Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UK to Lose Triple A Rating This Year - Rogers; Virulent Bird-HUman Flu Hybrid Made in Lab

From Jenna Orkin

Economy/US/Headlines
China PLA Officers Urge Economic Punch Against US
China's warning to US
Signs that Chinese sales of US bonds are politically motivated.
Concerns grow over China's sale of US bonds
"Hell to pay" for the dollar?
'Significant chance' of second financial crisis, warns World Economic Forum
Northern Rock savers to lose 100pc guarantee in May from Vantage Point
Virulent Bird-Human Flu Hybrid Made in Lab
Now Over Half Of Greece Has Stopped Working In A Bid to Save The Economy From Market Forces
Sorry Republicans, Higher Taxes Will NOT Kill The Economy
Eliot Spitzer
IMF warns against early spending cuts
Attempts to cut deficit before 2011 may cause double-dip recession.
Can Higher Inflation Be a Good Thing?
The chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, recently argued that Western economies should accept inflation rates of up to 4 percent. State meddling in the economy may not be such a bad thing either, he argues. Leading economists are unimpressed. Fed officials take aim at reform plans
Round 2: Bernanke Faces More Grilling in Congress
Greenspan: US Recovery 'Extremely Unbalanced'
Fed weighs sale of mortgage securities
FDIC Report: 'We Were Broke And Getting Broker' from Rice Farmer
Insider selling soars to 2010 high from Rice Farmer
Real Debt-To-GDP Ratio Is 130%, Greece Is Amateur Hour from Rice Farmer
11.3 million homeowners underwater on mortgage
Here's Why Today's Consumer Confidence Number Was Exceptionally Scary

World
U.K. Pound May Tumble With Premature Tightening of Fiscal Policy, UBS Says
Jim Rogers: The U.K. Will Lose Its AAA-Rating THIS YEAR For Sure
Brown is the PM of negative growth, says Osborne
George Osborne will today accuse Gordon Brown of becoming the first prime minister to preside over a slide in the size of the British economy.
Bank warns on house prices as QE anxiety hits sterling
New generous EU-wide maternity laws will cost £2 billion
So much for population reduction.
U.S. announces construction of new $1 billion embassy in U.K.
$110 Million Associated With Each Falkland Islands Resident from Vantage Point
Argentina to seek UN ruling over the Falkland Islands
Mexico Says It's Safe From `World of Sovereign Stress' in Reversal of 2009
Newsweek: Why Africa may be the new Asia
Singapore Withdraws Red Carpet for Overseas Workers on Political Concern

War
How Haiti Bootstrapped Its SMS Emergency Response System
Marjah push aimed to shape US opinion - from Vantage Point
Military chiefs say more troops needed for conflict
Army must recruit more than 100,000 soldiers to continue Afghan fighting

Science
How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA from Lisa
A Frightening New Law of Hurricane Formation
Why Fish Hold the Key to Increasing Wind Farm Power
Is flu pandemic waning? Not yet, experts say
Coral reefs in danger of being destroyed
Rising acidity of the oceans is threat to marine ecosystems, study warns

5 comments:

Josca said...

thank you, jenna, for your hard work. i hope you are feeling better.

eyeballs said...

Sometimes it's hard to read the articles posted here. The Newsweek article on Africa is like the "blow your mind" China article: infruriatingly ass-backwards. Just a little cognitive thinking unwinds the author's premise and "blows your mind" for a whole different reason.

First, it is based on a book about Africa, by guy with an Indian name. Majahan has been a "social entrepreneur", meaning he supposedly cares about poor people. But his own writings offer a different perspective.

His last book began with these words:

“The rapid development of the 86 percent of the world population in countries with a per capita gross national product (GNP) of less than $10,000 has made these areas the new lands of opportunity. But their complexity and distinctive characteristics will require different market strategies to realize these opportunities.”

The lead expert for this Newsweek article is not a native African, giving us the lowdown on what his region needs. This is an Indian opportunist (he has been Dean of the Indian School of Business) writing about how to tap the low-income “consumers” of Africa. After introducing Mr. Majahan, Newsweek’s next sentence reads:

“While few of them have the kind of disposable income found in Asia and the West, these accountants, teachers, maids, taxi drivers, even roadside street vendors, are driving up demand for goods and services like cell phones, bank accounts, upmarket foodstuffs, and real estate.”

With the exception of real estate (probably controlled by a local elite) the items on that list are sold from abroad, i.e. aggressively insinuated into populations that never before thought them necessary. This used to be called “neoimperialism”, but now it seems to be equated with optimistic humanitarianism. A bit further on, the article boasts:

"Spurred by eager investors, governments have steadily deregulated industries and developed infrastructure. As a result, countries such as Kenya and Botswana now boast privately owned world-class hospitals, charter schools, and toll roads that are actually safe to drive on.”

Aggressive privatization and deregulation have … what? Built toll roads, world class hospitals and charter schools? Who uses those things? Who can afford to? This kind of economics creates a “middle class” by exploiting the resources and labor (maids?) of a country, then directs the new-found purchasing power of that class (individually tiny, but collectively worth harvesting) toward multi-national corporations, who suck this concentrated cash out of the country. Further on:

“As a result, foreign multinationals like Unilever, NestlĂ©, and Swissport International report some of their highest growth in Africa.”

No surprise.

Newsweek is owned by the Washington Post Company, which also puts out Foreign Policy magazine and a major Spanish language periodical El Tiempo Latino (sent unsolicited to "selected zip codes"). It also operates Cable One. Newsweek and its affiliates serve the interests of the conservative eastern elite by making complex international issues “understandable” in terms that suit Wall Street. A recent example is
this op-ed
by Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, which proceeds in a very stately and reasonable manner toward “regime change in Iran”.

Oh. Now we know what needs to be done. Good thing it’s exactly what the foreign policy establishment is already busy with. Oh, look, General Motors is coming out with hybrid cars. The world is as it should be. Everything’s fine.

And we can make money off the Africans, while feeling good about it. Ahhhh….

OrwellianUK said...

The moves by China on US Bonds, in addition to being related to American political maneouvering on Tibet and Taiwan, could also be an implicit warning to the US (and Israel) to keep it's hands (and missiles) off Iran, and perhaps Venezuela, both of whom china has made substantial energy deals with.

What do you think Mike and Jenna?

RanD said...

OrwellianUK, We're not M and J, but you can bet your booties that the only way China and the US are ever gonna be allies is strictly in terms of when each are able to use the other; and this is a whole lot of why the world we're living in sucks like it does.

RanD said...

And as for more: Be sure to read eyeballs' above post for a nicely expanded report describing the exact same additudinal/behavioral antics that are endemic amongst all small predominantly greed-guided minds lusting for unexploited territory.