Daily Archive: 12/27/2010

Dec 27 2010

World Has Had Enough Of U.S. Imperialism

Michael Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is the author of “Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire” (1968 & 2003), “Trade, Development and Foreign Debt” (1992 & 2009) and of “The Myth of Aid” (1971).

ISLET engages in research regarding domestic and international finance, national income and balance-sheet accounting with regard to real estate, and the economic history of the ancient Near East. Michael acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide including Iceland, Latvia and China on finance and tax law.

Here Hudson talks with The Real News Networks’ Paul Jay about the 800+ empire of military bases the U.S. has established around the globe, about how all of the money that the military spends abroad is spent on foreign economies and is then “siphon[ed] up into the central banks. And the central banks would have nothing to do with these dollars but to keep their currency stable by recycling the dollars into US Treasury bills.” and about how “If it weren’t for the military deficit, America would have had to finance its own domestic budget deficit. It’s been foreigners that are financing the budget deficit.”

Hudson concludes here with the observation that “Now that foreigners are essentially saying, we don’t want any more dollars, we’re not going to fund your deficit, all of a sudden they think: who’s going to fund the deficit if not foreign central banks? The answer is: American labor, the American middle class and working families are going to fund it, not the military.”

The rest of the world has had enough of financing it’s own encirclement and subjugation by the U.S. military.

From here on in it is you who is going to be paying the bill…



Real News Network – December 26, 2010

World Tired of Paying Bill for US Military

Michael Hudson: Major countries looking for alternatives to US dollar

transcript follows

Dec 27 2010

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Paul Krugman: The Finite World

Oil is back above $90 a barrel. Copper and cotton have hit record highs. Wheat and corn prices are way up. Over all, world commodity prices have risen by a quarter in the past six months.

So what’s the meaning of this surge?

Is it speculation run amok? Is it the result of excessive money creation, a harbinger of runaway inflation just around the corner? No and no.

What the commodity markets are telling us is that we’re living in a finite world, in which the rapid growth of emerging economies is placing pressure on limited supplies of raw materials, pushing up their prices. And America is, for the most part, just a bystander in this story.

Robert Kuttner: No Connection: Obama’s Tax Deal and the Lame Duck Congress’s Victory Week

President Obama and the late Democratic Congress had a terrific valedictory week. Obama reminded us of the leader whom we elected. His December 22 press conference was one of his best performances as president.

Democratic senators rose to rare heights of leadership.

Obama seems to rally mainly when his back is against the wall, after much damage has already been done. But unlike his 2008 election victory, the prior damage cannot be undone this time by one heroic come-from-behind sprint. Next week, Republicans will formally take over the House thanks to the 2010 midterm election debacle, and they will make their 2009-2010 brand of obstruction seem tame.

What’s astonishing is that the several unlikely legislative wins were accomplished in the waning days of the lame-duck session, when Republicans had every possible motivation to obstruct. Yet somehow, more difficult legislating was done by the Senate in the final week of the session than was done in the whole prior year, when Democrats had a much more secure majority. How do we explain that?

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Don’t spin the Civil War

The Civil War is about to loom very large in the popular memory. We would do well to be candid about its causes and not allow the distortions of contemporary politics or long-standing myths to cloud our understanding of why the nation fell apart. . . . .

Why does getting the story right matter? As Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s recent difficulty with the history of the civil rights years demonstrates, there is to this day too much evasion of how integral race, racism and racial conflict are to our national story. We can take pride in our struggles to overcome the legacies of slavery and segregation. But we should not sanitize how contested and bloody the road to justice has been. We will dishonor the Civil War if we refuse to face up to the reason it was fought.

Dec 27 2010

Monday Business Edition

Brilliant original economic insight (not that I ever have any) is in short supply this morning, but perhaps there will be some later if I collect my thoughts.  In the mean time here are the Business News headlines and TheMomCat has a very good interview with Roubini which will follow soon.

From Yahoo News Business

1 Chinese web users sceptical on inflation-busting moves

by Susan Stumme, AFP

Mon Dec 27, 2:34 am ET

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese web users on Monday expressed their anxiety about soaring consumer prices, despite a weekend interest rate hike and reassurances on live radio from the premier that inflation can be curbed.

On Saturday, the central bank raised interest rates for the second time in less than three months as authorities ramp up efforts to curb rampant bank lending, rein in property prices and tame soaring inflation.

In a sign of Beijing’s awareness of mounting public concerns, Premier Wen Jiabao addressed the nation via live radio broadcast on Sunday, acknowledging the hardships for everyday citizens but insisting prices could be contained.

Dec 27 2010

On This Day in History: December 27

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 27 is the 361st day of the year (362nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are four days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1932, Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

The 12-acre complex in midtown Manhattan known as Rockefeller Center was developed between 1929 and 1940 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., on land leased from Columbia University. The Radio City Music Hall was designed by architect Edward Durell Stone and interior designer Donald Deskey in the Art Deco style. Rockefeller initially planned a new home for the Metropolitan Opera on the site, but after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the plans changed and the opera company withdrew from the project.

Its originally planned name was International Music Hall. The names “Radio City” and “Radio City Music Hall” derive from one of the complex’s first tenants, the Radio Corporation of America. Radio City Music Hall was a project of Rockefeller; Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who previously opened the Roxy Theatre in 1927; and RCA chairman David Sarnoff. RCA had developed numerous studios for NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, just to the south of the Music Hall, and the radio-TV complex that lent the Music Hall its name is still known as the NBC Radio City Studios.

The Music Hall opened to the public on December 27, 1932 with a lavish stage show featuring Ray Bolger and Martha Graham. The opening was meant to be a return to high-class variety entertainment. The new format was not a success. The program was very long and individual acts were lost in the cavernous hall. On January 11, 1933, the Music Hall converted to the then familiar format of a feature film with a spectacular stage show which Rothafel had perfected at the Roxy Theatre. The first film was shown on the giant screen was Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen starring Barbara Stanwyck and the Music Hall became the premiere showcase for films from the RKO-Radio Studio. The film plus stage spectacle format continued at the Music Hall until 1979 with four complete performances presented every day.

By the 1970s, changes in film distribution made it difficult for Radio City to secure exclusive bookings of many films; furthermore, the theater preferred to show only G-rated movies, which further limited their film choices as the decade wore on. Regular film showings at Radio City ended in 1979. Plans were made to convert the theater into office space, but a combination of preservation and commercial interests resulted in the preservation of Radio City and in 1980, after a renovation, it reopened to the public.

Radio City Music Hall is currently leased to and managed by Madison Square Garden, Inc. Movie premieres and feature runs have occasionally taken place there but the focus of the theater throughout the year is now on concerts and live stage shows. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular continues to be an important annual event. The Music Hall has presented most of the leading pop and rock performers of the last 30 years as well as televised events including the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, and the MTV Music Awards.

Dec 27 2010

Six In The Morning

It’s A Good Thing Republicans Are Paranoid  



That Way They Can Hate All Those Not Like Them

When Republican lawmakers take over the House and gain strength in the Senate after the new year, a decadelong drive to overhaul the immigration system and legalize some of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants seems all but certain to come to a halt.

When New York Republican Peter T. King takes over the House Homeland Security Committee in January, he plans to propose legislation to reverse what he calls an “obvious lack of urgency” by the Obama administration to secure the border.

Among other initiatives, King wants to see the Homeland Security Department expand a program that enlists the help of local police departments in arresting suspected illegal immigrants.

Dec 27 2010

Dr. Doom: Assessing Efforts to Restart the Economy

Dr. Nouriel Roubini, the chairman and co-founder of Roubini Global Economics and professor of Economics at NYU’s Stern School of Business, joined Rachel Maddow for a two part interview on the economic state of the US economy. What he had to say was not encouraging. The transcripts to both segments are below the fold.

The 3rd segment was on-line only. It was diaried here: Dr. Doom: Nothing Has Changed

Dec 27 2010

Ex-CIA Spook Calls For “Covert Action” vs. Assange

Two writers with close ties to U.S. intelligence agencies published a shocking article Dec. 22nd in The Miami Herald asserting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is “a narcissistic nut” with “blood on his hands” and President Obama should do “whatever it takes to shut down WikiLeaks.” Without giving a single example of how Assange’s disclosures caused blood to flow, co-authors Thomas Spencer and F. W. Rustmann warn, “No nation can operate without secrets. Unless we adopt an aggressive plan, adopt new tough laws and take immediate action—overt and covert—we face disaster.” The authors go on to state the president should be joined in this suppression of the press by “Congress and our entire intelligence, military and law-enforcement communities” because “(our) lives are depending” on it.

While the above is vaguely worded it does appear that Spencer and Rustmann are calling for “immediate” and “covert” action—to put a stop to Assange’s activities. In short, they appear to be saying Obama & Co. has the right to terminate Assange covertly, that is to say, secretly, and, as the word has come to mean in CIA parlance, “violently” as well. It is no surprise that two writers closely tied to U.S. spy agencies appear to be advocating covert action against Assange, but it is a bit of a shock that the Miami Herald would publish this seeming call for blood.

Pardon me for suspecting this hysterical screech for Assange’s scalp was published with the blessing of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Rustmann spent 24 years as a CIA payroller and was an instructor in its covert training center, so he would know, if anybody, how to stick Assange’s feet into a block of cement and dump him in the Everglades. (Hollywood might even make a movie about it, with Rustmann’s intoning, “He sleeps with the alligators.”) As for Herald co-author Spencer, he is a lawyer who represents intelligence officers and is a Life Member in the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

Read the rest here:

http://www.antemedius.com/content/ex-cia-spook-calls-covert-action-vs-assange

Dec 27 2010

Pique the Geek 20101226: Rare Earth Metals

This time we have decided to get back to geeky science and technology.  I had thought about writing about Winter Solstice celebrations through the eons, but that has passed now.  Next year for sure.

The Rare Earth Metals are a group of elements that are extremely closely related in atomic number (henceforth called Z), mass, and chemical properties.  I would wager that most folks who are not technical have never heard of them, except maybe on Mythbusters (the neodymium magnets are the strong ones that they use now and then), let alone touched one to their knowledge.

But almost everyone uses them on a daily basis, and most have indeed touched at least one.  Please come with us and let us explore these interesting and essential elements.

Dec 27 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Gbagbo warns Ivory Coast intervention would provoke chaos

by Dave Clark, AFP

39 mins ago

ABIDJAN (AFP) – Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo warned West African leaders Sunday that any attempt to oust him by force could ruin the regional economy and trigger a bloody war.

On Tuesday, three West African presidents will visit Abidjan in a bid to convince the defiant 65-year-old leader to step down, a last-ditch plea that comes backed by a threat of regional military intervention.

Gbagbo said he took the threat “seriously” but would never back down, and his lieutenants warned that any intervention could put the millions of West African migrants living in Ivory Coast in danger.