Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. -- Daniel Webster

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Plummets

Rush Post -- 

Consumer confidence fell last week by the steepest margin in five months according to Bloomberg as concerns about household finances loomed large.  The article below gives hard statistics behind the drop in consumer confidence.   Important reading.

Consumer Comfort Index Plummets

New Links

You are invited to check out a couple of new link listings here:  Reclaim Democracy and Truthout.  See the Links box to the right.  Recommended

Thursday, July 30, 2015

White House Campaign a Diversion?

Today, I am digging into the state of this early political campaign for the White House.  Never before in my memory have there been so many candidates with so much media attention this early.  It certainly seems to be something of a diversionary move by the big corporations, including media corporations.  It is nice to think about who will be in the White House a year and a half in the future, but what about Now?  Who is to feed, house, and clothe the people Today?  With one in five children "food insecure" (read: often hungry), we need a program, now, today.

Would I be thinking economic stimulus?  Yes, absolutely, if that's what you want to call it.  But how about some kind of meaningful jobs policy, let alone a jobs program?  To be fair, I want to do a little research before saying what the current Administration does or does not offer.  But whatever is being offered is not appearing to be anything substantial to the average person.  Of course, I am happy for those with jobs, but not enough have jobs, and those with jobs are not making enough money overall.
I'll be back with more on the Presidential race later, because I love this stuff, as they say.  Yet, let us not be distracted from the business of running the country.   

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Southern Secessionists to the Secession

The Free State of Jones -- up-coming film, March 2016
Thanks to Truth-out web site for reference to Southern resistors to the Confederacy.  This is a history I had already become aware of but the story of Newton Knight and the "Free State of Jones," is not to be missed.  As Truth-out points out, in this 150th anniversary year marking the end of the Civil War, the media has been painting with a one-color brush, ignoring the nuances of the War of Rebellion.  This is somewhat understandable, but nevertheless indefensible from a historian's standpoint.  It happens there were within the borders of the Confederate States of America, those who were appalled at the notion of fighting a war for the right to enslave men (and women).

My purpose here is to encourage Southerners of today to be more proud of those among their ancestors who opposed slavery and the Confederate movement.  The dear South is part of the U.S., and as such deserves fairness to its complete history.

Civil War Loyalist Newton Knight

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Doctor Deaths Appear to Be Very Real; Reasons Not So Clear

A Web site -- with references -- is reporting the deaths of several holistic doctors in the Southeast, and the disappearance of several others.  The allegation is that something nefarious is going on.  Very rarely do I post something of this nature.  But since the deaths seem real, and apparently each physician was involved in alternative medicine which could be seen as a threat to big-money interests, I feel this particular story deserves further investigation.  You are invited to see for yourself.  You are welcome to follow the link below.

Web Site Reports on Deaths of Doctors

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Sanders Conundrum

Another quick link

The Bernie Sanders campaign has presented something of a conundrum for me.   Is it prudent and practical to support him or not?  After reading the article at the link below, I am clearer.  I hope perhaps you will be, too.

Analysis of Bernie Sanders Campaign

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Question for America Now

I just saw a headline from The New York Times regarding a Bernie Sanders proposal to tax Wall Street transactions.  This to my mind is a good idea.  However, isn't such a thing akin to what has been happening in Greece?  I made the observation earlier after reading an article from Greg Palast, that the Greeks are suffering because they have acceded to the Euro, which currency is the cause of their undoing.  There is much more to be said about this.

But for America now, the question is:   Can America continue and thrive if the profit system is the basis of our economics?  And as I have said so many times, the alternative is not Soviet-style communism or state socialism.  What we need is something more like Thomas Jefferson's vision of an America open to individual initiative and business.  The corporate model of today would have been unthinkable to him.  He would have railed against it, as his successors Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, and Truman did.

Now it is time to go beyond these estimable Presidents and ask whether we can afford, at all, to continue with this rapacious, one-sided system which over-compensates the few at the expense of the many.  This kind of imbalance is unsustainable.  That is the point which must be made, leading to the discussion which should be had.  

Greeks Continue to Suffer Under Eurozone Austerity

This is a re-post from Patriot in Exigency posted earlier today.  

We Greeks have voted ‘No’ to slavery – but ‘Yes’ to our chains.Not surprisingly, by nearly two-to-one, Greeks have overwhelmingly rejected the cruel, economically bonkers “austerity” program required by the European Central Bank in return for an ECB loan to pay Greece’s creditors. In doing so, the Greek people overcame an unprecedented campaign of fear from the Greek and international media, the European Union (EU), and most of our political parties.What’s simply whack-o is that, while voting “No” to austerity, many Greeks wish to remain shackled to the euro, the very cause of our miseries.

                                                                              --    Michael Nevradakis in Athens

The Greek people, suffering along with so many in Europe, have demonstrated they don't appreciate the austerity measures demanded by the Eurozone.  But as Michael Nevradakis and Greg Palast have explained, it is the Euro itself, and the economic regime behind it which are the problem.  

Fortunately, Pres. Obama took another route in the U.S. in 2009, and Americans as a whole are better off economically than many Europeans.  In short, cutting everything from wages to pensions simply does not work economically.  

It is time for Greece to say "Bye-bye" to the Euro and the economic (capitalist) vultures.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Influence of Money on Politics Reaches Epic Proportions

The current state of money in politics is reaching a tipping point.  Many are saying America is close to or is already becoming a plutocracy.  The Republican Congress is attempting to open the floodgates even wider according to a report I just read.

In coming days I hope to not only report on this fiasco, but offer some solutions.  If we are close to becoming a plutocracy, we are also close to pulling back from the cliff and returning to our roots.  The question is whether we will be able to do this before we find ourselves hanging by our collective fingernails, the precipice looming beneath us.  I believe we can.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Greece and China Should Inspire Us

We can't ignore Greece and China because they aren't outliers. They are representative symptoms of a global economic weakness—they're just the first to start to feel the coming [a]ftershock. Greece may be drowning in debt, but the debt situation in the U.S. isn't all that great either. 

-- Aftershock Publishing

If my small study group of local citizens is aware of all the warnings of impending economic disaster, this indicates the public is harboring rational (that is, realistic) fears of future collapse.  This is a huge subject.  However, the important point is that although the actual fall of the economy may not be here yet, there is a belief spreading that it is not decades away either.  Some are saying it may be only a year or two a away, perhaps less.  

This week I have been writing almost exclusively of the Greek situation.  I'm sure today will bring more news of developments.  But if, as is being said, the Greek and Chinese situations are harbingers of what can and likely will happen in the U.S., then we in America, as well as people everywhere, should be very concerned.  

Yet we are not bereft of remedies.  One way to alter the future is to re-institute Glass-Steagall protections at the Federal level.  The Glass-Steagall law helped keep speculators out of the banking industry, and saved America from Great Depressions and Recessions for 75 years -- until 2008 after Glass-Steagall had been repealed.  

There is more which can be done.  I plan to have more to say next week.   

In the meantime, dear reader, keep the faith.

Type size has been changed.  I will experiment with the new type size and so what seems best long-term.  Thanks for your patience.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Greeks Protest Austerity Measures

Thousands of people took part in a series of otherwise peaceful marches to protest against the deep austerity cuts demanded in exchange for a fresh €86bn (£60bn) international bailout.

According the The London Guardian, the Greek public is less than enthused over new austerity measures voted on by their Parliament.  If thousands of people have been in the streets demonstrating this is a strong indication the citizens at large are not pleased with the latest attacks on their social safety net and work benefits.  

I believe the current brutal pressure being placed upon the people of Greece and their Parliament by European bankers will go down in history as one of the most hostile acts of the post-World War II era.  To have the nation called the cradle of democracy treated in such fashion is a travesty.  It speaks poorly for a world of peace and prosperity for all.  In no way should the actions of European central bankers and the governments they control be considered consonant with American policies or views.  

Greek Demonstrators Protest Austerity Measures

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Greek Bail-Out Agreement Splits Leftist Party

As told by Greek media, E.U. demands that Greece weaken worker protections and benefits has split SYRIZA, the compassionate workers' party which put Tsipras in power.  Just how things will go in SYRIZA remains to be seen, though some are predicting approval of the bail-out "package" in Parliament tomorrow.

All this brings to mind the Truman Administration rescue of Greece after World War II.  The aid package was endorsed strongly by the President but its passage was by no means certain.  Today, with the European Union issuing edicts to formerly sovereign nations, the United States appears as a powerless bystander.  What Merkel, the City of London, and even some in Finland (!) are supporting is brutal.  Merkel and her cabal have departed from international norms of behavior and must be called out for their cruelty.

The Minister concluded his statement by stressing that Greece had and still has an alternative to the agreement and claimed that the dilemma posed by the creditors – agree or face catastrophe – was false, terroristic and against the people’s will, as expressed in the recent referendum, which was an overwhelming no to further austerity.    Read more...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Glass-Steagall Revived in Senate

Quick Link --

An important effort to re-introduce certain protections for the American people regarding the financial field has occurred in the Senate.  This effort seeks to reinstall the Glass-Steagall protections which were wisely instituted in 1933 as a means of helping to control the kind of wide speculation on Wall Street which led to the Crash of 1929.  The Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999.  This action has led to the same kind of irresponsible financial dealings which made the 1920's a giant casino, eventually creating the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Read about the four heroic Senators representing both major political parties here:

Senators reintroduce bill with Glass/Steagall protections

News Almost Overwhelming

The news lately has seemed like a never-ending waterfall of cascading events.  And, too, life is full for me personally, mostly in good ways.  Like most Americans, though, the economy exerts a constant pressure to make more and more money, as prices go up (think gasoline), and needs never end.

I just saw a headline announcing a "blow to Citizens United."  So I already have something new to attend to, it seems.  America is clearly in a stew, mostly about justice and economic issues.  A blogger clearly has his work cut out for him.  (Lady bloggers, I give you your due, as well.)  As astute readers here will have realized, my focus has increasingly zeroed in on the economy, as life seems to get more brutal for so many.  This focus will continue for the foreseeable future.  I look forward to seeing you here often.  

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Greek Debt Crisis: We've Been There Before

The current situation in Greece is not the first time a nation has needed a restructuring of its debt.  This fact is being missed -- willfully or otherwise -- by belligerent German and other European leaders.  As The New York Times is reporting, Germany itself was the beneficiary of a debt restructuring program in 1953 which set the stage for that country's wonderful post-war boom.

At this point a note to readers:  I am about to depart from my norm  and employ religion in my analysis.  For what we have here is a departure from what I believe a somewhat more Christianized Europe would have done in the years immediately following World War II, as in the case of the 1953 German debt restructuring.  What has happened in Europe since then is known as apostasy, or the widespread rejection of Christianity among a people or peoples.  Whatever one may think of the church, the West seems plagued by a weakened moral base or basis for operation.

Certainly this is not the first time such a thing has happened.  Yet, we now seem to be at the height of a trend which began in the Enlightenment, a period of (in my mind) necessary questioning of an often stultifying church in the intellectual area.  Enlightenment thinkers of the time had a point.

The church most assuredly can be criticized whether it enjoys such criticism or not.  What we have now, however, at least in large parts of Europe is a culture which has no ready alternative to the moral construct of a lifestyle ostensibly built on the life and example of Christ.  (I did warn the reader of what was about to come in this post.)  If one wants to blame the new secularism on a rejection of traditional Jewish teaching, I don't mind at all.  That theory is just as potent.

Why do I bring all this up now?  It is because the unfeeling nature of German actions (accompanied by other nations', to be sure) now seems so blatantly lacking in charity, an old-fashioned word, much loved by Christian and non-Christian alike in times gone by.  Is it too much to ask for some semblance of compassion for a Greek people so devastated by economic tragedy?

Greek Debt Crisis Analyzed

Monday, July 06, 2015

Germany: Fascism By Other Means

Financial conditions in Europe regarding Greece continued to be fluid on Monday as the Merkel-led German government refused to respect the will of the Greek people who voted against acceptance of German-Dutch-English demands in the ongoing debt crisis.  The article shown below tells more.

There are many details to this crisis.  But it should be clear that Germany and the central banks of Europe want a kow-towing posture from the Greeks and that nothing less will do.  When an economic system is oppressive in the first place, how can it be right to say the enforcement of the system when the victim objects, is justified.  It is not!

One wonders, too, where the United States government is in this crisis.  The voice of the administration is covered, muted, as far as I experience it.

For now, it is the Germans who are hysterical, not the Greeks.  The prancing and pawing of the Merkel operation is a sight to behold.  This is government by snarl, leadership by dare.  Europe; the world; deserve better.

Germany Refuses to Allow Greece to Chart Its Own Course

Friday, July 03, 2015

The Greek Debt Crisis: The Story Behind the Story

What the Greek Debt "Crisis" Is Really About

Here is a report I am reviewing this morning.  The Greek debt crisis has Europeans and Americans fascinated.  However, as the report linked to above shows, the issue is not really about Greece's debt, as all countries typically carry debt on their books.  What it is really about is power.

I would add one important point to the focus of the article.  The way of economics of Europe and the west is being tested in a serious way.  With unemployment plaguing Europe as well as the United States, leaders know there are dangers of social uprisings.  The NATO countries may yet experience an Orange Revolution or an Autumn of Discontent akin to the Arab Spring of a few years ago.  The article has more history.  

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tsipras' Heroic Stand

Prime Minister Tsipras of Greece is taking a historic and bold stand in the face of vicious foreign pressure, especially from the Germans and their neo-Nazi leader Merkel.  It is time for Merkel to go.  Unfortunately, she is part of a cabal of investors, bankers, and government officials from London to Berlin who seek to dictate economic terms to the sovereign nation of Greece.  This pressure is outrageous.  Time for a reality check on Germany's military strength?   Shadows of 1939.

Tsipras' Heroic Stand As Told from the German Point of View

London Guardian Blogs Greek Debt Default

Some may be interested in the blog record of the Greek debt collapse from the London Guardian.

Frankly, I am catching up to news of the Greek default as other matters have been pressing lately.  In the meantime, I applaud those Greeks who have insisted on sovereignty and have opposed any economic pushing-around from foreign governments.

I plan to have more news and comment on this subject later.

From Yesterday: Real-time Reporting on Greek Debt Default from the London Guardian

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism