Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Paul Krugman's Forebear in the Weimar Republic

From Jenna Orkin

Quote of the day:

"The crisis seems to be easing, and a chorus of critics is already demanding that the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration abandon their rescue efforts," writes Nobel winning economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times this week. "Those demands should be ignored. It's much too soon to give up on policies that have...pulled us a few inches back from the abyss."

"It's déjà vu all over again," he concludes, referring to the Japanese in the '90s and the Americans in the '30s. In both cases, he thinks their economies died because they turned off the juice too soon.

But people come to think what they must think when they must think it:

"To follow the good counsel of stopping [the inflation machine] would mean... that in a very short time the entire public, factories, mines, railways and post office, national and local government, in short, all national and economic life would be stopped."

Karl Helferich, Chairman, Central Bank of Germany, 1923.


Military
US Tailing DPRK Ship Suspected of Carrying Missiles
Japan: New Draft Calling for Bigger Military

Economic/Energy Forecasts
Hyperinflation is Coming
Why Stocks Will Collapse This Fall (from Rice Farmer)
The Coming Oil Crisis (Newsweek)
New Forecast: Mass Starvation
Emerging Markets Will End Dollar's Reign: Roubini
Oil at 100, Interest Rates May Stifle Economy: Roubini
Hyperinflation Could Hit US in 5-10 Years: Roubini
Nouriel Roubini's Website

Economic Crisis
ECB's Trichet Says No Room for More Debt
UK: Borrowing Reaches Record
States in Deep Trouble Over Plunging Income Tax Revenues
States Turning to Last Resorts in Budget Crisis
Banks Fail in Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas
State Plans to Limit Bank Bailout Funds
Joblessness Continued to Rise in May in Nearly Every State (from Rice Farmer)
Unemployment Paychecks Double
The Weekly Layoff Report: Rupert Murdoch Joins the Crowd
Strange Inconsistencies in the $134.5 Billion Bearer Bond Mystery
Did the counterfeiters stage this bizarre episode in order to get caught? Is it part of a scheme to collapse the dollar?
Fire Moves Into Houses Abandoned by Foreclosures (from Rice Farmer)

Energy
IDA Study on Peak Oil Debate
Oil Price Fears Follow Rebel Attacks on ShellOil Refinery Strike
Switch from Oil to Biomass Won't Happen Overnight
Nitwits In Congress Propose Tapping Oil Reserves To Halt Price Increases
Wartime Fungus Joins Elephant Dung to Make Biofuel
Greenwash/Hogwash

Americas
Peru's PM quits over jungle anger
Mexico: The War Next Door
Sixty Minutes report.

It's gotten so bad, a U.S. military report warned that Mexico could face "rapid and sudden collapse....."

"Half of what we seize, 55 percent are assault rifles. And this is what gives these groups this intimidation power. Over 17,000 assault rifles, throughout the last two years. Two thousand and 200 grenades, missile and rocket launchers. Fifty caliber sniper rifles," the attorney general explained.

It might surprise you to learn where all these guns are coming from. It turns out 90 percent of them are purchased in the US..."

There was an assault weapons ban in the United States for ten years. It expired in 2004.

"Would you consider asking Congress to reinstate that?" Cooper asked Napolitano.

"I haven't thought that far," she replied.
How New Intelligence Will Tame the Information Explosion
The economic crisis paves the way for RFIDs. This is an ad for IBM disguised as an article.
NASA Prepares to Bomb the Moon
Obama Protecting Cheney from Jon Stewart

Russia/Europe
Russia, Netherlands, Discuss Serious Energy Plans
Rosneft Boosts Powers of Board of Directors
Russia renames mountain in tribute to energy firm
Mosquito swarms threaten Britain
Helicopters are being deployed to spray poison in the skies above northern France to wipe out swarms of mosquitoes that are threatening to cross the Channel into Britain.

Asia
China Crosses the Rubicon (from Rice Farmer)
They Shoot Frequent Fliers, Don't They?
37,000 Dogs clubbed to death in China to contain rabies
Seven Killed by Lightning in Beijing
Speculation inevitably centred on the government's weather modification programme, which has been ramped up in recent years to offset droughts by seeding clouds.
Power Outage Darkens Pakistan's City of Light (from Rice Farmer)
The Curse of Oil Looms for Cambodia

25 comments:

Diaspora said...

“Sixty Minutes report…200 grenades, missile and rocket launchers. Fifty caliber sniper rifles…90 percent of them are purchased in the US..."

When’s the last time you walked into to your local gun shop and picked up grenade, missile or rocket launchers or 50-cal sniper rifles? If these weapons are indeed coming from the United States (more likely China or Russia) they’re coming from the same shop keepers who tried to sell us on the lone crazed scientist mailing off weapons grade anthrax. Napolitano’s line from this Act of the pageant play turned farce is priceless "I haven't thought that far". The plot has become more transparent than a 10¢ pulp fiction novel.

Don Hynes said...

Under the header "everything old is new again" here are a few links to the Iran situation:

Iran faces greater risks than it knows
http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_4823.shtml

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/06/22-0

eyeballs said...

RE: China Crosses the Rubicon

This article concluded with the suggestion that the aims of the SCO will match the "realism" of President Obama, but I find that hard to believe.

On June 15th and 16th, state leaders met in Yekaterinburg, Russia, for a Shanghai Cooperative Organization summit, ultimately issuing a
Declaration
. Although written with Oriental subtlety rather than in a brash, didactic, Western tone, the declaration contains some important messages from the empowered authorities of Russia, China, India and Iran (among many others). The leaders agreed on these points:

“The tendency towards true multipolarity is irreversible. There is a growing significance of the regional aspect in settling global problems.”

“The member states of the Organisation together with the international community intend to make efforts for the formation of a more just, equal, all-embracing and well-regulated international financial regime which takes into account a true balance of interests of all its participants and gives all States equal access to the advantages of globalization.”

“…arrangement of international transport corridors, modernisation of railways and motorways will create preconditions for strengthening the potential of the region.”

“The reform of the UN Security Council must gain a much wider consensus of members of the international community. The SCO member states intend to strengthen coordination on the issues of reforming the UN and its Security Council.”


Apparently there is huge momentum behind currency reform and UN reform (both in the interests of Eurasia, and in opposition to U.S. interests) as well as a greater regionalization of Eurasian security and economy.

The big news, aside from regional cooperation, is “true multipolarity”. A decade ago, the world was said to be “monopolar”. Thanks to the giveaway of the US economy in the WTO and NAFTA treaties, and the long, idiotic alienation of world cooperation undertaken by the Bush Administration, the SCO assertion is virtually unanswerable by Washington. The Obama team is currently stressing “international cooperation under American leadership”, in such projects as strengthening NATO and disciplining Pakistan. Washington wants to sell Treasuries and keep the dollar as the world currency. However, continued American world leadership does not seem to be the wave of the future.

This unfortunately plays into the hands of neocon Robert Kagan’s popular new thesis “the West versus the rest”. Back in the aftermath of WWII, Western Europe, Japan and the English-speaking world were confronting an impoverished and backward Russia and China, and the dichotomy between “the free world” and a despicable foreign empire of Communism had at least relative validity. Then “we” famously “won” the Cold War, and now America is in no shape to dispute for world dominion. Europe was turned over Moscow’s knee this winter for a good spanking and will not be following Washington’s lead in standing firm against Russian interests.

As an American, I’m sad about this, since I once believed that my country represented the greatest hope for people everywhere to maximize their own human potential. Since around 1980, however, that hope has been rapidly eroded by a Wall Street dominated government and its international relations in the owner class. The purpose of posting this rant is to warn those in America – and in countries that have long followed American leadership almost worshipfully, such as Taiwan and Japan – that we must prepare for a very different configuration in the near future. China is not alone in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and “American leadership” has nothing to do with that group’s aspiration for “true multipolarity”.

Sebastian Ronin said...

Crossing the Rubicon is one thing. Burning the boats and the cooking utensils upon arrival on the other shore is another.

Iflipti said...

Japan considers cashless society to make negative real interest rates to control inflation:

Timesonoline.co.uk

RanD said...

Sebastian, whether to burn or keep as intact as possible "the boats and the cooking utensils upon arrival on the other shore" [after] "[c]rossing the Rubicon is an issue which indeed warrants scrutiny.

From my personal perspective the human condition is currently in a state of process which approximates global-wide evolution/devolution (yes, both) from what it has been going-through/experiencing since our last major ice age into a significantly distinguished - "entirely new" - state of experience. Although I independently put together this viewpoint for myself over 20 years ago, I was recently introduced to the work of Michael Cremo - http://www.humandevolution.com/ and http://www.forbiddenarcheology.com/.

Cremo's remarkably credible - quite well physically/scientifically substantiated - work strongly suggests that our human species - more or less as it currently physiologically exists - has been doing its/"our" thing here on Earth for not merely tens of thousands of years, but likely actually for literally millions of years. If this is so, then whether we hang onto our boats, pots & pans and the rest of all this stuff we've accumulated is probably a moot issue. For the time being, tho, RanD will hang on to our stuff for however long it serves our purposes.

Sebastian Ronin said...

RanD, fair 'nuff on your take re smashing boats and cooking utensils.

My take was lifted from Sun Tzu. When smashing boats and cooking utensils, the army destroys the options of: 1./ retreat, and; 2./ survival, unless it is procured from the turf of the adversary. In other words, "victory" becomes the only option to pursue. It is for this reason, if and when boats and cooking utensils are smashed, that the other side of the Rubicon is known as Death Ground.

Now, to pull all that down to more pop culture language, we either shit or get off the pot. The only thing to be gained from fence sitting are splinters up one's arsehole.

bostx said...

How can hyper inflation be the result when businesses and citizens are delveraging? We have hit peak credit. Consumers are saving. Banks are hoarding cash and not lending. Deflation will continue.

anton v said...

Beautiful piece:
http://www.halfpasthuman.com/Article6212009.html

"The meek shall inherit the Earth."

toner deeski said...

http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_12675904

Seeing as how Mike came out in PEP....we certainly need all the revenue we can get. Although I am concerned with the emphasis on distinguishing between "bad actors" and "law-abiding" weed dealers. It is no secret that "Oaksterdam" played a major role in the gentrification of downtown Oakland. And like Mike's take on the massive energy expenditures needed to project America's military power overseas, the prison industrial complex is also a HUMONGOUS waste of energy, especially when you consider how many people are locked up for selling/possessing weed, or some otherwise taxable product. This issue is not just about public revenue, but decriminalization of a truly victimless transaction as well.
The drug war is an utter failure, and I can't think of a better spokesman than Mike.

greenjean said...

To me, this matter of fact,no-byline article, on the last page of the business section, is the most persuasive evidence of the economic truth we've known for a long time, despite all the "green shoots" hogwash. Now the dopes who've bought into the "rally" in recent months will rush to sell before all is lost, and then.... http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2009375673_stoxcenter24.html

kiki said...

in liew of the posted link to 'States Turning to Last Resort In Budget Crisis', what happens to a states sovereignty when a state can't balance its budget, and bankrupts ? any links for reference to this subject ?

RanD said...

Sebastian, RanD's only target for destruction is ignorance, knows only the past as "Death Ground", and is thus without need of employing whether this or that is "fair" or gaining "victory" over anything other than... well... ignorance. Never sitting on fence posts of course frees one of suffering fence post splinters up the arsehole.

Ultimately I do not find our species to be the Source of what we do but is a paramount mechanism by which that Source actualizes its penchant for intellectual reality - hence such exercises as "The Word". And, the word tells me that everything is right on target right on time and everyone of us is doing exactly what we're supposed to.

And you do very nice work.

businessman said...

In follow-up to Diaspora's post within the previous thread, it's extremely important for people to recognize how completely unreliable our mainstream media is. I believe the regulars posting in here pretty much know and understand this, so I'm writing this primarily to the people who have been reading our posts in here, wondering if they're really true, and at the same time wondering if we've all completely lost our minds.

We've been so conditioned here in the United States to believe in our national media as being credible, outside of the fact that they like to ruin some people's lives sometimes. "Freedom of the Press" is something we've learned is an inalienable right according to our First Amendment, but what then happens when the media collude amongst themselves at the highest level to control the information we see and hear, and make sure it's in alignment with the special interests who completely control them? This is mind boggling for maybe more than 90-95% of all Americans to even consider, until you begin to recognize that if it were really happening, the media certainly wouldn't be reporting to us on it!

So where are we then left when the "credible" news sources really aren't that credible at all? We're left at the point where I was about seven years ago, when I recognized that the truth about my country is really a total and complete fabrication...a point where I felt like vomiting every single day for about 9 months straight because everything I was learning painted an entirely new picture of my country, its history, and what's going on in it right now as I'm writing this to you. And it's a portrait that's been a very hard one for me to swallow.

If you're like most Americans, when someone suggests something like what I've been telling you here, your response might be something like, "But that kind of thing could never happen here in the United States." But it could happen and it is happening, and in many ways it's happening because people are so convinced that if it were happening, they'd certainly be hearing about it in the media!

(Since what I've written here is too long for the system to publish it, this posting is continued in another post in this thread.)

businessman said...

(My post on how the media operates...Continued, Part 2)

So how could something like this going on within the media be happening right here in the United States?

1) Very powerful people with strong influence from behind the scenes wanted it to happen because of the total domination it gives them over everyone, and the incredible amounts of money they make through shaping people's beliefs, opinions, and actions while doing this. I mean let's face it, an incredibly high percentage of Americans know what's going on in the world by what they learn from the mainstream media. That's by and large the end of the story for them.

2) The barrier to entry for beginning a national news network is so high in terms of both the money you'd have to raise and the people you'd have to get to approve of you as a new network...and those people definitely don't want you inside of the game with them.

3) In my opinion, the national news media functions much like the military, with a direct chain of command from the top all the way down. The people at the very top are people we never see or get to know, and collectively between themselves, along with the powerful special interests who influence them, they determine the content of what we're going to see and hear in the news. And this policy is then passed down through the chain of command from the top, all the way down to the bottom in the newsroom. In addition, the news anchors are highly-paid celebrity spokespeople, and their job is to read the news from teleprompters that's already been written and pre-determined for them, and to create a solid image of themselves.

4) In my opinion again, the news that's fed into the newsroom is filtered before it even arrives there, so that the managers, editors, and writers are only following-up on stories that the people at the top want them to know about and follow-up on. And the managers of the newsrooms know from past experience what kind of stories could get them into trouble if they ever reported them. With this in mind, a reporter who uncovers a story about something highly illegal that a member of one of the country's most elite financial families has been doing, might simply be told, "Upper management thinks that your story is questionable, and they've said that there's no way they're going to trash one of America's most beloved families." So the story will pretty much die right there.

5) The people at every level within the chain of command know what's expected of them, and if they begin bucking the system too much they'll be fired. And on top of that they may then be blackballed within the industry, finding it difficult to ever get another job.

6) The way that the overall hierarchy works within the industry, is that no one is supposed to break a national news story until the national news people have decided it should be reported to us, and they then go ahead and report the story. This was confirmed with me by the head of one of my local news outlets when I told him he should be telling everyone about Peak Oil. He replied by telling me that he definitely was familiar with the subject, but that he couldn't report on it until the national news people tell everyone about it first.

So with everything I've just mentioned, it's easy to see how the news that we see, hear, and read can be completely controlled by other people. But a major problem helping to facilitate all this is the fact that most Americans believe this could never happen, and that if it had happened they certainly would have been smart enough to have figured it out. And it's this complete lack of willingness to even investigate the matter further that makes it easy for the people who completely control all the information to continue right on in doing so.

A peon said...

Court OKs dumping gold mine waste in lake

A peon said...

High court says convicts lack right to DNA testing

cj said...

Businessman:

You always make such great posts. I wish what you just said could be printed on the front page of the NY Times so millions could read it, but cracking the shell of denial for millions raised thinking their country can do no wrong would be a hard thing to pull off. Imagine what the population of Germany felt like after they realized they had been taken in by Hitler and his propaganda machine. Concerning the press, I always wondered why someone doesn't start a totally independent news network, newspaper, or radio station that has no major corporate funding. I used to swear by NPR, but now I hear spun pieces and features that seem to be setting us up for some about-to-be passed new legislation for our "protection". Where would we be without this blog and its' contributors?

in_the_light said...

No offense, but this website has gotten so hard to swallow. Not that relevant news articles aren't a wonderful thing to compile, but checking in at this blog now is super boring. Who has time to read all 50 article links in the couple days before the next 50 go up?

Also, the conversations here are slightly shorter than dissertation papers.

If the purpose is to save lives, may I suggest making the content a bit more digestable?

Sorry to rip, but I gotta say it because I have a special love for everyone called to the study of peak oil. We all have a simliar spiritual path. I've watched this website become less and less about what is at the heart of the matter to me- the expansion of consciousness through the study of peak oil and energy.

-mat

gamedog said...

Businessman: Good post! Maybe it's just coincidence, or Universe playing games, but your post struck a chord in todays UK headlines ;)

If you think it hard to show the true nature of the US MSM to fellow Americans, think how much harder the task is for us Brits who pay £3.6bn (mandatory tv licence fees) per year to the British Propaganda Corporation (BBC) constantly held up as a glowing example of how it should be done globally!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/5624879/Mark-Thompson-accuses-clique-of-undermining-BBC-by-top-slicing--licence-fee.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/janetdaley/100000843/the-bbc-doesnt-get-it-either/

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article6568404.ece

and finally.... Why politicians vote for BBC licence fee that feeds their hospitality

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article6572063.ece

some good work highlighting the BBC's backroom shenanigans...

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/category/bbc

KimB said...

I perused Mike's book again to-day (already read it once). I picked up on the creative energy/passion between the lines, and was also reminded of the personal struggles he's hinted at from time to time. Then quite by chance, I came across these few paragraphs of mine I jotted in 2006, connecting our demons to our angels. Maybe these lines are relevant to all of us, and our current situation:

"It's a mistake to dismiss Crazy Women and Dark Ladies . . . they live inside all of us . . . as well as in the whisky bottle, the heroin shot, the last line of coke - then there's the blow job, the stripper, the prostitute - the junk food, the next step up the ladder, the next conquest, the next expansion. She hooks us on what feels good, which is as it should be. Our species would have withered away without her fierce passion. Doing what pleasures us keeps us alive. But our brain's not interested in the source, and there's the rub. As long as our neurones are bathed in bliss, it's to hell with reason.

I worked in a drug/alcohol de-tox unit for 10 years. I've seen it first hand. But the primeval power that drags us to hell is also the well spring of life. A paradox. The Crazy Woman/Dark Lady is in hugs, skin on skin, good sex, good food, sweet scents, music, song, truth, beauty, love, laughter, love, protectiveness, friendship, creation, art, grief, dreams - her power's in our DNA.

The lesson? Don't mess with Dark Ladies or Crazy Women. They're breathtaking friends, but deadly enemies. She'll show you the road to heaven, and to perdition. Your choice. And use her power, it's your birthright."

KimB said...

Check out this piece by Starhawk, "Breaking the Evil Spell":

http://www.starhawk.org/activism/activism-writings/evilspell.html

. . . this also reminds me of Arundhati Roy's famous quote:

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

eyeballs said...

Yo! Businessman! True, so true.

But you don't go far enough.

Publishing houses give wide distribution to credentialed scholars who have come up through this system and are allied with Harvard or SAIC and think tanks like CFR and Brookings. Politicians are drawn from these circles and then make government policy. When they are out of office, they write books and teach.

Where are the neocons now? Some are working for “consulting firms” or government contractors, but many have retired to academia, where they teach Public Policy, International Law, National Security and Economics. Their students will do dissertations on the material they teach. Those dissertations will turn into books for academic consumption, which will inspire speeches and debates and popular articles and books. These students will rise in academia and government, write more books, set policy and then return to teach another generation.

We are in the third or fourth academic generation since Paul Nitze founded SAIS. Nitze is one of the fathers of the Cold War, and the school is now named for him. His brother-in-law founded Aspen Institute. Big money poured into these think tanks and universities by foundations with names like Ford, Rockefeller, Mellon and Carnegie so overwhelm the alternative scholarship that is not so well funded, that dissenting voices tend to be lost in the surge. (We'll have to see if Mike has cracked the glass ceiling with his new book.)

The immense DoD funding of science education these days also keeps a lock-hold on university research, dwarfing other grant sources. Schools literally cannot afford to have those funds withdrawn and are unlikely to tolerate credible opposition to say, nanotechnology or data-mining.

Education, from kindergarten to grad school, is run by a thoroughly integrated system of intellectual management.

Outside of the classroom, video games guide youth toward the aims of the system. Now we have Americans in Las Vegas using computers to guide robotic attack planes into Pakistan, which practice is obviously a child of the gaming industry. From TV programs and video games to graduate school, think tanks and government employment, memes are passed and frames of reference are established that guarantee "dumbness" even among the educated.

Journalists, who by and large know better, self-censor every day, knowing that they could end up like Dan Rather or be frozen out of the next press conference. Of course it’s also true that editors assign stories and stop stories and edit stories to conform to a well-defined corporate editorial policy. And it’s true that advertising and journalism blend and combine to create a consumerist worldview in newspapers, magazines and television, constantly ignoring and suppressing the real sickness in the system.

It’s not just mass media censorship, though. It’s thorough control of worldview from kindergarten through grad school. It’s the publishing industry and the music industry. It’s toys and video games. It’s corporate sponsored infotainment. It’s unsolicited credit cards mailed to your home. How could people acknowledge what’s really happening, when everything they encounter tells a different, more cheerful story?

I love this blog because people who care are posting and commenting on news that – while possibly contrived or distorted – is deliberately chosen from widely different, often fairly reliable, sources, and then critiqued intelligently. We must not be complacent, comfortable in the certainty that we are getting “the real information”. But I think that if we keep trying, this group effort will continue to empower us in building maps we need to make intelligent choices. Thanks so much.

Sebastian Ronin said...

businessman and eyeballs, yes it really is Network on steroids, ain't it? It is a tough, little Rubicon to cross at the realization of, "Oh, my
God, I've lived my entire life ass-backwards!" As businessman so clearly relates.

There came a day when I had to stare the monkey in the eyeballs (no offence, eyeballs) and realize that the monkey was me.

On the upside, as far as "carrying the seeds of its own destruction" the Borg is the mother of all dialectics.

businessman said...

cj, gamedog, Sebastian Ronin, and eyeballs...Thanks for the kind words.