were driven out of office by the Federal Reserve Chairman, the US Treasury Secretary, and the Securities and Exchange Chairman.

Financial institutions freed from Glass-Steagall, freed from capital requirements, and freed from oversight, immediately took debt leverage on highly unrealistic bets to amazing heights. When the schemes collapsed, the Federal Reserve lent US and foreign banks $16.1 trillion dollars, a sum larger than the US national debt and larger than the US GDP.

Where did the Federal Reserve get $16.1 trillion to lend? The Fed created it out of thin air with a stroke of a computer entry.

While the Federal Reserve created $16.1 trillion in new loans for private banks, the bailed out banks bulldoze the foreclosed homes of the evicted Americans.

So in America, the light unto the world, American citizens are thrown out of their homes in order that banks can bulldoze their homes.

Only in America does this makes sense.

And it is not only Americans who are being made homeless by US policies. Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Yemenis, Somali, Libyans are also consigned to homelessness by American policy. Moreover, America's wars against these peoples, together with the supporting military/security budget, account for 75% of the US budget deficit. Indeed, the cost of these wars exceed the planned future budget savings from the debt limit deal.

In other words, the cost of the wars that make millions of foreigners homeless use up revenues that the federal government could have used to keep Americans in their homes and teachers in the schools. As much as many Republicans profess to be concerned about the US public debt, Republicans were not sufficiently concerned to address their issue by cutting back the $1.2 trillion military-security budget or by raising the low tax rates on the mega-rich.

Look at these July 30 headlines, just two days prior to the default deadline, from the online group, Stop NATO:

US Military To Be Based In Australia To Confront China

Call To Expand American Counterinsurgency Operations In Philippines

US Could Upgrade Polish Warships For Baltic Sea

Bulgaria: Pentagon Continues Upgrading Military Bases

US Uses Romanian Air Base To Supply Afghan War

America's Africa Partnership Station In East Africa

Mongolia: US Leads NATO, Asian NATO Allies In Military Exercise

Libyan War: Over 17,000 NATO Air Missions, Nearly 6,500 Strike Sorti

The Big Picture: War on Libya is War on Africa

What in the world is a country facing bankruptcy and default doing conducting military exercises in Mongolia and Central Asia? What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, designed to counter a Soviet thrust into Western Europe, doing in Mongolia?

Why are these military expenditures necessary, but not expenditures to keep America's homeless population from rising while homes are destroyed?

Why do not the Republicans listen when mega-billionaire Warren Buffet says that the tax rate on his massive income is lower than the tax rate on his secretary's income?

The answer is that the Republicans have an agenda: War. And Republicans want to fund this war, not by taxing high incomes but by cutting support programs for the down and out.

To cut to the chase: Even if all the cuts actually happen, the weakening economy will result in new deficit projections that will wipe out the expected savings from the debt limit agreement.

What then will the government do?

Until US policymakers comprehend that the economy has been moved offshore and take steps to bring it home, there will be no solution to America's debt problem or to its unemployment problem.
Rep. John Conyers Calls for Protest on White House on Jobs, Says "We've Had It" 



Uploaded by laurenburke007 on Jul 27, 2011

07.27.11: At a press conference held by the House "Out of Poverty Caucus" Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the second most senior member of the U.S. House, calls for people to march on the White House and President Obama, the poor and the debt talks. more at

Monday, August 01, 2011


Don’t Fall for the GOP Lie: There is No Budget Crisis. There’s a Job and Growth Crisis.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A friend who’s been watching the absurd machinations in Congress asked me “what happens if we don’t solve the budget crisis and we run out of money to pay the nation’s bills?”

It was only then I realized how effective Republicans lies have been. That we’re calling it a “budget crisis” and worrying that if we don’t “solve” it we can’t pay our nation’s bills is testament to how successful Republicans have been distorting the truth.

The federal budget deficit has no economic relationship to the debt limit. Republicans have linked the two, and the Administration has played along, but they are entirely separate. Republicans are using what would otherwise be a routine, legally technical vote to raise the debt limit as a means of holding the nation hostage to their own political goal of shrinking the size of the federal government.

In economic terms, we will not “run out of money” next week. We’re still the richest nation in the world, and the Federal Reserve has unlimited capacity to print money.

Nor is there any economic imperative to reach an agreement on how to fix the budget deficit by Tuesday. It’s not even clear the federal budget needs that much fixing anyway.

Yes, the ratio of the national debt to the total economy is high relative to what it’s been. But it’s not nearly as high as it was after World War II – when it reached 120 percent of the economy’s total output.

If and when the economy begins to grow faster – if more Americans get jobs, and we move toward a full recovery – the debt/GDP ratio will fall, as it did in the 1950s, and as it does in every solid recovery. Revenues will pour into the Treasury, and much of the current “budget crisis” will be evaporate.

Get it? We’re really in a “jobs and growth” crisis – not a budget crisis.

And the best way to get jobs and growth back is for the federal government to spend more right now, not less – for example, by exempting the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes this year and next, recreating a WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, creating an infrastructure bank, providing tax incentives for small businesses to hire, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and so on.

But what happens next week if Congress can’t or won’t deliver the President a bill to raise the debt ceiling? Remember: This is all politics, mixed in with legal technicalities. Economics has nothing to do with it.

One possibility, therefore, is for the Treasury to keep paying the nation’s bills regardless. It would continue to issue Treasury bills, which are our nation’s IOUs. When those IOUs are cashed at the Federal Reserve Board, the Fed would do what it has always done: Honor them.

How long could this go on without the debt ceiling being lifted? That’s a legal question. Republicans in Congress could mount a legal challenge, but no court in its right mind would stop the Fed from honoring the full faith and credit of the United States.

The wild card is what the three big credit-rating agencies will do. As long as the Fed keeps honoring the nation’s IOUs, America’s credit should be deemed sound. We’re not Greece or Portugal, after all. We’ll still be the richest nation in the world, whose currency is the basis for most business transactions in the world.

Standard & Poor’s has warned it will downgrade the nation’s debt from a triple-A to a double-A rating if we don’t tend to the long-term deficit. But, as I’ve noted, S&P has no business meddling in American politics – especially since its own non-feasance was partly responsible for the current size of the federal debt (had it done its job the debt and housing bubbles wouldn’t have precipitated the terrible recession, and the federal outlays it required).

As long as we pay our debts on time, our global creditors should be satisfied. And if they’re satisfied, S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch should be, too.

Repeat after me: The federal deficit is not the nation’s biggest problem. The anemic recovery, huge unemployment, falling wages, and declining home prices are bigger problems. We don’t have a budget crisis. We have a jobs and growth crisis.

The GOP has manufactured a budget crisis out of the Republicans’ extortionate demands over raising the debt limit. They have succeeded in hoodwinking the public, including my friend.

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.