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IAC: Petition drive against US and South Korean military provocations against North Korea

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

STOP THE WAR PROVOCATIONS AND ATTACKS ON THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF KOREA NOW!
KNOW THE UNDISPUTED FACTS!

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION to the Obama Administration and s. Korean Govt.
at http://www.iacenter.org/korea/stopattackondprk NOW!

PLAN PROTESTS IN THE DAYS AHEAD TO COUNTER THE GROWING WAR THREAT

Tell the Obama Administration and the south Korean Government you want the U.S./south Korean war maneuvers and provocations against the DPRK stopped immediately, the removal of south Korean and U.S. war ships including the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington, an end to the U.S. sponsored sanctions against the DPRK, the signing of a peace treaty NOW to end the state of war that has existed since the Korean war, and the immediate withdrawal of the 30,000 U.S. troops that still occupy south Korea, so that the Korean people can freely decide their own destiny. 

THESE ARE THE UNDISPUTED FACTS: On Nov. 23, the government of South Korea mobilized 70,000 troops for a week of military maneuvers just off the border of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. The DPRK said that these military maneuvers simulated an invasion of the north.

The military deployment was provocatively held right off the sea borderline between the north and the south. This is an area considered to be disputed territory.

On Nov 23, at 1:00 p.m., South Korean forces fired many shells into waters right off the DPRK. This is an area that the north has a longstanding claim to be within its territory. This claim had been accepted by prior south Korean governments.

An hour and a half later, the DPRK retaliated to what it saw as an attack on its territory by firing shells at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.

And now the U.S. has announced plans to send  the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its battle group including war ships, destroyers and hundreds of fighter jets back into the area to participate in new war maneuver provocations.

It is urgent that all who stand for peace and justice make plans now for immediate protest actions in the days ahead.

The U.S. military has been involved in all the war maneuvers by South Korea, going back to the 1950-53 war, and has occupied South Korea since the end of World War II.

Why doesn’t the media ask why the U.S. was orchestrating a massive military deployment of troops, ships and aircraft right on the border of the DPRK?

The provocation here clearly comes from the U.S. government and the right-wing south Korean regime, not the DPRK. The regime of Lee Myung-bak has undone earlier moves that improved relations between the two halves of the Korean nation and has brought increased confrontation.

It can never be forgotten that U.S. imperialism waged a horrendous war against the Korean Revolution from 1950 to 1953, one that resulted in millions of deaths and total devastation of the Korean Peninsula.

For there to be peace on the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. should end its support of expansionist, right-wing forces in the south, sign a peace treaty with the north (a state of war still exists after 57 years!) and withdraw its troops so the Korean people can decide their own destiny.

Join us in the days ahead in taking to the streets to protest these U.S. war threats and sanctions that have created a powder keg in Asia. End the military occupation of South Korea! Sign a peace treaty and bring the troops home!


SAMPLE PETITION TEXT:

To: President Barack Obama, President Lee Myung-bak, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

CC: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.N. member delegations, U.S. Congressional leaders, members of the media.

  • Stop the U.S./South Korean War maneuvers and provocations against the DPRK (north Korea) immediately!
  • Remove the south Korean and U.S. war ships! DO NOT SEND ADDITIONAL U.S WARSHIPS AND PLANES INCLUDING THE U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIER GEORGE WASHINGTON!
  • End the U.S. sponsored sanctions against the DPRK!
  • Sign a peace treaty NOW to end the state of war that has existed for 57 years since the Korean war!
  • Withdraw all of the 30,000 U.S. troops that still occupy south Korea, so that the Korean people can freely decide their own destiny.

It is an undisputed fact that on Nov. 23, the government of South Korea mobilized 70,000 troops for a week of military maneuvers just off the border of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. The DPRK said that these military maneuvers simulated an invasion of the north.

On Nov 23, at 1:00 p.m., South Korean forces fired many shells into waters right off the DPRK. This is an area that the north has a longstanding claim to be within its territory. This claim had been accepted by prior south Korean governments.

An hour and a half later, the DPRK retaliated to what it saw as an attack on its territory by firing shells at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.

And now the U.S. has announced plans to send the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its battle group including war ships, destroyers and hundreds of fighter jets back into the area to participate in new war maneuver provocations.

The U.S. military has been involved in all the war maneuvers by South Korea, going back to the 1950-53 war, and has occupied South Korea since the end of World War II. AND THE WAR DANGER IS GROWING!

Clearly the military provocation is from the U.S. government and the south Korean government of President Lee Myung-bak.

For there to be peace on the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. must withdraw its troops so the Korean people can decide their own destiny.

Sincerely,
(Your signature appended here)

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BP Oil Spill Victims Sickened and Dying, Local Physicians Clueless

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

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Quantitative easing may be a dead end for the Federal Reserve … So, Washington will be coming for you to foot the bill

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

According to James Rickards, the Federal Reserve Bank likely has no way to exit from its money printing effort known as quantitative easing:

Disasters sometimes sneak up in small steps, each of which appears unthreatening at the time but which cumulatively spell collapse.  The Fed is leading the United States to ruin in ways that are claimed to be well intentioned and benign viewed in isolation but which take us finally into a locked room reminiscent of the Sartre play “No Exit.”

He takes us through the steps of the process by which the Federal Reserve has already found itself in a quagmire, and insists on pushing deeper into it:

How does the Fed print money? It’s easy; they simply buy bonds from the market and credit the seller’s bank account with electronic cash that comes out of thin air.  When they want to reduce the money supply, they do the opposite; that is, they sell bonds and the buyer’s bank account is reduced by the sale price and that money disappears.  So, printing money is just a massive program of bond purchases.  The Fed intends to concentrate the current bond buying program in the intermediate sector of 5 to 10-year maturities.

A massive program of bond purchases, yes. But, more important, a program of swapping fictitious assets for fictitious money in a series of fictitious transactions that superficially resemble real transactions but result in the exchange of no real economic values. There are, for instance, the utterly worthless purchases of mortgage backed securities and various junk from the failed financial sector. The intricacies of this garbage need not be understood in order to understand Rickards’ point: it is all junk, worthless, pieces of paper that have not an iota of value, and which will never be worth anything ever into the distant future beyond the point where the planet itself is no longer habitable.

The point is, none of this crap will ever be sold again for more than a fraction of its face value. It is toxic. You could back a truckload of it up to a recycling plant and walk away with no more than a week’s worth of groceries. And, the Fed has so much of this crap on its books, if it actually had to state its market value, the bank’s balance sheet would implode:

As a result, the Fed is coming to resemble a highly leveraged hedge fund with an inverted pyramid of risky, volatile and junk debt balanced on a slim layer of capital.  Recall the Fed owns the Maiden Lane portfolio of junk from Bear Stearns and $1.4 trillion of mortgages whose value is in serious doubt because of strategic defaults, lost notes and halted foreclosures.  Treasury notes may be of good credit quality if you don’t mind getting paid back in debased dollars but even Treasury notes have market risk.  If interest rates go up, the value of Treasury notes goes down; it’s that simple.  The Fed is taking both credit risk and market risk on its balance sheet in unprecedented amounts.

Under QE2, the Federal Reserve hopes to double down by adding Washington debt to its mix of toxic sludge. And, this is where the game gets really interesting.

To buy Washington’s debt, and force down interest rates, the Federal Reserve essentially has to outbid all other players in the public debt market. It can do this simply by entering the required digits at a computer terminal — and keep entering them until every other bid is taken out. At the end of the day, the Fed has pushed everyone else out of the market by paying more for Washington’s debt than anyone else in their right mind would be willing to pay.

When people say the action of the Federal Reserve is nuts — because the Fed is deliberately paying more for the debt than it is worth, and because the Fed is inundating the economy with worthless currency — the Fed has two responses:

When critics raise the issue of mark-to market losses, the Fed has a simple answer, which is that they will hold to maturity.  The Fed does not have to mark to market; they can simply hold the assets to maturity and collect the full proceeds from the Treasury or other issuers.  Just ignore for the moment the fact that some of the junkier assets and mortgages will not pay off, ever.  That’s years away; for now, let’s just give the Fed the benefit of the doubt and say that mark-to-market losses don’t matter because they don’t have to sell.

Critics also raise the issue that this much money printing will result in inflation at best and maybe hyperinflation if velocity takes off due to behavioral shifts.  The Fed is also very reassuring on this point.  They say not to worry because at the first signs of sustained and rising inflation they will reverse course and reduce the money supply by selling bonds and nip inflation in the bud.  But also note that the world in which the Fed wants to sell the bonds is also a world of rising inflation and therefore rising interest rates.  This is the world of huge mark to market losses on the bonds themselves.

To the first concern the Fed says, “Oh, sure we’re paying too much for this debt, but we will just hold onto it until we can sell it without taking a loss.”

To the second concern the Fed says. “Oh, sure this will cause inflation, but we can fix that by selling this debt and soaking up the excess money.”

Rickards isn’t buying this bullshit. If the Fed is successful and inflation takes hold, he points out, interest rates will be rising — and if interest rates are rising, the price of Washington’s debt will be collapsing. The Fed will suffer massive losses if it tries to sell the debt to siphon off the excess money in the economy that is driving up prices:

The Fed is saying don’t worry about mark to market losses because we will hold the bonds.  The Fed is saying don’t worry about inflation because we will sell the bonds.  Both of those statements cannot be true at the same time.  You can hold bonds and you can sell bonds but you can’t do both at once.  You will want to sell when rates are going up but that’s when losses will be the greatest.   So the time when you most want to sell is the time when you will most want to hold. The Fed may say they can finesse this by selling shorter maturities only to reduce money supply and holding onto longer maturities.  But that just further degrades the quality of the Fed’s balance sheet and turns it into a one-way roach motel for highly volatile and junk assets.

Monetary policy is dead — stick a fork in it — and so is the Fed:

So, here’s the bottom line on money printing, or QE if you prefer.  If nothing happens, the whole thing was a waste of time.  If inflation takes off, the Fed will have to choose between holding bonds and letting inflation get worse or selling bonds and going bankrupt in the process.  Since no entity goes down without a fight, the Fed will naturally hold the bonds and let inflation take off.  Do not ask about the exit strategy from QE; there is no exit.

End of story, right?

No! Not by a long shot. We’re just getting to the really really interesting part — the part where you get royally screwed.

You see, even if the Fed cannot exit from its quantitative easing program, there is still all this fictitious money sloshing around the economy, driving up prices, and bidding up everything that isn’t locked down. The Fed may be effectively frozen, but there is still a way to drain the economy of all that excess money.

Washington simply takes it from you. Your elected officials down in Washington can perform a type of monetary policy to drain all the excess liquidity from the system by raising your taxes and cutting the programs you rely on. According to Billy Mitchell, a prolific modern monetary economist who writes at Billy’s blog:

It is a good practice to think of taxes as just draining liquidity from the non-government sector reflecting the Government’s desire for that sector to have less spending capacity.

Now, you know why Washington is debating deficit reduction in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression: if the Federal Reserve is able to get the debt creation process moving again, and the economy starts to expand, they intend to withdraw the excess liquidity in the economy by taking it from you.

You will pay more taxes.

You will pay higher prices for everything.

You will retire when you are dead.

The bottom line for you: you will be forced to work longer hours for less pay just to keep the same standard of living, because inflation will be rampant, and your after tax income will be plummeting.

They assume that by the time you figure this out it will already be too late for you to do anything about it.

If Washington gets its way, you are going to suffer the most massive wage income collapse in human history.

STOPBANQUE: More listings

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment
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2 Million will lose unemployment compensation benefit by year end

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From MarketWatch:

Jobless-benefits bill fails in House

By Ruth Mantell

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A bill to extend federally-funded benefits for long-term jobless workers failed to pass in the House of Representatives Thursday. To pass the House, the bill needed to capture two-thirds of the votes — 258 lawmakers voted in favor of the extension, while 154 voting against it. The bill would have extended special federal unemployment insurance benefits through February, calling for $12.5 billion in emergency spending. Without an extension, long-term jobless workers will start losing benefits in coming weeks, with about two million cut off by the end of the year.

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Rand Paul causing waves among the GOP

November 16, 2010 2 comments

Rand Paul has the ability to force the Senate to raise sixty votes for every bill introduced that increases Washington’s spending for the next six years. He has, in other words, the power to create a massive ongoing political crisis for the bloated, wasteful perversity that passes for government in Washington D.C.

We think he will fold — we think he will pull an Obama and sell out the Tea Partiers who brought him to this quite spectacular position.

We would love it if he proved us wrong.

He has already signaled his willingness to cripple the earmark process in the Senate. And, now John “Maverick in Name Only” McCain is drawing a bead on Paul’s stated willingness to force massive cuts in the defense budget.

From the Huffington Post:

John McCain Attacks Rand Paul’s ‘Isolationism’ In Willingness To Cut Defense Spending

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed concern Monday that some new Republican legislators would be defined by their “protectionism and isolationism,” two views that the Vietnam War veteran feared would result in a butting of heads within the party on Afghanistan and defense spending.

“I think there are going to be some tensions within our party,” McCain said during a conference put on by Foreign Policy Initiative, a DC-based think tank. “I worry a lot about the rise of protectionism and isolationism in the Republican Party.”

A prime example, McCain continued, was Rand Paul, Kentucky’s next U.S. Senator.

“I admire his victory, but … already he has talked about withdrawals [and] cuts in defense,” McCain said.

Indeed, Paul appears to have taken after the more libertarian side of foreign policy issues, much like his father, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R).

Never, in our memory, has someone so apparently clueless, seemed so likely to deliver on the precisely those things that have to be done to kill this economy for good, and bring the empire to its knees.

If he is even vaguely successful in challenging the status quo, we expect McCain will take the entire millionaires’ club hostage, automatic rifle in hand, in a frightening outburst of PTSD-driven, alcohol-charged, delusional rage.

We wish Rand Paul all the luck (and backbone) in the world.