Category Archives: economy

Are we on the verge of World War III?

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By Joseph Ballin 6/7/2017 5:51 PM EST

The tension in the Middle East is becoming unbearable. As the battle of Raqqa begins in Syria for the de facto capital of the so called Islamic State, US forces bomb pro-Assad forces in Syria. Qatar is being economically and diplomatically boycotted by the Saudis and other gulf nations, while Turkey approves sending troops to Qatar. Iran’s parliament and Khomeini mausoleum was blown up by Saudi Arabia posing as IS. Russia is being accused of hacking Qatar state media. Now the lieutenant general of the US is saying we don’t recognize any specific zone in Syria as being off limits to the United States.

At this point, the only news I watch anymore is RT America, the only legit news source left on TV. I got it blazing 24/7 in my room as I watch this in the background. I don’t even know what normies are watching on fake news MSNBC, CNN, or Fox, probably something about Russia or something, but anyway back to the topic at hand. The Trump administrations number one target is Iran. If you took a look at Trump’s cabinet, you will notice two things. One, they are anti-Islam, and two, they hate Iran.

And the two countries that hate Iran is Saudi Arabia and Israel. It comes to no surprise that these two countries have total control over the Trump administration. As Lawrence Wilkerson, retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, pointed out on the Real News, that the reason Trump has so much Goldman Sachs in his cabinet isn’t just a business reasons, but it’s because of Israel. Another great source on neocons and foreign policy in general is Abby and Robbie Martin. Robbie has create a film series on the necons called A Very Heavy Agenda that you can buy online.

Now to move on to Syria, what most Americans don’t know is the Syrian Civil War didn’t start in 2011, it started in 2005, when Syria stop cooperating with US forces and the CIA began funding terrorists to disrupt the region. So just so you know, this war started under Bush, continued under Obama and Trump. Now we began having US ground forces in Syria since 2015, however we’ve had CIA in the ground there since who knows what. Since 2017, just prior to April bombing of Assad, Trump doubled the US troops in Syria to 2,000 and US troop deployments have ceased for Iraq and Syria.

What I believe is happening is a ramping up of US forces in Syria. The neocons for a while have always had conflicting views within the neocons. Some extreme neocons like Frank Gaffeny think we should just ignore Syria because it distracts from invading Iran. Others want to see the Syria conflict go on forever to bob them down in fighting, a favorable view that Israeli government has. I do not know what the deep state is planning, but I do know that once ISIS falls it will make America’s troop presence in Syria null and void. So regime change in Syria would be the next goal.

The Qatar situation could blow out into full scale war in Turkish troops do arrive in Qatar, it will be interesting to see how America will respond, with the largest military base in the middle east being in Qatar. Trump at first cheered on Saudi Arabia and after his staff informed him the facts he said he wanted to negotiate with all sides. With the recent Iran bombings by the Saudis I don’t see any negotiations.

How about instead of having marches for Trump’s taxes we have marches for peace? But that’s not what the neocons want, they want use talking about Russia or taxes or whatever because it distracts us from the real issues. Trump is the ultimate distraction. All he does is tweet something and his tweets become headline news for the day. I say it’s time to start a campaign to boycott all Saudi goods by getting this country off fossil fuels.

Links:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18990

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201706011054192507-qatar-iran-olive-branch/

Julian Assange: US & Israel Planned To Overthrow Assad In 2006

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/03/15/u-s-military-probably-sending-as-many-as-1000-more-ground-troops-into-syria-ahead-of-raqqa-offensive-officials-say/

Put Your Faith in a Plant

They told you Hillary Clinton would defeat any old republican, and I told you she can’t, I put my faith in a plant. cus everyone knows she’s a liar, and she’ll set the whole democratic party on fire,

Now they put their faith in potiticians again, I don’t understand, I put my faith in a plant. legalize weed and do it today, grow some weed like friggin hay. And yet you put your faith in poltiticians, and you want to do it again…I say , put your faith in a plant.

The TPP is not for me?

No, its not a jobs bill, it won’t help us compete with China and it won’t reduce the trade deficit. As Joseph Stiglitz notes during his great interview with Democracy Now this week, the administration’s hypocrisy selling this abomination is boundless.  The TPP is of, by, and for the corporate oligarchy and it will make things much worse for working class Americans…check out the interview, great stuff

Joseph Stiglitz, Democracy Now 10-15

 

To Whom Do We Owe This Debt Of Gratitude?

While George Bush was busy trying to recall why he shat his pants during the 9/11 attacks, perhaps he should have been explaining how he turned Clinton’s surplus into a record deficit.  This NY Times opinion piece  contains a chart that gives a clear breakdown of the costs.  Contrary to what some in Congress would have you believe, the big bad health care reform plan is not the problem.  In fact, it is the smallest cost in the chart.  The biggest?  Yup, you guessed it, the Bush Tax Cuts…bigger than all of Obama’s costs and projected costs combined!  Cutting health care, education and other domestic spending will not solve the problem…..”you can’t close the door, when the wall’s caved in” or sumpin’ like that.  (BTW – Happy Birthday Jerry…)

National Public Radio, Not Another Penny

This is a call for anyone still giving money to NPR, please stop. If you want to send money to support real journalism, try the Nation, MoJo, Harpers or one of the few remaining progressive radio shows like Jimmy's favorite Seder or Hartmann. Even if you listen to the 18 hours per day of classical music programming on NPR, the following story should be more than enough to provoke you to send those checks elsewhere get an IPOD.

Thursday morning before the House vote on extending the Bush tax cuts, NPR ran non-stop Republican propaganda. Marketplace ran this interview with Republican Representative Dave Camp without any opposing viewpoints, of course, but with lots of cheerleading. The points made in this interview are so unbelievably preposterous, I almost puked up my sausage-egg-and-cheese-on a sesame bagel while driving down Route 1. The points are summarized below:

1. The economy is in terrible shape and we need to change direction. Therefore it is an imperative that we do not change the tax policy that we have been using for the last 8 years. Because it has worked so well. Good point Dave.

2. The pre-Bush era tax rate above an income level of $250,000 is devastating for small businesses, because “half” of such income comes from small businesses. Of course, as you know from previous posts and this direct reporting done back in July no more than 3% of small businesses are impacted by the rate above $250,000.

This numbers game reminded me of a classic line in the Naked Gun about Nordberg's chances of surviving after getting shot like 40 times. Its about 1/3 of the way into this clip, which I just had to post in honor of the passing of Leslie Nielsen this week.

So “small business” is half of the reported income above $250k, but that's only pertains to 3% of small businesses. Just like Nordberg has a 50/50 chance of surviving, but there's only a 10% chance of that. Makes you think of the old saying: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Of course, I do not expect anyone on NPR to ask questions about the source of stats quoted or how they were arrived at. (They used to, like 10 years ago, which is the last time I sent them a check, though I still get a letter from them monthly asking for cash.) But what happened next was what really stunned me. The very next segment at the top of the hour led off with a reference to 'Mitch McConnell's confidence that the senate will extend tax cuts for all Americans'. There was no rational discussion of the facts, just that statement, straight from the Republican's message machine. I felt like I was listening to Fox Radio.

Tough Choices Ahead, G Class or AMG Roadster?

Not taking to lame duck status very well, Grayson continues to put things into perspective like only he can. His take on the debate about continuing the failed “trickle down economics” experiment? He wants us to make suggestions to the richest 2% on how to spend their additional $83,000 next year if the Bush cuts are extended for them.

Submit your ideas!

The Mendacity of Hope for the End of Trickle Down Economics

Summary of my reaction to the Democrat's actions over the last 18 months: OK. OK. Oh no. Shit. Goddammit. Now that they are lame ducks can they do one thing right and put an end to trickle down economics?

Folks, we all know how disappointing the last two years have been. Shameless theft of this title is from a brilliant but thoroughly depressing summary of our country's political reality. You should definitely Click to see a preview of this book But that only makes this site more important, as our founder has recently pointed out. So, let's follow along with what should be easy for the lame ducks to get right: bring back the personal income tax rate to the wealthiest among us to where it was under Clinton.

You know the chatter…NPR said ALL the Bush tax cuts will most certainly be extended at least for a year or two. Fox said the same, Newsweek said the same… I especially liked to hear our Maine Senators put away their 'Rino' tusks for a moment to conflate small business tax cuts (which everyone is in favor of) with maintaining the historically low tax rate for the wealthiest among us. So they will hold hostage making all the other cuts permanent for the wealthiest 2%?

Why?, we ask. Well, I'm not thinking this is a rich folk country club taking care of their own type of thing. And previous posts have brilliantly shown the history of the upper bracket rate, the amount of money at stake and the impact on balancing the budget. Oh wait, that's it! The old 'end around' to bankrupt the treasury so we'll have to roll back the New Deal because 'we can't afford it'. This is popular among our Teabagger friends. Has anyone heard where, exactly, they want the Federal Government to shrink? Defense? Hell no. This is the old 'two Santas' approach that Thom Hartmann likes to point out…you can have everything you want, and an amped up military to make you feel safe and secure, but you never have to pay for it!

Poor little rich boys

We can't let the people who've been hit the hardest by this recession, and who need to create the jobs that will get us out of it, foot the bill for the Democrats' two-year adventure in expanded government.” – Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Can't go to bed without pointing out the jackassedness of this comment by the ranking GOP Senator.  He is of course referring to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for fools earning over $250,000 a year.  Just let that sink in… “the people who've been hit the hardest by this recession“…

That's right, asshole.  Them rich folk done been hit so hard they can barely afford to pay the MARGINAL TAX ON ALL DOLLARS EARNED OVER $250,000.  Meanwhile, in the real world

Forty-four million people in the United States, or one in seven residents, lived in poverty in 2009, an increase of 4 million from the year before, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday.

The poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent — the highest since 1994 — from 13.2 percent in 2008.

Over the past two years these scumbag Senators have managed to thoroughly crush any delusions I once had about the possibility of national crisis giving birth to transformative change in this country. And I mean the good kind of change, not the teabag variety that is currently suffocating the last vestiges of moderation in the Republican party.  [Note to you Mainers – Olympia is next].

What I'm trying to say is, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts are the only thing I care about politically these days.  There's really nothing else on the horizon that's going to elicit more than indifference or disgust out of me.  The class divide gets greater every day and it's completely unsustainable for a healthy society.  I'll have to dazzle you with charts and graphs some other time, but for now I'll just say, NO MORE TAX CUTS FOR YOU RICH MOTHERFUCKERS.

Who am I kidding, here's a chart

What this says to me is, if the Democrats really feel the need to be total pussies about this, then they better at least give me a new marginal tax bracket at $500,000, which is where the real highway robbery begins to kick in.  Otherwise I don't want to hear any more bullshit about “deficit reduction”.

Shovel Ready

This story took place in Reefercake’s backyard. There is heavy traffic on this road and absolutely no shoulder, and kids are jumping off of it all summer long. Suprise, suprise, a kid got hit and is critical condition.

Something needs to be done, ie pedestrian bridge, and some of that stimulus money would do the trick. But this concept of shovel ready, is complete bullcrap, and that is probably why we hear that a lot of the money isn’t being spent as quickly as we would like…WTF is shovel ready, but a made up term? I guess the point being that we don’t want to do anything that requires planning or thought or design, we wouldn’t want to use our brains, we just want to send a bunch of guys out with shovels and “have at it!” Classic conservative anti-intellectual bullshit.

Reefercake is making a vow to get something done here, before my son reaches puberty…so we should be breaking ground on this one in 2015.

Teevee news I would watch

This is for all the Saturday morning InRoads monkeys out there…

Don’t know if anyone has been keeping track in the sidebar, but Matt Taibbi has opened up a floodgate of Goldman Sachs bashing, which I love of course.  To be fair, they’ve brought it on themselves, with their recent announcement of record bonus payments in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.  But Taibbi has made it mainstream to call them out for the swindlers they are.  Here’s all the must-read/watch pieces:

Taibbi: The Great American Bubble Machine

What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.

Elliot Spitzer on Bloomberg teevee

More Taibbi: The Real Price of Goldman’s Giganto-Profits

Taken altogether, what all of this means is that Goldman’s profit announcement is a giant “fuck you” to the rest of the country. It is a statement of supreme privilege, an announcement that it feels no shame in taking subsidies and funneling them directly into their pockets, and moreover feels no fear of any public response. It knows that it’s untouchable and it’s not going to change its behavior for anyone. And it doesn’t matter who knows it.

Paul Krugman: The Joy of Sachs

The American economy remains in dire straits, with one worker in six unemployed or underemployed. Yet Goldman Sachs just reported record quarterly profits — and it’s preparing to hand out huge bonuses, comparable to what it was paying before the crisis. What does this contrast tell us?

First, it tells us that Goldman is very good at what it does. Unfortunately, what it does is bad for America.

Second, it shows that Wall Street’s bad habits — above all, the system of compensation that helped cause the financial crisis — have not gone away.

Third, it shows that by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely.

Then there’s the new scandal brewing involving the former employee who supposedly stole their software that has the ability to unfairly manipulate markets.  Interesting that Goldman would come forward with this info only after the software was released into the wild.  Surely they themselves never used it for nefarious purposes while it was still under their control!  What makes this story all the juicier is that prior to the news, Zero Hedge had been tracking Goldman’s “program trading” volume on the NYSE for months and became convinced that they were manipulating markets.  Possibly through “front-running”, in which, oh, say, they had a program that monitored their online client’s stock purchases.  Before letting a purchase through, Goldman would then pre-buy the stock themselves, then let the client’s buy happen, then sell their own recently bought shares, which would have appreciated in value by an infinitessimal amount over the previous microsecond.  Consider that Goldman’s online trading volume is twice as high as its nearest competitor.  Further consider that as speculation mounted, NYSE suddenly announced they would no longer issue their daily program trading reports that Zero Hedge was analyzing.  Cap that off with the twin announcements of rogue software and record bonuses, and I’m declaring it’s once again pitchfork and torch time.