By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts Global Research, November 10, 2014 PaulCraigRoberts.org
Just as the German media has destroyed its credibility with lies, the US government is consistently destroying Washington’s credibility both with its own citizens and the rest of the world.
Russia and China, the other two significant nuclear powers, no longer believe anything Washington says or any agreement that the US government signs. The Russian and Chinese governments have observed that Washington does not obey its own statutory law, much less international law and treaties that Washington has signed. Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized Washington for acting as if its will was the only law.
Europeans know that they and their governments are Washington’s vassals and that Europeans are impotent to do anything about it.
Some percentage of the 99 percent understand that Washington is aligned with the one percent against them and that their incomes and economic prospects will continue to decline.
Economists, or rather the few who haven’t sold their souls, know that the government’s economic data are pulled out of a magician’s hat and massaged to produce numbers contradicted by reality. Unemployment is measured according to methodologies designed to prevent its discovery. Inflation is measured according to methodologies designed to deny its existence. Jobs are reported that don’t exist, and GDP growth rates are announced that declines in real median family incomes and consumer credit make impossible.The poverty level income is set artificially low in order to minimize welfare spending.
The lies that Washington and the powerful private interest groups that control the US government tell us go unchallenged by the print and TV media and by NPR. The propaganda that Americans are fed is more extreme than the propaganda of Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984.
In last Friday’s report the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tells us that the unemployment rate has declined to 5.8% and that 214,000 new jobs were created in October. Once again let me explain these lies to you. The unemployment rate is low because the one that the government and financial media emphasize does not count those millions of Americans who have become so discouraged from looking for jobs that do not exist, that they have quit looking. If you give up and stop searching for a job, the US government does not count you as a member of the work force. You are unemployed but not counted as unemployed.
By Paul McGuire
November 10, 2014
There are a lot people in America right now who are under the delusion that the Republican Party will be their savior from the perfect storm of a convergence of catastrophic events like ISIS coming through our Southern border, economic crisis or collapse, a major terrorist attack inside the U.S., skyrocketing food prices, an Ebola pandemic, American troops deployed into the Ukraine region in a conflict with Russia, American troops sent to regions like Iraq and Syria, the prospect of a regional thermonuclear war and the beginnings of World War III, Russia invading Alaska and other remote U.S. regions, the BRIC nations moving to replace the dollar as the defacto world currency and replacing it with a competing world currency, race riots exploding across America, and other crisis events. Anyone of these events alone could trigger martial law and the emergency suspension of the Constitution.
Many Americans, including most of the middle class, are looking to the Republican Party to save them from all of the above because they are under the deception that one President or one political party has brought about all these events. The reality is that both political parties have contributed to this convergence of catastrophic events. For example, it was President Bush and not President Obama who first drove up our national debt by unprecedented amounts. It was President Bush, along with his “born-again” Attorney General, John Ashcroft, who suspended many of our Constitutional civil liberties in the war against terrorism and established the surveillance state. It was the Republican Party with leaders like “Third Way” Newt Gingrich who began the mass outsourcing of high-paying American jobs and manufacturing to nations like China and South American and Third World nations. This was the shot across the bow in the war against the Middle Class!
Once again it was the Republicans who promoted things like NAFTA, GATT, the North American Union, and the WTO, which all transferred the wealth and jobs of the American middle class to Third World nations. Despite all the outcry over President Obama’s executive orders, there has been a constant transfer of power to the Establishment via numerous Executive Orders over the last sixty years by both Republican and Democratic Presidents. Finally, based on their factual and historical track record, what evidence if any, can anyone find that the Republican Party did anything to stop the Democratic Party’s aggressive redistribution of wealth and radical socialist programs? The Republican Party passed some token legislation, but essentially they winked and looked the other way as the Democratic Party radically transformed America. A case in point would be Obamacare; there are a tiny minority of Republicans who continue to strongly oppose Obamacare, which is the greatest redistribution of wealth in American history. But most Republicans are not even pretending that they will repeal it…they may reform it, but they intend to keep it in place.
A game has been played against the American people right before their eyes for the last sixty years, hidden by this illusion of a two-party system. But actually there is just one party with two different names. So every eight years or so, the American people switch back and forth between the Republican and Democratic parties, but the policies and results are for the most part the same. Whatever party or President that is in power, at the bottom line the agenda is always the same. The reason for that is simple: both the Republicans and Democrats work for the same masters, the unseen throne behind the throne that totally controls both parties and the mass media, which controls the thinking of the American people.
08 Nov, 2014 by Dave Hodges
America has gone back to sleep. The 2014 midterm elections are history and good guys, the Republicans, have kicked out the bad guys, the Democrats. We only have two more years to endure Obama. If it was only that simple. This article is going to briefly examine a cross-section of indicators which are representative of how well our nation, and to some degree, our government are meeting the people’s needs. The general areas which will be examined are employment and income, economic health of the nation as a whole, educational opportunities and heath and wellness and civil liberties. It is time to give America her report card as we brace with great trepidation the last two years of the most corrupt administration in American history.Income and Employment Opportunities “Say it ain’t so” “Say it ain’t so” First and foremost, Americans no longer live in the highest salary paying country in the world. In fact, the United States does not even crack the top ten list of the highest salary paying countries on the planet in which Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom round out the top ten and pay their workers more than workers in the United States. In fact, the United States only ranks 20th in terms of overall gross pay!
Young adults who are degreed and/or skilled in fields such as engineering or information technology skills, are really wasting their time by working in the United States. Eight of the world’s ten highest-paying countries for information technology (IT) managers are in Western Europe, according to a new survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The survey found that Swiss managers are paid the most, followed by those in Germany and Denmark. In fact, IT management is another field where U.S. workers fail to crack the top ten in income, the United States ranks 14th in IT management compensation. Even debt ridden Spain, Italy and Greece pay their IT managers more than what Americans earn on average.
Unfortunately, the public does not know what the true unemployment rate is in America because the Department of Labor plays games with the numbers. For example, if you hold a real estate license, and even if you have never sold any property, you are considered to be employed by the Federal government. If your unemployment insurance expires, it is assumed that you have found employment, even if you have not. This is referred to as the discouraged worker category.
The “Alternate Unemployment Rate” more accurately reflects the current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were eliminated from official existence by the Federal government back in 1994. That estimate is added to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes the previously short-term discouraged workers.
The “U-3″ unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the BLS broadest unemployment measure, “including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment” as this group would be categorized as the underemployed. When all figures are combined, the Shadow Stats calculations are staggering as the unemployment and underemployment rate is approaching 24%!
Shadow Stats is one of the most interesting financial websites that I have found in recent memory and they are worthy or a hearty recommendation as they give the public an accurate way to compare real unemployment to the government contrived games that are played with the unemployment numbers. The actual unemployment/underemployment rate, nearly 24%, is more than three times the government’s figures for unemployment. Shadow Stats calculations clearly tell us that we are in a very serious depression, or what Gerald Celente often refers to as the “Greatest Depression”. And when we isolate the numbers and only include young adults, the picture goes from bleak to hopeless and these statistics are the fertile breeding ground for revolution.
Profits for the GSE giant are off by a whopping 55%. What’s it all mean to you?
by Wolf Richter • November 6, 2014
Housing Bubble 2: Sales to institutional investors plunge to lowest level since 2010
In real estate, particularly in housing, national averages elegantly paper over the gritty details on the ground in specific metro areas and neighborhoods. When a new trend starts in some locations, it’s neutered by data from other locations. Blips and squiggles are averaged out of the picture. But by the time changes consistently show up in national averages, they’ve taken on serious weight on the ground. And now the “smart money” – smart because it has access to the Fed’s free moolah – is abandoning the housing market.
Wall Street money entered the housing market gingerly in 2010 and 2011, then piled helter-skelter into select metro areas over the next two years, grabbing vacant single-family homes out of foreclosure with the goal of first renting them out, then selling to yield-desperate investors and unsuspecting mutual-fund holders their latest toxic concoction: rent-backed structured securities that are even worse than the mortgage-backed structured securities that helped take down the financial system only a few years ago.
It worked. Each wave of buying ratcheted up prices via the multiplier effect, not only in the neighborhood but beyond. It created instant and juicy paper gains on all prior purchases. In this way, the same companies, now mega-landlords, were able to push up the value of their own holdings with new waves of purchases. It was a wonderful game while it lasted. And it was funded with nearly free money the Fed graciously made available to the largest players. Housing Bubble 2 came into full bloom.
But these billions of dollars being pumped into the housing market had the effect of pushing prices out of reach for many potential homeowners who’d actually live in these homes. And first-time buyers, the bedrock of the housing market? Well, forget it. Their share of purchases dropped to 33%, the lowest since 1987.
Cognitive dissonance plaguing the mainstream media
by ZERO HEDGE | NOVEMBER 5, 2014
Based on the ridiculous, seasonally-adjusted data released day after day by the various US “Departments of Truth”, also known as the BLS, the Census, the Dept of Commerce, UMichigan, ADP, the Conference Board and so on, the US economy is so strong and consumer confidence is so resurgent, America is on the verge of a second golden age.
Sadly, for Obama, and last night’s epic rout for Democrats, it was all a lie – a lie perpetuated by a manipulated S&P500 which now hits daily record highs on unprecedented central bank liquidity injections which have now terminally disconnected the “markets” from the economy, and the welfare of the vast majority of the common “folk” – and said “folk” saw right through it.
Bloomberg’s take is just one of many observations on the historic cognitive dissonance that is plaguing the mainstream media this morning, which has been furiously pumping up US confidence by pitching the endless array of “fake data” (to use Paul Singer’s words), only to see it all blow up in its face today.
The economy was voters’ most pressing concern as they cast their ballots in the midterm election, with seven of 10 rating conditions poor, preliminary exit polls showed.
More than five years after the recession ended, ordinary Americans still feel pinched. Wages and incomes haven’t recovered even as corporate profits hit records, stocks have almost tripled and the nation’s output of goods and services grew more than $1 trillion from its pre-recession peak.
Obama’s Democratic allies took the hit, with Republicans gaining a majority in the Senate for the first time during his presidency and adding seats in the House, which they have controlled for four years. Yet Republicans could hardly claim a mandate from yesterday’s results, and they’ll be judged on their ability to govern.
Irony #1: Bloomberg, which has been one of the many outlets spinning the “great recovery” is confused:
The discontent simmered even as the economy showed signs of strengthening in the run-up to the election, posting its strongest six months of growth in more than a decade. Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in the three months that ended in September after a 4.6 percent gain in the second quarter, the best back-to-back showing since 2003.
Maybe, just maybe, the economy never really strengthened, and it was all even more of the same propaganda that has ordinary Americans finally seeing through the lies. Bloomberg at least admits that much: “Most Americans haven’t shared in the gains. Adjusted for inflation, the July median household income of $54,045 was $2,600 lower than in December 2007…. Voters by 65-31 percent said the country is on the wrong track. That’s 12 points more negative than two years ago and was the second-gloomiest exit-poll reading since 1990, trailing only the 2008 election, the preliminary numbers showed. Half of voters expect life to be worse for the next generation.”
Excerpted from Elliott Management’s Paul Singer letter to investors,
Nobody knows when reality will overtake the rhetoric, lies, phony statistics, wishful thinking, fake prices and tiresome poseurs pretending to be world leaders. The situation is universal, a consequence of incompetent leaders and careless (or ignorant) citizenry. Global problems are continuing to mount, along with the risk that the consequences of years of bad policies and inept leadership compound (as sometimes happens) in a short window of time. Let us start by unpacking some current examples of fakery, and then try to explore the consequences.
Either out of ideology or incompetence, all major developed governments have given up (did they ever really try?) attempting to use solid, fundamental policies to create sustainable, strong growth in output, incomes, innovation, entrepreneurship and good jobs. The policies that are needed (in the areas of tax, regulatory, labor, education and training, energy, rule of law, and trade) are not unknown, nor are they too complicated for even the most simple-minded politician to understand. But in most developed countries, there is and has been complete policy paralysis on the growth-generation side, as elected officials have delegated the entirety of the task to central bankers.
For their part, the central bankers are proud and delighted to be providing the primary support for the global economy. Their training for this role took place in the decades before the 2008 financial crisis, when central bankers (led by “The Maestro,” Alan Greenspan) “deftly” headed off crisis after crisis. These policy responses “worked,” we were told, and they promised a new era of fine-tuning, moderation in markets and complete control of the economy by central bankers. The words in quotes are meant to be ironic, of course, because in fact, the Federal Reserve Board’s moves disguised hidden – but serious and real – future costs, which came due in 2008. The ensuing crisis introduced the term “moral hazard” (not meant to be ironic) into the mainstream, meaning that risks were taken by financial institutions and others seeking private reward, while the costs of the risks were borne primarily by the taxpayers. Central bank manipulation of prices and risk taking has become the norm over the last six years, because it is so hard for investors to see the downside. QE and ZIRP have been “free,” as far as most people are concerned, in terms of stability, asset price and economic growth, and economic recovery. “Free” in this context means devoid of future countervailing negative consequences. Unfortunately, this particular magic bullet is illusory – the negative consequences are in the early stages of revealing themselves.
Among the worst consequences of the delegation of responsibility from political leaders to central bankers has been the increasing arrogance of the latter group and their inability to understand the rapidly evolving nature of the world’s major financial institutions. Prior to the crisis, central bankers were unable to understand the risks that were building up in the global financial system and the economy. They did not see the 2008 collapse coming, nor did they perceive how fragile the system had become, or that the major financial institutions had become the largest and most leveraged hedge funds on earth.
This lapse was a catastrophic error, not just of execution but also of theory and structure. During the 2008 crisis, the central bankers (rightly) applied standard (more or less) responses to financial collapse (flooding the system with liquidity and reducing interest rates), which of course truncated the crisis and stabilized the system. But their inability to understand the financial system, or to take responsibility for their massive failures in causing/allowing the crisis to occur, has resulted in a seriously deficient economic recovery phase. Central bankers do not understand that it was their tinkering, manipulation, bailouts and false confidence that encouraged and enabled the insanity that led to the fragility and collapse. Partially as a result of that misunderstanding, the developed world has doubled down on the same policies, feeding the central bankers’ supreme self-confidence. Political leaders have been content to stand aside and watch the central bankers do their seemingly magical and magnificent work.