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Fiddling While the US Economy Burns

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  • "We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record. The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play."
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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  • The Horror Show
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  • America Goes Dark
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Danny Schechter, Consortium News

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play.

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Foreclosures are up, and the Administration’s programs to stop them are down, well below their stated goals, only helping one-sixth of those promised assistance.

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And here’s a statistic for you: 300,000. That’s the number of foreclosure filings every month for the past 17 months.

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The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis, Think Progress

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  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
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  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment
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The Horror Show, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

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  • Policy makers seem intent on allowing the employment crisis to fester. As bad as the July employment numbers were, a deeper look into them shows a seriously scary situation.
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  • Long-Term Economic Pain
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that
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America Goes Dark, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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  • So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.
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  • America: The Grim Truth
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The Best Oligarchy Money can Buy

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  • Revolving Door between Government and the Private Sector Reaches Appalling Highs
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  • “Three of every four gas and oil lobbyists [have] worked for the federal government.” --Washington Post
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Anthony Dimaggio, ZComm, in Axis of Logic

The symbiotic connection between government and business is reaching alarming levels in light of recent evidence, indicating that government officials and business executives are increasingly one and the same.  Consider the evidence that’s recently come to light.   

A recent study by the Washington Post finds that “three of every four gas and oil lobbyists [have] worked for the federal government”.

Among those currently lobbying for energy companies who have worked in government include 18 former members of Congress and dozens of former presidential appointees. Two of these former officials were directors of the Minerals and Management Service, a disturbing revelation considering that the agency has received strong criticism for granting 198 leases for oil wells following the April 30th Deepwater explosion in the Gulf, with BP the winner of 13 of those bids.  For those unfamiliar with the MMS, it gained infamy in late 2008 when it was reported by the New York Times that its employees were trading lucrative offshore drilling contracts for cocaine sex parties, funded by the oil industry (More on that story).

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These kinds of stories are usually the stuff of mystery and action thriller novels, but in the case of MMS-incest, the development simply looks like a failure of an agency to regulate private interests.   

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Summary: America's Financial Crisis: Week of August 22

7 New Items including:

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  • Can we afford endless war?
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  • Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Stuart Carlson

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Crisis. What Crisis? Profits Soar! James Petras, Axis of Logic

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  • "From the first quarter of this year, corporate profits have shot up between twenty to over a hundred percent."
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  • The jobs emergency
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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Can we afford endless war? Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune | IL

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  • Minding our own business would be cheaper — and safer.
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  • We Can’t Afford War
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Warehouse workers suffer while Wal-Mart rakes in cash, Pepe Lozano, People's World
"Major companies are making millions of dollars, like Wal-Mart, and they're far from broke. In fact they treat their workers bad in order to increase their profits while some guy working at a warehouse can't feed his kids. It's just wrong."

Paralysis at the Fed, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY
The fact is that the Fed — which is required by statute to promote “maximum employment” — isn’t doing its job. Instead, like the rest of Washington, it’s inventing reasons to dither in the face of mass unemployment. And while the Fed sits there in its self-inflicted paralysis, millions of Americans are losing their jobs, their homes and their hopes for the future.

U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

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  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
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  • The Horror Show
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The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

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  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
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  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.
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Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof? Ellen Brown, Yes! Magazine

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  • A committed movement to tear off the predatory mask called MERS could yet turn the tide for struggling homeowners.
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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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Paralysis at the Fed

The fact is that the Fed — which is required by statute to promote “maximum employment” — isn’t doing its job. Instead, like the rest of Washington, it’s inventing reasons to dither in the face of mass unemployment. And while the Fed sits there in its self-inflicted paralysis, millions of Americans are losing their jobs, their homes and their hopes for the future.

Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Ten years ago, one of America’s leading economists delivered a stinging critique of the Bank of Japan, Japan’s equivalent of the Federal Reserve, titled “Japanese Monetary Policy: A Case of Self-Induced Paralysis?” With only a few changes in wording, the critique applies to the Fed today.

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At the time, the Bank of Japan faced a situation broadly similar to that facing the Fed now. The economy was deeply depressed and showed few signs of improvement, and one might have expected the bank to take forceful action. But short-term interest rates — the usual tool of monetary policy — were near zero and could go no lower. And the Bank of Japan used that fact as an excuse to do no more.

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Summary: America's Financial Crisis: Week of August 15

6 New Items including:

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  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
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  • Will the Pension Time Bomb Set Off a Crime Explosion?
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Mike Thompson

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The AIG Bailout Scandal, William Greider, The Nation

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  • As Elizabeth Warren’s devastating Congressional report reveals, the Federal Reserve used taxpayer money to bail out the insurance giant, instead of forcing the major banks to clean up the mess they helped create. In so doing, the Fed may have set the system up for an even bigger fall in the future.
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  • The battle over Elizabeth Warren
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America Goes Dark, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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  • So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.
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  • America: The Grim Truth
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The Horror Show, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

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  • Policy makers seem intent on allowing the employment crisis to fester. As bad as the July employment numbers were, a deeper look into them shows a seriously scary situation.
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  • Long-Term Economic Pain
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that
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The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis, Think Progress

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  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
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  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment
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CNN Situation Room Social Security Scaremongering, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

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  • CNN's Social Security 'crisis'
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  • Ask CNN's Situation Room to bring on Social Security experts who would challenge the alarmist views featured recently on the show.
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  • Top 5 Social Security Myths
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Will the Pension Time Bomb Set Off a Crime Explosion? Justice Litle, Taipan Publishing Group

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  • When state and local budgets fall short, services are cut. That means critical services like police and fire and transport... and with the pension crisis looming, the unkindest cuts of all still lay ahead.
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  • America Goes Dark
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