Friday, September 30, 2011

Rich Getting Richer, Poor Getting Poorer!

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Economic Bad Times Just Beginning
By Chuck Baldwin
September 29, 2011
NewsWithViews.com
A couple of weeks ago, I was honored to attend a private gathering of influential conservative leaders just outside Washington, D.C. While many differences of opinion were expressed on a variety of subjects, there was one subject on which every single attendee was unequivocally united: the US economy is soon going to tank! As one man said, “In a couple of years, these could be the ‘good old days.’” Another thing the august assembly was agreed on was that the only Presidential candidate in the two major parties who would actually have the guts to do what needs to be done is Congressman Ron Paul. And the national press corps (including FOX News) is doing everything in its power to make sure that the American people do not hear much of what Dr. Paul has to say for that very reason.
Neither the Democrat nor Republican parties in Washington, D.C., have any intention of addressing the real reasons why the American economy is on the verge of collapse. The only thing the two major parties--and the elites who dominate them--can see is the next election. The lust for power is the one thing that both the Donkeys and the Elephants share in common. And neither party is willing to disappoint their constituents who are feeding at the teat of that fat hog known as Washington, D.C.
Democrats want to extend Washington’s insatiable appetite for deficit spending in order to promote the Welfare State. And Republicans want to extend Washington’s insatiable appetite for deficit spending in order to promote the Warfare State. Conservative or liberal, hawk or dove, Christian or secularist, Democrat of Republican: they all are lining up at the back door of Uncle Sam’s kitchen begging for a handout!
Except for Ron Paul, no one is giving more than ten-second sound bites of lip service to what is necessary to conquering the real culprits of America’s economic malaise: expunging the fiat money system and returning America to hard money principles, dismantling that cabal of international criminals known as the Federal Reserve, returning America’s foreign policy to its constitutional parameters of non-interventionism, eviscerating those federal programs and entities not prescribed by the US Constitution, getting rid of the income tax, and taking the United States out from under the power and influence of the United Nations. No one else has the guts to even seriously talk about these issues, much less to actually do something about it! And if the “powers that be” successfully defeat Dr. Paul’s candidacy, it won’t matter to a tinker’s dam who gets elected President in 2012 (that is, unless a constitutionalist third-party candidate miraculously wins the Presidency)! Republican or Democrat, it will be business-as-usual. And that means this house of cards that these corrupt politicians and bankers have been playing with all these years is going to come crashing down. In fact, the signs are ubiquitous that the crash has already begun.
Writing for BlacklistedNews.com, Michael Snyder has recently produced two trenchant reports that show the handwriting on the wall for America’s financial future. Snyder begins this first report saying, “Goldman Sachs is doing it again. Goldman is telling the public that everything is going to be just fine, but meanwhile they are advising their top clients to bet on a huge financial collapse. On August 16th, a 54 page report authored by Goldman strategist Alan Brazil was distributed to institutional clients. The general public was not intended to see this report. Fortunately, some folks over at the Wall Street Journal got their hands on a copy and they have filled us in on some of the details.
“It turns out that Goldman Sachs secretly believes that an economic collapse is coming.”
Snyder concludes his report saying, “Sadly, the 54 page report mentioned above is right--we really are facing a global debt meltdown and we really are heading for an economic collapse.
“You aren’t going to hear the truth from the mainstream media or from our politicians because ‘keeping people calm’ is much more of a priority to them than telling the truth is.
“The debt crisis in the United States is unsustainable and the debt crisis in Europe is unsustainable. Right now we are in the calm before the storm, and nobody knows exactly when the storm is going to strike.
“But let there be no doubt--it is coming.
“The amazing prosperity that we have enjoyed for the last several decades has largely been a debt-fueled illusion. It was a great party while it lasted, but now it is coming to an end and the aftermath of the coming crash is going to be absolutely horrific.
“Keep watch and get prepared. We don’t know exactly when the collapse is going to happen, but it is definitely on the way and now even Goldman Sachs is admitting that.”
And in a second report, Michael Snyder writes, “If you think the U.S. economy is bad now, just wait for a few months. Things are about to become absolutely nightmarish. None of the long-term economic trends that are hollowing out our economy have been addressed and more bad economic news seems to come out virtually every single day. Now there is constant talk of the "next recession" in the mainstream media. But did the last recession ever truly end? The number of good jobs continues to decline, more stores are closing, incomes continue to go down, credit card debt and student loan debt are soaring, the housing market resembles a corpse, the number of Americans living in poverty continues to rise and government debt is at unprecedented levels. We are losing blood fast, and almost all of our leaders are either too corrupt or too incompetent to be able to do anything about it. The U.S. economy really and truly is about to go into the toilet, and if something is not done very quickly we are going to experience a complete and total economic disaster in this nation.”
Snyder then goes on to highlight 30 signs that the US economy is about to go down the drain. Read his report.
And for those of you who believe that such talk is just “Chicken Little” déjà vu, you need to know that many economists, politicians, and even federal police agents are personally preparing for a prolonged economic collapse. And if you’re not preparing, you’re either not paying attention or you’re preferring to ignore the warning signs. Neither option is healthy.
I have told readers before of my friend Chuck Coppes’ phenomenal book, “America’s Financial Reckoning Day.” Once again, I urge readers to obtain this book. I further follow Chuck’s recommendation that you seriously consider getting as much as you can of your fiat paper currency converted into hard assets ASAP! The gold and silver markets are being manipulated
downward, but these tactics will not last forever. When the crash occurs, hard assets will skyrocket! That’s what virtually every economic forecaster that I have any confidence in is saying. And I believe them!
To obtain Chuck Coppes’ book or to contact him regarding obtaining precious metals, click here. http://www.soundmoneycenter.org/drbaldwin/
So readers will know up front, Chuck has felt led to support my work, and I am equally enthusiastic about supporting his work. I personally know Chuck, as he moved his business from his home State of Arizona, and has joined with us here in the Flathead Valley of Montana. (And we need many more businessmen to consider doing the same!)
As an aside, for those of you who are considering joining us here in the Flathead Valley of Montana, here is the email address of George Hudson, who, himself, “escaped” from California to join us in Montana. George has taken it upon himself to help people with the information and resources they might need to help relocate to the Valley. His email address: hudnut1940@gmail.com
An old maxim says, “Forewarned is forearmed.” Ladies and gentlemen, we need to prayerfully and seriously weigh the evidence that is before us and make decisions NOW to prepare ourselves for the days to come. We need to heed the words of Scripture that twice say, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Prov. 22:3; 27:12 KJV)
I further highly recommend that people who are serious about preparation, relocation, and related matters glean heavily from the works of James Wesley, Rawles and Joel Skousen.
Rawles’ web site: http://www.survivalblog.com/
Skousen’s web site: http://www.joelskousen.com/
After having attended the above-referenced meeting near Washington, D.C., I am more convinced than ever that we did the right thing in relocating to the beautiful Flathead Valley of Montana. I also came away from that meeting with the firm conviction that my friend was right when he said, “In a couple of years, these could be the ‘good old days.’”
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Obama's "Hate the Rich" Campaign
By Lloyd Marcus
September 27, 2011
NewsWithViews.com
In his so-called jobs speeches, Obama exploits class envy shrouded in fairness. President Obama continues to escalate his divisive and evil assault on achievers, purposely pitting Americans against each other.
Obama's “Hate the Rich” campaign appeals to our lower nature and encourages the sin of covetousness. If Obama's despicable campaign proves successful, it will be a sad commentary about who we have become as a people and how far we have fallen as Americans.
It angers me that Obama and his minions in the liberal media have put achievers, risk takers, on the defensive. It angers me that Obama's looser followers think they are entitled to the fruit of someone else's labor.
Americans are extremely generous and willing to help people in need domestic and foreign. But no one is entitled to share in the bounty resulting from someone's risk, blood, sweat and tears. Any government which confiscates and redistributes wealth is immoral and evil.
God has designed life that success requires backbone; in other words, taking risks. Playing it safe profits very little. God's system is anathema to liberals. They strive to achieve “equal outcomes” or “fairness”, as they describe it, via legislation and redistribution.
Mary and I fed seagulls at the beach by throwing crackers on the sand close to us. Upon calculating the risk, seagulls moved in close and fed. Two bold seagulls feasted on crackers by feeding directly from Mary's hand. Then there were the seagulls who were too fearful to come close enough to retrieve any crackers. Interestingly, the cowardly seagulls screamed in frustration and even attacked the bold seagulls who were enjoying the rewards of their risk taking.
If a majority of Americans have become spineless, lazy and envious seagulls demanding the government take from the courageous to give to them, the spirit of America is dead.
Quite frankly, the entitlement mindset turns my stomach. My mom worked as a domestic cleaning white folks homes. My dad was one of the first blacks to break the color barrier into the Baltimore Fire Dept. My parents were hard working Christians and honorable people. My four younger siblings and I were not taught that anyone owed us anything. Today, we are all successful responsible citizens.
I suspect the mentality of my parents was typical of most Americans in the 1950s. Charities and churches assisted the poor before government replaced daddies (President Johnson's War on Poverty) in 1964; enslaving the poor to a cradle-to-grave dependency on government solely to secure Democrat votes. This strategy continues to devastate the black family; over 70% of black babies are born out of wedlock.
Blacks progressing from being brought to America as slaves to a black man being voted leader of the free world epitomizes the godliness and greatness of America. And yet, Obama and company, displaying a severe lack of character, relentlessly play the race, victim and class envy cards; designed to divide Americans to further the Obama administration's socialistic agenda.
Great leaders appeal to their follower's higher nature inspiring them to dig deeper into their souls and soar higher than they thought possible for themselves. America's first president, George Washington was such an inspirational leader.
As an American who happens to be black, I was badgered, “Lloyd, you should be delighted by the historical context of America electing it's first black president.” I was not.
Feeling like a lone voice crying in the wilderness, I dared to follow the instruction of an extraordinary leader, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Therefore, I judged Barack Hussein Obama by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin.
Obama's admitted plan to “spread the wealth around” and his anti-American associations told me he was the wrong man to lead the greatest nation on the planet. Obama's divisive, dictatorial and bullying behavior have proven me correct.
Our president is nothing more than a Chicago thug community agitator stirring up discontent, inspiring racial hatred and hatred for achievers. The bottom line of every Obama speech regarding the economy is you have too little because those guys have too much.
Obama's approach is non-presidential, totally low rent appealing to our lower nature and totally despicable. Lord help us.
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Chicago: Union Members Collect Millions in Tax $$ With Sweetheart Pension Deal
Now, don't imagine that these sort of sweetheart deals between politicians and government unions are only happening in Chicago
Warner Todd Huston
Friday, September 23, 2011
Now this is the sort of corruption we are used to seeing in Illinois, eh? This week the Chicago Tribune and WGN TV has found up to 23 retired union operatives that are collecting millions in taxpayer dollars because they had pals in government tweak the state’s pensions laws to favor them.
These former government workers that were government union members got pliant politicians to alter the pensions laws to say that their pension remuneration would be calculated not on the lower pay they received when they retired from government, but from the much higher salary they received when they worked as union operatives. These folks worked as union bosses at the same time as working on the clock for government.
The “luck” of former union boss and Dept. of Streets and Sanitation worker Thomas Villanova is a typical example. Villanova last worked full-time for the city in 1989 and made $40,000-a-year. But he was also a union big wig making $198,000 annually upon his retirement in 2008 at age 56. His city pension, it appears, was calculated on the union salary of $198,000 instead of his real salary of $40,000 — itself obviously a no-show job in the first place.
Villanova stands to make millions off the taxpayers.
Speaking of making millions, as mentioned above, the media folks also found some 20 more government union members that could make a combined $56 million in unearned pensions off the taxpayer’s back.
One of these crooks even retired at 50-years-old, then was hired back by the city for one day so that he could bump up his pension returns!
Worse, I was listening to a local Chicago radio program and one of the reporters involved in this story was saying that there may be several hundred more union/government workers that are similarly getting cushy, undeserved riches from the state pension system.
All this at a time when the pensions system is about to crash because it is so deeply in the red.
Now, don’t imagine that these sort of sweetheart deals between politicians and government unions are only happening in Chicago. These deals are endemic throughout government at every level. From your smallest city to the county, state, and federal government, these union thugs are ripping us all off on a daily basis.
Without question, this is the sort of unethical, even criminal, double dealing that you get when government employees are allowed to unionize. These people are cozy with government officials and other elected folks, donate money to their campaigns so that rules can be changed in their favor, then live off the taxpayers for decades. And for the cash in their pockets, politicians bend to union wishes every time. All the while the taxpayers get raped repeatedly.
Government workers should never, ever be allowed to unionize. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew that!
Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as gatewaypundit.com, renewamerica.us, rightwingnews.com, chicagonow.com, stoptheaclu.com, and americandaily.com, among many, many others. He has also written for several history magazines, has appeared on numeruous TV and radio shows and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture,” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of Publius’ Forum.
Warner can be reached at: igcolonel@hotmail.com
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The World's Super-Rich
Billionaires Flourish, Inequalities Deepen as Economies “Recover”
by Prof. James Petras
Global Research, March 23, 2011
Introduction
The bailouts of banks, speculators and manufacturers served their real purposes: the multi-millionaires became billionaires and the later became multi-billionaires. According to the annual report of the business magazine Forbes there are 1,210 individuals – and in many cases family clans – with a net value of $1 billion dollars (or more). There total net worth is $4 trillion, 500 billion dollars, greater than the combined worth of 4 billion people in the world. The current concentration of wealth exceeds any previous period in history; from King Midas, the Maharajahs, and the Robber Barons to the recent Silicon Valley – Wall Street moguls of the present decade
An analysis of the source of wealth of the super-rich, the distribution in the world economy and the methods of accumulation highlights several important differences with major political consequences. We will proceed to identify these specific features of the super-rich, starting with the United States and follow with an analysis of the rest of the world.
The Super-Rich in the US: Greatest Living Parasites
The US has the most billionaires in the world (413), better than one third of the total, the greatest proportion among the “big countries in the world. A closer look also reveals that among the top 200 billionaires (those with $5.2 billion and more) there are 57 from the US (29%). Over one third made their fortune through speculative activity, predators on the productive economy and exploiters of the property and stock market. This is the highest percentage of any major country in Europe or Asia (with the exception of England). The enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of this tiny parasitical ruling class is one reason why the US has the worst inequalities of any advanced economy and among the worst in the entire world. Speculators do not employ workers, they secure tax loopholes and bailouts and then press for cuts in the social budget, since they do not require a healthy, educated workforce (except for a tiny elite). In 1976 the top 1% held 20% of the wealth; in 2007 they commanded 35% of total wealth. Eighty percent of Americans own only 15% of the wealth. The recent economic crises, which initially reduced the total wealth of the country, did so in an uneven fashion – hitting the majority of workers and employees worse. The Bush-Obama bailout led to the economic recovery, not of the “economy in general”, but was confined to further enhancing the wealth of the billionaires – which explains why the unemployment/under employment rate has hardly moved, why the fiscal debt and trade deficit grows and the state lowers corporate taxes and slashes federal, state and municipal budgets. The “dynamic” sector composed of parasitical capitalists employ few workers, exports no products, pays lower taxes and imposes greater cuts in social spending for productive workers. In the case of the US, billionaires , their wealth is largely accrued via the pillage of the state treasury and productive economy and via speculation in the information technology sector which houses one-fifth of the top billionaires.
BRIC’s: The New billionaires: Exploiting Labor of Nature
The leading emerging capitalist countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) hailed by the mass media for their rapid growth over the past decade are producing billionaires at a faster rate than any bloc of countries in the world. According to the latest data in Forbes (March 2011), the number of billionaires in the BRICs increased over 56% from 193 in 2010 to 301 in 2011, exceeding that of Europe.
The high growth of the BRICs - has led to the concentration and centralization of capital, in every case promoted by state policies which provides low interest loans, subsidies, tax incentives, unrestricted exploitation of natural resources and labor, the dispossession of small property owners and the give-away of publically owned enterprises.
The dynamic growth of billionaires in the BRICs has led to the most egregious inequalities in the world. Among the BRICs, China leads the way with the greatest number of billionaires (115) and the worst inequalities in all of Asia, in sharp contrast to its Communist past when it was the most egalitarian country in the world. An examination of the source of wealth of China’s super rich reveals that it has resulted from the exploitation of labor in the manufacturing sector, speculation in real-estate and construction and trade. China has surpassed the US as the world’s biggest manufacturer in 2011, as a result of the super-exploitation of labor in China and the growth of parasitical financial capital in the US.
In contrast to the US, China’s working class is making significant inroads into the profiteering of its manufacturing and real estate elite.As a result of working class struggle, wages have been growing between 10% and 20% over the past 5 years; protests by farmers and urban households against state sanctioned evictions by real estate speculators have exceeded 100,000 per year.
The wealth of Russian billionaires on the other hand resulted from the violent theft of public resources (oil, gas, aluminum, iron, steel, etc.), developed by the previous Communist regime. The great majority of Russian billionaires depend on the export of commodities, pillaging and devastating the natural environment under a corrupt and deregulated regime. The contrast in living and working conditions between the western oriented billionaires and the Russian working class is largely the result of the siphoning off of wealth to overseas accounts, offshore investments and extraordinary personal luxuries including multi-million dollar real estate. In contrast to China’s industrial elite, Russia’s billionaires resemble the parasitical ‘rentiers’ found among Wall Street speculators and Persian Gulf sheiks.
India’s billionaires are a combination of old and new rich drawing their wealth by exploiting low wage industrial workers, dispossessing slum and tribal peoples, as well as from diversified holdings in real estate, IT and software. India’s billionaires accumulated their wealth through their class-kin linkages to the very corrupt higher echelons of the political class, securing monopolies via state contracts. India’s high growth over the past decade (averaging 7%) and the upsurge in billionaires upward to 55 by 2011, are both linked the neo-liberal policies of deregulation, privatization and globalization, which have concentrated wealth at the top, undermined small scale producers and dispossessed tens of millions.
Brazil’s billionaire class has expanded rapidly, especially under the leadership of the Workers Party, to 29, up from single digits a decade earlier. Today over two-thirds of Latin America’s billionaires are Brazilians. The centerpiece of Brazil’s super rich wealth is the financial-banking sector which has benefited enormously from the monetary, fiscal and neo-liberal policies of the Lula Da Silva regime. Billionaire bankers have been the principle beneficiaries of the agro-mineral export economy which has flourished over the past decade, at the expense of the manufacturing sector. Despite claims by Workers Party leaders, the class inequalities between the mass of minimum wage workers ($380 per month as of March 2011) and the super-rich continues to be worst in Latin America. An analysis of the source of wealth among Brazilian billionaires reveals that 60% accrued their wealth in the finance, real estate and insurance (FIRE) sector and only one (3%) in the capital or intermediary maufacturing sector. Brazil’s boom in economic growth and billionaires fits the profile of a ‘colonial economy’: heavy in conspicuous consumption, commodity exports and presided over by a dominant financial sector which promotes neo-liberal policies. Over the course of the past decade despite the populist political theatrics and paternalistic poverty-programs sponsored by the “center-left” Workers Party, the major socio-economic outcome has been the growth of a class of “super-rich” billionaires concentrated in banking with powerful links to the agro-mineral sectors. The free-market high growth financial-agro-mineral class has degraded the manufacturing sector, especially textiles and shoes, as well as capital and intermediary goods producers.
The BRICs are producing more,and growing faster than the established imperial powers in Europe and the US but they are also producing monstrous inequalities and concentrations of wealth .The socio-economicconsequences have already manifested themselves in increasing class conflict especially in China and India, as intensive exploitation and dispossession have provoked mass action. The Chinese political elite seems to be the most conscious of the political threat posed by the growing concentration of wealth and is in the midst of promoting substantial wage increases and greater local consumption which seems to be lowering profit margins among some sectors of the manufacturing elite. Perhaps the ‘historical memory’ of the “cultural revolution’ and the Maoist legacy plays a role in alerting the political elite to the political dangers resulting from “capitalist excesses” associated with the high levels of exploitation and the rapid growth of a class of politically connected kinship based billionaires.
Middle East:
Over the past decade the most dynamic country in the Middle East has been Turkey. Led by a liberal democratic regime of Islamic inspiration, Turkey has led the region in GDP growth and in the production of billionaires. The Turkish economic performance has been presented by the World Bank and the IMF as a model for the post dictatorial regimes in the Arab world – ‘high growth’, a diversified economy based on the growing concentration of wealth.Turkey has 35% more billionaires (37) than the Gulf and North African states combined (24). The ‘secret’ of Turkish growth is the high rates of investments in diverse industries and the intensive exploitation of labor. Many Turkish billionaires(14) derive their wealth via ‘conglomerates’, investments in diverse manufacturing, finance and construction sectors . Apart from the ‘conglomerate’ billionaires, there are ‘specialist billionaires’ who have accumulated wealth from banking, construction and food manufacturing. One of the reasons Turkey has rebuked and challenged Israeli power in the Middle East is because its capitalists are eager to project investments and penetrate markets in the Arab world. Apart from the highly Zionized US political system, the ruling elites and publics in Europe and Asia have looked favorably on Turkey’s opposition to Israel’s massacres in Gaza and violation of international law on the high seas. If a modern liberal Islamic regime can grow rapidly through the rapid expansion of a diversified class of the super-rich,so does Israel, a modern neo- liberal-Judaic state based on the rapid growth of a highly diverse class of billionaires.
Israel with 16 billionaires is a country with the fastest growing class inequalities in the region-with the highest per-capita billionaires in the world… Israel’s “growth sectors”, software, military industries, finance, insurance and diamonds and overseas investments in metals and mining are led by billionaires and multi-millionaires who have benefited from Zionist induced financial handouts from the US pillage of resources from the ex USSR and transfer of funds by Russian-Israeli oligarchs and though joint ventures with Jewish-American billionaires in software corporations, especially in the “security” sector.
Israel’s high percentage of billionaires at a time of sharp cuts in social spending puts the lie to its claim to be a ‘social democracy’ in the midst of Arab ‘sheiksdoms.’ As a matter of record, Israel has twice as many billionaires (16) as Saudi Arabia (8) and more super-rich than the entire Gulf countries (13). The fact that Israel has more billionaires per capita than any other country has not prevented its Zionist supporters in the US from pressing for additional 20 billions in aid over the next decade. Unlike the past,today Israel’s wealth concentration has less to do with its being the biggest recipient of foreign aid ...Israel’s handouts is a political issue: Zionist power over the Congressional purse. Given the total wealth of Israel’s billionaires a five percent tax would more than compensate for any cut off of US foreign aid. But that is not about to happen simply because Zionist power in America dictates that the US taxpayers subsidize Israel’s plutocrats by paying for their offensive weaponry.
Conclusion
The “economic crises” of 2008-2009 inflicted only temporary losses to some (US-EU) billionaires and not others (Asian). Thanks to trillion dollar/Euro/yen bailouts, the billionaires class has recovered and expanded, even as wages in the US and Europe stagnate and ‘living standards’ are slashed by massive cutbacks in health, education, employment and public services.
What is striking about the recovery, growth, and expansion of the world’s billionaires is how dependent their accumulation of wealth is based on pillage of state resources; how much of their fortunes were based on neo-liberal policies which led to the takeover at bargain prices of privatized public enterprises; how state de-regulation allows for plunder of the environment to extract resources at the highest rate of return; how the state promoted the expansion of speculative activity in real estate, finance and hedge funds, while encouraging the growth of monopolies, oligopolies and conglomerates which captured “super profits” – rates above the ‘historical level’. Billionaires in the BRICs and in the older imperial centers (Europe, US and Japan) have been the primary tax beneficiaries of reductions and elimination of social programs
and labor rights.
What is absolutely clear is that the state not the market plays a essential role in facilitating the greatest concentration and centralization of wealth in world history, whether in facilitating the plundering of the treasury and the environment or in heightening the direct and indirect exploitation of labor .
The variations in the paths to ‘billionaire’ status are striking: in the US and UK, the parasitical – speculative sector predominates over the productive; among the BRICs – with the exception of Russia diverse sectors incorporating manufacturers, software, finance and agro-mineral billionaires predominate. In China the abysmal economic gap between the billionaires and the working class, between real estate speculators and dispossessed household is lead to increasing class conflict and challenges, forcing significant increases in wages (over 20% the past 3 years) and demands for increased public spending on education, health and housing. Nothing comparable is occurring in the US , EU or in the other BRICs.
The sources of billionaire wealth are , at best,only partially due to ‘entrepreneurial innovations’. Their wealth may have begun, at an earlier phase, from producing useful goods and services; but as the capitalist economies ‘mature’ and shift toward finance, overseas markets and the search for higher profits by imposing neo-liberal policies, the economic profile of the billionaire class shifts toward the parasitical model of the established imperial centers.
The billionaires in the BRICs, Turkey and Israel contrast sharply from the Middle East oil billionaires who are ‘rentiers’ living off ‘rents’ from exploiting oil and gas and overseas investments especially in the FIRE sector. Among the BRICs only the Russian billionaire oligarchs resemble the rentiers of the Gulf. The rest, especially Chinese, Indian, Brazilian and Turkish billionaires have taken advantage of state promoted industrial policies to concentrate wealth under the rhetoric of ‘national champions’, promoting their own ‘interests’ in the name of a “successful emerging economy”. But the basic class questions remains: “growth for whom and who benefits?”. So far the historical record shows that growth of billionaires has been based on a highly polarized economy in which the state serves the new class of billionaires, whether parasitical speculators as in the US, rentier pillagers of the state and environment such as Russia and the Gulf states or exploiters of labor such as in the BRICs.
Post Script
The Arab revolt can be seen in part as an effort to overthrow ‘rentier capitalist clans’. Western intervention in the revolts and support of the “opposition” military and political elites is an effort to substitute a ‘neo-liberal’ capitalist ruling class.This “new class”would be based on the exploitation of labor and dispossession of current crony-clan-kin owners of resources. Major enterprises would be transferred to multi-nationals and local capitalists. Much more promising are the internal working struggles in China and to lesser degree in Brazil and the rural based Maoist peasant and tribal movements in India which oppose rentier and capitalist exploitation and dispossession.
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The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove it
by Michael Snyder in Recession
Posted Jul 15, 2010
From The Business Insider
Editor's note: Michael Snyder is editor of theeconomiccollapseblog.com
The 22 statistics detailed here prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in America.
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace.
So why are we witnessing such fundamental changes? Well, the globalism and "free trade" that our politicians and business leaders insisted would be so good for us have had some rather nasty side effects. It turns out that they didn't tell us that the "global economy" would mean that middle class American workers would eventually have to directly compete for jobs with people on the other side of the world where there is no minimum wage and very few regulations. The big global corporations have greatly benefited by exploiting third world labor pools over the last several decades, but middle class American workers have increasingly found things to be very tough.
Here are the statistics to prove it:
• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
• 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
• 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
• 36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.
• A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
• 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
• Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
• Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
• For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
• In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
• As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
• The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
• Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
• The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
• In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
• More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
• or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
• This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.
Giant Sucking Sound
The reality is that no matter how smart, how strong, how educated or how hard working American workers are, they just cannot compete with people who are desperate to put in 10 to 12 hour days at less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the world. After all, what corporation in their right mind is going to pay an American worker 10 times more (plus benefits) to do the same job? The world is fundamentally changing. Wealth and power are rapidly becoming concentrated at the top and the big global corporations are making massive amounts of money. Meanwhile, the American middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence as U.S. workers are slowly being merged into the new "global" labor pool.
What do most Americans have to offer in the marketplace other than their labor? Not much. The truth is that most Americans are absolutely dependent on someone else giving them a job. But today, U.S. workers are "less attractive" than ever. Compared to the rest of the world, American workers are extremely expensive, and the government keeps passing more rules and regulations seemingly on a monthly basis that makes it even more difficult to conduct business in the United States.
So corporations are moving operations out of the U.S. at breathtaking speed. Since the U.S. government does not penalize them for doing so, there really is no incentive for them to stay.
What has developed is a situation where the people at the top are doing quite well, while most Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to make it. There are now about six unemployed Americans for every new job opening in the United States, and the number of "chronically unemployed" is absolutely soaring. There simply are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.
Many of those who are able to get jobs are finding that they are making less money than they used to. In fact, an increasingly large percentage of Americans are working at low wage retail and service jobs.
But you can't raise a family on what you make flipping burgers at McDonald's or on what you bring in from greeting customers down at the local Wal-Mart.
The truth is that the middle class in America is dying -- and once it is gone it will be incredibly difficult to rebuild.
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How can it be that you pay more to the IRS than General Electric?
Christopher Helman
04.01.2010
HOUSTON -- As you work on your taxes this month, here's something to raise your hackles: Some of the world's biggest, most profitable corporations enjoy a far lower tax rate than you do--that is, if they pay taxes at all.
The most egregious example is General Electric ( GE - news - people ). Last year the conglomerate generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.
Avoiding taxes is nothing new for General Electric. In 2008 its effective tax rate was 5.3%; in 2007 it was 15%. The marginal U.S. corporate rate is 35%.
How did this happen? It's complicated. GE's tax return is the largest the IRS deals with each year--some 24,000 pages if printed out. Its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission weighs in at more than 700 pages.
Inside you'll find that GE in effect consists of two divisions: General Electric Capital and everything else. The everything else--maker of engines, power plants, TV shows and the like--would have paid a 22% tax rate if it was a standalone company.
It's GE Capital that keeps the overall tax bill so low. Over the last two years, GE Capital has displayed an uncanny ability to lose lots of money in the U.S. (posting a $6.5 billion loss in 2009), and make lots of money overseas (a $4.3 billion gain). Not only do the U.S. losses balance out the overseas gains, but GE can defer taxes on that overseas income indefinitely. The timing of big deductions for depreciation in GE Capital's equipment leasing business also provides a tax benefit, as will loan losses left over from the credit crunch.
But it's the tax benefit of overseas operations that is the biggest reason why multinationals end up with lower tax rates than the rest of us. It only makes sense that multinationals "put costs in high-tax countries and profits in low-tax countries," says Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation. Those low-tax countries are almost anywhere but the U.S. "When you add in state taxes, the U.S. has the highest tax burden among industrialized countries," says Hodge. In contrast, China's rate is just 25%; Ireland's is 12.5%.
Corporations are getting smarter, not just about doing more business in low-tax countries, but in moving their more valuable assets there as well. That means setting up overseas subsidiaries, then transferring to them ownership of long-lived, often intangible but highly profitable assets, like patents and software.
As a result, figures tax economist Martin Sullivan, companies are keeping some $28 billion a year out of the clutches of the U.S. Treasury by engaging in so-called transfer pricing arrangements, where, say, Microsoft's ( MSFT - news - people ) overseas subsidiaries license software to its U.S. parent company in return for handsome royalties (that get taxed at those lower overseas rates).
"Corporations are paying lower amounts of their profits in taxes now than in the past," says Douglas Shackelford, who teaches tax law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Other countries have been lowering their rates, but not the U.S."
Mind you, not all global megacorps enjoy such low tax rates. Try to muster some pity for Big Oil. ExxonMobil ( XOM - news - people ) in its 2009 annual report to the SEC, recorded a larger income tax expense than any other U.S. company last year, some $17.6 billion, or 47% of pretax earnings. Exxon's peers Chevron ( CVX - news - people ) and ConocoPhillips ( COP - news - people ) likewise recorded similarly high effective tax rates. The oil companies are oddities among the multinationals because many of the oil-rich countries where they do business levy even higher taxes than the U.S.
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IRS: 400 richest averaged $345M in '07 income, 16% tax rate
Posted by Michael Winter
Feb 18, 2010
On a day when the Internal Revenue Service came under literal attack, the agency reports that the nation's 400 highest-earning households reported an average income of $345 million in 2007 — up 31% from 2006 — and that their average tax bill fell to a 15-year low.
Bloomberg writes that the elite 400's average income more than doubled that year from $131.1 million in 2001, the year Congress adopted tax cuts urged by then-President George W. Bush.
Each household in the top 400 of earners paid an average tax rate of 16.6 percent, the lowest since the agency began tracking the data in 1992, the Internal Revenue Service statistics show. The top 400 paid $23 billion in taxes in 2007, up from $18 billion a year earlier, and a bigger amount than any year since 1992.
Their average effective tax rate was about half the 29.4 percent in 1993, the first year of President Bill Clinton's administration, when taxes were increased. The top 400 earners reported an average of $46 million of income that year. ..
The top 400 earners received a total $138 billion in 2007, up from $105.3 billion a year earlier. On an inflation-adjusted basis, their average income grew almost fivefold since 1992, the data show. The data doesn't disclose the identities of the top 400 taxpayers, and the people on the list change from year to year as their incomes rise and fall. Some 6,400 households have been included in the top 400 since the IRS began tracking their incomes 16 years ago. ...
Almost three-quarters of the highest earners' income was in capital gains and dividends taxed at a 15 percent rate set as part of Bush-backed tax cuts in 2003, the statistics show. Of the 400 earners, 289 paid a total effective federal tax rate of 20 percent or less in 2007, the last year for which figures were available, the data show. ..
To be included among the fortunate 400, the IRS says, a household had to earn at least $143 million.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

What about ... Radiation? (Part 2)

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Fukushima and the Battle for Truth
Large sectors of the Japanese population are accumulating significant levels of internal contamination
By Paul Zimmerman
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26798
Global Research, September 27, 2011
Fukushima’s nuclear disaster is a nightmare. Ghostly releases of radioactivity haunt the Japanese countryside. Lives, once safe, are now beset by an ineffable scourge promising vile illness and death.
Large sectors of the population are accumulating significant levels of internal contamination, setting the stage for a public health tragedy.
A subtle increase in the number of miscarriages and fetal deaths will be the first manifestation that something is amiss. An elevated incidence of birth defects will begin in the Fall and continue into the indefinite future. Thyroid diseases, cardiac diseases and elevated rates of infant and childhood leukemia will follow. Over the next decade and beyond, cancer rates will soar.
Chernobyl was the harbinger of this heartbreaking scenario. It taught mankind the inescapable biological truths that emerge within populations internally contaminated by heightened levels of fission products. And yet, government and industry schemers attack these truths as unfounded scare-mongering. With cold indifference, they deny that Chernobyl was a mass casualty event. They turn a blind eye to a huge body of research and deviously proclaim that no evidence exists that more than a handful of people suffered harm from the Ukrainian disaster. They publish propaganda, draped in the guise of science, that dismisses the hazard of low levels of internal contamination. Believing their subterfuge to have been successful and intoxicated by their hubris, they are already positioning themselves to stage-manage the public’s perception
of Fukushima.
Japan’s government, its Nuclear Safety Commission, and the Tokyo Electric Power Company have already demonstrated that they will do everything in their power to keep citizens ignorant of what is taking place. The emerging health crisis is scheduled to be erased. Following a time-tested blueprint worked out by prior radiation releases around the world, data relevant to assessing the medical impact of the accident will not be gathered. Radiation doses to the population will be woefully underestimated. The hazards associated with low levels of internal contamination will be obliterated from all discussions of risk. Academic journals that support the nuclear agenda will be flooded with bogus studies demonstrating that no health detriment was suffered by the population. The heightened incidence of childhood leukemia will be attributed to some as yet unidentified virus unleashed by population mixing following the evacuations caused by the tsunami. (This theory is currently in vogue to deny that the heightened incidence of leukemia among children under five years of age living nearby to nuclear reactors is radiation induced.) The birth defects will be summarily dismissed as impossible because the risk models upheld by the International Commission on Radiological Protection don’t predict them. The possibility that the models are fraudulently constructed escapes consideration. (See a Betrayal of Mankind by the Radiation Protection Agencies, available as a free download at http://www.du-deceptions.com/excerpts.html.)
How is TRUTH to gain ascendancy when blocked by this institutionalized matrix of deceit? What agency can possibly take the lead to accurately document the full scope of the disaster, identify its victims and those at risk, and publish trustworthy public health information? Who is going to take responsibility to protect the children? To wait for the government to come to the rescue is naive. The history of radiation accidents testifies that governments routinely betray their citizens in deference to their nuclear weapons program and the nuclear industry. No, only one alternative is open to the people of Japan. They must become proactive. They must seize the initiative and wrest control from government and industry of the “perception” of the catastrophe.
The accident at Fukushima demands that a peoples’ campaign be initiated to produce an honest assessment of the current situation, catalog the medical consequences as they emerge, and offer accurate advice as to how citizens can protect themselves. Using the internet as a platform, scientists from all relevant disciplines must band together with interested laypeople with something valid to contribute to create a widely distributed open source research project. The evolving online encyclopedia will archive all pertinent data and preserve it from future tampering. The accident from its inception must be documented. With published reports frequently in conflict with one another, all available information, whether from government sources, citizen investigators or eyewitnesses, must be gathered for future evaluation. Worldwide meteorological data since March 11 must be assembled. All official and unofficial measurements of radiation in the environment, both in Japan and worldwide, must be collected and collated. This is essential information required for future epidemiological studies. Contaminated agricultural areas must be identified. Samples of all edible material for human and animal consumption must be evaluated for safety. As suspected radiation-induced illness begins to appear in the population, healthcare providers and victims must make public their experiences. Initially, this information will be anecdotal but nonetheless invaluable. It will identify emerging trends of morbidity and mortality and define population subgroups requiring more systematic scientific investigation. Researchers working alone or in groups must seize the initiative to pursue study in their fields of expertise and interest. (One excellent
suggestion by Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility is the widespread collection of babies’ teeth to provide objective data on the geographic dispersion and uptake of strontium-90.) Methodologies, data and results need be posted online as they become available. Free access to the whole body of work must be guaranteed so as to allow scrutiny by people from all over the world. Transparency must be paramount. An open dialogue will allow divergent points of view to be fairly represented. Disagreements over research protocols or the interpretation of results will point the way to new avenues of investigation where clarification and consensus might be achieved. Objective investigation via the scientific method will be the final arbitrator of truth. The ultimate goal of this effort will be to produce an unbiased determination of the public health consequences of radiation released into the environment, assess the accuracy of current standards of radiation safety and identify how improvements can be made for the common welfare of humanity.
It is urgent that this initiative commence immediately. Data must be captured while it is remains untainted. Of particular importance is the securing of pre-accident health statistics for the population of Japan. Rates for various pregnancy outcomes; the frequency of different types of birth defects; the incidence of thyroid diseases, heart diseases, cancers and so forth, all must be cataloged. There is good reason why this baseline
data need be preserved. The history of radiation accidents is littered with examples of the outright falsification of data that has prevented an honest evaluation of the effects of low levels of internal contamination on human health. For instance, evidence exists that morbidity and mortality data published by the U.S. Government’s Public Health Service was altered in the wake of radiation releases from nuclear weapon production facilities and commercial nuclear power plants so as to hide cancer deaths in the population. The accident at Three Mile Island, persistently painted by government and industry spokesmen as a benign event, in fact produced illness and death among humans and farm animals downwind. After the accident at Chernobyl, hundreds of thousands of so-called “liquidators” participated in cleanup operations in close proximity to the destroyed reactor and also built a concrete sarcophagus around the reactor building to entomb the radiation. According to the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), in subsequent years this population was reported as having a lower rate of leukemia than the general population. Only later did it come to light that Soviet doctors were forbidden from recording leukemia in their diagnoses. The Wales Cancer Registry was cited by the ECRR as excising cases of cancer from its database so as to prevent the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in the U.K. from being blamed for causing illness to the population. Also mentioned by ECRR was the alteration of infant mortality
figures in Germany after Chernobyl so as to mask the impact of the accident on public health.
Mischief has not been confined to falsifying health records. In 1957, a fire broke out in the graphite reactor at Windscale, England on the site now occupied by the Sellafield facility. The amount of radiation released and the incidence of cancer induced in the population of Ireland has remained fiercely contentious issues. According to the ECRR, at some point after the fire, meteorological records were altered “with the apparent motive of concealing the likely location of any effects” [5]. Similarly, the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Japan suffered a devastating fire in 1995. Prefecture and city officials found that the operator had tampered with video images of the fire to hide the scale of the disaster.
If an accurate documentation of the health consequences of Fukushima is to succeed, one condition is paramount: the project MUST retain its independence from the international agencies that currently dominate the discussion of radiation effects. The tacit mandate of these organizations is to support nuclear weapons programs and the nuclear industry, and they do so by publishing fraudulent scientific studies that downplay the hazards to health of radioactive material released into the environment. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and other UN organizations jointly published Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts. This study is routinely cited as
proof that Chernobyl had little impact on public health. It concluded that only twenty-eight first responders died from acute radiation syndrome and 4,000 children developed thyroid cancer, fifteen of whom died by 2002. In addition, it estimated that an additional 4,000 fatal cancers might arise in the overall population. This sanitized version of the catastrophe was reached by the devious method of consulting only 350 sources of information, mostly published in English, while ignoring 30,000 publications and 170,000 sources of information available in languages other than English. A summary of this large body of literature, published as Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, concluded that radiation-induced casualties approached 980,000.
To offer a second example, a number of prestigious institutions have published disinformation on the hazards to health of depleted uranium weapons. These include WHO, IAEA, the European Commission, the Royal Society in the U.K., the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in the U.S., the Rand Corporation, and the Health Physics Society. All concluded that weaponized uranium creates no adverse health effects when internalized by soldiers on the battlefield and downwind populations. Justification for this conclusion came from a survey of the scientific literature regarding uranium contamination among workers in the uranium and nuclear industries and populations exposed to elevated levels of uranium in their drinking water. Historically, the only two types of adverse health effects documented among these populations is altered kidney function due to uranium’s chemical toxicity and cancer due to uranium’s radioactivity. But studies of veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome reveals no evidence of kidney disease. And according to models promulgated by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the radiation dose from battlefield uranium is too low to initiate cancer. The conclusion?
Case closed! DU cannot be a factor in the severe suffering of veterans or the increased incidence of cancer and birth defects in Fallujah and other areas of Iraq. As convincing as the logic of these studies attempt to be, they all suffer from fatal flaws. They all fail to acknowledge that combustion-derived micro- and nano-sized particles of uranium have unique biokinetics when internalized that are not comparable to historical types of uranium exposure, and they quit cleverly fail to take into account the most up-to-date research on the toxicology of uranium. New research conducted since the first Gulf War has demonstrated that uranium is genotoxic (capable of damaging DNA), cytotoxic (poisonous to cells), mutagenic (capable of inducing mutations), teratogenic (capable of interfering with normal embryonic development) and neurotoxic (capable of harming nerve tissue). This research has yet to dislodge the stale mantra that uranium is only capable of causing kidney disease and cancer. (For a thorough disclosure of the fraudulent science used to discount the hazards of DU and a summary of recent research on the toxicology of uranium, see this author’s “The Harlot of Babylon Unmasked: Fraudulent Science and the Cover-Up of the Health Effects of Depleted Uranium” in A Primer in the Art of Deception available at
http://www.du-deceptions.com/. )
Mischief also infects the radiation protection community. The Radiation Effects Research Foundation in
Hiroshima conducts ongoing medical research on the health of the survivors of the atomic bombings at the end of WWII. The Life Span Study is the single most important piece of evidence used by the ICRP for setting worldwide guidelines for radiation safety. That birth defects in Fallujah for all types of exposure and all manner of radiation-induced illnesses relies so heavily on this research is incredibly disturbing because the Life Span Study is deeply and irreparably flawed. Initiated five years after the bombings, after tens of thousands of victims succumbed to unidentified levels of radiation exposure, results are hopelessly skewed in favor of finding radiation less hazardous than it in fact is. Further, the study can provide no meaningful information on the birth outcomes to fetuses exposed in utero. More problematic is the fact that both the study and the control groups were internally contaminated by the black rain that showered down upon the destroyed cities after the blasts. This unacknowledged contamination of the control group hopelessly compromises any meaningful conclusions of the rates of radiation-induced illnesses in the study group. The Life Span Study is plagued by numerous other flaws that raise serious questions as to why it has become the centerpiece of radiation standards. (For further information on this topic, consult Exhibit C in the aforementioned free download at http://www.du-deceptions.com/downloads/Betrayal_Chap6.pdf.)
The Japanese have been victimized by nuclear horror more than any other people on Earth. Today they are immersed in an imperceptible tragedy that will slowly but inevitably bring disease and heartbreak to millions. In response to this crime, a rare and courageous opportunity exists. By undertaking a national campaign to honestly document the disaster that is engulfing them, they can lead all of humanity to break through the quagmire of deception and deceit that has allowed nuclear weapons and reactors to flourish. Truth finally has an opportunity to triumph over falsehood. In some small but significant way, this would be fitting repayment for the malevolence of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima.
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Radiation Worries Rise on Japan's Rice Crops
By Kay Aviles
September 26, 2011
As Japan grows more of the rice it consumes, authorities are urged to be more stringent in keeping radioactive cesium out of the food supply.
Following news reports last week about radioactive iodine leaking outside the earthquake-crippled Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, officials have begun testing harvested rice for possible contamination since Saturday.
In the rice paddies of Nihonmatsu City, more than 56 kilometers away from the power plant, rice crops tested positive for radioactive cesium, prefecture officials said in a report in The New York Times.
After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami catastrophes, the Japanese officials amended their regulations dubbing food commodities with as much as 500 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive substance as safe for consumption, the Times said.
The rice crops tested in Nihonmatsu reached the benchmark for radioactive cesium. In the previous tests, the rice crops in more than 400 locations in Fukushima Prefecture contained only 150 becquerels per kilogram of cesium, a stark contrast to the current radiation level.
Government officials also conducted tests on rice crops in other areas for possible contamination of radioactive substance saying they will ban shipment if the same levels of radioactive cesium are found on rice.
Japanese are furious over the latest results, criticizing government officials for neglecting their duties. Children and pregnant women are more vulnerable, even from moderate radiation levels.
Earlier, Japan banned shipment and recalled massive food products such as milk, tea and spinach and livestock meat like beef for contamination of radioactive substance in alarming levels. The rice contamination this time inflicts a major blow to all Japanese as they rely on rice as the staple of their diet. The government officials promised to be keener in checking food safety.
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What about ... Radiation? (Part 1)
07 April 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-about-radiation.html
and
Japan's Earthquake!
15 March 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/03/japans-earthquake.html
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

National Debt - Is It Here To Stay?

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Patriot Alert: Obama Seeks Another $1.2 Trillion!
Time for another “Super Committee,” sir?
John Lillpop
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Anyone laboring under the mistaken notion that the battle over raising the debt limit last summer ended in even a modest victory for the American people needs to wake up and take a whiff of the distressing odor of money being incinerated in Washington, D.C.
This is so because the president has announced that he will seek authorization to increase the debt ceiling by yet another $1.2 trillion dollars.
As reported at reference 1, in part:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House plans to ask Congress for an increase in the debt limit before the end of the week, according to a senior Treasury Department official.
The debt limit is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for additional borrowing authority to increase the limit by $1.2 trillion.
Under the new budget, Congress can only vote to block the debt-ceiling extension with a disapproval resolution. Lawmakers have 15 days within receiving the request to vote down the debt limit increase.
The debt limit currently stands at $15.194 trillion and would increase to $16.394 trillion with the request.
In a major surprise (NOT), the White House has not disclosed the spending cuts that Obama will propose in order to pay for the debt ceiling increase.
John W. Lillpop is a recovering liberal. “Clean and sober” since 1992 when last he voted for a Democrat. Pray for John: He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where people like Nancy Pelosi are actually considered normal!.
John can be reached at: satirebylillpop@yahoo.com 
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447 Billion Reasons to Oppose Obama’s Stimilus-2 Fairy Tale
Obama is trying to use Stimulus-2 as a means for outing Republicans who oppose higher taxes and more spending
John Lillpop
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
As Barack Obama continues to push for Stimilus-2, his Marxist solution to the economic doldrums created by his Stimulus-1 spending orgy and by his hateful anti-business rhetoric, he is now demanding that senators with the audacity to oppose Stimulus-2 disclose exactly why he/she is opposed.
The obvious answer is that another government program that will spend $447 billion dollars is like forcing a drowning man to drink grapefruit juice for some quick energy!
Makes no sense except to a wayward-thinking lefty with approval ratings in deep decline.
Obama needs to rethink Stimulus-2 and then think it again.
Consultations with Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) might make Obama’s fuzzy headed math and logic more palatable to the smell test of economics and frugality.
In truth, Obama is trying to use Stimulus-2 as a means for outing Republicans who oppose higher taxes and more spending.
However, Obama’s political gamesmanship is facing a major setback by several Democrat senators who face reelection in 2012.
In sum, there are 447 solid reasons for defeating this travesty.
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Where Did This Debt Come From Anyhow?
The National Debt didn't start under Barak Obama or George Bush. It didn't start under FDR or Wilson or Lincoln. So where did it come from and when did it start?
Dr. Robert R. Owens
Friday, September 23, 2011
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/40620
Have you ever wondered where the National Debt came from? Do you wonder who started it? Do you ask yourself is the National Debt constitutional? I believe that a lack of Historical knowledge and context is a major contributing factor in our current state of political deterioration. Unless we know where we came from we cannot truly appreciate where we are and we have no point of reference to guide us to where we want to go.
The National Debt didn’t start under Barak Obama or George Bush. It didn’t start under FDR or Wilson or Lincoln. So where did it come from and when did it start?
The National Debt and the economic outlook inherent in its creation have not only been with us since the beginning it was one of the most powerful arguments for the ratification of the Constitution. I may have just lost many of the recently awakened. I most assuredly lost those who worship the Constitution as American Scripture and the Framers as demigods who brought the tablets down from on high.
Don’t misunderstand the intent of the following article. It is not to malign the Constitution. I believe it is the greatest political document to come from the hand of man. I have spent a life time testifying to its importance and working to educate people as to its continued relevance. However I also believe we need to know the History of its development, ratification and the continuing saga of its effectiveness. If we don’t learn from History we will be forced to learn from our own mistakes. It’s always less painful to learn from the mistakes of others.
At the turn of the twentieth century Historian Charles Beard published An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States and set off a debate that still rages around the idea that the Constitution was a the product of a conflict between competing economic interests. The argument goes like this: the Founders, who supported a strong, centralized government and favored the Constitution during its drafting and ratification, were men whose primary economic interests were marked by extensive personal property. They consisted primarily of people involved in commerce such as merchants, shippers, bankers, speculators, private and public securities holders, southern planters and all they could influence. Those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution were supporters of a decentralized government such as already existed under the Articles of Confederation. These were people whose economic interests were connected to real estate. They consisted primarily of isolated, subsistence non-commercial farmers and laborers, people who were often also debtors, and the people they could influence. This article fits into that debate.
Building within the above outlined framework, although James Madison is generally called the Father of the Constitution when it comes to economic concerns I believe the title should belong to Alexander Hamilton.
When the Annapolis Convention which was called in September, 1786 to deal with economic concerns failed to attract enough state delegations for a quorum Hamilton requested permission from the Congress of the Confederation to call another convention in Philadelphia for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation. Once they closed the doors though they had no authority. The delegates from the twelve states attending wrote a new constitution. Then ignoring the provision of the Articles which required unanimous consent to alter the nature of the American government the Framers sent the Constitution out to be ratified by special ratification conventions by-passing the State legislatures.
Alexander Hamilton was born in the West Indies. By the time he was fifteen his father was bankrupt. At sixteen he moved to New York and went to work in an accountant’s office. He was a self-made man who put himself through Columbia University and personally raised artillery regiments for the Revolution. He spent most of the war as Washington’s top aide. Hamilton had a desire to create a central government both politically and financially strong.
Once the Constitution was ratified and Washington elected as the first president he chose Hamilton as his Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton hit the ground running. He soon submitted three ground-breaking reports to Congress, one of which impacts the present discussion.
His Report on Public Credit caused controversy because of its social and financial implications. During the Revolution the Confederation and the individual States had run up large debts to both foreign and domestic individuals. Hamilton proposed that the Federal Government assume all the war debt of the states which helped the measure gain approval in Congress. These debts had devalued in worth due to the inflation. As the debts lost their value they were bought up by speculators at a fraction of their face value. Hamilton proposed to redeem them at their original value giving tremendous profits to the speculators, many of whom were prominent in Congress and State governments. Is the national debt constitutional? Yes, in two ways. Article VI among other things states, “All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against
The new national government was short on cash, so Hamilton proposed to pay the war debt by issuing interest-bearing bonds, and thus the national debt was born at the dawn of the Republic. It has existed ever since. It has never been paid down to zero and it never will be.
the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.” And because the 14th Amendment states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” So the Constitution both in its original form and as amended both validates the debt and takes the question of its legality off the table.
Over the hundreds of years since its inception our nation has continuously had a National Debt. Every President has faced it when they took office and every president has left it for their successor. Some have reduced it, most have increased it. At times it has contributed to our strength and stability. At first by helping to establish the credit of the United States and then by proving the trustworthiness of our government, no one ever doubted redemption. Today the National Debt soars beyond the perceived ability to redeem. It races ahead at an average rate of $3.93 billion per day which is $163,750,000 dollars per hour, $2,729,166,666 per minute and, $45,486 per second. We all know from our personal finances debt in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. We also know unsustainable debt is. No one can afford to spend more than they make forever. Unless of course they have their own printing press then they can do it until no one will accept the paper any more. Then they will do something else.
Stand by for something else.
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TRR: Surprise! Liberals Discover the Constitution Authorizes Instant Unlimited Debt
James S. Robbins
July 28, 2011
Out-of-control national debt threatens the economy, and now is menacing the Constitution as well. There is a growing chorus of left-wing voices urging President Obama to sidestep the Congress and raise the debt ceiling with the stroke of a pen. Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Representatives James Clyburn of South Carolina and John Larson of Connecticut, all claim to have discovered a “failsafe” mechanism in Section 4 of the 14th Amendment that “the validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned.” This passage, they imagine, gives Mr. Obama the authority to pile on debt by executive order without having to bother consulting Congress. “I urge everybody to get their little Constitution and read it,” Senator Boxer said. Well maybe the senator needs to read her copy a little more closely.
Liberals like to think of the Constitution as an evolving, elastic or flexible document, but in this case they are simply making it up. The president has no authority unilaterally to saddle the country with more debt. Article I Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress the power “to borrow money on the credit of the United States.” This is a specific, enumerated power given to Congress alone. The debt provision of the 14th Amendment was originally intended simply to ensure Federal debts accrued during the Civil War and deny any claims for compensation on debt entered into by the Confederate States. It was not a sweeping and unprecedented grant of executive power that has lain dormant for a century and a half. And the part of the Section 4 that liberals like to edit out is the passage that states debt must be “authorized by law,” not by executive diktat. And if this does not convince them, Section 5 states clearly that “the Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” In fact the debt provision of the 14th Amendment means the exact opposite of what leftists are trying to torture out of the text.
But simple logic and common sense never stop the left when it comes to forcing strange new meanings into the Constitution. They understand what the Framers and their successors intended, they simply don’t care. For them the debt ceiling crisis is an opportunity for the executive branch to claim vast new powers that would fatally subvert the Constitution’s design. A president who could unilaterally and without check burden the people of the United States with debt would have no incentive not to pile it on. And the liberal spendthrifts in Congress would never have to worry about funds being available to underwrite their various redistributive schemes and shovel-ready projects. Apart from destroying the economy and breaking the bonds of Constitutional rule it is the perfect solution. But it would be better for America if members of Congress stopped fantasizing about magic-wand solutions to the country’s problems and instead just did their job. And leave interpreting the Constitution to people who read all the words, not just the few scraps they like.
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